• Sun Li plays the lead in both "The Legend of Zhen Huan" and "The Legend of Mi Yue."

Sun Li plays the lead in both "The Legend of Zhen Huan" and "The Legend of Mi Yue." (Photo : YouTube)

The upcoming series "The Legend of Mi Yue," directed by Zheng Xiaolong, has attracted the attention of overseas markets even before its debut in the Chinese mainland, as reported by China Daily.

The 81-episode series is based on the life of ancient China's first female politician, Mi Bazi. It will begin airing on Nov. 30 on Beijing Satellite TV and Shanghai-based Dragon TV.

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The series is set shortly before the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. - 206 B.C.) and chronicles the life of Mi, the great-grandmother of Ying Zheng, China's first emperor. It follows her progression from a simple girl to a powerful figure behind the throne.

Historically, Mi reformed China to weaken the power of hereditary aristocrats and better develop the military. This led to the rise of the Qin Dynasty and unified ancient China.

Zheng said that the series' overseas distributor is in the middle of discussions with multiple companies, including Netflix.

"Almost all the channels and video-streaming sites that released 'The Legend of Zhen Huan' are showing strong interest in 'The Legend of Mi Yue,'" said Zheng. He added that Netflix wants an English version with subtitles.

Earlier this year, Zheng's "The Legend of Zhen Huan," also titled "Empress in the Palace," was streamed by Netflix in the United States. The series topped ratings and has been broadcast an estimated 120 times by domestic channels in China.

"The Legend of Zhen Huan" was also a critically acclaimed series in other Asian markets like South Korea and Japan.

Industry watchers are calling "The Legend of Mi Yue" the spiritual successor of "The Legend of Zhen Huan." However, Zheng said that the new series is more about politics and less about palace intrigue.

"Mi's semi-biographical tale is based on real history, while Zhen Huan's story was from the namesake novel," said Zheng.

Sun Li, the actress who played Zhen Huan and is now playing Mi, said that portraying Mi is a "bigger challenge."

"She was a very smart woman," said Sun. "In a world dominated by male rulers, she uses her personal charm and wisdom to convince the aristocrats to follow the new policies--a pretty great achievement."