Best Laid Plans of Mice…and Me

So, for years I had wanted to do a Kdrama and other stuff that interested me blog because I felt like I had a lot to say, liked to write, loved lists and just generally thought it would be fun even if no one read it. And it was fun. But life inevitably gets in the way and I find I have been a terrible blogger.  All my intentions have gone up in smoke and I just cannot keep up with this thing plus work, kid and all my other hobbies.

I still have my subscription until October, so who knows, I may post again, but I wanted the few people who follow me to know that I sadly don’t seem to have time so I probably won’t have many if any posts until this site closes in October.

Thank you for reading! And keep watching Kdramas!

Oh, and The Goblin was AMAZING! Oh, and check out Missing Nine! First episode was great and I think it could be special. It’s definitely unique in Kdramaland.

Early Impressions: Hwarang, better than I thought it would be

So, I decided to just go ahead and watch the first two episodes before posting anything because I wanted to make sure episode 2 didn’t turn my initial impression on its head. Thankfully, if anything, it made it that much better.

The promotional materials and trailers for this drama did not give me much hope. The costumes looked too cartoony, the wigs were just awful and it generally seemed all camp and no substance. Goes to show, never judge a book by its cover or a drama by its teaser (unless its Goblin, you can totally judge Goblin by its teaser).

So, 2 episodes in and I am really liking Hwarang, and that is in spite of the fact that I have heretofore had a pretty strong dislike for Go Ah Ra. But the wonderfulness of Parks Seo Joon and Hyung Shik is more than making up for it.  The trailers made it look, in particular, like Park Seo Joon had been miscast, but despite his hair still being pretty awful, I am happy with his performance and his character so far.  And PHS is probably even better suited in his role, which I am also quite taken with.  I’m anxious to get the whole gang together so we can see how it gels.

The heart of the first two episode though was Lee Kwang Soo and I’m sorry to see him go (even though I knew he would). That death scene was one of the most moving I’ve seen in a long time. I cried. I really cried, a lot. I tried not to and the tears still came.

Other elements of note definitely include the directing (a nice surprise), the editing (fine, which is a feat in itself – if I don’t complain about editing, you are doing a GOOD job), and the writing (on point so far). It’s funny when it should be funny, but also has kept it grounded and added gravitas. Not to mention, despite not liking Go Ah Ra, I am enjoying her character so far.

I mean, is this drama Six Flying Dragons? NO, of course not. It’s supposed to be light and fun. But so far is it the hot mess that Scarlet Heart Ryeo was? Decidedly and pleasantly not. We have 18 more episodes to go Hwarang, let’s try not to screw it up!

Early Impressions: Got anymore of those Goblin episodes?

So, life delayed my viewing of the first Goblin (for expediency sake, I’m not going to use one of the long, unwieldy full titles) episode, and in the meantime I had read (without spoilers) some reviews that essentially said the first episode was the best thing ever in Kdramaland.  So then I got so excited that I knew I had to watch it right — on the big screen — which delayed my viewing further.

And then this morning when I finally got to watch it, I had to watch both 1 and 2: 3 full hours of Goblin. And I am so in love. All other dramas are out of my head and all my love and focus are now on Goblin and Gong Yoo (well, except for the part of me that is eternally in love with Lee Joon-gi – that never disappears, ever).

I knew when I heard that the first episodes would be extra long that they better darn well justify it — and they did. That first episode in particular was just about perfection. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a drama that goes between sageuk and present do so so effectively and seamlessly. Really excellent. I hope they continue to do it and give us more of the Goblin’s backstory. The production quality on those sageuk scenes was FANTASTIC! And I said it after the trailer, and I’ll say it again, Gong Yoo, really, really needs to be in a sageuk drama or movie next. Something where he gets to fight a lot, because I haven’t seen someone physically dominate a fight scene like that — with such power and presence — since Song Il Kook in Jumong. Only Gong Yoo is a better actor than SIK, so this was even better. Just glorious. Perfection. What a mane of GLORY! Wow!

The first episode made me drop my jaw and go through several tissues. It even made me laugh a little (but most of that was saved for episode 2). It really was as good a first episode as I’ve ever seen. I mean, after so many dramas I cannot recall all the 1st episodes I’ve seen, but I’d be surprised if there is one better than this. It had it all:

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Cinematography
  • Plot
  • Dialogue
  • Editing
  • Effects/CG

Episode 2 had a lot of the heart of 1, but mostly it was funny. I was dying laughing during several scenes (Goblin underwear, dinner scene, and fashion show, all in particular).  It was a good follow up as it brought the lighter stuff out and also made us fall even more deeply in love with our characters.

My only reservation is the same one I had even before I saw the first two episodes: the age of the female lead character. Now, after setting up her backstory (which is very well done and thorough), I do feel better about it. But I still don’t see the justification for making the character so young. She could have been a few years older and that would have worked too — it just wasn’t needed. But, oh, well. I’m not one to have problems with young actresses or characters so complaining now would make me a hypocrite. I just don’t want the youth of the character messing with the OTP chemistry (chaste kisses, blah). That’s my only concern. This is Gong Yoo — all things should be sizzling hot!

That said, verdict after the first two episodes is not cautiously optimistic like I usually am after a good first episode. No, because this was an EPIC first episode and a truly great and entertaining second episode. My early impression is: holy shit this is the greatest thing since sliced cheese, don’t frack it up!

Oh, and, I nearly forgot, Lee Dong Wook’s reaper is just all that and a bag of chips! LOVE HIM! His bromance with Gong Yoo’s goblin will be the stuff of legends. And Yoo Inna’s quirky chicken shop owner is weird as hell in all the best ways — I am dying to learn more about her! Yook Sung Jae is cute. And Lee El’s guardian angel character is fun and precious. What a just wonderful cast of characters. I love them all!

It’s Goblin Day!!!!!

It’s Goblin Day!!!! Woohoo! Now that the hot, addictive mess that was MLSHR is long over, and the new, hopefully going to be super-wonderful not messy, Goblin is starting, I can resume looking forward to Fridays rather than Mondays (that should have been a sign MLSHR would be troubled – who looks forward to Mondays?).

Not sure any of that stream of consciousness I just wrote made sense. I’m just super-excited to watch Goblin tonight! Who’s with me?

Man, just stop living in my house…

Anyone else still watching The Man Living in Our House? What started out as a cute romcom with quirky characters and good OTP chemistry has become a struggle for me to watch this past week. So. Much. Wheel. Spinning. If I didn’t love Lee Soo Hyuk and still find his character just the least bit interesting, I’d be done with this. I know there is source material so surely there is a plot, but right now (as of episode 11), I feel like the writer has no idea where this is going or how the OTP will actually manage to be together.

I’m also wondering if there are no police in this alternative universe? Anyone else wondering that? I mean Dada just doesn’t whatever the hell they want all the time and our stupid characters never once think to get some REAL legal help beyond Lee Soo Hyuk?

Watching this drama has become like watching cement sit, or I guess in this case, dough resting. I still have one more episode to watch this week and it remains to be seen if I will slog through it or go find something more interesting to do, like, wash my hair.

Early Impressions: Night Light

(You were warned, Netflix.)

So, anyhow, I just watched the first 2 episodes of Night Light (aka Illumination), and here are my first impressions for your reading pleasure.

I like it. I mean, it doesn’t look great, as MBC dramas sometimes look a little cheap and cold. But the acting is excellent so far, the directing is alright, and the writing is quite good. But I think what is really grabbing me is the girl power! WOW! This is just not something you see very often in Kdramas (heck, any TV for that matter). I do not normally watch melos. Although this is more the kind of melo I would be willing to watch (no cancer, fauxcest or dying lovers in site). It’s more like a revenge melo (which I love), but I’m not sure yet whether there will be revenge. Well, whatever it is, I like it.

It’s just different. And in the Kdrama viewing world, anything different is good. It’s funny because I mostly wanted to watch this drama because of Jin Gu. And now that I’m two episodes in and he has barely been on screen, I wish he would just go away. It’s not that I don’t like what tiny amount I’ve seen of his character. No. Rather it’s that I am so totally and completely captivated by Lee Yo Won and Uee that I don’t want Jin Gu messing this up. I don’t care about him at all. Frankly, I only want LYW and Uee on the screen at all times (with maybe a smattering of the adorable bodyguard). I’ve not seen a dynamic like this in a Kdrama before and I am totally in love with it. If this were an American drama, LYW and Uee’s characters would be a couple by the end — and possibly murder each other in a bloody bedroom fight.

So, if you’ve been dying for some serious woman-power in your Kdramas, this is the drama for you. I just worry it will wilt away once Jin Gu’s character comes into play. Bummer. We shall see.

Argh, curse words, ugh, the empty vase is cast again and I’m mad

Ok. So, somewhere in my years of drama blog reading history I read that there is a Chinese actress (I think she is the one dating Song Seung Heon, Liu Yifei) that is called the “empty vase” because she is pretty but cannot act (funny since he has the same affliction). Well, I have adopted that phrase to describe a certain actress that I am sick and tired of seeing get cast who is very pretty but despite having many opportunities now to improve, has absolutely NOT gotten any better at acting. That certain actress is named Suzy and now she is smashing her empty vase all over my happy place by officially being cast in the upcoming Lee Jong Seok / Park Hae Ryun joint, While You Were Sleeping.

Look, I’m sure Suzy is a nice person and she is very pretty, but ENOUGH already. I will give any actress at least a couple chances to improve her acting. I know that they don’t all start out great and I know that sometimes they do improve. Look at Lee Yeon Hee. She was by all accounts a terrible actress in her early roles, a terrible actress with a beautiful face. But then she was quite good in her small role in Gu Family Book and then she was freaking awesome in Miss Korea, and she was good enough in what I saw of Hwajeong. In other words, after some trial and error she can now act, yeah!

Suzy has had enough chances, and she still cannot act. Enough is enough. No more ruining our Kdrama watching experience, dragging down GREAT leading men like Kim Woo Bin, with your crappy acting. Go back to singing and doing ads, and just stop already. Ugh. Go away. You are going to single-handedly ruin for me one of the dramas I was most looking forward to in 2017. There are so many talented young actresses getting fewer roles than this chick because why? Because they aren’t as pretty? Aren’t as popular? Aren’t as well-heeled? Ugh. Sickening. Enough. Lee Jong Seok deserves a better lead actress than this, and viewers do too.

A Letter to NETFLIX from a Kdrama Fan

Oh, Netflix, how I love thee. But how stupid thou art when it comes to Korean dramas. A little context: so yesterday I found out that the reason I have not been able to find a good streaming source with English subs for the new MBC drama Night Light (aka Illumination) is because Netflix snapped up the exclusive rights.

Look, Netflix, I think it’s really neato that you have Korean movies and dramas. I hope you have many more Korean movies in the future because they can be hard to find in quality streaming formats online with English subtitles. I also think it is great that you are going to have, from what I have read, a Korean Drama category starting next year. People who have never watched Kdramas before find it fun to stumble upon them and give them a try on Netflix. However, I, an American Kdrama viewing veteran have never watched a Kdrama on Netflix and never planned to. Do you know why? BECAUSE YOU DON’T SHOW THEM WHILE THEY ARE AIRING IN SOUTH KOREA! Sorry for the screaming, but no I’m not.

Netflix, do your homework. The international Kdrama viewing audience watches Kdramas the same week, heck, usually the same day, they come out in South Korea. That’s how this thing works and that’s how it’s been working for years now thanks to sites like Viki and Dramafever and a host of others I don’t know the names of that are used regularly by my non-North American Kdrama viewing compatriots.

Previously, Kdramas have only become available on Netflix long after they finished airing in SK, and by the fact that I haven’t seen hide nor hair of Night Light on Netflix, it seems you plan to do the same with your exclusive content as well. If that is the case, and IF you plan on snatching up a lot more dramas this way in the future, you are not going to help spread the hallyu craze, you are going to hurt it – BADLY! And you won’t be doing yourself any favors either. It will be war! You know why? Because international fans of Kdramas demand to watch our kdramas with subs concurrently with the South Korean audience and we are damn clever about making sure we do so. So don’t think for a second that we won’t just circumvent your exclusive rights within our own community. But even if we find ways to do that, the harm will still have been done to the individual Kdramas you curse this way. If we cannot watch them as they air, we will forget about them because there is always a new Kdrama on the horizon and not enough time to go back and watch the backlog of Kdramas of yesteryear you’ll be showing on Netlfix.

My strongly worded suggestion is that if you are really serious about becoming a Kdrama streaming site, then you better find a way to show them every week, shortly after they air in SK, or you will be hurting your investment, hallyu, and the Kdramas you’ve stolen away from the international audience.

Stop what you are doing NOW and go watch the Goblin long trailer!

Ok, so I’ve been burnt pretty badly this year already by a great long trailer. BUT this is tvN, and I still have a lot of trust in them. So, don’t betray me, tvN!