Dama Grab Bag

Yes, I’m still watching stuff, only in a much slower pace than I used to. Which means I’m not always up to date with the currently airing dramas. I also tend to quit some of ’em at the drop of a hat. πŸ™‚

Some thoughts on what I have watched recently, under the cut.

Nothing Gold Can Stay
This drama is SO pretty! A real feast for the eyes; the sets, the costumes, the props… just about everything. I had no intention of starting another 70+ episode cdrama with no subs, but I took a peek at the first 2 episodes and was instantly hooked, LOL! I don’t understand a thing but somehow the actors make the story relatively easy to follow. They are all really good.

Synopsis [credit to Kappy@AVV and AnneJ@DramaPanda]:

Based on a true story, That Year Flower Blooms The Moon Is Full (ι‚£εΉ΄θŠ±εΌ€ζœˆζ­£εœ†). The story features Chen Xiao (Shen Xing Yi) and Sun Li (Zhou Ying) in a period drama at the end of the Qing Dynasty in Shaanxi, surrounding the merchant trade of silk. It is the year 1884 and Zhou Ying and her stepfather are the new arrivals in town. Stepdad loses all his wealth to gambling and sells his daughter off to the Shen Household. When trying to escape, Zhou Ying gets into the sedan chair of Wu Pin (Peter Ho), the young master of the Wu Family. Her knack for doing business wins the recognition of Old Master Wu and she is allowed a place in the household. When Shen Xing Yi suspects Wu Pin in the murder of his elder brother, he injures Wu Pin. This leads to the marriage between Zhou Ying and Wu Pin, in an effort to dispel his unlucky β€œair.” After Wu Pin dies and the family weaving business falters, Zhou Ying is the one to maneuver the whole clan and gets locked up in the process by the angry foreigners. After she is released, Zhou Ying rekindles her working spirit to rebuild the Wu weaving business and becomes the richest person in the area.

I love our heroine! Zhou Ying is feisty, cheerful, level headed and smart with a kind heart. She doesn’t take crap from anyone either, which does get her in trouble from time to time. She’s used to doing things in her own way, so settling into the life of an upper crusty Wu Family wife does not go without friction and mishaps. Gosh, her trying to act demure was dang hilarious. ;P She also doesn’t know how to back down even when it’s beneficial to her and ends up at loggerheads with her in-laws. Luckily Wu Pin is an understanding and supportive hubby who does his all to smooth over the situation. He genuineley seems to love her, which eventually wins her over too. These two do make a cute couple, I think they are well suited despite of their differing backgrounds. He is gentle and calm which acts as a soothing influence on her more fiery nature. It feels like she is ‘at home’ with him.

I’m finding all the characters really interesting. Even the servants have a distinct personalities instead of being just some sort of props. The male lead, Xing Yi is still a spoilt, bratty Young Master at this point of the story. Always getting in trouble with his half assed acts of stupidity. He tends to jump into conclusions without really thinking things through and is a constant headache to his father. With a capable older borther destined to take over the family business, Xing Yi has been able to lead a carefree life, without responsibilites. But things are about to change, as now he’s the only son and heir. He is still chafing against this turnabout and acting out. As of now we don’t yet know what will eventually change him for the better but it’ll surely happen. I’m pretty sure he already has feelings for Zhou Ying but as she sort of humiliated him, he’s not conciously aware of them. Seeing Zhou Ying and Wu Pin acting all comfy togheter did seem to give him a pause though.

I know that the Qing Dynasty hairstyle on men doesn’t appeal some people but I don’t even notice that anymore. These guys are real people with personalities and that’s what I’m seeing.

No guarantees I won’t get bored at some point but so far I’m really looking forward to what the episodes will bring.

Father is Strange
‘Sniffle’ – it came to an end. 52 episodes and yet, it was a breeze. πŸ™‚ This was such an uncommonly nice family weekender with characters I genuinely liked. There were no OTT histronics, horrible parents, ebil 2nd leads etc. I even crudgingly came to accept Jung Hwan‘s quarelling and frequently annoying parents as they both saw the error of their ways. Character growth is always good. My fave character was by far Lee Yoo Ri’s Hye Young, she was all kinds of awesome. Plenty of OTP’s to choose from, for those who enjoy that kind of thing.^^ Not many bloggers have the stamina to recap a longer drama but cimiart did just that for FiS.

School 2017
I’m a bit disappointed, I must admit. It’s a pleasant enough drama with lovely friendships and a cute teen romance but the beginning seemed to promise more. I did not expect S2017 to break any major boundries but I did sort of hope for more social commentary than we got. Drama did touch upon stuff like corruption, bullying, social unequality, the exhausting hunt for good grades etc, but only in very superfical way. I never felt like any of it was urgent or even mattered much in the long run. School 2013 did things better within the same framework, thus it was more compelling, imho. I think S2013 really benefetted from having no romance. There was more time to introduce us to other characters beyond the main twosome, as lovely as that bromance was. One of my fave things about S2013 was how they handled the bullies storyline. Jung Oh was probably the character I felt most for. (Kwak Jung Wook is such an underrated actor, he did a great job with the role… I wonder where he is now. Sigh.)

The focus on the romance in S2017, especially towards the end, didn’t leave much room to expand the scope to fill in the stories of, say e.g Kyung Woo, Hyun Il or Young Gun and her pals. When they suddenly let us in on the fact that Young Gun and Bo Ra used to be friends I was like “wait, what… now you tell us?!”. There were plenty of other students I would have liked to know more about too, even if just a teeny-tiny bit. All in all School 2017 isn’t too bad but I wouldn’t say it’s particularly memorable either, save for a fiew performances, which do stick to mind.

Reunited Worlds
This could have been SO much better but they rather wasted an interesting premise. The whole thing gives me a curiously wholesome, family friendly, PG-8 feel. Like it’s aimed at a younger crowd. A bit like Little House on the Prairies of yesteryear (do they even make shows like that anymore?) πŸ˜€ The stakes feel about as high and you just know everything will be sorted out in the end. Nothing in it is even remotely realistic. Things just sort of fall in place without much effort from anyone in particular. There is no urgency, even with Hae Sung‘s impending 2nd departure from this world. Kwak Dong Yeon is criminally underutilised. Oddly, it’s only his scenes that carry some weight and you do take notice when he’s on. Someone give the kid a lead role already! Jin Gu is a great actor but this role offers him preciously little to do except smile a lot, ha.

Reunited World is certainly not something I wait with baited breath each week but it’s inoffensive and easy to watch, so I haven’t felt like I should give it Das Boot. It’s sort of perfect for just letting your brain unwind as it asks so little effort from you.

Tientsin Mystic
Drama started out pretty good. It was mysterious, intriguing even and I really liked the main foursome, but as the episodes went on, my interest started to wane and I finally dropped it. IDK, it just never seemed to get to the point and there was awfully lot of talking too. I don’t understand Chinese so I’ve no idea if all that talk actually had any relevance to the plot but it got boring as heck after a while. At some point I also started to suspect that there would be no real ending, so I took a sneak peek at the last epi, annnnd… sure enough – a massive cliffhanger. Guess they are hankering for a 2nd season. It did have zombies, I’ll give ’em that. πŸ˜€ The cinematography was great, I loved the sets and quirky costuming.

Hospital Ship
Ummm…. nope. It’s not often I dislike a drama off bat the way I did this one. It was such a viscreal negative reaction, there’s practically nothing I liked about Hospital Ship. Well, the scenery was pretty, ha. I’ve long since stopped believing what the promo material of any given drama is trying to sell, but I did hope Hospital Ship would be something akin to the posters. A warm hearted, slice-of-life drama about the ship’s crew, medical personnel and various patients. But of course it turned out to be just like any melodramatic medical drama with hospital politics and questionable depiction of medical practises. Only set on a ship. Besides by ep 4 there was already 3 characters with A Tragic Backstoryβ„’. Sigh.

9 thoughts on “Dama Grab Bag

  1. So I came back to this post to see what you said about Tientsin Mystic, coz I hit the E9 mark, and the backstory was so weird that I’m wondering whether to continue on to E10. πŸ˜›

    The cult & savior baby thing threw me off the most, although the poisoned opium thing & the elaborate suicide thing also contributed to the “Wha..??” factor. Even though I’d already heard going in, that there was a cult in this, all the details served up together in E9 made me seriously glaze over πŸ˜…

    • As I didn’t understand what they were saying, a lot of that stuff went over my head. Was that the epi they consulted the German professor? Because that was when I had a lightbulb experience, as they were speaking german. 😁

      It gets more weird, trust me. Any zombies yet? πŸ˜‰

      • Oh, I didn’t get to the German professor yet. This all came out when Uncle Hu (Dead Dad’s right hand man) confessed everything to Ding Mou, after he’d killed the opium den manageress and was in custody. So, no zombies yet. πŸ˜›

  2. Hello!
    Glad to see your post!😊

    School 2017 is on my plan list… I was initially trying to avoid it bit so many cute clips on Twitter changed my decision. Heh. I do agree with you on School 2013..it was great to not have any unnecessary romance there. Also where is that actor! I think I saw him in a very small role in some drama but I don’t quite remember which one.

    I have just started a weekend drama as I wanted to watch something typical Korean. Man who sets the table. Nothing ground-breaking though. That was expected.

    I also started The Best Hit and liking it a lot.

    • Hullo! I’m not around as much as I’d want to. *Dang Real Life.*

      School 2017 is cute, just not much else. I liked it well enough anyway. Much as can be said about The Best Hit as well. Yoon Shi Yoon practically makes the whole drama, LOL! Kwak Jung Wook was away doing his military service but as far as I can tell, he hasn’t been in anything since he got back.

  3. Good to hear from ya, Timescout! πŸ˜€ I’ve been hearing good things about Nothing Gold Can Stay! – but I didn’t realize there weren’t subs for it, heh. Impressive that you’re loving it even without subs, Timescout!

    I’m just about to watch the last ep of Father is Strange, and I gotta agree, I ❀ Hye Young. She's fabulous in so many ways!

    I've got School 2017 on my soon-to-watch list, but am studiously avoiding Hospital Ship. I just don't jive with medical dramas, I've realized. I also have an inability to appreciate Ha Ji Won.. Ah, I also have Age of Youth 2 on my list! πŸ™‚

    • Well, hi there! Good to see you around too. πŸ™‚

      Oh, ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ has been really good so far. And it’s so, so pretty! Like I have to pause every once in a while just to admire the gorgeous on my screen, LOL! Yup, sadly no subs as of now but hopefully some site picks it up, so there’d be subs at some point. I’ve been watching so many cdramas raw in the past year that it’s become rather commonplace for me. πŸ˜€ Some are easier to follow than others. Nothing Gold being one of the ‘some’. Top notch acting. *nods sagely* Watch eeeettt! XD

      Yup, Hye Young is ❀. Period.

      As you can probaly tell, I wasn’t as taken with School 2017 as many others. It wasn’t a bad watch per se, just not exactly what I would have liked it to be. One of those things…

      I’m watching Age of Youth 2 and Live Up to Your Name too and liking both quite a bit. Forgot to include them, LOL! Well, I’ll put them in the next GB.

      • Heh. Yeah, I’ve barely been around for the last little while.. Got really busy, and then never quite got into the writing mood. Also, haven’t been as interested in the drama offerings in general.

        Definitely putting Nothing Gold Can Stay on my list, but still holding out hope for subs. Hopefully those will come through, with the show being so popular!

        Good to hear that Age of Youth 2 and Live Up to Your Name are working out well for you! I’m eager to check out Age of Youth 2 coz I loved S1. I haven’t quite put Live Up to Your Name on my list coz I’ve been feeling a bit jaded with time travel dramas. If you’re liking it well tho, that does make me wanna peep at it, at least a lil bit! πŸ˜‰

        • The drama offerings this year have been a resounding ‘meh!’ for the most part. It’s been uncommonly hard to find anything to say about most of them and the longer you diddle, the harder it is to start blogging again. That’s one of the reasons it took me ages to get this post up. ‘Forest of Secret’ was such an anomaly in the sea of so-so. ;P

          Well, ‘Live Up to Your Name’ has a somewhat different feel to. For instance, the time travel goes both ways, which brings something new to the table. And it’s been quite funny in places (Kim Nam Gil is hilarious), only it seems like we’ll be hitting the angst next so no telling how long we’ll get to keep the funnies.

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