Category Archives: Review

Review: Extraordinary Attorney Woo

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show takes the idea of what it would be like to have a protagonist who’s on the autism spectrum, and yet, who’s got savant-like brilliance in the law, and gives it all a wholesome, warm, almost treacly sort of shine.

Park Eun Bin is, hands-down, THE star of the show, bringing her character Young Woo to life, down to the smallest quirks and ticks. I found it worth watching this show, if only to see her excellent performance. 🤩

Show does feel more uneven in its second half than its first, and therefore the watch experience can feel a bit patchy at times.

But, Show still works out to be a pretty easy, feel-good, heartwarming sort of watch, given the right lens.

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Review: A Dream Of Splendor [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

On the upside, Show is gorgeous to look at, and features two beautiful leads in Crystal Liu and Chen Xiao.

Best of all, our leads are both strong characters in their own rights, and who also share a lot of crackly chemistry; y’know, the kind that threatens to leap off your screen and slap you in the face. 🔥

On top of that, Show is a proponent of female independence AND female friendships. How rare! 🤩

On the downside, Show loses some of that excellent dramatic tension in its second half, which can be a damper. I also didn’t jive so well with Show’s sense of humor, a lot of the time.

Still a very solid watch overall, though. Watch it for the leads, if nothing else. 😁

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Review: Alchemy Of Souls

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show works out to be a solid homage to the xianxia genre, while still managing to be its own thing.

And, as its own thing, Show manages to stick to its internal mythology, while mixing its more dramatic arcs with spots of comedy and levity, and remains interesting and engaging, all through its 20 episodes. That in itself feels like a writing coup, credit to the Hong sisters.

Our cast is generally strong and varied, and I especially enjoyed the performances by Lee Jae Wook and Jung So Min, which I thought worked to ground the emotional beats in particular.

A very enjoyable ride from start to finish, and here’s hoping that Part 2 will remain just as good.

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Review: Shining For One Thing [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show might look like a typical high school story on the surface, but in reality, this works out to be a love story, and a pretty epic one, at that.

Less about time travel than its premise might suggest, Show is more about growing up, and learning to love both yourself and others.

And the epicness of the love story creeps up on you in the best way, so that one day, you’re just gobsmacked by how stirring that love story is, even though you didn’t see it coming.

Our leads Karlina Zhang and Qu Chu Xiao both do very well in their roles, but I have to confess that it was Qu Chu Xiao’s turn as shy steadfast boy Zhang Wansen, that really stole my heart in a big way.

More worthwhile than it might first appear.

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Review: Yumi’s Cells 2

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is, in my opinion, a solid and worthy follow-up to Season 1, which I had found fresh and wonderful in all the right ways.

This second season, the animation and live-action mash-up still works really well, and our actors do a great job of mirroring what’s going on in their respective cell towns, with their micro-expressions.

The thing that strikes me the most, is that Show really is quite remarkable, in how relatable it is, and at the same time, how fresh it feels, too.

Through my entire watch, I felt like I could relate to so much of what Show was serving up, AND YET, at the same time, I felt like I still couldn’t quite predict where Show was going to go.

That’s the coolest thing, honestly. 🤩

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Review: Our Blues

THE SHORT VERDICT:

An earthy, charming slice-of-life drama that manages to add up to more than the sum of its parts – even after taking into account its impressive star-studded cast, AND the gorgeous backdrop that is Jeju Island.

Show’s omnibus approach makes each character come to popping life as we delve into their story, and by the end of our journey, it feels like we’ve come to know an entire community of good people.

Our cast is excellent, all putting in performances that feel pitch-perfect and down-to-earth, and their chemistry is so natural across the board, and feels so genuine, that it’s easy to believe that these people have spent many years of their lives together.

Feels a little meandering at times, but is absolutely worthwhile.

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Review: Bloody Heart

THE SHORT VERDICT:

When Show is at its best, it’s pretty darn excellent.

We have gorgeous cinematography, lots of dramatic tension between deliciously gray characters, plot twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat, and excellent deliveries by our cast, to anchor it all.

When Show isn’t at its best, however, it can be rather perplexing and underwhelming.

Stuff doesn’t feel organic, some threads feel dropped, and sometimes, stuff doesn’t actually make sense.

Overall, I’d say that Show is still more solid than not, and more worthwhile than not. But oh, the could’ve beens. 🫤

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Review: My Liberation Notes

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show really isn’t for everyone, I think.

It’s slow, meandering, slice of life, and our characters take time to become more understandable and endearing, all of which are things which I think can work against this show.

However, at the same time, Show is thoughtful, thought-provoking and quite meaty, if you are so inclined to engage.

It’s not quite an escape from real life, like many of us tend to look for in our dramas, but instead, it’s a pretty great gateway through which to reflect on life.

Different, and worthwhile.

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Dropped: You Are My Hero [China]

I know a lot of folks really like this show, so let me preface this dropped post by saying that I really don’t hate this show.

I don’t even dislike it, really.

I just.. don’t feel like I have the interest to keep going with this, even though it’s not bad, objectively speaking.

I’ll try to explain more in the post, and hopefully, this post will help you to figure out whether this one’s for you, even though I’ve decided that it probably isn’t for me.

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Review: The Sound Of Magic

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show’s pretty ambitious, in that, not only is this story about plausibly real magic, this is also quite possibly Dramaland’s first attempt at an actual musical drama (versus dramas that have musical numbers in them).

As with all first attempts, there are things that Show does well, and things which Show could have improved on, in the interest of being better and more cohesive, overall.

Choi Sung Eun is excellent as the heart of this story, and the rest of the cast puts in brave and  reasonably strong performances as well, but I do think that both the story and the music could have been better managed.

Not amazing, but not bad, overall.

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