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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23 Comments

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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63 Comments

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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72 Comments

Review: My Mister [My Ahjussi]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show is like its titular protagonist; both start out quiet, gloomy and unassuming, but over the course of 16 episodes, both reveal themselves to be beautiful, moving heroes who show us the power of kindness, and the grace of humanity.

Assured writing, tender directing, and outstanding performances from the cast all come together to make My Mister an absorbing watch that feels organic, real and raw. The OST, which is delicate, thoughtful, and ethereal in turn, is meticulously crafted and applied, and effectively lifts the watch to another level.

Dark and beautiful. And at the same time, warm and beautiful. A must-see.

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99 Comments

Review: Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food [Something In The Rain]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show starts out pretty adorable, with an excellently delivered cloud of cute around the birth of a noona romance. Show then switches gears in the middle stretch, into melo and angst territory. In principle, it all feels warranted, with things like societal norms, family expectations, and even workplace harassment taking the spotlight. The problem, for me anyway, is, most of these things aren’t resolved in a manner that feels satisfying, by the time the final credits roll.

The writing does not feel assured, unfortunately, and is, I think, one of the main reasons this show suffered. Also, the background music becomes terribly grating, from overuse.

To be fair, Show does have its fans. So just because it didn’t work so great for me, doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you?

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46 Comments

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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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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188 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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