It’s pouring (again), and if you’re like me, you like to get wet a little bit but it’s always nice to be able to decide how and when. With that in mind, I’m handing you some provision, whether its boots, a coat or an umbrella… take your pick from the list below and use as you please.
*Thoughts complied after two episodes of viewing. However, my final thoughts are always reserved until the 3rd week of airing (or 5th ep).
Synopsis: Jin Hyuk is a leading neurosurgeon of his time, but after an accident finds himself stuck in the Joseon Period.
Airing/Episodes: Sat/Sun 20
Starring: Song Seung-hun, Lee Bum-su, Park Min-young, Lee So-yeon, Kim Jaejoong
First Impression: I love Korean dramas but I have zero faith in their manga/manhwa adaptations. Especially if it’s been done before. Therefore my expectations for this drama were very low. However, I didn’t know that they should’ve been non-existent. After watching the first episode, I don’t think I can continue with this drama (and that’s a rarity for me). From the onset, the acting is the worst thing about this drama but as it progresses you realize there is nothing except Lee Bum-su and Kim So-yeon that makes this drama worth watching. After seeing Min-young and Seung-hun together, I’m afraid he may never pull off such a winning chemistry like he and Tae-hee’s again. To it’s credit though, for those that have seen the original, the interpretation on the actual story is solid. This project is reflective but different enough that it works well as an adaptation. It veers in a direction that would be nice if the execution wasn’t so rough. I usually try to give dramas, writers and actors a 5 consecutive episode courtesy but with DJ, I just can’t.
Suggestions: If you can handle the fact it’s pretty bad on most fronts and have found a way to like it anyway, go for it. If you are still hesitant, take a step back and drop in a couple week’s from now. The project should be in full swing by then and most likely improved. Also, I’m pretty positive you won’t have missed a thing.
Viewing preference: Stream, pick up at episode 5 or 6.
A Gentlemen’s Dignity
Synopsis: A drama about the careers and love lives of urban professionals. It will tell the story of four men in their forties as they go through love, breakup, success and failure. Kim Do-jin, an architect with a scathing tongue have romantic relationship with strict high school teacher Seo Yi-su, who moonlights as an umpire at amateur baseball games. Im Tae-san is dating a cold-hearted woman but wonders if there is someone else out there for him. Choi Yun tries to heal his heart after losing his wife seven years ago. Lee Jung-rok marries an older woman for money but may lose his comfortable lifestyle in a divorce.
Airing/Episodes: Sat/Sun 20
Starring: Jang Dong-gun, Kim Ha-neul, Kim Su-ro, Kim Min-jong, Lee Jong-hyuk
First Impression: Pointless. Pretentious. Preachy. Predictable. Shallow. Silly. Excessive. Comical. With the subtlety of an elephant in a glass shop. These are words that came to mind as I watched the first episode and those same thoughts rang true as I finished episode 2. There’s nothing new or original about this drama, no feelings of poignancy, depth or satisfaction. However, I do like the show. I enjoy the boys for their caddish behavior and their inability to accept collectively that they’re not in college anymore. I notice the tropes and laugh out loud at them, finding it hilarious this show pretends to be so shiny, new and important and expects me to buy it. All the boys work for me and I enjoy them all for separate reasons, however, as usual, while I can deal with the chauvinism of men, I can’t stomach the idiocy, cattiness and overall falseness of women. The main character, Seo Yi-su (Kim Ha-neul), embodies all of this and then some, therefore, this can be a very big problem (for me and my enjoyment) in the future.
Suggestions: When you watch dramas you realize that there are some things that you can tolerate, some things you can’t. And all of that is based on your initial reactions to the premise and promotions of the dramas you choose to turn on. AGD is exactly what I thought it was going to be and I’m not surprised that I like it. It’s not love, it’s not a great drama but it’s entertaining enough. If you can’t deal with the words above(as in accepting), then this drama isn’t for you. If you thought this drama was going to be something other than the way I described it, move along— this drama isn’t for you. If you watched Secret Garden or Lovers In Paris and thought you might kill yourself or someone else (the writer), remember the same person is penning this drama! And again, this drama isn’t for you. I for one, have considered these things and I know what I’m getting into. I know when to bail. If you can do that, download immediately!
Viewing preference: Download/stream weekly
I Love Lee Tae Ri
Synopsis: Eun-dong is a 14-year-old boy engaged to a woman 7 years older than him. When he finds out she likes another man, he makes a wish to protect his love. As a result, he becomes a 25-year-old man. Tae Ri is a well-educated woman who comes from a wealthy family. After being hurt by her first love, she doesn’t believe in love anymore. But, as she and Eun-dong continue to meet, she starts to have feelings for him.
Airing/Episodes: Mon/Tues 16
Starring: Kim Kibum, Park Ye-jin
First Impressions: Cute! Cute! Cute! TvN has yet again unveiled a drama that is effective and heartfelt. It’s light and funny, but tugs at your emotions in the right spots and I greatly enjoyed it. There’s a fantasy aspect that isn’t clearly defined but I don’t see that bothering me. It’s so cute that at this point it really doesn’t matter. I do find Park Ye-jin is honing in on her MP‘s Oh Yoon-joo a little too much at present but I see that dissipating in the coming weeks. Kim Kibum as “big” Eun-dong and Jang Seo-won as Eun-dong’s coach are wonderful together and make me want to sit and watch them wrap their minds around this wacky occurrences just a little longer. The second leads are serviceable and there is plenty of hijinks and cute (the best word for this show) to at least keep me hooked for a few more episodes. I seriously can’t wait to laugh at all the “adult” shifts Eun-dong will have to make from hormones to personality. I don’t see too much actually happening in the drama, however, I’m certain it’ll be a cute love story, well until everything (his body) returns to normal. Eun-dong will most likely have to choose between love now or his life before and I’m actually interested to see what this kid will choose.
Suggestions: It’s not a must see but if you liked Kpop Extreme Survival or want something cuddly and precious, this is a highly recommended choice. At the moment, only Chinese subs are available, so it’s relatively hard for those that are mono-language challenged. Keep the look out though, I’m sure English subs will come bustling out soon, cause this one’s too adorakable to miss.
Viewing preference: Any way I can get it.
Synopsis: Detective Baek Hong-suk loses his 15-year-old daughter in a car accident and later learns that her death is tied into a conspiracy.
Airing/Episodes: Mon/Tues 16
Starring: Son Hyun-joo, Kim Sang-jun, Kim Sung-ryung, Go Jun-hee
First Impressions: I actually haven’t watched this on at all yet. I’m a huge fan of both front men (Shoot, the entire cast!) and know it’ll be a sound performance on both ends. It’s the writing that has to pull the drama through. I’m highly intrigued and look forward to sitting down and drinking in about 4 episodes at a time. Once I do so, I’ll add my comments here.
Viewing preference: Download
Synopsis: A drama based on a cyber investigation squad.
Airing/ Episodes: Wed/ Thurs 20
Starring: So Jisub, Lee Yeon-hee, Uhm Ki-joon, Daniel Choi
First Impressions: Let’s just be honest, So Jisub nor Daniel Choi have chosen projects anyone has been interested in lately, so it’s no surprise that this drama was just a courtesy glance. However, I believe the drama is decent enough to continue through the next couple weeks. The first episode is pretty dull and so were all the characters save Daniel’s (but they explained all that by the end of episode 2). There’s a lot of technical language and protocol in the script, which I know very little about, therefore I’m unsure if that aspect is even believable, however, my hope is there will be less script regurgitation and more personality conflict and stakes moving forward. I have to admit that the thought of no Choi-So bromance is heartbreaking but if that’s replaced with the crazy of Uhm Ki-joon, BRING IT ON! As of yet, we’ve only seen glimpses of him but I am all in for a phenomenal performance as the cyber master-villain Phantom.
Suggestions: If you’ve seen Face-Off, then it won’t be too hard to take what the drama is trying to feed. There is more than meets the eye with this story and it hasn’t been quite what I expected, however, I find that more intriguing than off putting, so a few more episodes under the hat is definitely warranted. I will concede that 20 eps scares me, so tread lightly–expectations at a medium-low level at best.
Viewing preference: Stream weekly.
I Do, I Do
Synopsis: Hwang Ji-an is a successful 30 something year old shoe designer who ends up pregnant after a one night stand with the new office employee, Park Tae-kang.
Airing/Episodes: Weds/Thurs 16
Starring: Kim Sun-ah, Lee Jang-woo, Park Gun-young
First Impressions: The first two episodes were mainly setup for the office antics of this story, however it’s done relatively well by creating moments for the leads to connect emotionally. It also got the initial one night stand out of the way, so we can move on to the relational bits. Kim Sun-ah looks great and this is her type of role: strong, determined and rough around the edges with big piles of raw emotion waiting to burst out. Lee Jang-woo is much better than expected and I even connected with his character a moment or two. However, I really don’t care about them at all or the shoes (Only woman in the world, I know). Right now, the second leads and minor characters have my attention much more than Ji-an and Tae-kang’s relationship. I think it’s going to take a lot of convincing to get me on board with those two when Dr. Wonderful (Park Gun-young) is in active, genuine pursuit. I’m much more interested in Ji-an’s dynamic with Eun-sung, who seems to be a wonderful straight forward compliment to her prickly puffed up personality, than whether she and I-just-bought-big-boy-pants Tae-kang can make a go of it. Unfortunately, the lines are pretty well defined so there’s no hope of a second lead swoop, which is probably where my disinterest is firmly rooted.
Overall, it’s a nice drama that has potential. Not holding my breath though. Too many aspects remind me of Scent of a Woman and Bad Couple. Nevertheless, I’ll check back in a few weeks and see how things are shaping up.
Suggestions: Most viewers are enjoying this outing and if you’re like most, you will too. It’s a nice, easy watch but rather forgettable at the moment. I’m not convinced the show holds up to week-to-week viewing but like most dramas it takes more than one episode to make a lasting impression. The story moves slower than expected, therefore, I plan to put it on the back burner and marathon a few episodes at a time.
Viewing preference: Download and save or stream after a few weeks of aired episodes
Bridal Mask (Gaksital)
Synopsis: Based on the manhwa Gaksital, the story takes place during the Japanese occupation of the 1930s and chronicles a young man avenging his brother’s death with the on taking of his role as a masked avenger set to uncover corruption and bring hope to an oppressed Korean society.
Airing/Episodes: Weds/Thurs. 24
Starring: Joowon, Park Ki-woong, Shin Hyun-jun, Jin Se-yeun
First Impressions: This drama is certainly entertaining. I haven’t seen many period K-dramas, so it’s nice to see this time period tackled again on the small screen. This is also my first Joowon drama and for now, I find his screamy overacting more comical than offensive. Shin Hyun-jun is my real draw, therefore, I will stick around as long as he does. Park Ki-woong is as adorable than ever and has every potential of being the dramas most beloved character, at least until Kang-to becomes the masked crusader. Again, this drama is about the men, so I don’t really care what the women are up to, but I am satisfied that Mok-dan isn’t an idiot and female spies always prick my antenna. Being that the drama is based on a manhwa it’s inevitable that certain aspects won’t all line up or matter as the story progresses. I did feel the second episode lost a bit of it’s credibility and steam with it’s ending but I suppose the drama just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page.
Suggestions: This is definitely a week to week watch. At this point it’s a drama that I don’t believe is a successful marathon option unless you wait until the broadcast is finished. The drama isn’t interesting enough not to forget about and become sluggish towards. I hold out that by week 3/4 it may become addictive but I don’t see it doing much more than what it’s already accomplished in the beginning. (Not a negative forecast, just a basic observation).
Viewing option: Stream weekly
Note: Dramas are for fun and creates a wonderful community of ideas, and while forming opinions is what we do as humans with rational minds, if you watch something and don’t like it, jump ship. Don’t continue on the ride only to complain. It’s inconsiderate to yourself and to other fans. Writers, actors and crews work hard, whether we accept that fact or not and deserve a little faith and respect. Take a show for what it is or stop watching. Enjoy the experience, there is plenty of entertaining and enjoyable dramafare to go around.
[** all posters obtained from official drama sites. Opening image courtesy of deviantArt.]