The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: SKY Castle

THE SHORT VERDICT:

An excellent ensemble cast made up of skilled industry sunbaes; faceted, detailed deliveries that feel convincing and engaging; a tightly written narrative that delivers some surprising twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat; thoughtful directing and execution; an expertly applied OST that can be hauntingly ethereal one minute and then pulsing with tension the next; SKY Castle has it all, and it all comes together in one polished, dysfunctional package.

This drama is a very solid, compelling social satire that manages to make its characters come alive, even as it makes its social commentary. On the downside, Show suffers from an ending that feels like a tacked-on epilogue written by a different team altogether. Happily, that’s easily fixed by thinking of the last episode as just that, because Show manages to tell a story in its first 19 episodes that feels reasonably complete even before it presents its finale.

Worth the hype – and the monster ratings.

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44 Comments

Review: Coffee Prince

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Fun, breezy, and so heartfelt, that it’s still considered a classic in Dramaland today.

There are lot of things to love about this show: a drama world that feels real and lived-in; leads with crackling, warm chemistry whether they’re bickering, stealing wistful glances at each other, or getting up-close-and-personal touchy-feely; an excellent ensemble cast that all feel like they belong in their characters’ skins; a well-executed OST. On the downside, some folks find the humor a little gross, so fair warning, I guess? I personally don’t enjoy gross humor, but I didn’t find the humor in this much of a deterrent, to be honest.

The ending can feel a little underwhelming in spots, but overall, this one is well worth a long-term spot in your drama-loving heart.

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Review: Beauty Inside

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Beauty Inside basically takes Dramaland’s recent-ish penchant for rom-coms with a distinct fantasy twist, deftly mashes it with a well-rounded, well-executed collection of classic rom-com tropes, casts two very capable and very attractive actors as our leads, and then scores it all with a very enjoyable OST sprinkled with everything from cheery-breezy tracks, to wistful-plaintive ballads, to big love anthems.

When Show is cute, it’s very cute, and when it’s angsty, happily, the angst doesn’t actually last very long. Seo Hyun Jin and Lee Min Ki are very good separately and together, and they bring enough goodies to the table that I feel content not to be too nitpicky about Show’s flaws. Just know that Show doesn’t try to be something deeper, and also, sometimes logic is a bit of a.. stretch. But hey, fantasy romance after all, right?

A good pick for when you’re in the mood to switch off the ol’ brain and sink into a good ol’ kdrama rom-com.

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29 Comments

Review: The Third Charm

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Not the sweet rom-com Show was marketed to be. Instead, this one is a thoughtful and sensitive portrayal of personal journey; the ups and downs of life, the struggle to follow your heart, the mistakes you make and their consequences, as well as the growth that you gain, from those mistakes.

Some minor plotlines didn’t work as well for me, but by and large, I really appreciated the way Show fleshed out its characters. Seo Kang Joon and Esom are excellent as our leads, and made their characters feel like real, living, breathing people.

As a bonus, the music is really quite lovely in this, and makes the watch that much more immersive.

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55 Comments

Review: Fox Bride Star [Where Stars Land]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

The characters and their journeys are the stars of this warm workplace drama with an emotional, humanistic sort of touch. We get to know and care about key characters and their personal journeys, even as Show serves up human interest side stories relevant to the management of a world-class airport. Even though large chunks of the cinematography feel quite pedestrian, there are very prettily shot, beautiful poignant scenes sprinkled through the drama as well. The music is also quite lovely and atmospheric, and effectively lifts the watch experience.

Unfortunately, Show’s narrative gets muddied by too much emphasis on shady gangster dealings, which overshadow our key characters in regrettable ways, particularly towards the end of our story. Show also has a habit of introducing story threads and then dropping them, sometimes without even a hint of resolution. This was a downer.

Still, I found this to be a warm and enjoyable watch overall.

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67 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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85 Comments

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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108 Comments

Review: Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food [Something In The Rain]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show starts out pretty adorable, with an excellently delivered cloud of cute around the birth of a noona romance. Show then switches gears in the middle stretch, into melo and angst territory. In principle, it all feels warranted, with things like societal norms, family expectations, and even workplace harassment taking the spotlight. The problem, for me anyway, is, most of these things aren’t resolved in a manner that feels satisfying, by the time the final credits roll.

The writing does not feel assured, unfortunately, and is, I think, one of the main reasons this show suffered. Also, the background music becomes terribly grating, from overuse.

To be fair, Show does have its fans. So just because it didn’t work so great for me, doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you?

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47 Comments

Review: Prison Playbook [Wise Prison Life]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A show that takes the dark topic of prison and crime, and infuses it all with warmth and hope, Prison Playbook is the unlikely contender for your heart that will likely make you laugh, cry, wring your heart dry, and then fill it right up again.

Writer-nim weaves a story that makes primary and secondary character pop, while every actor in our ensemble cast breathes actual life into the characters, and PD-nim’s signature touch comes alive in both the palpable sense of community and the corny jokes. As a shining bonus, the bromance at the center of our story feels emotionally deep despite its often gruff surface.

Poignant and homey, despite its grim premise.

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Review: Age Of Youth 2

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A sequel that feels similar-yet-different when compared to its elder sibling Age Of Youth.

The departure of several characters and the addition of new ones makes this season feel rather bittersweet, but the drama world feels the same, and it’s great to spend time with familiar beloved characters once again. Show continues with certain hanging threads left over from Season 1, while introducing new adventures and new people to our Belle Epoque girls. All in all, this feels like a solid continuation of Season 1.

Familiar enough to make existing fans of the show happy, but also accessible enough for viewers who haven’t seen Season 1.

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