Category Archives: Features

Kdrama Trends : Lions, Tigers and Noona’s, Oh My!

One of the hottest trends in drama land this year is the “Noona Romance”.  “What’s a Noona Romance”, you say?  Well, let me explain a bit.  In Korean, the term Noona is used exclusively by males to describe a close relationship with an older female.  You might think of a Noona as your older sister and the term is used as sign of respect.  Lately though, quite a few dramas have take this classic male-female relationship and turned it on it’s head leaving fans laughing out loud at the hysterical situations these couples find themselves in and swooning over their favorite male leads who are pursuing their lovely Noonas.  So without further delay lets take a look at the top three new dramas featuring our favorite leading men and the older woman they cant help but love!

In at number 1 is…

I Need Romance 3

The first show that brought the Noona Romance to the forefront was TvN’s hit series I Need Romance which aired it’s third installment between January 3rd and March 4th.  The I Need Romance series takes a look at the various types of dating situations that we all find ourselves in and in this third installment Shin Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) is a successful at work, not so successful in love 33 year old career woman and Noona to the 26 year old music producer Joo Wan (Sung Joon).  Joo Wan returns to Korea after 17 years in the United States and runs straight back to Joo Yeon who does not take too kindly to her  little “brother” returning and disrupting her life.  She does, however, fall in love with his alter ego Allen Joo a big city music producer and DJ.  She remembers him as an ugly little boy and doesn’t recognize the handsome man he has become.  If you haven’t checked out this amazing title we highly recommend it for it’s realistic and mature take on dating and the absolutely adorable situations that this pair finds themselves in.  This show is sure to make you laugh till your stomach hurts and cry your eyes out.  If that’s not enough for you to check out this show maybe this will convince you, Sung Joon in a bathtub, it happened.

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And the award for cutest Noona Romance in a Korean Drama goes to…

Emergency Couple

The next show that’s brought the Noona Romance to the forefront this year has just been added to Viki (European and Latin America Regions) and was a Dramafever exclusive in North America is the hit series also on TvN Emergency Couple staring the hilarious Song Ji Hyo and beastly Choi Jin Hyuk.  This show marks the long awaited return of Song Ji Hyo to drama land and is Choi Jin Hyuk’s first leading role.  Choi Jin Hyuk plays medical intern Oh Chang Min a 29 year old whose faced some ups and downs in life, but has overcome them and is on the path to success.  Everything looks great until he discovers that he’s actually working with his ex-wife, 33 year old Oh Jin Hee (Song Ji Hyo) whose also become a medical intern and hilarity ensues.  This title not only depicts the Noona Romance, but throws divorce into the storyline making for some seriously awkward situations.  If romantic comedies are your thing or you just love to laugh Emergency Couple is one you can’t miss.

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Here it is folks, the Noona Romance of the year…

Secret Love Affair

This is the show that takes the Noona Romance to the extreme.  Currently airing is Secret Love Affair,  staring Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae, which tells the story of Lee Seon Jae (Yoo In Ah) whose a young man in his 20’s and a prodigy pianist.  He falls in love with a much older woman, Oh Hye Won (Kim Ae Hee), whose in her 40’s, and maybe it’s their love for music or simply their unbridled love for each other but these two highly unlikely people end up in a very Secret Love Affair that is sure to thrill.  This drama is a bit on the mature side and tackles the issue of age head on.  If you’re looking for a more serious show with a never before seen storyline in a Korean drama this one is definitely for you!  Don’t miss it every Monday and Tuesday right here on Viki and Dramafever.

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There it is folks, three great titles featuring three of the hottest young actors in drama land today chasing after their Noonas! 

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God’s Gift 14 Days – Soo Hyun; Weak, Stupid, or Crazy

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I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about Lee Bo Young’s character Kim Soo Hyun in God’s Gift 14 Days being written as strong then weak, incredibly stupid, and crazy. Were all entitled to our opinion, but I had to share my own.

I do not think Soo Hyun has been written to be a weak character. I think she’s been depicted as a strong female up against all odds. She’s been worn down, beaten, and terrorized and yet she manages to keep getting up day after day, hour after hour. When we first met this woman she had her daughter kidnapped, killed and later commits suicide over her grief. When she finds herself alive and seemingly well, what does she do? She get’s up and goes home to find her daughter doing just fine and sets out to get every last single scum bag she can. From day one she said she will hunt down and destroy whomever took her daughter and she has done just that. Her head count is as follows…

At least one serial killer, one pedophile, and one seriously sociopathic jilted lover. Kim Soo Hyun is in no way a weak woman. She’s been written to face insurmountable odds and has overcome each challenge she’s faced…repeatedly.

But, is she stupid?

No, once again she’s not stupid. She has certainly made some idiotic decisions, from our perspective as viewers. We are privy to information that she simply is not. We know she can’t trust anyone but Dong Chan so, Soo Hyun, sadly has had to come to that realization on her own. She’s surrounded by people she should be able to trust and I can’t fault her for seeking others help. If you look at things from her point of view every bad decision she’s made makes perfect sense with what information she’s been given.

Ok, ok, but she is crazy?!?

Oh, this is where I want to lose it…

God’s Gift 14 Days is a show intended for mature audiences and as such deals with some incredibly difficult issues. Criminally and psychologically this show has offered no quarter. We’ve seen a misogynistic serial killer, a child predator, adulterous husbands and coworkers, miscarriages, domestic violence, forced imprisonment and possibly worst of all gang rape. The writers have, in my opinion, created a story that is dark and psychologically depressing. The world that Soo Hyun lives in is insanely emotionally draining. From the outset she’s faced with tragic loss and for a moment she is unable to overcome her great troubles. She comes back with a vengeance and just when she’s making progress she’s thrown into the loony bin by her lecherous and conniving husband. Why? He says she’s crazy. Simple as that. It’s not Soo Hyun who is insane, but literally everyone she’s around save Dong Chan. Sure, she may be on shaky ground, but she is definitely the second sanest character in the show. The writers have given us a strong female lead and an incredibly hostile world for her to live in for no other reason than she’s female. They’ve done this too make Soo Hyun that much stronger. As a possibly unintended side effect she takes the brunt of people’s criticisms and looks crazy.

I’d ask anyone whom think she’s weak, crazy, or stupid what would you do of your daughter was kidnapped and killed. Better yet, what wouldn’t you do?

Getting off my soapbox…

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Emergency Couple – Episode 17

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Emergency Couple – Episode 17

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things a person must go through in life. It’s right up there with divorce, switching jobs, and moving. I’ve never been divorced, but the loss caused by death is by far more stressful than any of the others. Episode 17 conveys the feelings of grief and sorrow especially well. If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a loved one this show will make you cry, be warned, every feeling you’ve ever felt about it will come blowing up.

There isn’t much else to say about the show. Choi Jin Hyuk was fantastic and the pain he emoted made my throat thick and eyes water. His acting was on a different level, those of you who are waiting for the show to finish airing are in for a special treat. This show has got it all.

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KDrama Supporting Cast – They Make or Break a Show


After watching Inspiring Generation this week I realized that every show I’ve ever really really liked. Those that are in my top ten, maybe even top five of all time have great leads, but also an amazing supporting cast that makes the show what it is. For many of these actors these roles, in these show, make them stars and leads in their own follow up shows. So, let’s get down to it and list the top five supporting casts.

The first drama I can remember with an all star supporting cast was my favorite drama of all time for six whole years, up until Man From the Stars obliterated my bias list and my feels. My, now second, favorite drama of all time is Iris and two of its supporting casts blew away audiences for their killer performances. Iris had a great cast all around, but Kim So Yeon and Choi Seung Hyun (T.O.P.), became breakout household names in the acting world for their work as North Korean spy Kim Seon Hwa and lethal assassin Vick. Iris is the show that established Kim So Yeon as my favorite kdrama actres and T.O.P. as a action star. If you haven’t seen Iris it’s one not to miss, one of the most thrilling Korean dramas ever made and set the standard for high quality high budget dramas.

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Number two on my list of best supporting casts is Boys Over Flowers. This is the show I suggest every new kdrama fan watch first. It’s a beast of a show and if you can get through it and like it everything that comes after will be a cake walk. Those who love the show…they’re hooked! This shows supporting cast was flawless. Out of any Korean drama I’ve seen Lee Min Jung was the closest I’ve ever seen to actually stealing the male lead from the female lead. How many of us actually wanted Gun Jun Pyo (Lee Min Ho) to end up with her character? I did. I’ll be honest. I thought she was a better match and a way funner character than Jan Di. Lee Min Jung is now a leading actress staring in her very own drama, Single Cunning Lady which is a heck of a lot of fun.

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Wait, whom I kidding…

We all know what made Boys Over a Flowers so awesome, the boys. Can you imagine any other actors playing the F4 flower boys besides Kim Joon, Kim Bum, and of course Kim Hyun Jung? Anyone? Anyone…I didn’t think so. These three along with Lee Min Ho set the benchmark for lovable bitchy rich boys and any chaebol that’s followed takes their lead from one of these four. This is also the show that turned Kim Hyun Jung from one of the hottest idols in the world to a legitimate actor. When Boys Over Flowers started Kim Hyun Jung was just another idol turned actor and his role as Ji Hoo earned him millions of new fans around the world due to his handsome face and adorable portrayal of Ji Hoo.

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The third best supporting cast which made the their show so so good was Shin Sung Rok and Park Hae Jin in the best drama of all time, The Man From the Stars. These two actors lit up the screen in each and every scene that they were in. Park Hae Jin was so lovable and endearing as Lee Hui Kyung he’s now, after many years, a household name in Korea. The charming and gorgeous actor won our hearts over with this role and is now a hot issue as his next drama Doctor Stranger is one of this years most anticipated dramas. His next role airs sometime in April and I for one can not wait to see him back on my screen. Park Hae Jin’s on screen brother, Shin Sung Rok, won over many viewers with his devilishly good looks and scarily psychotic portrayal of Lee Jae Kyung. Week after week we tuned into the show to see just what evil schemes he’d come up with and the inevitable encounter where Do Min Joon throws him off a cliff, or a building, or into space…we really didn’t care. Shin Sung Rok was that good, we just wanted him gone.
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The drama taking the number two spot is 2013’s Fall favorite The Heirs. You knew this was going to be on the list, right? How could it not. This was one of the most anticipated, viewed, and highest rated dramas last year that had an all around awesome cast that established several of the actors as major forces in the acting business. The first to make an impression is another idol turned actor, F(x)’s Krystal Jung, who won us over with her at first cold and snotty, but later warm and fuzzy portrayal of Lee Bo Na. Let’s get real, she had us at “Exscccuuuse Me?” 20140315-154501.jpg
Two other standouts were Choi Jin Hyuk and Kim Woo Bin. This was the second of Choi Jin Hyuk’s major shows in 2013. The first being Gu Family Book which got his name out there, but it was The Heirs and his role as Kim Won that made fan boys and girls go gaga over his perfectly handsome face and that voice…that voice. Choi Jin Hyuk followed up his supporting role in The Heirs with his own leading role in Emergency Couple which is currently airing and doing extremely well on TvN breaking the 5% barrier in the cable ratings.

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Kim Woo Bin made headlines with his portrayal as #DonkeyFace #WhiteKnight Young Do in The Heirs. It was the role that established him as a household name and the perfect bad boy we all love to hate. He was so deliciously, yes deliciously, good at being bad he’ll own the bad boy image for years to come. The model turned actor made this show what it is for his bromance with Lee Min Ho’s Kim Tan and their love triangle with Park Shin Hye. To deny him his turn in the light is just wrong…just wrong.
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Which leaves us with the best, the number one supporting cast in a Korean Drama…

My number one pick for the top supporting cast is the currently airing drama Inspiring Generation. This show has had so many ups and downs in emotions, storyline changes, and actor changes that it’s been a literal roller coaster. One thing that has remained constant is that the immense cast has been consistently good from day one. There are of course a few standouts. Yoon Hyun Min as Aoki has been brilliant. I haven’t quite labeled him #DonkeyFace Aoki, yet, but he’s damn near close to being this seasons number 1 #DonkeyFace with his constant schemes and attempts to murder our hero Shin Jung Tae. He came in early with a great fight sequence against Aoki that left both a bloody mess. Since then he’s managed to capture Shineuijoo and is well on his way to taking over not only Shanghai but also Il Gook Hwae itself…here’s hoping anyway. One of the actors I’ve been most surprised with in the show is Uhm Tae Goo’s portrayal of Do Ggoo. He’s a scheming, sneaky, wretch whose got no backbone, but has always been in the thick of drama. There is a cooky lethalness to the character that only Uhm Tae Goo could adequately show with his outrageous facial expressions and huge eyes. They are huge right?
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These next two players have had the most impact on the show after our lead, Kim Hyun Jung, and could arguably not be considered supporting casts at all, but second male leads. Both Kim Sung Ho and Song Jae Rim have made Inspiring Generation a better show each and every week. Kim Sung Ho is the actor I hope gets the most press from the show. He’s excellent as Jung Jae Hwa and this is the first role I’ve seen where he gets so much screen time. He’s an excellent actor and his work on The Tower and Secret Garden had me cracking up. The first time I had seen Kim Sung Ho, however, was in one of my favorite Korean Movies, 2010’s best film…The Man From Nowhere. Kim Sung Ho played a hideously psychotic and strikingly beautiful (Yes…the dude was pretty, real pretty) gangster who gave me the chills and thrills throughout the movie. Since his character has been introduced I’ve become more interested in his character and admiring him for his intelligence and care for the Korean refugees that live in Shanghai’s Bangsantong.
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Last, we come to the man of the season. A man who many would say saved his show, replacing a departing second male lead and making waves all over Dramaland with his portrayal as Master Mo Il Hwa. Of course, I’m talking about Song Jae Rim. Like Kim Woo Bin, Song Jae Rim is a model turned actor and is the breakout star of his show. After being written off the show after episode eight or nine fans of the show cried out in dismay. How could this amazing character played by a hot actor many had seen, but couldn’t place his face to be written out of the show with such a small role. I even wrote a two part post on Song Jae Rim’s departure as being the number one reason to stop watching the show after Inspiring Generation went through a writer switch at episode ten. The hope if his return was also the number one reason to continue watching the show and all of us Master Mo fans out their got our wish as he’s been the most exciting part of the show since his arrival. Has Song Jae Rim won you over? I’m solidly in his camp and can’t get enough Mo…I need mo’ Mo!
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What are some of your favorite supporting casts? Is there a show I should check out whose supporting cast was so good it made the show for you? Let me know in those comment boxes down below!

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Bride of the Century vs. Cunning Single Lady

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There are two new Romantic Comedies airing right now which I find very similar. Bride of the Century and Cunning Single Lady. They each have their charms and I tend to like both, but neither is grabbing my attention and saying, “you must watch”. I’m caught up on both shows up to episode four and I still don’t know which I want to follow. There isn’t room in my schedule for three rom coms, Emergency Couple, being the first. So I think it’s time for a grudge match…

Bride of the Century vs. Cunning Single Lady

Ladies and Gentlemen…</em

In this corner staring FT Island’s Lee Hong Ki and Yang Jin Sung airing for 20 episodes on Saturday and Sundays is Bride of the Century!

And in this corner, staring Joo Sang Wook and Lee Min Jung and airing for 16 episodes on MBC’s Wednesday to Thursday block is Cunning Single Lady!

The Male Leads:

Bride of the Century has Lee Hong Ki to thank for a lot of its fans. He’s an extremely popular pop rock idol with a large fan base. Hong Ki makes his role as Choi Kang Joo palpable. The character has no redeeming qualities, he’s a complete jerk and a total chaebol. Maybe that’s part of his appeal, but I was so turned off by him initially I almost didn’t tune in for episode 2. Lee Hong Ki’s acting has grown on me, but there is something off about this character I’m not digging. Whereas…

Cunning Single Lady’s Cha Jung Woo played by Joo Sang Wook is a completely lovable guy, also a chaebol, and a jerk to his female counterpart. The difference between the two is one is a jerk because he’s a jerk and the other is a jerk to just one person because she abandoned him at the worst possible time. I can relate to Cha Jung Woo and feel his pain which is a plus in my book. Also, Joo Sang Wook is a total hottie and believable in his role.

+1 Cunning Single Lady

The Female Leads:

Cunning, single lady Na Ae Ra (Lee Min Jung) steals the show episode after episode with her antics and scheming. She’s a beautiful woman with some rather dysfunctional beliefs about relationships, but that’s almost one of her more redeeming qualities. Sure, she’s outdated in her philosophy, but she stands up for herself and I like that. Hard working, charismatic, and strong willed I like this character.

Bride of the Century’s Yang Jin Sung plays not one but two roles and one of them, Na Doo Rim, is just as quirky and fun to watch as Na Ae Ra. Both characters are super fun and get themselves into audacious situations. Yang Jin Sung is essentially a new actress as I believe this is her first leading role with very few dramas under her belt. I give her props for that, she’s new and yet owns this show portraying not one but two characters.

+2 Bride of the Century
+1 Cunning Single Lady

The Storyline:

I like both storylines and Bride of the Century had a slight edge for its super natural elements when I previewed the drama. I was not expecting a romantic comedy when it debuted and have been pleasantly surprised, but was looking for something a bit more dark. The curse, though. Is a driving force behind the drama and the ghost pops up to push things along in her own mischievous way for a few chuckles. The leads are all wrapped up together with Na Doo Rim playing Jung Yi Kyung who is engaged to Choi Kang Ju, but he’s totally not into her…he’s into Na Doo Rim, but he doesn’t even know who she is!?! Meanwhile, Jung Yi Hyun played by the devilishly handsome Sung Hyuk is in love with Na Doo Rim who is the splitting image of his sister, Jung Yi Kyung. That’s inky half of the complicated love triangles…um, no…you would need some sort of evil algebra to figure this one out.

Cunning Single Lady is a bit more straight forward. Our leads were married and then they were not. Divorcing after a year of marriage we pick up the story with Jung Woo making it big and becoming the chaebol that his wife Ae Ra always wanted. The divorce thing is becoming more popular in South Korean dramas and is a bit refreshing from other drama tropes. It does feel a bit too similar to the smash hit Emergency Couple and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

+1 Bride of the Century

The Eye Candy

Both shows have a strong supporting cast with BotC’s Sung Hyuk and rookie Jung Hae In providing some good acting and serious eye candy. Sung Hyuk’s Yi Hyun is the good guy in the show as everyone else around Na Doo Rim is a heartless conniving wretch. He’s a shining light in the show and Jung Hae In is just too cute for words.

On the flip side, Cunning Single Lady has Infinite’s L (Myung Soo) and newcomer Seo Kang Joon stealing the show with their charismatic portrayals of their roles. Seo Kang Joon is the standout for me out of both casts. He’s got a carefree and childish attitude and he’s cute as a button. L is also fantastic as Jung Woo’s secretary and their chemistry together is as thick as a frozen mud pie. Seeing L play it “straight” figuratively and literally is a laugh riot.

+2 Cunning Single Lady

The Production:

Cunning Single Lady has a larger budget, I’m sure. It has slick suits, vibrant colors, and better sets that make the eye move around the screen. Joo Sang Wook and those suits. That’s a +1 right there. The fashion is just better on CSL. BotC on the other hand, feels cheap. The lighting isn’t as good or even good at all. It’s very dark most of the time and I don’t like that. The shows idea of fashion tends to be putting Lee Hong Ki in a long jacket and calling it a day. I want big bright jackets, sweaters, and scarves…have the producers not seen Man From the Stars or the Heirs…big scarves are required these days.

+1 Cunning Single Lady
-1 Bride of the Century

The Kiss:

We have yet, after four episodes to get a kiss on CSL…how disappointing. It’s obvious that Jung Woo loves Ae Ra still, despite being deeply hurt by her. No kiss in four episodes…no good! BotC however has had two kisses. One accidental and one forced by our lead after giving Doo Rim the most delicious looking mango cake. I can’t tell if Kang Joo likes her or not, but at least he’s using those pretty lips!

+2 Bride of the Century

Which leaves us with…
Four points for BoTC and five points for CSL

After looking a the positives and negatives of both shows I think they’re both quite good. I’m not blown away by the overall package, but their are elements of both I’m really enjoying and that’s a good thing. I set out in writing this post to choose one show to follow, but forget it…im watching both!

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Master’s Sun (주군의 태양)

Anyone seen The Master’s Sun? It sounds like the kind of drama I’d be into. The review here is good and I think I might have to check it out for a Sci Fi Friday option…

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First Watch-It Wednesday, where we recommend a drama/film, and of course the most memorable OSTs from it.

Our first Watch-It Wednesday goes to Master’s Sun (주군의 태양). Master’s Sun is a horror-romance-comedy about a young lady, Tae Gong Shil (played by Gong Hyo Jin), who can see ghosts. Because of her unique ability, she lives in constant fear and exhaustion until she meets Joo Joong Won (played by So Ji Sub), owner of Kingdom Mall. Gong Shil sees Joong Won as someone special in that he is the only one who can prevent her from seeing ghosts. The two strike a deal together for their own personal gains and thus begins the wonderful series.

Of course, we have to include the OSTs, as we are a music review blog.

First up is Touch Love by Yoon Mi Rae. Now, we all know how wonderful of a rapper she is, and…

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New Drama Alert – 3 Days Trailer

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@viki has released the trailer for Micky Yoo achun’s upcoming drama thriller 3 Days.

The trailer mixes historical subjects like U.S. Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy, who were assassinated for their political prowess and ability to affect change. I wonder if the show is going to somehow deal with a politically charged issue in Korea, that would be interesting.

The trailer is much more action oriented and darker than I would have expected. I’m now excited to see this drama when it premiers on March 5th, replacing Man From The Stars.

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