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Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi
19 people found this review helpful
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May 7, 2016
  • Overall 9.5
  • Story 9.5
  • Acting/Cast 9.5
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
The one thing people should know before watching Ms. Temper & Nam Jung-gi is that even though it labels itself as a romcom, romance really takes a backseat to everything else. There are two main underlying themes in this drama, the first being the superior-subordinate relationship (or as it is called in the drama, the gab-eul relationship) and the second being feminism. Every two episodes acts as a story arc which tackles read more one of the issues pertaining to these themes.

The drama is special in the sense that the gab is our heroine and the eul is our hero, which is refreshing in the kdrama world. Naturally, the main draw of the drama is the female lead Ok Da-jung. Ok Da-jung is a fast-rising employee at Gold Chemicals and this led to her being the subject of many malicious rumours. In reality, she's a righteous person who does not stand for things such as the abuse of power. She's extremely principled, and believes in having pride in her own work. On the flip-side, our hero Nam Jung-gi, who is a timid employee at a small company, avoids responsibility like it's the plague. The contrast between their characters makes for a very interesting (and comedic) watch.

Ok Da-jung is such a great character that it's impossible to not love her. Lee Yo-won is perfect as the immaculately dressed heroine. It's almost as if the role was tailor made for her! She was spectacular in all of her scenes (the stoic ones, the emotional ones, and even the downright ridiculous ones). Yoon Sang-hyun turned in an incredible performance with his spot-on comedic timing as Nam Jung-gi. In fact, all of the cast delivered splendid performances. The only exception is Hwang Bora, whose crying scenes appear forced and unnatural at times.

Ok Da-jung's relationship with Nam Woojoo (Nam Jung-gi's son) is also something to look out for. Cute would be a serious understatement. Their chemistry is off the charts. Some may even argue that they are the OTP in the series.

The directing and writing of Ms. Temper are all good. The key point being that the drama maintained a consistent pace throughout the 16 episodes, meaning that it does not suffer from the same problems most kdramas do - waning after the mid-point. This is really impressive for a rookie writer. The use of CGI and various sound effects in the drama also adds to its hilarity.

On the other hand, the drama is not flawless. One criticism would be that there are some overly simplistic plot points. Ok Da-jung seems omnipotent in the series, always coming to the rescue when there is trouble. And the Lovely employees always manage to get into trouble. Some may also be bothered about how unrealistic it is that she's had three husbands, and all of them want a reconciliation. That being said, we can hardly complain since that put Lee Jung-jin and Yeon Jung-hoon on our screens.

Overall, this is an enjoyable drama which should appeal to anyone who's looking for dramas centered around a strong female character. However, if you're looking for a drama with more realism with respect to the business side of things, this is not it. In fact, most dramas don't do business correctly. The good thing about this drama, to quote a knetz, is that there is a right blend of realism (the issues that they tackle) and fantasy elements (how everything gets resolved, albeit a little too easily). Also, the bribery and cajoling may not be something that happens in your society, but it is something more relatable to the Korean viewers. So do take that into account when complaining about how unrealistic this drama is.

DISCLAIMER: My unusually high ratings for this drama is because I rate dramas base on the rating given by MDL. In the sense that if I think a drama is underrated, I'm going to give higher ratings for it. A more objective rating would be an 8. But there are tons of shitty dramas getting 8 here and I don't think that gives enough credit to Ms. Temper.
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Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
65 people found this review helpful
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Nov 1, 2016
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 5.5
  • Acting/Cast 7.0
  • Music 8.5
  • Rewatch Value 5.0
The Good:

I'm having trouble coming up with things for this one. I think very often it's easy to overlook a drama's strong points because its flaws are so obvious. It is especially so for Moon Lovers. And so I'll acknowledge that this review perhaps isn't really that great of a reflection of the quality of the drama.

Firstly, I think the drama did a pretty good job in executing several parts read more of the story, particularly when the supporting characters die. I think that's partly due to the actors' portrayals, and partly because the writer seemed to have gotten his grip on at the right moments. It would have been great if the writing was more consistent throughout the drama. If the drama managed to relay such poignant emotions more frequently I wouldn't have felt as detached from the story. In any case, I think those scenes were possibly the most awesome scenes in the drama.

Next, Lee Jun-ki. I'm certainly biased, but I think he delivered his character well, especially during the more emotional scenes. I can't elaborate more since I don't want to spoil the story. I also appreciated his cleaned-up look after he became emperor. It was about a thousand times better than that side-swept fringe hairstyle. I'm not that fond of his acting as a "blood-thirsty" emperor however. I like how his expressions changed, but imo he overacted a little when trying to portray Wang So's darker side. I also think Hong Jong-hyun was pretty good in his role as well. All in all, I don't think the acting was deserving of all the criticisms it was subjected to. I won't deny that there are some jarring scenes here and there because of "not-so-great" acting, but on the whole it was pretty watchable as far as I'm concerned and the actors did improve.

Lastly, the romance. I don't think the chemistry was great. However, there were certain scenes which were really cute. I'm personally not a huge fan of lovelines actually, but people who like to watch romance scenes will like it. It's a pity that a couple of scenes were cut from the international version, and you have to scour the Internet to look for the SBS version.

The Bad:

I think they got the OST choices very, very wrong. I'm personally not a fan of rap songs, and I don't think rap songs have a place in a historical drama anyway. The music was really annoying in some of the scenes because of this. Also, the fact that there were English lyrics in a couple of others as well. However, I did give a high score to the music because:
1. The "dadada" song was really catchy, despite the fact that it's not very suitable for the drama.
2. I also liked My Love by Lee Hi and Wind by Jung Seung-hwan.
3. Im Sun-hye's Will Be Back was really really really good. Not something I'll listen to in my spare time, but I felt it added value to the drama.
And seeing how they phased out the more unsuitable songs towards the end, I'm alright with giving them a higher score.

Many people have also complained about the directing. I have to say, I was actually overwhelmed by it at the start. I loved the shot with Wang So riding away from the eclipse. It was beautiful. Till I realised that that's perhaps the only redeeming scene. A lot of close-ups were wholly unnecessary. I don't mind that the director likes to take close-up shots, but I think it should be done in moderation, and only when it's contributing to the drama. The poor directing and editing knocked a lot of points off this drama.

Also, this may seem like a minor point, but despite it being a high budget production they didn't invest a lot in calefares. I understand that they wanted to put focus on the main characters, but does it make sense that no one is on the streets when Wang So and Hae Soo sneaked out? It just seemed too "cold" because there were only the two of them.

The Ugly:

The writing really let the drama down. I was actually looking forward to more political intrigues, a stronger heroine, better character development in general, and more cohesiveness.

I don't know what the writer was thinking of when he/she first starting conceptualising the characters. They had to dig into Kdrama tropes and hand Wang So a parent issue right at the start. Was that necessary? Was it necessary to give him a scar too? I think the writer was trying very hard to plant conflicts, but it didn't work to plan. And because of the scar, they made the female lead a cosmetics saleswoman. Not very useful in the ancient times. In fact (minor spoiler), it's was awkwardly hilarious that at the end they spoke about how Goryeo was very advanced in terms of cosmetics and tea culture. Riiiiiiight. Furthermore, Hae Soo wasn't the female lead I expected as well. I wanted a stronger, smarter, more independent female lead. Plus the fact that all the princes were crazy for love made them seem like really superficial characters.

Characters aside, I also have qualms about how they choose to leave out certain scenes. A lot of scenes are left to the viewer's imaginations, and that made the show really incoherent. At the very least they should have added in some of the more important scenes. How Wang So got the throne and all was pretty poorly thought out. The time skips weren't handled well as well (though the same can be said of the Chinese version). They were just there to advance the story so that the next scene can be played out, but the characters didn't really grow or change. Side plots such as the Baek-ah and Woo-hee story line was also choppy and they were given what I'd consider a slipshod ending that didn't make much sense.

Conclusion:

The drama is just disappointing. I expected a lot from it, but I don't think the fact that it was a pre-production did anything for it, nor the fact that it was a high-budget production because that totally didn't show. I think it may be worth a look if you like any of the actors, but that's about it.
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Candle in the Tomb
2 people found this review helpful
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22 hours ago
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.5
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.5
Candle in the Tomb is the best out of the Winter batch of 2016/2017 Cdramas by a long mile, and that's largely because of the refreshing subject matter and its production quality. There are some green screens which were not processed properly in post-production, but in general the CGI is pretty good.

The drama is adapted from the uber popular same-name novel and hence the story is rich. A lot of it read more is just pure imagination on the author's part, but the good thing is that there is no cliches (like all the love stories you've been seeing), and it's a pretty "loyal" adaptation (yes, this is a dig at General and I). The directing is great, the jump scares were terrifying (the two kids in the first tomb and the professor in the penultimate episode - brilliant, brilliant acting on his part), the acting is decent, there's a little humour here and there, just bits of everything. But it's really well-executed, and that's what sets it apart from the awful The Lost Tomb.

The main complaint I have about the drama is its pacing. The first episode is quite dull since it was mainly used to introduce the main and side characters, one which won't appear much in the rest of the drama at all. I think they have every intention to make a sequel (I heard that Da Jin Ya will have a larger role in the next books) and that's why they expended this much time in setting up everything. The first tomb exploration was quite eventful, and that's where things start to get interesting. However, the pacing problems began again. I mean, they took half an episode to bury Professor Hao!

Also, the whole archaeological team just seems like a huge burden to our three main characters. You're really just watching to see how they die out one by one, and it's difficult to feel sorry for them because of how useless they are. There's a huge reversal at the end but I won't spoil it here.

In any case, I'm really looking forward to a second season, preferably with the same cast.
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  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
I was just looking for something to watch and decided to try one of MBC's one-act specials. I chose this one because Seo Ji-hye is in it, and it's surprisingly good.

Every character gets one (or more) section(s) throughout the one-act special to narrate their inner feelings, and each part ends with a punctuation. Unfortunately, I still haven't really gotten the meaning behind the punctuation symbols but hopefully with more time to read more think (working through my midterms) about it I'll understand their purpose a whole lot better. I quite like how the the story is relayed to the viewers through different points of view, and it's interesting to see how different characters have separate interpretations of what happened. The acting is awesome. Seo Ji-hye is fantastic (and gorgeous), Yang Jin-sung is great as well, and so is the kid. The dad didn't make any sort of impression, but I think that's because of the role rather than his portrayal. The cinematography is good too, really exceeding expectations considering it's a one-act drama. I have to say that MBC's one-act specials seem to be of a higher quality in general compared to KBS', and they are challenging different genres as well which is good to see.
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