Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
Happy weekend! Team Dramabeans here, checking in with our updates on the good, the bad, and the WTF of this past week. Does anyone else need a hug or a stiff drink to wash it down? Maybe the Chuseok holiday meant time away from dramas for some of you, or maybe you just watched more dramas with your family, like me. Hey, I had to inherit it from somewhere. Tell us what you’ve been watching, and what shiny new shows have caught your eye around the bend! –girlfriday
Currently recapping: Moonlight Drawn By Clouds
Fantastic: I am so loving the Ji-soo and Park Shi-yeon relationship that I am super bummed that it may not get a chance to develop. Of course his health is more important than a drama; it’s just an extra crying shame because it’s poised to be so adorable, and if she doesn’t get to explore the relationship with the adoring admirer, I don’t know how her story of growth and healing will get to play out. At the least the leading couple’s romance is cute and funny, and I can’t wait for them to get past their misunderstandings. I can’t decide if I want Joo Sang-wook to learn how to act, though, or to be an epic foot-actor through and through.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: I didn’t mind (that much) this director’s inexplicable love of extreme close-ups in his previous dramas, but it’s so distracting here that it actually angers me. That said, the ONE time I found it stunningly effective was when So insisted Su look him straight in the scarred eye, which did make my heart skip a beat. And while I find the story flow okay within individual episodes, I sure wish there were more flow over the series as a whole. It feels like we’re catching scattered episodes in the time-traveler lady’s life, not one thrilling story about the overall experience.
Drinking Solo: This week the show really won me over, and made me warm to every character more, especially Ha Suk-jin and Gong Myung. The student trio of fools gives the comedy a quirky, eccentric vibe, and I’m liking how this show focuses less on the eating and drinking than the Let’s Eat franchise and just uses it as a recurring motif, rather than super-long interruptions of food porn.
W–Two Worlds: When I’d asked for a happy ending to the drama, I should have been more specific about happy including satisfying. My high opinion of the show in its first half was based on the anticipation of getting (hopefully cool, mind-blowing) answers, but once we didn’t get them, my opinion of the earlier parts retroactively gets lowered. My main problem with the show is that it was so full of tricks designed to fool me in the present in order to pay off a future twist that I stopped trusting where the writer was taking me. I knew I was being toyed with, so I stopped buying into the world and accepting the rules, because I knew they would just be invalidated by newer ones. All that said, as a whole I still think W is a pretty damn cool show. And now that it’s over, maybe people (ahem, Korean media) can stop using the word “context” without context.
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: *contented sigh* I’m just going to live here in my Moonlight bubble happy place and pretend the rest of the week didn’t happen.
Cinderella and the Four Knights: Is there any way to send Sohn Na-eun’s character to fashion school on a different continent? She’s putting a damper on my cotton candy fluff, and this show is not one to hold up well under any dampening, of any kind whatsoever.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: I always reach for this show right away, but at the end of every hour, I’m dissatisfied. I don’t know why I keep going back expecting a different result. It’s like the definition of futile; and yet, there I am each time, in the hopes that Lee Jun-ki will get something important to do.
Jealousy Incarnate: Well, finally. This show certainly takes its time getting anywhere, but the slow unraveling of Jo Jung-seok’s true feelings was worth the wait. Now that we’re here in mixed-up-feelings romanceland, you’ve got me.
Drinking Solo: Oh no, I actually like Park Ha-sun with both brothers! I can actually feel myself getting on the wrong ship, but I can’t seem to stop myself. Noona romances will be the death of me.
Currently recapping: Cinderella and the Four Knights
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: Having dropped W and Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, the only show I’ve been keeping up with is Moon Lovers. This week, episode 6 felt oddly out of place and sorely lacking in Lee Jun-ki. Episode 7 was much better with lots of cute moments and more screentime for Jun-ki and all the other princes. Generally speaking, the show is quite pretty (characters and all), but sometimes I’ll come across some puzzling edits, jarring cuts, and nonsensical compositions. For instance, when IU was reluctantly watering the shrubs, there was an extra long beat before Lee Jun-ki emerged and groaned about getting wet. And before his head popped up, the entire shot was distractingly out of focus. I’m aware as to why it was out of focus (the focus had to be wracked on Jun-ki), but the shot was framed so poorly and took me out of the scene. I hope the show finds its groove soon, but if it doesn’t, well, at least there’s top-grade eye candy.
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: Solid, happy fluffy drama. I enjoy every minute Kwak Do-yeon and Park Bo-gum come onscreen. Surprisingly, I actually like the second lead female character, which is always a win.
Our Gap-soon: About to give this one up. Nooo! The cast had so much potential. It’s Lee Wan’s first project since forever, and the So-rim couple reunion. So I’m super bummed that the plot is so muddled.
W—Two Worlds: Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve begun to see the actor playing Yeon-joo’s father everywhere. I thought had never seen him in anything before W. But after a chill k-movie marathon weekend, I just realized he’s been in some of my favorite recent Korean films, in all types of genres from The Face Reader to Train to Busan.
Fantastic: Joo Sang-wook does jealousy nearly as well as Jo Jung-seok does. It’s so cute that I wanna squee, but Park Shi-yeon and Ji-soo’s scenes were the ones that really captured my interest in last week’s episodes. He’s perhaps my all-time favorite noona-romancer, with Park Seo-joon coming in as a close second. So it was that much harder to hear about the news of his illness.
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: This drama went from fluffy cute to genuinely moving within a span of several episodes, and I am completely smitten by it all. Park Bo-gum continues to be magic in every episode (he smiles, and I’m blinded temporarily) but I find the rest of the cast to have just as much heart, and I’m fully invested in what happens to each of them.
W—Two Worlds: It’s not often that I watch a show solely to see what happens next, without being emotionally invested in the characters, especially the main couple. But that’s what happened for me with W — and with the last few episodes being no match for the ridiculously thrilling first few, I walked away from show thinking, “huh,” and that was it. I’ve always been a fan of Lee Jong-seok’s and still am after his performance here, but I hope that I’m able to connect more to the characters in his next project in dramaland, whenever that may be.
Jealousy Incarnate: I’m behind on this week’s episodes, but I’m enjoying the quirky humor and the chemistry between our three leads. Gong Hyo-jin and Jo Jung-seok are as sparkling as ever (albeit in very different ways), and after a slow start, Go Kyung-pyo is really coming into his own in this role. I do find the show to be plodding at times, but the unexpected laughs and genuine character moments more than make up for it.
Marriage, Not Dating: I’ve been meaning to pick this up for a while now, and I finally got around to finishing a decent chunk of it these past few weeks. The second leads don’t do anything for me, but the main couple is pretty much everything I ever want in a romantic comedy. So far, I’m sold.
Fantastic: I didn’t think Ji-soo could possibly get any cuter, but he certainly proved me wrong as the lovable, bumbling attorney Sang-wook. His endearing (albeit somewhat naïve) positivity is downright contagious; it’s no wonder Sul couldn’t stop laughing at the guy. I’ll admit that I’m sad the noona-dongsaeng loveline might get shelved due to recent news, but I’d much rather have a happy, healthy Ji-soo than a character in a show. I’m wishing you a full recovery, Oppa.
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: Is cutie Crown Prince out to get me? Why is he continually trying to kill me with every episode? You should take it easy with the teary-eyed smiles, Yeong – I want to live to see the rest of the show.
W—Two Worlds: Oy… Where the hell do I start? This might be the most complicated relationship I’ve had with a drama since Doctor Stranger (the denial I had with the downfall of that show was so strong, you don’t even know). I think we can all agree W wins as the superior by a landslide, but I feel like the disappointment with the second half of W hurts just as much, if not worse. Because, UGH, the first half was perfect. I almost wish it could’ve ended with episode 7, but I wouldn’t go as far to say I didn’t enjoy the drama as a whole. I still think the whole concept was remarkably innovative and genius on writer Song Jae-jung’s part, and the way she played with the meta was so freaking cool to watch. Plus, I was always invested in our story with Yeon-joo and Kang Chul, even with the tangled mess of rules. Since I loved the couple so much, I’m (sort of) willing to let go of all our unanswered questions. I’m content with the bittersweet ending and in knowing that after all they’ve been through, they can now live out their lives together, no longer held back by any rules. And meanwhile, I’ll be here. Welcoming the post-W depression.
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: Much squeeing was heard around these parts this week, and this viewer was no exception. Not only are the music, the visuals, and the acting all executed so well that I feel my heart fluttering like a teenager’s again, I love how this show makes an old trope new. Let’s face it, we’ve seen the crossdressing romance done, and done well, before. But this drama mines all the angst and the tension, and gives us the swoony satisfaction that we crave, while still managing to give us a new dynamic between hero and heroine. I love the way the sageuk setting both raises some stakes and makes others irrelevant, while the youth of the main characters gives us that heightened emotional feeling that is underscored even more by the nature of life in the inner palace. Like Ra-on and Yeong seem to only see each other, I can only see the two of them. Second leads? What second leads?
Jealousy Incarnate: Seo Sook-hyang is one of my favorite drama writers, and in her usual style, this show dropped us in the middle of a story full of characters living rich, interesting lives, and is now letting us organically get to know them. I love the three main characters so much, but especially Na-ri and Hwa-shin. Their hilarious antics have me in stitches almost all episode long, except when they suddenly have these incredibly vulnerable moments that make the bottom suddenly drop out of my heart. I love the way this drama portrays the absurdity that often accompanies tragedy, and the way laughter and pain are so often two sides of the same coin. That’s a way more accurate portrayal of how one deals with the hard things in life than the usual wailing and chest-beating. (Also, best use of “Wrongful Encounter” in a drama ever.) My only complaint is, I want Na-ri to end up with both guys in alternate universes. Or at least for this Epic Bromance to last forever. The foreshadowing fairy be damned.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (September 11, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (September 3, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (August 27, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (August 20, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (August 13, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (August 6, 2016)
Tags: 1 show to rule them all, Cinderella and the Four Knights, Drinking Solo, Fantastic, Jealousy Incarnate, Marriage Not Dating, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, What We're Watching, W–Two Worlds