Rants and Weekly Raves #69 (RAWR)

kakashi: Hiiiiii everybody! It's a new year and we are baaaaaaaaaaack! And we are watching things again. Did everybody have a good break? I'm excited about 2016. I like the beginning of the new year, it's always so full of potential! Until it isn't, but that's another story.
We're baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Six Flying Dragons

JoAnne: I rewatched the first six episodes and am partially through the 7th. It's good enough that I didn't fast forward at any part in either viewing. Well, I don't fast forward as a general rule, anyway. If something is so boring that I find myself needing to skip parts of it, something is dropped. But I didn't even MIND re-watching this. I liked it, in fact. I'm about 20 episodes behind, and judging by my TList, the near-thirties are very good episodes. I look forward!
Jaehyus: It's good, isn't it? I do think it went downhill after episode 18, but then I've only stated my love for one particular character at least 10 times, so it was hard to let them go.  However, it's getting really good again in the late 20s, and someone tell me who plays King U!

EDIT: I found out he's a stage actor called Yi Hyeon-Bae. In fact, most of the cast seem to be stage actors, which suits the show.

Oh My Venus (Finale)

Well wasn't this just a fluffy adorable romp? There was very little story to Venus, but with so many beautiful people filling up the screen with the cute and/or sexy, who really cared? Sure, there was some weirdness - why did that poor woman have to get kicked out, after all? But put her aside - didn't Young Ho's dad care at ALL about his other son before the last five minutes of the drama? These are minor quibbles, though, because we were only really there for the skinship, and we got that in SPADES.

Let us all give a rousing round of applause to whoever thought it might be a good idea to throw So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah together on screen, then top them off with Sung Swoon, Henry, and Chief Min, that absolutely delightful man. Because whoever that person is deserves a RAISE. And I don't know about you, but I want to give them a hug. They have my undying affection. Shin Min Ah and SoGanzi took off their clothes and had sex. Yes, it was under a blanket, but we all knew that's what was happening. It was historic, and I will tell my grandchildren about it with a tear in my eye.

Splash Splash Love

kakashi: This was everybody's feel-good drama before Christmas and we didn't even get to discuss it! Hey, even I liked it. :D
I enjoyed it, too. It's a little choppy but the two leads are about as cute as you can possibly get, and everyone I know in KDramalandia is now clamoring for them to do a full-length series together. I'd watch it.
Well ... that's just not advisable, sorry. It worked (kinda, cause the story... well. It's not that original, isn't it) simply because it was so short and makes you want more. But they would of course mess it up if it were a full 16eps drama. So... no thank you. Leave it be

Cheese Crack(ers?)

JoAnne: Is he or isn't he? I for sure don't know. Hong Seul is a college girl convinced that Yoo Jung, a sunbae, is not the nice guy he appears to everyone else. Particularly so when it comes to her, for some reason, even though he goes out of his way to befriend her. Or does he? Yoo Jung is played by Park Hae Jin, who completely, 100%, totally, magically, miraculously is able to convey a LOT of emotion while showing very little emotion at all. I see hints of my Good Boy from Bad Guys here, and I'm beyond thrilled to watch him again. Hong Seul is that girl who went after OMGLeeMinKi in Monster, Kim Go Eun. They really, really, really wanted her for this, her first work on TV - they asked her over and over and adjusted the shooting schedule to accommodate her. She is a good actress, and I like watching her. Supporting cast are a mix of people I don't know, character actors I love, and puppies I adore (Nam Joo Hyuk, Seo Kang Joon.) I liked Episode 1. Hwaiting!
It has Park Hae Jin: it must be tried out. Aaaannnnd I tried it for ten minutes (he's deliciously evil!) but got called back to work.  Hopefully will finish this first episode soon. Aaaannnnnd ROFL at Witch Kang in her Forever 21 dress and beehive!
Update: I just watched Episode 2 and have adjusted the title above accordingly.
This drama is so weird! It feels ... off? At least episode one did. And I do not like her discomfort... it makes me squirm. I'm probably not fully in for this, but might keep an eye on it. She is a great actress and I'm drawn to good acting. Also: I changed the title again.  
I'm in. I've seen up through ep 2, and now want to see the rest. something else will have to give, though. Maybe Sweet Savage Family, though I still like that so far.  

Empresses in the Palace

Two or three months ago, @MarieGossip_ and I started Empresses in the Palace, a 2011 Chinese historical drama based on the life of a fictional Noble Consort in the Yongzheng Emperor's palace telling her story as an aged Empress Dowager.  
We dropped it in the middle, probably because I was finding the middle-aged Emperor checking out young girls for the harem incredibly icky 
So, they get lined up like this.
The Yongzhen Emperor...

(and Kim Ji Hoon plus monsters were over in Joseon X-files).  But, the costumes and the promise of palace intrigues were too much for me, as a historical drama lover, to resist, and I ended up going back to see it all.  
And by all, I mean the director's cut of 6 1.5 hour episodes, first on Viki, and then on Amazon, where they are all completely subbed.  (Apparently, the full drama was 76 episodes, so this director's cut just goes to show writers can write shorter dramas without any plot-holes if they really want to.)  

Anyway, the show is fabulous! If you like to know the inner workings of the home - even if that home is the Manchu Empire's Inner Palace and thus an enclosed city of mansions - and you like to see the lives of the people within, and how they have to deal with big issues by means of the very small (for example, burning incense, a small matter, but which affects pregnancy, a big matter, especially since it's the imperial lineage) then it's for you.  Plus, if you like to see beautiful costumes and settings, then it's for you.  And if you like to see intrigues and alliances and enemies and in-house scheming that affects an entire empire, then it's totally for you.  The best part, though, is that all this happens within this beautiful yet claustrophobic little place, and it's like stepping into another world!  
Looks big, but it isn't.
But, I have to say, I was glad to leave that world. Even though it was exquisite like a Faberge egg,  it was clearly a prison, and the characters made us feel it.  
The lives those women led were luxurious, but extremely limited and, incredibly cruel.  So, despite the horrible things they did to each other, it was hard to entirely blame them because we are shown the pressures they were under and the effect it would have on their ethics, and even their sanity.  For example, the moment one young woman who worked as an animal trainer in the palace was spotted by the Emperor and forced to enter the harem was a dreadful one as she saw her freedom stolen.  
It was impossible to blame her for hating the Emperor and wanting his downfall.  And that was the charm of the show, the way it let the viewer empathize with these women, all individuals, all with their own hopes and dreams, who, instead got locked up in gilded cages and forced to slug it out.  

Jang Yeong Sil

It's not the best sageuk ever, but the hero is a charmer, and sadly, a nobi fighting against the nobs:
And I hate, hate, hate the villain!  
Spank this kid, someone.
Once Little Villain had tried to kill Little Yeong Sil with heatstroke, and then had him imprisoned and beaten, and then threw Yeong Sil's deadbeat dad's letter abandoning him to slavery at Yeong Sil's face for the emotional torture kicks, and then as Big Villain, dragged a slave behind his horse to the death, I wanted Big Villain die torn apart by wild beasts in an arena. 
Dastardly Good Looks, though. 
Or just drawn and quartered. Because he is a nasty piece of work who deserves the worst, most painful death possible. And until I see this, I'm sticking with the show.
Oh wow, I can't believe they're yet doing another sageuk!!!! But this one has Song Il-gook!! He's been absent from dramas for so long......... as long as I'm recapping Nirvana and Disguiser, I will probably not watch this, but I hope you do and will let me know how you like it.
It's nowhere near as good as Nirvana or Disguiser, but I will say it's got me rooting for the hero and hating the villain with a passion, so until that classist, violent, nasty inhuman creature dies horribly, in a commode, I'll be keeping an eye on this! (Unless I get recaps somewhere...)

PS. Love Me If You Dare Ended

It felt like it took too long to get there, but then rushed, somehow, at the same time. Did I maybe fall asleep? Because they mentioned Xun Ran not actually having the type of injuries that would require such drastic medical support, but then never explored that further. As for the bit at the end...I sort of expected it. Which is not to say I didn't like it, but they didn't really do a good enough job of showing the other man and then making you doubt what you'd seen for it to have the impact it should have had.

Western Shows

Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon)

Love. Just love. I watched 20 episodes (2 full seasons) from about 5 pm on Saturday until about 10 pm on Sunday. No laundry, only 1 meal actually cooked, but I did take a shower. It's a bit in your face with the sex and drugs, after so long a diet of mostly K-Dramas - but man, it was riveting. Behind the scenes (and sometimes on the stage) of the NYC symphony, stories about musicians and conductors and donors and family and friends. Many memorable and well-acted characters and scenes. Yes, this is why I was tweeting about Bernadette Peter's perfect cleavage and the sexiness of tiny Mexican men.
You were luckier than me that you did not have to wait a year for Season 2 - these episodes are so short (a bit over 20 minutes) that it's over in no time and that is not good because it leaves you wanting MORE. Gael García Bernal is SO GOOD in this, I want to hug him. I read the book this series is based on and I must say, they did an excellent job, because the series is much better than the book :D
Hugging was only part of what I wanted to do to the little Maestro.

Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell (BBC 2015)

JoAnne: Oooh. This is next weekend, if I can get it.
Started the first ep, but have serious doubts about continuing. I just don't care about restoring Magick to Ye Olde Englande.  I vaguely remember from reading the book years ago that each chapter was a different story, so perhaps I just don't like the first episode.  
Your brain plays you tricks, oh Jaehyus! No, it's one continuous story and the series does an EXCELLENT job adapting such a long book. England has so many great actors, I'm always in awe. I admit that the first episode is a bit slow, but I couldn't stop as soon as I pressed play on the second.
Is that so?  In which case I'll try it again!  If it hooks me in, I may even reread the book...