A Tale of Thousand Stars – Series Review & Ending Explained

Tian and Phupha fall in love in a small village in A Tale of Thousand Stars.

A Tale of Thousand Stars is a Thai BL drama that explores what you would do with a precious second chance in life. After a death-defying experience, the main character makes dramatic changes to transform his lifestyle. In his journey of self-discovery, he also finds a sweet romance with an unlikely love interest. They help each other grow, heal, and strengthen.

A Tale of Thousand Stars is a spectacular series, delivering emotionally powerful messages about growth, community, and personal redemption. Every aspect of the story is outstanding, from the engaging romance to the charismatic acting. The leads thrive on incredible chemistry with a riveting relationship dynamic. This highly recommended drama sets a new standard of excellence in the BL genre.

A Tale of Thousand Stars Summary



Series Info:

Thailand (2021)


8 hours

Total Episodes:

10 episodes




A Tale of Thousand Stars is a mature & interesting BL drama.


Tian and Phupha first meet each other at the end of Episode 1.

Tian is a rich and reckless young man who lives frivolously. He is used to enjoying the luxuries of his father's powerful government position. However, Tian suffers from a defective heart condition. On one fateful night, he collapses while partying with friends. His life is in grave danger.

As he is rushed to the hospital, his family is told that Tian needs a matching heart donor in order to save his life. In the same night, a young woman named Torfun is killed in a hit-and-run car accident. Tian receives her heart just in time to save his life.

Before she died, Torfun volunteered as a schoolteacher at Pha Pun Dao, an impoverished village in the rural area. In her journal, Torfun described her enthusiasm for the small town and the close bonds she forged with the villagers. As Tian learned about her humanitarian work, he reflected on the shallowness of his own life. Inspired by his heart donor, Tian moves to the village as the next volunteer teacher.

Living in this small village is difficult since few resources are available. Tian is also challenged by "Chief" Phupha, a guardian of the village, who constantly underestimates him. Phupha doesn't think highly of Tian. He assumes the rich city kid is too delicate for these harsh living conditions.

Although Tian has a rocky transition to his new life, he perseveres and tries to overcome his culture shock. Even Phupha slowly warms up to him, more than he cares to admit. In the following months, Tian continues an emotional journey of self-discovery, hoping to become a better person with his second chance in life.

A Tale of Thousand Stars Cast



Mix Sahaphap Wongratch (มิกซ์ สหภาพ วงศ์ราษฎร์)

Tian is played by the actor Mix Sahaphap Wongratch (สหภาพ วงศ์ราษฎร์).

Tian is the new volunteer teacher at Pha Pun Dao. He moves to the village after his heart transplant, inspired by his donor’s humanitarian work. Tian has a spontaneous personality and doesn’t always think about the consequences of his actions. However, he means well and leads his new life with a strong sense of justice.

Mix Sahaphap Wongratch

Mix Sahaphap Wongratch (มิกซ์ สหภาพ วงศ์ราษฎร์) is a Thai actor. He is born on July 22, 1998.

Mix Sahaphap Wongratch (มิกซ์ สหภาพ วงศ์ราษฎร์) is a Thai actor. He is born on July 22, 1998. His first BL project is the 2021 drama, A Tale of Thousand Stars. He also stars in the 2022 series Cupid's Last Wish. Mix appears in the 2023 series Moonlight Chicken and Our Skyy 2. In addition, he has supporting roles in Fish Upon the Sky (2021) and Vice Versa (2022).


Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri (เอิร์ธ พิรพัฒน์ วัฒนเศรษสิริ)

Phupha is played by the actor Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri (พิรพัฒน์ วัฒนเศรษสิริ).

Phupha leads the state officer team in charge of guarding Pha Pun Dao. Nicknamed “Chief”, he is a stern and authoritative figure, well-respected by all the villagers. Beneath his imposing demeanour, Phupha has a kind heart and likes to help people, even if he is shy about articulating his feelings. Phupha had a close relationship with Torfun before her sudden death.

Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri

Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri (เอิร์ธ พิรพัฒน์ วัฒนเศรษสิริ) is a Thai actor. He is born on February 23, 1994.

Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri (เอิร์ธ พิรพัฒน์ วัฒนเศรษสิริ) is a Thai actor. He is born on February 23, 1994. His first BL project is the 2017 series, Water Boyy. His breakout role is the 2021 drama, A Tale of Thousand Stars. Earth also stars in Cupid's Last Wish (2022) and the 2023 dramas, Moonlight Chicken and Our Skyy 2. In addition, he has supporting roles in Love by Chance (2018) and Theory of Love (2019).


Aye Sarunchana Apisamaimongkol (สรัลชนา อภิสมัยมงคล)

Torfun is played by the actor Aye Sarunchana Apisamaimongkol (สรัลชนา อภิสมัยมงคล).

Torfun used to be the volunteer teacher at Pha Pun Dao, until she met her untimely demise in a hit-and-run car accident. With her compassionate personality, she was adored by all the schoolchildren and villagers. During her time in the village, Torfun recorded her personal thoughts inside a journal, which she titled as "A Tale of Thousand Stars".

Aye Sarunchana Apisamaimongkol

Aye Sarunchana Apisamaimongkol (สรัลชนา อภิสมัยมงคล) is a Thai actress. She is born on March 25, 2000.

Aye Sarunchana Apisamaimongkol (สรัลชนา อภิสมัยมงคล) is a Thai actress. She is born on March 25, 2000. Her first BL project is the 2021 drama, A Tale of Thousand Stars. She is also a supporting character in the 2023 series, Be My Favorite.


Khaotung Thanawat Ratanakitpaisan (ธนวัฒน์ รัตนกิจไพศาล)

Longtae is played by the actor Aye Sarunchana Apisamaimongkol (สรัลชนา อภิสมัยมงคล).

Longtae is the son of the village chief Khama. He is around the same age as Tian and the two of them get along very well, much to Phupha's annoyance. A gentle and friendly young man, Longtae loves taking photographs of important moments in the village. He is currently studying political science in university.

Khaotung Thanawat Ratanakitpaisan

Khaotung Thanawat Ratanakitpaisan (ข้าวตัง ธนวัฒน์ รัตนกิจไพศาล) is a Thai actor. He is born on October 13, 1998.

Khaotung Thanawat Ratanakitpaisan (ข้าวตัง ธนวัฒน์ รัตนกิจไพศาล) is a Thai actor. He is born on October 13, 1998. His first BL project is the 2018 drama, 'Cause You're My Boy. He starred in the dramas, Tonhon Chonlatee (2021), The Eclipse (2022), and Only Friends (2023). Khao also had supporting roles in 2gether (2020), A Tale of Thousand Stars (2021), and 55:15 Never Too Late (2021).

Supporting Characters

Dr. Nam is played by the actor Nammon Krittanai Arsalprakit (กฤตนัย อาสาฬห์ประกิต).

Dr. Nam

Nammon Krittanai Arsalprakit (กฤตนัย อาสาฬห์ประกิต)

Yod is played by the actor Champ Nattharat Kornkaew (ณัฐรัชต์ ก้อนแก้ว).


Champ Nattharat Kornkaew (ณัฐรัชต์ ก้อนแก้ว)

Rang is played by the actor Drake Laedeke (สัตบุตร เดรก แลดิกี).


Drake Laedeke (สัตบุตร เดรก แลดิกี)

Khama is played by the actor Witaya Jethapai (วิทยา เจตะภัย).


Witaya Jethapai (วิทยา เจตะภัย)

Khaonueng is one of the five children that Tian teaches in A Tale of Thousand Stars.


Achi Achirapol Jinapanyo (อชิระพล จินะปัญโญ)

Kalae is one of the five children that Tian teaches in A Tale of Thousand Stars.


Gim Gimjeng Yanathip (กิมเจ็ง ญาณทิพย์)

Inta is one of the five children that Tian teaches in A Tale of Thousand Stars.


Marinda Halpin (มารินดา ฮาลปิน)

Meejoo is one of the five children that Tian teaches in A Tale of Thousand Stars.


Mayu Kinuko Woraphanmai (คินุโกะ วรพันธุ์ใหม่)

Ayi is one of the five children that Tian teaches in A Tale of Thousand Stars.


Aum Kamonlapat Dokmonta (อั้ม กมลภัทร ดอกมณฑา)

Tian's dad is played by Ton Jakkrit Ammarat (จักรกฤษณ์ อำมรัตน์).

Tian's dad

Ton Jakkrit Ammarat (จักรกฤษณ์ อำมรัตน์)

Tian's mom is played by Jeab Paweena Charivsakul (ปวีณา ชารีฟสกุล).

Tian's mom

Jeab Paweena Charivsakul (ปวีณา ชารีฟสกุล)

Tul is played by the actor White Nawat Phumphothingam (ณวัชร์ พุ่มโพธิงาม).


White Nawat Phumphothingam (ณวัชร์ พุ่มโพธิงาม)

Sakda is played by the actor Nong Thanongsak Suphakan (ทนงศักดิ์ ศุภการ).


Nong Thanongsak Suphakan (ทนงศักดิ์ ศุภการ)

Mr. Winai is played by Nu Surasak Chaiat (สุรศักดิ์ ชัยอรรถ).

Mr. Winai

Nu Surasak Chaiat (สุรศักดิ์ ชัยอรรถ)

Dr. Kit is played by the actor Co Khunakorn Kirdpan (คุณากร เกิดพันธุ์).

Dr. Kit

Co Khunakorn Kirdpan (คุณากร เกิดพันธุ์)

Cast highlights

  • You may have recognized Phupha's actor (Earth) from other Thai BL dramas, including Theory of Love and Love by Chance. You may have also noticed Earth, Nammon & White in the 2017 movie Water Boyy. Tian's actor Mixx has a supporting role in the 2021 BL comedy Fish Upon the Sky.
  • Earth and Mixx appeared in the 2022 drama Cupid's Last Wish. Later that year, they appeared in an accompanying series, Magic of Zero. In 2023, they are costars in the series Moonlight Chicken.
  • Khaotung starred as the lead actor in another BL drama, Tonhon Chonlatee. He also starred in the popular high school BL series, The Eclipse. Additionally, he has a supporting role in Moonlight Chicken.
  • Torfun's actress (Aye) appears in the 2023 BL series Be My Favorite. She plays the female love interest.
  • Rang's actor Drake has a supporting role in the 2021 BL series Bad Buddy.

A Tale of Thousand Stars Review


Drama Review Score: 9.5

Phupha develops feelings for Tian over time during A Tale of Thousand Stars.

A Tale of Thousand Stars is a phenomenal BL drama. It's up there with one of the best series in this genre. Each episode delivers heartfelt emotions, introspective character development, and a delightful romance that will have you smiling from ear to ear. From the rich storytelling to the authentic acting, A Tale of Thousand Stars is a masterclass in every aspect of its production. The quality is so incredible that I'm almost left in disbelief, like I can't believe a BL drama is capable of being this good.

This series has a fantastic plot that goes beyond BL, exploring many themes beyond love and relationships. Even without the romantic components, the series can stand on its own with a poignant story about personal growth and second chances. It's a meaningful and profound series, encouraging the viewers to philosophize about life. The series also takes place in a unique setting with lots of storytelling potential. A Tale of Thousand Stars crafts a fictional universe that feels so vibrant and dynamic. It introduces an exciting new culture to the viewers, showing us a very different way of life.

A Tale of Thousand Stars begins with an action-packed opening episode, filled with intense emotions and high adrenaline. The next few episodes are equally strong, featuring powerful character development and self-introspection. All the stories are intimate and inspirational. The characters feel authentic since they aren't solely defined by their relationship drama. Tian & Phupha have fleshed-out characterizations, and the romance is just one part of their complex lives. They have hopes, fears, aspirations, and backstories, which are explored in depth.

I loved watching Tian & Phupha in every stage of their relationship. There's an electrifying energy between them. Whether they are openly feuding or covertly flirting, many of their interactions are always so much fun to watch. Also, the actors are cast exceptionally well and seem tailor-made for their roles. The two leads share excellent chemistry, so you can feel their pulsating romance with a shy smile or a forlorn glance between them. The actors connect well, look great together, and anyone can easily see why EarthMix joins the pantheon of great BL couples.

Tian's actor (Mix) has a meatier role, which demands many crying scenes in those last few episodes. The actor does a fantastic job of channelling an introspective performance. Likewise, Phupha's actor (Earth) embodies his character perfectly. I cannot picture Phupha being played by any other actor. He looks authentic as the stern state trooper, but also feels believable when acting flirty and coy around Tian. Every glance, smile, and expression from Phupha lights up the screen. The actor has found his niche. Just put him in a uniform and sign up for more roles like this!

After an engrossing start, A Tale of Thousand Stars suffers from a few missteps in its second half. One of the prominent storylines isn't mapped out well. It also takes too long for the romance to become official. The progress of the romance starts to drag near the end, missing crucial opportunities for kisses or intimate moments. Nonetheless, this drama earns so much goodwill with the first few episodes that any shortcomings can be easily overlooked. Overall, A Tale of Thousand Stars exceeds all my expectations and sets a new standard of excellence in BL dramas


Inspirational story

A Tale of Thousand Stars has an inspirational story about personal growth & transformation. This introspective drama follows a young man's empowering journey to change his life and improve himself.

Engaging romance

Tian & Phupha have a sizzling relationship dynamic. The relationship scenes are fun to watch, whether the leads are openly feuding or covertly flirting. EarthMix has become a fan favourite couple.

Excellent acting

Both leads give natural, authentic, and emotional performances. The superb acting extends to the entire cast, including the five child actors, who are lovable and deliver their lines smoothly.

Happy ending

A Tale of Thousand Stars has a happy ending that ties into the narrative themes of the story. However, the finale is noticeably weaker than the first few episodes of the series.

Distinctive artistry

The series has excellent world-building. It takes place in a rural village, showcasing beautiful scenery and highlighting different cultures. The setting is unlike many BL dramas.


A Tale of Thousand Stars is a BL masterpiece. It features everything you want from an excellent drama, including a complex story, a pulsating romance, and outstanding acting.

A Tale of Thousand Stars Analysis


Tian and Phupha

Tian and Phupha had a fun relationship as a couple.

Tian and Phupha were really delightful to watch as a couple. A huge part of what makes this relationship so compelling is how much Phupha changed his opinion of Tian over the series. In the beginning, he didn't see eye-to-eye with the rich city slicker who intruded on his village. Cue a few episodes later, Phupha has completely succumbed to Tian's charms. He's already making lovey-dovey eyes and stumbling over his words with a massive crush on Tian.

Since I love comparing BL love stories to classic literature, the Tian and Phupha relationship reminds me of a modern gay version of Pride and Prejudice. Tian is the rich and prideful Mr. Darcy, who lets go of his privileged status after moving to the humble village. Phupha is the strong-willed and prejudiced Elizabeth Bennett, who judges Tian too harshly based on his initial assumptions. That makes their dynamic fun because they clashed at first and then reconciled over their differences.

My main complaint is that it takes until the end of the series for Tian and Phupha to become an official couple. Just when they finally get together, the series ends. We also miss many opportunities for a kiss. I don't have the patience to wait until the final scene for the two characters to lock lips! Nonetheless, these are just the petty grievances of a BL fan. Overall, I'm beyond delighted with the epic romance in A Tale of Thousand Stars.

Phupha and Torfun

Torfun's feelings for Phupha were never returned.

I was intrigued by the relationship between Phupha and Torfun. Her feelings for him were evident from the start. However, their relationship wasn't clearly defined until Episode 4, where Phupha admitted that he only loved Torfun as a sister. Phew, the BL fan in me can sigh in relief. Crisis averted! 

In terms of storytelling, it's the right decision to make their connection platonic. If Phupha had a prior relationship with Torfun, it would've complicated his romance with Tian and made it too morally questionable. We would've given Phupha's character the major side-eye, starting an affair with Torfun's replacement while he's still mourning over his dead ex.

From Phupha's perspective, it must be such a mindfuck (and maybe a boost to the ego) that both Torfun and Tian developed feelings for him, one after the other. After Tian left the village, I bet the third, the fourth, and all subsequent teachers also fell in love with Phupha. Is it his destiny to romance every volunteer teacher who comes to the village? Join the queue, guys and girls! 🤭

Tian and Longtae

There was no romance between Tian and Longtae.

Most of us probably suspected there might be a relationship in the works between Tian and Longtae's characters. A Tale of Thousand Stars certainly teased us with this possibility, and the thought crossed Phupha's mind every time he gets jealous over the two of them. They call him the green giant because he is green with envy. 🤭

However, we waited and waited, but nothing ever happened between Tian and Longtae. Despite their close bond, this friendship remained strictly platonic. Neither of them developed romantic feelings. Phew, another crisis averted! You may not think it's possible in a BL drama, but sometimes friends can just stay friends~

Pha Pun Dao

The villagers of Pha Pun Dao are very friendly.

The concept of community is a prevalent theme throughout A Tale of Thousand Stars. Although the villagers of Pha Pun Dao may not have the most money or resources, they do have each other. This is a close-knitted group of locals who support each other unconditionally. Simple activities turn into team activities or group celebrations. They help put together a villager's wedding, make tea leaf sachets, and rebuild the burned-down school.

The residents of Pha Pun Dao are the emotional backbone of the story. I get a warm and cozy feeling every time these villagers make a big special gesture for Tian, like throwing that party for him in Episode 3. It's heartwarming to see him get accepted by the community, and he is celebrated like one of their own.

Even before Tian's arrival, the villagers welcomed Torfun with open arms. And when they learned of her death, the village grieved their loss. The Pha Pun community seems like one big happy family. I understand why Phupha, Torfun, and Tian are so smitten with this place and want to dedicate their lives here. Hell, even I wanna pack my bags and move here!

Arson & gunfights

The moment when Tian forgot to turn off the flash in his camera almost cost him his life.

A Tale of Thousand Stars works best with more mundane, intimate, and down-to-earth plots. Unfortunately, the whole saga with Mr. Sakda is a colossal mess that jumps the shark in the second half of the series. The storyline is too dramatic and over-the-top, escalating into arson and gunfights that clash with the pleasant vibe of the series. It isn't executed well, leaving undefined plot holes, uninteresting villains, and unusual character behaviour.

To be fair, some elements of the storyline are actually decent. I like the idea of Tian and Longtae leading the tea sachets project in the community. They bring the village together to save one of their key industries. However, there must be a better way to implement this storyline than introducing arsonists and crime bosses for artificial conflict. A Tale of Thousand Stars doesn't need cartoonish villains who take away time from more fascinating stories.

The most frustrating part was the scene where Tian forgot to turn off the flash function in his camera. If you want to sleuth on a bunch of dangerous criminals with no preparation, can you at least be smart and discreet about it? The longer this storyline goes on, the dumber it becomes. I don't even care that the last two episodes hardly tie up any loose ends, because I had no desire to watch this dumb storyline anymore. 🥴

Who killed Torfun?

Torfun dies in a hit-and-run car accident.

I enjoy murder mysteries more than the average person, so I was stupidly invested in the identity of the hit-and-run driver who killed Torfun. At first, it did cross my mind that Tian could be the driver, but I also thought that possibility was too darksided. No BL drama would dare to ~go there~ and make a main character as the perpetrator of vehicle manslaughter. There was a period when the show really tried to push the idea that Tian killed Torfun, but I still thought this red herring was too obvious.

At one point, I went on a wild hunch that LONGTAE was the killer. 😅 Imagine my embarrassment when the story reveals that some random nobody was the culprit instead. Oops! Just because I like detective stories doesn't mean I'm good at guessing the killers. 🕵🏻‍♀️

Tian's friend Prem was the one who killed Torfun. If your first impression is "who's that?", you aren't alone. It wasn't even his best friend Tul, who at least appeared a couple of times, but literally some random person who showed up in the first episode. The killer's identity is a total cop-out. However, I like the plot twist Tian's car was used to kill Torfun. That's why he felt responsible for providing the weapon that led to her death. It makes him culpable enough to launch his emotional journey. Yet, he isn't utterly guilty that his character cannot be redeemed afterwards.

Tian's confession

Longtae played a role in helping Tian overcome his guilt from Torfun's death.

I don't like how A Tale of Thousand Stars handles Tian's confession scene in Episode 8. For starters, it doesn't feel like the right time or place to announce, "HEY EVERYONE, I KILLED TORFUN!!!" right after they surprised you with the reopening of the school. Dude, read the room? I also don't know if he needs to make the announcement in front of all the children. It just seems insensitive, especially to the parents, who may not want the kids to find out about their beloved teacher's death this way.

It's annoying when Tian claims to be responsible for Torfun's death, yet he won't explain how he killed her. If you're gonna drop such a massive bomb in your confession, can you at least give us the full picture of what happened? I spent half the episode being confused about why he would admit to killing her. We don't get to hear the actual explanation until much later. The HOW I KILLED HER part should've been the most important part of Tian's confession, but somehow it wasn't included. 🙃

Tian's growth

Tian goes through a lot of character development during the series.

The main story in A Tale of Thousand Stars is not about the village, not about Torfun's death, and not even about the romance between Tian and Phupha. It may surprise you, but the central focus of this series is not actually BL. Instead, the most important plot is Tian's growth arc, a very intrapersonal journey describing how much he changes as a person.

Tian goes through such incredible character development in A Tale of Thousand Stars. It's engrossing to watch Tian's journey unfold over ten epic episodes, filled with so many emotional highs and lows. I loved watching Tian grow as a better person, recognizing his self-worth, and regaining his independence. He may have begun this series as a lost little boy, but he's coming out of his experiences as a self-assured leader. His story is honestly so inspiring, proving that you can change as a person, redeem your past, and make the most out of your second chance. 🌞

Great Teacher Tian

Tian is a good teacher to the children of the village.

Tian's character starts out as a rich, unlikable punk who only cares about money, flashy cars, and designer clothes. Compare him to the Tian we meet at the end of the series. This version of Tian is a motivated, altruistic educator who cares passionately about enriching children's minds in an impoverished village. This is technically the same person, but they're also two completely different people.

Of course, Tian doesn't transform into this amazing teacher right away. He encounters a series of failures, struggles, and personal hardships to overcome. He takes the time to forge bonds with each child in the village, winning them with genuine interest and enthusiasm. He also gets creative with his lesson plans and makes his classes look like a lot of fun. I want to fly kites, make paper airplanes, and listen to stories about the green giant in school too!

I'm glad Tian found his true calling as a teacher, joining other teaching legends in history like the Great Teacher Onizuka. Let's not think about what happens to him after all five children grow up and there's no need for a teacher in the village anymore. 😅

Phupha's shyness

Phupha shushes Tian when they see rare birds in the forest.

Although Tian and Phupha develop feelings for each other early on, they reach a bottleneck in their romance halfway through the series. It's evident that our two leads have developed feelings for each other, but they don't solidify their relationship until much later.

A big problem is that Phupha has a shy personality. You wouldn't expect it coming from him because of his job, his looks, and the respect he commands from the villagers. Phupha is bold and confident in his day-to-day life. Yet, he immediately clams up when standing in front of a guy he likes. He can't even take a picture of Tian without being sneaky about it.

In Episode 5, Dr. Nam makes a comment that articulates my frustration with Phupha's character sometimes: "Phupha, you're over 30 now. Make some moves. Don't just sit on the fence." He lacks emotional assertiveness, not daring to be vulnerable and act on his feelings for Tian. Of course, Tian has the same problem, but at least he tries to meet Phupha halfway. How often has Tian asked a question like: "Why don't you tell me how you feel, Chief? 🙂" and Phupha stiffs up like a piece of log, saying nothing.

Phupha's feelings

Phupha takes a secret picture of Tian.

Sometimes, I just wanna grab Phupha and shake all the repressed feelings out of him. A good example is when he takes Tian on a sightseeing date in Episode 5. Although this is supposed to be a happy occasion, the atmosphere in this scene is subdued. Phupha feels self-conscious about how he should behave around Tian.

During the date, Phupha’s uneasiness kinda kills the vibe, and Tian calls him out on it many times. As you can see, he wasn't very subtle about voicing his displeasure:

  • "No one is around. You don't need to act cool. 🙂"
  • "Hey Chief, do you have other expressions besides the stern face I always see? 🙂"
  • "Do you have to make a serious face all the time? 🙂"
  • "Your subordinates are not here. Can you not be a chief for a moment? 🙂"
  • "Chief. What is your expression when you are happy? Can you show me? 🙂"
  • "What about a smile for someone you like? Oh. That's why you're single. 🙂"

Holy crap, the passive aggressiveness coming from Tian is out of control~ Tian dropped so many hints about wanting Phupha to be forward with his feelings. Sadly, Phupha refuses to drop his guard and seems unwilling to open up.

It may seem like I'm being quite critical of Phupha, but only because he's my favourite character. I find his nuances so interesting to watch. Of course, I like Phupha when he's cheeky, confident, and full of swagger. Yet, I also enjoy the part of him that's shy, nervous, and riddled with insecurities. His internal struggles are what makes him such a complex character. If we can't accept Phupha at his worst, then we don't deserve him at his best~

Phupha's personality

Dr. Nam is one of the few characters who gets Phupha's personality best.

Allow me, if you will, to dive deeper into Phupha's character analysis. There are two conflicting sides to his personality. The first side is how he likes to assert himself, as a tough macho guy with confidence and composure. This Phupha is a leader to his subordinates, a guardian to the villagers, and a stern authoritative figure to troublemakers like Tian. He commands a lot of respect, and everyone in the village looks up to him.

The second side to Phupha's personality is a more sensitive soul, plagued with doubts and insecurities like everyone else. Phupha tries to repress this side of himself, not wanting other people to see his fragility and think of him as weak. However, the more Phupha tries to hide who he is, the more he retreats emotionally. He doesn’t speak, he doesn’t smile, he doesn’t dare to show an inkling of his real emotions.

This Phupha is an impenetrable wall, appearing whenever he feels the need to ‘toughen up’. What had happened to Phupha’s dad instilled a sense of pessimism into his outlook. He learned to be cautious and guarded, shielding himself from emotional pain. It’s his defense mechanism every time he feels vulnerable.

Phupha's doubts

Tian and Phupha get close and intimate as they put up a mosquito net.

And what can expose your vulnerability more than being in love? When his feelings for Tian deepen, Phupha feels more and more out of his comfort zone as doubts begin to creep into his mind.

He worries about holding back Tian's promising future, stuck in a village with a dead-end job.

He also worries about their age and class differences, meaning their priorities in life may not align.

And most of all, he worries their relationship will ultimately result in heartbreak. What if Tian ends up suffering the same fate as his widowed mother?

Living like Phupha can be a lonely and alienating experience. His best friend Dr. Nam undestands this, because he knows Phupha's personality better than anyone else. The doctor is one of the few characters who sees through the bravado and calls out his friend when he's too withdrawn. Dr. Nam is excited when his friend forms a rare connection with Tian, so he keeps encouraging Phupha to be upfront about his feelings. He knows Phupha is the type of guy who needs a lot of nudging to take the initiative in a romance.

Phupha's breakthrough

Tian and Phupha have a lot of chemistry with each other.

Throughout A Tale of Thousand Stars, Tian tries to break down Phupha's barriers. He keeps giving Phupha reassurance that it's okay to be emotionally vulnerable. Tell me how you feel, show me how you smile, let me see who you are. Tian wants Phupha to relax, let his guard down, and just be his natural self around him. While he fails during the date in Episode 5, it's his first of many attempts to connect with Phupha on a deeper, more personal level.

Fortunately, Phupha makes a breakthrough in Episode 7 after Tian threatens to leave the village for the umpteenth time. Faced with the possibility of losing his man forever, Phupha finally works up the courage with some seriously aggressive flirting. He gets frisky in the shower, hops onto the same bed, and even gets cheeky enough to ask for a sensual massage. Phupha is finally taking charge in this relationship, and we LOVE to see it. Tian puts up resistance and acts like he's embarrassed. Deep down, he's overjoyed and the feelings are reciprocated. 🤭

The green giant

Phupha confronts Tian with Torfun's journal.

Tian and Phupha face more drama in the last few episodes. Once again, we don't make progress with their romance. Starting from Episode 8, they go through this long cold war with each other. As much as I love these two, it's frustrating to watch their relationship drag out near the end. When are they finally going to act like a happy couple?

Episode 8 has explosive drama after Phupha finds Torfun's journal in Tian's belongings, which does look pretty sketchy from his perspective. Tian has stolen Torfun's job in the village, her recipe ideas, and her entire identity as a person. For me, one of the most egregious offences is when we find out Tian stole Torfun's "green giant" nickname for Phupha. I thought Tian came up with this name on his own. Instead, it turns out Torfun used it first in her journal.

Was anyone as outraged as I am by this revelation? I can forgive all the other instances of identity theft, but I draw the line at NICKNAME STEALING! I dunno, this little detail bothers me, maybe because a nickname seems like such a personal sentiment. I felt betrayed, assuming the green giant nickname was an exclusive "Tian and Phupha" thing. Now, I find out that he stole this part of Torfun's memories too. 😞

Phupha's duty

Tian and Phupha share an intimate moment while shaving.

In Episode 9, much of the drama comes from Tian feeling betrayed. He learns Phupha only gets close to him through his father's orders. This is an interesting twist since I thought Phupha was obsessed with Tian at the start due to a natural attraction to him. It makes sense he was just following orders.

Although I get why Tian is angry about this, I also feel like Phupha didn't have much choice in the matter. Could he afford to go against a high-ranking official's orders to take care of his son? I don't even think what Tian's father did was that bad. It's not like he sent in the troops (is that what his dad does for a living? idk lol) to evacuate Tian, but he just asked someone to look after his son in a foreign place.

Of course, the more Tian lashes out at him, the more Phupha retreats back to his shell again. He shuts down emotionally, denying all his feelings for Tian. Later in the episode, Tian urges more honesty out of him, getting Phupha to admit that he wants Tian to have a better life away from the village. Still, Phupha is not completely honest with himself, insisting that he doesn't want Tian to stay here with him. He says:

"If you want to make me happy, I'd rather see you going back and living your life as it should be, instead of giving up everything to be with me here. You still have a bright future ahead of you. If you do that, it will let me know that you have already returned the feelings I have for you."

Ugh, worst love confession ever. 💔 All along, I wanted Phupha to confess his feelings for Tian, but not in this manner. He wants to be with you! STOP PUSHING HIM AWAY!!! 😭 

Happy ending

Phupha kisses Tian on the forehead in the airport.

The last episode of A Tale of Two Stars is on the slow side. It gives me the impression they don't have enough plot to fill out the finale. With that said, every important storyline was addressed. Plus, all the loose ends were tied up nicely. As far as endings go, this one is pretty satisfactory. All that's left is for Tian and Phupha to reconcile.

It feels silly that Tian gets a fancy education degree after studying overseas, only to return and teach at a rundown village. Why not just use that money to improve the village conditions instead of wasting it on two years you'll never get back? Although his degree means nothing, it's an understandable compromise to make his parents happy. I think Tian does owe his parents something after they rescue him from the brink of death, so graduating from school is a way to appease them.

Ending review

Tian and Phupha reunite in the A Tale of Thousand Stars ending.

The two-year time skip allows Tian to clear his head, experience the rest of the world, and gain a fresh perspective. I don't want Tian to spend the rest of his life in this village as a hopelessly lovesick kid. It's necessary he spends some time away and figures out what he really wants to do in life. Then, he can return to the village with a more assured sense of self. This made for a happier ending, and I'm glad A Tale of Thousand Stars gave Tian's journey of self-discovery a lovely closure.

As for the relationship, the reunion between Tian & Phupha is dragged out for too long, even though we know it ends with a kiss at Pha Pun Dao cliff. I would've been PISSED if that weird forehead smooch in the airport was the extent of their affection, so at least we got a proper kiss in the end.

A Tale of Thousand Stars Episodes

Episode Guide

Tian and Phupha drive on a motorcycle together.

A Tale of Thousand Stars has a total of 10 episodes. Each episode is around 45 minutes long. This is a lengthy BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in approximately 8 hours. A Tale of Thousand Stars started airing on January 29, 2021 and finished its last episode on April 2, 2021.

Episode 1


Episode 2


Episode 3


Episode 4


Episode 5


Episode 6


Episode 7


Episode 8


Episode 9


Episode 10


⭐ Best episode

Episode 3

Tian and Phupha finally warm up to each other starting in Episode 3.

When I started A Tale of Thousand Stars, I thought Episode 1 was outstanding and kinda assumed that it wouldn't be topped. Of course, the drama only got better with each passing episode!

In my opinion, Episode 3 is the episode that really embodies A Tale of Thousand Stars as a show. It focused on Tian connecting with the children, highlighted a turning point in his relationship with Phupha, and ended with a heartwarming party to welcome Tian into the village. This episode hit all the right emotional notes and it was absolutely perfect.

💕 Most romantic episode

Episode 4

Episode 4 is another favourite episode of mine. This is the episode that really focuses on Tian and Phupha developing their feelings for each other. There’s a little flirting, mixed with a little bickering, and the chemistry is at an all-time high with the two of them.

The entire episode consists of countless cute moments between them: the motorcycle scene, the kitchen scene, the bird scene, and all those sly little digs that Dr. Nam made as he played matchmaker. Tian and Phupha also go on their first date at Pha Pun Dao cliff. While there’s no romantic moment between them, the couple opens up and share a heartfelt exchange with each other. This episode is an important milestone for their relationship.

😭 Tearjerker episode

Episode 9

The three tearjerker episodes were Episode 6, Episode 8, and Episode 9. Episode 6 was when the school burned down after they worked so hard on the tea sachets. Episode 8 was when Tian told the village about Torfun's death, leading to his ostracization. Both episodes were sad for obvious reasons, but the conflict felt manufactured and I just wasn't that emotionally invested.

For me, the biggest tearjerker episode was Episode 9. It featured a very simple scene with Tian confiding to Phupha in the hospital room, about feeling guilty over Torfun's death. This moment was a lot more low-key than the emotional climaxes of Episode 6 or 8, but the simplicity is precisely why I like it. There were no other distractions, allowing me to focus only on the actor's excellent performance.

This episode also had some heated arguments between Tian and Phupha, where they exchanged some really nasty words. They were so mean to each other, and it brought a tear to this BL shipper's eyes. 😥

😡 Most triggering episode

Episode 6

Tian ran back into a burning school and risked his life.

I wasn't really surprised when the school burned down at the end of Episode 6 and destroyed all the tea sachets that the villagers made. The project was going too smoothly, and they dropped foreshadowing hints that the bad guys would retaliate against Tian, so this arson was within expectations. I mean, it was kinda sad that everything got burned down, but I wasn't really that triggered by something I knew would happen.

What really pissed me off though was the moment Tian RAN STRAIGHT INTO A BURNING BUILDING like some reckless idiot. When he ran inside, I was rolling my eyes so hard. You'd think someone who almost died once would be more cautious about risking it in life-threatening scenarios, but not this hot-blooded protagonist.

The funniest thing is that Tian jeopardized his life needlessly and all he managed to rescue was a worthless kite. Imagine perishing in a fire because you ran inside to grab a kite. I hope it was worth it, Tian~ 😒

💋 First kiss episode

Episode 10

Tian and Phupha kiss at the end of Episode 10.

I really thought we were going to get Tian and Phupha's first kiss at the end of Episode 5 and 7. Back then, the moment felt right and there were perfect opportunities to include a kiss. Sadly, we had to wait all the way until Episode 10 for that long awaited kiss.

During the finale, there was a brief period when I genuinely thought this couple would NEVER kiss. Right after Phupha kissed Tian on the forehead in the airport, I was mortified thinking that would be the extent of the kiss. Internally, I was screaming: "Is this going to be one of those BL series where they don't kiss!? BECAUSE I WOULD GIVE THIS DRAMA AN F IN MY REVIEW, I SWEAR TO GOD!!!" Fortunately, Tian and Phupha did kiss in the final scene, in their iconic spot at the Pha Pun Dao cliff.

If only there was an advertiser that sold lip gloss, I'm sure A Tale of Thousand Stars would've made Tian and Phupha kiss earlier in the series to showcase the product placement. 😘

👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨 Episodes with intimacy

Episode 7, 10

Tian and Phapun took a shower together, even if it is to sell a product placement.

Episode 7 was the probably the most physically intimate episode between Tian and Phupha. They showered together, shared a bed, and had that tender moment in the hammock. This episode really, really should have ended with a kiss between them, but it never happened. At least they made up for it in Episode 10, giving us both the kiss and the happily-ever-after sex scene.

💪🏻 Episodes with skin

Episode 2, 4, 7

Phapun has a lot of shirtless scenes in A Tale of Thousand Stars.

Phupha gets shirtless frequently in the series and you can probably see why. We see good showcases of Phupha's body in Episode 2 (at the waterfall), Episode 4 (in the shower), and Episode 7 (in the bedroom with the Tian).

The scene at the end of Episode 7 was pretty funny. Tian accidentally sees Phupha naked, and Phupha just stands there in the nude with a self-content smirk, and Tian is the one who ends up being embarrassed: "Do you feel ashamed at all???" 🙈

By the way, one of my favourite parts about A Tale of Thousand Stars is how they shamelessly mix their product placements with shirtless scenes at the same time. Every time Phupha goes topless, there's probably a shampoo bottle, a facial cleanse, or an energy drink nearby. I have absolute no problem with this marketing tactic. If I was an advertiser, I would probably demand that my product be displayed next to Phupha's shirtless torso as well. 😆

👨🏻‍🤝‍👨🏻 Episodes as a couple

Episode 10

Tian and Phupha have a cute moment in the end as a couple.

A Tale of Thousand Stars waited forever to make Tian and Phupha an official couple. No matter how much Phupha implied that Tian was his "wife", he was too chicken to make it official until the final moments of the show. It really took two years for Phupha to be honest and admit that he wants Tian to stay in the village with him. 😓 At least we got one cute couple scene out of them before the show concluded.

A Tale of Thousand Stars Scenes

Best Scenes

Episode 1

Tian's introspection
The wine stains on Tian's shirt was a nice symbolic touch.

In the first episode, I really liked the scene where Tian reflected on his shallow, materialistic life after reading Torfun's journal. This might be the most important scene of the series, because the unhappiness he felt in that moment was what prompted his emotional journey.

What I loved most about this scene was the wine stains on his shirt, located right over where he got his heart transplant. This was such a nice symbolic touch, and one of the many clever details that really impressed me in A Tale of Thousand Stars.

Episode 3

Phupha's sleepover
Tian and Phupha get closer during their first sleepover together.

Episode 3 marked a turning point in the relationship between Tian and Phupha. Up until that point, Phupha was a bit of a bully, always teasing Tian and making him feel unwelcomed. After witnessing a couple of sincere moments from Tian, Phupha begins to have a change of heart. This becomes obvious in the sleepover scene, which might be the first time Phupha tried talking to Tian like an equal.

It was a clumsy conversation for sure, very true to Phupha's style, although you can sense he's making an effort to be nicer to Tian. Not only are they on friendlier terms now, but there's also some sexual tension in the air. They lean close to each other a few times, and their hands even touch under the covers! *gasps* Get a room, you two!

Tian's welcome party
Tian gets a nice welcome party from the villagers in Episode 3.

Tian's surprise welcome party was a really lovely scene, especially given the intense drama at the farm earlier in the episode. Imagine having the whole village come together to make sure that you, a new arrival, feel welcomed in your new home. It's such a heartwarming moment that hits all the right emotional notes.

The welcome party also featured Longtae's arrival, so there was a bit of excitement about what his character would bring. We even got a karaoke duet with Tian and Phupha singing romantic love songs to each other, capping off the perfect night.

Episode 4

Tian and Phupha dinner
Tian and Phupha cook dinner together in Episode 4.

The dinner in Episode 4 was basically one long continuous storyline, consisting of multiple scenes that helped to develop Tian and Phupha's relationship. It begins with a sweet moment of Tian and Phupha riding a motorcycle to the market. This is followed by a grocery shopping trip, some disastrous cooking in the kitchen, and ends with a badly burned meal at the end of the night.

Along the way, Dr. Nam notices the romantic sparks between the couple and plays coy matchmaker with the two of them. At one point, he teases Phupha: "Are you sure that's all you're hungry for? 😘"

Tian and Phupha first date
Tian rips off the price tag from Phupha's new shirt.

Episode 4 featured Tian and Phupha's first date at Pha Pun Dao cliff. One of my favourite moments was when Phupha dressed up to impress Tian on this date, but forgot to rip off the price tag from his shirt. He looked embarrassed at first, but then kinda smiled when it turned into an opportunity to get physically close to Tian. 😘

The most romantic moment in the episode was actually their serious talk in the end. They finally opened up to each other about their various secrets (not completely open in Tian's case…) and it really felt like they're making progress as a couple.

Episode 5

After the date
Phupha is not assertive enough to make a move on Tian.

Phupha takes Tian home after their sightseeing date in Episode 5. As the two of them say goodbye, there's some very palpable sexual tension between them. A lot is left unspoken, but they exchange coy glances and bashful smiles at each other. For a moment — just a brief moment — you might think either one of them would take the initiative and make the first move. Will this lead to a confession? Will there be a kiss? Will Tian invite Phupha inside his house for an extended sleepover?

Sadly, the two of them chickened out and nothing romantic was initiated. At least it ended on a hopeful note, with Tian asking Phupha out on another date tomorrow. Would you like to fly kites with me? 🪁

Episode 7

Tian and Phupha massage
Tian gives Phupha a back massage.

After Tian moves in and becomes Phupha's new roommate, their relationship makes some serious strides in Episode 7. They pretty much become a couple without actually making it official. The entire episode is packed with so many Tian and Phupha moments. Some are sweet, some are sexy, and some are blatant product placements, but still very charming nonetheless.

The scene that stood out most is probably the massage scene, just because Tian and Phupha took their physical intimacy to a new level. At one point, Phupha even grabs Tian onto the bed and refuses to let go of his body. He says in a sultry voice: "Don't move. Don't disobey. Got it?" Argh, I'm weak.

Episode 9

The hospital scene
Tian and Phupha have more relationship drama after leaving the hospital.

The start of Episode 9 takes place in the hospital, as Tian and Phupha recover from the shootout. Earlier, Tian gave a tearful apology by Phupha's bedside, because he felt guilty about taking the life that was supposed to be Torfun's. Phupha didn't know how to respond to him, so he just pretended to lie in bed unconscious lol. 😓

When the two of them meet again later, Phupha finally has a more sentimental response. He consoles Tian gently, telling him not to blame himself for Torfun's death. Although this scene wasn't very flashy or melodramatic, I liked it because the emotions felt authentic and Phupha's words were poignant. Tian needed to hear this speech to absolve some of his guilt and let go of that heavy emotional burden he has been carrying around.

Counting a thousand stars
Tian and Phupha say goodbye as they count a thousand stars in the sky.

At the end of Episode 9, Tian goes up to the cliff to fulfill Torfun's last wish. When I first heard about the prophecy about the 1000 stars, I thought it was sounded so special and so romantic. However, seeing it in action, I realized how stupid the superstition was. 😅 Tian looked super silly pointing his finger at the sky and counting the stars one by one. Somehow, I found myself laughing at him, even though it was supposed to be a serious moment.

Strangely enough, this scene didn't have that much of an emotional impact on me. I know it's supposed to be the big climax of the series, but the emotions were too overwrought and the lighting was pretty poor, so the vibe just didn't resonate with me.

With that said, there's no denying this scene was packed with powerful emotions. And considering its importance to the narrative, it would be a travesty not to include the most fundamental moment in a list of best scenes for A Tale of Thousand Stars. I had to include this scene no matter what.

During this scene, Phupha delivered a line that I really liked: "From now on, you must value yourself and live life on your own terms." A little cheesy, but his advice felt right for the moment.

Episode 10

Tian and Phupha kiss
Tian and Phupha only share one kissing scene throughout the entire series.

We finally got our long-awaited kiss between Tian and Phupha, after their much anticipated reunion in Episode 10. It was a beautifully shot kiss, with the picturesque mountain landscape as the backdrop. I wish the kiss lasted longer, and I wish we didn't have to wait until the Very Last Moment to see it (why must BL dramas do this?). However, I'll let go of my minor grievances and just enjoy the tender kiss for what it is.

The reunion between Tian and Phupha was a nice moment too. For starters, I really liked that Tian buried Torfun's journal at the cliff, which seemed like a fitting symbolic sendoff for her character. I also liked that he prepared a new journal for himself, signifying his next chapter in life. Don't think of this as the end of Tian's journey, but more like a continuation of what will come next.

Of course, the best part was getting Phupha to finally, finally, finally open up about his feelings. After the two-year time skip, absence made the heart grow fonder and even the ice king has defrosted. The time apart helped Phupha to dig deep, come clean, and be honest with his feelings, clearly stating that he wants Tian to stay in the village with him.

No more secrets, no more excuses, no more hiding how he really feels. Phupha wants Tian, and that is it. PERIOD.

Phupha begs Tian
Tian and Phupha flirt with each other after becoming an official couple in Episode 10.

Okay, the last scene between Tian and Phupha was SO charming that I had to include it in a list of best scenes, no matter how inconsequential this moment might be. Basically, we get a short glimpse of what life is like for Tian and Phupha as a couple, and the two of them were sweet as hell.

During this scene, Phupha asks if he can join Tian in the same bed. Tian, who knows he has the upper hand, teases him playfully, making his boyfriend beg for it. Beg me softly. Speak to me softly. At this cheeky request, Phupha actually plays along with it, and he is frigging adorable. His character's demeanour becomes so sweet and docile that he's almost unrecognizable.

Here is Phupha, completely relaxed and comfortable around Tian, without any of his usual bravado or anxiety. I love seeing him like this. I can't help but think this is a side of Phupha's personality that only Tian gets to see. And it makes me really happy to see how far these two have come along~ 🤗

A Tale of Thousand Stars Information


GMMTV is a heavyweight in the BL world. It has produced numerous acclaimed dramas and launched many successful careers over the years.

GMMTV is a heavyweight in the BL world. It has produced numerous acclaimed dramas and launched many successful careers over the years. GMMTV is the leader in the Thai BL industry and possibly around the world. Some of its well-known works include SOTUS (2016), Theory of Love (2019), 2gether (2020), A Tale of Thousand Stars (2021), Bad Buddy (2021), and Last Twilight (2023), among many others.


Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol (อ๊อฟ นพณัช ชัยวิมล) is a Thai director.

Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol (อ๊อฟ นพณัช ชัยวิมล) is a Thai director. He worked on He's Coming to Me (2019), Dark Blue Kiss (2019), A Tale of Thousand Stars (2021), and Bad Buddy (2021). His other projects include Last Twilight (2023) and Moonlight Chicken (2023).

  1. Thank you so much for this recommendation!!!!!!!!
    This really became my favorite BL ever, I think i've never watched something with so much character development, Tian and Phupha changed sooo much from episode 1 to 10, but they didn't change in a way that decharacterizes them, so well done.
    When the last episode started I could see that the kiss would only happen in the last scene, the almost kisses in the last episode made me want to bang my head in a wall. I just wish we could see them as a couple, but the post credit scene with them doing sexy stuff really made me smile.

    1. I'm so glad you watched and enjoyed A Tale of Thousand Stars! After finishing the series, I felt the same way and immediately thought this gotta be one of my favourite BL stories ever.

      All the missed opportunities with the kissing made me agonize sooooo much. 😅 I also would've loved to see more couple moments between them, but at least the post credit scene gave us a little taste of their sweetness. 😚

  2. I guess you didn't much like my comment on Cherry Magic, so I'll try to do better with ATOTS. (As I wrote before, I love your site and appreciate your detailed reviews of BL dramas.)

    You compared ATOTS to Pride and Prejudice – provocative thought. Along those lines, while ATOTS is obviously a BL series (and a very good one), it is also of the “Heidi” genre. “Heidi” stories all follow the same arc: troubled young person from the city goes to a rural area where he or she is cured (mentally, morally, and physically) by fresh air, simple wholesome food, and – most of all – good-hearted locals who may not have much in financial terms but are blessed by friendship, love, and a healthy relationship to the natural world. Hero or heroine goes back to the city, finds it superficial and hollow, realizes where his or her heart lies, and returns to the country, where he or she has found love and settles down to a meaningful life.

    Of course Heidi stories present a simplistic world-view and have been used for dubious ends (wholesome rural types vs. hollow, corrupt cosmopolitan city dwellers – it's boilerplate far-right/ fascist propaganda) but the way it has been repeated endlessly over the past 140 years since the novel first appeared testifies to its enduring power.

    ATOTS is a paradigmatic – and very well done – example of the genre. Another is the Japanese film Wood Job whose story arc is almost identical to that of ATOTS. The timing of the two programs and the similarity of the story arcs made me wonder if the director of ATOTS hadn't been influenced by Wood Job. It's no secret that the Thais dote on Japanese popular culture (the whole BL genre is an example of that) and it was a reasonably popular film (came out in 2015, two years before work started on ATOTS). As with ATOTS, damaged city kid (in the case of Wood Job, the damage lay in failure to pass university entrance exam) takes quirky job in a rural village, eats strange food, learns to do without city comforts, grows to love, bond with, and be accepted by the locals (who range from kids to grandmas to patriarchal Khama-type characters), returns to the city briefly, realizes how much happier he is in the village, and goes back even if it means disappointing parental expectations. The two big differences between the two dramas: in Wood Job, danger comes not from criminal elements but from nature itself, and the romantic interest is directed at a young woman rather than a (youngish) man. But she is very much like Phupha, outwardly stoic and dismissive of soft city kids, tries and fails to keep her heart in check because she expects the city kid to leave at some point. (Although Wood Job is not a BL film, there are plenty of homoerotic undertones including a Tian-Longtae type friendship and actually more bare male flesh on display than in ATOTS – the village celebrates a traditional Shinto festival which involves all the males, including the hero, prancing about in nothing but tiny loincloths. The whole film can be seen with English subtitles here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp2zTG9XGj4 )

    I particularly liked the way ATOTS treated the issue of corruption in the upper levels of Thai society; freedom of speech and the press are not well established there and Thai writers and directors sometimes resort to oblique references in order to protect themselves. The border areas of northern Thailand are often beyond the rule of law; the forests have suffered horrendous ecological damage at the hands of criminal elements (characters such as Sakda exist in real life and people are properly afraid of them), often in league with the nefarious regime in Burma/Myanmar. Not only is Phupha's job dangerous – protecting forests in border areas with little backup while criminals such as Sakda enjoy tacit support from corrupt elements in the Thai power structure; Phupha confessing that his father had been killed doing the same job that Phupha does – Tian's own father is clearly a lightly fictionalized senior government official with ultimate responsibility for protecting these areas.

    A very significant clue occurs late in episode one at the high-powered reception to which Tian's parents drag him. Tian is disgusted at a brief conversation between his parents and an obviously powerful businessman who brags of having secured Tian's place at the head of the queue to receive the heart transplant. The businessman introduces his own son, indicates that he expects Tian's father to violate his responsibility for Thailand's protected areas by granting the son permission to open a hotel in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand's oldest national park. (Imagine Deb Haaland giving Jeff Bezos or Donald Trump permission to build a tawdry hotel in the heart of Yellowstone.) That's the real quid pro quo for procuring Torfun's heart; not just the money. This goes a long way to explain Tian's guilt and revulsion at what had been done to get him that second chance in life; it also helps explains, I think, his otherwise over-the-top rage when he discovers that Phupha had been taking care of Tian under his father's orders – and his overall determination to wipe himself clean of the taint of the class of people he comes from.

    Of course he can't and as you point out, the great strength of ATOTS is the portrayal of Tian's character growth – which includes accepting things about oneself – or, to put this in other words, forgiving oneself'; Khama rightly points out in one of the most moving moments in the whole series how hard that is. That acceptance also includes his coming to see that his parents are not fundamentally corrupt – rather they have been corrupted by the circles they move in. They do what they do ultimately because of their love for him. (well, at least the father's love for him; Tian's mother's love is more tainted – one gets the sense that she wants to brag just a little too much in front of her friends; e.g., insisting that Tian get a degree at a fancy college in the US that her friends' kids couldn't get into. I couldn't help but notice this; some years ago, I joined a group of investors trying to save a Thai company that was being looted by the president at the behest of his social-climbing wife; instead of investing in capital equipment that the company desperately needed, money was being siphoned off by the president so the wife could preen in front of her friends with a new BMW. The biggest outside investor was, you guessed it, GRAMMY the Thai media conglomerate whose subsidiary GMMTV produced and financed ATOTS. The president got wind of what we were up to and went to GRAMMY executives who killed the deal rather than see the company fall into the hands of a bunch of farangs.)

    Of course I have some quibbles. I agree with you that the subplot involving Sakda and his band of thugs wasn't fully worked out. My biggest quibble, though, is that we're led to think that Tian came back effectively unchanged from his two years in the States. Nope. I went abroad (as an American in Japan) when I was just Tian's age and that kind of immersion in a foreign culture changes a person – it can't not.

    If they'd asked me, I would have ended the series at the airport and used that to set the groundwork for a second series that explores what happens when Tian returns from the States. A beautiful young man like Tian who had come to accept who he is and what he loves is inevitably going to have been hit on and exposed to all kinds of temptations while he was in the States – how does he deal with those? How does that affect his love for Phupha and his recollections of life in the village? Does he come to see it all through a rosy distorted haze of nostalgia? (A common symptom of “culture shock”). How does he work through the inevitable disillusionment when he returns to Thailand? I would love to watch a series that explored such questions.

    Another quibble. The series portrays the village as impossibly remote. Couldn't be. Several times there are quick trips from the village into Chiang Mai (timing suggests that these take 1-2 hours). There are at least a dozen flights a day between Chiang Mai and Bangkok (Tul hopping on a plane to see Tian and showing up 3-4 hours later is completely plausible) as well as the ubiquitous overnight busses that both Tian and Torfun are seen as taking. That was also a problem with Wood Job; both the Thais and the Japanese like to fantasize that there are still areas of their countries that require enormous effort and time to visit. You can get anywhere in Thailand from Bangkok in a day; you can get anywhere in Japan from Tokyo in day.

    But these are minor quibbles. A great series. Thanks again for your comprehensive reviews.

  3. Hi, just wanted you to know there's a typo regarding Earth's birth date. According to MyDramaList (and the actor's Instagram profile) he was born on February 23, 1994.
    Keep up the good work!

  4. After seeing all it's praise, I finally decided to watch it. I would give it an overall 7/10.

  5. I really can't get over this series …. They are just too good their chemistry and all….It's remarkable …. And I love how it ended !!
    please too watch 'A tale of thousand stars' You will be satisfied !! 🙂

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