Money Flower: Puppet Master

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Tis the season for antiheroes, falalala lalala! It seems like my favorite currently airing dramas all lack your traditional good hero/heroine. Instead we are focusing on characters who are less than virtuous who need a little moral streak in their life. The story focuses on Pil Joo’s revenge and manipulations. With a tragic childhood, Pil Joo grew up the hard way and learned how to survive by his wits. However, a chance encounter brings him into contact with Boo-Cheon, a chaebol son who just wants to play. Pil Joo earns himself a spot in their household by becoming whatever they need, basically their hunting dog. However, he possess the intelligence, wits, and combat skills that he is the master rather than the slave. On the outside, he is their esteemed and skilled lawyer, but internally he smoothes and manipulates situations to the families favor. Things come to a head when Boo-Cheon loses his company that his mother built so devotedly. Pil Joo concocts a plan to have Boo-Cheon marry the future President’s daughter. Mo Hyun, the daughter, is a emotional and soft being who fantasizes about fated love. She is everything Pil Joo has given up, his humanity and emotions. Unfortunately, he realizes that she had saved him in his childhood and slowly he develops affection for her. He has to make the two fall in love, but naturally. He coaches and feeds Boo-Cheon’s every word and step. With his already twisted plans and ideas, he is only driving the knife deeper into himself.

Jang Hyuk is an acting GOD. Pulling his emotionless mask from Beautiful Mind, he is equally if not more cold in this drama. He keeps all his emotions under a tight lock and only lets a few rare ones escape. He is the puppet master in the family and everyone depends on him. He knows it and uses it to his advantage. I am just waiting for the moment that Pil Joo will snap. He is just so tightly reigned in, its going to be hell when he unleashes all his grievances. Meanwhile, I am interested in seeing Park Se Yeon in a innocent role. She has often played the second lead female that we all like to hate. She plays that to a T. However, I am enjoying this naive side to her and I hope that Pil Joo’s manipulations don’t shatter her heart to a million pieces (even though we know that is going to happen). I am also happy for the reunion of these two as they weren’t fated in Beautiful Mind. As for Boo Cheon, wow, is he so annoying. I revel in the moments where Pil Joo gives him a few deserved right hooks for his foolishness. They have an interesting dynamic where the master is actually the slave. It is likely Boo Cheon will stab him in the back when he gets the chance too. As for Lee Mi Sook who plays Boo Cheon’s mother, she usually plays the mother that we all like to hate. However, so far, I feel pity for her situation where all that she has worked hard for is being given away at the drop of an old man’s hat. I am so excited to see how Jang Hyuk manipulates future situations so that he comes out on top!

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Voice – Tuned In

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After vacationing for three weeks, I finally finished my winter Korean dramas. However, oddly enough, I haven’t been in the mood much to start a new batch of dramas. It may also be due to the fact that I am marathoning through Vampire Diaries. Voice, though, is the only one so far, that I have started for this spring. This drama tells the story of Jin Hyuk, a ex-detective who lost his wife to a serial killer. However, before she had died, she had called the emergency response center. They could not get to her in time. The woman who had responded to her call was Kwon-Joo. Kwon-Joo had the special talent of sensitive hearing due to an illness when she was younger. Everyone thought the culprit was a certain male and no one would listen to the details she gave because it did not match the person she caught. The tragedy of the event changed their lives forever. Jin Hyuk went on a three year bender while Kwon Joo decided to improve her skill set in America. Fast forward three years, Kwon Joo comes back to revamp the emergency response system. She wants to create the Golden Time team where an emergency team of police officers are dispatched and apprehend the perpetrator within ten minutes. She wants Jin Hyuk to head the team, but to his reluctance the ridicule of the entire police department. Furthermore, she is still searching for the killer who had murdered Jin Hyuk’s wife. Slowly, through multiple cases, these two manage to work together and save several people. Jin Hyuk finds out about her special ability and trust begins to develop between them.

OCN, this trusty cable network, always has gritty crime dramas that are right up my alley. Jang Hyuk is a talented actor who portrays Jin Hyuk’s doggedness and fierceness very well. Of course, I also missed his insane laugh from Fated To Love you. He has a talent for playing intense characters. As for Lee Ha-Na, this is my first drama with her. She plays a decent character who is actually strong in her own right in a world run by men. She doesn’t take any nonsense or ridicule from the men in her workplace and puts her foot down to get what she needs. I appreciate this type of female character that you don’t get to see a lot in a crime drama. As for the culprit, I have a good idea of who is playing him. However, the show throws out several red herrings which makes me wonder if there is a bigger twist. I of course had suspected his partner for playing a part in the tragedy, but who knows? I love these kind of shows that keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing.

 

 

 

Beautiful Mind: Blank Emotions

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Juxtaposed to Doctors, Beautiful Mind feels like the opposite of the other drama. While the other medical drama focuses on the humanity of the field, Beautiful Mind tells a darker story. In this drama, Dr. Lee Young Oh is a doctor who has antisocial disorder. He is unable to emotionally connect or empathize with another human being. Instead, he has learned to read body language in order to figure out how other people are feeling. He decides to return from being abroad to work at his father’s hospital. He is a genius neurosurgeon, but acts very clinically cold to all situations. There, he manages to collaborate often with a cardiac surgeon named Suk-Joo. However, Suk-Joo is suspicious of Dr. Oh’s true intentions in the hospital and why he wants to work with him. One of Suk-Joo’s patients, Jin-Sung, is a young female police officer who is headstrong and persistent. She becomes involved in a suspicious case that is tied with the upper levels of management in the hospital. However, the man she was pursuing ends up being run over multiple times and dying on the operating table as Dr. Oh and Dr. Suk-Joo did a collaborative surgery on him. Jin-Sung ordered an autopsy on the body as she believed it to be a homicide, but the results were suspiciously innocuous. She watches the security tape and blames Dr. Oh for being shady. However, it is a misunderstanding as Dr. Oh was researching a rare fungus in the victims head for a more famous surgery case that he wanted to perform live surgery on. Although he was called to ethics board at first for the misunderstanding and did not get to start the surgery, he ended up being the only person who was able to save the presidential candidate who had a cerebral aneurysm. Dr. Oh also manages to save Jin-Sung’s life as she needed emergency pericardial fluid aspiration due to her previous heart condition. Although this misunderstanding between them was solved, there are still tense feelings between them and now a newfound suspicion of the shady dealings at the hospital.

So far, I am impressed with Jang Hyuk’s cold as the OR acting. He plays this psychopathic character very well and it is frightening as well as intriguing to watch him try to gauge other people’s feelings or his seemingly malicious intents. As for Jin Sung, played by Park So-Dam, this is the first drama I have seen her in. I don’t love her, but I don’t hate her. Her acting is tolerable for me, but I hope to seem some development in her character. However, I guess I am mainly watching for how Jin Sung will be able to change Jang Hyuk for the better or help him adjust more smoothly to society. As for Yoon Hyun Min, he has always been a solid second lead for me. I hope to see him in lead roles in the future!

 

Fated To Love You – Korean Version!

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While we often start with a Korean drama that later gets adapted to another version in a different country, often China or Taiwan, it is a rare sight to see the opposite happen! Fated To Love You, a very popular Taiwanese drama that came out in 2008, is getting the full Korean remake! The original, played by Chen Xiao and Ethan Ruan, while the Korean version is played by Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara (Jang Squared!). Both are about how a naive, plain, and overly nice woman accidentally has a one night stand with the president of a big company who was about to propose to his ballerina girlfriend before she decided to pursue her career. In a series of coincidences, the two are brought together again by her pregnancy, but must face the multiple challenges that lay ahead. I don’t wish to give away too much of the plot for those who haven’t seen the Taiwanese version.

Overall, the drama will take your feels on a roller-coaster from getting a stitch due to laughing at the insanely cute parts or bawling your eyes out at the parts that tug on your heartstrings. As for the Korean remake, so far it has been sticking pretty closely to the original plot. However, the Korean version moves a bit more slowly than the Taiwanese version and gives more opportunity to develop its characters. Furthermore, the Korean version has a bit of a slapstick humor feel to it, though not as much as to annoy the viewers. Instead, we just giggle at Jang Hyuk’s comedic expressions and his no doubtedly insane cackle (it really is something). And man, that mane of his….I am still not sure what the stylist was thinking, but hey, it makes him all the more a diva. Really, I MEAN DIVAAAAA. As for Jang Nara, she really can’t do any wrong in my eyes. She was cast perfectly in this role and portrays the meek Mi Young cutely, making us root for her! I really look forward to watching more of the Korean remake and how Jang Squared will take this adorable piece to new levels!

“Life is like a gamble. You can’t win every game. But if the chip is in your hands, you will always have hope.” -Cun Xi (Taiwanese Version)

-phoenix

PS. This drama is definitely in my TOP 10 dramas of all time.

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