Tag Archives: Stove League

Year In Review: 2020

What a surreal year 2020 has turned out to be, amiright?

It’s been the year of surprises and curveballs, and I think it’s safe to say that none of us has been unaffected by the events of 2020. As a small silver lining, with lockdowns taking place around the world, and Netflix promoting Asian dramas with unflagging enthusiasm, we’ve welcomed many new drama fans into our midst.

And, our dramas have not let us down. I mean, yes, there’ve been duds, but that’s true every year anyway, yes? 😉 I’m just happy that Dramaland has found a way to continue production while ensuring the safety of cast and crew, coz I know I’m not alone when I say that dramas have helped make 2020 better.

Now, let’s take stock of my drama year in 2020, before 2021 comes upon us!

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Review: Do You Like Brahms?

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A restrained, loving study of music, characters, and their relationships, Do You Like Brahms? boasts characters that are carefully and tenderly drawn, relationships that feel patiently and organically grown, and a narrative filled with music-related touches that demonstrate an understanding of and empathy for musicians.

Our cast is very solid all-around, with each actor bringing their character to life in a way that feels real and believable. I loved extra, our sweet, bashful, very well-matched OTP, played by Kim Min Jae and Park Eun Bin. Not only is their romance handled thoughtfully, their individual journeys as musicians and as people, are teased out carefully too.

A very enjoyable ride, particularly if you identify as an introvert &/or a musician.

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Dear kfangurl: How do you choose which dramas to watch?

Might I spy with my little eye.. a drama that’s worth watching..?

Beez writes:

Dear Kfangurl,

I need help! I know my K-bloom isn’t totally off the rose but I feel as if it’s hanging on by only a couple of wilting petals. I’m not tired of Kdramas but I find I can’t easily decide what to watch these days. At this stage in the game, where my biases (actors that I watched in ANYthing they starred in next) are getting older so filling less leading roles, I find myself with less that I’m interested in watching unless the synopsis snags me with a unique subject matter or hobby or career/lifestyle that I’m interested in. So how do you (I’ve noticed you’ve become more selective) choose the shows that are worth your busy time?

For example, I see you reviewed My Unfamiliar Family. I haven’t read your review yet because 1) I never read reviews of shows I have no intention of watching and 2) I never read reviews beforehand of a show I intend to watch. So looking at the synopsis on AsianWiki for My Unfamiliar Family – sounds like a total snoozefest. And I learned to never rely on video teasers as they are totally random and can set me up for disappointment when a teaser is hilarious but the show turns out to be a drama and vice versa. So, how do you decide what’s up next to, not necessarily review, but to watch?

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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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Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas that would make my day better?

Make! My! Day! ❤️

Confession: this Dear kfangurl post wasn’t actually triggered by a Dear kfangurl question. It just made sense to group it with the other Dear kfangurl posts, coz that’s where the other lists on the blog live, heh.

BUT! This post was triggered by a conversation with my friend Jan on Twitter.

Basically, yesterday, Jan had remarked that she was looking for a Kim Ji Suk fix, and I’d suggested 20th Century Boy and Girl, in which he is the sweet, perfect boyfriend. Less than 24 hours later, Jan’s super happy with the drama suggestion, and her tweets are filled with happy spazz, and she’s also said that this was the rom-com she’d been looking for.

..Which got me thinking. With all the darker &/or heavier shows that Dramaland’s been serving up of late (like World of the Married, Graceful Friends, Flower of Evil and It’s Okay To Not Be Okay), as solid as these shows are, maybe some  – or many? – of you guys might be looking for something lighter to make these dark pandemic days a little brighter.

That’s why I’m here to help. 😀

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Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas the man in my life might be willing to watch?

This post is thanks to MeriJ, who suggested the topic “K-Roms Your BF/Husband Might Be Willing To Watch With You.” I’ve also come across many drama fans who do sincerely wish that their significant others would share in their passion and watch dramas with them.

And since many of us are spending a lot more time at home these days because of the pandemic, and also because we recently had a great time helping Amethystwaves shortlist dramas to watch with her mom, I thought it’d be a good time to attempt to answer the question:

Dear kfangurl,

What are some dramas that the man in my life might be willing to watch with me?

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Flash Review: Stove League

Let me get what I think are the two biggest questions out of the way: No, you don’t need to know a thing about baseball, in order to enjoy this show. And no, you don’t even have to like baseball, in order to like this show. Would you get more enjoyment out of this show if you actually already love baseball? I’m not sure, to be honest. Sometimes knowing too much can be a bad thing (if you’re a doctor you probably roll your eyes at the details in medical kdramas, and so on), but I’m guessing that understanding how baseball works would probably help you appreciate the nuances that I missed.

I went into this show without much knowledge or interest in baseball, and I’m coming away with only marginally more knowledge about and interest in the sport, and yet, I found myself enjoying this show very well, and wholeheartedly rooting for our characters, often without actually truly understanding the full details of what was happening on my screen. That’s quite an accomplishment on Show’s part, I’d say.

Also, for the record, I’ve felt rather neutral about Nam Goong Min for a while, even as everyone else has grown hearts in their eyes for him, and here, I finally actually really like him.

Lots of happy surprises overall, yes?

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