Category: Reviews

Review: School 2021

Posted July 5, 2022 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

School 2021

Starring: Kim Yo Han, Jo Yi Hyun, Choo Young Woo, Hwang Bo Reum
Year Released: 2021
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: , Contemporary, Drama, Romance
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Viki

“School 2021” is the story of students attending a specialized high school and seeking their ambitions, rather than going off to college. It will delve into how these students learn about love, friendship, true passions, and growing up in an intense environment.

Kong Ki Joon is a hardworking student who assumes work and school simultaneously. He is a person who loses his 11-year-old dream of taekwondo due to injury and is unsure of knowing what to do. Jung Young Joo is a transfer student with a hidden story and a past connection to Kong Ki Joon.

Jin Ji Won, a confident high school girl with a solid dream, confidently communicates her opinion though she is in conflict with her mother about going to college. Kang Seo Young is a gifted student who is preparing, by herself, for college entrance exams. She is aiming to enter one of the top five universities in Korea.

Lee Kang Hoon is a teacher who values a work-life balance. He gradually grows along with his students. Koo Mi Hee is the chairman of the board. Lee Jae Hee is the twin sister of Lee Jae Hyuk. She is a quiet person and strives to make many new changes. Lee Jae Hyuk is Lee Jae Hee’s twin. Unlike Jae Hee, Jae Hyuk is the person who receives support from the foundation.
I’m not sure what prompted my desire to watch this show. I didn’t watch any of the other school shows and I don’t remember watching any of the characters in anything else but for some reason, I wanted to watch this and I’m glad that I did. This drama had the right amount of cuteness, the right amount of romance, and the right characters to really bring the story together. I enjoyed each character and though I enjoyed the secondary romance more than the main romance, I still rather enjoyed the drama as a whole and am already on the lookout for more dramas to support and watch each actor/actress in this show.

The main romance was cute but there were times when it moved a smidge too slow for my liking. There wasn’t anything wrong with either character, I just enjoyed other characters more and that’s not supposed to happen with the main couple. Of the two in the main romance, Ki Joon was probably my least favorite character. I felt bad for what he was going through with his grandfather but I couldn’t connect with anything else where he was concerned. I didn’t hate him or anything, he just wasn’t my favorite character. I liked the female lead well enough but she wasn’t my favorite either. I did like her though. My heart hurt for the way that she was out there chasing her dream, even though she was going through her shit with her Mom.

My favorite part of this show was the secondary romance. Every week that I tuned in, I was waiting to see if there was any more development between these two. I knew that Young Woo had a thing for Ji Won but man, Seo Young, my favorite character in this entire show had it so bad for him, and seeing the two of them come into their feelings for each other had the right amount of push and pull for me to tune in every single week. I loved their background stories and I really enjoyed their characters as well. I’m not normally one who pulls for the secondary characters as much as the main couple but in this drama, it was all about Young Joo and Seo Youn for me.

Overall, this was an easy show to watch. It wasn’t bogged down with too much shit and I really appreciated that. The characters were interesting, and seeing them have to deal with a bunch of shitty adults and tackle each problem that came their way as a team made for lots of heartwarming interactions and while this isn’t my favorite drama of the year, I appreciated their efforts in delivering a satisfying drama that kept me interested and invested in what was to come. I recommend.
Final Rating

via GIPHY

3.5 out of 5

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Review: The Red Sleeve

Posted February 1, 2022 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

The Red Sleeve

Starring: Lee Jun Ho, Lee Se Young, Kang Hoon
Year Released: 2021
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Drama, Historical, Romance
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Viki
Who I Watched It For: Lee Jun Ho

In Korea during the second half of the 1700s, Yi San is an aloof and perfection-loving young prince. His father’s killing haunts him, although it leaves him in the position to take the throne once his grandfather – the cruel and ruthless current king responsible for Yi San’s father’s death – dies. He has resolved to become a benevolent monarch who will reform the law when he eventually takes the throne, but the way his father was killed has scarred him emotionally.

At court, he meets a young woman named Sung Deok Im. Yi San falls in love with her and tries to convince her to become his official concubine. But Sung Deok Im is strong-willed and free-spirited. She is also intelligent enough to understand that becoming a royal consort to the future king is a prestigious role, but one that would restrict her freedom and likely bring her little in the way of joy. But Yi San’s love for Sung Deok Im is true, and she starts to understand that forming a union with him could ultimately benefit his troubled realm.
I planned to watch this show because I enjoyed Lee Jun Ho in all of the stuff that I had seen him in before and was looking for a new show to support. I’m not normally big on watching historical dramas but I’m so glad that I watched this one.

I’m not going to get into an in-depth description of what this show is about, you can read the blurb above, so I’m just going to jump into my thoughts on the show as a whole. From the casting, to the scenery, the dialogue, and the acting, I enjoyed every aspect of this show. I will say that there were a bit of a slow down in the middle but it didn’t last super long and I was heavily invested in what was going on so that didn’t bother me too much.

The main lead, Lee Jun Ho, did a tremendous job in bringing his character, Yi San to life. I felt his every emotion and though I spent a lot of time frustrated with how he treated the female lead in the beginning, I didn’t hate him because he’s the crown prince and of course, he’d act the way that he did. I cried a lot at different parts of this show and it was mostly with Lee Jun Ho’s delivery of different scenes. My heart hurt for him as he survived assassination attempt after attempt, on top of all of the shit that he had to survive with his abusive ass grandfather, the current King and all of the emotional baggage that came with the death of his father. There was a lot to unpack with his story alone, now add in the female lead, Sung Deok Im, played by Lee Se Young, and the story takes off even more.

I really enjoyed this show. The romance between Yi San and Deok Im was compelling as hell because he’s the Crown Prince and she’s a court maid assigned to work in his house. She’s strong, she’s smart, and though she finds herself falling in love with Yi San, she understands that becoming one of his concubines doesn’t lead to anywhere good for her. So there was struggle in all parts of her life, but also in Yi San’s life. Seeing the way that these two came together in love was a whole lotta, whole lotta. There was a lot of drama, there was a lot of hurt feelings, and worrying over each other so they really had to work for their happy ending and the way that this show came to an end was satisfying as hell.

Overall, this show had it all. A charming cast, a romance that you rooted for, and the backdrop of beautiful Korea that left you breathless. It was a beautiful drama from beginning to end and though there were parts of the show that dragged a bit for me, I still heavily messed with this show. Lee Se Young is a new to me actress but I enjoyed her portrayal of Deok Im, even when she frustrated me with her constant refusal to follow her heart but in the end, alls well that ends well and I was a happy camper. I hella recommend this drama if you’re in the mood for a good historical royal romance with a beautiful cast, setting, and romance. This hits all of those notes and more.
Final Rating

via GIPHY

4 out of 5

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Review: Uncontrollably Fond

Posted September 23, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews, TV Shows | 2 Comments

Uncontrollably Fond

Starring: Kim Woo Bin, Bae Suzy, Im Joo Hwan
Year Released: 2016
Number of Episodes: 20
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Romance
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Viki
Recommended By: Kim Woo Bin
Who I Watched It For: Kim Woo Bin

People change but can the heart adapt? Sin Joon Young and No Eul were in love in their younger days. But uncontrollable circumstances separated them and they went their separate ways. Joon Young is now a superstar actor and singer, while No Eul became a producer-director of documentaries. When their paths cross again years later, Joon Young discovers that No Eul is now a very different person than he remembered — materialistic and willing to do anything to get ahead. Is there any hope for Joon Young and No Eul to rekindle their past relationship?
I won’t get into what this show was about, you can read all about it above in the drama blurb. I’m just going to jump right into my thoughts. This was the first drama that I’ve watched Kim Woo Bin as the main male lead. It won’t be the last, at least I hope it won’t. His character in this show pissed me off at least twice in every episode but I couldn’t help but love him anyway. I hated the way that he treated No Eul in the beginning and his asshole attitude made me want to punch him in the nuts many times over but for some reason, I’m sure his good looks helped his case plenty (gah, I’m so shallow!), I still felt for him. I wanted to smack some sense into him and then hug him better. His character was complicated and his story was a hard one to get through but I thought Kim Woo Bin’s acting was fantastic and I ate up every scene he was in.

Bae Suzy was the female lead in this one and she was another fantastic addition to this cast. I loved her character, I loved the complexity that she brought to No Eul’s character and I just thought she was a great noona to her younger brother, No Jik (even though there were times when he didn’t appreciate her efforts). I also wanted to punch her in the gut more than once each episode. I kept giving her a break though because she was dealt a really shitty life hand and I don’t think I could have survived what she did. As each episode passed, I grew to love her character more and more. My heart hurt for her and though she did stupid things that pissed me off in the beginning, I’m glad that I stuck around because she was one of the strongest characters in the entire show and I really admired her.

The second lead made me want to punch a hole in a wall. I don’t think that I’ve watched a drama where I was so adamantly against the second lead. Everything he did pissed me off and it was like every chance he got, he did something else that made me want to punch him in the dick. Even in the end, I don’t know that I completely came to like him but I didn’t hate him either.

Kim Woo Bin’s Mom in this show pissed me off. It’s one thing for her to be disappointed and hurt with his life choices but for her to take it as far as she did? Manipulating and spreading those hateful comments? That’s stupid, immature, and just flat-out mean. You don’t do shit like that to your kids, no matter how disappointed you are in them. When Joo Yeong finally let his Mom have it, after enduring five years of his mother’s manipulation, I was a giant ball of tears…and even after their big blowout, she still pissed me off. She was such a terrible person. She cared more about the man that left her than her own son. She made him feel like an outsider in his own family and considering everything that he was battling in this show, with every episode where she didn’t back him, it made me hate her more and more.

I’m telling you, this show was so damn messy and I’m not typically the audience for that kind of shit cause I can’t get through shows like Penthouse and Sky Castle (though I’ve tried) but as mad as this show made me, I was compelled to continue. I needed to see how everything came together and I needed to see it all through to the end. I ugly cried through so much of this show that I had to keep pausing to catch my breath and wipe my face cause I couldn’t see the screen. There was much to unpack throughout the entire course of this show and piecing each piece together kept me going but it wasn’t without its drawbacks.

This show touches on a lot of subjects that had me sitting up to take notice. There was much corruption in the people that are supposed to uphold the law and seeing the rich feed on the poor made me just as mad as the characters did. Despite all of that, I watched every episode and I’m not sure what that says about me. Haha. Was the show good? Yes. Was it hard to get through? Also, yes. Would I watch this show ever again? Probably not because that ending? I’m still sorting through how I feel about it. So if you’re in the mood to cry your eyes out, and rage watch something then this is probably the show for you.
Final Rating

2.75 out of 5

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Review: D.P.

Posted September 21, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

D.P.

Starring: Jung Hae In, Koo Kyo Hwan, Kim Sung Kyun
Year Released: 2021
Number of Episodes: 6
Genre: Action, Contemporary, Comedy, Drama
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Nobody
Who I Watched It For: Jung Hae In

Private soldier Jun Ho is a confused youth who served in the military normally like other Koreans. One day, he suddenly becomes a member of the military defector arrest team. As such, he is tasked with capturing deserters and must grapple with the more troubling cases of why some soldiers feel they have no other choice but go absent without official leave.
I’m a pretty big Jung Hae In fan, ever since watching him in Goblin (yeah, he had a very small part but still, he made an impression) so every time that I see he’s coming out in something new, I put it on my to be watched list because why not? Now, some of his shows pissed me off but mostly it was the hot and cold act of his female lead but I’m happy to report that even though this show pissed me off plenty, I still rather enjoyed the show as a whole.

This show follows Ahn Joon Ho, a young man who reports for his mandatory military enlistment and finds a whole lot of dickhead bullies. The more senior military members hella bully their juniors and the bullying leads to a lot of guys deserting their posts. Ahn Joon Ho keeps to himself a lot but when he’s recruited to work for the military defector arrest team, being alone isn’t an option anymore because my guy gets himself a partner. His partner was a delight in the midst of so much darkness and I hella loved their pairing.

This wasn’t an easy show to watch by any means. It’s a heavy watch that doesn’t stop being heavy throughout the entirety of the show. On the upside, the show is only 6 episodes so you’ll breeze right through each episode and there’s enough packed into each episode to make the viewing worth the heaviness. There was also a lot of humor sprinkled into each episode to ease the heaviness some. I laughed a lot, and I also teared up at some of the stories of the defected soldiers. There were times when I got so angry at what was happening and at the folks causing so much trouble in these poor guys’ lives but never did I want to stop watching.

The acting is pretty fantastic throughout. Each actor gave what they were supposed to give and I appreciated their efforts because I was glued to my seat through each episode. I believed everything that was showcased so the bad guys did a great job of making me want to kick each and every one of them in the balls and the good guys did a fantastic job of making me cheer for them. The ending was a little too open-ended for me but that didn’t detract from my viewing experience too much. I definitely recommend this show if you’re looking for a kdrama with a meatier story. I think this drama sheds light on the broken military system in Korea and is a good watch. It doesn’t hurt that you’ve got some eye candy in Jung Hae In and some other swoony actors so yeah, give this one a go.
Final Rating


4.25 out of 5

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Review: Racket Boys

Posted September 16, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Racket Boys

Starring: Tang Jun Sang, Son Sang Yeon, Choi Hyun Wook, Kim Kang Hoon, Kim Min Ki, Lee Jae In, Lee Ji Won
Year Released: 2021
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult, Romantic Comedy
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Tang Jun Sang
Who I Watched It For: Tang Jun Sang

A story of a boys’ badminton team at a middle school in Haenam as they grow, both as people and as players.

Yoon Hyun Jong was once a very good badminton player, but now he struggles to make ends meet for his family. Therefore, he jumps at a chance to coach a middle school team, only to find a team on the verge of disbandment with only three players: Bang Yoon Dam, Na Woo Chan, and Lee Yong Tae. The three boys struggle along, improving as Yoon Hae Kang, Yoon Hyun Jong’s son joins the team along with Jung In Sol. Now having enough players to enter competitions, they try to soar to new heights.

Meanwhile, Ra Young Ja, former top badminton player and Yoon Hyun Jong’s wife, is the coach of the girls’ badminton team at a girl’s middle school in Haenam. On her team are Han Se Yoon, the #1 ranked junior female player in Korea and Lee Han Sol, Se Yoon’s best friend, allowing them to be one of the best teams among their peers.
This show was so damn wholesome, I couldn’t stand it. Between the badminton teams (both boys and girls), the folks from the village, and just every damn thing – I was in constant love. I watched this weekly, as the episodes were releasing so I had a bit of a wait between episodes but that didn’t diminish my love for the storyline, the characters, and every dang thing about this show. I finished each episode, every week with a giant smile on my face because I loved it all.

There was a slight pause in the airing of a week’s worth of episodes due to the Summer Olympics and I was really bummed about that. I was watching both the Olympics and this show so I had a little attitude during the break but alls well that ends well and this show definitely ends well. It felt like every episode was a freaking season finale but we only had a week to wait between seasons.

I really adored the boy’s badminton team. Seeing them struggle to be taken seriously with the constant threat of shut down (of their program and season) and just overcoming obstacle after obstacle had me rooting like crazy for the whole lot of them. I loved how close they got to each other. I loved their ups and their downs and I absolutely loved the way that they teased each other and supported each other. I loved their truth bench and how different each of them were from the other. They became a family in the real sense and I loved it to pieces.

What I loved a lot about this show was how every character was a three-dimensional character with flaws and not cookie-cutter characters that fit a mold. I loved that each character had charms that were specific to them and they all had their own unique situations and struggles. On top of that, the village as a whole had struggles, and seeing each village member come together to bring the bad guys down just made this whole show that much better.

This show introduced me to new actors that I wasn’t aware of before and it also showed me that actors who played characters that I absolutely hated in other shows had what it takes to make me fall in love with them in this one. I couldn’t stand Choi Hyun Wook’s character in Taxi Driver but I adored the hell out of him as Na Woo Chan in this show. There’s a lot to love about this show. It has charm in spades and a cast of characters that you will come to adore with every fiber of your being. This show has grit and it has a heartwarming story that will hook you right from the jump. I absolutely recommend this if you’re in the mood for something light, funny, but full of hope. This drama doesn’t disappoint.
Final Rating

5 out of 5

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