May 1st… how did that happen? Where did March and April go? Sigh, I have NO idea, months seem to whisk past at an alarming pace these days. UNB sort of took over my life and it feels like I haven’t watched anything but their videos lately, LOL! (can’t help it, they are so cute/funny and I love, love, love the songs!) But as I looked a bit harder I realised I’ve actually managed watch and even finish some dramas too, just not had any time to write about them.
Children of a Lesser God
I ended up liking this more than I originally thought. I almost dropped Drama after the first fiew episodes as it had this oddly disconcerting feel to it and I didn’t quite know what to make of the leads. It actually took me a fiew more episodes to get used to the PD and writer’s stylistic choices. The characters grew on me and I ended up liking the ragtag team quite a bit. I’m all for Teams, ya know. 😀 It also helps that the cast is mainly very solid and a good fit for the parts they are playing. Kang Ji Hwan often annoys me in his roles but he was ok here. Kim Ok Bin always brings her A game but Shim Hee Sup as Joo Ha Min was the one that really popped though. Ha Min was such a jumble of contradicting feelings and loyalities, so it was hard to tell which side he really stood in. Right to the end too. Hope Actor Shim gets more opportunities to show what he can do. Guy is way better than many of those hyped up actors the general public seems to adore. The plot isn’t particularly original, but what is these days. They did manage to put a new spin to some of it. The creepy cult was creepy.
Such a solid drama with a great cast. I’d call it heartwarming even, despite of it depicting the rather gruesome world of forensic pathologists. I think Japan has sort of patented the procedural formula 😀 and there are way too many made each cycle. But… among the multitude there is always fiew that turn out to be very good, some excellent even. I’ve probably said it umpteen times already but one of the main draws of jdrmas is that they feel quite real. The worlds feel lived in and the characters look and act like real people. Jdramas tend to focus on ordinary people, regardless of their social status and not an uber rich chaebol in sight. I also appreciate the fact that everything is not enhanced up to wazoo, to make things “more interesting”. 🙄
Unnatural really is a great example of a well made procedural that also has an overarching storyline. There’s a great post by goodally @ RattleTattle about Drama, that goes over all the points that make it so good. The writer of Unnatural is Nogi Akiko and I didn’t know that couple of my fave jdramas (Soratobu Kouhoushitsu, Juhan Shuttai!) are hers too! She has also written NigeHaji, which I still haven’t watched. I should have cottoned on as they all have the same feel and both Soratobu and Unnatural eaven feature a great Team. Like goodally wrote, “Both heads (of the department in Soratobu and Unnatural) could easily be the best 2 team leaders in dramaland” 🙂
BG ~ Personal Bodyguard
Another procedural, though this time it’s about Personal Bodyguards in the private sector, as oposed to the branch of Security Police who guard e.g politicians. And there’s one of the themes of the drama right there. The SPs, especially one of their aces Ochiai Yoshiaki, think BGs as a nuisance who don’t know what they are doing.
BG is a Kimura Takuya drama and one of the better ones, I’d say. There are those who don’t think much of KimuTaku as an actor but I’ve always rather liked him and enjoyed many of his dramas too. Yes, he’s not a particularly impressive actor and has mostly relied on his good looks and natural charisma to get by. He’s also done a loooong list of similar dramas and characters and over the years he undoubtedly acquired mannerisms that he can’t seem to shake off. I don’t think it’s entirely KimuTaku’s fault that he’s been typecast and boxed in similar roles though. For years he was one of the biggest, if not the biggest earner in Johnny’s and probably wasn’t allowed to branch out, in case he’d loose popularity, CF deals and the money those brought in. If he ever had thoughts on trying to change the status quo, I guess getting married and having kids probably made him put those kind of aspirations behind him. For a family man a sold and guaranteed income is no doubt a better choice, even if it stymes his growth as an actor.
Anyways, guy’s older now and finally stepping out of his comfort zone a bit. His Shimazaki is no superhero but a regular guy in his 40’s, who’s been out of the game for years and thus not in such a good shape anymore. Which is pretty neatly shown too. He used to be on top of the profession once, so he still got the ‘moves’, besides experience always tells. Even if he is pretending to be a rookie to begin with. I like that they didn’t make Shimazaki into some sort of genius but rather a smart and experienced professional who can also look at things from a different angle. He’s quite emphatic, a regular, nice person. I like him. 😉 The rest of the BG team is petty good, though new to the profession. Apart from the team leader Murata, that is. Kamikawa Takaya tends to bring certain kind of warmth to his characters and I always end up liking them a lot. There are two ladies in the mix. Feisty Suganuma, who is the only female in the BG Team. She takes no nonsense from anyone. Then there’s the character all seem to love to hate, Tachihara Aiko – the politician. 😀 I didn’t find Tachihara nearly as annoying as many seem to have done. Oh yes, she sketchy but then, when are politicians not sketchy? Tachihara is an attractive woman, working in a field run by traditionalistic old farts, so I guess that to survive she had to become the person she is now. She even acknowledges the fact herself in one of the later episodes.
Drama also managed to spring a twist at the end, one I wasn’t expecting at all. I’d forgotten that jdramas don’t shy away from taking a different approach to how they end things. There were no loose ends left hanging though. Why do I feel like there could be S2 in the future?
With the latest PD Ahn Pan Seok drama currently airing, I decided to give White Tower (or Behind The White Tower, as it’s also been called) a go. White Tower is one of PD Ahn’s earlier works from 2007. It’s The Medical drama that all seem to hold as the measuring stick for all others of that genre. After watcing several episodes, I’m not surprised at the praise at all. Drama even manages to make hospital politics interesting, which is just as well as the drama is all about the politics and the people involved in it. 😉 I found all the main players fascinating. I may not condone what some of them do but I can understand the need/reasons, even if I don’t agree with their choices. I’m no medical professional but to me the procedures also looked way more realistic than in any other korean medical drama I’ve seen so far. No wonder the scenes took ages to film.
White Tower is undoubtedly a PD Ahn drama, it has all the familiar trappings of like sheddig light to corruption and shady dealings, this time in the medical world. The cast is solid, all the way to the bit players who just make a brief appearance. The main parts are all manned by heavyweights with Kim Myung Min as the brilliant but selfish and powerhungry surgeon Jang Joon Hyeok being the focal point. There are so many familiar faces, not just from dramas/movies in general but from many PD Ahn’s own dramas. They always seem to have a mixture of new faces, a-listers, solid veterans and supporting actors and those I like to call “PD Ahn’s tried and trusted”.^^ I spotted Jang So Yun, Jang Hyun Sung and Park Hyuk Kwon.
Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food
The current Ahn PD drama, which is a lot more laid back than the one above. *g* I do like it but I still don’t know if I end up liking it as much as his other dramas of the past fiew years. This writer has a different style from Jung Sung Joo, who’s had several collaboratons with PD Ahn and whose somewhat dryly humorous style I’ve really enjoyed. Also, romance is not my preferred genre and I’m already wondering if Drama can hold my interest till the end, unless we get a bit more of something other than the OTP being cavity inducingly sweet. I’m missing the social commentary so prevalent in the other PD Ahn dramas I’ve watched. So far there’s been very little of that. I’m also missing the humor, there were scenes that were laugh-out-loud funny, often at the behest of the more pompious characters with too high ideas of their own importance. I’m at ca. ep 6 now and it feels like nothing much has happened. I don’t generally mind a slower pace, but this is a bit too slow even for me. 🙂 We’ll see how it goes.
My Husband Oh Jak Do
Gosh, this one is long! A romance doesn’t need 24 episodes to tell the story. One of my fave TW dramas centered around a romance is just 13 epis and that was quite enough. I’m several episodes behind but as I’m watching the drama in batches of 2-4 epis, I’ll catch up in no time at all. Well, as soon as I can find some time to get on with it, ha. I like the OTP and some of the supporting cast as well. Could do without Seung Joo’s shrew of a mother and no-good brother though. The whole thing is a pretty easy watch. Nothing new or groundbreaking but it’s not like every drama needs to be.
Yami No Bansosha S2
I really liked S1 and was ever so happy when I found out there would be a 2nd season. But, I think this one ain’t quite as engeaging as the predecessor. The main twosame is the same, the premise is still set in the world of mangas/mangakas and here is a mystery but something is missing. I just haven’t been able to figure out what.
I tried out several cdramas but none made the cut in the end. Siege in Fog was frankly a disappointment. They did a total hack job with the editing, to the point when some scenes didn’t really make a sense anymore. We probably have to thank the censors for that. As much as I liked Elvis Han and Sun Yi as the lead couple, I wasn’t going to sit through 50 epis of wonky pacing and then get the ‘rocks fall and everyone dies’ ending. I also gave Only Side By Side With You a go but it started getting draggy and going to a direction I didn’t much care for, so I dropped it too. A pity as William was so very charming in it. *g* Mainland Chinese dramas have become ridiculously long. There is so much filler and plot pedalling in place to drag out the storyline, usually way beyond what it can sustain. Makes for a very boring watch and frequent use of the FF-button. I hardly ever get even past one third before they get Das Boot. The sad thing is that many of these dramas could have been OK if they’d been, say max 24-30 episodes. These days, when I take a look on new dramas, I usually check out the epi count before deciding if the drama in question would even be worth a looksee. Most of them get discarded right away. So, I’m still on the lookout for my next Chinese drama. 🙂
My, this got awfully long but that’s what one gets from taking a month, or two to post anything drama related.