Review: Strange Tales Of Tang Dynasty (Yang Xu Wen, Yang Zhi Gang)

Review: Strange Tales Of Tang Dynasty

Nothing attracts one’s eyes like the word “Strange”, it automatically builds curiosity. I saw on post on Facebook from one of you and the writer was praising Strange Tales Of Tang Dynasty. I decided to take a peak you know, that little peak to check whether it’s safe or not. This is a full review on Strange Tales Of Tang Dynasty starring Yang Xu Wen and Yang Zhi Gang.


Strange tales of Tang Dynasty is about Ling Feng( Yang Xu Wen), general of the Imperial guards who was tasked to investigate these cases. On his journey, he meets his strongest opponent in Su Wu Ming (Yang Zhi Gang) , the disciple of Di Ren Jie. The two of them work together to solve these mysterious cases. These two had their own differences and Lu Lingfeng seemed to hold a grudge against Su Wu Ming because Detective Di Ren Jie choose him over the General. On their way, they make new friends while solving cases and eventually begin to grow closer together.
The story telling in this drama is something worth mentioning. Firstly, the strange cases they investigate are packed with interesting background stories. The case of Liu Shiba and his brothers was indeed strange and creepy, but it didn’t make sense until they narrated their story from the beginning. This is the same with the case of “The Four Scholars Of Nanzhou”, it was a very interesting case which had me anticipating the next episode.
The case lasted about 5 episodes without any additional plots, just 5 long episodes specially dedicated to one case and you would think it’s boring but that’s where you’re wrong. The case was carefully planned for each stage, the build up, the mystery and the conclusion… it just left you guessing and it’s crazy how it started with a simple painting… that’s what I call good storytelling. Secondly, each case is totally different from the previous one unless they’re link to the same person. With so many cases going on in this drama, they still managed to come up with new concept and execution.


Lu Lingfeng (Yang Xu Wen) didn’t start as my favorite character because of his arrogance as the General of the Imperial guards. He is very proud of the reputation of his “Lu family” and always looked down on others. He then became Su Wu Ming’s protector and my began to see him in a different way. I’m saying ‘protector’ because Su Wu Ming can’t fight and Lu Lingfeng is the best fighter in Chang’an. Every case they solved slowly made him grow up and see the world differently.
Su Wu Ming (Yang Zhi Gang), now we are talking about my favorite character. Everything about Su Wu Ming grabs my attention from the way he introduces himself to the way he gets into people’s minds. He has a strange way of investigating case as he has shown in when he first came to Chang’an. He always waits for the right moment to strike and never misses a clue. He’s fearless, most of the time he would face danger alone even though he’s just a scholar, but he would talk his way out. I like the way Yang Zhi Gang presented this character, his body postures and even facial expressions says a lot before he can open his mouth.
I’m happy to see Xue Han (Anson Shi) getting the spotlight in the drama. He has shown better martial arts than most of the extras, even the villains. His teamwork with Lu Lingfeng when they fought the bear reminded me of the collaboration between Jet Li and some kid in one of his movies, just awesome. I liked everything about this kid, his loyalty and dedication to protect Pei Xijun.
Pei Xijun (Gao Si Wen) first gave the impression someone who had no future. She was obsessed with Lu Lingfeng, always talking about him and I never thought she could last till the end. She surprisingly became more mature and smarter to a point where she could use her talent as a painter to help solve cases. She went from being a spoilt daddy’s little girl to being the most important member amongst the group.
For me, Ying Tao (Sun Xue Ning) was only there for Su Wu Ming. She happened to appear later in the drama and only intervened whenever Su Wu Ming was involved. Maybe we might see more of her in the second season.
Master Fed (Chen Chuang) is one of those people who with cars, but you never see them driving one. Just like Pei Xijun, Fed came on screen as if he was passing. He doesn’t like troubles, he just loves eating chicken and drinking all kinds of wines then sleep. Judging him by his looks isn’t what I would advise you to do because that man is very talented and smart. Su Wu Ming and Lu Lingfeng would’ve been dead a long time ago if it wasn’t for master fed, he’s well versed in medicine and knows a lot of stuff happening in the Tang Dynasty.

The Opening Theme has clues.

The opening theme has to be the creepiest one I ever seen in a Chinese Drama. The background music, the big snake, usage of blood and the crocodile, all looked like I’m watching a horror movie. Now that I have finished the drama, I have noticed something about the opening theme. The sequencing of the elements (tea,snake, crocodile) on the opening theme follows the sequencing of the cases. The opening theme starts with something like a bride in a wedding dress followed by a cup full of tea mixed with blood (black chang’an tea). The first case was about the missing brides and the black chang’an case. The big snake then followed and the second case was related to them. At first glance, I never took the opening theme serious until the last case which was about the large tower that is also the last element on the opening theme. Look at me playing all Detective.

Why is Detective Di Ren Jie always mentioned even though he’s not a character?

Di Ren Jie, born 630 died 700 was one of the great judges and administrators of the Tang Dynasty known for his compassion, talent, and being uncorrupt. He won credit for softening the rule of the Wu Zetian China’s only Empress. Di Renjie’s tomb is located at the east end of the White Horse Temple in Luoyang, near the Qiyun Pagoda, on the tombstone engraved the inscription “The tomb of Lord Di Renjie, famous chancellor of the Great Tang dynasty”. I have watched a number of movies about Di Ren Jie and I wouldn’t have got to understand the hype about him in this drama if I never watched them. There’s a lot to talk about regarding Di Ren Jie, but I recommend you watch movies about him and even watch the film ” China’s first Empress” to get to understand Di Ren Jie’s contributions.


A part of me hoped to see Su Wu Ming and Yong Tao more often as a couple. They just had the best first encounter and one can control the other. Another part of me knows adding romance in this kind of drama will be a total disaster. Pei Xijun and Lu Lingfeng bored me as a couple, I won’t lie. I seriously hope there’s a season 2 because Su Wu Ming got me curious with the questions he asked Pei Xijun’s father. It seemed like they weren’t done investing these strange case, but they were just starting. Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty is one of the best dramas to air in 2022. 36 Episodes weren’t enough to fill the hunger I have for this kind of project. I would recommend it to anyone except for those who don’t like horror themed filmed, everything about this drama is creepy especially the opening theme. I’m giving it a rating of 8,5/10 … nothing is perfect, but this one is close to being perfect and I’m going to rewatch it incase I missed something.

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