Review – Hwayugi / A Korean Odyssey

Review – Hwayugi / A Korean Odyssey

You never know what you’re going to get when you start watching a Korean supernatural drama.  Vampires, ghosts, gumihos, goblins, demons, grim reapers, or deities.  You also don’t know how involved they’ll be in the human world.  So it’s always fun – because each show tends to write their own rules for the game.  In Hwayugi, we have demons, ghosts, deities, fortune tellers and more – and they are all heavily involved in the human world.

All the supernatural characters in this show are extremely quirky and enjoyable.  The pompous tv host demon who is trying to mend his ways, the shallow celebrity, the bratty exiled monkey deity, the male/female fairy, the demon dog and the zombie girl.  We even have a powerful billionaire CEO that spends his evenings playing a servant because these domestic chores bring him joy.  Most of these supernatural peeps have a job or something they are doing for a reason, or striving for, or living for.  They kinda make sense, motivation wise, though they are also silly and preposterous as well.  That preposterous nature is where the fun of this show lies.  It’s so over the top and silly that you can’t help but love it.  Reminds me of You’re Beautiful.  Just… fun.

At it’s heart, Hwayugi is a love story about a woman who can see ghosts and a monkey god who’s been banished from the heavenly realm.  She is an outcast amongst her own people just as he is.  She’s spent her life alienated and alone.  And he’s spent large chunks of his life imprisoned.  She’s our human, struggling with her emotions, and he’s our crazy deity, struggling to have emotions.  Problem is, she’s been transformed into a mythical monk whose blood grants powers to demons and he’d like very much to eat her and gain that power.  These two are bound to each other, with contracts and spells.

It’s a total mess.  But a lovable mess.  With outstanding costuming.

Overall Rating – 8/10.  Modern Deities Wearing Funky Fur Coats.

More discussion, musings, and spoilers follow….

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Review – The Greatest Love

Review – The Greatest Love

The Greatest Love is by far one of the greatest romantic comedies ever produced in South Korea.  It is side-splitting funny, incredibly romantic, littered with memorable characters, maintains a fast-paced plot that never waivers and even manages to produce genuinely touching scenes that break your heart.  It is both a satire and homage to the celebrity culture that both punishes and produces its inhabitants.

The story revolves around a woman who was once Korea’s sweetheart, the most popular member of an all girl singing band that lost her status and pride after a series of scandals.  She struggles to maintain her career over the next decade by participating in whatever demeaning or ridiculous job she can get – from common promotional gigs to reality television.  On the other end of the spectrum, our lead male is at the top of his game – a box office hit whose career is exploding.  He finds himself inexplicably drawn to our fallen starlet and proceeds to pursue her.  Laugh riot follows.

Overall Rating:  10/10.  This is one of my solid Top Ten dramas… and here’s why…


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