Viewing Update – Summer 2020

I’ve completed a few new (to me) Korean Dramas that are worth reviewing, for a myriad of reasons, some good and some bad – but I am backlogged right now, due to the pandemic and attempting to get materials ready for students and being overwhelmed with new software.

But still… I thought I would drop a hint! Coming Eventually (maybe not soon, but as soon as I can)… drumroll please…

Dear My Friends – rating 9/10

Arthdal Chronicles – rating… uhm… 7 or 9… depending on my mood.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay – rating 8/10

Mr. Sunshine – rating 7.5/10

Crashing Landing Into You – rating 7.5/10

Kingdom – rating 7.5/10 (just watch Train to Busan)

The King: Eternal Monarch – rating 7/10

Memories of the Alhambra – rating 4/10 (I actually watched this a while ago and it left zero impression on me)

Mystic Pop Up Bar – rating 2/10 (I just turned it off… it’s muck)

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “Viewing Update – Summer 2020

  1. Dear Lady Divine,

    Just finished “When the Weather is Nice” (aka I’ll Go When the Weather is Nice)

    OH I hope you will put it on your view list .. I wonder if you’ll dig ;-p

    Below am copy pasting my feedback on the show – which I shared elsewhere also 🙂

    NO SPOILERS .. so you can read safely

    ******************************************************************************************************************

    (These days I’ve taken to testing Episode 1 – 2 for hook-ability .. so I am pickier with where I invest my time)

    I LOVED every inch, nook and cranny of this show ..

    Slice of life .. realistic acting .. strong well woven side threads of the main story line ..

    no constant, compulsive labelling and explaining of motivations which removes the between spaces for viewer’s to fill in with their interpretation ..

    No “whining-cringeworthy, doe-eyed, weepy Pity me” overacting actress performance .. no wrist grabbing .. I’ll be macho man and take care of you, stay by your side pronouncements from lead actor ..

    Poetry poetry .. story story .. fables .. folktales .. forests of the Grimm Brothers .. journals .. authors, books ..

    delightful side characters who successfully capture our attention and emotional investments ..

    complex, dark, inscrutable women who damage themselves and the people around them .. Do I need the script / director to label them with explicit explanations?? NOPE!!

    damaged, dark, wild, outsider men .. complex in their twisted world view yet tinged with unexpected ‘giving-ness’ .. do I need explicit explanations in the script to hammer it in .. no .. we’ve seen real people in real life who fit these character types to infer our own logic or motivations for it ..

    The Drama is RICH .. because unlike the Studio Line produced Kdramas .. this show foregoes the easy explanations .. instead sketches in the shadows for dimension building ..

    This Drama had a very ‘inde’ feel to it (independent cinema) .. more like a 16 hour long film .. than a drama – this could very well have passed off as an “EDrama” ;-p European Drama ;-D

    At first I had baulked at the “slow burn” label and wondered if it would KILL me with boredom ..BUT in Episode 1 itself the show tendrils started to twine itself around me, my heart and mind .. putting me into a gentle binge-watch slouching in sofa fixation ..

    I kept wondering how such a gentle pace, haunting OST, silent yet aware soundtrack was making my heart race .. my stomach churn .. my anxiety rise .. my chest heave and my eyes prick and my throat choke ..

    A rare gem of a show in the top of my list of favourites from my 3 month old life as a Kdrama Fan. Am roughly 34 dramas into KDrama Land
    ;-p
    which include a spectrum from Healer – Empress Ki – CLOY – SITR – OSN – Master’s Sun etcetera etc.

    It ranks right up there with

    – Empress Ki
    – Healer
    – What Happened in Bali
    – OSN
    – School 13
    – Backstreet Rookie

    Last but not the least ..

    I watched this show because I was blown away by Seo Kang Joon’s second lead act as Baek In Ho in Cheese in my Trap – I felt aah here is an actor I need to explore and follow .. So I looked up his shows and chose this one because it’s the most recent and Viki had a 9.3 audience rating from almost 18000 viewers ..

    He SHINES!!! His show career as main lead is taking off .. I think if he continues to pick good scripts and talented directors (or vice versa) we can expect him to join the BIG league actors on the Korean Drama stage.

    He has as stunning and unique a face and physicality as Ji Chang Wook / Kim Woo Bin.

    The last time a second lead leapt off a Kdrama to nudge out its own memorable spot – was Kim Woo Bin in Heirs / School 13 and Chen Xiang in Whirlwind Girl 2 (ok Chen X. is Chinese and WG2 a CDrama).

  2. Kim Woo Bin is the ultimate antagonist in Heirs who makes me want to slap my TV; then I end up feeling sorry for him. That’s good acting.

  3. – BTW I watched The Innocent Man ..
    I had hoped to find a review from you 😦

    It was such a binge two nights for me .. My first Song Joon Ki show .. WOW!! I’ll be running through all his shows now ;-p

    • My favorite drama with Song Joon Ki is Sungkyunkwan Scandal… where he played Gu Yong-ha (nicknamed Yeo-rim = playboy)… and is obviously in love with his best friend, played by Yoo Ah-In, who totally knows and is cool with it, though does not return his friends feelings. They were cuties.

      • I just did my second even more attentive rewatch of Nice Guy (aka Innocent Man).

        The beauty in the complexity of the characters just blew me away once again.

        What I loved most about it is how the characters drive the story forward and the plot is like a forked road that keeps coming up .. There is enough space left around the plot and characters to be filled in and pondered over by the audience .. All kinds of broken clues left for the viewers to understand these characters motivations and feelings .. And each find of a “why did she do that, say that, look that way” connecting piece brought on a thrill of discovery.

        If it wasn’t for the stellar cast pulling off characters buffeted by so much self doubt, self deception that the viewer is hanging on to each sentence and word and action to read into who they are .. We are 100 percent invested in their lives and futures .. and because there’s hardly any black and white .. the grey zone full of shifting responses ..

        Song Joon Ki will shatter, stab, twist your heart out of shape for a long long long time after this.

        I will never forget him in Werewolf Boy ever .. nor Kang Mar-Ru in Nice Guy.
        절대로
        jeoldaelo ;-p

        “Nice Guy” is now etched in marble, in my Kdrama Hall of Fame ;-p

        Alongwith Empress Ki ..

        I hope you will take a look sometime if you haven’t

        P.S. Doing my second watch I was tracking the episode guide alongside at Dramabeans – it was uncanny how the writer was almost pulling thoughts out of my head when I’d read it after each episodes .. I was doing it t check if I was missing any clue – tip on the characters .. it was a treat too since most of the crucial dialogues were transcribed 😀

        P.P.S. I LOVED Joon Ki in SSKK so much so that I DROPPED the show 4-5 episodes into it.

        ROFL .. bizarre contradiction I know 😀
        I left a HUGE comment on your blog’s SSKK review article on it ..

        It’s the first time I saw him – love at first glimpse – the flirty wink, smile and the easy firing up of a supporting role .. did me in. Been Joon Ki tracking since.

        Werewolf Boy / Nice Guy / Descendants of the Sun ..

  4. Please include ‘When The Camellia Blooms’
    It has some of the most peculiar characters i’ve seen in a while, and the setting in the countryside was quite refreshing and heartwarming.
    Each character was as awkward as the next, most of who were country bumpkins and the actors did an excellent job. Their conversations were just genius, yet so awkward and interesting, and always left me with a hearty laugh.

    This drama deserves every award it has won, even though it wasn’t as popular as other hit dramas so far this year.

    It is seriously the best of Kang Ha Neul i’ve watched as of yet. Not to mention the big awards he has bagged for portraying the country bumpkin Yongsik.

  5. @Lady Divine

    YAY!! (JIG JIG JIGGY)

    The gods of Kdramaverse have smiled .. Ji Chang Wook (Wookie) AND Song Joong Ki (Joong-ki) have been signed on for new projects officially announced by their agencies ;-p

    ~ City Couple’s Way of Love (JCW) (ETD as early as Dec 2020?? the buzz goes)
    ~ Vincenzo (SJK) ETD (estimated time of delivery) 2021

    We might even see Mr Right too .. finally after a 4 year shelf life .. Mr Right is Wookie starred (ill-starred) Chinese Drama ..

    These are 2 of my current favourite actors ..

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