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About Me

  1. I went into this not knowing what to expect but a couple of episodes in, I found myself thoroughly entertained by the hijinks of a pojangmacha owner (Hwang Jung-eum), her long-suffering manager (Choi Won-young) and a supermarket customer service guy (Yook Sung-jae) in contemporary South Korea. Apart from the usual nagging from Neflix, I had seen/heard next to no press on this. As a rule I’m neither a fan of supernatural fantasies (I must be one of a handful people who haven’t see Goblin) nor of slapstick but I adored this one from start to finish. I found myself rolling around in laughter at the inventive, sometimes wacky humour. At other times the show transitions wonderfully into something unexpectedly poignant and heartwarming. The key to why the juggling act ultimately works is the clever storytelling which more than makes up for some of the show’s production limitations. Because the show locates itself as a supernatural fantasy, it’s obvious that Hwang Jung-eum’s pojangmacha owner is not your usual street bar-owning ahjumma. Weol-ju is a 500 year old ghost/spirit who’s earning credits by helping individuals with all kinds of grievances. It’s her punishment for hanging herself on The Sacred Tree in her Joseon past and causing mayhem. She has been tasked by scary persons in the Afterlife with helping 100 000 humans and when her job is done, all will be forgiven. The tricky part of course is getting the remaining clientele to come to the pop up bar and spill their guts. This is where the customer service guy comes in. This idealistic and unassuming young fellow has the uncanny ability to get people to open up garrulously even when he doesn’t want them to, which is 99% of the time. Although he sees it as a curse, it’s handy skill that Weol-ju is eager to exploit. After some cajoling, bullying and sleight of hand, the young Kang-bae joins Weol-ju and Manager Gwi in what turns out to be a really good cause. The trio have all the makings of a low-key superhero team-up. Each member has their own skill set which come in useful when they meet desperate, helpless individuals… dead and living… who are seeking help to resolve some grievance that they’re lugging around. As they spend more time together, our trio start acting more like a family. As with every superhero show, there is a villain. I didn't mind him even if he was a tad on the cliche side. It certainly didn't affect my overall impression of the drama or the resolution. The story flip flops between two timelines: Joseon and 21st century Korea. No, there’s no time travelling involved in case you’re wondering but the show gradually gives us insight into Weol-ju’s tragic past as a gifted shaman who fell in love with a prince that she helped. It was a romance that ended badly with long-ranging reverberations. In one of her better efforts, Hwang Jung-eum plays up Weol-ju’s cantankerous, shrilly side with no small amount of glee. She is both terrifying and self-righteous. Belying the shrewish disposition, however, is a heart of gold. Her culinary skills are to die for (so we're told) but more importantly she has an awesome fusion wardrobe to match. Choi Won-young was awesome as Manager Gwi, an enigmatic spirit being who has an unspoken agenda for putting up with Weol-ju’s bad temper. He really needs to play these sorts of non-villainous lead roles more often. I don’t remember the last time I saw him play a straight arrow but I can assure everybody that he didn’t sign up for the drama just to play mediator between two opposites. I wasn’t familiar with Yook Sung-jae prior to this but his versatility here impressed me. His comic delivery was right on the money. I especially enjoyed his push-pull with security guard, Kang Yeo-rin who happens to be the only human being who can resist his ability to make her open up. There’s no doubt that he holds his own with his seniors all throughout the drama. Despite the financial constraints, the world building maintained a high level of consistency. It drew on a hodgepodge of various religious and mythological traditions with something of a satirical edge as exemplified in its depiction of Corporate Afterlife. I experienced a reminder or two of Journey to the West. It’s good to see an increasing number of K dramas benefiting from the 12-episode format. So far it’s yielded only good things from the ones I’ve seen. At the end of the day, as is to be expected of a drama of this nature, it is a morality tale encompassing morality tales. Although there’s truly nothing new under the sun, there are lessons to be learnt by everyone, whether they be 500 or 25. Even the higher-ups of Afterlife Inc make mistakes. Plot/ Story: 9 Acting/Cast: 10 Production Values: 8 Re-watch Value: 8.5
  2. Sources: Wikipedia, My Drama List @NiteWalker @Lynne Moderator tag for adding in the directory
  3. Romance is a Bonus Book Director: Lee Jeong Hyo Writer: Jung Hyun Jung Starring: Lee Na Young, Lee Jong Suk Original Broadcast: January 26-March 17, 2019 BACKGROUND A respected actress and a model considered one of the most beautiful women in Korea, Lee Na Young had filmed her last drama prior to this one in The Fugitive: Plan B with Rain in 2010. Since then, she had focused on doing a few films, taking time off to marry Won Bin who she had been dating for about 3 years prior, and giving birth to their son. As a comeback drama after such a long hiatus, this role fit with her habit of choosing quirky, awkward heroines to play in projects that she felt a passion for. Lee Jong Seok seems to have become a bit of a master of the noona romance, this being his third venture into the realm. His first was with Lee Bo Young where he managed to convince me (and other viewers) that despite all the issues with a large age gap that he was the right man to end up with the heroine. His next noona romance was Han Hyo Joo in W which swept the awards and won him a Grand Daesang for that year. This drama was his last drama filmed prior to his military enlistment, where he is serving as a public service officer since he couldn’t serve as an active duty soldier as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident when he was 16. SETUP AND REVIEW There is a central romance and some secondary romances in this drama, but this drama is really a love letter to the beleagured book publishing industry. As such, it is predominantly set in a small, quirky publishing office, Gyeoroo Publishing, and its staff. (Gyeoroo Publishing btw can be translated to Competitive Publishing, meaning that it's still viable in the world.) The central OTP romance involves Kang Dan Yi, a divorced, single mother with a child who is attending a boarding school Philippines, and Cha Eun Ho, a star writer and senior editor at Gyeoroo Publishing. Dan Yi and Eun Ho had been friends since she was in high school and he was in elementary school when DY saved EH from being hit by a car, but being hit herself which required extensive surgery and a long convalescence. During her convalescence, DY got EH to bring her numerous books to read and thus cultivated EH’s love for books as well. The two remained close until DY marries a selfish jerk, though she had second thoughts right up till she married him. When the drama starts DY has gotten a divorce from her husband, but without any alimony or child support, she’s living in their old condemned house until its demolition while looking for a job. She had been a star in the marketing field before she quit to have a baby and have now been out of the workplace for many years. EH in the meantime has become a famous writer, and also started a small publishing company Gyeoroo Publishing with his publisher and others. It’s indicated that he dates, but does not stay long with any woman. EH had asked DY to find him a housekeeper and is not aware that DY is doing his housekeeping herself so that she can have the money. And when her old home is finally demolished, she moves into the attic and lives there until she’s caught by EH. When EH realizes what’s happened, he moves her downstairs into her own room and tells DY to keep living with him. Things get more complicated when DY decides to apply to be a contract employee gofer at Gyeoroo Publishing. (A gofer is a person who basically does whatever other people need her to do.) While he has trepidations about this, Eun Ho and the other staff members who are not aware of DY and EH’s relationship are all pleased by how diligent DY is at her work, but also surprised at her eagerness and resourcefulness at other job roles. EH has had a crush on DY since he as a child, and that is one of the reasons why he wasn’t able to be with another woman for long. DY has always like EH, but because of their age difference, had not given much thought to a romantic relationship with EH. Living and working together, she comes to realize how much EH means to her and has always meant to her. The other romantic relationships in this drama are important as well as the OTP. There is a plot involving two other founders (another senior editor and a marketer) who are married to each other, but their marriage frays because of the stresses of their family as well as things being taken for granted. There is a plot involving the two interns who have a very push-pull relationship where the female intern who comes from a rich family and is pretty and well-groomed with a pushy mother and the male intern who is smart and hard working but does not come from family figure out what they could mean to each other. And, then there is the story of the chief operating officer of the company who let go of her chance at marriage a long time ago, and now has an unorthodox personal life whereas her professional persona is all efficient, hard-hearted, stickler-for-the-rules. There are the second leads, of course, who initially start off being interested in the OTP, but then realize the futility of their interest and find room to commiserate. In addition to the romances, there are also stories about the struggles that the writers may go through, the lessons learned on the job, the question of why rules are established and when one should bend a rule before the rule possibly becomes nonsense. There is also a major subplot having to do with a very popular author who has mysteriously disappeared, and the curiosity that has roused in people. And all of these stories are encompassed within the world of publishing books where the staff all love books. It takes the viewers through the different aspects of publishing, starting with the relationship between the writer and the editor, deciding which books should get published, the art for a book including the covers and any illustrations, the marketing done for the book, and even what happens to books that are not sold. This is a staff who care deeply for books and publishing their books, some of them approaching zealotry abut their desire to send these books out into the world. And yet, that passion is tempered by the knowledge that books are falling victim to an increasingly digital world. While this is billed as a romantic drama, it also takes time for some light-hearted scenes as well, as with the antics of the Founders and their rituals as they decide by voting on some serious issues. Overall, though, the drama takes its time to build its various relationships and to show you what it wants to show you in a very deliberate, measured fashion, much as a good novel might do so. And, it manages to feel like a good book that you might curl up with as you wind down for the night or on a rainy weekend. The production values are very good, keeping things mostly on an intimate scale while not sacrificing the overall cinematic film. It watches like a good indie film might. Each episode ends with a written epilogue that gives further insight into a character or situation. The prose for these epilogues are very beautiful and satisfying, though the subtitles tend to blunt them out to a few key points each. However, I believe fans of Lee Jong Seok have taken the trouble to translate these written epilogues and it may be worthwhile to try to seek them out if you end up watching this drama. The acting is universally strong from every main and supporting characters. As Lee Na Young’s return, she has an impressive turn as an ajumma who is feeling her way back into a job market that has changed while she had been at home. Her DY is smart, eager and curious, but also impulsive and makes mishaps in her eagerness. Lee Jong Seok turns in another charming role as Eun Ho who is finally getting a chance at the woman he loves but is awkward and nervous about it, and is also hiding a secret that he’s not sure how to resolve. The rest of the cast is equally strong. The drama does an impressive job of fleshing out pretty much every character the viewers meet, so that one feels sympathy even if one might not agree with their actions. I really liked this drama and would recommend it. It may not have the action scenes, the makjang melodrama or any super villains, but it’s a drama where you come to care about the characters and are happy to spend time with them in their world. It also accomplished its goal of making me feel wistful that actual books are slowly disappearing from our shelves and our landscapes. RATINGS Plot/Story 10 Acting 10 Production 8 Re-watch Value 10
  4. Show Window: Queen's House Showwindow: Yeowangui Jib 쇼윈도:여왕의 집 Director: Kang Sol, Park Dae-Hee Writer: Han Bo-Kyung, Park Hye-Young Network: Channel A Episodes: Release Date: November, 2021 -- Runtime: Language: Korean Country: South Korea Han Sun-Joo’s (Song Yoon-A) life is perfect. She is married to Shin Myung-Seob (Lee Sung-Jae) and they have children. She tries to help her husband succeed at Rahen Group, a company which her mother runs, and she also tries to raise her children as best as she can. Before their marriage, Shin Myung-Seob was in a poor financial situation and he came from a poor background. His life changed drastically after he married Han Sun-Joo. He is now recognized at work. He is a good husband and father, but he meets Yoon Mi-Ra (Jeon So-Min) and becomes attracted to her. Meanwhile, Han Jung-Won (Chansung) is Han Sun-Joo’s younger brother. He has a warm heart and he is a good to Han Sun-Joo. Credit : AsianWiki Staff @abs-oluteM
  5. Basic Information | Cast of Characters | Trailers | OST | Episode Guide and Ratings | Behind The Scenes | Review
  6. Tale of the Secret Royal Inspector and Jo Yi English Title: Tale of the Secret Royal Inspector and Jo Yi Hangul Title: 어사조이뎐 Genre: Historical, Mystery, Comedy, Drama Director: Yoo Jong Sun Writer: Lee Jae Yoon Network: tvN Official Website: http://program.tving.com/tvn/inspectorjoy Episodes: 16 Release Date: Nov 8, 2021 Synopsis: “The Secret Royal Inspector and Jo Yi” (literal title) is a historical comedy investigation drama about a young gourmet who ends up becoming a secret royal inspector (a undercover official who inspects local provinces to expose corruption) teaming up with a divorced woman who is searching for happiness. Together, they set out on a grand scheme to uncover the truth. Taecyeon will be playing the secret royal inspector Ra Yi Eon who wishes for nothing more than to open a small dumpling store outside the capital where the land is cheap. But he has a good brain that gets him through the state examination and even secures him a spot as an official in the Office of Special Advisors—a position normally reserved for only the most elite. Ultimately, he finds himself receiving secret orders to carry out missions as a secret royal inspector. Even though he unintentionally ended up following a career path that others would die for, Ra Yi Yeon’s real concerns are securing lunch time during work and getting off work right on time. When he gets home from work, he cooks dumplings for himself and lazily rolls around his room. However, the life of the lazy homebody changes when he meets Kim Jo Yi. Kim Hye Yoon takes on the role of Kim Jo Yi, a unconventional woman of the Joseon era who thinks that getting divorced isn’t a big deal. Three years ago, she got married with a gambling addict and mama’s boy, and needless to say, she led a rocky married life. She finally divorces the man after several complications, only to be met with another obstacle: the appearance of a secret royal inspector. The moment it seemed like her dream to begin a new life was crushed, her life was actually starting anew. Together, the unmotivated secret royal inspector Ra Yi Yeon and the reckless divorced woman Kim Jo Yi will embark on a journey to investigate and defeat corrupt politicians. The fact that the drama features a divorced female character who dismisses the Joseon era idea that a wife must serve her husband draws attention for its novelty. Source
  7. Ever since I saw them in the KBS Special "Came to me and became a star" , I have been hoping hard for the them to reunite in a longer drama, and looks like my wishes have come true. Super excited for this rom-com of two proven versatile actors. More of the synopsis here: “Monthly House” is a home-searching romance story about a man who buys houses and a woman who lives in one. It follows the diverse stories of the editors of a home magazine. Yoo Ja Sung is the CEO of a real estate investment company and magazine company Monthly House who went from rags to riches. By studying during the day, working as a restaurant part-timer and a designated driver at night, and working at construction sites during the weekends, Yoo Ja Sung cut down on his sleep time to self-study real estate, eventually becoming an investment expert and wealthy man owning property worth tens of billions of won (tens of millions of dollars) in real estate. However, when he runs into Na Young Won, the two will begin an unexpected romance. Na Young Won is a magazine editor with 10 years of experience who has been living alone for 10 years at a rented home. She believes her home to be the place where she can truly be herself. However, when she meets her devil-like new homeowner and Monthly House magazine CEO, Na Young Won begins to search for a house of her own and develops an interest in real estate Camping fanatic and professional photographer Shin Kyum is living by the principles of “you only live once” and “work-life balance." Shin Kyum chose to become a photographer over inheriting his father’s business. He’s also Na Young Won’s neighbor and convenience store partner, allowing their fates to be constantly intertwined. Source : My Drama List Director: Lee Chang-Min Writer: Myung Soo-Hyun Network: JTBC Episodes: Release Date: First Half, 2021 Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
  8. Legacies Details Network The CW streaming site. The CW, NetFlix Related shows: The Vampire Diaries; The Originals Program creator: Julie Plec Origin Country: United States Production Locations : Atlanta Georgia, USA Production Companies : CBS Television Distribution ect... Genre : Drama , Fantansy and Supernatural Fiction Original Network : The CW Original Release : Oct 25, 2018- Present Seasons : 3 Renewed for Season 4 Fall 2021
  9. DUNE 2021 Directed by Denis Villeneuve Screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve & Eric Roth Based on Dune by Frank Herbert Produced by Denis Villeneuve, Mary Parent, Cale Boyter & Joe Caracciolo Jr. Starring Timothée Chalamet Rebecca Ferguson Oscar Isaac Josh Brolin Stellan Skarsgård Dave Bautista Stephen McKinley Henderson Zendaya Chang Chen Sharon Duncan-Brewster Charlotte Rampling Jason Momoa Javier Bardem Cinematography Greig Fraser Edited by Joe Walker Music by Hans Zimmer Production companies Legendary Pictures & Villeneuve Films Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures Release date : September 3, 2021 (Venice) October 21, 2021 (United States) Running time : 156 minutes Country: United States Language: English Budget $165 million Box office$147.4 million A master piece remaked from 1984 Film. It was adapeted into a tv series in 2000 which was the version I watched. I had enjoyed it too. Next post will be the review.
  10. I have been waiting for Daniel Choi to return to the silver screen after a two-year hiatus ( his last show was The Ghost Detective). So I was very pleased to find out that he's decided on this drama- which promises to be a sweet romantic slice of life ( or so I hope). Kim Hyang Gi ,who was fantastic in the movie Innocent Witness and well-known for her role in Along With The Gods movie franchises ,will come on board as the female lead alongside Oh Yoon Ah who was last seen in hit KBS weekender - Once Again. What makes it more exciting is that this is written by Park Yeon Sun who wrote both seasons of the cult hit Age of Youth and The Diary of a Prosecutor ( which I liked a lot). Anyway here's a drama synopsis from Asian Wiki / Naver: Set at hair salon Fly High, Butterfly and follows the workers there. Gi-Bbeum is in her early 20's and works at Fly High, Butterfly as an assistant intern. She works with three other assistant interns: Moo-Yeol, Teacher Woo and Soo-Ri. Gi-Bbeum works hard, but she has a hard time dealing with customers. Gwang-Soo is a hair stylist at Fly High Butterfly. He is enthusiastic at his job and he works with hair salon director Michel and hair stylist Jen. Director: Kim Da-Ye, Kim Bo-Kyeong Writer: Park Yeon-Sun Network: JTBC Episodes: 16 Release Date: 4 May, 2021 -- Runtime: Mon & Tue 21:30
  11. Second to Last Love / 끝에서 두번째 사랑 Director: Choi Young hoon Writer: Choi Yoon Jeong Main Cast: Ji Jin Hee as Go Sang Sik - a Level 5 civic official and head of Woori City’s Regional Tourism Kim Hee Ae as Kang Min Ju - an executive producer at SBC Broadcasting Kwak Si Yang as Park Joon Woo - lives with Go Sang Sik and his family as GSS’ little brother Supporting Cast: Jung Soo Young as Go Sang Hee - GSS’ little sister who has a husband and son Kim Seul Gi as Go Mi Rye - GSS’ baby sister, webtoon writer who eventually goes to work for SBC as a writer Lee Su Min as Go Ye Ji - GSS’ daughter Kim Kwon as Cha Soo Hyuk - a Level 7 civic official who works with GSS Seo Jeong Yeon as Goo Tae Yeon - KMJ’s friend who is single and a writing teacher Kim Na Yeong as Shin Ae Kyung - KMJ’s friend who is divorced and unknowingly becomes involved with Go Sang Hee’s husband Background and Comment about the English Title: K-dramas will sometimes make interesting choices for their English titles, but the English title for this drama is actually very confusing and possibly misleading. The Korean title translates to “In the End, a Second Love” which speaks directly to what the drama is about, namely 2 people who have both lost their true loves, but who go on to find each other and fall in love when they had basically thought not to love again. This drama is a remake of a J-dorama called Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi which has been translated to English as My Second Last Love. I think that’s a better English title frankly, even though I don’t have any opinions about the translation of that title since I don’t speak Japanese. This drama is an adult love story, and a bit of a throwback to older k-dramas. Summary: Kang Min Ju and Go Sang Sik are both in their 40’s and un-partnered due to the deaths of their loved ones. Min Ju had been about to get married when her fiancee died in a work accident. Sang Sik had been happily married and expecting their first child when his wife had a complication with her pregnancy, ultimately dying while delivering their daughter. Min Ju had remained single since the death of her fiancee, focusing on her work rather than forming any new relationships. Sang Sik is also alone as a widower, having resolved to focus on his daughter and family instead. He lives in his home with his daughter Ye Jin, his younger sister and her family, their younger baby sister, and a young man whom he considers to be a younger brother. Like any good romance, MJ and SS are at odds when they meet, however, they are thrown together a number of times by coincidence and through their work. Also by coincidence, MJ moves into the house next door to SS and his family in their township when she decides to move out of Seoul for somewhere smaller and less hectic. They slowly come to appreciate each other over time and form a friendship. This friendship does become romantic, but there are numerous obstacles in their way. For one, Joon Woo becomes interested in MJ and asks her out. They date for awhile, but eventually MJ realizes that she’s trying too hard to be in a relationship with JW, so they separate, but remain as friends. There is also some history between SS and MJ that neither was aware of, namely that MJ’s fiancee had been working with SS when the fiancee died. SS had tried to save him, but failed, and thus carried the guilt of that with him. That accident also had the knock on effect that SS is late to meet his wife as he was supposed to that day, and it is while she was waiting for him that she has her accident that leads to her death. SS’ family are also initially opposed to SS and MJ dating. However, they come around, and eventually, MJ and SS confess their feelings for each other. However, MJ’s family is then opposed to MJ marrying a man who already has a daughter. There are some side stories of note, namely MJ’s friend Goo Tae Yeon who would like to be in a relationship but not having much luck going on blind dates finally meeting up with Cha Soo Hyuk who used to be a student of hers and who used to have a crush on her. Also, MJ’s other friend unknowingly gets involved with SS’s sister’s husband, though it never crosses into a full blown affair. Review: This drama focuses on finding love later in one’s life. Even though for both MJ and SS, they find their second true loves in each other, the other side stories explore finding love whether it’s within an existing relationship which develops problems or trying to find a first love or even a love between people who are so close that they don’t even realize that they love each other. It explores the stories with a range of very relatable emotions, frequently taking a wryly humorous tone as it looks at the situations and reactions of each character, but always conveying a sincerity in its emotions rather than being played for effect. As a drama about relationships, it works very well, mostly because of the amazing cast. Consisting mostly of veterans, they are the ones who convey the sincerity that is required for each character to be empathetic no matter how flawed they might be. This drama is also not a makjang fest full of histrionics. Rather, it’s a drama about people living their lives, trying to do their best, and recognizing love when it comes to them. The story itself is not the most original, with many echos of older romantic dramas, but because it’s executed so well and because the characters make you care about them, it’s worth taking a look. It’s actually worth a repeat watch even for the realistic and yet healing way it shows the relationships in various stages. Even when a love doesn’t work out, the people move on, living and making the best of it rather than swearing to make everyone miserable. Ratings: Story 7 Cast 9 Production Value 7 Re-watch Value 9
  12. Once upon a time a hungry girl who happened to be at a seaside town met a budding young chef who was helping his mother with the cooking in her restaurant. He laid a feast in front of her and she was destined never to forget him. In fact, she considered him her “first love” and inspired her to become a chef to bring joy to others. On that occasion he encouraged her to come back because he would make her some chocolate balls but she never did because her family cut short their stay in that town and took off. Many many years later they meet again as adults in a city hospital. She (Ha Ji-won) is there after a recurring episode of a lifelong trauma experienced after being trapped under a collapsed shopping mall. She remembers her budding young chef who has now become a highly skilled neurosurgeon. Her curiosity is immediately aroused. He (Yoon Kye-sang), on the other hand, doesn’t remember her and seems to have undergone a complete personality transplant in the intervening years. In the well-laid tradition of SK melodrama, his life also took a turn for the worse after leaving his idyllic hometown and not long after losing his mother in tragic fashion. Living with his scheming chaebol, hospital-owning relatives has turned him into a quietly resentful, stoic doctor. Some time later they meet again. This time she has inconveniently just become his best friend’s girl while still harbouring strong feelings for her first love. What’s a girl to do? She does the best thing she can by everyone and breaks up with her first love’s best friend (Yoo Teo) and takes off to Spain. Of course she doesn’t give anyone the real reason but tells fibs about having met someone else, in effect carrying the can for the unforeseen mess that has resulted. With all these obstacles in the way, it begs the question as to how these two people so obviously fated to be together will overcome the baggage between them. There’s no denying that Chocolate ransacks the melodrama pantry with impunity: Unforgettable first love, orphaned children, past trauma, over-the-top chaebol family power struggles, misunderstandings due to noble idiocy etc etc. It’s almost relentless. All these elements would be immediately recognizable by seasoned viewers. Familiar though it seems, the haunting storytelling and the exquisite cinematography is what lifts the material beyond the burden of expectation. The locations are glorious to behold. Moreover, the use of tropes is largely the set-up for the meat of the story: The reality of impending death and how people of different ages and backgrounds find ways of processing mortality and loss. The leads are two wounded souls who continually find their way to each other despite various attempts to stay out of the other’s way. Theirs is a slow burn romance as they navigate all the obstacles from within and without to finally come full circle. The romance plays out poignantly within the backdrop of a regional hospice. For one reason or another the romantic leads, Cha-young, and Lee Kang end up working there. The location is gorgeous and serene. An ideal setting not just for a romance but also perhaps for anyone receiving palliative care and putting their house in order before making their exit from among the living. Once the key players finally find their way to the hospice, the show takes on a more slice-of-life approach. The best part of this show and its emotional core comes from the individual stories of those who spend their final days trying to deal with unfinished business. I often found myself tearing up when young and old say their goodbyes especially after hearing their all-too-human stories. This is the kind of thing that’s made K dramas of all stripes beloved around the world. In that vein, the leads would find themselves inadvertently entangled in the lives of the residents as they are forced to draw on their inner resources to give others comfort. Through this Cha-young and Kang both find their own healing. More importantly, Kang gradually begins to realise that Cha-young is far from being the callous woman he believed her to be. Both Ha Ji-won and Yoon Kye-sang do an excellent job of exploiting their chemistry and showing various stages of their attraction for each other. What the show does here which is not often discussed is certainly a conversation that needs to be had universally. Life is short, life is unpredictable, life is unfair and death comes to us all eventually. In some cultures it is even taboo to speak of death as it is believed to hasten its coming. But how individuals cross that threshold of death seems just as important as how they lived their lives prior. Cha-young often seems to be the picture of perfection. She’s a whiz in the kitchen and does her magic bringing what joy she can to the dying through her culinary delights. But she is the milk of human kindness and goes way beyond the call of duty in fulfilling the wishes of the residents and their loved ones. On top of that she puts up with Kang’s dismissive attitude towards her with grace. Some might accuse of being a Mary Sue. The show, it seems to me, makes the case that In such an environment, extraordinary, gifted men and women are needed accompany those to face their end. Her suffering and her own brush with death has given her clarity and empathy in that regard. However, all isn’t well in her world having also to care for her devil-may-care younger sibling who seems to be a millstone round her neck but as time progresses, he too has his uses. The Lee family power struggle is perhaps the least interesting aspect of the show except that it does provide some context to where Kang is at and his complex relationship with his cousin and rival Lee Jun (Jang Seung-jo). He too ends up at the hospice first to visit his first love and then later ends up doing community service there. Gradually the two of them come to a place of grudging respect for each other in the realisation that they were both pawns in the hands of their ambitious and manipulative grandmother. There’s very little to complain about in the acting department. Even the youngsters acquit themselves admirably. Except for the stereotypical Lee family members who seem to have stepped out of a makjang cartoon, most of the characters are relatable and their experiences drawn from a broad spectrum of the populace. Of course I shouldn't forget the about the food. No one should because one of the joys of spending time with Cha-young was watching her (mostly her) cooking up a storm. Some of my favourite and most memorable moments of the drama was watching her in the kitchen granting final wishes or paying tribute to those who have left. One of these days I hope to find a Korean restaurant in my town that makes sujebi. This is a drama that I cared a lot about when it aired. I thought a lot about it when I was watching it. I would even revisit portions of it afterwards. Even though it is centred around discussions of death, it made me think a lot about life. It’s a serious show for the most part but not so serious that it doesn’t take time out to laugh a little about everyday human foibles. Plot: 8 Storytelling: 9 Cast/Acting: 9.5 Production Values: 10 Rewatch Value: 7.5
  13. Remember My Boy High school classmates Zhang Yang and Zhou Jing Mang are true polar opposites. While Zhang Yang is brash, a practical joker, often selfish, and sometimes even confrontational, Zhou Jing Mang is naive and overly trusting. As they slowly get to know one another at school, Zhang Yang first begins to play tricks on Zhou Jing Mang in his usual manner, fooling her into making an embarrassing announcement over the school tannoy system. But little by little, they start to develop an attachment to one another – and start to develop a mutual sense of respect. But could this one day lead to love? Meanwhile, classmates Shen Li Hua Feng Wan He, Ling Chen, and more are also embarking on their own journeys of discovery. (Source: Viki) ~~ Adapted from the novel "I Remember That Boy" by Jian Ma Native Title: 我曾记得那男孩 Also Known As: I Remember That Boy , I Once Remembered That Boy , I Once Remembered That Guy , Wo Ceng Jide Na Nanhai , Wo Ceng Ji De Na Nan Hai Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Youth Tags: Chasing Dream, Memories, Flashback To Past, Hardworking Female Lead, Multiple Perspective, Time Skip, High School To College, High School, Friendship Episodes: 24 Aired: Feb 22, 2021 - Mar 8, 2021 Aired On: Monday, Tuesday Original Network: Tencent Video Mango TV Mango TV Duration: 35 min. BUBBLE ZHU AS ZHOU JING MANG DANIEL ZHOU AS ZHANG YANG Casts :
  14. Faith 신의 Director: Kim Jong Hak Writer: Song Ji Na Genre: Romance, Fantasy (Time-Travelling), Politics, Fusion Sageuk. Broadcast: 2012.08.13 - 2012.10.30 Episodes: 24 Casts: Kim Hee Sun as Yoo Eun Soo Lee Min Ho as Daejang Choi Young Ryu Deok Hwan as King Gongmin Park Se Young as Queen Noguk Yu Oh Seong as Ki Chul Philip Lee as Jang Bin Plot Summary Review & Thoughts The drama has another title "The Great Doctor"; however, its original title "Shin Eui" is definitely a more fitting title to the story and the characters involved as "Shin" and "Eui" conveys a much deeper meaning. Shin Eui doesn't work on one person and it can only happen when describing "relationships" of two or more people. In combination Shin Eui means "Faith" and "Loyalty" but separately they also have their own meanings. Shin (信) = faith, trust, letter, sign Eui (義) = justice, righteousness Whether it is two words combined or each individual word by itself, Faith accurately describes the underlining message writer wants to convey and what the characters are upholding or working towards. In my humble opinion, Faith disguises itself in a time-travelling fantasy fusion sageuk that may seems like a light fun watch at the time, but it is actually not light-hearted at all. It challenges you to think as it explores the topic of politics, love, honour, faith and what country means to each of us. An old friend summarises her love for Faith beautifully below: Faith was so long ago that I cannot recall most of the events that took place. I just know that no matter the time that has passed and no matter the dramas that came and gone, it remains as something special in my heart. Perhaps it was the complexity of the lonely and sad Choi Young, who I deeply felt and rooted for. Perhaps it was the beauty in the way these two contrasting souls found each other and changed and grew together. Perhaps it was the dying Choi Young who gradually learned the meaning of life and what it feels like to want to live. Perhaps it was the way Eun Soo hugs him and teases him, placing a flower on his hair, laughing and reminding him about the happiness in life. Perhaps it was the way she suddenly came into his life and melt away the ice cold barrier he'd been building and saved him. Perhaps it was the way he traced her shadow or the way she made his heart flutter simply by placing her head on his shoulder. Perhaps it was the sweet, subtle intimacy of their love that was deeply felt without much physical contact. Perhaps it was the way she turned his world upside down. Perhaps it was the way he waited for her, visiting their tree every day in hopes she may return. Whatever it was, they created something magical and everlasting, something that, search as I may, I have never found again in other dramas. Faith is by no means a perfect drama. No, it has many flaws. But Eun Soo and Daejang made it special in every way. The imja couple is dear to my heart and Lee Min Ho as Daejang is still my favorite Lee Min Ho's character. I'm just a sucker for characters with depth and layers. I look forward to the day Lee Min Ho plays a character that replaces Daejang in my heart. But let's be honest, it's probably never going to happen because Daejang was the first and he's left such a deep and lasting impression. Yes to all the perhaps. And I'd add that it all comes down to Song Ji Na's: (1) Writing Her writing challenged our brains and kept forcing us to think. We all know it's killing our brain cells, but we sadistically enjoyed and willingly let her kill our brain cells. She made us question a lot of things thrown in the script. I went into watching the drama for enjoyment purposes but in the end I find myself and others looking up on the history of Goryeo, to get a better understanding of Goryeo's history, King Gongmin and General Choi Young. Another friend even went into deep research on the Goryeo soldier's ranking. (2) Characterisation Faith, is by far, very flawed and poor in terms of directing, editing, action, costume designs and visual quality etc. I'd say it's very bad, especially compared to what we get these days. But then there's that Song Ji Na's magic where she introduced me to her Choi Young—an uptight, but upright and always proper conservative man; a broken and quiet character who has very little words and speaks his emotions to me with his eyes. Yoo Eun Soo, whom she throws into Choi Young's world and mess it all up—was a LOT of fun to watch. I love seeing a flustered Daejang in episode 6, and love seeing him being teased by his Woodalchi puppies. I love Song Ji Na for giving me a sageuk where the heroine is spunky—yes, she is physically incapable of protecting herself, but mentally, she is as strong as the men and she confronts fear head-on. She was written and presented in a way as an obstacle for Daejang, a Healer, a Lover, a conflict, a miracle, soul mate and many more. The imja couple face many tests, but it's not those typical Korean drama gimmicks e.g. amnesia, third wheel, birth secret, noble idiocy or any other makjang. I also love that even though Song Ji Na did not have time to explore further on all the vast characters in Faith, she somehow managed to make most of them memorable and interesting. Ki Chul ended up being a ridiculous villain, but so much parodies were made out of him by the Faith fans that makes him unforgettable. The side characters had little screen time, but they all possess colorful personalities and thus, stand out. I'd never forget Kim Mi Kyung's Lady Choi, the one & only who dares to abuse our Daejang. Yoon Sang Kyung is now a male lead in his own dramas, but I'll forever remember him as the cute and dumb dumb Deok Man. Choong Suk, who disrupted the possible hot kiss imja couple nearly had. Daeman, the puppy with explosive hair that follows Daejang everywhere; Do Chi, the cheeky eunuch that teaches young Gongmin and Noguk's what it means to be husband and wife. Flaws aside, which mainly stemmed from financial and uncontrollable circumstances during production, Song Ji Na gave us a really good history-based story with well written, layered and in-depth character growth for Gongmin, Choi Young and Eun Soo. Like a baby bird, Gongmin was forced to lead a nation corrupted by Ki Chul. To do so, he has to gather his own people, build up his own force and Choi Young played a big part in all of it and by mentoring him into who he later became. Having served many useless kings before Gongmin, Choi Young lost his faith in the kings and the country. Before he met Eun Soo, he was alive but wilted inside, Eun Soo gave him a purpose to live and Gongmin restored his faith. Throughout the drama, he was faced with many challenges and conflicts, forced to make difficult decision and choose between Eun Soo and Gongmin. It was interesting, to watch him juggle and balance between serving the king, fighting for the country and protecting Eun Soo all at the same time. And that makes him a very charming male character because he is not portrayed spending various episodes fawning over a woman and neglecting other things. On top of being in love, romancing Eun Soo, the man has a lot of responsibilities and duties. P.S. I would look out for top-notch excellent performance from actor Choi Min Soo's cameo in episode 4. Plot/Story: 8 Cast/Acting: 9 Production values: 5.5 Re-Watch value: 9* Overall value: 7.8 *Many have rewatched it countless times and throughout the course of 8 years, fans of Faith have done a total of 4 recaps. If you happen to fall in love with Faith, follow up with the omitted script tidbits (link) which Song Ji Na that helps us better understanding story she wanted to tell, and the translated novels (link) to get more insights and details of the story.
  15. Thought I should open a thread for this movie since it has such a power casting - many of whom I love. Year-end is always a lovely time to wind down, sit back and watch some romantic shows. This reminds me very much of Love Actually. Synopsis: “New Year’s Eve” will tell the story of four couples who must each overcome different fears and problems as they face the beginning of a new year.
  16. Broadcast station : tvN Schedule : December 12, 2020 - Sat & Sun 21:00 About the Show /Plot/Synopsis Genre : Historical, Comedy, Romance, Fantasy In the present day, Jang Bong Hwan works as a chef at the President's Blue House. He has a free spirit, but his spirit somehow finds its way into the body of Queen Kim So Yong in the Joseon period. King Cheol Jong has secrets. He seems like a figurehead, who is gentle and easygoing. In fact, he hides his strong aspects. Queen Sunwon is the late King Sunjo’s wife. She wields the true power in the country and, thus, relegates King Cheol Jong as just a figurehead. Kim Jwa Geun is Queen Sunwon’s younger brother. He is extremely ambitious. (Asianwiki)
  17. I am excited for this pairing of Ji Chang Wook and Kim Ji Won. December is the perfect time of the year to wind things down , relax and enjoy a sweet romance. While JCW and KJW will headline the show, the drama also showcases the romance of two other couples. Kim Min Suk from Because This Is My First Life and Soo Joo Yeon ( that cute doctor from Romantic Teacher Dr Kim 2) will be one of the other couples. The drama is produced by Kakao TV - so this will be a short form web(digital) drama that will also air on Netflix. This set of 12 episodes (30 minutes per episode) will be the 1st of several seasons and this 1st season is called: “My Lovable Camera Thief.” According to this article: Source Ji Chang Wook will be playing the role of Park Chae Won, an honest and overly passionate architect. He is a romantic who loves the city’s alleys and has a hobby of collecting hobbies. After a woman he calls the “camera thief” steals his heart one summer night and then disappears, he cannot let her go. Kim Ji Won takes on the role of Lee Eun Oh, a freelance marketer. She sometimes puts on a different “identity” as a free-spirited woman Yoon Sun Ah. When she spontaneously decides to go someplace posing as Yoon Sun Ah, she accidentally ends up falling in love with Park Chae Won. The drama is also known as Lovestruck in the City and the series depicts the real love story of young people who live fiercely with "another me" in a complex city. ( Wiki) Director: Park Shin-Woo Writer: Jung Hyun-Jung, Jung Da-Yeon Network: Kakao TV, Netflix Episodes: 12 Release Date: December 22, 2020 -- Runtime: Tuesday & Friday 17:00 KST (Kakao TV) / Tuesday & Friday 19:00 KST (Netflix)
  18. Basic Information | Cast of Characters | OST | Trailers | Episode Guide | Ratings | Behind The Scenes | Review
  19. Man In Veil/ Secret Man 비밀의남자 About the Show: A man has the intelligence of a 7-year-old due to an accident. Han Yoo Jung is a woman with a bright and positive personality. She aspired to become an announcer, but her poor family background made her give up on her dream. She now works hard to support her family. She also lives in atonement for her fraternal twin sister's wrongdoings. (Source: Asianwiki) @abs-oluteM Cast & Characters Trailer & OST Review Ratings
  20. MORE THAN FRIENDS About The Show Broadcast Station: JTBC Schedule: Friday & Saturday, 10.50PM KST, from 25 Sept 2020 Episodes: 16 Duration: 70 mins Plot Synopsis More Than Friends stars Ong Seong Wu as Lee Soo, a photographer, and Shin Ye Eun as Kyung Woo Yeon, a calligrapher. Lee Soo and Woo Yeon have had a crush on each other since their high school days, but due to a misunderstanding, have remained only as friends. After ten years of unspoken attraction, what happens when one party decides to change the status quo? Source: Asian Wiki, My Drama List
  21. http://img.imbc.com/adams/Program/202010/132470205138721820.jpg Broadcast station: MBC Schedule: October 21 - December 10, 2020 / Wednesday-Thursday / 21:20 (KST) About the Show: The story tells of a wedding dress designer who gets entangled in the world of espionage because of an unexpected event that happened to her best friend. Her ex-husband and current husband are both spies and they have been hiding their secret identity from her. Genre: Romance, Comedy, Thriller Trailers:
  22. Basic Information | Cast of Characters | OST | Trailers | Episode Guide | Ratings | Behind The Scenes | Review
  23. Broadcast : Channel A Schedule : September 4, 2020- October 24, 2020 Aired on: Friday & Saturday 2150 Country: South Korea Language: Korean Ji Eun-Soo ( LEe Yu-Ri is a daughter-in-law of a powerful Chaebol family. She suddenly becomes a murderer, who killed her husband. After she is released from prison, she tries to get her daughter back. She approaches Kang Ji-Min ( Yeon Jeong-Hun), who adopted her daughter. He is a cool as ice reporter. Ji Sun-Soo Pretends to fall in love with him and attempts to marry him to become the stepmother of her daughter. Source ( AsianWiki) & ( MyDramalist) @abs-oluteM Basic Information OST Behind The Scenes Official Trailer OST
  24. K drama land does it again . If you're looking for a scandalous student-crushing-on-teacher type romance, or some noona love , and more importantly an epic love triangle that involves two brothers , this could just be the drama for you. Second lead syndrome is bound to rear its ugly head , what with the dashing Ha Seok Jin (Seo Jin) playing second fiddle as Ji Soo's older brother and a hot race car driver . Nevertheless, I am excited to see how Ji Soo (Seo Hwan) holds his own as the main protagonist in this MBC drama. Ji Soo's romantic arc begins in his school days falling for his then homeroom teacher , played by Im Soo Hyang (Oh Ye Jin). Fast forward to the present, Seo Hwan becomes an architect and Ye Ji becomes a ceramic artist. ( I can just envision a reenacting of Patrick Swayze's iconic romantic pottery scene on Ghost ) Anyway , according to a site I read, Ye Jin gets caught up in a cruel twist of fate by being entangled in a love triangle with two brothers. ( Though I don't understand how being loved by both Ji Soo and Ha Seok Jin at the same time could be anything but cruel). My excitement stems from the fact that Ha Seok Jin has not been on the silver screen for over 2 years now in a main role , and this would be Ji Soo's first long overdue lead role on the big networks. Of course it will also be interesting to see Im Soo Hyang , of ID:Gangnam Beauty fame, play the the central female character, and if she'd be able to create chemistry with both men. Hwang Seung On (Carry Jung), rounds up the main cast playing HSJ's jealous former girlfriend who is a supermodel. Angst on the scale of ten is to be expected. -synopsis by @ abs-oluteM - Source: My Drama List Asian Wiki Kpopmap Broadcast station: MBC MBC drama site Schedule: Wednesday & Thursday 21:30 (35 minutes each / 2 episodes per day) beginning August 19, 2020 Genre: romance. noona romance, drama First script reading . (more here on MBC) Links to : Info on Cast Trailers BTS videos
  25. Director: Park Shin Woo Writer: Jo Yong Cast: Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Ye Ji, Oh Jung Se First off, the premise. A young man Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) who is the sole carer for his developmentally retarded older brother Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se) works as an attendant at psychiatric wards and hospitals. Due to the murder of their mother when the two brothers were just boys, and the resultant trauma to the older brother, they frequently move when the older brother enters a traumatized state triggered by the thought of butterflies. They nominally move so that the older brother will be able to feel safe. There is also a beautiful, quirky, emotionally stunted author Ko Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji) who writes modern fairy tales that are not Disney at all, but hearken back to the original Grimm tales with their darkness and their morals. This drama is the story of their relationship both when they meet as adults, but also a slow reveal into how they had been entwined as children. There are also more episodic stories about the patients at the OK Psychiatric Hospital where MKT works for the bulk of the drama which deal with different psychiatric conditions. I didn’t expect to like this drama particularly. I know it’s Kim Soo Hyun’s comeback drama and he is an impressive young actor with a specialty in emoting, but his projects have been a bit hit or miss for me pre-army. Plus, post-army movies tend to be long on abs (which I’m not protesting), but not necessarily the actors’ strongest work. And this drama was presented with the difficult topic of mental health. While it was pitched as a healing drama, I had my doubts. However, I loved the idea of a Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji pairing. I feel that Seo Ye Ji has come a long way from her “Moorim School” days, and I was really impressed with her performance in “Save Me.” So, going in, I think it was really the strength of the dramatic talent of the OTP that got me to start watching. The supporting veteran cast, including the versatile Oh Jung Se playing the developmentally challenged older brother to Kim Soo Hyun’s lead and Kim Mi Kyung (Hacker Ajumma!) was only a bonus and provided more reassurance on the acting front. I have to admit I was completely blown away from the first episode. The production values are fantastic! And the drama manages to maintain the right mood all through the series, evolving as the story and characters themselves grew and evolved along with the POV regarding the mental health issues that tackle. In the early episodes, the drama maintains an unsettling atmosphere as it combines beauty, quirkiness, and eeriness, so appropriate to the introduction of all of its disparate elements including a murder mystery, an odd and chilling little girl, a normal little boy with the burden of a brother who seems to take all of their mother’s attention, his brother who seems to be a simple character, and more. Towards the end, the whole production takes on a lighter, brighter vibes as the characters open themselves up to each other and the mysteries and odd elements are explained. The acting was even better than expected. Both KSH and SYJ can emote and cry so beautifully and painfully that it caused my heart to ache, and I will admit that I could feel my eyes welling up from time to time just watching them. Fortunately, though, it wasn’t all angst and tears. They were able to bring their light moments and absurd moments to the screen as well, without any overacting to distract from the story itself or to cause me to break from believing that I’m watching the characters rather than actors acting. The entire cast was strong in bringing their respective characters to life and showing interactions and reactions that felt realistic and human. I didn’t feel I had to fast forward through anything or multi-task while watching to get through “slow” parts. The most engrossing scenes for me were actually the ones where KMY was interacting with both brothers, even more than the OTP progression itself. The only slightly weak point was in the storytelling itself. Unfortunately, like a lot of other kdramas, the set up of initial premise and mystery was engaging and intriguing, only for the denouement to be not quite satisfying. The most unsatisfying element was in how it handled the question of KMY’s mother. The more encapsulated stories of the patients at the OK Psychiatric were handled better. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this drama, and would recommend others to watch it. It may not crack my all time Top Ten of kdramas, but it was a satisfying watch, one that I may watch again sometime in the future. One final note about the English title. The Korean title for this drama is actually "Psycho, But It's Okay" which I think worked really well with the evolution of this drama. Given that it had a scary vibe at the beginning that softens to one of a being one of a loving, extended, if a bit quirky family. I mean, really, most families are quirky anyway, and we hope that we have a loving one. I feel that the English title of "It's Okay To Not Be Okay" is perhaps more palatable than "Psycho", but it felt too diluted for me. Plot / story 7/10 Cast / acting 10/10 Production value(aesthetics/OST/cinematography) 10/10 Re-watch value 8/10 Overall 8.5/10
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