In sixth-century China, Emperor Xiaoxuan of Southern Liang orders the unjust execution of his brother-in-law General Lin Xie; alongside the Lin family, his 70,000 army soldiers, and Crown Prince Qi. Secretly surviving the massacre, Lin Xie’s son, Lin Shu, undergoes a medical treatment that changes his appearance entirely and leaves him in a weakened state unable to perform martial arts again. Lin Shu changes his name to Mei Chang Su and later becomes the chief of the pugilist world and establishes the Jiangzuo Alliance.
Twelve years later, Lin Shu returns to the capital with a secret plan after being sought after by Prince Yu and Prince Xian during their fight for the throne. He decides to covertly assist Prince Jing, the unfavoured son of Emperor Wu, and wisely rids the court of all scheming officials.
Nirvana in Fire (Chinese: 琅琊榜; pinyin: Lángyá Bǎng) is a 2015 Chinese historical drama based on Hai Yan’s book Lang Ya Bang (瑯琊榜). It was directed by Kong Sheng and Li Xue, and stars Hu Ge, Liu Tao and Wang Kai as Mei Changsu, Princess Nihuang and Prince Jing. The series tells the story of Lin Shu, who, under the alias Mei Changsu, enters the capital of Liang to seek justice for a conspiracy that labeled his family as traitors 12 years before. It originally aired two episodes daily on Beijing TV and Dragon TV, Monday through Sunday from 19:30 to 21:00, from September 19 to October 15, 2015.
The drama was a commercial and critical success, surpassing 100 million online views by its second day, and receiving a total number of views on iQiyi of over 3.3 billion by the end of the series. Nirvana in Fire was considered a social media phenomenon, generating 3.55 billion posts on Sina Weibo that praised its characters and story-line. As of December 2016, it has a total view of 13 billion views as reported by VLinkage.
The drama was also one of the recipients of the Outstanding Television Drama Award at the Flying Apsaras Awards, the highest government honor given for outstanding achievement in the television industry. Kong Sheng also won the Outstanding Director Award for his work in Nirvana in Fire. In 2016, SARFT recognized the series as one of the top 20 most outstanding dramas of the year. It was also nominated for the Magnolia Award for Best Television Series at the 22nd Shanghai Television Festival.
Its sequel, Nirvana in Fire II: The Wind Blows in Chang Lin, aired from December 2017 to February 2018. In the end of 2020, Daylight Productions announced that a third season is currently in the works.