Drama Grab Bag

So… it’s winding down, this year. Guess this’ll be the last Grab Bag of 2016 then.

Goblin
It’s better than I expected, for a KES drama but can’t say I’m feeling any emotional attachement. I’m already loosing interest and have no real incentive to watch the latest episodes. Best part so far has been the Goblin/Reaper interactions, those two are pretty hilarious when together. Add Deok Hwa and his reaction faces and we get some extra hilarity. All the tried and trusted KES tropes are still there but somehow they’ve managed not to annoy me as much as they usually do. I guess the heroine being a high schooler makes it more palatable to accept her acting cute and childish at times. I’ve got the feeling I’m not going to stay the distance with this one.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
Gosh, who’d thought this would be the drama I can’t wait to watch each week!? It gives me the warm fuzzies that have been sorely lacking in most kdramas recently and I feel like squishing each and everyone in it. The OTP is just precious and I’ve loved to watch them grow from somehat reluctant pals to good friends and onwards to a proper couple. This drama is a good example of how to take a bucketfull of tired kdrama tropes and turn them on their head, thus making many of the scenes take an unexpected turn and surprise you, in a good way. Can’t say I was much impressed with Nam Joo Hyuk in his earliest roles but he’s improved SO much that I’m actually thinking he’ll make a proper thespian yet. He is quite solid as Joon Hyung and the way his JH gazes at Bok Joo is making even this jaded old soul swoon. XD I’m enjoying the rest of the cast of characters as well. It’s so very rare to get a kdrama that doesn’t have these overly ebil characters out to get the leads.

Cat Street
Lately I’ve not been in the mood for anything too heavy so I’ve been in the lookout for feelgood dramas. Kdramas rarely have that certain ability to give you the warm fuzzies but I’ve watched plenty of jdramas of that ilk. Cat Street is one of those. It’s a lovely little manga adapatation from 2008 about a former child acting star who became a shut-in at age 9 after a traumatic experience during a stage performance. When she is 16 an accidental meeting with the principal of El Liston, a free school for people with social issues, changes the trajectory of her life and she finally comes out of her self-inflicted isolation. She makes new friends, re-connects with her family and finds the strenth to start anew. Call me overly naive but I loved the positive message of the story. The drama is just 6 episodes long and I wouldn’t have minded a fiew more as I really liked spending time with these characters. There’s a sweet, rather understated romance in it too. πŸ™‚

Candle in the Tomb
This is how you do a tomb raiding drama!! It’s not as pretty as, say Mystic9 but it feels way more realistic. Well, as real as an adventure with supernatural undercurrents can be. Jin Dong is also a several degrees better actor than just about anyone in Mystic9, ha. CitT in set in the 80’s so it looks rather drab and mundane, from the sets to the fashions and hairdos (is that a mullet Jind Dong?) but the story is interesting and the pace just right. By ep 6 we’ve already had plenty of tomb action and one giant murderous mummy, which I just giggled at though. XD By the end of ep 6 our accidental tomb raiding duo had signed on to an archeological expediton to explore the “ghost cave” of Taklamakan Desert. Things will probably get hairy sooner rather than later. Viki has Candle subbed till ep 3 now. \o/ That was uncommonly fast and I was SO sure this would never get subs. Glad to be proven wrong. Looking forward to next 6 epis, which I’ll probably end up watching raw again.

Hwarang
Not really sure what to make of this one yet. It wasn’t as cheesy as I thought it would be and there were surprisingly many serious, even sad moments, especially in the 2nd epi. I didn’t quite get a whiplash from the tonals shifts but I do hope they settle in a more balanced way of moving between the funny and the serious. People are still harping about the wigs but I’ve watched enough period cdramas to be used to hairstyles more akin to these. Long flowing locks everywhere! πŸ˜€ Jury is still out on whether to keep it or sweep it. Let’s see after a couple of more epis.

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21 thoughts on “Drama Grab Bag

    • Goblin tuned out to be not my cup of tea, as I rather suspected. KES’s dramas tend to leave me cold… or ranting (not in a good way), ha. I really like Weightlifting Fairy though. It IS a happy pill. πŸ™‚

  1. I’ve been reading a lot of really good reviews for Weightlifting Fairy! Personally, I love Goblin. I just do! Cornwall (my partner in crime) doesn’t so much. She thinks it’s boring. XD I’m watching Hwarang, but I don’t know how long I’ll make it on that one. It’s a total fan service! Which is fun, but lacking some…finesse.

    Thanks for the good review on Weightlifting. I thought it sounded kinda dumb, but I should know better than to judge a drama by it’s random name. πŸ˜€

    Nice to meet you! I’ll follow along on your blog.

    Cheers!
    Devon
    http://www.devonandcornwall.wordpress.com

    • Oh yes, Weightlifting Fairy is surprisingly adorable. πŸ™‚ I’ve long since given up on judging kdramas by their names, as those often don’t tell you anything relevant. Especially as the English names can be totally different from the actual Korean ones.

      I completely lost interest in Goblin, so I’ve dropped it now. It was kinda boring. Me and KES just don’t work, ha. Frankly I don’t like her writing style nor the way she constructs many of her characters, especially the leads. I did like some of her older dramas but that could be because I was a noob then and everything was still new and shiny.^^ Not sure I’d be able to get through those shows now.

  2. Goblin is… weird. I mean I surprisingly wasn’t as put off by it as it’s a KES script and I usually dislike how she handles the main OTP’s romance. And her female leads always seem to be pathetic candies, and most of her male leads come across like jerks. Her characters don’t have any substance (heirs..dots..coughs). So I’m abit surprised at this one. It could be due to the actors’ though. This cast seems more mature and talented. But, I’m still a little bit weirded out by the huge age gap in the OTP, and I don’t understand why Kim Go Eun’s character is so childish, even for a highschooler. It’s so jarring seeing her in scenes with Gong Yoo’s character. The only winning thing in this show seems to be the Goblin/Reaper bromance. They are hilarious; otherwise the show is kinda boring for me and I’ve actually dropped it.

    Hwarang. Ha. I still don’t know what to make of it yet. I think the show needs to stop the switching between comical and serious. It’s come off more serious than I thought as the posters looked really lame lol. But I still got to watch to see what I make of the plot. So far, I’m not feeling much chemistry between the three main leads.

    Weightlifting Fairy. OH MY GOD. I never thought this would be one of my fav dramas of 2016! When the casting news was announced I was kinda scoffing at how weak the main leads were. But i dont know what it is – perhaps their friendship in real life – but wow, lee sung kyung and nam joo hyuk are really pretty good in their roles. NJH especially, the guy belongs to wooden city when it comes to deep emotional expressions, but he’s made a complete 180 degree change here. All the gazing and stuff that he does at Bok Joo. Swoon! I’ve gotta watch his future work to see if this is just a one-off due to good chemistry with his female lead and/or good writing or if it’s really his acting that’s stepped up. I love the entire cast, the camaderie in the weightlifting team, the friendships amongst the girls, the boys and them together, how they openly address mental health issues. And i absolutely love how the typical tropes are turned upside down. The comedic scenes are gold and seem to come out when you least expect it (ie: JH using BJ as a shield against the water). OTP is amazing. I love how organic their relationship is and how it’s grown from friendship. No one is a jerk, no one is trying to be a noble idiot etc. I’m gutted that this is pretty low in ratings compared to Legend of the blue sea which i find so boring. It’s like JJH is playing her same self in YFAS just with a different male lead. And I’m not a lmh fan ha

    • Funny thing but Goblin doesn’t even merit a rant. *g* It’s just rather uninspiring and mediocre. I’ll probably drop it too.

      Everything you wrote about WF! It’s been such a surprise hit with many people, me included. I’m always glad to find a hidden gem, especially if it’s the hearwarming kind.^^

      • Goblin IS pretty mediocre. I don’t get why it’s such a hit in Korea. But I never understand Korean tastes anyways lol. Seems like star power casting trumps anything else

        Yes! WF is just so heartwarming and I’ve been so long for a drama like that to be released. So unexpected and such a pleasant watch! πŸ˜€

  3. Goblin is too long and too slow (i keep speeding up the slow-mo, ha) but i’m liking it so far, despite my complaints about KES previous dramas. Having it as a fantasy drama helps a great deal in making some tropes more acceptable and enjoyable.

    Fairy is such a precious little drama! I don’t know how many times i’ve rewatched and replayed last week’s episodes. So glad at Nam Joo-hyuk’s improvements cuz without it, Joon-hyung wouldn’t be half this winning (or make “even this jaded old soul swoon” as you put it) πŸ™‚

    • I’m kinda leaning on dropping Goblin as I’ve more or less lost interest.

      WF is precious indeed. It’s the charactgers and how they are played that makes the show for me. Aided with the new spin on some of the done to death tropes.

  4. Eee! You’re loving WF! Me toooo~! 😍😍😍 And I agree, Nam Joo Hyuk has improved so much! I had a soft spot before, but now I legit swoon. 😍

    Sadly, I also agree about Goblin.. it’s beautifully shot, but it’s not gripping. It’s so meandery & indulgent, and it feels like not a lot happens each episode. Which makes each epi feel even longer than it already is. I really hope this picks up, coz I’m getting bored πŸ˜›

    • I found it pretty mediocre, even with the supernatural elements. Not as annoying as most KES dramas but kinda boring. A lot of the time nothing really happens. Plenty of people seem to like it ok, so maybe you’ll do too.

        • Hmmm… the Korean ones don’t quite fit the bill, generally. The only one I can think of is Arang, though it’s not without blemishes either. It’s much better than most of em k-historicals with supernatural elements anyway. Signal has a ‘magic’ walkie-talkie that connect past and present but otherwise it’s a crime show, a good one though. Joseon X-files is great but it’s more about aliens than supernatural.

          There’s plenty of Chinese shows that have supernatural aspects, e.g all of them xianxias. Most of them are really looooong and not very good, ha. Loved Wind Chime which has mystic and supernatural stuff mixed with a ‘quest’ and solving crimes but it’s unfortunately not completed. Hopefully there’ll be a 2nd season. If you like tomb raiding stories, there’s Candle in the Tomb, which I’m watching atm and like a lot. It’s pretty solid with a competent cast. Oh, I almost forgot – WuXin the Monster Killer! That was such a fun romp and there’s a 2nd season in the making.

          Not sure if this answers your question. My ‘good’ may differ from yours. πŸ™‚

  5. I haven’t started Goblin. Not quite up my ally but may give it a peek. Fairy seems to be the surprise of the lot. One for the grab bag then πŸ˜€ Happy New Year Timescout! Looking forward to more posts from you in 2017 πŸ˜€

    • Goblin isn’t really my thing either. It starts out pretty well but in true KES fashion starts mendearing after the initial epis. It’s kinda borig and the bromance is the only thing that interests me now. I’ll probably drop it soonish. Weightlifting Fairy is SO cute and heartwarming! A much better watch than all of the hyped up shows combined. πŸ™‚ All the best for 2017 to you too!

  6. Looks like you’re ending the year in a pretty good place πŸ™‚ I’m planning to start Weightlifting Fairy in about a week. I’ve heard so many positive things about it, and I’m really looking forward to a cute, squishy friends to lovers drama.

    I haven’t heard of Cat Street before, but I really like the story you described. And especially at only 6 episodes, I’m definitely adding this one to my list πŸ™‚

    • Yup, I’m pretty happy with (most of) the dramas I’ve come across lately. Some of them are even keepers.

      Weightlifting Fairy is such a happy pill, one of those unexpected finds you come across every now and then. Usually when you least expect it. Cat Street is another one. I’d read about it in passing and always thought it would be something I’d probably like. Came across a live source fiew weeks back and decided to grab it. I’m happy I did as I really liked the story, as short and without frills as it was.

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