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While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 11 & 12

TL;DR: Oh my god, our leads are genre savvy! \o/

I am absolutely delighted that our heroes have realized that their dreams are not just a way to observe the future—they can use them to deliberately convey crucial information to their present selves. I’m crossing my fingers that this means we can really start playing with timelines and possibilities, especially since this has a huge chance of creating ripple effects where the contents of their dreams change or they have more conflicting dreams with less obvious cause and effects than the domestic abuse case. Continue reading “While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 11 & 12”

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Queen In-hyun’s Man, Episode 5

TL;DR: Would you look at all that cute.

When I say that QIHM is one of my all-time favorite romances, this episode is one (of many) that serves as evidence. Too often speculative fiction crashes and burns when it forgets about its characters and their relationships for the sake of being flashy and clever and smug, but QIHM never loses sight of the fact that the heart of the story is getting Hee-jin and Boong-do together. Now that they’ve become intertwined in each other’s lives, their desire to see and be near one another—and all of the forces working to keep them apart—is what drives the story. Continue reading “Queen In-hyun’s Man, Episode 5”

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One behind-the-scenes weekender for you

Don’t let the ridiculous episode count fool you–this one’s really only clocking in at sixty. (How long until you think broadcast rules can be changed so we don’t have to deal with this ridiculousness?) Will you be watching it?

Bravo My Life
120 (mini) episodes, SBS
Saturday
Available on KOCOWA.com/Viki.com

Ha Do-na is an assistant PD and is frustrated by the fact that she is the only one of her peers still stuck at the assistant level, never having been able to take charge of a show of her own. To make matters worse, her mother’s unexpected return results in the end of her current relationship. While she tries to pick up the pieces of her heart, Do-na gets caught up in two other people’s lives: haughty PD Shin Dong-woo, and the seven-years-without-a-debut actor Kim Bum-woo. Meanwhile, veteran actress and chaebol wife Song Mi-ja finds her fantasy life crumbling to the point that she can’t even get minor roles.

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While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 9 & 10

TL;DR: This was a very nice reveal of the heroine’s backstory and likely the hook into the ultimate overarching storyline.

I’ve spent the last few episodes worried about Hong-joo’s emotional distance from the plot and the risk of her getting sidelined, but now I’m hopeful that she is, in fact, the heart of the show. I hadn’t thought to question Hong-joo working at her mother’s restaurant—it’s a family business, and they’re all that each other has left. Plus, it would be pretty convenient to have her mother as a boss in case Hong-joo ever needed to run out of work on account of a dream. The actual answer is far more complicated and infinitely more satisfying: Hong-joo dreamed she would die as a reporter. Continue reading “While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 9 & 10”

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Measles, war preppers, and drama news

A mixed bag of news this week. I will try harder to come up with fewer depressing articles next week.

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Kpop Friday: f(x)’s “4 Walls”

It has been a stressful week, and I needed a song that I could just relax to while sipping some hot chocolate and Bailey’s. “4 Walls” was the first pick on my kpop playlist, and it was exactly what I needed.

While I definitely love the happy, upbeat f(x) of “All Mine,” “4 Walls” is a much moodier song despite its heavy reliance on synth sounds. It starts out reserved, almost quiet, though the transition into the first chorus and then Amber’s rap verse quickly ramps up the song’s intensity. The vocal performances in this one feel very tightly controlled and deliberate, even though there are a number of adlibs and soaring/fluttering notes up above.

There are several great parts in this song, from the harmonies on the chorus to Amber’s lovely alto singing, though I think my absolute favorite part is the bridge. I love how it drops down bare-bones chimes, beat, and the melody and then slowly adds background vocals before going back to the full instrumentation.

The MV is fascinating, if a little incomprehensible for me. It feels more like an aesthetic than a coherent story–not that that’s a bad thing, far from it. There are lots of little clever moments where the camera cuts between members doing the same or similar actions, and I enjoyed how the transition from mundane reality to the magical forest was marked by a literal expansion of the world(/video). The MV is a little too muted for me to call it whimsical, but there is a subdued sense of wonder throughout.

You should definitely give “4 Walls” a shot if you haven’t already. It’s one of my favorites.

Buy “4 Walls” on iTunes || Buy the 4 Walls album on Amazon
The above links are affiliate links to iTunes and Amazon. By purchasing through these links, you help support this blog at no extra cost to you.


If you want to recommend me songs, you can do so through the music rec meme on my tumblr! Just send me an ask with up to five songs (they don’t have to be kpop), and I’ll listen to and rate them.

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5 reasons to watch Circle: Two Worlds Connected

While Circle wasn’t a perfect show, I’ve got to admit that it’s one of the stronger sci-fi kdramas I’ve run across. And as such, I do think it’s worth your time if you’ve got it to spare. Just remember you’re probably going to need to take a break every now and then—things can get intense.

1. It’s only twelve episodes.

The worst tragedy is watching a story desperately over-expand to try to fill up the space it really just isn’t meant to take. Or worse, endlessly recycle plot points or going off the rails because they have to use up every single one of their weeks because the next show literally hasn’t started filming yet. The writer, director, network, and anyone else involved in calling the shots on the length for this show made an excellent decision to limit it to just twelve episodes. Any further, and it would have required pointless plot twists or lumbering B-plots to take up air time. Circle knew where it wanted to go, and it went there in a timely fashion, for the most part. Continue reading “5 reasons to watch Circle: Two Worlds Connected”

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4 hopes for Avengers Social Club

Still no word yet (that I can find) about whether or not this will be licensed somewhere, but I’d like to watch it. It has been a long time since I’ve watched a kdrama centered on middle-aged ladies, and I’m always a sucker for a well-deserved revenge, so this could be exactly my thing. If, you know, someone picks it up. In the meantime, here are four things I hope will happen:

  1. Jung-hye and Mi-sook will leave their husbands. Look, life’s too short to waste it telling yourself a piece of trash will cease to be a piece of trash, and I am exceptionally done with kdramas were male relatives/lovers/whatever are forgiven for basically everything under the sun. Once these two get their revenge (for “betrayal” and domestic violence, respectively), I want them to get the hell out of Dodge. Permanently.
  2. We get lots of social commentary about the expectations of women in society and how they intersect with class. Jung-hye’s the chaebol daughter who did her best in a business marriage as a housewife, Mi-sook’s a housewife and an orphan whose husband has a respected career, and Do-hee sounds like she could be lower middle class/working class as a widowed fishseller at a traditional market. This setup is ripe for an exploration of feminist and classist issues, and I hope the writers go headlong into it.
  3. The ladies become BFFs. Okay, maybe this is gimme with this setup, but I’m paranoid, okay? They don’t have to like each other right away, but by the end of this, I want the three of them to totally be ready to bury bodies for each other and provide alibis.
  4. Soo-kyum doesn’t overtake the narrative. I’ve only seen him in one poster, so I hope he stays in a similarly small portion of the story. I’m worried that he might overtake Jung-hye’s revenge scheme considering they’re targeting at least one of the same people. Let her shine, Soo-kyum. You can help her out, but don’t take over her status as the lead.

Will you be watching the show? If so, what are your hopes for it?

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While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 7 & 8

TL;DR: How am I supposed to be objective about the progression of the romance when the cinematography is so pretty?

While I am extremely happy that our dreaming trio has been able to change their dreams, I am also feeling a little disappointed by it. This show kickstarted with a fiery ball of death and the dramatic proclamation that Hong-joo has never changed a single one of her dreams, and now we’re a quarter of the way into the show and all three of them are changing their dreams with just the smallest amount of effort. I feel like a lot of the dramatic tension has been undermined, especially now that they’re even dreaming separate outcomes and can make informed changes to get the exact result that they want. Where did all the life-or-death tension go?

(Or is this supposed to be a sign that the three of them have to be together/connected/around one another in order to change things? Now that could be clever…) Continue reading “While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 7 & 8”

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Couldn’t you have staggered your schedules a little?

I’m a little overwhelmed by just how many dramas are starting this week. There are a couple I have my eye on–Witch’s Court, Avengers Social Club, maybe Black–but we’ll see what I actually end up trying out. There are just so many to choose from. Have any of these caught your eye?

20th Century Boy and Girl
32 (mini) episodes, MBC
Monday/Tuesday
Available on Viki.com

Sa Jin-jin is a former idol who has since become an actress. She reconnects with her childhood friend, Gong Ji-won, now a successful businessman. At the age of thirty-five, Jin-jin and her two best girlfriends have to navigate their familial ties, friendships, and romantic relationships while sorting out what they want from this period of their lives.

 

 

Witch’s Court
16 episodes, KBS2
Monday/Tuesday
Available on KOCOWA.com and Viki.com

Prosecutor Ma Yi-deum has been in the courtroom for seven years, and she has built a reputation for playing dirty (and even illegally) in order to win the case. After an incident derails her career plans, she gets transferred to a special team that investigates sex crimes and crimes against children. Yi-deum quickly grows to hate Prosecutor Yeo Jin-wook, a rookie prosecutor also on the team, but the two of them have to figure out how to work together if they’re going to get convictions on their cases.

 

Mad Dog
16 episodes, KBS2
Wednesday/Thursday
Available on KOCOWA.com and Viki.com

Former detective Choi Kang-woo switched career paths to being a top investigator of insurance fraud scams, particularly among the upper class. He forms a team of specialists—the Mad Dog Team—who do everything in their power to investigate and expose fraudulent claims. Together with Jang Ha-ri, Kim Min-joon, and the rest of their team, Kang-woo sets out to ensure that the rich don’t abuse the system and the poor get the compensation they deserve.

Avengers Social Club
16 episodes, tvN
Wednesday/Thursday
Availability unknown

Kim Jung-hye, a naïve chaebol daughter, had an arranged married to benefit both her and her husband’s families. Even though she has tried to be a good wife, her life gets upended when she discovers that her husband has betrayed her. In order to get revenge, she forms the “Bok Ja Club” with two other women she meets: Hong Do-hee, a fish seller at a traditional market whose son has serious problems at school; and Lee Mi-sook, a housewife who is struggling in an abusive marriage to a university professor. The final member of the club is Lee Soo-kyum, the bastard son of Jung-hye’s husband.

 

The Package
12 episodes, jTBC
Friday/Saturday
Availability unknown

Yoon So-so lives and works in France as a travel guide. Her new assignment is a group of Korean tourists who have all signed up for a package tour: San Ma-roo, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend; Kim Kyung-jae, who is in a ten-year relationship; Han So-ran, who can’t decide if being single or getting married is best; Jung Yeon-sung, who booked the tour with a partner but refuses to disclose their relationship; and four other people round out unconventional the group. While a mysterious man begins to follow So-so, the group slowly becomes entangled in each other’s personal lives.

 

Go Back Couple
16 episodes, KBS2
Friday/Saturday
Available on KOCOWA.com and Viki.com

Ma Jin-joo and Choi Ban-do are both thirty-eight, married, and miserable together. While they were both in love when they married at a young age, over the eighteen years they’ve known each other, they’ve grown to hate each other. Jin-joo feels stuck as a housewife, and Ban-do struggles under the burden of providing for the household on his own. When they both travel back in time to their twenty-year-old, university-attending selves, they have the opportunity to do things differently and escape from their unhappy future. It’s up to them to decide if they should choose other paths—or try it all again.

 

Black
16 episodes, OCN
Saturday/Sunday
Availability unknown

A grim reaper called Black walks the world in the body of a police officer. While he is there, he meets Kang Ha-ram, a woman who can see the deaths of the people around her. The two of them form an unlikely team and break heaven’s rules to stop people from dying, and in the process, the two of them fall in love.

 

 

Revolutionary Love
16 episodes, tvN
Saturday/Sunday
Available on DramaFever.com

Even though Baek Joon graduated from a good university, she hasn’t been able to find a stable, full-time job. Her strict budget and part-time work means that she lives in a poor area while she continues to search for something better. Byun Hyuk is the last person who would be expected to move into her neighborhood as a somewhat naive and friendly third-generation chaebol son, but he ends up trying to live entirely on his own in a tiny studio apartment. Hyuk hides his background while he struggles to find work as a normal person, thanks to his lack of ordinary life experience.