The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: Fox Bride Star [Where Stars Land]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

The characters and their journeys are the stars of this warm workplace drama with an emotional, humanistic sort of touch. We get to know and care about key characters and their personal journeys, even as Show serves up human interest side stories relevant to the management of a world-class airport. Even though large chunks of the cinematography feel quite pedestrian, there are very prettily shot, beautiful poignant scenes sprinkled through the drama as well. The music is also quite lovely and atmospheric, and effectively lifts the watch experience.

Unfortunately, Show’s narrative gets muddied by too much emphasis on shady gangster dealings, which overshadow our key characters in regrettable ways, particularly towards the end of our story. Show also has a habit of introducing story threads and then dropping them, sometimes without even a hint of resolution. This was a downer.

Still, I found this to be a warm and enjoyable watch overall.

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Flash Review: Familiar Wife

I don’t know about you guys, but I think I have a definite soft spot for do-over stories. I really liked Go Back Spouses, and I really liked this show as well.

To be honest, I think it’s because there are some decisions in my life that I regret making (don’t we all have some of those?), and these decisions have most definitely helped to  shape my life into what it is now. I don’t dwell on it a lot (and for the record, I am happy with my life now, so don’t worry!), but when I pose the question to myself, about what my life might be like now, if I’d made certain different choices back in the day, I get.. intrigued.

What do-over dramas give me, is a chance to vicariously experience a do-over, via our characters. Sure, they’re dealing with different issues and decisions, but it still gives me a taste of what doing things over might be like. Plus, while characters in these stories inevitably come out the other side better and wiser for their experience, these stories also often emphasize that you don’t need a different life or a different spouse to be happy, and you’re exactly where you need to be. I like that.

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Flash Review: Your House Helper

One of the struggles that I keep mentioning to my friend Timescout, is finding the just-so, perfect balance between just watching what I want to watch, and liking what I like, and paying attention to positive buzz on – and therefore trying out – dramas that I wouldn’t normally have on my radar. Sometimes, that curiosity serves me well, and I end up finding gems that I would’ve otherwise missed (OMG I freaking loved Money Flower, and My Mister, and neither of those were really on my radar to begin with). Other times, though, I’ve lived to regret my curiosity, when the show in question just doesn’t grab me the way it’s grabbed other people.

So here’s the thing. Originally, I was going to give Your House Helper a pass, since the premise didn’t appeal to me that much. But then I saw a fair number of comments floating around, saying that this one is surprisingly good, so I felt almost compelled to give it a chance. Long story short, I had to work to get into this one, and while it had its moments in the middle stretch, by the time I got to the end, I have to confess, I felt a tad underwhelmed. Not underwhelmed enough to give this show a terrible review, but underwhelmed enough to feel like I could’ve maybe spent those drama hours better elsewhere.

I don’t know if I’ll ever find that elusive balance between having the gumption to fly solo, and wanting to follow positive buzz so as not to miss any of the good stuff, but I’m certainly gonna keep trying. In the meantime, let’s dive a little bit into my experience with this show, shall we?

Disclaimer: Like I said, lots of folks liked this one, so your experience might vary from mine.

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Review: Thirty But Seventeen [Still 17]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Thirty But Seventeen is a pretty special snowflake of a drama, whichever way I look at it.

I mean, it manages to be sweet, fluffy and cute, yet extremely heartfelt, while dishing out occasional deep nuggets of wisdom, and dealing with our main characters’ trauma-related anxiety in a pretty meaningful manner, to boot. Plus, no one in this drama world is an actual villain either. On top of that, the drama doesn’t even get boring, despite the absence of a villain. Say, what?

No, this show isn’t perfect, but then again, no show ever is, and this one did so many things right, that I feel like I can’t quibble too much, in the overall scheme of things. Totes recommend.

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Flash Review: My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Not too long ago, lots of people on my Twitter feed were going gaga over Meteor Garden 2018, and so I dipped my toes in too, out of curiosity (yes, despite stating firmly that I had had my fill of the story via the J- and K-versions). I really liked the first episode, but found myself losing interest in the next few episodes, so much so that I ended up dropping out early, after just 4 episodes.

BUT! Plot twist!

I found similar tsundere-male-lead-campus-romance crack in My ID is Gangnam Beauty instead. This kinda-sorta gave me the addictive feels I once had over Boys Over Flowers many, many moons ago (ironically, I can’t bear to watch BOF now), but I liked this one better, and slurped up the first 10+ episodes back-to-back. Woah, indeed.

Yes, there are caveats, but they aren’t dissimilar to the ones you’d need to make for Meteor Garden 2018 too, so – fair play? 😉

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Flash Review: Keys To The Heart [Korean Movie]

I am on a roll, you guys. I had an inkling, from watching Show’s trailer, that today’s in-flight pick was going to pack a bit of a heart punch, but I had no idea just how much this movie would make me feel, once I hit play. By Show’s last stretch, I was gratefully serving up my heart on a plate, my emotions pulling in so many directions as I did so.

So. Good. ❤

Also, I’m starting to suspect that it’s quite possible that any show featuring classical piano as a key theme will turn out to be a good one. I mean, first, Secret Love Affair, then Page Turner, and now this? I might have to make it a point to check out any show featuring classical piano, going forward, for reals.

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Flash Review: Little Forest [Korean Movie]

I am so pleased with my in-flight pick today, you guys.

Lately, I find myself swopping out my regular drama nightcap (woah, right?!) in favor of the wonderful cooking videos by YouTuber 꿀키honeykki. Not only are her videos super relaxing to unwind to, I just love the focus on food and sound. The sound of ingredients being chopped; the sound of food being cooked; the sound of food being eaten with relish, which is how 꿀키honeykki ends all of her videos. Every night, after watching these videos, I feel so much more attuned to the sounds around me, as I prepare to actually put myself to bed.

This movie is like the almost-perfect marriage between two of my favorite things: the celebration of food that nourishes, and storytelling that feels personal and wholesome. Yes please, and thank you very much.

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Flash Review: Nirvana In Fire 2: The Wind Blows In Chang Lin [China]

Y’know, it’s tough being a sequel.

Everyone wants you to be everything. You need to be as good as the original; faithful to the original; not too different from the original; not too similar to it either. You need to be the same, yet different; faithful, yet fresh. That’s a tall order.

It’s even more challenging when the original is Nirvana In Fire, which is a drama that ruined me for all other dramas for a good long while, when I first finished watching it. It was so brilliantly written, so wonderfully acted, so beautifully produced (if you haven’t yet watched it, drop everything and watch it!), that when I heard that there was going to be a follow-up series, all I could think was, How does one follow an act like that? Talk about the tallest of tall orders.

So the million-dollar question is, does Nirvana In Fire 2 manage to fulfill all the criteria of a good sequel? I’m gonna say, Yes. It did an admirable job.

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Flash Review: Life On Mars

Once upon a time, I used to categorize Jung Kyung Ho in my head as Dramaland’s go-to beta male, especially after seeing him in 2009’s Smile, You, where he was the sweetest beta male love interest to Lee Min Jung’s feisty broke chaebol. (Twas a sweet and cute story, pity about the whopping 16-episode extension, which then resulted in lots ‘n lots of pointless and frustrating filler. Boo.)

Back then, I liked Jung Kyung Ho well enough, but mostly in a casual, almost cursory sort of way. Compare that to today, when I would quite literally check out a show purely because Jung Kyung Ho is in it, y’know, because he is just so wonderful and brilliant and so good at what he does. *hearts in eyes* What an amazing evolution, eh?

So did I check out this show purely because Jung Kyung Ho is in it? Why, yes I did. Did I know what I was in for? No, can’t say I knew much at all, going in. Did I eventually understand everything about this show, and its somewhat fantastical premise? I’m gonna hafta say, No, I do not.

But did I enjoy it all the way through anyway? Oh yessiree. I sure did. ❤

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Review: Are You Human Too?

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is tightly paced, pretty well-written, and manages solid cliffhangers and some good plot twists, through its run. Just be prepared for a fantastical set-up (robots, after all), with melo lashings in somewhat substantial measure. With the right lens, though, this show is highly enjoyable. I found myself looking forward to new episodes of this one, more than I did with most other shows on my drama plate at the time.

Seo Kang Joon is absolutely fantastic in this, demonstrating acting chops that I never knew he had. Show is worth the watch just to see him in action.

A ride more rollicking than I first expected or imagined.

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