SBS Confirms June 2015 Premiere for New Kim Eun Sook Overseas Pre-produced Drama Descendants of the Sun

Only with its most high profile cash cow screenwriter will SBS make an official big announcement as to the confirmation of a time slot for her next drama. Kim Eun Sook is still riding high off the success of Heirs, less as a quality piece and more of a “raking in the dough” project. If it was her only success then she might not deliver again but Heirs was merely the latest in a looooooong line of Kim Eun Sook dramas that got the ratings and the profit for the network. SBS has announced that Kim Eun Sook’s next drama is scheduled to air next June in 2015 and will be almost completely pre-filmed. The drama is tentatively called Descendants of the Sun and was supposed to air in early 2015 when the news first came out earlier this year. But due to its pre-filmed nature, and the fact that casting hasn’t even started, it’s not surprising that the premiere date is being pushed back to the middle of 2015.

This drama will be a HUGE production, make no bones about it, with reportedly over 80% of the drama being overseas shoots. Considering how I laugh at all the overseas portion of Kim Eun Sook dramas including the ridiculousness of Heirs in Los Angeles, this does not bode well for me. Co-producing this sucker will be movie house Barunson which has the acclaimed movies Mother and The Good, The Bad, The Weird under its belt along with drama production Hwa & Dam Pictures that has worked with Kim Eun Sook before in producing Heirs, A Gentleman’s Dignity, and Secret Garden. The drama is described as an uplifting humanist story about people who work in dangerous disaster zones and love blossoms for the two leads through helping those in need and looking after each other. Sounds…..different, I guess? Continue reading

Yamapi is the Romantic Leading Man in J-movie Adaptation of Teacher-Student Manga Kinkyori Renai

This one totally better not have a bait-and-switch in it. My Yamapi is finally doing a honest to goodness renai so imma hunkering down to soak in all the feels when it arrives. I’ve been waiting and waiting for Yamashita Tomohisa to deliver a drama or movie I can love as much as I love some of his earlier works like Nobuta wo Produce and Buzzer Beat. In between lays the detritus of crap like Kurosagi and Code Blue and even last summer’s Summer Nude turned out to wallow in the pool of suck. It was so deadly dull it can be used to tranquilize overactive children. It was supposed to be a romance and have a love triangle and all it ended up delivering was a snoozefest contained not a single relatable or genuinely likable character. Up next for Yamapi looks exactly up my alley – he’s starring in the live-action movie adaptation of the popular manga Kinkyori Renai (近キョリ恋愛 literal translation Short Distance Love) opposite model turned actress Komatsu Nana.

She’s all of 18 years old and a brand new face in the industry so my only opinion of her is that she definitely looks the part of a high school student and has a more lissome Kawaguchi Haruna vibe. The manga is about a top ranked high school student who excels at all the disciples except for English. She falls for her substitute English teacher after a series of events brings them together but they need to keep their relationship a secret until he’s done with his teaching term. While the teacher-student romances are anathema to me in real life, I’m fine with it as a storytelling set up and shoujo mangas have actually done a few amazingly well without any ickiness such as Kiss Mo Yori Hayaku (Faster Than a Kiss). Directing the movie is the director who helmed another popular and successful live-action movie adaptation of the manga Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You) with the adorable Miura Haruma. Kinkyori Renai drops in theaters in October and before then I’ll tackle the manga to see if it’s up my alley. Continue reading

Puff Guo Rocks the Purple Spiky Bowl Cut and Couture in the Pages and Solo Cover of Vogue Taiwan

The sky-rocketed popularity of Puff Guo over her two other Dream Girls group members Tia Li and Song Mi Jin makes me wonder how long the group will last. When the group launched three years ago, Tia was the most popular one due to her pretty doll looks and a built in fanbase that considered her the Goddess of Nerds. Since then the tide has completely turned and it’s maknae Puff Guo that has become the most popular member of the group by a long shot. She was one of the top CF earners last for her individual endorsements even stacked up against all the Taiwanese entertainers as a group. She had the popular drama Just You and SETTV wanted to woo her so bad it even wrote a Sunday night drama for her and her JY co-star Aaron Yan called Fall in Love with Me. She had to turn it down due to he drama conflicting with her filming for the We Got Married global edition season 2 with her oppa hubby Heechul of Super Junior.

SETTV got Tia to replace her in FILWM but then hounded her to do the premiering later Friday night drama Pleasantly Surprised (Love Myself or You) with Liu Yi Hao. On June 1st the popular guy magazine FHM Taiwan published its reader’s vote Hottest Taiwanese Ladies poll results with Puff is a repeat winner after also winning the poll last year, with Tia joining her in 4th place to squeeze more DG popularity in there. I’m actually surprised she’s that popular these days. I’ve liked her since she debuted as an actress in Inborn Pair though she faltered playing the antagonist in Miss Rose but successfully transitioned in Just You turning her long-time acting persona from cool rich girl into plucky earnest do-gooder. None of Puff’s acting projects has been truly worth checking out until now, her performance and character in the currently airing Pleasantly Surprised is so awesome it’ll likely become her acting calling card. She’s also landed the solo cover of the June edition of Vogue Taiwan in a lovely photo spread that combines edgy purple hair, high fashion duds, and an aloof yet playful personality all together. I love it!

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Joseon Gunman Episode 11 Recap

It’s such a pleasure recapping Joseon Gunman, with only interesting and narratively sane things happening in every episode. The revenge plus romantic separation has progressed on equally solid footing and it’s amazing how much better the OTP romance gets now that Soo In is in the know and can help Yoon Kang. This drama delivered on doing compelling angst when keeping Soo In in the dark about Yoon Kang’s identity as Hanjo, and once she knows it’s a different but equally stirring emotional draw between them. This episode moves everything forward into the second half of the drama run with the continued upbeat momentum and even some game changer being alluded to. The Machiavellian calculations of the cackling Leader Kim has dominated the landscape for so long I half expected him to stay the Big Bad until the end. But suddenly the slave-turned-amoral-hunting-dog that is Merchant Choi isn’t going to be taken out without a fight, and he’s looking around for another master and lo and behold the fallen Minister Kim is perhaps the perfect candidate.

I love how Yoon Kang’s revenge plan to find out the truth about who set up his dad and catch the gunman who killed him is starting to be aligned with what’s happening to the people who are still alive that he cares about. The gunman threat is now aimed at Minister Jung, Soo In’s dad, and with it Yoon Kang not only can lay a trap to catch the gunman but he can also prevent Soo In’s dad from getting killed. I need Yoon Kang to remember that even if he lost his dad, he has a lot of people still alive that he needs to protect such as Soo In and Yeon Ha and it’s not worth dying for vengeance or putting them in danger. This episode was chock full of great Soo In-Yoon Kang moments from the hilarious reaction of her maid when seeing the Yoon Kang doronim doppleganger to Yoon Kang getting jealous over Soo In’s gratitude towards Ho Kyung for taking a bullet to protect her dad. In so many little moments, JG retains a sense of sweet humor even when it’s business most of the time with Yoon Kang taking step after step to find out the dangerous truth. Continue reading

PD-Screenwriter of Good Doctor Reunites for KBS Vampire Medical Drama Blood

Well this is interesting. Maybe the better way to say it is “buh?” rather than “hhhhmmm…..” level interesting. Last year’s Baeksang Best Drama award went to KBS for Good Doctor, and while I didn’t watch it the feedback on both the writing and acting was all-over-the-place. Those who loved it praised it like the best thing since K-dramas discovered the drunken oppa piggyback ride, others though it was a ridiculous depiction of autism with by-the-book medical cases to string it all together. It did deliver solid ratings for KBS on top of winning awards so it’s no surprise that news of the reunion of the Good Doctor PD and screenwriter for a new K-drama will get the media’s attention despite no synopsis being provided or casting having commenced. This is like counting your ducks before the momma even laid her eggs.

If it follows Good Doctor then it’ll get the Mon-Tues time as well and KBS has been mostly riding a slew of rom-coms in that slot with Prime Minister and I, Lovers of Music (Trot Lovers), and later comes Discovery of Love with Eric and Jung Yumi. Right now KBS has Mon-Tues lined up until the end of the year with Cantabile Romance with Joo Won and Shim Eun Kyung following Discovery of Love so this new drama might come after CB. The only snippet provided is that the drama is tentatively called Blood and will be a vampire medical drama. YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT. Vampire + Medical = guaranteed to drive me insane with the mashing together of disparate genres much like Dr. Stranger stitched together spy thriller with medicine into an unholy love child of circular and inconsistent plot writing. This drama is slated to air in early 2015 so hopefully as more information leaks out it’ll seem less bizarre and primed to fail. Continue reading

Underwhelming Triangle with Jaejoong and Lee Bum Soo Signs Off with a Whimper

MBC‘s Mon-Tues drama Triangle wrapped up today in what I like to call “shuffling off to the dustbin of dramas to be forgotten.” Truly terrible dramas like Fashion King and Dr. Jin continued to be name dropped long after it’s been exorcised from existence, and perhaps Dr. Stranger will join that unlofty group. But for the majority of forgettable and mostly bad dramas, it’s fate is to disappear into the collective ether without even drama veterans mentioning its name either as a drama to watch or avoid. All of Triangle’s badness can be laid at the feet of being so boring it can be used to naturally sedate drama surgery patients. The entire plot revolved around three long-lost brothers and their quest to be reunited and revenge the death of their father. To hit those narrative markers the screenwriter padded the package with boring gambling scene after boring psychiatry session scene after boring stare down scene after boring male pain scene. Maybe one interesting scene might pop up per episode, if lucky, and the rest of the time was wondering when this episode will end.

The only reason to stick with it is for Jaejoong, playing the most alive and interesting character in the drama with a performance that was a major improvement to boot. Fans of Lee Bum Soo can watch his myriad other better dramas and performances and just chalk this one up as hyung giving Jaejoong acting lessons for 26 episodes and succeeding masterfully. Im Shi Wan was neither good nor bad, his character was such an annoying twat it rather hampers the ability to view his performance objectively since the first reaction is to punch his smug face in. The OST was mostly uninspired except for a few stand out tracks and the directing was mediocre. This was PD Yoo and screenwriter Choi Won Kyu‘s attempt to do gambling like they did in All In, but eleven years later all they delivered was a half-baked tinny Giant knockoff without any excitement or originality. Jaejoong gets a major thumbs up but everything else is a pass. Continue reading

It’s Okay, It’s Love Releases Kiss Stills and Spoilery Official MV for Second OST by Davichi

I can’t complain that It’s Okay, It’s Love is pretty much love at first sight for me, other than wishing it was a Mon-Tues drama so I could spread out the watching enjoyment. There’s still a long ways to go for this drama and the last work of the PD-writer combo in That Winter, The Wind Blows was also a immediate winner for me that sputtered to a drawn out tedium. It’s such a pleasure watching the cinematography, the colors and the energy all lending to the vibrancy of the oddball world of characters. It’s probably a psychiatrist’s nightmare to watch the drama turn the medical field into eccentric quirks and even made-for-TV debate not to mention doctors really skewering their ethical boundaries all over the place. At the same time I cut this drama a lot of slack because it’s daring and confident so I’ll wait and see where it ultimately leads me.

The super kissy drama still above with Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin is really less spoilery than the typical kiss still which usually heralds some monumental shift in the OTP’s relationship. Here I can say it probably means nothing other than Jae Yeol being his usual boundary-crossing self while Hae Soo gets some unwanted skinship from an even more unwanted source. This drama has been pretty adult in tackling relationship boundaries and hashing out emotional commitment issues so an early kiss isn’t going to manipulate emotions out of me. The second OST has been released featuring Davichi singing the title track along with an official MV that’s worth watching because it contains lots of scenes from upcoming episodes. I’m most excited about the overseas scenes in Okinawa which won’t be shown until the middle episodes but the snippets already look breathtakingly beautiful. It’s a can’t miss if you’re watching IOIL and are enjoying it so far. Continue reading