Review – Queen In Hyun’s Man
Though the first two episodes of this drama are notoriously slow, this is one of the most interesting (and romantic) time traveling between Joseon Era & Modern Times shows out there. Why? Because the two main leads are so interesting (and romantic). They feel fresh… even though it’s not a new show (it came out in 2012). Ji Hyun-Woo plays the thoughtful scholar who snickers at jokes, explores the new world with a reserved wonder, quietly observes situations before taking action, and is totally hard for his modern companion and doesn’t hide it.
Ji Hyun-Woo and Yoo In-Na are crackling with chemistry.
Yoo In-Na plays our leading lady, an adorable ditzy actress who’s won over by her time traveler almost instantly… oh the way he talks, she mutters. Their banter is so refreshingly real. It feels like an actual couple, not some k-drama construct. She’s lying through her teeth, flirting, trying to show off, and he’s teasing her, testing her. They make this show. There’s really no other reason to watch it. The plot is decent, but it’s watching this 300 year time gap couple cuddle in the library that makes this show stand out. It literally made me feel like a giddy school girl every time these two were together, starting about episode three and kicking into full gear by episode four.
You will be helplessly charmed. It’s not cheesy or gimicky or cutesy. These are two grown people falling in love, just… head over heels in love. And it’s magnetic. Check it out if you’re in the mood for lots of PDA and heart melting romance.
Overall Rating – 9/10. Dear God, Let Me Be Reincarnated As Yoo In-A In My Next Life.
Review – Tunnel
There’s a lot to like about this show. The unusual plotline. The adorable cop shenanigans and bromances everywhere (all the main cops are dudes in this show and they’re all extremely lovable). The tangled web of time travel. The serial killer(s) and their damaged childhoods. I enjoyed the whole thing. A quality drama, highly recommended.
Overall Rating – 8/10. Grumpy Time Traveling Detective Solves An Old Case.
A little bit more about characters follows (very, very mild spoilers)
Review – Faith
There are few historical dramas with an interesting female lead… whose interest goes beyond “I want to rule” or something generic like that. But the lead female in Faith is by far the most interesting character in the show – and she’s interesting for lots of reasons. The girl wants TONS of things – cause the world is full of possibilities and she’s crafty and resourceful and full of life and energy. And she’s not the only one! No, no, no, my fine friends, there are a multitude of interesting ladies in this show. In fact, the ladies are JUST AS INTERESTING AS THE MEN! Gasp! Equal representation in a historical drama? Be still my feminist heart. This show has ladies with humor, personality, individuality, sexuality, and self interest. Heck, there are even female guards in this show. It’s awesome.
Faith is a show that knows its strengths and weaknesses and plays both correctly. It doesn’t have great action, but it will distract you with a handsome lead. Heck, they even let him get away with abandoning the top knot in favor of a fan favorite bangs. There isn’t too much political tension, but there’s fun characters. Loads of them. Faith is a fish out of water via time travel story… as well as your basic “kings trying to keep their thrones while their court plots against them” story. There are fantasy elements, people with special powers, magical portals to different times… but that’s about the extent of it. It’s a bit long, a bit cheesy, a bit under dramatic for something that should be more dramatic, and definitely light on the action (for my taste – I prefer much more sword play!). The romance is PG at best. Yet it was still extremely enjoyable just for having so many refreshing elements and unique characters! If only we could have such well written characters in other historical shows, eh? To dream!
Overall Rating 7.5/10. Lee Min Ho Looks Cool With A Sword Even If He Doesn’t Know How To Use It.
More Review and Spoilers and Discussion Follow…
Review – Signal
I heard everyone raving about this show but I thought, “Ugh, a cop show. Ugh, sounds like Frequency. Ugh, matching up an older woman with a younger man again. Ugh Ugh.” I should have slapped myself across the face. And so should you, if you are entertaining such thoughts. Snap out of it! Signal is AWESOME.
Yes, it’s a cops-solving-crimes show that jumps back and forth between the past and present, connecting cops and crimes across decades. And yet I was riveted. None of the cases ended like I thought they would. None of the future’s interventions had the outcome I expected. None of the usual cliches and tropes applied to this show. There was no noona romance, for one thing. Instead, a seasoned female cop works alongside a young cute rookie and NOTHING HAPPENS except for work. Gasp! I was sooo happy. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, men and women can be friends. They can care about each other and not want to have sex. It is, in fact, possible to live and work in a nonsexual way with half of humanities population. Signal was a revelation!
It was also very dark. The crimes were horrible and gritty. The justice system struggled, realistically. Crimes were unsolved. People died and their killers were never brought to justice, not in this past, not in the present. It was hard to know what the right thing to do was. People are so many shades of gray, after all. The story lines were complicated and compelling and every single episode was gripping and intense.
I highly recommend not reading too much about it before starting it up. It’s nothing like Frequency (the movie or the show). It’s a mystery and all mysteries should remain vague and ponderous until you actually watch it unfold before your eyes. I don’t like to do lengthy reviews on mysteries for that very reason. So I leave you with this – just watch it. When you’re done, you can pick at the little pieces and discuss characters and debate the ending all you want to. Somewhere else. This review is just to get you to bite and spend sixteen hours devouring this amazing show.
Overall Rating – 10/10. Dark Crime and Magical Realism.
Review – Nine Times Travel
Nine Times Travel. Proving you don’t need incredible special effects or overly elaborate scientific explanations to master the art of time travel and exquisite television. Keep it simple and it will grow exponentially on its own. For what started as a rather simple drama with a “day time” television feeling, I was pleasantly surprised how quickly this show leveled up. I had a full blown emotional heart attack during episode nine and was revived only to die of shock again a few episodes later. The crash cart was brought out and “Clear!” By the end of the show, I felt like I’d been dragged across twenty years and half the world. And I wanted to do it again. And possibly again… in twenty years. Or an alternate time line. Or, ya know, some conundrum worm-hole double-layered mess that gets Hawking hard and gives me headaches.
Overall Rating 9.5/10
SPOILERS and CONTINUED REVIEW