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.
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?
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?
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~
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:
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.
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?