Friday, April 18, 2014

Dramatards Triathlon: Dramas - 3/40


Bride of the Century

Score: 8/10


          Choi Kang Joo is the sole heir of the highly successful Taeyang Corporation. He is selfish, cold, and rude to everyone including his fiance Jang Ki Kyung. She gets fed up with his behavior and runs away, sending her mother and brother into a panic. They discover a girl who looks identical to Ki Kyung to stand in for her until she returns. Na Doo Rim accepts the job because her grandmother needs an expensive surgery. Although identical, the two girls are as different as night and day. While pretending to be Ki Kyung, Doo Rim and Kang Joo slowly begin to fall for each other. However, Kang Joo's family is cursed and the first bride of the first son is doomed to meet an early demise.

       I was not expecting a lot from this drama, I hadn't heard much about it and only watched it because my cousin likes Lee Hong Ki. I was extremely surprised by how much I enjoyed it despite it's cliched ridden plot. Lee Hong Ki was decent as Kang Joo, I was afraid that he wouldn't perform the role well because I associate him so closely with his character from You're Beautiful. I loved Yang Ji Sung in this, her performance of two completely different characters was great and my personal favorite part of the drama. I liked the humor and Hong Ki had great chemistry with Ji Sung. Sadly, the drama did start to drag around episode 12 and lost a lot of the fun that was present in earlier episodes. The constant noble idiocy became somewhat annoying and unnecessary, further dragging the plot. I also didn't care for the development of the main relationship, Kang Joo and Doo Rim go from having a growing attraction to one another and constantly fighting to undying love.I was also not happy with some character inconsistencies, mainly the antagonist. In one scene the bad guy is screaming and plotting revenge but then wants to stop later in the same episode-it doesn't make sense and was also a problem I had with Secret Love. Overall I still liked the drama and it is worth watching but prepared for cliches and pacing issues.

       

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

60 Day Asian Drama Challenge: Day 21


Your Least Favorite Asian Drama Actress?

                As I mentioned before, female roles in dramas tend to be the least well written  so it is hard to determine whether the actress or the character is to blame for a poor performance. I have seen actresses that I have hated in one role but love in another and in that case it is obviously the writing that is the culprit. 



Bae Suzy



          It is quite common for kpop stars to transition into acting roles and some are actually really talented (Park Yoo Chun, Yoon Eun Hye, etc). But truthfully most are not, which is the case here. I first watched Suzy in Dream High and I loved it-I enjoyed the story, music and characters. While Suzy's performance acting wise was by far the worst, it perfectly fit her character so it didn't detract too much from the overall enjoyment of the drama. I next watched her in Big, which wasn't a great drama but featured a decent performance by Gong Yoo. Suzy's character was basically identical to her Dream High performance except she didn't sing. I didn't dwell too much on it because the drama was already pretty flawed and she was just a supporting character. Suzy's performance in Gu Family Book is what drove home her lack of acting skills and placed her far above any other Asian drama actress that I disliked. Suzy was horribly miscast in GFB, a fantasy/period drama that required much more of her than her previous teen dramas/roles where she could get away with being stiff and relatively emotionless. Suzy is a shinning example of popularity overshadowing talent. I am in no way saying she is untalented, she has a decent voice and I like her group Miss A. I am simplying stating that when a kpop star wants to transition into acting that it may be a good idea to actually take acting lessons first.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Overview of Korean/Asian Drama Subscription Sites


Popularity in Asian dramas is growing and many streaming sites are available to watch them on. I am going to briefly review each site, discussing the positive and negative aspects of each one. I am only going to be discussing the paid subscription sites but there are a lot of free Asian drama streaming and torrent sites.



Netflix
Monthly Price: $7.99

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          Netflix is the primary reason why I got into Asian dramas. The first drama that I watched, Boys Over Flowers, was on Netflix and I then proceeded to watch most of the the ones that were available at the time. I eventually moved on to Hulu and other sites because Netflix didn't have a large selection. It is a good place to start since Netflix has a lot of the most popular dramas from the past six years including Boys Over Flowers, Secret Garden, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, My Princess, You're Beautiful, etc. I still use Netflix to watch movies (great selection of Foreign/Asian films) and American/British shows but I would elsewhere if you really want a site mainly for Asian dramas.


Pros
Available on multiple devices
Many popular Korean dramas


Cons
Small selection of Korean dramas
Dramas are not available for long periods of time (they recently removed a large portion of dramas)
No other Asian dramas (Japanese, Taiwanese, etc)









Hulu Plus
Monthly Price: $7.99

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        Hulu is a great site and has an enormous amount of Korean dramas, both new and old. I first used the site to watch Coffee Prince and Wild Romance, it was my main source for drama watching until I found some better ones. I would like Hulu much more if it wasn't for the commercials. I do not know of any other sites that you have to pay to use that forces you to watch commercials. In all honesty, I would solely use Hulu if there weren't commercials because of their massive kdrama options.



Pros
100+ Korean dramas
Nice selection of new and old dramas
Available on multiple devices


Cons
Lots of commercials
Small selection of Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese dramas










DramaFever
Monthly Price: $9.99

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       Unlike the aforementioned options, Drama Fever is a really great streaming site that is exclusively Asian dramas, movies and reality shows. They have over 100 dramas available and they sub newer dramas fairly quickly. Like Hulu and Viki, you can still use the site without paying but there is a longer wait for unsubscribed customers to watch subs and there are also commercials. DF also features articles, videos, and contests which are really fun. 


Pros
Large selection of Kdramas
Decent selection of Chinese/Taiwanese
Available on multiple devices


Cons
Movies are listed as an episode instead of a movie
Poor selection of Japanese dramas









Viki
Monthly Price: $3.99

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             Viki is my favorite subscription streaming site. It has a lot of Asian dramas and moviesand also subs (adding English translations) new dramas within 24 hours. My favorite part of Viki is the drama commentary, usually added by subbers but now anybody can comment as well. It is a line of commentary at the top of the drama screen where people discuss or comment on actors/situations occurring in the drama. It is usually really funny and I will admit that it is  the only reason that I made it through some overly draggy dramas. I do have to occasionally turn it off, as was the case when I watched Reply 1994 and the commentary just consisted of people arguing/insulting the two male leads.  It is the cheapest subscription site although it was once free. The subbing is done by fans, subbers and segmenters do not have to pay for the site as well as exclusive access to certain features. You can use the site for free but you will have to watch some commercials. 




Pros
200+ Korean dramas
100+ Taiwanese dramas
around 100 Chinese dramas
Extremely Fast subbing of new dramas
Dramas from Philippines, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Vietnam, others
Large selection of new dramas and old dramas
Available on certain devices (Kindle, possibly Amazon Fire)


Cons
Doesn't always get the license for new and popular dramas
Poor selection of Japanese dramas











Kdrama
Monthly Price: $6.95

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                 Crunchyroll.com is mainly an anime site but they also had a Korean drama section. I was going to discuss that site until I found out that they made a sister site completely dedicated to kdramas. Kdrama.net is still pretty new but I signed up for a 30 day trial subscription to test out the site. It has a large collection of Korean dramas and will probably add more if the site is successful. I found a few dramas on KD that aren't available on any other streaming sites, paid or free. It has a lot of older dramas and some newer ones. While it does have some popular staples (Boys Over Flowers, Sam Soon), it is missing a lot of the ones commonly found on other sites. It is not yet available on any devices but I suspect it will be in the future since it is the sister site to Crunchyroll.




Pros
150 Korean dramas and growing
Has older and harder to find dramas
May be available on multiple devices in the future because it's sister site is


Cons
No dramas from other countries
Currently lacking some of the more popular dramas


Dramas listed under names different from other sites which can be confusing





There are a lot of options and the one you choose depends on your needs. Personally I would suggest Viki, Drama Fever, or Kdrama as all three have a lot of content. Netflix is a good place to start and most people may already have an account. If you don't mind commercials, Hulu does have a nice selection.


*IMPORTANT* I am not affiliated with any of the aforementioned sites. I use/have used them either through paying a monthlysubscription or using a free trial. All opinions stated are mine and I tried to be as objective as possible.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

60 Day Asian Drama Challenge: Day 20


Your Favorite Drama OST (Instrumental)?




       I find that historical dramas tend to have the best instrumental soundtracks. The Princess' Man has a beautiful soundtrack, both vocal and instrumental, that really compliments the romance, action, and drama. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

60 Day Asian Drama Challenge: Day 19


Your Favorite Drama Genre



          I love a lot of Asian drama genres(themes of life, friendship, mystery, suspense, action, melo, law, historical, family and you) but my favorite is romance. Romance is usually the focus of most Asian dramas, which can be a good or bad thing. I am a helpless romantic and Asian dramas fulfill that need perfectly. I have found that after watching so many Asian dramas/films, that my perception of romance is much different than it was before. Upon re-watching American tv shows/ films, I have found that I don't find them as romantic as I once did. Romance in Asian dramas is my ideal-love and physical intimacy doesn't just happen, it is important and has meaning. Relationships are developed slowly and there is build up to romantic exchanges.