I wouldn’t say it’s been a drama draught this year but it has been uncommonly hard sticking with anything. I pick up dramas but after a fiew episodes my inital interest starts to fade and finally I just drop them without much ado. There’s been SO many of these. Even dramas that should be right up my alley turn out to be duds and get discarded without so much as a backward glance. I’ve lamented before about my lack of drama time, so I’ve become even pickier than I already was. I have no time for dramas that fail to hook me within the first fiew episodes. I may have missed some good ones this way but not too many as I’m pretty good at spotting those that fit me. There are also couple of shows I’ve got queued to dramathon at some later date. Life being one of those. I love Forest of Secrets and even though medical dramas are not really my thing, I’m pretty sure TPTB have managed to make even this setting worth watching. 🙂
Surprisingly this is my current crack. It ain’t half bad as xianxia web dramas go and it looks gorgeous! The cinematography is movie grade and I love that many of the scenes have been filmed on location. Well, that does give me bit of bad Tribes and Empires flashbacks 😛 but so far the story has been interesting and it flows. Apparently the production decided to put most of the budget on sets and location shoots instead of elaborate costumes. Money well spent I’d say and I actually really like the costumes as I’m not a fan of overblown bling. The main cast are young and green but cute as buttons. I don’t mind the somewhat awkward acting, I’ve seen way worse and with much more established crew. The supporting cast is filled with veterans, always a good thing. I also really like the OST (ending song).
The story follows two young’uns as they travel from a military camp in a frontier town to Chang’an, the capital of Tang and get entangled with all sort of people and intrigue. Ning Que is an established fighter despite of his young age and aims to enrole into a famous Academy to learn ‘cultivating’ so he can take revenge on those who killed his whole family. Sang Sang is his little maid whom he rescued from a pile of corpses when she was just a baby. Poor kiddies have been through a lot and have lead a rather harsh life. Both also have a secret in their past. Well, of course they have, what sort of fantasy drama would this otherwise be? 😀 They get settled in Chang’an and everything seems fine until Sang Sang’s true identity gets accidentally reveald and the pair has to go on a lam. Drama is based on a web novel by Mao Ni 猫腻 but they seem to have stripped it to bare essentials and changed some things. I don’t mind, the novel is rather wordy with several pages dedicated to e.g wonders of calligraphy, ha. There were no subs when I started watching so I began reading the novel translations in order to get the gist of it. Got throughly hooked, LOL! Viki just started airing Ever Night, so subs – yay! Drama is divided into two parts, this is the first one Ever Night: Dawn of the Empire.
Have a pretty trailer
Sand Sea (or Tomb of the Sea) and Eagles and Youngster
I would have finished both of these already if they’d been fully subbed. But alas nope. Now I’m just waiting for Viki to get on with and start airing them. Both have been “coming soon” for ages. I can watch cdramas raw but these two are of the kind where you have to understand the dalogue in order to get the whole deal. As a fun coincidence both dramas are about tomb raiders. Sand Sea is a part of the Grave Robbers Cronicles saga (Mystic9 and The Lost Tomb) and set in modern times with an older and more cynical Wu Xie as one of the main instigators, though Leo Wu’s Li Cu is the protagonist. There are some familiar faces from Mystic9 in it too. 🙂 Eagles and Youngser is by the author who’s penned the Candle in The Tomb series and I’m pretty sure it’s related somehow. Both have plenty of ancient mysteries, action and things that go bump in the night.
Goodbye to Goodbye
This drama may be many things but at it’s core it’s basically an ode to motherhood. Another main theme is families, including the extended ones, and inter family relationships. What it means to be part of a family and how everyone contributes to the wellbeing, or illbeing as it might be, of the family. Drama is also about choices, including the painful ones, and how they shape us and our lives. One misstep, a momentary lapse of judgement can lead to a world of hurt and not just to yourself but everyone around you. Sometimes touching people you don’t even know. But drama also shows how one person can make a difference, helping along postive changes that snowball and spread, resulting in healing and acceptance. New beginnings. It’s about the importance of being able to forgive, oneself as well as others and let go of grudges that prevent us from moving forward, past the hurt. One is never too old to learn to take advantage of life lessons and when you are given a 2nd chance, don’t waste it.
Goodbye to Goodbye has some of the typical trappings of a family weekender with a dash of tear inducing melo, though it never decends into fullblow makjang. It is also a very female centric drama and women are the driving force. Their men, though not without merit for the story, are almost mere passingers. There were times, especially in the beginning, when I though that all the men are idiots. 😀 I don’t remember many dramas that put women this much front and center. Kdramas often tend to present females either ‘pure as a driven snow’ or ‘slaphappy beotches’, so it was nice to see that these ladies are much more. Frequently frustrating, aggrivating, stubborn, silly but also introspective, wise, loving, supportive and everything in between. Like you… or me at times. 🙂 The male cast may have been given a more of a supporting role but they are not cardboard cutouts either. I kinda liked it that they occasionally turned out to be the comic relief.
Are You Human Too?
I quite enjoyed this one though you definitely need a good dose of suspension of belief, plus willingness to take on plot holes and leaps of logic. The main draw for me was solely Seo Kang Joon’s RoboShin3. Robot Shin is just adorable! He’s kind, caring and totally without guile, in fact he is more ‘human’ than most actual humans in the drama. Going by the comments around the internets, I’m not the only one in whom Shin3 wakes up an almost maternal need to protect the Precious, LOL! I’ve seen Seo Kang Joon in couple of other dramas but he never made much of an impression. I didn’t find him particularly bad or good as an actor but in AYHT he has been pretty solid, playing all versions of Nam Shin (human Shin, Shin3, Shin3 pretending to be human Shin and humans Shin pretending to be Shin3) quite seamlessly. So, maybe he does have the makings of a proper actor after all.
Drama has 18 full length epis (or 36 shorter ones, which ever way you want to count ’em) so it’s not a surprise that we got several episodes worth of filler and stupid plot twists. There were already plenty eyeroll worthy things in the beginning stretch. Like how come Mommy made Shin3’s battery such a vulnerable point in the robot’s make up. Anyone can turn the poor ‘boy’ off with that. It’s also rather silly how Shin3 was able to spot Snake The Hired Gun in Czech with ease but now seems to have no idea he’s been spied on. 🙄 Just to mention a fiew. I’ve had no problems ignoring most of the silly but things may change as I’ve yet to finish Drama. I don’t even know why I had to put it on hold but there it is, still hanging. *g* I will get to it one of these days, even though I’ve been thoroughly spoiled for most of the plot by now.