Review: Call It Love

THE SHORT VERDICT:

I feel like the most effective, succinct way to describe this show, is a sentiment that I saw floating around the interwebs; that this show is very much My Mister – but with romance.

That’s high praise, because most drama fans agree that My Mister is a masterpiece of a drama – and I do think that this show deserves that praise.

To my eyes, this is as thoughtful and as carefully conceived, and as nuanced and faceted, and as illuminating, organic and visceral, in the watch experience, as My Mister.

Our entire cast is excellent, but Kim Young Kwang and Lee Sung Kyung truly stand out, as our leads.

As a bonus, the music is lilting and lovely, in a manner that amplifies Show’s sweet melancholy.

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Review: Our Blooming Youth

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show has a reasonably interesting central story to tell, but unfortunately, tries to stretch it out to fill a longer time slot than it really needs, which makes for a rather uneven, meandering and frustrating watch experience.

We do have a reasonably solid cast, among whom there are some very nice bright spots, but sadly, our cast isn’t quite able to rise above the limitations in the writing.

Promising in concept, but quite underwhelming in execution, in my opinion.

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Flash Review: Love To Hate You

I feel like “Your mileage may vary” is quite the understatement, with this show.

There are two main camps of viewers when it comes to this show, it seems like. One camp that loves it a great deal, and another that finds many things to be problematic, in this drama world.

Most of the time, when I lead with a statement like that about a show, I tend to fall squarely into the middle ground of finding it pretty ok, overall.

This time, however, I happen to have enjoyed this one much more than I’d originally expected to. Lens adjustments apply, of course, which I’ll talk about in a bit.

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Review: The Heavenly Idol

THE SHORT VERDICT:

The Heavenly Idol started with a fun concept, which I enjoyed quite nicely, but it eventually felt like Show was a one-trick pony that was trying (pretty darn hard) – and failing – to prove that it had more than one trick up its sleeves.

That one trick is Kim Min Gyu’s heavenly priest struggling to adapt to the idol life, and while that is admittedly amusing, that eventually ran out of steam, and sadly, I didn’t quite take to Show’s other efforts to engage and entertain.

I do have a suggested viewing lens for this, but ultimately, I have to concede that this one’s better in concept than execution, unfortunately.

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Review: The Glory Part 2

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Overall, I’d say that Show is a solid continuation of Part 1 (review here!), so fans of Part 1 should be pretty happy with Part 2, at a minimum.

Show ramps up the drama in Part 2, in service of the revenge at the center of our story, so it feels more fast-paced, intense and, well, dramatic, compared to Part 1. I personally still found it all very absorbing and engaging, despite Show’s slight shift in tone.

Your mileage with the ending is likely to vary depending on what you look for in your dramas – specifically in a good revenge tale – but overall, I’d still say that Show does a pretty solid job.

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Flash Review: Lesson In Love [Taiwan]

This.. was a weird one, for me.

I guess this really is a case of “your mileage may vary,” because a quick scan of viewer reactions on MyDramaList tells me that lots of people really, really enjoyed this one, and think it’s truly one of the best things, ever.

The thing is, I found this weirdly watchable, which is how I ended up finishing it, and yet, coming away from the finish line, I still don’t think it’s a very good drama. πŸ˜…

I’ll elaborate on that in a bit – hopefully in a way that actually makes sense, because right now, my thoughts are all over the place, kinda like how I feel this drama is all over the place. 😁

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Review: Meet Yourself [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A gentle slice-of-life story, with an earthy-yet-squeeworthy OTP at the center, and beautiful yet rustic views of gorgeous Yunnan? So much Yes, for me, personally. πŸ₯°

Watching this show is like going on a long vacation with these characters, where we get to be a silent member of the community, sitting in on their conversations, while lounging on their couches, like we’re part of this found family.

Sure, there are bound to be arcs that you like less (I personally wasn’t that interested in Mr. Ma’s arc), but there’s almost definitely something for everyone, among Show’s various arcs.

Plus, Show’s overall vibe is so warm and cozy, that it feels relatively easy to roll over any bumps in the watch experience.

As a bonus, Show shines a pretty educational spotlight on the topic of rural displacement, while putting faces to the phenomenon, and telling that story with heart. I liked that.

You do need to be in the right mood for this, so yes, you may not want to watch this right now. But when you do find yourself in that right mood, this is quite blissful indeed. πŸ₯°
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Review: Crash Course In Romance

THE SHORT VERDICT:

When Show is at its best, it’s warm, funny and cozy-slurpy in the best way. Mature leads with fantastic acting chops and great chemistry? A shiny-pretty rom-com world? Easy-breezy music to score it all? Check, check and check.

On the downside, Show attempts to fit in a side of murder, AND a keen spotlight on the potential hazards of a highly competitive academic system, and after a while, Show’s focus gets muddied with these extras.

The downsides aren’t enough to be a deal-breaker for me personally, but I do think that your mileage may vary.

Overall, I found this warm, fuzzy and worthwhile, despite Show’s narrative detours into less warm, less fuzzy things.

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Review: The Makanai: Cooking For The Maiko House [Japan]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A delightful little show that offers an educational peek into the world of maiko and geisha / geiko, through the journeys of our main characters.

Our protagonist, Kiyo, is so lovely, that I would have been sorry to have missed getting to know her, if I’d passed this show by.

Her friendship with bestie Sumire forms the anchor to our story, and I loved witnessing their friendship and their support of each other, through the good times and bad.

Well worth the journey for our protagonists, while the insights into maiko and geisha culture work out to be a wonderful bonus – even if Show probably meant for the cultural insights to be the Main Event, in the first place. 😁

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Review: Recipe For Farewell

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Even though Show’s premise centers around a character who’s terminally ill, I would say that Show is as much about love and life, as it is about death and loss.

Show’s got an extremely gentle, warm and soothing touch, even as it delves into the various challenges that our characters face, and doesn’t shy away from the hard topics.

In the end, what we get feels akin to gentle, wise lessons on life, perhaps told by a doting, tender grandmother, as she cradles you in her lap, and serenely rubs your back, while assuring you that it’s all not as hard as it sounds, and that you’ll be strong enough for the hard parts, and that everything will be ok in the end.

Thoughtful and worthwhile.

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