Boys Over Flowers – 2009

17 07 2011

So what is the appeal? What made millions of us fly into a tizzy over this series? I am in the process of re-watching it and I can honestly say that it still remains a mystery. Yet I am still drawn to it and continue to wish for things about the series because you do become so invested in the characters. Lee Min Ho just draws you in, but after 3 episodes I know he hasn’t even really begun to work his magic.

I asked a friend of mine to watch it as well, so she just started and I am hoping her objective opinion will give me some new insights into this crazy crack addiction we call BOF.

Episode 4…. Now we are getting somewhere.  They say goodbye to Ji Hoo, but we get to say hello to some quality time with Jun Pyo.  WooHoooo!  Just minutes into the episode he does the beloved scene of leaning toward Jan Di at the car and telling her some unheard statement.  Oh to know what he said!! Love this and basically my feeling is that if you make it to this point in the series, buckle your seat belt because you won’t be able to stop now.

As we leave episode 4 how could it get better, oh yes, how about a romantic “save me” moment to start ep 5 followed by a scenario all women dream of… being taken first on a shopping spree than a private jet whisks you and your best friend away to a beautiful paradise.  We won’t mention the weird choice of clothing for both Joon Pyo or Jan Di… ha.

While in Caledonia we get to enjoy the beautiful scenery and I love the tension that builds between the characters.  Let’s try and erase the image of the volleyball scene.  Not only are the outfits beyond bad, but clearly this wasn’t any of the boys better sports.

Oh the betrayal – how could Jan Di or Ji Hoo do that to Jun Pyo?  I was ready to throttle them both into the ocean.

Ji Hoo and Jan Di date…. I love the expression on Hyun Joong’s face when he gets dissed on his kiss attempt.  Perfect.  Ha.

By episode 7 things are finally all working out and then Jan Di starts avoiding Jun Pyo… why?

In episode 9 we finally get the kiss we have been waiting for… Jan Di finally doesn’t turn away.  Geesh about time.

The best kiss of the entire series comes in ep 10 in the street.  I love Lee Min Ho’s walk.  Makes me want to rip off his coat.

Then we get to the modeling stuff… ugh!  I wish they would have skipped this, but whatever…

Basically, you really get caught up, but things start to unravel to some extent in the second half of the series.  Though I continued the addiction in full force, I wished for more with every episode.

And here is the biggest gripe, I hate the ending.  why… why…why… they could have just had her and him have one happy moment in the end to finish a beautiful story, but no… she slowly creeps to him on the beach.  This ridiculously handsome, wealthy man that has been waiting 4 yrs comes with ring in hand and you just smirk.  Ugh!! why couldn’t they have given me something, anything, but no.  Just this stupid scene.

Anyway, overall this is an addictive series and the best of the Jap, Taiwanese or Korean versions… I have seen both Hana Yori Dango and Meteor Garden.  Each series has its strengths.  BOF has the best male lead though HYD’s Matsumoto would be a close second, he has that same odd appeal.  My favorite female lead goes to HYD, Makino is my favorite female lead of the three by far.  She is totally adorable and by far the least annoying.  Even Meteor Garden has some fun features and I the best theme song, but of the three it gets the most slow and is more outdated.

As one of the first series I watched it definitely solidified my love of k-dramas ad despite quite a few missteps it still sits relatively high on my favorite Kdramas of all time list.

Stairway to Heaven – 2003

19 06 2011

I know I am going way back with this one, but it was on several other peoples Best K Drama lists.  So I dove in one warm evening, wishing I had the new episodes of Greatest Love, but whatever, I was pleasantly surprised the first episode was filled with such evil characters I couldn’t help but be a bit mesmerized.   The classic retelling of Cinderella even more so than Shining Inheritance.  The second episode really excited me because I thought Yes!  Cinderalla should have had a 2nd man in it.  A good but disconnected step brother that connected to Cinderella and one who helped to save her too.

I loved the characters all played by their young counterpart… Park Shin Hye (of YB fame) Baek Sung Hyun, and Lee Wan.  I was less excited by the adult version of the characters.  My least favorite was Choi Ji Woo as Jung Suh.  She screamed entirely toooooo much.  By the 10th episode she seriously made me want to turn it off.  As compassionate as I felt for her, I just couldn’t take her constant screaming.  Shin Hyun Joon as Tae Hwa was interesting, but he has such a unique look and feel that he didn’t seem to match the younger version I already had fallen for.  It wasn’t until the end of the series that he really came back around for me and I really liked him.  Kwon Sang Woo as Song Ju was great and seemed to match up to his youth version most closely.

I feel like I spent too much time with the childhood version of these characters, so I wanted the adult versions to match up.  I found it distracting the entire series and really frustrating, especially with Jung Suh… they can’t use Park Shin Hye who is so distinct and then replace her with a girl that doesn’t have the same look and feel.  Argh!!!

Plus this was made in 2003 so I don’t know if that is why, but the other two big huge complaints would be that….

1.  They needed to edit…. Seriously the chase or find scenes were way, way too long.  I could go to the bathroom and make a meal before someone would find someone they were looking for.  They had a flashback or 3 every episode…. argh.  I could go on and on and on.  I’ve never fastforwarded through as much of a series as I did this one.  Now that may lead you to the question, then why didn’t you just stop watching?  Well, because I did want to know how it would turn out.  Seriously the first few episodes were so good that you couldn’t just walk away from the characters, but at the same time, I kept wishinng this series was like 12 episodes rather than the torturous 20.

2.  Lots of bad technical stuff.  I counted atleast 5 times that the boom mics were visible.  Really, this is rank amateur stuff.

Overall, I can see why people liked this, and yes it is emotional, whether you want to be involved or not, I cried buckets of tears through this series.  But in the end, I wish I hadn’t started it…. way too sad, way too long, and way miscast!

Grade: D

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho – 2010

30 05 2011

Aka.. My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox,  내 여자친구는 구미호or  Nae Yeojachinguneun Gumiho is the latest from the Hong Sisters.  After their last show, You’re Beautiful, I had high expectations.  That is probably terribly unfair to this cute and fun show.   This was light hearted fair and didn’t have me racing to the next episode, but I did enjoy the series and once again loved Lee Seung Gi, although he was better near the end and showed more depth both as a character and an actor.  I got a little tired of his cute good guy act and can’t wait for him to eventually take a role that really shows his acting chops.

This is the first time I’ve seen Shin Min Ah although I had heard of her from the T.O.P. girlfriend rumors awhile back.  She is very cute and though I grew to like her I wasn’t blown away by her as an actor or character.  I think she could have gone farther with the scary Gumiho stuff, but kept it all pretty tame and he big cry scene made me cringe instead of cry, but she is very cute and had some definite charm.

No Min Woo, of Pasta fame also had his second showing for me here.  It was great to see him in an expanded role and he was cute as ever. I can’t lie, he made Hyun Joong seem like an actor of depth and deep feeling, so wooden isn’t even strong enough but occasionally you could just glimpse something beneath the surface that gives me lots of hope for future roles.  I could never totally get a handle on who he was in this drama, not really a second man, not a villian.  Maybe he didn’t know either and that is why he just stood with a hollow look most of the time.  And he is much more attractive when he shakes off the perfect structure of hair and makeup and you can actually see him as a person come through.  Anyway, here’s hoping to see more of him in the future.

My favorite character was Sung Dong Il, as the director.  He was hilarious and super funny.

If you like Hong Sisters dramas, you will no doubt like this too.  It was cute and enjoyable, probably just a notch under Sungkyun Kwan Scandal for me.  It just felt like the Hong Sisters hadn’t quite thought through who these characters were and what they were bringing to the story rather than it being story driven with some cute moments and characters thrown in. Overall Grade B.

The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry – 2010

28 05 2011

It took me a really long time to finish this series, which frankly is never a good sign.  I thought it would be a light Korean version of Sex and the City or friends type genre, but it just wasn’t that fun. Basically 3 single women and a small cast of men that weren’t that impressive either.  Frankly I would take the guy from episode 1 that proposed to her.

Kim Bum of Boys Over Flowers fame starred in this and though he was likeable he didn’t do much for me.  Actually he should have, I loved his dark brooding wardrobe and style, but he just misses it for me.  He reminds me of an American Keanu Reeves, kinda rat like eyes.  His face is too tiny, I prefer a man with big broad features, more the jumong variety.

Anyway, though I know lots of people really liked this series but for me it barely registered a meh.  Plus I’m an old fashioned girl, so I wasn’t crazy about the May/December romances.

I’d give it a 4 out of 10 and tell you to skip it.

White Tower – 2007

19 03 2011

I just finished the 1st eight episodes of White Tower and was totally into this heavy medical drama.  It was at times riviting and at times a bit slow, but overall I am enjoying it!  Basically any series that has Kim Myung Min (of Beethoven Virus) and Lee Sun Gyun (of Pasta, My Sweet City, & Coffee Prince) as the leads is a winner for me.  I love both of these actors and if you have read my comments on any of the series they are in I have no trouble going on and on about them.  I have only seen Kim Myung Min in Beethoven Virus so I have a lot of respect for him after seeing him in another role and completely embodying it.  He was more dynamic in White Tower but just as commanding.  Lee Sun Gyun was more muted and this wasn’t my favorite role for him.  Even his glorious voice made little impact here.

In the first 8 episodes they complete an entire story and left me very satisfied, but just at that moment of comfort they flip the script and make my Dr. Jang the arrogant bad guy.  Noooooo, I don’t want him to be the bad guy.  Oh you writers, how could you do that and then you want to flip the script again….. argh!!!!

Overall, this was a good medical/legal drama; almost no romance, and very little humor but gritty and enthralling.  I would give this a solid B.

So here is my big complaint though!  argh!  I hated Dr. Lee’s daughter, I was annoyed by her political activism, basically a spoiled rich girl that wants to fight for the poor.  boo hooo, whatever.  She pushed that girl into the lawsuit but herself had nothing to lose if they failed, which you know initially they did and it tore up that family.  She kept pushing and kept pushing Do Young, Dr. Yeom and Nurse Yoo.  The victim should have settled, she would have won a monetary settlement and everyone else would have been spared the emotional distress of the courtroom battle.  I know – maybe it isn’t right to feel that way because her husband did die a horrible death and it was completely due to negligence, but oh I wanted to hit her and her stupid hair and tooth.  argh!

Here’s an adorable clip of KMM with his family, his son is beyond cute!

Queen of Reversals 2010

16 03 2011

I made several entries as I watched this series; so here they are all together.  Definitely big, huge spoilers included so if you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading now.  

I just watched the first episode of the Queen of Reversals and I really liked it.  For a 1st episode it moved fast, drew me in and kept me interested.  Jung Jun Ho from IRIS was really cute, even though I liked him in Iris I wasn’t head over heels for him, but I liked him immediately in this series.  Kim Nam Joo the lead was interesting, I am totally intrigued by her nude color lipstick.  Looks great on her, makes me want to run out and buy a tube, but I doubt it would look good on me.  I have not seen Queen of Housewives, but will add to my list and have read that you don’t need to have seen it to enjoy this series.  Chae Jung Ahn from Coffee Prince was evil in the first episode and I already love seeing her out of the nicey nice role she played in Coffee Prince.  Though the first few episodes were hardly unpredictable and had many of the expected twists and turns… but what has made this special so far is that what can take another series a whole season takes place in an episode or two…so far I’m loving it.  About time we mention Park Shi Hoo!  I have seen him in Il Jimae and What Planet are you from.  He was a bit flat in both roles, but some excellent eye candy.  I am looking forward to seeing him in a meatier role and seeing if he has acting chops.

Okay, things slowed down for a bite, but are starting to heat back up by episode 7.  My next stop is episode 16 – okay…. so the dance routine by Park Shi Hoo, um can I just say omo…. I was equal parts embarrassed, laughing, and thoroughly attracted to him all in the same moment.  I’m still embarrassed thinking about it upon reflection now… I almost could have been okay, but the shirt rip at the end, almost did me in.. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.  Maybe this is a lost in translation thing (and don’t get me wrong, he looked hot) but wow… I’m not sure that translated well, was it supposed to be funny?  Plus I can’t stop myself, of course, he looked like Rain and danced to Usher, so I’ve decided to call him Rusher… ha, ha, ha…

Kim Chang Wan, who plays the guy with cancer is awesome!! His performance was so touching and endearing.  He was also in Il Jimae and he is also in White Tower, which I am watching now.  Just love this guy, character actor and can completely change from role to role.

Okay, so not to be so brief on such a long series, but it was really good.  I loved all the main actors, loved the supporting actors, loved the villains, loved it!  The story was cohesive and didn’t trail too far off course – yes it had some slow points and meandered near the end for awhile, (you could tell the series went on extension) they were stretching for all they could and then the last episode seemed weirdly sped up.  They jump a year and plop the whole back story of that year on you in the first few minutes.   Plus I really thought that Tae Hee and Jun Soo were going to end up together.  Not that I didn’t want her with Yong Shik, I guess it isn’t often that you see a series in Korea or America where the initial couple seem like they are going to get back together for 30 episodes and then they don’t.  But I have to say it was refreshing to see the #2 guy actually get the girl.  I guess that expectation in the back of my head made it a little hard to really be happy for Tae Hee and Yong Shik in the end.  I needed more closure earlier for Tae Hee and Jun Soo; before the very last episode would have been nice.  I was fairly confused with the first few minutes of that last episode.  And Yeo Jin should have ended up with that cop, he was cute and he spoke such good english.  They could have introduced someone new for Jun Soo.   Whatever, it was fine, everyone was happy.  That being said and despite all the good things about it, it just fell a little flat for me.  Overall it was a great cast and a good story; started out stronger than it finished.  Grade – B+
P.S. I personally thought Park Shi Hoo was great as a lead.  Totally engaging, can’t really comment on his acting because he is so stinking cute who cares.  I would gladly sign up for another 31 episodes of him ;-O  and I also want to mention that Kim Nam Joo is one lucky girl, she is married to Kim Seung Woo, the hot guy who played the North Korean in IRIS… wow, they make a blistering couple.  Anyway, I also realized that I never posted my comments on IRIS, so I am pulling those out and trying to finish them up as well.

Playful Kiss 2010

24 11 2010

Playful Kiss is a remake or based on a previous Japanese version called Itazura na Kiss (1996) and was preceded by It Started with a Kiss which was the Taiwanese version (2005).  The Korean version stars Kim Hyun Joong (SS501 & BOF) and Jung So Min.

So I will confess that I couldn’t help but have a “thing” for Kim Hyun Joong after BOF.  I have to make excuses so here goes… BOF was one of the first k-dramas I watched and so I guess I was just surprised to see such a good looking cast.  We all know it wasn’t like an amazing drama or great acting, but I was the typical addict.   I laughed when I saw the first F4 scene, who are these silly looking boys, but then it happened that magical draw I still can’t explain.  Kim Hyun Joong, was so wooden in that role, but irresistably cute that I guess most people either loved him or hated him.  After BOF I saw Hyun Joong in We Got Married (some of the episodes) and various interviews, commercials and SS501 stuff and he is a really interesting personality.  After the BOF success I didn’t like that he seemed a little too overexposed and a bit full of himself, so I was ready to be critical of him in this role.  That being said, despite a wooden performance and a lot of one note – I still liked him (darn it!) and really liked that he seemed more comfortable with the romantic lead stuff (minus the honeymoon scene).  What is it about Hyun Joong that pulls you in?? argh!!!

Okay, beyond that, what really saved this series for me was Jung So Min and many of the supporting cast.  Jung So Min was so cute and engaging and lovable even when I thought her character was being stupid I was still pulling for her.  I just liked her and her acting helped Kim Hyun Joong as well.

Lee Si Young, who was the friend that was obsessed with Jun Pyo in Boys Over Flowers is the 2nd girl in this series and she was hard to recognize because she is much thinner.  I just want to add here that she may be a lot thinner, but I think it took something away from her, she was less attractive here than in BOF.  She was a good 2nd girl though and I liked that her ending was a happy one.

The 2nd man was Joon Gu played by Lee Tae Sung and he is awfully cute.  I didn’t love who they matched him with in the end, but he was great as the 2nd man and I can’t wait to see him in a different role.

And could the mom be cuter?!?! She was awesome! Love her and she’s gorgeous.

I have read criticism for the teddy bear scenes (being similar to Goong), but I think if they work than they can become a trademark for that writing team or director or whomever is responsible.  I liked it and it didn’t bother me at all that it had been done before, still cute.

By episode 12 I am tired of the dick act from Baek Seung Jo.  Where did the spark go?   Though I know no one in their right mind would -you could almost skip ep 7-12… Then things get back on track…

The honeymoon… – seriously-… I don’t care how much you have had to drink nor if the neighbors are over late, aren’t you going to get things “done” if you are newly married.  Whatever… when they finally make it to the bed… hmmm.  My feeling is it could have been hotter.  The matching jammies though cute, were a damper to the hot aspect and though the other kisses were totally hot and made Hyun Joong look like he knows what he is doing, the actual bed scene was weak, maybe it was the way they shot it but I loved his line, “I can’t wait any longer” but I just didn’t feel the heat… The rain scene was so good that I’ll let this slide though.

Two final notes… Regarding the hair… Kim Hyun Joong, started out straight – for me this was a nod to the BOF’s look, then went curly, cute but a bit too curly for me… maybe if he was a run your hands through your hair kind of guy I would like it better… but in the end was the best, he wore it in between, straight but not as perfect.  And finally, if you really liked the series or either of the leads YouTube has additional short episodes on line.  They are cute and give a slightly warmer side to the dick that is Baek Sung Jo.

Overall Grade B+ – wasn’t a deep story with many layers, but I like that it was just about this couple getting together and wasn’t distracted by too much other plot.