WYWS09change

4 kdramas that I wish had a second season

I know, I know—second seasons are a mixed-to-terrible bag in dramaland. Franchises seem to work better overall (see: Flower Boys series, School series), but there are a couple of dramas that I think had enough story potential for a second season. When I reviewed my completed dramas, I was actually surprised by how few of my top ten dramas (I need to update this…) made it on this list.

Then again, a lot of my top tens are top tens precisely because they completed the story they wanted to tell and I was satisfied with the ending. And while my fangirl heart might want sixteen episodes of domestic bliss and skinship, I can concede that it probably wouldn’t be the best business decision. Nevertheless, here are four dramas I would be very interested in getting a second season for, though I know it’ll never happen. Beware of show-ending spoilers! Continue reading “4 kdramas that I wish had a second season”

WYWS09change

My 4 Favorite School-Themed Kdramas

It has been over eight years since I was last in a classroom, but part of me is still nostalgic for the rhythm of school. I loved getting new notebooks and pens and pencils, and–especially in college–there was the thrill of trying to get into the classes you wanted/needed despite the hundreds of other students trying to beat you into the few coveted spots. It was fun to see my friends every day without having to worry about to much “adult” stuff.

But I definitely don’t miss the homework, ruthless competition, backstabbing schoolmates, and death that plague these school-themed kdramas. Don’t let that scare you off, though, because all of these dramas share one important quality: hope for the future.

IB_S_BASIC_COPYRIGHT =#1 – Shut Up: Flower Boy Band

Easily the best installment of the Flower Boy franchise to date, SUFBB was everything I wanted out of a high school drama: a coming-of-age story where friends learn that growing up can be just as much a threat to their worlds as any other poverty, bullying, and the drive to succeed. The Eye Candy boys formed one of my favorite “found families” in dramaland, and their struggles against each other and against the world were both heart-rending and heart-warming. There are few neatly tied bows in this show—SUFBB knows just how messy life can be, and it isn’t afraid to stop things with an “and they kept living” ending. Watch this for great music, great performances, and great reasons to cry.

school-2013#2 – School 2013

Though most people remember this drama for the breakout performances of its two high school leads (which was a delightfully damaged bromance), School 2013 actually has a wonderful ensemble cast. The two teachers were perfect foils for one another, and some of the best scenes in the show are when they come together to handle the administration or try to help their wayward second-year students. This drama can be unflinching in its critique of academic pressure, bullying, competition, and abusive families, but it never loses sight of the students and their futures. While I wish there had been more screen time devoted to the girls, this drama is nonetheless one of my favorites.

whats-up#3 – What’s Up?

One of the rare college-centric dramas that actually focuses on school, What’s Up? features a ragtag group of incoming musical theater freshman and some of their professors and upperclassmen. Our main trio consists of a good-for-nothing scammer who decides to make something of his life after a deadly accident, an orphaned and innocent country girl unprepared to catch the attention of a talent agency, and a masked idol and illegitimate child who hides his identity in order to protect his ambitious mother. In between the hazing and musical numbers, the characters get to shine with their (occasionally doomed) romantic relationships, family drama, talent rivalries, terminal illnesses, and fights over dorm room cleanliness. It’s funny, heartfelt, and earnest in the best ways.

 

dream-high#4 – Dream High

Say whatever you like about Dream High’s idol cast, the show makes up for many shortcomings with its earnest take on the cutthroat entertainment industry. Parts of it are clumsy, yes, and it is rarely subtle, but it is always satisfying watching young people chase after, struggle for, and (sometimes) achieve their dreams. In between musical numbers and confusing teenage love triangles, Dream High takes the time to tackle subjects like sexual assault, bullying, the pressure to conform to beauty standards, and going too far to get what you want. One of the most satisfying plots of the show is the broken friendship between our two lead ladies and how they both change because of it. Simple, endearing, and worth your time.


What are your favorite school-themed kdramas? Let me know in the comments!

WYWS09change

My Top 3 Ensemble Kdramas

While I haven’t had the chance to check out the recently finished Age of Youth, I’ve heard some great things about its memorable female characters and ensemble format. It’s definitely going on my watch list, but in the meantime, it has made me think about the ensemble kdramas I’ve watched.

Ensembles often run the risk of having their many characters and sprawling plot threads not resonate with an audience. Under-performing characters/plots often get shunted to the side and neglected, weakening the overall strength of the show. I’ll admit that I can drop ensembles really quickly if I don’t like a majority of the characters/plots, but these three shows did a great job of giving their characters enough space to grow without losing focus or forcing us to endure lackluster plots.

#1 – Heard It Through the Grapevine
(Rich boy and poor girl become teen parents; their families heads’ explode.)

heard-it-through-the-grapevine

This was from the team who gave us Secret Love Affair, so I knew I had to give it a shot even though the length and the dark comedy/satire description made me a bit nervous. There was no reason to be worried: straight out of the gate, I wound up with teenage parents who desperately loved each other and their baby and wanted to figure out how to carve out a life together despite the class warfare perpetrated by the boy’s high-strung rich parents. The upstairs/downstairs divide and absurd comedy frequently were some of my favorite parts as was the development of minor characters. The final arc slowed down a bit too much for my taste (and kept the young couple from achieving OTP status), but this drama ultimately reinforced my love for this creative team. What’re you going to bring us next?

Continue reading “My Top 3 Ensemble Kdramas”