Golden Cross Review

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{{You can watch Golden Cross here on Dramafever.}}

Noooooo…!!  I was waiting for this crime thriller to have a spectacular ending–something dramatic, unexpected, and exciting.  But it left me wanting something more.   I hated progressing through the final episodes and feeling the rating drop further and further.  It could’ve redeemed itself with a good ending, but it failed and was unsatisfying in so many ways.  I initially thought this drama would end up in my top 5, since everything before the time-skip was brilliant.

I have to talk about the romance first.  I liked how it was extremely subtle, unclear, and even shady through most of the drama.  It added a necessary warmth to the otherwise serious and dark tone of the drama.   I didn’t even expect to get much romance, but I just thought there was wasted potential.  There could’ve at least been more collaboration and scenes with the two leads :(  Since there was basically a lack of any romance in the last episodes, it felt overly serious.  I didn’t feel like I was watching a drama anymore–it was more like a news story.

The writer was serious about portraying fraud in the economy and the justice system.  The main character had to basically reveal the crimes on his family by himself.  All in all, he needed to have money to fight power with power.  It’s a pretty bleak reality, but it gets a message out.  I found the beginning extra special because it tested the characters’ family trust and bonds.  How would you react if someone you knew and loved was accused of a crime?

golden3I LOVED Lee Si Young’s character.  She was a strong and smart prosecutor, and also a kind and down to earth person.  She was tested because her father is the criminal of her crime case.  Unfortunately, her role was underused.  Her character even became obsolete :(   Again, wasted potential.  The second lead female was also interesting and powerful, yet her appearance was too sporadic to feel connected to her.  What about Eom Ki Joon?  He was like the all-knowing evil mastermind with a kind of flippant, charismatic personality.  But when I think about it, he didn’t really get to play as big a role as he could have either :\

Kim Kang Woo, on the other hand, was an interesting case.  I actually disliked his character more and more throughout the drama.  I loved him in the beginning, wondered about him in the middle, and almost disliked him at the end.  What a weird phenomenon.  Nonetheless, he did an amazing job, and he almost became like his character in Story of a Man, which was fairly similar to this drama.

All of the complaints being said, I still highly enjoyed most of the drama.  The suspense was incredible and most episodes breezed by.  The action scenes were impressive, good flow of writing and directing, and all of the actors were top notch.  The background music could’ve been better.

Bride of the Century Review

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{You can watch Bride here on Dramafever.}

I regret starting this drama and getting interested because of the very first couple episodes.  I wish I had realized earlier that it was not going to stop ridiculously throwing cliches.  The main reason I kept at it was because I loved the main character, Doo Rim.  I loved her bright, tomboyish spirit.  She was cute and gullible, but also tough and could actually defend for herself.  I haphazardly shipped her with her “oppa”, the second guy.  Pff, like I had a chance.

I liked the whole setup in the first episodes, when Doo Rim was pulled from the countryside to the city to fill in for the arranged bride of a chaebol.  Her good nature and energy warmed up everyone around her.  It was all fun and games until the “first-wife curse” started being the main point of conversation.

There’s nothing much else good to say about the drama.  It was extremely predictable and felt lame and outdated due to all the cliches.  I don’t think it would’ve been good even 10 years ago.  Even worse, it took itself very seriously…I honestly felt bad for the actors at many points.  There were also way too many dark moments that involved scheming parents.

Another downer was that I didn’t find Lee Hong Ki likable at any moment in the drama.  He was just dull, and his character was too stern for his image.  He’s incredibly cute when he’s actually being cheerful.

The cute moments were okay, but not worth waiting for.

 

 

Dramas I dropped in 2014

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(Post will be updated throughout the year.)

I think it’s been a very slow and boring year so far.   I’m sure another good drama season will come along eventually…I know I’ll be ready for it.

Here’s what I’ve dropped so far, of those that I originally thought I was going to finish:

prime2Prime Minister & I -   Good start and good pace, but it got predictable and boring real quick.  Contract marriage and kids that will convince their widowed dad of their affection for a bubbly and kind Yoona.  Yoona acted surprisingly well–usually her type of character annoys me, but she gave me laughs.  She wasn’t impressive enough to pull me through a boring story though.  Even Lee Beom Soo couldn’t work his magic into this drama.  I was hoping this would live up to it’s being called the Korean “Sound of Music”, but it was a far cry from it.  I didn’t think the kids’ characters were likable.  Available here on Dramafever.

Miss Korea -Something felt a bit off, a little awkward and uneventful, but I kinda liked it at first.  It felt like Answer Me, 1997…oh yeah, it also takes place in ’97.  That time period gives it a ‘classic’ feel and few distractions of technology.  But after watching enough episodes, the subtle and uneventful qualities really bored me.  I didn’t felt any connection to the characters either.  Available here on Dramafever.

ageInspiring Age/Age of Feeling -  This drama got more confusing and complicated  with each episode. I actually never had any idea what the story was about.  But I loved the beginning because it totally reminded me of the impact Bridal Mask had…high action, violent, emotional, and powerful, with similar electric guitar music lol.  The child actors were so engaging.  But once the adult actors showed up, I lost all interest in the characters.   I knew I was going to to dislike Jin Se Yeon’s character once again :/.   I wanted to like the second girl, the samurai ‘princess’, but her rigid and cold personality was a let down.  If there was any purpose to the story, I might’ve kept watching, but I had no idea where it was going.  There were some hot guys as side characters and I miss them :(

Big Man – I was never deeply invested in this.  Kang Ji Hwan’s character was too silly, naive, and seemed overly positive and altruistic.   It seemed that since he was so “good”, everything would happen in his favor.  And on the other side we had Daniel Choi’s character who was very cold-hearted and not enjoyable to watch.  The character that kept me most engaged was Lee Da Hee’s.  I wanted her role to grow and her character to toughen up, but it wasn’t happening.  Available here on Dramafever.

Emergency Couple – I became interested in Choi Jin Hyuk after Heirs, and this was a tvN drama, so I tried it.  Loved the first few episodes about the couple divorcing and both later on pursuing their original dreams of becoming doctors.  But I should’ve known that everything was going to get predictable when they end up working together as resident doctors.  It wasn’t just predictable, but some scenes were so frustrating, with the whole social and political system in this hospital.  I had the same feelings about Good Doctor.  Surely people aren’t this disrespectful and status-hungry in real hospitals.  The main female lead was the main victim here, and she was too weak and had to be defended all the time.  Add to this gory medical scenes, and I pulled out.  Available here on Dramafever.

trot7Trot Lovers –   One thing’s confirmed, Eun Ji is a natural born star and too cool for anyone lol.  The only reason I watched half of this drama was to watch her and hear her sing.  Everything else was way too frustrating and slow.  Evil scheming, misunderstandings, amnesia?  No thanks.  Available here on Dramafever.

 

Joseon Gunman –  Of course I would try an Lee Jun Ki drama, and it was a pleasant surprise to get well-developed, relevant side characters for one of his dramas.  There were great action scenes and camerawork in general.  But I just got really tired of the slow plot.  Jun Ki trying to conceal his identity just got so old and ridiculous.  And I wasn’t at all interested in the political revolution development.   Available here on Dramafever.

Let’s Eat Review

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Great tvN gem.  Of course it had to be another one of those dramas I didn’t anticipate or even plan to watch, but I just happened to check it out and fell in love with.  It’s simplicity and relate-ability, along with quick episodes and storyline, made it easy to watch.

Song:  Single Days (Eng Ver.) – Jeong Yoo Yeon – Let’s Eat OST

It’s nice to watch a drama that we can all relate to and that embraces our most primal human nature: our dependency and enjoyment of food :)  I’m a bit of a foodie myself, and Korean food is definitely my favorite cuisine.  I love how they spotlighted Korean food and how nourishing and flavorful it is.  One thing I learned is that Koreans eat a lot of seafood!  Watching them eat and the close ups (porn shots) of the food made me salivate (the thirst is real lol), so in my case I had to be eating during this drama, or I skipped these scenes, cuz they did last too long sometimes.  I love the way that in Korean culture, it’s good to eat loudly and enthusiastically, as a way of showing your appreciation of the food.  And you need big mouthfuls to get bites of all of the veggies, meat, rice, broth, and sauces together to create a harmony of flavors!  Oh yum.

Although romance was at the core of the story, the general friendship was the highlight.  All of the main characters were likable.  It was a story of friends connecting, trusting each other, and sharing their feelings through their love of food.  And this friendship is exactly what made the romance difficult in the drama.  Everything was great until they were suddenly competing for love.  The drama handled it well, but I would’ve preferred it with even less tension.

I totally loved the main couple, and I found it so heart-wrenching when these friends would put each other ahead of themselves because they didn’t feel like they were good enough for the other.  It just got me right in the heart.  I wish there were more romantic scenes for the main couple.   I still felt like there was some distance between them at the end.

The actors were all great and all first-timers for me.  So I’ve finally found a bias in B2ST lol.  Doo Joon is very fine, and it seems like he could do comedy, action, and melo very well.  Lee Soo Kyeong played Lee Soo Kyeong…wait, she acted as herself? haha.  I love how she was so stubbornly clueless at times–like she was insecure and afraid of the truth, but her personality would just shine at the mention of some good food.  Yoon So Hee is the next Park Shi Yeon.  She was adorable and pulled off cute-but-not-annoyingly-cute.  Some of the side characters were kind of annoying though.

It was a feel-good drama that was fun but not really standout amazing.  It felt like a sit-com at times because of its casual tone.

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To you who eat a lot of rice because you are lonely, to you who sleep a lot because you are bored, to you who cry a lot because you are sad, I write this.  Chew on your cornered feelings like you would chew rice.  Anyhow, life is something you need to digest.

You Who Came From the Stars Review

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aka Man From the Stars.

{You can watch this drama here on Dramafever. }

It’s finally over.  This drama dragged a bit too long.  I do believe it deserved its high viewer ratings, but it wasn’t as emotionally engaging as I Can Hear Your Voice, which I think is a good comparison.  Both dramas had the noona relationship (real-life age :), clever comedy, witty lead females, and lead guys who had super powers.  Even though I like Kim Soo Hyun and honestly think he is outer-worldly handsome, his rigid character was a bit frustrating and boring at times.  Compare him to Lee Jong Seok’s character in Voice, and I think that’s the main difference.

Song:   Opening Title – Man from the Stars OST

I absolutely adored Jun Ji Hyun–Cheon Song Yi–and believe she carried most of this drama.  Her mad acting skills perfectly portrayed a sassy actress who could be arrogant and a bit clumsy, but nonetheless she was dedicated and caring.  I loved how straightforward and open she was…just tell it like it is!  Basically the comedy moments of her or her brother with alien Do Min Joon made this worth watching.  I love they way they marveled over him rather than got freaked out.

Kim Soo Hyun–alien Do Min Joon–on the other hand, seemed to always have pent up emotions and words, and he was slow to speak and make up his mind.  He’s been on Earth for like 400 years yet he still didn’t seem to jive with humans or understand why they try so hard even though their lives are so short.  Song Yi is a great match for him because she lives in the moment.  But she also resembled someone he knew from the past and somehow cared for.

I had a couple problems with his alien powers.  It seemed that when the public found out about his powers, everyone just accepted it like it was no big deal.  His powers gave him an unequivocal advantage over anyone, so it just made things too easy.  Speaking of this, the one “baddie” in the drama was really annoying.  Sure his role was important, but it seemed like all of his scenes were of him planning or reminiscing about murder.  And his ‘excuses’ and motives were pretty weak.  I’m comparing him to Min Joon Gook in Voice, who I thought was interesting and thrilling, and who I sympathized for in the end.

If they could’ve cut down on the crime-solving and sped up the pondering-life scenes, the drama would be more enjoyable.  16-18 episode length would have been better.  It really had me LOLing at times and wondering how things would turn out in the end, when our alien had to return to his planet.

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People live really diligently even though they know they’re going to die.  Even though they know they will break up at some point, when they love, they love like there’s no tomorrow.  Although the future is important, isn’t the present just as important?  -Lawyer Jang

Growing old together…what does it feel like?  I want to grow old with her.  -Do Min Joon

“Goodbye” is something you say in advance.  When the end really comes, you can’t say things like goodbye.  I’m really grateful [that we got to say goodbye].  -Do Min Joon

Heirs Review

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{You can watch Heirs here on Dramafever.}

A drama with a high budget failed to have high quality story.  I always think a drama’s story is created (or at least visualized) first, and then the actors are chosen based on their fit with the characters.  But in this case, I feel like the producers just cast all these popular young stars and told someone to think of a storyline for them.  The characters fit their actors spot on, but that’s about it.  There was nothing impressive, unique, or exciting about this basic romance story and social class war set around a high school of rich chaebols.  For 2013, this kind of drama is out-dated and predictable, but I would think that even a new drama watcher would be bored and not intrigued by the slow pace and simplicity of the story.

Song: Serendipity – 2Young – Heirs OST

I’m guessing the script’s first couple episodes were good enough to get these actors signed on.  The episodes in Cali were actually a nice change and pretty thrilling and fun.  I like when Lee Min Ho plays more of an arrogant, strong character.  His character became so weak and dull later on that I actually didn’t even support him with Park Shin Hye.  Kim Woo Bin was so much more interesting and engaging, but maybe he deserved someone better than Park Shin H…I mean, Cha Eun Sang.  I know Park Shin Hye isn’t the best drama chooser, but she is too good to keep getting these pathetic roles.  She needs to try something different from the usual weak, powerless, pretty (or handsome) characters that everyone falls for.  She is downright gorgeous,  but hopefully her acting career will pick up some steam and take off.

4e48eeb0jw1ea0urqufe4j20p00gogpp_zps6ed6c3ceThe only maybe non-typical character that surprised me and got my respect was “Rachel”, who was supposed to be the snobby, bitchy second lead girl who clings onto the lead guy at any cost.  I actually never hated her from the beginning to end, even though she did take out her claws at times.  She was usually smart, mature, and composed.  The actress Kim Ji Won wasn’t like stand-out, but I have a generally positive impression of her.

Sure all the actors did great, but no one was really challenged in this super repetitive, slow story.  Basically, the story was: Falling in love at first sight, chasing, running away, hiding, crying, hugging, pushing away, fighting, Repeat.  That’s all I got out of it.  And I fast forwarded a lot at the end so I might’ve missed even more of the repeat process.

Kim Woo Bin, “Rachel”, and the actors’ capability of holding out through this entire drama with sincerity deserve the 1 point.

The Suspicious Housekeeper Review

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{You can watch Housekeeper here on Dramafever.}

I thought this was going to be one of those 100-episode family weekend dramas, but no; it was a prime time drama that decided to center around a family of 4 kids.  I was so pleasantly surprised and basically marathoned the entire thing.  How many times have I wanted a drama that starred kids?!  And not only that, there was a mysterious, magical air about it…kind of like a fairy tale or Disney movie.  The obvious comparisons are to Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee, although this is a remake of a Japanese drama.

Song: First Love – Kim So Hyeon – Housekeeper OST

It was so interesting to watch a family who nearly fell apart from the mom’s suicide, become one again because of a very odd, unpredictable, superhuman housekeeper who never smiled or voiced opinion.  The Housekeeper’s blunt and witty personality brought them back to their senses and back to reality.  Some of the comedic moments were just gold, and the background music topped it off perfectly.

suspic6The kids were adorable, and each had their own story and personality.  Kids and their innocent acting almost never disappoint.  It’s hard to comment on Choi Ji Woo’s acting…I don’t know if it would be easy or hard to act like a passionless robot haha.  But she pulled it off perfectly and her awesome character was of course very charismatic and memorable.  If there was a main “romance” in the story, it would be the relationship of the Housekeeper to the kids…very subtle and touching.

Unfortunately, the magic and charm that was abundant in the beginning faded away in the second half.  Not so different from what I think of The Sound of Music, which was so memorable and fun in the first half, but then turned dark and almost boring in the second half.  It was when the adult stories took over–them and their lamentable romance stories–that the drama suddenly started feeling like a dreaded melodrama.  Some of the adults in this drama were crazy–more immature than the kids and frustrating.  I understand they were necessary for the story but their roles were too big.  I really started missing the kids at one point, and wondered if there would be no redemption for the drama.  I pretty much threw my hands up in the air near the end.

But I want to hold onto the good parts of this drama–the parts that focus on family; the parts that take the kids on the path from feeling abandoned and hopeless, to finding purpose and understanding; the parts when the family realizes how much they need and love each other.  Please let there be more dramas of this premise.

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If crying would have fixed this situation, I would have cried too!  -Se Gyeol

If I study, what’s the use?  If I work hard, what’s the use?  I don’t even have a mom who will praise me.  -Se Gyeol

If you were to die, how painful it would be for those who you leave behind.  -Park Bok Nyeo

We are all waiting for something, such as a person who can be our strength just by being with us.  A person who lets you know that it’s not too late.  A person who can love you the way you are.  A chance to protect the family you love.  The time to be forgiven for the wrong one has done.  A person who would recognize how hard one has tried.  A miracle is called a miracle because it happens.  -Han Gyeol