Posted tagged ‘Kdrama’

Kdrama: Fall Season

October 12, 2009

Honestly, I haven’t really been seeing a kdrama lately that spoke to me like Brilliant Legacy or Story of a Man did. Swallow the Sun is one big mess and I didn’t even bother to start watching Take care of lady. I like Yoon Eun Hye, I like Jung Il Woo, I like Moon Chae Won but reading dramabeans’ recaps didn’t make me very enthusiastic. But these past few weeks have seen the start of some potentially awesome drama:


Smile, you: The story is cliché but funny, the casting is great for the characters who are all spunky and fun in their own way. Honestly, watching the crazy bride cry on the road, the stalkerish male lead all over the bitchy sister of the bride and ahjusshi’s singing I don’t care e e e e e e is just awesome!! 50 eps is a lot though..


You’re beautiful: Omo, the title is so cheesy…and the drama has a lot of cheese as well. But this has the potential to be a very good and hilarious cheese. Judging by ep1 and 2 (especially ep 2) this drama will use all the cliché’s the right way. I’m definitely not rooting for the second lead. I like my men bad and disturbed, even though Geun Seok’s hair is AWFUL! XD Park Shin Hye is just the cutest little angel. Do you like random jokes. Be sure to watch!


Loving you a thousand times: Well it could be nice, in a melodrama way. The whole surrogate thing is very intriguing. If the acting of the main guy improves. He’s hella hot though and that makes up for a lot! I’m a bit behind on this one so I’m not sure if I can sit through 50+ eps.

Any other dramas to recommend? Please don’t say IRIS, I don’t think I will jump on that wagon. Assorted gems? Creating destiny? Or maybe watch an old drama

(Picture Credit: SBS/VIIKII/SOOMPI)


Orthros no Inu

September 4, 2009

Catching up to orthros no inu, and now at ep 3. I’ve been on a serious drama streak for the past few weeks, excluding Buzzer Beat of course, and this fits that criteria precisely. But maybe it fits it a bit too much.

There are a lot of things to like about this show. I mean, the concept is awesome and it really makes you think on matters of life and death. We get to see that the angel hand is not necessarily the one that gives life, nor that the hand of death is the hand of the devil. Rather it is about the person who wields it.

And of course, this drama offers us some nice actors from the Johnny’s Entertainment stall, including my fave Nishikido Ryo. Though he sort of plays a softy here (Aoi Ryo) who’s easily manipulated by Ryuzaki, played by Takky, I can’t wait to see him get stronger and more confident of his own skills. I love his face, because there is this dark and broody factor to him. But once he smiles, his face lights up. When it comes to expressions, I prefer him over Yamashita Tomohisa.

This is also my first time seeing Takky playing in a drama. I like how he portrays Ryuzaki, who is both a baddy and sexy. Plus, he gets the best oneliners and monologues. His talk about only being able to heal what is covered by health care insurance cracked me up. And it’s a bit sad he can’t heal himself. I think the same goes for Ryosuke. Bye bye, easy way of suicide.

Sadly, I am worried this drama takes itself maybe a bit too seriously and it’s in the danger zone of being pretentious. The life and death issue is an important matter, but you don’t have to ram it through our throats. There is such a thing as enjoyment. I think this show could do with a little more humor and more everyday conversation. Because, even if this show is about life and death, the vibe shouldn’t only be dark. There’s fun to be found in everything.

The female part by Mizukawa Asami isn’t very noteworthy. She’s the standard cop who’s juggling all her responsibilities and fighting some sort of attraction for Ryuzaki. Her action of leeting go of the drug dealing Johhny boy may help her out in the short run, but seriously… she should know better. I hope they give her a bit more rationality, because she feels like a puppet and not a very strong one. But we’ll see. She might grow on me.

The story isn’t the most original. We’ve seen all the psychological cat and mouse tricks before, but if it’s done well I don’t feel it’s a big problem. Originality isn’t the most common thing in dramaland anyway, though I do think Jdorama’s usually have more original concepts than kdrama do. Probably because cliché plots (love triangle, disease, revenge, sageuk) are what attract the viewers. Most shows trying to do something innovative don’t frequently get the ratings (like Tamra, Triple, Soul Mate etc) they sometimes should have. What I mean to say with this is that I appreciate Jdorama for its attempts at new plotlines (and not always going for big stories), but I’m not sure Orthros is going to be one of them. Hopefully Ryo can keep me from bailing out.

Reasons to watch Swallow the Sun

August 17, 2009

I’ve only started watching Swallow the sun a few days ago, but I’ve found myself quite hooked. The reasons?

(credit: SBS/Soompi)

The beginning: It all starts out flashy, showing us the nighttime scenery of Las Vegas and then to a wild car and helicopter chase in Africa. Wow! You just know they’ve brought out the big guns for this production, literaly and figuratively. But before you know it, you move back to the past, to see how all of this began. We get to see the starcrossed love between abalone diver Mi Yeon and the fugitive criminal Il Hwan. In my opinion, after seeing 11 episodes, the actors playing Mi Yeon and Il Hwan are some of the best on the show. The way they looked after IH was hauled back to the mainland was heartbreaking. It’s then that you know: Love was there.

Il HwanMi Yeon

Visuals: This show really handles the scenery well, making the most of every location, be it the Las Vegas nightlife, or South African wildlife. Action scenes are pretty well shot, with an awesome car chase in the Nevada desert. I also like the Cirque du Soleil scenes, it makes me want to buy tickets and go see it sometimes.


Storyline: It’s a good Kdrama storyline with all the necessary ingredients. Sure, it may be a bit predictable at time and plot holes are bound to show up, but mostly the story is interesting and fast paced. It hasn’t been boring yet.

Jung Woo: The first time I saw Ji Sung in a drama was Save the Last Dance for me (which I saw only recently). I wasn’t blown away there, but here he is kinda awesome. Maybe he’s too nice for the part, but that is also part of the charm. His cuteness (especially around Soo Hyun) makes him more likable. And his coolness becomes apparent in his fighting and snipe shooter scenes. Whoa! I would like to see some more emotional scenes though, but I’m sure those will come when he finds out all the secrets. Nothing like an identity crisis to bring out all the tears and anger. Can’t wait!

STS F4 (as displayed in the first pic): Yeah, an overused term, but when I saw somebody use it on viikii it was sort of appropriate. The 4 mercs together are awesome and funny. Hopefully none of them will die…

Women: It’s nice to see a few ambitious and smart women. The main female lead, Soo Hyun, played by Sung Yu Ri is sweet, but no angel. She’s smart, has goals and I think she could even be plotting revenge in the future. She’s not dense about people’s intentions and knows fully well what she is doing. One can only admire that. And until now I haven’t seen any particularly clingy women in the show, which makes me happy. Even Mi Ran, whom I figured would be Tae Hyuk’s clingy ex, seems to be more business orientated than love orientated. In fact, the only clingy one I’ve seen so far is Tae Hyuk (played by Lee Wan) when it comes to Soo Hyun. Moreover, we see some women who are more in touch with their sexual sides, without coming off as total skanks (in my opinion that is).

Music: The music is nice and dramatic and fit the mood of the drama most of the time. I really like the instrumental songs. Even if the songs 운명 and 목수리 by TRAX + Air are a bit overused, I still play them on my Itunes. They’re quite catchy!


Reasons to not watch the drama

Acting performances: While most are acting decently, some are not. For an example, I can’t say I really dig the part of Jang Min Ho. I don’t really feel his cruel and vicious part, even when he throws things around. Tae Hyuk feels kind of bland to me, while he started out sexy enough. And though I love Sung Yu Ri, her acting hasn’t made any lasting impression on me yet, but I still have good hopes. The scene in Hong Gil Dong where she finds out the truth about her parents was an awesome performance on her part, so I’m hoping she will show similar emotions here. For now, she’s nice playing a cutesy but ambitious woman, but not yet memorable. The worst acting comes from the western actors. I really cringed at some scenes, for example, those with SH’s fat boss Jenny. The way she reacted after SH told her off..OMG! Or the eye bulging scene where SH caught her brest friend in bed with a man. Stupidest thing ever.

The “English”: You know you’re in trouble when you can’t understand a word they’re saying when you are supposed to actually be able to understand them. Sung Yu Ri may have the excuse of having a short tongue, but it doesn’t make her English scenes less cringeworthy. Same goes for Jackson’s (Yoo Oh Sung) lines. It’s not just flat, it’s inaudible, laughable, unprofessional. It tells me Korean schools need to improve on their English classes. I remember how my school teacher tried to hammer in the proper pronounciation (the British pronounciation, not American) at my Dutch school. I should be grateful of the proper education I’ve been given, really.. Ok, off-topic.

Since we’re only half way into the story, I shouldn’t say too much. Hopefully the story keeps its fast pacing and weaves in some nice twists. I really wonder what will happen after the Africa arc.

The latest eps are subbed on


(credit: SBS/Soompi)

Partner: The End? [spoilers]

August 15, 2009


The finale of KBS2’s Partner was divided into 2 parts, where our protagonist Tae Jo was on trial for the murder of his old friend Woo Shik. I actually liked the last case, even though I’d rather had Eun Ho and Tae Jo working together instead of one defending the other. Still, I feel this ending was rather lacking something.. Proper closure maybe?

And I don’t mean closure in the form of a kiss. Even though I like on-screen kisses,those displayed in Kdrama are usually flat and awkward. That is, unless it’s a player kissing a skanky girl, then they pump up the passion. But if it’s between the leads, it’s like they’re still in elementary school: Afraid they’ll catch each others cooties, but doing it anyway.. Ok not the point here. I really liked how they ran off holding hands. It was cute.

What peeved me was the way the case ended so abruptly and how they brought on the revelation. I don’t know, I was expecting something jawdropping, like some intricate plan by Tae Jo and grandpa to expose them through the murder trial, but it was all so very simple. I guess I was expecting too much from a drama where most of the cases were won by lack of evidence, an awkward confession by the culprit or by a very roundabout scheme from Hae Yoon. So at the end I was like: this was it? Somehow, I feel cheated.

The wrap up of everything was so quick it was over before I would say: WTF? What happens to Jae Dong and his illness? Where is attorney Han going? What will happen to Tae Jo’s hyung? Will Hae Yoon and Jin Sung ever get what they deserve? Will Soon Yi and attorney Yoon get together? I don’t dislike open endings, but here there were just too many things left unfinished for me to feel truly fulfilled. Here, I think one extra ep, or at least ten more minutes wouldn’t have been a bad option. Cos now I have this feeling of, what happens now? Knowing there probably won’t be a 2nd season.. Hmmm..

And knowing this will probably be Lee Dong Wook’s last project (apart from the movie Bean Paste I guess) before his military service, makes me even more depressed.

Story of a Man – Likes and dislikes

August 14, 2009

Story of a man is definitely one of the better Kdramas this year. That’s why I’ve decided to make a short list of the pros and cons of this intriguing drama.

Characters – This drama holds a list of great characters, ranging from angelic to demonic. In the beginning my definite fave was Chae Do Woo, the show’s resident psychopath. The hand movements, the way he talked.. whoa. Too cool for school. Kim Kang Woo is now definitely one of my favorite actors. However, at around ep 13 or so I went over to the Kim Shin side.. Cool, funny, brave. What can one want more in a man? He really doesn’t deserve the suckfest of a life he has, but’s only fiction, right? Kyung Tae was another awesome character. Park Ki Woong was really great playing somebody with autism. Furthermore, I loved his clothing style and headphones. In fact, I actually bought the white with gold one from WESC. Fangirl much? Also, I liked the females. None of them were the stereotyped damsel in distress and were more self-asserted than one usually sees in Kdramas. Even though Kyung Ah went down the wrong path, her strength was admirable. All characters were cool in their own way and I never became frustrated watching any of them.

Storyline – All the interactions between the good guys (especially between Shin and Jae Myung) were so much fun that even though it’s a pretty depressing story, it never felt too heavy. There is a bright side to everything, like friendship and new love. The financial plots were okay as well. Not too difficult nor too simplified. As most of the watchers are probably laymen when it comes to economics, business and politics, you can’t make things too complicated, but when they oversimplify it (like in some other shows I’ve been watching recently) it feels insulting. Though there might have been plotholes, I wasn’t bothered by anything in the story (except the DID part, see below). The story was interesting, funny and sad and really gave me a lot to think about.

Mental Issues/Taboos – As a clinical psychology student I was glad to see the involvement of mental disorders in a few of the characters as psychopathy, autism, dementia. Usually we don’t get to see much of people’s mental issues in drama’s, so it’s nice we get to see some examples here. After all, a lot of people in societies all over the world are struggling with a mental disorder. Another thing (though not a disorder, don’t get me wrong) is the hinted homosexuality of K. It’s definitely time to have more gay characters in dramaland (and not just in movies), after all they exist in society, they have a right to be represented in a realistic manner (so I don’t mean a one dimensional stereotypical image) and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Music – This drama has an awesome OST, and it it’s used well in the drama. The song of JK Kim Dong Wook – 이별은 거꾸로 흐른다 is my favorite, yeah I’m a sucker for dramatic songs. The song that I loved most however was played in ep 17, when Eun Soo and Do Woo were dining. Being a fan of opera it didn’t take me that long to figure out that this was a new rendition of Sull’aria from Nozze di Figaro and I have to say…wow. If anyone knows who made this version, please let me know.

Here’s the song in question.

Dunny T-shirts – okay this is a little dumb, but I love Kyung-Tae’s dunny t-shirts. I’m actually a sporadic collector of designer toys and have some dunnies at home, so I was like ‘cool!’when I saw the shirt (and want one for myself).


The multiple personality card – Please, haven’t you people seen Primal Fear? Pleading insanity with that diagnosis is highly questionable. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) has been difficult enough to prove already, but we don’t even get to see signs of different personalities in Do Woo before ep 20. So boo to the psychological assessors and Korean justice system for believing him so easily. I mean, with some practice I could also invent a few identities. Pffshh..

Romance – For a drama that was supposed to be an action and romance drama, it was severely lacking in romance. Not that it made me dislike the drama in any way, but I was just disappointed Kim Shin’s and Eun Soo’s budding relationship had to end in such a manner. Even if it was the only way to stop all the madness.
I was happy to see all the little hints of ahjumma/sister-in-law(hyung-soo) and mafia lackey Jung Ho though. It was nice that they were (sorta) together in the end.


All in all, it was a very good drama and it’s a shame it took me so long to finish it, but well..