Another idea for a Dear Fangurl post – would you want to do a list of shows that you love but are often passed over or neglected / underrated? Cos every year there are so many new shiny shows but there are so many good ones that pass under the radar because of low ratings or are older etc. This could be a love note or shoutout to them.
First of all, I am an avid fan of your blog and am so grateful for your detailed, thoughtful reviews of various Korean dramas. You probably don’t remember me, but I loved The Third Charm and posted once on your blog using the handle “erstwing” about how much your review of the show resonated with me.
I have a question about genre that I was wondering if you might address/discuss on your blog one day. What do you make of the label “slice-of-life?” What are some “slice-of-life” Korean dramas and what makes them so? Based on the shows you have reviewed, I feel like you enjoyed this category of dramas, and thought you might have some wisdom to share. If you do enjoy “slice-of-life” dramas, what are some reasons? The label is used a lot in Kdrama discourse, but unlike other more established genres like the melodrama and the rom com, “slice-of-life” seems to be much hazier as a concept. I even did some research into American analogues and/or antecedents, but haven’t been able to find anything meaningful. Full disclosure: I am a college professor and my current research project investigates the slice-of-life genre in Korean dramas. I’m teaching in the US but I am actually from Singapore, so your blog is literally close to home for me. 🙂
Thanks again for all your insights and for the time you’ve generously given to cultivating this Kdrama fan community. 🙂
I am now a kdrama fan for quite a few years with several dramas under my cap. Of late, I feel that I’ve grown too critical. The kdrama world is no longer my escapist fantasy and stress buster. I keep nit picking. I feel disappointed (there’s that magic charm missing) by recent dramas (True Beauty, Lovestruck in the City just a few examples). I would have enjoyed these premises earlier. Should I just keep watching old dramas? Can you help?
An earthy youth-to-young adult story of growing up, and learning to love yourself and others, Suddenly This Summer is understated, poignant and relatable in all the right ways.
Because Show is more slice-of-life than its cuter drama cousins like A Love So Beautiful and Put Your Head On My Shoulder, it can feel like a slow watch. But what Show lacks in trendy cuteness, it more than makes up for, with characters – even the secondary ones – who feel like real people earnestly doing their best in their individual life journeys.
Even though Show is heart-pinching at times, it feels refreshing in its gentle earthiness.
I was late to the party, and started my watch of this show when everyone else was well into Show’s middle stretch. I struggled enough with Hyun Bin’s character in this show’s first two episodes, that I was legit on the brink of dropping this show. And then, Show ended, and there was such a heated furore among viewers for Show’s reportedly terrible-horrible-couldn’t-be-worse-let’s-boycott-this-writer-forever ending, that I was so sure that I had dodged a bullet.
But then, I saw a couple of tweets by viewers who actually felt satisfied with Show’s ending. Well, now. That sure got my attention. If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you might know that I’ve been known to, on at least several occasions in the past, buck general audience trends by feeling completely differently about certain shows versus the majority of viewers. It was like that when I started the blog in 2012 (my first ever post was for Operation Proposal, which I really liked – and which most people hated), and it was like that recently too, when I’d been very solidly satisfied with the ending of The Third Charm – which most people also hated.
So this curious cat (with a reasonable amount of FOMO) decided to do an experiment. Instead of dropping the show, I adjusted my viewing lens using all the fragments of information I had, and jumped in for a marathon. The big question I wanted to put to the test was: With the right expectations and the right lens adjustment, would this show – could this show – actually turn out to be, well, good?
I know I said last year that Dramaland was exploding with more dramas than ever before, but Dramaland basically outdid itself in 2018 – and then some.
You know when you have only 2 ice-cream flavors, and only room in your stomach for 1 scoop, it’s really easy to choose, but you still wish you had more flavors to choose from? Well, it’s all fine and good when it increases to 5 flavors, or 10 flavors, right? But when it gets to like, a thousand flavors, your eyes glaze over, you get hit by decision paralysis, and it just feels impossible to choose, anymore? Same thing.
I used to try and keep up with Dramaland, especially after I started blogging. I’d try to stay on top on what dramas were airing, and which ones were good, and I’d try to watch all the reportedly good ones, because I’m a curious cat and FOMO is real, yo. Well. I think 2018 is the year that I realized it is humanly impossible to keep up with everything that Dramaland is putting out, and there is just not enough time in one person’s world, to watch all the reportedly good ones, and take time for the ones that you wanna watch, whether anyone else is interested or not.
So 2018 is the year that I stopped trying. Uh.. Kinda.
Not the sweet rom-com Show was marketed to be. Instead, this one is a thoughtful and sensitive portrayal of personal journey; the ups and downs of life, the struggle to follow your heart, the mistakes you make and their consequences, as well as the growth that you gain, from those mistakes.
Some minor plotlines didn’t work as well for me, but by and large, I really appreciated the way Show fleshed out its characters. Seo Kang Joon and Esom are excellent as our leads, and made their characters feel like real, living, breathing people.
As a bonus, the music is really quite lovely in this, and makes the watch that much more immersive.