Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Lookout" Episodes 1 and 2 recap

MBC's latest Monday/Tuesday drama "Lookout" is a 32 episode run, but don't let that number fool you. It is a part of a new test split that both MBC and SBS are trying. A single hour-long episode is chopped into two half-hour episodes and aired the same night. In terms of your time, you'll be spending 16 episodes with the characters and stories of "Lookout". It's just all in a different package. Despite the awkward cut that the split has thrown into the middle of this first episode, Director Son Hyeong-seok ("Two Weeks", "Personal Taste") and Writer Kim Soo-eun have delivered quite the riveting first two episodes.

Everything about this drama screams of polish: the music, the cinematography, the action, the acting, the dialogue, the editing. Within seconds we not only have amazing camera work, but a female-led chase scene that introduces us to the amazing heroine, Jo Soo-ji played by Lee Si-young. She is bloodthirsty for revenge and the story flashes back to May of 2016 to show us why. During this time period we meet all of the other major players involved in the death, whether they be the perpetrayers of corruption or those who seek to rid society of the immoral. Promo material tells us that there will be a ragtag team of heroes who help solve the crimes that the system can't. Soo-ji will be an obvious leader. A sweet-tempered, mooney-eyed prosecutor named Kim Eun-joong (Lee Tae-hoon) who seems like a stiff neck turns out to have much more to him than meets the eye. Jang Do-han (Kim Young-kwang) appears to be nothing more than a country-bumpkin turned ladder climbing prosecutor until we see his intimate involvement in the case that Si-young worked when her daughter's life was lost. Seo Bo-mi (Lee Seul-gi-I) and Kong Kyeong-soo (Key) mysteriously involve themselves into Soo-ji's search for her daughter's killer under orders of -- wait for it -- a priest. Which is just a most fantastic turn of events. As a side note, while I loved Key in "Drinking Solo" I wasn't sure if he was cut out for acting, but he proved me wrong. Yoon Seung-ro (Choi Moo-sung) and Oh Gwang-ho (Kim Sang-ho) play crooked prosecutors who are tied up in affairs we don't yet know about save for the fact that those affairs are much more than just shady.
Lookout 1Lookout 2
That's just a basic introduction of who we have. The cast is excellent and the way gender dynamics are fleshed out with what is shaping up to be a strong mystery-driven plot, I'm pretty pleased as a reviewer. Lee Si-young is an especially strong stand out as a young, single mother who has a great relationship with her child and her grandmother, but who, like many working parents, doesn't have enough time to spend with her kid. The mother/daughter pair have a winning relationship that can win anyone over in one episode (or two episodes if the drama is split like this one!) Kim Young-kwang plays an arrogant man, as usual, but there is a touch of the overdramatic that has not yet been seen in his work. I'm looking forward to seeing more of what he can do with this character who is proving to be quite interesting. As a Kim Seul-gi-I fan I want her to appear on screen for more than a minute. She has never disappointed before.

These first two episodes are put together quite well, using the past and present to great effect and making sure each time period is delineated clearly, either by a tiny bit of grey scale to indicate the past, or a chyron to indicate the actual date. Or a series of scenes montaged quickly to reveal an intriguing secret as with Do-han's.
Lookout 3Lookout 4
There is, of course, the killer who seems to be a student. I'm already curious as to his motivation. Was it revenge? Is he just crazy? Was it put up to it by someone else for money? So far the teenager himself isn't interesting, but his role in this tightly-woven plot is.

Until episodes 3 and 4!
Lookout 5Lookout 6
Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
"Lookout" is directed by Son Hyeong-seok, written Kim Soo-eun, and features Lee Si-young, Kim Young-kwang, Kim Tae-hoon, Kim Seul-gi-I, Key, and Choi Moo-sung.

"Fight My Way" episode 4 recap

Kim Ji-won-I and Choi Woo-shik went on a date.
On the latest episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Fight My Way", Park Moo-bin (Choi Woo-shik) took Choi Ae-ra (Kim Ji-won-I) on a date.
Park Moo-bin appeared in front of her without a word and said, "I waited for you one hour of the three I have. We have two hours left, please get in the car".
Choi Ae-ra got in the car with him and he drove her home after the date. Choi Ae-ra joked, "You could have dropped me off at the station, do you want some ramen?" Park Moo-bin thought she was serious and froze. Choi Ae-ra said, "You're fun to tease".
Source : www.sportsseoul.com/n...
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"Radiant Office" Episode 7 recap

This episode focuses on what lies beneath. The company projects an image of propriety while accepting bribes and treating employees poorly. Kang-ho seems put together on the outside, but whose and unfortunate situation sets him front and center in "Radiant Office".

Although not poor, Kang-ho is under such intense pressure from his mother he tried to kill himself in episode 1, and he is willing to suck up to anyone and do anything in order to not be perceived as a failure by his mother. Ho-won watches in horror as he buys up all the excess furniture on his credit card just to improve his team's sales figures. In a way, he's the worst of the three in terms of condition. Ho-won has determination as does Gi-taek. It is Kang-ho who is a bomb. Watching his mother on-screen lives no doubt about why he is so emotionally crippled.

Ho-won's mother also makes an appearance this episode and from it we see that Ho-won loves her mother, but that they don't quite get along. Money is a sore point between them, as it dictated her childhood in a bad way. However, there is hope for them because Ho-won calls her mother again after their major fight. It's good to see a loving family that doesn't get along perfectly. They have to work things out because life has given them obstacles.
Radiant Office 1Radiant Office 2
Woo-jin was once similar to Ho-won as is revealed in this episode. He grew up poor and that strained relations with his father. He clawed his way to the top and is still fighting those who use social status to their advantage, like Seo-hyeon does against Woo-jin. Ho-won learns more about Woo-jin and he does the same with her, seeing that she has troubles that dictate her actions at work. It's interesting that he is harsh on people when he suffered the same life situation. Such repeated often happens to those who have suffered. But once Woo-jin and Ho-won begin to understand each other, they fit together like puzzle pieces, her sunnier disposition and his thoughtful take on life.

Another interesting development in this episode is how different Ho-won sees life after being "diagnosed" with an incurable disease. Because she thinks she's dying, she looks at the world anew. While beautiful, I' still not sure if the diagnosis was a plot play, or if she really is ill. She wasn't formally confirmed and there are hints that she may not have it. One of the biggest is that Seo-hyeon wrote a book about her, Gi-taek, and Kang-ho without telling them, and then  befriended her without informing her of their prior relationship. I knew he was shifty.
Radiant Office 3Radiant Office 4
In any case, the plot does indeed thicken as we head to the halfway point. I'd like to get to know Seo-hyeon a bit better and see Kang-ho learn to stand up to his mother and do right by himself. Here's hoping.
Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
"Radiant Office" is directed by Jeong Ji-in and Park Sang-hoon-III, written by Jeong Hee-hyeon, and features Go Ah-seong, Ha Seok-jin, Lee Dong-hwi, and Hoya.
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"Radiant Office" Episode 6 recap

"Radiant Office" has a way of sucking you in. Admittedly, I wasn't very thrilled about diving into this drama except for the fact that that it was well-cast. But each subsequent episode proves me wrong. It's a delicate drama machine that explores the office place more than the medical, and it does it beautifully. Ko Ah-seong, as always, leads the cast with her sensitive performance.

As for the plot, the office politics are not in the least interesting, which is usually the case. It is how each character handles them from Ho-won to the self-serving Manager Park (Kwon Hae-hyo) to Gi-taek's ex-girlfriend Ji-na. Each character isn't just a caricature of a typical office worker. Those caricature's are just husks that are shed as time goes on. Woo-jin is one who changes before our eyes, and Ho-won's. He cares, but doesn't let himself care. That is based in a background that is very much like our trio of struggling temporary office workers. He is a typical tsundere character, and yet he is not. I appreciate that about him.
Radiant Office 1Radiant Office 2
Ji-na was a particular favorite in this episode with how her nasty pretty girl exterior gives way to genuine feelings that are relatable. We see what Gi-taek saw in her. We can now understand why he stayed with her. It wasn't just beauty; she has a heart, however hidden behind make-up and a prickly temperament. Although she makes drama for Ho-won, it isn't needless "girl drama" that is often thrown at us by drama writers.

One character is still hard to place, Seo-hyeon, Ho-won's doctor friend. He's a secret chaebol and the man who placed the trio in his father's company. He forged a relationship with Ho-won without revealing his identity or intentions. It's all rather foul, but I'm trying to reserve judgement until more is revealed about him. It does seem like he and Kang-ho have some sort of relationship - brothers, or half-brothers, or perhaps cousins.
Radiant Office 3Radiant Office 4

In any case, I am hooked. "Radiant Office" is a drama that slowly sinks its claws into you and doesn't let you go.
Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
"Radiant Office" is directed by Jeong Ji-in and Park Sang-hoon-III, written by Jeong Hee-hyeon, and features Go Ah-seong, Ha Seok-jin, Lee Dong-hwi, and Hoya.
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"My Secret Romance" Episode 13 Final recap

As expected, the sweet flashbacks continue as "My Secret Romance" slowly but surely moves toward its happy ending. There is a bump in there as Yoo-mi decides to briefly abandon Jin-wook for reasons that aren't all that clear, but not to worry. Nothing beats the power of flashbacks. I expect excessive use of flashbacks also makes it easier on the production company, which doesn't have to spend as much money filming actual new scenes.
The main new content of note consists of Yoo-mi and Jin-wook reconciling with their mothers. This sort of works with Yoo-mi, underdeveloped though Mi-hee is as a character, because we did at least see from the very first episode that Yoo-mi has mother issues. Jin-wook is more tangential. While we always knew that he was harboring angst over the breakup of his parents' marriage, his mother has not had much story presence and her appearance here is just a tad out of nowhere.
Another important character also pops up out of nowhere to give us a bait-and-switch wedding. Which on principle I don't have any problems with. "Answer Me 1988" had a great bait-and-switch wedding in the final episode. But the reason it worked was because that couple, even more than the alleged main couple, had a lot of screen time and a very developed relationship. Whereas in "My Secret Romance", we were only ever invested in Yoo-mi and Jin-wook.
As a result none of the other characters matter and their approving glances throughout this episode just don't do much for me. One of the big problems of all these flashbacks is that they constantly remind me of all these story points that never went anywhere. Remember the cat, the one that had kittens? I wasn't expecting an entire subplot out of that but still, that would have been nice as a metaphorical representation of Jin-wook's character. Kind of like how the cats in "Marriage Contract" worked.
"My Secret Romance" has the bad habit of constantly reminding me of other, better dramas. Even "Something About 1% - 2016", director Kang Cheol-woo's previous joint, is just a better version of "My Secret Romance" because while it, too, suffers from a complete lack of subplots, the main characters in "Something About 1% - 2016" also had better developed personalities and more emotional range. Remember that scene in the first episode of "My Secret Romance", where Yoo-mi dances and makes a fool of herself? That character trait never shows up again. Why the outtakes at the end felt the need to remind me of this, I do not know.
Review by William Schwartz
"My Secret Romance" is directed by Kang Cheol-woo, written by Kim Ha-na-I and Kim Yeong-woon and features Sung Hoon, Song Ji-eun, Kim Jae-young and Jeong Da-sol.
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"My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 3-4 recap

Oh Yeon-seo's central expression as Princess Hyeomhyeong is very appropriate. Even in pictographic form, she looks horrifically sinister. So all the time Gyeon-woo is talking about his efforts to try and meet her again, I'm just thinking to myself, do you really think that's a good idea? And predictably enough, upon finally actually finding Princess Hyeomhyeong, Gyeon-woo once again faces peril and disaster for no apparent cause.
That, of course, is just the premise of "My Sassy Girl - Drama", repeateded, ad infinitum, for these two episodes. It was really boring. I was surprised to find that I actually really wanted to know more about the royal conspiracy from the first episode, because that part of the premise provides something "My Sassy Girl - Drama" desperately needs- an antagonist. As it stands Gyeon-woo and Princess Hyeomhyeong are just bumbling around invoking disaster to whoever happens to be so unfortunate as to be in the way.
Which is to say, right now, the protagonists are the villains, and I'm feeling sorry for everyone else. Joon-yeong (played by Lee Jung-shin) is a member of the palace guard. Princess Hyeomhyeong has an obvious crush on him, and it's obvious why he avoids talking her. I feel bad for Joon-yeong. Da-yeon (played by Kim Yoon-hye) is Gyeon-woo's old friend and has an obvious crush on him. Considering the woman Gyeon-woo is chasing instead, I feel even worse for Da-yeon.
Pretty much every character in the supporting cast feels like this. Byeol-i (played by Tae Mi) has the thankless job of being Princess Hyeomhyeong's bodyguard. I was initially confused as to why Byeol-i did not attempt to punish for Gyeon-woo for attempted sexual assault, but I suspect it's because Byeol-i simply assumes that Princess Hyeomhyeong's claims of persecutions are not to be taken seriously. That is not particularly reassuring.
Then there's Se-ho (played by Lee Si-eon) and Hwang-ga (played by Park Yeong-soo), Gyeon-woo's friends at the erotic manuscript workshop who...might be gay? Actually wait, this drama has an erotic manuscript workshop? That sounds way more interesting than having Gyeon-woo and Princess Hyeomhyeong snipe at each other and bully random people while trying to look for some jade ring. "My Sassy Girl - Drama" has the right elements to be good, if it would just stop with the repetitive jokes and work on its characters more naturalistically.
Review by William Schwartz
"My Sassy Girl - Drama" is directed by Oh Jin-seok, written by Yoon Hyo-je and features Joo Won, Oh Yeon-seo, Lee Jung-shin, Kim Yoon-hye, Son Chang-min, and Yoon Se-ah.
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Monday, May 29, 2017

"Lookout" episode 5-6 recap

Lee Si-young is a 'girl crush'.
On the latest episode of the MBC drama "Lookout", Jo Soo-ji (Lee Si-young) was after some kidnappers.
Watching Sae-bom crying in the kidnappers' car reminded Soo-ji of her dead daughter Yoo-na (Ham Na-yeong) which killed her. She broke the driver's side window to save Sae-bom. The kidnappers stopped the car.
Jo Soo-ji tried to get Sae-bom out of there but the bad guys tried to move the car. Soo-ji was dangling on the car when she dropped and rolled on the road. She only thought of saving the girl even if her life was at risk.
Lee Si-young's action performance was so real, and without her passion, this would not have been possible. She didn't use stand-ins and did it herself.
Source : www.xportsnews.com/?a...
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"Fight My Way" episode 3 recap

Choi Woo-shik confessed to Kim Ji-won-I.
On the latest episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Fight My Way", Park Moo-bin (Choi Woo-shik) confessed his heart to Choi Ae-ra (Kim Ji-won-I).
Park Moo-bin had fallen for her at first sight and waited for her to finish work with a present in his hand but Choi Ae-ra thought he was someone waiting to take revenge on her and beat him up silly.
When she found out who he was, he yelled at him for following her and he said, "I wanted to give you this. I noticed your shoe was broken so I want you to have this and make more of those kicks".
However, Choi Ae-ra thought this was a joke and got mad at hime.
Park Moo-bin said, "I want to see you more. I did a lot of preparing today. I wore new clothes, got my hair done, reserved a restaurant and filled up the gas tank".
Choi Ae-ra thought about this and thought he was cute. She opened up to Park Moo-bin alightly. He then said, "I am worried someone might take you away because you're so pretty. Meet me for just 10 times. I will be good to you". Although the shoe was quite small, she put it on anyway.
Source : sports.donga.com/3/al...
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"Strong Family" Episodes 29-30 recap

The romantic subplots in "Strong Family" are really good in how they relate to each other. We have Ik-hee going through the adolescent awkwardness of a teen romance where no one knows what they're doing, Jeong-min being generally giddy about a relationship that will most likely end in marriage (because of her age), and then Miss Jo contemplating a late lifetime romance. Incidentally, Cho-seop (played by Nam Kyeong-eup) is my favorite love interest of the bunch. The man really rocks his late fifties facial hair.
He also inspires the most direct story interest in episode twenty-nine, because Ra-yeon has finally, belatedly discovered that her mother is dating him. Sort of. Miss Jo has not actually yet acknowledged as much, mostly because the concept if kind of weird. Both she and Cho-seop have already had spouses, and lives. It's just, their spouses are dead, and while neither Miss Jo nor Cho-seop are all that lonely, they do enjoy spending time with one another.
It's just a sort of interesting thought experiment. Is it cheating or infidelity of any kind if your spouse dies before you, and you're still old enough to date? The whole affair with the contract at the end of the episode is a tad creepy and weird but, eh, I can understand the sentiment. Beyond that we just have Ik-hee moving to a likely inevitable break-up, and that very embarrassing birthday where Jeong-min forgets that her co-workers are also ger friends.
Which incidentally is also a big plot point in the thirtieth episode, where personal issues in the lives of another co-worker inspire the whole office to turn out in support. That episode is a lot less dynamic than the twenty-ninth episode owing to the lack of variety, although the sentiment is very strong. It's nice to have co-workers who care about you, and are willing to go to bat for you against the corporate hierarchy. What greater cause do we have, in the end, than each other's friendship?
These episodes are some of "Strong Family" at its best- they're just snapshots of the lives of these characters, who remain consistently fundamentally relatable, even on a cross-generational level. Oh, and while it's not exactly an epic score or anything, i really like the musical cues. That string music really hits the good spot with its whole "I got your back" feeling. That's how you make a really "Strong Family", after all.
Review by William Schwartz
"Strong Family" is directed by Choi Moon-seok, written by Jin Yeong and features Park Hyeok-kwon, Park Seon-yeong, Kim Ji-min, Eom Hyo-seob, Park Hee-bon, Kim Ki-ri and Hoya.
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"Circle" Episode 3 recap

"Circle" is a rollercoaster ride that never stops and if this is a result of its short duration, thank goodness Dramaland decided to try it. In 2017, Woo-jin and Jeong-yeon clear up some misunderstandings and unearth a disturbing secret about the suicide victims. In 2037, Joon-hyeok's suspicions are proven right, leaving him and Ho-soo struggling with their past and identities.
Bluebird sounds very nice, but blue bug not so much. That being said, the headaches and nosebleeds in the 2017 victims have been pointing to a medical condition and so the bug is not such a huge surprise. Whether it is alien or synthetic, whether originally a weapon or a cure, it is clearly a precursor to the care chip. The big questions are, are the students willing participants to a clinical trial or not and is their death intended or a side-effect?
The prototypeProfessor Han
I did not think much of professor Han Yong-woo (Song Young-kyu) before, but now he looks very much involved. He seems troubled about things more than a professor should be. This means that he is either involved in allowing students to be experimented on or actively creating the research. He and our mysterious new lady-friend of Joon-hyeok (Kim Kang-woo) must have a story to them. The lady could even be an older Jeong-yeon (Gong Seung-yeon).
Speaking of which, I do not believe Jeong-yeon is the possibly-alien here, despite the show's best efforts to make her look sketchy with the potted bug. However, she is clearly connected to the "alien" and the study. If the creature is an alien, then her DNA and likeness were chosen for a reason. If the creature is of human creation, someone made her in Jeong-yeon's image. Perhaps Jeong-yeon's father is involved as well. At the moment, we have no proof of an extraterrestrial aside from two children's conjecture and a flashback through their memory, which is unreliable.
Joon-hyeok watching a video of the twinsHo-soo having a painful influx of memories
If our new character is Jeong-yeon and Joon-hyeok is Woo-jin (Yeo Jin-goo) then their 2017 "moment" fits into their fling as older adults, but I doubt he is our guy. All but one memories are common between the twins and the writing avoids explicitly stating which one he is. This makes me think that Joon-hyeok is in fact Beom-gyoon (An Woo-yeon), given traits of his personality are starting to fit. Which brings about the question of Woo-jin's whereabouts in 2037.
I love having so many things to theorize about. One character I do find unnecessary at this point, however, is Ho-soo (Lee Gi-kwang) and I hope the destruction of his delusions will make him useful regardless of whether or not he is a murderer. Ho-soo is our team's only link to Smart Earth, especially if someone takes out the righteous mayor, so may he find good use soon.
"Circle" is directed by Min Jin-gi, written by Kim Jin-hee-III, Park Eun-mi-I, Ryoo Moon-sang and Yoo Hye-mi and features Yeo Jin-goo, Kim Kang-woo, Gong Seung-yeon and Lee Gi-kwang.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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"My Secret Romance" Episode 12 recap

Yoo-mi heads back to the beachhead where this all began, and Ji-wook follows her, as the penultimate episode mostly focuses on nostalgia. And it really is nostalgia- I remember the first episode, and I also remember that it had a radically different tone than what the flashbacks here are pretending. Yoo-mi and Ji-wook were perpetually grumpy, and only bond at all because they were both extremely drunk.
But that's what makes their concerted effort to replace that goofy tone with a romantic one here all the sweeter. Yoo-mi and Ji-wook have been such a generally positive influence on each other that all of their past interactions are colored in the optimistic light of what their relationship is right now. That they are technically broken up at the moment is besides the point. Yoo-mi was drawn back to that beach in the first place precisely because her mood was so badly complicated by her mother's nefarious deeds.
While I do like that Mi-hee's thoughtless stupidity is addressed and criticized, the fact that this scene is so short is emblematic of the greatest shortcoming in "My Secret Romance"- the complete lack of any clearly developed subplot. The other characters are just vague representations of the obstacles confronting Yoo-mi and Ji-wook's relationship. Woo-jin's tearful scene loses a lot of power simply because Woo-jin hasn't had much screen time, and until this episode we never even knew that his date with Yoo-mi's co-worker even happened.
The second greatest shortcoming is just predictability. As much as Yoo-mi and Ji-wook struggle to find the courage to run into each other, and as many obstacles as we know exist back home, ultimately, we know they're going to get back together. The preview doesn't even pretend otherwise, showing us a bunch of dramatic scenes and then a wedding. Again, I really can't consider any of this a spoiler, because the plot in "My Secret Romance" is so rote there just isn't anywhere else for it to go.
All the same, I can never really hate "My Secret Romance" for these clichés because when the drama wants to be sweet, it almost always succeeds. Sung Hoon and Song Ji-eun are suitably attractive and charming leads with good chemistry. Even if I can't really qualify either of them as genuinely good actors, they're convincing and bring the fairytale qualities of "My Secret Romance" into sharp relief.
Review by William Schwartz
"My Secret Romance" is directed by Kang Cheol-woo, written by Kim Ha-na-I and Kim Yeong-woon and features Sung Hoon, Song Ji-eun, Kim Jae-young and Jeong Da-sol.
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"My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 1-2 recap

The first half of the first episode of "My Sassy Girl - Drama" consists entirely of an elaborate royal conspiracy. It involves nighttime, massive swordfights, escapes, a perilous childbirth scene, and is generally completely indistinguishable from a serious historical drama prologue. Then we flash forward ten years later and scholar Gyeon-woo (played by Joo Won) is trying to maintain balance on a boat while narrating about how cool and beloved he was back in China.
"My Sassy Girl - Drama" is low brow in a way seldom seen in Korean dramas anymore. The entire style of humor is plucked straight from the early two thousands, with characters briefly being given dignity for the sole purpose of creating a joke wherein they inevitably lose it. I don't especially like Gyeon-woo. He's really smug. So it was oddly gratifying when he runs into Princess Hyeomhyeong (played by Oh Yeon-seo), who reacts to his coolness by behaving like a drunk psycho.
Princess Hyeomhyeong is an odd character. She is frankly, not that pretty (most due to overly heavy makeup), and her personality is even worse. Yet Princess Hyeomhyeong is a curiously bewitching main character on account of how she overreacts to every minor slight. The more I saw of her, the more I understood that weird dramatic prologue. Princess Hyeomhyeong is the worst possible enemy to such a conspiracy, because she is completely unwilling to act in a predictable pliant manner no matter how dangerous the potential consequences.
I can actually see how these two wildly divergent tones could work together. It definitely helps that, crude as the jokes may be, they are often understated as necessary. Take the scene at the inn. Not the one in the room, but at the desk, where the design is so blatantly anachronistic that even Gyeon-woo comments on it. A lot of the charm in "My Sassy Girl - Drama" is just from these goofy background details.
The entire Chinese sequence is another good example- the whole thing is an obvious reference to Chinese fandoms of Korean idols. I can't tell whether an actual Chinese fan would find this cute or offensive, although with the anti-THAAD boycott, it doesn't really matter. The production team is just throwing whatever weird idea they can come up with at the wall to try and see what sticks. That sentiment, at least, is pretty accurate to the original "My Sassy Girl" concept, although it remains to be seen whether that energy can be sustained for a full drama.
Review by William Schwartz
"My Sassy Girl - Drama" is directed by Oh Jin-seok, written by Yoon Hyo-je and features Joo Won, Oh Yeon-seo, Lee Jung-shin, Kim Yoon-hye, Son Chang-min, and Yoon Se-ah.
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"My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 1-2 recap

The first half of the first episode of "My Sassy Girl - Drama" consists entirely of an elaborate royal conspiracy. It involves nighttime, massive swordfights, escapes, a perilous childbirth scene, and is generally completely indistinguishable from a serious historical drama prologue. Then we flash forward ten years later and scholar Gyeon-woo (played by Joo Won) is trying to maintain balance on a boat while narrating about how cool and beloved he was back in China.
"My Sassy Girl - Drama" is low brow in a way seldom seen in Korean dramas anymore. The entire style of humor is plucked straight from the early two thousands, with characters briefly being given dignity for the sole purpose of creating a joke wherein they inevitably lose it. I don't especially like Gyeon-woo. He's really smug. So it was oddly gratifying when he runs into Princess Hyeomhyeong (played by Oh Yeon-seo), who reacts to his coolness by behaving like a drunk psycho.
Princess Hyeomhyeong is an odd character. She is frankly, not that pretty (most due to overly heavy makeup), and her personality is even worse. Yet Princess Hyeomhyeong is a curiously bewitching main character on account of how she overreacts to every minor slight. The more I saw of her, the more I understood that weird dramatic prologue. Princess Hyeomhyeong is the worst possible enemy to such a conspiracy, because she is completely unwilling to act in a predictable pliant manner no matter how dangerous the potential consequences.
I can actually see how these two wildly divergent tones could work together. It definitely helps that, crude as the jokes may be, they are often understated as necessary. Take the scene at the inn. Not the one in the room, but at the desk, where the design is so blatantly anachronistic that even Gyeon-woo comments on it. A lot of the charm in "My Sassy Girl - Drama" is just from these goofy background details.
The entire Chinese sequence is another good example- the whole thing is an obvious reference to Chinese fandoms of Korean idols. I can't tell whether an actual Chinese fan would find this cute or offensive, although with the anti-THAAD boycott, it doesn't really matter. The production team is just throwing whatever weird idea they can come up with at the wall to try and see what sticks. That sentiment, at least, is pretty accurate to the original "My Sassy Girl" concept, although it remains to be seen whether that energy can be sustained for a full drama.
Review by William Schwartz
"My Sassy Girl - Drama" is directed by Oh Jin-seok, written by Yoon Hyo-je and features Joo Won, Oh Yeon-seo, Lee Jung-shin, Kim Yoon-hye, Son Chang-min, and Yoon Se-ah.
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Sunday, May 28, 2017

"Father Is Strange" episode 26 recap

Na Yeong-sol (Kim Hae-sook) was against Byeon Hye-yeong (Lee Yu-ri) and Cha Jeong-hwan (Ryoo Soo-yeong) getting married.
She asked Hye-yeong, "Didn't you say you won't marry him?" and she answered, "I decided to take an adventure and marry him rather than lose him". Yeong-sil said, "You don't need this adventure. I can't let you marry him".
Hye-yeong tried to convince her mother, "I know what you mean, but it doesn't mean I'm becoming his property; I'm just getting married to him". Yeong-sil said, "His mother is someone with different values from us. She insulted your mother. How could you even dream of it? She's boastful just because she has money".
Yeong-sil added, "He suddenly took off and was out of reach". Then Hye-yeong said, "That was all me, not him".
Hye-yeong told her mother, "He is the first guy to make me want to get married, something I never thought I'd do". However, Yeong-sil turned her head and said, "It's not about getting married because you like someone".
Byeon Han-soo (Kim Young-cheol) who was watching them, said, "I agree with your mother, but I will take your thoughts into consideration".
Source : tvdaily.asiae.co.kr/r...
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"You're Too Much" episode 24 recap

On the recent episode of the MBC weekend drama "You're Too Much", Kang Tae-oh and Jun Kwang-ryul met for the first time regarding the suicide of someone but got off on the wrong foot.
Seong-hwan (Jun Kwang-ryul) heard from Na-kyeong (Yoon Ah-jeong) that Yoo Jina's (Uhm Jung-hwa) son had something to with the recent suicide. He met Kyeong-soo (Kang Tae-oh) himself.
Na-kyeong decided to make a once-in-a-lifetime deal to hold down her base in the family. She asked Seong-hwan to make sure she was the lady of the house, and using that as bait, she hinted that Yoo Jina's son Kyeong-soo would be a pain in the neck regarding her dead mother-in-law.
Seong-hwan met Kyeong-soo who told him he had no intentions of living as Yoo Jina's son and that he was raised under the support of his dead wife. The more surprising thing was Kyeong-soo asked Seong-hwan if he was ready to accept someone who was being suspected of being involved in his wife's suicide.
It seems that Kyeong-soo will become the key player that holds the secret to Lady Choi Kyeong-ae's suicide.
Source : www.tvreport.co.kr/?c...
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"Father is Strange" rated 31.0%

"Father is Strange" broke its existing record yet again.
According to Nielsen Korea, the KBS 2TV drama "Father is Strange" rated 31.0% which is beyond another other drama on this day.
The twenty-third episode hit 24.2% and the twenty-fourth was 30.5%.
Meanwhile, MBC "You're Too Much" rated 12.7% and MBC "Bad Thief, Good Thief" rated 11.6%.
Source : tvdaily.asiae.co.kr/r...
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"Bad Thief, Good Thief" episdoe 6 recap

Seohyun made her first appearance as a tomboy teenager.
The latest episode of the MBC weekend drama "Bad Thief, Good Thief" featured Kang So-joo (Seohyun) for the first time.
Yoon Hwa-yeong (Lim Ju-eun) was the class president but the class didn't listen to her when she told them to be quiet. However, Kang So-joo who was playing noisily at the back of the class, yelled, "Hey! The president said be quiet! Look in front!" Everyone went silent.
Kang So-joo made a hand gesture at Yoon Hwa-yeong and she smiled. Going home, Yoon Hwa-yeong was asked out by many boys. They approached her saying they had concert tickets but Kang So-joo threatened them with a kick.
Kang So-joo got rid of the boys approaching Hwa-yeong and said, "She's very tired of you boys coming up to her like this. Watch yourselves". Kang So-joo and Yoon Hwa-yeong went to the same house.
Yoon Hwa-yeong's aunt Hong Mi-ae (Seo I-sook) was mean to Kang So-joo and said, "Can't you speak? Have you no guilt in living in someone else's house?" It turned out Kang So-joo was living with her friend Yoon Hwa-yeong.
Source : www.newsen.com/news_v...
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Friday, May 26, 2017

KBS2 "The Best Hit" preview

Yoon Si-yoon and Lee Se-yeong shared a kiss in the entertainment drama "The Best Hit".
"The Best Hit" is a youth drama about people in their 20s who struggle to survive in this world.
Yoon Si-yoon plays Yoo Hyeon-jae, a genius in song writing, dancing and singing. He is the typical Mozart who debuted in 1993 and is still a popular singer today. Lee Se-yeong takes on the role of Choi Woo-seung, a lame, typical girl who is studying for her bar exams for 3 years in a row.
The picture of them kissing looks like they have frozen like that. Yoon Si-roon and Lee Se-yeong's eyes looks like they're about to pop out.
In the following picture, Yoon Si-yoon looks like he can't believe what just happened and Lee Se-yeong looks like she doesn't have a thought in the world and her eyes are out of focus.
"The Best Hit" is directed by Seo Soo-min-I and Green Snake Media.
Source : news.nate.com/view/20...
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"Mystery Queen" episode 16 recap final

"Mystery Queen" ended with a perfect open ending. The final episode which seemed to find the secret to everything, ended with a strong hint of a second season.
On the final episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Mystery Queen", Ha Wan-seung (Kwon Sang-woo) and Yoo Seol-ok (Choi Kang-hee) tracked down the real story behind Seo Hyeon-soo's death and the death of Yoo Seol-ok's parents.
Ha Wan-seuk quit being a police when Yoo Seol-ok got hurt and joined in father Ha Jae-ho (Jang Gwang) in his office. However, this was to avoid his father's eyes and closely investigate Seo Hyeon-soo's case. Ha Wan-seung and Yoo Seol-ok were trying to bring out a case that was statute-barred for a long time.
Ha Wan-seung mentioned that he will meet Seo Hyeon-soo in America. Ha Jae-ho heard this and set out to find the dead body along with the contract killer. Ha Jae-ho looked for the spot where the body was buried and Ha Wan-seung caught him red-handed.

However, Ha Jae-ho said, "I will be out soon. It was to save you". He hinted that he had a secret with Seo Hyeon-soo. Ha Jae-ho was constantly looking for something within Seo Hyeon-soo.
Detective Ko was murdered in prison and DNA was untraceable in Seo Hyeon-soo's body. In the ending of the episode, a proud-looking woman introduced herself as Seo Hyeon-soo.
There was no real end and this could mean there is a season 2. Yoo Seol-ok is preparing to become a policewoman and there are still a lot of cases she needs to solve with Ha Wan-seung.
Source : news.tf.co.kr/read/en...
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Suspicious Partner episoe 12 recap

Ji Chang-wook introduced Nam Ji-hyeon as his girlfriend to Nara.
Noh J-wook (Ji Chang-wook), Eun Bong-hee (Nam Ji-hyeon) and Cha Yoo-jeong (Nara) faced each other on the latest episode of the SBS drama "Suspicious Partner".
Cha Yoo-jeong asked Eun Bong-hee if she was really seeing Noh Ji-wook. She also said, "I liked you from the beginning, but why did he have to choose you?"
Eun Bong-hee also said, "I feel the same way. Why did he have such a pretty girlfriend?"
Cha Yoo-jeong asked again if they were seeing each other and Eun Bong-hee said yes but didn't make eye contact.
Yoo-jeong said, "I knew you were lying. Of course, Ji-wook wouldn't with me around".
However, Noh Ji-wook appeared and said, "I would pick her over you". He put his arms around Eun Bong-hee's shoulder and walked away with her.
Source : www.asiatoday.co.kr/v...
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"Man to Man" Episode 5 recap

"Man to Man" may have a dark side, but it's really just a story about three people who are growing up. In between all of that are corrupt officials doing dirty deeds to acquire lofty positions, burgeoning love triangles, and bouts of situational humor. It is the last that surprises me most, especially with the dark subject matter that surrounds Seol-woo's life as a ghost agent.

The events that tied the episode together were the romantic happenings between Seol-woo and Do-ha. Placed once again with Woon-gwang and his gang for a top secret mission, Seol-woo uses romance as his guise. What he doesn't realize -- at least not fully -- is that romance is going to get the better of him. He thoroughly enjoys winning over Do-ha who is absolutely smitten with him. Her displays of adorable confusion over his feelings for her and over which decision she should make regarding him are worthy television moments. It is the tension of the push and pull that makes for entertaining romance and we get plenty of it here.
Man to Man 3Man to Man 4
Perhaps more lovable than the main couple is the Seol-woo/Woon-gwang pairing. Woon-gwang is such a likable character with his combination of ego, charm, and vulnerableness. The last of those is shown most when Mi-eun is around, especially because she selfishly inserts herself in his life. Their story is quite tragic and, I'm sure, will prove moreso as Seung-jae becomes more and more jealous of Mi-eun's feelings for her ex.

Some of my favorite moments of the show are when humor emerges. Often this is in the form of Seol-woo's facial expressions that are accompanied by cutesy sound effects. Although this doesn't sound quite as fun in writing, it is very entertaining in action. also, the juxtaposition of Seol-woo's missions with the romantic phone calls he makes with Do-ha are a great way to get two things done at once while making us laugh.
Man to Man 1Man to Man 2
As for the resident evils, Congressman Baek is again outsmarted by Seung-jae who lords overhim. Although allies, they are not friends. I anticipate a time when they will do battle. Another ghost agent searches for the wooden statues for these two ambitious men and will fight Seol-woo again - they are, after all, after the same thing. The newest villain is not really a villain, but a misguided character: Do-ha's father. He is the source of the second wooden statue that Seol-woo's employers and Congressman Baek are searching for. This bodes badly for his relationship with Do-ha, but that is what creates some delicious romantic drama.

If "Man to Man" continues to be this zippy, I do think I'll enjoy it very much.
Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
"Man to Man" is directed by Kim Sang-ho-I and Lee Chang-min-I, written by Kim Won-seok-II, and features Park Hae-jin, Kim Min-jeong, Park Sung-woon, and Yeon Jeong-hoon.
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"Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 11-12 recap

The opening swordfight gives the impression that "Ruler: Master of the Mask" has decided to be an action swashbuckler about Prince Seon fighting for justice against a corrupt regime. Instead, we get a story arc about international trade with Japan. When I saw that Prince Seon had a whole gang of confederates I was sure he was going to, I don't know, steal the tax money or something. But no, he just approaches Hwa-goon to ask for a loan.
That's what Hwa-goon has been up to the last five years. She's a merchant now. It's unclear whether she still works with Dae-mok. My guess is not, because her idea to become the Queen is a lot more viable now that Prince Seon has been replaced by a compliant puppet. Mostly. The other Seon has a brief angry scene where he gets morally indignant about legislation that hits a little close to home.
Sometimes the other Seon wears the mask and sometimes he does not. I think it depends on whether the scene is better served if we can see L emoting. Which is incomprehensible continuity-wise but whatever, it's as good a reason as any. The other Seon continues to not be very smart. It does not appear to have occurred to him that by exposing his face to a wide group of people, the other Seon could greatly reduce Dae-mok's leverage to simply conjure a replacement out of thin air.
He's not the only one. Apparently it has also not occurred to Ga-eun that literally anyone could be behind the mask at any time. Although I suppose that is the conceit we have to accept for "Ruler: Master of the Mask" to make any sense at all. This is a world with no concept of body doubles. Besides, maybe it's just a high quality mask. The one Prince Seon wears in the opening chase scene just falls off of its own dramatic accord.
Then again I could be here awhile on the whole absurdity topic. What's more ridiculous- Cheong-eun's ability to teleport, or his power to deflect several dozen arrows at once? What about the bright black outfits worn in daytime where they can easily be seen? Wait, how about this- was Prince Seon seriously expecting Hwa-goon to grant him the loan based solely on the power of his good looks? I mean yeah, he is played by Yoo Seung-ho, but still, why would anyone aside from Hwa-goon agree to a deal like that?
Review by William Schwartz
"Ruler: Master of the Mask" is directed by Noh Do-cheol & Park Won-gook, written by Jeong Hae-ri & Park Hye-jin-II, and features Yoo Seung-ho, Kim So-hyun, L, Yoon So-hee, Heo Joon-ho and Park Chul-min.
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Ruler: Master of the Mask" is close to 14.0%

The percentage of "Ruler: Master of the Mask" is close to 14.0%.
According to Nielsen Korea, the MBC drama "Ruler: Master of the Mask" rated a record breaking 11.9% and 13.8%, respectively.
"Ruler: Master of the Mask" is a drama about the lonely struggle of a prince against a powerful organization that possesses the Joseon's waters. The cast are Yoo Seung-ho, Kim So-hyun and L.
Meanwhile, "Mystery Queen" rated 8.4% and SBS "Suspicious Partner" rated 6.8% and 8.3%.
Source : www.tvreport.co.kr/?c...
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"Mystery Queen" episode 15 recap

The connection between Choi Kang-hee and Kwon Sang-woo in "Mystery Queen" finally came out.
On the latest episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Mystery Queen", Ha Wan-seung (Kwon Sang-woo) told Yoo Seol-ok (Choi Kang-hee) that they were connected and gave her the files on the taxi driver murder.
The taxi driver was Yoo Seol-ok's father who wrote a will saying he killed a woman and killed himself with his wife. The woman he killed was Ha Wan-seung's first love Seo Hyeon-soo.
Yoo Seol-ok guessed that the will wasn't written by her father as he didn't arrange his sentences like that. She then found out that the police hid papers involved in the investigation and tried to make it look like murder.
Yoo Seol-ok and Ha Wan-seung came to a conclusion that her father didn't commit suicide but was killed. In addition, the two started to look for the criminal who killed Yoo Seol-ok's father and Seo Hyeon-soo.
Yoo Seol-ok started looking into the case on behalf of Ha Wan-seung who was in the lock-up.
Source : tvdaily.asiae.co.kr/r...
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"Suspicious Partner" episode 9-10 recap

Choi Tae-joon was the reason Nara and Ji Chang-wook broke up.
The ninth and tenth episodes of the SBS drama "Suspicious Partner" showed why Noh Ji-wook (Ji Chang-wook) and Cha Yoo-jeong (Nara) broke up.
Noh Ji-wook ignored his ex-lover Cha Yoo-jeong and Eun Bong-hee (Nam Ji-hyeon) pretended to be his girlfriend. Noh Ji-wook told Eun Bong-hee, "I went to her house one day and I saw her with someone else. That's all".
Noh Ji-wook quit the law firm and decided to set up an office to work with Eun Bong-hee with. Ji Eun-hyeok (Choi Tae-joon) asked him to put him on his team but Noh Ji-wook ignored him. Ji Eun-hyeok then said, "I want to tell you what happened that day".
Ji Eun-hyeok's recollection of the past was surprising. He had a crush on Cha Yoo-jeong and he watched her show her love for Noh Ji-wook and watched the two of them start to date. He didn't give her up and in the end things led to an affair and Noh Ji-wook saw that.
Source : www.newsen.com/news_v...
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