Posted in kdrama

[throwback] Misaeng

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Drama: Misaeng (미생)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 20
Release Date: October 17 – December 20, 2014
Runtime: Fri & Sat 20:30

Plot:
Jang Geu-Rae played the board game Go since he was a child but he failed to become a professional go player and had to look for a real job. He had a chance to work on One International as an intern. The story revolves around Jang Gu Rae’s life inside a company and dealing with his team, his fellow interns and his work.

Cast:
Siwan: Jang Gu Rae
Lee Sung Min: Oh Sang-Sik
Kang Sora: An Young Yi
Kang Haneul: Jang Baek Ki
Byun Yo Han: Han Suk Yool
Kim Dae Myung: Kim Dong Sik

Review:
Heard so many good reviews and awards for this show, even my friend kept telling me to watch this show. I’ve been wanting to, but the name of the drama alone gave me an impression this is a depressing show. and i’m right. i started watching the show as early as May but i was only able to finish all the episodes in September. Yes, took me 5 months to finish because:

1. it is depressing. and so damn boring. i dont know if it was intentional but i keep seeing the 4 interns go to work with no zest, no lively background music, that it feels like they didn’t even like working for the company. The entire mood of the show was dark and gloomy. If i were a college student watchingthis i will probably dread the day i graduate and start working. especially if it’s a company like One International.

2. One international, as a company is a really bad company. I dont know if this is entirely fictional or is based on actual korean company culture, but wow, i wouldn’t want to work in this company, even if it paid me a million dollars an on expat status. the management culture is terrible. Too much discrimination, sexual harrassment, managers being violent and rude to the interns and corruption.

3. the storylines started out great. the interns, we have the smart Young Yi, tech whiz Baekki, smoothtalking Suk Yool and meek Gu Rae. they had so much potential when they were interns but as soon as they entered the company, they just got swallowed by the system. Felt like the writers put the worst managers and created the worst situations for the interns that the story fell flat. i didnt feel like they grew up and matured in the company after 2 years, they became average.
Suk Yool had to tolerate a credit grabbing lazy boss who kept putting him down and not recognizing his worth. Young Yi was being praised as an intern but when she joined the all male team, instead of utilizing her skills, they just ignored her and put her down just because they feel threatened by her. in the end, she got accepted by her team but she wasn’t the same strong fighting Young Yi. felt sad seeing her light dim a little. Baekki had a tough no nonsense boss, which i appreciated and he was the perfect manager to teach Baekki to stop being so confident and arrogant when he hasn’t even proven himself. In the end, he just learned to be less of a show off and more of a team player.

4. Sales team three just kept getting the worse deals. i’m not sure why they are being ridiculed by the rest of the teams. it seems like they were hardworking and results oriented, while the rest are lazy, and yet they are being hassled and called the worse team that gets stuck in front of the smelly toilet. i love Manager Oh and Kim Dong Shik – they were the perfect mentors for a rookie-does not know anything about life and work- Gu Rae. Of the 4 interns, Gu rae had the best team and great coworkers, and i think that’s also why he was able to shine.

The company was too messy that until episode 12 or 13 i kept thinking, why the hell are they still trying their best in that company and why the heck does Gu Ree want to become a regular employee that such a company that treated its employees so bad? I also thought Manager Oh should go say f*ck you all i’m leaving”” and put up his own company. Holy cr*p! that’s what happened! like they just read my mind! (i didn’t read any spoilers fyi so i really did not know the ending) they were such misfits in that company – which is ironic since the team had integrity but were considered rulebreakers in the company — who was not so good in the controls department in the first place. The company needs these guys to inspire and set an example to the rest of the people, yet they were just too good for One International. I’m so glad they formed a new company and happy to see Dong sik resigning and joining them as well.

Overall, this drama, as a drama is well written and deserving its raves and awards, but if you think about the characters, the story and situations, it didn’t feel right for me. And i say so because i’ve been working for 14+ years now for different companies, cultures and meeting different people and this is not a company i would want to be in. and it also made me appreciate the company i work with a whole lot more.

Posted in kdrama

Mr Sunshine Eps. 1-6

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Drama: Mr. Sunshine (미스터 션샤인)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 24
Release Date: July 7 – September 30, 2018
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:00

Plot:
During the United States expedition to Joseon (South Korea) in 1871, a boy from Joseon boards an American warship and goes to America. As an adult, he returns to his home country as an American soldier stationed in the country.

Cast:
Lee Byung Hun – Eugene Choi
Kim Tae Ri – Go Ae Shin
Yoo Yeon Seok – Goo Dong Mae
Kim Min Jung – Hina
Byun Yo Han – Kim Hee Sung

First impressions:
I kept seeing this in my Netflix so one night i was bored and watched the first episode. I loved it!

1. The scenary and cinematography is so lush and beautiful. Even the sets look so authentic. The clothes are beautiful and all the cast looked good.

2. The story feels very similar to what happened to our country in 1898 when the spanish were overstaying their welcome, the Americans have arrived, looking to conquer and the local government and rebels are fighting against each other, trying to vie for the land. thus, the story somehow feels close to my heart althrough i know this is fiction but based on certain events in Korean history.

3. The actors are wonderful. I dont particularly like Lee Byung Hun – mostly because of his face and how stoic he always look (feels like only his mouth is moving most of the time) but I’m interested to see his character’s journey from being a slave hating Joseon to being an American soldier but starting to feel for his homeland again.

It’s the first time i’ve seen Kim Tae Ri act – she seems young but is a very promising actress. I loved how complex her character is – she is still stuck in her nobility and privilege yet wants to do something for her country. A little bit idealistic for now but i like how strong she is.

Dong Mae is the Korean butcher’s son who became a Japanese gangster – some people say sell out but i understand he did it to survive. he mostly broods and looks dirty most of the time (and his fake moustache is icky), i still haven’t decided if he’s a good or bad guy. I have a feeling he will eventually be good.

Hee Song (hello, guy from Misaeng) looks charming and devilish. He is educated, carefree and i think it’s mostly because of feeling a little guilty of coming from a rich but evil family. His father and grandfather is so bad, i’m surprised he turned out nice. Not sure how he will end up supporting the revolution but i’m interested to see him change from a party boy to a great freedom fighter.

Kim Min Jung in Man to Man was so ugly because of her haircut. Here in this drama, she is breathtakingly beautiful. I love her perfectly round face, thick lush lips and flawless skin. I have a feeling she is going to be one heck of a woman later on, also joining the fight for Korean’s freedom.

So far, after episode 6, i feel like the story is still shaping up, the characters are not yet finished being introduced, but the plot lines are starting to firm up, with the bad guy arriving (hello traitor Wan Ik, who is the same bad guy from W), the 3 guys seemingly going after Ae shin. I’m afraid to find out who will die in the end – for Korea and for Ae shin – i have a feeling it’s either going to be Hee sung or Dong Me or both. Eugene can’t die right since he has to end up with Ae shin. Speaking of which, one thing that is hard to believe is not just the age gap between the LBH and KTR, it’s how young KTR looks here and when you side her with LBH, it just looks weird – she looks like his daughter already. But Eugune’s gaze is so magnetic and he looks dashing in his uniform, no wonder Lady Aeshin is so charmed and utterly smitten with him.

I started watching this show around mid-September but because the pacing is a bit slow and the story is heavy, it is taking me a while to watch. I cant marathon the show because 1 episode makes me feel so bad that i have to stop and for another day or two before i continue watching. But i’m so interested to see how the story will unfold. I hope there will be more action and intrigue so that it wont get boring!

Posted in kdrama

[throwback] drinking solo

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Drama: Drinking Solo (혼술남녀)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: September 5 – October 25, 2016
Runtime: Mondays & Tuesdays 23:00

Plot:
The drama tells the story of teachers and students in a private school for service examinations in Noryangjin, Seoul. The story shows people drinking alcohol alone whether at home or outside for various reasons and the romance between two teachers, superstar Jung-Suk (Ha Seok-Jin) and rookie teacher Hana (Park Ha-Sun).

Cast:
Ha Seok Jin: Jin Jung Suk
Park Ha Sun: Park Ha Na
Gong Myung: Gong Myung
Hwang Woo Seul Hye: Hwang Jin Yi
Min Jin Woong: Min Jin Woong
Kim Won Hae: Kim Won Hae
Key: Ki Bum
Kim Dong Young: Dong Young
Jung Chae Yeon: Chae Yeon

Review:
Fresh from finishing 1% of Anything and Let’s Eat 2, I scrambled to find another Ha Seok Jin drama and found Drinking Solo. I was expecting it to be the same as Let’s Eat, where each episode will talk about different kinds of drinks and snacks that go well with the food, so i was mildly surprised that it wasn’t like that. Start of every episode shows the lead, Jung Suk in a restaurant describing his routine while he pours his drink for the day and his meal and music. The latter half of the drama started with each of the characters having their own drinking session. It was fun to see them drink and eat to their hearts’ content. The story is also a little different – we have 4 teachers and the owner/principal and the 4 students. To be honest, i got bored with the 4 students’ story but i loved the teachers. Let’s see –

1. Romance between Jung Suk and Ha Na felt too rushed – we spent almost had of the time with Jung Suk looking down on Ha na yet he fell in love hard and deep in the next few episodes. I loved them and their chemistry together. Ha Na is just what Jung Suk needed, a sweet woman who can melt his icy heart. The “love” triangle with the little brother did not really fly with me. Gong Myung’s cute like a puppy but not what a grown mature woman will like – he is not ambitious, has no job and is irresponsible. He is definitely nice and sweet and sometimes it’s not enough to live. Plus if you compare him side by side to his brother – handsome, fashionable, successful, smart, strong, Gong Myung was simply no match at all. Jung Suk looks cold and can be jerk with his words, but once you get past his reserve, you will get to know a really nice guy. He just closed himself off to avoid attachments and getting hurt.

2. The teachers started out like a bunch of misfits but they ended up being a great combination. I just wished that the story also focused more on the 4 of them growing in their careers too. Would have loved to see Ha na gain more students, Jin Woong getting appreciated not just for his impressions but how well he teaches. or more scenes where they actually add value to their students lives and show how selfless teachers can be.

3. The interaction of the 4 students were just so-so for me. I didn’t care much for each of their stories but i love the bromance between the 3. Ki Bum was super annoying for the most part – looking like a know it all, arrogant but lazy and dumb kid, plus his tirori tune, but i’m impressed with how devoted his one-sided love for Chae Yeon that I was so happy in the end where Chae yeon looked like she is finally seeing Kibum as a man. Chae Yeon, likewise, just kept frowning and being a sad moody bitch in the show that i wonder what Kibum saw in her aside from her looks. But i was ecstatic when i saw her smiling, passing the exams and going to work. I just wish she becomes more friendly – in real life her snobby attitude aint going to win her friends and a promotion at work. She needs to be a team player!

4. The brothers – throughout the show it felt so awkward seeing them together and even at the end, they still weren’t close. I dont understand why Jung Suk had to break up with Hana because of his younger brother, when Hana didn’t even like him. The same way that Gong Myung was so stubborn and is forcing himself on Hana and getting angry at Jung Suk for stealing her when he knows she only likes him as a friend. and… both of them didn’t even asked Hana who she likes or even gave her a say in the relationship. Thus, the whole what — you’re brothers revelation is a surprise for Hana, but i thought it wasn’t a big deal, not enough for them to break up. But the break up had to happen – for Gong Myung to realize how selfish he has been for ruining a relationship that he is not even a part of.

5. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, though i loved that scene where they were thinking of each other as they drinking alone then looks up and see each other from across the table. i think both of them and the audience deserved a reconciliation and a kissing scene from them! but like what Jung Suk’s monologue said, he hurt her by breaking up with her so quickly that they needed to start over and to take it slow. I hope they do a second season!! Please!!!

Overall, this is a super simple and quick romcom – i think i finished this is less than 2 weeks.

Posted in kdrama

Live eps. 7-12

It’s pretty hard to stop watching this show! This is not a fast paced show or filled with mystery or humor, but every scene just gets to you. i’m starting to love every single person in the division – they all have their own lives and struggles and they are dedicated with their jobs. Esp for the 3 rookies and demoted detective, you can see them grow up and mature in every episode. The whole division is also starting to come together as one united unit.

Hyeri – i started out annoyed with her because she kept whining and scowling but she is starting to grown on me. she is finally learning to appreciate her mentor, who might be old but still has a lot of things to teach her. I absolutely felt sad seeing him getting beat up by the kids and i’m so glad that Hyeri found a way to help him. Now they look so cute together – like father and daughter. i really hope Sambo gets to retire safely. I was thinking that Hyeri seems to match better with Sangsu compared to Jeong Oh but i also like the idea of another guy taking an interest in her.

Sangsu – even after 6 episodes, i still feel like he still isn’t man enough or a good match for Jeong Oh. He has grown up a lot and that’s partly due to Yangchon’s rough guidance and partly due to wanting to show off and try to be a better man for Jeong Oh. He still is a bit reckless though, sometimes much more than Yang chon. and i bet that’s how Yangchon was when he was younger. the problem is Sangsu doesn’t seem to be as smart as Yangchon and his cockiness and recklessness gets him and his mentor in trouble most of the time. I like that he is finally getting good cases and he is finally learning what it means to be a cop and to serve. I don’t mind his one sided love for Jeong Oh, i think it’s  cute and keeps him inspired, but i really dont feel that Jeong Oh has changed her mind. I see them only as good friends so i hope the show doesn’t ruin that and suddenly put them together coz that wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

Jeong-oh – she’s tough and brave, esp after finding out what she went through when she was young. im a little bit confused though. she met Jangmi when Jangmi rescued her in a dark warehouse- but we dont know why she was there and what happened. then we find out she was raped hence her hesitancy to build a relationship with guys. i also dont think she really wanted to be a cop after what happened when she was young. It seemed like she joined the academy because she couldn’t get a job. but im glad she did because she is one fine cop. im sure she will become a great detective like Jangmi one day. She is getting all the good cases. as for the romance, i think her character matches well with Myeongho, but it seems like he still hasn’t gotten over his dead girlfriend. and i read previews that they will break up soon. oh well, maybe it’s not the right time for them. she needs to concentrate in her career and learn to love herself first before she can fully love another person. As for Myeong ho, seems like he either needs more time to grieve or he has to take that first step to move on and choose happiness.

Yangchon – his character is complex and i cant feel his struggle of wanting to be a better family man yet still be dedicated to his job. i like that he has finally admitted to himself that he wasn’t the best person and that he is now trying to make amends. as i mentioned in my previous post, i felt that Jangmi is too cold, expression less and bland tone that i couldn’t understand how two guys are fighting over her. i still feel she is too cold but i can see that maybe she is like that because she has put a wall as she continues to face grim cases day by day. it must be really hard to see murders and rape and not let it affect you and not having your husband comforting you. i’m glad they are starting to be comfortable again with each other and maybe they can be together again as a couple.

i like the episodic cases but sometimes i feel it’s a bit unrealistic that they are able to catch every single serial rapist or bust an illegal prostitution ring and corrupt official in just a few days or weeks. i also like the little bits and pieces of advice and views on life, which is relatable to everyone watching the show.

im not sure what other big cases or climax they will write in the last few episodes but i hope it will be good. i’m dreading when this show ends – i hope the chief doesn’t die of cancer. will they all stay in the same division or go their separate ways? i hope there will be a season 2.

Posted in kdrama

Live eps. 1-2

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Drama: Live (라이브)
Network: tvN
Release Date: March 10, 2018 – ongoing
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:00

Plot
Live tells the story of police officers – from the lowest field cadets and patrol officers, to their superiors including corporals, captains, and more – as they form the ‘Live’ team at the Hongil patrol division. Each officer has their own story, and each works hard in their own places at one of the busiest, most stressful jobs in the world, in order to earn a living.

Cast                                                                                                                                                      Jung Yu-mi – Han Jung-oh
Lee Kwang-soo – Yeom Sang-soo
Bae Sung-woo – Oh Yang-chon
Bae Jong-ok – Ahn Jang-mi

First impressions

I really like how they started the show (episode 1) with a background of the main characters, esp. for Jung oh and Sangsoo, to show how they ended up applying for an police job. One got scammed, the other couldn’t get a decent job because she was a female. They both chance upon seeing the ad for police recruitment inside a train and worked hard to get in. I liked how they showed a little bit of how police recruitments works and how difficult it is to get in, it’s not just studying for 3 years to pass the exams, you also have to be physically, mentally and emotionally ready for the job. I was rooting for them and their friends when they finally graduated. I like the 2 characters – both are strong and empathetic – they really want to be great at their jobs and make a real difference.

We also get introduced to a badass detective, Yangchon, who was their first trainor. He is one of the youngest and best detectives in the agency, but he’s cocky, reckless and not that likeable in the agency. He is also insensitive – especially to his wife. He is a workaholic and would rather spend his time solving cases and chasing suspects than with his wife and family. I feel bad for the wife – she is also a cop and aside from that, the burden of keeping their family together and raising the 2 kids must be hard for her, when the husband is no help. She has been contemplating on divorcing Yangchon for a while now and she finally decides to do it when both her parents died and Yangchon didn’t seem to care.

However, Yangchon has his own problems. He was spending his time trying to solve an old case before his mentor retires and he finally did when him and his mentor (Ho cheol) caught the suspect. While i dont really like Yangchon because he is such an ass that needs to be shut down a notch to be more humble, I commend him for being a great police officer. Even if they’re offduty, he saw a drunk trying to kill himself by drowning in the ocean and he didnt even hesitate to run and save him. The bad part is Ho-cheol followed him and fearing he also drowned, ran after him. Alas, Ho-cheol didn’t make it and Yangchon was filled with regrets. In my opinion, Ho-cheol shouldn’t have ran after Yangchon. He already knows how bad the current was he should have just ran to the nearest police station or called for help faster. On the other hand, Yangchon, should have reassured Ho-cheol to not go in and that he will be back. But we need this scene to make Yang chon more human and gave the police chief reason to demote him.

We are further introduced to the rest of the police cast – and i am super happy to see familiar faces – feels like all my favorites sidekicks/dads/bosses are in the show! I’m not yet sure what their rankings are but we have Jang Hyun Sung, Sung Dong Il, Lee Si Eon. I’m also looking forward to meeting new cute faces – Shin Dong Wook as Myung Ho, a straight laced guy in the team – there was one case where instead of reporting one police or covering it up, he decided to tell the police to report himself. i thought that was a great idea. Kim Gun Woo – also helping the 2 newbies get accustomed to the patrol division.

At the end of episode 2, the team gets a violent crime case – while the newbies wanted to get one instead of cleaning up after drunks, the rest of the team are not happy – since that means a lot of hard work and late nights to solve the case.

overall, the show looks promising. It’s from the same writers as It’s Okay, That’s Love, and based on the first 2 episodes, i feel like this show is going to just get real good!