The drama is basically a more serious Girl Who Sees Smells, with higher stakes and a higher body count, but the same tongue-in-cheek, bubbly approach to the lead couple interactions, and the same fast-paced, intricately-written approach to the crime plots.
Tag Archives: Kdrama review
The Time I’ve Loved You is a Korean drama remake of Taiwanese drama In Time with You, and just started airing. In Time with You, though it kind of self-destructs in its home stretch, is one of my favorite dramas, thoroughly lovely and extraordinarily well-written, that rare story that often transcends its medium to tell something real and gripping about human life and love (I wrote a full review earlier today).
The Time I’ve Loved You can be viewed one of two days: as an original story by those who haven’t seen the Taiwanese drama, and as a remake/new interpretation by those who have. Either way, I can say this: both will find it an unexceptional drama. The premise itself of two 30-something best friends who fall in love is strong, but not a guarantee of success, nor unique (9 Ends 2 Outs had the same premise). What matters is how you take that story and run with it, whether or not dialogue and music, casting, visual and pacing choices add or subtract from that premise. In this case, all those variable choices mostly subtract from it. Editing choices are odd – the drama uses an odd kaleidoscope effect to shift abruptly from past to present and back again – and the pacing is slower than in the first drama.
Emergency Couple is a fantastic drama, fast-paced with incredible romantic nuance and an aching, so-real-it-hurts chemistry between leads Song Ji-Ho and Choi Jin-hyuk. Medical dramas always sound boring, but I’ve discovered over years of drama-watching that in fact they’re wonderful fodder for romance, mainly because it sets up the leads to work together in a high-stakes, dramatic environment in which they are constantly forced to interact.
Ordinarily, I’d stay as far away from a drama centering on a man with split-personality disorder as Indiana Jones from a pit of snakes – but it’s been a down weekend, I’ve rarely not liked Hyun Bin, and there’s a lack of dramas in my weekly TV schedule now that Pinocchio has aired. So I thought I’d give this a shot.
Favorite Asian Dramas: #1-5 – Mars, Coffee Prince, Nobuta wo Produce, Thank You, Tsuki no Koibito Reviews
2)The First Shop of Coffee Prince(Korean)
Coming in at #2 is much-loved, wildly famous Coffee Prince, starring Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun-Hye.
Eun-chan (Yoon Eun-Hye) plays a girl who’s had to grow up quickly in order to keep her family going after the death of her father. When a wealthy, irresponsible coffee-shop owner mistakes her for a boy and hires her to pretend to be his boyfriend so that his family will think he’s gay and let him off the marriage hook, a whole series of events are set in motion. When Eun-chan later goes to work at his coffeeshop, an intense attraction springs up between the two – but he still thinks she’s a man.
My take: Coffee Prince is just standout in Korean dramas – it’s well-written, well-acted, well-directed, with a lovely soundtrack featuring indie artists and stellar performances from both Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun-hye; it’s funny, offbeat, and romantic, doesn’t drag until perhaps the very end, has a cast of charmingly quirky(and good-looking!) supporting characters, has an unconventional romance trope(guy falls in love with girl whom he thinks is a guy), and even more importantly has that extra spark of magic that just pulls a whole drama together and makes it out-of-the-world amazing.
When it gets good/Got me! moment: end of second episode
Fav scene: it’s tied between The Kiss(you know the one;) and the bumping-into-each-other on the street as they’re both picking up what she dropped
3)Nobuta wo Produce (Japanese)
Popular, good-looking Kiritani Shuji (Kame) has it all – the unofficial king of his high school, he’s loved by everyone from the cool kids to the nerds. There’s just one person Shuji doesn’t get along with – Akira. The quick-talking, hyperactive Akira rubs Shuji in all the wrong ways. When odd, reserved new girl Nobuko enters the school, she is immediately, viciously bullied. Shuji and Akira agree to work together to transform her into the school queen. An unlikely friendship springs up between the trio.
My take: I came late to the Nobuta fanwagon late, but when I did I fell hard. It was universally recommended to when to try when I first tried Jdramas, and while I liked it then, I just didn’t get it, and stopped after a few episodes. Two years later, with 9 other jdramas under my belt, I tried it again…and magic happened. It instantly shot past all the other jdramas I’d seen to become, not just my favorite jdrama, but one of my favorite dramas ever. And this for a show with very little overt romance!
It pitch-perfect, superbly acted (Kame as Kiritani Shuuji is basically a cross between Ferris Bueller and Jim Stark and won the Japanese equivalent of an Emmy for his lead role), well-produced and directed (light and dark are often interestingly played with and there’s just some lovely shots peppering it throughout), and completely funny, sometimes heartbreaking, and completely heartwarming. A love story, a coming of age tale, a romance, family, and friendship epic. It’s brilliant. It has something for everyone.
When it gets good: I already loved it by the end of the first episode, but the second episode solidified that
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Prosecutor Princess, Brilliant Legacy, Aishiteiru to itte Kure, Hana Yori Dango 1 &2, Yamato Nadeshiko Shiche Henge, My Lucky Star, Silence, Wish to See You Again, ToGetHer, and Smiling Pasta. These are all dramas which are well-written, compelling, and hugely enjoyable, which I definitely recommend watching if you haven’t seen yet, but just didn’t quite have that spark of consistent magic that I require in my top dramas, or just don’t have my heart in the definitive way the others do.
Pinocchio is a currently-airing Korean drama starring Park Shin Hye and Lee Jong Suk.
Ha-myung (Lee Jong Suk) has a photographic memory (he has to see something only once in order to remember it) and a happy family – his father is a firefighter captain, his mother a loving parent, and his brother shares his gift. One day, however, his father leads his squad into a terrible factory explosion, and when it’s over, most of the squad is dead and Ha-myung’s father has disappeared. The media, grasping hold of the story, sensationalize it as an irresponsible captain killing his squad and then disappearing out of fear, and Ha-myung and his family become nationally despised.
Ha-myung’s mother decides to kill herself and jumps with him into the sea, but Ha-myung is rescued, miles away, by the kindly, elderly Gong-pil. Gong-pil, who has a few screws loose, decides that Ha-myung is his oldest, long-dead son Dal-po, and adopts him. Ha-myung gladly accepts the identity, and is raised alongside Gong-pil’s other son Dal-pyung and his daughter In-ha (Park Shin Hye). The two grow up together and ultimately enter the world of journalism as newbie reporters.
I can’t say enough about how deeply lovable Pinocchio is. I had a good feeling from the first episode, when it started out quick and charming and assured…
Since there’s no almost no good dramas currently airing, I hit up Tumblr for older drama recommendations and got Discovery of Romance suggested. I’m two episodes in and finding it very charming. Eric and Jung Yoo Mi previously starred in the classic drama Que Sera Sera together, but as I haven’t seen that (it’s apparently very dark and features a slightly abusive relationship) I had nothing to go on. After two episodes I would say that while they don’t have extraordinary chemistry, and the chemistry they do have is more of the “cute and sweet” variety rather than “crackling and simmering”, what they do have is a very natural, convincing dynamic together. Side note: my gold standard forever for physical chemistry onscreen is Yoon Eun Hye and Kang Ji Hwan in Lie to Me. Which is totally unfair to all other drama couples since their scorching chemistry was on another planetary level entirely.
It’s a dark season for new television. On both sides of the pond – and in this case by “pond” I don’t mean England and the United States but Korea and the United States – the new series that have debuted in the fall have almost universally been disappointments. Here in the U.S., the overwhelming majority of good (and highly-rated television) currently on is the returning favorites, and among the few new successful shows are How to Get Away with Murder and The Flash. The dramas that have premiered and aired in the past few months have also almost all been disappointments, and at this point I’m just impatiently waiting for Pinocchio (starring my love Park Shin Hye!) later this month, Healer in December, and Jekyll, Hyde (starring Hyun Bin!) in January.
The most puzzling thing about this slightly odd drama is that it’s not based on a manwha. It seems tailor-made to have been based on one of the melodramatic, romantic manwhas that are so often the rage in Korea and Japan. And yet it’s an original creation from screenwriter Kim Kyu Wan – to which all I can say is, you got grit, to break from the tailor-made drama template most screenwriters use in this way. Kim Kyu Wan tends to write problematic dramas with a lot of potential, like Cinderella’s Sister and Robber. Iron Man centers on Joo Hong Bin (Lee Dong Wook), the oddball CEO of a hugely successful game company (video games, not board games). A chance encounter with Son Se Dong, an aspiring game designer, and the unexpected appearance of a young son he didn’t know existed, turns Hong Bin’s world upside down.