Archive | November 2012

Currently Watching-Smile, Dong Hae! Episodes 1-19

  • So this is my first “daily drama” as it is evidently called.  The episodes are 35 minutes rather than an hour, but they aired Monday-Friday instead of only twice a week.  They also aired from August-May and there are a total of 159 episodes.  I have been wanting to watch this drama for a long time, but the 159 episodes intimidated me.  But when I took a closer look the other day and realized the episodes were only 35 minutes long, I thought “What the hay, that’s not so bad!”  And so I began my journey with Smile, Dong Hae.
  • I have worked with disabled children for three years and have never loved anything more in my whole life, and am therefore a sucker for a drama with a disabled person.  I am always interested to see how the writers and actors will depict a person with a disability, what their idea of how they feel and act is.  In this case, Dong Hae’s mother Anna is mildly intellectually disabled.  The actress is really pretty spot on and brings a lot of life to the character.  I love her innocence, purity, and devotion to her son.
  • It’s the supporting actors and side stories in this drama that are really great so far.  The two mothers that are constantly bickering  and competing are hysterical, Tae Hoon and Sae Young’s unconventional romance is delightful to watch, the bond Pil Jae has with his daughter is adorable, and the love of the two families (minus evil Sae Wa) is really heart warming. These are all really the appeal of the show.  Not that I don’t like Dong Hae, but his brooding is a little much at this point.  I’m kind of just like it’s time to move on dude, get over it, but I’m sure there will be more brooding moments in the future, but also some new romance with Bon Gi I’m hoping to balance it out.
  • In short, I am totally obsessed with this show right now.  If it continues to be this good, I won’t mind a bit that it’s 159 episodes!!

Panda and Hedgehog

I watched this drama on Hulu

Panda and Hedgehog was a light and fluffy, sugary treat, not unlike the cakes the show is centered around.  Though it is not going to make my top 10 list (which is in dire need of updating), it definitely had its strong points.

I was actually very surprised to find that hidden in the dime a dozen plot of a patisserie rising to stardom and dealing with the issues of his troubled past, was the beautiful gem of a love triangle not based around misunderstandings and evil plotting by second leads, but three old friends, who through Panda, are reunited again.

There are no dastardly plans contrived by the second male lead, and there really isn’t any other girl seriously vying for Hedgehog’s affection. So instead of spinning in dizzying circles created by the traditional kdrama love triangle, these three join forces and become an unstoppable example of the power of friendship.  Of course hilarity and adorableness ensue :D.

I really enjoyed how this show did not so much center around the romance, but the bonds between family and friends.  I have to say that Won Il’s (the second male lead) little sister Won Yi was one of the best characters I have seen in a long time.  Full of vibrant  life, and of course a tom boy, which we all know I love, so much so that she even calls her brother and close male friends “hyung” rather than the traditional term “oppah” that is usually used by women.  I also have to give a shout out to the fact that it brought back the old school kdrama contract, except this time it was technologically enhanced since Panda kept it on her smart phone 😛

Panda and Hedgehog was definitely full of flaws, being draggy in some parts, having an adorable but unfortunately robotic male lead, and having a really overused underdog challenges the chaebol plot (not to mention all the birth secrets LOL), however it had enough redeeming qualities that I feel it is definitely worth a watch.  I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars, a nice sweet treat after a sour melodrama!!

For a cast list and more information visit http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Panda_and_Hedgehog

Currently Watching Update-Missing You and Panda and Hedgehog

Panda and Hedgehog

  • Well I happened to have been watching what have to be two of the most depressing dramas in kdrama history, A Love to Kill and Missing You at the same time.  Understandably I needed a little more sweet and less sour to recover from A Love  to Kill. So I decided to watch Panda and Hedgehog because how could a kdrama be anything but happy with a name like that?   I am now on episode 11 and it is indeed as light hearted and cutsey as I expected.  It is a predictible, enjoyably slow stroll in the park, which is just the spoonful of sugar I needed to make the medicine go down.   It may not be winning any grandiose awards anytime soon, but it is a drama to smile at.

Missing You

  • While so many people cannot seem to stomach the sheer depression of this drama, I for one am still majorly on board, in fact I am entirely wrapped up in it and loving every tear jerking moment.  I will sum up how I feel about it in a comment I left on another blog-

“I actually really love this drama, given I am a huge YEH fan, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have given it a second look, but nonetheless I began watching it with serious apprehension because I normally run away immediately from melodramas. This one is different though, it has a very distinct feel from other melos. Rather than it being psychotic spoiled rich people blowing their ridiculously stupid problems out of proportion, it actually feels like gritty real life drama, which I am all about, even if it is twisted and difficult to watch sometimes. The feel of it reminds me of the movie “The Crucible” starring Gong Yoo, which actually was so tortured that it makes this show look like a box of fluffy kittens. But nonetheless I ate up the dark, gritty, indie feel of that movie just like I’m eating it up in this drama. But all that being said, I can definitely understand how this is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, I am very happy to see that Yoon Eun Hye is taking on a much heftier role that will maybe allow her to bring out some of that much loved depth of character and earnestness that we saw in Coffee Prince, though something tells me that we are not going to see the level of cuteness of Go Eun Chan…”

  • I was super excited to see YEH this week!!   I think she is doing a great job so far and I can’t wait to see more interaction between her and Yoochun.  Speaking of Yoochun, he is actually really surprising me, I think this is going to be the big role where he really taps into that inner actor.

A Love to Kill

I watched this drama on Hulu

I chose not to write this review right after I finished watching it last night because all I could think of was WTF… SERIOUSLY WTF!!!  I was really enjoying this drama despite the fact that the entire plot was centered around revenge based on misunderstandings and ridiculous overreactions by  seriously psychologically impaired characters.  For some reason it was just like one of those guilty pleasure dramas for me where I knew it was bad, but I liked it anyway and didn’t care.  Hell, even the music was way off the deep end with its dramatizations.  And Shin Min Ah, let’s just say that as much as I love her, she’s come a long way with her acting abilities since ALTK.  Rain on the other hand was impressive as always, even having the nastiest snotting fits ever during his sob scenes (really, it was SO GROSS!!  But touching nonetheless…)

Even despite all of this I found myself totally sucked in and overlooking its many many faults and just enjoying the very tumultuous ride.  I think maybe it was just Rain’s whole bad boy aura that captivated me, I mean he was really working it to his advantage. But whatever it was that kept me coming, I was totally entertained.  That is until the last few episodes, during which I found myself hurling pillows at the TV and screaming the word idiot and its many synonyms at the leads.  The last episode may possibly be my least favorite ending ever.  I don’t care how dramatic and artistic they were trying to make it, I HATED it.  It was like a snowball with a big hidden chunk of ice in it.  You think you’re having a good time and then WHAM, you have big fat black eye.  Anyway, my point is that most of this drama is fun to watch despite the hairbrained stupidity, however if you watch it, brace yourself for a frustrating and severely depressing end.

For a cast list and more information visit http://wiki.d-addicts.com/A_Love_to_Kill

Faith Vs. Arang and the Magistrate-A War of the Big Fall 2012 Sageuks

Faith

Synopsis-A captain of the king’s guard in the Goryeo era is sent to bring back “God’s Doctor” from “heaven,” however Heaven’s Door turns out to be the future and he brings back a plastic surgeon from Seoul, 2012.  The story is mainly about Goryeo’s fight against Yuan and the captain’s relationship with the king, queen, and “God’s Doctor.”

Ratings out of 10 (0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest):

Plot-4

Setting/Costumes-10

Music-7

Romance-10

Hottie factor-8

Likability-6

Cinematography-6

Fight scenes-5

Overall Rating-7

For more information and a cast list visit http://asianwiki.com/Faith_(Korean_Drama)

Arang and the Magistrate

Synopsis-A man who can see ghosts crosses paths with a dead woman who is trying to remember how and why she died.  The man is searching for his missing mother and they look for answers together.

Ratings out of 10 (0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest):

Plot-9

Setting/Costumes-8

Music-6

Romance-7

Hottie factor-7

Likability-10

Cinematography-10

Fight scenes-10

Overall Rating-8

For more information and a cast list visit http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Arang_and_the_Magistrate

Thoughts:

I saw Arang first, and my breath was really taken away by the beautiful scenery and cinematography.  It also had a really attention grabbing plot and movie level fight scenes.  However, I felt like there could have been a little more substance to the relationship between Arang and the Magistrate, he really gave his all on his end, but I never really felt the depths of Arang’s undying love despite whatever shananegin’s she pulled to protect him.  Maybe it was the acting, maybe it was a lack of character development by the writers, maybe a little of both, but she just didn’t quite have the “it” factor on her end of the relationship.

On the other hand you’ve got Faith that had certainly an amazing set and some of the most beautiful costumes I’ve ever seen, but was definitely lacking in the plot department.  There were many wasted opportunities and let downs along the way.  However, the relationship between the leads was a truly beautiful romance.  The kind that just makes you sigh with happiness because you’re just so wrapped in the emotional ooze.

So really it just depends on what you’re looking for.  I personally preferred Arang a little more because it was just so spectacularly beautiful to look at and very different from other sageuks that I’ve seen.  Either way you go you’ll get something worth while out of it, so it’s up to you!!

Currently Watching-Faith and Missing You (Mostly Spoiler Free)

Faith

  • I will admit I was not a huge fan of this show for the first few episodes.  I felt like the story was not well pieced together and I wasn’t overly fond of the female lead’s high strung personality.  But as time has gone on, the show has gotten a lot more interesting to me, mainly because I’ve become invested in the OTP.  There is just something really sexy about an aloof and emotionless soldier suddenly falling hard for a girl and even being willing to forsake his duties towards the king for her.  As far as the rest of the story goes, I still don’t care too much for it.  I feel like they really wasted an opportunity to do something truly awesome with the super powered villains and heroes, but chose to only display them every now and again in little short lived tussles.  Also, is it just tradition that the kings in saeguks all have to be ridiculous idiots?  They must not be fond of the kings in their history to continually portray them like this over and over again.  Ah well, every drama has its flaws, but Lee Min Ho definitely made the show worth finishing for me.  Nobody pulls off the sexy aloofness like he does lol.  5 more episodes to go!!

Missing You

  • I went into watching this show with a lot of apprehension.  Yoon Eun Hye in Coffee Prince is the reason I started watching kdrama in the first place.  I fell completely in love with the show, but especially with her portrayal of Go Eun Chan.  After CP, I watched every single drama and movie I could find that had YEH in it.  She just really has something charismatic about her that draws you in and makes her fun to watch.  However, I feel that her last two dramas were not the most well scripted and kind of put a damper on her ability to shine like she did in CP.  I have been holding out hope that she would be choosier in her next project and really pick something that was going to rock my socks off.  When I first read the description for this drama I was like “Oh God not one of THOSE dramas…” but I have been pleasantly surprised to find that it’s really totally the opposite from what I thought.  So far the child actors are incredible, it is well scripted and emotionally charged, but in a way that is compelling rather than making you want to rip your hair out, and the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, on par with Arang and the Magistrate which it replaced. I am still a little apprehensive about Yoochun, but maybe this will be the script to make him break out of his usual robotic performance.  We still have yet to see YEH and Yoochun, but I suspect we will next week and I think with this script she’s really going to shine, I just hope that Yoochun can shine along with her.  Come on Yoochun, don’t let the child actor show you up!!!

Missing You-Without Subtitles

So I was so anxious to see the first episode of Yoon Eun Hye’s new drama “Missing You” that I just finished watching it without subtitles.  Of course I plan on rewatching it with subtitles hopefully tomorrow because I’m sure I will be able to find it somewhere by then.  Anyway, I was still able to piece together what was going on and double checked that I understood correctly by reading a recap afterwards.  My initial thoughts are that this drama is so much better than I expected it to be.  I was thinking Spring Waltz, but this is much higher qulaity in every way than Spring Waltz was, and much more mature.  Watching it without having to read the subtitles really allowed me to pay attention to the finer details and I have to say the child actors kick butt and the camera work is superb.  I am so sucked in already.  I really hope that this drama can keep up the momentum instead of starting off with a bang and then fizzling out like so many dramas do.  We didn’t get to see YEH in this episode except for a glimpse in the opening, but I believe she makes her first appearance in episode 2.  I do have one question to ask, what’s up with yellow umbrellas in kdramas?  Is there some kind of cultural significance to the umbrella being yellow?  It just seems like the most popular umbrella color ever…