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Highly anticipated Taiwan drama ‘Seqalu: Formosa 1867’ makes record-breaking debut

12-episode epic depicts historic ‘Rover Incident’ in 19th-century Taiwan

(PTS photo)

(PTS photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new show from the Taiwan Public Television Service (PTS) called "Seqalu: Formosa 1867" made its debut on Saturday (Aug. 14), finding immediate success by breaking PTS’ all-time ratings record.

The drama started generating excitement and discussion since the first trailer was released in March, as it boasts an impressive cast and an unusually high budget for a Taiwan-produced show. According to PTS, its first two episodes reached 1.19 million viewers on television and claimed the top spot on various online streaming platforms, including Line TV, myVideo, and MOD.

An historical epic, "Seqalu: Formosa 1867" is set in the mid-1800s, when the American merchant ship "Rover" struck a coral reef near Taiwan’s Pingtung. The sailors on board were attacked and killed by locals from the Seqalu chiefdom, who believed they were invaders.

The incident became a diplomatic issue after the U.S. government failed to get an official response from local Qing authorities and decided to take matters into its own hands. Even after the Qing government sent troops to aid U.S. efforts to retaliate against the Seqalu, the Seqalu resisted for months until the chief agreed to return the victims’ heads and other stolen items, as well as promising to not kill other shipwreck victims.

The show will be broadcast every Saturday on the PTS channel and is available on other online streaming platforms, including PTS+, Line TV, Netflix, and myVideo.

* Correction, Aug. 18, 2021: The number of viewers for first two episodes of "Seqalu: Formosa 1867" was incorrectly stated in first edition as 119.39 million, when it was 1.19 million viewers.

Updated : 2022-05-21 02:00 GMT+08:00