June, July, August 2021 Korean Drama Reviews

The first drama that I watched was Youth Of May. This drama is based on true events the Gwangju Uprising in May 1980. It was a democratic movement that began with an assassination of the president in 1979 and when the next president Choi Kyu-Hah stepped in he had no dominant control over the government and military. The South Korean Army major general Chun Doo-Hwan seized military power through Coup d’etat of December Twelfth and tried to intervene in domestic issues. Students started creating democratization movements and protests of martial law. The Gwangju uprising was when Chonnam University Students were demonstrating against the martial law government were fired upon, raped, beaten, and killed by government troops and the citizens took up arms against the troops and around 600 people were killed.

So this is the backdrop of the story about Hee-Tae (Lee Do-Hyun) who is a medical student and has a lot of baggage and trauma but yet is still an optimist and believes in the good of people. Myung-Hee (Go Min-Si) is a nurse and had dreams of going abroad to go and study to be a doctor, she doesn’t want to get involved in a relationship before she leaves but she promises her friend to go on a blind date for her to get money for the plane ride.

I had not looked up the history of the uprising until about half way through the drama and realized that the terrible event was going to take place was when I realized that this was not going to be a happy ending for everyone and it turns out I was correct. Warning if you like happy endings then please do not torture yourself and watch this drama. Even though I was so sad at the end and cried more tears than I thought, I believe this was a timely drama to remember past events and how bad things can get. I think with the climate of this year with covid and governments 100% overstepping bounds and calling in emergency orders that are questionable is something to think about how badly things can get if we don’t remember the past. It actually scared me when I watching the shootings happen and that they would even shoot at doctors and nurses, how terrifying would that have been.

It is strange because it was such a sweet love story being told and yet it seemed sweeter due to the horrible things around them. Honestly I tear up just remembering the scenes from this drama, that is how sad the drama made me feel. It does an amazing job of showing the events and it really made me think and imagine how terrible the events that happened. The drama did a great job of showing the past and intertwining a compelling love story which made the events feel alive and real even though we didn’t live through the events.

I didn’t love the ending, I understand why they did the ending that way but it was just so sad. I don’t think I was bothered by much of the drama I thought they did a good job and it was a well-told story.

The second drama that I finished was Mine, it focuses on the main woman that have married into a rich chaebol family that runs the Hyowon Group. It follows Seo Hi-Soo (Lee Bo-Young) who is a retired actress that married the second son and adopted his son as hers. She is confident and tries to do the best for her son. Jung Seo-Hyun (Kim Seo-Hyung) is the main leader since she has married the first son of the Hyowon Group and nothing escapes her, she always knows what is going on and is intelligent and quick witted.

Obviously revenge among the wealthy and who is going to inherit the company seems to be a common theme right now in kdramas and Penthouse has become pretty famous even getting a second season. I have not watched Penthouse but I am assuming Mine is pretty close in the theme and style and probably even a bit of a rip off to a lot of people. I can’t say if that is really true but I can’t say I really love this style of drama and that is probably why I haven’t watched Penthouse either.

I thought it was an okay drama but it seemed to kinda turn boring and predictable half way through. I have to say that the representation of the wealthy family was somewhat disturbing and there was nothing about their lives that made me envious of them and their wealth. If anything I was completely turned off by this whole disturbing family. Basically all the men in this drama are garbage and they don’t deserve the opportunities that have been given to them. The only exception was Han Soo-Hyuk (Cha Hak-Yeon) the oldest grandson of the group, he was a decent person and didn’t want the money the family had. He still had a strange relationship with the maid and they start off exchanging bedrooms to sleep in at night, I can’t say I really was excited about their relationship either. I don’t know the atmosphere of the drama seemed very dark and disturbing.

It was an interesting plot for the first half when you don’t quite get what is happening but halfway through you kinda get what is going to happen and found that the plot just kinda fell flat for me at the end. Some plot twists but overall I found it a somewhat disappointing ending and with the usual who is going to take over the company and to what lengths will they go to accomplish their goals. It had some cliche elements that was predictable to me. Sometimes the secrets that the different characters had were kinda lame and did not really mean that in the overall plot and I thought were kinda lame at times. Also Hi-Soo’s obsession with protecting her son from everything seemed somewhat over the top. Kids aren’t dumb and you lying to them does more harm than just being honest with kids. You can’t just pretend something away, if anything that will drive your kid to not trust you at all if they know you lie to them about huge issues.

I can’t say I really liked this drama it could be partly I don’t really care for this type of drama which is why I haven’t watched many of them like this style but I didn’t think this was a good drama. It was fine but I feel like people have been more loyal and excited about Penthouse and SkyCastle so I would question that this wasn’t as well done as other ones. Lately it has been hard finding more than one kdrama to watch at a time! I thought this was a weird, dark drama and I feel like their are better versions of this type genre. I feel like they are going to continue with this genre for a while since they seem to think if one is good many is better.

The third drama that I finished is Racket Boys which is about Yoon Hyeon-Jong (Kim Sang-Kyung) who is a badminton coach that takes a coaching job in the country. He brings his family and his teenage son Yoon Hae-Kang (Tang Joon-Sang) who is baseball fan and wants to do baseball but gets convinced to join his Dad’s badminton team to help them out because they are lacking players. This is a heartwarming story about friendship and family and badminton. I don’t think I would normally be interested in a sport drama but the writer is Jung Bo-Hoon who also wrote Prison Playbook and I knew that he would write a good drama, so I took the chance and decided to watch the drama and I wasn’t disappointed.

It was a well written drama with a lot of heartwarming and friendship feels! I love these kind of dramas with lots of characters where there is a lot of room for character development. There is nothing I love more in a drama where a character learns something and changes for the better. It is alright to fail because it means you have learned something. Surprisingly I found the badminton scenes actually interesting and was completely invested in the drama. I wouldn’t be surprised if Badminton gets more popular with school kids because of this drama which I hope will be true because it doesn’t get much attention in a worldwide scale. The drama had plenty of comedic scenes and sometimes it was pretty corny but not in a bad way. It also had many serious and sad scenes that could easily make me tear up. It was a fun ride and I wish they would have a second season, I feel like there is more story to be told. I also loved the village people and they added so much hear to the story.

The one thing I found lacking in the drama is the coaching, I feel like the coaches were lacking to me and seemed like they needed more character development as well. I actually felt annoyed by Hyeon-Jong throughout the drama and really felt like the story was lacking a strong parental leader that could lead the kids well and have a truly important role in the drama. I was craving a strong leader and I thought that the Head Coach Bae was going to step up and start to lead and be this really cool character but he kinda disappeared in the drama and didn’t really get the point and felt it could have been better. To me it seemed like the boys were better at leading each other than the adults. Even Ra Yeong-Ja Coach was super disappointing to me in how she acted at times and I get that there was supposed to be some character development even for the adults but I don’t feel like it really got there even for her. I was also super disappointed in how she acted toward Hae-Kang and didn’t even help him out and only looked out for her students and Han Se-Yoon. I think she did get better but wow Hae-Kang’s parents were really unlikable to me for most of the drama!

I would definitely recommend Racket Boys to everyone! It is a lovely drama that is hard not to enjoy and love. This was my favorite drama this time,if you only watch one drama, I would pick Racket Boys!

Upcoming Korean Dramas

You Are My Spring

A psychiatrist moves into a new building where a murder takes place and another tenant is a hotel concierge manager who has become a target to a man that is a CEO of an investment company and she wants to deny him but is swayed by him. They all become tied to the murderer. I am halfway through this drama and I thought at first this was going to be a fluff drama but definitely is grittier and full of plot twists.

Police University

A former detective who loved beating up criminals becomes a professor and has a student who is a genius hacker and another student who is righteous and honest. Seems like a good ensemble cast with friendships and romance.

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha

It is a remake of a movie Mr. Hong and about a romance between a handyman and dentist in a seaside village.

Lost

It is about people that worked hard to see the spotlight and now realized that nothing has happened and everything is just downhill from there. Sounds like a midlife crisis, will check out but if it is overwhelmingly depressive I might not watch it.

Yumi’s Cells

Based on a webcomic and is about an ordinary office worker and the story switches from her real life to inside her mind where cells represents her emotions and will focus on her love cells as they have gone into a coma after a failed relationship. This seems quirky and fun.

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