Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Currently Watching: The Heirs, Mi-rae's Choice, Pretty Man, Reply 1994

It's gotten really bad, this addiction of mine. I think this is the most number of dramas that I've ever attempted to watch simultaneously. By simultaneously, I don't mean I have 5 different screens simultaneously airing 5 different dramas. But If I could do that and still completely understand what I'm watching, I would. That would cut down on my drama-watching time significantly.

Aside from watching currently airing dramas, I'm also watching an older drama that has been on my to-watch list for so long. Also, I'm revisiting a favorite from last year. So without further ado, here are the dramas that are currently taking up most of my time.

1. THE HEIRS - As frustrating as it is to watch two overgrown teenage boys playing tug-o-war - sometimes emotionally and most times literally - with a tiny girl, I'm stuck to this drama like glue. For one, it does have a stellar cast - although most of them are underutilized and left in the background.

Aside from the main love triangle, I'm loving all the minor relationships in the drama. The mothers are awesome. Yoon Chan-young and Lee Bo-na are adorable. Well, Lee Bo-na is just all-around wonderful - and here I thought I was going to dislike her. I'm glad they took Krystal's character in a different direction because it's quite too easy to make her haughty, possessive, self-important role and turn her into a mean girl. It also must be said that characters like Lee Hyo-shin and Jo Myung-soo keep me sane.

We have 6 more episodes and I'm hoping we find some believable character growth in our main leads before the finale. If not, I will have wasted 20 hours of my drama-watching life that I could have very well used to re-watch City Hunter, a drama I actually liked Lee Min-ho in.

2. MI-RAE'S CHOICE - While I'm more sympathetic towards the male leads in this drama, the Noble Idiot act that both Oppa and Kim Shin are pulling in the recent episodes are frustrating. I thought my annoyance would be reserved for Ahjumma Mi-rae, but no. The boys are starting to aggravate as well.

I'm just glad I'm still fully behind Mi-rae every step of the way. Because it's one thing to gripe about Noble Idiots and another thing entirely to have no heroine to support. I'm happy Mi-rae is not just likeable, but she's also shown the most character growth in the drama. She's no longer the weak pushover who was happy with being mediocre. Now, she has an actual dream and a goal to work towards. There's no way in hell she's ending up with Ahjumma Mi-rae's life and problems. She's above all that now and her growth has been fun to witness. Honestly, she needs neither men right now.

Here's to hoping that the final episodes redeem Kim Shin's decision to be an ass towards Mi-rae (to spare her from a future that hasn't even happened yet). I mean, we all know Mi-rae ends up with him, right? Park Se-joo may be awesome, but Mi-rae's just not feeling him. Sad. My Shin-woo feels are resurfacing. Let me love you, Shin-woo hyung!

3. PRETTY MAN - Come to think of it, we have Shin-woo and Go Mi-nam in separate dramas this season, and with the premiere of Pretty Man last week, Hwang Tae-kyung is back as well. All we need right now is for Lee Hong-ki to get himself a drama and my A.N.Jell babies will be complete.

That aside, Pretty Man had a pretty strong premiere week. In my personal opinion, that is. I'm not sure how it rated against The Heirs, who shares the same time slot, but I thought the first 2 episodes showed promise. While I was expecting fluff and cuteness, what I was not expecting was depth and mystery. I should have taken more note of KBS's decision to use Bel Ami as its international title, a reference to the Guy De Maupassant novel. Clearly, we're delving into darker and more emotional corners here.

I'm glad then that they have both Jang Geun-suk and IU on board. Both actors can do comedy and drama quite well. While Jang Geun-suk has a tendency to overact, it bodes well for the drama that he is also a very nuanced actor where multiple emotions come across with a single look.

Though they are of different genres, and are as different as night and day in treatment and aesthetics, what immediately comes to mind with the characterizations in Pretty Man is the 2007 drama Que Sera Sera. That character-driven drama tackled similar themes - an abusive relationship between a simple girl and a gold-digging womanizer. So while both lead characters in Pretty Man are completely flawed, I'm excited to see how working with each other will change them. Because that's where we're headed, right? Right?!

4. REPLY 1994 - While I'm not liking how long this drama is seeming to be (20 one-hour-long episodes?!), I can't help but love its plot points and characters. A lot of the plotting is similar to its predecessor, Reply 1997, and yet it doesn't exactly feel the same.

What this drama does so well, as with 1997, is how they tackle real-life situations without aggrandizing these occurrences. First loves, first heartbreaks, one-sided loves, friendship, family - the drama finds these precious moments in the lives of our characters and highlights the emotions without amplifying them. It's very day-in-the-life and can easily make a wrong turn towards the mundane, but it doesn't. It's quite beautiful.

Because of the longer format, compared to 1997's total of 16 30-minute back-to-back episodes, 1994 actually jerks us around more in the question of who Na-jung ends up with. Is it Oppa? Is it Chilbongie? No, it's Oppa, right? Nope, Chilbongie? No! It's Haitai! Team Haitai for the win!

5. SCHOOL 2013 - Truth be told, while School 2013 is on my list of favorite dramas, I actually haven't watched the entire drama. I used to watch it on KBS World when it aired late 2012 to early this year. And on those days I couldn't watch, I'd immediately go find the recaps on dramabeans while promising myself I'd download the episode eventually. I never did. So I finished the series half by watching it on tv, and half by reading the recaps online. I cheated and I'm sorry.

So now, with the vast onslaught of Lee Jong-suk and Kim Woo-bin feels (from both I Hear Your Voice and The Heirs), I've decided to revisit School 2013. Properly, this time around. I'm still on episode 2 (I started last night, to be fair) but the feels are already there. Heung-soo isn't even around yet and I'm already itching for his appearance and the promise of angst-y bromance. I luff them.

6. WHITE CHRISTMAS - This drama has been on my list for the longest time. I actually started watching it several times before but never got past the first episode because of one thing or another. But I've always been told of how awesome it is and that I absolutely must see it. I actually have no excuses seeing how it's only 8 episodes long. And this is it. I swear.

I'm not going to deny the fact that the driving force behind watching White Christmas is, once again, Kim Woo-bin. He is awesome and I just need more of him. Not to mention the very many other model-actors in this drama. Apparently I have a thing for them. Lee Soo-hyuk, Hong Jong-hyun, Sung Joon - I love them all. If only Lee Jong-suk were in this drama too. HA.

7. WE GOT MARRIED - In this variety-docu series, I'm still totally invested in the relationship of Taemin and Na-eun so I do try to stay away from the crazy things the fans have to say online. I don't need the netizen-driven drama to enjoy this couple, thank you very much.

I've also started to watch the 2 new couples: Jung-Jung Couple and the Yoon-han couple. I actually love Jung Joon-young and Jung Yumi together. They are hilarious and complete opposites, yet so awesome together.

To be honest, I'm thinking of dropping Yoon-han and his wife (I don't even remember her name). While I think they are cute and a perfect match, they bore me to tears. They should just get it over with and get married in real life. I loved Yoon-han even before he got on board the We Got Married train and he's an awesome singer and pianist, but this show is showing me how dull he is. Everything is just so damn serious with them. I can't. My older friends absolutely love it but I'd rather have more of Taemin and Na-eun's adorable first love instead.

So these are the shows I've been busy with on a weekly basis. It's insane. And yet, there are still other shows I watch every now and then, on top of my already busy drama-watching schedule. There's that adorable show Tablo and his daughter are on, Superman is Back. Cuteness overload, seriously. And then, of course, there's Running Man. And I also have to try to tune into the new season of 1 Night 2 Days, if only to check out the rapport between the new cast members and to see if the new PD is any good.

Ugh. I'm so ready to hibernate. Is it December yet? I need a breather. From work, that is. I'm probably just going to keep watching all these dramas (and the upcoming new ones) during my Christmas break.
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