Tag: Contemporary

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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Review: Law School

Posted July 13, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews, TV Shows | 0 Comments

Law School

Starring: Kim Bum, Ryu Hye Young, Kim Myung Min
Year Released: 2021
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Contemporary, Crime, Drama
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Ryu Hye Young, Kim Bum
Who I Watched It For: Ryu Hye Young, Kim Bum

When a grim incident occurs at their prestigious school, justice through law is put to the test by a tough law professor and his ambitious students.

Yang Jong Hoon is a criminal law professor and a former elite prosecutor, whose harsh words make him the professor to steer clear of. At the same time, there’s something compelling about his strict teaching methods and his refusal to accept less than the best from his future juniors in the legal profession.

Han Joon Hwi, a first-year law student, is at the top of his class. He’s a natural leader whose good looks and easy charm make him the perfect man – on paper. However, there’s an unexpected side to him that remains well-hidden.

Kang Sol (A) is another first-year law student who overcame childhood poverty and hardships by gaining special admission to the school. She walks a path of thorns due to her constant sense of deprivation and shame amidst the wealth and talent that surrounds her. Eventually, her passion will enlighten her on what it truly takes to be a good lawyer.

Kim Eun Sook is a civil law professor who was once the head of the law school’s free legal clinic. Her natural air of authority and freewheeling personality earned her the reputation for being a master in court. Known for being a highly relatable professor, she is the sole colleague Yang Jong Hoon dares to confide in.
After watching and loving, Reply 1988, I knew that I was going to keep up with everything that the cast members are in. I haven’t gotten around to watching any of their older stuff but the first show that I watched afterward is Ryu Hye Young’s Law School. It’s funny how she plays similar characters in both Reply 1988 and Law School, but she carries both of these characters very differently. In Reply 1988, she was mean. She was smart and she was strong but she was mean to those around her and it annoyed me until she won me over with how loyal and fiercely protective she was of her loved ones. In Law School, she’s smart and she’s driven but she takes care of her friends and she cares about them all. She’s the kind of friend you want in your corner.

I’m so glad that I watched this show all the way through because the beginning took some getting used to but I kept watching because I enjoyed the overall story being told and I needed to know who the hell killed the professor.
Main Male Lead: Han Joon Hwi
Kim Bum
InstaGram | Twitter | Facebook

Han Joon Hwi was a great character. He’s a smarty pants, know-it-all, who doesn’t live his life for others. He does what he wants, when he wants, and makes no apologies for his choices. He is driven with a snarky personality that will make you question if he’s capable of doing everything that he’s accused of. He’s certainly got the brains to pull it off, but does he really lack the morals of going through with the crimes?

I was Team Joon Hwi from the jump and I never once wanted to jump ship. I loved seeing him crush heavy on Kang Sol A, I loved seeing his friendship with her grow with every single episodes. I loved that he remembered exactly who she was and she didn’t. I loved that he tried to protect the girls in his friends group in a way that made them comfortable. He let the girls decide how to help themselves with his help. There was much to love about him and I really did.

I’ve seen Kim Bum in only a couple of shows and I think of all the shows that I’ve watched him in, his character in Law School is my favorite. I thought he brought Joon Hwi’s character to life beautifully. There were different sides to Joon Hwi and Kim Bum did a great job of showing us all of them. I’ve become a fan of his in this show and I plan on watching and supporting his career more in the future.
Main Female Lead: Kang Sol A
Ryu Hye Young
InstaGram | Twitter | Facebook

Kang Sol A was my kind of character. She was fun, smart, spunky, and such a crackhead. She was so driven to succeed, that she went above and beyond to try to get good grades. She was busy with school but she made time for her family, and for her friends. She didn’t have the perfect life but she didn’t pretend that she was fine when she wasn’t and she didn’t pretend to be someone she wasn’t. She was who she was and you either liked her for that or you didn’t. She didn’t mess around with how other people thought of her. She did what she felt was right at all times and though she wasn’t perfect, she was still a good person who knew her worth.

I hella shipped Kang Sol A with Han Joon Hwi. I thought they were so cute together. Him crushing on her so obviously and her being annoyed that he was bothering her while she was trying to study. I thought they made such a cute couple and though the ending gave hints but no confirm details about their dating life, I’m going to believe that they’re together and living their happily ever after…together.

Ryu Hye Young did such a great job of bringing Kang Sol A to life. I liked her in this show a lot more than I did Reply 1988 but loved her acting in both.
Second Lead: Yang Jong Hoon
Kim Myung Min

I never thought Yang Jong Hoon was guilty of anything but being an extremely hard professor to please but even knowing that, I still liked him. He seemed to be a man of integrity and he was always there for his students when they needed him, even if he was grumpy while doing so. You could tell that he cared about each student and that he wanted them to be prepared for their future as lawyers. He also wanted to raise and turn his students into lawyers that always did what was best for their clients. He taught them to be lawyers who were on the up and up and I just really liked his characters. There were plenty of shady lawyers both on and off-campus but I never thought he was one of them.

I’ve never seen Kim Myung Min in anything so this was my first and I thought he was a great actor. He played this part exceptionally well and I’m glad to add him to the list of actors that I’d like to support and watch all of his shows/movies.
The Cast
There were some familiar faces in this show and I was glad to see them. I thought the cast of characters, all of the law students especially, were a fun bunch. They were all going through their individual struggles but seeing them study together, grow up together, and cheer each other on made me enjoy this show that much more. I loved that their relationships with each other felt real. There were some that were closer than others, some didn’t even like each other, but at the end of the day, they were a team and they came together to get shit done when it was needed. I loved the way that they all rallied behind Ye-Seul to help her out, even when she didn’t want it. I loved how Joon Hwi made sure that Ji Ho didn’t fight his battle against the prosecutor on his own. I loved getting to know each of them and they definitely made watching this show, week in and week out, an enjoyable experience for me.
The Story
So this show follows a bunch of ambitious law students and their professor, Yang Joon Hoon, who is on trial for the murder of another of their professors, Seo Byeong Ju. While Yang Joon hoon is on trial, loads of stuff pop off and the students band together to figure each case out. Each episode packed in some interesting cases and introduced compelling characters. I tuned in each week, excited to learn more.

The show deals with a lot of real life topics and each case brought a little something different to each character and to the show as a whole. I loved working through each case, developing my own thoughts on each case, on each character, and had a lot of fun getting to know everyone. From plagiarism to murder, to domestic abuse, there’s a lot to unpack but these characters did a great job of carrying each story from beginning to end. The ending left some to be desired but I did like that everyone grew up to be the kind of lawyers that I was proud of. I came to love each law student and professor and even the bad guys were great bad guys because I hated them with a passion.

Overall, this was a good way to spend a couple of hours every week catching up with my law school friends and I’m super happy that I watched it through. The beginning took some getting to used to and was a little slow but if you stick it out, I have no doubt that you’ll come to love everyone the same way that I did. I definitely recommend it.
Final Rating


4.25 out of 5

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Review: Signal

Posted March 30, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Signal

Starring: Lee Je Hoon, Kim Hye Soo, Jo Jin Woong
Year Released: 2016
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Contemporary, Crime, Drama, Suspense, Time Travel
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Mood Browse

Fifteen years ago, a young girl was kidnapped on the way from school, and Park Hae Yeong, who was an elementary school student at that time, witnessed the crime. A few days later, the girl was found dead, and the police were not able to find the culprit. As time went by, Hae Yeong started distrusting the police.

Fifteen years later, Hae Yeong is now a police officer and criminal profiler. One day, he finds a walkie-talkie that allows him to get in contact with Detective Lee Jae Han who is in the past. Police officers Hae Yeong, Jae Han, and Cha So Hyun then set out on a journey to solve cold cases.
I found this drama while I was browsing through Netflix. I’ve seen the woman actress in this show around so I stopped to check the summary out. I was sold after reading the summary but I didn’t immediately start it. I’m a little annoyed with myself that I waited for a while to get to it but I’m glad that I watched it because from beginning to end, I was invested in all of it.

There were parts that were pretty slow in terms of engaging me (the viewer) but overall, this was a really interesting drama that did a good job of telling Park Hae Yeong’s life story.

Let’s break this show down, shall we?
Main Lead: Park Hae Yeong
Actor: Lee Je Hoon
Social Media: Website | Instagram

Park Hae Yeong is the victim of a wrongful arrest though he wasn’t the actual person that was arrested. His older brother was accused of rape and was let down by the entire local police department because of course, his older brother was innocent but because their family wasn’t as rich as the real culprit, Park Hae Yeong’s older brother paid for a crime that wasn’t his. Park Sun Woo (Hae Yeong’s older brother) was one of the good guys. He was a great older brother to Hae Yeong and he cared about his family, his friends, and his future. He was helping Hae Yeong bring his grades up and in the process of helping a girl study as well.

What happens to Sun Woo makes a huge impression on Hae Yeong and as Hae Yeong pieces his own investigation into his brother’s case when he’s older and a cold case profiler, things really heat up. He discovers a walkie-talkie that communicates with an officer from the past. A detective that could possibly help him find out what really happened to his brother. Maybe if they worked together, they can right some wrongs and get some things right. Hae Yeong’s story is a huge part of the show and I thought Lee Je Hoon’s portrayal of Park Hae Yeong was probably my favorite part of this show. Lee Je Hoon has some serious acting chops and I felt everything he felt throughout this entire show. Hae Yeong’s story is an emotional one and though I didn’t get the ending that I wanted for him, I was still satisfied and would LOVE a second season.

I really enjoyed the character growth from child to man for Park Hae Yeong. He had every reason to turn to gangs and a life of crime with his experience with cops and yet he grew into a man of the law with a clear conscience of what was right and wrong. Did he always get things right? Not at all. But he learned from every experience and used the experiences to be a better person.
Main Lead: Cha Soo Hyun
Actor: Kim Hye Soo

Cha Soo Hyun was the first female police officer in her department and though she seems aloof and completely reserved, she is fair and a good senior to Park Hae Yeong. Professionally, she tried to do what was right even when it was hard. Personally, there were times when I wanted to smack this woman upside her head. Did I understand where she was coming from when she would pop off in the middle of a case because Park Hae Yeong seemed to know an awful lot about the only man she’s ever loved that disappeared years ago? Of course! Did I want her to put her feelings away and get the bad guys before grilling Hae Yeong? YES!

Even with all of that madness, I still really liked her character and I thought Kim Hye Soo really did Cha Soo Hyun’s character justice. She acted her tail off and it’s really hard to do that when you’re playing an aloof and cold character that isn’t really any of that. I liked how smart she was and how loyal she was. She was good at a lot of things and seeing her as both a fresh rookie cop who was unsure of herself, her worth as a police officer, and then a strong and fiercely determined detective was fantastic. She played both parts well and I was rooting for her to find her man throughout the entire show.
Main Lead: Lee Jae Han
Actor: Jo Jin Woong

Holy cow did I like this guy. Lee Jae Han was such a compelling character that fought the good fight even when he had every cause not to believe the weirdo on the other line of the walkie-talkie. Seeing him fight against his very own bosses to bring justice to those wronged by the police force, the exact police force that is supposed to protect the victims made me love him to pieces.

His story was another emotional one because his personal life took a back seat to his professional one and it was hard on everyone around him. From his father to the woman he was starting to like and his friends, he missed out on a lot trying to right the wrongs that just kept right on coming to his front door. I wanted so much to see this guy in the end and we were left with a big ol’ question mark with everything but even without a solid ending with a solid wrap-up of all the things, I still really enjoyed learning about Lee Jae Han. My heart for him when he tried to get to Sun Woo before it was too late, freaking body falling apart but getting to Sun Woo was more important than his stab wound and that was just one of the many reasons that I loved this guy. He didn’t know how to give up and when he didn’t get things right, he was so remorseful that it hurt my heart and made me cheer for him and Hae Yeong even more. Gah, so good.
The Cast
There are a lot of familiar faces that make up the rest of the cast of Signal and I enjoyed seeing them all again. These two guys are probably my favorite familiar faces and the most memorable of the bunch, outside of the villains. I also really liked the guy that played Park Sung Woo. As I said, there are a lot of familiar faces and that’s probably my favorite thing about k-dramas. There are side characters that pop up in every single k-drama and it’s always a treat to see a cast with great chemistry. This wasn’t the kind of show that showcases strong friendships but we got a strong team that really comes together as the show progresses and I was here for Hae Yeong and Soo Hyun’s team.
The Story
So Signal is about a detective from 1989 and a cold case profiler in 2015 working together through a magical walkie-talkie to solve and prevent crimes from happening. Solving them in 2015 helps prevent them in 1989 and through trial and error, Lee Jae Han, the detective from 1989, and Park Hae Yeong, the cold case profiler from 2015 figure out what went wrong and how to fix them in their own times. The concept behind the show is was initially drew me to watching it and I’m glad that I did because the actors really brought this story to life. It totally made sense to me that there was a magical walkie-talkie helping a man from the 80’s help a man from 2015 solve crime and beat the bad guys.

I also thought that the cases that they worked on together were interesting. From the kidnapping case to the rape case, to every other case, each story really stood out and had me thinking about them long after I turned the final episode off. These characters really go through it personally and professionally and they had to overcome so much to get to that end. There were times where I had to walk away from the TV because what was happening was too much for me and my blood pressure but I will say that the villains played their roles really well in this one because I hated their asses so much.

Overall, there were moments when certain characters and cases made my blood boil but I’m glad that I stuck with this show because it was a solid suspense drama and the time through walkie-talkie business was one of the highlights of the show for me. I love the friendship that blossomed between Lee Jae Han and Park Hae Yeong. I thought the way that their friendship grew and grew with each case that they worked on was just so stinkin’ great.
The OST
Final Rating

4 out of 5

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