Song Ji Eun is cute as the shy and repressed Yoo Mi, and Sung Hoon is perfect as the "sexy and he knows it" typical spoiled chaebol's son Cha Jin Wook. Of course their paths keep crossing in the expected ways, and their chemistry goes from annoyance to playfulness and then escalating quickly... VERY quickly. I think that's what initially got me hooked. Still, it was obvious pretty early on that there wouldn't be much to this story. As cute as they were as a couple this love story got repetitive pretty quickly, and towards the end was so unrealistic and overly cheesy that I stopped being interested in them at all. Their inner monologues tried so hard to be deep but they seemed really shallow, and the stakes just didn't seem as high as their reactions made them out to be. The more dramatic it got the worst their acting got.
I think the drama did have some entertaining supporting characters. I enjoyed the mom, even if she was a frustrating mess, and Nam Ki Ae is always good at playing a mess of a mother. I liked the second lead, although he didn't have much of a story to work with. My favorite was the Secretary, who's suits made him an instant scene stealer, and his boo in the kitchen staff. The supporting cast helped to make some of the most repetitive moments easier to sit through.
Even though this drama is shorter than most, I still think it was too long. It could have easily been 10 episodes, or maybe even less. I still found myself eager to watch more moments between the two characters, but in the last episodes it was like they just gave up and started to rely on flashbacks! Ugh! The flashback abuse in this drama is pretty epic. Not only does every episode end with recaps that were super literal, extra cheesy, and felt completely unnecessary, but the final episodes almost seemed like music videos strung together with fan compilations of all the cutest scenes. The last 4 episodes are almost unwatchable because it was mostly everything I already saw. They repeated scenes so much that they lost all of their previous charm, including the kiss scenes.
The music is also super cheesy, which matched the show well, but it was driving me a little nutty. There was even a moment where Yoo Mi sings for so long I though it was turning into a musical. So I give the music a 4 for simply not being my taste. Not to mention the damn sound effects. Someone got a little too happy with the sound effects machine!
Would I watch this again? Maybe. I would probably skip the last episodes 10-12, but it's entertaining enough to watch if I need another quick romcom fix. The ending is such a let down, so I'd really have to have run out of other things to watch.
Overall this is a quick romcom you can easily binge watch, but I say keep your finger on the fast forward button for those repetitive flashbacks. If the idea of literally falling into someone's arms sounds too corny, or if a boss using abuse of power to flirt with an employee sounds like a reason to visit HR not a premise for a love story, then maybe you should watch a different kind of drama instead. I really wish they would have put more effort into the story, but for what it was, I was entertained enough to keep watching. For those not scared away by these mediocre reviews I'd say lower your expectations, and enjoy this cheesy romcom snack. (get it... she makes food :( sorry! )
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I can't think of one bad actor in this cast. Jung Woo Sung, as Yang Kang Chil, was intense, and very moving. Han Ji Min, as cool/controlled Jung Ji Nah, was his perfect counterpart. Their relationship had all the familiar elements (opposites attracting, destined path crossings, and family disapproval...) but without simply relying on clichés. My only small criticism is that they had some of the worst onscreen kisses I've ever seen, though the rest of their romantic moments more than make up for it. It could be argued that their awkwardness fit the story, but I just found it distracting. Their romance was portrayed as much deeper than a few cute moments, so I do have to give them a lot of credit for that.
Of the exceptional supporting cast, I have 3 favorites. Na Moon Hee, as the mother, was a really great character, and expertly played. Choi Tae Joon, as the son, was the only character that made me actually cry. Kim Bum, as the charming yet odd Lee Gook Soo, was my absolute favorite. His character's journey was so awesomely unexpected, and he did an amazing job with it.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a tearjerker, but there are plenty of funny, sweet, intriguing, and inspiring moments too. Some aspects of the story are left open ended, but that didn't bother me at all. I thought the end episode was beautifully done, and gave me all the closure I needed. I can't agree that this drama is perfect, but It is certainly better than most, and not to be missed.
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What I loved most about this drama is that the story just kept getting more and more extreme as it went on, and I just kept getting more and more sucked in! For 32 episodes I couldn't wait to see what crazy thing would happen next so, unlike other viewers, I was never really bored. I also liked that all of the major characters had a dark side, or were flawed, which made them a lot more interesting.
Lee Dong Wook's Jae Wan was a fun character to watch unfold, even though he was damn near robotic. This drama is basically his tragic story, and it's a doozy! At first I was turned off by how cold he was, but I liked him more and more as more of his story was revealed. Eventually his need to keep his composure seemed haunting.
Lee Da Hae as Ah Mo Nae was extremely annoying, even as she started to mature, but I thinks she was a great character. Kudos to the actress for making me want to smack her through the screen several times. I also really loved the forbidden romance between Jae Wan and Ah Mo Nae, especially early on when it was technically "very" forbidden. I think they had great chemistry, although they do much more crying than flirting.
Lee Duk Hwa as Lee Joong Goo had not a single ounce of redeeming quality in him, so It was fun to watch where his extreme evil would lead. Just when I thought he couldn't get more cutthroat he would surpass his last action tenfold. I thought he was excellent.
My favorite character by far was Kim Hae Sook as Baek Mi Nyeo. It took a lot of range to pull that character off. She was manipulative, mentoring, backstabbing, sympathetic, ruthless... she'd make me drop my jaw one minute and boo-hoo cry the next. Very few actresses can pull off a role that crazy, but she definitely did. It's not the most realistic character, but again, that's why this drama was so much fun.
There is nothing subtle about this drama, it is melodrama at it's finest. I loved the cast. I loved the music. The writing may not be perfect, but considering all this story tried to take on, I was impressed.
32 episodes is a huge commitment, but I didn't mind because I didn't want it to end. I would also watch all 32 episodes again, which should tell you how much I enjoyed it the first time. I definitely recommend this to any one who likes their dramas to be filled with DRAMA in ALL CAPS.
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So, I had pretty low expectations of this drama when I read the synopsis, but It was the most fun I've had watching a drama in a while.I laughed, I cried, I crushed hard on So Ji Sub. What more can I ask for in a K-Drama? lol!
What made me love this drama so much, from the very first episode, was So Ji Sub & Gong Hyo Jin. The premise for their romance is pretty far fetched, but their chemistry was amazing, and their characters were so well played that even the most unbelievable parts worked. Both play the comedic moments, and the emotional moments equally well. They are, hands down, two of my favorites in K-Drama.
I think the entire cast was outstanding, even the minor roles. Seo In-Guk was so charming, that he didn't get completely over shadowed by So Ji Sub, which is very impressive. I'm definitely becoming his fan. Kim Yoo-ri was great, and it was really fun to love & hate her as Tae Yi Ryung. Their storyline, and chemistry, was also a lot of fun to watch. Choi Jung Woo was another favorite of mine. He was great as the caretaker/quiet instigator Kim Gwi Do. Han Bo Reum was maybe the only slightly boring one in the main bunch, but was still good enough to not be a distraction. It's the cast that held together the weaker episodes, because they were all so likable.
I thought the story was mostly original, and really well told, even though I'm not really a fan of dramas that include a bunch of unrelated mini stories in each episode. I think the Hong Sister's did a great job of making sure the stories still connected to both of the main character's development, so they aren't just completely random. The horror elements weren't cheesy, or all that scary (for those of you turned off by horror). There were plenty rewatchable romantic moments that made me swoon. There was one moment in particular that had me unexpectedly in boo-hoo tears. There is also a good amount of suspense.
The reason for giving this drama an 8 and not higher for the story is that It definitely lost some of it's magic, and started to drag a little, in the last episodes. I'm still not sure why introducing someone from Tae Kong Shil's 'unconscious' past was necessary, since it didn't do much to move the story forward, or explain much about why she is how she is. Too many plot developments like that seemed more like time filler towards the end, making the show lose some momentum. It had such a strong start, and was so addictive throughout most of it, that watching it start to fall apart at the end was really disappointing. That being said, I was satisfied by the end of the last episode.
Oh, the music. I guess nothing really stuck out to me besides "Touch Love" by T Yoon Mi Rae, but it was hard to get the "lonely love, yes i love..." out of my head.
Overall I loved this drama. It caught me off guard the way "Secret Garden" did, making the unbelievable seem perfectly plausible. Sure, it's the same rich mean chaebol meets quirky poor girl cinderella-type romance, but it still manages to feel fresh & unique. I would definitely recommend The Master's Sun to rom-com fans who want something that's a little different, and isn't too light-hearted.
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The story is pretty standard, but the cast took a predictable scenario and made it fun to watch. There are many KDramas with similar love triangles, but the over the top characters, and humor, kept the episodes fresh. There are quite a few "poop" jokes that remind you not to take this drama too seriously. There are also quite a few rewatchable romantic moments. I found all the episodes so entertaining, that the time always seemed to fly by. The final episode was a bit weird, but I loved that all the great supporting characters got to have a real finale scene.
This really was a great, lighthearted, romantic comedy that I would definitely watch again.
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First, It's not a spoiler to say that this is indeed a Romance-Tragedy. It is inspired by the true story of Queen Dangyeong, who we know from the title, was only Queen for a week. If the title isn't enough to clue you in on what's in store, the show starts by glimpsing into the future, and we see a not so happily ever after moment where she tries to kill her love, the king, but can't. This was the same flash forward method that grabbed my attention in Empress Ki, and I knew that I would need to know exactly what road led them there. That road is not just filled with tragic moments. We actually go all the way back to childhood with the characters, and the journey to the end is more than just tears. There's humor, great friendships, some action, and of course romance, and what I thought was an interesting story of 3 people who's lives are controlled by their fate, in spite of their feelings.
I think Yeon Woo Jin was amazing as future king Yi Yeok. I've liked him in other dramas, but this one is a perfect vehicle for his range. He's matched with Park Min Young as Shin Chae Kyung, who I can say the same about. I think, because their child versions were so good, it gave them a lot to work with as far as backstory, and I truly believed all of their moments together. They may not have the most exciting chemistry, but that didn't stop me from liking them as a couple. The triangle is then made complete by Lee Dong Gun as Yi Yoong. I think his character, and acting, drives this whole drama. He also reminded me A LOT of a young Christopher Walken, and not just because of his big eyes. He has a charm and creepiness about him that made him the kind of villain I not only sympathized with, but sometimes rooted for in spite of myself. Even in his most over the top moments I totally felt for him. I really am a sucker for an actor who's really good at playing evil or crazy or both.
Most of the story revolves around the rivalry between these two brother for the crown, and their love of the same girl, but it still didn't feel too cliché to me. I think it's because every single character in this story, meaning every single supporting character, are so developed and well played, that it gave extra depth to the story and made me care about everyone... EVERYONE... even the Nanny. I would usually give a shout out to awesome supporting characters but there are just too many to name! I also loved that most characters, even if they were minor, had some kind of attention given to their specific part in the story, and some very emotional endings for their characters.
Ok, I will mention just one... Hwang Chan Sung as Seo Noh. *insert my standing ovation here*
As for the story, for me it just kept getting more exciting and addictive as the show progressed. The moments that may have felt slower were more of a build up to more exciting parts. Waiting for new episodes started to feel a little like torture, but sometimes I needed that week to breathe between episodes because the story got so intense. Sometimes characters were frustrating, but I think that's what added to them feeling human. Sometimes the political storyline was upsetting, but because it tied directly to these amazing characters, it kept my interest till the very end. The ending had a lot to live up to, and I think it was well done. I suffered from severe eye rain during the second half of the last episode, but the ending avoided just being completely depressing, which I think is impressive.
The music is beautiful and compliments this drama very well, and Junggigo's song will be on mental loop for a while.
Would I watch it again? Absolutely. I would probably need to watch a few light hearted shows in a row first, but sometimes you need a story that gets you in the feels too. I would just stock pile some tissues.
Overall I would definitely recommend this, BUT if you are not a fan of extreme drama then this may be too much. If you have never liked a sageuk ever, know this is more of the same, so don't expect this one to convert you. If you don't like stubborn characters who make you want to throw things at your screen, you definitely picked the wrong drama. Personally, I think it was beautifully bittersweet, and I I already added it to my favorites list before I even finished it.
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The story involves longing, betrayal, revenge, secrets, family ties, and ill-fated love. The cast does a good job of balancing really heavy scenes with funny, and sweeter scenes.
Im Su Jung was so good as naive Eun Chae, that she made some of the more over the top moments completely believable. The same can be said for the rest of the cast, including Lee Hye Young's character who I loved to hate, and showed unexpected depth.
My absolute favorite was So Ji Sub. He really played his character brilliantly. He did so much more than just cry, yell, and laugh on cue. As Moo Hyuk, he showed so many complicated emotions, and I could never predict how Moo Hyuk would react. During moments in the drama that started to feel a little repetitive, he always pulled me back in. The fact that he is visually appealing didn't hurt either.
The plot does have the privileged vs the poor, and love triangles/squares, which is expected in most dramas, without following the same path. Every time I felt the story becoming predictable, a new revelation would catch me by surprise. I also could not predict how it would all end, which was refreshing.
Some of the down sides to this drama, to me, was the laughably bad english (so distracting), Yoon's terrible singing (also distracting, since he was supposed to be a pop idol), and showing way too many flashbacks. Later episodes seemed to rely on flashbacks to fill up the time. Some scenes were repeated so often that I no longer needed subtitles to understand them. Still, I never felt like dropping this drama after becoming so invested in the characters, and what would happen to them.
I think the positives heavily outweigh the negatives. So Ji Sub alone would make me recommend it. The soundtrack was good, and included some random songs like Billy Joel's "The Stranger" (which was a perfect fit). I don't know if I can stand emotionally to rewatch the entire drama, but It's so good that I might.
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Most people will be skeptical that this drama deserves all the praise it will likely get, I know I would be. A common question has been, "Is it really that good?". Umm... YES. The answer is YES, in ALLCAPS.
Let's start at the beginning, which most people call slow, but I was completely fascinated from the very first scene. I had a friend who was a sound editor, and I always thought the job was so fascinating, but I love the way they weave that element in throughout the show. I think it's the attention to details like that that makes this drama stand out more than others. Add the psychic premonition/flash forward element to that, and I was hooked for sure. I just had to know what was going to happen next.
I think the writing was really extraordinary in how they married all the different genres together without ever totally losing it's charm. Watching it felt like being on a roller coaster. I liked the ebb and flow of the story... Some moments are cute, some intense, some are passionate, some are heartbreaking, then frustrating, then suddenly hilarious... In telling the story of a mature and truly complicated relationship, they never settle on sticking to one approach for too long. Some people who joined in for the romance may get annoyed during the depressing & frustrating parts, and those looking for suspense probably got bored during the extra romantic moments, but I was too invested in the story to ever be bored, and I knew the story would never stay on one type of moment for too long. I know that personally that "surfing" shirt kept haunting my dreams... One can criticize certain parts of the story for not being realistic, but being real is not my criteria for a great drama. In fact, the only other drama I could see myself giving perfect 10s to is Secret Garden, for most of the same reasons, and that is definitely not a drama that relies on being "real". All the authenticity this drama needs comes from the portrayal of the characters.
Seo Hyun Jin as Regular Oh Hae Yeong, and Eric Moon as Do Kyeong, are not the ideal dream couple on paper. They are emotionally damaged, dysfunctional, and certainly imperfect, but I fell in love with both characters as they fell in love with each other. Regular Oh Hae Yeong's vulnerability broke my heart, and yet inspired me. Do Kyeong's guarded personality was frustrating, and yet I was completely empathetic towards him. The banter in the beginning was fun, their chemistry is perfect, the intensity of their intimacy got me in the feels, and they have the best KDrama kisses EVER. Seriously... ever. No need to fear them touching lips together while standing awkwardly. Eric plays repressed so well, that you would never think that he had it in him. I definitely swooned several times. I am a romcom fam, and have a lot of favorite couples, but they definitely leaped their way to the top couples on my list.
Then there is the rest of the cast. If I could give higher than 10 to some of the supporting cast I would.
Regular Hae Young's parents are the best parents in dramaland... FACT. The family moments were equally touching and laugh out loud funny. Kim Mi Kyung is just so good, and Lee Han Wi balanced her out perfectly. Any scene with them in it was automatically a good one.
The rest of the supporting cast were all 10s, or close enough, and there are way too many too mention, but shout out to the bromancemobile!
Jeon Hye Bin, and Lee Jae Yoon didn't have to rest of being attractive. They each had complicated characters who had me rooting against them while totally feeling sorry for them. I admit that I HATED Pretty Oh Hae Young, but that's because she played her part so well. Tae Jin was much more sympathetic, but both of them made the complicated love dilemma work well.
Kim Ji Suk, Heo Jeong Min, and Heo Young Ji all had very fun & memorable characters, but the true MVP of this whole drama to me is Ye Ji Won. She is my power animal! I had no idea, in her first scenes, how much I would end up adoring her character. Even If the story sucked, and the rest of the cast sucked, I would still be glued to the screen waiting to see what kind of shenanigans she would do next. I don't want to even slightly spoil any of her moments, because the surprise randomness of it is what makes it comic genius. I need to stalk her in something else. If you know of any dramas where she is particularly awesome, please let me know!
I already mentioned rewatch value, but just to be clear, I am tempted to rewatch the whole thing right now. I'll try to wait longer before I watch it again, but I will, without a doubt, be watching it all again... and again.
The music is now my one of my favorite OSTs. I listen to certain songs over and over and never get tired. What Is Love is too cute, and I love that Seo Hyun Jin is singing! Ben's Like a Dream started playing in a store and had me singing along like I know the words... no, I do not speak Korean, much less sing in Korean. Maybe I by Roy Kim is like musical crack. Needless to say, the OST is really good.
Overall, I don't know what I am going to do with my Mondays & Tuesdays now that it's over. I rarely watch on air dramas, but I am so glad I watched this one. I think it was worth it from beginning to end, and yes I did like the ending, but I won't say too much about it other than that I thought it was... in it's own way... perfect ; )
So yes I recommend it very highly. I think a romcom hater, or a melodrama hater, or a suspense hater could all agree that there is surprisingly a little something for everyone. I also loved the message at the end.
Now excuse me while I make some room for this drama, and it's cast on my favorites lists.
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I will start with the leads, who are of course major, and a great match. Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji Hyun are awesome to watch together. They look great, they play off of each other well, their chemistry was great at first, then just ok, but they still did not disappoint me. The supporting cast was also great! Heo Joon Jae's partners in crime were a great non traditional bromance. I loved Shim Chung's random friends as well, especially cute but wise Seo Yoon Ah (played by the impressive young actress Shin Rin Ah from "Marriage Contract"). It even had some good villains (which I won't spoil), and an awesome cameo (that was a really nice surprise). So, why didn't i love this show as much as I should have? The plot is very VERY mediocre.
The concept is great, especially in the beginning. It's The Little Mermaid, mixed with Splash, with some thriller elements thrown in. Legend is mainly a romance, but there are some action thriller moments, and there is definitely comedy too. The story, I think, tried to do too much and became more convoluted, and less interesting. There are flashes into the past that are meant to make me care more about the plot, but I just became annoyed because to me it was all so predictable, and repetitive. I wasn't exactly bored by the plot however. I still enjoyed watching because the cast made it entertaining, but the story just felt like it was dragging along at times. Eventually the mystery thriller story resolved, and what aimed to be an emotional love story didn't make me tear up once. Suddenly all that great chemistry turned into two stars doing what's expected, and was more flirting than substance, and tears without emotion.It did have a decent final episode to tie up the loose ends, which i appreciated, but didn't love.
What about the soundtrack? It was too cheesy and literal for me. I'd rather have the music be good, or forgetful, but this OST was a little distracting.
Overall this is a decent romance, with a cool mermaid twist. It reminded me of "My Girlfriend is a Gumiho", and if really you like that drama you may see some parallels too, and at least be entertained. I did love the mermaid look, and its definitely worth mentioning that the mermaid scenes look really cool. So if you are in the mood for a fairytale style romance, I think this is worth watching, but it's probably not one you will stay up all night marathoning through. Honestly, I will probably forget this drama after a while (the only way I would rewatch this), and 20 episodes were too long, but I am still glad I watched.
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The Last Scandal is a sweet twist on the Cinderella story, that never came across as super corny. It's a familiar story of a struggling, stubborn, female lead, and a spoiled, rich, male lead, but with mature actors. Choi Jin Shil and Jung Joon Ho had such amazing chemistry, and I loved watching their relationship develop. There were so many cute, rewatchable, moments between the two of them, and times when Jung Joon Ho literally made me lol. There were also quite a few moments where I broke into tears. Aside from the main theme of reconnecting with a first love, theres also a great theme around what makes a family. This drama really has a good balance beween light, fun moments, and emotional, touching moments.
The entire cast is great, including the 2 younger actors. Jung Woong was particularly good, playing such a reserved character, but I think he had some of the most touching moments in the drama. In contrast, Kim Byung Se had some of the weakest moments in the drama. I think he played his part well, but his character's actions sometimes seemed too unbelievable to me. Byun Jung Soo was good, and was cast so perfectly that her character's secret is almost instantly given away. Jung Joon Ho is really fun to watch, and his struggle between his persona and his true identity seemed really genuine. I really can't think of any weak cast members.
The true star of this drama, Choi Jin Shil, was so impressive. I am relatively new to dramas, so I had no idea who she was, or what happened to her, when I started watching Last Scandal. I loved rooting for her character's happy ending, and It was about halfway through I learned about her tragic story. It was hard to watch without keeping that in mind, but her performance was so good that I could keep rooting for Sunny. I will definitely check out some of her other dramas.
There's a reason why Cinderella stories are to popular, and this drama is a perfect example of why that is. The mature Cinderella (or 'Joomarella') story is enough to make me watch this drama again. This drama also has a good ending, that gives each character the closure they deserve, and I don't consider it a spoiler to say that those looking for a fairytale ending won't be disappointed. I definitely recommend this one.
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You should be warned that this is a full on RomCom, so if you're not interested in romance this is definitely the wrong drama for you. If you are a romance fan, even a slight romance fan, then this is a must see! Not because of the story, which follows the standard kdrama romance formula, but what sets this romance apart is the chemistry between the two leads, and that is 100% due to the breakout lead performance of Ryu Joon Yeol as Je Su Ho. He is perfectly cast, and PERFECT is not an exaggeration. I think the first two episodes are boring because they focus on introducing the plot, and on Shim Bo Nui being weird, but as soon as we get to see more of Su Ho the show became instantly addictive.
Hwang Jung Eum has lucked out with many great pairings, but this one is my new favorite. She relies on her usual perky personality, which can be annoying, but it really fit the quirkiness of this character well. I also liked that even though the character was kooky, and irrational, she was also smart, and not just a doormat. Bo Nui is desperate, and self destructive, without losing her charm, which makes her extremely complicated. They both nailed the balance between silly humor and more emotional scenes. They also looked good together, even with her HORRIBLE outfits (I still don't understand the hospital gown couture). My only complaint about the pairing is their kissing scenes... UGH! Joon Yeol gives everything to those moments, including his beautiful lips, and she just presses her lips to his with no effort. It pisses me off too much not to mention it.
The rest of the cast is also amazing. Gary Choi is a great 2nd lead character. I like his dynamic with the leads, and that he's not a villain-type. I've never seen Lee Soo Hyuk in a drama before, so I wasn't initially impressed, but he grew on me quickly. Amy's character was not as likable, but I still think Lee Chung Ah did a great job. The office team is full of great smaller characters, with their own cute little stories (I loved the office bet moments), but the supporting character MVPs are BFFs Dal Nim and Ryang Ha. They really were hilariously cute together, as well as perfect support for the leads. Some of my favorite moments in the show are their banter. They are the perfect comedy relief when the rest of the story gets less humorous too. I really don't think there are any weak acting links in the cast, and it's the cast that drives this show. I am annoyed by the lack of development for Jung In Ki's role, but that has nothing to do with his acting, which I think was spot on, that's the writer's fault.
That leads me to this dramas biggest weakness, and that's the story. Not only is the premise ridiculous, but how it's handled left many questions unanswered. I think that's part of the charm of the story, not having everything defined as 0's and 1's (a major reoccurring theme), but it is also frustrating. Then there are other storylines that are introduced... a missing father... the chicken guy... disgruntled ex employees... but those stories just aren't ever as interesting as the main love story. Even the game development story is only slightly intriguing, and just another brilliant means for them to interact. So I thought the story was pretty average, but I was still a fan of the writing. What I thought the writer did well were actually what the characters said, or how they interacted with each other. Ju Ho has some brilliant moments, and unless he was totally created through improv, the writer deserves credit for making one of my favorite drama characters EVER.
The music got better. I wasn't initially a fan, but I started liking some of the later songs more. What I really love is how they incorporated the song "Sad Fate" into the story. I thought that was very well done.
Now for the real reason behind me giving this drama a 10, and thats the rewatch value. Of course I gave this a 10 for rewatch value, because I am already rewatching, and I'm already up to episode 7 o.O!!! I've never done that with a drama ever!
So overall, this drama may not be perfect, but Ryu Joon Yeol was perfect, and that earns this drama a 10 score from me. I can't believe he's only been in two dramas!!! Obviously I now have to watch Reply 1988! I know that the next drama he's in will probably have me doing a countdown 'till the first episode.
If you're reluctant to watch, just please remember not to judge this drama by it's first couple of episodes. Once this show gets on a roll it is continuously charming until the very end. There are also some great themes about love, life, and "fate" in it that I appreciate. Oh, and I truly appreciate my new ideal kdrama namja chingu... RJY. I have a feeling I'm not alone in feeling that way!
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My major frustration is with the three leads. I loved them as a trio. Those moments were my favorite in the show for sure, and their friendship was also the source of many of the emotions I felt while watching. Still, from the very beginning the show is set up as a love triangle, and that's the part where I think this drama falls short. I'll give it credit for not being cliché, but it still didn't really work for me.
The story centers around Im Shi Wan as Wang Won. It's Won's story, so it makes sense that he was the character I liked the most. I thought Shi Wan did a great job in all aspects. He was funny, he was clever, he was stubborn, he was impulsive... and I enjoyed watching his character navigate all of the palace drama without being passive. I think he did an awesome job.
Hong Jong Hyun plays Wang Rin, his partner in bromance. Rin is the straight man, to Won's uninhibited personality, and their dynamic is awesome. I loved that we get to see the start of their friendship too. The show really explores the deepness of their friendship in a way that got me in the feels from the very beginning. It gets very complex, but their love throughout it all is the strongest story in the drama.
Then lastly there is Im Yoon Ah as Eun San. I loved her character in some ways, but she was also the reason for most of my frustration. When she was being brave, impetuous, and independent, I loved her, and her camaraderie with the guys. However, when the obligatory love triangle comes into play, she spends far too much time looking like a deer in headlights. I won't speak too much about specifics, because which guy you root for is mostly about preference, but it really bothers me that by the end all the romance was still questionable. I thought maybe it was the writing, but I honestly think it's that she had trouble pulling off the romantic parts of the story. I've seen better actresses, Ha Ji Won for example, pull complicated love stories off, but I think where Yoona shined in action, comedy, and even some emotional scenes, she left much to be desired in the romance department. Cute moments with Won worked, because their banter was funny, but anything involving serious romance fell flat. I don't think she was bad, but I do think the role was a little out of her league in that respect.
The rest of the cast was good. I loved Jang Young Nam and Oh Min Suk the most out of the supporting cast (both so good at being bad), but there were a lot of great performances. A few characters made no sense to me, but that wasn't the actor's fault, just weird writing. There are a lot of duplicitous characters to keep the story interesting. If you like ancient Joseon political drama, this story definitely has a lot of that to enjoy. If you're not a fan, you will probably get bored about halfway through.
To be clear, this show is 40 episodes, but the episodes are 30 minutes, so really it's like watching a standard 20 episode drama. I thought the show started strong, and ended strong, but somewhere in the middle I began to stop caring. Still, for some reason I just couldn't quit watching. I think that's because of curiosity, and probably because I became attached to the characters, even when the shows seemed to drag. In those times it helped that the episodes were shorter than usual.
Would I watch this again? I'm torn. If I did I would probably be tempted to skip too many scenes. There were a lot of great moments, and like the characters reminiscing, I would probably enjoy revisiting those moments again. Maybe it will feel different watching while knowing how it will all play out, but I think my main frustrations would remain.
Overall, this is a good drama for sageuk fans who want a different kind of story. It is more bittersweet than completely tragic, and there are comedic moments too to add some balance. I think it's far from perfect, and gets messy in the middle, but it all ties together for a touching ending that made me boohoo cry, and smile through my tears. I never heard of the novel before watching, so I am curious what fans of the book thought. It's not the best or worst sageuk around, but if you're in the mood for something a little less typical, this may be exactly the kind of drama you are looking for.
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Kim Sun Ah made Kim Sam Soon one of my favorite K-Drama leads ever! Sam Soon is loud, stubborn, charming, emotional, unfiltered, and absolutely hilarious. She was equal parts frustrating, & inspiring to watch. She's not the usual passive female lead, and I loved watching her take charge of a situation. She is matched up with Hyun Bin as Hyun Jin Hun, who walks the line between arrogance & charm so expertly well. At first I didn't recognize him, because he looks so different in this compared to Secret Garden, but his performance in this reminded me of all the things I loved about him in that drama. Together, their chemistry made them a rom-com dream team. The fact that they didn't fit seamlessly together, and that they were not always good to each other, made their relationship feel more honest. I think they were the perfect blend between discord, and harmony. I could literally watch them go at it all day... in fact, that's exactly what i did. lol.
The lead performances were a clear 10 for me, and every minor character in the supporting cast was also really great, but I feel like I have to deduct at least 1 point for the 2 supporting leads. It's clear that Daniel Henney's purpose in this drama was to be eye candy. Most of his scenes involve him smiling at people while they teach him Korean language & culture. His acting was decent enough, but far from good. Jung Ryeo Won's performance was also underwhelming. As much as I loved to hate her character, there were also quite a few moments when I cringed through some of her acting scenes (in both languages). It was initially jarring to hear so much english spoken in scenes, with actual fluent speakers, but it made their acting inexperience much more obvious to me. The only moments of boredom I felt during this drama was when these two were the focus.
I admit that the plot wasn't exactly original, but it wasn't typical either. The love stories in this drama are far less innocent than the k-drama norm, which was nice to see. There were many great rewatchable rom-com moments between Hyun Bin & Kim Sun Ah, and they share one of the best kiss scenes that I've seen in a drama.
Music also plays a key element in the story, which I liked, but I wasn't particularly impressed with the soundtrack.
Overall, It's lol hilarious, yet emotionally realistic. Even when the tone of the drama began to change, It never lost it's momentum. I continued to be excited about watching each episode, and I enjoyed every one till the very end. This drama could have easily ended with a pleasingly cheesy conclusion, but instead the ending was simple, and inspiring.
I think all rom-com fans should have this on their "to watch" list. Forgive the old school phones, and the ugly clothes, and I think this stands up against any current drama. I agree that "My Name is Kim Sam Soon" is one of the best dramas that I've seen, classic or not. I can see myself easily watching this drama again, & again... while eating a lot of pastries, of course : )
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The plot takes the idea of long distance romance to the extreme. It's written so well that the fantastic concept seems perfectly plausible. I loved how their shared moments were shown. The director did a great job of making sure the time difference never felt like a cheap gimmick. The movie is also visually stunning, especially the house itself ("il mare") which I absolutely loved. This movie is not fast paced, nor does it have cute moments full of chemistry/sexual tension. Instead, it's about watching two people become close although they can't be together. Showing that connection is hard, but I think the movie pulls it off well.
The American remake of this film is "The Lake House" staring Keanu Reeves, & Sandra Bullock. I actually liked the remake as well, but one doesn't cancel the other out in my opinion. At the very least, the korean house is MUCH cooler!
I think the key to this story's appeal is the question of whether or not they will ever meet in the future, and have a true romantic relationship. Once that mystery was resolved, rewatching was a little less exciting, but It is still very interesting to watch the story unfold while knowing the outcome. If possible, avoid reading the synopsis, which gives way too much of the story away. I also wouldn't be concerned with how old this movie is. Like the relationship between Eun Ju & Sung Hyun, this movie is timeless.
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The main issue? There was zero romantic chemistry between any of the four lead characters. There seemed to be lots of sexual tension in the earlier episodes, but once it was time for more romantic scenes, they just fell flat. I understand that Yoon So Yi & Jae Hee were both playing socially awkward characters, but that doesn't mean that their relationship should come across as stiff. Yoon So Yi never showed any emotion, and it's hard to root for a emotionally repressed romantic lead. Jae Hee relied too much on making cute Johnny Depp-like faces, which often made me not take him seriously.
The rivals were often more interesting than the main leads. Lee Soo Kyung did a good job of playing a competitive rival, but I still never felt like she had any genuine feelings, just a bruised ego. She did play selfish perfectly, and I hated her character because of it. Shim Ji Ho was the only cast member who made me feel anything close to real emotion. I fell for the longing looks Kang Chan Jin would give to So-Ra. I wanted him to win the girl simply because he was the best actor of the bunch. Sometimes it felt like he was in a romantic drama all by himself. He definitely held the romantic part of the story together.
I think this drama didn't know how to find the right balance between romantic comedy, and office drama. The workers at L'aura were fun to watch, but they eventually took up way too much focus. I soon felt like I was watching the Korean version of "Ugly Betty". Jun Soo Kyung role was so cliché, and her scheming soon took over the whole show. All the romance was soon reduced to misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and stubborn characters making frustrating choices. The only redeeming original moments were with Park Sang Myun. I loved the randomness of his all knowing character. All the rest has been done before, and much better.
I reserved the highest marks for the music. No matter how bored I became, the music started to become a pep talk that kept me watching. I wish I could blame it all on waiting for translated subs, but If I had watched it marathon style I would have been tempted to skip through a lot of it. I might rewatch some of the cute earlier scenes again, but I wouldn't ever make it through all 20 episodes again.
My main goal for even finishing this was to see who So-Ra ends up with. The end is anticlimactic, and it fails at giving the grand romantic conclusion it was aiming for. I'd recommend asking someone, if you're curious, rather than sitting through the frustrating last two episodes. Then again, I would recommend skipping the whole thing.
This review is long, I know, but after sticking with this drama for so long I had to vent! : )
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