Welcome to the Reviews section of the blog!
As the site has grown, so have the reviews grown and diversified! 🙂
You can find all the reviews listed on the Full List here.
Here’s a breakdown of what the various labels mean:
- Full Reviews [Lengths will vary, but each review has a Short, Long & Final Verdict section.]
- Flash Reviews [Quick, short, spoiler-lite reviews.]
- Dropped Dramas [Quick posts explaining why I chose to drop a particular drama.]
Any chance you can have an alphabet link at the top of the review page – it’s easier then scrolling alllll the way down lol
Hello! I was looking forward to reading your review of the drama: Secret Royal Inspector and Joy. I did not find it in your index. Have you not seen it yet or simply not found it worth reviewing?
Hi there Anu, I’m sorry to say I haven’t seen the show, so there’s no review for it on the site.. Too many dramas out there, I just can’t keep up with ’em all, sorry! 😅
Your comments on movies and specials are also cool!
Have you ever watched or reviewed “A Melody to Remember”? I LOVED this musical drama set during the Korean War starring Im Si-Wan (Misaeng).
Ooh, thanks for the recommendation, Su San!! ❤️ I just looked it up, and it looks very promising indeed! I’ve put it on my list!
Hi! I’ve been reading your reviews for quite sometime now, but i just recently subscribed.
Am I right to say you’re not much into medical Kdramas? I only saw Hospital Playlist among your list.
I understand you don’t review all dramas that you’ve watched, but I wonder if you’ve ever tried Dr. Romantic 1 and 2?
Hi there Vivdlp! Glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying the blog! You’re right, I’m not generally a fan of medical shows, but I do watch one once in a while.
I did actually watch Season 1 Dr. Romantic in a group watch that we held on the blog fairly recently! You can find all the links to the various Open Thread notes and discussions here. The Open Threads are also listed in my Full List page here. 😊
I hear that Dr. Romantic 2 is very good as well, so I wouldn’t be opposed to checking that out sometime – perhaps in another group watch. 😉
Its super good and had the biggest plotwist everr ….you will never guess it and its towards the end …highly recommended.
Sheesh the typos I left in my return to irritability at the thought of a great show like Goblin – spoilt for me for those two reasons.
Oh, are you not able to use the edit function on the comments, Bosuji? Once you leave a comment, there should be an option to edit that comment, for 15 minutes after you’ve posted. So, if it’s working correctly for you, you should have a chance to correct any typos that you wish! 🙂
🤣 why did you drop Goblin?
Just curious because I dropped it too after pulling along for almost 6-7 episodes…
I LOVED THE style and panache of the show…the cross genre experimental format.. The superb production value – the strong acting cast. A most tongue in cheek riveting story. Crisp dialogue – the humour and Kdrama reflexivity.
So why did I drop it?
Well the age of Goblin and his bride… Just couldn’t look past the fact that it was felt creepy. The bride was underage and he was like almost 29/30?
(Gong Woo looking even older than that ~ to me he “looked” 35/36 in the show…while she “looked” ~ 16)
This discomfort kept rising.. I until short circuit happened and I blew up “OK Can’t take this anymore – lens adjustment failed)
The sugar daddy role of Goblin to Bride. Again a cringeworthy trope that should have been axed by writernims in the 21st century.
Each and every scene with sugar daddy acts was like a mallet beating down on my head and I went “AISH”
Why the bride had to be a virginal teenager? And the Goblin a jaded old warrior…ufff
I guess a trope like this may have swept us off our feet when we were teenagers ourselves (remember all those Mills and Boons we devoured about 18 year old and 38 or 36 y.o. It was electrifying) As advanced adults this eewyews us out!!
This is not the Gong Woo of Coffee Prince – nor is this the Eun of Eternal Monarch – self confident.
The age difference could have been quite like that in Eternal Monarch.
Anyway – unlike KFANG.. ;-p I have dropped it for food. Won’t return.
I get it. A lot of people also complained that there wasn’t much romance but that’s because of that very age gap. The Goblin waited until she was of age to show any interest in her at all other than his wish to have her withdraw the invisible sword from his chest.
I do understand though people who don’t like that aspect of it cause I have similar distaste for a lot of things and I just won’t watch anything that falls into my dislike categories.
I also think the age difference isn’t supposed to matter because the Goblin is actually HUNDREDS of years older than the FL. 😆
Hm.. I stuck with Goblin for something like 10 eps, but I just couldn’t get into it. I liked the epic sageuk flashbacks, but the current day Cute wasn’t landing for me. I also didn’t really care about our characters. I’m told that it’s worth going back to give it another try, so I hope to do that.. uh, someday. 😅
I laughed almost non-stop through Goblin (except for the moments meant to be heart rendering or endearing). Gong Yoo’s face whenever Reaper would sing the Goblin’s underpants song. 😆
And I appreciated, so much, seeing Gong Yoo in some really quality clothing (which fit his character as someone who’s wealth has passed down to himself for centuries).
Hello.. Have u already watched the kdrama “it’s Okay to Not be Okay”?
Hoping u had a quick review about the show.
Hi, I’m still watching it (I’m behind!), and will post a review when I’ve finished! 🙂
You should see world of the married . It’s a nice show. Love to know your thoughts about it !
Hi kfangurl. I noticed that you don’t review some new dramas.
I’m curious about your opinion of this kdramas below:
– Strangers from hell
– Arthdal Chronicles
I’m really curious especially about strangers from hell. In another blog about kdrama reviews the writer say that it’s too scary to watch. I want to read about your opinion.
Arthdal is my absolute favorite from aesthetic point.
It will be great if you could review about them.
Hi there Meong, I’m sorry to say that I don’t think I’ll be able to post reviews of those 3 shows anytime soon. I never finished Goblin but didn’t write a Dropped post because I have vague intentions to continuing it one day. As for Arthdal, I’m not really keen on the premise, and I’m also not into creepy horror stuff, which is why I’m giving Strangers from hell a pass. 😛 If I do get around to watching any of them, though, I’ll be sure to post about it on the blog 🙂
East of Eden. 10/10
I found this to be a compelling drama. The acting varies from okay to good, and above. Nobody gives an embarrassing performance, although there are sequences which the writers should have been embarrassed by. It also features more kidnapping sequences than I have seen in any other drama or movies. One character gets kidnapped at least three times. But It had some powerful moments too. The characters are well done, and the story even allows some minor ones to have a little bit of spotlight. One character, who I found to be the most interesting of the young people in the drama leaves about 3/3rd’s of the way through.( Note. According to Wikipedia, she left because her storyline was reduced). But then they bring in another character, who is quickly forgotten about.
There are 2 standout performances in this drama for me.
Lee Mi Sook. and Yoo Dong Geun.
Thanks for sharing martin! I’ve always wondered about East of Eden; it’s one of those classics that everyone loved, and which I haven’t gotten around to checking out. Now I know more about it, and what to expect, if/when I do get to it! 🙂
you are welcome Kfan.
hi. If you like Eric Mun better watch Discovery of Love..I so love that drama second to Another Oh Hae Young.
Hi Leanne, thanks for the suggestion, I’ve actually watched Discovery of Love and liked it decently. I just never got around to writing it a review, unfortunately. I think it was somewhere in the B territory for me personally, because I didn’t like the female lead and how she was written. But yes, Eric was very lovely in it. <3
I was going to watch it .. and the story plot came out looking sooo SEXY!! and solid .. BUT the female lead killed it slam dunk for me.
Sigh!!! So shallow I feel .. but truly .. neither did I life her character nor the actress and how she portrayed it.
A suitable actor-actress can so often make or break a great script
Couldn’t find Kill Me, Heal Me review.. really looking forwards your insights on this 🙂
Hi there Nurul.. I have to admit I didn’t get around to writing KMHM a review, when I finished watching it. After that, with so many other shows to write about, it’s just languished in that “hopefully Someday” sort of pile. 😛 Hopefully I will be able to post a review of it sometime in the future, but for now, I’ll say that I really liked it, and would probably give it something in the region of an A. 🙂
your review on the drama suits made me take intrest in it so i googled the synopsis and it’s a korean version of the english show suits which your review fits
Yes, it is a Korean remake of the US series. 🙂
i’d love to watch a drama that will make me laugh until shortness of breath, make me cry and make me turn away
if i loved lie to me, playful kiss, noble my love and like the rich cold guy poor bubbly girl type drama any recomendations
Hm.. have you seen I’m Not a Robot? I think that might fit the bill 🙂 You might also like the 2016 version of Something About 1%, that was fun too. 🙂
you should watch playful kiss when you get a chance because i know you have a big list of dramas to watch and also i know its an english drama but you should also watch Gossip girl
I saw Playful Kiss back in the day and ended up liking it quite well. 🙂 I just never got around to writing about it, since I saw it before I started the blog. I haven’t seen Gossip Girl though. I’ll keep it in mind for when I next feel like trying out a US drama 🙂
Omo Fangirl, I tried out Fated to alive you bc of the cast, but dropped it. All those misunderstandings were just too much – tooooooo much – and Mi Young was not even mousy. To me, she had no self esteem except for a pair of earrings. The poor your woman had Social Anxiety Disorder, and Daniel gave her a way to express herself.
SAD from NIH: “Social anxiety disorder (also called social phobia) is a mental health condition. It is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and your other day-to-day activities. It can even make it hard to make and keep friends. But social anxiety disorder doesn’t have to stop you from reaching your potential. Treatment can help you overcome your symptoms.”
As I say, Daniel and her art saved her. But it was just too painful to watch it actually happen. Mi Young was terrified of being criticized so she brought Coffee as armor. She had her baby and her baby was a reason to care about herself. Aside from this, Mi Young was cringe worthy and I felt terrible that the camera was exposing her.
Oh, that’s a really interesting take on Mi Young.. I don’t know if she was written specifically to suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder; I thought the writer was just making her a shy pushover. The whole premise and set-up isn’t my usual cup of tea, but I must say that the leads made it work. Of course, the caveat is that you need to be able to get through the set-up and be alright with the premise. I found the OTP connection surprisingly affecting, but that only comes later in the show. Perfectly understandable though, that this one didn’t work for you. A show is never for everyone, I’m coming to realize 🙂 Hope your next watch works out better! <3
Very well acted. Shin Da Eun is a delight. Although I question why someone as ditsy as her could be a doctor. Although when you find out who her grandather, maybe that had something to do with it.
But she has the best scene in the series when she takes charge with Park Chul Min. The kissing scenes are quite good.
Another standout scene for me is when the leading lady breaks down when she finds that she hasn’t got aids
The patients story are all interesting. You might question why Jo Jae Hyun always (or a lot of times) has to save the day. Okay he is the best, but it can get a bit wearisome.
The medical scenes are this layperson’s eyes quite impressive.
I find it a little bit annoying when Ji Sung took so long to move when he was told to get out of the operating theatre.
Thanks for sharing, Martin! I did watch New Heart years ago, when I was newer to kdramas, and because of my misplaced expectations, didn’t enjoy it, unfortunately. Glad you liked it though! 🙂
Can you please write something about Coffe Prince, the greatest love and strong woman Do Bong Soon? I just love them!
Hi there Angeru 🙂 I do plan to write about SWDBS and Coffee Prince, so do stay tuned for those! As for The Greatest Love, I’m sorry to say I probably won’t be writing about it. It was just ok for me when I watched it, and so I am unlikely to go back to it for a review.
Hi, just wondering what does it mean by your + or – in your rating system? 🙂
Oh, the + and – function just like regular grades. You can find out a little more about my rating system here. I hope that helps! 🙂
Hello there! I have just discovered your excellent blog and am so glad I have! I am a relatively new-ish K drama addict but boy am I making up for lost time with quite a few binge sessions where I seem to be getting through a LOT! *wink*. I am absolutely loving reading your really analytical but yet unpretentious and very discerning (as a writer/blogger I can appreciate how difficult it is to get this balance right!) reviews and I intended to devour a lot of the gems on this site:). I will be back to ramble more (sorry!) but just had to say this whilst reading some of your reviews (I am watching Scarlet Heart Ryeo so was skim reading that to avoid spoilers! and also am a HUGE JCW fan post Healer so your take on him was fab!). Thank you!
Oh wow, thanks for your kind words, Shruti! 😀 That’s such a lovely compliment, and I’m totally sending that to the ol’ mental treasure box! 😀 I’m super glad you’re enjoying my little space here, and hope you’ll definitely come back to “ramble” some more with me! 😀
Ahh, thank you so much for replying! I am afraid I was a let down and didn’t keep my promise as quick as I was meant to (real life is such a bore- gets in the way on fun like this!) but I need to say how this site is now my first stop for when I am agonising what to watch next! Btw- I have totally lost it! Having never watched a K drama until this year, I am now scarily obsessed and running too many “watch marathons” one after the other- eeeksss someone stop me! Is this normal for someone who definitely isn’t a teen? *confused and embarrassed new K Drama addict*!!! I am going to do this in a more structured way I think and should probably ramble on review posts of shows you have discussed I guessed rather than spout my rubbish all here!
Aw! That’s so sweet, that you’ve made this site your go-to drama stop! Thanks for that, Shruti! <3 Makes me feel all special, heh 😍
Also, welcome to the wonderful world of kdramas!!! You are definitely not alone, it's quite common for newer fans to go through an intense marathoning phase, coz the drama crack can be just that cracky! 😉 Lookin' forward to hearing more about your drama adventures! 😉
Thanks Kf. thanks for trying to answer my question.
Always a pleasure, Martin! 🙂
kill me, hea me
Ji Sung and Hwang Jung-Eum meld perfectly together. He grabs the chance he is given to play a multitude of characters with both hands.
she is engaging. I would say both give excellent performances overall, although i could see their limations. for instance Theire
is a scene or two, where he has to portray, shock or surprise, and I didn’t find it very convincing. I found her cryying scenes to be somewhat strained.
But her smile is a delight. and she is also very good at listening.
Of the rest, I would like to have seen more of Oh Min Suk, who I thought gave the most interesting performance.
Kim Yoo Ri does very well too.
Actually one of the best scenes in the series is an argument between those two, with some very good dialogue and acting.
NOTE, I still don’t understand why Hwang Jung Eum’s character was treated so badly by Ji Sung;s characters father.
Ah! I’m glad you watched KMHM, Martin!! I thought it was very good – I just am behind on reviewing it, but it’s my next one to write, among my backlogged non-2016 shows ^^
I’m glad you enjoyed this one.. I thought Ji Sung was amazing in this, and I found Hwang Jung Eum engaging in her more muted scenes. I didn’t like the screamy comedic stretch so much. My memory’s hazy about why Do Hyun’s father mistreated Ri Jin, but if I remember correctly, it seemed like a twisted way to push Do Hyun forward. Like, if he made a mistake, Ri Jin would get punished, and since Do Hyun wouldn’t want that, he would try harder not to make a mistake. I don’t think Dad had any excusable reason to treat her the way he did. She was clearly portrayed as a victim of abuse, in that sense. I hope that helps a little! 🙂
What are your comments on KING’S DAUGHTER/SOO BAEK HYANG- this is really one of those NEVER WANTING TO END DRAMAS filled with greed, jealousy, humor, cuteness and oodles of heartfelt love – stolen kisses and a beautiful smitten prince, warm stunning chemistry and profound love the couple have for each other – it’s all so easy on the heart. The deaf mute has a smile to light up the universe and the dimpled cutie pie child actor embraces you with all sorts of cute and cuddly. This is one of the BEST DRAMA’s I have ever seen, leaving you filled with a warm, fuzzy tenderness that you never want to leave you – such a pity it was not longer.
Although CHUNO is also one of my favorite drama’s, the ending was the saddest kind of sad which I found so unnecessary – he did’nt want her to know about his love and she so syrupy-gooey sweet drove me nuts, I just wanted to put a cracker up her behind and get some life into her, she should have at least have some compassion for him. Life Sucks!
Hi there Penni! Sorry this reply is coming to you late; life’s been crazy hectic in the past month or so. 😛 I’m happy to report that I’ve watched and reviewed King’s Daughter Soo Baek Hyang, and you can read it here. I did like it very well, and especially loved Seo Hyun Jin as our titular princess. 🙂
I do love Chuno, and consider it a masterpiece. I hated the ending on my first watch, but saw the light on my second watch. I finally understood the poetry of the ending that they did choose. To read more of my thoughts on that, you can check out the review here. 🙂
Witch Yoo Hee.
This is probably the most romantic drama I’ve seen. it has a very attractive young cast.
My favourite being Jeon Hye-Bin, who just exudes class.
On the older actors side Sung Dong-Il, and Ahn Suk-Hwan do good battle to see who comes off as the most eccentric. Although in one scene, the latter gets a chance to show off his straight acting chops.
The is also one song I really liked in it.
Besides Romance, food is the other mainstay.
Okay, it looks like like the ending was rushed. It got all a bit too pat. But It played out pretty well untl then.
my favourite scene
although this looks a thai dubbed version.
Witch Yoo Hee! Wow, this brings back memories, it’s been so long since I saw it that this has been a great walk down memory lane! I agree that Jeon Hye Bin has a very classy look and vibe about her. Have you seen her in Joseon Gunman? I thought she stole the leading lady’s thunder in that, she had so much screen presence.
Thanks for sharing the clip too! Although I don’t understand the Thai-dubbed dialogue, it reminded me nicely of how dashing Jae Hee can be in a leading man role. <3
Hi. KfanGir;. No, I haven’t seen gunman.
Anyway, I wrote a bit more on Witch. The first line is in response to a comment on Mydramalist.
So SPOILERS. Don’t how well you remember the show.
Come to think of it, I do agree that seung mi was as i believe someone said being treated rather
He just didn;t want to admit it.
I did like the scene where Yoo Joon Ha tries to enlist seung mi, into his scheme to seperate
the two leads. I can only assume there were other episodes planned, because yoo hee’s father
having a total change of heart was not convincing. What saved it a bit for me was that when Yoo Hee gets out of Yoo Joon Ha’s car, after getting a lift to the airport, and she says “Thank you”. He doesn’t respond.
But did Yoo Joon Ha really love Yoo Hee. i think he did. He may have loved the idea of taking over the hospital more. But i think he had feelings for her.
as for the leads getting together in the end. I must admit that I wasn;t sure who was going to end up with who, until I suppose The two leads declare their feelings for one another.
The kissing scenes were pretty unconvincing. a big difference between Jae Hee’s kissing in that, and the film 3-iron.
Yes, i guess i would have liked to have seen Chae Moo-ryung, and Nam Seung-Mi stay together, and maybe yoo hee and Yoo Joon Ha stay together. But to prove that he really loves
her, he gives up on the idea of taking over the hospital.
Instead he starts up a small country practise, and she runs the business side of it.
Ok, that’s probably even worse, than the ending we have.
But, at least Chae Moo-ryung, and Nam Seung-Mi stay together.
Now I’m going to contradict some of that.
Much as I liked Seung-Mi. Was it really love between her and Chae Moo-ryung,
Why hadn;t they got married. It didn’t seem she had ever brought it up before.
It was only when the threat of Yoo-Hee, came into play, that she brought up the idea of marriage. If Yoo Hee hadn’t arrived on the scene, Seung-Mi would probably have never mentioned the M word. I think they just got too comfortable with each other.
Yes, he shouldn;t have been staying in another woman’s house, even as a housekeeper.
But that scene where she does the romantic gesture with the lights is going to go into
my favourite scenes from korean dramas. Perhaps only because it was done by a woman for a man,
So in the end, I guess the drama had the right two getting together.
NOTE. Read a lot of negative comments on Dennis Oh’s performance. I thought it was okay. The scenes with his “american” girlfriend, were bad though. But I think that was more to do with the dialogue than anything, which was basically
“come back to the states”
Hi there Martin! I’m sorry to say that I watched Witch Yoo Hee so long ago that many of the details you mentioned are but a hazy memory to me. 😛 But, I do agree that it’s relatively rare to see a female lead character create a grandiose gesture of love for a her male lead, so I can see why that would stick in your memory as something special. 🙂
As for the kisses.. Most kdramas on broadcast network tend to skew tame and posed for the kisses, with a few notable exceptions. Korean films have a completely set of guidelines governing them than broadcast TV, which could explain – at least in part – why there was such a difference in the kisses Jae Hee delivered in Witch Yoo Hee vs. 3 Iron. 🙂
“You know I really am tempted to give ER another go. Altough from what season is the question.”
Well, I tried watching from the first eiosode of season 8. But after about 10 minutes, I decided that was enough.
The acting is good of course, but I guess, I just didn’t have the will to give it a chance.
“I guess my interest has waned after leaving off for so long. I honestly can’t even remember what the main characters were up to, in the shows I was watching”
Well, i have a vague idea, where I stopped on some shows. For instance on ER, I believe it was somewhere around where Dr Mark Greene left the show so to speak. But I also know I saw episodes where that foreign actor
took over as hearthrob from George Clooney.
You know I really am tempted to give ER another go. Altough from what season is the question.
” I personally feel that it gives more screen time to the emotional development of the relationship, so much so that the first kiss is often (though not always) already very emotionally meaningful.”
Well, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Which leads me on to the X files. I’ve never heard of the term “shipping” as used in this context before. But,no I had no desire to see Mulder and Scully get together. There was never
any basis in the stories for that.
But let’s say, the X files was a korean drama :). Mulder and Scully would have been romantically involved in the
past. Some tragedy, or misunderstanding broke them up. Somehow they both end up working in the FBI.. In the
second or third episode they pass by each other lots of times, but never actually see each other :).
You (general you) are actually getting sick of this, and wonder if they will finally notice each other at the end of episode 3.
But you won’t know untl, the start of episode 4, dammit. :). i
OMG Martin, you had me giggling out loud at your kdrama take on Mulder and Scully’s relationship development!! XD So on target!
As for “shipping” I was told that this term, which is widely used in the drama fandom to indicate which pair of characters you’re rooting for to get together, actually was born out of the X Files fandom, and that “ship” is shortened from “relationship.” Interesting how that evolved to become a known internet slang across fandoms today!
Lol. I’m tickled that you lasted just 10 minutes into your ER rewatch – it’s probably about how long I’d last if I were to give my old American shows another try. I guess we’re just much more attuned to the rhythm of Asian dramas now 😉
Thank’s for the thumbs up on first 3 eps of The x files (korean style) . Yep, that’ it, “attuned” is the right word.
Yep, that’ it, “attuned” is the right word.
Hmm, I may said that too fast. There may be more to it, than that. As I also am a fan of dramas from countries outside of asia eg Spiral, and Braquo from France. Borgen from Denmark. Is melodrama a big factor. If I had only one more seaon of ER to watch, would I have stuck with it..
Anyway, I’ll leave it at that.
🙂 Our drama psyches are definitely textured, complex and interesting; I guess that’s why we drama fans talk about it so much! We may never fully understand why we love certain dramas and can’t sit through others – but I think as long as we follow our hearts, we’ll find the ones that speak to us the most. ^^
I guess a simple way to put it would be that if i want to watch dramas outside of asian ones, I’m more likely to watch ones not in english.
Could I just wish everybody a gappy christmas, and a merry new year.
or a happy one even 🙂
Aw <3 Thanks martin! May your Christmas be a very happy one too – and may 2016 bring you all the good things! 🙂
I am replying to the “review” on REVIEWS, but it took me here; I see that Kfan posted above on “Secret”, so I might be posting wrong, but this is where the reply button took me. Anyhow, I don’t know why I like mostly Korean and some Japanese and some Chinese dramas, but do not end up getting into other ethnic or country dramas. I like Mexican dramas, but not from other Hispanic countries (and I’m Hispanic), but dislike American Dramas, though an American. So what is with my psyche that I’m only hooked (mainly) on dramas from those countries? Example: I love to watch Park Shin Hye and probably watched all of the ones she has made; however, I could not go through more than 5 episodes of “Hayate the Combat Butler”.
Hi, I know your comment wasn;t directed at me. But have yout ever tried swedish dramas, french dramas, etc etc?
Hm, sounds potentially like a WordPress glitch, if you clicked on something but landed in a place you didn’t expect!
That’s really interesting what you shared about your drama preferences.. I’m not sure about Mexican or other Hispanic dramas, but I’ve watched my share of American dramas in the past. I used to enjoy Grey’s Anatomy, Friends, and a few other shows. Over time, though, my dedication to following their long season format fizzled out. I watched only one full season of Grey’s Anatomy and bits and pieces of Season 2 and even less of Season 3. I think the multiple season format is hard-going for fans. As someone who enjoys stories, I also enjoy the closure of those stories, and with a multiple season format, shows sometimes get cut due to poor ratings. Sometimes it’s just my inability to commit to so many seasons. With the Asian dramas, the short single-season format is much more manageable. I pick only the ones I think sound interesting, and in a matter of a set number of episodes, whether it’s 16, 20, or 50, I will know how the story ends. That’s definitely one draw for me.
The other thing for me, is that I find American shows overly sexualized for my taste, and the Asian dramas feel much more comfortable and accessible to me. I like high production values, which is why I generally lean towards Korean dramas. But I was recently blown away by China’s Nirvana In Fire, and am definitely starting to pay more attention to what else China has to offer. 🙂
Ah, one more thing – the cultural aspect definitely has a lot of appeal for international fans, I believe. Because Korean culture is different from our own, we often find it fascinating and more interesting to watch than one that we’re more familiar with. I think that’s part of the puzzle for many international fans of Asian dramas. 🙂
I’m not sure if my musings have given you any sort of perspective for your own drama preferences, but it’s always enjoyable chatting with you, Andy 🙂
I noticed that myself; good relationship between the old and new.
I’m glad you think so, Andy! 🙂
you’re all surrounded
What I like best about this series were the scenes of camaderie
between the young cast membrers. The acting was good. The chemisty
between Lee Seung-Gi and Go Ara worked well. But also between oh yoon ah and Cha Seung-Won
The storyline was okay. Vengence, people doing bad things for what they see as the greater good, is
nothing new. But that really doesn’t matter. We still are interested finding out the answers to questions such as
Why, and Who.
Hi there martin! Long time! It’s always nice to see you 🙂
Sounds like you enjoyed You’re All Surrounded quite well, which is always a good thing. I haven’t managed to check it out myself, so I have no opinion to offer. Still I’m glad to hear that the cast did well since I have affection for most of the actors. 🙂
Hi.I think this is the first drama I’ve watched since “love of the agean sea” and I’m sure I put my review of that here. Yes, I enjoyed it. There was a time when my attitude towards these young pop stars was rather negarive. In that I found that their acting for the most part was pretty dismal to say the least. But lately I’ve some pretty good acting. I’m presuming that the four young police recruits in surrounded all have pop careers too, SO i was pretty impressed by their performances. Next up will be a singapore drama. So
might be a while before i post a review here again.
Oh yes, it’s true that more of the idol actors are showing pretty solid acting chops. Not all of them, of course. There are still the earnest wooden ones out there. But, I’m impressed that more of them can actually act, and that’s endearing them to me quite a bit 🙂
I hope you enjoy your Singapore drama, martin! I’m from Singapore, but I haven’t followed the local shows for a long time now. I hope you find the show a decent watch!
Hi. Well, maybe the dramas I saw the bad acting in were their first dramas, and as they did more their skills developed. For Instance the lead guy from Boys over flowers, i wasn;t impressed by him at all in that. But When I saw City Hunter, my attitude had changed. Perhaps, the makers of these dramas just want to get the idols first, becaue they know they are gonna heklp draw the audience. But, the isols themselves want to get better. so perhaps they start going to acting school. Just a idea.
Ah, so you’re from singapore. That’s interesting. I’m watching the third of The Journey trilogy.
Interestng that singapore and Hong Kong both have english as one of their officiial languages. Both wheras you will find singapore dramas, where the the dialogue is completly, or mainly in english, you wouldn’t find any similar hong kong ones.
Does these mean that singapoerans are better at english, that people from Homg Kong.
I have started Protect The Boss, because I read somewehere that it turns a lot of korean drama cliches on it’s head.
Hmm, I wonder what the cliches of singapore dramas are :)_
The drama makers definitely are banking on idols’ popularity to boost ratings, that’s for sure. As for the idols themselves, I personally think there’s a variance across those who are just dipping their toes in because their agencies say so, and those who genuinely are interested to hone their craft. In that sense, I’m not surprised when idols turn in stiff acting performances, but I am always pleasantly and happily pleased to discover real acting talent among the idol talent pool. 🙂
As for English in Singapore vs. Hong Kong, I am familiar with Hong Kong, and I would say that generally speaking, people in Singapore are more comfortable speaking English. In HK, although English is taught in schools, many schools up to secondary level (the equivalent of junior high I think) teach subjects in Cantonese. The language generally spoken in HK on a day to day basis also tends to be Cantonese. Even in workplaces, Cantonese is often spoken during meetings and discussions when only locals are present. In contrast, English is the first language of all students in Singapore and all subjects are taught in English, starting in kindergarten. Being a multi-ethnic country, English is also the language spoken most often, to bridge communities. These are probably some major factors in terms of why English is generally more comfortably spoken in Singapore compared to Hong Kong. I hope that helps! 🙂
PS: I was one of those who enjoyed Protect the Boss in a more moderate manner than many others. I found it just ok, but I have many drama friends who really liked it. I hope you enjoy it, martin! 🙂
hI Thanks very much for your explanation on english in Hong kong vs english in singapore. I should say though as an irish person living in ireland,the term seconadary would be more familar to me than junior high.
Athough perhaps secondary in singapore is not the same as secondary in ireland. Over here secondary would be between the ages of 13-118. Before that, it would be primary. When I went to seconary, which was around the same time as fire was invented :), there was first year, 2nd year, 3rd year, then 5th year. There must have been a sixth year,
“. Well, maybe the dramas I saw the bad acting in were their first dramas, and as they did more their skills developed. ”
Well, that doesn’t much water as regards the guy from boys over flowers. He had been in quiet a lot of dramas before boys, and not that many between boys and city hunter. I know there are lots of people out there who loved him in boys (females mostly i would guess),but for me in that drama he just didn;t cut it. Still, I also had seen mackarel run,and for the hell of it had a look a him in some clips of the show, on youtube. He seemed ok.
Anyway, that’s enough about him.
I also have this theory that japanese idol actors tend to be more skilled than those from korea.
Someome on one website says that japanee idol actors tend to start off in supporting roles, wheras in korea, they tend to be launched straight into lead roles. Of course if you start in a lead role, you are going to be more open to having people like me say bad things about you 🙂
13-1118. I actually meant 113-118 🙂
Ah, yes, the primary-secondary school system isn’t too different between Hong Kong, Singapore and Ireland, then. I believe the differences are probably not big ones. 🙂
I personally didn’t love Lee Min Ho in Boys Over Flowers, so I’m with you on that one, Martin! I enjoyed his acting best in City Hunter, he was so good in that! Unfortunately I’ve been underwhelmed by his acting in everything else that I’ve seen him in, including his most recent drama Heirs. I’m trying to keep an open mind, and hope that he’ll impress us all again sometime soon, with a new project 🙂
I haven’t watched enough Japanese dramas to have an opinion of the acting ability of their idols, but if they do start in supporting roles instead of lead roles, that would quite surely give them time and space to improve their skills from a place where the spotlight isn’t so glaring. As you so rightly pointed out, when you’re in the lead role, everyone’s going to be looking at you and expecting a solid level of delivery. I personally would prefer the casting folks to place the idols in smaller roles to start, so that a drama’s success doesn’t rest so squarely on inexperienced shoulders. 🙂
Well, I can only agree with what you say. I haven;t seen Heirs. But for the most part, I have only heard bad reviews of the show. Still,you were commenting on Lee Min Ho, and not the show itself. Looking at your reply to Andy. I have also stopped watching
stuff that doesn;t that have a definite end time. So I still have to finish off stuff like Dexter, Breaking bad, and even so far back as ER, and the sopranos. I do have lt in my mind, that I will go back and finish off those shows. But I have a feeling I never will.
I have even lost interest in stuff like csi, criminal minds etc. ie stuff where the story is
generally played out over one or a few episodes. I’m not putting these shows down. I did have a theory once that I would just watch double or feature length episodes of criminl minds of whatever. i watched about 10 minutes of i think it was a double length
episode of cm. Now, it may have turned out to be a very good story, but I just had a longing to watch something from korea, or china, or whatever.
I have watched the first season of true detective.I thought it was excellent. But even with that I was able to stop watching in the middle of an episode.
On what you say about sexulistion in american dramas. Well, this is not the same thing.
But I finished off the movie Gone Girl yesterday. It was a very good movie. But there is a sex scene in it, and I just have no interest in looking at it. But if I’m looking at a korean drama for example, and the two leads finally kiss, it’s Hurray, hurray 🙂
A question.Were you a fan of The X files. If so, did you think Mulder and Scully should have been romantically involved?
I agree with your culture comments too.
Oh, Heirs was an all-around terrible drama. I sat through it all, but purely for my fangirl love of Woob. It was poorly written and bloated with a huge cast that was mostly under-utilized. Lee Min Ho’s performance left me cold. So yeah, my underwhelmed-ness is for both Lee Min Ho’s acting in it, as well as the show itself! XD
I personally don’t have the urge to go back to the American shows that I didn’t finish.. I guess my interest has waned after leaving off for so long. I honestly can’t even remember what the main characters were up to, in the shows I was watching! XD Plus, my interest in Korean culture etc makes me lean towards checking out the kdramas instead. And yes, it’s so cute isn’t it, how the international audience has acclimatized to the comparatively tame skinship levels in Asian dramas. I personally feel that it gives more screen time to the emotional development of the relationship, so much so that the first kiss is often (though not always) already very emotionally meaningful.
I wasn’t a fan of The X-Files, but did watch a few episodes from time to time. I don’t remember wishing for them to be romantically involved, since I found the cases themselves interesting enough to hold my attention. Did you wish for them to be romantic? I know their non-relationship was where the term “shipping” was born, so that tells me A LOT of viewers wished for it! 😉
Apologies for harping on about this. But, actually in give love away, and rascal sons, her characters are very similar ie outgoing, not shy at all. You might say the opposite to the character she played in family’s honour.
Ah, I see! I realize I’ve only seen her in Family’s Honor, really, so I haven’t had a chance to see her play other types of characters. It’s good to know she’s showing off her range! 🙂
Hmm. I think “Family’s honour” was her best perfoemance. I’ve only seen 3 eps of light and shadows, so far, and she is not in it a great deal. So I’m finding it hard to gauge her performance. But, those collars are something.
Lol. Those collars are something! Icons of the fabulous seventies! XD
It’s too bad that she’s not in that many scenes. That often happens when we check out earlier shows for actors that we like, I think. Since it’s earlier in their careers, the roles tend to be smaller, and we end up wading through entire shows for just a smattering of scenes. For your sake, I hope the rest of the show is worthwhile! 🙂
Wow. I didn’t know the picture would actually appear here.
The thing is ,Light and Shadows” was nade in 2011, and family’s honour in 2008.
But I’ll see how it goes.
Ahh! My bad. Sorry, I didn’t realize that Family’s Honor was the older show! In any case, there’s hope that her character will get more screentime in the later part of the show? 🙂
I must say after watching korean dramas for this long. i still fail to recognise names. So I had to look upthose. I renember Gong Hyo Jin, more than the other girl. Yep, good actress. I did some of the other ladies stuff such as painted fire.
I should say that I think Shin Da Eun is a terrific actress. She has a great warmth to her, and is a very natural performer. She never seems to overact. So far as I’ve only seen her play nice people. I’d like to see her play a right bitch.
I’m starting to watch light and shadows now, where I see she was nominated Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama.
I also like that she’s not skinny.
I’ve only really seen Shin Da Eun in Family’s Honor, and I really liked her in that. I agree that she’s got a lovely onscreen warmth that’s very appealing. And yes, it would probably be interesting for her to play an evil &/or haughty sort of character. Maybe a bully who looks sweet on the outside, but is cold and calculating behind everyone’s backs? That would be a nice sort of stretch for her, I think 🙂
according to soompi, this is her character in light and shadows.
“She is a character who has all of her father’s love and looks vain due to her affluent life. However, on the inside she is down-to-earth and has a strong cold sense of power to love with a good taste in fashion.”
I’ve only seen ep ep 1 so far, where in one she gave a dressing down to a servent girl. I can’t remember if she actually slapped her. but later she was hugging the son of another servant.
played by the brilliant Kim Mi-Kyung.
hello. i forgot to tick “notgy me of new comments”
Oh, this sounds like a nice departure from the sweet and cute image that I have of her. I’m sure it’ll be interesting for you, since you were saying that you were curious about how she’d do playing a not-so-nice girl. 🙂 And yes, Kim Mi Kyung is brilliant. The more I see of her (and there’s really no lack of her in dramaland these days!), the more I like her. I hope you’re enjoying your watch! 🙂
I watched this for Shin DA Eun, and once again, she didn’t dissappoint.
Actually I might have blinkers on, when it comes to her.
I was somewhat dissapponted as to how her storyline developed though.
This has some really good strong scenes. The cast os good, even if I never
really warmed to Seo In Guk either as an actor or his character.
There are 3 kids in it, all of whom must have had a bucket of cute dumped over them. but their performances for the most part are pretty natural.
Of all the pairings, the most intersting for me was that played by Lee Min-Woo and Heo Young-Ran. But they come pretty late into the story.
Beside Shin Da-Eun. my favourite character was played by Lizzie.
Aw, Shin Da Eun is so cute and adorable, I can understand why you watched the show just for her, Martin! 🙂 I haven’t seen this show myself, so I can’t comment on the show. But it sounds like you enjoyed it well enough, despite feeling ambivalent towards Seo In Guk!
Yes. she is cute and adorable. There is only person in the world that doesn’t agree. That’s one too many as far as I’m concerned. 🙂 I can’t find it now, but some one had a list of Actress’s they hated on imdb. What a silly person 🙂
but some one had a list of Actress’s they hated on imdb, and she was one of them.
Lol. That’s too bad, that Shin Da Eun landed on that list, Martin. Fandom is so subjective, really. There are lots of fans of Sohn Ye Jin, for example, but after seeing in her in a couple of dramas, I still fail to see her appeal. At the same time, I love Gong Hyo Jin, but have had people tell me that they really don’t care for her, as an actress. Aren’t we funny creatures that way? XD
Kfangurl, it is obvious that you have my number (poetically speaking); I totally loved Arang and the Magistrate and will add Sung…scandal, the three musketeers and Princess’ Man to my list. I think I will start with the Princess’ Man of the three. Keep up the good wokr
Aw, you loved Arang? 😀 High five, Andy! I honestly feel that Arang deserves more love. I loved it lots and I wonder why more people don’t give the show a chance. Maybe it’s the ghostly/reaper angle that makes people hesitate. I’m just really pleased that you love it 🙂
Of the 3 shows, I think SKKS is the easiest watch, since it’s light and fun. I sometimes had to pause during an episode of TPM, coz it was getting too intense. I hope you enjoy your watch, whichever show you decide to start with! 🙂
I have started TPM, so far on episode 4; but you did say it has a “good” ending right? Cause, like you said, it is getting intense and from the start of episode one, which is one year after (it goes back in time), it looks like all the good guys are dying?
Hang in there, Andy! It does manage to avoid the tragic Shakespearean ending 🙂
In regards to your reply on Princess’s Man; I’m in episode 14 and you are right so far, it is a great great drama! Thanks for the recommendation.
You’re very welcome, Andy!! 🙂 I’m so pleased that you’re enjoying it so much!! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts after you’re done 🙂
I just finished watching Oh My Ghostess and it had a great ending; those are the types I love to watch. I am currently watching Scholar Who Walks the Night (I know they change the names in some sites). Short question is, are there any Joseon type dramas that have “good ” happy endings, that you have reviewed? I watched “Sun Embraces the Moon” and some others that have great endings, but mostly they have sad (some would say “realistic” endings, but could you suggest some? I love your reviews and have found them useful for me anyway….as a guide on what to watch.
Ah, coolness, that you’re keen to check out more sageuks, Andy! Happy to give you a couple of recommendations 🙂
Have you seen Sungkyunkwan Scandal? It’s light, frothy fun, which isn’t typical of sageuks, and I loved it both times that I watched it. For intense Romeo-and-Juliet-esque Big Love without the tragic Shakespearean ending, you could check out The Princess’ Man. I liked that show a lot. For something in the middle (not as light as SKKS, and not as heavy as TPM), I really love Arang and the Magistrate. Love both leads separately and together, and love the fantasy world the writers created. For some swashbuckling fun, you could also check out The Three Musketeers, which is a rather fun sort of watch. I hope this helps! 🙂
It was the directors cut of Conspiracy in the court. i saw.
Yes, I’m sure I would have known it was that that type of drama. So basically, there was no real possibility that he or she was going to end up in the morgue, which means there is no real suspense there at all.
On the stabbing, Basically I thought it was was a bit much for both of them to go through life or death situations. I wonder if the actress has anything to do with that. I didn’t yawn, but I could have. Of course, as time went on, I did wonder if they were gonna let her die.
Well THAT would’ve been a dark turn of events! XD But nah, I’m sure a weekend family drama wouldn’t go there 😉
Spoilers, but only if you’ve never watched a korean drama before/
For the first 40 0r so episodes of this, I would comsider this in the main to be a rather dark drama. I thought of it as a drama about lonliness, pain, trying to connect, or being afraid to connect with other people.
The leading couple.
I look on Yoon Jung Hee’s character as someone who is afraid to move on, and really using the idea of her loyalty to her first husband as excuse not to.
Lee Hyun Jin’s character is someone who doesn’t relate really to people except on a superficial level.
How he wakes her from the dead, and she makes him a better person makes an intersting story. The teasing scenes between the two were my favourite
between these two.
Acting wise. Performances were fine, but didn’t give me the urge to seek out
other stuff they were in.
Shin Da Eun and Jun Noh Min
This for me was the best story of the lot, and something special. This may-december romance I found to be very poignant. He is afraid of connection , and she is longing for some. The acting by these two is excellent
I want to see other stuff they are in
Maya and Kim Sung Min.
This for me was the least interesting of the relationships. It was nice though that the girl who was never in a relationship was also the most outgoing.
His performance was on the same level as the first couple’s, but hers is probably among the weaker perormance’s along with Lee Jong Bak and Lee Soo Min. Still, this was the only story, where I wondered for brief moments if they might break up.
Jun Hye Jin and Lee Hyun Jin
He is okay, but she is better. and I loved it when she smiled.
Suh In Suk and Na Young Hee
2 good solid performances here.
The rest of the cast are fine, with the exception of Shin Goo, who is terrific.
I could have done without the stabbing.
I would have liked to have seen more scenes between the three younger wife’s.
I also liked the relationshp, between grandpa, and grandson, abd between
Maya, and Shin Da Eun
I’m glad that you enjoyed the show overall, martin! 🙂
I admit that when I watched this, I was in the thick of my Park Shi Hoo crush, and therefore was heavily swayed in favor of his arc with leading lady Yoon Jung Hee. Like you, I enjoyed their sparring scenes as well. With a much more objective lens on now, I totally agree that the delivery had lots of room for improvement.
This was arguably my favorite role of Jun Noh Min, I found him very likable and relatable in this. And his loveline was very endearing too. I enjoyed Maya’s and Kim Sung Min’s arc more for the comic relief they brought to the screen, and I thought Maya did decently in the role. I concur that Jun Hye Jin was so lovely when she smiled! I found her loveline with Lee Hyun Jin endearing, even though Lee Hyun Jin’s character was way clingy at some points, with his noona crush. I definitely could’ve done without the stabbing (that felt so random and shoe-horned in!), and Shin Goo is <3 <3 <3
Wow, what a trip down memory lane! Thanks Martin! 🙂
do you have the review for sungkyunkwan scandal or did I just missed it? that is my favorite koreanovela and seeing how interesting and informative your blog is, i want to see your take on it 🙂
Hi Ingrid! Welcome to the blog! 😀 You know what? I recently finished my rewatch of Sungkyunkwan Scandal (loved it just as much on the 2nd watch as the 1st, if not more!) and am planning to write a review for it. So your question is perfect timing! Well, sort of. Coz I’m really busy for now, and won’t be able to finish the review for a while yet. But I hope to have it up within the next 2 weeks, if that helps! ^^
that’s great!! looking forward to it 🙂
I’ve got a bit of a backlog to get through, and SKKS is one of two (maybe 3) shows that I want to write reviews for in the next couple of weeks. I hope you’ll find it worth the wait! 🙂
“but shared that she thought the production values could’ve been better, and the color palette less dull.”
Interesting. What did she think of the cotumes? I would say most of the money went on the costumes. The production values. Would that be the buildings, castlles, whatever. I’d be very surprised if your mother thought the clothes could have been better.
So do you have a rule as to the maxium anount of episodes a series can be before you will watch it.
Production values is the general term used to describe the combined technical qualities of a production, in this case, a kdrama. That would include sets, costumes, cinematography, camera-work, CGI (if any) etc. Basically, the higher the production values, the more expensive the production tends to look.
I’m not sure what my mother thought of the costumes, though I do think she generally wished everything was prettier and more colorful. She likes those kinds of sageuks, where everything is pretty, colorful and expensive-looking eg The Princess’ Man. Generally, she told me that she felt the sets on Jumong looked cheaply constructed and took away from the realism of the show. I can’t comment on that myself, not having seen the show. I do suspect, though, that although she would’ve preferred a more intense color palette, that the dull color palette in Jumong could have been a deliberate production choice.
Now that you mention it, I realize I don’t actually have a cap on the number of episodes of the shows I would watch. Coz thinking about it, I generally do watch long-running family dramas and those often have episode counts upwards of 50 or 100. I suppose it comes down to the genre. I enjoy the shorter sageuks which have lower episode counts eg Chuno, Tree, The Princess’ Man. Once we get to the “pure” sageuks that run upwards of 50 episodes, things tend to focus on a lot of court intrigue/politicking etc and that isn’t quite my cup of tea. I would check out a show that falls into that category only if it enjoys rave reviews – the curious cat in me would want to find out what the fuss is about 😉
As The title character, Song Il Gook is okay didn’t make a great impression. He was adequate, but that’s really about it. But Luckily he is surrounded by a great cast.
the best were probably
Hu Joon Ho as Hae Mo Su
Oh Yun Soo as Lady Yoo Hwa
Jun Kwang Ryul as King Geum Wa (although I dn’t know what the laughing was about.
and the guy who played the prime mininster
But most of the cast were fine.
I liked Han Hye Jin as So Seo No
and Kim Seung Soo as Prince Dae So too, and others too
At first I liked Bae Soo Bin as Sayong, and even thought he might have better in the title role. But Now I think, it was a rather one note performance. I did like the
gay relationship though.
The costumes were magnificent.
The battle scenes were the best I’ve seen in a korean costume drama. Although it was only from around ep 50 or so, that I thought that.
I’m not sure about the jumping around. If it’s for a purpose fine. but some of the time, it seemed to be just for showing off.
Some great horse riding scenes
Thanks for sharing, Martin! I haven’t seen Jumong myself, but I’ve heard fairly divided opinions about it. Some people love it dearly, while others appreciate it, but less intensely. Sounds like it’s not without its merits, though, from what you’ve highlighted. 🙂
At this length, I’m unlikely to check this out myself, but I’m sure your review will help others who are thinking of giving this show a try! My mother enjoyed it well enough, but shared that she thought the production values could’ve been better, and the color palette less dull.
“I haven’t checked out Secret myself, but I’ve heard that it’s pretty cracky stuff, provided one doesn’t think too hard about it. Does that sound about right?”
Regarding plot line, I suppose you could make that observation.
I see mention of some sites here. So O thought I’d mention 2 I came across recently.
dramafire and watch32.
The nice thing about these 2 sites is that the episodes aren’t split up.
Watch32 is not strictly for asian stuff, but it does have some dramas.
But you probably get all yours from dramafever.
Dramafire was where I got Queen of ther classroom from, and Secret from Viki.
Oh, thanks for the tip, Martin! 🙂 It’s always good to have more sources on hand.. I sometimes get questions from readers about where to find a certain drama, and I’m sure the sites you recommended will help at least a few of the folks on here! 😀