Rants and Weekly Raves #262 (RAWR)

kakashi: I travelled far this weekend to eat Beuschel (which is a lung and heart ragout). Now I'm tired.
Trotwood: I've enjoyed watching your travelog with all the food (and drink) pics.
Panda: I watched a drama!!!! Whoooop


My Country 

Pressed play, then saw the first episode is one hour and 23 minutes. WHY.  Fastforwarded and saw pretty boys with great physique but still...  I just cannot sacrifice this amount of time. I'm out. Sorry, Jang Hyuk. Love you.

Tale of Nokdu

This is an enjoyable show so far, and I'm really buying how Jang Dong Yoon's character can be taken for a woman, something that is very difficult to believe in most crossdressing shows. It's also helpful that many of the women in this show are not stereotypical. The women in the widows village are pretty tough both physically and mentally and Nokdu (and his family) are being chased by female assassins. Everyone in online discussions seems to want to find out the secrets of Nokdu's and Dong Joo's births, but I'd really like to know the story of how (and why) the widows' village was established and the story of the female assassins who seem to be as clueless about the reason behind their latest target as Nokdu himself.
First kdrama I have watched in months and I am glad that it didn't disappoint me. I was looking for light-hearted fare to dip my toes back in dramaland and this fits the bill. I have not seen our male lead before but I am impressed that he can actually emote. His silly antics don't seem over-acted which is a fine feat. I also totally buy him as a woman AND as a Hot chocolate boy. Yum. KSH is no slouch too and I the short hair has grown on me. I am actually really enjoying this and the pace. I mean KSH already knows her "Unni" is a "Hyeongnim" and the preview for today's episode made me LOL a lot.

Secret Boutique

This show is one of the reasons why I needed to find light fare to watch. It is complicated with very complicated characters in what might seem on the surface a traditional revenge drama. It shows how you can take a drama trope and make it fresh by creating consistent characters who still surprise. This show can do cliffhangers, but it really isn't the cliffhangers that keep me watching but the thrill in watching a fancy chess match with high stakes and lots of money. It is NOT a show I would want to marathon because I need to stop and savor and think about the machinations. It's makjang that doesn't treat it's viewers like we are stupid. It reminds me of Money Flower in the weblike machinations and the domination of one character: Jenny Jang. I can't help but wonder what would happen if Kim Sun Ah's Jenny Jang met  Jang Hyuk's Pil Joo. Some fan fic person needs to write that story.

Extra-Ordinary You

This is hands down my favorite show of the fall pack. It pushes every fun need I had. I started watching the show because Lee Jae Wook, my favorite breakout actor from Search WWW is in it, but I'm loving the whole cast and the entire premise. It's made me ask myself what I would do if I found out that I was just a character in a comic, which is what happens to our heroine. Hilariously, she also finds out that she is NOT the main character but really a small minor character who is only there to support the other's stories (which is why there are so many gaps in her memory). It really plays with all the story tropes that we have grown to love about romantic comedies taken from the view of one of the secondary characters, which I like because I often like those characters better.

Our Baseball

I must be in the mood for quiet dramas about the struggles that people have both big and small with trying to keep to their true selves while trying to get or keep jobs that might suck out our souls.  Our Baseball is a webdrama with 10 15-minute episodes each focusing on one character but who are all connected because they all play on a neighborhood baseball team together. I've watched half of them, and they are all well done. Next week, I will say which ones I liked the best, but I won't judge yet now although I know I'll have a soft spot for the one female on the team even if I end up liking another better.


The Fearless (the end)

Lego Lee brought me into this drama, and as I've said before, he was excellent in this. But the show captivated me with the warmth it exuded even when talking about horrific deaths and the tragedies that occurred to the characters. Both main characters suffer excruciating loss, and even the twist with the grandmother fortune teller revealed other kinds of comfort and love. I knew what was going to happen when the sister disappeared and I was never sure of her best friend, but the show allowed me to relish in these predictions while leading me down other unexpected paths. It makes you ask yourself what you would want to happen when you die, how you would choose to go if you had time before you died, and what kinds of things you'd want to say to people before they get taken away from you. An excellent show that I wish more people knew about.

Yong-jiu Grocery Store

This show was recommended to me by someone who was really impressed with the new slate of Taiwanese dramas. I was drawn in by the first episode because, as I've said already, I'm really interested in shows now where people are re-examining their life choices, especially considering the balance between (or lack thereof) their life values and their work values. Here Derek Chang plays Yang Jun Long, an up and coming real estate broker whose grandfather is extremely ill (like the next 72 hours are crucial to his survival ill) but despite this gets called back to work because of an "emergency" deal that needs to be addressed. His grandfather runs a grocery store, but  he thinks he should sell it and bring his grandfather back to the city to live with him if he survives. However, a deal with another elderly man and his memories and life make Jun Long reconsider and decide to go back to his hometown and run the grocery store. I'm not sure if I will regularly watch it or keep episodes to watch when I need something calming and warm.


Banjo no Himawari/The Sunflower on the Shogi Board

This is a four-episode drama that combines Shogi masterclasses with a murder mystery. Keisuke grew up with a father who turned abusive after his mother dies. The children at school tease him because he smells since he wears the same clothes everyday; however, an elderly gentlemen in the neighborhood notices how he reads Shogi magazines that have been put in recycle pile. He starts to mentor Keisuke and even later volunteers to send him to a school that trains people to become professional players when Keisuke shows how much talent he has. But this is in the flashback. In the current time, Keisuke has made a lot of money in IT and has only returned to playing Shogi. Everyone is shocked at his talent because he didn't train like the other professionals. There has also been a murder where a rare Shogi set was buried alongside the body. I've watched the first ep, and it looks like Keisuke may be the murderer, but I sure hope he isn't. But knowing Japanese dram, he will be and my heart and his sensei's heart will break.


My Ambulance

I was looking for something light and fluffy, and I kept being sent clips of this by people. However, those clips are not of the main couple and I've come to dislike them. However, I don't have another Thai show at the moment, and the synopsis of this one may make people want to watch as it did me. I also know that what annoys me about characters frequently intrigues others. The main characters' parents commit suicide because they're bankrupt, disguising it as an accident so they can leave the insurance to her and her younger brother. She tries to kill herself in her grief by falling off a cliff but instead falls through a roof into a pile of hay. While she's lying there, presumably with multitude of broken bones, bloody she thinks of her best friend and a shooting star works some magic and he's able to walk through his door in his bedroom and right into the barn. He calls an ambulance but while they are waiting he asks her to be his girlfriend and he promises to be a doctor when he grows up so he can take care of her. They lie there in the hay and hold hands while she is broken and bleeding but smiling like loons because you know--love--despite the fact that she may be bleeding out or that she's just buried her parents. From then on, when she calls him no matter where he is he can walk through any door into the room she happens to be in. 12-years later, they are still together, but he's getting bothered by her interruptions. This leads to an argument and the death of others. All in ep one. Have at it people.



Jane Austen alert! Got interested because of a mutual's Tweets and watched 7 episodes in one go on Sunday. The last episode one will air next Sunday. Very solid piece of period drama by Andrew Davies, who is 83 but still one of the best (THE best?) when it comes to book-screen adaptation of English period literature. Sanditon is a little bit different then the tamer stuff (à la Pride & Prejudice) since this is already the period where modernization/industrialization and capitalism started to play a role (hence it reminds me a little bit of Gaskell). I have severe second lead syndrome, but never mind. There's a few real surprises in the characterization of the side characters and my favorite character is not the female lead but a dark side character who develops from a cynical, black-clad bitch to someone you only wish the best for.