Tag Archives: Korean dramas

Korean Drama Review ‘The Time I’ve Loved You’

19_zpshtg8hvqqThe 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.

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Korean Drama Review: ‘High Society’ First Impressions

high society kdrama review plot summary

High Society is a new Korean drama. It stars UEE as an heiress – the youngest daughter of a family that owns a huge corporation – and Sung Joon as as a businessman from a poor background (his mother is a cook for a rich household). I was initially interested in it partly for the cast – I love UEE and like Sung Joon – but I’m astonished to find this drama completely charming and slightly magical.

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Kdrama Review: ‘Discovery of Romance’ First Impressions

Discovery-of-Romance-Poster1Since 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.

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Caffeinated Links: Paul Rudd’s Epic Tonight Show, Rise of Kdramas and Veronica Mars

This shot to INSTANT lip-sync hall of fame. If you haven’t watched it yet, what are you doing with your life?

The Wall Street Journal on Veronica Mars‘ innovation – “On television, Veronica Mars was a gritty teenage private investigator who wasn’t afraid to break down doors. Now a movie version of the show is about to do the same thing.

“Veronica Mars” will be released by Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. in about 270 theaters on March 14, the same day that it is available to buy or rent online. It will mark the first time one of Hollywood’s six major studios has distributed a movie in theaters and for home viewing at the same time in the U.S.”  RT

The Millions on saving “like”s linguistic reputation – “Where some traditionalists see the use of “like” as a dialog tag as portent of cultural End Times, D’Arcy views it as an important tool for self-expression, allowing speakers to narrate their interior thought processes in dramatic and easily accessible ways.” RT

PRI’s The World on how your next big, addictive TV show could be from Korea. “Last fall, one of South Korea’s leading production companies joined forces with DramaFever to produce their first original series, “Heirs” — already a fan-favorite with 17 million views in just the first three months. The story is about privileged high school students and was filmed largely in California.” RT

Lucy Schwartz, one of my very favorite singer-songwriters, crafted a gorgeous, aching ballad of pain and longing for the TV show Nashville.

I Need Romance 3

Teaser for the upcoming Kdrama rom-com I Need Romance 3 (stand-alone, not a sequel) and wow, the sexual chemistry between Kim So-Yeon and Sung Joon is crackling. Kim So-Yeon is among my top 5 Korean actresses so I think I’ll be checking this out. 

How And Where To Download Asian Dramas

Note: most of this was adapted from my post at an earlier blog

Watch dramas online:

Viki

Dramafever

Download:

For downloading, there are two options as far as subtitles go: hardsubs or softsubs

1)Hardsubs and softsubs:

soft subs – soft subs are simply subtitles which come as a separate file and aren’t directly attached to the video file, so you need to download them separately- they’re usually titled/in the form of “.srt”

hard subs – subtitles which come with the video and don’t have to be downloaded separately – ie if  you see “episodes 1-10 hardsubbed” in means that the episodes are already subbed and all you have to is download the videos

Hardsubs are nicer in general as you only have to download one file, but they take much longer to come out and most people end up using softsubs for the most part as episodes get released with softsubs by fansubbing groups much much faster than with hardsubs. The good thing about soft subs, however, is that they’re very small files; they usually download in seconds. Figuring out how to sync them with your video file/make sure they show up on your screen can get a bit trickier, but it’s really not that hard…

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Caffeinated Links: Colin Firth, Ken Follet, Breaking Bad

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One must always share the trailer for a new Colin Firth film. Methinks forgiveness and hatred and suffering and revenge and love are all a part of this and all for the better. Also – great cast. RT

Did you know that there was more than one miniseries adaptation of Ken Follet‘s books? I did not. Adding World without End to my watchlist asap. (Also – Ben Chaplin!)

How the Bard would end Breaking Bad

“In Shakespeare’s works, each of us has a certain destiny. We can try to thwart it or challenge it, but ultimately we must align ourselves with it. The consequences of doing otherwise depend on the world in question. If the world is benign, you get slapped around a bit and fall in line. If the world has a malignity or malice toward you, you’re going to get slapped around and die. What can you do about it? Nothing. In either case, once Shakespeare’s characters discover who they really are, the world harmonizes; it falls into place.”  RT The Atlantic

North America is so woefully behind the times transit-wise. New study shows living near convenient transit increases your happiness.  “Well-planned transit can be more than a ride — it can be a positive emotional force.”  RT The Atlantic

A damning Steven Lloyd Wilson film review is one of my favorite things.  “I’m at a loss to say what the director was even aspiring to do. Whatever it was, he failed. Catastrophically.” RT Pajiba

Dramabeans is having a meetup in Seattle September 21st. If Korean dramas are your thing (and they should be) go to this. RT Dramabeans

Partner Recap Episode 1-2

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I like Partner. Granted, it’s not quite as witty as I expected, or as centered on the relationship between Kim Hyun Joo and Lee Dong Wook’s characters in a romantic way, but it’s charming and enjoyable thus far.

Brief synopsis: Kim Hyun Joo is a newbie lawyer who clashes with her partner. She cares for the innocent and tries to help them whereas Lee Dong Wook doesn’t see his clients as actual people but treats them as a business deal.

Overview:

Kang Eun Ho(Kim Hyun Joo), a widowed single parent and rookie lawyer, gets accepted a law firm in Seoul, and promptly packs up her son and all her possessions and moves to Seoul, leaving behind her grandfather, who taught her everything she knows about law and for reasons unexplained is sliding more and more into alcoholism(he’s clearly able to take care of himself however; there’s no implication that Eun Ho is being careless or unloving to leave him there).  Once there, however, it turns out that not only is the law firm she’s been accepted to a small, struggling one, but that none of the employees there welcome her, and indeed when she first gets there the firm’s Representative is about to cave to the pressure from his underlings and back out of hiring her. Halfway through the conversation, however, he has a brilliant idea: what better way to placate both Eun Ho and the other lawyers than assign her their most recent, impossible-to-win case, one involving a boy accused of killing his stepsister? The evidence, while mostly circumstantial, is highly convincing against the boy, and Eun Ho is sure to lose, especially as a rookie lawyer. He gives Eun Ho the case and tells her that if she wins he will hire her, and tells the other lawyers that she’s sure to lose so they’ll have her off their hands soon enough.

Eun Ho, meanwhile, is assigned to a desk in Lee Tao Jo(Lee Dong Wook)’s office, and the Representative assigns Tao Jo, as an experienced lawyer, to assist her on the case. Tao Jo and Eun Ho get off on the wrong foot almost immediately, mostly on Tao Jo’s side as he finds her a drag.

Characters:

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Eun Ho: I realized, after watching the first two episodes of this drama, that I was subconsciously expecting Han Hyu Joo to reprise her fierce, graceful role as Jun-pyo’s butt-kicking sister in Boys Before Flowers here, but that was a mistaken assumption. I was rather taken aback actually, because the drama starts with her appearing in much this role – she is teaching boxing to a group of teenage miscreants and soundly defeating all of them while berating them between blows on their delinquent ways – but soon after switches and shows her instead as naive and idealistic and not exactly confrontational. She’s stubborn, and tends to bull ahead with what she wants sometimes because she’s so sure that she’s right, but she doesn’t take offence easily and puts up with a lot from her fellow lawyers, particularly her “partner” Tao Jo. Two things about her character:

1)she weathers things well, which after thinking about I think is a good representation of her age and position in life – she’s a middle-aged mother, not a teenager or 20-something to be swept by every mood and passion that strikes her – she takes all the nonsense that Tao Jo throws at her and his bad attitude in general with frustration but without resentment or lasting anger

2)I find the idealistic/naive side of her rather a disappointment, given how many stories we’ve seen of young rookie idealists who sail in and magically change the legal system or win some major case on the basis of their heart. I was hoping that Eun Ho would be a tough-as-nails, ball-busting, coolly competent lawyer with a heart of gold and a heart for people, who uses those exact traits and tactics to stand up for them, instead of the naivete wrapped in good intentions with which she actually stands up for them.  I mean, I haven’t seen an interesting do-good lawyer character since Matt Damon in The Rainmaker or Rani Mukerjee in Veer-Zaara – we’ve been there and done that and this type of character has lost its flavor and originality, not that it possessed that much to begin with. Not that Eun Ho is annoying at all, however – she’s not particularly up on a high horse and Hyun Joo brings a lot of humanity and warmth to her, I’m just a bit disappointed because I think they could have taken the character in a different direction, especially given the actress’s potential.

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(one of his rare moments of actual deeper emotion)

Tao Jo: Again, not really what I expected, but not necessarily in a bad way. I assumed that Partner would be one of those dramas about two equals meeting, sparring, dancing around each other inside the courtroom and out(since they’re lawyers) and ultimately falling in love. But Partner, instead, is clearly going to be one of those woman-changes-the-man and makes him grow up kind of dramas, because Tao Jo is a highly immature character at this point in his life.  He is an irreverent playboy who views his profession for the most part as a mere past-time and skates through both life and the law on looks, charm, and a quick tongue. It’s not that we haven’t seen playboy characters before, but when we have they tend to be more of the uber-successful, wealthy type – Tao Jo, while mostly successful in his cases, is working for a struggling firm and is far outshined by the firm’s main star, Yoo Mi Yun(Choi Su Ri). He seems less like a man who takes life lightly because he’s good at everything he does than like a boy who hasn’t quite grown up yet. However, adding interest to his character is the requisite Tragic Past, so necessary for every kdrama hero and heroine, which in his case consists of having witnessed some kind of traumatic death at first hand and of being estranged from his father and brother, having left his father’s law firm some time ago for reasons which aren’t yet clear. He is also half in love(it’s unclear yet whether it’s serious, but at the moment it seems like a boy’s crush on an older, more confident woman) with Mi Yun, who is unknown to him also having an affair with his married brother.

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The episode itself: (must cut this short since it’s past my bedtime)

 

What fascinates me the most about this drama, unsurprisingly even though it hasn’t been developed much thus far, is the future Eun Ho/Tao Jo relationship – I assume that they are the romantic pairing as the two main leads. While it’s clearly still far in the future at this point, it will be interesting to see how Eun Ho changes Tao Jo and to what extent, particularly since Eun Ho has one thing which most kdrama heroines don’t, and which would require Tao Jo to do some major growing up- and that is a son. I confess I can’t wait for this part of the drama.

Another part which really stood out to me was Eun Ho’s relationship with her son and her role as a single mother – there’s a very funny and adorable scene in which her son takes a bunch of her very important legal papers and makes them into paper airplanes and throws them off the balcony of their apartment building, forcing her to rush into work late at night and gets replacements from Tao Jo.  I find it very fascinating since I love this kind of character in general – someone who’s strong enough and independent enough to care for a child on their own, while also presenting such delicious possibilities of vulnerability and need, at the very least for a father-figure for the son, to whoever the male lead might be in the drama.

And finally, what hints most promisingly to me of good/better things to come are the brief flashes of darkness we’ve gotten to see in Tao Jo – when he has the flashbacks in the bar of the man dying before his eyes, when he tells his brother that of course he’s not enjoying his life, and when he ends up alone on a roof outside all night, staring out into the dark(loved the juxtaposition of this with Eun Ho going out onto her own balcony that morning, having worked all night, and stretching contentedly – it shows the difference in the way they lead their lives), and of course the as yet unexplained tension between he and his father/brother. Tao Jo is clearly more than a little screwed up, and as I’m quite sure that Eun Ho didn’t escape unscathed from an apparently parentless existence and a husband’s death, I’m very much looking forward to seeing these two discover each other’s weaknesses and get closer in the process.

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