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Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching

So, what are we all watching this week?

What kept you reaching for more (or agonizing when there was no more), and what made you want to throw your remote through the screen? Time to weigh in…

 

missvictrix

Currently weecapping: Our Beloved Summer

Artificial City: I had to check this out for two of my favorites, Su-ae and Kim Kang-woo — who were fabulous as a pretty unlikeable married couple. Other than that, I feel rather meh about the first episode. Perhaps there are just too many revenge-y chaebol melodramas lately. I feel like I’ve seen a million powerful mother-in-laws, galleries, conspiring in-laws, share wars, super modern mansions, and cold characters that know how to manipulate to achieve their ends. I really liked our two leads together, but I could sit down right now and write a synopsis for ten other stories I’d prefer to see them in. So this one might be a pass.

 

quirkycase

The Red Cuff Sleeve: Deok-im is getting more and more embroiled in palace politics. I’m glad she thinks on her feet because I have a feeling she’s going to need that skill now more than ever. San is practically broadcasting his feelings at this point, which doesn’t seem like a good idea given how many enemies he has.

Melancholia: Ever since the time jump, I’ve been feeling pretty meh about this one. I was not expecting a revenge drama, and we spend way too much time on the corrupt rich people antics. Plus, I’m not really feeling the romance. I hope Seung-yoo follows the surprisingly solid relationship advice Sung-jae gave him because he needs to let Yoon-su lead.

Jirisan: I really wish this drama had been shorter and had only focused on the ranger work. The forest fire episodes, for example, were great. But then they went and added this whole boring killer mystery, supernatural elements, and whatever else that felt like it was just there to fill up space. And then we had that ending that made no freaking sense. Jirisan had a unique promise and beautiful setting, so it’s a shame they tried to add so much unnecessary drama to it.

Our Beloved Summer: How fun! I wasn’t sure what to expect based on the synopsis, but I’m really enjoying it so far. The whole documentary angle is fun, and I like how they’re revealing Woong and Yeon-su’s past as we go. Choi Woo-shik is great here, and I’m loving his portrayal of the petty yet endearing Woong. I hope we learn more about Yeon-su soon – there’s clearly a lot more going on under the surface with her.

 

mistyisles

The King’s Affection: Between this and Inspector Koo, this was a fantastic finale week for me! I’m sad to say goodbye to this show, but I could not have asked for a more satisfying conclusion. I’m not sure when was the last time a final episode had me crying so much of happiness — that dream of what could have been, or really, should have been absolutely gutted me, but then she woke up and I was pretty much a mess from there on. (But in a good way!) I could go on and on about how Dam-yi got to 1) heroically take down her own enemy, 2) choose to face the consequences of her actions and then watch the people she’s proven herself to defend her, and 3) finally live her own life as her true self in complete freedom. This show will definitely remain a favorite!

 

DaebakGrits

Our Beloved Summer: This drama is quickly climbing to the top of my current — and possibly all time — favorites list, but I still can’t decide what couples I’m shipping! The main pairing has definitely grown on me, but I also like their secondary love interests, especially the idol, who is confident and surprisingly down to earth. I’m usually not a fan of shows that flash back and forth between adulthood and high school, but the added element of the documentary makes it enjoyable this time around. Is it Monday yet? I need it to be Monday.

The King’s Affection: I’m fairly satisfied with the ending, and I’m particularly happy with our Lady King’s final face-off with her grandfather — Die, you evil son-of-a-basket-weaver! I just hate that her younger brother (supposedly) had to die in order for them to have that tense final confrontation. As far as medical stuff goes, I once again had to suspend my disbelief during the finale, but I’m just going to assume that there was something coincidentally in those anxiety pills that acted as a slight antidote.

The Red Sleeve Cuff: I’m not caught up on this one. Not going to lie, the secret court lady army kind of put me off, and because I’ve been busier than usual this week, Red Sleeve didn’t make the cut. What do you guys think? Is it still worth powering through, or have things gotten even weirder?

Let Me Be Your Knight: Tae-in was acting like such a pill at first, but I’m glad he came around and figured out what was bothering his youngest bandmate. I love it when bullies get put in their place, but I’m petty and would have preferred it if they had released the video. I’m definitely of the belief that people can grow from their past mistakes, especially when it comes to crap they did high school, but since the bully hadn’t changed, I kind of wanted him to go down in flames.

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim: Awww man, I completely forgot about the scene where Se-ra lost her bra padding and Cheol gallantly covered it up with his jacket coat! That’s a man right there. I still love our narcissistic CEO, but let’s be real, Cheol is where it’s at.

 
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My Beloved Summer: Hello, Kwak Dong-yeon! Woong was at his pettiest in Episode 3 but it is clear both he and Yeun-soo are hurting. She just hides it much better. I love the flashbacks.

Happiness: This drama far exceeded my expectations and had a very satisfying finale. It kind of became a black comedy toward the end, which I enjoyed. The kick Sae-bom delivered to Oh Joo-hyung was much appreciated and the kiss between Sae-bom and Yi-hyun perfect.

Uncle: Just when one set of classist neighbors leaves dramaland another set moves in. It’s a real issue, so I’m glad dramas are exploring it. I liked the first two episodes. It has a lot of heart but covers heavy topics like abuse and alcoholism and housing discrimination. Oh Jung-se is great as the Uncle and the child actor is very talented. I look forward to seeing Joon-hyuk go to war with the Royal Momvelies.

Inspector Koo: Another satisfying finale. I was initially letdown by the reveal and then non reveal of Santa’s backstory, but I’ll take a cue from the characters and let it go. I loved the cameo by Lee Young-ae lol. This drama’s sense of humor was right up my alley, and I was in love with the cinematography throughout.

The King’s Affection: TKA peaked around Episode 13 and has been treading water since but for the most part, I liked the finale. Hwi was a badass. I was happy that the Queen will be able to marry and have children. I’m sure Hyun will be a good King, but I liked him too much to wish the headache of being King on him.

Secret Royal Inspector and Joy: I’m bored. I don’t care about Joy’s mom or the ledger or the conspiracy behind the Crown Prince’s death. I just want funny hijinks, which have been sadly lacking.

Melancholia: I’m stuck mid Episode 11. Yoon-soo looks like a hostage in a hostage video in scenes with Seung-yoo and now I’m kind of getting the feeling that she may have had feelings for him when he was a student.

Bad and Crazy: I honestly thought the first episode was terrible. Dong-wook’s character was unappealing. This is a one and done for me.

Show Window: The Queen’s House: I tried the first episode after seeing the ratings. It’s the typical cheating makjang that Koreans seem to love. I don’t need dramas to be glossy, but it feels a little too low budget.

Young Lady and Gentlemen: I didn’t expect a music and dance number lol.

The Hungry and the Hairy: Rain and Noh Hong-chul on a motorcycle trip around Korea. Hong-chul is a little loud for my tastes, but he and Rain balance each other out. The scenery is absolutely beautiful.

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Lady and Gentleman - maybe they are referring to Sound of Music 😁😁

Also... I need to find time to watch Uncle!!

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The song and dance number was fun- I had not thought of the Sound of Music but in fact it potentially had the same age disparity issue- except that it was glossed over in the musical.

But it also indicates something else- it costs more to add such a scene: costs above what it normally does for a weekender episode. This show is doing so well that resources are being added to it because it is becoming a hit.

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Bulgasal: I just finished Episode 1 and wow, the cinematography is gorgeous. I was expecting a fated love storyline ala Goblin, but that isn't it at all. The cast all emphasized familial love, and I can see that, and revenge as well. I'm kind of excited to see where it goes.

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Happiness (Series review) - Mood progression: B+ / B- / C+ / C+ / C / C-
Unlike other apocalyptic thrillers, this show had unique elements such as non-permanent zombies as well as enigmatic characters like Tae Seok that had massive potential in developing motifs on humanity and morality particularly from an unique perspective of a public health official (drawing parallels to the COVID pandemic!). But although it was engaging to watch, the show stumbled upon questionable plot armour, plaintively evil side characters (even without Andrew, that apartment was a mess) and a happy ending that was rushed and inconclusive (why do some people have antibodies?).

Idol: The Coup (Series review) - Mood progression: B / C+ / C / C / C- / C-
Dramas featuring the idol industry and underdog groups have been done before, so this show had to rely mostly on the execution in order to deliver an enjoyable watch. And there was potential initially? But that was all squandered away as the story focused on Bbiyong the plagiarising villain and all sorts of issues rather than the idols themselves. Why didn’t we focus on how Cotton Candy and Mars tackled career crises, the fleeting nature of fame and the inevitable transition away from the spotlight? The CEO as a character should’ve been another viewpoint on the cyclicality of an idol career?

Our Beloved Summer (Episode 3-4) - Mood: C-
Strong cameo game is strong (Kwak Dong Yeon!) but using this plagiarism arc as conflict fodder is not good writing.

Inspector Koo (Episode 11-12) - Mood progression: C+ / C- / C- / C- / C- / C-
After all the hype for Santa’s identity, that was just anticlimactic! And K’s past also remains as elusive as ever.

School 2021 (Episode 7-8) - Mood: D+
When I said I wanted more Ho Sung, I didn’t mean a ghosting ex that’s bound to reappear soon.

Let Me Be Your Knight (Episode 6) - Mood: D+
This isn’t the end of Ga On’s character development right? That was lightning-fast arc resolution!

Chimera (Episode 13-14) - Mood: D
Lee Hee Jun is showing wonderful acting again but the sibling mess is frustrating in a bad way and don’t get me started on the journal reveal.

Now We Are Breaking Up (Episode 9-10) - Mood: D
All the Hwang family members are surprisingly engaging this week though the main arc is downright atrocious.

Melancholia (Episode 11-12) - Mood: D-
That public reveal was a dumb drama lead move if I ever saw one.

The King's Affection (Episode 19-20) - Mood progression: C- / C- / D+ / D+ / D+ / D / D- / D- / D- / D-
The tea that had selective poisoning properties sent me wheezing! I thought it could have been interesting if all king candidates had perished during the uprising and the kingdom fell to anarchy but they went the cliche route with Hyun.

The Red Sleeve Cuff (Episode 9-10) - Mood: D-
We’ve already seen this manipulation arc before so this is repetition. Also,...

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Not being judgy, but has there ever been a drama that has gotten above B+ for you? Sincerely asking.

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Me too. I'm also genuinely curious about this

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COMPLETED
Jirisan - The killer went from super methodical to super insane too quickly. I did like the story of 1991 - how greed accelerated the evil only for it to come to nothing. I'm glad our main rangers survived and Hyun Jo is back where he belongs though a little more time on Yi-gang and Hyun-jo together would be good.

Inspector Koo - I'll remember this more for the way it told its story than for the story itself - so interesting visually. I was okay with the non-explanation of the husband's death and Santa's story - felt right for it to end where it did. But I'm questioning how Kyung went from roaming around freely to being arrested for ALL her crimes. Anyway I'm happy for our detective trio. Fighting!

The King's Affection - Plot armour reached a whole other level for our King this time but I don't care. I'm happy they're happy and I'm glad Hyun has a support system and the cute bodyguard has a crush 🥰

ONGOING
Chimera - This show has actually improved in my estimation week on week. Looking forward to the finale.

Secret Royal Inspector & Joy - I'm not sure what the end will be here when the king himself is evil. Unless the guy secretly sending messages to Jo-yi's mom is the (not) dead prince.

Our Beloved Summer - I know we're eventually going to get Yeon-su's side of the story with a reasonable excuse for the break-up, etc. but right now it's too hard to drum up any sympathy for her. I think I'm going to pause this one for a while. Even Kwak Dong-yeon didn't excite any interest.

Melancholia - The leads are not as smart as the villains and it makes me sad. Why would you go around saying self-incriminating things and then look ridiculously guilty when caught out. And next week we get Seung-yoo's dad giving Yoon-su the 'stay away from my son speech'. Yay 😑

The Red Sleeve Cuff - The entire sequence starting with the kite signal to the end of Ep. 9 was genuinely exciting and very well shot/edited. Ep. 10 felt like a dip but then Ep. 11 had scenes where you just can't look away - the scene with the poker, the argument with Hong Deok-ro and then the final scene in court.

Now We Are Breaking Up - Every week the leads have a conversation about breaking up. No other drama has taken its title this seriously 🙄.

STARTED
Bad and Crazy - Knew bad things would happen to rookie cop with how much screen time he was getting. Liking this so far.

Planning to watch Snowdrop - gotta get my 2 episodes of beans in before it gets cancelled.

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ROFL for your comment on Now We’re Breaking Up.

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Ooh, I like the not-dead prince ending. I thought it was Yi-un being the benefactor, but it could be the Crown Prince as well. And we can always use more Lee Joon-hyuk!

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I assumed it was Yi-un too but then I kept wondering how this show could possibly end well...

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Secret Royal Inspector: Crown Prince is Alive...my money is on that.

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who is bodyguard's crush - the female prince?

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The female pharmacy helper - Ji-woon's employee/friend

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awww.. the sister who was jailed.. cute cute.. glad not every guy is going for our Miss prince

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Love the theory on The Secret Royal Inspector. Was a little angsty side on the last episode and so excited that this drama still have have some truths needing to be revealed in the last four episodes. Can't believe even the Tae Seo group have grown on me. Taecyon's acting is on point, he delivers without the need for exaggerating his microexpressions. Y'all are missing out on a worthwhile ride.

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Bad and Crazy - I'm not sure I will continue as the violence is a bit too much for me... but... I quite like the storytelling... especially if the helmet man (Wie Hajoon) really is ** possible spoiler ** Soo Yeol's conscience / good side he is suppressing so much currently.

I still love storytelling of Our Beloved Summer, the directing and editing is great... and so are the actors - especially the end of the last episode was so heartbreaking and so well acted! (The actual pitting of the painters against each other though was very unprofessional... and very unfair to Yeonsu). My only complaint is... why is Kwak Dong Yeon again just a cameo and again a psycho? I want him back as someone nice, like in No Second Chances.... with a baby as a bonus 😍

Still watching Rainless Love in a Godless Land and Someday Or One Day. Their pace is slow, but the strength is in the moments they create... and thoughts and feelings they induce...

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Helmet guy being other actor actually raised points for me. Rest was utter nonsense.

There is something called - hedge - you limit the risks in business. Just because of an artist you wont risk all of your investments. That was very right and professional move - unprofessional is not letting the artist and team handling it having any wind of it.

Kwak never gonna get his own shinny screen time ever - that's what i think. He needs to get better agency.

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There should have been unprofessionally done, I meant exactly the same as you - no problem with having both artists, given all parties are well informed and agree to it.

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I don't think its on Yeon su though, she looked just as surprised when he mentioned it. I think its Jang that made that decision without informing her yet.

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Absolutely. That's why I think it was unfair to Yeonsu.

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is it even a spoiler at this point..
The show was dissapointing for me.. story, actors. nothing could maintain interest.. and the biggest flaw for this genre is if the "spoiler" is served on the platter.. there is no intrigue left.. you can predict the plot and everything becomes so mundane

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Well, I had zero expectations and very little prior knowledge and I admit I actually reasonably enjoyed the first episode as a black comedy 😁 From your comment I guess the second episode was a big letdown?

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ha ha.. that's me after first 20 min.. of the show.. struggled.. somehow crawled upto 40 min.. but that was it.. just couldn't.. had to give up..

But spoiler is a dead giveaway.. from the very beginning, cctv scene then sauna scene.

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CRICKET -

Ashes - 1st test match was ready to be good and then England Batting showed its real character. 2nd Match which is day night match and England bowling's performance - wow and then batting perfromance - more wow.
ROOT - you have to feel for the best batsman - and the captain - Stokes isn't in best fitness and can't alone take all others.

This Ashes is turning out to be one sided a bit too much.

Let's see what Stokes and Root has to give us in next 2 days.

Drama is happening in all other boards - especially in Indian and SOUTH African board.

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JAPAN - watching cinema now - have to take 15 in all.

Tv dramas that are about to start and have started airing - few have good bits and i'll go for that.

More celebrity marriages. Nothing else.

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KOREA -

Happy Can - 6/10 - What's up with episode 12 - and what's with that hero will or not scenario. The show is of 12 episodes and even then it dragged things and side characters were too unappealing.
Hero-heroine being together in very common man clothes was saving grace moment of the drama.
The story had potential but everything was wasted.

Corny bummer summer - 4/10 - The show is crass. that's it. garbage writing. Every single bit is copy-pasted. no effort put into writing. The only good thing you can say about the show is its being light. Writer can't do meta and so our hero is more a hero and heroine is your typical one. In 2021 it getting airtime itself shows dearth of creativity and ideas in the industry. Less talk about the acting the better. Music is bleh. Director is one hack too - Yeah everyone can see what editing software effects and themes you guys use. I call this one abomination of a drama. Heck, every porn puts more efforts into their plot points, acting as well direction. If you can't even beat the lowest denominator of entertainment what else can be expected.

Crazy guy - 3/10 - 1ST Episode surely is bad and crazy to an extent. all over place and makes least sense and teaser of 2nd epsiode ignites no confidence at all. hero acts like its some instagram reel or tiktok skit. headache.

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I am expecting at least one draw from england even if it's dull i take it or is it too much to ask from them?

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The King's Affection It was great ending! I was so disapointed by 2021 sageuks that forgot what was important. In Bossam, I didn't care about politics, I wanted to see the Princess living her simple life, in Red Sky, it was the female painter the interesting part not Mawang the demon... In TKA, the focus remained on Hwi, it was her show! She deserved her happy ending.

Our Beloved Summer Communication is the key, guys...

Idol: The Coup There were some good moments but overall, they wasted Hani and Kwang Si-Yang's chemistry.

Secret Royal Inspector and Joy I think they should have stopped the story there.

School 2021 Can we switch the first roles with the second ones?

The Red Sleeve Cuff The story became pretty weird with the letter, the tattoo...

Let Me Be Your Knight I never can really appreciate a drama when one of the lead lies like this... The truth will get out and it will be awful.

Crime Puzzle So the main theme is noble idiocy? "I went in prison to save you thing?

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Re TKA: I think you described exactly why I enjoyed it, despite it not being perfect. I haven't completed a sageuk in YEARS, but TKA was somehow different. And I guess that's because it was Damyi's story until the very end.

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I finally got back to completing the J-drama CAN’T RUN AWAY FROM LOVE. It is not perfect but it is a good watch. The new J-drama BEWITCHED BY MY SEXY BOYFRIEND is delightfully insane.

RED SLEEVE CUFF is the best Sageuk of the year. We are loving it.

SECRET ROYAL INSPECTOR AND JOY continues to be fun. Not the equal of RED SLEEVE but that is really not he point. It is fun to watch- and that is all I ask.

My wife really loved THE KING’S AFFECTION. Even if the happy ending is a bit contrived- so what? Park Eun-bin continues to shine and I look forward to her next drama.

She also loved JIRISAN, which has also now come to an end. I on the other hand had stopped watching for precisely the reasons Quirkycase has noted above.

My wife found the 2007 Sageuk LEE SAN- WIND OF THE PALACE which is actually about the same lead characters we find in RED SLEEVE CUFF- except covering more of the life of King Jeongjo. It is probably more accurate historically (except for the reason Prince Sado was killed). For instance, it shows San and Deok-m spending considerable time together when they were children- which is actually true.

I am still limiting myself to one episode per week of WOULD YOU LIKE A CUP OF COFFEE? It will last longer that way. How to explain how special this show is? Have you ever watched a show and, at the end, had a feeling of having been somehow blessed? That is this show.

You know that you are watching a good weekender when you eagerly look forward to the next episodes. That is me and YOUNG LADY AND GENTLEMAN. The amnesia story arc continues and is unusually effective in this drama- perhaps because it underscores the age differences and provides a contrast- and even more so as we see that our Gentleman (22 year old version) has once again fallen for our Young Lady. But the most poignant moment actually came when the side romance that seemed back on track was actually called off by our Young Lady’s step-brother- and what made it really hurt was that in fact he was doing the right thing and for the right reason. There are noble separations that are not stupid and this was one of them. Lots of angst- just the way I like it.

I have also started the new drama UNCLE, which is an adaptation of a British show. So far it is fairly engaging.

We have also watched the first two episodes of the new Sageuk THE KING OF TEARS, LEE BANG WON. And here I have to ask a question: Does Viki not get that the family name is Yi not Lee? The story is set at the very beginning of Joseon. The acting is good. We shall see how this one plays out.

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I just love reading your comments. Just the fact that you and your wife share common interests in dramas and discuss about them together makes me swoon.

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Thank you for that. In fact our tastes are not identical but that simply adds more to our lives- because it is good to hear a different point of view. For instance, she loved JIRISAN and I did not after the second episode. but I can see why she continued to love it and why it appealed to her as it did to many people.

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The name can be Romanized as Yi, Lee, I, Ri, and Rhee, so Lee is legit.

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OK, I accept that. Perhaps I am more sensitive because I have a colleague whose family name is Yi while Lee is actually one of the more common family names in Korea (and China and England too).

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Lee Min-Ho, 이민호. From my studies at Duolingo, 이 is pronounced like long "ee." When you learn the alphabet over there a native speaker pronounces the letters you're learning. Also the surname Park is pronounced "Pak." I have a Korean friend with the surname, "Suh." I recently learned that I was pronouncing it wrong--it's actually pronounced "Suh," like a person from Dixie saying "sir" with a southern accent. How embarrassed I was when I learned that I was saying his name incorrectly all these years.

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I don't get why nobody gets that the name is Yi not Lee! Yi doesn't sound anything like Lee.

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이 is romanized as both Lee and Yi. “Lee” is a terrible romanization IMO and I don’t know why it has been the standard for so long. 이 is pronounced more like “ee” than anything else, although the syllable used before it etc can influence how it’s pronounced a little bit, and romanized.

For example, Lee Yi-kyung’s name in hangul is 이이경. The same two hangul syllables are romanized two different ways in his name.

Hangul romanization is just very confusing and frankly everyone could probably benefit from just learning a little hangul! (It’s pretty easy! I promise!)

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You can look at the wiki page for “Lee (Korean surname)” for more info if you want to learn more! It has a lot of interesting info, including why it’s usually romanized as Lee (although I still think it’s a bit silly and misleading in 2021….. but I digress!)

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I see some very good suggestions here- including learning Hangeul (properly). I try very hard to get names right as a professional habit- it is as much a matter of respect as anything else.

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Really Americans are so spoiled when it comes to realizing that our pronunciation of foreign words and names are usually totally wrong. For example I lived in Berlin, Germany, and was shocked to learn that Germany is actually called Deutschland by Germans. But Americans call it Germany???? Really do other countries call America/United States by some other name? Why don't we call countries in the world what citizens living there call themselves? When I lived in South Korea, I learned that 이 and 김 were the most common surname in the ROK with 박 coming in third. I think it is the height of politeness to pronounce people's names as THEY pronounce them, not as I think they should be pronounced.

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In fact Americans are not alone in doing this- The French refer Germany as Allemagne- which was the name of a single German tribe back in Roman tribes (but then remember that the French in turn are named for another German tribe: the Franks) and also that Germany as a single country did not exist until 1871. Previously Germany was composed of a great many individual States (who still exist to some extent- Germany is a Federation of those States) which the British and Americans simply referred to collectively as Germany- because that was the original Roman term for all of the German speaking peoples, including the future Scandinavians. It is actually "Deutchland" which is the more recent and artificial term- and in fact somewhat arbitrarily excludes the South Germans of Austria. Thus the name Germany is not at all inaccurate nor disrespectful- it is both accurate and older.

Do other countries refer to the United States by a completely different name? It is my understanding that the people of the Republic of Korea have a completely different name for the US.

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"I meant Roman times" not Roman Tribes"

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Thanks Oldlawyer for this perfect answer. In France they say Allemagne, because the tribe of this name lived next to France. In English it is Germany, because the Germanic tribe was more in the north, closer to Britain, that is just geography.

Going back to Korea, I am always puzzled by how different the subtitled names in Korean dramas are pronounced in the real Korean language. I did look into this and discovered that diplomats classify Korean as one of the most difficult languages to learn! It is certainly a very interesting language.

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So many languages translate names of countries, for once it's not just English being lazy! xD

In Italian we call the USA "Stati Uniti d'America" (it's a literal trans.), most often just "Stati Uniti", or simply America too.
In Korean it's 미국 - Miguk, while it's 美国 - Mĕiguó in Mandarin Chinese.

I don't think it's always necessary to translate names (especially for people's names), but sometimes it just flows better with the language, it's no big deal imo.

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Just one last comment on this subject. Why did America change it's pronunciation of China's capital from Peking to Beijing during my lifetime? Did China demand it or did Americans fluent in Chinese demand it?

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We have some early French monks to thank for the "Peking" version. Beijing is supposed to be closer to the actual pronunciation. Although it is probably impossible to communicate a proper pronunciation simply by writing given that Chinese is a highly inflected language (as is English- but Chinese even more so).

Once you realize that the written Peking was NOT supposed to be pronounced by an English speaker but rather by a Frenchman - who looking at the word 'Peking' would actually have pronounced it differently- the change to a different spelling is really a change from French to English. In the same way Mao Tse-tung was changed to Mao Zedong- much closer to the actual name for an English speaker.

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Our beloved Summer- Woong sure cleans up nice!!! I didn't like that the 2 artists were pitted against each other without any of the leads knowledge. It's probably Lee Jun Hyuk's working. But atleast we got another cameo by Kwak Dong Yeon. If only he gets a lead role somewhere it'll be much preferable.
School 2021- Why is the show forcing jun young to have feelings for jiwon when he clearly has better chemistry with seo young? There is more than enough story for 2 lovelines rather than a forced love triangle. Also looking forward to how the school director is plotting to take action now that she knows the truth.
Bad and crazy- Only watched the first episode but it felt too long. Also the scenes where wie hajoon's character is appearing seems very abrupt and LDW always seems to be in a haze before or after his interactions with him. And it doesn't seem like it's because of all the hitting he's getting. It's weird but will probably see for atleast one more week.

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Reflection of You – Finally completed this series, and I must say, the 2nd half of the last episode was a healing. Jeong Hui-ju sacrificing her being in exchange of her daughter’s future was true to herself, the very kind of mother Jeong Seon-u wanted. Reflection of You is not a gem, but it is worth watching, if you just flow into the story. On a personal bias, whilst some were skeptical on whom to vet for, Jeong Hui-ju already had my vote, and my choice remained true. That being said, Shin Hyun Bin did a good job portraying a character I never got to root for throughout the run of this series. I don’t know how, but she managed to not let me give Gu Hae-won a dose of sympathy, and that is solid. I love Hyunseong trusting Hui-ju to the end and, if there is a season 2, I hope pushes through his insecurities.
Jeong Seon-u and the Barman Ajhushi have a heart of gold. If RoY tries to sell a hurter – hurted romance, I’ll buy a romance between JSU and GHW, and BMA and GHW’s mom anytime because RoY laid the premise for that successfully.
I have a lot to say about this series and I could go on and on, but one last thing, memory-recovered Seo Woo-jae is an all-time jerk.

I got to watch The Call (2020) and it freaked the hell outta me. I am not a fan of any dose of horror, so I quickly read how the story played out, still it freaked me more. Park Shin-hye tried with her role in there. I enjoyed it more than Sisyphus.

Artificial City – Artificial City hits all the right spots. I love chaebol politics, I love power struggles, and this one, this one is hitting all the spots Mine didn’t hit. Each one. The episode 2 power dynamic, it was so satisfying. Just one grievance though, why did Madam Kwon have to die. That plot device tires me. Same as that Kim Yi-seol character, I hope she’s not the normal romantic antagonist.

And I finally had the nudge to watch episode 16 of MMH.

Currently bent on completing The Road, and all I can say is its nowhere and everywhere.

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MY ROOMMATE IS A GUMIHO. Double ahhhh! At last, a recent rom-com with good writing, good acting, and comedy that has had me doubled over with laughter. I especially love the personality contrast between Hyeri and sober-faced Jang Ki-Yong as well as secondary pair Kang Han-Na and Kim Do Wan, and the misunderstandings that arise from gumiho-human interactions. The subtitlers must have worked overtime explaining the references and idioms and thanks to them I was able to enjoy a lot more.

WITCHES ROMANCE: Almost the perfect rom-com with frisky 25 year-old Park Seo Joon opposite much older Uhm Jung-Hwa. She’s gutsy, ambitious, mature and sexy, and stays that way to the end. I loved the sensitive and realistic way they handled the problem of big age difference with younger guy, still a no-no just about everywhere.

RAIN OR SHINE/JUST BETWEEN LOVERS: A quality drama with really excellent performances by Lee Jun Ho and Won Jin-A, but 16 episodes of unresolved grief is too much. Would have been great in 8 parts or a movie.

TRUE BEAUTY: Huh? Insecure high school girl, nice but not the sharpest knife in the drawer, is “fixed” by hiding behind makeup. At the end, she hasn’t grown at all. Sure, this drama may reflect reality for women, that beauty can win you instant popularity and the love of idols but it’s not a reality I like to see endorsed. Plus, for comedy, they mash up just about every worn-out trope and gag you can think of. I lost count of how many times she tripped and fell into his arms.

DR JOHN: Ji Sung was great, but drama too long and heavy for me right now. Didn’t help that Kang Si-Young, playing student doctor in love with Dr John and trailing behind him, looked throughout like a baby seal that lost its mother.

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I have been reading the original manhwa of Gumi Roommate (on Webtoons) and enjoying it as well. And Hyeri is perfect as Dam.

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"Dr. John" is the only drama you listed that I haven't seen that you mentioned above, but I agree with your take on every other drama.

"Witch's Romance" is a rom-com classic and having recently watched it, I think it holds up well and doesn't feel especially dated. It's fun and well written and the actors go all in.

I was also underwhelmed by "True Beauty" and felt that despite its purported message, it ended up reinforcing the same ideas it was supposedly criticizing. I couldn't get past the awful mother and although the actress was wonderful, putting fake pimples on her face and having her wear glasses didn't plausibly erase the fact that she is a classically beautiful woman by society's standards. It was like the awful American film "She's All That" where we're supposed to believe some overalls and glasses make Rachel Cook completely undesirable. How about casting someone who legitimately looks like most of us, which is to say beautiful in our own way, but plain by the entertainment industry's standards?

Finally, you succinctly stated why I didn't love "Just Between Lovers." It's beautifully acted and a realistic-ish portrayal of the reality of grief, but as a drama, it often felt unrelenting in a way that became too much. I like dark, true-to-life dramas that don't end with a sanitized version of the reality of loss, but re-watching this one, I was struck by how unsatisfying it ultimately felt. But I know many, many people love this one.

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Yay, Witch’s Romance! Such a fun show. And I loved the relationship between the two male roommates.

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Me too! PSJ and Yoon Hyun-min were so funny together. I really want to see Hyun-min in a good drama again.

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Boy, me too. I wish he would have a big breakout role, and soon!

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I jus finished JBL also. While I love the show so much, I think that the leads (as well as other people affected by the accident) would have greatly benefited from consultation sessions with therapists/psychologists/psychiatrists.

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That is precisely the reason why I'm watching one episode a month of My Ahjussi, trying to no avail to finish it -- a rather unpopular opinion about the beloved drama but, boy, these middle-aged men could have a resolved a LOT of their issues with therapy. Yours is a smart assessment. I found JBL a fantastic drama, hands down, but felt that the grief theme dragged a bit, and I suspect for tiny few, might have been trigger-inducing -- from what I remember Prolonged Grief Disorder is now an actual DSM thing. In fact, a lot of drama "problems" could have been resolved with old-fashioned honest communication and therapy, but then the thin plot points would become even thinner, so. This is a reason, I suspect, the most "serious" TV dramas that have the most societal impact inject humor here and there, for the vast majority of us, it's a lot more bearable to watch. A recent example is Succession. It's a show that literally hurts you but still makes you laugh uncontrollably.

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Thanks for the rec of "Succession," I'm all for uncontrollable laughter right now.

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WITH'S ROMANCE is very good. It was a re-make of the Taiwanese show QUEEN OF NO MARRIAGE (or MY QUEEN). WITCH'S romance was very good but I liked the original, which starred the fabulous Cheryl Yang, even better.

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Happiness: 7.5

Inspector Koo: 9.5 for the final week and for Lee Young-Ae over the whole show. 9.0 for the series overall. Laugh-out-loud tongue-in-cheek brilliance, especially towards the end.

Jirisan: 7.0 Ending was very cheesy but slightly satisfying. No body = not dead, of course -- was anybody not at least half expecting that? But WTF the wheelchair?

King of Tears, Lee Bang-Won: 3.0 The first half of day one was bad, IMHO almost Joseon Exorcist bad, although perhaps less un-historical. I couldn't face the thought of 18 weeks of that, so don't ask me about the 2nd half. And I can't really imagine the historical Bang-won shedding any but crocodile tears.

King's Affection: 7.0 The big climactic battle fully lived down to the standards of sageuk final battles... dramatic confrontations, people arriving just in time to save somebody -- then having time for sentimental conversations & long partings while the emergency is still going on... Lather, rinse, repeat. Add this one to the list of shows Beanies loved by I didn't (along with Red Sleeve Drop).

Secret Royal Inspector & Joy: 7.0 Slight letdown this week.

Chimera: 7.0

Crime Puzzle: 7.0 (ep 3 / 8) Argh! Another evil cult? The actress who plays the baddie overacts, or to be more precise, overshouts. Ok otherwise.

Bad and Crazy: 7.1 It's a fantasy show, since just 3 minutes in a Korean guy is saying he'll never drink that much again. Yah, right. Supposedly he's the "bad" one, but he's plainly "crazy" too. And the mysterious person who seems to be his conscience(?)/tormentor is named "K" -- so soon after the "K" from Inspector Koo?

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Crime Puzzle showed a yogurt drink in ep 7 that was in the same size bottle as the poison yogurt in Jirisan, but was a different brand. So, how much did the Crime Puzzle brand pay to have the competition depicted as deadly poison?
#PPLblackmail #reversePPL

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The Red Sleeve
After long, tiring and senseless Lady Cho episode(s), we are back at The King, Crown Prince and Deok Im.
Lee Joonho is beyond good. He is no joke in this drama. To act against a class of Lee Deokhwa is never an easy task, but he nails it.

Our Beloved Summer
Always love this kind of lowkey drama. I know Wooshik never disappoints but I didn't know he looked so good with his hair off his forehead.

NWABU
*headscratch*
I tried again. And failed.

Wise Camping Life: Doctors
Kyungho x Yoonseok's shout in silence game
OH. MY. GOD. Kyungho when in tipsy mode is 😂😂😂

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I had tears in my eyes from laughing at drunk Kyung-ho and couldn't get Jiniyaaaaa out of my head for days

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I dropped THE RED SLEEVE CUFF after ep 8 because why are we halfway through and there's nothing except the crown prince trying and failing to hide that he likes the court lady? Also, there's nothing in her characterization that shows "she'd rather live a carefree life than be embroiled in palace politics" like the synopsis said. If that's all the movement we have after 8 episodes, I'm good.

I kinda fell back on HAPPINESS and never picked it back up again, and just loosely followed the recaps.

Tried the first episode of ARTIFICIAL CITY and decided to skip, even though I like Su Ae.

On the CDrama front, I watched THE LONG NIGHT, one of iQiyi's Light On dramas from 2020 and was absolutely blown away. What a poignant, painful, drama about the pursuit of justice. Loved it.

I am also currently watching and loving LUOYANG. This is how an ancient mystery/suspense is done! Although I could do completely without Song Yi's useless character, and that creepy romance with Wang Yibo too. In fact, Wang Yibo's character can leave as well, and then it'd be perfect.

In JDorama-land, I am still watching CAN'T RUN AWAY FROM THIS LOVE .

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The Long Night is getting a k-drama remake. Uh oh.
And agree with everything you said about Luoyang. As much as I'm loving it, the secondary couple can kind of leave. And there is a stretch to how much of a renaissance-man Wang Yibo's character actually can be! xD

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can't run away from this love.. sounds like remake of a turkish drama that was super super popular
Kiralık Aşk

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The Red Sleeve Cuff - Just loving everything about it! Even the characters I'm not really liking .... which means the actors are doing a fantastic job in their roles.

Artificial City - After two episodes, I'm still trying to figure out who's who in that chaebol family. One thing's super clear though, everyone is out to get each other.

Jirisan - Um, ok, so that's how it ends? Why? Some sort of explanation would've been nice.

Now I'm off to check out Bad and Crazy.

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RED SLEEVE: I'm one of the few that wasn't turned off by the Fairy Palace scenario. Saeguks need court intrigue, and this plot-line was more interesting to me than the standard one with scheming ministers or petulant siblings who think their very existence means they are worthy of power. So court ladies taking up arms under the leadership of a woman who understands and resents the extreme limits of their ability to control their own lives worked for me. I thought there would be more overtly romantic scenes, but I do like that the ones we get feel fresh and interesting with fun dialogue (I loved the spy glass scene, for example). And the leads continue to have amazing chemistry.

OUR BELOVED SUMMER: So far, this is exactly what I hoping for. The actors play off each other so well, the storyline is simple but has all these interesting layers, the OST is moody and evocative, and I feel like the writers know exactly where they want to go and I trust that I'll accept and enjoy where things end up.

MELANCHOLIA: Still wish this was better, but I keep watching it. That's probably just the power of Lee Do-hyun, I guess.

SCHOOL 2021: Also not quite as addictive as I though it would be, but I'm enjoying it for what it is. I like that the tone is both breezy and earnest.

Finished HAPPINESS which I loved all the way through thanks to the ultra-tight plotting and surprisingly affecting OTP. Tried to finish KING'S AFFECTION last night as I'm about four episodes behind, but my mind kept drifting to Lee Jun-ho and Lee Se-young whose chemistry has that more urgent quality I prefer. Will maybe pick this up again later.

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NOW WE ARE BREAKING UP (Ep. 8, 9, 10) When does petty vindictiveness trump sound business decisions? Apparently, in this drama. Soo-Wan’s jilted fiancee is apparently living in the early Joseon era by living her life as the grieving non-married widow. Did YE kill him? No, Soo-Wan’s own bad choices and bad driving did.

I guess this series is all about bad choices. CEO Hwang puts spoiled children in management roles with a full time babysitter YE. YE made a bad choice to stay at Sono to take the blame with no real chance to advance. If she was so good, why did not another brand lure her away?

YE’S dependence on JK’s fashion connections to bail her out of department store expulsion is suffocating and unrealistic. She hugs him each time he does her a favor like a pet owner hugs their dog for not urinating in the apartment.

As for the alleged love story, there is no evidence of any spark, infatuation or intimacy between the leads even AFTER their one night stand which ended like a cold encounter at a customer service return desk. I don’t think viewers expect SITR flame scenes between the leads, but there is more heat in hour old McD’s french fries than the leads on-screen chemistry. When bluntly asked about their love, neither lead can articulate one reason, one cliche, or one term of endearment. The biggest obstacle is not the parents, the society norms, ancient marital rules or the dead brother, it is the glazed zombie look of the leads awkwardly attempting elementary school affection.

Episode 10 repetitively harps on societal objections to their relationship. But the real problem is their alleged relationship: they say they love each other does but there are no actions to back up their own words. They are paddling in circles on an angst river. This has not turned into a hate watch but a show autopsy. Remarkably, if you erased the main two characters, the show would actually be better.

BE;TWIN (2021 Drama Special): Drama specials help bring along new talent and writers to highlight less mainstream themes. This show did not break the switched twin storyline basics. But 21 year old actor Sung Yoo Bin did a good job playing the role of the twins with different personalities. The plot was very simple and the lesson that honesty is more important than greed, jealousy or a cover-up was OK. The story really could have used three more episodes to develop the characters to make the reasonable ending more meaningful.

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Hmmm, I'm less and less inclined to come back to Breaking...

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Right? I should just make it official, we broke up 😵

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V cathartic reading your autopsy. It did me good and saved me from venting. Sigh.

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THE KING'S AFFECTION: Yes, the writing may be inconsistent. Yes, there are glaring plot holes. Yes, the show should've been shortened to 16 episodes. But I'd give this drama credit where it is due. It had amazing directing, cinematography and costumes. Beautiful, but dare I say overplayed (cough 'If I' cough) OSTs. It had a unique plot. The acting was top-notch. It had a beautiful ending, one which most sagueks can't boast of. Honestly, with the sky high anxiety I had going into the finale, that ending was enough for me to forgive the drama for all its faults.
But more importantly, it made me feel. It brought me out of a year-long drama withdrawal. I was invested in the characters. I looked forward to Mondays. I smiled, I threw objects at my screen, I wept.
TKA may not be the best drama, but it certainly was the most anticipated and is the most memorable of 2021 for me.

THE RED SLEEVE: Oooh, this drama is GOOD. I'm just in episode 2, but I'm loving it. I don't like watching, but I'd risk it for Jun-ho. I'd risk everything for Jun-ho.
Just when I was controlling my obsession with PEB, LJH comes around. Sigh.

SNOWDROP: My boy Jung Hae-In? Rookie but good actress Ji-soo? Queens Yoo In-na and Kim Hye-yoon? Set in the 1980s? A solid first episode? Beautiful anesthetics and bgm? Engaging side characters? An all female dorm? Chaotic but close female roomies? Tight female friendships? A cute, cute, cute love story? I'm sold.
Just wish there'd be no political backlash after some episodes. Snowdrop be really treading on thin ice there.

OUR BELOVED SUMMER: I'm not really watching this, but I've heard good stuff about it and it's definitely on my radar. I think I'd limit the anxiety of watching on-air dramas to two dramas only. This drama just screams binge-worthy, so I'd watch it when all episodes are out.

WLFKBJ: I'd never get tired of rewatching this. Nam Joo-hyuk continues to surprise me with how well he acted in this. It's as if he was born to play that role. I wish his character in upcoming twenty five twenty one would be more suited to him, so he'd be able to hold his own against Kim Tae-ri.

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I so wish I could watch "Snowdrop," but I'm in the US and refuse to pay for Disney+. I keep hoping it'll end up another legal streaming site.

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Well, I hadnt actually watched it yet when I posted my comment; I'd only watched a few clips on Instagram. And like you, I'm not even considering subscribing to Disney+. Rn I'm joining a live stream on discord where Snowdrop is being shared with eng subs. That's how I plan to go through each episode unless there's a better alternative.

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Same here. I pay for Netflix (Season 2 of Bridgertons is only a month or so away), Viki and iQIYI. 3 is enough. We can also watch some things on Amazon Prime (not reason I pay for it) which means my wife is really enjoying THE WHEEL OF TIME.

Disney + is just one service too far. So I will be missing this one. It is a pity but I have enough on my plate as it is.

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As others have commented, Snowdrop is only being aired by Disney in Asia.

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Not Asia only APAC. Asia is bigger than just 7-8 countries.

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I have Disney+ in the US, Snowdrop isn’t there.

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Nam Joohyuk was good in Weightlifting Fairy, I still remember that scene when he cried (ep15?), I didn't expect it from him either. It seems when he is in good hands (PD, actors around, script), he can be pretty good. I loved him also in Dazzling... and especially in School Nurse.

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Agree with you about Yeonmo. While watching it ,I had a ton of issues with the plot and random character developments, but when it came to the end I felt so invested in Hwi's story. So I guess the writer/actors got me on that one :P

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Well, I don't know if the South Koreans had a fit about, "1987: When the Day Comes," and "Taxi Driver," but I loved both of those movies. I'm sure the movies weren't completely correct on all the details of their respective stories. In the U.S. from time to time we have outcries about the historical facts in movies about true events, but not to the height the Koreans seem to raise their voices.

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But the history in this case is in living memory and innocent people died to end an oppressive and paranoid regime that imprisoned and tortured students that were accused of being communist. It's all still fresh in the collective memory, and NK looms over the border. The 80s. Not so long ago for many. And it comes at the end of the whole terrible historical trajectory from the end of the 19th cent on.
I really hope the drama survives the petitions to the Blue House, but I do get the ownership that that generation has over that time.

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The history of JFK's assignation remains in the living memory of the American public. I was 19 at the time--it was a very traumatic event for me. Thirteen films have been made to date about that incident. Many Americans have raised concerns about the films, but we've never stopped one from being shown at theaters or on TV. Our biggest problem with the assignation is that it seems that NOBODY knows the truth about what happened in Dallas that day.

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Interesting comparison, but a whole populace wasn't actively involved in the event, no matter how shocked they were and how the effects continue to flow on. In contrast, the people who protested against the dictatorship see themselves as descendants of the righteous army. Then there are the more recent candlelight protestors. Thinking about the uniqueness of the history of protest and subversion in SK and comparing to the assassination of JFK, I think you'd have to say the stakes are very different. His death, albeit a tragic and terrible event, did not bring an end to democracy or bring about an ideological groundswell in the same way that the people of SK who protested for a democratically-run government managed to achieve at great risk. For them now, the truth of their actions is being revised and diminished.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/10/world/asia/south-korea-protests-history.html
It's interesting talking about this now that I've seen the current episode because I'm thinking we are meant to regard the KCIA as incompetent goons and as the director said, see Snowdrop as a black comedy, especially now the dorm situation has changed into a more nightmarish situation, but it seems tonally discordant and therefore confusing. I don't agree with cancelling things, censoring things or burning books. But I do understand the ownership that people have of their history. As the above article points out

*Students have long been at the vanguard of South Korea’s robust history of protest, drawing on deep-rooted Confucian traditions that elevated scholars as guardians of morality. They helped topple a government in 1960 and rebelled in the southern city of Kwangju in 1980, only to be massacred by a military junta led by Chun Doo-hwan, who later made himself president.*

The reporter who is reporting on the more recent candlelight protests says this:

*Watching the protests from afar, at a distance of so many years, I was reminded of what I’d felt as a young foreign correspondent: awe and respect for the courage, tenacity and passion of the South Korean public.

This is not a tame society, for all the comforts its public has won in the years since.* The history of activism in SK is fierce and generational.

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During the 1960's American college students were involved in huge demonstrations aimed at changing American politics. Several were shot at Kent State while protesting our involvement in the Vietnam War. Actually most of us young enough to have protested many things that were happening then--civil rights; the out of control FBI; Vietnam War; and assignations, are still protesting today in support of voting rights. I remember thinking during that time period that the wheels of democracy were coming off of America's wagon (remember we suffered the assignation of three prominent political figures during that era). But the college protestors didn't give up and eventually won the changes they were working to achieve. I only wish that American college students were as vocal and animated now as they were then--in reality America is on the verge of losing its democracy completely right now.

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Yes. I remember Kent State. 😔

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The RED SLEEVE CUFF is back in full force with the brilliantly acted show down between the king and crown prince. I could not ask for more and I am delighted that there will be an extra episode.

Another tour de force remains ONE ORDINARY DAY. This adaptation of Peter Moffat's original excellent script is done really well, I even find that there is some likeness between Ben Wishaw and Kim Soo-Hyun. Cha Seung-Won is scratching his eczema as if he is really suffering from it, he is such a good actor.

I also like MY BELOVED SUMMER and Choi Woo-sik's petty character. I am not keen on that 'first love' concept, I always think that most people move on very swiftly from their first love and do not want to go back, but I can tolerate it here, because they are so deliciously petty.

Happy endings with a whole bunch of other dramas. I am ok with HAPPINESS, even if the ending was rushed, and the KINGS AFFECTION, even though I was rolling my eyes that the poison only killed the grandfather and not our king. After all that suffering and injustice, she deserved a happy life.

Not so wit JIRISAN. The silly ghost plot was only topped by Jun Ji-hyun's miraculous awakening from the coma, right at the moment the life support was switched off, and Yi-Kang being able to walk again. That drama as presented did not justify its budget. Quirkycase really summed it up perfectly.

With MELANCHOLIA I am more and more on the fence. I dislike the whole revenge and corruption plot, but I do like how maths is used in the plot and how the premise is changing.

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With you on One Ordinary Day - I'm working through it slowly as the BBC original frightened me for life with its portrayal of life in prison, and I can feel the same power in this one too. In the original, I remember the break-down of BW's character - from terrified, bewildered man to drowning, defeated, bludgeoned-by-the-system shadow - being the most haunting thing, and so far, it looks like KSH is on the same trajectory. You're right: BW and KSH have a likeness (and the quality of their talents has a lot to do with it).

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I find prison violence also very difficult to watch, because the inmates have almost no way to escape it, they are locked up together. It needs a good actor to show the emotional roller coaster journey of our young student and both productions got that.

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Now, We Are Breaking Up - this drama really picked a weird hill to die on. The sad part is the dating my former boyfriend's younger brother isn't where I'm left scratching my head. Instead I'm horribly confused by the choices with dialogue they used (people just don't speak that way) and scenes they've chosen (Jang Ki-yong looking forward instead of at the TV). Sniffles, so bad its good.

IDOL: The Coup - going to miss this little underdog drama.

Out Beloved Summer - I want to like this more than I do. The back flashes being potentially unreliable because the narrator himself may be leaving things out gives me pause instead of making me think he's a lovable dork.

Let Me Be Your Knight - its nice seeing Tae-in's pride not get in the way of keeping the group together.

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NWABU has some of the most unrealistic dialogue ever and then we get the faux-deep voiceover monologues on top of that.

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The dialogue I think is also getting worse with each episode. Its truly remarkable.

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I'm curious now if the dialogue even worse than in Doom At Your Service? If it even approaches that level, I'd like to check it out for the sheer entertainment that the bad writing bestows upon us.

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I'd say it's about on par - DAYS had fate/destiny in every second sentence and NWABU has farewell/goodbye/breaking up 🙄. Every conversation is treatise on what love is/was/should be, it's exhausting.

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"Treatise", lol. Thanks for the laughs.

Sounds like these two are not ready for love, let alone form any semblance of relationship -- you know it, when you see people eternally opine on the subject of love because they don't actually know what it is or ever experienced it, lol.

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Secret Royal Inspector & Joy: Am loving Jo-yi goes all Joseon career woman on her understanding boyfriend >< Still have time to be an informant tho, those Whispering Corridor move cracked me up so bad! But am definitely missing these two sleuthing as a team...
Also worried that redemption for our tortured villain is not on the horizon; if he really is the one that killed Yi-un's beloved Crown Prince, there's no way Yi-un will let Tae-soo go.

Melancholia: Am liking the metaphor of their relationship to a flawed premise in a math problem; can they ever revise their beginning or is eloping to an island where nobody knows them the only option? How will our OTP ever find happiness together? Am so invested in this, it's no joke...
Although maybe math is a flawed premise of this drama, it should instead be unrequited feelings since it's pretty much what makes this drama's world goes round. And some insist on making the same mistakes for the sake of this, duh. The only one who surprisingly takes some pointers from his past is ex-fiance Sung-jae, like @quirkycase said, he made quite a profound advice.

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Is the flawed premise the fact that only he liked her, whereas it was a mutual attraction?

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For me, the flawed premise is they first met as student-teacher. Am very interested in how show is going to solve this after backing our OTP into a corner, because how to prove the so-called pureness..?
I do remember she said she likes how he views the world through math, but I don't think it's mutually romantic yet at that time. Especially since drama made a show of both guys yelling asking Yoon-su to examine her feeling to Seung-yoo in the current time. Which is kinda insulting to her character because she's surely not Ye-rin's level of dense...

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Red sleeve: If you dropped this after last week, boy, you're going to be sorry. Ep 11 was SO good. And it looks like 12 was even more epic (didn't get to that yet). Lee deok Hwa for daesang? I know he wasn't the main main character but I'm not opposed. And I'm more and more impressed with Lee junho, if that was even possible, especially since he's the most junior of the lot amongst the leads. (And is still active as a singer)

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Man, I wish I was watching a drama that motivated me to write a WWW post because I just love it so much... Instead, I'm watching a lot of things that are time filling.
Chimera: This is by far the best thing I'm watching currently. The acting has been really great and the story is interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all gets sorted out.
Melancholia: I feel like we just wasted a week without much moving forward. Who knew the best scene of the week would be between the ex-husband and our ML?
Now, We are Breaking Up: Who came up with this insane notion that breaking up when a relationship is good is romantic?? I've never heard anything so stupid. You can't break up with smiles on your faces, not if you love each other. AND, what kind of mother threatens her son's girlfriend with suicide if she doesn't break up with him? Really? Ugh. Jang Ki Yong looked really young in a few of the scenes this week, and that doesn't help sell the romance to me. Where is the sexy fire this couple couldn't fight? They weren't even holding hands or cuddling watching a movie on the couch. Why am I still watching this?
Reply 1988: Just watched episodes 6-9 because they are all snowy and full of wintertime scenes. I love this drama so much and it's just making the mediocre shows I'm watching look worse in comparison.
Looking forward to starting some new things, but I usually like to give a couple of weeks to pile up a few episodes before I start watching. My Beloved Summer is top of that list. I'm also looking forward to Lee Jin-wook, but I am disappointed that there isn't a romance storyline. I think he's one of the sexiest actors out there, and it's such a waste not to use that.

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NWABU Sigh. That MIL took me back to the malicious mother and mil in Encounter. Her character in this is certainly stronger, but that's about it. I just can't buy the interference in a mature woman's life. I also find it hard to believe that many women would stand for it any more, no matter the culture no matter what anyone says. The age difference is standing out for me too.

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Finished:

Rain or Shine aka Just Between Lovers
It’s a classic I think. The plot is great, the whole casts -perfect, the sound department-marvelous, visuals -beautiful. It’s one of those shows you can go “uwu” almost every minute. There are many great life lessons in the characters’ monologues and dialogues.

The only one thing that has bugged me, is that I feel like no one affected by the shopping mall collapse incident thought and tried consultation sessions. But again, if they did choose this route, there wouldn’t have been this drama in the first place. So I’ll just say that I found the ML’s sister doctor role unrealistic. She should have known better than anyone that the ML desperately needed consultation sessions.

Currently watching:
Friends ss1.

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JUST BETWEEN LOVERS is a must see. As far as the lack of counselling session - that reflects two things: Such things are very new to that society and thus might not come to mind, even to a doctor who should know about them. But even more important, you would not have the great life lessons, etc if things had happened that way- so their absence was dramatically necessary.

It is on Netflix under the alternative title RAIN OR SHINE but will always be JUST BETWEEN LOVERS to me- I just think that the title fits better.

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Yes, because of the lack of the counseling sessions, I got to see the raw emotions of humans that were affected by the shopping mall collapse incident. It was heartbreaking to see them resorting to the means each of them used to survive and numb the pain. It just made me so sad.

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Hear hear!
I wrote this in another thread:

“ I know the choice/choices were supposed to be from 2021 Dramas but I discovered this world of story telling only this year and zigzagged back and forth across the years. Some Beanies kindly recommended Dramas to me and one of these was “Just Between Lovers”/Rain or Shine.
I loved it so much and one extended scene from Ep 10 has stayed with me for weeks: Halmoni is in the hospital being visited and fussed over by her “grandchildren”. Kangdoo is grieving her impending death but is trying to remain as stoic as he can. His voice over says the following:

“Halmoni said life is a repetition of regrets and failures. I sarcastically asked what is the point of living. Granny said it’s to regret and fail more wonderfully”.”

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This one sticks with me, too! I actually think this show has so many great lines that all of us perhaps can relate too.

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Yes, I finished it too this week and loved it. As many have said before me (see the brilliant thread on dramabeans!), Kang-du is a character to die for. LJH nailed him so well.

The other thing that always struck me about the counselling sessions - this was a group of people who were poor and possibly could not afford them due to a pile of other economic needs that had to be met first. It kind of made sense to me that this would not have been a perceived option for them.

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Ohh... I think you’re also right. I didn’t think of this at all. It made sense, especially when some of the affected families didn’t even receive financial help from the construction company. I always thought it was because the stigma related to having counseling sessions that could have been there in a conservative society as in SK that prevented them from seeking the professional help.

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I just watched this again (trying hard, but not succeeding not to binge it). Guess I was wanting more of great Junho acting without so much palace politics. It is a really great drama.

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It really is. I began watching the first episode and knew it right away after only some time has passed that the production is on another level and this ride was gonna be worthwhile. It’s one of those rare times when you know you have discovered a gem. A gem is an apt description and perhaps even an understatement for this wonderful show.

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Just Between Lovers was my binge this week too. It was so good. I loved Kang doo as a character. So many times he calls out other people's bullsh** in practical grounded ways. I know people like him irl, not spoiled by education, but who have a strong dose of more than common sense. I also loved his support system of women who recognised his fracture lines and doted on him. It was a great drama that showed how tragedy never ends at the event but has ongoing repercussions. Each life was forever changed by what happened. One best moment among many was when they both turned away from the ride. They didn't need confected drama in their lives after what they'd been through. PTSD. A moment of identification for me.

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Could you clarify what you meant by them turning away from the ride? I don’t quite get this part.

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Sorry, the roller coaster. Remember they simultaneously looked at it and turned away instantly without a word. Can't go on them myself. I think I was born with post -traumatic stress.

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Thanks for the clarification and I’m sorry you feel that way about the ride. I used to love them SO MUCH when I was much younger, but as I told some Beans recently, I felt I almost died from going on extreme rides only in a span of 2 hours like a week ago.

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*hugs Bo’s owner* It’s ok.

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@mmmmm - I am so glad you were unharmed. i have never had a stomach for extreme rides. Ferris Wheels are my jam. I love them. Where I live there is a gorgeous one with breathtaking views. I could go on that everyday if I had a choice.

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I had the stomach for extreme things when I was young. I asked my mother if I was allowed to do the bungee jumping when I was 11 (and fyi, she said she would disown me if I did so I didn’t do it). I even considered doing parachuting. But those days are gone (cries), now I’ve become more gentle and Ferris Wheel with a gorgeous view sounds good enough.

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@mmmmm - At 11! You little daredevil you!
I am sorry that you were thwarted but respect to your mum! She didn’t mess around, did she?😭😄

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So beautifully put and spot on. I feel really raw this morning and what you wrote made me tear up.

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I forgot to add@jorobertson.

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I also really appreciated the roller coaster ride scene! Quintessential great Kdrama, they really pay attention to the details. And what a great detail for this drama, and so well acted.

And 'gem ' really captures this drama.

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I just finished watching YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL for the first time and I really enjoyed it a lot (Probably not surprising because the general tone is similar to My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho). There was some labouring of the star/seeing in darkness metaphor but on the whole I approve. It’s not often I like the ML and the second lead so much - I thought they did a good job of making them both appealing in very different ways without just making the second lead the shiny nice guy who gets let down in the end.

I also watched (/fastforwarded all but about five minutes of nearly every episode from about episode 5) the cdrama LOVE AT NIGHT- don’t bother, it is terrible. I only kept watching to see the Awful Ex get put in his place.

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Bad and Crazy was bad, too much violence hitting kicking, and I didn’t like LDW acting he doesn’t fit the character his acting doesn’t deliver, i think an actor like NamGongmin would’ve done better, i was disappointed in the first episode, am gonna watch the second episode to see what will happen to the police officer’s case.

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The Red Sleeve Cuff: Just finished episode 12. I bow to the writer/PD for not just focusing on the romance but on the overall story, which is as it should be. The actors are all doing a fantastic job and the writers are keeping focus on all aspects of being a court lady within all the other machinations going on which I appreciate.

Now, We Are Broken Up: I'm out. Dropped at episode 10. I kinda get what the writer was trying to do; a new take on an old style drama. The actors can take the hits - and deservedly so - but the writer is the one who failed. By the way, I don't ding the drama for using the parents non-approval as a big stumbling block. I do understand that this continues as I just heard of an actress whose celebrity relationship of several years did end allegedly because her family could not come around to accepting him. It's just depressing and not that exciting to watch at this point.

Secret Royal Inspector and Joy: I think this might be an official drop instead of a pause. I really think 12 episodes is all this needed.

Netflix: Gearing up to start S2 of The Witcher.

Also am gonna check out Moonshine when it starts.

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You are me two years ago. I made a list from @leetennant concerning the best Kdramas from the decade (2010 to 20120, roughly). With the exception of Signal (allergic to time travel plots) every one is a gem. Mind you "gem" means not oppa or glitter gal driven. Solid writing, great direction, talented actors - the total package. Just try Healer (am I right gals?)

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Here's the list if anyone else wants the guide.
Quite a lot of Beanies voted in this poll. It's light on Sageuks but is a great list of dramas to watch.

https://invisibledragon.home.blog/2020/12/11/the-best-korean-dramas-of-the-decade-as-voted-by-you/

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Second your point on RSC and its focus on all aspects of being a court maid - really interesting to see how the change of a monarch led to so much change within the ranks, and how people with a lot of power (Lady Cho) were reduced to nothing in an instant. The way in which nothing can be depended upon to remain stable has been a really interesting aspect of this drama.

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The Red Sleeve Cuff : I totally agree with you! After finishing episode 11, I'm so impressed with the storyline that I began searching for who is the drama's scriptwriter! He/She did a splendid job writing each scene that's not solely focused on loveline, but the covers many aspects without looking weird or awkward or out of place. Everything fits perfectly!

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still watching NWABU, because i'm not watching much else. about halfway thru TKA...

in my boredom, am rewatching a wuxia The King's Woman (loved the antagonistic love story for some reason) and am looking for good recommendations for others, have BBJX, Yanxi Palace, Empress in the Palace and Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace recco'd from others... any more to add - or should i delete any of these?

thanks, in advance!

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Have you watched Nirvana in Fire? If not, push all those c-dramas back and watch Nirvana in Fire. It's the greatest c-drama ever (IMO).

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My wife loved THE KING’S WOMAN which stars the great Dilraba Dilmurat, who is one of her favorite actresses. Just about anything she stars in is bound to be good.

But NIRVANA IN FIRE really is one of the great, classic Wuxia dramas. You are right to recommend it. NIRVANA IN FIRE 2 is also very watchable.

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: D
thanks for the recco and advice to bring it to the top! i might have to do this...

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That x1000

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BBJX is excellent, although it's not really wuxia as it focuses on women's lives inside the Forbidden City during the early Qing dynasty. Setting aside the time travel element, it's pretty historically accurate which was one of the main draws for me. Nirvana in Fire is good as well but I didn't love it as much as some folks - it's extremely well done but I felt it wrapped up a bit too neatly and had some odd plot devices towards the end. Although it's technically messy in places, if you like epic fantasy that dynamites patriarchal warrior culture norms, The Untamed is wonderful, although the story and characters are the main draw more than the fight scenes. Also, The Imperial Coroner is a delight - again, not really wuxia but a very tightly written period mystery show.

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thank you, these are on my list!

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BBJX was amazing, I wonder why Korea even tried to do Ryeo, tbh! I loved TKW, and thought Dilraba and Vin Zhang had fiery chemistry, although most people called it fake, and his 'villainy' laughably bad. Okay, maybe I was a drama-noob back then! xD

Historically, BBJX is the grandfather king, then his son is the king in Empresses in the palace, and finally BBJX-King's grandson is the King in Yanxi Palace... I would recommend not to watch them in this particular order though!
Between Yanxi and Ruyi, pick JUST one. It's the same King and his harem, but it's so discombobulating, seeing the good consorts become bad and vice-versa in the two productions. You will question your own sanity. Ruyi is artistically a higher-quality drama, though the FL is so long-suffering and the ML is hateful (but swoony, cuz duh, he's played by Wallace Huo!) 😍
Yanxi, in comparison, is 'more fun', though the sets, styling & costumes are historically inaccurate. Yanxi is more palace-revenge, whereas Ruyi is more... melo?

If you liked TKW, I would highly recommend Goodbye My Princess. The 'ML' is the villain... 😍

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Actually, RLITP was criticized for cheap set production and poor quality clothes/accessories for everybody that wasn't the MFL. Story of Yanxi Palace was extremely praised for the high quality sets and some of the most accurate Qianlong era clothes/hairstyles. And I agree. The only better one I've seen is Dreaming back to the Qing dynasty. The clothes, the hairstyles, the obvious distinction between the Manchu and Han women. It was almost perfect. A shame that everything else was a mess.

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thanks, i've added Dreaming to my list because i do enjoy the visuals - costumes mostly!

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Uhh, What? Yanxi was criticized by eagle-eyed viewers and history aficionados for depicting a much later Qing-dynasty style and fashion for the Qianlong-era. It was anything but accurate! For heaven's sake, Gao-Guifei wore outfits resembling Empress Cixi who came about a century later than her! 🙄

While I personally prefer Yanxi's visual style, camera-work & Morandi-colors more, the visuals of Ruyi, and by extension Empresses in the Palace (similar to each other) are more representative of the times, as per history documentation! Though, I have zero love lost for Ruyi, it's still the more expensive & accurate (styling-wise) production of the two.

I'm sorry , but Dreaming... seemed like it re-used most of the stuff left behind by the Yanxi-team tbh!😅

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all of your comments noted, thanks! added GMP to my list.

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Ticking off the shows I counted as full beans.
Cuppa Coffee (Would You Like a Cup of Coffee?) was good to the last drop.
Thoroughly enjoyed the ambiguous ending of Inspector Koo with great hopes that female characters in Kdramas will be written with more nuance in the future.
Finally got the subs for Jirisan but found I really didn't need them. I glanced up from a puzzle to see many miracles: a landslide that takes out only villains, a paraplegic who can climb mountains and a coma patient who can resume ranger duties. Strangely, I did not hate this show as I did Sisyphus - maybe it was all the beautiful scenery. What a run of bloated/bad anniversary shows.
Our Beloved Summer is becoming more interesting with every episode so it's added to my regular rota.
Uncle seems promising but I've only watched 1 1/2 eps, so we'll see.
Watched another KBS Special "The Palace" and was decidedly amused at the twist on court lady blues.
Red Sleeve Cuff hit a speed bump with the Palace Fairy weirdness. After a 3 year jump, the ship seems to be righted.
Lastly, thoroughly enjoyed The King's Affection and its finale. Looking forward to Park Eun bin's next endeavor (hope it isn't movies).

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Was waiting for somebody to say something about 'would you like a cup of coffee' before I start watching it! Gonna dive in now!

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Red Sleeve eps 11 & 12 - such a beautiful drama. I feel transported into a real historical time period. It focuses on micro minute details not just lazy broad strokes

King of Tears Lee Bang Won - the production quality seems Low. Seems not a typical k-production. I sometimes criticise too much artifice in k-production (Goblin like slo-mo walk with male lead in long flowy trench coat amidst sea of fog) but this one is too little - like utter disregard to capture the best shot. But Bang Won’s story is achingly familiar - portends of disaster to come. So I’ll stay on for a while

Happiness - the best romantic pair in a non romantic drama. I just love the OTP

Kings Affection - eps 19 and 20 are strong, if a bit fantasy like. Figures with its webtoon source material. Rowoon remains beta through and through. Park Eun Bin is the one who shines. Still a strong finish to a sometimes strong sometimes draggy series.

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According to K-Netizens…

“ series The King of Tears, Lee Bang Won debuted at No. 2 (mostbuzz worthy) but many showed disappointment over the flat production without any novel interpretation. In particular, criticisms poured over the poor visual effect in the large-scale battle scenes. ”

Still I d value story more than production values. Here’s hoping it will be good!

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The King's Affection is that very rare drama that managed to nearly lose me in the middle (the main leads were too self-serving for me and became unlikable, imo), but splendidly stuck the landing.
Seriously, that was a good finale which just doesn't happen in dramaland. Not every solution was predictable (at least to me), I was shocked, and the ending was quite satisfying. Good job.

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I started a new job this week so my days of binging one and a half dramas a week while keeping up with a couple of airing dramas might be behind me (for now).

I finished Happiness last week and I was pleasantly surprised. I'm glad I picked it up on a whim because it ended up being an entertaining watch (with an interesting take on the zombie/contagion genre). Also, this drama had one of my favourite romances of 2021 and it isn't even a romantic drama. Park Hyunshik and Han Hyojoo were amazing together.

I'm still watching The Red Sleeve and I enjoy most of it. There are some little things here and there that I wish were different (or better written) but nothing that completely ruins my enjoyment of the show. I mean...Junho is there, acting marvellously, in hanbok.

I started Our Beloved Summer. It was one of my most anticipated dramas of 2021 and, so far, it did not disappoint. I hope it does not fall victim to a terrible executed love triangle trope but so far, it does not seem to be going in that direction. Cross fingers.
But omg am I loving petty Choi Wooshik! I also love the documentary aspect which add something fresh to this classic love-hate/second chance rom-com. The confession under the rain was also very cute. Is it Monday yet?

I'm slowly watching Mad Dog (watched 5 episodes) because I wanted to see Woo Dohwan in something else after seeing and loving him in Save Me. It took a bit longer than expected for me to get into the story but I do enjoy Woo Dohwan's character (although he is no Dongcheol). I like Hari and Minjoon's interactions the most. When they were staying in the same room during a stake out/mission, they reminded me of Tony and Ziva from NCIS when they were sharing that hotel room. I don't know if anyone remembers that old episode. I used to be such a Tiva fan.

I'm looking forward to The Silent Sea with Bae Doona, Gong Yoo and Lee Joon next week. I hope it's good! Please don't waste this amazing cast!! (It's only recently that it came to my attention that this drama will not be set in a submarine. I don't know why I was so sure before seeing the new promo materials that it was going to be a submarine drama. Maybe one day we'll have one.).

I'm a bit bummed that Snowdrop won't be airing on Disney+... It looks like Disney+ is trying hard to "not be Netflix". Ugh.
But maybe it's doing me a favour. I heard this drama has a messy premise.

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There's this scene in the Silent Sea's trailer, where Gong Yoo gifts us with this "swoony" look-over-you gaze, like he's looking at you with such an abashed appreciation. This was such out-of-place gaze in this seemingly "serious" sci-fi ---not submarine, lol--- drama, that it sent me into the laughter fits, and combined with the fact that I absolutely LOVED that gaze of Gong Yoo, I just kept laughing like an idiot in love. Needless to say, I cannot wait for that drama. I'm also such a sucker for sci-fi, that I truly consider The Silent Sea to be a present for Christmas. Let's hope that once I open the present, it's actually what I (and we all) wanted - a well-written, well-acted and well-directed story - instead of a...sweater.

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STILL ONGOING FOR ME:

Jirisan: I still need to motivate myself to finish the last 4 episodes and seeing other comments about it is not helping.

Secret Royal Inspector and Joy: I’m probably going to binge the rest of the episodes when it’s done rather than wait every week for the new ones.

Rainless Love in a Godless Land: Another one I’ll take some time to binge on rather than wait forever for an episode to come out.

JUST FINISHED:

The Day of Becoming You (Chinese): This shot up to one of my most favorite shows. I love the comedy, the leads, the story. All the fluff is there!

Beauty Inside: Another gem I found from 2018! I was intrigued by the storyline and got hooked right away from the first episode. I love how there’s no 3rd party angst, the female lead is strong-willed (and uber cool), and the male lead is pretty persistent. There’s that bit of “let’s break up” but they don’t drag it out for too long. So much love for this! Which led me to….

The Beauty Inside (film): I felt really bad for the male lead - I can’t imagine waking up to a new identity EVERY DAY. At least with the show, the lead still gets to live as herself. The pacing was also a bit slow (more melo) so I got a bit bored with it. But I wanted to watch it to compare with the show (and to see Park Seo-joon, Lee Dong-wook, Seo Kang-joon, and Yoo Yeon-seok, among others). Hehe. Verdict? The show is better!

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I haven't watched the TV version--but I LOVED the movie version. I even bought it so I can watch it whenever the mood strikes me. I think, "The Beauty Inside," is one the best Korean movies I've seen.

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Oooh, try the show version! I enjoyed every part of it that the 16 episodes just flew by!

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