Thursday, September 26, 2013

What I'm Watching Now.. September Edition

Secrets (Secret Love)

Min-Hyuk was born into a wealthy family. He has everything including good looks, intelligence, but he doesn't have kindness. He loses his girlfriend in a hit-and-run accident. Yoo-Jung goes to prison, because of the hit-and-run accident that killed Min-Hyuk's girlfriend. Her boyfriend is the one that actually committed the hit-and-run accident, but Yoo-Jung took the blame. She is then betrayed by her boyfriend.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Things That Make You Go Hmmm-What's the Deal Folks?

A Case for Spanish Telenovelas on Drama Sites

DramaFever Corp.
DramaFever is the largest online video site for the distribution of international televised content. The company streams movies, documentaries, and TV shows on demand with professional subtitles. Wikipedia
Founded: 2009

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Upcoming Drama Watching October, 2013

Here's What I Plan to Watch Starting in October, 2013

Secrets (KBS2)
Begins Sep 25, 2013
Ji Sung, Hwang Jung Eum, Bae Soo Bin, Lee Da Hee
Plot Min-Hyuk was born into a wealthy family. He has everything including good looks, intelligence, but he doesn't have kindness. He loses his girlfriend in a hit-and-run accident. Yoo-Jung goes to prison, because of the hit-and-run accident that killed Min-Hyuk's girlfriend. Her boyfriend is the one that actually committed the hit-and-run accident, but Yoo-Jung took the blame. She is then betrayed by her boyfriend.

Medical Top Team (MBC)
Begins Oct 2, 2013
Stars Kwon Sang Woo, Jung Ryu Won, Joo Ji Hoon, Oh Yeon Seo
Plot "Medical Top Team" depicts the process of treating patients by a team of doctors, considered the best in their fields, as a power struggle ensues in the hospital.
Not Official Poster Yet
The Ghost Seeing Detective Cheo Yong (OCN)
Begins Oct 6, 2013
Stars Oh Ji Ho, Oh Ji Eun, Jun Hyo Sung
Plot Yoon Cheo-Yong, has been able to see ghosts since birth. Once the ace of the violent crimes unit, seven years ago he lost both his family and his partner in a traumatic incident that caused him to quit his department. Now he works as a district cop, but without any interest or will to engage with the world; “starved for love,” he’s completely lonely. Then one day, he accidentally talks back to the ghost of a high school girl, and things get complicated. The show follows Cheo-yong as he works with his female detective partner and that ghost girl to solve mysterious cases.

Basketball (tvN)
Begins Oct 21, 2013
Stars Do Ji Han, Lee Elliya, Park Ye Eun, Kim Bo Mi
Plot Drama series is set within the turbulent period between the Japanese colonial era and the division of Korea into North and South. Kang San is from a poor family. He struggles to get away from poverty. Through the game of basketball, he becomes successful and meets a girl from the upper class. He dreams of their love overcoming the disparity in their social standing
No Official Poster Yet
Doctor X-2 (TV Asahi)
Begins Oct 10, 2013
Stars Ryoko Yonekura, Naohito Fujiki, Yuki Uchida, Kenichi Endo
No Official Poster Yet
Empress Ki (MBC)
Begins Oct 21, 2013
Stars Ha Ji Won, Joo Jin Mo, Ji Chang Wook, Kwon Oh Joong, Jin Yi Han
Plot Depicts the loves and battles of Empress Ki who exercises her influence in the Yuan Dynasty. Empress Ki is from Goryeo.

My Thoughts Before you say it, no, I am not watching Heirs or possibly not  Reply 1994. Even though I watched  Reply 1997 and overall liked it, I was totally out of my league while watching it and I only knew of a couple of the actors and they were the reason I even took the time to watch; however, this time I know none of the actors so I don't plan on struggling through trying to relate to characters WAY younger than me. Now, that brings me to Heirs. I've said it once, and I'll say it again, I really don't watch high school dramas! My high school days are so far behind me that I've lost count of the years and really have no interest in watching what might be BOF part deux. Again, I'll enjoy your commentary and tweets; that will be enough for me.

I am really looking forward to the dramas above. Even though Secrets starts the last week of September, I'm including this because it is so late in the month. I watch everything with Hwang Jung Eum, so it was a given that this would be on my future watchlist. The same goes for Medical Top Team. I absolutely LOVE Jung Ryu Won. Even though I doubt this is a comedy, she is a great comedic as well as dramatic actress. I have to think way back in her career for something I didn't like. And like Ryu Won, I will watch ANYTHING with Joo Ji Hoon. Now if I can only get used to that freaking hair-do.

Before you say it, another ghost drama? Yes. But this time it is coming from OCN and when it comes to their dramas, I've yet to see one that I didn't like. I think I have plans to watch this more for the network and less for Oh Ji Ho who is, at best decent. But he has a lot to make up to me after that disastrous 3rd Ward that I sat through  (talk about a drama in the last 1/3 going down the toilet!!).

Basketball was a given for two reasons: I love sports dramas and I absolutely LOVED Do Ji Han in Incarnation of Money as Kwon Hyuk. The fact that at a mere 21 years old, he gets his first adult leading role and only second leading role speaks volumes of how good a job he did in that drama. So I'm psyched to watch this also.

Doctor X was excellent so it made perfect sense to watch the sequel. So far, I don't know where I will be watching this or when but if Viki or any other website carries this, I will be watching. Here's hoping I can find it.

Last but not least is my girl, Ha Ji Won, returning the screen in what I hope will fulfill my sageuk fantasy of a decent drama. Sadly, every saguek I started this year, I dropped out of sheer boredom and some, I didn't even bother starting because the comments kept getting worse and worse as the episodes continue. Ah, the beauty of twitter and followers, they watch so you don't have to.

So, these are the dramas that I plan on watching in the upcoming month.
What are yours?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kang Dong Won's New "The X" movie

Kang Dong Won’s ‘The X’ releases mysterious looking movie poster

Korean short movie ‘The X’ (CGV Screen production) directed by Kim Jee Woon and starring Kang Dong Won and Shin Min Ah has recently revealed its movie poster.

To make the name of Kang Dong Won’s character ‘X’ stand out, the poster specially used X as the background with the silhouette making for a sharp contrast against it. The mysterious and convoluted atmosphere couldn’t hide the tension and nervousness, and left one really looking forward to seeing ‘The X’. The movie utilizes a new form of screening technology called ‘Screen X’ invented by CGV, and is thus drawing much attention already from the public.

‘Screen X’ is a change from the usual projection of the video onto a single screen. ‘Screen X’ is described as a multi-projection screen extending the original screen to its left and right walls. This new method will allow one to broaden their viewing angle, and at the same time enable them to enjoy an even more immersive experience.

‘The X’ will have its first screening at the upcoming 2013 (18th) Busan International Film Festival from October 3rd – 12th under the Gala Presentation program.


My thoughts: If it's Kang Dong Won, it's a MUST-SEE for me!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Top 5 Dramas for 2010

Top 5 Dramas for 2010

These are my picks for the top dramas that I've seen from 2010. Again, they are not arranged in no particular order as I love them all equally and are not limited to Korean dramas alone. Compare it with your list for 2010:
Keizoku 2:SPEC
Stars Toda Erika and Kase Ryo. Like the original series, "SPEC" will revolve around a pair of police detectives as part of a special division solving difficult cases (Mishou). Touma Saya is a woman with an IQ of 201 and an inability to "read the atmosphere" in social situations. Due to a previous case, her left arm is in a sling. Her partner Sebumi Takeru used to be the star performer of the Metropolitan Police. After some incident however, he was transferred to Mishou. Those two track down offenders with special abilities(SPEC) who managed to get away with their crimes.

Only a science fiction fan would love and appreciate this drama! So if you are expecting anything else, don't watch! I absolutely loved this! As a fan of the genre, it had every aspect that us Sci-Fi fans would be looking for; intrigue, lies, freaky characters and a story that you can follow. All is revealed as the episodes are watched. Again, if you are expecting romance, forget this! This was a Sci-Fi fans freaking dream come true! My appreciation and love for Toda Erika has increase ten fold. It started with Liar Game and continues with this series! Kase Ryo as Sebumi-san; you now have a new fan!!
Secret Garden
Stars Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won. The drama tells the story of Kim Joo Won, an arrogant and eccentric CEO who maintains the image of seeming perfection, and Gil Ra Im, a poor and humble stuntwoman whose beauty and body are the object of envy amongst top actresses. Their accidental meeting, when Joo Won mistakes Ra Im for actress Park Chae Rin, marks the beginning of a tense, bickering relationship, through which Joo Won tries to hide a growing attraction to Ra Im that both confuses and disturbs him. To complicate matters further, a strange sequence of events results in them swapping bodies.

I swear! Until these two marry other people, I will forever and forever 'ship' them as a couple! Kid you not!

This is one of the few dramas that I have seriously watched over and over again! Maybe not always from the beginning but I have repeat watched this drama in my boredom. The romance between Joo Won and Ra Im, just never bores me! And it has the distinction of having one of the better drama kisses I've seen! Believe it or not, this was the first drama I saw of BOTH Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won but this drama alone made me instant fans and immediately started my love for both of them.

Can these two just make all their fans happy and get married already?!!
God's Quiz
Stars Ryu Deok Hwan and Yoon Joo Hee. Han Jin Woo, Korea's top medical examiner, leads a team of experts in conducting a medical crime investigation after strange events and mysterious deaths occur in a hospital. He first clashes with but is later aided by Kang Kyung Hee, an attractive female detective who possesses excellent skill in martial arts and a strong sense of justice.

Close to perfect at times, the story. The acting was perfect for this drama. I asked myself why I hadn't watched this before. The title throws you off because you have no idea what it really is about. Let's start with the stand-out actors. First of all, Ryu Deok Hwan as Han Jin Woo was unbelievably good! From the first episode to the end. His portrayal of Jin Woo was spot on perfect. Yoon Joo Hee as Kang Kyung Hee was great! At times, she drove you batty with her police decisions which made no sense to me (or maybe I watch TOO MANY police and crime dramas) but overall she did a good job. The rest of the cast was fun and acted well. Every episode was a learning experience. Keep wikipedia/google handy. You will be doing a lot of searching! Again, I cannot believe I didn't watch this until 2013! And as you can guess, I went onto to season 2 and 3 (Thanks, Operation:Kdrama Chat)!
Stars Bae Doo Na, Suh Ji Suk, Lee Chun Hee, and So Yi Hyun. Gloria is an intense tale of people who are fiercely devoted to surviving their rough lives, focusing in particular on the life of a nightclub singer, Na Jin Jin, who braves the difficulties of her work to provide for her mentally handicapped older sister, Jin Joo. She finds an unwavering source of strength and support from her loyal childhood friend, Ha Dong Ah, a third-rate gangster with a big heart. Jin Jin also meets a potential love interest in Lee Kang Suk, the president of Double Sharp Entertainment, who has his own problems to face as the illegitimate son of an entrepreneur.

Okay, this is one of favorite dramas! It was my first drama over 50 episodes that I marathon watched. I loss sleep, barely ate, you name it. This was my first introduction to Bae Doo Na as I started watching this because of Suh Ji Suk! I fell instantly in love with Doo Na's portrayal of Gloria. Not to forget about Suh Ji Suk as Kang Suk. I thought the chemistry between the two was magnetic! I was also surprised by the secondary romance between Dong Ah (Lee Chun Hee) and Yoon Seo (So Yi Hyun). Even though the main couple's relationship was not totally resolved until the end, I felt the story was absolutely fun to watch. 

One of the best scenes is when Kang Suk serenades Jin Jin when she thinks he no longer likes her. It is one of the most romantic scenes EVER!! As this is a melodrama, beware, there are some seriously twisted moments that make you want to wretch your hair out; but overall, this is one of the best! And it is the only 50+ drama that I have re-watched from start to finish.
Cinderella's Sister
Stars Moon Geun Young, Chun Jung Myung, Ok Taec Yeon, and Seo Woo. SA modern day adaptation of Cinderella with a twist as our Cinderella, Goo Hyo Sun, is loved by everyone whereas her stepsister, Eun Jo, has a dark past and struggles with the fact that her mother starts to care more for Hyo Sun than her.

This drama is where I differ from a lot of people because I simply LOVED it! From start to finish, LOVED it! It was my introduction to Moon Geun Young, who still remains my top favorite actress since I started watching dramas. Her portrayal of Eun Jo was so dark and so tortured. Her mother, played by Lee Mi Sook was one of the worse users you will see! What I especially liked was the chemistry between Chun Jung Myung and Moon Geun Young. His love for her and her hesitance to love was portrayed wonderfully. Seo Woo's Hyo Sun was so needy, you eventually learned to love her too. And of course I will never forget Ok Taec Yeon and his little dance with his 'little me'! So cute!

Honorable Mentions
Both of these dramas are very popular with others and while I loved them, it is always hard to pick your top 5: 

So What Are Your Top 5 for 2010?
Let me know in the comments!

My Top 5 Dramas for 2009

Top 5 Dramas for 2009

These are my picks for the top dramas that I've seen from 2009. Again, they are not arranged in no particular order as I love them all equally and are not limited to Korean dramas alone. Compare it with your list for 2009:
Shining Inheritance
Stars Han Hyo JooLee Seung GiBae Su Bin, and Moon Chae Won. Go Eun Sung's life is similar to Cinderella's. After her father died, her step-mother, Baek Sung Hee, took away all of her assets and her younger brother, Eun Woo, suddenly disappears without a trace. Despite this, Eun Sung preservers and works really hard to fulfill her dreams. When the CEO of a food company, Jang Sook Ja, suffers amnesia and can't remember who she is Eun Sung takes her in. However, Eun Sung does not know that she is the grandmother of Sun Woo Hwan, the man who she switched bags with at the airport. How will their constant bickering lead them to realize that they care more about each other than they let on?

There were so many actors introduced to me for the first time! Well, the entire main cast were new to me when I watched this. LSG with his smile was an instant love affair! Don't get me started on instantly crushing and suffering from second lead syndrome with Bae Su Bin! I won't forget the ladies as I had never seen any of them before and well, most impressive was definitely Moon Chae Won as the super needy, Yoo Seung Mi. I definitely won't forget the supporting cast, especially Kim Mi Sook as Park Seong Hee, the mother from hell and one of my favorite grandmothers, Ban Hyo Jung. All in all, a good drama from this year.
Stars Osawa Takao and Ayase Haruka. The story follows a brain surgeon named, Minakata Jin, who has spent the last two years in anguish, as his fiancee lies in a vegetative state after an operation he performed. One day, he faints at the hospital and awakens to find himself transported back in time to the Edo period. He is soon attacked by a samurai, but he escapes with the help of a man named Kyotaro. Kyotaro suffers a serious injury to the head while trying to protect him, but Jin manages to save his life despite a lack of proper medical equipment. Because of that, Kyotaro's sister Saki begins taking an interest in Jin and becomes his assistant. Meanwhile, Jin is determined to find a way back to the present.

I remember I started this Japanese version around the middle of the Time Slip Dr. Jin because people kept saying, you have to see the original. I kept thinking (and hoping) that it wouldn't be as horrible as the Korean version which if it wasn't for the funny as hell commentary while watching on Viki, I would have abandoned ship WAY before the ending! Thank you Viki commenters!. 

But back to this drama! Talk about compare and contrast?! These two dramas were so different but yet so much the same when it came to the basic story line. Where the Korean version failed miserably in acting; this excelled. Where the Korean version was so horribly executed; the Japanese version was near perfect! This was the first time seeing Osawa Takao but my 2-3 time seeing Ayase Haruka. Their portrayal of Jin and Saki were so spot on, I went on to watch the subsequent Jin 2 immediately.
You're Beautiful
Stars Jang Geun Suk and Park Shin Hye. The management company of the idol group A.N.JELL insisted on adding a new singer to the group as the lead vocal, Tae Kyung's voice was hurting. However,the new member, Mi Nam, had to go to the States to repair a botched eye job just before signing the contract. His agent came up with the idea of having his twin sister, Mi Nyu,to stand in for him and pretend that she was her brother. The two of them grew up in an orphanage and Mi Nyu, who was all set to become a nun, agreed to this charade as she didn't want to spoil her brother's chance of fame which would make it easier to look for their mother.

Sometimes I watch a drama and I have no idea why I like it! Is it the music? Characters? Or am I just having fun watching it? Well, You're Beautiful is definitely in that category. Not likely that I will watch again but I do remember really enjoying it when I did. And of course it introduced me to Jang Geun Suk, Park Shin Hye and Jung Yong Hwa and did go on to watch their other works (admittedly, there will be nothing that will drag me to watch JGS's Beautiful Man if it ever gets released, I do have my limits!)
Autumn's Concerto
Stars Wu VannessAn Ady and Bin Xiao Xiao. Ren Guang Xi, a cocky law student, seems to lead the perfect life. He's the sole successor to a huge and famous business and a talented ice hockey player. But in reality, his lonely life lacks joy, laughter and motivation. That is until he meets Liang Mu Cheng, the new bento seller at his school canteen. Although orphaned at a young age, Mu Cheng does not let her past affect her and lives life with great passion and determination. A harmless bet brings the two together and what happens next will change their relationship.

This drama, for me, was simply amazing! There were parts of the story line that had me twisted in knots and wishing that the writer had done it a different way but what I remember most about this drama is being totally blown away by a little 5-6 year old (at the time) named Bin Xiao Xiao. Sure, I had seen many child actors before in other dramas but this was the first time seeing a child having such a prominent speaking role! When Xiao Xiao cried, I cried, when he laughed, I laughed. His ability to project his emotions in a scene were stunning! I once read that during some of the scenes that the director became concerned because he was so drawn into his role.

This was my first introduction to Vanness and I must say, I still like this American born actor. As Ren Guang Xi, I felt his pain and definitely understood his anger through most of the drama. An Ady as Liang Mu Cheng was simply the most annoying character ever!! But that is a good sign of acting when even the lead actor can annoy you to no end. This was my first TwDrama marathon drama that I actually liked and finished!!
Boys Over Flowers
Stars Lee Min Ho, Koo Hye Sun, Kim Bum, Kim Hyun Joongand Kim Joon. Set at a famous high school for the super-wealthy, this is a puppy love story centered on a poor girl and the F4 gang of rich kids headed by the rough and fearless Jun-pyo Koo (Lee Min Ho). Geum Jan-Di (Koo Hye Sun) is a girl from a poor family but has an unrivaled sense of optimism and drive and is by chance admitted to a prestigious private high school.
There she meets the infamous group of four astonishingly good looking and rich boys who are known as F4. 

The group's leader is Koo Jun-Pyo, who is a spoiled heir to world-leading conglomerate Shinhwa. He is joined by mysterious and breathlessly handsome Yun Ji-Hu (Kim Hyun Joong), So Lee-Jeong (Kim Bum), and Song Woo-Bin (Kim Joon). Their love story moves from Seoul to New Caledonia to Macau.

Before you say it, I'll say it: this is not a great drama; hell, it wasn't even a very good drama but what it was: the first drama EVER that I watched! We never forget our first and for that reason, I will never forget this drama. It introduced me to the fellows! I walked away with big love for two in particular: Kim Bum and Kim Hyun Joong! Sure, I liked Lee Min Ho and have seen him in everything he's been in but those two are the ones that won my heart. Poor, poor Kim Joon is the only ignored F4 member! Sadly missing in dramas and movies!  Yes, before you say it, I didn't walk away a fan of Koo Hye Sun. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've watched her in anything since (tried to watch Absolute Boyfriend, didn't get far). Haven't figured out what the disconnect is with me and her.

However, I will forever be thankful for this drama as it introduced me to the world of Korean dramas and I haven't left it since (maybe this is actually a curse!)!

So What Are Your Top 5 for 2009?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Movie News: Upcoming Korean movie "Hwai"

Movie I'd love to see: 

Upcoming Korean movie "Hwai"

New stills for the upcoming Korean movie "Hwai" (2013) which is directed by Jang Joon-hwan (Camellia). The movie will star Kim Yoon-seok (The Thieves), Yeo Jin-goo (Potato Star 2013QR3), Jo Jin-woong (My Pavarotti), Jang Hyeon-seong (Who Are You), Kim Seong-gyoon (Secretly, Greatly), and Park Hae-joon (Jeon Woo Chi).

A boy named Hwai has 5 criminal fathers: Seok-tae, a cold but charismatic leader, Ki-tae, a stammering driver specialist, Jin-seong, an ideal planner, Beom-soo, a guns specialist and Dong-beom a cold actionist.  Hwai has been brought up in a unique way, learning skills from his 5 fathers instead of going to school but has adapted to life, not knowing his past. 

However, Seok-tae who wanted Hwai to be as strong as his fathers, brings him to a crime scene one day... After the day a gunshot is fired, Hwai faces the hidden truth and everything around him begins to change!

Release date in Korea : 2013/10/09

Source: Hancinema

My Thoughts: Now this is my favorite genre of all: thriller/suspense/action/drama all tied into one! My little son, Yeo Jin-goo is all grown up! I've seen him in various projects as the younger character in a drama so I can't wait to be able to see this. Kim Yoon-seok, I've had the pleasure to see him in The Thieves which I like but it's not for everyone, just like this movie! Hopefully, we will get to see this next year...somewhere on the internet!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Medical Top Team" stares into the monitor

"Medical Top Team" stares into the monitor

All the cast for "Medical Top Team" stared into the monitors with fire in their eyes. These are behind the scene cuts of the MBC drama set revealed on September 6th.

Stars Kwon Sang-woo (Park Tae-sin), Jeong Ryeo-won (Seo Joo-yeong), Joo Ji-hoon (Han Seung-jae), Minho (Kim Seong-woo) and Jo Woo-ri (Yeo Min-ji) can be seen monitoring themselves on a small screen. The way they are staring into the screen makes them look like they have fire in their eyes.

The teamwork of "Medical Top Team" is outstanding, according to a staff on site. The cast makes sure they follow up on their scenes until they get the perfect picture.

Meanwhile, "Medical Top Team" starts on the 2nd of October.

Source: and Hancinema

My Thoughts  Dramafever will definitely be bringing this to their site. No word on Viki but I'm sure all of the other sites like Gooddrama and Dramastyle will have it too. 

There are two reasons I will be watching this drama and two reasons only: Jeong Ryeo-won and Joo Ji-hoon! Not a super fan of Kwon Sang-woo. I find myself always watching his dramas because of someone else on the cast. I guess I'll continue that trend. Also looking forward to Minho in a more adult role (sorry, I couldn't finish To the Beautiful You). So this drama is definitely top on my PTW list come October!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Halla's lesser-known trail no walk in park

Halla's lesser-known trail no walk in park

Because of its thick trees and rocks covered by moss, the first course of dullaegil of Mount Halla evokes the feeling of a secret garden. By Shin Dong-yeon

Of all the four seasons, fall is the best time of year to go hiking. It's neither hot nor cold, and the weather is just perfect for hikers who want to walk for hours. 

The JoongAng Ilbo recently walked the first course of the dullaegil at Mount Halla, Jeju. Dullaegil means a walking trail that is formed around the circumference of the mountain. 

The dullaegil at Mount Halla was designed by the Korea Forest Service. Two courses are available now, but the Korea Forest Service plans to add more and complete the trail by the end of 2016. When the courses are complete, the dullaegil will encompass 800 kilometers (497 miles). 

The first course stretches about nine kilometers. It starts from the site of Beopjeong Temple and ends at Donnaeko Valley. 

"Jeju has three famous trails. One of them is Jeju Olle trail, another is Saryeoni Forest and the other is Mount Halla dullaegil", said Kim Seo-young, 46, an official working at the management department of the dullaegil. 

"Olle trails link this village and that village, and they remind people of old but familiar narrow paths. Trails at Saryeoni Forest are more like thick forest trails and dullaegil of Mount Halla has the best of the two trails", added Kim. 

Saryeoni Forest will be part of the dullaegil when the entire course is complete.

Here are some more photos:
The entrance of the first course of Mount Halla dullaegil; Center, the entire trail is covered with coconut skins to make it easier for hikers to walk.
A shrine that was built to pay tribute to Buddhist monks who fought for independence during the Japanese colonial rule is on the first course.
When the first course nears its end, Retinispora trees come into sight.

For the complete article, please see Hancinema

My Top 5 Dramas for 2003

Top 5 Dramas for 2003
These are my picks for the top dramas that I've seen from 2003. If you are wondering why I've skipped 2004, it's because I really can only talk about 2 dramas so until that list becomes complete, I'll not include that year...yet! Again, they not are arranged in no particular order as I love them all equally and are not limited to Korean dramas alone. Compare it with your list for 2003:
Good Luck!
Stars Kimura Takuya and Shibasaki Kou. Having achieved his life-long dream of being a pilot, Hajime (Kimura Takuya) is first officer on an international jetliner and is now working to become a captain. He can't seem to please Captain Koda, who has become an exacting taskmaster since an air incident many years ago. To complicate matters, he begins a relationship with stubborn and straight-talking mechanic, Ayumi (Shibasaki Kou), whose parents died many years ago in the plane crash for which Captain Koda feels he is responsible. What follows is a story of 21st century love, dreams, and passion.

This is a different kind of drama! In total JDrama fashion, this is a different type of story about people in general and their daily lives. This centers around pilots and attendants of the All Nippon Airlines. I love how in all Asian dramas, the terminology is defined for you. I also liked this drama because it focused on different human interest stories...from a man on a flight to save his business to a doctor trying to return to save a child.

The acting of Kimura Takuya as usual was great. I guess I have to say that I am an official fangirl of his!! Even though this is an older drama and it does not focus solely on romance, it is still a really, really great story! Well worth the 10 hours to watch!!
All In
Stars Lee Byung Hun and Song Hye Kyo. As a kid, all Kim In Ha (Lee Byung Hun) ever did was follow his uncle around and help him cheat in gambling. As a high school student, he hung out with his friends at the basement of a theater. As Kim In Ha gets to know Choi Jeong Won, a model student and also the son of a very rich family, In Ha tries to tempt him into doing mischievous deeds. . Then, he meets Su-yeon (Song Hye-Kyo) and falls in love with her. However, he is accused of a murder due to an incident and flees to the US. In L.A and Las Vegas he gets to know a poker professor and enters the gambling world.

Overall, this was not the best drama ever but what I did like about it was that you, the viewer, got to explore the world of professional gambling. Not too many dramas take on this subject matter and shows you the danger and excitement that the gambler can experience. This was one of the first dramas that I'd seen which was filmed both in the US and Korea. The acting by the main and the supporting cast was good. This introduced me to Ji Sung for the first time and made me look into other dramas that he acted in.
A Jewel in the Palace
Stars Lee Yeong-Ae and Ji Jin-Hee. About 500 years ago during the time of Joseon Dynasty, Korea boasted a rigidly hierarchical and male dominated social structure. Set in this period, "Jewel in the Palace" is based on a true story about a legendary girl (Jang Geum) who became the first woman to be the supreme royal physician of her times. Despite her poor condition as a low class girl in the male dominated society, Jang Geum  (Lee Yeong-Ae) overcame a series of social discrimination and landed herself as a royal cook, later becoming the royal physician, then ultimately the physician in charge of the king. She was even given by the king the title "The Great Jang Geum." The story of her checkered life on her success and breakdown as well as her love story beautifully unfold. "Jewel in the Palace" is sure to touch your heart.

There are too many dramas I've watched over 50 episode; hell, over 30 episodes that I've marathon watched. But, watching this one was simply a privilege! It had been on my watch queue for a very long time and once in a awhile I get into these must watch historical drama moods! Lo and behold, 5 days later, I completed this drama and now I am simply in love with Ji Jin Hee!! This was my first drama watching him as well as Lee Yeong-Ae who seems to be quite famous in her time. 

The love story between their characters; Sir Min and Jang Geum is simply one of the most romantic stories I've ever seen! The chemistry, the portrayal of these characters by the actors was simply amazing!! Amazing! Amazing!! I loved the story, it helped peak my interesting in learning more about the art of food and healing. It truly was a well told story with beautiful cinematography! This is a 2003 drama so if you are new to dramas, it will seem very different than the more modern ones; however, after watching this tremendous jewel, I now know what the ratings during its broadcast times was well into the 50% range! Excellent! Excellent! Stupendous! I will never forget this love story ever!
1% of Anything
Stars Kim Jung-Hwa and Kang Dong-Won. Kim Da Hyun (Kim Jung-Hwa) is a young and sincere middle school teacher, who has little interest in money. She is also extremely warm-hearted and loves to help other people. When she helps carry an elderly man's belongings from the train to another location, the elderly man is extremely thankful. This grandfather turns out to be the extremely rich owner of a well known conglomerate. His grandson, Lee Jae In (Kang Dong Won) is a quick-tempered businessman who rivals his grandfather, but in an almost comical way. In an order to "tame" his favorite grandson, the grandfather agrees to give his entire fortune to the person who marries Da Hyun, therefore forcing Jae In to meet the girl whom his grandfather chose.

I already know that a lot of people simply didn't like this drama; however, what I liked most about this drama was the lack of conflict between the characters and their love interest. This was a simple story about four people as they fell in love. Sure, the grandfather was the catalyst (or glue) for one of the relationships but it was really nice to see that rare KDrama where there is no antagonist/love triangle or some other ridiculous story line to send this drama down the makjang drama hole! 

Even though the acting probably wasn't the best (I'll be the first to admit that Kang Dong Won does better in movies), it was simply the story that made this one of my favorite re-watch dramas to this day!
Country Princess
Stars Bae Doo Na, Shin Seong Woo, Kang Dong Won, and Kim Yoo Mi. Two girls with a twisted fate, born on the same day, Lee Eun Hee (Bae Doo Na) and Lee Keum Hee (Kim Yoo Mi) live their lives as sisters. Living a life of poverty with their family, kind and considerate Eun Hee sacrifices her educational chances to better herself for her older sister Keum Hee. 

Eun Hee's true identity unbeknownst to her, one day a wealthy older man comes to their home requesting the return of his long lost granddaughter. Due to an accident that caused the death of her husband, in spitefulness, the girls mother returns the wrong granddaughter to the older wealthy man and leaves the real granddaughter in a life of struggling and hardship.

Let's just say Keum Hee got too much forgiveness at the end! I watched this for Bae Doo Na as Eun Hee who did an extraordinary job in acting! Extraordinary! She was funny! She made you sad. Boy, I lost count how many times I cried with her. I was pleasantly surprised with Kim Yoo Mi as Keum Hee; I never thought I'd hate someone so completely! And little would I know that years later, I would see her return as one of my favorite characters in a drama, Lee Jin Sook in Cruel City!! 

As far as the male leads, even though I love Kang Dong Won, it was an okay role; not bad. I felt Shin Seong Woo did a great job as the cold-hearted In Woo. To watch his transformation, okay, I know, you expected it but dang it, it was enjoyable to watch. He truly was despicable at the beginning! Watched this drama in 3 days. I did not expect that and for a 2003 drama, it was one of the best I've seen in awhile from this era.

So What Are Your Top 5 for 2003?
Let me know in the comments!

My Top 5 Dramas for 2008

Top 5 Dramas for 2008

These are my picks for the top dramas that I've seen from 2008. Again, they not are arranged in no particular order as I love them all equally and are not limited to Korean dramas alone. Compare it with your list for 2008:
The Kingdom of the Winds
Stars Song Il-Guk and Choi Jung-Won. The historical drama "The Land of the Wind," features Song Il-Guk as King Daemushin of the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C.-A.D. 668). The drama about the life of Jumong's grandson, Moo Hyul, who was born with a curse to kill his parent, siblings, son and destroy Goguryeo.

I started this with the intentions of just watching a couple of episodes; however, 4 days left, I had completely finished all 36 episodes! I enjoyed this immensely. I love the history being told, the story and the love story that was not the main focus. It was a well told story that had me craving to learn more of this period during the Goguryeo period. 

Since I've now watched Jumong, the predecessor to this drama, I really feel that this follow-up drama was well done. And can I say that I've officially dubbed Song Il-Guk as the King of Sageuk Dramas?! Talk about mane of glory?!! His hair is almost always real!!! If you truly like historical dramas, you will like this. Superb acting by all!
Bloody Monday
Stars Haruma Miura and Takeru Sato. I must not omit Hiroki Narimiya (because I simply love him as J). After a biological terrorist attack kills off the population of a Russian town; Japan's Public Safety Special Third unit, code name THIRD-i, believes that the terrorist organization responsible plans to unleash the same virus known as Bloody X into Tokyo. 

Subsequently, THIRD-i recruits the help of genius hacker Takagi Fujimaru (Haruma Miura) to find out what happened in the Russia. However, as Fujimaru becomes involved, he soon finds out that he is in over his head and that the terrorist groups influence reaches not only his school but even the police. Fujimaru must now rely on his skill as a hacker to unravel the organizations sinister plot and find out the truth behind "Bloody Monday."

For you old school people, this is the movies, Hackers meets Contagion! Loved it! What a ride! Started and finished in a 24 hour period! And 24 hours later, I was still riding a Bloody Monday high! The acting was stellar! I still can't get over the fact that Miura was like 17 years old when this was filmed. 

The constant twists and turns of the story will keep you on the edge of your seat. Sleep? What's that when the world as we know it is about to end. I really did enjoy this. So much, I continued the ride and watched Bloody Monday 2! (see previous post on Bloody Monday)
Stars Lee Jun-Ki, Park Si-Hoo, Han Hyo-Joo and Lee Young-Ah. Set during the Joseon Dynasty, Yong (Lee Jun-Ki) acts as a hooligan in the marketplace by day but at night he was a thief who robbed corrupted government officials to give to the poor. After each robbery he left behind a painting depicting a plum tree branch to make his mark and was thus named Iljimae. 

His main purpose was not so much to rob but to search for the owner of a specially designed sword which he saw as a child was used to kill his father, a loyal subject of the emperor. Eun Chae (Han Hyo-Joo) is a government official's daughter who despite her upbringing has a lot of empathy towards the poor. She met Iljimae by chance and couldn't help admiring him for what he stood for even though she had never seen his face.

This is the drama that started me down the sageuk as well as the intense ahjumma crush that I have on Lee Jun Ki. Iljimae is well written, acted, and directed. I wasn’t bored for one minute. Now, I have to admit that it takes some concentration to keep up with who is related to who. The story totally drew me in from the 1st episode. A lot of people may not have been happy with the ending, but I was simply okay with it.

There really wasn't any romance to speak of, so if that is your motivation, this is not the drama to watch.

The acting in this is well done by all of the cast. Lee Jun Ki as Iljimae and Park Shi Hoo as Shi Hoo did exceptionally well in their roles. This was my introduction to Park Shi Hoo and it was from this role that lead me to subsequent dramas of his that you will see on my lists.

Bara no nai Hanaya

Stars Shingo Katori and Yuko Takeuchi. Shiomi Eiji (Shingo Katori) is a florist. He is a single man with a young daughter named Shizuku (Yuki Yagi). One day, he invites a blind woman seeking shelter under his shop awning to come in out of the rain. A surprising tale gradually unfolds as the story of their budding love transforms into a complex web of lies and dark motives. Nothing is as it seems at first, and each of the characters is burdened with their own painful secrets.

I was looking through a list of dramas on a website that I had recently found that basically had a lot of pre 2010 Japanese dramas. This one caught my eye because the description wasn't one of the typical dramas that I had watched. I finished this entire drama in one day because the story was that compelling!

It's about a man who is forced to be a father and now living with his daughter. This story revolves around this man ... few characters show up in his life and stays with him. I loved how this drama portrays gentleness and kindness of this man in such a sweet way. 

The acting was excellent from the main leads and their chemistry was simple and pure. I am always amazed at the little actors and actresses who play in dramas, I especially liked the little girl, Yuki Yagi. She did an outstanding job.. 

The writer does an outstanding job in capturing your attention all throughout the drama. I kept watching episodes one after the other in curiosity to what will happen next. The story-line is very different and unpredictable. It had me until the very end.
Family's Honor
Stars Park Shi-Hoo, Yoon Jung-Hee and a whole list of other actors and actresses as this is a family drama. Ha Dan Ah (Yoon Jung Hee) is very dignified and beautiful yet she also had a sad life. Dan Ah was married in her 20's, but her husband died in a car accident during their honeymoon. She is pursued by two men, a man from a rich family, Lee Kang Suk (Park Shi Hoo) and a man who is younger than her, Jung Hyun Kyu (Lee Hyun Jin). The drama chronicles how the Ha Family upholds their aristocratic reputation. 

I think I've lost count how many times I've re-watched portions of this drama. What I especially liked about this particular one is the lack of conflicts for each of the couples that were featured. This really was a true romance and definitely the type that I liked the most. Each of the couples and their romance was featured and we, the viewer got to see their relationship from its infancy until marriage. It was this drama that started my love for family dramas. This also solidified my love for Park Shi Hoo and ultimately lead me to my favorite and still #1 sageuk, The Princess's Man.

So What Are Your Top 5 for 2008?
Let me know in the comments!