Drama

30 Most Popular Chinese Actors on MDL: Welcome to 2022! (Part 2)

INTRODUCTION

Part 2 is a continuation of the 30 Most Popular Chinese Actors on MDL series. This part contains Chinese actors number 11 to 20 of the “most popular” list. I compiled this list based on the likes/hearts given by fellow MDLers, as you can see below the respective actor’s name. So, this is not my personal list of favorites. If you haven’t, you can read Part 1 here.

This part was the hardest to write among Part 1 and Part 3 (which I have also prepared) for two reasons:

First, there are actors whose likes/hearts are very close to each other, the number differences can be counted with fingers. This makes it challenging to put them in their respective rank as their ranking changed often when I rechecked, thus I also had to change the feature image. But I had to stop somewhere, or I could never submit this article. Therefore, I apologize if your favorite actor is at a different rank by the time you read this.

Second, this part includes Zhang Zhe Han, number 15 in this list and number 3 on All-Time MDL Stars Leaderboard. Since you read this article, I assume you’re somewhat familiar with Chinese dramaland, thus you may have heard about what happened to him. If you don’t know but are curious, you can read about the incident on his drama page. I’m not the actor’s fan, but since I mostly watch Chinese dramas, I also follow Chinese entertainment news including heartbreaking news on him. Therefore, it’s quite disheartening to list his upcoming dramas.

Disclaimers

I only listed the dramas in which the actors are the first Male Leads, with some exemptions. I did not list upcoming dramas if there is no information found on MDL or Chinese entertainment news sources. All names are written in Pinyin with their English names in parentheses, in case you are more familiar with the latter, followed by their Hanzi names. The rank, likes/hearts, and drama information are from data taken on December 5, 2021. Any discrepancy happened due to changes after the article was submitted for editing.

Let’s begin with the countdown!


#20 – Huang Jin Yu (Johnny Huang) 黄景瑜 

♡ 1,867+
Fighting Thief   |  Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  Episodes: 30
Huang Jin Yu played as Ping San Ge, an undercover police officer who enters a crime syndicate gang that involves in national treasury robbery, and gains trust from the gang leader Gu Feng Cheng (Ni Da Hong). 
This drama is still filming low-key in Xian as of September 2021. 

#19 – Ding Yu Xi (Ryan Ding) 丁禹兮

♡ 1,918+
Chun Gui Meng Li Ren  |  Genres:  Historical, Business, Romance, Drama  |  Episodes: 36  |  Duration: 45 min  |  Network: Tencent
Chun Gui Meng Li Ren (春闺梦里人) literally means “The spring boudoir dreamer”. The dreamer mentioned is the Female Lead, Ji Man (Peng Xiao Ran). Ji Man, who has a talent for doing business, mistakenly enters the Ning Manor and becomes the wife of the young master, Ning Yu Xuan (Ding Yu Xi). 

The drama finished filming in September 2021. There are no posters for this drama and leaked videos and photos are also rare and blurred.

#17 – Zhang Han 张翰

♡ 1,976+
Liu Guang Yin  |  Genres: Historical, Romance, Wuxia, Fantasy  |  Duration: 45 min  |  
Network: Tencent
Liu Guang Yin (流光引), literal meaning: streamer, tells about Han Zi Qing (Zhu Xu Dan/ Bambi Zhu), an illegitimate daughter of the prime minister, who crosses paths with Zhang Han’s character Jun Bei Ye. He is a prince and a skilled general named God of War. According to the original novel, after discovering a poison led to Han Zi Qing’s mysterious background, they embark on a dangerous journey to fight against hidden powerful forces that threaten their land. 
The drama wrapped filming in November 2021.
Gentlemen Attention Please   |  Genres: Friendship, Comedy, Romance, Drama  |  Episodes: 36  |  
Duration: 45 min
Set in Shanghai, the story follows four guys who used to be college roommates. As they mature and become stable well into their adulthood, they come to experience different dilemmas that men face. Zhang Han played as Tong Yu, an AI engineer.

The drama wrapped filming a while ago in November 2020 and is scheduled to be aired in 2022.
Farewell to Arms  |  Genres: Action, War  |  Episodes: 36  |  Duration: 45 min   |  Trailer
The story starts in 1937 when the war against Japanese aggression broke. The actor played as Zhang Song Ling, who survived after his family was murdered on his wedding day. He avenged his family by joining the communist party.

This drama should have aired in 2020, not sure what has happened over time.
Saker Falco  |  Genres: Action, War  |  Episodes: 35  |  Trailer
The actor played in another war drama as Song Wen Bo, an undercover agent who was sent by The Communist Party. He is assigned to find the mastermind behind the assassination attempt on some government officials who are in charge of reviving the Chinese economy.

This is another drama that should have aired in 2021.
The Rhapsody of a Summer Dream  |  Genres: Music, Romance  |  Episodes: 50  |  Duration: 45 min  
|  Network: HunanTV
I wrote about this drama in Part 1. The story follows violinist genius Pei Shi (Go Joon Hee) who lost both of her parents at a young age and lives to seek revenge. Zhang Han is the Male Lead, Xia Cheng Si, who is Pei Shi’s old friend.  
This drama was produced in 2016 and has suffered from the Hallyu ban. 
Braveness of the Ming  |  Genres:  Historical, Romance, Wuxia, Drama  |  Episodes: 30  | 
Duration: 45 min  |  Network: LeTV
In this historical drama, the actor is a commoner, Xia Xun, who becomes a secret assassin who takes orders from the Emperor. Upon seeing the brutality of the current Emperor towards the common folks, he secretly helps a prince to ascend the throne.
This drama was produced in 2016 and has also suffered from the Hallyu ban since the Female Lead is Park Min Young, who played as Xie Yu Fei, Xia Xun’s love interest.

#16 – Li Hong Yi 李宏毅

♡ 1,993+
Shao Nian Ge Xing  |  Genres: Historical, Wuxia, Youth, Fantasy  |  Network: Youku
This drama is also known as Youth and the Golden Coffin. The original work is a sequel of a novel that was also adapted to the upcoming drama Shao Nian Bai Ma Zui Chun Feng, but you can watch this one as a stand-alone drama. Li Hong Yi plays as Xiao Se, one of several youths who embark together on a journey in the martial arts world to unravel the mystery of a golden coffin.

This drama is still filming. Note that the director Yin Tao has directed several popular historical dramas such as Under the Power (2019), Love and Redemption (2020), and 
Ancient Love Poetry (2021).
The Legendary Life of Queen Lau   Genres: Historical, Comedy, Romance  |  Duration: 45 min  |  
Network: Youku  |  Special Trailer
The story follows the Female Lead, Liu Jin Feng (Jackie Li/ Lamu Yangzi), who is the Prime Minister’s illegitimate daughter. She is married off to the Crown Prince, later King, Yun Zhang (Li Hong Yi). With her around, living in the palace has become less boring and more chaotic. The most “mismatched” king and queen become the most perfect couple. 

This drama finished filming in July 2021.
Wulin Has Pride   |  Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Wuxia  |  Episodes: 24  | 
Duration: 45 min  |  Network: Youku   |   Trailer
The story follows a young girl, Ye Xi (Huang Ri Ying), whose dream is to become a heroine in the martial arts world, but she almost dies and her reputation is tarnished in the process. When investigating the truth to prove that she’s innocent, she meets Li Hong Yi’s character, Bai Yue, a divine doctor.
As it finished filming in February 2021, I guess this drama should air soon.

#18 – Wu Lei (Leo Wu) 吴磊

♡ 1,998+
Love Like the Galaxy  |  Genres: Historical, Mystery, Romance, Political  |  Episodes: 66  |  
Network: DragonTV, Tencent  |  Special trailer
This drama is adapted from a novel written by Guan Xin Ze Luan, whose novel was also adapted to C-drama The Story of Ming Lan. Wu Lei played as Ling Bu Yi, the marriage partner of the female protagonist, Cheng Shao Shang (Zhao Lu Si). Ling Bu Yi is the emperor’s adopted son, with the mystery surrounding his identity and family background. 

This drama finished its filming in December 2021.

#15 – Zhang Zhe Han 张哲瀚 

♡ 2,126+
Zhao Ge  |  Genres: Action, Adventure, Historical, Romance, Fantasy  |  Episodes: 50  | 
Duration: 45 min  |  Network: iQiyi, SohuTV  |  Trailer
Zhao Ge (朝歌), if it’s aired, its title will probably change into the English meaning “Song of the Dawn”.  The story is set towards the end of the Shang Dynasty when King Di Xin led his nation to its downfall (source: Wikipedia). Zhang Zhe Han played the main hero, Ji Fa, who later becomes King Wu of Zhou, the first king of the succeeding Zhou Dynasty (source: Wikipedia).   

This drama was produced in 2016. My guess? It hasn’t aired, even before the incident with Zhang Zhe Han happened in 2021, because it depicts a real historical event in China.
Retro Detective  |  Genres: Mystery, Comedy, Sci-Fi  |  Episodes: 24  |  Network: Youku  |  Special Trailer
The story starts in the ’90s, when the actor’s character Huang Wei Ping, a police officer, fell into a coma. He woke up 20 years later, still maintaining his youthful appearance. Together with his former partner, detective Li Ming Feng (Hao Ping), Wei Ping sets to investigate the past case that led to his accident.

This drama was planned to be aired in 2021 after Word of Honor‘s popularity, but it was cancelled due to the incident.
The Second Sight Fall in Love  |  Genres: Food, Comedy, Romance  |  Episodes: 45  | 
Duration: 45 min   Trailer
The actor plays as Yang Jing Yi, a single, wealthy, but stingy restaurant owner who hires Zhang Xiao Qiang (Li Yi Xuan) as his fake girlfriend to avoid his parents’ pressure. The new ‘girlfriend’ has a crush on an ex-convict who has been released from prison.  
This drama was produced in 2018 and I have no clue why it was not aired prior to 2021!

#14 – Zhang Yi Xing (Lay Zhang) 张艺兴 

♡ 2,175+
Challenges at Midlife  |  Genres: Drama  |  Episodes: 49  |  Duration: 45 min  |   
Network: DragonTV, ZJTV  |  Trailer
Zhang Yi Xing probably is too busy with his company now, so far his upcoming drama is as supporting character Ning Shu, the Female Lead Ning Yu’s (Yuan Quan) brother. She and the Male Lead Jian Hong Cheng (Lei Jia Yin) experienced the pain of mid-life, which allow them to know each other again and also realize the type of life they truly want. 
This drama finished filming in September 2020, and it was supposed to be aired by the end of 2021.

#13 – Wang He Di (Dylan Wang) 王鹤棣

♡ 2,234+
Eternal Love  |  Genres: Historical, Romance, Wuxia, Fantasy  |  Episodes: 36  |  
Duration: 45 min  |   Teaser trailer
This drama was written by popular historical fantasy romance novelist Jiu Lu Fei Xiang, who also wrote popular novels adapted to The Legends  (2019), the upcoming The Blue Whisper: Part 1 and Part 2and many others. The story tells about a little fairy, Xiao Lan Hua (Yu Shu Xin/Esther Yu), who accidentally revived the demon king Dong Fang Qing Cang (Wang He Di), her mortal enemy who wiped out her tribe in her previous life.
This drama wrapped up in June, so we expect it to be released in 2022.
Our Southwest General University  |  Genres: Historical, Romance, School, War  |  Episodes: 40  | 
Duration: 45 min  |  Network: CCTV    Trailer
Wang He Di played Cheng Jia Su, a student of the historical Lianda, or National Southwestern Associated University, who together with his fellow students rose up to fight the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937) through literacy. 
This drama finished filming by the end of 2019. It’s probably delayed because it’s based on a real historical event.

#12 – Xing Zhao Lin 邢昭林 

♡ 2,337+
Choice Husband  |  Genres: Historical, Romance  |  Episodes: 30  |  Duration: 45 min  |   
Network: Tencent
Xing Zhao Lin played scholar Pei Yan Zhen, the love interest of the Female Lead, Shen Miao (Zhang Xue Ying/Sophie Zhang). No one dares to marry her because she is considered bringing misfortune to her future husband after her two ex-husbands ran away before the marriage.  
The drama finished filming in June 2021.
My Girl   |  Genres: Comedy, Romance, Drama  |  Episodes: 30  |  Duration: 45 min  |   
Network: Tencent
This is a remake of the Korean drama My Girl (2005). Since Xing Zhao Lin is the Male Lead Xue Huan Yu, if you know the original story, then he is the fake cousin of the Female Lead Zhou Xiao Xi (Xing Fei/Fair Xing). He asks her to lie about being his long missing cousin for his grandfather’s sake. Soon their feelings for each other get in the way of their plans.  
There are no official posters yet, so I put his wrap-up photo when they finished filming in November 2021.

#11 – Zhang Bin Bin (Vin Zhang) 张彬彬 

 2,349+
Song of the Moon  |  Genres: Historical, Romance, Wuxia, Fantasy  |  Episodes: 40  |  
Duration: 45 min  |  Network: iQiyi
The heroine, Liu Shao (Xu Lu/Lulu Xu), initially leads the carefree life of a wealthy heiress. She accidentally gets entangled in a battle between the immortals and the demons. The incident unravels the past and present romantic relationship between her and Lu Li (Zhang Bin Bin), a mysterious immortal.  
Since this drama finished filming in January 2021, it should air soon!
A Romance of the Little Forest  |  Genres: Friendship, Comedy, Romance, Life  |  Episodes: 36  | 
Duration: 36 min  |  Network: Youku  |  Special trailer
The actor’s character is Zhuang Yu, a botany professor. He and the Female Lead, Yu Mi Ren (Yu Shu Xin/ Esther Yu), used to attend college together. She had a crush on him and he rejected her. They met again when he’s doing research and she runs the B&B lodge he’s staying in.
This drama wrapped in October 2021.

CONCLUSION

So far, from Part 1 and Part 2, 20 names are already in with 42 upcoming dramas that we know what are they are about and either in the middle or have finished production. In this article, I listed some dramas I want to watch because certain actors or actresses are in the dramas, namely:

  • Love Like the Galaxy: I watched both Wu Lei and Zhao Lu Si in The Long Ballad, so I would love to see them as a couple in this drama. But with 66 episodes and the planned network of DragonTV, I’m afraid I may not see it in 2022!
  • Eternal Love: Because Wang He Di and Yu Shu Xin look so cute together. Besides, the actor always looks good in all the historical dramas he played!
  • My Girl: I have never watched the original Kdrama, but I will definitely watch this one for Xing Zhao Lin and Xing Fei.

Meanwhile, there are dramas I want to watch because the synopsis sounds interesting:

  • The Legendary Life of Queen Lau: The synopsis on the novel and drama page sounds hilarious, and the OTP pairing is atypical in dramaland.
  • Retro Detective: If they’re ever aired, I would love to watch all upcoming Zhang Zhe Han dramas, but this drama is the newest. Also, the synopsis sounds hilarious with a character who wakes up from a coma after 20 years!

That’s all for now, everyone! If you still don’t see your favorite actors on this list and the previous article, let’s hope they will be in Part 3! I sincerely thank every MDLer who added the info I used on the plots, original works, production, trailers, etc., on the respective drama’s page. Let everyone who is a fan of the above actors hope that all dramas mentioned will be aired in 2022! Thank you for reading and happy watching! 

Who is your favorite Chinese actor on this list?

Which C-drama on the list will you watch?


Acknowledgement and creditsThank you to the editors who edited this article. I do not own any of the images; credits go to their respective owners. The drama and character images are from official posters and production photos found on MDL, Weibo, Douban, Sohu, and other Chinese entertainment news sources.


Edited by: devitto (1st editor), YW (2nd editor)

zhang bin bin
wang he di
vin zhang
xing zhao lin
chinese dramas
leo wu
dylan wang
wu lei
zhang zhe han
johnny huang
chinese actors
huang jin yu
ding yu xi
ryan ding
zhang han
li hong yi
zhang yi xing
lay zhang

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