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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Vampire Detective" Episode 12 Final 2016/06/13
Dawn has arrived for "Vampire Detective" and with it come emotional scenes we were not granted during an entire series. Characters without emotions suddenly find them, characters with emotions overflow with them. Unfortunately, the drama's total lack of character development makes these scenes cheesy. The show also presents a twist related to "Vampire Prosecutor"; the series these creators clearly wish they were working on and the entire fandom of which wishes we were watching,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Auditions and Conflicting Illusions 2016/05/14
Some new dramas are or will shortly be available to us and the next batch of upcoming ones is in the making. Aside from the usual role confirmations, rejections and possibilities, it has been a relatively quiet week in Dramaland. Today I speak about a few noteworthy developments and my followed dramas, a section which I have been neglecting a bit,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Vampire Detective" Episode 7 2016/05/09 "Vampire Detective" finally delivers on the vampire part, but the results are sadly less exciting than they sound. Episode seven attempts to humanize our villainess and reveals her origins to us. San meets an old friend who is very different from what he remembers and our other leads take a break while he works this new case. We also meet an unexpected guest star who reveals an interesting fact about the drama. Any "Vampire Prosecutor" fans here,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 2 2015/06/24
The second episode of "Mask" is nothing short of melodramatic. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, it brings the events from the first episode full circle and propels the plot forward at breakneck speed. All the trappings of a self-respecting melodrama are present and they are, if not novel, at least interesting. This could be due to stellar acting on the parts of the three leads: Soo Ae, Joo Ji-hoon, Yeon Jung-hoon, and Yoo In-young. In particular, Yeon's acting stands out because he is better known for his brooding heroes than for his scheming villains,...More
[HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Lee Won-jong 2015/04/11 Lee Won-jong is an actor known for his diversity, and perhaps also for his trademark mole that finds its way into almost all of his dialogue. What makes this actor sought after, though, is that his acting is ageless. He retains the youthful, untainted passion in his acting that many younger actors have that win the hearts of the masses. He can also exercise the finely tuned skills that he's built up over years of working in a multitude of roles both on the big and small screens. Let's look at one of Lee's more recent roles as Park Moon-soo in "Secret Door",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Blood" 2015/02/14
The thematic shift for dramas is already happening and the new topic is vampirism. An interesting topic, certainly and one which has done well for Korean television before, most recently and notably through OCN's "Vampire Prosecutor" series. "Blood" is being brought to viewers by KBS2 and there are certainly a few less than promising elements about it, but also some encouraging ones. For better or for worse, it is kicking off the vampire trend,...More
[HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Jang Young-nam 2014/07/19
Some actors just have looks or a style of appearance and carrying themselves that are not typically associated with star qualities. Getting a breakthrough role depends a lot on image, but also choices. Jang Young-nam is an actress who might not have the preferred image of a star, but who has chosen her roles wisely, focusing on interesting characters that offer her material to work with as an actress, rather than an image.
Jang made her start as a stage actress in 1995 and has worked in productions since then. Having done both her drama and movie debuts in the early 2000s, she has had a prolific career in all three industries as well as time to adjust and find her strengths in all of them. Much like many secondary actors, her choices in cinema and drama have given her the opportunity to try different genres and interesting characters, building her skills and prestige,...More
Indie Korean Music and Cinema are Finding Its Feet Internationally 2014/07/18
Indie Korean Music and Cinema are Finding Its Feet Internationally
Psy's Gangnam Style was just the beginning. There is no longer any doubt that the independent music and movie scene in Korea is gaining traction all over the world-especially in the United States and United Kingdom. K-Pop has been huge in the US and other western countries for a couple of years and more and more Korean movies are getting screen time in "mainstream" American movie theaters,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Special Affairs Team TEN" (Seasons 1 and 2) 2014/03/29
OCN's dive into the crime genre has produced a few solid shows over the last few years. Since all of them are within the investigative and crime genre, their premises are what the channel relies on to entice viewers and freshen things up. Although mostly no more than gimmicks, these features do bring another dimension to crime fighting. Han Jin Woo's fight with his past and himself ("God's Quiz"), Min Tae-yeon and his larger-than-life vampirism ("Vampire Prosecutor") etc. "Special Affairs Team TEN" is ironically not 'special' in any way. There is no real gimmick here. What this drama relies on instead is a more realistic and cold approach to crime,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "God's Quiz" 2014/02/15
Most of OCN's crime series are very similar in the types of protagonists they have. Both "Vampire Prosecutor" and 'Special Affairs Team TEN' have slightly brooding tortured male leads. 'Ghost Seeing Detective Cheo Yong' also goes for a male lead with a painful past and 'The Virus' is no exception. "God's Quiz" does have its darker main plot and painful past too, but it being within the medical as well as crime genre and its nerdy and more on the relaxed (at least on the surface) side lead is where this series differs from the rest of OCN's works,...More
[HanCinema's Column] Unconventional Korean Dramas 2014/02/01
Being a movie fan making a jump to dramas can be a daunting experience. The two are very different in many ways. From budget to tropes, from acting to directing, they are worlds apart. While there are genres even Korean films do not often touch, Korean drama is much more limited in its diversity. Sageuk, melodrama, dailies, romantic comedies, the types and formats of series are limited,...More
[HanCinema's Column] Strong Drama Women - The Norm 2013/11/09
Most fans of Korean drama, no matter their culture or background, would all agree about one thing. This is not the medium one turns to for realism, variety and representation. Korean series and the romance genre in particular are riddled with overused and limited tropes, making it possible to predict how most plots and characters will evolve based on that cookie-cutter method the industry is clawing onto.,...More
User Review - God's Quiz Season One 2011/12/03
Some things to know about my review:
- My reviews are subjective and my opinions based on my own general likes and dislikes, unclouded by obsessions.
- They usually don't have major or ending spoilers, but if they do, they will come with a warning.
- If I like a movie enough to write about it, I write a lot about it. My reviews are huge.
- I don't take myself too seriously so my reviews reflect that. It's light reading. A lot of it, but light.
As I mention on my blog version about this, "God's Quiz" is a crime series which spanned two seasons and aired on the cable channel OCN. The one airing "Vampire Prosecutor" at the time this is written.
The series is about a man called Han Jin Woo (played by Ryu Deok-hwan), who is an all around awesome medical examiner sent to work with a team of his peers to solve crimes or deaths. His supervisor and partner in cri- I mean solving crime is talented and professional detective Kyung Hee (played by Yoon Joo-hee who can recently be seen in "Ojak Brothers"). Each episode consists of a different plot and crime, while there is still a main plot to this,...More
Dramas ready to ban 2011/11/19, Source
Article below was written as a joke targetting Commision that banned "A Thousand Kisses". So I advise not to take this seriously, but have fun during this gloomy November day (or night).
I prepared the list (with help of some readers on the blog) of dramas, that Comission board may take under the consideration of banning. And when you're on it, ban,...More
Korean Cable Television - A Mirror World 2011/10/22, Source
OCN's "God's Quiz"
Up until a few months ago, when I first caught sight of "God's Quiz", I was not aware of cable channels in South Korea. Not even of their existence, let alone the works they produce. Which meant that the aforementioned series came as quite a shock to me. For one thing, it wasn't a melodrama, a romantic comedy or a sageuk, as it feels that public television does not know any other genres, save for the occasional exceptions. Or at least they don't get promoted as well as the same ol' same ol'.
This was a crime/medical series. Not only that, but it didn't feature a cast comprised of hot men and women sporting the most expensive and fancy clothes and being the center of everything simply because of their looks,...More
Supernatural in Kdrama 2011/10/22, Source
What is the first thing on our mind when we hear "supernatural"? Wizards? Magical powers? None of them belong, in fact, to the world of "supernatural" or "overnatural" as I prefer to call it. The difference is huge. "Supernatural" depicts some extra amount added to the existing "natural" base (as in super-computer, it's still computer nonetheless), but "overnatural" is some kind of transgression. It stays with a distance from the natural, and it may or may not have few common places. I don't jump into the groundbreaking conclusion after seeing trailer to one movie. That would be as wise as judge Kdramaland after seeing only one episode of some drama. I read hundreds of sources, to tell the truth. And no, Gandalf doesn't belong to "supernatural". Magic is something different. Magic encompasses supernatural but it doesn't own it,...More
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