Tag Archives: korean

Secret Love Affair – All Caught Up – Episode 10

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I feel like I’m having a Secret Love Affair with Secret Love Affair.

It’s become my special little guilty pleasure that I don’t want to share with anyone. Late at night after I’ve finished my other dramas and read all the news I can find…it’s just me, Seon Jae, and Hye Won. There is something so completely awkward and salacious about this show that I can’t help but watch. There’s almost a sense of embarrassment over liking the show, not because it isn’t good or the storyline is embarrassing. It’s just the opposite, in fact, the show is so good at bringing you into the psyche and central relationship you begin to feel like you’re the one doing something wrong.

Speaking of awkward, Yoo Ah In is completely believable as a love struck 20 year old virgin. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he actually was a virgin. Watching Seon Jae get braver and braver these last few weeks has been a welcome experience. For a show about a love affair there hasn’t been much affair-ing going on and thankfully Seon Jae is growing a pair.

That might cause some problems for this Ahjumma couple…

Folks are getting creepily suspicious of these two, despite them being extremely cautious. On that note, I would like Da Mi to go away and never return. Shoo shoo, go…KA JA! In that, Secret Love Affair seems like two completely different shows. On one hand you’ve got Seon Jae and Hye Won falling in love or lust, can’t really tell. On the other, you’ve got everyone around them disrupting their private little world. I’m much less interested in the rest of the cast, they’re so pretentious and frankly boring.

My Monday and Tuesday nights have been so full over the last two or three months Secret Love Affair came out of nowhere as the show I want to watch more than any other. It’s not a show I particularly want to write about or share with my coworkers, but it is my show…my secret little show.

Ok, that was creepy.

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Gap Dong – Episode 2 – Lee Joon Stuns

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MBLAQ’s Lee Joon has taken some rather risky and evocative roles lately. The first acting of his I experienced was in Ninja Assasin (2009) where he had a brief cameo, but one my heart and became my MBLAQ bias…forever. Then there was IRIS 2 which was overall a major letdown, but I do remember fondly his scenes as a super spy. To end 2013 he stared in and to my knowledge aced his first leading role in Rough Play. Now, in 2014 he’s come back as a creepy psychopath in Gap Dong. I can see a complete evolution in his acting roles which has led him here and next to Rough Play this may be his best acting to date

Ok, so I was expecting Gap Dong to be a murder mystery with some thriller elements thrown in for effect. I did not expect it to play out like some of the grittiest Korean revenge thrillers and be on par with say God’s Gift 14 Days in the thrills department. Now, I don’t think it’s even remotely similar to that show except that both deal with serial killers, Gap Dong has it’s own thing going on and for me, Lee Joon steals the show. Sure, I love seeing Oska play a complicated role that features a multifaceted and troubling character. He’s going to be great, but Lee Joon is so creepy that his beautiful smile gives me the chills. The look in his eye when he finds his mark and the admiration he shows to the original Gap Dong is insane. I’m wondering if he is a psychopath, a sociopath, or something else entirely…

Now, as far as I know Tae Oh, that’s his character, hasn’t killed anyone. He’s stalked a few people and probably creeped the hell out of one poor girl, but we haven’t see him kill anyone. I don’t know why that intrigues me, but the way episode two ends left me wanting to know what the hell happened off screen and why Tae Oh does what he does with his motorcycle helmet. He knows more than he’s letting on about Oska.

Anyone out there watching Lee Joon in Gap Dong and loving him?

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A Witch’s Love – Episode 1 – First Impressions

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Ok so here’s the deal…

Not to be outdone by Secret Love Affair on JTBC, TvN follows up I Need Romance 3 and Emergency Couple with yet another Noona Romance!?! This time starring Uhm Jung Hwa, Queen of Kpop. The age difference this time around is roughly 14 on screen years and 20 real life years. The male lead, Park Seo Joon is 25 playing a 25 year old and Uhm Jung Hwa is nearly 45 portraying a 39 year old Ice Queen.

That’s the jist of this Romantic Comedy.

The show opens quite similarly to Emergency Couple with lots of laughs and a ridiculous chase scene. The character Ji Yeon feels an awful lot like Kim So Yeon’s Character from I Need Romance 3. She’s had her heart broken and has turned into a work-a-holic ice queen who doesn’t have a friend and forces her coworkers to follow suit. The show has a very nice feel to it that’s reminiscent of two of my favorite rom-com’s this year. If you liked either I Need Romance 3 or Emergency Couple A Witch’s Love will feel like coming home.

Here’s some of the stuff I liked…

The men. Park Seo Joon and Yoon Hyun Min are eye candy deluxe. Remember Aoki from Inspiring Generation? That’s Yoon Hyun Min and he’s rocking those handsome suits here, just like in IG. Reasons two and three to check this drama out!

Uhm Jung Hwa. Many people may not know who she is and if you don’t that’s ok. She’s been focusing on acting in movies for the last half decade or more, but is a singer…considered to be the Queen of Kpop. It’s safe to refer to her as the Korean Madonna, but Kylie Minogue is much closer to her actual schtick. She’s a very big deal in the Korean music world and if you want a taste of her music check out D.I.S.C.O. featuring T.O.P. or DJ featuring a pre debut CL. Reason number one to check out this show!

Also, the sets are fun and bright. They wear great clothes and the cast overall seems to mesh well. Nothing really jumped out at me as being overly awesome, but that’s ok. There’s plenty of time.

Some of the stuff I didn’t like…

I couldn’t recognize Uhm Jung Hwa. She’s known for her cosmetically enhanced face and I don’t have any issues about that. But, she does not look like the woman I met six or seven years ago and it’s not the make up. Shes leaving Madonna territory here and jumping straight to Cher levels of plasticity way before her time. No judgements, but it was a bit awkward.

I don’t like mean people and the first episode as full people doing mean things. Granted, Ji Yeon may deserve to be humiliated, but we haven’t been given any reasons to want her to be humiliated and seeing her in such a situation rubbed me the wrong way. There simply isn’t an emotional or any kind of attachment to the character to warrant that type of storyline so early in the show.

Overall, I’m digging this show and hoping it will be just as entertaining and fun as the rest of TvN’s popular dramas have been this year.

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Gap Dong – Episode 1 – First Impressions

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Memories of Memories of a Murder

I’ve been waiting days to watch Gap Dong staring Oska (Yoon Sang Hyun), Lee Joon, and Kim Ji Won, but sadly neither of the two legal content providers I watch have secured the rights to stream the show in North America. I turned to other means to watch the first episode and I’m glad I did. Gap Dong is 100% the type of show I like. Previews I read described it as a pretty basic thriller with a murder mystery plot line. This is true, but I would describe it much more along the lines of CSI meets Silence of the Lambs. No, actually Memories of a Murder is a far better fit.

A little bit of history…

Gap Dong is a fictionalized dramatization and updating of the first, in known modern Korean society, serial killer and rapist. The attacks began in 1986 and persisted until 1991 with no killer ever brought to justice. He simply vanished into thin air and to this day no one knows who he actually was. I’d highly recommend checking out the entertaining and eerily accurate 2003 film staring Song Kang Ho Memories of a Murder prior to watching Gap Dong. The film tells the story of the police detectives who were after the Hwaesong Killer and never gave up their search right up until the statute of limitations ran out on the crimes. Gap Dong picks up where that story ends…years later after the killer has vanished and runs no risk of being punished for his crimes. Does he return? Does he kill again? That’s what makes Gap Dong so interesting to me.

We’re left with a fictionalized version, a what if…based on real events. What would happen if the real Gap Dong (Hwaesong Killer) came back today nearly thirty years after his crimes and began killing again? A rather chilling and completely plausible thought. He’d only be between fifty and sixty years old, likely closer to fifty. What if the killings weren’t from the original killer, but a copycat or admirer. Maybe his son? Gap Dong looks to set out to answer these questions and provide a hell of a lot more.

As for the snow itself, Oska is awesome as usual. If you’ve liked his work in I Hear Your Voice or Secret Garden you’ll like him here. His role is far more complicated and endearing that his previous popular roles and he shines in every scene. Your eyes shine today…they’re both happy and sad.Boy, does he have a reason to be.
You’ll get to know his character pretty well in the first episode thanks to some very unobtrusive flashbacks that link his character to the Gap Dong Killer.

Lee Joon, as usual, is a delight to watch. He’s got the idol turned acting thing down and I can’t wait to see him in this drama. He’s one of the few idol turned actors, in my opinion, who takes on riskier roles and isn’t afraid to bare it all. (Fans of his might get that joke!). He’s portraying a seemingly creepy creepster this time around and should make a nice counterpoint to Oska’s character.

Lastly, The Heirs fans will recognize Kim Ji Won who played Rachel Yoo in last years biggest hit drama. I for one am excited to see her again, but I still can’t stand her face. She’s like the female version of Game of Thrones Joffery…I will never be able to like them in anything they do in the future. That is a sign of good acting so despite the fact that I already despise her character I’m giving Kim Ji Won to turn me around and see her in a better light.

As far as the production of the show goes, it feels a bit low budget…in a good way. There isn’t anything flashy here. We aren’t in Seoul and none of its bright lights, high fashion, and luxury hotel apartments are going to be seen. There is a grittiness and almost desolate feeling to the show that captures the emotional toll that living with the cloud of a serial killer over your head would bring to your life. Their is almost a sadness in the show that’s amplified because of the gritty nature of the sets and landscape. Won’t be for everyone, but I found it to be a nice touch and thematically similar to Memories of a Murder.

This is so going on my watch list, I hope Viki or Dramafever pick up the rights to stream soon. Episodes One and Two have already aired on TvN and the show replaces Emergency Couple on Friday and Saturday nights.

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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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God’s Gift 14 Days – Episode 11 & 12

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There are dramas and then there are great dramas.

God’s Gift 14 Days is an awesome drama. When it comes to thrills this show takes the proverbial cake, runs out your front door and sprints around the corner before you realize what’s happened. From the opening minutes of the show until the terrifying conclusion of episode twelve my heart was pounding out of my chest. I may need some heart medication to finish this one folks, I think I had palpitations.

The show isn’t perfect, there are huge plot holes that largely get filled in in later episodes. It’s part of the shows charm really. We know how things end and in classic mystery who-done-it fashion what we think we know isn’t always the case. What we’ve seen from the opening two episodes can be rewritten. We can’t believe our eyes…they’re lying to us. One issue I do have with the overall characters is just how stupid, if I can use that word to even describe the imbecilic actions they take, can be. I’ve seen Soo Hyun leave her daughter with multiple people only to have her precious Saet Byul and herself fall into harms way. Don’t even get me started with #DonkeyFaceDaddy. I want to throw him in front of a bus. For days Soo Hyun has been telling him that someone is after Saet Byul and he does nothing despite, at this point, knowing full well why someone is going after his family. #DonkeyFaceDaddy is too kind for the words I want to use for him, seriously.

If you haven’t already started this show, I recommend you wait to marathon it. It’s too good to pass up and this should be on every kdrama and thriller fans list of must see shows. This is true not just for kdrama fans but anyone with an interest in mystery and thrillers. This show is awesome, but it’s so thrilling I wish I could see it all at once.

One last thing. Baro, Yoo Bin, and Min Woo have added so much to this show. Yes, I tune in for Soo Hyun and Dong Chan, but the supporting cast makes the show shine.

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Angel Eyes – Episode 1 – New Kdrama: First Impressions

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Remember Kang Ha Neul? The cute 24 year old actor who was in last years smash hits Monstar and The Heirs is back in Angel Eyes portraying the shows male lead’s younger self.

If your a fan of his you’ll like this first episode because Ha Neul is a joy to watch. He makes the episode light hearted and fun. It’s a added bonus his character Dong Joo is a total sweetheart. If he were in the show for the entire run I’d definitely be tuning in to see him be sweet for an hour.

He likely won’t be however, because the premise of the show requires he and his first love, whose blind, to reunite twelve years in the future. When they meet back up surgery has restored her eyesight and we go from there. Will they still love each other? Will she like his fawn faced good looks? I don’t know…maybe I’ll find out!

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3 Days – Episode 9

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I think I’m going to enjoy this show so much more now that it isn’t up against my big show Inspiring Generation. 3 Days was the show I was most interested in when the current crop of Monday to Thursday night dramas began airing. Sadly, it couldn’t keep up with IG which was a show I was already deeply entrenched in and just isn’t as good as God’s Gift 14 Days. I hope it will have a little bit of room to breathe because I do like the show for what it is.

Visually, the show’s got a sleek look and even though much of the visual intrigue has dissipated now that every seen isn’t shot in the middle of the night I still like to look of the show. It feels like it has a decent budget and the action sequences are top notch. Park Yoo Chun is killing it every time his fists fly.

I think part of my disappointment in the show, if I can even call it that, is in the long bouts of talking interspersed between rather short action scenes. The show has turned into a political thriller rather than an action thriller which is a genre I don’t like nearly as much as thrilling action. There are some rather glaring plot holes in the show and inconsistencies in the storyline, especially in character development, that just don’t make sense. I’m sure the writers will clarify why these characters are changing sides and what their motives are, but it does seem strange that an ardent supporter of Tae Kyeong’s camp would suddenly flip.

The show is worth watching just to see Park Yoo Chun portray Han Tae Kyeong. He’s got the action scenes down and he’s so determined and focused that’s impossible not to like him.

Anyone else watching 3 Days? What are you thinking of the show?

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