Late Summer TV Report (2012)


You know, it’s funny.  This past Spring, I felt that Korean TV was having a really strong season.  The Americans and British tube just seemed bleh.  However, we were due for a reversal. The Americans have been having a super strong summer season.  Not that I’m not digging any of the new Korean dramas because there are some that I’ve been thoroughly loving.  However, the volume of Korean dramas that I’ve been watching has decreased some since the Spring.  So let’s get down it.



My goodness.  Episode 1 and 2 was super boring.  But episode 3 finally kicked this drama into gear with well-paced plot points and character development.  So far, it seems like it’s a good drama for the summer as it’s wacky and frivolous but I don’t expect the drama to completely sweep me off my feet.

FAITH (신의)

I was thoroughly unimpressed by the trailers.  However I just had to keep the faith considering the cast and the writing staff.  I did worry in the first 5 minutes of the drama when the cinematography started off being sloppy and film school-ish but my fears quickly faded away.  The animated sequences are quite beautiful.  It’s been ages since I last saw Kim Hee Sun in a drama and she’s still got it.  The drama is definitely a fantasy and I’m not just talking about the time traveling.  This Goryeo universe has got some individuals with some mystical powers and so far I’m finding it all intriguing.  Apart from our main characters, I’m liking Jang Min (Lee Philip) and the relationship between King Gong Min (Ryu Duk Hwan) and Princess Nogook (Park Se Young) fascinating.


There are moments when this drama loses me with its pacing as it does get repetitive and the repetition gets a bit ridiculous at times.  Also, there are times when I feel the writers and directors aren’t sure how to balance the manhwa-esque elements with the live-action drama.  However just as the drama is about to lose me, it has the ability to suck me back in with some very, very interesting plot twists that illuminate each of the character’s underlying motives.  I’ve decided that for the rest of the run of this drama, I’ll wait until both episodes air for the week and watch them back to back.  It’s more exciting that way.

ANSWER ME 1997 (응답하라 1997)

At first I thought that the reason why I loved this drama was only because it’s my generation’s drama.  While that’s part of the reason why I love fangirling about it, the writing is fantastic.  The story isn’t told in a linear fashion, the twists are always delightful and each episode starts with a theme that wraps disparate stories together at the end.  Finally, I’m impressed by the acting here particularly from newcomer Jung Eun Ji.


At first, I just viewed this drama as a super cute supernatural/mystery sageuk.  Lee Jun Ki and Shin Min Ah have some really great chemistry here.  This week, they got into the mythology of the show at length and it was done with wit and flair.  The cinematography and the graphics are beautifully done.  It’s hard to compare it to Faith because it’s a different genre of drama but Arang and the Magistrate is done more in that crisp, Hollywood style while Faith is grittier.  I don’t favor one over the other but for Arang, the cinematography certainly feels like it’s a character in and of itself.

American TV


I have been really loving The Newsroom.  The drama skips through time to key moments in news history.  Sure, it plays up the drama but for me it feels logical for this world.  I like the relationship between Will (Jeff Daniels) and Mac (Emily Mortimer) as I worried early on that their past relationship will weigh too heavily with their working relationship.  Their past relationship creeps in but it doesn’t impede too much on the drama as a whole.  I do hope that one day we do discover aliens or Bigfoot because I would love for Neal to have his day in the news pit.


The reason I wanted to watch this X-Men knockoff was because David Strathairn was leading the cast.  Season 1 didn’t impress me much but Season 2 took a darker turn which is working extremely well for the story and all of its characters.


Season 3 went out with a bang.  Literally.  Season 4 started off strong but the thrill of the series has slowed down a bit for me.  I still love the camaraderie of the cast and the quirky dialogue but there’s a new unseen Big Bad and overall it feels as if it’ll be a mediocre season.


I didn’t get to review this at the end of the season but I will say for a final season that started off slowly, I really liked the end.  It ends on your usual quirky, weird note and it was a nice ending to the series.


Suits is having such a good season with the introduction of the Daniel Hardman (David Costabile).  We getting to learn more about Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and more importantly his weaknesses.  Mike (Patrick J. Adams) is coming into his own at the law firm and not leaning on Harvey as much as he did before.  Donna (Sarah Rafferty) messing up was a bit of shock and then again maybe it wasn’t.  I love her character and glad that world order has restored with her return to Pearson Hardman.


Neal (Matt Bomer) started off the season on the run with Peter (Tim DeKay) in hot water.  For me, the season started off slow.  However with Neal’s interest in finding about his father and possibly a new bad guy, it is breathing new life into this buddy dramedy series.


It’s very soapy and that’s how I’ve enjoyed the series.  Mostly.  Early on I wished for faster development of the characters as the run of the series was so short rather than it be puff piece about a political dynasty.  The show finally turned things around in Episode 5, titled “16 Hours”.  Wow, did it turn it around (though it was the 2nd to last episode).  Elaine’s mother, Margaret (Ellen Burstyn) started playing more of a significant role rather than the funny, town drunk.  And we began to see a turning point in how Elaine viewed her career and what she had planned to do about it.  I am still a little disappointed with Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) as I saw her as a person that would not only befriend the family but also challenge them.  Sadly, I think she’s a one-note character.


As Steve would say, ‘Ooooh Jeff.’  I can’t help it.  Every time I see Richard Coyle, I picture the hapless Jeff from Coupling. However, I completely welcome him to this series to give it a different change of pace.  Annie’s sister, Danielle (Anne Dudek) is out.  Makes me a little sad to see the actress go but the series didn’t know what to do with her character.  Along the same lines, Sendhil Ramamurthy left the series in the first episode as well.  There’s a new energy this season and I’m hoping that it will revitalize some of the stale elements of the series.


The storyline for True Blood has officially plateaued this season.  I feel like every season we go through the same rigmarole of an insane bad guy that the team needs to eliminate.  The crazy seems to get amped up another degree every year.  Perhaps I’ve grown accustomed to the crazy but now I’m a little unfazed by what the show is offering us.  Lilith is… whatevs.  I’m actually more interested in this Warlow.


It was a slow start to this series as there are a lot of things to set up and the writing and camera work felt like it needed to take its time.  However, I’m not ready to give up on this show just yet.


I still hate the title to this show.  Please, please, please, I would be so happy if you came back next season and had a completely different title.  Other than that, I adore the witty dialogue, the quirky townsfolk and development of the characters this season.  It’s my new Gilmore Girls except with ballet.  Truly (Stacey Oristano) is crazy but I adore her.  I would like to see some more male characters in the show as it feels a little unbalanced.  I’m liking the character Carl and would like to get to know the surfer bartender at the Oyster Bar.


Breaking Bad is winding down to wrap up the series next year.  Walt (Bryan Cranston) is proving to be the show’s final bad guy.  He is such a sociopath and it seems clear to me the direction they want to take this show.  Walt has got to go and I think Jesse (Aaron Paul) needs to be the one to do it.  Skyler (Anna Gunn) is just going nuts but can you really blame her?  The show has transformed my dislike for Walter by making me care about what happens to everyone else in the series.


The series didn’t really start off on a good note for me.  I suppose it was about time for the brothers to go separate ways but I love their dynamic so much that it was a little hard to handle.  Glad they patched things up.  That said, the best thing about those episodes was we got to see more of Kyle Howard as Dr. Paul Van Dyke and they added Ben Shenkman as Dr. Jeremiah Sacani.  I’m so disinterested in what has been going on in Boris’ (Campbell Scott) world but I do think the series will make up for it at the end.  Right now, let’s see more cases and the guest stars.  And yes to Divya and her renewed dating life!


Watching this show out of habit but I feel as it needs to be taken off my DVR soon.  While formula works for this type of series, it’s become so formulaic that I don’t even go through the motions with the show anymore because our main characters don’t seem to be evolving.  I mostly end up on the computer or on the phone while the show is playing in the background.


2 thoughts on “Late Summer TV Report (2012)

  1. I too HATE the title of Bunheads. The title alone almost made me not watch this show especially since when they were casting there was no description of the show or the characters and no script. My epic love for Gilmore GIrls made me watch this show and I’m glad I did. I just wish they would change the title or at least do something quippy and reference how awful the title of their show is like Cougartown does.


  2. Oh, I haven’t been watching for any of the new American series for some time now. Somehow every show that starts out smart and thrilling becomes more and more ridiculous with each season. The only shows that I keep watching are comedy series such as How I Met Your Mother (and rewatching Friends).
    I guess I don’t have much time either as there are too many dramas on my plate now to turn on the TV. But even so I’m so far behind with Gaksital. Since the show never got me with the firs episodes I put it on hold for a few days and now I’m behind with nearly 20 episodes.
    However, I really love Answer Me 1997 and it’s currently my favourite from the shows now airing. I just wish the subbing process was faster.


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