2011 prove to be quite an awesome year. It started out slow, but spring and summer gave us a whole bunch of great offering. I’m just summarizing what I recently watched and what I’m currently watching.
Romance Town ended quite a while ago, but I just wanted to get a final comment on it. As with so many dramas, it started as a quiet gem. It was different, quirky, and it promised something more unique than its romcom friends. It’s got a wide array of characters as well, played by great supporting actors, so I had a lot of hope that it would be a drama I can recommend to people. But as it neared its end, it started losing its stream. Things went awry, too much emphasis was being made on the lottery chase, I got bored and ended up dropping it.
Spy Myeongwol. Ahhh, I was so excited for this. I mean, it’s ERIIIIICC! But how come he has so little talent for picking up projects? After a wacky first couple of weeks, it became clear that story is going nowhere. Everybody just walks in circles, revisiting the same old plot point, sugar coated with new icing. If anything, I hate it when dramas treat me like an idiot, believing I’ll stick if they just recycle stuff. The thing is, I’m fine with recycled premises, but it pisses me off that dramas think they can just do that without breathing a new life to it.
Scent of a Woman. You know, I love the drama. I think it’s one of the good ones. But a few episodes near the end got really depressing for no reason. I mean I know what I got myself into, a drama about a woman with cancer IS bound to be energy draining, but I wanted to see more about the woman herself going through this tough time and less about the stupid interference of other people. Also, while I dig the chemistry between Kim Sunah and Lee Dongwook, I do wish that it didn’t spend so much time on romance. I want Yeonjae to dig deep within herself and reconnect with the people around her, like her best friend, her mom, her hospital dongsaeng friend, her elementary school friend/doctor Eunsook, and even her enemey Sekyung. That’s what the drama seemed to promise on the outset. But because the OTP chemistry was so good, the other elements of Yeonjae’s sickness became such an afterthought.
Warrior Baek Dongsoo wasn’t exactly on my to watch list at first. I saw the trailer and thought it was tacky, but after watching the dramas, I was HOOKED!! I was hooked on the birth secrets, the power play within the palace, the tiny speck of romantic aspects, the bromance between Dongsoo and Yeowoon, but more than that, it was a gorgeous drama with great acting. And then came the point where Romeo must grow up, mismatch romance becomes more prevalent, and the fun was officially zapped. The playful, cocky Dongsoo became flat, supposedly from maturing, which I don’t buy. Then his lady love veered toward Jiseon who might be the world’s biggest bore. This girl is dull, vapid, and awfully acted. I don’t even know anymore, I’ll probably skip to the last episode or something..
I resent Protect The Boss the most. Why? PTB started out with the biggest bang. It is perhaps the funniest, well written, well acted romcom I’ve seen in recent times, if not ever. The drama makes a spin of EVERY single one of its character. Nobody is taken seriously, they’ve got their moments of dork. Make no mistake, some characters are out for each other’s crown, but they make it so that no character is one dimensional. They make fun of every cliche in the book. For example, cousins who are both up to inherit a big holding company are at odds with each other. Yes, but they’re also wrestling in public like kids in the playground. Worse, their respective mom and dad do exactly the same.
Relationships are not defined by motive, it’s what PTB was trying to say. President knows that his Director, also sister in law, plots against him. But they TOO fight like who gets to have the last slice of cake. Also, best second female lead EVAR. I’ve seen a few of Wang Jihye’s drama and I’ve never liked her. She becomes my favourite second lead in this drama. See, PTB was all sorts of awesome. Which is why when the downfall came, it broke my heart because I believed in it so much. It’s the same with Scent of a Woman. I swore by these two, and it took a while to accept that these dramas were going to shit. I’m watching PTB’s ending as we speak. It certainly has more spunk than its previous episode, but you know, milk’s gone sour.
There are three weekend drama, of the family fare, that I’m currently watching right now. I’ll list them in from least favourite to most.
Hooray For Love has Lee Taesung and Lee Boyoung who in my opinion, play a pretty realistic relationship. She’s conned by her hubby and he’s her divorce lawyer. He’s stuck by her through and somewhere along the line, started to realize that he’s got feelings for her. They’ve got great chemistry, which I think is a bit underutilized actually. They’ve got their shares of obligatory k-drama romance banter, but they treat their newfound feelings with logic and realism. This is what I love about long weekend dramas. It takes a while getting there, but they thread the water so differently than the miniseries. I’m not saying it’s better, but it’s a nice change of pace from the regular 16 episode dramas. Why I put this in my least favourite? Because Lee Taesung/Lee Boyoung is literally the only reason I’m watching it. Bae Jong-ok/Chun Hojin’s storyline have gone south, and the other characters don’t grab me as much as the main pairings, so there you go.
A Thousand Kisses has similar premise with HFL. A woman freshly out of divorce finding new love. But it’s also so different. There’s a general sense of sweetness enveloping this entire drama. Both the OTPs are sweet and cute to each other. There are more moments of silence, it’s just a more laidback drama. Nice people being nice. Even the cinematography and camera handling choose to reflect that. You’d think it would have a slower pace, but no, I actually feel it’s a bit too fast that I’m wondering how they’re going to tell the story for oh, 40 more episodes?? I’m a bit wary about that. But OTPs Ji Hyunwoo/Seo Yeonghee and Ryujin/Kim Soeun continue to be SO winning that I don’t care about anything else.
More than anything, Ojakyo Brothers is my current favourite drama. Yep, have you even HEARD of it? In Korea, it’s a high rated weekend drama, but around the international fanbase, it’s pretty much known as “that UEE’s drama with that Baker King guy”. Not a lot of international fans seem to be watching (and/or spazzing about) OB, which is a shame because a)it’s got GREAT ensemble cast, b)real big family element similar to Sons of Sol Pharmacy and c)UEE is actually awesome!
This kind of drama works well because of the vast cast. Each brother has their own story and background goldmine to be dug. And if they can keep those stories at least intact, 50 episodes won’t be such a big problem as I would see with HFL or ATK. Also, I’m a sucker for big family dynamic, especially single gendered siblings, all girls or all guys (too bad Korea doesn’t make a lot of all girls family, boo) because all hell breaks loose with them. Also, can I gush about UEE?? OMG, I love her character so much! She’s gutsy, she’s spunky, and she’s such a strong girl. The thing is, UEE’s playing her with a lot of gusto. UEE (and Wang Jihye) is becoming my second Kim Taehee this year. I love discovering that an actor can literally flip your opinion about them in one single stroke.
Dramas and series have taken over my life now. September saw so many premieres of American series too. On top of my usual Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother, I’m kinda hooked on Pan Am and A Gifted Man. I think I’m gonna cry if these new shows don’t make it into season 2. I mean, Jennifer Ehle, my forever Elizabeth Bennet, owner of the most disarming smile ever with Patrick Wilson?? Also, an all girls ensemble cast set in the 60s and less depressing than Mad Men?? WE NEED THESE SHOWS AROUND!! I’m also looking forward to Apartment 23 because, hello, James van der Beek must come back. Dustin Hoffman is also coming to HBO, and I’m the biggest Hoffman fangirl around. Last, but not least, that Jason Isaac’s new show Awake looks phenomenal.