The popular TV series Ode to Joy recently concluded its run on Tencent Video and Dragon TV. The series described modern topics from female perspectives through stories of urban romance.

But Ode to Joy was not a typical work of love: it was a story of friendship between women. Five women with very different characters came together in a Shanghai community named Ode to Joy. Each met one the 22nd floor and brought her own job, love and family problems.

Initial animosity turned to friendship as they opened their hearts to each other. During the story, the five girls encouraged each other and helped each other to solve their problems, guiding their growth and transformation in modern Shanghai.

The story is very different from the past works of directors Kong Sheng and Jian Chuanhe, both known for directing manly histories. Ode to Joy showed a strong female spirit – a challenge for two male directors who rarely touched modern themes.

After reading the show’s first script, Jian Chuanhe said its temperament made it very different from other modern themes.

Yuan Zidan, screenwriter of Ode to Joy, did not confine the story to themes of love and gossip. Under the advice of producer Hou Hongliang, the two decided to show the face of China’s modern women through the stories of five urbanites.

Jian said the crew invited 10 women to have a long talk about their experiences and feelings before filming so they could create something as close to real life as possible.

Nowadays, neighbors hardly communicate. But the five women in Ode to Joy are uncannily close and rely on each other for help. The relationship may be the only thing that seems out of place in modern society – though it’s one that existed in recent memory.

Work and the Internet are playing a larger role in modern life, and face-to-face communication is beginning to ebb away. Ode to Joy attempts to reawaken traditional relationships to show how those social connections can transform our present development.

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