Year in Review: Trendsetting, Come On and Jump on the Bandwagon!

We all know that when we watch Korean Dramas, we’ll often find certain tropes used over and over again. You know what I am talking about! For example, the cold chaebol who has a traumatic past but is really actually sensitive falls in love with poverty stricken, multiple job working, happy, but not so smart Candy? For formulas that have generated much success in the past, of course it’s going to be recycled again and again! The same goes for entire dramas! Once one drama has generated a following and experiences sky high ratings, you can be sure there will be 2-3 dramas following it in the same category! Let’s take a look throughout the drama years of 2009-2014!

2009

F4 Style – Male Harem

  • Boys Over Flowers
  • You’re Beautiful
  • Sungkyunkwan Scandal

2010

 This is Not My House, But I’m Gonna Live Here Anyways

  • Cinderella’s Sister
  • Personal Preference
  • Mischievous Kiss
  • Creating Destiny
  • Stars Falling From the Sky
  • Oh! My Lady
  • My Girlfriend is a Gumiho

2011

 Let’s Pretend to be Something I’m Not

  • Baby Faced Beauty
  • Myung-wol The Spy
  • Miss Ripley
  • My Princess

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Pinnochio

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Pinnochio

Okay, okay, I caved. Sometimes, I don’t know why, but I really reject watching highly popular dramas when they first come out. I think its a combination of having high expectations and fearing that they will not be met. However, most of the time, its a baseless fear, and I end up loving the dramas that everyone is crazed about. After being persuaded multiple times, I finally started Pinnochio and guess what…I love it. Lee Jong-Suk is a big plus factor, being one of my favorite actors of all time ever since School 2013. He has such an endearing quality about him while also being about to portray intense angsty characters as well.

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Mischievous Kiss 2: Love in Tokyo Episode 4

Naoki and Kotoko congratulate Matsumoto at the end of her graduation ceremony. Matsumoto questions Kotoko about her acceptance to nursing school. Everyone thinks that Kotoko wants to be a nurse because of Naoki, including the latter. Kotoko is shocked, but clearly can’t deny that it’s mostly true. Kotoko is excited and proud to announce that she has been accepted into nursing school! She passed the most difficult entrance exam for nursing school. Yuko is surprised, but mostly worried for Kotoko’s patients. I am too.

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Yuko found her dream job in the IT industry and vows to work hard to find Mr. Perfect. That is definitely not . Matsumoto thanks Naoki for making her college years fun and wishes the best of luck to our couple.

Meanwhile Satomi and Jinko are crying their eyes out at the graduation ceremony. They are saying goodbye to their friends while they are still stuck in school. They each failed a class – strict attendance requirement and turning someone’s homework by mistake. I can’t believe that even Kotoko is graduating and not them… Well she is actually not graduating but going to nursing school.

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Year in Review: Drama Crushes

A list of all the dramas we loved! The year 2014 had quite some good dramas. The key was to discover them! Thank you 2014 for blessing us with those shows :-D!

phoenix’s selection

Bad Guys

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There are no words to describe how much I love this drama. Without any love lines, this suits me just fine because the excellent action and thrilling fights more than makes up for it. We have a twisted father, Mad Dog, who lost his daughter during a serial killer investigation and now leads a special investigations unit made up of three hardened criminals released from jail. Kind of like a tame Hannibal scenario?

Anyways, we have a hitman who turned himself in after a murder and is full of regret and seeking redemption. The second is a powerful gangster who conquered 30+ districts for his boss in the span of a few weeks. The last is a amnesiac serial killer who can’t remember his murders…and who might have murdered Mad Dog’s daughter. Sounds like a self-destructing bomb doesn’t it? Oh, and I almost forgot that meddling ahjumma female cop in the group who always speaks like she is whispering. Anyways, although having ulterior motives in the beginning, Mad Dog gradually begins to appreciate each criminal for their humanistic side. The four develop a special camaraderie that has them saving each other’s butts, instead of climbing over each other to reduce their own sentences with each case they solve.

The drama is fantastically shot, though sometimes hard on the eyes, because of the dark lighting they always use. The fighting scenes are simply superbly choreographed and portrays the strengths of each character. The acting is also up to par even though most of the actors are not A-listers. With each episode being a separate case, the drama manages to tie the whole thing together by linking each character with each other as well as connecting all the cases together in a big mystery case. The ending shows us the potential for a sequel…which I can’t wait to see written and filmed!

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Year in Review: Minutes Refund!

It’s the end of the year! Time for our blog to roll out our year end reviews/specials. We decided to start with those dramas we wished or almost wished we never watched. If possible, we would love the directors of those shows to refund the seconds, minutes, and hours we wasted. Sadly, that’s impossible. If you are planning to watch any of those shows beware!

maniac Ride

Dok Soke

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  • One man and two women – the same love triangle for pretty much every lakorn. If things were not complicated enough let’s make those two women mother and daughter.
  • You would have to seat through 50 plus episodes of intense guilt, tears, and wishy washiness by our two main leads.
  • Result: The female lead gets married to the male lead only to dump him at the end of the ceremony. A marriage followed by a separation?! Great, just what I needed.

Big

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  • Total confusion. I am so confused by this show that I can’t even explain what went wrong. Clearly, everything went wrong.
  • Gong Yoo please try to pick better drama projects in the future. I know you can do better.

A Thousand Kisses

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  • When a show is about two leads,  I expect to see enough screen time about their relationship. Well, not here. If that’s what you hope, skip this show.
  • The drama started off alright – a beautiful romance, relatives trying to tear our beloved couple apart, a delusional and clingy ex – and that quickly went down the drain. All that I got at the end of the drama is our main leads staring at each other through a window. Hummm, the director needs to redeem himself/herself with a better show.

phoenix

That Winter the Wind Blows 

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  • As much as I adore you Jo In Sung, since when did dying take over 3 minutes with you robot walking across a rooftop?
  • Perhaps I don’t get it, but I think it would have ended better in tragedy like in the movie rather than some dreamy petal blown (literally) happily ever after story.

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Healer

Healer

Oh yes! This has definitely healed my break in kdrama addiction. While waiting for Korean cable channels to pump out a measly one episode per week of Bad Guys and Dr. Frost, this wonderful drama will tide me through! This drama can be seen as a cross between action thriller, makjang, and a tiny bit of procedural, well as least for now.

In the beginning, we are introduced to a mysterious man, codenamed: Healer. His line of work is to act as a courier, but not your usual UPS/FEDEX man. Instead, he employs high-end technology and the street-smart/combat skills more akin to an intelligence operative. He’ll take any job as long as it doesn’t involve murder. In return he is saving all the money he has earned for a chance to live in isolation on a tropical island he hopes to buy soon. Hmmm, I wonder what type of trauma he has endured in the past to yearn for such isolation. On the other side, we have a famous and well-loved journalist, Moon-Ho, who actually has a humanistic side and side-steps censoring on broadcast instead of acting like a good little puppet. This is where the makjang comes in. We can see he has issues with his older brother who is married to a woman he respects a lot. However, that woman grieves over her lost daughter which the Moon Ho uses the Healer to try to find. Of course, there seems to be some mystery as to how the child was lost and why Moon Ho seems to resent his brother.

Finally, we have Young-Shin, our plucky heroine who is an aspiring reporter and whose idol is of course Moon Ho. Young-Shin, a bit eccentric, is our shining star in the sky of broodiness made up by Moon Ho and Healer. Employed by Moon Ho, the Healer has no choice, but to get closer to Young-Shin, who is of course the long lost child, in order to find out more information about the case….while also being pinned for a murder from a previous job.

With only two episodes in, I am excited to see how the Healer’s double life will work out and to find the reason behind Young-Shin’s rough childhood. Sign me up!

-phoenix

Mischievous Kiss 2: Love in Tokyo Episode 3

It’s Kotoko’s last year as an undergraduate. Her friends Jinko and Satomi seem to have their paths set while Kotoko still doesn’t know what she wants to do. Our main character wonders if it is alright to stay at home and not get a job at all.

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Kinosuke’s love interest, Christine, finally arrives at Tonan University! Her encounter with Kotoko is a mix and match of broken English and Japanese. Seeing that Christine is a foreigner, Kotoko immediately tells her that she doesn’t speak English. To which Chris responds in Japanese. Christine is like the foreign version of Kotoko. They are both so bubbly.

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Chris and Kotoko head to Tonan Medical School to visit Naoki. They first meet Seichi – another medical student and Naoki’s rival. Kotoko is excited when she introduces herself as Naoki’s wife. Seichi is not that impressed. Is Kotoko really the one in Genius Naoki’s heart?! Seichi rudely looks at Kotoko from head to toe. Luckily, Chris is here to get revenge for Kotoko. When Seichi tries to hit on her, she lets him know that he is DEFINITELY not her type. She has HIGH standards.

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