K-drama past and present

I haven't done a k-drama post in a while, mostly because between Craig being home in the evenings and Jonah not sleeping as well at night (required me to actually nap at naptime to survive) I haven't been watching too many. But Jonahs has slept marvelously the last two nights and Craig has been gone, so I do hope that's about to change as I'm in the middle of a couple and it would be nice to be able to keep up with them. But first, the few I did finish.

Secret Investigation Record/Joseon X-Files - 4 stars

I think there are two types of k-dramas. The ones that k-drama lovers love that are often full of tropes like evil mothers, super sweet second male leads, purposeless second female leads and lots of Korean culture tidbits. The second type are the shows that are just good tv and happen to be Korean. City Hunter is an example of the second, and since Craig enjoyed it he might agree, and I think Joseon X-Files falls into this category as well. If you liked X-Files, you would probable enjoy this.  It's very similar in style and theme but the acting is better and with only 12 short episodes, it's a bit more purposeful. It even has it's own cigarette pipe smoking man. It's also a bit intense so if you are anything like me, you probably shouldn't watch it on a stormy night when you and your babies are home alone, at least not if you are hoping to sleep that night. But its great for nice sunny nap times.

 It stars Kim Ji Hoon who is now in my top 5 Korean actors list. His characters in the three shows I've seen him in (Stars Falling From the Sky and Flower Boy Next Door being the other two) are pretty different but in each case, he totally becomes the character. And I was watching this at the same time as FBND so I think that's pretty impressive.

My one quibble is how loose the ending was. It fit the show and I don't suppose they could have done it any other way, I just prefer my endings tied up nice and tight, with a bow on top.

Best Love/Greatest Love - 5 stars

A Hong Sister's classic. After I watched, and loved, You're Beautiful I tried several other Hong Sister's dramas. They were good but none of them had quite the same magic as YB - until this one. I actually started this twice and stopped because I just wasn't into it yet I recognized that if I waited until I was in the right mood, I would love it. And when I was ready, I did! Quality wise, it's probably better than YB although that one will always have a special place in my heart. The writing is great and has the same zippy and quirky but still warm and fuzzy humor that YB did. I loved the main characters and I even thought the second female lead was a great character which is rare for me (of course, it doesn't hurt that that she was played by Yoo In-na who I happen to love)

 The Headmistress over at The Common Room has done a great job of describing it so I won't totally reinvent the wheel here other than to say that I agree with her and I really loved the ending. If JXF was too loose, this one made up for it. Slight spoiler: Give me a ending with a cute korean baby and I'm happy girl!

The same female lead has been cast in the next Hong Sisters drama and while the premise sounds odd and I'm trying not to get my hopes up since Big was such a disaster I didn't even try to watch it, I don't think I can skip it because when they are good, they are good.

In progress: You're the best, Lee Soon Shin

This one isn't over but I'm talking about it anyway because it's a family drama. Family dramas are much longer (50+ episodes) which is the main reason I've never attempted one before but this one was getting such good reviews and has Yoo In-na who I mentioned above so I took a chance.

The description on dramafever is really not at all what the story is about so I'll briefly describe it. Lee Soon Shin is the youngest of three daughters, she's sweet but just not up to the standards of success the rest of the family holds - she's not as pretty, not as smart, not as successful. But she's determined to try and due to some unusual circumstances, she meets Shin Joon Ho, a talent agency president who isn't quite as cool and collected as he first appears to be. His hidden awkwardness is really his charm - he's adorable. But since it's a family drama, it's not really just about Soon Shin, nor is the heart of the show, and it has lots, going to be found in the plot. It's all about the families and the relationships.

And as you can see from the promo poster above, this show has a lot of characters (and only a couple are really really annoying which is pretty unusual for a k-drama!). Lots of characters means a lot of fun interactions. K-dramas often have relationship charts and I haven't seen one for this show but I hope I can find one later on (when all the relationships have been revealed) because I'm pretty sure it is gonna get crazy.

All of the fellows that are or will obviously be attached to the three sisters in the future are adorable and are the funniest part of the show. I'm really loving how a family drama means 3x the romantic comedy fun in this case. I'm also really loving the odd male sidekicks such as the waiter guy and Joon-Ho's assistant. I don't like Joon Ho's sister, his dad or the chicken lady but they aren't in it much.

Oddly enough, one of my favorite characters is the middle sister. And I promise I'm not saying that because she's played by Yoo In-na. I just find her character to be the most intriguing. I say that's odd because at the beginning, you peg her as the sister you always want to slap and even wonder how they are going to turn her character around so that you don't hate her by the end. But within a few episodes, you start to see her in a different light. Slight spoiler: She knows her sister is adopted (while her sister doesn't) but no matter how mad she gets at her, never even thinks about spilling the secret. There are several other cases where you find out that other motivations for her behavior. She doesn't always present herself in the best light, but I think her heart is in the right place - even if it is slightly damaged.

I was expecting the longer length would annoy me and I was worried about doing another show simulcast but I knew I wouldn't be able to commit to a long show unless I started with it but because it is a family drama, it has a much slower pace and I'm finding I can enjoy it at my leisure. And while there are definitely some makjang elements, mainly the birth secrets, but so far it's fun easy watching. There are only 18 episodes out so far so if you want to join in, it wouldn't be hard. I think I'm in the one for the long haul.

In progress: Appa, Eodiga? (Dad, Where Are We Going?)

Not a drama. It's my first korean reality show and it's ridiculously adorable. I'm having a hard time finding time for it since I can't watch it on the kindle very easily and I tend to spend laptop time trying to escape from the quicksand that is my email inbox but I can't give it up either. It's 5 celebrity dads taking one of their children of about 7-10 years old on overnight trips. Super super cute and a nice dose of korea "reality" (although to be honest, it seems pretty real in a fake "plot" but real reaction ways. You just can never anticipate how a kid will react to something). If you think you might be interested, go here and she'll convince you. I watch it here.

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