Tag Archives: Review

Review: Squid Game

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A very compact, impactful little series, Squid Game is the show that you can’t help but check out, even if you’re typically not into the death game genre.

Show is very expensively and carefully produced, and is the kind of drama where, the more you dig, the more little gems you tend to find, in terms of hidden details and added layers of meaning. In my estimation, beyond Show’s shiny packaging, there are two key things that draw audiences in, namely, 1, the characters and their backstories, which are effective and engaging, and 2, the themes and ideas Show serves up, which tend to be deeply thought-provoking.

It lives up to the hype, in my opinion, and is worth a look, even if just to satisfy your curiosity.

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Review: Bossam: Steal The Fate

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show’s draw is more about its characters and their relationships, as well as our OTP’s (One True Pairing) slow-burn romance. The court politics really is just set-dressing. The downside is that the court politics is also the thing that drives our story forward, so Show can’t ever leave it behind for too long.

The upside, however, is that our key characters really do tend to grow on you in a solid way, and Show teases out the growth of characters and the progression of their relationships, in a manner that feels natural and believable, for the most part. Jung Il Woo shows depth even in his character’s quiet melancholy, and Kwon Yu Ri is absolutely regal as our Princess who gets accidentally bossamed by our male lead.

Show has its fair share of flaws, but I thought the gentle, heartfelt romance between our OTP made it worthwhile.

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Review: My Roommate Is A Gumiho

THE SHORT VERDICT:

The great thing about My Roommate is a Gumiho, is how fresh it manages to feel, despite it appearing, at first glance, to be like just about any other romcom dotting Dramaland. Yes, there are tropes, but most of the time, they’re there to be turned on their heads. In particular, I love our female lead, who’s anything but a Candy. She might appear rather goofy on the surface, but she’s gracious and classy, and has such a good head on her shoulders, that it’s hard not to love her.

I feel that Hye Ri and Jang Ki Yong are well-cast and well-directed in this; I enjoyed them both very much, and I feel that their chemistry works really well. As a bonus, Kang Han Na is wonderful in this, as a ditzy ex-gumiho. This is literally my favorite role of Kang Han Na’s, to date.

I found the ending a touch underwhelming, especially when compared to how solidly the rest of the show stacks up, but overall, it’s still a very enjoyable drama that I’d recommend!

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Review: Mad For Each Other

THE SHORT VERDICT:

The great thing about Mad For Each Other, is how robust it feels. Despite its short episodes and overall shorter running time, Show manages to feel like a full story, with fully fleshed-out characters, and a nicely teased-out main loveline. Plus, it manages to also say a few thoughtful, thought-provoking things about mental health, the lingering effects of trauma, and healing as well.

Jung Woo and Oh Yeon Seo are really excellent in this, both separately and together. Individually, they manage to make their flawed characters sympathetic and endearing, and together, they spark very effectively, whether our characters are fighting with each other, or learning to get along.

Altogether fresh, heartfelt and quite satisfying.

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Review: Racket Boys

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Essentially, Show is a diamond in the rough; emphasis on diamond, and emphasis on rough, heh. Show is rough around the edges, with one of those rough edges being a pretty scattered sort of approach to storytelling, but the warmth and community feels that it delivers are so good, and so strong, that you end up being more than willing to look past Show’s shortcomings.

The young cast really shines in this, and the adult characters are mostly there as sources of guidance and support, and that’s one of the things that I enjoy most about this show. Our young crew is earnest and competent, and all-around believable, not only as their individual characters, but as the team that they form. The stand-out for me, though, is Tang Joon Sang, whose character kinda functions as our protagonist. He really brings a lot of dimension to the role.

Wholesome and quite excellent, in spite of its flaws.

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Review: Move To Heaven

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show takes the heavy, delicate topic of death, and gives it a warm, tender and hopeful sort of treatment which I personally find extremely soothing. It’s true that some of the cases are painful to watch, but Show always finds a way to bring a heartfelt, healing touch to each case, which makes the journey feel worthwhile. On top of this, we also get meaningful character and relationship development for our key characters over the course of the show, and this ties everything together in a way that feels meaningful.

Our cast is excellent, but the stand-out for me is Tang Joon Sang, who does a fantastic job of portraying Geu Ru, a character who’s on the Asperger’s spectrum. I also love that Show often makes Geu Ru our MVP, because this demonstrates so well, that Geu Ru isn’t disabled; he’s just differently abled.

It’s true that Show makes my heart ache, but even so, my heart aches so good.

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Review: Beyond Evil [Monster]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A tightly written, multi-layered crime thriller that manages to engage both the heart and mind, Beyond Evil lives up to its Best Drama reputation and then some.

Show is amazingly consistent and efficient in its writing; it not only manages to keep episodes compact yet compelling, it also manages to keep up the suspense for its full 16 episodes, which is No Small Deal. Our cast is very competent all-around, but the stand-outs are undoubtedly Shin Ha Kyun and Yeo Jin Goo, who both put in outstandingly nuanced performances, and who bring equal amounts of skill and presence to the screen. The OST is interesting and well-applied, and adds a good amount of value to lift the watch experience.

Well worth the watch, even if you’re not typically a crime thriller fan.

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Review: Youth Of May

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Set against the Gwangju Uprising of May 1980, our story is primed not to be an easy one, from the outset. However, Show does a fantastic job of bringing its story to life via our characters, their experiences, and their relationships.

I felt invested almost immediately, particularly in our OTP lead characters and their burgeoning connection, thanks to the thoughtful, tight writing, and also, the wonderful performances by Lee Do Hyun and Go Min Si, who are likable, sympathetic and so naturally easy to root for, both separately and together. Although the OTP was my personal highlight, I also wanted to mention that our entire cast is strong, to the extent that the arcs of some more minor characters managed to be surprisingly affecting, even.

A rollercoaster of emotions that’s not easy by any means, but that’s completely worthwhile.

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Review: Vincenzo

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is a lot of things, and attempts a lot of things (some with more success than others), but one thing I can say for certain, is that Show is bold, and dares to try new things. When the things that Show try don’t go so well, Show can come across as rather uneven, but when Show is at its best, it is a wild, absurd and completely absorbing ride of the best kind.

Our story world and our characters lean dark, yet this is all served up with strong lashings of screwball comedy. It sounds weird, but when Show makes it work, it’s glorious. Our cast is very solid, but hands down, the one who shines the brightest, is Song Joong Ki, as our titular antihero. So much matter-of-fact, cool badassery, served up with a side of comedy; I just couldn’t look away.

Sometimes Show got uncomfortably dark for my taste, but Show gets brownie points, for unabashedly daring to be its own thing, for better or for worse.

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Review: Navillera

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Navillera works out to be so many things; it’s so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s a story of personal journey; of unlikely friendship; of family; of healing; of growth; of daring to dream your dreams, and it’s altogether uplifting and wholesome.

Our entire cast is excellent but the dual stand-outs for me, are Park In Hwan and Song Kang, who, individually and together, steal this show – and my heart – in deep and profound ways. On top of this, Show is confidently written, and wonderfully executed, plus, a wonderfully immersive OST works to lift the watch experience to a whole other level.

Affecting, inspiring and completely moving. A must-see.

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