Friday, October 13, 2017

tvN 'Buam-dong Avengers" episode 2 recap

On the latest episode of the tvN drama "Buam-dong Avengers", Hong Do-hee (Ra Mi-ran) received help from Lee Mi-sook (Myung Se-bin) and Kim Jeong-hye (Lee Yo-won) and got her revenge.
With Jeong-hye's help, Do-hee sought out a lawyer's advice and dressed up. She met Gil-yeon (Jung Young-ju), the mother who had demanded settlement because her son was allegedly hurt by Do-hee's son. Do-hee asked her for a negotiation.
However, Gil-yeon wouldn't back off. Then, Jeong-hye began to act friendly towards Do-hee. Gil-yeon realized her landlord Jeong-hye was close with Do-hee and lowered the price. Do-hee, Mi-sook, and Jeong-hye celebrated at Do-hee's house.
Source : star.moneytoday.co.kr...
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"Hospital Ship" episodes 27 - 28 recap

Kang Min-hyuk is the warm and gentle guy on "Hospital Ship", but he turns fierce when it comes to the woman he loves.
On the latest episode of the MBC drama "Hospital Ship", a fight broke out between gangs and shots were fired. A boss was hit and his subordinates searched for Song Eun-jae (Ha Ji-won) to operate, taking the ship hostage.
The head of the gang held Kang Jeong-ho (Song Ji-ho) at gun point and checked the duty schedule for Eun-jae's name. They went in search of her and when they found her said, "We heard you're the best, come and operate".
Kwak Hyeon (Kang Min-hyuk) stood up and a gangster shot his gun into the air. However, Kwak Hyeon continued, "It's impossible for her to operate on her own. I will go with you".
Song Eun-jae and Gwak Hyeon collected surgical tools. Song Eun-jae aksed why he was doing that and Kwak Hyeon said, "I can't let you go alone". The two were taken away by the gangsters to where the victim was.
Source : www.osen.co.kr/articl...
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"Mad Dog" episode 2 recap

Ryu Hwa-young is sexy on the new KBS 2TV drama "Mad Dog". Her character Jang Ha-ri captured the viewer's attention with one appearance in a form-fitting black mini-dress.
In the episode, she snuck into a hospital to collect evidence, dressed to kill and sporting red lipstick.
She pretended to visit the hospital to see her doctor with a bad leg and used the opportunity to seduce him. She used her low cut dress to convince the doctor to hand over the files.
Source : www.sportsseoul.com/n...
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"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 11-12 recap

After the previous big lawyer storyline was resolved fairly realistically without having to go to trial, I was optimistic for writer Park Hye-ryeon's further legal plots. Unfortunately, the new case takes some massive steps backwards. First of all, the trial we see is obviously based on American jurisprudence. The notion of reasonable doubt, the 1% factor Yoo-beom keeps discussing, does not exist in South Korean law.
Although the whole case is so fundamentally flawed it's not even based on American jurisprudence so much as laughably inaccurate American lawyer dramas. The bad guy gets off on a very stupid technicality which doesn't actually invalidate the prosecutor's argument at all. Hee-min (played by Ko Sung-hee) presented a case emphasizing the suspicious circumstances behind the death, particularly the large insurance policy that had been taken out shortly before the so-called accident. The exact means by which he died is not terribly relevant to that argument, particularly since without an autopsy the only evidence for the alternate theory is the defendant's word, and he has an obvious incentive to lie.
It's odd how this very rushed storyline comes right on the heels of Hong-joo coming back to work as a reporter. A salacious case like this would be in the news cycle for weeks if not months, so that just calls more attention to the ridiculously short time frame in which everything happens. The domestic abuse case took much longer than this, and domestic abuse is not a capital crime.
Even the prophetic dream element is largely wasted. It's mainly just a contrivance to pull all three of the main characters into the same dangerous place at the same dangerous time as the very stupid conflict is forced into an equally stupid resolution. This is all done technically to maximize the dramatic factor since of course someone has to swoop in and save the day. But so what? None of these guest characters leave an emotional impact like the ones from the domestic abuse storyline did.
"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is currently making a dangerous transition to being largely episodic without any actual overriding point. I just finished "Criminal Minds" and am really not in the mood for predictable and highly contrived murder mysteries. This drama has something so much better than that- chemistry! And cuteness! Look at Jae-chan tumble out of dreamland! Watch Hong-joo sing in the shower! That's the kind of relatable goofiness this drama excels at.
Review by William Schwartz
"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is directed by Oh Choong-hwan and Park Soo-jin-II, written by Park Hye-ryeon, and features Lee Jong-suk, Suzy, Lee Sang-yeob, and Jung Hae-in.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" episodes 9 - 10 recap

On the latest episodes of the SBS drama "While You Were Sleeping - 2017", Jeong Jae-chan (Lee Jong-suk) avoided Nam Hong-joo (Suzy).
Jae-chan dreamt of kissing Hong-joo in his dreams and became uneasy. He felt something for her, but didn't want to get involved. He tried to avoid her by arriving at work early, but Hong-joo was waiting for him.
In the end, Jae-chan couldn't ignore Hong-joo who was searching for him in a café. Hong-joo talked to him about what was on her mind.
Source : www.osen.co.kr/articl...
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"Hospital Ship" episodes 25 - 26 recap

On the latest episode of the MBC drama "Hospital Ship", Kim Jae-geol (Lee Seo-won) provoked Kwak Hyeon (Kang Min-hyuk) over Song Eun-jae (Ha Ji-won).
Kim Jae-gun asked Kwak Hyeon, "Why are you sticking around with Choi so much? Are you saying you can't reveal a patient's records on your own? Is it Leukemia? So what are you doing about it? Are you saying it's not sympathy, love or treatment? You still have feelings for Choi. Tell me what is going on between you and Song Eun-jae. There's nothing going on right?"
Kwak Hyeon said, "She may think like that but I feel differently".
Source : www.sportsseoul.com/n...
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"Mad Dog" Episode 1 recap

Mad dogs never let go and our pack's leader makes that obsessive and fierce nature of his clear as he leads a team of misfits into fraud-fueled adventures. If white-collar crime does not seem appealing, worry not. The drama is clearly going for very big crimes involving physical harm and death for the victims, so bring on the anger, tears and hopefully solid catharsis.
The first episode of "Mad Dog" packs action, espionage, conflicts and a hefty bit of trauma and machismo. As usual with shows of the type, the episode feels very try-hard with its introduction. The action feels over the top, especially during the introductory sequence, the characters designated as the comic reliefs exchange the usual constant one-liners and the femme fatale's use of her body to get her job done is what defines her so far.
Min-joon and Kang-wooHa-ri recording
This is nothing unexpected, but despite its at times cringe-worthy forcefulness, the characters are easy to like. I believe that the reason for this is the genuine devotion most of them exhibit for their work and the victims of crime that it involves. They do not seem like mere mercenaries and the company their leader runs is not exactly one you would find in local job listings, so I am curious about their recruitment.
My guess is that these people all have their own sad story which made a life of crime to fight crime seem appealing and we are already getting hints of that. Aside from the grieving husband and father that is the dog pack leader and the team's mysterious new benefactor or possible captor, our comic relief is surprisingly the most well-rounded so far. A fighting spy nurse with a criminal record is as big of a backstory tease as they get.
Soon-jeong treating the man he rescuedKang-woo with the victims of the collapse
The first episode of the drama is not terribly exciting , but the cast manages to keep it from being a potentially easy drop. The chemistry between very different acting styles and characters works well and having a lead with the gravitas of Yoo Ji-tae is a smart choice. Woo Do-hwan is the poster boy for this, however and so far he looks like an equally captivating choice, although I do hope the butting of egos will not persist.
We have several introduced mystery characters aside from the new self-recruited genius and an impressive cast compiling them. It feels like we know very little about everyone for now and while the first episode of "Mad Dog" could have done a better job at making me want to discover more, I hope that the series will pique that interest in time.
"Mad Dog" is directed by Hwang Ee-kyeong, written by Kim Soo-jin-V and features Yoo Ji-tae, Woo Do-hwan, Ryu Hwa-young, Kim Hye-seong and Jo Jae-yoon.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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tvN 'Buam-dong Avengers" episode 1 recap

On the first episode of the tvN drama 'Buam-dong Avengers", Kim Jeong-hye (Lee Yo-won) and Lee Mi-sook (Myung Se-bin) were witness to Hong Do-hee (Ra Mi-ran) begging another parent for settlement
Hong Do-hee cried and clung onto the parent who was cold to her and who wanted a settlement.
Hong Do-hee asked Kim Jeong-hee how she knew the parent and Jeong-hye said she was a tenant in her building. She then asked Do-hee, "Are you going to be alright after all the embarrassment? Don't you have any self-respect?"
Hong Do-hee turned face and said, "Self-respect for me is protecting something important to me. I do want to make her and her child pay for what they did but..."
Kim Jeong-hye said, "Let's take revenge on them. Your son will continue being bullied. What if they ask for a ridiculous amount of money while seeing that you're poor? I will pay it for you. Join the club".
Hong Do-hee was mad and said, "Are you showing off your money because you have nothing to do? Are you going to give me 10 billion won?"
Source : news.hankyung.com/art...
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"The Temperature of Love" episodes 13 - 14 recap

Hyeon-soo's (Seo Hyun-jin) confession to Jeong-seon (Yang Se-jong) reached him on the latest episode of the SBS drama "The Temperature of Love".
Jeong-seon accompanied Hyeon-soo and Kyeong-yi on their trip and just barely missed running into Jeong-woo. Kyeong-yi excused herself and Hyeon-soo and Jeong-seon were able to enjoy a romantic date together.
Hyeon-soo asked Jeong-seon why he came along the trip and he answered that he was bored. Hyeon-soo laughed and said, "Your honesty is the best merit about you, but you just degraded yourself". They reached the rock that grants wishes. They were happy with the fact that they could just be with each other without saying anything.
However, the romantic mood broke up when Hyeon-soo went to the bathroom and lost her way. Hyeon-soo couldn't stop thinking about Jeong-seon and realized how much she cared for him
In the end, they met and Hyeon-soo ran into Jeong-seon's arms. He comforted her. Hyeon-soo said, "I'm wrong. I was the wrong one. I ruined everything and pretended everything was fine. I ignored all the signals you gave me". She started crying.
Hyeon-soo then said, "I love you, I'm in love with you". Jeong-seon said he knew and held her tighter. It was a sweet reunion after five long years.
Source : www.tvreport.co.kr/?c...
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"Witch's Court" episode 2 recap

On the latest episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Witch's Court", Ma Yi-deum (Jung Ryeo-won) and Yeo Jin-wook (Yoon Hyun-min) took on an attempted rape case. A teaching assistant allegedly tried to rape his female professor for failing his paper.
Yeo Jin-wook and Ma Yi-deum learned that the assistant was on the phone with his friend when this happened. They were gay partners.
The phone records showed that the assistant was in fact that victim and the female professor had tried to rape him. However, the assistant didn't want to press charges against her.
He said, "That'll only make me a bigger loser and everyone might find out that I'm gay". Ma Yi-deum fumed when Yeo Jin-wook said, "I knew you were the victim from the beginning. Only rape victims think that they must have done something wrong".
Source : www.osen.co.kr/articl...
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"This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 2 recap

Faced with the tremendously awkward prospect of living with a member of the opposite sex which they are not especially attracted to, Se-hee and Ji-ho choose to address the situation in terms of fundamentals, rather than overthinking the whole gender issue. Ji-ho needs a quiet, clean place to focus on writing. Se-hee needs a functional roommate to help pay the bills and not destroy the apartment. They are so ideal it's obviously foolhardy for either of them to try to find an alternative elsewhere.
So instead, they get in deeper. I really loved the cliffhanger here. It's so shocking in context, yet in full perspective of all the personal and professional problems Ji-ho and Se-hee deal with, the solution they come up with really is the only logical one available. Above all else Ji-ho and Se-hee most value their ability to move through their lives without having to go through the trouble of having to explain everything to family and co-workers.
Just observe the divergence of reactions, as the information that Ji-ho and Se-hee are the opposite genders ripples through their social groups. Ji-ho and Se-hee themselves think deliberately about the practical impacts this has on their lives, and observe that gender has little to do with their being functional roommates. Ji-ho and Se-hee are only ever in the same room together during leisure time and what do you know, they have the same hobby- watching soccer games.
But everyone else constantly gossips, sometimes even to Ji-ho and Se-hee directly, overthinking everything, and generally annoying both of them. "This Life Is Our First Life" very instriniscally grasps the introvert mindset in a way I am not used to seeing. It is made very clear that Ji-ho and Se-hee sincerely love their more extroverted friends and family members. Yet their desire to keep a safe distance from their loudness is nothing personal.
Also note how Ji-ho and Se-hee are wholly different people in spite of their sharing introverted character traits. When Ji-ho and Se-hee talk about their not being mutually attracted, honestly? I believe them. Se-hee is fascinated by the idea of drama in the abstract, but hates it in real life, and is stimulated by a constant change of focus. Ji-ho just wants to hang out with his cat and solve all of his problems with cold hard logic. They really do not make sense as a couple at all- except in the purely utilitarian sense, and what is marriage if not utilitarianism?
Review by William Schwartz
"This Life Is Our First Life" is directed by Park Joon-hwa, written by Yoon Nan-joong and features Lee Min-ki, Jung So-min, Esom, Park Byung-eun, Kim Ga-eun-I, and Kim Min-seok.
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"Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 3-4 recap

It's surprisingly difficult to emphathize with Jin-jin. Yes, granted, a sex tape is threatening her career. This is an unsourced sex tape, that will (and is) immediately proven to be fraudulent upon being properly sourced. So in the meantime, Jin-jin suffers bad public relations mostly because her manager Gi-bong (played by Kim Kwang-sik) is indisposed. Not that it's his fault. A late flashback shows how Gi-bong has long worked tirelessly to personally promote Jin-jin's career.
That's the odd contradiction of "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century"- the narrative is subpar. There's almost no dramatic tension. But anytime the drama gets close to a genuine emotional moment, it manages to be reasonably touching. The scene with Gi-bong putting up the posters is so good it made me wish I was instead watching a drama about Jin-jin and her team struggling to make their way to the top.
But as presented here, Jin-jin just comes off as incompetent at best. In all fairness it's more that the paparazzi are disproportionately powerful. How they found the gynecologist is not explained, and the idea of their locating Jin-jin's family home is just as dubious. Although once again, the paparazzi storyline exists for the sole purpose of putting Jin-jin through the ringer. The threat's just too hollow for that to mean anything, especially since Jin-jin is still objectively successful and probably rich no matter what the paparazzi do.
Yeong-sim is a much more interesting character simply because she's starting from the bottom. This is a woman who is kept emotionally afloat entirely thanks to the support of friends and family. It's sad watching her struggle to break into the legal profession, and the prospect of her failing once again feels very real, if only from her perspective. Obviously the plot wouldn't go anywhere if she actually failed, especially since handsome lawyer Kyeong-seok (played by Oh Sang-jin) is her obvious love interest.
Then there's Ah-reum, about whom I still don't know much more than just how she spends a lot of time at the gyencologist's office. There's always her love interest, Woo-seong (played by Ahn Se-ha), but he has the same problem as all the other characters in this drama. Woo-seong has a few defining characteristics, an obvious romantic plotline, yet no apparent character arc whatsoever. While lacking in truly awful flaws "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" remains quite bland, and offers little of interest.

Review by William Schwartz
"Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" is directed by Lee Dong-yoon, written by Lee Seon-hye and features Han Ye-seul, Kim Ji-suk, Lee Sang-woo, Lee Sang-hee-II, and Ryu Hyun-kyung.
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"Witch's Court" episode 1 recap

On the first episode of the new KBS 2TV drama "Witch's Court", Ma Yi-deum (Jung Ryeo-won) took care of Jo Gap-soo's (Jun Kwang-ryul) business.
Department Head Oh (Jeon Bae-soo) sexually harassed a reporter and told Ma Yi-deum to meet with reporter Han and get her to cancel the charges against him. He asked her to appeal to the reporter as a fellow woman. Ma Yi-deum talked to Reporter Han who asked if Ma Yi-deum felt upset as a woman to which she replied, "I would have pressed charges on him in a more likely situation. In the end it was indicted and I would advise you to think wisely".
Reporter Han slapped Ma Yi-deum who told her, "Think of me as Oh and hit me as you please". Han marveled at her desire to get an advancement and Ma Yi-deum said, "Just hit me. It's the same, being dropped now or later".
Department Head Oh made a statement saying he apologizes as he he was too drunk to remember a thing, but insists he never kissed Reporter Han. Yeo Jin-wook (Yoon Hyun-min) told him there was proof that he forced himself on Han, but Oh didn't admit it. Just then, Ma Yi-deum appeared and stated exactly what happened that night. "Hey Oh Soo-cheol. Stop touching me. Do you know why I keep singing during work parties? It's because you keep touching me. You said in the beginning that you touched me because I'm like your daughter".
Yeo Jin-wook told Ma Yi-deum, "You seem like a good person. I hope we meet again for a good cause". She replied, "I don't think so. Let's not get involved". She headed for Min Ji-sook's (Kim Yeo-jin's) home.
Source : www.xportsnews.com/?a...
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"Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 1-2 recap

The opening montage of "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" features the three protagonists growing up in the nineties with that ever present babysitter- television. The montage stops before we get to any twentieth century dramas that any of us might have heard of, but the moral lesson learned by minor celebrity Jin-jin (played by Han Ye-seul), common employee Ah-reum (played by Ryu Hyun-kyung) and aspiring lawyer Yeong-sim (played by Lee Sang-hee-II) is pretty clear. They definitely don't want to live a life of horrid married life clichés like what they saw in the dramas.
Bear in mind that, this opening notwithstanding, "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" has surprisingly little interest in cultural commentary on how life in South Korea has changed for women in the last twenty years. Life for the three central characters is a lot more egalitarian than I was expecting. Jin-jin's main antagonist is obnoxious, younger celebrity Ha-ram (played by Shin Se-hwi), rather than any form of patriarchy, and Ah-reum's desire for a ribald sex life passes without commentary.
Yeong-sim does face some workplace friction- although this has less to do with her being a woman and more just a matter of her being a little old. The subtler dramatic elements are largely unexplored. And that, ultimately, is my main source of discomfort with "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century"- there's all these obvious workable dramatic conflicts, yet surprisingly little to keep these moments interesting in any obvious way.
The closest we get to a real fight is the way Ha-ram snaps at Yeong-sim while pretending like her slights are unintentional. Then Yeong-sim chooses to be the bigger person, and refuses to let Ha-ram get to her emotionally. While this is naturally the best way to get around such vocational problems in real life, from the perspective of a viewer, we're only watching half of a generally passive-aggressive fight. That's not exactly exciting.
It does admittedly make sense from the standpoint of characters trying their best to avoid living soap opera style lives even while their lives have soap opera style elements, but that just leaves me feeling like the whole concept here is mismatched. The storylines aren't dramatic enough to be serious, and they're not funny enough to feel like a situation comedy so...what are we looking at here? Just incredibly basic slice of life? Because that's all I'm seeing.
Review by William Schwartz
"Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" is directed by Lee Dong-yoon , written by Lee Seon-hye and features Han Ye-seul, Kim Ji-suk, Lee Sang-woo, Lee Sang-hee-II, and Ryu Hyun-kyung.
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"This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 1 recap

Ji-ho (played by Jung So-min) always hated feeling like she wasn't the priority back during childhood. While it's easy to blame her family, they're just not...malicious enough to really warrant hating. After all, her dad Jong-soo (played by Kim Byung-ok) is just a sloppy idiot. But when unexpected circumstances make Ji-ho realize that she's going to be even less appreciated than usual, that's when the woman pushing thirty realizes it's time to finally ditch the family home.
The main immediate standout quality of Ji-ho is just how well-adjusted she is. Ji-ho is ridiculously mature, and refuses to fight or get mad with anyone for any reason. Ji-ho never indulges in self-pity, fully recognizing that all the people in her life are behaving in a generally sensible way befitting their self-interests, and does not hold grudges. Ji-ho even makes the extra effort to be super nice to a complete stranger- albeit Ji-ho does indeed have her own self-interest to think about there.

So what's Ji-ho's big flaw? Mostly that she's kind of a romantic. Ji-ho is a drama writer, after all, and we quickly see that Ji-ho's main coping method to avoid dipping into overly negative thinking is to just get philosophical. Like, all right, so she's pushing thirty. But that doesn't mean life is over or anything. Because "This Life Is Our First Life", that just means there are always exciting novelties around the corner. So focus on the novelties, and save the worries for the next one.
The contrast with Tae-soo (played by Lee Min-ki) is quite pointed. Tae-soo works in software, cares entirely about functionality, and expresses minimal curiousity in the world around him. That on its own is not unusual- what's weird about "This Life Is Our First Life" is that it makes Tae-soo's lack of expressiveness seem completely normal and applicable to a happy life style. I can't quite recall the last time I saw an antisocial character being portrayed as something aside from a total psycho.
That much alone gives "This Life Is Our First Life" some impressive potential as a romantic comedy. Well, granted there aren't really any jokes but the whole production is just so gosh darned cute that's this is the vibe we end up getting. The big climactic moment, where Ji-ho impulsively decides to live life like it were a drama just this once while Tae-soo is simply baffled by the aftermath...it's just so easy to take from that a clear picture of who these people are, you know?
Review by William Schwartz
"This Life Is Our First Life" is directed by  Park Joon-hwa, written by Yoon Nan-joong and features Lee Min-ki, Jung So-min, Esom, Park Byung-eun, Kim Ga-eun-I, and Kim Min-seok.
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Monday, October 9, 2017

"Magic School" Episodes 13-16 Final recap

The final episode of "Magic School" is mostly just an extended epilogue. This would not normally be so remarkable, save for the lack of a climax to any of the storylines in the three episodes preceding it. The closest we get is when Na-ra finally puts on the big romantic magic show for Yoo-ri, the conclusion to which is not in doubt since by that point Yoo-ri had given us an exasperated "what do I have to do to get this guy to make a pass at me?" look.
No joke, Jay resolves the whole issue with performance contracts and his brother's disappearance by...not showing up for the big magic trick at all and just disappearing himself. Granted, that whole plotline had already gotten pretty silly, what with the sinister evidence being used to inaccurately paint Jay as a big meanie. That the camera footage stops right before dialog that makes Jay look more sympathetic pops up is a naturally convenient scripting coincidence.
But in this case there's not even any purpose to the contrivance because Jay does not have a character arc that needs contrivances. None of the characters do, which is why it's so glaring that so many conflicts of imminent separation for ambitious career reasons are cut off because they didn't feel like going anyway. This just makes those characters look flippant. Even Joon's dramatic moment lacks weight, simply because he never had that many hospital scenes in the first place.
The main big picture issue I have trouble with is just how weak the magic is. I mean, no, we can hardly expect Na-ra to put on an expert show when he had (I presume) only been taking magic classes for a few weeks. But the tricks we see are so amateurish it's a little insulting that director Kim Do-won-I filmed them in the first place. There's not even any tension about whether Na-ra will do them correctly, because we've never seem him struggle with magic.
That's overall the main problem with "Magic School"- it's just too easy. No one has to put any serious effort in to get the stuff that they want, so the payoffs are inherently unrewarding. There's more backstory than there is legitimate conflict, let alone resolution, so the whole production just feels so badly limited by its own lack of proper development. The occassional funny joke is the only thing that redeems "Magic School", and there just aren't enough of them.
Review by William Schwartz
"Magic School" is directed by Kim Do-won-I, written by Kim Do-hyeon, and features Jinyoung, Yoon Park, Nichkhun and Ryu Seung-soo.
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 7-8 recap

So Woo-tak really is a good guy after all. But how could we ever be in doubt? He has a disproportionate love of Batman. Also, Woo-tak has an adorable happy dog with an adorable happy name. And in general, as Jae-chan, Hong-joo, and the rest of us finally get to know the kind of guy Woo-tak is, he also comes off as the immature baby of the group. Even though all of them are, apparently, twenty-eight years old. I'm assuming the story takes place in early 2017, what with all the recurring snow.
But then it could be a lot of different years, what with the incoming time skip. Because of course, there has to be a stupid contrivance to drive the team apart temporarily. It is, admittedly, pretty easy to come up with such a contrivance when the big conflict surrounding So-yoon's case is cleared up. For So-yoon, at least, withdrawal from a stressful situation pretty much requires separation, even if that comes with constant remembrance and appreciation of all that was done for her.
Oh right, how did we get to that point? Well, mostly it's just a matter of excellent scripting. We know that Woo-tak had a premonition of something awful happening at the restaurant, and that he meant to change it bringing Jae-chan along. So what horrible thing could happen? What awful thing could Yoo-beom do when his entire shtick is using threats to preclude action? What vicious behavior could anyone do to undercut Yoo-beom's threats when he's only the messenger?
The answer to that question is awfully morbid- and yet "While Were You Sleeping - 2017" almost immediately manages to skip along to dorky comic relief. It is oddly appropriate that people who can predict the future excessively practice their own behavior in anticipation of important moments. The scenes where Jae-chan and Hong-joo make fools of themselves are oddly fascinating, as they feel like romantic comedies without the romance part. Still pretty funny.
Ah, but let's not forget the legal procedural part, which is somehow even better. Everything resolves without going to trial, because in the real world, trials are what happen when the lawyers are incompetent. And speaking of incompetence, there really is a good moral point here about how having lots of allies is not always an advantage. That, and how there's no such thing as a perfect plan, and overcockiness is a good way to unravel just about everything.
Review by William Schwartz
"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is directed by Oh Choong-hwan and Park Soo-jin-II, written by Park Hye-ryeon, and features Lee Jong-suk, Suzy, Lee Sang-yeob, and Jung Hae-in.
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"Hospital Ship" ratings: 5.6% and 6.6%

"Hospital Ship" sailed on top despite lowered numbers due to the Chuseok holiday. All of the free-to-air or ground wave dramas in the time slot suffered from ratings dips, which is normal during the family-centered holiday.
Numbers for "Hospital Ship" came in at 5.6% and 6.6% repsectively in comparison to last week's 9.3% and 11.3%, while SBS's "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" hit 5.1% and 6.1% versus the previous week's 8.3% and 9.2% vieweingship numbers.
Ra Mi-ran's and Shin Rin-ah's "Drama Special - Madame Jung's Last Week" brought up the rear with 3.7% ratings.
Source : news.nate.com/view/20...

"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 5-6 recap

For a side story character, So-yoon is surprisingly compelling. Observe how, while being completely sympathetic herself, So-yoon embodies both of her parent's flaws. Like her father, So-yoon is inclined to fly into a rage at other people defying her, regardless of who's at fault. Likewise, So-yoon also shares her mother's unfortunate propensity toward magical thinking. Hence, Seong-won and every other central character gets dragged into So-yoon's story, to their detriment.
Then again, Jae-chan signed up for this when he decided to become a prosecutor. I rather like how unexpectedly realistic "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is when it comes to ideas like prosecutorial misconduct. It's not that Jae-chan's co-workers are evil, or even badly-intentioned. They're just obsessed with appearances and trying to be polite and respectable. That such behavior enables domestic abusers who are sufficiently well regarded publically is a horrible but completely accurate real-life irony.
This plotline, along with the flashbacks explaining how Jae-chan became determined to run this career path in the first place, emphasize the man's sense of normalcy. That's great in a hero- it shows how Jae-chan is not perfect. He has to struggle against his worse inclinations to do the right thing. This allows Yoo-beom's presence to loom large even when he has little screentime, because that's the boon offered by his evil. Yoo-beom removes short-term inconviences at the expense of long-term ethical scruples.
Elsewhere, Woo-tak (played by Jung Hae-in) takes more prominence. You may remember him as the guy who was saved by Jae-chan's rash actions in the opening episode. Here, his relationship to the prophetic visions is increasingly better defined. In the first place, as a police officer, Woo-tak has inherent authority that Jae-chan and Hong-joo lack. Also, his take on the visions is more analytical.
Is this good or bad? So far, Woo-tak is helpful. But I can't help but notice a thematic intersection here. Hong-joo focuses on the details, Jae-chan focuses on the outcomes, and Woo-tak thinks about the best way to carefully game the rules. Of course, all of these focuses are pretty essential- "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" makes a point of how accurate powers of prophecy are actually quite difficult to use in a complex real world context. And that's before getting into subjective issues. Consider how all three characters assume from their visions that Seong-won did indeed commit a crime- when in fact, the full story makes it seem unlikely that he ever would have been convicted of anything.
Review by William Schwartz
"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is directed by Oh Choong-hwan and Park Soo-jin-II, written by Park Hye-ryeon, and features Lee Jong-suk, Suzy, Lee Sang-yeob, and Jung Hae-in.
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Monday, October 2, 2017

"Magic School" Episodes 9-12 recap

By this point I had been expecting "Magic School" to build up to some sort of climax. Instead, we just get more exposition. There's not even any conflict, just exposition of potential conflicts. At least, that's how I'm inclined to interpret Na-ra's tension with Yoo-ri, a woman who is not his girlfriend, and with whom he has not shared any real romantic scenes. Even the fat bespectacled guy Na-ra knows has a more clearly defined relationship than Na-ra himself does.
Or, to use a more obviously relevant example, Seong and Yi-seul. Every scene they have at this point, even the ones involving other characters and magic classes, is legitimately cute romantic comedy material. The best part is when the other students catch on and begin commenting on it. Grotesque immaturity of the situation notwithstanding, it's all legitimately funny, and works to give Seong a wide enough variety of situations to react to that he's a surprisingly well-rounded character. Especially given his backstory.
We also find out a lot more about Joon's backstory, and personality in general. The former is just typical sad overseas Korean adoption stuff. The latter is a lot funnier, because it becomes obvious the more we see of Joon that the guy really is every bit as dumb as he looks. It amazes me that a man intelligent enough to learn near-fluent Korean and graduate from an accredited Korean medical school in just six years is somehow this stupid with money.
The way Joon takes every debilitating humiliation in stride is the best part though. No wonder the guy loves magic so much. He fully buys into it as an instrinsic concept that solves all problems in an unseen way. This is literally how most people see doctors, which only makes Joon's medical expertise all the more comically ironic. Meanwhile, actual professional magician Jay is very down-to-earth and practical-minded. What an odd couple!
...At least, that would be by impression if that particular relationship (or any of the drama's relationships, really) had been set-up in the first portion of the story rather than the third part of four. It's genuinely impossible to see how any of the established storylines can be satisfactorily resolved, when so much time has been spent on simple characterization there's barely any room for narrative. Well, at least my expectations aren't set too high. "Magic School" does tend to succeed when it aims low at least.
Review by William Schwartz
"Magic School" is directed by Kim Do-won-I, written by Kim Do-hyeon, and features Jinyoung, Yoon Park, Nichkhun and Ryu Seung-soo.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Single Wife" episode 12 recap

On the latest episode of the drama "Single Wife", Min-hong (Sung Hyuk) headed to court to finally settle his divorce with Ra-hee (Eom Hyeon-kyeong).
Min-hong decided to divorce her after she disappeared and he sadly remember the time he'd spent with her.
She had said cruel things to him like, "I could be happy without you;" "Your existence makes my blood curl;" and more. He cried because it hurt.
However, Ra-hee didn't appear in court.
Source : www.fnnews.com/news/2...
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"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 3-4 recap

One half of the story for these two episodes of "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is about how a young Hong-joo first attempted to use her powers of prophecy to do good and predictably failed spectacularly. I state this explicitly because "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" itself is rather unnecessarily vague about the larger purpose of this subplot, and it's not clear to me why it was presented as a twist ending. Following early dialogue where Jae-chan suggests the possible existence of other soothsayers, I got the impression that story was contemporaneously about a new supporting character.
Actually, the real supporting characters of note here are teenage violonist prodigy Soo-yoon (played by Kim So-hyun) and Jae-chan's younger brother Soong-won (played by Shin Jae-ha). Their full story is quite sordid- but the dramatic beats are emotional rather than physical. Soo-yoon's problem is one that Jae-chan is, in theory, supposed to be able to solve as a prosecutor. Yet for various unfortunate societal reasons, Jae-chan is not as useful as he would like.
Chief among these problems is Yoo-beom, who has very quickly blossomed into the best villain I have seen in quite some time. He's a genuinely deplorable human being, but this fact is not obvious because he has fully perfected the art of rationalization and false humility. In his creepier moments Yoo-beom himself isn't aware of just how skeevy he is. The guy really does sincerely believe that Jae-chan holds a grudge, that Hong-joo is a bad girlfriend, and that Yoo-beom is blameless in all situations.
Given the inherently fantastical nature of the premise in "While You Were Sleeping - 2017", this comes off as logical- until we remember that Yoo-beom saw the guy right in front of the car's original trajectory, and is just choosing to ignore that. Likewise, Yoo-beom has no sense of moral ethics. As far as he's concerned, legal ethics are all that matter, and Lee Sang-yeob plays the guy like the hot shot main character in his own legal drama. Yoo-beom sincerely believes that he's the protagonist, which only makes his character all the more deplorable.
That's just one excellent quality of many on display here. Technical details about the way the prophecies work are on point. Emotional exposition about character relationships quickly makes our heroes quite engaging. The romantic comedy aspects are absolutely adorable. Suzy looks great with glasses and even better with a neck brace. There's even a compelling legal drama element buried in there- this whole production is just plain powerful.
Review by William Schwartz
"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is directed by Oh Choong-hwan and Park Soo-jin-II, written by Park Hye-ryeon, and features Lee Jong-suk, Suzy, Lee Sang-yeob, and Jung Hae-in.
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"Criminal Minds" Episode 20 (final) recap

Right away the finale for "Criminal Minds" tips its hand by accidentally pointing out the stupidity of its own premise. The suspect is in custody and there is...not actually any evidence linking him to the serial killings outside of the website, which he claims is a fan website. This is a completely plausible explanation. Yes, people have died from a serial killer who is imitating other serial killers' patterns. But how do we know the website isn't just a play-acting intended to help future forensic pathologists think like serial killers?
I mean, if such a web site existed in the real world that would be my assumption anyway. Which is how "Criminal Minds" fails to come to reach any level of compelling storytelling. I have to pretend to be ignorant about how actual crime investigations work, and view everything through the very narrow lens of the drama's crime procedural formula. I have to do this, even as the story goes to increasingly comical and stupid places while the Reaper uses magical powers to commit perfect crimes and then escape from them.
And even if I pretend like this is not contrived and idiotic screenwriting, that leaves another problem. This makes the main characters look completely incompetent. When even the stupid serial killer fanboy is able to easily predict their moves, it's hard to hold any credible hope that they'll get one over on the Reaper. The suggestion that maybe the main team is not the best fit for the job is absolutely on-point, just not for the reasons we end up being given.
Even in the context of mass leisure entertainment, crime procedurals are a fairly explicit waste of time, and "Criminal Minds" makes no effort to at least let me pretend like the story I've just seen had anny kind of insightful moral point to be made. The Reaper sure was a bad dude. The end. There, I just spoiled the entire thematic arc. I mean really, what is there even to criminally profile in a villain whose only apparent character trait is his sheer omnipotence?
That's not even getting into how bizarre it is that the Reaper's path to power ran through an Internet message board of all things. Also, let's consider for a moment the saga of random cop with expository dialogue, who somehow ends up being the lynchpin of the entire case. Or how the Reaper and his allies face none of the logisticial issues the original serial killers did. Or how about just...everything.
Review by William Schwartz
"Criminal Minds" is directed by Lee Jeong-hyo and Yang Yoon-ho, written by Hong Seung-hyeon and features Son Hyun-joo, Lee Joon-gi, Moon Chae-won, Lee Sun-bin, Yoo Sun and Go Yoon.
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"Hospital Ship" episodes 19 - 20 recap

Kang Min-hyuk as Kwak Hyeon, Lee Min-ho-I as Woo-jae, and Ha Ji-won as Eun-jae were perfect together on the latest episodes of the drama "Hospital Ship".
Woo-jae sustained only minor injuries in the accident. He was worried that Eun-jae would worry, so he bribed Hyeon to keep silent by calling him "brother-in-law".
However, Eun-jae rushed to the hospital after seeing the news and learned that Woo-jae had given his father all of his school money and that he'd been working on a construction site to make money. Woo-jae told her, "I wanted to pretend that I'd been tricked. He's still our father".
Eun-jae went to Woo-jae's house and scolded him, but helped him to dry his hair and cleaned his house because his arm was hurt. Then they lay down and talked about many things. They were like real siblings.
"Hospital Ship" can be seen every Wednesday at Thursday at 10 PM KST.
Source : www.tenasia.co.kr/arc...
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"Man-Hole" episode 16 final recap

On the latest episode of the 16th episode of "Man-Hole", Bong Pil (Kim Jae-joong) stole Soo-jin (UEE) from her wedding and told her how he felt about her.
Last episode, Bong Pil was stabbed so Soo-jin asked if he was alright. "This time-travelling thing is a good thing. I worried so much about you".
Bong Pil replied, "I worried so much that you wouldn't recognize me". Soo-jin said, "We will never be apart again".
Then, Bong Pil kissed Soo-jin. "Wherever you are at whatever time. I will always be next to you".
Source : sports.mk.co.kr/view....
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Single Wife" episode 11 recap

On the latest episode of the Drama Max and U Max drama "Single Wife", Lee Ra-hee (Eom Hyeon-kyeong) declared she wouldn't go back to the office and Oh In-hwa (Yoon Ye-hee) was on the brink of being fired.
Hyo-rim (Yuna) heard a secret about her father from a friend. The friend told her, "It's only heresay, but I heard your mother was behind when your father was sued for embezzlement. There were similar rumors floating around about her second marriage, too. When her first husband struggled with hotel business, she got divorced and married your father right away".
Hyo-rim was shocked and didn't want to believe her mother had done that to her father.
"Single Wife" is about a woman who wants to marry a rich man, but finds out she isn't divorced from her first marriage and lives a double life.
Source : www.fnnews.com/news/2...
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"Man-Hole" episode 15 recap

On the latest episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Man-Hole", Kang Soo-jin (UEE) worried about Bong Pil (Kim Jae-joong).
Kang Soo-jin said to Bong Pil, "I can't stand to see you being unhappy and in danger because of me. We can't be together".
"You told me we were never good together while you travelled through time. Look at us now. I'm married and we will never be together".
Bong Pil said, "You know how dangerous Park Jae-hyeon (Jang Mi-kwan) is". He tried to stop her from going back to Seoul.
Kang Soo-jin replied, "Breaking up with you has nothing to do with Jae-hyeon. I chose this. I want you to be happy and don't choose me no matter what the circumstance may be. I don't want you to suffer because of me".
Source : star.moneytoday.co.kr...
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"Hospital Ship" episodes 17 - 18 recap

On the latest episode of the MBC drama "Hospital Ship", Song Eun-jae (Ha Ji-won) told Choi Yeong-eun (Wang Ji-won) that she likes Kwon Hyeok (Kang Min-hyuk).
Gwak Hyeon gathered the courage to ask Eun-jae on a date. However, Eun-jae rejected it and said she had plans.
Apparently her plan was to meet Yeong-eun who started to speak nicely to Eun-jae, recommending her another hospital.
Eun-jae became angry and Choi asked, "Do you want to stay at the hospital or next to him. Do you like Kwak Hyeon?"
Eun-jae answered, "Yes, I do like him".
Source : star.mbn.co.kr/view.p...
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"Criminal Minds" Episode 19 recap

The final showstopper for "Criminal Minds" is an appropriate one- it looks like the drama will be closing out on an adaptation of season four episode fifteen, which centers around a copycat killer. Even the Reaper manages to get worked into all of this in a fairly satisfying way, although yikes, I'm still reminded of how the death of Gi-hyeong's wife happened way too early. Which also sums up my overall feelings. My satisfaction is directly related to how much I enjoyed the original elements.
Fortunately the selected crimes are the ones where the specifics of how the crime was committed were exposited in fairly effective detail. Explanations have always been the most satisfying aspect of "Criminal Minds", and the most frustrating moments were the ones that were not sufficiently explained. Horrifying body count notwithstanding, at minimum we at least get a pretty good impression that the overall team knows what they're doing.
Except Na-hwang. Something's definitely up with her. The second scene where she was in an unexplained rush was very suspicious. Although, maybe Na-hwang just had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. Also, what was the deal with that first scene, where she's trying to take the perfect selfie? That actually has a more plausible explanation- clumsy product placement intended to show off the editing abilities of that specific brand of smart phone.
Spotlighting silly moments like that aren't exaclt fair, but as a procedural mystery there aren't exactly a whole lot of interesting thematic angles by which to dissect "Criminal Minds". Seon-woo's mental state in the aftermath of her having killed a suspect last episode is briefly explored. This is interesting material, since even if the last killer was a monstrous dude, he was also pathetic, and killing any follow human being for any reason is something that should shake the psyche of a normal human being.
I mean really, that's the entire hook of the premise after all. But alas, tied as it is to the original "Criminal Minds" concept, there's only so far the South Korean version can go in terms of interesting alterations. I can certainly give the production team credit for trying. The whole randomly changing story length from anywhere between half an hour to two hours idea has had its ups and down, but they did pick a pretty good idea to finish the drama with as a two-parter.
Review by William Schwartz
"Criminal Minds" is directed by Lee Jeong-hyo and Yang Yoon-ho, written by Hong Seung-hyeon and features Son Hyun-joo, Lee Joon-gi, Moon Chae-won, Lee Sun-bin, Yoo Sun and Go Yoon.
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"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 1-2 recap

The big three dramatic beats in the first two episodes of "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" all involve car crashes. While at first glance this appears to throw "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" into the most laughable genre of South Korean drama clichés, there's surprising fatalistic depth here. In the first place, the drama sets itself up to answer the difficult question of how the generally sensible Hong-joo (played by Suzy) can fully choose to trust arrogant newbie lawyer Jae-chan (played by Lee Jong-suk).
Especially when we find out that Hong-joo already has a boyfriend- sensible, slightly older lawyer Yoo-beom (played by Lee Sang-yeob), who used to tutor Jae-chan, who was never an especially good student. But "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" makes a big first impression by noting, ironically enough, how first impressions are not to be trusted. Almost all of the expository information we get ultimately proves to be quite misleading, even if technically true.
Hong-joo's prophetic visions are the most obvious example of this. They throw crazy curveballs that seem specifically designed to guarantee that however Hong-joo reacts to them, doom is the inevitable result. Then, just when all seems hopeless, we get another curveball that's actually helpful. The immediate implication is that the visions work according to rules, albeit fairly esoteric ones, rather than the whims of writer Park Hye-ryeon. Note how the fate of Hong-joo's mother Moon-seon (played by Hwang Young-hee) hinges more on her actions than it does Hong-joo's, even as both have access to the same prophetic information.
But consider that more than the science fiction elements, it's the personal emotional ones that take real prominence. The irony here is that, the less logically people try to think about the dream prophecies, the more likely they are to successfully avert them. That's where we get back to Jae-chan, Hong-joo's trusted partner who she barely knows. The very existence of dream prophecies is an indication that there are factors at play in the world which she is not aware of. What if Jae-chan is one of those factors?
The thematic material here is crisp. The performances are excellent- all the characters so imminently, relatably normal, that the admission of new character traits, be they supernatural or down-to-earth, are simultaneously shocking yet eerily plausible. Besides that, the cinematography is gorgeous. Just take that light snowfall. It's beautiful both on the visual level, and the thematic one- the unexpected need not be inherently tragic.
Review by William Schwartz
"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is directed by Oh Choong-hwan and Park Soo-jin-II, written by Park Hye-ryeon, and features Lee Jong-suk, Suzy, Lee Sang-yeob, and Jung Hae-in.
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