Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mini Reviews: Sly And Single Again, I Need Romance 3, and Nine: Nine Times Time Travel


I'm all backed up on reviews, so here go some mini reviews on a few of the shows we've finished in these lazy days of summer. It's kind of an odd mix of shows, but I gotta shake things up sometimes!

Mini Review #1: Sly And Single Again/Cunning Single Lady


A mini review in text messages:


...And that pretty much sums it up. Even from the first episodes, Coco was way more complimentary than I was, but the show did grow on me. It was a light, fluffy romance, but I wasn't on the edge of my seat for new episodes. 

The leads had some cute moments together, but I never felt fully connected to either one of them, and the two second leads mostly drove me crazy by the end of the show. I will say that the title Cunning Single Lady is pretty misleading because it sets up the female as some scheming gold digger, which she isn't. If anything, she becomes a more reasonable and well-rounded person far earlier than her male counterpart did. Even when he liked her, he was so mean to her for so long that I got a little irritated. That being said, the last couple of episodes were excellent. They tied everything together with a giant, fluffy bow.

Conclusions: It's fun enough and cute enough, but it doesn't have much new to offer to the K-drama romcom table.

Where to watch Sly and Single Again/Cunning Single Lady:


Mini Review 2: I Need Romance 3


Good things: Sung Joon playing a first male lead who apparently stole all of his moves from second male leads. The office friendship. Side romances.

Not-so-good-things: The female lead had the emotional sense of a used bad-aid. Are those lacking in emotion? Because that's what came to mind first. I love Sung Joon, but watching him tell his love what to do and how to feel for a billion episodes got tiring. It's pretty telling that I enjoyed the scenes where he was doing nice things by himself far more than the scenes where he was actually interacting with the female lead. That's not Kim So Yeon's fault. That's the writer's fault.

Conclusions:   A warm, lightweight romance that works for girls who love second lead types or Sung Joon. For people who watch a lot of dramas, though, the outcome of the entire show might feel so inevitable that it's hard to care about anything that happens in the middle. One look at the poster, and you know where the whole thing is headed.  The central love square just goes through the required motions until they kill enough time to film the finale, which is sad because I might be the only person on the planet who actually liked Tae Yoon until they turned him into a romantic obstacle. 

Where to watch I Need Romance 3:

Mini Review 3: Nine: Nine Times Time Travel


This drama might win for worst title ever (and it's a strong contender for worst female bowl cut ever). It's redundant and weird and didn't make me want to watch the show at all, but I'm happy that Rosie's incessant gushing about this series convinced me to give it a try. 

Good things: I'm very, very picky about time travel logic. I don't care about shows where people travel to the future, but any time people travel into the past, I immediately start to ask questions. Most time travel movies just make stuff up and do what they want, and it drives me crazy. (If you want to see a movie that actually treats time travel with respect, see Twelve Monkeys). The good news is that Nine sets many of its own rules, and it actually keeps those rules pretty faithfully. There are a few minor exceptions, but it's the smartest entry into the K-drama time travel genre that I have seen to date. 

I also liked how the series set the stakes right away. I'm not saying that the lead couple should be making out onscreen in episode 1 of every series, but it was interesting to see a show start with the relationship and then explore what happens when it is taken away. Sure, the romantic tension wasn't always there, but it was a fresh approach to K-drama romance.

A lot of people hated the conclusion. I didn't. But I will say that "I am the incense!" is one of the most idiotic things I have ever heard. What does that even mean?

Not-so-good things: This guy:


Everyone else was acting their butts off and trying to give us a drama with real emotional weight, and he was doing cartoon surprised faces in the corner. And not multiple different cartoon faces. The same. Freaking. Face. This is why I was't happy to see him reprising a villain role in You Are All Surrounded. 

People warned me that it would take about four episodes to get into this show. People were right. I'm so glad I stuck it out because I was bored out of my mind at first, but then I got to enjoy a smart, interesting series.

Conclusions: I watched bits and pieces of this show with five different people who never watch dramas, and they were all intrigued. With good reason. It's some of the best drama writing I have seen.

Where to watch Nine:
Viki

P.S. I dropped Bride of the Century around episode 8. I just couldn't do it. Sorry, not sorry.

24 comments:

  1. Re INR3 "A warm, lightweight romance that works for girls who love second lead types or Sung Joon. For people who watch a lot of dramas, though, the outcome of the entire show might feel so inevitable that it's hard to care about anything that happens in the middle."

    I'm not a girl, or even female, and I think watching an average of 6-7 Dramas a month is, if not "a lot", then at least not a little, but I still cared about what happened in the middle. Yes it was predictable, but 999/1000 Dramas are, so that's not the issue for me. It was a light confection, but I thought there was plenty to be interested in, especially with Wang Ji Won's character and the next-door-neighbour parents. Oh, and from the male perspective, let's not forget the Best.Use.Of.LeopardPrint.Ever in a KDrama.

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  2. I gave up on Nine after two episodes and I Need Romance 3 after a few episodes because I couldn't stand the female lead. Maybe I should try Nine again, but I'm so busy I only end up putting in the time to watch entire shows that I love beginning to end. That's funny you never finished Bride of the Century. That has been my favorite drama of the year and probably in my top 10 list. The only drama I'm really into right now is You're All Surrounded, but seriously is there something else great out there that I'm missing? Nothing sounds appealing to me and I normally like to watch two currently airing shows at a time.

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  3. Is kdrama.com a legal streaming site like dramafever and viki? I only
    ask because I'm always seeing links when I do random drama google
    searches for a couple sites other then dramafever and viki, and I really
    want to check those sites out, but I'm paranoid, because of the whole
    six strikes thing (of which our internet provider takes part. and they
    definitely enforce it. I know from experience). I don't know if they're
    paying attention to sites that post dramas without permission, but I
    figure it's better to be safe then sorry.

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  4. kdrama.com license dramas, its the same parent company as crunchyroll.

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  5. Two very different Dramas you might want to check out are King of HIgh School for comedy and the excellent Yoona's Street if low-key realism is your thing.

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  6. Ah! Thanks! I will definitely check them out then.

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  7. Aaaand it won't let me sign up for some reason. I'm guessing you have to have a paying account on Crunchyroll in order to sign up for kdrama?

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  8. Oh, I loved the side characters, especially the neighbor parents! They were a highlight of the show for me. I liked the friendship development with Wang Ji Won's character, but her love story didn't interest me much. I don't generally mind predictability, but I think what made me bored in this one was that the love square felt manufactured for the sake of having stuff happen on the screen. There wasn't much weight behind Joo Yeon's story with Tae Yoon because it felt like filler. Then again, plenty of dramas have filler. I don't know why it made me extra bored this time around!

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  9. I felt like Nine was absolutely worth the watch after episode 4. Before that, I didn't really see the big deal. Maybe I need to give Bride of the Century another chance. I just didn't really like the leads.


    I feel the same way about the last batch of dramas. I'm very invested in watching You Are All Surrounded, but that's it for the moment. I watched Witch's Romance, which was great for the first half, but struggled in the second half. I'm going to test the first few episodes of King of High School, Trot Lovers, and Joeseon Gunman this week to see if there's anything worth watching. I'll let you know how it goes!

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  10. Yes, as zafinah said, they're a legal streaming site. It's odd that it won't let you sign up. I have never had a Crunchyroll account, but I have been able to use kdrama just fine. Then again, they set up my account for me at the beginning when they were trying to get word out about the site.

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  11. Well I understand why you don't like Bride of the Century then. Even if there is a great story, I'd probably still drop it if I don't like the leads. I didn't realize Joeseon Gunman started this week, so I'll have to watch it!

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  12. I don't know why it's not working. I type in all the information to sign up, then they show me a page talking about Kdrama premium, and the only button I can click says 'get started.' But I don't want a paid account. I just want a free one with commercials. Do they not have basic free accounts as an option? Do you have to pay to set up an account?

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  13. I didn't have problems setting up a free account. I didn't use a crunchyroll id as it's my daughter who has a crunchyroll acct. I get a button to skip the premium membership setup. Maybe send in a support request.

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  14. And, just so you know. You can also watch Kdrama on roku. They have some free dramas with minimum ads, so you don't even have to pay to watch some dramas practically ad free. I just started watching the "Fugitive of Joseon" on Roku Kdrama yesterday and I was impressed with the quality of the show and subs. It's challenging me to see if I want to keep up my Dramafever subscription. :-)

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  15. I dumped Nine too, after the first five episodes. I was surprised to read rave reviews on Dramabeans about it, as I didn't see what the fuss was about. But to each his own, I felt that way about Gakistal too, I dropped it midway because the plot was driving me crazy and never felt the need to check it out again, that was another drama that was all the rave on DB.


    I found "I Need Romance 3", kind of trite and boring. Sung Joon's character seemed a little pompous, always spouting out theories and advice without any real experience to back it up. Compared to " I Need Romance 1", in my humble opinion, this version was a drop in quality. So I watched the first few episodes, and then the last few. My opinion, good, just not great.


    "Cunning Single Lady" - I dumped a third way through. I have all the same views about the drama that Vivi does, but I suspect I'm getting jaded from watching so many of them. For a romance drama to work for me, it has to have a little extra "oomph", otherwise you're just watching the same drama over and over again, with different leads, actors and settings.


    "Bride of the Century", I loved though, right until the last two episodes which were kind of a disappointment. But the two leads had chemistry that could melt ice, and the lead actress did a bang up job. The amazing thing is that I find the older rom-coms (such as Coffee Prince, Goong, Secret Garden, Boys Over Flowers and so on) much more interesting that the newer ones and I wonder why this is so. And it's not because I watched them ages ago, I recently just completed Goong and while it dragged on for more episodes than it was worth, I still found it very captivating.

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  16. I don't have a Roku, or I would definitely do that. I just love having all of these options for places to watch dramas. I have a viki account, a dramafever account, and if they'll let me, I'll have a Kdrama account. Someday I want to get a roku as well, but that's a ways in the future right now, lol.

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  17. I've sent them one today. They really need to explain setting up an account, because there is no tab anywhere on the site talking about having a basic account versus having a premium one. Just that silly page after you put in some of your information that makes it look like you are signing up for a premium account. I don't like unexpected 'surprises' like that.

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  18. I just signed up with kdrama.com. After you enter your signup information and get to that advertising screen, you just click on the kdrama logo and it takes you back to the main page. Siince you've already set up an account, I bet you can just go to the main page and sign in now.

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  19. Nope. I tried that, and it won't let me log in.

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  20. King of High School and Trot Lovers are soooo adorable so far. They've maneuvered their way into my favorites among the dramas I'm watching. But yes, Witch's Romance most definitely struggled during the second half. And I blame it all on Shi Hoon. I hate you Shi Hoon! *waves fist at the sky*

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  21. Did you ever get Kdrama.com to work?

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  22. Yeah. I ended up having to link it to my crunchyroll account. I didn't really want to link them, but oh well.

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  23. You could try hulu, most stuff on there is free, but it does include ad breaks

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