After a lackluster 2008 (well lackluster, mostly because very few dramas could actually grabbed my attention and kept it) 2009 seems really promising so far. The resurrection of cute, romantic comedy dramas, it looks like. Anyways, here are a few of those dramas up to May 2009 that I was/am following.
1. Boys Over Flowers: So we started 2009 with BOF, the korean adaptation of the hugely popular manga Hana Yori Dango. With 25 episodes and lots of eye candies, the drama became a total hit, coining awesome high ratings and made its actors stars overnight. Okay, so what was the drama like? Well, if you read the manga or watched one of the versions (Japanese, Taiwanese, etc) chances are you already know what it’s about anyway. BOF was in no way a well made drama, it had lots of flaws. Nonsensical storylines, acting that ranged from bad to slightly above mediocre, bland direction, overused music, etc. Looking back, it was a pretty bad drama over all. But to be honest, no matter how bad it was, the drama was super addictive. I used to download the raw videos, wait for the hardsub (when have you ever had subs done in mere hours after the drama airs?), read the recaps, and discussed the drama online. It had been a really long time (heck, never actually) since a drama was so addictive that I was willing to go through all of that AND still rewatched.
2. Queen of Housewives: After BOF ended, I picked up Queen of Housewives, starring Kim Namjoo, Oh Jiho, Lee Hyeyoung, etc. It started off with lukewarm ratings, but as soon as BOF finished, ratings shot up through the roof (it improved by about 7-8%!!). The drama is fun, lighthearted, cute, hilarious, and did I mention fun? The story is mostly about housewives and their husbands who work in one company and are involved in lots of office politics. I’m generalizing it, but it’s so much more than that. Each episode has its great moments which prompt you to want to watch the next one. The characters are quite well crafted and sometimes they earn your sympathy other times your pure hatred. At least for me, there isn’t one character exactly where I have not experienced both liking and hating for him/her. QoH finishes next week, yet right now there are SO many loose ends. I wonder how they will tie everything well enough for a good and satisfying ending. Let’s hope QoH will deliver.
3. Return of Iljimae: I am pretty late on this actually. This was broadcasted around the same time as BOF, but I was way too focused on BOF to fully take this seriously. Okay, let me just get this out. I LOVE LOVE RoI. The story is nicely paced, developments come at exactly the right moments. At first I thought this is a slow drama, but this is mostly because the ambience of the drama is a subdued. I liken this drama to a steady wave of water. It’s NOT boring or slow, but you need to appreciate the drama as a whole, for its acting, its music, its humour, its photography, everything. Jung Ilwoo and Yoon Jinseo have superb chemistry together. Their relationship is mature and more realistic that I expected a relationship from a period drama was like. Well as realistic as you can be with 2 lookalike love interests. What I’m trying to get across is this: watch this damn thing, it’s fantastic.
4. Brilliant Legacy: Lee Seungki!! Hehe, fangirl moment there. This drama is what I call back to basics. It’s full of traditional k-drama cliches (evil stepmother, rich to poor to rich again, opposites attract, prince charming, plotting second lady, etc) but it seems like BL prides itself in embracing these old formulas, cook them with recipes we all know by know, and come up with a dish. The dish, while not exactly Most Delish Dish Award material, tastes pretty good! To me, the fact that BL goes back to basic is one winning point of the drama. Another winning point is the chemistry between the actors. 6 episodes in, we still have few (too few to my liking) scenes of Lee Seungki and leading lady Han Hyojoo, but the few times they are on the same frame together are the highlights of the episodes.
5. Just Looking/That Fool/The Accidental Couple/Six Months/The Drama That Changes Its Name Like Vancouver Changes Its Weather: Not a very good drama. It’s got Hwang Jungmin and Kim Ahjoong in the front seats but the plot, the characterization, the storylines are pretty much a mess. To me, the worst aspect of the drama is the characters. Very few are actually likable, most of them are either pompous jackass or puny little worms who cannot stand up for themselves. The best thing about the drama? Hwang Jungmin and Lee Chungah (who acts as HJM’s lil sis), hands down. This week sees the end of episode 4, so another 12. I’m actually not sure if I will see this drama to the end.
6. City Hall: Still an experiment drama. I don’t like the writer of the drama (am regretting the time spent to sit through gangster crap in 20 episodes of Lovers solely for the chemistry between Kim Jungeun and Lee Seojin, who broke up, btw). This time, I’m watching for Cha Seungwon and Kim Sunah duo. The theme of CH isn’t as depressing as Lovers, so I’m hoping that the ride would not be too exhausting. I also believe that at least CH has better main actors than Lovers did. I really hate how ‘fake’ this drama often comes across as, the way the actors say their lines, their intonations, everything is really grating my nerve. Yes, even CSW and KSA are victim of this. I notice this ocurred in On Air too, I just don’t get why they have to adop this kind of line delivering, hmm? Like Just Looking, I might bail at the first sign of crappiness.
7. The Story of A Man/The Slingshot: Postponed. I watched the first episode and did like it (Park Siyeon and Park Kiwoong!!!), but the drama kind of requires some energy to watch, so I think I’m postponing this until my drama watching slots are less crowded.