‘Capture Lover,’ China’s First Gay Series Since LGBTQ Content Was Banned, Available to Stream Today
Today, the LGBTQ streaming platform GagaOOLala is releasing the first BL (Boys Love) series produced in China since the nation’s ban on LGBTQ content in 2016. Capture Lover will be available to stream online worldwide, outside of China.
Starring Luigi Zhang and Han Jing-cheng, Capture Lover features a deputy manager and his newcomer subordinate, the son of the company’s chairman, developing feelings for one another under unusual circumstances. The show utilizes one of the greatest tropes of all time, fake dating, when Ying Jiaming (played by Han Jing-cheng) begs Ding Junjie (played by Luigi Zhang) to act as his boyfriend in order to get rid of his ex-girlfriend.
(As you can see, they are very, very cute.)
Although LGBTQ content is not technically illegal in China, it has been banned since 2016, following the massive success of BL series Addicted. Obviously, this has created challenges for creators who want to produce this kind of content.
Director Aria Lee (李韻銘) talks about these challenges: “First, there is the issue of funding. Since this type of content can only be broadcast overseas and not here, the production company (J&M Fun Film & TV) did not want us to have a big budget, so our funding was very limited. Yet, I am grateful this drama attracted the attention of many foreign platforms (after GagaOOLala, the series will also be streamed on WeTV Taiwan and Viki). I am now working on a BL period drama with a much higher [budget], but then again, it will only be streamed abroad.”
Casting is also a problem. Actors don’t want to sign onto BL projects because of their queer plotlines, but actively seek out what are known as “revised dramas” (耽改劇), which are series derived from BL novels — with the main gay romance cut out (see: The Untamed).
Despite the difficulties in creation, Capture Lover is sure to be widely successful for its playful plot, handsome actors and worldwide accessibility. I for one can’t wait to see how this romance between Ding Junjie and Ying Jiaming unfolds.