When I first heard the set-up for Scholar Who Walks the Night, I was really excited.
I mean, a supernatural drama world featuring Joseon-era vampires with glorious bone structure, and a girl who goes undercover as a boy to earn a living and support her family? It sounded like the perfect mashup combining the best of Arang and Sungkyunkwan Scandal, both of which are dramas I really love.
Plus, Scholar stills promised that I would get to see Lee Jun Ki wearing guyliner and a deeper red lip, sorta like how he did so spectacularly in his breakout role in The King and The Clown.
Basically, I couldn’t not watch this one. And I couldn’t wait to feast my eyes on the Pretty too.
…It’s really too bad that Show turned out to be a very, very different creature than what I’d expected.
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
STUFF I DIDN’T LOVE
1. The level of Drama
Taking into account my high hopes for a lovely mashup of Arang and SKKS, I was expecting Show to have a tone that was light & fun for the most part, with stretches of moderate intensity for the rest of the time. After all, I figured we’d need some dramatic tension, right?
Well. Show definitely agrees on the Dramatic bit, coz Scholar turned out to be a lot more Dramatic than I expected, not only in the plot points themselves, but in the delivery too.
Case in point, when our resident vampires Sung Yeol (Lee Jun Ki) and Gwi (Lee Soo Hyuk) vamp out, it’s not at all subtle.
Rather, it’s whites-of-eyes, dramatic cold sweat, snarling-at-the-camera-with-blood-all-over-their-faces type of dramatic, which feels a bit much. Especially since I was hoping for a cooler, more subtle and effortless sort of vamping out, sort of along the lines of Season 1 of Vampire Prosecutor.
Basically, I was hoping for frothy fun, but Show is really more interested in serving up Dramatic, Tragic Angst, and that angst pervaded the entire show. Whether it was character-centered, relationship centered, or plot-centric, just about everything had angst written all over it.
All our key characters are angsty. Sung Yeol, Yoon (Changmin) and Gwi all have their fair share of angst, all of it to do with their identity and who/what they perceive themselves to be.
Also, all our romantic relationships are angsty.
From Sung Yeol drinking Myung Hee’s (Kim So Eun) blood, to Sung Yeol’s burgeoning I-shouldn’t-love-you feelings for Yang Sun (Lee Yoo Bi), to Hye Ryung’s (Kim So Eun) complicated relationship with Yoon, to Soo Hyang’s (Jang Hee Jin) one-sided feelings for Sung Yeol, every relationship is rife with angst.
Plot-wise, everything’s painted as quite dire and tragic, what with so many people dying from start to finish (seriously, so much blood!).
In a nutshell, Show did not hold back on the angst in the least. For the record, I’m not against angst, and have managed to enjoy heavily melodramatic dramas in the past. Just, Scholar didn’t manage to make the angst feel worth it, y’know?
2. Story Emphasis
Show has an odd sense of balance when it comes to where it chooses to place its emphasis.
There are basically two main emphases in our story. On one side of the fence, we have the romance between Sung Yeol and Yang Sun, which feels star-crossed from the start because he’s a vampire and she’s a human.
On the other side, we have the seemingly endless search for the journal belonging to Crown Prince Jung Hyun (Lee Hyun Woo), which will purportedly reveal the secret plan on how to kill Gwi.
For a show that seems quite fixated on the romance (there’s a particular jangly romantic ballad played over and over, to drive home that point), Show spends an inordinate amount of time on the search for the secret journal instead.
We get episodes and episodes of Very Serious Dramatic Stuff, all in the name of finding the secret journal. The search rarely ever gets anywhere, and in the midst of it all, we get oddly-placed romantic interludes with our OTP, which just makes me go, Wha..?
I don’t know about everyone else, but these “romantic” scenes often felt out-of-place, to me. That jangly ballad would start to play, giving me the cue that what I was watching was supposed to be romantic.
Often, though, I felt like there was a short circuit somewhere, coz a lot of the time, I just didn’t find the scenes very romantic at all.
Like in episode 3, when Sung Yeol saves Yang Sun from the water after a big exciting chase involving Gwi, and proceeds to place his lips on hers. The jangly tune begins to play, as he presses his lips to hers, and I’m cringing all the way through the scene.
C’mon now, saving someone with mouth-to-mouth is not kissing, nor is it supposed to be romantic. Do it right, Show.
And in episode 11, Sung Yeol’s conversations with Yang Sun, about how he’s now her owner and she belongs to him, is also scored with the same jangly music. I get that those scenes are supposed to be sweet and romantic, but honestly, when a man asserts himself as your owner, are you really supposed to look touched?
Are you supposed to find it romantic? Coz I really didn’t.
As for the times when I could understand the romance of the scene, I often found those scenes felt fairly random and therefore not as squee-worthy as they could or should have been.
Many times, I felt that it was because the romantic scenes had been inserted weirdly, into a general flow that had more to do with the Endless Search for the lost journal.
3. General pacing & tone
Honestly, Show felt like it was maybe 8 or 10 episodes too long.
For a show that seems to prize the romance as much as it does, Scholar spends a heckuva lot of time creating an extremely complicated history around the secret journal.
A lot of the time, all the business about the Lustful Student felt like it was going over my head in a jumbled mess.
Coz, there’s Lustful Student #1, the Original, which is Prince Jung Hyun, and then there’s Lustful Student #2, who’s Prince Yoon.
It’s all very confusing since not only is Prince Yoon impersonating the original Lustful Student, Sung Yeol does it too, at one point. Which only served to make me go, Why?? Just, WHY is Show making it this confusing?
Essentially, Show spends many episodes circling around the search for the journal, and a lot of the time, that includes at least a few of our leads facing possible death. Quite often, Yang Sun would also need saving, somehow.
When this cycle happens again and again, the watch experience feels sort of tense, but not really (since it starts to happen well within Show’s first half and therefore we already know that none of our leads will die) and eventually, with all the circling, Show starts to feel pretty repetitive and boring.
On a related note, I found the tonal shifts between the light and cute, versus the dark and bloody, kind of jerky and jarring.
I mean, there were times when I enjoyed Show’s light and cute, and there were times when I enjoyed Show’s moody melancholy. But Show’s shifts between those two tones often didn’t feel organic to a single narrative, and that felt pretty distracting.
It sometimes almost felt like I was watching two different shows, like I had maybe fallen asleep with my eyes open and had sleep-worked the remote to change channels or something. Ha.
4. Ambiguous mythology & inconsistencies
The mythology of this drama world, around who dies and who gets turned into a vampire upon being fanged, is not explained. Frustrating.
Additionally, the methodology of killing a vampire and keeping it dead, is also inconsistent.
Somewhere along the way, besides the hawthorne daggers/stakes through the heart that we see from the beginning of the show, silver bullets also become effective. Notably, neither method is explained to the audience. Also frustrating.
In early episodes, we are shown dead concubines through history who’d been fanged by Gwi, and those corpses all had stakes through the heart. But in later episodes, many corpses who’d been fanged – whether they’d turned or not – were shown without stakes through the heart.
Like in episode 6, we see all the booksellers who’d been bitten and turned (how did they then all end up dead in a following scene? Did the palace guards subdue them all?) dead and without stakes through the heart. What gives?
And as just another example of Show’s inconsistency, I can’t get the scene from episode 1 out of my mind, when, one moment, we see a freshly awoken, just-turned Sung Yeol with his hand sizzling in the sun, and then soon afterwards, we see him staggering around in the sunlight, not sizzling at all. He’s wearing the magic black robe both times, so seriously, what gives?
Basically, it all starts to feel pretty random as we get deeper into the episodes, and I can’t decide whether it’s a case of writer-nim being very forgetful, or the live shoot preventing PD-nim from ensuring these details remained consistent.
Yes, I appreciate when dramas show us things instead of tell us, but when Show can’t seem to make up its mind, all of the inconsistent things become extremely confusing.
We essentially just keep getting shown different things, which makes it impossible to identify a pattern.
Past a certain point, I stopped caring or trying, and learned to just shrug it all off as just one of Show’s weird ticks. BUT, this is not how you want your audience to think of you, Show. Just sayin’.
STUFF THAT MADE IT BETTER
Given that there were quite a few things that I didn’t love about Scholar, what kept me going to the very end? I must say, it wasn’t a lot that kept me going, but it was enough.
1. Strong performances from key characters
In spite of the questionable direction of the narrative, I was consistently impressed with the delivery and dedication to the role, of our main cast.
I tuned in for Lee Jun Ki, and he didn’t disappoint. From the overwrought, dramatic moments, to the quiet, subtler beats, Lee Jun Ki pours so much feeling into Sung Yeol that it’s easy to believe Sung Yeol’s pain.
I particularly enjoyed the beats where we got to see Sung Yeol’s vulnerability beneath the stoic surface, and Lee Jun Ki portrayed those layers quite beautifully.
Although I had my doubts in the beginning coz I found Gwi a little one-note for a while, I definitely came away impressed with Lee Soo Hyuk. He embraced the character of Gwi, and made him an interesting, fascinating antagonist.
We don’t get much insight into Gwi’s inner conflict until the later episodes, but even in the earlier stretch of the show, Lee Soo Hyuk manages to imbue Gwi with enough nuance to hint at the layers yet to be revealed.
Lee Soo Hyuk basically took a potentially cheesy, one-note bad guy, and made him believable, intriguing and even a little bit tragic. Major props for that.
Additionally, I found Changmin‘s performance as Yoon surprisingly good (I say surprisingly coz I’ve never seen him act before, and he’s an idol actor, on top of that).
Yes, there were times when I found Yoon to be a frustrating character, but there were definitely also times when I found him captivating.
When anger blazed from his eyes, Yoon breathed regality. And during moments when Yoon felt he had to make hard choices, he looked genuinely conflicted, heartbroken and torn apart. In those moments, I truly believed him, as a character.
Lee Yoo Bi manages to make bumbling, clumsy Yang Sun adorable and endearing instead of frustrating, which just speaks to her likability as an actress. She makes Yang Sun so earnest and hardworking and sunny that it’s hard not to like her.
Last but not least, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Kim So Eun in her role as Hye Ryung. I mean, she did a good job as Myung Hee too, and made Myung Hee a sweet and likable character.
But it’s really as Hye Ryung that she shines. I thought that Kim So Eun did a very solid job of portraying Hye Ryung’s complicated feelings towards Yoon, Gwi and Sung Yeol. I felt and believed her conflict.
2. Lee Jun Ki & Lee Soo Hyuk are Pretty
I wasn’t too enamored with the killing, biting and bloody mouths, but when both men got to show off their cool, smirky, more sardonic sides, it was undeniably rather swoony.
Both Lee Jun Ki and Lee Soo Hyuk bring indisputable amounts of pretty to the show, and uh, I just liked gazing at the Pretty.
This is the much shallower reason, to be sure. But let me just say that when the going was rough, this was sometimes the reason that kept me hanging by a thread.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
The other thread that kept me hanging on to the very end, is that, despite how messy I found the narrative, I had a slightly morbid curiosity towards how it would all end. Like, ok already, show me this secret Gwi-killing plan and how it works.
Sadly, I was rather underwhelmed by the ending. In summary, my reaction to the ending was pretty much a mix of, “Finally!” and “What?” and “Um. Okay.”
1. The Final Showdown
I found the final showdown a bit of an anticlimax, to be honest. All the build-up to the final showdown during the episode – and the multiple episodes prior – was just way too much.
I honestly don’t think that Show could have lived up to all of that build-up. We’re talking about 19 whole episodes – actually, 19.5, if we’re being nit-picky – so probably any ending would’ve felt anticlimactic.
I also thought the resolution around Gwi, where he looks up to the sunlight and muses over how it really is beautiful – as his skin is steaming, mind you – before disappearing into nothingness, was an inordinately pretty and rather poetic ending for the show’s Big Evil Antagonist.
2. Show’s weird sense of time
All through the finale, Show displays an extremely odd sense of time. It feels like rubber-band time, in a sense. Things which should have taken only a moment, get protracted to an unreasonable length. And, because it’s convenient, nights get shortened considerably too.
When Sung Yeol rushes into the underground palace, Gwi’s supposedly hot on his heels.
And then we get an extremely protracted scene of Yang Sun making her presence known, and offering Sung Yeol her blood, and then we see Sung Yeol angsting over it, and then giving her a goodbye speech, before kissing her, and then drinking her blood.
He even has time to then catch her body as she falls, and then lay her on the ground, before Gwi speeds into the underground cavern. What was Gwi doing while all of this angsting and kissing and drinking of blood was going on? Running in circles in the courtyard??
Additionally, how about that whole internal fight that Sung Yeol has, between his human self and his blue-eyed super-vamp self.
It feels on the long side on our screens, and I can’t help wondering what Gwi is doing while this is going on too. Like, is he literally just standing around, waiting for Sung Yeol to be ready to fight?
If you think about it, we start the showdown scene when the sun has supposedly recently set. And mid-battle, when the explosives go off, bright sunlight starts streaming into the place. Did Gwi really wait around for hours, while Sung Yeol fought with himself??
I’m sorry, but that’s just quite ridiculous. And I’m supposed to find this all really exciting, when through it all, I’m actually mostly thinking stuff like, “What’s Gwi doing?? Hurry up with taking her blood, you don’t have time to talk and kiss and angst! Wait, seriously, WHAT IS GWI DOINGGG?!??”
3. The Time Skip
Of course, Show had to go with a time skip and an unexplained reappearance of Sung Yeol.
Not that I begrudge Show its happy ending; I do want Sung Yeol to be alive, after all. Just, a little more inclusivity and clarity would’ve been nice. I want to know why Sung Yeol needed to disappear for a year. What did he need to do? Heal? Regenerate? What??
Coz in the end, even though we get to a happy ending, I feel like I don’t even really know how we got there. Which really shouldn’t be the case.
Overall, I think that it would’ve been better all-around, if Show had just made up its mind on what it valued more – romance, or the secret plan to kill Gwi – and just focused its attention there.
Basically, make a choice to either go all-out cute and frothy, or full-on intense with the action melodrama. Because, as it’s sadly proven, Show just couldn’t handle being both at the same time.
I’ll admit that there were some cute moments in this show that I enjoyed, and there were even some poignant beats that I liked.
In trying to do too much over too many episodes, though, Show ended up being extremely hodge-podge, too melodramatic, and wayyy too long drawn-out.
Sadness. It feels like such a waste of so much commitment and talent. And a waste of so much Pretty too.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
An uneven, protracted, albeit pretty mess.
FINAL GRADE: C+
Yussss…. I really wanted to love this show, if fact I started making excuses for the strange-ness of this show… while watching the episodes, but in the end…. I was deeply confused —as to whether the point of the show was the book, the “plan” ….that wasn’t really a plan… or the romance… and they all felt vaguely intertwined…. but really not well enough. The whole show was shot beautifully… the amount of gorgeous detail in the sets and clothes show is breathtaking. I think LJG had about 20 completely different and each uniquely gorgeous hanboks that he wears. Can I just ramble on about how beautiful LJG was for a moment? I mean…. I wish my smoky-eye makeup is a 10th as good as his in Scholar. His presence also felt…. ominous, looming and massive. Like the relational/physical power dynamic between Yang Sun and Sung Yeol is so skewed toward Sung Yeol, that every time Yang Sun was with him… It made my skin crawl. Like I actually wanted to scream at her “RUN AWAY!” ……I have no idea where I was going with this…. except yeah… the story had really weird pacing and I never found the OTP believable enough because of the maturity/age gap between them.
Yeah, this show had looked so beautiful and so promising in the posters and trailers, but it really turned out to be quite a disappointing mess, unfortunately. I’m still sore with Show for that ridiculous rubber band time thing in the finale. :/ Lee Jun Ki was beautiful and ethereal to look at, and.. that’s about it, unfortunately. 😝
I know I’m waaaaay late but I just finished watching this and I’m so frustrated with the ending. Is he alive or did she just die and met up with him in the afterlife? “I thought I would have to wait another 50 years” she said…for what? For his return or her death?!
Lol. I feel ya. The ending is frustrating indeed, and my take is that it’s one of those open-ended ones intended for audiences to interpret as they like. I prefer to think that they are alive, and that he somehow came back. It makes no sense whatsoever, like I mention in my review, but, I feel like the alternative doesn’t make sense either. In which case, Imma just choose the interpretation that I prefer. I’m sorry, I hope that helped! 😝
Oh Fangirl, you took almost all the words right out of my mouth regarding this drama. In fact, I almost found your review more entertaining than the show itself (I mean it’s pretty close in my opinion). I read some other reviews and wasn’t feeling the connection until I read your review. Great job! I will be searching your other reviews too and seeing if we see eye to eye on other dramas. Thanks!
Tee hee! Thanks for the compliment, KL! I love that you found this almost as entertaining as the show itself (although, with this particular show and its flaws, I don’t know how entertaining I actually found it to begin with! 😂). Yay that we feel similarly about this show, though! It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in not feeling this show as much as I wanted to. I’m looking forward to chatting more dramas with ya, KL! 🙂
I’m on E14 but I’ve lost interest since E4…. The plot is stupid and drags on for waaaayyyy too long. At this point I’m just in it for LJK. Why would anyone get LJK and Lee Soo Hyuk in one drama and half-ass the writing, I’ll never know 🙁 Every episode, I end up obsessing about how Lee Yubi’s face is much bigger than LJK’s, how annoying and creepy Changmin’s ant-colony “beard” is, and how weird that the King’s bestie lost his beard when he became a vampire. When I start nitpicking on the little things, it’s a sign that I should probably drop the show. The same thing happened to me with Joseon Gunman, where I kept obsessing over LJK’s pierced ears. Or with Cinderella and Four Knight’s Kang Seo Woo’s super large ear piercing holes, which lets backlight shine through. Or maybe I just have a weird obsession with ear piercing haha…
I think I’ll persist to the end, just because I’m having LJK withdrawal after SHR ended 🙁 🙁 My Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are so empty now that Wang So stops keeping me company on my commute. I’m going to start on Iljimae and Two Weeks once this atrocity ends.
Haha, your rant made me chuckle, neve.. Clearly, this show isn’t working for you. 😛 Did you end up finishing it for LJK? It’s a bloody mess (ha, see what I did there?), and honestly, LJK is the main reason I hung on all the way to the end. Maybe you should try some of LJK’s other projects. I forget if you’ve seen Arang and Two Weeks? Those I can confidently recommend. 🙂
I finished it, but the FF button use was strong in this one. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who skips every scene LJK isn’t in. Bloody mess indeed! 😉
Yeah I’ve finished Arang, but I didn’t like it as much as you did. The whole thing just felt reaaaally slow to me. And I didn’t buy into LJK’s chemistry with SMA, there were just no feels.
I’ll start Two Weeks soon. I’m live-watching too many things right now, and Goblin is starting tonight! LJK will just have to wait for me 😉
” Why would anyone get LJK and Lee Soo Hyuk in one drama and half-ass the writing, I’ll never know😦”
So much this.
Same with Scarlet Heart Ryeo 🙁
I found the first half of this show messy, cringeworthy, eye-rollingworthy, in other words, pretty bad.
But then I actually enjoyed the second half. I’m not sure why. They did stop interrupting the story to show us ”cute” couple scenes and that was a huge improvement. The melodrama was toned down (or if the stakes were raised to match the wailing, or both) and there was some serious conflict and a few interesting ethical dilemmas. The focus went from vampire lore to actual character development. Btw, I really liked the ambiguity of some characters.
I probably stopped caring about logic and consistency at some point, too. Which is a pitty, because mythology inconsistency is the one unforgivable sin in fantasy, but, anyway, the casting was good.
Gwi was several kinds of perfect. Um, sort of main reason why I didn’t drop the thing.
I had no problems with the searching for the book. It was important and it did provide the method to destroy Kwi. The king’s will, the bloodline and the vampire killer, they were all right there at the end. And oh, speaking about the ending, I think they were fighting the whole night, that’s why it was daylight when the explosion happened. But I don’t know why the king had to wait for the dawn, I thought the plan was to burry the vampire under tones of rock, not melt him in the sun.
But I did go ”awww” at the ”this is beautiful”.
And I don’t get why the vampires couldn’t just go outside with a big parasol or something, since they only seem to have problems with *direct* sunlight?
I think some of the points that people complain about are explained. But it is so messy that a) you can’t find the explanations and b) some things definitely don’t get explained and you can’t be bothered with which is what and c) you come to a point where you don’t care anymore. It’s just not worthy.
I loved the gore, though. I appreciated that the vamping was so ugly, bloody and beastly, it explained why Scholar wanted to end his existence, because I don’t think I would buy any sort of ”woe to me, doomed to be rich and fabulous for all eternity”. So that part looked (and sounded) right to me.
So, what can I say. Better for a show to start awful and become decent than the other way around, so I’m happy with that.
Ps. I wanted more of the compination Lee Joonki and mane of glory. Much, much, MUCH more. Like, really.
I laughed at your part regarding the “parasol” real funny. I enjoyed the drama, but if you think too much about some of the things, they just don’t add up; so I just kind of let them go over my head.
Oh yes, I switched off the old brain and ended up sort of enjoying this thing towards the end.
Lol. Like Andy said, your comment made me laugh, Yllegjord! You’re very right – maybe some things got explained, but it was just so messy that it’s just hard to keep things straight, and it’s not even worth the effort of trying to keep things straight anyway! 😆 Since you’ve developed an appetite for LJK and his mane of glory, preferably combined with a fair bit of gore, you might want to check out Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. He looks pretty amazing with his mane of glory, and he’s been fighting a fair bit in the first few eps at least, and it does get pretty bloody at times. Sounds like just your kinda thing! 😉
Oh I’ve been having a thing for Long Haired LJK since the King and the Clown, one of my top 10 movies of all time.
I will OF COURSE watch Moon Lovers, it is indeed very much my kinda thing, but after it ends, I don’t watch ongoing shows. I hope this one does turn out as great as promised, I don’t want a third disapointment in a row (well, no one does).
Well, I wasn’t very taken with Moon Lovers in the first couple of episodes, but I’m pleased to say that at E4 & 5, Show is settling more for me, and I’m starting to feel more engaged with the characters. It’s far from perfect, so you’d probably need to adjust your expectations around the writing and directing. But, I think I might end up enjoying this more than I initially thought I would, which, yay 😄
Gosh the contradicting myths and time bending here is so true. Also on the ending, when Gwi easily got burned by the sun. Like there’s that episode where Sung Yeol is nearly dying. for like days now. And then because he sensed he has to go back to Yang Sun and protect her he sizzled under the sun without his cloak AND FOUGHT. like Jeez.
Gwi at the last episode is strong after he drank a lot of blood and then just PANG. Sun. he became weak.
Then theres that scene where Sung Yeol sucked Yang Sun’s blood and Yang Sun turned out to be still alive. When all this 19 episodes they keep insisting that if Sung Yeol started sucking her blood SHE WOULD DIE. yet shes still pretty strong by the end to cry over him.
There are many other contradicting scenes I cant narrate but this are basically frustrated me coz Ive been expecting a lot for the ending.
And I really am not wishing Sung Yeol to be alive at the end too. I would rather end it with Yang Sun narrating the Night Scholar writings she did or what not. I just convinced myself that the last part where Sung Yeol and Yang Sun met under the tree, it was an imaginary thing. Like they would meet someday in the afterlife. idk.
My friend recommended this drama to me and assured me that this has a happy ending. But I’m not satisfied. Lee Soo Hyuk is just life. <3
ps. I just finished watching the drama and wrote this.
Hi Daneyy! I absolutely agree on all the contradictions in Scholar.. This was a show that did get frustrating to watch. The plot and writing were definitely NOT the reasons I hung on until the end, lol! XD I hung in there for the actors, and for the pretty, and for my morbid curiosity about what the writers would do with the ending.
I hear Lee Soo Hyuk’s doing nicely in Neighborhood Hero, if that helps. Not that I can vouch for the show itself.. The friends of mine who are watching are basically FF-ing to only Lee Soo Hyuk’s scenes. But maybe that might help take away some of the sting of Scholar? 😛
I actually enjoyed this drama, but at some point I was in it only for the romance between the two leads which I actually enjoyed. I thought the first five or six episodes were pretty good but it was around seven or so that I realized the writer was having people talk a lot about that darn book but wasn’t moving the story along. I know they did eventually bring in a new writer, and I feel for the production because I imagine it was a stressful situation. I think one of the biggest flaws in the beginning was not explaining the vampire lore. I get that the source material is really popular but it wouldn’t have taken much to explain things. Overall I felt that Lee Joon Gi was holding this production on his shoulders and willing it to completion. So I would have rated it a B but, you know, I agree with most of the things brought forth in the review…it’s one of those dramas that could have been sooooo much better and proves to me once again that no matter the acting, production value etc it always comes down to the writing. I watched all 3 vampire shows: Scholar, Blood, Orange Marmalade and because of the romance Scholar is my favorite. I think if I remember correctly, the writer of Blood wrote Good Doctor and I think I’m the only person who didn’t like that drama (though Joo Won was amazing), so maybe it was the hospital setting that didn’t do much for me. Anyway, I do enjoy your reviews and I want to say I like the fact that you have a “Dropped” section. That makes more sense than forcing yourself to complete a drama you aren’t enjoying at some level.
Oh yes, an explanation of the vampire lore would’ve made things a lot clearer, I think! As it is, I’m not even sure that Show is clear on its own vampire lore, since it all seems rather inconsistent, from where I’m sitting. 😛 What a great way to put it, that Lee Jun Ki basically willed this project to its completion! XD That’s so perfect! And so true, in my case, since Lee Jun Ki was the main reason I managed to watch this to the very end, since the romance in this one didn’t work for me as well as it did for you.
I know the production changed writers partway, and agree that it must’ve been stressful and hard on everyone. That said, I do expect the in-coming writer to create a seamless transition between writers. For me, the overall integrity of the production is always paramount, and audiences shouldn’t be expected to make allowances for behind-the-scenes changes in order to appreciate the quality of the production. Like you said, a lot really depends on the writing.
Hospital dramas aren’t my cup of tea either, so I can understand why Good Doctor may not have worked for you. I didn’t take to it the first time I checked it out, but I liked it better on my second attempt, and have actually made some progress! I’ve paused on it for a while, but I do plan on going back to it sometime 🙂 And yay that you like the Dropped section! I used to be quite a completist, but I’ve learned to cut myself free when a drama isn’t working for me. I’m realizing that there are way too many dramas on my list for me to waste time on something that’s just not for me 🙂
Totally agree with Kat on the assessment.
Spot on girl! Made me appreciate Blood more. That story with these leads would have been a good watch.
Heh. Glad that we’re on the same page with Scholar, kaiaraia! I’ve heard that Blood had a pretty interesting story, but that the acting by the leads sucked. In this case, the acting was pretty good across the board, so I can definitely see what you mean, about these leads with Blood’s story being a potentially better watch! Ah, if only dramaland could cast with such foresight! XD
when this drama was premiered i got excited coz all of my favorite pretty men are in here. Sadly i am not yet done with the drama yet and i only have 6 episodes….. I couldn’t say much aside from adoring the OTP Lee Jun Ki and Lee Yu Bi!…i do love LJK and LYB i reminded me of Park Min Young in SKKS!…. The gwi Lee Soo Hyuk was so hawwwtas and i did see him as pixie more of a vamp!….But what did surprise me is seeing Shim Changmin with his role portrayal as Prince Lee Yoon, he’s good. I didn’t know that this kpop dol can act and have substance in dramaland. I only remember him as the maknae of the DBSK boy group that can give a high note in singing and can dance awesomely. Seeing him doing the role in this drama made me happy coz the maknae who looks so young and fresh then now looks so manly and doing great in acting. Hope i can resume watching this drama the soooonish!.. 😉
Yes, Changmin is really really good, as Yoon! He legit blew me away, in some scenes. I hope he gets more acting work and that he continues to hone his craft – I think he’s got talent! Yes, LYB’s character reminded me a little bit of PMY in SKKS, but mostly only in the first ep. After that, it didn’t feel all that similar to me. She’s cute in the role, though. And LJK’s gloriously pretty. And Lee Soo Hyuk is quite mesmerizing. I didn’t love the way the story was handled, but the good acting and the overall pretty was enough to help me to the finish line! ^^
Hello Kfangirl! Ive been lurking around for a long time here and really enjoy reading your reviews. You break it all down very well and never gloss over the details; my type of review! 😀 As for swwtn, like my comments on timescout’s blog, I thought it was quite a poorly written and directed show. I actually read the original comic and REALLY liked it, and didn’t really mind that the show didn’t quite follow the original plot. But maybe it’s cause of my film background, I do tend to get quite critical about the shows I watch. The good bits about this show was that I thought all of their acting was really not bad. I enjoyed Joonki’s portrayal of SY (though I felt he over-acted sometimes), and I think Soohyuk really played the evil vampire so well. The anticipation they built up before their fighting scenes were awesome and felt very real! Also, I was bowled over by Jang Heejin’s portrayal of the Gisaeng. She was so good and looked so elegant and pretty to top it off – I’m a new fan, easily the best actor there. I was also surprised by Changmin and his Yoon portrayal – very regal.
However, the way the story was written and directed made me feel like the characters were sometimes acting in different stories and they just mashed everything together. The plot was, to put it nicely lol…quite bad. I had no idea why they spent so much time looking for the book, and there were lots of loopholes in the characters’ relationships. I did not really have a clear idea why Hyeryeong loved Yoon so much, and the friendship between yangsun and yoon just suddenly fizzled into thin air. The romance between yangsun and sungyeol was also very forced and i just couldn’t feel it to be honest. The show also kept sort of playing up a relationship between Gwi and Hyeryeong that kind of hinted at romance and I felt that it was abit unnecessary/out-of-place and just plain weird. I literally had the same reaction as you when I watched the ending. They spent all these time trying to kill Gwi and in the end he just dissolved in the sunlight..??? Erm… WHAT? I picked out the other things you mentioned too – the jarring timeskip that made no sense and sungyeol randomly walking around in the sunlight although he’s a vampire?! Episodes felt quite long (and boring; to be honest i FF-ed a lot) and the background music sometimes didn’t quite match up with what was going on on-screen! It was just so jarring, esp in the beginning couple of epis.
Also, what I found a little lowkey offputting about this particular drama was the periphery stuff unrelated to the drama production – the fans shipping the couples together in most comments/discussion posts and just a general lack of critical analysis of the story. People seemed to be just focused on the pretty alot. All these things generally tend to be very off-putting to me and I will actually drop a drama (did it with Healer) cause of it, sounds extreme I know. I also noticed swwtn wasn’t as popular in Korea (heard it had quite low ratings) than it is internationally. Alot of the cast are doing post-drama interviews and fan meetings mostly in Japan.
Oops this came out abit long, but that was my 2 cents! 😀 A general feeling that the final output didn’t live up to the pre-production hype and mediaplay.
Hi there Evelyn!! I’m so pleased to “meet” you, and I’m very happy that you enjoy the blog! 😀
Ah, thanks for confirming that the drama didn’t follow the source material closely! That’s something that Sunny & I were wondering about. Sounds like the original webtoon was a better conceived story all around. Coz yes, Scholar was pretty poorly written. I read that there was a writer change partway through the show, but I personally don’t think that’s a good reason to allow the show to be so inconsistent and repetitive. A good writer, in taking over someone else’s work, would do everything possible to make the story feel like one whole, and make the switch in writers as seamless as possible.
I agree that LJK does tend to overact, unless directed otherwise. He’s so into the moment though – and so effective in other moments – that I can’t quite hold it against him. I think I loved him best in Arang, I feel like the PD restrained him very nicely there, and we got a wonderful delivery from LJK as a result 🙂
Jang Hee Jin caught my eye too, in this. Very well-cast, and nicely delivered all-around. I’ve seen her before, in My Daughter Seo Young, and I personally am much more impressed with her in Scholar 🙂 And yes, isn’t Changmin good in this?? I would’ve never guessed that acting’s not his day job!
Also, YES to everything you said about how everything didn’t fit together very well at all. I would’ve liked to know HOW Prince Jung Hyun came upon the secret plan, if we were going to spend so many episodes searching for that journal. It felt like the show put way too much emphasis on finding that journal. And yes, I didn’t find the lovelines convincing either. I could understand that Yoon and Hye Ryung found a connection, but, I found it unbelievable that their relationship would be so deep so fast. I thought he trusted her way too fast, and because of this, every time they got intense onscreen, it felt hollow to me. Gwi’s sudden sorrow at Hye Ryung’s death also didn’t ring true for me. It felt like a bolt out of the blue. Gwi had his issues, and we got hints of them, but we never really had any indication that he thought of Hye Ryung as anything other than a useful pawn. I think the writers just needed a reason for Gwi to go on a drunken blood rampage, so that by showdown time with Sung Yeol, he’d have drunk lots and lots of blood, and wouldn’t be so easy to defeat. Which just feels like connect-the-dots kind of writing, to be honest. Not great, unfortunately for the show and for us. This DEFINITELY didn’t live up to the pre-production hype, sadly (all those stills were so pretty, though!).
I don’t generally follow fan threads when I watch dramas, coz I find it can mess with how well I enjoy my shows, so I didn’t know that the fan-shipping for this show was so strong. On another note, you dropped Healer?? OMO. I LOVED that show! I haven’t gotten the review done yet (coz I am forever backlogged!) but I do plan to write it a proper review, coz I enjoyed it so much. I hope you decide to give it another chance sometime! 🙂
Yup it didn’t. There was an additional character in the drama (can’t remb if it’s Hyeryeong or myunghee now..or both) and Yoon had a much smaller role in the manhwa. The original was definitely much better, well-written with a tighter plotline. Yes there was an additional writer or something from ep 11 onwards. But like you, I didn’t felt it helped. In fact, it was still repetitive and the weird romancing and plotlines continued and Gwi just got more ridiculous lol. I agree, a good writer would make the changeover seem much more seamless and even be able to come up with a better connecting storyline (and resolve all of the randomness!)
True! He’s very in the moment and I actually like it. I am not against his over-acting like how some people are, it’s just that whenever he’s doing a dying scene or something, I end up laughing instead lol. I loved him in Arang too! Although not a lot of people’s fav – I loved him in Iljimae as well. But so far his past two works including scholar I’m not impressed with =/ Though it’s more the production/plot issue than his acting.
Yes Jang Hee-jin was wonderful, like she was how I imagined a Joseon Gisaeng would look like/behave. She posted a pic of her in-character on her ig, side-by-side with the illustration in the manhwa and they looked so alike! And yes I was impressed by Changmin! Haha, I watched him in.. Paradise Ranch (?) and was cringing so much lol but he’s improved quite abit here. Very regal as Yoon and I could feel his pain/anguish etc.
YES! How did Jung Hyun come up with that plan? (And I thought his sudden, random addition at the beginning to be well…sudden and random). And I totally agree with not feeling Yoon’s rapid trust in Hyeryeong. Their scenes felt very hollow to me as well as I had no idea where that intensity came from =/ YES! I was like, wait you’re using this girl as a pawn and suddenly you are acting like a human and weeping over her death and saying all those semi-mushy stuff? Like…..WUD?? So unconvincing. I also felt that it was simply a plot device to get Hyeryeong out of the picture and to bring us to that final showdown with Sung Yeol. I honestly thought the writer had no idea what to do with Hyeryeong, she showed quite little character growth and I honestly think without her, the story would have functioned quite well just the same. I think she merely served as a plot device mostly for Gwi. In fact, I thought Gwi was on the brink of using the Gisaeng as his pawn – now that would have been so exciting given that she was in love with Sung Yeol! But the writer just left all that hanging too. Sigh.
Oh yes it does mess with your own experience doesn’t it? I find that I have a tendency to focus on things I wouldn’t when I spend too much time on fan threads. Ie: I’d read stuff about fans insisting certain actors have chemistry. Yet when I watch the show, I don’t notice any chemistry, which then results in me spending all my time watching out for those two characters to see if my initial opinion was wrong lol. =/ And also as a long-time soohyuk fan haha, I actually was hoping he passed on this one. I rather he explores roles at tvN or OCN like valid love/high school king. I think cable networks generally tend to have better plots and better writing which allows for a greater range of acting. At least it allows him to try out interesting roles and expand his acting abilities a little (which I think though good, is a little limited at the moment). The only thing I thought he gained from this was a huge bunch of quite delulu fans (oops). And I know it might sound weird but it kind of spoils my “enjoyment” of his work so to speak. Cable dramas tend to attract less of these sorts of fans, and more discussion around the plot instead.
Ooh I actually watch Healer til.. ep 10? Or 11? What put me off was the romance which seemed relatively forced and quite OTT to me. Also, I can’t quite get into Park Min Young’s acting. I’ve watched her in her other shows and I feel the same way =/
PS: Are you from Singapore? If so, hello fellow Singaporean! 😀 And sorry about the long text!
Wow, cool! Hello fellow Singaporean!!! *waves madly* Always nice to meet another Singaporean around here! ^^
Yes, I do love LJK, but I felt underwhelmed by this show, as well as Joseon Gunman. The failings of both shows are so similar! Both are repetitive plot-wise, always circling around the same thing, and then both shows made LJK angsty, without giving him room to actually use his power (guns or vampire powers, as the case may be). The last show LJK was in that felt solid all the way through, was Two Weeks. I’m really hoping that his next drama will be good!
So true – fan threads can really distract you from your watch experience, especially if you don’t agree with the general sentiments. It’s why I generally don’t venture there. I don’t join kdrama discussion groups on FB either, coz quite often, I find it distracting (when I disagree with the general sentiments) &/or stressful (when I can’t keep up with the watch pace & need to avoid spoilers). So I pretty much avoid them altogether.
Interesting that you couldn’t get into PMY’s performance in Healer.. I had the opposite response. I’d been generally underwhelmed by her acting before, even though I found her pretty and serviceable in her roles. In Healer, though, I felt like she really got into the role of Young Shin. She popped for me, as a character. As for the romance.. It worked for me, somehow. It was fast in some ways, but each time it’d felt fast, I was able to reconcile in my head why the characters might have behaved that way, so that didn’t derail my watch, ultimately. Maybe one day, when I’ve finally gotten my Healer review posted, you might feel ready to give it another try. No pressure, of course! I’m just hopeful that way ^^
PS: No apologies needed, Evelyn!! If you’ve poked around the site for a while, you’ll notice that you’re far from being alone in leaving long comments! And, I like reading ’em, and it makes for lovely conversations, so I’m not complaining, at all! 🙂
Wow, you notice a lot of small details, lol. With most kdramas I usually just look over little stuff if everything else is working for me.
I definitely noticed some inconsistencies and some choppy editing, but overall I really enjoyed Scholar. I thought the acting was fantastic, the story moved along at a nice pace, I enjoyed the music, and loved the romantic moments. And Lee Joon Gi of course.
I also anticipated it being pretty angsty, which it was, and I liked it. I was glad to see a more serious vampire story. I would actually love to see more fairy tale type stories like this.
But I totally see why many people didn’t like it. It certainly wasn’t perfect. I would just advise not thinking too much for the greatest enjoyment 🙂
Do I? 😛 I honestly do make conscious adjustments to my viewing lens to maximize my enjoyment of each kdrama that I watch. Just, it didn’t really work for me, with this drama. I suppose with a supernatural drama world, I’m interested to know the way things are set up to work, and when Show kept being inconsistent with those things, everything felt random and frustrating to me. I swear I wasn’t even overthinking things, since I watched this with a fairly casual lens on! XD
It’s great that you enjoyed this one as much as you did, coz I do think LJK is pretty great in this. I’d love for him to be in a really good drama next. The last thing that he was in that I thought was solidly consistent, was Two Weeks. Joseon Gunman suffered from many of the same issues as Scholar, like repetitive plot cycles without a lot of movement, and making LJK’s character angsty without allowing him to exercise his power. That’s less of an issue here than in Gunman, but it is a little bit similar. 🙂
I loved this one; because it was more like a true vampire drama than others and obviously because of the ending. Yes it had gore and serious vampire type actions, but it also had humanistic trends which made it interesting.
Ah, that’s right, you do enjoy vampire stories! Glad you enjoyed this one, Andy. Have you checked out Vampire Prosecutor yet? I really loved Season 1, and found Season 2 a reasonable follow-up. The good news is, Season 1 is able to stand alone, if you’re not inclined towards watching more than one season 🙂
PS: You can check out my reviews for S1 & S2 here & here, to see if they’re up your alley! 🙂
“For the record, I’m not against angst, and have managed to enjoy heavily melodramatic dramas in the past. Just, Scholar didn’t manage to make the angst feel worth it, y’know?” * nods * indeed, indeed.
I didn’t manage to pick it back up after episode 2. I like vampire stories, but I need some logic and to be explained clearly what a vampire can do or not, what kills them or not… I mean,does the ending explain why we needed the secret journal from 200 years ago to kill Gwi and why no one (like the secret organization vampire watchers) never came up with another plan??? I’m still conflicted about finishing it because “lee jun ki + lee soo hyuk”, I cannot not watch, but…. *sigh * it’s not very high on my to-watch list
Ah, if you need Show to provide actual answers to questions like what vampires can or can’t do, and why the secret journal was needed, you’d be disappointed, I’m afraid. That was one of the things that bugged me throughout: lots of questions, but no answers. I’m curious to know exactly how Crown Prince Jung Hyun even discovered the secret plan.
Depending on how important it is to you to get those answers, this could turn out to be a very frustrating watch for you.. But I feel ya, Sunny. Lee Jun Ki and Lee Soo Hyuk. The combined cheekbone power is hard to resist! Maybe go in with your FF button at the ready?? Coz desperate times call for desperate measures? 😉
i do wonder if this drama was following closely the webtoon or just use the same characters to tell a story with different plot?
That’s a great question! I have no idea, really. All I can say is, most adaptations that I’ve come across don’t tend to follow the source material very closely. I haven’t read the webtoon, but I must say that LJK really looks the part! 😉
One thing can’t be taken away from this show. It IS puuuuretty. minus the whole blood all over their mouths to show “grrr oooh vampire are so dangerous and they drink blood. run for your life”… I hope Lee Soo Hyuk will get to play a vampire in a better plot. He’s so has the visual for it, but pretty isn’t everything.
Yeah, I did find the blood-all-over-their-mouths thing rather.. messy. You’d think that after so many years of practice, they’d find a way to do it more neatly & effortlessly, eh? XD This is already Lee Soo Hyuk’s 2nd time playing a vamp, so methinks he’d avoid the genre for a while, unless an amazing script shows up.
Yeah, i think he was hoping that one would be this amazing script he was waiting for after “Vampire Idol” because he kept saying he wanted to play more “ordinary guy” role. Vampire doesn’t belong to this category. And I think he actually did a nice job in “Valid Love” and it seemed he would go on with other characters like this… But then again, it’s all about the roles you get offered in the end. I wouldn’t be able to be an actress. Too much thinking and dilemmas about the roles you want to play, the roles you get offered and the roles the audience wants to see you play. Ah, maybe once he comes back from the army , he will get new opportunities. Speaking of army, I can’t wait for Yoo Seung Ho’s and Song Joong Ki’s new dramas. There’s just something about the first post-army project, like “aww he’s back”. There’s also the pressure to make a good comeback, but when you left with nice reviews, I think ratings, especially now, don’t matter as much as they used to like 5 years ago. Like Ji Hyun Woo. He’s low-key, but I feel like he’s really taking on roles that make him work harder on his acting to tell a story. I wonder what Hyun Bin is up to. lol random thought is random. ^^”
Heh. I guess Lee Soo Hyuk doesn’t quite have the look one would associate with “ordinary guy” since he looks so unique! He did play a relatively ordinary guy in High School King of Savvy though. I thought he did quite nicely in that, even though I didn’t love the show itself too much.
YES, I’m looking forward to YSH and SJK on my screen again. My soft spot for YSH is bigger, so I’m rather pleased that he’s got a couple of projects coming out. I’m SO watching Imaginary Cat – I can’t wait to have YSH’s molten gaze back on my screen again! <3 I don't remember hearing any news about Hyun Bin in terms of new projects, but he has seemed as busy as ever with CFs. Which is TOTALLY in line with his CF King reputation! 😉
Let’s just say I weathered I Miss You for Yoo Seung Ho which by all accounts was probably one of the most painful watches I have had in my meager drama-watching history (Bad Love still takes the cake on the worst I have seen) – and I have watched some stinkers in the name of fangirl love. As you know I adore Jun Ki and I will most probably watch this one at some point but do appreciate this heads up!!^^
Oh yes, my dear. I DO know how strong and unwavering your fangirl love is! Much as I adore gazing at YSH, I couldn’t for the life of me muster up the steel to finish IMY! XD I’d say that Scholar is an easier watch than IMY – after all, I finished it, didn’t I? And the bonus here is, Lee Jun Ki is gloriously beautiful in this. The guyliner and the rosy red lips just work together to make him look absolutely ethereal. THAT alone made this worthwhile! XD
I was thinking about picking up the Show bacause I was in the mood for something like that. I was even really excited for a couple of days that I would start the Show. But then I read some reviews here and there and now yours too and I’m not sure about Show anymore…. :/ I love whaen characters give great performances but most of the times I want more from my dramas….
Aw.. That’s a bit of a bummer.. There’re some viewers who genuinely enjoyed this show, though. Maybe if you manage your expectations right, and go in ready for cycles of angst, you might manage to enjoy it? Or, what exactly are you in the mood for? Maybe I might be able to suggest a couple of alternatives? 🙂
Well…I’m already watching She Was Pretty and Achiara’s secret but I had the craving, if you want, for something set in the old times.. But something light too! I’ve watched Arang and Scandal and a couple more. I thought this one was going to be lighter..I don’t think I’m ready for too much angst. I don’t know…. 🙂
Hm.. Have you tried The Three Musketeers?? It’s a lot lighter and less angsty than Scholar, and it’s a fusion sageuk set in Joseon times. It had its flaws, but I still managed to enjoy it quite well. You can check out my review of it here, to see if it matches what you’re looking for 🙂
PS: I’m really enjoying She Was Pretty! How are you liking Achiara’s Secret?
First off thanks for the recommendations. I’ll read your review and see what I think!
Now about She Was Pretty, I adore it! It’s so sweet and the characters for the most part act like proper adults which is great!
Now as for Achiara’s Secret, it has grown on me so much that I’m really enjoying it. The first episodes were a bit off, but as the story progresses it gets more and more intersting and the drama itself feels like it stands more steadily on its feet.
It has many overlaping mysteries, I love that so many of the characters seem to be at fault, and in general can’t wait for the next episodes! 🙂
Y’know what, if you don’t find yourself in the mood for Three Musketeers, you might consider Orange Marmalade. It starts out modern, but spends quite a few episodes in Joseon times (sort of like a parallel pre-incarnation sort of universe) before it goes back to modern day in the last few eps. The acting ranges from ok to good, coz the cast is rather mixed. But it’s pretty short, is fusion, has Joseon, has vampires, and ends on a heartwarming note. There’s angst, but much less than Scholar. My quick review is here, if it helps! 🙂
Yay that you’re loving She Was Pretty, I look forward to new episodes every week! I’m a little sad that we’re reaching the final few eps already *sniff* Achiara’s Secret sounds intriguing. I’ve heard mixed reactions so far, so it’s good to hear that you’re liking it! 🙂
Thanks for all the recommendations! I will check them out when I finish the dramas I’m currently watching.
As for Acchiara’s secret I have heard mixed things too, but for me right now it has found its paste and I’m quite enjoying it.
Yes the music sometimes is still off, and some characters haven’t played a major role yet but it’s getting better and more interesting definitely! 🙂
You’re super welcome! I’m curious to see which one you go with, and how you end up liking it 🙂
Great that Achiara’s Secret is working for you.. It’s not quite on my list yet, but that could still change. Suspense thrillers aren’t my usual kind of drama, but I can’t help making exceptions when I hear a drama’s good! ^^
I’ll let you know when I eventually choose one!
Thrillers aren’t my thing either but on the other hand I looove mysteries and crime stories and this one has a lot of mystery so that’s probably the reason why I like it a lot! 🙂
Yes, do let me know! 😀 Also, I love a well-done drama enough to check out stuff outside of my usual wheelhouse, so if Achiara’s Secret turns out to be a well-done drama, I’d be interested to give it a go 🙂 Too many shows to keep track of right now, so I’m just going to wait and see on that one! 🙂
Well if we are going to check out something outside of our main interests and comfort zone then it should be the best of the best!
But thankfully there are a lot of great ones out there so the only problem really is time and just picking one! Haha.. 🙂
EXACTLY. Which is why, if a drama’s not my preferred genre, I’ll wait it out, to see if it’s worth checking out. Only the best of the best, if I’m stepping outside my comfort zone! XD And YES, I do wish I had more drama time! SO many shows I wanna check out!!!
Heh, I dropped this very early on as I could already see it wasn’t going anywhere I was willing to follow. Teh Pretty just isn’t enough for me. The ending was pretty lame by all accounts.
Lol. I think you made a good decision there, Timescout! Having seen the whole thing now, I can affirm that this wouldn’t have been your cup of tea by a long shot! XD
XD You got that right. I read recaps from time to time and even those made me roll my eyes. Oh, Jun Ki, when will you pick a drama that I’ll be willing to sit through all the way?!
I’ve become quite good at choosing what to watch but even I can’t avoid some mishaps, especially if the drama starts out really great, only to go to pot several episodes later. Those are the worst! 🙂
I know, right? LJK’s last 2 dramas have had similar problems, for me. Both Scholar and Joseon Gunman had looked so promising visually, but then had both disappointed with circling plot, repetitiveness, and not allowing an angsty LJK to use his power (gun vs vamp power) very much. His character in Scholar was so tortured all the way through, simply because he was a vampire. Tragic and full of pathos, yes, but I also wanted to see more of him being badass and powerful. The last solid drama I’ve seen from LJK is Two Weeks, and I’m so ready for him to get offered a solidly good drama! ^^
Oh, dramas that start out great and then derail are the ones that hurt the most! I’m usually tempted to hang on, in hopes that the drama will right itself somehow and regain its earlier glory. Usually a disappointing course of action, but sometimes, it’s hard not to hope! XD
The downside of longer dramas is that there are so many points where they can derail. It really bites if you are half way through or, horror of horrors, almost at the end when that happens. No way to get all those wasted hours back.
Jdramas have their problems too but lately I’ve come to appreciate the shorter epi count more, especially if the scripts are good. I’ve binge watched SO many in the past 6 months or so, LOL!
That’s so true! That’s why I’m a little nervous about starting Six Flying Dragons. 50 eps!! That’s just so much more runway for things to potentially go wrong 😛 But, it’s such an amazing cast that I just can’t say no ^^
I watch Jdramas only very occasionally – it messes with my head to listen to so much Japanese when my ears have become so accustomed to listening to Korean. The similarities throw me, coz my brain reaches for what the Korean equivalent sounds like, and I find it extremely distracting XD Well, that and I find the k-production values and the k-pretty just so much more to my taste! 😉
I’ve yet to properly dive into SFD as like you I’m a bit hesitant to start something that long. What if it turns into an unholy mess??! So far the reports have been very much favourable and the cast is great.
Ah, I don’t think I’ve ever had that problem, I love picking out familiar words within Japanese. Actually, the production values of current jdramas are more or less on par with the korean ones. They are SO good at the slice-of-life and heartwarming stories, the plots also tend to be more down to earth/realistic. That’s been the biggest draw + total lack of makjang… and not a chaebol/poor candy in sight. *g* As for Teh Pretty, I have to say I do prefer the more… should I say ‘manly’ looks of Japanese actors (so many of them have gorgeous, soulful eyes *swoon*). I’m generally not into pretty boys, though there are exceptions.^^
Yes, so far I’ve heard very encouraging things about SFD! When some space clears up on my drama plate, I think I’ll dive in. It looks too good not to at least check out! 🙂
Heh, you really know how to sell your dramas, my dear! I’m now rather intrigued at these more recent Jdramas that feel on par with the kdramas. Knowing my taste in dramas (& men!), dya have one in particular that you’d recommend?
PS: I finally checked out (most of) the first ep of Once Upon a Time in Saengchori last night, and I’m intrigued! It’s so different, and quite hilarious! I think I’m going to enjoy this one 🙂 See? What would I do without you??
Well, just sent you an e-mail about the jdramas… it got a bit long. XD
Oh, you are watching Once Upon a Time in Saengchori! It was such an odd duck but loads of fun all the same. 😀 Min Sung is such an ass to begin with but then he does something that makes you go ‘aaaawwww’ and all is forgotten, till the next moment of asshattery. Victoria will prolly make you want to strangle her more than once. She is pitiful though, poor girl.
Wow~ ok, I’m gonna go study your email carefully, soon! Thanks for sending it! 😀
Yes, I’m definitely liking what I’ve seen so far of OUATIS! Ok, so I’ve only managed to finish E1, but so far, it feels quirky and fresh, and I’m finding it quite funny! VERY promising indeed. I’m enjoying Ha Suk Jin’s character so far, he seems to be in a complicated place. His relationship with Victoria also seems kind of strange. I can totally see why I might get frustrated with Victoria, from the little bits I’ve seen so far. Will brace myself for more 😉 Thanks for the recommendation, I would’ve probably never checked this out if you hadn’t sold it so well! <3
You just inspired me to do a piece on OUATIS.^^ I’ve kept it non-spoilery so if you get a sudden urge to comment or talk about the drama, feel free. 🙂
Thanks dear Timescout!! You’re the best! 🙂
Can you share your list of jdramas? I would greatly appreciate suggestions.