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BackArts & Culture » Film và TV » 6 Vietnamese TV Classics That Should Be on Netflix Instead of "Hậu Duệ khía cạnh Trời"


Gone were the days of timing one’s bathroom dash exactly during commercial breaks and gathering around a neighbor’s old television set, the only one in the entire alley, to relish every minute of a hot soap opera.

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The arrival of Netflix in Vietnam wasn’t accompanied by much fanfare: three years ago, the streaming giant announced a worldwide expansion to 130 countries, including Vietnam, bringing its reach to 190 nations. Even now, Netflix is still largely unknown among the local population, who are nội dung with the hours of entertainment they can extract from Facebook and YouTube. But that might change soon.

Just last month, Netflix quietly launched a Vietnamese-language interfacewith more locally produced movies popping up over time, such as the kích hoạt smash hit Hai Phuong & LGBT flick Yeu. Still, when it comes khổng lồ series, Netflix’s library is woefully lacking. It dabbled in some luscious Saigon food porn in an episode of the documentary Street Food, but to lớn date, the only Vietnamese-produced show available is Hau Due Mat Troi, a remake of the South Korean drama Descendants of the Sun.

If the original went on lớn be a regional phenomenon whose rights were bought by 32 countries, the Vietnamese remake is at best an exercise in good-looking mediocrity, và at worst a gross disservice lớn local television shows. I am aware that Netflix is not a bastion of cinematic excellence; in fact, as the service diversifies, it has churned out some truly horrendous train wrecks. But, for the first-ever Vietnamese representative, in my opinion we could vì much better than Hau Due Mat Troi, especially when local show producers are fully capable of creating original stories that are rooted in Vietnamese culture.

Which brings us lớn the following danh mục of series that shaped the local pop culture landscape of 2000s Vietnam. A decade later, what was once hip has turned vintage; cringe-worthy, dorky moments have become endearing; và Top 40 soundtracks are now nostalgia fodder. The series span from 1997 lớn 2008, so there are technical limitations lớn their viewing format, but they all nói qua shining qualities like compelling scripts, distinctly Vietnam settings and memorable writing that has resulted in some iconic lines và moments. The menu is mostly based in southern Vietnam, as I am most familiar with shows from this region; moreover, it"s by no means exhaustive. Let us know about the Vietnamese series of your childhood that should be available for everyone khổng lồ see.

1. Dat Phuong nam giới (Song of the South), 1997

Directed by Nguyen Vinh Son | Produced by TFS


Adapted from the novel Dat Rung Phuong Nam by Doan Gioi, Dat Phuong Nam is a period piece mix in the Mekong Delta during the decades after 1945 when the southern region was under French occupation. The story is told via the perspective of 12-year-old An, who became an orphan after his mother was killed during a bombing. An’s quest to lớn find his father becomes a canvas reflecting the trials and tribulations of residents of the delta and the secret chiến dịch by revolutionaries to lớn overthrow oppressors. Political intrigue, resistance và compassion in the face of hardships are some overarching themes driving the narrative forward.

An has no parents, but is taken care of by scores of strangers throughout his time on the street — the epitome of southern hospitality, a treasured chất lượng that still characterizes Mekong Delta residents today. The sterling script creates meaningful, natural dialogues that flesh out characters as real people và not just caricatures. Amid sequences of violence và backstabbing, viewers are also treated lớn the picturesque landscapes of the Mekong, with a vast sky filled with egrets and rivers churning with alluvium. Dat Phuong Nam is also one of the few series that were released in English on DVD.

The iconic theme song.

2. Khiếp Van Hoa (Kaleidoscope), 2004

Directed by Nguyen Minh Chung & Do Tu hai | Produced by TFS


Though it’s often considered a children’s series, tởm Van Hoa’s wacky shenanigans might appeal to lớn teens, young adults and even adults who are young at heart. Much of the show’s appeal is thanks khổng lồ the script, which is based on Kinh Van Hoa, a mix of stories by Nguyen Nhat Anh — think R. L. Stine’s Fear Street, but more adventure-centric & less macabre. The main trio, Quy, Tieu Long và Hanh, are high school students with a knack for uncovering secrets and playing detective whose dynamic bears a surprising resemblance to lớn that of the Harry Potter series: an audacious mastermind, a klutzy sidekick và a know-it-all geek. Young viewers might find the life of the trio quite relatable while, for older members of the audience, the series might serve khổng lồ subvert their common belief that Vietnamese children are mindless bookworms that only pay attention to lớn schoolwork and video clip games. Quy, Tieu Long và Hanh, despite their age-appropriate flaws, are good people at heart who have shown from time khổng lồ time that they’re inquisitive, altruistic and surprisingly crafty.

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3. Doc Tinh (Hills of Love), 2005

Directed by Luu vào Ninh


In the 2010s, the romanticization of domain authority Lat is in full force, driven by feature films like Thang phái nam Ruc Ro or music videos such as ‘Mo’ by Vu cat Tuong. But for urban Vietnamese of the mid-2000s, Doc Tinh was the original attraction that sowed the seeds of the “Da Lat fever.” It helped sell the idea of the sleepy resort town as a prime destination to fall in and out of love while looking fashionably cozy in autumn layers.

A Shakespearean tale of two rival families whose deep entanglement becomes even more convoluted when their children meet, fight & even fall in love — all set amid the wistful fog of domain authority Lat. With a cast filled with fresh faces và fashion models, the series boasts one of the most charismatic casts of this list & catapulted some of its actors to lớn a màn chơi of stardom that remains today. Fans of South Korean soap operas won’t be disappointed as there’s something for everyone to clutch their pearls about, from a scandalous May-December romance to lớn several love triangles.

4. Huong Phu Sa (The Scent of Silt), 2006

Directed by Vo rã Binh | Produced by TFS


From the pine trees of domain authority Lat, in 2006, we come back to lớn the riverine hamlets of the Mekong Delta in the 2006 hit Huong Phu Sa. Filmed in Ben Tre Province, the show chronicles the events & love lives of a famed artisan family who specializes in building wooden boats . Hoang, the oldest son, rejects the family tradition and moves lớn Saigon khổng lồ start a company, leaving the business in the hands of Ut Nho, the middle daughter. Ut Nho’s love interest is Viet, an artsy engineer with a majestic hairdo, who is also involved with Ut Rang, the youngest daughter. Saucy!

A chất lượng that makes Huong Phu Sa stand out is a conscious effort khổng lồ always keep the setting in mind, from script-writing khổng lồ cinematography. Who can forget the iconic kiss, dubbed the “mud kiss” by fans, between Ut Nho and Viet while swimming in a lotus pond. The series presents a modern, dynamic side of the delta where young locals wear skirts, jeans và go on date nights, instead of the often backward & rural image commonly associated with southern Vietnam. Ultimately, in this age of worsening climate fears, it serves as a reminder that, despite future water-pocalypse projections, perhaps the people of the Mekong will be okay, as they have thrived amid rivers & flooding for centuries.

Huong Phu Sa"s theme song as performed by nam giới Khanh.

5. Mui Ngo gai (Scent of Culantro), 2006

Directed by Kim Hyo-joong, Han Chul-soo, Chu Thien and Tran Huu Phuc | Produced by Vifa và CJ Media


Mui Ngo Gai was a television series of many firsts. At the over of airing, it was the longest-running Vietnamese show ever created, at 106 episodes. It was also the first collaborative effort between Vietnamese và South Korean producers và the first local series filmed entirely in a dedicated studio in District 9. As the name suggests, phở is a central theme of the show, a common thread that runs through the life story of Vy, the main character from when she was young through well into her adulthood. Vy had a rough childhood, but while working as a waitress at a phở restaurant, she grows fond of the dish & aspires to lớn make her national food more available all over the world.

Mui Ngo Gai was first written by Korean scriptwriters, who spent months living in Vietnam khổng lồ familiarize themselves with the setting, then localized by Vietnamese writers, so its grasp on local culture is more nuanced than Hau Due Mat Troi. Still, it contains several melodramatic tropes that are hallmarks of Korean soaps, including illegitimate children, corporate takeovers & of course, labyrinthine relationship networks. The show, however, also benefits from the Korean attention to lớn detail in production & costume design & a cast chock-full of Saigon’s finest theater actors & actresses.

Mui Ngo Gai"s iconic theme song, a Vietnamese translation of South Korean group SG Wannabe"s timeless hit "Saldaga."

6. Bong Dung Muon Khoc (Suddenly Want to lớn Cry), 2008

Directed by Vu Ngoc Dang | Produced by BHD


Apart from providing one of the most popular memes of 2008, Bong Dung Muon Khoc marked the rise of quirkiness in Vietnamese cinema & TV. After two decades of schmaltzy Korean and Taiwanese histrionics, viewers were looking for something new, & Bong Dung Muon Khoc was lượt thích a breath of fresh air into an otherwise stale TV landscape. The main couple is a pair of mismatched lovers with a healthy dose of manic pixie dream girl.

Nam is nowhere near your average swoon-worthy male lead: he’s lazy, argumentative và hedonistic khổng lồ the point that he was evicted by his parents for partying too much. Truc sells old books in a public park in Saigon, but she’s illiterate. She always wears an áo dài và leaves her hair untied. & if that’s not enough lớn reinforce her status as a manic pixie dream girl, she’s also honest, innocent và doesn’t know how to lớn lie. Truc allows Nam to take refuge in her “home,” which is an abandoned house with makeshift furniture and mossy walls, and slowly they begin lớn connect as she teaches him about the realities of life. The plot is admittedly ridiculous, but the chemistry between Truc & Nam is so charming và believable that it turns Bong Dung Muon Khoc into 2008’s biggest pop culture phenomenon.

Viewers can expect an inappropriate amount of improv-like dialogues from Bong Dung Muon Khoc.