2013 Year in Review
Romance, Drama, Sagueks
I know; it has been awhile since I posted anything here but what better way to introduce myself to the new MDL users but at the end of the year and featuring dramas that most of you either haven’t heard of or watched. I purposely picked these dramas because there really isn’t enough written about them: good or bad. So what better way for you to not only get to know me but also the dramas I like to watch?
Written by Jung Ji Woo who wrote some of all-time favorite family dramas like Gloria, Family’s Honor, Stars Falling From the Sky and directed by Shin Yoon Sub from Rooftop Prince fame, comes one of the best, well-written, filmed, acted and directed (going to run out of adjectives) family dramas I’ve ever seen!! It stars Im Joo Hwan and Kang So Ra in the lead as Gong Jun Su and Na Do Hee, respectively. It also includes in the cast, Kang Byul (Mandate of Heaven), Choi Tae Joon (Adolescent Medley, Padam Padam), Shin So Yool (Reply 1997), Seol Hyun (Member of K-pop group "AOA"), and Hyun Woo (I Live in Cheongdam-dong).
I had mainly wanted to watch this because I LOVE Im Joo Hwan, surprisingly not for Tamra Island but because of What’s Up? I was more than happy when I heard he had the lead but like everyone else, I’m sometimes leery of long dramas because I get disappointed all of the time and long dramas are definitely a commitment. However, once I sat down and watched the first 20 episodes, I was totally hooked! For the first time ever, I watched a show, not just week to week but daily from a SBS streaming website. It even introduced me to Soompi! I not only watched it unsubbed but I even adjusted my work schedule to catch the early morning drama in my time zone. The love story of the leads is a complete love story: from meeting, falling in love, hardship because of their circumstances and finally to a wedding you may never see again. The interesting cast and additional stories definitely added to the drama. This is not just a must-see; it is a MUST-SEE!!
Written by the writing team of Jang Young Cheol and Jung Kyung Soon (Empress Ki, Giant, History of the Salaryman) and directed by Yu In Sik (Giant, History of the Salaryman), it is definitely a drama of a different ilk. The cast includes Kang Ji Hwan (Coffee House, Lie to Me, Capital Scandal), Hwang Jung Eum (Secret Love, Can You Hear My Heart, Giant), Oh Yoon Ah (Childless Comfort, 21st Century Family), and Park Sang Min (Scandal, Giant, Soldier) in the main roles.
This has to be the BEST romance/comedy/drama I’ve seen this year!! It is so rare that you can watch a drama from beginning to end and say I was NEVER be bored!! This drama went from funny, to serious, back to funny without a hitch in the story!! I now totally believe in Kang Ji Hwan’s acting ability. Sure, I had liked him in various movies and have watched a couple of dramas that were watchable, but in this he totally shined as a consummate actor! He showed us joy, laughter, happiness, and even sadness very effectively! He is truly a comic genius. Hwang Jung Eum, I was already in love with her and my love affair will just continue! Her portrayal as Jae In was hysterical! I enjoyed watching her transform from the unsure of herself daughter of a powerful woman to a woman willing to do anything to save her man!
Written by Choi Wan Kyu (Lights and Shadows, Midas, Swallow the Sun) and directed by Kim Keun Hong (Queen Seon Duk, Yi San, Jumong). This is a rare treat for me as it is a saguek and a medical drama. It stars Kim Ju Hyuk (Soldier, Lovers in Prague), Park Jin Hee (Fermentation Family, Giant), Nam Goong Min (Can You Hear My Heart, The Birth of the Rich), and Park Eun Bin (Operation Proposal).
With 135 episodes, this is definitely not a drama that I would watch again. I thought it was well acted by all. I especially liked the fact that Heo Jun's character wasn't a squeaky clean, perfect character from the beginning but morphed into the great man that he became over time. I admit that I began watching this drama because of Nam Goong Min and Park Jin Hee, whom I’ve seen in several other dramas and movies, but this was only my second time seeing Kim Ju Hyuk (Heo Jun) and Park Jin Hee in a drama. I would be remiss in mentioning Go Doo Shim who played Heo Jun’s mother. As always, she is a consummate actress. I was especially impressed with Park Eun Bin (Da Hee, Heo Joon's wife) because there is a 20 year difference in their age (yeah, I was shocked too), but she held her own from start to finish. The rest of the supporting cast was great. There are a couple of the younger actors (who remain nameless) that I will be looking forward to in the future. Overall, this is a drama only medical and sageuk watchers would possibly appreciate.
Written by Kim Yi Young (Dong Yi, Yi San) and directed by Lee Byung Hoon (Dong Yi, Yi San, Jewel in the Palace) and newcomer Choi Jung Kyu (recent Two Weeks). This is another saguek that will attract the lovers of historical dramas. It stars Cho Seung Woo (first drama, generally a movie actor), Lee Yo Won (49 Days, Golden Empire, Queen Seon Duk), Lee Soon Jae (Ugly Alert, Childless Comfort, King2Hearts), and Son Chang Min (Cruel City, Kid Gang).
Overall, I liked the drama. There were times when the story seemed to be repetitive and the constant persecution and denial of Baek Kwanghyun's (Cho Seung Woo) ability as a physician grated on my nerves. The medical procedures were interesting to watch, and I suggest never to be caught eating during some episodes. When the major focus was on the political intrigue, it did detract from the story greatly. However, when the focus was on medicine, it was great. It made me a BIG fan of Cho Seung Woo as I had never seen him before and since have watched several of his movies as a result of watching the drama. I loved the love story. It was so cute and pretty straightforward. Would I recommend? Only for the hardcore medical saguek drama watchers.
Written by a bunch of newbies (this should have been a warning) but that is always not a bad thing and directed by Lee Chang Han (I Need Romance, Saranghae). It stars Park Sun Young (Immortal Classic, Crime Squad), Go Se Won (Rude Miss Young Ae 9-12, I'll Give You The Stars and The Moon). This is here as a warning…a warning NOT to watch this!!
If you are a true masochist who will enjoy watching two of the most “doormat” main characters ever, this is a drama to watch. However, if you are sensitive to subjects like spousal abuse, children being kidnapped/accidental killed, murders going unpunished, constant persecution of leads then this is not the drama for you. I know the only reason I finished this was because of two of my twitter friends and my constant use of cat toys to throw at my television screen. In addition, the story line will have you questioning your sanity for even watching it in the first place. And here I thought that place in my psyche would be forever reserved by Fashion King!