More thoughts on k-dramas

City Hunter 5 stars

Loved it! It's everything and all at the right time. Suspenseful what it should be, funny when it wants to be, romantic enough for a rom-com watcher to be drawn in - although I watched it with Craig and he rolled his eyes a few times at the cutesy couple parts. Telling the story of a boy raised to revenge his father, it has a great batman like feel to it and has some awesome revenge/justice themes.

One note, the first episode lays down the plot for the rest of the show but barely features most of the main characters and is more violent and darker in tone that the rest of the drama so don't let that put you off. In fact, you could read a recap of the first episode and start with the second just fine. 

The writing is great. The plot twists are surprising but not out of nowhere, once you figure it out you start chastising yourself for not seeing it earlier since it is so brilliantly laid out through the whole series. The characters are awesome. Nana is the perfect sick-kick gal not the usual wimpy kinda dense superhero crush you normally find (cough cough - you can't be the same person because he's wears glasses! cough) and definitely holds her own while still being sweet and down to earth. "Bad daddy" is also a great character, scary without being cartoonish and one-dimensional.

And then there is City Hunger himself - he's pretty awesome for someone who wears pink pants and doesn't seem to own a pair of socks. I'll confess I heard a lot about Lee Min-Ho (both his acting and his cuteness) but had only seen him in Boys over Flowers and wasn't really impressed (was it the hair? maybe). But he won me over in this drama so I'll forgive him for the BOF thing because it did launch his career and all that. Great soundtrack too - that's available on spotify and is now in my k-drama playlist! 

Shut Up Flower Boy Band/Shut up and Run - 5 stars

The first k-drama I cried over. And I'll admit it, it was multiple times and in multiple episodes. This is the second of the "Oh Boy Series" and they just keep getting better (Flower Boy Ramen Shop was the first and I'm currently watching the third, Flower Boy Next Door and so far it's uber-adorable!). SUFBB is the story of six high school ruffians and the band that gives them a family. This drama is all about the bromance and oh, what a bromance it is.

The thing I love about the Oh Boy series is that they have all the basic pieces (acting, writing, directing) plus those bonuses like chemistry between the characters and very consistently stylized episodes. By that I mean that while each drama is very different from the others but they all succeed in creating their own little world. SUFBB is darker than the others, but in a realistic, not creepy, way. And I want to clarify just because I cried, doesn't mean it's a terrible sad story. It's captivatingly real and very endearing. And I love the ending. It wasn't what I was expecting but the way it played out was really perfect.

But just so you know, if you don't know anything going into it, and I didn't, keep in mind that the person you think is the main character in the first two episodes is really just an extended cameo. In other words, don't get attached. I think that was a gutsy move and I was unsure going into episode 3 how I would feel about it but it really worked out. Also has a great soundtrack but alas, not on spotify. 

Also, the drummer reminds me of my older brother - in looks more than personality. Not really relavant to you, but I thought I'd mention it nevertheless.

My girl - 3.5 stars

Another Hong Sister drama. I can't give up on them since they brought me my beloved You're Beautiful but this one was not quite all that I wanted it to be. The male lead hired the female lead to pretend to be his cousin in order to protect his ailing grandfather which of course makes for a tricky situation when the emotions come out. Main characters were great and had good chemistry and I really enjoyed a male lead that wasn't a completely jerk in the beginning. Of course, the female lead thought he was but he really wasn't which is not always the case in k-dramas (I'm looking at you, BOF!). My main issue was that the conflict dragged a bit, and part of this may just be my american interpretation because I really wished they would have just told good old Grandpa to mind his own beeswax but of course, they couldn't do that, it's a k-drama and the Korea culture really is like that.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho/nine-tailed fox - 3.75 stars

Sweet romantic comedy with a bit of a fantasy twist that's based on a Korean legend. It's ridiculously cute and similar in style/humor to You're Beautiful (probably because it's also done by the Hong Sisters) but for some reason, I just didn't get addicted to it in the same way I have for others. I really liked the way the main characters developed over the story, how the second male lead was so different from the standard, how the relationship didn't start 10 minutes before the end of the last episode and how the standard predictability that comes with the romantic comedy territory was somewhat broken by the mythical creature twist. I really didn't like the director/aunt relationship - that was weird. This is a great one for understand how much Koreans just love cuteness.

Boys over Flowers/Boys before Flowers - 3 stars

This is such a trendy drama but I wanted to know what all the fuss was about and get all the F4 references I read. F4, or Flower 4, are the 4 rich/hot/snotty bullies of the ShinWa school who supposedly get put in their place by Jan Di, our female lead. But in reality, its more like one of them annoys her until she falls in love with him and then puts up with a bunch of crap from him and others,  only to not want to marry him only to then want to marry him, even though someone else is her soul mate, but only after she stinks at her dream.

If you were able to follow that at all, you can probably tell it isn't great. And yet it somehow sucks you in much more than you would think. When I looked back on this, I was confused as to why I found it enjoyable - the bullying (if I hadn't lived in Korea in high school, I might really think all Korean high schoolers were psychopaths), kidnappings, drownings, amnesia, crazy mothers, secretive deaths, forced marriages - it's a hot mess! But an endearing one.

Although if you want to keep the volume up for SUFBB, you want it off for this one. The OST is awful, awful, awful. I take that back, you'd miss all the changes to mock it if you turn it off since it hits that so bad it's funny level. "Almost Paradise" playing during a beach scene, cheesy but okay. Almost paradise playing during a hockey fight - what? And what was that song that kept making me feel like I was getting rick-rolled? The second half is slightly better.

I think it helped that I had low expectations - all I had heard before I started it was that it was really really overrated. If I had watched it thinking it was going to be wonderful (like it's rating indicated) I probably would have been disappointed. I'm not sure I would recommend it but I'm not sad I watched it.

Stars Falling From the Sky/Wish Upon a Star/Several other names involving stars non of which really make sense  - 3.75 Stars

Pal-Kang is immature and irresponsible to the degree that it is almost painful to watch when she suddenly finds herself the caretaker of her 5 younger siblings. She struggles to rise to the challenge with a little reluctant help from two co-workers, one of which is the dashing but hard hearted Kim Ji-Hoon.

Her adopted siblings, named for the colors of the rainbow, feature prominently in the story and steal the scenes. It's like clouds of korean baby cuteness. There is a lot of babywearing too which y'all have to know I loved as well as the family/adoption theme. One of my favorite characters was the oldest boy, played by Park Ji-Bin who was one of my favorite secondary characters in BOF. I'm hoping that now that is he is older (17) he'll start to get some larger roles. (This just in, he's got one in The Incarnation of Money. From what I hear, it's a bit odd so I'm not sure if I'll be watching it, but I'm excited for Ji-Bin's sake!)

The problem with this drama is the side plot. It's a bit much with the kidnappings and murder plots, especially considering the rest of the scenes involve kids trying to sneak to the bathroom without being caught or later trying to match up the various fellows with their sister - there's just a disconnect there tone wise.


  1. I'm about halfway through Shut Up Flower Boy Band. I am impressed with how they pack back story and complicated relationships into the 45 minute episodes. It made me realized that as much as I liked Full House and You're Beautiful, the writers were either lazy or thought that the audience didn't want deeper plots.

  2. I keep forgetting to mention, your Back Talk comments widget is broken. I miss being able to check and see what other people are saying.

  3. All better. I'd noticed it before but have several things I wanted to change and just never got around to it but since you asked so nicely, I went ahead and fixed it and yep - it took about 30 seconds. There's a lesson in there somewhere :-) but seeing as how I still haven't taken the 10 minutes (or less) it will take to make a book page linky button thin, maybe I still haven't learned it.

    I will be interesting for me to go back to my ratings if I ever watch one of my first few dramas again now that I've seen a broader scope (and gotten used to some of the cliches that I didn't know where cliche at the time).