Drama Grab Bag

I guess having a cold was good for something – I was able to play catch up with the dramas on my roster and check out some of the new offerings. 🙂

There’s already a post on Vampire Detective, so I’m not going to re-hash that. Dragons is on hold until I can muster up enough energy to marathon the last 10 epis or so.

I feel like I should be talking about Memory but even though I really liked the first 4 episodes, I don’t seem to find much to say at this point. I do think Memory is a solid drama with reassuringly competent writing and directing but that elusive ‘hook’ is still missing. Well, some shows just seem to need a little bit longer to find the proper flow. Memory may be one of those. I don’t really need to be blown out of my socks every time either. As long as the story manages to engage me in some way for the whole run, I’m happy. I am looking forward to watching the next two episodes later today, which should count as a positive. I just hope there won’t be too much courtroom drama in the works as that part of law shows usually bores me to tears.

Finished three of my jdramas and really liked all of them, even though they are very different in tone and execution.

Loved Hanako to Anne! There was just something so comfortable, warm and cosy about it, even though sniffling into my soggy tissues didn’t really help with the cold I was having, LOL! The later episodes had their share of woes and sad tidings, hence all the teary moments. Yup, I’m easily moved, given the right incentive.^^

Kaito Yamaneko proved to be SO much more than I originally thought. It was hilarious in places. The humour was at times definitely wonky, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny but underneath all the levity runs a more serious stream. The plot was twisty and it was hard to tell who was conning whom. The reveal at the end of ep 8 took me totally by surprise, which was great!! I really did not see that coming. The other twist at the end of the show I did guess, mostly because that was really the only possible option. What I like about Japanese crime shows on the whole, is that the baddies really are bad and there’s no teary final redemption for them. Even good guys tend to be more on the gray side, rather than of the “pure as driven snow” variety. This was true of almost everyone in Kaito Yamanko as well. The ending was left mostly open. For a 2nd season… maybe? Kame was such a hoot, he was totally letting go and immersing in the silliness that is the Yamane-san but I think he also nailed the more serious and gripping scenes. There was real hurt, even desperation in there. Though he wasn’t the only one doing good, the whole cast had their a-game on. I rather adored Team Yamaneko. If onely…

I’ve still the specials of Kita no Kuni Kara to watch but the drama itself was lovely. The simple, unhurried storytelling that probably feels too slow for most of the viewers today but gives one amply time to get to know each of the characters, even the supporting ones. It was almost like watching a documentary of the people in the little Hokkaido village. I grew fond of each and every one there and the kids were just so natural. It’s a pity that the video quality is not worthy of the lovely cinematography, showing the beautiful scenery in changing seasons. I grew to love the scenes they showed at the beginning of each episode.

Somewhere along the way I’ve also managed to pick up a tw-drama, Back to 1989. It’s nothing new or earth shattering, just your garden variety idol fluff but I like the setting and the characters. All the kids are endearingly earnest in their roles, though the acting is a bit all over the place. No-one sticks out too much and there’s blessedly little overacting or cutsey. The hapless hero Chen Che, a talented stock analyst, has words with his mother. They’ve had the same argument many times before – she refuses to tell him anything about his father. Frustrated at the whole thing, he leaves in a huff. It’s a stormy night and riding through an underpass he manages to overturn his fancy motorbike. He’s not badly hurt, just a little woozy but when he comes fully to, he finds out he is motorbikeless. An even bigger shock is that he has somehow landed in 1989, a year before he was born. Fiew lucky coincidences later he befriends his 20 year old mom and her friends. Some hi-jinks ensue but mostly it’s so far been a rather sweet story about everyday life of young people trying to find their footing in the adult world. It’s about their hopes, dreams, future prospects and of course – love. Although Chen Che’s inital insertion into the past goes pretty smoothly, he is still looking for a speedy way back, while also trying to figure out why he is there in the first place. Only, it’s starting to look more and more like he’s slowly but surely falling for his mom’s best friend Zhen Zhen. That won’t do, right? And what about the ‘who’s the daddy’ and why his mom never talks about him? She was a bright, happy girl before she got preagnant, so it must have been a shattering experience for her. I guess we’ll find out in due course. Ep 9 fully subbed and ready to go. 😀

Fiew thoughts on kdramas I tried out for a size but ended up giving das boot in the end.

I really liked the premise of Goodbye Mr. Black, which was supposed to be a take on Count of Monte Christo. Well, maybe it’s a veeeery distant relative. Drama took a diverging road already at ep 3 when the hero revealed to all and sundry that he was alive and kicking. That wouldn’t be a clincher per se, I don’t mind (very) loose adaptations, but the direction is very shoddy and editing is ridiculously bad. I had a hard time keeping track on timelines and locations, the transitons were so arbitrary and sudden. Can’t say the script is much to write home about either. At least the actors seemed to be doing their best, not that it helped any. Another one to the discard pile.

Jackpot… um… well, what should I say. I had no expectations, which is just as well as Show didn’t exactly blow me away with the awesome. The first epi was sorta, kinda ok, but there were already too many eyeroll-worthy elements and the excution was oddly theatrical. Oh, it’s beautifully shot but everything just felt so… staged. Many of the scenes were like they came with pointers of “A Meaningful Scene Here, Pay Attention!” attached. The underlining sure wasn’t subtle. A more discouraging feature is the total disconnect from the story and the characters. I didn’t care a whit after watching the 2nd epi either. There was even more eyerolling and I really couldn’t take seriously anything to do with the Fated Child. That ‘dramatic’ waterfall scene actually had me snorting in my tea. I don’t think that was the reaction they were aiming at. It wasn’t until later when I was reading some of the comments @ DB, when it dawned on me that this is the ‘Warrior Baek Dong Soo’ writer! I gave that one up about half way through from sheer frustration and from what I’ve read, his ‘Goddess of Fire’ was more of the same. I seriously doubt he’s improved since then. So, bye bye Jackpot.

Neighbourhood Lawyer Jo Deul Ho didn’t make the cut either. I watched the first epi and was bored. Shows about lawyers generally aren’t my thing. The original Law & Order was one of my favourite shows for years but I mostly watched just he investigative ‘order’ parts and quit once the courtroom shenanigans began, ha. As it is, I get quite enough lawyering with Memory, which I think is a better show.

I also gave Marriage Contract a spin but even though it has some things going for it, I still didn’t feel like going past ep 6.

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6 thoughts on “Drama Grab Bag

  1. Ooh, Back to 1989 sounds very cute! I am adding it to my list – thanks Timescout! This would’ve completely flown under my radar if not for you. You are the best! HUGS! ❤ 😀

    • It is cute! So far anyway. 🙂 I’m just hoping it’ll keep this tone and not decend into pointless angst, like many twdramas unfortunately do. Browsing Viki sometimes results in unexpected finds.^^

  2. It’s a pity about Goodbye, Mr Black. I was thinking of watching it for Kim Kang-woo since he’s such a solid actor (just rewatched him in Story of a Man, so sexy <3), but the story seems to be a little all over the place, so I'm just reading recaps instead.

    • It is a pity. The premise was promising but it never took off the ground. The story is more than a little all over the place, I’d say. Kim Kang Woo is a hit and miss for me. He was good in ‘Story of a Man’ (though I was firmly in the other camp 😀 ) but has an unfortunate tendency to overact, unless reigned in. The ‘Goodbye, Mr. Black’ PD was not up to the task.

  3. I hope Memory stays interesting for you. I’ve been eyeing Back to 1989. It looks cute. I haven’t completed a tdrama yet though, and of course there are a lot of kdramas on my schedule right now. I’m going to have to give it a look at some point though 🙂

    • I’m hoping Memory will stay in track too. I know TPTB are capable of putting out good work, I’ll just pretend that Shark never existed. XD

      Back to 1989 is cute, in a harmlessly fluffy way, ha. At least for now, it’s 22 epis so no telling how it’ll go further on the line.

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