So, in case anyone is interested (which, I’m sure, not)… Confession time!
I’m still watching The Heirs (SBS, 2013). I’ve knocked myself out with four full episodes. Why? WHY? I find it exceedingly lame, and I’m not even talking about the Engrish or the Lame Surfer Dude. It’s just hollow, and carelessly put together. I can’t care about anyone or anything in it. See this ridiculously crowded and pose-y publicity poster? It just about sums it all up. Characters are randomly tossed in to fill up space, and they all just pose around.
But maybe it’s precisely because it’s a whole lot of nothing that I find it an unoffensive thing to have playing on my computer after a hard day’s work, while I surf the news. If the show ever buckles down to taking itself more seriously and writer Kim Eun Sook’s ideology makes an effort to show itself, that’s when I’ll probably bail.
I’m on Episode 14 of Shindon (MBC, 2005). It’s very absorbing, but at the same time it’s not an easy watch. It doesn’t work if I don’t give it my full attention. I’m also starting to see why it doesn’t agree with every viewer. It’s quite different from most popular k-drama offerings of today, which sometimes seem to me more in the nature of pop concerts — slick moves, loud music, tons of eye candy, instant gratification, and sheer good fun. Shindon is more like a classical music concert — no gimmicks and no concessions. If you are not in the mood for it, it could seem tedious, lame, and even silly, and at some point you might fall asleep (as many members of classical music concert audiences in fact do). But if you can attend to it and stick with it, it can be rewarding, enriching and enduring.
I’m starting The Queen’s Classroom (MBC, 2013). Because I like lead actress Go Hyeon Jeong (All power to Sandglass Alumni!). And because I like stories with kids, provided they are done well, and I hear this one is. Let’s see how it goes! So far I like the breezy, not-overcute vibe.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Go Hyeon Jeong, Kim Eun Sook, Shin Don, The Heirs, The Queen's Classroom | 2 Comments »
Okay, Everybody! I’m starting Shin Don! Woot woot!
What, you may ask, is the big deal? What, indeed, is Shin Don?
Why, merely the best k-drama of all time, as rated by the venerable Mr X in his Vault. And merely 61 episodes long. And merely starring… Oh Man Seok! Oh, and other acting luminaries such as Son Chang Min and Jung Bo Seok. Merely written by the master, Jung Ha Yeon, who brought us Flames of Ambition, La Dolce Vita, Queen Insoo and the recent Cruel Palace – War of Flowers. And merely directed by Kim Jin Min of Time Between Dog and Wolf and La Dolce Vita.
So, creatures. Who is joining me in this orgy?
Posted in Actors/Actreses, K-drama | Tagged Jung Ha Yeon, Oh Man Seok, Shin Don | 12 Comments »
So, we have charged past the halfway point of The Blade and Petal.
Episode Eight? Brilliant. Just brilliant. Positively Shakespearean in its scope: Kings and kingdoms rising and falling as men and women cross and double-cross each other in a ruthless game of power. And at the same time, intimate and emotional in the way that K-dramas do best: The fragile and strong bonds between father and son/daughter, and the real and personal felt effects of palace politics. The fury that powerlessness induces, the crushing pain of loss, the horror of being betrayed and the horror of betraying, and the strange anti-climax of winning.
It is an episode in which there are few surprises. Not that we know all the details of what is going to happen; there are enough potential permutations to keep the tension quite high. But we do know that it is all going to come to a head this episode. And based on history (and the drama synopsis), we can figure out a few broad-brush plot points, like who gets to survive this episode and who does not. Nonetheless, for all its general predictability, a tremendous episode, packed with power and emotion.
Click on link for only mildly spoilery rave about Episode Eight. And a bit of rant on subsequent episodes and some lamentable developments (mainly, development going by the name abbreviated as N. M. W.)
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Posted in K-drama, review | Tagged Choi Min Soo, Kim Ok Bin, Kim Yeong Chul, Noh Min Woo, On Joo Wan, Park Soo Jin, The Blade and Petal, Uhm Tae Woong | 5 Comments »
So. I’ve had a bad week at work. What do I do to let off steam? Why, rant on my blog, of course!
The grumpy post of today is: The Myth of the Army Abs. Let’s give it a rest, shall we?
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Posted in Actors/Actreses, K-drama | Tagged Pet peeves | 10 Comments »
I have to confess, it took me a while to get into this show.
And it took me a while to figure out why I wasn’t “getting” it, but finally I realized what it was: I have a bad habit of watching dramas on my computer while multi-tasking — reading the news and skimming facebook and e-mails, while at the same time glancing at subtitles and catching movements on the screen. This, however, is not the way to watch The Blade and Petal. For The Blade and Petal demands full attention. For The Blade and Petal, I’ve realized belatedly, is like poetry.
Poetry is not to be analyzed. It is not even really to be read. Poetry is to be experienced. One has to open one’s mind and soul to poetry and plunge right into it. And one has to open one’s mind and heart to The Blade and Petal and dive right in.
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Posted in K-drama, review | Tagged Choi Min Soo, The Blade and Petal, Uhm Tae Woong | 5 Comments »
Final Verdict: Best K-drama ever.
I’m not kidding. I’m not even in the fevered flush of having just finished watching the (stonking great) finale. It’s been days. And I’m still impressed, and in awe, and can’t think of another k-drama that’s better than this. Seriously.
I was blown away by its technical brilliance, so sure-handed one hardly notices it. I was awed by its under-stated touches of realism and its seamless continuity and logic flow. I was caught up in its stories and characters. I was, by the last episode, absolutely terrified. (I’m not one to frighten easily, but I found my heart thumping and my finger kept hitting the “pause” button because I kept feeling I was going to have a heart attack if I carried on.)
This is intelligent and mature. It is completely lacking in superfluity, bling, or posing. It doesn’t have any silliness or inappropriate humour, and barely any sentiment. Yet it is totally gripping.
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Posted in K-drama, review | Tagged Ahn Pan Seok, The End of the World | 4 Comments »
It’s something of a hyperbole to talk about The End of the World. Usually it’s nothing of the sort. An increase of pollutant particles in the air, though annoying, should not be treated like the end of the world. An isolated terrorist attack, though horrible, does not actually signal the end of the world either. Likewise, you’d think that one shouldn’t take seriously the heralding of a k-drama as brilliant.
I have watched five episodes of the much-feted The End of the World (jTBC, 2013). And initially, though I knew its admirers to be reliable, deep down I was skeptical. A brilliant k-drama about a virus outbreak? Seriously?
SERIOUSLY. This stuff is brilliant. I’ll leave it to more technically accomplished folk to detail and analyze its technical and artistic perfections. All I would say for the moment is:– It is so perfect and so compelling, I seem to have lost my usual ability to keep a healthy distance from what I’m watching. I am totally emotionally invested. I am totally immersed in its life-threatening situations. In fact, I’m scared shitless.
Posted in K-drama, review | Tagged The End of the World | 3 Comments »