Casting is mostly made of contestants from Chinese variety show ‘My Hero’
Season 1: 22 episodes
Season 2: 20 episodes
Summary: (via Dramawiki)
Long Ma is a tennis prodigy who garnered 4 successive victories at the American Junior Tennis Tournament. Like his father, former professional tennis player Long Zheng Nan, Long Ma possesses both top-notch skills and deep passion for the sport. Upon returning to his homeland, he attends the distinguished Youth Academy and quickly secures a spot as a regular member of its famous tennis club after beating out numerous upperclassmen. With each match towards their ultimate goal of winning the nationwide Junior Tennis Championships, Long Ma and his teammates grow as players and as friends.
(well, everyone knows the story reallyyy well, so I won’t elaborate too much on the summary).
My review: 9/10 (best drama of the genre in China… very pleasant watch )
So, I personally followed the drama a long time after it aired. Hence, I have no idea if this drama was a hit in China or a complete failure and how relevant those actors casted from ‘My Hero’ are. I suppose it is not too bad since they filmed season 2 right after.
So, I chose to watch this drama based on my interest and passion for the manga itself, not for any other reason. I thought the casting was well made. Each actor were fairly handsome, but without being plastic surgery monster. Since the cast knew each other before the filming, I suppose they had a very good friendship, which is shown in the way they interact. I really felt like I was watching a gang of teenagers having fun together and enjoying life (or college students since in this version, they are all in University and half of the members live in the same dorm room!). The soundtrack is also great with the musical input of some of the actors themselves.
To be frank, the series is not following the manga that closely. Yes, you can see that our main team is going through the tournaments between schools in the same order as the manga itself. We have similar characters like Tachibana and his sister making their appearances. Long Ma/Ryoma still hates his father at first and learn to accept his decisions as the story goes on. He still has a friend/stalker following him everywhere and a girl who loves him and support him secretly. However, there are obvious addition of romantic scenes and trivia scenes, like when Ju Wan ‘cheated’ during his English Exam, when Tao Cheng Wu fell in love, etc. Since I personnally love those trivia scenes, I am not one to complain.😛
In general, I really enjoyed this drama and would recommend any fan of PofT to give it a try. It is worth it!