Monday, May 30, 2016
If things were serious in the last episode, they are deadly dangerous in episode twelve of "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho". Our villain is finally showing his biggest tricks, although they are interestingly very similar to his past ones and hopefully full of errors. Deul-ho is in deep water and what remains to be seen is who will aid and who will hinder him. Eun-jo will have a lot on her hands and so will Ji-wook.
Hong Yoon-gi's (Park Choong-seon) case is unique in conclusion. The drama does not spend time on the potential moral dilemma of Deul-ho (Park Shin-yang) in settling his client's grievances, but losing a chance to get Chairman Jeong (Jeong Won-joong). I do understand that Lee Myeong-joon provides an alternative route, but it is still good to see Deul-ho not even getting tempted to settle. While he should have expected what is currently happening, it is a relief to see that he does learn from past mistakes for the most part.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" Episode 12
Things get serious in "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" as our main villain becomes more aggressive than ever. Eun-jo's step-father sparks a new case, new challenges and social commentary. Eun-jo herself reaches a boiling point, but now her time has hopefully come to get down to business. New adversaries surface and older ones falter as the chessboard rattles. Deul-ho's determination to risk everything is about to be challenged, but we know him pretty well by now.
I always worry when dramas handle topics such as depression or suicide. Serious topics in general. They are often used for dramatic impact, but rarely in a sensitive and honest way. I really appreciate the way Hong Yoon-gi's (Park Choong-seon) situation is portrayed here. Depression does not go away when you have support and neither do tough times. Support helps, but it is not a cure or a one-time good deed. Support takes dedication and being able to use it well and hold on takes great strength of character and perseverance.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho" Episode 11
Finding a romantic comedy drama that does not go majorly dark and depressing or then lose its coherence completely is hard. "Beautiful Gong Shim" promises a return to the good ol' days, where people trying to hook up with people happily was possible without major physical and emotional scarring. There is still a mean grandmother in the mix, but that is a rom-com staple in Korean drama.
One sister is "a beauty", the other "ugly". One man is "successful", the other a charming "failure". A lot of quotation marks here, as the series is still about four pretty and well-off people navigating the geometry of romance through their love square.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Beautiful Gong Shim"
Join me in a week of awards, casting additions and even some new drama announcements. This time around I contemplate the drama race for appeal in the Chinese market, which we all know is becoming a top priority of wannabe-popular series. I also present to you some of our links for the upcoming 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards and take a look at some of the freshly cast or confirmed actors for upcoming dramas.
Reading about "Flower Knights: The Beginning" being sold to China and about the Chinese evaluation for "Uncontrollably Fond" got me thinking about how common reporting on China's reactions to Korean dramas has become. China being a huge market for this industry affects it greatly. There are positive and negative sides to this. Pre-production is an element the Korean drama industry is desperately in need of, but then dramas eager to impress tend to get conservative and uninspiring. What is your take on this?
Full Article: [Orion's Drama News] Stars, Awards and Exports
If you enjoy murder mysteries, then welcome to some Cluedo-like fun in episode six of "Vampire Detective", as our team tries to solve a death of the past. The incident is personal to Goo-hyeong and this means we finally get to see him act like a human being instead of a womanizing cardboard cutout. Yo-na is still around, but neither San or we know what she wants. She is sadly falling victim to plot stretching, which will hopefully end soon.
Atmosphere and writing play a big part in the enjoyment of murder mysteries. The creators choose to have things happen at night, in close quarters at an abandoned school and this sets a great mood for the truth being unraveled. Another fun element of such a concept is the idea that anyone could be guilty and the episode does well in gradually having its characters' facade crack as their personal secrets are revealed. As the incident took place in the past, this brings the tension back.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Vampire Detective" Episode 6
A depressing fate befalls our makeshift family and the group is separated. Gil-do has big plans for his business and becomes more dangerous to our leads the closer he gets to the truth. Da-hae's spying endeavors reveal she has more than noodles in mind and Myeong is officially on the run. Episode four of "Master - God of Noodles" offers rich characterization and emotion. Grab a hot noodle soup and prepare for feelings.
Before getting to story-related topics, I would like to speak about a production-related element I feel makes the show emotionally impactful. The cast and PDs do a great job in portraying the difference between emotion and more visceral reactions. Dramas often rely on crying and yelling for intensity, but the range of what humans feel and show is much greater. This fervent approach of the creators and cast gives every moment gravity. It would not be enough without good writing, but "Master - God of Noodles" has no major problems there.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master - God of Noodles" Episode 4
Gil-do has clearly never been worried about the idiom of burning bridges, because he is walking around waving fire at everything and everyone. His sadistic nature reaches new lows every time he acts or speaks. Episode three introduces new character connections and things get very dire for our hero, as his friends get caught up in his mess. The road to a complicated future stretches before us. Time for tangling some noodles.
Gil-do (Jo Jae-hyeon) has been largely presented as a genius manipulator until now, but the thing about getting high on power is that it makes one sloppy. The man makes enemies out of the people close to him and it will eventually be his downfall. Go Kang-sook (Lee Il-hwa), Gil-do's wife seems to know that well and she is able to play him with it. On the other hand, Hwang Seong-rok (Kim Joo-wan) is his slave and their incredibly tense car scene makes that point clear.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master - God of Noodles" Episode 3
Monday, May 2, 2016
Mysteries are rarely done well in drama. It seems to be a combination of complicated ideas and little time given due to the filming system, but they are also usually simple in concept and easy to guess as well. The creators of "The Village: Achiara's Secret" were very confident before the drama began airing. Stay until the end, they said. We will show you something good. Dramaland has lied to me a lot, but it just makes the rare truths all the more satisfying.
Han So-yoon (Moon Geun-young) lost her family in a car accident as a child. When her grandmother, who raised So-yoon in Canada dies from a fall, So-yoon receives a cryptic letter from Korea. She believes the truth of her family's death lies in a village called Achiara. After being assigned there as a teacher, she begins to uncover the village's dark secrets and her family's fate.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Village: Achiara's Secret"
Have you been missing good ol' rom-coms, folks? You know, the kind where people do not cry for sixteen episodes and get some form of terminal illness. Well, let us see if those will be making a return and take a look at some recent drama trends while we are at it. More upcoming drama goodies are out, including some for new titles. Even less eventful weeks are full in Dramaland.
The Return of Rom-coms?
Writer Lee Hee-myeong and PD Baek Soo-chan of "The Girl Who Sees Smells" are back with romantic comedy "The Beauty of the Beast". The premise does sound too simple and possibly boring, but do things always have to be complicated? The creators' previous show might be about a serial killer, but it also has adorable romance and strong female characters. So you know what? I trust them to bring some enjoyable fluff back. Here is some information on Namgoong Min's character and some videos.
Full Article: [Orion's Drama News] Rom-coms, Psychos and Youth
Gil-do is well on his way to winning a one-man moral limbo dance by going lower every day, our hero has revenge and food in mind and we have some new character introductions. Episode two pushes Myeong towards a very dangerous path and it will not be long before he has to start evading the truth to reach his target. The reunion hits him hard and the memories harder. Manly tears and noodle slurping ensue.
Myeong's (Cheon Jeong-myeong) reaction to meeting Gil-do (Jo Jae-hyeon) again is very instinctive and very powerful. While a trauma does not simply disappear, Myeong seemed to be doing relatively okay. This episode lets us know that he is most definitely not okay and it shows in his relationships with his peers as well. He is emotionally withdrawn and ends up hurting the ones who care about him while focused on his own pain. The other important fact we learn is that he has a natural talent for food.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master - God of Noodles" Episode 2