Rants and Weekly Raves (RAWR) #384

Anne: Hm... I would like to say we are all quite happy to see 2021 end in a few more days...but given the current situation...looks like 2022 will be about the same. But enough about our depressing situation and let's move on and talk about more pleasant things. As promised last week, this post will be devoted to a very speedy roundup of the dramas that aired in 2021, those that I actually watched.

But first...just wanted to stare at Kim Seok-woo (Rowoon) a little bit longer. I am now an avid fan since The King's Affection

Before I begin, I would like everyone to put in your list also in the comments. As every reader on this blog knows, my drama watching tends to stay in a very narrow genre and language. 

The Best of 2021

This is usually a bit tricky due to the numerous dramas coming out of Asia, and my horrible memory where I never remember most of the dramas that I'd seen as recent as 3 months ago. But this year, even nearly 9 months later, I can still recall vividly the scenes and characters and plot of Word of Honor. It was a perfect blend of all my favorite things: costume, BL, a very flirty ML, a stoic ML, love at first sight, slow building of love through friendship, play on words with multiple meanings buried in a phrase, and two of my favorite actors: Zheng Zhe Han and Gong Jun. This one drama gave birth to some very entertaining YouTube singing videos that I CANNOT find anymore (and wished I could because I have never laughed so hard). This was a story about two not very good men, who both have been around and seen some stuff, choosing their own path in the world, and finally finding the one other person that could understand them. Even most of the supporting characters left a permanent spot in my memories. The cringe factor of the Scorpion King and his adopted father. And the cute 2nd CP, Gu Xiang and Wei Ning. I propose we need to find sometime a do a recap of this show. In the list of all my favorites, this is right up there with 3310 and Ashes of Love.

Jason Gu -- How I discovered that he can play such funny, charming rogues.

My earliest memory of him was when he started with Xiao Zhan in that odd drama Oh! My Emperor (season 1 and 2). I never really had too much impression of him as an actor, until I stumbled upon Wolf Princess. I have written multiple comments about his role as Yan Qing, a great blend of a carefree ne'er-do-well who was the complete opposite of most dominating ML characters. He was supportive and kind and always thought about the situation from the woman's point of view.  But he was also a tease, a light flirt that rarely demonstrated any "pressure" on the target of his affection. And later in the year, he starred again in another costume drama that just ended, My Heart, playing a similar role. As Yi Xin, he needed to be a scoundrel and a very relaxed prince in order to make sure that no one would ever think that he had any intentions towards the throne. Both these dramas are in the fantasy realm with a lot of "supernatural" in the plot.

HIStory -- The year this franchise went a little off the tracks...and may never come back?

Everyone who have sat through the WTF plot of Close to You are still wondering...WTF?! What did we, as an audience, DO to deserve such treatment after the heartache of MODC? After 3 years of happy endings and whatnot, MODC decided to test how the audience will react to a very cliché tragic ending. Seriously, WTF?! It was almost like the show, in order to balance out the explicit make out scenes, decided that they needed to kill off a main character. And the follow up to THAT was Close to You?! Did the writer think that it was OK to introduce a seriously flawed and criminally-liable ML as the CP if there was the cute 2nd CP to lighten up the atmosphere?! We don't accept this as women, and as women we definitely should not accept this for men, regardless of their sexual preference. That being said, I really really really love the relationship between Li Cheng and Mu Ren. I want a WHOLE other series just about the two of them. 

Yin Yang Master, Dream of Eternity-- The one with a LOT of half naked men, where I realized that I am, really, that shallow...

Even before this movie aired, the previews had a lot of people anticipating its release. Did the scandal put a dent in it? Not in my desire to see it, because visually, it was specular. Truthfully, I barely remember the plot and what it was about. All I remember was Deng Lun's naked torso and his wings, and the half naked snake boy. 

The Crime/Mystery Dramas -- More added to my list

This year was also the year that I believe I saw the most crime/mystery dramas that I really liked. Imperial Coroner is still the best of the lot, and when it came out, it had my attention from the beginning. Unlike the other crime dramas with females leads, this one was actually smart! I mean all the characters were smart! And no one did anything that remotely made me want to smack myself in the forehead. Sometime in the middle of the year, we had The Ferryman, which we can argue may be more along the lines of the supernatural, but I would stand by the fact that there was a mysterious plot line that ran through the series. And if anyone saw the end of that, you definitely would agree that a crime most likely had taken place. And lastly, we have Danger Zone, which was more crime than mystery, and one of the most bloody shows I've seen this year. The one that wasn't as great was Dr. Qin: Silent Evidence. Despite the fact that I LOVED the actress Zhou Yu Tong and her character, the drama didn't quite measure up to the first 3. And guess what I just saw with only 4 more days until the end of 2021, Zhang Yu Jian has another drama out where he plays a detective, Hot Blooded Detective. And yes, I will be watching this also...

One and Only/Forever and Ever -- Where I find that I can handle the tragedy of a slow slow drama as long as there was a follow up, slow slow drama, with a happy ending

Lastly, I have to mention this two part series staring two of my favorite people: Bai Lu and Ren Jia Lun. I was hesitant to start the first part, even though it was costume, because I knew how it was going to end. And with the uncertainly of air dates, I did NOT want to be languishing in despair for MONTHS while the production company worked out whatever issues they may had with the government. So, as soon as I saw the 2nd part on air, I dived head first into the first part of the series. I liked the plot, I liked the story, I loved the characters, and I didn't even minded the fact that for 24 episodes...NOTHING really happened between the main CP. (I mean this was worse then Rise of the Phoenixes.) The suppressed emotions could probably crack a diamond in that arc. The second part set in modern times was a bit of a drag. They probably shouldn't have tried to stretch it into 30 episodes. I have almost no memory of the plot in the modern setting. In the end, I liked it because it was probably the "sweetest" show of the year.

This is pretty much for me! I have watched more dramas than I remember and most of them are of the fantasy genre. Some are quirky, like Be My Cat, where the biggest impression that I had was the ML stroking his "tail" constantly through the drama. (A round of applause for dedication to staying in character.) Use My Talent was a cute modern drama starting two of my favorite young actors, Shen Yue and Jasper Liu. And A Man who defies the world of BL, whose disco opening was probably the BEST sequence of the year, and opened up my world to Japanese series. 

Have a great week and Happy New Year!