This historical drama, produced by Fan Bingbing herself, boasts a budget close to US$50 million, making it the most expensive TV series in Chinese history. One of the attractions of this drama is the lavish costumes worn by the actresses in the show. Unfortunately, the costumes were deemed too revealing by China's censorship authorities and many scenes were edited to show less cleavage.
Despite the censorship regulations, the series still enjoy high ratings in China. I guess the censorship has in a way hyped up the show even more. When Hong Kong's TVB station aired the show dubbed entirely in Cantonese, they employed additional CGI measures to play safe. And that's the version I am watching now on Astro - the 'very clean' TVB Cantonese version.
I guess Fan Bingbing must be very disappointed because according to reports, she actually went through a lot of hardships wearing those elaborate costumes!
Story-wise, I am not sure if the show sticks closely to the historical facts - I have a feeling it does not, but then again, I am not very well versed in the life of Wu Ze Tian, the only female Chinese emperor in history.
Besides the story, the acting and the costumes, I found myself drawn to the music, especially the theme song of the show. There are two theme songs - the China version and the Hong Kong version. The theme song in China is called Wu Zi Bei sung by Jane Zhang, with music written by Aarif Rahman, one of the lead actors in the show.
And then there is also the opening song in the China version called Qian Qiu sung by famous singer Sun Nan.
However, since I am watching the Hong Kong version, I am only familiar with the Cantonese theme song called Queen sung by Joey Yung. This theme song is also treated as the opening song for the show.
Queen is such a beautiful song that I fell in love with it at the first hearing! And since I get to listen to it every time I watch the show, naturally I began to hum it and soon found myself playing it on the piano.
And so, here is my piano version of The Empress Of China theme song. Please excuse my mistakes and slips, which inevitably occurred as I did not really practise before I made this recording. Enjoy! :)