Review – The King Loves / The King in Love
This drama was divine. It took your basic love triangle and raised it up to levels of discomfort, pain and joy that I don’t recall ever experiencing in another drama. Kings are always lonely, isolated people – by design – the people they can trust or count on are few and far between. In this story, our King had one friend. One. So when they both fall in love with the same woman… cue the twenty hours of beautiful agony this show will provide. I think what made this particular love triangle special was that our lady in the middle really loved both men. She just happened to love one of them a little more…
Add to that some outstanding political intrigue – none of the boring filler that so often accompanies historical dramas – and brilliant side characters – and you’ve got yourself a historical drama that stands above others. Let’s not forget how freakin’ sweet this show was! So many sweet moments. And tons of genuine humor, too. There was a great mix of everything, honestly. Gorgeous cinematography, detailed costuming, and a complicated but tightly woven plotline that deeply satisfied. Until the very end. The very bitter end. Cause… only one of these absolutely lovable men is getting the girl, after all. And your heart is going to break for the other dude. It wouldn’t have mattered which one. That’s why this drama was amazing… it was a win-win and a lose-lose either way…
Overall Review – 9.5/10. Love Is A Game That Demands Losers.
More musing on heartbreak, some spoilers, and character thoughts follow… let’s dive in.
Review – Man from the Equator
There is a certain grandiose nature (also known as being waaaay overdramatic for no reason) to these older melodramas that can’t be replicated. Maybe it’s the standard tv (box) formatting. Maybe it’s the lack of fancy cinematography, most of the shots are head on and there are many long cuts. Maybe it’s the emotional music, reminiscent of soap operas from the States in the late 20th century. There’s a roughness to the characters, a grittiness and cruelty… as well as honest and instinctual love. This is a story about two young men who become unlikely best friends, the smartest boy in the school and the street fighter. They are two totally different people, and though they become best friends, their values, motivations, and personalities remain independent of one another, even over time. In a way, those are some of the best friendships. And like most good things, they require a lot of work. So does this drama. Perhaps more work than it deserves…
The first part of this drama is captivating and interesting – but unfortunately the second and third part just drag and drag and drag. Part two involves a wandering story line of love and blindness, and part three is about revenge but manages to forget that half the time and just bore us with flashbacks, unnecessarily long sequences of staring, walking, staring, pondering, staring and more staring. I don’t think I’ve seen a show that enjoyed focusing on a character just staring pensively into the distance more Man from the Equator. Still, I didn’t hate it I just… wanted to speed it up.
Overall Rating – 4/10. Not Recommended For Tourists.
More plot musings and spoilers and discussion follow…
Review – Incomplete Life (Misaeng)
Work. It’s something most of us have to deal with about 50% of our waking lives, if not more. So much of your identity is tied to what your job is. What kind of life you lead is largely determined by your career, let’s face it. Whether you are a cop, a priest, a lawyer, a chemist, a construction worker, a teacher or a salaryman – your job wraps around you like an extra skin. It shapes your view of the world, the environment you grow accustomed to, the people you are in contact with, and the paycheck you learn to live on.
This is a show about work. It’s a character study, focusing on a few key players and exploring the nature of their personalities, their backgrounds, their current lives, and their struggles and successes as they navigate their careers. It’s fascinating, well written, engaging and just really good. It’s a show that makes you think. It doesn’t hand you all the answers. You’re expected to be smart enough to figure it out or patient enough to wait it out. And the pay off is worth it. It’s an odd mix of realism and subtle optimism, which makes you reflect deeply but offers you hope. I highly recommend it.
Overall Rating – 10/10. You Are What You Do, Not What You Think.
More Musings About Work and the Characters and SPOILERS…