Thursday, December 5, 2019

352. Melting Me Softly 날 녹여주오 (2019) Korean

Ji Chang Wook, Won Jin Ah, Yoon Se Ah, Lim Won Hee, Jung Hae Kyun, Shim Hyung Tak

Drama Rating: 6/10     Neck Score: A

This... wasn't great. I didn't hate it, but it did feel a bit burdensome to watch. It was ridiculous, not really compelling, and the episodes felt twice as long as they actually were, making it so I could only watch one episode a day max, and didn't mind if I didn't watch it until later that week when I had nothing better to watch. It just fell way short of its potential. However, it was still well acted, especially with the generational gaps, with the frozen people fitting in with their same age, but actually 40-50s friends. Like, Ji Chang Wook acted like a 52 year old in a 33 year old body well, by virtue of how behind the times he was, and his old fashioned standards, etc. The evil villain plot seemed like an afterthought, even though they were hinting about it the whole time, but it just wasn't well thought out, I guess. It fell short of the potential it could have had and instead slipped into the same bad tropes, making our second leading lady be needlessly stupid and occasionally evil- the stereotypical bitca. I do like how they redeemed that mistake though. They just should have not made that mistake in the first place, but baby steps, I guess. I think I agree with some of the opinions that were going around on Twitter (I don't remember who said it, sorry!) that Na Ha Young should have been the love interest, and that would have made for a much more interesting drama. Bridging an age gap instead of the typical bonding over the common ground of being displaced in time and age. Both work, but one is way more interesting and intriguing. Oh well. Even if it was weak at best, the actors gave it their all, and that went a lot longer than some dramas, because their actor choices were awesome, especially for the age gap. I believed all the younger people could grow up to look like those older peeps. It was probably the best part right there.

Friday, November 22, 2019

356. Put Your Head on My Shoulder 致我们暖暖的小时光 (2019) Chinese

Xing Fei, Lin Yi, Tang Xiaotian, Zheng Ying Chen

Drama Rating: 8/10     Neck Score: A

I guess I really liked this one, or at least it was what I wanted at the time, because I literally finished it in one weekend, starting it right after my last one and finishing it like two days later. That was not great because I was supposed to actually get things done that weekend, but oh well. I guess that's what this weekend is for... But it was super cute, and addictive, and I really enjoyed it. It was seriously cute from episode one. It was very slice of life and coming of age, with a cute romance between an ambitious to be in advertising accounting student and a genius physics student. I think that dynamic is literally one of the oldest tropes (spunky girl/staid genius) but this one did it much better than most because he wasn't the classic stoic genius kid, but he was a fairly realistic scientist. She was also not the typical spunky girl, because she also super practical and had all the street smarts he was lacking in his academic smarts. I absolutely loved how they portrayed him in that aspect, because he was so clearly in love with her for the start, but his approach to it was so logical and scientific that you wondered if they would ever be on the same page.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

353. My Girlfriend 我不能恋爱的女朋友 (2019) Chinese

Timmy Xu, Bridgette Qiao, Zhou Yi Xuan, Wang Jia Ning

Drama Rating: 6/10     Neck Score: A

This honestly wasn't amazing or anything, but I still really enjoyed watching it. Not quite sure why because the story was a mess. It was very typical and full of those classic tropes, such as him having a temper and her having a "curse" so she couldn't find love. Of course she also has narcolepsy so every time she gets rejected, or something super awkward or stressful happens, she falls asleep. Which of course makes them meet under the worse circumstances, so she ends up owing him money and he can trick her into being on his show. All of it very typical and fluffy. But it also had some weird things that made it not typical. Yeah, Chi Xin had a bad temper, but he wasn't the typical possessive or jealous guy. In fact, I really liked how he actually never chased after her the entire time but became, instead, a best friend or even best frenemy, since they fought all the time. I also loved that during their brief time of forced living situation, she accepted those terms because of a misconception that was caused by his one moment of jealousy, which led him to jump into a kiss cam moment in the opposite way he probably intended. Kiss cams are also apparently the new accidental kiss, they seem to be happening a lot in Chinese dramas lately.

Friday, November 15, 2019

355. What's With Money? 얘네들 머니? (2016) Korean

Jung Da Bin, Cha Hak Yun, Hong Bin, Chan Mi

Drama Rating: 2/10     Neck Score: A+

I was bored, I found it on Kocowa, and it had Vixx members in it, so I watched it. It was terrible. Basically a glorified educational video on how to be smart with money, with some ridiculous makjang in it. I guess it was designed to help high school students be financially savvy, but it is so boring and horribly written. What acting skills N and Hongbin have were not enough to make up for dialog that was basically reading a financial textbook out loud rather than something people would actually say. It's weird because Hongbin is the rich boy gone crazy so he's rebelling and sulky, and N is the poor good kid who is super financially savvy, and that dynamic was weird. Really, the best actor was probably the mean girl, but she might just have had the best written part, and it was the classic mean rich girl. Basically the show was nonsense, and at the end there was a weird Liar Game style contest where they were summoned to a team quiz off to deem their worthiness to join the financial club (cult?), but it made no sense. Then, to add insult to injury, there were supposed to be epilogues about all of the characters, which you had to vote to see, but since it was way later, they were not on Kocowa, so I didn't get to see any of them. I suppose I could maybe find them on YouTube, but I didn't care enough. But that ending had a very Click Your Heart webdrama feel to it. Best part of the show: it's super short. Ten 15 min episodes with N and Hongbin's cute faces trying desperately to act with some of the worst writing. Everyone was a trooper, but they all could only do so much.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

348. When the Devil Calls Your Name 악마가 너의 이름을 부를 때 (2019) Korean

Jung Kyung Ho, Park Sung Woong, Lee Seol, Lee El

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A+

If nothing else, I loved the soundtrack. One thing I love about most music dramas is that the OST quality is much better, not always, but this time it certainly was. I have been listening to the songs I bought on repeat since I finished it. I am now a Liver and Gallbladder fan girl too. But the soundtrack wasn't really the only thing I appreciated about the show. It certainly wasn't what I thought it was going to be, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It was just very different. But I did love the connection between music and art and having a soul. Also the concept that someone without a soul can't make music and can't cry.

I'm not actually sure what I expected anymore, but it certainly didn't end up being like that. I knew it was the story about a man who sold his soul to the devil. He made a 10 year contract with the devil to be young and successful at songwriting. The twist is that the devil didn't just give him inspiration, but he stole songs from other people to be that inspiration, effectively making Harib (Jung Kyung Ho) an accidental plagiarist. But he did sell his soul for it, so I guess it's not really accidental. Just unknowing. Then we have the devil who is a best a fallen angel. Also as close to a grade 1 soul, who is the most generous person we could meet.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

350. The Untamed 陈情令 (2019) Chinese

Xiao Zhan, Wang Yibo

Drama Rating: 9/10     Neck Score: A+++

Oh my gosh, obsessed! I literally watched it as fast as my schedule would allow, because it is very addictive. I am a bit glad that I waited until it was over (just because I was drama lazy and in a funk in general) because I could binge it as much as I wanted, but I am also a bit sad because I was late to the game and didn't get to join the live tweeting and conversation. I also knew a bit of what was going on because I had followed it so closely on Twitter. But it is totally worth all the hype. I haven't seen such a compelling story line in a while. Also didn't hurt that it was full to the brim with extremely handsome men, the major portion of which were also decent actors (there is also that handful that are not, but whatever, it's fine).

So it is a fantasy cultivation genre, where everyone is an immortal hero in training, so if you've seen any of those types of dramas, you'll be familiar with that, but what I like is that it spins that on it's head, since the story is about the "Untamed Hero" who isn't conventional to this cultivation and it raises the question of what is true. So there is a lot of mob mentality as people fear what they do not know, and also a lot of power hungry jerks who are willing to throw people to the mobs for their own gain. Basically there is a bunch of injustice and you might cry a time or two as crap happens in abundance. But, the storytelling of it makes it worth it. I remember wishing and wondering why certain villains had stayed alive as long as they did, but the pace was nice and there were several different arcs with different villains, so no one villain stayed alive for too long. Just longer than I wanted sometimes.

Friday, October 4, 2019

349. Melo is My Nature 멜로가 체질 (2019) Korean

Chun Woo Hee, Jeon Yeo Bin, Han Ji Eun, Ahn Jae Hong, Gong Myung

Drama Rating: 8/10     Neck Score: A+

This was delightful. I love the dynamic between all the characters and especially the four housemate friends. They really captured what true friendship looks like with the way they interacted, or even just how they sat around in a room together. It was beautiful. I also loved all the developing relationships or mending relationships, with the four different couples. I also loved how meta is was, since it was a drama about a couple making a drama. Jin Joo (Chun Woo Hee) was essentially writing about her own life, so at times what was happening around her was represented in her writing process. Including the product placements. It was almost breaking the 4th wall at times as it played up the stereotypes and drama tropes. I actually laughed until I cried at the massage chair product placement scene. It was so perfect.

I loved the development throughout the show. Everything was super natural and progressed at a good pace. So much so that I thought we'd need 20 episodes to wrap up the whole show, but they managed to do it in 16 with a very interesting method, which totally worked, by playing up the meta.

I don't want to say too much without just telling every part that was amazing, but I loved the slice of life quirky humor and real situations, but also how it discusses real issues (like breaking the fart barrier) and doesn't shy away from being a bit different and meaningful. It was a very pertinent comedy. I really enjoyed it.