[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama Couple - Cast Your Vote! 2017/12/28
The year of 2017 has seen some wonderful couples whose chemistry is sizzling and whose relationships draw us in and make us want to cheer for their happiness and success. Now you can choose for your favorite couple of the year out of sixteen amazing pairings,...More
[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama - Cast Your Vote! 2017/12/27
As we near the end of the HanCinema Awards, it's time to introduce the category of "Best Drama". Starting today, December 27th, you have until January 10th to vote for your favorite of the year's top sixteen dramas. From fantasy to time travel to thriller to court room, 2017 has delivered and now it's time to hear what you thought of the year's offerings. Results will be released for each category starting December 30th. And now, let's take a look at the nominees for "Best Drama of 2017,...More
[HanCinema Awards] Best Actor in a Drama - Cast Your Vote! 2017/12/26
The leading man in a drama is the left hand to a leading actress' right in dramaland. He infuses a drama with charisma, energy, sensitivity, and a deep understanding of character and plot. The year of 2017 has seen many leading man who embody these qualities, but now its time for you to choose your favorites from December 26th to January 9th,...More
[HanCinema Awards] Best Actress in a Drama - Cast Your Vote! 2017/12/25
Leading ladies are the heart of K-dramas. A strong actress can carry a drama from beginning to end and 2017 had more than its fair share of talented women, making it a rich year for the leading ladies. Vote for your favorite leading lady from December 25th to January 8th! Results for all categories will be released beginning on December 30th,...More
[HanCinema Awards] Best Historical Drama of 2017 - Cast Your Vote! 2017/12/24
The sageuk, or historical drama, is one of the earliest forms of Korean drama and the basis for what we know and love. Over the years it has evolved to include all sorts of fusion such as fantasy and time travel elements. The year of 2017 saw quite a few wonderful sageuk. Vote for your favorite of this year's historical dramas from December 24 to January 7. Results for all categories will be released starting on December 30,...More
[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama Villain of 2017 - Cast Your Vote! + Poster Giveaway 2017/12/17
An excellent drama villain is just as important as a winning hero or heroine. He or she helps to shape the life of a drama, reaching out and ensnaring hearts with inspired hatred, pity, and confusion. The year of 2017 saw some wonderful villains, deadly and manipulative, pitiable and terrifying, and it saw even great actors, young and old, who played them convincingly. Vote for your favorite villain from December 17 to December 31! Results for all categories will be revealed beginning December 30.
Don't forget to enter to win a "Splash Splash Love" poster at the bottom of this post,...More
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
Who's Your Favorite Historical Drama Goddess? 2017/06/29
Being in a historical drama is more challenging than it seems. Specially for the actresses, being able to look good in the traditional clothes, Hanbok, and the center parted hair-dos can be a bit of a difficult look to pull off if your proportion is not right. Moreover, the tone of the voice and languages used in the historical dramas are very different from that of a modern drama,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 30 Final 2017/05/16
In a peculiar twist, it turns out that Gil-dong and friends did not, in fact, achieve even cursory reforms as a part of a a settlement when they beat King Yeonsangun's army in direct combat. All they got was...I guess some sort of license to continue wandering around the countryside beating up corrupt nobles without anyone interfering. Beyond that, the final episode mainly goes into the various fates of the characters aligned with King Yeonsangun,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 29 2017/05/15
So apparently the last episode of "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" wasn't just climactic. It was, in fact, the climax of the entire drama. King Yeonsangun is in full on retreat. At first I thought he was just going to regroup and try again but nope, King Yeongsangun quickly regresses into a complete mental breakdown, terrifying his staff. In the end it's actually kind of refreshing that King yeonsangun just starts obsessing about art again, since there's no good way to whitewash the failure of the authority figures here to put down a rebellion,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 28 2017/05/08
The twenty-eighth episode of "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" consists entirely of a gigantic pitched battle. Well OK, technically King Yeonsangun harasses Gil-dong psychologically by dangling Ga-ryeong right in front of him, takes a break, then the battle starts when we discover Gil-dong's implausible victory strategy. But by and large it all feels like the same sequence, with King Yeonsangun on one end taking liquor shots while Gil-dong and friends are at the top of the embankment,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 26 2017/04/25
Now that Eorini has finally been identified, it's up to attempted memory triggers by her brothers and various flashbacks to explain how exactly Eorini has not been able to recognize anything of her own life. It's not clear to me that Eorini was really young enough for such brainwashing to plausibly work, and the motives for anyone to even try it in the first place were comically pointlessly evil for the sake of being evil. Haven't we had enough of that by now?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 25 2017/04/24
Increasingly I find myself thinking that the most logical interpretation of Gil-dong's character in "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" is that he's just a figment of King Yeonsangun's imagination, blown completely out of proportion. It's hard to think of any other reason why Gil-dong inexplicably leaves King Yeonsangun unharmed instead of just killing the guy outright. A figment of imagination, that I can understand going into long-winded speeches. But a guy who's actually going to war against the state?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 23 2017/04/17
King Yeonsangun starts us off by declaring a war on babies. I...wish I was exaggerating but King Yeonsangun really does jump from typical jerk evil to cartoonish supervillain evil so fast that I barely had time to process what was happening before babies started getting smothered to death. My initial concerns about this being mere egregious scriptwriting are mostly alleviated by mid-episode recitations of what I presume are actual royal orders that are consistently in line with King Yeonsangun's actions in the drama,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 21 2017/04/10
Gil-dong's big plan for trying get out of prison is just to try and have faith in King Yeonsangun's better nature. This seems logical enough from our perspective, since the scope of King Yeonsangun's involvement in all the bad stuff that's been happening has been murky at best. It's a bit more difficult to justify why Gil-dong thinks this is a good idea, since he has no reason to believe King Yeonsangun has any moral scruples,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 20 2017/04/04
So it turns out the whole run-in with the foreign invaders really was just a one-off plot point intended to establish how Gil-dong and his team are the unambiguous good guys. In context that's not quite as cheesy as it sounds, since some serious discussion is given to the idea of how Gil-dong's popularity is a risk to the ruling class mostly because people like him. They don't especially like King Yeonsangun,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 19 2017/04/03
Early on, there's a nice parallel philosophical discussion between King Yeonsangun and Gil-dong where they ponder over what the true relationship and distinction is between the ruler and the ruled. The scenes are amusing less because King Yeonsangun and Gil-dong bring up interesting ideas as they are because of the radically different context. King Yeonsangun just ponders generically because he's the king and has nothing better to do. Whereas Gil-dong is in jail,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 18 2017/03/28
So apparently...Moley was Gil-dong's true rival this entire time? That's the main revelation which surprised me here. It does admittedly explain things like why Moley's outfit is just a black version of what Gil-dong is always wearing, and Gil-dong does need someone to stand up to him the feats of strength department. All the same, Moley was just a random side character who really didn't seem all that important. Until this episode I don't think I noticed he even had a backstory,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 17 2017/03/27
For a brief moment Ga-ryeong shows herself to be smarter than she looks when it comes to questions of imminent personal danger. Alas, right when Ga-ryeong is starting to seem important and interesting "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" decides not to give her any screen time, instead focusing on various points of back story that we know which the actual characters are as of yet still mostly ignorant. Also Gil-dong appears to be trying to gaslight King Yeonsangun,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 16 2017/03/21
I realized this episode, with some trepidation, that far from having a clear goal in mind Gil-dong's entire operation is little more than an organized crime outfit. Granted, they tend to go after people who probably deserve it. Even so, beating up people on the street who are rude little jerks seems a bit beneath the lofty visions of "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" and indeed, if we take the position that might makes right that uh, kind of validates the entire unjust system Gil-dong is supposed to be fighting against,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 14 2017/03/14
For most of the early portion of this episode I thought Amogae's unusual moments of lucidity were a signal that maybe he was ready to rejoin the main story. Alas, it turns out what's actually happening is that Amogae is being given a tragically fitting eulogy. The overall positive tone when it comes to Amogae's past accomplishments and relationships is a bit out of step considering how by the end Amogae's three children are as estranged as ever,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 13 2017/03/13
King Yeonsangun, now firmly convinced as to the existence of anti-royalist conspiracy, is now summoning political enemies. Of course the joke's on him- King Yeonsangun's real political enemies are the ones using bizarre gossip to detract attention from their own power plays. If it's any comfort I'm skeptical any of these people are going to survive the drama's entire runtime. Given King Yeonsangun's reputation as a general crazy person it seems rather inevitable that his paranoia will spin completely out of control,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 12 2017/03/07
The focus is on King Yeonsangun here, as he gets embroiled with an exceptionally pedantic dispute regarding rules interpretation with his ministers. I have to admit that at minimum, this is a rather more innovative approach than just making King Yeonsangun a straight-up villain. We're watching King Yeongsangun burn himself out on technicalities, to the point that by the end it's not clear he or anyone else remembers the policy disagreement that prompted this legal battle in the first place,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 11 2017/03/06
Well first of all I've just about completely given up trying to figure what we're supposed to be calling Nok-soo / Royal Consort Gong-hwa at any given moment, since apparently we weren't supposed to be calling her Nok-soo either. I'm trying to remember if anyone has ever actually called her by her original name or if it's always been generic terms of address. See, this is why I lean on promotional materials more than I probably should. Even official news articles are more likely to just refer to the character as Lee Honey,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 10 2017/02/28
Recent victories notwithstanding Gil-dong and Amogae remain fairly well depressed by the apparent destruction of their entire family. The brief moments where we're reminded that they're having trouble moving on from the pain work a lot better than the full on episodes dedicated to this topic. It's really just a matter of the full facts finally sinking in. Amogae is completely broken down. With his wife, Amogae could at least console himself with the survival of their children. Now he barely even has that,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 8 2017/02/21
First a retraction- it would appear that Gonghwa is not yet a royal consort. Actually we're not even supposed to call her Gonghwa yet. Her name's still Nok-soo. Now see, this is what I mean about the pacing in "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" being a complete mess. We're still not at the point where basic information in the drama's promotional material is accurate yet. Yet yet yet. How is it that we're on the eighth episode and I'm still using that word so much?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 7 2017/02/20
Gonghwa (played by Lee Honey) is a royal consort, although she spends most of this episode gallavanting around with Gil-dong. The only royalist plot developments happen near the end. Gonghwa is also the presumed love interest to Gil-dong, although Ga-ryeong (played by Chae Soo-bin) also makes a play for his affections, mostly by snickering in the background. Ga-ryeong is the presumed true love interest, although to date Gonghwa has been much more helpful when it comes to Gil-dong's actual goals,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 6 2017/02/14
As Gil-dong goes about his happy-go-lucky merchant life, Amogae soon finds himself on the wrong end of the deal. Which seemed sort of inevitable. Amogae is, after all, a con artist who has enemies, and really failed to appreciate the extent to which his act of mercy could backfire. Honestly, it was kind of a dumb move for Amogae to let the poor woman wander about on her own when only a single mistake on her completely amateurish part was necessary to bring about disaster,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 5 2017/02/13
Gil-dong has taken Amogae's precautions too much to heart. He's just goofing around like a secondary character rather than the hero. Amogae, oddly enough, seems to be trying to avoid being the main character, even though his decisions drove all the action for the first four episodes. That's how we get to the main dramatic climax and aftermath here, which is just Amogae getting involved in a gang war while Gil-dong watches on helplessly,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 4 2017/02/07
His name finally cleared, Amogae now heads out into the wilderness to become...the leader of an organized criminal enterprise. The morality in "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" really is completely topsy-turvy. It took me awhile to fully appreciate last episode that hey, Amogae is trying to get away with cold-blooded murder, and it's only the overall messed up nature of the situation that makes him sympathetic. Note how the widow seemed to have been angling for petty spite rather than justified revenge,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 3 2017/02/06
Incredible though it may seem, Amogae has not actually lost faith in the justice of the legal system just yet. That's especially impressive considering how he spends most of this episode languishing in jail, suffering from the effects of torture. There certainly is a disconnect between what "justice" means depending on how well-connected a person is. It's almost as if the powers that be aren't actually interested in following the rule of law at all, and have to be shamed into doing so through public outrage,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 4 2017/02/02
We get to watch Saimdang and Lee Gyum's love story implode rather fantastically for the majority of this episode. In general I don't mind the whole tragic doomed love cliché, but here it comes off as rather weak. More than ever I find myself wondering which of these events are based on actual historical record and which are sheer dramatic embellishment. If Saimdang actually married another guy because her parents were making a socio-political decision, I would have much rather seen that,...More
[Orion's Drama News] New Year, New Dramas 2017/01/07
Another year gone, another batch of fresh dramas approach. I hope 2017 has made a promising start for you, readers and let us all hope it will be good on the drama front as well. This week I talk about "The Perfect Wife" and the upcoming shows of jTBC before sharing my usual news summary,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Science Fiction Hype 2016/12/24
I hope you are feeling jolly today and that you have ridiculous amounts of holiday food. Ori-santa may not have Christmas-related content, but I ho-ho-hope my drama news will do. Today I talk science fiction in Dramaland that is not gimmicky aliens in love with actresses. I also take a look at exciting drama news from tvN and share more despair from "Missing 9",...More
[Orion's Drama News] Holding on for Dear Life 2016/12/17
Welcome to the jungle, as I look at upcoming dramas about survival. First up we have an actual jungle and the fight to live in "Missing 9". Then I tune into "Voice" and its fight for the survival from a killer's plans. The actual and urban jungles are ruthless, but so is the corporate one, as office drama "Chief Kim" will be demonstrating,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Mothers and Castaways 2016/12/10
Welcome to another week of news with Orion. No, I do not speak about myself in the third person often. There's just some drama news this week which is exciting and terrifying, so I need to distance myself a little. First up we have the return of much beloved actress Lee Bo-young with two potential series. Both sound good and I would be sad if neither is. More worries spring from my new interest in "Missing 9", but time waits for no one, so the regular news are here as well,...More
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