The time-travel series Outlaws of the Marsh Revisited is based on Water Margin (also known as Outlaws of the Marsh), one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. The original work tells how a group of 108 outlaws are forced to gather at Mount Liang, where they start an uprising. Together, these fiercely loyal men and women battle for justice, robbing the rich and helping the poor, going after crooked officials, and fighting against the corrupted government.
The show uses the past to criticize the present, as the Heroes of Mount Liang are transported to the 21st century to face surprising circumstances. Combining stage and television story-telling styles, the series explores a variety of real issues in present-day mainland China, including food safety, immorality and corruption. After their experience, the Heroes of Mount Liang lament that the “Red Dynasty” is inferior to the Song Dynasty.
The space-time through which the main characters traverse is divided into three parts: present-day Canada, present-day communist China, and the Song Dynasty of 900 years ago. The series is filmed using real locations, green-screen compositing and visual effects, resulting in a strong contrast on the screen, while conveying the different atmosphere and feel of each space-time moment. In terms of techniques of expression, the show uses advance preparation and post-production work to present real events in a surreal manner, further enhancing the series’ timeliness and topicality.