The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Flash Review: When The Camellia Blooms

Y’know, I’d gotten to the point where I was so tired of serial killers and murders being mixed with romance (what is up with that, Dramaland?), that I was ready to give this show a hard, blind pass, just for having the audacity to mix murder with romance, again.

But, the overwhelming positive buzz around this show piqued my interest, as did the high ratings, and the glowing, persuasive comments that a number of you left me, which is how I ended up checking out this show, in spite of myself.

With 20/20 hindsight, now that I’ve emerged on the other side, do I still think Show didn’t need a serial killer murder arc? BIG YES. Did I manage to enjoy this one, despite my by-now-very-firm serial killer drama allergy? Also, yes. I guess that means Show wins, overall?

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Flash Review: VIP

This is honestly the show that I didn’t think I’d be interested in, like, at all, when it was first announced, but which ended up sucking me in literally right away, with its mix of emo angst and mystery.

Much thanks to my Twitter pals who gushed about this show’s cracky quality, because that’s honestly the only thing that piqued my interest enough to get me to check this one out. I mean, the synopsis “a couple whose lives fall apart while they work at a department store on the VIP Management Team” just didn’t sound all that interesting to me, y’know?

And so color me very surprised and very pleased, when I quickly found myself slurping this one up as a priority drama among the other dramas on my plate, sometimes even watching episodes back-to-back, which I rarely ever do anymore. What. An. Excellent. Surprise.

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Flash Review: Designated Survivor: 60 Days

Every once in a while, we all could use a show that reminds us that sometimes it really is worth stepping out of our comfort zones, I think. This season, Designated Survivor: 60 Days is that show, for me.

Personally, I don’t have a strong interest in politics, and therefore, I’ve always thought that political shows wouldn’t be my thing, which is why I didn’t think to check out this show, when it first aired earlier this year. But, because I recently really enjoyed Son Seok Koo in Be Melodramatic, and also because I do have a soft spot for Ji Jin Hee, I decided to try this one, just to see, and – I’m kinda shocked, actually, by how much I liked it. Talk about a drama tilting your world, eh?

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Flash Review: When The Devil Calls Your Name

My last foray into a fantasy kdrama dealing with angels and devils didn’t go too well (I’m looking at you, Angel’s Last Mission, cough), so when I heard some rumblings of dissatisfaction on the grapevine about how this show about selling one’s soul to the devil seemed a little all over the place, I was ready to give this one a blind pass without actually taking the time to check it out.

Thank goodness for blog regular Putri, who convinced me to give this show a try, after she’d watched it and really liked it herself. Once I actually got going with this show, I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging I found it, and now that I’ve emerged on the other side, I’m happy to report that Show even manages its mythology reasonably well.

Since one of my pet peeves with fantasy dramas is that the mythology isn’t clearly presented, &/or crumbles on itself by the end of the story, I count this a pretty big plus in Show’s favor. The mythology presented isn’t perfect, sure, but it retains its structure enough, and is true enough to itself, that I found myself reasonably satisfied on this point. Which then also helped me enjoy the rest of the story more, too. Plus! I even found myself jiving with Show’s humor, uh, most of the time. Win, win, and win.

Thank you, dear Putri, because I hafta say, I’m glad I didn’t end up missing out on this one.

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Flash Review: The Longest Day In Chang’an [China]

Let me preface this review by saying for the record, that The Longest Day in Chang’an is widely praised and loved, and is a bona fide hit with audiences in and out of China. In fact, a number of you have shared with me how much you love this show. And with good reason; Show is very, very solid, which I’ll talk about shortly.

Let me also say, that personally, my experience of watching this show felt akin to a very ordinary girl trying to date, understand, and make a relationship work with, an intellectual, aloof, highbrow, take-me-or-leave-me sort of guy. It’s the kind of thing that I’ve seen work out lots of times on my rom-com drama screen, but.. this didn’t quite pan out the same way for me, unfortunately. From start to finish, it felt like a fair amount of work to me, spending quality time with this show, and try as I might, this never blossomed into true love, sadly.

Still, this might blossom into true love for you?

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Flash Review: Go Go Squid! [China]

So, I have good news and bad news, my friends.

The bad news is, this is one of those highly raved C-dramas that I ended up checking out based on the buzz alone, and once again, I didn’t end up loving it as much as everyone else seems to.

The good news is, unlike shows like Well Intended Love and Where The Lost Ones Go, where I not only failed to understand the shows’ appeal, but ended up strongly disliking both shows, I feel like I can understand why people like Go Go Squid. And, I even ended up enjoying it, albeit in a more muted fashion than most.

That’s progress, right?

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Flash Review: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung

In a drama landscape where characters have been traditionally subscribed to a patriarchal way of thinking, and where women – especially women in sageuks – have often been relegated to being pushed around by men who believe they know better, Rookie Historian stands out for daring not only to present a different perspective, but for presenting it as the better way. Say, what?

Make no mistake, Rookie Historian is not a perfect drama by any means. I’ll talk more about why that was the case for me, shortly, but really, for its bold stand alone, I feel like Show deserves some acknowledgement and praise.

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Flash Review: The Story Of Minglan [China]

This was a show that I just couldn’t not check out, come to think of it.

First of all, this is by Daylight Entertainment, the same good folks who gave us Nirvana In Fire and Nirvana In Fire 2, both of which are excellent shows that I loved.

Second of all, lots of you guys loved this. And your love was so effusive that I felt like I would like this one too (this, when I hadn’t yet seen a single episode, heh. See how persuasive y’all are?)

Now that I’ve emerged on the other side (73 whole episodes!), I have to say that while I don’t think I loved it as intensely as many of you did, I did like this one quite well indeed.

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Flash Review: In Time With You [Taiwan]

Sometimes an oldie really is a goodie, my friends.

In Time With You had been recommended to me by several of you, and I’d dutifully put it on my list with the best of intentions, but as you might have guessed, I kept putting off actually checking it out, because there was always something newer and shinier to watch.

So what was the catalyst that finally drew me into watching this 2011 modern classic?

Well. My interest was first kindled not too ago, when my friend DDee started spazzing about this show on Twitter, as she embarked on her personal first watch of it. That made me bump this show up my list by a lot, in my head. But THEN, she finished the show, and promptly announced on Twitter that this show had officially unseated Coffee Prince from the #1 drama spot in her heart. Woah. That’s a BIG statement, coz DDee loves Coffee Prince, and so do I. I just couldn’t not watch it now, could I?

And now that I’ve finished my watch, let me just say, THANK YOU, dear DDee.. this truly was a gem of a drama. If not for your wholehearted, enthusiastic spazzing, I might’ve never gotten around to checking this out, and that would’ve been such a pity. ❤

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Flash Review: Circle

What a solid, surprising little gem of a drama, you guys.

There are so few kdramas that attempt the science fiction genre, that off the top of my head, I can only think of one other drama – 2010’s Joseon X-Files (also known as Secret Investigation Record) – as a show somewhat in the same category. That in itself makes Circle a bit of a special snowflake, in my books. In addition, whether or not you’re into science fiction (I’m not super into it myself), Circle manages to be consistently interesting, compelling, & mysterious; sometimes rather exciting, and almost always emotionally engaging.

When I started this one, I wasn’t all that sure I would like this odd science fiction duck of a drama, to be honest, but now that I’ve emerged on the other side, I can sincerely say that I’m glad I made time for this one.

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