walkwithheroes: [Community] (Blanket Fort Love)
You're the Best Lee Soon Shin is a Korean family drama, focusing on the lives of the three Lee sisters and their mother. The drama pays special attention to youngest sister Lee Soon Shin (singer IU) as she struggles to make it in the acting world. Meanwhile her oldest sister Hye Shin (Son Tae Young) returns home from Hong Kong - daughter and secrets along for the ride. And second sister Yoo Shin (Yoo In Na) deals with work and her love-hate relationship with the boy next door, Dr. Park Chan Woo (Ko Joo Won). There is also Shin Joon Ho (Jo Jung Suk), owner of an up and coming talent agency, who takes Soon Shin on. He bets his ex-girlfriend that he can make Soon Shin a star in less than a year. Oh, and there's a birth secret.


How do I explain this drama? I decided I wanted to watch it because I really have enjoyed Jo Jung Suk in his past two dramas, What's Up? and The King 2 Hearts. I also have soft spots for IU (thanks to Dream High), Yoo In Na, Son Tae Young, and Lee Mi Sook. Plus, I really liked the idea of a family drama focusing on the three daughters (ages 34-24) and their struggles in modern day Korea. It also didn't hurt that Writer Jung Yoo Kyung (What Star Did You Come From?) was behind the drama.

Then I started watching the drama, and I quickly realized something: most of the drama comes from the birth secret. Which is, in a way, a good thing. Get that out earlier and deal with it for the whole of the drama. I do hate when secrets in Korean dramas drag. But, it was bad in another way: it made several characters unlikable. And while they were being unlikable due to the secrets of Lee Soon Shin's birth - other characters were just plain unlikable or just had no story. I know they have 50 episodes (well, 34 episodes left at this point; unless they get more episodes, which is likely with the high ratings) but the pacing feels off.


Character and Story Thoughts. Major Spoilers! )


There you have it. After sixteen episodes, one romance is moving along and the birth secret is moving (though mostly in a circle). Everything else is going rather slow, even for a 50 episode family drama. So, am I still going to watch? Yeah, but I think I'll fast forward through most of it and rely of drambeans to fill in the gaps. At least for most of the drama; I do think it could pick up in the 30s. Would I rec this drama? Maybe. But, it certainly feels like a drama you'd marathon over a month or two rather than one you'd watch over 25 weeks. I think, if anything, I'm watching for the interactions between the three Lee sisters and their respective romantic interests.
walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([Film] Different Is Cool)
I have just finished episode three of What's Up? and I am officially in love with the drama and its characters.

I looked up some of the actors and actresses in the show and was really surprised to find that, for many of them, What's Up?, was their first or second role in a drama. I can really see these people going far in the entertainment business. This was Jo Jung Suk (Byung Gun), Kang Dae Sung (Do Sung), and Kim Ji Won (Tae Hee)first roles in dramas. And only the second or third drama roles for Im Joo Eun (Doo Ri) and Lee Soo Hyuk (Soo Bin). Honestly, I'm very surprised by that, because they are all amazing in their roles.


After finishing the third episode, I have decided two things:

- Byung Gun is the most adorkable and loveable character in Korean drama history. I really want him to get over his stage fright and become a huge musical star.
- I will 'ship Tae Hee and Jae Hun now and until the end of the drama. They are just so cute together. She makes him relax and smile!


Other spoiler-filled thoughts on the episode and characters )


So yes, I'm still in love with this drama. Why aren't you watching it?!
walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([Z] You Were My First Love)
I have watched the first four episodes of the new Korean drama, Spy Myung Wol. The basic story, as listed on dramawiki, is this: a North Korean spy is given a mission; marry a top Hallyu star and have him defect to North Korea.


The mission is just as insane and weird as it sounds. Why go through all the trouble of marrying him? Didn't Kim Jong-il once kidnap stars to make a Korean film industry? I guess it has more power and makes them look better if the actor comes over on his own. Or something.The truth is, the marriage plan is just to cover ) Yes, the overall plot of the drama is silly and out of left field, but that hardly matters.

The real gold in this drama is the interactions between the four main characters and the stories that are forming between them. There is major back story with Myung Wol and Ryu - who seem to go way back, but try to act as professionally as possible. Then, there is Kang Woo and In Ah - they're co-stars and have known each other for at least five years; she has a major thing for him, too. Now, you have MW trying to get KW to fall in love with her. And, IA and Ryu are circling each other - she is majorly put out that he is totally unaffected by her. There are so many ways this love square could go. Already there are several new feelings bubbling to the surface. I can't wait to see where these love triangles go.


The verdict for this drama: it is awesome. Yes, the main plot is weird, but it works somehow. I think a lot of the awesomeness of this drama is the chemistry between the four leads and their interactions. I could just watch them all day.


Episodes 1-4 are out; and subtitles for all four episodes are available. The drama airs on Monday and Tuesday and is sixteen episodes long.
walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([Dream High] Broken Heart Girls)
A second season of the addictive drama Dream High has been announced. It will air in January of 2012 and will have a whole new cast. My thoughts on this are mixed, because I did love the first season, but mostly due to the characters. I'm not sure if I could take six new Idols coming in; especially as Idols can be very hit-and-miss acting wise. Hell, some of the cast of Dream High only became 'good', acting wise, toward the middle or end of the drama.

Higher-ups from KBS had this to say: “Whether we’ll be casting rookie idols like ‘Dream High’ and ‘Jungle Fish,’, or whether we’ll be going through an audition process is still up for discussion. There’s a high probability that the season will begin airing in January of 2012, just in time for winter break.”

So what might change for “Dream High Season 2″? The representative did not reveal much, but said, “The original format of ‘Dream High’ was great, so we’re planning to carry it over.”



Again, I'm not so sure how I feel about this, as part of the fun of the first season was the misfits becoming stronger and the craziness of their teachers. I guess that the second season will take place in 2012, when the original characters from season one are rising stars. Wonder if they'll cameo?
walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([Hong Gil Dong] Wedding Night)
A video mix using all the Hong Sister dramas: Delightful Girl Choon Hyang, My Girl, Couple of Fantasy, Hong Gil Dong, You're Beautiful, and My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox.

Title: Lucky
Song: Lucky by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
Disclaimer: I do not own the song or the clips used. I just edited the clips.
Details: 29.11 MBMB. WMV format. 3:06 minutes.
Theme: A look at the OTPs of all the Hong Sister dramas
WARNING: Spoilers for all shows!
Vidder's Note: I've wanted to do this video for a long while. It's basically my ode to the romantic-comedies/romances of the Hong Sister Dramas. Their dramas were some of my first Korean dramas, and I still love them. While I may have mixed feelings on their two newest works, I still hold a place in my heart for all their quirky characters.


Links:


Megaupload (download)
4share (streaming and download)



walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([Dream High] 200 Days Later)
Title: Falling for the First Time
Song: Falling for the First Time by Barenaked Ladies
Disclaimer: I do not own the song or the clips used. I just edited the clips.
Details: 36.65MB. WMV format. 3:25 minutes.
Theme: A look at several 'fresh' Korean dramas and films.
WARNING: Spoilers for everything.
Vidder's Note: I love doing mixes! And, I decided to do a Korean one - using dramas and films that either focus on younger characters and/or people trying to find their true self and dreams.


Links:

Megaupload
4shared





Cut for dramas and films used )
walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([Hnk] Julia)
The evolution of the Korean Secondary Female. Well, in a way, yes. But, then again, no. No one will dispute the fact that the average Korean drama is fairly formulaic and at times cliched. While there are different kinds of dramas: period, crime, family drama, romantic comedy, revenge, drama, etc - they all (usually) have certain things in common. There is (usually)a poor girl/boy or a woman/man whose working her/his way up, a rich man/woman whose a bit spoiled and who has a tragic past, rich and mean parents, lovable grandmothers or grandfathers, secrets, OTPs, a secondary couple made up of best friends/co-workers/family members - they help lighten the mood, wackiness, etc.



But, most importantly, in Korean dramas you have four leads: The Main/Lead Female, the Main/Lead Male, the Secondary Male, and the often times bitchy Secondary Female. The Secondary Female, is, often times, played by the less well-known actress. She's (usually) got a rather mean-girls look about her, yet the Main/Lead Male (and sometimes Secondary Male) see her as a saint. She's usually rich, cunning, bitchy, jealous, and all around possessive. In short - she's a crazy person in designer clothes.She clings, she whines, she remembers promises made in childhood. And, she makes the Main/Lead Female's life Hell. All in the name of "keeping her man" - who man not have even been hers to begin with. But, whatever - she's the crazy Secondary. Even in dramas that are focused on things other than romance - she's there, as long as romance is an element. And isn't it always in Korean dramas?


Classic examples of Secondary Females include )


For a long time, I thought: Except for a few expectations, this is the way its meant to be. Secondary Girls have their place. Then - something (slowly) started to happen. Secondary Girls were slowly being given more complex personalities and backgrounds. They were slowly being given their own storylines - and sometimes even their own OTPs. They were, for lack of a better phrase, becoming real girls!


A new and improved Secondary Girl began to show up in more and more dramas. Some dramas (All About Eve is a classic example) even began to make both female stars the 'lead' at different times of the story. Both women had issues, and neither were complete saints. When the Secondary Girl did "evil" things, we knew why - and at the end she was redeemed and a better person for her suffering.


The idea of having the Secondary Female be more complicated continued on. Maybe you hated her, maybe you had sympathetic feelings toward her - either way the Secondary Girl was a complete character. Examples of this are dramas like Legend, Cinderella's Unni, All About Eve, Dream High - you knew why the Secondary Girl did the horrible things she did; you understood her a bit better. And, for some episodes ans/or story arcs - she seemed to be the Heroine.


There's also another type of new Secondary Girl: the girl/woman who gets her own storylines and OTP. She doesn't even want the Hero/Main/Lead Male! She may even be related to him! Examples of this: Someday, Giant, Secret Garden, Gloria, Family Honor, I Am Happy, Goodbye Solo, Happy Together, to name a few. Now, granted most of these are weekend dramas and most were considered 'family' - but, it's a start.


That brings me to this: Secondary Females in Korean dramas are slowly evolving from shallow, bitchy, one-dimensional evil woman to complex, interesting, women. You may still dislike them, but at least they have personalities. In all genres (expect the romantic comedy) Secondary Females are becoming their own characters - with their own storylines, desires, love interests, and most importantly - lives. To me, that's a step in the right direction.
walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([Roses] Under Our Red Umberella)
It seems countries like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Mainland China are always using mangas, manhwas, and manhuas as inspiration for their dramas. In fact, it seems like 90% of Japanese dramas in the last few years have been based on mangas. And, how many Taiwanese Idol dramas are based on Shoujo mangas? Too many for me to count, that's how many. Also, many films are based on mangas, manhwas, and manhuas: High School Debut, Usagi Drop, Kimi ni Todoke, Tazza: The High Rollers, Le Grand Chef, Duelist, etc.


Recently, I've also noticed that all four of these countries are adapting each others stories into dramas/remaking each others' works: Old Boy (loosely based on a Japanese manga), Xuan Feng Guan Jia (loosely based on a Japanese manga), Boys Before Flowers and Let's Go Watch a Meteor Shower (based on a manga), Maou (adapted from The Devil), etc.


And, it seems more adaptions and remakes are on the way for all four countries. They'll continue to adapt things from their countries and others, as well as remake others works. This lead me to an interesting thought, that I'm sure I've expressed before: What Manga/Manhwa/Manhua do you want to see adapted for the small or large screen? And what country do you want to make it - I ask this because there are lots of Japanese mangas I like that I know couldn't be told on Japanese television - the country or origin or another country? Finally, do you want any country to remake another drama/film from another country - like Maou did with The Devil?


For me I really do think Honey and Clover would make an excellent Korean drama. It has it all: drama, comedy, love triangles, close friendships, close family relationships. And, it's already been an anime, Japanese film, Japanese drama, and Taiwanese drama. So, why not a Korean drama? I could see it being 18-20 episodes since the original manga is ten volumes. It's set in an art college, so the visuals would be beautiful. I would have worries though: like, well, remember the second half of Boys Before Flowers? But, if the writing was good and the casting was right - I can't think of anyone right now, but I'm sure there are some 20-30 year old actors who would fit the parts - it could work.


There's apart of me that would love to see Nosatsu Junkie turned into a ten-twelve episode Japanese drama. The summary makes it seem a bit weird: Teenage boy cross dresses as a girl in order to model, and must keep it a secret. He befriends than falls for a girl who wants to be a model and knows his secret. But, it works because of the heart of the manga and the chemistry between the leads.


I'm sure I could think of others, if I had the time. But. . .I should get back to studying. Or go to sleep.
walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([Liar's Game] For You)
I just finished skimming episode 31 of Gloria, and I have to say: The Fab Four (JJ, KS, YS, DA) are so smart. At the same time they are breaking my heart. As for Creepy - he has got to go. Like now. Some spoiler-filled thoughts follow the cut:


Everyone knows that if you want the girl,you have to stalk her and ruin her life )
walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([EoE] Love Me)
Giant is a sixty episode Korean drama that tells the story of three siblings over a period of forty years. It's described as an "epic", and the description is true to its word. Giant spreads from 1970 to 2010, and has many historical moments that really make you think about the way people lived during this time period. There are huge plot twists and turns, major character development, struggles, and, of course, love.


The thing is, I adore epic dramas like this (Sandglass, East of Eden, Seoul 1945) - I love when there are shows that have lots of characters, struggling and fighting for their dreams. This show has something for everyone, so I was really looking forward to watching it. I started with episode one three weeks ago, and have watched all thirty-six episodes that have been released. My verdict? It's epically awesome!


The story follows the three Lee siblings: Lee Sung Mo (the oldest brother, born in 1953); Lee Kang Mo (the second brother, born 1958); and Lee Mi Joo (the only sister, born sometime between 1962-1964) as they struggle to stay alive (and get revenge) after their father is killed and they are separated for ten years.

Spoiler-filled info about the Lee siblings and all the angst that has happened behind the cut!


He killed our father )


Giant is a well-written, well-acted, and beautifully filmed drama. It truly has something for everyone, and despite being a drama, it has some beautiful humor and heart. The characters are all complex and interesting with many underlying layers. Just when you think you know someone, they change on you. Characters start off likable (or unlikeable) and then change due to tragedy or finding happiness.

Currently, the drama is in 1983 - we've got twenty-seven years left. I'm guessing several time jumps are in store. I'm looking forward to where these characters go and how all their relationships change in the coming episodes.
walkwithheroes: [Hong Gil Dong] ([YBeautiful] Sing the Sorrow)
Two things:


1. Both Playful Kiss and Sungkyunkwan Scandal started this week. Each with ratings in the 3%s. Ouch! Of course, this is to be expected. Playful Kiss is going up against Baker King, which has ratings in the 40% range; My Girlfriend is a Gumiho is holding steady in the 12% range. While Sungkyunkwan Scandal is going up against Giant, I Am Legend, and Dong Yi - all of which have steady ratings. The thing is both new shows are going up against shows that are nearly done (Baker King, Dong Yi) or shows that are half-way thru (My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, I Am Legend), which means people aren't very likely to change the channel for something new.

With shows like Baker King, Giant, and Dong Yi - you have shows the whole family can watch and enjoy together. A sort of multi-generational program. With I Am Legend and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, you have romantic-comedies that families, couples, or singles can enjoy; and each is finding its drama, so people aren't very likely to switch over to something new.

Playful Kiss and Sungkyunkwan Scandal - from the outside - appear to be "Idol" dramas, that many older people are likely to gloss over. Of course this doesn't mean the shows are bad, it just means their ratings could bring them trouble. Money could be lost, episodes could be cut, etc. And, as we know from the strike, ratings play a big deal in what happens on the set.


Hopefully both shows can hang on until Baker King, Giant, and Dong Yi end. [Baker King ends in two weeks; Giant ends in nine weeks; and Dong Yi ends in eight weeks.]



2. Television crews and actors are striking in Korea! Shows on MBC are already being affected. The shows? Dong Yi and Gloria.


Now, you may be asking: Why the strike? From what I can understand: unions are striking over unpaid crew and cast wages. In other words: Until the outstanding sum of more than 4 billion won is repaid, the union has taken the stance that they will refuse to allow their members continued participation in those productions. Representatives from the union gave a press conference on September 1, which was the deadline that the broadcasters were scrambling to meet in order to keep their affected dramas filming.

The union stated at the press conference, “The broadcasting company is at fault when outside production companies cannot adequately pay their actors and crew. The broadcasters can no longer air programs for free.”

The problem pointed out by the union is that there is an imbalance created with the system of using outside production companies. The broadcasters foot some of the production budget and make money off advertisers (and here’s where ratings are important, because the higher the ratings of a drama, the more ads they sell and at higher prices). However, they put undue pressure on the outside production companies when they pay, for example, only 50% to 60% of the actual cost to actually produce a miniseries. The union stated that the broadcast stations need to increase the production budgets they pay.
- dramabeans

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