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I went into this, not knowing what to expect. There are many sageuks that sound promising but disappoint you utterly. And then there are those who start slow but grow to be one of your dearest gems. Rebel definitely belongs to the latter. (At this point I also have to admit that I still haven't watched Six Flying Dragons. But I will definitely catch up with that one soon.)
Many people know of the story about Hong Gil Dong and there's already another drama addressing this character. But I had no idea. That's why it's even more funny that while I was watching this, it constantly reminded me of Robin Hood. Thanks to my comparison someone told me that it's indeed based on that legend - or rather it's basically the Korean version.
So, why did I like this drama so much?
1. First of all the story combined with its characters.
I always have to mention that together because one part doesn't work without the other. I do think the story is pure gold. Well, nothing new, of course, but the way it's written and the way its characters are acting and growing, left me speechless so many times while following every new turn of events. What I also really loved was that you will never be left in too much agony. Of course, this drama has its sad, its heartbreaking moments, too. But despite their misery, I never felt uncomfortable or frustrated about it. Why? Because every event had its reasoning. It was such a well thought-out net of actions and inevitable consequences that made me unable to be angry at somebody or something. I did hate a bunch of people, but the writing managed to make even those bastards palpable and well-founded. The best part though was the close follow-up of injustice and justice. You might feel angry at some point but right the next minute you feel relieved and satisfied. It's rewarding (for you and its characters equally).
2. Camera. The way it was shot. Cinematography.
There are so many beautiful scenes, not only of the people but also of landscapes and important scenes that just underline the impression of each and every moment.
3. Love for details.
That's one point I cherish deeply because many dramas don't care about those things. If I find a show that does, it immediately rises alot in my favor. Rebel does those beautiful details. And what I'm talking about are not those things that are pointed out by the camera to be sure the viewers get the meaning. No, I'm talking about those things that are not pointed out and that you only notice if you pay enough attention to the story.
Magnificent through and through. From leads to supports to guest appearances. The first one to mention here is Kim Sang Joong. His portrayal of Ah Mo Gae is perfection. You see him loyal, you see him weak, you see him angry, you see him desperate and you see him loving. And! You see him strong and determined, rising from the bottom. He's smart, he knows how to talk to the people and be a leader. KSJ's Ah Mo Gae paves a large path for this drama and is the first step to be sucked into this story and not being able to leave again.
After him, of course, Yoon Gyun Sang who plays Hong Gil Dong. As I said before I haven't watched SFD yet, so I didn't know what his acting is like. But man, this guy can act! It is such a pleasure to see a well written character and an actor who can pull off such a role. Showing the character's different stages, his struggles and growing of mind. What amazed me the most was how he was able to make me believe that Hong Gil Dong is indeed Ah Mo Gae's son. There's this special thing he does with his voice (again one of those details)... The way he starts talking after awhile - like father like son.
Kim Ji Suk. Maybe his best role so far. Playing such a complex character as the king and doing such a stunning job with that task, is definitely something not everybody can manage.
Shim Hee Seop aka Gil Dong's hyung. The hidden treasure and such a surprise. Haven't seen him before but he nailed this performance. Never loved a side character more.
Chae Soo Bin, Lee Ha Nui... Two great actresses playing two completely different yet marvelous women. I don't want to let out any actor/actress, but it would be too boring to list them all. I still have to mention how visible their efforts were and how they added to a more perfect overall picture.
5. The romance.
Slowly, slowly................................. and then deeply satisfying and vigorous.
Isn't it rewarding to watch something interesting and then the music starts and within seconds captures you and never lets you go again? Rebel has such a haunting score and soundtrack. It fits in every scene, strengthens or lessens every respective moment and mood.
If you want to enjoy a well written drama with outstanding actors and characters, you should definitely go for this one. Highly recommended.
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And in the end when you reach its final piece, you start to really appreciate every single item. Although each of them has their own shape and characteristics, you notice that special bond that connects every part, smoothly like a cogwheel. And when you put it back together afterwards, it matches perfectly again.
That's how I experienced Chicago Typewriter. I was sold from the first minute. The start was slow and the show takes its time to tell its story. But I never even once complained about the pace. I enjoyed every second of it. Why? Because I simply savored every interaction with the characters. It felt like they took me along on their journey.
The people in this drama - and yes, I call them people because they felt real to me, no matter how estranged they appeared sometimes - will grow on you, especially the female lead. She's one wonderful fangirl many of us can relate to. Being obsessed with her crush in a totally unharmful and charming way, you can't help yourself but root for her. And who wouldn't take the chance and meet his/her crush when an opportunity arises out of the blue? Even if that means to maybe get disappointed by that one person you dedicated your life to. Even if that means you maybe should decide about ending that long-lasting one-sided relationship. So, hands down for the first honorable mention in this cast: Im Soo Jung. An endearing actress who not only impersonates our everyday fangirl but also a devoted freedom fighter per se.
And who is the counterpart to every fan? Of course, the star. That ray of light we see whenever we feel down. Those people who have all the rumors floating around them. Charming on the outside and... either exactly the way we imagine them to be or shockingly different. Being a nationwide renowned bestseller author in the present (and a seemingly resigned writer in his past life), Han Se Ju is certainly one interesting figure. Reserved towards strangers, with a proud and confident demeanor, he might appear paranoid, rude and self-centered. But he learns to change his ways and views, and certainly grows with time. Yoo Ah In is one brilliant actor whose magnificent performance impressed me deeply.
Finally, the third to be in league and a must to be mentioned here. Go Gyeong Pyo. He plays the handsome and classy Yoo Jin Oh who stirs up the daily lives of our other two leads. His appearance triggers a chain of unforeseen events that will certainly change everyone's path. Without telling too much, Go Gyeong Pyo clearly nailed this role.
These three are telling a story about fateful friendship and love in desperate times, that will eventually engrave its signature into your heart. Their tale has "passion" written all over its face. Passionate love, passionate friendship and the passionate desire for your people's freedom. It's captivating in every point, once you let your guard down and allow yourself to be swallowed by its mysteries. Emotions are raw and daring, and an important pillar for its partakers. It's like fire, burning hot and dangerous. And the leads are doing a phenomenal job on conveying that driving emotion.
The mystery surrounding this drama may not be completely new, but still be a rare kind in its execution through neat hints that will be revealed step by step. Starting with visually beautiful scenes, the drama takes a constant pace with a fluent transition between the past and present story. This helps building up the layer-by-layer suspense which ultimately vents into a poignant finale. On a side note, you have of course your usual suspects as well, your lovely sidekicks who add some fun and comedy to the story. And you have that villain that you will hate with utter disgust.
And before I will conclude my review, let me tell you that once you got to listen to Chicago Typewriter's haunting soundtrack, you won't be able to turn back. It's like the icing on the cake and you'll be lost for good.
Don't hesitate to watch this mesmerizing gem. Let yourself be swayed, and take on this incredible journey with an exceptional love for details in every aspect. Even though you might not end up with a 10 like me, because you perhaps find some things only normal or average along the road, it's worth the watch nonetheless. In the end, I might sound a little biased but this one just hit all the right spots for me. It never let me or down or disappointed me.
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When I started this drama I wasn't even sure if I'll like it or not. I haven't seen anything with the leads except for Jo Yoon Hee (The King's Face) and therefore had to get used to the male ones. First impressions were good but not overwhelming, though interesting enough to keep watching.
And man, was I glad I continued this one!
What about the story... It's basically about a small negotiation team that doesn't have much recognition from the public and has to kinda prove its existence every single time something happens. But it wouldn't be a kdrama if there wasn't a bigger story behind it - the story of Pied Piper. And here is where the impressive part starts. It's not necessarily the story itself but the way it was delivered that makes it so worth-watching. Step by step revelations and each of them just makes you more curious. Add a very captivating and skillful cinematography and incredibly top-notch actors to it, then your dessert may be served.
Shin Ah Kyun and Yoo Joon Sang were at their best (their interacting was purely epic) and I'm not exaggerating here. Their characters were wholly shaped by the writers as well as their development and growth during the drama. Jo Yoon Hee tried her best, too, but in the end couldn't keep up with them completely. But she wasn't bad either, just sliding out of the light sometimes which was kinda sad, imo.
As for the cinematography. I don't even know how to describe it the right way. It's just the way how single scenes are put together, underlined with precisely accurate music. The beauty of it just leaves you speechless and shocked at the end of an episode.
My rating's not a whole ten but don't be bothered by it. I for myself did find some tiny flaws and couldn't overlook them - as well as for some cases the team had to take on. Sometimes, they just seemed to be a bit overdone.
I still think this drama is underrated. There's even a message delivered that you can pick up - or not.
So, let me give you an advice: If you have some free time and are in need of a really good crime drama, start this one. It's worth its 16 hours.
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So, what's this drama basically about... Love, revenge, adventure, action, drama. Park Yoon Kang, son of the head of the palace guard becomes a criminal after his dead father was falsely accused of high treason. Common plot in sageuks. He swears to take revenge on everybody who was involved in those conspiratorial accusations. And how is he doing that? He's taking on the new identity of a Japanese merchant.
Although the main story is nothing new, the way it was developing was quite interesting and kept me glued to the screen. One misfortune chasing another, and every time something good happened, at the same time a subtle ominous feeling was coming along. I was never able to relax because it seemed like the bad guys were always one step ahead which drove me crazy to a point that I wasn't even able to concentrate at my work.
What I liked about this drama were those well-defined, multi-faceted characters. Watching their development - for better or worse - was really interesting and sometimes shocking at the same time. You grew to like someone, understood him or her... and suddenly everything changes and you just get disappointed in that person. Or you discover a new side of somebody you didn't like at the beginning but can now relate to him/her a little more. If I remember correctly, the only character that stayed true to himself till the end was the main lead. And as we have Lee Joon Ki here, he delivered his role perfectly and didn't disappoint one bit. He just got even better during the drama.
I also and especially liked a particular bond between one bad guy and his daughter. Although I don't pardon everything they did, I'm still able to acknowledge the suffering that drove them. The only thing I really missed was the daughter's inner conflict caused by her lost love and the decision she made afterwards. I would have liked it more if they had made her look more torn by her actions in the second half of the drama.
But the romance part was sometimes lacking anyway. I was not always convinced by it as there were just too few scenes that got me emotionally. Most times it was solid but it didn't get me completely.
What also bothered me were those obvious moments where you just think "Wtf?! Keep a straight face if you're going to spy!" or "Stay at your hideout if you're one against hundred!". Minor issues but they kept popping up towards the end. Maybe I'm too stubborn on this as it is a general issue in k-dramas. So, don't mind me ;)
Nevertheless, something I enjoyed wholeheartedly were those awesome fighting scenes. Seriously, just perfect. I wish they had added more of those because it was highly entertaining to see Park Yoon Kang (Lee Joon Ki) fight off the bad guys. That alone should be a reason to watch the drama.
So, despite my small criticism on some points, Joseon Gunman is still a highly recommended drama in my eyes. If you wanna watch an adventurous historical drama, this one will quite satisfy you.
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There are so many things that I love about this story. First of all is the idea in itself. They did a pretty good job with explaining the visions, making them convincing without making it look too much out of space. With the same pace Do Kyung was getting an idea of what was actually happening to him, it made me understand it step by step, too.
The way the romance was emerging. From the original setup to the new one. Well explained and real. I got a pretty good feel of how deep their emotions were growing and I liked the idea of "fate" here. I loved how that whole relationship was developing, even though they sometimes seemed a little foolish. But that's what love actually is, right? Acting against all logic and not getting bothered about other people's opinions. What makes you really happy and how do you want to spend that one life you got?
I was dying with pleasure seeing all that skinship. It felt comfortable and real and made me very, very happy. When it seemed like their pent up emotions were finally exploding, I felt the same. I'm a sucker for hugs and here are so many tight embraces that I wish I had someone near me who would hug me just at the same time, lol. And their kisses... Don't get me started with those. All these things are one big part of what made this romance so intense and beautiful.
The acting was very impressive. Eric blew me away. His character drew me in to a point where I couldn't stop but root for him all the way, no matter what he did. I saw his remorse, I felt his misery and I enjoyed his approach to slowly change himself and become happy, no matter the outcome. Same goes for Seo Hyun Jin. Her despair, her hunger for love and her feeling of betrayal of life itself were crushingly unfeigned.
There is some really strong writing in this drama. Some dialogues had a big impact on me and made my heart flutter all of a sudden so many times. The story did a pretty good job at riling up my emotions in every way possible.
I also loved the side stories. Interesting characters even though some of them were a little exaggerated. I enjoyed them nevertheless. Do Kyung's sister was one hell of a person. Her on/ff modes were hilarious but what I loved the most was that no matter what, she stuck to her family, supporting them in her own way whether blood-related or not and was always like a guardian. I also loved Hae Young's parents. Although her mother was really, REALLY stubborn towards the end, I enjoyed the time when she was silently giving in, showing that she truly loved her daughter and wanted her to be happy.
About the two second leads here...
Well, I didn't really care for their stories while watching the drama. Now, at the end... Well, of course they had their reasons for behaving the way they did. The other Oh Hay Young... as the story went on, her character became more palpable and explained some things, but it didn't change the fact that I couldn't care less. She had her chance, she blew it. End of story. Han Tae Jin... same goes for him and on top of that he was a petty loser. He couldn't accept the facts, acting all childish, throwing one tantrum after another. Do Kyung and him both did wrong. But at the point where Do Kyung realized his mistake, Tae Jin blamed others and continued his raving, staying blinded by his anger.
The ones I disliked till the end were Do Kyung's mom and Chairman Jang. No further explaining. Just stating that fact.
If there's one thing to complain about, it would be the dragging in the middle and until ep 16. I know that every scene and every moment were important for the story and can't be considered fillers. But I still think that they could have made some things a little shorter and not putting me in such agony >.< (although it makes you wonder if I would have gotten riled up about it with the same intensity, if they HAD made it shorter, right? Haha...)
In the end a very, very enjoyable roller-coaster with many memorial moments. Lots of emotions, lots of ups and downs and very satisfying in the end.
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The story evolves around this guy that can see ghosts and even touch them - therefore also fight them as they continue to bother him through his daily life. There then he meets this female student ghost who gets on bad terms with him, but in the end ends up fighting other ghosts together with him.
Most times the story is held lighthearted, although the ghosts appear to be really scary sometimes - remember the movie "The Grudge"? You'll certainly encounter some of those while watching the drama. But in the end every one of their unique stories seem rather pitiable or just sad than frightening and sometimes have a deeper meaning to it.
The acting was solid, convincing and also charming at some points. The fights were really good, enjoyable and even funny. They did a pretty good job on those. Also, CGI effects thumbs up. Quite the sight here. So, when it came to those dramatic scenes, they pulled those off really well.
When it comes to the final, be prepared. Suspense, intensity, thrill... you'll get everything. The whole story isn't stalling one bit but has a smooth flow and the way the mystery surrounding the leads is unraveling only bit by bit, keeps the tension.
So, like I said in the beginning: Recommended if you look for something like "The Master's Sun" or "Oh My Ghost". Have fun watching it if you haven't done it already ;)
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The story surrounds a guy who is part of a secret government organization that employs so called ghost agents. Professional fighters/warriors (or whatever you may call it - agents) who get on secret missions around the world and are not allowed to have any deep feelings or connections with other people since that would compromise their work. These ghost agents here are the very cliché of every spy agent you can possibly think of.
The story starts to evolve in that direction. Agent K (Park Hae Jin) takes on a mission and unexpectedly starts to develop real feelings for a woman he has to con along the way.
I can stick with all kinds of dramas, even with the bad ones if they make me curious enough to want to watch the next episode, because that is one grave reason for me to either enjoy or be disappointed with a show. Even if a story makes me pull out my hair because the protagonists are acting all nonsensical. Yeah, I'm that kind of a shallow person. I can handle trashy dramas as well as cheesy ones - if they don't take it too far but entertain me.
So, the worst thing that can actually happen to a drama and that makes me lose interest throughout the whole way, is when it becomes plain boring. Sadly, Man to Man was exactly that for me. There's nothing special about it. It feels like one of the biggest cliché-heavy mainstream action spy dramas I've ever seen, and it gives off the feel that the producers wanted to reach as many viewers as possible, what is eventually the main reason why it failed to impress me at all. The (seemingly hidden) spark didn't reach me.
I didn't expect much when I began watching it, but I would have never expected it to be like that. I'm sincerely sorry to say this and I feel bad for the high-level cast but I was extremely disappointed with many things - not everything. There was also something that kept me going and therefore made me complete it, so don't be too frustrated with my opinion.
One thing that wasn't able to... touch me was the romance. Don't hit me. It was just suddenly there somewhere along the line. I never understood why K fell in love with this particular woman and not all the other ones he used for his previous missions. They had their cute moments, I admit that and I enjoyed them to a certain point. But it never made me excited.
Many people were annoyed by the female lead in the beginning but started to like her later on. For me it was the other way around. I liked her in the first episodes but as the story went further, she became a bothersome side character whose behavior annoyed me at times. Kim Min Jung had a strange way of portraying her role, especially the way she spoke. Though I admit that there were also some few scenes where I could empathize with her, for example during the more serious moments and/or when she got hurt. But the overall view of her character was plain and without any depth, and there was no character development whatsoever. And that was actually the problem with most of the characters. Superficial stereotypes who never stood out or made their appearance memorable.
The other thing and probably the biggest flaw in my eyes was the spy story, and partly at fault are eventually its characters who never made me invested enough in their circumstances to even be thrilled by their next move. The execution of the overall story, the hidden wheel in the background, the step by step revelations... everything had a choppy feel to it. It failed to build up the right amount of suspense to make me excited enough about its secretive picture.
I rarely drop dramas, seriously. I want to watch the whole thing when I start something. So, if there is even ONE thing that got my attention, I'll see it through. Man to Man does have some good parts to it, too.
First of all would be the villain. Yeon Jung Hoon. I was so happy to finally see him again after such a long time and he didn't disappoint me. His performance was great in every aspect and to the smallest details. Whenever he appeared, my attention level rose to new heights. He was calm, smart and cocky. He played one greedy bastard but he also felt human in some ways. He was playing his role with such passion that he made me root for him all the way. And his story even had a satisfying wrap up.
The other thing that I enjoyed alot was the bromance. They managed to pull off that part quite well, although I wasn't always completely pleased with it because it lacked screen-time. I would have loved to see more interactions between all those guys and the bonds they had developed over time. Of course all their hilarious moments together were priceless and filled me up with joy. So, when it comes to this I definitely need to mention Park Sung Woong. I was looking forward to his appearance in this show and he never let me down. He was the epitome of bromance and needs special appreciation next to Yeon Jung Hoon.
I was also quite attached to Jung Man Shik's and Tae In Ho's characters here, and I think I need to include this to show that I did like some things.
Park Hae Jin is a special case in this drama. I'm not saying he was bad. He definitely wasn't. His acting was good most times and I enjoyed it. His character-display was just a bit average. Honestly, I've seen way better performances of him in Cheese in the Trap and Bad Guys.
See? Not everything was bad. And I admit that they had some short-while thrilling scenes during the last episodes. I give them that.
Don't take my personal opinion to heart. I know that many people enjoyed this, so it's a controversial issue in the end. But maybe there are some others who agree with me ;) Would I recommend it? Honestly, I have no idea. I would probably prefer other dramas over this.
Btw, my rating for the music... Well, it's not very high, I know. The drama had some nice songs but those themes that were played during the spy and action scenes were getting on my nerves at some point.
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So, to summon it up, this drama is flashy, cheesy, overly dramatic and sometimes seriously ridiculous. The synopsis for this show is quite scarce, so I'll try to describe some additional facts first.
The king rules over his country. That's how it should be. But in fact, he is only a puppet who is led by Pyunsoo Group, a large hidden organization that has its own trick to control the royal family quite well. The Crown Prince meanwhile has to wear a mask in order to hide his face because of an illness he got when he was born - at least that's what the people and the ministers believe. And because of Pyunsoo Group he is also forced to live outside the palace someday. There he meets Ga Eun who he will fall in love with.
The basic plot is actually quite interesting. That's why it's so sad that it doesn't live up to its potential in the end. It had a steady atmosphere what I liked about this drama, but every now and then it managed to drop one or two ridiculous bombs that were either created by some nonsensical decisions or resulted in some foolish actions.
There were alot of characters who had the potential to something big, but they never rose from their grounds. Same applies for the acting. Though I can't blame half of them because they got some crappy scripts for their roles, the other half of the cast was only average or worse.
As interesting as the beginning was, I never saw an actual improvement of the Crown Prince. He might have become a little smarter, that's all. Same goes for the female lead. At a certain point in the drama, she started to annoy me because so many bad things happened only because of her. It irritated me so much, that almost every decision centered around her. She was either bait or needed protection or whatever. I don't know where it went wrong but her role felt more like a burden than a blessing/support. I admit that I enjoyed some of her scenes with the Crown Prince though. But that's as far as it goes.
At some point I started to favor the second female lead more than the actual one. There was definitely growth in her character while she was one of the most conflicted persons in the story. And although I was skeptical regarding the actress at first, I'm glad that she pulled off her character so well that I even felt sad about her efforts being in vain - though on the other hand she did accomplish some of her wishes in the end.
There are only a few performances I truly enjoyed. The Queen Dowager, the second female lead's father, the female lead's father, Woo Bo (Lee Sun's teacher) and Dae Mok, the head of Pyunsoo Group. Their acting was shining compared to the rest. Yoo Seung Ho had his moments, too, and I enjoyed most of his scenes, but damn, he's one teary guy. His hair is beautiful though...
There is indeed an unhealthy amount of crying. Alot of it. And everyone seems to be a real crybaby, it spreads like a disease. Shedding tears during almost every serious moment.
Did I like something? The clothes, the cinematography, the MUSIC (that score was good~), impressive entrances (esp from Yoo Seung Ho, his royal demeanor was intriguing) and some really good fighting scenes.
Recommendation is debatable and this is definitely not a sageuk for everyone. It's quite predictable, with alot of stereotype characters and some questionable turn of events. Despite that I still felt entertained to a certain degree. There were many moments that kept my interest throughout the whole drama and I wanted to see the finale, even though I already knew how it would probably end~
And Yoo Seung Ho's hair was so beautiful... Did I already mentioned that? Damn, that dude is gorgeous.
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Overall this one is a lightweight sageuk residing in the comedy genre with a slice of sketchy corruption. That pretty much describes it all.
Tastes usually differ, especially with rom-coms and it always depends on what the viewers expect of it. Since this one also belongs to that genre, the drama delivered that part well enough if you want to enjoy something lighthearted (even though I myself didn't feel that much emotion between the leads because it felt rushed to me).
My complains about the story are that the corruption plot staggered alot in the middle and the story didn't seem to move forward at all - while the finale seemed very rushed again. The villains were shallow and only loosely defined. And I really wish that they had given the (current) queen more depth - I don't mean some excursion into the past that justifies her actions but more sides to her character in the present. She was so lopsided. I would have liked to see if she indeed genuinely cared for the prince, for example.
Other than that I enjoyed the side characters quite alot. They were essential for the comedy part and did a really good job. I also loved the costumes, the colors and the music in this. And they even had some really pretty and artistic scenes, especially in the beginning.
Despite my own divided impression on this, I would still recommend it to people who look for a lighthearted romance with a side plot that doesn't put them into much agony. If you still can't decide whether to watch it or not then try to imagine putting historical costumes on modern day people and throw them onto a sageuk stage. You have fancy cafés, a manicure salon and all the values people nowadays cherish.
(btw, I can't compare this to its original since I haven't seen that one)
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There is this thing with a 10 point rating. Some give it very easily, some almost never give 10 points. As for me, it's like this: If a drama is successfully absorbing me into its universe and everything just seems to be perfect to me, then it reached a point where it's worth receiving my whole dedication. It doesn't matter if others say, there are flaws in it, whether it's true or not. I just don't see them anymore as I am part of that new world where there are no 'story-faults' and such things.
Signal was successful in every matter.
First episode and it just pushes you right in the middle of the event. You get immediately drawn to the characters, the suspense and the story. You don't have time to take a deep breath, instead you completely hold it. And when you think it's over and you can take some minutes to rest, the next incident is already starting and you just get sucked in again. If you're lucky, you get some minutes to reminisce about and take in what just happened. But as the story continues, the suspense intensifies and breaks loose in a shocking finale.
They like to play with your emotions. Ups and downs, but most of all excitement and anxiousness. Plenty of. The acting was on point, it captivates you. There is this female cop you're dealing with. And there's the present version and a past version of her. They are completely different as the older version has matured and became stronger. You just see the growth. And there's this guy. You see him and you want to help him. You see his conviction and his struggle. You just want to be by his side, so he won't be the lonely hunter in a forest full of wolves. And then there's this boy. He's so full of himself and full of hate for others and the world. But he gets a chance and a view from another angle. And he takes it. And don't forget this villian. You don't know about him right away but you soon grow to hate him like no other. Extremely. Wholeheartedly.
Every minute, every scene, every moment. It just fits. It just gives you this special feeling about the story and its meaning. And then there's this nostalgic feeling to it. You can't even discribe it. It just takes you back in time and like you're reminiscing about your own past, it carries this wistful desire to actually go back, live again and maybe change something.
To get to know that many cases are real-time cases makes the drama even heavier and impacting. Sometimes you think writers create scary non-realistic monsters. But truth be told, our world, our reality creates the most fearsome monsters you just wouldn't believe them to exist among us.
Whether there is one or not. Everyone has to decide that for themselves. But the drama depicts some really interesting and worth thinking about questions. Most of all: What would you do if you could change the past?
Deserved 10 points.
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If the only thing that keeps you from watching this drama is the title, just ignore it. Give it a chance and you may be surprised by it. It's a story that tells about doctors who try to protect their ~romantic ideals and about doctors who yet have to come to their own ones as they grow with their difficult tasks day by day (and sometimes have to be pushed into the right direction). It's a story that shows what doctors can be like if society and power-ruling wouldn't interfere and darken single souls. Though this doesn't mean the drama is free from money-driven betrayals that go along with the main plot. It's still a k-drama thing.
Some of you may already know Han Seok Kyu and some of his works. If so, you might already belong to his fans. If not, this drama would be an excellent first try to get to know this wonderful, brilliant actor. His acting alone is worth a 10 and I have no doubt that he will also cast a spell over you - like he did with me some time ago.
His co-actors and co-actresses shouldn't be disregarded either. Though they might not yet reach the level of this acting senior, they did a very good job themselves in supporting the story. I liked many of the face to face dialogues as they gave special light to the respective characters and left quite the impact sometimes. But what I really loved and appreciated in this drama were all those small cases that happened all the time (and that helped keeping the pace and suspense of the story). Most times the guest actors were great with their short appearances and their stories really touched my heart. And I was pleased to see doctors deeply care for their patients in a way I imagine a doctor to be.
But although the drama itself was pretty good, I just had to take off a point. I got irritated every time an emergency occurred and they just stood there, arguing with themselves, arguing with others, having the whole staff watching them while nobody is actually working. I do get that doctors are humans, too, and they can have a bad day or feel bad or whatever. But the whole thing doesn't work when everyone plays along and nobody sees the actual emergency right in front of their eyes. A problem many medical dramas face and sadly, Romantic Doctor couldn't escape that cliché either. Although it's not as bad as I've already seen it in other dramas - this one is still bearable.
So, overall a great show worth watching - either you get bothered by the flaws mentioned above or you just ignore them. Your choice on missing out this wonderful drama or not ;)
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First of all, this is definitely one of the better crime investigation dramas out there and evidence that OCN can indeed produce great shows. I lost faith after Neighborhood Hero, but Missing Noir M was able to mend my shattered heart.
The acting was thoroughly awesome. Not only the leads who had great chemistry in a non-romantic way but also every single guest actor/actress who played important roles in each case. They were able to make me excited to a point where I couldn't stop watching while at the same time I was worried that I'd finish this drama too fast. It's unfortunately only 10 episodes but I could have watched 10 more of it. The cast delivered their emotions and messages so well, that I'm still stunned when I think about it. Though I didn't really cry, they still moved me to tears so many times. This was about interpersonal relationships which were put to proof under extreme circumstances. It's about justice and injustice, and about trust and suspicion.
What I loved so much here was how every case was built. Disclosing one secret always meant to find ~10 other secrets within that had to be solved in order to see the whole magnitude. Layer by layer and in the end the picture always looked completely different from what you had expected in the beginning.
Though I must say that I didn't enjoy the last case as much as the earlier ones. Maybe it's because I prefer psychological mind games over corruption cases. I know what they wanted to tell their viewers with that last one, but I still think that it didn't really fit well between those other mind-blowing puzzles. It seemed rather short and rushed and failed to properly explain its own story. It felt plain compared to the other cases.
There were also some loose ends, especially the reason why they even formed that special missing persons investigation team when they were so worried about opening Pandora's Box. It was quite well explained for the first case but for all the other ones, it remains a mystery to me.
Background music was, as I already mentioned some days ago, exceptional. So damn well composed, balanced and in sync that it managed to liven up every important moment to its full potential.
Rating 9/10 - Great ride and exciting watch ?
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The drama has a very good, fast pace throughout the whole story. There was a well woven net of deception and order of events that led to a well carried (but also kinda calm) finale, even though I still felt like being in the middle of the story at the beginning of the final episode. I could have watched so much more. Seriously.
Characters (played by a high level cast) were so well written, so multifaceted, so likable - some more, some less. There were bad guys who were bad and clever, good guys were good and clever, the police was actually police and seemed to get its job done properly while the power-division/struggle was evenly shared and well balanced. There was always the right amount of give and take and there was no one who would always have the upper hand.
Action scenes were also very well choreographed without looking excessive, but still emanating some coolness. The best thing about that part: Even though there were many fights with one guy versus many gangsters... They never made them look like superhumans with endless physical strength and stamina. Regarding the environment they grew up, they were of course well trained. But that never meant that they were able to take on a bunch of ruthless thugs and get away unscathed. They either got beaten pretty badly or were able to run away in the end. And that is way more realistic than everything else you so often see in other dramas.
Romance was... intense and hot but sometimes also on the short side. I mean I'm a fan of dramas where romantic scenes appear rather rarely. Because when they do happen they feel so much deeper. And I just wished that those rare scenes in this story would have been extended a little bit. Though I can't blame the writers either because there was so much to tell in this story since there were so many great characters, that it must have been difficult to pack everything in 20 episodes.
Jung Kyung Ho was fantastic in almost every aspect... Yes, you heard right. "Almost." :P And this is probably only a personal matter of taste. I'm not really a fan of those high pitched sounds when someone is crying. I mean... don't get me wrong, it totally fitted the moment and showed an increased level of emotion necessary for that scene, and it was definitely done splendidly by him. And maybe I'm only complaining about this tiny little thing, because I was looking for perfection after all that praise, but it still got me a little distracted. Though I wouldn't let this small matter affect my rating.
It was a great and very entertaining, moving and captivating drama nonetheless, and it by all means deserves all the praise it's getting.
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I'm surprised at myself for finishing this. It's hard to describe what went wrong here. The drama failed in so many ways. The team never connected on a deeper base, the cases were interesting in their core but the writing and execution sucked. It was never able to build enough suspense to make me excited/worried/eager to watch more.
Don't get me wrong. Some of the individual cases were pretty gruesome and interesting (and I was shocked how violent they made them look) than what I would expect from a k-drama. But most times it still left me cold because the writers extended the investigation part way too much while (at the same time) were still not able to explain the profiling part in a comprehensible and gripping way. It felt like getting food thrown at your face.
The cast 'looked' amazing but their roles were written rather poorly and appeared choppy. If this would have been my first drama with those actors and actresses, I wouldn't be interested in any other drama they starred in. Dialogues sounded boring, the tone of each voice was always the same monotone sound which lulled me into sleep. Some of the background music were not helping either. I missed emotions so much here. And I missed those tiny personal interactions between the leads. A wink, a look, some short random remarks. I don't know. They sounded like a bunch of people who successfully memorized their texts... Which is why I couldn't connect to any of them. They were so one-dimensional. I admit that sometimes it looked like they tried to be more, but... well, it wasn't enough.
They did have some kind of steadiness: Constant stagnation.
And what ending was that? The finale felt flat. Most times I'm quite satisfied with the main villains in dramas. But this one? Nope. There are actors who are able to pull off EVERY damn role they are given, even the bad ones. And they are able to shine in even those. And then there are actors who only suit certain characters. The actor for the main villain in this show failed to impress me - solely because his acting and his appearance together failed to capture an otherwise intriguing figure.
I'm familiar with the original series this one is based on, but I'm not a regular follower. Though occasionally I watch one or two episodes once in a while. And I have to admit that I'm more satisfied with their cases than I was with this show, even though I'm not deeply connected with the leads in the US version either. The reason why I stick with the show when I stumble upon it while zipping through the channels is because I am glued to one special bond between two of the leads. And because their cases feel more compact which leads to a more intriguing investigation. Well, if I want to, I can go into more detail but I think I made my point clear.
So sad this failed to reach my expectations. I so wish I could say something positive as well, but there's nothing I can think of. Everything that started out good/interesting became rather boring quite quickly because they stretched the developing process too far, didn't show crucial details in the leads' behavior/facial expressions and slow/dull scene editing...
But I did like the ending song!
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The summary sounds like every other crime drama out there and I won't say it's different from others either. But in the end it depends on the script writing and the execution - and the acting, of course.
So Jang Hyuk's and Lee Ha Na's characters team up to catch a killer that murdered their family members. Both of them work at the emergency call center. That doesn't sound quite thrilling now, but let me tell you that the producers did a great job to get you excited about it immediately. Because the Golden Time (the first hours after a crime occurred and is reported to the emergency center) is one of the most crucial parts in hopefully solving a crime or prevent worse ones (i.e. kidnapping cases). And what is special here, is Lee Ha Na's character's ability to hear more than others. Due to an accident she developed some kind of supernatural hearing that allows her to hear more than others - even through headphones.
Right from the beginning the drama holds the suspense on a level that definitely makes your heart race. Fast camera movements and a good timing of scene editing ensure that.
I can't say that this drama doesn't have any problems. It's still a k-drama and there are some flaws and again sometimes the police just looked stupid. You also have those characters who you want to punch because their behavior is so wrong when it comes to being professionals. But! There are also characters that I didn't like but who grew on me during the story, no matter that their behavior went into opposite directions.
I also must admit that the story had some problems in the middle and lost some of its speed. I also think that the killer's identity was revealed too early in the drama which caused a big slow down as the story went a bit into some shady business themes. Although this doesn't mean that the killer's charisma wasn't engaging. He was a great psycho who gives you goosebumps.
The whole acting of the cast was fantastic. From the leads to supporting characters to guest roles. Especially the latter. They captivated me during their short appearances in the drama and made every single case into something special. I never found them boring. They were thrilling and emotionally moving. At some point they were even more interesting than the main plot.
The finale completely made up for the the middle part though. It picked up the speed and suspense again and let the drama end in an enthralling way.
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