If you’re on the market for a coming-of-age story that leans more subtle, raw, realistic and.. melancholic, than most teen stories, then this little mini series, that’s just 4 episodes of 30 minutes each, might work nicely for you.
I went into this not quite knowing what to expect, but ended up liking it quite well.
Psst: Links to watch are at the end of the review!
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. After today’s post, there will be three more guest posts by mystery guest writers, whose identities will be revealed when their various posts go live. Woot! 🥳
Today’s post is brought to you by Uyen, whom you may seen around the blog for some time now. I’ve realized that Uyen has lots of drama thoughts, and I’m so pleased that she’s taken the time to share some of those thoughts with us today!
Uyen also writes about dramas on her own blog, which you might like to visit here!
What are some of the archetypes you see in Kdrama characters? Could you recommend other dramas with those types of characters?
Romance is A Bonus Book’s Kang Dan-i is strong, sensitive, but oblivious to Eun-ho’s love for her. Eun-ho is petty, cocky, but really protective and compassionate toward his loved ones.
Strong Girl Bong Soon’s rich heir Ahn Min-hyuk is the hardcore, serious, charming type, but completely caught off-guard and smitten with Do Bong-soon, which makes him fall to pieces. Bong-soon is the epitome of aegyo, but hesitant to embrace her full potential (another type).
What other dramas use these archetypes in similar ways or mix and match them in surprising or refreshing ways?
In case you missed it, we’re doing something special and different to end off the drama year this year! Guests posts, by patrons on Patreon!
You can read more details, and check out Shahz’s inaugural post, here, and JJ‘s post here!
After today’s post, there will be three more guest posts by mystery guest writers, whose identities will be revealed when their various posts go live. And then we’ll cap everything off with a poll, where you’ll be able to pick YOUR favorites for the year, from among the gems identified in these posts. How exciting! 🤩
..But, wait! Didn’t I already say, last time, that there would be three more..? Heh. Very sharp spotting there! Basically, one more mystery guest writer has volunteered to share their picks for 2021, woot! 🥳
Today’s post is brought to you by Trent, who manages to watch way more drama than I do! While I don’t think that Trent’s taste in dramas is identical to mine, we’ve had similar reactions to so many shows (most recently, Dali and the Cocky Prince 😉), that I tend to take a little extra notice when he recommends a show, coz the chances are pretty good, that I might like it too.
Trent’s got soo many nominees in all the various categories today, that I thought this image, of a sea of awards, fit this post quite perfectly.. I imagine that if Trent could, he’d give out many more awards than he’s given out today, heh. 😁 Thanks lots, Trent, for sharing your drama year with us!!
You might also like to check out Trent’s blog, where he writes more drama thoughts!
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?
Recently due to Noble Idiocy I abandoned the vision of a drama that I really enjoyed: Monthly Home Magazine.
Could you do a post with the list of dramas that contain this detestable gimmick?
I remember getting so mad on Clear With Passion With Me Now too and I would like to avoid investing hours of my life to be so disappointed. In the comments your readers could integrate the list and it would be a really useful service in my opinion.
I have a Dear kfangurl question to ask! My question is whether you’ve ever had a problem watching the same actor in a different role, because you have such a strong impression of him/her in the first show you saw the actor in?
Asking because I just started watching K dramas last year, and i started with highly rated ones like Crash Landing on You and Healer, where the OTPs are so smashing that I was reluctant to see the actors in other shows as it would feel to me almost like they were cheating on their original OTP! Lol.
So far I haven’t “repeated” any actors besides Lee Jun Ki – I first saw him in Arang and the Magistrate and a few months later in Flower of Evil. But to me that felt ok as his performance made the two characters feel completely different. It probably helped that his Flower of Evil character was supposed to have antisocial personality disorder so has flattened emotions.
But now almost a year after watching Healer, I’m watching Park Min Young in Her Private Life and I keep getting flashbacks to her Healer performance, especially when the two characters overlap on certain traits like optimism, pluckiness and sunny smiles.
It’s probably a personal quirk but I do wonder if anyone faces this issue too! For now there are so many dramas out there that I can avoid repeats of actors but soon it won’t be an option! Ha ha.
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.
In the course of one of our chats scattered across the blog, where I was trying to think of dramas to recommend to Jesse, I’d suggested Romance Is A Bonus Book.
He’d ultimately sounded quite happy with this suggestion and said that he would probably check it out soon, but, he’d also said this, about the first time he’d considered watching the show:
“I remember at the time that I came across the show in a search awhile back, I saw the word “success” (as in Cha Eun-ho is a successful author) and completely lost interest.
I didn’t want to see successful characters! I wanted to see losers and average Joes, because that’s who I could relate to at the time. I wanted to see love interacting with unremarkable people so I could nod and say, “See, Jess – it happens. Just you wait…”
..And that made me realize that Dramaland’s been so focused on creating everygirls and everywomen to give the female viewers (traditionally a majority) someone to identify with, that it’s forgotten that our growing number of male viewers would also appreciate an everyman to identify with.
So I set about coming up with a list of dramas featuring regular guys – instead of the usual chaebol prince, or requisite geeenius – as romantic leading men.