Sunday, May 31, 2015

Drama First Look - Masked Prosecutor

When the teasers for 'Masked Prosecutor' first came out, they raised quite a few eyebrows. There is really no way for a man in a Mexican wrestling mask to be seen as part of any kind of normalcy, even for the often unrealistic standards of Korean drama. The show teased with cool action and a little comedy, as well as hope for something fun and new. Unfortunately, it does not capitalize on its strengths or deliver on its created expectations.

A few short humorous and lighter scenes aside, the first four episodes reveal a darker series than what one would expect from its promotion and the comedic element of a sparkly mask. This is essentially a revenge story with stereotypical heroes and villains and sadly not even a good one. There are some fresh elements about these characters, but their function and trajectory seem to be the same all such stories feature. This might be good for those who like the genre, but it also makes the drama's unique elements unnecessary.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Masked Prosecutor".

Drama Review - The Girl Who Sees Smells

It is difficult to pinpoint what makes some failures easy to forgive in some works and unacceptable in others. How the creators treat their piece and audience plays a big part, because even flaws can be forgiven when something good is delivered by people who do not attempt to mask their weaknesses as strengths. 'The Girl Who Sees Smells' has many problems, but it is also an entertaining show which seems to have a lot of passion put into it.

Choi Moo-gak (Park Yoo-chun) and Oh Cho-rim (Sin Se-kyeong) both have strange conditions. Moo-gak cannot feel pain and Cho-rim sees smells. Their abilities were caused by the same incident which ties them together. Cho-rim is the sole survivor of the unresolved Barcode murders and has lost her memory ever since. Moo-gak's sister was mistaken for Cho-rim and murdered by the killer. Now Moo-gak is a police officer who hopes to find the culprit. When he meets Cho-rim he realizes her ability can prove useful in crime solving.

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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Drama First Look - Ex-Girlfriend Club

Love triangles, squares and other manner of romantic geometry are a staple of Korean drama. They have a set of tropes that go with them and they entertain people when done well. For a series which would under normal drama circumstances be a love pentagon, however, 'Ex-Girlfriends' Club' breaks the mold in the type of dynamics found between the characters. This is an interesting enough feature to speak of and will perhaps become the show's strength down the road.

This is not a typical situation where all the women are after one man. In fact, whatever reasons each woman has for their objections to having their romantic life turned into a movie, which is the goal of the two leads, there is not much romance to speak of between any pairing. So far, this is not a typical romantic comedy and the women are far from typical drama women. The same goes for the center of it all, Bang Myeong-soo (Byeon Yo-han).

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Ex-Girlfriends' Club".

Drama First Look - Warm and Cozy

There is great pressure to deliver when it comes to people's favorite pastime, especially from creators who have raised the bar. Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran have been creating the same type of romantic comedy shows for years, which means viewers mostly know what to expect from them for their entertainment. 'Warm and Cozy' is an old school romantic comedy at a time when those are no longer popular, but it stays true to its nostalgic nature as light entertainment.

One thing which is immediately noticeable is that the colorful choices of the writers for their premises, humor and overall style have taken a step back in this series. There are still signature habits here, but this is more of an understated approach than usual. There are no fantasy elements, which the Hongs favor a lot lately, no extravagant first meetings and everything is much more realistic, if one can even use that word for Korean drama and especially such romantic comedy series.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Warm and Cozy".

Drama First Look - Producers

With promises of a brand new type of drama and a good look into the world of the variety entertainment backstage, 'Producers' has made its start and it has done so with mixed reactions. Featuring a popular cast and well known creators, including Kim Soo-hyeon-I and writer Park Ji-eun of hit series 'My Love from the Star', it has inevitably attracted attention and certain expectations. At the moment, it is not meeting those, whether this is good or bad.

The first question would be, is this series something new? The answer based on the first two episodes is 'somewhat'. Drama and film have handled the subject of entertainment and its nature behind the lens before, but variety is getting the spotlight here. Additionally, the mockumentary style of filming is new as a basic feature for a drama. The show also truly focuses on the workplace for the most part, a departure from the usual focus on interpersonal relationships we see in series.

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

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Drama Review - Super Daddy Yeol

Adding comedy to a story about someone's terminal illness and last attempt at leaving their own in good hands does not sound like a wise move. Life is of course complicated and joy co-exists with sadness. In fact, one gives the other more impact. It is therefore not a wise move, but also not impossible to pull off well. Sadly, 'Super Daddy Yeol' does not succeed with this approach and the rest of its issues drag its good potential down.

Han Yeol (Lee Dong-geon) works as a rehabilitation coach for baseball players, something he himself was before his circumstances ended his career. Having been hurt by Cha Mi-rae (Lee Yoo-ri) leaving him, he has remained a bachelor. Mi-rae herself is raising her daughter as a single mom, but life throws her a curveball and she finds out she is dying of cancer. Mi-rae sets in motion a plan to find Yeol and start a rehabilitation attempt of making him into a good father for her daughter, Sa-rang.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Super Daddy Yeol".

Drama Preview - Masked Prosecutor

It is no secret that Korean drama favors the melodramatic over the cheerful and that stories outside a certain premise pool do not often end up well. However, hope is a strong emotion and whenever a show comes along that looks fun and upbeat, many begin the same circle of excitement and trepidation. 'Masked Prosecutor' could go very wrong in many ways, but it might also inject some much needed lightness into the medium.


Ha Dae-cheol (Joo Sang-wook) is a seemingly self-centered prosecutor whose only concern is how he can advance his career. Yoo Min-hee (Kim Seon-ah) is a righteous homicide detective whose values for rules and order clash with Dae-cheol's easy-going exterior. However, Dae-cheol has a secret. At nights, he uses a mask to hide his identity and pursue criminals outside the confines of the law.

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

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tough Times and a Thank You

This is a personal update and a thank you to my tweeple and other contacts I interacted with during this tough time. I've just had 2 of the worst weeks of my life. The ending is happy, so fear not and read on. Two weeks ago, we got a letter saying my mom's regular breast check up (every 2 years for every woman her age) revealed something. I had no idea what, the size, the place. It was the worst week and I was a mess. I even had a little panic attack when we got the letter.

We then went for an ultrasound after a week. It was a 1.5 cm lump with clear borders, but it was not fluid, so they took a sample. My mom's age makes her a high risk person for cancer, so we were very worried. Today I found out it is benign. It is however a rare (1% of all breast lumps) and fast-growing tumor called phyllodes tumor. So even if benign and tiny (we caught it ridiculously early), it needs to go, not only because it grows fast, but because it can come back as malignant if not well removed. We will get surgery and spank that naughty thing away.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Drama Preview - Warm and Cozy

Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran are among the most beloved Korean drama writers, especially for foreign fans. Their romantic comedies offer star power and successful pairings, lively and unique characters and a writing style many love. Despite a few bumps along the way, their shows are entertaining and well received. Their latest installment is 'Warm and Cozy', a phrase which will hopefully describe viewer sentiment throughout.


Baek Geon-woo (Yoo Yeon-seok) is someone who is honest and smart, but also determined when it comes to love. He moves to Jeju island and opens a restaurant there, in order to be close to the woman he is in love with. Despite Lee Jeong-joo's (Kang So-ra) tough exterior, she is a sensitive woman who needs a break after failing to find a job and breaking up with her boyfriend. She moves to Jeju and her path crosses with that of Geon-woo.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Warm and Cozy".

Drama Preview - Producers

Experimenting and taking risks is not typical behavior for the Korean drama industry. KBS2 has been making great, even if not very successful efforts in diversity and its new Friday and now also Saturday timeslot is one example. Taking things one step further, 'Producers' uses a powerhouse cast and production team to create a possible mix of formats between variety and drama.


The series depicts the work done in the entertainment branch of a broadcasting company, with characters such as the titular producers as well as performers, writers and others working hard to create popular shows.

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

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Drama Preview - Ex-Girlfriend Club

Romantic comedy in Korean drama most often deals with budding relationships. The draw is the idea that two strangers meet, fall in love and this love is what entertains viewers. Even if those characters are connected in their childhood or by fate, which are popular tropes. However, some shows also deal with love beyond the original attraction and also rekindled love. 'Ex-Girlfriends' Club' appears to belong in the latter category.


Bang Myeong-soo (Byeon Yo-han) is a webtoon artist who uses his romantic past in his latest work. When the work gets the opportunity to be made into a film, Myeong-soo's choice to speak about his ex-girlfriends in it proves unwise. All of the women are somehow related to the project, including producer Kim Soo-jin (Song Ji-hyo), who needs to make the film happen in a very charged environment.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Ex-Girlfriends' Club".

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