The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Flash Review: Because This Is My First Life

The experience of watching this show is similar to what I imagine it would be like, to be on an exceptional winning streak in your favorite computer game: you are in disbelief as you clear round after round, trouncing the system in ways that you didn’t think possible. You start to wonder if you will – gasp! – actually be able to pull off a perfect game – a feat that is only rumored to be possible. You make it to the final rounds – OMG am I almost there?! – ..only for the system to beat you in the end, after all. *sadface*

And then you console yourself that, yes, you didn’t make it all the way through this time, but you still did really well – and maybe, just maybe, you’ll make it next time.

Sigh. That’s how I feel about this show, you guys. There was so much to love in this one, and it felt so surprisingly fresh in so many ways, that I thought we might actually have a thoroughly amazing drama on our hands. Alas, Show wobbled a fair bit in its final episodes, to my eyes. I’m disappointed about that, but just like in the analogy of the computer game, I’m consoling myself that being awesome for 14 episodes is still head and shoulders above most other dramas. Right?

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Flash Review: Bring It On, Ghost [Let’s Fight, Ghost]

In a drama landscape where big budgets and loud buzz grab most of the spotlight, Bring It On, Ghost is, quite literally, the little drama that could.

Nestled in the midst of other dramas boasting bigger names, bigger budgets and bigger hype, it’s easy to overlook this show – everyone’s got limited drama hours to spend, after all, and isn’t it natural to gravitate towards the dramas with bigger names, bigger budgets and bigger hype?

If you’ve ever been bitten by a show that starts out fabulous but then crushes your drama hopes to smithereens by derailing partway through, though, you might just appreciate Ghost. It’s got its flaws – minor inconsistencies and some pacing issues – but it just chugs along in its understated way, and is relatively consistent from start to finish. Which, if you’ve been hurt by a drama before, is a pretty solid achievement not to be sniffed at.

As a bonus, Taecyeon and Kim So Hyun are surprisingly cute together, too.

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Dropped: Beautiful Gong Shim

Sometimes being a curious cat and following the buzz of a show pays off, and you end up finding – and loving – a gem of a show that you might not have bothered to check out otherwise.

And sometimes, being a curious cat.. well, doesn’t pay off.

I know lots of folks loved this show right from the start, and I even saw enthusiastic endorsements of it from some of my most trusted drama friends. Sadly, try as I might, I never managed to really love this one.

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Flash Review: Bromance [TW Drama]

Have you ever loved a drama in spite of its multitude of shortcomings? Like, it’s got so many flaws that you can’t help but roll your eyes sometimes (or maybe more like a lot of the time). And yet, it’s got That One Thing going for it, that’s so awesome that it makes the watch completely cracktastic. Which is how you end up watching an entire Very Flawed Drama, for the sake of that One Thing?

Yep. Exactly what happened here, you guys. I was literally hooked on Bromance for a good part of its run, so much so that it was the show that I looked forward to the most, each week. This, when I usually have a ridiculous amount of trouble getting into Taiwanese dramas as a general rule, and therefore typically don’t even bother checking them out anymore.

Woah, right?

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Flash Review: Beauty Inside [Movie]

It’s funny how I sometimes stumble on a movie that I wouldn’t otherwise have checked out on my own, simply because it’s available on in-flight entertainment and I’m something of a captive audience with limited options to choose from.

Beauty Inside was the movie whose trailer appealed to me the most today, out of the k-trailers that I checked out while on the plane, and I hafta say, it turned out to be a more thought-provoking watch than I’d originally expected.

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Flash Review: Because It’s The First Time

I really liked this, guys. Like, in a I’m-sorry-to-see-it-end, I’d-love-to-catch-up-with-these-characters-again sort of way.

In a drama landscape where a lot of the lighter fare can feel tropey and sort of tired (from overuse of all the predictable tropes), Because It’s The First Time manages to achieve a lovely balance between showcasing a more realistic take on the growing up experience, while maintaining a sense of lightness and fun, through it all.

At just 8 episodes, this turned out to be quite the charming little drama snack. Yum.

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Review: Bad Guys

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Slick, dark, and appropriately fierce, Bad Guys is a short little series that packs a pretty big punch.

Everything is carefully and beautifully filmed, and for the most part, Bad Guys manages to hit that sweet spot where the writing is complex enough to be interesting, yet simple enough to be accessible to the average viewer. Add a pretty excellent cast to flesh out the interesting premise, and Show is a winner in almost every checkbox.

My beef with the show is that it gets too melodramatic at parts, which detracts from its unique brand of cool, and instead places it closer to standard kdrama fare than it needs to be. The cinematography also feels less deliberate as we get into the later episodes. Despite its shortcomings, though, Show remains an interesting and engaging watch.

Gritty and disturbing at times, yet heartening and uplifting at others, Bad Guys manages to be badass with heart.

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Review: Bride of the Century

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A light(ish) melodrama that’s high on the cute and low on the logic, Bride of the Century is the kind of show that would crumble under too harsh a lens. Given the right lens, though, it’s a fun watch that even gets pretty cracky in stretches.

The good news is, that lens isn’t a hard one to put on.

Yes, the show is so full of drama cliches that it feels like someone took every drama cliche that ever existed, put ’em all into a box, and the writers of this show then played a game where they took turns drawing out random cliches from the box and had to find a way to work ’em all into the show. In the order in which they were drawn. Yep. Sometimes plot logic took a beating; I cannot lie. But think of Cliche City as a game, and that ups the fun by a whole lot.

The shining jewel in this rather haphazard crown, is that this show has enough cute to mitigate almost the entire weight of the excessive drama tropes. Who can say no to this show, when you’ve got this cute of a puppy on your screen, right?

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Review: Beautiful Days

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Old-school, classic kdrama of the romantic, melodramatic variety, circa 2001.

Although not quite as wildly popular as Winter Sonata or Autumn In My Heart, Beautiful Days is actually a pretty good watch when you’re in the mood for retro melo.

Yes, it’s angsty, but it’s not depressingly so.

Plus, our male lead is a very smoldery Lee Byung Hun oozing oodles of machismo. If you like your kdrama heroes of the manly man variety, you might want to check this out.

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44 Comments

Review: Big

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Big started out promising but under-delivered. It was a little uneven in the beginning, but the sight gags were funny and the burgeoning feelings between the leads kept things interesting up till episode 12. Then episodes 13-16 went progressively downhill.

BUT. There is one compelling reason to watch this show: Gong Yoo. He is amazing in so many ways. And hot. Let’s not forget hot. He’s the only reason to watch Big, but he’s reason enough.