Review – Thank You (…No Thank You)
This drama is all about understatement (the picture above is very misleading… basically the little girl and grandpa are the only happy souls in the show). It’s almost entirely set on a small island, the slow pace of life mirrored in the slow pace of the story unfolding.
Plot: A young girl is desperately in love with her childhood sweetheart, who thwarts her to go off in pursuit of bigger ambitions. But not before knocking her up, unbeknownst to him. She raises the child the best she can, along with her elderly grandfather who suffers from dementia. When her daughter is about eight years old, she’s in a car accident – and due to a mix up at the hospital, given contaminated blood and ends up with HIV. The doctor responsible dies, but not before sending her doctor boyfriend off on a mission to apologize to the child and mother for her. A series of events bring the doctor and the long-lost father of the child back to the island at the same time – and basically… it’s a slow, atmospheric WWIII of the Heart, with the adorable little girl at the center.
It’s a decent story about responsibilities and insecurities and families and communities. You’ll come to know the small town and all the people in it as if you moved in, too. I didn’t love it. I’m not sure I even liked it. The whole thing was a dreary mess, honestly… sort of washed out and pitiful instead of intense and heartbreaking. I prefer my melodramas to be the latter.
Overall Rating – 7/10. Small Town Life is Highly Contagious, Take Precautions.
Just a little bit more… but not much…. light spoilers follow…
Review – My Beautiful Bride
Basic Plot – a banker proposes to his pretty young girlfriend and a few days later, she disappears. As he tries to find her, everyone is dragged into the secret vortex of these people’s lives and the criminal underworld – including you, dear viewer.
I loved this show from the first episode. It had a strange vibe. A uniqueness. It reminded me, in a way, of Heartless City… which also lives by itself in a universe of its own genre. Not quite this, not quite that. Violent, bloody, scary, romantic, sentimental, intimate, intense… with action galore and these nice old school thriller shots (you know, the kind were you just follow someone down a dark alley and the tension just grows and grows until you’ve chewed your nails to bits and are jumping at every shadow wondering when something is going to happen). It jumps back and forth in time. It reveals the plot slowly, in layers. You think you know the show in episode two? Nope. Episode four? Nope. It just keeps changing, morphing, becoming more brilliant.
And then… mysteriously… horribly… I lost interest in it entirely around episode 9 and no longer cared what happened to anyone. I had to force myself to finish it – but I’m glad I did. Part 2 had an entirely different tone, but it was still interesting… just not in the same awesome way as Part 1. It’s like going on a date with someone who got up suddenly in the middle of dinner, went to the bathroom, put on a wig, changed clothes, and sat back down sporting a foreign accent. What? What’s happening?! This was not the show I asked out to dinner… but I still wanted to know what would happen. I can’t help but think this would have been a 10/10 drama if it were 10 episodes long instead of 16.
Overall Rating – 10/10 First Half, 6/10 Second Half…. so 8/10 Average. What Happens When Your Fiance Falls Into A Dark Rabbit Hole And You Go Chasing After.
Light spoilers follow…
You Had Me At “I Do” – Review of Empire of Gold
Fifteen minutes in and I was already hooked with baited breath. Hands down the best opening scene of any K-Drama I have seen to date. Seriously, my jaw dropped to the floor… “With this ring I thee wed” has never been creepier. EVER.
The Empire of Gold kept rolling forward at full steam – delivering some chilling scenes and immersing you into the strange and treacherous world of big, shady business. Yes, ladies and gentleman, this world is as far removed from me as South Korea. I shall keep my pittance of a government salary and continue to pay rent in my shabby but comfortable apartment and leave the bribes, back-stabbing, golfing, dinner deals and mergers to the high rollers who can stomach such things. This is not a world of happy endings, or happy middles or even happy beginnings. This world barely catches even a moment of such things. And yet it’s compulsively watchable. Like a massive car pile up on the interstate. Keep me at a safe distance… about ten feet from the television, thank you.
A dark, precautionary tale of greed. Highly recommended.
More Random Thoughts – Includes SPOILERS…