Running Man – November 2016

Despite Gary’s departure, this was actually one of the better Running Man months in (my) recent memory.

#324: Goodbye, Gary

I had half expected that Gary’s farewell episode (well, the first half of his farewell, at least) would be something a bit…grander. You know, one of those episodes where one of the members is the star/main character with all sorts of racing about and ridiculous hijinks and constant focus on Gary.

Instead we got a quieter, more intimate episode, with small, silly games and a hidden mission that Gary never quite caught on to. It felt like an everyday, the-draw-is-the-banter episode, which is both bittersweet and also fitting for a departure episode.

(And of course I cried at the end of this episode–between Ji-hyo starting to cry and all the touching letters and presents at the end, I stood no chance.)

I don’t know if it will make my rewatch list; we’ll have to see how I feel in a week or so. Right now I’m mostly sad about saying goodbye, even though I’ve known this was coming for months now.

Continue reading “Running Man – November 2016”

Running Man – October 2016

#319: “Running Man GO”

The end of the previous race was a little underwhelming, but part two was hilarious. I love it when the cast gets chased and spends a lot of time running around and screaming and turning on each other, so this episode was right up my alley. The three or four minutes where they repeatedly fought over possession of one of the guests just cracked me up; the poor lady looked so exhausted and stunned by the end of it.

Thanks for making me laugh. These two episodes will make my rewatch list. Continue reading “Running Man – October 2016”

Running Man – September 2016

#315: “Running Map”

If you’re a fan of Cha Seung-won, you’ll be delighted by this low-key food-themed episode. The games all centered on food, whether that was competing to win food as a prize or a relay cooking race. The final hunt-for-a-clue mission was lackluster to watch. It won’t make my rewatch list, but it’s a decent way to pass the time (provided you make sure you have snacks on hand and aren’t squeamish about live octopus). Continue reading “Running Man – September 2016”

Running Man – August 2016

#311: “The Selection Contest Race/The Mystery Cube Adventure”

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The ice hockey game was good for a few laughs. There were a couple entertaining physical scuffles, cheating, and some impressive shots. Unfortunately, this keeping the finale from the previous episode as the start of the next episode thing, particularly when the follow-up episode isn’t really thematically linked to the first, makes the second episode almost always feel disjointed.

Like this one does. The second episode wasn’t bad, it just felt thin and weirdly edited. Lots of running around, not much interacting, and lots of things cut. Some cast members barely got any screen time, for example, and the games were honestly pretty small (read: not grandiose enough) to be spread so far apart. Still, there were a couple of fun moments, and it was a good idea–it just faltered in the execution and scale, I think.

It won’t make my rewatch list, but it was okay. Continue reading “Running Man – August 2016”

Running Man – July 2016

As a whole, this batch of episodes isn’t anything spectacular. However, I wouldn’t classify any of them as duds, either. Each of the episodes have good things going for them, whether that’s fun games or engaging guests. Only one will definitely be making my rewatch list, but the rest of them are rather entertaining.

#306: “The R-Lifeguards”

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Sometimes it’s really nice to have an episode like this one: secret missions sowing dissent between team members, lots of cheating, and chaotic, physical missions. There was a lot less downtime than I’ve been accustomed to lately, which was a nice change. They had missions to do! Lots of them!

On the other hand, it meant that the guests didn’t really get to have the spotlight on them at all, which I imagine would be disappointing for their fans. I didn’t really know any of these three, so it didn’t hamper my enjoyment at all.

I don’t think I’d watch it again, but it’s a decent one to spend an evening on. Continue reading “Running Man – July 2016”

Running Man – June 2016

I fell behind on Running Man due to the sudden glut of amazing dramas, so I’m still trying to catch up. Overall, June’s Running Man offerings were started out bad but got better. Two of them are even going to make my year-end recommendation list!

Episode 302: “The Dangerous Feast Race”

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A week after watching this episode, I barely remember any of it. It was an okay way to pass the time, but overall, it did very little for me. I don’t know why, either–because, in theory, there was a lot to like. I love food missions, I love mini missions, I love people running around doing ridiculous things.

Maybe there just wasn’t enough ridiculous? It seemed to just go from Point A to B to C without anything exceptional happening. Too efficient, almost. And I actually felt bad about how the final mission ended. Do I blame the editing for this….bleh-ness?

Eh. I felt like that kid from the Incredibles, just waiting for something amazing to happen–only this time I spent the whole thing being disappointed.

Continue reading “Running Man – June 2016”

Running Man – May 2016

This month was mostly solid, which feels so nice after a rather blah stretch. And even though I probably won’t rewatch any of these episodes, I enjoyed them while they were on, and they all made me laugh more than once. So on that count, they were well worth it.

Episode 297: “After the Sunset”

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Even though I know little more about Descendants of the Sun than a few iconic moments that crossed my tumblr dash in gif form, this was a very fun drama-themed episode. Both Kim Ji-won and Jin Gu (the secondary couple from DotS, if you are as ignorant of the show as I am) were fantastic guests who threw themselves into the (often absurd) games, and Eunseo did pretty well for a rookie idol. (The less that is said about the guest cameo from the villain, the better.)

While the editing suffered a bit (or maybe the subtitles–I wasn’t quite sure what all of the rules were for some of the games), this was a fast-paced defeat-the-spy episode that was all about entertaining the audience. I actually didn’t mind the dancing and the (cringe-worthy) aegyo demands, mostly because every member of the cast had to do them at some point, not just the female guests. (It still gave me a severe case of second-hand embarrassment, though.) Even the parody-iconic-DotS-scenes game was fun to someone who had never seen them before, but everything becomes a lot funnier when getting drenched in water is on the line.

All in all, a solid episode. Not one I would probably rewatch, but anyone who enjoyed DotS will probably get a huge kick out of it.

Continue reading “Running Man – May 2016”

Popularity Contests, Running Man, and Drama News

This week brings you popularity polls (and streaming stats), the Cannes Film Festival, and typical drama rumors. There are so many people I want to return to dramaland to redeem themselves!

  • “Yoona and Kim Soo Hyun Top the Vlinkage 2016 Most Popular Korean Male and Female Star List in China.” I remember my early days in dramaland, when I didn’t know many stars by name. Now I can comfortably identify about three-fourths of the people on these two lists (though I’m a bit baffled by the rankings on some of them). Best of luck in China this year!
  • “‘Handmaiden’ vies for Cannes prize.” I’ve never read Fingersmith, the novel this movie is based on, but based on what I’ve heard about the book (and director Park Chan-wook), this could be amazing. I can’t wait until it comes out in the U.S. Best of luck at the Cannes Film Festival!
  • “Jeon Ji-hyun in talks to star in new drama from You From Another Star writer.” Jeon Ji-hyun was one of the few redeeming things about YFAS, and I would love for her to come back to dramaland. Here’s hoping this time around Park Ji-eun (the writer) steps it up and provides a male lead I don’t want to kick in the shins. It’d be nice for someone to redeem Lee Min-ho, too, before he finally heads off to the military. PD Jin Hyuk needs a good project to redeem himself, too, though he did his best on the fiasco that was Doctor Stranger.
  • “Weekly Top Ten K-dramas.” I had no idea that Heirs was still so popular on DramaFever two and a half years out, but it came in third place behind Running Man and Descendants of the Sun. I remember my circles of the internet being a little baffled by DF’s involvement in producing Heirs, but apparently it is paying off for them. If only it had been a better show.
  • “‘Running Man’ and ‘Hurry Up, Brother’ Meet for Epic Reunion.” I’ve only ever seen the cut of when Kim Jong-kook showed up on HUPB and scared the crap out of the members; here’s hoping that we’ll get to see this reunion episode on Running Man proper.
  • “Jo Jung-seok jokes his way through interviews for Time Renegade.” I know, I know, celebrity personas are typically a carefully managed and controlled thing, but the only thing I can think of when I read this interview is how adorable JJS is. I’m keeping an eye out for his upcoming drama with Gong Hyo-jin–provided it settles on a broadcaster, at some point.
  • “BONUS PODCAST! Interview with Gwynne Meeks.” So one of my BFFs gets to talk on this fun podcast with some cool people about fanfiction. No big deal.