The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Flash Review: The Best Hit

Y’know, I will always think fondly of the year 2012.

It was a pretty great drama year, serving up a good number of shows that I truly enjoyed, like Arang and the Magistrate, The King 2 Hearts, Gaksital, and Padam Padam, among many others. On top of that, 2012 was also the year I decided to try my hand at the whole drama blogging thing – and hey, look at where we are now, eh?

But. There is one thing that I kinda hold against 2012.. coz 2012 is the year that time travel took over the dramaverse. Suddenly, it felt like time travel was everywhere. Queen In-hyun’s Man, Rooftop Prince, Faith, Dr. Jin, and even Operation Proposal all got in on the time travel action in 2012, with varying degrees of success. Let me just say that there’s nothing inherently wrong with using time travel as a concept, but honestly, it now kinda feels like time travel has become the Trend That Will Not Die.

For the record, I’m not hating on The Best Hit. In fact, I even rather enjoyed this show. It’s just that the whole time travel thing here feels particularly gratuitous – almost pointless, even. I personally feel that this show didn’t need the time travel conceit, to tell the slice-of-life, found-family story it wanted to tell. In fact, Show might’ve been better off just picking one time period and staying there. A pretty novel concept these days, I know. 😉

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kfangurl’s 2012 Drama Awards [Repost]

So this might be the mother of all throwback posts on this blog. (Wait, this might be the only throwback post on the blog, actually!) Basically, this post had first appeared on Stephanie’s blog Crazy for Kdrama, when she’d invited me to guest on her 2012-in-review series. I’d been super excited, and Stephanie’s invitation basically was the catalyst that inspired me to even start this blog (you can find the blog’s origin story here).

Long story short, Crazy for Kdrama suffered from a takedown a while ago, thanks to DMCA bots, which sucked. 😦 But, Steph’s since dusted herself off and has started over at Kchat Jjigae.

This post, though, was lost with the original blog. That’s been niggling me for a while, since this post has a special place in this blog’s history. That, and the more OCD parts of my brain felt uncomfortable that the link to my 2012 year-in-review on the Full List page basically led to nowhere. Happily, those same OCD parts of my brain had thought to save my original draft somewhere, so it wasn’t all that hard to reproduce the post here.

So now, for old times’ sake, and for the sake of having my 2012-in-review post available somewhere, I present to you one of the earliest blog posts I ever wrote, in its pure, original state. I’ve simply added links to reviews where available. Hope you guys enjoy the walk down memory lane with me! 🙂

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Dear kfangurl: What is it about bromances that make a kdrama great?

Today’s question is brought to us by Bakazen, who asks:

Dear kfangurl,

What is it about bromances that make a kdrama great? I just recently finished watching Doctor Stranger and realized 2 things: LJS is a good actor and I really didn’t like this drama. So why did I finish it? Because I was hooked by the bromance tease between LJS and PHJ.

My personal theory is they work well as substitutes for the sometimes overwhelming lack of affection we see between couples. Guys in bromances show affection, love, solidarity, joy, connection & (dare I say it) skinship! Nothing warms my heart like one of the F4s coming to a bros rescue, the F44s teasing each other or the leads in School 2013 (LJS & Woobie) saying how much they missed each other’s friendship. Besides, I rarely get that hooked into the female friendships (major exception, Noh Eun-seol & Lee Myung Ran from Protect the Boss). What do you think?

Bakazen

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Trading Thoughts: Nine

I’m excited, y’all!! I hereby bring you the first joint post this blog has ever hosted! Woot!

Most of you know by now that I’ve fallen into the habit (trap? heh.) of taking a show apart for its review, and examining each little gear and piston, and writing up a storm in the process. Although I never specifically set out to write epic reviews, it’s become a bit of a trend on this blog now, and I’m grateful to those of you who actually enjoy coming on these epic journeys with me. Thanks y’all. It means a lot, really. ❤

In the midst of all you wonderful peeps who put in the time to read my reviews and share your thoughts with me, I discovered a particular sort of connection with the lovely Betsy Hp who hosts Creating Volumes. If you’ve been following the comments threads in some of my reviews, you might have noticed that Betsy Hp and I sometimes exchange (very) large chunks of thoughts. It’s like her thoughts inspire me to more thoughts, which then inspire her to more thoughts. It’s often a cycle that evolves and grows and gives birth to new and completely unexpected thoughts and ideas, which, Too Cool.

I then said (only) half in jest to Betsy Hp, that we should try joint-posting, just to see what these thought babies might look like, given the room to grow. And so – ta-dah! – here we are! *blows noisemaker*

Join us as we dive – with our thinking caps firmly on! – into the twisty world of Nine!

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Review: School 2013

THE SHORT VERDICT:

An earnest, honest high school drama that isn’t just about high school.

Pulsing with teen angst on the one hand, yet also dealing with more universal issues on the other, School 2013 is about growing up, and about friendship, hope, love and loyalty. Things that all matter, whether you’re a teenager or an adult.

A wonderful, engaging watch that manages to overflow with heart, in the midst of the angst.

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What Makes Drama Crack Stay Fresh / Turn Stale?

DC1So today Stephanie posted on her blog Crazy for Kdrama a post titled Second-hand Crack. In it, she describes her experience re-watching Smile Dong Hae, and finding that it just wasn’t as cracktastic the second time around.

That really resonated with me, coz as some of you may know, I’ve been marathoning Beautiful Days for review, and that review’s been taking a while to actually get written.

The reason is pretty much the same as Stephanie’s experience with Smile Dong Hae. I’d loved Beautiful Days on my first watch, and had devoured it pretty quickly. Fast forward several years, and now that I’m watching it for the second time, I still find it pretty engaging, but it’s just not as cracktastic as I had first found it.

Which begs the question: What exactly makes drama crack stay fresh / turn stale?

DC2

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Review: What’s Up?

WU2

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This drama had a somewhat raw, rough-around-the-edges sort of feel to it, which gave it a sense of realism.

Several plot-lines felt under-developed, which made the show feel a bit off-kilter, but some great characters and a couple of meaningful plot-lines which did get nicely fleshed out made this unassuming little show one that I enjoyed quite a lot more than I thought I would.

The characters snuck up on me and made me start to care about them, which is always a plus in my books.

A character piece with songs.

WU1

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Kfangirl’s 2012 Drama Awards + Origin Story of This Blog

Kfangirl 2012 Drama Awards I

Celebrate with me! This is a double first for me: my first Year-In-Review, AND, my first guest post too! 😀

This guest post is especially close to my heart because how it came about is actually the origin story of this blog.

THE ORIGIN STORY

Up to about 2 months ago, I had been a persistent lurker in the kdrama-verse. For most of my six kdrama-watching years, I visited lots of blogs regularly and kept up with the k-entertainment news and lapped up other people’s views and reviews, but I almost never commented on anything. Once in a long while, I would leave a comment somewhere, but mostly only if I had something that I was just burning to say.

I’m an introvert at heart, though most people who know me in real life wouldn’t guess it, and this was my inner introvert acting out.

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Review: The King 2 Hearts

THE SHORT VERDICT:

I really, really liked this.

Don’t be put off by the political nature of the premise. I’m not into political stories myself, but I found this easy to like.

It’s got a robust story, lots of great acting, a fast pace, a compelling conflict, strong character growth, chemistry between the leads and a strong romance.

This lent itself to back-to-back episodes, and I finished it very quickly. And I plan to revisit it for more.

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