Tag Archives: Heartless City

Review: My Name

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Slick, gritty, and with more than a dash of blood and violence, Show isn’t your typical nor traditional Korean drama, that’s for sure.

I think what Show does well, is tell its story in a manner that’s equal parts twisty, action-packed and emotionally compelling. In that sense, I feel like Show is quite well-rounded and perhaps therefore more able to reach a wider audience.

For example, you might not be into fight scenes per se, but you might be emotionally invested enough in our protagonist’s journey, to see it through anyway.

Very solid, and very bingeable, if you’re in the mood for a revenge tale with its fair share of grit.

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Dear kfangurl: What are some iconic kdramas over the years?

Today’s Dear kfangurl post is inspired by j3ffc‘s and Trent‘s comments on my recent VOGUE India collab post, where I talk about the male gaze vs. the female gaze in kdramas over the years.

In response, j3ffc basically wanted to know which classic dramas I think drama fans should check out (which would demonstrate the shift in gaze over the years), and Trent heartily seconded the idea and expanded on it:

“The question I’ve been thinking about is along the lines of how do you think kdramas have evolved over the last couple decades? Do you see discernible or important trends in that time?

(Broadly considered: thematically, in treatment of tropes, genre or sub-genre expansion (or contraction), production values, stylistic changes, acting and\or casting type trends: it’s all fair game).

You touched on a bit of this in this Vogue interview, but I’d be very interested in a broader look, and I just don’t have the range of experience to even attempt a synthesis. You do, though. 😁”

So today I thought I’d talk about kdramas which I would consider iconic, over the years, and how kdramas have been evolving, in broad strokes.

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Dear kfangurl: Do you have difficulty seeing an actor in a different role?

Elaine writes:

I have a Dear kfangurl question to ask! My question is whether you’ve ever had a problem watching the same actor in a different role, because you have such a strong impression of him/her in the first show you saw the actor in?

Asking because I just started watching K dramas last year, and i started with highly rated ones like Crash Landing on You and Healer, where the OTPs are so smashing that I was reluctant to see the actors in other shows as it would feel to me almost like they were cheating on their original OTP! Lol.

So far I haven’t “repeated” any actors besides Lee Jun Ki – I first saw him in Arang and the Magistrate and a few months later in Flower of Evil. But to me that felt ok as his performance made the two characters feel completely different. It probably helped that his Flower of Evil character was supposed to have antisocial personality disorder so has flattened emotions.

But now almost a year after watching Healer, I’m watching Park Min Young in Her Private Life and I keep getting flashbacks to her Healer performance, especially when the two characters overlap on certain traits like optimism, pluckiness and sunny smiles.

It’s probably a personal quirk but I do wonder if anyone faces this issue too! For now there are so many dramas out there that I can avoid repeats of actors but soon it won’t be an option! Ha ha.

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Dear kfangurl: What are some of the best drama OSTs?

Shamster writes:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on dramas with the best OSTs! Just dramas worth watching because of how well the OST works- thinking Healer and One Spring Night and Suspicious Partner!

* Shout-out to MC, who’d also mentioned that she’d love me to write about drama OSTs!

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Dear kfangurl: What’s an anti-hero and why do we like them?

Hmm.. This is a great question.

Snow Flower writes:

Dear Kfangurl,

I like reading your witty and thoughtful musings on dramas and their fans. I would like to read your take on one of the most popular drama tropes, the anti-hero (or heroine).

I admit that I am fascinated with conflicted characters because I think that inside each of them is hidden the possibility for redemption. And redemption and character growth are the bread and butter of good storytelling.

So if and when you are able, please share your insights about what makes a good anti-hero and why do the drama fans like them.

Sincerely,

Snow Flower

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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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Flash Review: Heartless City [Cruel City]

You know how they say fine wine takes time?

Well, it actually took me a pretty long time to appreciate Heartless City. Truth be told, I was slow on the uptake with this one.

While many of my dramaland friends fell in instant love with this show (and others felt an instant disconnect), I fell somewhere in that vague no man’s land of not hating it, but not quite loving it either.

Show later fixed that by creeping up on me and laying firm hold on my heart in the later episodes, so much so that the moment I reached the end, I actually went right back to the beginning for a partial re-watch. Kinda crazy, but completely true.

So maybe my appreciation is sorta like fine wine? 😛

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Flash Review: My Beautiful Bride

I learned that there’s a reason why all my Twitter pals have been referring to this show as My Beautiful Banker rather than My Beautiful Bride. That reason’s name is Kim Moo Yul, and what a beauty he turned out to be.

To be honest, this show wasn’t even on my radar when it aired, since crime/suspense isn’t my usual cup of tea. It’s just, I came across so much spazz over Kim Moo Yul in this, and so many raves about the show in general, that I just couldn’t look away.

Happily for me, Kim Moo Yul – and a very handy, specific lens through which to view this show – made it solidly worth my while.

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Review: Falling For Innocence

THE SHORT VERDICT:

While never terribly strong on the logic front, nor on managing its corporate machinations, Falling For Innocence manages to be a warm, engaging and uplifting watch.

Despite being quite fantastical in its premise as well as its execution, the narrative stays grounded via the emotional resonance and heft imparted by its committed cast.

Amid the many solid performances delivered by the cast, Jung Kyung Ho stands out as THE shining star of this drama world. His fabulous, faceted performance resonates with so much heart that it actually helps to overcome Show’s flawed logic. That’s skillz.

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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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