Recently, I’ve been binging Asian dramas on Netflix and Viki just because I have the time, and I wanted to try shows from other countries besides China and South Korea. I never finished Viki’s Love @ Seventeen, and can no longer access it due to my location, so I decided to give another Taiwanese joint a try.
Triad Princess is a short Taiwanese drama about a mob boss’s daughter who takes on a job as a celebrity bodyguard in order to gain both access to her celebrity crush, and independence from her father. Premiering in late 2019 with six 45 minute episodes, this drama stars Eugenie Liu as the feisty female lead, and Jasper Liu as the celebrity love interest. A second season has not been announced as yet.
The problem with Triad Princess, is that, without a second season, this show is dramatically unfulfilling. Don’t get me wrong, the male lead is cute, and the female lead is likeable. However, the writing does not deliver on the promises it sets up.
We first meet our main characters during a hotel mixup when Angie Ni’s (Eugenie Liu) boyfriend was found to be cheating. Angie’s gang take Xu Yi-Hang (Jasper Liu), by mistake, to a bridge to meet Angie. Because his head is covered, the mistake is never corrected and Yi-Hang is then thrown into a river. While other people are thrown into the river in this same fashion, when this particular scene is revisited it really doesn’t do anything for the story.
There’s just not enough drama going on in this show, or rather the stakes aren’t high enough. Angie’s gang throws a number of people in the river – including ex-boyfriends – and because everyone is able to get out, you get the feeling that either the ropes aren’t tied well enough or everyone in Taiwan knows how to swim. The bridge is definitely high, and the water is deep enough for no permanent damage, so what other conclusion can we come to?
Not to mention that even when the blackmailing and the kidnapping threat are given some modicum of seriousness, it’s not consistent with the rest of the series. Angie doesn’t seem to care about her job, so why should we?
I don’t outright hate this show, and I won’t say that it’s terrible, but it’s hard not to compare it to the Korean and Chinese dramas I’ve seen before. Not enough time is spent on Angie’s being a bodyguard, or pretending to be an assistant. The build up of the romance is so quick, it’s almost nonsensical. The love rival comes in at the end of episode 4, and his reveal is absolutely wasted if there is no season 2.
Triad Princess did do some things right: there was an actual gay couple instead of weird queer baiting like in other asian dramas I’ve seen. Yi-Hang’s manager probably has the most fulfilling character arc of the whole series, but we barely spend any time with her. Angie’s dad does . . . something?
Forget it, this show is literal trash and has no hope of redemption without a second season. I mean, come on, how dare you introduce a possibly good villain at the very end? I really wanted Eddie Kim (Tsao Yu-ning as Angie’s betrothed) to take Angie to Beijing to show her how the mainland gangs do it, because their style was so different. I don’t know anything about the triads, Taiwanese or otherwise, but, of the two of them, Eddie looked like he fit in. The actual gang part of the Cosmos gang was what you expect it to be, and even Boss Ni’s style was understandable, but Angie barely looked the part even when she was acting it. She would have never made it in Beijing.
You know what? That’s what season two should be about. Eddie Kim, being the proper Triad Prince, showing Angie how incapable she is as a possible future gang boss in revenge for her not choosing Yi-Hang over him. Especially since Eddie put himself on a strict diet to lose weight just so Angie would agree to marry him. Ugh, it would be so awesome! I need that season 2!
In any case, Triad Princess is not cute enough to hide its gang of disappointments.
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