Oh geez. Writing down entire lists of what I’ve watched this year is clearly an indication that I have a problem. This might attribute to the reason why I have permanent dark circles.
Okay, little reminder about how I’ve been rating stuff:
Must Watch – Whaaat? You haven’t seen it yet?
Watch – Good times.
Just OK – Eeeh, but I’ll live.
If you’re bored – Makes for good background TV.
Pass – Ugggh, why? Whhhy do I deserve this kind of torture? Oh Whhhhy?
So here’s a list of things that I’m currently watching. Be mindful that my feelings could totally change as they haven’t finished their story arcs. But so far, here’s what I feel about them.
CURRENTLY AIRING K-DRAMAS/SITCOMS
VAMPIRE IDOL (뱀파이어 아이돌)
Here’s a clear example where I’m torturing myself. I will probably write a First Impression post about this soon but I’ve been dragging my feet with it. The first episode was TERRIBLE. Let’s not even talk about Noh Min Woo. The only thing redeemable about it was Shin Dong Yup and Kim Soo Mi. And yet… like an accident on the highway, I couldn’t look away. The setup was overly exaggerated with the acting and story. I know it’s supposed to be silly and a comedy but blowing it way out of proportion makes it seem more like, ‘OMG, I want to kill them,’ rather than ‘You guys are crazy.’ However, I can see how they are establishing the lovelines and the story is becoming more grounded making it bearable.
Verdict: Pass at first BUUUT… If you’re bored
HIGH KICK 3: THE REVENGE OF THE SHORT-LEGGED (하이킥! 짧은 다리의 역습)
When I first reviewed this, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to continue all the way ’til the end. Korean sitcoms can seem a bit too family-friendly. It’s nice but sometimes the jokes can be way too PG, making me roll my eyes like a teenager to her parents. However, there are some storylines that I look forward to like Ha Sun/Ji Suk and Jong Suk/Ji Won. I even find the parents to be ridiculously funny at times and have liked the episodes that features them. Hellooo Jung Il Woo.
FLOWER BOYS RAMYUN SHOP (꽃미남 라면가게)
This drama wraps up today but I’ve liked the cuteness of the drama. However, I’d say that overall this drama lacks depth. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing, but in this case I wish Chi Soo became more aware of his feelings sooner, leaving him to work on his whole immaturity thing. Of course, there’s the whole issue with him being a high school student and her being a teaching intern. That’s a firm ‘No’ in my book but I was glad that they took the drama out of the school setting. What I did like was that the drama felt like a manhwa making it fun and bubbly.
PADAM PADAM: THE SOUND OF HIS AND HER HEARTBEATS (빠담빠담… 그와 그녀의 심장박동소리)
This drama just started and it seems to be quite popular in Korea. Well you’ve got a big name star like Jung Woo Sung and a cutie-patootie like Kim Bum. They’re ex-cons trying to make it out in the world. But there is an ethereal element to the drama and we haven’t been given the whole story yet. As far as I can tell, there’s a whole Groundhog’s Day, do-over element to it. But the characters and the situations they get put in are interesting.
WHAT’S UP (왓츠업)
It’s that drama that’s been waiting for an airdate for almost a year now and now it’s airing on MBN, a cable network. There have been a lot of dramas like this, this year. (The Musical, Dream High, You’ve Fallen for Me) But out of all of them, I really like this one the best so far. You’ve got the quirky one, your primadonna, the poor guy with the chip on his shoulder, the dork, the quiet, emo dude and the tough chick. So far, it’s been interesting to see what brought these characters to the university and how they’re gonna survive the first year.
I had been dissing K-Dramas for being unable to produce a solid crime drama series and now OCN had two this year, Vampire Prosecutor and TEN. Joo Sang Wook is a bit odd to watch. At times, I think his delivery of lines can be unbelievably terrible. In those moments I’m like, ‘It’s because you’re a pretty face and voice.’ And then other times, I’m surprised by a great acting moment by him. What’s with the inconsistency? Despite that, the stories themselves are really good. The first 2-hour episode blew me away. I can watch that episode over and over again. The subsequent episodes are your standard crime drama fare but there are times where you are surprised by the twists. Plus, Kim Sang Ho (City Hunter) is in the drama. Hellooo Ahjussi!
Verdict: Must Watch
TREE WITH DEEP ROOTS (뿌리깊은 나무)
This drama ends this week and to be completely honest, I haven’t been watching it live. It’s one of those dramas you have to concentrate on while watching. There are so many things happening that if you just happen to look away for a second, you might miss a look or clue that indicates the direction this mystery is going to take you in. Plus, the cliffhangers are THAT good so by that logic it makes sense to watch them back to back.
Verdict: MUST Watch
THE MUSICAL (더 뮤지컬)
A medical student, Go Eun Bi (Gu Hye Sun) gives up on being a doctor to pursue her dream of being in a musical. She gets to work with her role model Bae Kang Hee (Ock Joo Hyun) and even work with her dream composer, Hong Jae Yi (Choi Daniel). Until she starts to develop feelings for Hong Jae Yi who is an old flame of Bae Kang Hee’s. Another musical drama and it’s got two more weeks to go. It’s predictable but the singing is great. Especially with talents from Ock Joo Hyun. I’m a bit bothered by Gu Hye Sun’s singing though. She’s got a slight lisp that bugs me and I feel like that could never be accepted for Broadway standards. She’s plucky though.
Verdict: Just OK
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE KOREA
It’s the Korean version of Saturday Night Live and I have to say that it’s pretty funny. This past weekend the host was Kim In Gwon, a comic actor. Iiiii don’t know who he is and even Jang Jin made a joke about his lackluster status. However, the first skit that took place on the bus. Wow, wow… Sometimes comedy has uncanny timing. The news of Kim Jong Il’s death hadn’t hit the airwaves but the show makes a crack about Kim Il Sung’s (Kim Jong Il’s father who died in 1994) death in the skit. And then basically dissed all Muslims. I’m sorry for laughing but I found it funny even though the stereotypes depicted in it were so offensive. They could never play that out in America. The other skits were really funny as well and I have to admit that this was probably the best episode so far. It was that funny. It’s highbrow comedy and I don’t think this will be everyone’s cup of tea. It requires more knowledge of Korea’s political-scape and everyday living.
INFINITY CHALLENGE (무한도전)
Sometimes Infinity Challenge can be brilliant, other times I hate it. I especially hate it when they all stand around yelling at each other and nothing is really happening. I could just walk by my corner deli to see immature boys arguing over whether Mighty Mouse can beat Superman. I usually save up the episodes and watch them all at once, fastforwarding through anything I find boring. But then obsessively watch when it’s exciting, like when they had the bomb in their vehicle and suddenly it was like the movie, Speed. Can someone just filter out the bad episodes for me?
Verdict: If you’re bored
RUNNING MAN (런닝맨)
It’s been about a year and a half since Running Man debuted and I still love it. They change up the obstacles and have even taken the show overseas. (Oh please, oh please. I know it’s half a world away but come to New York!) I like the characters all the members have established and I love their selection of guests. Choi Min Soo is my utmost favorite guest.
1 NIGHT 2 DAYS (1박2일)
It’s a travel show featuring a bunch boys showing us the sites and well… being immature boys. The group takes trips to places around Korea for 1 Night and 2 Days and are often starved because they have to win the game in order to be allowed to eat. They treat each other like family unless something important is on the line (e.g. loser sleeps outside, loser forfeits dinner, etc). Although the show has lost Kang Ho Dong, I think the rest of the members are still going strong. Even the staff members play important aspects on the show as Na PD is frequently featured sheepishly torturing the stars. All in all, it’s a consistently good show.
Verdict: Must Watch
I AM A SINGER (나는 가수다)
Really, the success of this show is dependent on who the singer is. I was sad to see Insooni go. But that’s just it. Any viewer has an opinion about who they like or dislike. Plus, I also like that the singer’s “managers” for the program are comedians. They provide important dialogue that makes it variety-like. In the last couple of months, the producers have even brought video diary option in the middle week. It gives us a little insight into the singer without the star presence.
Verdict: Just OK
STRONG HEART (강심장)
This is another show that had to deal with the fallout of Kang Ho Dong’s scandal. However, I think Seung-Gi is doing a decent job. This is another show where the guests are important and over the last few weeks, we’ve been seeing some really great guests. The Wonder Girls, SNSD, Yoon Do Hyun, Hwang Kwang Hee.
WE GOT MARRIED (우리 결혼했어요)
Okay, it’s obvious that variety shows are all about the people and how they interact with each other. Some couples in the past have been kinda boring. (Ahem, Seo Hyun did nothing for me but I still watched for Yong Hwa. He was cheeky.) And other couples made me so jealous. (Alex and Shin Ae) But currently, we have some really great couples. I’ve previously gushed about Lee Teuk being so romantic to Kang Sora and I love Park So Hyun and Kim Won Jun. Since they’ve known each other as friends for so long, we got past that beginning awkward phase with them very quickly.
Verdict: Must Watch
TOP GEAR KOREA
Here’s the thing. I’m not a car person but I still like this show. I usually have it running in the background and I learn a thing or two about cars. What I really look forward to are the Star Lap Times. When guests like Kim Suro, who play the macho card, and then run the car off the road in the first episode, you just can’t plan for moments like that. Plus, I thought Jo Kwon drove like an old lady and it didn’t help that his car got stuck in the marsh. However, his time was decent. I’d be interested in seeing another season of guests.
Verdict: Just OK
COMEBACK SHOW TOP 10 (컴백쇼 톱10)
So disappointing. They couldn’t settle on a format for the show and what resulted was a big mess that I had trouble concentrating on. It’s sad to see my former idols like that. Some documentary scenes like R.ef’s Lee Sung Wook was so sweet because we got to see what he had been doing since he left the entertainment business. Other scenes like Turbo’s Kim Jung Nam being unable to run was painful to watch. He had basically been in seclusion playing video games and therefore his limbs had atrophied while trying to do his punishment on the show.
Next up, American and British dramas.