Drama Check-In: Angels, Mermaids and Bloody Murder

Thursday, August 28, 2014

In case you guys occasionally do check out my Currently Watching page, you probably have a rough idea which dramas I've been following lately and how I'm reacting to them. But as you know, I don't post much about them aside from occasional first impressions (or Tweeting Dramas posts) and reviews. Since I'm watching so many dramas at once right now, I thought it would be easier to give you a little update on them in one compact little Drama Check-In

Keep in mind, though, this is not spoiler free. I will note how far into I am with each show, so skip the section if you're not as up-to-date as I am.

Also, there are a some shows that I won't be mentioning in this post though they are listed under my Currently Watching page. The reason for that is that I've either put those shows temporarily on hold or I'm not actively watching them because I've started to lose interest in favour of new and perhaps more exciting dramas. I might mention those shows in my next Drama Check-In post, though.

My Secret Hotel (Episodes 1-4)

Can I just say that I'm loving it? While all the dramas I'm talking about in this post are good in their own way, I think My Secret Hotel is the one I believe has the most compelling main couple. For that reason, I'm probably most anxious for this drama to have new episodes out. 

Strangely enough, I wasn't following the castings or any other news about MSH before. I hardly even knew what it was about when I started the drama, because I just figured I'd check out the first episodes and then probably drop it. But I took an immediate liking to the main characters and before I knew it, I was completely hooked. 

Yoo In Na, whom I previously loved in Queen In Hyun's Man, makes one awesome leading lady. Sang Hyo is a smart and capable woman who works hard for her career, without stepping over bodies or being overly controlling of other employees (dramas oftentimes portray career women like that). Sang Hyo is still endearingly charming and she has a really fun personality outside her work. Not to mention, the girl's got style and a wardrobe to die for! 

I was a little more hesitant about loving our hero Hae Young (Jin Yi Han) because he seemed rather immature and petty at first. But as soon as I realized that he's still so deeply (and obviously) in love with Sang Hyo, I couldn't help but feel bad for him when he was gazing longingly at her. Sang Hyo clearly still has feelings for him too, but she has actually tried to move on emotionally, while he probably never did even if he's marrying someone else. However, the moment I started loving our hero as much as Sang Hyo was when he was ready to go off and just confess his feelings to her in episode 2. Like seriously, episode 2! If he had succeeded, I bet we wouldn't even need episodes 3-16.

Unfortunately I imagine we still have a long way to go before OTP gets together and all misunderstandings are resolved between them. But I am ready to sail this ship!

Overall, I love that MSH has one big mystery that connects all characters - the murder - but also provides little mysteries and secrets that might later reveal hidden relationships between the characters. Mysteries like Sung Gyum (Nam Goong Min) trying to uncover his father's murderer, or all those hotel workers with shady intentions, or the reason for Sang Hyo and Hae Young's break-up 7 years ago. There's certainly a lot of other things keeping the story exciting aside from romance and I love that, because that could prevent romantic developments from dragging too much later on. 

However, I have one big concern. As it turns out, MSH went through a change in writers due to the previous screenwriter Kim Ye Ri passing away due cancer. Although she mapped out story beforehand, there is no guarantee that the new screenwriter Kim Do Hyun won't screw the story up. While I have to admit that I was not a fan of Kim Ye Ri's previous works, particularly Lie To Me which I HATED, I'm pleasantly surprised or even impressed with what she gave us during these four episodes of MSH. We won't know how the drama's going to deliver until it's over, but I hope the new writer is capable enough to make this drama worth watching in the end. At least the preview for episode 5 looked pretty promising and I can't wait for next week's episodes. 

Hi! School - Love On (Episodes 1-6)

Right now I'm all caught up with Hi! School - Love On, which is kinda funny to me because about a week ago I wasn't even watching it yet. I was planning to skip this drama at first because of my issue with the age gaps between the main cast (more on that later), but after it was recommended to me by two other bloggers, I felt compelled to at least give it a chance. Of course, I ended up enjoying it and here we are now.

I've said this before that I like to have at least one high school drama per season, which probably sounds a bit weird but I do love teenage angst when it's well done. I can't say that HSLO is particularly angsty because so far it's been very light-hearted and adorable. The preview for episode 7 did show some emotional parts, so there's a possibility we get a bit of angst then. But I enjoy this drama the way it is now - cute, innocent and easy-to-watch. 

The same goes for characters, actually. The characters aren't very complex and most of them don't even have very interesting personalities, but they are generally well-meaning (with a few mandatory baddies) and endearing. 

Like I said, I had a bit of an issue with the age difference between the main characters. Our heroine Seul Bi is played by 14-year-old Kim Sae Ron and our hero Woo Hyun is played by 23-year-old Nam Woo Hyun (from Infinite). It's a pretty creepy age gap, considering that Sae Ron is a minor. That being said, I guess we shouldn't be worried that the drama is going to do any scenes where the two leads would be doing anything more than hand-holding. I imagine a kiss on the cheek could also be a possibility at one point maybe, but that's probably it.

Indeed, HSLO is definitely one of the most adorable dramas I've watched in a long time and in a way it's one of its biggest strengths. It stands out from dramas we've had lately precisely because of its sweet innocence. The little love story is dreamy and youthful, while my immediate reaction to almost anything that happens in the show is just "awwww"

I'm a little worried about the pacing of the drama, though. These six episodes have quite honestly flown by and I think it's good that the story is moving on so swiftly, but since this is a 20-episode drama I'm not quite sure if there's enough story to get us until the end. There are certainly some mysteries that need to be solved, especially when it comes to Seul Bi's origin and I hope that the writer is going to explain how she became an angel in the first place, but I hope it's not gonna drag before we get there. 

It's Okay, It's Love (Episodes 1-8)

The reason why I'm not quite caught up with It's Okay, It's Love at the moment is because episode 8 was a pretty slow one for me and supposedly episode 9 is rather slow as well, so I'm not feeling too excited to jump into those new episodes yet. 

But aside from this slow point, I have been thoroughly enjoying this drama, mostly because it tackles a topic I'm actually intrigued by - mental health. I have always had a an interest in psychology and I also generally tend to enjoy books, films or TV-shows that offer some insight into the lives of people who deal with mental illnesses or other disorders. While IOIL isn't as medically accurate as it could/should be, I am already happy that the drama is doing its part in raising awareness and helping to end stigma associated with mental illnesses. For that alone, IOIL definitely earns some recognition from me.

Anyways, I'm quite happy how the story is progressing so far in IOIL. However, I personally feel a lot more interested in Jae Yeol's (Jo In Sung) tragic family story and relationship with his "imaginary friend" Kang Woo (EXO's D.O.), than his romance with Hae Soo (Gong Hyo Jin). Don't get me wrong, the main couple has a lovely dynamic and I like how mature and realistic the progression of their relationship is. BUT I feel like the romantic parts aren't half as exciting to me as the mystery around Jae Yeol. 

I'm fairly certain that Jae Yeol is the one who killed their stepfather and that's obviously why Jae Bum (Yang Ik Joon) is so insistent on being innocent. Jae Bum isn't the nicest guy around, but he does deserve some sympathy if it's that's true. This would also explain Kang Woo's appearance in Jae Yeol's life because I see Kang Woo as a manifestation of intense guilt and not just a random delusion. I'm curious to see how it's going to affect the brothers' already poor relationship when the truth comes out. Will there ever be a happy ending for this family?

Of course, at the moment I'm most excited for Hae Soo and others to find out that Jae Yeol has been hanging out with a person who doesn't exist. How will they react to it? Or perhaps more importantly, how will Jae Yeol react? Because after all, he doesn't know that one of the people he's closest to is in fact a figment of his imagination. I bet it's going to be a devastating discovery for him. Also, could it be that Kang Woo is ill? Does that make sense if he's not even real? 

And this is exactly why I don't want romantic scenes to drag along too much because these secrets need to come out soon. Relationship troubles are not that important to me at the moment. Also, sorry Hae Soo, but there are just much bigger things going on than your phobia of physical intimacy. 

Surplus Princess (Episodes 1-3)

Wacky wackiness is this drama. I've seen people around the blogosphere having two contrasting reactions to Surplus Princess. Some are loving the batshit bonkers characters and humour of the show, while others think it's too cheesy and weird. To me, Surplus Princess is just the right kind of mix of crazy, cute and quirky. I find it immensely entertaining, perhaps more so because of the fact that the drama is making fun of itself. I love when a show is conscious of its own strangeness and so it doesn't try to hide it, but embraces the absurdity and lives up to its potential by doing that.  

On paper, the drama sounds a lot like The Little Mermaid and, to be honest, it certainly takes a few important elements from that story. However, I don't mind that it does because while the story isn't anything original, it's the characters that make the drama for me. And I do love our perverted yet endearing little mermaid lady Ha Ni (Jo Bo Ah), who needs to do a lot of growing up for sure, but who is just such a different kind of heroine from what we're used to seeing. I already love her father-daughter bond with Ma Nyeo (Ahn Gil Kang) and I hope he's going to be there to guide her to make right decisions in the human world.

Speaking of decision-making, I am thoroughly confused as to who Ha Ni's going to pick as her man in the end. Will it be the super hot celebrity chef Shi Kyung or the jobless and now also girlfriendless Hyun Myung

At this point, I'm not sure who am I even rooting for. On the one hand, there's gorgeousface who is played by Song Jae Rim, whom I've been dying to see in a leading role since the first time I saw him in The Moon Embracing The Sun. But on the other hand, there's poor loser who, though rather pathetic-looking following the ugly break-up from his girlfriend, has the potential to be a pretty cool guy, AND he's played by On Joo Wan who is rather cute himself. Hmmm...tough choice indeed.

I do see Ha Ni having a fate kind of thing going on with both guys. Like, she had this awesome make-up session with gorgeousface underwater in the first episode AND he has her mermaid thingy. That must mean something, right? But Ha Ni also had this meet-cute (or meet-weird) with poor loser and she ended up living in the same house with him, so that's pretty meaningful as well. *sigh*...I really don't know yet.

There are lots of quirky characters I like in SP. Well...I like almost everyone except for Hyun Myung's ex. There are obvious reasons why I don't like her which I don't think I need to state here. But I adore Kim Seul Gi's character already and I hope she's going to get lots of screen-time because she's always been a scene-stealer in shows I've seen her in. 

Anyways, I'm loving the drama overall and I'm eagerly looking forward to next week's episode. 

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  1. I'm only following My Secret Hotel so far but still haven't watched this week's episodes. Your impression of HSLO is spot-on! I didn't plan on watching it but after catching glimpses of it on KBSWorld, the light and fluffy tone of the drama appeals to me. Planning to marathon IOIL and SP later since my watching mood has been on decline these days..

    1. Yeah, HSLO kinda catches you off guard, doesn't it? It's just so cute and breezy that it's hard not to love it.

      I'm really enjoying MSH. Hopefully, you are able to watch this week's episodes soon as well, I'm curious to know how you feel about it :)

  2. I have the exact same fear about High School Love On. They're going through it so fast and it's only 7 episodes in! I'm just going to assume it starts to drag something fierce, so when it actually happens, I won't be disappointed.

    As to Surplus Princess, I'm absolutely loving it. It's quirky and fun and cheesy and silly and cute. She likes Shi Kyung at the moment so he's not endgame, but I like both guys so really, I'd be happy with both. I do look forward to when Hyun Myung falls in love with her though. And, he saw that she landed like a meteorite, right? They haven't mentioned that again. Does he think he imagined it because he was drunk?

    1. Yeah, I dunno about HSLO. Don't want it to become draggy later on :(

      After watching episode 4 of Surplus Princess, I am feeling rather sure about Hyun Myung being end-game, but the first episodes kinda threw me off with all the kissy-touchy scenes Ha Ni had with Shi Kyung. I also like both guys, but I don't know if I'll stay as neutral about it till the end.
      About the meteorite, I'm pretty sure he was either to occupied with crying over his ex-GF or too drunk to remember it afterwards. Anyways, I think it's time for him to move on from the break-up and pull himself together. He seems like a cool guy otherwise, but he's been acting rather pathetic. Judging from next week's preview, I feel like he might start developing some feelings for Ha Ni soon ;)


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