Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
Team Dramabeans, reporting for check-in!
We’ve cleared a few shows from the slate and welcomed new ones (with several more on the horizon), so it feels like we’re starting a new season, which feels appropriate to the back-to-school season we’re in now (at least here in the States). Are you ready to jump on the new bunch, or are you still wrapping up finales from the last round? Or, if you’re like me, maybe you’ve quietly just shoved those unwatched finales into the drawer, freed yourself from the paralyzing guilt of completism, and moved on. (Hey, there is no shame in walking away from non-compelling dramas!) –javabeans
Currently recapping: Moonlight Drawn by Clouds
Age of Youth: This was a charming, understated show that started off a little slow but soon became a highlight of the week. I still wish it were directed differently (it felt low-rent, and while I suppose low-rent worked for the low-key story, it didn’t have to look like it was strung together on no budget), but story-wise I loved the development of the characters: They all felt like thought-out, real-life people, and together they shone.
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: Technically this shouldn’t be on my list since it’s a show I’m recapping, but I didn’t weigh in this week since girlfriday covered the last two episodes, and boy was I jealous about that. When it premiered last week, I thought the show was cheeky and youthful, with a heavy comic bent. This week, the show matured a few degrees, got lovely and poignant, and balanced out its tone. The background soundtrack is beautiful, the acting is spot-on, and the whole package is fresh and charming.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: Something very strange is up with the graphics in this drama. I was so confused when girlfriday complained that this show looked cheap and visually terrible, because I thought it was lush and visually breathtaking. But after some testing, we figured out that on television screens, this show looks like it’s shot on video using palace sets from the ’90s… and on computer screens, it’s a whole different drama, all sumptuous and breathtaking. What the hell? This is the only show that does this, and I’m scratching my head over it.
Jealousy Incarnate: This show sounds cute and funny and I totally want to watch it… but I’d barely gotten into the first episode when I had to shut it off because the swirling, whooshy camera work made me violently nauseous. Can a show be cute and vomit-inducing at the same time? I’d rather it not.
W—Two Worlds: This show has gone from excitingly complex to downright convoluted, and it makes me feel like a dummy. I want to tell the writer, You can’t keep changing the rules before you tell us what they even are! I feel like I either have to think a lot harder, or stop thinking altogether, and I haven’t decided yet which tack to take. (Path of least resistance says stop thinking and just enjoy the excitement and the pretty. It’s a persuasive argument!)
Uncontrollably Fond: You had months and months to pre-produce your show, and this is the best you could do? This drama didn’t fail because it was pre-produced, or because it cast Suzy, or because it aired at the wrong time, or because it had strong competition. This drama’s downfall is its writing, which wallows in the gratuitously miserable, delivers no payoff, and is lazy to boot. I will watch the finale, even though I’m pretty sure it’ll make me pop a blood vessel.
Currently recapping: W–Two Worlds
Bring It On, Ghost: Things were getting pretty draggy in the darker stretches of the show, but I was happy to see a return to the lighter tone in the end. I wish Taecyeon could’ve matched Kim So-hyun in the emotional department, but he matched her in cuteness, at least. It was a satisfying conclusion, and college-student Gu Dae-young was a highlight in the cameo parade.
The Good Wife: This was an engaging show with a stellar cast that never dipped in quality, but I’m not really satisfied with the ending. It just… ended… and I feel like I didn’t get the answers to the questions I had. It’s not a show that’s slated for more seasons, so why did the ending feel like a season finale, but not a series finale? It’s a flaw in the American-to-Korean adaptation framework that I think still needs to be figured out.
Age of Youth: This was a delightful little show that went off the beaten path. It was often tonally darker than I anticipated and overly obsessed with death, but the success was in the friendships among the young women, and the massive character growth we witnessed. This show always made me feel like a mama hen—proud and nervous, but mostly proud.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: I think I just don’t like this director. This show feels dated, and everything feels static to me. Except for Lee Jun-ki’s hair, which is always flowing perfectly in the wind. Seriously, I think it’s someone’s JOB to hold a fan to his mane of glory just so, and I’m not at all sorry that someone is being paid to do this. So far my engagement level with this show boils down to: Lee Jun-ki onscreen = 100 percent. Anybody else = 25 percent.
Currently recapping: Cinderella and the Four Knights
The Good Wife: It’s over. Say it ain’t so! This show was consistently stellar from start to finish. The direction, the subtle yet powerful performances, the writing…just top notch. All class. As much as I would’ve loved a few more episodes, I also know it’s sometimes best to end on a high note even if it feels like there may be more material to mine. I’m going to miss the sharply dressed, whip smart (or manipulative) characters so much, especially the main trio. And Myung-hee. And David Lee. And…fine. I’m going to miss the entire cast (except for the girl who played Hye-kyung’s daughter). I looked forward to this show the most every week, and every week I wasn’t disappointed. When will the trifecta of Jeon Do-yeon, Yoo Ji-tae, and Yoon Kye-sang ever grace our screens again? Maybe when the stars align…hopefully in my lifetime!
Age of Youth: Another good show that came to an end. I wish Ji-won had a weightier episode that focused on her because I found her “terrible secret” to be rather anticlimactic. So she lies/lied. That’s it? Oftentimes, the cheeriest of people are the ones fighting the hardest battle, and I wanted her battle to be as trying as the other girls’, but it honestly didn’t seem like she had any major issues. There were quite a bit of unanswered questions, but I have to say I was generally satisfied with the way it ended. Ending with Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien” playing over the scene where the elegant landlady (#AgingGoals) applies her red lipstick and puts on her diaper led me to believe that the girls’ “Belle Époque” continues, through the good times and the bad.
W–Two Worlds: I’m a few episodes behind, but I’m having such difficulty tuning in to this show. I feel so detached from the characters and not at all invested in their peril.
Moonlight Drawn by Clouds: I just saw the first episode, and I feel like I would’ve liked it if I were twelve. Maybe I’ll give it a few more episodes just for Jinyoung…
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: Episode 1 was so-so. Episode 2 was GREAT. Episode 3 was even better, so I hope this upward trajectory continues. Those close-up shots of Kang Haneul’s gazes? They make my knees weak.
Cinderella and the Four Knights: Park So-dam is a bundle of energetic charisma. I’d love to see her more in Dramaland. Also, second lead syndrome has struck again. I’m totally Team Hyun-min, despite his initial douchebaggery. Even after six episodes, Ji-woon still seems like a jerkface who can’t seem to recognize the gemstone that is Park So-dam, right in front of him.
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: So many expectations. Hopefully, it improves because so far I’m not so over-the-moon about it.
Our Gap-soon: I’d rather have started the So-rim romance from the beginning, than from the middle. I feel like I’ve missed the best bits, and am left in the post-oxytocin-rush days when there’s nothing but lukewarm passion.
W–Two Worlds: Okay, I’m still here, but a lot of the delicious suspenseful tension is gone, now that I’m pretty secure in the fact that no matter what happens, our two main characters will survive. Remember, there’s no story if there are no characters (according to W and real life).
- 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)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 30, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 23, 2016)
Tags: 1 show to rule them all, Age of Youth, Bring It On Ghost, Cinderella and the Four Knights, Jealousy Incarnate, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, The Good Wife, Uncontrollably Fond, What We're Watching, W–Two Worlds