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 – Bride of the Century

Review – Bride of the Century

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Two things were made abundantly clear by this cute, odd, quirky, melodramatic, supernaturally-tinted show.  One, Yang Jin Sung is a adorable!  Two, Lee Hong Ki… maybe not so much.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this little guy… but he just doesn’t have the chutzpah for leading male status, in my humble opinion.  Yang Jin Sung, however, blew me away.  I actually didn’t realize it was the same actress playing two characters until the end of episode one, she was that good.  Her face is so expressive and she can go from sticky sweet to hardened bitch face in two point five seconds and both are perfectly believable.  My favorite is her little lip curl – which makes me think of the famous lip curl of Jang Keun-Suk.  I’ll be bookmarking her other dramas and watching them soon.

Bride of the Century is mainly a story about women.  It’s about a rich, rich family with a sexy ghost watching over it for generations… but she demands payment for her services, in the form of the first wife of the first son of each new generation.  This is a conundrum for the mom of the current first son, as she wants him to marry the gal of her choice but needs to get that sacrificial first marriage out of the way before her plans can be realized.  So it’s scheming demon, and momma is willing to go to great devious lengths to get what she wants… but soon finds herself at war with another momma who doesn’t plan to lay down her daughter’s life without a fight.  It’s the behind the scenes battlefield that so many women wage wars on and claim victories over.  The battlefield of other women (dead and alive).  It may the be the worst thing patriarchy has done to humanity – setting women against women.  But it’s a great thing for dramas and novels.

Overall Rating – 8/10 – You Can’t Trick A Ghost With A Doppelganger, But You Can Trick A Man.

Discussion and Spoilers Follow

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