Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Legend of the Blue Sea: Halfway Review

Unlike its predecessor You From Another Star, Legend of the Blue Sea isn't the sort of drama to immediately hook you in. It's more reminiscent of the writer's previous works (Queen of Reversals comes to mind), which take a handful of episodes to fully drop in its narrative and work its characters' magic on the viewers. Thus, while I remained ambivalent on the show at episode 3, at episode 10 I can say I'm fully 100% invested in watching Heo Joon Jae and our resident mermaid Shim Chung (and even more so their Joseon counterparts) get the happy ending they deserve.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Lonely and Shining Goblin: Episodes 1-6 Review

There's a total alchemy to this show, which has swept me up and makes me feel for the moments, both grand and small, around its star goblin. Gong Yoo has never been better, and what a role this is, with plenty of pathos and humor up for him to showcase. The other characters, from Eun Tak to the Reaper and Sunny, are also more or less likable and interesting in their own way, but there's no question that this is the story of one man and his quest for love and a perfectly human ending.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Drama Updates: The K2, Jealousy Incarnate, Scarlet Heart Ryeo

I know it's been quite some time since my last post - but that certainly isn't because I'm not watching. In fact, I've racked up quite a view list, especially with the currently airing dramas, and felt it was about time to share my thoughts on a few of these - The K2, Jealousy Incarnate, and Scarlet Heart Ryeo.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Family's Honor: Episodes 1-4 Early Impressions

Family's Honor (or Glory to the Family) has been on my to-watch list for literally years as the reviews are almost universally positive, but it's taken me this long to make the first foray into it. The main issues holding me back were the 54-episode length (the longest drama I've ever finished to date has been the 31-episode Queen of Reversals), and its status as a "family drama" - I can't name a single one of these that I've actually enjoyed or watched more than a few episodes of. I don't like secondary couples or side characters as a whole, since usually their only purpose is to steal time away from the leads and fill up the broadcast time slot. Unfortunately, secondary characters are basically the foundation upon which family dramas are built - each relationship needs to be given equal screentime, regardless of whether or not they're fundamentally interesting to watch, because the story length and format requires it.

At any rate, I felt it was finally time to give this a try, as to be honest I've missed seeing Park Shi Hoo on the screen (Neighborhood Hero was poorly written to the point of being unwatchable). While I wanted to love this show, unfortunately it didn't repeal my disappointment in family dramas and features a cast of characters that I just can't bring myself to care for. I'm calling it quits after four episodes, and wanted to share a summary of the story and my thoughts on what I did get through.

Friday, July 22, 2016

W - Two Worlds: Episodes 1-2 Review

I was worried that W wouldn't live up to its hype, but the first two episodes totally met and exceeded expectations. I love nearly everything about this series so far, from the suspenseful story to the snazzy directing and perfect soundtrack. The story is the standout so far, and I'd expect nothing less from the writer of Queen In Hyun's Man and Nine. It dishes out plenty of suspense balanced with an intriguing mix of characters and perfectly placed meta references. The seemingly absurd premise of a comic book world coming to life feels grounded and thrilling, and already has me so curious to see what happens next. All in all, a very solid outing for the series.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Drama trends that need to stop: Casting significantly younger actresses with older actors

There's one awful "trend" in the Korean dramaverse that seems to have exploded this year - the casting of much younger, sometimes even below legal age actresses across from much older actors in romantic roles. This is now rampant to the point where I've nearly lost count of how many there have been in this year alone. It's also something that I'm growing ever more irritated and disturbed by, and wish will stop soon.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Doctors: Episodes 1-4 Thoughts

I am obsessed with this show right now. Even though I'm not the biggest Park Shin Hye or Kim Rae Won fan, the combination of the redemption-and-satisfaction loaded storyline with strong characters that have killer chemistry is almost too good to be true. I was gripped within the first ten minutes, and four episodes later am fighting off the urge to rewatch the earlier episodes.

I just love everything about this drama, from the plot arc which features plenty of reversals of fortune and interesting characters, to the slightly forbidden but undeniably powerful romance, to the fact that here's finally a story that features an impressively competent yet sympathetic female lead. Everything else, from the perfect OST, the cute second lead, the frenemies dynamic between the leading ladies, the too awesome grandma and the kickass style Park Shin Hye is rocking, is just icing on the cake. I'm wary of whether this show can sustain the momentum for a full 20 episodes, but certainly hope to be proven wrong.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Oh Hae Young Again: First Impressions

This is a story that you'll either love or hate depending on whether you buy into its premise. For me, the overarching story of Eric's character somehow destroying Oh Hae Young's fiancee and causing him to break off the wedding the day before due to a name confusion, combined with all the supernatural coincidences between them (e.g., Eric's visions, their coincidental meet-ups at the bar, then as neighbors) are just too much for me to take seriously. It's that interesting combination of a drama that's trying to be heartfelt and realistic but paired with some of the most absurd storytelling I've ever seen. However, I will say that the dynamic between our leads is fairly cute, and now at episode 3, the characters are finally starting to grow on me. It's not enough to keep me watching, but it does make me understand the show's popular appeal.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Page Turner: Episodes 1-2 Review

Page Turner wasn't a drama I originally had any intention of checking out, as I've never been big on the high school genre and also have never been a massive fan of either Ji Soo or Kim So Hyun. But I kept hearing things about how inspiring the show is, and as I could certainly use more of that in my life, decided to give it a go. And I have to say, it's a pretty darn good watch so far, with a compelling cast of characters and a story that's interesting but not at all over-dramatized. True to this writer's creds, the opening episode is almost immediately addictive and really gets you invested in its cast of characters. I also think the show is buoyed by its short length of only three episodes, because it means the story has to continually clip forward without the typical lulls of longer dramas.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Answer Me 1988: Finale Thoughts

Finally, an Answer Me series with the mystery husband of my choice! Third times the charm and as exaggerated as this may sound, it feels so, so good to get the end couple you've been rooting for. I can say with certainty now that while people might claim who the husband is doesn't matter, it totally does. After all, when you sink over 30 hours of your life into a show, you're looking for a payoff that's satisfactory and squeal-worthy, which you can only have if the guy you're rooting for gets the girl. Plain and simple.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Spotlight: Movie Review

The best movie I saw in 2015 is without a doubt the journalism-centered drama Spotlight. To be honest, I only chose to see it because all the other films on my list (The Revenant, The Big Short, Star Wars) were sold out on Christmas day. But wow am I glad that things worked out and that I gave this movie a chance. I would even go so far as to call this a must-see.