Kdrama Reviews, Top Kdrama Lists

Ranking: The 7 Best K-Dramas of 2020 – Best Plots, Cast, OST and More!

1. Crash Landing On You

Plot: 10/10

This drama is one of the most romantic love stories of all time. It tells the story of Yoon Seri (Son Ye-Jin) a successful entrepreneur and heiress, founder of fashion company Seri’s Choice, and Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun Bin) a military captain from communist North Korea.

Through a series of events, Seri finds herself crash landing in North Korea. Stuck in a tree after crashing, she meets the handsome North Korean military captain, Ri Jeong Hyeok. She freaks out and runs away as the military crew attempts to stop her from crossing over the barbed wires to the North Korean territory, for once she crosses she can’t return back. She gets lost but an “invisible string” that ties her to Ri Jeong Hyeok guides her back to him. She then starts a friendship with him and his crew as they try to make up a plan to get her back home safe. Seri finds herself having to adapt to life in North Korea, but learns a lot along the way about herself. Eventually she must return to South Korea where her fortune and company awaits her, what will happen when she has to say goodbye to the only people who have treated her like family?

Cast Chemistry: 10/10

Son Ye-Jin and Hyun Bin have the absolute best chemistry of all time. I don’t think I’ve watched a drama like this one where you really believe the love they have for each other. I also enjoyed the chemistry of the military crew, they did a perfect job at displaying friendship despite the personality differences. (I wrote this before the news about them dating was announced but hooray for BinJin!!!)

Cinematography: 10/10

The people in charge of doing the North Korean sets did a great job, you really feel like you visited North Korea by the end of the drama. I also enjoyed how everything was filmed, there are some beautiful scenes in this drama, just dreamy.

OST: 10/10

This OST WILL STICK TO YOU FOREVER. It’s one of those great OST’s that just complemented the drama so beautifully. The songs are so good that you can easily add them to your personal playlists.

Where To Watch: Netflix

2. Start Up

Plot: 10/10

This drama tells the inspiring story of Nam Do San and Seo Dal Mi, as they follow their dreams and navigate the hardships that come with having such big dreams and ambitions.

Seo Dal Mi (Suzy) and Won In Jae (Kang Ha Na) are two sisters who chose very different paths in life. When their mother and father divorced, Seo Dal Mi chose to stay with her father and support him as he tried to pursue his big start-up dreams, meanwhile, In Jae followed her mother in her pursuit for riches and fortune. Their mother ends up marrying a rich man and In Jae is adopted by this man. When their father dies from an accident, Seo Dal Mi vows to make it her life goal to prove it to her sister and mother that she made the right decision of staying by her father’s side and that hard work can result in success and happiness. However, 15 years later, In Jae is a successful CEO and Seo Dal Mi is a college drop out working part-time. To save face, Dal Mi lies to her sister and tells In Jae she is dating her childhood penpal, Nam Do San, and that together they both have plans of launching an incredibly successful business. Her sister, not believing Dal Mi, asks her to attend her company’s mixer party and to invite Do San, so she can finally meet this mysterious character. Dal Mi finds herself caught up in a lie and begins her search for this penpal from 15 years back.

Meanwhile, Nam Do San is a talented young man who does have a start-up, one he built with his two loyal friends. However, it’s far from successful. Their office is a shack, and they don’t have a single investor. That’s besides the problem though, this young man, is NOT the guy who wrote letters to Dal Mi when they were kids. The penpal was a made up character, one that Dal Mi’s grandma made up with the help of a young orphan boy named Han Ji Pyeong, the boy she found on the streets and took in. Stealing the name Nam Do San from a newspaper article, Han Ji Pyeong writes letters to Dal Mi for a year. 15 years later, Han Ji Pyeong is an extremely successful investor, one of the biggest names in Korea, but finds himself recruiting the real Nam Do San to pretend to be the guy who wrote the letters but we know lies can only go so far. Will all these lies turn into reality? Can big dreams come true?

This drama already made it to my Top 10 Best Kdrama’s of All Time list. It’s everything I’ve ever asked for in a drama.

Cast Chemistry: 10/10

Spectacular cast. Loved every single character. The cast did an amazing job at making these characters come to life. It genuinely felt like everyone left the set as close friends. Also, Kim Seon Ho finally got the recognition he deserves as an actor! I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

Cinematography: 10/10

Beautiful visuals, editing, colors, and directing.

OST: 1000/10

Probably the BEST Original Soundtrack OF ALL TIME. Right away, the songs catch your attention from Episode 1. My favorite, the iconic “Running” by Gaho. The soundtrack features every artist you need in a freaking drama OST: Davichi, K.Will, Ailee, Red Velvet, Bol4, 10cm, etc etc. It’s SO good I would buy the record.

Where To Watch: Netflix

3. Flower of Evil

Plot: 10/10

Suspense at its finest. This DRAMA was so thrilling.

This drama tells the story of Cha Ji Won, a smart detective who is good at her job, she pays attention to the details in her cases, and bases her judgment on the facts and evidence available to her. She’s a mom to a young daughter, and happily married to a very handsome metal crafter, Baek Hee Sung. Her husband is very loving, he cooks, he’s hot, he has a decent job, he cares for his daughter and even takes her to school…basically the perfect husband, except he is not that person at all, his real name is Do Hyun Soo, and he’s hiding a big secret from his past. Cha Ji Won starts to notice for the first time that she has missed all the red flags coming from her husband and starts to suspect him and realize she might be married to a serial killer.

This drama really makes you question how well you know the people around you, and how much you trust them.

Cast Chemistry: 10/10

TOP KNOTCH CHEMISTRY from the leads. You really believe them to be a married couple, they play their roles with so much emotion. I cried several times during this drama, that’s how good the leads touched at my heart strings.

Cinematography: 8.5/10

I don’t have too much to say about the way this drama was filmed, nothing really stood out to me too much. It’s enjoyable though, I don’t have anything to complain about.

OST: 8/10

There are some good songs in the OST too, the chilling “Psycho” by Doko is one of them.

Where To Watch: Viki.com

4. Lies of Lies

Plot: 8.5/10

This drama is wholesome but also suspenseful.

The drama focuses on the main character Ji Eun Soo played by the gorgeous actress Lee Yu Ri. Ji Eun Soo had it all, a good job and good looks, she happens to catch the attention of a chaebol and he pursues her. This should have been the happy ending, Cinderella gets the prince, the fortune, but that’s not what happens to Ji Eun Soo. She ends up discovering this chaebol prince is an evil violent man, who physically abuses of her. She discovers she’s pregnant with his child and tries to run away from him, but he ends up finding her where she was hiding and almost attempts to kill her. We don’t know what exactly happens next, but she ends ups waking up on the floor of the apartment with a knife in her hand and her husband now dead on the ground. Without being able to prove her innocence, she is then sentenced to prison for 10 years for murdering her husband. Having to give birth at a prison, and then later giving away her baby to her evil mother in law who says she will give her baby a better life.

Meanwhile, Kang Ji Min, played by Yeon Jeong Hun, is a journalist. He keeps trying to have a baby with his wife but she keeps on suffering miscarriages. They agree to stop trying, and end up adopting a baby, Ji Eun Soo’s baby. For awhile they are a happy family, until Kang Ji Min discovers his wife is cheating on him. Their marriage falls apart and they get a divorce, leaving Kang Ji Min to finish raising his daughter alone.

Kang Ji Min and Ji Eun Soo’s lives intertwine when Ji Eun Soo comes out of prison looking for her daughter and finds out Kang Ji Min is now the adoptive father of her child. She decides that the only way she can be close to her daughter is by become her daughter’s step mother, so she plots to make Kang Ji Min fall in love with her.

Cast Chemistry: 9/10

Now if you love sappy romance, this is not the drama for you. However in my opinion the two leads had a great chemistry, not a fiery one, but a sweet, wholesome chemistry. They portray these two adults who have been hurt before and are barely trying to give love a chance beautifully. I enjoyed the chemistry very much.

Cinematography: 8.5/10

One of my favorite scenes filmed in this drama was the cherry blossom scene. I think they had their good filming moments, but not too much stood out for me. I didn’t have complaints though.

OST: 8/10

An OST filled with beautiful heartfelt ballads.

Where To Watch: Viki.com

5. It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

Plot: 7.5/10

I wanted to LOVE this drama, but at the end the plot was simply good instead of mind blowing. STILL it’s a very enjoyable drama.

This drama tells the story of Ko Moon Young (played by So Ye Ji) a complicated, loud, demanding children’s fairytale author. She dresses extravagantly and has a rude personality but there’s definitely more to her than meets the eye. She has a dark past that she shares with no one. Her father is the only family member she has and he tried to kill her when she was a child, so he’s locked up in a psychiatric ward. She’s very misunderstood and friendless. Through a suspenseful event she crosses paths with Moon Kang Tae (played by Kim Soo Hyun) a serious but kind hearted caretaker and their lives become entangled. Moon Kang Tae’s been living with his older brother who is in the autism spectrum since they were orphaned as kids when their mother died. Everyone in this drama has some form of childhood trauma, however each story is beautifully told as it leads each character towards recovery and healing, reminding us all that have suffered that we can all overcome our past, and ultimately be happy and that it’s okay not be okay.

Cast Chemistry: 9/10

The first few episodes were sizzling with chemistry. The leads definitely had good chemistry. All the actors played their parts well, and made for an enjoyable drama. Had the plot been more lighthearted, I think they would have had even better romantic moments.

Cinematography: 10/10

Beautiful, stunning cinematography. Will leave you honestly rewinding just to watch some scenes again. They did a fantastic job at capturing all the moods in this drama.

OST: 9/10

Great soundtrack, very memorable. My favorite song being Janet Suh’s Lighting Up Your World.

Where To Watch: Netflix

6. My Holo Love

Plot: 8/10

This drama is for the lonely souls out there. Myself included.

This drama tells the story of Han Seo Yeon (played by one of my favorite actresses Ko Sung Hee) a hard working woman who lives her life in loneliness due to her face blindness disorder she developed as a child. She tries to keep it a secret and avoids any social interactions that might reveal her disorder. She ends up in the possession of the most high tech AI assistant Holo, who she can only see through a pair of special glasses. A charming AI personality who was designed to look like his creator a man named Ko Nan Do. Ko Nan Do is a man who lives completely isolated from people, except for his sister, and a developer, he doesn’t socialize with anyone. He’s been living in hiding ever since he staged his “death” as a teenager, everyone thinks he’s been dead for years. He is the genius behind the AI. Although Han Seo Yeon didn’t intend to, she ends up becoming the first Beta tester of this AI technology. She finds herself becoming very dependent of him and viewing him as the closest thing she’s had to a true friend. However, she also ends up developing romantic feelings for Holo, or so she thinks, and the AI’s creator, Ko Nan Do ends up developing feelings for her.

Cast Chemistry: 9/10

I very much enjoyed the chemistry between the leads, even when the main actor had to play two different roles, I felt the chemistry with both. I also loved the chemistry between the second female lead and the second male lead, they made a really nice couple too. The drama had plenty sweet moments.

Cinematography: 7/10

It was alright, I don’t have many memorable moments that come to mind, it’s enjoyable though.

OST: 5/10

The same with the music, I can’t really remember the songs, they weren’t very memorable.

Where To Watch: Netflix

7. The King: Eternal Monarch

Plot: 6/10

This drama was the most anticipated drama of 2020 because of the return of our King of Kdramas, Lee Min Ho. It was also very anticipated because it was a drama written by the talented Kim Eun Sook who is known for writing fantastic dramas like: Mr. Sunshine, Goblin, Descendants of the Sun, Heirs and Secret Garden. However, I think people hyped it way too much, that by the time we watched it, it didn’t live up to our expectations. I enjoyed it though, and I still think it was one of the more interesting dramas that was released in 2020.

The drama takes place in two parallel universes. One being the Kingdom of Corea, and the other being modern day Republic of Korea. Their histories identical only up until a certain point in history where the universes split into two and became very different. In both worlds, the same people are alive or existed at some point, just with different names and different lives. The main male lead lives in the Kingdom of Corea, he is the King who inherited the throne after his father was assassinated when he was just a child. Lee Gon (played by Lee Min Ho) witnessed this assassination in the year 1994, he was saved by a mysterious person who only left him with one single hint, a woman’s police badge. He tries to look for this person but discovers this person doesn’t exist, at least not in his world. Meanwhile, in the Republic of Korea, Jeong Tae Eul is a smart detective in the violent crimes division. She just so happens to be the woman from Lee Gon’s police badge. She finds herself trying to solve a case that is very mysterious and doesn’t make sense. Lee Gon finds himself transporting through a portal to her universe, and they meet, for the first time. He realizes that two worlds exist at the same time, and that the crimes committed in both worlds, are being committed by the same people.

Trust me, just watch it, you might want to draw a whole graph to try to understand it, but trust me, don’t waste your time, and just keep watching, this drama has so many plot holes, just remember it’s fiction.

Cast Chemistry: 7/10

I wanted to love them, but the leads didn’t quite have the best chemistry. I’ve seen them both have chemistry with other cast mates, so it’s not like they are bad actors, it just wasn’t all there for them in the script. The script could have definitely been better and made their relationship more real and believable. It’s still a sweet drama, just not 10/10. I like the second leads and their romance better!

Cinematography: 10/10

Gorgeous. Clearly a lot of money went into this drama, and it showed. Beautiful filming.

OST: 8/10

Some memorable songs, others just didn’t quite fit, they really tried to get a lot of mainstream artist on their sound track, but I didn’t quite feel all the songs.

Where To Watch: Netflix!

Honorable Mentions

8. Train

This drama is suspenseful, and thrilling, it also takes place in two parallel universes. I actually enjoyed the “parallel universe” aspect of this drama more than The King: Eternal Monarch’s.

It tells the story of detective Seo Do Won (played by Yoon Si Yoon) who is good at his job, and enjoys it. However his whole world is turned upside down when the woman he loves is murdered by a serial killer they were chasing. He ends up discovering that a mysterious train at an abandoned train station is the key to crossing over to another parallel universe, and that the woman he loves, still lives in that one. He vows to find out who murdered her in his universe, and protect the woman, who looks just like her in the alternate universe, from meeting the same fate.

Plot: 8/10

Cast Chemistry: 8/10

Cinematography: 7/10

OST: 5/10

Where To Watch: Viki.com

9. I’ll Go To You When The Weather Is Nice

This drama was one of those slow burn dramas, it’s very calming, and it’s also very real. It focuses on the lives of two characters who have had it rough in life, and who don’t have the best memories of the village they grew up in, but still can’t seem to stay away from the village because of the warmth of the people who reside there. Hye Won (played by Park Min Young) is a depressed woman who lives in Seoul and works as a cello instructor, her life isn’t happy, and she begins to hate her job so she returns to Bookhyun Village, claiming she will only stay until Spring. She reencounters a fine young man she knew from school, who after all this time still lives in the village and runs a bookshop named Goodnight Bookstore. Eun Seop (played by Seo Kang Joon) is a super sweet, but quiet and shy guy who has had a secret crush on her since their school days. They begin to rekindle their friendships but soon find themselves having to face numerous obstacles as the truth of their pasts begins to unravel.

Plot: 7/10

Cast Chemistry: 7/10

Cinematography: 9/10

OST: 5/10

Where To Watch: Viki.com

Kdrama Reviews

Start-Up EP 11-12 Kdrama Review: Dosan vs Ji Pyeong

DRAMA ALERT!!!! These episodes were tough on our feelings weren’t they?

Emotional, heart-breaking, frustrating, angering. I think those were the feelings we all had watching this past weekends episodes. I don’t usually write blogs for later episodes of a drama, but I saw so much DRAMA going on in the AsianWiki comments for Start-Up! I don’t know if because this show was released on Netflix if it got a lot of new Kdrama fans but it seems people don’t understand how Kdramas are written. People don’t quite understand the first lead, second lead concept and are barely experiencing it for the very first time. Having been around watching dramas since 2012, and having seen second leads not get the girl for so long, has honestly made me numb to it. Newbies though, seem to be having a hard time accepting reality. I’m not here to criticize them though because I’ve been there. I’m here to talk about WHY Dosan is the lead and why Ji Pyeong is the second lead, and why it makes complete sense.

Our poor baby Ji Pyeong. He’s great, honestly I love the actor who plays him. If you failed to recognize his charms and potential in 100 Days My Prince, that was your loss! Sorry it took you guys this long! But he’s great, definitely been on my radar and I hope he gets a good lead role soon, he’s cute, handsome, charming, funny…I can go on, I love him. HOWEVER, we are talking about Ji Pyeong, honestly the character is probably closer to my type, he’s smart, intellectual, stylish, straightforward, rich (haha!) but let’s be real, just because he’s my type doesn’t mean he is Dal Mi’s type. He’s a human being though, he has flaws. He’s arrogant, he’s a know it all, he’s cold, he lacks tact, he has no friends, he’s a workaholic. Our man isn’t perfect, he’s cute but he isn’t perfect.

Let’s talk about Dosan now.

In my case, I have not been a fan of Nam Joo Hyuk until now, he’s personally too playful and boyish looking to be my type but his character has really grown on me. Nam Do San, is not a prince, FAR FROM IT. He’s not a rich chaebol, he’s clumsy, he doesn’t have a way with words, he’s awkward, emotional. The complete opposite of who we are used to seeing as a male lead in dramas. He has both good qualities and bad ones. He’s a coding genius, he has a close tight knit group of friends (which means he’s a good friend if he’s been able to keep them) he’s kind, he’s learned to be honest, he’s not selfish, he cares about the feelings of others. He’s not perfect though, just like Ji Pyeong he has human like flaws. He’s a bit slow, he lacks ambition, he lacks confidence, he doesn’t control his anger well, he’s an overly emotional guy, he has too many insecurities.

However, the question is, which guy is the right one for DAL MI. Not for me, not for you, but for the character of this drama and honestly, she’s definitely formed a bond and connection with the real Nam Do San.

Ji Pyeong didn’t even like Dal Mi! Not 15 years ago, and not at the start of the drama. He wrote those letters in exchange of Won Deok’s approval. Ji Pyeong’s character doesn’t need romantic love, he needs familial love. He grew up without feeling that type of love, and for him the most important person in his life has always been Won Deok, Dal Mi’s grandma. She showed him love, and care, and warmth. If he’s even a little bit human it’s because of her act of kindness. However, had he not crossed paths with Won Deok again, he would have remained ice cold, blunt, and friendless.

Dosan in a way is the opposite. He grew up with a family, a loving family, but with a toxic father. His father always shoving his own dreams into Dosan’s head from an early age, as an only child, all the attention went to him. What Dosan’s character needs, is not familial love, he has plenty, it’s not love from his friends, because he has plenty of that too, but rather love and support from someone who truly likes him for who he is, who will be there cheering him on, not because they are family and they must be there for him, not friends, but a romantic love, that shares the same dreams as him. He fell for Dal Mi because of her support for his dreams, her ambition, her confidence, everything he’s not.

Dal Mi on the other hand had been in love with a fictional character basically for 15 years. Nam Do San from 15 years ago that she was penpals with did not exist. It was a made up character written by Won Deok and Ji Pyeong. Though some of his feelings were expressed in the letters, he wrote those letters as his duty to Won Deok, had he really had feelings for Dal Mi back then, he would have introduce himself. He could have looked for her too all this time, and he didn’t. Had he also met Dal Mi as the girl working part time at a coffee shop, he honestly wouldn’t have fallen for her. He fell in love with the girl she was becoming once she gained confidence from Do San. Dal Mi got the courage to follow her dreams again after meeting Do San and becoming inspired by him starting up his own business. Had she not shown her awesome creativity and intelligence by becoming a CEO for SamSan Tech, he wouldn’t have ever been attracted to her because she wasn’t at his level.

AGAIN, I love Ji Pyeong, he’s just so mature, while Do San is young and inexperienced, so naturally, we find ourselves rooting for the handsome, mature man, but Dal Mi is young and inexperienced too. She finds herself most comfortable being casual, vulnerable, learning and making mistakes, with Do San.

There’s no doubt that Ji Pyeong’s letters, helped her, gave her a friend when she needed one the most, but right now, who she’s come to love is Dosan. He’s her best friend, her partner, her inspiration. That’s why they make sense.

ALL I WANT NOW IS FOR ALL OF THEM TO BE HAPPY. Yes, all of them, In Jae too. I can’t wait to see how the last 4 episodes unfold. Regardless of who ends ups with who, I care more about them all reaching their dreams, to see their hard work finally pay off. To see them all happy as friends, successful, and still dreaming on.

If this drama ends well, I think it will be in my TOP 10 list of favorite dramas of all time. Let’s hope it all does work out in the end!! Until then…

Kdrama Reviews

Start-Up EP 1-4 Review: Allow Yourself to Dream Big and Follow Those Dreams

There’s something SO nice about those end of the year dramas. They always lift my spirits. This new drama definitely has allowed me to dream again, the dreams I had tossed to the trash when this pandemic began.

Photo Source: https://www.soompi.com/article/1424307wpp/watch-suzy-nam-joo-hyuk-kim-seon-ho-and-kang-han-na-are-determined-to-change-their-lives-in-start-up-teaser

I had been looking forward to this drama from the moment it was placed on the radar. Suzy and Nam Joo Hyuk return to the Kdrama world with this intriguing drama about two young adults with BIG dreams. The only problem? They aren’t anywhere close to accomplishing those dreams, yet.

Photo Source: https://meaww.com/start-up-episode-1-review-bae-suzy-dal-mi-aspiring-entreprenuer-dysfunctional-family-kdrama

Seo Dal Mi (Suzy) is a part-timer college drop out, she still lives with her grandmother but hasn’t let go of her dreams of one day being the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. We learn that she gets that inspiration and innovation from her deceased father, who also had big dreams, dreams way ahead of his time, but he lacked the support. His wife didn’t support his dreams, so she left him and took Seo Dal Mi’s older sister with her. Seo Dal Mi chose to stay by her father’s side and support him in starting up his own company. Her father was so close to accomplishing his dream when an unexpected accident happened and he ended up losing his life. Meanwhile, Seo Dal Mi’s mother remarried a wealthy rich man, and her older sister Seo In-Jae ended up benefiting from her step father’s wealth and even changed her last name. They both grow up to live very distinct lives. Won In Jae (Kang Han Na) lives a luxurious life and is the CEO of her own company that she started with the help of her step father’s money. Seo Dal Mi feels that she made the right decision, to stay by her father’s side, and her goal in life is to prove it to her mother and sister.

Meanwhile the two male leads of this drama are entangled by a lie that was told 15 years in the past, when Seo Dal Mi’s grandma took in an incredibly intelligent orphan teenager named Han Ji Pyeong. To cheer up her granddaughter from her parent’s divorce and her sister leaving, she asks the teen to write letters to her granddaughter pretending to be her admirer. The grandma and Ji Pyeong spend a year writing these letters together but under the name of a different person, the name of a random boy named Nam Do San that was on the newspaper for winning a Mathematical Olympiad game. So for the past 15 years, Seo Dal Mi has believed that a boy named Nam Do San wrote those letters to her for a year. She fantasizes of this mysterious boy for the next 15 years, thinking he was real and that he was her first love. She’s left wondering who he was, and what he looked like.

Flash forward, 15 years later, Seo Dal Mi, in order to save face, lies to her successful older sister, and tells her that she is actually starting up a business with this man named Nam Do San, and promises they will attend her sisters party. The real Nam Do San then enters the picture, but he is nothing like what she imagined. He’s smart for sure, but he’s not successful, his company can’t even get an investor. His office is a little shack he shares with his friends, and he was only able to afford the shack because he borrowed money from his parents.

Meanwhile, Han Ji Pyeong, went from orphan, to one of the wealthiest men in Korea, a super well known professional investor. Although he didn’t write the letters on his own, he feels a responsibility to Seo Dal Mi and vows to her grandmother that he will help Seo Dal Mi save face at this party and make the REAL Nam Do San show up. So after 15 years, Dal Mi finally meets this Nam Do San, and they both find themselves instantly smitten. In her case, believing she finally met her first love, and in his case, finally meeting someone that believes in him and thinks he’s cool.

AH! I REALLY WANT THESE TWO CHARACTERS TO SUCCEED. SO BAD.

I guess I see myself in them, we all have these dreams, these goals but they sometimes seem almost impossible. I love how both of them are determined to succeed, even when people have told them NO, even when they have been criticized for being hopeless dreamers.

I look forward to seeing their romance develop, and see how far they get with this lie. She’s bound to find out he’s not the one that replied to her letters. Her sister is also going to find out that Dal Mi was lying all this time. Han Ji Pyeong will inevitably regret not telling Dal Mi the truth from the start and revealing that it was actually him who wrote those letters with her grandmother.

I highly recommend you guys start watching this drama, trust me, it’s not a boring storyline, rather its kind of inspiring. The OST is already AMAZING too. I also really like the humor and the cinematography. It feels so fresh, so motivating! Will you join me in watching Start-Up on Netflix? I hope you do! I am sure it’s going to be a SUPER fun ride.

Where To Watch: Netflix

Kdrama Related News, Kdrama Reviews

Lies of Lies EP 1-4 Review – Your New Favorite KDrama for Fall of 2020

I can’t believe Summer is nearly OVER here in California! However, another season means…NEW KDRAMAS! While I’m waiting for Flower of Evil to end (Really good drama recommendation if you aren’t watching it already) I had to find a replacement so that I won’t feel as empty when it’s over. I stumbled upon Lies of Lies and said “Eh, let’s give it a try even if I’m not familiar with the actors”. This drama, like Flower of Evil, draws me in because it focuses more on adult relationships. Not your teenage first love infatuation stories, but rather serious relationships with an older cast and how these older characters navigate their challenges. To me, that’s something I enjoy watching from time to time. Yes, first love, silly romcoms are fun, entertaining and lovable, but it’s also nice to see “love” from a different point of view, in this case, from a divorced man’s perspective, and from a woman who was abused in her previous marriage.

Photo Source: https://www.soompi.com/article/1424034wpp/lee-yoo-ri-talks-about-what-to-keep-an-eye-on-in-her-new-suspense-romance-drama-lie-after-lie

This drama focuses on the main character Ji Eun Soo played by the very beautiful actress Lee Yu Ri (I want to look like her when I’m 40!). Ji Eun Soo had it all, a good job and good looks, this attracted the son of a chaebol family, it seems he pursued her and eventually married her. This should have been the happy ending, Cinderella gets the prince, the fortune, but that’s not what happens to Ji Eun Soo. She ends up discovering this chaebol prince is an evil violent man, who physically abuses of her. She discovers she’s pregnant with his child and tries to run away from her husband, but he ends up finding her, dragging her back home and almost attempts to kill her. We don’t know what exactly happens next, but she ends ups waking up on the floor of the apartment with a knife in her hand and her husband now dead on the ground. Without being able to prove her innocence, she is then sentenced to prison for 10 years for murdering her husband. Having to give birth at a prison, and then later giving away her baby to her evil mother in law who says she will give her baby a better life.

Ji Eun Soo spends the next 10 years in prison waiting to reunite with her daughter, her only motivation these past 10 years to keep enduring the pain.

Photo Source: https://www.soompi.com/article/1361960wpp/yeon-jung-hoon-to-appear-on-the-return-of-superman-to-help-celebrate-6th-anniversary

Meanwhile, Kang Ji Min, played by Yeon Jeong Hun, is a journalist. Him and his wife keep trying to have children but it seems his wife is infertile and she suffers several miscarriages, so they end up adopting a baby, Ji Eun Soo’s baby. For awhile they are a happy family, until Kang Ji Min discovers his wife is cheating on him. Their marriage falls apart and they get a divorce, leaving Kang Ji Min to finish raising his daughter alone.

Kang Ji Min and Ji Eun Soo’s lives intertwine when Ji Eun Soo comes out of prison looking for her daughter and finds out Kang Ji Min is now the adoptive father of her child. She decides that the only way she can be close to her daughter is by become her daughter’s step mother, so she plots to make Kang Ji Min fall in love with her.

I am in love with the chemistry between these two characters and the chemistry they both have with their daughter.

Ji Eun Soo is a kind, caring, creative woman, so there’s no doubt that Kang Ji Min WILL fall in love with her, in my opinion, he will fall helplessly in love. Kang Ji Min is also a very charming, sweet caring man, the complete contrast of her ex husband who would beat her up, so I think although she is planning on doing this for her daughter, she will end up falling for Kang Ji Min, and end up regretting lying to him and using him for her advantage because he will love her the way she always deserved to be loved.

I cannot wait to see how their relationship develops, if she gets to finally get closer to her daughter, and how Kang Ji Min’s ex wife reacts to the new woman in his life!

Can these troubled souls find happiness in each other?

Where You Can Watch: Viki.com

Kdrama Related News, Kdrama Reviews

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay EP 1-2 Review – Tim Burton Meets Kdrama World

MY GOODNESS!

Two incredibly strong first episodes! I don’t think I’ve watched a drama like this one in a long time.

Long hours were definitely put into creating this drama. The music, the way the storyline was introduced to us, the haunting Tim Burton-like animation, and visuals, it felt like I was watching a film!

Photo Source: https://ahgasewatchtv.com/2020/06/06/tvn-released-poster-of-upcoming-drama-with-kim-soo-hyun-and-seo-ye-ji/

The drama began telling us in animation form the story of a girl who lived in a castle, she was lonely and tried to make friends, but they were afraid of her and called her a “monster who brings along the shadow of death”. She ends up saving a boy from drowning, and he ends up following her around wherever she goes, for whatever reason, the shadow of death that followed her disappears after this. As if to test the boy and see if he will remain by her side, she ends up showing him her dark side: she rips the wings off of the butterflies. At seeing this, the boy becomes scared and leaves running. The girl is left alone again and the shadow of death returns telling her: “No one can ever stay by your side, because you’re a monster”. We are then shown the main character Ko Moon Young as the grown up version of the girl in this story and it is revealed to us that the shadow of death might be referring to her mother, since she replies “Yes, mother” to the words said to her by this shadow.

It’s a very interesting way of introducing us to the main character, she is a children’s book fairytale author, so it makes sense for her to tell us her story through a story. There’s still a lot of we don’t know about her, but one thing is for sure: She’s had a very rough and dark upbringing.

We are then introduced to our male lead, Moon Kang Tae and his older brother Sang Tae who has autism. Life hasn’t been easy for those two, it appears that Sang Tae can’t keep a job since “he’s too much to handle”. Sang Tae worries that Kang Tae might get upset at him for causing a scene and losing the job but we are quickly shown how much Kang Tae loves his brother, how forgiving and understanding he is too. He makes a living as a caregiver at a psychiatric hospital, he has many scars on his body from his long history of working with patients with psychiatric problems, but he seems to find his job fulfilling in some way, since he is good at it.

What brings these two characters together is one interesting encounter at Kang Tae’s workplace. Moon Young is sitting there in a clearly marked NO SMOKING area, smoking a very fancy cigar, waiting to read her book to the children at the psychiatric hospital. You can tell she’s not one to easily care about rules, and lacks consideration for others. She also has the habit of destroying beautiful things, as she plucks off the petals from a nearby flower shrub. I wondered if this reminded Kang Tae of the girl he once knew, or if he simply was very bothered by her smoking, but regardless of the reason, he approaches her and asks her to please stop smoking. They lock eyes, and for a moment they stare at each other as if they recognize one another. She then asks him if he believes in destiny and explains to him that “If someone shows up when you need them, you call that destiny”. The way these two look at each other is perfect, I feel the chemistry, the sadness and intrigue in their eyes.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am kind of in love with her character, she comes off at first as someone evil, mean, rude, and scary. Even her book at first, sounds like a book that isn’t meant for children since its so dark in nature, but by the time you reach the ending of the book, you come to realize, she’s not a bad person, children love her books because she encourages them, to face their fears, and grow from their trauma and past.

A scene I found interesting, was when the Nurse Nam Joo Ri shows up at her hotel asking for a signature to allow Moon Young’s father to receive a surgery he needs in order to live. The two seem to know each other from childhood, but seemed surprised to see each other (I wonder if Moon Young went by a different name before…) they talk about how they hadn’t seen each other in 20 years since she transferred schools. Moon Young says her father is dead, and then Nam Joo Ri begins to say “But your mother is alive…” and Moon Young interjects saying she registered her death a long time ago and claims to be an orphan. This leaves me wondering about what exactly happened to her family. Is her mother alive, or is she really dead? Did she have a bad relationship with both her parents? In the second episode, we find out that her mother was a writer herself, and is in fact dead and died suddenly…but then why did Joo Ri say she was alive? We also find out her father was a successful architect who went crazy. They keep blaming all the bad things that happened in her life on her.

These phrases about Moon Young were also mentioned throughout the first and second episode: “She was just born like that” and “That’s just how she was born”. I don’t think that’s the case though, if her father tried to murder her as a child, and if her mother died suddenly, and she had no friends growing up, I can understand why she is the way she is. People have shoved in her head that she isn’t worthy of good things in her life and happiness, that bad news follows her and they should stay away unless they want bad things to happen to them too. Makes me feel really sad for Moon Young, her children’s books help us understand that there is much more to her personality than just a mean, anti social, egotistic person. I cannot wait to see her transformation. It seems that Kang Tae really is someone good for her, I think they both can help each other heal from their past wounds.

One last thing to note from these two episodes: Butterflies (나비)

I still don’t know what that’s about, but if you guys have any theories, I am happy to hear them! All we know is that she used to rip the wings off of the butterflies, Kang Tae was horrified to see her do this when they were children, and Sang Tae has bad dreams about them because he claims a mysterious butterfly killed Sang Tae and Kang Tae’s mother. This honestly made me very sad since I love butterflies and we have been seeing a lot of monarch’s around SoCal this past month. I had a classmate who used to rip their wings too, back in the 1st grade. So this honestly brought back to mind some childhood trauma. I wonder what more significance these butterflies will have in the plot. I cannot wait for the next episodes, I really hope they are as detailed and wonderfully edited as these first two were. What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the first two episodes as much as I did, or did you find the drama to be slow? Let me know, I would love to hear what you guys thought about the premiere of: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay!

Where To Watch: Netflix

Kdrama Reviews

The King: Eternal Monarch Review – Why I Wish The Writer Would Have Written A Better Script

Ugh so much potential, this drama had so much potential! But oh well, what is done is done!

Lee Min Ho and I have a long history. He was actually the very first Kdrama male lead I EVER watched. Back in January of 2012 my cousin introduced me to my very first Kdrama: Boys Over Flowers. Gu Jun Pyo was definitely not the type of man I was used to crushing on, those curls were SO not my style and I thought his outfits were over the top.

I mean, look at him…

However, with time, I looked beyond it (haha) and ended up really liking Lee Min Ho and his acting!

When I heard Lee Min Ho was finally back from the military, and that he was going to star in a new drama, I was curious to see what type of project he had chosen. However to my disappointment, it wasn’t exactly anything new. Sorry Lee Min Ho!

Photo Source: https://programs.sbs.co.kr/drama/theking/main

I’m used to seeing him play very similar roles, and for once wished he would try something a little different. The King Eternal Monarch was a fantasy romance thriller, set in two parallel worlds, one being modern day Seoul in the Republic of Korea and the other in Busan in The Kingdom of Korea.

I don’t deny that the synopsis did seem intriguing at first but from the very first episode we were plagued with a hundred different things going on. We were introduced to our main characters and to the crossing of the barrier between the two worlds.

Let me tell you, a friend of mine from Singapore and I had been commenting on each episode after it came out, we couldn’t help but complain about how many plot twists there were and how we didn’t know how the writer could possibly resolve all the conflicts and answer all the questions by the end of this 16 episode drama.

In a very complicated way, the writer kept introducing us to new characters, people who existed in both worlds, so we were left sitting there trying to piece together who was who and with what purpose the villain, Lee Lim, had decided to take them from their original world and switch them to work for him in the parallel one.

I can’t deny that the visuals and cinematography were fantastic. However the editing in some parts was a bit choppy, I noticed that after the ratings were dropping, they must have either hired a new editor or put a sword to his throat because it suddenly got better, but by that time we were already half way through the drama.

The characters just felt so underdeveloped. Still wondering what Prime Minister Koo’s role was in this whole thing, I wish she had teamed up with Lee Lim and done something worthwhile but instead they made her go from a strong powerful woman, to simply thirsty for power, enough to kill her own double from the Republic of Korea. Lee Lim as well was one of the weakest villains ever. I would have liked more back story of his life, all we knew is that he was illegitimate, but what led him to becoming so thirty for the throne? The same with his previous relationship as uncle and nephew with Lee Gon.

Let’s not forget about the lack of chemistry between the leads. I don’t even blame them or their ability as actors, it was more the lousy script to blame. I’ve seen more chemistry between them off screen. I think only for like two episodes did I ever feel like the love between the two characters was genuine and real. I expected more emotions from them but the director too, didn’t do his part in guiding the actors.

Let’s talk about the good parts in this drama though, enough of the negativity.

My favorite part of this drama was discovering how different the parallel characters were from each other, take Yeong for example, in the Kingdom of Korea he was SUPER serious, very intelligent, well mannered, and stylish. Meanwhile his counterpart Eun Seop from Republic of Korea, was funny, goofy, lacking style and not the brightest tool in the shed. When the two met for the first time, it made for one very enjoyable hilarious scene. The actor who played both Yeong and Eun Seop definitely carried this show on this back, he was fresh, he was fun and honestly I wished he would have had more screen time.

I also enjoyed the Court Lady’s role, she was funny and caring, and also had a secret past, which I WISH would have been explored more. Again, I can’t help but be left wondering if this story would have been a better one in book form or in a full length film, but certainly the 16 episodes didn’t quite do it justice.

*SPOILER ALERT*

Episode 16 left me wishing the writer would have written a better script, because for once the drama seemed fun. I loved the idea of them visiting different time periods. I longed for a final episode where we actually got to see Eun Seop/Nari and Yeong/Seung Ha finally getting together and having at least one romantic scene but we didn’t. We also never saw Lee Ji Hun and his mom finally living a good life. There’s also other unanswered questions but what can we do now?

At the end of the day, this drama was enjoyable, but not overly memorable for me. I look forward to seeing them in other projects, and I know the writer will learn from her mistakes, because truly this could have been a better drama, it had all the potential.

My Rating: 3/5

SO LONG THE KING: ETERNAL MONARCH! OFF TO MY NEXT KDRAMA ADVENTURE!