The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: Itaewon Class

THE SHORT VERDICT:

An earnest, underdog story with lots of heart, Itaewon Class feels like a breath of fresh air, for a good part of its run. Even though the backstory hinges on the idea of revenge, this always feels more like a story of an underdog trying to make good, while collecting a found family along the way. In particular, I really appreciate the diversity that Itaewon Class embraces, in the course of peopling our drama world. I don’t think I’ve seen the same degree of diversity in another drama, to date.

Oddly, I feel like this drama is at once a Park Seo Joon vehicle, and yet, an ensemble drama, at the same time. Our protagonist Park Sae Ro Yi is the backbone of this story, and it’s his journey, his thoughts, his philosophy and his unflagging determination that drives this story forward. At the same time, it’s the ensemble of endearing characters around him that makes this drama world pop and come alive in such a heartwarming way. Altogether, an unusual dichotomy which I’m happy to embrace.

I felt the OTP loveline was rather too forced in Show’s final leg, and I also feel like Show’s focus shifts in the last stretch, such that Show loses some of its original charm, but I still enjoyed this one very well, overall.

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37 Comments

Flash Review: Stove League

Let me get what I think are the two biggest questions out of the way: No, you don’t need to know a thing about baseball, in order to enjoy this show. And no, you don’t even have to like baseball, in order to like this show. Would you get more enjoyment out of this show if you actually already love baseball? I’m not sure, to be honest. Sometimes knowing too much can be a bad thing (if you’re a doctor you probably roll your eyes at the details in medical kdramas, and so on), but I’m guessing that understanding how baseball works would probably help you appreciate the nuances that I missed.

I went into this show without much knowledge or interest in baseball, and I’m coming away with only marginally more knowledge about and interest in the sport, and yet, I found myself enjoying this show very well, and wholeheartedly rooting for our characters, often without actually truly understanding the full details of what was happening on my screen. That’s quite an accomplishment on Show’s part, I’d say.

Also, for the record, I’ve felt rather neutral about Nam Goong Min for a while, even as everyone else has grown hearts in their eyes for him, and here, I finally actually really like him.

Lots of happy surprises overall, yes?

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Flash Review: Designated Survivor: 60 Days

Every once in a while, we all could use a show that reminds us that sometimes it really is worth stepping out of our comfort zones, I think. This season, Designated Survivor: 60 Days is that show, for me.

Personally, I don’t have a strong interest in politics, and therefore, I’ve always thought that political shows wouldn’t be my thing, which is why I didn’t think to check out this show, when it first aired earlier this year. But, because I recently really enjoyed Son Seok Koo in Be Melodramatic, and also because I do have a soft spot for Ji Jin Hee, I decided to try this one, just to see, and – I’m kinda shocked, actually, by how much I liked it. Talk about a drama tilting your world, eh?

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Review: Touch Your Heart [Reach Of Sincerity]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Light, frothy, and easy on the drama palate, Touch Your Heart is a fun little watch that ought to add a nice amount of cute to your viewing schedule.

Yoo In Na is the star of this show, with her personal charm making our protagonist earnest, adorable and very likable, pretty much regardless of the situation. Lee Dong Wook’s straitlaced lawyer is a great foil for Yoo In Na’s sparkly enthusiasm, and together, they lit up my screen as they bickered, talked and stumbled their way to True Love. Our drama world is filled with secondary characters who are mostly fun, and even the less fun ones grow on you by the end. A breezy, groovy OST that’s nicely employed to amp up the feels, is what ties this little ragtag package together.

Sometimes the plot goes off on a case-related tangent, but Show always brings it back to what’s important – the heartfelt, and the cute.

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82 Comments

Review: Are You Human Too?

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is tightly paced, pretty well-written, and manages solid cliffhangers and some good plot twists, through its run. Just be prepared for a fantastical set-up (robots, after all), with melo lashings in somewhat substantial measure. With the right lens, though, this show is highly enjoyable. I found myself looking forward to new episodes of this one, more than I did with most other shows on my drama plate at the time.

Seo Kang Joon is absolutely fantastic in this, demonstrating acting chops that I never knew he had. Show is worth the watch just to see him in action.

A ride more rollicking than I first expected or imagined.

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43 Comments

Flash Review: A Poem A Day [You Who Forgot Poetry]

If you’re on the market for a show that’s small, simple and sweet, this drama just might be the one for you.

As those of you who’ve been around the blog for a while would likely know, I am always on the look-out for suitable drama nightcap material. Yes, I like my dramas exciting too, but suitable drama nightcaps are just as important to me; I need a show that’s not too complicated nor intense, so that it won’t keep me up, but still engaging and interesting enough, that I’ll still enjoy the watch.

I first tried this show as regular drama fare, and to be honest, it didn’t grab me much, in its first episode. But once I tried it out as a drama nightcap, it fit the bill quite perfectly. Not only did it strike just the right balance between interesting and easygoing, it even has a sort of (found-) family drama feel to it, thanks to our story being more character- and relationship-focused than patient-focused. Not bad at all, I say.

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Review: King of Dramas [The Lord of the Drama]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A tongue-in-cheek, satirical unveiling of what really happens behind the scenes of our beloved kdramas.

Populated by a large ensemble cast of likable characters, King of Dramas paints a dramatic yet believable picture that is in line with all the BTS drama news that we get off the grapevine.

PPL wars? Check. Scripts delivered to the set in a piecemeal fashion? Check. Madly rushing the final tape to the editing room minutes before the episode is due to broadcast? Check. Such a fascinating peek into the world that doles out to us the dramas on which we subsist.

The show starts out meaty and strong, and even manages to be insanely hysterical at points, buoyed by strong performances and often-cheeky writing. A huge pity, that the ending was more whimper than bang.

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15 Comments

Review: The Equator Man

EM1

THE SHORT VERDICT:

More engaging and interesting in the first half than the second half.

The writing got somewhat haphazard in the second half and I found it hard to stay engaged with the characters.

Worth checking out if you’re a fan of Uhm Tae Woong, Lee Joon Hyuk &/or Lee Hyun Woo, who deliver strong performances. Just don’t always expect the story to make complete sense.

EM4

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Kfangirl’s 2012 Drama Awards + Origin Story of This Blog

Kfangirl 2012 Drama Awards I

Celebrate with me! This is a double first for me: my first Year-In-Review, AND, my first guest post too! 😀

This guest post is especially close to my heart because how it came about is actually the origin story of this blog.

THE ORIGIN STORY

Up to about 2 months ago, I had been a persistent lurker in the kdrama-verse. For most of my six kdrama-watching years, I visited lots of blogs regularly and kept up with the k-entertainment news and lapped up other people’s views and reviews, but I almost never commented on anything. Once in a long while, I would leave a comment somewhere, but mostly only if I had something that I was just burning to say.

I’m an introvert at heart, though most people who know me in real life wouldn’t guess it, and this was my inner introvert acting out.

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