The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A highly-buzzed, high-profile drama project that boasted strong credentials, a big budget and an even bigger cast, but which ultimately failed to deliver the expected awesome.

Patchy writing, jerky direction & execution, and uneven acting all contribute to Show’s general lack of oomph. For the tenacious viewer, though, there are small stretches of soapy crack to be had, and quite a lot of pretty to gaze at, for the most part. Lee Jun Ki is mesmerizing and quite wonderful in this, despite his character getting off to a somewhat shaky start.

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Dropped: Uncontrollably Fond

So it looks like I ought to have my “Woob Fangirl” license revoked, you guys. Coz try as I might (and I really, really, really tried), I just could not get into Uncontrollably Fond. I trudged through 14 episodes of this one, trying – and consistently failing – to see the light with this show. At this point, I feel it’s time to admit defeat: I just don’t have it in me to sit through another 6 episodes of this one. Not even for Woob (gasp!).

I acknowledge that this show has its fans, who legit love this show. To which I can only say, I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.

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Review: Sassy Go Go [Cheer Up]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Sassy wasted no time in stealing my heart, to be honest.

Yes, it’s not very inventive, in that its plot isn’t anything very new, and feels vaguely like a mashup of Angry MomWho Are You – School 2015, and Shut Up Flower Boy Band, with a bit of Dream High, and even mild shades of School 2013, thrown in for good measure. But I genuinely enjoyed all of those shows, and any resemblance, in this case, is not a bad thing. I loved that Show is breezy, and showcases endearing characters and their heart-tugging relationships, and I was effectively smitten for much of Show’s run.

It’s unfortunate that Show loses its footing somewhat, in the last quarter. That made me sad. After everything is said and done, though, I still felt wistful in saying goodbye to these characters, and that definitely counts for something.

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Flash Review: Goong S [Prince Hours]

Funny story, you guys. I actually never intended to watch Goong S, let alone finish it.

It all started a while ago, when I did my rewatch and review of Goong, and discovered to my delight that not only was there new squee to be had, given my better grasp of the Korean language, but even the palace politics were more interesting, given my sageuk exposure since first watching it years ago.

On Twitter, several friends wondered about whether there’d be a similar effect with Goong S, and sort of fun-challenged me to turn my now-better-informed eyes on this show, to see if any of that better insight was to be had with Goong’s spin-off. I didn’t take the challenge seriously, especially since, during the height of my Goong obsession, I’d dipped my toes in for a bit, and, jarred by this show’s differences and similarities to Goong, had dropped it like a hot potato.

To think that now, 8 years later, I’ve not only gone back to give this a try, but have actually finished it! Past Me would be shocked, I tell ya. 😉

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Dear kfangurl: What is it about bromances that make a kdrama great?

Today’s question is brought to us by Bakazen, who asks:

Dear kfangurl,

What is it about bromances that make a kdrama great? I just recently finished watching Doctor Stranger and realized 2 things: LJS is a good actor and I really didn’t like this drama. So why did I finish it? Because I was hooked by the bromance tease between LJS and PHJ.

My personal theory is they work well as substitutes for the sometimes overwhelming lack of affection we see between couples. Guys in bromances show affection, love, solidarity, joy, connection & (dare I say it) skinship! Nothing warms my heart like one of the F4s coming to a bros rescue, the F44s teasing each other or the leads in School 2013 (LJS & Woobie) saying how much they missed each other’s friendship. Besides, I rarely get that hooked into the female friendships (major exception, Noh Eun-seol & Lee Myung Ran from Protect the Boss). What do you think?

Bakazen

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Review: Dream High

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Fresh, fun and earnest, and backed by a breezy soundtrack that’s easy on the ears, Dream High ranks as one of my all-time favorite music-centric, high school dramas. Heck, it’s one of my favorite dramas, period.

Despite its youth-y premise, Dream High has a pretty universal appeal, with its emphasis on friendship, loyalty and finding & pursuing your dreams. What the idol-heavy cast lacks in finesse, they more than make up for with earnestness. And then there’s Kim Soo Hyun, Uhm Ki Joon and Lee Yoon Ji in the main cast, lending acting cred and nuance to the overall package.

The drama takes an episode or two to get into its groove but once it does, it’s cracky, delicious goodness.

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An Appreciative Eye On: Kim Soo Hyun

Most of you are familiar with my 3 big k-loves. And although I’m currently spazzing over and lovin’ on Kim Woo Bin more — uunghh I wuv my Woobie ❤ — I love ’em each in their own special way.

If you’ve known me for a while, &/or taken a look at my fangirl motto on the side-bar to your right, you’d probably also know that having big k-loves — or major Woobie love, heh — doesn’t mean that I don’t have room to admire and.. appreciate (ahem) other talented k-men in dramaland.

In fact, I’ve got quite a few of those medium k-loves, at least a few of whom I plan on introducing to you guys this year.

First up: Kim Soo Hyun!

I’ve liked Kim Soo Hyun since his Dream High days in 2011, and have had my eye on him and his work ever since. Every time he’s got a new drama or movie out, I perk up and take notice. And now that I’m watching You From Another Star, my Kim Soo Hyun radar has switched itself into Mmmm.. mode all over again. Which, really, is the catalyst for this post.

Come squee with me, y’all!

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What Makes Drama Crack Stay Fresh / Turn Stale?

DC1So today Stephanie posted on her blog Crazy for Kdrama a post titled Second-hand Crack. In it, she describes her experience re-watching Smile Dong Hae, and finding that it just wasn’t as cracktastic the second time around.

That really resonated with me, coz as some of you may know, I’ve been marathoning Beautiful Days for review, and that review’s been taking a while to actually get written.

The reason is pretty much the same as Stephanie’s experience with Smile Dong Hae. I’d loved Beautiful Days on my first watch, and had devoured it pretty quickly. Fast forward several years, and now that I’m watching it for the second time, I still find it pretty engaging, but it’s just not as cracktastic as I had first found it.

Which begs the question: What exactly makes drama crack stay fresh / turn stale?

DC2

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Review: What’s Up?

WU2

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This drama had a somewhat raw, rough-around-the-edges sort of feel to it, which gave it a sense of realism.

Several plot-lines felt under-developed, which made the show feel a bit off-kilter, but some great characters and a couple of meaningful plot-lines which did get nicely fleshed out made this unassuming little show one that I enjoyed quite a lot more than I thought I would.

The characters snuck up on me and made me start to care about them, which is always a plus in my books.

A character piece with songs.

WU1

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Review: Dream High 2

DH2.1

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This was bad. As much as Dream High was DA BOMB, this was simply, A BOMB.

Dream High 2 was comprised of a lackluster script, poorly drawn characters, a cast who could manage only very, very average acting, and random musical numbers which went on.. & on.. & on..

The only bright(ish) spot was Jung Jin Woon, who ironically delivered a better performance than the only actor-actor of the bunch, Kang So Ra.

A very strong contender for worst drama I have ever seen. And I have seen a LOT of dramas.

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