Tag Archives: Review

Review: Hellbound

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show isn’t for everyone. It’s more thematic exploration than straightforward story, and for that reason, I feel it is divisive. Some people like this one a lot, while others think it’s terrible.

If you’re open to exploring uglier themes around the human condition, and don’t mind a narrative that asks more questions than it answers, this could work for you. If, on the other hand, you’re more interested in the telling of a story, and its characters’ journeys, and how those are meaningful, this might not be your thing – because that doesn’t appear to be where Show’s interest lies.

Not bad, overall.

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Review: The Bond [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

The Bond is basically a sprawling slice-of-life family drama, that is showcased in a pretty condensed sort of format.

Show does a very good job of making its characters feel like real people with real flaws and real struggles, and one can’t help but be interested in the lives of these characters, as a result. Our cast is strong, in the sense that you don’t really feel like these are actors putting forth their best performance; you just feel like these are real people, with some flaws more glaring than others, all trying to do their best, with their varying lots in life.

A solid watch, particularly if you enjoy everyday insights into Chinese culture and China’s modern history.

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Review: Yumi’s Cells

THE SHORT VERDICT:

If I had to pick just one word to describe the watch experience of this show, it would be “fresh.”

Show is just really good at what it sets out to do. It’s great at mixing the live-action with the animation stuff, and it’s also great at shining the spotlight on all our human thoughts, reactions and foibles. And Show manages to be funny and entertaining, while remaining heartfelt and relatable. Really impressive, all-around.

I’d suggest putting this on your list, even if you were originally going to give it a pass.

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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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Review: Lost [Human Disqualification]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Carefully written, tenderly directed and richly layered in every aspect, Show isn’t for everyone, but those who love it, will likely love it deeply.

Show explores themes like isolation and connection, and what it means to be human, in the slow unfolding of its narrative, and it all feels more like a compassionate exploration of our characters’ states of being, than a typical story, which might be more event-driven.

Our entire cast is strong, but the stand-outs are absolutely Jeon Do Yeon and Ryu Joon Yeol, who both inhabit their characters so well, that I often felt like I could understand how they felt, without them having to say anything at all.

Altogether thought-provoking and immersive.

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Review: Hometown Cha Cha Cha

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A breezy, laidback sort of show, Hometown Cha Cha Cha is kinda like a seaside vacation in drama form.

It’s meandering and sometimes it feels like not a lot happens in our drama world, but the charm of the small town of Gongjin, along with its equally charming residents, is such that it eventually gets under your skin, and then it doesn’t let go. Show’s Main Event is the double-dimpled duo of Shin Min Ah and Kim Sun Ho, and their combined cuteness is arguably Show’s most lethal weapon. Show isn’t perfect, but the OTP Cute is so strong, that it got me to forgive Show for most of its missteps.

Perfect for when you’re looking for something light, sweet and feel-good.

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Review: The Rational Life [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A low-key, slice-of-life story with what feels like a secondary focus on a noona romance, Show is likely not for everyone.

If you’re looking for a noona romance with a little more intensity and fireworks, I feel like fellow C-drama Find Yourself is a better fit. However, if you’re looking for something that’s both down-to-earth yet kind of escapist, this might work for you. I say it’s down-to-earth because Show does touch on some themes which feel very relevant to modern society. At the same time, it feels a little escapist, because the speed and cleanliness of how things get fixed, can feel a bit like a Disney-inspired fantasy.

Overall, I liked this better in concept than in execution, but I do think that this could work well for some, given the right lens &/or viewing needs.

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Review: D.P. [Deserter Pursuit]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A gritty, penetrating exploration of the systemic issues plaguing the South Korean military, and a compelling, thought-provoking watch in one, Show boasts tight writing, with a laser-sharp focus on the issues at hand.

It never feels like Show loses its footing or its priorities, even once. The spots of levity are there to provide relief, but they don’t detract from the main narrative. There is hazing, bullying and other violence, and that can be hard to watch, but it never feels gratuitous, in the way it’s showcased. The performances from our cast are all-around excellent, with our key characters rendering nuanced, raw, dig-deep deliveries that I found pitch perfect and quite haunting even, in some cases. In particular, I think Jung Hae In is wonderfully, poignantly engaging, as our protagonist, from whose point of view we understand our story.

A small little package that packs a big punch – and you don’t even need a special interest in the military, to be engaged with this one.

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Review: Breakup Probation, A Week [Mini Series]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A short little mini series that is a little rough around the edges, but that does turn out to be more thought-provoking and poignant than one might first expect.

The rough edges include some less than amazing acting, writing that can feel a little patchy, and directing that feels less than elegant. On the upside, the overarching theme emphasizes important things like appreciating the time and the people that you have, while you have them, and I find that wholesome and meaningful.

Some lens adjustments are necessary, but this one’s reasonably solid, for a short little show with only 10 half-hour episodes.

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Review: Hello, Me!

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A warm little show that brings a good, solid amount of feels, with the right lens adjustments.

From the title itself, you can guess that our story’s main focus is the theme of self-discovery and self-love. On this front, Show does a lovely little job, with many of our key characters charting growth journeys, and mending relationships, not just with the people around them, but with themselves as well.

A little cheesy, but ultimately very warm and cozy.

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