Most popular television serials: Journey to the West
25 television serials, directed by Yang Jie
Starred by Liu Xiao Ling Tong, Chi Zhong Rui, Ma Dehua, Xu Shaohua, Yan Huai Li
Produced by CCTV
Product Info: 25 episodes in 13 DVDs, Mandarin/Cantonese conversation, subtitle in Chinese, ISRC CNA039832304br>DVD Format: DVD-9, NTSC, Region All (Regional codes are entirely optional for the maker of a disc. Region-free, code-free, multi-region, region all, these mean the same thing: Discs without region locks will play on any player in any country!)
Adapted from the famous Chinese classic novel of the same title by Wu Cheng'en, a writer in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), "Journey to the West" in the TV version is directed by the female director Yang Jie. In 1986, the series topped the TV ratings.
Based on the actual pilgrimage of the monk Xuanzang to India in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the story had already become a favorite of the Chinese people when Wu Cheng'en shaped it into a romantic novel which describes the Monkey King, also known as Sun Wukong, and his entourage protecting Xuanzang against that is all kinds of demons on an adventurous journey westward.
It was successful because it was the first TV-series on the mainland to retell a popular tale and the first TV production to use cinematic techniques.
"WUKONG, help me!"
"Wukong, where are you?"
A monk was tied to a big stone, crying for help.
Several pretty and coquettish women surrounded him, looking up and down before bursting into laughter.
At the entrance of the cave, a monkey was knocking on the door.
This is how one of the outdoor scenes of the sequel to the popular television drama series "Journey to the West" goes.
Besides, no TV production had involved such a complicated use of make-up and costumes.
Since the first nationwide broadcast of the original 25 episodes 13 years ago, provincial television stations have broadcast the series many times at the viewers' request.
"We wish to successfully combine the Chinese traditional play with modern television techniques," said Yang.
Above all, Yang said that the Monkey King, a symbol of bravery, cleverness and justice, has been popular among people through the ages. The stories of those protecting Xuanzang against enemies and subduing all kinds of demons and goblins are always the first choice for parents when they read for their children.
"They will be popular as long as the struggle between good and evil exists," Yang concluded.
1 The Birth of Monkey King
2 Monkey King Being in Charge of Horses
3 Monkey King Making a Mess in Heaven Palace
4 Monkey King Being imprisoned in Wuhang Mountain
5 Monkey King Becomes the Body Guard of Monk Tang
6 Disaster in Kwan-yin Temple
7 Getting Ba Jie with Strategy
8 Facing Three Adversities During the Rough Journey
9 Stealing the Ginseng Fruit
10 Beating the Dead Bones Spirit Three Times
11 Stimulating the Monkey King Wisely
12 Seizing Treasures in Lotus Flower Cave
13 Killing the Devils in the Wuji Country
14 A Battle with the Red Boy
15 Defeating the Three Monsters with Magic
16 The Funny Advantage in the Women Nation
17 Getting the Palm-leaf Fan for Three Times
18 Cleaning the Tower and Clarifying the Injustice
19 Getting in the Little Thunder Temple Accidentally
20 Doctor Monkey King
21 Falling in the Spider Silk Cave Accidentally
22 Visiting the Abyss for Four Times
23 Teaching in Yuhua Continent
24 Getting the Rabbit Spirit in India
25 Arriving the Pure Land
Journey to the West is a mythological novel based on many centuries of popular tradition. It was probably put into its present form in the 1570s by Wu Cheng'en (1500-82).
This lively fantasy relates the amazing adventures of the priest Xuanzang as he travels west in search of Buddhist sutras with his three disciples, the irreverent and capable Monkey, greedy Pig, and Friar Sand. The opening chapters recount the earlier exploits of Monkey, culminating in his rebellion against Heaven. We then learn how Xuanzang became a monk and was sent on his pilgrimage by the Tang emperor who had escaped death with the help of an Underworld official.
The main story, the journey, takes the priest through all kinds of entertaining trials and tribulations, mainly at the hands of monsters and spirits who want to eat him. Most, like the ferocious Red Boy, want to devour him. Some, such as the scorpion spirit of Pipa Cave, take the form of beautiful women in the hope of seducing him. Only the courage and powers of his disciples, especially Monkey, save him from death. Monkey has to use all his connections in the supernatural world to find the help that will enable him to defeat these and other formidable enemies, such as the Bull Demon King and Princess iron Fan, or the imitation Monkey who is indistinguishable from himself. On the last part of the journey the demons come in as wide a range of shapes and kinds as ever. Among them are spider-women who spin webs from their navels, a pride of lion monsters and a terrible female spirit who carries the Tang Priest down into her bottomless cave to marry him. These and all the other fiends test to the very limit Monkey's ingenuity, supernatural powers and connections throughout the universe. Monkey is the hero of the fantasy, and the reader will soon learn why he has long been so loved in China. Will the pilgrims reach the Vulture Peak and obtain the scriptures? The answer will only be found at the end of the 100-chapter novel.
"Journey to the West has the same status in Chinese popular literature as Dickens, the the Wizard of Oz and the Superman comics combined. Everyone knows it. The episodes are featured in countless theatre pieces, comic books, and cartoon shows." -- James BeerbowerAll episodes of videos can be found here: 《Journey to the West》
"The story, attributed to Wu Cheng-en, is quite hilarious on the surface, full of creatures, jokes and foibles, and on the other hand it is a deeply religious plot. This is the finest piece of Chinese literature I've come across." -- Alexander Moir
"When I read the book, I was so intrigued in the writing, I couldn't put it down. This is definitely a book worth reading. The language is moderately difficult. I had quite an easy time reading it (and I'm only 8). A must read, it is absolutely fantastic. " -- Christine Wong