The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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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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18 Comments

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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46 Comments

Review: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show’s upsides: a strong heroine; an appreciative, dreamy hero; an adorable OTP with unreal levels of Cute – and several very feel-good earwormy OST tracks.

This show’s downsides: uneven writing; random-feeling side characters; a disproportionately dark side; an extremely insensitive, crass idea of funny.

The upsides battle the downsides just about all the way through, so.. “Your mileage may vary” about sums it up. The 2 Parks are super-duper cute though.

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164 Comments

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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19 Comments

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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32 Comments

Review: Fight My Way

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A show that manages to showcase friendship, romance, family, and reaching for your dreams, all in one cozy, ragtag package.

Despite bits of heightened drama, Show manages to feel organic and relatable pretty much all the way through. A thoroughly believable & sparky OTP, a solid supporting cast, and a breezy OST all come together to make this a warm, cracky, comfort-food sort of watch.

Homey and heady, at the same time, in the best way.

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52 Comments

Review: Suspicious Partner

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Suspicious Partner is what I would call a reasonably successful blend of crime and romance – a rarity in dramaland, from my personal findings.

Great lead actors, excellent OTP chemistry, a quirky supporting cast, and a compellingly delivered Big Bad all come together to make this a solid drama, despite Show sagging somewhat in its later episodes. Perhaps most importantly of all, Show ends on a satisfying note – another rarity in recent dramaland history (again, from my personal findings), and therefore a plus point not to be taken lightly in my books.

Overall, a pretty engaging and rewarding watch.

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96 Comments

Review: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Cheerful, sweet and engaging, this show is easy to love.

The conflicts and character journeys all feel relatable and real, with poignant coming-of-age struggles taking centerstage. The friendship-to-romance is treated with sensitivity and good humor, and the search for meaning and identity underscores everything with a lovely heartfelt poignance. The excellent cast makes everything pop, and Nam Joo Hyuk is more melty – and more excellent – than I’ve seen him, ever.

Totally and absolutely marathon-worthy.

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88 Comments

Review: Moonlight Drawn By Clouds

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Well-written, well-cast, and well-handled, Moonlight Drawn By Clouds is a fun fusion youthy sageuk with a boatload of heart. Show not only knows how to bring out the best in its story and its characters, it knows how to engage the heart and bring on the feels too.

The main cast is excellent and our lead couple is exceedingly cute together, but this show’s standout is definitely Park Bo Gum, who is simply wonderful as Crown Prince Yeong. There’s a spot of drag in the latter episodes, but it doesn’t last for too long. Importantly, Show never loses it’s emotional core, and is quite cracky-delicious the rest of the time, to boot.

This show makes me smile, period.

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173 Comments

Review: Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A highly-buzzed, high-profile drama project that boasted strong credentials, a big budget and an even bigger cast, but which ultimately failed to deliver the expected awesome.

Patchy writing, jerky direction & execution, and uneven acting all contribute to Show’s general lack of oomph. For the tenacious viewer, though, there are small stretches of soapy crack to be had, and quite a lot of pretty to gaze at, for the most part. Lee Jun Ki is mesmerizing and quite wonderful in this, despite his character getting off to a somewhat shaky start.

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