The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: My Country

THE SHORT VERDICT:

At its heart, My Country is a polished, beautifully-shot tale of star-crossed brotherhood, and the search for acceptance, meaning, and self.

Granted, Show has its flaws. Sometimes the logic stretches require more suspension of disbelief than I would like; sometimes the emotional tension feels like it’s stretched out for too long and gets tiring; sometimes Show feels like it’s cycling in place, just a little bit. On the upside, though, Show is filled with strong performances from its cast, knows how to take us on our characters’ emotional journeys, and is scored with a consistently evocative soundtrack that is by turn gloriously epic and plaintively poignant.

If you’re able to roll with Show’s shortcomings, it’s not hard to get sucked into this one.

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Dropped: Meet Me @ 1006 [Taiwan]

There were two main reasons why I thought I would enjoy Meet Me @ 1006.

The first one was, several of you spoke fondly of this drama, which piqued my interest. So I looked up the show online, and saw lots of other positive comments from other viewers as well. Which made me think, hey, I might like this one too.

The second one was, I’d watched C-movie How Long Will I Love U on a flight, which sounded like it had a somewhat similar premise, and I’d found it warm, sweet and funny. Which also made me think, hey, I might like Meet Me @ 1006 as well.

Sadly, after 10 episodes of this show’s 26, I’m gonna hafta say, I’m just not feeling this one, I’m afraid.

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Dropped: Mother Of Mine [My Prettiest Daughter In The World]

Every so often, a family drama comes along that feels worthy of the 50+ episode investment.

To be honest, for a solid 20+ hours, I sincerely thought that Mother Of Mine was one of those. For a while, I found myself slurping up an episode or three, or four, each day, to the point where I was legit afraid to run out of new episodes. That’s quite something, isn’t it?

Unfortunately for me, at around the episode 53 mark (this show does half-hour episodes instead of hour-long ones), Show started feeling less fun and less charming to watch. Also unfortunately for me, this really doesn’t seem to be a self-correcting trend.

68 episodes in, I’m finally deciding to call it quits with this one.

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Dropped: My Absolute Boyfriend [Korea]

If you’ve been around the blog for a bit, you might know that I like to give shows a chance to win me over, and I often give shows more time than they might deserve, while trying to adjust my lens to find a winning setting that allows me to enjoy the show in question as best as is possible. However, given the current drama landscape where more shows are popping out than ever before (I can hardly keep track of ’em all!), drama quality is more patchy than ever (some wonderful gems, but also, so many duds!), and everyone’s drama tastes are just so varied, I’ve been burned more than a few times, trying to love dramas that I never ended up loving after all.

Case in point, my recent foibles with Chinese drama Well Intended Love, which lots of folks loved, but which never ended up working for me (spoiler: I actually legit hated it).

Now, I don’t hate Absolute Boyfriend, but, I do think it’s time that I learn how to quit while I’m ahead. That’s why I’m dropping Absolute Boyfriend, just 10 episodes in.

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Flash Review: Memories Of The Alhambra

So, funny story, you guys.

I was late to the party, and started my watch of this show when everyone else was well into Show’s middle stretch. I struggled enough with Hyun Bin’s character in this show’s first two episodes, that I was legit on the brink of dropping this show. And then, Show ended, and there was such a heated furore among viewers for Show’s reportedly terrible-horrible-couldn’t-be-worse-let’s-boycott-this-writer-forever ending, that I was so sure that I had dodged a bullet.

But then, I saw a couple of tweets by viewers who actually felt satisfied with Show’s ending. Well, now. That sure got my attention. If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you might know that I’ve been known to, on at least several occasions in the past, buck general audience trends by feeling completely differently about certain shows versus the majority of viewers. It was like that when I started the blog in 2012 (my first ever post was for Operation Proposal, which I really liked – and which most people hated), and it was like that recently too, when I’d been very solidly satisfied with the ending of The Third Charm – which most people also hated.

So this curious cat (with a reasonable amount of FOMO) decided to do an experiment. Instead of dropping the show, I adjusted my viewing lens using all the fragments of information I had, and jumped in for a marathon. The big question I wanted to put to the test was: With the right expectations and the right lens adjustment, would this show – could this show – actually turn out to be, well, good?

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Flash Review: My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Not too long ago, lots of people on my Twitter feed were going gaga over Meteor Garden 2018, and so I dipped my toes in too, out of curiosity (yes, despite stating firmly that I had had my fill of the story via the J- and K-versions). I really liked the first episode, but found myself losing interest in the next few episodes, so much so that I ended up dropping out early, after just 4 episodes.

BUT! Plot twist!

I found similar tsundere-male-lead-campus-romance crack in My ID is Gangnam Beauty instead. This kinda-sorta gave me the addictive feels I once had over Boys Over Flowers many, many moons ago (ironically, I can’t bear to watch BOF now), but I liked this one better, and slurped up the first 10+ episodes back-to-back. Woah, indeed.

Yes, there are caveats, but they aren’t dissimilar to the ones you’d need to make for Meteor Garden 2018 too, so – fair play? 😉

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Review: My Mister [My Ahjussi]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show is like its titular protagonist; both start out quiet, gloomy and unassuming, but over the course of 16 episodes, both reveal themselves to be beautiful, moving heroes who show us the power of kindness, and the grace of humanity.

Assured writing, tender directing, and outstanding performances from the cast all come together to make My Mister an absorbing watch that feels organic, real and raw. The OST, which is delicate, thoughtful, and ethereal in turn, is meticulously crafted and applied, and effectively lifts the watch to another level.

Dark and beautiful. And at the same time, warm and beautiful. A must-see.

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Flash Review: My Husband Oh Jak Doo [My Husband, Mr. Oh]

Every so often, I like to pop a weekend drama on my drama plate, because the weekenders tend to lean simpler (though that’s not always the case), and those simpler dramas tend to make good drama nightcaps. Usually, they’re easy on the brain, aren’t so intense that they’d keep me up, but just interesting enough to make me want to keep on watching. The only downside is, most weekenders clock in at 50 episodes on average – a major deterrent if you’ve got limited drama hours to spend.

So when My Husband Oh Jak Doo showed up, I thought this fit the drama nightcap bill perfectly. Not only did it seem to fit the weekend drama simple sort of type, it also starred a pair of leads I liked individually, and it clocked in at only 24 episodes instead of 50. Pretty much a no-brainer win, yes?

..well, no, not really. This one ended up being better in concept than in execution, unfortunately, and I found myself dragging my feet to the finish line. Darn my completist streak for rearing its untimely head.

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Flash Review: Moonshine And Valentine [The Love Knot: His Excellency’s First Love] [China]

Remember about 2 months ago when I wrote about my misadventures with Chinese drama Across The Ocean To See You? I sat through all 44 episodes of that show, against my better judgment, and lived to regret it.

This.. is kinda another one of those times, my friends. Sigh. I watched all of Moonshine And Valentine, and now with 20/20 hindsight, I’m sorry to say that I don’t think it was a good decision after all. I mostly didn’t have a good time with this one either, unfortunately.

On the upside, this one was 25 episodes instead of 44..? 😛

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Flash Review: Mix [Mixed Doubles] [Japanese Movie]

Because today’s in-flight offerings leaned mostly dark, with most of the Korean movies that I hadn’t seen having to do with death, murder and such (eep), I found myself giving Japanese movie Mix (also known as Mixed Doubles) a whirl. I’m admittedly not much interested in table tennis, but I do have a fondness for Aragaki Yui after loving her in adorable J-drama We Married As A Job. Plus, an uplifting movie didn’t sound like a bad thing – even if the medium was a sport that I had little interest in.

Even though it did take me a while to get into this one, and even though our story ran a fairly predictable course, I must say that by the end, I did finish the movie with a smile on my face, and thoughts swirling in my head. I even pulled out my laptop to capture said thoughts, right here on the plane.

That’s.. not too bad, wouldn’cha say? 😉

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