Early Summer TV Report (2012)

NOT QUITE A HOT, HOT SUMMER YET BUT THE TV IS SIZZLING

It’s technically not summer yet but once Memorial Day comes around I’m already in a summery kind of mood.  I was actually waiting for Big to start up before I got into another round of these.  Plus, there’s a lot American shows that I didn’t really get to do reviews of and planning to do a quick rundown here.  So here we go…

K-Drama

BIG (빅)

Love, love, love!  We’re just 2 episodes in and from the get-go I’m in love with the writing, cinematography and acting.  Who knew watching High Kick 3 would payoff?  뿌잉뿌잉! (Bbu-ing Bbu-ing!)  I’ll get into more reasons why I immediately fell in love with this drama more on Monday’s post.  One complaint: Would it have killed them to show a little more of naked Gong Yoo?  Answer: Yes, standards and practice regulators would have been on their ass but a girl can dream, right?  *Drool*

CHASER (추적자)

I know most people probably aren’t watching this drama.  I wasn’t planning on watching it but the trailer caught my eye.  The acting is fantastic.  Especially by the leads.  This is one of the other Mon-Tue dramas and I expect that the older crowd is going to like this drama and the actors that are in it more than Big.  It started the week before and the ratings were pretty good considering that it’s biggest competition the first week was Light and Shadows.  I don’t expect fabulous ratings but the storyline is intriguing and the actors are veterans.

I DO, I DO (아이두 아이두)

Kim Sun Ah is back.  I always think the start to her dramas are great but then I lose interest towards the end (minus Samsoon).  They always seem to follow the same path.  I love her though and I also like that her character is a little bit mean here.  I’m so used to seeing her play these women who kinda get taken advantage of in the beginning before she takes life into her own hands.  Ji An doesn’t mess around but that also doesn’t mean she has everything under control.  She’s spent her life pushing people away so it’ll be interesting to see that aspect of her change.  Lee Jang Woo.  What can I say?  I only know him from We Got Married and I don’t love his real-life personality so it wasn’t him that drew me to the drama.  However, I discovered that he’s a good actor.  It’s still the early stages but the story makes me sad and makes me laugh.  I care for these characters.  The shoes…  That shoe that Ji An makes on the fly.  Trust me, I’m a crafty person.  There’s no way she could have bedazzled that shoe in time for the show but whatevs, I’ll go along with it.  As for the new shoe?  Blech, it was just plain ugly.  I much preferred the original one.

DR. JIN (닥터 진)

I tried.  I know Song Seung Hun isn’t a good actor but I deal with it because he’s purrrty.  But the bad dialogue, the cheesy camera work, that goddamn inner monologue.  Plus, Song Seung Hun and Park Min Young have no chemistry.  A lot of laughing at inappropriate times turned into a lot of eye rolling.  I couldn’t take it.  The only redeeming thing about the drama is Lee Bum Soo.  Aaah, I feel so bad for Lee Bum Soo.  He’s such a talented actor that he deserves to be in a drama with better writers and producers.  Though I can see he’s adlibbing a lot because there’s a disconnect with the dialogue he says than that of the other characters.  Bum Soo’s adlib of the dialogue is way more entertaining.  I’ll wait to do a full review after the drama has wrapped but it seems unlikely that I’ll return to watching it.  I may or may not try out the Japanese version that this was based on.  We’ll see how my schedule looks this summer.

A GENTLEMAN’S DIGNITY (신사의 품격)

I wasn’t sure if I was going to watch this but a friend’s suggestion made me try it out.  I love it and can’t wait for the next episode.  Middle-aged dramas tend to be about family and kids but these guys are still single and living the life.  Unlike people in their 20’s, they’ve figured out who they are and are settled in their careers.  They just haven’t figured out their love lives yet.  I haven’t really seen Kim Suro in a drama yet.  Just movies and variety shows and he’s always this larger than life person because his booming voice says so.  His character, Tae San wants to be with Se Ra (Yoon Se Ah) but she’s the one that’s not fully committed to the relationship because of her golfing career.  I feel like Tae San should be a player (because the volume of his voice deems it so) but he isn’t so we’ll see what happens later.  But for now, Jang Dong Gun and Kim Min Jong make me feel like I’m in junior high school all over again.  Siiiigh.

BRIDAL MASK/GAKSITAL (각시탈)

Capital Scandal and City Hunter had a baby.  That’s the easiest way to explain the plot of this drama.  Awesome trailer and the poster for this drama just rocks.  I just love this period of Korean history.  I think it’s because I got to hear firsthand encounters from my grandparents and their experiences of living through this dark time so in some ways I feel connected to it.  It’s a first Joo Won drama for me and he certainly is passionate.  I didn’t feel a connection with Kang To in the 1st episode.  It’s strange.  I love fast-paced beginnings because it gets you right into the heart of the story but there was too much going on in the 1st episode.  There are just so many characters and too many motives to be aware of that you don’t really get a sense of everything until the end of 2.  I didn’t even feel a connection with Kang To the character.  I didn’t even like him that much.  That’s probably due to the fact that I didn’t emotionally connect his reason for supporting the Japanese occupation as Joseon person. Logically, I understood but I needed to feel it in my heart. However, that changes with the 2nd episode as you get more of his history.  The cinematography is gooorgeous.  And the action scenes are done very well.  What’s funny is that the stunt guy who does the Gaksital scenes has a distinctly different face structure from Shin Hyun Joon that I almost began to question if there was more than one Gaksital but I quickly threw that thought away.  Now I’m just waiting to see how Kang To will takeover as the masked hero.

QUEEN IN HYUN’S MAN (인현왕후의 남자)

This drama wraps up this week and already I like it way better than Rooftop Prince.  I do miss the Joseon entourage but the pacing of this drama is consistent and emotional development of the characters follow a logical trajectory.  When Boong Do makes the decision to be with Hee Jin in the present and tears up in front of her, I also cried.  It almost reminded me of the scene when Kim Hang Ah (Ha Ji Won) is standing by the window and tearing over her father’s departure from the palace to return to North Korea in The King 2 Hearts.  They are leaving their entire world to be with someone they love.  That’s not an easy sacrifice to make.

K-Variety/Reality

I AM A SINGER: SEASON 2 (나는 가수다: 시즌 2)

There’s a new format and a different voting system and a looot more artists.  Sometimes more doesn’t mean better, it just means there’s more.  What I do like is the live setting.  I can really hear the little mistakes more now than I did before.  However, I find the new format wearisome.  I watched til the end of May but I won’t be resuming.  It was a hard decision to make because I looove Kim Gun Mo but I think I’d rather just catch up on his performances through Youtube clips.

KIM BYUNG MAN’S LAWS OF THE JUNGLE: SEASON 2 (김병만의 정글의 법칙: 시즌 2)

Quitting IAAS just leaves room for me to try this show out.  I wanted to watch the first season but there was just not enough hours in the day.  This season they’re in Vanuatu.  Byung Man, Kwang Hee, Ricky and Woo Jin are back but now they’ve added Park Shi Eun (Delightful Girl, Choon Hyang, Just Like Today) and Chu Sung Hoon (MMA Fighter, Athena) to the cast.  Yoon Do Hyun narrates.  The bad thing is that they did a 20 minute recap of the season in the beginning of the first episode.  I think 20 minutes is a bit too much, don’t you think?  Sure, it was exciting but then we have to watch these scenes again when we see how everything plays out.  It’s a little like Man vs. Wild but with people who are inexperienced with living in the wild.  It’s interesting to see how they figure it out as they go along.  It took them 6-7 hours just to light a fire!  Right now, Byung Man and Sung Hoon are duking it out to be the alpha male and it doesn’t help that these two men were born in the same year on the same exact day.  Ugh, my heart goes out to the film crew that have to work in the extreme heat, carrying heavy equipment.

STRONG HEART (강심장)

Really, it’s Shin Dong Yup who leads this show.  He’s so charismatic as the MC.  I like Lee Dong Wook but he’s got a lot to learn from a veteran like Shin Dong Yup.  I would like to see him speak up more and interact with the guests more.  I feel like Boom works very hard to have Dong Wook interact with the guests because he’s the young, pretty looking MC.  For now, I’m so thankful to have Lee Kyung Shil as one of the regulars.  Boom is mostly silly while Lee Kyung Shil brings thoughtful insights and hilarious anecdotes while simultaneously making it relatable to the guests that week.

1 NIGHT 2 DAYS: SEASON 2 (1박2일: 시즌 2)

There was a lot of criticism that this season’s cast didn’t have the same camaraderie as the previous bunch.  It takes time people.  You don’t meet someone and suddenly you’re best friends, right?  However with the last 2 trips, I’m beginning to see some real cohesion.  Oooh Uhm Tae Woong, why do your corny jokes make me laugh?  Kim Jong Min, sometimes I wonder how you ever became a celebrity.  You’re not that good looking, you dance okay, I feel like I sing better than you, you don’t speak very clearly and you’re not very smart.  But boy do you make me laugh.  Bird PD, please, please, please play the Strawberry game soon.  Kim Jong Min + the Strawberry game = Me laughing until I can’t breathe.  I’m grateful that Su Geun has taken the lead as he’s always angling to make boring moments fun.  However, I also have some criticisms.  The newer cast members need to start forming some stronger personalities.  I think Cha Tae Hyun is okay because he’s no stranger to variety shows.  I even like Kim Seung Woo and his old guy thing but think that might get old quick.  Ha.  Sung Shi Kyung and Joo Won.  They are both very, very talented but they have yet to develop that variety show persona yet.

RUNNING MAN (런닝맨)

Guests, guests, guest galore.  I think lately that’s been the biggest draw for the show.  Each episode they tweak the games but I could use a little revamping.  For now, keep the A+ guests coming.

American TV

FAIRLY LEGAL

I felt this show was mediocre in the 1st season but I’m really loving this 2nd season.  I just love Ben (Ryan Johnson) and Kate (Sarah Shahi)’s chemistry.  It’s electric.  I just hope they don’t get together quickly but I DO NOT want to see Kate back together with Justin (Michael Trucco).  I was reeling at the end of the last episode when Justin suggested that.

MAD MEN

I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t originally watch this show as it was airing but I’m not totally loving this season.  In the last 2 episodes, we lost some people at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and in my head I can’t stop thinking about whether that was due to AMC ultimatum.  Though, I will say that it was a good thing for Peggy, career-wise.  I only begun to start liking her in the 2nd half of Season 4 and I’m sad to see Peggy go but if I were her I would have done the same thing.  That scene she has with Don and he kisses her hand, uuugh, I nearly choked on my tears.  However, I’ve been missing Betty.  I want to keep in touch with what goes on in her world but we don’t get much and what we do get to see is a bit boring.  Betty the housewife is getting boring.  Sally, on the other hand, continues to impress me.

FRINGE

I was planning to write a lengthy review but just never got around to it.  Fringe this season was just okay.  I think it started off stronger than the way it ended.  The season finale was a bit anti-climactic but I love the way the world of this show continues to reinvent itself.  Here’s the thing about Fringe.  It’s mostly an A+ show for 3 whole seasons and this season it was just an A.  Does that make the show unwatchable?  Absolutely not.  It’s still a fantastic, creative show.  This season, I liked getting to know Astrid (from both worlds) and I miss Lincoln already.

EUREKA

The series as a whole is wrapping up and I’m ready to let this one go.  I’ve enjoyed this town of crazy scientists and their experiments but I felt the season’s storyline has plateaued since Season 4.5.

SCANDAL

What hold does Shonda Rhimes have over me?  Every time she creates a new show, I have to watch it.  They’re not groundbreaking but she’s great at creating characters.  Her shows are on the soapy side but such a guilty pleasure.  And now, it’s set in a political world?  I like the fast speaking, smart, tide turning, Olivia Pope.  Her co-horts are intriguing as well. I’ll be back for the 2nd season.

GREY’S ANATOMY

This year’s season finale didn’t feel like a season finale for Grey’s Anatomy.  Big disaster but instead of wrapping things up by the end of the episode it left us hanging.  I’ve been left hanging for the whole season about what would happen to these Seattle Grace doctors and you leave me hanging again?  I’ve been very patient with you this season in the midst of all this Christina/Owen disaster of a marriage.  Audiences knew from the moment they said, “I Do”.  It could have been done better.

PRIVATE PRACTICE

Just when I was beginning to like Addison again.  Sure, she’s always flirty but with the baby I was thinking that she was going to be somewhat settled with how her life is right now.  Can’t she stay single for one goddamn minute?  She’s not very good at dating and in a single episode she’s making out with Jake and then considering to be with Sam because he’s ready to do the family thing again.  Tim Daly is gone now from the show and I’m happy about that.  His character, Pete, was just so angry all the time.  Plus, Violet is annoying with all that nagging.  The show really needs to figure out what to do with Sheldon.  I’m tired of seeing him handle cases and want to see more of his personal life.  I liked Charlotte and Cooper’s storyline this season.  Mason was such a nice addition to that family unit.

SMASH

Oooh this just reminded me.  I need to download the soundtrack.  I’m so interested in what happens to Bombshell (aka Marilyn: The Musical).  I went back and forth a lot this season from being Team Ivy to Team Karen.  When the announcement was made, I thought Ivy should have been Marilyn but when I saw Karen on stage I finally understood what Derek’s vision was for the show.  Not so much a fan of Julia’s mess of a marriage storyline.  I hope the end of this season means the end of that affair nonsense.  However, I liked how the affair affected Julia’s relationship with Tom.  Interested to see what their working relationship would be like now.  And I love Tom’s latest boyfriend, Sam.  I love that he’s drama-free because there’s so much drama going on in this show that it balances things out.  He grounds people.

GLEE

People are moving on.  I teared a little bit and it was sad to let the characters go but I’m eager for them to move on.  It’s not okay to have the same group of kids in high school for 10 years.  However, I’m a little less interested in seeing how this season finished up and waiting to see how this is going to change the next season.  The show is in need of some revamping.

COUGAR TOWN

I can’t say I loved this season but I’m glad that TBS is picking up this show as I’m not ready to let go.  Unfortunately, the best thing about this season was the changing title cards.  (It’s kinda of like The Simpsons and how Bart changes up what he writes on the board.)  I did like the development with Laurie and Travis’ relationship but was bummed by the appearance of her military boyfriend at the last minute.  Grayson and Jules getting married?  Eeeh, I regret wishing these two getting together because I miss Jules dating random men.

British TV

WHITECHAPEL

I didn’t love this season of Whitechapel.  It was gory but the conclusions to the fictional cases seemed obvious.  I was a little bored and fell asleep a couple times while watching the 2nd and 3rd case.

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3 thoughts on “Early Summer TV Report (2012)

  1. Thanks for mentioning Chaser. I saw that it had started recently but nobody mentioned it so I was wondering what it was about and first impressions.

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    • I have to say that Son Hyun Joo’s performance in these first 4 episodes are so heartbreaking. I love how the lives of this Presidential candidate Kang Dong Yoon (Kim Sang Joong) and detective Baek Hong suk (Son Hyun Joo) intersect. There is an awesome scene at a rally where DY talks to HS, indirectly. Now HS has put the conspiracy together and he knows who he needs to go after. I’m eager to find out what happens next.

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  2. Thought Season 4’s Fringe is great. Everything is reset back to how it should be – Original Peter with Olivia! Yes, missed Lincoln already! Good to know that Olivia did end up with Peter and is pregnant with Peter’s kid. And not Fauxlivia who’s pregnant (like in Season 3)! Got to know a bit more of September and the watchers/observers too!

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