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Is the Omegaverse finally coming to live-action TV?

Omegaverse fans are freaking out over this viral Chinese romcom trailer.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 20, 2023

Once people started publishing original romance novels based around Omegaverse tropes, all bets were off. Yes, we may just have seen the first trailer for a real, live Omegaverse TV drama.

Originating in Supernatural fandom in the early 2010s, Omegaverse (aka Alpha/Beta/Omega dynamics, or A/B/O) is an erotic fantasy trope with elaborate, werewolf-adjacent worldbuilding. Dividing characters into dominant alphas, submissive omegas, and neutral betas, Omegaverse fanfic runs the gamut from breeding kink erotica to thoughtful deconstructions of in-universe gender roles and reproductive rights.

In the West, the Omegaverse spread from m/m fandoms like Supernatural, Teen Wolf, and the MCU to self-published kinky romance novels, resulting in a high-profile copyright lawsuit around a series of straight Omegaverse novels in 2019. Meanwhile in East Asia, Omegaverse has become a popular trope in BL (Boys Love) books and comics. This brings us to Couple or Not, an apparently genuine Chinese Omegaverse TV series whose first trailer is going viral on Twitter:

The English subtitles here aren’t great, but the general gist of this trailer is that a guy from our universe swaps places with his Omegaverse counterpart, kind of like an isekai protagonist. In the Omegaverse, he’s an omega—and he’s married to a man he knows IRL.

There’s also an mpreg storyline, featuring scenes where the main characters discuss pregnancy and alpha/omega dynamics. So this does appear to be a real teaser, unlike the viral “concept trailer” for another Omegaverse-inspired series called Desire, which doesn’t include any original footage of actors playing the lead roles.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s hard to find much solid information about Couple or Not right now, including its creative team and when (or if) it will be available to stream. While Chinese production companies film plenty of TV shows adapted from adult-rated queer/danmei fiction—the most famous being The Untamed, an international hit on Netflix—these shows face intense censorship. This ranges from shows having to restrict queer content to subtextual hints, to being fully blocked from airing in China.

Over the past couple of years, a couple of prominent BL series have been filmed and then mothballed without ever seeing the light of day. Couple or Not and its source material are far less well-known, but at present, there’s speculation among English-speaking danmei/BL fans that a show like this might be released on an overseas streamer instead, with no real intention of airing in China in the first place.

The idea of Omegaverse being a viable TV genre is pretty wild in itself. Outside of fanfic/BL circles, this subgenre is still a target of mockery, and most Omegaverse media is too NSFW and kinky to become mainstream entertainment. At the same time, it’s a potentially unique phenomenon in terms of modern pop culture.

While Omegaverse fiction draws inspiration from pre-existing sources like werewolf erotica and mpreg fanfic, its worldbuilding is both complex and specific—and was generated through collaboration instead of being invented by a single writer. Its creators published their work under pseudonyms, playing in the same sandbox without necessarily interacting with each other at all. And a little over a decade after those first Omegaverse fanfics appeared online, that worldbuilding is now recognizable enough to form the basis for a TV drama.

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*First Published: Mar 20, 2023, 12:41 pm CDT