The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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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.  ❤

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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Flash Review: The Longest Day In Chang’an [China]

Let me preface this review by saying for the record, that The Longest Day in Chang’an is widely praised and loved, and is a bona fide hit with audiences in and out of China. In fact, a number of you have shared with me how much you love this show. And with good reason; Show is very, very solid, which I’ll talk about shortly.

Let me also say, that personally, my experience of watching this show felt akin to a very ordinary girl trying to date, understand, and make a relationship work with, an intellectual, aloof, highbrow, take-me-or-leave-me sort of guy. It’s the kind of thing that I’ve seen work out lots of times on my rom-com drama screen, but.. this didn’t quite pan out the same way for me, unfortunately. From start to finish, it felt like a fair amount of work to me, spending quality time with this show, and try as I might, this never blossomed into true love, sadly.

Still, this might blossom into true love for you?

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Review: My Country

THE SHORT VERDICT:

At its heart, My Country is a polished, beautifully-shot tale of star-crossed brotherhood, and the search for acceptance, meaning, and self.

Granted, Show has its flaws. Sometimes the logic stretches require more suspension of disbelief than I would like; sometimes the emotional tension feels like it’s stretched out for too long and gets tiring; sometimes Show feels like it’s cycling in place, just a little bit. On the upside, though, Show is filled with strong performances from its cast, knows how to take us on our characters’ emotional journeys, and is scored with a consistently evocative soundtrack that is by turn gloriously epic and plaintively poignant.

If you’re able to roll with Show’s shortcomings, it’s not hard to get sucked into this one.

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Review: The Tale Of Nokdu

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show starts off fresh and cute with an emphasis on hilarious cross-dressing hijinks, but changes gears abruptly in its second half with an amped up focus on birth secrets and political machinations. Viewers set on a fizzy rom-com might be turned off by this. On the upside, Show manages to retain its emotional core and heartfelt tone through to the end, and it’s not too hard to stay engaged with our main characters, even in the heavier stretches. And as a silver lining, the feel-good cute makes a comeback by Show’s end.

Jang Dong Yoon shines extra in the midst of a solid cast, and is break-out fantastic in his role as the titular Nokdu. His cross-dressing turn as a timid widow is so memorable, that it’s worth tuning in for his performance alone.

Show has its flaws, but is pretty solid, overall.

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