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Scene analyses and comparisons: Sam-Girl-Wolf-Rose edition

As you know, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been on the prowl for a good show to watch. I’ve sampled a bunch of series, but so far, none has really stuck. The ones I’ve found interesting have been on the mild end of the excitement spectrum, but nothing’s really gripped me.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been very into any of the series I’ve been trying that I’m finding myself more critical of little things. For instance: scenes or beats that aren’t merely reminiscent of earlier dramas, but downright lifted from them and transplanted into the new one. It’s one thing to wear an influence on one’s sleeve (for instance, the striking musical similarities in Hello! Miss‘s score to Dal Ja’s Spring were really obvious to me, but never got in the way); it’s another thing to pilfer directly.

(Random) SONG OF THE DAY

Vintage Blue – “Your Song” [ zShare download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

First off, I tried I AM SAM because I heard it was light and funny, and I’m always up for light and funny. It stars the girl I recognized from hit sitcom Unstoppable High Kick, and I tend to be slightly more interested in series when I can at least recognize a cast member or two.

But immediately, from the first scene the series took the opening sequence of 2006’s bizarro, off-color teen sex film DASEPO NAUGHTY GIRLS — and without even trying to make the scene its own, I Am Sam just lifted the scene from Dasepo, apropos of nothing.

 

 
In both versions of the scene, a hapless, ineffectual high school teacher finds himself at the mercy of his rowdy, disobedient class, and hangs his head in shame. Shouldering the responsibility for being unable to teach his students properly, he invites the head student to come up and spank him in punishment.

In I Am Sam (above), the teacher is alarmed to see his students accept his proposal without hesitation, and shrinks back to have his bluff called. In Dasepo Naughty Girls (below), the teacher actually gets a perverse sadomasochistic thrill (it ain’t a sex comedy for nothing), since Dasepo is much racier than the made-for-television-broadcast I Am Sam. But that just highlights Sam‘s lack of originality even more — not only did it directly copy previously released material, it watered it down.

 

By the way, the movie Dasepo Naughty Girls is not to be confused with the cable TV show bearing the same name, although both are based on the same blue manhwa series centering around taboo and sex-themed goings-on at Useless High School. The film is silly and free-flying, more raunchy than erotic, imbued in a rich candy-coated color palette, and boasting a roster of young new talent, including Kim Ok Bin (Over the Rainbow), Park Jinwoo (Nonstop 5, Bad Family), Yoo Gun (Hello God, Bad Couple), Kim Byul (Taereung National Village), Eun Sung (Que Sera Sera), Lee Kyun (Hello Francesca), Lee Yong Joo (Goong)…

The cable TV version is completely different in tone — darker, more perverse, weird. But that’s something for another post.

 

And then, there’s TIME OF DOG AND WOLF, which I should’ve been much more interested in seeing, because I think Nam Sang Mi (Bad Family, Sweet Spy) is adorable. But when I watched the first episode, it felt so… empty. All flash and no substance.

Its high-octane opening should have been exciting — Lee Junki speeding away in a furious high-speed car chase — but it was like a James Bond movie without the Bond. I don’t have much of an opinion on Lee Junki, but I’ve noticed his tendency to overact, back when he was the sensitive second lead in My Girl.


(I stole this pic from the thread at soompi; sorry, I don’t know any further credits.)

(Can we talk about My Girl for a second? I see why people consider Lee Junki cute, but I don’t really get the appeal. And as Jeong Woo, he was vastly annoying with his over-emoting — oh great, now he’s crying again. Poor him. I never believed he was truly in love with Yoo Rin, so all his tears and blubbering got on my nerves. I would actually yell at my screen, “I don’t feel sorry for you at all! Next!” Between him and Park Shi Yeon of the flaring nostrils, it’s a wonder My Girl was so charming — actually, I think Lee Dong Wook was the only actor who didn’t overact in the entire series.)

 

Anyway, so Time of Dog and Wolf left me bored, and then I forgot about it. Until, that is, I randomly picked another old series to watch, 2005’s GREEN ROSE, which immediately brought back to mind Dog and Wolf‘s first episode.

Similarly, Green Rose immediately kicks off with a high-speed car chase — our hero, played by GO SOO, is desperately trying to shake off the authorities, unsuccessfully. In total contrast to Wolf and Dog, the opening of Green Rose had me intrigued and invested — I’m still not sure why, and I’m not going to oversimplify it as an acting comparison between the male leads, although that is one factor.

It could be that Dog and Wolf kicked off its action without context — a guy in a dark car, chased by dark-suited guys in more dark cars. But Green Rose pays more attention to emotional context — Go Soo drives a newlyweds’ car decorated in “just married” ribbons, in sad, sharp contrast to the grimness of his situation. It could also be because of Go Soo’s interpretation of his character, who drives on with solemn, desperate, but cool determination. He’s got the Bourne Identity underdog thing going for him — clearly outnumbered, clearly screwed, driving a battered car into a dead end — that makes us want to root for him. And when he’s caught, his despair is stark, as he looks at the water below, preparing to jump — and rather than giving us a Fugitive-esque moment where we know he’s going to survive the fall, Go Soo is at the end of his road.

 

 
It’s a pretty ballsy way to start off a series, because Go Soo closes his eyes in finality, and thinks:

“I could have been happy, too. Mother, Su Ah… We could have been happy. Couldn’t we?”

And then he jumps…

 

“At just 26 years and eight months old, in the cold river waters, I died.”

 
This is seven minutes into the first episode. Then we backtrack to happier days.

Normally, Green Rose is exactly the kind of series I’d hate to watch — there’s NO HOPE, and seriously, you think I’m gonna stick around?? It’s a hair melodramatic for my taste, and as far as I’ve seen it’s not really funny at all. Even the lovely Lee Da Hae wouldn’t be much of a draw in a series I dislike. But for some reason, there’s something compelling about Green Rose — and I’m sure many viewers felt the same, given its success during its initial run two years ago. But we’ll see how things go…

(Oh, by the way, please don’t spoil me for Green Rose — I don’t really care about the others, but in the event I stick with Rose, I’d hate to lose steam by having things spoiled. Thanks!)

 

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I was wondering if you could blog Get Karl, Oh Soo Jung since you introduced the series earlier on in the site :D I wanna watch it but I like reading your sypnopsises to see if they're good :D

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javabeans - you know yourself best but truly the first episode of time of dog and wolf is just something that you need to get through for the rewards ahead...watch a couple more eps...i dare you *bwa ha ha*

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i agree you have to clench your teeth so you can get through the first episode of time of dog and wolf, but it is definitely worth watching. the suspense keeps me at the edge of my seat every time.

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Have you seen the drama, Someday? With Bae Doo Na, Lee Jin Wook, Kim Min Joon, and Oh Yoon Ah?

Currently watching it on AZN and I'm really enjoying it.

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yeah time of dog and wolf doesnt interest me that much either. its got action, but not the intriguing kind. and i watched green rose and when i watched "resurrection" i thought i was watching the same drama, with different actors. granted when i actually watched resurrection (only clips of the couple, i love han ji min and overacting uhm tae woong), i found it was different, but that whole revenge-girl-doesnt-know thing... blah.

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Hmmm.. yeah id like to get ur opinion of Get Karl too. I have mixed emotions about it. Im not that interested. But I loved the movie version, just that im not feeling any chemistry here. About I am Sam, i suggest watching further.. in the start i also understand ur comments. But past that, its quite amusing and Yang Dong Gun makes for a funny teacher. I love the back cast (Mr. Kim!! :hot:) and Top (Big Bang). I share all ur sentiments about Time Bet Dog and Wolf. Its a rare few who have felt that, I mean the people who arent big LJK fans that would consider it full or substance just cause he was in it. Honestly, I say Jung Kyung Ho (Misa) does a much better job with his second lead character and the character has more life. I get what you mean about the similarities of the first scene. I liked Green Rose too, despite it being called a dramatic series. The cast is awesome, the acting superb. I wont spoil it, not everyone may like it. But I am one of them who do. :D

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I'm totally with you on the whole Lee Junki appeal thing. I don't find him that attractive either, although I wouldn't call him ugly. I also thought that he overacted on MY GIRL and never was that much interested in his character on the show. Like you, I tried watching the first episode of DOG AND WOLF, but thought the show lacked a certain spark that COFFEE PRINCE had. If you are still looking for a show to watch I would suggest ONE FINE DAY, especially if you are a Gong Yoo fan. It's a little on the melodramatic side and tends to drag towards the end, but I found the first couple of episodes to be really entertaining. Just a recommendation for you to think about. Oh, and thanks for all the great postings on Coffee Prince. I really enjoyed reading all of your great summaries.

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I'm in the same predicament of finding a new drama to watch, especially with high expectations after finishing Que sera sera with subs. I recently started on 9 Ends 2 Outs (love Soo Ae) and to my surprise it wasn't really about baseball at all (which it seemed to scream of in the promotional pics). I have to say while I am annoyed with the second male lead, I find how they question what is the borderline of a "best friend" relationship or "lovers" relationship between a girl and a guy. They say it is possible to be best friends between different genders and the drama makes a compelling portrayal, but as the story develops, I also begin to question where to draw the line because sometimes it seems like the beginnings of a romantic relationship. I'm sure all of my thoughts are terribly muddled in this paragraph but I hope you give it a try (there are some early episodes up on youtube)!

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very cool comparisons you've drawn. i reckon there really have just been too many rehashed plots/ scenes that finding a great decent enough drama to watch becomes quite an adventure. agree with you on lee junki - for the life in me i couldn't possibly figure out his appeal (where ? where? where? - ok maybe a teeny weeny bit cute in the clazziquai sweety vid, just maybe)!!! eeeek (sorry to the LJ fans out there)! true with his overacting in my girl, but i think lee da hae's acting albeit absurd gave much needed character to the plot. she really was quite hilarious (my dad, yes my DAD, watched along because of her crazy antics, strange)! anyway do let us know how you find green rose, i'll reserve my comments for this one once you've sifted through it. happy viewing! :D

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Like Jolee I recently started watching 9 ends 2 outs and i found myself really indulged in it. Its about friendship and the relations people have amongst one another...

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Pardon me javabeans (said she who puts foot in mouth but must ask anyway), have you ever consider K-movies? I find that some are quite original and charming... with less of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon feel that K-dramas often have. Good luck on Green Rose! Off topic: if you truly can't find anything that catches your fancy this weekend, please check out the movie "Once" by John Carney. It's a gem!

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javabean...I'm currently in the CP withdrawal mood...so like you and many others out there...I'm trying to look for something appealing to watch. I haven't watch "I Am Sam" yet and if it's kinda like Dasepo Naughty Girl...then I will give it a pass since I didn't like the movie.
I was watching TODAW because I needed to watch something else besides melodrama. Agreed with you that the first episode is very treacherous to watch and if you are not a LJK fan...there's no reason to continue. Although I'm not any of the cast fan, I pushed myself to continue watching hoping that it'll get better better and now I'm currently up to episode 14. Although it does get better...perhaps I've watch a decent amount of action movies/drama...I don't find the story to be unique or different. Furthermore, I'm maybe the few that think there's really no strong chemistry between the leads (which is also one turnoff factor for me). Nevertheless, I will finished TODAW cuz there are only 2 episodes left.
I've watched both "Resurrection" and "Green Rose," and I find I enjoyed "Green Rose" more although it has the same revenge concept but it's lighter in a sense. Would not want to spoil you in case you plan to stuck with "Green Rose."
In the meantime, I will continue to visit this website to see what you are blogging next. It maybe not something that I might be interesting in...but I love to read your blogs nontheless...
Lastly, just a huge thanks to you for the wonderful Coffee Prince blogging...it's interesting to read your comments as well as your thoughts....

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Can you please please summary !!!!!!! 9 END 2 OUTS !!!!!!!

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Yes, almost all the kdramas have the same story line, fate, triangle love, serious illness, etc.. I love romantic comedy, got to have happy ending like coffee prince - ONE OF THE BEST KDRAMA, so refreshing! Hope you'll find something you like, Javabean. Have a good weekend.

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So I'm not the only one who's not enamoured over the TODAW hype. phew.. Unlike some ppl out there who advocate the greatness of the drama over its excellent execution of action and emotion at the same time, I totally didn't feel the hype. The drama sure did improve from Ep 1 onwards because I felt bored when I started watching and it did captivate me from Ep 5 onwards, but still lacking the X-factor which can really pull you in and not make you yawn or look away when some scenes come into play.

Besides, I'm also with Marzy on the leads' performances in the drama. I actually thought LJK's performance wasn't as gripping as his performance in My Girl. And I also thought Jung Kyung Ho did a much more creditable performance in this drama. I'm not saying LJK's bad or anything..it's just that I didn't feel anything when he cried or glared or thought about avenging his mother's death. But I DID feel something when JKH broke down into tears thinking about LJK's character Soo Hyun's death. I instantly teared at that scene..when I felt nothing when LJK cried! It's really weird..cos I actually felt quite a bit for him in My Girl when he cried. And I was impressed that he could cry so naturally and it did trigger my empathy for him at some point. But here, I just couldn't bring myself to feel him..it's so freaking weird. Thus, I didn't bother to continue commenting..for the fear of lashes at me from Junki fans..hehehe..

And yes, when you mentioned Green Rose. It's a very well executed drama. Altho it's not my fav but I remembered liking it a lot when I watched it a few years back. However, it's a bit long..like 24 eps..I remembered skipping some scenes. But overall, I'd rate it as an enjoyable drama with so much to offer..esp with gripping performances from Go Soo and Lee Da Hae. I'm pretty sure you'll be impressed with the acting..and the chemistry. (I remembred you said Lee Da Hae can have chemistry with anybody in the H!M thread once..hahaha.. even with a rock! XD I hope it does so in this drama with you as well..)

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Oh yes..have you tried watching Capital Scandal by Kang Ji Hwan and Han Ji Min? I really think it's a very well made fusion drama, set in the 1930s of Korea. I really enjoyed watching that drama, with a perfect ensemble of cast, storyline, chemistry and humor. And I know you love to have a good laugh... this drama is one that you must not miss. But yeah..some ppl might find it a turn off with too much exaggeration..but I absolutely loved it.

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ahh "the lovely Lee Da Hae" ... she's so loverly. although i haven't watched any of the titles you mentioned here, I feel happy to read you write good things about Lee Da Hae and Lee Dong Wook. as you can probably tell, I'm a Da Hae-Dong Wook shipper. :)

"Green Rose" has been sitting in my "to-watch" list for almost a year now. But whenever I read the blurbs, I get depressed. Should I, just like Go Soo's character, jump in and bear it?

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javabeans.. mp cp withdrawal is killing me too..
like you i tried to watch other series that could somehow take at least my mind off coffe prince...

and so i rewatched My girl... which was my fav series of all since Coffee Prince, but having a diffrent perspective now... the Yoo Rin girl kinda annoyed me.. now.. and yes Ms. Lee Da Hae over reacted... if not for Gong Chan's cold attitude mannerism.. i would have been so irritated now.. LDW kinda balanced everything...
and Lee Dong Wook still takes my breath away.. he's still My Gong Chan...

ow and about Green Rose.. i've watched that a year ago i guess... it's kinda long given the plot of the drama... though i like both the main actor i think it's Go Soo(?) and the lead villain (forgive my not knowing his name) (both great actors... ) but it was still worth finishing up...

o w... and this is not totally realated to the ones i mentioned above but i saw a future drama with the lead cutting her hair short for the drama, also i saw some singers and actresses trying to pull an Eun Chan effect...
however none of them can really pull it off...

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I was going to give up on Dog and Wolf after the first couple of episodes, it was all a bit flashy with no substance, but kudos to the scriptwriters, the plot really develops into an emotional rollercoaster. I'm patiently waiting for the subs for this one as to not spoil it for myself by watching it raw, which is my usual OM for kdramas.

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Javabeans, there's a lot I could say sparked off by that post (O so what's new, but I mean a lot I could say that would be more or less relevant, unlike some of my other excursions) but I'm somewhat stymied, for the time being at least, by your perfectly understandable request to avoid spoilers for GR.

I think that with your usual (aka totally amazing and in truth highly UNusual) insight and perception, you have at once latched on to things that would only strike the rest of us after many hours of repeated viewing and after seeing the whole of both series (or as much of HDW as anyone not privy to the planned ending can have seen at this point in time; but I also think that once you have seen both the scenes you consider here in isolation in their full plot context you will be led in a slightly different direction when it comes to overall judgment. Though not necessarily one more favourable to HDW than GR, because I believe that though HDR reflects the general improvement in production values since the time of GR, the top-layer slickness hides a much more threadbare, mechanical and ill-constructed, although ingenious plot.

As you will see (especially if you can be persuaded to follow through on HDW as well as GR) the similarities come to look less like plagiarism and more like tongue-in-cheek citation. Except that there are all sorts of reasons why tongues go into cheeks, and not all of them make for good drama. Much later into GR, you will find two characters discussing the enigma that the male lead presents them with. "Do you think maybe he's lost his memory like they do in dramas?" one muses. "No, that's just in dramas" is in effect the reply. And although there is memory loss in the GR plot, too, it is actually a rare instance of being both medically and psychologically quite plausible, and it isn't inflicted on the lead characters, though the loss and regaining of another character's memory does decide their fate. Whereas the memory loss, much more central in HDW, is this time actually supposed to be made more believable by a knowing reference. "Don't worry", a buddy consoles the memory-loss sufferer. "You've seen those TV dramas where people lose their memory, your memory will come back soon". (I'm citing roughly from what I can glean from the raws here, without having had time to check against the subs, but I'm pretty confident I got that bit). That sort of silliness was what first started to turn me off this drama, until one event in particular made me almost physically sick at the morbidity of the imagination behind that particular plot twist, and I stopped watching the live feeds week by week. The fact that I then turned to CB to catch up, and watched my way back up do date on the streamings this week was yet another sign of CP withdrawal. ANYTHING to pass the yawning hours....

Well, as I say, I can't say much more yet without spoiler side-effects, but let me just say a little bit about the two opening episodes in isolation.

One major thing both these scenes have in common is that they will be reprised in full, second by second, in a later episode; and that they are designed to be seen in order to be re-seen in that later, fuller context (in particular, the context what has happened in the immediately preceding hours and minutes). That is perhaps more powerfully signalled in HDW by prominent features that plainly make no sense on first viewing and which have no counterparts in the GR opener. Who is the woman in the car? Why is she looking at the guy like that? Why does the driver, though apparently rescuing her from a batch of thugs, though he's plainly of a thuggy appearance and manner himself, force her to get out of the car by pointing a gun at her head? Who is the guy standing on the quayside and why does she tell him what she does, and why does he react in that way? And what's with that slowly sinking little whittled elephant figurine that was previously dangling behind the windshield? All these are signals saying "Come back for more if you want to know what this is really about, beyond a mid-budget batch of car-smashing sensationalism". Perhaps these teasers aren't strong enough, even though they are helped out by the first part of the flashbacks that make up the rest of the episode: in particular, the little elephant makes the first of a number of very crucial appearances (it will later acquire some more sophisticated elephantine figurine companions of a distinctly sinister kind), signalling (if we hadn't already guessed) that the weepy parting kids in days of yore are the couple briefly reunited then violently parted again in the chase and shootout.

The opening of GR has far fewer such carefully planted enigmas, and they are less played up anyway (one of them, understandable only during the reprise, is the attitude of the senior of the two detective buddies to the fugitive, and the urgency with which he urges him not to jump, but to no avail: that is the point at which a very important thread in the drama is first anchored into the fabric). And despite the hardware and plot-placement similarities, the GR scenario really is a lot simpler, and therefore perhaps more initially appealing. We don't know why the GR fugitive is fleeing, but we see his desperation (but we also see, unlike the fugitive in the HDW opening, and much more like the archetypal Fugitive of TV/ movie fame, that he's no desperado) and we grasp as much as we need to be going on with about how he flees and why he jumps when cornered. There is no central enigma in his behaviour, looks and gestures like that of the driver towards his temporary passenger in HDW, nor is there any room or need for the sort of complex panic and uncertainty the HDW driver is in: in GR it's plainly enough about someone (apparently) ending his own life when he can't escape capture, but in HDW, the driver plainly doesn't want to die, and the reason why he does (or seems to) is somehow related to the woman, his dealings with her, and a little wooden elephant.

But as usual, I'm somewhat overstaying my welcome, so bye for now at least.

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i was looking for a drama to watch after coffee prince too, and like you i wasn't really interested in the other popular dramas...
but then one night i decided to watch tv with my parents and they turned on "catch a kangnam mother" or something like that...anywho, it's hilariousss
obviously it's audience is for ahjummas, (and i'm definitely not one), but it shows korea's obsession with having their kids educated and sent to a good college with good dose of humor
the first episodes are a little slow, to set the plot and characters, but around episode 5 it starts to pick up...try it out?
haha, or not :D
i like it because it's new and fresh and doesn't have love squares/rectangles...yet...but..it tihnk...there might be?????
haha

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please try 9 end 2outs!!!It's really nice!!! :)

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YES 9 end 2 outs! I think it's great, too!!!

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*sigh* CP definitely left such a huge void... so I'm simultaneously watching 2 jdramas - hana kimi and hotaru no hikari; and 3 kdramas - 9 end 2 outs, what's up fox and soulmates. my A.D.D. is working overtime, I have to stop myself from clicking more from mysoju.com. (so help me g*d)
like you, I like anything that's light and funny too. hana kimi is a lot of laughs! the premise also deals with a girl pretending to be a boy to be with this guy. though this romantic-comedy is huge in exaggerated antics and oftentimes corny (I think it's from a manga that literally comes to life), still it cracks me up...
about 9 end.... I'm on my 5th eppie and so far, it's not bad...although it's predictable. the main girl (can't recall her name, sorry) has acted in a lot of heavy dramas before, so she's a revelation here doing comedy. the main guy (can't recall his name too, I know, I'm terrible) is a dish. but like david beckham, he's not gifted with a velvety voice to match his dear sexiness. guess that God is really fair...
at this point I miss Lee Sun Kyun talking through my speakers. must.watch.coffeeprince.again. lol!

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i wasnt too fond of time between dog and wolf myself when i watched the first couple of eps...but seriously its just one of those series that gets u really hooked the more u watch...and since ep 6 ive been madly addicted, every ep is a new revelation, a new cliffhanger. the suspense is torture. and jun ki annoyed me too in my girl especially with his cying! but here i actually find myself enjoying his acting a great deal. the writing simply gets better and better. ive watched green rose, and between them, both TBDAW is defiinitely a more satisfying watch. hope u could give it another try.

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hi dramabeans! maybe you can try Get Karl, Oh Soo Jung! I first encountered the series when you mentioned it in one of your posts, I forget when, but I gave it a shot and I'm seriously in love with the series :) It's actually my favorite this season, the lead characters (especially oh soo jung's character) are quite refreshing, quite different from your standard k-drama characters. maybe you'll like it as well :)

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I agree with what you say about Lee Junki... I understand why people would favor him, but His recent drama, didn't interest me. It was hard to get past the first episode for me. Very empty feeling.

Even in my girl... it almost seems as if he's trying a little bit too hard.... poor soul, sometimes it doesn't seem natural enough...

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I recommend you to see “포도밭 그 사나이”(Grapery The Man, 2006).
It is different from any other dramas in Korea.
You must be fall in love with its environments and characters from episode 3.

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Like most of you guys I'm in between dramas after Coffee Prince. What other drama is worth watching...? I've considered 9 ends 2 outs, but I have doubts. How about MAWANG? Was it any good?

You give great insights javabeans hope to hear more of them. ^_^

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I think not only the scenes from various dramas replicate each other, the roles seems to be duplicating themselves too!! I think the k-directors seem to tell the actors/actresses what to do instead of giving them room to inject individuality in the the roles. Hence the mannerisms, gestures of the characters in the k-dramas seem to be typical, almost like they are following a protocol. I really enjoy kdramas but I do wish they move away from the the typical 2 men-2 women love relationships. *Yawns*

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I enjoyed the first 5-6 episodes of Green Rose a lot. The first episode drew me in immediately and I marathoned 6 episodes at one go. Gripping stuff, especially the scenes that were shot abroad. But after the promising opening, the series began to drag. Go Soo's acting was also uneven; there were many scenes where I wished he would be less impassive. Honestly he seemed so wooden at times! I like Lee Da Hae better in GR than in My Girl; her serious roles appeal to me more. But my favorite GR character was the baddie.^^ Overall GR is pretty neat stuff, not as good as Resurrection in my opinion, but certainly a very watchable drama and far better than a lot of the nonsense out there.

Time of Dog and Wolf. The first episode was boring. And I agree with you about Lee Jun Ki's overacting in the early episodes. Even as a fan, I wished he didn't look so intense and outraged in the emotionally-charged scenes. The plot also seemed too farfetched at times. BUT... as the drama progressed, the little things that annoyed me at the beginning didn't seem to matter. I was sucked into the intrigue, the suspense, the heart-stopping plot twists and turns. Midway into the series was where I fell hard for Junki's character, where he seemed to really settle into his role and become one with Lee Soo Hyun/Kay. It's hard for me to think of him as Jeong Woo in My Girl; his acting there is nothing compared to what he's doing in TODAW. Although I enjoy light and funny fare, my favorite dramas have always been those that made me feel a deep sense of heartache for the characters (usually the male lead, oops!). Despite its thrilling action scenes, TODAW resonates with me because of its emotional depth. And, unlike Green Rose (at least to me), TODAW gets better and better with each episode. It's one of the better dramas of 2007. And yes, I'm officially a TODAW addict.^^

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you know what i do when there aren't any good korean dramas out there?
i go japanese.
doramas always have something good going on

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I think Nam Sang Mi is so adorable as well, which is why I watch Bad Family (after having watched Sweet Spy). Have you seen it yet? It's pretty funny, and the characters are generally well-played as well (especially one of Nam Sang Mi's little brothers and Hyun Young--you know, that woman with the weird, high-pitched voice). I highly recommend if you haven't seen it yet.

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Interesting post, javabeans. Enjoyed reading it very much. I do notice a tendency in korean pop culture to recycle things over and over again. Its *very* annoying. But then I guess in any type of pop culture, you've got to look for the good stuff. And its definitely there as far as k-dramas go.

Anyways, with your drama sampling these days, why don't you give Alone in Love a try like you've been meaning to? After reading that you were thinking about watching Alone in Love, I decided to give it a try myself, since it wasn't the first time I'd heard people say Alone in Love is really good. The first three episodes were incredibly slow and I basically yawned through them. Then a scene towards the latter half of episode four completely caught me off guard like a right hook I never saw coming by reducing me to a touched, sniffling mess. Then the next two episodes made a turn for the incredibly bittersweet and painful, and I was officially an Alone in Love fan XD. The humor is worth commenting on too. Sometimes its so deadpan--think Ran taking out her kimchee from an empty morgue fridge-- that it might take you a second or two to realize what you just saw was really funny. And at other times you might begin to laugh, only to realize a second later that what you just saw wasn't funny at all, but incredibly sad and painful.

With trendy dramas and melodramas like Coffee Prince, MISA, My Girl, Hana Yori Dango, etc, you get the sense that the producers are very aware of the audience. You know exactly when the producers wants you to cry, laugh, and sympathize with or hate the character. And thats not a bad thing if they have the skills to make you react the way they want you to. Alone in Love is the kind of drama where you know the producers are aware of their audience (cause it wouldn't be so good otherwise), but they don't show it. In well-done trendy dramas, you laugh knowing its supposed to be funny; in Alone in Love you laugh because it just is. Its like the difference between make up thats obvious but skillfully applied and make up thats applied so skillfully you don't realize its there. In the former you admire what the makeup does; in the latter you admire the thing that wears it.

I would love it if you gave Alone in Love a try. It takes patience to get into it, but when you do its rewarding. The frosting is there (the drama looks fantastic aesthetically) and the substance is there (flawed, hurting characters that drive the storyline with dry wit, humor, and their own respective brand of idiocy). The drama could definitely use more exposure, and while a handful of people have talked about it with lots of insight and depth, it hasn't nearly been talked about enough. And I get the sense that with this kind of drama, it'll be a long time before everything that can be said about it has been said.

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I actually agree with you a/b Lee Junki. I really don't understand his appeal, but perhaps I'm too westernized in thinking that men should be muscular and "manly." He somehow give me this sense of weak and sensitive, even if he plays an over the top man-man role, such as Time of Dog and Wolf. Newho, i'm also lacklustre with the recent dramas, but one that I'm really beginning to like is 9 ends 2 outs. It kind of reminds me of the lay-back, fantasy-like, world of Coffee Prince, and nothing beats a long school/work day with a cup of light sugary happiness.

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I agreed with you about acting in My girl. I think LDW has done a great job. His acting was good, natural and so caring. I like that drama because of him not LJK. ^^.
I think you shoul try 9 outs 2 ins as I read that you enjoyed "Soulmate". I think this drama is realistic and fun as well.
Enjoy reading your blog everyday!!

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#34 Si 's description of Alone in Love....I love the description and examples given. Thoughtful! I am also in the midst of Alone in Love and hope to appreciate it till the end.

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I hope you can hang on to TODAW, I've found difficulty in digesting the 1st episode as well. But, like many popular opinion out there, once you got over the 1st episode, TODAW is really quite good. The plot & storyline is very interesting and keeps you on your toes. I felt that Jun Ki had justified himself from his My Girl Days. Go watch it!

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I hear that TIME OF DOG AND WOLF gets really addicting after 6th episode. I'm waiting until the series ends so I won't have to go through what I've gone through while watching CP. I thought the first scene of I AM SAM was really bad too. I couldn't believe they decided to put someone who was trying acting in drama/movie for the first time in the first scene, not that his acting was bad. That scene was just really boring and it made me want to stop watching it completely, but I'm a YDG fan so I'm still watching it. It's actually gotten better since. I was worried about the show because of all the new faces, but they have not disappointed me yet. I'm especially becoming more and more fond of the bin-trio. They're so cute & funny!

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#34 si: Yes! Another person with similar sentiments regarding Alone In Love! I love this series. While Coffee Prince impressed me with its notable soundtrack, Alone in Love left me in awe many times from its visually stunning screen compositions. It does not scream for notice yet its subtlleness is amazingly effective when is viewed in hindsights. Coffee Prince often is regarded as a coming-of-age story of young people and their first love. Alone In Love explores the same theme of personal growth in a more adult setting. The drama focuses on the characters' simple daily life, the potholes of miscommunication and the beauty of second chances. Alone In Love is not melodramatic, has no unimaginable plots and no far-fetched colorful characters. Perhaps that is its charm; it is as real as you can get. The music is haunting, fragile and touching- just like the characters themselves. The matured and sophisticated performances matched the witty and intelligent script. Alone In Love has a big screen atmosphere and it is filmed/directed in the same vein. Yes, it tells the story in a languid pace, thus may not appeal to some. But for those who would like to experience a different type of drama, it promises to leave them thoroughly affected at the end. So javabeans, please consider giving this honest and unpretentious drama a trial. This fine piece of drama is as far removed from the typical cliched K-dramas as you can get.

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I was in the same predicament too, of finding a new drama to watch which i really like. I'm currently watching 9 End 2 Outs and I quite like it but don't love it. So after Coffee Prince I watched Capital Scandal which I really enjoyed and found all 4 leads as compelling as each other which pretty much never happens for me.
Anyway at the moment I've decided to finally unearth Queen of the Game which I downloaded last year and never got round to viewing, the only reason I started now was I watched 200 Pounds Beauty and fell in love with Joo Jin Mo, so checked around for his other stuff. If you haven't watched this then give it a go. I love it!! Like Green Rose (which I really enjoyed) it's a revenge drama, but I think the relationships are a lot more compelling and Joo Jin Mo is a total bastard in this, but you still love him anyway.
I also fail to understand the hysteria over Lee JunKi, he does less than nothing for me.

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Like everyone else, CP withdrawal is all we have going right now. I'm on my second helping! Thankfully, I haven't finished Bad Couple and Flowers For My Life; so I still have those to keep me busy.
Thanks for your summaries!

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I've watched the whole series of Green Rose, I love the music and when I started watching it I feel like I have to finish it so I did....and it was....eventhough....
haha...i'll leave the rest up to you if you'll like it or not...

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wow, CP withdrawal huh?

i have to say that after CP i haven't bothered to watch anything again.. nothing stands out as of the moment and i refuse to "waste" my time hehe..

i've seen GR too, while it didn't really gripped me like CP, i thought it was ok (considering that i'm not really into action/dramatic series).. i watched it for LDH but in the end, i was most impressed by Go Soo, i think he was a good actor, he certainly made me cry :(

so while i probably won't be reading your summaries on GR, i wish you'll find it satisfying if u ever decide to blog on it :)

ps, will u still finish Hello Franceska? - note: no pressure --

thanks javabeans! i still come to your site everyday to check on your wonderful writing :)

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girl, you need to give Time of Dog and Wolf another try.

I am not a fan of any of the cast members. I too thought Lee Jun Ki was annoying in My Girl. The second male lead was freaking annoying in I'm Sorry, I Love You...and i have never seen the lead actress before. However....once you get past the first episode, which i will admit it is REALLY hard to get through (but unfortunately it is important as it sets the foundation for the rest of the drama), the drama becomes one of those that you just can't stop watching...It pulls you in and you just want to know what will happen next. There seems to be a lot of people who gave up or were about to give up after the first episode but decided to give it another try and are now addicted to it..haha :D

i think that out of all the action dramas that i have seen, this is the best one. It is very enjoyable to watch even though the plot might not be as original as we would like it to be. I just finished ep 13 and man is it good.

Try giving it another try. I promise you that the story will pick up the pace. This is actually a drama that does not drag AT ALL. Everything happens so fast after the first couple of episodes but without jeopardizing the execution of the plot. I think Lee Jun Ki is doing a WAAAAAY better job here than in My Girl, and so is the other guy.

And i agree that there is not much chemistry between the two leads but i think that is because this is more of an action drama than romance. The romance factor is very subtle. Normaly i am more into romance dramas and so i did not think i would like this, but after watching the Devil, it opened my eyes to other possibilities :D Just like in Ressurection and The Devil, the romance factor plays a smaller role in TODW...

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Personally, I was originally quite disposed to thinking a lot of Lee Jun Ki's acting after watching his turn in The King and the Clown (2005), and I have yet to see any of his (weepy?) K dramas. However I totally agree with you on the ????? moments in Time Between Dog and Wolf, where everything in the first ep felt out of context. I suppose that was to whet the appetite for what lay ahead, it just left me with a raised eyebrow and completely turned off. The opening sequence, coupled with the fact that the main characters look waaaay too young to be playing NIS agents with that level of experience (it may be worth it to suspend disbelief however) were so wtf? to me that i could not even finish watching.
What I can't believe is that you beat me to the punch on Green Rose! Aaaagh! I was originally intrigued by the premise as it seems to leans more towards action less of the woe-is-me attitude, fingers crossed . Putting my unfounded tinsy bit of green envy aside, if you could kindly point me towards a clubbox (no seeds on d-addicts) it would be much appreciated.
I would usually deal with CP withdrawal by watching Eureka, Monk & The Daily Show, but alas, American TV is on hiatus (all of them, @ the same freaking time...) so tried a C-Drama, Why, Why Love but the common thread with the previous 3 I've watched so far is that the guys are cool, calm, collected while the girls are some seriously desperate human beings. They tend to be overacted and use silly audio effects *blech*, but desperate times and all that.

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Too bad you're not into jdrama, or I'd definitely recommend you Nodame Cantabile.

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I agreed with Ange. Nodame Cantabile is hilarious.. I enjoyed watching it a lot.. ^^..
I think you should try watching 9 outs 2 ins and Capital Scandal. These scripts were well-written..

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Firstly, a big thank you to you, Javabean, for being such a great resource during my CP fever from I'm yet to be totally recovered from .... like many others here!!

I'd strongly support what others have said about Alone in Love. It indeed changed my view on k-drama. I'm surprised by the maturity and sophistication displayed in this high quality drama - offbeat but not without humour. Its quiet depiction of how relationship might go wrong or succeed is mersmerising. The total production value is impressive from its cinematography. set design to music - I particularly like its urbane feel that is not commonly found in Kdrama. The acting by the lead and side characters are universally good. A 4.5/5 star drama to me!

Another one that I'd recommend is Surgeon Bong Dal Hee which I saw about a month ago. This could be said as Kdrama's answer to Grey's Anatomy. I like the main leads and their slow burn chemistry. I'm very disappointed that there is no discussion of this drama at all in any of the usual forum. Hope you could give it a try.

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"CP Addict Withdrawal Syndrome is a malady affecting all Coffee Prince's (Kdrama) addicts that after watching the Last Cup left them with a mixed emotions of joy, bereftness, sadness and listlessness."
I coined this after my friend ask me why do I look so low yet smiling and wearing a faraway look. She hasn't seen Coffee Prince yet so she wouldn't understand. But it made her intrigued. Feel free to edit/add or modify using the Coffee Prince's way. I think that it is one of the worth mentioning part of the series(aside from the chestnut one,the hug, the kiss, in the beach) when they try to describe what is being Eun chan/ Han Gyul.

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