Reviewing Notable Thai BL Series [2016-2019] February 2020 Edition

11 years have gone by since Love of Siam (2007), a gay love story made waves in Thai cinemas for the first time ever. While moviehouses still offer exciting new titles, topics such as BL (Yaoi) found different avenues to showcase stories not particularly popular with the mainstream audience.

In the span of 11 years, what has Thailand produced that made them the undisputed leader in BL shows?

2019 is a sort of a trailblazer year not unlike 2018 but with more shows than ever before.

As a reviewer and Thai BL blogger since 2012, I am inclined to favor TharnType with the 2019 Drama Series of the year, followed closely by He’s Coming to Me. UWMA is still showing as of press time, and the artistic expressions it has generated is huge. Theory of Love is also a big favorite, with exceptional acting from the lead stars.

2Moons2 offers something different and challenging. It was directed by an acclaimed Thai filmmaker (Aam Anusorn) who works on independent films. He is one of the few BL directors who are already recognized internationally.

2018 saw three new BL dramas – the raunchy yet appealing and popular Love by Chance, the under-developed and ‘conservative’ ‘Cause You’re my Boy and the complimentary Our Skyy, paying tribute to some of the year’s hottest BL couples.

Saint and Perth ignite the small screen (or monitor) with their intense, intimate portrayal of two young boys falling in love.

Under LINE TV and GMM 25, Love by Chance (2018) is boosted by the chemistry between the two leads – the sporty Perth Tanapon Sukhumpantanasan and the handsome Saint Suppapong Udomkaewkanjana. The 14-episode drama relies on the assumption that love knows no gender and while Ae (Perth) is straight, he began to develop feelings for Saint as their relationship gets deeper.

Social standing, sex, bullying (and blackmail), familial relationships (on a campus setting) make up the bulk of the drama.

Mean Phiravich is the epitome of an elite boy with a lot of emotional hang-ups. Plan Rathavit, on the other hand, portrays a cutesy, innocent Can (Cantaloupe).

The second couple (IMO) almost eclipsed the lead actors in that their story was in ‘suspended animation’ after the final episode. The elitist, haughty Mean Phiravich Attachitsataporn (as the rich kid with issues Tin) is a perfect match for the naive and good-natured Plan Rathavit Kijworaluk (as Can). If you remember how Tin coyly calls our boy ‘Cantaloupe’, then you must be as disappointed as I am that a second season will not push through.

This BL series is also known for its extensive sex scenes. A departure from the traditional BL route.

Like a previous predecessor (Love Sick), the series has plenty of young (aspiring actors) and some of them were not fully maximized. But unlike Love Sick, there was plenty of character development to justify the roster.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]

A look at the Thai BL background before Lovesick and SOTUS, Love by Chance and Tharn Type (these are the series that truly tops them all)

In 2014 (a few months more or less), the state of Thai BL series is that of acceptance locally and recognition internationally. Lovesick was released to much fanfare, with amateur English subbers working overnight to help the non-Thai audience understand what the heck these teens are talking about. I’ve been fascinated with French, Japanese and German films for years, so when it was Thai BL series, it is not exactly unfamiliar territory.

But here’s’ the rub:

  • Bootleg copies of Lovesick and other shows are only available;
  • English subbers were bullied, even by the production crew, that some decided to stop;
  • Enterprising individuals launch their own Youtube channels to feature stolen series, with equally stolen English subtitles (which still happens to this day);
  • Since Thai BL is all the rage, there were few responses from “responsible” Thai broadcasting companies to understand (and appreciate) the huge impact of the international audience to play views, and in the long run, their bottom line (if at all).

GMM One’s ‘Cause You’re My Boy (2018) is also in a school setting where two male students (who were friends previously) reunited and started a serious relationship.

Drake is Mork and Frank is Tee in ‘Cause You’re my Boy. GMM One. All Rights Reserved.

The 12-episode series lacks the spark enjoyed by Love by Chance, but the actors – are nonetheless – promising. Frank Thanatsaran Samthonglai is very photogenic but needs acting lessons. The other lead, Drake Sattabut Laedeke, needs plenty of acting lessons too! Supporting cast Phuwin Tangsakyuen and Neo Trai Nimtawat were both underutilized. There is also a story between these two, and the series only scratched the surface – pity!

No fireworks here and there are plenty of confusing dialogue and plots (and subplots). Some characters should have been removed permanently for lack of relevance.

My biggest complaint is how both parents appear to be ‘confused’ about their sons’ relationships. Surprisingly, it was the well-educated but highly-strung Mom (of Frank) who ‘condemns’ his son’s gay relationship. No one is quite sure if it was actually ‘consummated’. Unless they kiss and have sex outside the cameras’ angles.

This is one of Thailand’s most insignificant BL themed series for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]

Not a pure BL-themed series, but it’s the BL portion that matters in this drama. All the other components – cast, storyline, whatever – are of little significance, if at all. I’m talking about Kiss Me Again (2018).

Pete (Tay) and Kao (New) are at loggerheads due to a previous incident. But an accidental ‘kiss’; may change all that. GMM 25. All Rights Reserved.

Another GMM 25 production, this time, the cast is composed of 3 hetero couples, with a single BL couple thrown in. Pete (Tay Tawan Vihokratana) is a quarrelsome and aggressive student. Kao (New Thitipoom Techaapaikhun) likes to keep everything smooth and easy-going. There was a previous incident that alienated both. But the current set-up forced them to ‘cohabitate’ with 3 other friends.

An accidental ‘kiss’ between the two put a precarious situation into something on the verge of the explosive. Is the animosity going to get even stronger? Or will love blossom? Sounds a bit cliche isn’t it? But thanks to the on-screen collaboration between Tay and New, what could have been a predictable series turned into something entertaining.

A spinoff – Our Skyy – has been released just a few weeks ago (outside Thailand, of course) and a sequel entitled Dark Blue Kiss has been announced for this year.

There’s plenty of smooching between Tay and New, and it’s expected to continue in the sequel.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]

Regarded by many BL-watchers as one of Thailand’s finest productions, Sotus S: The Series (2017) and Sotus: The Series (2016) are worthy of the praise it enjoys.

Singto and Krist overcome initial hostility to settle into a romantic yet subdued affair in SOTUS, the series, and its sequel.

Kongpob (Singto) is one of the most memorable BL characters in recent memory. He is responsible and intelligent. He holds his values dear and is ready to fight for it. He is a born leader. Such a principled man for such a young age.

His character automatically puts him in a collision course with Arthit, a senior, who prides himself as a student leader. The seniors are expected to uphold the school’s highest honors and traditions. But Arthit has tendencies to disregard the rules and experiment at the expense of the juniors.

Can two individuals who have opposing beliefs arrive at a blissful resolution and in turn fall in love?

When asked about the drama, Singto says:

Our show isn’t exactly about the LGBTs. It’s about love in general, that same love we all feel regardless of gender.

Set a few years later, the sequel (Sotus S: The Series 2017) continues what has been an eventful and challenging relationship between the two. In an office setting, can they maintain a well-guarded secret relationship?

What is special about the series is that the characters come into a full circle. Not that they were portrayed as old men who continue to live together in their eighties!

Both young men showed that love can withstand the pressures and politics of the many, and that’s pretty damn hard to do.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]

Together With Me (2017) targets a more matured audience. This is the follow up to Bad Romance (2016) about a young lady named Yihwa who wants to forget all the boys and about Knock and Korn and another guy named Cho.

Knock and Korn joined forces to tackle issues affecting their relationship in Together With Me.

While other BL watchers are going gaga over this series, I have mixed feelings. I know that some people love to watch conflict and amuse themselves with manipulative people. The sowing of intrigues and making troubles here and there.

But I wanted this series to be all about Korn and Knock and not necessarily the people they live (or worked) with. Yihwa (Maengmum Pimnitchakun Bumrungkit) is fine. While the other woman, Plern (Aim Satida Pinsinchai) serves her purpose already. I think they sustained so much of her that it becomes painful to watch.

And the biggest question of them all – how can Knock be so stupid? How can he trust Plern when all things point to the opposite. Was he born without any logic?

Plus there is this BL couple – the manipulated doctor and a young boy who went into a relationship. He’s too old to be his father! I don’t know what kind of ‘complex’ they’re trying to tackle here…

The scenes when Korn and Knock remember some childhood memories are endearing and full of emotions. There’s plenty of superlatives during the first few episodes, but the entertainment value diminished as Plern concocts her evil scheme. And the second biggest question – How can a pretty and successful woman settle for a gay guy when she doesn’t even really care?

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]

Adapted from the BL Novel “Two Moon” by Chiffon_cake, 2 Moons The Series (2017) is about a puppy love that turns serious. The series also explores campus idols, popularity contests and plenty of rivalries on love and affection.

Wayo and Phana in 2 Moon the Series
Wayo, the freshman hooks up with his longtime love, Phana, in 2 Moon the Series. GMM One. All Rights Reserved.

Wayo Panitchayasawad (Yo) enters his first year at university. There was an unexpected surprise – his longtime love Phana Kongthanin (Pha) also studies there. This series is light and bubbly, with little confrontation except between the two leads. The female cast (as usual in Thai series) are regarded as manipulating villainies. And not one of them can touch the boys!

On the acting side, Wayo is raw and tentative while God is forthcoming and convincing. Yet the seemingly conscious effort to be ‘naive’ is worth the effort for Wayo as he charms the audience. Having Forth (Tae Darvid Kreepolrerk) as the third wheel serves as a source of significant thrill.

Not much of a fan when the drama teases the audience that the kiss will happen at the very end. That’s so passé.

[A sequel is in the works for a 2019 release]

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]

Fuse and Tee in Make it Right. Friendship or Bromance or both?

Expect the Thais to put up something unique – a BL themed coming-of-age for those into puppy love. Make It Right: The Series (2016) and Make It Right 2: The Series (2017) explore the same sex/romance for high school kids. Another thing going for the drama – plenty of these kids long for the same type of romance.

Fuse (Peak Peemapol Panichtamrong) is sensitive and dreamy. He just discovered that his girl is a two-timer. Heartbroken, he went on a drinking spree. He ended up spending the night with his friend, Tee (Boom Krittapak Udompanich) who wants him to be more than just a buddy. But Tee is no slut like his girl who pretends to be loyal and loving. Will Fuse accept Tee’s love and affection?

A remarkable side story involves blackmail and it was handled quite well by the supporting cast. Playing the victim is Book (Toey Sittiwat Imerbpathom). He’s ably supported by Frame (Ohm Pawat Chittsawangdee, this boy is the one to watch!).

A mix of light drama and comedy while tackling some serious issues, Make It Right is completely watchable. Though there is some supporting cast doing overacting, still its tolerable.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]

Finally, Grey Rainbow (2016). The biggest complaint by those who have been watching BL series is that there is too much sadness, or loneliness, or rejection. I think it applies to certain Chinese BL and Japanese ones.

Nuer and Porsche in Grey Rainbow.
Nuer and Porsche struggle to find a balance between finding themselves and discovering the rewards of their relationship in Grey Rainbow. PPTV. All Rights Reserved.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking series of a Thai origin is Grey Rainbow, but instead of wallowing in sadness, the ‘famous’ ending is quite powerful and liberating.

Here’s the plot:

Nuer is the son of the owner of an elephant camp while Porsche is a law student. In university, they were dormitory roommates and close friends, each fighting against the feelings that one has for the other.

The 4-part series is not your run-of-the-mill production. It showcases the gorgeous sceneries of the Thai countryside – lush and green, welcoming and mysterious at the same time. It complements the difficult process by which Nuer and Porsche have to face before they finally dived into their intimate relationship.

Grey Rainbow offers little sugar-coating in what gay people have to go through on a daily basis – the insults, the jokes, the stares.

Mind you, these are two attractive guys who decided to get married.

Topnotch acting from the two leads. Porsche played by Hongladaromp Kasidej is cheerful and less serious. He’s the caretaker of the family’s Elephant camp. It’s a given that only dependable, emotionally matured people can take care of these huge and kind animals.

Nuer portrayed by Rattanamongkol Nutchapon has a more serious demeanor and harbors certain insecurities. He’s the University student taking up Law.

Among all the series on this list, Grey Rainbow packs the most emotional punches. It’s an in-your-face, realistic approach to portraying characters who do not conform to society’s expectations. And why should they?

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]

I’m writing a separate review for Our Skyy. I’ve done 3 reviews already!

Our Skyy – Episode 3 (featuring Tee-Mork)
Our Skyy – Episode 2 (featuring In-Sun)
Our Skyy – Episode 5 (featuring Kongpop-Arthit)

Also worth mentioning are:

Waterboyy the Series – Just thought Earth, one of the two leads looks too old for the role.

My Bromance the Series – Got the chance to view a few episodes, but it’s not my cup of tea. I find the movie version better, though I have plenty of criticism too. The movie gets over-the-top, manipulating the audience’s emotions. It forces us to sympathize with the characters when honest-to-goodness truth and reality can prevail.

What the Duck – There is already a second season!

In Part 2, we’ll focus on Thai BL movies (from the same period).

5 thoughts on “Reviewing Notable Thai BL Series [2016-2019] February 2020 Edition

Add yours

  1. Thank you for these reviews.
    I did not find many other lists with “Grey Rainbow,” which I just watched and liked. But you switched the histories of the two characters: Hongladaromp Kasidej is Porsche, but he’s the law student. Nuern/Rattanamongkol Nutchapon is the elephant camp heir.


    1. Thanks for the heads up. I have a very heavy workload at the moment and could not find the time to review fresh releases. Still, I’m glad that there are visitors to the site that appreciate BL, especially Thai produced TV dramas and films.


  2. Thanks for the article. Re: “…and while Ae (Perth) is straight, he began to develop feelings for Saint as their relationship gets deeper.” No. Ae is gay. The first person he kisses is a guy. The first time he sleeps with anyone, it’s a guy. If you’re a guy attracted to guys and loving a guy, you’re gay.


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