Tag Archives: Review

Review: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A meaty, dark, whimsical melodrama that examines the difficulties faced by people suffering from trauma and mental illness, It’s Okay is not an easy watch at all. There is lots to unpack, difficult feelings to feel, and even internal biases to examine. So if you’re looking for a fluffy rom-com, this is probably not for you, for right now.

However, it is remarkably satisfying to witness our characters’ journeys, because those journeys are teased out so organically, that all of the growth and progress feels earned and true. Fantastic performances by our cast – with a special shout-out to Oh Jung Se for his impressively amazing interpretation of an autistic character – brings everything to life, and it’s not hard to get invested in our characters’ journeys.

There are a few bumps in the road, but overall, this proved to be a very satisfying watch.

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Review: Find Me In Your Memory

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Find Me In Your Memory does a rather unusual thing, by tapping into one of Dramaland’s favorite sources of dramatic tension – the stalker arc – and then using it as a platform for our main characters to work through the healing that they need. In this way, Show sets itself apart from other healing dramas, which tend to be more introspective in vibe, by being comparatively more action-heavy instead.

Despite a tendency to use tropes in its narrative, Show manages to serve up characters and relationships that feel real and relatable, where growth feels earned and true. The OTP relationship is portrayed as sweet and restrained, and taps nicely into the chemistry between Kim Dong Wook and Moon Ga Young, which feels sweet and natural. As a bonus, the secondary loveline between Kim Seul Gi and Lee Jin Hyuk is super cute.

Not groundbreaking by any means, but a solid watch overall.

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Review: Hi Bye, Mama!

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Hi Bye, Mama! is the kind of show that makes you face difficult emotions and feel all the difficult feelings – and then make you grateful for having felt it all. Show has a bittersweet premise, and treats it with sensitivity and poignance, with a side of levity. For the most part, Show manages this delicate balance well, and makes me laugh and cry, often within the same episode. The performances from our cast are strong, and I am particularly impressed with Kim Tae Hee and Lee Kyu Hyung; this is literally the best I’ve seen from both of them. And Kim Mi Kyung, is, as always, a treasure to have onscreen.

On the downside, I felt we spent too much time on stuff to do with the ghost community, and that ended up feeling like filler. I also feel like Show suffers from some pacing issues, causing the last third of our narrative to feel somewhat stalled.

Overall, though, in spite of what I feel are its downsides, Show still manages to feel like a solid, worthwhile watch, with a lot of good ol’ heartachey feels.

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Review: Oh My Baby

THE SHORT VERDICT:

When Show is at its best, it manages to balance fun, comic moments with heart-hitting poignance and thought-provoking themes. The episodes feel deft and efficient, the feels are served up fast and furious, and there’s a cracky quality that makes you want to watch episodes back to back. (Which is what I did, when I loved this show most.)

The problem is, to me, Show is at its best only in its first half. I think Show’s second half slumps somewhat, unfortunately. For the most part, our story remains cohesive and the characterization of the people in our story world makes sense. However, I was personally rather underwhelmed by how Show chose to handle its ending (though you might not have the same issue, since I know folks who actually like the ending).

Overall, a heartfelt ride that manages to feel worthwhile, in spite of Show’s flaws. Also, Go Joon is pretty great at playing a dorky guy in love, which is a treat to watch in itself.

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Review: Mystic Pop-up Bar

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A warm, heartfelt little show, Mystic is sometimes a little (or a lot) sillier than I usually like, but is, on the whole, so sincere and full of heart, that I can’t quibble with it too much.

Hwang Jung Eum is quite wonderful as our protagonist Wol Joo, and importantly, displays zero screechy tendencies in this role. Choi Won Young and Yook Sung Jae round out the little Mystic team really nicely, and these three make a surprisingly endearing trio, as they strive to help their customers resolve their grudges – for heavenly credit, of course.

The overarching backstory is bittersweet and poignant, and Show does a nice job tying it in with our grudges of the day, with an impressive degree of consistency. Importantly, Show starts strong and manages to end strong as well, making for a solid and satisfying watch, overall.

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Review: A Couple’s World [World Of The Married]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Betrayal, revenge and dysfunction are the key words that this show seems to be live by; all the characters in this drama world are painted in suspicious shades of gray, as they seek to outwit and outdo one another, for their own purposes.

This is definitely not the show for you, if you’re looking for sweet romance. But, if you find yourself in the mood for hyperbolic animosity, or, if you’re willing to take a walk on the dark side to see the fantastic performances of the actors – especially Kim Hee Ae, who is magnificent in this – then this show is a wild rollercoaster of a ride that should keep you on the edge of your seat.

Definitely not suitable as a drama nightcap, hur.

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Guest Review: Greasy Melo [An Alternative Lens]

You guys might remember that I ended up dropping Greasy Melo (despite my love for Jang Hyuk), back when it first aired (Dropped post is here). Show’s brand of whimsy just wasn’t working for me, and I found myself feeling more bemused than anything, the more I watched.

HOWEVER. I’ve learned that friend of the blog Dame Holly (also known around the interwebs as Lee Tennant) is much more attuned to – and gifted at understanding – the use of metaphors, symbolism and visual storytelling than I am, and she definitely has more appreciation for Greasy Melo than I could ever muster. So I asked her to share her insights on Greasy Melo with us, in the hope that we I could absorb some of her conceptual prowess. I hope you guys enjoy!

You can also find her at her blog Invisible Pink Dragon, or at her Dramabeans fanwall.

PS: I loved her write-up on A Piece Of Your Mind, which you can check out here.

~kfangurl

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Review: Hospital Playlist

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Warm, wholesome goodness dressed in hospital garb, Hospital Playlist is the medical themed drama that even the medical drama-averse can easily love.

Hospital Playlist checks a lot of boxes, for me. The writing and directing is assured; the cast is outstanding individually and together; the overall feel is balanced, with enough attention given to the cases of the day without losing focus on our key characters; the music is heartfelt and breezy, made even more special when performed by the cast.

The slice-of-life approach might feel meandering and slow to some, but in exchange, you really feel like a fly on these characters’ walls, in their professional and personal capacities. The long episodes might feel intimidating at first, but once you grow to love the characters, the length of the episodes become more of a boon than a bane.

I legit didn’t want this one to end; highly recommend.

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Review: A Piece Of Your Mind

THE SHORT VERDICT:

More lens adjustments are needed for this show than the average kdrama, but with the right lens, Show is a warm and sweet watch experience that manages to feel satisfying, in spite of its flaws, and in spite of Show having had 4 episodes sliced off from its run, in the middle of its run.

If you’re able to dial down your need for logic, and to some extent, cohesiveness, Show presents a thoughtful thematic exploration of love and loss, solitude and solidarity, and the confusing, bemusing journey of dealing with all of those things.

Jung Hae In and Chae Soo Bin are lovely in this, particularly together. This was worth the extra lens management, in my opinion.

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Review: When The Weather Is Fine [I’ll Find You When The Weather Is Nice]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Measured, quiet and thoughtful, I really liked this show, for the most part. I enjoyed the deliberate, considered vibe of the writing and the overall handling, and the small town setting feels refreshing and different. For a good stretch, watching this show feels like a nice dose of therapy, away from the roar of current affairs and world events.

However, I struggled quite significantly from episode 13 onwards, with certain plot developments making me legit angry with Show. BUT, Show manages to turn things around just enough in its final steps, to end on a sufficiently positive and uplifting note.

I wanted Show to be better, especially given its strong start, but I suppose it could’ve been worse. For the record, I really enjoyed Seo Kang Joon in this.

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