Tag Archives: 2019

Review: At Eighteen [A Moment At Eighteen]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Thoughtful, understated, and yet so full of accurate teenage feels, At Eighteen is the youth drama that we didn’t know we needed, but which we absolutely deserve. You don’t even need to generally be into youth dramas to enjoy this one, methinks, because this is arguably the most “grown up” youth drama I’ve seen yet.

There’s no hyperbolic cutesy here; growing pains and teenage euphoria are portrayed in such an organic way that it makes me feel like these writers remember exactly what it’s like to be a teenager growing up, and with amazing attention to detail, to boot. Show manages to create a world that feels real and raw, while still retaining enough pretty and polish to give it that drama lift. The entire cast does an excellent job, but extra kudos goes to our young actors, for making their characters come to life in such an organic-feeling manner.

As a bonus, the music in this is by turn breezy-heartfelt, tinkly-ethereal and gently poignant; all astutely applied just so, to give the watch experience that extra dimension of immersion.

Quite excellent, all-around.

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Review: The Secret Life Of My Secretary

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show doesn’t reinvent the drama wheel by any stretch of the imagination, and I’d even say that Show’s got some flaws that I find hard to look past, BUT, this drama shows a nice chunk of heart for a good stretch in the middle (it started slow for me and I’m not completely satisfied with how the ending’s handled), which is very pleasant indeed.

Kim Young Kwang’s the meltiest I’ve seen him yet, Jin Ki Joo manages to be endearing despite some questionable characterization, and Kim Jae Kyung is a complete hoot as the feisty, unabashed, world-of-her-own Veronica Park.

A solid easy-breezy marathon, for when you just want to give the ol’ brain a break.

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Dropped: Love And Destiny [China]

I think it’s time to admit that this show really isn’t working for me, you guys.

I tried with this one; I really did.

You might remember that I was in two minds about whether to keep going with this one, when I wrote my 2019 year-in-review. In all honesty, I’d been quite ready to drop it, just 6 episodes in, coz I’d wandered off and hadn’t felt the urge to go back. But then, AvenueX mentioned that even though this drama didn’t bring anything really new to the table, that it was one of her favorites of 2019 because of how real and believable the OTP chemistry and interactions were.

..which reeled me right back in, coz I did like this OTP. But now, many more episodes later, I finally realize that even though AvenueX and my own sister and maybe lots of other folks love this show, I just won’t end up loving this one. Everr.

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Review: Hotel Del Luna

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is easy on the eyes, with high production values that bring a creatively conceptualized fantasy world to life, a fabulously rich wardrobe for female lead IU, and several handsome leading men to top it all off.

IU delivers a strong performance, and her character’s personal journey fittingly forms the backbone of this story. On the downside, I did not enjoy the OTP connection between her and Yeo Jin Goo, and I also felt the writing weaknesses quite keenly. ‘Twas still worth the while, though, for various endearing characters whom I became quite fond of.

A pleasant enough watch, if you’re able to look past Show’s shortcomings.

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Flash Review: When The Camellia Blooms

Y’know, I’d gotten to the point where I was so tired of serial killers and murders being mixed with romance (what is up with that, Dramaland?), that I was ready to give this show a hard, blind pass, just for having the audacity to mix murder with romance, again.

But, the overwhelming positive buzz around this show piqued my interest, as did the high ratings, and the glowing, persuasive comments that a number of you left me, which is how I ended up checking out this show, in spite of myself.

With 20/20 hindsight, now that I’ve emerged on the other side, do I still think Show didn’t need a serial killer murder arc? BIG YES. Did I manage to enjoy this one, despite my by-now-very-firm serial killer drama allergy? Also, yes. I guess that means Show wins, overall?

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Flash Review: VIP

This is honestly the show that I didn’t think I’d be interested in, like, at all, when it was first announced, but which ended up sucking me in literally right away, with its mix of emo angst and mystery.

Much thanks to my Twitter pals who gushed about this show’s cracky quality, because that’s honestly the only thing that piqued my interest enough to get me to check this one out. I mean, the synopsis “a couple whose lives fall apart while they work at a department store on the VIP Management Team” just didn’t sound all that interesting to me, y’know?

And so color me very surprised and very pleased, when I quickly found myself slurping this one up as a priority drama among the other dramas on my plate, sometimes even watching episodes back-to-back, which I rarely ever do anymore. What. An. Excellent. Surprise.

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Dropped: Graceful Family

If you checked out my 2019 Year In Review, you’d probably remember that I was in two minds about this rather popular show. I wanted to like it, and hoped to like it, mostly because so many other drama fans seemed to enjoy this show, but.. I never truly liked it, unfortunately.

I got 8 minutes and 43 seconds into episode 8 (yes, I checked, ha), before I realized that I really didn’t want to spend any more of my time on this drama. For the record, Show’s not terrible.. Like I said, lots of folks like this one (and you might, too). I just feel like this show wasn’t quite living up to its potential.

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Year In Review: 2019

It’s that time of the year again, my friends. 2020 is upon us, and 2019 is just about done and dusted. Time to take stock of the year, celebrate the highs, brush off the lows, and get ready to usher in the new year.

Can you believe that this is my 8th year-in-review post?? Imma be honest with you guys; every time I sit down to do one of these, I get visited by a touch of blogger existential crisis. Essentially, I ask myself, “Where am I going with this? How long will I do this? Is there still.. a point to doing this?”

..And I gotta tell ya, I still don’t know the answer to those questions. What I can say, though, is, I’m still enjoying my dramas reasonably well, and I’m still game to write about ’em, and I’m grateful that you guys are still here on this journey with me. Thanks for sticking it out with me, y’all.  <3

And now, let me attempt to break down my 2019 drama year for ya.

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Flash Review: Designated Survivor: 60 Days

Every once in a while, we all could use a show that reminds us that sometimes it really is worth stepping out of our comfort zones, I think. This season, Designated Survivor: 60 Days is that show, for me.

Personally, I don’t have a strong interest in politics, and therefore, I’ve always thought that political shows wouldn’t be my thing, which is why I didn’t think to check out this show, when it first aired earlier this year. But, because I recently really enjoyed Son Seok Koo in Be Melodramatic, and also because I do have a soft spot for Ji Jin Hee, I decided to try this one, just to see, and – I’m kinda shocked, actually, by how much I liked it. Talk about a drama tilting your world, eh?

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Flash Review: When The Devil Calls Your Name

My last foray into a fantasy kdrama dealing with angels and devils didn’t go too well (I’m looking at you, Angel’s Last Mission, cough), so when I heard some rumblings of dissatisfaction on the grapevine about how this show about selling one’s soul to the devil seemed a little all over the place, I was ready to give this one a blind pass without actually taking the time to check it out.

Thank goodness for blog regular Putri, who convinced me to give this show a try, after she’d watched it and really liked it herself. Once I actually got going with this show, I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging I found it, and now that I’ve emerged on the other side, I’m happy to report that Show even manages its mythology reasonably well.

Since one of my pet peeves with fantasy dramas is that the mythology isn’t clearly presented, &/or crumbles on itself by the end of the story, I count this a pretty big plus in Show’s favor. The mythology presented isn’t perfect, sure, but it retains its structure enough, and is true enough to itself, that I found myself reasonably satisfied on this point. Which then also helped me enjoy the rest of the story more, too. Plus! I even found myself jiving with Show’s humor, uh, most of the time. Win, win, and win.

Thank you, dear Putri, because I hafta say, I’m glad I didn’t end up missing out on this one.

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