Review: The Untamed


Mia Lin

The Untamed is a Netflix series based off of a xianxia novel

Mia Lin, Editor-in-Chief

The Untamed is a 50-episode xianxia TV show on Netflix based off of Mo Dao Zu Shi, a book series written by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. The two main characters are played by actors Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo. The first episode of the show was released in June of 2019, and was concluded two months later in August with one season.

The Untamed takes place in ancient China, where cultivation was a huge part of society. 16 years ago, Wei Wuxian, a carefree trouble-making cultivator, had a harsh rivalry with Lan Wangji, a cultivator from the strict Lan Clan. Wei Wuxian becomes the world’s greatest enemy when he begins practicing demonic cultivation, slowly corrupted by evil. He falls from a cliff because of his own martial brother, and his body is never found. In the present day, Wei Wuxian is resurrected, and he meets Lan Wangji once again. The story follows the two of them as they discover dark secrets relating to the past.

This amazing show got an 8.8/10 on IMDb, 9.8/10 on Rakuten Viki, and 9/10 on MyDramaList. The Untamed had more than 9.5 billion views on Tencent Video, a streaming platform for Chinese videos, in June of 2021.

The Untamed is a compelling story, though it is quite different from Mo Dao Zu Shi’s manhua, donghua and books in certain ways, about regret and atonement. However, the TV series was heavily impacted by China’s censorship laws against LGBTQ+ content and turned the growth from rivalry to love between Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji into a bromance. 

Though the CGI is quite rough in the first few episodes, the epic fantasy and mystery story told through flashbacks and betrayal is completely worth it. I love the dynamic between the two main characters, since their personalities are polar opposites and pit them against each other multiple times. While Wei Wuxian is carefree and impulsive, Lan Wangji is composed and a conformist through and through. 

If I were to rate this TV series out of ten, I would give it at least a nine for the incredible characters and storytelling. The Untamed shows the process of accepting the past and forgiving both yourself and others, while also showing oppression, betrayal and irreversible mistakes.

All 50 episodes of the Untamed are available on Netflix. If you don’t have Netflix, I highly recommend reading the book series, which can be found on Amazon and at Barnes & Nobles.