First Impressions: Suspense Threefer :)

Funny thing happened on the way to the forum… I now seem to have 3 suspense/cop shows on my roster. XD None of them has exactly knocked me over with their brilliance but as this is a genre I do tend to like, I’m in. At least for now. This is going to be just a brief post with fiew thoughts on each of the dramas so I’m not going to (hopefully) spoil anything for those uninitiated who’d like to know as little as possible beforehand. 🙂

I have this tendency to get nitpicky, which you probably have noticed, but somehow action gets a lot more slack from me that any other genre. Of course there are limits to my patience and if the plot gets really stupid or characters annoying etc, Show WILL get das boot like any other show. Continue reading

First Impressions: Mask

Long makjangy melos are SO not my thing but as I’m evidently a glutton for punishment, every once in a while I try one out for size, only to bail out in horror at some point. Too much crazy. XD I didn’t watch Secret, for obvious reasons, but the cast in Mask was just too tempting so I decided to give it a go, even while thinking that I’ll live to regret it, ha.

I’d seen the trailers and thought that something was ever so slightly off with them. On the surface they made Mask seem like your garden variety melo but there was just something… not quite right. What I didn’t count for was how much off this whole thing is.
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Drama grab-bag

I think I’ve written this post several times in my head already but I never seemed to have time to actually write it. So, let’s give it a go then.

This week’s episodes of Heard It Through the Grapevine were just as awesome as the previous ones. It’s laugh out loud hilarious in places and usually when you least expect it. I’m thoughly enjoying In Sang’s a-poley parents’ discomfiture and their attempts at saving face with any means available misfiring on them. Every time they mention another plan in the making I start giggling as I’m pretty sure it will go hilairously awry. And yet this is a drama that has a solid and pretty serious foundation, which it never forgets either. They give us a peek behind the facade of the stifling and rigid world of the traditional ‘old money’ and what it means to be part of it. I do fear our young ‘uns will have a tough time ahead but I think they’ll make it. Seo Bom is pretty resilient and a lot smarter than Mr Han and wifey give her credit for. She’ll make a man out of In Sang, given time. Wouldn’t surprise me if she ends up running the whole house. Also, can I just say how much I love the soundtrack?! All those musical cues they are giving, like the horror show bgm playing when In Sang and the male servant were creeping around the house. It just amuses me no end how much TPTB seem to enjoy doing this project.

Heart to Heart took the fast train to Angstville thus earning a filthy look from me. Have I mentioned how much I hate the needless ending angst? Even with the more serious moments this drama was oddly warm&fuzzy, it didn’t really need to go ‘there’ for the last few episodes. I knew that they had to somehow explain both Hong Do’s social phobia and Yi Suk’s problems but couldn’t they find some other way to do it? It felt like I wasn’t watching the same drama at all anymore. Not happy about that past connection trope either. I new that the OTP would sort things out in the end as they are that sort of people but something was lost during all that angsting. The connection I had with the drama just sort of evaporated and out went the previous enjoyment of watching it with it. Gold star goes to Se Ro. She started out this mildly annoying comic relief but turned out to be the most together and level headed character of them all. I really liked her in the end.

Another show wringing tears this past week was Kill Me, Heal Me but as it always had this more serious undercurrent, never far from the surface, the moment the shit hit the fan never felt out of place but rather an orangic development. This is where the story was always ment to go. It wasn’t a tag-on but an essential part of the whole. Ji Sung is still going on all cylinders here. He is truly acting his heart out and makes a pretty great team with Hwang Jung Eum. The rest of the cast ain’t bad either.

Decided to drop Persevere Ho Hae Ra. I was loosing interest by each epi and the love triangle bores me to tears. I don’t know what people see in Se Jong but to I think he is as intriguing as colour beige. Ray is only marginally more interesting but that might just be because I have a soft spot for Jin Young. 🙂 Save for Tae Poong the rest of the characters don’t have much of an impact on anything, they are just sort of there. It’s gone back to being a collection of scenes stiched together with musical numbers. Plot, what plot? Even the fun seems to be gone, gone, gone. I dozed through the latest episode and finally thought “why is it I’m watching this again?” Time me and drama parted ways, I’d say.

In the first impressions section we have Bluebird’s House and Unkind Women. As I’m slightly demented I decided to check out both. I rather liked Bluebird’s House to begin with but as the episodes went by I started to loose interest. I’m already bored enough to ff through most of the episodes and the plot is as predictable as can be, so I’m giving it das boot. On the other hand the first epi of Unkind Women didn’t exactly set me a-fire with interest and there was some rather annoying overacting going on. I think the fact that I had a hard time following the dialog had something to do with it too. Second ep was already more interesting, so I’m giving it a few more weeks before I make up my mind. The whole things has the trappings to go full on makjangy melo at some point so I’m a bit wary but so far things seem to be ok on that front.

First impressions: Heard it Through the Grapevine


How much did I love the creepy music playing when the kids entered the Han mansion. LOL!

Oh my! This is going to be a hoot. LOL! I can also say it’s definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. 역시 안판석이다! With the rather heavy topic of teen preagnancy as one of the topics of the drama, I was wondering where the black comedy would come from but I’m already giggling like a loon. XD And that was just the 2nd EP. The first episode is your assured, gorgeously filmed PD Ahn with a hint of things to come but the 2nd epi… ROFL! Yup, it’s ‘black’ allright. I’m both gleeful and ‘afraid’ of what’s in store for us. The families couldn’t be any different. In Sang’s parents are so delighfully ‘butter woudn’t melt in their mouth’ proper and a-poley that I’m all gleeful to see how this ordinary *ghasp, shock, horror* girl is going to upset their perfectly manicured lives. She feels like someone with a mind of her own. In Sang is a sweet kid but such a wuss. I get the feeling that hooking up with Seo Bom is the first rebellious thing he’s ever done. That’s Young Lurve for you. 🙂

In typical PD Ahn way we are thrown right in the middle of the story and left to fend for ourselves, ha. Pace is brisk and I’m already looking forward to how things are not going to go exactly as planned by Mr and Mrs A-pole. I love the servants in the Han household. Save for Daddy Han’s secretary maybe, they are all for the young couple. Yup, this has the makings of this year’s crack drama for me.


New year, new dramas

As dramas in the past few years go, Healer is pretty decent. I like the characters and the story is good enough to draw you in. But… I haven’t gone gaga over it like so many of the international drama fans seem to have. The latest DB episode recap thread has 2000+ comments!!! o_O Mind boggles. The last time I felt The Squee! that keenly myself was back in the days of SKKS. Ah, the copious gushing going on @ Thundie’s Prattle. Sometimes I think I’ve lost the ability to squee as I don’t seem to go for it even with the shows I love. Or Maybe I’ve just become too old and too jaded. I do like the cast though. Ji Cang Wook – there is something very captivating about the boy. He is adorable as the bumbling Park Bong Soo-persona. 🙂 Park Min Young is really fun to watch too. I think this is the most I’ve liked her in a role. Looks like she is finally starting to step outside of her comfort zone. And Yoo Ji Tae brings out the ‘ahjussi’ -love in most people. *g* He is pretty compelling as the conflicted Moon Ho.

Not quite sure what to make of Kill Me, Heal Me yet but I’m keeping it for now.^^ Ji Sung is quite convincing and he really manages to make me care about his splintered persona. Those sad eyes get me every time. Hwang Jung Eum’s character has been a leeeettle too shouty for my taste but hopefully they’ll tone that down. I also hope they keep KMHM somewhat light hearted and refrain from bringing in ‘the crazy’. The minute it turns unnecessarily melodramatic and makjang, Imma gone.

Another show I’ve sampled recently is Persevere Gu Hae Ra and can’t say I’m impressed. The two episodes aired so far were quite disjointed and had really jarring transitions. There often didn’t seem to be any correlation between scenes. It’s also more like a collection of scenes + musical numbers than a cohesive story. Acting is all over the place too and no-one pops out. Maybe that’s a good thing. Dunno. Monstar had it’s problems, most of which had to do with them ending up with ca. 20 episodes worth of story and only 12 to tell it. It was inevitable they had to cut corners at some point. But it had a way better start and several characters I really liked, I’m pretty lukewarm to everyone in PGHR. I’m still undecided whether to continue but EP2 had a surprise ending and I kinda want to see how that is going to pan out. Guess I’ll give Drama a few more episodes to convince me and if things don’t improve, das boot it is.

First impressions – Misaeng & Tears of Heaven

Unlike many others seem to have done, I never thought Misaeng would be a comedy. Even if the teasers were sort of humorous, the overall tone of all the previews was more on the sombre side. What did surprise me was how atmospheric it turned out to be. It’s oddly whistful, contempletive and even melancolic in places. The colour palette shifts in blues, underlining the mood. Yet, it’s all that without being depressing. I guess the original writer of the webtoon Misaeng is based on being involved in the production, is one of the reasons the storytelling feels very assured. It also feels quite realistic. After watching these 2 first episodes I was thanking me stars I’ve never had to work in a corporate environment. They have a pretty solid crew manning the characters and I’m really liking Shiwan here. He’s progressed quite a bit from his first few roles. I think the boy might well make it solely as an actor, given time. His Geu Rae pretty much has me in his corner already. 🙂 Solid start, hopefully they keep it going.

Seo Joon Young, when are you going to headline a drama I’ll be willing to watch without doping myself first?! I’ve been patiently waiting since Just You. Sirius does not count, it was a short.^^ Out of curiosity I watched the first 4 episodes of Tears of Heaven, MBN’s renewed attempt at dramas. Yup, another weekend makjang fest. What else could it be with a name like that? XD As per usual, it’s populated mostly with horrible people doing questionable things and there is at least one character who would benefit for some heavy duty psyciatric counselling. A birth secret or two as well, of course. They even managed to throw in willful negligence leading to death and amnesia within the first 2 epis, ha. There’s the typical hardworking, spunky poor girl and her prince rich dude, who this time happens to be a very nice lad, 2nd girl who’ll in all probablity turn into one of those crazies ‘who just won’t get it’, horrible excuses of mothers and fathers… You know, the usual suspects. If you like your dramas predictable and pickled in makjang with some crazy on the side, congratulations! ;P There’s a bonus too… yes, this one *g*:

Why so cute? 🙂

First impressions and ongoing dramas…

I need new dramas on my roster as much as I need a hole in my head but what can one do… there’s always a new drama round the corner. One can only hope most of them end up sucking, ha.

The New
Discovery of Romance
I wasn’t initally sure about this one as it’s by the writer behind all three INRs and I didn’t really care a whit for any of those. As it turns out, DoR has so far been pretty enjoyable as fluff goes. It’s just quirky enough to give the story some pzazz and I’ve yet to be irritated by any of the characters, which was my main concern to begin with. Yoon Hyun Min and Kim Seul Gi as trusty sidekicks are all kinds of fun and Eric, Jung Yoo Mi and Sung Joon make an interesting threesome. I really like Sung Joon and have done so ever since SUFFBB, but no matter how deramy his ‘Best Boyfriend in the World’™ is, Eric still pawns him in manliness and screen presence. Gosh, I’d forgotten how mesmerizing Eric can be when he turns on the charm, which btw. seems to be even more potent now that he is older (yummm…). Everyone else sort of fades away, ha. Sung Yoo Mi is always good, even when I can’t stand the character she plays (looking at you INR2). The plot of DoR isn’t exactly new, especially this year, but so far what I’ve seen has left me quite happy and looking forward to what’ll happen next.

Plus Nine Boys
TvN dramas tend to be a bit of a hit and miss with me. Some I’ve loved, some I’ve liked enough to finish them and others I’ve been totally indifferent to. They are rather formulaic and almost perefectly honed to suit the target demographic, but whether they suit me depends mostly on the script and if they’ve managed to find the right actors for the roles. This one was surprsingly enjoyable. It doesn’t feel as calculated as some of the TvN works and the concept is a little bit different from what’s been done before. I quite like the execution, as well as the characters, which is generally the dealbreaker for me. Unless it’s a procedural/crime show and then the plot comes first. 🙂

Three Musketeers
It’s a fun little romp that has mostly kept to the feel of other screen adaptations out there. I hope they don’t loose the humour along the way like so often happens with kdramas. All the (un)necessary angst they love to insert just about everywhere has a tendency to weigh down the stories, sometimes so much so that they become a chore to watch. Yong Hwa still has ways to go before making a competent actor but he is holding his own here, imho. I don’t think any of the main actors are deserving for a gold star. No-one stinks up the place, they are all passable but that is just about it.

Pretty typical OCN fare, slick and looks good. Not sure if I’ll keep up with this, as the first 2 episodes didn’t quite manage to pull me in. It’ll proably end up in the ‘marathon’ pile, to be watched at some later date.

The Ongoing
Endless Love
Korean melodramas, sigh. I was ‘this’ close to dropping Endless Love as there were just too many episodes of The Weepy. There’s only so much of tears and hand wringing a girl can take. It also felt like everyone had caught a bad case of stupiditis, which lead to copious moments of eyerolling and sighing. Well, the plot finally decided to make a move on so I’m giving EL a few more episodes to convince me that this is still worth my time. Not holding my breath though.

Yoo Na’s Street ♥♥♥
Still my darling and the best of the bunch. I just love it and everyone in it almost equally. I think I could watch just YNS and nothing else on a loop, ad infinitum. XD It is SUCH a satisfying drama to watch, full of nuances and little details that seem unimportantat but actually add meaning to the scenes. There aren’t all that many kdramas with this fully realised and well rounded characters. I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d find YNS too slow but I love the pace and how they are ‘building up’ the story by adding new bits and pieces each episode. The slower pace gives us the chance to relish every new revelation and insight into the characters. Moar please!

First impressions: Joseon Gunman

It feels a bit moot to sing the praises of this drama as it’s already been praised in every other blog it seems. Still, this was such a great start and I must say I’m SO thrilled that the first two episodes of Joseon Gunman did not disappoint but rather were just as good as the promo material let us believe. Yay!
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First Impressions: Secret Love Affair

I think I’m in love. I just watched the fist two episodes of Secret Love Affair again and after I’d finished I wanted to click play, start from the beginning again. And this was my 2nd time watching them too. I was ‘this’ close to writing this piece after the first viewing, a few days ago but it was late and I was too tired. I also wanted to watch the epis with subs as my Korean is still not good enough, so lot of the dialogue goes over my head and with this one, the words too matter. Afterwards, I just didn’t have a proper moment to dedicate for the drama. I really, really wanted to watch it again without any outside distractions. It was never far away from my thoughts though. I kept mulling and mulling, trying to figure out what to say, how to convey to words what I felt. I’m not very good at that at all you see.

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