Drama Grab Bag

I don’t know if it’s due to a somewhat sombre patch I’m going through in RL or just that I’ve the reached the sturation point for ‘gritty’, but I’ve not been in the mood for anything too heavy or dark lately. I don’t seem to be capable of watching stuff that demands any brain power or is too serious either. This has effectively pushed dramas like Defendant or Voice to the sidelines. I’ve been having this totally uncommon craving for lighthearted fun and fluff, not my go to drama specs by a long shot. 🙂 Even a fantasy adventure like Candle in the Tomb seems to fit the bill. Things like leaps of logic, plotholes, inconsistences etc are no obstacles atm. Just as long as the drama leaves me feeling contented and happy I don’t mind. Strange.

A new drama cycle has started but nothing much has awakened my interest. I skip watched the first two epis of Voice but didn’t really like it. Something was off enough for me to decide to shelf it for good. Defendant seems pretty decent but I’ll have to leave it for a later date, when I perhaps feel like watching a gritty crime show again. Provided it doesn’t go off the deep end at some point.

So, in line with by my current mood, the new drama I actually enjoyed the heck out of was Chief Kim! Not the one I’d pegged to pick up, if anyone had asked a month ago or so, LOL! It’s whacky, almost OTT in places but has a more serious undercurrent running through, which I liked. I just hope drama doesn’t go totally maudlin at some point, the way most kdramas with a humorous bent inevitably seem to do. Jdramas are a lot better at mixing fun and serious all through till the end. It’s funny but I used to find Namgoong Min really annoying in all the dramas I’ve seen him in before Beautiful Gong Shim came along. I loved him as Dan Tae and he’s wonderfully nutty as the titular Chief Kim too. I’ve got the feeling there’s more to the character than meets the eye at first glance and he’s probably quite a bit smarter than he lets on. Looking forward to him finding ways to derailing all the plans the eebil higher ups cook up. I especially want him to pull the overly cocky Seo Yool down a peg or two. I’m also amused how Lee Jun Ho (Seo Yool) went from playing a wet-behing-the-ears, righteous attorney in Memory to a jaded and bent prosecutor in Chief Kim.^^

I quite enjoyed Candle in the Tomb, despite of the stuff that was worth an eyeroll or three. Things like inapropreate clothing for mountaineering/desert didn’t tick me off the way they seem to do many of the ladies @ The Problematic of the Unproblematic (their recaps are hilarious btw). I do admit to FFing through all the talk when I watched the raws, because ‘no can do Chinese’, but I found many of those parts pretty interesting when I could actually understand what was being said. Not enough tomb-action but what we got was mostly good, albeit non scary. I even liked the ending. Oh, and Jing Dong is a fine, fine man indeed and I love his voice. XD

Thaks to Junny @ Yey, panda! I finally watched Nodame Cantabile. I’ve no idea why I never picked it up while drama was current but that’s how it sometimes goes. I certanly heard plenty about it way back when. I rather loved it! It’s totally trippy in places in that special jdrama way and I’m sure it’s too manga-like to suit everyone. I just smiled large at the silly. Gosh, Tamaki Hiroshi was SO dreamy! That was probably the prettiest I’ve ever seen him on my screen. 🙂 Ueno Juri was a perfect Nodame. I’d totally forgotten that Eita was in the drama too and didn’t at first recognise Koide Keisuke under that ridiculous afro, ha. I skip watched the Korean version and it didn’t leave much of an impression, but I understand now why people were disappointed at it. The Jdrama brand of kooky just don’t translate well to a typical kdrama and I think Joo Won was miscast, he’s just not ‘Chiaki’ in my eyes.

That’s about all I’ve watched recently. Well, I have been FFing through the episodes of the new Legend of the Condor Heroes. It’s not bad per se but the story just doesn’t really grab me. How long I’ll continue with it remains to be seen. Over the past year I’ve tried several wuxias without much success. I tend to loose interest with most of them as the plots are so similar and feel too repetitive. Why are many cdramas so darned long? I’m still tentatively interested in several upcoming ones. Whether I’ll actually watch any is anyone’s guess though.^^ With only 2 dramas on my current roster I’ll probably need to dig into my to-watch stash to see if something there grabs my fancy. Unless some of the soon-to-air kdramas manage to woo me. Hmmmm… almost forgot, there’s Quartet (jdrama) and the 2nd season of Seirei no Morbito. So, maybe I don’t need to turn to my stash just yet. 😀

16 thoughts on “Drama Grab Bag

  1. I’m only a few eps into Candle In The Tomb, which I am enjoying, but I’ve heard that a lot of people were rather unsatisfied with the ending (?).

    If you’re looking for a c-drama, might I recommend currently airing The Glory of Tang Dynasty? Though I don’t know how the experience might be for someone watching a foreign language show without subs (because there aren’t any T.T), as someone who understands Chinese I am rather hooked. It starts out rather fluffy and shuojo manga-like, with your typical C-drama romantic tropes and such — which I’m guessing is what you’re looking for now — but as the episodes progress, I’ve heard they become increasingly more serious and angsty. I do believe they have enough to cover 60 eps without dragging, and while the politics are a bit watered down compared to, say, Nirvana in Fire, I find they rather appealing and riveting in their own right.
    While there are flaws and some things to nitpick on, I am currently very fond of this show. 🙂

    • Yeah, I can understand why the ending didn’t appeal to everyone as it left some things open, pehaps to keep an option for S2. I had no beef with it though but then, I was ok with most of the stuff others found annoying or lacking. 🙂

      Lack of subs has never deterred me from watching something I’m determined to watch, ha. My favorite drama of 2015 was a mainland one, no subs though. Gosh, I still love it a lot. I took a peek at the first epi of The Glory of Tang Dynasty but found it a bit hard to follow as there are so many characters and I had no idea who they are. Or why some things happened. Where’s a recap when you need one?! 😀 I might give it another go at some point.

  2. Annyeong and hugs!

    Hi5 to Nodame+ChiakiSanpei they r forever precious. My love for JinDong knows no bound. Candle is so-so without the droolz at JD joy.

    I am shouting at screen watching Voice tho, I’m not sure why I’m so wound up caring 4 victims, mostly frustrated w the at times silly policing just to insert token hero posing and saying stupid lines wasting precious bloody time. I thought it has thrills but I’m a wimp w v low tolerance. JH always overacts, kinda unbearable but that comes w the package. I am weakly rooting 4 LHN to impress me ever since post Alone in Love and I thought she’s anchoring this.

    I… oddly think this Condor Hero is perhaps the most true to original adaptation of the wuxia classic, as in, this does take me back to the visual reading the book and peeking my Dad’s newspaper clippings when it was first a megahit serial then. It was a slow burn of 1.5 volume (400+pp each) out of 4 where bricks were laid a bit tedious but steadily, to a quite glorious exposition and climax. I don’t have problem w the unknowns, all the pairings have enough sparks , this GuoJing comes off exactly just another normal boy smittened w the girl without too heavy on hammering on his obtruse + the greatness to come is again oddly authentic to the original newspaper serial so rarely considered in the numerous adapts. I thought the Slytherin slimy snakepervieboy OuYangKe was v entertaining played the characters of the conflicted v tiny bit badboy YangKang and the poor NianChi fallen 4 him but still retained some spine. But yes, I do agree does not have much hook, even half way point, again this works 4 me in how the novel reads as well, but then not a disastrous amalgamation of warts and eyesores.

    • Yup, Nodame + Chiaki sempai for the win. *g*

      As I stated @ my reply to Junny, c-classics just don’t seem to be my ‘thing’. I’ve tried several and always loose interest at some point. I’m actually surprised that I’m still watching this LOCH. Guess there’s something that appeals to me after all. I’ve read other comments on it being pretty true to the original story.

      • It is because they r notoriously rarely decently translated/adapted. I always have to pitch it against the glory of the original writing. I guess the mania 4 the niche is akin to comic bk heros, that never ceasing love growing up immersed in them and going gaga over every adapt.

        Hope life’s kinder lately for you. There’s always an upturn after a low we can wish upon

  3. Yay, I’m so glad you are enjoying Nodame Cantabile! Tamaki Hiroshi ❤ He and Ueno Juri had such wonderful chemistry. I hope you enjoy the rest of the drama, SPs and films! As for the manga-esque humour, if I remember right, it was a deliberate choice. Tamaki mentioned on Bistro SMAP that he purposely bulged his eyes out like how Chiaki did in the manga when he threw the music score at Nodame in episode 1, hehe.

    Trainwreck Cantabile is just trash. I am waiting for more episodes before starting Voice.

    As for the new LOCH, bah. Can't hold a candle to the old TVB 1983 classic. Worse, they used the 1983 theme song as their opening theme, which is disgusting. Write your own music, mainland! Other than Miu Kiu Wai as Huang Yaoshi, the rest of the leads are super blah. The actor for Guo Jing is such a weakster.

    Here is the original 1983 classic theme song (it's in Cantonese): https://youtu.be/gNkDE72V3Dc?list=LLRBcD62lGJcNK0oBSuXh-ZQ

    • I did watch all of Nodame Cantabile and thorougly enjoyed it too. Just what I needed to cheer me up. It’s quite an uplifting drama for all the silly.

      Yeah well, the new LOCH is not much to write home about but it’s an easy ‘snack’ between other shows. I haven’t watched any of the other versions. For some reason I don’t seem to be able to get into these c-classics, regardless of which year they are from. I’ve tried. 🙂 I guess the stories just ain’t my thing.

      • I’m glad you liked the rest of the Nodame stuff! Have you seen Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi?

        Re the new LOCH: ha, mainland shows are a bit of a joke to me. I could go on and on about that, but I’ll save you the rant. Also, I wouldn’t lump Hong Kong dramas with mainland ones as “c-dramas”. To me, they’re very different (sorry, I’m a bit touchy about this).

        • FYI this new adapt is helmed by a HK Jeff Chiang, long time TVB/ATV producer/scriptwriter/director and his decent fluency in storytelling through the years is still apparent here, I do apologize 4 intruding but many pathetic Cdramas r brainchild of o time HK crew. StephenChow/TsuiHark/WongKW all selling out artistic integrity where the dough is … y so sectarian?!

          • Sectarian? Don’t be ridiculous. I know there are some c-dramas helmed by HK crew, but that doesn’t make them better. How wonderful that there is “fluency in storytelling” in the new LOCH, but that’s almost a given if it doesn’t butcher the story like it did in 2008. To me, it lacks soul, and is like most mainland wuxia adaptations, all about big budget, CGI etc and less about heart. Like I said in my original post, if mainland is so great, compose your own music (and find your own Huang Yaoshi and Yideng). Don’t use the “tribute” thing as an excuse to appropriate what is still a classic song from a drama that many still see and use as the benchmark for LOCH adaptations.

            I also never said TVB/HK dramas are all that great. Just because there are crossovers in both industries doesn’t make HK dramas similar enough to be lumped together with mainland ones.

            As for the three you mentioned – I have no respect for Stephen Chow; Tsui Hark was great in the 80s and 90s but not much after that; I never got Wong Kar Wai’s hype and appeal, though I did like his In The Mood For Love. Selling out artistic integrity for money isn’t new (Zhang Yimou, duh), but that wasn’t even the point of my original post.

        • Nope, haven’t seen ‘Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi’ but there was plenty of talk about it back in the day. Not that I remember much more than the talking deer, ha.

          Actually, I didn’t really mean the place the stories originate but rather the language used. Hence the c-moniker in my replies. Sorry, if it rubbed you the wrong way, not my intention. I haven’t watched any historicals/wuxia etc. from Hong Kong, as far as I can tell, but the modern hk-dramas do have a totally diffent feel from the mainland ones.

          On the other hand, I wouldn’t lump all the mainland dramas together either.

          • Would totally recommend Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi if you have the time! it’s completely offbeat and really clever.

            As for the c-drama stuff, let’s just leave it at that. 🙂

  4. I enjoyed Nodame Cantible, as well. It really was quite adorable! If you’re looking for fluff, have you seen Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo? That show just made me happy. I can’t remember if you said you had watched it or not!

  5. I don’t think i’m in the mood for serious, heavy dramas either (probably because the last few i finished were fun, fluffy shows) but ironically the only drama i’m currently following is Voice, and the one i’m intending to start is Defendant. Ha.

    Voice is intense and all, but despite the cliffhangers, but that doesn’t make me wait impatiently for next week’s episodes. It doesn’t help that i don’t really like the heroine.

    I never got around to finish Nodame for some reason. I remember laughing at the silly, but it is indeed too manga-like.

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