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Navillera (2021)

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Drame: Navillera (나빌레라)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 12
Release Date: March 22-April 27, 2021
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:00

Plot:
A struggling ballerino is forced by his teacher to teach an old man who wants to learn ballet before it’s too late.

Main Cast:
Park In Hwan – Lee Deok Chul
Song Kang – Lee Chae Rok
Kim Tae Hoon – Ki Seung Joo
Yoon Ji Hye – Eun So Ri
Kim Kwon – Yang Ho Beom
Hong Seung Hee – Sim Eun Ho

Review:
This was a beautiful and heart warming drama! I’m so glad I watched this. I want to commend the efforts of both Song Kang and Park In Hwan for the beautiful ballet shots and moves! I’m sure they worked really hard in their scenes! Their duet performance was so beautiful, I kept re-watching the scenes even days after I watched the final episode.

My instagram post below captures my main thoughts about the show

This is a must watch!

Rating: 9/10

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Once Again (2019-2020)

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Drama: Once Again (한 번 다녀왔습니다)
Network: KBS2
Episodes: 100
Release Date: March 28 – September 13, 2020
Runtime: Saturday & Sunday 19:55
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
Four adult children of a married couple got divorced and went back to live with their parents.

Main Cast
Lee Min Jung – Song Nahee
Lee Sang Yeob – Yoon Gyu Jin
Lee Cho Hee – Song Dahee
Lee Sang Yi – Yoon Jae Seok
Oh Yoon Ah – Song Gahee
Ki Do Hoon – Park Hyosin
Oh Dae Hwan – Song Junseon
Lim Jung Eun – Sung Hyun Kyung
Cheon Hojin – Song Yeong Dal
Cha Hwa Yeon – Jang Ok Bun
Kim Bo Yeon – Choi Yoon Jong
Lee Jung Eun – Cho Yeon / Yeong Suk
Baek Ji Won – Jang Ok Ja
Ahn Kil Kang – Yang Chisu

Review:
What a wonderful story! I’ve watched a few weekend dramas before and this is one of those that didn’t have a lot of makjang storylines! It was just about a family where each member has their own struggles in life, they fight, they misunderstand, they hurt each other. But in the end, they are family and they continue to understand and love each other.

I love the siblings – Junseon, Gahee, Nahee and Dahee! Gyujin and Jaesook too! If i had to choose:

Dahee and Jaesook is my favorite couple. Not only do the actors look alike, they just have this sweet vibe and they match perfectly. I love Nahee and Gyujin but they keep fighting like kids, sometimes I wonder how they manage to stay together. Or maybe it’s really just opposite attract.

Jaesook is the best boyfriend. He supports Dahee 100%, he is very sweet, understanding and romantic. He sings for her!! Brings her food. Meets her after work. Hangs out with her friends. His only flaw is that he is a little bit clingy (well, I think some girls like clingy guys).

Gahee is my favorite sibling. She looks so good in everything she wears. She is a cool mom, she stands up for herself and she is smart. She is caring and sensitive too. No wonder Hyosin fell in love with her despite the age gap, her divorce status and having a child.

Choyeon/Yeongsuk is my favorite ahjumma/market owner. She is smart and tough because of her upbringing. She defends the people who are down, she helps older people. Her flaw is being too nice that she takes care of other people even when they have betrayed her. She is simple and average looking but because of her personality, two guys fell in love with here in the drama, and she eventually dates a much younger and handsome guy! Not bad Choyeon!

Dahee is the best daughter in law, the best daughter, the best sister. She is the sweetest of them all. She may look like a pushover but once she sets her mind to it, she is stubborn. Maybe because she’s the youngest so she gets babied a lot but she knows when it’s time to remind the people that she can make her own decisions. She is nice to everyone, that’s why she can even tame the strictest and scariest mother in law (yes, that’s Yoonjung!)

Jihoon is the sweetest grandchild. He was hurt when his dad kept ignoring him. I felt so bad whenever he gets stood up by his dad. I’m glad he was able to meet and be friends with Hyosin. He needed a stand up adult to mentor him or else I’m sure he would have grown up to be a bad child. Kudos to Gahee for raising a young and mature son. Even at a young age, he is sensitive to his mom’s feelings and when dad wanted to get back together with Gahee, he said no and chose to be happy with his mom. Plus, he also encouraged Hyosin and Gahee.

Rating: 8.5/10

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Scripting Your Destiny (2021)

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Drama: Scripting Your Destiny (당신의 운명을 쓰고 있습니다)
Network: TVING
Episodes: 10
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Runtime: Friday 16:00
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
A diety of destiny falls in love with a human.

Main Cast
Ki Do Hoon – Shin Ha Yoon
Jeon So Nee – Go Chae Kyung
Park Sang Nam – Myung
Kim Woo Seok – Jung Bareum
Kal So Won – Sam Shin
So Hee Jung – Mi Soon

Review:
This is a short web drama (10 eps at 25mins each) so the story is fast paced. We don’t get the full setup of the characters or the god of diety rules but enough to understand the story. The plot is interesting, actually I feel like the material is good enough for a full fledged drama. However, because the story is so short, there is not much time for the viewers to really think of the main theme of the story or how it really translated in the execution of the story. I honestly wasn’t sure how I feel about the destiny written by god should be followed versus this is your life, you make your own choices (aka free will).

I mean, I love Hayoon and Chae Kyung. Somehow they’re destined to be with each other, that’s why they keep meeting so many times. But who wrote it so as Chae Kyung will be destined to be with Hayoon (was it Myung who was in-charge in writing Chae Kyung’s life)? But why would you do that knowing full well that Hayoon is a god and you can’t pair a god with a human because as soon as the god feels human emotions, he disappears? It’s just so cruel, not just to Hayoon but also to Chae Kyung who will have to suffer that same fate and most likely stay forever alone in her lifetime.

The ending wasn’t satisfying. *Spoilers ahead*

I thought it could have ended at ep 9 and I would be happy. Because that’s what we were made to understand. That as soon as Hayoon feels emotions, he will disappear, and dieties are only given 3 chances then they disappear forever. If that’s the case, what the heck happened in episode 10??? Hayoon is back with no memory of Chae Kyung, he is now Myung, leading the newbie dieties. He ends up meeting her again (Chae Kyung wished for it) it was weird, like we’re back to square 1. Are they going to repeat the cycle forever? See how awful that is? Hayoon even said I may not remember you but I hope she never forgets him! So selfish!!!

They also sometimes bend the rules of diety elimination to suit the story. There was one diety who disappeared as soon as he defended a human but it took some time for Hayoon to disappear. He even kissed Chaekyung, they hugged etc and he was able to say goodbye to her. Plus, why does Hayoon get to be back on earth as a diety while Myung disappears because he altered the will of life? And Sam shin went to school to meet with the cutie student, why is she still on earth?

Lastly, why do they have to make Chaekyung wear ugly curly hair?? It doesn’t even impact the story or her character other than make her look different from high school.

Rating: 8/10 (8.5 upto episode 9 minus 0.5 for the terrible ending)


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Lovestruck in the City (2021)

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Drama: Lovestruck in the City (도시남녀의 사랑법)
Network: KakaoTV, Netflix
Episodes: 17
Release Date: December 22, 2020 – February 16, 2021
Runtime: Tuesday & Friday 17:00 (Kakao TV) / Tuesday & Friday 19:00 (Netflix)

Plot:
This drama explores the stories of 3 couples and the different views on various topics about love, sex, and relationships in the modern Seoul.

Main Cast
Ji Chang Wook – Park Jae Won
Kim Ji Won – Lee Eun Oh / Yoon Se A
Kim Min Suk – Choi Gyung Jun
So Ju Yeon – Suh Rini
Ryu Kyung Soo – Kang Geon
Han Ji Eun – Oh Sun Young

Review:
I had really high hopes about this drama but it was totally not what I expected. This should have been called Heartbreak in the City.

It was really hard to like a drama when I didn’t like more than half of the cast. I only liked Jaewon and Gyeongjun. I didnt like the 3 friends, and definitely disliked Sunyoung.

I’ll start with Jae won and Eun oh — which is the main couple /story line.

I think the best part of this drama were the Yang Yang scenes. It really made us feel Jaewon and Eunoh’s summer romance. Plus the cameos of Lee Sang Woo and Lee Sang Yoon. But when showing the Yangyang scenes against the current times where Eun Oh was being such a horrible woman to Jae Won, it just didn’t make sense or shall I say I felt cheated. It was super hard to like Eun Oh while I still see her break Jae won’s heart cruelly.

Ji Chang Wook as Jaewon is whiny and mopey in love and heartbreak but so cute. How can Eunoh break up with a great guy like Jaewon?? Eunoh was horrible. I can understand her. She was cheated on and lost her job, so she headed to Yang Yang wishing (and acting like a different person). But she made a lot of promises to Jae won. If she really wanted to breakup, she could have just told Jaewon the truth. Even on the phone — say “Jaewon, sorry it was just a summer romance, I had a great time but goodbye.” It would have hurt both of them, esp Jaewon but he would have the closure that he sought for 1 year!!! And she didn’t even have to steal his cameras, just remove the memory card and ship it back to him. I think Eun Oh’s actions were really stupid and hurtful. And very very selfish.

And I hate that this drama dragged the whole story about why Eunoh wont tell Jaewon what happened to her until like almost the penultimate episode. It was so frustrating. Jaewon looked like great guy. I could feel his pain when he finally met Eun Oh and realized she knew who he was all along and just kept breaking his heart. And yet Jae Won kept it a secret from her friends. He kept his distance. He respected her when she wanted to find herself. Until he finally said, let’s find yourself together (or something like that). Can you imagine if Eun Oh told him that same thing one year ago? I’m definitely sure Jae won would have said and done the same thing.

I knew this was definitely going to be a happy ending for them, but I was hoping (and I thought) the better ending was for Jaewon to accept the breakup, have closure, and find another girl who would love him as he is. Meanwhile, Eunoh will regret everything she did but she will be busy finding herself (because as they always say, you can’t love someone if you don’t even love yourself).

The second couple are Gyung Jun and Rini —
At first I thought they were so cute. They are high school sweethearts and have been together for a long time (i think the drama mentioned 7 years). But in the middle of the drama we start to see the cracks in their relationship. For some reason, Rini is too cheap, trying to live simply and seems to be happy with it. She has no stable job, prefer to just have part time jobs that gives her a lot of free time. And she has no plans of changing her lifestyle. That is good, I like that she is living hte way she wants to, but it’s a very different lifestyle from Gyung Jun. He is successful architect, he makes money, is not stingy and doesn’t mind supporting Rini if she needs to. But he hides his real feelings for Rini — he wants her to get a stable job, buy nice things for her, and proudly show her to his family. I honestly this couple wouldn’t last long, that one day Gyung Jun will blow up and break up with Rini. I cant believe Rini broke up with Gyeongjun and not the other way around, and she became the “victim”. I think Gyeongjun was patient and supported her while she was too selfish. Why be in a relationship if she was just planning to live for herself and not think of Gyung Jun? No one can stay stagnant and the same forever. The couple should be supporting each other while they grow as a person and as a couple.

I didn’t really care about Geon and Sun Young. Well, Geon can be there as the 3rd friend, but adding Sun Young to the story didn’t really add value. She was also horrible to all her exes. And her reason is because she wants to feel validated while humiliating her exes in public is a No for me.

They said there’s a possibility of season 2 with Minho’s story (and maybe a continuation of Rini/GyungJun) but I think unless they come up with a better story and a more high profile leads, I most likely wouldn’t watch it. Minho’s short story with the pretty actress was good enough closure to the drama.

Rating: 7/10

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KAIROS (2020)

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Drama: Kairos (카이로스)
Network: MBC
Episodes: 16
Release Date: October 26 – December 22, 2020
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:30

Plot
Kim Seojin lost his wife and child due to a kidnapping attempt. Han Aeri loses her mom in the hospital. A chance phone call between the two makes then realize that Han Aeri is living one month in the past. They strike a deal: Han Aeri will help Kim Seojin prevent the kidnapping in her timeline while he helps Han Aeri find her missing mother in the future. Will they be able to change the future by changing the past? Or are they doomed to meet the same fate?

Main Cast
Shin Seung Rok – Kim Seojin
Lee Se Young – Han Aeri
Ahn Bo Hyun – Seo Do Kyun
Nam Gyuri – Kang Hyun Chae
Shin Goo – Chairman Yu
Kang Seung Yoon – Im Geun Wook
Lee Joo Myoung – Park Soo Jung
Hwang Jung Min – Kwak Song Ja
Cho Dong In – Lee Tae Kyu
Ko Kyu Pil – Kim Jin Ho
Lim Chul Hyung – Park Ho Young

Review
This was one of the better and tightly written Kdrama about bending time! Every episode was tense and fast paced. I didn’t know what I was expecting at the end of each episode as they try to change the past which results to a new future. How many times did Han Aeri and Kim Seojin die or get arrested? LOL! I loved the idea that no matter how much they try to change or react to the current situation, it will still repeat until they address the main issue, which is who is trying to kill them and why?

One of the toughest thing to do in a time travel or time bending kind of drama is making sure the story and the rules remain consistent all through out the show and not changing the rules in the middle or at the last part to drive the resolution or actions of the characters. I’m happy to say that the time bending rules in Kairos were mostly consistent. If there were any plotholes, (i can’t think of any), these were trivial to the overall story. I appreciated that they put a date mark every time they switch the months so we don’t get confused, esp in the last 4 episodes when every day of both time lines were crucial and we kept switching from past to present. Sometimes i would forget what has happened because the past is being changed every other episode.

Terrific acting from everyone, esp Shin Seung Rok and Lee Se Young. Shin Seung Rok was amazing as the cold Kim Seojin (in August) slowly transitioning to the nicer Kim Seojin (in Sept). While Han Aeri’s raw emotions whenever she cries after losing her mom or finding out what happens to herself and Kim Seojin in the future was so gut wrenching to watch! I don’t know which is worse — Aeri who is in the past knowing people will die in the future if she doesn’t do anything in the present, or Seojin who is in the future knowing what happens to everyone and having the burden of telling everyone who dies or lives while desperately choosing which past action they need to change to make it right.

I thought we’ll see a better future if we changed the past. Do you regret getting a peek of the future after meeting me? – Han Aeri

In the past, present and future, I never expected to live my life without any pain. However, there won’t be any hope unless I face the truth. That’s one thing I do know. -Kim Seojin

Episode 29

There was a lot of trial and error because every time they change something in the present, it triggers another bad change in the future. That’s why I love the team work between the leads, plus Aeri’s friends, her mom and Kim Jinho because everyone is crucial to their success. They were only able to communicate once a day at 10:33pm for 1 minute, and it took a lot of effort for them to both investigate and share clues from both sides, all the while convincing their other selves to listen and cooperate.

I was frustrated with Aeri’s mom at the start. She was not talking and not telling Aeri what is really happening because she wants to “protect her daughter”. Keeping information from Aeri was the worst she could do given that it’s a life or death situation. Good thing she realized that later on.

The main bad guy is the Chairman, and I already made that guess early on because (1) old chairmans are always bad in kdramaland and (2) he was too nice to be true. He was so evil to intentionally kill people just for his company to flourish and to hide his crime. His answer to everything is: KILL THEM. Kill Kwak Song Ja, Kill Kim Jin Ho, Kill Kang Hyun Chae, Kill Han Aeri, Kill Kim Seojin. LOL. How did this guy become a CEO when he wasn’t that creative? It’s so creepy that he knows where everyone is at anytime of the day.

Explosive demolition is only for abandoned buildings like this that are vacant. How could you deliberately blow up a building that was full of people? – Kim Seojin

Everyone’s bound to die. I just helped them not die in vain. That building may have collapsed that day, but Yujung rose. Compared to the number of lives lost at Taejung Town that day, countless more have been able to make ends meet thanks to Yujung. And even more have found safety in the houses we’ve built. The moment I feed those people who accuse me of being immoral is when I become their savior. That’s the way of the world. – Chairman Yu Seo Il

Episode 30, confession scene October 15

I also hated Lee Tae Kyu from episode 1, his hunching walk, his smirk, his evil laugh was so annoying. And he was getting away with all his misdeeds with no one catching him and reporting him!!! Argh!!! His only redeeming scene is when Lee Tae Kyu told Seo Do Kyun that Kang Hyun Chae is playing him and he should drop her.

Speaking of Seo Do Kyun, I both hated and pitied him. He made the wrong choices because of his obsessive love for a selfish woman. I didn’t feel bad when he died, Lee Tae Kyu and Kim Seojin both told him he will die and he should stay away from Hyun Chae but he loved her too much. I didn’t like how his death became “hero” like because he definitely did not act like one the entire show. He was sabotaging Aeri and Seojin at every turn. Honestly, i thought he will be the bad guy who will become good in the end. But somehow he became an unnecessary nuisance in the latter part of the show. It felt like he and Hyun chae has a separate story on the side that didn’t necessarily jibe with the main story (more on this later). Which i thought was unfortunate and disappointing. I didn’t like him, but I kept on hoping his ending will be to let go of Hyun Chae and start anew. Because he deserved a better woman.

What would you do if you could foresee the future, and the ending wasn’t what you wanted? Would that make a difference? Don’t you regret your decision? – Seo Do Kyun

I don’t. – Kang Hyun Chae

Episode 30

As for Kang Hyun Chae – where do I start? She was equally evil b*tch. I have to say, the whole premise of the kidnapping was very misleading, since Hyun Chae and Do Kyun’s plan was actually not related to the main story after all! I also think that Hyun Chae’s story with her father was unnecessary. Hyun Chae was so bad, I’m not sure if anyone pitied her when she was being harrassed or killed by her dad. Yes, she was beaten up by her father, but she still tried to burn their house down at 7 years old, used a guy’s love for her for more than 10 years to manipulate him, married a guy for his money and privilege, tried to kidnap her own daughter, hired someone to kill her husband, and tried to blackmail Chairman Yu (something that was way over her head). Whew! Truly rotten. I’m surprised she survived instead of Do Kyun. On one hand, I thought she deserved to die after all that she did, but on the other hand, maybe living but losing everything she has is even worse than death.

It was all because of my greed. You see I was only there in the university to drop out. As I was getting sick and tired of living with a poor guy, that’s when you came into my life. You looked like a savior who’d help me retrieve everything that I had lost. I tried so hard not to lose anything. But I lost everything that was dear to me. – Kang Hyun Chae

You have no right to pity yourself. People who are in worse, no, not everyone who’s in the same situation as you would make the same choices. You ruined yourself. Now take responsibility. – Kim Seojin

Episode 32, prison visit scene

Overall, the ending was satisfying because they were able to neatly wrap all the characters’ stories. I loved that Han Aeri and Kim Seojin’s family became one happy family. Kim Seojin has always been alone since his father died. So it’s nice to see him and his daughter have a mother like figure of Song Ja, and good friends like Aeri, Soojung and Gun Wook. Both Aeri and Seojin also learned to cherish their present and the appreciate the people around them. Still laughing at Gun wok becoming rich because Kim Seojin gave him the lottery numbers (haha). At least they won’t have to worry about money anymore. and I’m sure Kim Seojin will be generous to them.

What would you wish for if you were to make contact with the future again? – Kim Seojin

I’m done with that kind of wishful thinking. I learned that turning back time isn’t the key that solves all. I now know that changing the past has its consequences. – Han Aeri

I’ve lived my life only going forward. Doing so, had me take for granted those precious in my life. – Kim Seojin

Then we both have no need to know what the future holds. – Han Aeri

I don’t know what awaits me in the future, but I’m no longer afraid of what’s to come. – Kim Seojin

For the last few months, I spent my days only waiting for the time to tell 10:33 pm. So I wished that I can cherish every minute of the day now. – Han Aeri

Episode 32, campsite scene

Rating: 9/10 (Story is 9.5, but minus 0.5 because I didn’t like how Dokyun and Hyunchae’s story ended)