The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Flash Review: Nirvana In Fire 2: The Wind Blows In Chang Lin [China]

Y’know, it’s tough being a sequel.

Everyone wants you to be everything. You need to be as good as the original; faithful to the original; not too different from the original; not too similar to it either. You need to be the same, yet different; faithful, yet fresh. That’s a tall order.

It’s even more challenging when the original is Nirvana In Fire, which is a drama that ruined me for all other dramas for a good long while, when I first finished watching it. It was so brilliantly written, so wonderfully acted, so beautifully produced (if you haven’t yet watched it, drop everything and watch it!), that when I heard that there was going to be a follow-up series, all I could think was, How does one follow an act like that? Talk about the tallest of tall orders.

So the million-dollar question is, does Nirvana In Fire 2 manage to fulfill all the criteria of a good sequel? I’m gonna say, Yes. It did an admirable job.

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Dropped: The Advisors Alliance [China]

I conclude that this is one of those times when a generally well-respected, well-liked show just isn’t working out for me the way I want it to.

I’d only heard positive things about The Advisors Alliance, and those who took the trouble to recommend it to me, all said that it was a good show that was worth the watch. For a while, I kinda rather enjoyed it too.

But 19 episodes into Show’s 42, I think it’s time to admit that this one just.. isn’t for me.

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Review: Money Flower

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Now this is revenge melo done right.

Interesting characters brought to life by excellent actors; a compelling backstory; great pacing; assured handling; immersive, consuming music. All of these elements come together to make Money Flower an addictive, cracktastic journey, from start to finish. Show stays gripping through to its final stretch, and even resolves its revenge story in a satisfying manner. That’s impressive stuff all-around, which makes it easy to forgive Show its few flaws.

Also, Jang Hyuk is Prowling Panther levels of superb in this. Flail.

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Flash Review: The First Half Of My Life [China]

This is one of those times when I feel like maybe not a lot of you guys would be immediately drawn to this show, but I feel it’s so good that I want to tell you all about it anyway.

The funny thing is, I wasn’t immediately drawn to this one either. My regular hairdresser hails from China, and he was the one who told me about this show. He said that it was really hot stuff in China when it aired, and that he’d marathoned the entire thing in less than a week when he went home to visit his parents, it was so good. He said it was very well-acted, and everything was portrayed in a very realistic manner.

It didn’t sound like my usual cup of tea, but after I got home, I downloaded it anyway, thinking my mom would be interested. She wasn’t. But I decided to give it a go all the same, just to see – and whaddya know, I love it. And I really, really hope that by writing this review, that it will entice at least some of you guys to give this one a chance, coz I kinda just want everyone to love it too. ❤

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Review: The King Loves

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A show that doesn’t always manage to maintain the fine balance between the story of its characters and the political backdrop against which said story takes place, but which – in spite of its flaws – manages to kinda get under your skin anyway.

Im Si Wan is excellent as our titular king, while Hong Jong Hyun and Yoona are literally the best I’ve ever seen them. Importantly, the three of them share a solid three-way chemistry, and are enjoyable to watch.

The watch itself proves to be rather uneven, and the ending left me sort of wanting, but, I’d say this one was worthwhile, all the same.

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Flash Review: Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms [China]

So recently, a funny thing happened. I found myself marathoning Chinese fantasy drama Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. This, when (a) I’ve lately found myself floating in and out of a moderate drama rut, with most shows just not captivating me as much as I wanted them to; (b) I’ve previously had serious difficulty appreciating any kind of C-fantasy, and lasted all of 10 minutes, the last time I attempted to watch one; and (c) after 10 years of consistent drama-watching, I rarely ever really marathon dramas anymore. I usually ingest just 1 episode of a show each day (maybe a max of 2, if there’s a particularly exciting cliffhanger), and easily move on to other shows and other things.

Not this time, my friends. At my peak, I was watching 5 – five! – episodes of this show in a day. I watched the episodes back-to-back, and even stayed up past my usual bedtime, risking next-day panda eyes and accompanying fuzzy brain, to watch “just one more episode.” Not only that, I also watched this show almost exclusively, through all of its 58 episodes. Woah, right?

This is completely and utterly Nelly‘s fault, I say. She was the one who got me to watch this in the first place (thank you, Nelly. I ❤ you).

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Flash Review: Fall In Love With Me [TW Drama]

So something pretty surprising happened lately. I – who previously hardly ever (like, seriously, ever) checked out Taiwanese dramas – have been on a Taiwanese drama kick.

I’m not even talking about being mildly-to-moderately interested, and simply adding Taiwanese dramas as one more option to my drama plate. I’m talking about full-on back-to-back episode binge-watching, to the exclusion of everything else. Including kdramas. Gasp! What in the world..? Right?!? 😛

And this, when the dramas themselves weren’t even all that good. Like this one.

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Year In Review: 2015

I can hardly believe that 2015 is coming to a close and 2016’s almost upon us. I know I said this last year too, but seriously guys, time is flying.

Even more so when you count the year in drama milestones, or so it seems, since there are more dramas in dramaland than ever before, vying for our limited drama hours. Everything feels like it’s flying by in a blur, and even though I’m dedicated to my dramas, it’s just not humanly possible to stay on top of everything – and that’s before taking Real Life responsibilities into account! XD

Still, I’m pleased to report that I managed to watch at least as much drama as I did last year, if not a little bit more. I’m sorta behind on the reviewing front, but I promise to catch up on that, pinky swear!

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Flash Review: Nirvana In Fire [Chinese Drama]

You know how, when you stumble on something so exciting and amazing that you just can’t help but tell your friends about it, even if it means going off on a tangent? This is that time, you guys.

Basically, it doesn’t matter if you don’t usually watch dramas from China, or if you don’t usually watch period dramas, or if you don’t usually watch long dramas. This drama is, objectively speaking, so splendid and magnificent that if you don’t check it out, you’d be missing out. Big Time.

Not even exaggerating, by the way.

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