PERSONAL THOUGHTS / ARCHIVED ENTRIES |
Must-see list so far for new releases or up-coming releases: "Rose Mansion", "Bloody Heart" (depends), "A Superior Day", "The King Of Pigs" (depends), "The Killer's Shopping List", "The Sound Of Magic" (depends).
"Again My Life" might be the last or final revenge drama / thriller for me. No more after that, but defintely thrillers of a differend kind however. When a specific genre or theme (time travel, revenge, love triangles, etc.) become over-used or saturated in dramas, they tend to become too outrageously awful / unrealistic, unrelatable. With that said, revenge dramas have become very difficult to write well - there is always that stupid extremist who have to write silly scripts / silly characters. The best revenge dramas so far - only "Taxi Driver" and "Vincenzo" for me. That is all.
My priority is looking for simple, light-hearted, everyday life types of dramas. But those are rare.
As I thought, "Grid" was a disappointment. Ended non-sensically - the drama was rife with unanswered questions, plot holes, inconsistencies, etc. They should stop making these Time Travel / Disaster dramas. However - there was a Ki Hong Lee cameo haha.
Is "Rose Mansion" a short-form drama, a film or a multi-episode drama? Definitely sounds interesting. I enjoyed "Hometown" and the film "Grotesque Mansion", and this has similar vibes. But different story / genre. The historical drama "Bloody Heart" sounds also interesting from interviews / synopsis.
"All Of Us Are Dead" was entertaining and fun. Zombie dramas, films or stories are just played out and tiring for me. But this drama was from the perspective of high school students, and added a bit more parody / comedy to it. Also - the concept of human being's innate evil-ness or violent tendencies manifesting as a virus (or the general hopelessness of humanity - the deterioration or disappearance of any semblance of goodness / kindness of humanity) resonated with me. It could be true. But then again - you have a character like Namra, who represents that person (a powerful in-betweener) who can be the last hope for humanity (fighting for good and not succumbing to barbaric / uncivil temptations).
Still - I prefer "Happiness" and "Dark Hole" in terms of zombie-like stories (they are more metaphorical and serious than this).
What to watch next - "Again My Life", "The King of Pigs", "A Superior Day". Tried out "Dr. Park's Clinic", but it is too much of a sitcom / slapstick comedy than a dramedy. I prefer dramedies (1 hour format with serious stories with comedy sprinkled - not a full on 30 min. sitcom).
I think updating favorites lists by genre is too much - since there are new dramas release often. I'll just make one list of notable favorites, in no particular order. Pending.
"Grid" is so far, a disappointment - not making much sense, non-sensical, and did I mention - not making much sense? haha.The same kind of problems / issues that K-Dramas encounter with Time Travel concept. They somehow do not or cannot execute Time Travel stories well at all. However - it is intriguing in the sense of being curious of how this all ends or plays out.
I surprisingly enjoyed "Forecasting Love And Weather" - a lot of metaphors and messages. Most importantly, stories involving other characters (not just the leads).
Currently watching "All Of Us Are Dead" - a zombie drama taking place at a school with students. Judgment reserved until the end. But I am tired of zombie stories, but this one might be unique or interesting.
I enjoy work-related dramas or rom-coms: "Monthly Magazine Home", "On The Verge Of Insanity", "Ghost Doctor", "Hospital Playlist" (to some degree), and now "Forecasting Love & Weather". I probably should make a separate category for that.
Currently watching "Forecasting Love And Weather" - it's another work-related rom-com (with metaphors), and there's been quite a few. I don't mind them at all, because most of them have their own stories and delve into side stories of the co-workers as well (not just the leads). This has a simliar vibe to "Monthly Magazine Home" in terms of the relationship between the leads. They both slept together drunk, they both have ups and downs. The common thread in rom-coms seem to be Exes. Exes are usually prevalent in most rom-coms.
That senior forecaster guy Um is somewhat relatable, only in terms of not knowing what to do as a father or being new / in the way. However, the character is like that because he has not been around his family and always away / giving excuses. It's a wait-and-see how this is resolved, if at all.
I'll have to find out how "Grid" ends. Time Traveling / World Disaster dramas / films can be a crapshoot - it can only work if done right. More often than not, they can end up being disappointments (doing too much / not making any sense, for example - "Alice" and "Sisyphus").
"Juvenile Justice" - interesting to see how Juveniles are punished. It can be controversial, but as they say - "Let The Punishment Fit The Crime".
Probably should take a break from thrillers for awhile. Need to find a light-hearted drama (even a rom-com perhaps), as long as there are multiple stories or side stories. Some things can be tolerable in that sense. Otherwise - "Again My Life" seems interesting.
Another two favorites - "Through The Darkness" (aka "Those Who Read The Hearts Of Evil") and "Uncle" (Sahmchun).
"Through The Darkness" was more of a cerebral or psychological journey of criminal profiling, highlighting the profilers and the psyche of the criminal. It isn't really fast-paced or action-packed, but it has more of a gritty realism.
"Uncle" was a fun, warm-hearted musical journey of an influential Uncle or Sahmchun and his relationship with his nephew. Although the Uncle might have been child-like and immature, he was wise beyond his years and left his positive influences with those around him. The nephew seemed more mature at times as well. They were the ultimate "Odd Couple" you can say haha.
"Ghost Doctor" makes my favorites lists - supernatural, warm-hearted, humorous. It's not just the practical / real-life experiences vs. knowledge issue, but also actually the on-going, relevant issue of focusing on patients rather than profit and other self-serving statistics. This K-Drama infuses comedy, the supernatural and a bit of romance with these issues. Dramas that tend to focus on realism and real-life issues are more interesting to me, and I'll tend to consider watching them (as opposed to overbearing or obnoxious rom-coms - hell no).
"Bad And Crazy" was fun, had some humor and kicked ass. It makes my top five recent, and my top list of thrillers. It's too difficult to make a list of Top Favorites since there is too many. They are all unique. So I don't.
"Those Who Read The Hearts Of Evil" is very intriguing - a drama about the early beginnings of criminal profilers. And I haven't seen the lead actor since "Live Up To Your Name".
It's unfortunate that viewers have to wait every week for new episodes. Wish they just drop every episode at once - but it's a network thing. So we start watching new drama while waiting for new episodes of the previous one. If you can handle it that is.
The "Ghost Doctor" is interesting. It's the concept of valuing practical / real-life skills vs. knowledge. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but it does not mean shit if you do not know what to do or have no real-life experience. Experience and know-how is extremely important.
Currently watching "Bad And Crazy" - it's fun. Judgment reserved until finished watching.
I enjoyed "The Silent Sea" and "Dr. Brain" as well. "Dr. Brain" ended with a cliffhanger - "Is there going to be a Season 2" ending which usually ends up being a No.
"One Ordinary Day" was quite suspenseful. Gotta love the third-rate lawyer character with skin rashes haha. Sometimes, it's not always all about high-powered lawyers or attorneys in fancy firms. I'm still figuring where this fits on my favorites list.
Catching up with "Secret Inspector & Joyi" - there's quite a bit of slapstick comedy in this. Sort of like a fat Benny Hill haha. But there are also serious side stories or drama, amidst an investigation or mystery to be solved. This season seems to be era for Historical or period dramas, along with a few interesting thrillers.
"Jirisan" was compelling and fun - unsure it makes my favorites list (still debating on that). It was not just about park rangers helping hikers or showcasing the majestic landscape of the mountains, there was a supernatural element to the story amidst a murder myster / thriller. I commend the production crew for filming some scenes in the actual mountain or park, but I felt more could have been invested in quality VFX. It got better as the drama progressed however. But a worthy attempt however. It was different at least.
"Happiness" was one of my favorite - Top 3 at least. It was different than the usual thrillers. The story was a metaphor for the real-life situation involving infections and quarantine / lockdown. And touched on class discrimination via an apartment complex / building. Although I'm sick and tired of zombies (no longer watching them), they weren't exactly zombies, but more like "Rabid / Mad Persons" who can't quench their thirst. Only by drinking blood - I guess more like vampires. Hence - "Mad Persons virus". It was a gritty survival story of doing what is right, and who can be trusted / not trusted.
It would have topped my favorites list, but I was not satisified with the ending entirely. Although it was a happy one, I wish they showed or filmed scenes of what happened with the main military / scientist guy trying to cure his spouse - which was his main motive for doing what he did. As well as brief scenes, with what happened with the rest of the residents confined in the complex such as the injured officer.
Just finishing up "Jirisan" - thoughts on that afterwards. But was compelling enough to watch it through.
Currently watching "Happiness", "Jirisan", "Secret Inspector and Joyi". Might check out "Dr. Brain" and perhaps "Bad and Crazy".
"Happiness" might topple "Taxi Driver" as my #1 favorite. It's possible.
I guess I'll be cautiously watching "Jirisan". I see where the controversy lies - there are some scenes that clearly looked like it was indoors rather than outdoors (the top of the mountain scenes looked obviously unreal / fake). Only a really good digital effects / cinematography can achieve as if you were on the mountain. Apparently, they didn't or couldn't utilize these effects.
As long as the story and acting are compelling (and they keep these fake scenes minimal), it'll be tolerable. Judgment reserved until finished with the drama. Dramas or films that take place on a mountain or an environment that would be difficult to film - it is not worth doing if you cannot provide good digital effects for realism or cinematography.
"Hometown" was definitely creepy as hell, and the acting was top notch. However - there were a lot of loose ends, and didn't explain much. Perhaps they just left it for the viewer's imagination. Where did the mix tapes come from? Who made them? Was this all from the main villain / cult leader's doing? Did he have supernatural powers to begin with, or was it all a hoax / mind tricks? These kinds of loose ends kinda ruined it. Otherwise, it might have made my list.
Right now - there isn't a drama that I'm really looking forward to watching, which is a first. Usually there is. I guess we need a break from it all for awhile. I'm still on the fence about Jiri-san, hearing about controversies. "One Ordinary Day" and "Happiness" might be the next ones but it'll be a wait.
"The Road: Tragedy Of One" ended in what is considered a tragedy. It is not a happy ending, but I guess that is expected (hence, the title - tragic consequences of keeping silent from the dark secret when the main lead was young). I'm at a fence whether to include this one in my favorites list - I might change my mind, since the drama did unravel in a very suspenseful way with unique soap opera elements.
"Lovers of the Red Sky" was a fantasy / historical drama about fate, destiny (never believed in them - you create your own is my credo). However - I liked the painting motif. I felt the CGI effects were high-quality. The ending was happy - except for the unresolved conflict between the two siblings for the throne (with the evil one inciting a mutiny). Nobody likes unresolved endings like that - I sure don't. That's the only flaw. Otherwise - it was artistic and stylish.
So far, "The Road: Tragedy Of One" is unraveling like a daytime soap opera - with all the hidden secrets, agendas and schemes. But it is stylistically suspenseful with mystery unfolding - which is why I'm hooked. As they say, "if all's well that ends well". Usually, the ending is important - some dramas have awful endings which ruin the entire drama.
I decided to try "The Road: Tragedy Of One" because of the main lead (from DS 60 Days, Undercover). I'm not enamored with rich people / cheating type of stories, but so far - this appears to be a smooth mystery / crime thriller underneath (not much violence if at all - but just started this). Judgment reserved until finished.
"Hometown" is just as creepy as "Save Me" and some other horror drama. The main villain appears to also be a cult leader.
"Shall We Have A Cup Of Coffee" is the type of drama I'm definitely looking out for. But it also depends on what content the creators decide to put in there - side dramas, storylines, etc. Not every drama like this works - but more often than not, it's worth a try.
Currently watching the mystery thriller "Hometown". Judgement reserved until finished. It takes place in 1999, so the way it is filmed and set design has to be from that period. It was a bit slow going at first, but picking up steam.
"Police University" cracks my Top Ten - what began as more of a comedy, ended as a nice mystery drama with some lessons / ethics to be learned or live by in terms of being a Police cadet or student. And vice versa for the professors and detectives, since no one is above the law. "Red Sky" - this seems to be heading towards a tragic ending. But who knows, there might be happy one.
"Police University" began as a "Police Academy" type comedy, appears to end as a mystery drama in the last few episodes (10-14). They keep teasing who the real culprit is, and it's not who the audience thinks. Although they make it look like it - I think that's what a good mystery thriller does. Keeps you guessing, but not making it too obvious. "Red Sky" - so when is that blind advisor going to realize that he has a demon inside of him?
"Ohjingoh" Game was quite something. To be very candid - it's an R-Rated drama with explicit violence / gore (and a brief, gratuitous sex scene sans nudity haha). I enjoyed the concept and the way it was directed / filmed and acted for the most part. And this was very different, which sets it apart from other drama thrillers. I probably wouldn't categorize it as a "K-Drama", since it is more like a horror / thriller movie that we watch. It certainly cracks my Top Ten, but could have cracked my Top Five had they toned down the violence and gore a bit. As they say, less is more (or minimalism works better). Go watch the K-Movie "Grotesque Mansion" as an example of good, scary film-making.
Would you risk or gamble your life for money? For me - hell no. Life is too precious. But the premise of "Ohjingoh" Game is about desperate folks who have nothing to lose anymore in a reality they are suffering in. They felt that participating in a "life or death" survival game to try to win billions, is a better option than the suffering reality that are in. Adding to the danger and scare, is the unknown factor of what kind of game the participants are going to play in. It makes certain decisions or choices (who to team up with, etc.) all the more life-threatening and dangerous.
The game with walking across the glass platform (stepping on a strong glass, or breaking through a weak one) was probably the most nerve-racking or scary for me. All the characters (except for the violent gangster) were sympathetic - the Pakistani guy was hilarious in a way. Might there be a second season? Only time can tell.
Currently watching "Red Sky" - a historical drama with elements of fantasy, supernatural and of course - romance (which is only tolerable as long as there are dramatic / thrilling elements to it). We have not seen or watched a historical / thrilling drama in recent memory - not since "My Country: The New Age" and "Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung".
I'm definitely looking forward to "Ohjingoh" Game - which has been released.
Currently watching "Police University" - it has the 'Police Academy' vibes to it in terms of comedy (but no - there is no Korean version of Sweetchuck haha). But it's more about the ethics of being a police officer, and most likely a storyline involving the detective-turned instructor. Also - some romantic elements. I also recommend "Live", which is a more serious drama about new recruits. I enjoyed that one - but it doesn't crack my list unfortunately (unless I expand it to the Top 20 or so).
"Hospital Playlist" S2 appears to be more humorous and touching than S1. A very rare situation where the second season might be better than the first. I'm not into medical dramas, which is why I don't have a list.
This web page is just for K-Dramas. But once in awhile, there might be a K-Movie that is worthing talking about or reviewing. "Grotesque / Ghost Mansion" is such a movie. One of my favorite horror films - reviewed on my Film Forum page.
"On The Verge Of Insanity" was thoroughly enjoyable, and relatable. For me, I just like to tell it like it is (because change never happens if you don't speak out). That's how the lead character of Choi Ban Soek is. In the context of workplace / company layoffs, being forced to transfer / change jobs, corruption. The dramatic elements of corruption, blackmail and a villain are part of what makes a K-Drama overly dramatic. Perhaps that's the appeal. Fortunately - there was a redemptive quality to the villain Han Se Kwon (until the very last moment). Usually - some villains don't learn their lesson until they experience betrayal or suffering themselves. This cracks my Top 5.
Almost done with "On The Verge Of Insanity", and I've been enjoying it. It might make my Top 5. I just like how blunt, and straight-forward Choi Ban Soek is. Usually never getting emotionally involved, telling it like it is. Sort of like me. Other than being a quick thinker, decision-maker and problem solver. And being kind-hearted, relatable. The cruelties or realities of workplace layoffs, and / or being in HR is satirized in this drama. I don't give a damn if this type of subject matter isn't what exactly what viewers enjoy, but it does to me. K-Dramas need more simple, relatable or realistic stories like this.
"Ohjingoh" Game is something to look forward to - it looks different and unique for once.
Currently watching "On The Verge Of Insanity" - about workplace layoffs, transfers and rivalries. General craziness that can arise from just working. I enjoy simple plots or stories like that. Of course, the usual dramatic flair of K-Dramas. I'll reserve judgment on it after finishing it.
"The Witch's Diner" was only 8 episodes and 40 minutes each - well, it was entertaining.
"Monthly Magazine Home" was surprisingly funny and warm-hearted. For me, it's rare since I do not watch rom-coms - they can be more annoying and uninteresting to begin with. It makes my list.
Because of the Tokyo Olympics, it appears that a lot of dramas have stalled or on a break from uploading new episodes. Currently watching "The Witch's Diner" - it'll be awhile before it has finished uploading or up-to-date.
Currently finishing up "Monthly Magazine House". I am not into rom-coms at all, but this one was just too funny. It reminds me of "This Is My First Life" and "Romance is a Bonus Book" combined. Which character could I relate to most? Probably the chief editor or the friend editor - trying to mooch off of others (getting them to pay for dinner and such via acting innocent haha), aggravations of a controlling / bossy spouse, the consistent dejections / rejections of the friend editor, etc. I am just avoiding rom-coms altogether at this point. Aside from thrillers, I need to find just a regular drama without the aggravations of romance, comedy - just something inspiring and warm-hearted ("My Mister" and "Navillera" is such).
I found "Daebok Realty: Sell Your Haunted House" enjoyable, fun and tragic. It was better executed than I thought - it had a bit of everything; horror, fantasy, sad / tragic stories, comedy, etc. I wouldn't classify this as horror, since it infused a lot of humor and other dramatic stories. It cracks my Top 5 recent, and would categorize this as more Fantasy / Supernatural. I can identify with Ji A's eating habits in terms of portion size haha.
"Law School" - you can learn a lot from this. Not a favorite, but it was decent. Kang Sol A was pouty and whiny all throughout (but in a cute way), and Kang Sol B had no emotions whatsoever. Talk about contrast or complete opposites.
Currently watching "Sell Your Haunted House". The effects are quite good - subtle camera movements / scenes, not trying to do too much. Sometimes, minimalism works much better than over-doing it with special effects. To give it that drama flair, I can see why thematic shows like this would embellish the makeup or wardrobe / costume at least. When it comes to ghosts and supernatural programs these days, they just don't end up being scary at all because of all the crappy effects. They infused humor in this, so they did not go all-out in terms of scare factor or jumps.
There are plans for a Taxi Driver S2. Good news indeed. Second seasons can turn out well, but it's a crapshoot. But overall - second seasons usually cannot top the first season. That was certain for Stranger S2, which was a bit under-whelming. That season did not have enough action or suspenseful cases. There are quite a few K-Dramas that could use a second season - "Vincenzo" is another one.
Currently watching "Dark Hole". Reserving judgment until completed watching. But it has that feel of both "Train to Busan" and "Possessed" intensity with a twist.
"Mysterious Mansion" sounds intriguing - sort of similar to "Strangers From Hell"? Wait to find out. 06/19/21
A reminder that C-Dramas and J-Dramas are out there, and I'm certain there are some high quality ones. But right now - most of us are just hooked on K-Dramas. I'm not sure what it is - riveting storylines, plot, characters (whether relatable or otherwise very dramatic). They sure know how to dramatize things, sometimes to the extreme.
Currently watching this drama about a middle school badminton team - perhaps they should be called Racket Gamers instead haha (since they're always playing games). They look like they are all 10 years old or something.
"Undercover" was suspenseful and entertaining - it cracks my Top Ten in most recently watched. I'm not sure how to categorize this one - a secret agent / spy thriller, or a political thriller. Sometimes, the villains of these genres can just be as nasty and vile as pure psychopaths.
Currently watching "Undercover" - a secret agent / hidden identities thriller. Funny scene of the day: "I am grocery shopping for bean sprouts" Villain: "Bean sprouts? hahahaha" Hahahah. Hahaha.
There's usually one or two over-bearing, obnoxious characters in some K-Dramas like this. It's only tolerable if the story is good, as well as well-balanced / good-natured characters such as the leads. Otherwise - hell no. Either "Dark Hole" or "Racket Team" (whichever is finished uploading in its entirety first) afterwards.
I think "Taxi Driver" is my new K-Drama favorite. It was well-made, directed, edited, acted, etc. The story was very compelling, a bit intense and brutal at times. But sprinkled with a bit of humor and other thematic elements. The "Revenge-For-Hire" Taxi Service crew are vigilantes or anti-heroes. They take revenge on behalf of victims, and help the victims at the same time via compensation. Towards the end, thematic motifs of whether their methods or ideology of revenge might actually be counter-productive or hurtful was something I was glad they added to the K-Drama. It would've been easy to just have these guys win all the time. But they get beaten and have their down moments. You can get your revenge or justice, but in a law-abiding way.
Season 2 should be something fans hope can happen.
"Taxi Driver" might crack my Top 3 K-Drama thrillers or overall. More thoughts when finished watching.
Currently watching "Taxi Driver" - I heard this revenge-thriller is based on real-life cases, or similar cases of the victims - which makes the revenge part even more satisfying (although of course, fictional). Well, perhaps that might be a bit too sadistic or so heh. Anyway - Vincenzo would be proud of this taxi service haha. The 3 actors from "Move To Heaven" have their own dramas coincidentally - "Taxi Driver", "Undercover" and "Rackets".
K-Dramas that have too young cast of characters are not relatable to me, and usually have no interests in them. It's like some of them are geared towards the very young or millenial audiences. It would have to at least have a few middle-aged or mature characters / actors, and a damn good story to even be considered (School 2013 was the last one I think).
The ending of a K-Drama is extremely important to me. It can ruin the entire drama. Especially for thrillers or intense dramas - the endings have to have some kind of pleasant resolution after all that build up or the villains getting the upper hand. One of the biggest disappointments was "Vagabond" - the villain gets away, there is no resolution, and the drama just ends as if a new season is inevitable (but unfortunately - there are no plans on it). What the fuck was the point on having an ending like that then?? An ending can be ambiguous or unclear, and it can still work. As long as there is some kind of resolution.
Currently watching "Move to Heaven".
I enjoy the "what is going on" type of suspense thrillers. "Beyond Evil", or the direct translation of "Monster", is somewhat of a metaphor. It misleads you into thinking that it's a typical psychopath / serial killer type of drama (although there is one). The title most likely can refer to anyone. We are led to believe that it could be the slightly crazy detective / police officer, or another.
"Navillera" - no matter your age, race, gender, or folks laughing at your face. Never be afraid to pursue your dreams, passion, ambitions. This is a theme that anyone can relate to. Thematic dramas or morality / ethical tales are great.