Freitag, 24. Juni 2016

Boarding House #24

하숙 24번지 (Boarding House #24) is a South Korean TV series that was aired on MBC every1 from September 23rd to December 9th 2014.

Story: Kim Kwang-gyu opens a boarding house and six young people happen to move in. However, he controlled who moves into his house in order to find his long lost child. While all of the different characters try to find their place in life and work hard to fulfill their dreams, it turns out who can't be the owner's child. Among the three male and three female tenants romance develops as well as good friendships.

Cast: What is the best about this series is actually that most of the characters and their actors share the same name. And I honestly found everyone's acting decent. Why? It's a sitcom, not everything has to be realistic and it has to be overacted for the effect sometimes.
Kim Kwang-gyu is an actor who has been acting in a few dramas before so there is a chance most of the people reading this will have seen him before (or will probably see him in the future). His role in this was basically the most important one.
Park Se-mi from Jewelry is in this series as well, and damn! Her character was just creeping me out sometimes but somehow I ended up liking her for being loyal.
BIGFLO's High Top (Im Hyun-tae) suffered a lot because of her as Lee Bang-in. He rocked this series, his scenes were so much fun and I loved the way he was speaking since it wasn't that much of standard Korean as far as I know (I don't know much about the Northern dialects though~).
Rainbow's  Cho Hyun-young is a girl who loves her luxury brands a lot and has to try and has to move into the boarding house because of spending all her rent money for her bags also known as her "babies".
Kim Dong-jun (from ZE:A) is a sport freak who couldn't become a professional soccer player because of an injury and was left unemployed without any dreams anymore.  
Kim Sa-eun wants to date and marry a rich man and doesn't really care about looks anymore until she really develops feelings for someone.  
Min Do-hee (actually from Tiny-G), a quiet girl who can't suffers from a psychological disease.
VIXX's Ken (Lee Jae-hwan) is the son of a hospital owner who left home to fulfill his dreams.
So as you can see the cast basically consists of only idols but they delivered a solid performance in a comedy series.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack itself is kind of interesting, especially in the beginning the use of the songs isn't surprising but it was nice how they used a huge variety of songs I can't even name. It's solid.

So in the end this series got a 7.5/10 rating because it was entertaining. It was funny. It was easy to watch. And it wasn't that long. Of course the story isn't one of the rather unique once but it's okay. The only thing that was really annoying in fact was the laugh track or whatever it's called but I was able to ignore it up to some point.

If you're looking for a light and funny short series and can deal with secondhand-embarrassment, this might be the perfect not-so-serious one for you.

Freitag, 17. Juni 2016

My Beautiful Bride

아름다운 나의 신부 (My Beautiful Bride) is a South Korean drama series that aired on OCN from June 20th to August 09th 2015.

Story: Kim Do-hyung is a manager for at Singuk Bank and leads an ordinary life until one day his fiancee Yoon Joo-young disappears. At first the police refuses to help him but after noticing who it is about Detective Cha Yoon-mi decides to help finding Joo-young. As events developed, the bank manager and the detective become involved with loan sharks and an organisation known as the "Shadows". Do-hyung is willing to do everything to safe Joo-young - and that means he has to find and destroy the Shadows to create a place that's safe for Joo-young.

Cast: Firstly there's Lee Moo-yeol as Kim Do-hyung and let's just admit that for a bank employee he's kind of an interesting character. The acting after all was on spot in most of the scenes though I think as a character he seemed too cold. The situation in this series is a highly emotional one and therefore it just seemed kind of difficult to understand some parts.
Go Sung-hee as Yoon Joo-young is one of those characters I actually can understand but then again she's not cold enough as a character herself. The acting was nice to watch and well done, especially the emotional struggle in the end.
Lee Si-young as Cha Yoon-mi really got on my nerves at some point. Not because of the acting. It was in fact good enough but that being said I hated how unprofessional they made her. Always acting without a partner/ other detective, blindly trusting Kim Do-hyung who was a suspect at first even though she knows about the "Shadows".
Park Hae-joon as Detective Park Hyung-sik was too obvious. The first time I really noticed his character was in Episode 2 (I don't remember if he appeared in the first episode already since I've watched it two months before caring about the rest of the series) and I was able to figure out what exactly was his role in this. I don't know if it was the acting (which I didn't find too impressive after all) but I just KNEW.
And guess what everyone? I was surprised to see Ryu Seung-soo in this series as Seo Jin Ki! I've seen him in a few different roles already and this one might not have been the best but he's doing well as one of the antagonists as well. I'm slowly becoming a fan of his solely for his acting in various different roles. Well, the character in this one though? One can hate him easily but that usually works for the bad guys, doesn't it?
Others in this drama include Jo Han-chul as Park Tae-gyu who's really important in the end(!) and Lee El as Son Hye-jung who once again is nice to see in a role more likely to be an antagonist.

Soundtrack: At first I was kind of scared the soundtrack would be more like an average OST but in the end it's a nice one. The soundtrack consists of only three songs, and none of them is Korean. I came to love at least two of the songs, "Eclipse" by Patrick Joseph for it's calming sound after all and "Stay" by Steelheart. However, the other song by Elsa Kopf, "Days and Moons" isn't bad either. So it was in fact unexpectedly good.

But even as a fan of OCN, this drama can't get a rating better than 7.0/10.
Yes, I love OCN. They create a strong atmosphere in their dramas. The action scenes are some of the best in Korean dramas. The acting is strong and on spot most of the time.
But that being said, this drama lacked a lot of things. Starting with Detective Cha being probably the most unprofessional detective ever. I know that OCN can portray detectives better and therefore this is a huge no-no.
After some time things became repetitive. "Oh, there she is! Aaaaaand gone again... another chance to get her! Oh, sad life, bro~"
And some things were just too obvious. Starting with Detective Park and ending with the fact that the head of the "Shadows", Chairman Kang, is shown too soon. It's too soon that the viewer finds out what they're doing and I also think that it wasn't hard to figure out what's behing this organisation which basically... ruined the suspense.
And then the weirdest thing I've seen in a drama - he's going that far to get his fiancee back though she basically ran away and tried to make him think she died? Actually I would make a guess and argue that if she wants me to think she died she doesn't want to see me anymore. That might be too simple (this drama shows that it indeed is) but that would be the most logical thing.

(The second gif basically represents me while watching roughly 80% of this series..)

Freitag, 10. Juni 2016

Unemployed Romance

실업급여 로맨스 (Unemployed Romance) is a South Korean drama series that was aired from October 5th to December 07th 2013 on E Channel every Saturday. The drama therefore consists of 10 episodes.

Story: Im Seung-hee dreamed of becoming a famous writer but due to an injury she couldn't paricipate in a contest and is working for a small company. The company's owner ran away with her car without paying her and her colleagues. Now that the company is bankrupt, she has to go to a government office responsible for giving out unemployment checks. Her first love, Kim Jong-dae, is currently working there and a lot of memories come back.

Cast: So the female lead character Im Seung-hee is played by Lee Young-ah and this honestly wasn't her best roll. Seung-hee is, at least in the very beginning, such a naive and annoying person that I actually thought she needs some guidance. About the acting itself, the scenes of Seung-hee crying were just way too much, it was so obvious that it was fake so that definitely wasn't her strongest job but then again.. I've seen actors and actresses do worse. As the male lead, we have Nam Goong-min as Kim Jong-dae in this drama and his acting was alright but nothing more or less either. Again, in some scenes I couldn't even pity his character because it was just too weird - because people know how to think. Well, most of them.
Actually both of the lead characters are far from being successful and I really felt like they were giving up on some point which annoyed me.
In the rows of the second leads we have a heavy second male lead syndrome (yay, tropes!) named Song Wan-ha or Seo Jun-young, an actor whom I really learned to like. He's not that bad but it's sad that it's obvious even in the very beginning that he's going to be the poor guy. His acting was quite good I'd say while his character was probably a little naive as well. He's not really a victim though so actually he's a likeable character as well as a good actor. After all my favorite in this series.
Now I would say we have two female-second-leads. Bae Seul-gi as Moon Seon-joo is the typical second female lead. Yes, one can understand her up to some point since she felt betrayed in the past but then again it doesn't make up for what she did wrong. As for the acting, it was sometimes a little too much again, especially her break down in one of the latter episodes. Sometimes it seemed to me her character was already cold enough in the beginning to make a guess what went wrong but maybe that was just my feeling, I don't really know about that. The other one is Jung Seung-ah as Oh Yeon-woo, a naive but cheerful girl, her father has money and influence and tries to make Jong-dae stay with her for exactly that reason. Her character is simply immature, and that's what the acting delivers. It's not really bad but nothing surprising.
Lastly there are Park Woo-chun as Park Gwang-pal and Kim Kang-hyun as Uhm Hyo-sang. The first is a typical player and because his mommy has money he's just playing around. While it was kind of funny, it's actually really sad because people like him exist. The acting therefore was kind of on spot but the expressions again were a little too much only to turn his character into a funny one. As for Uhm Hyo-sang, all I can say is that he's kinda pathetic in the end. He wants a girlfriend but never had one as far as we know and which is also connected to his friend Gwang-pal.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack in fact isn't bad but please - I didn't even notice other songs except for T.O's "거짓말 (Lies)". Yes, M.Pire actually make a guest appearance in the beginning in this series but this song keeps playing all the time so I didn't really notice anything else. Why did they release other songs in the first place if that's the most memorable song included in the whole series? I don't know. However, there was nothing annoying about the music itself so I'm just glad they played such a nice song all the time.

Even after watching this drama with low expectations, I decided to give it a 5/10 only because there's hardly any change in the characters. And the only special thing was the ending when I wasn't even sure whether everything before was just written by Seung-hee or happened a long time before and she just used her real story. Nevertheless, it is in fact kind of confusing. Some things are supposed to be funny but were nothing more but the basics we've seen dozens of times before.
While I did like the flashbacks used in this I also thought that two episodes only consisting of the past story weren't really my style since it wasn't that funny either.

If you like something cute and slightly funny just taking a little more than 8 hours you should give this one a try but if you're looking for something special, something different from the ordinary rom-com stuff, this might not be your style either.

Freitag, 3. Juni 2016


愛就宅一起 (ToGetHer, also known as Superstar Express) is a Taiwanese drama series that first aired on CTV from February 15th to May 3rd 2009. During the following months it aired on various other broadcasting stations.

Story: Mars is a star who has to face a crisis after a few scandals. Since the articles weren't telling the truth he feels like the bad treatment following those articles is not fair. One day because of him not earning enough money anymore his company asks him to move out of his apartment and he starts living with the quiet student Chen Mo Mo, who only has interest in her manga Prince Kashaba, and her sister Chu Chu. While Chu Chu is overly excited, Mo Mo doesn't even know who he is. It turns out that Mars and Mo Mo not only go to the same school but are also classmates so they meet quite often and fight a lot. Mars only wants to get back his status as a star and works hard. However, Mo Mo and Mars become closer while they're supporting each other more and more..

Cast: The second Taiwanese drama I've watched and again there's Jiro Wang in it as Mars/ Zhuang Jun Nan. Regarding his character.. well, I have to admit that at first he was full of himself and an arrogant star. Nothing we haven't seen in other series involving idols but that still doesn't mean that it's too bad. I love the way his character changes though and I enjoyed seeing the actor actually portraying that change well. Jiro Wang in fact is a familiar face (as some of you who have been reading my blog for some time) know but I think seeing his emotions displayed in this drama gives a good impression of his acting.
Next there's Rainie Yang as Chen Mo Mo. Personally I've known Rainie Yang as a singer since 2012 so I don't really know if the quiet, shy character of a person that's often forgotten and left behind suits her but I enjoyed her acting in this one in general as well though I really didn't like Mo Mo at first and thought that it was just overacted because her character was supposed to be that way.
George Hu as Wei Jia Sen was a far more complex character simply because he has the intelligence of a boy. While mental health issues weren't a topic Asian drama talked about for quite some time (if I remember right) I found the way Wei Jia Sen was portrayed rather interesting though as a character some of his scenes were annoying simply because of his behavior. However, the actor did well in fact so there's nothing I would criticize about him since I've never met a person showing that behavior. (Note: As far as I remember we don't get to know what happened to Jia Sen or in which way his physical and mental conditions lead to his lack of development. I'd guess it's more of a mental health problem than physical health.)
Linda Liao as Chen Chu Chu was unbearable to me sometimes. Mo Mo's sister seems to love gossip, is noisy, a little shallow and worries about completely different things than Mo Mo but causes a huge problem but runs away. Regarding the fact she's supposed to be the older sister she's more of a teenager than Mo Mo. The acting was nice but then again I don't feel like it was extremely diffcult. Probably except for the fact that Chu Chu always seems to be really energetic.
The last person I want to name on here is Jin Qin as Ke Yi Zhi who was a supportive and incredibly cute friend even willing to risk his job at times. We all need a manager/ co-worker/ friend like him in my opinion since he's loyal and worries about what might be best for Mars and not only for economic purposes.

Soundtrack: I really liked the soundtrack after all, there's no song that really got on my nerves. But I loved the opening song as well as the ending song of this series, "越來越愛 (Love You More and More)" and "默默 (Silently)" by Fahrenheit. Especially the ballad, Silently, or also pronounced as "Mo Mo" was really nice and I loved Jiro Wang singing the song in the drama series himself.

So now that I've said a lot of positive things about the soundtrack and the actors, what's my rating? A 6/10 doesn't seem to low at first but I was really struggling on judging this.
Now there might be some spoilers included when I'm explaining what I personally didn't like about this series so if you don't want to read those, just skip this part now.
The first point was the chaos. I didn't really get the point of the first episodes and they just seemed randomly put together. I know that Taiwanese production companies probably can do better.
Secondly, certain characters disappeared at some point, and were never to be seen again. If there would be an explanation why it would make sense. But for example for Ivy she just appears and suddenly disappears though she signed a contract and is therefore under the same company as Mars. Same basically works for Ben.
Speaking of Ivy before, why did they even have to come up with the story of an ex-girlfriend? Things were complicated enough before and it would've been complicated enough without her as well so why did she have to appear in about two episodes (maybe? I'm not even sure anymore).
And what really got on my nerves that they could've ended everything with episode 10. But then again only to be able to produce a few more episodes they added a family story including cancer, a car accident and - oh, scandal! - an idol caught dating. Those are just things that appear in basically every second or third K-Drama at least. I don't know about Taiwan but it doesn't have a feeling to it that makes it that different. At some point I was just able to laugh it off because it was ridiculous.
Those are however things I need to consider when rating a series but that doesn't make it entirely bad.