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Dramabeans Podcast #34

New podcast! Today things are a bit shorter than they’ve been in recent editions, partly because we didn’t wait as long to let dramas pile up on our plate, and partly because we had some technical difficulties that we didn’t catch until we finished recording, which led to us having to cut a bit of discussion out. We’d originally included Fantastic and Drinking Solo in the podcast, but sadly it was not to be — though we’ll be sure to talk about them next time!

So here’s what we’ve got today…

Podcast #34

Running time: 49:18

 
Topics and dramas discussed:

  • W: What we thought of the ending, the world, the writing, and the drama as a whole
  • Cinderella and the Four Knights: The tone, the cast, what we find cute and enjoyable and what we find lacking (10:00)
  • Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: What’s good about it, what’s bad, the problematic directing, and what we dearly wish were better (19:12)
  • Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: Why this show makes us happy and what works for it (32:48)
  • Jealousy Incarnate: They cute relationships, the petty jealousies, and the sitcom feel (41:30)

 

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Songs Used in Podcast (In order of use)

“웃어도 될까요” (May I laugh) from the Drinking Solo OST
“Title of W” from the W OST
“고백” (Confession) from the Cinderella and the Four Knights OST
“I Believe” by Younha from the Cinderella and the Four Knights OST
“내 마음 들리나요” (Do You Hear My Heart) by Epik High from the Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo OST
“그리워 그리워서” (Because I Miss You) by Beige from the Moonlight Drawn By Clouds OST
“UFO 타고 왔니” (Did You Come Here on a UFO) from the Jealousy Incarnate OST
“구르미 그린 달빛” (Moonlight Drawn By Clouds) by Gummy from the Moonlight Drawn By Clouds OST

 
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Thank you for the podcast.

I love MLSHR so much with all of its flaws! My only complaint is there is not enough LJK; more of him would have been awesome! I'm okay with IU's acting as well and thought that she did a good job in episode 11.

The editing and directing bothered me the first week but once I got hooked, I overlooked those.

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Ditto.

And this week's episodes were the best so far.

I like Moon Lovers more than Moonlight.

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Ditto
Like LJK & IU

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I love IU in Moon Lovers, but I also couldn't stop thinking what her look was supposed to mean at the end of that episode.
Fantastic has a nice quote about acting with your eyes: http://kdramafeed.tumblr.com/post/149878517373/what-am-i-supposed-to-do

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No Shopping King Louie, though. It's okay, i'll wait for it in the next podcast... Thank you! Now off to download :-D

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I like Shopping King Louie too. I still have to watch episodes 2-4.

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Well, the thing with Baekhyun, it's also like that in real life. He tends to do over-the-top cutesy acts like those in the drama, and he comes of as fake to many people. Not for me, though, since i'm his fan. lol. But i totally understand why people are annoyed by that. He really should just stick to singing only.

About Jo Jung-seok's body gag, i think it maybe comes from his experience as a musical actor? He's done tons of musicals before starting to act on dramas, right? He's also good with expressions.

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Me too ..I'll wait for next prodcast

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Moon Lovers comment: On IU's acting, I think that was So's interpretation of her gaze, not necessarily what she was thinking. Though I do think that her gaze was meant to be ambiguous.

It's hard though, Lee Jun Ki is so amazing he blows everyone out of the water.

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Yes, I agree with you. I thought she didn't pity him; So just felt that she was pitying him, but regardless, IU could have more range.

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I will heartily agree that her gazes are ambiguous. But then, I'm on the other side of the fence - episode 11 was the first time I thought she did well, rather than barely tolerable. I think it was because it was a more active episode for her, and she uses her body quite well. It is her face that is the problem, since she can't seem to infuse it with much more than a big smile or an occasional tear. Please, no more closeups; there's nothing to see there, so let's just move on.

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Look I think she's doing well and she's very beautiful. I don't think the writing does her any favours in the smarts department and the drama as a whole can't seem to find it's footing in terms of using her to find it's throughline but I actually really like IU. Now that we're past the Wook phase (please god) and we might have finally married our versions together everything seems to be kicking into gear.

I think if we get on with the stuff we're interested in (Wang So) things'll be great.

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Her face is definitely NOT the problem, anyone who's seen Producer will know that.

I'm pretty indifferent to whatever she does outside of acting, but IU is no Suzy - she's capable of emoting and of actually bringing nuance to a character when allowed to do so. Here, she very rarely was.

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The writing is not doing her any favors at all. It's terrible and inconsistent. What's a girl going to do with that? Might as well say....swim or sink IU.

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I just cracked up on how Girlfriday and Javabeans described the actress playing Hye-ji in Cinderella. "wooden"

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The actress is being heavily defended over on the soompi forum. It makes it hard to talk about. I do feel kind of guilty about it but I have to agree. Wooden.

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A petulant, unhappy sort of wooden but yeah...wooden.

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For me it's like she has the ability to suck all the energy out of a scene. And the recent car scene made me realise that if I hadn't come to dislike her so much (to the point of aversion) I could come to like that kind of cuteness. But I just want to fast forward past her petulant face.

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A real life Dementor? Go get me Harry Potter's wand stat!

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Soompi will defend anything with a pulse especially if it's an idol.

I've not watched C4K but I did see that actress, such as she is, in Twenty Years Old Again, and Lord did she suck all the energy out of scenes. And she's just the maddening kind of wooden that seems more concerned with looking pretty onscreen than with actually portraying her character.

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My garage door has more emotions than Hye Ji.

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Jung Il Woo's nest of a hairdo has more life than Hye Ji.

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So glad that they complimented Jung Joon-Young's W OST! It heightened my love for the show at the start too because I'm a fan and it was a great OST for the drama too

Rather worried about his controversy now though because he is suffering a lot of repercussions although the issue shouldn't have been as blown up as it is now :(

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Speaking of OST's, if there's 1 show that did their OST right, the award and recognition should definitely go to Jealousy Incarnate. By far, this show has the best OST among the dramas that came out this year.

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Yeah, I agree! All the songs in that show are instantly likeable! They will be playing in your head even after the episode ends.

I wanted girlfriday to keep on describing more scenes from jealousy incarnate to javabeans, because it was so fun to hear! I would have loved to hear their thoughts on fantastic too, but there is always next time!

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I have to agree with you on this, totally right. I love the OST and all the feels the songs give, they match the mood and the tone of the show so perfectly.

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I'm addicted to the 'Step Step' song but they're all pretty good! I do really enjoy the music.

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Step, step, where do we go now...?

Love it.

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It keeps playing in my head. Hahaha. Last Song Syndrome, here we go!?

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The song that came in the recent episodes with the english lyrics "when I cry, when I smile, will my life still go on?" Is also pretty good.

I am trying to download it, but can't find it anywhere.

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Song is called "Bye, Autumn" by saltnpaper, it's on Youtube but not on Spotify.

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YES I love all the OSTs from Jealousy Incarnate. They are really good to listen to while studying as well!

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Javabeans, I believe that was her, said the magic words about Moonlight. That the team knows how long to linger.

PD and team know how to take advantage of the cast's abilities. And I'm grateful for it. Yes, give me more pauses, give me more lingering, give me more micro expressions. And give me more beautiful wide shots and sunsets.

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Also, I still get shocked every time I realize that this is from the same team as School 2015. I am really tempted to give that drama a second chance to see if that is executed as well as Moonlight.

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That drama definitely had an addictive factor, and although some actors were rather green, it still served to be an enjoyable watch, and you would find yourself easily rooting for the characters

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My problem was the lack of use of the twin advantage. Two guys, two girls - the maths work!

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I agree, I appreciate the drama the more I remember about it, and I watched not because I want them to know the cliffhanger or something but to see if they are doing okay, to be in the journey together,

and I really like the background and the costume

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I love moon lovers, lee jun ki's acting just need no words, his gaze is just so cool, so handsome, so emotional. He is so handsome and I think I'm in love with him. ?? I wondered why he always pick historical drama but now, I think I know why. He really know how to be charming. He know how to give soul in his chatacter.

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"How can OSM be so famous but such a shitty writer?"
Ummm...KES anyone? ?

Cinderella...let's just say I'm very glad it's ending tomorrow.

I assume this podcast was recorded prior to this week's episodes since Ep.11 of ML was nearly perfect on all levels though I'm still wary if it's really the turning point. We shall see next week. Despite the good episode I still think KKT's directing style just doesn't fit sageuk. By the way, is the hate towards IU still the same after Ep. 11?

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sometimes I wonder if ML's actors watch the episodes and just get so angry at how everything turned out production wise lol. I can imagine LJK being so furious that a project he put so much effort and hard work into went to the shits because of a shitty editing and directing team. I mean, the whole drama was hyped up so much, the entire cast was probably thinking they hit the jackpot with this gig, and now have to watch it fall apart. Though I suppose what viewers they lost in Korea they won threefold overseas so it's not so bad.

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I do too. But you know before the drama started I read interviews where Lee Jun Ki praised Baekhyun's acting and the Director (Producer?) raved about IU's 'brilliance' so either they weren't seeing what we're seeing or everyone drank the Kool Aid on set. Honestly when we get the younger princes on screen I can't help but think that the studio pressured the producers to put in more Baekhyun and the only way to somehow temper that trainwreck was to make Ji Soo act like a fool.

But I do love 13th, 4th and Soo friendship circles. Love Lee Jun Ki. I'm so glad the political stuff is starting to happen. I think the rest of it is going to be a blast.

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This is my first time listening to the podcast, I just wanted to hear more thoughts about Moonlight so I jumped on this. I hate to agree that Kim Yoo-jung, despite being Park Bo-gum's sunbae, is really less awesome that Park Bo-gum, the casts as a whole are awesome and wonderfully integrated, but I wish we can see more micro expressions from Kim Yoo-jung, or maybe Park Bo-gum already set the bar too high. I do appreciate though that they complement each other so well as a couple in the show. And we could definitely all agree that there are so much pretty faces in moonlight, I could just stare at them all the time.

On the topic of being great on gut feelings and linger, I do agree that Moonlight team does it better than any shows I've watched before. Especially in a recent scene where the fight scene were done in swift motions, but we linger a bit on the moment where Yoon-sung grabbed the incoming scene and twist it away from Yeong, and we also linger a bit on Yeong's reaction. Perfect. And it lands more impact with us.

And I absolutely love all the OSTs. Just maybe not "Love is Over", maybe after the show is over? But now I'm not loving that one bit.

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"there are so many* pretty faces in moonlight"

"Especially in a recent episode* where the fight scene were done in a* swift motion, but we linger a bit on the moment where Yoon-sung grabbed the incoming sword* and twist it away"

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"Less is more" and she is one of those actors that can do that well. She doesn't need to micro-exp to get her point across. I can always tell what she is trying to convey and I appreciate the fact that she is not acting like her leading man.
She has her own style and she is maturing into a lead actress with great control. That is what film actors are great at. You don't see method acting from Song Kang Ho, Choi Min-soo etc. It's always less but raw.
She is not quite there yet but she is still young but she has that raw talent to get there.

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Maybe that's why most movies don't move me, I'm a little big on expressions because they convey a lot things. Not that I'm depreciating Kim Yoo-jung's acting, because I can understand what she's feeling too, and I love this little expression she has on her face every time she's about to burst into tears but hold it in, it's just that I'm feeling that tiiiiiny regret? (asswieum) Well, she's still young and maturing, I hope to see more of her in the future, but I really like her in sageuk.

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Totally understand your preference and some dramas need that. I don't think drama fans care much about Jeon Do-yeon over Go Hyun-jung for the same reason. It's the opposite when it comes to movie fans. Jeon Do-yeon is the queen of the silver screen.

Bo-gum and Yoo-jung different styles is working well here. She is grounded and he is very expressive and when they meet in the middle it's total greatness.

Bo-gum is such a gentleman and you can feel it during the romantic scenes. He is as protective of her as much the k-netizens and her uni(s). He is acting all cute along with her until the kiss then he gets all manly <3.
Can we just call him Park Bo-yum. OK I'm done lol.

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@Kiara

I agree with you here! 1 actor with exceptional micro-expression ability is good enough, imagine if there were more of the same in the same drama. I think it would be over-doing it - unless the drama was going for deliberate slap-stick or OTT-ness.

I think that Kim Yoo Jung's acting is a perfect foil to Park Bo Gum's in Moonlight. She is definitely not wooden, but she comes across grounded, real and relatable. As you, JB and GF mentioned, we never have to wonder what she is thinking or feeling because she expresses it so well. Her eyes and her face emote brilliantly, in an under-stated but powerful way.

I've always been a huge fan of her since her Dong Yi days and she was the reason I even watched Moonlight (I did not know who PBG was before then, can you believe it!). And Kim Yoo Jung has not disappointed me at all. She has nailed all her scenes, and I think she complements and matches PBG very well.

She also has great chemistry, not only with PBG, but with the other cast members, and she brings her character to life in a real and relatable way - we feel what she feels, and are always in the moment with her. Personally, I think that is already an amazing achievement as this is not an easy thing to do even for seasoned actresses. I believe she will only continue to grow and mature as a marvellous actress, and I will continue to follow and monitor her projects.

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"I think that Kim Yoo Jung’s acting is a perfect foil to Park Bo Gum’s in Moonlight."

I totally agree.

Her sageuk experience is really showing here, she never forgets her place. She behaves appropriately when she is Sam Nom, when she is eunuch Hong and when she is Ra-on.

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Absolutely. Kim Yoo Jung is a powerhouse actress, especially for her age. Her characters are consistent, real, emotive and relatable. As you pointed out, they behave in realistic ways in their various guises, and the techniques she employs to distinguish them i.e. lower voice pitch, different body stance, different behavioural patterns and mannerisms, etc, are in line with the character she is portraying, or at least gives them a sense of realism and relatability.

She may not have PBG's arsenal of myriad facial expressions but that does not make her characters less emotive, less evocative, less real or less relatable.

Definitely a different approach to acting, like Cha Seong Won vs Gong Hyo Jin in The Greatest Love, but the combination is sparky and sizzles with chemistry and zip!

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I think that Ra On requires to convey depth while Lee Yeong more diversity and actor's just great at it respectfully. They complement each other.

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Thank you Kiara <3 When you get to the level of Song Kang-ho, it doesn't even feel like acting anymore. It feels like a real person, with real emotions. All the technique in the world won't get you there. I honestly don't get why micro-expressions are so talked up, because they often feel mechanical and unnecessary.

Kim Yoo-jung doesn't need to Act and contort her face as every little detail hits her. Haven't seen Moonlight so I can't comment there, but anyone who's seen her better work (Flames of Ambition for ex) knows exactly how raw and powerful her performances can get.

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I think characterization and timing is decisive points for micro-expressions to sit well. If it's used for impact only that's no good. I like it when it enables me too see shift of emotions or train of thoughts with every word uttered by someone a character simply listening to at the moment. Or when a character makes effort to dissemble but real emotions slips at some point. KYJ too does this particular one actually ^^

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I see what you mean :) I just hear the term held up as the gold standard so much lately I wanted to push back against it a little haha. (It kind of feels like the drama version of microaggressions in anthro and sociology lol--it's not that I don't think they exist or aren't important, just that there's a much bigger picture.)

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@juniper

Yeong is not the traditional sageuk prince that we are used to. Moonlight is really going for the youth rom.com with less politics so it's fun and light hearted.

He is not stuck in a cold arranged marriage (yet). His character is open and expressive (more modern than the usual). He's in love with his crossdressing eunuch and they are together a lot so he has to be creative here or it'll get boring really fast.

I'm terrible at this so I don't know if it makes any sense.

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Yeah, I don't know how to judge performances in something like moonlight lol, because it's not like the weight of history rests on their performance. The roles don't require gravitas and a lot of the time actors have to ham it up (and if they start to take it too seriously we can end up with a disaster like Kim Soo-hyun in METS). I'd never want to see him in a grown up sageuk, but pbg is very charming and I bet he's very watchable in moonlight. I really should watch it before I talk about it anymore lol.

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You got it without even watching it :).

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@juniper

You're right, micro-expressions are not the be-all and end-all in terms of acting prowess. The ability to bring out a character's emotions and personality so that they are incredibly real and relatable to the audience is absolutely key to good acting.

But it is also undeniable that the ability to showcase various expressions which highlight the character's emotions and thought-processes, especially during moment of silence or in absence of speech, only elevates the level of acting. It gives it added depth and breath to the performance.

Of course, over-doing it would also ruin the performance, so it is a fine line to tread. Good actors have to balance this well.

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I still remember her from the Chaser with all these big movie talents. She was in a couple of scenes with Kim Yoon-seok of all people and this little girl at at 8yrs held her own.

If I get to see Han Ye-ri or Kim Yoo-jung in a project once a year I'd be so happy.

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She's one of the few actors/actresses I feel super protective of lol. I just want her to get adult roles in serious projects so everyone can see how special her talent is. I really hope what happened to Moon Geun-young doesn't happen to her.

Han Ye-ri is someone I never expected to be successful in dramas so I feel like we've been spoiled big time by seeing her star in the best drama of the year lol. I hope she keeps coming back in between movies :)

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I feel for Moon Geun-young. She has so much talent and have been wasted in many mediocre to bad dramas.
I don't understand why she just stopped doing movies after "Love me Not" She could've done dramas between movies.
Her chance of getting a decent project in Chungmuro is much higher than dramaland.

I do hope that this doesn't happen to Kim Yoo-jung. There is not a lot of actresses to match the male dominant in the film industry.

I'm sure Han Ye-ri will come back for writer Park Yeon-sun if she has a project for her.

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KYJ's range of expression may be a tiny bit less compared to PBG, but I also don't think it is necessarily bad. I like that PBG and KYJ have different approach to their acting. In fact, it makes them even more amazing as actors because even with different style and approach to their acting, when they come onscreen together, they harmonize so well.

I've seen other actors who act together onscreen and instead of complementing each other's acting, the difference in acting range becomes magnified. I don't see it in PBG and KYJ as they are both delivering well with their characters.

Every time they are together, you see these two young but super talented actors who complement each other's acting despite the gap in abilities. I think KYJ's vast experience in sageuk allowed her to nail every single scene she has despite her not being on the same level of expression as PBG.

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I was stressing out before it came out because they are so different but somehow they make it work.

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Agree with you on Kim Yoo Jung, Kiara!! I have been impressed with her since Moon Embraces the Sun. I am amazed also with how she can convey emotions that feel real, raw and how solid her control is. Recently, one of the scenes that moved me was the part where the CP was telling Ra On that he found her mom and you can see the myriad of emotions flash through her face - confusion, realization, disbelief, searching (CP's face), and eventually becoming hopeful, that what he was saying was indeed true ..wow. I cried with her after that.

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I did too <3.

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@wow
@juniper
@Celine

+1!
Concur and agree! We are fortunate that while both PBG and KYJ have different approach to acting, they both complement and match each other wonderfully well. In fact, I may go so far as to say that they even amplify and magnify each other's vibes so that emotions are heightened even more and we get so many FEELS from their scenes together! Whee!

I truly believe that in the hands of a different set of actors and actresses, we would not love Moonlight or be so absorbed in it as much as we are now. Hee hee...

And of course, the director and the production team must be given serious major props in how they tell the story, but since we are discussing acting ability here, I thought I'd focus on that.

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I disagree that Park Bo-gum is better than Kim Yoo-jung in any ways.
Although i have to say I saw this discussion coming a mile away. It's prevalent in this form over hyping the actors and putting the actress down.
I get this is a female dominated forum but the amount of dissatisfaction actresses gets is getting annoying, it doesn't matter if an actress improved or not "my so called oppaa/actor is way better and deserves a better actress".

Kim Yoo-Jung is hiding as an eunuch in a palace with no power, constantly worried she will be caught and penalty is death.
Whereas Park Bo-gum is a crown prince story revolves around him and what he wants, his character is in centre of it all. so obviously he can show more emotions and has more freedom to do what he wants.

It almost seems like Kim Yoo-Jung got short end of the stick. I wish for her next drama it will be more female centric.

I remember reading an interview by a veteran actor that it takes a great actor to let their co star shine and I think Kim Yoo-Jung is doing that, I doubly these characters would be so memorable if not for both KYJ PBY acting their parts well.

I used to love this Forum but now am disappointing at the viewers/commenters on this forum, and administrators too.

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Aww, I was not putting Kim Yoo-jung down, sorry if it sounds that way for you. I love her to death in Moonlight! I guess I phrased it wrong when I say that she's less awesome than Park Bo-gum. It's not that she's not good or anything, in fact she's superior in what she does, I was actually only talking about micro expression, which other people on this comment already answered. They have different styles, that's all. But they do complement each other well (which I also mentioned in my comment).

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Thanks for the podcast!

I was nodding all throughout the discussion about W. Such a shame. It was overly ambitious on the part of the writer, but she failed to deliver on the fundamental aspects of the plot. I've moved on. It'll be a good memory up until half of the drama.

I also have the same sentiments about Moon Lovers. I've realized that though I love LJK, the last drama of his that I finished was Two Weeks. All of his dramas after that I've dropped. I sincerely hope his next project will be a good one.

When Beige's song was played I got goosebumps. Her voice is just ughhhh amazing and that song just tugs my heart. My favorite type of show is the show that does everything right just like what JB and GF said about Moonlight. A show does not have to have an over the top plot or effects or star cast. As long as it delivers well on all fronts, I'm in.

JB and GF's laughter are so contagious! Thanks for the fun podcast!

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Jealousy Incarnate.

I don't know how JJS does what he does, but the more jealous and angry he gets, the more I laugh. He's just so good.

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Oh Yes. But my favourite scenes are when he's with Jung Won.

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Re: Park Bo Gum's acting & micro-expressions
Honestly, in all my years of drama watching, his facial expressions are one of the most varied and versatile I've seen in an actor. The muscle control, the various tics, shifts and movements, are truly exceptional - not many actors have this ability to do this, even if they wanted to, I believe.

Take for example smirks and winks and single eye-brow winks. Asymmetrical facial movements are probably one of the hardest to control and manage and honestly even among talent actors/ actresses, not many have the capability to do this. But Park Bo Gum is blessed in being able to not only perform these movements, but to also perform them in a controlled way so that we can clearly see the shifts from one facial expression to another.
It is honestly super-amazing and definitely exceptional.

Jo Jung Suk in Jealousy Incarnate is also amazing at this.

And I have to admit that while I have heard so much praise for Lee Jun Ki's acting ability, after watching Moon Lovers, I personally think that while his acting is definitely superior to all the rest of the cast members in that drama, his range of facial expressions is still nowhere close to Park Bo Gum's. Perhaps he is also restricted in terms of his character who is generally closed-off and supposed to be hard-to-read. But when you compare PBG's shifts in expression in serious scenes vs LJK's shifts in expressions in similar scenes, I personally think PBG's nuanced facial control is superior.

It is because of PBG's exceptional talent in this area that it would be a little unfair to benchmark others against him, I think. I personally think Kim Yoo Jung is doing a fantastic job as Hong Ra On, and she is certainly light years away from IU in terms of acting talent, but anybody would be hard-pressed to match PBG in the micro-expression department.

Just saying'! ^^

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*single eye-brow lifts, not winks. ^^

As someone who is absolutely useless in making any sort of asymmetrical facial movement, I really admire the mobility, versatility and facial contortions some people are able to do. I think it is worth observing that this has a lot to do with inborn talent (like JB's and GF's observations on a director's instinctive ability to know how to linger on a scene or stretch a moment in a drama for maximum effect), and not something which can be learned or practiced. And even if it is learn-able, it would still not look as natural or as effortless as someone born with that ability.

I have to admit that I did not know who PBG was until Moonlight - I watched it because of Kim Yoo Jung - but I have been blown away by his incredible acting ability here and find myself staring and re-winding a lot of his scenes just to see his micro-expressions. I have certifiably never done that for any other actor, it is crazy. And to think that I thought Hu Ge was amazing as Mei Changsu in Nirvana in Fire with his under-stated but brilliant acting... O_O

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Lol, eye-brow wink.

I agree with what you said about Lee Jun-ki when compared to Park Bo-gum, he does pale a little in comparison. That's just because Park Bo-gum literally have a thousand expressions on his face in a single scene. He wow-ed me in I Remember You before, but Moonlight definitely made him more memorable for me. I'll be sure to monitor his future projects.

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LOL, yes, silly typo! It would be hilarious to see an eye-brow wink!

I have not seen I Remember You (probably because I am a romance junkie and so 80% of my drama-watching tends to fall into this area), but I have heard a lot about PBG's acting in it. I plan to give it a try after Moonlight is over though I do think that Moonlight is probably a more stellar showcase of PBG's micro-expression ability because his character in Moonlight has so many different sides to him (bratty, cheeky, playful, caring, commanding, heart-broken, sad, troubled, serious, etc), it gives PBG loads of opportunity to display and demonstrate his mastery over facial expressions and movements.

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I Remember You will be worth it for the bromance between Seo In Guk and Park Bo Gum.

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You should definitely check out I Remember You, he had a tight bromance with Seo In-guk, I usually prefer romance too, but this one was an exception because the bromance was too good to pass. Every scene he had with Seo In-guk gutted me, so raw, so emotional. Even the scene where Seo In-guk was just drying his hair made me cried. He wasn't as expressive as he is in Moonlight, but he still made me feel a lot from his interaction with Seo In-guk, and he only had more scenes in the later part of the drama.

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@Lola
@maryxiah

Thank you for your kind recommendations and clarifications re: I Remember You.
I have heard about the incredible bromance in the series, but was hesitant to start because I am a complete coward when it comes to scary thrillers, psychopaths, crime-centric and ghost-centric dramas in general.
Oh My Ghostess and The Master's Sun were huge watches for me (had to gird the loins quite a bit to watch them, but in the end enjoyed them, thank goodness).
I will try the same i.e. gird my loins, for I Remember You, since so many people have been raving about it. Phew!

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I, too, highly recommend I Remember You! You will find your empathy for Park Bogum deeply problematic, friend. And somehow you will be pleased with it.

I Remember You is the drama that made me fell for Bogum Magic because he was so convincingly sadistic and utterly innocent at the same time. When I heard Park Bogum was casted as a silly baduk player, I was very surprised.

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Obviously you are a PBG's fan and that is why you feel everything he did is just right and on point. The same goes with me, I don't find PBG that super impressive and nowhere near the acting level of Lee Jun Ki. If you enjoy the drama, you can find 1001 reasons to rave about it and vice versa when you don't enjoy a drama.

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Firstly, if you have not already read in my other comments, I have not seen PBG act in any drama prior to Moonlight so I would not say I am a fan of his from the start.

As a result, I did not begin watching the drama with the intention and mind-set to praise PBG and only see all his strengths, and none of his flaws. So if this was your premise in writing your above comment, you are seriously mistaken.

I started this comment based on JB's and GF's comments in their podcast about PBG's incredibly expressive acting. I agreed with their comments, and wanted to share my own opinions why PBG is so good at what he does. If you don't like it, then please don't read it.

It's fine if you think PBG's acting is lacklustre and that LJK's acting is supernova - you're entitled to your opinion. I can't say that I share it though!

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@Sugarbaby, It's fine that you are a superfan of PBG's micro-expressions and range of facial expressions. However, it is really laughable to drag in LJK who is acting in a completely different role and character and compare and say stuff like: Quote "his range of facial expressions is still nowhere close to Park Bo Gum’s. But when you compare PBG’s shifts in expression in serious scenes vs LJK’s shifts in expressions in similar scenes, I personally think PBG’s nuanced facial control is superior. It is because of PBG’s exceptional talent in this area that it would be a little unfair to benchmark others against him". Uquote.

What I want to say is acting is not just all about micro-expressions, an actor doesn't need to contort his face into multiple ranges of micro-expressions for his audience to understand and feel what he is trying to convey to them and for them to connect with him. For me, LJK has done this very well. I suggest that you watch some real actors like Hwang Jung Min, Ha Jung Woo etc to see what real acting is all about, and it isn't about micro-expressions or contorting your face into as many expressions as possible.

As for KYJ, she is perfectly fine not contorting her face ala PBG to match him in the micro-expression department. Even with her understated acting, she's light years ahead of PBG in terms of acting talent.

And yes, it would be a little unfair to benchmark others against PBG, because honestly, he is definitely not yet at a level that is worth benchmarking against.

Sure, it's perfectly okay to share your own opinions why you think PBG is so good at what he does. As you say, if we don’t like it, then we don’t have to read it. Then, please don't drag in another actor to bash him to make you own bias to look better. You are forcing us to read your comment which we do not want to in the first place.

I'm glad that you agree that we are entitled to our own opinion, and yes, my opinion is that I don't share your opinion about LJK and PBG.

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@Livl

Fair enough. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

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Couple of weeks ago, I commented on LJK's and PBG's acting. Someone thought it was absurd that I placed PBG above LJK. Actually, I didn't mean it that way when I wrote that comment. However, it struck me afterwards that if I had to choose who's better, I'd have chosen PBG.

In a way, both have similar acting styles. I don't know how to word it but let's try...I think they rely on making certain expressions to act out their feelings. I have tried watching LJK in several dramas and by now, I know exactly what kind of expressions he is going to make for a certain scene. This is not uncommon. Most actors have their stock expressions, for a lack of a better phrase. The really good ones are those who are very natural, have little distinctive expressions and yet they can bring across whatever the character is supposed to convey. I think every actor has his own style but the rare good ones are able to get under their characters' skins and make you forget about the actor and see only the character.

As I was saying, PBG is similar to LJK but it's like PBG has 100 expressions and LJK has 10. I don't mean it literally of course. I just think PBG has so many minute facial expressions that he's quite a delight to watch. As Prince Yeong, he suits the character to tee. For more diverse and challenging roles ahead, I think he will also do well. He is already very good at bringing forth his emotions. Once he's able to forget about acting and get himself wholly into the character, I think he's going to be great indeed.

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YES! YES! YES! I know what you mean! *high five*

You're absolutely right in that most actors and actresses have a certain type of expression or a certain range of expressions that they use when they want to convey a certain emotion. It's not a bad thing - us normal human beings all tend to have a certain look for certain emotions too (think of our photos or even of our own friends!).

Your analogy of PBG having say, 100 expressions vs LJK's say 10, is pretty spot on. I think one of the main reasons why PBG is able to have 100 expressions, is because of the amazing mobility on his face.

For example, a frown can be:-
1) 2 eye-brows being drawn down; or
2) just a slight wrinkling of the forehead; or
3) the narrowing of the eyes; or
4) a small moue of the mouth; or
5) a combination of any of the above, etc.
A frown can be conveyed in so many minute ways, and somehow PBG is able to showcase so many variations of it from the little tweaks, tics and shifts in his face. It is really amazing, I don't know how else to put it.

His ability to perform asymmetrical facial movements also helps a lot because it adds depth, diversity and options to his myriad expressions. And not a lot of actors have this ability because sometimes you just have to be born with it.

Hence, in the micro-expression department, PBG is, for me, a clear winner.

It also helps that he emotes so well too - his eyes and his gazes are intense, electrifying and speak volumes. Add that to his beautiful facial structure and his good body proportion and I do believe that Park Bo Gum was truly made for acting.

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Of course, when you compare both talent, people will jump on the chance to comment and defend their bias. I wish people don't do that, but then again I do the same, so I can't expect them not to say anything.

Not to put down Lee Jun-ki but he hasn't impress me in anything. I'm watching Moon Lovers, but on the verge of dropping since Kang Ha-neul, my reason for watching has turned to the dark side, I thought Lee Jun-ki was superior enough in acting, just not that moving for me. I couldn't get his charm, but I guess I can't expect people to understand what charmed me about the bias I like.

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Hmm... I think comparisons are inevitable and, as you say, expected. And I personally don't see how that is wrong in and of itself, provided the commentary is done respectfully. It is when people start reacting in a raw, visceral way and abusing/ bullying others for having their own opinions which is really unacceptable. ^^

It is interesting to see and read everyone's little opinions on certain actors - thanks for sharing yours! I've only seen Kang Ha Neul when he was playing a teenage version of a character in Angel Eyes. He was really winsome in his role, it is quite the contrast to Wang Wook. Am glad that Kang Ha Neul is able to show and broaden his range here, despite the serious handicap of a bad production team. He is one of the heavy-lifters in Moon Lovers, for me.

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@maryxiah

Of course you can’t expect other people not to say anything when you yourself are doing the same. After all, we are all entitled to our opinion right? But, one good thing about fans of older actors is that we don't drag an actor to make our own bias look better. Maybe, this is something fans of younger actors like PBG could learn, as this is a social etiquette and manners that one should acquire on the net especially on friendly civil sites like DB.

BTW, not to put down PBG but he hasn’t impress me in anything. I was watching Moonlight, but have just dropped it because the story's starting to drag and bore me, and sadly I couldn’t get PBG's charm.

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I don't like comparing actors especially when the two dramas are so different in tone. Moonlight is light. Scarlet is a lot heavier and more serious.

Lee Jun-ki has been doing sageuks almost non-stop since he got out of the army. He knows what he is doing. Sageuk is not a genre that requires a ton of micro-expressions unless it's called for like Moonlight.
He doesn't need to do more unnecessary expressions than what he is doing right now. Anything more will be over-acting.

I don't see any similarities in their acting to be honest. He's at a different level of maturity and charm.

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True, Moonlight thrive in its small moments and quiet moments, where words are really unnecessary, that's why Park Bo-gum is nailing it with his micro expression. I can't say much for Moon Lovers, because I've been tuning out. I do hope people will stop comparing both dramas, and just focus on cheering for them on their own.

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I think in Moonlight, the Crown Prince character is written in a way which allows PBG to really shine by showing off his multitude and range, and PBG is really stepping up to the plate, which is why he is wow-ing the Moonlight audience so much.

I read in a fan-posted translated article that the original Crown Prince in the novel was actually a cold and aloof character, but the director and scriptwriter decided to adapt and change his character personality to be more playful and cheeky so that it fits better into the 'sweet youthful romance' sageuk premise which they wanted to portray. Genius idea, whoever thought of it!

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But regardless of how they've written the character, I think Park Bo-gum would have nailed it anyway. It's just that a cheeky young prince suits him best, and he has the best killer smile, it'd be a pity not to use it.

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@maryxiah

Haha, yes, I also do believe PBG would have nailed his Crown Prince character, however it was written. But I, for one, would probably not have been in so much awe, or be as fascinated with his acting ability, had I not seen how wide and varied his range was here in Moonlight. ^^

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@Kiara

I think comparing one person's work vis-a-vis another's is quite inevitable, especially in a thread/ post which actually promotes it/ kick-starts it. In JB and GF's podcast, you can hear them bring up comparisons between how 1 drama is produced vs another, or even how 1 actor is vs another.
There is nothing wrong with comparing and contrasting, when done respectfully. It is when people start taking things personally and react in raw, visceral ways which abuses/bullies/ mocks others for having differing opinions that are unacceptable.

The thing is, it is interesting you mentioned that Moon Lovers is a more heavier and serious sageuk. Granted, Moonlight is definitely on the light end of the scale (but then, it never promised to be otherwise anyway), but I personally felt that Moon Lovers kind of doesn't know where it wants to be in terms of sageuk tone. It is definitely cannot be categorised as a serious sageuk by any means - not when compared to say, 6FD or Dae Jang Geum or Yi San. But it can't be said to be light too...

Middle grounds are always going to invite ambiguity and puzzlement, and I am certainly one of those a bit puzzled by Moon Lovers. It is because of this that I find that acting in Moon Lovers to be patchy and inconsistent amongst all the actors.

Lee Jun Ki, sageuk veteran, certainly does act and carry his role with more gravitas and grounding of a sageuk actor but the other younger Princes certainly behave in more childish, non-saguek ways, pulling exaggerated facial expressions in many instances that PBG's micro-expressions in Moonlight look sedate and subtle by comparison.

This dichotomy/ discrepancy between the actors' portrayals of their characters unfortunately may invite comparisons, whether it is within the drama itself, or outside. Meaning, if the other younger Princes can be seen to be emoting with exaggerated facial expressions, then why can't LJK emote a bit more? I get that he is a serious sageuk actor, but in the context of Moon Lovers, I think he has more room to display more micro-expressions, because others in the drama are certainly doing the same.

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"If the other younger Princes can be seen to be emoting with exaggerated facial expressions, then why can’t LJK emote a bit more? I get that he is a serious sageuk actor, but in the context of Moon Lovers, I think he has more room to display more micro-expressions, because others in the drama are certainly doing the same."

The answer is very simple. If you have been truly watching Moon Lovers, then you would have realised that LJK's "emoting" is just right and enough for the audience to understand what he is feeling and thinking, and to connect with him.

It is exactly what Kiara said above "He doesn’t need to do more unnecessary expressions than what he is doing right now. Anything more will be over-acting."

Unless your preference is for him to "behave in more childish, non-saguek ways, pulling exaggerated facial expressions"?

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@Livi

Ah, here is where we have to agree to disagree.

Yours and Kiara's opinions (and probably a fair few others too) agree that LJK's emoting in ML is "just right and enough for the audience to understand what he is feeling and thinking, and to connect with him".

Here is where I respectfully disagree. I have been watching ML and there have been several occasions where I wondered what Wang So was thinking or feeling - I'm afraid it was not as obvious to me, and so felt that the emoting could have been improved on.

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@Suegarbaby,

Yes, I think we have to agree to disagree.

I also think that it is understandable that we may and can have different opinions on something as subjective as acting. Sometimes, I feel that what we read as an actor's expression is colored or influenced by our own perceptions of what we think the storyline is about or is going. For all we know, the actor meant to convey something else entirely, lol!

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@Suegarbaby

oh! I almost bought the whole thing - comparisons are ok as long as we do it respectfully, everyone has their own opinion, its a open civil platform, we can all agree to disagree etc etc ...

And then you had to go and say this:

"if the other younger Princes can be seen to be emoting with exaggerated facial expressions, then why can’t LJK emote a bit more? I get that he is a serious sageuk actor, but in the context of Moon Lovers, I think he has more room to display more micro-expressions, because others in the drama are certainly doing the same."

So now not only is PBG a better actor than him but also the other young ones in moonlovers, almost all who have been pulled up and criticized for their sub par acting. you were doing so well. The shading was couched in such pretty words, reasonable words. but alas! Well, there is always the next time.

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I really dislike the comparison for these two Moon dramas because it always ended up getting us into heated arguements.

Let me put in this way, it's because you enjoy Moonlight, that you find everything is so perfect esp PBG who takes the largest portion of the credits for the drama's success. Seriously, I watch Moonlight as well but I don't enjoy it as much as you do and while I find PBG as a decent actor, I am never that super impressed by him.

On the contrary, I love Moon Lovers and it's my serious drama addiction. Everything feels so right because it so happened that the drama hits all the right notes to me. And I am even more impressed with LJK and I find his performance is totally on a different level. I can rave so much on his performance because everything he did just tugged at my heartstrings.

My case here is that, even if you wish to elevate another actor of your preference, in this case is PBG, please do not thumb down another actor and in this case is LJK. What you see so great in PBG, may not be seen by others like me and the same with what I saw in LJK, you saw it differently.

You can choose 100 million words to praise PBG without even mentioning other actors. You just need to be sensitive that your comments may not sit well with others. What if I elevate LJK and saying less impressive things about PBG? I am sure you will jump in his defense because the bottomline is, we have different preference and perspective. Therefore, please be sensitive about others too.

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I appreciate your informing me that my comments may not sit well with others. I am sure there are many people on this site who don't agree with my assessment. And that is perfectly fine with me. We are all entitled to our own opinions, and this is an appropriate place to share them, which is what I am doing, with all due respect.

I'm not such a mad PBG fan to jump to his defence everytime someone slags him off - firstly, there is no point, and secondly, PBG doesn't need me to defend him - his own acting and performance speaks for itself.

If being sensitive to others means not even having the liberty of expressing an opinion in a post/ thread designed to do so (JB and GF were doing comparisons of their own in the podcast!), then I'm afraid we simply have to agree to disagree.

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I agree with you. I love LJK but PBG is the best when it comes to facial expression hands down. Next is JJS.

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Hehe, thanks! ^^

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I love your analysis on Park Bo Gum Acting 101. He's is simply so fascinating to watch on screen.

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You're most welcome!

I had not seen Park Bo Gum's acting until Moonlight, but I have been so blown away by his awesomeness that I started to wonder why... I've not been this fascinated by a person's acting and showcasing of emotions before even after years of drama-watching, so I starting thinking about what makes him stand out from the rest of the pack. Hence the little article on 'Park Bo Gum Acting 101', LOL! ^^

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I only watched PBG in Cantabile Tomorrow and thought he was okay -- very expressive and emotive (I think he cried a lot?) but wasn't particularly impressed. Then I watch Moonlight and was blown away by his acting -- either he's improved a lot or this is a case where the character just really showcases his talent. I agree with javabeans and girlfriday that Kim YooJung isn't quite as good as him. She's really, really talented, and while I can always feel what she's feeling -- she emotes really well, unlike Park Minyoung and Micky in SKKS, who always felt wooden and were giving the same expressions over and over -- because of the lingering shots in Moonlight, sometimes, just sometimes, when the camera lingers on her response to something the CP does, it feels like she has that same look of shock/surprise on her face -- when he kisses her as punishment, for example. Again, I still think she's fantastic and they obviously have great chemistry and complement each other, but because her expressions are less varied, it makes it harder for me to see Ra On as a more complex character, if that makes sense. And it doesn't help that the script keeps making her someone that the CP has to constantly rescue. I feel like if she could maybe vary her expressions just a bit more in those lingering shots or when she's responding to something he says, it would help us see Ra On with more complexity and more agency? Does that make sense. Again, this is a minor critique -- don't hate me! I adore this drama! :)

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P.S. I'll admit, in the past when I've watched sageuks I've never noticed the hanboks. I always thought they were just meh. But in Moonlight, I've noticed every single one, especially Yeong's and Yoonsung's -- the fabrics, the details, the texture, the color. So, so beautiful. PBG especially wears his so well!

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@Nao

Hey, no worries, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, why should I hate that? Haha, it's cool!

I can understand why you and JB and GF (and probably a few more other people) feel that Kim Yoo Jung's acting isn't on par with Park Bo Gum in Moonlight, because PBG is just so good with his expressive moments that they blow us out of the water. In contrast, KYJ's more understated acting makes her come across a bit blander.

It's understandable, but I wonder though if having another great micro-expressive actress (not that I can think of any at the moment!) opposite PBG will make the show better, or will it actually ruin it?

In some of the comments in the upper part of the thread (Comment #11), there was talk about getting a good balance. Balance is important as being too heavy-weight on 1 aspect/ area will make the show skewed and imbalanced, which may ruin it.

Quite a few people on Comment #11 agree that Kim Yoo Jung's more understated but emotional, realistic and relatable acting is a good balance to Park Bo Gum's more elaborate display (if I may use that description!). It's like yin and yang. KYJ is the lighter, more grounded 'yin' to PBG's heavier, stronger 'yang'. Of course, this is our opinion too, and of course others may disagree.

Re: Kim Yoo Jung's character being less complex
I think that is definitely true. Or rather, it is Park Bo Gum's Yeong which is more complex as he has to wear so many different hats i.e.
1) Crown Prince to a country,
2) Son to a (weak) father,
3) Brother to a sister,
4) Friend to a soldier (BY),
5) Master to a servant (Eunuch Jang),
6) Respectful younger to an elder (Royal Consort Park),
7) Cold acquaintance to an old friend (Yoon Sung), and finally
8) Lover to a cherished beloved (Ra On, of course).
Park Bo Gum has to show all those different sides of himself to us, and more, so it is not surprising that we find Yeong to be so much more fully fleshed out and complex and fascinating.

Hope that helps a little? ^^

Finally, on your comment on the hanboks, YES, LOVE THEM in Moonlight! Myself and a few others have been discussing this on other threads, can't get enough of the materials, the style, the colours and the designs! And the accessories too! Such eye-candy! *_*

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@Nao

re: hanboks

Yeong's hanboks were designed and made specifically for PBG. They are really beautiful. The designer had an interview and said that PBG gives off the aura that s/he was hoping to get from the clothes.

I originally thought they had ready-made set of wardrobe for him to wear in rotation. One of the things I look forward to in each episode is seeing a new hanbok on him and Yoonsung too. I love that we rarely get to see him repeat an outfit except for the blue robe. Oh and those hair accessories are unique as well. He has like 10 or so of those. I love the attention to details. You can check out eukybearlovesdrama website (I can't seem to post the link here) and search for Prince Lee Yeong fashion. You'll see a compilation of his hanboks and accessories. Also Yoonsung's and Raon's.

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On Kim Yoojung, I think she just has her strengths and weaknesses like everyone else. One of her greatest assets is her years of experience in sageuk, but that also gives her some kind of baggage: her acting is bound to mirror what she's been taught to do at a young age and what sageuk actors do (or used to do). Of course, Kim Yoojung has plenty of raw talents and she's very natural as the cheerful, bright and bold teenage heroine, but as a scared, lovelorn, saddened girl, she appears to be acting. She does that very well, but that is what's in the book. Of course, one can always improve over time and plenty of actresses have changed their acting styles completely.

Park Bogum is less experienced in sageuk, but he's better in the sense that he doesn't appear to play by the book. He's capable of delivering strong emotional impacts because his expressions appear instinctive. When his character is stabbed in the gut, the audience is gasping for air. I believe the success of the drama and the character Crown Prince is due to his absolutely believable portrayal.

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@Chiisan

Interesting take on the difference between KYJ's and PBG's acting - thanks for sharing.

Re: PBG in sageuks
The fact that PBG has little experience in sageuks prior to doing Moonlight, makes his outstanding performance as Crown Prince Yeong all the more incredible.

JB and GF mentioned his saguek speech, particularly the royal 'high' speech, and they said how they were so impressed with his articulation and intonation because not only did he nail it, but he made it sound like it trips off his tongue naturally and effortlessly. All I can say is... whoa!

The way PBG carries himself in hanbok is also something to note. A hanbok specialist even mentioned that PBG wears hanbok unlike any other actor in hanbok ever. PBG's posture, bearing and built, apparently really embodies the tone and the atmosphere the hanbok-maker was trying to express when designing and making them. That's a serious compliment from an industry expert, and I think even to our untrained eyes, PBG does wear his hanboks particularly well.
Score another unexpected plus for PBG's in saguek!

Considering PBG's inexperience in the genre, the fact that he's just killing it out there with his overall performance in so many areas, is quite quite phenomenal.

Consider me massively impressed.

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@Celine

Re: hanboks

Many thanks for sharing your findings on the costumes and accessories in Moonlight! It is so nice to have a fellow commenter who also has a keen and eager eye for these things.

I read that the hanbok-maker said that it takes a few months just to make a hanbok! Considering the number of new hanboks we have been seeing and admiring on Yeong and Yoon Sung, the hanbok-makers must be working massive overtime to churn then out. Am amazed and thankful for their hard work, but if they don't have enough time to make more for the rest of the episodes, I'm perfectly happy to see some of them being re-cycled. They are just too pretty to be used only once!

And since you pointed out the accessories, particularly Yeong's topknot-protector, I've been paying closer attention to that during my re-watches.

The care and dedication of the Moonlight team, even down to the costumes and accessories, is truly commendable. For all their sakes, I really hope Moonlight continues to be a great show and have lots of local support and love - goodness knows, they certainly worked hard and deserve it!

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@Chiisan

I respectfully disagree with these statements:

"but as a scared, lovelorn, saddened girl, she appears to be acting."

"I believe the success of the drama and the character Crown Prince is due to his absolutely believable portrayal."

Ironically, I find that it is her emotional scenes that struck a cord the most with me as a viewer. The emotions were very real to me and it did not feel like acting at all. The scene where she was reunited with her mother? I bawled with her. I was amazed by the numerous emotions I saw in her eyes as she took in what Yeong was saying, and how her eyes filled with tears in just a moment. How she uttered "omma" was heartbreaking. That scene still is one of the most memorable scenes of the drama so far for me. I was with her feeling all the emotions in episode 9 and episode 12 too. If played by anybody else, I doubt I would feel for Raon as much and probably would be annoyed in episode 9, but instead, I understood completely why Raon didn't accept Yeong's heart readily and I give credit to that to Yoojung's acting. I agree that she excels at the lighthearted portrayal, but I think she nails emotional scenes as well. I agree that she can still improve (as anybody else), but she has done a fantastic job in the drama, imo. I cry the most during her scenes.

Attributing the success of the drama to just Bogum is slowly becoming a pet peeve of mine. I love Bogum. I've watched and anticipated this drama for him and Yoojung, and I've watched him in Gaksital, Naeil's Cantabile, Hello Monster and Reply 1988. I agree that he is absolutely awesome as Yeong, but as JB and GF said, the success of this drama is due to the sum of the parts rather than just one person. Attributing the success to just one person is dismissing all the hard work of his co-stars and co-workers (directors, staff, writers) who have done very well on their own. Bogum is definitely not hard-carrying. All the people working around him are pulling their own weight. Have Bogum work with less skilled people would not bring the same success just like with the case of Lee Junki and Kim Haneul in Scarlet Heart.

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With all the nitpicking and slights Yoojung is getting, I sometimes wish I can peek into an alternate reality where she is not playing Raon just to see if the drama will be received as well as it is currently, because frankly, I do not see it doing so well as I can't see any other actress play Raon as well as Yoojung has so far. She is responsible for half of the chemistry every fan of the drama has been raving about, but her perfectly fine performance easily gets dismissed and nitpicked. I find her to be a better actress than a lot of the famous hallyu actresses and yet, her performance gets picked on just for having less micro expressions than Bogum. Is having more micro expressions the new standard for good acting nowadays? Is making the audience feel for the character not enough to be acknowledged, complimented...

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@ia

Thank you for saying this!

Although I do find Park Bo Gum an amazing actor, I hope people will stop attributing all of the credits to him alone.

Like you, I am also starting to get annoyed at people degrading Yoojung as a respectable actress. She is nowhere near your typical "wooden" female lead so I wish people would stop trying to lump her into that category.

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@ia

Please don't think I'm putting Kim Yoojung down because of Park Bogum. Kim Yoojung is one my my most favorite teen actress and I'm not saying she's bad in anyway. I'm saying that while she's really good at acting, I am aware in certain scenes that she's playing out the character the way it's written out perfectly.

With Park Bogum, I'm also aware that he's acting (I am aware that most actors are acting and not living out their character), but in certain scenes, I forgot the premise that he's an actor and got lost in the moment because of heightened emotions. In that sense, I believe Park Bogum is better, although obviously it's futile to compare two different and effective acting styles. But if affective is the keyword, I must say Park Bogum got me.

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@Celine, thank you for the website! I LOVED going through and tracing Ra On's, Yoonsung's, and Yeong's fashion throughout the drama. I especially liked the accompanying jewelry details too.

I love Yoonsung's dark-colored hanboks (the dark red from episode 12, dark black and also dark blue?) -- his seem to have more floral patterns, which actually remind me of the Chinese qipao patterns. Yeong seems to wear a lot of purple and blues. I wish Ra On got more outfits than her usual eunuch garb. Oh, well. :)

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@yy

You are welcome. Thank you for commenting too since it definitely feels better to find that I am not alone in my sentiments. It's really getting frustrating to see people nitpicking her performance as if Yoojung has not contributed much to the success of the drama. It is like people are pointing her out as a weak link/acting hole when she never was one. She is being short-changed and I feel really bad for her.

@Chiisan

Like you said, it is futile to compare the performance of the two given that they are using different acting techniques and are playing different characters. Unless they are given the exact same lines to deliver and the exact scenes to act out, how can we judge? Who knows how Yoojung would've done with a scene of her getting stabbed? Who knows what the confession scene outside of Yeong's door would feel like it the scene was acted by Bogum and not Yoojung? They are acting out different characters with different traits and sensibilities, who are thrown into different situations. How can we objectively compare the two then? Bogum was given a myriad of different situations (angry scenes with ministers and queen; compassionate scenes with lantern girl; cheeky and lovestruck scenes with Raon; pleading scenes with King; worried and hurt scenes with Kim Hyung, etc) to effectively show his acting chops while Yoojung was given mostly sad/scared/lovestruck scenes in the past few episodes to act out. Why are we even comparing them in the first place? Is Yoojung's acting so bad in comparison to Bogum's that there is a need to point it out? My answer to that is a definite "no" so I don't understand.

I guess we're different then. I cried the most during Yoojung's scenes in the past few episodes. With her bringing the most emotions out of me, I guess I find her acting to be super effective. Oh well, different strokes for different folks.

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And here it goes...bringing up Moon Lovers in order to thumps up Moonlight. Why can't you just rave over your bias without dragging Moon Lovers in your comment? And once we become defensive, you will brand us as being bitter. Each drama has their own set of fans who enjoy each of their qualities. Why the need to compare IU with KYJ and LJK with PBG?

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I am going to copy-and-paste my comment made to another poster here:

"I appreciate your informing me that my comments may not sit well with others. I am sure there are many people on this site who don’t agree with my assessment. And that is perfectly fine with me. We are all entitled to our own opinions, and this is an appropriate place to share them, which is what I am doing, with all due respect.

If being sensitive to others means not even having the liberty of expressing an opinion in a post/ thread designed to do so (JB and GF were doing comparisons of their own in the podcast!), then I’m afraid we simply have to agree to disagree."

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@Suegarbaby, Of course, we are all entitled to our own opinions, and this is an appropriate place to share them, which is what we are all doing. The question is, what does with all due respect means. For me, it means being sensitive to the other commenters on this website. This is not allkpop or Netizenbuzz.

Why do you think there are hardly any posts INITIATED by LJK fans to drag PBG, it's very simple, we are trying to give due respect to PBG's fans and being sensitive to them. We do not want to start fan wars. We want DB to remain as a happy place where we can discuss the dramas that we love and enjoy. Comparisons of actors who are not even acting the same character or in the same drama are not only redundant and illogical, but will also spark off fan wars.

Sensitivity, good manners & humility can go a long way.

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Sorry, what I meant to say was that "A little sensitivity, good manners & humility can go a long way" especially when we are commenting on the web, where it is so easy to misunderstand and get upset over comments perceived to be bashing in nature. It is not directed at any commenter in particular.

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God! How do i hate the term micro expressions. Is it a real acting terminology ? It somehow makes me imagine someone taking one expression and chopping it into nano pieces. How does it even work? Though someone on another thread said that people started using the expression because of the extreme closeups in moonlovers. But i have mostly seen it used in relation to PBG.

Since we are comparing actors (Good luck with this thread not going to hell), my two cents - I personally find LJK far far above PBG. I am not going to dissect the number and variety of expressions (are we going to sit and count seriously) but talk about the whole experience.

LJK sells me WS. His anguish, his lonliness, his brutality, his naivety, his hope and his love. He has the audience rooting for WS even though he is a deeply problematic man and there is a viable, perfectly wonderful alternative played by a very good actor (KHN)

With PBG, i like him well enough as an actor but other actors can steal his thunder pretty easily. SIG in IRY, RJY in Reply 88. (i know IRY he had a smaller role but some fans claim he outshined SIG to which i disagree). I never can emotionally engage with him as such. For me he is always gummie the good actor with a very cute real personality but never the character as such. I'm always aware that this is PBG acting like so-and-so. I'm never immersed in his portrayal. I'm not watching moonlight anymore but there were times i found his expressions exaggerated and veering in the territory of over acting.

LJK btw has been carrying the show almost single handedly since the production, editing and sound team went crazy drunk on it. Not to mention the initial painfully raw acting of some others. If gummie ever drags an entire show on his own despite almost everyone hell bent on ruining it, if he like LJK does not let the viewers abandon the show and keeps them not only watching but emotionally invested in the show with bare minimum screen time, then i'll say they are at the same level. For me, he is nowhere remotely near that yet and i find the comparisons laughable.

Everyone has their own bias. No matter how "objective" we claim our analysis is, everyone knows it is not. Some people like PBG, some like LJK, to each his own *shrugs*

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Haha, re: term 'micro-expressions'. Our dear overlords on this site, JB and GF, used the terminology here so if you have an issue with it, please do kindly take it up with them. I am only following their lead. ^^

Thanks for sharing your own opinion on LJK vs PBG. It's interesting to read another's opinion about it, even if we both disagree with one another.

Different actors will appeal to different people for whatever reason. I've stated mine, you've stated yours. As you so kindly and succinctly said, "some people like PBG, some like LJK, to each his own." Amen!

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Re: Park bogum can be easily outshone.

I'm not saying that Park Bogum is superior, but I respectfully disagree that RJY and SIG easily stole the thunder. First off, I acknowledge that RJY is incredibly talented that people fell in love with his acting more than they fell in love with his character, because frankly his character is frustrating but RJY makes Junghwan personable and relatable. It's the "personable and relatable" part that makes Junghwan unique because no other second male leads possess such qualities. Park Bogum's Taek does not have that quality not because Park Bogum is inferior but because Choi Taek is a completely different character: intelligent, clumsy, but secretly very mature, competitive, and driven. The audience loves this character just as much, though for very different reasons from why they love Junghwan. Both actors did a great job portraying two different personalities. To say RJY outshone PBG is really subjective, considering how common and agonizing Scond Lead Syndrome can be.

Same with SIG. Lee Hyun and Lee Min are two very different characters who attract viewers for different reasons. I must say Lee Min is written out to be more compelling, and though it's futile to compare the actors instead of the characters, Lee Min is more difficult to portrayed and Park Bogum did so perfectly.

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Joy! Joy! Joy!

Thank you for the new podcast! CAN'T WAIT!

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About moon lovers, I hate the close-up shots, it just feels too much face, the whole screen is a face and that drives me crazy, the only time I loved the close-up was in episode 11 and that was Lee Jun Ki, I can't take anyone else!

And I agree about Baekhyun, it feels like he's trying to act cute but is coming out as annoying, very annoying, I end up rolling my eyes everytime he's on screen.

Moonlight drawn by clouds is my favorite show right now, I'm in love with it, so so much, Park Bo Gum is love, nothing more to say really!

Jealousy incarnate is my second favorite, it is a very funny show, it's hilarious, I can't stop laughing, Jo Jong suk is killing this role, he's amazing.

Thanks ladies for the podcast.

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Yay! Thanks so much for this podcast! Wanted a podcast on the current shows so badly but figured that it wouldn't be that soon. Can't wait to listen to it!

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I agree with everything said on Moon Lovers. I have said it over and over again that they dumbed down Rouxi when adapting it to become Hae-Su to the point stripping off her defining characteristics.. I do agree that the hate is irrationally directed towards IU and it isn't all justified. But you wonder, you do wonder what it could be with somebody different acting in her place.

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What a lovely surprise! Two podcasts in one month!? Fabulous! Will listen later! ????❤️ Thanks, ladies!

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Thank you thank you thank you for the podcast. I listen to you all soon podcasts when I work out and some days your voices are all I have motivation wise. For people like me who don't have a friend's into kdrama's your podcasts fill the gap.

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My biggest concern right now for Moon Lovers is how they will go forward. IU with her range has to make us believe that,
she was mistaken in recognizing love once again -> hence is hurt by the betrayal -> physically and mentally exhausted and weak and is changed by her new experience -> she is grateful to Wang So for his support and recognizes that he is the one who will stick with her till the bitter end -> gradual development of that gratitude and increased understanding to deep love.
So far, Hae-Su the way she interacts with Wang So, I don't see the underlying tension or conflicts of emotions in her. I had hoped that she was at least partially falling for her constant support system that is Wang So which led to her freak out with premonitions. But the way she emotes, I do believe Hae-Su when she said that she had friend-zoned Wang So. I also so far see with Hae-Su what Javabeans and Girlfriday saw with Kim Sae-Ron in MOTW, that Yoon Shi Yoon does the heavy lifting, he is madly in love. Same here, it feels like so far with the joint scenes between Lee Jun Ki and IU, it feels like him doing all the work and him being in love while she does that awful blank, confused stare, it did get a bit better in episode 11 but still not completely over. Its also not totally her fault with the writing but it is still an issue.
So having said that, this may turn out to be the biggest bad news for them because I am not sure all of the above transitions is within her capability or within the directors capability to extract out of her in span of just 2-3 episodes and justify them with the writing which is pretty erratic. I will be glad to be proven wrong though. And this is not being me sarcastic, just concerned for the way the show has shaped up so far. It keeps falling victim to its own traps set in motion by its own set of characters.

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Yes, I am also wondering how they are going to play out Hae Soo's change of emotions from friendship to love for Wang So. Aside from episode 11 where she was able to show more range i.e. sorrow, grief, distress, she has been pretty one-note in her emoting when it comes to love, even with Wang Wook.

It really does feel like all the heavy lifting in the drama is being done by Lee Jun Ki, Kang Ha Neul and that wicked mother of So (I forgot the actress's name but she is pretty darn good at portraying a scheming ruthless Queen).

It completely does not help that the director and the rest of the production team have made a ridiculous hash of the way they tell the story - uneven screen time, weird editing choices, disjointed transitions from one scene to another, distracting camera shots, etc.

It is a complete shame because I loved the original chinese drama version and even though I was not expecting a full re-production of it here, all the elements that made Bu Bu Jing Xin so fabulous is almost completely lost here.

Terribly frustrating stuff, but I plan to still watch it for a little bit longer in the hopes that things will shape up now that the Wang Wook love-arc is over.

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There are lots of problems with Moon Lovers. No matter how much I wanted to like it, I had to drop it this week. I don't want to bring up the original here, but probably like what was said, they might have too caught up in having this drama as an adaptation while trying to make something new and true to story, which unfortunately didn't work out. The original novel and Chinese version had their own reason why the 4th Prince didn't appear until half of the story. He stayed quite low-key since he didn't want the King to see him as a threat, plus he wasn't in the 8th Prince's camp to visit often aka meeting Ruoxi more. Meanwhile when he wasn't in the picture, Ruoxi made friends with other princes. They had nice and warm friendships and created strong bonds toward each other. Then Ruoxi went to the palace and started interacting more with the 4th Prince while maintaining the friendships she had with other princes, and that was why it was so difficult for her to see it all fall apart. In the original novel and Chinese version, you simply can't help but care for all of them, it doesn't matter whether they are supporting roles or main, because they feel real. Each of them is unique, well-developed character, and together they create a world where you laugh and cry with them. With Moon Lovers, I couldn't bring myself to care for any of them. Despite how much I like IU, her character Hae-soo is written in the way that stays monotone throughout, and nonsensical at that. It doesn't help that I don't feel the supposed-to-be-romance to be romantic. It lacks warmth and respect from how I felt from the original novel and Chinese version. I simply feel that Moon Lovers tries to be dramatic just for the sake of being dramatic which hopefully captures the audience's attention throughout. Too bad it doesn't do anything to me in a positive way. The OSTs is wonderful when listened separately though, I enjoy them immensely.

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As someone who loved the chinese original Bu Bu Jing Xin, I heartily agree with your observations here. There was logical consistency and coherency in the way they told the story in Bu Bu Jing Xin, which made us care and feel for the characters and what they were going through.

While Moon Lovers is of course an adaptation and of course will be different (mainly because it is set in the different timeframe, with a different historical context and different historical outcomes), a lot of the elements of what makes Bu Bu Jing Xin so good can still be translated and brought into Moon Lovers.

E.g. how Hae Soo interacts with the Princes and builds a relationship with each of them. It is so patchy and uneven and sometimes even arbitrary in the way this is being shown to us in Moon Lovers, it really doesn't make us really care about all the little side-stories and characters, even after so many episodes have passed.

I like how you used the term "warmth and respect" when you mentioned about the romance in Moon Lovers, especially with regards to Hae Soo's relationship with Wang So. There is none of that here, so far that I can see. It appears more forceful, intense, obsessive and domineering from Wang So's side, and all passive, scared, being bull-dozed into the relationship from Hae Soo's side. So unhealthy! But then, perhaps some people like it that way.

Am planning to continue watching Moon Lovers for a bit longer to see if this improves further down the line, but honestly, am keeping my expectations extremely low.

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>>I simply feel that Moon Lovers tries to be dramatic just for the sake of being dramatic which hopefully captures the audience’s attention throughout. Too bad it doesn’t do anything to me in a positive way <<

I also this is what happen to me, the dramatic tension didn't work because I don't know why it needed.

Then I still can't get why they are so adamant in making the iconic scene without the understanding about it,
the rain scene in the Chinese version is the turning point, it the time when the 4th sharpen his sword and suppress himself, the time when the irony between the 8th faction and the 13th drove to the edge, the time when ruoxi try to be so careful but still helpful , the time when the only ruoxi can do that for the 13th without anger the emperor, also the time when dedication and loyalty are not something that always shown,

but in moon lovers, they used it primarily for the love triangle decision and that's not it, you can use it as one reason but not all,
things about the ruoxi character are she chooses the man which is rare in the era, but the Korean version makes it justified that there's no room for the 8th to succeed no matter what, he has a bad sister, disappointed attitude etc and the 4th is always obvious as the front runner since ep 1,
the dramatic tension doesn't work when only small character logically can succeed,
and the scheming is too complicated when it feels like it doesn't need to be that way,

It hard not to feel the wasted opportunity when it can be great just like Javabeans said,
even using ruoxi attitude in different history will gonna make a different story and the iconic scene can be adapted in more fitted occasion following a good Korean saeguk story,

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OMG yaye new podcast. Off to listen!!

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regarding the Chinese version of Scarlet Heart,
It actually makes sense that 4th prince appear late but it actually super late that I am amazed that I can wait since the story is good and it really fun to see ruoxi relation with the other prince,

for the korean version, they should put the 4th more cause he was in front of the story from the 1st episode.
for IU, the drama actually shows the worst of her,
and to be honest, Scarlet Heart Chinese version have more similarity in theme like love, devotion and loyalty to Moonlight even with very different storyline and focus,

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Wow, I'm familiar with all the dramas in the lineup!!!!!

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Watching Moonlight reminded me of why I liked about Discovery of Romance directing- how good the camera angles are, the spacing of the actors (whether sitting or standing), the expressions and body language of actors during silent moments. And yes, the lingers. This PD is good then, he's still good now. Actually, better.

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Before MDBC I always thought that watching someone in sleep is so awkward lol I still think so in real life but kudos to director and instrumental background for making it seem romantic. :D

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But seriously, Moonlight's music director is da MVP. S/He deserves a raise and a vacation in Bahamas.

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I agree with the music director thing. Years and years after this drama, I'm sure I'll still be listening to the songs. The way it was placed on the scenes then cut is perfect.

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I'm wondering if GF and JB saw the latest episode of Moon Lovers before recoding his podcast?? That episode was so epic in its emotion (even IU's acting!) that the entire feel of the drama has finally shifted into something grand and wonderful.

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I really enjoy Moon Lovers and I didn't really have any problem with the close-up... until last week when I upgraded my computer equipment: I now have a big and quality screen, and now I see the film crew in the actors' eyes and that's disturbing! ?

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OMG I can't stop laughing at the MLSHR podcast
i remember thinking the sae thing when So was like "i hate that look in your eyes." i had no idea what the look was either.

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LOL! Me too!

I actually went back and re-wound the scene just to see if I missed something but nope - I was drawing blanks.

Poor IU... I personally think it was a result of bad directing. A good director should have been able to draw out from an actress the emotion he wants seen on his screen.

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Thanks so much for this, JB and GF!!!

You never fail to make my day with your podcasts!!

Agree with W. It was just not thematically satisfying. Which made me really sad as I am a fan of this writer. I waited and waited for explanations as to why things happened, the rules of the manhwa and the 2 worlds, etc.. but nothing. Ughhh. Nine still remains my fave drama from her.

Cinderella - I finally let go of this drama. It is just not doing it for me. Used to be so fun.

Moon Lovers - you made me laugh with your commentaries! I wish Lee Jun Ki luck on his next project. Couldn't finish any of his latest dramas since Two Weeks.

Moonlight - totally agree with everything you said. Everything just seems to come together, everything! This drama just brings me joy

Jealousy Incarnate - still catching up and so far, so good!

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I, like javabeans, caught up with Cinderella. Until episode 12, that is. But I honestly think I need to end it there, while I'm still on good terms with it. I will freely admit that it actually has a lot to do with Younha's OST that is getting stuck in my head too much, to the point of annoyance. That and the other one they overplay. I just know they'll continue to play those songs all throughout the angsty scenes and I don't know if I can bear it.

For me, the Moonlight OST takes me back to moments in the drama because they have a number of good songs that they've used really effectively in just the right moments. I can't wait until I get ahold of the instrumentals.

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You know who they should have cast as the second lead in Jealousy Incarnate? Kim Jae Wook. I would have died, at least partially because it would mean that Kim Jae Wook was doing kdramas again.

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The strangest thing is how Moon Lovers seems to work despite all its flaws. Any other drama with that editing, directing and acting, and I (and I'm sure many others) would have easily dropped it in the first few episodes, but Moon Lovers, for whatever incomprehensible reason, is riveting. And it keeps upping the ante episode after episode, and if things stay at the level of episode 11 hereafter, we have a very solid drama on our hands. It's got the smarts and the material, but needs better writing. Also, as much as I disliked the close ups (and still do sometimes), I have to admit that watching dramas with long-shots has become particularly frustrating, because I keep wanting them to focus on their faces as happened- which I mentioned in one of the recaps- with the film adaptation of Wolf Girl and Black Prince. It's highly uneven, which is why each episode we have to pray that the next maintains the momentum.

Moonlight is a great drama in terms of direction and acting, but somehow I'm beginning to find it rather dull at this stage. Park Bo Gum is phenomenal, but Kim Yoo Jung's character is just not very well written, and doesn't give her enough to do. Ra On has too much of a damsel vibe, and episode after episode you have the Crown Prince try and save her from something or the other. The writing is decent (in that it's not all over the place like Moon Lovers) and tells a coherent story, but it's just too predictable. This drama works well in direction and Park Bo Gum's microexpressions. That guy is a powerhouse, and I can't wait to see what he does next. The drama doesn't keep me engaged however, even within the course of an episode.

But, in my personal opinion, in terms of direction, writing, acting etc. Jealousy Incarnate blows both Moon Lovers and Moonlight out of the water, because everything about it works. The characterization is flawless, they actually make great use of an ensemble cast and keep it engaging, the actors are phenomenal. More than a sitcom-feel, I get an arthouse, independent-film feel from it. I am constantly blown away by how many things they can make me feel in the course of an episode.

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I think diff brush for diff stroke, there are lot of comment about how moon lovers didn't work for them but not very apparent in moon lovers heavy based forum,

then for female lead in moonlight, I've seen comment about the female lead's role in moonlight that makes sense, she is well written (this is objective comparison I can argue),
the big impact probably something by what crown prince did but the female has her own agenda and problem that get solves within herself, did the problem solves only by crown prince? she did partake in solving it and she literally finding herself in 12 episode, find the meaning of becoming woman, find the courage to face the harship and become someone on her own,
she maybe not the hero of the century or involve to death match decision but as character, she grow from this dull unsensitive little girl who didn't think much about the world into a young adult that try to choose her life, love life and influence people around her for the better.

This always irk me when the accomplishment in drama is always scored by how much it impacted as "the big deal" of life and death cliffhanger than the little gesture to grant other people wishes or gesture of kindness to become someone strength, like being the backup is somehow lowering the self importance,
did accomplishment just counted in the big moment while small growth of understandings oneself didn't count?
especially the female character, does it only count when they can do what man did or save someone's life than helping people with their woman sensibility?
therefore imo, fem lead in moonlight is well written as coming of age girl, she even just 19 there

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"This always irk me when the accomplishment in drama is always scored by how much it impacted as “the big deal” of life and death cliffhanger than the little gesture to grant other people wishes or gesture of kindness to become someone strength"

Have you seen Mirror of the witch? Do watch it if you missed it. There is this large section of storytelling that is weaved around what you said about granting people little wishes and it is most heart warming and wonderful . The whole saguek is amazing btw.

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Thanks Zoe. I do agree with all your comments.

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I respectfully disagree with your opinion of Raon. She has been in survival mode all her life, and as an orphan girl in Joseon, she's smart to know her own weaknesses and limitation as a poor, low-born woman. Raon is street-smart but isn't an upright scholar like Sungkyunkwan Scandal's heroine or a fierce warrior. She isn't one to challenge authority because she got into enough troubles on her own.

Despite her inability to wield a sword, I like Raon's reasons and wits and that she never just expects to be saved. Raon is anything but passive. She saved the Crown Prince by taking the missing solo dancer's place, then she advised him to fight the Kims with all his might. She doesn't like Yeong just because he likes her and doesn't come to him just because he begs her. She likes him on her own and decides to stay because she's able to come to terms with her feelings and living as a woman. Raon is actually far from being helpless.

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Hm... I think it is a matter of setting expectations.

Moonlight has been marketed as a 'sweet youthful romance' saguek. It doesn't pretend to break any genre barriers, nor come up with exciting, unpredictable plots, or have you on-the-edge-of-your-seat-in-suspense. It promises to be a light, 'healing' (yes, that was the translated word used by the PD) drama which makes you feel warm and nice inside.
The director and the production team clearly know what they want the show to be, and as far as I am concerned, they have nailed it, stuck to it, and delivered it spectacularly so far.

Moon Lovers, on the other hand, has been marketed as an adaptation from the original novel and from the chinese-drama Bu Bu Jing Xin. From the snazzy posters and the high-quality trailers, it sets the expectation that it will be a complex, highly-charged, gripping, intense drama which will blow you away with its cinematography and high-quality shoots.
As an adaptation, yup, it certainly has brought in elements from the original (undeniable fact), but whether it those elements worked well in the setting and timeframe of the show, highly debatable.
As for the rest i.e. complex, gripping, highly-charged, high-quality, etc. well, I guess based on yours and from the people who enjoyed Moon Lovers, the show delivered well here in spite of some of the production flaws. And that's great!

But back to my initial point, I guess it's all about setting expectations when coming to each drama. Moonlight is predictable because it never promised to be otherwise.

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