Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review 2014: A Year of Non-Completions

With the new year almost upon us, it's time to look back over all the dramas I partook in for 2014. This year resulted in the most non-completions of dramas yet. I feel like I watched a bajillion shows, but when I actually try to think of what was finished, I have trouble recalling. Turns out, that's because there were only three of those! This was the year of drama-dropping, where cute stories eventually resorted to cliches and needless angst while initially intriguing plots grew weary and repetitive.

But despite that, I had a fun time sampling the year's offerings and remain continually hopeful of finding the next satisfying watch to rave and rant over on this blog. Unfortunately (or perhaps happily?) my "To-Watch" list is growing impossibly massive due to the sheer volume of dramas that came out this year. I expect to be doing lots of catch-up watching well into 2015, but for now, let's discuss the many shows I did get to.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Healer: Episodes 1-6 Thoughts

Healer is another of those shows that falls in the enjoyable middle of the road for me. I can see why there's so much buzz (plenty of prettiness, slick action, and an intriguing backstory), and while I appreciate all of these elements, I'm still short of being completely enamored with the show. This is the first Ji Chang Wook drama I've seen, and I find him a doable young talent, though without quite enough gravitas for me to take him completely seriously. Similarly, I like Park Min Young here, but am not finding anything particularly exciting or unique about her portrayal of Young Shin. It's almost a formula by now for her to play an idealistic female character surrounded by political corruption and more compelling male leads, and while I can see improvements in her acting, I'm still not convinced by her characters.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Miss Granny: Movie Review

Miss Granny took me by surprise, and is the first Korean movie I've fully enjoyed since Hello Ghost. There was so much heart and plenty of humor wrapped into the fantastical premise of a woman in her 70s returning to her 20-year-old body. I do feel like the film fell just short of being great, in that there were still plenty of cliches and the story didn't quite push as far as I think it could of on its premise, but the highlights definitely overcame the shortcomings. And while the ending is along the lines of what you'd expect, there was a wonderful cameo / twist that managed to make me laugh and feel satisfied.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pinocchio: Post-Episode 6 Thoughts

Unsurprisingly, Pinocchio has remained a steady treat to watch, and is currently the only drama I'm live-following. As I mentioned in my initial review, this is a story that clearly has its tracks laid out and is riding at a steady, engaging momentum. I'm not at all surprised it won the ratings battle, and I expect the ratings to continue to grow. I'll say though that the romance is still not terribly compelling for me, and is actually only a small portion of why I'm watching. I'm much more invested in the Choi family (love Dad and Grandpa) as well as the new reporter arc and revenge backstory. There's so much good tension and rich characterization all around that to be honest the romance feels like a throwaway drama necessity, which adds some interesting angst but mainly feels like a too-familiar side dish.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Liar Game Reborn: Movie Review

This was a terrible idea. Not so much the story, which is based completely on one of the rounds in the source manga, but just the whole attempt to revamp Liar Game without Kanzaki Nao. I had no idea this sequel was even out until someone commented on my last post, but it was released in 2012. Despite my skepticism of the actress switch and my general disappointment with the 2010 movie, Liar Game: The Final Stage, I couldn't not watch Shota return to his career-defining role as Akiyama. Unfortunately, I could barely sit through half of it, and wouldn't recommend this to even the most ardent Liar Game fans.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pinocchio: Episodes 1-2 Thoughts

Pinocchio's premiere episodes were an easy, breezy watch that managed to avoid feeling stale and boring even during the childhood flashbacks. The hours literally zipped by, which is a pleasure I haven't felt from a drama in a while. That said, I'm not yet completely hooked, and I (fortunately) don't have that sense of dread at having to wait another week for the next episodes. I'm curious as to what comes next, and more than eager to move onto the adult portion of this show, but I'm not passionately won over. It's still early though, and the plot is clearly solid despite being largely predictable. The biggest question for me was whether I would like Park Shin Hye in this, the answer which is mixed.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why It's Ok to Compare Remakes

This post has been on my mind for a few weeks now, as the seemingly growing popularity of remakes in Korea has thrown out inevitable drama comparisons and criticisms of those comparisons all over the net. I admit to being very much on the pro-comparison camp, particularly when it comes to my favorite stories. You can see that many of my posts (including Liar Game, FTLY, and Hana Yori Dango) have substantial bits of comparison built in, and I've always enjoyed reading other people's opinions of one version versus another. I like the ability to cross-analyze and dissect a drama, and in my view re-tellings are by design meant to encourage relative evaluation.

It's also come to my attention that there's this rising backlash against making comparisons. This anti side argues that it's annoying to read comments referencing other versions, that dramas should be appreciated as distinct and special snowflakes, that we should judge everything as if it exists in a vacuum. I think that's a nice little idealistic message to tout around and pull out as needed to reprimand comparisons, as if all comparisons are naughty schoolchildren that need to be disciplined and taught what's proper (in this case, to not exist). And as you might tell, it's also a side that I fundamentally disagree with and believe to be far more harmful than positive to the discussion community.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Liar Game (Korea): Episodes 5-6 Thoughts

Before I do the formal review, I just wanted to say that nobody should be taking Woo Jin's psuedo-drama-psychology at face value. I've attended a talk on human deception by a former criminal investigator, and she entirely debunked common myths like liars have poor eye contact or that liars will tend to look to the left. In fact, evidence suggests that liars are more likely to make direct eye contact. So take what you see with a massive grain of salt, because people who lie aren't always going to be so obviously squirming in their seats.

That said, while I generally enjoy this drama (it's the only one I'm following right now, as you can tell from the LG-centric posts recently), I don't think it's anywhere near as good as the hype warrants, plus there's some pretty big frustrations I have with the handling of this. Perhaps those new to this story are able to better enjoy the shock factor and therefore remain highly impressed, but I often find my attention bleeds away during the hour-long episodes. These past two episodes reflect that. The Reinstatement Game was fairly well-adapted relative to the previous games, but for some reason I had a harder time buying the base premise for this game, and am far from infatuated with any of the characters.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Liar Game (Korea): Episodes 3-4 Thoughts

Minority game is probably one of my favorite rounds in the entire Liar Game series. It's so cleverly devised and also features one of the best Akiyama reveals of the whole series. The question he asks, and the staged reveal of his vote - just so freaking swoon-worthy. For the few who haven't seen it, I still recommend you check out the original Japanese Liar Game to really get what I mean, because this version's editing and acting didn't quite do that scene full justice. As mentioned, I'm resigned to accept the Kdrama for what it is, but the pace and structure of this series still has much room to improve, though to be fair I do find it a decent drama.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Liar Game (Korea): Episodes 1-2 Thoughts

As you might know from my previous review of the Japanese Liar Game series, I'm an intense fan of the original series, which is probably in my top 5 all-time dramas list. I've read the manga as well, but my first exposure was the dorama, and honestly it's about as close to perfect as a TV show can get. I'm not talking just the story, which is itself clever and balanced with suspense and human complexity, but also just the entire atmosphere of watching - something dark, charged, almost hypnotically appealing in exactly the right beats. Not to mention, I could watch Matsuda Shota's Akiyama just sit around and still feel satisfied, as he was the perfect mix of brilliantly understated acting from a gorgeous actor playing a terrifically written character.

Rave aside, I went in knowing it'd be highly unlikely for the Korean version to be able to top this, though I'd hoped for it to at least match up in creating a unique viewing experience. My thoughts so far are that while the Kdrama is completely watchable, there's also some major flaws and discrepancies from the original content that keep me from feeling convinced of the drama's world, and thus from feeling in love with the show. Not to say that Liar Game in itself is a very believable plot, but at least the J-drama managed to create what felt like a complete and rich context, and to consequently make you believe that such a premise could potentially exist. This version, however, is just a bit sloppy and overcomplicated, which leaves me disappointed.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dramas Update: What I'm watching and what I've dropped for August

I thought it might be fun to do a regular series of posts where I update you on what I'm most eagerly watching every week and what hasn't worked out. Here's the August update:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Records of the Night Watchman: Thoughts as of Episode 8

Why am I still watching this show? I'll put it out there that this is visibly poor quality fare, though clearly I'm having trouble parting ways with it. Records is that unfortunate trifecta of horrible writing, weak acting, and janky directing. It alternates between boring me to the point of fast-forwarding and keeping me amused by the unintentional hilarity. I don't recommend it, but as of episode 8, I also intend to continue with it a few more episodes.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Temptation: Series Review as of Episode 12

Not sure what came over me, but I marathoned all the aired episodes of this show over the past two days. Qualitatively, it's far from great, with a hammy feel that distracts from the melodramatic story at its heart. The OST is laughably excessive with the heavy instrumentals, the writing is thisclose to being completely ridiculous, and the acting fairly mediocre. But what can I say, I like non-traditional drama stories, especially when they feature the woman as the one with the power.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Discovery of Love: An Irritating First Impression

Well, I guess not all dramas can be a hit, and Discovery of Love is a complete miss for me. For one, who else has realized that this is pretty much a rehash of I Need Romance 2012 for Jung Yumi? We've got two of the former franchise's members with Jung Yumi and Sung Joon, and the same staid tale of former lovers who broke up for whatever reason and are now on the path to reconciliation (but of course only after twisting with a perfect second male lead).

While I only saw a couple episodes of INR 2012, it was enough for me to immediately recognize that Jung is pretty much photocopying her previous role here. Everything from the fast talking, the circular banter, and the pouty, complaining faces, is identical. I couldn't stand her character in INR, and for the same reasons (and more), I can't stand her character here. Bleh, this girl seriously leaves a bad taste.

Surplus Princess: Episodes 1-2 Thoughts

TVN is really doing it right, and I'm happy to report that Surplus Princess is a surprisingly fun, frothy piece that blends mature, sexy humor with a whimsical fairytale and love story. The story itself is a derivation of the classic Little Mermaid tale, but with plenty of silly and fun twists thrown in to keep us amused. The biggest twist, as seen immediately in the order of characters on the poster above, is that the "prince" isn't the endgame - nope, the destined love for our mermaid instead falls to our average Joe, non-chaebol hero, which is truly a refreshing turn.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Three Musketeers: First Impressions

It's not often that I decide to write a post after watching only one episode, but holy cow this is an impressive outing for The Three Musketeers. I'll admit, I went in pretty skeptical, as I'm not a major fan of Jung Yong Hwa nor of the bromancy-sort of sageuks. But this show just does everything right. The tone is absolute perfection, managing to balance out the humor with just the right level of gravitas for me to still take the story seriously. It leaves me wondering, what can't this writer-director dual take on?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dropping It's Okay, It's Love after Episode 7

In many ways, this drama has been a great disappointment, although I have to say the strange first episode should have warned me for the draggy illogic to come. After episode 4's powerful clincher, I could have sworn this would be my new favorite drama. But while I admire its thoughtful dialog and unconventional plot as much as anyone, I'm just not a fan of the core story and the relationship it centers around. Hae Soo and Jae Yul, as individually unique as they are, don't spark for me as a couple, and the story itself has played out both predictably and painfully slowly.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fated to Love You (Korea): Post-episode 12 thoughts

Well, 11-12 has to be two of the most miserable hours I've spent yet in dramaland. Depressing and completely out of whack with reality, yet hard to look away when you've made me care for the characters, damnit. I have realized that this version of the show does its worst on parts that require it to simultaneously preserve and veer away from the original FTLY. The first example was that drunken one-night stand, which involved making Min Young pluck a random bottle out of a fountain and drink it like that was totally rationale. The second example is all the crap we just sat through in episode 12.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Marriage, Not Dating: Disappointed First Impressions

I know this show's been in vogue among all the rom-com fans, but at three episodes in, I've decided to call it quits. Something about this drama literally makes me feel exhausted when I watch. It might be the mile a minute nonsensical dialog, or the general lack of rhythm and logic in the plot and scenes. Regardless, I'm just not feeling it, and watching the heroine flail about tires me out. This is overacting at its finest (and most excessive), and while I'll give her some latitude given the overall silly story, I'm just unable to watch it any longer.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's Okay, It's Love: First Impressions

I'm still mixed as to whether I really like this drama, but it's clearly well thought out and intriguingly different from most shows on air. I hardly care about the central romance, which for reasons I'll explain annoys more than interests me. What keeps me invested are the leads as individual characters, and especially Jo In Sung's slightly on-edge, veneered leading man. He embodies so many emotions and complexities, and feels like a raw but real person who does things that are unexpected yet satisfying and authentic. The story for me is about his journey, both in the past and present. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Trot Lovers: A perfect midpoint closure - Post-episode 8 thoughts

I was skeptical, but this series has well-exceeded my expectations, and took a turn for the sweet and adorable over the past few episodes. I'm even completely bought into the OTP and their comfortable chemistry. It's not often that I like both sides of a couple (as evidenced by my previous reviews), so it's a rare treat when it just works. Combined with the fun music (yes, even trot has grown on me) and the zany, humor-rich plot, consider me a complete Trot Lovers fan.  

The Joseon Gunman: Visually impressive but romantically flat as of episode 8

The title pretty much says it all - this is one gorgeous drama, but unfortunately I've resigned myself to not caring a whit about Soo In and Yoon Kang together. As a whole the drama's so darned slick that I can't help but watch and wish I liked it more, even when half of the story doesn't resonate much. I'm not sure I can see how they're going to drag out the rest of the story for the full 20 episodes (like really, he knows the merchant is behind everything, so why the delay to action?) but for now I'll just appreciate the music and scenes of Lee Jun Ki in various guises.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fated to Love You (Korea): Frustrating, predictable, but addicting as of episode 6

They're definitely keeping the show thisclose to the original in terms of script and character interactions. I suppose that makes it easier in that you have a tried and true story, but it's also frustrating when as the viewer you have to rewatch all the portions of the original that you didn't like, and have the dread of knowing exactly what's to come. This also makes the drama feel like a complete throwback, with the traditional sorts of early-2000s dramaland misunderstandings keeping the plot afloat. It frustrates me, but it is admittedly an effective hook once you've established investment in the characters. As of episode 6, this drama's all about Lee Gun for me, with Kim Mi Young as the vase that's there because she has to be, but about as substanceless as they come.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Joseon Gunman: Episodes 1-4 Thoughts

This really is The Princess' Man v2, and had me glued to the screen for pretty much that reason alone. Joseon Gunman features almost exactly the same story arc as its predecessor, from the innocent romantic build-up to the inevitable family tragedy, revenge, and torn love. It also shares many of the same side actors, a beautiful operatic soundtrack, and similarly gorgeous cinematography. If I'd known it would be such a close sibling to TPM, I might have been more excited for its premiere rather than overlooking it until now. After marathoning the past four episodes, I'm not yet fully in love with the show, but I'm generally hooked and have faith that it will build-up into something incredible.

Trot Lovers: Episodes 3-4 Thoughts

I was a bit surprised at how dark they took this set of episodes. I suppose we needed that in order to force some changes in our very immature hero, but the bleakness came so unexpectedly and with such harshness that I wasn't sure what to make of it. Luckily things lightened up in episode 4, and generally I'm still charmed by the series and willing to wait and see how things play out.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fated to Love You (Korea): First Impressions

Two episodes in and I'm completely sold on this drama. It's nutty to the point of surreal, but even that somehow works to provide a fluffy, dreamy watch that makes me smile. The original Taiwan FTLY was one of my drama addictions back when it first aired, though I admit to growing weary of the excessive dramatics by about midway through. I'm really hoping the Kdrama version steers clear of all that, but even so I think the premise is fairly unique (not often that you get one night stands in dramas), and I can already tell that I'm going to like Jang Nara much better than Chen Qiao En as the female lead. So far FTLY is sweet, romantic, and hints at much potential ahead.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Trot Lovers: First Impressions

Hurrah, Ji Hyun Woo is back to dramas! From the two episodes of Trot Lovers that aired, it's nice to see that he's still as charismatic as ever, though this time with an immature character who's a far cry from the perfectly charming Kim Boong Do. I like that he's stretching his range, but I also predict there's going to be far less fanfare over Trot Lovers and over his hero here than there was with Queen In Hyun. TL is an odd, almost too-boisterous drama, and I'm not sure I'd have bothered with it had anyone other than him had been cast as the lead. However, the premise is charming once we get past all the set-up in episode 1, and at the very least I expect to be entertained all the way through.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Miss Korea: Series Review

It's taken me a while to get around to doing a comprehensive review of this show, and I admit to not being able to finish the final two episodes. Miss Korea's a drama that leaves me conflicted as to how to ultimately grade it. On one hand, there's no question that it's of solid quality, with notable acting, a story and cast of characters with surprising depth, and fluid directing plus one of the best soundtracks of the year. But despite all of these "gem" factors, this was never a story that got me in the heart, and I have fairly significant issues with some of the characterizations, especially Ji Young's in the later parts of the series.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fruits Basket: Manga Review

Fruits Basket is one of the select few manga series I've finished completely, and even more amazingly, reread. When I first picked it up, I was admittedly put off by the art (yes, "pretty" as it supposedly is). There really is such a thing as too-big manga eyes, and FB definitely went overboard with that. But the story was cute, so I stuck with it and once Kyo got involved I was hooked. Initially, the series didn't seem like much more than your typical romantic, meaningless high school manga. But once the story got into full swing, you start to see that it has surprising dimension, with characters that are each deeply complex with their own histories, tragedies, and motivations. It's a fascinating read for a rainy day, because as sad as some of the story arcs are, at the end of the day this is a tale of optimism. Note some spoilers ahead.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hotel King: Post-Episode 9 Thoughts

This show is complete crack at this point. I can't even - the feels, the fauxcest, the incredible chemistry - everything's perfect. I think I like Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae better here than in My Girl, because there's so many more stakes embedded in the premise and their interactions are tinged with this layer of forbidden longing that makes everything so much better. I'm even glad this is a longer show, because that'll really allow it to milk the multiple layers of conflict.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A New Leaf: First Impressions

I'm trying to stop starting so many new dramas, but was curious enough about A New Leaf to go ahead and check it out. So far, I like it. It's not entirely addicting, but it's cute and a fairly low-commitment show. The OTP doesn't exactly get me in the heart, but I can see some chemistry and promise.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mad Men: Season 6 Review and Season 7 Speculations

There's something raw and straightforwardly appealing about Mad Men. If I were to analyze each component of the show, I wouldn't necessarily be very impressed. But it's the combination together that creates an overall flawless, entertaining watch. Every scene feels so mundane in isolation, from the office politics to the domestic dissatisfaction, but combined are a heavy force that tie beautifully together. I'm quite sad that only 14 episodes stand from now until the finale, but am even more curious about how things will end. I predicted back after season 4 that there couldn't possibly be a happy ending given the rough circumstances surrounding Don, and I'm so far sticking to that thesis. The show is definitely not one that's afraid to go dark, and I don't think they will hold anything back in the final moments.

Hotel King: First Impressions

I was as excited as anyone else for the My Girl reunion, and so far the lead's chemistry is living up to expectations. Unfortunately the same can't be said for everything else about the show. There's a lot of politicking so far, with the typical melodramatic trappings of conspiracies, evil villains and overdramatics. Episode 1 was easily one of the worst Kdrama episodes I've ever seen, though thankfully episode 2 redeemed the show and left me interested enough to continue watching.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cunning Single Lady: Second-Lead Syndrome as of Episode 10

The last two episodes have done it - I've jumped completely onto the Seung-hyun ship. Unfortunately, it's clear that the drama is sticking to Ae Ra - Jeong Woo, but I'm going to soak up Seung-hyun's presence while it's here. As a character, he's just such a better fit for Ae Ra. He's self-confident and already understands her strengths and weaknesses in a way Jeong Woo still struggles to do. It's seriously regretful that she's trapped into the single-love-her-whole-life fallacy.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wonderful Days: Episodes 1-2 Initial Impressions

Out of curiosity regarding the positive reviews and a residual love for Kim Hee Sun following Faith, I checked into the first couple episodes of Wonderful Days. To put it upfront, I have no intention to continue watching even though I can see why it's popular. It's a heartfelt, borderline makjang family drama with a huge cast and appealing lead characters. But it didn't quite touch me, and I'm not committed enough to sit through tens of episodes to see where this all goes.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cunning Single Lady: Episodes 3-6 Thoughts

The past few episodes of this show have in some ways confirmed my love for the show, but in others cooled my obsession with our divorced couple. Episodes 3-6 really dove into the many issues still resting between them, and honestly confused me in terms of whether getting back together is really the best answer. It's clear that both parties are very different people now, so it'll be hard to use their former relationship as an argument for the future. Additionally, the second-lead siblings were really given a chance to shine, and I'd almost be fine with an alternate pairing in the end.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Love from the Star: Hilarious Washington Post Article & Series Thoughts

I'm currently still a few episodes from the end of the exorbitantly popular My Love from the Star, but found this Washington Post article describing China's complaints on why they can't produce a drama as good as South Korea. It was too hilarious to not share. It's a question I've pondered previously, for given China's large drama budgets and greater number of producers / actors, why is there such a negative production differential? The interviewees of the Post seem to think the answer lies in censorship and claim that Korean dramas are at core a representation of traditional Chinese values (the latter's a bit of a stretch and frankly makes no sense). 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cunning Single Lady: First Impressions

Definitely made a mistake starting this drama so early in its airing. I adore Cunning Single Lady (aka Sly and Single Again) so far, and it's got all the makings of an addicting and fun show. I like Lee Min Jung's quirky heroine, Joo Sang Wook is the sexiest I've ever seen him, and I'm already getting a bit of second-lead syndrome. This is the first of the exes-getting-back-together shows I've seen, and I'm surprised by how well the strange plot device works here.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Let's Eat: Episodes 1-14 Thoughts

My favorite drama as of late has been the oddly addicting, food-porn filled Let's Eat, starring Lee Soo Kyung and Yoon Doo Joon, aka BEAST (I still don't understand the stage name, but going with it). It still has the mellow, slice-of-life feel that attracted me initially, but now the romance is taking center-stage and I'm pretty much hooked.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Watching TW Dramas: In a Good Way

The final part of my recent TW drama foray is the popular In a Good Way. Frankly, I was pretty underwhelmed, and truly the standards in drama-making in TW have slipped considerably over the past few years. It doesn't feature the typical exaggerations, but instead is filled with cheesy dialog and a painfully slow pace. I was horribly bored by the opening episodes, and would much rather spend my time on zippier, better-produced K-dramas.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Watching TW Dramas: Love Family

Part two of my Watching TW Dramas covers a more recent Chris Wang drama, Love Family, which is a fairly standard family drama, meaning multiple episodes and a fairly slow plot. I admit to not getting very far into this, and generally it suffers from all of the same issues I discussed in Part One. At least Chris looks good still.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Watching TW Dramas: Inborn Love

It all started with The Fierce Wife, which reminded me of just how much I missed Taiwan dramas and their music. That show also landed me with a major soft spot for Chris Wang, so I proceeded to track down some of his other dramas to fulfill the desire to see him onscreen. Unfortunately, most of these ended up as duds, because as great as Taiwan dramas can be, they also seem to feature the most annoying heroines possible. This is especially true in the campy rom-com genre, where somehow it's ok for the ladies to be psychotic, rude, and whiny while the men remain perfect and sane.

I'm going to do a series of initial reviews on the TW dramas I did look into, starting with Inborn Love. In pretty much all of these dramas to follow I have a bone to pick with the leading lady, and literally debated internally with myself on if watching the perfect guy was worth suffering through the annoyance of the shrill women. Unfortunately, the annoyance ultimately won out - in today's day of near-perfect K-dramas, there's no sense in wasting hours on such low-quality offerings.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Fierce Wife: Series Review

My most recent marathon drama was 2011's Taiwan hit, The Fierce Wife. I've long wanted to watch it because of its obvious similarities to one of my favorite series, Queen of Reversals (which interestingly aired at almost the same time), with the second-chance story of a woman finding happiness after divorce. QOR still holds the superior spot in my heart, but as far as dramas go I can completely understand TFW's popular appeal. It tells a far more realistic story of a relationship falling apart and of the repercussions, both for the original marriage and the affair. Overall, TFW features an intelligent script, impressive acting on all fronts, and a cast of multidimensional, likable characters across the board.