Kdrama Beginner’s Tour: Sageuk

kdrama-tour

Stop 4

Wow, what a ride this has been so far! We’re nearing the end of our journey, and by now, you might be starting to feel a lot less new to Kdramas if you’ve watched any of the ones I have suggested! If you’re just joining us here at this stop, take a look at our gateway dramas, young love dramas, and action dramas!

For now, we will be delving into the Sageuk genre of Kdramas. These are usually set in the Joseon era of Korea’s history, which was anywhere from 1100 to 1900! I guess Korea didn’t change too drastically during that time, because the drama costumes stay pretty much the same. (At least to my untrained eye!) Once you get used to the get-ups, you will love all the interesting situations and historical facts you learn while watching these stories!

Sageuk (Historical) Dramas

Sungkyunkwan Scandal

sungkyunkwan-scandal-official-wallpaper-micky-yoochun-and-park-min-young

Try saying that ten times! This drama features a scholarly young woman who, out of necessity, must dress like a boy to stay safe. However, she accidentally gets tricked into enrolling in Sungkyunkwan University, and must keep her identity as a woman hidden from all her curious male roommates. If she doesn’t, she could lose her life. But if she keeps it hidden much longer, her best friend is going to start questioning his sexual orientation. The chemistry and fun of this drama is what got me hooked on Kdramas! It was my first ever Kdrama.

The Princess’s Man

theprincessman-1

Oh gracious, do I dare add this one?

I dare.

I know you are Kdrama beginners, but I have faith in your ability to be CONSUMED by this drama. It is a marathon of emotions, and you will feel every one of them in watching this drama. It is absolutely something you must add to your list when you are feeling ready to fall head-long into something sweeping, beautiful, and impossibly addicting.

I decided not to give you a summary of the plot, because I’m going to fail miserably. Just think Korean Romeo and Juliet.

Gu Family Book

gufamilybook_kangchithebeginning_quotes-18-3

Lee Seung Gi must have liked dating a Gumiho, because in Gu Family Book, he decided to be one! This Sageuk is more of a Fantasy, which is set in the Joseon time period, but tells the story of a young male Gumiho in search of his origins. The cast in this drama is off the chain! And the action, combined with the humor, romance, and adventure, really makes this one a winner! I even got my husband to watch this one with me!

As a bonus, look at the guy who plays his father.

bd5c7e3f17e6c2be5f12662657deb7cf

Hubba hubba. Suzy can have Lee Seung Gi. I’ll take Choi Jin Hyuk any day!

The Great Doctor/Faith

faith22-00348a

I don’t get this drama’s title, you guys. I always knew it as Faith, but I keep seeing The Great Doctor, which totally makes more sense. I dunno. Regardless…

This drama rocks!! It was in my top five for a really long time, and is still in my top ten. Faith tells the story of a war general from the past who finds a rift in time to the future. His queen is dying, and he needs a doctor. So what does he do? He kidnaps one, of course! Fortunately she’s cute, she’s feisty, and she’s smart, so between the two of them, they manage to save the kingdom.

Also Lee Min Ho. Look at this guy. LOOK AT HIM.

201210221456215881

a876035bd9fb9ef6ed87d664f49fde08

Scrummy.

Empress Ki

 

empress-ki-1

Alright, so I know that my drama suggestions are basically all about the guys. I realize that. But my friends, this drama is all about Empress Ki. All. About. Woman.

Her fierceness

tumblr_static_tumblr_static_dpyi4bwxh7w4ww4co0c0c4c08_640

Her cunning.

2014010812335117640

Her manipulation of man’s world, and her determination to survive.

ek475

The romance is there, don’t get me wrong, but it’s as much about a lowly servant rising from nothing to becoming the Empress of Goreyo as much as it is about who she gives her heart to. And that, she does not give easily!

If you want something epic, stunning, and gripping, then you must watch this drama. The performances are flawless, and the story is mind-blowing. The best part? It’s based off a smidgeon of historical fact. It will make you want to look her up, because her reality is almost as unbelievable as the drama.

Who better to round off our Sageuks than a strong queen? There’s my top five suggestions for historical Korean Dramas!

I realized as I was writing this post that I have so many Sageuk dramas that I love. I didn’t think I was a Sageuk super fan, but I might be, because I’ve seen a lot of them!

What are your thoughts on historical dramas? Any favorites?

Thanks for joining me on our fourth stop, and look forward to our LAST stop, where I finish us off with all my random beginner favorites. Have an awesome weekend!

-Devon-

 

Kdrama Beginners Tour List

Gateway Dramas

Young Love Dramas

Action Dramas

Sageuk Dramas

Rest of the Best

Kdrama Beginner’s Tour: Young Love

kdrama-tour

Stop 2

Welcome back to our Kdrama Beginner’s Tour, where we are introducing all you newbies to the fantastic world of Korean drama romance shows! Our first post, Gateway Dramas, was your introduction to how addicting these Korean shows can be. Today, I’ll be showing you a sub-genre of Korean dramas that are plentiful, fun, quirky, and heart-hammering romantic.

Get ready for some…

Young Love

Playful Kiss

playful-kiss_780x436

This classic love story has been adapted many times, from its manga version, to its anime rendition, and on to many interpretations, including the Korean drama I love so much. This is the story of a High School girl who must move into the house of a family friend after her house collapses in an earthquake. Except she finds out when she gets there, that she’ll be living in the same house as the very popular, insanely hot Baek Sung Jo. She has loved him for a long time, and sees this as her chance to finally get close to him.

If cold and unfeeling heroes make your skin crawl, you might want to skip this one. Baek Sung Jo takes a long time to admit his feelings for Oh Ha NI. But I adore the character development of this drama, and it is the real essence of a young love that matures into marriage. It’s also the most satisfying love victory of all time when Oh Ha Ni finally breaks down this guy’s iron-clad walls. No one else could love Baek Sung Jo like Oh Ha Ni!

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

weightlifting-fairy-kim-bok-joo-nam-joo-hyuk-and-lee-sung-kyung-8

What a delightful surprise this drama turned out to be! This drama tells the story of a young college weightlifter who struggles with going for the gold, but also finding self love and true love. The chemistry between Kim Bok Joo and athletic swimmer (I repeat, SWIMMER. The bod.) Jung Joon Hyung is really sort of palpable. I loved the pace of this show, and I felt like it was both romantic and sweet as a coming-of-age story.

The only thing you have to get past is that the actress does not look like a weightlifter. At all. She’s a model in real life, and she does look like it! But that’s okay, because her acting was on point, and the entire plot is delicious from beginning to end. I think I might have to lick sugar off my fingertips after even typing about it.

Reply 1997

reply-1997-1

I hesitate to post this one only because I haven’t actually seen it! But that’s not because I think it will be a bad drama–I know it’s one of the best Kdramas of all time! (Literally, it’s last episode broke viewership records!) I just haven’t been in the mood for a High School drama recently, and I’m keeping up with current ones!

But enough about me and my excuses. You SHOULD watch this drama. It’s a charming story about High School friends and their love lives as they develop in 1997, and then where they are at 14 years later. The cool thing about this show is that is has tons of adorable, romantic moments (yes, I happen to know that even without having seen it!), but it also strategically keeps you guessing about who ended up with whom, and how they got there! It’s clever, humorous, and poignant in all the best ways.

I will take my own advice and watch it soon!

Coffee Prince

cp16-100

Oh, this drama. I’m categorizing it as “young love,” even though the characters are totally adults. But there’s a lot of self-discovery, and the main girl is pretty young.

This one is about a young woman who has always been mistaken for a boy. She doesn’t particularly mean to look boyish, but that’s just how she appears, and she has accepted it. She is in desperate need of a job, and in a moment of insanity, takes a job as a MALE waiter, or “coffee prince.” But soon her manager starts to get some funny feelings about the new “boy” on his team, and their romance ensues.

I think my favorite thing about this drama is that their relationship develops almost entirely with him thinking she’s a boy, and at first assuming he just likes “him” as a younger brother. She falls for him hard, but she doesn’t want to lose her job and tell him she’s actually a girl!

The kisses in this drama are off. the. chain. You can spoil it for yourself by googling them if you don’t believe me. *fans face*

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho

gf_86

Context: A Gumiho is a nine-tailed fox creature from Korean folklore.

This story is about a female Gumiho who has been trapped for hundreds of years in a temple. A young man stumbles upon the temple, and accidentally frees her. Little miss Gumiho, attaches herself to him, and although he isn’t totally sure he wants to help a nine-tailed demon learn how to human, he obviously falls for her cuteness.

And you guys, YOU will fall for her cuteness, too. Like, immediately. She’s perfectly quirky, and he’s adorably unfit to teach her how to actually adult, and the whole story was sheer enjoyment from the first episode to the last.

And that’s it for our “young love” stop!

I hope you enjoy these dramas, and if you find that this category really appeals to you, then you will be happy to know that there are many, many more! Including, but not limited to:

Boys Before Flowers, You’re Beautiful, Monstar, Heartstrings, Shut Up Flower Boy Band, To the Beautiful You, and School 2013.

If you head over to http://www.mydramalist.com, you will find several lists about High School and young love!

If you’ve seen these dramas, which one was your favorite? Any that I missed that you would want to add?

Stay tuned for our next stop: ACTION!

-Devon-

 

Kdrama Beginners Tour List

Gateway Dramas

Young Love Dramas

Action Dramas

Sageuk Dramas

Rest of the Best

Kdrama Beginner’s Tour: Gateway Drama

giphy1

Are you wondering what all this “Kdrama” talk is about? Well, you’ve come to the right tour guide! Korean Drama Land is a busy, confusing place, with hundreds of thousands of shows to choose from. Once you realize how many there are, you are left to wonder: Where do I start?

That’s where I come in! I might not be Barbie, but I make a pretty great Kdrama Tour Guide for your Kdrama Beginner’s Tour, or KBT. Here on your KBT, I will lead you from beginner’s dramas, and onto all the different kinds of Korean Dramas that will inevitably get you hooked on some of the best love stories of all time. If you follow this map of posts, I will show you the best path to becoming a Kdrama fangirl:

kdrama-tour

The first stop on our KBT is what I like to call, your “gateway drama.” This is the drama that opens the gilded doors to the Drama Land beyond. This should be a drama that is somewhat familiar to the Western shows you already enjoy, but delightfully unique enough to suck you into the fandom you will never escape.

Gateway Dramas

My Love From Another Star

b38d88bfa5c4e38d10bc003cdc43e29b

This addicting, Sci-Fi Romance has enchanted viewers from all over the world. From its steamy but stoic male lead who happens to come from another planet, and it’s quirky but confident female love interest, this show has it all: Passion, action, gripping story, laugh out loud comedy, heart-rending sorrow, and a happily-ever-after to tie it all together. (Just make sure you watch the “extra” episode to get that happy ending you’re looking for!)

I insist you watch this drama. Now.

Healer

wpid-4fbdacd3736f372b54eef1d624c2e18b

Healer is an Action Romance about an “errand boy” who does the shady dirty work rich people need done, and he’s really good at it. But when an innocent girl gets caught up in a dangerous plot, he has to both protect her, and clear his own name. Think Jason Bourne with smexy romance. I wish I could dedicate the rest of this entire post to just pictures of Healer in all his hot spy outfits.

Okay, maybe just one.

b412585bceb9f2a201db0923a2acf0a3

You’re welcome.

Queen In-Hyun’s Man

39391514

This is probably my number one favorite couple of all time–Kdrama or not. They have chemistry for DAYYYSSS. This Paranormal Romance features a man from the Joseon era, which is Korea’s historical period from 14th century to 19th century. He mysteriously finds his way to our modern day, and falls in love with darling actress Choi Hee Jin. Not only does this drama dip your toes into the Joseon era (which can take some getting used to), but the pure, delicious romance between these two characters is something you cannot miss! Also of note is the fact that most Kdramas don’t show a lot of sexual chemistry. They are very sparing about showing us kisses, and definitely keep “skinship” (which is physical chemistry) fairly PG. Queen In-Hyun’s man pushes that boundary just a bit. Which is refreshing for us Americans!

Speaking of Americans…

Descendants of the Sun

986596061bddb50fe9a40c70c0d47ea0

This right here is a grown up, sexy as heck, super interesting drama. It’s a bit of a risk to call it a gateway drama, because in many ways, Descendants of the Sun broke the Kdrama mold a little bit. It’s shot in a fictional, foreign country, which is not the Kdrama norm. But it allowed them to add all kinds of scrumptious elements like danger, American bad guys (totally not a normal thing you find in Kdramas! I was happily surprised), and super sexy military uniforms.

Super.

480760e3-45d0-4610-96ab-70ed845c5b54

Sexy.

jin-goo

Uniforms.

descended-feature-2

Okay, so that last one might have been more about the lack of uniform. But still, you get my point. It’s a great drama to ease into Korean culture, because they are dealing with a whole lot of other cultures anyway. The gist of the show is that a very driven female doctor is sent to a war-torn country to give relief aid, and be stationed at a military base. While there, she meets a very fine soldier who finds her absolutely irresistible.

I hope you enjoyed your first stop on our Kdrama Beginners Tour! As you can see from the map, there will be several more stops forthcoming. But for now, I suggest you sit back and enjoy the ride with one of these fantastic gateway dramas.

**Where to find Kdramas**

I felt it was important to add this, especially if you are new to watching them. There are two main websites that feature Kdramas: Viki and Dramafever. Both can be viewed from your computer, or from an app on your phone, tablet, or streaming device. All you have to do is download the apps, and you’ve got access to pretty much every Kdrama ever made!

You can also find some of them on Netflix and Hulu. My good friend over at I Know my Writes has recently made a post with some of the best dramas found on those two apps you might already have. Check it out here:

How to Create Korean Drama Addicts

Kdrama Beginners Tour List

Gateway Dramas

Young Love Dramas

Action Dramas

Sageuk Dramas

Rest of the Best

Noble, My Love Review in GIFs

It is time, once again, for a GIF review of a drama! In this case, it was a much shorter web drama, with 20, 20 minute episodes in the series. I don’t fully understand the title, but it’s a drama based on a manhwa (Korean manga), about a down-on-her-luck veterinarian who saves a millionaire, and he gets all obsessed with her, and there’s plenty of fortuitous reasons for them to get caught up in conveniently romantic situations.

Here we go.

When I realized five seconds in that the director asked the cast to act as zany and “anime-like” as possible.

giphy2

When I saw this guy:

b1b8f360ee091fb952fc3c55582b9505

And I was like:

giphy3

Basically all of the over acting. Of which there was plenty:

giphy4

But knowing that I was going to keep watching because it was weirdly fun, and super satisfying to see all the best parts of Kdramas stacked on top of each other without any of the filler the longer episodes have. It was the equivalent of eating a bowl of only Lucky Charms marshmallows.

giphy5

That part where they brought out the contract, and it got all Fifty Shades of Grey with him calling himself the Dominant and her the Submissive.

giphy6

Did I mention the terrible acting?

giphy7

Still, the guy was crazy sexy. Pretty much everything he said made me go:

giphy8

Except that their kissing looked like this. LIKE THIS YOU GUYS

giphy9

And I’m screaming:

giphy10

Fortunately, they had this scene later on, and I almost kind of forgave them.

giphy11

Especially this part.

giphy12

And I was all

giphy13

All in all, it was kind of a fun little fantasy, and if you can set aside your standards for decent acting (I mean ANY standards whatsoever. Just throw them out.), then you might actually enjoy this mini series. It was corny. But it was like candy corn–it’s not your favorite, but it is sweet, and it’s cheap, and it’s already there in front of you, so why not indulge?

giphy14

I hope you enjoyed this review of Noble, My Love, which I found on Dramafever if you’re looking for a weekend diversion. If you’ve watched it already, what did you think? Light up that comment section below! 😀

Happy weekend!

-Devon-

My Shy Boss/Introverted Boss Rewrite? Episodes 5 and 6!

REDEMPTION?!

The rumor in Kdramaland was that TvN halted production of My Shy Boss, and even rewrote/reshot episodes 5 and 6 based on negative viewer comments.

So, did they really redeem themselves? Did they save this train wreck of painfully awkward characters and misunderstood plotlines?

Why yes. Yes, they did.

In order to understand why it was so unbearable to watch for the first 3-ish episodes, I needed to see these two well-written ones to see what their vision had been. It was after watching the good episodes that I understand what they were trying to do from the beginning, but failed to convey initially.

First of all, we NEEDED that backstory. They began this show with horribly flawed characters–to the point where it was just too awful to watch. They were so flawed that we as viewers couldn’t connect with them. It felt like a caricature. Based on that feedback, I think TvN took all that backstory they were parsing out to us in flashback bits, and just handed it to us in one episode.

Everything made sense all of a sudden.

The reason she’s a jerkwad to him, the reason he’s so painfully shy, the reason that his best friend (brother?) acts the way he does, and the reason the sister committed suicide and Hwan Ki feels responsible. All of that was revealed and I was like ohhhhhhhh.

giphy

So not only did I understand why the characters acted the way they did, the writers also guided the plot so these same characters could soften the harder edges of those flaws, and make it more watchable. Ro Woon goes from belligerent and obnoxious to…let’s say enthusiastically optimistic. I believe that’s what they had envisioned for her from the outset. And Hwan Ki is still so shy he makes me bury my face in frustration, but it’s in a cute way. And he’s finally showing progress and giving us glimpses of who he could be. We also saw how he used to be before the suicide incident, and that gave us a new dimension to his character we needed.

screenshot-2017-02-07-at-11-56-34-pm

In episode six, there were some truly wonderful scenes that helped me fall for this show. In particular, I really appreciated the scene with Dang Yoo Hee, where they touched on mothers feeling like they can be real people, and not just matriarchal old ladies all the time. That resonated with me because, hey, I’m an ahjummah with 4 kids.

screenshot-2017-02-07-at-11-58-21-pmscreenshot-2017-02-07-at-11-58-55-pm

And then there was this scene with the charades and the eagle thing. I couldn’t stop laughing!

screenshot-2017-02-07-at-11-57-51-pmscreenshot-2017-02-07-at-11-57-40-pm

Throw in a sprinkle of skinship, and some overt romantic advances, and voila! You have a Kdrama worth saving.

I know that the ratings still weren’t stellar, but my hope is that the changes the writers and director made will help viewers tune in and give this romance a chance to develop. I think it could be something really special if given the chance.

So there you have it. They’ve made a believer out of me, and I’ll be eagerly awaiting episodes seven and eight next week!

What did you think of episodes five and six? Let me know!

-Devon-

January 2017 Korean Dramas!

Normally this would be our “Friday Feature” post, but I was too busy being addicted to a certain weightlifting fairy show that I forgot to feature it. So here are the dramas Cornwall and I are watching right now!

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

weightlifting-fairy_1560x872

I admit it, I thought this sounded dumb. I looked at that title picture right there, and I was like, “Um, this is going to be a pretty model pretending she’s a weightlifter. PASS.”

I’m not wrong about a skinny model pretending to be a weightlifter, and pretending to know what it feels like to be different from the molds of society. HOWEVER. Her pretending (er, acting, really) is so well done, that I don’t care if she doesn’t *look* like a weightlifter. Bok Joo’s personality is a HOOT. I’m 10 episodes in, and almost caught up. This is quickly shaping up to be my favorite drama of the year. It’s light, touching, hysterically funny, and self-reflective all in one adorable, Kdrama ball. Loving it!

Legend of the Blue Sea

lbs-780x436

I waited all year for this one! I LOVE (love love love) Lee Min Ho, and I couldn’t wait to see him in a drama! I was even more thrilled to see him in something magical like this one, and playing opposite of Jun Ji Hyun in the role of a mermaid. Laaaaa! Magic!

How is it so far?

I’m finding myself wanting the story to just finish. I have really enjoyed watching it, but I have to admit there is something missing from this drama. It’s not Lee Min Ho! He is absolute perfection, and actually, whenever he and Ji Hyun are together, that is when I love the drama the most. But everything around them is just a smidge off. I don’t know what it is, though. Maybe it’s the awkwardly done Joseon era flashbacks, or the fact that they are stretching an 8 episode plot out to 16. I’m not sure exactly, but it’s just not…there. I’ve enjoyed it for what it is, but I probably won’t be coming back to watch this more than once like I have with Lee Min Ho’s past dramas. 

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God

korean-kdrama-goblin-actor-gong-yoo-hairstyle-part-perm-hair-for-guys-kpop-kpopstuff
Goblin: The Lonely and Great God

Okay, I know there are mixed reviews out there on this one, but I LOVE it. Cornwall isn’t as into it as I am. And I can see why, honestly. It’s a little on the slow side–tons of screen time is devoted to close-ups of their faces, while they watch each other, and that gorgeous OST plays in the background. And much of the conflict (actually, almost all of it?) is internal conflict. So it’s a lot of them talking and thinking. 

That sounds boring, but it’s not! I swear! Or at least I don’t think it is. There’s enough of the goblin saving her, and them having adorable interactions that I’m left wanting more after every episode. This is one of my favorite dramas of 2016, hands down. I like it better than Descendants of the Sun, actually. Don’t ream me out too much for saying that. 😀 

Hwarang

download
Hwarang

It’s still too early into the series for me to make any calls on this one. But it’s turning out to be pretty much exactly what I thought it would be. Fan service! 

The boys (all of them star-studded and smexy) are a lot of fun, and it’s enjoyable to watch some of my favorite K-Pop and Hallyu stars do their thing. I don’t really get the reason for the romance yet. But again, who doesn’t like looking at Go Ara? Her eyes are amazing. O.O

We’ll see how this one goes! 

So there you have it! These are the dramas we are currently watching, and I have to say, I’m impressed with how many really good ones are out right now! Usually I only have one or two current dramas in rotation because I end up dopping them at some point. Not this line up! They’re all really well-done, and the creativity is of the charts. 

Tons of material to log away for future K-Books 😉 

Thanks for stopping by, K-Fans! If you haven’t yet, check out our book. The more K-Fans we have commenting and expressing interest in the book, the better chance we have of getting it published so you can read it!

Cheers!

-Devon-