The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: Prison Playbook [Wise Prison Life]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A show that takes the dark topic of prison and crime, and infuses it all with warmth and hope, Prison Playbook is the unlikely contender for your heart that will likely make you laugh, cry, wring your heart dry, and then fill it right up again.

Writer-nim weaves a story that makes primary and secondary character pop, while every actor in our ensemble cast breathes actual life into the characters, and PD-nim’s signature touch comes alive in both the palpable sense of community and the corny jokes. As a shining bonus, the bromance at the center of our story feels emotionally deep despite its often gruff surface.

Poignant and homey, despite its grim premise.

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Review: Age Of Youth 2

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A sequel that feels similar-yet-different when compared to its elder sibling Age Of Youth.

The departure of several characters and the addition of new ones makes this season feel rather bittersweet, but the drama world feels the same, and it’s great to spend time with familiar beloved characters once again. Show continues with certain hanging threads left over from Season 1, while introducing new adventures and new people to our Belle Epoque girls. All in all, this feels like a solid continuation of Season 1.

Familiar enough to make existing fans of the show happy, but also accessible enough for viewers who haven’t seen Season 1.

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46 Comments

Review: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show’s upsides: a strong heroine; an appreciative, dreamy hero; an adorable OTP with unreal levels of Cute – and several very feel-good earwormy OST tracks.

This show’s downsides: uneven writing; random-feeling side characters; a disproportionately dark side; an extremely insensitive, crass idea of funny.

The upsides battle the downsides just about all the way through, so.. “Your mileage may vary” about sums it up. The 2 Parks are super-duper cute though.

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165 Comments

Review: Money Flower

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Now this is revenge melo done right.

Interesting characters brought to life by excellent actors; a compelling backstory; great pacing; assured handling; immersive, consuming music. All of these elements come together to make Money Flower an addictive, cracktastic journey, from start to finish. Show stays gripping through to its final stretch, and even resolves its revenge story in a satisfying manner. That’s impressive stuff all-around, which makes it easy to forgive Show its few flaws.

Also, Jang Hyuk is Prowling Panther levels of superb in this. Flail.

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158 Comments

Year In Review: 2017

You guys might remember that this time last year, I pinky-swore-resolved to make better use of my drama hours – and better use of time in general – in 2017. Now that 2017 has flown by in what feels like a flash, and it’s time to check in all over again, I’m happy to report that I think I did.. pretty ok, all things considered. 🙂

Some of you know that I went through a drama-cum-blogging slump somewhere in the middle of 2017, and ended up not only neglecting the blog in a big way (I’m really sorry you guys! I did read every single comment, even though I didn’t respond to any, during my slump), but not watching a whole lot of drama either, for about 2-3 months (gasp! The horror!).

When I was watching dramas, though, I paid a lot less attention to what dramas were trending at the moment, and a lot more attention to my mood, and how much I was enjoying the dramas on my screen – or not. This meant that I ended up dropping more dramas this year than I have in previous years – if I just wasn’t feeling a show, I’d be much quicker to drop it –  and, it also meant that I missed out on some good dramas because I just wasn’t in the right mood. On the upside, though, I found that I ended up feeling happier in general, with my 2017 drama-watching experience. That’s not a bad trade-off, right?

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Review: The King Loves

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A show that doesn’t always manage to maintain the fine balance between the story of its characters and the political backdrop against which said story takes place, but which – in spite of its flaws – manages to kinda get under your skin anyway.

Im Si Wan is excellent as our titular king, while Hong Jong Hyun and Yoona are literally the best I’ve ever seen them. Importantly, the three of them share a solid three-way chemistry, and are enjoyable to watch.

The watch itself proves to be rather uneven, and the ending left me sort of wanting, but, I’d say this one was worthwhile, all the same.

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32 Comments

Review: Fight My Way

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A show that manages to showcase friendship, romance, family, and reaching for your dreams, all in one cozy, ragtag package.

Despite bits of heightened drama, Show manages to feel organic and relatable pretty much all the way through. A thoroughly believable & sparky OTP, a solid supporting cast, and a breezy OST all come together to make this a warm, cracky, comfort-food sort of watch.

Homey and heady, at the same time, in the best way.

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52 Comments

Review: Suspicious Partner

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Suspicious Partner is what I would call a reasonably successful blend of crime and romance – a rarity in dramaland, from my personal findings.

Great lead actors, excellent OTP chemistry, a quirky supporting cast, and a compellingly delivered Big Bad all come together to make this a solid drama, despite Show sagging somewhat in its later episodes. Perhaps most importantly of all, Show ends on a satisfying note – another rarity in recent dramaland history (again, from my personal findings), and therefore a plus point not to be taken lightly in my books.

Overall, a pretty engaging and rewarding watch.

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96 Comments

Review: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Cheerful, sweet and engaging, this show is easy to love.

The conflicts and character journeys all feel relatable and real, with poignant coming-of-age struggles taking centerstage. The friendship-to-romance is treated with sensitivity and good humor, and the search for meaning and identity underscores everything with a lovely heartfelt poignance. The excellent cast makes everything pop, and Nam Joo Hyuk is more melty – and more excellent – than I’ve seen him, ever.

Totally and absolutely marathon-worthy.

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Year In Review: 2016

If there’s one conclusion I’m drawing this year, it’s that dramaland is literally exploding with new dramas on a regular basis, and it’s just not humanly possible to watch every drama that’s out there.

My drama instinct has always been to try to balance the urge to follow drama buzz (the niggling question of, “Omo! Am I missing out on something?”), and the desire to follow my heart (the “I don’t care that nobody cares about this show, I just feel like checking it out”). These days, with more drama offerings floating around the dramaverse than ever before, I think it’s even more important that I remember to stay true to my drama instincts. From here on out, no more hanging on pointlessly to a show that just isn’t quite working for me. It’s just not efficient spendage of drama hours – or time in general.

Next year, I will be more efficient with my use of drama time – and time in general. Ahem. *pinky swears* *resolves*

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