D-Day – Comes to the Rescue

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As an RN, I thoroughly enjoy medical dramas when they are done well. D-Day is the story of how a natural disaster makes what had been a team of medical staff who had been more focused on prestige and profits grow into ones that are focused more on saving lives using whatever means possible. Kim Young-Kwang plays an ER surgeon, Hae-sung, who rebels against his hospital system and tries to save whatever traumas that come into his center no matter if they have a small survival rate. Unfortunately, the director of the hospital is more focused on the statistics of his hospital and pushes Hae-sung out to a branch hospital because of his “impulsive” actions. Hae-sung also has a mother who is in a coma and he is pushed out to the branch hospital because he refused to compromise his morals. Hae-sung has basically lost his rights to using the scalpel as he is relegated into only doing colonoscopies (using scopes up people’s rectums).

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I Wanna Be Sup’Tar!

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Wan Neung refuses to move to England with her family. Instead of studying abroad, she decides to stay in Thailand to fulfill her dream of becoming a dara (celebrity). Since WN doesn’t have the support of her family, she doesn’t receive a monthly allowance and has no place to live. Her mother can only pray that she won’t do anything stupid for money.

So far, WN isn’t doing so good in terms of becoming a dara. She has no acting or dancing prospects, no job and she seems to fail every single audition. After seeing WN dance and act, I am getting seriously worried. How is she going to survive?! She tends to overact and well she can’t sing at all. It’s painful to watch… I hope she has other talents that we don’t know yet.

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Noble, My Love: Short and Cheesy

Noble My Love

Extremely short! One episode is about 15-17 minutes, which makes it easy to binge on. I am guilty of binging as this is how I spent my Friday night. The plot line is simple and similar to countless others: Chaebol meets girl and falls for her. He then sweeps her off her feet and offers her the world.

Lee Kang Hoon is attractive, single, smart and rich. The main girl, Cha Yoon Seo, is a vet who just opened her practice outside of Seoul. Yoon Seo has loans to repay and strives to make her practice successful. Except that living outside of Seoul, her patients are often cows and her revenue remains meager.

By a turn of fate, Yoon Seo ends up treating Kang Hoon for a knife wound. The encounter is somewhat memorable for both of them, but mostly for Kang Hoon. He impatiently waits for Yoon Seo to contact him, hoping that she will ask to be compensated. When she doesn’t, Kang Hoon goes to her. Shocked and embarrassed by the fact that Yoon Seo asks for her a small amount, he decides to pay her in his own way: Have her move to Seoul where she can open a practice in one of his buildings – a greater and larger location. It’s only just a way to keep Yoon Seo close to him as he is intrigued and drawn to her.

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She Was Pretty – Hidden Beauty

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I am conflicted about this new drama. While Hwang Jung Eum stars in two of my most favorite dramas, Kill Me Heal Me and Secret Love, I am not feeling it right now with She Was Pretty. Even the addition of the amazing Park Seo Joon, who made a splash in Kill Me Heal Me with her, is just not tiding me over yet. For me, I think it was how her character is written that is not attracting my full attention. In this drama, she stars as Hye-Jin who was a gorgeous little girl that puberty turned the opposite way as an adult. Unfortunately for her, she only has a waitressing job and is ridiculed daily for her looks. With a frumpy appearance of frizzy hair and ruddy cheeks, she is not looked upon favorably and people are surprised that she has a really gorgeous best friend. Now her and her best friends have one of the most loving relationships ever, which may be one reason I keep watching the show. You rarely get to see good girl friendships in dramas, but they really watch out for each other.

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Moon River – BOF Flows Again! / 明若曉溪

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BWAHAHAHAHA. This is pure crack and I am so addicted. I came into this Taiwanese drama with the lowest of low expectations. From the previews and the first 20 minutes, this was Boys Over Flowers 2015, minus one flower boy (the gangster one?). You would think that after the Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese versions, I would be sick of another similar adaption. While the show does give you Hana Yori Dango feels, it has its own spin. I daresay, I enjoyed it better than Meteor Garden and Meteor Shower. SO if it is another BOF, give it to me anyways. Why? Because Xiao Xi, the main female lead is what I had wanted all the female leads in the other adaptions to be. While Xiao Xi is your typical quirky, innocent Candy….there is one thing she has above all others. She is a Kung Fu Master. HAHAHAHA. So amp up that kickass beatdown on those bullies! Coming from a really traditional village, she is a fish out of the water on a scholarship at the elite school for the rich.

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Twenty Again – Rekindled

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Twenty Again

College can sometimes be a person’s most exciting part of life before they are sucked in the adult working world. Not only are you at the peak of your life, but whatever you do for the next four years will change your life entirely. These days, in the U.S., getting a degree is almost the bare minimum to survive in society. However privileged as American citizens are, we must remember this is not an opportunity many people in other countries get to enjoy. In Twenty Again, Ha No-Ra is a housewife who wishes to go to college, a chance she never got to take. Before turning twenty, she had accidentally gotten pregnant and was not able to even finish her high school degree.

Fast-forward 18 years, she is in an unhappy marriage as her husband who is a literature professor at a university looks down upon her intellect. Unfortunately, a once feisty No-Ra has become a doormat in her family as she is looked down upon for being “common”. What starts out as a mission to get her husband to renegade on his decision for divorce by going to college to become smarter later becomes a mission to better experience life for herself. At this critical point of her life, she is mistakenly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during a hospital physical due to similar chart records with another patient. Believing she only has 6 months left to live, she wants to experience it to the fullest. Thus, she starts to attend university secretly, without her husband or son knowing because they happened to attend and work at the same one! Meanwhile, her husband is cheating on her with another professor who specializes in “marriage classes”, har har. The irony. No-Ra also meets a childhood friend who has now become a theater professor at the university she is now attending. Said friend used to have a huge crush on her and is still pining away for her. He uses this chance to childishly get back at her for going off with another man.

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The Virtual Bride: Laughs and Food for Thought

Virtual Bride

This drama makes me laugh so hard and it keeps getting better and better. The show gives a ALL IN ONE parody of the idol life, TV reality programming and other Korean dramas. I have to say that the team behind the drama does an amazing job in terms of visual and sound effects.

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Oh In Young, a member of the girl group Ruby, finds herself in a predicament when her career turns for the worst. One option: Join a TV reality show where she plays the daughter-in-law to a traditional family. Four issues here: 1. Traditional family 2. She will be the wife of the eldest son (I can feel the pressure already) 3. In Young’s husband, Cha Myeong Seok, is a total nerd, who is more interested in the curves of the number 8 than the curves of a woman (His own brother described him perfectly) 4. The mother-in-law can’t stand In Young…

When In Young moves with her husband’s family, we get to learn more about the family dynamics and internal conflicts.  Continue reading

Sirius – Shine Bright

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Sirius

So intense. Usually for a 4-episode special, I would have just gone ahead and finished it before writing about it. However, just with the first episode and a half, I had to pause to take it all in. This short suspense thriller has hit the trifecta for me, strong acting, great soundtrack, and tight plot. In this drama, Do Eunchang and Do Shin Woo are a pair of twins who are as different as night and day. Eunchang is the lively and charming boy who does not take hits lying down. Meanwhile Shin Woo is the quiet, bookworm twin who gets bullied every single day. They share the same face to the disappointment of both, but you can clearly tell that they care deeply for each other still. Eunchang is constantly defending his brother and even beating up his bullies for him. However, Shin Woo hates himself for being so defenseless. Unfortunately one day, things go too far and Shin Woo’s bully falls off the school roof in an accident while fighting with Eunchang. Eunchang had went to his brother’s school in place of Shin Woo to teach that bully another lesson. This lands Eunchang in jail for 8 years while their mother blames everything on Shin Woo. She even requests that Shin Woo go to jail in place of the other twin as she clearly has Eunchang as her favorite son.

With his brother in jail and him in a glass prison at home, Shin Woo forces himself to study hard for the bar to make something of himself. Shin Woo becomes Chief of a police force while his twin becomes a delivery boy when he comes out of jail. Their mother had died of a drug addiction from missing the other son so much. Because of this, he is very focused on going after drug busts. Furthermore, years of suffering under the insults of a crime that his brother committed and having to endure watching his mother fall apart made Shin Woo bitter towards his twin brother. He wishes that Eunchang didn’t exist as he thinks that is all everyone ever see compounded with them having the same face. Eunchang is still the cheerful person he was before jail and understands that his brother does not want anything to do with him. Unfortunately both of them become involved with a drug ring and chaos ensues. Chief Shin Woo is trying to chase down the mob boss, but gets into a horrible car accident. Eunchang is forced to take Shin Woo’s place as Chief of the police by the mob boss in exchange for his younger brother’s life. To worsen the situation, Shin Woo does not know that Eunchange is trying to save him rather than being one of the boss’s cronies. Poor Eunchang feels so helpless in this situation. It is a complete turn around from when they were younger.

The actor who plays the younger version of the twins and the one that plays the older set are SO AMAZING. Park Hyung Shik, a relatively new idol turned actor is busting his melodrama chops to deliver such a great performance. Might I also say that ZE:A, the kpop band he was in has churned out three amazing actors so far, Park Hyung Shik, Yim Si Wang (Misaeng), and Kim Dong-Jun (Girl K). Anyways, Park Hyung Shik playing the younger set of twins is very moving in his angst and torture of being the one ignored and unwanted in the family. He strives for recognition from his family, but is always overshadowed by his older brother. Now the older set is played by Suh Joon Young is also quite wonderful and pairs really well with the younger version. His acting of both twins is so great that at one point, I really thought they were two different actors!! Not even half-way through the drama, my heart already hurts for these two brothers. I really hope I get to see them reconcile or at least be on the way to patch up their past misunderstandings and hurts. It is so clear that they care deeply for each other and have a connection no one can break.

EDIT: I finished this drama and now I feel empty. I wish it was longer! It was such a joy to watch both younger and older set of twins played by these versatile actors! I also can’t believe how underrated this special was! It is truly a gem to be discovered!

Queen’s Classroom – Reality Check

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The Queen’s Classroom

With the ages of the cast falling mostly under 15 or so, it may not seem like an appealing drama at first. Even as a fan of school dramas, I found Queen’s Classroom to be an outlier in terms of focus and was iffy about watching it. However, my curiosity had stemmed from raving reviews of the Japanese version and so I decided to check out the Korean version just for a taste. It was and wasn’t what I expected. In this drama, there is a teacher who seems bitterly cold and cruel on the outside to her middle school class. The kids name Teacher Ma as the “Witch” as she harshly rules her classroom based on grade discrimination. For her, the better grades you get, the better she treats you and the more privileges you get. The worse and weaker you are, the more she picks on you. Knowledge and power are everything while friendships mean nothing. For a kid in middle school, it must seem like the end of the world with each difficult situation they are put through. However difficult she may seem, it seems she lives by the philosophy of tough love. She values practicality and teaching the kids about facing reality. The more she picks on the weaker kids of the class, the more she cares about toughening them up to face reality. Her classroom is basically a simulation for future society where there is most definitely discrimination based on power, money and knowledge. Furthermore, she is also hiding a dark past to which known of the kids or staff know about.

After marathoning 8 episodes, I still have not cracked the mystery as to why Teacher Ma acts the way she does. It seems as if she teaches the reverse of the other “usual” teachers. Other teachers care more about being “nice”, “well-liked”, and “democracy”. She does not coddle her students and treats them as society would treat them. Is this a better way to teach? I do not know. I have had one teacher like this in high school who took no nonsense, but not to the extremes that Teacher Ma does. Am I better for it? In the long run, I believe it did me well. Society is not going to smile at me and pat me on the back for each little thing. Even in the news these past few months, articles have come out discussing whether schools have been coddling the minds of young adults with certain subjects and bending to the wills of parents.

As for these children, they are at an age of being moldable and going through puberty. It is vital that the right lessons be installed in them. They are on the brink of becoming independent from their parents and maturing into young adults. Is it too young for these lessons or should these children be raised with more “love”? Teacher Ma seems to feel that it is better to endure these lessons now than to be shocked with disappointments later.

While I appreciate the drama for the lessons it teaches, and the great acting from its younger cast, I am not sure if I am going to finish it just yet. It is one of the those dramas that do not have a huge climax, but just a well written plot that teaches great life lessons in each episode. However, the curiosity of Teacher Ma’s dark past may just keep me going back!