The Weekly Drama Check-in Post

As I wait for the final episodes of Alice in Cheongdam-dong to arrive (with subs, of course …and while I’m speaking parentheticallyccdav photo 39734_zpsb1326b22.jpg — I’ve reached a point where I can write Cheongdam-dong without the usual long pause and google check to make sure I’ve spelled it right, which I find kind of cool…) Where was I? Oh yeah. So here’s what’s up in my current drama-watching life.

Flower Boy Next Door continues to be awesome.  In that way where I wish I wasn’t watching live because the week-long wait is so, so hard. And also in that way where I’m having a hard time putting a post together that isn’t one giant gush. (Maybe I can manage something for next week?)

I watched the first two episodes of Level 7 Civil Servant and… I wasn’t wowed. But I wasn’t horrified either. At the moment the storyline feels very workmanship-like. l7csaim photo 530364_10151242472451961_1738721515_n_zps6f5b7db2.jpgWhich makes it seem a bit outdated after all the ground-breaking dramas of 2012, with their flowing storylines and cool cinematic touches. But there’s some cuteness there (and Joo Won) and I did watch Fashion King  for Yoo Ah-in. I think I can stick to this drama for Joo Won’s sake.  (Though, the way he shoots a gun seriously bugs me. Mainly because I don’t think you’re supposed to close one eye to aim. I could be wrong. I shall have to research.)

And then there’s The Return of Iljimae.  It has been such a long time since I’ve watched that one. I think it was my first serious sageuk (I’d seen Sungkyunkwan Scandal, but I don’t think that counts) and it really felt like entering another world. Thing is, second time around, tons more k-dramas under my belt, and it still feels like I’m entering another world.

Part of it is the way the story’s being told. Full of flashbacks and flash-forwards, some of them centuries wide, it gives the narration a sense of weight and history. Like this is a story that’s been told many times before. The narrator helps with that. The tone she uses, a little arch and amused, like this is a story she’s told many times before, makes me think of a slightly intimidating grandmother or librarian slowly pulling you into her world. (Afterwards, there’ll be cookies and hot-cocoa and she won’t seem as intimidating anymore. Until the next visit anyway.)

Part of it is the visual. The settings they use are breathtaking. The sort of natural beauty you just don’t run across in your normal day to day.  Like this:roi1 photo ScreenShot2013-01-26at35840PM_zps11f7538c.png

Or this:

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Or thi– hang on… there’s more than nature going on in here!

roi3 photo ScreenShot2013-01-26at35929PM1_zps9bfc9314.png

…oh well.  I suppose our little Iljimae counts as beauty you don’t run across in your normal day to day.

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So overall I’m a happy k-drama watcher happily looking forward to next week. (With the slightest twinge of worry over Level 7 Civil Servant.)


12 thoughts on “The Weekly Drama Check-in Post

  1. LOL! ILiCDD taught me to write Cheongdam-dong with ease. ;P It’s a lot easier to write in hangul, come to think of it. No need to wonder how to put the proper pronunciation into play. Though when writing down spoken Korean it’s ALWAYS a job and a half figuring out which letter to use (ㅗ orㅓ; ㄱ or ㅋ; ㄷ or ㅌ etc) as some of them sound so similar. Unless it’s a word I’m very familiar with. 🙂

    My currently airing k-drama list is uncommonly short atm. I’m only watching ‘School 2013′ and that’ll be finished come Monday,’ Flower Boy Next Door’ (for now anyway) and ‘Cheer Up Mr Kim’ (may get dropped at some point if it gets even more clichéd than it already is + half of the characters are totally useless). I’m not including ILiCDD here as it feels like an old friend by now, someone to go to when life gives you grief. None of the others airing now appealed to me in any way and looks like there is nothing too riveting ahead either. Well, the only one I’m looking forward to is 2nd season of ‘TEN’ in…. April… I think. I’m thinking of ‘Once Upon a Time in Saengchori’ re-watch as I’ve wanted to to that for a while now.

    • It makes sense that it’s easier in hangul. I’ve heard that the English alphabet doesn’t have the same sounds covered so it has to kind of approximate a sound, which probably leads to some confusion. (There was a fascinating discussion about that. I think it was on a Dramabeans recap of AiCCD where they were speaking French.) I keep circling around the idea of learning Korean (which is insane because I’m not good with languages… and yet, I’m listening to Korean practically every day now so… crazy like a fox?) and being able to read hangul is such a tempting idea. It’s a weird sensation to suddenly be illiterate.

      I’m saving “School 2013” for a marathon down the road. I’m looking forward to that. 🙂

      • Oh, I totally started learning Korean because I wanted to understand what they where saying, plus I fell in love with the language. It just sounded beautiful and oddly familiar to my ears. 🙂 A funny fact but I even like rapping when it’s in Korean, LOL!. The lingo just flows. But yeah, Korean does have sounds that don’t translate well into English (or many other languages), so I decided to learn hangul right from the start as it really helps with pronunciation. Romanisaton just messes up with that aspect.

  2. You’re getting quite a good amount of drama watching done! Good on ya! I’ve found that I’m watching a lot less drama now that I actually spend time blogging, lol!

    I’d forgotten how gorgeous the cinematography is in Return of Iljimae! It’s been a while for me too – and I do intend to revisit this some time. Jung Il Woo is SO good in this. I found it hard to believe that this was his first lead role, and his first role as an adult. He put so much of himself into the role, I could feel his intensity! Love him! ❤

    • LOL! I love that you’re encouraging my drama-watching. This is the advantage of finding a community of the similarly addicted. 😉 And bizarrely — I’ve actually slowed down as well. Part of the reason for blogging was to slow myself down and appreciate a bit more what I’m watching.

      I’d forgotten how gorgeous the cinematography is in Return of Iljimae!

      Oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful. I wondered if it was something more inflated in my memory but no, it really was that gorgeous. It was my first time watching Jung Il-woo so he’s cemented in my head as a serious actor — definitely not just a pretty-face. (Though, of course, he is very pretty.)

      • Yes, I think of Jung Il Woo as a serious actor too! He’s very high up my mental list of brilliant k-actors. He’s able to deliver nuance really well, and many actors can’t do that. You wouldn’t know it from watching his adorable turn as a teenager in High Kick 1, but he’s really blossomed fabulously as an actor!

  3. My thoughts exactly! I think we are almost watching exactly the same dramas (minus Return of Iljimae). I felt the same about Level 7 Civil Servant…it felt like a very typical romcom which is weird because recently the dramas have been going off the beaten path. The best news I heard this week about Flower Boy Next Door (minus the awesomeness that was the episodes) is that Viki got the rights to it so that means the subs will be available sooner (as in day of airing!) And I’m so glad I’m not the only one who was like, “I thought you keep both eyes open when you shoot…” though I definitely learned that watching another TV show that was like “That’s what you see on TV fool. This is how you do it in real life.” (But it wasn’t real life just another show so…) I can’t wait to finish Alice in Cheongdam-dong (I also learned how to spell it!) Also can’t wait to talk about it all once it’s over!

    • LOL! I’m pretty sure I got the “both eyes open” from a tv show as well. (Be hilarious if it was the same one — though I honestly couldn’t tell you what it was.) But I’ve since asked a friend who’s had shooting lessons and yes, you’re supposed to keep both eyes open. (Though it was just one friend so I’m still not claiming expert knowledge.)

      Oh, I hope “Alice in Cheongdam-dong” ends well! It’s been so lovely and meaty and fun and I want to have so much to talk about when it’s over!

      The best news I heard this week about Flower Boy Next Door (minus the awesomeness that was the episodes) is that Viki got the rights to it so that means the subs will be available sooner (as in day of airing!)

      Oh that is good news! (I have learned so much patience following FBND. ;)) I’m also looking forward to Viki’s subs. For some reason their subs tend to be a bit more accurate — or at least they seem to keep more of the flavor of the dialogue than DramaFever does.

      • I feel like it might have been from “Bones” because after before dramas, I watched a ton of crime dramas. For me, Dramafever subs get off in timing. I think it’s because the site gets overrun. But, I know what you mean. I think viki subs don’t change the “hyungs, oppas…” because its assumed you know what it means, and sometimes when Dramafever does they distort the meaning. (Like how in Flower Boy Next Door Enrique lives with his cousin, but Dramafever translated Tae Joon as saying “little brother” instead of just using that term as showing they have a close relationship)

        • It’s kind of the subbers dilemma, I think. How to translate a concept that doesn’t actually have an English translation. Viki does tend to go with using a Korean word or phrase then throwing in a quick explanation that is sometimes hard to catch. I tend to like that (to the point of pausing to read the whole thing) because it shares a subtlety I’d otherwise miss. But I can see how that would be annoying and a viewer might prefer a simpler translation so they can at least follow along.

          If I really, really like a drama, I’ll sometimes watch it in both places, just to get the nuances. And then read recaps because often-times yet another translation will be given for important speeches. (K-dramas award the obsessive! ;))

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