[HanCinema Awards] HanCinema's Top Drama Picks of 2017 - Cast Your Vote! 2017/12/19,
It's been a great year for dramas and we at HanCinema have gotten to enjoy many of them. We watch, review, analyze, follow news, read your reactions, and enjoy the fruits of dramaland. During all the time we spend in dramaland, a few 2017 dramas have spoken to each of us personally. William, our resident film and drama critic; Orion, our drama reviewer, news hoarder, and daily rambler; and me, Lisa, your friendly managing editor, have all gathered to share our favorite dramas of the year. Let's check out which dramas we each picked as our top two and then we'd love to hear about yours,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Genres and Odd Romances 2017/09/02,
Stop your pumpkin carving (I know you are out there) and fill your time with more drama news as I take a look at more new things this week. First up is the brand new "Black" by OCN followed by a quick look at the changing landscape of the Korean drama industry. Lastly, I share the usual goodies, but not before I share news of a drama with an interesting premise,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 16 Final 2017/01/21,
And so "Goblin" ends on a mostly pleasant note. Once Kim Sin went and died without actually dying it was pretty impossible to take any stated conflict in this drama seriously anymore, so the ensuing contortions necessary to get us the happy engaged couple of Kim Sin and Eun-tak don't bother me so much. Even the as-usual railroaded nature of the not-romance between the Grim Reaper and Sunny isn't much of an issue anymore. Nor, for that matter, do I care all that much about the rules regarding magical memory attention being rewritten yet again,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 15 2017/01/21,
So the recap this time is just the Goblin's full death scene from episode thirteen. Admittedly, it looks pretty great. The fading away to light particles was a nice touch, and the acting truly heartfelt. For all the flaws "Goblin" has a complete story, the direction is pretty consistently top-notch. But there are limits to how far the occasional excellent scene can go. Aesthetic excellence notwithstanding, I'm at a bit of a loss as to why "Goblin" is reminding us of Kim Sin's death when he didn't actually die,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 14 2017/01/20,
So even though a really big point has been made about how the Goblin will die if the sword is ever pulled out, apparently by "die" what everyone actually meant was "get sent to icy purgatory for several years". This will end his suffering somehow. The logic of this rather escapes me, since being an immortal God in modern Seoul would seem to be a great deal more enjoyable than wandering the desert, and the Goblin ends up back there anyway except that no one remembers who he is,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 13 2017/01/13,
So apparently the Grim Reaper has been breaking rules this entire time regarding unnecessary memory manipulation, so it's up to the Grim Reaper investigation team to suitably punish him. As it turns out this is all just a thinly veiled excuse to allow the Grim Reaper to fill in the remaining gaps in the flashback story, although at this point we can pretty easily guess what happens. So much blood spilled, for so little apparent purpose. Kind of like how "Goblin" is with ink,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 12 2017/01/07,
In the originally broadcast form on Korean television, this episode of "Goblin" contains a helpful recap explaining the major events from the previous episode. These are some help when it comes to major plot points, like how memories of past lives can be restored by touching a Grim Reaper (?), and also how New Year's Eve festivities have been driving the major emotional events lately. This does admittedly make for a fairly romantic backdrop, limited though it may be when romance is a subordinate concern to plot. Which is once again, all this past life stuff,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 11 2017/01/06,
Watching "Goblin" is a lot like watching a dream. I don't mean that in a good way. I mean that while the transitions make sense on a scene by scene basis, every time I try to step back and figure out what's happening, I get a little lost trying to figure out how and why the characters got to where they are. The Grim Reaper and Sunny have a more intense relationship now that they don't actually know each other (?), and I'm pretty much with Sunny on how weirdly and inexplicably overbearing the Goblin is this episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 10 2016/12/31,
The Goblin can live only if Eun-tak dies, and vice-versa. Lest we get too invested in that potential plot hook, "Goblin" instead takes a huge chunk of time explaining the Goblin's back story, from when he was still Kim Sin. Interestingly, these flashbacks have almost nothing to do with Kim Sin directly, the focus instead being placed squarely on other characters whose poor decisions led to the rather unnecessary massacre we saw way back in the first episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 9 2016/12/30,
A pivot is attempted here to move "Goblin" from a generally strange comedic drama to a more serious one. The results are mixed. To be honest I sort of forgot that Eun-tak didn't know the Goblin would die if she pulled the sword out. I kind of assumed that Eun-tak knew that taking the sword out would do something serious at least. Then again the characters in "Goblin" are not that competent when it comes to speculating as to the results of their actions,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 8 2016/12/24,
The latest adventure between the Goblin and Eun-tak has resulted in massive property damage and multiple witnesses to obviously impossible superhuman feats. So naturally, the only valid response to this is...a highly elaborate and not terribly convincing cover-up, because the production team doesn't actually care about the worldbuilding except to the extent it can be used to justify wacky special effects. That's "Goblin" for you,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 7 2016/12/23,
So even though Eun-tak can see the sword for some reason she can't touch it, which leaves the plot of "Goblin" at an impasse, save for all the warm fuzzies prompted at the last cliffhanger. Once more the drama presents us with an unfortunate dilemma. Do we act annoyed because all of the magical rules seem to be made up as they go along, or do we allow ourselves to be wrapped up in the inherent prettiness of frozen snowfall?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 6 2016/12/17,
So in what context would a person ever say "Welcome to Quebec"? That's the kind of thing a person might say at the airport, greeting someone who just got into the country. But at a restaurant? And why English rather than French? Although really, I should probably just be grateful that the production team managed to find a foreign actor who could say a simple line without screwing it up somehow,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 5 2016/12/16,
So the absence of names for the lead characters finally becomes an issue. Eun-tak seems to have only just now figured out that "Goblin" is just a nickname she came up with. I'm not sure he even actually is a goblin, come to think of it. Meanwhile Sunny (played by Yoo In-na) is in the awkward position of being the Grim Reaper's love interest yet they can't have even the most rudimentary of conversations. So naturally, their scenes go nowhere, much as Eun-tak's part-time job as Sunny's sole employee at a chronically empty restaurant also go nowhere,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 4 2016/12/10,
Of all the weird unexplained elements in "Goblin", the one I most consistently get hung up on is how director Lee Eung-bok is able to pull off such radical scene transitions without creating any tonal whiplash. One minute the Goblin is calm and cool as usual, unwilling to let on to Eun-tak that he is in the slightest bit surprised by what she does or does not know. The next minute, the Goblin is breathing heavily in front of his mortal enemy, the Grim Reaper, because girls are scary,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 3 2016/12/09,
Upon further consideration I've decided that "Goblin" really is, in fact, mostly just a drama about the Goblin and the Grim Reaper sniping at each other pettily like an old married couple for the rest of eternity. If their eternal life is punishment for some awful misdeed, I would say it is working as intended. Neither the Goblin nor the Grim Reaper have any apparent reason for existing save for to meddle in each other's lives,...More
How to train your Goblin 2016/12/09,
If you want your handsome Goblin to appear right next to you whenever you need him, go ahead and blow the fire off! Oh, and we can even do it in digital way too. Seriously, I thought this concept was so cute and brilliant. For those of you who have not watched "Goblin" yet, here's how it works,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 2 2016/12/03,
And so Eun-tak's magical journey of being the Goblin's bride takes her to the mystical far-off country of...Canada. Specifically, Quebec. That's, uh, that's a new one. Which pretty much marks my reaction to every scene transition in "Goblin"- they all encompass very strange ideas that are neither funny, dramatic, or even especially creative. While watching "Goblin" I frequently ask questions like, why does this drama exist? Who is the intended audience?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 1 2016/12/02,
Kim Sin (played by Gong Yoo) was once a mighty warrior in olden times. Then he made a series of bad decisions and became the "Goblin", a godlike being who occasionally makes friends but more typically just ends up killing bad dudes with the same generally indifferent and impersonal attitude he had toward mowing down enemies in battle. That's a good attitude to have since the first episode is filled with death to a frankly comical extent. The Grim Reaper (played by Lee Dong-wook) evidently has his work cut out for him,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Goblins, Trials and Errors 2016/11/19,
2016 has almost ended and so we can officially start salivating over its last few dramas and what comes in 2017. After a long journey, "Defendant" finally has its cast and premiere month. Before that, "Goblin" aims to provide impressive visuals and captivating fantasy romance while "Solomon's Perjury" brings a group of fresh faces to familiar social struggles and injustice. It looks like we get a lot of diversity in the upcoming months,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Mellow Airport Flings 2016/09/03,
Autumn is here and its first week is a bit slow on the drama front, but not any less exciting than usual. "Exciting" is not the word I would use for poor Yoo In-na's nasty surprise from her Chinese drama, but I feel we will get many more in the future. "Road to the Airport" is finally giving us goodies to look at and plenty of other upcoming dramas take their first proper step into the spotlight,...More
[Orion's Drama News] "Go Ahead, (Re)Make My Day" 2016/06/11,
It is a week of popularity giants and remakes, as star-studded summer and autumn dramas are already being compared on premise, production and participants. I also take a little look at news on the emerging trend of recreating popular North American series as Korean dramas. Not that the industry has no alternatives or does not remake enough things already, as evident by the third topic I share news of today,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Rising Actresses and Consolation Cheese 2016/05/28,
Some major titles are coming our way and this week is rich with announcements. With many series approaching about younger characters, we get to experience the new wave of actresses tasked with bringing the roles of young women back in the spotlight. "Cheese in the Trap" fans are in for some odd, but potentially good news and we have script reading photos from some upcoming series along with the usual news,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Drama Fights and Trolling Rumors 2016/04/23,
We have had quite an eventful week in Dramaland. KBS, SM C&C and SBS are getting into a fight while actors and the fate of a drama are caught in the middle, rumors become news only to be refuted and we have a casting which is already dividing viewers. As usual, upcoming drama goodies and my personal drama updates are included, so join me in a recap of the craziness,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Special 2 2016/04/21,
For those of you hoping for more recaps of the second OTP pairing between Myeong-joo and Dae-yeong, this second special did throw in a few of their juiciest bits. However, it mostly focused on Si-jin and Mo-yeon and on the trials that Si-jin suffered for his country and his woman,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" 2016/04/16,
The Korean drama industry is constantly looking for hits, like any business does. As pre-produced shows have not done well in the past, creating something like "Descendants of the Sun" was a risk. In this case, the risk paid off in a major way. The series is a big global hit. As a reviewer, however, my job is not to gush over success. The drama has its virtues, but it is definitely not on the meatier side of entertainment. So here is my own take on it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 16 (final) 2016/04/14,
"Descendants of the Sun" has come to an end and that fact feels a bit surreal as well as its rating of 38.8%. Not just as a viewer, but as a reviewer. Not just as a reviewer, but as an international drama fan watching the waves that this drama has made in the world of drama, and in the world itself. This drama is more than its story. It is enveloped in a hype that is currently unparalleled. In some ways, the show is well-worth its worldwide prestige. In others, it is not. Let's break down this final review into parts,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 15 2016/04/13,
In its penultimate episode, "Descendants of the Sun" tops itself with 34.8% ratings in spite of the fact that it was competing with South Korean elections. This drama suffers from too many tonal shifts, but the tone of this episode was so solid that it was a tight, emotive watching experience even though it didn't quite match the rest of the drama. Let's just get the not-so-great stuff out of the way so we can then focus on all the awesome things this episode got right,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 14 2016/04/07,
For the second time in its fourteen-episode run "Descendants of the Sun" has experienced a ratings drop. It came in at 33.0%, 0.5% decrease. Perhaps it is the fact that the glamour and excitement of the foreign country was no longer present. Perhaps it was the broaching of the sensitive North/South Korea conflict that is more tense than ever. Perhaps it was just the simple fact that the cliffhanger wasn't really a cliffhanger despite the fact that the show only has a week left (save for the bonus goodies to be offered after its run.) The strongest part of the episode was the relationships, namely the friendships,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 13 2016/04/06,
Our crew of loveable characters has landed back in Korea and served us up another ratings hike. Episode 13 earned at 33.5% on the Nielsen Korea chart and the sheer number of adorable couple moments and character beats support it. Yoo Ah-in's sardonic cameo also probably helped. Then there was the witty, zippy, and fun dialogue along with the more relaxed feeling that comes with a much needed homecoming. I just have to get this out of the way, however,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 12 2016/03/31,
"Descendants of the Sun" is a master at sparking emotion. No matter how illogical the plot may become, the emotional barometer is insanely high. This must be why Nielsen Korean is clocking this drama at 33% for episode 12, a whole 1.1% higher than last night's episode. Wow. It is the human element that "Descendants of the Sun" is really learning to master that makes is so addictive - for me and the rest of the world. Before I go any further I have to say, "Oh my gosh, the feels!",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 11 2016/03/30,
"Descendants of the Sun" tries to pack in a lot of action by having our heroes face weapons trafficking, plagues, gun standoffs, earthquakes, kidnapping, and politics. No matter what happens, this show seems destined to best itself - and it did. It came 0.3% higher than the last episode at 31.9%. More than anything, however, it was the acting in this episode by our leads that made it worthy of that rating. Jin Goo proved his mettle as his expressed Dae-yeong's worry for Myeong-joo with previously unparalleled intensity,...More
[Raine's Drama Insights] Why "Descendants of the Sun" is a Cultural Phenomenon 2016/03/26,
"Descendants of the Sun" is a K-drama that has touched every corner of the Korean drama scene. That scene can be found all over the globe. Its presence in Asia is unprecedented while Viki's internet streaming and quick subbing has brought the drama to English-speaking audiences. The power that drives the drama is multi-faceted ranging from the money behind it, to the promotion, to the star power, to intense fan viewership and participation,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 10 2016/03/24,
With the romance firmly cemented by episode 9's romantic antics and kisses, episode 10 introduces some major plot points to yank the drama back into action. Not that its ratings need more action - they're consistently on the rise. This episode clocked in at 31.6%, 1.2% higher than last night's episode. "Descendants of the Sun" is battling itself episode to episode for best ratings. Fancy choreography, intricate camerawork and a viral disease are in another tussle; one for the most exciting moment of the episode. It doesn't lose the romantic flavors of last episode, but the hot points are definitely the action,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 9 2016/03/23,
If there is one thing that can almost always bolster ratings it is a good kiss...or two! Hello 30% ratings - 30.4% to be exact. The Song-Song couple not only shared two very romantic kissing scenes (and a good roll in the hay,) but the episode was bolstered by the high-intensity romantic moments between Song-Song and Myeong-joo and Dae-yeong. There were a few small moments, those beautiful moments that showcased themselves during the thick of the earthquake, that colored this romantic episode for the better,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 8 2016/03/17,
If the last episode of "Descendants of the Sun" was about the small moments, this one was about the small windows of time that allows our characters and those around them to see the world more clearly. The world is also seeing this drama quite clearly as it shot up 0.5% to 28.8%, mere percentage points away from the big three-oh. Si-jin and Mo-yeon are developing nicely although Mo-yeon's fear of losing him to his job still tends to dominate her emotions and behavior,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 7 2016/03/16,
"Descendants of the Sun" rode atop romance and angsty separations for its first six episodes, but this episode saw a sudden turn. It began to look inward, to inspect the minutiae of humanity and the beauty found in the smallest of human connections. Perhaps the lack of intense romantic interaction is what kept the show from pushing into the 30s, but it came in at a hugely respectable 28.3%, just 0.2% less than last episode. The little moments built this episode from the ground up,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 6 2016/03/10,
This is seriously baffling. "Descendants of the Sun" episode 6 blasted ratings precedents with 28.5%. The drama is most definitely not about action and is all about the romance, the Song Joong-ki stare, and the manufactured drama. I admit to welcoming the earthquake and the chaos it fosters because it pulls the drama out of its extremely romance heavy focus. What detracts from the high-budget beauty of the episode is the circular happenings between both couples,...More
[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Descendants of the Sun" 2016/03/05,
The long awaited, fully pre-produced "Descendants of the Sun" is here and boy, has it made an entrance. With domestic and foreign ratings, sales and buzz soaring high, the drama is undoubtedly a huge success. At the same time, it is really not a story with something for everyone and has its share of issues which range from tolerable to frustrating. For those who like the type, however, this is one fun ride,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 3 2016/03/02,
After a long week of waiting, "Descendants of the Sun" has graced us with another episode that came in at an unheard of 23.4%. Again, I can't iterate enough how slick and gorgeous it is or how fantastic the actors are in their roles. Song Joong-ki, despite his pretty face, is 100% masculine and in charge of his character while Song Hye-gyo owns the drastic change in hers. Not to mention that we finally get to see the beauty of Greece that plays the role of the country Uruk where the drama takes place. Please be sure to stick around for some home grown insight about Greece from Orion, HanCinema's own Greek goddess.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 2 2016/02/25,
If episode one of "Descendants of the Sun" was about introductions, episode two, coming in on top at 15.5%, fleshed them out and added the rest of the teams that support Si-jin and Mo-yeon. Romance was the priority, but it didn't feel like the show was beating us over the head with it. Instead, the romance that blossomed hit very real walls that were acknowledged by two adults who hold themselves to different belief systems and lifestyles. We all know that will change. The adventure is watching them learn what we already know,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 1 2016/02/24,
It's finally here, folks! KBS's first pre-produced, star-studded drama "Descendants of the Sun". The drama dominated the charts at whopping 14.3%. It's Song Joong-ki's first drama after his mandatory military service, which is all too fitting. He as Soldier Yoo Si-jin is joined by Song Hye-kyo as war doctor Kang Mo-yeon, Jin Goo as Soldier Seo Dae-yeong, and as war doctor Yoon Myeong-joo, Kim Ji-won. From the trailers we knew that romance is the thread that will weave through the story, but war and it's trials and horrors will drive the plot as it brings people together and tears them apart. We've been teased for months, and now, without further ado, I bring to you my review of episode 1,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Descendants of the Sun" 2016/02/20,
Hold on to your hats and other detachable wearables, because "Descendants of the Sun" is coming, almost a year after it first got viewers excited over its existence. The drama is a fully pre-produced work partially filmed in Greece and features a powerhouse hallyu-fueled cast and crew. Expectations are high and emotions even higher. Are you all ready for the big reveal,...More
[HanCinema's Report] "Descendants of the Sun" filming in Greece 2015/10/17,
Upcoming series 'Descendants of the Sun' has been filming in locations all over Greece since late September. The drama starring popular actors Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo is about a UN peacekeeping troops captain and a volunteer for Doctors Without Borders falling in love while in a war-stricken country. Due to this premise, 80% of the pre-produced series is filmed outside of Korea. While the production has been mostly secretive in order to maintain audience suspense, some Greek news portals and blogs have followed the filming and acquired information. After contacting them, they have graciously shared their coverage with HanCinema. Filming has mainly taken place in Zakynthos, Arachova and Lemnos,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 20 Final 2013/12/12,
I don't think I've ever been this frustrated by a happy ending before. A certain amount of schmaltz and contrivance is appropriate to get a story to end on a positive note, sure. But nearly every single conflict solved here quite literally appeared only one episode ago. And even in those cases where there was a bit more foreshadowing, we're talking extremely brief glimpses from several episodes ago.
The most annoying part about is that Kim Tan, our alleged main character, barely has anything to do with any of this. Yes, as usual, the scenes about the love story between him and Eun-Sang predominate,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 19 2013/12/11,
There's lot of cuteness here as we get a bright cheery look at Kim Tan's birthday party, where all his friends have shown up and are having a gay old time taking pictures and doing basic teen stuff. Even the abrupt ending of Kim Tan confronting his father with Eun-Sang in tow is pretty fun. When the drama loses its pretensions and just lets its teen characters act like real teenagers, it can be fairly successful as light entertainment.
However, the more of this cute stuff that we see, the more the question comes up of how appropriate it is for the only apparent conflict in this drama to be deflated so close to the end,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 18 2013/12/05,
It would seem that the immense effort tha previous episode made to convince the viewer that yes, the Kim Tan / Eun-Sang separation really is serious this time, was actually just an elaborate trick so that the drama could do the same plot, again, without it feeling too repetitive. I have to admit that it worked- there simply isn't enough time left at this point for "The Heirs" to try and stir up drama by separating them again. And I did have that brief optimism, for one episode.
But that's pretty much entirely gone now. This episode is immensely exhausting in the way it just keeps going on and on about the Kim Tan / Eun-Sang connection, wringing its hands about awful the situation is, until finally we get to a climatic moment where they finally resolve to do something to finish off the drama's issues once and for all,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 17 2013/12/04,
Most of the episode's runtime is dedicated to searching and pining about Eun-Sang. Surprisingly, it doesn't actually take that long for anyone to find her. The main conflict ends up being, all right, provided that we know where Eun-Sang is, then what? The barriers preventing her from getting together with Kim Tan are, as has been thoroughly noted, a lot more dense and problematic than just her staying in a different physical location.
Unfortunately there isn't really much going on here in the way of attacking those barriers. Personally, I have no big stake in Kim Tan and Eun-Sang getting back together soon, or even at all,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 16 2013/11/28,
While the romantic storyline in this drama is fairly repetitive, I have to give it credit for managing to pull a fast one. Eun-Sang has been doing the pouty face thing for so long it genuinely didn't even occur to me that there was something more to it this time. In one sense, the episode really just repeats its own plot all over again- but thanks to the changed context and the way Kim Tan is typically the focus character, the ending manages to sneak in very effectively.
The corporate intrigue plotline manages to sputter out with comically little fanfare. We get a clear sense that, in the end, the balance of power really is pretty horribly one-sided,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 15 2013/11/27,
I really don't like Kim Woo-bin's new haircut. The one he had before was really slick and sharp- it showed off the rough, smart edges of Yeong-Do, and the way it played off of his eyebrows was just great. But this new haircut is almost exactly the same as Lee Min-ho's, and while that kind of hair works for members of the Kim family, it lacks the sneaky smugness that the character of Yeong-Do really needs. It's also slightly confusing having so many unrelated cast members with similarproblems. In a me-looking hair.
Anyway, aside from the hair, there's some still some good stuff here. The episode starts out the same place we left off at the party, and we almost immediately delve into a hilarious bit of tit-for-tat,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 14 2013/11/21,
The ostentatious displays by our lead characters have managed to get really nauseating. I knew when I started watching "The Heirs" that this was going to be a drama about the extremely rich and well-connected. What I liked about the early episodes was that there was this clear indication that being rich and well-connected is not necessarily a good thing for a person with lousy emotional attachments. The picturesque cityscape of beautiful Los Angeles was consistently tempered by the dark side of life there,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 13 2013/11/20,
It's pretty inescapable at this point that, if one were to describe the things that Kim Tan does to a neutral observer, he would come off as a really awful person. Technically speaking I don't think he actually breaks into the apartment, but the very fact that he takes Eun-Sang there alone against her usual resistance, coupled with his subsequent actions, make it difficult to play any of this off in a sympathetic light. Granted, he acted the same back in Los Angeles- but that was when I thought these were characater flaws he was going to overcome,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 12 2013/11/14,
The mixed metaphors this drama is putting out are starting to give me a headache. We're still doing the whole will-they-or-won't they thing with Kim Tan and Eun-Sang, and on a literal level, the drama seems to be making the statement that they should totally be together. We didn't even get a single episode of full separation out of the cliffhanger from last time and already we're back to teary romantic stuff.
But let's pivot around and look at the main subplot this episode, where big bro Kim Won ends up getting in trouble with their dad Nam-Yoon about a situation that is, in many ways, almost identical to the relationship between Kim Tan and Eun-Sang,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 11 2013/11/13,
Yeong-Do has finally shown what he can offer Eun-Sang in terms of a romantic partner. Hatred and spite toward fellow human beings. That probably doesn't sound like a good thing- but the argument he makes is surprisingly persuasive. Eun-Sang has, for pretty much the entire series, been living in fear of constant disaster and has had to act in a placating way to try and avert it. But these attempts always fail and this episode is no exception to that rule.
As if inspired to prove Yeong-Do wrong, for example, Eun-Sang tries to head off Kim Tan's latest romantic advances by being more affectionate and kind in her rebuff this time around,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 10 2013/11/07,
It suddenly hit me this episode that "The Heirs" is a drama, not about ambitious young adults, but high school students. This would seem obvious, given how much of the action lately takes place at a high school. The trappings of wealth, however, consistently give the misleading impression that these characters have clearly defined goals and a coherent narrative trajectory. In reality, they're impulsive, selfish, and resentful.
Kim Tan, for example, is now explicitly trying to manipulate EunSang emotionally in very childish ways,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 9 2013/11/06,
I'm pretty sure "The Heirs" is trying to make some sort of statement about traditional masculine gender roles in a courtship context, but I'll be darned if I have any idea what. The imagery this time around is too inescapable. This episode Eun-Sang receives come-ons, not just from leading men Kim Tan and Yeong-Do, but extras. And there's a strong frustration underscoring her reactions to these events that emphasizes the importance of diplomacy in her responses- she'll only go as far as she can without risking damage to her long-term prospects.
What makes this especially nuanced and difficult is that it's explicitly confirmed this episode that she does like Kim Tan,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 8 2013/10/31,
Up until now I wasn't completely convinced that Yeong-Do's intentions toward Eun-Sang were romantic ones. This episode lays that doubt to rest, but not in the way I was expecting. It's extremely clear that Yeong-Do's aggressive cornering behavior bares a lot of similarity to when Kim Tan does the exact same thing, and Kim Tan's motives have never been in doubt. Especially since he helpfully engages in similar behavior this time around,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 7 2013/10/30,
The adults in this drama are pretty easy to spook. On multiple occasions in the Kim household we see characters panic just because some unfamiliar person shows up. Never mind that in both cases, the unfamiliar person has every possible reason to be in the house. It says quite a bit about their quilty consciences that even in their own extremely safe homes they panic at the thought of the unexpected happening.
This takes on depressing dimensions when taken in the context of Kim Won. Kim Tan wants to reconcile with his big brother so badly it hurts- I'm impressed at the little bro's tenacity,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 6 2013/10/24,
Now that Kim Tan and Yeong-Do have finally met, and presumably we're going to get into an actual plotline instead of just metaphors, it occurs to me that the narrative structure of "The Heirs" isn't particularly strong. I'm not totally sure what any of these characters want, how they're going to get it, and what, to them, will constitute a happy ending. The drama being difficult to predict is normally a high point, but there needs to be some sort of baseline,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 5 2013/10/23,
This drama has a really weird take on romance that I'm still not totally sure how to compartmentalize. Multiple new romantic subplots manage to pop out of nowhere, and we even get a moment to remember that, hey, technically, the parents of the two crabbiest heirs are in a romantic subplot, too. It's just not something that comes up that much because for the most part this drama is, appropriately enough, about "The Heirs",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 4 2013/10/17,
It turns out that, almost as soon as she gets back to Korea, Eun-Sang discovers that her life is once again ruined thanks to money. At this point it seems like Eun-Sang getting put through the ringer on this should be getting tiring- but I find it works really well with the overall theme of the drama being the impossibility of escape. Having to live in the house and be an apprentice maid is the ultimate indignity for Eun-Sang. Fortunately, it's also literally the ultimate indignity, as once she's adjusted the bad stuff finally stops happening,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 3 2013/10/16,
Ah, the American road trip. A long, boring drive into the middle of nowhere that quickly loses its novelty. Meeting up with people who probably don't actually want to see you. That empty feeling inside realizing an entire day was wasted on a pointless sentimental gesture. Vast open space of poorly maintained roads, easy accidents, and no cell phone reception to call for help. Truly a feature of the culture worth idolizing.
I have no idea how much of the metaphors "The Heirs" is using are intentional, but I'm just plain astonished at how striking they are. This entire episode is a wake-up call to Kim Tan that he is not, in fact, as cool as he thinks he is,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 2 2013/10/10,
Eun-Sang (played by Park Shin-hye) sticks out in this drama as being the token teenager of a lower economic class. Kim Tan spends a lot of time deliberately needling her about her various peculiar attitudes, and this is all played for laughs. It's obvious to us, the audience, that this is a romantic drama where these two are supposed to get together, so it's funny. But "The Heirs" takes the bold, discomforting step of showing us why Eun-Sang's excessively non-confrontational attitude is probably the correct one.
There's even a line here that explicitly spells it out, when Eun-Sang mentions she wants this trip to have at least one (rather pitiful) positive memory. Kim Tan doesn't get this at all- he's been having lots of fun,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Heirs" Episode 1 2013/10/09,
This drama starts out highlighting a rather ambivalent attitude toward the United States. On the the one hand, this is the country of awesome surfing, gorgeous scenery, and a crazy party atmosphere. On the other hand, the very name America appears to be synonymous with exploitative interaction between the sexes for ill-advised financial reasons. And this appears to be true for both the richer and poorer members of the cast.
I was not expecting "The Heirs" to take such an ambivalent attitude to Korean-American cultural interactions. But I have to admit- I'm really enjoying the creative direction. Cha Eun-Seok (played by Yoon Jin-seo) has a very interesting role here as the older sister who escapes conservative Korean society,...More
Park Shin-hye in the desert 2013/09/26, Source, Park Shin-hye plays the role of Cha Eun-sang, a hard working girl in a reality of poverty in the new SBS drama "The Heirs" which is to be aired for the first time on the 9th of October.
Park Shin-hye was seen filming for this drama in a desert in LA on the 10th. The pictures of her are so perfect she doesn't even need editing or brushing up,...More
Lee Min-ho on the LA beach 2013/09/25, Source,
Actor Lee Min-ho was seen on Malibu Beach in LA on the 17th. He was filming a scene for the SBS drama "The Heirs" and his aura was everywhere.
While wearing a surfing suit, Lee Min-ho displayed a flawless body, heating up the film set. He's been getting surfing lessons to brush up on his skills every now and then, even in between his busy filming schedule,...More
Ji Sung VS Kwon Sang-woo VS Lee Min-ho 2013/09/25, Source,
A new battle has begun between the three broadcasting companies now that Chuseok is over. Fierce new dramas take over Wednesday and Thursday nights with different genres.
The first drama to be mentioned is the KBs 2TV drama "Secrets".
"Secrets" was pre-sold to Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and other Asian countries even before it was shown in Korea and it tells the story of a man who falls in love with the woman who kills his lover,...More
A look at the K-dramas of 2012 2013/01/01, Source,
This year was really a wild ride. It was my second full year as a k-drama watcher and my first full year blogging. Phew. Did 2012 go by as quickly for you as it did for me?
Some of it I loved, and some of it left me lukewarm. There were a few dramas I really wish I could obliterate from my memory. But the good ones made up for it, 'cause there were some GOOD dramas.
The reviews will be highly biased and highly noninclusive. It's about what I remembered at the end of the year 2012. How did these shows impact me? Am I still salivating? Or did I forget it existed until I had to write this thing?,...More
[PREVIEW] MBC TV series "My Princess" 2011/01/04, Source,
Actors Song Seung-heon, Park Ye-jin, Kim Tae-hee and Ryu Su-young poses during a photocall of a press conference for upcoming MBC TV series "My Princess" held at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea on January 3, 2011. [MBC]
The 'cheerful and nothing-can-bring-me-down' female character meets the grandson of a conglomerate. He tries to turn her into a princess and the two fall in love. That is how you could summarize MBC's "My Princess". To add on just a little more detail, Lee Seul (played by Kim Tae-hee) is a stingy female college student who is of royal descent and diplomat Park Hye-young (played by Song Seung-heon) becomes her tutor to make her a princess per the request of his grandfather (played by Lee Soon-jae) in order to restore their imperial family,...More
[2010 10Asia's Awards] "Thank You" List 2010/12/31, Source, There are things that cannot be expressed through annual awards ceremonies. The big trophies are not enough to describe the gratitude we feel for the dramas that contributed to brightening our days during the past year. This is why 10Asia is presenting the "Thank You" list in which we selected 10 memorable dramas. This is a shout-out to all those dramas that at time melted our hearts with highly appealing looks, made our hands and feet cringe yet leave our eyes and mouths smiling with famous lines, delighted us at the mere sight of some characters and left the single viewers green with jealously with the romance scenes. Let us thank all these dramas that took our emotions on a most exciting roller coaster ride. So thank you! Eye-Cleanser of the YearKBS2 TV "Sungkyunkwan Scandal": Jalgeum Quartet
There is a fairy tale in Korea in which a filial daughter volunteers to sacrifice herself to a sea god in order to cure her father of his blindness,...More
[REVIEW] SBS TV series "Secret Garden" - Episode 1 and 2 2010/11/15, Source,
Official poster for SBS TV series "Secret Garden" [SBS]
SBS TV series "Secret Garden" - Episode 1 & 2
After the arrogant and thoughtless department store CEO Kim Ju-won (Hyun Bin) falls for the ordinary stunt woman Gil La-im (Ha Ji-won), he even ends up confessing, "To me, this woman is Kim Tae-hee and Jeon Do-youn [top Korean actresses]". That too in just two episodes of going on air.
In "Secret Garden", the main male character's emotion develops to its peak at a pace that is extremely fast compared to the usual romantic dramas, showing that it will not be the typical love story between a rich man and poor woman,...More
Hyun Bin to enter military by March 2011 2010/11/02, Source, Hyun Bin in a scene from upcoming SBS weekend TV series "Secret Garden" [hwa&dam pictures]
Korean actor Hyun Bin will enter the military by March of next year as part of serving his duties for the country which is compulsory of all Korean men.
The news came through a press release on Monday by hwa&dam pictures, the producer of upcoming Hyun Bin starrer weekend series "Secret Garden", quoting a remark made by an official from the actor's agency AM Entertainment,...More
Decision on Jay Park drama casting yet to come 2010/08/04, Source, Jay Park [Asia Economic Daily]
The decision on former boy band 2PM leader Jay Park appearing in a drama tentatively titled "Secret Garden" has yet to be made, according to his agency on Wednesday.
SidusHQ stated through a press release that negotiations regarding Park's casting for the upcoming SBS TV series had been "going positively" and they are now waiting for a response from the show,...More
Ha Ji-won cast as female lead in new SBS drama 2010/07/21, Source,
Korean actress Ha Ji-won [Wellmade StarM]
Korean actress Ha Ji-won, who is returning to small screen after four years, will play the female lead in a new SBS weekend drama tentatively titled "Secret Garden", according to an official related to the show on Wednesday.
"Ha has been set to play female character Gil La-im. She has finished negotiating on the details of the contract", the official explained,...More
The New Year will be another one full of drama, as broadcasters prepare unique stories to grab audiences' attention. Korean dramas have always been at the forefront of domestic entertainment, for if a certain drama gains popularity, the actors ride,...More
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haiii...miss kim eun sook...my name is sari from surabaya,indonesia...sorry before 'coz my english is very bad but i try...
Ms, Kim, i addore you because you can write such a beautiful story...How can you just put your idea n imagination to one good story such as Lovers in Paris n Prague...
it's so romantic....i always see that series for many times but i didn't get bored...please send me your e-mail...i'd like to send mail to you ...thanks n always success
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