Tag Archives: 2020

Flash Review: Sweet Home

I did it, you guys. I, the self-proclaimed horror wuss, have finished watching Sweet Home. Achievement unlocked, officially, ha. 🥳

For the record, the reason I decided to try this one out, despite my general aversion to horror, monsters and gore, is because of my recent love for Lee Do Hyun, thanks to the very wonderful 18 Again (go watch it, if you haven’t!). That, plus the fact that everyone who’s seen it, has been saying such good things about it; mainly, that apart from the blood and gore, it’s very meaty, and there’s a lot to unpack with regards to the psychology of our characters. That all sounded pretty compelling to me.

Now that I’ve emerged on the other side, I think it’s safe to say that I don’t think I loved it as much as some of you, but I did enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. Considering my horror-wussness, I’d count that a win, yes?

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Review: Lie After Lie

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A makjang-laced story that leans rather old-school in its storytelling sensibility and melodramatic flair, Lie After Lie works out to be a pretty good time.

When Show is at its best, it’s cracky and delicious, and I felt like I could slurp up all that heightened dramatic tension with a spoon. This is just the kind of underdog story to get my blood pumping, and I was very quickly sucked into rooting for our protagonist Eun Soo. When Show isn’t at its best, however, there are logic lapses, weak plot progression and a resulting loss in dramatic tension. Boo. I was sad when Show wasn’t great, because when it was good, it was really quite excellent.

Show is admittedly stronger in its first three-quarters and weaker in its final stretch, but overall, I’d still call this a solid watch.

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Flash Review: Shanai Marriage Honey [Japan]

I might be at risk of giving the impression that I have A Serious Thing for contract marriage J-dramas here, what with my deep affection for 2016’s We Married As A Job, and general fondness for 2020’s Marry Me!, but when I heard about this short little J-drama and what it was about, I couldn’t resist checking it out.

I.. do have a soft spot for the contract marriage trope, can’t lie. But I rationalize that the premises for the contract marriages in all 3 shows are different and distinct from one another, and therefore I’m not essentially watching the same show done 3 different ways. 😅

At just seven 25-minute episodes, Show is easy and low-risk, and perfect for squeezing into little pockets of time – or marathoning in one sitting, if you prefer.

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Review: Start-Up

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Designed to be light, easy and feel-good, Show tends to lean more simplistic than I would like, particularly in the areas of business and technology and how that all works. The characters took a while to grow on me, but I did eventually grow fond of almost all of them. At the same time, there are definitely some stand-outs that endeared themselves to me early, like Kim Hae Sook as Gran.

Ultimately, Show manages to be uplifting and aspirational (if you can overcome the over-simplification of everything), and ends up being a reasonably pleasant coming-of-age – or rather, coming-into-your-own – kinda story.

PS: Most viewers have strong feelings about this story’s love triangle, but I didn’t.

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Review: More Than Friends

THE SHORT VERDICT:

With its slow-burn approach to storytelling and its muted, understated sort of vibe, this show is definitely not for everyone.

When Show is at its best, it’s thought-provoking and introspective as it explores people and relationships. When Show is not as its best, it can feel frustrating, and its characters, unlikable and unsympathetic. And because Show is mostly a slow burn, Show is at its best mostly in its later episodes, rather than its earlier ones. Our main characters did grow on me by the end of my watch, but I have to admit that it was our secondary characters that actually grabbed me more, and earlier too.

A little tedious at times, but not without its bright spots.

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Review: 18 Again

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Don’t let this show’s silly, farcical trappings fool you; this one has so much heart that it simply never runs out of feels. Fatherly love, familial love, romantic love and even platonic love; they all get their day in the sun in this drama world, and the result is a deeply heartwarming watch that I never wanted to end. This show made my heart so, so full, and I happily drowned in all of the feels.

Our cast is very strong, but I do sincerely think that this would’ve been a different show without Lee Do Hyun. He delivers such a heartfelt performance, with such a distinct sense of gravitas, that I am completely blown away. The heart-eyes that I’ve grown for Lee Do Hyun are completely involuntary, and likely permanent. 😍

Unreservedly recommend.

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Flash Review: Traces Of Love [Drama Special]

If you’re on the market for a quick spot of drama without more than a one-hour commitment, and if you enjoy the more realistic modern take on love and romance (vs. the popular Oppa-Candy kdrama tales that lean more urban legend), this little drama special could work for you.

Character vibe-wise, this also reminds me of 2018 Drama Special You Drive Me Crazy, so if you enjoyed that, I think there’s a good chance you’d like this one too.

PS: At MC‘s suggestion, I’ve also created a handy-dandy index of short drama things that I’ve reviewed, which you can check out here. This basically covers web dramas, drama specials, movies, and short dramas (which I’ve decided to define as dramas which are 10 episodes or less). I hope you guys find it useful! ❤️

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Year In Review: 2020

What a surreal year 2020 has turned out to be, amiright?

It’s been the year of surprises and curveballs, and I think it’s safe to say that none of us has been unaffected by the events of 2020. As a small silver lining, with lockdowns taking place around the world, and Netflix promoting Asian dramas with unflagging enthusiasm, we’ve welcomed many new drama fans into our midst.

And, our dramas have not let us down. I mean, yes, there’ve been duds, but that’s true every year anyway, yes? 😉 I’m just happy that Dramaland has found a way to continue production while ensuring the safety of cast and crew, coz I know I’m not alone when I say that dramas have helped make 2020 better.

Now, let’s take stock of my drama year in 2020, before 2021 comes upon us!

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Flash Review: Marry Me! [Japan]

If you’d like a quick spot of drama that’s warm, fuzzy and doesn’t require a big investment of drama hours, but still provides that sense of continuity that dramas offer, this charming little J-drama might just do the trick.

At just 10 episodes of less than 25 minutes each, this show is perfect for squeezing in an episode or two, when you have only a small pocket of time to spare, but still want to indulge in some drama feels.

Quite perfect for the festive season, yes?

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Review: Someday Or One Day [Taiwan]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Smartly written, deftly executed, and wonderfully acted, Someday Or One Day is a gem of a show that feels like it’s head and shoulders above its peers. Intricate and clever, yet full of emotional heft, Show is a rare creature that does an excellent and consistent job of engaging both the mind and the heart.

Our main cast is strong and unfailingly delivers well-rounded, faceted performances, but the stand-out for me is male lead Greg Hsu, who crept under my skin and stole my heart when I wasn’t looking.

Altogether fantastic, and well worth the watch.

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