Go Ahead/以家人之名 (Series Review)

Family is more than just having the same last name.


Characters:

  • Seven Ten as Li Jian Jian
  • Song Wei Long as Ling Xiao
  • Steven Zhang as He Zi Qiu
  • Tu Song Yan as Li Hai Chao
  • Zhang Xi Lin as Ling He Ping
  • Sun Yi as Qi Ming Yue
  • He Rui Xian as Tang Can

Details:

  • Chinese
  • 40 episodes (46 in TV version)
  • Original run: August 10 – September 6, 2020

Quick Rundown:

Under unusual family circumstances, three children (Ling Xiao, Zi Qiu and Jian Jian) grow up together as siblings with two fathers even though they are not biologically related. Throughout the years, they stand by one another like real brothers and sister, but the rest of the world continues to remind them that they aren’t actually family despite their bond. After separating and reuniting 9 years after high school, the three siblings must learn to reacquaint themselves with one another and who they’ve each become in their years apart. 


Anna’s Take

As I found myself, unexpectedly, with a lot of free time while quarantining at home this year, I picked up a few new hobbies (embroidery, beading…ask me in the comments!) and also rediscovered dramas! And while I’ve continued to watch dramas in our year-long hiatus, I will be the first to admit that I don’t nearly watch as many as I once did. Go Ahead was a pleasant surprise of a drama that came my way even though I wasn’t looking for it. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older and my taste in dramas is changing, but I welcomed this wholesome, family-oriented drama with open arms. The past me would have been tuning in for the romance, the current me laments that there was even any romance in this. (My, how things have changed!) Go Ahead was an emotional drama that tugged at the heartstrings of the viewer, but the writing kept the plot realistic and well-paced, never letting it becoming an overwrought melodrama. 

Following the lives of three children and their “families”, this drama redefined what exactly makes up a family. Go Ahead makes the argument that it doesn’t matter if you’re related by blood or not. A family is what you make for yourself, and in this case, it was the people who stayed and cared for you when you were abandoned by the people who should have loved you the most. The acting across the board was phenomenal, especially from the child actors to the adults who played the siblings. Each scene was measured and done with integrity, which is not as easy as it may look. The father characters played wonderfully off each other, with Tu Song Yan as Li Ba being the emotional anchor to the whole series. Every speech he made brought tears to my eyes, and they never felt unearned. 

As I mentioned earlier, a younger me would have been eagerly awaiting the romcom twist, which, of course, we all knew would come. But as I watched Go Ahead, I dreaded when the inevitable love triangle would rear its head. I appreciated and enjoyed the familial bond that the siblings had that I didn’t want any romance or awkwardness to ruin it. To the writers’ credit, the love triangle was handled tastefully and resolved rather quickly. A lesser drama would have dragged it on and on, but Go Ahead knew when to stop once the story has been told. My heart cringed for each of the characters as they struggled through the awkwardness of reconciling their feelings for one another, but was pleased that it was all done with a high level of maturity.

Go Ahead will make you laugh, smile, cry, cringe, and curse (especially when a certain negligent mother comes around). The 40 episodes, however, flew by in a blink because this drama was just that enjoyable to watch. In a time and world of uncertainty, these damaged but lovable characters help to remind us that joy can be found in the simple moments you share with the people whom you call family. You don’t need to be rich or powerful to feel and find love. Sometimes, a warm bowl of noodles from your Li Ba on a cold night is all that’s needed. 

Estelle’s Take

These days I tend to shy away from long dramas (40+ episodes), but since Anna told me about it, I thought I would give it a shot. I knew nothing about the synopsis or who the members of the cast are prior to going in, so I had very little expectations, but I am definitely glad I watched it. Mid-way through I did look this drama up, and I guess its a “hot” drama airing in mainland China, not that it affected my perception of it, but kind of validated my decision to watch it.

To be honest, the forty-something episodes flew by. Usually with long dramas there is a lag in the middle where I end up feeling like giving up. However, this drama kept me going episode after episode. The characters are realistic enough, and you totally feel for them as they navigate the family situations they are in. Steven Zhang and Tu Song Yan are definitely the stars of the series in my opinion, despite not being perhaps the “main” characters. Every scene with them in it is so raw and emotional, and I found myself cheering for their happiness the most.

One downfall I think worth mentioning is the unnecessary love triangle. I’m perfectly content with the drama being without one and instead focus on the family bond between these non-blood related characters. There are definitely some unnatural scenes between characters where I found myself gagging a little. Thankfully, this storyline doesn’t get too too much spotlight.

Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this drama and would recommend it to someone looking for something refreshing. Go ahead, give it a go!

This & That:

  •  Despite being cast as the older brother, Song Wei Long (21) is actually the youngest of the three. Seven Ten is 30 and Steven Zhang is 25.
  • Steven Zhang ranked #1 in the performance entrance exam for Beijing Film Academy, Shanghai Theatre Academy, The Central Academy of Drama, and People’s Liberation Army Academy of Art. He eventually went to The Central Academy of Drama and had both the #1 performance score and academic score for that year.
  • Steven Zhang played the main character in another 2020 hit Skate into Love, and will be in an upcoming drama based on the book  Kairōtei satsujin jiken by Keigo Higashino.
  • In 2019, Song Wei Long entered Forbes China 30 under 30 list, and in 2020 he ranked #45 on Forbes China Celebrity 100 (Jackson Yee is #1). He dated Jelly Lin when they starred in Beautiful Reborn Flower together.

2 thoughts on “Go Ahead/以家人之名 (Series Review)

  1. I’ve been watching youtube videos for this drama. It looks good (though I do still like lots of romance in my dramas) so I plan to watch it eventually. But I got sucked into Love is Sweet yesterday so it’ll have to wait a while. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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