The King: The Eternal Monarch // Kdrama review

This was the MOST anticipated drama of 2020.

The King: The Eternal Monarch was in to-wait and watch lists of many viewers right from the beginning of this year. Not only is the story intriguing—following treachery and love across parallel universes, it also stars two of the most popular actors: Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun.

I watched this drama as the episodes were released, with two new episodes every weekend. As each episode is ~72 minutes, a ton happened story-wise and I have proper notes for this review. Let’s get to it.

What’s the drama about?

The drama mainly follows two parallel worlds—one has the Republic of Korea like how it is currently in real life, and the other has Kingdom of Corea which is very different from current day Korea.

Lee Gon is the King of Corea. When he was a kid, his father was murdered by his (born out of wedlock) uncle out of jealousy. Lee Gon was almost killed as well but was saved by a masked person who left behind just an ID card of “Jung Tae-eul”.

The uncle’s main goal was to obtain the manpasikjeok (henceforth referred to as “the flute” in this review), which is a famed object that allows it’s owner to travel between worlds and time.

Due to some skirmish, the flute gets divided in half with the uncle escapes with one half and Lee Gon has the other. Decades later, Lee Gon travels to the parallel world searching for his saviour. He meets Jung Tae-eul and hence begins their love story.

Lee Gon also finds out that his traitor uncle is still alive and hiding in this parallel world. In order to get vengeance, the King begins hunting for him.

This series has fantasy, thriller, and also romance.

the king: the eternal monarch poster

My opinions on the drama

As I said earlier, I watched this Kdrama as the episodes released. So I had ample time between episodes to properly think about them and analyze them. Which is probably a reason why I’m being so critical.

A friend of mine also watched it as episodes released and we discussed about every episode immediately after both of us were done. This is another reason why I thought so much about the story and nitpicked all of it.

  • The concept was really good.

It’s the reason why this drama was on my list. Especially because parallel worlds means that every character has their counterpart in the other world, living a completely different life.

I was super excited to see how they’d handle the intricacies of this concept, especially with a mystery/thriller story.

And I have to say, the basic plot and storyline was quite good. They did explore the vastly different lives of people and their counterparts. There were many switcheroo cases which were especially fun to watch.

the king: the eternal monarch lee min go as lee gon, king of Corea
  • The execution was not good.

It was fine in the beginning when things were relatively easy to keep track of. As a viewer, I was not confused very much and could not see any mistakes.

But as the drama went on, things got convoluted. Considering that this concept is quite tricky, especially when time travelling is involved, there should have been more thought put into the story.

My friend and I started getting confused with the intention of certain scenes as well as how they play into the bigger picture quite early. By the time we got to episode 10 (out of 16), I was clearly seeing plot holes. There were some facts and scenes that were logically questionable.

frustration gif

Episode 10, 11 and 12 were simply bad and I hated all of it. Everything was jumbled, nothing made sense, and there was no point to those episodes. There were also random romance scenes in the middle which completely shifted the ongoing vibes.

  • The direction was not good.

Direction and editing is super important for any TV show or movie. When dealing with confusing topics and timelines, it is important that the viewer is not confused. How shows usually handle this is by changing the colour tones just a little bit or by adding a border.

But there was no distinction between the worlds in this drama. Especially in the first couple episodes when distinction is needed in order to get used to it, there was none which confused me. Not even a mention saying which world we’re in.

I got used to it later but it still threw me off in the beginning.

confused gif saying "who what how when"
  • The drama becomes worse as it goes on.

I really liked this drama in the beginning. The concept was cool, the characters were interesting, the editing was proper and all my attention was engaged.

But as the episodes went on… I started losing interest and became increasingly annoyed.

  • The romance sucked.

I HATED IT.

It was fine in the beginning before Lee Gon and Jung Tae-eul started to like each other. They had a spark. Their conversations were actually funny and entertaining. They bantered.

the king: the eternal monarch Lee Min-ho as Lee Gon and Kim Go-eun as Jung Tae-eul

All that personality vanished when they caught feelings. They became two extra sappy characters who only made sad faces every time they met again. And they pine whenever they’re apart. All the actual banter and personality which I liked was removed.

And that’s why I hate the romance.

Plus, I didn’t actually like the two actors together. I couldn’t ship them. In my opinion, they were cast only because they’re both popular actors. I don’t think their chemistry was seriously considered.

It is clear through multiple romantic scenes that the goal was to show Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun together for some time instead of actually having a point to those scenes.

the king: the eternal monarch Lee Gon and Jung Tae-eul staring at each other while it's snowing

There would be times where the characters simply stared at each other with sad faces and longing. And these scenes actually were shown in the most random times.

For example, there would be something intense going on and that scene would get cut abruptly to show these two with a pointless supposed-to-be romantic segment.

Even when there were genuine scenes between the couple, the dialogues were SO BAD. I cringed at most of them. Where do they come up with this stuff? Some of the lines that were supposed to be critical made no sense. Maybe it makes sense in Korean but not English? I don’t know.

Some of the scenes honestly gave me secondhand embarrassment. I had to look away from the screen and wipe my face to deal with my frustration.

the king: the eternal monarch, Lee Gon puts his head on Jung Tae-eul's shoulder while she is awkward and nervous

So yeah, the romance was a no-go for me.

  • Lee Gon’s character was made only to show Lee Min-ho off.

This is Lee Min-ho’s first drama since coming back from mandatory military service. Hence, this drama got a lot of attention.

But the character… oof. Lee Gon, or the King of Corea, is portrayed as a perfect person. Let me explain.

The King is:

  • a GENIUS because he is super into math and can solve equations really quick in his head. He can also draw conclusions for fantasy concepts like travelling between worlds through math and physics equations.
  • ALL-KNOWING. He is well-read, knows about every topic under the sun, draws conclusions quickly and before any other person, comes up with the best plans because he is the smartest ever, and is almost like God.
the king: the eternal monarch, King Lee Gon on a horse, Lee Min ho playing Lee Gon, King of Corea
  • the MOST HANDSOME man to ever exist. Throughout the show, his good looks are given extra attention and brought to the forefront with and without subtlety. Multiple times, strangers will double-take and comment about his looks, even in the world where he is not the king. There were several scenes where he is lit with a glow behind him to emphasize his beautiful smile.
  • great in tense situations. He is at ease in control and NOTHING FAZES HIM. People around him cannot keep up with the speed of his brain.
  • VERY ROMANTIC. When he likes Jung Tae-eul, he goes all out to spend time with her and protect her. She comes first to him and that is hella romantic.
  • CHARMING. He can charm anyone with his smiles and words.
  • A TRUE HERO.
the king: the eternal monarch, Lee Gog the King of Corea is Navy uniform

The King’s only flaw is perhaps his inherent pride since he is King. He is used to ordering people and getting his way. But that is also portrayed as something to admire, so it is not really a flaw.

Lee Gon was like every woman’s dream guy.

I mean.. who can resist such a charming, smart, and capable leader? There has never been a King like Lee Gon and there will probably never be again. Just by looking at him, you can see that he is from an entirely different league.

Every time he does something, another character will react like “he’s so charming/smart/great/handsome/cool.” Ugh.

the king: the eternal monarch. Lee Gon presses his forehead against Jung Tae-eul's forehead

The King is simply unreal and that is why I could not stand him. Every time I saw his smug face and every scene where he is shown as a holier-than-thou person, I wanted to print out a photo of him and tear it up.

I won’t lie, I definitely appreciated Lee Min-ho’s good looks. He looked hot. But after a certain point, I need more of the personality than just looks.

Lee Min-ho is a good actor. My problem is the character itself. The character has zero flaws. The only thing that gives this character some depth is his tragic past. That is all. There is nothing beyond that.

It’s almost as if everything about this character was polished a little more because Lee Min-ho was cast for it. And I’m sure that the show’s creators/writers/producers banked on Lee Min-ho to bring in a ton of viewership. And hence, they showed him off with this perfect AF character.

the king: the eternal monarch. Lee Min-ho as Lee Gon smile
  • Jung Tae-eul was good… but also not good.

She was more real, with a snarky personality and flaws. I actually quite liked her at times.

Jung Tae-eul is a cop, has smart instincts, and does not need to be saved from every single situation. She is not a damsel-in-distress. She is strong and tough.

the king: the eternal monarch. Kim Go Eun as Jung Tae-eul

BUT.

Much of her personality vanishes when she is with the King. She turns into a pining, sad cry-baby. There were even some scenes where she was shown as a damsel-in-distress in order for the King to rescue her even though she didn’t need it.

the king: the eternal monarch. Jung Tae-eul crying as she sees the King.

Jung Tae-eul had some good scenes but they were nullified with some really bad scenes. I was annoyed when she’d be turned into the King’s love interest instead of her own person. What a shame.

  • The love triangle was not bad.

I usually hate love triangles but this one didn’t actually bother me. Probably because there wasn’t much outright tension between all three of them.

Kang Shin-jae, who is Jung Tae-eul’s long time friend and colleague, mostly pines after her in silence and doesn’t even try doing anything about it. I felt bad for him right from the beginning because obviously he won’t end up with her.

the king: the eternal monarch. Jung Tae-eul having food with Kang Shin-jae.

The reason I didn’t dislike this love triangle is because there weren’t drawn-out scenes showing the love triangle. Kang Shin-jae likes Jung Tae-eul but we don’t see the guys fighting over her or having much tension because of her.

Personally, I didn’t think Kang Shin-jae and Jung Tae-eul were right for each other anyway so I wasn’t invested in the possibility as well.

  • Kang Shin-jae had actual life issues.

He was the only one who had issues of his own which were different from the parallel world thing. Most of the time, he wasn’t even involved with Lee Gon and Jung Tae-eul. He had other problems to deal with.

Kang Shin-jae had a difficult relationship with his mom, had lingering feelings about his childhood and how his life changed etc.

Him being in love with Jung Tae-eul didn’t determine his role in the drama. I appreciated that.

the king the eternal monarch kang shin-jae
  • My biggest disappointment: Koo Seo-ryung.

She was THE BEST female character of the show. I was in awe of her right from the start.

Koo Seo-ryung is the Prime Minister of Corea. She started at the bottom in her life and worked her way to becoming the PM. How cool is that? She has ambition, is ruthless, and is a role model.

the king: the eternal monarch. PM of Corea, Koo Seo-ryung

The drama even highlighted issues of being a woman in politics. The men constantly undermine her even though she is smarter than them, and they say that she should resign and stay at home. But Seo-ryung pushes through and proves her abilities.

The writers were really onto something with this character. And they messed it up royally.

Koo Seo-ryung was portrayed as a villain because she is ambitious and goes after what she wants. She wanted to become the Queen because that is the highest position achievable and there is nothing wrong with that. A PM can only serve two terms but a Queen’s term never ends. And she vied for that.

But. There was negative light on her because of that and the King constantly undermined her.

the king: the eternal monarch. PM of Corea, Koo Seo-ryung.

Even when the situation was political and she deserved to know the information, the King simply told her to mind her own business. How rude. She would have been able to help him but he told her no simply because of personal reasons.

She asked for honesty because it’s her JOB and he gave her stupid horse-riding riddles.

Through it all, the King is the good guy and she is the witch. That is a strong no in my book and it affected my overall opinion of this drama.

  • There were some good comedy segments, but not enough to redeem the show.

Honestly, the segments I actually liked were ones with supporting characters and not the main characters.

Towards the end, there were barely any funny parts. The show seemed to consist of only:

  1. scenes with the main plot and
  2. romance.

By the end, the show was just a mess and I couldn’t wait to be done with it.

  • The villain was awesome.

The villain of this show is the King’s uncle. Lee Lim is a son born out of wedlock and hence could not inherit the crown even though he was older than Lee Gon’s father.

The royal family is in possession of the powerful flute but Lee Gon’s father was not interested in exploring it’s powers. Considering that a waste, Lee Lim leads his followers so he can steal the flute and have infinity and eternity in his hands.

the king: the eternal monarch. Lee Lim and Lee Gon with determined faces.

The King is portrayed as the smartest person ever but in my opinion he is dumb compared to the villain. The villain is cunning, clever, patient, and ambitious*. Lee Lim is smarter than the stupid King who can only say cringe-worthy lines he thinks are romantic.

I was awed and super engaged every time the villain was on-screen. You could not make me pause watching. Keeping up with the villain’s plans was interesting as hell.

the king: the eternal monarch. Lee Lim played by Lee Jung-jin

But.

Lee Lim was another character that the writers messed up at the end. He had a few out-of-character scenes where his actions did not make sense with who he is. That’s all I will say because I want to avoid spoilers.

*do you see a pattern with the characters I liked or is it just me.

  • The supporting characters were awesome.

I wish the drama only included the supporting characters and did not show the main couple. They were much more interesting and entertaining.

Any time the supporting characters had a good scene, I gobbled it up with affection. Their scenes without the King and Tae-eul were even better.

Besides PM Koo Seo-ryung, my favourite character was the King’s right-hand man and (kind of) best friend Jo Yeong. I. LOVED. HIM. He is badass and pure and any time he showed emotion, I was gripped.

the king: the eternal monarch. Woo Do-hwan as Jo Yeong. Jo YEong smiles in this gif.

His counterpart in Korea, Jo Eun-sup, was hella entertaining as well.

the king: the eternal monarch. Woo Do-hwan as Jo Eun-sup being cute gif.

Since we’re on the topic, I would like to show my appreciation for Woo Do-hwan. His acting is BRILLIANT. He played two very different characters and pulled it off so well. His acting was better and had more complexity than Lee Min-ho’s. Woo Do-hwan deserves recognition for his roles. I would like to see him as a lead in the future.

the king: the eternal monarch. Woo Do-hwan as both Eun-sup and Yeong.

An underrated supporting character was Head Court Lady Noh. She raised the King and always had good intentions for him. She’s also a mother-hen and frets over King all the time.

There was one fact which was randomly thrown out in the middle only to never be brought up again. And that was really weird. Her character, especially with that twist, had so much potential and it was wasted.

the king: the eternal monarch. Head Court Lady Noh played by Kim Young-ok.
  • Supporting characters were overshadowed a lot.

One of the reasons I like Kdramas is because they usually give attention to the plot and characters arcs of the supporting characters as well. It’s not only about the main characters.

But in this drama, everything was about the main characters. There were barely any scenes that really focused on the supporting characters alone. And this really disappointed me.

In the last episode there was ONE scene about a random character that we never got much of. It was very off because that character’s role in the plot was minimal at best. And they got focus in the epilogue when other supporting characters didn’t.

  • Supporting characters falling in love was better than the main couple.

I was so into the romance between Jo Yeong and Myeong Seung-ha in the Kingdom of Corea. And I was also into the romance between Jo Eun-sup and Myeong Na-ri.

Basically, the same two people but in both parallel worlds.

This pairing was so good and even though there wasn’t much attention given to their relationships, it was enough for me to love it.

the king: the eternal monarch. Jo Yeong and Myeong Seung-ah.
  • There was too much confusion.

Confusion is warranted and usually expected when watching shows with mystery plot-lines. This drama definitely banks on viewers being confused and waiting to see how everything is resolved. We watch so our questions get answered.

But this drama caused too much confusion. My friend and I had tons of questions. If I look back on our texts from episode 8 or so, I can see us asking each other questions to see if we missed anything.

The worst part is that many questions went unanswered.

"what does that mean?" gif

While there can be elements, especially in fantasies, that cannot be explained, this drama simply chose not to explain some things. The questions were raised and forgotten.

Before the finale aired, my friend actually went through all recaps to understand things better and even read theories. I did not spend that much time on it and I am glad. Because even those efforts did not lead to anything. Many viewers were confused.

  • There were a TON of plotholes.

I am generally a person who keeps up with the logic and analyzes things. I’ve noticed plot holes in other shows and dramas as well. Plot holes are never good to notice but they can open up conversations through which you may find out that you missed somethings.

This drama had the latter, where we figured out what happened through discussion. But it also had a lot of unresolved plot holes.

In fact, there were massive plot holes in this drama. So huge and obvious that you’d think the writers deliberately ignored them. Because they can’t be stupid enough to not notice them.

The concept of parallel worlds is tricky alone. The concept of time travelling is complex as well. When both are used together, there needs to be much more thought put into the story and plot-lines. The writers should spend time going over timelines and see that everything makes sense.

That was clearly not done for this drama. The plot hole in the last episode is so glaring and massive that I really wonder, how did they not think of it?

It’s almost as if viewers are expected to not analyze anything because we’ll get distracted by Lee Min-ho’s face.

This review on dramabeans (which includes spoilers) accurately describes many of my opinions.


DISCUSSION (INCLUDES SPOILERS)

If you don’t want spoilers, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.

I had a lot of questions and noticed many plot holes. But there are quite many and hence I will only talk about the bigger ones here.

  1. If all parallel worlds were the same until one event which split them, then how is the flute in only one world? Won’t there be multiple flutes, one in every world.
  2. Lee Gon went back in time to save his younger self twice. How is it that the second time he went back, only one older Lee Gon was there? What happened to the dressed-in-black Lee Gon from the main timeline? If you think about the logic for a minute, you’ll realize there are supposed to be 2 older Lee Gons in the past at the same time. Time travelling doesn’t work however you want it to. It’s tricky and messy.
  3. The epilogue showed the couple going on dates by travelling to a point in the past. But Lee Gon is the king. He has to marry and have heirs at some point? How will that work?
  4. Why do they always travel to the past when all eternity and infinity is at their hands?
  5. A main point in the plot is that time stops longer the more times Lee Lim and Lee Gon travel between the worlds. But Lee Lim has been travelling for almost three decades. How is it that time started slowing down only when Lee Gon started travelling? Makes no sense. And when time did stop for longer periods, what Lee Lim and Lee Gon did was not shown. They could have actually done crucial things when everything is paused but they didn’t.
  6. Due to the altered past events i.e. Lee Lim dying in 1994 itself, many things would have changed. It appears that the writers of this show did not consider butterfly effect at all. Several people in both worlds died at Lee Lim’s hands and since he was killed, they would be alive. The world would look very different. That was not shown or accounted for.
  7. Also, according to the new past where Lee Lim is killed and young Lee Gon is saved by Yeong and doesn’t have the ID card, Lee Gon’s memories would be vastly different. Those memories were not shown. If a point in past is changed, everything from then changes. And yet this show had the past changing massively but the current day remaining same. Makes. No. Sense.
  8. What was up with the stupid scene in the epilogue where the new PM’s kid comes up on stage and asks the King who he is? And that glow behind the King when he smiles? Ugh. Barf.

Okay that’s all I can remember as of now. If there are more, I will come back and add them here. If you have theories or answers for any of these, let me know in the comments. And if you have any questions, feel free to mention them below as well.


Overall

I had high hopes for this drama and was disappointed by the execution of it all. I regret wasting 19.2 hours watching it.

If you would like to simply look at Lee Min-ho, this drama is good for you because he looks handsome AF.

If you care about the plot and substance, I suggest skipping this because it will only confuse and irritate you.


Dramas that I recommend instead of The King

While You Were Sleeping (fantasy, dreams come true, badass heroine)

Kill Me, Heal Me (multiple personality disorder, mystery, comedy)

W: Two Worlds (Lee Jong-suk looks great, reality blends with fiction)


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Have you seen The King already and are here to seek validation that you’re not alone in disliking it? What are your thoughts?

Extraordinary You // Kdrama review

Extraordinary You poster

Extraordinary You is THE Kdrama to watch if you’re looking for something to binge in 2 days. Or even 1, if you have 16 hours to spare.

I was looking for something to binge over a weekend and picked this one, and it was perfect.

The actors of this drama are not popular and I assume that is why it hasn’t gotten as much traction as it deserves, so y’all should really go watch it ASAP because it’s beautiful.

Cute? Check. Crazy story? Check. Awesome cast? Check. Intriguing? BIG CHECK.

WHAT IS THE DRAMA ABOUT?

Eun Dan-oh is pretty, the only daughter of a rich man, engaged to a popular boy who doesn’t like her back, and also has a critical heart problem. All this can mean only one thing: her life is that of a female lead’s in a comic book.

But one day, Eun Dan-oh finds out that she is only an extra in a real comic book. She doesn’t have control over what she does or says in “scenes” and frequently has memory loss when she jumps to the next scene.

extraordinary you kdrama Eun Dan-oh fading away from the spotlight
Source: Soompi

Not happy with these terms, Dan-oh decides to change scenes and take control of her fate. She is unable to change anything but finds out that a nameless classmate with the roll number 13 is able to change her fate.

The drama follows Eun Dan-oh, Number 13, and her other classmates through the duration of this comic book story.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE DRAMA

The reason I was drawn to this drama was because it’s something like W: Two Worlds which also deals with a fictional story where the characters take control of their fate.

That drama is one of my favourites, and Extraordinary You seemed like another take on the same concept. I’m super glad I decided to watch this.

Now, onto the review in the form of lists because lists are awesome.

  • This drama was A D O R A B L E.

I cannot stress on how cute the main couple were. I could not get enough.

Surce: Soompi
  • The characters were super interesting.

The comic book story in itself is pretty boring and something that we’ve all seen multiple times. But what made this show interesting was everything OUT of the scenes.

Dubbed “the backstage” is when characters, who have their “ego” or have realized that they’re in a comic book, have control over their actions.

The backstage is when we REALLY get to know the characters. And many of them are not the same as their personalities on stage.

extraordinary you kdrama comic book characters
Source: DramaBeans
  • A satirical take on cliche stories.

The main comic book story is VERY cliche. I’m talking: poor girl got into a prestige school with a scholarship and the most popular guy falls for her.

There’s also a love triangle with the involvement of another popular guy who likes the same girl, and he is sweet and kind.

The characters who do get their “egos” recognize how cliche, annoying, and repetitive the story is. They frequently curse the author for their irritating dialogues and it’s SO FUNNY.

extraordinary you kdrama Eun Dan-oh and Lee Do-hwa make fun of the cliche dialogues
Source: Soompi
  • Spotlight on the supporting characters in a story.

Using this drama, the supporting characters’ plights in a story is brought to light.

The supporting characters exist only to further the story with the main characters and don’t hold much weight on their own. Everything they do is something that helps the leads, otherwise they’re cast aside.

This is shown and made fun of in this drama. It’s a unique way of “spotlighting the smaller roles”.

  • Unique take on self-discovery and character growth.

Once the characters get their egos, they also gain the ability of judgement etc. So they start to judge and have opinions of their actions that happen ON stage. And many characters learn from on stage scenes but off stage thinking.

This is especially brought up in the case of the “villian” who gets to really judge his actions.

Extraordinary You kdrama A3 band
Source: Soompi
  • Supporting plot lines were sometimes annoying.

Kdramas never focus on just the main characters. They always put some focus on the supporting characters’ and their lives as well.

In this drama, I actually didn’t appreciate that. It became repetitive and I simply did not care.

  • Eun Dan-oh is SUPER fun to watch.

She’s the highlight, honestly. She makes the show fun and full of energy. Her personality is different from traditional female leads who are more subdued.

Eun Dan-oh is full of energy and rebellion. I loved her.

extraordinary you kdrama eun dan oh
  • It’s not just ONE story, though.

The author of the current comic book has written another story previously as well, and has taken characters from that to add here. Hence, some of the characters also regain their memories from the PREVIOUS comic book.

The fact that comic book authors sometimes use the same characters (i.e. same features, personality) instead of coming up with a whole new set of characters is used to add more complexity.

It was actually pretty fun.

  • THE ROMANCE.

The romance plot line is between Eun Dan-oh and the Number 13 student who is named “Ha-ru” by Dan-oh.

Listen, they were TOO CUTE OKAY??? I kept rooting for them. They were OTP* from the start.

The romance was perfect.

*One True Pair

extraordinary you kdrama Eun Dan-oh and Ha-ru romance
Source: HanCinema
  • Plot holes.

This show’s concept is prone to MANY plot holes and all loose ends cannot be tied in just 16 episodes.

I DID recognize a few plot holes but as I was bingeing it but I didn’t pay much attention or analyze them.

It’s a drama for entertainment, not for analyzing or having perfect details.

  • Complexity.

When watching the drama, it’s all fun and entertaining. But only upon thinking later did I realize the NUMBER of complex emotions and relationships portrayed.

The characters don’t have complete freedom over their actions or fate, and the way they deal with it backstage with their egos really shows what kind of character they really are.

THE CHARACTERS

Eun Dan-oh

extraordinary you kdrama Eun Dan-oh

Our female lead and just an extra in the comic book, Eun Dan-oh is ENTERTAINING. She’s always high on energy and is spunky.

Her role in the book is to be a sad little extra. Dan-oh is engaged to Baek Kyung, a member of the school’s popular boy band A3. She has a huge crush on him but he is with her only because his family, otherwise he doesn’t like her. This creates a ton of sad scenes on stage as he keeps breaking her heart.

But off-stage, Dan-oh couldn’t care less about the rude Baek Kyung. Once she starts liking Ha-ru/Number 13, SHE’S TOO CUTE with shyness and all the feelings. I felt like reaching through the screen and crushing her in a hug every time she become shy.

Ha-ru / Number 13

extraordinary you kdrama ha ru
Source: AsianWiki

This is the second lead in the Kdrama. He’s the unnamed comic book character who is pulled into Eun Dan-oh’s schemes to change her fate.

As he doesn’t have a name given by the author, Dan-oh names him “Ha-ru” so that she can call him something. Although he is only a nameless character in this comic book, there’s much more to Ha-ru’s character which is revealed as the drama goes on.

To all of you who like quiet soft boys who would do anything for their girls, HA-RU IS YOUR MAN. Not going to lie, I had a crush on him as well. It’s impossible not to. Doesn’t help that he is incredibly handsome.

Baek Kyung

extraordinary you baek kyung

Baek Kyung is part of the A3, the school’s boy band and hence is very popular at school. On his dad’s insistence, he is engaged to Dan-oh because her dad has a ton of connections. But Baek Kyung doesn’t like her and wishes that she doesn’t rely on him or like him.

Kyung is rude, arrogant, and so involved in his own issues that he doesn’t care about anyone else’s feelings.

He’s the only morally grey character in this Kdrama, and has LAYERS. All the other characters are pretty straight-forward but Baek Kyung is the one who actually has a full-blown identity crisis and starts to learn about himself.

Yeo Joo-da

extraordinary you kdrama yeo joo da

Yeo Joo-da is the main character in the actual comic book story. A poor girl who got a scholarship to attend this prestigious school and is constantly bullied by mean girls.

Two members of the A3 fall for her and thus ensues the love triangle. But the boy whom she will end up with (as we all have seen SEVERAL times) will be the bad boy with emotional baggage and not the kind, sweet guy.

She’s there purely for the cliche, but around the end of the drama there’s an interesting twist with her.

Oh Nam-joo

extraordinary you oh nam ju

The most popular guy in school, the lead of A3, and the son of a superstar. Oh Nam-joo seemingly has it all but there’s more to him than just the popular arrogant guy whom all girls fall for.

Oh Nam-joo is there only for the main comic book story and not for the drama. He’s the cliche lead in all romance stories.

Lee Do-hwa

extraordinary you lee do hwa

The third member of the A3 and the eternal sweetheart, Lee Do-hwa is the third part of the comic book’s love triangle. He is kind and thoughtful, and is the cliched second male lead who is actually a better guy but doesn’t get the girl.

His aesthetic in the comic book is playing sad music on the violin for Yeo Joo-da and quietly pining for her.

But Lee Do-hwa has his ego, and how he goes about his love for Yeo Joo-da backstage with all freedom is the real point of the drama. His story was not a particularly interesting one, but it was nice to see.

Jinmichae / Dried Squid Fairy

extraordinary you dried squid fairy

An extra in the comic book, the Dried Squid Fairy is part of the school’s cooks who makes good dried squid. But he’s also so much more than that.

Eerily, he seems to be the one person who knows everything. But why? Who is he? As his story is revealed throughout the drama, it becomes more interesting.

THE SOUNDTRACK

Kdramas and their OSTs are a love story. Okay, but seriously. They choose the BEST music for the soundtrack, it’s unbelievable.

The music for Extraordinary You was perfect. Songs with fast beats were good and the slow songs WERE BEAUTIFUL. After a while, I started singing along. The feels.

First Love by Sondia

This song is LOVE. I know it almost by-heart at this point. Every time I listen to it, I want to slow dance in the rain. It’s a whole mood. The other version of this song (drama version sung by a male artist) is also really good.

My Beauty by VERIVERY

I’ve never heard of this artist group before but you bet I’m going to find out more of their songs. This is SO GOOD. Just listen!

I Draw You in My Heart by Jeong Sewoon

This song sounds exactly like the title. The exact same mood. It’s slow and sad and beautiful. I could cry.

OVERALL

A VERY cute drama which is much more than it seems. Perfect for bingeing/watching if you’re in the mood for something fun and intriguing.

It’s so nice that I really feel like rewatching it.

extraordinary you kdrama poster 2

Other dramas that you might like:

W: Two Worlds (also blends reality and fiction)

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (VERY cute, girl power)

My First First Love (coming of age, thoughtful)


Have you seen Extraordinary You? Do you like stories that blend the line between reality and fiction?

My First First Love // Kdrama review

A coming-of-age Korean drama featuring young adults chasing their dreams and finding love.

When My First First Love was released on Netflix, it was heavily advertised and pushed on almost everyone’s feed. There were so many people watching it and commenting on it.

WHAT IS THE DRAMA ABOUT?

The drama primarily follows 5 people who are stepping into their adult lives.

Yun Tae-o has been living independently in his grandfather’s house, and enjoys the life of a bachelor. One day three of his friends, end up crashing in his place and ask that he allow them to stay for a while. Unable to say no to them, he reluctantly agrees for the time-being.

The three friends include: Han Song-i, Tae-o’s best friend and his old crush; O Ga-rin, a very old friend whom Tae-o hasn’t spoken to in years; and Choe Hun, Tae-o’s close friend from school.

The last main character is So Do-hyeon, Tae-o’s closest friend in college.

The drama follows these characters as they find themselves, chase their dreams and fall in love.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE DRAMA

I started the drama only after Netflix released both seasons. While marketed as two seasons, the drama is like any other with 16 episodes. In fact, there wasn’t even a cliffhanger or a break in between the seasons. The plot flowed through continuously. I assume it was split just as a strategy, and nothing to do with the plot of the drama.

all the characters of the drama

My First First Love is a wholly character-driven drama. We don’t have a very specific plot going on, other than following the ups and downs of the main characters.

The lack of any specific plot-line means that there’s no true point to the Kdrama, which annoyed me. I binged all 16 episodes in a short span of days, and the drama didn’t leave much of an impression on me. It’s quite underwhelming.

The drama is very slow-paced. I’m not someone who is good with slow paces, so this was another negative for me. The drama had 16 episodes, but the content of the drama was very little. In the end, I was just wondering how they managed to buff it up to 16 episodes because the content was not much.

my first first love characters hanging out

What makes the drama actually fun to watch were all the hilarious moments peppered in. Since the drama is slow paced, there’s enough room for funny scenes to make the viewers laugh. It was nice to watch the interactions between the characters with them dissing each other or acting like kids.

Coming to the romances, there is quite a few of it in the drama. The main romance plot contained a love triangle. Now, I’m not a fan of love triangles AT ALL but I can admit that it was done well here. The love triangle became cumbersome afterwards though, because it was dragged on for longer than necessary.

Choe Hun and O Ga Rin

My favourite was the romance between Choe Hun and O Ga-rin. It was super cute and pure. I absolutely loved watching them fall in love and continue to support each other through the drama.

Since the drama is basically about the characters, let’s move on to talking about them.

THE CHARACTERS

yun tae-o

Yun Tae-o is the son of a wealthy real-estate owner. Nicknamed famously as “The First Love” by girls in his college, Tae-o is known for his boy-ish charm. He has tons of friends, is always upbeat and carries around a positive energy.

Tae-o was my favourite in the beginning, simply because he is very charming. But as the drama went on and I started critically analyzing the characters, Tae-o fell short.

Considering that this drama’s only point is the characters, they could have worked more on crafting them. Tae-o had no depth, and no layers like a normal person would. He was very surface-level, with his crushes and antics. He didn’t have a dream or a passion, and made no effort to find one.

Season 2 did a little better on fledging Tae-o’s character, but it still fell short compared to other characters.

Han Song-i

Han Song-i is an architecture student in college. After her father died her mother ran away leaving Song-i alone. When her house is foreclosed, Song-i is forced to seek Tae-o’s help.

Throughout the drama, Song-i is featured more than the others. It clearly felt like she was given more thought to during creation of the drama than other characters. We talk about her past, her relationships, her feelings, and even see quite a bit of her journey as an architecture student.

Song-i was definitely nice to follow, but personally I was disappointed that the other characters weren’t given as much attention as her.

Choe Hun

Choe Hun is a dreamer. Coming from a wealthy family who want him to choose a sensible career, he breaks the chain and chooses to pursue becoming a musical actor.

We see his struggles with auditions and his family’s reaction to his dreams through the drama. It was really nice to see a character whole-heartedly pursuing his dreams no matter what is thrown in his way, or how much people discourage him. It was quite inspiring.

O Ga-rin

O Ga-rin had the best plot in the show, in my opinion. Her mother is very protective, and coddles Ga-rin to the point that Ga-rin has no freedom. In order to live her life and find her passion, Ga-rin escapes from her mother and seeks asylum at Tae-o’s home.

As the show progresses, we watch as Ga-rin learns how people live and interact in the world, and tastes new food! Since she has lived away from people and normalcy all her life, it takes her quite some time to learn how to live with everyone else. I found that process very endearing.

As Ga-rin learns about new things, she also exposes herself to many possible dreams. I really liked her plot, especially in season 2, and how the drama ended for her.

Seo Do-hyeon

Seo Do-hyeon, Tae-o’s friend from college, is a serious person. He is nicknamed as the dependable “Last Love” by girls in college. Do-hyeon cares about academics and setting up for a dependable career than dating or goofing around like other college students.

Do-hyeon was hard to understand, as the show progressed. There was so much potential to him, with his layers and ambitions, but he was under-developed. Justice wasn’t done to his character, which was really disappointing. At some points, it felt like his character existed just to add plot and complexity to other characters’ lives.

THE MUSIC

The soundtrack throughout the drama was one of the highlights, for me. During some scenes, I cared more about the music than what was going on with the characters. Whoever was in charge of the music for the drama really nailed it.

The following are my favourite songs from the soundtrack.

I especially love the last song above. It makes me upbeat and feel like I can handle anything in life.

I’ve only shared 4 songs, but the whole OST is great.

OVERALL

The drama did well on portraying young adults and their struggles with hopes and dreams, while also dealing with emotions and relationships. It’s not a drama that I would rewatch because it’s not up my street, but I can see how it can be liked by many others.

It’s a good drama to chill and watch, or even binge when you’re in the mood for something light-hearted. There are places where the drama fell short, but it’s a good watch if you’re not looking for an engrossing plot.

Have you seen My First First Love? Do you prefer chill shows to watch or ones with captivating plots?

K-drama Review: Her Private Life

Hey everyone! Poulami Ghosh from Daydreamin Books is guest blogging here today with a fab Kdrama review for y’all.

Show Name: Her Private Life
Episodes: 16
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, [Adult]
Director: Hong Jong-Chan
Cast: Park Min-Young, Kim Jae-Wook, Ahn Bo-Hyun, One, Kim Bo-Ra, Park Jin-Joo etc.

My Rating: 

Synopsis:

A dedicated professional, Sung Deok Mi lives for her work as an art gallery curator. Devoting herself to her work, she is exceptional in every way, save one. Beneath that cool, professional facade, Deok Mi carries a dark secret. A secret she desperately wants to keep from the world. A secret that has driven lovers away. A secret that rules every moment of her personal life…
Sung Deok Mi is the ultimate Cha Shi An fangirl.
The devoted manager of a Shi An fansite, Deok Mi eats, breathes, and sleeps for Shi An. He is her sun, her moon. Her entire universe revolves around him.
This is the secret Deok Mi must hide from the world.
And hide it she does. At least until Ryan Gold, the art gallery’s new director, saunters into her life. A once-famous painter, the former artist turned director considers himself an indifferent being, unconcerned with the lives of others. But when he uncovers Deok Mi’s secret, everything changes.


This drama was a breath of fresh air and oh so adorablyyy fangirly!

Sung Deok-Mi (Park Min-Young) is totally a double agent! Her professional life is defined by her work as a curator at an art gallery. However, on the other side of this the curtain, she is a full-time fangirl and owner of a fansite for an idol group member, Shi-An (who is totally adorable btw!).

Her professional life and personal life has a distinct boundary and only her best friends are aware of how massive of a fangirl she is. Oh! I can’t begin to tell you guys about how the fangirling was relatable. On so many levels! Her perfectly balanced life is hampered when Ryan (Kim Jae-Wook) starts as the director where Sung Deok-Mi works.

The fangirling!

First thing first! The fangirling was ohmahgod sooo relatable! I could totally see myself in Sung Deok-Mi’s shoes. Her love for Shi-An was so adorable. In fact, she was among one of the first fans who started stanning Shi-Ah during his early debut days. She is the sole creator of a famous fansite that even Shi-Ah loves! I was totally fangirling over the interactions between these two!!! I think it’s one of our dreams to meet our idols and she got to do that, seeing that it made me so happy! And as the main protagonist of the drama, I definitely fell head over heels for Sung Deok-Mi. She was not only a genuinely awesome person but also kept on trying to do her best at everything, for everyone. I really admired her for that.

The romance!

The interaction between Sung Deok-Mi and Ryan was a treat to watch! They started off as adversaries and were forced to make a deal when a notorious saesang-fan started a controversy. The romance was gradual and the angst. Oh God. I absolutely loved the angst though it made me tear up quite a bit! However, I loved every itsy bitsy thing about the romance between these two. It was such a healthy relationship and I loved how they balanced each other out.

The character development!

Cindy! Okay, so the saesang fan (if you don’t know what a saesang fan is- it’s basically a fan who is borderline obsessed with their favourites and would go to every extent to get information about them). I talked about earlier how she started a controversy, however, her character development was one of the best in the drama. Cindy turned out to be a spoiled brat who only wanted to be loved, especially by her mother. However, the bitterness within her started to dim down since she started working with Sung Deok-Mi in the gallery. She was a character that never failed to surprise me.

The backstory!

A k-drama is not complete without a heart-wrenching backstory (99% of the time!). This trope is definitely clinched but oh well, it’s one of the formulas that K-dramas have been using for eons and Her Private Life is not devoid of it. Ryan along with being a director is well known for maintaining masterpieces but ever since he came face to face with a piece painted by the artist Lee-Sol, he has not been able to pick up the brush.

We get to know more about Ryan’s life as the show moves forward. One thing I liked about this secondary-plot is that it was not forced upon the audience. This aspect of Ryan’s life was gradually introduced where the audience were eased into the story. Though the sub-plot still felt a tad bit unnecessary, I liked how all the threads were connected at the end.

Overall,

Her Private Life was worth the hype! I really enjoyed the show throughout and the side characters added a complete depth to the story. Especially her best friend Lee Sun-Joo (her fangirling partner!) and Nam Eun-Ki added different layers to the story. The cute moments, the funny moments and the over-dramatic moments made the drama such a treat to the eyes and the heart!

Recommend it?
Yes!


Hi! I am Poulami, a socially awkward bibliophile, a writer, a hopeless romantic, an eternal fangirl, a K-pop and K-drama addict!

Connect with me on: 

Blog || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook

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Kill Me, Heal Me // Kdrama review

It’s official. I have found my new #1 Kdrama. Kill Me, Heal Me has replaced W: Two Worlds as my top Kdrama.

I watched this Korean drama on the recommendation of my friend’s sister, who raved about it. And I’m SO GLAD. I had college going on when I watched this and I binged it every free moment I got. Two episodes in and I loved it already.

I actually watched this several months back and made notes as well, but just never got around to reviewing. Even though it’s been months, I’m STILL hyped about it. In fact, my friends (who also watched it after I raved) and I recommend it to EVERYONE. It’s THE Kdrama to watch if you’re looking for mystery and thriller.

What is the drama about?

This drama has a lot going on and in the centre of it all is Cha Do-hyun, heir to the Seoju group companies and diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. He has five alternate personalities—Perry Park, Ahn Yo-na, Ahn Yo-sub, Shin Se-gi, and Nana. After some coercion from his family, he returns to Korea to start working for the family business. The drama follows Cha Do-hyun as he deals with family, responsibilities, his past and his alters.

The drama also focuses on two other characters—Oh Ri-jin and Oh Ri-on. Oh Ri-jin is a psychiatrist resident who ends up being assigned to Cha Do-Hyun after he returns to Korea. Oh Ri-on, twin brother of Oh Ri-jin and writer under an alias called “Omega”, also becomes interested in Cha Do-hyun’s diagnosis and family.

Cha Do-hyun, Oh Ri-jin and Oh Ri-on’s lives become intertwined in the present, and it brings up the past as well.

Kill Me, Heal Me is thrilling, mysterious and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

My thoughts on the drama

  • Okay so IT WAS BRILLIANT. I got so wrapped into the show that I ignored pretty much everything else those few days. Even now when I think about the story, I get caught up in it in my head.
  • There was never a dull moment. The 20 1-hour episodes were jam-packed with events that kept making me increasingly invested.
Kill Me Heal Me scene
Source: Lee Jin’s drama croner
  • Ji Sung, the actor who played Cha Do-hyun & the alters DESERVES A BIG AWARD. I was completely BLOWN AWAY by his performance and acting skills. I could not stop praising him and being wowed throughout the drama. It was more than the alters’ clothes that made the difference. It was the look in the eye, the gaze, the posture and so much more that makes a person unique. Ji Sung acted as multiple personalities down to the core. It was good that I could recognize which alter is currently on screen without knowing the name, even if they’re wearing different clothes.
  • Oh Ri-jin, the female lead, was easily likeable. She’s strong-willed, smart and puts all her might into her work. She genuinely cares for her patients and is pretty good at what she does.
Kill Me Heal Me scene
Source: Dramabeans
  • Oh Ri-on, the other male lead, was very captivating on screen as well. He is a famous author under the pen name Omega, and is a dutiful brother to Oh Ri-jin.
  • The three main leads commanded the screen with their presence and I didn’t stand a chance of not liking them. Not only did the acting seem seamless, the chemistry between the actors was perfect for the drama. I got immersed into the story and did not think about how this is not real.
  • The plot itself was BLOODY BRILLIANT. I cannot imagine any other show or drama topping this one in mystery. It was just. too. good. I applaud the writers for coming up with this intriguing and captivating story line.
  • There was a twist in almost every episode. First of all, that is HARD to write and orchestrate. And two, they caught me off guard every single time. My friends who watched the drama were the same. We couldn’t stop talking about the twists and the amazing plot.
Kill Me Heal Me scene
Source: UniqueStream
  • The drama also includes SO MANY THINGS. It’s not just multiple personalities or just mystery. It’s way more and we get a lot of focus on each of those things. Let me list out the most prominent topics which we follow:
    1. The multiple personalities, which are highly interesting and intriguing on their own. I had never seen a show on multiple personality disorder before so this was new and amazing.
    2. Cha Do-hyun’s life as an heir/chaebol. The struggles of keeping an image, family politics and business politics being the same thing, fighting for power and inheritance etc.
    3. Romance. I actually REALLY liked this! And it really fit in with the plot.
    4. Mysterious pasts that come together in a way which will leave you speechless.
    5. And comedy! Every Kdrama has a comedic element, and I loved how Kill Me, Heal Me had humorous scenes without ruining the vibe of the show. It felt smooth and natural.
  • I LOVED THE SOUNDTRACK. I will talk more on this later.
  • Initially I felt like 20 episodes were too long for me to make time to binge. I even told my friend that I’ll take a couple weeks. But I finished it in FOUR DAYS. With college and everything. It’s THAT good.
  • I was dreading the ending because I didn’t want the drama to end. And, to be honest, I thought the ending was lackluster. For all the amazingness the drama was, the ending did not live up that. I can name ways in which it could have been better. That is the ONLY complaint I have. A brilliant Kdrama should have an equally brilliant ending.

The Characters

Oh my goodness, I’ve been waiting to talk ALL about the characters. Here we go.

Cha Do-hyun.

kill me heal me cha do hyun
Source: Amino Apps

Cha Do-hyun is the heir to a big and powerful company/business but due to a past unknown to him, he has multiple personality disorder. For the longest, it did not surface, but one day when he was in college, an alter took over him. And it happened again, and again, until he realised something is up.

His plan was to get treated and, at least, be in a compromising/acceptable state with his alters before returning home but gets called back early. He looks for a therapist to see in secret and ends up seeing Oh Ri-jin.

I loved Do-hyun’s journey throughout the drama. The highs, the lows, the struggles, the happiness, the resolve, his acceptance of his condition—all were portrayed damn well. He keeps going around correcting his alters’ actions/wrong doings. He is kind, really nice and somewhat lacking in confidence. He’s also always serious and somber.

Shin Se-gi

kill me heal me shin se gi.png
Source: fanpop.com

Shin Se-gi is one of Cha Do-hyun’s alter personalities, and he is the most prominent one whom we see. He’s the exact opposite of Cha Do-hyun. Se-gi is rude, unapologetic, and bold. He does not hold back from violence and doesn’t care about what people think of him.

Se-gi was really interesting, especially in contrast to Do-hyun. His ultimate goal is to take over Do-hyun completely and not be repressed inside. So, he’s basically against Do-hyun. That was so cool to watch.

(Did I mention what a brilliant actor Ji Sung is? Even if I did, it’s worth repeating. He is SO TALENTED.)

Ahn Yoo-na & Ahn Yoo-sub

These two alters are siblings. I have no clue how this works but after researching a few real stories, it happens in reality as well.

kill me heal me ahn yoo na
Source: dramabeans

Ahn Yoo-na is a teenage girl obsessed with boys. Her top priority is to go after cute boys and fawn over them. It’s so funny, oh my gosh.

kill me heal me ahn yoo sub
Source: dramabeans

Ahn Yoo-sub is the suicidal alter. He’s a depressed teenager and keeps trying to kill himself. He also always keeps to himself. Not introverted but just sad and alone.

Perry Park

kill me heal me perry park
Source: Enjoy Korea with Hui

Perry Park is the most fun alter. He is carefree, would rather drink away his days, is very into fishing and is really fun to hangout with. He is also a genius with bombs which is so funny. Like, if you put all the alters into one body and they take turns controlling the body, it’s a recipe for a funny disaster.

Perry Park has his own issues which is very under-the-surface. I did not consider him as interesting but he grew on me.

Nana

kill me heal me nana
Source: weheartit

Nana is the last alter and she is a young girl. Probably around the age 5. She is always with her teddy bear and draws the bear on paper a lot and writes Nana. She is the young and innocent alter who is stuck at that age.

Oh Ri-jin

kill me heal me oh ri jin
Source: Asian Wiki

Oh Ri-jin is a first year psychiatry resident. My first impression of her was that she is a strong character. She is stubborn, bold and determined. I really liked that she is tenacious and determined to see through any commitment of hers. She’s also really cute.

Hwang Jung-eum acted and portrayed the character very well. She was perfect for the role.

Oh Ri-on

kill me heal me oh ri on
Source: Amino Apps

Oh Ri-on is Oh Ri-jin’s twin brother and super famous author under the pen name Omega. He writes mystery books so when he has a puzzle, he becomes very intent on solving it.

Oh Ri-on is kind, is a protective and good brother, and a good person in general. He is attentive yet jolly so he is the perfect company. I really liked his character. Park Seo-joon, the actor, was the perfect person for this role. No one else could have executed it better.

What actually captivated me the most about his was his emotion. I really liked how his inner struggles and emotions were shown. He tries to be a happy go-lucky guy but underneath all that, he is so much more. They way he continues on while struggling internally in secret grabbed me.

The Soundtrack

The entire vibe of the drama was matched so well with the music. The music really ENHANCED the scenes and the vibe.

While all of the songs were good for the drama, one particular song stood out.

Auditory Hallucination by Jang Jae-in MADE the drama’s vibe. And I’m not saying this lightly. It was used very often throughout the 20 episodes but IT FIT the drama like no other. I fell absolutely in love with the song. Now, whenever I listen to it, I remember scenes from Kill Me, Heal Me.

Also, apparently, the meaning of the song is taken to be like the title. The rap parts of the song are supposed to convey or mean Kill Me, while the melodious vocal part is to mean Heal Me. And I FELT THAT. Even before I knew the lyrics, I could relate those emotions with the music, and I could relate the emotions and music to the drama.

So yeah, Auditory Hallucinations is hands down my favourite song from the OST.

Overall

GO WATCH IT.

This is one Kdrama which you WILL remember. Not only was it captivating and intriguing, it also portrays multiple personality disorder SO WELL. I actually did some research and watched some videos after I finished Kill Me, Heal Me.

The drama still has a strong impression on me, several months later, and I’m someone who easily forgets stories. So yes, this is a must-watch. I definitely recommend it.


OTHER KDRAMAS YOU MIGHT LIKE:

W: Two Worlds (blending reality and fiction!) (thrilling, mystery.)

While You Were Sleeping (dreams that predict the future!)

Doctor Stranger (medical thriller, political, mystery)


Have you seen Kill Me, Heal Me? Or is it something that you might like? Have you seen multiple/split personality disorder in any other show/drama/movie? Tell me in the comments!

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The Heirs // Kdrama review

Hey everyone! I feel like I’m blogging after so long. I did not blog for about two weeks recently and I just could not get myself to do it. I guess I was in a blogging slump. And when I got back, this new block editor was on WordPress? I quite like it but it’s also hindering in some ways. I’m still figuring things out on how to use it.

Anyway! Welcome to another Kdrama review! I watched this AGES ago but I’ve been crawling through these reviews so this is pretty late.

I had heard a lot about this drama but wasn’t really interested in watching it. Finally a friend of mine watched it and loved it so much that she made me watch it too.

What is the drama about?

We mainly follow three characters—Cha Eun-sang, Kim Tan and Choi Young-do, three high school students at Jejuk High School which is a wealthy school for “the heirs” or the rich kids.

Che Eun-sang is the daughter of the maid who works at Kim Tan’s home, and she got in through a scholarship because of her grades.

We see a love triangle involving the main three characters, struggles of Eun-sang being a poor kid amongst rich and spoilt brats and associated dynamics. A major part of the show is also about the lives of “the heirs” and how their lives are not as flowery and easy as it may seem.

My thoughts on the drama

the main focus

  • I honestly do not know how I lasted through 20 episodes.
  • Divz, my friend, liked it but I found the show average right from the start. I also don’t understand why the show is widely loved, other than having a good main cast.
  • The main actors were really good. Park Shin-hye, Lee Min-ho and Kim Woo-bin took over their roles very well.
  • I’m very partial to Kim Woo-bin’s character, Choi Young-do. I had major second-lead syndrome during this drama.
  • OR maybe I just did NOT like Kim Tan and Cha Eun-sang.
  • I contemplated discontinuing the show but Divz told that it gets better. And it did, but only in Choi Young-do.
  • Honestly, if Tan and Eun-sang disappeared half through the show, I wouldn’t have cared.
  • The one thing I kinda liked was the portrayal about how if you want the throne, you should give up something for it. That’s true, a person cannot have everything. This was very realistic.

The one who wants to wear the crown, must bear the weight.

  • The show’s main focus was on the rich families, particularly “the heirs”, and it got     E X H A U S T I N G. All most of them did was bully the poorer kids and people. It depicts real life but was extremely boring as the main plot.
  • There was so much useless drama.

the romance

  • The show is a HUGE cliche, with the rich guy + poor girl romance. In high school.
  • Both Tan and Eun-sang were kinda spineless where it mattered for a large part of the show. I hated that.
  • I HATED the “I like you but oh I’m poor and I’m not supposed to be with you” consistent monologue of Eun-sang. It was exhausting to watch.
  • On the other hand, Kim Tan did not care about her situation or worries and just wants to date her. Could he get more cliched?

I like you so you should date me.

I KID YOU NOT, THAT WAS LITERALLY WHAT HE SAID.
  • Wow, no consideration of her feelings whatsoever. If I was Eun-sang, I’d put it into mild harassment category. But then she was in like with him too so.. he can do no wrong.
  • I’m sure there were good parts in the romance but I couldn’t get in on the train.

the love triangle

  • I hate love triangles anywhere and I especially hated it in this drama. I legit shipped Kim Tan and Cha Eun-sang just because I thought Choi Young-do was too pure and deserved better, even though that would mean him getting his heart broken.
  • The territorial contest between Tan and Young-do over Eun-sang was annoying. Tan wanted her to himself but also disregarded her position and pride, could not gather the courage to tell his parents that he liked her and Y E T, he said he deserves her more than Young-do. Boy, at least Young-do does what he says and has a backbone.
the main three

relationships

  • I would have loved the show more if the main focus was Tan and Young-do’s complicated relationship. They were best friends turned sworn enemies who ended up falling for the same girl. It was also way more than that, which we saw as the show went on.
  • I loved finding out their past, why they fought, and just all the feels and everything related to their frenemies dynamic. More friendship focus, please. I couldn’t care less about the romance here.
  • Oh and! I can’t believe I forgot about this until now.
  • Kim Tam’s biological mother and Eun-sang’s mother where a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. They were one of the best parts of the show. They start out as mistress and maid but their relationship progresses to unlikely friendship and I was ALL FOR IT.
  • It also gave us some funny parts so that was nice.
Tan's mother and Eun-sang's mother after a pillow fight.
They even had PILLOW FIGHTS lol.
  • I liked the “gang” that Young-do along with a few others were and the subtle show of progression—from how they used to be to how they are and also speculations of the future. We saw them together and individually, with their struggles and achievements and dreams.

miscellaneous

  • The one thing I truly enjoyed seeing was the infrastructure of their school. I mean, LOOK AT IT.

The Characters

Cha Eun-sang
Source: Dramabeans

Cha Eun-sang, played by Park Shin-hye, studied a lot, had two part-time jobs and worked hard at everything she does. But I didn’t find her to have an actual personality, besides being weak and slightly stubborn. She was just a “damsel in distress”. I also didn’t find her having a dream. She just worked hard for now, with no thoughts of what she wants to become.

Kim Tan
Source: The Problematic of the Unproblematic

Kim Tan, acted by Lee Min-ho, struggles with being a bastard son and cares a lot about his biological mother who can’t be his mum in public. He does not care about the inheritance he has a chance to receive, but spends lavishly and takes money for granted.

Tan also does not have a dream. He doesn’t care about the future. He does not even try in school, bagging the last position in his batch which is an achievement in itself considering most of the students are dumb, rich and spoilt kids.

His character was a contradiction. I did not understand how the writers meant him to be. He was confident and then weak, speaks strong and doesn’t act on his words. He cares about many things and wants change but does not actively go for it. Tan is stubborn, wanting what he wants but also not having the guts to fight for it.

Choi Young-do

Choi Young-do, acted by Kim Woo-bin, had depth, character growth and progression. He’s had abuse at home, is reckless and a bully in school. He actually tries to become a person worthy of Eun-sang!!! Good role model right here guys. I loved seeing him throughout the drama

The only character with true depth was Choi Young-do. That’s all. Everyone else was meh.

Rachel Yoo
Source: Korean Drama Fashion

Rachel Yoo was the most shallow character. I disliked her so much that I ended up disliking the actress Kim Ji-won as well which was A SHAME. I only liked the actress later when I saw her in Descendants of the Sun. This character was so annoying.

She’s spoilt and is a petty bully.

Source: Amino Apps

Now, my two fav supporting characters. Lee Bo-na (Krystal Jung) and Yoon Chan-young(Kang Min-hyuk) were SO ADORABLE. Each were really nice on their own and also as a couple. Good people ❤

They DEALT WITH THEIR UPPER/MIDDLE CLASS DIFFERENCES in a healthy manner and stayed in a relationship together throughout the drama. At least we had one positive representation.

Kim Won
Source: JESH’s corner

Kim Won, played by Choi Jin-hyuk, was meant to be important but I couldn’t care less about him. He is Kim Tan’s elder brother and he was also kinda spineless like Tan when it came to his romance. In fact, their romance stories went almost the same, only with different choices in the end.

Kim Won also had a lot of problem with Kim Tan, and I still don’t really know why. Logically, he shouldn’t hate Tan but he did. It’s one of the bigger minor plots. I didn’t think that it was carried out well.

Lee Hyo-shin
Source: Asia Reviewer Maniac

Lee Hyo-shin, played by Kang Ha-neul, is the one character who deserved more screen time and plot than he got. He was the calm and collected senior that the other students looked up to. I liked him.

He was also relatable because he had a dream of being a film-maker and his family pressured him into law, following their footsteps. We saw the struggle of choosing between his dream and his family + the lifestyle he’s grown up in. I would have rather seen plotlines like this than the romance where both of them are idiots.


OTHER DRAMAS THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (VERY cute, girl power)

My First First Love (coming of age, thoughtful)

Extraordinary You (blending reality & fiction) (supporting characters are the main characters!)


Overall

I didn’t like the show. It had a few good parts but not enough for me.

I wouldn’t recommend it. The drama IS pretty popular and widely-liked so maybe it’s just me and you’d like it? Who knows.

Have you seen this drama? What do you think of the themes it portrays?

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon // Kdrama review

This review has been pending for AGES. I have all the notes, I spoke to my friends and gathered their opinions on the show and got all the points ready. All I had left was to actually write the review.

Anyway, hi y’all! I absolutely ADORED Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and I can’t wait to completely dive into this review. So let’s get to it.

What is this drama about?

Do Bong-soon comes from a line of really strong women and is SUPER strong herself. She can lift cars and throw people into air with ease. The legend is that if the women use their strength for selfish reasons, they lose their power. They’re supposed to use it for good.

Until now, Bong-soon has only been using her power to the minimum, working mostly on being normal.

This drama is about Bong-soon who is now losing control of her powers, has taken the job to protect a CEO, and is crushing real bad on her high school friend.

While Bong-soon works as a bodyguard or the cute AF CEO of Ainsoft, Ahn Min-hyuk, romance buds between the two and it’s THE CUTEST THING EVER.

But there’s also a thriller element with women being kidnapped & disappearing without a trace. The police team, which includes Bong-soon’s crush In Guk-doo, have a hard time finding clues. Bong-soon gets involved with the case and vows to find the culprit.

What I loved:

  • DO BONG-SOON. What a cutie. Few minutes into the show and I was already laughing to tears. She’s short & cute but when she uses her strength it’s so contradicting that it’s bloody hilarious.

Screenshot_20180519-122738

  • Ahn Min-hyuk, CEO & cuteness extraordinaire. He is the PERFECT romantic interest for Bong-soon. It didn’t take long for me to become invested in him. He was equally prominent on screen as Bong-soon.
  • The romance, though. Even though she likes In Guk-doo in the beginning, she starts having feelings for Min-hyuk (who already liked her loads by then) and it was TOO ADORABLE. My heart could not take their relationship. Too good.

bong soon and min hyuk

Source: sbs.com.au

  • Amongst Strong Woman fans, the two are knows as the “puppy couple”* and it describes it all.
  • In Guk-doo was second to only Min-hyuk. I would have had a major crush on him right from the start if Min-hyuk was less prominent.
  • The kidnapping storyline made the show more than just romance. Guk-doo, Bong-soon and Min-hyuk all follow the serial kidnapping incidents and try to find the culprit.
  • Other than that, there was also a minor storyline of Min-hyuk receiving death threats and being the victim of murder attempts.
  • One thing I really liked was the emotions shown in the drama. They came out well. Specifically, I loved the portrayal of emotional vulnerability. It was done really well, in all of the characters.
  • Every Kdrama I’ve watched so far have had comedy elements, big or small, and Strong Woman was no different. But I do want to mention that the comedy is a HUGE part of the show. It takes up a lot of the time and it’s hilarious.
  • The ending scene in 15th episode, which is THE MOST IMPORTANT scene, was done damn well. I loved all the badassness (yes I’m making new words now).

*point written specifically for my friend Sabby.

What I did not like:

  • While the thriller part was a good addition, the scene & the vibe changes weren’t handled well. There would be dark and creepy vibe and suddenly when the scene changed, we got happy and cutesy vibes. So sudden that it was disconcerting.
  • In fact, the vibe change was a recurring thing. Every time there’s a thriller scene, it suddenly ends and we’re back to cutesy AF things.
  • Bong-soon’s mother. Oh god I HATED this character’s existence. At least the villain is required but WHY HER. She’s very partial towards Bong-soon’s twin brother Bong-ki, only gossips with her “friends”, leaving her husband to manage their store alone and also abuses him. She also talks bad about him.
  • There was some explanation (if you can call it that) about her behaviour at the end to kind of “redeem” her, it wasn’t enough. She is a bitter woman who lost her powers due to selfishness.
  • While Bong-soon liking Min-hyuk was cute and all, we didn’t actually get to see her feeling for him develop. We saw him like her and suddenly at one point she liked him too.
  • The plot line following Bong-ki, Guk-doo and Guk-doo’s girlfriend was VERY UNNECESSARY. I hated it.
  • I also didn’t like how the drama ended for Bong-ki and Guk-doo. Was dissatisfying.
  • There were TWO love triangles overall and BOTH got on my nerves.

Screenshot_20180513-224220

  • I’ve noticed that a lot of Kdramas focus at least a little bit on the supporting characters. It makes the story wholesome but is sometimes wasteful. In Strong Woman, almost all focus on supporting characters was boring. And unnecessary. There were RANDOM characters just thrown in. I was completely uninterested.
  • The drama would have been much shorter and to the point without all the unnecessary things.
  • There was one “Indian” character and he was SO NOT ACCURATE to facts at all, starting with his name. I was so annoyed by that. Shows how much research was done.
  • Some parts too damn cheesy. I mean, my bar for extra cheese is low but I do think that they could have been low. The dialogues did not come out well too.
  • The intensive romance parts were weird. I’m assuming they tried for a sexy mood, if I can it that, but it was weird in the middle of all cute vibes.
  • The police team who were investigating were useless. It was supposed to come out as policemen who lazed around but got things done in the end, but I saw nothing get done.
  • Even Guk-doo was like “I’m such a good detective” and felt superior to the lazy ones but couldn’t think straight and get work done.

The Characters

Do Bong-soon, played by Park Bo-young, was THE BEST. She cute and small but super strong and has a very out-there personality. She was awesome as the main character.

She’s damn strong, not that smart academically, is bold sometimes and very shy during other times. She’s also SUPER CUTE when she’s crushing. It’s all stars, heavenly backlit crushes and romantic music.

Her dream is to design a game character who’s like her, and that’s the reason she ends up guarding the CEO of Ainsoft, a game company.

Her personality growth throughout the show was really nice as well.

do bongsoon

Source: Dramabeans

Park Hyung-sik acted brilliantly as Ahn Min-hyuk. I cannot imagine any another actor in his place.

Ahn Min-hyuk is the CEO of a game design company called Ainsoft. He has an estranged relationship with his family, who are also rich. His dad is actually head of a string of companies and is powerful but Min-hyuk left and started Ainsoft from scratch. 

I’m sad that Min-hyuk’s determined and resilient personality was not brought out much. It could have added so much to his character.

He’s also damn cute and funny, setting well with the drama’s main theme. For the first time I actually saw a guy head over heels for a girl and act like it. That was refreshing.

ahn min hyuk.jpg

Source: ceritapic.pw

In Guk-doo, played by Ji Soo, was a compelling lead. He wasn’t another cute character. He was more edgy and rude. I actually went on to watch another drama starring Ji Soo because I liked his acting so much.

Ji Soo is a policeman and is transferred to the department that is assigned the serial kidnapping case. He tries to be a good policeman and a good boyfriend. The main reason I like his character is because his vulnerability was brought out well at the right points.

in guk doo.jpg

Source: Noonas over forks

There were SEVERAL supporting characters, and I cannot get into all of them. They were fine enough but as I said before, way too much focus on unnecessary characters.

The Soundtrack

The music SET THE MOOD. The selections were perfect for the show and the scenes. I really like the soundtrack.

Here are my favourites:


Discussion (INCLUDES SPOILERS)

If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.

Okay FINALLY. I have so much to talk about in this section.

What a stupid ending for Bong-ki and Guk-doo! They just end saying that people like them drift from people to people while really few people find their happily ever after and ?? that’s so negative ??? At least have hope?! What shit.

I did not give a hoot about the goons/construction workers. WHY did we have so much focus on them?! That too they had to make it worse by adding Nizamuddin, an “Indian” monk, and making him throw water on them to cleanse them. Ugh.

I’m disappointed that we saw Bong-soon showing way more feelings for Guk-doo than Min-hyuk. With Guk-doo, she was always melted and crushing hard but that wasn’t much with Min-hyuk. It was mostly Min-hyuk crushing on her and having butterflies. It’s true that she was crushing on Guk-doo for most of the show, but still.

I have mixed feelings about Min-hyuk’s complicated dynamic with his family. The part about his favourite brother and him forgiving him was nice but the rest of the family could go off. Okay maybe the dad can stay but overall it was so-so.

The bomb scene gave SO MUCH EXPECTATIONS and ended very lame. It was also immediately followed by a cute scene, which was a weird and sudden vibe change.

So yeah that.

Now, let’s get to plot holes.

  • It was a BOMB. How did it explode into FIREWORKS when Bong-soon threw it into the sky. It should have been only one explosion.
  • How the hell were there no repercussions? The whole building had to be evacuated due to the threat and it was a huge thing. Yet there was no extra security added the next day or news coverage etc. There wasn’t even concern from Bong-soon’s family.
  • The legend said that the strong women cannot be selfish and hurt innocent people otherwise they’d lose their powers. But in the first episode Bong-soon hurt Min-hyuk’s assistant and BROKE HIS TAILBONE, which caused him to be in the hospital for a long time. How did that not count.

Oh also, the epilogue!

That was damn stretched. We had the epilogue for a WHOLE EPISODE. It was cute and all but it went overboard. I agree that they wanted to give a happy ending but I could have done without a lot of it. It felt very filler.


Overall

Despite there bring more negatives than positives, I actually really liked the drama.

You should watch it because it

  • does a real solid on comedy and
  • is super cute.

A friend asked me why the show is so popular if it has many bad points. It’s because even though the direction hadn’t been done well, the main characters themselves and the main plot (on it’s own without the several small supporting characters) were pretty good.

If you’re in the mood for something really cute that’ll give all the happy feels, watch this. It’s kinda similar to the chick lit genre of books.

P.S. shoutout to my friends Divya, Sabby, Shikha and Vignesh for their inputs for this review. Sarangheyo chingu ❤

Have you watched Strong Woman Do Bong Soon? What did you think of it? What do you think about plots where ultimate cutesy scenes and creepy thriller scenes are mixed up? Have you seen anything that does it well? Discuss with me in the comments!

school 2013 header

School 2013 // Kdrama review

At this point, I was totally into Kdramas. It’s a new world where the shows end after a certain number of episodes, without having upcoming seasons or spin-offs. It’s a good thing, but also a bad thing when the shows are too damn good.

School 2013 was one of the mediocre dramas that I’ve watched. I watched it because it stars Lee Jong-suk and Kim Woo-bin, and it was said to be the drama due to which they became best friends.

What is the drama about?

Continuing the series of dramas which portray high school difficulties and teenagers’ lives, School 2013 is considered to have shown the worst of cases.

Although we follow several characters throughout the drama, it all revolves around Go Nam-soon. Go Nam-soon attends the lowest-ranked school is Seoul.

To rectify the school’s image, the authorities hire a very popular teacher in hopes of him bringing the school’s rankings up. Kang Se-chan, the genius teacher, and Jung In-jae become co-homeroom teachers of Nam-soon’s class and struggle to manage the class.

In the midst of this, a new student appears, and Go Nam-soon weirdly goes around doing everything that students wants. There has to be history between them Park Heung-soo starts taking over the spotlight from the previous bully.

All in all, the drama involves everything that is important in a teenager’s life—grades, love, friendship, family and just getting through these few years in high school.

My thoughts on the drama

  • I watched the show ONLY for the famous bromance between Go Nam-soon and Park Heung-soo. But it hardly constituted 10% of the story. Whatever I saw about them was brilliant but there were too few.
  • There was a rotating focus on characters. We follow 12 characters in total—10 students and 2 teachers, and it makes the show not have an overall point. The journey matters more than the ending.
school 2013 teachers
  • While there was quite a bit of focus on the two teachers including their lives, ideals and opinions, I has zero interest in them. I could not bring myself to care.
  • We looked at the situations and lives of other students as well. I specifically liked the story line of the bully Oh Jung-ho. If I had to pick one thing I liked in the show other than Nam-soon and Heung-soo bromance, it would be this.
  • There was also a little extra focus on Song Ha-kyung who studies and studies and studies. Her family expects a lot from her and since she’s in a school where she can’t really get much help, she works extra hard. To me, she always looked sleepy and dull and as if she might drop asleep any second. I guess it’s warranted when she studies every minute.
  • If I had to pick a minor-ish character that I liked, it would be Kim Min-ki. I really liked the relatable story of his. Kim Min-ki’s mother drives him extra hard to study so that he’ll be successful. She’s also the head of the parents board (or whatever it’s called) and she makes sure that he gets every advantage possible. But there’s also an underlying past. I liked how Min-ki dealt with things in the end.
nam soon tells heung soo to hold up his ramen bowl
  • The adorable moments between Nam-soon and Heung-soo were my favs. They’re my BROTP (OTP but of brothers).
nam soon and heung soo pose for selfie with ramen bowl
  • Honestly, you just need to know that Nam-soon and Heung-soo were the only things really worth it in this drama.

The Characters

Since I know enough to talk about only 4 characters individually, I’m not going to talk about the rest. Maybe I can if I try but I don’t care about 10/12 characters in this drama anyway.

school 2013 kang se chan
Source: top of the kpops

Kang Se-chan is a very popular teacher who taught in coaching centers and has taken up the job to teach in school for a year. He believes in making the students study very hard without caring about their overall life and situation. His intention is to bring the school’s ranking up by first dealing with Nam-soon’s class, which is the worst.

He is practical and logical. He is lazy and does not care about people’s feelings or situations, he cares only about the results. He’s also pretty arrogant.

We see character development in him through the drama but I just didn’t care about him, you know? I tried but I couldn’t.

school 2013 jung in jae
Source: dryedmangoez

Jung In-jae is the sweet teacher who cares about her students’ well-being more than their academic scores. She’s the complete opposite of Jung In-jae.

She tries very hard to actually reach the students and talk to them. If any of them come to her with a problem, she helps them to the best of her ability. She isn’t partial to anyone and is honestly the best teacher-counselor personality.

go nam soon

Now to Go Nam-soon. Go Nam-soon is the perfect example of a student who has given up and is just going through the daily motions. He works all night for his part-time job and sleeps during class.

He finds studying very hard and hence has given up, accepting the lowest marks every time.

While there’s nothing very special about Go Nam-soon, pair him with Heung-soo and you’re now caught into the story.

park heung soo

Park Heung-soo is the new and “troubled” student who has transferred in-and-out of multiple schools. He has a reputation of being a bully. Heung-soo has been transferred to this school as the last chance. If he gets expelled from this school as well, he’s not graduating ever.

There is more depth to Heung-soo on his own than Nam-soon on his own. Together, they’re a whole new story but I found Heung-soo more likable, compared to Nam-soon only.

Overall

The only bright points of the drama were Nam-soon and Heung-soo’s bromance but it’s not enough to completely save the show. It doesn’t take up enough screen time for that. I wish their friendship was the focal point alone because then I would have really liked the drama.

I wouldn’t recommend it. If you really want to see Lee Jong-suk and Kin Woo-bin on screen together with amazing chemistry, go for it. Otherwise better skip it.


OTHER DRAMAS THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Extraordinary You (blending reality & fiction) (supporting characters are the main characters!)

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (VERY cute, girl power)

While You Were Sleeping (dreams predict the future!) (stars Lee Jong-suk!)


Have you seen any profound show, drama or movie based on high school? What do you think is one thing that will be a constant in teenagers’ lives no matter the changes in the world? Tell me in the comments!

doctor stranger poster

Doctor Stranger // Kdrama review

It’s time for another Korean drama review! Let’s hope I didn’t forget everything about this show because I actually watched it months back lol. Thank goodness I had the foresight to make notes so this review might actually have some details.

I watched this Kdrama only because of Lee Jong-suk. After watching three shows of his and loving all of them, I decided I’m bingeing the shows in which he’s a lead. I tried watching I Can Hear Your Voice because I saw a blog post that said he’s amazing in it. I liked him well enough but I HATED the other main character. She was very annoying and Lee Jong-suk’s character still pined over her. Yeah, no.

So then I decided to try Doctor Stranger and I went in with low expectations because I hadn’t heard much praise for this one. I did take a while to get into it.

The Plot

We start off with Park Hoon’s dad Park Cheol, a brilliant heart surgeon, being called to North Korea. He took Park Hoon along because Hoon’s mother refused to care for him. But they were tricked and the father-son duo weren’t allowed to return to South Korea.

Years later, with Hoon as a budding genius surgeon, Hoon and his girlfriend Song Jae-hee try to escape to South Korea. The plan goes awry and Hoon crosses alone. Ever since, he’s been looking for Jae-hee.

Through chance circumstances he gets hired as a surgeon in Myungwoo University Hospital and meets an anesthesiologist by the name Han Seung-hee who looks exactly like Hoon’s Song Jae-hee. She adamantly refuses that she’s Jae-hee but Hoon refuses to accept that, believing that she is Jae-hee.

Two people cannot have the same heartbeat. And I know yours, Jae-hee.

The rest of the plot is centered around two other leads— Han Jae-joon and Oh Soo-hyun, also doctors at the hospital. Other than the romance, there’s plot about political corruption, revenge, secret assassinations and medical drama. In fact there’s more of all that than romance.

My thoughts on the show:

I’m going to be doing this point-wise so that you know exactly what I liked and how much I liked it.

+2

Lee Jong-suk as Park Hoon was the highlight of the show. Park Hoon is eccentric (and his hairstyle matches), playful and a genius. He’s been trained well by his father and is a great heart surgeon. While this show isn’t as compelling as other shows of Lee Jong-suk’s (that I’ve seen), it’s still good enough in terms of characters. If Lee Jong-suk wasn’t the lead and someone else played Park Hoon, I don’t think I would have liked the show as much.

doctor stranger park hoon.jpg

I also liked that Hoon used to picture and practice his upcoming surgeries before-hand. Whenever things went wrong in his head, he started over again until he’s sure that he can perform the surgery successfully.

-1

I found one recurring thing unbelievable. Hoon, just by touching the patient’s chest, was able to picture the heart and immediately determine what’s wrong. It’s not realistic, especially since it happened ALL THE TIME.

I don’t know much about the heart from a medical point of view but I don’t think that you can find out exactly what is wrong just by placing your hand over the patient’s chest, no matter how skilled you are.

+1

The mystery and thrilling underlying plot line related to politics and disagreement between South Korea and North Korea was pretty good to watch. We got some action and mystery, which I’m all for.

While not a focus point, it influences Hoon’s life and it’s addition made the show more interesting.

-1

But at some points, the plot I spoke of above, did seem unnecessary and stupid. I have mixed feelings about it because of those random pointless things.

The whole thing revolves around Hoon and requiring him to do the heart surgery of the vice president, which was weird for a long time. I was so confused as to why he was chosen and why they need him. Honestly, by the time the backstory and reasons were revealed, I still didn’t care. There were so many elaborate plots and set-ups for a seemingly small thing.

+1

I liked the “is she Jae-hee or is she Seung-hee?” debate I had throughout the show. Once I decided on something, another clue or fact would pop up and I was thrown into a loop again. It kept me interested, wanting to know her identity and reasons no matter what her is identity is. If she’s Jae-hee, why did she hide herself from Hoon? If she’s Seung-hee, how come she looks exactly like Jae-hee unless they’re twins? I kept cooking up theories.

(below is a picture of Song Jae-hee)

doctor stranger song jae hee 2.jpg
Source: HanCinema

-2

Unfortunately, what I mentioned above was the ONLY thing I liked about the character. I pretty much hated Han Seung-hee and did not care about her at all.

Okay, but truly.

I kept trying to like her, or at least be meh about her because she was Hoon’s love (assuming she’s Jae-hee) and I liked Hoon. But I just could not like her how much ever I tried.

Song Jae-hee, in the small amount of time we saw her, was shown as a vibrant girl and I thought I liked her instantaneously.

doctor stranger song jae hee.jpg
Source: Korean Daydreamer

Han Seung-hee (shown in the picture above), on the other hand, was just BLANK. I did not see any emotion in her. I did not see joy when she was supposedly happy and didn’t see her upset when she was supposedly sad. It was the same expression throughout her screen time in the show.

Only a few times did I see her smile and look sad but that also didn’t look genuine, somehow. I don’t know. I found her weird.

It’s obviously not bad acting because the same actress played Jae-hee, whom I liked in one minute. I just do not like the way Seung-hee’s character was written and directed.

+2

Oh Soo-hyun, on the other hand, was a really good lead. I really liked her.

Doctor Stranger oh soo hyun.jpg
Source: DramaFever

She tries very hard to be a good doctor even though she “doesn’t have the talent” so that she can prove herself to her father, who’s the chairman of the hospital.

She was also really entertaining to watch while simultaneously being someone I related to. She’s vulnerable and under confident but tries to do well and handle herself in situations. Not only was she clumsy in feelings and had funny expressions, she was a determined doctor.

She’s the only doctor I’ve seen studying hard in dramas (and shows and movies). She legit sat with medical books and tried to understand the problem and all of the theory. She worked hard.

Soo-hyun ends up liking Hoon and her journey on that plot line was pretty interesting to watch as well. I was actually rooting for her and Hoon even though I kinda wanted Hoon to get his one true love back? I was very confused on the shipping side of things.

doctor stranger.png
Source: Korean Daydreamer

+1

Coming from a completely different story line, Han Jae-joon held his own on screen against Hoon and Soo-hyun.

He’s a gifted surgeon who graduated as a top medical student from Harvard. Why’s he in Myungwoo, you ask? Well, it turns out that when he was a teenager, his father passed away during surgery due to medical malpractice. The head surgeon (currently the chairman) did not apologize at all. Jae-joon also lost his mother to grief.

He’s back in Myungwoo to destroy the hospital, and the chairman with it, to get revenge. That’s his aim. But while pursuing that and using Soo-hyun for his goals since she’s the chairman’s daughter, he ends up falling in love with her and tries to suppress it.

I really liked watching his character development and all the obstacles he had to go through in terms of his heart. On one hand, he’s very angry about his parents but on the other, he’s now in love with Soo-hyun. If he pursues one side, the other isn’t possible.

doctor stranger han jae joon.jpg
Source: seoulbeats.com

-1

The plot holes were annoying as heck. Since most of the show was medical-related, I knew nothing. But the plot holes that I did pick up annoyed me so much because explanation was NOT given. The story seemed very incomplete.

I will mention the details of the plot holes in a spoiler section below.

+0.5

The supporting characters were okay but not that impressive. Some were funny, some helped the main cast but overall I’m not impressed by them.

I only liked Lee Chang-yi (who’s like a younger sister to Hoon in present day) because she was cute and level-headed, and Moon Hyung-wook (Hoon’s direct boss in the hospital) who was there mostly for humour purposes.

doctor stranger lee chang yi
Lee Chang-yi. Source: DramaPopuler

-1.5

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to give this -1 or -2 so I just went with -1.5.

There were a series of surgical competitions set up by the hospital’s authorities for Hoon and Jae-joon. It was to decide who would be performing surgery on the vice president.

I didn’t like that they made a competition out of important surgeries. I didn’t like that they chose patients based on the level of difficulty of the surgery and not from a doctor’s concern.

I know that it’s supposed to show Hoon as the only good doctor who cared about the patients and Jae-joon as someone willing to do anything to climb ranks and destroy the hospital, but still. I do not approve of it. There were multiple (four, if I remember right) such competitions held over several episodes.


Since I did not really notice the songs in this show and don’t care to listen to them specifically, I don’t have a favourite songs section.


Discussion (INCLUDES SPOILERS)

If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.

Okay so let’s see the plot holes that annoyed me so much, it almost ruined the whole story because these don’t make sense.

One, how did Hoon finally reach South Korea from Budapest? There was just a time-jump resulting in him being South Korea with no elaboration whatsoever.

Two, how did Jae-hee survive the fall the first time in Budapest? How was she saved in time because she was shot and she was in water. I’m sure Hoon would have stayed there for a long time staring or would have tried to save her as well.

Three, how did that North Korea military captain whatever guy survive? He also got shot and fell into the lake. Searches were done to search his body pretty soon.

Four, how did Hoon and Jae-hee survive the fall the second time in the last episode? Soo-hyun and Chang-yi ran over and saw them fall. They were standing right there. I’m sure even the police would have been called and searches would have been done. How did they escape and why didn’t they tell anyone??? Surely the people close to them would have been happy to know they’re alive and would have kept it as a secret.

There seems to be a lot of surviving in this show with no explanation.

Five, Jae-joon knew that they survived. Of all the people, why him? And how? One side would have had to reach out or Jae-joon would have saved them and I don’t see how? IT was not explained as well??

Oof what stupid plot holes. They’re so obvious! How did the writers or anyone else in the making of the show not notice??


Overall points =  1

Do I recommend it?

Go for the show if you really like Lee Jong-suk and want to see more of him. Otherwise, just skip it.


Other Kdramas you might like:

W: Two Worlds (a BRILLIANT drama also featuring Lee Jong-suk)

While You Were Sleeping (dreams that predict the future!) (also Lee Jong-suk)

Kill Me, Heal Me (the main lead has SEVEN personalities) (thriller & mystery)


Do you like dramas/shows featuring medical fields? Have you seen doctors studying in any?

Uncontrollaby Fond // Kdrama review

What matters to you more: the plot or the characters? Your answer will determine whether you’ll like Uncontrollably Fond or not.

This Korean drama was my 5th kdrama. I watched it because it has Kim Woo-bin, who is Lee Jong-suk’s bestfriend, and Suzy, who I really liked in While You Were SleepingI also heard a LOT about this show, it’s praised about online and people love Kim Woo-bin because of this.

What is the drama about?

Shin Joon-young finds out that he has cancer. Rather than admit himself in hospital and receive treatment, he decides to live well for the few months he has left. He frequently changes his decisions and does not care about his word given to others, and hence becomes known as a difficult celebrity.

Noh Eul got fired from her journalist job because she took bribes. While on the hunt for a new job, she made a wager with some people that if she gets Joon-young to do the documentary they want, she’ll get to be the PD for the project. Since she was Joon-young’s high school classmate, she uses that connection to get a job.

We also see Choi Ji-tae, the son of Joon-young’s biological father (who doesn’t know about Shin Joon-young). Ji-tae is also Eul’s romantic interest in the present day but she doesn’t know his real identity.

Another main character is Yoon Jeong-yoon who is in love with Ji-tae. She is the daughter of a high profile politician and is an aspiring cook, who is determined to get what she wants.

Uncontrollably Fond is the story of these four young people whose lives are very messily intertwined.

My thoughts on the show:

  • The plot felt pretty simple when I watched it but now that I recollect the plot, there was SO MUCH. I cannot even begin to explain it. The plot is complicated beyond simple summaries.
  • I got super into it in the beginning and thought it was romance but it’s actually so much more.
  • The show is VERY character-driven. We see pasts and presents of various characters, how they’re grown and changed due to circumstances and how they deal with life plus links that bring them together.
  • The variety of relationships explored is probably the best thing about the show, for me. There is some focus on every single relationship, no matter how small, and we see all the dynamics, ups and downs.
  • I really appreciated the directing. There was CLEAR difference between flashbacks and the current storyline. I could immediately understand because the whole vibe is different. I think its because the life then was so much better. The four had dreams and a whole life ahead of them but currently they’re at an all-time low, brought down by life and tired from fighting.
  • Other than that, to be honest, I did not like the show. I watched it completely because I love character-driven stories but the rest wasn’t impressive. The plot itself was okay, not great.
  • The love triangle made me so annoyed. I normally don’t like love triangles but this one really got on my nerves. And at one point it became a SQUARE and I lost it.

The Characters

Kim Woo-bin played Shin joon-young SO DAMN WELL. I was floored by his acting. He played the good, rebellious, struggling, unwell and in-love sides of Joon-young brilliantly.

Shin Joon-young is an actor-singer with a huge fan following. He’s had a rough relationship with his mother ever since he stopped trying to become a prosecutor, like his biological father, and became who he is now. He’s hidden his reasons from his mom in order to not break her heart. He keeps trying to get her to turn around but she pretty much cut him off. I found this really sad because he has no one else to turn to in bad times.

Noh Eul is the only girl he’s ever loved and tries to have a good time with her for the rest of his life, regretting having never done that before.

Note: In a way, the show broke the fourth wall. In the show, after Joon-young found out that he has cancer he wants to change the ending of a movie he’s been shooting. The ending has him die, which he thought brilliant before, but doesn’t now. In real life, Kim Woo-bin also got cancer and is currently recovering, thankfully.

uncontrollably fond shin joon young.jpg

Source: amusings

I watched the show partly for Suzy because she was so good in While You Were Sleeping but unfortunately I HATED her here. Honestly I think it’s both the annoying character and her bad acting. 

Noh Eul’s dad died in a hit-and-run and she witnessed it. The prosecutor in charge (Joon-young’s dad) gave a wrong verdict to protect the criminal. After fighting for the right person to be convicted for a while, she found herself in the position to pay all of her dad’s debts.

She also has her younger brother to look after, who wants to become a doctor. She tries very hard to not let him know the real situation and keep him well fed.

Before she used to be a very kind person who gave to others freely. Now she’s scrambling for money and prefers taking bribes to earn more than earn rightfully. I hated her decisions, the way she did not see how she was hurting Joon-young by whining about Ji-tae not liking her and also her not even trying to live a rightful life.

uncontrollably fond noh eul

Choi Ji-tae, played by Lim Ju-hwan, is SUCH A BORE. I did not like him at all in the beginning because he was a coward, did not stand up for the right thing or his love and just let things happen. I did like his character growth, though. It took a long time but in the last episode he showed some potential.

Ji-tae is the son of Choi Hyeon-joon, a prosecutor-turned-politician who closed Noh eul’s dad’s case with the wrong criminal. Ji-tae knows about this and it is the reason why he approached Noh Eul wearing a different name and face. He also knows that Joon-young is his half-brother. He tries to keep Eul and Joon-young apart but it doesn’t work.

Uncontrollably fond choi ji tae.jpg

Source: Dramabeans

Yoon Jeung-eun, played by Lim Ju-eun, is the daughter of a politician and the person who killed Noh Eul’s dad in a hit-and-run. Her dad convinced Choi Hyeon-joon to put the blame elsewhere and let this go.

She is also in love with Choi Ji-tae and keeps trying after him even though he never reciprocates her feelings.

She was played well by the actress but she had no growth, character arc or development and acted like a 15 year old with an obsessive crush.

Uncontrollably fond yoon jeong eun

Source: Dramabeans

My favourite songs from the soundtrack

 

 

Golden Love is such a sweet soothing song but the lyrics are actually sad. I thought it perfectly went with the scenes they paired it with. It was playing in loop for a few days.

 

More than Golden Love, I love A Little Braver. This song gives me all the feels every single time I listen to it. It was played quite often in the show during the second half and it PERFECTLY matches all the moods and vibes.


DISCUSSION (INCLUDES SPOILERS)

If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.

Okay so CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW ANNOYING NOH EUL WAS. Damn I hated her so much and considered stopping the show because of her.

She just gave up and did not try to live an honest life and kept complaining and whining. Yes your dad died an unfair death and did not get justice, but that does not mean you forget about your brother. She keeps depending on her best friend and “tries” to earn for her brother. But all she does is look for shortcuts to a lot of money. In the time she spent looking for shortcuts, she would have earned more money just working at a normal job.

Also Shin Joon-young! *sobs* We knew right from the first episode that he’ll die but I kept wishing throughout that he won’t.

Oh and the scene where he forgot years of memories and went to visit his dad? He acted so hopeful and looked up to his dad and that scene B R O K E me.

I didn’t notice plot holes because I didn’t particularly care lol.


 

Overall

Uncontrollably Fond is about how one person can impact your life so much and how one incident can bring you down. It is, at the heart, a sad story of four individuals. It’s NOT really romance.

The show is for Kim Woo-bin fans. His acting is brilliant and I cried a total of two times, both because of Shin Joon-young. I felt like he carried the whole show and if you don’t consider him, there’s nothing left in the show.

If you’re huge fan of Kin Woo-bin or simply want to see him, go for it. Otherwise, you’ll be better skipping this drama.

Have you watched Uncontrollably Fond? What’s your take on it? Do you prefer character-driven stories or plot-driven stories?

W: Two Worlds // Kdrama review

Welcome back to another Korean drama review where I talk about another one of my favourites so far! This was the fourth Kdrama I watched and I did not expect that I would like it this much.

My luck with Kdramas was so good in the beginning, though? Out of 4, I really liked THREE. That’s a very good number. Amongst the Korean dramas I’ve reviewed till now, I rank them as:

  1. W: Two Worlds
  2. While You Were Sleeping
  3. Pinocchio
  4. It’s Okay That’s Love

W: Two Worlds and While You Were Sleeping are very close because I love them both equally and the only reason W is #1 now is because it’s in the genre that I’m totally into at the moment.

What’s the drama about?

What if you went into your favourite fictional world? What if you met your fictional crush and fell in love with him/her for real? What if THEY fell in love with YOU?

OKAY SO GUYS THIS DRAMA IS AWESOME. I have absolutely no clue how to describe it properly so forgive me if I’m confusing.

It  starts off with the author of a VERY popular webtoon called going missing. The people working under him were right outside his room and even they don’t know where he’s gone.

His daughter Oh Yeon-joo, our female lead, starts looking for clues in his room. While doing that, a bloody hand caches hold of her jacket and pulls her. Next thing she knows, she’s in the rooftop of a building next to a man lying on the floor with stab wounds. Being a doctor, she does something to make him better and runs to call for help.

And after a few minutes, she’s suddenly back in the real world, in her father’s room, where she finds out that a new episode of W has gone up. And the episode describes EXACTLY what happened when she was in the rooftop.

That’s how she figures out that she was IN THE WEBTOON. She got pulled into the webtoon through her father’s drawing tablet in his room. The injured man was the main lead of the webtoon, Kang Chul.

What the heck, you say?

The drama is about two worlds—real world and the webtoon world. Oh Yeon-joo gets dragged into the webtoon world again and again and eventually becomes a part of it. Whenever the episode ends (with a big scene like episodes usually end), she’s back into the real world.

And so began their love story.

It is way more than romance, though! It was sci-fi, thriller and romance all rolled into one with twists every where! Within 16 one hour episodes, SO MUCH happens that once the show ends you’re just blown away by thinking what all happened.

Honestly, I can’t even begin to explain all the details about the show because I could write a whole post just about it.

What I loved

  • It’s FANTASY, y’all. And it’s the BEST fantasy.

It’s an amazing story about murder, villains, love and it takes place in TWO worlds. So you go back and forth, you get to know both worlds, you see how complicated it all becomes and you are at the edge just waiting to see what happens next.

devoured this drama as fast as my mind could keep up and still stay sane. Because let me tell you, you won’t even feel like all of the story happened in ONLY 16 episodes. There’s so much.

W poster
Source: Hello Asia!
  • Have you ever imagined what it would be like if you met your fictional crush? Because that’s exactly what happens in this show. Kang Chul is the fictional crush of many in the show’s real world, including Oh Yeon-joo. So just imagine yourself in Yeon-joo’s place getting to meet Kang Chul, who is the BEST to have a crush on.
  • Han Hyo-joo acted SO WELL as Oh Yeon-joo. I loved the parts when Yeon-joo is confused what to do when she’s in the fictional world, what to say about herself whenever Kang Chul asks and how to get back. It was quite funny to watch her.
w yeon-joo and Chul
Source: Dramabeans
  • The drama also asks questions you ask yourself about every fictional world. And at those moments I really started thinking myself and fell in love with the show more because it’s literally our dreams.

What happens when the story ends? Does the world stop, frozen forever? Or does it go on?

  • The plot is just CRAZY. If you don’t watch the show for anything else, just watch it for the plot. The are so many ups and downs and twists. By the end all you can expect is that there will be more unexpected things happening, right until the end of episode 16.
  • In fact the plot is so good, I actually even missed some details which I thought were plot holes simply because I was too into the main story and was waiting to see what happens next that my attention wasn’t on the details.
  • Kang Chul’s relationship with Oh Seong-moo—his maker—was so complex and fascinating. At one point Kang Chul comes into the real world and meets Seong-moo and everything that follows got me so interested.

The relationship started out with Seong-moo wanting to kill the character that he made and end the webtoon. To Kang Chul, Seong-moo is the one who gave him a tragic life story but it became so much more including Seong-moo being the father of the woman Kang Chul loves. Honestly, I cannot say much without spoiling something.

W kang chul and oh seong moo
Source: Dramabeans
  • The father-daughter relationship portrayal was so nice. Oh Yeon-joo and Oh Seong-moo’s love for each other kept driving them to save the other. Seeing Seong-moo’s love for his daughter made me so emotional. I don’t see this much focus on parent-child relationships so that was really nice.

I cannot say anymore because spoilers but just know that if I could, I would rant for 3000 words.

What I didn’t love so much

  • The plot holes. I caught quite a few plot holes in While You Were Sleeping but they didn’t bother me much unlike here where all of the plot holes bothered me! Especially the big ones that are the catalysts of the plot. They’re the reason the plot exists and they aren’t explained at all.
  • I’ll admit, at one point I got pretty bored by the show. It was all fast-paced and fantasy elements then suddenly all we saw was romance which I was NOT into. But they did recover fast—within one episode! Right as you think everything will end well, BAM, another twist.

There are things that aren’t explained well. The plot might seem far-fetched in some points.

BUT.

It’s fiction and it has the freedom to break barriers so just enjoy it.

The Characters

I LOVED Kang Chul. This character is very different from other roles I’ve seen Lee Jong-suk play. In the others, his character is unsure, clumsy and can mess up. But here, he’s the PERFECT male lead—strong, confident, rich, with a tragic past and a life quest. Lee Jong-suk played him better than I thought he could.

Kang Chul is an award-winning sharp-shooter who pursued Computer Science in academics. His whole family was murdered by a sharp-shooter (and by the same gun Kan Chul used during the Olympic competition) so the blame came upon him. Everyone thought he killed them after having a fight with his dad for wanting to study CS.

He’s now the CEO of a company and has also started a broadcasting station called W where people solve unsolved cases. He thought this might help find the person who killed his family.

W. Who and Why. Who killed them and why did they kill them.

kang chul gif
Source: We Heart It.

Oh Yeon-joo, played by Han Hyo-joo, is a doctor and daughter of the artist of W. Her parents are divorced and hence she doesn’t get to see her father as much as she would like. In the beginning, she’s meek and shy and wasn’t very captivating. Even though she had more screen time than Kang Chul, I didn’t like her then.

But later I grew to like her because I could clearly see character growth and growth is what I like. She grows from the very uncertain and jumpy girl to one who deals with villains, death threats and doing anything to keep her loved ones safe.

w oh yeon joo.jpg
Source: Dramabeans

This next character isn’t considered a main character but to me he is one because his role is as big as Kang Chul’s and Oh Yeon-joo’s. Oh Seong-moo, artist of the webtoon and father of Oh Yeon-joo, was played brilliantly by Kim Ui-seong. His role was complex and included multiple personalities. Just, wow.

w oh seong moo

The other supporting characters were played really well too. My favourite supporting characters are Seo Do-yoon, Kang Chul’s bodyguard and Park Soo-bong, one of the artists under Seong-moo.


Discussion (INCLUDES SPOILERS)

If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.

Okay so can we talk plot holes and things that weren’t explained??

Plot Holes

  1. The screen to the real world. The explanation we got later was that the screen appeared in front of Kang Chul when he realizes that he’s a fictional character. So then he can step through the screen into the real world. But that doesn’t explain how the screen appeared in episode 1 when he did NOT know that he’s a fictional character.
  2. Talking about the same scene, why was Kang Chul dying? All the previous times he rejected death by changing the scene so why couldn’t he do that here? What’s the logic?
  3. We were told that Oh Yeon-joo gets dragged into the webtoon world (after the first time) whenever Kang Chul thinks about her. But what about after they rewrote the story? How did Yeon-joo get dragged into the world when Kang Chul did not even have memories of her? It’s said that she probably remained in his head unconsciously but it still doesn’t make sense because it was more like time rewind than memory erase.
  4. Oh Seong-moo disappeared in the webtoon world. He didn’t actually die. So Yeon-joo could have just drawn a little more and changed her father’s fate? Why wasn’t that thought of. He just disappeared! Plus, Seong-moo wasn’t even really a webtoon character so how did he disappear like a webtoon character that’s not required anymore?

Other things

CAN WE TALK ABOUT SEONG-MOO BECOMING THE VILLAIN? The actor changes roles so fast and brilliantly played both roles that I just? was blown away??

I also loved that a villain was made as the webtoon progressed? It’s not a simple find the villain, catch the villain and happily ever after. I found it interesting with the prosecutor/politician’s addition and how he gradually became a villain because he’s against Kang Chul.


Overall

I loved the show! So much is packed into 16 episodes that I got so sucked into it, I didn’t even notice the background songs much. I binged it as fast as I could and was taken on a roller coaster ride.

Definitely recommended! Especially if you love fantasy and would love to see fictional and real worlds getting mixed.


Other Kdramas you might like:

Doctor Stranger (also stars Lee Jong-suk!!)

Kill Me, Heal Me (the main character has SEVEN personalities)

Extraordinary You (similar story of blending reality & fiction) (supporting characters are the main characters!)


Have you ever imagined meeting your fictional crush? About going into your favourite fictional world? What comes next in that story? Tell me in the comments!

It's Okay That's Love poster

It’s Okay, That’s Love // Kdrama review

This was the second kdrama I ever watched, and it was completely different from what I expected. After I finished While You Were Sleeping, I searched for kdramas to watch which are like WYWS and this popped up in a list along with Pinocchio.

If you’ve read my review on Pinocchio, you’d know that I really liked it. But I actually watched this before that and I didn’t like this one much. Probably because of it’s story and theme, which I didn’t bother to find out before watching it.

What’s the drama about?

The drama mainly centers around two people—Jang Jae-yeol who is a writer and radio DJ, and Ji Hae-soo who is a psychiatrist. We explore their pasts, presents, relationships and also follow along their love story.

The drama is heavily influenced by neuro-psychiatry. In almost every episode we see a case or something related to mental illnesses. I liked it a lot because I learnt so much more about this field that I had only a small idea about.

I also liked that they somehow normalized mental illnesses—which is what I felt. Even psychiatrists have their own issues that they have to work through and almost every individual who has been through something has issues including both of our main characters.

The reason I didn’t like this drama much was probably because other than psychiatry, the other major part was romance, which I wasn’t interested in. Nowadays I don’t have much patience for romance and I should have checked out review of the show before starting.

Nevertheless, I did finish it in a week and stuck through the end.

For the first few episodes, I kept comparing It’s Okay That’s Love to While You Were Sleeping and considering how good WYWS is, this one fell short. It took me those few episodes to judge the show on it’s own and not compared to WYWS.

My thoughts on the show:

  • Ji Hae-soo is really guarded and as a result comes off really rude to people. But she’s also a really open and caring psychiatrist who cares about her patients a lot.
ji hae soo picture
  • Ever since seeing her mom cheat on her dad when she was young, Hae-soo has been uneasy with physical intimacy. In the beginning of the show, she’s been dating a guy for 300 days and has only ever kissed him because that’s as far as she’s able to go without having panic attacks.
  • What I found unbelievable was that after she started dating Jang Jae-yeol, she slept with him pretty fast and without much work. If she’s so much held up by her issues, how was she able to dispose of them so quickly with Jae-yeol??
  • Jang Jae-yeol is the typical male stereotype I’ve seen several times in romance books/movies—rich, confident, playboy who doesn’t have emotional relationships and with a tragic past. This made me dislike the show a little because I’m so done with this stereotype.
jan jae yeol picture
  • His tragic past storyline was pretty sad, though. That really made me emotional.
  • Jae-yeol got interested in Hae-soo right from the beginning because she’s the only woman who said no to him and is rude to him. SO. DONE. WITH THIS CLICHE.
  • Hae-soo was also pretty cliche in the terms that she wasn’t at all interested in his money and she gets it across pretty clear and that made him want to spend money on her.
jang jae yeol and ji hae soo picture
  • The best part of the show was the neuro-psychiatry focus, for me.
  • The second best part were the supporting characters. We saw a little bit individually about most of the recurring characters and tbh I was more interested in them than the main characters.
  • I also liked the relationships between all the characters, especially the slowly formed ones.
cast picture
  • Okay so I’m most frustrated about the epilogue. I felt like everyone broke character in the epilogue, especially Hae-soo. She’s really rude and doesn’t come down easily if she’s pissed. But in the epilogue, she switched into happy mode too soon for me to believe it and hence breaking character. I get it, they tried to make it a happily-ever-after type of epilogue but I didn’t like it.

Overall

It’s okay. I didn’t really like it. Probably the only reason I completed it was because I watched most of it during the time I was bored like during commute.

Not impressed and not recommended since there are much better kdramas to watch.


OTHER DRAMAS THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Kill Me, Heal Me (my #1 drama) (the main character has SEVEN personalities)

My First First Love (coming of age, thoughtful)

Extraordinary You (blending reality & fiction) (supporting characters are the main characters!)


Do you watch kdramas? What’s your favourite? Are you watching anything currently? Are you fed up with cliche tropes as well? Let me know in the comments!

Pinocchio // Kdrama review

I didn’t think I’d find a show as good as While You Were Sleeping this soon, but I did and it’s Pinocchio. I searched for shows to watch after WYWS and I found this so my friend and I started watching it together.

I took a few episodes to get into it but I LOVED it once I did. I must have watched Pinocchio about two weeks after WYWS (yes this review is really late) and it instantly got me obsessed about it instead of WYWS.

What is the drama about?

The drama starts off with a fire accident and mis-reported news which leads to the family of a fireman, who is allegedly hiding after being the only survivor from the explosion, being targeted. The wife, eventually having enough of being blamed all over media and by the people she meets, jumps off a cliff into water with her younger son Ki Ha-myeong.

They both are reported to be dead but the son, Ki Ha-myeong, is survives  after being saved from the sea by an old man. The old man, still scarred from his elder son drowning in the sea, believes that Ha-myeong is his son returned. Therefore from then on Ha-myeong lives as Choi Dal-po, leaving behind his previous life along with his name. 

Coincidentally, the daughter of the reporter who mis-reported the news is Choi In-ha, the granddaughter of the previously mentioned old man through his other son. Therefore Choi Dal-po becomes Choi In-ha’s cousin and he hates her because of her mother.

Dal-po and In-ha grow up to become reporters and we follow them as they try to report right and also deal with what happened in the past. Most of the drama takes place when they’re reporters.

This drama is based on how much impact reported news makes since people believe that all the news reported is true even if it’s not, and it shows how things can go wrong because of it. Ha-myeong’s life was destroyed, his mother killed herself and his family’s name was ruined because of a reporter who jumped to conclusions.

Why is it named Pinocchio?

There’s something called “the Pinocchio syndrome” in the show. 6% percent of the population have this syndrome which causes their body to involuntarily do some action when they lie, therefore making it hard to lie.

The female lead, Choi In-ha, has the Pinocchio syndrome and hiccups whenever she lies. Until she tells the truth about it after lying, her hiccups don’t stop.

It’s an interesting concept but there’s not much focus on it for the drama to be named after it. The drama is a lot of things and the Pinocchio syndrome is not one of the most important factors.

What I loved about the story

  • The double identity of Ha-myeong/Dal-po made the story SO DARN INTERESTING. Especially because, at every turn, he encounters someone from the past but can’t say anything since he left that life behind. Multiple times throughout the show I was cheering him on to just reveal his real identity but he didn’t. It did lead to huge reveal scene which was P E R F E C T though.
  • There’s also the storyline between Ha-myeong and his real older brother. For a decade the older brother, Ki Jae-myeong, thought that his brother was dead as well and held rage in his heart. The two brothers meet because of another reason and it KILLED me to watch them be strangers. I love family drama and any plot related to family so the two brothers and their story was the highlight of the show for me. I swear I cried so much for these two, it’s not funny.
04-pinocchio-episode-08-lee-jong-suk-korean-drama-fashion
Source: Korean Drama Fashion
  • Another family-related plot which I loved was the bond between Dal-po and his adoptive father. Through the show they go through ups and downs but the love between them is pure even though they’re not related by blood. I love them so much I could cry.
  • The romance was slow-burn and really adorable! If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that slow-budding romances are my favourite and the romance between Dal-po and In-ha was SO NICE.
  • But I wasn’t very into the romance because rest of the plot grabbed my attention more. It was cute and all but it didn’t give me any feels like the rest.
pinocchio dal po and in ha.jpg
Source: Drama Fever
  • All the characters were brilliant! Each part was played perfectly by the actors and I couldn’t find anything lacking. The characters were a major reason why I love the show so much.
  • The rivalry between the two main news broadcasting channels YGN and MSC was fun to watch.

The Characters

Ki Ha-myeong is the most important character and Lee Jong-suk played him so damn well, I was blown off. Because of his acting in Pinocchio, I became obsessed with him and pretty much stalked him online. I’m a Lee Jong-suk stan now.

The most defining factor of Ha-myeong was his past, his hatred towards reporters and how he eventually becomes one just to show how reporters are supposed to be. He hated In-ha because of her mother but eventually he ended up liking her even though he didn’t want to. He liked her for YEARS before others got to know about it because he hid it so well.

What I also liked was seeing a few scenes where Dal-po was playful and boyish, which was hella cute.

pinocchio-kdramastarrecap
Source: Kdrama Star Recap

Choi In-ha on the other hand, was mostly just clueless. She loves her mother even though her mom doesn’t even talk to her. She wants to become a reporter because of her mom. In fact, she’s been texting her mom for YEARS without getting a reply but she continues as she believes her mom reads her messages.

I didn’t like In-ha character specifically but she was portrayed well by Park Shin-hye. I liked the acting. In-ha was adorable and childish at times but also sacrificing and determined. What I liked most about her was that she thought about others first and if she’s determined, she tries very hard and doesn’t give up easily.

I did have a problem with In-ha though. She sometimes felt like a supporting character instead of a main character. She tried to do things but she mostly just went along with the flow while all the impactful actions were done by Dal-po.

pinocchio in ha
Source: Drama Blooms

Seo Beom-jo is a reporter along with Choi In-ha and he’s a major character in the show. The texts that In-ha used to send her mom? Well turns out her mom forgot her phone once and Beom-jo took it. For a DECADE he’s been reading In-ha’s messages and falls in love with her.

Played by Kim Young-kwang, Beom-jo becomes a reporter to meet In-ha and in the beginning. I though of him as only a sidekick. I didn’t find much depth in his character until a little before the end. All I could see about his was that he liked In-ha and he was a spoilt rich child. It’s only later that we see more to him but overall I didn’t like his character much.

pinocchio seo beom joo.jpg
Source: Drama Beans

Now, onto my favourite character of the show—Yoon Yu-rae. Played by Lee Yoo-bi, Yu-rae is the CUTEST, MOST ADORABLE character in the show. My friend and I talked about her so much after finishing the show.

Yoon Yu-rae is childish, vies for the best, works hard and is a really good friend. I smiled pretty much every time she was on screen.

pinocchio yoon yu rae
Source: Lockerdome

Even though he’s not considered a major character of the show, to me Ki Jae-myeong was a huge part of the story. I loved this character, played by Yoon Kyung-sang, because of his storyline.

For a decade, Jae-myeong has been living with the hatred towards Song Cha-ok (Choi In-ha’s mother) in his heart, believing his whole family to be dead. Every scene of his was intense with my heart either beating like crazy or very slow, just waiting to see what happens. The time when Jae-myeong and Ha-myeong/Dal-po met? I was ON A HIGH. That time was the most intense period ever when I sat on the edge of my seat.

Jae-myeong was such a perfect older brother, my heart couldn’t take it. I can’t say more because of spoilers but yeah, I loved him.

pinocchio jae myeong.jpg
Source: A Koala’s Playground

The other recurring characters, especially Ki Ha-myeong’s adoptive family and his boss at the broadcasting station, were also really good. We focused at least a little bit on each of them and that made the show more than just the main characters.

My favourite songs from the soundtrack

Although there aren’t as many songs I fell in love with, there are a few which I loved a LOT.

This is the theme song of the show and I fell in love with it only through the few seconds they played at the beginning. I had listened to this song on repeat for a while. It’s such a feel-good song!

I didn’t like this song in the beginning but a few days back it came on shuffle and I FELL IN LOVE. It’s been playing on repeat for the last couple days and I find myself humming it throughout the day. It’s a really soothing song.

This is an instrumental but I love it because of the scene it played in. THAT SCENE OMG. I must have watched it on repeat about a dozen times, both when I came across it first and after I finished the show. Even now when I listen to it that scene plays in my head.


Discussion (INCLUDES SPOILERS)

If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section. 

[1]

I found quite a few plot holes in While You Were Sleeping as I mentioned in my review but in Pinocchio I only found one plot hole. And it’s a BIG one.

In the beginning they explained the fire explosion properly. Two members of staff set the fire and ran away, their boss didn’t know and asked the firemen to go inside and save those two (who weren’t actually inside). Nine firemen died inside and to avoid blame, the boss lied to the police that the captain took his men inside the building for no reason. That’s why Ki Ha-myeong’s father, the captain, got blamed for it all. Only one building exploded.

BUT.

Later while the plot was about the corruption and about how Beom-jo’s mom made Song Cha-ok report wrong to divert the blame and prevent the real reason coming out, there was a different story. That time they told that the explosion in which Ha-myeong’s dad died was actually a FACTORY explosion and that over 40 people died. Beom-jo’s mom diverted the news towards the fireman captain but HOW??? How does it make sense to blame him? If he had gone in to save the FORTY people, it’s not his fault for the deaths?

I got immediately confused when they brought it up in the later episodes because HOW? I got so confused and thought I was remembering wrong. I asked the friend I was watching with about the story and she said the same thing that I remembered!

So yeah even though I found only one plot hole, it’s a huge one.

[2]

I was also frustrated about another thing.

In the epilogue, there was a character who looked EXACTLY like Jae-Myeong from his earlier days. How? Why? Why add that when there’s nothing done about it? When it doesn’t mean anything?

If there was some underlying plot about that boy being Jae-myeong’s unknown son, I’d accept it. But there was nothing? And it was the EPILOGUE where they’re wrapping up everything?? It did not make sense AT ALL.

[3]

Okay so CAN WE TALK ABOUT EPISODES 10 AND 11???

The scene where Jae-myeong realized his brother is Dal-po BROKE. MY. HEART. I cried so much for that scene, y’all. It made me bawl like a baby.

I also cried when Dal-po reported the news about Jae-myeong. He reported about his own brother and the brother took it and… good lord. These two brothers made me have so many feels.

To be honest, there was a lot of crying in this show. Especially by Ha-myeong/Dal-po. He cried so much.


OTHER KDRAMAS YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Doctor Stranger (medical thriller, political, mystery) (also stars Lee Jong-suk)

W: Two Worlds (blending reality and fiction!) (thrilling, mystery) (Lee Jong-suk is SO GOOD here)

Kill Me, Heal Me (the main character has SEVEN personalities)


Overall

This show gave me so many feels and I love the characters. I didn’t really like how the epilogue was done but watching the show was definitely worth it. I totally recommend watching it!

Have you watched Pinocchio? If yes, what did you think of it? Did you notice the plot hole I mentioned?  Have you watched any other Korean dramas which are similar to this one? If you haven’t watched it, do you want to watch it? Let me know in the comments!

While You Were Sleeping // Kdrama review

I am obsessed. Completely obsessed. I wasn’t really interested in watching Korean dramas before but after a LOT of insistence from my friend (thanks Sabs!) I finally agreed to watch it, and I fell in love with it.

I binged this show in two days and did NOTHING else. I don’t think I could have even if I tried because it completely drew me in and I could not stop watching it.

First of all, I am NOT talking about the movie While You Were Sleeping starring Sandra Bullock, neither is this a Korean adaptation of it. While talking about it to my friends, a few thought I was talking about the movie. So I’m putting this out there.

What is the drama all about?

The drama mainly stars Nam Hong-joo, Jung Jae-chan and Han Woo-tak who have dreams of the future. It all started with Hong-Joo but later the other two it as well. Throughout the show we see them trying to change the future to a better one.

I got into the show right from the beginning because it starts with Hong-joo dreaming about hugging this guy she’s never seen before, and then he shows up in real life. The first two episodes properly get you into the concept of predicting dreams, changing paths and get you attached to the characters.

What I loved about the story

  • Since Jae-chan is a prosecutor, we follow all of the cases he works on. I absolutely LOVED the mystery and thriller aspect it gave to the show. My favourites of it all were the court scenes. They were so intense that it kept me to the edge of my seat, especially in the last few episodes. I didn’t even move when watching the 31st episode* and I felt like I had to work out to get my limbs loosened up.
  • The relationships in this show were BRILLIANT. I adored Hong-joo’s relationship with her mom right from the start. I also really liked the familial, friendship and work-place dynamics that was shown. Not only did I get invested in the characters individually but I also adored their relationships.
while you were sleeping.png
Source: Dramas with a side of kimchi
  • The small details paid to the characters’ personalities and habits was really interesting to watch. Especially in Lee Yoo-bum, a lawyer who covers up the crimes of his clients.
  • The PERFECT soundtrack. Just listening to the songs after the show ended gets me into that mood. In fact, I’m listening to the soundtrack right now. I’m completely and utterly obsessed with the songs. They were perfect for the scenes and accompanied the emotions really well.
  • There were also MANY funny scenes which made me laugh out loud. The day-to-day weirdness of characters and embarrassing moments made the characters more realistic.
  • It made me cry multiple times. The show gave me so many darn feels that I just could NOT hold out against the feels. Stories that make you cry are THE BEST.
  • Okay so THE ROMANCE WAS HELLA ADORABLE. I loved that it was slow paced. There was relationship growth and cute moments and aww moments and just… the romance was everything. I rooted for the couple right from the start. You can’t not love them.
DramaKimch-While-You-Were-Sleeping-8-2.png
Source: Dramas with a side of kimchi

I also want to mention one scene done towards the end of the show. It showed parallel scenes of two different times and it was done SO BLOODY WELL.

*there are 32 episodes totally

The Characters

Nam Hong-joo was a very entertaining character to watch. The character played by Suzy is pretty weird, especially in the beginning, which made her endearing. But as the show goes on we see how she tries to change the bad future which she reads, how she tries to keep her morale up when she’s down and how she pushes through the bad dreams.

while you were sleeping hong joo.jpg
Source: Soompi

While I really like Hong-joo, watching Jung Jae-Chan was the highlight of the show. Lee Jong-suk plays this character SO DAMN WELL that I was blown off by it. Jae-chan is silly, foolish at times and also quite slow in doing his work but he’s determined to bring justice, dig until he finds the truth and is VERY supportive of everyone. I especially loved watching him as a prosecutor at court. He’s really adorable and I might have a slight crush. Just slightly.

while you were sleeping jung jae-chan.jpg
Source: Pinterest

Now, ALLOW ME TO TALK ABOUT MY BAE. Han Woo-tak was the cutest. We don’t immediately recognize him as a main character but he becomes important pretty soon and I just LOVED watching him. There are many layers to his character which we see as the show goes on, and all of it just made me love him more. During the last few episodes every time he came on screen I made a heart and said “bae”. That’s how much I like him. Jung Hae-in played him superbly.

while you were sleeping woo tak
Source: Dramabeans

Now let’s move on to the other really important character who is played by Lee Sang-yeob. Lee Yoo-bum is “the bad guy”. I didn’t like him as a person but I loved his character and the depth to it. Throughout the show we watch him playing on the other side of the law against our main three, being cocky and confident.

As I said before, I loved the tiny details to his character like him rolling bits of paper when he’s thinking, putting aside his watch when consulting with a paying client and scrubbing his hands with soap vigorously when he’s afraid.

while you were sleeping lee yoo bum
Source: Dramabeans

As for the recurring characters, they were played really well as well. I could go on and on talking about the characters of the show but then you’d here all day reading this post.

My favourite songs from the soundtrack

After that talk above about this show having the PERFECT soundtrack, obviously I have to mention some of the songs which I loved the most. After I finished bingeing the show, for about three weeks I was listening to the soundtrack with my #1 favourite changing every few days. All the songs are amazing but the following are the ones I listened to on repeat sometimes.

The above song is sung by Lee Jong-suk who plays Jung Jae-chan in the show! I actually did not make the connection because I kept calling the actor by the show name and not his real name. But since I watched another show with him in it, I figured I should call him by his real name and only then made the connection. Y’all, this song is SO GOOD.

In fact, Suzy who plays Nam Hong-joo is also a singer and she’s contributed a couple tracks to the show as well.


Discussion (INCLUDES SPOILERS)

If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.

Okay so now that I’m done with the spoiler-free part of the review, I really want to talk about a few things.

Especially..

Plot Holes

Here are a few things I wish was spoken about or was elaborated:

  1. Jae-chan’s dad’s death was spoken about a lot but what about his mom? How did she die? We never really saw her except in one flashback scene and they never told how she died.
  2. In episode 10 Hong-joo saved a girl at the university from being badly burned. Just like Woo-tak still felt as if he’d been hit when he didn’t after Jae-chan saved him, she also felt as if she was burned even though she wasn’t. Why didn’t she get any dreams about Hong-joo?
  3. Did Mr. Choi never get any dreams about Jae-chan and Hong-joo in those several years? We all know those two were in a lot of trouble but why didn’t he go to save them any of those times before the fire?
  4. On the same note, why did Jae-chan not get any dreams during those 13 years before he met Hong-joo again? How come they started only when they met again?
  5. How did the dreams start for Hong-joo in the first place?
  6. And now for a very important question: why did Jae-chan have blond hair when he was younger??????????? That looked SO BAD. He could have just had black hair!

I’ve been thinking about these ever since I finished the show about three weeks back. Let me know in comments if you have any theories about these!

Also, what about those parallel scenes in episode 31??? The one at the funerals from 13 years back and presently. When Hong-joo and Jae-chan cried. It was done so perfectly just to make us bawl like babies?!

Did anyone else also bawl when Hong-joo cried while Jae-chan was in the hospital room being recovered because I DID. Even though I love Woo-tak and wished that she chose him just so he’ll be happy, Hong-joo and Jae-chan were meant to be. That scene almost killed me. If he had died I wouldn’t have recovered for a long time.

Overall

I definitely recommend this show! In fact I’ve already told quite a few of my friends to watch it (let’s hope they do). Because I loved WYWS so much I got into into Kdramas now. Instead of reading books all my free time I’m now binge-watching Kdramas.


OTHER KDRAMAS YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Extraordinary You (blending reality & fiction) (supporting characters are the main characters!)

Doctor Stranger (medical thriller, political, mystery) (also stars Lee Jong-suk)

W: Two Worlds (blending reality and fiction!) (thrilling, mystery) (Lee Jong-suk is SO GOOD here)


Have you watched While You Were Sleeping? If yes, do tell me your theories related to the wonderings I mentioned in the discussion section. If not, have you watched any other Korean dramas? Which did you love the most? Have you seen any other movie/TV show where the characters dream of the future? Let me know everything in the comments!