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Jealousy Incarnate
4 people found this review helpful
Sep 15, 2017
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.5
After watching Jealousy Incarnate I might have a new favorite actor. I loved this drama so much! It was on my watch list for awhile and I am so glad I finally watched it because it really got under my skin. I could not stop watching it and thinking about the characters throughout the day. I even replayed some episodes and scenes over again while I was watching. Now that it's done I started re watching certain episodes just because I am not ready for it to be over. Episodes 8-14 are so good! Not that the rest are bad, but these are so good.

This drama features several love triangles and for people who can't stand the love triangle cliche, this might be an exception to the rule because the characters are so endearing and the acting is so good. The secondary love triangles have their moments and are somewhat cute, but the main love triangle is the best love triangle ever.

Jo Jung Suk was my favorite. I want to watch all his other stuff now. How did he he make his arrogant jerky character so lovable and magnetic? He shows Hwa Shin's inner turmoil, heartsickness and insecurity with a subtle change of expression or shift in the eyes. The second lead character Jung Woon is a dreamy perfect guy and the main character Na Ri is warm and lovable. They all have great chemistry together and the friendship between the two guys is so good too. They stole my heart. Thanks to the great character development and acting, it was actually believable that Na Ri would be so conflicted between these 2 guys that are such polar opposites. I totally understand people routing for the second lead in this drama. I admit I was conflicted too for a few episodes, but finally I was won over and satisfied that Na Ri found her soul mate.

The drama isn't perfect. The secondary story lines weren't as interesting to me as the main one, but they did have their charms. The story slows down a little in the second half and doesn't have the same flow as in the first half, but it's still good and it ties everything up in a satisfying way. Even though the finale took me a little off guard in how it was done, I think it was a fun goodbye to the characters. And the main love story brings the whole thing up for me.

Aside from the heart fluttering romance, this drama is funny and cute and had me giggling out loud many times. It also deals with some serious issues that bring more emotional depth to the relationships, but it never gets depressing or too heavy. If you have been putting off watching this you should do it.

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Nirvana in Fire
3 people found this review helpful
Jun 2, 2017
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
It took awhile, but I'm totally on the bandwagon. This drama is awesome. I started watching it because of all the rave reviews, but had a hard time getting into it and I actually dropped it around episode 15 or so because I had a hard time connecting to the characters. But I'm so glad I picked it up again. The drama builds up slowly but the payoff is so worth it. It's so intelligent but at the same time deeply emotional. So if there's anyone out there like me who usually likes historical dramas but have a hard time getting into this one, you might be really happy to hang in there.

Each story detail is meticulously revealed for a reason. I think this is one drama where a slow build up might actually help make it a better drama overall. The characterizations and relationships build gradually but deeply. Around episode 20 or so is a turning point. It's like the point where you have reached the top of the roller coaster ride, then all the stuff that happened in the first part of the drama really starts to come together and the rest of the drama goes so fast. When you get to around episode 30, all the drama and relationships have built up to the point that I just had to marvel at the storytelling. It's genius. I really felt the emotion under the surface of these characters that had to stay so reserved and careful so much of the time. My heart started breaking around this point because I felt the inevitable end coming. I never really feel like re-watching dramas, but I think I will re-watch this one just to visit these characters again and see if I can pick up details that I missed the first time around.

Hu Ge and Wang Kai are riveting as Mei Chang Su and Prince Jing. Their relationship is heartbreaking. Though there is romance in this drama, it takes a backseat to the camaraderie and deep friendships among the male characters.

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Stranger
5 people found this review helpful
Aug 18, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
"Stranger" was pretty much perfect. It might ruin other crime dramas for me in the future because it was so good. I'm giving it a 10 which I hardly ever do. Lots of crime dramas rely on shock, sordid details or graphic violence to thrill and create interest. Stranger tells a story about complicated characters with passions, motives, and morals that collide, corrupt, and sometimes bolster and strengthen each another. Though this is a crime investigation story and definitely contains some gruesome scenes, most of the thrills come from the characters playing off each other.

The script is so tightly written. The story is a cleverly laid out labyrinth with compelling, intelligent characters at each turn. There are no throw away characters who behave stupidly, frustrating plot details, cutesy comic relief or romance just for the sake of adding romance. Every line could have a potential effect on the outcome. If you let your mind drift for a moment you might just miss out on some new clue or development. While watching, I often had the unsettling feeling that everyone is not who they seem and everyone is up to no good. Then a moment later I would often come to the exact opposite conclusion and think maybe this character is exactly who he appears to be after all. It had me on the edge of my seat and guessing up through the last episode. The writing is so impressive.

"Stranger" is really well-acted. The 2 main leads do such a great job. Jo Seung Wo is excellent as Prosecutor Hwang. Playing a cold, emotionless, and calculating character with limited facial expressions, he somehow manages to shine with goodness and integrity, gain our sympathy and win our hearts. Bae Doo Na is excellent as Lieutenant Han who is the more stereotypical good cop character, but she brings her character to life with warmth, passion and toughness. I also particularly enjoyed Lee Joon Hyuk as Seo Dong Jae. He portrays his smarmy despicable character with a lot of emotional range. He's the guy you love to hate and sometimes feel sorry for. All the characters have great chemistry together - both the heroes and villains - though you never really know for sure who is who until the very end when all the pieces fall together perfectly. It's a thrilling and compulsively watchable drama that builds in intensity as the story progresses. I am sorry to be done. I even re-watched the last episode immediately so I didn't have to say goodbye just yet.

This drama brings up ideas about what makes a person who they are. Does a person ever fundamentally change? What make us human? What makes us good or bad? Is it our emotions, our ideals or intentions? Our actions? Morals? A sense of justice? If you are into crime stories you have to watch this. But I also highly recommend this to people who appreciate an intelligent well told story that makes you think.

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Healer
5 people found this review helpful
Sep 20, 2016
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
Healer is my #1 favorite drama. It is so romantic, with sharp dialogue, great action scenes, fast-paced, intriguing plot, slick cinematography. It will hook you in the first episode and make you swoon over and over again. Anyone who likes action and romance will love this. The main couple has really great chemistry and lots of cute and romantic scenes together. The Healer is the coolest character ever - owing to Ji Chang Wook's wonderful acting. He made his character come alive - cool, tough, resourceful, lonely, vulnerable, bumbling, loving, gentle - from one scene to the next. Yeoung Shin - the female lead is beautiful and extremely likable, cute, and gutsy. There are several really funny and endearing supporting characters like the Healer's boss and the father. My only small complaint may be that the villains and their evil motives were not as developed as the rest of the drama. But the rest of it was so good I didn't really mind.

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Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
14 people found this review helpful
Nov 2, 2016
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
This story has some flaws, but overall it's a great romantic historical drama. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 16 out of 20 episodes. Lee Joon Gi as Wang So was wonderful to watch. This drama will make you a fan if you aren't already. I looked forward to him coming on screen. Wang So is at times dark, dangerous and damaged and at other times sweet, romantic, heroic and loyal. I enjoyed the love triangles, family drama, camaraderie and spirited, pretty heroine. Costumes and actors and cinematography were beautiful to look at. Fun exciting action and martial arts. Good fast pacing. The story moves along nicely. Several scenes - like the scene in the rain or the riding on horseback scene - are really memorable, stirring and dramatically presented. The emotional impact of the 2 main love stories build up really well in the first 3/4 of the drama really make the whole series worth watching for me.

I forgave plot holes or inconsistencies much of the time because it was so enjoyable to watch, but towards the end it fell apart and the actions of the characters didn't make sense to me. As a whole the events at the end didn't hold together to tell a cohesive or rewarding story. If only it could have finished as strongly as it started, I would've given it a 9 or 10. But still I'm glad I spent the time to watch it. It was worth it and it had me hooked to the last episode which not every drama can do.

Now that some time has past and I've watched many more dramas since, it still holds up for me as a great romance despite it's flaws.

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Fabricated City
4 people found this review helpful
May 16, 2017
Overall 6.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
I was looking forward to this because I love Ji Chang Wook and I like action films when they are well done. But it was disappointing. There is plenty of action, but very little in the way of character development. JCW and the other actors aren't given much interesting to say. This movie cuts from one action scene to the next with very little in between to make you care about what happens to these characters.
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Defendant
5 people found this review helpful
Apr 26, 2017
Overall 8.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 6.0
A decent crime / mystery with solid acting. The pros of this drama: I watched the plot unfold with enjoyment. The pacing is good so it keeps viewer engaged. The acting is good - especially the little girl and Ji Sung as the Jeong Woo.

The reason I do not rate it higher is that I found it really derivative of other shows. Though I did enjoy it, it was pretty predictable. I usually don't care about this so much, but here it was so obvious that it distracted me from getting emotionally involved with the characters. I didn't find the characters very realistic or complex. The characters felt so much like stock characters from very other crime mystery story of this type. It's like the writers decided they wanted to write a show like "Prison Break" combined with "The Fugitive" and just went with that without trying to add any originality or twist of their own. At first I thought the references to Prison Break were kind of cute, but after awhile the similarities became tiresome.

I didn't love the characters - not even Jeong Woo. There were details about him that bugged me, so though I wanted the bad guy to be punished, it's not because I loved the hero so much. The setup for the villain really didn't make sense. The crime that is the catalyst for the whole drama was psychopathic and impulsive and really without thought or reason. He gained nothing from it and just did it because he felt like it. Then he spends the rest of the episode impulsively covering it up. And then we are supposed to believe that he magically transforms into a resourceful, manipulative character who plans and thinks enough to get away with all that he does for the next 17 episodes? The motley group of inmates was kind of funny, but too glaringly cute for this type of story and obviously just there for comic relief.

I don't regret watching this, but didn't love it. It's one of those shows where I just wanted to see the story play out even though it was mildly disappointing along the way.

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Queen for Seven Days
2 people found this review helpful
Aug 8, 2017
Overall 9.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
Very romantic and dramatic - I loved this! Queen for Seven Days is a beautiful historical romance. It's a great love story. After watching it through I read the history behind this and even though I'm sure a lot was embellished, it was even more touching and bittersweet to learn that many plot details actually did happen. The love story wasn't just made up for the drama.

The costumes and actors and cinematography are all really good looking. This is a very pretty drama to watch. There is some political intrigue and a little bit of adventure, but the main focus in this drama is the emotional tension and love story between the heroine and the 2 brothers - one king and the other grand prince. It's developed very well. It really hits all the right notes to make it a very satisfying watch for romance lovers. If you enjoy romantic sageuks like Empress Ki or Scarlett Heart: Moon Lovers, you'd probably really like this as well. Compared to those dramas, I felt this one was more pleasant, less emotionally wrenching and more satisfying overall.

The pacing was mostly good, but I think the setup was a little slow. Once the story is underway when the adult actors take over it goes pretty fast. The actors all do a great job - particularly the 3 main leads. There is a lot of praise for Lee Dong Gun as the king. He's an intriguing villain. But I think the main couple played by Park Min Young and Yeon Woo Jin are lovely together. It's a juicy love triangle. And I love that the main couple are given a decent amount of happy romantic screen time together. Even though there are plenty of tragic obstacles for them, at least their faith in each other doesn't get annoyingly dragged down by misunderstandings or false accusations. It is really touching their love survived all the violence and political struggle of that time. I had my mouth agape and tears streaming down my face during the perfect final episode.

The criticism I have for this drama is that it is peppered throughout with actions that the characters take or plot details that make you think "WHAT?!" or "WHY?!" and make you feel a little frustrated. Certain things seemed that they didn't have to happen that way and just happened for dramatic effect (especially towards the end) or came out of nowhere. But then later I read that most of those things or some version of those things really did happen in real life. So I think I would rate this higher if more attention was given to certain aspects of the story or the politics so I could appreciate what motivated certain characters or events better.

But still, this didn't stop me from really enjoying this drama. Historical dramas - particularly tragedies -tend to let me down big time somewhere along the line, but this is one of the more satisfying and touching ones that I've watched and highly recommend it.

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Fight For My Way
3 people found this review helpful
Jul 12, 2017
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.5
One of the best romantic comedies I've watched yet. Must watch! Funny banter and heartwarming friendships make this slice of life drama really entertaining. It hooked me within the first 30 minutes with its humorous depictions of 4 lovable BFFs struggling to figure out their lives.

But the best thing about it is how real it feels. The actors do such a great job making their characters come alive. They all feel like real people - friends that you might know if real life with relatable career obstacles and realistic relationship troubles. It's really touching how they support and care for each other even though they might talk tough. You really feel the deep connections between the childhood friends and the 2 main leads have great chemistry.

The writing and pacing are great. With most dramas it takes a few episodes for me to warm up and get into the story or characters. But this one is easy and comfortable and hard not to love from the start.

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May 19, 2017
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.5
If you like historical dramas, this one won't disappoint you. It's well paced, the writing is solid and the story doesn't let you down for 30 episodes. There is a heartwarming romance, rousing action and heroes that you can really route for. It's about family ties and loyalty, camaraderie and standing up to fight for what's right - no matter the cost and no matter how bleak your chances.

Yoon Gyun Sang is really good as the Gil Dong. He is believable as the Mighty Child with superhuman strength that evolves into a rebel, but is equally believable when his character is beaten down and vulnerable. Kim Sang Joong is commanding as Amogae - Gil Dong's father- who lived most his life as a slave but realizes his strength and spirit. Watching him at times gave me goosebumps. I particularly loved the father-son relationship between him and both the adult Gil Dong and the young Gil Dong.

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The Master's Sun
3 people found this review helpful
Feb 12, 2017
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
A fun, light romantic comedy with touches of horror mixed in. I started watching Master's Sun on a whim because I had heard people talk about it and the name was familiar. I had no idea what it was about before I clicked play. If I had known the premise before watching, I might not have started it because it's not something I would normally have chosen. But I'm glad I did. The first few episodes sucked me in. It was fun and intriguing and a little scary. The premise is really unbelievable and silly. I am not the hugest fan of the mean rich guy who falls for the awkward girl storyline. I'm not really a fan of ghost stories. Some of the dialogue seems strange and stiff. The storylines are really unbelievable. But, despite all these things that this drama didn't have going for it, I actually enjoyed it a lot. There were several times when the situations got really silly that I wondered to myself why do I like this? I think the main reason is the charisma and talent of the actors. They somehow make you really care for these farfetched characters no matter what outlandish situations they are put in.

The Pros:
I was surprisingly moved by the ghosts' stories that are introduced in each episode and even cried over characters that were introduced in just that one episode. I got into the main romance and felt their heartache when they separated and ended up binge watching it into the early morning. So Ji Sub is really good as Joo Joong Won. There's something really likable and charming about him even when he's acting rude and standoffish. He was the main thing I looked forward to watching on screen. Gong Shil and Joo Won have good chemistry especially considering how crazy it is that these 2 characters would fall for each other. The supporting characters were nice to look at as well. The mystery kept me guessing. The romantic storyline is predictable but the actors are so good they really make you feel for them.

The Cons:
The reason I don't rate it higher is that I think the plot stalls a little towards the middle. Some of the scenes seemed kind repetitive at times. But that didn't really stop me from caring about the characters and enjoying it til the end.

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Suspicious Partner
3 people found this review helpful
Jul 14, 2017
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 8.0
Though I can kind of understand the mixed reviews, I thought this was fun and romantic and think it's defintiely worth checking out. It starts off really strong with loads of romance and cuteness which fizzles somewhat with darker plot complications as the story progressed, but ultimately goes back to being cute. I feel like I've watched a few dramas recently that pair the cute romantic comedy and dark crime genres together. It seems like an difficult pairing to pull off, but this drama manages to do it adequately. So depending on how charismatic you find the main couple or how much you enjoy the crime story / villain you may really enjoy this.

PROS: Ji Chang Wook is my favorite actor since I watched him in Healer so I admit that makes me rate this drama higher than I might if he wasn't in it - maybe half a point higher. I was really happy to just watch him in something where he just plays a normal guy. For me this was enough to keep me entertained. I also liked Bong Hee and thought they had good chemistry together.

The supporting characters were cute and likable. I enjoyed the funny bickering of attorneys at the office. Their office meetings were always funny. I also thought the bickering moms storyline was funny. The mean female attorney character grew on me and became one of the more amusing side characters.

CONS: It doesn't finish as strongly as it started and to me a it drags a little in the middle when the crime storyline takes more prominence. The actor who plays the villain gets a lot of screen time and does a good job. But I just wasn't as invested in this part of the story. The plot was entertaining enough to keep my attention though. Certain plot points could have been amped up for more impact. And certain plot points are introduced that added complications but could have been done without. The second leads could have been given a little more to do. And the old friendship between 2 male leads could have been played up a little more. I would have liked to see more of them together.

That sounds like a lot of cons, but it is mostly picking at the plot. Overall, I thought this was a really fun and cute drama to watch and looked forward to each episode.

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Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends
2 people found this review helpful
May 2, 2017
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.5
Visually stunning, jaw-dropping martial arts with compelling characters both good and bad. This movie takes up the story in the middle of the action where the second movie ends so you shouldn't watch this without watching the second movie at least. It shows a little more about how Kenshin came to be the reknowned ex-assassin with the gentle smile who has vowed to never kill again. The finale fight scene was one of the most impressive martial art scenes in any movie I've ever watched.
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Hwarang
2 people found this review helpful
Feb 24, 2017
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
Hwarang was entertaining. It could have been better, but I liked it, and would recommend it to people who aren't looking for a historical drama that is really serious, political or intellectually stimulating and just want to watch something fun with actors that are nice to look at.

There is a little bit of everything in this drama - love triangle, bromance, political intrigue, martial arts. It is a lite-sageuk - where the love triangle and romantic angst take center stage for much of the drama - not much complexity. I don't mind that so much, but the main criticism I have for this drama is that it just gives a little bit of everything and could have amped up the drama, action, bromance, intrigue in the middle and given a little less of the romantic angst. There are plot holes, storylines left hanging and potentially juicy scenes that could have been shown, but weren't. It is the type of show that makes you feel frustrated with it's characters or inconsistencies, yet compels you to tune in every week anyway. So that says something. The actors do a good job with what they are given.

PROS:
Beautiful to look at. The 2 main male leads are good and have charisma. I enjoyed the love triangle. The pacing and emotional impact of the drama starts off really strong and emotionally charged in the first several episodes, getting viewers invested in the characters and their dramatic backstories. You are introduced to a hidden king battling his fears and longing to be strong and good, a peasant with fighting skills and a noble heart, and a spunky heroine who tells racy stories in backrooms for money.

CONS:
The middle episodes are disappointing and messy with the story stalling and going in circles a bit. The characters that were set up nicely in the beginning aren't given much to do. But the ending is redeeming and rewards viewers who held on til the end. The bromance is implied, but I wish there could have been more male bonding scenes. More rousing adventure and drama in the middle episodes would have amped up the quality of this drama considerably.

But I'm glad I watched it. It was fun.

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The King's Woman
1 people found this review helpful
13 days ago
Overall 7.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
I started off really enjoying The King's Woman. It's beautiful to look at. Zhang Vin carried the first part of this drama for me just by sheer charisma alone. I like watching him even though the character he plays is so bad. For the the first third of the drama or so I was into the plot setup and the martial arts characters and their "quests". I like that sort of thing. There are several passionate love scenes in the first part too. It was pretty easy to watch from episodes 1-24. But somewhere around this point I lost enthusiasm. An actor's charisma can only take me so far.

The King's Woman aims to portray a ruthless tyrant as a complicated character that we can sympathize with in telling the story of his true love for a beautiful and talented woman. It's kind of difficult to do well and basically I don't think this drama did a great job at it. It relies too much on the actors' charisma and good looks, slow mo flashbacks, and pretty cinematography rather than thoughtful story writing and good character development.

By episode 40 or so I had a lot of built up frustration and dislike for the main characters so I didn't really care about them anymore. The side characters were uninspiring, but at least Jing Ke and Han Shen were more consistently written and had some good fight scenes. The main characters behave inconsistently and don't feel like real people. The most problematic character is the heroine, Gong Sun Li. She is supposed to be wise, upstanding and tough. As the story progressed I felt more and more repulsed by the idea of her falling in love with the King and being such a martyr for him. He is murderous one scene and then suddenly cute and seductive in the next. The drama jumps into a romantic comedy tone whenever the king does something terrible and they need you to feel sympathy for him and buy into the love story again. It bugged me that an intelligent woman would become submissive to such a man. The main failing in the storytelling is that there was not a compelling reason for her to be won over by him. They didn't portray much of her internal struggle to be with him. It goes against her character to fall in love with him, so give us an explanation. There were hints that she might have done it for political reasons or to protect others. But mostly the romance is portrayed as just fate - that Li was fated to always protect, love and serve the King no matter what his actions and he would always love her because of it. But why? This wasn't enough for me to buy into the romance.

I watched the last part of the drama mostly out of curiosity to see how the events played out. I knew I was supposed to feel the tragedy of it all as a result of the king's fatal character flaws and feel the heroine's selflessness and integrity, but the feelings just weren't there for me. Still, there were ample slow motion flashback scenes to inform me that something dramatic was happening. And every time they played a certain childhood flashback scene (which was  A LOT) I knew I was supposed to be feeling how poignant it all was.

Then again after all my complaints about this drama again, I never once thought of dropping it. On a basic level it is watchable and entertaining enough to see the good looking costumes, actors, cinematography and martial arts scenes and find out what happens in the end.

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