Freitag, 11. August 2017

Night Watch

불침번을 서라 (Night Watch, also known as Neighborhood Watch) is a South Korean drama special that was aired on KBS2 on August 7th 2013 and has a duration of 1 hour and 7 minutes.

Story: Kim Hee-chan is an unpopular novelist and usually stays at home during daytime. On the other hand, his wife Jo Min-sook works during regular work hours. One morning she leaves for work and finds a blue bag filled with food trash tied to her car. She suspects Kim Soo-ji but the next morning, Soo-ji finds a blue bag like that next to her door and assumes it is revenge. However, during the next few days, blue trash bags appear in front of other neighbor's doors as well and cause a lot of suspicion and even one accident. Trying to find the "culprit" the residents start to check the CCTV and literally go on night watch.
I'm not fully sure if I understood the point of this drama. Yet it is a cute watch and keeps you busy for 1 hour. I actually caught myself being suspicious of everyone at one point and trying to figure out why someone would place trashbags in front of random doors.

Cast: Ki Tae-young as Kim Hee-chan. I don't really know what I should write here, it's not like I did not like his acting but more that it was again over the top and I think it was supposed to be like this to light up the mood a bit but.. I wish the whole special would've been just a tad bit more serious. But after all it was good and I have no idea what to criticize.
Lee Seung-min as Jo Min-sook. Oh, I liked her acting but not her character! I guess I just generally have a problem with female characters in dramas sadly but the jealousy was no joke and I hated it.. Well, I can't change that at least but a part of her character was actually understandable.
Kim Yoo-hyun as Kim Soo-ji. I found her character to be much more interesting for a female character. I can't pinpoint what it is but maybe it was just that she actually seemed interested at one point and wanted to find out what was going on (if I remember right).
Kwak Hee-sung as Kim Jin-hyuk. Oh, his character is a sweetie in this one and he reminded me of a puppy, especially the way he cared for his parents even though they were not present in this drama directly was quite sweet. I fairly enjoyed his acting, too.
Keep in mind that after just 1 hour you're usually not able to talk a lot about acting skills unless you really focus on that.

This was an entertaining, light-hearted watch but I probably wouldn't rewatch it because yes, it got me bored here and there and I still don't understand what the big deal is about a trash bag if you carry out your trash every single day anyway. I probably wouldn't bother to do research but rather rely on surveillance cameras or anything but I certainly wouldn't care enough to sit outside during nighttime and observe the building.
Also, parts of this looked more like a play that could've been performed on stage but not really like a drama special. This bothered me slightly but it wasn't terrible.

Freitag, 4. August 2017

Queen of Ambition

야왕 (Queen of Ambition) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on SBS from January 14th to April 2nd 2013 and consists of 24 episodes with a duration of approximately one hour each. This drama is referred to as "makjang", a genre that is not easy to explain so I might write an extra entry on this one day.

Story: Ha Ryu and Joo Da-hae grew up together in an orphanage until Da-hae was picked up by her mom and her stepfather. A few years later, Yang Taek-bae goes to a house to collect money with Ha Ryu and surprisingly enough they find Da-hae next to her mothers corpse. After this event they stay together and Da-hae lives with Hong An-sim and Ha Ryu and studies for the university entrance exam. After she passes they face the problem of money and Ha Ryu decides to work for Da-hae's tution. They live like this for a while until Da-hae's stepfather who supposedly abused her comes looking for her and the tragic story starts.
Again, a few years later, Da-hae and Ha Ryu have a daughter together and Da-hae gets the chance to work at a huge company. The son of the owner shows interest in her and wants her to go to the US with him to study. Da-hae talks about this to Ha Ryu who decides to make more money and sent her abroad to study. After she comes back, she breaks up with him to follow her ambition and make it to the top of the social hierarchy in South Korea.
Actually there is so much to this story but I don't want to spoil anyone so I'm trying to not give you a lot of information. Just be warned, this drama turns out to be a battle between Ha Ryu and Da-hae with them having nothing to lose in the end. This is much more than a melodrama or a family drama in my opinion but has some thrilling aspects as well even though it is not a thriller.

Cast: Soo Ae as Joo Da-hae. After seeing her in at least two dramas I think she is not a bad actress, no, but in this drama many things seemed a little bit off or unnatural to me. Yes, of course that might be because of the way her character was written and not about her portrayal of the character but it is still not easy to fully point out what it was. As far as I remember she occasionally seemed stiff. It still did not bother me enough to fully hate her acting though.
Kwon Sang-woo as Ha Ryu/Cha Jae-woong. I quite loved everything about his acting to be honest. A loving father and "nearly" husband (or long term boyfriend), a tough enemy and a fighter as well as a good friend. I just really can't find anything I could criticize about his acting.
Jung Yun-ho as Baek Do-hoon. Let's face it, once again many people will watch this drama solely because their beloved idol is in here. Now I have to say that his acting was good enough and if there was something I missed I could usually say that it was based on the way his character was written - carefree and lacking seriousness. Nonetheless I do not think it is worth to watch this drama solely because of him. Yes, he does have a lot of scenes but I think you might start to hate Da-hae at one point.. maybe episode 16 or 18? I'm not sure anymore.
Other actors in this drama include Kim Sung-ryung as Baek Do-kyung, Kwon Hyun-sang as Yang Taek-bae, Go Joon-hee as Seok Soo-jung, Sung Ji-ru as Uhm Sam-do and Lee Il-hwa as Hong An-sim.

Soundtrack: There was not one moment in which I thought the music was terrible or unfitting to be very honest. However, my favorite track has been (long before watching this drama Ailee's "얼음꽃 (Ice Flower)" and this drama changed how I personally interpreted the title of this song without ever reading the translated lyrics (or translating it by myself). Still a very beautiful song I will probably love for the next few years as well and loved ever since it was released.

Remember when I said I don't like melodramas? I still stay with that. This drama is so much more than a melodrama even though it is usually referred to as one. It has this special, evil twist that is not necessarily about fate or a disease but about a person and her desire which causes the evil in this drama.
If you dislike dramas with a darker atmosphere, this one might not be for you. As all of my regular readers know I love crime, suspense, thriller and horror if it makes you shiver just because of the atmosphere and this drama did not go that far but gave me goosebumps, too.

Freitag, 28. Juli 2017

My Girl

마이걸 (My Girl) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on SBS from December 14th 2005 to February 2nd 2006 and consists of 6 episodes.

Story: Seol Gong-chan's grandfather is sick. His wish is to find his lost grandchild, a girl who is not easy to find. In order to fulfill his grandfathers supposed last wish Gong-chan is looking for his cousin and meets Joo Yoo-rin on Jeju Island. Yoo-rin has a connection to his lost cousin. As his real cousin cannot be found, Yoo-rin, who is an excellent liar and actress, becomes Gong-chan's contract cousin. She is supposed to disappear after Gong-chan found his real cousin but miraculously his grandfather gets better and spoils Yoo-rin as he believes Yoo-rin is his granddaughter. Soon Gong-chan and Yoo-rin start to fall in love but as cousins it is actually a forbidden love. On the other hand Gong-chan's friend Seo Jung-woo also falls in love with Yoo-rin and wants to marry her. As Jung-woo is not related to her the grandfather, Seol Woong, also agrees to Yoo-rin marrying Jung-woo - but Yoo-rin rejects Jung-woo.
In the meantime Gong-chan's ex girlfriend Kim Se-hyun appears again as well. She became a famous tennis athlete and broke up with Gong-chan to achieve that dream but now wants him back and tries to get rid of Yoo-rin in every way one can think of.
This story is quite something. Contract marriage? Okay, cool. Well, not cool, but I understand how that is supposed to work. But contract cousins? If you really ask me about it this was bound to fail and again, one of my major issues with rom-com dramas, the plot was quite predictable in many ways but I did enjoy it. It has light hearted parts as well as more serious aspects to it and is definitely worth watching if you like rom-com. I sometimes found it a bit too much but then again that might be me. It wasn't hilarious but ridiculous in some parts but I found myself quite enjoying the latter half of the drama.

Cast: Lee Dong-wook as Seol Gong-chan. I swear to whatever I need to that I saw Lee Dong-wook in a drama or movie before but I don't remember which one and it makes me pull out my hair. (It's not Goblin, I know he's in that drama, too *cough* review upcoming *cough*.) I did enjoy many aspects of his acting in this drama, too, but sometimes it just went a tiny bit overboard and ended up in the extremely ridiculous field. I don't believe it is fully his fault but I feel like I need to mention it anyway.
Lee Da-hae as Joo Yoo-rin. I hated her character at first because it was too lively and too over-the-top all the time. She annoyed the hell out of me and usually these things don't change but again I have to say that during the second half of this drama it seemed much better. I was quite surprised when I found myself actually enjoying a drama I stopped watching in February because I hated it and then continued in.. maybe April? It might be because she seemed a bit more calm during the latter half.
Lee Joon-ki as Seo Jung-woo. Before I mention anything else, can we talk about that hairstyle? I was laughing so much! It might have been a trend back in the days but let's thank the gods of time that this is over. I quite loved his acting in this and probably forever will love him as an actor because of the very different but great characters he played in dramas. Even though many people don't like his acting, he was also one of the most realistic actors - his portrayal of Jung-woo was less ridiculous and more serious if I remember right and I loved that all the more.
Park Si-yeon as Kim Se-hyun. You probably know what I think about the second-female-leads. I was wishing for her to just disappear but things didn't work out as well as I hoped. Her acting was fine but the character was once again one of those terrible bitch characters (excuse me cursing, I don't know why but I feel like it today). I didn't even want her to die but to grow up and leave a man who didn't like her anymore alone. Is that really that difficult for females in K-Dramaland?
Other actors in this drama include Jo Kye-hyung, Hwang Bo-ra, Choi Ran, Ahn Seok-hwan, Byun Hee-bong and Jung Han-heon.

Soundtrack: Once again this was quite a retro soundtrack but a quite good with a song sung by Lee Ji-soo (formerly a member of BoM and BTL) and KARA. The soundtrack had emotional and energetic songs if I remember right and I certainly enjoyed the music.

This is such a retro drama and I loved it - partly. On the other hand until episode 10 I had real trouble to get through it so it wasn't really catching or particularly outstanding.
Yes, the idea of contract siblings is not a common one and gives the whole drama a unique touch but some parts were so cliché. And I wanted to kill the person who was responsible for Yoo-rin's outfits. We find a 2nd male lead syndrome and 2nd female lead syndrome and a lot of those misunderstandings were just dragging this drama (as they do in many rom-coms even today). It left me quite frustrated near the end of this drama but again, I did not hate it.

If you're into typical rom-com with an old school touch - watch it. If not.. I would not recommend it unless you're a huge fan of one of the leads.

Freitag, 21. Juli 2017

Lovers in Prague

프라하의 연인 (Lovers in Prague) is a South Korean drama series that aired on SBS from September 24th to November 20th 2005. The drama consists of 18 episodes.

Story: Jae-hee, the daughter of the current Korean president, is living in Prague as a diplomat while getting over a painful breakup. She meets Sang-hyun, a police officer and their romance starts to blossom in Prague.
Sang-hyun's ex girlfriend Hye-joo is also living in Prague at that time - and she is pregnant and used Sang-hyun to pay for her studies for quite some time - which complicates things unnecessarily. Also, Jae-hee's ex boyfriend Yeong-woo appears which gets them not only into a love triangle..
This story is such a typical K-Drama storyline that I wouldn't even notice a difference it it was remade. Lots of cliché and very predictable but for sure enjoyable if you like rom-com dramas. The one big issue I have with this classic is literally that only the first two episodes are set in Prague - if I remember right - and they dragged the whole story a bit with lots of misunderstandings.

Cast: Jeon Do-yeon as Yoon Jae-hee. I don't know, she was somehow this typical girl and I would've wished for her to be more tough occasionally. Her acting was okay, her Czech language skill (in the beginning, according to friends from Czech Republic) is terrible but that is okay to me - I wouldn't be able to understand it anyway and I appreciate that the makers of this drama put that much effort into this.
Kim Ju-hyeok as Choi Sang-hyun. He looked like a lost puppy most of the time and while I did some of his moments the majority was not really my style. Just too lost and too pathetic which is my honest opinion and noone needs to share it. It just seemed like he was the too clingy type of boyfriend I would get rid of, too.
Kim Min-jun as Ji Yeong-woo. Ugh, I don't know why but it seems I disliked both of Jae-hee's options in this drama. Yeong-woo, as far as I remember (I watched this drama months ago and accidentally deleted my notes) wanted to get her back after hurting her and he would try harder even if she didn't want him back - which causes more hurt and difficulty than necessary. As an actor, I would chose Kim Min-jun over Kim Ju-hyeok though because I somehow likes his acting a tiny bit more.
Yoon Se-ah as Kang Hye-joo. The female character I wanted to kill so badly because she's a cheating slut. No matter her motives, I hate this. I hated her. The acting was believable enough but I'm not sure if that is a good or a bad thing.
Other actors in this drama include Lee Jung-gil, Jung Dong-hwan, Yoon Young-joon and Kim Seung-wook.

Soundtrack: This is the biggest struggle. Regarding the year in which this drama was aired, the music was decent. But when looking back from nowadays I absolutely dislike the old school music even though it does make me somehow nostalgic (I was 9 years old when this drama aired and dislike most of the music I loved back then, too). It might be a matter of taste but as of today I don't really like the soundtrack per sé but let me stay with "for 2005, it wasn't bad".

After all I found this drama very funny and somehow light-hearted. Yes, there are lots of things I can criticize but I still enjoyed it more than some other dramas I watched.
Can we take a moment and appreciate the dinosaurs phones? I was on the floor laughing at those things (yes, I had one, too, back in the days).
If you love romance dramas with a hint of comedy and lots of confusion you should watch this. It's a classic and definitely not a bad one even though I hated some parts for sure.

Freitag, 14. Juli 2017

On Hiatus

This is just a very short announcement and I hope you can forgive me...

Because of university and an internship I need to go on a hiatus. I'm in the middle of my final exams of my third year and actually should prepare (or already write, nevermind) my bachelor thesis.
I also need to finish an internship so I can graduate with my bachelor certificate next year. I just don't have the time to watch as many dramas as I want to by now and I hope to be back in September or October with weekly updates.
As I'm writing this on July 14th I don't know when the last post before my hiatus will go up - either on July 28th or August 4th, maybe also August 11th. Just give me 6 to 8 weeks after that to deal with my education and my personal life but remember to still check for new entries occassionally!

I'm sorry!



포세이돈 (Poseidon) is a South Korean Drama that was aired on KBS2  from September 19th to November 8th 2011. It consists of 16 episodes with an average duration of 60 minutes per episode.

Story: Poseidon is the sea special attack team of South Korea and directly connected to the Coast Guard. Kim Sun-woo joins this unit after being a troublemaker in his school days. Because of an incident he is sent to Gunsan city until Kwon Jung-ryul who formed a new crime investigation unit in Incheon asks Sun-woo to join. The purpose of the unit is to stop the "Heugsahoe", an organisation led by Choi Hee-gon, but officially the investigation unit is responsible for unsolved cases.
This drama is pretty much a crime and action drama that could be compared to other crime dramas easily. While I did enjoy the story by itself and I loved the action I feel like it was just too long for the story. I occasionally found myself getting bored and playing with my phone rather than watching the drama. While it is also supposed to be directly related to the coast guard many parts of this drama actually have nothing to do with the coast guard or the sea in general so I would describe it as an ordinary police drama.

Cast: Lee Sung-jae as Kwon Jung-ryul. It hasn't been too long since I first saw Lee Sung-jae in a drama and while I do like his acting I'm not overly impressed. His acting in this drama, too, was good or okay but not really outstanding.
Choi Si-won as Kim Sun-woo. The same could be said for him. He pretty much carries this drama (at least internationally he's the reason why most people even know about this drama, let's face it) but it's not the best role he played in his life and I certainly think that he improved in the dramas he starred in later. In Poseidon, his acting was decent but could've been better.
Lee Si-young as Lee Soo-yoon. I pretty much hated her character. Usually female characters in action or crime dramas should be smart and tough but she is so dumb and makes so many dumb decisions that sometimes I ended up sitting here wondering how someone like that was able to become a police officer. The acting might have been okay but I just couldn't stand her character. Simple.
Jung Yun-ho as Kang Eun-chul. Yunho is the other actor pretty much bringing attention to this drama and I did enjoy his acting probablythe most. There is no real issue with his character or acting and I probably liked him the most when watching this drama.
Jang Dong-jik as Kang Joo-min. Ooh, one of the charismatic characters in this drama with a quite dark and mysterious aura but I really did like him in some twisted way. The acting pretty much delivered exactly that, and it was more than a solid performance.
Other actors in this drama include Han Jung-soo, Jung Woon-taek, Jin Hee-kyung, Lee Byung-joon, Son Jung-bum and Park Sung-kwang.

Soundtrack: The whole OST sung by Yang Yo-seob, Jo Kyu-hyun, Lee Hae-ri, Heo Ga-yoon and Navi was pretty much love but the instrumentals made it perfect. I loved the music and can't really say anything else about it.

Yes, this drama was okay but it was dragged quite a bit and certainly failed the topic. It wanted to be a coast gard/marine drama but ended up being the normal police drama one can think about. Once again the main character has a personal story and is obsessed with catching the criminal because he was harmed. And Lee Soo-yoon as a character was more or less unbearable.

If you're a fan of action dramas you can watch this and might enjoy parts of this drama but if you're not that much into this genre you might just dislike this drama.

Freitag, 7. Juli 2017

Scholar Who Walks The Night

밤을 걷는 선비 (Scholar Who Walks the Night) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on MBC from July 8th to September 10th 2015. It consists of 20 episodes and is based on a webcomic.

Story: When the Goryeo Dynasty collapsed vampire Gwi helped the first King of Joseon to build his new empire. In return, he was promised to be honored by the King's descendants but 200 years later, Crown Prince Jung-hyun tries to get rid of him. Jung-hyun visits a guardian vampire with his best friend Kim Sung-yeol in order to stop Gwi with a secret plan but the evil vampire finds out about it and fights the guardian vampire while imprisoning Jung-hyun. Trying to help his friend, Sung-yeol gets to the place where the guardian vampire lives - and is turned into a vampire by the guardian to fight Gwi. While the guardian passes away, Sung-yeol is going through the process and wakes up 3 days later only to find himself turned into a "monster" and his best friend to be executed along with his father. Gwi also captured his fiancée and first love, Myung-hee and Sung-yeol goes to find her but is too weak to beat Gwi. In order to let him live and fight against the evil vampire controlling the kings of the Joseon dynasty, Myung-hee choses death in the underground palace.
For the next 120 years, Kim Sung-yeol goes into hiding and tries to find Crown Prince Jung-hyun's memorandum that supposedly has the secret plan in it. In order to find it he asks book seller Jo Yang-sun to search for it. Yang-sun, a girl who dresses as a boy for reasons she herself doesn't know for sure, starts to look for the book in any place but can't find it at first - instead she finds herself falling for the good-looking scholar who happened to save her live quite a few times.
To be honest, this is just a summary of the beginning as I don't want to include too many spoilers but this whole story has way more to it than I expected at first. I'm not the biggest fan of vampire romance, and this is also paired up with historical things (I'm still trying to figure out when exactly the story is set but I assume episode one plays around 1592 or 1600 (since the 200 years were probably not exact) so the main story takes place around 1820) but I found this story to be surprisingly interesting. Yes, it is a lot of cliché but at least the vampires are not sparkling in the sun (sorry, no offense meant, I used to love Twilight when I was younger until I realized that a huge part is actually rather funny). Of course the good vs evil was obvious and to be honest this is highly what this drama is based on. Surprisingly the love triangle was not as bad as I thought - in fact I suspected there would be one but in the end there wasn't anything. I liked a lot of elements of this story after all, especially when Hye-ryung was brought in. Also the political issues and curruption which definitely existed. After all it was a solid storyline to me and I liked it for that reason.

Cast: Lee Joon-ki as Kim Sung-yeol. I know this guy is in a bunch of historical dramas even though I did not watch many so far but I actually quite liked him in this drama. However, it sometimes shines through that the character is from a webcomic/manga because some expressions were overacted to fit the description from the illustrations. I still quite liked his acting though.
Lee Yu-bi as Jo Yang-sun. If I ever saw her in any drama before I definitely don't remember her but I think her acting was actually not bad. She looked really young to me though so I spent half of the time trying to figure out how old her character might be. Anyway, I found her acting to be very good in this role even though the character was by far not my favorite.
Shim Chang-min as Lee Yoon. I think the character really was something Chang-min did well. While many people say he can't act I didn't find this bad at all, rather a reserved Crown Prince who couldn't show his feelings because he had to keep a certain emotional distance. As a character, there was one very quick.. development about his future wife that confused me. While at first he didn't really know her it seemed that he definitely loved her just a few episodes later and I was really confused because of that.
Lee Soo-hyuk as Gwi. When I first saw him in a drama before I was sure he would make a good vampire. Holy crap, I was so right with that. I loved him as Gwi even though I also have to admit that sometimes the webcomic villainish feel came through for me. Still he did really good in this role of the vampire thirsting for power.
Kim So-eun as Myung-hee/Hye-ryung. I actually quite liked her as Myung-hee, a kind-hearted young female just in love with a scholar. As Hye-ryung, her acting was cold for reasons but I couldn't really believe everything about that.
Jang Hee-jin as Soo-hyang. Overall I found her acting good but towards the end I did get the feeling - just a little bit - that she had enough of her character for some reason. However, she still delivered a solid enough performance for me.
Choi Tae-hwan as Ho-jin. Oh that poor thing broke my heart in the end! I loved the character and I think Choi Tae-hwan did a good job portraying him, especially the loyalty towards Kim Sung-yeol. I can't really criticize anything about him.
Yeo Eui-joo as No Hak-young. I absolutely loved his acting, too. He was for sure one of my highlights in this drama and I hated Gwi for doing that to him! (don't mind me, I'm just weird). In all honesty, he makes the drama even better.
Lastly, Han Jung-soo as Baek In-ho. The more I think about it, the more I feel like he definitely was made for historical dramas because he really seemed like someone who could've lived during that time (to me). I adored his acting even though he didn't have enough screentime by far but he was just a side character in the end.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack was good but not entirely great. Of course they featured quite a lot of good and famous singers but some songs were overused. I still like G.NA's "Don't Cry" but it will forever be connected to this drama for me. Is that a bad thing? Not really. And it's a nice thing to remember her like this as she probably won't have a comeback anymore due to a certain scandal.

As you can tell I quite enjoyed the story and most of the acting in this drama. I didn't really have high expectations because usually I don't like historical dramas a lot, and vampire stories that are not about crime are totally not my cup of tea anymore (actually) but this drama still was quite good and could become my favorite vampire romance drama. Yes, it did have a few WTF moments, especially during the action scenes because it lookes so overdone but it was okay in the end and I still enjoyed it even though I think the final fight was just.. too fast? I don't know.
Recommended to vampire love story fans and fans of fantasy meets historical. And of the actors, you won't be too disappointed.