Pinocchio: First Impressions

Another crop of dramas have come and gone in what’s largely been a far more promising second half of the year, as far as high quality shows are concerned. Unfortunately I don’t have time to talk about them all (perhaps later, after I’ve dealt with this irritating business of life outside of dramas and completed the recaps of the final episodes of the rolicking-good-fun The Three Musketeers), but the two standouts for me have been tvN’s Liar Game and OCN’s Bad Guys.

What I thought I would weigh in on with my brief first impressions is SBS’s Pinocchio, the recently-premiered drama from the PD-writer team behind I Hear Your Voice. The drama hit two-digit ratings with Episode 4 nationwide (10.4%) last week, but worth noting are the insanely highly online viewership ratings (34.1% – its competitors Mr. Back and The King’s Face are coming in with 14.1% and 7.3% respectively on that front).

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EXO OT12 vs EXO K/M

I’m seriously hoping the this is some April Fools prank that everyone is playing on us. What am I talking about? Well EXO’s agency SM Entertainment has released a statement today stating that, “EXO will hold their ‘EXO Comeback Show’ at Jamsil Arena, Seoul on the 15th and will kick off activities for their new mini-album. The showcase will unveil EXO’s new title song for the first time. For this mini album, EXO-K and EXO-M will be promoting separately at the same time in Korea and China respectively, anticipating a hot response from the music industry yet again.” Why do I hope that this is all a joke do you ask? Read on to find out. Continue reading

Korean Actors Singing for Drama OSTs: A Trend with Curious Success

Korean actors lending their voices to their dramas’ official soundtracks is nothing new, but it’s impossible not to notice that it’s becoming such a trend that some popular actors are actually expected to sing at least one song with every new drama. Take Kim Soo Hyun, for example (you may have heard of his most recent role as a certain alien from You Who Came From the Stars?); thanks to the rave reviews over his previous OST tracks for Dream High and The Moon That Embraces the Sun as well as his skyrocketing popularity, many fans weren’t just hoping he would also sing for Stars – they were expecting it. Others like Park Shin Hye and Lee Min Ho (The Heirs), Joo Won (Good Doctor, Gaksital) or even A-listers such as Gong Yoo (Big) and Jang Dong Gun (A Gentleman’s Dignity) have found similar success with their OST contributions – if not on the music charts, then at least in fan fervour.

That begs the question: Why exactly have Korean actors found such success through singing for soundtracks? The general approval towards “singing actors” is particularly curious when one considers the widespread negativity that idols-turned-actors face – two sides of the same coin, but the reactions they garner are polar opposites. Is it due to difference in talent for their new craft, or is it really rooted in difference of perspective?

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Bride of the Century: My New Addiction

TV Chosun’s Bride of the Century is probably one of the lesser known currently airing dramas going around, but it may have just become my new addiction. The drama stars FT Island’s Lee Hong Ki as Choi Kang Joo, a chaebol in the Taeyang Group and Yang Jin Sung as doppelgänger’s Na Doo Rim and Jang Yi Kyung. You know those dramas that you know will turn in to melodramas with scheming mothers, an ex who refuses to give up, birth secrets, love secrets, couple misunderstandings but you still continue to watch it because you love the romance that is unfolding between the two leads? Well Bride of the Century is one of those dramas. Continue reading

Idols in Dramas: Why D.O of EXO?

So what prompted my interest in this whole topic of “idol actors in dramas” was the news that D.O (real name Do Kyung Soo) of idol boyband EXO has been offered a role in upcoming SBS drama It’s Okay, That’s Love, and while talking to Hanjae we started discussing why he was chosen out of the group’s 12 members. Fellow EXO member Chanyeol, for example, has shown promise in the realm of acting with multiple music video appearances as well as his solo appearance in SBS reality/documentary show Laws of the Jungle, while snippets of D.O’s script readings on various radio shows seem to suggest that he may have more room for improvement. That begs the questions: Why D.O? How is one idol member chosen over his fellows?

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Seo Yoo Kyung in Mi Rae’s Choice: In Between Black and White

We’ve had a lot of discussions on Jung Yong Hwa as Park Se Joo in Mi Rae’s Choice, but this time we turn our focus to the character of Seo Yoo Kyung, who has been played quite winningly by Han Chae Ah so far in the drama.

La Petite and I have been planning to chat about her for quite a while now, since she’s a fascinating character who has polarized the Mi Rae’s Choice viewership more than any other in the drama. Now that we’re more than halfway through the drama, there’s no better time to weigh in on our feelings regarding Yoo Kyung, her strengths and shortcomings and whether her actions are deserving of the extreme censure that they have received from some viewers.

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Jung Yong Hwa: The Business of Romance in Mi Rae’s Choice

The hot topic of Mi Rae’s Choice this week was definitely the duality of Se Joo’s character, as last week’s episodes turned out to be a mere foreshadowing of his flaws which had thus far lain unexplored. The variety of responses to Se Joo’s actions in Episode 9 and 10 as he furthered his quest for Mi Rae’s affections is fascinating; while fan reactions have largely been that of increased interest in his character and appreciation of his complex depth, there are also those who expressed disappointment at this latest turn.

Before we get any more dramatic about Se Joo’s reversal, however, let me emphasize that he didn’t experience a sudden villainous turn. He didn’t roll out of the wrong side of bed this week and decide to turn “evil.” The truth is that in the line of “Mi Rae’s Choice,” Se Joo made some choices which weren’t necessarily commendable, but which were not only a response to direct provocation but entirely in character with the detached businessman that he’s always been.

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The Perfection of Imperfection: Jung Yong Hwa in Mi Rae’s Choice

The developments of Episode 7 and 8 of Mi Rae’s Choice bring to mind a chat I had with my recapping partner-in-crime, La Petite, in which she’d insisted that the time will come when we see more of Se Joo’s flaws after the other leads have had their turn. And I had replied that I couldn’t think what else it could be, but after these two episodes… I stand corrected, La Petite. HA.

Park Se Joo is an incredibly complex character and one who holds as much potential for light as he does for darkness; this week’s episodes show us that for all his sweet likeability, the same strengths that he possesses may also become his Achilles’ heel. It’s a thought that is particularly frightening when you consider how much power he holds as someone who has been groomed from birth to succeed as the owner of Young Geon Group.

Also, new stills of Jung Yong Hwa as Park Se Joo have been released, just in time to tide everyone over until next Monday. Shall we call this… VJ style?

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Chaebol Style: Jung Yong Hwa Sexy in Sunglasses

FNC knows what fans want, so we have newly released stills of Jung Yong Hwa in his sexy chaebol transformation in Mi Rae’s Choice (Marry Him If You Dare) – complete with sunglasses, three-piece suit and a little bit of ‘tude. I do love a man who can rock a three-piece suit. Whewww.

The “Sunglasses Removal” scene which aired in Episode 6 has reportedly become a hot topic, with netizens complimenting Jung Yong Hwa on his perfect profile and commenting that the “Se Joo [heart]ache” (세주 앓이) syndrome has just begun (Note: Here it is referring to the heartache that viewers experience, having fallen completely for Se Joo). I certainly can’t disagree; those who suffer from Second Male Lead Syndrome like me should get their handkerchiefs ready and buckle up for the next few episodes.

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