Well, it took two buddies of mine off of Twitter to get me off my butt to write up a new entry. I’ve got about six others sitting in draft-hell which I really need to work on. Anyway. The topic of this entry, as you may have guessed, is media! In this case, I am going to share some of my favorite websites, TV shows, and news channels to watch in Taiwan, and where to find them! Let’s begin!
I’m actually not a huge TV watcher, I much prefer to read, though when I do I’m very picky about what it is that I watch. I’m also not big on news or variety shows, but I’ll share a few that are popular in Taiwan anyway, as it may appeal to some of you. Of course this is far from capturing all the media available to you, but it’s a good place to start I hope.
The best place to find a large variety of Taiwanese entertainment is at Sugoideas.com, though most of the titles are in English or romanized so it can be a bit hard to find specific dramas and TV shows. Though the website keeps episodes consistently updated, so there’s always new material available.
The first one I would recommend is called, in English, “The Hospital” (Chinese: 白色巨塔), which is obviously a medical drama. Description from the website:
When President’s only daughter, Liu Xin Ping, checked into the hospital for her chemotherapy treatment, the head of internal Medicine, Dr. Xu Da-Ming, and the head of surgery, Dr. Tang Guo-Tai, became the core members of the President’s medical team. Both men planned to use this opportunity to prove themselves to be the best person for the hospital director’s position.
There’s also a book by the same name by a famous author (no need to by it, Haodoo has it, including a version that can be read online!). It’s interesting in the way that a medical drama can be, and you can learn a lot of good medical vocabulary from there.
Next up is “Ni Yada” (Chinese: 倪亞達), a fairly new drama that is about a kid and tells the story from his point of view, through his diary. It’s very cute and the theme song is catchy and it’s fun to watch–though it has some odd imagery in it.
The nice thing is, you can watch and see if you like it without having to spend any money 😉
One of the ones I first got into is called “Story of Time” (Chinese: 光陰的故事), which looks at an era in Taiwanese history starting in the 50s through the 70s–literally a time story. Think of it as if someone made a drama about the 1950’s, the supposed golden age of American history. I think there’s some attachment to memories of that time. It can suffer from being dragged out a bit too long, but I still enjoy it.
Next up are a variety of TV shows, mostly food related since I like seeing how people cook as well as shows that introduce food from many different countries.
First up is “Tasty Food” (Chinese: 美食大三通). I enjoy this show because I like the hosts, I find their chemistry quite good and pretty fun to watch. They also go to a lot of places, especially in China, so it’s a great way to see many different foods often not introduced.
“Super Taste” (Chinese: 食尚玩家) is probably one of my more favorite, as they tend to go to many different places in Taiwan. To get you started, there’s this episode where they go to Sun Moon Lake, or where they go to Greece. I prefer the two hosts in the latter episode for the same reason I like “Tasty Food”; their chemistry is better and they’re pretty funny.
“Rice King” (Chinese: 吃飯皇帝大) is a pseudo-cooking competition series. It’s enjoyable to watch once and a while, though it isn’t one of my favorites. It has two guy chefs that compete cooking, and they vote whose meal is the best and then describe the nature of each dish and how to improve upon them.
“The Fasionable Chef’s Kitchen” (Chinese: 型男大主廚) is another pseudo-cooking competition series, but has two famous chefs on there. One of them is the male host in “Tasty Food”, the other is the more famous 阿基師, whose face you’ll find planted on a lot of cooking items, such as rice. In this show, two sides compete (usually some famous people in Taiwan) to cook without any help, though they may “call out” for help and randomly get a tip on how to cook. Once done, the chefs cook the meals and show the proper way to cook it, as well as tips on cooking. Later a judgement is done and whoever has the better tasting meal wins a saucepan.
Shows I Don’t Personally Watch
(but recommend if you want to stay on top of pop culture in Taiwan)
First is “The Biggest People’s Party” (Chinese: 全民最大黨), which is to political topics as Saturday Night Live is to, well, everything. It usually has a few topics to discuss, in typical variety show format, which the actors playing roles of various famous Taiwanese politicians, artists, idols, etc. though it will also have Western faces on there such as Obama or Steve Jobs. This show is a bit harder to get into, as the topics and roles being played out are very Taiwanese, and requires a bit more background knowledge to really get what’s going on. I liked watching it initially, but sort of fell out of favor with it after a while. I’m not a huge variety show person.
(Sigh. I don’t want to put this one in English, but.. look, if YOU read it in a certain way that’s your own problem) “Kangxi is Coming” (Chinese: 康熙來了). The title does not infer the Qing emperor Kangxi is actually on his way over for tea and a lite discussion of celebrity gossip; rather, it’s a combination of the names of the two hosts. Anyway, 90% of this show is celebrity gossip, but it’s fairly well known, and sometimes it can be quite funny, so I would recommend checking it out at least once.
That’s about all that I can think of at the moment, there’s plenty more on there for you to check out at your pleasure and/or convenience. Unfortunately I have yet to have much luck finding cartoons or TV shows I like in the states online, most likely due to the copyright issues that they hold so dear (looking at your Hulu and Pandora). As I find more I’ll update in the future with that content.
Again this is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but I do hope it gives you a nice introduction to some Taiwanese media. Comments, as always, are welcome!