You know how sometimes, certain moments seem to coming looking for you, instead of the other way around?
Kinda like how my getting to attending Gong Yoo’s fanmeeting in Tokyo happened, in 2013? (If you missed that, I wrote about the entire experience here!)
WELL. It honestly feels like this next group watch, which I’m announcing here in this post, is something that came looking for me, instead of the other way around.
It feels like FATE, you guys. Which, y’know, is PERFECT, because Winter Sonata is ALL about Fate – well, Fated Love – too, heh.
WHAT ARE WE DOING, EXACTLY?
Essentially, we are going to be doing a group watch of Winter Sonata, mirroring its original airing schedule in 2002, to mark the show’s 21-year anniversary! How cool is that??
AND, instead of episode notes from me, you’ll be treated to episode notes from Trent, in a “modern fan takes on Classic Hallyu” sort of vein.
Doesn’t that sound like fun?? 😃
And the best part is, it all came together, without my even having to really plan for it, or think about it. Let me explain.
IT WAS MEANT TO BEEE~
Very similar to how my Gong Yoo Tokyo adventure came together in 2013, without my having to actually plan for it or really think about it, a lot of things had to fall into place, to make this commemorative group watch possible.
Here’s them, in the order in which they appeared on my horizon:
1. Winter Sonata finally became available on Viki, after disappearing off Kocowa, for a good while. FINALLY, the show was legally available to stream again! 🥳
2. Trent decided to dive in, and started writing up his reactions on Patreon, in our monthly Deep Dive zone, and I was so entertained, that it made me feel like rewatching the show (for the record, I’ve seen it at least 3 times, in my drama journey).
3. It suddenly occurred to me, a few days before Christmas, that it might be fun idea, to have a Winter Sonata group watch, starting in January, with Trent’s fantastic notes as the anchor, and I decided to ask Trent what he thought of the idea.
4. Trent agreed! YAY! 🥳
5. I decided that an announcement in the first week of January, with the first episode notes going live in the second week of January seemed good.
6. I then looked up Winter Sonata, and that’s when I learned that its original air date had been on 14 January 2002! With our group watch discussions on Saturdays, this placed our group watch to start on EXACTLY 14 January 2023!
Listen. IS THAT NOT WHAT THEY CALL DESTINY, IN DRAMALAND??? 🤩
(Also, I know I usually check with you guys on what you would like to watch as a community, but in this case, we really shouldn’t try to fight destiny, should we?? )
WHY I THINK THIS IS A GREAT IDEA
In a nutshell, here’s why I think this group watch is a great idea:
1. Trent’s notes are entertaining, engaging and quite hilarious, and should be seen by the world at large. Plus, he’s even putting in the time to polish up his reaction notes a little bit, for the group watch. Thanks, Trent!
2. Winter Sonata is the granddaddy drama that really kicked off Hallyu around the world in the early 2000s, so it would be a rare chance for newer drama fans to have a community experience of watching it.
3. It’s also a great chance for drama fans who’ve seen it, to do a rewatch, because, what better time than Show’s 21st birthday, to celebrate Show’s coming-of-age, yes? 😁
4. Trent’s insights and observations as a modern drama fan, watching this show 20 years later, add a fresh new twist. Like I mentioned earlier, this is basically “modern fan takes on Classic Hallyu.” It’s great, and importantly, it’s fun. 😁
5. This would help keep the group watch spirit going, while I take a break from writing group watch notes, so that I can focus on the year-end guest posts, which are continuing until end-January or thereabouts.
LOGISTICS & OTHER DETAILS
Schedule: Saturdays, starting 14 January 2023. Posts will go live at 8:00am, my time (GMT+8).
Commitment: 20 episodes. 2 eps a week = 10 weeks.
In other words: We will discuss E1-2 on Saturday, 14 January 2023.
Availability: Available on Viki with Viki Pass.
Getting around geo-restrictions
If you’re geo-restricted, a VPN service would help you get around that. Not only does it provide online safety, it also gives you access to lots of great geo-restricted content.
I personally use NordVPN. You can find my review of NordVPN here.
You can use my affiliate link (here!) to enjoy up to 60% * off, with prices starting as low as US$3.29 per month.
* This used to say 73%, but because NordVPN’s changed the way it calculates the discount, it now says 60%. BUT, it’s the same great price, starting from US$3.29 a month!
An article on why it’s not illegal to use a VPN to access legal streaming content can be found here.
Why you should watch:
This is the granddaddy drama that started it all.
It’s not the oldest kdrama out there, but it’s the iconic one that swept the world off its feet, and had folks glued to their screens, lapping it all up, and then clamoring for more.
Even non-kdrama fans were talking about this show, and knew the names of our leads. That’s Sayin’ Something!
Most importantly, though, it paved the way for the dramas that we enjoy now, to have a space to exist.
Doesn’t it almost feel like required viewing, for the serious drama fan? 😁
I do think there are a couple of important things to keep in mind, when watching this one:
1. Show is 21 years old, and uses a lot of narrative devices that we’ve come to recognize as tropes. Bearing in mind that Show very likely did it first – or was among the first dramas to use them – helps.
2. Show is a melodrama, so expect Show to lay on the angst, especially in its second half. Knowing that it’s coming, helps. AND, Trent’s notes, which are hilariously entertaining, absolutely help as well. 🤭
Coming here to the Open Threads to talk (rant?) about it with other fans, will help too, I promise. 😁
The OST is iconic, and just listening to it now, brings back all the feels.
I count this drama as having one of the best OSTs of its era. ❤️
Because Show is so vintage, I couldn’t find a trailer. But, I think the opening sequence works quite nicely, as a stand-in.
Winter Sonata Open Threads:
I’ll be linking the Open Threads here, for easy reference. You’ll also be able to find the Open Thread links on my Full List page and on my Group Watches page.
E1&2 | E3&4 | E5&6 | E7&8 | E9&10 | E11&12 | E13&14 | E15&16 | E17&18 | E19 | E20
..That’s about it, really! I really hope that you guys are down to watch / rewatch this iconic classic, and enjoy Trent’s notes, along with me!
Please go forth and enjoy your first couple of episodes – and remember to tune in for the Open Thread posts, going live next Saturday! ❤️
Also, please spread the word, because the more the merrier!
Lastly, don’t worry if you can’t make it to join the discussion on Saturday itself; these aren’t live watch parties. Often the discussions go on all week, and sometimes beyond!
See you all on the Open Threads! ❤️😘
Many thanks to KFG for inviting me to participate in these group watch festivities.
I want to calibrate everyone’s expectations: my episode write-ups have been pretty breezy and informal, and as I’ve gotten deeper into the journey (which means deeper into the angst and melodrama), my notes have been getting longer, since I’ve been editorializing more (my language has been getting saltier, too…I may try to polish that up, some 😏).
So far, I’ve mostly just had phl1rxd to bounce my thoughts off of (which has been great, and much appreciated, don’t get me wrong!); it will be a lot of fun to have more folks to chat about this with, so I’m hopeful that at least some of you will be able to carve out some of your precious drama hours to join us in the journey. The more, the merrier, right?
So go– check out the first couple episodes, make the acquaintance of Yu-jin and Jun-sang and Sang-hyuk and Chae-rin. We’re all gonna have a lotta fun with this crew. 😁😆😊
Thank YOU, Trent, for agreeing to do this for us! ❤️
I’ve been loving your notes, and I think it says A LOT, that despite my having seen this one at least 3 times in the past, and now having limited drama hours to spend, I was so entertained by your notes that I felt like watching this one AGAIN! 🤩😁
I just watched this before Christmas. Turning on the VIKI viewers comments help me get through this one. Wish I hand known you, Trent, and KFG had planned a group watch for this CLASSIC. Looking forward to following your commentary.
You had me at ‘Grandaddy of dramas’! 🙂
This group watch definitely looks like it’s going to be a fun riot. Unfortunately I can’t make it as I am bit stretched out at the moment in terms of “everyday drama time”. But I am going to read the weekly notes that Trent is going to post and enjoy them 😊.
Enjoy and have fun everyone 🥳.
Cool! I will be there. xx
How exciting, KFG! It is so cool that you are following the original release dates!
I will be checking on the comments, however, I just completed my very first watch. I was SO VERY excited to see Winter Sontat become available on VIKI that it I watched it right away–I completed it on Christmas Eve!
After visiting Nami Island several years ago, I have ALWAYS wanted to see this Kdrama. Naminara (the “tourist nation” on Nami Island), one of the filming locations, is BEAUTIFUL. Although I had not seen this Kdrama before my visit, it still was very much a part of the charm of the island, including a statue commenmorating the first kiss and a Winter Sonata-themed souvenier shop. Now I want to return to Nami Island in the wintertime!
Winter Sonata is a CLASSIC and rode at the crest of the global Korean Wave and it continues to influence entertainment trends today. Before watching it, I recommend that you research about the impact of this drama when it was originally aired to understand its appeal and popularity. ENJOY, fellow fans!
Su San — Wow! you have actually been to the fabled Namiseon! It does look quite beautiful on screen, so I can only imagine in person. You will no doubt be dropping tidbits in the comments about stuff like what it’s like to see that lane of trees where they go walking?
Su San – that is pretty awesome and I had to look it up. Thanks for the info!
I’m pretty sure that Winter Sonata is not my cup of tea, but I sure bet that Trent’s commentary is! I’ll tune into the Group Watch notes just for that (and for, what I am sure will be, additional luscious input by blog followers.) Rubs hands.
Leslie — All are welcome to join the fun, however works for them!
Seriously, looking forward to the ride along with y’all. Kudos to Trent for letting KFG take a load off for this one; looking forward to his take. And thanks to kfangurl for posting the opening sequence as Viki doesn’t show them in the States.
I have watched the first episode and have Questions.
j3ffc – 🤣😅😂
j3ffc — I for sure don’t guarantee any Answers, but c’mon by and we can chew it over…
Thanks to KFG and Trent for leading us on this commemorative Winter Sonata group watch! It IS destiny that we watch it now. I was a relative kdrama newbie the first time I watched it and had no idea what I was getting myself into. I momentarily questioned whether I should continue watching kdramas during this watch because I was so angry and frustrated. But I couldn’t stop watching! So excited to watch this again two years later with all of you and Trent’s commentary. And I can’t stop laughing picturing watching this in a movie theatre a la The Rocky Horror Picture Show!
Cathy – Sales at the theater door would include raw eggs, boxes of tissues and comfy slippers. There is a drawing after Episode 20 where ten lucky winners are eligible to receive a free 30 minute psychiatric consultation. Prizes for the best scarf wrap and you can bring your own megaphone for voicing your angst at high decibel!
Oh dear, we are on for a “treat”. 😄 Can’t wait to see what Trent makes of this “mother of melodramas”. Winter Sonata was probably the 2nd or 3rd kdrama I watched back in the day and I recall being quite beamused with the amount of tears shed in it, ha. Being a total kdrama noob and having grown up with our own brand of oldskool melodramas, I wasn’t all that affected by the tropes or the overly dramatic 2nd half. The OST is iconic though. Hmmmm, maybe….a re-watch? Time permitting.
Now I am getting morbidly curious…😀
Snow Flower – it does have a nice OST which I think you would enjoy,
Sadly, I just didn’t enjoy it and dropped it. I actually became angry with it. However, that doesn’t detract from what I’m sure will be a fabulous watch underpinned by Trent’s awesomeness. Enjoy, everybody 😎😎😎
Sean — there is indeed much to get angry with! I can definitely understand that reaction…
Cheers Trent 😉
Sean – Yes, the drama you love to hate and vice versa. This is one dramas that you cannot sit on the fence with. It is a love 💖 or hate 😖 kind of thing. It forces a response from the viewer, usually —> 🤦♀️😮🤦♂️😫🤦♀️🤬🤦♂️<—–
[The following is only slightly overstated and occurred in later episodes when the level of angst rose] While watching this Sean, I kept comfy slippers handy so they were available to be thrown when needed. 🙄 I used a lot of hand gestures – a lot, Sean. 🙄 I think you would be ashamed of me if I told you how many times my hand/hands were flying around with bad gestures. 😞 Being Italian made it worse, as I brought out all of those hand/arm gestures as well. 🙄 It was flying hands, fingers and slippers over here along with certain facial expressions and boos, hisses and cuss words in three different languages. 🙄 I even had to channel a Monty Python mantra several times in a few episodes.
It was, bloody good fun, sir.
When Trent posted that he was going to watch I was super happy as his coverage of Autumn in My Heart was really excellent. He can also throw some shade in the most creative way (which you kind of have to do to keep sane through this watch). I howled with laughter over the posts. They really help you get through the angst. If it ever hit big over here in the USA, it could be like The Rocky Horror Picture Show where the audience can participate. (Picture that, if you will)
I get your reluctance to watch and I most certainly understand the anger. But, hold the fort Sean, I am going back in again for a third watch! 🤣😂😅
Lololol – phl 😂🤣😂 Speaking of Monty Python – from their flying circus series: “We interrupt this program to annoy you and make things generally more irritating.”
I can see the audience participation now: time period styling, humming or playing along to certain classical pieces and then there will be those who will look for a detonator on the remote 😁
I take my hat off to you and everyone going back in for another tour of duty. Trent is just the person to see you all safely through 😉
Sean – audience members could be selected to receive a free prize for best scarf wrap! 😄😄😄
@phl – that sounds awesome to me 😁😎🧣🧣🧣
@seankfletcher – Sometimes you have to take one for the team! Especially when its their first outing!! If nothing else, you can read along with Trent’s notes! Thats how I got through All of Us Our Dead! I just read Trent’s episode recaps which were amazing. I expect no less from the Winter Sonata recaps as well.
Hope to see you in the comments 🙂
@JJ – yes, never fear, I will be there for Trent’s recaps 😉
@seankfletcher – Eggscellent 🐣
&JJ – it’s part of my eggistentialism 🥚🐣🐥
@seankfletcher – 🤣
JJ – as you might imagine, a school overrun by zombies provides more grist for pure snark, but I will do my best to keep you amused….
@Trent – Well, if I remember correctly you had KFG rolling with laughter as well with phl1rxd with your Winter Sonata recaps 🙂
Fangurl – I cannot wait. 💥 I thought I was nutty watching it twice. Wowsers – you have seen it three times! 😏😉
For those of you who have not seen this I would encourage you to follow this if only for Trent’s fantastic notes. He had us in stitches over on Patreon with this drama. I laughed until I cried.
It is a one of a kind drama. I guarantee you that you will never forget it.
@phl1rxd I’m actually uncertain of the actual number of times I’ve seen it, but I’m sure it’s at least 3 times..! 😅
Back in the day, my mum & I just couldn’t get enough of it, particularly my mum. I think she’s seen it at least 5 times..? ANYWAY. She says she’ll join this group watch, and she’s curious about and looking forward to reading Trent’s notes! 😁 Woot! 🥳
Wowee Trent, Mama Kfangirl is going to follow your posts!! No pressure or anything! 😂😂 Haha just kidding, your notes are already DA BOMB, please don’t change anything! Informal, irreverent and satirical is totally fine for this blog I think!!
When KFG first mentioned to me that KFG mum was expressing interest, I assure you I felt the increased pressure immediately. Just gotta shake it off, you know? 😄
Hooray for Fangurl’s Mom! This is great news.