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Fans of k-dramas... please help


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Showing 1-25 of 1000 posts in this discussion
Posted on Apr 29, 2016 7:48:16 AM PDT
A Chinese remake of My Love From Another Star called My Amazing Boyfriend is currently airing. Just glancing through the first episode, I doubt it will even come close to equaling the k-drama version.

Given Wallace Chung's huge backlist of dramas, I was very surprised by how few of his dramas are actually subbed in English. I may even end up watching Best Time. It won't be the first time I've watched a drama where I only liked one character and hated the rest (Substitute Princess, Passionate Love, A Little Love Never Hurts to name a few)

Posted on Apr 28, 2016 2:25:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2016 2:27:06 PM PDT
Adnana says:
So, "Divorce Lawyer in Love" didn't have many fans, did it? The h as an ambitious lawyer and the boss from hell is awful in the beginning, and the H as her downtrodden office manager is... well, a wimp (at least in his interactions with the h).

Still, even in those first couple of exasperating episodes, when neither the hero nor the heroine were particularly... hero-like, the two of them shone with potential--for growth. And really, who wants their heroes to start their drama-journey as perfectly flawless people?
The h's prickliness is OTT, true (in the form of a seeming total disregard for the people working under her, for example), but she's a successful career woman, a super talented lawyer, and completely dedicated to helping her clients. Yay for a h outside the overdone Candy mold! And of course, she's not the emotionally impervious, unfeeling "Chucky" she appears to the world--as shown beautifully in her interactions with her family.
The H, in the beginning, though not the most assertive guy around (to say the least), is smart, loyal, and has iron-clad moral principles. Also, as much as he's allowed himself to be pushed around by his boss, the h--because of how much he looks up to her as a lawyer--when he's finally pushed too far, he pushes back and leaves her in the dust without looking back (except as a source of motivation to becoming the best version of himself that he can be).

And that's what this drama does so beautifully, imo: it shows the journey of both the H and the h, their gradual, believable change into better (should we go for broke and say: the best?) versions of themselves.
When the h and H meet again after 3 years, now he's the lawyer and she's his office manager. She still tries to bully him, but this time... well, he's got the upper hand and he won't let her forget it.

Where are we at with the character development? Well, the h still needs to atone for a grave mistake she made on her last case as a lawyer (which got her license suspended)--but she's not irredeemable. She needs to rediscover empathy, for certain, but I loved that, despite her admittedly nasty temper, she was never without a conscience: she truly believed her client, and when she discovered the truth (that the client had manipulated her), she immediately sought to reveal it. And when she was too late, and a life was lost, the h assumed moral culpability--maybe to an even greater degree than she should have.
And the H, well, he needs to grow in his new role as a lawyer, and it is the heroine who becomes his unlikely (and very helpful) assistant/teacher. He becomes more confident and his inner steel gets a real chance to shine. No, I would never call him an alpha personality, but he's quietly strong, unyielding when it matters, a bit idealistic, and oh yes, a lot sexy. A lot.

The H & h are essential in helping each other grow: at one point (after they've fallen in love), she says that she wants to become a better person for him, and he says that he wants to become someone cooler for her. Oh, but he does. *melts into a puddle* He is such a perfect boyfriend: adoring, tender, supportive, 100% secure and steadfast in his feelings. I loved that as much as his mother (and his "friend" who aspires to become his girlfriend) pressures him, he never even considers giving up his love. And when the h tries to go all noble idiot (thankfully, that phase is brief, and also with an acceptable justification rooted in the h's psychology), he still pursues her (without being an intrusive a-hole about it), then finally tries to accept the h's decision, but in the end just can't let her go.
The romance is lovely, the OM and OW never devolve into caricature-like villainy in their pursuit of the H/h. The OM, in particular, is a hoot; and the OW is a really classy lady who falters a bit but in the end does the right thing. I liked this drama a lot.

This review convinced me to watch it:
https://kjtamusings.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/divorce-lawyer-in-love-review/

Posted on Apr 28, 2016 9:07:12 AM PDT
Lovely D.M. says:
May, I agree "Itazura Na Kiss" has emotional abuse by the hero on the heroine, and that is why it was never a favorite story of mine. However the Thai version is amongst my favorite dramas, because they made the hero less cold and mean, and they made the heroine less desperate and dumb, while still staying true to their original characters. The only benefit I see of this TW-remake, is that we will most probably get passion. The old TW-version of this story, is the most passionate out of all the versions. But I agree that there are other mangas that need to be remade, and I would love to see a TW-remake of Mars for example. Also the actor they cast as the hero, doesn't look handsome enough, but I don't know it could just be the picture.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2016 8:18:05 AM PDT
May says:
Yes, let's move on to making other manga/manhwa. So many out there ready to make into good dramas. I agree, the thai version of "it started with a kiss" is the best. I don't understand though why viewers like this manga so much. To me, it's just so sad how desperate the h is to get the H's attention. She got kicked so often by the emotionless H, and yet, just so happy when he throws emotional crumbs her way. Maybe this is too close to emotional abuse to me.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2016 12:13:10 AM PDT
jak says:
I like Itazura na Kiss, and have watched numerous versions but I have to admit I'm getting tired of this being remade time and time again. Especially when there are so many other manga and/or manhwa they could be filming. And its already been done well, so there's not much room for improvement.

Posted on Apr 27, 2016 8:44:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2016 9:24:37 PM PDT
Ah, it now becomes clear why Best Time had 2 alternative endings. Per the novel Secrets Hidden in Time by Tong Hua (upon which the drama Best Time was based) the h ends up with Song Yi. Koalasplayground reviewed this novel and if the drama is in anyway similar to the novel, the only character worth rooting for is Lu Li Cheng (Wallace Chung's character). I guess the alternative ending in the drama where the h ends up with Lu Li Cheng was to keep the viewers happy.

Koalasplayground's review of the novel was extremely negative. She also hated all the main characters except for Lu Li Cheng. I did think it was interesting that in the comments section, it is indicated that Tong Hua has confirmed that Lu Li Cheng is the male lead in the novel (so is it considered to be a happy ending if the male lead doesn't get a HEA?).

koalasplayground review of Tong Hua's novel :
http://koalasplayground.com/2012/04/16/secrets-hidden-in-time-by-tong-hua-a-sodden-makjang-mess-of-a-modern-novel/

On a different note, it looks like another remake of Itazura na Kiss is in the works, this one being another TW-version. So far, of all the versions of this drama, I prefer last year's Thai remake, Kiss Me.

http://koalasplayground.com/2016/04/24/tw-dramas-adapts-it-started-with-a-kiss-again-with-newbies-dino-lee-and-esther-wu/

Posted on Apr 27, 2016 3:21:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2016 8:30:36 PM PDT
May - I haven't watched Best Time, but like you have read very negative comments regarding both the h and Jia Nai Liang's character of Song Yi (h is obsessed with Song Yi for most of the drama). The comments also indicate that Wallace Chung's character is wonderful/perfect. I've also read that the drama has an open ending. And as a further cop-out the drama was followed by 2 specials each providing an alternative ending to the drama (so you can take your pick as to who the h ends up with).

Posted on Apr 27, 2016 12:10:34 PM PDT
Adnana says:
An interesting drama as a study case of a supremely interesting anti-hero: Smile Again (2006). Kim Hee Sun plays the tomboyish h, and Lee Dong Gun, as the bad boy H, has never looked hotter. *fawns self*

I'll quote the blogger who convinced me to watch this drama in the first place. Dangermousie: "In some ways, [Smile Again] is a somewhat lighter spiritual precursor to Que Sera Sera: a really messed up hero who marks everything by success by any means, his one weakness the pure and even naive heroine (**personal note: I don't see the h as naive; just that she tends to have a bright outlook and think the best of people first until proven otherwise). The reserved, good secondary guy with a messed-up past. The manipulative other girl who is in some ways very similar with games-playing hero. The reason it does not come across as so dysfunctional is twofold: (1) The heroine, who is adorable, is not really a pushover but very strong, and tomboyish, and full of common sense. When the hero tells her he could change for her, she points out he should change for himself first. Loving a guy who is a total mess by any definition is in some ways a weakness for her, and she realizes how it could all blow up. She is remarkably unscrewed up. (2) The hero has very good reasons for being what he is (childhood from hell, generally awful life and other plot-related reasons)."

Anyways, I found the H very intriguing in all his complexity and shades of grey. The only reason why I can't rate this drama higher overall is because the romance development wasn't as satisfactory as it could have been. There is a HEA, though, in case you were wondering.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2016 7:52:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2016 7:52:51 AM PDT
May says:
I'm also looking into older dramas and I'm going to try out some rec here. Speaking of Wallance Chung, I liked him in my sunshine, and I really want to watch "Best Time". But he's not the lead H and I read the h is moronic and trample on Wallace's character alot in this drama. Did anyone watch this? Can you spoil it a little for me? Should i invest my time in this drama?

Posted on Apr 27, 2016 6:13:20 AM PDT
I liked Bad Family (fun premise, more of a comedy but it does have a romance complete with OM/OW) and Ugly Alert (the best of the daily dramas that I've watched). Bad Family had a very likable OW and I wouldn't have minded if she had ended up with the H (she just adored him). I wasn't a big fan of A Daughter Just Like You but did watch the entire drama. Unfortunately, I didn't find any of the romances very interesting as all lacked sizzle and hated the whole forgiveness via sickness trope at the end.

I've switched to watching some older Chinese dramas. Just finished My Sunshine, which I enjoyed. I didn't even mind that towards the end it seemed to run out of plot and just showed cute H/h scenes (I'm all for cuteness without angst). I did think that some expected storylines never materialized and I didn't understood the h's personality change (from bubbly/outgoing to timid/morose) when she first came back to China. Guess I'll check out some of Wallace Chung's other dramas.

Posted on Apr 25, 2016 4:00:43 PM PDT
jak says:
@taz I watched entire Marriage Contract. It was... okay. I wasn't really convinced by the H's sudden conversion into a strong, capable man to lean on when previously he'd only cared about himself and was immature, living off his parents. Honestly, before h came along, H wasn't responsible at his job, or anything, yet he takes on the responsibility of a sick woman, her kid and 3 kittens all for love? You do have to suspend your belief, and their relationship was kind unbelievable too, but cute scenes between them (them kisses!) and a decent ending.

@Adnana I rewatched Pick the Stars / Wish Upon a Star recently and found it cute with the kids, but they did stretch it out towards the end really. Still really loved the h's serious character growth and transformation.

Wonderful Life, exact same reaction as yours. Loved the premise, but the H was sooooooooo lame.

I'm planning to watch/try some backlist kdramas as well: Pied Piper, longer dramas like Ugly Alert, A Daughter Just Like You, Flames of Ambition . I've heard good things about The Chaser (the drama) and Bad Family as well.

Posted on Apr 25, 2016 1:29:16 PM PDT
Adnana says:
Flower Boy Next Door. Cute, inoffensive drama, but not memorable in the least for me.

Kimchi/Fermentation Family. Nicely developed romance, but without any real sizzle imho.

Pick the Stars / Wish Upon a Star. The h started out awful (selfish airhead, whose one goal and recipe for success in life was to land the H as a husband), but I liked her growth throughout the series. Wasn't really sold on her romance with the H, though, especially since the H obviously valued her very little--the drama was nearing its end, and the H was still planning to marry the OW for a frankly idiotic reason.

Robber. The H is a conscienceless con man and master manipulator. He plans to scam the h (a widow with a little girl) of her life savings. He has a change of heart in e7, and gives the h her (swindled) money back (the h still trusts him and doesn't believe he was in on the scam). Only then the h learns the truth (great stuff). The H works really hard for the h's forgiveness, but when he finally gains it, of course the dreaded fatal injury rears its ugly head, and the H goes all noble idiot and crushes the h with an ugly break-up so as not to make her a widow twice.
...Basically, not a keeper because I didn't connect emotionally with the characters/story. And I think I dislike the actor Jang Hyuk (haven't loved him in any project, and I've watched lots of his dramas). The HE is ambiguous (the H has a ticking time bomb in his head, though he and the h hope to live for a long time happy together).

Star's Lover. The biggest problem was that I didn't connect emotionally with this drama, so I couldn't forgive faults that I might have maybe viewed with kinder eyes in another drama. Though I doubt it, since it was stuff like the H starting to date his ex again AFTER already meeting (and falling at least a little bit in love with) the h. Or the h allowing the OM (her ex) to live in her house when she was in a relationship with the H, which lead to a break-up of the main couple. Anyway, I dropped this.

Wonderful Life. 90% of the time I couldn't stand the so-called hero: he was immature, selfish, hypocritical. He liked the OW for way too long, and even later stayed blind to her real character and defended her in detriment of his wife (the h). The OM was so, so much better. Also, this drama has the fatal illness trope, and unfortunately it's foisted on the H & h's little daughter, who goes through so much undeserved suffering. Heartbreaking. (There's a HEA.)

Posted on Apr 25, 2016 1:17:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2016 11:02:00 AM PDT
Adnana says:
I've been (skim-)watching older dramas since I haven't found any new ones to get excited about in forever (with the exception of "Descendants of the Sun", which I admit I found super entertaining even if not addictive or, God forbid, intellectually stimulating). Unfortunately, I struck out in my search for new favorites.

An overview of these dramas, with a "beware" sign attached, since I can't personally recommend them to others:

Birth of a Beauty. OTT plot & characters; H is a complete dork (so not sexy!). I didn't dig the overly cartoon-y vibe throughout parts of the show. Eps. 16-19: h is a noble idiot & H is just a plain idiot (which killed off most of the goodwill these characters might have accumulated in my eyes). Weirdly enough, I really kinda enjoyed OM2's courtship of the h in the beginning (before she rejected him and he went even crazier than before). *OM2=H's cousin

Cain and Abel. Underwhelming revenge drama. When the H has amnesia, the h lost much of my respect with her selfishness in not wanting the H to remember his past, in order to keep him by her side. She even actively tried to stop him in his pursuit of the truth. Still, she's not completely un-sympathetic and does the right thing in the end. I liked how the H found it so super hard to forgive his brother in the end (who had tried to kill him). Biggest offense of this drama: H/h have a passionless relationship, imho. Felt zero chemistry from them. Zilch.

Lovers in Prague. This drama got on my nerves big time. Doormat h who's ALWAYS the one chasing after the H in spite of repeated rejections (grow some self-respect, girl!), and a H who spends forever still hung up on his ex and who often pushes the h away because of his own inferiority complex (he's a regular guy, a tough policeman; she's a diplomat and the President's daughter. soo out of his league, for real. I can't fathom why she kept begging for the scraps of his affection).

One Fine Day. "What the heck was wrong with these people?" is the million dollar question. Answer: so, so much. Complicated family relationships to the extreme. Most importantly, h believes H to be her brother and only finds out the truth in e8. Then the h is in a relationship with OM (kissing included)--who really didn't deserve the pain she eventually dished out when she brought him to the point of wanting to propose only to break up with him. h says "I Love you" to H in e15(out of 16). Only then she gives him up to save the OW's life (because the OW is a clingy nutcase who'll only have life-preserving surgery if the H is by her side). Which leads to a time jump! in the last freaking episode while the H is with the OW, and the h is waiting for him to come back once the OW releases him from his "duties". Such a stupid drama.

Posted on Apr 25, 2016 11:32:56 AM PDT
Anybody watch Marriage Contract? Is it worth investing 16 hours?

Posted on Apr 23, 2016 7:36:48 PM PDT
Lovely D.M. says:
Rashell I agree, K-dramas have been in a slump for a while now for me. But the way I see it, of the upcoming dramas that I think have potential - "W", "Lucky Romance", "Goblin", "Uncontrollably Fond", "Jealousy Incarnate", the new drama from the writer of "My love from the Stars" with JJH being the possible heroine, "Cinderella and Four Knights" - if only half of these dramas turn out good, then that will still leave us with 3 or 4 good dramas in the second half of 2016. So I hope that at least half of these shows turn out good :)

As for TW-dramas, "Back to 1989" continues to be so good so far, and I still don't know who the hero's father is. The mystery is very well woven into the drama, but there's a melancholic feel behind the lightness and sweetness. This is a show where I truly can't predict the ending, and that's why I'm hoping it doesn't disappoint me, because it could go in many different ways. There's also "Love at Seventeen", and I'm interested in checking it out.

Posted on Apr 23, 2016 10:49:30 AM PDT
1ladydevil says:
I really tried to give Love Me If You Dare a chance but it was just not good. I stopped at episode 4. The h was weak and boring while the H was way too into his own self-importance. Does anyone have some other suggestions?

Posted on Apr 23, 2016 7:25:34 AM PDT
Purse Monkey says:
I agree with Love Me If You Dare but the book version. The book version the H was 10x more possessive and it's an overall better story in the relationship department. I was actually very disappointed that the series didn't translate well how much they love each other and how much the H loves her. Here's the link if anyone's interested: http://lmfyd.blogspot.co.nz/?m=1

Surprisingly, there were several sex scenes in the book. Again, didn't show in the series.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2016 6:37:28 AM PDT
Give Love Me If You Dare a chance. H is veryyy possessive.

Posted on Apr 22, 2016 8:52:19 PM PDT
@1ladydevil: Sadly, I don't know of any recent dramas that fit that criteria. I don't think I've even heard of an upcoming drama that would fit. I definitely feel like we're in a drama slump. I'm hoping there will be some decent dramas this summer and fall. 2016 has not been drama good so far. :(

Posted on Apr 22, 2016 10:51:37 AM PDT
1ladydevil says:
Guys, I am in the mood for a drama with a possessive jealous H who is crazy about the h. Has there been any recent dramas that fit this criteria? I haven't watched a good asian drama in months.

Posted on Apr 21, 2016 10:19:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 21, 2016 10:19:56 AM PDT
Lovely D.M. says:
I barely made it through the first episode of "Entertainer". It just feels so contrived and over-dramatic, it doesn't have an organic feel at all. Ji Sung is a good actor, but it looks like he picked a dud of a drama. I also think that Hyeri (the heroine) is not bad acting-wise, it's just that the story is not interesting at all. I am at a point where I do not want to waste my time of a drama that doesn't capture me. Yes, "Cheese in the Trap" was the only k-drama in the first half of 2016 with great potential and a kind of unique story-line, but it was ultimately ruined. However, I'm hoping that the second half of 2016 will be good. The only airing drama I am following is "Back to 1989", as it continues to be good, and I am enjoying it and hoping that it will stay good in its second half :)

I also read an update about Gong Yoo's new upcoming drama, that will air in November, it will be titled "Goblin" not "Mister Sunshine", and it will be about a Goblin in need of a human bride, and a grim reaper (according to the initial synopsis). However I guess a lot more could change in the synopsis from now to then, but I hope that the fantasy elements will not be over-the-top, but rather interesting and contained within the balance of drama and romance.

Posted on Apr 21, 2016 7:35:04 AM PDT
I wasn't wowed by the first episode of Entertainer. So far, the drama is very predictable. Unfortunately, I'm also preferring the OW over the h. But I'll keep following this drama as I am a fan of Ji Sung.

I do agree that there seems to be a dearth of good dramas so far this year. Really disappointing since the year started out so promising with Cheese in the Trap, at least before the director decided to ruin it.

Posted on Apr 20, 2016 7:34:55 AM PDT
Lovely D.M. says:
Yes I watched it a few weeks ago actually, and I liked it :)

Posted on Apr 20, 2016 5:11:15 AM PDT
D.M. Since you're currently watching a lot of movies, have you watched the Japanese movie Ao Haru Ride. I think it was based off a manga and there is also an anime. I ended up watching it after seeing this mv:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjXNGbL76u8

Posted on Apr 19, 2016 3:12:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 19, 2016 3:25:42 PM PDT
Lovely D.M. says:
Reader123, yes I read that too, and I am looking forward to seeing Gong Yoo back in drama-land. I really want to see him in a good drama, and I hope that if he signs up for this, that it will be the one. I also hope that the writer will deliver (though I'm not into DOTS, but her older dramas are ones I liked SG and CH).

I also read that Jun Ji Hyun (heroine from My Love from the Stars) is considering starring in a new drama by the same writer. So this drama too could be promising. Also GHJ is going to be the female lead in an upcoming drama titled "Jealousy Incarnate", this too is a show I am looking forward to checking out. I just hope that the dramas will finally start to deliver, after a bad start for 2016.

ETA: It looks like Gong Yoo confirmed for SES's new drama, the drama will apparently be titled "Mr. Sunshine", which seems like a comedic title, but I hope that the drama will have an interesting synopsis. I also hope for a good leading lady as well, and that there will be no love triangle.
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