I have finally stumbled onto a goldmine for Chinese language learners. Of course, authentic content made for natives, not learners. If you want to learn real Chinese without buying DVDs, without membership fees, and without having to watch the same thing over and over, now you can! All you need is your modern computer and an internet connection.
If you've been around the Chinese language learn-o-sphere for a while, you've probably heard of CCTV. Well, let me tell you, their website is no simple matter to navigate. Every time you click on a link, you either go to a sub-domain or another one of their other domains. The web page I am about to introduce to you, I found through CITVC, China International Television Corporation. But the final destination is a sub-domain of CNTV. Perhaps that stands for China Network TV, but I don't know for sure.
The domain is http://dianshiju.cntv.cn/ The top page is probably not the best place to start from, especially if you don't read Chinese, like me. Word of caution, do not click on the link at the top of the page that says English. That will take you to another website, not an English version of the site you are looking at.
If you start from the top page, or even another page, scroll down to where you see a bunch of links on the right side neatly arranged in 4 columns. At the top of that section is the alphabet with a link for each letter. Those four columns are categories that the dramas fall into. Don't ask me what they mean because I don't know. You can click on one that you like and then you'll go to a page with links to the dramas. That page has a picture for each drama so you can choose whatever looks interesting by clicking on the picture. There are pages and pages for each category, so click a link at the bottom in the list of numbers to go to another page in that category. Each page is showing 5 dramas.
All Chinese dramas have Chinese subtitles, but I recommend you cover them up until you understand the spoken language 100%. I also recommend watching dramas set in the modern era.
When you click on the drama link, you'll go to the drama page. At the bottom or middle of the page is a 4x5 grid of pictures. These are links to each episode. Start with episode 01, which you will see in the top left of the grid.
When you start an episode, it might take a minute or two loading before you see anything in the player.
If you need help finding a good category to click on, this category is for city dramas. If you're really lost or don't think you can learn by watching a drama in a language you don't understand, try this episode. You'll clearly see what's going on. I'm only 3 minutes into it, but this one is REALLY INTERESTING! Enjoy!