Chinese Musical TV Drama Draws Ratings, Criticism for 'Copying' 'Glee'

Glee Season 5 Finale Episodic - H 2014
Tyler Golden/FOX

Glee Season 5 Finale Episodic - H 2014

"My Youth High Eight Degrees" debuted on Chinese screens in July, although some say the plot, setting and characters are all reminiscent of the American hit show.

A hit new Chinese musical TV drama is coming under fire on the country's social media for "copying" Fox's global smash Glee reported China Daily on Wednesday.

My Youth High Eight Degrees, which debuted with good ratings on Zheijiang Satellite Television two weeks ago, stars Chinese stars Wu XiuboQu Ying, Zeng Zhiwei as well as several contestants from reality talent contest Voice of China, such as Li Qi and the Mushroom Brothers.

The drama is set in a university and tells the story of an eternally optimistic glee club director, played by Wu Xiubo, who leads a gang of misfits with hidden musical talents, whipping them into shape and competing in the national choir competition. Sound familiar? Well, Chinese social media users are already calling out the producers of Eight Degrees for lifting the plot, setting and characters directly from Glee.   

China Daily collected a series of messages from Sina Weibo users that blasted the makers of Eight Degrees for copying and for its completely implausible setup given the Chinese school system. 

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Sina Weibo user pengpeng87821, who is verified as the editor of News Center at Qionghai Radio and Television Station, wrote: "Isn't this a spinoff of Glee? Not only is plot the same, the characters, conflicts and stories are all so similar. Are there really no good writers in China? Why must we copy others?"

Sina Weibo user Evelyn said: "They have brought the script straight off Glee, but things like that are not likely to happen in Chinese schools."

Shanghai Canxing Culture & Broadcast Co., one of the co-producers of Eight Degrees, defended the show and responded to the plagiarism accusations by saying they worked with American producers of Glee on developing the script. "The structure of this drama was set through bilateral discussions. There are many similarities in the plot, but our version reflects the pursuit of music by China's youth today," the company said in a statement. 

Chinese entertainment companies have been regularly accused of plagiarizing Western TV and film properties, including film posters and whole jokes from popular U.S. shows

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