Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Thanks for joining me for this group watch of Stranger!
Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:
1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. If you really need to talk about a spoiler, it is possible to use the new spoiler tags, but please know that spoilers are still visible (ie, not hidden) in the email notification that you receive, of the comment in question. We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.
2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
So, I’ve been looking through all the kdramas that have really helped me feel a bit better since the start of the lockdown. I found I am really craving stories that are set somewhere other than a large metropolis like the one I’m currently stuck in. So, something relaxing and contemporary as opposed to historical and action/suspense oriented. The last one I really loved was Racket Boys; for both characters and settings. Before that I watched When the Weather is Fine and found it soothing mostly based on the atmosphere. I’m having a hard time finding more though. Your recommendations have never once let me down. Can you help?
When I first heard about this 4-episode drama special, I made a mental note to check it out, because not only does the premise sound potentially cute and ripe for hijinks, the show is set in gorgeous Jeju Island as well.
In the end, I have to say that while I enjoyed the first 3 episodes quite well, I was a little underwhelmed by the ending. But, just because I didn’t love the ending, doesn’t mean that you won’t?
I hope that this quick review will help you figure out whether this little show is for you.
A very compact, impactful little series, Squid Game is the show that you can’t help but check out, even if you’re typically not into the death game genre.
Show is very expensively and carefully produced, and is the kind of drama where, the more you dig, the more little gems you tend to find, in terms of hidden details and added layers of meaning. In my estimation, beyond Show’s shiny packaging, there are two key things that draw audiences in, namely, 1, the characters and their backstories, which are effective and engaging, and 2, the themes and ideas Show serves up, which tend to be deeply thought-provoking.
It lives up to the hype, in my opinion, and is worth a look, even if just to satisfy your curiosity.
Show’s draw is more about its characters and their relationships, as well as our OTP’s (One True Pairing) slow-burn romance. The court politics really is just set-dressing. The downside is that the court politics is also the thing that drives our story forward, so Show can’t ever leave it behind for too long.
The upside, however, is that our key characters really do tend to grow on you in a solid way, and Show teases out the growth of characters and the progression of their relationships, in a manner that feels natural and believable, for the most part. Jung Il Woo shows depth even in his character’s quiet melancholy, and Kwon Yu Ri is absolutely regal as our Princess who gets accidentally bossamed by our male lead.
Show has its fair share of flaws, but I thought the gentle, heartfelt romance between our OTP made it worthwhile.
Thanks to everyone who voted in the poll; 552 votes were cast by 289 voters, and Stranger / Secret Forest came out on top, with 119 votes! Looks like I will finally watch Stranger, after putting it off for so long, heh.
At the same time, some of you have let me know that the poll results were showing inaccurately for you, in terms of the shows that you voted for. I do want to make sure that the group watch features shows that you guys actually want to watch, so I’ve taken the various opinions raised in the comments into consideration, in mapping out a solution that I hope will satisfy most voters.
I did also promise Ele, that I’d use my Editor’s Choice to balance things out, if our winning show doesn’t feature a romance, because it’s true that we’re due for some romance, in our group watch.
I really hope you guys like the solution that I’ve come up with.
So, full disclosure, everyone: this question wasn’t an actual submission for Dear kfangurl; it’s just that enough people have asked this question, or a variation of it, both here on the blog, and over on Patreon, that I thought I’d attempt to answer the question.
And since Dear kfangurl is where most of my attempts at answering questions sit, I thought this would be a suitable addition. 😉
Just so we’re clear, I’m not an actual professor of Korean entertainment (is there such a thing?). These are simply my personal observations and opinions, after hanging around the Dramaverse for.. (woah) 14 years now.
Lots of worthy titles were floated, and as promised, I sifted through all of them, and shortlisted the most popular titles for this poll. I also made the executive decision to add 2 wild cards into the mix, which you’ll see in a bit. 😉
Except for Hikaru no Go, Mother and Stranger, I’ve seen the other shortlisted dramas, and I do believe they are each solidly worthy of your drama hours.
If you’re looking for a small serve of drama that also happens to be fun and different, I’d like to suggest that you give Miss Kim’s Mystery a try.
It’s a blithe mash-up of office drama and heist-like spy-jinks, with a touch of romance thrown in for good measure, and, as long as you keep your analytical lens on a slightly blurry setting, this works out to be a cheerful good time.
Not bad at all, for a little drama special that’s just shy of 1 hour and 4 minutes.