Addicted (上瘾) Review: You’re Missing Out If You Still Haven’t Watched This Gay China Web Drama

Read our no spoiler review of上瘾 (Addicted), a classic coming-of-age gay web drama that became a massive hit in China.



Dear People,

After binge watching my way through the entire first season of the gay China web drama series 上瘾 (Addicted aka Heroin), I can finally understand why the gay high school drama was such a massive hit in mainland China.

Just like the millions of swooning Chinese fangirls who’ve fallen victim to the addictive power of上瘾 (Addicted), I too have found myself so enamoured with the show’s charm that it has taken every ounce of my willpower to write this review instead of binge watch my way through the web series a second time!

Overall Synopsis (No Spoilers)

Set against the backdrop of a second-rate high school in China,上瘾 (Addicted) is a classic coming-of-age tale based on a popular novel that focuses on a motley crew of teenagers as they navigate their way through friendships and relationships whilst figuring out their own identities and sexualities.

Addicted Cast
From left: Gu Hai, Bai Luo Yin, Yang Meng and You Qi

The bulk of the series focuses on the relationship between its 2 handsome male leads, both of whom are portrayed as ‘straight-acting’ as possible and devoid of any stereotypical gay attributes.

Firstly, there is the stubborn, introverted and intelligent Bai Luo Yin. Ably played by 22-year old Chinese actor Xu Wei Zhou, Bai Luo Yin is the embodiment of the popular archetype of the brooding broken male. Bai Luo Yin comes from an impoverished background and was abandoned by his mum at a very young age. As a result, he bears a deep grudge against his mother and rebukes her attempts at reconciling with him years later.

bai luoyin
Bai Luo Yin (Xu Wei Zhou)

Then there is the extroverted, impulsive and reckless Gu Hai. Charismatically portrayed by 24-year old Johnny Huang Jing Yu, Gu Hai is the complete polar opposite of Bai Luo Yin. Born into a wealthy family, Gu Hai’s mum passed away when he was very young and he blames his dad for her death. Thus, Gu Hai objects strongly to his father’s impending second marriage and in an act of rebelliousness, leaves home and coincidentally transfers himself into the same school as Bai Luo Yin.

Gu Hai
Gu Hai (Johnny Huang Jing Yu)

上瘾 (Addicted) then closely examines the development of the relationship between Bai Luo Yin and Gu Hai, as they progress from frenemies to best friends before finally getting together to become the cutest gay onscreen couple Asian audiences have ever seen.

Along the way, the two protagonists must contend with the unique complications that accompanies a gay relationship, as well as the common issues that plague any romantic relationship such as jealousy and psychotic ex-girlfriends.

Addicted basketball

Review (No Spoilers) 

Instead of banking on the theatrics of the drama and depression usually associated with gay dramas, 上瘾 (Addicted) opts for a more light-hearted direction by following the tried and tested route of having its romantic leads antagonise each other first before they get together. Relying on the age old cliche of opposites attract, the conflicting personalities of the two protagonists result in an arresting chemistry between the two lead actors and therein lies the show’s simple charm. There are no distracting side plots and no overly dramatic sequences orchestrated to turn on the waterworks of its audiences. Instead, 上瘾 (Addicted) manages to somewhat accurately depict teenage love in all of it’s awkward but simple splendour. Gay or straight, audiences will undoubtedly swoon at the many sweet romantic gestures and OTP moments peppered regularly throughout the series:

Addicted OTP 1
So sweeeet
This doesn’t actually appear in the first season but it’s too cute I just had to share it here!
Addicted OTP 3
Addicted OTP 4
Addicted OTP 5

Heterosexual audiences uncomfortable with gay love scenes will be glad to know that there are currently no uncut versions being circulated online. In other words, all the intimate scenes shown in the trailers have been edited out and there’s heavy speculation that the director’s cut will only be made available when the DVD comes out. So while it’s a bit of a downer for gay viewers, 上瘾 (Addicted) does intentionally play to every gay man’s secret romantic fantasy of living alone in a posh apartment with their gay partner and that in itself should be sufficient to appease the voyeuristic appetites of gay audiences.

上瘾 Addicted DP

Season 1 does however, end on a rather abrupt note and with Chinese censors taking active steps against gay dramas, there’s a strong fear among fans that the second season of 上瘾 (Addicted) might not materialise. However, the show’s writer has reassured fans that regardless of what moves the Chinese regulators make, the filming of the second season of上瘾 (Addicted) will proceed as planned.

If that’s indeed the case, the second, and possibly third season of上瘾 (Addicted) promises to be darker and it remains to be seen whether the director will be able to retain the show’s simplistic charm when the series takes on heavier elements.

Addicted DP2

Overall, 上瘾 (Addicted) is an impeccable concoction of humour and earnest emotions. Well-paced and well-acted,上瘾 (Addicted)’s underlying charm arises from its ability to capture the essence of fervent and youthful love.

More than just a gay drama; the themes of teenage love and friendships that this web series deals with is one that has universal appeal. This is perhaps best evidenced from the fact that the bulk of the show’s fans are actually young female fans. So if you still haven’t caught 上瘾 (Addicted aka Heroin) yet, you might want to start right about now!

And if this incredibly positive review still hasn’t convinced you to jump on the 上瘾 (Addicted) bandwagon, watching the trailer below might just do the trick instead:

Sean Foo Author Title
Written by Sean Foo: @mrseanfoo

You might also like to read:

Top 10 Moments Of 上瘾 (Addicted) That Made You Go Awww

How Connor And Oliver Gave Me Serious Gay Relationship Goals

10 LGBT Asians From Around The World Share Their First Coming Out Experience

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27 comments on “Addicted (上瘾) Review: You’re Missing Out If You Still Haven’t Watched This Gay China Web Drama”

    1. Here’s the uncut episode 11 with fans-supplied English subtitles, from the film investor’s YouTube channel:

      The film investor is also calling on fans to supply English subtitles to the other episodes in the series.

  1. I like your review. Do you mind if I translate it into Chinese and post it on Chinese Shangyin (Addicted) fan’s forum? I promise to give you full credit with my post

  2. Totally addicted to this series. Longing for series two. Addicted to the two main casts – Xu Weizhou Huang Jingyu, Brilliant first time actors!

  3. Totally ‘addicted’ to this drama ‘Heroin’, Brilliant gorgeous new actors. In Love with the two main casts – Xu weizhou & Huang jingyu, lovelove them!!! Must watch show. Longing for season two!!!!!

  4. Reblogged this on Ang Dalan and commented:
    First 5 episodes and I’m breaking our office’s internet usage policy to download all the Eng-subbed episodes available online.

  5. Yeah. Let us hope there is Season Two. Such inspiration. Might be a dream but yeah, there is still hope.

  6. I read from somewhere that it is official that there wont be any Season 2. If there wont be anymore of Gu Hai and Bai Luo Yin, what more Yang Meng and You Qi… I have been watching the series over and aver again and I think Yang Meng is cute in his own way. The flower shop video clip is nice.

  7. Hi! I hope this comment finds its way to any heartbroken Shangyin fan:

    Chai Jidan, writer of the novel from which Shangyin (Addicted/Heroin) was based from, confirmed in the Daily Mail that the China ban of the series will not affect the shooting for season 2, and they will resume in May.

    For somebody who’s really been heartbroken for about a month on the cancellation of the series, this comes as great news! Pass it around!

    1. can anyone share a link or a the official youtube channel of the Addicted? the ones I watched at youtube seems to be lacking. It didn’t show the wedding part of Bai Lou Yin’s father. I would appreciate it if anyone could help me. Thanks.

  8. can anyone share a link or a the official youtube channel of the Addicted? the ones I watched at youtube seems to be lacking. It didn’t show the wedding part of Bai Lou Yin’s father. I would appreciate it if anyone could help me. Thanks.

  9. One of the most charming and addicting chinese drama. not just for the gay . it is absulutly one of the best. i think it’s so different from other chinese drama because it’s low badget and pure story. even the language that in other drama could be very annoying here it’s real chinese spoken and not some exageration and fake. The style of the director and also the actors is very similar to the Korean, because of the humor are similar the sweetnes and also the autentic of the charecters…very smart drama and i wish there is more like that because it’s one of a milion. hope they don’t cancell the secon season:((

      1. Do you know similar drama to this? iwatched already a lot and it isn’t comparing to this

      2. No, this series is one of a kind, virtually the first and only one in the history of Chinese cinema that imbues gay relationship with young, positive energy. Again, never say never.

  10. “… handsome male leads, both of whom are portrayed as ‘straight-acting’ as possible and devoid of any stereotypical gay attributes.”

    Well it’s 2021 and i feel like educating you to stop putting “stereotypes” in a pedestal, as sexual orientation simply doesn’t make your personality. Non-hetero boys who “act straight” (not acting, that’s just the way they are) like Gu Hai and Luo Yin aren’t a daydream; they exist. “Stereotype” will always be general assumptions made by the public and will never 100% reflect the actual reality. So please give non-hetero men who aren’t “stereotypically gay” some respect.

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