Drama grab bag

The usual round-up of what I’ve been watching recently. ;D

I Remember You
I quite like IRY, especially the mystery part of it. It’s not the ‘best drama evah’ but there is something soothingly whimsical about the show. It’s a pleasant watch and I like the way TPTB are keeping me guessing. We know, or shall I say, we are led to assume we know who is/are behind the murders. There are several contenders for the Bad Guys and it’d be very easy to dismiss the most prominent ones as ‘red herrings’ but as is often wont with this type of shows, you can never be absolutely sure. Sometimes the most obvious choice really IS the perpetrator. πŸ™‚ I’m still hoping they’ll keep the romance in the background as that does not interest me at all. I wouldn’t say the acting is anything to write home about but everyone is holding up their end equally well. No-one raises above the others or sticks out like sore thumb and it suits this type of ‘Korean Midsummer Murders’ quite well, I’d say.

Hidden Identity
How can a supposedly high octane drama be so boring? I tried to feel something for Hidden but all I got was resounding ‘bleh’. Show’s got plenty of shiny and hot air but nothing I can grab a hold on. It’s one of the least exciting action shows I’ve watched in recent years. The plot is mostly just stupid and these ‘experts’ are doing so many silly mistakes. Like, how many times have they now been caught while tailing someone? Then there’s the thing that for a ‘top-secret special team, whose identity isn’t known even within the police’, everyone and their dog seems to know who they are and where to find them. *headdesk* The cast is for the most part competent but how come it feels like everyone is just sort ot sleepwalking through? There’s no ‘feels’ for anyone, even Park Sung Woong hasn’t been able to convince me enough to care a whit.

Hello Franceska
OMG! This drama is hi-la-rious!! There have been SO many times I’ve laughed myself silly. Hello Franceska is a sitcom from 2005 about a group of vampires who have to pose as a family to fit in.

Romania, 2005. One of the last vampire families on earth decides to disguise themselves and live among humans until “the glory of their empire” revives. They are sent to different places all over the world that are considered safe by their leader.

Unfortunately this particular group boards a wrong ship and instead of Japan and a safe house waiting there, they end up in Korea. While trying to figure out what to do, they come across badly hurt Do Il (long story πŸ˜€ ) in a park and one of them takes a pity on his pleas of help and bites. Eventually the vamps manage to fool Do Il into housing them in his apt, only the place is too small and they end up as tenants in a more affluent part of Seoul (not that everything goes smoothly even with that). Their landlady turns out to be a gold digger who specialises in old geezers with short life expectancy, LOL! She is freaking hilarious! In fact, the whole show is full of hilarious types and I just love how it pokes fun at all sorts of things, including several kdrama tropes.

The vamp family itself consists of what I’d call ‘characters’. Do Il, the ‘father’ is basically a rather meek guy who works in a low pay position but he can be quite petty and does occasionally gets totally exasperated with his new family, especially with his ‘wifey’, the titular Franceska. I never knew Shim Hye Jin could be this funny! Her Fanceska looks and acts like someone right out of Addams Family, ha. She scares the bejesus out of most and is totally unsuited to work with people. It’s fun to see her try though. XD She does have a softer, more reletable side too. Kyun, the ‘son’ is pretty but as dumb as a post. Times were tough when he was young so all they could feed him was chicken blood. Hence he grew up as a total airhead. The leader of the group is the oldest of the vamps but unfortunately her small stature makes her look like a teenager, LOL! She is the ‘daughter’. The last member of the family is Elizabeth, or Ryu Won as she starts to call herself (played by Jung Ryu Won, heh). She is the most normal of the bunch so she is the one Do Il deems suiteble for a proper job. Her cover is that of ‘aunt’, Franceska’s younger sister. She is pretty so she has a string of suitors. Only, all are somewhat nuts. ;P

In a fun turnabout the vampires in this dramaverse don’t have any special abilities but neither do the usual vampy tropes like sunlight, garlic or crosses work either. They even eat the same food humans do and with a gusto too. *g* They are stronger than humans though. There’s a very good introduction + re-cap of the first two episodes @ dramabeans and like javabeans wrote in it,

It’s really more like NBC’s ’90s sitcom Third Rock From the Sun, about aliens living among humans. Because Hello Franceska is about vampires living as humans, and much of the humor comes from the fish-out-of-water situations of these characters who almost, but don’t quite, get the hang of human living.

The soundtrack is exellent!

Tenno No Ryoriban
I really like this jdrama. It’s uplifting and feel-good with an interesting backdrop of early 20th century Japan and there’s even a part of the plot happening in (actual) Paris. The attention to detail is very good and I like the characters, though I’m not actually sure how historically accurate they are. It’s a growth story about a childish and far too carefree boy growing up to be an upstanding and responsible man while finding his place in the world. The change is quite orgnic as he learns and grows along with his skils as a chef. Sato Takeru is best in the more quiet and emotionally charged scenes but he does have the unfortunate habit of occasionally overacting when doing the ‘impulsive and boisterous youth’ parts. Less is more in most cases. πŸ™‚

Shinya Shokudo
I was quite sad to say ‘good bye’ to this lovely and understated drama. There was nothing flashy about it and yet it left a lasting image that lingers for a long while. Shinya Shokudo is slice-of-life at it’s best; interesting characters, frequently inspiring stories, looks good and has great acting. I even liked the sondtrack a lot. Master is β™₯. ^^ A full package, as they say. The first season is the best of the three though. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the addition of more outside scenes in S3. Somehow I don’t think they quite fit but that may be just me being picky.

There’s now a Korean remake in the works and I hope they don’t ruin it. From what I’ve seen so far, it DOES look like they are at least trying to keep the feel of the original, even down to the title and tagline. I do approve of Kim Seung Woo as the Master and I am qurious to see which of the original characters they are going to keep as well.

I’m Home came to a satisfying end and all in all it was a nice feel-good drama which delivered just what it promised to. It was great seeing KimuTaku actually flexing his acting muscles for a change and not just coasting through. His before and after explosion Ieji’s were distinctly two different people and he did that with just very minor changes in how he acted and held himself. Even the look in his eyes differed. Kimura may not be as pretty as in his younger days but he’s still definitely got ‘it’ when it comes to screen presence and appeal. I’d love to see him play someone dangerous and hot because I’m pretty sure he’d more than nail it. XD

I’m not including My Beautiful Bride here as I’m planning on doing a separate post on it once I’ve had time to watch the first 4 episodes again with subs. It’s shaping up to be very good indeed.

18 thoughts on “Drama grab bag

  1. Pingback: Short Cuts | A Touch of Drama

  2. Ahhhh my love for Shinya Shokudo is boundless! So making my day you are loving it. I recall there was a twitter group chat and Dahee threw out Kim Gap Soo would make a perfect K Master. It stuck in my head since. I can’t remember if there ever was a Jdorama I adore remade into a respectable Kdrama, part is I usually do not have strong affection towards the very popular ones attracting a remake. Last I rem was Kekkon Dekinai Otoko and that was disgusting.

    Both my bff and a fav writer I fangirled most my life still refuse to watch the dorama because the original manga is that precious to them. If I ever set my mind to really learn Japanese, a reason is to read this Manga.

    • Shinya Shokudo is SO good and Kobayashi Kaoru is the perfect Master. Such a pity they don’t make more dramas like this in Japan anymore. Well, I can always rewatch. πŸ™‚

      I don’t know if you read my conversation with Junny but the first 2 epis of the k-remake kinda sucked. They missed all the key elements that make the original so memorable. The whole thing looked so staged and had none of the comfy feel of the jdrama.

  3. I feel the same way about I Remember You — i’m mostly drawn to the mystery and its take on the whole nature vs nurture, but not digging the romantic angle at all. I kinda wish Jang Nara’s character was tougher as i don’t really get a capable police vibe from her…

    I have just watched the first two eps of My Beautiful Bride and boy is it intriguing! Would love to read your thoughts on it =)

    • Well, kdramas don’t really have a grand track record when it comes to heroines in action/mystery shows. In the more lightweight ones like IRY they tend to be rather clueless, even those who start out more or less capable often turn into damsels in distress at some point. At least Jang Nara’s cop lady hasn’t yet crossed into annoying.

      As for MBB, the post is out. πŸ™‚

      • You’re right, i hated it when tough heroines become damsels in distress halfway through the show, but maybe because i’m also currently watching My Beautiful Bride that Jang Nara’s bumblingness is made more apparent when compared to Lee Si-young… But then they’re on different shows, and her character (with the entire investigation team) may be a good contrast to Seo In-gook’s geniusness.

        Yay! Will be off to read ^^

  4. We’ll know soon enough about the Korean remake of Shinya Shokudo. Midnight Diner is being subbed this moment on Viki. Still trying to find the movie Shinya Shokudo subbed in English.

    What is it about jTBC shows? I got sucked in by My Love Eun Dong and marathoned the first 10 episodes last week.

    Saw the first episode of Oh My Ghostess and it has promise. Hope it is as good as Master’s Sun.

    • Cheesh! I didn’t realise it was alredy airing last weekend. I’m going to check out the first 2 episodes today to see what’ll I make of it.

      I thought Oh My Ghostess was a bit slow and it wasn’t as comedic as I’d expected, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’ll see how things progress in the next few episodes.

      • I just saw the first episode of the k-remake of Shinya Shokudo. Mmm… I think the vibe is off. Kim Seung-woo is a good actor, and he somewhat feels like a Master, but he doesn’t have the Kobayashi Kaoru vibe. The restaurant looks like it got an upgrade a la Trainwreck Cantabile, so that’s not a good thing in my book. The customers… are loud, and kinda annoying. I dunno, Shinya Shokudo gave me a very warm and homely feeling, with stories I could relate to and always paired with food to make a subtle point. I am not feeling that subtlety in the k-remake.

        • Yup, that’s almost exactly what I thought too. I’ve watched both epis and it doesn’t have the right vibe at all, the warmth (you could almost bask in it πŸ™‚ ) of the original IS missing. It also looks so staged, all the way to the customers and their stories. I’m sure Shinya Shokudo was also filmed in a studio but it magically never felt like it was. Maybe because the restaurant and the immediate surroundings didn’t look so… idk, pristine? The Japanese actors are also much better. I loved all the quirky characters.

          Unfortunatly k-dramas tend to be pretty short on subtle, which imho is one of the reasons their remakes of jdramas never work properly.

          • I totally agree. The restaurant in the k-remake didn’t look like it could actually exist, whereas in the original, I had half a mind to trawl the entire Shinjuku for it. Episode 1 also had some horrible acting by that part-time jobs kid, and the story just feels kinda forced to me. The theme song for the k-remake is nice but the original’s is much more powerful.

            Will you be doing a post on this or are you not watching after two episodes?

          • Heh, I wanted that place to be real too. It was SO inviting. Shinya Shokudo is now one of my fave jdramas and I’ll probably re-watch parts of it every now and then, when I need something uplifting.^^

            I’ve dropped Midnight Diner, it just didn’t have what it takes. I’m probably going to give it a few lines in my next ‘grab bag’.

  5. I thought I’m Home could have benefited from an extra episode, since I felt the last ep was a bit rushed. I guess they had to wrap it like this given Ueto Aya’s pregnancy. It was nice seeing Kimura finally play a father and yes, you could feel the effort from him this time, which couldn’t really be said for some of his other stuff.

    • IDK, en extra epi might have dragged out some things as I think it did wrap up pretty nicely, all thread tied up at least to my satisfaction. πŸ™‚ Yup, I really liked Kimura here, it was good to see him actually act.

  6. How do you do it? Watching so many currently airing dramas at the same time! I’m waiting for your post on My Beautiful Bride. I am kinda interested in that one but there are so many mixed reviews out there.

    • LOL! I happen to have quite a bit of free time on my hands atm. Besides I’ve always been quite good at juggling several shows. I tend to rotate them so I’m almost always watching something, time permitting.

      MBB is definitely the most intriguing drama on air at the moment. It’s one of those where you have to pay attention or something vital is more than likely to slip by you. Hopefully I’m able to put something forward soonish.

  7. I was planning to watch HI but was in a dilemma as I was reading mixed views about it….your post has finalised the deal to drop this idea of starting it πŸ™‚
    I haven’t started IRY…looks like I can give it a try….but later as I’m already watching lots of shows right now…
    MBB looks great…I’m gonna add it to my plan…

    • I was expecting more from Hidden Identity, so it was disappointing for it to turn out to be so flat and boring. Sigh.

      IRY on the other hand is surprisingly appealing, mostly because of the way the mystery is written. If it was predominantly about the romance, I would have quite likely dropped it already. πŸ™‚

      Yeah, MBB has been pretty good so far. Not quite addicting but interesting in many ways.

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