Korean Drama | Youth of May

Youth of May is a twelve episode historical drama set in the 1980’s during the Gwangju Uprising. This drama stars Lee Do Hyun and Go Min Si, who played siblings in Sweet Home. The are couple of the year for me. Their chemistry is phenomenal in this drama.

I’m just going to copy/past the synopsis from My Drama List:

Hee Tae becomes the pride of Gwangju when he enters Seoul National University College of Medicine with top marks. His best friend Kyung Soo, an avid pro-democracy activist, insists that they open an illegal clinic for students on the run from the government. One day, a factory worker is injured during a protest. In exchange for the costs of discreetly transporting himself and the factory worker to his hometown, Hee Tae must go to a meeting with a potential marriage partner arranged by his father. At this meeting, Hee Tae meets Myung Hee, a nurse persevering through the hardships of life. She only agrees to go to this meeting in place of her friend Soo Ryeon, because she needs to come up with the airfare to go study in Germany. However, Myung Hee and Hee Tae end up falling in love. In May of 1980, amidst the heated passion and cries for democracy that reverberated throughout Gwangju, Hee Tae and Myung Hee find themselves in a twist of fate.

This drama does have some clichés, like rich man/poor woman, and forbidden love melodrama, but it’s done so well. The romance is so innocent and sweet. I thought at first, there would be a love triangle, but thankfully there isn’t! I absolutely could not stand Soo Ryeon, Myung Hee’s friend! No spoilers though.

The Gwangju Uprising was a terrible part of Korean history, and this drama shows a tiny bit what it was like. During the uprising, the government beat, tortured, raped, and killed many civilians. In the last four episodes, there are some violent scenes. Thankfully no sexual assault is shown, but there are beatings and death.

This show shattered my heart but made me so happy at the same time. If you’re on the fence about watching it, please do. It’s really beautiful and heartbreaking.

Korean Drama | Sweet Home

Over the weekend, I finally watched Sweet Home, and I’m hating myself for not watching it sooner… but I’m also hating myself for watching it lol. I don’t even remember what I was watching when it first came out… I think True Beauty? I think I was too infatuated with Hwang In Yeop to watch anything else. lol

Sweet Home is a ten episode fantasy horror drama based off the webtoon (which I have not read) under the same name by Kim Kan Bi and Hwang Young Chan. After Cha Hyun Soo (Song Kang) moved into an apartment complex, the world is flipped upside down because people are becoming monsters. The show has multiple main characters, and every minute of the show is used well on their stories and developement. There’s a handicapped inventor, a firefighter, a brother and sister duo who are polar opposites, a thug, a swordman, a musician, and many more side characters.

The apartment complex is kind of cool. There’s a little grocery store, a daycare, and an arcade. It’s perfect for being trapped in!

The CGI is kind of bad at times, but the show makes up for it in plot and characters. The first three episodes actually kind of spooked me, I watched them after midnight and I texted my brother saying I couldn’t sleep. 😂

Ten episodes is a good length. Towards the end I was getting a bit restless because it was about to end, and I had no idea what direction the show would take. All I knew going in was how people were complaining about the ending… I hope Netflix plans on a second season because the ending is a big cliffhanger.

The funny thing about this drama is many of my friends who don’t watch Korean dramas, or who make fun of me for watching them loved this!

What I’m Currently Watching

Youth of May

Youth of May is a twelve episode Korean drama set in the 80’s during the Gwangju Uprising. According to My Drama List, this show airs May 3 – June 8, and it’s on Viki.

I’m not too familiar with the Gwangju Uprising, but from what I read online it sounds terrible, and I don’t think this show will have a happy ending at all, but I hope it does!

I didn’t much care for the show after the first episode, and I was going to give it one more episode before dropping it. The second episode is really good. I love the male main lead. I haven’t watched Sweet Home, but those who have might find it a bit weird the siblings from that are playing a couple in this.

Bossam: Steal the Fate

Bossam: Steal the fate is a 20 episode historical drama airing on Viki about a single father in the bossam business. Bossams were a remarriage procedure during the Joseon era when single or widowed men would pay to have widows kidnapped— either consensual or by force— then marry them. Back then widows weren’t allowed to remarry unless it was by bossam, from my understanding.

The male lead accidentally kidnaps the princess, who became a widow the day of her wedding. He and his son try to return her, but things don’t go according to plan.

Of course there’s a potential love triangle. The princess was married off to the brother of the man she loved, and he sets out to find her after she vanishes.

Doom At Your Service

Doom at Your Service is a sixteen episode fantasy RomCom that is my most anticipated drama for the season. Park Bo Young is my favorite Korean actress, she’s so adorable. I also enjoyed Kang Tae Oh in the drama I’ve seen him in. This is also another one on Viki, by the way!

So far, this seems to be unique, and I’m already betting on the male lead dying. lol

Korean Drama | Flower of Evil

Flower of Evil is a sixteen episode (1 hour to 1 hour 20 mins) serial killer murder mystery that’s also a melodrama with a bit of romance.

The story is about Baek Hee Sung (Lee Joon Gi), the son of a serial killer who has been living under a false identity for ~15 years. Not only does he have a false name, he’s married to and has a child with a police officer, and his wife later becomes one of the detectives on his father’s cold case after murders occur.

Is Baek Hee Sung a serial killer like his father? Is there a copycat killer? Prepare for a rollercoaster.

Last year, everyone was hyping up Flower of Evil, and I was interested, but also hesitant because a lot of 2020 dramas were disappointing me. I recently tried watching Descendents of the Sun and got four episodes in before I got bored. I was going through Viki’s free streaming lineup when I saw Flower of Evil would be removed on the 21st, so I decided to watch the show, and man am I hating myself for not watching it sooner.

This drama is a wild ride from beginning to end. Just when you think things are going one way, they go a different direction. Sometimes the twists were too much, and I thought the show should chill with the melodrama, but it kept me excited and entertained from beginning to end. Lee Joon Gi’s acting in this is amazing, and the little girl who played his daughter was adorable. Highly recommend!

Korean Drama | Scripting Your Destiny

Scripting Your Destiny is a 10 episode RomCom fantasy mini series (each episode is around 20 mins) that caught my interest because 1) Ki Do Hoon, who played Yancha in Arthdal Chronicles (I’m a Yangcha + Tanya shipper) is the male lead, and he looks so much like Gong Yoo, and 2) Kim Eun Sook was the executive producer! She has written many dramas such as Goblin, The King: Eternal Monarch, Mr. Sunshine, Descendents of the Sun, etc.

Shin Ho Yoon (Ki Do Hoon) is a deity who can create human destinies by writing things in a book. Each human has a book on their life, and there are multiple deities. Go Chae Kyung (Jeon So Nee) is a dramawriter, living with her mother in an apartment complex owned by Shin Ho Yoon. In the past, she had written a romance story essay, and Shin Yo Yoon uses it to write the romance in her life.

At the end of the story, Go Chae Kyung kills off the female, so Shin Ho Yoon writes that she would die, and is filled with regret. Not only that, he starts getting feelings for Go Chae Kyung, which threatens his position.

The story was good, just super rushed. There are many things that reminded me of the dramas Goblin and Black, and the book aspect reminded me of Death Note. I would have liked to have seen 10-12 if not 16 episodes that were much longer, and really expanded the story, and had more depth to the character’s relationships. In the last two episodes, the backstory of the characters are revealed and it all just felt so rushed. Plus, there’s zero closure, since there’s a bittersweet open ending.

There are some things that annoyed me, but they’re spoilers, so read no further if you don’t want to be spoiled!

The deities are forbidden from developing emotions towards humans. They can’t save their lives, get angry or jealous, or fall in love. If they do, they’re respawned and human memories of them are erased. The very beginning mentions how the deities writing love stories in the destiny books could experience love to write better… Is it when they act on it that breaks the rules? Was that a mistranslation? A plot hole?

I also don’t understand how Shin Ho Yoon’s regret and wanting to change what he had written wasn’t breaking the rules. Then in the last episodes we find out that Shin Ho Yoon had respawned multiple times because he kept coming across Go Chae Kyung. Each time he caught emotions, he would start over with no memories, and her memories of him would be gone, too. The show ends after he respawns and finds letters from her in his apartment mailbox, and it’s doomed to repeat again.

I would have liked to have seen a way he could become human, or since she was a writer in her life, she could become a deity who writes destinies. 😩

Korean Drama | The Legend of the Blue Sea

The Legend of the Blue Sea is a twenty episode fantasy RomCom about a mermaid and a human man. This drama first aired in 2016, and is currently free to watch on Viki, and some countries may be able to view it on Netflix (or you could use a VPN 👀).

My Drama List mislead me a bit with this show. The synopsis says, “How can a mermaid from the Joseon era survive in modern society?” I thought it was about a mermaid who somehow found her way into the future, but really she and the main lead were reincarnated past lovers.

The story is told in two time periods. The main story is modern, while the second story is when the mermaid and man first met in their past lives. The modern story is about a mermaid washing up on shore and meeting a con artist who uses her for her expensive jade bracelet. She follows him from Spain to Korea, and meets his little crew of con artists. While in Korea, there’s a serial killer and family drama to add even more entertainment to the mix.

When the mermaid first appears, she is very naive and has to learn how to be human. She has a lot of character development throughout the show, but still remains fun and unique. One thing I missed were the silly super strength scenes shown at the beginning. Once her identity was revealed, it would have been fun to see scenes with her strength again.

I found the first two episodes a bit cringy, and almost stopped watching. The historical flash backs that started appearing intrigued me, so I kept watching… and I’m glad I finished the show! I was looking for something cute to watch, and this was a good choice.

Korean Drama | Mr. Queen

Jang Bong Hwang is a modern era chef working in the Blue House. One night he falls and hits his head under water and wakes up in the body of Kim So Yong, a woman hundreds of years ago who has been assigned to be the next queen. Kim So Yong’s husband, King Cheol Jong is a puppet king- a king only by name, as the former queen and her brother compete for power.

The drama starts off with Bong Hwang in So Yong’s body the day before her wedding. Viewers will learn how So Young also fell into water, and there’s a mystery of how she fell. Was it a murder attempt by the king’s concubine, or an opposing clan? An accident? Suicide?

Not only is there the mystery of Kim So Yong’s fall into water, Bong Hwang is learning about palace politics, discovers So Yong’s cousin was in love with her, and discovers the king has a secret.

This is a hilarious show that’s such a refreshing take on historical dramas. Bong Hwang was a player, and his masculine voice narrates his thoughts as he sees beautiful women. Shin Hye Sun deserves an award for this show. Her acting was on point and amazing.

Korean Drama | True Beauty

True Beauty is a sixteen episode romantic comedy loosely based off the webtoon under the same name created by Yaongyi (Kim Na Young). I read about 40 chapters of the webtoon before I decided to stop and just watch the show.

The drama is about a high school student who was going to commit suicide after being bullied for her appearance. After mastering makeup and transferring schools, she becomes popular, and two guys start to fight over her. It sounds and looks really dumb, but it’s surprisingly good. I had such low expectations, but was blown away with how funny and addicting the show was. lol

After a few episodes, the show becomes more of a coming of age story than a high school drama. The story also shows the lives of a few other characters, and there’s three other side romances. It’s a cute, fun, and fluffy (for the most part) drama with tragic second lead syndrome. I think Start-Up was preparing K-drama viewers for heartache. 😂😭

I originally wanted to watch this show for ASTRO’s Cha Eun Woo… but like a lot of the viewers, I’ve become Hwang In Yeop trash. Once I catch up with/finish Mr. Queen I might watch his previous dramas. 😬

Minor spoilers: If you read the webtoon, a lot of the scenes that were Seo Jun’s go to Su Ho.

Korean Drama | The Uncanny Counter

The Uncanny Counter is a 16 episode Korean drama based on the webcomic “Kyeongirowoon Somoon” written by Jang Yi. I have not read the comic, so I cannot tell you if the series is loyal to the written material.

This show is about people who run a noodle shop by day, and hunt evil spirits/demons at night. The main lead was injured in a car accident as a child and loses his parents. He later becomes the youngest demon/spirit hunter (which are called Counters). Each Counter has a supernatural ability such as healing, super strength, sensing the location of demons, etc.

There’s an evil spirit tied to a murder mystery, and one of the counters has no memory of their life before being a counter. I really don’t know how to explain the plot without spoiling anything, but it is a fun and engaging show and I’m excited if there’s really going to be a second season. It kind of reminded me of Shadowhunters and Supernatural at times.

Dramas I’m Currently Watching

Last week, I shared what dramas I watched in the second half of 2020. Today, I’m sharing what dramas I’m currently watching. I usually watch 2-3 currently airing dramas on Viki and Netflix. This month, there are multiple dramas I’m interested in, so I had to really narrow down which ones I wanted to watch first to prevent myself from being overwhelmed!

True Beauty

True Beauty is loosely based off the webtoon under the same name created by Yaongyi (Kim Na Young). I read about 40 chapters before I decided to stop and just watch the show.

The drama is about high school student who was going to commit suicide after being bullied for her appearance. After mastering makeup and transferring schools, she becomes popular. Two guys start to fight over her, and one of them knows what she really looks like. It sounds and looks really dumb, but it’s surprisingly good and really addicting.

I originally wanted to watch this show for ASTRO’s Cha Eun Woo… but like a lot of the viewers, I’ve become Hwang In Yeop trash. I had no idea he was the swordsman in The Tale of Nokdu (one of my favorite historical dramas, btw).

The Uncanny Counter

The Uncanny Counter is based on the webcomic “Kyeongirowoon Somoon” written by Jang Yi.

This show is about people who run a noodle shop by day, and hunt demons at night. The main lead was injured in a car accident as a child and loses his parents. He later becomes the youngest demon hunter (which are called Counters). Each Counter has a supernatural ability such as healing, super strength, sensing the location of demons, etc.

I’m a few weeks behind on the show, but so far I’m really enjoying it and think it will stand out among all the other 2020/2021 dramas.

A Love So Beautiful

This is a Korean remake of the 2017 Chinese drama with the same title.

The story follows five teenagers through high school, and if it’s sticking to the original story it will also follow them into early adulthood.

Compared to the original Chinese show, the Korean remake is not only set at a faster pace, but each episode is only around 20 minutes. While I like the character development of the Chinese version, the Korean version has a better pacing. The one thing that I will complain about now is how the female lead is played by a woman in her late twenties. She looks way too old to be playing a teenager, and it’s very awkward at times.

Mr. Queen

Mr. Queen was adapted from the novel Tai Zi Fei Sheng Zhi Ji by Xian Chen. There is a 2015 Chinese drama titled “Go Princess, Go!” based off the story.

This is a such a fun, fresh, and hilarious drama about a arrogant and woman obsessed man from our time period who switches bodies with the queen from I think the ~1800’s Joseon dynasty (I don’t remember the exact year).

The School Nurse Files

The School Nurse Files is the only drama on this list that is complete. This is hands down one of the strangest shows I have ever watched. The story is about a school nurse who has the ability to see creatures made from jelly that come from the desires of humans. She teams up with the school’s Chinese teacher, who has some kind of special energy, and solves weird and disgusting problems on campus.

Really, you have to go into this show with no expectations. It’s so out of the norm, and weird. Did I mention weird? So weird.