by Jeana & kaedahara, August 1, 2020
195

Dramas. The one thing, most users on MDL are so protective about that we leave Gollum behind when we hiss 'My preciouuussss' over them and give anyone who dislikes our favourite show the evil eye. Comment sections get heated, we get our inner keyboard warriors ready and drastic cases even lead to personal attacks. 

However, it doesn't always have to be that way. Imagine a world where we can disagree about dramas and still be friends! That's what I had in mind when I came up with the Vs series idea and what do you know, the first article was a success. Soon, we saw many people all over MDL with different opinions and taste come together to sip tea and sing Kumbayah collectively. 

Now, once again with dramas like The King and Backstreet Rookie trending, the comment sections are massively polarized as hostilities rise. It's time to bring this back and this time I have onboard a dear friend, Minarii. We both will be sharing very different opinions on the same dramas.

The question is: will we still remain friends, after all, is said and done? Read to find out.


Cruel City 

Jeana's Rating: 9/10

Thoughts: A gritty noir. Dark thriller. Epic bromance, sismance, bro-sis mance. Morally conflicted characters. Strong women. A strikingly handsome reluctant hero. Loyalty. Friendship. Family. Realistic tragedy and a sizzling hot forbidden romance subplot (including one of the hottest makeout sessions that ever existed on Korean T.V)- any one of these themes fully explored in a drama is enough to make me a goner so imagine my emotional state when all of them were brilliantly executed in one masterpiece. I didn't stand a chance.

I'm not going to say it was perfect because from a 2013 production you can expect some flaws. It had a tendency to get overly dramatic, predictable, and even sometimes, not very intelligent. But the strategy with this is: Make your audience love the characters so much that by the end they'd be willing to buy any and all bs you're eager to sell and needless to say I was a loyal buyer. 

Jung Kyung Ho's acting was phenomenal here, and he pulled at heartstrings I didn't know existed. He was a dangerous bad boy who had this innocent heart that made you love him even more.

The rest of the cast was also very talented, and so unsurprisingly they nailed their roles. The antagonists were incredibly fleshed out and complex, and some of them, I wanted to smash into the ground with the back of my high heel. While our female lead wasn't as impressive as all the others, she had her moments. Also, the girl could run like an ostrich even in six-inch heels, and you gotta respect that.

This drama hooked its claws into my soul from the first episode and kept me with it to the very end. I powered through the episodes like nobody's business and slowed only when I was afraid it would end too quickly. Some scenes and dialogues etched themselves into my brain, and I thought about them long after I had finished the show. It absolutely lives up to the hype.

A must-watch.


Minarii's Rating: 6.5/10

Thoughts: Oh, what to say here... I feel like I'm one of the people who simply couldn't get into Cruel City. I was so uninterested in the story that I still have no idea how I managed to finish it. But what I was supposed to do, I had the fantastic Jung Kyung Ho in front of my eyes, and I just had to finish it. He simply carried the entire drama on his shoulders, and his character was the most interesting. His performance stole the show. 

But the plot was the problem for me. Too overdramatic, too unrealistic, filled with useless stuff and plot holes. I didn't enjoy the action scenes either. And the romance was utterly annoying. Not a fan of Nam Gyu Ri and will never be, I don't trust any of her expressions, the emotions she shows always seems fake to me, and I eventually couldn't get into her character in the drama. 

Overall, a very dull drama which honestly had potential but it's just not my cup of tea—rated it 6.5 which for me means 'average' because the ending was excellent. 


Thirty But Seventeen

Jeana's Rating: 5.0/10

Thoughts: I almost wanted to give myself a medal for finishing this 16-hour sap fest. Shin Hye Sun is one of my favourite actresses. I think she's phenomenal at what she does, which is why I always root for and connect with her characters but she really over-did it here. She wept and bumbled/fumbled in this show 100% of the time. I got why, but it got on my nerves after watching her bawl in literally every scene of every episode.

Also, her passion for the violin and her struggle to play again that I was super interested in was thrown in the trash somewhere along the way and picked out only in the last few minutes of the last episode as an afterthought. Her entire existence started and ended with her romance with the boy, and frankly, they can miss me with that BS.

I know the ML (Yang Se Jong) is very much loved, but it was terrible acting for me. He talked like he was reading a script and gave birth to such a lifeless and dull character with two expressions that I felt nothing for him. The best characters in the show were the FL's pet dog and the housekeeper, Jennifer. Both had personality and acting skills. 2nd ML (Ahn Hyo Seop) tried his best, and even though I wasn't too much of a fan of the extra-ness, I would give an A for effort.

Couldn't feel any chemistry between the couple, just a lot of forced emotion, snot, and tears paired with cringe, sentimental, in-depth talks taken out of a poorly written self-help book. Over-all a soft, fluffy ball of cheese that doesn't deserve more than a 5 in my books. 


Minarii's Rating: 9.0/10

Thoughts: I'm still shocked that Jeana gave it a 5. :D  Thirty But Seventeen is such a sweet drama that leaves you with a smile, and I would recommend it to everyone. I was watching the drama while it was airing and I was looking forward to each week's episodes. It presents such a beautiful and touching story that simply melts your heart and makes all your worries disappear. It can also be very inspirational, and it definitely carries a positive vibe. 

The chemistry between the main leads is incredible, and there's excellent character development, too. The performances are top-notch, especially Shin Hye Sun's. She is always a show stealer, no matter what kind of role she plays. A true queen. Goddess. 

I think what makes Thirty But Seventeen different from other rom-coms is how well the story is presented and how amazing each character is. I tend to skip a lot when it comes to rom-coms because of boring supporting characters. But I didn't skip a second here. 

The drama, of course, has some flaws. The plot dragged out so much in the second half, and it was a bit annoying. But overall, Thirty But Seventeen was such a great experience. It's a drama that makes you laugh and cry, and it certainly has a unique charm. 


Mr. Sunshine

Jeana's Rating: 9.0/10

Thoughts: I still have trouble believing that this show was written by Kim Eun Sook because I have had a fall out with almost all of her other shows. I feel like Mr. Sunshine is in a league of its own and arguably one of the best historicals out there.

I know some people found it hard to adjust to the slow pacing, especially in the first half but for me, the way that build-up is created and characters develop just added to the poignance of the drama. I felt like there was a lot of power in the little interactions between these people intricately tied to each other in perilous times. By taking it slow, the writer added layer upon layer to the story, made you one with the characters, and brought so much depth and nuance to the whole picture that by the time the intense scenes come rolling by you are so invested in the plot, that they hit you that much harder.

The acting, writing, OST and the cinematography are phenomenal in this one. Everybody knows strong women are like catnip for me, and here, there are not one but two of them. The show also has three male leads who all shine in their own right and make you root for each one. The bromance is epic. The patriotism and emotion in this drama make it heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

I absolutely loved it, and there were moments that made me bawl as if somebody stepped on my freaking tail. A gem among a sea of mediocrity, Mr. Sunshine is a drama I definitely recommend.


Minarii's Rating: 7.5/10

Thoughts: So here's an unpopular opinion: Mr. Sunshine was lowkey boring.

Don't get me wrong. We all can agree that the cinematography is top-notch, the writing is terrific, and the actors do their best at portraying their complex characters. Mr. Sunshine is probably one of the best works of writer Kim Eun Sook, if not her best. 

However... I simply couldn't get into it. I remember watching the first episode, and I almost fell asleep. I kept checking how much is left until the end of it. It's so slow-paced. It's insanely slow-paced. And when the plot finally picked up, I couldn't care less. I remember how everyone was so emotional about certain scenes and I just... didn't care. At all. 

There were only a few characters that I truly loved, and that were Eugene, Ae Shin, and Dong Mae. Hui Song was a cool dude, too. I also loved the romance which a lot of people found problematic. I think it was beautifully presented. And Dong Mae was just precious. 

But no, just no. 24 episodes that are so freaking long... And in 2018 I wasn't a fan of historical dramas, so I guess it was normal for me to not be into Mr. Sunshine. Even though I admit that it is, indeed, very epic and there were scenes that gave me goosebumps, I wouldn't recommend it unless you're a very patient viewer. Back then, I wasn't one. Maybe if I rewatch it now, my opinion will change. Who knows.


Suspicious Partner

Jeana's Rating: 6.5/10

Thoughts: Suspicious Partner starts as a strong, romantic suspense drama but somewhere in between, it loses its identity. So much so, that when we're done with it, it fails to execute either of the genres properly.

If it wasn't for JCW, I'm sure I'd rate it even less. And even though I love him to the moon and back and I think he is as perfect as always in this show, I will still say that I didn't see him go the extra mile here. This role couldn't have been a challenge for him, and I am so ready for him to start choosing better scripts.

I want to give credit to the female lead, for she does try and do her best to be quirky but unfortunately, I don't feel much for her. She feels like a support role, at best. While there is a good dynamic between Ji Wook's Law Team and some hilarious moments between them, nothing really stands out. The sisterhood and bromance have so much potential to be a golden point of the show, but unfortunately, it is left untapped. 

There is some majorly good acting put out by the antagonist, but the show does not develop his character as much as it deserves to be. The whole crime mystery is dead and very predictable. The second lead romance falls flat, and more often than not, the drama stumbles into the realm of utter boredom.

There are some good OST songs here and there but again, nothing I would lose sleepover. A lot of questions are given unsatisfactory answers; plotholes are abundant, and so are convenient plot-devices.

The storyline is mediocre if we're kind. They used so many ideas from Ji Chang Wook's other shows. Some scenes are copy-pasted from The K2, a whole plotline regarding the heroine's father is taken from Healer, and it is all just more of the same ol' same ol' thing.

So over-all it's not too bad, not too good but ultimately extremely forgettable. 


Minarii's Rating: 8.5/10

Thoughts: Suspicious Partner is my guilty pleasure. I admit, it has flaws... a lot of flaws. At some parts, it was ridiculously bad. At some, it was strangely excellent.

It is entertaining. It is one big fat mess, but it makes you keep watching. It's addicting. It's cute and fluffy. It's actually straightforward, but they tried to make it too complicated. And that was the biggest problem. To balance thriller with romance/comedy is not an easy job and Suspicious Partner couldn't do it well. We were supposed to be afraid of the killer, to be disgusted by him. But I couldn't take the situation seriously, and I don't think anyone could. 

The romance was actually amazing, and I shipped them so much... but the last four episodes ruined everything. Jeez, I hated the ending so much. 

I think Suspicious Partner shouldn't be taken too seriously. Just enjoy the ride. Leave your brain to rest a bit. Also, Ji Chang Wook is very hot in the drama, so here's a motivation for you to start watching it, hehe.


The K2

Jeana's Rating: 8.5/10

Thoughts: K2 is very reckless in its execution as if it reached a point where logic just didn't matter anymore. It took blatantly unrealistic happenings, a gigantic cluster of plotholes, and downright ridiculous notions and attempted to create a story out of them. This drama is like an arrogant brat who does whatever the f*ck it wants, confident that it would be successful just with the sheer power of Ji Chang Wook's glorious abs. 

However, despite all this, for me, this was a classic case of "it's so bad that it's good" and I somehow ended up thoroughly enjoying this fast-paced mess. 

JCW's character is unbelievably overpowered, able to survive situations where even a superhuman ninja would've been obliterated. He has a butter heart, a hero complex, and is very motivated to save the world, one distressed damsel, at a time. Combine that with JCW's natural mixture of masculinity and boyish arrogance, and you get a specimen that is too good to be true. I mean yeah, most of the show is him being either shirtless, flaunting his abs, or doing something similarly "badass" to establish his "coolness" with like two dialogues in between but hey, he still looks gorgeous doing it. ;)

The show comes with one of the best K-drama antagonists (Song Yoon Ah); utterly ruthless and cruel and yet harbouring deep vulnerabilities. She's a viciously dangerous woman and yet, pitiful at times.  Our FL, (Im Yoon Ah) is built to play the helpless heroine who always needs saving and basically creates hindrances for everyone around her. The show really tried to suppress her, but somehow instead of annoyance, her character garners sympathy. I would be lying if I said I wasn't rooting for her.  And if I'm frank, I enjoyed her lovey-dovey romantic bits and delicious kisses with JCW to the fullest. (Aww-ing and Ooh-ing were involved.) 

The K2 is like greasy junk food, you know it can't possibly amount to anything good, but you still can't help devouring. With brilliant action scenes, beautiful visuals, entrancing music, and a gorgeous cast that actually knows how to act, it is the perfect cheat meal.


Minarii's Rating: 3.5/10

Thoughts: Yeah, for me, The K2 is so bad that it's... just bad. I've never seen such a ridiculous drama, and I hope I'll never ever see. I wasted 16 hours of my life, 16 hours. Back then I had promised myself not to drop any drama because, you know, it might get better. The K2 just kept getting worse and worse.

It actually had quite a promising start... I was enjoying the action scenes and the dynamics a lot. 

But soon, my excitement died just like the brain cells of the writer. The plot was such a mess, and not an entertaining mess, but an annoying, absurd, pointless mess. Even Ji Chang Wook's hot body couldn't save the drama. I mean, his performance was excellent. We all know he's such a talented actor (even though he's been choosing such bad roles lately) and he carried the whole drama on his shoulders with his brilliant portrayal of Kim Je Ha.

And then there's the romance... One of the worst romances I've ever seen in dramas. The couple had close to zero chemistry (I think there was like one scene in which I found them kind of cute). Yoona's acting was so bad, and her character was useless. I know that a lot of people ship Je Ha with Choi Yoo Jin, which was understandable since they definitely had more chemistry going on.

Overall, The K2 is terrible. Don't even bother to waste your time with it. It has good OST, though. 


Remember: War of the son

Jeana's Rating: 6.0/10

Thoughts: I felt like I just finished homework after I was done with this drama because it has to be one of the worst written dramas I have ever watched. The character development is terrible. Gaps in logic are MASSIVE and, damn, the plotholes are impossible to ignore. The drama is unrealistic with overacting from a lot of actors. Some things are so unbelievably dumb; I was just like am I a joke to you? I am pretty sure the writer was insulting my intelligence at one point. 

I mean, everybody promised me that the show will make me cry and that it was just oh so sad, but tbh the writing was so awful and overdramatic that I felt nothing. The show screamed, "I am so tragic, poor little ML has everything bad possible under the sun happen to him even when it makes no sense, look everyone is bawling in the drama so Jeana you should too because I really am just THAT painful". And all I could do was be the awkward back patter and offer some tissues for its issues. And lord knows there were a lot of them.

Seung Ho has beautifully expressive eyes, and he has a lot of talent, but he killed this show for me. His constant in your face crying scenes were cringeworthy. Park Min Young excelled at being the classic support role heroine who was just an accessory to the plot. The romance was nonexistent, but what was there was pretty stiff.

So why did I finish it till the end? Because of Nam Goong Min. What phenomenal acting. He has to be one of the best K-drama villains I have ever seen. So fleshed out. He was a horrible, disgusting monster of a person and unfortunately, the only person that made me stick with the show. Because I badly wanted to see him pay and also because he was so entertaining and brilliant in every scene.

Other than him, Park Dong Ho, played by one of my favourite ahjussi actors (Park Sung Woong) was the only good guy in the show that was somewhat well rounded. Other than these two, the rest of the characters were cookie cutter and pretty one dimensional.

I don't recommend this unless you want to watch for Nam Goong Min and his acting.


Minarii's Rating: 8.5/10

Thoughts: For me, Remember was an emotional experience, and I remember I even cried a few times.

Yeah, I agree it can be very absurd at times, and the characters' development is not really good. But still, I think the overall plot was very nice, and I enjoyed watching it. Well, at least the first half. The second was BS. The drama shouldn't have been 20 episodes long at all. It became so draggy, and it was disappointing — wasted potential. 

Let me share an unpopular opinion again - Nam Goong Min's character was not that interesting. I like the villains to be brutal, to have clear motives, and to have some brain cells at least. Nam Gyu Man looked like a crazy dude who was trying to look strong and scary, but he was just ridiculous. I never thought of him as a villain; he was just a man who was causing problems because of his selfish and arrogant personality. 

I think both Yoo Seung Ho and Park Min Young did a decent job here, I've seen them do worse. Park Sung Woong was the star for me, and his character was my favourite. 

I would recommend Remember if you like melodramas. This is a clear example of a melodrama.


Goblin

Jeana's Rating: 7.0/10

Thoughts: Aside from the lolita style romance (this was legit the first time in my life that I dreaded the main couple kissing scenes in an Asian drama rather than anticipating them. Lol), the long-ass boring periods in between episodes (maybe, because the show didn't have a defined antagonist throughout?) the over the top product advertisement (Subway, Canon, Tag Hauer, Baskin Robbins, H.Y candles- it was a full-on shopping mall right there) and the extreme sob and sap fest in the last couple of episodes; it is hard to find flaws with Goblin.

It's a well-written drama with a well-connected plot and well-developed characters. The cast is amazing, the characters (every single one of them) are relevant to the plot, there is some epic bromance, some beautiful cinematography, a lot of high-class comedy, and a brilliant OST.

So I guess it's all about drama timing, personal bias, and a little dose of 'I-don't-know-what-the-hell-went-wrong', that Goblin was a total hit and miss for me.

Even though I wanted to, I couldn't completely connect with the characters. I could see that the story was beautiful, but I couldn't feel it. The scenes that should've had me bawling made me bored. The moments that should have filled my heart with inexplicable warmth left me detached. And the ending episodes were so much more of the same. When everybody starts crying all the time- all day, every day- I start to feel annoyed rather than sentimental. They really over-did a lot of things and dragged a lot of parts in the show.

Goblin for me was a feat to finish, and while I did enjoy most of the characters, none of them was that memorable. (Except, maybe the Grim Reaper? Who knows?)

A classic case of it's not you, it's me~


Minarii's Rating: 9.0/10

Thoughts: Goblin was my first ever Korean show, and thanks to it, I was introduced to dramaland. So you can probably guess that this drama means a lot to me and it will always have a special place in my heart.

And even if it wasn't my first drama, even if I watch it now once again, my opinion won't change. Goblin is a beautiful story, and it's undoubtedly one of a kind. I believe it's a show that can be liked by everyone; you just have to give it a chance. There's a reason why it's the most popular drama here, on MDL, and one of the most popular Korean series worldwide. It has sweet romance, amazing bromance, it can be a tearjerker, but it can also make you cry from laughter. It's well-acted, the characterization is good, and every character brings something new to the storyline. And I'm not even going to mention the cinematography and soundtrack. Truly a piece of art. 

Goblin leaves you with a warm feeling, and I wish I could watch it for the first time again.


Her Private Life

Jeana's Rating: 6.5/10

Thoughts: Had a great start and was great till about episode 11 and then as typically happens with most romcoms, it got painfully boring after the main couple got together. I am really done with the forgotten childhood memories/mommy issues/shared childhood between couples trope now because it's like literally in almost every single romance K-drama ever.

The last episodes came with such an overdose of sap, unnecessary plotlines, and overly sentimental dialogues that I was almost praying for it to end because I didn't want to add more to my already overly flowing on-hold list. 

The side characters were honestly just uninteresting, and I wanted to stab my eyes with a chopstick with the whole love triangle thing because of how pointless it was. To be honest, I thought this drama was going to be really original with the entire fangirl premise, but it ended up being pretty run of the mill. It was literally just like Park Min Young's What's Wrong with Secretary Kim with minor changes. The day Park Min Young will stop accepting roles that have her be a glorified supporting character disguised as the main FL will be the day I start watching her dramas again.

Regardless, the first 11 or so episodes were fairly enjoyable. The acting was good, and the chemistry between the leads was good too with some very nice smooching scenes. So overall, it's a good, fluffy time-pass.

Minarii's Rating: 8.5/10

Thoughts: Definitely one of my favourite rom-coms. 

There are so many things that I loved here, but what made the drama so enjoyable was definitely the chemistry between Park Min Young and Kim Jae Wook. It was so natural that somewhere towards the end, it felt as if they weren't even acting anymore. And I loved how the relationship between their characters was mature, which can't be seen in many rom-coms. 

The drama overall has some flaws which prevented me from giving a higher rating. It became draggy towards the end, some supporting characters were a bit pointless, and the beginning was a bit too slow so I couldn't get into it at first. 

But if you're looking for a good romance drama in which the couple has amazing chemistry (+hot kisses!!!), then you'll definitely love Her Private Life.


So now, are Minarii and I mortal enemies? Hell no. Yes, maybe my pinky hurt just a little when she rated The K2 a whopping 3.5, but I understood her reasons. Will I maybe spam her with JCW's K2 shower abs gifs later? Quite possibly. But am I holding her ratings and comments against her? NO.

Bottom line once again is:

Everybody has a different lens while watching a show, and there is no right or wrong answer. Whether you agree or disagree with us, I hope you keep this in mind and let yourself truly enjoy Dramaland.

It was a long read, so thank you for sticking with us!


Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor) 

goblin suspicious partner cruel city the k2 remember mr sunshine thirty but seventeen

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