The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Flash Review: Bromance [TW Drama]

Have you ever loved a drama in spite of its multitude of shortcomings? Like, it’s got so many flaws that you can’t help but roll your eyes sometimes (or maybe more like a lot of the time). And yet, it’s got That One Thing going for it, that’s so awesome that it makes the watch completely cracktastic. Which is how you end up watching an entire Very Flawed Drama, for the sake of that One Thing?

Yep. Exactly what happened here, you guys. I was literally hooked on Bromance for a good part of its run, so much so that it was the show that I looked forward to the most, each week. This, when I usually have a ridiculous amount of trouble getting into Taiwanese dramas as a general rule, and therefore typically don’t even bother checking them out anymore.

Woah, right?

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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?

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Review: The Three Musketeers

THE SHORT VERDICT:

More often brisk and breezy than not, more often engaging and fun than not, and more often interesting and entertaining than not, The Three Musketeers is more than your average fusion sageuk.

This drama is a pretty bold attempt to adapt an age-old tale across mediums (novel to drama) and across cultures (French to Korean), while doing its best to retain the optimum crack ingredients that would appeal to a kdrama-loving audience.

Possibly due to its ambition, pacing across the show can be a little uneven, and logic gets sacrificed on more occasions than one might expect. Put on some generous Logic Blinders, though, and there are likely to be enough goodies in this one to make it worth your while.

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Review: Witch’s Romance

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A winsome little drama that is as charming as it is sweet, and boasts a good helping of fun on the side. Witch’s Romance may not be the most epic noona romance out there, but it’s certainly one of the most earnest and heartfelt.

While (almost) the entire cast is likable, it’s really the OTP that steals the show. Uhm Jung Hwa embodies cautious vulnerability beneath her strong, fearless veneer, while Park Seo Joon exudes a truly lovely blend of sincerity, earnestness and warmth. Individually, they deliver praise-worthy performances. Together, their chemistry feels so real and palpable that it sometimes leaps off the screen to knock you right over.

The writing falters at times and the execution is a little uneven, but with this wonderful, delightful puppy flashing this melty smile at you, it won’t hurt much, I promise.

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Review: Bride of the Century

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A light(ish) melodrama that’s high on the cute and low on the logic, Bride of the Century is the kind of show that would crumble under too harsh a lens. Given the right lens, though, it’s a fun watch that even gets pretty cracky in stretches.

The good news is, that lens isn’t a hard one to put on.

Yes, the show is so full of drama cliches that it feels like someone took every drama cliche that ever existed, put ’em all into a box, and the writers of this show then played a game where they took turns drawing out random cliches from the box and had to find a way to work ’em all into the show. In the order in which they were drawn. Yep. Sometimes plot logic took a beating; I cannot lie. But think of Cliche City as a game, and that ups the fun by a whole lot.

The shining jewel in this rather haphazard crown, is that this show has enough cute to mitigate almost the entire weight of the excessive drama tropes. Who can say no to this show, when you’ve got this cute of a puppy on your screen, right?

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Review: Flower Boy Next Door

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A pretty low-key, small story set in a cute, quirky manhwa-esque world.

Within the smallness of the story, the writers manage to tease out some nice characterization, character growth and relationship development. It’s too bad this wasn’t quite sustained throughout the show’s 16 episodes.

Still a fairly enjoyable way to spend 16 hours, especially if you’re in the mood for contemplative with a side serving of zany.

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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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