This post may contain affiliate links
What I watched in the third quarter of 2019. I found lots of South Korean and Chinese dramas that I got obsessed with and just watched more and more !
Strong Girl Bong Soon is one of my favourites. A woman born with superhuman strength is hired by the CEO of a gaming company, to be his bodyguard. This I really liked. There was lot of silly story lines and characters where I would roll my eyes. But I just liked the main actress and actor. And I would watch again. And I have. I just loved the love story between the boy and girl. I laughed a lot watching this for the second and third time.
Uncontrollably Fond I did not like. Shin Joon-young and Noh Eul were classmates who were separated during their teenage years due to an ill-fated relationship, but later meet each other in adulthood. Shin Joon-young is now a top actor-singer while Noh Eul is a documentary producer. Noh Eul had a tough childhood; her father died in a hit-and-run prompting Noh Eul to quit school and make a living for herself and her brother. Shin Joon-young, on the other hand, had his life planned out for him. His mother wanted him to become a prosecutor to follow the footsteps of his estranged father, but an awful incident caused him to quit law school and become a singer-actor. The two reunite when Noh Eul is tasked to film Shin Joon-young’s documentary. Joon-young initially gives Noh Eul a miserable time before finally agreeing to do the documentary and even plans to win her heart back.
Gangnam Beauty is the story of Kang Mi-rae who decides to get plastic surgery after years of being bullied because of her looks. Her “rebirth” seems successful at first, but as her life at the university unfolds, her plan starts to backfire. The pressure of being a “pretty girl” begins to pressure her and, worse, those who can see through her surgery ridicule her and tag her as the “Gangnam plastic surgery monster.” The drama follows Mi-story of recovering self-esteem as she gets to know her course mate, and former schoolmate in middle school, Do Kyung-seok. This was ok, but I did find it well made and written. In flashbacks of the main character being bullied, you never see her face, which was sensitively done. No one has know all about beauty.
Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung was recommended to me by Netflix, I not a fan of historical dramas but I thought I would give this a go. Set at the beginning on the 19th Century. Free spirit Goo Hae-ryung embarks on a new life as a scholar in the Joseon royal court after hearing about a government post for female historians. These episodes are released weekly which I am not a fan so I will watch a couple and then wait for a lot to be released and binge them.
The Heirs on Netflix it is called The Inheritors. The series follows a group of rich, privileged high school students as they are about to take over their families’ business empires, overcoming difficulties and growing every step of the way. Kim Tan is a wealthy heir to a large called Jeguk Group.He was exiled to the U.S. by his brother Kim Won, who tries to take control of the family business.While in the States, he meets Cha Eun-sang, who went there to look for her sister. Despite being engaged to Yoo Rachel, a fellow heiress, Kim Tan soon falls in love with Eun-sang. When Kim Tan returns to Korea, his former best friend turned enemy Choi Young-do begins picking on Eun-sang to irritate Tan. Tension ensues when Young-do also falls in love with Eun-sang, and Kim Tan is forced to choose between his responsibility of pursuing the family business or love. This I watched the twenty episodes over a couple of days resting.
Doctor Stranger hooked me from the first few episodes. As a child, Park Hoon and his father Park Cheol were tricked and sent to North Korea. After being sent to North Korea, Park Hoon and his father were denied access to go back to South Korea. In North Korea, Park Hoon was trained to become a doctor by his father who was already a famous doctor. He became a genius cardio thoracic surgeon after attending medical school in North Korea. There, he fell deeply in love with Song Jae-hee. After Park Hoon’s father died, he tried to flee to South Korea with Jae-hee, but lost contact with her in the end. Park Hoon was able to flee to South Korea alone. In South Korea, Park Hoon begins to work as doctor in a top hospital Myungwoo University Hospital. Meanwhile, he found a girl that looks exactly like Jae-hee, Doctor Han Seung-hee, who claims not to know Park Hoon.
Then I watched Romance Is A Bonus Book. Cha Eun Ho is a successful author and a senior editor at a book publishing company. Kang Dan-i is a mother and former successful advertising executive. When Cha Eun Ho was a child, Kang Dan-i saved him from an accident and was injured. Cha Eun Ho helped her recuperate and they have been close friends ever since. When Kang Dan-i goes through a major life change and tries to re-enter the professional world, their lives become even more connected. They face personal and professional challenges as they slowly start to realize their true feelings for each other. This was ok nothing special.
Doctors was ok. This was more a romance story. Yoo Hye-jung was a headstrong girl in high school with a prickly, gangster personality. Due to her many childhood scars, Hye-jung keeps her heart closed towards other people. However, she changes after meeting her mentor Hong Ji-hong, who plays a key role in transforming her life from a “hopeless” delinquent to a compassionate doctor. They part ways subsequently but meet again after 13 years, when Yoo Hye-jung becomes a doctor
Then I watched Black Knight The Man Who Guards Me, I got hooked on this too and really enjoyed. It is about enduring love and obsession. In a story spanning over 200 years, a man faces a dangerous destiny for the woman he loves and a woman unexpectedly finds her life changing. That is all I am going to tell you as I do not want to spoil anything. This I would recommend, I just enjoyed this a lot.
I then watched Pinocchio. After his life is destroyed by the media, a young boy tries to conceal his past until the girl he loves discovers the truth about his family. This was very good and showcased what television media can do in the wrong way. This was critically acclaimed in South Korea and I saw why. The writing, the performance of the actors. I can not fault it. This is one to watch !
I then watched a Chinese comedy love story. I got through this very quickly. Very cheesy and predictable. They are making a second series, so I will probably watch that too.
Mindhunter season 2 was not going to be missed. I enjoy this show so much. I hope they get more seasons of these. I just so enjoy this so much and it such a shame that it is less than ten episodes a season. I just want more
Then back to the South Korean shows that I am so enjoying too. This is W. The series focuses on the eponymous fictional webtoon entitled W, written and illustrated by its legendary author and illustrator Oh Seong-moo. W became famous in the entire South Korea that even its version in print became a bestseller in the country. The story line of the webtoon W starts with the younger years of its main character Kang Chul, a handsome and intelligent boy who is also skilled in shooting. He becomes famous in South Korea as he won a shooting competition during the 2004 Athens Olympics. But this fame gets ruined when his entire family was killed by an unknown Murderer, and he gets falsely accused of the crime. Another villain Han Cheol-ho handles the case to gain political popularity, pronouncing in court to impose death penalty upon Kang Chul. Nevertheless, Kang Chul was deemed innocent of the crime. Depressed over losing his family, he attempts to commit suicide over the Han River but he stops himself and chooses to move on with his life. Ten years later, Kang Chul becomes a multimillionaire. He starts his “Project W” in his continuous efforts to catch the real culprit behind his family’s death; part of the project is his television broadcasting company dubbed “W,” after the initials of the interrogatives “who” and “why” (hence, the title of the webtoon). One night, he receives a suspicious phone call and gets severely injured by the same mysterious Murderer at the rooftop of his penthouse. I really enjoyed this.
Memories Of The Alhambra I loved. I have an ongoing love of Spain, and Granada is one I am planning to visit next December. This show starts in Granada and this was so well written and performed. I loved this. After receiving an email regarding a groundbreaking AR game about medieval battles in Alhambra, Yoo Jin-woo, CEO of an investment company that specializes in optical devices, travels to Granada, Spain to meet the creator of the game, Jung Se-joo. However, Se-joo is missing and there, he meets his sister Jung Hee-joo, owner of the hostel he stays in and a former guitarist. Both get entangled in a mysterious incidents, and the border between the real world and the AR world built by Se-joo begins to blur. I would recommend this so much
Then One Spring Day. Lee Jung-In is a librarian who has been in a 4 year relationship while Yoo Ji-Ho is a pharmacist and a single dad. After a chance meeting at Ji-ho’s pharmacy, they start seeing love and relationships in a new light. Lee Jung-In meets Yoo Ji-Ho at the pharmacy when she goes there to remedy her hangover. She tells him she is in a rush and he opens the products and gives them to her before she pays. After drinking, she realizes she has left her wallet at her friend’s place. He tells her to just go and pay him back later, along with giving her money for a taxi. They exchange numbers and after showing her his kindness, she cannot stop thinking about him even though she is in a long-term relationship with Kwon Gi-Seok. Gi-Seok and Jung-In’s parents have been pressuring her to get married even though she is not ready. After meeting Ji-Ho, she feels even more doubtful about marrying Gi-Seok. Ji-Ho becomes interested in Jung-In after their first meeting, and intentionally does not respond to her texts so that she will come to pay him back instead of wiring him money. When she finally revisits the pharmacy, he implies his interest in her to which she responds that she could only be friends with him. Later on, they run into each other since Gi-Seok plays basketball with Ji-Ho. She also discovers that Ji-Ho has a child and is a single parent. Tension builds between the two, as Ji-Ho cannot deny his feelings for her yet she tells him she is uninterested. This contradicts her actions, for there are times that she calls him and wants to meet with him for no apparent reason. Jung-In becomes conflicted with her feelings as she realizes that she cannot stop thinking about Ji-Ho. As Gi-Seok keeps pressuring her about marriage, she becomes even more stressed and tells him the truth about why she is so hesitant to marry him: Gi-Seok’s parents disapprove of her. Another show I did enjoy.
Then Twelve Years Promise. This was okay, nothing special. In 2002, on the night of Korea’s momentous World Cup win, high school sweethearts Jang Guk and Yu Jun-su sleep together and Jang Guk ends up pregnant. They are given permission to marry by Jun-su’s father, but after a horrible accident Jang Guk loses the baby. Their mothers who were against the relationship from the beginning, take advantage of the situation and split them up. Jang Guk then leaves Korea to live in the US, and changes her name to Jang Dal-lae. Twelve years later, they reunite and get entangled in each other’s lives again. The only problem is that Yu Jun-su doesn’t know it’s her and Jang Guk doesn’t want him to know.
Something In The Rain, I enjoyed this. When a single career woman reunites with her best friend’s younger brother after he returns from three years of working abroad, their efforts to reconnect grow into romance. I would recommend this too.
Blood peaked my interest. Park Ji-sang is a doctor specializing in hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery in the best cancer research hospital in the country. He is also a vampire. Despite seeming cold and unfeeling, Ji-sang masks his soft heart and inner pain and yearns for closeness with people. He believes very strongly in the sanctity of human life, and suppresses his thirst for blood to treat terminally ill patients and save lives. Among his colleagues is Yoo Ri-ta, a hotshot physician who entered medical school at the age of 17 and is also the niece of the chaebol group chairman who owns the hospital. Ri-ta is highly capable but snooty and prideful, yet Ji-sang finds himself falling for her. He also gets drawn into a conflict between good and evil as he encounters Lee Jae-wook, a two-faced hospital director who gains everyone’s trust with his gentle demeanor, but inwardly harbors a dangerous ambition for power and a talent for cruelty.
Then one day I watched Love 020, I watched the series first and then came across the original movie. I did prefer the series, but the movie made me laugh in some scenes. Bei Weiwei is the computer department goddess, who excels in her studies. She aspires to be an online game developer, and goes by the user ID of Luwei Weiwei in the online role-playing game A Chinese Ghost Story. After she gets dumped by her online husband Zhenshui Wuxiang, she gets approached by the number one player Yixiao Naihe, who suggested that they get married so they both can participate in a couple competition within the game. The newly formed couple instantly hit it off, and undergo many adventures together in the game. However, Wei Wei never expected the real identity of her virtual husband to be her college senior, Xiao Nai who is described as the cream of the crop in both sports and academics. When Wei Wei discovers his true identity, they have already fallen in love with each other. Together, they overcome numerous misunderstandings and obstacles standing in their way of their budding relationship. This was from China, and I did enjoy this.
Then I watched Radio Romance. This was not bad. Geu Rim has always wanted to become a radio writer. However, because she lacks the writing skills, she was always forced to be an assistant writer. When her only show faces cancellation, she must secure her place as writer. So she decides to try casting Ji Soo-ho, a top star actor who’s known to have a “perfect life.” This show focused on mental health, the social media famous life and was enjoyable. Another one I would recommend.
Hymn Of Death was breathtaking beautiful. Set during the Japanese colonial period, married playwright Kim U-jin falls in love with soprano Yun Sim-deok, one of Korea’s notable New Women. This was based in the 1920’s Korea. This was so well written, made and performed. It was so sad and I loved it.
Love Alarm shows the dangers of technology. In a world in which an app alerts people if someone in the vicinity likes them, Kim Jojo experiences young love while coping with personal adversities. A nice short series, and I will watch if they do another series.
The Kings Avatar, I really really enjoyed. When an elite gamer is forced out of his professional team, he becomes the manager of an internet cafe and reinvents himself to return to online glory. I loved that Netflix released ten episodes a week, perfect for me to binge and rest up. I enjoyed all the computer fights too when they played the games and championship.
Abyss I struggled with. Go Se-yeon is a beautiful prosecution lawyer at the top of her game, and Cha Min is her friend, an unattractive but rich heir to a cosmetics empire. They are both revived into different bodies by supernatural beings using an “Abyss” after their deaths in separate incidents. The “Abyss” is a celestial object which has the power to revive anything that has died; the reincarnated bodies take on the appearance of that person’s soul. Go Se-yeon takes on a plainer appearance, whilst Cha Min becomes very attractive and young; virtually the opposite of before. They start working together to find out the reason for their revival and who caused Go Se-yeon’s death.
Meteor Garden was a mammoth forty nine episode drama. Took me a week to watch. The story centers around an ordinary girl, Dong Shan Cai, who is accepted into the most prestigious university in the country, Ming De University. Shan Cai is a girl from a family that barely makes ends meet. Due to the nature of her personality, she immediately clashes with F4, an elite clique composed of the four most popular boys in the institution, especially its spoiled, rich and arrogant leader – Dao Ming Si. Gradually, Dao Ming Si falls deeply in love with Shan Cai, only to realize that she is in love with one of his best friends, Hua Ze Lei. Eventually, the four boys begin to acknowledge Shan Cai’s unyielding personality that is like her namesake: a weed that can never be brought down. Shan Cai begins to see the good in the boys, paving the way for friendships and an eventual romance. However, Dao Ming Si’s mother strongly disapproves of Shan Cai due to her social status and family background, thus the former doing all things in order to break Shan Cai and Dao Ming Si’s relationship.
Gu Dong-chi passed the bar exam right after high school (bypassing college altogether) and became a prosecutor at age 21. With his brilliant legal mind and over ten years of experience since, Dong-chi has sharpened his skills of figuring out what other people are really thinking, even as he keeps his own private thoughts inscrutable and enjoys the perks of the bureaucratic system. Han Yeol-mu is a prosecutor-in-training who gets assigned under Dong-chi. Yeol-mu was once a detective, and she decided to become a public prosecutor because of her dogged pursuit of truth and justice. Dong-chi finds himself working with Yeol-mu, and along with cool-headed veteran prosecutor Moon Hee-man, investigator and former taekwondo athlete Kang Soo, and loose-tongued unemployed gambler Jung Chang-gi, they form a team of “loser prosecutors” who fight for innocent, poor, and powerless citizens and battle against crime, prideful authorities and a prejudiced system. This had me hooked and I did not want this to end.
This was another show that I loved. Kill me, heal me. The human body is capable of all sorts of things to survive difficult situations. Cha Do Hyun is a third-generation business heir who developed dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder) in the aftermath of several life-threatening traumatic events. He tries to regain control over his life with the help of Oh Ri Jin, a beautiful first-year psychiatric resident who helps him secretly. But Ri Jin’s twin brother, Oh Ri On, is a writer who is determined to uncover the unscrupulous lives of the rich and starts following Do Hyun around. Can Do Hyun take control over his condition before one of his seven personalities takes control of him instead? This was just so enjoyable, and I would have liked a second series but with most South Korean shows, they do one season and move on. This was something I would recommend.
BBC I PLAYER
Peaky Blinders season five. Such a shame that it is only six episodes. Britain is a mixture of despair and hedonism in 1919 in the aftermath of the Great War. Returning soldiers, newly minted revolutions and criminal gangs are fighting for survival in a nation rocked by economic upheaval.