Save Me: Our Wishes Will Be Fulfilled

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So disturbing that I literally can’t stop watching. I guess religious cult is in season this year, with it being the theme of the new AHS too. Save Me tells the story of Sang Mi and her family who becomes deeply and terribly involved with a religious cult deep in a rural S. Korean town. Her family moved to the rural town to escape debt and the struggles of living in the city. The only kindness they were shown were by the local church of the area, who unfortunately completed creeped Sang Mi out. However, the rest of the family were pretty oblivious to the fishyness of the church. Poor Sang Mi and her twin brother were victims of bullying at their new schools to the point where her twin brother ended up committing suicide. With the brother’s suicide, another pair of high school boys tragedy began as well. Dong Cheol and Sang Hwan were best friends, however their friendship splintered when only one of them helped Sang Mi in the bullying incident that resulted in death. However, this spiraled out of control to the point where Dong Cheol ended up in jail and Sang Hwan had unintentionally betrayed his friend by not testifying at his trial (in accordance to his father’s wishes). With the Sang Mi family completely broken and vulnerable, the church took the opportunity to take advantage of their broken spirits. The completely won over the father, who had pretty much given up on his role as the provider and protector of his family. He ended up bringing his family to live with the church and their whole life became attached to the church. Sang Mi had to quit school and service the church. However, in every opportunity she tries to escape the church, even resulting in violence to try to run away. Unfortunately, she is captured and brought back into the fold multiple times. After several years of misery, her plight finally catches the eye of the schoolboys that had been involved in her family’s tragedy.

Wow, OCN cuts no corners with this amazing drama. I am surprised with such a religious country that they are airing this show without any drama or bans. It is very extremist towards and religion and so realistic that it is frightening and even sickening. I wonder how it affects the drama ratings. Sang Mi portrayed by Seo Yi Ji is wonderful in her role of the enduring heroine who tries to stay sane in such a crazy environment. A lesser will would have been completely broken in her situation. While Sang Hwan played by Taec is touted as main lead, I actually prefer Dong Cheol’s story. His arc is more tragic as the young kid who is shafted by society because he was born into a poor family. His will of steel and his raw emotions are amazing to watch and Woo Do Hwan does an excellent job with this character. I am thoroughly creeped out and impressed by Jo Wan Tae’s acting as Apostle Jo. He plays a disgusting creep who tries to prey on Sang Mi. The whole cult is portrayed so terrifyingly devoted and insane to a normal person’s view. I really hope that Sang Mi is saved by her past friends soon!

PS: Can every give Dong Cheol a hug? ❤

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Criminal Minds: Korean Remake

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Power couple with a power remake. I love profiling criminal investigation dramas. Criminal Minds, the Korean version, is pretty amazing and surprisingly graphic. I haven’t watched the American version, so I have nothing to compare it to other than past crime K-dramas. Lee Joon Gi plays Hyun Joon, a past explosives expert who is recruited into the profiling team after collaborating with the core profiling team during an investigation. While Hyun Joon is the emotional one of the group, Sun Woo played by Moon Chae Won is the rational and logical one of the group. The rest of the team comprises of a cold as ice boss with PTSD, a super genius, a genius hacker, and savvy PR team leader. This well oiled machine investigates serial killers and their different motives in order to prevent the next victim from dying. While each episode is it’s own case, there are a few larger cases intertwined that haven’t been quite solved or has gone awry. However, there is never a dull moment as our team gets involved with these dangerous situations.

I really adore Joon Gi and Chae Won as they are both amazing actors. Furthermore, the team dynamics are really entertaining when everybody’s talents and personalities shine through. I’ve always had a deep interest in the human psyche, especially criminology and they psychology behind the crimes committed. It is disturbing and frightening how evil humanity can get. So this drama is right up my analyzing alley! Plus, its cathartic when the criminals get caught! I hope this gets several seasons!

Circle: Star Power

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A rare breed has appeared! We don’t often get to see sci-fi kdramas! Or at least ones as amazing as this where I finished it in 2 days! Circle tells the story of fraternal twins, Woo Jin and Bum Gyun. However, the drama is split into two timelines. One is set in 2017, after the twins grew up and are in their college years. The other timeline is fast-forwarded another 20 years into the future where S. Korea has completely changed due to technology and pollution. During their youth, the twins encounter an alien, who takes on the form of Byul/Jung Yeon. She possesses a form of advanced technology which allowed her to view her memories in a video format. However, this knowledge was too dangerous for the world to handle, so the twin’s father decided to erase her memories and let her start a new life as a regular human girl. However, this did not sit well with his fellow researchers who were desperate for the knowledge. The father ended up disappearing while the twins grew up while enduring a rough life. Bum Gyun was convinced that the alien had made his father disappear and dedicated his whole life into finding her. He ended up in a psychiatric hospital as well as jail several times due to his fanaticism. However, Woo Jin tried to forget what happened in his past and was just struggling to survive. He was the sole breadwinner of his family while still keeping up top grades. He sacrificed social life in order to garner every chance of study or money making opportunity. The twins had a hard time getting along as Woo Jin was always having to chase after his brother who would wander off trying to find the alien. It got to the point where Bum Gyun was eventually kidnapped! Meanwhile in the future timeline, Bum Gyun as Kim Joon Hyuk, a detective who has been searching for his younger brother for the last 10 yrs. He has no memories of his past life and only knows about himself through a video footage of Woo Jin’s memories. In the future, Korea has become inhabitable because of dust levels and a new Smart City had been created. In this city, everyone has a chip in their brain that helps regulate extreme emotions which results in a boasted no-crime rate. However, the chip has a more sinister use of being able to delete a person’s memories. Thus, in the two timelines, each brother is searcing for the other frantically!

A beautifully intertwined story that have two parts that are mirror reflections of each other. I loved both timelines equally as each story was heartwrenching and full of emotion/intrigue. Yeo Jin Gu is one of the best young male actors of his generations. He is able to portray that deep seated angst and frustration. He makes each scene incredibly intense and when it culminates into finally meeting his brother, I bawled! Meanwhile, Kim Kang Woo as the older Bum Gyun was excellent as well. I have always loved his action acting and he has the same type of intensity as Jin Gu. He was always able to draw on his younger counterpart’s character so that it was a seamless transition! I also enjoyed Gong Seung Yun who played Jung Yeon/Bluebird/Byul. She performed her alternating stoic alien personality versus her human self roles perfectly. While the filming was not high budget, the acting really upgraded the drama. I don’t usually fall in love with dramas that fast nor finish them in 2 days! However, this thriller really kept me clicking the next episode with each cliffhanger!

Forest of Secrets: Forest of Lies

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Tis’ the year for corrupt prosecutors and law enforcement! But wait, tis the year for whistleblowers as well! Hwang Shi Mok, a stoic prosecutor who literally cannot express emotions due to a surgery he had when he was younger is the only one who is one of the only non-corrupt officials in his organization. After meeting Lieutenant Han at a murder scene, he is caught up in a complicated scandal that implicates several of the higher up law enforcement officers. Because of his personality, people find it hard to work with him. However, Shi Mok doesn’t mind and marches to the beat of his own drum. Because of this personality, he is dogged in his desire to expose all the corruptness of his higher ups even if it costs him his job. Lieutenant Han is the heart of this team and slowly Shi Mok absorbs her compassion as well. Through their investigations, they are thrown many red herrings and everyone is constantly switching sides! However, their doggedness will certainly pay off!

tvN is always a trustworthy network that always gives me something interesting to watch. The actors are the core of the story. I enjoyed Cho Seung Woo’s stoic performance and those rare bursts of emotion. You never quite know what he is thinking, but that just adds to the mystery of the drama. As for Bae Doona, she is amazing as the down to earth cop. She is not necessarily using her visuals(thought I think she is gorgeous), but is rather dressing down to match her character. It just comes off so natural. I also thoroughly enjoyed Lee Joon Hyuk as the intense brown-noser who doesn’t hesitate to ingratiate himself with power no matter the humiliation he must endure. He struggles so hard to survive in a cut throat organization even if he has to beg on his knees. In the beginning I was hoping for a grand redemption, but I prefer him this way because he is more realistic! The most unfortunate loss was Shin Hye Sun. She was such an underrated character and I wished she could have made it through the end! The plot was very intricate and well written. I was guessing until the very end where everyone’s true loyalties lay! I like how it wasn’t just focused on action, but rather how clever thinking and manipulation solves the case! These shorter stories keep my watching until the end, so that the first impressions are more like general impressions (without hopefully giving too much away). However, this is definitely a must watch of the summer!

Innocent Defendant: Prison Break

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Dark crime or law dramas are again right up my alley. I find it especially interesting to see the cat and mouse game between an intelligent villain and our hero. Innocent Defendant is about Jeong Woo, a prosecutor who ends up waking up in jail with no memories of the previous four months. Jeong Woo was a successful and dogged prosecutor who was not afraid to dig deep into cases and even put himself in harms way to crack a case. However, he buried his nose too deep in a murder case committed by Cha Min Ho, the twin brother of a conglomerate heir. Cha Min Ho is a playboy twin who ended up killing a golddigger in a drunken fit. Instead of owning up to his crimes like his brother told him to, he ends up killing his twin brother to take his place. He had always been jealous of his twin, Cha Seon Ho who was the apple of his father’s eye and heir to the conglomerate. Min Ho decides to push his brother off the building and become him when Seon Ho died. He used the cover story that the brother who had fallen was actually him and that he had committed suicide out of guilt. Of course, Jeong Woo suspects something foul is at play because he thinks that Min Ho is not the type to commit suicide. Jeong Woo ends up finding out that Min Ho is actually alive and pretending, but he has no evidence to prove it. One day after his daughter’s birthday, he wakes up the next morning in a jail cell. He doesn’t remember what has happened and thinks that something is playing a trick on him. He is told that he is on death row because he had somehow killed his loving wife and daughter. They are unable to find his daughter’s “body”, and he is unable to remember what exactly has happened. Apparently he has been having these repeat losses of memory in jail for the past four months with the gaps getting larger and larger. Jeong Woo is furious and heartbroken as he cannot remember and accept what is going on.

I love a good thriller and mystery. Ji Sung is one of my favorite actors as he has one of the most expressive faces I have ever had the pleasure to watch. He definitely throws his entire being into the role. His anguish is so hard to watch. Juxtaposing him is another fantastic actor, Uhm Ki Joon. I have seen him in more villainous roles and he plays them to a “T”. The more evil his character is, the better his acting becomes. Not only does he play one character, but he plays two, or even three (if you count him pretending to be his brother). As for the female leads in the story, I have no reads on them yet except for the quick appearance of Yuri. So far, the drama seems to be an on your seat thriller that will keep me guessing as what is really going on. I hope that Jeong Woo will be able to recover some of his memories and be able to go against Min ho soon!

Solomon’s Perjury: Truth Trials

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Dark and thoughtful (with a dose of sociopathy), just the way I like them. Solomon’s Perjury is definitely reminiscent of White Christmas, the short little series a few years ago that broke out a lot of popular actors today including Kim Woo Bin, Kim Young Kwang, Lee Soo Hyuk, Sung Joon, and Hong Jong-Hyun, just to name a few. I hope that Solomon will also highlight the new generation of acting talent by featuring some not as trendy popular actors/actresses. To get to the nitty gritty, Solomon is about high school students taking a death investigation into their own hands to uncover the truth for which the parents seem to be wanting to cover up.  In the beginning of the drama, we meet So Woo, a quiet young kid who got into a fight with the school bully, Choi Woo-hyuk. Choi Woo-Hyuk nearly kills So-Woo during the fight, but everyone is to afraid to speak up. It’s beacuase Choi’s father also happened to be extremely powerful in society and whoever crossed his family ended always up squashed. With Choi’s family pressuring So Woo to admit that he instigated the fight, So Woo decided to quit school instead. However, it is hinted that So Woo has knowledge of another of the Choi family’s weaknesses and was in a shaky spot regardless. Unfortunately a few weeks later, his body is found in front of the school, buried in the snow. Two students, Seo Yeon and Joon Young are the first ones to discover the body of their classmate. While the police and school hurry to close the case as a suicide, the circumstances of his death were a little suspicious. Both Seo Yeon and Joon Young are traumatized by this event and ended up bonding over the situation. Joon Young’s life at home has also been hard due to his abusive mother and he had contemplated ending his life at one point as well. However, with Seo Yoen’s support, he decides to keep on enduring. One day, a letter is delivered to Seo Yeon’s house because her father is a detective who was on this case. The letter accused Choi Woo Hyuk and his cronies of pushing So Woo to his death, making the case now a violent homicide instead of a suicide. Of course this spurs on more rumors in the school and this opens the investigation back up to the consternation of the school and Choi family. To the students, it seemed that the adults were doing a slipshod investigation and they want to find the real truth. Fortunately, at this school, an anonymous person called the Watchman seemed to take interest in spurring the student population in opening up their own investigation.

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Fatal Intuition: Psychometric

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I admit I watched this movie because Joo Won was the main actor and I love me some intense acting! Which I got for sure! Joo Won plays Jung Woo who lives with his sibling Eun Jin in a small seaside town. Jung Woo works menial jobs in order to support his sister going to college. His aim is to get both of them out of the rural countryside. Eun Ji is a playful and outgoing girl who is kind to everyone. She is also very pretty which makes Jung Woo very protective of her. One day, after an argument about there future, Jung Woo locks Eun Ji in the house so she won’t run away. Upset, he goes out drinking with his friends. Unfortunately, an intruder breaks into their home and ends up drowning Eun Ji in his own bleaching vat in the basement since she couldn’t escape the locked house. Jung Woo comes back and ends up filing a missing persons case when he couldn’t find where she went. Meanwhile, another girl in the town is bullied severely and cursed by everyone due to her unique ability to foresee the deaths of people she comes across. Before Eun Ji’s death, the two girls had come into contact with each other. Eun Ji was nice to her and the psychic girl Si-Eun had accidentally saw her death. Si-Eun had passed out from the force of her vision and wasn’t able to save Eun Ji. However, she did manage to let Jung Woo know where Eun Ji’s body was. Jung woo was heartbroken when he found out his sister died and swore vengeance to find who did it. He suspected the neighborhood pharmacist who had a upstanding reputation had done it. He beings chasing him down, but no one would believe that the pharmacist was the culprit. Si-Eun even tries to use her powers to help him. Little by little, we find out about the pharmacist’s sordid and bloody past. His own family had died by his hands. Even without the police helping him, Jung Woo swore he would kill the pharmacist with his own hands for what he had done.

The movie itself did not have much dialogue as it relied mostly on cinematography and the actor’s expressions. Joo Won puts on a rural dialect to play role and the chase is thrilling since the pharmacist is physically a strong fighter and able to elude Jung Woo. He is also manipulative enough to escape the police and turn the tables in his favor. Poor Si-Eun plays a sister substitute to Jung Woo’s real sister after she passed away. He becomes protective of her and they fight against society themselves to bring about vengeance and survive the ordeal. All in all, a decent movie to pass the time, but not anything to write home about.

 

Bring it On, Ghost: Supernatural Duo

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SO CUTE. Kim So Hyun hits it out of the park again with her sassy, spunky, ghosty character paired with a straight-laced ghost fighter, Taecyeon. In this drama, Taec plays Bong Pal, a college freshman who makes a living fighting ghosts. He offers a public service where his customers pay him large sums to exorcise ghosts out of certain locations. However, the catch is that he only fights the weaker ghosts. One day, Taec is called to an abandoned girl’s high school to exorcise a strong perverted ghost. The girl who called him there is Hyun-Ji, a female ghost who has been dead for 5yrs, not a human like he expected.  Hyun Ji does not seem like the other ghosts who are gray and decaying in appearance. She still mysteriously retains her youthfulness and color. However, she does not remember anything about her past or how she died. Hyun Ji is very spunky and a good fighter as well.  At first, they are constantly getting into fights with one another. However, gradually they learn to work together to fight off the stronger and more brutal ghosts. She practically follows him around everyday due to one instance where their lips touched and she was able to see bits and pieces of her past. Of course, she tries to sneak in another “kiss” as an attempt to see her past, unsuccessfully. Bong Pal, at first finds her quite annoying, but gradually becomes accustomed to her presence in his life. Together, they manage to defeat ghosts by finding their weak spots and banishing them from the places they haunt.

So Hyun always makes her sassy characters fun and relatable. It is a joy to watch her grow and develop her acting career from such a young age to the beautiful young lady she is now. While Taec at first seems a little stiff on the acting front, it ends up working well with his character. His character is a little awkward, as he plays a loner who seems almost more comfortable talking to ghosts rather than humans. To add comedic effect is the Ghost Net duo who are constantly on the search for supernatural events and more members for their club. I would be just as scared as them if I participated in such ghostly adventures. For the villainy side, we have Hye Sung. On the outside, he seems to be the popular and kind veterinarian and professor. However, we are shown his creepy blank stare and special scar on his back for a more mysterious past. I wonder how he ties into the story. So far, I have good vibes about this drama and appreciate its brisk and fun pace.

 

Vampire Detective: A New Strain

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OH OH OCN, you have lured me into watching the 7th airing drama on my list. Vampires done the right way for once! In the lieu of Vampire Prosecutor (which I will watch one day), we have vampire detectives now! Lee Joon is Yoon-San, who originally attended police academy before messing up a special undercover operations with two other new officers. One of these officers was his girlfriend, who always wore a sun pendant. However, after the three of them barely escaped from a dangerous situation, his girlfriend starts acting weirdly. She ends up shooting Yoon-San in the chest, and then blows up with the car and the third officer. I guess in one way, you can see it as her trying to save him before the car blows up. Yoon-San is mystified and heartbroken at the the turn of events. After recovering from his wound, he decides to do private investigating instead of pursuing a path in police work. He and Goo-hyung make a living investigating everything from murders to affairs. One day, Gyeo-wool visits them and demands that they help her find out why her brother is acting suspicious. They end up running into more suspicious people who have a storage of blood samples and the boss is a woman wearing a sun pendant. This piques their interest and they decide to take the case. It turns out that her brother is actually a vampire who is researching different blood strains in order to save his girlfriend. However, things come to a head as the brother and girlfriend sacrifices their lives to protect the little sister. Before the brother passes, he injects his new blood strain into Yoon-San who had leapt into the path of a bullet to save Gyeo-wool. The blood saves Yoon-San’s life as his chest wound heals. The three are left in amazement at the aftermath of such events.

Vampires can either be done very well or end up in nonsense.  Luckily, as a spinoff of Vampire Prosecutor, we know we have good writing and cinematography behind the wheel of this drama. Fortunately at the helm of this drama is Lee Joon, an idol turned actor that I very much admired due to his previous works. He has a wide range of acting, and I especially enjoy the brooding type. I am interested to seeing how his new powers manifest and how it will aid his job. Furthermore, I want to know what is up with the sun pedant woman and if it is old girlfriend. As for Goo-hyung and Gyeo-wool, the other two legs of this detective agency, they make nice support and I hope to see them develop more into their own characters. I am already loving Geyo-wool who is street smart and already a big help to their multiple escapes.

Moorim School: X-Men Style

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To be honest, I came into Moorim School with pretty low expectations. While I do enjoy my “school” dramas, the premise didn’t sound too enticing. I am pleasantly surprised by how much I am looking forward to this bag of mixed tricks. Moorim School follows students from different walks of life who end up at this special institute where academics are taught in addition to martial arts (and supernatural abilities). We are introduced to Shi-Woo, top kpop idol star, who is starting to have hearing problems that he can’t find a cause for. These episodes of ringing in his ears are debilitating and pain for him. During one of his concerts, the overhead lights malfunctioned and started to drop. However, somehow he was able to slow the dropping through a possibly mystical force that he possessed. In this confusion, Sun-A, a girl who goes to Moorim School and admires Shi-Woo manages to save him from being crushed and tells him to go find her school. While Shi-Woo’s company tries to cut Shi Woo out because of his disability, Soon-Duk (another student of Moorim), manages to entangle herself in a scandal misunderstanding. This scandal brings down Shi-Woo’s career as a singer completely. Our third main player, Chi-Ang, a young chaebol (out of wedlock) coming from China is forced to go Moorim as he had dropped out of 22 other institutes. He butts heads with Shi-Woo on his first day back as his father is the one sponsoring the concert. They are both arrogant and hate each other on site. On his way to the school, he tries to run away and manages to almost drown himself. Soon-Duk manages to save him as well and he becomes infatuated with her. Somehow as Shi-Woo and Chi-Ang again cross paths on their way to the institute, their playground brawl sends them tumbling into a seal that had kept the school hidden. One or both of them were able to unlock the seal which garners the interest of the professors at the school. However, both of these new student have a hard time adjusting to their new environment. Which of course, ultimately ending in another brawl with a surprising showcase of their own hidden martial arts skills.

Even though I really want to continue the drama, the director has to figure out where he wants to go with it. I am feeling a mixed bag of thriller, mystery, supernatural, and romcom! It feels like each character is playing in a different series right now. With Soon-Duk doing some slapstick, Chi-Ang featuring in a romcom, and Shi-Woo angsting away. Counter this all with everyone being a school drama piece. I know we are only two episodes in so hopefully the director will find some stable ground soon. What really drew me in was that nicely choreographed fight scene at the end of episode two! How mysterious that both of them are already so versed in martial arts! Their past also seem to be entangled as with their future.