Category Archives: What I’m Watching

9 K-Dramas To Watch If You’re A Newbie

So by now, you’ve probably figured out that I have a problem. I am an addict. Completely and irrevocably addicted to Asian dramas. I started out with just K-Drama but now I’m out here drooling because of the long-haired heros in Chinese martial-arts dramas. Meanwhile, my sister’s just giving me the side-eye and wondering whether she should tell someone.

Well, now that I’m an addict, I think it is my God-given duty to ruin the rest of you. If you’ve never tried a K-Drama, listen! Try out any of the ones below. I suspect you’ll be on this train with the rest of us soon 😁😁😁

***The dramas aren’t arranged in any particular order. I love all my babies equally.

1. COME & HUG ME

Come & Hug Me What would you do if your father was a serial killer? And what if he killed the parents of the first girl you ever loved?

The lead, Do-jin, is the child of a serial killer. He is also the one who reported his father and thus stopped the serial killings, but all everyone remembers is that he is the son of a serial-killer and they treat him like a disease. To make up for his father’s sins, he decides to be a cop. Meanwhile, he’s still pining over his first love, Jae-yi, whose parents were killed by his father. It’s kind of hard to get over her because as an actress she’s on TV almost every day. Their paths cross when a copy-cat serial killer appears and immediately targets Jae-yi. The copy-cat is copying Do-jin’s dad’s murders. Now, Do-jin has to stop him too all while being suspected of maybe being the copycat.

Yup! There’s a lot of complicated emotions and trauma involved in this one. It’s a true gem. If you’re looking for something with romance, melodrama, mystery and thriller all wrapped into one then you should watch this one.

2. MY I.D IS GANGNAM BEAUTY

My_ID_Is_Gangnam_Beauty-P1 South Korea has one of the highest rates of plastic surgery. You’d think that that would make them one of the most tolerant countries when it comes to people who’ve gone through plastic surgery. You’d be wrong.

Kang Mi-rae has always known that she was ugly, and even if she didn’t know everyone around her keeps telling her that she is. In high-school, she was the outcast, the girl boys thought was so ugly that her having a crush on you was an insult.

When she is about to go to college, she decides that she’s done with all that. She wants to feel what all the pretty people do. So she gets plastic surgery and changes her looks completely. Suddenly, everyone loves her. They’re calling her pretty now. But their ‘pretty’ also includes some snide words. They also call her a plastic-surgery monster. Basically, she was insulted when she was ugly, but they can’t accept her now that she’s pretty.

The whole drama is about Mi-rae learning to accept herself regardless of her looks, gaining some self-confidence and finding love along the way.

Trust me, you’ll like it.

3. FIGHT MY WAY

Fight_For_My_Way_Poster Best-friends to lovers….. hehe, my favorite trope.

Reality has a way of messing up dreams. Ae-ra and Dong-man are childhood friends who started out with big dreams but have now ended up as two people just trying to get food and the tables. Ae-ra wanted to be an announcer but now works in a mall. Dong-man was going to be the best-fighter of their age, but now kills pests for a living.

Certain events lead to both of them discovering that it’s not too late to go after what they want. But even as they pursue their dreams, feelings start to develop between them. Suddenly, someone who seemed like just a friend is….. well, appetizing.

4. STRONG-WOMAN DO BONG SOON

StrongWomanDoBong-soon_(Main_poster) Forget super-woman, we have a new super-heroine in the building. Her name is Do Bong Soon and you’re going to love her. Her powers weren’t caused my some medical accident. No, it’s just a thing that gets passed down the female line of her family. And it comes with rules.

The problem starts when she meets wealthy entrepreneur, Min-hyuk. At first she’s not about his corny pick-up lines because she’s still into her best-friend. But slowly, Min-hyuk starts to get under her skin. And soon, she’s breaking all the rules for him.

5. THE SMILE HAS LEFT YOUR EYES

250px-The_Smile_Has_Left_Your_Eyes_(TV_series) I am shocked this one had such low ratings in South Korea. Seriously, did they not see how amazing this drama was? I haven’t cried like this since Scarlet Heart Ryeo. It hurt me to see characters who loved each other so much but were so, so, so, so wrong for each other. All the characters were great in their roles. They will make you feel things. One minute you hate them, the next you’re rooting for them.

The hero (or should I say anti-hero) is Moo-young. No parent with their sanity intact would let their daughter near him. He is manipulative, seemingly a sociopath and will cheat on them right in front of their eyes with a smile and no apology. Jin-kang knows better than to fall for him. And yet, she does….

Prepare your tissues, folks. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

6. JEALOUSY INCARNATE

Jealousy_Incarnate_Poster Gong Hyo-jin is one of my favorite Korean actresses so I watch everything she’s in. In my opinion, this and It’s Okay, That’s Love are her best works. Here she plays Na-ri, a weather girl, who’s had a crush on Hwa-shin for the longest time. Unfortunately, Hwa-shin is grumpy, arrogant and insufferable. He treats her like a bug.

That is until his friend, Jung-won, notices her.

If you’re thinking, that is so typical of men, you’re right 😁. You will enjoy seeing Hwa-shin suffer. That’s all I’ll say.

7. CHICAGO TYPEWRITER

Chicago_Typewriter_Poster History really isn’t my thing. If you’re going to make me learn about events that happened a long time ago, then you need to package it in a very, very interesting it way. That’s just what Chicago Typewriter does.

Most of the drama is set in present day South Korea however is inextricably with 1930s Korea during the Japanese Occupation. Our main characters are both reincarnated resistance fighters, only they don’t know it. Meeting each other forces out memories of a past they didn’t even know they had.

I promise, this is not going to be a boring history lesson. There’s love, passion, loyalty, mystery thriller that weaves between timelines. You’ll like it.

8. CHIEF KIM

Chief Kim Kim Sung-Ryong is an accountant, but not your typical accountant. He helps gangstars hide their ill-gotten gains and steals from them on the side. His dream is to live in Denmark as a tycoon. He decides that the only way to make this dream come true is to go for the big score. No more small-time gangsters. He’s going to embezzle from a big company then disappear.

Once he finds a fat target, he manages to get himself hired. Things get complicated when he realizes that he’s not the biggest thief in the building. Worse, those other thieves are extremely ruthless and will do anything including kill people to keep their ill-gotten gains.

Without meaning to, Kim ends up drawn into their dangerous game. This time he’s not the thief; he’s trying to stop them.

9. MOON-LOVERS: SCARLET HEART RYEO

Scarlet Heart Do you still have the tissues from before? Take them out again. You’ll need them.

This one starts out happy and lovey-dovey. We’ve got Wang So, the black-sheep of the royal family. He’s damaged and has a scar on his face to prove it. Next to him is the lovely Hae-soo, a girl who time-traveled from the present to the past because of a solar eclipse.

At first the two can’t stand each other. Hae-soo is in love with someone else and Wang So only wants to kill her so that she’ll keep quiet about his secrets. But of course that all changes, and they fall in love. And that’s where everything goes wrong.

Falling in love with a prince isn’t as great as the novels make it out to be, especially when the history books tell you that that prince will one day be a blood-thirsty King who kills all his brothers for power.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Boys Over Flowers – Because this is the first k-drama I ever saw. If you call yourself an addict and still pretend that you have never seen this, you are a damn lie. Go to the corner, Pinocchio. We all openly sniggered at the recycled story-line and Lee Min-ho’s weird perm but secretly watched every single one of those 25 episodes.

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim – Anything that Park Min-young (the main actress) stars in tends to be great, so of course this one is gold too. We’ve got a narcissistic hero with trust issues and an unhealthy dependence on his secretary. Then we’ve got the secretary who suddenly decides that she’s done with his nonsense. Drama galore!

Healer – This one has Park-Min-young too. Here she plays a tabloid reporter who unwittingly ends up tripping on one of the biggest stories of the century. However, the story makes her the target of an assassination. In comes, Jung-ho, an illegal night-courier with superb fighter skills. His initial assignment is to protect Young-shin (Park Min-Young’s character) but he slowly finds himself falling for her. Everyone I know loves this one. I bet you’ll like it too.

Mystery Queen – There is barely any romance in this one but I bet you’ll still love it. Dead bodies, an amateur detective who’s also a housewife and high-school dropout, a handsome cop, a cheating husband…. you see where this is going, right?

Her Private Life – Another Park Min-young piece. I’m not playing favorites, honest! She’s just so good that she made my list three times. In this one she plays an art curator who is also a stalker-fan of a popular musician. Her new boss discovers this and suddenly she seems so much more interesting. Can he convince her to replace her love for idols with love for him?

Search: WWW – I’m all about feminism wrapped up in a good story. The three ladies who lead this story are FIERCE. Every one of them is an expert in their field… forces to be reckoned with. The drama follows how they work together and against each other to defeat the evil forces around them. Oh….. and there’s lots of love too. But for once the men are the sub-characters.

What I’m Watching: Haechi

Haechi

Let me introduce you to my newest addiction – Haechi!

Even though this is loosely based on the life and times of King Yeongjo, you don’t need to be a history buff to appreciate this pseudo-historical korean drama. It’s got all the makings of an excellent historical thriller.

Hot, swashbuckling hero who is also royalty? Check!

Badass female detective who’s martial arts skills will make you register for tae kwon do classes? Check!

Sidekicks who are loyal af and more than just cardboard characters? Check!

A villain who is worth the game and won’t drop easily? Check!

Politics! Sword-play! Comedy! Haechi has it all. If you haven’t watched it, you should.

FIND IT HERE: https://www.viki.com/tv/36418c-haechi?locale=en

THE VERDICT: 9/10 just because it rock, rock, rocks.

Tell me what you think about it after you’re done. And if you’ve got a good K-Drama, C-drama or J-Drama that you think I should check out; let me know below.

What I’m Watching: The Last Empress

the last empressI’ve made a decision. No, it’s not anything drastic! In fact I think fans of romantic dramas will be quite pleased. This year, I plan to reserve this column just specifically for K-dramas that I’m currently watching it.

Now, you’re probably wondering how did I even get into K-Dramas. It all happened by mistake. When my best-friend urged me to watch my first drama Boys Over Flower, I bet she didn’t know that she was leading me into a rabbit hole she was leading or how deep I’d walk in on my own. I don’t think a day ever goes by without me watching an episode of something K-Drama-like.

I’m in deep, people. Real deep! Like a junkie with his coke! And I’d like to drag you in with me – cause I’m generous like that (kekekeke).

All right – now onto the drama of the month – The Last Empress! This is one of those dramas that Koreans call makjang. What is makjang? If translated literally it means a drama that is extremely sensational and that has an outrageous premise, exaggerated characters and exciting (and often ridiculous) events to heighten viewer emotions beyond their normal bounds.

Where a regular drama may focus on revenge, or rape, or birth secrets, or adultery, a makjangdrama will throw all these plot twists and more into the same story. Every episode is a train-wreck but you can’t stop watching it because it is so overwhelmingly exciting.

That’s exactly what The Last Empress is! A melodrama on crack!

 

*SPOILERS AHEAD

The drama is set in present day South Korea, but under the premise that the country is governed by a constitutional monarch, Emperor Lee Hyuk. I haven’t quite met an antagonist like Lee Hyuk. The man is trash! He has no problems murdering or torturing people if they don’t do what he wants (even the people he claims to love). After a hit and run accident where he kills an old woman, he is more pissed off about the fact that his gold car is dented rather than because of the body he’s hidden in his trunk. When he kills his grandma (who was the only one who truly supported him), he quickly lays the blame on his mother. On the first day of his marriage, he sleeps with his mistress in the same room where his new wife is getting a massage. Like I said – trash!

Interestingly enough, it’s easy to kind of like him because the writers have shown every life event that led him to being the monster that he is, and it’s quite obvious that he was a created monster not one by choice. Worse, they keep playing our emotions by showing us the other sides of Lee Hyuk. His playful side, his funny side, his childish side… Ugh! Most of the time you don’t know whether to hate Hyuk, pity him or ship him with his wife (who he’s already tried to kill too – Of course!).

Now onto the wife, Sunny. When she first married Lee Hyuk, Sunny was genuinely in love with him, not knowing that he’d married her for his own nefarious purposes. Then he tried to kill her! That’s when everything went sideways for Lee Hyuk. For one, Sunny believes in an eye for an eye and refuses to take his shenanigans lying down.

Plus, she refuses to die no matter how many times he and his mother try to take her out. Worse, the more Lee Hyuk gets to know her, the more he’s attracted to her pluckiness. Unfortunately, Sunny thinks of him as a serial killer (which he is).

I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen from here onwards. Does she fall for him too? Is she already half in love with Lee Hyuk’s bodyguard who was always sneakily protecting her from Lee Hyuk when he wasn’t in love with her? Will Lee Hyuk change? Can he change? And do we care?

The makjang goes on!

 

FIND IT HERE: https://www.viki.com/tv/36241c-the-last-empress?locale=en

 THE VERDICT: 8/10 for a despicable antagonist who makes me question my morals, a hero who’s dreamy, and a heroine who is as bad ass as they come. Bring on the Makjang!

 

Tell me what you think about it after you’re done. And if you’ve got a good K-Drama, C-drama or J-Drama that you think I should check out; let me know below.

WHAT I’M WATCHING: Republic of Doyle

RepublicOfDoyle_CompleteI know, I know. You’re probably wondering how in the world I got to a series that was born 10 years ago in Canada. What can I say? I’m adventurous. This is how it happened; I got roped into watching Listener and finished it thinking, “Hmm… that was good. What else do the Canadians have?” Somehow I ended up watching Republic of Doyle.

This one is for the lovers of Investigative Dramas with a bit of comedy, and some romance thrown in. The series has got a strange name, I admit, but once you get into it, you’ll forget the name.

Jake Doyle and his father, Malachi are private investigators. How did they get there? Malachi is a retired cop. Jake was in the force at one time but he quit because he’s just not a rules guy, plus he hates guns. Their investigations (some a tad bit illegal) never seem to go smoothly. Things tend to go wrong when Jake’s around.

If you’re expecting some CSI stuff here, you won’t find it here. This series is focused more on the comedy and the relationships of its extensive cast of characters. The main love interest in this show is Leslie. Not gonna lie – I was not feeling her. But Jake and Malachi’s antics kept me watching. Some people like the show was a bit cheesy, however, I think the characters were really deep and some (not all) of the episodes were complex.

THE VERDICT: 7/10 for a good-looking male lead who is not afraid to be clumsy

Tell me what you think about it after you’re done. And if you’ve got a good YouTube or Web-show that you think I should check out; let me know below.

What I’m Watching: Unfamous

Unfamous PosterUnfamous isn’t exactly new but I’ve been sitting on it awhile, mostly because I had other things I wanted to watch. But finally, I sat down to watch it. And I was… impressed? The question mark is only because I don’t normally do ‘new-adult’ style dramas. I usually like my characters a little older and wiser. But since we’re here… what the hell, let’s do this.

This Britain-based web series chronicles the life of Rio Greene, a first year university student. Back in high-school (or college as they call it), Rio wasn’t that popular or ‘fly’ and that contributed to her losing her boyfriend. Now that she’s in uni, she sets out to shed off her low social status and become Unfamous (code for popular). Along the way, she goes through a lot of relationship issues including wavering between her ex Nathaniel and her best-friend, Tyson.

Apart from Rio’s thirst for popularity, the show also tackles other social issues including domestic violence, sex and intimacy, teen pregnancy, materialism etc. There are lots of other characters who’ll catch your attention. Needless to say, this is one for those who are young at heart and/or age.

THE VERDICT: 7/10 for interesting characters

Watch The Unfamous Series HERE

Tell me what you think about it after you’re done. And if you’ve got a good YouTube or Web-show that you think I should check out; let me know below.

WHAT I’M WATCHING: W- Two Worlds

I have an obsession – a crazy obsession. It’s called Korean dramas , and I’d like to ruin you by introducing you to one of the most interesting ones out there. It’s called W.

W-posterI haven’t seen anything quite as unique as W. Most Korean ‘travel’ dramas have characters moving between the past and present, but W has them moving between the real world and the manhwa (comic) world.

W is a fantasy romance starring Lee Jong Suk as Kang Chul and some girl (I didn’t bother to learn her name since I’m here for the hawt gentlemen) as Yeon Joo. Yeon Joo is a surgeon living in our world, and her father is the author of a popular web-comic, W.

This is where stuff gets complicated. The main character in Yeon Joo’s father’s comic is Kang Chul. Yeon Joo’s father decides to kill off Kang Chul character because Kang Chul  has become a little too real, as in sometimes he writes his own storylines. The creatives out there will appreciate the irony because we often complain about characters taking over our work and driving it to unexpected destinations. In W, it’s real. Kang Chul is driving his own bus. Get ready for a wild, wild fantastic ride.

I loved Kang Chul. Suave, rich, handsome, kind… starts out as imaginary then transforms into a real man. The best parts for me were when he pulls Yeon Joo into the comic and she tries to get out by forcing a ‘to be continued’ (You’ll understand what I mean when you see it). The ‘slap’ and ‘get naked’ parts were especially hilarious. I’m on episode 8 right now and I can’t wait to finish it.

THE VERDICT: 9/10 for sheer creativity and spunk

Watch it HERE

Tell me what you think about it after you’re done. And if you’ve got a good YouTube or Web-show that you think I should check out; let me know below.