Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Dramas I Adored

Happy New Year! This final part of my year-end review series is short, but full of things that that I honestly have enjoyed watching from beginning to end, which are surprisingly rare to find these days. You'll note that my favorite shows have started shifting from traditional K-drama fare to the more serialized western shows, which I haven't engaged this much in for years. For these, I reviewed my thoughts on the season(s) that aired this past year:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Dramas I Dropped like a Log

Part 3 of the review series includes those dramas I took a few looks at and zoomed away from. One thing I've learned over time is that if after ~3 episodes a drama fails to get you in the heart, it likely never will. I may not have gotten that far with all of the ones here, but I think it's safe to say I won't be returning for more:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 Dramas I wish I hadn't wasted so much time on

We all have these, right? This is different from plain disappointing dramas, and in many cases, far worse. These are the shows I either never connected with from the beginning but for some reason forced myself through for far too long, or ones that I just look back on and want to burn from my brain. There were a number this year, some of which are viewed in a similar light by the drama-watching community, others of which are raved about like there's no tomorrow. Anyways, to the drama regrets of 2012:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gossip Girl: Series Finale Thoughts

Just finished the series finale, and was pleasantly surprised by how the show wrapped up. I mentioned before that the series had started getting derailed, especially this season with the nonsensical and often unbelievably outlandish twists. This was unfortunately true until the end (ahem, demise of Bart Bass), but the final few minutes and reveal of Gossip Girl recaptured my attention and left me smiling. (Spoilers ahead)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cheongdam-dong Alice: Episode 8

Oh Se Kyung. How much further must you go with this plan of yours? Can't you see a chance for honesty and trust when it comes, rather than continuing to wade in a path of lies and deception? Our heroine's gone further down the rabbit hole of her marry-rich plot, and has made it clear she puts highest priority on the fake, guaranteed route over the slightly riskier, truthful one. I'm conflicted because we finally get to see a truly non-Candy, immoral heroine in dramaland, but she's not exactly as I'd hoped. I don't mean in terms of the deception, which I can understand, but more in terms of why she continues to cheat her way through when a much cleaner path stands waving its arms in front of her.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cheongdam-dong Alice: Episode 7

Alright, Se Kyung just lost almost all the good points she gained in the previous episode. We all knew she was determined in her goal, but it's one thing to hear it stated, and quite another to see her stomp in poor Park Shi Hoo's face because of it. I can't even say I completely dislike her, because she's at least reluctant about her actions. I am very curious on how she'll be able to recover from the face of her own selfishness, both personally and to the audience. All in all though, a very satisfying episode as usual, with steady progression and some long-awaited reveals.

Book Review: Insurgent

I literally spent ~6 hours straight today reading Insurgent cover-to-cover. Was it because it was that exciting? Sadly, no, but I'd put it off for so long already and felt like I needed to just get it over with. There were some gripping moments and a wonderful concluding arc that got me very excited for the next book, but as a whole I just didn't feel quite as drawn-in as I did with Divergent.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Disappointing Dramas of 2012

This year, instead of doing a single mega-year-end review, I'm dividing the dramas I watched into categories to review separately. First up are the dramas that sadly failed to deliver, or as I call them, ones with "fast starts" that eventually peter away. The majority of these are Korean, unsurprisingly since these were what I watched most of, but later reviews will include more shows from other regions.

Some of these I dropped, but a large number I forced myself through due to residual affection, all the way to the disappointing end. There's no particular order to this, but here you go:

Monday, December 17, 2012

King of Dramas: Episodes 1-5

I suppose it's time to do at least a preliminary assessment of this drama, considering it's currently my header and all. I haven't been able to progress further, but it does sit on my wait list for marathoning through once I get the time. I had very high expectations going into this because of all the positive comments online. It's not the type of drama I'd watch otherwise, since I'm not interested in the premise (especially not after what I saw of On Air), the male lead doesn't appeal to me, and I'm only somewhat fond of the female actress. It's been interesting enough so far, but I'm not sure it warrants all the hype.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cheongdam-dong Alice: Episodes 5-6

These past two episodes of CA weren't as outlandishly hilarious as the previous ones, but I loved every minute of it. For once, a drama has managed to successfully fuse humor with character progression and depth. We continue to see Seung Jo's nuttiness, but it's counteracted by a visible undercurrent of compassion, sadness, and persisting love for those around him. He's definitely gone through the wringer, both from his gold-digger ex-wife and his outwardly hostile father. It lends perspective to his eccentricities, and starts to dig into the person he is underneath all that. Yet what really makes these two episodes stand out is that Se Kyung is finally rising to meet him, demonstrating a complex, conflict-rich character core of her own.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cheongdam-dong Alice: Episodes 1-4

I just couldn't skip out on the new Park Shi-hoo drama, right? So the original plan was to wait until a good chunk of this had already aired before diving in. BUT I have no self control when it comes to my favorite leading man, and ended up marathoning all four episodes this week. And guess what - I think this is my new favorite show :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Beauty and the Beast: Episodes 2-7

Ok, so somewhere along the way this show went from a spectacularly corny first episode to becoming a rather addicting, fun piece. I think episode 7 was the major turning point for me, in that I'm actually eagerly waiting for this week's new episode. I have a weakness for alter egos with hidden soft spots (e.g., Hulk never hurting Betty), and I'm intrigued by the similar set-up they have here.