The biggest compliment I can give Show, is that it knows what it wants to be, and accomplishes its core purpose with finesse and aplomb.
Sure, there are some narrative decisions I didn’t prefer, but Show demonstrates such a profound understanding of its key characters, and teases out the finer points of each of these characters so very well, that I’m more than willing to look past any dissatisfaction I might have with these other details.
Lee Junho and Lee Se Young are wonderful in this, both individually and together. It’s no exaggeration to say that these two had my heart, unequivocally.
Part gauzy rom-com and part serious palace intrigue, Show does have some pacing and tonal issues, and, in my opinion, also works out to be a little bloated, at 20 episodes.
However, if you can put aside the pacing and tonal issues, there are stretches in this show which are genuinely enjoyable. The central romance didn’t tilt my world, but was pretty great at serving up cute, reverse rom-com tropes, in Show’s lighter stretch. My interest wavered in Show’s last quarter, but importantly, I found the ending satisfying, and worth hanging in there for.
In case you missed it, we have yet another guest post series to enjoy, this month!
Unlike our previous guest post series, this one was kind of an accident, almost. I have Ele to thank for this one, because it was her innocent question about something, that made me casually talk about the off-the-top-of-my-head, hypothetical possibility of a guest post series on love, in the month of February, in honor of Valentine’s Day.
So many folks on Patreon responded enthusiastically to this idea, that I felt that it would be remiss of me, not to actually make it happen, come February.
And so, here we are. This month, we will enjoy a total of nine guest posts from patrons on Patreon, on the topic of love stories. The brief is pretty flexible, in that, each writer is free to go deep, or go wide, on anything around the topic of love stories in Dramaland. I feel like we have a lot to look forward to, this month! 🥰
If you didn’t already know, we’ve got a special series to kick off the new year! Guests posts, by patrons on Patreon, sharing their personal drama stories, mostly around the topic of “How did you get into dramas?” and “What does your first drama mean to you?” – with flexibility to go off on personal tangents, of course. 😁 Feel free to share your stories too, in the comments!
This guest series is MC‘s brainchild (thanks MC! ❤️). You can check out the earlier posts in this series as follows: MC, Sean, Shahz, JJ, Martina, Beth, Uyen & Ella. After today’s post, there will be one last guest post by one last mystery guest writer, whose identity will be revealed when their post goes live. Woot! 🥳
Today’s post is brought to you by Leslie, who is as sweet, wise and thoughtful, as she is unassuming and modest. When we were planning the year-end awards series of guest posts, Leslie had demurred, saying that she didn’t feel confident to write a post. Now that she’s actually written one, though, I’m blown away by what a great storyteller she is! You rock, Leslie, and don’t let anyone tell you different (even yourself)! 😘
In response, j3ffc basically wanted to know which classic dramas I think drama fans should check out (which would demonstrate the shift in gaze over the years), and Trent heartily seconded the idea and expanded on it:
“The question I’ve been thinking about is along the lines of how do you think kdramas have evolved over the last couple decades? Do you see discernible or important trends in that time?
(Broadly considered: thematically, in treatment of tropes, genre or sub-genre expansion (or contraction), production values, stylistic changes, acting and\or casting type trends: it’s all fair game).
You touched on a bit of this in this Vogue interview, but I’d be very interested in a broader look, and I just don’t have the range of experience to even attempt a synthesis. You do, though. 😁”
So today I thought I’d talk about kdramas which I would consider iconic, over the years, and how kdramas have been evolving, in broad strokes.
Recently in the US the great, great American television serial character actor Michael Kenneth Williams died (insofar as I can tell of a drug overdose, though the facts have been slow in coming) at the age of 54.
Just a flat out brilliant actor, Williams has had three especially memorable roles in HBO series.
But one especially stands out, the role of Omar, a kind of lone ronin bad ass, who lived out of his own moral code as a gay, shotgun carrying thief who stole from drug dealing gangs to make his living on the streets of Baltimore during the late nineties, in The Wire, a 5 season series that critics, and I as a watcher of television series, universally have acclaimed as one of the greatest if not the greatest such series ever produced.
While show features a large ensemble, and it would be hard to pin point any single actor as lead, therefore, Williams’ Omar was distinctly a support character, albeit imo the greatest antihero ever filmed.
It is hard to over emphasize what a signature role Williams enacted, except to say in the wake of his death, the outpouring of grief in response, focused in elaborate, admiring, and loving detail in large part upon his role as Omar, his superlative and unforgettable performance, and how its impact upon American culture has been universal.
I cannot myself remember any actor in film or serial drama in a supporting role so iconic; that is, in a drama so universally praised, a supporting character being universally its most memorable. I wonder if in K drama you can think of any equivalent kind of performance?
Hey KFG. Hope you are well. An idea for “ask KFG” post was one around what your guilty pleasures are? And opening that same question up to the KFG community. In particular those that you couldn’t explain to a non K drama lover.
So for me three immediately come to mind. The first being “Secret Garden”. Body shifting, toxic couple. Female lead sometimes one note, an annoying mother but even though I watched this ten years after it was shown I still fell for all the iconic lines.
The second ” “You are Beautiful”. Cross dressing nun joins a pop band pretending to be her male twin. The chemistry between the OTP never sizzles but it is oh so sweet and actually what develops is a nurturing relationship despite the communication problems. And Jang Keun-suk is so mesmerising beautiful that you can’t take your eyes off him.
The third is” Don’t dare to dream”. Questionable OTP and questionable decisions and at one point the female lead dates both the ML and the second lead at the same but the sparkling chemistry between the leads makes this a great binge watch.
And an honourable mention for Masters Sun. FL sees ghosts and ML acts as a barrier to those ghosts but uses this power to manipulate the FL into furthering his interests but again the sizzling chemistry between the leads makes the show so bingeable”
Show is a lot of things, and attempts a lot of things (some with more success than others), but one thing I can say for certain, is that Show is bold, and dares to try new things.
When the things that Show try don’t go so well, Show can come across as rather uneven, but when Show is at its best, it is a wild, absurd and completely absorbing ride of the best kind.
Our story world and our characters lean dark, yet this is all served up with strong lashings of screwball comedy. It sounds weird, but when Show makes it work, it’s glorious.
Our cast is very solid, but hands down, the one who shines the brightest, is Song Joong Ki, as our titular antihero. So much matter-of-fact, cool badassery, served up with a side of comedy; I just couldn’t look away.
Sometimes Show got uncomfortably dark for my taste, but Show gets brownie points, for unabashedly daring to be its own thing, for better or for worse.