Korea Drama Festival: Winners 2017/10/04,
The Korea Drama Awards took a look at the best of the best and the competition between nominees was fierce. Congratulations to all of the nominees and let's check out the winners,...More
Which Top Stars Starred in the School Series? 2017/07/23, Source,
The famous School Series is back! Starting from 1999 to 2002, and then from 2012 to 2013, and restarting the legacy in 2015, the School Series accompanied my generation's school years. Having 7 different seasons, some episodes have similarities considering the limit of the genre but nevertheless, it is still the program that attracts all the young viewers, and still the program that every young actors and actresses wishes to take part in,...More
Who will replace Kyuhyun in Radio Star? 2017/04/24, Source,
Super Junior Kyuhyun is joining the military this May and many want to know who will replace him in the MBC TV show "Radio Star".
Kyuhyun is serving national duty in public service as he was in an accident in 2007. He will receive basic training at the Nonsan Training Camp,...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] In Sickness and In Inebriation 2016/08/27,
A lot of new shows are starting and many are coming up as summer comes to a close. "Drinking Alone" gives us a glimpse of its drinkers, lonely and not. Cancer-themed romantic comedy "Fantastic" will be starting soon and its promise is as undeniable as the oddity of the genre attached to its premise. "The K2" is a highly expected series and the creators know it, because they are all about the teasing. I also share other news and I have my picks for this drama season,...More
KCON 2016 News: DAY6 and BtoB added to New York Line-up #KCONLiveChat 2016/05/08, Source,
KCON 2016 presented by Toyota revealed today that the rock band DAY6 and the genre-bending boy group BtoB will be joining the KCON 2016 New York lineup! Celebrating its fifth anniversary, KCON USA is the world's largest Korean culture convention and music festival. KCON NY is returning to the Prudential Center and will expand to two nights of concerts running June 24-25. KCON LA kicks off a month later and takes place July 29-31 at the Staples Center and Los Angeles Convention Center,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Village: Achiara's Secret" 2016/04/30,
Mysteries are rarely done well in drama. It seems to be a combination of complicated ideas and little time given due to the filming system, but they are also usually simple in concept and easy to guess as well. The creators of "The Village: Achiara's Secret" were very confident before the drama began airing. Stay until the end, they said. We will show you something good. Dramaland has lied to me a lot, but it just makes the rare truths all the more satisfying,...More
Actors' salary this year 2015/09/03, Source,
Curiosity rose for actors' pay after actresses' pay was released last month. We've updated the ranks from highest paid actors to the lowest.
According to studies, the gap between actors and actresses isn't that large. In case of the actors, they are more highly paid as they have a strong fan base all over the world. The prices of actors continuously rise but the actresses fill in the gaps with fashion and beauty advertisements. After actors make it big with dramas, they make more money off extracurricular events such as foreign fan meetings and such so they make extra profits,...More
[Funcurve Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" 2015/08/29,
There's an old saying of "don't judge a book by its cover", which most definitely applies to 'Who Are You - School 2015'. Upon hearing its title and cast alone, I deemed it as just another teen Korean drama with shallow love stories and mediocre acting at best. But boy was I wrong. 'Who Are You - School 2015' proves that it deserves its popularity with an exceptional blend of gripping mystery and adorable high school romance. Not to mention the phenomenal acting performances from lead actress Kim So-hyun, who plays twin characters Lee Eun-bi and Go Eun-byeol, and rookie actress Cho Soo-hyang, who plays main antagonist Kang So-yeong. I'm thoroughly impressed with how the young actresses convincingly channel their character's divergent personas, making them that much more unforgettable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 15 2015/06/15,
The story moves somewhat sedately here, as the emphasis is on making peace and moving on. Pretty much every character relationship that has had any conflict at all is resolved except for So-yeong's vendetta. And that's really just gotten tiring at this point. It's exactly like her dad says- she needs to shut up and stop initiating conflict. So-yeong still hasn't figured out that nobody actually cares whether or not she's right. And given Eun-byeol's behavior, it seems likely that the twins weren't actually planning on keeping this secret forever anyway,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 14 2015/06/09,
It's hard to imagine what "Who Are You - School 2015" was like without Eun-byeol's presence. She's just such a fascinating duality with Eun-bi. Seeing the way Eun-byeol reacts to any daily inconvenience it's rather inescapable that the young woman has strong aggressive tendencies. To some extent this is good- Eun-byeol doesn't need a knight in shining armor like Eun-bi did. She can solve problems quite effectively on her own. Yet this makes Eun-byeol a very unsatisfying person to know on a personal level, because she is so independent it's nearly impossible to help her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 13 2015/06/08,
The explanation behind Eun-byeol's disappearance is both more simple and more complicated than what I was expecting. This is mainly a function of a few plot holes in Eun-byeol's plan which may or may not be addressed. Overall it's not really a big deal. The important, quickly established information is simply that the main plot has been resolved, so how are the characters supposed to deal with the aftermath?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 12 2015/06/02,
The mystery regarding what happened at Eun-byeon's school a year ago is mostly cleared up. Rather anticlimactically, I might add. After all that build-up I was expecting some sort of elaborate conspiracy. In all fairness, the situation itself was so low-stated it's easy to see why psychological terror was the only real direction for the situation to go. The tragedy wasn't the result of a bullying so much as it was the failure to properly make a check-up,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 11 2015/06/01,
As it turns out, I-an is still dealing with the consequences of his dramatic decision to protect Eun-bi. It turns out that the swimming team wasn't just background noise- "Who Are You - School 2015" correctly notes that even in an individualist team like swimming, proper camaraderie is a pretty big deal. I-an hasn't just ruined his own athletic inspirations for the near future- he's also wrecked the relays. I-an's story is a cold reflection of how even noble actions can reverberate negative consequences,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 10 2015/05/26,
As was to be expected, So-yeong's plan to get back into everyone's good graces fails miserably. What So-yeong constantly fails to realize is that it's not circumstance which is causing her to be bullied- So-yeong's own attitude is what's causing the problem. And exposing the existence of Eun-bi does her no favors. To the contrary, up until now Eun-bi's strange behavior around So-yeong has made all the classmates suspicious. Now that So-yeong has provided an explanation, it's only that much more difficult for anyone to sympathize with her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 9 2015/05/25,
The tone this episode is a fairly somber one as Eun-bi and I-an come to grips with the fact that Eun-byeon is most likely dead. I write "most likely" because technically speaking we don't actually know that Eun-byeon's remains are the ones that were cremated. We don't even know how they were identified,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 8 2015/05/19,
In a somewhat surprising twist, it would appear that the main potential victim of Eun-bi being exposed is not Eun-bi herself, but rather I-an. His normally static character arc comes into sharp relief here as I-an deliberately chooses to believe that Eun-bi is Eun-byeon, regardless of how much of his experiences with her post-amnesia simply don't add up. Right when I was wondering if I-an ever had this much fun on dates with the real Eun-byeon, a flashback helpfully pops up to tell us that no, he did not,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 7 2015/05/18,
The cliffhanger this episode and the cliffhanger from last episode are more-or-less the same. But "Who Are You - School 2015" doesn't quite fall into repetition because these repeated plot points establish something very important- that the drama's conceit isn't really sustainable. Even if So-yeong appears to have been subdued, the fact that Eun-bi can't recover Eun-byeon's memories means that this ruse can't go on forever however much Eun-bi and her new mother want it to,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 6 2015/05/12,
The conflict between Eun-bi and So-yeong remains unresolved. In the first place, there's not actually very much So-yeong can do- her usual shtick of physical intimidation doesn't work without the surrounding cult of personality. People can and will question So-yeong's behavior, since they haven't grown accustomed to it. Evidence is another matter- while So-yeong does find better proof for her conspiracy theory, she's still hamstrung by the fact that there's no way for her to explain how it was acquired,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 5 2015/05/11,
So-yeong (played by Cho Soo-hyang) was Eun-bi's tormentor in the past and appears to have come back to haunt Eun-bi in her guise as Eun-byeol. It's difficult to get a good read on what So-yeong wants- this episode definitely implies, though it does not state outright, that the real reason for So-yeong's transfer is that she was expelled from her last school after Eun-bi's apparent suicide exposed a plethora of disturbing bullying behavior. One would think that such revelations would have made the girl a bit more reflective,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 4 2015/05/05,
This episode mostly takes a shift toward premise building. Something of an odd narrative direction given that this is the fourth episode, but "Who Are You - School 2015" makes good use of it. Once Eun-bi figures out what has happened, all that's left for her and Mi-kyeong to do is admit that there isn't actually going to be a happy resolution after all. Now they have to return to their real, mostly heartbroken lives,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 3 2015/05/04,
It turns out that there is bullying at Eun-byeol's school- but it's so subtle that even after watching this episode I'm not sure to what extent it technically exists. The story of Yeong-eun (played by Kim Bo-ra) is very instructive in this regard. As it turns out she was the recipient not so much of the explicit bullying that Eun-bi suffered from, but of the rather more crippling loneliness of simply being ignored altogether,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 2 2015/04/28,
Somewhat disappointingly, this episode uses the plot device of amnesia to mostly avoid tackling the issues established about Eun-bi's character last episode. Now, obviously, given all the trouble "Who Are You - School 2015" went to to set up a rather mysterious premise, we're going to get back to all this at some point. For the moment though the drama goes in a mostly generic direction as Eun-bi tries to get a grasp of her new surroundings,...More
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