The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: Hotel Del Luna

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is easy on the eyes, with high production values that bring a creatively conceptualized fantasy world to life, a fabulously rich wardrobe for female lead IU, and several handsome leading men to top it all off.

IU delivers a strong performance, and her character’s personal journey fittingly forms the backbone of this story. On the downside, I did not enjoy the OTP connection between her and Yeo Jin Goo, and I also felt the writing weaknesses quite keenly. ‘Twas still worth the while, though, for various endearing characters whom I became quite fond of.

A pleasant enough watch, if you’re able to look past Show’s shortcomings.

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Year In Review: 2019

It’s that time of the year again, my friends. 2020 is upon us, and 2019 is just about done and dusted. Time to take stock of the year, celebrate the highs, brush off the lows, and get ready to usher in the new year.

Can you believe that this is my 8th year-in-review post?? Imma be honest with you guys; every time I sit down to do one of these, I get visited by a touch of blogger existential crisis. Essentially, I ask myself, “Where am I going with this? How long will I do this? Is there still.. a point to doing this?”

..And I gotta tell ya, I still don’t know the answer to those questions. What I can say, though, is, I’m still enjoying my dramas reasonably well, and I’m still game to write about ’em, and I’m grateful that you guys are still here on this journey with me. Thanks for sticking it out with me, y’all.  ❤

And now, let me attempt to break down my 2019 drama year for ya.

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Review: My Country

THE SHORT VERDICT:

At its heart, My Country is a polished, beautifully-shot tale of star-crossed brotherhood, and the search for acceptance, meaning, and self.

Granted, Show has its flaws. Sometimes the logic stretches require more suspension of disbelief than I would like; sometimes the emotional tension feels like it’s stretched out for too long and gets tiring; sometimes Show feels like it’s cycling in place, just a little bit. On the upside, though, Show is filled with strong performances from its cast, knows how to take us on our characters’ emotional journeys, and is scored with a consistently evocative soundtrack that is by turn gloriously epic and plaintively poignant.

If you’re able to roll with Show’s shortcomings, it’s not hard to get sucked into this one.

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Review: The Tale Of Nokdu

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show starts off fresh and cute with an emphasis on hilarious cross-dressing hijinks, but changes gears abruptly in its second half with an amped up focus on birth secrets and political machinations. Viewers set on a fizzy rom-com might be turned off by this. On the upside, Show manages to retain its emotional core and heartfelt tone through to the end, and it’s not too hard to stay engaged with our main characters, even in the heavier stretches. And as a silver lining, the feel-good cute makes a comeback by Show’s end.

Jang Dong Yoon shines extra in the midst of a solid cast, and is break-out fantastic in his role as the titular Nokdu. His cross-dressing turn as a timid widow is so memorable, that it’s worth tuning in for his performance alone.

Show has its flaws, but is pretty solid, overall.

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Review: Be Melodramatic [Melo Suits Me]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Be Melodramatic feels like a more grown-up version of Age Of Youth, in the best way.

Here are Show’s pros, in a nutshell. First of all, Show’s got a slice-of-life, quirky, imperfect feel, and possesses an off-the-wall sense of humor to go with. Secondly, Show boasts an ensemble cast of characters where everyone feels real and three-dimensional in all of their flawed, idiosyncratic glory. Third and best of all, the writing feels deft and insightful, as Show takes us on a journey with our characters, and at the same time, gives us a multi-lensed look at this unpredictable, tiring, messy yet hopeful thing that we call Life.

A refreshing, underrated gem of a show that’s funny and quirky, yet real and relatable, that often hits you with the feels when you least expect it.

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Review: Search: WWW

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A dark horse of a show that took a tiny bit of getting used to, but eventually surprised me by sneaking under my skin to grab my heart in a big way.

Search: WWW truly is a rarity in Dramaland. First of all, it’s women-centric and puts the spotlight on the relationships among our main female characters, which in itself is a big plus. But even more surprising than that, is that while each of our 3 main ladies has her own loveline with a perfectly matched love interest, those romance arcs never take centerstage in our narrative, even at their most melty. Instead, the romances are positioned as just one aspect of our women’s very full lives. Seriously, how refreshing and cool is that?

Thoughtfully written, solidly directed, and brimming with consummate performances by the cast, this is one drama that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

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Review: Suddenly This Summer [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

An earthy youth-to-young adult story of growing up, and learning to love yourself and others, Suddenly This Summer is understated, poignant and relatable in all the right ways.

Because Show is more slice-of-life than its cuter drama cousins like A Love So Beautiful and Put Your Head On My Shoulder, it can feel like a slow watch. But what Show lacks in trendy cuteness, it more than makes up for, with characters – even the secondary ones – who feel like real people earnestly doing their best in their individual life journeys.

Even though Show is heart-pinching at times, it feels refreshing in its gentle earthiness.

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Review: One Spring Night

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A romance that manages to feel real and raw, yet sweet and aspirational, at the same time.

Even though our characters are flawed and sometimes even a little unlikable, Show manages to also make them brave enough, and sweet enough, and considerate enough, that our lead couple feels thoroughly worth rooting for, both separately and together. While our story doesn’t ever achieve cracky levels of engagement, Show more than makes up for this, with its deft exploration of characters and relationships, while putting some very healthy relationship dynamics on display.

Despite feeling a touch slow in terms of its plot development, Show manages to feel thoughtfully satisfying all the way to the end.

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Review: Her Private Life

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This is a show that pretty much lives and dies by the combined charm of and chemistry between its OTP. Park Min Young is lovely and manages to come across as both relatable and aspirational, while Kim Jae Wook shines in his first romantic leading man role, which just happens to be that of the Perfect Boyfriend with the power to melt you into a puddle on a regular basis. The interactions between our OTP are a big highlight, from the very organic skinship – ranging from sexy sizzle to absentmindedly agreeable – to the wonderfully healthy conversations that they regularly share; a precious rarity in Dramaland.

Everything else is pretty much set-dressing for the main romance, but Show does a very solid job of making that set dressing generally pleasant and appealing, with a nice handful of likable secondary characters, a very pretty collection of OST tracks, and a keen spotlight on the fangirl experience.

Yes, Show does have its flaws, but that usually poofs away quite nicely, whenever the OTP shows up onscreen. It’s like magic fairy dust.

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Review: Put Your Head On My Shoulder [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Coming from the writer of A Love So Beautiful, Put Your Head On My Shoulder is a cheerful campus romance that at once feels similar-but-different, when compared with its elder sibling ALSB.

Easygoing and cheerful, Show never gets overly angsty, preferring to serve up cuteness, kittens and rainbows via the burgeoning feelings and blossoming romance between an unlikely pair lovebirds. He’s a handsome science genius and she’s a bubbly warm accounting major with advertising dreams, which, yes, sounds totally tropey, but Show’s treatment of the pairing brings enough freshness to the table, to make this story feel far from tired.

Show does have its fair share of flaws, but overall, manages to be a shiny, happy, easy little watch.

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