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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The Ardent Young Love in the Moonlight

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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.
 
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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 really 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.
 
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 “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 have to be fair that it was a good drama, but it shared some weak points from the story writing.
 
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I can compare the storyline to Sungkyunkwan Scandal, but where the heroine was strong in that drama, it was Prince Young who carried the story well along with exemplary support from Ra On and the supporting actors.  It’s fair to be blunt that the devotion from the viewers sprung from Park Bo Gum’s adoration and the equally memorable performance of the young cast.  I think it was fairly written and directed and that the character portrayals made it possible to stabilize the weak points of the production and storyline.
 
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We have a fair showing of sageuk dramas this year.  “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.  
 
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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.  -jediprincess ^_^
 
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2015 KDramas You Might Have Missed

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Just in case you did not see them, I want to share you the delights for the past year as 2016 is already waning.  Now I was not able to monitor last year’s drama the way I did this year, so most of it I was able to finish up to the first half of 2016.

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HEALER (Dec 2014 – Feb 2015)

GENRES:  Drama, Romance, Comedy, Action, Suspense

As a night courier serving privy and expensive tasks, Healer’s routine life changed after his encounter with a woman connected to the death of his father.  What made me like the drama a lot is how the storytelling was focused and neatly tied up without room to uncalled for sub plots.  It moved engrossingly while uncovering the link of the main characters in the past and their children in the present time.

The story’s main conflict focused on peeling the truth behind the lead couple’s fathers’ death while journeying on their fated love.  It aligned to Healer’s character strength to propel the excitement while he did his gripping missions… circled on Young Shin’s character as the focal tug-of-war battle between the Moon brothers’ villain and hero complicated relationship and surged high to the my-father-might-have-killed-your-father-but-i-promise-i-love-you-and-i-will-protect-you love plot of the main leads. Healer justified the superb writing with how the characters went passionately driven to bring out a scintillating storytelling.

While a lot progressed in the story, it never missed it steps in binding the romance, the back story and the conflicts together.  It made use of the parallel plot about upright journalists in presenting the same events of the characters in the past and the present.

There were small problems that were laid along the way to boost the main conflict of how the protagonists will bring justice to their fathers’ death by ruining the villains through innovative news broadcast.  In this crime-romantic-drama-thriller premise, the story got so intoxicating because it assimilated Healer’s Promethean skills and heartfelt media coverage to battle the conscience-less power players of the country.  When your cast is smart and the writing is nifty, there’s no way the notes will not be hit.  That is the case for Healer.  I would also like to commend how I enjoyed Healer’s theme music on its placement in the drama and how the villains even with their old personas masterfully made the lives of the heroes hard by utilizing their vile ways.  

Healer is one of the best dramas you should include in your list if you haven’t seen it yet.  It has a brilliant premise about a one-of-a-kind hero who chose to disconnect from the society, but accidentally grew attachment to a woman who drew him out of his hibernation.  The drama quaintly linked the furtive relationship of the characters while building up the plot’s climax and romance to perfection.  It is so addictive, stimulating and amusing — and that one drama you can sit on with family, friends and even your lover.

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Punch (Nov 2014 – Dec 2015) 

GENRES:  Drama, Legal

Awed and at the edge of my seat every episode’s finishing kick, I can’t help but wondered how brilliant the writer of this story by bringing out a drama where heroes and villains don’t waste time out-manipulating each other to secure the highest possible position befitting to their greed and wickedness.  With a dying man as a lead hero in charge to intellectually brawl with his superiors in the Prosecutor’s office, the stake was always at the highest as the people involved raced to protect their families, reputations and personal ambitions.

Punch is a literal badass with its scintillating and intelligent writing.  It was full of surprises that will make the viewers grab their hair out of frustration.  I wondered how much hate the writer might have stored in himself to motivate him to write a chronicle that was able to maintain a level of grit all throughout his depiction of the corrupt Korean Prosecutors Office.

I thought why the drama was titled Punch, and after finishing, it really lived to that name because every episode was a combat spectacle in cleverness and wiliness .  Punch is a story of a dying prosecutor in his quest to clean up the corrupt high officials of the office he belongs to.  His strategic thinking defied the power his superiors used when he was on a spree to reveal their evil doings.  It was a hard and frustrating battle but he managed to expose the truth before his passing.

What viewers would love about Park Jung Hwan is his ability to bounce back from the oppression even with nothing on his hand to fight off the huge power and walls his superiors built to hinder his outrage.  It’s your classic underdog story but very well polished in a Mafia grit kind of way.  They made phonecalls, afternoon tea and eating jajangmyun so thrilling in my eyes.  hahaha

The antagonists displayed impossible levels of wickedness that even when they got what they deserved at the closing chapter I was still fuming on the inside.  There’s no fleeting romantic interlude in this drama but it is filled with family love and lessons about choosing the right decisions in your lives.    If you want a dose of serious themed dramas, this one is for you.  The thrill and the pace will surely shoot up your mind and will make you crave for some more.

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Kill Me, Heal Me (Jan 2015 – Mar 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy

The complexity of the multiple personality disorder fused with the fated but hindered romance of the main couple has made me ruminative deducting the precepts of the story premise of this smartly and quirkily written korean drama.  I knew it was all about trauma and I was happy that there was no extreme sacrificial bordering to stupidity acts done by the main leads in avoiding their destined love.

Overall I like the ambitious writing of this drama.  It was meticulous in inserting the conflict of the story, although it came to a point when it became too detailed dragging the denouement which they could have used in a few romantic notes in the penultimate episodes of the story.

The sending off of Do Hyun’s characters warmed my heart especially that of Perry Park and Se Gi scenes.  I don’t know the extent of this psychiatric condition, but I liked that it was explained well how each characters emerged.  It was like Voldemort’s horcruxes in a positive way.  *chuckles  Typically kdramas with chaebol power struggle plot involved unreasonable conspiracies and surprises so I think since the multiple personality is the carrying story conflict, it was good that it didn’t dwell on the money-filled but problematic chaebol world.

Beautiful in its strongest points and faint weaknesses, this is a perfect drama that will leave you happy and intrigued.

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A Girl Who Sees Smells/Sensory Couple (April 2015 – May 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Suspense, Supernatural

Welcome to the psychopath chase where gripping episode endings build up to a long stretch of sweet annoyance and anticipation to a quaintly written story where the characters boarded on a race to outwit each other and the cost of each wrong judgment equates to starting points of a never-ending labyrinth.

Escaping from the man who murdered her parents, Choi Eun Seol woke up losing her memory and was given another identity by the detective handling a famous serial killer case.  Choi Eun Seol became Oh Cho Rim and along with her new life is her ability to know the smell of people through her eyes.

It was that brilliantly executed plot of the protagonists’ taking advantage of the killer’s inability to remember faces and the latter’s resilience in orchestrating evil ploys that drew my appreciation all throughout.   There were no unnecessary hassles and side stories written to confuse or to lengthen the narration.  The plot was very clear on its premise and has always headed to the direction of uncovering clues without making the protagonists appear dumb.  It sailed to a direction of making the viewers go along with the process of pinning the vile psychopath to admit to his crime against the usual dragging guess-the-killer story. 

The mushy sweetness here and there, the steady writing, the oneness of the cast and the deviation from the usual kdrama plot stereotypes had me resurrected from my gym induced hiatus to break my kdrama/movie review dry spell.  It is a buoyant romcom drama served with a balanced mixture of thrill, comic kicks and romance that I would highly recommend for when you plan a kdrama getaway.

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Producers (May 2015 – June 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Comedy, Friendship, Romance

The mixture of the inside production world of variety shows and the characters’ stories were nicely blended but it was the diversity and chemistry of the characters pierced my kdramaaddict heart.

For people expecting Kim Soo Hyun being captured in romantic moments, you won’t expect it in this drama so be prepared.  Nevertheless I think for legit kdrama followers you will get what you bargain for in this drama.  It’s how we root for Alice in Wonderland and love seeking Disney princesses all at the same time.  “Producers” came up in a very interesting format incorporating the variety show world in a drama attack.  To achieve that you have to even out the laughter you get from the variety show and the valuable content you should give to the audience.

And I immensely enjoyed the lessons focused in every episode which were derived from the variety program production world.  It gave meaningful life lessons and pointed out the challenges and limitations of human nature.  When joined together the four main leads were a delightful watch, even in their personal struggles.

Seung Chan is a reminder of any person who was trying to find his niche in the corporate scene regardless if the motivation is absurd, like in his case to follow his first love.  He is a reminder of the extent on how much we can persevere and how trying a shot on everything is better than being coward to take a chance on it.  Ye Jin is a reminder of how even a person with the coldest exterior has a warm spot hidden in her.  Of a person who would be patiently waiting for the love she yearned for than waste her time to nonsense.  Joon Mo is a reflection of those times when we built our character through standing firm with our principles and defying the norms for change to happen.  Cindy represented each one of us in our highest peak, when we hit a slump, and when we bounce back from it.

As I religiously watch 2D1N, I easily grasped the intentions and love the executions all throughout.  True, I might have wished for more love screentime but it superbly fed me stories that I have been on at some point of my life.  The engrossing 12 episodes will leave you lessons that basic self-help books have already vaguely discussed.  A breather from rom-com and melodramas, Producers will strip any work related stress you are having if you give it a chance.

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Beloved Eun Dong (May 2015 – July 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Melodrama

I haven’t completed my full review on this drama yet, but this is one of my favorite romance stories for 2015.  I love how the narrative approached me like I was sent back to when I was in High School reading those first love stories that made my heart giddy-ish and warm.  

“Beloved Eun Dong” chronicled the love tale between a top actor who found the only girl he loved in his life when she took a job as a ghost writer for the book he wanted to publish in search of his one great love.  He learned that Eun Dong lost her memory and was already married with a child to a former baseball player who met an accident and was saddled in a wheelchair.   While writing Hyun Soo’s story, flashes of familiarity and memories hit Eun Dong and eventually triggered her memory back.  But claiming the love that was deprived of them by her adopted father and husband was no easy task as they faced the controversy of Eun Dong being married legally.  To make the matter worse, Eun Dong revealed that her son is Hyun Soo’s, but his son is already attached to the father he was with while growing up.

Divided in 3 parts, Eun Dong and Hyun Soo’s story moved steady from that sweet young love to the complicated re-owning of the divested romance in a way where I was so affected by the enduring commitment of Hyun Soo to love only one woman in his life.  I have never seen someone like him in kdramaland.  I mean most of the boys surely did love their girls the best way they can, but his story with her left my heart on a painful twinge.  Having a villain that was wheelchair bound and acted selfish because of love has had me on a dilemma if I will hate or understand his pain.

This drama will remind you of your greatest love and will prove to you how love is meant to be when you work for it to happen.

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Mask (May 2015 – July 2015)

GENRES:  Melodrama, Romance, Revenge

For once I got to see a melodrama with a rich family cast not going all war with excessive evil plots to claim the rein of a company, but doing it within the members as what I perceived the rich and famous should have done in reality.  “Mask” having dysfunctional characters will entice you by how much it deconstructed the main leads’ motivations, frailties and hair-pulling moments on what they are willing to give because of greed, vengeance and sacrificial love.
Swerving from the musty weep fest trademark of melodrama, “Mask” raised its fight club banner through lies, devious plots, and ruthless counter attacks for reasons of being blindly in love and the thirst to achieve a payback.

We have a solid cast who rose up to the occasion and gave meaningful portrayals to the very best of the wicked side and better versions of their characters.  What drew me most about “Mask” is the impeccable showing of the four main leads linked by painful love, betrayal and blood ties.  The supporting leads’ love story though not hitting a poignant and meaningful commitment in the end was messy and created a lingering impact of that definitive question on how much can someone go in the name of love.  I like how Ji Sook transitioned her image from a total push-over to a woman who knows her worth.  Her character as a focal point of the story pushed the problem in a coherent challenge where the surrounding people balanced out the struggle between the good and the evil.

I enjoyed the theatrics and the melodrama clichés because “Mask” in its entirety was not sporadically sketched and was focused to the penultimate closure.  I like it when dramas are overbearing because there’s an established premise to support it, and that was the case for “Mask”.  I got affected on the heavy scenes, but they did not overwhelm me with exhausting episode weep runs.

If you want a serious k-drama watch, then this will fill your craving.  The romance, the intrigue, the annoyance, the power plays were well-conceived and executed leaving a sense of fulfilment if you will sit on it for a binge.  I even prepared myself with some tissue rolls for the tear party because it was Su Ae and Joo Ji Hoon, but I was put at the edge of my seat because I was cheering earnestly for Ji Sook and how she found her niche and defied her old self to emancipate herself in the villain’s grip and be with the man she loved without secrets and lies.

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Oh My Ghost (July 2015 – August 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Supernatural

Bright, Cheerful and Feel Good have always been the after effect of an episode dose of Oh My Ghostess for me.  Supernatural plot is a make or break deal in kdramas.  It needs to be flaunting when the plot needs it, and it needs to see reasons when you over expose it.

I like the richness of the father-daughter filial love in the story as it literally transcended the after life.  I like how cheeky and sweet Sun Woo was at the same time, his reactions were adorable.  I like how Park Bo Young was able to differentiate Na Bong Sun and Shin Soon Ae’s characters to fit in with the way the actual Soon Ae was playing in the story.  I like how the rom-com elements fused well with the metaphysical plot of the story by  making the love leads face their issues straight on and seeing the reasons right away.  Every main character in this drama has his own story that the love line was not the main thing that got me hooked with it.  It was how each character’s story along with the conflicts that entwined them brought the love story closer and concluded the conflicts neatly.

It was the most consistent romantic-comedy for 2015, yes even with the slight tragic plot.  The chemistry of the love couple was impeccable that all the followers of this drama would agree how Bong Sun and  Sun Woo made our heart fluttered with their bipolar-disorder-misguided-romance.  It’s hard not to drum your feet on your bed and grin when Sun Woo went to his usual i’m-the-man antics and Bong Sun’s pesky man cravings guided by Soon Ae.

If you are needing a love elixir to boost your already blooming relationship of if you just want a perfect rom-com drama getaway, this one is for you.

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Yong Pal (Aug 2015 – Oct 2015)

GENRES:  Drama, Romance, Suspense, Medical

Quick-paced and great on cliff-hangers, Yong Pal was almost perfect but it faintly lost balance on its finishing kick.

Yong Pal enticed me with its exciting premise of a Prince charming doctor who saved an heiress in distress medically forced to be on coma by her half-brother who wanted the helm of the big company her father left for her.

Conspiracies and power struggles are fundamental elements necessary to build up a strong melodrama. The heroine has had her fair share of defiance and strength which made her an interesting character. She had a superb interaction with the lead man though I would have wanted some more sweet moments for them after all the predicaments they had. The hero was oh so cool on the onset of the story but his sparkle diminished after the second half when the story’s focus shifted on Yeo Jin. True, he was instrumental all throughout but there were moments when the heroine overshadowed him which I found weird because the drama was titled after him so I was expecting that Yeo Jin’s story is secondary only to his.

I think the conclusion was a useless do-over of the main conflict. It should have ended when she ascended to her position and had all the villains get their sad endings. But the over extension with the same scenario of her being destroyed and by something related to medicine again was a useless move. She already had her redemption so it would have been nice to see her and Tae Hyun just enjoying an uncomplicated life which they both yearned to have.

As a whole I still like the story because it maneuvered with rising excitement as the drama unfolds. It also stuck in the power struggle conflict and the protagonists and villains moved well to the direction of annoying and outwitting each other. The characters were less frills and full of grit. The narrative was simple and yet rich with emotions. Feisty and flowing, all that was missing was a fitting ending.

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She Was Pretty (Sept 2015 – Nov 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy

I would consider two themes evident for 2015 in kdramaland… friendship-turned-romance and redeeming-a-woman’s-old-glow.   These two were present in the recently concluded love tale of childhood friends turned sweethearts who lost contact for a long while and met again at different expectations and fears more than 20 years after.

“She Was Pretty” was your typical rom-com drama tailored to make you feel giddy and warm. It will excite you while the story unfolds but it’s not something that you will keep dearly in your heart like the rom-com classics.  The characters were all amusing in their own right, but I gave Choi Si Won, the biggest applause among the cast for his perfect rendering of the quirky second male lead character. While Park Seo Joon is beautiful and Hwang Jung Eum is at her usual best although with slight hyperactivity, they were able to present a love couple you will root for.

The conflict’s lightness was an affirmative note in the story as it worked on the characters’ connection and sticking on their rational thinking come what may. I felt a bit of annoyance toward Ha Ri, but she beautifully redeemed herself by confronting Hye Jin to stop shielding her from the pain and accept the happiness that she deserved.  Neatly narrated, the always encouraging vibe of the heroine carried on sincere lessons about how much pain and understanding you can give to salvage a friendship that is more than a family and how much we have to give it to ourselves the limitless opportunities and love that fate won’t give us right away. Hye Jin just like our usual rom-com lead girls pursued love and dreams the best way she can by not sacrificing the happiness that she can create on her own. With her perfect hero who wanted to support her all the way with her personal bucket list, I witnessed a romance that is soon fading in our generation that is being supportive to our lover’s personal goals while maintaining a relationship dependent to a genuine love and unwavering commitment.

Next to chocolates, honeyed and heart-warming kdrama romcoms can help you survive melancholia and routine weekends. Uncomplicated with its romantic approach, Hye Jin and Sung Joon’s love story will surely hit your love veins.

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Bubblegum (Oct 2015 – Dec 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Comedy, Family

I think out of all friendship-turned-romance dramas this year, Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah’s story in Bubblegum is perfect for 30-ish working people who struggled and are struggling to keep up on the sad truth that dealing with a broken heart and learning to accept a new love have different approaches as you age along.   It was such an enamoring narrative that drew strength from the free spirited and natural on screen connection of the lead couple.

It is sadly evident that the conflicts raised in the story were not tied up neatly. It was like probably hoping that Lee Dong Wook princey face can fade away the misses of the drama. It came very strong with how the characters communicated intrepidly and genuinely but fell short because of the wayward movement of the story.  It was a case where the beautiful characters were not justified by a well written fiction.

Although it got derailed on the closing episodes and the mom-doesn’t-want-us-to-be-together was misplaced and later on forgotten, I have enjoyed the heartfelt confrontations, the peaceful conversations and the life and love realizations. It was a consoling chronicle until the mom-got-Alzheimer’s plot, and less that annoying cliché, it would have been a perfect melodrama as a whole.  It did end up warm and happy for the love birds but the writing was not polished. It was ardent but somehow all over the place. If not for the unfeigned portrayals of the lead couple, I would have given up on it. But because it had me hooked on fast to cheer for the literal written on the stars love for Haeng Ah and Ri Hwan and the blossoming of the romance from the friendship tested through time, I sent them off with a smile on my face. Bubblegum is not a solid offering but it will keep you calm and comforted.

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Because it’s the first time (OCt 2015 – Nov 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Youth, Drama

Everything about this drama screams about the kind of friendship, worries and love confusions we had in our early 20’s.  The story was narrated unadorned but the characters were limned delightfully.

Tae Oh, Song Yi, Ji Ahn, Ga In and Hoon are five childhood friends who have relied to each another while battling the challenges of braving the world where they are expected  to face failures  and not warranted to give up on it.   The age when they have the freedom not to rationalize loving someone, but are restricted to chase their personal dreams because they either doubt themselves or they are forced to go against their will by their families. 

These hinged friends experienced life cruelties from their own families and unfortunate events, but they have managed  to shelter one another and gave strength to overcome their battles.  The story moved in presenting their usual bickerings and fun times and hit the conflict of Tae Oh finally waking up to the truth that he loved his girl best friend even when he finally got his dream girl.  No spices.  No heaviness.  Just culminating to the main lead’s decision to let go of his one sided first love. 

Yes I wish it would have been longer but given the simplicity of the  plot, it wouldn’t give a justified stretch.  It was a nice watch while you are on it, but won’t leave a lingering impact after. But if you want a short, feel-good 20’s drama that you can finish in one sitting on a weekend or when u want to feel distracted, “Because It’s The First Time” would serve the purpose of entertaining you.  Sweet and upbeat… I’m sure this friendship story will make you remember those blithe days of being wild, young and free.

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Oh My Venus (Nov 2015 – Jan 2015)

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy

Forget the grueling gym workout, home yoga sessions and sadness inducing diet plans… Just allot 2 hours in 2 days watching Oh My Venus and you will miraculously lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks. It’s true. No hidden agendas, no diet pills, and no aggravating body pains. Sign up for a 14-day trial period at Coach John Kim’s Venus boot camp and see for yourself what the rest of the women who tried the program have been talking about. *chuckles  Seriously now, if they want a solution to the alarming woes of women struggling to keep up with their weight, they should hire So Ji Sub oppa to be their personal trainer and the world will be a better place. *giggles

Oh My Venus went to the typical Korean drama rom-com milieu of a rich heir who fell in love with a normal girl but with a fitness program twist. Kang Joo Eun was a feisty Korean lawyer with a steady long-time boyfriend. She was living a calm life and the only concern she has was her weight loss struggle.  She used to be the high school boys’ dream in her hometown Daegu, but life’s complications took over and she failed maintaining her goddess self. She eventually lost her boyfriend to an old chubby law school friend who managed to discard her old fat self.

But seriously, I already outgrew the over-used rich guy-normal girl love story setting, but for the lightness and the girly-drooling moments, I would forgive the shallow conflict of this drama. Oh well and because anything is forgivable with So Ji Sub oppa in it.  But it would have been nice if they push it to Joo Eun’s initial dream to recover her old Venus self. Putting that Young Ho’s family’s company problem conflict was a bit awkward for the plot. It was not fitting.  Since they presented Young Ho’s broken self, I think they should have followed that lead.  There’s a lot of emotional struggles for couples in their 30’s because most tend to not unpack their baggages so they could have circled in their plot.  They could have lengthened Joo Eun’s rally to win Young Ho’s rich family to make the drama even more sassier and feel good.  But anyway, I got what I bargained for, if not for Joo Eun and Young Ho’s chemistry I would have really pouted.

I want to commend on the show’s drive to encourage women with weight worries to lighten up and push themselves to be even more disciplined in following their fitness programs as it would be a propelling force to reclaim their confidence and to live a robust life.  If you can get a supportive partner/boyfriend with that then you are definitely on the right track.  With ample cutesy love scenes and charming on screen adorable couple, this rom-com offering will wear out a week’s work stress. If you want an uncomplicated blithe and feel good love drama, this will definitely satisfy your craving. Add So Ji Sub on the side, and boy it’s definitely a winner all throughout.

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Reply 1988 (Nov 2015 – Jan 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Family, Friendship

They say that as you age along, you get more sentimental as you look back on what has happened in your life. Sitting on this neighborhood drama set between 1988 – 1995 made me reminisce the good old days of endearing family love and friendship full of memories and laughter. “Answer me 1988” pays homage to the irreplaceable bliss of being young – of our young dreams and our young love. It gives you a trip to memory lane when technology hasn’t taken over the world yet— when friends meet up at a house to watch movies, to eat and to chat and when romance comes true by heartfelt love declarations, stolen kisses and warm hugs.  Hands down to the extent of the research and the meticulously vibrant writing that were fused together to bring up a chronicle that warms the heart and lingers in one’s mind. The setting, side stories and the cast ensemble will make the viewers feel like stepping to a time-warping machine and bringing out the best memories we could ever have in our lives.

One of the many things I loved in this show was the genuine on-screen bond of the cast giving life in the best possible imagination of the sketched characters in the story. There was no passerby among the cast. All have contributed to an almost perfect depiction of how uncomplicated life then. With neighbors living up to become a functioning support group with their fellow parents whose dreams were mainly directed to the well-being of their children and of children who were pressured to chase their dreams so as to make their parents proud. That is definitely not the case today with the internet controlling human interaction. People will choose to just browse on the superficial social media status of their family and friends than to take time to catch up with them in person.  Another wonderful feature evident to all Reply-dramas would be the building up of the romance which has been fixed in presenting a love triangle and would always break the viewers’ hearts as they want both guys to get the same girl they were chasing. I was Team Taek-i all throughout. Who wouldn’t fall for Taek-i’s puppy face? I just really go for cute nerds who are clueless in life but advances strong when the situation required them to go for their one great love and Taek-i rose to the occasion by waiting for the right time and seizing the moment without looking back. Jung–hwan had his fair share of sweet moments capping up with that heartbreaking love proposal practice which Duk-seon never realized to be what really was in Jung Hwan’s heart.

But the one great love lesson learned from JungHwan-Dukseon-Taek love triangle is to not blame timing or fate for your one great love to happen. Taek-i braved the odds and defied a 20 year friendship and sealed every love he had for Dukseon in a heart-stopping kiss because he wanted to know right at that moment if there is just not a chance but if love was really there for both of them. It’s not just knowing that love is there, it is being in absolute certainty that both of you feel the same way.  I only have the very best things to say for the neighborhood I grew fond watching, for the childhood buddies who defined lifetime friendship and for the sincere love that bloomed from the purest friendship and memories.  Reply 1988 was a great spectacle to seal K-drama parade of 2015 and I can only hope that the writer won’t get tired of delving on nostalgic premise like this.

Reply 1988 is on my top 3 dramas for 2015 because of its brilliant use of sweet melancholia and sending the followers back to their very own youth, like it did to me. It made me want to pay a short visit to the street I grew up with and reminisce the times when I hang out with my childhood friends to play traditional local games. It made me glad that most of my precious memories were not digitally induced as is the case of the youth nowadays. And it reminded me to still go for the purest romance I can ever have that won’t make use much of the world- wide web and social media.  The ever present humor, the love stories and the amazing neighborhood are surely a quick relief for life stress. Reply 1988 is a strip of mementos any person with a euphoric youth can relate to. I strongly vouch for this drama if you have a weekend to spare.

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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.

shopping-king-louis
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 neighborhood of the 90’s youth: Reply 1988 Korean drama Series Review


Reply_1988-p2

They say that as you age along, you get more sentimental as you look back on what has happened in your life. Sitting on this neighborhood drama set between 1988 – 1995 made me reminisce the good old days of endearing family love and friendship full of memories and laughter. “Answer me 1988” pays homage to the irreplaceable bliss of being young – of our young dreams and our young love. It gives you a trip to memory lane when technology hasn’t taken over the world yet— when friends meet up at a house to watch movies, to eat and to chat and when romance comes true by heartfelt love declarations, stolen kisses and warm hugs.

reply-1988

Hands down to the extent of the research and the meticulously vibrant writing that were fused together to bring up a chronicle that warms the heart and lingers in one’s mind. The setting, side stories and the cast ensemble will make the viewers feel like stepping to a time-warping machine and bringing out the best memories we could ever have in our lives.

reply-1988-park-bo-gum-go-kyung-pyo-hye-ri

 

Answer Me 1988 tells the growing up years of five childhood friends living in a same block as they go through their studies, dreams and life. Relying to one another, the friendship circle’s families were also entangled as one big family thriving happily and harmoniously in the changing times. Sung Duk Seon the only girl in the friendship circle belonged to a family of five with a scary sister she always bicker with and a younger brother who doesn’t look young at all. They live humbly with his banker father’s salary which has been immensely diminished due to his kind heart always extending help to people in need even sacrificing the finances meant to be spend for the family. Choi Taek is the son of a clock repair man who is also a widow. They live quietly amidst the crazy families surrounding them. Choi Taek was a Baduk prodigy but since not having a normal life, he was often sheltered by the people around him because he was kind-hearted to a fault and didn’t bother much about the cruelties in life. Kim Jung Hwan grew up not being wealthy but in a stroke of luck, their family won in a lottery and became rich overnight. He has one brother who didn’t run out of a new hobby to try in his life as their parents worried about him not being able to secure a normal career in his prime. Yoo Do Ryong was the easy go lucky and the dancing machine of the group. He craved for his busy mother’s attention and was scared of his teacher-father’s scolding. Sung Sun Woo assumed taking care of his mother and little sister when his father died young. He was a model student and the most responsible in the group. As a trademark of the “reply franchise”, the drama will also give hints on the main love couple that will blossom in the story. But out of all three Reply dramas, ’88 was the most discreetly conceived and it took the last two finale episodes to finally reveal who the lead girl married. 

s0iZSoN

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One of the many things I loved in this show was the genuine on-screen bond of the cast giving life in the best possible imagination of the sketched characters in the story. There was no passerby among the cast. All have contributed to an almost perfect depiction of how uncomplicated life then. With neighbors living up to become a functioning support group with their fellow parents whose dreams were mainly directed to the well-being of their children and of children who were pressured to chase their dreams so as to make their parents proud. That is definitely not the case today with the internet controlling human interaction. People will choose to just browse on the superficial social media status of their family and friends than to take time to catch up with them in person.

large

2ef203f8edc730a703e42adfcf84501e

Another wonderful feature evident to all Reply-dramas would be the building up of the romance which has been fixed in presenting a love triangle and would always break the viewers’ hearts as they want both guys to get the same girl they were chasing. I was Team Taek-i all throughout. Who wouldn’t fall for Taek-i’s puppy face? I just really go for cute nerds who are clueless in life but advances strong when the situation required them to go for their one great love and Taek-i rose to the occasion by waiting for the right time and seizing the moment without looking back. Jung–hwan had his fair share of sweet moments capping up with that heartbreaking love proposal practice which Duk-seon never realized to be what really was in Jung Hwan’s heart.

hyeri-ryu-jun-yeol

But the one great love lesson learned from JungHwan-Dukseon-Taek love triangle is to not blame timing or fate for your one great love to happen. Taek-i braved the odds and defied a 20 year friendship and sealed every love he had for Dukseon in a heart-stopping kiss because he wanted to know right at that moment if there is just not a chance but if love was really there for both of them. It’s not just knowing that love is there, it is being in absolute certainty that both of you feel the same way.Reply_1988-012

I only have the very best things to say for the neighborhood I grew fond watching, for the childhood buddies who defined lifetime friendship and for the sincere love that bloomed from the purest friendship and memories.  Reply 1988 was a great spectacle to seal K-drama parade of 2015 and I can only hope that the writer won’t get tired of delving on nostalgic premise like this.

CYMERA_20151116_202201[1]Reply_1988-001

Reply 1988 is on my top 3 dramas for 2015 because of its brilliant use of sweet melancholia and sending the followers back to their very own youth, like it did to me. It made me want to pay a short visit to the street I grew up with and reminisce the times when I hang out with my childhood friends to play traditional local games. It made me glad that most of my precious memories were not digitally induced as is the case of the youth nowadays. And it reminded me to still go for the purest romance I can ever have that won’t make use much of the world- wide web and social media.

Reply_1988-006Reply_1988-013

The ever present humor, the love stories and the amazing neighborhood are surely a quick relief for life stress. Reply 1988 is a strip of mementos any person with a euphoric youth can relate to. I strongly vouch for this drama if you have a weekend to spare. –jediprincess ♥♥♥

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P.S Images Source Asianwiki