Sunday, April 26, 2015

Drama Review - Blood

Gaining the love of audiences is quite easy when those audiences feel their needs are a priority. 'Blood' received a lot of criticism for its two leads' acting skills and that criticism is accurate. However, it would be unfair to say that this is the only problem of the series. It would also be unfair to say there is nothing good here to be found. It all comes down to balancing the bad with good. Unfortunately, that is where 'Blood' fails.

Park Ji-sang (Ahn Jae-hyeon) is no regular genius doctor. His secret is the illness he was born with, a condition similar to folkloric vampirism. After his parents are killed while trying to find a cure for it, Ji-sang spends his time searching for that same cure and the people who killed his mother and father. Lee Jae-wook (Ji Jin-hee), the man responsible for their deaths has an different plan. To create the perfect form of the disease and cure humanity of what he perceives as a flawed existence. When Ji-sang enters the hospital Jae-wook is in, he meets Yoo Ri-ta (Koo Hye-seon), a woman who will become a loved one and ally.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Blood".

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Drama Review - Ho Goo's Love

The rise of cable television has also marked the increase in freedom of expression for drama creators. Especially paid channels which are not freely available to the public can handle topics which might be considered "morally harmful" for public television networks and therefore be censored more strictly. 'Hogu's Love' is a series which features a lot of major societal taboo topics and combined with tvN's signature romantic comedy style, it explores them in a refreshing and heartfelt manner.

Kang Ho-goo (Choi Woo-sik) is a webtoon artist stuck in perpetual adolescence. With barely any social life, he spends his days with his friends and is known for being a bit of a pushover. Do Do-hee (UEE) is a swimming champion with a graceful image, but she hides a rough country gal personality under it. The two meet at a class reunion of their high-school and decide to meet again after a while. However, Do-hee never shows up. Nine months later, Ho-goo meets a now pregnant Do-hee.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love".

Actor Spotlight - Gong Yoo

Acquiring and maintaining stardom contain different necessities than acquiring and maintaining a stable career and prestige as an artist. Stardom often depends on starring in successful works and being very prolific. Audiences get easily impressed by new things and move on quickly unless thoroughly engaged and hooked. This is especially true for the Korean drama industry. Gong Yoo is an odd case of someone whose acquired fame has kept him relative despite the sparsity of his works. He is also someone who is now branching out.

Gong's debut came with drama 'School 4' of the popular KBS School series. However, his television roles were minor until he landed his first leading one in 'Biscuit Teacher And Star Candy'. After gaining the industry's interest, he was cast in mega-hit 'Coffee Prince', which brought him his Hallyu star status. His cinema debut came later, when Gong got a minor role in 'My Tutor Friend' as a school bully before getting to lead 'Spy Girl' along with Kim Jeong-hwa.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Gong Yoo.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Drama First Look - Missing Noir M

Many a serial drama is guilty of reinventing the wheel, but procedural ones are by nature able to get away with it. All crime shows do the same thing, but because they handle different cases and use the hook of a mystery, they offer something new through the same format every time. 'Missing Noir M' is neither original or brilliant so far, but rather than going for gimmicks, it goes back to the basics of what makes good crime stories and mysteries appealing.

First things first, the drama is quite nice in its production quality. From the nicely selected cast to its polished visuals and even some really nice score and soundtrack, it looks like OCN has gone the extra mile in making this sleek and impressive. Most shows by the station share this quality, but not all use their style well in building atmosphere. This is not just a cool-looking show. It is a cool show which uses its presentation well to enhance that.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Missing Noir M".

Drama First Look - The Girl Who Sees Smells

Selling an outrageous concept is a very delicate procedure. On one hand, you have to embrace your premise and on the other, you cannot take yourself too seriously or in the wrong way. Outrageous does not mean ridiculous and it is the latter there is less tolerance for. 'The Girl Who Sees Smells' certainly presents an odd world and combines two usually contradicting in tone genres, but its consistency, balance and involvement with what is has to show keep it enjoyable.

A romantic comedy crime series does sound strange. Romantic comedy is light and happy and preoccupied with matters concerning everyday life, rather than life and death situations. The reason these two do not come into conflict in this show yet is because they fall under the same tone and are given the appropriate importance. Too much focus on romance makes the characters' priorities seem messed up and too much on the crime drowns the romance. By carefully regulating the two, the setup becomes believable.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "The Girl Who Sees Smells".

Drama Review - Hyde, Jekyll and I

Romantic Korean drama is the most forgiving type there is. Many viewers will swear by their love for a particular actor and especially a main pairing. If that pairing is good, the series will be also, they say. If works like 'Hyde, Jekyll and I' achieve anything, it is to prove that writing does matter. No amount of star power or romantic scenes can carry a work alone. While not without its virtues, this series fails in its basics.

Goo Seo-jin (Hyeon Bin) is a man suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder who lives with his mind split into two separate personalities. Seo-jin is the director of his family's theme park and is cold and calculating. Robin, his other personality, is a kind and sweet person. Jang Ha-na (Han Ji-min) is the master of a circus featured in the theme park who gets entangled with Seo-jin and Robin as well as a mysterious villain who kidnaps Seo-jin's doctor just as she finds a cure for his condition.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I".

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Drama Review - Seonam Girls High School Investigators

The conservative and repetitive nature of Korean drama has been changing over the years and this includes the topics handled and opinions expressed though the individual works. While the series most often love larger-than-life and improbable stories, a lot of shows are also surfacing that tackle real life problems on an individual and societal level. 'Seonam Girls High School Investigators' goes a step further and focuses on troubled youth and especially women, an extra rare combination for the industry.

Ahn Chae-yool (Jin Ji-hee) finds herself in a school she does not really like. On top of that, she is attacked by someone and bitten. As she becomes curious about the case, which seems to have more victims, she gets acquainted with the school's amateur detective club and recruited by them. Together, the girls solve student-related cases of all kinds. Ha Yeon-joon (Kim Min-joon) is a mysterious teacher who is aware of the group and has a particular interest in helping them and Chae-yool from the sidelines.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Seonam Girls High School Investigators".

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