First Impressions

First Impression: Orange Marmalade

As Unkind Women bows out, another (well, a handful) comes into my viewing line up.

I haven’t had the chance to really identify the ones I want to follow, but had an inkling that the high-school/ vampire/ romance Orange Marmalade would likely fall under “easy to watch,” hence it wouldn’t be so taxing to do a recap (which I’m still mulling over).

Orange_Marm_Main01Premiered on May 15th with 2 episodes shown back-to-back on KBS2, I had to keep myself busy while waiting for the subs to kick in. It is mandatory that I totally immerse myself in the Twilight-like Korean Drama XD

The premise is rather to the point: 200 years ago, humans and vampires finalized a peace treaty, but till this day, both parties do not get along well with each other. Heck. Humans still can’t along with each other o_O

Fast forward to 2015, the story begins with the introduction of Baek MaRi (SeolHyun) riding the subway to school, Jung Jae-Min (Yeo Jin-Goo) who is a popular high school student also happens to be on the same train.

We are well-versed with the eventual pull Jae Min will experience with MaRi because she is a vampire and vamps have that I-can’t-help-but-magnetize-anyone powers 😀 .

However, MaRi tries very hard to fit in and does her very best to hide her real self.

First episode in, Jae Min has been TKO-ed by cupid…

(more…)

First Impression: Hwajung

Thanks to my grueling daily work schedule, I totally missed out on a few KDrama premieres. However,  I came across a snippet on how lethally Daebak the first two episodes of Hwajung were, and I JUST HAD to activate my powers to enter a parallel universe and immersed myself in Hwajung.

This is yet another take on the life of Prince Gwanghae (the latest one being The King’s Face with Seo In Guk playing the titular character). With an awesome ensemble cast of Cha Seung Won, Cho Song Ha (fave King in Sungkyungkwan Scandal), Kim Chang Wan (fave nose-picking Ahjussi in Coffee Prince), Lee Sung Min (fave boss, Chief Oh in Misaeng) and many others, I braced myself for sterling quality acting.

Hwajung_Main01First off, I had to compartmentalize “Chajumma” image of the ineffable Cha Seung Won who literally demonstrated to the rest of the world why he would be the #1 pick to be marooned with on an island.

That guy is McGyver of the Gastronomic Kind… my kinda namja 😀

Back to Hwajung…

(more…)

First Impression: Heard It Through the Grapevine

My, my… lookee here. It’s a new production from the duo who brought ground-breaking drama Secret Love Affair to epic proportions in the early part of 2014. Time lapse of one year and what do they have up their sleeves?

Another strong contender to push KDrama boundaries into the next realm 😮

The plot itself touches on a rather taboo subject of teenage pregnancy. Add in a micro-managing Super rich family and street-smart characters, I can’t help but be intrigued with Ahn Pan Suk’s decision to helm this 32-episode drama (yep, 32 o_O )

When one hears Ahn Pan Suk’s name, one automatically links that with breathtaking cinematography and a coterie of ensemble actors who most often are hired in his projects. I couldn’t help but grin when I saw familiar faces in the first two episodes.

However, when cameras entered the home of the powerful Han family, I was, in a word, gobsmacked. The uniquely Korean architecture is seamlessly woven into a modern domicile and needless to say, yours truly had to pause several times just to soak in the glorious sight.

Lee Joon and Go Ah Sung. MAN! Ahn PD must have some kind of Jedi force because their acting has improved by leaps and bounds! I am cautiously hopeful for an interesting ride come episode 3.

Finally! A KDrama that has tractor-beam grabbage of a Death Star…

Blurb: Valid Love

ValidLove_MP01

I didn’t intend to watch a relatively new drama on a public holiday, because what if I really REALLY liked it and my fingers itch to blog about it?

Does this give you an indication of the KDrama manhole I just tripped into? o_O

LOL!!

Against my better judgment, I began Episode 1 of Valid Love, primarily out of my girl-crush on Lee Shi Young who has portrayed memorable characters in KBS 2′ s Wild Romance and the funny How to Use Guys with Secret Tips movie. I was also curious to see if there was any acting progression for the inhumanly beautiful model/ actor, Lee Soo Hyuk who has almost always played cold but exceptionally handsome beings.

Premise of this story: Girl (Il Ri) falls in deep crush with part-time teacher (Hee Tae) who tried his best to keep vapid fangirl away. However, they are fated to meet after a few years and they get married. She ends up being the peacekeeper during volatile episodes between her parents-in-law, and personal caretaker to her paralyzed sister-in-law. However, she is also a painter/ contractor who earns for a living while her husband is away at sea fulfilling his job as a marine biologist.

Seven years have passed and they are comfortable in their marital routine, until one day when Il Ri works on a short project at a Carpenter’s workshop in her neighborhood…

Hee Tae voiceover:

My wife found another poem, another side dish.

IR:  It was hanging here. (Who are you? -KJ) Get dressed first. (How’d you get in here? – KJ) By chance, did you call for a painter?  (They didn’t say it was a woman – KJ) They probably didn’t say it was a man either. Why? Are you displeased because I’m a woman? Should I call a man?

KJ:  Can you finish in two days?

IR:  What?! Finish all this in two days? Alone? (No, the two of us – KJ) Excuse me, you’ve never hired a painter, have you? (So? – KJ) We usually work in teams of three or four. The painting company gives us assignments. But Soo Young… Oh yeah, you know Jung Soo Young? The cafe I like – (Get to the point – KJ) I don’t know how you know her, but Soo Young told me to come. To come alone and to think of it as a part-time job.

It was close to home, so I thought it was easy work. That’s why I came. But this place has to be over 1000 sqft. And this is all discolored. It has to be sanded and primed. It’ll take over a day just to lay the foundation. And this wall, the ceiling… won’t it fall? And the floor. What will you do? It’ll take at least 5 days to take care of all of this.

KJ:  Okay then.

IR:  18 regular water-based and oil-based paint roller jobs. Add $50 for high ceilings and lots of steel, $250 for epoxy and separate pay for food. So, should I start working?… Or forget it. Using a calculator?

KJ:  $200 including food cost and finish in three days.

IR:  I can’t finish in three days.

KJ:  I’m a carpenter. I can paint too. I just don’t have time. So, I’m hiring you.

IR:  Then we’ll share the workload. Four days?

KJ:  Okay, let’s do that.

IR:  There may be additional fees based on circumstances. I start work at 9am. An hour lunch break at noon and a coffee break of 30 minutes in the afternoon. End work at 5pm. Even if I’m not done in four days, I’m putting my brush down at 5pm. Where should I change? By chance, do you have a problem? … Never mind.

Working in close proximity with Carpenter Kim, she naturally becomes more aware of his physical presence. However, she doesn’t even dream of standing near that invisible line because she has never thought of any other men besides her husband after all these years.

Hee Tae voiceover:

Eveyrthing was ready. Like it was in preparation for that day. The days were hot for late autumn. My wife smelled an unfamiliar man’s scent. The scent of sweat. The smell was unpleasant at first. But she said she kept remembering it. While I was drunk on the ocean smell, my wife was getting used to the unfamiliar scent.

Written by Kim Do Woo, who also gave us the classic My Name is Kim Sam Soon, Valid Love presents a real-life dilemma that can happen to anyone.

And I have a feeling this drama will unfold in an unconventionally interesting way.

DRAT.

 

First Impression: Mr. Baek

Mr.Baek_MainPost01

MBC has been pretty much on a good roll. The global juggernaut called Fated To Love You brought many viewers on board a magical ride which then switched to a melo- tempo ride in Spring Days. And now, it picks up raucous speed in Mr Baek/ Back. Fresh off the gates, it has recorded the highest premiere ratings ever. Guess many campers from FTLY have shifted to this part of the camping grounds XD

(more…)

First Impression: Misaeng

Misaeng_CharStillsMain

Hell-Oh! I did not expect the opening scene to be so riveting. So action-packed. So Raiders of the Lost Ark meet James Bond o_O !!

I was gaping for the first 5 minutes into Misaeng.

Meaning: this drama has the potential to suck me into YET another Kdrama wormhole…

Part of Opening Scene

Jang Geu Rae seems like a trouble-shooter extraordinaire, who is like a pit bull when given missions to complete. He displays confidence in communication and is able to think on his feet when things go awry. However, he was not all that and a bag of chips when his real story begins back in Seoul.

He works multiple part-time jobs just to keep his mother and himself afloat. A very affable young man who is meticulous and polite, but when he is told by his mum to begin work at a corporate place the next day, he becomes all thumbs and seems to be “an intern who got in due to his connections.” We’re not told explicitly how Geu Rae got the job, but with such insidious assumption, the word gets around the office at LTE speed.

Hence the dissatisfaction amongst other interns (you’ll always have the bully with his crony and one alpha namja who may seem to be magnanimous but may be the Devil Incarnate).  Kang Ha Neul plays the latter character.

Then we have Kang So Ra playing another intern extraordinaire, Yi Young. A no-nonsense, get to the point, sexy-up-only-for-good-reason, trilingual intern:

The premiere introduces some of the main characters who will carry most of the drama’s weight and I’m glad the 90- minute episode is justified in unveiling, a page at a time, Jang Geu Rae’s history. I’m rooting for this underdog who has yet to dazzle utilizing his genius in Baduk when solving work-related issues. Seriously, it didn’t feel 90 minutes at all 😮

Looking forward to watching episode 2… and then we’ll see where the road takes us XD