First episode date
Number of episodes
Chinese Television System
Also known as
''The Great EmpressEmpress Wu Meiniang
Historical fiction, romance
The Empress of China, Wu Zetian (1995 TV series), Secret History of Empress Wu
Lady Wu: The First Empress, also known as The Great Empress or Empress Wu Meiniang, is a 2003 Chinese television series based on the biography of Wu Zetian, the only woman in Chinese history to assume the title of Empress Regnant. The series was first broadcast on CTS in Taiwan in 2003 under the Chinese title 武媚娘傳奇 (Wu Meiniang Chuanqi; literally: The Legend of Wu Meiniang).
While the story is generally based on factual history, some fictional elements have been introduced, such as the romance between the empress and Li Junxian, a fictional Tang dynasty general. The series begins with Wu Meiniang's early life as a commoner, and ends with her ascension to the throne. It is set in the Zhenguan era of the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang, and contains many significant historical events such as Wang Yingzhen's rebellion, the war between the Tang Empire and the Tujue, and the taming of the Yellow River. Throughout the series Wu Meiniang is portrayed as a simple, intelligent and kind woman who persists in love at all costs. Although she is framed by her enemies, she has never been afraid of them. Because of her fate, she has experienced various kinds of love and hatred and has been involved in intrigues in the inner palace ever since she stepped in there. She finally takes on the responsibilities of constructing her empire.