Dear kfangurl: What do you think of idol actors?

Bubblebathdaisies writes:

Dear kfangurl,

(This is a long intro, so skip it if you wish) Hello! I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for a really long time, since I was thirteen and I just made this account to comment! I’m sixteen now, and I feel like I’ve grown up with your blog- you introduced me to dramas and k-pop, and I still read your older articles when I feel down, it’s like comfort food for me. So thank you for that!

The question I have is: What do you think of idol actors? I don’t know if it’s just me, but it feels like a lot more idols are starring in dramas nowadays, and they may not always be good at acting. The general consensus among some of my other drama-watching friends is that idol actors take away jobs from better-trained rookie actors, and some think it’s unfair that they get to use a drama as an acting class. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a gray area, since there’s plenty of perfectly well-trained and decently popular actors who can’t reeeallly act that well, but also it kind of ruins the drama for me if the lead cannot act well (fourteen year old me wasn’t that bothered about acting skills so much as ~swoon~ factor and watched The Great Seducer on repeat, but I watched it last week and had to skip a big big chunk of the scenes because the acting was…not the greatest) What do you think?

(But I think we all know idols are going to keep getting casted anyways, lol. They’re far too popular to miss out on for profit-related purposes, and some of them are really really good!)

Annie writes:

Would be interesting to read your thoughts on idols turned actors/actresses.

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Review: The King: Eternal Monarch

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show is very ambitious, in just about every sense of the word. It aims to be this very shiny, expensive, mind-bendy parallel worlds thing, with an epic romance at its center, and it therefore aims to blow your mind and sweep you off your feet, in one fell swoop.

Because Show is that ambitious, though, I feel like it doesn’t quite manage to keep all its ducks in a row, all the way through. Sometimes it kinda-sorta blows my mind, and sometimes it kinda-sorta sweeps me off my feet, but it doesn’t manage to do either with any degree of consistency.

Ultimately, Show is neither as brilliant as its fans say it is, but neither is it as terrible as its critics say it is, either. It’s actually not bad, with some slightly hefty lens management.

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Flash Review: When My Love Blooms

If you’re a fan of this show, let me apologize in advance; I.. did not end up loving this one.

I mean, I did like this one at first, and quite a lot too, and that’s why I kept on watching. Sadly, though, try as I might, I didn’t manage to sustain my initial good feelings towards this show. It’s taken me the entire series to come to a conclusion as to exactly why this one didn’t work for me, which I’ll tell you about shortly.

So.. at least I tried, and at least I learned something from it? 😅

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Dear kfangurl: How do you choose which dramas to watch?

Might I spy with my little eye.. a drama that’s worth watching..?

Beez writes:

Dear Kfangurl,

I need help! I know my K-bloom isn’t totally off the rose but I feel as if it’s hanging on by only a couple of wilting petals. I’m not tired of Kdramas but I find I can’t easily decide what to watch these days. At this stage in the game, where my biases (actors that I watched in ANYthing they starred in next) are getting older so filling less leading roles, I find myself with less that I’m interested in watching unless the synopsis snags me with a unique subject matter or hobby or career/lifestyle that I’m interested in. So how do you (I’ve noticed you’ve become more selective) choose the shows that are worth your busy time?

For example, I see you reviewed My Unfamiliar Family. I haven’t read your review yet because 1) I never read reviews of shows I have no intention of watching and 2) I never read reviews beforehand of a show I intend to watch. So looking at the synopsis on AsianWiki for My Unfamiliar Family – sounds like a total snoozefest. And I learned to never rely on video teasers as they are totally random and can set me up for disappointment when a teaser is hilarious but the show turns out to be a drama and vice versa. So, how do you decide what’s up next to, not necessarily review, but to watch?

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Flash Review: Timing [Web Drama]

With so many new dramas flooding the dramascape these days, I honestly wasn’t sure if you guys would be interested in a review of this web drama. After all, most of us are already drowning in our monster watch lists, right?

But, it really isn’t often that a little web drama with a total running time of less than an hour (54 minutes and 57 seconds, to be exact – yes, I calculated!) manages to not only make an impression but leave a thought-provoking sort of aftertaste, so I thought it’d be worth putting out there, just in case some of you are looking for a drama snack, in between your full-length dramas.

Fair warning that this one leans bittersweet, so if poignance and pathos are your thing, you might like this one.

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Flash Review: The Romance Of Tiger And Rose [China]

Funny story, you guys.

I started watching this drama because of all the enthusiastic tweets and related spazz that I saw others heaping on it. Everyone seemed so highly amused by this show, and I didn’t want to miss out. You guys know my FOMO is real, right?

But as I watched this show, I was bemused to find that I was, at best, enjoying this one in a very moderate fashion. I began to wonder what I was missing, since everyone before me seemed to have nothing but love for this show. That curiosity kept me going (ie, kept me from actually dropping this show), even though I found myself taking long breaks between episodes. I didn’t feel the loss of this show on my screen much at all, since, as you probably know, I usually juggle a whole plateful of shows at the same time, and so I had plenty of other dramas to keep me occupied between episodes of this show.

It was only at the episode 19 mark, when I decided it was time to finish this show already, and write its review, that I hit on one of the key things I’d been missing. It wasn’t my viewing lens; it was my viewing technique.

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Dear kfangurl: What’s an anti-hero and why do we like them?

Hmm.. This is a great question.

Snow Flower writes:

Dear Kfangurl,

I like reading your witty and thoughtful musings on dramas and their fans. I would like to read your take on one of the most popular drama tropes, the anti-hero (or heroine). I admit that I am fascinated with conflicted characters because I think that inside each of them is hidden the possibility for redemption. And redemption and character growth are the bread and butter of good storytelling. So if and when you are able, please share your insights about what makes a good anti-hero and why do the drama fans like them.

Sincerely,

Snow Flower

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Review: My Unfamiliar Family

THE SHORT VERDICT:

My Unfamiliar Family is a drama that feels familiar and yet fresh at the same time, to my eyes.

It feels like a lot of the things I like in family dramas, condensed into a more efficient 16 episodes rather than a sprawling 54 episodes, presented with more polish, and sprinkled with a harder dash of reality, than the average family drama. Show has more surprises up its sleeve than the average kdrama, which makes this almost (but not quite) feel like a soapy watch experience. Yet, at the same time, there is a solid amount to unpack with this show, which makes it feel meaty and serious.

Altogether, Show feels kind of spicy and interesting, while managing to remain raw, heart-hitting and thought-provoking, at the same time.

An unusual combination of drama flavors that makes for a refreshing watch.

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Review: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A meaty, dark, whimsical melodrama that examines the difficulties faced by people suffering from trauma and mental illness, It’s Okay is not an easy watch at all. There is lots to unpack, difficult feelings to feel, and even internal biases to examine. So if you’re looking for a fluffy rom-com, this is probably not for you, for right now.

However, it is remarkably satisfying to witness our characters’ journeys, because those journeys are teased out so organically, that all of the growth and progress feels earned and true. Fantastic performances by our cast – with a special shout-out to Oh Jung Se for his impressively amazing interpretation of an autistic character – brings everything to life, and it’s not hard to get invested in our characters’ journeys.

There are a few bumps in the road, but overall, this proved to be a very satisfying watch.

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Guest Post: Original music inspired by It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

Today we have a very special guest post by our very own Snow Flower, everyone! 😀

If you know Snow Flower, you might know that she’s a drama fan who’s passionate not just about her shows, but about music too. I learned some time ago that she plays music, but I did not realize that she writes music as well – until she asked if I’d like to share her original IOTNBO-inspired music with my IOTNBO review (the review is here!)

Once I took a listen of her music, however, I immediately felt that these pieces didn’t deserve to just be tacked onto the end of a review; they deserved their own place to shine. Which is how this guest post was born.

I hope you guys enjoy listening to Snow Flower’s lovely compositions as much as I did!

~kfangurl

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