No Back to the Future for China

Though time travel television dramas have been increasingly popular in China in the last few years, the Chinese government has put their foot down. As of April 1st, time travel drama? It’s banned. From China Hush:
The authority’s decision was made on the Television Director Committee Meeting on April 1st. – but obviously it’s not a prank to fans of the drama genre. The authority has a good reason to go against the genre. "The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore."
Western media has had a… slightly different take. From The Hollywood Reporter:
“The rationale [for the time travel ban] is that whatever isn’t possible in the real world belongs to superstition,” said film critic and journalist Raymond Zhou Liming, who notes that time travel is untouched by censors in Chinese literature and theater.

In the electronic mass media, however, which in China reaches the world’s largest TV audience and the globe’s fastest growing movie market, the idea of time travel presents a clear and present danger.

In time-travel dramas such as Myth (Shen Hua), currently popular on Chinese TV, audiences seem to like the story of a modern man going back to ancient China where, after some adjustment, he finds love and happiness.

“Most time travel content that I’ve seen (in literature and theater, that is) is actually not heavy on science, but an excuse to comment on current affairs,” Zhou told The Hollywood Reporter.

Apparently unhappy with film and TV presenting even the fictional notion that China’s ability to provide happiness is a thing of the past for the average man, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television posted its guidance about time travel.

“Producers and writers are treating serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore,” SARFT said.
The Hollywood Reporter piece is long, thoughtful and it’s here. Meanwhile, imagine a world where the goverment gets to ban television trends that it finds disturbing or historically disrespectful. We would be left? Antiques Roadshow and reruns of Joey and This Old House.

Okay, you’re right: forget Joey.


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