Patreon Year End Awards: Natalia’s Year In Dramas!

Hey everyone!

We’re having guest posts from the lovely folks on Patreon, to help us take stock of our drama years, kinda-sorta like what we had last year, woot! 🥳

We’ll be seeing about 2 guest posts per week, and this will unfold into January 2023, and that’s perfectly ok. AND, my annual year-in-review, which usually comes out in December, will also come out in January (or thereabouts 😅), after all the guest posts have been published.

If you missed our earlier posts, you can check them out as follows: phl1rxd, j3ffc, Uyen, Sean, Martina, David.

Today, I’m pleased to announce that Natalia is sharing her drama year!

Natalia’s been away from the blog and from dramas for a little bit, and we have missed her, but YAY that she’s now back, and ready to share her drama year with us! Way to update us on how you’ve been, Natalia! 😉🤩

I hope you guys enjoy!

KFG ❤️

Dear friends, greetings.

My name is Natalia and I have long inhabited Dramaland – nevertheless, 2022 in particular has been a pretty catastrophic year for my love affair with asian tv: all of a sudden, I just didn’t feel like watching anything that:

a) didn’t involve murders or the paranormal

b) was longer than 8-10 episodes and

c) was in any other language than those I can understand without using subtitles (that means that I basically only watched English, French and Spanish crime or horror shows).

I have no idea why this happened; but as K and you guys advised me early on in the year (K had posted a relevant Dear Fangirl question), I just took it slow, did a break and maybe I am over it now? Hopefully?

The result is that I have only completed 8 asian shows this year, which I am going to rank below.

A few of those, I didn’t like at all and sort of fast-forwarded them to the end. There has also been quite a few that I dropped after 1-2 episodes (Money Heist, Forecasting Love and Weather, Why Her and many, many others).

But, disclaimer: this doesn’t necessarily mean that those shows (the ones I hate-watched and the ones I dropped) are not good. It’s just that I was probably not in the right mood to watch them.

So, without further ado, the list of the shows I did manage to finish:

8. A Business Proposal

This one was promising at first, I thought. I liked the FL well enough, I was ok with the ML, I appreciated the friendship between first and second FLs.

But after that, it was all downhill form me, starting with the centuries old cliché that if a person wears different clothes/has a different haircut/puts on some makeup/wears glasses people around them won’t tell the difference.

Later on, I thought it got pretty boring, funny was not funny, I didn’t detect any chemistry between the leads and the second FL got so unreasonable I sincerely wished for the second ML to dump her.

So, without meaning to offend anyone who liked Business Proposal, my feelings about it were akin to this:

7. Love in Contract

Now, whereas Business proposal was among the last shows I watched before I went on a hiatus, Love in contract was a show I watched just after I decided that I could now get back, and I picked it because by then I had had a little too much of crime shows and thought that a sweet rom-com would be a nice change.

Well, it was a change, but not very nice.

Once again, I found the plot to be highly unbelievable, I thought Park Min Young phoned in her performance, I got seriously mad at all the red herrings the show kept throwing about (“Oh no, they will know it’s her? Well no, the photo was blurry”) and I hated the second ML, which is sad, I guess, because I am sure the actor (Kim Jae-Young) can do better.

The only reason I stayed until the end was the male lead, Go Kyoung-Pyo, who I thought did a very good job to make his not that well written character endearing.

So, my feelings about this show can be visualized through this photo:

6. Soundtrack # 1

I was already deep in my sudden dislike of love stories when I started watching Soundtrack#1 and the only reason I watched it was because I was still under the influence of last year’s Happiness and Park Hyung Sik.

So I watched it, and although it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t anything to write home about either.

Something was lacking maybe, or was it that the male lead’s smitten looks were not enough, after all? Still, I have to give it to PHS, he does smitten pretty well:

5. Alchemy of Souls

Alchemy of Souls was a whole different experience than the previous shows.

I liked the world-building part, this fantasy world that I found intriguing enough for me to keep watching. Plus, I have long been a fan of Jung So Min (since her Oh Ha Ni days…).

What made it an ultimately meh show for me (and the reason I will not be coming back for season 2) is the fusion sageuk side of it, plus all the attempts at being funny, plus some bad acting (possibly due to not that great directing).

Just like Master Lee Cheol below, I would love to ask the writers to please stick to their good honest fantasy world and skip the funny!

4. The Sound of Magic

I have no idea why I watched this show. I don’t like musicals, and Ji Chang-Wook is not a favourite of mine.

Still, I watched it and I liked it quite a lot, even the musical parts!

I really felt for the lead (Yoon Ah Yi – Choi Sung Eun) and her troubles and I appreciated there was no romantic hints in her relation to the (much older, anyway) magician.

The realistic part of the show really touched me, and the magical part was, well, magical.

So, without it being a great show, I thought it was an honest, and esthetically very pleasing drama. Just look at those colours:

3. Our Blues

It took me months to finish Our Blues, possibly because I was never thrilled by it.

But, the thought of dropping it never crossed my mind, because, honestly, it was such a good, heartwarming show.

And while I was not quite anxious to see what will happen next, watching every episode felt like checking on old friends.

The writing, the acting, all was excellent. And what I particularly appreciated is that the show managed to keep all those stars around for so many episodes and actually connect them to each other’s storyline.

That was an amazing feat. Bravo!

2. Reset

2022 was a strange year for my drama-watching for one more reason:  until now, I mostly stayed away from Chinese dramas (the only exception being Nirvana in Fire), I think because they are so long!

But then a friend suggested that I should watch Reset, and I thought it sounded intriguing (a sort of groundhog day situation, but with a mystery) and was only 15 (if memory doesn’t fail me) episodes long.

End result: I loved it.

I watched all episodes with great interest and although there were scenes that were necessarily repetitive, the show never, ever got boring.

A huge plus for me was that through each episode’s possible suspect, the viewer got a glimpse to modern life in China. Some of these stories really broke my heart, like watermelon-dad.

Additional bonus: unexpectedly enough, there was a romantic liaison between the two leads, which felt as natural as natural, and real, those too characters felt.

Honestly, if anyone here hasn’t watched Reset yet, I warmly recommend it.

To be honest, I would recommend it even for this guy here, asthmatic self-proclaimed Cat Apostle Lu Di. How could any cat lover not love Lu Di?

1. Love like the Galaxy

Wow! My #1 is another Chinese show! And not only that, but it is a show I absolutely, honestly, passionately loved.

That was the second show I watched after getting back to Dramaland, sort of the last chance after my meh experience with Love in Contract.

I was just checking out shows on Viki and I thought to myself “wait, isn’t that little Fei Liu from Nirvana in Fire? Let’s see what he’s up too now that he’s older”.

Well, he’s up to a lot of things, I’ll say that. I am not a very eloquent person, at least not in English, but Love like the Galaxy is the (almost) perfect epic love story – the “almost” part is due to the fact that at some point the male lead, General Ling Buyi/Zisheng, gets so dark that I will admit to thinking that maybe the lovely, brave, clever Shaoshang would be better off with the second lead, snarky but loyal scholar Yuan Shen (by the way, that guy – Li Yunrui- deserves a leading part and soon).

Overall, despite some silly moments and the fact that Zisheng seems to be suffering from chronic PTSD and no one does anything about it, the show is a perfect mix of romance (and what a romance!), women empowerment, humor, action (thank God, no one’s flying around in fight scenes) and palace intrigue (but with the loveliest Emperor, Empress and Consort there could possibly be).

The cast is great (besides Wu Lei, Zhao Lusi, whom I didn’t know at all, is absolutely adorable and the supporting cast is flawless), the writing is almost excellent (although towards the end it kind of feels that there some scenes that are missing – maybe something that happened with editing?), the cinematography is amazing, the music will stay with me for a long time, generally speaking I could go on watching it for many more than its 56 episodes!

I mean, who would not fall in love just by looking at this picture:

So, that was my list, corresponding to my year of disenchantment – but ending with an absolutely enchanting show.

I am now pretty positive that Asian TV is not over for me – I already look forward to quite a few shows that are coming up, starting with season 2 of Alice in Borderland, a show I absolutely loved when its first season aired.

In case this list is out after Alice airs, and I manage to watch it fast enough, I will be glad to let you know how it placed!

As for the rest of the awards:

My Best Actor award goes, after very little thought, to Lee Jung Eun (Our Blues).

I have always liked her in her supporting roles, but the role of Eun Hi really let her shine. Her best moment: when she realizes she has been fooled by Hansu – but also when she asks for Miran’s forgiveness.

My Best OTP award I am sure you can all imagine. Zisheng and Shaoshang (Love Like The Galaxy) are actually one of my favourite OTPs ever.

Best Supporting Actor: The whole cast in Our Blues deserves a best supporting actor award.

Razzie award: I have, probably unfairly, been so harsh on half of the shows I have watched this year, I will not nominate anyone in particular.

And a special cinematography award goes to Love like the Galaxy. Also, how great were the costumes in that show. So, I guess a special Best Production award for Love like the Galaxy from me!

Thanks to everyone for reading, and enjoy the holidays! Happy 2023 to all!

ADDENDUM

Since I’ve put together my original list for 2022, I have watched one more, highly anticipated by me at least, show: the second season of Alice in Borderlands.

Alice was in my top shows last year too (although technically it was released in Dec.2020), and I was very excited to see the second –and last- season.

The excitement was shared by my other half, who is a great fan of the comic book although he absolutely, vehemently, from the bottom of his heart hates Yamazaki Kento (as do, apparently, all Japanese men, at least the ones I happen to know. I wonder why).

Well, Alice for me was a strange one.

The first episodes were… well, I said to myself, that’s it, I have my Razzie for this year, or the absolute let-down. Then Jack of Hearts came along, and the show won me back.

The final verdict is, the second season is weaker in many aspects than the first, and it does tend to have a lot of talking and philosophizing – in a manga way, which means a not very profound way.

But: by the last episodes, I got to really appreciate the manga vibe about it (including all those characters that NEVER die) and, more importantly: I really liked the finale, after all. Including, the OTP as end game, which I was certainly not there for but kind of happened for me.

Still, given all the weaker points about it, if I had to insert Alice in my original list, I think it would still feel unfair to place it before Our Blues and it certainly didn’t resonate with me as much as the two entries from China – so I have now two #3, and this is, after all, a Top-9 list!

~Natalia

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Princess Jasmine
Princess Jasmine
8 days ago

Thanks for the post Natalia. I specifically popped in to say thanks for rating “The Sound of Magic” very high as it was one of my fave dramas of 2022. The only difference is I do like musicals done well (especially the Disney ones) and I love JCW. Keeping JCW aside, the show did a great job with the story, music, acting, etc and the colors of course were vibrant. I also thought that Choi Sung-eun (FL) did a great job. Hoping that 2023 brings in more fun and happiness to your drama-watching time.

merij1
merij1
20 days ago

Hi Natalia! We’re halfway through Our Blues right now. We’re both glad we stuck with it, despite having mixed feelings at first.

In retrospect, it was not a wise choice to lead off with the storyline about the sad-sack banker plotting to borrow money from his childhood friend/sweetheart. We almost stopped watching because he was so cringeworthy. On the other hand, how fun to see Lee Jung-eun (actress who plays Eun-hee) looking so happy and in such great physical shape!

The storyline about the teenagers and their feuding fathers is what took the show to greatness for us. Really good stuff there.

We love Han Ji-min without reservation, but her character in this show has not grown on us yet. The charisma feels too forced. However, we’re still waiting for the backstory.

Finally, how cool that both Shin Min-a and her IRL boyfriend Kim Woo-bin are in the same show, and even interact occasionally. We never saw her in My GF Is A Gumiho but we did enjoy her as the FL in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha.

Trent
20 days ago
Reply to  merij1

merij1– the teenagers and their feuding dads turned out to be my favorite story in the whole show.

I am also an unabashed Han Ji-min fan, and although I can’t guarantee you will be won over, I do think her backstory, which unfolds in the back half of the show, packs a lot of depth and impact. (Have you seen her in Ms. Baek? Resolutely unglamorous, but so good…)

merij1
merij1
20 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Thanks, Trent. We will definitely check out Miss Baek. It wasn’t on our radar at all. Looking at images from the film, it reminds me of Lee Na-Young‘s film, Beautiful Days, which we have also not seen yet.

merij1
merij1
17 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Yay, Trent. You were so correct about the Han Ji-min character in Our Blues. We just watched the episodes with her sister, ending with her finally seeing the drawings.

Now that I understand her character arc, I get that the forced charisma I mentioned was intentional.

Natalia
Natalia
13 days ago
Reply to  merij1

Hey Merij1, I had the same reaction as you concerning Han Ji Min, but she did win me over in the end. Also, Lee Buyng Hun, I spent almost the entire show disliking his character, but I ended up loving his arc with his mother. On the contrary, although it was tough to watch, I found the banker’s story very touching and I really liked the way it turned out. But of course yes, the teenagers and their dads were my favorite story too!

merij1
merij1
9 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

We finished this show. Yes, a really great arc with the mother-son at the end!

lotusgirl
lotusgirl
22 days ago

I’ve heard so many great things about Love Like the Galaxy. Even though I’m anti long shows, it is now on my list. I may have to also add Reset. It sounds very interesting and with only 15 episodes not too long. Our Blues really did feel like you were catching up with friends each episode. I actually loved that show.

Natalia
Natalia
21 days ago
Reply to  lotusgirl

Do give them a chance, lotusgirl!

uyen
23 days ago

Thank you for such a great run down of your shows this year, Natalia!! You’ve made me even more interested in Reset. I also will probably watch Our Blues at some point. I didn’t enjoy certain things about Alchemy of Souls, but I ended up loving the characters a lot so stayed!

Agree with your love for LLTG (yes love that picture) 🙂 But more importantly I’m so glad there was a show that rekindled your love for dramas! I totally get it about slumpy times and it’s always nice when there’s a story that hooks you back. To many more of that this year!

JJ
JJ
23 days ago
Reply to  uyen

@uyen – Reset is a must! Completely bingeable and only 15 episodes I think. Please do get to Our Blues, its soooo special.

Ele Nash
23 days ago

Natalia, Reset is on my list; “To be honest, I would recommend it even for this guy here, asthmatic self-proclaimed Cat Apostle Lu Di. How could any cat lover not love Lu Di?” The picture alone, I am in love 😍😍😍

Ah, I am so glad you were smitten with Love Like the Galaxy! Maybe this should be everyone fatigued with Asian drama’s go-to show. Who couldn’t be swept away by it?! It does deserve your OTP award and best production – the costumes were beautiful!

I totally get what you mean about A Business Proposal but I actually enjoyed its silliness immensely. And as for Alchemy of Souls, well, I guess if fusion isn’t your thing, this was never going to do it for you. Both the first and second season have given me many happy viewing hours 😊

There are shows I’ve fast-forwarded too (which I hate doing); the most recent for me was New Life Begins. Sometimes an element interests you enough to what to know how it all turns out, but the nitty-gritty hows and whys and the less interesting subplots make viewing too draggy.
Anyway, hoping you get to watch some more things you enjoy this year. xx

JJ
JJ
23 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@ele – As I said to Uyen, Reset is a must!!! Talk about excellent writing, fast paced, great characters and a show that keeps you on your toes!

Hmmmmm, even though KFG did Patreon notes on it, maybe she will consider this for a Group Watch since its Short and Sweet?! Its so good.

Natalia
Natalia
22 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Love like the galaxy could definitely be used as medicine Ele!
New life begins is a Chinese drama right? I think the male lead is the male lead in Reset, but I haven’t checked it out yet. I think I saw some comments on Patreon? I must look them up!

Ele Nash
21 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Yes, @Natalia, New Life Begins is a cdrama – and I just looked up Reset, and it is the same actor! He was good in NLB (actually, the female cast knocked the male cast out the park 😄) and I LOVED him in Rise of Phoenixes as Gu Nanyi 😍 New Life Begins just didn’t have enough interest for me, but I think that was more a me problem than a show problem 😳

kate
kate
23 days ago

Natalia, thank you for your post, I laughed out loud. Because I felt very similar about some of the shows. I ended up starting and dropping more shows than in previous years and feared I had lost the Asian drama mojo entirely.

I loved the beginning of Business proposal and have a soft spot for AHS, even though I acknowledge his acting is maybe not the strongest (yet) but in BP he did a good job I thought. 2FL being completely unreasonable was also the moment I started liking show less and less, grandpa being a hater didn’t help either. Final verdict for me was so so.

I ended up dropping Love in Contract halfway through instead of hate watching to the end (lol) because I didn’t “feel” it at all. Oddly, I seem to be the only one who liked 2ML and thought ML was boring. (I loved the same actor in Strongest Delivery Man and look forward to seeing him in other roles, so that wasn’t it)

Reset is one of the dramas I was very bummed that I couldn’t love. I appreciated everything from an analytical standpoint but just couldn’t connect to the leads. I ended up dropping it very late. Maybe one fine day, I will go back and finish it. I did however have a huge soft spot for cat rescue boy <3

I enjoyed Alchemy season1 but I loved loved LOVED Alchemy season 2, so maybe try it and see what you think?

I have yet to watch Alice season 2 but your comments make me push it up a few spots on my watchlist!

edited to add: your “reaction” photos for each show are hilarious 😀

Last edited 23 days ago by kate
Natalia
Natalia
23 days ago
Reply to  kate

Kate! Your point about Alchemy (the fact that you liked season 2 better) makes me think that I might, after all, give it a go. Even if my beloved Jung So Min is not there anymore!

JJ
JJ
23 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

@Natalia – I commend the writers for the direction in Pt. 2 and I think you might like Pt. 2. I loved both parts for different reasons equally and both FLs equally. The only thing I wanted more was another 10 more episodes for Pt. 2

Natalia
Natalia
22 days ago
Reply to  kate

Kate, re the reaction photos: doesn’t the male lead in Business Proposal have the perfect annoyed + pouting face? I’m using this as a meme from now on!

kate
kate
22 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

AHS memes are fine by me. And he has more comedic talent than he’s given credit for maybe 🤔 He does pout nicely, I agree 🤭

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
23 days ago

Natalie – I was curious why most of the Japanese men you know hate Yamazaki Kento. I have not seen any of the Alices yet. He has quite a cute face but I have no knowledge of his acting skills other than 2 episodes of Todome no Kiss. I dropped it midway through E2. I see that you address this below and thank you!

I enjoyed your post and I laughed throughout, especially at the photos which so descriptively let me know exactly how you felt. 😄😀😃 Yes, I loved Lu Di too!

Some years are hard drama years when nothing feels right and nothing connects. I went through a period like this as well. I think we all look for that one drama that knocks our socks off (like llTG or NIF1). Hopefully something will come out as good as LLTG or Reset to get us inspired in 2023!

Great job on this Natalie!

Last edited 23 days ago by phl1rxd
Natalia
Natalia
23 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Dear, as our champion of Cdramas, I will be looking forward to any suggestions you may have involving new shows!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
23 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Natalie – 🥰 I promise you that I shall pass along any goodies as soon as it shows a steady promise of a good story!

Su San
Su San
23 days ago

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Natalia! So well-said!

Most of the new shows didn’t grab me either, so I spent 2023 watching KFG “iconic” dramas or older A-list shows (The Princess’ Man, W Two Worlds, Winter Sonata). To avoid becoming disillusioned, I became more selective by reading reviews and checking ratings before I watching. I have seen several of the shows you mentioned and agree with your take, however, I was more engaged with Our Blues and especially Extraordinary Attorney Woo than you seemed to be.

Although I enjoyed the following dramas in 2022 none were a big “wow:” Forecasting Love & Weather, Sound of Magic, Curtain Call, Love in Contract, If You Wish Upon Me, My LIberation Notes, Fanletter Please, with the exception of Extraordinary Attorney Woo.

I’m planning to watch the C-dramas Love Like the Galaxy and possibly Nirvana in Fire in 2023 as I do love hearing Mandarin. In 2022 I turned to more Kmovies since 2 hours seemed like less time to “waste” on mediocrity than a 8-20 episode drama. In 2023 I plan to try my first ever Jdrama, most likely the newly released First Love because it is only 9 episodes.

All in all, I have not given up on Kdramas or Asian entertainment (Bollywood included) as it is still more emotionally engaging than many US programs. Like most viewers, I have my preferred genres and favorite stars and I hope to see more of them in 2023.

Sometimes I wonder if Kdrama TV entertainment has spread itself too thin between all the new online entertainment platforms (Pachinko on Apple, Snowdrop on Disney+ productions, Silent Sea on Netflix, etc.) and the glitzy productions. I also wonder if all of the typical formulas, tropes, plots and pacing have lost their appeal due to a wider global audience. What do you think?

Thanks again for sharing and Happy New Year!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
23 days ago
Reply to  Su San

Su San – I do appreciate this question – “I wonder if Kdrama TV entertainment has spread itself too thin between all the new online entertainment platforms (Pachinko on Apple, Snowdrop on Disney+ productions, Silent Sea on Netflix, etc.) and the glitzy productions.” I have wondered this myself.

Natalia
Natalia
23 days ago
Reply to  Su San

Su San, thank you for the thought provoking question! I really think it is “Dear Kfangirl” material!
My personal point of view is that more platforms is good for us living outside Asia, and glitzy is fine, I like glitzy! But it will make shows more “westernized”, I guess. Is it a bad thing? I don’t know, but maybe this is why this slow turn towards Cdramas?

j3ffc
j3ffc
23 days ago

@Natalia, sure enjoyed reading your year-end summary. Of the shows we have in common, my experience with Our Blues was very similar to yours (although I sense I liked it a touch better than you did)….it wasn’t a “omg, I gotta check on what happened this week” so much as you put, “let’s see how the gang is doing”. I was squeezing it in between time-sensitive group watches, so that was just fine for me. And glad you liked Sound of Magic! I think you picked out what the show did well and I fully expect that as a big-time musical fanatic, I might have set the bar too high for it. Did you see the little “curtain call” bit after the final credits of the last show? I thought it was super fun. And speaking of the last show

Mild spoilers for Sound of Magic
I quite liked the actual ending, with our FL ending up doing magic time in that cafe. I would def watch another show with her in it.

Hoping that you find plenty to like in 2023!

Natalia
Natalia
23 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Oh! Now I have to go back to that last episode!
Thanks for letting me know, j3ffc!

David
David
24 days ago

Awesome year in reviews. I had good chuckles reading this – I would imagine we all get burnt out when watching Kdramas as some point in a year, especially if we don’t find something we like. I think it hit me in the last 1-2 months. And I personally don’t watch paranormal dramas – I find the writers end up taking too many liberties with the storyline.

I totally get if people don’t like a Kdrama I really liked – we have different tastes for various reasons (and that’s not a bad thing), like Business Proposal. The Chaebol story line usually irates me, CLOY was one I almost stopped watching as well but happily finished.

Many people have liked Love Like the Galaxy so may try to watch it soon. Thanks for sharing. And appreciate the honesty.

Natalia
Natalia
24 days ago
Reply to  David

Hello David, it is nice to make your acquaintance and I loved your own review too!
I worry that with all the hyping we are doing with LLTG those of you that haven’t watched it yet will be disappointed… Although personally I think no overhyping is really possible about this show. So let’s meet in Patreon to discuss what you thought about it, when you have time to watch it (warning: it’s 56 episodes long!!).

MC
MC
24 days ago

Natalia – welcome back to drama land. I often don’t watch much due to other commitments and occasionally find myself in a slump so I don’t have a high watch count – probably similar to yours. So it’s good that you found your way back despite a slump! I may have different views from you re: Business Proposal but I absolutely LOVED Love Like The Galaxy so we are fellow fans! Also Reset has been bumped way up my list thanks to all you guys and your good reviews.

Hope to see you around more often 🙂 May 2023 be a good year for us all drama and life wise!

Natalia
Natalia
24 days ago
Reply to  MC

Hi MC, good to see you again!
I am pretty certain I did Business Proposal wrong, but as I said, I was just not in the mood. I did appreciate something though: grandpa watching melodramas on TV and then reproducing them in real life. I thought that was pretty funny!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
24 days ago

Wow, Natalia – a very nice review and I have experienced everything on your list and Alice in Borderland 2 as well.

It’s interesting re what we like and don’t like. With Soundtrack # 1, I just didn’t take to it at all and dropped it very early on. I can see JJ and phl going ??? I didn’t enjoy Our Blues – I should have, but the reason as to why escapes me. However, the acting was good. As for the Sound of Magic – it started well for me, then nosedived into the magicians hat, never to be seen again.

I smiled at your comment re Park Min Young “phoned in her performance.” Yes, it’s like she has been a cardboard cut out of late. Fingers crossed she delights us once more later in the year.

Finding our drama mojo is a trial in itself, but it is great to see you back. This year is promising much, fingers crossed – well, I have already stumbled across some rippers, so the bar has been set early on. Happy viewing…

Natalia
Natalia
24 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Hi Sean, I must dive into Patreon to check out which are the rippers you are talking about… My drama mojo is still kind of shaky, and for me LLTG has set the bar pretty high!

kate
kate
23 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean, “nosedived into the magicians hat” made me snort my coffee 😀
(I dislike musicals so have not watched this drama)

Agree re yours and Natalia’s assessment of PMY, I wasn’t particularly tickled either. I am very much hoping she will get a project to wow us again soon!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
22 days ago
Reply to  kate

@Kate – lol 😂

Yes, here’s to PMY. The public pressure on her has been immense too. So, I’m sure she will come out the other side fully triumphant 🤩

Trent
24 days ago

Natalia — Glad you found your way back! I hope you really are able to get your groove back as far as Asian dramas go.

Let’s see, I’ve seen 8 of your 9 shows, all except your #1 (the way everyone keeps going on about how great LLTG is…will my resistance eventually crumble? Hmm…)

I liked A Business Proposal, although not as well as many did, and I thought its momentum kind of waned in the latter stages. But it was light and fun for the most part, to my eyes (I wasn’t super in to the OTP, but that was okay for me).

Love in Contract, I liked fairly well at the beginning; I thought it started to go off the rails after the half-way point, and kind of lost it near the end. I agree the Go Kyung-pyo was probably the best part of the show (and I say that as a Park Min-young fan, in general), and I also agree with you about the 2ML, who I just didn’t like, although I appreciate the script trying (not always successfully, to my eyes) to humanize him.

We have our first serious divergence over Soundtrack #1, which I loved a lot; a perfect little friends-to-lovers show that hit most of my sweet spots. Ah well, we can’t all love the same things, right?

I also liked Alchemy pt.1 a lot more than you did; to my eyes it was a quite well-done secondary world Korean-based fantasy, something we get way too little of. Some of the humor didn’t always work for me, either, but that struck me as minor in the overall scheme of things.

I didn’t like Sound of Magic as well as you did, but I also didn’t dislike it as much as many seemed to. I came away with a mildly positive impression, and an appreciation that someone at least tried to do a musical, even if they didn’t entirely succeed. I agree that the FL actress is quite good (she was really good in Beyond Evil) and look forward to seeing her in future projects.

No arguments on Our Blues; just a quality show top to bottom, and of course Lee Jung-eun was a standout among a long list of great actors.

Reset was very very binge-able, so no surprise I think I tore through it in about three days or so. Impressive how it managed to stay fresh and interesting while replaying the same scenario over and over.

The second season of Alice I actually found pretty interesting; I think I would probably rate both seasons similarly. I didn’t mind the philosophizing, and actually found it part of what seemed like the show’s attempt to make at least some of the characters more multi-dimensional. I have a minor quibble with the ending, but other than that, I thought it was an interesting and satisfying resolution. I have no idea why Japanese guys all hate Yamazaki Kento, though, I thought he was perfectly fine?

Thanks for sharing, and good luck with finding some great dramas in 2023!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
24 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Yes, Trent – if I have to take one for the team re Winter Sonata, then I suggest before the JJ police step in, perhaps you do need to take a bit of a gander at LLAG 😉

MC
MC
24 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Trent – JOIN THE LLTG SPAZZ please!!!

JJ
JJ
24 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

– 😂😂😂😂 Ahem dont you mean the “JJ Cheer Section” 😇

We did try to press Trent to join us, but he has been pretty steadfast in his non watching of most Cdramas. He has watched a few though to his credit. I havent pressed too hard after my initial attempt on LLTG only because I am pressing for a Group Watch of the unedited version being released some time this year 🙂

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
23 days ago
Reply to  JJ

@Jennifer – I’m cheering from way over here 🤣😂🤣 Well, Trent’s a real trooper, you know. That’s some skill to stick to one’s guns 📯📯📯

JJ
JJ
23 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

– Thank you – 😇

In fairness to Trent, he has talked about the challenge with Cdramas is the Episode Count 🙂 And he has given in after much pressing on some Shows to jump in. Soooo, he gets a break for now until the unedited version gets released!!!!!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
20 days ago
Reply to  JJ

@JJ – phew 😮‍💨 😅 😌

Trent
24 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean — oh no!! When you put it that way… duty calls, and it’s getting harder to ignore her.

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
23 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – see you on the other side 😉

JJ
JJ
23 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – Remember how long it took you to convince me about My Mister? Fair is Fair 😇

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
23 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean – 🤣😂😅😂🤣😅

Natalia
Natalia
24 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Hey Trent, thanks for your reply! Nice to find someone else who watched Alice, I was feeling lonely… Without wanting to spoil anything, I too had my moment of “what?” in the end, but then, all of a sudden something clicked and I was like “yes, it could make perfect sense in a manga world”.
Yamazaki has done a lot of manga etc adaptations and at least my husband claims he’s ruining his favourite characters, which I find pretty unfair. To me he’s absolutely fine too.
And yes, I do think that you should check out LLTG, I justo hope we didn’t overhype it for you!

JJ
JJ
24 days ago

Natalia – So good to have you back on the blog and over on Patreon! You have been missed 🙂

I love your direct honesty and when a show doesnt work for you and when it does. 🥰

I have been on a Cdrama journey for some reason pausing on Kdramas except for Alchemy. I am sorry it didnt work for you 🙁 I loved it from start to finish except a couple bumps along the way which we discussed mightily on Patreon 🙂 I am still glad made it to your list though 🥰

Reset! What a fantastic ride! Didnt we need more of Cat Apostle Lu Di!!!

I was just talking about Lee Jung Eun from Our Blues and how she was a highlight for me in that Show. 🥰

Something magical about Love Like the Galaxy, no?!!? And yes, you did pick up on editing inconsistencies! Word on the street, they will release the full “unedited ” version in 2023! Get ready for a rewatch and for things to finally make sense that didnt!

Natalia
Natalia
24 days ago
Reply to  JJ

Hey JJ, will you believe me when I say that I came back partly because of Asian TV and partly because I missed you all and the positivity that is a trademark of this blog + Patreon?
Well, once Alchemy is completed, I will expect you to give me your honest opinion on it, and who knows, maybe I will decide to give it another chance (although, no Jung So Min, why??)

Natalia
Natalia
24 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Oh, and count me in for a Love Like the Galaxy rewatch!

JJ
JJ
24 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

@Natalia – Oui! Si! Yes, I totally believe you 🙂 KFG has created an amazing community here and on Patreon.

Ah yes, Alchemy finished yesterday and happy to give you my honest opinion about the Show. Will you be visiting us over on Patreon? Ill put it there with all the Spoiler Tags of course 🙂

YAY! For a LLTG unedited version rewatch 🙂

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
23 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Natalie – I think Fangurl may have teared up at this post because I know I did, 💖