Drama Grab Bag

Life is still sort of busy but I have found time to cram in some drama watching too. I just haven’t felt particularly inspired to write about them. In fact I seem to have spent unpropotionally many hours reading what other people think about the said dramas, LOL! The Problematic of the Unproblematic seems to have become The Place to park myself at, as the ladies there are recapping several of the cdramas I’ve recently watched or that are currently on my roster. I’m also throughly enjoying my “re-watch” of our delish Wingkind Emperor & Co through the recaps of Novoland. Ah, Zhan Ryo Yun – why so fine.^^

The Chinese drama with the mile long title Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms πŸ˜€
It’s addicting and actually quite decent. With my tendency to get bored and drop most xianxia dramas, it is rather surprising that I’m still following this one. Albeit with the aid of the trusty FF button, I’m ‘skip watching’ after all. *g* It’s a very pretty drama and for once the CGI scenery is bearable even when it gets a bit too pastelly.

I like most of the characters but I must say that I’m really enjoying Mark Chao as the male lead. There were a lot of grumbles when he was chosen to play Ye Hua/Mo Yuan but I believe he’s been able to win most people over with his restrained acting. I’ve always liked Mark, though his choices of acting gigs after Black & White have been a bit… um, yeah. Loved him in B & W and imho he was better than Zai Zai. Yup, I know – unpopular opinion.^^ Mark and Yang Mi make a pretty compelling OTP in all their ‘incarnations’; be it cute, swoony or fun. There are also couple of other pairings, one of which is probably doomed. Of course drama also has one of the banes of most Asian dramas, the annoying and clingy 2nd lead ‘that just won’t get it’. This time it’s a double whammy on the ladies side. But, to balance it out we also get a very pretty, emo Prince of the Ghost Clan, ha.

Anyway, there’s plenty of romance in 3310, so if that’s your ticket, give it a go. I found the middle section with SuSu/Ye Hua somewhat tedious but others seem to like it all right, so…

Legend of the Condor Heroes 2017
Another drama I’m ‘skip watching’ when time permits. I haven’t seen any of the other versions, nor read the books so I’ve got no beef with this one. The main couple is rather adorable and the rest of the cast ain’t bad either. Special mention goes to Liu Zhiyang as Ouyang Ke, a nasty piece if there ever was one, but oh so fun to watch. I did think he looked familiar but couldn’t place him until Mookie mentioned that he’d been on Ferryman.

Chief Kim
It’s still laugh out loud funny in places and I just love Namgoong Min in the role. I’m still very beamused for how much I like him now when I used to think he was so smarmy and meh in all the previous roles I’d seen him in. The eternal battle of wits between Chief Kim and Seo Yoo is always fun to watch. In fact this reminds me of the one-upmanship battles of Team Shin and Do Woo in Story of a Man. Ep 10 gave our underdog team a reality check and reminded them just who they were up against. Yup, they were thoroughly had. Our hapless Chief had gotten a bit too cocky as well. I didn’t expect them to always come out on top but I must admit I did feel almost as down as them at the end of the EP. There are still 10 more episodes to go so I’m sure tables will be turned a fiew more times before the final victory for Team Underdog.

With a name like that you’d think the drama would be about the Hwarang. Bromance, bonding, some high jinks and a story of how the boys from different factions were forged as a formidable fighting force, right? Nope. Didn’t happen. Unfortunately the writer decided to treat the whole thing as a backdrop to yet another lame ass romance with another effing love triangle. Bleurgh! The romance in Hwarang worked even less than usually for me. The OTP felt totally like siblings, there was no spark and no romantic chemistry that I could detect. In fact Park Seo Joon’s Sun Woo had better chemistry with just about anybody else. I was more likely to ship him with Ji Dwi than Ah Ro. πŸ˜€

The whole thing would have been a lot better with the focus on the Hwarang boys and the romance in the sidelines. Well, it would have been better in many other ways too. Instead of a proper narrative flow, Hwarang felt more like a series of separate events loosely tied together. Up till the Bekje arch we got hardly any real plot movement or character growth. They wasted far too much time on peripherals, so any real action and forward movement was crammed onto the last fiew episodes. Very kdrama, that. Most of the chars were underdeveloped and under utilised, trotted out when e.g a exposition fairy was needed or to divulge some nuggets of info the writer deemed us worthy of. For the most part we were not privy of what motivated many of the characters. Sun Woo e.g stayed an enigma almost to the end and I’m still not quite sure what moved him most of the time, apart from his need to protect Ah Ro at any cost. There were occasional glimpses of potential, of “what could have been” but those got buried in the otherwise lacklustre writing.

Then there’s the heroine who once again lost any spunk she had as soon as she fell for the hero and was reduced to a damsel in distress, forever in need of rescuing. We spent ages on Ah Ro being weepy and her suitors being mopey and pining for her. I have no idea what the boys saw in her. As a character Ah Ro is rather uninspiring but at least she’s still degrees better than Ya Tou and her noodles, my current measure of limp female characters. XD Go Ah Ra is rather limited as an actress and she wasn’t able to elevate the character above the lacklustre writing. Something even Park Seo Joon was struggling with. The only one sticking out positively was Park Hyung Shik, but I suspect his Ji Dwi is actually the only character that was somewhat better rounded out to begin with.

Objectively thinking I should have dropped Hwarang early on and I’m still rather mystified why didn’t.

11 thoughts on “Drama Grab Bag

  1. Hwarang was a real let-down. Was here for my boy Park Seo Joon but I couldn’t watch anything past ep4. I was already bored in Ep 1. I tend to prefer sageuks to modern k-dramas but this has got to be one of the poorest written sageuks I’ve watched. There was no plot development or character development to speak of lol. OTP had no chemistry whatsoever and I was consistently distracted by the men’s wigs. They couldn’t have found them better wigs?? The only seemingly well-written character was Hyungsik’s and lots of over-acting all round. Particularly from V (Hansung), Go Ara and Minho ugh.

    Chief Kim seems like it would be a delightful watch and I’ve so many lovely things about it. It’s next on my list to check out.

    Have you watched Strong Woman DBS btw? I’m kinda cautious in my praise for it cause while it seems pretty fun, I don’t really like the darker undertones of the crime sub-plot. I think K-dramas don’t mix light fun romcoms well with another darker subplot. It ends up coming off jarring and confusing. Plus, I’m not sure how long I can stand the cheesy graphic effects. It makes the drama look very camp and silly. Hyungsik seems to be acting pretty well and Park Bo Young is always a joy to watch. My (other) boy Jisoo’s character seems to be abit too stiff to me at the moment, like he speaks in an unnaturally stoic manner that is making me not connect with him properly. I will have to watch more episodes to make a better judgement though.

    • I didn’t expect much of Hwarang to begin with, but it was still a letdown. The writing sucked.

      I’ve rather loved Chief Kim so far and hopefully it stays this fun and whacky.^^

      Re. Strong Woman DBS – the jury is still out. The mixture of fluff and a crime show is a bit iffy, especially as kdramas generally don’t do well with mixing darker and lighter genres. Most end up giving me a serious whiplash. The graphics didn’t bother me at all though.

  2. Wow…that’s pretty heavy theory! So many things I’m ignorant about! Seems like Cdramas have their own fan base and popularity (just like Kdramas) and I’m so ignorant about it πŸ™‚
    Yes…heard good things about Strong woman…can’t wait to start it!

    • Oh yes, cdramas have their own world, just like kdramas or jdramas. There is some mixing and matching across the ‘borders’ though.

      I haven’t found a kdrama to really, really root for in ages. There’s definitely been more to watch at the cdrama side. Give one a go and see what you make of it. I’ve probably at least mentioned the ones I’ve liked, in case you want some references. πŸ˜€ Some are really looooong (and may get rather draggy in places) but the episode lengths tend to be 30-45 min so it sort of evens out.

  3. Those Sensei’s squeecaps give my life and joy at impossible times these days lurking when I know if I watch anything to their liking properly in my foul mood it would spoil all the fun.

    So the suspense is killing me… what’s the deal with StrongLady?! I’m waiting till a few more eps and general Yays to try it out.

    • Yup, the squeecaps are loads of fun, even when I don’t exactly agree. πŸ™‚

      Did you watch the first 2 eps of Strong Woman DBS? Not a bad start but I’m a bit iffy on mixing cute&fluffy with the ‘crime show’ aspect. I’ll give it a fiew more epis to see where it’s heading.

      • I haven’t started, but I am getting your drift (or my biggest reservation): Are they just set on retelling the old fluffy under a ‘crime thriller’ wrapping again?!? I think that was also why Age of Youth did not win a fan in me.

        • Well, that’s the thing, it felt more like 2 separate dramas. One a thriller with a serial killer on the loose + someone targeting the male lead to boot and another a cute romcom. I’m not sure how they are going to mix those so that it won’t come off loopsided or a total mess. Kdramas don’t have a very good trackrecord with mixing genres. Most tend to give me a whiplash with their jarring transitions.

  4. I’m hearing good things about Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (woah..longest title I’ve come across)…what is actually a xianxia drama? I haven’t seen any cdrama till date.
    I think I should start Chief Kim…looks motivating and very funny!
    Hwarang is on my plan list…but not reading many good things about it 😦
    I’m watching Defendant, Goblin and want to start Strong Woman DBS & Tomorrow with you.

    • Well, as far as I understand xianxia is an ofshoot of the wuxia (martial arts) genre that has more elements of fantasy with magic, demons, immortals (often gods), people who can fly, etc. It’s a whole pantheon of fantastical beings. Well, there are humans too. And ‘cultivaton’… don’t ask, LOL! There’s a pretty good Wiki article if you want to know more. πŸ˜€ Three Lives is based on a novel and it’s one of the better adaptations. Guess it also helps to have a pretty competent cast manning the roles. I’m watching it raw @ Croton Media’s YT channel but it’s being subbed by at least Dramafever (which is unaccessable to me) where it goes by the name Eternal Love. It’s likely available at some less official places too.

      Chief Kim has been loads of fun so far and do hope it stays that way. So many initialy fun dramas turn mopey at some point, which I find really frustrating.

      Hwarang is probably ok if you go in knowing it’s very flawed. And not really much about the Hwarang, ha.

      The first 2 episodes of Strong Woman DBS weren’t bad but… there’s a but. We’ll see how it goes.

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