Wednesday, February 25, 2015

First Impression: Heard It Through the Grapevine

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Genre: Melodrama, Black Comedy
Episodes: 32
Broadcast Network: SBS
Air Time: Monday/Tuesday

Main Cast:
Yoo Ho Jung as Choi Yun Hee
Lee Joon as Han In Sang
Go Ah Sung as Seo Bom
Yoo Joon Sang as Han Jung Ho

Choi Yun Hee and Han Jung Go are a wealthy couple from a prestigious family. Their reputation suddenly turned upside down because of their son's relationship with an ordinary girl. The girl, Seo Bom, determined to endure the humiliation and isolation from the family for the sake of her child's future while the son, Han In San, struggles between his love for Seo Bom and his family's high expectation.

I honestly don't know how I feel about this drama after the first two episodes. There is apart of me that really likes that drama because I love black comedy and some of the comedy in the show is really great and it tends to run pretty dark. But then I am not the biggest fan of melodrama and if I have to listen to In Sang sniffle for 32 episodes I may lose it. I really want to love this drama because I think it is tackling a really interesting subject that can create a lot of great moments. But what I'm worrying about the most is the acting. The two parents I think are great, their characters are absolutely crazy and sadistic. They are totally unbelievable as parents because I can't really imagine parents treating their kids that way. I honestly thought In Sang's father was going to beat him with his stupid sword, I also thought he was going to go murder this girl and her baby. That is the type of vibe these two give off and I think it leaves their characters with a lot of potential to get super crazy. In Sang has not grown up in a healthy environment and it seems that his parents are emotionally abusive and manipulate their children to be exactly what they want them to be.

Our two star crossed lovers are a little harder for me to get on board with. Seo Bom is fine, she is a young girl who has gotten pregnant and thinks that the guy abandoned her. But she never told In Sang about the baby and never made any real effort to see him. I like that the character didn't play the victim card and she was determined to have this baby despite a man, which is something that isn't as accepted in South Korea. In the first two episodes she comes off as a strong female character who is going to stand on her own which is really great to see. She wants what is best for her child and she is going to succeed no matter what. I also love her family! While her family is still embarrassed about the situation Seo Bom has gotten herself into, they are there for her, especially her mother. It is great to see a loving family and that was done on purpose to show the contrast between the couples home life. I just wish that Seo Bom wasn't in love with In Sang, she is such a strong character and then In Sang is this sniveling weakling and it stresses me out that she is with him.

In Sang is probably my least favorite part of this drama. He is so annoying and is presented as an extremely weak kid. I think that his character has a lot of potential to grow and become the man and father that Seo Bom deserves to have. But I don't want to go through 32 episodes of him siding with his parents but still holding on to Seo Bom and then the last episode all the sudden have a back bone. I think that my biggest problem is the sniffing. I can't stand it! It has only been two episodes and I want to throw something at him to stop sniffing, it is honestly driving me crazy. Which is a dumb thing to hate but it is so distracting and annoying.

While I think this drama has a lot of potential, it also has a big chance of being a stressful mess as well. I will be sticking with this drama for the time being because I am curious to see where some of the characters go and how they will grow. But if it turns into a melodramatic mess of family drama I am definitely out. I am already not the biggest fan of family dramas so I was on the edge of whether I would even start watching the drama or not. The plot and comedy is what drew me in and I am hoping that the show will build upon that and make a great drama.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Series Review: Healer

This drama will be remembered for some time to come. It is one that has touched a lot of people and it created an online community that I had the pleasure to be apart of. It was something I had never seen before, there were literally hundreds of comments on the show everyone creating a conversation about what they were seeing. It was really incredible and I loved to get into conversations with other people who loved this drama just as much as I did. What is also fascinating that once you start talking to other people watching these dramas and you find that you have a lot in common with these people. It is really fun and you get to meet people from all over the world who are just as oppressed with KDramas as you are. I think the online experience really enhanced the overall experience of the show. 

This song is now one that I am constantly listening to because of this drama. I LOVE this ost!

If you couldn't already tell I really enjoyed this drama. It was one of the most enjoyable dramas I have watched recently and it kept me interested through every episode. I never got bored or thought the story was dragging which with 20 episodes is pretty impressive. It also never fell into typical KDrama troupes, it made the drama feel new and fresh with a plot I couldn't really predict. I can't believe that when this show originally aired I was planning on passing it up, luckily I read a few reviews of the drama and decided to give it a try and thank bloody goodness. Even though this drama may not be technically perfect it was a perfect viewing experience. 

My favorite part of this drama was the characters and their growth throughout the drama. Jung Hoo was a fascinating character to watch because he goes from a reclusive person who only wants to be alone to wanting to live a normal life with the people he loves. He has had a difficult life that had taught him to not trust anyone around him because everyone he had ever known had left him. That is until he meets one person who refuses to leave his side. One of my favorite parts of the drama is when Young Shin meets Jung Hoo at his home to help him get through the grief of losing his teacher. Jung Hoo knows that he is dangerous and he doesn't want the one he cares about most to get hurt so he pushes her away. When she begs him to not make her leave it dawns on him that she is staying and he is making her leave. It is a beautiful scene that shows his character letting down his guard and really let Young Shin into his world. 

Young Shin is another character that is great to watch as well. She is a female lead who is never weak, I am fully convinced that she can do absolutely anything. She is a girl who has gone through absolute hell to get to where she is now. She has experienced the worst kind of pain and yet she lives her life trying to smile. Her relationship with her father is beautiful and you can see how she was able to heal when she is around him. She is the one who pulls Jung Hoo out of the dark and shows him that the world is worth trusting. She is a strong character who was never annoying. 

The relationship between our two leads is another refreshing part about the drama. There is no unnecessary angst between these two. Once they develop feelings for each other they hold fast to each other and they work through all the problems they come across. No unnecessary misunderstanding that tear the two apart for five episodes. If something comes up that makes them questions each other they simply ask about it and resolve it right away. It was GREAT! They are there for each other until the end and it is great to see their relationship grow. 

The villain in the drama turns out to come from two different people the Elder and Moon Sik. I like how the drama doesn't fully show the villains demise. After the airport scene we know that the Elder had been taken down but we don't have to see every single detail which gave us more time for closing the main characters. And Moon Sik's ending I thought was really fitting, he was so tortured about what he had done that those ghosts haunt him and will haunt him until he dies. I think one of the biggest consequences for him was losing the one thing he wanted which was Myung Hee. He was left with nothing when she left him. 

This drama was truly great. It was one that brought the KDrama community together and I know that the drama didn't perform great in Korea but online it was huge. The show cased brilliant acting that had me crying my eyes out (Jung Hoo's reaction to Teacher's death) and then had me laughing. The story was great and I really feel that it was executed really well. Sure it wasn't perfect but does that really matter? It was a perfect watching experience and that is why we watch these dramas because they are enjoyable to watch and they bring together people from all over the world. I would suggest this drama to any first time drama watchers and to someone who needs something refreshing. 

This is how we all felt when Healer ended....

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Series Review: Dr. Frost

This was a really interesting drama. It was one that had some really great elements but it definitely wasn't perfect. The show follows Baek Nam Bong or Dr. Frost as he likes to be called. He is a psychology professor who moonlights as a bartender. He was in a car accident when he was young that killed both his parents and caused a major injury in Nam Bong's head causing him to loose his ability to feel emotions. The car accident also caused Nam Bong's hair to turn white which is where his new name came from. Frost begins working as a counselor at a college and works in the counseling center with Yoon Sung Ah, who is a psychology student. 

The show mainly follows a case a week kind of format. Each episode starts with some crime being committed, usually murder, and then the police turning to Frost to help solve the mystery. For the first half of the show there really isn't an overarching mystery and even when the overarching story is revealed it isn't really the main focus until the last two episodes. I never got bored of the format and each case was really interesting to watch and I loved seeing the psychology behind the story lines. 

For me, this show wasn't anything remarkable. It was entertaining enough to keep me watching but it wasn't a show that I waited anxiously to watch each week. The show actually reminded me a lot of Sherlock the two main characters from each show are very similar, they are both emotionless psychologists who help the police solve the cases they can't solve on their own. Dr. Frost even used some of the background music that is used in Sherlock. When comparing the two shows Sherlock is heads and bounds above this how, it's just more entertaining. I think this show struggles with it's supporting cast, especially the lead female. I just found her character annoying, but she had her good moments. 

I think this show has a good concept but it wasn't executed as well as it could have been. The concept was enough to keep me watching all the way through but it isn't memorable. The characters remain the same throughout the entire 10 episodes and we don't get to see anything new by the end of the last episode. This isn't a drama that I would necessarily recommend to just anyone, I think you have to be looking for a show that is specifically like this. If you are a fan of Sherlock you won't be able to ignore the blatant similarity between the two shows. So it isn't a bad drama but it definitely isn't perfect and if you go into the show knowing that you should enjoy what you see. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

First Impressions: Maids

Genre: Historical, Romance, Action, Thriller
Episodes: 20
Broadcast Network: jTBC
Air Time: Friday/Saturday

Main Cast:
Jung Yoo Mi as Gook In Yub
Oh Ji Ho as Moo Myung/Lee Bi
Kim Dong Wook as Kim Eun Gi
Lee Shi Ah as Heo Yoon Ok

In Yub is a beautiful noblewoman who becomes a servant overnight when her father is framed and labeled a traitor. She ends up falling in love with a fellow servant, Moo Myung who is the most attractive servant and skilled warrior in Hanyang. He is also a mysterious man who hides his real identity and pretends to be a servant. Meanwhile, Eun Gi is a man who has everything from intelligence to looks. He is the chosen groom for In Yub and will form a rivalry with Moo Myung. 

This drama is one that has had to go through a tragedy before it could really get started. The week the show premiered there was a fire on the set that ended up causing a lot of damage. The most tragic part is that a staff member was killed in the fire. They had only aired 1 episode and had to pull the rest. I honestly thought the show might be pulled permanently because the fire had destroyed a lot of the set and the tragedy behind it. But luckily jTBC decided to rebuild the set and go on with the production. I am so glad that they decided to do this because this drama has been amazing so far. I have said before that I am not the biggest fan of Historical dramas but I am glad to say that this show has kept me fulling engaged in the first four episodes. The first few episodes really reminded me of how I felt while I was watching The Princess' Man, which is definitely the best historical drama I have watched. 

In the first episode we are introduced to In Yub who is presented as a girl who has been used to a life in the upper class with people there to serve her in every facet of life. But she isn't necessarily cruel or purposefully mean to her servants, in fact she has a very good relationship with her ladies maid. Her father has been away for a very long time she her mother died when she was young so she is all alone to take care of her families estate. People have already written her father off as dead and because of this they begin to look down on her. What I really like about this character is that she isn't one dimensional. She is nice and is good-natured but she is also spoiled and used to getting her way. She has been put into an extremely difficult position where she has to be the authority but she is still a young girl who is worried about her father. I think her character is really great and when we get past the first episode we get to see more sides of her character that are really interesting. She has the potential to be a very strong female character who is able to get past her circumstances and fight for herself. 

I am also very attracted to our lead male! He is about as masculine as you can get and I would definitely want him to be my head servant. I am looking forward to unraveling his character and seeing what his secrets and motivations are. Because I feel like he has done some terrible things and he is extremely tough on In Yub when she first becomes a servant. He is the person who is going to make In Yub survive and not because he saves her but because he makes her save herself. I can't wait to the relationship between our two leads grow because they have great chemistry even though the two characters don't particularly care for each other right now. Their relationship is going to be epic and I expect nothing else. 
As of now none of the villains have really stood out to me. Their are the generic evil political plotters who wrongly accuse people of treason. Then there is the evil rich girl who treats everyone like dirt and is generally a horrible person. 

I am very impressed with this drama so far. All elements of the drama have come together really nicely. The production has come back from their tragic beginning and is delivery a great drama. It is one of my favorite dramas I am watching right now. I look forward to seeing where the drama goes and to see the character development our leads go through because they are starting out very interesting and I hope that they continue to be just as interesting. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My Favorite K-Pop Songs

I have recently started to listen to more K-Pop. When you start watching dramas you become curious of the music that lives in the background. But these songs are also a huge part of the feel of the drama and sometimes it can give a drama the extra umph it needs to be great or can ruin everything. I started to listen to these OSTs and then that grew to the whole world of K-Pop. So here is a list of 10 songs that I love listening to!

10. Ailee - Don't Touch Me (손대지마)

This song is just fun and I love the beat. Ailee is one of my favorite Korean singers, she is brilliant and her voice is amazing!

9. B1A4 - SOLO DAY

This is another fun and upbeat song. It is the perfect track for summer when all you want to do is drive with the windows down and take in the sun.

8. Crayon Pop - Uh-ee (어이)

I love Crayon Pop their music is everything you expect K-Pop to be. It's upbeat and fun and confusing it's great. Their cheering in the background is hilarious. 

7. TVXQ - Something 

I love the dance break in the middle of the song. It's jazzy and the big band feel is fabulous.

6. Jang Jae In - Auditory Hallucination (환청)

This is the OST for Kill Me, Heal Me and it is one of my favorite OSTs ever. I love this song and have been listening to it on repeat for the past two weeks. I am not the biggest rap fan but this song is great. 

5. Mad Clown - Fire ()

This song is another rap song that I have fallen in love with. I actually have fallen in love with Mad Clown in general. 

4. IU - Sogyeokdong (소격동)

This song is so different and interesting. What I found most interesting was the music video because I didn't understand the history it was presenting. So naturally I had to find out what the song was trying to say and it actually goes into a fascinating part of South Korea's history. It taught me something while being a great song at the same time. 

3. Ailee - Scent of a Woman (여인의 향기)

I love this song so much. It is a song a will listen to everyday. It's upbeat and jazzy and great. Again Ailee is one of my favorite singers. 

2. Akdong Musician (AKMU) - 200%

I love this brother/sister duo. This song is quirky and fun and what I like most is that it's different from what people usually define as K-Pop. 

1. Akdong Muscian (AKMU) - Time and Fallen Leaves (시간과 낙엽)

AKMU is my favorite band right now. Their music is the type of American music that I like to listen to. This song is an absolutely beautiful song that really move me and I love just listening to the lyrics. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

First Impressions: Shine or Go Crazy

Shine or Go Go Crazy
Genre: Historical, Romance, Fantasy,  
Episodes: 24
Broadcast Network: MBC
Air time: Monday and Tuesday

Main Cast:
Jang Hyuk as Wang So
Oh Yeon Seo as Shin Yool
Lee Ha Nui as Hwang Bo Yeo Won
Im Ju Hwan as Wang Wook
Lee Duk Hwa as Wang Sik Ryum

When prophecy foretells Crown Prince Wang So will run the nation into a river of blood, he is banished from the palace. Years later, Princess Shin Yool of Balhae faced execution when she's pophesized to become the "light of another nation." After narrowly escaping death, Shin Yool stumbles upon Wang So and together they fall for one another in a whirlwind marriage, but as both of their families continue to hunt the star crossed lovers, how long can they escape their destinies. 

After the first four episodes of this drama I am still not sure how I feel about this drama. I am honestly not the biggest fan of historical dramas so when starting one I am hesitant. The thing that I am finding frustrating about this drama so far is that Jang Hyuk's character seems exactly the same to his character from Fated to Love You. He uses the same voice and laugh and I don't know if that is just how he laughs but it seems very character. I think I expected this drama to lean more on the drama side of things but so far it has been very lighthearted and more of a comedy. I think this is just a slow moving drama that is going to take a little while to really get the plot moving because so far the plot hasn't caught my attention. The reason why I don't like a lot of historical dramas is because they take a lot of time hashing out all the political stuff that is, in all honestly, pretty boring. I am hoping that this drama spends less time explaining the politics and more time on the plot. 

The acting so far has been pretty good and I think the chemistry between the two leads was pretty well established. I am not fully convinced of their love but that may be because they haven't had a lot of time together. One frustrating plot point coming the episode 3 and 4. Our lead female decides to disguise herself as a man, in true historical drama plot trope, and she finds our male lead. 1. she doesn't look anything like a boy and no one would be fooled by her. 2. I don't think she has a right to get mad at this guy she met 5 years ago and she didn't even showed him her face. Of course he wouldn't recognize her. 

I am going to stick with this show a little longer but right now I am not fully convinced that this show is worth watching. I want the plot to get moving and I really want to see some relationship growth between our two leads. This drama has been advertised as star crossed lovers story and I really want to see really passionate love. A historical drama that took the forbidden love concept and did it exceptionally well was The Princess' Man. Which is a historical drama that I absolutely love. Overall I am not fully invested in this show but I will hold out a bit longer to see how everything is hashed out.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Series Review: Pinocchio

I really loved this drama. It was one that kept my attention through every episode. Whenever I was watching this show it didn't feel like an hour long episode. This show is just entertaining. I am currently in the process of watching the drama from the same people I Hear Your Voice which just so happens to star Lee Jong Suk who is also the lead in this drama. I am only a few episodes into that one but I am enjoying it so far so I can't wait to see how it compares to this drama.

I think the part of this drama that I enjoyed the most is the family dynamic it presents. The relationship between Dal Po and his adoptive family is so real and loving. His Grandpa loved him so much and that was seen from the very first episode to the end of the finale. He wasn't willing to let Dal Po just run away from his family, he remained there by his side through everything. I think it was this love that made the ending so great. I saw Grandpa's side when Dal Po and In Ha told him they were in love with each other and how he just couldn't accept that. He loved his family and that would mean giving up Dal Po as his son. But in the end he saw how much they needed each other and that even though he wouldn't legally be his son he would still be apart of his family. I think that family was the running theme throughout the whole drama. Every conflict was caused between family members and Dal Po's driving force is wanting to get revenge for the family he lost.

Other than the great family the show has the chemistry between the two leads is absolutely amazing. I think they are one of my favorite couples just because they seemed so natural together. Just from little looks they give each other you can see the love these two people have for each other. It was great to see their relationship grow from the awkward uncle/niece to an adult couple who truly loves each other. If there was ever a celebrity couple that I wanted to happen this would be it. Their chemistry makes this how worth watching.

This show was addicting to watch especially during its first half. I think after Hyung's story line finished the show started to slow down and drag out a little bit. But it was so exciting to watch Dal Po's journey to finding his brother and to see how they had been affected so different from their tragic past. Hyung's story is so heartbreaking because he comes from such a sad place thinking he is all alone in the world and then turns to revenge. His story is truly tragic because you really like this character but in the back of your mind you know he is a murderer and two wrongs don't make a right. But damn it when he cries, we all cry.

The show definitely started to drag towards the end. I wish the evil mothers story line wasn't my favorite and when all is said and done I wish Hyung's story line was longer and this one shorter. Also the show started to slow down when Dal Po pulled the noble idiot and broke up with his family and In Ha. I understand why it happened but that doesn't mean I liked it. There were some side stories that were definitely underdeveloped that had a lot of potential if they were given more time. One of those is the relationship between Cap and Yoo Rae.

Overall this drama was great. It was entertaining and heartwarming even though it isn't perfect. It made me laugh out loud and cry which is what good dramas do. I definitely recommend to everyone.

PS - This is what Lee Jung Suk looks like at the beginning of the drama which is just golden.