Watchlog (July 2015)

It’s downright scary how distant the dramas can be when you’re swamped with lots of things to do in real life, and it’s even scarier to have the thought of abandoning this space altogether. The good news is I’m still here, although not that frequent, but the drama watching and blogging activities have been reduced drastically, especially in the recent months. Still, I am proud that I have finished quite a number of dramas this year and it’s just fair to give a brief updates on which shows I am following these days…

I finally got around to finish Ex-Girlfriend Club last week and I’m liking it, but not enough to make me love it to death. Byun Yo-han was in hisfirst drama lead role ever after making a name for himself through Misaeng, but the series had been cut down to 12 episodes. Not sure about the drama behind the drama, but the news was a surprise to the cast themselves. I guess tvn has started to be more demanding regarding the ratings? To be fair, tvn was the first station to introduce the Fri-Sat slot and raked in good numbers for their shows, but the recent changes made it more difficult for their dramas to perform well in that slot, with KBS and jtbc joining in the ratings battle.

Anyhow, back to the drama. The cast were likable: I ADORE Byun Yo-han and his Myung-soo was lovely. I could see why his ex-girlfriends were drawn to him despite being a normal guy (and not some crazy rich secret chaebol with money stashed somewhere in his secret house) and he’s bursting with charms. Maybe I was (/am) biased towards BYH, but his character was the biggest draw to the drama. You’d want to know how on Earth Myung-soo got to date those beautiful ex-girlfriends of him (answer: he’s everything one could wish for a boyfriend?) and what was his real feelings towards Soo-jin. And that smile. Urgh. He should be given a ticket for smiling too much. HA.

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Although the writing was wonky, especially after the cut, I was rooting for Soo-jin from the beginning to the end. She’s passionate about her work and I like how Song Ji-hyo made it easy to relate with the character. Still, she could use one (or a few) backbone(s) when dealing with people around her. There were times when I wanted her to show her temper and lash out at the exes and Jo Geon, just to prove that she’s not someone they could push around easily, and many times I was a bit disappointed, but she did show her capabilities of turning into a real ‘bear’. Side note: I loved her interactions with her classmate-turned-brother-in-law!

The exes were great, although they could be mildly infuriating at times (especially when they gatecrash Soo-jin and Myung-soo’s alone times!). I don’t really hate them (more like getting slightly annoyed hehe), because they turned out to be the best protection squad for Myung-soo, Soo-jin, and the production. Na Ji-ah (Jang Ji-eun) was a cool character but she could be clingy when it came to Myung-soo. Jang Hwa-young (Lee Yoon-ji) was fiercely obsessive with Myung-soo but she showed how a pro like her wasn’t perfect in relationship stuff. I felt sad for her when things didn’t go her way but I was glad the drama managed to twist her fate a bit towards the end. Rara (Ryu Hwa-young) aka Goo Geun-young was the most seductive and surprisingly, most sensible among those three, and she’s like the glue making the reluctant friendship formed between the girls to stick together until the end. Am I the only one thinking that Rara was like a parody of actress Clara?

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It’s kinda funny to see Ji-ah and Hwa-young trying to rip each other’s hair because the actresses previously played Queen Soheon, one of the most poised queens ever portrayed in dramas. Fate brought them together and here they were, fighting like a cat and lioness!

I’m sure it was the writing’s fault, because Jo Geon (Do Sang-woo) came out at a very annoying guy at first. Or maybe it was just me? And later, his character just changed, as if he got a personality transplant towards the end of the story. I did like his positive and nurturing(?) side of him but he could be irritating at times. Still, that gave the drama a sense of realism because the characters were not perfect, and it’s possible to imagine people like them living among us: dreaming of a better future, holding on to a tiny hope, striving for the best in whatever they do, embarking on a new journey in their lives, embracing their longtime dreams, and exploring the different sides of themselves. Ex-Girlfriend Club was a hearty offering but it was taken away too soon from us.

For those who are still following Hwajung/Splendid Politics, I sincerely hope you’re as excited as I am for the upcoming episodes. I marathoned episodes 11-20 over the course of few days and the plot was even better when we’re looking at the big picture of it. The plot might seem to crawl for some viewers but they all make sense when everything is tied in nicely after reaching the conclusion of the minor plot arc. Since the first 10 episodes focused on the rise of Gwanghae and fall of Jungmyung, the second 10 showed Gwanghae’s consolidation of royal power and Jungmyung’s return to the game. It’s a bit of stretch to have the second act set in the same year while the first act had several time jumps. But then, the third act has suggested that Gwanghae’s era is coming to an end with the appearance of the important figures during Injo’s reign: Prince Neungyang or Injo (Kim Jae-won) himself, his evil Lady Jo gwiin (Kim Min-seo), and the ever scheming Kim Ja-jeom (Jo Min-ki). Can we have Gwanghae appear once in while after this since he was being exiled after Injo rose to the throne?

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I have to apologize that I won’t be continuing with the recaps of Hwajung. But but but…I’m still watching it and open for discussion here or on Twitter!

I was super excited for The Time I Loved You because of the pretty promo materials and the dreamy main OTP (Ha Ji-won and Lee Jin-wook!!) but I have decided to marathon it later. I liked the first episode and the OTP was super adorable, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to commit to the drama and ned up dropping it when I have no time to catch up with it. So…better to save it for later and watch it when I’m in the mood for some sweet moments and oozing chemistry from the leads! Same goes for My Love Eundong….I LOVED the first episode but I’m putting it on hold until I have finished Falling for Innocence. Yup, still working on that!

I initially thought that Mask was slated for 16 episodes like Secret but it turned out to be 20 episodes. Oops, silly me for not checking it earlier! Luckily, the story is still engaging, based on the last episode I watched (13) and I don’t regret picking it up in the first place. Melo and makjang are so not my cups of tea but then, there’s Joo Ji-hoon. I will always be proud of myself to be able to brace through the 30 episodes of makjang-laden Five Fingers because of him and I wonder if I will make it through Mask, but here I am, giggling and enjoying every episode to bits. Despite being peppered with kdrama tropes in the beginning, Mask has this power to draw you in, if you’re willing to give in to the temptation. Ohhh yeah. It keeps me guessing because there’s always a twist thrown into the plot and there’s no clue on how it will end. But I have high hopes for Ji-sook and Min-woo to end up together~

Mask E04.avi_20150710_152348.352

I think the writer made reference to the cast’s previous roles in several instances. Ji-sook’s warning about her ability to kill Suk-hoon gave a nod to Soo Ae’s character in Queen of Ambition; Min-woo’s colourful suits and deep stares seemed like a homage to Joo Ji-hoon’s Prince Shin in Goong/Princess Hours; Suk-hoon’s glare resembled his Vampire Prosecutor role (and I’m sure Min Suk-hoon and Min Tae-yeon’s names and occupation as a prosecutor aren’t pure coincidences…); and Mi-yeon’s tease about the tonic reminded me of the poison specialist Mi-ryung in Three Musketeers. Heh, even Kim Byung-ok’s wig (the loan shark) could be a reference to the awful wig he had in the movie Sympathy for Lady Vengeance!

I have only checked out the first episode of My Beautiful Bride based on the good reviews by my Twitter pals and I knew I’m going to love it after this scene:

[OCN] My.Beautiful.Bride.E01.150620.HDTV.XviD-WITH.avi_20150710_135034.785

YES, we all should love money and not just the bank employees like what Do-hyung (Kim Mu-yeol) said! The first episode flew by and I hated myself for picking it up this early, because I can see myself obsessing over it like I did with Heartless City, since they have the same writer. Maybe I was lucky to marathon Heartless City back then and didn’t have to undergo the excruciating pain of waiting for the new episodes, but My Beautiful Bride might do that to me. Urgh. The I see my favourites and glad that they’re here to stay!

Last but not least: my latest obsession, Scholar Who Walks the Night, which only premiered few days ago.

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Gahhh I don’t know how I’ll be able to wait for the next episodes since I won’t be around next week but I hope the drama will continue to be my crack! Continuing the recent trend of manhwa/webtoon adaptation, Scholar had a decent premiere by the current standard, although I do hope the ratings continue to increase and the background music gets better (it does in episode 2, thank God). I don’t know if it’s the vampire (Lee Jun-ki’s make up brings back the good memories of beautiful Gong-gil in The King and the Clown!) or the plot, but I’m hooked. How does Yang-sun (Lee Yu-bi) fit into the conflict and what is the connection between Hye-ryung and Myung-hee? I am hoping for an exciting journey ahead and the plot won’t be lost in the mountains (like a certain fantasy sageuk last year…) in order to bring a satisfying conclusion for the story. Ehhh..isn’t it too early to talk about the ending when it had just started?

(Can I say that I love everything about Vampire Sung-yeol? His black hanbok, his smirk, his make up, his glare, his soulful stare, even his fangs? Woohoo!)

So, what are you watching this month? Are you planning to pick up new shows or still working on finishing your current watchlist?

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30 thoughts on “Watchlog (July 2015)

  1. In recent days, I’ve dropped a lot of shows: Orange Marmalade, Warm & Cozy, Mask.
    And I’ve started a lot of shows…haha…The Time I’ve Loved you, High Society, Scholar Who Walks The Night and Oh My Ghostess. I’m planning to marathon My Beautiful Bride later as I don’t have time for so many shows!

    1. I actually watched the first ep of OM but decided not to continue with it ^^; Stayed away from Warm and Cozy because of the mixed reviews. I do hope Oh My Ghostess continues to be awesome so that I can marathon it later!
      Now I’m thinking whether I should marathon MBB too…lots of dramas, so little time!

      1. I dropped OM after 4 episodes…the first 2 were good but then it went downhill with a weird plot development…
        this is such a problem for us….so many dramas and so little time…I can’t even keep track of what I’m watching and what I’m not…haha

        1. Most of the viewers of OM feel the Joseon (or season two, as it’s called) part of the drama deviates from the source material but I heard it’s back to the present time..

          Do you use Mydramalist? It’s a helpful site, especially to my forgetful self nowadays 😀

    2. just wanted to give you a another show to check out, My love Eun Dong!!! its a great show….. beautiful love story. check it out.

  2. Hwajung: I’ve come close to dropping it in recent episodes, but since I’m already half way (Ep 25), I figured I’d stay on for the ride – especially since it’s a long sageuk. The plot is far from terrible actually – I feel it’s more related to the uneven pacing, and the unexciting transition between arcs. Hopefully the coup will play out well in the next few eps.

    Mask: The OTP are adorable! I haven’t been so invested in a pairing since Tahwan x Seungnyang. I can’t wait to find out more about Suk-hoon’s background story.

    Scholar: The amount of love I have for the first episode is directly proportional to the worry I have about the script after watching Episode 2. After all, the writer’s previous work was Paradise Ranch. Everything else is awesome so far, and I can’t wait for the instrumentals to be released. Loved the producer’s scores in City Hunter.

    My Beautiful Bride: Putting this on hold as well (my plate is full with four on-air dramas – I don’t even know how I have the time, really). I’m such a sucker for excellent soundtracks, and this drama takes the cake for that.

    1. Re:
      Hwajung- Yes, you put it in words better. The writer has the arcs at disposal but the progress and transition can be tricky. I read reviews saying that they got easily bored with the OTP scenes while others feel that the politics are the snoozy ones. Anticipating the coup and how Jungmyung will be involved in it!
      Mask- OTP is lovely but I am so scaref for what’s coming for them >.< I actually pity Suk-hoon after the recent episodes. Eun-ha’s sudden death was a big blow to him and he’s getting more confused when Ji-sook is becoming more like Eun-ha.
      Scholar- I knowwwww ㅜㅜ After watching how Night Watchman kinda lost its focus, I’m afraid to have high expectations for Scholar! But it’s hard not to fall for the cast…
      My Beautiful Bride- Days and Moons might be one of the best OSTs this year.

      1. Hwajung – I feel like Kim Yi-young wanted to expand on several different threads to provide the audience with a more comprehensive look at the time period, but it is happening at the expense of logical characterisation. The last drama I watched that had a perfect balance between heart-wrenching romance and exciting political intrigue was Tree With Deep Roots (aside: super excited for Six Flying Dragons 🙂 )

        Mask – Min-woo didn’t fall in love with the identity of Eun-ha in the first place, so I’m pretty optimistic about next week – unless the writer decides to include some unnecessary conflict. Suk-hoon is gloriously evil (even more so in EP 14), which is what makes his character interesting in the first place. I’m also curious as to how his “love” line with Ji-sook will be handled.

        Scholar – Exactly! I’m still on the Sung-yeol/Myung-hee ship from the first episode, not to mention that the official description of Hye-ryung has me pretty intrigued. I know I can count on Joon-gi and So-eun to bring the intensity. I’m also pleasantly surprised by Jang Hee-jin (didn’t leave an impression on me in My Daughter Seoyoung) and Changmin’s acting. Recently, I’ve been dropping dramas like hot potatoes, so maybe my love for the cast and characters will pull me through even if the writing goes downhill (ahh, unjinx!)

        Days and Moons elevates the entire viewing experience for me – it’s been on repeat in my player ever since I started watching MBB.

        1. Hwajung- Right, it’s not an easy task to balance everything in a drama, and Hwajung also receives some critism about the acting. Talkng about balance, I’m still disappointed with the potential Secret Door had, only to be butchered by poor writing 😦 I’m so stoked about Six Flying Dragons and crossing fingers (and toes) it will be as amazing as Tree with Deep Roots, since it will be Tree’s prequel!

          Mask- Guess we’ll have to trust Min-woo this time since he has a sensible mind sitting on top of his pretty head 😀 I won’t be surprised if SBS has written Yeon Jung-hoon’s name in the list of winners for its year-end award ceremony. Glad to see him on the main channel’s drama again!

          Scholar- They’re sooo cute before all the tragedy happened. Still, I do adore Yang-sun/ Lee Yu-bi to bits 😉 Changmin seems to be comfortable in the role (although the stache is a bit…weird keke) and the last time I saw Jang Hee-jin was in Spy Myung-wol.

          The song is my lullaby ❤

      2. Somehow I can’t respond to your latest comment:

        Hwajung – Netizens are pretty harsh, but the younger cast members’ acting do need improvement.
        I felt so bad when I dropped Secret Door (Han Suk-kyu and Lee Je-hoon!), but the writing almost bored me to tears – I could never understand how the writer managed to make politics and Sado’s story SO dull. Six Flying Dragons is one drama where I believe it will live up to, and even surpass my high expectations (we have the Tree team behind it after all.)

        I always enjoy watching year-end awards ceremonies, just to see how the networks spread the love. I feel like KBS is the only one that consistently hands out awards based on merit.

        Scholar – I was reading Nate comments, and one of the netizens implored the crew to take off the moustache because it made Changmin look like a goat – and now I can’t unsee it. 😀 I’m glad I wasn’t drinking water while reading that.

        My bed calls for my attention (full day of work tomorrow :|), but it was great discussing all these dramas with you. Hope to see more insightful posts from you when real life allows!

        1. Hwajung – I’m assuming that most viewers tune in for CSW and we’re already seeing the effect with the decline in ratings. I don’t want it to suffer low numbers in ratings but it will be hard to maintain the percent they got in the beginning with CSW’s departure from the show. I gritted my teeth and watched Secret Door until the bitter end, with the hope that a miracle would happen but I was disappointed. HA, I still get upset when I think of ALL the possibilities! Six Flying Dragons has to do better and live up to the expectations as the prequel to Tree 🙂

          Scholar – LOL I can’t stop laughing when I read that comment! Poor Changmin 😄 But he’s rocking the character well so far and hopefully he will continue to do so! I sigh at the pretty that is Vampire LJK each time I watch the episodes and see the stills. He’s just beautiful o

          Sorry for the comment thing. I think it’s because of the nested comments >.<

  3. MuchAdoAboutLove,
    I really love your posts and hope that you will always have time to share your thoughts. Your introductory words made me think of this line from the poet Longfellow, “Art is long but time is fleeting…”.

  4. wow, looks like I’m the only one still stuck with a weekly (i try!) writeup of Hwajung. I thought the writer is sticking to the tried-and-tested formula of writing a sageuk, which, is not all that bad, but it gets a wee bit boring because it’s predictable. However, I thought she did a good job writing the misunderstood Gwanghae. Acting wise…I feel the OTP is still lacking in their acting chops.
    I’m totally enjoying Mask and Oh My Ghostess! they’re so fun and addictive!

    1. You’re amazing, really! I hope you’ll continue doing so because I follow your weekly thoughts! We’re blessed to have CSW as Gwanghae because it’s really up to the actors themselves to make their characters more appealing by inducing appropriate emotions etc. Same goes to the veterans, especially Kim Yeo-jin playing Gae-si! Maybe the OTP is still a bit green in sageuk but they do show improvements 🙂

      Mask is my weekly jam!! I’m planning to watch Oh My Ghostess once it finishes airing because I have lots of drama on my plate for the time being..

      1. Hee, thanks! I really like CSW as Gwanghae because he brings out the conflicting emotions really well! I find Seo Kang Joon better than Lee Yeon Hee sometimes, but maybe that’s due to his character being more straightforward, imo.
        I forgot to add, I’m totally addicted to Scholar! Can’t wait for Wed/Thu every week now, though it’s sad that Mask is ending =(

        1. Jungmyung is a layered character and it’s not easy to bring it to life. But I do like to see the OTP and I look forward to their lives under Injo’s reign.

          I fell head over heels for Scholar ㅜㅜ I don’t care if people find it OTT but I just love it! Lee Jun-ki and Lee Yu-bi are gorgeous and cute, plus the rest of the cast seem to fit their roles perfectly ^^

        2. Yeah, that’s why I thought LYH is still lacking somewhat; I find her facial expressions difficult to read at times. I wonder how different will the writer portray the OTP’s lives under Injo’s reign, from history.
          Scholar is totally awesome, budden again maybe we’re all biased because it’s Lee Joon Gi =p

        3. The writer has an advantage here since the story will focus on the early era of Injo. The recent sageuks only take their stories post-Manchu invasion and I do look forward to the next act!

          I’ve been dodging dramas with potential bad endings lately so I don’t mind enjoying Scholar as my dose of fluff this year..but I do hope for it to be constantly entertaining until the very end 🙂

  5. It sucks being a grown up with lots of responsibilities and work to do. I couldn’t spare enough time catching up to drama these days. Been catching bits and pieces of Warm and Cozy (so cute), Mask, I Remember You (this one is a catch, gonna finish marathoning this by the weekend), Scholar Who Walks The Night (never been a fan of Lee Junki, but I wanna watch this for Kim Soeun, adore her lots). I even forgot I was gonna watch Missing Noir M. I wish I have more motivation to watch instead of reading drama. Can you believe I got so addicted to reading, I read like 1600 manga over a month’s time?

      1. I was feeling all nostalgic one day and started reading an old manga, it was ‘Good Morning Kiss’ I think, and before I know it, I’ve read like 1k manga, I checked my reading history and it was 1600 manga, which did not include the one I did not finish reading. Anyway, I’ve started picking up my drama watching again. Hopefully I get the motivation to finish, I’m bad with finishing drama, I think it’s because I know I can always read them up instead of watching, which I think is bad for a drama-lover, drama is to be watched, not to be taken for granted! Heh.

        1. I have experienced the slump too, where I could only read about dramas and didn’t feel like watching them. You got that right, they’re meant to be watched 😉 Hopefully you’ll find a crack drama soon!

        2. Getting there, I think. I’ve been catching up to I Remember You and it’s a great drama. I love how the plot carry enough weight without being too heavy and some occasional comedy, and it’s great that the romance doesn’t overtake the whole plot and subtly weaved in. I was pleasantly surprised at the pairing too, didn’t think Seo Inguk and Jang Nara would look good together but they do, though I don’t think anyone can top my fav pair (coughJisungxJungeumcough). I read a up on Scholar Who Walks The Night recap and I’m slightly disappointed with the lack of Kim Seoun scene, she’s an actress that I really like, it’s a shame she isn’t the main pairing, I think she’d pull it off well. I saw her on Empress Chun Chu and she really impressed me. There’s still a lot of great drama to catch up and I wish I have enough time. I’ve been meaning to watch The Time I’ve Loved You and Oh My Ghostess (Park Boyoung’s first drama in ages!) What have you been watching?

        3. I’m still watching Hwajung and waiting for Mask to finish first before marathoning IRY. I also enjoy My Beautiful Bride and Scholar! I’m planning to watch OMG once it finishes airing 🙂

        4. Maybe I should try the dramas I meant to watch after they finish airing. I really should have learnt my lesson following new airing dramas, it’s unnerving to wait for new episodes weekly. I Remember You keeps me on my toe, it’s getting to the cutesy part of the romance too. I tried Mask and for some reasons it didn’t click in after the first episodes, which oddly enough was the same case for I Remember You until I saw the psychopathic brother (accidentally caught it on KBS world). You must really love sageuk. I tried a few sageuk and they can be quite a bore and hard to comprehend, the only one I stick to was fusion sageuk.

        5. I try not to fit too many dramas on my current watchlist and prefer to wait for the reviews before picking up the dramas. Yeah, Mask can be quite tricky to get into and I saw many people experiencing it just like you did.

          Hehe yeah, I do love sageuk but it does depend on the stories themselves. I did encounter those I couldn’t get to love it, for instance Ji Sung’s The Great Seer.

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