Category Archives: Review

Review: Recipe For Farewell

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Even though Show’s premise centers around a character who’s terminally ill, I would say that Show is as much about love and life, as it is about death and loss.

Show’s got an extremely gentle, warm and soothing touch, even as it delves into the various challenges that our characters face, and doesn’t shy away from the hard topics.

In the end, what we get feels akin to gentle, wise lessons on life, perhaps told by a doting, tender grandmother, as she cradles you in her lap, and serenely rubs your back, while assuring you that it’s all not as hard as it sounds, and that you’ll be strong enough for the hard parts, and that everything will be ok in the end.

Thoughtful and worthwhile.

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Review: Alchemy Of Souls: Light And Shadow

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show continues our magicky narrative from Season 1 (review here!), and manages to serve up a solid story, while sticking to its own mythology and internal rules.

On top of that, I found Show nicely engaging on the emotional front, once I got my bearings in Season 2.

To address the elephant in the room, yes, I thought Go Yoon Jung was very good as our female lead, and I thought the change of female lead between Season 1 and 2, was nicely managed.

Importantly, even though I did feel like Show wobbled a little bit at the end, it does, in fact, give us a solid ending, while working within the mythological framework it’s set up for itself.

Not bad at all, I say.

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Review: First Love: Hatsukoi [Japan]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show feels like a very well-done homage to classic melodramas of the early 2000s, boasting characteristics that I would associate with iconic dramas of the era, like Winter Sonata, for example.

The difference is, Show is given a more polished, modern touch, and is also infused with what I feel is an indie movie-esque sensibility.

It’s very thoughtfully conceived and executed, and alongside that sheen of polish, and the general air of restraint, there is oodles of heart, and altogether, this one grabs me, so much.

It honestly feels like the answer to the question, “What would happen if we took 2000s melodrama and gave it a modern makeover, while retaining its essence – and just, overall, made it better?”

Really nicely done.

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Review: Reborn Rich

THE SHORT VERDICT:

For a good portion of its run, I found Reborn Rich to be an utterly engaging, absorbing rollercoaster of a ride.

With fun twists and turns that I mostly didn’t expect, and some excellent performances by our cast (Lee Sung Min is STELLAR in this! 🤩🤩), I found myself lapping this up with relish, each and every week.

Your mileage may vary, but I personally didn’t enjoy the last 2 episodes as much as I did the first 14 that had gone before, even though I understood the narrative positives, for taking the direction that Show chooses.

Overall, I still found this to be a solid watch, and I’d say that Show is still a worthwhile spend of your drama hours.

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Review: Under The Queen’s Umbrella

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Based on its synopsis alone – that this story is about a Queen who does everything she can, to protect her sons – Show could have been boring and dry, revolving around court politics.

In execution, though, Show is vibrant, engaging and absolutely compelling, and the secret to that, I think, is because our story is just so personal.

I love that this is more about a Mama Bear protecting her babies with all her heart, rather than about bearded men standing around and talking and talking about politics. THAT I can get on board with, and get on board, I did.

Our cast is solid, with some excellent stand-outs, but the one who stands out the most, for me, is Kim Hye Soo as our titular Queen. She’s commanding, yet vulnerable and full of heart, at the same time, I couldn’t help but love her, and by extension, her babies too.

Satisfying to the very last drop.

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Review: Mr. Bad [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show isn’t going to win any awards for Best Drama, or Best OTP, but if you’re looking for a spot of silly, fluffy drama, this might just do the trick.

It took a while for me to warm to our male lead, but I found Shen Yue’s turn as our female lead delightfully charming, and that more than balanced things out for me.

On top of that, Show’s absurd premise and snappy pace kept things moving along in a pretty pleasing way, so that I didn’t even mind so much, when I didn’t find some of Show’s comic moments all that funny.

Add on a secondary loveline that I was genuinely interested in from early on in our story, and this worked out to be a pretty pleasant diversion, for a little while.

And sometimes, that’s just what you need in a drama, yes?

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Review: Love Is For Suckers

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show manages a reasonably strong start, in the way it sets the scene for a fun friends-to-lovers story, with a show-within-the-show to spice things up.

Once Show got into its groove, for a good stretch, I was lapping this one up with relish, and was convinced that Show would stay solid until the very end.

Unfortunately, Show seems to get kind of lost, by the middle stretch, and spends its screen time in bemusing places, instead of dealing more meaningfully, with our central characters and relationships (more on that in a bit).

However, Show manages to find a heartfelt note on which to end its story, and while it’s very different from the note on which it begins, this does help, because you come away with a bit of a sweet aftertaste.

A good chunk of wasted potential, but it’s not terrible?

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Spoiler Zone: The Princess’s Man Episodes 21-22

Welcome to the Spoiler Zone, everyone!

This is for those of you who want to discuss spoilers, from a “I’ve seen the show and WOW now I’m noticing all these other details in retrospect” sort of angle.

Here’s a Spoiler Zone for you to dig as deep as you’d like, into spoiler territory, WITHOUT the need for spoiler tags or other warnings.

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Review: Love In Contract

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Love In Contract boasts some pretty great key ingredients for a shiny rom-com in the tradition of Hallyu: a good-looking OTP that shares decent chemistry, a tropey-but-potentially-cute premise, an easy-breezy soundtrack to make everything pop.

Unfortunately, I do think that Show is stronger in its first half than in its second, which is where I feel it gets rather lost in the melodramatic backstory that it builds for itself.

However, Show is not without its bright spots, the biggest of which, I feel, is Go Kyung Pyo as our stoic, socially awkward, dorky and endearing male lead.

Nothing to write home about, in the end, unfortunately, but serviceable, for when you want a rom-com, and aren’t opposed to using the FF button for stuff that doesn’t interest you.

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Review: If You Wish Upon Me

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is warm and well-intentioned at its core, and does deliver a good amount of poignance and feels, when it leans into this aspect of its personality.

At the same time, Show also has a melodramatic side, and while it is relevant to the story, and therefore necessary for Show to give it time in the spotlight, I do feel like Show goes a bit ham with it, especially in its late stretch.

That said, Show manages to end on a poignant, feel-good, thought-provoking note, despite some treacly tendencies, which is a solid accomplishment on its own.

Your mileage is likely to vary, given Show’s mixed reputation. (Hopefully, this review will help you figure out whether this one’s for you.)

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