Time to wrap up the dramas that had ended and start on the new ones, and boy, I find myself playing catch up because suddenly there are so many.
— In progress —
Man to Man
by Park Hae Jin, Park Sung Woong and Kim Min Jung
This was supposedly a promising drama based on its premise; supposedly a come-back drama for Park Hae Jin after the whole Cheese in the Trap shenanigan. Yet, it did not deliver the comical or the whole Mission Impossible’s smart-spy-in-disguise-in-action thrills for me.
It is, unfortunately, boring and unrefreshing. I am sad I cannot even declared to the world that I was charmed by bodyguard Kim or agent K (Park Hae Jin). Le sigh.
I don’t see Cha Do Ha’s (Kim Min Jung) charm, and it was difficult to convince myself “she is pretty” when Kim Guard told her so. Usually when someone is below average, they can still shine and look beautiful because they possess charm, but she showed neither in this drama. She isn’t a great actress either. I wasn’t impressed of her performances in Gap Dong, and I am still not impressed for this one. As for superstar Yeo Woon Gwang (Park Sung Woong), he isn’t as annoying as he was set out to be so I am quite fond of him, but I don’t buy the acting performance either. It’s quite a MEH drama.
by Ji Chang Wook, Nam Ji Hyun, Choi Tae Joon and Nara.
No Ji Wook (Ji Chang Wook) and Eun Bong Hee (Nam Ji Hyun) are excellent every time they are on-screen together. I already love it in the first episode when they met in the train, the hotel and again at the prosecutor office, hehehe.
In comparison to K2, No Ji Wook is charming, capable and sharp. He was perfect!—until he got fired, that is. I now find myself missing the stern but extremely handsome and confident prosecutor image he wore in the first two episodes. Ji Wook lost the ‘aura’ after getting fired. He’s now a boring and gloomy lawyer experiencing a slump in life. LOL, it is completely the opposite of what I have imagined for this show, because I thought Bong Hee would be the one that lost her sunny-side behaviour. However, I just adoreee her optimism and bright demeanor; Ji Wook could use some of it right now.
I like the twist at the end of episode 2, and gosh, I love how eerie it was when the killer was hiding in her office at first, but atmosphere shifted to comical after Ji Wook’s arrival. It’s hilarious to watch, and needless to say, we all love co-habitation!
The show hasn’t fully unraveled the whole back-story of our four main characters, but I’m not at all looking forward to it. A return of an ex-girlfriend (Nara) is never welcome, and I am almost certain Lawyer Ji Eun Hyuk (Choi Tae Joon) was the man she cheated with. It may just be a one night stand, but still.
by Yoo Ah In, Goo Kyung Pyo, Im Soo Jung, Kwak Si Yang, Jo Woo Jin, Yang Jin Sung,
This show took forever to get into and stay interesting. It doesn’t sell character of Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) very well in the beginning due to him acting prickly, arrogant, unreasonable and annoying. He was just…unrelatable and too dislikable for people to care about.
It is still borderline on ‘Do I care?’ or ‘Do I not care?’ because the story isn’t moving fast enough. Update on May 26-27 episodes: the plot thickens and it was so much better. For the first time, I was enjoying both episodes and find it engaging. Took them long enough.
I have a little issue with Yoo Ah In’s spiky hair in the present. I know, I know. He shaved it in preparation for the military duty that never happened but… LOL, it’s just so not charming compared to the one from the past—can’t he just wears a whig in the present too, show? Yoo Jin Woo / Shin Yul (Go Kyung Pyo) as the ghost is by far a more compelling character than Han Se Joo / Seo Hwi Young and Jeon Seol / Ryu Soo Hyun (Im Soo Jung), where it seems he is the one that holds the key to the whole mystery from their past life. It was no surprise Baek Tae Min (Kwak Si Yang) was present in their past life too. I saw that coming. I can’t help but feeling a little sad that Shin Yul will cease to exist soon; I’ve grown fond of him lurking around like Se Joo. Sniff.
In truth, I began on this drama because I had nothing else to watch last month. It isn’t better or as intriguing as compared to Tomorrow, With You or its predecessors. Has tvN lost their magic in creating interesting and captivating fantasy dramas? I hope not.
The Secret Romance
by Sung Hoon and Song Ji Eun
I honestly think I would be smitten by this show’s premise—because it’s the atypical story of a lonely chaebol meeting his One True Pairing and make him a better person. I thought I am a sucker for it no matter how it was executed as long as the couple is physically attractive, but reality proves I don’t buy into just any kind. The show was executed poorly and Song Ji Eun‘s acting is a no-no. Sung Hoon, too actually, he just isn’t charming me. There is no connection between us through the screen, LOL.
I might actually drop this now that there are more intriguing shows premiering, because I couldn’t care less about their budding love after the show made me watch them being in denial for waaay too long.
by Park Seo Joon, Kim Ji Won, Ahn Jae Hong, Song Ha Yoon, Kwak Dong Yeon, Choi Woo Sik, Kang Ki Dong, Kim Sung Oh.
Two episodes in, I love it already. The beginning of episode one was a teeny-weeny bit long, but I’ll trust that it’s so that the show could introduce all the characters and their relations properly for later. I’m already convinced and loving the friendship between Ko Dong Man (Park Seo Joon) and Choi Ae Ra (Kim Ji Won), and has faith they could become one of this year’s favourite on-screen couples. I think these two are besties because they are so oblivious of their own feelings and importance of one another in their life, LOL, which is exactly why this love story is going to work. It reminds me a little of the Taiwanese drama, In Time with You—which also involves two best friends becoming lovers in the end.
I love that it’s the little things and small gesture they do for one another that flutter our hearts e.g. Dong Man switching seat with Ae Ra because the guys were peeking through her skirt when she lifted her foot, and him standing up for her when her useless boyfriend Kim Moo Ki (Kwak Dong Yeon) cheated on her. I was so confused in the beginning, thinking Moo Ki plays her lil’ brother she is supporting. For a while I refused to believe he really is her boyfriend, LOL. Let’s just say I wanted to see more of Kwak Dong Yeon, and I thought he did excellent in his short appearance.
There is very little of Kim Joo Man (Ahn Jae Hong) but I look forward to his interpretation the new character. I miss Jae Hong’s Kim Jung Bong character a lot from Answer Me 1988, even though I don’t expect to see a Jung Bong look-alike, somehow I wish to see Jae Hong make another role into a memorable character of his own like he did for Jung Bong.
Lee Si Young, Kim Young Kwang, Kim Tae Hoon, Kim Seul Gi, Key, Kim Sun Young, Kim Sang Ho, Choi Moo Sung
When I saw the press conference, I was happy to see Kim Seul Gi back in a drama, but after watching 4 episodes (or 2), it’s disappointing to find out she once again has a small role.
I like Jang Do Han (Kim Young Kwang) sleazy prosecutor character in disguise. I am almost confident this is a much better role than his previous drama. His disguise almost had me fooled too, but fully knowing he is the male lead, then it was certain he had a greater purpose behind all those manipulation. He isn’t always wearing a fake mask too, I appreciated the tears he shed when daughter of Jo Soo Ji (Lee Si Young) died.
This show is still on the ‘look out’ because it didn’t make me feel interested. There were times where I was actually bored and looked for other things to do. This means the show isn’t captivating.
Ruler: Master of the Mask
by Yoo Seung Ho, Kim So Hyun, Kim Myung Soo, Yoon So Hee, Heo Jun Ho, Park Chul Min, Kim Byung Chul.
I am not one who enjoys sageuk about Joseon royals and the politics, but even I can’t take my eyes off the screen because of the execution of the plot. Mind you, it is still the atypical story about a Joseon king struggling to protect his son, and a naïve crown prince trying to rise up to the throne by battling the corrupted government. Now that I’m all caught up with the episodes, it became clear and understandably why this drama is conquering the first rating spot—it was capable of holding the interest and attention of viewers strongly with the tightness and quick pace of its plot. I am fairly happy they didn’t dwell on moaning the deaths for too long or overdid the melodramatic parts; it’s what drives me nutter in sageuk.
Crown Prince Lee Sun (Yoo Seung Ho) was full of rightenous and naïveness in the beginning, no surprise there, 99% of the time they are portrayed the same way i.e. either corrupt, weak, arrogantly naïve or cruel. I literally roll my eyes when he barge in on Dae Mok’s party and declare war. They just love doing that when they are powerless. Surely repetitively displaying stupidity is not the only way writers can employ to drive the plot for all sageuks. That’s why evil ministers, spies and traitors exist—use them intelligently, writers.
This show is no doubt about his growth to become a strong king, my only hope is the writer not make him too foolish for the whole 3/4 of the show, and then suddenly gain the wisdom and power to indict the villains. However, from the looks of latest development, he maybe walking on a good path to success already. Yoo Seung Ho is considered a veteran in sageuk so it was easy to accept his delivery as a prince and his sageuk tone. All he has left to do now is charm me, which he failed in the past.
Kim So Hyun is also another sageuk veteran and the teenage actress I held very high opinion of, and thus, there is definitely an expectation of her to shine in her character as Ha Ga Eun. I already love that she is smart and playing the spiritual leader of the villagers. Hopefully she also plays a crucial part in eliminating the enemies. I want her to be badass and lend her strength or wisdom to Sun, not be a damsel in distress that gets in his way. It’s intriguing that Kim Myung Soo plays the commoner Lee Sun who became the Crown Prince’s substitute. Will he grow greedy and covet the throne or will he assist Sun?—surprise me, show.
I have one wish though, that is to replace actress Yoon So Hee who plays Kim Hwa Gun. I shudder at the thought of seeing more of her in the coming episodes since she’s in love with Sun. She cannot act and her sageuk tone is shit. It boggles ones mind why she would be cast in a sageuk when she can’t even act well in a modern drama. Each time she opens her mouth, I wonder why she wasn’t made to repeat her lines until she deliver it right.
by Yeo Jin Goo, Kim Kang Woo, Gong Seung Yeon, Ahn Woo Yeon
Woah, a very intriguing start to the first episode. I already have questions need answering. I like what I saw in Yeo Jin Goo‘s character, Kim Woo Jin, and is dying to know why he and twin brother, Kim Bum Gyun (Ahn Woo Yeon) went missing, and how is Year 2037’s detective Kim Joon Hyuk (Kim Kang Woo) is related to them. The older detective said he is their siblings when in 2017, they clearly did not have a younger brother.
This show has an interesting concept—alien invasion. Sci-Fi has always been a genre that Asian countries are noticeably incapable or unable to pull off in dramas. They could pull it off in movies e.g. Train to Busan, but for drama, this could be the first. Note: I haven’t forgotten You Who Came From The Star, but the focus is on romance fantasy more than actual Sci-Fi. I think this is a keeper because I’m already in for the mystery, and it’s so nice to see Yeo Jin Goo becoming a fine young man. I am also glad Kim Kang Woo’s role will be likable because I hated him in Goodbye Mr. Black.
—— Completed ——
by Choi Jin Hyuk, Yoon Hyun Min, Lee Yoo Young, Kang Ki Young, Kim Byung Chul.
Overall, a solid crime thriller through and through. It’s not the best and it didn’t surpass Signal, but it’s one of the better ones there is. Each episode is kept constantly captivating; although the last two ending episodes could have been executed a bit better, especially in cutting down the time of interrogating the serial killer. It’s frustrating to watch them waste time drilling him for a confession when they already have all the evidences against him. I understand we need to know the reason(s), but based on the writing, the writer never intended for him to be like I Remember You‘s Lee Min and Lee Joon Young where we are supposed to relate to his pain, so I don’t care shit of the whys. Had the writer did, I think the show would have been even better, but as executed, the only thing I want to do is slap the smugness off his face.
I love the bromance between Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) and Kim Sun Jae (Yoon Hyun Min). I love them both separately as an individual too. I’m delighted Choi Jin Hyuk finally landed on a lead role with a good character and script, and equally happy for Yoon Hyun Min to be involved in playing the jaded and memorable character as Sun Jae.
On the contrary, I have little fondness for Professor Shin Jae Yi / Kim Yeon Ho (Lee Yoo Young). Her character was definitely not fleshed out as well. The change in her was too quick and seem forced so that the main storyline can get a move on. Therein lies the first flaw of the drama—she was initially seen too cold and emotionless due to her childhood trauma and upbringing. Thus, for her to open up so quickly and accept Kwang Ho because he is ‘XXX’ (keeping this spoiler-free) feels off for me. Plus, just how many times she has to put herself in danger is beyond my comprehension because heck, each and every experience is traumatising and she became how she was because she was traumatised, so I don’t buy that she is mentally this strong to be able to confront multiple danger and walk away without any nightmares. As for the second flaw, it had to do with how Kwang Ho return to the past. I expected that we won’t get an explanation of ‘how’ it happen or why, but I was annoyed the show led us (and Kwang Ho) to believe the condition of the time-travelling is the serial killer has to be present in the tunnel for it to happen.
The Liar and His Lover
by Lee Hyun Woo, Joy, Lee Seo Won and Choi Min Soo
I feel partial about this drama. There were times when I really enjoy an episode, and there were times when I thought it was bad; definitely more bad than good. I am actually annoyed at myself I couldn’t enjoy it fully, so I concluded that I may have gotten too old for this. I like that it is a story about music and musician/singers pursuing their dreams, but I dislike the whole execution through these characters.
The on-screen rapport of Kang Han Kyul (Lee Hyun Woo) and Yoon So Rim (Joy) didn’t do it for me either. I neither felt their attraction or love for one another nor did I feel they had chemistry. I will be surprise there are fans shipping them, LMAO.
It took a long time to adjust to Hyun Woo’s potrayal of an adult music producer, too. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing that he looks so young for his age, but as an actor, he needs to turn off the boyishness for an adult role when required. It appears he failed to do that in this drama. As for Joy’s acting, it’s amateur; she needs a lot of acting practices. The show tells me So Rim has a voice that everyone fell in love with, but it was unconvincing because Joy’s voice isn’t a kind that would cause a stir. This isn’t to say she cannot sing, it just means it wasn’t unique or compelling enough for music producers fighting to compose/write songs for her character.
Sometimes I was fond of Seo Chan Young (Lee Seo Won) and sometimes I really want to whack his head. Hence, I was glad he backed down at the end between So Rim and Han Kyul, so it was back to loving Chan Young again, LOL! The presence of Chae Yoo Na (Hong Seo Young) seems so unimportant and irrlevant to the main story arc, hence most of the time, I wish she never exist so less of my time is wasted.
I don’t like the show undermining and under-developed the characters and relationships between Kang In Woo (Choi Min Soo), Yoo Hyun Jung (Park Ji Young) and Choi Jin Hyuk (Lee Jung Jin). All three of them definitely had stories of their own from the past to tell, which could allow us to better understand their present behaviour, but it was never told. Choi Min Soo is a great actor, I am definitely sad there was so little use of him in helping Han Kyul’s character grow.