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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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Inspiring Generation – Episode 13

Inspring Generation – Back on Track

Last week I wrote quite a bit on Inspiring Generation. One post dealt with three reasons why I was thinking of walking away from the show due to a horribly thought out writer change that shifted the storyline and characters I like completely out of the show. The second post, was after some reflection on how the show could be saved and bring in the aspects of the show I liked. You can read that post here ().

What I wanted, it pretty much all happened. Uhm Tae Goo is back as Do Ggoo and up to his old tricks. May he be devilishly handsome and always a trouble maker. Good to have you back! Shin’ichi, while not completely absent from last weeks debacle of programming made another appearance here that lasted more than ten seconds. We got to see what he’s been up to, for the most part, which is all I really wanted in the first place. His haircut looks rather dapper, don’t you think?

Another thing I asked for, which was handed over in and accepted so willingly was Jung Tae’s search for Chung Ah. We finally got back to the reason why he’s in Shanghai in the first place. This is partially how we get Do Ggoo back, but they used Chung Ah as a means to get Jung Tae back on the warpath. He’s not a character that we need or maybe even want to see romancing his girlfriend. For me, I want to see him working his way up the food chain kicking ass and defending those he cares about. Thats who this character is and thats what I like about him. Tonight they gave us that. So, thank you writers and if you read my post and took my suggestions into consideration. Good, Sifu knows…Sifu Says.

This really was an excellent hour of Inspiring Generation. We got not one, but five different fight scenes and the last should set up tomorrow’s episode nicely. The action was well done and Kim Hyun Jung’s acting has greatly improved. It’s obvious he’s been working hard not just on the action sequences, but also his ability to emote. His pain after being nearly cut in half by Shin’ichi compared to his fight with the no name swordsman was far far more realistic and believable.

The only drawback for me tonight was the use of Gaya. This is such a bad woman. She’s so cool and complicated. The layers of her personality and schemes out weigh her kimonos. By the way, where are her Kimonos. I do not like her in these dresses she’s wearing. Doesn’t look good to the eye and lacks a very special part of her character as princess of Il Gook Hwae. I suspect that she’ll be utilized more effectively as the HwangBang begins to loose it’s grip on Shanghai.

The big news coming out of this show is that next week. Joy oh Joy of Joys…

Song Jae Rim, who portrays the enigmatic Master Mo Il Hwa will be making his return to Inspiring Generation. He’s been the break out star of the show and I can’t wait for tomorrow’s episode…actually, I’m ready for some ‘mo Mo. Get me next Wednesday stat!
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Inspiring Generation – Time to Walk Away? Three Reasons You Shouldn’t

Earlier this week my interest in Kim Hyun Jung’s Winter to Spring drama Inspiring Generation had waned due to some unfortunate circumstances. First, second male lead Kim Jae Wook left the show after Episode 8 at a pivotal point in the story which saw his character Kim Soo Ok, Ok Ryeon and their friends flee from Shineuijoo and head to safer ground, likely near or around Shanghai. We don’t know why Jae Wook left the show, but I largely attribute it a very inexperienced writer being replaced. Kim Jae Wook was a large reason why I was watching this show. I loved what he did with so little in 2013’sWho Are You starring Ok Taec Yeon and So Yi Hyun. Jae Wook played a ghost and as such uttered no less than three lines in the entire show, but he was so convincing in his silence. The emotions he felt, we the viewers, felt. I was hooked on this actor.

The writer being replaced Cha Seung Dae had very few dramas under their belt prior to working on Inspiring Generation. Two television dramas to be exact and zero serials. Now, this is something I didn’t know about given about and would have concerned me prior to the show airing given the star studded cast and budget the show was given. Its one of the highest funded dramas too date and to have an relatively unknown writer at the helm of such a high profile show is rather alarming. After watching the first six episodes of the show however, I was sold. The writer had a talent to write a non sequential storyline utilizing large amounts of time and interwove flashbacks into the story that fully fleshed out the amazing cast he or she had to work with. I applauded the the writers work and compared it to Chris Nolan’s Inception at least where the story telling was concerned. I thoroughly enjoyed this writers work and will be looking out for their next project.

The last reason I suggested it was time to walk away from this drama and any drama was the lack of use of actors you tune in to see. For me Song Jae Rim especially, Uhm Tae Goo, and Jo Dong Hyeok were amazing at their portrayal of their respective characters. In the last two hours of content only one was seen and only for a fraction of a minute. I was not happy. I understand that their roles in the show may have been fulfilled, but there was so much more to their story which was untold.

I had lost hope in the show due to this and after a few days of reflection I’m not sure anymore that all is lost. Then I saw the above pictures and I had renewed hope. If they continue to tell the story the way they have there are a few plot points that could bring these characters back to our screen. Flashbacks have been very heavy in the show and well done. If I were at the helm of the writing team the first thing I’d do when we pick up the show on Wednesday is create a flashback of Jung Tae’s work with both the Hunter and Master Mo Il Hwa. They’ve got the footage for it as these behind the scenes shots show. It doesn’t make sense to have one of the most popular characters on the show not be seen again after losing his base of operations and pride. We, the fans, want to see him come back and stand side by side with Jung Tae and kick the living day lights out of the Il Gook Hwae. Perhaps, this can still happen.

The second issue I think that could really help the show is the total dismissal of Jung Tae’s sister, Chung Ah. It’s like the new writer said, “no, we are not going to bring her back” and that was the end of that story, literally. We have to remember that the sole reason that Jung Tae is -in- Shanghai is to find his sister. This is where Uhm Tae Goo’s Do Ggoo comes in. He’s somehow responsible for the disappearance of Chung Ah, perhaps at the request of Jo Dong Hyeok’s Shin’ichi. Chung Ah needs to come back into the storyline and return as a focus of Jung Tae’s efforts. He is a man who is built on his familial duty and I simply do not buy that he would waste any more time on dealing with his father’s issues or his father’s goons.

So, here’s a recap. Three reasons you should keep watching

1. Kim Hyun Jung is still in the show, as well as Gaya and for many of us this is why we were tuning in.
2. The show has gone round about ways to get us to where we are. The door is still open and the footage is shot to utilize flashbacks in a way that brings our favorite characters and actors back on screen.
3. With 24 episodes Inspiring Generation is a beast of a show and their are still 12 episodes left to bring back in the principle storyline which is Jung Tae’s journey in finding his sister and continuing to be an inspiring individual.

I’ve decided to keep watching. I’ve had to look for reasons to do so and a large number of people who read my blog have asked me to not tune out. Thanks for the kind words everyone and you can continue to look for my reaction and hopefully my inspiring series I’ve been working on as well.

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Inspiring Generation – Time to Walk Away? Three Signs You Should.

It’s happened to everyone. You’re excited for a new show starring your favorite or new actor. You read every article you can find on the show and watch every previous drama, anime, or music video they’ve ever been in. The show starts and its good, you’re hooked on the solid plot and engaging characters seen on screen. You say things like, “I’m digging it” and “best produced show on television”. Then halfway through the show’s run something tragic happens…

You start to think, “It’s time for me to walk away from this show!”

This is my dilemma right now with Inspiring Generation. I certainly don’t have a problem walking away from a show, I’ve already walked away once this winter with Log Horizon (http://wp.me/p4kGvx-2u). Inspiring Generation, unlike Log Horizon was a show I’ve written most about and spent the most time analyzing. I enjoyed writing about the show and its meaningful content. Each week I’d work on multiple posts dealing with very deep topics like loss, grief, and death. I like this show, but lately…I’ve been thinking, “It’s time for me to walk away.

So, when do you know its time to walk away from a show? Here are the top three reasons to walk away from your show.

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The first sign, look to Log Horizon. In that case I was simply bored. I think my exact words were, “BORED TO TEARS”. (fact check: thats correct, I was literally so bored a tear shed from my eye.) That’s never a good thing when you aren’t engaged by the content you consume. It’s like eating a bad cheeseburger. You don’t want it! Now, Log Horizon was a visual masterpiece, its gorgeous. But, if the storyline is more effective then NyQuil at putting you to sleep, be sure, its time to walk away.

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The second sign you need to start looking suspiciously at your show is when there is a writer change. A writer is nearly always a long slow painful agonizing hair pulling frustratingly nauseating experience. Yeah, that bad. Right now, I’m going through this with Inspiring Generation. The first 10 hours of the show was fantastic, then Episode 11 and 12 roll into town and everything cool about the show you liked…they’re like no, we’re not doing that anymore. The new writer in this case has a tremendous amount of experience than the previous writer. You’d think that would be an advantage. Oh, no, that would be a wrong assessment here. This new writer didn’t know a thing about the show. They didn’t know a thing about what we fan’s like about the show and has made such sweeping changes that we’ve lost our Hero and Heroine kicking ass along with many other things…like the actors we tune in to watch!

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Which is a fantastic segue to the number on reason its time to walk away from a show. Actor’s dropping out or being underutilized. When you’re bias walks out on a show…its time to go. Point blank. Don’t look back. You are done….FOREVER!

But, what happens when the writer, perhaps a new writer, write’s your favorite character out of the show, or the role is simply finished. This is the more difficult because the show could still be good, there could be really good stuff there. That’s not enough. If you fall in love with a character and their run on the show is done it’s high time to consider walking away from your show.

Don’t feel bad about walking away from your show. Ultimately, we watch content to be entertained and to learn. A show does its job when its engaging, consistent, and fun.

Regarding, Inspiring Generation…All three signs are staring me dead in the eye. Episode 11 featured the work of a new writer who simply bored me to tears and I was waiting for it to be over. Episode 12 wasn’t much better because the characters and actors I liked on the show were no longer present. Kim Jae Wook left the show after Episode 8 and Song Jae Rim was said to have completed his run after he saved Jung Tae. Uhm Tae Goo who played the backstabbing maliciously delicious Do Ggoo hasn’t been seen since joining Il Gook Hwae. Shin’ichi, played by Jo Dong Hyeok has been seen for a total of 30 seconds in these two hours of content in Episode 11 and 12. THAT’S NOT COOL! NO! I DON’T LIKE!

Just one more week.

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Inspiring Generation: The Inception – Episode Nine

Inspiring Generation – The Inception

Episode 9 brought us back to where we started this Journey. After nine long hours of loss, heartache, and grieving over this cast and their heroic exploits we have landed in the present day. So we are to think. The writing of the show, after watching Episode 9, makes so much more sense. The flashbacks and the progression of the story from three years to now five years after we were first introduced to Gaya and Jung Tae was logical and well done in hindsight. I would not have said that after episode five and six. Hats off to the writers because the events of Episode 9 were unexpected and much appreciated.

The show, if it wasn’t, already, in third or fourth gear went into proverbial overdrive with this episode. It went down on Wednesday night and this show jumped us five years into the future with Jung Tae fighting in a Shanghai arena against a beast of a man… Which is exactly where we started this show. After watching Episode 9 I felt like I had just experienced a nine hour Korean version of Inception. I had assumed that after we caught up with Kim Hyun Jung as Jung Tae and we left Kwak Dong Yun’s portrayal we were in the present and were not in a place, yet, to pick up where Jung Tae makes it to Shanghai. I want to avoid spoilers with this post, but do not miss this episode. It had some of the best action seen yet and the second most heart wrenching moment we as viewers have had to endure.

There were some beautiful scenes tonight, however, not extended as we’ve seen in previous episodes like Episode Five. Mo Il Hwa’s barge floating slowly down the river with the moonlight glistening of the water and his handsome face had to be one of the most visually striking moments as it spoke to the pressure that these people are under. The stark darkness gave a cold feeling, a realistic feeling perhaps, that many felt under Japanese occupation in the 1930’s in Korea and in China. For me, this was the most powerful scene from a visual perspective. Emotionally, on the other hand… When Jung Tae woke up under Master Mo’s care and realized what has happened. His reaction. No, my reaction to his reaction. Let me just say, that if there was an award for most realistic and emotionally draining crying scene in a Korean drama for the week Kim Hyun Jung would have won it hands down.

I was late to the Inspiring Generation party this week, but I’m glad I was. Being able to take the time to enjoy and digest a show that is written like this with a slow burn and a somewhat non-linear storyline has been a very welcome weekend experience. Certainly, there is absolutely no way I could have gotten through I Need Romance 3’s Warzone of Love, Man From the Stars amazing 16th Record, and Inspiring Generation’s Episode 9. There is just, no…way…I would have been functional on Thursday.

I’m confident in saying that Episode 9 has set a new benchmark for the show as its best episode. Watch it.

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