KDrama Starter Pack: The Flowerboys Starter Pack

 

The only rule for this starter pack is that the dramas on this list  celebrates our one-sided fictional love to kdrama oppas.  Nothing more, nothing less.  *chuckles  My list includes dramas with two lead guys battling for the lead girl’s heart, a drama with two or more handsome guys included in the cast, and a drama with unforgettable flower boy as a main lead.

 

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (2017) – The gamer CEO and police officer who fell in love with a strong woman

Park Hyung Sik as Ahn Min Hyuk and Ji Soo as In Gook Doo

Hwarang (2016-2017) – Silla period’s noble sons who became protector of the Kingdom

Hwarang Boys:  Park Seo Joon as Sun Woo, Park Hyung Sik as Ji Dwi, Choi Min Ho as Soo Ho, Do Ji Han as Ban Ryu, Kim Tae Hyung as Han Sung, Jo Yoon Woo as Kim Yeo Wool

Goblin (2016 – 2017) – Goblin, Grim Reaper and adopted chaebol nephew Bromance

Gong Yoo as Goblin, Lee Dong Wook as Grim Reaper and Yook Sung Jae as Duk Hwa

 

Legend of the Blue Sea (2016 – 2017) – Conman and Hacker Bromance

Lee Min Ho as Heo Joon Jae and Shin Won Ho as Tae Oh

 

Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds (2016) – The Prince, the bodyguard and the frenemy bromance

Park Bo Gum as Crown Prince Lee Young, Jin Young as Kim Yoon Sung and Kwak Dong Yun as Kim Byung Yun

 

Descendants of the Sun (2016) – Alpha Team + adopted newbie soldier bromance

Song Joong Ki as Big Boss, Jin Goo as Wolf, Park Hoon as Snoopy, Choi Woong as Harry Potter, Ahn Bo Yun as Piccolo and Kim Min Suk as Kim Ki Bum

 

W: Two Worlds (2016) – The manhwa character who is sexy in the imaginary realm and steamy in the real world

Lee Jong Suk as Kang Chul

 

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016) – The college boyfriend of our dreams

Nam Joo Hyuk as Jung Joon Hyung

 

Moonlovers:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016) – The dysfunctional brotherhood of Goryeo princes

 Lee Jun Ki as Wang So, Kang Ha Neul as Wang Wook, Hong Jong Hyung as Wang Yo, Kim San Mu as Wang Mu, Yoon Sun Woo as Wang Won, Byun Baek Hyun as Wang Eun, Nam Joo Hyuk as Wang Wook, and Ji Soo as Wang Jung

Something About 1% (2016) – The temperamental CEO who sure knows how to kiss

Ha Suk Jin as Lee Jae In

Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim (2016) – Doldam Hospital Staff Bromance

Yoo Yun Seok as Kang Dong Joo, Kim Min Jae as Park Eun Tak and Yang Se Jong as Do In Bum

Jealousy Incarnate (2016) – The best friends since birth who fell in love with the same girl bromance

Jo Jung Seok as Lee Hwa Shin and Go Kyung Pyo as Go Jung Won

Cinderella and the Four Knights (2016) – The Kang Cousins Bromance

Jung Il Woo as Kang Ji Woon, Ahn Jae Hyun as Kang Hyun Min and Lee Jung Shin as Kang Seo Woo

Reply 1988 (2015 – 2017) – The Ssangmundong Neighborhood Bromance

Park Bo Gum as Choi Taek, Ryu Jun Yul as Kim Jung Hwan, Go Kyung Pyo as Sun Woo and Lee Dong Hwi as Ryu Dong Ryung

Oh My Venus (2015 – 2016) – Kang Joo Eun’s Weight Management Bromance Team

So Ji Sub as Kim Young Ho, Sung Hoon as Jang Joon Sung and Henry as Kim Ji Woong

Sassy Go Go aka Cheer Up (2015)  – High School Cheerleading Bromance

Lee Won Geun as Kim Yool, Ji Soo as Seo Ha Joon and Cha Ha Kyun as Ha Dong Jae

She Was Pretty (2015) – The reserved Editor and the wacky wayward feature editor/famous novelist bromance

Park Seo Joon as Ji Sung Joon and Choi Si Won as Kim Shin Hyuk

Healer (2014 – 2015) – The Night Courier of our Dreams

Ji Chang Wook as Healer

You Who Came From the Stars (2013 – 2014) – The adorable Alien we all fell in love with

Kim Soo Hyun as Alien/ProfessorDo Min Joon

The Master’s Sun (2016) – The shining love of CEO and protective instinct of a bodyguard to a ghost-seeing woman

So Ji Sub as Joo Joong Won and Seo In Gook as Kang Woo

The Heirs (2013) – The Chaebol Sons Campus Bromance

Lee Min Ho as Kim Tan, Kim Woo Bin as Choi Young Do, Kang Ha Neul as Lee Hyo Shin, Kang Min Hyuk as Yoon Chan Young, Park Hyung Sik as Jo Myung Soo, Choi Jin Hyuk as Kim Won

Flowerboys Next Door – The pretty boys who loved the introverted girl

Yoon Shi Yoon as Enrique Geum, Kim Ji Hoon as Oh Jin Rak, Go Kyung pyo as Yoo Dong Hoon, Mizuta Kouki as Watanabe Ryu

Reply 1994 (2013) – The boarding house bromance

Jung Woo as Kim Jae Joon, Yoo Yoon Suk as Chil Bong, Son Heo Joon as Hae Tae, Bar as Kim Dong Joon, and Kim Sung Kyun as Kim Sung Kyun

Rooftop Prince (2012) – The time-traveling prince and his loyal retainers bromance

Park Yoo Chun as Lee Gak/Yong Tae Young,  Lee Min Ho as Song Man Bo, Choi Woo Shik as Do Chi San, and Jung Suk Won as Woo Yong Sul

Queen In Hyun’s Man (2012) – The Time Traveler Scholar from Joseon era

Ji Hyun Woo as Kim Boong Doo

The Moon that Embraces the Sun (2012) – The Royal Cousins Bromance

Kim Soo Hyun as Lee Hwon and Jung Il Woo as Prince Yang Myung

Bridal Mask/Gaksital (2012) – The heartbreaking and gritty bromance of Gaksital

Joo Won as Lee Kang To and Park Ki Woong as Kimura Shunji

Faith (2012) – The War General Who Loved His Time Transcending Girl

Lee Min Ho as General Choi Young

Reply 1997 (2012) – The quirky and reliable high school bromance

Seo In Guk as Yoon Yoon Je, Hoya as Kang Joon Hee, Eun Ji Won as Do Hak Chan and Lee Shi Eun as Bang Sung Jae

A Gentleman’s Dignity (2012) – The Blow-up F4 Bromance

Jang Dong Gun as Kim Do Jin, Kim Soo Roo as Im Tae San, Kim Min Jong as Choi Yoon and Lee Jong Hyuk as Lee Jung Rok

City Hunter (2011) – The casanova on a mission to avenge his father

Lee Min Ho as Lee Yoon Sung

Flower-boy Ramyun Shop (2011) – The Flower boys who were happy to serve us with a ramyun

Jung Il Woo as Cha Chi Soo, Lee Ki Woo as Choi Kang Hyuk, Park Min Woo as Kim Ba Wool and Jo Yoon Woo as Woo Hyun Woo

Myungwol the Spy (2011) – The charming top actor and North Korean spy bromance

Eric Moon as Kang Woo and Lee Jin Wook as Choi Ryu

The Greatest Love (2011) – The almost perfect battle over the lead girl between a top actor and a traditional doctor

Cha Seung Won as Dokko Jin and Yoon Kye Sang as Yoon Pil Joo

 

Scent of a Woman (2016) The flower boy who stayed with his love in sickness and in health

Lee Dong Wook as Kang Ji Wook

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010) – The Joseon Scholar Bromance

Park Yoo Chun as Lee Sun Joon, Yoo Ah In as Moon Jae Shin and Song Joong Ki as Goo Yong Ha

Personal Taste (2010) The flowerboy architect with a knee-weakening smile

Lee Min Ho as Jeon Jin Ho

Mischievous Kiss (2010) – The ideal high school crush any girl dreams about

Kim Hyun Joong as Baek Seung Jo

Secret Garden (2010) – The flowerboy CEO who can pull a sparkling jumpsuit like a dapper suit

Hyun Bin as Kim Joo Won

 

Boys Over Flowers (2009) – The rich high school boys’ bromance

Lee Min Ho as Gu Jun Pyo, Kim Hyun Joong as Yoon Ji Ho, Kim Bum as So Yi Jung and Kim Joon as Song Woo Bin


You’re Beautiful (2009) – The flower idol band who loved the same girl

Jang Geun Seuk as Hwang Tae Gyung, Jung Yong Hwa as Kang Shin Woo, Lee Hong Ki as Jeremy

One Mom Three Dads (2008) – The accidental flower – fathers

Jo Hyun Jae as Han Soo Hyun, Jae Hee as Choi Kwang Hee and Shin Sung Rok as Na Hwang Kyung Tae

The First Shop of Coffee Prince (2007) – The beautiful baristas, Coffee prince and his charming cousin

Gong Yoo as Choi Han Kyul, Lee Sun Gyun as Choi Han Sung, Kim Jae Wook as No Sun Ki, Kim Dong Wook as Jin Ha Rim, Lee Eun as Hwang Min Yup

 

Goong (2006) – The Prince Charmings of the Modern Korean Monarchy

Ju Ji Hoon as Crown Prince Lee Shin and Kim Jung Hoon as Prince Lee Yul

 

My Name is Kim Sam Soon (2005) – The dashing chaebol who loves his girl flabs and all

Hyun Bin as Hyun Jin Heon


Love Story in Harvard (2005) – The Aspiring Sweet Lawyers of Harvard 

Kim Rae Won as Kim Hyun Woo and Lee Jung Jin as Jung Min Hong

 

Full House (2005) – The debonairs of Full House

Bi as Lee Young Jae and Kim Sung Soo as Yoo Min Hyuk

 

What Happened in Bali (2005) – The tragic endings of two Romeos

Jo In Sung as Jung Jae Min and So Ji Sub as Kang In Wook

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Teacher Kim’s Life and Love Prescription

This is the only drama from the year-end group of 2016 that I have not written my thoughts yet on so I better take this opportunity before the 2017 opening dramas hit their endings.  *wink

I admit I miss Gregory House and Teacher Kim is a sure reminder of my favorite doctor TV character, so I willingly jump in his arms.  He is eccentric and yet brilliant… calculating and yet warm hearted.  He battled through the career sabotage that he had and emerged victorious through it all.

“Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim” narrated the story of an amazing triple board certified surgeon, Boo Yong Joo, who shunned his life to a remote provincial hospital when he became a victim of politics in the big city hospital he worked before.  There he met three young doctors whom he inspired and nurtured to become righteous and skilled surgeons.  But his past came haunting him back as the villain who pinned the medical malpractice to him before was determined to destroy him fully so he can achieve his greedy aspirations as the CEO of the top hospital in Seoul.  A VIP patient though left his operation in Teacher Kim’s hand, and the almost not possible to survive surgery was nailed deftly by Teacher Kim and his team leading him to redeem his stolen and lost glory.

I have not seen a lot of nicely done medical dramas in kdramaland so I did not set my hopes high when I was watching Romantic Doctor.  I am glad that the story progressed along with polished and make-sense connections of the surgeries showcased.  The characters’ stories moved well with the main conflict and provided resolutions to each character’s established problem whilst achieving the climactic bounce back from the focal conflict.  That is the case where “Doctor Crush” suffered, the ability to make a cohering plot to the character’s individual stories.

The teacher-student relationship between Teacher Kim and his young surgeons was well-played in presenting their strengths and weaknesses through the furtive ill-fated links they had with each other.  The romantic plot was just a bonus for its sassy insertion and for a refreshing note after those quick thrilling and emotional surgical side stories wrap up.

Teacher Kim and his team deserved the ratings they received because they worked well in delivering an outstanding cast ensembles in a genre that is hard to be successful on.  It will be hard not to like this drama because it knew well how to play with the audience mind and emotions in hooking them up till the very last episode.

It is hard to pin point where the drama struggled because it was well written and well executed by the cast.  Han Suk Kyu is a well-respected actor, and this is one definite reason why he has that reputation.  A perfect everyday drama to watch after work before you sleep, “Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim” will teach you love and life lessons taken from real life pain, bliss and experiences.

 

KDrama List and Ratings

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I constantly update this list on the mother page, so if you are reading it through this post, you can check this LINK for the most updated version.  I  have a separate page for my kdrama full series recaps and reviews which links I have included in this list as well.  This page is a good reference point for kdramas over the years since I have included quick reviews of those dramas that I did not write a full review on, but you might be curious if you are going to pick up or not.  There are still some that I have not seen, but I included the titles in case you might need it.  Also Reviews with Strikethroughs are not yet ready.  I will constantly update this page.  ^_^

I have rated it A(for Amazing), B+(for Breathtaking), B(for Beautiful), C+(for Cliche but Charming), C(for Crazy but Tolerable) D(for Disappointing), F(for Forget it).   I added additional tips for your reference.  My recent entries would be on a yearly basis from now on so the most recent dramas would be on the first entries.

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♥ Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (2017) – If you are on a k-drama slump, this will hook you up back to oppa-land.  The fast paced quirky rom-com promised an addictive run and delivered it in flying colors with a riveting thriller plot incorporated on the side.  It was a whimsical love ride with thugs, a psycho, a police, a gaming company CEO and a woman with extraordinary strength.  The labyrinth was a whirlwind of cuteness and mirth and everything a fan would ask k-drama gods for a gift. Consistently endearing with amusing surprises along the way, “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” is a steady delightful rom-com drama that deserve all the raves and hype from k-drama followers.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Series Review

sweet ride, noona romance, second lead syndrome… this will so far be my best rom-com recommendation

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Thriller     GRADE:  A

♥ Radiant Office (2017) – currently airing

♥ Whisper (2017) – currently airing

♥ Perfect Wife (2017) – currently airing

♥ Chief Kim (2017) – currently airing

♥ You Are Too Much (2017) – currently airing

♥ The Liar and His Lover (2017) – currently airing

♥ Tomorrow With You (2017) – This drama felt like a roller-coaster as I hiked on the twists and turns and got lost in time and space continuum.  It might even give a frustrating ride so consider you are forewarned if you are not used to a story that you have to analyze from start to finish.  Nevertheless I got my closure even if they fit it in less than 60 minutes.  So Joon and Ma Rin’s road to ever after was definitely something I would not dare to have, but they gave me lessons on how compromise, patience and love are essentials that secure an unwavering relationship. -jediprincess

Tomorrow With You Series Review

Focus and Patience!  Bring buckets of it when you watch it and you will be rewarded by Lee Je Hoon oppa’s sweet gestures and kisses

GENRE:  Romance, Drama, Supernatural     GRADE:  B

♥ Saimdang, Light’s Diary (2017) – currently airing

♥ Rebel:  The Thief who stole the people (2017) – currently airing

♥ Voice (2017) – review coming up

♥ Defendant (2017) – review coming up

♥ Missing 9 (2017) – parking lot

♥ Hwarang:  the Beginning (2016 – 2017) – Hwarang is definitely at par in terms of effective performance compared to fusion sageuk favorites due to its struggling plot momentum.  I’m not supposed to say this, but the pretty boys were really the reason why I stayed calm on my seat.  hahaha  If not really for their impeccable chemistry and gang fights ala Malfoy’s Gang and Dumbledore’s army, I would have not stayed afloat.

Hwarang Series Review

It was so promising if not for a lot of things that happened and was set aside.  This is where I got my first noona romance with Park Hyung Sik.

GENRE:  Period, Brotherhood, Romance     GRADE:  C

♥ The Lonely Shining Goblin (2016 – 2017) – “Goblin” affirmed my kdrama fan girl spirit with its addictive pace, perceptive characters, detailed back story and the exciting race to its closure.  I was at constant awe at how the yarning of the folklore and supernatural mise en scene fit so perfectly placed in the modern setting.  The cast portraying a whole new chimeric world that I want to be a part of moved through the story seamlessly alternating a wistful and lively performance that burrowed straight to my kdramaaddict heart. *chuckles

Goblin Series Review

The epic bromance and time transcending love will linger for a while in your heart

GENRE: Romance, Supernatural     GRADE:  A

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♥ The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016) – Legend of the Blue Sea was strong on the candied-heart-fluttering moments of Joon Jae and Cheong, but even stronger on relaying the couple’s sweet and yet agonizing journey to endure the love they have in the present in the pretext of a human-mermaid romance impossibility.  It neatly executed the narrative by using simple rules considering its metaphysical premise.  It modernized the reincarnation plot, by playing the resident drama fix of how love overcomes anything and beyond everything. 

Legend of the Blue Sea Series Review

The conman who can read his lady love’s mind sure gave me a lot of happy pills during those times

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Fantasy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim (2016) – I admit I was missing Gregory House a lot so I sought comfort in Teacher Kim’s arms.  I have not seen a lot of nicely done medical dramas in kdramaland so I did not set my hopes high in RDTK.  I am glad that the story progressed and closed deftly and neatly along with the surgeries.  A case where “Doctor Crush” suffered.

Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim Series Review

The engrossing narrative and  chemistry of the cast blended so well, I could not ask for more.

GENRE:  Medical, Drama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ The Good Wife (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Legal, Drama   GRADE:

♥ Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016) – I picked “Weightlifting Fairy” as one of the best kdramas of 2016 for being such a genuine coming of age story that beautifully captured the joy and pain and everything in between of being young… of building dreams and of falling in love for the first time. 

Weightlifting Fairy Series Review

Nam Joo Hyuk is kdrama gods’ gift to college girls and college girls at heart

GENRE:  Rom-com, Youth     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Entourage (2016) –  Dropped it somewhere along the way, as there was nothing going on in the story at all… I like Seo Kang Joon, but it was really a sad project.

You are still my crush Seo Kang Joon even when this drama felt like hell

GENRE:  Drama, Comedy, Bromance     GRADE:  F

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♥ Goodbye Mr. Black (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Action, Romance   GRADE:

♥ Jang Young Shil (2016) – parking lot

GENRE: Period, Drama   GRADE:

♥ The Man in Our House (2016) – I love Su Ae in Mask and some more of her works, but there was no hook for me even after watching Ep 8, so I gave up.

Love is not supposed to be inherited from your mom. period.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Drama     GRADE:  D

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♥ Madame Antoine (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy   GRADE:

♥ Neighborhood Lawyer Jo (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Legal, Drama   GRADE:

♥ Something About One Percent (2016) – Something About 1% is a surprise hit for me this year.  I was prepared to drop it after 4 episodes, but boy I fell in love with the kiss scenes, lol I mean the story.  *wink  As Lee Jae In sedated my grieving heart from Scarlet Heart Ryeo, it pushed me back to meaningful existence with his sweet smile and steamy gazes.  This amazingly done rom-com darted cheesy and predictable.  Even now I still wonder how I got so addicted with everything so unadorned about it.

Something About One Percent Series Review

Dear Lee Jae In, you had me at your kisses.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy   GRADE:  B+

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♥ K2 (2016) – oppa miyane i will work on you soon

K2 Series Review

GENRE:  Action, Drama, Romance     GRADE:

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♥ Dear My Friends (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Drama  GRADE:

♥ Drinking Solo (2016) – What drew me to watching “Drinking Solo” was the simple storytelling, setting and character building.  It was a plain picture of the struggles of students taking lessons to pass the civil service exam and the battles of the instructors in surviving the present day adult life complications versus those idealistic dreams they had when they were young.  The love concerns inserted were additional bonus in amusing myself in watching the cast move on with their fictional life.  

Drinking Solo Series Review

Cheers to a drama that celebrates the singlehood life

GENRE:  Drama, Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  C+

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♥ Beautiful Mind (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Medical, Thriller  GRADE:

♥ Shopping King Louie (2016) – While everything in kdramaland was serious in polishing the story and rendering remarkable character portrayals, “Shopping King Louis” came along like a comfort food frocking in all positivity it can have.  Though having a simple premise, Bok Sil and Louis were entertaining me with their sweet and hilarious chemistry.  The light and upbeat pace matches the optimism of the main leads.  

Shopping King Louie Series Review

This is a good drama to watch after wrenching your heart in Scarlet Heart and Uncontrollably Fond

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy   GRADE:  B

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♥ Oh My Geum Bi (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Family, Comedy   GRADE:

♥ On the Way to the Airport (2016) – We normally get those kind of third-party love affair stories, and we never achieve a proper explanation on the reason why people involve themselves in an illicit affair. “On the way to the Airport” touches this sensitive marital issue in a classy way that will make you cheer and understand why a man and a woman got caught in an entanglement behind their husband and wife’s back. What the story brought about is how marriage can be broken even with the most rational mind when a person finds a willing heart who can share his pain.
I like how subtle the approach is in tackling adultery in the narrative maybe because the writer sketched valid presentation of those phases that make a person lose the love he felt with his lover along the way.

On the Way to the Airport Series Review

How to be unfaithful to your spouse gracefully…

GENRE:  Romance, Drama     GRADE:  B

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♥ Laurel Tree Tailors (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Family   GRADE:

♥ Monster (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama   GRADE:

♥ Love in the Moonlight aka Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds (2016) – Eventhough Lee Young and Hong Ra On will not be hitting the pinnacle of my best dramas this year, the full drama package was commendable due to its poignant sketching of the main characters and the writer’s impeccable timing to pin me on my spot and not sway away from following the story in those moments when I almost did.  Drawn on a historical premise, “Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds” is a sweet drama treat brimming with giddy-ish scenes that will make you reminisce that once special love when you were young.

Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds Series Review

Crown Prince Park Bo Gum effect at its best

GENRE:  Period, Drama, Romance     GRADE:  B

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♥ Woman with a Suitcase (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy   GRADE:

♥ Moonlovers:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016) –  Albeit the tormenting emotional strain I got with Scarlet Heart Ryeo, it will belong on my favorites for this year because I love that it became even more believable and fervent due to the plot’s instability and the main characters indecisiveness.  It was a situation that might have killed the drama, but because the essential character motivations were clearly drawn, as a viewer I enjoyed that feeble  and vulnerable facet of the production.  Even with the unfazed heartrending tone all throughout, I take Scarlet Heart Ryeo with all my heart because I believe that a happy ending does not measure how great a love can be.

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Series Review

The series aftermath pained and haunted me.  4th Prince So, I’m here for you now, tomorrow and everyday in between.

GENRE:  Period, Supernatural, Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B

♥ Marriage Contract (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Drama  GRADE:

♥ Fantastic (2016) – Even with the dying premise, I have grown to love “Fantastic” because of the dexterous cast and how they blend together supporting each other’s friendship and stories.  Fantastic is an optimistic story that not only encourages through its love theme, but also with how the main characters were able to leave really cool life lessons as they tackled the roles they played in the narrative.

Fantastic Series Review

The feisty writer and her journey to love and sickness is an uplifting story of how a woman who braves the odds through the encouragement of her loved ones

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy   GRADE:  C+

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♥ Wanted (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Thriller, Drama  GRADE:

♥ Jealousy Incarnate (2016) – Sure, there were a lot going on in “Jealousy Incarnate” that sometimes the sporadic mini plots did not equate well to its overall make, but the eager and vibrant cast made up to that missing push the story failed to achieve.  Honestly the safe ever-after ending failed to complement those strong moments of the lead cast along with the story conflict they had to face together hilariously and painfully.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy the sweet ride and the endearing couple who tackled the friendship defying love chase.

Jealousy Incarnate Series Review

It was good while it lasts.  There were highs and lows, but the ending went to autopilot mode

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  C+

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♥Vampire Detective (2016) – parking lot

GENRE: Supernatural, Action   GRADE:

♥ Cinderella and the Four Knights (2016) – Well at least you can get ample fan service to this story of cousins who were tamed harmoniously by a girl who was hired by their grandfather.  The characters were endearing but the story was too trite.

Cinderella and the Four Knights Series Review

See how much I love you Jung Il Woo oppa?  After your army duty please deviate from this kind of dramas.  

GENRE:  Youth, Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  C+

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♥Let’s Fight Ghost (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy   GRADE:

♥ W: Two Worlds (2016) – Less the staggering twists and turns that were ever present in the narrative, I still like how “W:TwoWorlds” was so ambitious on how it vividly displayed and chronicled a love story that defied alternate universe.  It maneuvered to constant deviation and possibilities having the premise of “everything is possible to happen as long as they can draw it”.  I love smart characters playing in the story so I have to give it to Yeon Joo on how she perceives efficiently in moments when Kang Chul is hindered by the limitations of his heroic role which was dependent on his fictional character.  All throughout its showing, I was immersed on the extent of chimeric world the story would thread to, even when it hit a frustrating circle, but then it bounced back to a neatly delineated denouement although I would have wanted for another hour of extension.  

W Two Worlds Series Review

Interesting Note:  It would have been so perfect if not for the midway confusion and safe landing

GENRE:  Supernatural, Romance, Thriller     GRADE:  B

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♥Mrs. Cop 2 (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Crime, Thriller  GRADE:

♥ Age of Youth (2016) – Tailored to show the common faces of women, this honest drama has a melancholic resonance as it progressed to strengthening the bond of the 5 women living together in a dormitory who all have baggages from their past that haunt them in their present lives.  “Age of Youth” is a retrospective youth drama about women in their 20’s. The five ladies promenaded their love inhibitions, self-esteem issues, school worries, what happens after school disappointments and all the rest of typical predicaments, 20’s women usually worry about.

Age of Youth Series Review

GENRE:  Youth, Drama, Romance     GRADE:  B

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♥Miss Temper and Nam Jun Gi (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy   GRADE:

♥ Uncontrollably Fond (2016) – The thing about Uncontrollably Fond is that it tapped into those memories of lost and depressing love that people don’t want to look back anymore in their lives.  It was not a happy-ever-after kind of romance that appeals typically to almost anyone, instead it delved to the most shameful, most regretful and most painful things anyone can do because of love.  Uncontrollably Fond won’t appeal to those who craved light and sweet type of romantic stories you can indulge to this narrative but be aware that you will be put on tormenting spot most of the time.  Though deemed to have been badly written, there was a thread that held the loyal viewers and that’s the dying scenario of the lead man.  I stayed until the end because I believe that not all love stories are wrapped in kisses and sweet memories.  There are those that are melancholic and yet lives on as someone’s one great love.

Uncontrollably Fond Series Review

Disclaimer:  Prepare a lot of tissue and patience

GENRE:  Melodrama, Romance     GRADE:  C+

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♥ This Week My Wife is Having an Affair (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy   GRADE:

♥ Doctors (2016) – I credit the starpower of the cast for raking in high ratings.  Even though the story did not deserve it at the very least.  When the surgeries took over the story, it was a feeling of journeying to Mt. Mordor to destroy the one ring of them all for me.  I was tired needing an elixir of life that would push me to understand if I was watching a drama or I’m learning to become a doctor through a confused medical documentary.  The writing was so bad it did not even complement the character sketches when they could have expanded it more given the complexity of the main roles drawn.  A little believable sprinkle of love complications would have broken the languid development of the story, but they throw in a lovable second male lead who settled to the proverbial fate of second lead syndrome.

Doctors Series Review

Disclaimer:  Kim Rae Won oppa wae?! wae?! wae?!

GENRE:  Medical, Melodrama     GRADE:  C

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♥ Oh Hae Young Again (2016) – Another Oh Hae Young took me by surprise because I was not hooked on its opening episodes.  I gave it another chance because I know how great Eric Moon was in his previous roles and I’m happy I didn’t give up easily.  The love progression was realistic and at the same time surreal.  It tapped on those moments when we were all left hanging and indecisive to admit that we were in love.

OH HAE YOUNG AGAIN SERIES REVIEW

Romance Meter:  Messy, heartfelt and blissfully sweet

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama, Comedy     GRADE:  A

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♥ Task Force 38 (2016) – Task Force 38 is straight to the point with the premise, the conflict, and how the people moving in the story resolved and closed it.  It helped that even with the serious topic, the protagonists were drawn as suave robinhood and upright citizen who only wanted to make sure that no one is above the law in paying taxes.  True it made use of an illegal approach to defeat the baddies by brewing schemes to make them forcedfully pay what they owe which is still technically bad, but it fairly explained the limited options in stopping corruption when the people responsible for it are puppets of organized crime group.  Life really has inconvenient realities that can’t be dealt with by justice.  So as long as you get to the resolution even if the means defy law as long as there are no life threatened, then just settle with it.

Task Force 38 Series Review

Plus Factor:  The con team blended so well

GENRE:  Crime, Heist, Drama     GRADE: B  

♥ Mirror of the Witch (2016) – I have a thing for witchcraft stories that’s maybe why I found the story appealing.  The magical rules mixed with folklore and saving the long lost princess sprinted to a sporadic run, but managed to enchant me up until the very last round.  Mirror of the Witch target specific audience like me who believe Hogwarts really exist.  Though lacking in terms of polished storytelling, stubborn conflicts and saddening ending, if you want a breather or an alternative to kdrama cliches then plunge on it.

Mirror of the Witch Series Review

Interesting Note:  The supernatural ride was frustratingly fun

GENRE:  Supernatural, Romance     GRADE:  C

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♥ Beautiful Gong Shim (2016) – A typical neighborhood love that bloomed from pure trust and understanding between unexpected friends and their journey to acknowledge that they were built so perfectly for each other because it is their destiny to fall in love eventually. Crossing the line between friends and romance requires a courageous stance that you know what you are doing and you are prepared to take a leap of faith. Love is not romance until it is reciprocated. The impeccable sassy and cheesy chemistry of Dan Tae and Gong Shim has had me on laughing fits most of the time.  Their comic characters were drawn so well and so compatible to each other that they compensated to the predictable plot of the series.  KDramas are known for the weird-looking kisses but the delightful love couple made sure to redefine the awkward kiss scenes and made me giggle a lot with the enchanting build up of their love story.

BEAUTIFUL GONG SHIM SERIES REVIEW

Interesting Note:  For some odd reason it will endear you with its simplicity

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  C+

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♥  Lucky Romance (2016) – The yin-yang love battle between the science oriented lead man and the superstitious heroine started cute, stayed sweet and hilarious but pushed its luck too far in securing a safe ending.  That being said, I won’t whine but I won’t give high praises for it.  Lucky romance is like your summer fling, it was good while it lasted, but then eventually when it ended, there was no lingering feeling.

LUCKY ROMANCE SERIES REVIEW

Sad Note:  It has a lot of promise but…the heroine was indecisive and full of worries

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy  GRADE:  C

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♥ One More Happy Ending (2016) – Cooked and prepared like your average romcom, One More Happy Ending was a delightful watch.  I would like also to applaud the strong side stories of the supporting characters which were equally vibrant as the main love story.  The plot delved on the varying emotions of women struggling to keep up with love and relationship.  The marriage camp and relationship board sticker ideas were also some of the cutesies I will remember about this refreshing romcom.  This most likely will appeal to singles in 30’s who have failed their marriage once… who are finding the love lost along the way in their current marriage… who are unsure of finally settling down and who have been waiting for the right person to come along.

ONE MORE HAPPY ENDING SERIES REVIEW

love second chances affirming drama

GENRE:  Rom-com, Friendship     GRADE:  C+

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♥ Come Back Ajussi (2016) – parking lot or will watch it again if Rain oppa will give a good kdrama in the future.  I just can’t go back without dozing on it anymore.

Crazy note:  The cast was great, the writing was not

GENRE:  Romance, Supernatural     GRADE:  D

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♥ Entertainer (2016) – Sadly, in my melancholic attempt to look back on “Entertainer”, there’s nothing much that I remember about it, no matter how much heart Ji Sung oppa gave to the drama.  The story as a whole was not something that I would reminisce in the future.   Sure there were a little highlighted moments especially those musical performances but they were overshadowed by the lack of the vibrancy of the storytelling.   So I’ll be making this a very quick review.  Skip it when you have a pile of kdrama on queue to watch.  Even if you will watch it for Ji Sung oppa, there’s nothing much oppa-happiness-pill that you would get anyway, so settle with other dramas that would make the most out of your time.  I watched it because I was counting on Ji Sung oppa’s choice given that I liked most of the dramas he did, but there’s really nothing much going on. 

ENTERTAINER SERIES REVIEW

Disclaimer:  Remember how sad it was when Dobby died

You would wonder how Ji Sung oppa even took this drama

GENRE:  Drama, Musical, Romance     GRADE:  D

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♥ Flower in Prison (2016) – Bracing myself with a lengthy period drama run, what hooked my loyalty to weekender “Flower in Prison” was its balanced execution of political struggle, neat narrative, infuriating villains and optimistic underdogs. I journeyed with the heroine Ok Nyeo in exploring the situation of state prison, merchant organization as well as the early days of defending crime convicted victims who can’t fend for themselves circa Joseon era.

FLOWER IN PRISON SERIES REVIEW

Disclaimer:  It had a pretty much brilliant run, but a little frustrating in the end

GENRE:  Period, Drama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Five Children (2016) – Second serving of love has never been this lively until these adorable families connected through marriages and made their family even bigger, wackier and happier.  “Five Children” was the first family weekend drama I finished and it was a feat I’m so proud of because it was 54 episodes.

FIVE CHILDREN SERIES REVIEW

Interesting Note:  The secondary romance were better than the main one

GENRE:  Family, Romance     GRADE:  B

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♥ Jackpot (2016) – Jackpot managed to nail the fundamental elements of a historical drama.  It has a thrilling plot with Joseon gambling scene on the side, birth secret and family issues, conspiracy woven conflicts and the strong showdowns of the villain and the hero. Though it may not be perfect, it presented a solid story that didn’t go astray but focused on the main character’ discovery of the lessons they have to learn on their own journeys.

JACKPOT SERIES REVIEW

GENRE:  Historical, Drama  GRADE:  C+

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♥ The Neighborhood Hero (2016) – parking lot I still trust you Park Shi Hoo oppa

Neighborhood Hero Series Review

GENRE:  Thriller, Drama, Crime     GRADE:

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♥ Descendants of the Sun (2016) Creating a 3rd Hallyu wave, Descendants of the Sun defied the spring boring drama stigma and emerged with an amazing story that captured the hearts of the viewers.  Definitely one of the best for 2016.

Descendants of the Sun Series Review

Romance Meter:  Captain Yoo Si Jin was made for us girls but let’s have some boundaries.  I will take the lips.  *blush

Addiction Alert:  Will Hook you from Episode 1

GENRE:  Romance, Drama    GRADE:  A

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♥ Signal (2016) – Signal tells about two police officers from the past and present communicating through a broken radio in solving cases that were happening in the past and were re-opened from cold cases vault in the present.  The cases involved led them to discovering the connection they had in the past and the clues from the present to be given, so the future can be changed to save them and their loved ones.

Signal Korean Drama Series Review

Plus Factor:  Brilliant use of time element

GENRE:  Thriller, Drama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Master God of Noodles (2016) – parking lot

GENRE:  Romance, Drama   GRADE:

♥ Cheese in the Trap (2016) – I don’t know how to start my thoughts about this drama but I will try.  It felt like that sweetest romance you had which turned a nightmare overnight.  I want to blame the writer and PD for sleepwalking somewhere, but out of the initial cutesies  and romance, I will try  to be forgiving.  It was still not as bad as “Big” drama but it was a case of a company not being able to put up with its employees’ rallies settled amicably to giving some chocolates, going to the moon and just disappearing to the unknown.  Haha

Cheese in the Trap Series Review

Disclaimer:  The love vibes was vibrant on the first half and just like a playful love… but it disappeared without any explanation

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy  GRADE:  D

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♥ Remember: Son’s War (2016) – Remember:  Son’s War came strong to my attention once it hit the TV waves.  It was heading in a thrilling direction where revenge is the premise and where the characters can’t trust one another.

Remember:  Son’s War Series Review

Cry-o-Meter:  Prepare half tissue roll for the heartfelt scenes

GRADE:  Court Drama, Revenge     GRADE:  B Read more

dear Goblin, saranghae.

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1.  Hello  breathtaking cinematography!
2.  Gong Yoo oppa in long mane and warrior clothing is hot.
3.  Thank kdramagod we don’t linger much on the backstory.
4.  That is a fiery red scarf.
5.  If the Grim Reaper with kissable lips will escort me to after life, I will gladly oblige.
6.  The gutsy heroine had me at that cheery love declaration.
7.  Autumn in Canada is pretty.
8.  Cohabitation with two hot guys with supernatural powers is such an intoxicating kdrama plot.
9.  Goblin and Grim Reaper struggling with smartphone is epic.
10.  Goblin ruminating on the pros and cons of loving his bride is hilariously cute.
11.  I’ve got to give it to Lee Dong Wook for bringing out the Grim Reaper’s adorable character.
12.  Goblin and Grim Reaper is the best bromance ever.
13.  Seriously, that villain is creepy.
14.  All the pieces are laid out, it breaks my heart on the ill-fated love of Wang Yeo and the Queen.
15.  *sob This Wang Yeo – Kim Shin reveal drained my tears.
16.  Hail to the second leads and to that emotional kiss-me-forget-me scene.
17.  Wow!  Just wow!  That Episode 13 is like a full movie in acting and plot scale magnitude.
18.  True love rules!  Yay for Eun Tak summoning Goblin back from limbo.
19.  Just as how I love the pain, forgiveness and reconciliation between Goblin and Grim Reaper, I was sad to see Reaper voyage to his next life.
20.  How many times are you going to make me cry?  Why did she have to die?
21.  Dear Goblin, it’s me Abby.  I’m here for you, I still have three lives in case your bride will take time to reincarnate.
22.  I wish Sunny and Grim Reaper’s future lives linger more, but it’s the drama’s last episode.
23.  I think any girl wishes now to have a summoning power to the man they love.
24.  Oh there you are Ji Eun Tak, yes Maam, you are the one and only Goblin’s bride.
25.  Goodbye Goblin!  *saranghae

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Arguably the best korean drama that aired for 2016, “Goblin” affirmed my kdrama fan girl spirit with its addictive pace, perceptive characters, detailed back story and the exciting race to its closure.  I was at constant awe at how the yarning of the folklore and supernatural mise en scene fit so perfectly placed in the modern setting.  The cast portraying a whole new chimeric world that I want to be a part of moved through the story seamlessly alternating a wistful and lively performance that burrowed straight to my kdramaaddict heart. *chuckles

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Cursed to immortality, a Goryeo warrior captain lived for 9 centuries waiting for his bride that will vanquish the jinx laid by a deity.  He finally meets his bride who has the ability to see ghost and has been aware of her status through the metaphysical grapevine gossips she heard through the years.  Goblin fell in love with her in the process and she is all willing to wield the sword stuck on his chest not knowing that by doing so, it will make him vanish.  Their romance bloomed fully, but they had to face the villain responsible for Goblin’s immortal fate.  Goblin used the stuck sword to finally kill the ghost fiend and was transported to a limbo clear of his initial curse, but trapped and had to journey for years to be with his bride again.  10 years later, Eun Tak who has always been bothered by missing pieces she felt in her heart but lost in her memories, summoned Goblin back to her world through her honest and painful longing.  Goblin worked on winning her back and her memories of him were retrieved and they finally tied the knot.  Just as they had a taste of the love they so bravely fought, Eun Tak who has lived a borrowed life faced death when she sacrificed herself to save a bus loaded with school children.  Years after, Eun Tak was reincarnated on her second life and sought the man she vowed she will only love for the rest of their lifetimes.

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The summary does not justify all that happened in the story as the cast were intricately connected through their past and present lives.  What made Goblin such a novelty for a love story with transcendental element is how it neatly blended the mystical notes and sensible realities to propel the narrative without losing focus and as simply told as it can be.  The drama made me yearn a romantic interlude with men like Goblin or Grim Reaper.  I was on a long moony phase struck with the impact of the characters who fervidly brought life to their sketched personas.

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 Goblin marked all the bullet points of a lingering story eventhough the metaphysical milieu was very tricky. Although set on a melancholic tone, the dynamics of the cast and the lively humor cushioned the viewers so well given its inevitable tragic scenario ending.  At times there are moments when it was languid, but it was necessary for the built up of the character connections to make the climactic conflict confrontation solid and stunning.

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Breathtaking – Goblin has always been beautifully done from its cinematography, storyline and character portrayals.  The writer did a lot of impossible tweaks and conceived an intricate realm and made sure that she will succeed on the labyrinth she has set for her story.  With actors embracing their roles so well, the exquisite tale of a man searching for the woman to end his immortality curse established a memory that kdramaland followers will still love in the future.

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There are a lot of things to rave about “Goblin”, but I feel like Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook’s stellar chemistry in their very own bromantic world was what kept me in love with this drama as a whole.  Sure the love lines for the main and second leads were notable, but the supernatural boys swept me off my feet with how they kept up with human induced emotional conflicts that their powers can’t resolve.  Kim Go Eun and Yoo In Na were both amazing in their roles and a great support to the main character’s chronicle.  The heartrending love rides these foursome sojourned yielded a memorable impact due to the efficient layering of the reincarnation plot.

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Goblin explored the boundless creativity of Korean culture through writer Kim Eun Sook’s sweet story manipulation.  See for yourself why this drama raised a cult following.

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The time transcending pure love of a mermaid to a conman

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A lot of expectations were already thrown at this drama even before it was airing due to A-list actors and top writer/director headlining the production.  I say it did exceptional in maintaining the fantasy, romance and comedy as it progressed along the story.  His hero projection to his lead girl in a refreshing and a quirky run I thought he won’t be able to pull off.  I was so fond of Jun Ji Hyun’s inventive approach to suit up her role in a fun, lingering kind of way.

True, that it can’t be helped for it to be compared with “You From Another Star”, having the same psycho villain and supernatural love defying theme, but the base fairytale approach that seems to be familiar to anyone is most likely the key ingredient to its delightful run. 

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Lee Min Ho overturned the table and took in the reign of carrying the story by leveling up to Jun Ji Hyun’s expected brilliant portrayal by polishing his comic timing halfway through the narrative.  His hero projection to his lead girl in a refreshing and a quirky run I thought he won’t be able to pull off.  He owned Heo Joon Jae’s character so well that I can finally say he’s grown from a pretty face to a now versatile bankable actor.  On the other side, Jun Ji Hyun’s inventive approach to suit up her role in a fun, lingering kind of way made me cracked up a lot of times because of her optimistic approach to her new-found world.  Her love ride with Heo Joon Jae was an amusing and love-affirming watch as they learned to understand each other’s flaw and adjust when necessary in appeasing their fears and celebrating what makes them happy.

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The fusion of reincarnation plot and the mermaid-human romance appeared trite on its onset, but as the plot thickened, it felt like the mythical element was stronger as the driving point than the real-life premise projected in the story.  Another thing that was nicely done by the writer was how the melancholia of the past timeline seemed to complement the quirky flow of the present timeline.  Legend of the Blue Sea made me smile a lot and warmed my heart as I cheered on the impossible fulfilment of Cheong and Joon Jae’s reincarnated romance.  It effortlessly kept me piqued on how the plot will unfold and did not give me a slight annoyance because it came well prepared on its weekly spectacle and knows when to trigger the adorable points and cast the entrancing spell for me to stay invested on its future. 

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I struggled giving the proper love “Legend of the Blue Sea” deserves because it is airing with equally amazing dramas on its run, but I remained steadfast and faithful even with the penultimate episode’s joke.  

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The consistency of the plot while using alternate timelines of the past and the present would have gone ambiguous.  But the writer strategically switched the focal character point from the heroine on its preliminary episodes, then maneuvered to the hero halfway through the story, and converged them in equilibrium as we hit the waning events and push through the conflict resolution.  “Legend of the Blue Sea” succeeds in a lively pace of intelligent storytelling with smart characters you will not hate as they don’t play dumb at hindrances thrown at them. 

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Having time-transcending and supernatural love defying themes appeared to be ambitious and risky due to its tendencies of not being able to expound on the development of the characters moving in the story.   But the base fairytale approach that seems to be familiar to anyone is most likely the key ingredient to its engaging ride. 

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I was impressed on how the story stayed focus while fusing the two timelines by not over-using the technicalities and details, but by enhancing the emotional connection of the main leads.  Instead of me having a kdramaaddict moment like “why is Cheong physically adept in the present but not in the past?”, I was more of “come on now, he took a harpoon from the past to save her and she took a bullet for him in the present, let’s give them the ever-after they deserve”.

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I chose to say the best things about this drama given that it was steadily amazing on its ride.  Each episode was a satisfying watch that propelled me to look forward on how the story will unfold.  My only issue was the safe landing or more of auto-pilot ending on the last episode.

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Legend of the Blue Sea was strong on the candied-heart-fluttering moments of Joon Jae and Cheong, but even stronger on relaying the couple’s sweet and yet agonizing journey to endure the love they have in the present in the pretext of a human-mermaid romance impossibility.  It neatly executed the narrative by using simple rules considering its metaphysical premise.  It modernized the reincarnation plot, by playing the resident drama fix of how love overcomes anything and beyond everything. 

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The Sweets and Surprises of 2016 KDramaland

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Limitless and scintillating in showcasing varied stories for 2016, this by far is the best Hallyu-Drama flaunting in my 11 years of K-drama stalking.  It was a year of no specific recurring theme, interestingly imagined premise and mostly character-driven plots.

 

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We saw a lot of memorable characters and narratives that kept k-drama faithful like me on panda eyes in trying to keep up with the amazingly consistent stretch of these creatively crafted stories.  I don’t have any disappointing rant for this year’s parade given that even those mediocrely done productions delivered strong moments in their run.  So, in closing my kdrama experience, I would like to walk down the memory lane on those fiction- driven moments that touched my pure heart, revived my broken heart and stirred my strong heart.  Join me drift away to calming felicity, biting agony and sweet oblivion in reminiscing the diverse beauty definitions brandished by kdramaland players this year.  Here are dramapills perfect for when you can’t seem to understand your emotional outbreaks or when you just want to be alone and to relax.

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THE RUNAWAY HITS

 

Descendants of the Sun

comfort food + bubble wrap = your dream love story

Dazed and intoxicated in a fictional one-sided love, I got more than what I bargained for choosing “Descendants of the Sun” as my first pick this year in my favorites and placing it on my all-time-favorite list.   And no, it’s not because of Captain Yoo Si Jin’s dashing and magnetic appeal nor the running topless army guys doing their morning routine.  It is simply because it deserves all the hype and kdrama addicts’ rave it got because of its superb screenplay and well-executed story.
Rarely do we get a story in drama land that is so affecting when the narrative is relying on the love plot.  Most of the time it maintains a decent showing but in the waning part of the series it will lose its magic.  No romance kdrama has made it to my top favorites basing on the screenplay and the acting.  What they all failed to achieve, DOTS casually slayed in a watch-us-this-is-how-it-should-be-done manner.

The drama was pre-produced and raked millions with its budget.  KBS gambled in taking over the drama meant to go to SBS, but the risk paid off a thousand-fold because of its success.  So why did a drama set in a not so positive environment won over the viewers’ hearts?  The applause it got can be attributed to how fit the actors to their characters were, the realistic-sometimes-cheesy-most-of-the-time-pure-love of the main characters, the snappy lines, the giggle inducing captured frames and how the story depended on the fulfilment of the romance just as the romance bloomed because of the flowing story. 

The issues resolved in the story focused on braving the odds for love and the death defying conflict in the finishing kick of the series.  The charm of Captain Yoo Si Jin would have not been possible if his lead girl was not as endearing as our clever surgeon Mo Yeon.  I must admit that episode 15 was the weakest episode because it struggled in a denouement or conflict limbo.  I was hoping the finale week would just be a fan service but they scared me when I thought it would push an open-ended closure or everything-is-a-dream-lead-man-is-dead ending.  That’s the only negative point I had in its entirety, but given the balanced conception of a drama thriving in a love premise, it was forgivable.

I gave a 10/10 score for Descendants of the Sun for its ingenuity in capturing the heartfelt romance even with violence and disaster plot.  It left lessons on patriotism, life, career and friendship.  There are stories that need not to be embellished because they can stand alone when you chronicle it without confusion and with a direction.

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Another Oh Hae Young

Princess Leia Organa + Cinderella = one strong, romantic woman in love

“Another Oh Hae Young” was as prettily written as Descendants of the Sun, but even more heartfelt because of the realistic approach of the love plot.  The kisses were intense, the arguments were heart-wrenching, and the scenarios created were what you did in a real love world.  

We typically get utopian love stories, but that was not the case for “Another Oh Hae Young”, they shared the pain and the bliss in its barest and heart piercing manner.  What drew the viewers is how the angst and confusion of qualifying love was stripped to its messiest and yet sweetest state just how someone would remember how he fought for his one great passionate love.

I think anyone who has loved someone to the point of being drained and crazy will have a weep fest watching the drama.  I can only imagine the heartbreak the writer of this drama had experienced in his life to capture the real emotion someone must go through when he is bargaining with love and when he is angry and missing the person at the same time.

If there’s one lesson Oh Hae Young and Park Do Kyung’s romance would leave their viewers is that how you don’t overthink when you intend to love someone all the way… how you say I love you because that’s what you felt at that moment… and how you embrace the love feeling because you believe it to be true.  

Another Oh Hae Young is not just your typical rom-com drama.  It takes pride on its keen perception of the difference between how a man and a woman take on distinct approaches on loving someone while weighing on their pre- conceived inhibitions that the relationship might not work.  It tackled playfully and seriously the kind of love someone can give after learning lessons from a heartbreak.

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Something About 1%

A magical stone that can grant you a wish to get the oppa of your dreams + sweet kisses = pure bliss

With its swift format following how web dramas usually are, it managed to fully explore the story with each closing chapter, and that’s a feat hard to maintain given the limited minutes for online dramas.  The lead couple’s chemistry is spot on in delivering those knee-weakening scenarios courtesy of the dapper lead man and the sunny disposition of the heroine. It will make any girl squeal on her pillow as the drama generously displayed heart-fluttering scenes every chance they can get.  I swear you can feel how melting the kisses were by Jae In and it will literally emanate from the TV screen straight to your parted lips. For those who religiously follow Korean dramas we all know how the trend is for the lip locks — fish-like and boring, so be prepared for strings of whoa! and kyaaa on those extended smooching frames because Ha Suk Jin oppa knows how to feast on the romantic ride and will put you on a lovestruck-fangirl-trance and turn your eyeballs to hearts.  *kkk

This amazingly done rom-com darted cheesy and predictable.  Even now I still wonder how I got so addicted with everything so unadorned about it.  The premise of contract relationship has tendencies to overkill rom-com tropes if not executed with the right amount of love chemistry progression.  What made me got hooked in the story of Da Hyun and Jae in was how their romance happened like how it should be… by sharing conversations, bickering and meaningful events.  They were on a clear agreement that strings will not be attached only to succumb to the emotion that sprung because they willingly involved time to spend with one another.  They were intending not to cross the wall they set initially, only to be struck on the reality of how binding shared memories can be in a relationship.

Something About One Percent was brilliant in creating simple situations for the main leads and turning it to cohering pieces that has fulfilled a stunning love narrative.  The vibrancy of the heroine’s character complements the temperament of the lead man leading to a charming yin-yang romance.   It was refreshing to feel a romance drama that is not fortified with misplaced conflicts and negative vibes.  It may not be that polished or creatively conceived with twist and turns and top actors that can make such a romantic drama spree amazing.  But it is with its heartfelt and pure storytelling that made me pick it as one of my favorites for 2016.  There was no special frosting and extraordinary premise Jae In and Da Hyun went through to arrive in that moment when they realized they love each other.  They were just there letting love happen through their shared memories.  The simplicity of the romantic narrative won me over.  It made me reminisce those unadulterated girl crushes I had when I was younger.  “Something About One Percent” engrossed me because the love built up came in so natural and sweet.  Something that pierced those old love memories I had when they were not yet nightmares.  *chuckles

Focusing on the sparks and connection was what was so efficient in this love chronicle.  The conflict thrived to whether the love couple will disregard their feelings toward each other after the relationship contract or surrender to each other, make the relationship real and face together the varying world they have armed with their steadfast love. 

A beautiful love story sometimes does not need to be elaborated.  It can be as simple as it can get if we can feel the heartfelt love flowing.  Love does not ever happen in an instant.  You’d be lucky if you recognize it happening in the moment.  It is when we are not beside the person that we realize we are in love, and holding them in our arms is when we want to love them even more.

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Signal

a vikings theme park ride + a hard to crack mystery game = an addictive adrenalin rush

Dear JJ Abrams, this is your fault.  While “Signal” hit an impressive run with its linear storytelling in different timelines, it did not give me jaw dropping moments and rave spree months after it ended.  Sure, it was good while I was watching it, but it was not something new that I have seen.  If my preconceived knowledge on the genre though will be stripped, I would probably have liked it a lot. 

Halfway through the drama, I liked what I saw even if I saw it already.  The only peculiar thing in the drama was the use of the haunted radio that linked the main police officers from the past and present.  But I have religiously watched Criminal Minds, Dexter, The Mentalist and the rest of police procedural Hollywood TV series so there’s nothing surprising that I saw with the criminal files they tackled.   It was more of me waiting if the writer will niftily tie the loose end and connect the relevance of the supernatural twist to complete the story. 

When the story conflict was resolved, I didn’t like the open-ended closure.  I followed the thrill and analyze the situations like I was also a police officer, and then I was given something to ponder on in the dying minutes of the drama.  I was like what was that?  You already baked a satisfying conclusion, why cool it down and put it in a fridge?    But for the record, that’s my only concern about “Signal”.  Over all it was excitingly projected.  The runs on how they made the cases simultaneously being solved from different timelines were easy to follow and the main actors exhibited great chemistry.

If you are up for quick fix of cop drama with a supernatural serving, plan your next binge-watching activity and set it to the radio frequency of Signal.

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Legend of the Blue Sea

the little mermaid + Jack Dawson = epic love that defies fate 

A lot of expectations were already thrown at this drama even before it was airing due to A-list actors and top writer/director headlining the production.  I say it did exceptional in maintaining the fantasy, romance and comedy as it progressed along the story.  His hero projection to his lead girl in a refreshing and a quirky run I thought he won’t be able to pull off.  I was so fond of Jun Ji Hyun’s inventive approach to suit up her role in a fun, lingering kind of way.

The fusion of reincarnation plot and the mermaid-human romance appeared trite on its onset, but as the plot thickened, it felt like the mythical element was stronger as the driving point than the real-life premise projected in the story.  Another thing that was nicely done by the writer was how the melancholia of the past timeline seemed to complement the quirky flow of the present timeline.  Legend of the Blue Sea made me smile a lot and warmed my heart as I cheered on the impossible fulfilment of Cheong and Joon Jae’s reincarnated romance.  It effortlessly kept me piqued on how the plot will unfold and did not give me a slight annoyance because it came well prepared on its weekly spectacle and knows when to trigger the adorable points and cast the entrancing spell for me to stay invested on its future. 

The consistency of the plot while using alternate timelines of the past and the present would have gone ambiguous.  But the writer strategically switched the focal character point from the heroine on its preliminary episodes, then maneuvered to the hero halfway through the story, and converged them in equilibrium as we hit the waning events and push through the conflict resolution.  “Legend of the Blue Sea” suceeds in a lively pace of intelligent storytelling with smart characters you will not hate as they don’t play dumb at hindrances thrown at them. 

Having time-transcending and supernatural love defying themes appeared to be ambitious and risky due to its tendencies of not being able to expound on the development of the characters moving in the story.   But the base fairytale approach that seems to be familiar to anyone is most likely the key ingredient to its engaging ride. 

I was impressed on how the story stayed focus while fusing the two timelines by not over-using the technicalities and details, but by enhancing the emotional connection of the main leads.

I only have the best things to say about this drama given that it was steadily amazing on its ride.  Each episode was a satisfying watch that propelled me to look forward on how the story will unfold.  

Legend of the Blue Sea was strong on the candied-heart-fluttering moments of Joon Jae and Cheong, but even stronger on relaying the couple’s sweet and yet agonizing journey to endure the love they have in the present in the pretext of a human-mermaid romance impossibility.  It neatly executed the narrative by using simple rules considering its metaphysical premise.  It modernized the reincarnation plot, by playing the resident drama fix of how love overcomes anything and beyond everything. 

 

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Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim

doses of magical medicines + hot doctors with surging cranky attitudes = finally a medical kdrama worth watching

The high ratings Romantic Doctor achieved justified the impeccable performances the cast gave to the first medical drama I ever liked.  The doctors of Doldam hospital feasted on showing off the dynamic interaction hence turning the surgeries worth watching.

Blending well the character growth while sticking on the medical world premise was successfully achieved thanks to how the actors brought out their characters’ resonance.  The character-driven story left me wondering on why I suddenly became a cult follower when the base narrative is bare and typical.  It could be that I miss House and Meredith and McDreamy, but there’s something engaging in “Romantic Doctor” that is so addictive and yet unrealized up to the very last minute.

 

Goblin

a rich immortal boyfriend + a Haruki Murakami romcom novel (if that is even possible to make) = a supernatural love story that all girls dream about

I can only imagine the amount of money Goblin’s writer will rake this year after successfully creating two hit dramas in a year.  I am actually imagining Grim Reaper handing me down a number for the queue to her cult following.  I like everything about Goblin even the minor flaws.  The yarning of Korean folklore and supernatural premise fell so perfectly placed in the modern setting.  The chimeric world it created became a haven for kdramaaddicts who enjoyed an amazingly sweet drive of blind curves while cheering on the interconnected lives and fate of the main cast from the  past and present.

The bromance, the love pairings, the heart-wrenching central conflicts and the impeccable writing are some of the reasons why I think this is probably one of the best dramas in the last 10 years.  “Goblin” exhausts its potentials to a movie like scale and claimed a victorious conclusion in the most consistent and wistful way.  While being strong on the light scenes, it did not lose focus on the emotional moments.

“Goblin” deserves the hype and the ratings because of the amount of hardwork, the production team and the actors committed in perfecting the story. 
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THE SURPRISES

 

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

your dream college boyfriend + your swag adorkable young love = you will thank me later after watching it

I was initially adamant to watch this youth drama because there were a lot of dramas on my plate already.  But one weekend when I was done with my pending reviews and watch list, I gave it a chance and before I realized it, I was giggling and crazily laughing uncaring if the entire village will wake up due to my kdrama late night frenzy.  *swaaag

I was all smile and teary-eyed remembering my youth days as portrayed by Bok Joo and Joon Young in Weightlifting Fairy.  The hours spent watching this couple fell in love was like a comfort food and bubble wrap combined. I am picking “Weightlifting Fairy” is one of the best kdramas of 2016 for being such a genuine coming of age story that beautifully captured the joy and pain and everything in between of being young… of building dreams and of falling in love for the first time. Jung Joon Hyung is now our prototype of a best college boyfriend ever as Bok Joo will reminds us always of how as a woman we will go through phases living all the kinds of girl we could ever be.  

Weightlifting Fairy felt like the virtual child of My Lovely Sam Soon and Reply 1997 dramas with its engrossing charm to withstand the heavy ratings block competition while it was airing.  

This youth drama will put you on a spell and you won’t realize it until you find yourself doing reruns of it prior to your sleep just like what it did to me.  I promise you a sweet throwback experience that you will have a hard time to compose a hashtag comment on.  

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W:  Two Worlds

Pretty Woman + The Triwizard Tournament = meeting the man of your dreams and his beautiful wife

I struggled in a long lull trying to come up with my thoughts about W: Two Worlds as it gave me a mixture of an electrifying writing but then it failed to close the story with a befitting ending.  Sprinting in a mind-blowing setting and pushing me to the extent of an imaginary world where everything is possible to happen, I had a lot of jaw-dropping and head splitting moments following Kang Chul and his adventures in discovering the world inside the world he lived in.  This drama has endless possibilities and was so strong in mocking predictable outcomes that the viewers pondered about.

Kang Chul and her swoon worthy adorably sweet moments with Oh Yeon Joo made me almost kill my non-living pillow out of the butterflies in my tummy that must have been wanting to see Kang Chul too.  Just like Yeon Joo I know most of the girls like me passed that stage where we put in writing our ideal man, and that’s why maybe “W” is hitting home very well in me because it tapped on my young woman fantasies so I can relate well to Yeon Joo.  I was like “aigoo!  Kang chul!  be still my heart!” on the heart fluttering episode 7 that I forgave MBC right away with Episode 8 preemption.  I didn’t notice Lee Jun Seok before but his Kang Chul portrayal suiting up a dapper handsome face, teasing smirks and mouth gaping smiles encumbered the rational woman inside me, making me consider the possibility of being with my dream man if I draw him too, even when I can only write.  *giggles

After crossing the half of this sweetly addictive drama journey, I have fears on how all the dots will be connected as we winded down to the story.  From the bottom of my heart I rooted for the love couple’s ever after.  Even though from the onset realistically speaking it doesn’t seem viable.  But since we are defying rules in two alternating worlds, I took everything bargaining on the possibility that the closing episodes will be seamlessly done basing on the already established scenarios.  So, when Kang Chul and Yeon Joo went to a more complex conflict in trying to defeat the villain who has outwitted his creator and has forced the love couple to part ways for them to survive, the reset Kang Chul pictured to be the resolution in protecting his lady love ended up to be an additional pile of side problems they had to overcome which in turn frustrated me.  By the time they successfully nailed their happy ending, I was so exhausted with the writer on why he had to do that long route and diminish the fan service scenes he could have extended to compensate on how he twisted his plot and teased the followers in catching where he intends to go.  Did I like the ending?  It was fair and satisfying but the movement of the story from its strong onset felt like the waning episodes hit a roadblock and the main leads were stripped of their initial brilliance and were thrown at a UFC fight night where they had to survive.  *chuckles

Less the staggering twists and turns that were ever present in the narrative, I still like how “W: TwoWorlds” was so ambitious on how it vividly displayed and chronicled a love story that defied alternate universe.  It maneuvered to constant deviation and possibilities having the premise of “everything is possible to happen if they can draw it”.  I love smart characters playing in the story so I must give it to Yeon Joo on how she perceives efficiently in moments when Kang Chul is hindered by the limitations of his heroic role which was dependent on his fictional character.  All throughout its showing, I was immersed on the extent of chimeric world the story would thread to, even when it hit a frustrating circle, but then it bounced back to a neatly delineated denouement although I would have wanted another hour of extension.  

There is no doubt on how exemplary “Two Worlds” accelerated to its proxy-universe-deriding setting.  It gave a surreal drama experience and yet the romance development for the main leads was pragmatic and memorable.  If you have not caught up on Kang Chul and W yet, don’t wait for next year to happen, and be prepared for a mixed emotion spin as you frolic on this enslaving kdrama spectacle. 

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Task Force 38

Neal Caffrey + Oceans 11 cast = new world heroes against corruption

With the amount of romance dramas brandishing in KDramaLand 2016, a story maneuvered by a con-artist and his snappy team helping an employee of the city’s Taxation office in retrieving unpaid revenues from greedy rich people surprisingly caught and glued my attention due to how exciting it propelled a simple premise with its gripping manipulation of the cheats they pulled to complete their missions.
There was a time when I went gaga over Neal Caffrey in White Collar so I think that’s why I was committed in watching Jung Do and his team plus Seo In Gook is a feast even without topless scenes on this drama.  I love the snappy editing.  All those small cons they created to push the final trick to tame down the villains were visually achieved while narrating it clearly.  There were not moments of indecisiveness on where the story is flowing.  From its kick off, “Task Force 38” was strict with presenting what they will do and how they will resolve the conflict.  Adding a well-blended team that explained to me well through their conversations about the new world I was introduced to about the politics manipulated by the tax evaders.  On paper and when you get the picture on the premiere episodes, it looked something that will require patience or Seo In Gook devotion to finish but the exciting vibe set each week made me crave waiting on how the reversals will be accomplished.

The story was on spot on establishing the war between the villains and heroes.   While it builds the conflict from the greedy intentions of the fiends, the showdowns were always fought through strategy and wits.  The writing skillfully incorporated the character sketches and their roles in fulfilling the goodness over wickedness lesson given in the story. 

Task Force 38 is straight to the point with the premise, the conflict, and how the people moving in the story resolved and closed it.  It helped that even with the serious topic, the protagonists were drawn as suave Robinhood and upright citizen who only wanted to make sure that no one is above the law in paying taxes.  True it made use of an illegal approach to defeat the baddies by brewing schemes to make them forcefully pay what they owe which is still technically bad, but it fairly explained the limited options in stopping corruption when the people responsible for it are puppets of organized crime group.  Life have inconvenient realities that can’t be dealt with by justice.  So, if you get to the resolution even if the means defy law if there is no life threatened, then just settle with it.

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Age of Youth

Dawson’s creek + American Pie = a trip to your 20’s self

Just like the Belle Epoque girls, I too have a lot of regrets and dreams when I was in my 20’s.  Coming from a disappointing drama stalking from summer dramas that turned stale halfway their runs, picking up Age of Youth was merely decided by the number of episodes it will sprint. Thank heavens that I got more than I expected from it.

“Age of Youth” is a retrospective youth drama about women in their 20’s. The five ladies promenaded their love inhibitions, self-esteem issues, school worries, what happens after school disappointments and all the rest of typical predicaments, 20’s women usually worry about.  Tailored to show the common faces of women, this honest drama has a melancholic resonance as it progressed to strengthening the bond of the 5 women living together in a dormitory who all have baggage from their past that haunt them in their present lives.

These sassy girls and their friendship made me spiral down to the recesses of my memory 10 years ago onwards… Those are the years when I also had part time jobs to support my studies and had broken up with a long-time boyfriend. After permanently joining the society’s work force I lived like a normal 20-ish woman but not the bar hopping, wine/beer drinking kind of life because of the remnants of the values I had from the religion I was raised. I was more of a bookworm-couch-potato kind of girl. Ouch, yes I spent most of my 20’s like that trying to piece myself up after a painful broken heart.

So, this drama hit home in me. The friendship, the life uncertainties, the magical feeling of being in love, and the regret on the wrong choices echoed clearly on the situations narrated by the characters in commanding vibrancy that made me smile on how everyone of us has different stories, pain and bliss from when we are younger, and when you fast forward to the present, you will be proud of yourself in surviving those life and love complications.  How the story put together the strong connection of characters through their growing respect, love and friendship to one another was sketched beautifully in a way that I thought of those moments that led me to my very own circle of lady friends. It was drawn in logical detail solidified by the attachment of situations that made use of the girls’ sincere understanding of each other’s vulnerabilities.

Jin Myung, Yi Na, Ji Won, Na Eun and Eun Jae are fictional reminders that we will get to have different kinds of friendship in our life, most of it will be dependent on time. So, it is very important to keep friends who shared you a lot of memories because as time changes, you can never go back to it, but if you cherished the memories, it will always put a smile on your face no matter how much time passed by.

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THE STEADY PLAYERS

 

Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds

cherry blossoms + paragliding = the first love you keep dearly in your heart

Like most of the girls these days, I willingly plunge to “bogum virus”, hence I was ready to invest in “Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds” regardless if it will break me or not.  I was rewarded with an impressive picture of a young prince who defied the political struggles surrounding the power he is destined to have while chasing his one true love.  Eventhough Lee Young and Hong Ra On will not be hitting the pinnacle of my best dramas this year, the full drama package was commendable due to its poignant sketching of the main characters and the writer’s impeccable timing to pin me on my spot and not sway away from following the story in those moments when I almost did.  Drawn on a historical premise, “Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds” is a sweet drama treat brimming with giddy-ish scenes that will make you reminisce that once special love when you were young.

It’s hard to keep the balance of romance and conflict on period dramas.  There will always be a moment when the plot will drag so proper blending and stirring is pertinent to avoid a stasis.  That being said, there were some languid events in the story when Prince Young was battling with the government officers as he took a long route to overcome the surge of the villains.  It was good that they started on a strong note and added some comic hints to establish the love story of the Crown Prince and a young woman who disguised herself as a eunuch.  It was like a big net was cast to the viewers, holding us still, that even when the narrative hit the agonizing break up and frustrating powerlessness of the hero, we remained optimistic that he will conquer it all and prove that love can happen if you earnestly work on it.

“Moonlight drawn by the clouds” began a spirited and addictive stride, struggled a bit while substantiating the story conflict and characters’ driving forces, and ended safe and steady.  The closing episodes though cracking the main problem and giving out a happy ending to the main characters I felt would have yielded a more well-explained conclusion if they pushed for another two episodes.  It looked like the fragments of the resolution were forcedly laid to prove a feasible happy ending coming from a strenuous attack of the antagonists who made the most out of their evil ways in challenging the hero of the story.  And for this reason, much as I want to hail the brilliant facets of the drama and to overlook the imperfections out of my one-sided-bogum-noona-romance, I should be fair that it was a good drama, but it shared some weak points from the story writing.

“Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds” is an engrossing period tv production starter if you are a new kdrama addict recruit.  The mixture of youthful romantic vibe and the seriousness of historical plot will encourage you that this kind of genre is not boring as it seems.  All those strong moments and a little of those dragging villain runs, this heartwarming love tale will tap on those youthful romantic memories that we kept in her heart.  Those days when our love views were not yet corrupted and just free flowing.  Not cheesy and heart-fluttering nonetheless, Prince Young and his first love will take you to an amazing ride with their binding commitment in not giving up on love.  

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Five Children

Family outing + seafood feast = your dream family getaway

Second serving of love has never been this lively until these adorable families connected through marriages and made their family even bigger, wackier and happier.  “Five Children” was the first family weekend drama I finished and it was a feat I’m so proud of because it was 54 episodes.

“Five Children” presented lessons about filial love, parenting, friendship, failed relationship, romantic love, life uncertainties and personal worth.  It covered almost all the facets of the common struggles adults face in daily lives and in the long run.  I like how the dynamics of an extended family was pictured in the series.  It was messy, rowdy and crazy, but at the end of the day, the people interacted, listened and accepted decisions that are beyond their control and that they should not worry about. 

In its entirety, “Five Children” presented a glimpse of an everyday Korean family life with beautified love milieus.  It taught me a thing or two about the generation gaps when joining a new family.  The story was clear with its most important lesson on how communication plays a vital role in empathizing and understanding the situation you have with someone in any kind of relationship.  It left a positive encouragement to pursue romance regardless of how many times you might have failed in the past and how much pain you might go through until you finally get it.

It might overwhelm your drama addiction spare time so pace yourself if in case you would want to enter Mi Jung and Sang Tae’s family.  For its feel-good approach and fetching family and love memories framed each episode, I am happy to sprint my way to see all the characters smiling through the happy endings they achieved.

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Flower in Prison

Joan of arc + Voldemort reign = good intentions yield positive results

Bracing myself with a lengthy period drama run, what hooked my loyalty to weekender “Flower in Prison” was its balanced execution of political struggle, neat narrative, infuriating villains and optimistic underdogs.  I journeyed with the heroine Ok Nyeo in exploring the situation of state prison, merchant organization as well as the early days of defending crime convicted victims who can’t fend for themselves circa Joseon era.

It helped that the fiends were established since Day 1 and there were no alterations thereafter.  It was an amusing video book read, I was totally immersed to following the lead girl in search of her birth secret and ultimately being instrumental in serving justice to the antagonists that have put her in a lot of rough situations.

Flower in Prison was not an easy watch especially if you mostly lean on trendy dramas.  There are a lot to absorb in a long sitting but there will be so much to learn.  It has resonating characters and encouraging plot that magically locked me on a weekend alarm to check how Ok Nyeo and the rest of the guys were doing.  I like that for a period drama, the main cast propelling the scenarios of the story did not reach a hundred in numbers and that the concentration of the wickedness was centered to the married couple only.

 It gets so draining when punches are thrown from every direction so I felt that it was in a fair equilibrium.  There was a moment that I want to rage war with Ok Nyeo for delaying her birth secret revelation and accepting all the stomping they received from the villain, but the charm of period dramas has always been the battles played by the heroes and villains in outsmarting each other.  As romance was not a major element on the series, the vengeance plot took a lot of swinging and swaying and painstaking binge before the goodness banner finally prevailed.

With its perfect blend of political intrigue, side plots of espionage and state prison situation, memorable characters and engrossing storyline.  I picked “The Flower in Prison” as my period drama this year because while it was fundamental in its approach in combining the political background to the characters’ impetus drive in creating their own moments, it was easy to digest without losing a polished vibe and a classic video storybook.  It kept the excitement and historical lesson of the plot at a level where you craved for more and notched a satiating closure befitting of its humble opening and unwavering chronicle.

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Remember: Son’s War

filial love + painstaking hero journey = a decent melodrama worth your tears

Remember:  War of the Son came strong to my attention once it hit the TV waves.  It was heading in a thrilling direction where revenge is the premise and where the characters can’t trust one another.  The story was backed up with superb character portrayals out shadowing some of the lengthening kicks I did not see in “Punch”.  Yeah I believe “Punch” will now be my yardstick for kdramas in this kind of tone.  Nevertheless the heartfelt please-save-my-father plot was more than  enough to spin the story of a son’s promise to uphold the truth and clear the name of his father who was victimized by an abusive powerful family.

I was actually praying for warranted kdrama miracle out of the hardships Jin Woo took, but they ended it on a sad note.  I  don’t know if they were implying that revenge at the end of the day does not matter, but I was hoping some magical or experimental treatment to save Jin Woo’s memory.  But at the end of it all it dawned on me that the story is really about a son’s  unconditional devotion to his father.  So throwing  a romantic ever-after twist really don’t fit in the journey of the lead character.  

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Jackpot

joseon gambling + persevering hero = a historical drama that would be easy to endure

Only when you have learned to appreciate Sageuk productions can you really claim that you are a certified kdrama addict because understanding the beauty of period dramas requires patience and total immersion to Korean history and culture.  So it is but a challenge and a path you have to go through in discovering the extent of your kdrama addiction.  *chuckles 
The longer the period drama the greater the struggle so it will be a blessing if it will be a mid length drama that can tackle the story without rushing it.  Unfortunately that was the case for me for Six Flying Dragons so I settled with Jackpot/Daebak as it didn’t tire me out with its 20 episodes.
 
Jackpot managed to nail the fundamental elements of a historical drama.  It has a thrilling plot with Joseon gambling scene on the side, birth secret and family issues, conspiracy woven conflicts and the strong showdowns of the villain and the hero. Though it may not be perfect, it presented a solid story that didn’t go astray but focused on the main characters’ discovery of the lessons they have to learn on their own journeys.  Jackpot opened to the brilliant rawness of the set design of the gambling scene of Joseon.  The antiquated but thriving in excitement ambiance of underground gambling houses more than 200 years ago put me on a hypnosis and before I knew it,  I was religiously watching a drama that didn’t thrive on the romance plot of the story to sail the story to its finish line.
 
Jackpot has all the required elements of a period drama but it focused more on the development of the character.  The story was not as shifting when it comes to the outwitting moves of the heroes and villains but it was steady to the protagonists’ goal to defeat the villain and vice versa.  When I looked back to what I recall most about it, I remember most the equally brilliant depiction of the main  cast.   I really enjoyed the gambling scene premise and any story  with master-padawan-ish story arc is sold for me.  I also like that the brothers chose patriotism over love.  lol  The ending scene put tears in my eyes while the OST airs because it made the picture even more poignant and satisfying.
Though it was not perfect, Jackpot delivered and its length didn’t drag me from dozing.  Kudos to Jang Geun Seok.   As always he can do well in romantic stories but even more in drama.  It started strong, sailed steady and closed without any rush and with finality.  If you like organic historical story,  you would appreciate its authentic drive to present the story without unwanted plot swerving and misplaced characters.

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THE FEEL GOOD DRAMAS

 

Shopping King Louis

Drunk merry hobbits + first time entering Diagon Alley = an easy go lucky day that won’t ever go wrong

If there’s one story in kdramaland this year that was brimming with optimism and happiness, that will be Louis and Boksil’s journey in living together a world they were not familiar with, trusting in their friendship and eventually realizing that fate brought them together for them to fall in love.

While every drama was busy with the ratings and solidifying a remarkable plot, “Shopping King Louis” sassily strutted like a big pile of positivity due to its endearing characters, heck even the villains were adorably bad in the story.  It’s that one drama that was made for sunny days and for people who just want to lounge and not worry about kdrama clichés and conflicts and just want to live each episode as light as possible and without worrying about so many things.

The sincere characters and the optimistic theme spread evenly all throughout captivated my emotionally drained self from the heavy plotted melodrama and period dramas this year.  “Shopping King Louis” was designed to become an elixir of positivity and sometimes we just need those dramas that will make us feel good.

Bok Sil and Louis complemented each other so well that I can’t help but cheer them on learning and living a new life thrown at them.  It made me so happy seeing a fictional couple unrestrained and yet so innocent in their life approaches.  The heart-warming romance that bloomed between them may not be steamy but indelible just the same.  In its entirety, the cast were all fetching in their roles to a point that even the villains will not even annoy you.  I was closed to thinking that hobbits oversaw the production while they were merrily drinking because depression was never hinted in its run.

With its zany warmth, although lacking in depth, “Shopping King Louis” will amuse you of the character centered plot that teaches friendship, trusting and love.  If you need a grin and laughter inducing drama treat, then settle your camping things and imbibed on the cheerful adventure of a shopaholic who found the meaning of life and love when he lost all his memories.

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Drinking Solo

Road trip to nowhere + solving a rubix cube for the first time = understanding why alcohol washes out life problems painlessly

What drew me to watching “Drinking Solo” was the simple storytelling, setting and character building.  It was a plain picture of the struggles of students taking lessons to pass the civil service exam and the battles of the instructors in surviving the present day adult life complications versus those idealistic dreams they had when they were young.  The love concerns inserted were additional bonus in amusing myself in watching the cast move on with their fictional life.  

Conversations and communication propelled the built up of the story.  It was more of the characters’ side stories connected to create one full thought without losing track of the individual narratives.  The love plot though at par pleasing would have been so great if it ended the love couple being together than the shown hint that they were probably heading that way.

My favorite part of the show to be honest was the scene stealing spree by the instructor who did all those impersonations.  *chuckles Yeah, there goes the extent of my minimal adoration to slapstick comedy.  But all those tricks he pulled made me laugh hard.  It was an enjoyable run to watch every one of them moved within the Noryangjin world.  The casual vibe was comfortable and that’s why even with its bare setting, I endured witnessing how all the cast members conquered their struggles and dreams.

A light and chirpy watch if you have patience with talk-induced drama.  The hook was cast halfway for me.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the simplicity, easy conflicts and the humor that was nailed nicely by presenting how single people deal with the lack of love, dreams and life.  

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Beautiful Gong Shim

neighborhood lawyer oppa + dorky woman with self esteem issues = a surprisingly sweet and lingering lovestory

 A typical neighborhood love that bloomed from pure trust and understanding between unexpected friends and their journey to acknowledge that they were built so perfectly for each other because it is their destiny to fall in love eventually. Crossing the line between friends and romance requires a courageous stance that you know what you are doing and you are prepared to take a leap of faith. Love is not romance until it is reciprocated. The impeccable sassy and cheesy chemistry of Dan Tae and Gong Shim has had me on laughing fits most of the time.  Their comic characters were drawn so well and so compatible to each other that they compensated to the predictable plot of the series.  KDramas are known for the weird-looking kisses but the delightful love couple made sure to redefine the awkward kiss scenes and made me giggle a lot with the enchanting build up of their love story.

I mentioned how “Beautiful Gong Shim” played on trite scenarios but even if it did, it didn’t wear me out because the cast especially the main love couple were so endearing to watch in their comic takes and cutesy moments. It was the kind of love story that I rooted for because the romance built up so genuinely from friendship and dismissed the usual uncalled for love complications present in traditional kdrama romcoms. Gong Shim and Dan Tae left me feeling good after closing the book of their story and in the near future if I looked back on their story, at least there will be something for me to remember because of the refreshing take of the narrative.

There’s nothing fancy in the drama, it followed the basic ingredients of a romcom but leaned on the main leads’ personal struggles while discovering their romance. The quirky vibe of the love couple on their romantic moments were the generator of zest and appeal from the onset till the finale episodes. I was used to seeing Nam Goong Min in his evil roles so his laid back approach here mixed with Gong Shim’s free spirited portrayal compensated to the threadbare setting. Sure, the conflict dragged up until the closing episodes but it did not annoy me much because the series refused to dig on so much negativity. True that the last minute break up plot was not needed but as usual the charming heroine threw her grudges and trust the man he loved right away after learning the reason why he never contacted her. They always talk to each other in quirky and honest kind of way all the time. Their dorky love just make me overlook the technical points and just happily engage on the bright side they always offer.

“Beautiful Gong Shim” had this unique sense of drawing you and before you realize it, you look forward to the story. It might not be smartly written with out of this world plot or sweetly created with perfect romantic premise, but it was a moving story with engaging characters that worked harmoniously to present a pure, relatable and charming story telling.

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One More Happy Ending

damsel in ex-distress + single dad trying to forget his deceased wife = finding love at the right time

Cooked and prepared like your average rom-com, One More Happy Ending was a delightful watch.  I would like also to applaud the strong side stories of the supporting characters which were equally vibrant as the main love story.  The plot delved on the varying emotions of women struggling to keep up with love and relationship.  The marriage camp and relationship board sticker ideas were also some of the cutesies I will remember about this refreshing romcom.  This most likely will appeal to singles in 30’s who have failed their marriage once… who are finding the love lost along the way in their current marriage… who are unsure of finally settling down and who have been waiting for the right person to come along.

Love perspectives change as you age and as you learn from your past mistakes.  What I learned about this drama is to never give up on love and romance and to understand its importance in sustaining a relationship.  Love will take different forms in a relationship as time goes on.  It will kick off to adoration, go steady through memories and romance, move to years of comfortability and will stand firm to loyalty…  and it is important that in  those changing moments you are by your lover’s side.

Nicely blended, safely done and just pure encouraging love and dating narrative.  One More Happy Ending was as bright as spring and feel good as summer… perfect to add on your rom-com binge list.

 

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THE PRETTIES IN THEIR OWN DAMAGE WAYS

 

Moonlovers:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Jack Dawson + Juliet + World War 2 = meeting your dream boy who fell in love with the wrong girl

Sprawling to a grand setting and power house cast, I did expect a lot on “Moonlovers:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo”.  I sure have issues on the languid built up of the story in the beginning episodes, but I came to realize the staid plot yarning was necessary to cushion the heaviness of the tormenting conflict faced by the lead couple heading to the culmination of their romance and eventual break-up.   Albeit the tormenting emotional strain I got with Scarlet Heart Ryeo, it will belong on my favorites for this year because I love that it became even more believable and fervent due to the plot’s instability and the main characters’ indecisiveness.  It was a situation that might have killed the drama, but because the essential character motivations were clearly drawn, as a viewer I enjoyed that feeble and vulnerable facet of the production.

I was not expecting a happy ending given that most of the characters were killed.   It was still Hae Su and 4th Prince So’s love journey for me.  The sweets, the tears and the angst… all of it.  I took So’s last word as an open-ended closure on his acceptance of losing his one great love and longing to find her in the future.  I witnessed how they defied the shrewd political struggle in the royal family to get to a point where they can freely love each other and share memories together.  So, I’m good that I know they love each other and they know it very well too.

Just as life is short, love is also fleeting.   The all-important love lesson #ScarletHeartRyeo taught us is how loving someone does not stop when we gave up on the person because the love does not belong anymore in the future.  It is a sweet reminder on keeping as much happy memories as you can to keep you going in moments when you yearn to be with them in the future, but they can’t stay by your side anymore.

 If truth be told, I was not expecting something cohering anymore because I was so scared the writer will kill all the characters at the last minute.  *chuckles Did the closing chapter satisfy me?  Though I did not get the happy ending, I was okay with it.  I know that it was bound to be a sad ending so I was prepared for what will happen.  I was okay that they did not push to a scene where Hae Su of the present meets So while he passes by the cosmetic store where Su was working to ask for a BB cream.  *lol So I was relieved.  Though Scarlet has a lot of flaws, I was fond of it because the love story was pragmatic in tapping on melancholic memories where viewers can relate to especially if they have once loved crazily like the kind of love they paraded in the drama.   I take Scarlet Heart Ryeo with all my heart because I believe that a happy ending does not measure how great a love can be.

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Fantastic

Love apprehensions + to hell with everything = the blind faith we put on true love

Even with the dying premise, I have grown to love “Fantastic” because of the dexterous cast and how they blend together supporting each other’s friendship and stories.  Fantastic is an optimistic story that not only encourages through its love theme, but also with how the main characters could leave cool life lessons as they tackled the roles they played in the narrative.

There was a point when I stopped watching the drama when the cancer plot was too much to handle for me, but it drew me again because I want to believe that it will still end on a positive note and not an open-ended closing.  That I think was a great move as the story was rendered in simple sketching but has taken pride on how immersing the actors were in playing their roles.

Hae Sung and So Hye’s love story though challenged by the cancer problem concluded in a not traumatic ending.  I was scared that it may follow the sad wrap up trend of the romance dramas this year so I was happy that they settled for a happy ending for all of them. “Fantastic” incorporated some agonizing notes.  Hence, it can go to a consistent direction that would be complementing the story well, but choosing to go to a sunny closure was also befitting to its story given how vibrant the characters were.

What I like about the stream of Romantic Dramas for this year is that it avoided the weep fest routine.  They were crisp and daintily designed to balance the problem and the resolution of the story.  The friendship side story and the noona romance from the supporting cast make “Fantastic” an engaging watch.  It has an appealing cast chemistry and the sad cancer conflict is cushioned by the no-frill-just-heartfelt delivery of the scenes.  It is a complete package with the right amount of kdrama clichés, engrossing love couple, wacky supporting characters, annoying villains and unswerving storyline.

“Fantastic” gave a nonchalant committal with me, nonetheless I could finish it because it did not give me a hard time in understanding the cast and their stories as well as the minimal discrepancies of the plot along the way.  The feisty heroine, the comedic timing and the binding friendship circle were the reasons why I remained loyal with them.  Although plain and leaning on the cancer cliché, I was drawn to the lucid role-playing of the main cast as they went along with their struggles.  “Fantastic” did not surge to such outstanding impact, but at the very least I get to remember what it was about a week after watching it and even now because it was an easy watch and yet lingering.  If you fancy a sane and steady romcom then buckle your seatbelt for a fantastic ride.

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Jealousy Incarnate

bromance + woman who loves falling in love = perky love triangle that will make you smile

Sure, there were a lot going on in “Jealousy Incarnate” that sometimes the sporadic mini plots did not equate well to its overall make, but the eager and vibrant cast made up to that missing push the story failed to achieve.  Honestly the safe ever-after ending failed to complement those strong moments of the lead cast along with the story conflict they had to face together hilariously and painfully.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy the sweet ride and the endearing couple who tackled the friendship defying love chase.

While I did not fully rave on “Jealousy Incarnate”, there were a few strong scenes that lingered in my mind after watching it.  That cute Hwa-Shin-Jung-Won bromance was so quirky, I can bottle it for my PMS days.  I love when rom-com dramas focus on the love story conflict, and what a way for “Jealousy” to present a love triangle that did not feed on angst or misplaced and incomprehensible obsession of second leads.  Instead it gave out a nice fight between the lead man and second lead who equally deserve the heroine.  I don’t know why the finishing kick delved to career drama because I already claimed my closure when Na Ri reverted to following Hwa Shin again, but the latter had to restrict himself out of respect to his best friend’s grieving heart.  I don’t know if I can label it as a bland extension or a last-minute attempt to add embellishment on this romantic cake, but I sure did find it pointless. They should have settled to fan service and then zipped it with the chirpy wedding.  The facile interaction of the main trio, prior and after the love conflict, felt hilarious on one side because they were acting like high schoolers in justifying the situation they had and even resorting to that cohabitation settlement to help weigh in where each of them stand.  But that just show how we do unreasonable things when we are too consumed with rationalizing the love we felt. The romantic entanglement amused the girl and the woman inside me because the story clearly depicted how much a woman’s faltering choices affect decisions to commit in a relationship.

I think it would have been safe as well if it went to a shorter run because the kind of narrative it circled to was not that complicated to begin with. Though there were a few heartfelt and emotional scenes I enjoyed, the stagnant progression and dormant conflict made my heart veer away from liking Jealousy Incarnate as a whole.

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THE HYPED DRAMAS YOU MAY OR MAY NOT LIKE

 

Entertainer

cute boyband + wallpaper heroine = Ji Sung oppa, what happened?

Sadly, in my melancholic attempt to look back on “Entertainer”, there’s nothing much that I remember about it, no matter how much heart Ji Sung oppa gave to the drama.  The story as a whole was not something that I would reminisce in the future.   Sure there were a little highlighted moments especially those musical performances but they were overshadowed by the lack of the vibrancy of the storytelling.   So I’ll be making this a very quick review.  Skip it when you have a pile of kdrama on queue to watch.  Even if you will watch it for Ji Sung oppa, there’s nothing much oppa-happiness-pill that you would get anyway, so settle with other dramas that would make the most out of your time.  I watched it because I was counting on Ji Sung oppa’s choice given that I liked most of the dramas he did, but there’s really nothing much going on. 

“Entertainer” tells the story of an entertainment manager who hit a slump on his life and resorted to forming a boy band to resurrect his career and to avenge the bitter betrayal he got from the company CEO he used to work with.   There was a backstory that connected him and the second lead playing the lead vocals of the boy band he created and they both relied on each other when they were hit with life’s misfortunes.   Entertainer closed to a happy note bringing down the villain and making the dream band famous but in the course of beating the conflicts, the story remained dormant in expounding a stale plot.  It failed to add dimensions to a more engrossing actors that would have lifted the given cliches to a more decent showing.  Yeah I think the lackadaisical effort of the actors was the main culprit why it failed my expectations

I don’t know if it’s the chemistry of the cast, the boring storyline, the stoic romance or all of it happening at the same time.  Though it’s not as bad as “Big” or that recent Rain oppa drama, it made me emotionless while watching it.  It baffled me how my fortitude was at a different level in witnessing it happen, and being okay with how much the story progressed from  stagnant to lethargic to not being able to accomplish anything.   I can’t help but sigh for all those wasted hours and talent. 

“Entertainer” with its highly famous cast is far from the great showings we are so far getting in kdramaland this 2016.  It will be overshadowed because it really didn’t accomplish a fairly done production.

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Uncontrollably Fond

dying premise + lovers = tragic love story

The thing about Uncontrollably Fond is that it tapped into those memories of lost and depressing love that people don’t want to look back anymore in their lives.  It was not a happy-ever-after kind of romance that appeals typically to almost anyone, instead it delved to the most shameful, most regretful and most painful things anyone can do because of love.

Uncontrollably Fond has put me on all the level of frustrating emotions I can ever have as a k-dramafan.  When almost all k-drama addicts have given up and turned their backs on it, I remained faithful hopeful of some miracle that might salvage its disappointing run.  Down to its finale week I have long accepted that there will be no happy ending.   At some point I even begged k-dramagods to stop the writer from her ludicrously hurtful storytelling or to just kill Joon Young and insert an “it has all been a dream” plot, because I have never felt bad for k-drama characters before, until I spent time with this story.  That being said except for the temperamental second lead girl who was sketched annoyingly without room for a redeeming dimension, I have praises on the main leads’ heartfelt portrayals even if it drained me emotionally with and without tears. 

Limited by its pragmatic approach, the writing did not swerve to a feel good direction to appease the agonizing dying-man-all-willing-to-protect-his-woman setting.  And that’s the reason why my forbearance was tested in Joon Young and Eul’s love journey.  I have come to terms how we act irrational when we can’t get the amount of love we think we deserve… how the pain we felt to fight for our love does not mean less to the love we gave to stay in a relationship… and how loving in the moment is a lot more times better than worrying about your future together when love might not be there anymore.

As Uncontrollably Fond won’t appeal to those who craved light and sweet type of romantic stories you can indulge to this narrative but be aware that you will be put on tormenting spot most of the time.  Though deemed to have been badly written, there was a thread that held the loyal viewers and that’s the dying scenario of the lead man.  I stayed until the end because I believe that not all love stories are wrapped in kisses and sweet memories.  There are those that are melancholic and yet lives on as someone’s one great love.

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Doctors

stoic heroine + countless surgeries = hype did not justify the story

My fangirl loyalty badge to Kim Rae Won oppa was the only reason why I endured Doctors’ 20 episode run.  Now that I’m looking back to write my thoughts about it, I feel so empty.  *chuckles  

I credit the starpower of the cast for raking in high ratings eventhough the story did not deserve it at the very least.  When the surgeries took over the story, it was a feeling of journeying to Mt. Mordor to destroy the one ring of them all for me.  I was tired needing an elixir of life that would push me to understand if I was watching a drama or I’m learning to become a doctor through a confused medical documentary.  Hye Jung in her rational self was indecisive if she will go full throttle with her vindication plan, or if she will just forgive and forget or if she should just worry about the things that would have mattered to her at the moment.  

The writing was not friendly and it did not even complement the character sketches when they could have expanded it more given the complexity of the main roles drawn.  A little believable sprinkle of love complications would have broken the languid development of the story, but they throw in a lovable second male lead who settled to the proverbial fate of second lead syndrome.  True, the drama presented Hye Jung’s admirable journey in healing her personal issues  by relying on her own and through the people surrounding her with love and support, but I can’t reconcile the lesson I can get from it.  If I will have my way, I won’t play safe by not adding some grit on the proper response of the characters who were put to the edge because of greed.  Anger should be released when required in the story, but Doctors was in this unreasonable daze that retaliations were even placed in a glossy box with a pink thank you note in it.  

Finding the right intention and execution was the biggest weakness of “Doctors” for me.  It failed to sustain a consistent storyline that tied the character motivations to the world they were supposed to live in for the majority of its run and then concluded to a forgive-and-forget ending because the drama has reached the limit.  It was a miracle that grandma didn’t crawl from after-life to stop the writer from dragging her death as the conflict.  What I would have done instead was throw in some challenges to Hye Jung and Ji Hong’s love realizations since they established them to have been having faulty romantic veins.

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Cheese in the Trap

crazy character + promising love couple = skip it or watch the first half of it

I don’t know how to start my thoughts about this drama but I will try.  It felt like that sweetest romance you had which turned a nightmare overnight.  I want to blame the writer and PD for sleepwalking somewhere, but out of the initial cutesies  and romance, I will try  to be forgiving.  It was still not as bad as “Big” drama but it was a case of a company not being able to put up with its employees’ rallies settled amicably to giving some chocolates, going to the moon and just disappearing to the unknown.  Haha

For the standard summary, “Cheese in the Trap” is a college campus romance between a complicated rich man’s son’ with trust issues and a normal girl who made the man she fell in love with trust humanity again while battling her own personal and family issues.  They have great friends.  There were a few romantic filled moments up to midway of the drama until they pushed on unnecessary plot conflicts instead of focusing on building the romance even more.  

 Let’s make this short and simple, don’t watch it anymore.  Or just watch the first half and then move to another drama.  Or watch the full drama when you are heartbroken so that you will be numb when you hit the ending of the story. 

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Lucky Romance

geeky lead man + superstitious lead girl = almost there but not quite kind of love

The yin-yang love battle between the science oriented lead man and the superstitious heroine started cute, stayed sweet and hilarious but pushed its luck too far in securing a safe ending.  That being said, I won’t whine but I won’t give high praises for it.  Lucky romance is like your summer fling, it was good while it lasted, but then eventually when it ended, there was no lingering feeling.

“Lucky Romance” had a simple plot of a girl who deprived herself of being in love out of fear that her built in jinx instigated by a quack shaman’s advice would make her pure love turn to a curse to people she cares about.  Then she met a man who cured that deluded credence and never gave up on her no matter what even if she kept pushing him away.  The narration started well for the story.  It threw a hook using the extremity of the love couple’s personalities and how they eventually fell in love with each other.  The middle part was a cotton candy festival as delightful scenes paraded before heading to the conflict.  However it failed to end with a smooth finishing kick.  Lucky Romance made use of cute epilogues that viewers look forward too as an aid to what really conspired to notable moments in the story. 

The stride to emancipate the heroine in acknowledging that she deserved to be happy was fueled with redundant scenarios that didn’t help propel a gratifying ending for the story.  It would have been nicer if they resolved the industrial spies that they weren’t able to corner while leaving Bo Nui and Se Hoo blissfully in love, instead of laying a “road to love perdition” for them to conquer in the closing episodes.

Mediocrely done with some wacky and sweet notes, Lucky Romance is a rom-com drama perfect for those who still grieved on Ryu Jun Yeol’s Jung Hwan Reply 1988 character.  At least his role here was spot on decisive.  It had a stable and sunny storytelling but failed to tidily fetter the conflict to secure a satisfying closure.  Nonetheless, it notched a safe landing with its last minute tweak of bringing together the unified game developing and lifetime wishes in the finishing frames.

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BEST DRAMA:  Goblin and Descendants of the Sun 

BEST DIRECTING:  Goblin and Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim

BEST EDITING:  Signal

BEST STORY:  Goblin and Descendants of the Sun

BEST SCREENPLAY:  Goblin and Legend of the Blue sea

BEST INNOVATIVE DRAMA:  W: Two Worlds

BEST SUSPENSE DRAMA:  Signal

BEST ROMANCE DRAMA: Oh Hae Young Again

BEST PERIOD DRAMA:  Flower in Prison

BEST YOUTH DRAMA:   Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Ju

BEST ROM-COM DRAMA:  Legend of the Blue Sea 

BEST WEB DRAMA:  Something About 1%

BEST DRAMA CHARACTERS:  Kang Chul in W:  Two Worlds, Shim Cheong in Legend of the Blue Sea, Master Kim in Romantic Doctor, Goblin in The lonely shining goblin

                                                       

BEST ACTOR:  Lee Jun Ki as 4th Prince So in Scarlet Heart

BEST ACTRESS:  Seo Hyun Jin in Another Oh Hae Young and Romantic Doctor

BEST SECOND LEAD:   Kang Ha Neul in Scarlet Heart, Go Jung Won in Jealousy Incarnate

BEST FANTASY DRAMA:  Goblin and Legend of the Blue Sea

BEST VILLAIN:  No face in Two Worlds 

                              Nam Gyu Man in Remember: Son’s War

BEST KISS SCENES:  Oh Hae Young Again and Something About 1%

BEST BROMANCE:  Alpha Team and Goblin-Grim Reaper

BEST LOVE TRIANGLE:  Jealousy Incarnate

BEST LOVE COUPLES:  Lee Jae In and Kim Da Hyun in Something About 1%

                                           Lee Young and Kim Ra On in Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds

                                           Park Do Kyung and Oh Hae Young in Oh Hae Young Again

Heo Joon Jae and Shim Cheong in Legend of the Blue Sea

Ji Eun Tak and Goblin in Goblin

BEST CAST ENSEMBLES:  Goblin, Descendants of the Sun, Signal and Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim

BEST SCENE STEALER:   Park Soo Kyung in Oh Hae Young Again and Min Jin Woong in Drinking Solo

BEST OPPA CRUSH:  Lee Jae In in Something About 1%

                                      Kang Chul in W:  Two Worlds

                                      Heo Joon Jae in Legend of the Blue Sea

Jung Joon Hyung in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Ju

BEST MUSIC:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo and Goblin

BEST CHARACTER ACTOR:  Sung Dong Il in Scarlet Heart Ryeo and Legend of the Blue Sea

 

The life that we live and want to forget

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What drew me to watching “Drinking Solo” was the simple storytelling, setting and character building.  It was a plain picture of the struggles of students taking lessons to pass the civil service exam and the battles of the instructors in surviving the present day adult life complications versus those idealistic dreams they had when they were young.  The love concerns inserted were additional bonus in amusing myself in watching the cast move on with their fictional life.  
 
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After leaving a country side academy where she used to teach, Park Ha Na settled to Noryangjin through the help of her friend Jin Yi and began teaching aspiring government employees who were taking classes for the civil service exam.  There she met Jin Jung Suk, a top-rated instructor with low-graded temperament and attitude.  Their constant bickering or rather Jin Suk’s bullying escalated to an attachment they subconsciously did not expect, but upon learning that Jung Suk and Ha Na’s friend-student Gong Myung are brothers, they halted their budding relationship as Jin Suk gave way to his younger brother’s teacher crush that inspired him to spurt plans for his then bleak future.
 
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Conversations and communication propelled the built up of the story.  It was actually more of the characters side stories connected together to create one full thought without losing track of the individual narratives.  The love plot though at par pleasing would have been so great if it ended the love couple being together than the shown hint that they were probably heading that way.
 
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My favorite part of the show to be honest was the scene stealing spree by the instructor who did all those impersonations.  *chuckles Yeah, there goes the extent of my minimal adoration to slapstick comedy.  But really all those tricks he pulled made me laugh hard.  It was an enjoyable run to watch everyone of them moved within the Noryangjin world.  The casual vibe was comfortable and that’s why even with its bare setting, I endured witnessing how all of the cast members conquered their struggles and dreams.
 
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A light and chirpy watch if you have patience with talk-induced drama.  The hook was cast halfway for me.  Nevertheless I enjoyed the simplicity, easy conflicts and the humor that was nailed nicely by presenting how single people deal with the lack of love, dreams and life.  
 
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The Two Hearts of Pyo Na Ri

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And the winner of 2016 kdramaland’s “Best Love Triangle” goes to “Jealousy Incarnate”!!!  *chuckles

Sure, there were a lot going on in “Jealousy Incarnate” that sometimes the sporadic mini plots did not equate well to its overall make, but the eager and vibrant cast made up to that missing push the story failed to achieve.  Honestly the safe ever-after ending failed to complement those strong moments of the lead cast along with the story conflict they had to face together hilariously and painfully.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy the sweet ride and the endearing couple who tackled the friendship defying love chase.

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Pyo Na Ri harbored a 3-year one sided love towards Lee Hwa Shin and has been working her stint as a weather forecaster.  She chanced upon Hwa Shin again in Thailand where he was assigned after an expose’ revealing his older brother’s business corruption.  He was denounced by his family but made the most of his occupational exile by presenting highly successful news probes.  When Hwa Shin came back to the TV network news room to work on his goal to become a News Anchor, he begins seeing Na Ri at a different light.  Just as he has acknowledged his feelings for her, he learned that his best friend, Go Jung Won likes her too and eventually dated her.  He tried so hard to resist his growing feelings toward Na Ri to no avail and his breast cancer did not help him at all as she insisted on staying by his side while battling with the treatment.  Hwa Shin’s resolved inevitably broke down and he set loose to claim Na Ri’s heart even if it will hurt his best friend.  Hwa Shin’s move confused Na Ri’s heart as she learned that he is loving her back three years too late.  Torn between two men whom she both love, she broke up with Jung Won so as not to strain their friendship, but the two cannot seem to find a way to exist not having her by their side so they agreed to live in Jung Won’s house so Na Ri can date them to help her decide whom she loves more between them.  Na Ri’s long lost first love emotions eventually resurfaced and she was forced to deliver the sad news to Jung Won of her choosing Hwa Shin.

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While I did not fully rave on “Jealousy Incarnate”, there were a few strong scenes that lingered in my mind after watching it.  That cute Hwa-Shin-Jung-Won bromance was so quirky, I can bottle it for my PMS days.  I love when rom-com dramas focus on the love story conflict, and what a way for “Jealousy” to present a love triangle that did not feed on angst or misplaced and incomprehensible obsession of second leads.  Instead it gave out a nice fight between the lead man and second lead who equally deserve the heroine.  I don’t know why the finishing kick delved to career drama because I already claimed my closure when Na Ri reverted to following Hwa Shin again, but the latter had to restrict himself out of respect to his best friend’s grieving heart.  I don’t know if I can label it as a bland extension or a last-minute attempt to add embellishment on this romantic cake, but I sure did find it pointless. They should have settled to fan service and then zipped it with the chirpy wedding.

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The facile interaction of the main trio, prior and after the love conflict, felt hilarious on one side because they were acting like high schoolers in justifying the situation they had and even resorting to that cohabitation settlement to help weigh in where each of them stand.  

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But that just show how we do unreasonable things when we are too consumed with rationalizing the love we felt. The romantic entanglement amused the girl and the woman inside me because the story clearly depicted how much a woman’s faltering choices affect decisions to commit in a relationship.

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Na Ri was firm on her initial stand that she loved both men at the same time, but was just not sure who she loved more, until she got the realization or rather fear of losing Hwa Shin since she can’t contain the growing jealousy anymore. There was no definitive punch on what direction or lesson the story wanted to impart since halfway through it, even the characters seemed not to know where they were heading. That’s mainly the reason why I was disappointed in it. Acting and interaction wise among the cast members, it has great potentials, but the plot did not propel a lingering effect after it ended.  The only consolation I got was the supporting cast who were busy and engrossing with what’s going on around their own stories as well.  

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I think it would have been safe as well if it went to a shorter run because the kind of narrative it circled to was not that complicated to begin with. Though there were a few heartfelt and emotional scenes I really enjoyed, the stagnant progression and dormant conflict made my heart veer away from liking Jealousy Incarnate as a whole.

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If you are a Jo Jung Seok or Gong Hyo Jin fan, it is bearable to watch but there’s nothing special to look forward to.  -abbyinhallyuland

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The love that happened when they least expected it

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Something About 1% is a surprise hit for me this year.  I was prepared to drop it after 4 episodes, but boy I fell in love with the kiss scenes, lol I mean the story.  *wink  As Lee Jae In sedated my grieving heart from Scarlet Heart Ryeo, it pushed me back to meaningful existence with his sweet smile and steamy gazes.  This amazingly done rom-com darted cheesy and predictable.  Even now I still wonder how I got so addicted with everything so unadorned about it. 

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With its swift format following how web dramas usually are, it managed to fully explore the story with each closing chapter, and that’s a feat hard to maintain given the limited minutes for online dramas.  The lead couple’s chemistry is spot on in delivering those knee-weakening scenarios courtesy of the dapper lead man and the sunny disposition of the heroine. It will make any girl squeal on her pillow as the drama generously displayed heart-fluttering scenes every chance they can get.  I swear you can feel how melting the kisses were by Jae In and it will literally emanate from the TV screen straight to your parted lips. *aigoo *giggles For those who religiously follow Korean dramas we all know how the trend is for the liplocks — fish-like and boring, so be prepared for strings of whoa! and kyaaa on those extended smooching frames because Ha Suk Jin oppa knows how to feast on the romantic ride and will put you on a lovestruck-fangirl-trance and turn your eyeballs to hearts.  *kkk

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The premise of contract relationship has tendencies to overkill rom-com tropes if not executed with the right amount of love chemistry progression.  What made me hook in the story of Da Hyun and Jae In was how their romance happened like how it should be… by sharing conversations, bickerings and meaningful events.  They were on a clear agreement that strings will not be attached only to succumb to the emotion that sprung because they willingly involved time to spend with one another.  They were intending not to cross the wall they set initially, only to be struck on the reality of how binding shared memories can be in a relationship.

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Something About One Percent was brilliant in creating simple situations for the main leads and turning it to cohering pieces that has fulfilled a stunning love narrative.  The vibrancy of the heroine’s character complements the temperament of the lead man leading to a charming yin-yang romance.   It was  refreshing to feel a romance drama that is not fortified with misplaced conflicts and negative vibes.  It may not be that polished or creatively conceived with twist and turns and top actors that can make such a romantic drama spree amazing.  But it is with its heartfelt and pure storytelling that made me pick it as my Best Rom-Com Drama for 2016.  There was no special frosting and extraordinary premise Jae In and Da Hyun went through to arrive in that moment when they realized they love each other.  They were just there letting love happen through their shared memories.  The simplicity of the romantic narrative won me over.  It made me reminisce those unadulterated girl crushes I had when I was younger.  “Something About One Percent” engrossed me because the love built up came in so natural and sweet.  Something that pierced those old love memories I had when they were not yet nightmares.  *chuckles

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Focusing on the sparks and connection was what was so efficient in this love chronicle.  The conflict thrived to whether the love couple will disregard their feelings toward each other after the relationship contract or surrender to each other, make the relationship real and face together the varying world they have armed with their steadfast love. 

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It could be because of the consistent candied tone, the sigh inducing kisses, the committed on-screen relationship of the actors and the nicely-paced, yet crisp storyline that made “Something About 1%” such a charming treat for kdrama fans this year.  I can’t count the ways how much I like it anymore.  But one thing is for sure, I will miss the earnest love couple who accidentally found romance in the most remote possibility ever.  A beautiful love story sometimes does not need to be elaborated.  It can be as simple as it can get if we can feel the heartfelt love flowing.  Love does not ever happen in an instant.  You’d be lucky if you recognize it happening at the moment.  It is when we are not beside the person that we realize we are in love, and holding them in our arms is when we want to love them even more. -abbyinhallyuland

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From an Orphan to Joseon’s Princess Superwoman

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Bracing myself with a lengthy period drama run, what hooked my loyalty to weekender “Flower in Prison” was its balanced execution of political struggle, neat narrative, infuriating villains and optimistic underdogs. 
 
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I journeyed with the heroine Ok Nyeo in exploring the situation of state prison, merchant organization as well as the early days of defending crime convicted victims who can’t fend for themselves circa Joseon era.
 
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It helped that the fiends were established since Day 1 and there were no alterations thereafter.  It was an amusing video book read, I was totally immersed to following the lead girl in search of her birth secret and ultimately being instrumental in serving justice to the antagonists that have put her in a lot of rough situations.
 
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Flower in Prison presented the heroine Ok Nyeo who was raised  in Jeonokso, the state prison by Treasurer Ji when he extended help to a pregnant woman chased to death by hired assassins.  The woman died and Treasurer Ji decided to adopt the baby who later grew as a charming young errand woman running to and fro assisting the Prisoners.  She was taught face reading skills and Confucian classic ideas by a known scholar, Lee Ji Ham, who was an on-and-off captive in the jail house.  Ok Nyeo discovered an underground cover and met a man in solitude for 10 years.  She developed a bond with him and the jaded man who turned out to be a famous spy Park Tae Ha who shared a history with the Queen Mother.  He took her in as his last student and passed along his espionage skills on her, but she hid from her master her joining a spy group under Kang Sun Ho who gave her a mission involving a Chinese envoy.  
 
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Ok Nyeo became acquainted with Yoon Tae Won, a son of an evil noble man, Yoon Won Hyung who harbored hatred to his step mother Jung Nan Jung.  Tae Won was taken by a merchant head under his wings and joined the expedition where Ok Nyeo, Kang Sun Ho and Park Tae Ha were heading.  Unbeknownst to Park Tae Ha, Yoon Won Hyung ordered to have him be killed after their mission and was successful in doing so leaving Ok Nyeo in tears after losing her master and having her close friend Tae Won knew her secret identity.
 
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Ok Nyeo earned the ire of the evil married couple villain Nan Jung and Won Hyung and they framed her to a wrongdoing which sent her to another province as a slave.  Ok Nyeo’s bright mind saved her when she helped in a prayer ceremony.  She was offered a post in the rites and prayer department and started working in the palace.  Ok Nyeo had some encounters with the King when he went outside the palace incognito.  He was not aware that Ok Nyeo was sent to Haeju as a slave.
 
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 During her stay in Haeju, Ok Nyeo became close with her old master’s grandson, Sung Ji Hoon who broke his engagement with Nan Jung and Won Hyung’s daughter causing his adopted father’s death.  They followed a map given by Park Tae Ha and Ji Hoon claimed an inheritance left by the grandfather he never met.  They set off to the city and strategized a payback plan to stop Won Hyung and Nan Jung.  Ok Nyeo continued on finding clues about her birth mother and stumbled on a possibility that she could be a daughter of a former King.  She joined the group of Kang Sun Ho and her mother’s best friend who was a court lady in the King’s palace.  They confirmed Ok Nyeo’s royal blood after Kang Sun Ho tracked a then palace officer who helped Ga Bi, Ok Nyeo’s mother, fled off the palace when she was ordered to be killed by Queen Mother, Nan Jung and Won Hyung as they were setting in  motion the plan to put the current King to his position.  The King not knowing his family relationship with Ok Nyeo offered her to become a court lady for her protection, but she refused vehemently unable to cite the reason why.  
 
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During this turbulent times, the King has been falling ill and losing his consciousness and in one moment when he lost it, the main villains took the opportunity and pinned Ok Nyeo’s group for another crime but it fired back on them and the Queen Mother who has been protecting them died.  Ok Nyeo opted to work outside in the palace as a legal officer and asked for the King’s permission politely to fulfil what her heart wants.  Together with Tae Won they formed a legal team that helped the weak citizens in search of justice and protection of law.
 
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Flower in Prison was not an easy watch especially if you mostly lean on trendy dramas.  There are a lot to absorb in a long sitting but there will be so much to learn.  It has resonating characters and encouraging plot that magically locked me on a weekend alarm to check how Ok Nyeo and the rest of the guys were doing.  I like that for a period drama, the main cast propelling the scenarios of the story did not reach a hundred in numbers and that the concentration of the wickedness was centered to the married couple only.
 
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 It gets so draining when punches are thrown from every direction so I felt that it was in a fair equilibrium.  There was a moment that I want to rage war with Ok Nyeo for delaying her birth secret revelation and accepting all the stomping they received from the villain, but the charm of period dramas has always been the battles played by the heroes and villains in outsmarting each other.  As romance was not a major element on the series, the vengeance plot took a lot of swinging and swaying and painstaking binge before the goodness banner finally prevailed.
 
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Kudos to the cast who played well and good in casting the dice and overturning situations to annoy each other.  Strong villains are indispensable in sageuk dramas and I like that they did not go over the top because the production team made sure that they won’t be on a baseless rampage but a worthwhile challenge to the optimistic protagonists.
 
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With its perfect blend of political intrigue, side plots of espionage and state prison situation, memorable characters and engrossing storyline.  I picked “The Flower in Prison” as my period drama this year because while it was fundamental in its approach in combining the political background to the characters impetus drive in creating their own moments, it was easy to digest without losing a polished vibe and a classic video storybook.  It kept the excitement and historical lesson of the plot at a level where you craved for more and notched a satiating closure befitting of its humble opening and unwavering chronicle. -abbyinhallyuland
 
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That “Fantastic” Love We All Deserve

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Even with the dying premise, I have grown to love “Fantastic” because of the dexterous cast and how they blend together supporting each other’s friendship and stories.  Fantastic is an optimistic story that not only encourages through its love theme, but also with how the main characters were able to leave really cool life lessons as they tackled the roles they played in the narrative.
 
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A famous tv writer So Hye was forced to confront working with a famous actor,  Hae Sung she vowed not to work with anymore.  Caught in financial difficulties she agreed to the project just as she discovered her ailing body suffering from cancer.  Determined to win over his first love, Hae Sung worked wonders to claim her heart and never left him even when she was battling the weakening illness.
 
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There was a point when I stopped watching the drama when the cancer plot was too much to handle for me, but it drew me again because I want to believe that it will still end on a positive note and not an open-ended closing.  That I think was a great move as the story as a whole was rendered in simple sketching but has taken pride on how immersing the actors were in playing their roles.
 
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Hae Sung and So Hye’s love story though challenged by the cancer problem concluded in a not traumatic ending.  I was scared that it may follow the sad wrap up trend of the romance dramas this year so I was happy that they settled for a happy ending for all of them. “Fantastic” incorporated some agonizing notes.  Hence, it can go to a consistent direction that would be complementing the story well, but choosing to go to a sunny closure was also befitting to its story given how vibrant the characters were.
 
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What I like about the stream of Romantic Dramas for this year is that it avoided the weep fest routine.  They were crisp and daintily designed to balance the problem and the resolution of the story.
 
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The friendship side story and the noona romance from the supporting cast make “Fantastic” a really engaging watch.  It has an appealing cast chemistry and the sad cancer conflict is cushioned by the no-frill-just-heartfelt delivery of the scenes.  It is a complete package with the right amount of kdrama cliches, engrossing love couple, wacky supporting characters, annoying villains and unswerving storyline.
 
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“Fantastic” gave a nonchalant commital with me, nonetheless I was able to finish it because it did not give me a  hard time in understanding the cast and their stories as well as the minimal discrepancies of the plot along the way.  The feisty heroine, the comedic timing and the binding friendship circle were the reasons why I remained loyal with them.  Although plain and leaning on the cancer cliche, I was drawn to the lucid role-playing of the main cast as they went along with their struggles.  “Fantastic” did not surge to such outstanding impact, but at the very least I get to remember what it was about a week after watching it and even now because it was an easy watch and yet lingering.  If you fancy a sane and steady romcom then buckle your seatbelt for a fantastic ride.   -abbyinhallyuland
 
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For Love is not Love Without Pain and Memories

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Sprawling to a grand setting and power house cast, I did expect a lot on “Moonlovers:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo”.  I sure have issues on the languid built up of the story in the beginning episodes, but I came to realize the staid plot yarning was necessary to cushion the heaviness of the tormenting conflict faced by the lead couple heading to the culmination of their romance and eventual break-up.
 
 
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To balance the screentime of the supporting characters while threading their linked stories requires a lot of effort from the actors in committing an earnest portrayal every moment they are captured by the frame.  And I am glad to say that the Goryeo princes put their heart in sufficing the roles given to them.  Albeit the tormenting emotional strain I got with Scarlet Heart Ryeo, it will belong on my favorites for this year because I love that it became even more believable and fervent due to the plot’s instability and the main characters indecisiveness.  It was a situation that might have killed the drama, but because the essential character motivations were clearly drawn, as a viewer I enjoyed that feeble  and vulnerable facet of the production.
 
 
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Scarlet touched not just the long-suffering unrequited love of a damaged prince to a woman who shared his pain without prejudice.  It also sadly and yet beautifully expressed the betrayals of a dysfunctional Royal family who raised devious ways in order to claim the throne for them to use it in protecting the ones they love.
 
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When Scarlet turned all business hitting the halfway mark of the series, I found myself wanting to offer myself as a sacrificial lamb to make things better for 4th Prince So who endured his agonizing relationship with his mother and loving Hae Su one-sidedly.  When 8th Prince severed his relationship with Hae Su, I wanted to take him out from the TV screen and castigate on how coward he was, opting not to use his heart and taking the easy way out. But I think that it was a turning point of the heroine’s realization that he was let go by the only man she trusted.  And that was also why Prince So and Hae Su’s romance turned so meaningful because they were at each other’s side when they have nothing beside them. Though Hae Su took time to reciprocate Prince So’s love declaration it was all the more fulfilling because his faithfulness paid of.
 
 
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So what ending can you give when Scarlet Heart Ryeo started on a drowning woman who got transported back to a different era?  I was not expecting a happy ending given that most of the characters were killed.   It was still Hae Su and 4th Prince So’s love journey for me.  The sweets, the tears and the angst… all of it.  I took So’s last word as an open-ended closure on his acceptance of losing his one great love and longing to find her in the future.  I witnessed how they defied the shrewd political struggle in the royal family to get to a point where they can freely love each other and share memories together.  So I’m good that I know they love each other and they know it very well too.
 
 
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Just as life is short, love is also fleeting.   The all important love lesson #ScarletHeartRyeo taught us is how loving someone does not stop when we gave up on the person because the love does not belong anymore in the future.  It is a sweet reminder on keeping as much happy memories as you can to keep you going in moments when you yearn to be with them in the future, but they can’t stay by your side anymore.
 
 
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  I was bracing myself to the finale episode.   If truth be told, I was not expecting something cohering anymore because I was so scared the writer will kill all the characters at the last minute.  *chuckles  Did the closing chapter satisfy me?  Though I did not get the happy ending, I was okay with it.  I know that it was bound to be a sad ending so I was prepared for what will happen.  I was okay that they did not push to a scene where Hae Su of the present meets So while he passes by the cosmetic store where Su was working to ask for a BB cream .  *lol  So I was relieved.  Though Scarlet has a lot of flaws, I was fond of it because the love story was pragmatic in tapping on melancholic memories where viewers can relate to especially if they have once loved crazily like the kind of love they paraded in the drama.  The middle part of this romantic ride is the best part of it so make sure to catch up if you have been lagging behind.  ^_^
 
 
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I will miss the Goryeo princes and the dashing look of the Royal Family with their full make up and elaborated wardrobe and jewelries.  hahaha I will miss the bromance, heck I will even miss Hae Su who I wanted to burn in the waning episodes of the series.  She is a picture of every woman who fell in love, lost it, find it again and kept it safe in her heart. Lastly, I will miss 4th Prince So, who I wanted badly to cradle in my arms. lol Even with the unfazed heartrending tone all throughout, I take Scarlet Heart Ryeo with all my heart because I believe that a happy ending does not measure how great a love can be.
 
 
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The Legend of the Blue Sea Week 1 Quick Recap

 

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Feeling PD-nim aigoo woke up and checked on #LegendoftheBlueSea Episode 2 ratings first… Can’t help but be fond on Jun Ji Hyun’s mermaid’s character.  Dear Lee Min Ho, I won’t be swayed by your charm, please at least meet or exceed the effort of your lead girl this time. 

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QUICK WEEK 1 RECAP

Con artist Heo Joon Jae  easily pulls on his scams thru the help of his team and successfully mislead a madam of an investment company.  He flees to Spain and is interrupted by the solitude he is enjoying when a woman (Shim Chung) who turns out to be a mermaid barges in his hotel room.  He reports her to the police but upon noticing her jade bracelet and finding out that it is a 400 year old hot item, he frees her out of jail to execute his plan of retrieving it but the strange warmth he felt towards the mermaid made him go back to where he asks her to wait for him.  They settle in a hotel room where she absorbs world wide web information through Joon Jae’s laptop as he slept through the night.  The next morning Joon Jae’s friend alarms him that Myeongdong Capital madam ordered for his head and the gang are already posed to capture him.  They are able to escape the fiends thanks to Shim Chung’s incredible strength and seek help from one of Joon Jae’s friend but run for another chase with the villains when they are caught in Joon Jae’s special place (the place where he and his mom saw each other last time).  Cornered at a cliff with guns ready to fire at them, Shim Chung takes his hand and drags him to jump on the roaring blue sea.

 

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There’s a  background story on how in his past life circa Joseon period, Joon Jae (then Dam Ryung) helped Shim Chung when she was caught by an evil rich man in the new town he was assigned to administer.  When he let go of her back in the waters, she swam back and raised her hand to him to which he reached back too.  On the present timeline, the same scene was displayed when Joon Jae bugged about leaving Shim Chung went back to reach his hand on the mermaid who waited for him patiently because he asked her too.  Shim Jung is a bundle of zest with how she is trying to fit in to the whole new world she is having.  I love that scene when they found out about Joon Jae’s mother’s sad goodbye and how she translated it they way she understood it when Joon Jae explained to her the complex meaning of love the other night.  I look forward to how her mermaid character will be sketched in a way that her innate mermaid nature will not be washed out.  While she gives out the breezy and comic facets of the story, I think Joon Jae’s story will be layered with a lot of serious notes considering his role as a con artist.  

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So far I love how detailed and smart the writing is and how it feels so magically romantic and yet cheerful and mischievous at the same time.  It is giving me a lot of emotions and I like how the pace is upbeat and not wasting unnecessary scenes as well.  The premiere week presented a solid setting and character building where it left me with a lot of questions already.  It made me anticipate on how the romance will build up and how the time element will be inserted from now on to coincide with the supernatural twist of the story.  Jun Ji Hyun is my favorite actress and seeing her unfazed to give life to her mermaid role is just wow so I am expecting a lot from Lee Min Ho.  Can’t wait to see Week 2.

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Shopping King Louis Ep 3 Recap & Rambling

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Episode 3 “She”
Bok Sil wakes up to start her day.  She leaves $3 for Louis’ food and takes on a bus to go to work.  When Joong Won calls her attention for the spilled water he slipped on, she is unaware that the man she has been calling for the ginseng payment is in front of her until he speaks her name.  Fury arises the moment she realizes Joong Won is in front of her and she calls him a swindler and demands him to pay for her ginseng.  He accidentally pushes her and she fainted during the fall.  Meanwhile Louis gets up from bed and sees the money left by Bok Sil.  When he sees a bug crawling on the wall, he goes out to hide away from it and a man who wears the same jacket as his welcomes him and offers an umbrella to wherever he is heading to.
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The office scoops in Joong Won’s encounter with Bok Sil as he rushes her to the hospital.  He was told by the doctor that her body is very weak due to malnutrition.  Partly blaming himself for lagging on the payment for the ginseng he took from her which his parents just recently confirmed the authenticity.  Ajumma Hwang goes to the hospital to bring Bok Sil’s clothing and was asked by Joong Won for a wuick chat.  She clears that she is not her mother and narrates on her unfortunate life while mumbling curses to the bad man who vanishes not paying the ginseng from a country girl who just moved in to Seoul.  Joong Won averts ajumma’s eyes as she continuously spills her frustration to the swindler who caused trouble to hardworking Bok Sil.  He stops her from her litany and speaks about how maybe there’s another side to the swindler’s story but she counters how the jerk did not even answer her calls and swears to kill him if she will find him.  
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Louis formally meets In Sung who is ajumma’s job seeking son.  They munch lunch at a nearby eating place and exchange introduction about themselves.  Still caught up on her Louis encounter, Ma Ri confirms thru the CCTV that the bum really looks like Louis.  Joong Woon puts back Bok Sil’s sneakers back to the paper bag and sits beside her as she comes up back to her senses.  She sees Joong Won again and her rage erupts again as she grabs his collar and asks for the ginseng.  He frees himself as she realizes her presence in a hospital.  He gives him the payment for the ginseng and tells her that from now on he is not a swindler but a savior of her ginseng.  He offers her to work in the merchandising department next week.  She tries to ask about where she will be working but he dismisses her thoughts and walks away.  He stops from his track and tells her to rest well during the weekend and to eat plenty of food.
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Louis patiently sits outside the house waiting for Bok Sil.  He sees her walking from afar and calls her name.  They wave at each other as Louis heads to meet her on the street.  He asks why she comes in late and she delivers the good news of catching the swindler.  She shows him the money envelope and they celebrate on their acquired small fortune.  Louis sniffs on the plastic bag she carries and gets the food she brought upstairs for him to munch.  When Bok Sil reaches the top, she is surprised to see him eating outside and he mumbles how he does not want to go inside because of a bug.  
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She steps inside the house and catches the bug with her bare hands while Louis flinches on the sight of it.  She tells him that it is a good bug and lets go of it through the window.  Louis is mesmerized at how his heroine took care of the bug single-handedly as that Costelo-She-song plays again in the background. He sees flashes of her face when he saw her on TV and asks if he has met her before.  She dismisses his crazy babble and paces in the house to prepare to sleep as they have a lot of things to do tomorrow.
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Chairwoman Choi grieves as she rests facing the sea and is in a banter with her assistant, Ms. Heo for not touching her breakfast.  Butler Kim presents himself to the situation and uses Louis’ signature breakfast to lure the old lady to eat which she gladly obliges.  Butler Kim is cornered by Ms. Heo and is warned not to show off again on the Chairwoman’s food or  he will meet a body injury she is capable of giving.  
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Bok Sil and Louis start their day with a convenience store breakfast.  She grabs some tissue to wipe Louis’ face who was consuming the food with all effort he has.  At the mention of buying house stuff after eating, Louis’ ears perk up and accidentally spits his food at her clothes.
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Off the amnesiac shopping king and country girl go to the market to purchase their house things.  Louis points here and there and Bok Sil obediently gets the items talking to Louis to be picked.  They stop on their tracks and exclaims excitedly when the food market shows up in front of them.  The two did not waste their time and bask on the food they can eat on that happy place.  Bok Sil wonders how Louis seems to have a good eye in shopping and he replies that the items talk to him and asks him to buy them.  Louis tells Bok Sil that they should shop some clothes as he whines about the imitation jacket he is wearing.  She pouts and boasts how it cost $20 but Louis narrates how the jacket is from a famous designer and a hundred pieces were sold for a pricey amount.  Unable to process what he is trying to say, Louis gives up and drags her to the clothing store where they pick on some new clothes for them to wear.  To cap up their shopping spree, Louis suggests getting a mobile phone that they can use for online shopping.  She initially declines it so he raises a point on how everyone has a mobile phone because of its usage for shopping, gaming and communication.  She still refuses citing how she heard it from Bok Nam before.  He takes the opportunity to lure her by sharing the tracking feature of a cellphone that could help in finding  Bok Nam, and the country girl finally agrees.  
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Louis whines on the heavy load he carried muttering how he seems not to be used that kind of feeling.  Just then the neighbor who befriended Louis approached them and introduces himself to Bok Sil.  In Sung speaks of his current status as a job seeker but the two babos do not know the meaning of a bum.  He helps them with the stuff they bought and amuse them even more when he casually shows off his grocery shopping knowledge.  aigoo how can these two be stupid and adorable at the same time
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Bok Sil drops by at the police station to inform the detective helping her of the new cellphone and inquires if they would be able to really track Bok Nam, but the detective tells her that Bok Nam has to have a mobile phone to be tracked.  Louis pouts at the partition that was set up in the room as In Sung carries a delivery for them.  
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Later on Bok Sil strongly labors on their laundry as In Sung praises how she knows how to be a good home maker to which Louis agrees and remarks how she will be a good maid.  *chuckles  Bok Sil notices a name written on Louis’ boxers as he takes it from her hands.  In Sung notes on the gems embedded on it as Louis comments on how that brand does not make clothing item like that and they all agree to use Louis as his name from then on.
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Ma Ri questions her parents if Louis has a twin brother after her Louis look alike encounter while they are having a dinner.  Her mom responds that he is an only child so she narrates how she saw a homeless guy who looks exactly like Louis which makes her father stop on his thoughts worried about how he thought he saw someone like Louis the last time as well.  We flashed back to when Louis arrived in Korea and Director Baek handed him the car key to head to their house as he executed on his evil plan to kill him thru the road accident.
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Bok Sil grills samgyupsal for the lazy boys and asks In Sung how she will work at Merchandising Department tomorrow.  They were surprised at Bok Sil’s new work as In Sung explains how she mighr have been put there so she can be disregarded eventually by the company due to her lacking skills.  Bok Sil argues how Joong Won is kind and a savior of her ginseng but he points out how she does not know how the world works.  In Sung’s mother who turned out to be ajumma Hwang joins them as Louis sulks on the neighbors who have munched on their meal.  When they left he shares the 4 pieces left with Bok Sil.  
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Late at night, Louis checks if Bok Sil is still awake and she responds how she is thinking about her brother and is he is eating well.  He appeases her heart by promising that he will find her brother once he regains his memory.  When she speaks about the house things they still need to buy, Louis assures her that he will order everything so she should not worry about it.
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The next morning, Louis trails Bok Sil as she heads to work.  She stops and orders him not to follow her, but he comments on how her dress is out of style.  He suggests for her to wear the dress they bought yesterday but she declines and walks away.  Louis follows her and when she fumes on his pestering, he takes a piece of pink cloth and forms a flower pin out of it.  He inches closer to Bok Sil and attaches it to her dress to add some detail and spike to her mom’s dress.  She smiled and rides on the bus as he waves goodbye to her.  Bok Sil enters the Merchandising department room and was recognized by the team members.  Joong Won rescues her from the awkwardness to reveal that she will be temporarily working with them.  He directs Bok Sil to go to the HR team to sign papers and get her ID and he briefs the rest of the staff that she will be working as an intern for a month and depending on her performance she will be hired full time accordingly.  The team members murmur on the surprising situation and wonders if Joong Won likes her but dismiss the crazy idea right away.  
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Joong Won meets with Director Baek and he was questioned about his hiring of a cleaning lady.  He counters that the intern is on a trial basis and depending on her growth he will decide if she will be kept or not.  Joong Won’s team interview Bok Sil and learns her computer illiteracy and her zero knowledge about online shopping.  Joong Won saves her from the hot spot and orders her to order coffee as the rest of the team members state their orders.  Ma Ri offers help to Bok Sil as her ears rise hearing compliments about her personality.  Bok Sil is on trance upon hearing Ma Ri placed the coffee orders and she sways on her hair while that Costelo-She-song plays again on the background.  
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Louis googles where his new name could have probably been derived as In Sung invades his privacy to share the lunch Bok Sil prepared for him.  In Sung figured how Bok Sil is the type of girl who will care for his roommate hence he knew that he will have a prepared lunch.  He instructs him to buy a rice cooker as they will need it for warm rice every meal and they chowed together on Bok Sil’s food.  With his full tummy, In Sung craves for some coffee and asks if they have it.  Louis replies yes but muttered they don’t have hot water.  He makes no issues about it and was surprised when Louis does not even know how to boil water.  He tells Louis to buy electric kettle and a proper stove to help with Bok Sil’s cooking.  Curious on Louis’ practical knowledge, In Sung speaks about the possibility of Louis being locked up and being told of what to do for a long time and we see a parody of Old-Boy-Louis exercising and given a mandu meal by his captor and bed ridden Louis sick and tied on a hospital bed.  He dismisses his firs two theories as Louis looks handsome and healthy and arrives to the point that he could be a spoiled son from a super rich family.   Bingo In Sung!  *chuckles  He offers him the instant coffee and when rich boy exclaims on how he likes that coffee so much, In Sung gives up on his theory 2 minutes ago that Louis might be probably rich.
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Joong Won eomoni chats with her husband about Chairwoman Choi’s grandson’s accident as she feeds her totally unwilling husband.  He hides his dislike of her cooking as she listens to her mumbling of when their son will get married.  At that very same time, Bok Sil skids to the elevator and bumps Joong Won in the process.  His heart moves erratically for a quick moment before they went back to the present.  He scolds her if she  is in a hurry becaus she is looking forward to go home because of someone which surprises her because that’s exactly her reason why.  Joong Won passes by a nice ladies’ shoes and buys it thinking about Bok Sil’s worn out sneakers.  
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Meanwhile Bok Sil wipes the house floor diligently as Louis bums on watching TV.  Louis sees romantic feauture about France and calls Bok Sil’s attention on why it seems familiar to him.
Just then In Sung enters the picture and presents Bok Sil with a proposal on how they will be helping out in finding Bok Nam by giving out the flyers everyday.  She thanks him for his good deed and agreed to their proposed task.
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 The two set off with their find-BokNam-task and passes by a flea market where they bought great clothing finds.  In Sung compliments on Louis eyes for shopping and calls him a shopping King which surprises Louis muttering how that title seems familiar to him.  Louis notices a music box calling him and when he plays it, flashes of his childhood memory causes his head to split that he catches  a fever and is tended by Bok Sil when he was dragged home.  
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Butler Kim stands with Louis grandmother as they reminisce how Louis loved the beach when he was young.  He play around with his dog Koboshi on the ground.  Butler Kim mentions how Louis did not eat for a month when Koboshi died on his 14th year and Grandma thanked him dearly for being beside her precious all those years.  In the morning, Bok Sil eat breakfast with Louis who does not seem to have an appetite so she offers some ham to perk up his mood.  Louis talks about how the music box is a limited edition issue of Gold department store.  Bok Sil is amazed on how he has been getting information thru his mobile phone and orders him to not go to the streets if his headache is still bad, but he insists on doing his duty to find Bok Nam making her beam.  Bok Sil goes back to their table after frying some ham as Louis chases her like a dog.   She asks why he follows her around and he nonchalantly responds that he likes her which skip her heart in a bit.   She replies she is making him blush as she smiles on his happily stuffing food face.
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Bok Sil searches about the Gold Department store and is routes to the page about the heir’s accident.  Joong Won approaches her  and scolds her for slacking out her time with surfing the net and orders her to get the meeting list and schedule for that day.  Meanwhile at the rooftop house, Louis receives a voice phishing call and unaware of how the world works, he gives in to the swindlers demand and deposit the little money they had to the con people’s bank account.  I love the music pun from In Gook’s previous drama.  Knowing the extent of his stupid move, Louis stays at a park trying to figure out how to face Bok Sil’s wrath upon learning from In Sung that he was conned.  
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A dog suddenly appears and he remembers his childhood playing around with Koboshi.  He follows the dog, but it sits beside a fire hydrant post which scares him and rendered him unmoving from his spot.  He coaxes the dog to come to him instead.  He calls Koboshi once, twice and thrice, until he got a response from Go Bok Sil who rushes to his direction in fury.  
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EPISODE 3 QUICK THOUGHTS
I am so far loving how uncomplicated this story is and how Bok Sil and Louis seem to be just one character and can’t be separated anymore because of their impeccably engrossing chemistry.  I look forward to their cohabitation journey and how everything will change once Louis’ memory returns.  For now, I’m basking with this drama’s blithe after effect.
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KDramaLand Weekly Round Up (October 1st Week)

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The Flower in Prison (Ep 40-41) – Is there any more room for the upcoming evil deeds left for Jung Nan Jung and Lord Yoon? 9 more episodes left and we finally discovered that Ok Nyeo is a princess, and I can’t wait for her to finally strip Nan Jung of the powers she has been abusing. Also, I wish I could see a little bit more of romantic scenes for Ok Nyeo and Tae Won after all the hardships they went through in challenging the villains. “Flower in Prison” remains to be consistent on its neat storytelling even when it has been running long.

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Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds (Ep 13-14) – The cruel fate of Ra On and Lee Young’s young love sent me to tearland. I wonder how Lee Young would fight for their love when he is still in an unstable power due to the band of politician villains joining hands in robbing him of the authority he has. I just wish that Ra On would push a little more strength in her character and not make Young cry again because it really broke my heart when I saw him crying like that. *chuckles

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Scarlet Heart Ryeo (Ep 12-13) – The Goryeo princes and Hae Soo went on a business face as soon as it crossed the halfway mark of the story. I hated the 8th prince indecisiveness and hated more Hae Soo’s unrequited love towards him. I’m glad that she did not linger on that phase and I look forward to her love story with the 4th prince this time.

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Jealousy Incarnate (Ep 13-14) – The last two episodes were very fulfilling for the lead girl’s character and the love triangle frame. The HwaShin-JungWon bromance is so far a delightful watch with their don’t-like-my-gf-confrontation and drunk-i-love-you-friend-soju-night. I’m excited on the aftermath of the kiss and how Na Ri would choose whom she will really love.

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Shopping King Louis (Ep 5) – Though having a simple premise, Bok Sil and Louis are so far entertaining me with their sweet and hilarious chemistry. I like that this drama is so light and upbeat and does not trigger any negative emotions, but just pure feel good spirit. Since Kdramaland is packed with varied stories weeklong, “Shopping King Louis” is like a comfort food for me.

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I have not been up to date with K2, On the Way to the Airport, Fantastic, and Woman with a suitcase. Hopefully next week I will be, so I can include them in the round up. What are you guys watching these days?

The world that I want to live with Kang Chul

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I struggled in a long lull trying to come up with my thoughts about W: Two Worlds as it gave me a mixture of an electrifying writing but then it failed to close the story with a befitting ending.  Sprinting in a mind-blowing setting and pushing me to the extent of an imaginary world where everything is possible to happen, I had a lot of jaw-dropping and head splitting moments following Kang Chul and his adventures in discovering the world inside the world he lived in.  Visually it was appealing, and I’m not talking about Kang Chul’s frames only here, but the transition of the alternating worlds where our characters thrived.

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I was amazed and intoxicated on a whole new world inside a fictional sphere, I was rendered thrilled and brimming of love vibes every time a chapter closes on the first half of it.  Because of the previous works of the writer (Nine and Queen In Hyun’s Man), I marked “W-Two Worlds” even if Lee Jun Seok hasn’t reached the oppa status with me yet until W, and nothing has prepared me in this whirlwind of emotion trying to figure where the story will be heading and how the sweet couple would fulfil their impossible love when they live in divergent realms.

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If you haven’t caught up on “W” yet, it tells the story of a doctor, Oh Yeon Joo, who supernaturally got transported inside a manhwa which her father created.  There she saved Kang Chul, the hero of the manhwa wounded from an assault.  Yeon Joo’s alcoholic father was meaning to kill Kang Chul to end the story after he was troubled on how Kang Chul seemed to be changing the story when he doesn’t like where it is heading.  Yeon Joo still baffled on her trip to an alternate world was summoned back again after learning that his father will again attempt to kill Kang Chul who was confined in a hospital.  Yeon Joo saved him but was marked by the police for questioning and for being a suspect to Kang Chul’s rooftop accident.  Understanding that she has to do a highlight act to trigger Kang Chul’s emotion for her to return to her world, Yeon Joo kissed the hero and got what she wished for.  However, she got drawn to his world again and woke up in his room. 

Because she can’t explain the circumstances on how she knew Kang Chul, she was penthouse-arrested by the latter until she confessed everything.  Yeon Joo eventually got caught by the police.  Kang Chul coaxed her to spill what world she came in and how she knew a lot of things about him.  Still afraid of the repercussions it may bring, she revealed to Kang Chul how she knew him and vanished in the manhwa world.  After the perturbingly unbelievable confession, Kang Chul’s world froze and he saw a portal to which he entered in search of clarifying the questions Yeon Joo failed to answer.  He learned about Yeon Joo’s relationship to the artist who created him and when he confronted him about the truth, he shot him after disagreeing to his illogical vodka selfish argument of his power over him and his daughter’s entanglement in their creator-masterpiece rift.  Kang Chul decided to end his life on his own and jumped to Hangang river. 

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Oh Yeon Joo’s father survived and went on a NZ trip after two months.  All the while Yeon Joo still worrying about what happened to Kang Chul. While on a blind date, she got pulled in to Hangang River where Kang Chul is still submerged and in her desperate effort to save him, she asked her father’s assistant to help her draw the pictures that will bring him back to life.  Kang Chul woke up to his world, realizing the remnants of what happened to his visit to Yeon Joo’s universe he went to meet her after she also got sighted laying down on the cell where she disappeared.  Kang Chul got mad thinking about Yeon Joo’s selfish actions of bringing him back to manhwa life when he doesn’t have a reason to live.  In tears Yeon Joo confessed her love for him which swayed Kang Chul’s heart and sent her out of his world only to materialize again while he was about to leave.  Yeon Joo coyly pointed out how he must have been thinking about her that’s why she kept coming to his world, and he agreed by scooping a heart stopping kiss admitting how he was scared of not seeing her again.  Yeon Joo and Kang Chul agreed to do a contract marriage to bail her out of prison whilst being in love with all of their hearts but they will soon have to battle the faceless villain who already gave Kang Chul a warning of Yeon Joo’s eventual death in his hand.

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The rules were established on the connection between Yeon Joo and Kang Chul — that Yeon Joo can enter Kang Chul’s manhwa world when the latter carries her in his thoughts and she can leave if there’s a monumental shift of emotion to our hero.  Yeon Joo has control over Kang Chul’s universe as one of the creators of the manhwa setting, but he has control over her coming and leaving his universe thru his thoughts and emotions.  This drama has endless possibilities and was so strong in mocking predictable outcomes that the viewers pondered about.

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The nifty writing was executed well by the main leads in both charming renditions.  Oh Yeon Joo and her antics threw me in i-dont-care-i-will-laugh-with-all-my-heart fits on how she analyzed things and acted upon the situation given to her in those moments when she was learning her new found ability to enter a fancy world where she eventually fell in love with the man of her teenage-self dreams.  The ingenious choices she did to stir Kang Chul emotions so that she can escape his world were hilariously funny and yet lovely at the same time.  Her mischievous character is so fitting to Kang Chul’s calculating persona.  Both were quick to adjust and smart enough to deduct the situation thrown at them when they were placed in the same room. 

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Admitting to the curious case of romance they were in, they were crippled by the restrictions of the worlds they lived in, nonetheless it was a thrilling feat on how they raced on their romantic ride and sealed it with their heartfelt love.  Kang Chul and her swoon worthy adorably sweet moments with Oh Yeon Joo made me almost kill my non-living pillow out of the butterflies in my tummy that must have been wanting to see Kang Chul too.  Just like Yeon Joo I know most of the girls like me passed that stage where we put in writing our ideal man, and that’s why maybe “W” is hitting home very well in me because it tapped on my young woman fantasies so I can relate well to Yeon Joo.  I was like “aigoo!  Kang chul!  be still my heart!” on the heart fluttering episode 7 that I forgave MBC right away with Episode 8 preemption.  I didn’t notice Lee Jun Seok before but his Kang Chul portrayal suiting up a dapper handsome face, teasing smirks and mouth gaping smiles encumbered  the rational woman inside me, making me consider the possibility of being with my dream man if I draw him too, even when I can only write.  *giggles

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After crossing the half of this sweetly addictive drama journey, I have fears on how all of the dots will be connected as we winded down to the story.  From the bottom of my heart I rooted for the love couple’s ever after.  Eventhough from the onset realistically speaking it doesn’t seem viable.  But since we are defying rules in two alternating worlds, I took everything bargaining on the possibility that the closing episodes will be seamlessly done basing on the already established scenarios.  So when Kang Chul and Yeon Joo went to a more complex conflict in trying to defeat the villain who has outwitted his creator and has forced the love couple to part ways for them to survive, the reset Kang Chul pictured to be the resolution in protecting his lady love ended up to be an additional pile of side problems they had to overcome which in turn frustrated me.  By the time they successfully nailed their happy ending, I was so exhausted with the writer on why he had to do that long route and diminish the fan service scenes he could have extended to compensate on how he twisted his plot and teased the followers in catching where he intends to go.  Did I like the ending?  It was fair and satisfying but the movement of the story from its strong onset felt like the waning episodes hit a roadblock and the main leads were stripped of their initial brilliance and were thrown at a UFC fight night where they had to survive.  *chuckles

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Less the staggering twists and turns that were ever present in the narrative, I still like how “W:TwoWorlds” was so ambitious on how it vividly displayed and chronicled a love story that defied alternate universe.  It maneuvered to constant deviation and possibilities having the premise of “everything is possible to happen as long as they can draw it”.  I love smart characters playing in the story so I have to give it to Yeon Joo on how she perceives efficiently in moments when Kang Chul is hindered by the limitations of his heroic role which was dependent on his fictional character.  All throughout its showing, I was immersed on the extent of chimeric world the story would thread to, even when it hit a frustrating circle, but then it bounced back to a neatly delineated denouement although I would have wanted for another hour of extension.  

 

There is no doubt on how exemplary “W:Two Worlds” accelerated to its proxy-universe-deriding setting.  It gave a surreal drama experience and yet the romance development for the main leads was pragmatic and memorable.  If you have not caught up on Kang Chul and W yet, don’t wait for next year to happen, and be prepared for a mixed emotion spin as you frolic on this enslaving kdrama spectacle.  -jediprincess (photo credits to hancinema)

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Cinderella and the Four Knights Ep 16 Recap

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We are down to the final episode and it’s up to Ha Won and Ji Woon if they will survive their you-and-me-against-my-rich-grandpa love story.  
 
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Hyun Min heaves a sigh when the votes against the Chairman’s dismissal was declared.  Madam Ji castigates Yoon Sung for betraying her knowing that his vote protected the Chairman and his grandsons.  Hyun Min arrives in the hospital where Ha Won worriedly waits on Ji Woon.  The doctor tells them that the Chairman is in a stable condition, but Ji Woon falls in a shock as a result of his allergic reaction to anaesthesia and has put him on coma. They learn how he took the risk of the operation without telling them that he was warned by the doctor that he might now wake up in the worst case scenario.  Chairman Kang opens his eyes and learn about Ji Woon’s sacrifice as the latter has yet to regain consciousness.
 
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Seo Woo expresses concern at Ha Won who has not left Ji Woon’s side but she dismisses his offer to replace her from tending Ji Woon.  She mutters how she has never thought that Ji Woon might leave her because she always do the running away and thought it would be enough to forget him.  She voices out how she wants to do a lot of things with him like sealing love locks in Namsan tower, going to a theme park and picking up some clothes for him when they go shopping. She whispers how she regrets not properly telling Ji Woon that she likes him and how she should have loved him more since she has not done so much for him.
 
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Chairman Kang gives his last words to Yoon Sung as he meets him one last time.  He tells him to give the divorce papers to Madam Ji.  Yoon Sung apologizes and reveals that he is Madam Ji’s biological son which surprises Chairman Kang.  He speaks about how his mother is not at fault and claims everything is done by him.  He sincerely thanks Chairman Kang for everything he has given to him and walks away.  Hyun Min bumps with Yoon Sung on his way out and reminds him how he told him not to see his grandfather again.  Yoon Sung reasons that he only bids farewell to him.  Hyun Min smirks and mumbles how he does not have the right to do that and to not ever see each other again for good.
 
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Ha Won rubs on Ji Woon’s hands and talks to unconscious Ji Woon if he is not curious to know why she likes him. 
 
HA WON:  At first you were really a jerk.  But you had showed up whenever I was facing problems.  Before I knew it, I look forward to you showing up when I’m facing troubles.  And without realizing it I only had my eyes on you.  Yesterday, I was thankful for all that little moments that made me fall in love with you.  But right now you are in front of me like this and yet I miss you like crazy.
 
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Hyun Min pushes Chairman Kang’s wheelchair as they head to Ji Woon’s room.  Chairman finally learns from the doctor of how Ji Woon put his life on the line for him to survive.  Ha Won moves away to Ji Woon when the two enter the room.  Chairman Kang stares at his grandson’s face worriedly as Ha Won remembers the last conversation she had with the Chairman.  The latter asks Hyun Min to watch over Ji Woon and to let Ha Won help him return to his room.  Ha Won apologizes when he utters how he thought she is already gone for good in Ji Woon’s life by now.  She whispers how she blamed herself when he collapsed and is intending to really leave after Ji Woon’s surgery.  Chairman Kang replies that it was not her fault at all.  Ha Won pleads to him for her to stay at Ji Woon’s side until she wakes up.  Chairman Kang confirms her choice is to be with Ji Woon’s then, when she confesses how she does not care about money and her future and her willingness to return all the help she got from him.  She responds how she just want to be by Ji Woon’s side.  Chairman Kang sighs and asks her if she can still choose Ji Woon if she ever gets to a situation when she needs money and when her life reality will hinder her to stay with him.  He challenges her if she can take responsibility of her feelings toward Ji Woon till the very end making her weep silently.
 
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Chairman Kang peers at Ha Won taking care of Ji Woon from outside the room and listens to her cry painfully in the comfort room away from where Ji Woon is.  Chairman Kang gazes at the blurry picture from Ha Won’s mission and ponders on their situation.  Stepmom and Yoona meet Ha Won and inform her of the accident her father had.  Her father is safe but they need a big chunk of money to settle the damage.  Stepmom pleads her to ask money from Ha Neul people to save her father as Yoo Na shouts how she is not supposed to take care of the sick Chairman when they have a family concern like that.  
 
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While Ha Won contemplates on her problem, she receives a phone call that Ji Woon wakes up and rushes back to the hospital.  She sees the Chairman entering with Hyun Min and remembers their conversation earlier as she now understands the meaning of it.  She steals a glance on Ji Woon and decides to leave without showing her face.  Chairman Kang apologizes to Ji Woon and replies that there’s no need for it.  He weakly searches for Ha Won who already left him for good.
 
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Ha Won did not answer Ji Woon’s phonecall and wanders on the street with a heavy heart.  Madam Ji visits Chairman Kang to deliver the divorce papers and say sorry for the wrong she did.  He asks her if she really did love him and she replies that she does and that everything started because of love.  She speaks about how her love for her son changed everything and that’s why she caused trouble while she was asleep.  Chairman Kang gripes when she mentions how she regrets what she did and shuts her up by saying she should feel that way all her life because he will never forgive her.  She responds that she does not need his forgiveness, but begs to hate just her and not his son who has stayed loyal to him and his grandsons during the special meeting.  She leaves his hospital room not realizing that Hyun Min’s standing nearby.
 
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Ha Won welcomes her father back after his stay in the jail.  He asks her where she got the money and she replies that it came from her part-time job at Skyhouse.  Ji Woon enters Ha Won’s room the moment he arrives at Skyhouse.  Ajumma tells him she thought Ha Won is in the hospital with him when he asks where she is.  Ha Won and her dad get off the bus, Ha Won sees Ji Woon waiting for her, she tells her father to go ahead and leads him to a quiet place where they can talk.
 
JI WOON:  I waited for you.  I opened my eyes but you vanished.  I thought “she’ll come in the evening”, “she’ll come tomorrow”, then “she’ll probably come when I’m being discharged”.  I miss you like so much.
 
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Ha Won still not facing him responds that bringing him to the hospital is just another mission – her final mission.  She turns her back to face him and tells him that she was only there because she felt that he needed her for that big surgery.  He stops her from spilling lies and voices out how he knows how her smile, her look and her taking care of him were all genuine and it does not match her intentions of breaking up with him.  She strongly counters how he can’t still understand what she really feels and how she stayed by his side because of money.  Ji Woon interrupts her by saying he does not care about her reasons for as long as she stays with him.  She enumerates the good things that will happen in her life as promised by Chairman Kang.  Ji Woon confirms how her decision was again because of his grandfather, but she denies it and expresses how she now understands that she does not fit in the world he lives in, that’s why she chose her future over him.  He stops her from walking away and begs for her not to leave even offering to leave Haneul group for her, but she scolds him for being too full of himself and not knowing his priorities and straining his newly tied relationship with his family.  With tears brimming in her eyes, Ha Won tells him that she does not want to see him again.  Ji Woon halts her steps when he whispered he cannot live without her and how he will lose everything if he loses her, but she continues on her track to walk away from him.  Ha Won reaches their house and breaks down to tears reminiscing her memories of Ji Woon and feeling that tormenting pain of turning her back from the first man she ever loved.
 
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Seo Woo’s manager hands him a paper for his upcoming tight schedule and warns him of sleepless days ahead.  He discloses his decision to go back to paid street performances while traveling which surprises his manager.  At a cafe, Hye Ji waits for Hyun Min and smiles when he kisses her through the glasswall.  She steps out and stops him but he replies how he does not care about everything and how he intends to hug and kiss her whenever he feels it.  He gives her a fond look and tells her he will not ever let her go to which she replies that she won’t go anywhere.  He plants a quick peck on her lips and murmurs how she is so pretty it makes his heart beats fast.
 
 
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Ji Woon wallows in his recent break up so he did not notice Seo Woo approaching.  His cousin asks if he already met Ha Won and he responds that he did but she told him not to see her anymore.  Seo Woo comments how weird it was for Ha Won to say that she does not want to see him again when she took care of him diligently when he was unconscious.  Ji Woon speaks how he must have made things hard for her and how he does not understand how she feels.  He murmurs how he is not sure of anything and that he should just let her go.  Seo Woo enlightens his mind by agreeing to his sentiments but pointing out how what he feels is exactly what her worries are too.  He assures him that Eun Ha Won likes him a lot like the only person in the world.  He encourages him not to let her go.  Ji Woon thanks him and marches to head somewhere as Seo Woo grumbles how he should chase and be good to Ha Won because he let go of his first love for him.
 
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Ji Woon confronts Grandpa if he ordered Ha Won to leave him.  Chairman Kang clears his throat and mumbles how his Ha Won related decisions is what’s best for his future.  You should have not given him a piece of your liver Ji Woon *lol
He finally asks him about how he also did the same thing to his mother before which perplexed the old man.  He lectures his grandfather on how his parents’ love affair would have yielded a different result if he did not meddle before and takes on that pattern to what he is having with Ha Won right now. Grandpa counters how he must have thought that it will be the same for him and Ha Won, but he declares that he does not care about the results but he will be with the woman he loves even if he will end up being hurt because of it.  Ji Woon painfully whispers how he will regret letting go of Ha Won just like how he regretted sending off his father and that he does not room for anymore regret if he will cast him away too.  Ji Woon kneels and begs his grandfather’s blessing to be with Ha Won.  Tears welled in his eyes as he whispers how he cannot breathe without Ha Won.
 
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Chairman Kang ruminates on Ji Woon’s request and flashes back to when he silently watches Ha Won lovingly taking care of unconscious Ji Woon.  Ha Won and her family sit down for a dinner and we finally see a glint of kindness shown by her stepmom and Yoo Na to her.  Ha Won receives a phonecall from Chairman Kang and she heads to meet him in his office.
Ha Won smiles at the sight of the healthy Chairman.  He speaks about how the Skyhouse people are looking for her since she just disappeared without a word.  He asks Ha Won about her stay in Skyhouse as she narrates the difference of his grandsons’ personalities.
 
HA WON:  Hyun Min seems to be that kind of person who can’t be serious about anything, but he is pure-hearted and thoughtful in many ways.  He also made me laugh a lot when I was facing problems before.  He is also not a playboy at all.
 
CHAIRMAN:  What about Seo Woo?
 
HA WON:  Seo Woo is very kind and good to others.  It feels so comfortable to be with him.  He may seem like free-spirited, but he follows his own life philosophies.  He is a rich boy who understands that life is never easy.
 
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Ha Won beams all throughout her analysis report of Chairman’s grandsons but she pauses and her smile fades when he mentions Ji Woon.  Chairman Kang breaks the silence and tells Ha Won that he is giving them his blessings to be together.  He reveals how Ji Woon seems to miss her a lot, but Ha Won responds how she agrees to what Chairman’s warning was as when she recently faced a money problem, she could not make it to choose Ji Woon.  She acknowledged how she ran away because it dawned on her the realities of her life.  She speaks about how she was happy during her stay in the Skyhouse and how she has seen that the Lang cousins changed for the better.  Chairman affirms to how she kept her promise and offers her to come back anytime.
 
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Seo Woo wonders why his manager follows him on his way to do busking.  He explains that he still has to protect his artist in case the audience will go crazy on him.  He notices his heavy bag and calls in a porter to help him.  Ja Young emerges and introduces herself as his new manager.  Ji Woon is summoned by Grandpa and gives his father’s ring so he can give it to the woman he loves.  He tells him that he only has his father’s ring but Ji Woon does not recall his mother having worn any ring before.  He suddenly remembers Ha Won’s mother’s ring and how their mothers died on the same day.
 
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Hyun Min paces to Ha Won’s direction dragging her luggage while she stares at hers and Ji Woon’s holding hands picture.  He sits beside her and mutters how he has to bring her things after vanishing like that.  She complains on how he does not care about her anymore since he is back with Hye Ji so he teases her on regretting losing a catch like him.  She smiles muttering how they are matched to be together.  Hyun Min brings out Ha Won’s love problem and rants how she crazily nursed Ji Woon back to life only to disappear when he woke up.  Hyun Min reaches for a shoebox and places it on Ha Won’s lap.  He narrates how she left the shoes from Grandpa’s wedding and he got one of the pair while Yoon Sung got the other.  Hyun Min scolds her for acting like Cinderella and she denies doing it and returns the shoes to him.  Hyun Min makes a serious face and tells her to wear the shoes when she will muster the courage to meet the man she loves.  He brings out how he suffered from a heartbreak so he wants her not to run away from things that cannot be hidden.  He encourages her to free her feelings and to not run away if she really likes Ji Woon.
 
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Ji Woon calls an office to check on his dead mother’s ring and was notified that someone wants to see him regarding his mother’s belonging.  It turns out to be Ha Won’s father who is also surprised remembering the young man he saw briefly who was waiting for his daughter.  He explains how the ring was clutched hard by his wife when she died and learned recently that it was not hers but of the neighbor who wanted the ring to be given to his son in her dying breath.  Ha Won’s father learns how the ring was given by his father to his mother.  Through his stories, Ji Woon remembers the time when he actually first met Ha Won while they were grieving at the death of their mothers.  He handed her a white rose and wiped her tears from sobbing.  He gave her his arm band and told her that he will recognize her if she will show that to him if they meet someday.  In return she gave him her hairclip and made her promise to return it to her.
 
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Ji Woon drives cheerfully at his recent discovery as Ha Won mulls over the pep talk she had with Hyun Min while focusing on the pink shoes she was holding.  Her reverie is halted when his father calls in reporting his meeting with the ring owner and revealing it to be Ji Woon.  His father asks her if she likes the boy and we see Ha Won responds by wearing the Cinderella shoes and walking down on that high neighborhood staircase to meet Ji Woon who emerges from his car to meet his girl halfway.  He shows her hairclip on his palm as Ha Won gives her arm band.  He takes her hand, puts on his mother’s ring and utters how she should think of him whenever she sees that ring.  She also puts on his father’s ring which we don’t know how magically she got lol and tells him to think the same when he sees the ring on his finger.  He takes her in his embrace and plants a you-are-mine kiss as Ha Won throws all her inhibitions and accepts the love that were meant for them all along.
 
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Ja Young cheers happily at Seo Woo’s street performance which was welcomed gladly by his audience.  Hyun Min pays a visit to Yoon Sung who returned to teaching Judo.  He convinces him of going back to work with them, but he declines having no right to do that. He said sorry for not trusting him and urges him to go back as the Chairman is waiting for him.  Madam Ji feels sad after another failed attempt to sell an insurance policy when suddenly Chairman surprises her with a bouquet of flowers and a love offer to go back to him.  Hyun Min and Hye Ji visit her brother as Hyun Min vows to his friend how he will not think about him anymore but will focus on taking care of Hye Ji.  They walk along the grassy memorial place and Hyun Min stops to face her.  He mentions how he is amazing by missing her everytime even when she is with him.  He cups her face with his hands and pecks on forehead, eyes, nose and cheek while saying how all of those are pretty.  Hye Ji responds how she has pretty lips too and tiptoes to give him a quick kiss which he returns with a deeper kiss.
 
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Ha Won moves toward Ji Woon who was taking pictures with the old camera.  He talks about how beautiful it was that day and praises how she is looking so pretty too.  She takes the camera from him and commands him to move back so she can take his picture.  He obliges but he notices his ring missing on Ha Won’s hand.  He asks where the ring is and she explains that she removed it for a bit earlier because she was doing something with ajumma.  Ji Woon whines on how he never takes his ring off for a month when he showers but she claims to remove it “just a little bit”.  
 
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Ha Won sheepishly smiles and promises she won’t remove it ever, but he grumpily denies her apology and declares a punishment of no skinship between them for a month.  Ha Won is amused at her man-child boyfriend who got furious over little things.  She inches closer to him and challenges him on who will suffer more on his no-skinship threat.  Ji Woon realizes his useless threat so he follows her and imprisoned her in his arms.  She demands him to abide by the punishment he just told, but he took it back and voices out how he was just disappointed a bit because those rings meant a lot to him since it bound them for 10 years so he wants her to treat it preciously.  Ha Won responds that she knows it very well.  He puts the ring back on his finger and whispers “i love you” to her as she replies an “i love you maybe” to him.  Aigoo you two!  I will miss both of you.  
 
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Ha Won and Ji Woon march to where the rest of the gang are having a picnic.  Seo Woo happily sings while Ja Young cheers for it.  Hyun Min and Hye Ji are playing cherry kiss as Yoon Sung sits with them with a big grin.
 
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Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 15 
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 14
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 13
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 12
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 11
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 10
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 09
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 08
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 07
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 06
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 05
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 04
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 03
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 02
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 01
 
Cinderella
 
 
Final Episode Quick Thoughts 
 
I went blank after the staircase kiss so I don’t care much about that last minute Ji Woon and Ha Won connection.  I’m satisfied with the happy ending for all of them.  True, there were a lot of screenplay lapses and unnecessary flashbacks on those character lone scene moments, but I gambled my time because of my being a Jung Il Woo fan girl and at the very least I enjoyed the committed roles the main leads showed as their screen romance blossomed.  KDramas like this is meant to tap on those unadulterated young love that we had at some point in our lives.  And yes sir!  I was reminded of my old teen crushes from 10 years back.
 
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Cinderella and Four Knights tried to mark the checklist on kdrama youth romcom prototype and was successful at some and lacking at others, but the upbeat and smart presentation of the cast except you-know-who-she-is compensated to the trite story premise.  I would want my nieces to watch this drama to understand that love is never about you-and-me-against-the-world-or-money, but the willingness to work on why love mutually happened in the first place.  For a feel-good romcom treat, this drama is not that bad.  I will dearly miss Kang cousins and Ha Won.  As I usually do full series review, I’m happy that I did not give up on this drama and reached this finish line.  I thank you all everyone for reading through my recaps.
 
-abbyinhallyuland
 
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Shopping King Louis Ep 2 Recap

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Shopping King Louis Ep 2
Louis took the opportunity having given the freedom to drive his car on his own the moment he arrives in Korea.  Stepping on the gas he drifted fast as a truck bumped his car and shattered it to pieces.   He wakes up with no memory of who he is and to a world he is unfamiliar with.  When Bok Sil lunged to face him and found that he was not the brother she was hunting, she checks on the mark of the jacket and confirms that it was Bok Nam’s.  Unable to remember who he is, Louis tells her that he does not know how he got the jacket and that he does not remember anything about him at all.
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Bok Sil brings Louis to the police station to check his identity, however his finger prints does not reflect anything.  Detective deduces how Louis probably met Bok Nam before he lost his memory.  He tells her how she cannot probably help him as she does not have a place to stay, but holding on to how he is the only clue to find her brother, she decides to take care of him until his memory comes back.  They pass on a car wreck from Louis’ accident while walking as Chairman Choi receives Louis’ watch that she gifted on his 20th birthday from the police proving her grandson died on the accident.  Louis whines for food but Bok Sil shuts him up to wait for dinner as she does not eat 3 meals a day.  He sees a kiosk selling toast and when offered by the selling lady, he takes it and munches on it.  She scolds him for taking the food without money and pays the sandwich against her will.
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Bok Sil goes to her work and is warned not to come in late.  She learns from an ajumma that the company is in gloomy situation because the Chairwoman’s grandson died.  Louis waits obediently as Bok Sil does her job.  He mocks her cleaning job but she retaliates how it is better than a beggar.  Two office girls sit nearby Louis and talks about Chairwoman Choi’s famed curse putting her grandson to death the moment he arrives in Korean soil. The aroma of the coffee they were drinking puts him on a trance and he moves closer to them to smell it.  The woman gets petrified by Louis’ face and calls the security to cast him out.  Bok Sil borrows a fellow worker’s handphone to check with Joong Won on when he will pay the ginseng but he reasons not having time to go to the herb market to validate it.
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Louis sees Director Baek with his entourage leaving the building and whispers how cool the scene was.  He stands up when Bok Sil finishes her work.  He tells her he was taken outside because they thought he was a beggar.  She chuckles how they got that conclusion spot on.  Louis asks her name and laughs when he heard his weird name, but she bickers how he should not laugh since he does  not remember his name.  Louis sheepishly asks Bok Sil if he can get a cup of coffee and at that same moment, Butler Kim offers his favorite coffee on their visit to his grave.  
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The two went to a public bath house to clean up.  Louis stuns Bok Sil and my fickle heart when he emerges clean and handsome after washing up.  The new experience sends Louis to happy land as he tries on the bath house features with  Bok Sil.  Later on they lay down to rest and he was warned not to move so close to her as he is still a man, but he faces her and whispered he is scared she might leave him.  
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She faces him and asks why he is timid and he replies that he does not like to be alone.  He adds how he is not used to the feeling of being hit or look down and cast off.  She mutters how he acts like a baby when he is old enough and complains how she spent a lot that day because of him.  He thanks her sincerely and asks her to promise she won’t leave him until his memory comes back.  She takes his pinky and vows to stay so she can also find his brother.  He keeps her pinky tied with his as both of them doze to sleep.
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Baek Ma Ri sobs to the realization that her dream wedding to Louis/Ji Sung will not happen.  Her mom calms her that she will meet a better man, but she disagrees as she only wants to get married to the heir of Gold group.  She stops with her tantrums when it dawns on her that her father will be the successor of the company since Louis died therefore, she will soon inherit it.
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Bok Sil leaves for work and gave $5 to Louis who pouts on where the money would go.  She walks away but stops and gave another $2 to the sulking man-child.  Off he goes to the bath house store and asks for the cheapest coffee.  Ajumma gives him a small cup of instant coffee and he fell in love the moment it slips thru his lips.  He drowns to a whole new world of coffee and spends all the $7 Bok Sil gave to him.   Louis bumps with a scary woman on his way to a sauna room and got a scary shout from  her.  He rests his coffee soaked body and a 50-dollar bill caught his attention.  He takes it and leaves the room immediately.
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Weak from the recent breakdown die to the supposed death of her grandson, Chairwoman Choi speaks with Director Baek and tasked him to take care of the company as she will find reprieve in the house she used to stay with Louis.  In the car while heading somewhere, Director Baek gives an evil smile as one of the director speaks the unfortunate demise of Louis but Director Baek deserves the company as he strengthened it to what it is now.  
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Joong Won meets his team and talks about utilizing social media commerce to the products they will be launching.  One of the team members complains about the need for additional employees, but he dismissed his suggestion blabbing how his only talent is to analyze the team workload.  The same team member pushes a cup of tea for Joong Won and ends up spilling it on his cellphone.  Bok Sil who can’t reach Joong Won because of his broken phone was told to give up as it is clear that she got scammed by the man who owes her money.
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At the bath house, Louis is being bullied by the ajumma he bumped with earlier insisting he took her money.  She demands him to pay for it causing a commotion in the place.  Bok Sil rescues him and gives her the money she demanded which was twice as the amount Louis picked on the floor.  They leave the place when ajumma bully accuse them of being bath house scammers who take money from people staying in public bath house.  
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Louis promises Bok Sil that he never stole her money.  She replies she knows that and advises him that if he finds money next time,  he should just keep it and not spend it.  She worries on where they will stay for the night and he mutters that they can just stay in her place.  She mumbles how she moved to Seoul and used to leave in Gangwon province so she does not have a place to stay.  They see students eating ramyun inside a convenience store and we see them next surprising the same students with how they slurp the noodles they bought.  Louis blabs how the food is so delicious but he does not remember the taste of it.  Pleased at how he enjoys it, Bok Sil buys him another cup and makes him even more happy.
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Joong Won urges his father to be true to his wife about her bad cooking since he keeps complaining about.  He answers back that he can’t do it as a husband.  Joong Won tells him to stay loyal with her food then and leaves his father alone.  Joong Won aboji head to check his fridge murmuring how sons are useless and sees Bok Sil’s ginseng and wonders if it is true ginseng.
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Bok Sil spots grandma thief from the convenience tour and they run to chase her.  Clumsy Louis got knocked down by grandma thief, but Bok Sil clings on the back of the moving bus as she kills grandma thief with her stare.  Grandma thief steps out from the bus and is surprised by Bok Sil’s sudden attack.  They engage on a playground battle as grandma challenges young Bok Sil with her not so halmon-ish athletic body.  Bok Sil eventually conquers her and they sit on a bench while she tends grandma’s knee wound.  The latter offers herself to be jailed, but she assures her that she only needs her dress that she wears.  Bok Sil goes to the wrong convenience store and finds Louis not there.
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Louis pleads to the truck driver in front of the convenience store to not leave because Bok Sil might not locate him if his truck is not there for her guide.  He sits patiently when three students approach him.  They praise his pretty face and ask him to buy them food.  They drag him in the nearby park where they hit him when they found out that he has no penny at all.  Louis lays on the floor after being kicked and seeing the girls ganging up on him triggers a memory of when he was used to be bullied by a group of boys.  
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Bok Sil luckily finds them and shouts at the girl to stop what they were doing.  They brawl like wild beasts in the jungle but Bok Sil ends up being robbed with the little money they have.  Feeling bad after witnessing Bok Sil cry, Louis apologizes to Bok Sil as they wander in the street.  He looks in her eye and tells her he was scared that she will not come back for him.  She replies that she knew that being homeless, having no money and not knowing anyone is really frightening.  He makes her promise to make him tag along wherever she goes and she beams at how childlike he is.  
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Louis finds 100 cents and they teied to use it to call Joong Won but he did not answer the phone.  They sit on the telephone booth shivering from the cold night.  He murmurs how she can count on him while he gazes at her worried face.  She smirks at his words and gets up when he asks where they should be going?  They walk and walk until reaching the office where Bok Sil cleans.  They enter Joong Won’s department’s room and sneak to drink some coffee.  They marvel at the wealth of the owner of the company.  Louis notices her new dress and she narrates that it was her mother’s.  He learns that her parents died when she was young and have no memories of them while growing up.  Louis murmurs that he is sleepy so she forces him to sleep inside the rest room.
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Joong Won arrives in the office with a disturbed tummy.  He heads straight to the comfort room and releases the evil spirit lurking inside his tummy.  Louis snores loud irritating Joong Won so he knocks on the wall to wake up the sleeping weirdo.  Louis wakes up with a stiff neck and was halted by Joong Won when he marches outside the comfort room.  He ignores him and runs when he starts chasing him.  
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He gets inside the elevator where the office girls recall him to be the weird beggar from yesterday.  Ma Ri sees him as well and follows him but Bok Sil was able to hide him.  Bok Sil asks ajumma Hwang if she knows of a cheap place to stay and they were brought to a rooftop room.  Louis complains about the bare house and the eerie feeling it has.  The landlady talks with ajumma Hwang and the latter asks for $100 for the rent since no one wants to live in the room where 3 people already died.
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Joong Won finally resurrected his phone and wonders why Bok Sil is not calling him that day.  His parents cheerfully enter his place and chat about the ginseng they sold.  Flustered about the fate of Bok Sil’s wild ginseng, he gets another surprise when his mother reveals that they sold it for $5000.
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Chairwoman Choi asks Butler Lee to help her sleep and asks about Louis’ sleeping habit.  While Butler Lee recalls his young master’s penchant for a soft, comforting blanket… amnesiac Louis sleeps outside the rooftop house covered by newspaper pages. lol  Bok Sil opens the door when the rain pours and let Louis sleeps inside.  Outside the house, an ajussi stares at the rooftop room while the two rests their weary bodies.  
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The next morning Joong Won slips on the floor and calls the cleaning lady for not doing her job properly.  Bok Sil mumbles an apology to Joong Won who just recognized her.  At the rooftop house, Louis stares at the pouring rain when a man wearing the same jacket as he does says hello to him.
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SKL Ep 2 Quick Thoughts
Louis and Bok Sil had me at their quirky pairing.  I like Louis in his shopaholic self but I’m liking him even more as he adjust to a lifestyle he feels he is unfamiliar with, but enjoying it the same.  This episode marks the beginning of their connection and I want to give Bok Sil a trophy for her kindness.
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I will give a “B” rating this episode for those “a whole new world” moments of Louis, Bok Sil’s chasing grandma thief scene and for maintaining the chipper attitude even if we all know where the story will be heading.  I’m going on board and hope it will just be consistently light and upbeat until its closing.
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Cinderella and the Four Knights Episode 11 Recap

2016-09-19-03-36-28
 
There is a thin line between being brave in claiming a love and assuming that the love will be reciprocated.  As Hye Ji drowned in her world where she wanted everyone to revolve around her, Hyun Min belatedly acknowledged what he felt for her and was trying to salvage whatever he can to win her back.  Ji Woon finally set where his heart belonged to as Ha Won was put in an emotional breakdown after a man from nowhere claimed to be his father.
 
 2016-09-19-03-42-33
 
EPISODE 11 SUMMARY
 
Ha Won welcomed Hye Ji to her room as the latter apologized for barging in their kindness.  While settling her things, Hye Ji spoke about how happy she was that Ji Woon came to her rescue because she felt so lost earlier not knowing what to do.  She added how Ji Woon has always been there for her everytime she needs someone.  blah blah blah yeah right the world should revolve around you  Hye Ji excused herself to get some water as Ha Won hid the pain she felt while Hye Ji blabbed to her face how Ji Woon takes good care of her.
 
 
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Hyun Min stopped Hye Ji on her tracks so she asked if he had something to say.  He asked how she was and muttered how he was about to pick up her call, but Hye Ji cut him and told him how he was a step behind Ji Woon earlier.  Oh why your highness?  Are the cousins playing a game where you score a point on who can win your heart?  tssss!
 
 
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Bothered at Hye Ji’s words about Ji Woon, Ha Won griped at Ji Woon who entered the room bringing Hye Ji’s small bag.  He asked her awkward when and how she got home questions to which she replied how obviously she was standing there so she did arrive home safely.  Ji Woon asked her to take care of Hye Ji as she continued to sulk privately on why he only cared for Hye Ji.
 
 
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Ha Won woke up and saw Hye Ji’s empty spot on her bed.  She headed to the dining room and was curious why the house appeared to be quiet.  Ajumma narrated how Hye Ji woke up early and saw Seo Woo in his unglamorous pop star face while she was eating her breakfast.  She also saw Hyun Min’s cherry red boxer shorts when she confirmed if it was his and how she gave water to Ji Woon after his morning run.  Ajumma spoke about how the house is different just because Hye Ji came.  
 
 
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Ha Won countered how it was like that when she first came, but Ajumma replied it to be different as the boys never changed their attitude towards her, but they acted awkward on Hye Ji.  She added how it was the first time she saw Ji Woon treats a girl nicely.  All her theories she summed up to Hye Ji’s doll-like beauty (where? which part?) and that’s why her presence was making the young masters act differently.
 
 
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Ha Won left the dining room mumbling how she has been overlooked as a womanwhen she is also one, but froze and was put on a trance when she saw Hye Ji on a “pretty woman” brightly lit shot.  When she came back to earth, she looked at her i-woke-up-like-this frame and relented to the idea on how both of them really looked different.  
 
 
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She continued her gloomy spree in her room whining how all men are the same when it comes to liking pretty and sexy girls.  But then she came across a line from a book where it said “your own charm will attract the one fated to be with you”.  Inspired by that mantra, she went to “Operation prettify myself” and tried on some cute headbands, hairclips, earrings and clothings to achieve a girly look.  
 
 
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Finally picking a sweet lady attire, she peeked from her door and approached Seo Woo who was watching TV in the living room.  He dropped the TV remote control and muttered how she looked different that day.  Ha Won urged for some compliments, but not finding the proper words to say he resorted to calling his cousins to help him sort out Ha Won’s sudden beautiful transformation.
 
 
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Ha Won covered his mouth from calling the boys, but it was too late as Ji Woon emerged in his room stopping a bit as his heart skipped at the sight of girly Ha Won.  When he went back to earth, he asked why he was summoned as shy Ha Won ran back to her room embarrass on the show she presented unaware that she took the cousins breath away.
 
 
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Ji Woon ruminated on Ha Won’s obvious avoidance towards him and wondered if she was still mad about his leaving last time.  He contemplated on what he should do to appease her.  Meanwhile Chairman Kang dined out with his wife.  While pretending that he did not know about her surprise gift, he was shocked when he saw not the red neck tie he was expecting.  And with just that one red necktie, doubts about his new wife entered Chairman’s mind.
 
 
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The police officer denied Hye Ji’s request to see her father.  dear police officer, we would appreciate it if you will lock her together with her father. lol  Saddened on her father’s situation, she tried calling an uncle to ask for help, but she was told he was busy.  Hyun Min who was there all along stepped up and contact his connections to get a letter from Hye Ji’s father and to retrieve her personal things as well.
 
 
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Hyun Min arrived at Sky House and found Hye Ji sitting on the living room.  He walk towards her and gave her father’s letter.  He assured her not to worry about the case anymore.  She asked what’s that about and he replied that he felt sorry for not helping her out last time and since he can pretty much do anything he blabbed how she does not need to thank him or ask why he did that for her.   Hye Ji cut his words by responding for him not to extend help to her again as she is not comfortable receiving his kindness.  this girl has serious self worth problems
 
 
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Hyun Min went to Ji Woon’s room and threw a key at him.  He told him that Hye Ji’s things would be there.   We got another boring crying frame of Hye Ji reading her father’s letter as Ji Woon stared at her while Ha Won was also looking at both of them.  
 
 
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Ji Woon went to the locker place with Hye Ji and before he could even tell that it was Hyun Min’s doing, she was already happily checking on her sewing stuff.  He told her to get only some of the things she needed and she thanked him for his effort not knowing that it was Hyun Min who did it for her.  She expressed gratitude by buying him lunch and when they went to eat cheesy ramyun at a convenience store, she was surprised on why he seemed to have eaten it a lot.  He mumbled that it was true mentioning he often chowed it with Ha Won’s as it’s her favorite.  
 
 
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Hye Ji showed disappointment on her face and utterred how he had gotten closer to Ha Won and if it was the same kind of closeness she had with him.  Ji Woon responded not knowing how to compare it and to break free from the situation, he headed inside the convenience store to get some coffee.  He spotted some “express your love to someone special” White Day chocolates on display and bought a box of it.  He tucked it inside his pocket though Hye Ji was eyeing on it.  Yeah it’s not for you b*tch! 
 
 
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Ajumma laid the food on the dining table as Ha Won wondered why no one was around. Ajumma reported that Seo Woo left early for his schedule and Ji Woon went somewhere with Hye Ji as well.  Ajumma stated how Ji Woon has been neglecting her since Hye Ji came adding pain to the already gloomy heart of our Hawonrella.  She escaped the awkward chat by dragging Hyun Min who was playing a video game in his room to accompany her on the table.  Ignoring her at first, Hyun Min agreed after she turned off the TV and showed him her puppy face.
 
 
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Hyun Min stared at Ha Won’s chomping of food and pointed out how she was eating thrice as much as she used to.  She answered that it was to compensate her empty heart.  He motioned to leave and told her to summon Ji Woon when she refused to talk to him, but she murmured that he was with Hye Ji.  Hyun Min settled back on his seat and urged to tell something more about the two who went out, but they ended up bickering as they both refused to believe that they don’t care about the two going out together.
 
 
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The two arrived and Hye Ji explained that Ji Woon helped her out getting her studio things.  After placing her things in the storage room, Ji Woon marched to Hyun Min’s room and reported his successful mission but told him that it was the last time he was going to do that.  Hyun Min responded that he has to keep doing that as he was only good in making her cry.  Ji Woon confirmed how he wanted him to take credit for the future good things he will do for Hye Ji to which he agreed.  Ji Woon told him that he will not do it for him but because he was Hye Ji’s friend and that he cared for her.  He warned him not to hurt Hye Ji again.
 
 
 
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Ha Won took a walk blabbering her annoyance towards Hye Ji and Ji Woon.  Then Ji Woon came out of the blue asking who she was talking to, but she pushed her away to where Hye Ji might be.  He teased her on how his spending time with Hye Ji lately might be disappointing her, but she denied it strongly although her face showed otherwise.
 
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He apologized for leaving her that day but she disregarded it since it happened on the past.   He was about to give the chocolates, but stopped midway and asked her when she will have the time to drive with him as he felt bad not completing their getaway.  Ha Won shut her heart that suddenly leapt as Ji Woon added that he was going to tell something on the day they will go driving out again.  Ha Won beamed as he walked away.  He stopped and stared at the chocolate box that he still wasn’t able to give.
 
 
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Ha Won pondered on what Ji Woon will be telling her and her reverie was disrupted by Seo Woo.  He thought she was thinking about Hye Ji and advised her to take care of her since she’s having a hard time right now.  Following Seo Woo’s words, she volunteered to wash her dirty laundry but destroyed the clothes in the process.  She offered her Sky House patented uniform in the mean time for her to use.  Hye Ji told her not to worry about replacing the clothes as she will shop clothes with Ji Woon soon.
 
 
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Noticing Ha Won’s face saddened, she pushed to tell her how she confessed her feelings to Ji Woon.  She narrated how Ji Woon was always there when she was having a tough time with Hyun Min and recently with her father.  When Ha Won asked how Ji Woon responded, she replied and lied to her stating he probably felt the same way too.  
 
 
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Chairman Kang was bothered by his wife’s recent actions and ordered Yoon Sung to tail her.  In their goal to be on the good side of Chairman’s wife, Step-mom spilled the gossip she acquired and revealed how other chaebol wives were telling that it was not her first marriage.  Instead of favoring step-mom, Chairman Kang’s wife got upset and called the gossipers to warn them to back off.  She also made step-mom lose her job.
 
 
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While Ha Won weighed on where she really stands on Ji Woon’s life as she thought about the signals and sparks they shared recently.  Ji Woon on the other hand was asked by Hye Ji to accompany her to shop tomorrow.  Step-mom wept with Yoo Na on their failed plan to become Chairman’s wife’s right hand as Yoon Sung started on tailing his mother as per Chairman’s order.
 
 
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Hyun Min saw Ha Won headed to the dining hall and mumbled how she might be hungry again.  He followed her and held her towelled hair steady as he lifted an orange and moved his face closer to her.  Just then he noticed that it was not Ha Won but Hye Ji that he was holding. Their eyes met and electricity ran, but then she escaped from his grasp as Hyun Min still held on her hair towel.  She grabbed the towel back as he apologized for his mistake and she marched away from him in quick paces.
 
 
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Ha Won mustered courage and went to Ji Woon’s room, but he was not inside.  Hye Ji saw her peeking at his room and moved towards her.  Ha Won saw her and asked if she was heading somewhere and she replied that