MELO-HOLIC 멜로홀릭 | FINAL THOUGHTS

This drama wasn’t worth finishing. I binged-watched the first 6 episodes and came back for episode 7, but it wasn’t able to keep my interest. I don’t know if it was just the timing–I am beginning to lose interest in keeping up with most dramas right now–or if it was the story line. There isn’t really anything to keep me hooked–the actors are okay and the story line isn’t terrible, but that’s just it. There needs be something that keeps me in suspense, something I want to find out about the drama, for me to keep watching it. I watched clips of the last episode, and it was cute, but it didn’t make me want to go back and watch the rest episodes to understand what happened.

So yeah…that’s pretty much my experience with this drama. It’s too bad. I’m still waiting for another drama to get hooked on.

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MELO-HOLIC 멜로홀릭 | FIRST IMPRESSION

So I heard about this drama a while ago, but didn’t really give it a chance since I’m not familiar with most of the cast. I thought I’d give it a try anyways, since I didn’t have any other dramas to watch, and it’s pretty good. It’s a light drama that’s good to watch. You don’t have to invest too much time into it.

The characters are interesting. The male lead has the ability to read the minds of women if he holds their hand. The female lead has a multiple personality disorder. So far it seems like she only has two different personalities. This makes for interesting conflict. The actor and actress who play these two roles are good, but I do have a little complaint about TVXQ’s Yunho in this role. He looks too old for playing the role of a college student. He should be playing characters who are in their 30s, not early to mid 20s. It’s throwing me off just a little. But other than that, I do like how the entire cast are portraying their characters.

I’m not sure what the writers are trying to do with the plot line. They have murder cases involved, psychological issues, supernatural elements—it’s confusing that there are more serious elements involved in the story line, but the overall feel of the drama is very light.

I’ll definitely continue watching this drama. There are new dramas starting. Hopefully I’ll have time to watch them and motivation to write more posts.

BECAUSE THIS IS MY FIRST LIFE (이번 생은 처은이라) | FIRST IMPRESSION

This drama focuses on what different people think marriage should be. In today’s society, if you love each other, you’ll date for a while and eventually get married, and you should live happily ever after. People are focused on the good parts of dating, the proposal and the wedding, but there’s no talk about the difficult parts in the relationship. After marriage, what next? You have kids and you raise them, but if you don’t have a good job, how are you supposed to support your family?

This is something that needs to be discussed, and I love how this drama is focusing on this issue. It’s something that I often think about as a single woman coming from a culture where marriage is expected, but marriage problems that obviously exist aren’t openly talked about.

Although it is a fake marriage, our main couple get married because they can benefit from each other. The man has a house, the woman does not. The man has a mortgage to pay off, the woman can pay rent to go towards that mortgage. The man works long hours and doesn’t always have time to clean his house, the woman can do that for him. While it’s ridiculous that they must fake a marriage just to live in the same house, it plays well to one type of marriage. Some people may not feel deep love for each other, but if they get along well and respect each other, they can live happily together and benefit from each other.

The second couple are deeply in love and have dated for over 7 years, yet they are still not married. The woman wants to get married, but the man hasn’t really thought about marriage. What annoys me about the woman is the fact that she wants her boyfriend to know what she wants without saying it outright. And then she gets mad at him when he can’t figure it out. Then he has to comfort her when it’s her fault in the first place. She expects marriage when there isn’t even clear communication. She has such a naïve view of marriage, thinking that it’ll be wonderful to live a big house with a new sofa. She’ll have kids and won’t have to work while her husband provides for their entire family. It’s not her fault for thinking this way. She has been influenced by cultural norms and what she sees every day, but it’s still annoying. While there can be love in a marriage, you need more than just love to keep a marriage going.

This is another drama that I will continue to follow. Like Witch’s Court, it’s not one that keeps me waiting, but it’s interesting enough that I will watch the next episode. I wonder if this will be drama that pushes the limits, or if it will just end like all the other dramas. I guess we’ll see…

WITCH’S COURT (마녀의 법정) | FIRST IMPRESSION

When I first read the synopsis of this drama, I knew that I wanted to watch it. Crime/action dramas are a nice change from the romantic comedies that I usually watch. This drama focuses on how sexual assault cases are handled in the courts. It does a good job with portraying the struggles of the victims, as well as the prosecutors who are handling the cases. I can sympathize with their situations. While there is a bigger story that ties all these cases together, the individual cases themselves are very interesting and keep me hooked. It’s nice how there are unexpected twists in the story. It makes it less predictable.

The main leads are also very interesting. It seems as though the female lead, Ma Yi Deum—played by Jung Ryeo-Won, has taken on some of the typical male lead characteristics. She doesn’t show a lot of emotions around others, nor does she provide emotional support to victims in these cases. She’s more focused on herself than setting herself on fire to help others. This is a nice change to see. Her personality is part of what adds to the unpredictability of the story. I hope that she doesn’t become the typical female lead character as the series continues.

The male lead, Yeo Jin-Wook—played by Yoon Hyun-Min…I can’t think of anything special to say about him. He is supposed to be very intelligent. He voluntarily joined the team that most prosecutors want to avoid. That means that he’s very caring and wants to use his skills to help those in need. He doesn’t really care about moving up and gaining a high position. He has a little bit of the tsundere characteristic that a lot of male leads have, but it’s not unbearable. He’s also cute, but like I said, not much yet to say about his character.

Both leads have room to grow and it seems like the drama is setting them up to help each other become better people. This is a drama is not one where I desperately wait for the next episode, but I do want to keep up with it to see where it goes.

**I haven’t really been posting, but I’m going to try and post at least once, if not twice a week, from now. Stay tuned!! 

Final Thoughts on Lost Love in Times

So this drama has finally come to an end. Overall, I give this drama an 8 out of 10. It was really captivating from the beginning and had a really strong story in the middle, but it did start dragging towards the end. I liked how there was a happy ending. It was surprising, considering this is a Chinese period drama. Most of them don’t end happily, at least the ones I have watched.

However, there are a few plot holes and loose endings that I wish was touched on.

SPOILER ALERT

One of them being Yuan Zhan’s rule of Great Wei. They set it up as if Yuan Zhan will be a great emperor, but we don’t get a chance to see the result of his ruling. There are also scenes which don’t really make sense. He forces his side consort to leave the palace. I didn’t really understand why until I read the Soompi forum. Apparently, he was poisoned and would have died soon. I found this type of ending for his character sad and unfair. He just wanted to live away from all the political drama and enjoy music, yet his circumstances forced him to act in ways he didn’t want to. If he became emperor, at least let him rule the nation for a couple years before killing him off.

Princess Dou Xia’s ending was also sad and a little disappointing. I feel like her character could have done more. Even if she didn’t get the man, it would have been nice to see her be the ruler of her nation and find someone who truly cared for her. In some ways, she’s similar to Yuan Zhan. She wasn’t able to win the heart of the person she loved, but she was a great leader for her nation.

Getting to the main romance of the drama: I absolutely loved the main romance plot of Lost Love in Times. Two characters who sacrifice everything for each other, but they aren’t so completely engrossed with each other that they neglect the people and things they care for as well. I think Yuan Ling is the first male lead that I can remember who treats the female lead with respect from beginning to end. Yeah, there were a few bumps along the way, but overall, Yuan Ling was a great person towards Qing Chen. That’s rare in Chinese and Korean dramas.

Another thing that is great about this drama is the treatment of female characters. They are all so strong and independent. They act as they see fit without worrying about what the men are going to say or think. Qing Chen takes her own actions; she comes up with her own strategies to help the man she loves, and she doesn’t take bullshit from him. Same with Ming Yan and the 12th prince. It was refreshing to see the women on an equal footing with the men. Elder Tao Yao was able to lead the Mages in Elder Xi Xie’s absence. The loss of her love didn’t stop her from doing what was needed. Consort Lian took the initiative to take revenge, and she didn’t rely on others to do the dirty work for her. This is amazing to see in a drama.

I would definitely recommend this drama. The story is interesting. The romance is amazing, and the characters are well written. The CGI effects aren’t too bad either. 😊

I wish I could read the novel of which this drama was based off. I’m sure it includes more details that couldn’t be brought to life on-screen. That’s just how things are. I’d rather a movie/drama be different from a book and be good than to stick exactly to the book and be bad, because it couldn’t correctly portray some things. Maybe one day the book will be translated so I can enjoy it, or I learn enough Mandarin to be able to read it.

 

The King’s Woman | Random Thoughts

I’m really starting to like this drama now. Things have started picking up, at least between the main leads. Although I still find their relationship problematic, they have incredibly sweet scenes together. Ying Zheng is beginning to understand that he should respect Gongsun Li. He listens to her and takes her advice into consideration. Li remains a strong individual. While she does love the King now, she doesn’t bend to his will. She will still do what she needs to do. She even uses the King’s feelings for her to influence his decisions; not in a bad way, but sometimes it’s necessary to do so.

From what I’ve seen of Chinese dramas, all characters are well-rounded. They have an existence outside of the main romance. While love is important, sometimes other matters take precedence. In this case, the King may love Li, but there are certain things that he cannot overlook. Yes, he is cruel and ruthless, but it’s also understandable in these circumstances. They’re living during a time when there were continuous wars. I’m curious to see how this drama turns out. I hope it’s not a disappointing ending. I don’t mind if it’s sad or tragic, as long as it makes sense.

Lost Love in Times | Random Thoughts

Yay! They’ve increased the number of episodes per week to 6 episodes from 4. I’m so addicted to this drama, it’s not even funny. The English subtitles are coming out a week behind the airing of the episodes and it’s driving me crazy. I’m still watching the raw episodes as soon as they come out. I haven’t felt this way for at least 7 years now, when I first started watching Korean dramas.

I absolutely love the romance in this drama. Qing Chen has the upper hand in the relationship, which is rare to see, especially in period dramas. Yuan Ling shows her the respect she deserves. He didn’t push physically intimacy until she made the first move (besides that first forced kiss, which he learned quickly that was a no-no). Like I mentioned in my previous post, the women in this drama are shown as intelligent individuals with their own thoughts and priorities, and it’s so awesome.

The romances between the other characters are also playing out nicely and showcase how relationships differ depending the character’s personality; how some can be harmful and others are lighthearted.

Now that it is getting into the 30’s (episode count), the political plot is starting to drag. I can’t say I’m interested in the plot between the 3rd and 9th prince or the Crown Prince and Luan Fei, the youngest daughter in the Feng family. I’m starting to skip a few of those scenes, but I hate how I can’t skip too much, otherwise I’ll miss out on cute moments between Qing Chen and Yuan Ling.

 

Chinese Dramas vs Korean Dramas

I haven’t had too much exposure to Chinese dramas yet, but these are some of my thoughts on differences between Chinese dramas and Korean dramas, in particular, historical dramas.

What I love about Chinese dramas are the strong female characters. Whether they are good or bad, they make decisions for themselves. Some can fight and even if they can’t, they hold their ground against the men. They’re intelligent and speak their mind. In Korean dramas, I don’t get the same feelings. The female characters are very much like damsels in distress and require men to save them.

Now this concept exists in both Chinese and Korean dramas, but I feel it’s more apparent in Korean dramas. For example, the recent Ruler: Master of the Mask: Ga Eun, the main female lead, got herself into trouble more than she helped the Crown Prince. In Scholar Who Walks the Night, they tried to pass off the female lead as someone who was strong and worked hard to care for her family, but once she met the male lead, she became weak and couldn’t protect herself.

In Lost Love in Time, the female lead sacrifices her happiness in order to set things straight (this is a whole other issue that I could on and on about). But she makes decisions to help those around her. She can fight to protect herself, and she tries hard to protect those she cares about. From what I watched of General and I, with Angelababy and Wallace Chung, the female lead was portrayed as a very intelligent individual who was a military strategist. She was able to win battles against armies of thousands. It’s amazing to see these types of characters.

Chinese dramas also have characters that are morally questionable, whereas Korean dramas tend to have very straightforward characters. They’re either good people (who sometimes may have to make hard decisions-but that doesn’t make them bad) or they’re bad people who deserve punishment. Whether it’s known to the characters in the drama, we–as the audience– know if the character is good or bad.

This is harder to determine in Chinese dramas. It’s not as black and white. Characters can sometimes treat their loved ones with great care, but be absolutely evil towards others. Some of the decisions they make are harmful towards many, yet makes sense when one thinks from their position. This makes the stories more interesting and less predictable.

For those who are more familiar with Chinese dramas, what are your thoughts? And what are some other differences you see?

 

Currently Watching

I guess now’s the time for me to get into Chinese period dramas. Most of the Koreans dramas this time around aren’t catching my attention. The only one that I am watching right now is Live Up to Your Name (명불허전), with Kim Nam Gil and Kim Ah Joong. It doesn’t seem to be one of the popular dramas, but it’s very entertaining. I’m always a sucker for the time travel dramas when done correctly, and so far, this drama is doing a good job. There’s just the right amount of seriousness and comedic relief.

Besides that, there are two Chinese period dramas that I am into: Lost Love in Time and The King’s Woman. I usually don’t watch Chinese period dramas because they’re long, around 40-50 episodes long, and they tend to drag on, but I am interested in seeing how these two play out. Since I’m watching as they air, I’ll probably end up watching all the episodes.

I started with Lost Love in Time, with Cecelia Liu and William Chan. It’s a fantasy drama, which makes it a little hard to watch at times because of the CGI, but the political story line is interesting, but what keeps me watching is the developing romance between the main leads. They cannot be together due to what I would call irrational fear, but it creates just the right amount of drama. I’m super excited to see where the story will go and how the lovers will be reunited.

While waiting for Lost Love in Time, I started watching The King’s Woman, with Dilraba Dilmurat and Vin Zhang, which I’m still hesitant to like, and I’m sure I’ll be uncomfortable with this drama the entire time I’m watching. The whole plot starts with the King of Qin taking the main female lead away from the man she loves just because he wants her to himself. Even if she does fall in love with him later on, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get over the fact that he blackmailed her to stay by his side. The main reason I plan to continue this drama is because it airs when Lost Love in Time isn’t airing, so I’ll have something to do instead of waiting around.

Currently Watching

Just finished up 7 day Queen. It was such a good drama: plot, characters, romance–everything was on point. I’m extremely satisfied with this drama and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to watch a good sageuk (사극) or historical drama. I’ll probably do a more in-depth review later.

As for the other dramas that I’m watching:

  • Criminal Minds, with Lee Jun Ki and Moon Chae Won

I’m not super into this drama yet. I think Korean remakes of American TV shows tend to fall flat. Although I can’t say for all of them, since I’ve only watched a few remakes. But they never tend to catch my interests. I still have plans to continue the drama though, even if it’s only for Lee Jun Ki.

  • The King Loves, with Im Si Wan, SNSD’s Yoona, and Hong Jong Hyun

I haven’t watched the most recent episodes yet, so I can’t say much about this drama. I don’t know if I’ll continue this drama. It just doesn’t seem interesting, as of now.

I started watching some Chinese dramas while waiting for new episodes to come out. There are 2 that I am really interested in:

  • General and I, with Wallace Chung and Angelababy

It really kept me hooked for the first 13 episodes, but after that, I started losing interest. I may or may not continue the rest of the drama, as I’ve already started skipping ahead and skimmed through some of the later episodes. If I have no other dramas to watch, I think I might continue watching a few more full episodes. I do like the politics in the drama. The love story is a little bit difficult to get into, just because they fall in love so fast, but it seems typical of Chinese dramas to do that. And then they show development later.

  • Lost Love in Times, with Liu ShiShi and William Chan

I hate that I found this drama now, because I have to wait for the episodes with subtitles to come out. This might be what keeps me coming back to the drama though. Like General and I, the main characters fall in love very fast, but I still like it. I’m a sucker for plots where the lovers are separated and eventually find their way towards each other again–especially in this drama with the parallel universe aspect where he forgets her. I can’t wait to see what happens when he falls for her again and then will probably remember her.

Hopefully there will be another round of good Korean dramas soon. I don’t know if this next round will bring anything that I’ll be interested in, but we’ll see in the coming weeks.