You’re All Surrounded Episode 5 Recap

To my everlasting relief You’re All Surrounded righted itself after last week’s abrupt plunge to horrible-ville. It’s hard to say if that was an aberration or the drama might end up see-sawing between inept character writing for plot tricks or start the steady and perilous climb to turn a bunch of inexperienced rookies into decent cops. Last week’s stumble was making Soo Sun beyond inexperienced to the extreme end of pure unmitigated failure on every level. Dae Gu got tossed in the ringer primarily so he could experience an epiphany of sorts and take his cop job seriously and not just as a way to secretly investigate Pan Seok for his involvement in his mom’s murder. Soo Sun was already an irksome character but last week placed her at the edge of stabbity GDIF territory. Thankfully she’s been pulled back from the brink and now can exist in the story without making me see red. The P4 head into a new case today involving a hit-and-run that leads to the death of a child. It’s clearly designed to pull out the backstory behind formerly married couple Pan Seok and Sa Kyung, and while the process was overly obvious the result was an effective transition into showcasing their characters.

Pan Seok finally gets fleshed out as more beyond hardworking exacting cop, showing us that he was also a good husband and father who failed at both when it came into conflict with his profession. It’s not surprising but hopefully humanizes him in Dae Gu’s eyes because he’s so adverse to connecting with Pan Seok on any level. If Pan Seok and Dae Gu joined forces then the bad guys don’t stand a chance, the former with his years of experience and dogged determination and the latter with his razor sharp memory and deductive abilities. I wish the police cases were more interesting but so far the procedural matters are crafted simply as the vehicle to carry the characters from situation to situation. There is also a lot of potential for great character interactions during the investigation, the banter and discovery if you will, that doesn’t get tapped into by this writer. YAAS dips a toe in a lot of different threads but hasn’t yet made any one element really stand out and hook me. I suppose shower and gratuitous shirtless scenes of the very buff Lee Seung Gi is enticing enough but unless my boy is doing bare-chested fanservice in every episode then the overall storytelling really needs to pick up steam. Continue reading

Check Out the Remaining Two Episodes of Mini-drama Love LINE with Lee Min Ho and Bea Hayden

Not every commercial feels exploitative though it’s increasingly hard to find one that acknowledges hawking a product while attempting to do so sincerely. That makes Lee Min Ho‘s short but high profile C-webdrama Love LINE co-starring TW-actress Bea Hayden all the more remarkable for coming across as sweet and down-to-earth. It’s not packed with razzle dazzle and lets the two leads just showcase their pretty looks while spending a lot of time with their phone messaging app LINE. Naver makes the app and it’s doing a fantastic job of raising its profile alongside competitors like WeChat or WhatsApp. It was featuring prominently in last year’s buzziest K-drama You From Another Star, and now LINE even has tons of YFAS stickers featuring Chun Song Yi and other characters from the drama. I find PPL in dramas has gotten too intrusive into the story line and one recent drama in particular was Heirs where I felt scenes were staged purposely to showcase a brand endorsement or even a cafe sponsorship.

In this vein the Love LINE mini-drama feels like a breath of fresh air, I know what I’m getting into and the story doesn’t try too hard to promote the product at the expense of the story. There really isn’t a story other than Taiwanese girl meets hot Korean musician and they get connected on LINE and proceed to flirt their way to falling in love despite the language and distance barrier. Who’s to say the liberal use of LINE stickers isn’t the perfect way to convey feelings as a common “language” so to speak. I can’t say if Lee Min Ho and Bea have much chemistry since they spend the majority of the mini-drama communicating via LINE but they are a visually pleasing pair to stare at. Check out the final two parts of this mini-drama complete with English-subs though honestly this whole endeavor is fairly easy to understand in any language. Cute nice boy meets pretty sweet girl and VOILA magic perfect romance ensues complete with cheesy rose petal strewn piano serenade! Continue reading

K-remake of Fated to Love You Starts Filming with Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara

The second big K-drama remake of a TW-drama has started filming and this one I’m way more interested in. Currently the remake of My Queen is airing on cable network tvN as Witch’s Romance with Uhm Jung Hwa and Park Seo Joon. I checked out the first episode and found it inoffensive and had its own flavor but there wasn’t anything to keep me hooked since I already knew the story. I found MQ worth watching for Ethan Ruan and Cheryl Yang and their chemistry, less for the story so the remake is a pass for me. The Fated to Love You remake is calling itself the same name but upping the age bracket of the leads. Jang Hyuk takes on the role that made Ethan famous while Jang Nara puts on her spectacles to become the post-it girl that cemented Chen Qiao En as the A-list drama queen in Taiwan.

I thought the second leads in the TW-original Baron Chen and Bianca Bai were on the weaker side and never made me care about them. I hope Choi Jin Hyuk and Wang Ji Won can make the love quadrangle more interesting since the inherent angst in the story is built in. MBC released script reading stills and it’s such a walk down memory lane to see Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara together a good twelve years after Successful Story of a Bright Girl. The K-version will be taking over the Wed-Thurs time slot from A New Leaf and going up against Joseon Gunman with Lee Jun Ki and Nam Sang Mi on KBS and It’s Okay, It’s Love with Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin on SBS. What a killer combination with those three promising dramas duking it out. Check out the first filming pictures below with Jang Nara looking adorable as the dowdy office drudge and Jang Hyuk transformed into a chaebol. Continue reading

Dr. Stranger Episode 6 Recap

Episode 6 of Dr. Stranger was all over the place in dialing up the conspiracy greater than expected and conflicting feelings shooting every which way. It’s easier to just watch rather than try and guess ahead, especially when it comes to whether Jae Hee is still alive and how come everyone seems to be in on whatever is brewing around Park Hoon. At least my guess yesterday that Chang Yi’s mom was going to need heart surgery soon came true though it was refreshing to see Jae Joon wield the scalpel for change. His character remains so underdeveloped both as a doctor and a love rival to Hoon. Already Soo Hyun seems to have turned her interest over to Hoon and it doesn’t bode well for Jae Joon when all we have to go by is a hot kiss with his honey. It’s so easy to fall for Hoon, he’s not written as perfect but his one-track devotion to Jae Hee and candid sense of humor makes him a breath of fresh air in the world of DS where everyone is plotting left and right. That also makes Soo Hyun way more appealing a female lead at this juncture because she’s just a normal girl with family issues trying to do her job.

Right now it’s hard to like Seung Hee at all, and perfectly fine to not like her one bit since she’s coming across as cold and calculating and working with scary Comrade Cha. I miss Jae Hee and wish the drama didn’t have to swap out her existence for brittle dour Seung Hee. It hurts watching Hoon mope and suffer but at least he seems to bounce back quickly and also doesn’t accept whatever is handed to him at face value. Start suspecting everyone around you, Hoon! Don’t trust anyone! The story line with PM Jang’s heart surgery is speeding up and there also appears remnants of whatever mystery was behind Park Hoon’s dad’s lawsuit twenty years ago with the hospital and the people involved. I’m thankful for the little bits of random humor that pepper each episode courtesy of Dr. Moon to interject some lightness into scenes of scary powerful people plotting to control Hoon like a marionette. Of course I’m hoping Hoon finds Jae Hee, which would be easiest if she is indeed Seung Hee, but that also means he’s going to be so hurt by what’s going on with her working with Comrade Cha and setting him up. Why can’t my woobie doctor get some easy loving around here? Continue reading

Yoon Eun Hye and Lee Mi Yeon Courted to Join Kwon Sang Woo in SBS’s Temptation

It’s still quite a ways away from Dr. Stranger ending its run on SBS Mon-Tues but it has been strange (har har) that the network didn’t have any definitive drama lined up to take its place. That changed this week as SBS announced a melodrama called Temptation will be taking over for the strange doctor come July. Likely this production has been in talks for some time and the news just hadn’t leaked yet because a day later Temptation quickly secured its leading man in Kwon Sang Woo. He’s had a pretty good track record with SBS, Yawang (Queen of Ambition) and Daemul were both hits, and going back even further there was even the classic Hallyu melo Stairway to Heaven. His last drama was actually last year’s star-studded medical bomb Medical Top Team over at MBC so maybe Kwon Sang Woo need be sticking with SBS more. Temptation is described as the story of a married man who falls into great debt and in order to save his family and livelihood, he makes a deal with a rich woman for money in exchange for his body.

Not sure what about his “body” she is after exactly, but Kwon Sang Woo does have an impressive physique that’s for sure. Does she want to pimp him out? Does she want him to be her personal kept man? Does she need a chauffeur or butler? There will be two leading ladies in the drama and the two actresses currently in discussions for the project are Yoon Eun Hye in the role of Kwon Sang Woo’s wife while Lee Mi Yeon is being courted to play the rich woman who “tempts” Kwon Sang Woo with her bundles of money. Writing the screenplay will be the pen behind Dr. Jin and Time Between Dog and Wolf while the PD directed Family Honor and Oh My Lady. Nothing at all about this drama either in story, casting, or production team jumps out at me except for Yoon Eun Hye’s name being tossed in the mix. I’m torn between wanting her to do something different and more mature and this sounds like it could be, and then not wanting her to take it because it sounds rather dull and tawdry, not to mention I’m indifferent to Kwon Sang Woo. Hopefully the full cast will be confirmed soon so I can decided whether I’m tempted to follow along or not. Continue reading

Oguri Shun and Yamada Yu Reportedly Expecting a Baby According to Japanese Tabloid

This particular gossip update came out last month but I never got around to posting about it then. I was knee deep getting hooked on Oguri Shun‘s new J-dorama Border (so freaking awesome and unexpectedly funny) so this slipped past me until the rumors surfaced of Matsumoto Jun and Inoue Mao maybe dating for real and perhaps planning to get hitched. It reminded me of Shun and his wifey of two years Yamada Yu and triggered the memory of reading in the April edition of Japanese tabloid magazine Shukan Josei that reportedly Yamada Yu is three months pregnant! Since getting married, Yu has wanted a baby but the couple had trouble conceiving so last year she was referred to a celebrity OB/GYN who specialized in infertility and went in for treatment. Both Yu and Shun are reportedly over-the-moon about the pregnancy but don’t want to confirm the news until the high risk first trimester is over. Yu’s reported pregnancy comes on the heels of the persistent tabloid rumors that Shun is cheating on her. The latest dish involves a tabloid snapping pics of Shun going out to a late dinner with his Lupin the Third costar Kuroki Meisa, who herself is married to Akanishi Jin and has a baby daughter with her husband. Shun’s known Meisa for a long time, ever since they did the Crows Zero movies together, so they could really have been just hanging out. Or not, who knows. The rumors of MatsuJun and Mao tying the knot led me to rewatch Hana Yori Dango and it’s so startling to see how many of the leads in the dorama has gone from playing high school students to hitting their thirties and getting married leading to having babies down the road. It really does feel like the end of an era. Congrats to Shun and Yu if they really are expecting a baby! With their genes that’s going to be a gorgeous little boy or girl, and tall to boot. Continue reading

Dr. Stranger Episode 5 Recap

Yay for more Dr. Stranger energy to kick start my Monday with another dose of crazy fun. It also doesn’t hurt to see gorgeous couple Jae Joon and Soo Hyun steam up the screen with some face-to-face closeness. Episode 5 continues the trend of Park Hoon operating in someone’s chest cavity in each episode, still offering good service to the “Doctor” part of the drama’s title. Sometimes a drama starts off claiming to be about a subject matter and then wholly fails to actually be about said subject matter. So far Dr. Stranger is doing a bang up job on both the medical and the spy stuff even if the handling on both proves to be so ludicrous it borders on science fiction. I’m still waiting for the lens to shine on the two leads that haven’t gotten as much screen time yet, the rival surgeon Jae Joon and the is-she-isn’t-she doppleganger Seung Hee. Dramas often do a disservice to certain leads since it’s hard to pass around the screen time, in this drama I need the currently underdeveloped two to really step up their character development.

Otherwise the fantastic chemistry and great character interactions of Park Hoon and Soo Hyun threaten to leave them in the dust. This drama soars when the characters are called to emote, and right now Seung Hee is as flat as a pancake while Jae Joon remains an angry icicle who may or may not love Soo Hyun for real but definitely is gunning for taking over the hospital. Episode 5 turns the table again on Hoon and he’s kicked out for operating on Soo Hyun’s mom against Chairman Oh’s explicit orders. That gives him more time to look for Jae Hee and a boatload of information is dropped that is contradictory on whether Jae Hee is alive or not. One thing is certain and that is Seung Hee clearly works for evil Comrade Cha on some nefarious plan involving Park Hoon. If she is Jae Hee then what happened to her between falling in the river in Budapest and now? Is it amnesia and brainwashing, or does she remember all about Hoon but the love has turned to hate and she is working to harm him? It’s going to be hard to like antagonistic Seung Hee unless we start seeing her point of view though it does give Hoon more scenes to angst over true love turned to hate. Continue reading

Jin Ah Plans a Hilarious Birthday Celebration with Her Non-oppa Ji Hyuk in Episode 7 of Big Man

My enjoyment of Big Man remains tied to how many Kang Ji Hwan and Jung So Min scenes are in each episode. Currently it’s still one major scene and episode but it’s always something so entertaining I find myself laughing out loud and loving every second of it. Their chemistry is so good I hope they get another drama together to play OTP and just unleash hours of their cuteness together on the world. I’m still underwhelmed by the story proper in Big Man, Lee Da Hee‘s Mi Ra remains boring and boring-er while the return of Daniel Choi‘s Dong Seok has created the oddest schism for me. Dong Seok was shown to have a sweet childhood connection with Mi Ra and when they grew up they fell in love and he was happily planning on proposing when he was struck down by his failing heart. Cut to 5 episodes later and he’s back in the story and has suddenly turned into a possessive sociopath out to destroy Ji Hyuk and keep Mi Ra while she’s abruptly stopped loving him and spends all her time feeling sorry for Ji Hyuk.

I’m going to call this character assassination on Dong Seok for the sake of creating a big antagonist and to let Mi Ra off the hook for having feelings for Ji Hyuk. Otherwise she’s just a very unfaithful girlfriend to a guy who had the misfortune of being born with a heart defect and being part of a family that will use any means to get him a heart transplant. Now that Dong Seok has become as crazy and horrible as his parents, that leaves kooky and angry Jin Ah the sole decent human being in the Kang family. Jin Ah takes matters into her own hands in episode 7 and gets a DNA test that proves he’s not her real oppa and then cooks horrible food, horribly plays the cello, and badgers Ji Hyuk to spend her “birthday” with her since she’s been reborn after kicking her no good suitor to the curb. I love the “love shot” moment (with Ji Hyuk muttering that she’s a psycho) and how she makes him re-sing Happy Birthday when he sings to my beloved dongsaeng and she orders him to sing to my beloved Jin Ah. He totally finds her crazy but puts up with her in ways that make her just like him more. Continue reading

First Teaser and Poster out for Baduk Gambling Movie The Divine Move with Jung Woo Sung and Lee Bum Soo

Charismatic ahjusshi loves of mine Jung Woo Sung and Lee Bum Soo in a movie together? SOLD. This movie was filmed towards the end of last year and Lee Bum Soo sported a hand injury while filming Prime Minister and I last Winter due to the intense filming on the set. It was formerly called God’s Trick but now has the official English title of The Divine Move, which works for me since anything related to God’s something right now conjures up not so good memories of God’s Gift: 14 Days. That watching experience definitely deserves a rewind in time to pick not watching and erase the hurty on the brain. The Divine Move stars Jung Woo Sung as the good guy baduk player who is framed for the murder of his own brother by gambling baddie overlord played by Lee Bum Soo. In prison he learns the skills from a legendary elder played by Ahn Sung Ki and after he gets out he slowly gambles his way up for one final battle against Lee Bum Soo’s character to exact his revenge. It’s basically The Count of Monte Cristo meets the typical HK card gambling flicks from the 90’s. Choi Jin Hyuk plays Lee Bum Soo’s right hand man while Lee Shi Young drops in as the lone female of the story and part of the crew Jung Woo Sung assembles after he gets out of prison. The teaser trailer just came out and looks fantastic, fast and furious and manages to make playing baduk tense and exhilarating. I can’t wait to see Jung Soo Wung and Lee Bum Soo chew up the scenery together and bonus points for them switching up roles as Jung Woo Sung was recently the baddie in Cold Eyes while Lee Bum Soo has been playing a string of super decent fellers like prime minister or cop. Continue reading