Posted in kvariety

Unexpected Business (2021)

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Variety Show: Unexpected Business (어쩌다 사장)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 11
Air Dates: February 25 to May 6, 2021
Location: Woncheon-ri, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea

Plot:
Cha Tae Hyun and Jo In Sung takes over a convenience store/bar for 10 days while the owner is away. Every day, their celebrity friends come over to help them run the store.

Main Cast:
Cha Tae Hyun – manager
Jo In Sung – chef

Part-timers:
Park Bo Young, Yoon Kyung Ho, Kim Jae Hwa, Park Kyung Hye, Shin Seung Hwan, Nam Joo Hyuk, Park Byung Eun, Park Inbee, Nam Gi Hyeob, Park Inah, Yoon Si Yoon, Dong Hyun Bae, Jo Bo Ah, Hong Kyung Min

Review:
Just loved Cha Tae Hyun and Jo In Sung even more after watching the show! Totally unexpected indeed, esp seeing Insung in a variety show as the main cast, and I think he did well.

Park Bo Young was the perfect guest to start the show. She is so cute and smart!

My favorite episodes were when Yoon Kyung Ho, Kim Jae Hwa and Park Kyung Hye came over. Their dinner scene was so much fun!! Really felt like the were really close. Teasing each other, singing together as we do with our long time buddies.

Shin Seung Hwan has a huge appetite! I think some people might find him annoying, because he kept eating, but Tae Hyun is so nice, he just laughed and laughed at him. At first I thought he was being rude for eating food that is not his, but then I thought Tae Hyun and Insung has so much food it would be a waste if they don’t finish them all. I also liked how good he was at thinking of food pairings because I do that too!

I also loved the fishing trip and playing in the snow – it made me miss going out so much!

Inbee and Gi Hyeob is couple goals!! They looked so sweet and romantic! And I loved the Thai food they cooked!

I wish the episode with Yoon Si Yoon and Dong Hyun Bae were longer. Maybe they were too busy that day, but I felt like they didn’t have much time to bond.

I didn’t really like Jo Bo Ah in Tale of Nine Tailed, but seeing her here made me see her in a new light. She is sweet and charming! I hope also tries romcom so we can see her funny side!

Rating: 9/10

Posted in kdrama

Awaken (2021)

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Drama: Awaken (낮과 밤)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: November 30, 2020 – January 19, 2021
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:00

Plot:
A detective, rookie cop and ex FBI agent try to solve a series of murders, which maybe connected to the White Night Village tragedy 28 years ago.

Main Cast:
Namgoong Min – Do Jung Woo
Lee Chung Ah – Jamie Leighton
Seolhyun – Gong Hye Won
Yoon Sun Woo – Moon Jae Woong
Yoon Kyung Ho – Lee Ji Wook

Review:
Anything Namgoong Min, I will watch! I love him so much! And why are my favorite ahjussis bad guys?? I’m not used to them being bad. Anyways, this is a scifi drama so you need to adjust your viewing lens to enjoy this.

I thought the premise was interesting. Kids being experimented on a remote island. One night, people just started killing themselves. Only 7 (if i remember correctly) survived, plus 3 unknown kids. Several years later, the kids are grown up. The experiments are still ongoing and Do Jung Woo, the top test subject is a detective hell bent on taking down the White Night foundation and stop the experiments.

I think for the most part, this drama was able to tell its story, link the plots from episode 1 to episode 16 quite well, even the ending wrapped up each of the characters’ stories neatly. What they didn’t do well is to setup the full background and history of the what, who, how and why. So if you need to know everything to believe the story, then you’ll probably hate this. But if you take the story for what it is and let go some of the logic (remember, this is science fiction so imagination is required), then this is good enough.

I like Do Jung Woo – although I mostly don’t understand him – I know he’s super intelligent, but he also seems to have speed and strength and he doesn’t seem to die! At a very young age, he was able to come up with a formula to gain immortal life. Something his mother and Hye Won’s dad has been trying to solve for years. I like the twist on the pink lollipop – I’ve been wondering for 16 episodes what it was for and I liked the reveal on what it was supposed to be! I loved the piece about being a “monster” — the final act was a nice surprise as we finally understand what it means! I preferred a different ending for Jung Woo, I didn’t mind if he didn’t survive the explosion, but I guess knowing that he’s alive is good enough. I was shipping him with Hye Won — but I know it’s futile to think of any future between them.

Just to go back to the research and Jung Woo’s mom, the mom was too creepy!!! I have a lot of questions — simple ones like I was confused at first if they were real kids or test tube babies but looks like the mother really gave birth to them — but who’s the father?? The mom was too obsessed with her research I dont know when and how she would have gotten pregnant twice. Same with Gong Il Do. I even thought that maybe Hyun Hee and Il Do had the kids or maybe it was Son Min Ho but I’m glad they didn’t go the makjang route. I was shocked that the mom never aged and we later learn the reason for it, but why did it take them years to track the 3 kids??? That i couldn’t understand. how could they not know that Jung Woo is 113? He is quite visible and if the kids can recognize him, why not the foundation, Minho, Il Do or Hyun Hee? I also liked how they resolved Hyun Hee’s story — that living forever in pain and suffering is better punishment than a quick death.

Gong Hye Won – i liked her a lot, but I found it funny that she already resigned from the police force yet she was able to run around with her gun and arrest people. She’s also amazing at kicking the bad guy’s butt – it actually made me wonder if his father ever tried to inject some serums on her. I also liked that she was smart and was able to figure things out even outside the police or Jung Woo.

As for Jamie Leighton, I was intrigued by her at the start, but I never warmed up to her character, mostly because of how she treated Jung Woo – like she was so sure he was the killer etc. When the reveal showed that not only were they brother-sister, they were actually twins, I still didn’t warm up to her, and it’s because I thought she didn’t do enough to help Jung Woo. She mostly did her own investigation with Ji Wook and the third child (which I appreciated because it ran parallel to Jung Woo’s investigation on the secret lab and foundation). Even in the end, I didn’t even feel that she mourned her brother’s death. She just went back to US as if nothing earth shattering happened. I also didn’t really see her disassociate identity disorder (will call this MPD) (was it whenever she tried to stop a truck?

The actor playing Lee Ji Wook will forever be Teddy Jeong to me (from Team Bulldog). He was annoying at the start, but I also end up liking him. I still dont know how he was able to quickly figure things out, like immediately thinking that Jamie has MPD without any facts/evidence supporting his theory. I thought it was to setup the plot that Moon Jae Woong has MPD. He was also there when Jung Woo was trying to get info from Son Minho (that first time when Jungwoo was tagged as the suspect) – he filmed the whole thing yet he didn’t hear Jung Woo talk about the White Night Foundation or the name of the president. I thought that was odd that he wasn’t curious to start researching about the foundation. but i love this links to Hye Won because his investigation also helped a lot.

Moon Jae Woong – middle of the story I already knew he wasn’t the main baddie. I thought his main reason for hating the twins because they left him all alone that night was dumb. Just like what Jung Woo said, “Didn’t I tell you to wait for me?” Can you imagine if he waited, he wouldn’t have been struggling all this time and harboring a useful grudge?? And having MPD as side effect of the drug also wasn’t explained. And how did he know and remember how to use lucid dreams to do the forewarned murders just like how Jung Woo did all those years ago? I also wasn’t sure if his computer skill was due to his special ability or he was just naturally good at it? Poor Yong Shik though, thought he didn’t deserve to die like that but at least he was finally free of the third child.

Son Min Ho – although very critical to the story as the face of the White Night Foundation, I couldn’t understand why he was never held accountable for the tragedy. We also dont really have enough information on his motives, other than greed and wanting to be the chairman of the new foundation. i think he was a side villain that didn’t really matter and thought it was fitting to die as a test subject.

The main baddie — it was so obvious from the start that he was the President that Jung Woo’s reveal about him fell flat to me. What i wanted to know was the why and how. The flashbacks saw him already old, so I couldn’t understand how the drug was able to reverse his aging. I thought it was so the person will never age (like what happened to Hyun Hee) but here, he just became young, which didn’t make sense. And how can no one not recognize him as the previous president? He didn’t do any plastic surgery, so there must still be some pictures from his previous times. And how did he become chief secretary with zero background /past? and beyond wanting to have an immortal life, who were the two old people attached to the tubes? I’m guessing one is his previous wife, but who is the other one? And what’s the point of keeping them alive? So many questions, not a lot answered, but i guess that wasn’t the main point of the story. We just needed to know he is the guy funding everything. Seeing him die in his old self was satisfying.

The unsung hero of this drama, for me, is Old Man. I loved him. He seems to know everything! He’s a sniper, he can get all the info that Jung Woo needs, he even got the ambulance/get away car for Jung Woo. I’m hoping that they are still together, keeping Jung Woo company and almost like his father figure.

Rating: 8.5/10 (8 for the story, but adding +0.5 because of Namgoong Min)

Posted in kdrama

Team Bulldog: Off Duty Investigation (2020)

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Drama: Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation (번외수사)
Network: OCN
Episodes: 12
Release Date: May 23 – June 28, 2020
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 22:50

Plot
A detective unintentionally teams up with a gusty TV producer, an ex-NFS turned funeral director, a profiler slash networking sales agent, and former gangster turned bar owner to solve homicide cases.

Main Cast
Cha Tae Hyun – Jin Kang Ho
Lee Sun Bin – Kang Moo Young
Jung Sang Hoon – Lee Ban Seok
Yoon Kyung Ho – Teddy Jeong
Ji Seung Hyun – Tak Won
Park Jung Woo – Min Dae Jin

Review
I’m a big fan of Cha Tae Hyun, so I try to catch almost all of his variety shows, dramas and movies. After his unfortunate (and unfair!) scandal last year, I was excited to see him back and active in kdramaland. And i think Team Bulldog was a fantastic choice for a comeback.

First off, this wasn’t his usual role. He always plays the nice guy and family man so seeing him play a reckless and relentless detective was so much fun! And it helped that this drama perfectly balanced seriousness with light humor/sarcasm that was perfect for Cha Tae Hyun! I didn’t even realize he could do action! haha! i mean, he doesn’t have a lot of suave action scenes but he did a lot of running and beating up some guys that i thought okay, he looks good too! I loved his banter with his boss – like he can just talk so rudely at him but it was so funny and true. good thing his boss is nice (and lazy), and he actually is so good at solving crimes that he gets away with his rudeness. I also loved his character’s funny scenes and rapport with the rest of the cast (i will mention them later). I thought the group was such a ragtag team of misfits and experts yet they worked so well together.

Another thing i loved about this drama are the cases. Instead of episodic cases, they decided to just have 4 cases, so each case took around 2-3 episodes to solve. So there was enough build up of the tension, a lot of investigations and clues that made the cases interesting. The cases were also not the usual affairs or murder cases, but tackled transgender, twin brothers, street kids and a few serial killers. Some of them are also close of the heart of the team which makes the cases important and gives the team more reason to be closer and understand each other.

So the main premise is there’s this reckless Fact Check PD (Kang Moo Young) who likes to solve crimes before the police does and air it on her show for the ratings. And most of the time, the cases she choose coincides with Kang Ho’s current cases. I love that despite the different ways they investigate the clues and evidence, they still end up with the same leads and conclusion, and it’s with sharing the knowledge of the cases that they are able to solve them completely.

To be honest, i didn’t like Moo Young character that much. She was too condescending at Kang Ho, kept scoffing at him and calling him lazy cop when he is so competent at his job! I think she has a lot of hang ups and thinks she is better than the police in solving crimes, which I thought was too arrogant. Plus, most of the time, she ignores the rules and goes into so much lengths just so she can get ahead, all for the ratings.

And i dont understand why she wont share information with Kangho when he is a detective and he can help her? Kang Ho has been quite fair in his dealings with her. He also doesn’t care about protocol and rules, as long as he gets the job done, so i dont think he would turn down Moo Young’s help, esp if it would hasten him to solve the crime. I especially did not like episode 11 when Moo Young enlisted everyone’s help in solving the Lockroom murder, even kidnapping the actual killer – without letting Kang Ho know all about it!! So i super agreed with Kang Ho in episode 12 when he found out and he was pissed off. he said, i can’t believe you kept him when you already know a detective! i could have helped you!! But the good thing with Kang Ho is he doesn’t hold grudges. He didn’t like what happened but he still worked with them to catch the killer.

Aside from Kangho, Tak Won is my second favorite character. Maybe because i have a soft spot for the actor. I loved his role as a NK soldier in DOTS and the husband in Search WWW. And he was deadpan funny in this role! He is an intelligent profiler and his analyses always make sense and are accurate. I dont remember if they ever revealed the reason why he stopped teaching profiling to the police and decided to set up his own (failing) detective agency. and the endless ribbing and jokes about the Good life networking products were so hilarious! I guess it is also very rampant in Korea!

Oh Teddy Jeong! i love this guy and his 2 Red Zone employees! They always arrive at the scene a little late but is always ready to beat up the bad guys! I love that they always have a fantastic grand entrance, with Teddy looking so cool while inhaling his asthma inhaler (haha!) and proceed to punch, slap and kick the guys like they’re nothing. And when asked, he always say, no worries, i have nothing to do because the bar hasn’t opened. LOL.

The other person is the ex-NFS turned funeral director Ban Seok (and his deep dimples). I loved that they used his area as their office, although there are a lot of dead bodies in the freezer (like one of them said, there’s always aircon haha). I just wish he had more opportunity to display his talent other than a few analysis of blood samples here and there. His story about her daughter was also very touching.

Overall, i thoroughly enjoyed this drama and felt that 12 episodes were not enough at all! They spent 12 episodes working separately and only working together in the last leg of the cases. then on the final episode, they finally admitted that they make a great team (Fact Check and Kangho and the others) and decided to name themselves “Team Bulldog” then they find out the serial killer they caught escaped. GAH!!!! I really wish there is a season 2!!! it really felt like season 1 was just an intro on how the team got together but the real action has not started! I wish Netflix picks this up for a few more seasons and I will definitely follow this show! Actually, i wish OCN inks a partnership with Netflix so every one can watch all the awesome OCN shows! Side note – i hope if they ever decide on season 2, that they include Dae Jin into their team! 🙂

Rating: 9/10