Tag Archives: korean dramas

Can’t Wait Wednesday

I love following kattiescottagebooks…I learn about so many different weekly spotlights (like Teaser Tuesdays) and now, Can’t Wait Wednesday! If you like reading about books, you should definitely follow her here.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released.

This was an easy pick for me. I can’t wait to read…

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Title: I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Publishing date: May 30th, 2017

Plot: Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

 

KOREAN DRAMAS AND YOUNG ADULT FICTION.  It is the combination of two of my favorite things; I’m psyched. There is no way this book will live up to my expectations. It just isn’t possible. I also know this because the synopsis says, “where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten.” That is a blatant lie. Everyone knows that if the heroine is in her true love’s arms in episode ten, something horrible is going to happen because there are 6 more hours to go. HOWEVER, I’m super excited anyway. Hopefully this won’t be the next Girl Online


Stars Falling From the Sky

Two years ago, I put together a list of my favorite k dramas. The list is fairly out of date and I really should put together a new one soon. However, there is one drama on there that has stayed my favorite despite an influx of really excellent shows lately.  It is Stars Falling From the Sky. 

When a self-absorbed, 25-year old woman finds herself the sole guardian of five, adopted younger siblings, her world flips upside down. With no money and no place to live, she takes a job as a live-in housekeeper for her long term crush and hides the kids in his basement. Chaos ensues…

I rarely finish the k dramas I start, much less re-watch them, but I just finished watching this drama for the third time through. I found it as endearing as ever. This just might be my favorite drama. However, I do not think it is a drama most people will like. Filmed in 2010, it lacks the polish of more recent shows. The characters spend over half their time drinking or crying. The usual k drama stereotypes are all present, including the love triangle/square thing, and everyone is in a constant state of angst

Everyone, that is, except the heroine. She doesn’t have time for angst. She is trying to feed and house five siblings. Her character arc is incredible. I love her affection for her siblings. She isn’t the only one with that arc, though. Re-watching this drama, I was struck by the fact that for a “romantic” drama, the real love goes to the siblings. There is an interesting contract between the characters with siblings (even just one), and those who are only children. Maybe because it is so rare to find big families or sibling love as the focus of pop culture, this story line really appeals to me. 

The romance in this drama used to throw me off. Spoilers in this paragraph. The couple finally gets together in the second to last episode. In the last episode, the hero proposes…and gets turned down. This is not an uncommon move in k dramas. Usually the previously weak willed heroine then goes off for two years only to return within the last five minutes of the episode for an inconclusive reunion scene. (Thankfully this trend is less predominant in recent dramas.) However, the heroine in Stars Falling From the Sky is hardly weak willed. She doesn’t disappear. She is as determined as ever to provide for her siblings. In this sense, while the last episode is full of dramatic kidnappings and shocking discoveries, it provides a level of realism. Not everything becomes perfect because you’ve found a man and he proposes. In this last episode, we get to see the heroine standing on her own two feet while also learning to rely on the man who loves her. It isn’t Disney ending, but it is a satisfying one I appreciate more now that I am older. 

Like I said earlier, I don’t expect most people to enjoy this drama nearly as much as I do. However, it was a pleasant surprise to re-watch it and discover I like it even more than I remembered! 


Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Looking for a cute Korean drama? Look no farther than Strong Woman Do Bong Soon.

My sisters and I have been addicted to the drama since it first started airing and tonight we watched the last episode. Totally worth it. Though not quite as wonderful as Healer, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon definitely makes it on my Favorite Korean Dramas List. 

Do Bong Soon is a sweet, adorable girl who is secretly freakishly strong. Ahn Min Hyuk is a the CEO of a successful video game company and the recent target of several death threats. After seeing her in action, Ahn Min Hyuk hires Do Bong Soon to be his bodyguard. Shenanigans ensue. Throw in an angsty secondary lead, bumbling gangsters, and a murdering serial kidnapper, and you have a drama with a strange blend of romantic comedy, corny humor, and dark suspense.

The fact that these plot lines work together so well (aside from a few cheesy moments) is mostly due to the talent of the actors. Park Bo Young (who plays Do Bong Soon) and Park Hyung Sik (Ahn Min Hyuk) are both adorable. Though playing fairly well-worn roles (sweet poor girl/rich CEO), they bring new life to an exhausted trope. Seriously, I can’t think of any other other word for them collectively or apart than adorable and if you don’t agree, you haven’t seen the show. 

The supporting cast, however, are equally talented and creative in their roles. 

With only 16 episodes, this is one drama you won’t want to miss! Puppy Couple forever!

Strong Woman Do Bong-soon' Park Bo-yeong, Hyung Sik, Ji Soo's chemistry - http://asianpin.com/strong-woman-do-bong-soon-park-bo-yeong-hyung-sik-ji-soos-chemistry/:


A K Drama Evening (sort of)

Since I am in the middle of a couple different currently-airing Korean dramas, I decided yesterday to re-watch one. Alas, the process went something like this…

Me: I’m going to pick a favorite drama to re-watch! How hard can choosing one be? I really love Who Are YouI can re-watch that one.

Also me: But…I really love Master’s Sun, too. And Stars Falling From the Sky. And Healer. 

Me again: Why not finish one I started and stopped watching? I got too emotionally invested in I Hear Your Voice so I quit, but that was years ago. I could try that one again.

Me: If I’m going to finish a drama I got too involved in, I should finish Shut Up Flower Boy Band.

Also me: Or King 2 Hearts.

Me: *sobs internally* 

Me: Better not put myself through that. 

Me again: Start a new drama! How about the classic Shining Inheritance? Or I Am Sam. 

Also me: Finish one you quit! Finish High School King of Savvy! 

Me: Bethany hated that drama. 

Bethany: ….

Me: I’m going to go with Who Are You. There. Decision made! 

Me again: Which episode? 

Me:

Me: Obviously I’m not finding anything on DramaFever. Better check Viki. 

Repeat the above scene times 10. 

In the end, I didn’t watch anything! I went to bed. 

The struggle is real.


Craving solid food…

My sister just finished her exams and we decided to celebrate by watching a Korean Drama. We chose Let’s Eat (2013) It is a drama all about foodies and it is making my mouth water! I haven’t had anything solid since my surgery and I’ve been craving meat all day…but this is another level of torture altogether! I love Korean food and this is a show entirely about it! Ahhhhh! I know I should have convinced her to pick Secret Garden (2010)! 


Whatcha Watching…? 4/23/16

I was going to do another ‘Whatcha Reading’ update but I haven’t been reading much lately. 

Actually, I should probably explain that statement. I am reading. Just not at my usual level. When I feel so inclined, I pick up Think Like a Freak by  Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt or Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff. I’m also still listening to Don Quixote in the car. I finally reached the halfway point; the book is taking forever

For me, this is not reading. My focused has shifted (it does quite often) and I’ve been watching a Korean drama lately. It is called One More Happy Ending and I really like it so far. The plot follows 4 former girl band members years after their band disbanded. One of them is married, another divorced, another engaged, and finally (you guessed it) one is single.

The plot primarily follows the divorcée and is typical k drama trope. Cute, but nothing mind-blowing. However, the side plots following the other characters provide surprising depth. Though recently (I’m on episode 8) it has gotten a bit fantastical, their struggles seem realistic and genuine. It is interesting to see an actress like Yoo In-Na branch out into a different type of role as the “ugly” duckling. 

I don’t think I would recommend this as a first drama, but it is so far a nice, mature one, especially as a break from the high school dramas. Entertaining and with actual character depth…I look forward to seeing where this drama goes! 

One More Happy Ending: Jang Nara, Yoo Da In, Yoo In Na, Seo In Young. #kdrama:


A Not-So-Secret Love: My Favorite Korean Dramas

It’s a not-so-secret fact that I love Korean dramas. Given the opportunity to watch an American TV show or a Korean drama, I will pick the Korean one almost every time. I like the storylines that wrap up in 16 or 20 episodes, the general lack of swearing and sex, the glimpse of another culture and the feel of a new language.  I like the strangely obsessive but endearing community that develops around the plots. Korean dramas open up another world within my world; they provide entertainment, yet also express an ethos beyond my familiar Western culture.

 Your favorite stories express something about you. I have predominantly focused on my favorite books.  However, the time has come to announce to the world (or at least my blog readers)….

I really, really like Korean dramas.

Here are my Favorite Dramas* (in descending order)**

Cyrano

9. Dating Agency: Cyrano
Episodes: 16
Plot: The Cyrano Agency provides dating advice and assistance for people with hopeless crushes. They feed lines, arrange meetings, and make true love happen. The leader of the group is a Realist. His latest hire, and the only female member, is a Romantic. Predictable conflict ensues!
I really enjoyed the 2010 movie Cyrano Agency and this drama functions as a “prequel.” Each episode follows a new couple helped by the agency.  In some ways, this show is entirely cheesy and the hero isn’t my favorite. However, the storyline kept me hooked and secondary characters made up for an awkward main couple.

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Monstar 2

8. Monstar
Episodes: 12
Plot: When a pop star gets suspended from his band for anger issues, he enrolls in school to change his image. While there he collects a group of musically gifted underdogs around him and together they challenge the school’s musical elites.
High school musicals are nothing unique, but Monstar’s beautiful soundtrack and realistic, psychological portrayal of bullying, abandonment, and hope stole my heart. A very talented group of actors make this comparatively brief drama worth the time.

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Heirs

7. Heirs
Episodes: 20

Plot: A young woman (“the heir to poverty”) follows her sister to the United States from Korea in hopes of a better life but finds herself worse off. During her time in the US, she meets a young man who is the heir to a large conglomeration and part of the top 1% of Korean society. The drama follows their romance and the “friendships, rivalries, and love lives” of the other heirs of Korea’s elite.
Some of my favorite actors (and actresses!) play main characters in this drama. It is hard to summarize because of the many intertwining subplots, but Heirs represents a recent development in K-dramas emphasizing character psychology. Watch it for the bromance, the ugly sweaters, or just plain Lee Min Ho. I think the drama lived up to the hubbub surrounding it.

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Sly and Single Again

6. Sly and Single Again
Episodes: 16

Plot: Three years after their divorce, a woman discovers her ex-husband has become the very successful CEO of his own company. She decides to seek revenge on him for leaving her penniless and in debt… by making him fall in love with her again.
This drama contrasts the miscommunication and pain that tear a marriage apart with the power of hope and forgiveness. Despite very difficult, deep themes, it manages to remain light hearted and fun. Yet it isn’t all comedy: the story portrays the very raw emotions that come from a divorce. Really well done (and having the ever attractive singer L play the secretary was not a bad move at all).

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Who Are You

5. Who Are You?
Episodes: 16

Plot: After waking from a coma, a detective discovers she can see ghosts. Reassigned to the Lost and Found Division, she seeks to solve the murders of the ghosts whose objects are in the office. At the same time she begins piecing together what happened to her and the detectives that died six years earlier.
Romance, mystery, horror, melodrama, fantasy… this drama has it all (including a very satisfying ending). A very well developed storyline and great acting make this worth the time, especially if when seeking a break from Rom-Com angst.

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Stars_Falling_From_the_Sky_Poster

4. Stars Falling From the Sky
Episodes: 20
Plot: When a self-absorbed, 25-year old woman finds herself the sole guardian of five, adopted younger siblings, her world flips upside down. With no money and no place to live, she takes a job as a live-in housekeeper for her long term crush and hides the kids in the basement. Her employer and his brother are womanizing bachelors with their own painful pasts.
I don’t know how to make that plot sound non-sketch, but this is one of my all-time favorite dramas. It has incredible character change for all the main characters. I love, love, love the sibling relationships. The drama is full of great themes like hard work, independence, and family bonds.  

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Master's Sun

3. Master’s Sun
Episodes: 17

Plot: Because of a near death accident, a woman can see ghosts and the they plague her until she solves their grievances. Because of this, she lives on the outskirts of society and barely sleeps. One day she meets a cold-hearted CEO whose touch makes the ghosts disappear. He seems like the perfect solution… but he wants nothing to do with the crazy lady.
I am not typically a horror fan. It took me several tries to get into the story; it starts out pretty scary. Once I began, though, I was hooked. The drama does an incredible job with character development and exploring psychological themes. It balances several subplots within one greater story. I love the costuming: the heroine’s dresses reflect her mental stability. However this drama isn’t only deep and artsy… it’s fun to watch too!

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Healer

2. Healer
Episodes: 20

Plot: Many years ago, five friends ran a pirate radio station. Then one event changed everything. Now, over twenty years later, two of the original five are dead. One is AWOL. One is a paraplegic. One is rich. It falls to a night courier, a famous journalist, and an online reporter to piece together the clues of their past and unveil the secret of what happened — a secret many are willing to kill for to keep hidden.
This drama is my latest favorite. It combines action, romance, and mystery. The flashbacks are really well done. Unlike some Korean dramas where stupid miscommunication or filler episodes slow down the plot, Healer did a great job keeping the characters intact and storyline moving. This main couple really stood out.

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Rooftop Prince

1. Rooftop Prince
Episodes: 20

Plot: When someone murders a crown-princess in the Joseon era (1700s), her husband and three of his retainers vow to find her killer. In the process they get sent 300 years in the future (modern day) where they find a woman who looks just like the murdered princess… only she has no idea who they are.
This drama contains history, romance, comedy, and mystery. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will give you feels. Though you have to battle through bad hair and occasionally slow episodes, the ending makes it worth it. While newer dramas may provide deeper characters, better graphics, and superior twists, Rooftop Prince offers a timeless storyline that is, at its essence, a classic. I get warm fuzzies just thinking about it! 

So there you have it, some of my favorite storylines. It has been neat to watch Korean dramas improve over the past few years. If you don’t mind reading subtitles, I strongly recommend giving a drama a try. If you watch Korean dramas already, which ones are your favorite? Have you seen all the ones on my list?

Be prepared. Now that I have unleashed my interest in Korean pop culture, you will see more from me about it!

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*These are my current favorites, though I’m watching two right now that might make it on the list at a later date depending how they end (Arang and the Magistrate and Hyde, Jekyl and I)

**Technically, Boys Over Flowers could be on this list. It is the classic, starter K Drama. If you are going to begin anywhere, that is the one to go with. However, it isn’t one of my All Time Favorites and this list is all about me! Maybe someday I’ll make a list of Required Dramas and BOF can top the list.