Freitag, 11. August 2017

Night Watch

불침번을 서라 (Night Watch, also known as Neighborhood Watch) is a South Korean drama special that was aired on KBS2 on August 7th 2013 and has a duration of 1 hour and 7 minutes.

Story: Kim Hee-chan is an unpopular novelist and usually stays at home during daytime. On the other hand, his wife Jo Min-sook works during regular work hours. One morning she leaves for work and finds a blue bag filled with food trash tied to her car. She suspects Kim Soo-ji but the next morning, Soo-ji finds a blue bag like that next to her door and assumes it is revenge. However, during the next few days, blue trash bags appear in front of other neighbor's doors as well and cause a lot of suspicion and even one accident. Trying to find the "culprit" the residents start to check the CCTV and literally go on night watch.
I'm not fully sure if I understood the point of this drama. Yet it is a cute watch and keeps you busy for 1 hour. I actually caught myself being suspicious of everyone at one point and trying to figure out why someone would place trashbags in front of random doors.

Cast: Ki Tae-young as Kim Hee-chan. I don't really know what I should write here, it's not like I did not like his acting but more that it was again over the top and I think it was supposed to be like this to light up the mood a bit but.. I wish the whole special would've been just a tad bit more serious. But after all it was good and I have no idea what to criticize.
Lee Seung-min as Jo Min-sook. Oh, I liked her acting but not her character! I guess I just generally have a problem with female characters in dramas sadly but the jealousy was no joke and I hated it.. Well, I can't change that at least but a part of her character was actually understandable.
Kim Yoo-hyun as Kim Soo-ji. I found her character to be much more interesting for a female character. I can't pinpoint what it is but maybe it was just that she actually seemed interested at one point and wanted to find out what was going on (if I remember right).
Kwak Hee-sung as Kim Jin-hyuk. Oh, his character is a sweetie in this one and he reminded me of a puppy, especially the way he cared for his parents even though they were not present in this drama directly was quite sweet. I fairly enjoyed his acting, too.
Keep in mind that after just 1 hour you're usually not able to talk a lot about acting skills unless you really focus on that.

This was an entertaining, light-hearted watch but I probably wouldn't rewatch it because yes, it got me bored here and there and I still don't understand what the big deal is about a trash bag if you carry out your trash every single day anyway. I probably wouldn't bother to do research but rather rely on surveillance cameras or anything but I certainly wouldn't care enough to sit outside during nighttime and observe the building.
Also, parts of this looked more like a play that could've been performed on stage but not really like a drama special. This bothered me slightly but it wasn't terrible.

Freitag, 4. August 2017

Queen of Ambition

야왕 (Queen of Ambition) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on SBS from January 14th to April 2nd 2013 and consists of 24 episodes with a duration of approximately one hour each. This drama is referred to as "makjang", a genre that is not easy to explain so I might write an extra entry on this one day.

Story: Ha Ryu and Joo Da-hae grew up together in an orphanage until Da-hae was picked up by her mom and her stepfather. A few years later, Yang Taek-bae goes to a house to collect money with Ha Ryu and surprisingly enough they find Da-hae next to her mothers corpse. After this event they stay together and Da-hae lives with Hong An-sim and Ha Ryu and studies for the university entrance exam. After she passes they face the problem of money and Ha Ryu decides to work for Da-hae's tution. They live like this for a while until Da-hae's stepfather who supposedly abused her comes looking for her and the tragic story starts.
Again, a few years later, Da-hae and Ha Ryu have a daughter together and Da-hae gets the chance to work at a huge company. The son of the owner shows interest in her and wants her to go to the US with him to study. Da-hae talks about this to Ha Ryu who decides to make more money and sent her abroad to study. After she comes back, she breaks up with him to follow her ambition and make it to the top of the social hierarchy in South Korea.
Actually there is so much to this story but I don't want to spoil anyone so I'm trying to not give you a lot of information. Just be warned, this drama turns out to be a battle between Ha Ryu and Da-hae with them having nothing to lose in the end. This is much more than a melodrama or a family drama in my opinion but has some thrilling aspects as well even though it is not a thriller.

Cast: Soo Ae as Joo Da-hae. After seeing her in at least two dramas I think she is not a bad actress, no, but in this drama many things seemed a little bit off or unnatural to me. Yes, of course that might be because of the way her character was written and not about her portrayal of the character but it is still not easy to fully point out what it was. As far as I remember she occasionally seemed stiff. It still did not bother me enough to fully hate her acting though.
Kwon Sang-woo as Ha Ryu/Cha Jae-woong. I quite loved everything about his acting to be honest. A loving father and "nearly" husband (or long term boyfriend), a tough enemy and a fighter as well as a good friend. I just really can't find anything I could criticize about his acting.
Jung Yun-ho as Baek Do-hoon. Let's face it, once again many people will watch this drama solely because their beloved idol is in here. Now I have to say that his acting was good enough and if there was something I missed I could usually say that it was based on the way his character was written - carefree and lacking seriousness. Nonetheless I do not think it is worth to watch this drama solely because of him. Yes, he does have a lot of scenes but I think you might start to hate Da-hae at one point.. maybe episode 16 or 18? I'm not sure anymore.
Other actors in this drama include Kim Sung-ryung as Baek Do-kyung, Kwon Hyun-sang as Yang Taek-bae, Go Joon-hee as Seok Soo-jung, Sung Ji-ru as Uhm Sam-do and Lee Il-hwa as Hong An-sim.

Soundtrack: There was not one moment in which I thought the music was terrible or unfitting to be very honest. However, my favorite track has been (long before watching this drama Ailee's "얼음꽃 (Ice Flower)" and this drama changed how I personally interpreted the title of this song without ever reading the translated lyrics (or translating it by myself). Still a very beautiful song I will probably love for the next few years as well and loved ever since it was released.

Remember when I said I don't like melodramas? I still stay with that. This drama is so much more than a melodrama even though it is usually referred to as one. It has this special, evil twist that is not necessarily about fate or a disease but about a person and her desire which causes the evil in this drama.
If you dislike dramas with a darker atmosphere, this one might not be for you. As all of my regular readers know I love crime, suspense, thriller and horror if it makes you shiver just because of the atmosphere and this drama did not go that far but gave me goosebumps, too.

Freitag, 28. Juli 2017

My Girl

마이걸 (My Girl) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on SBS from December 14th 2005 to February 2nd 2006 and consists of 6 episodes.

Story: Seol Gong-chan's grandfather is sick. His wish is to find his lost grandchild, a girl who is not easy to find. In order to fulfill his grandfathers supposed last wish Gong-chan is looking for his cousin and meets Joo Yoo-rin on Jeju Island. Yoo-rin has a connection to his lost cousin. As his real cousin cannot be found, Yoo-rin, who is an excellent liar and actress, becomes Gong-chan's contract cousin. She is supposed to disappear after Gong-chan found his real cousin but miraculously his grandfather gets better and spoils Yoo-rin as he believes Yoo-rin is his granddaughter. Soon Gong-chan and Yoo-rin start to fall in love but as cousins it is actually a forbidden love. On the other hand Gong-chan's friend Seo Jung-woo also falls in love with Yoo-rin and wants to marry her. As Jung-woo is not related to her the grandfather, Seol Woong, also agrees to Yoo-rin marrying Jung-woo - but Yoo-rin rejects Jung-woo.
In the meantime Gong-chan's ex girlfriend Kim Se-hyun appears again as well. She became a famous tennis athlete and broke up with Gong-chan to achieve that dream but now wants him back and tries to get rid of Yoo-rin in every way one can think of.
This story is quite something. Contract marriage? Okay, cool. Well, not cool, but I understand how that is supposed to work. But contract cousins? If you really ask me about it this was bound to fail and again, one of my major issues with rom-com dramas, the plot was quite predictable in many ways but I did enjoy it. It has light hearted parts as well as more serious aspects to it and is definitely worth watching if you like rom-com. I sometimes found it a bit too much but then again that might be me. It wasn't hilarious but ridiculous in some parts but I found myself quite enjoying the latter half of the drama.

Cast: Lee Dong-wook as Seol Gong-chan. I swear to whatever I need to that I saw Lee Dong-wook in a drama or movie before but I don't remember which one and it makes me pull out my hair. (It's not Goblin, I know he's in that drama, too *cough* review upcoming *cough*.) I did enjoy many aspects of his acting in this drama, too, but sometimes it just went a tiny bit overboard and ended up in the extremely ridiculous field. I don't believe it is fully his fault but I feel like I need to mention it anyway.
Lee Da-hae as Joo Yoo-rin. I hated her character at first because it was too lively and too over-the-top all the time. She annoyed the hell out of me and usually these things don't change but again I have to say that during the second half of this drama it seemed much better. I was quite surprised when I found myself actually enjoying a drama I stopped watching in February because I hated it and then continued in.. maybe April? It might be because she seemed a bit more calm during the latter half.
Lee Joon-ki as Seo Jung-woo. Before I mention anything else, can we talk about that hairstyle? I was laughing so much! It might have been a trend back in the days but let's thank the gods of time that this is over. I quite loved his acting in this and probably forever will love him as an actor because of the very different but great characters he played in dramas. Even though many people don't like his acting, he was also one of the most realistic actors - his portrayal of Jung-woo was less ridiculous and more serious if I remember right and I loved that all the more.
Park Si-yeon as Kim Se-hyun. You probably know what I think about the second-female-leads. I was wishing for her to just disappear but things didn't work out as well as I hoped. Her acting was fine but the character was once again one of those terrible bitch characters (excuse me cursing, I don't know why but I feel like it today). I didn't even want her to die but to grow up and leave a man who didn't like her anymore alone. Is that really that difficult for females in K-Dramaland?
Other actors in this drama include Jo Kye-hyung, Hwang Bo-ra, Choi Ran, Ahn Seok-hwan, Byun Hee-bong and Jung Han-heon.

Soundtrack: Once again this was quite a retro soundtrack but a quite good with a song sung by Lee Ji-soo (formerly a member of BoM and BTL) and KARA. The soundtrack had emotional and energetic songs if I remember right and I certainly enjoyed the music.

This is such a retro drama and I loved it - partly. On the other hand until episode 10 I had real trouble to get through it so it wasn't really catching or particularly outstanding.
Yes, the idea of contract siblings is not a common one and gives the whole drama a unique touch but some parts were so cliché. And I wanted to kill the person who was responsible for Yoo-rin's outfits. We find a 2nd male lead syndrome and 2nd female lead syndrome and a lot of those misunderstandings were just dragging this drama (as they do in many rom-coms even today). It left me quite frustrated near the end of this drama but again, I did not hate it.

If you're into typical rom-com with an old school touch - watch it. If not.. I would not recommend it unless you're a huge fan of one of the leads.

Freitag, 21. Juli 2017

Lovers in Prague

프라하의 연인 (Lovers in Prague) is a South Korean drama series that aired on SBS from September 24th to November 20th 2005. The drama consists of 18 episodes.

Story: Jae-hee, the daughter of the current Korean president, is living in Prague as a diplomat while getting over a painful breakup. She meets Sang-hyun, a police officer and their romance starts to blossom in Prague.
Sang-hyun's ex girlfriend Hye-joo is also living in Prague at that time - and she is pregnant and used Sang-hyun to pay for her studies for quite some time - which complicates things unnecessarily. Also, Jae-hee's ex boyfriend Yeong-woo appears which gets them not only into a love triangle..
This story is such a typical K-Drama storyline that I wouldn't even notice a difference it it was remade. Lots of cliché and very predictable but for sure enjoyable if you like rom-com dramas. The one big issue I have with this classic is literally that only the first two episodes are set in Prague - if I remember right - and they dragged the whole story a bit with lots of misunderstandings.

Cast: Jeon Do-yeon as Yoon Jae-hee. I don't know, she was somehow this typical girl and I would've wished for her to be more tough occasionally. Her acting was okay, her Czech language skill (in the beginning, according to friends from Czech Republic) is terrible but that is okay to me - I wouldn't be able to understand it anyway and I appreciate that the makers of this drama put that much effort into this.
Kim Ju-hyeok as Choi Sang-hyun. He looked like a lost puppy most of the time and while I did some of his moments the majority was not really my style. Just too lost and too pathetic which is my honest opinion and noone needs to share it. It just seemed like he was the too clingy type of boyfriend I would get rid of, too.
Kim Min-jun as Ji Yeong-woo. Ugh, I don't know why but it seems I disliked both of Jae-hee's options in this drama. Yeong-woo, as far as I remember (I watched this drama months ago and accidentally deleted my notes) wanted to get her back after hurting her and he would try harder even if she didn't want him back - which causes more hurt and difficulty than necessary. As an actor, I would chose Kim Min-jun over Kim Ju-hyeok though because I somehow likes his acting a tiny bit more.
Yoon Se-ah as Kang Hye-joo. The female character I wanted to kill so badly because she's a cheating slut. No matter her motives, I hate this. I hated her. The acting was believable enough but I'm not sure if that is a good or a bad thing.
Other actors in this drama include Lee Jung-gil, Jung Dong-hwan, Yoon Young-joon and Kim Seung-wook.

Soundtrack: This is the biggest struggle. Regarding the year in which this drama was aired, the music was decent. But when looking back from nowadays I absolutely dislike the old school music even though it does make me somehow nostalgic (I was 9 years old when this drama aired and dislike most of the music I loved back then, too). It might be a matter of taste but as of today I don't really like the soundtrack per sé but let me stay with "for 2005, it wasn't bad".

After all I found this drama very funny and somehow light-hearted. Yes, there are lots of things I can criticize but I still enjoyed it more than some other dramas I watched.
Can we take a moment and appreciate the dinosaurs phones? I was on the floor laughing at those things (yes, I had one, too, back in the days).
If you love romance dramas with a hint of comedy and lots of confusion you should watch this. It's a classic and definitely not a bad one even though I hated some parts for sure.

Freitag, 14. Juli 2017

On Hiatus

This is just a very short announcement and I hope you can forgive me...

Because of university and an internship I need to go on a hiatus. I'm in the middle of my final exams of my third year and actually should prepare (or already write, nevermind) my bachelor thesis.
I also need to finish an internship so I can graduate with my bachelor certificate next year. I just don't have the time to watch as many dramas as I want to by now and I hope to be back in September or October with weekly updates.
As I'm writing this on July 14th I don't know when the last post before my hiatus will go up - either on July 28th or August 4th, maybe also August 11th. Just give me 6 to 8 weeks after that to deal with my education and my personal life but remember to still check for new entries occassionally!

I'm sorry!



포세이돈 (Poseidon) is a South Korean Drama that was aired on KBS2  from September 19th to November 8th 2011. It consists of 16 episodes with an average duration of 60 minutes per episode.

Story: Poseidon is the sea special attack team of South Korea and directly connected to the Coast Guard. Kim Sun-woo joins this unit after being a troublemaker in his school days. Because of an incident he is sent to Gunsan city until Kwon Jung-ryul who formed a new crime investigation unit in Incheon asks Sun-woo to join. The purpose of the unit is to stop the "Heugsahoe", an organisation led by Choi Hee-gon, but officially the investigation unit is responsible for unsolved cases.
This drama is pretty much a crime and action drama that could be compared to other crime dramas easily. While I did enjoy the story by itself and I loved the action I feel like it was just too long for the story. I occasionally found myself getting bored and playing with my phone rather than watching the drama. While it is also supposed to be directly related to the coast guard many parts of this drama actually have nothing to do with the coast guard or the sea in general so I would describe it as an ordinary police drama.

Cast: Lee Sung-jae as Kwon Jung-ryul. It hasn't been too long since I first saw Lee Sung-jae in a drama and while I do like his acting I'm not overly impressed. His acting in this drama, too, was good or okay but not really outstanding.
Choi Si-won as Kim Sun-woo. The same could be said for him. He pretty much carries this drama (at least internationally he's the reason why most people even know about this drama, let's face it) but it's not the best role he played in his life and I certainly think that he improved in the dramas he starred in later. In Poseidon, his acting was decent but could've been better.
Lee Si-young as Lee Soo-yoon. I pretty much hated her character. Usually female characters in action or crime dramas should be smart and tough but she is so dumb and makes so many dumb decisions that sometimes I ended up sitting here wondering how someone like that was able to become a police officer. The acting might have been okay but I just couldn't stand her character. Simple.
Jung Yun-ho as Kang Eun-chul. Yunho is the other actor pretty much bringing attention to this drama and I did enjoy his acting probablythe most. There is no real issue with his character or acting and I probably liked him the most when watching this drama.
Jang Dong-jik as Kang Joo-min. Ooh, one of the charismatic characters in this drama with a quite dark and mysterious aura but I really did like him in some twisted way. The acting pretty much delivered exactly that, and it was more than a solid performance.
Other actors in this drama include Han Jung-soo, Jung Woon-taek, Jin Hee-kyung, Lee Byung-joon, Son Jung-bum and Park Sung-kwang.

Soundtrack: The whole OST sung by Yang Yo-seob, Jo Kyu-hyun, Lee Hae-ri, Heo Ga-yoon and Navi was pretty much love but the instrumentals made it perfect. I loved the music and can't really say anything else about it.

Yes, this drama was okay but it was dragged quite a bit and certainly failed the topic. It wanted to be a coast gard/marine drama but ended up being the normal police drama one can think about. Once again the main character has a personal story and is obsessed with catching the criminal because he was harmed. And Lee Soo-yoon as a character was more or less unbearable.

If you're a fan of action dramas you can watch this and might enjoy parts of this drama but if you're not that much into this genre you might just dislike this drama.

Freitag, 7. Juli 2017

Scholar Who Walks The Night

밤을 걷는 선비 (Scholar Who Walks the Night) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on MBC from July 8th to September 10th 2015. It consists of 20 episodes and is based on a webcomic.

Story: When the Goryeo Dynasty collapsed vampire Gwi helped the first King of Joseon to build his new empire. In return, he was promised to be honored by the King's descendants but 200 years later, Crown Prince Jung-hyun tries to get rid of him. Jung-hyun visits a guardian vampire with his best friend Kim Sung-yeol in order to stop Gwi with a secret plan but the evil vampire finds out about it and fights the guardian vampire while imprisoning Jung-hyun. Trying to help his friend, Sung-yeol gets to the place where the guardian vampire lives - and is turned into a vampire by the guardian to fight Gwi. While the guardian passes away, Sung-yeol is going through the process and wakes up 3 days later only to find himself turned into a "monster" and his best friend to be executed along with his father. Gwi also captured his fiancée and first love, Myung-hee and Sung-yeol goes to find her but is too weak to beat Gwi. In order to let him live and fight against the evil vampire controlling the kings of the Joseon dynasty, Myung-hee choses death in the underground palace.
For the next 120 years, Kim Sung-yeol goes into hiding and tries to find Crown Prince Jung-hyun's memorandum that supposedly has the secret plan in it. In order to find it he asks book seller Jo Yang-sun to search for it. Yang-sun, a girl who dresses as a boy for reasons she herself doesn't know for sure, starts to look for the book in any place but can't find it at first - instead she finds herself falling for the good-looking scholar who happened to save her live quite a few times.
To be honest, this is just a summary of the beginning as I don't want to include too many spoilers but this whole story has way more to it than I expected at first. I'm not the biggest fan of vampire romance, and this is also paired up with historical things (I'm still trying to figure out when exactly the story is set but I assume episode one plays around 1592 or 1600 (since the 200 years were probably not exact) so the main story takes place around 1820) but I found this story to be surprisingly interesting. Yes, it is a lot of cliché but at least the vampires are not sparkling in the sun (sorry, no offense meant, I used to love Twilight when I was younger until I realized that a huge part is actually rather funny). Of course the good vs evil was obvious and to be honest this is highly what this drama is based on. Surprisingly the love triangle was not as bad as I thought - in fact I suspected there would be one but in the end there wasn't anything. I liked a lot of elements of this story after all, especially when Hye-ryung was brought in. Also the political issues and curruption which definitely existed. After all it was a solid storyline to me and I liked it for that reason.

Cast: Lee Joon-ki as Kim Sung-yeol. I know this guy is in a bunch of historical dramas even though I did not watch many so far but I actually quite liked him in this drama. However, it sometimes shines through that the character is from a webcomic/manga because some expressions were overacted to fit the description from the illustrations. I still quite liked his acting though.
Lee Yu-bi as Jo Yang-sun. If I ever saw her in any drama before I definitely don't remember her but I think her acting was actually not bad. She looked really young to me though so I spent half of the time trying to figure out how old her character might be. Anyway, I found her acting to be very good in this role even though the character was by far not my favorite.
Shim Chang-min as Lee Yoon. I think the character really was something Chang-min did well. While many people say he can't act I didn't find this bad at all, rather a reserved Crown Prince who couldn't show his feelings because he had to keep a certain emotional distance. As a character, there was one very quick.. development about his future wife that confused me. While at first he didn't really know her it seemed that he definitely loved her just a few episodes later and I was really confused because of that.
Lee Soo-hyuk as Gwi. When I first saw him in a drama before I was sure he would make a good vampire. Holy crap, I was so right with that. I loved him as Gwi even though I also have to admit that sometimes the webcomic villainish feel came through for me. Still he did really good in this role of the vampire thirsting for power.
Kim So-eun as Myung-hee/Hye-ryung. I actually quite liked her as Myung-hee, a kind-hearted young female just in love with a scholar. As Hye-ryung, her acting was cold for reasons but I couldn't really believe everything about that.
Jang Hee-jin as Soo-hyang. Overall I found her acting good but towards the end I did get the feeling - just a little bit - that she had enough of her character for some reason. However, she still delivered a solid enough performance for me.
Choi Tae-hwan as Ho-jin. Oh that poor thing broke my heart in the end! I loved the character and I think Choi Tae-hwan did a good job portraying him, especially the loyalty towards Kim Sung-yeol. I can't really criticize anything about him.
Yeo Eui-joo as No Hak-young. I absolutely loved his acting, too. He was for sure one of my highlights in this drama and I hated Gwi for doing that to him! (don't mind me, I'm just weird). In all honesty, he makes the drama even better.
Lastly, Han Jung-soo as Baek In-ho. The more I think about it, the more I feel like he definitely was made for historical dramas because he really seemed like someone who could've lived during that time (to me). I adored his acting even though he didn't have enough screentime by far but he was just a side character in the end.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack was good but not entirely great. Of course they featured quite a lot of good and famous singers but some songs were overused. I still like G.NA's "Don't Cry" but it will forever be connected to this drama for me. Is that a bad thing? Not really. And it's a nice thing to remember her like this as she probably won't have a comeback anymore due to a certain scandal.

As you can tell I quite enjoyed the story and most of the acting in this drama. I didn't really have high expectations because usually I don't like historical dramas a lot, and vampire stories that are not about crime are totally not my cup of tea anymore (actually) but this drama still was quite good and could become my favorite vampire romance drama. Yes, it did have a few WTF moments, especially during the action scenes because it lookes so overdone but it was okay in the end and I still enjoyed it even though I think the final fight was just.. too fast? I don't know.
Recommended to vampire love story fans and fans of fantasy meets historical. And of the actors, you won't be too disappointed.

Freitag, 30. Juni 2017


넌 내게 반했어 (Heartstrings; Literally You've Fallen For Me) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on MBC from June 29th to August 18th 2011. The drama consists of 15 episodes with a duration of 65 minutes.

Story: Lee Kyu-won is a Traditional Music (Gugak) major student and plays the Gayageum. Lee Shin attends the same university and majors in Applied Music. After accidentally bumping into each other and getting into conflicts they decide to have a contest - traditional music band Windflower vs rock band The Stupid. The loser will be the winner's servant for one month. Of course while being close together as master and servant Kyu-won and Shin eventually start to develop feelings for each other even though their personalities are still really different.
When preparation for the 100th Anniversary performance of the university start they eventually have to start working together when arranging the music.
At the same time Director Kim Seok-hyun, who came from the Broadway and used to study at the same university, seems to prefer Kyu-won over the daughter of an important person, Han Hee-joo, which eventually causes some trouble for Kyu-won on an entirely different level.
I love how the two line description speaks of a youth melodrama. Personally I didn't feel like it was a melodrama but just a pretty basic teen love story - despite for the fact that they are not in highschool but in university at this drama. It does have the typical antagonists and the typical asshole-male-lead and cute-but-confident female lead in this case in the beginning. Most of the side characters and their stories were only partly developed but it was okay. It was about the main couple after all. I don't see anything outstanding about this drama in the end though.

Cast: Jung Yong-hwa as Lee Shin. His acting in this drama was alright but honestly, it could've been better. Sometimes I had a feeling it was either too much or not enough to make me actually believe in the struggle his character was going through.
Park Shin-hye as Lee Kyu-won. Personally this drama might have been one of her better ones for me. I know in other dramas I absolutely hated her as an actress because she didn't show any emotion. This drama was far better but there were many times when I just couldn't believe her acting as it was just over the top and definitely too much.
Song Chang-ui as Kim Seok-hyun. If there was a character I absolutely adored it was Director Kim Seok-hyun. The acting was done so well that I actually believed a musical director like that exists. I just still don't get why the character was favoring Lee Kyu-won so much but maybe I missed it somewhere along the way and it's not a huge thing.
So Yi-hyun as Jung Yoon-soo. At first I didn't really like her as an actress in this drama to be honest but it got better and her acting seemed much better starting from some point. I don't know why but in the beginning I needed to get used to it I believe. After all I would say her acting was good.
Kim Yoon-hye as Han Hee-joo. As much as this type of character can annoy one, I have to admit her acting was good as well as her singing and her dancing (which was necessary for this role). Yes, some parts were a little bit overdone. I can imagine a girl with her background to behave like this though so it was nothing that bothered me much.
Kang Min-hyuk as Yeo Jun-hee. Such a cutie pie and a character that was written to be weird and a little too much to handle unless you're used to it. Personally I really enjoyed the acting and can't really say anything bad about it.
Lee Hyun-jin as Hyun Ki-young. I absolutely fell in love with his voice! I quite liked his acting and was happy whenever he appeared on screen so I can't say anything bad about his acting. Especially the beginning and the musical rehearsal/preview in front of the potential investors was great, the fear was shown well in my own opinion.
Other actors include Im Se-mi, Jang Seo-won, Lee Jung-heon and Im Do-yoon.

Soundtrack: I personally wish they would've used more songs. It felt like only 3 or 4 songs were always returning during the drama in so many different seems that a song could not support the atmosphere all the time. However, my favorite was and probably still is (after watching the drama) "그리워서... (Because I Miss You)" by Jung Yong-hwa. I absolutely love the band version and the song combined with Yong-hwa's voice.

In general, as a light romance drama between university students, this drama is enjoyable. The main things that bothered me that a huge amount of the characters seemed to be a parody of who/what they were supposed to be, especially Park Sa-rang and her two minions. Also, I really hopes Park Shin-hye finds a balance that seems more realistic one day. I know many people love her but I think this is one of her best dramas for me - and it still wasn't realistic.
What I really found terrible about this drama though is that it sometimes was difficult to focus on the characters, especially in the beginning, because it looked like it was filmed with a smartphone camera (from 2016 and not 2011 to be fair). I got used to it but there are dramas from 2008 to 2010 that look far more professional.
Recommended to fans of music, the lead actors and cute, funny love stories. You will enjoy this drama for sure.

Freitag, 23. Juni 2017

Athena: Goddess of War

아테나: 전쟁의 여신 (Athena: Goddess of War) is a South Korean drama series that aired on SBS from December 13th 2010 to February 21st 2011. The 20 episodes have an average duration of 1 hour and 2 minutes. The series is a spin off of the IRIS series that aired it's first season on 2009.

Story: While planning the reunification of the two Koreas, South Korea is developing a new technology referred to as TWR - a high speed nuclear reactor technology other countries and organisations are also interested in. To prevent terror the NTS (National Anti-Terror Service) is created by the South Korean government.
Lee Jung-woo transfers to the NTS. One day, he's ordered to go to Italy with Kim Ki-soo, a North Korean defector, to track down terrorists. At first they don't know the exact target but soon Jung-woo and Ki-soo figure out that Soo-young, the daughter of the current South Korean president who came to Italy to study architecture, is the target. When she is kidnapped, the South Korean government sends more NTS agents to negotiate but the American DIS, more specifically the East Asian branch, also gets involved in the case. In the aftermath NTS and DIS have to work together which is against the actual rules of the NTS.
Other mysteries occur and it becomes more and more likely that a huge conspiration is behind all of those incidents that involve Jung-woo and other NTS agents as well as Yoon Hye-in who joined the team not too long ago.
Summarizing this whole story is literally impossible. It has various layers from top to bottom regarding the NTS and the government, a love story (of course, what else) about forbidden love, later on a hint of one-sided love.. You have a lot of things in this drama. I personally didn't feel like it was strongly connected to IRIS (since the second season of IRIS wasn't around when Athena was aired I'm going to neglect that part) and you don't need to know IRIS to understand what is happening which is a huge plus (it has been almost 4 years since I watched the first and second season in a row and it's natural I don't remember everything). I personally think that the story is also less complicated because - compared to the parent story - I felt like Athena had a clear goal even though that might have been different from Son Hyuk's.
I quite enjoyed the story line, it was well written in my opinion. I would watch it again for sure.

Cast: Jung Woo-sung as Lee Jung-woo. As an actor, I can't really criticize him. As a character, he certainly did have his strong his points but was a creepy stalker sometime in the beginning and got me literally annoyed. But then again; writing. Jung Woo-sung is still a good actor for sure and this drama suited him well.
Cha Seung-won as Son Hyuk. I honestly love a good villain in its own way and and Cha Seung-won makes an awesome villain! It is a little bit too obvious that he's not the good guy. I really liked his acting though, I totally enjoyed watching him in this drama.
Soo Ae as Yoon Hye-in. The character is badass and I somehow really liked her. As for the acting, I felt like her facial expression was nearly the same so often that I don't really know what to think about Soo Ae as an actress. However, she still pulled off the emotional parts quite well, and the action scenes didn't show her face that much so I would say her acting was okay overall in this drama.
Lee Ji-ah as Han Jae-hee. Another badass female in this drama and I adored her character in some way. As an agent of NTS she for sure has to know how to fight and she does well in this role. As for the acting I really liked Lee Ji-ah as an actress in this drama. I kinda could imagine her to be a real person working for a government agency so she was probably one of my personal favorites in this drama as well.
Kim Min-jong as Kim Ki-soo. Ki-soo is one of the characters I didn't quite like at first but grew on me as the story proceeded and he got to proof why he had such a huge part in the drama. I would say the believable acting was a huge part of what made me like him not only because of sympathy but he was a strong character while Kim Min-jong is a good actor in this series.
Choi Si-won as Kim Joon-ho. Before anyone claims I'm biased - no, I'm not. I'm not a fan of Super Junior nor do I like Siwon. However, I think he was really good in this drama and totally deserves respect for his acting. While some of the scenes made him seem a little bit childish and insecure in my honest opinion this might have been intended (you know the reason when you watch this drama). So thumbs up!
Yoo Dong-geun as Kwon Yong-kwan. The director of the NTS actually shows his full strength at the end of this drama, and so does the actor. He definitely deserved his spot - the actor as well as the character - and I personally think the acting was well done as well. I don't really know what I should say about this but I tried.
This drama also includes two characters of the IRIS seasons: Kim So-yeon makes a cameo in the last few episodes (and I personally think it was more or less pointless to bring the character into this series as it was not really connected to the main plot of Athena) and Kim Seung-woo as Park Cheol-yong, one of the characters that still left a deep impression on me after IRIS and now after Athena as well.
Also, a bunch of idols makes cameos in this drama; Shim Chang-min of TVXQ is in the last episodes, BoA appears in one episode, Onew and Taemin of SHINee are there and Hoon of U-KISS. I wouldn't recommend watching it because of the cameos though as some of them are really short!
Other actors (in bigger roles than cameos) include Lee Jung-kil, Kim Young-ae, Lee Han-wi and Oh Yoon-ah.

Soundtrack: I usually love the soundtracks of actions series and this is not really an exception. The instrumentals fit the atmosphere so well that I really loved the soundtrack a lot. And let's not forget about the OST that includes lots of famous (and great) singers. My personal favorite is most likely 박효신 (Park Hyo-shin), a singer I love to death for his voice, and his song "널 사랑한다 (You Who I Love/I Love You)". The second song I really liked a lot would probably be TVXQ/DBSK's "아테나 (Athena)" for the awesome feeling that it has to it. I know that many people also loved Tae-yeon's song for this OST, "사랑해요 (I Love You)". So to summarize: This OST consists of great names with even greater voices.

I quite enjoyed this drama, maybe I liked it even more than the first season of IRIS but I know I shouldn't compare the dramas. Still, Athena is a spin-off that could totally stand on its own feet. IRIS tells some background story that was not necessarily necessary and the only clear connection is the government - and Kim So-yeon's cameo that still seemed a little bit forced to me as it didn't belong to the main story. I personally think that the idea of love connecting enemies is way more interesting than a love triangle between agents of the same agency and this drama balanced action, political and romance well enough for me to seriously like it and not skip any scenes.
Recommended to fans of action dramas that include romance and can handle a bit of creepy stalker behavior. Also, if you liked IRIS I think this is a must-watch.

Freitag, 16. Juni 2017

Discovery of Romance

연애의 발견 (Discovery of Romance) is a South Korean rom-com drama that was aired from August 18th to October 7th 2014 on KBS2. The 16 episodes have an average duration of 60 minutes.

Story: Han Yeo-reum is in love with her boyfriend of more than 1 year, Nam Ha-jin, who works as a plastic surgeon. However, as she catches her boyfriend going on a blind date arranged by his mom, she eventually meets her ex-boyfriend and owner of a construction company, Kang Tae-ha, and their phones get exchanged. The day after the meeting, Yeo-reum calls her phone while she is drunk and ends up spending the night at her ex-boyfriend's house. Of course she ends up getting caught and her best friend Yoon Sol as well as their roommate Do Joon-ho, who is a close friend of Ha-jin, try to help her out. But suddenly the small woodcraft company Sol and Yeo-reum own together has to work with Tae-ha's construction company so of course they run into each other quite often.
This story is something I personally haven't seen often in K-Dramas yet but I'm pretty sure I have a bunch of stories with the "second chance for the first love"-story line on my list of dramas I still intend to watch. Now was this drama refreshing? Yes and no. I did enjoy the interviews even though it was a little bit awkward at first. But the actual story is not the most unique nor exciting one I've ever seen. I would personally say that this drama is a light, quick watch (I finished it within two days but I'm currently on a drama marathon anyways).

Cast: Jung Yoo-mi as Han Yeo-reum. I was totally surprised to see her in this drama to be honest because she looks totally different on the posters. I still don't know how I should rate her as an actress for sure but her acting wasn't bad. The main problem was that she seemed to be sad or annoyed most of the time. Maybe that's a trait that the writer gave to the character though but it doesn't make it really easy to watch her in this drama.
Eric Moon as Kang Tae-ha. I don't know why but most of the time I found Tae-ha to be a very funny character that was portrayed well. I can't really say anything about Eric's acting that bothered me, he did a good job.
Sung Joon as Nam Ha-jin. I know I've actually watched quite a few dramas with Sung Joon, thank you very much to anyone who wanted to point that out. It's an accident he usually acts in dramas I want to watch sooner or later and I can guarantee that more of his dramas will be on this blog. I really think he is an amazing actor as I liked him in almost all roles I've seen him in so far and this one is no exception, I totally adored his character and his acting. I don't think I need to explain exactly what I mean.
Yoon Hyun-min as Do Joon-ho. I really enjoyed Yoon Hyun-min's acting. Do Joon-ho is a lovable idiot and sometimes his behavior made me facepalm but after all it's adorable even though he also has a serious side when he tries to protect the relationship between Yeo-reum and Ha-jin. The acting was good enough to make me believe almost every line so it's all good and I'm looking forward to seeing him in the future.
Kim Seul-gi as Yoon Sol. Kim Seul-gi also is definitely a good actress that can take over different roles but usually her characters seem to be a little bit grumpy and moody. Sol is no exception, she's picky and gets drunk often. The only thing that bothered me in the long run to be very honest was her voice, I don't know why. However, I think she also did a good job in this drama.
Yoon Jin-yi as An Ah-rim. She seems to be the nice girl living next door. The acting was fair enough but something just didn't work for me. I don't know what exactly it was but something literally bothered me about her acting in general. While she was still not bad I do believe it could've been better.
Other actors in this drama include Lee Seung-joon, Kim Hye-ok, Gu Won and Sung Byung-sook-

Soundtrack: I think the soundtrack, the artists and the titles were well chosen. I can't really point out a song that fit the drama more than the others but I do have to admit that "어린애처럼 (Like A Child)" by Shinhwa's Shin Hye-sung (신혜성) really hit me in that moment and had me sitting straight up. I absolutely love Hye-sung's voice so I had to put this here.

As I mentioned before this is a light watch in between, something romantic and fun but it does have some weaknesses mainly in the story. There are hardly any memorable scenes so I don't really know what I should do or say about this specifically. The story itself is not totally bad but I found my thoughts wandering off many times because it wasn't as catchy as other dramas can be. It is still not bad.
Recommended to those who like romantic comedy dramas that are not too long and who might be interested in the emotional struggle between past and current love.

Freitag, 9. Juni 2017


힐러 (Healer) is a South Korean drama series consisting of 20 episodes that were aired on KBS2 from December 8th 2014 to February 10th 2015.

Story: Seo Jung-hoo is a night errand boy under the name Healer and he's known as one of the best in his field. One day, while completing an assumingly easy mission, he gets into trouble. Shortly after that Go Sung-chul, the man who Healer got something from, is found dead - and the Healer framed to be the murderer. Trying to clear his name he starts looking for the actual murderer. Before that, however, he has a longer order to find a girl and get her DNA.
That's how he meets Chae Young-shin, the bright and cheerful daughter of a lawyer but she has one weakness - she can't see violence happening.
The person asking for Healer's help was Kim Moon-ho, a famous reporter and Young-shin's idol. To find out more about Young-shin, Jung-hoo starts working at Someday News next to Young-shin who is currently investigating a story that might involve the people who also framed Seo Jung-hoo for the murder.
I'm not sure if I was good when it comes to explaining this story but personally I thought it was very interesting even though everything was very close together. How the characters were connected as well as the different parts of the story - 1980's, 1992, and today - were well done. As complicated as my explanation might sound actually it is not that hard to understand when watching the drama. One thing I really enjoyed about the story and the way it was written was that it doesn't lose the action and/or excitement around episode 16 like many other dramas do that just clear up the whole stuff. Even in the last episodes were some things I didn't expect and it was a great finale for a good series. The love story was for sure in the center of this drama but it still wasn't overdone and not too cheesy even though in a few episodes I personally got bored. The lead actors' chemistry made it better though.

Cast: Ji Chang-wook as Seo Jung-hoo. I somehow liked his character but also disliked some parts. He's a good actor, no doubt, I willingly admit that! Now the change in his character irritated me a little bit though. From a logical thinker trying to survive in this world to someone who's incredibly driven by emotions. I see where the writer was coming from but throwing rational thinking out of the window didn't really seem to fit the character we are introduced to in the beginning of the story. I believed the actor but something about that just seemed off.
Park Min-young as Chae Young-shin. As an actress, she seemed perfect for this role, and I mean it. But her character sometimes was difficult to me for understand. While there were always a lot of people around her father's house that taught her things she didn't use those normally. Now as she can't see violence it makes sense but despite of the ability to fight back verbally it makes her seem like the kind of helpless female again and I totally didn't expect a character like hers to be like this. It just seems strange and made me wonder why they didn't turn her into the weak female right away like Korea usually does.
Yoo Ji-tae as Kim Moon-ho. The rebellious journalist was just brilliant and by far my highlight in this drama! I loved Yoo Ji-tae's acting and believed every single line he said. Why he tried to keep something from Young-shin, the relationship between Moon-ho and his brother, the interactions with the colleagues - I know why he was in this drama and I just loved it, I don't know what else I can say.
Park Sang-won as Kim Moon-shik. Do you know the feeling when you see an actor all nice in a drama and you just can't buy it? Yes, that was me with Park Sang-won so in the end I wasn't really surprised about his character actually being one of the antagonists and quite manipulative. As much as I hated his character, the acting was totally awesome!
Kim Mi-kyung as Jo Min-ja. I've actually seen Kim Mi-kyung in smaller roles in countless dramas before and she's in a bunch of dramas I'm still planning to watch as well. In this drama I really liked her in the ridiculousness of her character that sometimes lightened up the mood by some funny comments or her singing. She somehow fit in here but I would've loved to know a little bit more about her history.
Do Ji-won as Choi Myung-hee. I quite enjoyed her in this drama even though I got quite confused trying to calculate the age of the characters because she doesn't look much older than Yoo Ji-tae but much younger than Park Sang-won in my honest opinion. She's still a gorgeous woman though and a good actress. Her acting felt real and I really enjoyed her in this drama.
Other actors in this drama include Park Won-sang, Park Sang-myeon, Oh Gwang-rok and Woo Hee-jin.

Soundtrack: This actually is one of the best experiences for me with this drama. The instrumentals really do a great job highlighting the atmosphere. I can't point out a specific piece as I don't know what they are called (I will find out about that though because it is really great). As for the songs by bands/singers, it is surprising at first to find Michael Learns to Rock on the OST. A danish band and a Korean drama? That's a rare combination but since I first listened to it I absolutely adored "Eternal Love" so it's not surprise I caught myself singing along way too often. The other song I really liked for some reason was Ben's "You" even though it does have a typical K-Drama-OST feeling to it.

I know I usually claim to have issues with very popular dramas and I still think that it is a problem for me but just like Healer there are exceptions. To me, this drama is not one of the best I've ever seen but I still enjoyed it a lot. The main weakness, to me, was the lack of differentiation between love and passion when it comes to the character of the Healer. And I think some characters just disappeared within the last 5 minutes. I don't think we were told what happens to Choi Myung-hee and Kim Moon-shik? I guess he gets punished and they got divorced but it's nothing the viewer knows for sure. Now I finished this drama last night and I still have those things on my mind; and the question whether I missed that part or whether it wasn't there in the first place.
Anyway, it is a solid drama with a mix of action and romance and if you like this mix I'm almost sure you will like Healer.

A small treat for the Ji Chang-wook fangirls at the end.

Freitag, 2. Juni 2017

Kill Me, Heal Me

Yay for my 75th K-Drama!

킬미, 힐미 (Kill Me, Heal Me) is a South Korean drama series consisting of 20 episodes with a duration of one hour each that aired on MBC from January 7th to March 12th 2015.

Story: Cha Do-hyun suffered through a horrible incident in his childhood. He happened to lose all of his memories from when he was seven and eight years old due to the trauma - and created different personalities; Shin Se-gi, Perry Park, Ahn Yo-sub, Ahn Yo-na and Nana, all of them very different in nature. He went to America when he was 17 years old but was suddenly forced to come back after 11 years abroad.
Soon he meets Oh Ri-jin, a young psychiatrist. To not endanger his former psychiatrist, Do-hyun hires Ri-jin as his personal doctor who has to stay with him 24/7. As his memories start to return bit by bit Do-hyun understands how closely entangled his and Ri-jin's fate is while Ri-jin is busy hiding the fact that she is Do-hyun's personal doctor from her family.
Back in 2015 it was obviously DID season with two dramas airing the first episode within two weeks. However easy it might seem to compare the two, when I first started watching Kill Me, Heal Me it was a mess - the first 4 or 5 episodes are a total mess, poorly written, not because of the DID topic but just how extreme everything is. Luckily that got a little better later on. The storyline with DID seemed to be new to Korean viewers at the time, mixed with many totally different personalities and a lot of comedy it does have a certain charm. Some parts of the story were very well done, for example the background story explaining why different personalities were around. However, many of the light-hearted and funny scenes seemed forced to me, and I think especially Oh Ri-jin as a character was poorly written in the beginning. Towards the end I started to enjoy this drama more but it still wasn't the most exciting story I've ever seen.

Cast: Ji Sung as Cha Do-hyun. I did like his acting in the main personality, Do-hyun. As Se-gi, he was okay (that eyeliner looks terrible on him though). Nana was pretty much okay, too, but you don't see him often in that personality. After all I think especially Yo-na and Perry Park were incredibly overacted and I sometimes couldn't even laugh about it. Yo-sub seemed pretty much fine to me as well. So many personalities definitely were a challenge and some were great - others not so much but I see that maybe even the best actor might struggle with 7 totally different personalities in one drama so I would say he did well even though it was not perfect.
Hwang Jung-eum as Oh Ri-jin. Oh boy, I hated her in this role. I can't stand her voice when she's yelling and that happens a lot during the first few episodes so I watched it on mute. As for the rest of the drama, sometimes her acting was overdone as well, sometimes not so much. I mainly think that the way she had to behave according to the writing is responsible for the ridiculousness in some parts. In the end she delivered a solid performance even though I didn't quite like her.
Park Seo-joon as Oh Ri-on. First, I love the name Orion (it's pronounced like that), such a beautiful name! As a writer his character sometimes has is times of ridiculousness I think but it was still pretty much alright. I enjoyed his acting even though sometimes I wished he would behave differently or say things more clearly but of course you can't show all of the secrets right away so he had to keep quiet. I somehow liked him in the beginning and at the end but not so much in between though and I can't really explain why.
Kim Yoo-ri as Han Chae-yeon. You know, in the beginning I was happy this was a drama with a second female lead that was not manipulative, not jealous and not as bitchy as one could've expected according to other dramas. I was wrong and it annoyed the hell out of me. While I think she's not a bad actress I wonder why most of the characters I saw her play seemed the same. Maybe it's just the fact that she has a pretty face that fits those roles. She's not outstanding in this role though but it's not bad either.
Oh Min-suk as Cha Ki-joon. While in the beginning he seems to be the villain he's actually not that bad. I totally believed his acting even though I didn't quite like the way his character was written. I can totally see him as the son of a chaebol trying to protect his position and therefore searching for a way to destroy his opponents. I would probably say that he was the mose realistic actor in this drama.
Kim Young-ae as Seo Tae-im. When you watch the drama you will know what I mean when I say she is also one of those very typical K-Drama characters. I really enjoyed her acting, too, so nothing negative to say about the actress but I wish sometimes those chaebol characters would act a little bit more human and less money-oriented than they do.
Other actors in this drama include Shim Hye-jin, Ko Chang-seok, Choi Won-young, Kim Hee-jung and Park Jun-gyu.

Soundtrack: I sincerely LOVE 장재인(Jang Jae In)'s "환청 (Auditory Hallucination)" with rapper 나쑈 (NaShow). It is a really great song one can listen to a lot even though you might not be very interested in the drama so I sincerely recommend it. Another great song is "Healing Love" by Luna (f(x)) and Choi (Lu:Kus). I really recommend listening to these songs if you didn't know them until now.

I know I might not have said that much about my personal opinion on this drama but as you can see I didn't like it that much and I don't get why it has such high ratings. While it is not really a bad or uninteresting story at least the first 5 episodes almost had me dropping this drama because I hated every single thing about those episodes, except for the actors and the music. Well, I couldn't stand Hwang Jung-eum to be fair but mainly because of her voice. I still continued watching the drama though because I never drop a drama - I finish what I start no matter how much I hate it. And to be very fair, the story got better and better towards the end. But until you get there you might hate a lot of things. So if you really are a fan of the actors or want something that is mainly funny because it is ridiculous you might go through the episodes without problems.
I know my opinion is an unpopular opinion. Maybe it's because I prefer more mature dramas and at first I found so many childish points that show which audience this drama was supposed to appeal to that I was freaking out. But if you really enjoy love stories that are usually popular among most people you might like this. If you read more than one entry you might have figured out that usually the very popular, hyped dramas are totally not for me.

Freitag, 26. Mai 2017

The Suspicious Housekeeper

수상한 가정부 (The Suspicious Housekeeper; formerly known as House Keeper Park Bok Nyeo) is the South Korean remake of the Japanese drama series 家政婦のミタ (kaseifu no mita; I'm Mita, Your Housekeeper). It was aired on SBS from September 23rd to November 26th 2013 and therefore consists of 20 episodes with an average duration of 60 minutes.

Story: Woo Sun-young, mother of Han-gyeol, Du-gyeol, Se-gyeol and Hye-gyeol and wife of Eun Sang-chul suddenly passes away. 49 days after her funeral Sang-chul tells his children that he hired a housekeeper to help them out while he is busy at work.
Park Bok-nyeo is an extremely serious person that never smiles, has all sorts of things in her bag and does everything she is ordered to do - going as far as killing when she is ordered to do that.
All of a sudden the family receives letters that their new housekeeper is a murderer. The children try to figure out what happened on their own after a fight with their father but even though they keep on following Park Bok-nyeo, Du-gyeol, Se-gyeol and Hye-gyeol fail to find out about her secrets. Bok-nyeo threatens to quit when the children won't stop asking her private questions so that the family who learned to appreciate their housekeeper as a kind of second mother, especially Hye-gyeol, stop and ask Bok-nyeo to stay. But the curiosity stays for sure.
At first this story really sounded interesting to me, especially the title. I never watched the Japanese version so I can't compare them at all and didn't know what I was getting myself into. This story itself is like a rollercoaster - at first it goes up all the way just to let you gain speed during the first drop. When that excitement disappears you have some time to calm down and just let it flow before it picks up speed again to get you to a second exciting point - and after that it slows down and slowly takes you to the end. This was my impression after 11 episodes and after finishing it I can say that the second "drop" is actually really interesting and probably one of the reasons why I kept watching. The main problem I have with this drama, however, that the slow paced parts of the track are just too much. There are so many stories and you know they are just supposed to make this drama longer. It cannot keep up its pace for 20 episodes and that makes it lose some quality.

Cast: Choi Ji-woo as Park Bok-nyeo. Thinking about it Park Bok-nyeo is not the most exciting but probably the most developed character. The background story and the effects she experienced all make sense and I couldn't help but pity her. As for the acting, I think it was outstanding. I see why people might disagree with me but emotionless acting to me would be incredibly difficult. Always maintaining the exact same expression for - just guessing, I don't remember the exact episode - 10 episodes is extremely hard to do. Still, the chemistry (not in a romantic way) she had with the children, especially the youngest daughter, made it seem as if there were some feelings shown. It is difficult to explain but it really impressed me.
Lee Sung-jae as Eun Sang-chul. As a character I still don't know what I should think about him but the development the character went through - from a terrible husband and father to an actually caring person who tries to do what could be best for his children - was a huge step. So I kinda admired the character in that way. From one of my most hated characters he made it to one of my favorites. As for the acting, it seemed true to its nature. Lee Sung-jae was good in this role but I wish he would use stronger facial expressions from time to time. However, it was still a solid and actually good performance.
Kim So-hyun as Eun Han-gyeol. Han-gyeol is a typical teenage girl going through puberty and her first love while being the oldest daughter of the household and somehow taking the role of the mother and a student before Park Bok-nyeo starts to work for the family. The rebel character actually suited Kim So-hyun and her expressions, especially the huge problem with her father, were good. I enjoyed her acting in this drama and don't think they could've found a better actress for this role.
Chae Sang-woo as Eun Du-gyeol. As the oldest son he feels like he needs to act as the head of the household when his father is gone. However, his biggest issue is that he feels like he can't do anything and that gives him quite a hard time. I would say he is going through puberty as well and has to find himself and his dreams. Chae Sang-woo did well in this role, playing sometimes the tough guy and sometimes the emotional boy Du-gyeol is according to his age. So he was good in this role.
Nam Da-reum as Eun Se-gyeol. The younger brother is the opposite of Du-gyeol. Se-gyeol can't fight but is extremely good at studying and wants to make his deceased mom proud while being probably the most rational sibling in this drama. I really imagined Nam Da-reum to be Se-gyeol. Maybe it just suits his character, maybe he's just a good young actor but Se-gyeol was great.
Kang Ji-woo as Eun Hye-gyeol. The youngest sibling, Hye-gyeol, suffers the most after losing their mother. Her character is heartbroken and accepts Park Bok-nyeo as a "second" mother soon. While sometimes children can be quite annoying it was heartwrenching to watch her in this drama. Kang Ji-woo is incredibly cute but she did so well in this drama and was either getting along quite well with Choi Ji-woo or they both are just great actresses. I sometimes wonder how child actors even manage to deliver really good performances but she did.
Other actors in this drama include Wang Ji-hye, Song Jong-ho, Jung Moon-sung, Park Geun-hyung, Shim Yi-young, Kim Hae-sook and Jang Seo-won.

Soundtrack: Actually the soundtrack of this drama doesn't include many songs. About the instrumentals I really loved the one playing everytime Park Bok-nyeo was about to appear - I guess it's one of the Park Bok-nyeo themes.
As for the songs sung for this drama by idol singers my favorite is "Twilight" by Yoo Sung-eun. Except for that, Lim Kim sang a song titled "부탁할게요 (I'm Asking You)" which I personally liked, too. The song I can't stand, however, is sadly the one on the drama performed by Kim So-hyun and the band. I don't know why but I'm not a huge fan of her singing or the song.

I see why the rating might seem bad but it's mostly because of the long times without anything happening that was worth noting. I found myself on my phone way too often while just listening to what was said but this drama failed to keep me focussed. Now you can say that it is just not the perfect drama for me - while I love the mystery and suspense I found myself bored by the daily life of the family and the hint of romance that were supposed to be there but probably wasn't. And for the story itself 20 episodes were too much, 14 to 16 would've been completely fine. The length however might be the main problem about the episodes that were just used to fill in without anything, really. Plus, I personally found the first two episodes incredibly boring so I wasn't sure if I should continue watching at all. I'm still glad I did though as this drama has more to it than one expects.
Recommended to fans of family and melodramas. According to what I heard and read the Japanese version is much better so if you know and liked that maybe you should skip the Korean version as most people were disappointed.

Freitag, 19. Mai 2017

It's Okay, That's Love

괜찮아, 사랑이야 (It's Okay, That's Love) is a South Korean drama series that aired on SBS from July 23rd to September 11th 2014. It consists of 16 episodes with a duration around 58 minutes per episode.

Story: Ji Hae-soo is a psychiatrist in a hospital in Korea. Due to some events in the past she is scared of intimacy. Her personality as well as her trauma make it difficult for her to have a relationship that lasts for a long time.
On the other hand Jang Jae-yeol is a popular novelist who had his ex-girlfriend plagiarizing his novel. Instead of getting back at her he cancels the lawsuit and decides to go back to writing. A construction for three months starts in his home and he moves into his house in Hongdae for the time being - which eventually makes Hae-soo his roommate along with Hae-soo's senior Jo Dong-min and Park Soo-kwang, a young man who suffers from Tourette syndrome.
As the four of them live together they eventually get to know each other and despite not really liking each other at first Hae-soo and Jae-yeol fall in love. Over time, they help each other to heal their scars from past traumas and tragic events within their families.
Personally I thought this story line sounds like the most basic K-Drama stuff you can find. Just by that description and by knowing K-Dramaland I had an idea where this would go and had pretty much 90% of the story figured out between episodes 2 and 6 which is actually sad. This drama in itself was kinda obvious or maybe it was just me. While I kinda do like the idea of two messed up characters getting together and helping each other this was just turned into the basic romance and especially Hae-soo's character was a victim of poor writing in my humble opinion. While I liked her at first I came to hate her as the story continued. In the early episodes, the story was quite fast-paced which made it very interesting and kept me going but towards the end it turned out so slow that I found myself getting annoyed over it.

Cast: Jo In-sung as Jang Jae-yeol. While his character is the typical good-looking player in the beginning it turns out soon enough that there is more than meets the eye. I do see his character to be one of the better developed ones in this drama, especially regarding the events of the past. It seems like the writers were really thinking about how his character could or should be developed. As an actor Jo In-sung definitely did a great job portraying him. The acting felt real and I totally believed everything he said. Definitely a great actor in a great role.
Gong Hyo-jin as Ji Hae-soo. As some of you might now I love Gong Hyo-jin ever since Master's Sun and she is still one of my favorite actresses. But her character in this drama was okay in the beginning and started to turn into a stupid, useless crybaby female lead somewhere along the way. I do remember that it was the end of episode 6 and the beginning of episode 7 where I was close to yelling at my laptop because how blind and stupid can a person be?! After calming down I still continued to watch it and it got slightly better again but let's say I still can't bring myself to like her character in this drama. However, I see it more as a thing of bad writing. The writer(s) probably didn't really know what to do anymore and fell into the cliché-trap.
Sung Dong-il as Jo Dong-min. The old man in the household, Jo Dong-min, is quite an interesting character. While he can be noisy and childish he also has a serious side to him that mainly shows when he's treating his patients. I totally enjoyed the acting of Sung Dong-il and think that this was a great show for him.
Lee Kwang-soo as Park Soo-kwang. How creative to turn the syllables of the actors name around if you can't think of a character name. Anyway, as a character Soo-kwang suffers from Tourette syndrome and therefore has trouble with females. But he loved Oh So-nyeo for quite some time and started to not only care for her but buy her a lot of things as well. Regarding the acting I actually enjoyed seeing Lee Kwang-soo in this drama. I don't know much about Tourette syndrome patients but it seemed like he really learned about his character and managed to make it seem real.
Jin Kyung as Dr. Lee Young-jin. I don't know much about her but I liked her acting. As a character Lee Young-jin goes through the struggle many women seem to know; choosing between your career or your own family. I felt like I could understand her and that this character really came to life so definitely kudos to the actress for doing such a good job.
Lee Sung-kyung as Oh So-nyeo. A pretty girl doing a lot of things she actually shouldn't do but she doesn't care. That's Oh So-nyeo. I think Lee Sung-kyung did well even though her character came off a little annoying and more than a little bit manipulative but then again it was probably again the writing and she didn't do a bad job in following what she was supposed to be like.
Other actors in this drama include Do Sang-woo, Do Kyung-soo, Yang Ik-joon, Tae Hang-ho and Cha Hwa-yeon.

Soundtrack: The OST of this drama actually includes quite a few huge names in the K-Pop and OST business like Davichi, Crush, Wheesung, Hong Dae-kwang, Yoon Mi-rae and M.C. The Max. The Korean song I probably like the most was Crush feat. Punch's "잠 못드는 밤 (Sleepless Night)". While I did enjoy the OST overall I have to say that the songs that stand out the most are not Korean songs and are actually in no way related to this drama. I'm talking about "Hero" by Family of the Year specifically. While I neither liked nor disliked the song before I still knew it (which 90% of the people commenting on Youtube didn't seem to do) I have it stuck in my head now.

Overall this drama was, and is, one of the most hyped dramas of 2014 and again it seems to be my own problem. I love the actors, I liked the idea but I literally ended up either yelling at my laptop or playing on my phone towards the end of the drama. And what I mean with my own problem is this; I dislike dramas most people love most of the time. And I like dramas people heavily criticize. Is it because of expectations? Possible, I was looking forward to watching this drama. But I couldn't bring myself to give it a better rating than 6.5, I even considered a worse rating with 5.5 or 5.0 for some time but I've seen much worse dramas.

Recommendation? I don't know. If you like a little bit of psychology, family issues and romcom than this might be a great option for you. I can't really explain what it is that makes me dislike this drama and it's hard to give a recommendation if you can't really find something to point out.

Freitag, 12. Mai 2017

Hyde, Jekyll, Me

Okay, at first I feel like I need to warn all of you. You will read my personal opinion on this drama below (I think I should change the style a bit but you will see that soon) but I've read quite mixed reviews about this drama.
This is solely my opinion in this entry. I see why some people maybe don't like it at all but I've seen much worse.

하이드 지킬, 나 (Hyde, Jekyll, Me) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on SBS from January 21st to March 26th and consists of 20 episodes. The drama is based on a webtoon.

Story: Gu Seo-jin is the Director of an amusement park called "Wonderland". He's very cold and rude towards most people while trying to please his father. Only very few people know that he suffers from DID, more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Robin, the second personality, is the total opposite of Gu Seo-jin; polite, always smiling, caring and "saving others is just his personality". Five years ago, Robin disappeared after an incident but suddenly he struggles to come through again on the same day Jang Ha-na arrives at Wonderland.
Jang Ha-na came back after spending five years in the USA to take her fathers' position in Wonder Circus, one of the attractions at Wonderland. Gu Seo-jin plans on closing the circus and firing the people working there but Jang Ha-na fights back as much as she can. Right on the day she arrives the fate of Gu Seo-jin and Jang Ha-na becomes more and more entangled as Ha-na is the only witness in the case of Dr. Kang Hee-ae, Gu Seo-jin's psychologist. Ha-na is the only one who saw the culprit and suddenly Gu Seo-jin needs her to find the doctor and finally get rid of his second personality.
- I personally don't know much about DID and how treatments work or the way people behave but I believe that this was just one point of the story and it was not totally ridiculous what happened, at least if you're not an expert. There is much more to it and while the writing could've been better it was quite nice to not have a purely evil second female lead. Also, the side stories where not the best but definitely interesting enough to make me finish this drama within 4(!) days. It is true that it loses its pace towards the end it turns more into a melodrama than the comedy drama it is supposed to be though. 

Cast: Hyun-bin as Gu Seo-jin and Robin. I'm not really sure what I should tell you about his acting. While he did have some chemistry with the female lead Robin and Ha-na seemed more like kids playing around in the beginning. Also, the character Robin seemed just overacted but that might be because of the writing. So between Ha-na and Robin there was no romantic chemistry whatsoever. On the other hand Gu Seo-jin's change was well-portrayed, and he did have a way better chemistry with her than Robin. I don't know, maybe two totally different personalities were a little bit too much for Hyun-bin as an actor but he was way more realistic as Gu Seo-jin, and it was way easier to believe it. He definitely improved towards the end as Robin, too, but I think it was not the best role for him.
Han Ji-min as Jang Ha-na was - excuse me for being straightforward - bad. Between 70% and 80% of the time she looked lost and dumbfounded. I kinda see that her character might have been confused often because of Robin and Gu Seo-jin but this definitely was not a good role for her. As mentioned above she does have some chemistry with Gu Seo-jin but it's not strong. Also, I did mind her character being a little bit slow and stupid partly. Again, something to criticize about the writing but it could've been slightly better if they chose another actress.
Lee Seung-joon as Secretary Kwon Young-chan was one of my favorite characters. He's caught between a fear of losing his job and his sympathy for Robin who was like a younger brother to him. As the responsible person trying to connect Ha-na with both worlds his acting was sometimes too much (I know, I'm repeating myself but writing - can't blame him for that) but in total his performance was one of the best ones.
Sung Joon as Yoon Tae-joo was the better villain in this. As he is a charismatic actor in a strong role he managed to shine in his spot as a side character. Now if you plan on watching this you won't understand why I wrote "villain" but just wait. At first I wasn't really suspicious of him but in the end this is a K-Drama and he started to seem too nice at some point.
Hyeri as Min Woo-jung was totally not my style. As a quirky, playful little girl she took over an annoying part at first but I believe she was supposed to be like that. She would be the one that is the closest to a second female lead but not as bad as others. I also think she had a great chemistry with Eun-chang.
Speaking of Lee Eun-chang, Lee Won-geun did a pretty good job in my opinion. Being part of the circus he met Min Woo-jung and eventually became the person watching over her. He was a ray of light more than once and definitely did a good job.
Han Sang-jin as Ryu Seung-yeon was - again - simply bad. Now I don't want to believe that it was actually the actor but the character and the way it was portrayed in the webtoon. As a villain I can't take him seriously, the music, the acting - he just seems like the "I-want-to-be-a-villain-and-I'm-jealous-as-hell-but-I-can't-do-it"-character you see in comics. A villain that is bad at being a villain.
Other actors in this drama include Lee Deok-hwa, Kwak Hee-sung (who is quite good-looking btw, need to check him out!), Oh Na-ra, Shim Eun-jung and Lee Joon-hyuk.

Sountrack: The very first thing I would like to say is that the instrumentals in Han Sang-jin's scenes were terribly chosen. No, it was literally horrible. It made the comic-like villain come out even more and it would've been funny if it didn't make me facepalm all the way through.
As for the songs sung for this drama there are two songs you keep hearing all the way through: Baek Ji-young's "Because of You" and Park Bo-ram's "Falling". I can't say that I didn't like the songs (I even have Baek Ji-young's song stuck in my head) but they are also not really special. To be very honest those songs are the typical ballads you hear here and there and everywhere in K-Dramaland. The only thing that really stood out was Snuper's "하이드 지킬 (Hyde Jekyll)". While it is for sure not the best OST song it is the most listenable outside of the drama and the most unique showing also Snuper's cuter style.

I know many people will actually have a "What in the world..."-moment now reading my rating. I did have things to criticize, mainly about the characters and the writing but also the soundtrack. But as I mentioned in my very short, small written introduction I have seen worse and I legitimately enjoyed this drama until episode 16 at least. Well, I enjoyed the majority until then. After that it did make a melodramatic turn that I personally didn't like that much but it's still okay and it was obvious that things needed to be resolved.
I don't know who I should recommend this to. As I also mentioned above it might depend on your expectations but many people dropped this drama, found it too slow-paced or simply poorly written. I checked some profiles on MyDramaList (sorry not sorry) and some of them seem to like dramas I loved as well while others who liked this drama didn't have much in common with me at all.
I'd say: If you want to watch this, keep your expectations low. Maybe that's the whole point, that after reading so many bad reviews my expectations were so low that I found this to be way better than I expected. And maybe that works for other people, too.