Group Watch: What shall we watch next?

Our Dr. Romantic and Money Flower group watches are almost over – gosh, time flies, doesn’t it?!?

I hope you guys have been having fun with the group watches! I especially appreciate those of you who managed to join both group watches &/or have been active on the Open Threads. Sharing your reactions and your thoughts really makes the experience richer for everyone. Thank you for playing! ❤️

What I’d like to find out from you guys, via this post, is

(a) whether you guys are keen to keep going, with the group watch, and

(b) what you’d like to watch together, if you want to keep going?

Let me know in the comments!

Some things to consider

1. Group watch benefits 

I realized that one of the cool things about having the group watches, is that even though we are watching shows that have long completed their runs, we still get to have that “live watch” experience, by sharing the experience as a community. I think that’s pretty cool. So let’s pick dramas that have already completed their runs?

2. Availability

In picking a show, we do need to take into account availability, so that anyone who wants to join in, can join in.

We need to pick a show that people can access on legal platforms like Viki, Kocowa, OnDemandKorea, Viu or iQIYI, preferably without needing to pay additional membership fees. Of course, we also have the option of using Opera’s built-in VPN to access the shows, if we’re geo-restricted.

3. Are we going to have 1 or 2 group watches?

This time around, it was interesting to me that even though Dr. Romantic won the group watch poll, there were a number of you who ended up enjoying the Money Flower watch more – even though Money Flower didn’t win the poll. So.. I’m toying with the idea of having 2 group watches, where one show is the winning show picked through community voting, and the other is a show that I pick, sort of like an Editor’s Choice kinda thing. What do you guys think about that?

4. How are we going to choose?

I will gather some of the most popular options from the comments in this post, and put them into a poll next Wednesday, which I’ll announce in a new post. After a week of voting, I’ll announce the winning show, and our first Open Thread can kick off a week after that.

So, in summary:

Brainstorming: today until Tuesday, 11 May 2021.

Poll: Wednesday, 12 May, until Tuesday, 18 May 2021.

Announcement: Wednesday, 19 May 2021.

First Open Thread for new show: Wednesday, 26 May 2021.

By then, our Money Flower group watch would have also concluded, so the Editor’s Choice group watch can begin on Saturday, 29 May 2021. That is, if you guys like the idea of an Editor’s Choice group watch. Let me know!

Some contenders

You can totally add more suggestions in the comments, but to kick things off, off the top of my head, here are a few dramas that I thought we might want to consider, in alphabetical order.

A Beautiful Mind

I’ve heard this is worth watching – plus it’s Jang Hyuk, whom you guys know I have a huge soft spot for. 🤩 Unfortunately, this isn’t available for free except on OnDemandKorea, where it isn’t subbed. However, it’s available on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus, and on Kocowa, if you’re on a paid subscription. 14 episodes.

Dear My Friends

BE‘s been saying such good things about this one, that I wondered if we wanted to try this for a group watch. I’ve sampled a few episodes in the past, and it strikes me as a very well-acted, well-executed drama, with a rare cast of consummate veterans. 16 episodes. Unfortunately, I can’t find it on the various free legal streaming platforms, but it does look like it’s available on Netflix.

Dr. Romantic 2

I thought you guys might be interested to keep going with the Doldam crew, and I’ve also heard that Season 2 is just as enjoyable as Season 1 – if not more so. 16 episodes.

Available for free on iQIYI and Viu. Also available on Kocowa if you have a paid subscription, and on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus.

Kill Me Heal Me

Ji Sung is fantastic in this, managing to make his multiple personalities feel like actual distinct characters, often by just changing his gaze. I loved this when I watched it, and just never got around to writing it a review. I would have given this an A-. 20 episodes.

Available for free on Viu. Also available on Kocowa if you’re on a paid subscription, and on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho

So cute, but also so surprisingly heartfelt. Shin Min Ah is incandescent and adorable, and Lee Seung Gi is hapless and funny. 16 episodes, and available for free on iQIYI and Viu. Also available on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus, and on Kocowa, if you’re on a paid subscription.

Nirvana In Fire [China]

A number of you have mentioned wanting a group watch experience for NIF, so here it is, as an option for everyone to consider. It’s so intricately written, and the performances are excellent across the entire cast. Fair warning that this ruined me for dramas for a while; it was so good that it made everything else pale in comparison. 54 episodes. Available for free on Viki (US and Europe).

Seven Day Queen

I’ve heard that this is really well-written, and stays coherent and satisfying all the way to the end. Shout-out to Bridget, who wrote to me to assure me that this is beautifully written and that I would enjoy it, despite the tragedy already built into the title. 20 episodes.

Available for free on Viu. Also available on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus.

Stranger / Secret Forest / Forest Of Secrets

I’ve heard so much about how fantastic this show is, that I’m quite curious to see whether I’ll love it like everyone else. Maybe a group watch – and the company that it provides – is just what I need, to finally commit to this one. 16 episodes.

Available for free on Viu and IQIYI.

The Moon Embraces The Sun

In the last round of brainstorming, several of you were interested to do a group watch for this show, so here it is, for everyone’s consideration. It first aired in 2012, and I loved it when I watched it, and found it quite slurpable. This is mainly a romance, and the dramatic tension mainly comes from the loveline, and from Kim Soo Hyun’s smoldery gaze. 20 episodes.

Available for free on Viu. Also available on Kocowa if you’re on a paid subscription, and on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus.

Tree With Deep Roots

An excellent drama that is compelling and educational at the same time, as it tells the story of how King Sejong developed the Hangul writing system, fighting against opposition, and against all odds. Han Seok Kyu, Jang Hyuk and Shin Se Kyung are all excellent in this. It does occur to me that this would give us more Han Seok Kyu and Jang Hyuk, both of whom we’ve been enjoying in our current round of group watches. 24 episodes.

Unfortunately, this isn’t available for free everywhere that I’ve looked. It is, however, available on Kocowa if you’re on a paid subscription, and on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus.

While You Were Sleeping

I’ve heard that this one is solidly good and worth a look, and that the leads share a meaningful connection. 16 episodes, available for free on iQIYI and Viu. Also available on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Standard, and on Kocowa, if you’re on a paid subscription.

You’re Beautiful

Fluffy and blithely irreverent and nonsensical, I found this a whale of a good time, back in the day. 16 episodes, available for free on iQIYI and Viu. Also available on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus.

In Closing

Like I said, these are just some initial suggestions! Please feel free to add your ideas in the comments below, and we can figure out together, whether you guys are still up for another round of group watches, and if so, what we could watch next, as a community. ❤️

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chingu123
chingu123
5 months ago

What a wonderful idea a group watch is..would love to participate…I can’t help but also offer. My Mister as a possible choice but I wouldn’t mind Nirvana..add me to the list of those who started it and dropped it but regretted it since everyone is constantly raving about it.

Antonio
5 months ago

Mother is a masterpiece that I don’t think you have reviewed.

Other suggestion: Once Again and Devilish Joy

Geo
Geo
5 months ago

I’ll join the NIF crowd even though I just finished watching it while the current Group Watches were going on. I’m pretty sure I’ve missed a fair amount of NIF since it has so many layers so I’m ready to re-watch. I also saw My Girlfriend is A Gumiho during this time and enjoyed it thoroughly, it’s a real treat for Shin Min-a fans. My Drama viewing time has been restricted recently and will probably continue to be so in the near future but I think I can handle a NIF group watch.

NIF can be intimidating in the first few episodes because it’s not easy to follow the many characters and all the plot strands thrown at the viewer which I think makes it ideal for a Group Watch. When I viewed it for the first time, I was so taken by the look of the show, the overall production and the main plotline that I persisted even though I didn’t grasp all the subtleties and I was ultimately rewarded. NIF truly is a remarkable experience.

Shahz
Shahz
5 months ago

So NIF for me as well. And I wouldn’t mind You are beautiful as it is hilarious. And someone suggested My Mister I would love to watch that again as there so much to unpick in a group watch.Would love to get all those internal thoughts out.

Georgia Peach
5 months ago

Well, everyone’s picks are really great. I’ve seen all these dramas with the exception of My GF Is A Gumiho and would welcome watching any one of these again. Perhaps with the exception of Moon Embracing The Sun. It was my gateway drama so I’ve watched it three times, but perhaps having someone else’s viewpoint would be good. So let me throw my hat in the ring with my choices. I would love a group watch with any one of these….My Mister (so much there to explore!), Nirvana In Fire (for another opportunity to see Hu Gi and for the excellent story), My Dear Friends (cause I can relate), and Secret Love Affair (cause y’all know how I love this drama). Ah, Forest of Secrets cause it’s so well acted.. good story! Looking forward to the choice!

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

We have similar tastes, but with regard to Dear My Family, can you relate to Shin Goo’s grumpy, obtuse, ridiculously misogynistic old man, bad husband…or…such a good show. And just to reemphasize, Secret Love Affair, Kim Hee Ae and Yoo Ah In giving if not their best, one of their two or three best performances of both their illustrious careers as a couple whose relationship is beginning to end incredibly transgressive making you root for each and both all the way, every step of the way.

BE
BE
5 months ago

I suggested in the After the Rain thread (really good, and especially for time challenged folks, an easy temporal in and out) to K that another idea for these group watches might be a short drama/film festival she would organize for us. There is the issue of availability, especially with films, and I think it would be a bit much to ask of her for this upcoming group watch, but I have now seen three of her recent choices, and liked every one. And the lack of sixteen to thirty two hour commitment might entice a wide swath of site followers. A thought for some future set up.

Kay
Kay
5 months ago

Lots to choose from! Of course, my vote still goes to My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and also Kill Me Heal Me. Two of my all time favorite dramas. You have some great meaty ones to choose from to like While You Were Sleeping and A Beautiful Mind. So many great dramas 🙂

Kay
Kay
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

It will always be my pick, hehe ❤😂 Plenty of other fantastic dramas on the list too though 🙂

j3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  Kay

Kay, I’m not voting, but I will say that “Fox Rain” has been on my regular playlist for weeks.

Kay
Kay
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Ah!! Fox Rain!! I have so much love for that song. I still listen to it even to this day ❤

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
5 months ago

I would love to see Nirvana In Fire in a group watch! I started it a couple of years ago and only watched one episode. There was too much to process and I was confused about who was who and what their agenda was. I think a group watch will be very helpful, since so many people have already seen it and want to see it again while enlightening newbies like me.

Of the other choices, I would not mind trying dramas I have not seen before, like Kill Me Heal Me and The Moon Embracing The Sun.

But if Tree With Deep Roots wins, I am not going to say no to a rewatch!

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@SnowFlower: I think a character list with perhaps an accompanying one sentence summary for the players, like one gets for one of those epic novels before story opens, for at least the first three or four episodes would be helpful for avoiding too much confusion with NIF.
Even though the story is entirely fictional, the historical lay of the land of the Northern and Southern states period, especially how Liang fit into the Southern states, would be interesting. I have tried to find on line info about one group, of which, our main character belongs, the Pugilist Society, but so far am left wondering if this was a fictional group (perhaps being influenced by the 19th C Boxer rebellion group, I do not really know), but even then it would be something also to chew on in this fictional world what this society was exactly.
There is a lot to story for your interests, and it did strike me, as I saw them back to back, that it takes place at roughly the same time as Queen Seondeok.

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

Hi BE – If NIF is a go, I already have that list done and to post in the comments and there are no spoilers in it. It includes some of the places as well. The fan wiki site has a lot of info in there but beware as there are a lot of spoilers interspersed with the information so you have to be careful (there are a few relationships that need to be dropped like they’re hot but not until they are on fire). I also have a ton of fun facts compiled such as locations (like a a virtual tour of Yandang Mountains) and some fun info on the actors. I have so much in fact, that I fear my comments would be insanely long. I have novel versus drama facts as well. Yikes I am out of control! 🙄🙄🙄

This is set in 6th century China and if you look at the maps of that period there is nothing that quite matches the drama that I have found so far. I have never looked in depth as the history did not interest me as much as the story itself. If anyone has found a suitable map I would love to know.

As for the pugilist societies – it is an excellent point to bring this up. I would suggest that you google Wuxia, Xianxia and Jianghu as that really helps to understand those elements of the drama. CChatty has an excellent article on these. I am not sure how many watch a lot of wuxia dramas but I personally love them. There were many pugilist societies and, per the novel, Mei Chang Su’s Jiangzuo Alliance was the largest one.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

: I know very little of China’s history, except a smattering of the Late T’ang because the poets of that era and place are my favorites and certainly among the greatest poets from anywhere or any era in human history, so the milieu that produced them, particularly the period immediately preceding and during the An Lu Shan rebellion, an era in which China’s two greatest poets, Du Fu (Tu Fu) and Li Pai (Li Po) lived and wrote, have captured my attention.
The Northern and Southern States period took place insofar as I can see at a time before the T’ang Dynasty restored China to its empiric size, in which there were a number of smaller nation states, large family fiefdoms, competing with one another, and in which cultural influences varied between the northern and southern states.
Korean historical drama has really led me to investigate Confucius and Mencius and their followers as they seem so influential on Korean thinking right up to the present day (Taoism, which I have always been attracted to, less so, albeit it perhaps was absorbed into shamanic practices, although I have no idea if that is so). And as a student of Buddhism, particularly the strain of Buddhism we know in the US as Zen, which has its origins in China, I am also taken by how the arcane metaphysics, the popular religion, and the connection of Buddhist infrastructure to government, not to mention how Buddhism has contended with Confucianism. are portrayed for good and for ill (Tree With Deep Roots**** on this account).
How pugilist society fit into that construct both historically and in terms of this story seems quite intriguing–were they more modern in their construction, were they kind of a free standing ethnic group…anyway for a later discussion. Thanks for the leads.
What does strike me about these kinds of dramas is how much, like Shakespeare’s writing, they are so well versed in understanding the kind of twisted humanity exists in royal courts that seems to lay bare in a popular entertainment milieu core truths about our wider condition.

lotusgirl
5 months ago

I hate that I’ve missed out on all the discussion on these shows for the group watches. I’d seen both shows a while back and was so busy with my personal and family life this last couple of months that I let them drop en lieu of the new and shiny in the little bit of time I had. I have to say that I adored Navillera! So shiny! (In spite of and because of its sad moments–it would be a great show to discuss.) I love the idea of two shows to group watch, but the reality overwhelms me. Watching isn’t the problem so much as reading all the comments and writing mine. That takes a lot of time too, but is a huge part of the fun of the group watch. I would only choose one to watch. I wonder if we couldn’t alternate one chosen by us and one chosen by you. Of course, I could always just watch one of the ones chosen each time. And that may very well be what I do depending on what I have time for.

I would love to do a couple movies here and there. This might be a good way to involve some of us who don’t have as much time to commit to a series group watch but would still love to periodically partake of the group fun. There are so many wonderful ones to discuss. One of my favorites is Miss Granny. We could do one chosen by us and one chosen by you. Maybe watching a film or two between bouts of series could be a fun palette cleanser. What do you think?

Of the shows you’ve suggested, I’ve seen most of them, but I haven’t seen Stranger or Tree with Deep Roots and would like to see them both. Plus, I would probably never watch NIF except in a group watch (since I’m focusing on the Korean shows to help learn the language), and I’ve heard so many good things about it.

Francesbells
5 months ago

I’m in if it’s A Beautiful Mind and Kill Me Heal Me! Wouldn’t it be great to watch 2 dramas where the leads are struggling with some mental illness? 🙂

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
5 months ago

Ack, I wasn’t able to edit my first post on time.

When I say free in Viki Netherlands (because that’s the VPN country I’m using), it probably means Viki Europe.

I think Signal, Kingdom, and Life are nice additional choices for our group watch (shows that I’m guessing @kfg wouldn’t normally watch).

Signal isn’t as gory or violent as other crime dramas and the cases are based on actual cold cases. I remember it being heartfelt too.

Kingdom is beautifully-produced, well-acted and has meaty themes perfect for group discussions. (Although non-zombie fans might find it a bit too scary and zombie fans might find it not scary enough.) Best of all, it’s quite short (even if we watch both seasons).

Life is the lesser-mentioned work by the writer of Stranger / Forest of Secrets (same lead actor too) but I find that I like Life more. The setting is in a hospital but it doesn’t have as much medical operations as Dr. Romantic.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
5 months ago
Reply to  Jiyuu

@Jiyuu I adored Signal – even though I found some of the cases pretty hard to take. The cast are incredible but especially Cho Jin-Woong. He’s phenomenal. I did enjoy Life but I still found season 1 of Stranger better. Season 2 of Stranger took me too long to actually enjoy but it got there in the end.

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
5 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Maybe because I like Lee Dong Wook a lot so having him AND Cho Seung Woo together as leads made Life twice more enjoyable than Stranger.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
5 months ago
Reply to  Jiyuu

Lee Dong Wook is excellent. Having first watched him in Hell is Other People, though, I kept thinking he might be evil… He just has an unsettling vibe 😆

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@Ele Nash – for me, what’s unsettling, are those “natural” ruby red lips. Lee Dong-wook and a few others look too much like they’re trying to shoot Interview with a Vampire with the white makeup and red lips. (BTW – has anyone else noticed that LDW has triple eyelids?)

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Jiyuu

Jo Jin Woong is very good in Signal, very good, and also quite good as the legendary Moo Hyul in Tree With Deep Roots, the kinda guy you want on your side. And then there is something altogether unique about Kim Hye Soo’s charismatic presence.

Trent
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

I really found him (Jo Jin-woong) to be kind of amazing in Signal, actually, because he kind of presents as this big, bumbling, socially maladept dude, but after spending some time with him, he also very skillfully conveys his compassion, rectitude, and dogged devotion to principle. And Kim Hye-soo was a great foil.

Part of what made KHS’s performance so great was how effortlessly she portrayed her character as the jaded, seen-too-much, wounded-by-the-past veteran detective in the present day, versus the dewy-eyed, has-a-crush-on-sunbae rookie of 15-20 years ago.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I agree with you, but thought of the two, Jin Joo Woong’s character, albeit not so much from pov but rather from character, was the more sympathetic of the two lead male roles. Jo Jin Woong, albeit in a supporting role, is also wonderful in Tree With Deep Roots, which really does have a deep cast. Even Song Joong Ki plays King Sejong as a young man in it before Han Seok Kyu takes over as the mature king–strangely, actually in watching TWDR, there seemed an almost physical resemblance between the two.
The thing about Kim Hye Soo that strikes me most about her is how much she projects a feminine persona without ultimately making you doubt for an instant her ability to lead men in dangerous milieus. Her brief cameo in Dr. Romantic gives off the same feel. I would be tempted to call her a girly kind of girl (which she does project a bit in her neophyte days in Signal), and womanly woman does not exactly convey what I mean. It may be her voice or facial expressions, but it is something. Many women actors playing the same kind of role would be more likely to play that role from an androgynous personification, whereas Kim Hye Soo eschews, other than in her hair style and choice of pants rather than dresses, that strategy entirely.

j3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  Jiyuu

Good choices, all, but if we ever see kfangurl watching “Kingdom” it will be a sign of the upcoming {zombie) apocalypse.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

And the way Kingdom is laid out, it is really a two season, albeit short seasons, watch. Not seeing both leaves you halfway through the middle,

Trent
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I mean, she successfully navigated Sweet Home, even liked it!

(I think Kingdom is both bloodier/gorier than Sweet Home, and also tonally darker, so I would not expect KFG to be leaping happily into a Kingdom watch. I enjoyed it a lot, myself, and thought it was very well done, but my tolerance for flesh-craving zombie apocalypses set against the backdrop of the usual Joseon dynasty court politics is probably a lot higher than KFG’s. Just sayin’)

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I hate zombie shows, and thought one of the great early charms of Vincenzo was how roundly they poked fun at them, but Kingdom, which is very tightly put together, because of its great ensemble, especially Ryu Seung Ryong, the central villain, and Bae Doo Na, but the entire ensemble really, and theme, not to mention its view of zombieism as a pandemic phenomenon being manipulated by the patriarch of a particularly sinister political clan, exploiting the peasant class in doing so, was very good. I thought rather than being frightening, the zombie scenes, that mindless army of Olympic athlete zombies (a cut above Tolkien’s orcs for pure relentless menace) read more as action than horror (and I do not like horror very much). But that is just me.

Drama Fan
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

🤣🤣🤣

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– whew! I’m glad to hear that or I would’ve totally been missing out on one of the next group watches if Kingdom was one of them!

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
5 months ago

Hooray for group watches! I have loved – and I mean LOVED – watching Chuno and then Money Flower with you all and revelling in the minutiae. Everyone kind of has different views and notices different things and it makes it that much more enjoyable. And it’s always so good being able to garble out somewhere how brilliant certain scenes and actors are. Hehem, Jang Hyuk…
But, while there are two Jang Hyuk dramas on the list I could flail over, I really really want to see Nirvana in Fire. And I definitely think ‘Editor’s Choice’ is an excellent idea as we’re here for you as much as the drama, kfangurl, and your brilliant insights and thoughts 😘 I didn’t ‘get’ Dr Romantic but that’s OK. I’m happy to try whichever show wins the vote / you choose.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@everone – I’d rather do 4 eps of Nirvana In Fire if everyone can handle. The reason being won’t it take forever to get through it at 2 or 3 eps?

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez–16 weeks if three, 12 if four. But also a more manageable amount of content per week, The only problem I foresee with a 3 a week selection is that about half way through show has its most complicated and time consuming conflict, even while binging feeling like it went on maybe for three or four episodes too many. Still to both invest the four episode per week amount of time and then invest into the detail of discussion that might arise from any four episodes of NIF, that might be a lot for many people as well.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – But, correct me if I’m wrong, the episodes are only 30 minutes long.

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – episodes are 45 minutes long.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

-Ahhh. Thanks

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
5 months ago

I checked just now. A Beautiful Mind and Tree With Deep Roots are available for free on Viki Netherlands. For geo-restricted shows, I use the free version of Proton’s VPN and it has three countries to choose from: US, Netherlands and Japan. Good enough for my drama watching needs.

If NIF wins, since it’s 40mins per episode, it’ll be 3 episodes weekly?

I remember @KFG hasn’t watched Signal yet, would you like to consider it too?

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
5 months ago

Eek, please don’t watch the English dubbed version! Watch in original Mandarin with English subtitled. Available on Viki if you set VPN to Europe or America.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
5 months ago

Ack I can’t edit comment when using my handphone! Anyway “Love and” is a typo. And The Bad Kids and Long Night were highly recommended by Avenue X in her 2020 year end review video. She also highly rated Min Ning Town, authentic slice of life in a rural village, something unusual and different from the usual K drama lot! https://youtu.be/oIFs-0Z0FqA

https://youtu.be/Gy8nm0nxgF8

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
5 months ago

My suggestions/seconds, I’ve not watched these but keen to: Kill Me Heal Me, Girlfriend is a Gumiho, Be Melodramatic, Sungkyungkwan Scandal, Let’s Eat 2, Reply 1988, My Mister, Secret Affair

C Dramas – Love and Legend of Condor Heroes 2008 starring Hu Ge, NIF, The Bad Kids and The Long Night (2020)

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

@Elaine Phua: You have a number of wonderful shows to see among which the final three K Dramas you mention are imo among the best I have seen. Seriously, and two of the other five which I have seen are also terrific. Enjoy and do not hesitate even if these are not our choices.

beez
5 months ago

Too many to choose! At first I thought “yeah, buddy! Beautiful Mind” and there’s so much meat to flesh out there. (@DramaFan and I never did settle our argument about it. Thank goodness for Hyuky love that still brings us together 😉) But then Nirvana In Fire… but then TREE WITH DEEP ROOTS!

And I’ve always wanted to watch in a group I Heard It Through the Grapevine (aka in my mind “What Happens After Candy Marries Her Chaebeoul”).

Trent
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez “What Happens After Candy Marries Her Chaebeoul”

Hahahah. Thanks, beez, I don’t know why that made me laugh so much, but it totally did.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – trust me, there’s no other Kdrama like it. It’s dark comedy. Only one caveat – there’s so many things regarding extremely well-to-do uppercrust people’s home life and that’s also why I want a group watch because maybe we all can figure it out together why they do the things they do. I understood the gist of it but there were many foreign things that I just couldn’t figure out. (And believe me I scour the internet when I see new S. Korean things.) We all see the chaebeoul conglomerate lifestyle in Kdramas which is the stuff lotto dreams are made of. But this family is a chaeboul law firm. Giving the impression of “old money” (if the now affluent Korea had been around long enough to call it such). You know, how sometimes old money isn’t continuing to generate as much wealth as corporations. They’re quite wealthy but not that rich, extravagant lifestyle of hanging out on yatchs all day. They have a few house servants but not the wipe-your-butt level of rich. The parents are too classy (and snobby) to ever do something as low as slapping a maid/secretary but they’re very strange and unlikable. (Did I get my idea across?) 😁

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – it’s like how we never see what happens after Cinderella and Prince Charming get married. The reality of the “afterwards”.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: the only thing I am sure of is that Cinderella will never allow the servants to have to pick lentils out of the stove ashes, even if it means having big arguments with Charming. Perhaps too a crusade for giving comfortable shoes to poor women from the palace treasury.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I don’t believe glass slippers were Cinderella’s personal choice but rather a move of her stylist Fairy Godmother, so shoes may not be topmost on Cindy’s reformist agenda. 😉

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: But given C’s universal reputation for compassion, after watching one of her step sisters cut off her toes in order to fit in to her shoes (the original unexpurgated version), comfort shoe sizing may remain a thing in her mind. PS in Bossam peasant guy picks out form fitting shoes for princess after pulling a thorn from her foot and remembering how many of his hands covered her feet. The Korean thing for women’s feet is quite touching, albeit here it might appear somewhat, I don’t know, outre, with an accent over the e.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE “…remembering how many of his hands covered her feet.”
begs the question “well how many hands does this guy have?!” But I’ll wait until I watch to see what you mean by that. (I’m hoping it was some sort of weird typo). lol

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: If I could put up likes, I would put up one for your subtitle, although Candy and Cheobol sound like the exact kind of combo I probably could not stand. Karen goes to Mar A Lago for a Wedding.

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

OMG BE – I am dying laughing over here at the reference. Like seriously laughing. How very snarky of you! I LOVE it.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

@Everyone – here’s the link at AsianWiki. The synopsis doesn’t do this show justice. https://asianwiki.com/Heard_It_Through_the_Grapevine Even not understanding everything going on, I still can recommend this enough.

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – that looks interesting. I am going to check it out – big thanks!

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– please, please, phl1rxd, let me know your thoughts when you do because I felt so lonely watching this as not many bloggers picked it up to talk about it.

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – I started it last night LOL! I fell asleep halfway through E2. I have designated this my post dinner watch for the near future. I will def follow up.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

@phlrxd – Awesome. mentally rubbing my hands together in anticipation

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I don’t know the show you referenced but I can guarantee its nothing like that. It’s dark although not the kind of dark of murder, blood & guts. Our “Candy” isn’t the typical Candy. Sure she’s poor and hardworking but she’s very intelligent and attending college (played by Go Ah sung). This is realistic. She doesn’t have a magic tiny closet that somehow has a new coat and purse every episode. During a moment of weakness at college study camp, she and ML (Lee Joon) give in to hormones and after one time… pregnant. The marriage itself doesn’t come easy and loving with his parents is stressful and… interesting.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: I was just riffing off your sub title, What Happens After Candy Meets Her Cheobol, which sounded, without knowing anything about the series you were referencing, so funny, in its use of signifiers, Candy and Cheobol. Words and their play always pique my worst propensities, but as I noted elsewhere, it would serve me better to be less prone to my phonic propensities and more perspicatious in my commentary profferings. Just saying.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – 🎼🎶We love you just the way you are🎵

ngobee
ngobee
5 months ago

Seconding NIF. Complex dramas are great for group watches!

CP
CP
5 months ago

NIF – I’m so glad NIF made it on this list ( and seems to be a popular choice based on comments so far). That would absolutely be my #1 choice, and I would gladly watch it for the (6th? 7th?) time. I think this drama could really benefit from a group watch for many viewers – for those who are intimidated/confused it will be nice to have people explaining it as we go, and for those that have watched it before, being such a rich story I bet other people will pick up on even more details that I’ve missed even on my first 5 watches!

Stranger – this could be good! I am starting this and tbh I’m really bored and just can’t get into it. I feel like I’m missing something since the hype is unreal, hoping a group watch will help me “get” this drama.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  CP

To be honest, while I watched both seasons, and like the cast, particularly Bae Doona, I was not as riveted by Stranger as many are. I tend to think, in fact, Americans and Europeans tend to handle crime procedural series better. I would not mind rewatching if for no other reason than I overlooked Shin Hye Sun in it the first time around, something I am not likely to do anymore. However, to me, show really is about the acting, the crime, corruption of justice, and cheobol connection not as pertinent to my interests as they certainly seem to be in South Korea, as this seems to be a notion of almost every single dramatic show out there (I do not really care about similar kinds of American dramas either). However a group response would benefit perhaps from some going into the admin of justice system in South Korea, especially the relationship between prosecutorial and police authorities.

sarra hb
sarra hb
5 months ago

this group watch is becoming one of the highlights of my week so thank you kfan gurl! i will be voting for while you were sleeping for the second time because i am really curious about your opinion. I am sure you will find it highly enjoyable

dererlking
5 months ago

Giving special nudges for 7 Day Queen, Stranger, and Dear My Friends! The last round I wanted 7 Day Queen (but didn’t make it to the final list) and voted for Dear My Friends (but didn’t get picked) so trying my luck again hehe. 2 episodes per week is a good pace methinks.

j3ffc
5 months ago

I will not vote but I will watch whatever the People and our Editor decide, partly because I learn so much this way but mostly because I enjoy the company. This is the best water cooler in the world.

My one request: whatever you choose, even if one choice is a 54-episode Chinese historical drama, that we do not exceed 4 hours-ish a week in total. This schedule allows me only to watch one other drama at a time (about 2 hours additional a week), and during the latest group watch I have only managed Secret Garden and half of Mr. Queen, and a couple of mini-bites that kfangurl recommended (Shanai Marriage Honey and Let’s Eat Something, Anna). Oh and two episodes of Delightful Girl Choon Hyang, which I’ve been working through over a year now. Maybe that sounds like a lot, but I’ve been jealous over all of you checking out Vincenzo and Navirella and Sell Your Haunted House, and even your complaining about Sisyphus. And my to-see list is very long, indeed, especially now that I apparently need to see Pinocchio.

Thank you, all, for watching together and especially kfangurl, for providing this nourishing forum.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I think three eps/wk with NIF would work, which might even be less of a time investment than two/week with some K Dramas in which individual episodes go on way past a single hour.

j3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

“…some K Dramas in which individual episodes go on way past a single hour”

We’re looking at YOU, Reply 1988….

DISCLAIMERS BELOW

…which I loved, btw, and thought that the long eps helped to pull the viewer into a mood. But it was challenging to schedule when I was sufficiently alert to appreciate it.

Trent
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

WORD. I mean, I loved Reply 1988 (watched it last fall), but that is a creative team that believes in stretching out an episode and letting it breathe.

(Reply 1988 eps averaged 80-90 minutes apiece, as did Prison Playbook and Hospital Playlist. Which is fine! They’re good! …just long).

manukajoe
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Long episodes are challenging for sure, but I generally watch on Netflix which remembers where you’re up to. But this means I just tend to stop whenever, and probably end up watching shorter sessions, and perhaps broken.

MC
MC
5 months ago

Oo lovely idea! I do really like the Group Watch!

My picks are
– NIF because it’s so good according to everyone who’s watched it but it was too intimidating for me to watch it alone. I tried and dropped out coz I was confused. But if it’s 3-4 eps I miiiiight not be able to keep up. Between a full time job and a baby I don’t have much tv watching time. But if everyone’s game please go ahead without me!
– Forest of Secrets cos Ive not watched it and it sounds great. Same for Signal.
– My Mister: I will never say no, I love this show too much.
– While You Were Sleeping might be a nice switch up!
– Someone suggested Let’s Eat 2. Why not Let’s Eat 1? Ive not watched it and heard good things about the series!

manukajoe
5 months ago
Reply to  MC

I just like “Let’s Eat 2” better. And the story is not really connected with Let’s Eat 1.

manukajoe
5 months ago

As a wild card, if anyone is interested in more Seo Hyun Jin, I quite like “Let’s Eat 2”. It’s a light romantic comedy, includes a good ML too, some good older actors, some Korean food porn. It’s not an A show but a solid B with a decent supply of heart.

Eta Wardana
5 months ago

I’ve never watched Chinese drama before, so I’m thinking that Nirvana In Fire would be a great opportunity for me to expand perspective. While Dr. Romantic was a lot of fun, I kinda want to take a break from hospital/medical drama, so maybe more comedy shows like My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and You’re Beautiful are good too.

manukajoe
5 months ago
Reply to  Eta Wardana

Agree. I might get into NIF if it was a group watch. Also, I’ve about 5 eps into Gumiho and it is old fashioned goofy delightful. I love this crossover between fantasy world and real world (and historical world) stuff.

BE
BE
5 months ago

If I had had my druthers last time I would have gone with Dear My Family, which I would whole heartedly recommend to anyone who has not seen it. To put it another way, Youn Yuh Jung is the fourth or fifth or maybe even sixth lead in this, and as good as she is in it, there are reasons why that is so. Oh and yes, I had a big crush on her before all this Minari business went down. That said, it is an awfully emotional show, mostly about old folks, mostly old women, and their discontents. If that does not appeal, or seem broad enough…well…I can understand that.

My second choice would have been Nirvana In Fire, mostly cause there is so much to chew on in it, and as with Chuno, we have someone in our community who is super well versed in the show, which would give us some beyond the drama itself food for thought and gabfesting. During the Chuno watch, I somehow managed to binge both NIF and Queen Seondeok, which would be a worthwhile group watch too if we all had the patience for sixty two episodes–it is seriously great folks, and who knows how much longer it will be available before it goes the way of other long sageuk classics. But I suspect being trapped into 2022 would not be a popular choice, yuk.

I thought, however, Money Flower and Dr. Romantic would be fine. I was shocked at my reaction to the initial episodes of Money Flower, as I hadn’t remembered finding the characters so completely distasteful, and surprised how much I enjoyed rewatching Dr. Romantic. As much as I had enjoyed my initial watch I would not have predicted enjoying a rewatch all that much, because it struck me even then that it was a kind of predictable show with predictable beats, albeit a very good iteration of such, and a bit limited by its melodramatic made for tv format. What I found was that show had more going on in it–the structuring and composition of the episodes and whole show a cut above the typical, and that included the acting performances of the otp, which were much better done than I had remembered. If it still was not a great classic like Chuno, it was at least as KFG expressed it a B++.

Personally, I would rather see a great classic together, Secret Love Affair–Kim Hee Ae and Yoo Ah In, as good as anything they have ever been in, or even My Mister–need I say more?, or Reply 1988 if we are hankering for pure comfort food. Ditto almost anything out of K’s extensive A+ library, or her significant interest. But I know after my reaction to Money Flower, not everyone is going to consider shows I think are classics as great and vice versa on my account.

In the end, whatever sparks the greatest group interest, I will give it a go, and hope for the best.

manukajoe
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

I would second Reply 1988, I’ve been meaning to get to it. I’ve watched a couple of eps of Dear My Friends and could not see the attraction. Already watched and liked My Mister.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

I think Dear My Friends is, like some slice of life dramas, slow to unfold, especially as it starts off with the intimation that it is likely to be a comedy (I have seen show even tagged as such), which it is not. It has basically two elements to it, the first being that it highlights just about every crisis and condition elderly people, especially, but not entirely, elderly women, are confronted by, including memories of catastrophic choices from youth coming to surface, and it features a cast of extraordinary actors, who given their own ages, perform their roles with no little amount of psychological courage.

I would add, being that I am of the same generation as most of the lead actors, it does also reveal a stark difference in the experience of my/our generation in South Korea from the United States, which I also found interesting. But I can well imagine that it does not have universal appeal. But then, Dr. Romantic, which was a wildly popular show in South Korea, did not attract all that wide an audience to our group watch either.

The only thing with My Mister, I suspect would be to give it a kind of Chuno time effect. That is, it is a show that many, many people are truly wild about, and perhaps it would be better to wait a couple more years, getting some distance, and rewatching on one’s own, before getting a crew together to really investigate its greatness. With the Chuno watch, there was that several members of group, including KFG, were seriously enamored of show, including a couple who really had spent time with some of its details adding to the enjoyment of the group watch. Like Chuno, My Mister is so special, having the forum provided us here at this very special blogsite, to really chew on it might deserve a sense of timing in its undertaking.

The other thing I liked about the Chuno watch, and I do not know if the Money Flower watch had the same element to it, is that show provided enough ambiguity so that we could have passionate differences in interpretation without them diminishing anyone’s passion for whole show.

Reply 1988–maybe somebody doesn’t like it, but I haven’t heard of anyone.

Vekster
Vekster
5 months ago

I started Gumiho so my vote goes to that. Picked it based on a previous post about shows that you haven’t reviewed yet. I started it after finishing and really enjoying It’s Okay To Not Be Okay.Really liked the fairy tale aspect of it.

Trent
5 months ago

I personally have found the group watches, starting with Chuno and then with both of the current ones, to be really enriching, and I would not underestimate the value of what you point out as far as the “live watch” experience. So often when you get caught up in a show, you want to vent or talk about it, and this gives the opportunity to do that, which otherwise can be hard to find. The only occasional frustration is getting really caught up in a show and having to be disciplined about staying on the schedule, but that’s manageable.

So I am on board with continuing, and I think the Editor’s Pick is a great idea. After all, if you hadn’t made a command decision about Money Flower, I might have never gotten around to it, and if you’ve peeked at the recent commentary on the open threads for that one, you’ll know where I stand on MF 🙂 ….

Anyway, you’ve picked a really promising opening bid for potential selections. I’m especially lucky because I’ve only seen one of them (Dr. Romantic 2–which I’d totally be willing to see again, because it’s just more Doldam Hospital and Master Kim goodness. If I had a preference, I don’t think I’d go with it, just because I feel a need for a bit of a hospital procedural break, and I’m resting up for Hospital Playlist 2 in June, which I am super looking forward to).

Of the others, half of them I already had written down on my “future watch list,” and most of the others look pretty good.

I think my first pick would be Nirvana in Fire, just because no one will shut up about how great it is, and also it looks very much like the sort of epic production that will really benefit from a group watch production. Since it is long, and also the eps appear to be standard Mainland length of 45 minutes, would we want to discuss bumping up the weekly count to 3 or even 4 episodes, so the whole watch doesn’t stretch over six months’ time?

After Nirvana, Stranger; Tree With Deep Roots; Moon Embracing the Sun; My GF is a Gumiho; 7-day Queen; and Dear My Friends are all on my list, and I’d be happy with any of the others.

I don’t know that we need additions, but some others I’ve really been considering starting soon that look good:
Secret Love Affair; Be Melodramatic; Stove League.

Can’t wait to see what the hive mind decides on…

Leslie
Leslie
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I second the vote for Nirvana in Fire IF we can do 3-4 episodes at a time (and it doesn’t break you KFG). Otherwise it will be U.S. Thanksgiving before we get it done. Scary thought. So many have raved about NIF that it keeps wanting to be on my list – but it hasn’t made it because I don’t know if I have the fortitude to do it alone. This could be my chance.

All of the other recommendations work for me, too. I watched Kill Me Heal Me fairly recently, and can give it two thumbs up – would be willing to rewatch. Was just about to start My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, so I’ll hold off until a decision is made. If we choose A Beautiful Mind, we might have to rename the group Jang Hyuk Fandom. Don’t get me wrong – I’d be in. 😉

Leslie
Leslie
5 months ago
Reply to  Leslie

Also, Stranger sounds intriguing so I’ll give an extra nudge for that one.

Drama Fan
5 months ago
Reply to  Leslie

Im liking that idea for NIF! Especially since I think each ep is not so long.

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Hi Drama Fan – You are correct. NIF episodes run 45 minutes.

manukajoe
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I love Hot Stove League. Really nice show and mostly not about baseball actually.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I think the thing about DR2 is it did air four years after the original, which might be the almost perfect incubation period. Although for those who did not think Director Do got his just desserts in the first one or that the fella could pull out more stops in his lifelong crusade for venality as guiding behavioral principle…um, my lips are sealed.

seankfletcher
5 months ago

Wow, what a list, kfangurl! For me, it would be the three I haven’t watched: Gumiho, Seven Days and Tree With Deep Roots 😉

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Tree With Deep Roots is a great one, but also quite cerebral. Han Seok Kyu is wonderful in it.

Shyama
Shyama
5 months ago

This was my first time being part of a group watch. I enjoyed the experience tremendously. I was not really sure about Money Flower, but omg, it’s become one of my all time favorite shows! I’m a Jang Hyuk fan for life now! ( so voting for Beautiful Mind). I think the group watch is in that way like a book club- makes you look at shows that wouldn’t normally be your first pick!
I love all the shows you’ve chosen, except may be a couple that have terribly sad endings. I won’t say which ones- in case people are not aware!
Watching two shows kinda took up a lot of time! Some weeks it was like doing homework before the deadline 😁 Also, it didn’t leave much time for the other shows on my list. Having said that, it was still fun to watch two very different shows, side by side… This is a big change for me, I tend to finish one before I start another!
Thanks for the fun experience, Fangirl!

Drama Fan
5 months ago

My vote goes for Nirvana in Fire (it would be my first watch) and Beautiful Mind (a rewatch but I love this drama. People may want a break from JH at this point but Im still going to vote for this one) There are a couple other dramas on the list that I would very likely join as well. Also, I LOVE the idea of the Editor’s Choice ❤️👍

phl1rxd
5 months ago

These are all good choices Fangurl. KMHE is on my Top 3 KDrama list and NIF is quite literally in the upper stratosphere of dramaworld and the best thing I have ever watched (and will probably ever watch) in this lifetime. Then there is Stranger which is in a class by itself – a very, very fine contender. You would even get to see it Fangurl! Hooray!

Those are my personal three. I will take the NIF plunge for the 11th time for perfection FG. 💖💖 The rest of these dramas are very good choices.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

: if this is one of the selections, I would really look forward to your commentary on this, including input on how the novel works next to it. I have a hard time reading long work on screens–old fashioned enough to need hard copy and the feel of a book in my hands, not to mention the ability to sit out on my front porch on an afternoon, or read in bed before going to sleep, so that would be helpful.
I hope we can get some of our history nerds (Sean? Snow?) to help out with that period in Chinese history as well.
Finally, I do think, even though I am against spoilers, as show begins in medias res, folks should be armed with enough info (I know I checked out some reviews ahead of time and they helped immensely) to get through the first three or four episodes, which seems to be an almost universal stumbling block, but that is me, and perhaps I am getting ahead of myself as I thought it was going to be the choice out of the gate last time.

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

Hi BE – It is confusing in the beginning and all the names are a bit difficult to grasp. I believe this is why many people drop this early on. I would just have to be super careful of not saying too much. When you first watch this you are in a predicament as to where to go for information on the characters. You don’t want to learn too much and therefore spoil the drama but I believe that a basic breakdown of the characters should be available. Also, there are so many threads that are woven into the story that “just wait” or “remember this” may become a well used term. 😀😁

The book was really very good but once you read the book you will understand how dynamic the translation onto the screen really is. The drama is 80% faithful to the book and the reason behind the differences is easy to understand. The book captures the heart and mind of Mei Chang Su in more detail. The same writer wrote both book and script and that was a big plus for me.

I am laughing as I believe Sean is not a big NIF fan. 🤩 From my recollection he liked it but it did not impress him as much as it did others. Sean and I actually agree on 90% of dramas ( I always, always follow his recommendations) but this one did not catch his fancy as much as it did mine.

The drama is set in the 6th century but is really not based on any real events. But, yes, it would be really interesting to see what was really going on during that time period.

I have lots written up on the drama including fun facts. I am ready for a group watch if it gets selected. I am nowhere near as beautiful a writer as you. There are so many well composed comments by followers of this blog (which is one of the reasons I am on it almost every day), But, if it gets a spin on the group watch wheel I would be happy to help answer any questions that arise.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I didn’t think much of the first episode (or maybe first two), but thanks to your telling me to take note of everything, I literally took notes the first few episodes in order to keep up with who’s who.

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – it takes time to take notes but with this drama you almost have to have a character reference guide. If this goes up for a group watch I can help with some of that (without spoiling) to make it an easier transition into later episodes once it starts playing with all those threads of intrigue. You are right about the first few episodes. If you get past those with some understanding of who is who, the rest of the drama is more enjoyable.

I have 3 pages of fun facts/trivia that I accumulated over the years as well. I am such a nerd. Every week I could throw in a few fun facts about the drama and the actors. I will tell you Beez, you may enjoy another watch as you will gain a better understanding of the drama. This is a complex drama. Let’s see what happens. 🤞🤞

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– if it’s chosen, I’m in.

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – you just made my day a whole lot brighter! 🥰

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– you’re just like me – too easy! 😆 It doesn’t take a lot to make us happy. We need to learn to be more high maintenance and demanding! 😁

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: the first time I tried to watch NIF, it was wtf for about three episodes and then I dropped it. But when I thought it was gonna be the group watch last time, I took it seriously enough to read some reviews and responses, and found that many people had a similar problem, so just getting a clearer picture on main character’s back story and the players involved in the power struggle as it existed at the beginning really helped me. Once I was armed with that knowledge, then I understood the game in play, and watching it play out was pretty darned interesting.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – me too. I dripped it after the first episode (also it has horrible English dubbing). But phl1rxd convinced me to watch. I stopped taking notes somewhere along the line but they really helped at first.