Red walls, enormous gardens, dark plots within the shadows... A not so common side of the Forbidden City for foreigners, but common sense for Chinese people. This is the background of the phenomenal TV series named "Empresses in the Palace". It has reached millions of views, but personally I don't think that it is educational or recommendable to watch.

The plot is about the young Zhenhuan, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a functionary of the royal court, who enters as a fresh maiden to the Emperor's harem, AND WHO is stuck between the two powers reigning in the shadows: the Empress and Consort Hua. Summarizing in my own words, it's a story about how an innocent white sheep turns into a calculative dark vixen.

Even though the storyline is fantastic and very interesting, it's also very dark and nerve-wrecking. Positive values, such as kindness and honesty, are the reason of the fall of Zhenhuan during the first season. They are portrayed as utopic and useless, when facing the ideals of power, lust and betrayal. This makes people's hearts' heavy, full with pesimism towards life.