19th Floor

19th Floor

Sleep becomes a dangerous VR game in this thrilling novel adaptation

7.2

TV Show

Mandarin
Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
2024
Bai Shu, Luo Yutong, Miles Wei

TLDR

To be honest, if I were in the game, I would probably choose to lose. Maybe then I would actually have a decent amount of sleep.

What it's about

University student Chun Yu finds herself in a VR game every night, where she and her fellow players have to cooperate in order to face deadly monsters, puzzles, and mind games, waking up only when they beat the level. After finding out that death in the game means falling into a coma in real life, Chun Yu and her friends must discover how they all got here, and who’s behind the game.

The take

After the critically panned Naraka 19 (2007), The 19th Floor of Hell novel seemed to be an unadaptable story, since the tech and production design needed to portray the 1991 story was years ahead of its time. After more than 30 years, Mango TV and director Cai Cong are able to turn the novel into life with 19th Level. While slightly edited to pass censorship, the show is able to still keep the novel’s thrills with the extended runtime, as the format can go into more detail compared to the first film adaptation, even if the stakes have been limited. It makes for a more thrilling, rather than a terrifying, take on the novel, but it’s certainly one that’s entertaining.

What stands out

What makes 19th Floor vastly different from the novel and the Hong Kong film was the censorship. 19th Floor is able to remove certain elements without totally erasing the story, such as the Tang dynasty concept of the 18 levels of hell, as well as the losing players going into a coma instead of death, but one could imagine how much scarier the show could have been if the show didn’t have to go through censorship.

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