The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Inner Workings: Practical Factors That Affect Onscreen Chemistry

I’m so, SO excited to announce this guest post, everyone! 😀

Today, our very own Jesse is taking the stage (page?), and he’ll be shedding light on some of the nuts and bolts of the workings of our beloved dramas. 

This post was born of a comment that Jesse had written in response to Beez, breaking down some of the practical variables that contribute to (or detract from) the chemistry that we see on our screens. I loved what he wrote, and asked if he’d be willing to expand that into a post for us, and he graciously said yes!

Granted, Jesse’s exposure has been in the US film industry and not in Korea, but from what I understand, the processes that he describes are also practiced in Korea, if not down to the minutiae, then in large part. I personally found his post illuminating and very educational, so I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

THANKY, JESSE!

~kfangurl

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158 Comments

Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas the man in my life might be willing to watch?

This post is thanks to MeriJ, who suggested the topic “K-Roms Your BF/Husband Might Be Willing To Watch With You.” I’ve also come across many drama fans who do sincerely wish that their significant others would share in their passion and watch dramas with them.

And since many of us are spending a lot more time at home these days because of the pandemic, and also because we recently had a great time helping Amethystwaves shortlist dramas to watch with her mom, I thought it’d be a good time to attempt to answer the question:

Dear kfangurl,

What are some dramas that the man in my life might be willing to watch with me?

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147 Comments

Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas with excellent OTPs?

Reka writes:

Dear kfangurl,

thank you very much for your answer to my previous question, the one about strong and nuanced women 😀 I already started watching “The Story of Minglan’ and I am loving it so much! (Btw it’s also one of my first C-dramas, so thank you for the new experience!)

This time too, I have a similar question about couples. I love romance and I’ll never have enough of it, but many times it seems to me that the characters end up together just because it’s a “plot requirement” and because we expect them to get together. So there may be no chemistry at all, or plot holes about their coming together, things can feel clichéd and may lack of depth.

I read your review of “Crash landing on you” and since you appreciated the OTP, I went to watch the show and yes! The OTP was marvellous! They were very believable and engaging. Thus I ask for your advice once again xD

Can you recommend me some dramas with believable couples and good chemistry?

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68 Comments

Dear kfangurl: Which dramas have strong, interesting female characters?

Reka writes:

Dear kfangurl,
I love you blog! Your reviews are very interesting!
I started watching kdramas last year, and haven’t stopped since xD
I was wondering, can you recommend me any kdramas with good, compelling, interesting female characters? Because I find this aspect kind of lacking D:

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69 Comments

Dear kfangurl: What makes a kdrama addictively re-watchable?

Healer: so cracky, for so many reasons.

shorterthanparkboyoung writes:

Dear kfangurl, what makes a kdrama addicting enough that I want to rewatch at least 10 times?
I’m kinda in the middle of a tough transition period at the moment and I found myself going back to rewatching all my favourite dramas – Healer, My Love From Another Star, Because This Is My First Life, Fight For My Way and Suspicious Partner, but with the FF button when it came to the “evil chaebol” or “bad guy” bits. But when I decided to try a drama that I hadn’t watched but was on my list, I kept dropping them half way. What is it in the above dramas, which I believe you loved as well after reading your reviews (which were amazing btw), or any general drama that makes me come back to these again and again?

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79 Comments

Flash Review: What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? [Why Secretary Kim]

A phrase that’s sometimes said around the dramaverse – and maybe you’ve said something similar yourself, at some point – is, “I could literally just watch these two be cute for sixteen hours.”

Well. Except for a backstory involving childhood trauma (kidnapping trigger alert, coz some folks might be sensitive to that), this show pretty much gives us exactly that: Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young being cute together, pretty much all of the time, for 16 episodes.

Yep. It’s as fluffy and angst-lite as it sounds. So if you’re up for something that’s light on plot but heavy on cute, this just might be the show for you.

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Dropped: Hwarang

Ordinarily, I’d be the first to agree with the age-old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” – or, as the case may be, “Don’t judge a drama by its promos.”

After all, sometimes, the watch experience of a show really doesn’t jive with its promo material. Some shows have uninteresting promo material but turn out to be excellent watches (I mean, just think about the old-fashioned, ugly poster that belongs to the fantastic Healer), while other shows have amazing promos but turn out to be duds in the watching (Joseon Gunman comes to mind, among many others).

In this instance, though, I really should’ve paid (much more) heed to this show’s low-rent bad wigs and cheesy posters. On hindsight, I think they were trying to warn me that this show wouldn’t be worth spending hours of my life on, and – silly, foolish me – I didn’t listen. Which is how I ended up wasting 13 hours of my life trying to make the best of this show, before I realized that Show’s best really, really wasn’t doing it for me.

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161 Comments

Dropped: The K2

After the epic awesomeness of Healer, and the oodles and oodles of Ji Chang Wook melty in it, I had high hopes for his next project, especially if said next project had any kind of action slant. I mean, literally Every. Single. Time. Healer parkoured off a building, I swooned. (I guess I kinda have a thing for a hero who also happens to be an action superhero, heh.)

Sadly, even though The K2 diligently delivered on the action front (perhaps too diligently, even), this show just didn’t work out for me. I couldn’t make it to the end of this one, even if Ji Chang Wook got to kick butt quite regularly, and looked pretty sharp in his suit – or out of his suit. Ahem.

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26 Comments

Flash Review: Seven First Kisses

The moment Lotte Duty Free announced this little web series for the festive season, I knew I’d be tuning in, no matter what. I mean, to have Lee Jun Ki, Park Hae Jin, Ji Chang Wook, Kai, Taecyeon, Lee Jong Suk and Lee Min Ho in the leading men line-up? Even the most big-budget blockbuster movie production would have trouble pulling that off.

So tune in I did; which wasn’t hard to do, really, with each episode topping out at a very compact 7-8 minutes. And y’know what, for what it is (an unabashed, extended CF for Lotte Duty Free, in case you were wondering), this show’s a fun little ride.

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212 Comments

Review: Healer

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Healer is that special snowflake of a drama that manages to combine action, romance, and some nice spots of comedy, all in one tight little show. And it’s a mighty successful combination too, I might add.

Sure, the backstory runs a little bit melo and may not appeal to everyone, but the blend of adrenaline-pumping thrills, a truly sparky, heartfelt OTP, a deeply melty – yet flawed and believable – hero, and a courageous, strong heroine, makes for an exhilaratingly heady combination of feels that just sends my heart in multiple directions all at once.

Add on Show’s highly polished camera work and its very effective, very immersive OST, and it’s a combination that’s pretty darn hard to beat.

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