Monday, February 29, 2016

"Cheese in the Trap" Episode 15 recap

With Seol's encouragement at his back, Jeong is finally able to make a sincere effort to not take a scorched earth policy to his enemies. This ends up not being all that helpful. Jeong's icy personality has always been the real problem rather than the way he lashes out, because Jeong has always been pretty good about only lashing out against people who deserve it. So unfortunately this potentially interesting character conflict doesn't have much hope of being resolved, given how this is the penultimate episode and all.
In-ha is another matter though. She's spent the entirity of "Cheese in the Trap" pretty much completely failing to grasp that Jeong just isn't that into her. In-ha's been pretty good about deluding herself into thinking that personal attitude isn't a very big deal. But as the other characters around her demonstrate growth and decide to stop chronically making the same mistakes, In-ha is left to her own devices right when she's expecting a rescue.
That's the overall narrative thrust I'm getting from "Cheese in the Trap" right now. Some people are tremendous jerks who won't change their attitude no matter how much you try to reach out to them, so there's no point in trying. That's a pretty horribly grim worldview, not to mention an ironic one given all the conflict behind the scenes of this drama's production when it comes to some characters (like Jeong) not getting that much of their background fleshed out.
Even here, the macabre story from Jeong's childhood is relevant less because it explains the kind of person Jeong is and more because it delineates the dysfunctional background In-ha was coming from. What makes this background especially dysfunctional is that there's not really any way to meaningful improve. Jeong, In-ha, and every other antagonistic character just ended up resolving to do a better job hiding their true intentions.
Granted, given the diverse backgrounds these people came from, maybe that much is just a sign of the human condition. Eun-taek and Bo-ra are appealing as a couple mainly because they were able to resolve their interpersonal tension by having an actual conversation instead of trying to game each other. That seems to be what Seol and Jeong have been working up to- it's what makes their character arc interesting to watch, while also serving as a reminder about why some characters have little choice except to sow disaster wherever they go.
Review by William Schwartz
"Cheese in the Trap" is directed by Lee Yoon-jeong, written by Go Seon-hee and Kim Nam-hee and features Park Hae-jin, Kim Go-eun-I, Seo Kang-joon, Lee Seong-kyeong, Nam Joo-hyeok, Kim Gi-bang, Park Min-ji and more.
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"Glamorous Temptation" episode 42 recap

On the 42nd episode of MBC's "Glamorous Temptation", Hyeong-woo kept trying to send Seok-hyeon to a jail.
Il-joo asked Seok-hyeon, who was suffering from dementia, about the slush fund documents and he gave information about it to Il-joo, while Eun-soo was trying to stop him.
Il-joo later went to the bank following the information from her father, the documents were not there. Il-joo though it was Eun-soo, who took the documents. However, the section manager Lee Eun-seok was the one who had taken the documents. Eun-soo informed Hyeong-woo about this and tried to get the documents back through Seok-hyeon. In the meanwhile, Seok-hyeon recovered his wits and Eun-soo acted as if nothing had happened. However, Seok-hyeon found out through the closed circuit TV what Eun-soo had done while he could not think straight.
Eun-soo's daughter Mi-rae was recovering dramatically and could draw a picture to let her mom know that it's Il-joo who pushed her from the stairs. Eun-soo informed Il-joo about this. However, Il-joo was not taken aback and yelled, "So what can you do about it".
Hyeong-woo plotted a plan to make Seok-hyeon and the section manager Lee Eun-seok meet. He was going to arrest the two by recording their conversation. However, Eun-soo thought that Seok-hyeon couldn't be all that bad and also felt sympathy towards him suffering from dementia. So she went out and ruined Hyeong-woo's plan.
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'Six Flying Dragons' episode 43 recap

On the 43rd episode of SBS' Monday & Tuesday drama, 'Six Flying Dragons', Yi Bang-won (Yoo Ah-in) and Boon-yi (Sin Se-kyeong) met each other again.
Yi Bang-won went to banchon (ghetto in the capital city) to check the weapons that his wife Min Da-gyeong (Gong Seung-yeon) hid there. He met Boon-yi there.
Boon-yi said, "I'm glad to see you're safe" and Yi Bang-won said, "Glad... You must be thinking some annoying things may happen now? I've heard you're doing well".
And then Yi Bang-won gave Boon-yi a hair ornament. He said, "It was made by a famous person in Namgyeong". Boon-yi thanked him and tried to put it on her hair but it didn't work well. Yi Bang-won himself put it on Boon-yi's hair and fixed her hair.
Yi Bang-won said, "Heard banchon's neutral? To be able to keep it neutral, you should have power. If you don't have enough power, you'll be attacked by both sides. And no one even would take care of your dead body. You must be aware of it?" Yi Bang-won looked worried.
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'Moorim School" episode 13 recap

On the 13th episode of KBS 2TV's Monday & Tuesday drama, 'Moorim School', Hwang Moo-song (Shin Hyeon-joon) blamed himself.
On this day, Wang Hao (Lee Beom-soo) insisted that the reason why Hwang Moo-song had restricted the school was because he wanted to hide his dirty side. Wang Hao also said that the one who had killed the entire family who had been protecting the Marvel of Heavenly Will and run away with it was Hwang Moo-song.
Wang Hao pressed him, "You must excuse yourself in front of all the students" and also asked him, "Hwang Moo-song, you're Jeokpoong, if your daughter Hwang Seon-ah is actually Chae Yoon's daughter".
Hwang Moo-song confessed, "It seems that what you want is not truth" and "Yes, Seon-ah is Chae Yoon's daughter, Yeong-yi".
Hwang Moo-song talked to himself later, 'Jealousy, the frivolous emotion caused Yoon's death. Jeokpoong, it may be something existing in my mind.' He blamed himself with the guilty feeling.
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Sunday, February 28, 2016

"Neighborhood Hero" episode 10 recap

Park Si-hoo is back with a complicated story behind him. Feeling guilty for a friend's death in the past, Park Si-hoo lives quietly as a neighborhood hero. In the meanwhile, he is tracking down the truth about the death of his friend.
OCN weekend drama "Neighborhood Hero" is the story of a former national agent who wants to find out the truth behind his friend's death, teaming up with a poor job applicant and a corrupted police to secretly fight crime in their neighborhood.
Si-yoon (Park Si-hoo) quits the National Intelligence Agency and runs a bar. Sang-min (Yoon Tae-yeong) wants to demolish the neighborhood and build a mall related to Hallyu. So he orders gangsters to terrorize the neighborhood.
Si-yoon turns into a shadow and attacks those gangsters. However, he is caught and arrested. Sang-min's men tell them Si-yoon attacked them with a knife first but Chan-gyu (Lee Soo-hyeok) who saw everything, sides with Si-yoon.
Si-yoon was released thanks to Chan-kyu. Chan=kyu observes Si-yoon through his ex-girlfriend Seo-ahn and Si-yoon suspects Seo-ahn who comes back to him. Si-yoon tells Seo-ahn the wrong information and makes Seo-ahn convince Chan-kyu.
In the end, Chan-kyu threatens the police to release Si-yoon. Si-yoon then lures Chan-kyu and tells him that everyone's death was linked to each other. Si-yoon told Tae-ho (Jo Seong-ha) and Chan-kyu about his plan.
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"Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 17 recap

While this episode certainly has its share of ominous brooding when it comes to authority figures of dubious reputation, fortunately, for the most part no one actually tries to cash in on the threats. Yeong-sil presents a simple, easily understood alternate scientific theory, and from there it's just a matter of put up or shut up. Good clock design can only get a man so far when the amount of possible elaboration is such that a near infinite variety of models is possible.
As usual "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" is excellent when it comes to technical design. I'd never really put much thought into just how complicated clocks really are- but that's mostly because all the clocks we have today are really small, and we'd need a microscope to really see just what all those parts are doing. Yeong-sil's more epic design offers all sorts of opportunities for further explanation and experimentation. While Yeong-sil's clock isn't perfect, it's clear that he's working on that part.
Aside from the clock we also get a glimpse into the more obviously useful military applications of science. That much is a very good reason to make sure that any nation's scientists are being selected by merit rather than arbitrary class modifiers. It's relieving that we now have characters aside from King Sejong who appreciate that, since that moves the focus of "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" away from politics and more into genuine problems of practicality.
The onl real misstep here is the philosophical material. Given the historical context "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" has shown us so far, I'd think Yeong-sil would be more effective as being symbolic of King Sejong's reforms than he would be an incredibly brilliant man who other characters are jealous of. Just look at Yeong-sil's construction process. He's employing a lot of laborers, and odds are they understand the clock as well as he does, because Yeong-sil had to explain why they were building what.
Given all the problems "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" has had so far with factors like violent upheavels and fires borne of petty spite, though, that much is really more a philosophical quibble. I rather wish the production team had been focusing more on these kinds of politics throughout "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama"- where the main obstacles are overcoming skepticism and forcing characters to reevaluate long held views regarding the proper development and expression of knowledge. I can only hope the tone continues in this way through to the end of the drama.
Review by William Schwartz

"Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" is directed by Kim Yeong-jo, written by Lee Myeong-hee, Ma Chang-joon and features Song Il-gook, Kim Sang-kyeong, Kim Young-cheol, Park Seon-yeong, Kim Do-hyun, Son Byeong-ho,...
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"My Daughter, Geum Sa-Wol" rated 33.6%

MBC weekend drama "My Daughter, Geum Sa-Wol" ended with a matchless score.
According to Nielsen Korea, the final episode of "My Daughter, Geum Sa-Wol" rated 33.6%.
The drama was a happy ending. Man-hoo's (Son Chang-min) evil deeds to take over Bogeum Group ended with Deuk-ye's (Jeon In-hwa) victory but Sa-wol (Baek Jin-hee) and Chan-bin (Yoon Hyeon-min) remained brother and sister.
"My Daughter, Geum Sa-Wol" written by Kim Soon-ok was criticized for its extreme contents and floppy story but still maintained a high percentage.
KBS 1TV "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama", KBS 2TV "Gag Concert" and SBS "I Have a Lover" rated 11.7%, 10.8% and 5.8% respectively.
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"I Have a Lover" episode 50 (final) recap

The final episode of "I Have a Lover" ended with Kim Hyeon-joo and Ji Jin-hee's reunion.
On the final episode of the SBS drama "I Have a Lover", Do Hae-kang (Kim Hyeon-joo) and Choi Jin-eon (Ji Jin-hee) got married again.
Do Hae-kang and Choi Jin-eon enjoyed a date in the sauna. Choi Jin-eon couldn't help fussing over Do Hae-kang who was being charming.
Baek Seok (Lee Kyoo-han) who has had a crush on Do Hae-kang for a long time, smiled in bitterness. Choi Jin-eon's friend Ko Hyeon-woo (Seo Dong-won) told Baek Seok about Choi Jin-eon and Do Hae-kang's reunion. Baek Seok said, "I want to be their witness".
Do Hae-kang and Choi Jin-won returned home for dinner. Do Hae-kang told Choi Jin-eon to sleepover but he refused to because he had a meeting in the morning. He was planning something behind her back and made sure she didn't know.
Choi Jin-eon then went to her house to propose. Do Hae-kang and Choi Jin-eon found out they both had bought rings for each other and spent the night together after exchanging rings.
Hong Se-hee (Nah Yeong-hee) and Choi Jin-ri (Baek Ji-won) also reunited. Hong Se-hee told Choi Jin-ri that she wanted to live with Do Hae-kang and Choi Jin-eon but Choi Jin-ri suggested she lived with her. She called Hong Se-hee, "Mom".
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'My Daughter, Geum Sa-Wol' episode 50 (final) recap

While MBC's weekend drama, 'My Daughter, Geum Sa-Wol' has just one more episode to go, the drama ranked top in viewership rating among all weekend dramas.
According to the viewership rating by Nielsen Korea on February 28th, the 50th episode aired on February 27th recorded 33.6% nationwide. This is the highest record among all the dramas during the same airtime as well as all other dramas aired during the same day.
On this episode, Kang Chan-bin (Yoon Hyeon-min) revealed Kang Man-hoo (Son Chang-min)'s corruption and Oh Hye-sang (Park Se-yeong) was running away to avoid Joo Oh-wol (Song Ha-yoon). Also, Sin Deuk-ye (Jeon In-hwa) was put into a situation she might lose her legs, while she was trying to save Kang Chan-bin.
Whether or not 'My Daughter, Geum Sa-Wol'may be able to finish beautifully in terms of the viewership rating as well is drawing attention.
KBS 2TV's "Five Children" recorded 22.4% and MBC "Happy Home" recorded 14.8% on this day.
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"Five Children" episode 4 recap

"Five Children" Ahn Jae-wook and So Yoo-jin met in unusual circumstances.
On the fourth episode of the KBS 2TV weekend drama "Five Children", Lee Sang-tae (Ahn Jae-wook) and Ahn Mi-jeong (So Yoo-jin) met.
Their first acquaintance started with their children. Ahn Mi-jeong's daughter Yoon Woo-ri (Kwak Ji-hye) and Lee Sang-tae's daughter Bin (Kwon Soo-jeong) decided to go to the same acting school. They set out to convince their parents Park Ok-soon (Song Ok-soon) called Mi-jeong to consult.
Ahn Mi-jeong was busy with work and housework so she hung up the phone after saying, "I can't because I am a working mom". Park Ok-soon was upset about this and complained to Lee Sang-tae that a mother took work back home.
Ahn Mi-jeong had just then finished with work and sent it to her superior Ahn Sang-tae who told Park Ok-soon, "My employee is a good worker". It was funny that the two were talking about the same person without knowing it.
There was an incidence when Ahn Mi-jeong and Lee Sang-tae met privately. Lee Sang-tae and Ahn Mi-jeong were on their way to work together when Lee Sang-tae had to suddenly go on a blind date.
Lee Sang-tae was polite and told his blind date that he had two children. However, the date was rude and said, "You are not my type. Didn't you lie about your height and weight?"
Lee Sang-tae was shocked and Ahn Mi-jeong said, "You should say something and end it. Let's go".
The blind date saw Ahn Mi-jeong and said, "Did you bring a woman to your blind date?" and misunderstood them.
The two of them started getting involved with each other in places other than work too.
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"Signal" episode 12 recap

On the 12th episode of tvN's Friday & Saturday drama, "Signal", Park Haeyeong (Lee Je-hoon) revealed all the truth about the Injoo city case to Cha Soohyeon (Kim Hye-soo).
Park Haeyeong said that his brother had killed himself after he had been falsely accused and detective Lee Jae-han (Jo Jin-woong) also had been killed while investigating the case obstinately.
Park Haeyeong and Cha Soohyeon later went to the house of Kim Seongbeom, who was in the close relationship with Ahn Chi-soo (Jeong Hae-gyoon). And they found bones under the staircase of the house.
Lee Jaehan's police badge came out of the corpse and Cha Soohyeon and Park Haeyeong were shocked.
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"Madame Antoine" Episode 12 recap

There are moments when "Madame Antoine" actually manages to be pleasant enough to be passable romantic comedy material. Ji-ho's obsessing over Yoo-rim is absolutely adorable, and the sheer absurdity of the visuals over their meeting in the cafe was a delight in and of itself. But time and again we're dragged back into reality and I'm forced to remember that the actual lead characters go through these horribly dramatic mood swings over the most trivial topics.
It's actually a somewhat accurate parallelism, looking at the up and downs of the Hye-rim / Soo-hyeon loveline versus how I feel watching the episode. Just when I think that hey, maybe "Madame Antoine" is going to be passable entertainment, Soo-hyeon has to go and reference the stupid experiment again. The verbal ju-jitsu can be amusing in a sort of absurd way sometimes, but given how much Hye-rim and Soo-hyeon knows that the other knows they know, what are they even trying to accomplish?
As usual the psychological case doesn't relate to anything that happens all that well, except to the extent that it shows Soo-hyeon is willing to admit to being a jerk even when it doesn't make sense in the context of the situation. I find it odd that apparently Soo-hyeon has appeared on the cover of magazines yet apparently this did not show up in the vetting process. Were the fans familiar with him solely by written reputation? I had no idea psychologists were famous in such a limited way.
The script is also weird in other parts more subtly. We finally get some exposure regarding Mi-ran's romantic aspirations toward Seung-chan, and a damper is thrown on that almost immediately because apparently Mi-ran is about sixty years old- the same as her actress. I had assumed, charitably, that she was supposed to be younger than that. Then it gets worse- Soo-hyeon consults with his own mother the exact same way he had been talking to Hye-rim's ringer, and I thought we'd just gone back to that dumb plotline before suddenly realizing "Madame Antoine" accidentally pulled an Oedipus on me.
"Madame Antoine" is managing to fumble nearly every single plot point it has- no easy feat considering how many there are. Once again I'm left feeling frustrated that there really does not appear to be any point to this drama. The psychology barely has anything to do with itself, and I find myself wanting to see more of Marie Antoinette because at least I understand why she doesn't make any sense.
Review by William Schwartz
"Madame Antoine" is directed by Kim Yoon-cheol, written by Hong Jin-ah and features Han Ye-seul, Seong Joon and Jinwoon
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"Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 16 recap

Hee-ji belatedly feels some guilt here about jealously trying to use violence to drive Yeong-sil out of the field of science. It's lucky Hee-ji didn't go all the way, even if he was technically operating at the behest of a conspiracy. I continue to find the scientific conspiracies the most baffling part of "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama". They don't even have hired goons or anything, the bad guys are perfectly fine with beating people up in broad daylight while still wearing their fancy clothes. Eggheads have never been so scary.
Fortunately the parts with Yeong-sil are still fairly strong. I like Yeong-sil as a character, and his sense of utter determination. More specifically it's his motivation that really shines. Yeong-sil does not do science for the sake of abstract concepts- he's a scientist because he wants to help enrich the lives of the people. Yeong-sil ultimately decides to fight for his friends, because science is what can bind friendships of any nationality or creed.
As corny as this message is I really do wish "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" would be consistent with it, because passionate performances can sell corniness. They can even sell sadness to a certain extent. The main glaring flaw in "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" as a whole is that there's obviously a lot of passion involved in the production of this drama, it's just very well utilized most of the time.
Take the music. I really love the string music that eventually goes into the bagpipes. At this point I can even feel when we're getting to the kernel of the argument. Yeong-sil starts out with the background and gradually works his way to the part of the explanation that inspires dedication. As character motifs go the bagpipes are quite excellent. They connote formality while also feeling a bit distant and far-off, as are the dreams Yeong-sil has of the future.
This episode is also home to a somewhat dubious honor- this quite possibly has to be the first time I've ever been glad to see a story randomly interrupted by a dance party. It just goes so well with the music! "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" is always able to do such great work with the emotion of joy. Whether it's science or music or friends, everyone loves something and the happiest moment for most of us it just being able to show off that level of ardent devotion. It's moments like that which make me want to give "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" another chance, because when it's good, it's really good.
Review by William Schwartz

"Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" is directed by Kim Yeong-jo, written by Lee Myeong-hee, Ma Chang-joon and features Song Il-gook, Kim Sang-kyeong, Kim Young-cheol, Park Seon-yeong, Kim Do-hyun, Son Byeong-ho,...
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"Happy Home" episode 1 recap

On the first episode of MBC's weekend drama, "Happy Home", Seo Ji-geon (Lee Sang-woo) and Bong Hae-ryeong (Kim So-yeon) encountered for the first time.
Bong Hae-ryeong had to walk far and could get on a bus, after her mother-in-law Jang Kyeong-ok (Seo I-sook) abandoned her on the road.
Bong Hae-ryeong happened to sit next to Seo Ji-geon on the bus. As Bong Hae-ryeong had a hard time because of the painful blister caused by the long walk, Seo Ji-geon handed over a band aid to her.
Bong Hae-ryeong called her husband Yoo Hyeon-gi (Lee Pil-mo) and lied to him that she was with her mother-in-law. Seo Ji-geon overheard the conversation and wondered what was going on.
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Friday, February 26, 2016

[Webtoon Review] Monster Idols (Korean title: 괴물 같은 아이들)

Monster Idols (Korean title: 괴물 같은 아이들), written by Wong-Sik Lee and illustrated by Min Hong, is a fun webtoon that delves into the world of K-pop idols with love and supernatural twists thrown into the mix. 

A young girl Choi Hong is a down-on-her-luck celebrity stylist who catches a lucky break when she gets the opportunity to become the stylist for the insanely popular idol band, Real Monsters. 

The band is composed of the leader Pie, the heartthrob, Lang, the flower boy Seth and the sweet Robin. Yet there is a lot hidden behind their glamorous exterior as Choi discovers the dirty little secret that these four pretty boys are hiding…None of them are human.
They are currently under a spell that that can potentially turn them into human beings if they receive enough love from their fans and that's where Choi comes in to help. Because although Real Monsters are one of the most popular bands in the country, their fashion sense is nonexistent and they constantly get pummeled in the media for their terrible taste.  

Choi realizes that she has a daunting task in front of her. She gets to work rehabilitating their public image but faces a slew of obstacles as she must gain the band's trust and fight against their crazy fans. And as she becomes a part of their world, she also finds that she must deal with her own temptations and jealousy.

Any fans of K-Pop will appreciate this webtoon and how it plays with the idea of fandom. It's light, funny and of course, there is a romance element to it that will get you emotionally attached.  Read Monster Idols over at Spottoon now and follow Choi's journey as she navigates through the supernatural K-Pop world this webtoon has to offer. 
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"Madame Antoine" Episode 11 recap

There's a great scene this episode where Ji-ho, apparently having changed his borderline autistic mind about which women he can like, attempts to start again with Yoo-rim. But Yoo-rim just gets angry at him. Why? Beause Ji-ho is borderline autistic and has been disregarding her feelings for pretty much the entire drama up until now. Yoo-rim behaves like any normal, sensible person would when faced with an obviously manipulative suitor. And that makes me wonder- why can't Hye-rim act like that? Are she and Soo-hyeon really going to go back and forth on who's really lying for the entire drama?
At this point my mind turns off every time I see Hye-rim and Soo-hyeon engage in these kinds of mind games and overthinking postulates. Most appeal for these characters individually is gone, let alone as a couple. All right I'll admit it- Han Ye-seul alternating between super flirty and irrationally unreasonable is a little funny in its own right. But where are either of these characters going as a couple? How have they grown? If anything it seems like they're encouraging each other's worst personality traits.
We keep getting that whole plot point of Soo-hyeon's traumatic childhood being dangled like a carrot. Hye-rim's somewhat interesting backstory as a divorced woman ended up being forgotten after the first few episodes. So what we're left with is these two engaging in increasingly elaborate schemes to get honest answers rather than just talking to each other. Which admittedly wouldn't work anyway since Soo-hyeon lies all the time.
This drama has also managed to convince me that science is a lie, since it's clear now that Soo-hyeon's theory of love is impossible to prove. If MRI machines can even be foiled unintentionally by distracting thoughts, what good are they? Does Soo-hyeon have any evidence aside from the MRI machine readouts? If the whole confession video is just a ploy why go the trouble? Just for the sake of a good prop to show off to donors?
"Madame Antoine" is, at this point, faint little bits of fun cute straining against a production that has completely undercut itself in terms of pulling off a coherent message. The new temporary case comes completely out of nowhere, and seems a tad implausible in the age of easy background checks- anyone who doesn't order one of those is either incompetent or just doesn't care. I've reluctantly had to take the same view of the production team as of late.
Review by William Schwartz
"Madame Antoine" is directed by Kim Yoon-cheol, written by Hong Jin-ah and features Han Ye-seul, Seong Joon and Jinwoon
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"Signal" episode 11 recap

On the 11th episode of tvN's Friday & Saturday drama, "Signal", Hae-yeong (Lee Je-hoon) and Jae-han (Jo Jin-woong)'s last case, 'Injoo high school girl case' began.
Hae-yeong advised Jae-han that there was only one case left and informed him the 'Injoo high school girl case' in 1999 was his last case left to solve.
Hae-yeong asked, "Detective, could you do me a favor? Can you please tell me the truth about what happened in Injoo. It's an important matter for me".
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Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Descendants of the Sun" rated 15.5%

"Descendants of the Sun" is propelling.
According to Nielsen Korea, the new KBS 2TV drama "Descendants of the Sun" rated 15.5% on the 26th. This is 1.2% more than the first episode.
Si-jin (Song Joong-ki) and Mo-yeon (Song Hye-kyo) who broke up, reunited in Ureukeu. Si-jin was dispatched to Ureukeu and Mo-yeon was a star doctor at her hospital before she was dispatched to Ureukeu.
MBC "Happy Ending Once Again" rated 4.7% and SBS "Please Come Back, Mister" rated 7.6%.
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"Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 2 recap

Maya (played by Ra Mi-ran) is the individual in charge of sending dead people back to the world of living temporarily. She's frustrated by how Yeong-soo and Gi-tak have interrupted her planned vacation, and warns these two that the reliving process is a fairly unsatisfying one with many arbitrary rules. Following that Maya nonetheless plops Yeong-soo in the body of Hae-joon (played by Rain), and Gi-tak in the body of Hong-nan (played by Oh Yeon-seo).
I don't know what to make of Maya's rules. They're so rigidly defined it's hard to see how Yeong-soo and Gi-tak are supposed to be able to accomplish anything. Naturally dead people shouldn't be allowed to influence the living willy-nilly but even so, it seems like it would be pretty hard to have any kind of story unless Yeong-soo and Gi-tak can do something. Especially since so far their attempts to ingratiate themselves in the lives of loved ones comes off as unconvincing and forced.
Sometimes these moments even seem pretty blatantly hypocritical. Remember in the first episode when Yeong-soo was abused by an obnoxious customer and forced to suffer awful indignities? This time Yeong-soo returns the same favor to one of his antagonists, and I kept thinking throughout the scene how Yeong-soo was being a jerk. Whether the man in question deserved this treatment was besides the point for me- a person shouldn't waste cosmic gifts on acting petty.
The villains themselves are mostly just small-minded bullies, so the moral distinction here is fairly important. Gi-tak struggles to pick up basic information about what happened after his death, in the process picking fights with nearly everyone who walks across his path. While it's somewhat amusing watching Oh Yeon-soo bumble about with the personality of a massive gangster, in the end, we're looking at a person who thinks he can solve problems by punching people, oblivious to how this has not worked out that well for him in the past.
Maybe the challenge here is that Gi-tak is going to have to learn to play against type in order to do good. Given the trouble has has even getting I-yeon to hear him out, it's clear he's going to have to learn to be a better negotiator. As for Yeong-soo...his character journey appears to be limited to offering an excuse for the camera to linger all over Rain's manly chest. Whilet there might be some visceral appeal to that, so far as story goes there's little of interest in "Please Come Back, Mister" as of yet.
Review by William Schwartz
"Please Come Back, Mister" is directed by Sin Yoon-seob, written by Noh Hye-yeong and features Rain Kim Soo-ro, Kim In-kwon, Oh Yeon-seo, Lee Min-jeong, Lee Honey, Choi Won-yeong, Yoon Park and more
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"Descendants of the Sun" Episode 2 recap

If episode one of "Descendants of the Sun" was about introductions, episode two, coming in on top at 15.5%, fleshed them out and added the rest of the teams that support Si-jin and Mo-yeon. Romance was the priority, but it didn't feel like the show was beating us over the head with it. Instead, the romance that blossomed hit very real walls that were acknowledged by two adults who hold themselves to different belief systems and lifestyles. We all know that will change. The adventure is watching them learn what we already know.

Episode two transitioned the characters over to the fictional land of Uruk where Si-jin's team is tasked with peacekeeping, and Mo-yeon's team is charged with establishing a medical center to care for the locals. This was given in the promotional material, but the sweet part lies in how they get there. On the outside all we see is two people falling for each other, suffering through the trials of their difficult careers, and hoping for respite in romance that doesn't come. We meet more of Mo-yeon's friends: Doctor Lee Chi-hoon (Onew), Doctor Song San-hyeon (Lee Seung-joon), and Nurse Ha Jae-ae (Suh Jung-yeon). The three form an easy rapport with Song Hye-gyo that makes them all feel like old friends, and the immediate connection of the characters with each other and to the viewer is important if this story is going to accomplish what it has started out to do.
The little characterizations are what make the characters loveabe. Si-jin is a formidable leader, but he's also an immature guy who gets his friends in trouble. Mo-yeon is an outstanding surgeon, but she passes her time by looking at X-rays of Si-jin since she doesn't have pictures of him. Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo are wonderfully cast. Joong-ki's ability to change emotions at the drop of a hat magnifies emotions in scenes immensely. Hye-gyo's ability to be incredibly strong and incredibly feminine does a service to women everywhere. She's unpretentious and comfortable in her skin and that gives her "no-nonsense" character extra spunk.

Dialogue in "Descendants of the Sun" is witty and fun, but without making obvious attempts to garner laughs or sighs. It is the music that is much less subtle as it was in the last episode. But the editing of the footage continues to be amazing. The transition from Mo-yeon's intense surgery to Si-jin's dangerous military operation and back, using objects and sounds in the shot as transitional material was genius.
As for the romance, the honesty between Mo-yeon and Si-jin is piercing. They realize that they have fundamental differences: she saves lives with medicine. He protects them by the mechanism of war. Both have the same goal and a very different way of approaching it. Mo-yeon smartly figures out the kind of work he does and that she doesn't want that in her life. He gracefully accepts. Of course this won't stay the case for long, but perhaps that is the point of this episode. Rather than establishing characters, places, and things that happen, perhaps it was about the very thing Mo-yeon mentioned to her colleagues: Life can change in an instant. That change can lead people down paths never dreamed.

The first moment of romantic connection between Si-jin and Mo-yeon was reworked at the end of the episode, with a very significant change at the end, which ties into the idea that life can (and will) do the unexpected. Si-jin believes they are just ships passing, but the posters for the show told us that they will do no such thing.

Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
"Descendants‬ of the Sun" is directed by Lee Eung-bok, written by Kim Eun-sook and Kim Won-seok-II, and features Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo, and Kim Ji-won-I.
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"Happy Ending Once Again" episode 12 recap

Han Mi-mo (Jang Nara) and Song Soo-hyeok (Jeong Kyeong-ho) kissed at exchanged feelings for each other on the twelfth episode of the MBC drama "Happy Ending Once Again".
While Han Mi-mo waited for Song Soo-hyeok who had run away to the States, she realized that his first love was her. She cried at the thought of his confession.
A month later, Song Soo-hyeok appeared in front of her more handsome than ever. Then he told a very surprised Han Mi-mo, "Now I'm going to get serious with my work and my girl".
However, Han Mi-mo was very confused because he wasn't avoiding her but he wasn't approaching her either after that. She didn't want to make the same mistake again.
In the end, Han Mi-mo found Song Soo-hyeok missing her and threw her shoe at him telling him not to show his back. She was afraid she might lose him and was hesitant about approaching him.
However, Song Soo-hyeok approached her and kissed her.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

海上丝路 / Hai Shang Si Lu

  • Title: 海上丝路 / Hai Shang Si Lu
  • Also known as: Maritime Silk Road
  • Genre: Period
  • Episodes: 35
  • Broadcast network: CCTV
  • Broadcast period: 2015
The story is set during the reign of Wu Ze Tian when trading on the silk road became impossible due to attacks by the barbarians. Chinese searches for another trade route and discovers a mysterious nautical chart. Using the chart as a guide, a group of merchants embark on a maritime adventure in which they compete with other South Asian countries to reach the west.

  • Yan Kuan as A Man / Li Long Ji
  • Ady An as Hai Lu
  • Siqin Gao Wa as Wu Ze Tian
  • Jiang Xue (江雪) as Sang Ni
  • Chu Jun Chen (初俊辰) as Hua Ge
  • Xue Fei (薛飞) as Si Ba Tuo
  • Elaine Hsiang as Li Feng
  • Fei Xuan (费璇) as ???
  • Jin Cao (金草) as ???
  • Zhu Xiao Hua (朱晓华) as Zhang Wan Ting
  • Weng Yue Peng (文月朋) as A Qi Nuo
  • Zhen Yi Han (郑宜涵) as Princess Tai Ping
  • Yu Ting Ting (于婷婷) as Leng Yu
  • Gong Fang Min (公方敏) as Xian Ren Zhong
Production Credits 
  • Producer: Sun Xiao Jia 孙晓佳
  • Director: Cai Jing Sheng 蔡晶盛
  • Screenwriter: Xu Run 徐闰

都市妖奇谈 / Du Shi Yao Qi Tan

  • Title: 都市妖奇谈 / Du Shi Yao Qi Tan
  • English title: The Legend of the Monster
  • Genre: Supernatural
  • Episodes: 20
  • Broadcast network: iQIYi
  • Broadcast period: 2016-Feb-26
In year 3018 on a parallel earth, the creatures from the Classic of Mountains and Seas are living among the humans. They have evolved with the humans while secretly preying on them. Three friends from different species, who believe that humans and monsters can live together in harmony, are doing what they could to keep peace between the two sides.

  • Wang Yi Jia (王艺嘉) as Sun Qian
  • Zhang Bin Bin as Liu Di
  • Yang Shi Han (杨世瀚) as Zhou Ying
  • Zheng Ya Wen (郑雅文) as Nan Yu
  • Zheng Xu Dong (郑旭东) as Sun Xiao Long
  • Du Qiao (杜乔) as Xue Tong
  • Zhao Yi Han (赵艺涵) as Yue Rong Huan
  • Zhang Jin He (张津赫) as Tan Yun
  • Zhang Gui Qiang (张贵强) as Zheng Shou Xin
  • Zhao Si (赵思) as Tang Si Ya
  • Chen Guo Liang (陈国良) as Chen Shu
  • Yin Hai Long (阴海龙) as Hou Shu
  • Shi Xing Ke (释行可) as Hei Hu
Production Credits 
  • Original writing (novel): Du Shi Yao Qi Tan (都市妖奇谈) by Ke Rui (可蕊)
  • Producer:
  • Director: Zhang Li 张力

"Descendants of the Sun" rated 14.3%

A new competition has begun and the KBS 2TV drama "Descendants of the Sun" has come in first.
According to Nielsen Korea, the new KBS 2TV drama "Descendants of the Sun" rated 14.3%.
SBS drama "Please Come Back, Mister" rated 6.6%. MBC "One More Happy Ending" came in last with 5.0%.
"Descendants of the Sun" is a blockbuster human melodrama about young soldiers and doctors dreaming of love and passion in the worst conditions starring Song Joong-ki as a soldier and Song Hye-kyo as a doctor.
"Please Come Back, Mister" is a fantasy comedy drama based on a Japanese original about being reborn into this world. The first episode was successful and the cast includes Rain, Kim Soo-ro, Kim In-kwon, Lee Min-jeong, Lee Honey, Oh Yeon-seo, Choi Won-yeong, Yoon Park, Ra Mi-ran, Lee Re and more.
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"One More Happy Ending" episode 11 recap

On the 11th episode of MBC's Wednesday & Thursday drama, "One More Happy Ending", Han Mi-mo (Jang Nara) realized that she was in love with Song Soo-hyeok (Jeong Kyeong-ho) and broke down into tears.
On this day, Han Mi-mo acknowledged to herself that her heart was with Song Soo-hyeok. Han Mi-mo went to Baek Da-jeong (Yoo Da-in) and told her, "I just walked and I'm here. I hope my heart won't be able to feel anything. I hate this. This here found out. And it's too late". And then she broke down into tears.
Han Mi-mo said, "I hate this here. What should I do now" and Baek Da-jeong told her, "Stop hating it. It must be tough for your heart too" and tried to comfort her.
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"Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 1 recap

Yeong-soo (played by Kim In-kwon) is a nebbish department store manager who belatedly realizes his bad night was in fact much worse than just a drunk blackout. He soon meets up with Gi-tak (played by Kim Soo-ro), an ex-convict turned chef who is now in the same mortal predicament. Together they...flash back to the days right before the opener, because as this is the first episode, "Please Come Back, Mister" has to explain its premise and more importantly, why we as viewers should care.
I'm not feeling very optimistic on that front so far. The one genuine laugh "Please Come Back, Mister" got from me was when the conductor rips Yeong-soo a new one about how even though the man means well, he screws up all the time by failing to follow through. Whereas Gi-tak has a legitimately good reason for finding himself in an otherworldly realm, Yeong-soo provoked his bad situation by committing an unnecessarily dangerous deed for no particularly good reason.
There is a fairly interesting parallelism there. Where Yeong-soo fails even the simplest promises to his wife Da-hae (played by Lee Min-jeong), Gi-tak ends up taking his oaths far too seriously when it comes to I-yeon (played by Lee Honey). What's especially fascinating is that the personalities of the female leads mirror their crosswise male counterparts. Where Da-hee is forceful and outspoken, I-yeon is a well-meaning woman who's constantly getting into messes based on her own poor judgment skills.
"Please Come Back, Mister" is another one of those dramas I don't remember liking that much when I actually watched it, but the material does improve significantly the more I think about it. While the main characters lack self-awareness, this is in fact their central character flaw. Observe how by the end Yeong-soo and Gi-tak have very impulsively decided to defy the natural order with no regard to long-term consequences to "set things right". But what if their personalities were the real problem all along?
That much is just speculation. Weirdly enough I felt this introductory episode was pretty unsatisfactory insofar as explaining the premise. The few characters we see who are clearly telegraphed as villains have only the most minimum level of personality, so I can't imagine any plot involving their nefarious schemes is going to be all that satisfactory. Even so, however we look at the situation, Yeong-soo and Gi-tak were responsible for their own deaths, and I don't see how "Please Come Back, Mister" can backtrack on this.
Review by William Schwartz
"Please Come Back, Mister" is directed by Sin Yoon-seob, written by Noh Hye-yeong and features Rain Kim Soo-ro, Kim In-kwon, Oh Yeon-seo, Lee Min-jeong, Lee Honey, Choi Won-yeong, Yoon Park and more
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"Descendants of the Sun" episode 1 recap

It's finally here, folks! KBS's first pre-produced, star-studded drama "Descendants of the Sun". The drama dominated the charts at whopping 14.3%. It's Song Joong-ki's first drama after his mandatory military service, which is all too fitting. He as Soldier Yoo Si-jin is joined by Song Hye-kyo as war doctor Kang Mo-yeon, Jin Goo as Soldier Seo Dae-yeon, and as war doctor Yoon Myeong-joo, Kim Ji-won-I. From the trailers we knew that romance is the thread that will weave through the story, but war and it's trials and horrors will drive the plot as it brings people together and tears them apart. We've been teased for months, and now, without further ado, I bring to you my review of episode 1.

Those fans who have been waiting for Song Joong-ki's comeback will not be disappointed by the role he has chosen, his performance, and, of course, by his post-military body. But before I delve into his role, I have to say that the pre-production is evident. So far, I'm a major fan. The polish on this episode was buffed to a perfect shine. Yes, this is the first episode and it may not last, but even the cuts on the product placement were slick. Light, sound, color, and music were craftily coordinated in fight scenes or scenes full of tension. Camera cuts were well-thought out and the dialogue is well-timed with a touch of humor.
Si-jin and Mo-yeonDOTS_2
The episode was obviously devoted to situational and character development, but there was still excitement in the fight scenes and hospital scenes. The character introduction of young delinquent Kim Gi-beom was a nice foil to upright Dae-yeon in that they both suffer/suffered gang troubles, or at least that's the implication. A lot of the tie-ins were neatly done, including the lovely cameo by Lee Kwang-soo, Song Joong-ki's real-life good friend and oftentimes acting partner.

Such fluidities speak of experience. Director Lee Eung-bok has considerable experience in stories dealing with difficult subject matter: "Secrets", "School 2013", "Dream High", and "Sang Doo! Let's go to school" Hints of difficult pasts gleamed through the cracks in the characters' armor. The character bios that we've read include nothing different from the usual hero and heroine: a rough, cocky soldier with a tragic past and a good-hearted doctor. But what makes this couple special is the sizzling chemistry, and the build up to the action that is sure to come. Writers Kim Eun-sook ("The Heirs", "Secret Garden", and "Lovers in Prague") and Kim Won-seok ("The Queen's Classroom") also have penned a tragic tale or two. Some of Kim Eun-sook's dramas have been a bit precarious, but with the time given by pre-production those rough edges can be smoothed out. If this first episode is an indicator (which it may or may not be), than we have good things to look forward to.
Musically, the background tracks were a bit overbearing, especially when it came to the romantic tunes. This and the generic character outlines are this show's biggest faults, but the characters are on a great path to be molded into interesting people. For example, when Mo-yeon is wrong about Si-jin's character, she apologizes quickly. Such adult behavior is rare amongst adults in K-drama and it is much appreciated.

Most of all, stepping into a story that's in progress and peeking into the lives of the characters is the best part of the show. Si-jin and Dae-yeon are friends and comrades. Dae-yeon and Myeong-joo are estranged lovers. Myeong-joo and Mo-yeon are unfriendly classmates. There is a world that exists that we are made privy to, and that's just cool. The blossoming romance between Si-jin and Mo-yeon took root in those relationships. Most of the main characters know each other and we get to know them as Si-jin and Mo-yeon get to know each other. That process is slow and so we have a lot of mystery and backgrounds to uncover. But that is what the next fifteen episodes are for.
If you're thirsting for something to tide you over until tomorrow, check out Orion's post on her home country Greece where some of the drama was filmed, and her Preview into the show for tasty morsels of information on this promising drama.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
"Descendants of the Sun" is directed by Lee Eung-bok, written by Kim Eun-sook and Kim Won-seok-II, and features Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo, and Kim Ji-won-I.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pied Piper

Title: 피리부는 사나이 / Pied Piper
Chinese Title: 吹笛子的男人
Genre: Action, Thriller, Crime
Episodes: 16 (To Be Confirmed)
Broadcast network: tvN
Broadcast period: 2016-Mar-07 to 2016-Apr-26
Air time: Monday & Tuesday 23:00

Pied Piper focuses on a police negotiation task force that specializes in tense, worst-case scenarios that require highly trained communication. They handle all sorts of cases, from suicide to hostage situations to terrorist attacks, and even war. They do their work with words, not weapons, to neutralize volatile situations before they erupt into full-blown catastrophes.
Joo Sung Chan (Shin Ha Kyun) is a skilled lead negotiator of the police unit that handles volatile, high-risk situations like hostage crises and terrorist threats. Meanwhile, Son Hee Sung (Yoo Joon Sang) is a news anchor and Yeo Myung Ha (Jo Yoon Hee) is a fellow member of the police negotiation squad.