China’s First Microblog-Themed TV Show Debuts


How do you know when weibo — the Chinese word for microblog — has truly become a cultural phenomenon? When it gets its own TV drama. That’s exactly what’s happening right now, as Micro-blog Master debuted on Southeast Satellite TV and Yunnan Satellite TV on September 9th.

The show is set during the rise of weibo platforms in China (around 2010) and tells the entirely fictional story of a trade war between two competing weibo companies. If you’re thinking that sounds like a thinly-veiled story about Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, it unfortunately isn’t. It’s a good versus evil story of the hip yuppies versus the evil older businessman, and while the show still has a lot of episodes left to go, I have a few guesses as to who is going to win this microblog war and get the pretty girl at the end. If there are any real-world parallels, I didn’t notice them in the bits of the show I watched.

"We must create a new social networking site."

If the first episode is any indication, the show is a pretty typical Chinese drama down to the super-cheesy love story, the completely dubbed dialogue, and the ridiculous special effects (check out the car crash that appears in the opening credits). I’ll be honest; I absolutely hated it, but my tolerance for Chinese TV drama is pretty low. I’m not sure whether the show will be able to find a big audience in China, but if nothing else the show’s appearance is an indication that weibo is now a fully mainstream phenomenon, and big enough that TV producers think they can use the concept to sell TV programming.

(I’m not sure that the concept of microblogging is going to be cool enough to save this show, though. I watched part of the first episode with my wife, who has a much higher Chinese drama tolerance than I do, but she offered the following four words in review of Micro-blog Master: “fake,” “boring,” “stupid,” and “bullshit.”)

[Beijing Evening News via Sina Tech]

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