The Longest Day in Chang’an (长安十二时辰) is a Chinese TV series that was broadcast between June and August 2019, this is my review.
This series is adapted from the novel of the same name by Ma Bo Yong.
In the year 744 AD an attack is expected in Chang’an, the heart of the Tang Empire, during the Lantern Festival. There is a lot of infighting amongst the court as the Emperor is expected to announce stepping down and passing the regency to The Right Chancellor instead of the Crown Prince, his son. Intelligence Chief Li Bi, an ally of the Crown Prince frees a death row prisoner Zhang Xiao Jing, a beloved war veteran, to help find out who plans to launch the attack.
There are three major roles in this TV series, although one of them is listed as support.
Lei Jia Yin (雷佳音) as Zhang Xiao Jing
I never heard of this actor before but now realize he is quite sought after, his performance in Longest Day was outstanding. He is a high school dropout to go into modelling and acting.
Jackson Yee (易烊千玺) as Li Bi
he is a musician, singer, dancer, actor and member of the Chinese music band TFBOYS; it appears he has mainly been in variety type TV shows. He has won numerous awards for his acting work. Below is a sample of his musical work.
Zhou Yi Wei (周一围) as Long Bo
He has a list of acting credits as long as my arm. Drama, movies and TV shows, he’s done everything.
This show was exceptional, maybe a one-off of a very high standard that would be hard to achieve again.
The first thing that hit me was the scale of the show, especially the city of Chang’an. I understand it took months to prepare the set for filming. It was visually stunning piece of work.
The next thing I noticed was how authentic and true to life everything looked, a certain grittiness about the show.
The format of the show was like no other. The version I saw, at least, had no opening them; it just started off with credits and straight on with the story. Then a slight cliffhanger a few minutes in with a bumper. At the end there was another 2-3 minute shot, some of them was like a preview from the next episode, some was an artistic representation of something happening elsewhere. There were different closing themes to almost every other show.
I loved the “speaking clock” character, he was fun, unfortunately…well, I don’t want to spoil it too much for potential views.
The entire series was focused on one day. Seems that format has been done before but they did well to include it in this.
The actors were a range of actors and it wasn’t the usual pretty skinny people you see in the shows. This made the show look more realistic too. I have to say that I wasn’t convinced by the age of the Emperor, the actor who played him, Feng Jia Yi, is in fact only 53.
It was great to include a Djimon Hounsou in the show, he is an actor that originated from Benin and lives in the US that has played parts in Shzam, black Adam, Captain Marvel and Aquaman. The only thing it the voice for him wasn’t that great.
I understand there might be a season two. It would be difficult to keep the same quality as the first season.
I give this show a 5/5, an absolute must see.
Where To Watch
I understand it’s on Amazon Prime in some regions, however, I saw it on Viki.