Thursday, April 28, 2016

"Master - God of Noodles" rated 7.6%

There was no hale effect for "Master - God of Noodles" from "Descendants of the Sun".
According to Nielsen Korea, the KBS 2TV drama "Master - God of Noodles" rated 7.6%. This is lower than the first episode of the previous drama, "Descendants of the Sun".
On the first episode, the rivalry between Moo-myeong (Cheon Jeong-myeong) and Kim Gil-do (Jo Jae-hyeon) was depicted.
SBS "Entertainers" rated 7.2% and MBC "Goodbye Mr. Black" 8.7%.
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"Master - God of Noodles" Episode 1 recap

If you think your life is tough, welcome to the world of revenge dramas. "Master - God of Noodles" offers hot noodle dishes and heaps of the famous dish best served cold. The creators waste no time and give us the full backstory between our hero and villain, all the way to the awkward reunion in the present. This is one impressive, stylish and exciting premiere episode. You could cut the tension with a knife. Enter the noodle jokes.
What hit me first about "Master - God of Noodles" is the incredible presentation of the series. This is one very appealing work. From its oppressive atmosphere to its stunning visuals, vibrant representation of different eras, living arrangements, costume design, everything is just beautifully crafted. A lot of creators underestimate the importance of the art. You do not just point a camera and film, as soap operas tend to do. There is so much more to it and this drama's production shows us how it is done.
Moo-myeongTae-ha, Moo-myeong, Gil-yong and Yeo-gyeong
The pacing, presentation, character writing and acting elevate what is quite the basic set up to any revenge work. When I really think about it, this is as typical as it gets. Man wants things, kills to gets things, man things were taken from will have his revenge. There is just so much emotion injected into it that it is riveting. Emotional pain and need for justice and closure are universal topics. This makes the revenge genre very easy to get into.
I know what you are all wondering. What about the noodles? The noodles are very literal in this drama, but also metaphorical. In a way, they are a symbol of something loved and something stolen. They are an idea, brilliant and used for joy in the hands of one person, vile and used for harm in the hands of another. It is great to see meaning placed on them. Also, you will probably need some after this episode.
Moo-myeong's familyGil-do
Which brings us to the juiciest and most twisted noodle of them all. Kim Gil-do (Jo Jae-hyeon) is absolutely terrifying. Most drama villains tend to be cartoonish, some are more human, but this man is neither. Gil-do generates a visceral response of unease and repulsion, because rather than being evil for the sake of being evil, he completely lacks empathy and a concept of right and wrong.
I do have one minor complaint so far. I feel Gil-do's illegal acts are kind of rushed. It is kind of tough to believe that he would do so many things and never get caught. On the other hand, the introduction spans over several decades and he is intelligent enough for it to be plausible. Moo-myeong (Cheon Jeong-myeong) will need more than noodles to handle this one. Now excuse me while I go have some.
"Master - God of Noodles" is directed by Kim Jong-yeon and Lim Se-joon, written by Cha Seung-dae and features Cheon Jeong-myeong, Jo Jae-hyeon, Jeong Yoo-mi and Lee Sang-yeob.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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"Entertainers" Episode 3 recap

As with all of the strongest dramas, "Entertainers" has begun to put together the one thing that always grabs at hearts and convinces the viewer to invest into it. It has created a family, a band family. A group of hurting misfits band together (pun intended) for the love of music, and will most certainly learn to love each other. Even ruthless Seok-ho is starting to show his gooey center. Perhaps that is helping the climbing rating - a 7.2%.

While Seok-ho endeavors to pick his life and career up off of the ground, so do Ha-neul, Kyle (Gong Myeong), and Green. The ranks of the misfits grows larger with not one, but two more people who don't quite belong: twenty-five-year-old single father Na Yeon-soo (Lee Tae-seon) and his adorable five-year-old son, Chan-hee. Nearly broke Seok-ho and his band of ex-cons and single fathers are aiming to find their way into our hearts.
There are several mysteries running deep within the veins of our characters and fueling their pain. Foremost is Ha-neul's rape accusation by Lee Ji-yeong. Why did she do it? And was Joo-han in on it? Seok-ho suggested helping him look into it to make the band viable in the industry, but I have a feeling it will make Seok-ho less focused on material success and more focused on his growing band family. Then we have the backstory that is shared by Seok-ho and Ha-neul and Ha-neul's dead older brother. In that we also have the mystery of how Green connected with them. So much juicy material to explore.

Newbie actor Lee Tae-seon playing single father Na Yeon-soo is utterly delightful. He smiles in a way that makes him seem foolish, but his kind heart that sympathizes with pain and his experience from being a young father in a very judging society make him tougher than he seems. My favorite moment of the episode was when he and his son painted over the slurs sprayed painted on the wall of Ha-neul's and Green's home. Kyle isn't quite as mature as Yeon-soo, but we see that he is not slow. He sees and understands much more than he lets on. I'm surprised Green hasn't gotten as much development as these guys. Mostly she's an overworked, overprotective big sister who doesn't care what Seok-ho says, she's going to take care of her brother at any cost! Including giving up everything to be his manager!
A few small things I enjoyed: Park Shin-hye's cameo as a maknae PD. Ha-neul's shirt saying "guilty" in English. Probably not the best wardrobe choice. The use of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" when Seok-ho realizes that he knows Ha-neul from long ago via the "Nevermind" album. A bigger thing I appreciated was Ha-neul thinking of others and quitting the band. It may seem like the typical "noble idiot" trope, but in this case, he could really damage a young father and his song, Kyle's burgeoning guitar career, and Seok-ho's path of career redemption. Ha-neul has no faith in himself, but that's okay. His new family will help him build that. I have faith in them.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
"Entertainers" is directed by Hong Seong-chang and Lee Gwang-yeong, written by Yoo Yeong-ah, and features Ji Seong, Hyeri, Kang Min-hyuk, Chae Jeong-an, Jeon No-min, and Jeong Man-sik.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"Monster - 2016" rated 8.2%

The fight for second place is intense.
According to Nielsen Korea, the tenth episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" rated 12.6%.
This is 0.1% less than the previous episode but still in first place.
SBS drama "Jackpot" and MBC drama "Monster - 2016" are fighting for second place.
The tenth episode of "Jackpot" rated 8.9% which is 0.9% more than the previous episode.
On the other hand, "Monster - 2016" which was 2nd yesterday, rated only 8.2% and fell to 3rd place.
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"Jackpot" Episode 10 recap

This episode of "Jackpot" brought it up to 8.9% and into second place. There was some romance, a smidge of character growth, and plenty of revenge. Despite all fo that, I was extremely disinterested in the episode. It was very explanation oriented and lacked the action that defined earlier episodes. I never thought I'd say that.

What was solid about this episode was the direction. Dae-gil's training and his growth were stunningly filmed. The director fully utilized the beautiful scenery to enhance how far Dae-gil had come in a year's time. With that said, however, I wish we had seen more of how Dae-gil and his teacher interacted, how they grew close, how the teacher became a surrogate father for the young orphan who'd lost everything. Instead we only see the aftermath, Dae-gil grown strong and sad to leave the teacher who loves him equally well. It's beautiful, but ill-founded.
That holds true for the love that both Dae-gil and Yeoning feel for Dam-seo. The romance has been poorly established. Dam-seo's affections for Dae-gil are a little more strongly grounded, but I'd like to have a bit more to go on. Yeo Jin-goo is quite the dashing man in love while I'm still wishing for Lim Ji-yeon to have more expression on her face. she improved a bit when she met the king and discovered the truth behind her father's murder, but the efforts behind her emotions are obvious.

I do think the show actually heard my yapping because In-jwa finally showed fallibility! Hooray! He was furious when Dam-seo left him and released his anger violently against his enemies afterwards. I do believe he'd be violent in any case, but the shouting grew from his sadness and frustration in losing Dam-seo. It made him a more relatable villain.
As for character development, the past two episodes have focused on Yeoning and how he is navigating palace politics, his feelings for Dam-seo, his desire to instigate change for good, and his frustrations at how palace politics have trapped him. Dae-gil, on the other hand, hasn't received very much screen time or attentions, which for a week is fine, but it should not continue this way. All we saw of him was his training and newfound confidence.

The story has circled back around to gambling and added three villains for Dae-gil and Yeoning to battle against. I do like that the brothers have similar goals, and that they walk parallel paths at a similar pace. They have a common goal of crushing In-jwa. They have a common love in Dam-seo. But despite all these commonalities, they are different and the story has made that clear. They think differently, work differently, grew up differently.

Now if only the show would pick up the pace just a tad.

What did you think of this week's episode HanCinema readers?

Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'

"Jackpot" is directed by Nam Geon, written by Kwon Soon-gyoo, and features Jang Geun-seok, Yeo Jin-goo, Jeon Kwan-ryeol, Choi Min-soo, Lim Ji-yeon, and Yoon Jin-seo.

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"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" Episode 10 recap

Everyone give the flashback fairy a round of applause, because she is here and she brings a lot of backstory with her. Episode ten gives us a little look into Deul-ho's and Hae-kyeong's less than blissful life together, as well as his musical interrogation room meetings with Dae-soo. I find myself with more questions than answers, but the past is returning and maybe bringing those answers with it. Chairman Jeong's time has come yet again.
"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" knows how much to give and how much to keep, I have to hand it to its creators. I have been hoping to see a redeeming revelation for Hae-kyeong (Park Sol-mi), but they are cleverly avoiding the details of her involvement in framing Deul-ho (Park Shin-yang) and keeping Soo-bin (Heo Jeong-eun) away. On the other hand, we find out their marriage was not so great. Deul-ho was away and Hae-kyeong was ashamed of his humble origins. This is where Eun-jo (Kang So-ra) comes in.
Deul-hoDae-soo and Ae-ra
Eun-jo is definitely not looking like a romantic partner, the series is pretty clear with that, but she admires and respects Deul-ho in the same way Hae-kyeong used to. I am not feeling a reunion with Hae-kyeong at this point, but I know we may get it. Korean dramas sometimes place the family unit's integrity over the well-being and compatibility of its members. Hae-kyeong needs redemption if a reunion is their choice.
In other love-related news, Eun-jo gets some from the creators and she is officially our team's money-maker. I really like her discussion with Deul-ho, because she points out two realities he has been ignoring for a while. One, he is a hero for people and it is a position he needs to take seriously and two, even heroes need money. I look forward to her future, because her step-father makes the battle with Chairman Jeong (Jeong Won-joong) personal to her as well.
Eun-joSin-woo and Yeong-il
Speaking of our baddies, the series continues to balance them out. I have been side-eying Shin-woo (Kang Shin-il) for his involvement in Deu-ho's downfall and have been considering Yeong-il (Kim Kap-soo) a more reformed type, but both have enabled each other to be dishonest. Both essentially sacrifice their families for their ambitions and that is what might eventually cost them those families.
Start repenting soon, baddies, because Deul-ho has just found his opening to jump back at your throats. Now that he, Eun-jo and the team of Neighborhood Weirdos can sustain themselves, things will get interesting for you. I have not spoken much about the team, but I love them. I love them dearly and I cannot wait to see them serve up some justice. Get your blood pressure pills ready, Chairman Jeong.
"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" is directed by Lee Jung-seob, written by Lee Hyang-hee and features Park Shin-yang, Kang So-ra, Ryoo Soo-yeong and Park Sol-mi.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" recorded 12.7%

Park Shin-yang, Kang So-ra, Ryoo Soo-yeong and Park Sol-mi's "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" came in first.
According to Nielsen Korea, the KBS 2TV drama "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" recorded 12.7%. This is 0.6% higher than the previous 8th episode. The Seoul metropolitan percentage alone resulted in 17.8%.
At the same time, MBC drama "Monster - 2016" rated 8.1% and came in second while SBS "Jackpot" dropped by 0.7% to 8.0% and came in last.
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"Vampire Detective" Episode 5 recap

While the vampire side of things remains benched, we have some welcome forward movement in character development in episode five, sparked by what is probably the most interesting guest character yet. The case itself is very entertaining and nicely presented, giving us plenty of suspects and inviting us to a guessing game. Worry not, Yo-na is still around and she is very eager to have a piece of San, figuratively and very literally so.
Yoon Seol-ah (Goo Jae-yee) is really the core of this episode and one half of what sets it apart from the rest. "Vampire Detective" has been using its guest characters to reveal more about our leads and especially San (Lee Joon), but it goes deeper this time. Seol-ah's life as an actress might be worlds apart from the life of a detective, a girl with a secret and a vampire, but she shares the common pain of responsibilities she did not ask for and the consequences of she has to live with.
Goo-hyeong, Gyeo-wool and SanA threat
We already knew San still carries a deep wound from what happened in his past, but I personally did not think it went as far as suicidal thoughts. Perhaps he was trying to be intimidating, but I can also believe he has lost the will to rediscover the joy in life. Gyeo-wool (Lee Se-yeong) becomes more interesting every time and I look forward to her story as well as Goo-hyeong's (Oh Jeong-se), who is the least developed lead.
The second reason why this episode marks a fresh take on things is because we are presented with a case unrelated to our main story and which offers more character development than most previous episodes combined. I am not going to bore you by repeating my complaints over how the vampire element is underdeveloped and feels unnecessary, but at least the series is beginning to address its character issues. My hope is that the creators plan more seasons and that this why the main plot is stretched so thin.
Goo-hyeong and SanSeol-ah and Yeong-rin
Another element which appeals to me is that our culprits' misguided hate ties into the main story despite their case being unrelated to it. The reason why things got this bad is because the two criminals chose to ruin their lives by placing blame where blame did not belong. One because he was hurt, the other because she was jealous. San blames Yoo-jin (Kim Yoon-hye) for his refusal to move on and Yo-na (Lee Cheong-ah) envies humans, so she hurts them.
I am not sure whether the creators intended to mirror the hero's and villain's conflicts through these guest characters or whether I am just reading too much into it and finding meaning where it does not exist, but this is one element I wish we get more of in "Vampire Detective". Now give Goo-hyeong some love too, creators. He has waited long enough.
"Vampire Detective" is directed by Kim Ga-ram and Lee Seung-hoon-IV, written by Yoo Youngseon and features Lee Joon, Oh Jeong-se, Lee Se-yeong and Lee Cheong-ah.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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"Jackpot" Episode 9 recap

"Jackpot" came in at the bottom of the pack at 8.0%, but the quality of the show is better than it has been. There is plot movement, character development, action, and political happenings that aren't deadly dull. Not to say that the show doesn't have flaws, but the tone has settled alongside the no-longer-erratic pacing.

The biggest flaw in the show is that both King Seokjong and In-jwa are nearly omniscient. They manipulate everything in a way that is completely unrealistic in the same way that the guiding force of luck that hovered so closely to Dae-gil was unrealistic. Speaking of luck, we haven't seen any sign of Dae-gil's luck, only of his hard work. In terms of character development I appreciate it's absence. But in terms of continuity I'm wondering where in the world it went. I expect it'll be back when the writer finds it convenient.
Jang Geun-seok is certainly getting quite the workout. His action scenes are realistic and his confusion over Dam-seo is quite clear. I only wish Lim Ji-yeon would emote similarly. Her face has two expressions: blank and pained. She's so painfully lovely that the camera loves her, but there is only so far beauty can take an actress. She needs to open up emotionally to play the role she is in. Dam-seo is full of revenge, but also full of doubt and insecurity and loneliness, and those emotions are weakly portrayed. Ji Il-joo as Moo-myeong has a much smaller role and he's incredibly emotive with the rather bland character he's been given.

I'm not convinced by Dae-gil's teacher, Kim Chae-geon. He's another character who seems to be omniscient. These characters would be easier to relate to if they were more fallible. If we saw cracks in their facades and a little of what they care about. Luckily the drama brought in Han Jeong-soo as Hwang Jin-ki, Chae-geon's former underling and now enemy. Han is an excellent actor and brings wonderful layering to a currently one-sided character.
Rather than In-jwa manipulating everythign and the story reacting to that, I'd love to see some variety and color. Dae-gil's character is either all goofy, all full of vengence, or all serious. What about a blend of all those things? The lack of variety means the show has gone from one extreme to another, completely over-the-top to brooding and introspective.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'

"Jackpot" is directed by Nam Geon, written by Kwon Soon-gyoo, and features Jang Geun-seok, Yeo Jin-goo, Jeon Kwan-ryeol, Choi Min-soo, Lim Ji-yeon, and Yoon Jin-seo.
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"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" Episode 9 recap

"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" can go heavy on the sugar-coating and feel-good approach at times, but I cannot blame a show for trying to give some hope and joy. The time has come for our food criminal to get her just des(s)erts in this case and Deul-ho is definitely eager to provide. Eun-jo is hanging onto her dream and desired mentor, but life is not so peachy when you are broke. Hire her already!
With one episode left until we are half way into the show, I do feel slightly disappointed over Eun-jo (Kang So-ra) having taken the back seat too long. Seeing some progress in her work with the Neighborhood Weirdos and also her current life situation is a nice change. I have been wondering how she supports herself through this and now we know she does not. It speaks volumes about her determination to become a good lawyer that she sacrifices so much for it. Deul-ho's (Park Shin-yang) own determination is tested by the reality of ungrateful clients.
Deul-ho and Eun-joJa-yeong
It is regretful that the mothers are such stereotypes, because parents and especially mothers do struggle between family and work in Korea. It feels unfair to show them as a collective so uncaring of their children's well-being. Instead, a person who was feeding children garbage is given forced redemption. Her abrupt change is too unbelievable. At least they use her to finally address our team's luck in getting away with inappropriate methods.
Moving on to more satisfying developments, I am so relieved to see Ji-wook (Ryoo Soo-yeong) does not cross over to the dark side. He still uses all he has to win and that urge is strong, but it never crosses the line into crime and cruelty. I want to like him and I am afraid for him. His father is torn as well. He wants Ji-wook to be just and avoid becoming like him. I appreciate the creators for this moral complexity. Korean drama characters can get too one-dimensional.
Ji-wookNeighorhood Weirdos
While we do get such delightfully human characters, I could never call "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" a realistic series. Its world is presented through rose-tinted glasses. I would not blame anyone for not being able to fully connect to the drama due to this. Personally, I do roll my eyes and find its outcomes too idealistic and difficult to acknowledge and relate to at times.
The world is not fair and the good guys do not always win. However, good people exist. No matter how big or small their actions are, they can make a difference in someone's life by taking interest. I love the drama for trying to remind us that. If I have one wish, it would be for Deul-ho to lose a case and see an innocent person jailed or defend a good person who is guilty. Personal greed aside, I am pleased.
"Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" is directed by Lee Jung-seob, written by Lee Hyang-hee and features Park Shin-yang, Kang So-ra, Ryoo Soo-yeong and Park Sol-mi.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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Monday, April 25, 2016

"Marriage Contract" final rated 22.4%

"Mrs. Cop 2" dropped slightly.
According to Nielsen Korea, the sixteenth episode of the SBS weekend drama "Mrs. Cop 2" recorded a percentage of 9.3%.
This is a 0.2% decrease from the last episode and this puts it in the bottom of the line.
Lee Ro-joon (Kim Beom) and Ko Yoon-jeong (Kim Seong-ryeong) continued to encounter each other on the worst of terms.
MBC "Happy Home" rated 15.4%, "Marriage Contract" 22.4%, KBS 2TV "Five Children" 29.2% and SBS "Yeah, That's How It Is" 9.6%.
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"Marriage Contract" Episode 16 Final recap

The balance between inevitable tragedy and familial contentment is rather off as the ending to "Marriage Contract" is frustratingly open-ended. It's not even ambiguous or anything- most of the conflicts are straight up left unresolved, and there's no epilogue. Just a recap of what's happened. For a sense of perspective, the last we see of Seong-gook, he's randomly throwing things. We don't get to see what happened to Jeong-hoon at all.
Although as usual, Na-yoon bothers me most in the supporting cast. She receives a somewhat happy ending even though there's precious little evidence she actually appreciates that her behavior was inappropriate beyond Ji-hoon's lack of reciprocal interest. Ji-hoon remains surprisingly unbothered by the fact that she led his brother on to the point of engagement. I would have a great deal of trouble being civil to any woman who treated my brother that way, no matter the circumstances.
Which is also probably why I was so disappointed in the last episode of "Marriage Contract". As a melodrama, the success of "Marriage Contract" has always been in its ability to provoke a visceral reaction in viewers. I've been really into the internal struggles Ji-hoon and Hye-soo have faced to date because there was this sense of inevitability, this power of reality, that in the darkest moments was this all-encompassing force of impending dread. And then the production team just sidesteps that to deliver a mostly harmless and conflict-free resolution.
Sure, there's a big romantic kiss in there. Yet the payout feels rather hollow and unearned because there's no emphasis on the long term. Indeed, scenes immediately following the kiss demonstrate how no one's really acting like Hye-soo is a sick woman who needs to be taken care of. Considering how Ji-hoon is still at an awkward place with his own family, in broad perspective "Marriage Contract" seems to be trying to give us a happy ending without actually dealing with the obstacles that had been preventing that outcome.
Bits and pieces do remain all right, but much of the resolution only served to remind me of how underdeveloped the smaller story elements were. Hye-soo has the heartfelt meeting with her dead husband's mother, except we don't really know why they were estranged in the first place. Characters at the restaurant have distinct personalities, yet no real meaningful presence in the story. Possible romantic subplots never went anywhere. Oh well. At least the melodrama was pretty effective, while it lasted.
Review by William Schwartz
"Marriage Contract" is directed by Kim Jin-min-I, written by Jeong Yoo-kyeong and features Lee Seo-jin, UEE, Kim Yong-geon, Park Jeong-soo, Lee Hwi-hyang and Kim Yeong-pil.
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Sunday, April 24, 2016

옥중화 / The Flower in Prison

Title: 옥중화 / The Flower in Prison
Chinese Title: 獄中花
Genre: Historical, Melodrama, Legal
Episodes: 50 (To Be Confirmed)
Broadcast network: MBC
Broadcast period: 2016-Apr-30 to 2016-Oct-16
Air time: Saturday & Sunday 22:00

The drama depicts the efforts by the main character, Lee Seo Won (Jin Se Yun) born in prison, who helps people unfairly accused, using Waeji-bu, the private litigation system in Joseon.

별난 가족 / Strange Family

Title: 별난 가족 / Strange Family
Chinese Title: 怪異家族
Genre: Family, Romance
Episodes: 120
Broadcast network: KBS1
Broadcast period: 2016-May-02
Air time: Monday to Friday 20:25

농촌을 살리겠다는 꿈을 가지고 서울로 온 단이와 시골출신인 신분을 버리고 신데렐라를 꿈꾸는 삼월. 전혀 다른 꿈을 안고 서울에 입성한 이들의 성공과 좌절의 순간들을 통해 2016년 서울 드림은 어떤 모습인지 그려내는 드라마.

좋은 사람 / Good Person

Title: 좋은 사람 / Good Person
Chinese Title: 好人
Genre: Melodrama
Episodes: 120 (To Be Confirmed)
Broadcast network: MBC
Broadcast period: 2015-May-02
Air time: Monday to Friday 7:50

A drama about being hurt and comforted by people at the same time and realizing there’s hope in them.
Yoon Jung Won (Woo Hee Jin) has a happy marriage with her husband. She works as an insurance saleswoman to support her family and she likes talking with other people. A sudden accident occurs that kills her husband and Jung Won becomes involved in an incident. She is falsely accused and struggles to clear her name.

또 오해영 / Another Miss Oh

Title: 또 오해영 / Another Miss Oh
Chinese Title: 又,吳海英
Also Known as: Another Oh Hae Young / Oh Hae Young Again
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Episodes: 16 (To Be Confirmed)
Broadcast network: tvN
Broadcast period: 2016-May-02 to 2016-June-21
Air time: Monday & Tuesday 23:00

A romantic drama about two women with the same name of Oh Hae Young (Seo Hyun Jin & Jun Hye Bin) and a man, Park Do Kyung (Eric) who has the ability to see the future.

마녀보감 / Mirror of the Witch

Title: 마녀보감 / Mirror of the Witch
Chinese Title: 魔女寶鑑
Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Episodes: 16 (To Be Confirmed)
Broadcast network: jTBC
Broadcast period: 2016-May-13 to 2016-July-02
Air time: Friday & Saturday 20:30

The series is inspired by the “Mirror of Eastern Medicine (Dongui Bogam)” a book compiled by the royal physician Heo Jun and published during the Joseon Dynasty and considered a classic in the study of Korean traditional medicine.
Can a young royal physician change the fate of a cursed princess? When Queen Shim (Jang Hee Jin) is unable to conceive, she visits the shaman Hong Joo (Yum Jung Ah). Hong Joo’s powerful black magic helps the Queen give birth to a twin boy and girl, Soon Hwae (Yeo Hoe Hyun) and Seo Ri (Kim Sae Ron). But the dark sorcery comes with a price when Seo Ri is cursed, causing her to be abandoned and left for dead by the Queen. Seo Ri is rescued by the father of Poong Yeon (Kwak Shi Yang), who becomes her only friend as she grows up in hiding. With Poong Yeon and her helper, Choi Hyun Seo (Lee Sung Jae), by her side, Seo Ri grows up as a witch, all the while trying to figure out how to lift the evil curse on her life. When Seo Ri meets the royal physician Heo Jun (Yoon Shi Yoon), will he help her change her fate and reclaim her rightful place? (Source)

디어 마이 프렌즈 / Dear My Friends

Title: 디어 마이 프렌즈 / Dear My Friends
Genre: Family, Comedy
Episodes: 16 (To Be Confirmed)
Broadcast network: tvN
Broadcast period: 2016-May-13 to 2016-July-02
Air time: Friday & Saturday 20:30

TVN Presents this drama in celebration of 10th Year Anniversary.
This drama will depict the life story of the ones in their twilight years, who raise their voices as “It’s not over, We’re still alive”.

"Goblin" (2016)

Added the upcoming Korean drama "Goblin"'s page to HanCinema database

"Goblin" (2016)

Written by Kim Eun-sook
Network : tvN
With Gong Yoo,...

"Goblin" is about a 'protective goblin' who needs a human priest to end his immortal life, and an Angel of Death living together. The drama is a wonderful but sad one as the goblin and the Angel of Death sees the Dead off into the other world. The drama will be released in November.

Broadcast starting date in Korea : 2016/11
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[Preview] "Master - God of Noodles"

Revenge has been taken in all manner of ways in a genre very favored by Korean drama. The basics of these premises remain very similar, something which sadly extends to their entire plots sometimes. Worry not, however, because a new type of revenge has arrived. An apron is his cape and a rolling pin his weapon. It sounds funny, but do not underestimate "Master - God of Noodles".
Moo-myeong (Cheon Jeong-myeong), which means "nameless", is a man whose father was murdered and life was ruined by Kim Gil-do (Jo Jae-hyeon). With his new anonymous identity, he plans to become a master noodle cook and take back what was stolen from him.
The Worrying
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Knead for Revenge?
As I mention earlier, revenge dramas can get lazy and reuse the same concepts. A drama based on a manhwa (comic) with such a unique premise as "revenge through noodles" sounds fresh. At the same time, I cannot imagine how noodle making can stop a powerful villain and I worry about what Dramaland will do with this element of the story.
KBS and Writer History
Chae Seung-dae was the main writer of KBS' "Inspiring Generation". The drama was doing great quality-wise before he was replaced, and the explanation given by KBS is one I take with a huge block of salt. If the channel allowed the series to be taken away, are they ready to support him this time? If he truly quit because a full drama was too demanding for him, can he handle it now?
The Reassuring
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A Fine Cast
Major stars in serious works are always a worry, because they come with certain expectations and followers. A cast without too wide an appeal might not entice as many viewers, but it is one I trust more to keep the focus where it needs to be. I used to find Cheon Jeong-myeong lacking, but he has improved immensely. I have faith in him and Jo Jae-hyeon carrying this drama well.
Promotional Material
It is always smart to not be swayed by drama promos, as they are often worlds apart from the actual series, but seeing the care going into the promotion for this one does tempt me to feel reassured. At least style-wise, this is looking dark, gritty and cool. A welcome change from the soapiness often seen in revenge dramas.
Final Thoughts
"Master - God of Noodles" has the cast, the crew, the source material and style of a great series. Coming after mega-hit "Descendants of the Sun" means there is a lot of pressure on the production, but they will hopefully keep calm and do well. Start hoarding those noodles, folks. Vengeful or not, they will definitely look yummy.
"Master - God of Noodles" begins its run on April 27th and will air every Wednesday and Thursday at 22:00, on KBS2. It is directed by Kim Jong-yeon and Lim Se-joon, written by Chae Seung-dae and features Cheon Jeong-myeong, Jo Jae-hyeon, Jeong Yoo-mi and Lee Sang-yeob.
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Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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"Marriage Contract" Episode 15 recap

There's this real magnetic quality we get from Lee Seo-jin and UEE. No matter how bad the situation gets, no matter how obvious it is that this story will have a tragic ending, as long as Ji-hoon and Hye-soo are together, they will not give up. "Marriage Contract" is their story of sheer determination. It hits all the harder because we've seen Ji-hoon and Hye-soo alone and know that absent positive reenforcement they struggle to achieve the simplest tasks.
I frequently see "Marriage Contract" less as a story about romance and more about the power of a supportive family as a stabilizing influence. Compare the Ji-hoon/Hye-soo relationship with the paternal one between Seong-gook and Jeong-hoon. Seong-gook patronizes and belittles his son without offering any kind of pathway to genuine affection. I continue to just feel sorry for Jeong-hoon, even if someone finally sticks up for him this episode.
Most of the one-on-one emotional scenes here are quite strong. Another good case is Ji-hoon's conversation with Mi-ran, where he has to explain his unreasonable desire not give up on Hye-soo. It's just the way Lee Seo-jin breaks down and cracks, fully admitting his own powerlessness and begging for some kind of encouragement, any kind of encouragement, because that's what he needs right now- support. Those feelings are easy to identify with because pretty much everyone has had moments where we need someone, anyone, to tell us to brave the emotional hazard and charge on full speed ahead.
Eun-seong's interruptions, though, are also quite welcome. Eun-seong is useful as a character because she demonstrates how Ji-hoon's affection for Hye-soo is not skin deep. Whereas a boilerplate bad stepdad figure would be annoyed at kids butting in and ruining romance, for Ji-hoon, Eun-seong is an essential part of the whole package. She's a responsibility. Ji-hoon can be the dad to her that he's always wanted, rather than the Seong-gook who exists now.
It's the overwhelming strength of sentiment that really powers "Marriage Contract" through. The drama identifies so strongly with the basic despair in the human condition that, as usual, I can forgive some of the more annoying tropes. Take the way the final sequence counts down to ultimate tragedy, while the actual cliffhanger leaves us frustratingly ill-informed as to what exactly has just happened. That's how you leave a viewer desperately impatient for the final episode- genuinely unsure whether the victor will be hope, or the standard melodramatic format.
Review by William Schwartz
"Marriage Contract" is directed by Kim Jin-min-I, written by Jeong Yoo-kyeong and features Lee Seo-jin, UEE, Kim Yong-geon, Park Jeong-soo, Lee Hwi-hyang and Kim Yeong-pil.
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"Five Children" episode 19 recap

On the episode 19 of KBS 2TV's weekend drama, "Five Children", Lee Sang-tae (Ahn Jae-wook) took off his wedding ring.
Lee Sang-tae received almonds as a gift from his mother-in-law, Park Ok-soon (Song Ok-sook) and he gave away the entire containers to his employees. When Ahn Mi-jeong (So Yoo-jin) opened the container along with other female employees, she happened to find a letter written by Park Ok-soon in the container.
Park Ok-soon wrote on the letter, "This is a letter for my dear son. You're a precious son to us, just by being there. The spring is here and we've prepared an event for you. You're the pillar and a treasure of our home. We love you, son. I cheer for you and wish you a healthy and happy life at your workplace".
When Lee Sang-tae found out about this later, he told Ahn Mi-jeong, "My mother-in-law put the letter in there. I had no idea. I'm sorry I am careless". Ahn Mi-jeong responded, "You've already seen everything of me, good and bad. You don't have to try to excuse yourself".
Ahn Mi-jeong also was surprised to notice that Lee Sang-tae took off his wedding ring. Lee Sang-tae confessed he took off the ring for Ahn Mi-jeong. Ahn Mi-jeong said, "I'm really ok. But since you're saying you took off the ring for me, it makes me feel really happy. My heart is touched, because you read my mind even though I didn't say anyting".
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"Descendants of the Sun" Special 3 recap

"Descendants of the Sun" aired its last special today and it was full of the goodies I wished that the first two had contained. We got interviews, behind the scenes, stories, cute moments, history, and more. It was a fun hour of insight into the insanely popular show whose ratings climaxed at 38.8%, whose Chinese views reached 3 billion, and who has had countless parodies made of its memorable scenes.

The last special was full of interviews with Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo, Kim Ji-won-I, and Directors Baek Sang-hoon and Lee Eung-bok. The actors and directors showcase their real personalities and how they transition in and out of character. We see how much Song Hye-kyo loves to laugh, how Song Joong-ki is a tad klutzy, how Jin Goo is a total jokester and how Kim Jin-won-I is quiet and demure. Song Joong-ki talks about how he approached the script and what he liked about it. And there is so much more. Check it out:
1) Song Joong-ki and Jin Goo played rock, paper, scissors in order to determine which girl group gets mentioned on screen.

2) Song Joong-ki gets embarrassed by a bare midriff right by his face.

3) Song Hye-kyo explaining why she likes the assertive Kang Mo-yeon.

4) Song Joong-ki trains for all his own actions scenes, was hurt, and still perservered.

5) Jin Goo received a birthday song and cake from the staff and Song Joong-ki in a Pororo Hat.

6) Kim Min-seok was declared the mascot.

7) Song Hye-kyo's drinking habits inspired a scene.

8) Several of our favorite scenes had unfavorable filming conditions and yet they turned out great.

9) Jin Goo showing how he helped and cared for Kim Ji-won-I.

10) Shin Bo-ra did a group interview with Lee Seung-joon, Onew, and Jo Jae-yoon that included a category game. The categories were: The Most Unique Couples, 3 Scenes with a Twist, Scene Stealers.
Please check out the episode below to find out more about these awesome "Descendants of the Sun" goodies that were filmed along with the drama over 258 days. Thank you "Descendants of the Sun" for bringing Korean drama to the fore in many places where it wasn't. You weren't by any means perfect, but you were fun to watch, and you were a vehicle for discussion and change. This may be goodbye, but for many of us, it's only goodbye for now.

HanCinema fans, did you enjoy the special? What was your favorite behind-the-scenes secret? Will you be watching "Descendants of the Sun" again?
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
"Descendants‬ of the Sun" is directed by Lee Eung-bok, Baek Sang-hoon, 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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