Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dramas I'm Currently Watching: Spring 2014

Wild Chives and Soy Bean Soup

Progress: 3/50

      High school students Yoo Joon Soo and Jang Kook get married but the opposition from both of their families causes them to break up. The two grow up and take different directions in life, ultimately running into each other again 12 years later.

        I am still very early into the series so I can't have that much of an opinion yet but so far I do like it. The younger versions of the main characters are great but I have seen a lot of dramas where the younger cast is amazing but the adult counterparts fail to do them justice (Moon Embracing the Sun comes to mind). I like it at the moment and will continue to watch.


Secret Love Affair

Progress: 6/20

     Oh Hye Won is a woman in her 40's who holds a directing position at the Seohan Arts Foundation - she spends her time planning events, teaching and resolving the personal  problems of her higher ups. She is married to Kang Joon Hyeong, a pianist and teacher more dedicated to his work than his wife.  Lee Sun Jae is a man in his 20's who works as a courier but is also a talented pianist. Joon Hyeong, hoping to make the young man his student, asks Hye Won to evaluate Sun Jae's skills. These meetings pull the two closer together and they eventually begin a passionate affair.

      I am really enjoying this one, it is very different than any other currently airing dramas and I am hooked. This drama is slower paced and more mature than your average kdrama, which is part of the attraction for me. The music and cinematography are amazing and really add to the overall atmosphere. Yoo Ah In is killing it as Sun Jae, the character is wonderful and his chemistry with the female lead is off the charts. I fell hard for Ah In when I first watched him in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, he was my favorite character in the show. I skipped over his starring role in Fashion King because I heard a lot more negative reviews than positive ones and I am not feeling masochistic enough to put myself through that torture. I also really liked him as the king in Jang Ok Jung, an underrated drama that was quite good.

Bride of the Century

Progress: 12/16

      Choi Kang Joo is the sole heir to the Tayang corporation - he is cold, insensitive, mean, and has little interest in others. His fiance, Jang Yi Kyung, gets fed up with his abusive treatment and runs away. Her mother and brother panic until they find a young woman, Na Doo Rim, who looks identical to Yi Kyung and is willing to take her place until the real fiance returns. Despite their identical appearance, Doo Rim is completely opposite to Yi Kyung in every way. Her bubbly and stubborn personality eventually melts the cold exterior of Kang Joo, who is completely unaware of her true identity. But his wealthy family carries a dark secret, a 100 year old curse that takes the life of the first wife of the first son.  

       This is probably my favorite drama that I have yet to watch this year but it is still early. The plot is interesting and I love Doo Rim, she is a really fun character and brings a lot of charm and humor to the drama.  She is beginning to experience a bit of Ha Ji Won syndrome (a female character that starts out strong and interesting but becomes weaker) toward the end of the drama but hopefully she snaps out of it soon. I wasn't expecting a lot from Lee Hong Ki as Kang Joo because I always picture him as Jeremy from You're Beautiful but he is doing well as the stereotypical cold, rich male lead.  

A Well-Raised Daughter

Progress: 15/120

      Jang Ha Na is the youngest child of the eldest son of a famous soy sauce family that’s been making soy sauce for hundred of years. She has to pretend to be a man in order to inherit the company because the family requires a representative for their soy sauce business. Ha Na's mother produced only daughters which caused a sore spot with the father-in-law. A conniving woman got Ha Na's father drunk and slept with him, producing a male child. Ha Na's father died shortly after and her mother and sisters were ousted from their home by the mistress. Ha Na's mother gave birth to her and decided to raise her and dress her as a male to to revenge and take her rightful inheritance.

        I admit it, I am a sucker for gender benders. I absolutely love them and plan to watch as many as I can and hopefully rank them one day. This is a longer drama (120 episodes to be exact) and they can be either hit or miss. I have been lucky to have pleasant experiences with the few that I have watched but I know many more that I have heard can get really draggy and contain lots of filler no necessary to the story. I am enjoying this one so far and I hope it continues to be interesting. I have already felt like murdering a few characters in the most slow and painful way possible (the mistress and her mother) but I like the main character a lot. She does not look masculine at all but she behaves like a man and is very intelligent. This could definitely be a contender for one of my favorites for the year if the story and characters stay consistent.

Full House

Progress: 18/20

         This is a Thai remake of the popular Korean drama by the same name. Aom-am is a food critic/photography who lives with her older sister in a large house left to her by her father. Aom-am's sister and her boyfriend run into financial difficulties so they hatch a plan to send Aom-am to Korea for a vacation so they can sell the house in her absence. Aom-am meets a selfish Thai superstar named Mike and his best friend Guy while in South Korea.  Mike ends up buying Aom-am's house and eventually allows her to stay in the house as long as she cooks and cleans for him. Through a series of misfortunes (including Mike's friend Mintra turning down his affections), the two end up in a fake marriage. A love square forms between Mike, Aom-am, Guy and Mintra.

       I am not as familar with Thai dramas but I haven't really liked the few that I have started. They tend to be very dramatic, similar to a Spanish or typical American soap opera. Thankfully, this drama is really good. I have seen both versions and I like them both equally, although for different reasons. The are a lot of sweet and funny moments in Full House and I haven't found the story to be draggy. I will say that I am not a fan of sound effects used when something funny happens but I also really hate American sitcoms that use laugh tracks, it kind of takes me out of the moment and becomes increasingly more annoying with each use. I am close to finishing this drama so I will probably do a more in depth review at some point but I do really like this Thai drama and highly recommend it.

Sweet Sweet Bodyguard

Progress: 25/82

      Zhen Ai Jia is a very strong and highly trained female bodyguard. She was raised by a strict and militant father from a young age after her mother died. Ai Jia longs to be an ordinary young girl who is wants to fall in love. She decides that she will start living her life as she chooses after her next mission which will also be her last one. Her new client is He Zhong-Qi, a CEO of a famous vehicle company. He is a very difficult person and the two constantly fight while Ai Jia tries her best to complete her most difficult assignment. 

       I became interested in this Taiwanese drama from 2012 when I read the synopsis, it sounded a bit like the Korean drama Wild Romance  which I really enjoyed. I am not the biggest fan of Taiwanese dramas because the humor can be somewhat annoying at times, such as the constant exaggerated facial expressions.  It is still a bit early to tell, but I like the two main leads and their developing friendship. I absolutely hate Cai Jie (Ai Jia's best friend), I tend to fast forward whenever she is on the screen. The actress is terrible even by Taiwanese standards and the character is just as annoying. I also don't care for Zhong Qi's younger sister Qin Ming Yu, another whiny character who I prefer to have as little screen time as possible.

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