Drama Grab Bag

Yes, I’m still watching stuff but veeeryyyy slowly and frequently getting distracted by kpop MVs and cat videos, among other things. 😀

The Tale of Nokdu
You would think I’d learn by now that kdramas that start out quirky, sweet and/or fun almost always end up being none of those things. Just as Korean romcoms often turn out to be neither romantic nor particularly fun. If they don’t get pickled in manufactured angst, the plot drowns in overdone drama. Sadly The Tale of Nokdu also turned out to be “one of those dramas” and I’ve dropped it. I already had doubts about some of Drama’s plotty choices to begin with, but it was the Grand Twist Out of the Left Field at the end of ep 6 (11-12 if you count by halves) that sealed the deal. I know there are plenty of people who think that’s the bee’s knees, but I’m not one of them. I HATED it! This is not what I signed up for! Where’s my fun crossdressing hijinks!! Guess I should have just waited till Drama had finished airing to decide if it was worth watching. *is grumpy*

Extraordinary You
Another one that ended up disappointing me. I rather loved Extraordinary You in the beginning. It was breezy, fun and I liked how it mocked many of the convenient and tired tropes of romance dramas. I also liked the freshfaced cast. The storyline promised something a bit different, but… yes, there’s a ‘but’. Bit by bit things just started to become predictable and more and more of those tropes they mocked to begin with got implemented in the story proper. Sigh. Now it just seems like the plot is going around in circles and the heroine went from feisty to your typical FL who just moons over her guy. I’m loosing interest, fast. There doesn’t seem to be much of ‘extraordinary’ left in the show. Can they still turn this around? Maybe, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll probably finish this regardless.

When The Devil Calls Your Name
This is more like it. Some people thought the drama was a bit slow but I never felt that way. You can’t go too much wrong with Jung Kyung Ho and Park Sung Woong as leads and they delivered. I’ve never seen Lee Seol in anything but she was very convincing as a musician. She also had to play a totally different version of her character towards the end and I bought that too. For once the writing was pretty solid all the way through. I even liked the sobby bits. *sniffle* Drama was also laugh-out-loud funny in places and the humour sprinkled here and there never went OT or slapsticy. Supporting cast tends to be great on most kdramas and they did a good job in this one too. Also, no romance. Just several relationships. Some good, some bad and some hilarious. The main ‘villain’ turned out to be someone potentially worse than our Devil but gosh, he was such a funny character. Kim Hyung Mook was great in the role. The soundtrack was pretty good, though they went a bit heavy handed with some of the songs. There should have been more variety with the songs played, imho. But that’s a common ailment in kdramas these days. All in all a pleasant watch.

The King’s Avatar
I totally forgot to put this in my last Grab Bag. I don’t know how it slipped my mind as I really liked it. I’m not a gamer nor have I ever been interested in eSports, so I didn’t initally have any intention of watching TKA. Even though I’d already seen the S1 of the donghua. I can’t recall what made me eventually press ‘play’ but I did and before I noticed I’d watched several episodes raw. When the subs came out I started from the beginning, so I basically watched Drama twice in the end. 😀 King’s Avatar charts talented eSports player’s journey from superstardom to relative obscurity and back again with a new team. Drama starts kinda slow but I actually liked all the groundwork that got done to build up his carreer again and all the new friends he made in the process. There is a kind of heartfelt, laid back feel to it all, a nice contrast to the more hectic side of professional eSports – the games. Which we got a plenty and it looked really good. TPTB put some serious $$$ to the CGI for once. In the end I was cheering the various teams on with the best of them. *g* I loved the main characters and many of the supporting ones as well. The rivalry is real but for the most part stays friendly. Even those who start out antagonistic see the light in the end and there’s only one char who never improves but he sorta gets forgotten towards the end, ha. Guess he served a purpose. One of the fun parts is the goodnatured ribbing between the leaders of the various teams. They are out to get you when in the game but outside they’ll have your back if needed. Thankfully no romance but plenty of friendship and team building. I’ve never seen the appeal of Yang Yang before but I liked him as Ye Xiu/Ye Qiu. Despite of still being a straight shooter and not beating about the bush when something needed to be said, his Ye Xiu is ‘softer’ and more approachable than the one in both the novel and donghua, which I liked.

I always appreciate the time and effort subbers put in translating dramas. In this case I do wish they had taken a look around as there already exist translations of the novel, donghua plus other sources. Now the translations for e.g the player IDs and names of the teams in the drama feel off, especially as some are translated and others just done in pinyin. I mean, there’s nothing really wrong with Jia Shi but I do prefer Excellent Era (Ye Xiu’s first team) and Leaf of Autumn just looks clunkier than One Autumn Leaf (Ye Xiu’s first ID). Chinese is a ‘flowery’ language, so translating it can’t be easy, which is quite evident in Su Mucheng’s player ID, 沐雨橙风. It got translated as Wind in the drama. Ummm… yes, there is also a ‘wind ~ 风’ in the ID but doesn’t Dancing Rain sound much better? Especially as 风 can mean other things besides ‘wind’. Although it sort of annoyed me, this isn’t a major gripe as people who have no previous knowledge of the source material and it’s other translations probably won’t even notice. It’s just me and my anal tendencies to explore other resources when it comes to novel based dramas. Did you know there’s even The King’s Avatar (fandom) Wiki? That was pretty helpful for sorting out all the teams and their members. 🙂

Fun fact. It’s probably because of TKA that YT kept offering me videos related to eSports, ha. I ignored them until one day I had nothing better to do, so I cliced on one. Now I know WAY more about League of Legends than I actually want to. LOL!

10 thoughts on “Drama Grab Bag

  1. I find myself less interested in Extraordinary You as well, which is a pity coz I found it very fresh and fun in the beginning. And I’m not even caught up to current eps! I’m still hanging in there with Nokdu.. I was surprised by the twist, but I’m still curious to see where Show is going with it, and I like the leads, so I’m still in the game. I’ve got a vague eye on When The Devil Calls Your Name because of Jung Kyung Ho and Park Sung Woong, though I did hear that the plot is kinda all over the place?

    PS: I see from your side bar that you’re also watching Melo Suits Me? I’m watching that and liking it a lot! 😀

    • It is a pity that Extraordinary You went sort of flat. It started out so well. I’m couple of epis behind myself and strugling to continue.

      As for Nokdu… They sold me a fun sageuk lite with crosdressing hijinks and that’s what I expexted to get, not sudden switch into mass murder and mayhem. Talk about false advertising. From what I’ve read, it goes to full on proper ‘sageuk mode’ and darker. Definitely not what I wanted, so I’m glad I didn’t continue with it.

      I didn’t find When the Devil Calls to be all over the place at all. I think it’s pretty straight forward in telling the story it wants to tell. Maybe that just wasn’t what some viewers wanted, like me with Nokdu.

      I’m waaaayyyy behind with Melo Suits Me. It’s the next one on the roster I’m going to dramathon. ☺

      • Aw, that’s good to know, about When the Devil Calls Your Name.. I will duly bump it up the list! 🙂 Yes, it does seem a lot of the cute sageuks turn dark and heavy in the second stretch.. I’m still interested to know how Nokdu turns out, so I’m adjusting my expectations. It hasn’t been all that light for a while! Melo Suits Me is so quirky and refreshing, definitely worth a dramathon, I think! 😉

  2. I’m glad to hear you ended up enjoying When the Devil Calls Your Name all the way through. I was hoping that one would work for you. It was a fun drama with a great script and some truly amazing actors. Definitely a good one 🙂

    • Yeah, it was nice to have one kdrama to finish, LOL! I’ve been either dropping them or just haven’t felt like picking up those I’m waaaaay behind with. I think I’ve got a minor drama slump going here. Besides never really having enough time to watch anything. Sigh. Oh well, I’ll solder on. 🙂

  3. Chinese is very poetic, but there is nothing about “dancing” in 沐雨橙风, so I’m not sure where that translation came about. Perhaps there is some contextual meaning related to the plot, or just sounds nice in English.

    • Yeah, that’s what I wondered too, where the ‘dancing’ part came from. Could be related to the character’s gamer ID or perhaps a saying that doesn’t directly translate. It does sound nice in English though. 🙂 Some of the gamer IDs are pretty out there, like Steamed Bun Invasion, LOL! But that one sort of suits the character. He’s funny, bit brash and like an exuberant puppy.

      • 沐雨橙风 takes the characters of the name Mucheng 沐橙 and tries to squeeze it into the Chinese idiom 沐雨栉风. The idiom means “to work unceasingly regardless of the weather”, or “weather beaten”. The difference is only one character, but while the idiom makes sense (there is wind and rain for sure), the player ID doesn’t really.

        • Ah, I didn’t think of looking at the name connection. It makes sense, kinda. Dancing Rain ID was originally created by Mucheng’s older brother, as he thought it would be fun to fool people by playing a female character. Well, what can I say, he was a teen. I think he did have Mucheng in mind when making the ID though and the name is in reference to her tenacious nature. After his sudden demise in a car accident, Ye Xiu passes the ID to Mucheng. Yes, Dancing Rain sounds nice in English, but it could also be because both Mucheng and the ID character are graceful and pretty.

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