The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Flash Review: In Time With You [Taiwan]

Sometimes an oldie really is a goodie, my friends.

In Time With You had been recommended to me by several of you, and I’d dutifully put it on my list with the best of intentions, but as you might have guessed, I kept putting off actually checking it out, because there was always something newer and shinier to watch.

So what was the catalyst that finally drew me into watching this 2011 modern classic?

Well. My interest was first kindled not too ago, when my friend DDee started spazzing about this show on Twitter, as she embarked on her personal first watch of it. That made me bump this show up my list by a lot, in my head. But THEN, she finished the show, and promptly announced on Twitter that this show had officially unseated Coffee Prince from the #1 drama spot in her heart. Woah. That’s a BIG statement, coz DDee loves Coffee Prince, and so do I. I just couldn’t not watch it now, could I?

And now that I’ve finished my watch, let me just say, THANK YOU, dear DDee.. this truly was a gem of a drama. If not for your wholehearted, enthusiastic spazzing, I might’ve never gotten around to checking this out, and that would’ve been such a pity. ❤

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Review: Suddenly This Summer [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

An earthy youth-to-young adult story of growing up, and learning to love yourself and others, Suddenly This Summer is understated, poignant and relatable in all the right ways.

Because Show is more slice-of-life than its cuter drama cousins like A Love So Beautiful and Put Your Head On My Shoulder, it can feel like a slow watch. But what Show lacks in trendy cuteness, it more than makes up for, with characters – even the secondary ones – who feel like real people earnestly doing their best in their individual life journeys.

Even though Show is heart-pinching at times, it feels refreshing in its gentle earthiness.

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Dropped: Mother Of Mine [My Prettiest Daughter In The World]

Every so often, a family drama comes along that feels worthy of the 50+ episode investment.

To be honest, for a solid 20+ hours, I sincerely thought that Mother Of Mine was one of those. For a while, I found myself slurping up an episode or three, or four, each day, to the point where I was legit afraid to run out of new episodes. That’s quite something, isn’t it?

Unfortunately for me, at around the episode 53 mark (this show does half-hour episodes instead of hour-long ones), Show started feeling less fun and less charming to watch. Also unfortunately for me, this really doesn’t seem to be a self-correcting trend.

68 episodes in, I’m finally deciding to call it quits with this one.

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Review: One Spring Night

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A romance that manages to feel real and raw, yet sweet and aspirational, at the same time.

Even though our characters are flawed and sometimes even a little unlikable, Show manages to also make them brave enough, and sweet enough, and considerate enough, that our lead couple feels thoroughly worth rooting for, both separately and together. While our story doesn’t ever achieve cracky levels of engagement, Show more than makes up for this, with its deft exploration of characters and relationships, while putting some very healthy relationship dynamics on display.

Despite feeling a touch slow in terms of its plot development, Show manages to feel thoughtfully satisfying all the way to the end.

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Dropped: Angel’s Last Mission: Love

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is one of those shows that either really works for you, or really doesn’t. Some of my drama friends seem to really like this one, which is kinda why I thought I might, too.

For the record, I kinda-sorta liked this one okay after the first episode, but afterwards, there just wasn’t any spark for me with this show (kinda like how a second lead in a drama somehow never seems to manage to spark with a lead character, ha), and since dramas have consistently taught us not to try to force love, after 16 episodes of trying – and failing – to get sucked into this one, I’m calling it quits, you guys.

On the upside, at least I’m taking my drama lessons to heart? 😉

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Dropped: My Absolute Boyfriend [Korea]

If you’ve been around the blog for a bit, you might know that I like to give shows a chance to win me over, and I often give shows more time than they might deserve, while trying to adjust my lens to find a winning setting that allows me to enjoy the show in question as best as is possible. However, given the current drama landscape where more shows are popping out than ever before (I can hardly keep track of ’em all!), drama quality is more patchy than ever (some wonderful gems, but also, so many duds!), and everyone’s drama tastes are just so varied, I’ve been burned more than a few times, trying to love dramas that I never ended up loving after all.

Case in point, my recent foibles with Chinese drama Well Intended Love, which lots of folks loved, but which never ended up working for me (spoiler: I actually legit hated it).

Now, I don’t hate Absolute Boyfriend, but, I do think it’s time that I learn how to quit while I’m ahead. That’s why I’m dropping Absolute Boyfriend, just 10 episodes in.

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Flash Review: Circle

What a solid, surprising little gem of a drama, you guys.

There are so few kdramas that attempt the science fiction genre, that off the top of my head, I can only think of one other drama – 2010’s Joseon X-Files (also known as Secret Investigation Record) – as a show somewhat in the same category. That in itself makes Circle a bit of a special snowflake, in my books. In addition, whether or not you’re into science fiction (I’m not super into it myself), Circle manages to be consistently interesting, compelling, & mysterious; sometimes rather exciting, and almost always emotionally engaging.

When I started this one, I wasn’t all that sure I would like this odd science fiction duck of a drama, to be honest, but now that I’ve emerged on the other side, I can sincerely say that I’m glad I made time for this one.

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Dear kfangurl: Is Korean Fan Culture Really Like What Is Shown In Dramas?

It’s been a long minute (literal years!) since my last Dear kfangurl post, but when the comment below popped up on my recently posted Her Private Life review, blog reader Yoona found the topic and my initial response interesting enough, that she suggested a proper post on it. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to explore the topic a little further, and so here we are.

Dolores writes:

“So I started watching [Her Private Life] on your recommendation, Fangurl, but there is something I wish you could verify for me. Are Korean celebrities really not allowed to date? How is it a scandal if two unmarried people have a consensual relationship? I’ve encountered this before in other kdramas, of course, but I can’t quite get a handle on how much of this is exaggerated. I mean, it can’t be real, right?

And the crazy fans…the crazy ADULT fans? Is this really a thing to this extent? Okay, we’ve all experienced crushes on celebrities, but what is acceptable at 13 is just not normal at 30… it’s the reason I had a hard time relating to the heroine in “Answer me 1997. ” I have a friend who has seen Bruce Springsteen perform over a hundred times, but she doesn’t stalk him or obsess about this personal life; she just really loves his music. So I can sort of understand this kind of excessive adoration, but the way fans are portrayed in Kdramas is so over-the-top it just doesn’t seem like that can be real.”

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Review: Her Private Life

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This is a show that pretty much lives and dies by the combined charm of and chemistry between its OTP. Park Min Young is lovely and manages to come across as both relatable and aspirational, while Kim Jae Wook shines in his first romantic leading man role, which just happens to be that of the Perfect Boyfriend with the power to melt you into a puddle on a regular basis. The interactions between our OTP are a big highlight, from the very organic skinship – ranging from sexy sizzle to absentmindedly agreeable – to the wonderfully healthy conversations that they regularly share; a precious rarity in Dramaland.

Everything else is pretty much set-dressing for the main romance, but Show does a very solid job of making that set dressing generally pleasant and appealing, with a nice handful of likable secondary characters, a very pretty collection of OST tracks, and a keen spotlight on the fangirl experience.

Yes, Show does have its flaws, but that usually poofs away quite nicely, whenever the OTP shows up onscreen. It’s like magic fairy dust.

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Flash Review: The Smile Has Left Your Eyes [Hundred Million Stars From The Sky]

You guys, this is possibly the one show that I ended up watching quite literally by accident.

See, even though quite a few of you had suggested this show to me, I’d put it vaguely on my list for “later,” and my track record shows that “later” often stretches into a black hole void of “maybe never,” mostly because there are just too many newer shows vying for my attention and I can’t keep up with it all.

The thing is, when I saw this available on Viu, I thought I’d click on episode 1, “just to see.” Well, whaddya know. I got sucked in within mere minutes. This one struck me as immediately engaging the way a classic melo like Winter Sonata is immediately engaging, and by the 30-minute mark, I knew I’d be following this one through to the end. In a drama landscape where a good number of dramas take about 4 episodes to get going in earnest, that’s skillz.

The question is, did Show manage to keep it up all the way through to the end?

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