Sunday, July 26, 2015

Drama First Look - Assembly

Politics in Korean drama can be a tricky subject, as ratings for KBS2's 'Assembly' have shown. Perhaps catching audiences at a bad time for intrigue and government drama, the series has not been doing well in the numbers. For international fans, this is only important if changes are made due to it. What is most important, however, is whether the series is actually good and consistent in what it presents itself as. 'Assembly' is both.

Some dramas use politics as a frame for romances and revenge stories, but this one makes it an integral part of its identity. This means that, while there is engaging character-driven drama, the show is heavily political. Writer Jeong Hyeon-min has personal experience in politics, so viewers can expect a thorough approach. For viewers who do not have an interest in it, it can be hard to follow at times. However, its human element is rewarding.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Assembly"

Monday, July 20, 2015

Drama First Look - Scholar Who Walks the Night

There is nothing quite like a romantic fantasy drama for the summer and MBC seems to have taken its intended type of show quite seriously with 'Scholar Who Walks the Night'. It offers vampires, doppelgangers, damsels and rescues, romance and mystery, and of course the quite important beautiful men. None of those elements will work without an engaging plot, however, so let us see how the drama is faring with that part so far.

In case it was not clear already, the series is not for those looking for revenge stories or political intrigue. It is arguably not even for those who are more into the fantasy part and the topic of vampirism or mystery. This is a series where the male lead carries the female lead through a forest and a random rain of flower petals starts descending upon them. This is pure fantasy romance, along with all the corniness that characterizes it.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Scholar Who Walks the Night".

Drama First Look - Oh My Ghostess

In a lot of ways, cable television has brought more daring concepts to Korean drama. What was once an age where any non-virginal female character was an antagonist or flawed existence has given way to even leading women who do not remain stuck in perpetual wish fulfillment for those in love with gender stereotypes. 'Oh My Ghostess' is yet another tvN series which tackles the s-word and it also cast stars who are talented and loved by audiences to do so.

One thing to start off with, which is also a small spoiler warning on the potential future of this series, is that this is not pure romantic comedy. Like with many current shows which still brand themselves as rom-coms, there are darker things happening here, which will likely play a big role. It is perhaps to be expected, given one female lead is a ghost, but this element alone does not necessitate the sinister nature of the potential upcoming twist.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Oh My Ghostess".

Drama First Look - Midnight Diner

Different is not always good, but its existence always is. For a largely limited medium such as Korean drama, shows which step outside of the norm in some way are a push towards programming which covers not just one group's preferences, but those of many. 'Midnight Diner' is a unique little show which has done poorly in the ratings, but might just offer the few who watch it a much needed breather and some comfort.

Regular dramas can be relaxing in the sense that they offer stress relief by creating overly dramatic and attention-grabbing situations for viewers. This series is not quite like that. Rather than offering exciting drama and conflict, grand romances or revenge stories, it simply presents pieces of everyday life and everyday struggles, uses delicious meals to frame them and gives them a hopeful conclusion. This is all about comfort. Comfort food, comfort stories, comfort atmosphere and coziness.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Midnight Diner".

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Drama Preview - Last

After romantic melodrama 'My Love Eun-dong', jTBC has something quite different coming up. 'Last' is not looking like the kind of show which drama audiences are used to, but its cast, approach and the fact that it is based on a popular webtoon might deliver something substantial or at least entertaining. On the other hand, it might be shallow and messy, but one can hope.


'Last' is an action noir drama about the pecking order of Seoul's underground. Jang Tae-ho (Yoon Kye-sang) becomes homeless overnight, after a failed stock project. He discovers that Seoul's underground is run by a man called Kwak Heung-sam (Lee Beom-soo), who profits at the expense of the poor. Tae-ho begins rising through the ranks and fights to survive.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Last".

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Drama Preview - Assembly

Dramaland is no stranger to attempts at new concepts. Sadly, it is also not a stranger to abandoning them before they have the chance to flourish. 'Assembly' is a type of series which has been done before, but it comes at a time when the industry is desperate to sell, not to create good content. It also marks the drama debut of award-winning movie actor Jeong Jae-yeong, raising the bar and therefore making its potential fall more severe.


Jin Sang-pil (Jeong Jae-yeong) is a humble welder who becomes elected into the national assembly. With the help of his aide, Choi In-gyeong (Song Yoon-ah), he learns how to play the political game and become worthy of his important position.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Assembly"

Drama Review - Producers

'Producers' was a big gamble when it was announced, combining a very popular cast with a new format, new thematic approach and an unpopular new timeslot. The worries that it would succumb to the fame of its cast and change its course were there, but that it would do so after only two episodes was something which shocked many. What started as a variety drama ended up a romantic comedy. The question is, did it end up a good one?

'Producers' is about the interpersonal and work relationships of four individuals working in variety show production. Baek Seung-chan (Kim Soo-hyeon-I), Ra Joon-mo (Cha Tae-hyeon) and Tak Ye-jin (Kong Hyo-jin) are living in the same neighborhood while the two men and Cindy (IU) end up working together. The four try to juggle work and the relationships and love lines between them while being in a close working and living environment.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Producers"

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Drama First Look - My Beautiful Bride

When it was announced that 'Heartless City' writer Yoo Seong-yeol would be writing OCN's 'My Beautiful Bride', many of its fans started building their expectations. The former series had some very unique and nuanced characters and relationships, it was dark and yet beautiful and despite its eventual issues, it was a good piece of Korean television. 'My Beautiful Bride' is not entirely similar, but the quality is there and it has created an impressive start and reasons to anticipate its future.

OCN is known for its crime dramas, which is what is has exclusively been doing for quite some time. This series is no different and also features crime, but crime is not its main selling point. At least not right now. The series focuses more on its male lead, his unusual character and his quest to find his bride. It also focuses on their relationship and how everyone's past affects their actions, determination, misunderstandings and overall mindset in the present.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "My Beautiful Bride".

Drama Preview - Scholar Who Walks the Night

It is truly the age of manhwa, webtoon and novel adaptations, and we have another one coming. MBC's 'Scholar Who Walks the Night' is based on a manhwa of the same name and it is a fantasy period piece involving revenge, gender bending and vampires. It sounds like a lot to deal with, but the drama will hopefully do it well and bring some summer entertainment.


After her father has been framed for treason, Jo Yang-seon (Lee Yoo-bi) disguises herself as a man in order to sell books. One day she meets Kim Seong-yeol (Lee Joon-ki), who happens to be vampire. Enter past loves, evil vampire antagonists and all manner of conflict will ensue.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Scholar Who Walks the Night".

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