I have been wanting to watch Taiwanese drama’s for a while. One reason is I want to improve my Chinese. But also, I am a big fan of drama series and want to watch some that take place in my new home.
A few of these have been personally recommended to me and others I have found out about through my own research. This list is does not include every Taiwanese drama and if there are some that you would recommend or think should be added, please feel free to leave a comment. This list will be continuously updated as I watch more Taiwanese dramas.
Best Taiwanese Drama 2020
Victims’ Game is follows a forensic detective with Asperger’s syndrome, Fang Yi-Jen who detects key evidence in a mysterious murder. The series is 8 episodes with many popular actors from other Taiwanese series. It’s an excellently produced and directed crime series.
Best Taiwanese Drama 2019
The World Between Us (我們與惡的距離)
Available: HBO GO
The World Between Us takes place after a fictional mass-shooting in a Taipei movie theater that occurred two years earlier. This 10-part TV series follows the lives of the killers family, the victims, the victims’ families, the media, the legal defense teams, and their intertwining lives. This show is a must watch.
Even though 2019 is not over, this is undoubtedly the best Taiwanese drama of 2019. The World Between Us shows the characters’ struggles with the emotional and psychological trauma caused by the mass-shooting. It also looks at the societal impact of mass-shootings and the role the news media plays in turning tragic events into a spectacle in order to boost viewership ratings. I have never seen a show so intelligently cover modern social issues.
Nowhere Man (罪夢者)
Nowhere Man is a non-linear Taiwanese drama about four brothers who are gangsters in one the triads. This is your typical gangster drama with a supernatural twist. These are sprinkled throughout the show here and there.
The show isn’t one of my favorites, but it is Taiwan’s first Netflix produced drama. The interaction between the brothers is heartwarming and you can’t help rooting for them. Ding Chang Quan is a great character and the show has Alyssa Chia, one of my favorite Taiwanese actresses and was in my favorite show this year “The World Between Us.”
Best Taiwanese Drama 2018
On Children (你的孩子不是你的孩子)
On Children is a Taiwanese Science Fiction TV show picked up by Netflix in 2018. It has been described as the “Taiwanese Black Mirror,” but while Black Mirror focuses on a wide range of societal and cultural issues, On Children looks at the pressures that Taiwanese children face from their parents.
The show uses different plot devices to explore how Taiwanese parents push their children to study hard and get into good schools. In the first episode, a mother uses a remote control to make her son, who is doing poorly in school, re-live each day until he behaves like she wants him to. I don’t want to get into too much detail about each episode, but I think this show is the best Taiwanese drama of 2018.
Best Taiwanese Drama 2017
A Boy Named Flora A (花甲男孩轉大人)
A Boy Named Flora A is undoubtedly my favorite Taiwanese drama. This drama series will make you cry, laugh, and make you wish you were part of the Zheng family. A Boy Name Flora A is a show that I recommend to my family and friends so they can see what Taiwan is really like.
A Boy Named Flora A follows Hua Jia (花甲) as he goes back to his ancestral home to visit his grandma who has fallen into a coma. If you’ve spent any time with a traditional Taiwanese family, you’ll recognize a lot of what goes on. I don’t want to get too deep into the plot, but watch this show. You really need to watch this show.
Wake Up (麻醉風暴)
Wake Up is another Taiwanese show picked up by Netflix. It is a hospital drama that follows Dr. Hsiao, an anesthesiologist, who takes the blame for a failed surgery. While fighting his own personal demons, he discovers a hospital wide cover-up.
The show is full of twists, turns, and revenge plots. The actors performances in this show are great. This show is a slow burn but it picks up towards the end.