Look at me, strolling into fandoms two years late with Starbucks
that I don’t drink. Once again inspired by my Tumblr dashboard, I finally decided to check out A Tale of Thousand Stars, a 2021 Thai BL drama that I’ve been meaning to watch but was sort of waiting until it was up on something other than YouTube. (Watching YouTube on my TV is not my favorite – those ads are annoyingly placed.) Listen, do you want something with so much yearning that you think you may die from it? Do you want to spend ten hours staring at two oblivious boys wondering why they just won’t kiss? Excellent! Then this show is for you.
A Tale of Thousand Stars is the story of Tian, who undergoes a heart transplant in the first episode. While unconscious, he has a vision of his heart donor, a young woman named Torfun, who requests that he “take care of it for her”. Whether that means the heart, the mysterious man he briefly glimpses in the vision, or the remote border village where Torfun had been teaching, is anyone’s guess. Tian, determined to pay Torfun back for his second chance at life, volunteers to be her replacement teacher. Almost as soon as he sets foot in the village, he is butting heads with Phupha, the chief of the forest rangers stationed in the village (also the mysterious man Tian saw in his vision of Torfun).
You can probably see where this is going.
Now, you might be concerned that this is one of those stories where it seems kind of hinky that the recipient of the heart transplant develops feelings for the same person that the donor did. I’ll admit that I certainly thought that, when I heard the premise and saw the gifsets. But I think this show does a good job of showing that Tian’s feelings are his own (his friend Tul basically beats this fact into him at one point). Also, while Torfun did have a crush on Phupha, he did not return them, as he is very, very gay.
The main focus of this show is on Tian and Phupha’s relationship, so it has to be good. Otherwise, why bother? Well, I’m here to tell you that these two are phenomenal. Tian and Phupha are circling each other the entire time, flirting as often as they clash. Tian is still coming to terms with being attracted to men (his coming out scene may be my favorite one ever), while Phupha struggles with their obvious class differences. There’s also the fact that Tian is only supposed to be in the village for three months, an end date that is constantly hanging over their heads.
Their chemistry is off the charts. In fact, this is not the only series where the two leads – Mix Sahaphap Wongratch (Tian) and Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri (Phupha) – have been love interests. I read that all of their kisses in this series (of which there sadly are not many, this is the slowest of slow burns) were unscripted. Knowing that these two have worked together so often, it makes sense that they would know where it feels natural for their characters to kiss. It makes me very interested to check out their other series. (Moonlight Chicken is already on my list.)
While a big focus is Tian’s relationship with Phupha, I think an equally important focus is Tian himself. When he first arrives in the village, he has never cooked for himself or done his own laundry. He has gone from a mansion in Bangkok, where he has servants, to a one room cabin in a mountain town that doesn’t even have electricity. But he so badly wants to be a good person, a person worthy of the second chance he’s been given. And he is constantly facing down people who don’t think he can handle it.
It’s all too easy to identify with Tian. I don’t have his privileged upbringing, but it’s admirable how devoted he is to helping Torfun posthumously achieve her dreams. Not to mention, as someone who until recently thought that he wouldn’t live very long, he never really put much thought into what he wanted out of life. What was the point, when his life was going to be so short? Now that he has a second chance, he starts to put serious thought into the kind of person he wants to be.
This is a show about finding out who you are and where you belong. It’s not free of drama – for example, very few people in the village even know that Torfun died, let alone that Tian got her heart – but it’s the kind of heartwarming series that will make you feel good. It’s the perfect rainy day binge – or anytime binge. Curled up on the couch with a blanket and a mug of tea, watching two people stumble into love.
A Tale of Thousand Stars is ten episodes and can be streamed for free on GMMTV’s official YouTube.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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