The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


34 Comments

Dear kfangurl: What makes a kdrama addictively re-watchable?

Healer: so cracky, for so many reasons.

shorterthanparkboyoung writes:

Dear kfangurl, what makes a kdrama addicting enough that I want to rewatch at least 10 times?
I’m kinda in the middle of a tough transition period at the moment and I found myself going back to rewatching all my favourite dramas – Healer, My Love From Another Star, Because This Is My First Life, Fight For My Way and Suspicious Partner, but with the FF button when it came to the “evil chaebol” or “bad guy” bits. But when I decided to try a drama that I hadn’t watched but was on my list, I kept dropping them half way. What is it in the above dramas, which I believe you loved as well after reading your reviews (which were amazing btw), or any general drama that makes me come back to these again and again?

Continue reading


21 Comments

Dear kfangurl: Why do I still fall for drama tropes?

This is me: kinda-sorta falling, but not quite. 😉

diti writes:

Hi kfangirl it’s me again, I found that your last post reply to my question was very helpful and very well explained so thank you very much and I’m here with another question (sorry). Basically I was wondering why is it that so many dramas employ the same, sometimes very cringeworthy tropes (wrist grabs, accidental kisses, chaebol family drama etc) and viewers like me, who have seen them so many times before, still continue to lap them up? That was a very long winded question sorry, and adding to that why is it that writers continue to add in these tropes. I became interested in this when I began watching Crash Landing on You thanks to my undying Hyun Bin love ever since I watched secret garden. The show definitely has a lot of these tropes and yet I still continue to get sucked in. Am I the only one?

Continue reading


23 Comments

Flash Review: Producer

I’m very pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed Producer:

  • Despite not being so keen on its initial mockumentary style;
  • Despite its notoriously long episodes that run for at least 80 minutes each; and
  • Despite not being all that interested in Show’s premise to begin with.

I suppose I could call that a triple-whammy happy bonus?

Continue reading


71 Comments

Are kdramas getting worse / “dumbed down”?

So recently, a couple of comments on the blog have combined to give me pause for thought.

And instead of just answering the latest question in the comments section, I thought it was interesting enough, and thought-provoking enough, to put it all in a new post, and see what you guys think.

Well ok, that, and the fact that as I chewed on my answer to the latest comment, I realized that there were just too many facets to the answer than I felt could fit reasonably into a simple comment.

Basically, the question is, have kdramas gotten worse / more “dumbed down” in recent years?

Let’s dive in together to take a look, shall we?

Continue reading


20 Comments

Review: Bad Guys

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Slick, dark, and appropriately fierce, Bad Guys is a short little series that packs a pretty big punch.

Everything is carefully and beautifully filmed, and for the most part, Bad Guys manages to hit that sweet spot where the writing is complex enough to be interesting, yet simple enough to be accessible to the average viewer. Add a pretty excellent cast to flesh out the interesting premise, and Show is a winner in almost every checkbox.

My beef with the show is that it gets too melodramatic at parts, which detracts from its unique brand of cool, and instead places it closer to standard kdrama fare than it needs to be. The cinematography also feels less deliberate as we get into the later episodes. Despite its shortcomings, though, Show remains an interesting and engaging watch.

Gritty and disturbing at times, yet heartening and uplifting at others, Bad Guys manages to be badass with heart.

Continue reading


56 Comments

Year In Review: 2014

If there’s one thing that everyone seems to be able to agree on, it’s that time is flying. Like, seriously. Where has 2014 gone?

I can hardly believe that 2015 is almost here, promising/threatening gifts of dramas chock-full of vampires, multiple personalities, and other psychological disorders goodies.

Before 2014 makes her exit, though, I wanted to come out and give credit where it’s due. Coz as much as so many of my friends in dramaland have been talking about a meh drama year, I feel like I had a pretty good drama year, actually.

I know. How did that happen, right?

Continue reading


20 Comments

Sunshine The Second!

Guess what, everyone! The blog got a second Sunshine nomination!

Thanks to Indigo of Between Wor(L)ds for the love! And man, you DO ask some very tough questions!

I’m so pleased with myself now, coz after the blog’s first Sunshine Award, I’d told Lady G that I’d be getting her to play in future blog award type thingies.

Seeing Indigo’s tough questions, I’m mighty impressed with Past Me’s foresight. Coz I’m gonna need all the help I can get! Ha.

You’ll know what I mean when you see Indigo’s questions!

Continue reading


30 Comments

Review: Miss Korea

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Quiet, low-key and unassuming, Miss Korea is the modest little drama that could.

What Miss Korea lacks in big plot movement, it makes up for with attentive character establishment and development, which gives this series its almost-but-not-quite slice-of-life, almost-family-drama feel. Populated by earnest characters who feel ordinary, real and likable, Miss Korea is the kind of show that one develops a slow but enduring affection for.

Another helpful thing to know: Despite its title and premise, Miss Korea isn’t really about beauty pageants per se. It’s more about how ordinary people muster up their inner mettle, to face seemingly insurmountable challenges; not only to survive, but to pursue meaning and happiness in their lives.

An underrated, heartwarming little gem.

Continue reading


75 Comments

Food in Kdrama: An Obsession?

Today’s post is inspired by a conversation with blog regular INTJ.

After I posted my review of Let’s Eat, we realized that our respective experiences of the show were like night and day, to put it mildly. While I enjoyed the drama a lot, INTJ did not enjoy the show. At all.

I’ve understood for a long time that as viewers, we all respond to dramas and actors differently. A drama that one person loves to bits could be completely meh to someone else. And, an actor that inspires love in one person could inspire irritation in another. We all approach the world with our own filters, after all.

What gave me pause for thought is a follow-up email that INTJ sent me after our initial thought exchange on Let’s Eat. In it, he mentioned that he’s heard people around him say many times, “all Koreans do in their movies is eating.”

Well now. I’d never seen it that way before. This piece of information definitely made me think. And that, well, brought about a bunch of thoughts.

Given that INTJ’s mentioned several times before in other comments that he’s deeply interested in learning about the differences between cultures, I thought it apt to share my perspectives in a post.

Continue reading


47 Comments

Review: Dream High

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Fresh, fun and earnest, and backed by a breezy soundtrack that’s easy on the ears, Dream High ranks as one of my all-time favorite music-centric, high school dramas. Heck, it’s one of my favorite dramas, period.

Despite its youth-y premise, Dream High has a pretty universal appeal, with its emphasis on friendship, loyalty and finding & pursuing your dreams. What the idol-heavy cast lacks in finesse, they more than make up for with earnestness. And then there’s Kim Soo Hyun, Uhm Ki Joon and Lee Yoon Ji in the main cast, lending acting cred and nuance to the overall package.

The drama takes an episode or two to get into its groove but once it does, it’s cracky, delicious goodness.

Continue reading