Watchlog, From Me To You

FROM ME TO YOU

Hello there, so it has been a while…just wondering if anyone still remembers me? Haha. Anyway, it’s me Jas, posting again after what seems like an eternity. If you ask me what happened, life happened. At some point during this period, it felt like I lost a part of myself (my love for writing) and I guess, many things that came with it. However, I was also not watching as much as I had used to so there were other questions like, what to post even and what to say as I return to this sphere. Nevertheless, I decided to let nature take its course and just try to say what comes to mind in a more or less coherent manner. This post is titled “From Me To You” because its how I want to say hi again to whoever is reading this now, like an open letter.

I will be using this opportunity to dish on dramas I’ve seen recently, or not. There aren’t many, just some cdramas and kdramas I’d like to mention. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the read!

With You 最好的我们

This is a Chinese web series from 2016 that I watched lately. I think the beauty of this drama lies in the simplicity of what it was meant or not meant to be. There is no wow factor, no overly emo teenage romance; but as I approached the end of Geng Geng and Yu Huai’s (played by Tan Songyun and Liu Haoran respectively) journey, there was this wave of sadness that came over me. Perhaps I was being too emotional, but it just reminded me of something like how you really love something and treasure it so much only to eventually grow out of it. This show made me feel that, along with learning how the characters experience growth as individuals and together. It was a pleasant surprise.

The Rise of Phoenixes 天盛长歌

Everything about this drama is gorgeous. Chen Kun looks like he never ages, and Ni Ni is such a goddess. The sets are pretty, a feast for the eyes. In the beginning I was really invested, the premise reminded me of the unforgettable Nirvana In Fire (another historical cdrama) but at the same time handled in a very different manner in terms of style and also about how our characters were written. I liked that it was progressive, as time in the show went by everyone (Ning Yi, Zhiwei and all who worked towards the cause) was one step closer to their goal and also one step closer to having their covers blown. Towards the end it fizzled out for me though. Certain things didn’t really make sense, developments weren’t as natural anymore. Nonetheless, I finished it all; for the love of Chen Kun and Ni Ni.

There are other cdramas that I have received recommendations of, but have yet to get to them. I also know that it is hard to keep track of cdramas because there are just way too many, too many that air every year. I’ll try to take note of more, and hopefully you can hear about interesting ones from me soon. Feel free to drop some names in the comments below 🙂

Moving on to kdramas:

Life 라이프

From screenwriter Lee Soo-yeon who penned 2017’s crime drama Secret Forest that eventually earned her Best Screenplay in the drama category at the Baeksang Arts Awards, the time Lee took her scriptwriting arsenal to a hospital-centred drama. Jo Seung-woo was also the leading man here, together with his Secret Forest co-stars Yoo Jae-myung and Lee Kyu-hyung. As expected, a power struggle ensues. Interests consequently conflict, and I think Life did well in showing both sides of the story. Multi-faceted characters played by a strong cast of veterans also contributed to my enjoyment. For character dynamics, I enjoyed watching Goo Seung-hyo (Jo Seung-woo) and his interactions with Secretary Kang (by actress Yum Hye-ran). All in all, the drama made me question the way the world works in the context of a hospital as well as not to write off any different perspectives before jumping into conclusions.

News flash: Recently it has been confirmed that the second season of Secret Forest is in the works. Yay for us fans!

Kingdom 킹덤

Being a fan of writer Kim Eun-hee, I was excited to hear about Kingdom when it was announced. With only six episodes on its first season, I finished it really quickly. Eerie enough, and overall a solid opening to sketch the plot’s skeleton. I could see the story developing further, but I felt that there was not much development even in the main characters despite the imminent zombie outbreak. Ryu Seung-ryong’s entrance as Minister Cho Hak-ju in the opening though, what a plus. We find out more as the story moves along steadily, but I am certain we are still far from the full picture given writer-nim’s style. Can’t wait to see more!

Doctor Prisoner 닥터 프리즈너

This is a quick thrill kind of a show where most, if not all our characters tread thinly between the lines of black and white. With Namgoong Min at the helm as Doctor Na Yi-je, he continues to do what he’s good at and bring out his charisma. His dynamic with Director Seon Min-sik (played by Kim Byung-chul) is one of the most interesting we see onscreen, using an endless amount of analogies that can be so apt for the situation. There is a Chinese idiom 以毒攻毒, meaning “using poison to treat poison” which I think can sum up the entire drama world and its characters through their battle of wits, where they combat ruthless with ruthless. Many of the supporting characters turn out to be a joy to watch as well – Jang Hyun-sung as Prosecutor Jung and how he eventually joins in the tag team. In sum, the drama succeeded in bringing out the idea of moral ambiguity amidst cliches.

Chief of Staff 보좌관

As with all political dramas, dialogue is heavy and you have to pay enough attention but for me this show was not hard to follow. This was Lee Jung-jae’s comeback television drama after a decade, and I also haven’t seen Shin Min-ah in a while, so somehow I followed it. There is also a whole cast of veterans including Jung Jin-young, Kim Gab-soo, Im Won-hee and Jung Woong-in starring in it. The protagonist Jang Tae-jun attempts to answer the question of the lengths he will go to in order to climb up the ranks. Apparently, Season 2 will air in November so we can look forward to that.

Designated Survivor – 60 Days 60일, 지정생존자

I just started watching this one, so I can’t really give overall thoughts on it as it is only just the beginning. This is the remake of the US original of the same title (without 60 days) which I only saw about five episodes of. I feel that the k-version has tried to make something different while retaining the original premise and essence, so I will continue it for now and see how things develop. Thoughts anyone?

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4 thoughts on “Watchlog, From Me To You

  1. I loved Designated Survivor: 60 Days. The character development was very good and thrilling to watch. The actor who plays Secretary Cha has become a new favorite. I enjoy political dramas, but they are all sageuks. This was my first contemporary political drama and I was impressed. I have not seen the American original, so I can’t compare the two.
    Now I am interested in Chief of Staff too!
    I thought Kingdom was excellent. I don’t like horror and zombies in particular, but I liked the political intrigue and unexpected twists. The first 6 episodes felt more like a set up. I am waiting for the next season.

    1. Hi Snow! Yes, I’m watching it now and am intrigued by it. Like you, I enjoy political dramas as well and many of them are sageuks/historicals. Don’t mind me, but you should try cdrama Nirvana in Fire. I think you’ll like it! I saw only a few episodes of the US original, now I am stalled on it though. Maybe you’d like Chief of Staff too, hehe. Same here, I’m looking forward to Kingdom’s Season 2 😉

  2. I also thought Designated Survivor was excellent. I’m not normally a fan of political dramas (blah, blah, blah – almost as bad as listing to the news!) but this hooked me in from the very start. I”m tired of zombies so I skip those. The real winner of the season for me has been Doctor John, but to be honest I’d watch anything with Ji Sung in it for hours. There are some problems wit the drama, but the main subject it explores is interesting and unexpected. I watched a couple of the others that yo mention, but since I can’t really remember much about them, I’d say they were OK but (obviously) not memorable. OF course, no one is watching Mother of Mine, but I like longer dramas. You can tell after an episode whether or not it’s filler trash, but occasionally one stands out with great acting, writing and direction, and this is one of them. I value character development above everything else in things I watch, and 50 episodes gives enough time for some real and believable character maturation and interaction. The Gentlemen Tailors of Wolgyesu was another great long drama. Well, that’s what’s on my mind today!

    1. Hi Judith, it’s great to hear that you enjoyed Designated Survivor. I see, I’ll take note of Doctor John 🙂 I haven’t seen those long family dramas in a while, but I did hear about Mother of Mine and its enjoying pretty high ratings in Korea. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here! ❤

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