It was announced this week that the latest victim of China’s anti-gay ban is the web series, Heroin (or Addiction). The 15 episode show, which had quite a large following has been pulled from the internet with 3 episodes left to go. Which makes fans go WUT?
This isn’t the first time this has happened, even recently. Currently popular on the boards is the gender bender time traveling romp, Go Princess Go! What’s wrong with this show you ask? Well, despite the highly illegal time traveling aspect (yes, this is a thing) the story revolves around a man in present time who goes back in time and lands himself in the body of a woman. A princess even. Hijinks ensue which lead to him falling in love with his husband, the king and—I can image—doing the deed.
Go Princess Go! was another internet drama, another crazy popular internet drama which was pulled from the airwaves. At least with that show though, they waited until after the entire show had gone live and then pulled it. So yay, again, it gets out to us international fans, and even better, Chinese fans had a chance to see the ending before it was nixed.
I’m both surprised and unsurprised by this news. Firstly, these are not the first gay web dramas out there. Like Love and Counter Attack are big recent names, and when I was compiling my list of LGBT Asian movies and dramas, there are quite a few movies and movie shorts coming out of China. What got this pulled and not the others? Have they just recently realized their country is pumping out quite a bit of gay content and decided to crack down on it? Could it be that this story has to do with high schoolers where the others were college age or older?
As for content or quality, there was a huge lead up to this drama after the rising popularity of shows like Like Love, Counter Attack and Love Sick. For months and months, there were fan groups and the production was putting out behind the scenes videos and ‘rehearsals’—basically a call to all fangirls “Come over here and see our two guys be super gay together!” Yeah, it was a bit of gay baiting which was an irritation and almost turned me away from the drama itself. However, when the show did finally premier, everyone was clamoring for it.
A week ago, I figured I’d give it a try (not knowing it was not complete), and I have to say—I really dug it. The quality of the story and production was so much better than Counter Attack (both shows being based off web series by Jan Di.) Where Counter Attack had huge plot holes where you could tell there was an interesting story, but was just not being translated completely on screen, Heroin had an interesting story, which made sense, and was well built in character and pacing. (Or at least well built in comparison to Counter Attack). It surprised me when I ended at episode 9 it was all story and no…coupledom. This both made me look forward to the next episodes coming out and worried as to where they’d leave it. Like Love and Counter Attack are multiple seasoned arcs and I could only assume that it would be the case for this as well.
Man, do I hate waiting for additional seasons.
Now this clamp down brings into question as to whether there will be additional seasons. The original writer said that, nope, this was in no way going to affect the season 2 of the show. Season two ahoy! But with the continued crackdown of these shows, and the worrying take down and arrests of the original writers of gay web novels, how is it not only a matter of time before the shows are stopped before they start? Doesn’t it make more sense to get them at the source before they can, I don’t know, ruin the minds of impressionable youths? I mean, isn’t that the issue with them?
Censorship is a scary thing. I recently had a mini rant on the podcast with Cherry where I talked about how it irritated me that sometimes what we get here is a filtered down version of the original—especially from these web dramas. We have to rely on others to decide what to hand out to us. I’ve seen Like Love and Counter Attack many times and yet, I’ll hop on fan pages or Youtube and then suddenly I see a scene or a bit (….usually schmexy stuff) which has been edited out! The main issue I have with Counter Attack is that it seems like there are big gaping holes in the plot, and I’m not entirely certain that I’m just not being shown certain scenes.
Okay. That was an exaggeration. From what I’ve seen of the drama and what I’ve managed to read of the translated book, it’s just a lacking adaptation, but there are a few extra bits I’ve seen which makes the awkward jumps a little bit better.
Despite their awkward quality, and lacking storytelling, I am a big fan of these stories as we just are not getting them elsewhere and I’m not going to lie when I say I’m afraid that they will go away entirely. Or at least for a long while as gay love shall not be denied!
Luckily for us outside of China, we don’t have to worry about not seeing those last few episodes of Heroin. I think I’m going to take the opportunity that those in China can not and finish watching this show tonight. And I hope that season 2 does continue. I hope season 3 of Like Love happens (mainly because if they leave it where they left season 2 I’m gonna be pissed.)