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My Korean Drama & Film Lists

WATCHING NOW & WATCHING NEXT
DRAMAS I’VE SEEN (all episodes)
DRAMAS I’VE SEEN (some episodes)
MY “DRAMAS TO WATCH” LIST
KOREAN FILMS I’VE SEEN
FILMS ABOUT KOREA
OTHER ASIAN FILMS
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My Korean Drama Lists – WATCHING NOW ^
  • Marriage Contract
My Korean Drama Lists – WATCHING NEXT ^
  • Lily Fever – The The Korea Communications Standards Commission (which Wikipedia identifies as Korea’s internet censorship agency) urged Korean search engine Naver to censor links to this lesbian-themed Kdrama, which made me want to watch it out of defiance alone, but I am also interested in the evolution of attitudes towards lesbians and gays in Korea.

    The agency objected because the drama “incited sexual curiosity and tempted viewers to imitate the acts in practice” thus “violating social orders in terms of ethical values.”

    Sexual curiosity?! On, no, not that – anything but that! The KCSC needn’t worry, however. Lesbians are born, not made.

    As for ethical values, you mean, like censorship and discrimination?

    The usual argument in this kind of situation is that it pollutes the mind of youth, but in reality, youths who are not lesbian or gay will not be made so by watching videos (seriously), and don’t youth who ARE lesbian and gay deserve love stories, too? Here’s a brief review from the AfterEllen blog.

    I’d wish I could credit idol Jei of the Kpop group Fiestar for her political courage, but campaigning for social justice is probably not her motivation, given that Fiestar’s song One More was banned by TV network MBC in 2014 for its purported allusions to threesomes.

My Korean Drama Lists – DRAMAS I’VE SEEN (all episodes) ^
My Korean Drama Lists – DRAMAS I’VE SEEN (some episodes) ^

This list includes dramas I caught a random episode or two of while channel surfing, dramas I started watching but didn’t like, dramas I caught intermittently, and dramas I joined mid-stream but didn’t go back to catch up with.

  • Queen Seonduk
  • Grand Chef | Gourmet
  • Alone in Love
  • Joseon X-Files: Secret Book | Secret Investigation Record
  • Poseidon
  • My Bittersweet Life | The Women of Our Home
  • Ojakgyo Family | Ojakgyo Brothers
  • My One and Only | Only You | Just You
  • Brain
  • Gwanggaeto, The Great Conqueror
  • Dear My Sister
  • Wild Romance
  • Park Huiseol, Maiden Detective – Review
  • Queen of the Game
  • Dream High 2
  • Sent from Heaven | I Need a Fairy – Thoughts (see comments)
  • Questionable Family
  • Summer Beach
  • The Devil
  • Moon and Stars for You
  • Bridal Mask
  • The Innocent Man | Nice Guy
  • My Husband Got a Family – Mid-Series Review | Final Thoughts
  • Love, My Love
  • Sungkyunkwan Scandal
  • Cheer Up, Mr. Kim
  • Samsaengi
  • Dear You | Beloved
My Korean Drama Lists – DRAMAS TO WATCH ^

In no particular order…

  • Vampire Prosecutor – Season 2
  • Phoenix
  • Tree with Deep Roots
  • Yi San
  • I Am Legend
  • Jewel in the Palace
  • Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi
  • Hometown of the Legend
  • Painter of the Wind
  • Sad Temptation
  • Moon That Embraces the Sun
  • Dae Mul
  • Kimchi Family
  • Queen Seonduk
  • Jejoongwon
  • Sign
  • Shoot for the Star
  • Great Merchant Kim ManDeok
MY KOREAN DRAMA LISTS – KOREAN FILMS I’VE SEEN ^
  • Stoker (2013) – Review
  • In Another Country 다른 나라에서 (2012) – Review
  • Masquerade (Gwanghae) 광해, 왕이 된 남자 (2012) – Review
  • Spellbound | Chilling Romance | Eerie Romance | Chilly Romance 오싹한 연애 (2011) – Review
  • The Recipe (Doenjang) 된장 (2010) – Review
  • My Girlfriend is an Agent (7th Level Civil Servant) 7급 공무원 (2009)
  • Paradise 파라다이스 (2009)
  • The Relation of Face, Mind and Love 눈에 콩깍지 (2009)
  • Crossing the Line 푸른 눈의 평양시민 (North Korea, 2006)
  • The Shadowless Sword 무영검 (2005) – Review
  • Memories of Murder 살인의 추억 (2003)
  • A Tale of Two Sisters 장화, 홍련 (2003) – Review
  • Terror Taxi (Ghost Taxi) – 공포 택시 (2000) – Review
MY KOREAN DRAMA LISTS – FILMS ABOUT KOREA ^
  • Crossing the Line (2006 – UK)
  • The Women Outside (1995 – US)
OTHER ASIAN FILMS ^
  • Peepli Live (2010 – India)
  • The Most Distant Course (2007 – Taiwan) – Review
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000 – Taiwan)

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58 comments to My Korean Drama & Film Lists

  • hey.. could plz tell me the webs tht write english sub of my one and only !! could plz send me a link or something thxs

    • Mihansa

      I am watching it on a local TV station, which broadcasts KBS World. I believe you can stream KBS World live from their website for about $6/month. If you are searching online, you should also try looking under “Just You,” which is another version of the title in English.

  • Gloria

    i tried to check !! but they don’t have :( if u knw the wbsite tht i free t watch ! tht will be much better :)

    • Mihansa

      Sorry, since I’m watching it on TV, I don’t know anything about online sources. If you have cable TV, check the stations you get and see if one of them is KBS World. Here’s a link to a page with info about KBS World availability on cable networks and broadcast stations in the US and Canada. KBS World shows My One and Only every weekday. Hope that helps.

  • gentlemansdignityever

    Please include A Gentleman’s Dignity in your korean drama lists. I’m so sure you’ll like it. For me, it is one of the best korean drama for 2012.

  • Mihansa

    Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll check it out. What did you like about it?

    • americanajumma

      I loved this drama too and the songs by BigBabyDriver and Lee Jong Hun from CNBLUE are great. This was a realistic drama that shows the lives and friendships of 4 40 something year old friends and the females in their lives.

  • americanadjumma

    @Gloria
    If you are in the US, here are the websites that I use to watch Kdramas for free. Some dramas are clearer on the different sites so I just check them all out to see which one is going to be clearer for that drama. These all have Eng subs.
    epdrama.com (commercial free each episdode comes in 4-5 segments)
    dramacrazy.net (few commercials between segments)
    dramafever (full episodes with commercials)
    Hulu (full episodes with commercials)

    If you have a netflix account they do have a limited # of kdramas there. They are hard to search for so the best thing is to do a google search 1st and look at the lists that other people have kindly taken the time to compile.

    Hope this is helpful!

  • americanajumma

    Two dramas I recently watched and liked were

    Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (geared towards under 25 yo’s) Cute and light, happy but realistic ending

    and
    9 end 2 outs/ Bottom of 9th with 2 outs (geared towards 30yo+) a lot of Kdramas have unrealistic plots/relationships (which don’t get me wrong are fun and entertaining for example Lie to Me, You’re Beautiful and My Girl etc.) but after watching a ton of those in a row, this one was a nice break by being very realistic and still had a nice ending.

    My ALL TIME FAVORITE Kdrama to date (I’ve seen tons!) is still Secret Garden. The combo of comedy, magicalness (I realize not a real word), melodrama and romance to me made it the perfect Kdrama. The OST is amazing too!

    Also, as a side note, I never watch more than one drama at a time. I find that it is much more enjoyable to just watch one at a time. I feel that I can’t stop myself from comparing them when I do and then I can’t fully enjoy either one. Also, I NEVER read reviews on how they are going to end, I think it ruins the show!

    • Mihansa

      I’m with you, I tend to watch one at a time, and I also like to be surprised about the ending. I always try to give spoiler warnings in my reviews – I hate reviews that tell you the whole story!

      Maybe I should check out Secret Garden. I’ve heard it mentioned before, but I’m intrigued by your mention of magicalness. Did you mean literally? Glory Jane/Young Love Jae In/Man of Honor was the first complete non-sageuk drama I watched, and my favorite thing about it was the occasional appearance of a magical person or object.

      • americanajumma

        Definitely check out Secret Garden. Yes, literally a little magic (or help from the heavens?) is involved. If you give me your age group I might have more movie suggestions for you. As my name implies I am not a youngster so may night like the same dramas, but I’m young enough to know what the under 25’s will probably like.

        • Mihansa

          I’m over 25. That’s all I’m saying :)

          OK, Secret Garden it is, as soon as I finish Damo. Unless Vampire Prosecutor Season 2 debuts this weekend in the US as it will in Korea. Did you see VP Season 1?

      • ACuriousPerson

        Recommend you to watch the following Korean Dramas:
        Baker King (Start slow, but show you what principle and determination will get you)
        Dal Ja’s Spring (like the humor)
        What’s Up Fox
        The Gentlemen’s Dignity
        Phantom
        Me Too Flower! (under-rated, with interesting storyline of some elements: self-discovery, facing darksides, etc…)
        Bachelors Vegetable Store
        Padam Padam…
        Brain
        Hero (Fight against the powerful News Corperation)
        Giant (Can one take down the “Giant”(aka someone who is very powerful and destructive) ? )
        The Vineyard Man (What does Hardwork really mean ?)
        49 days (About humans and life are impermanent, Friendship, and death)

  • americanajumma

    Nope, haven’t seen it yet, but since your the 3rd person to mention this one this past week I’m thinking I’ll start it!

    • Mihansa

      You’ll probably continue to hear a lot about it, as the first season was a big hit, and the second season just started last weekend (in Korea. Here in the US we’re waiting impatiently for subtitles). It’s not the first Korean drama to combine the supernatural with police-procedural, but season one was very stylish. Yeon Jeong Hun is an extremely charismatic actor, and he had great chemistry with Lee Won Jong. They weren’t quite sure what to do with Lee Young Ah, the potential love interest and spunky heroine, but she also had great chemistry with Yeon Jeong Hun, so we’ll see how that goes in season 2.

      They had some issues with plots that were too formulaic on the one hand, and too involved for the program length on the other. Hopefully that’s been improved upon. So far, I’ve heard rumors that season 2 is different from season 1, but no specifics. I don’t really want to hear too much about it until I’ve seen it for myself, but I’d be interested in your take on season 1, since you’ve seen a lot more dramas than I have.

      It’s a short series, only 12 episodes, so it’s easy to watch in a 2 or 3 day binge if you don’t have to work for a living :)

  • Since you love saguek drama, I’ll recommend The Princess’ Man and Dongyi because these are the only two sagueks I’ve watched so far and fell in love with. Haven’t watch much kdrama but like ACuriousPerson mentioned, Dalja’s Spring is a humorous drama I enjoyed watching.

  • Mihansa

    I’ve heard a lot about the Princess’ Man. Hadn’t heard of the other two, though – thanks for bringing them to my attention!

  • Darling

    This is my list of Korean Dramas in the order that I watched….and the list that follows is my ranking. What do you think?

    • Boys Over Flowers
    • Playful Kiss
    • Secret Garden
    • IRIS
    • 49 Days
    • City Hunter
    • Heartstrings
    • Mary Stayed Out all Night
    • Full House
    • Goong
    • Soulmate
    • My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
    • Spy Myung Wol
    • Personal Taste
    • Snow Queen
    • My Girl
    • You’re Beautiful
    • Coffee Prince
    • The Moon that Embraces the Sun
    • Dream High
    • Shining Inheritance
    • Sungkyunkwan Scandal
    • They Kiss Again (Taiwanese)
    • Brain
    • Love Rain
    • King 2 Hearts
    • Operation Proposal
    • To the Beautiful You
    • Rooftop Prince
    • Arang and the Magistrate
    • Delightful Girl Choon Hyang
    • Big
    • Nice Guy
    • Queen In Hyun’s Man
    • Time Slip Dr.Jin
    • Faith

    and the ranking goes as follows….

    1. Boys Over Flowers
    2. Arang and the Magistrate
    3. IRIS
    4. The Moon that Embraces the Sun
    5. They Kiss Again
    6. Sungkyunkwan Scandal
    7. Faith
    8. Rooftop Prince
    9. Shining Inheritance
    10. Nice Guy
    11. Coffee Prince
    12. Operation Proposal
    13. King 2 Hearts
    14. Delightful Girl Choon Hyang
    15. Full House
    16. Snow Queen
    17. Secret Garden
    18. Queen In Hyun’s Man
    19. Love Rain
    20. Time Slip Dr.Jin
    21. Personal Taste
    22. Brain
    23. To the Beautiful You
    24. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
    25. Big
    26. City Hunter
    27. 49 Days
    28. Goong
    29. Playful Kiss
    30. Heartstrings
    31. Dream High
    32. You’re Beautiful
    33. Spy Myung Wol
    34. My Girl
    35. Mary Stayed Out all Night
    36. Soulmate

    and I’m currently watching:
    1. I Miss You
    2. Cheongdamdong Alice
    3. Fashion King

    What do you think of my collection of dramas? What would you suggest? I’m a girl….so does that mean anything to what kind of dramas I select? I’m just curious……what kind of dramas appeal to me? Sorry for asking so many questions…its just that you seem like a good person to ask these questions! :D

    • Mihansa

      You have seen a lot more dramas than I have! I’ve only seen a few of the same ones you’ve seen, but I’ve heard of many of them. It looks like you have broad tastes – I see sageuk, fantasy, romance, detective, & political intrigue, and several fusion dramas. You might like Damo (watch on Hulu, Drama Fever has an edited version). I’m in the middle of it now. I suspect it doesn’t end happily, but it is a Joseon-era sageuk with a strong female character defying the limitations of her time, like Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Arang & the Magistrate, and Moon That Embraces the Sun.

      You might also like Poseidon, which has some of the intrigue of IRIS. And possibly Wild Romance? Other people will probably have some suggestions for you too.

      How do you feel about vampires? :)

    • Mihansa

      I have a question for you. I just caught the first (I think) episode of Sungkyunkwan Scandal on our local KBS broadcast station. I’m trying to decide whether to watch it. It looks quite entertaining, but I’m wondering whether Park Min Young stays spunky, or gets despunked by love, as so often seems to happen. Since it was high up on your favorites list, I thought you’d be a good person to ask :)

      • Darling

        Sungkyunkwan Scandal is actually my favorite drama!!! You should definitely consider watching it. You will just laugh your butt off sometimes and its just so entertaining. I just wanted to say- without Song Joong Ki’s character in the drama, the show would be kinda boring. As for Park Min Young, she is an amazing actress, and she’s absolutely adorable! Park Yoo Chun does a very good job of portraying the character as well, and he has done significantly well considering that this is his first drama ever. ENJOY!!! It’s my favorite drama that i’ve possibly watched a million times…just kidding. But, I have seriously lost count of how many times i’ve watched it,and I never once get bored. Since you, like me, prefer strong female characters, this one should be a good watch. :)

  • Darling

    Thats cool! I will check Damo out….I’ve actually started watching it a very very long time ago, but I didn’t continue because of the lack of time I had…..but thanks for reminding me! :D And poseiden is on my list…:) thanks for replying! :D

  • Darling

    OH! and vampires…..hmm…..haven’t watched any vampire dramas yet, if thats what you’re asking me….:P why? are they good? :P

    • Mihansa

      There are a couple of vampire dramas that might interest you. One is the 2006 drama, Freeze. It’s short (5 episodes), and has a nice spunky heroine. Crunchyroll has it. I wrote a review, but it’s spoilery, so don’t read it before watching. This is a present day story, drama, not horror.

      The other vampire series you might want to check out is Vampire Prosecutor. It’s unusual in a couple of ways. First, although there is an ongoing storyline that eventually comes to the forefront, many of the episodes are standalone stories, much like a U.S. police procedural. The other difference is that it’s been brought back for additional seasons. Season 1 had 12 episodes. I think Season 2 also did (I haven’t seen it yet), and I hear there will be a third season. Yeon Jung Hoon is great to watch, and the cinematography (in Season 1) is very stylish and visually arresting. I wasn’t as impressed with the writing, but I hear they focus more on the ongoing storyline in the second season, which is at the top of my marathon list.

  • Darling

    hmm…..interesting…..but….putting that to the side, I have something to ask you….do you know any dramas that are like Rooftop Prince? That drama is on my top ten list…and yes I’ve watched Time Slip Dr.Jin and Queen In Hyun’s Man…..but I can’t get over the fact that Rooftop Prince was sooooo good!!! It just touched the bottom of my heart….or perhaps even dramas that are worth watching….like Rooftop Prince, or Sungkyunkwan Scandal, or Arang and the Magistrate….:P Thank You SOOO MUCH!!! Whenever I’m confused about something, I first think to come here! You are very helpful and I highly appreciate it and am thankful :D YOU’RE THE BEST!!! <3

    • Mihansa

      I haven’t seen Rooftop Prince, so I’m afraid I don’t know what to suggest. I know the feeling though, when you see something you like so much, you wish you could watch it over and over again for the first time. I have a family member with dementia who gets to do that :)

      We need one of those computer programs they used to have at video stores, where you entered your favorite films at a kiosk, and it suggested others you might like. They really had that down to a science, but as far as I know, there isn’t any such thing for Kdrama (yet). Netflix has something similar, but the tagging system is lousy – it’s a good example of how NOT to build such a system.

      How about it? Any Kdrama fan/programmers out there want to create something that will make millions of your fellow (and gal) drama viewers bless your name?

      Can you pinpoint what it was about Rooftop Prince compared to other dramas that put it in your top ten? That might help with suggestions.

  • (butting in with Sungkyunkwan Scandal thoughts)

    I’m halfway through it, and I’m enjoying it – it’s not as comedic as it is billed as – it’s has it’s funny moments, but they’re more ironically funny than lightheartedly. At the same time, it’s not *quite* as serious as sageuk that means serious business (no deadly deaths yet, and is it *really* a properly blooded sageuk until someone dies a deadly doomsome death? Right!)

    On the other hand, it’s taken me about 10 eps to forgive Park Yoochun for his Rooftop Prince role, so I think it might have clouded my judgement of his character until now, but the clouds are clearing, and the way his character plays off the others is very compelling. I think it’s about to get really meaty now – the first half is kind of a high-school dynamic (but less angst) with a thread of political intrigue that I suspect is about to get centre stage.

    I’m big on bromance, and that is what attracted me to this initially – there’s one character who makes me light up every time he’s on screen so even if I didn’t like anything else, I’d watch just to see how it turns out for him. Awwww he’s so hilariously adorable :D There’s lot’s of character evolution, and gender-bending antics are always good for a few laughs. But really, the central four characters are the reason to watch this – chemistry and bromance.

    So far. I don’t have properly-formed thoughts about it yet, since I’m still watching, but I also have no one to share thoughts with, so I leap on the opportunity!

    • Mihansa

      Sungkyunkwan Scandal has been airing daily on our local KBS World station, so I’ve caught a few more episodes at random intervals, and it looks interesting enough to rate a spot on my “dramas to marathon” list.

      I wonder if sageuk is moving away from the “everybody dies in the end” convention. That can be tough on viewers when characters have been living in your heart for the many months that a long sageuk drama can run. However, one of the interesting things about Arang and the Magistrate was how they managed to sidestep mass death – sort of.

      There was something similar in the 2010 film The Recipe. Death was present, but so understated that it seemed largely irrelevant to the real message of the story.

      Of course, in historically-based dramas, there may be no way around killing off characters. Which is a good argument for sticking to the fictional series!

      Let me make a wild guess that your unnamed favorite is Song Jong Ki. I’ve been enjoying his character. It’s a good thing he’s got such a distinct personality, because IMHO he, Park Yoo Chun and Jeon Tae Soo look way too much alike to have been cast together in the same drama. You know what I mean, they all have the same kind of pointy-chinned handsomeness that is starting to seem generic because it is so common in Kpop idols. Mix up the gene pool a little, casting directors! I’m rather taken with Moon Jae Sin, myself. Something about hair in the face :)

      The bromance in this drama is touching, but I’m a little burned out on male bonding from watching many of the non-drama TV shows on KBS World. Variety shows and the like tend to be heavily or entirely male. It’s kind of bizarre. There’s some excuse for it in shows like the very popular 2 Days, 1 Night, where the participants are racing all over Korea, often lodging under pretty minimalist conditions. But the male emcees also dominate in Happy Together, a show which interviews actors from current dramas, and Hello, Counselor, an advice show. In the new book-related interview show, Moonlight Prince, not only was the emcee-to-guest ratio a ridiculous 5:1, all 5 of the emcees were male. I believe all the guests to date have also been male. I’m not sure whether this is a Korean thing or a KBS thing. Arirang, the only other broadcast network I receive, seems to balance things out more genderwise.

      Getting back to Sungkyunkwan Scandal, curiosity about the word “Noron” led me to a Political Factions in Joseon Dynasty article on Wikipedia. My eyes glazed over before I was halfway through, but it did give me some insight into the party dynamics during Korea’s recent presidential election (lots of shifts and turns).

  • Ugh, where did all those errant apostrophes come from? I swear the computer just inserted them to spite me. I KNOW ABOUT APOSTROPHES XD

  • > I wonder if sageuk is moving away from the “everybody dies in the end” convention.
    No one would be more grateful for that than me! I don’t know how other viewers are with this, but I really need my mostly happy ending.

    I’m curious about your approach to viewing – if you catch snippets here and there when they air, do you worry about spoilers, or don’t you mind? And does it take away from your enjoyment if you’ve already seen parts? I’m curious because I’m part of the anti-spoiler faction, and go to great lengths to avoid them. When I was watching Merlin, even though new episodes were airing on TV and I could’ve watched them, I didn’t because I hadn’t caught up. Also, I took my lesson from so badly misjudging it from a random episode I found my sister watching. I scoffed at its simpleness, and later swallowed my words three by three, as it became my most-loved show ever.

    I’m noting your other mentions – I haven’t watched more than one or two films since I entered the world of kdrama. It begins to feel to me like the difference between a short story and a novel – I wonder how you can fit a full and meaningful story into 90ish minutes. Which almost doesn’t make sense, because I’ve watched and enjoyed a lot of films. But I suppose it comes back to developing an emotional engagement – a serial drama with intentional character evolution really demands emotional involvement to a depth and degree that a film often doesn’t. I realised quite recently that my media consumption at this point in my life – from reading to viewing – is very emotion-driven. If I can’t engage emotionally, I may not engage at all.

    I feel like a wishy-washy bag of feelings saying that, but I promise I’m not XD I’m just figuring myself out.

    If I had known about the historical context for Princess’ Man, I might have been less devastated – but I also am glad I didn’t, because then I wouldn’t have allowed myself to become attached to the characters: I feel that when a character is played and written so genuinely, you owe it to them to feel the full spectrum of feelings that they evoke.

    You’re totally right about my favourite! Isn’t he hilarious? I’m glad you say that, about characters who look too much alike – I didn’t get that with SKS Scandal, but I did about Rooftop Prince – it took me about 3-4 episodes before I could tell the boys apart, even when colour-coded XD

    It’s interesting what you say about male over-representation in media – I wonder if this is specific to east Asian/Asian TV? I was discussing something similar with some friends, about why we respond to bromance – for me, I haven’t come across a lot of high-quality platonic male relationships, in recent Western media, and yet it’s the deepest underlying thread of all the things I grew up reading and watching. So I haven’t been saturated by it yet, and it will probably be a while.

    I get cross-eyed over too many names and dates, too! I always end up geeking out on things I enjoyed – I did a lot of reading about the historical context for Princess’ Man, and Queen In-Hyun’s Man after I watched them. The funny thing is, I can’t stand tampering with history in English-language things, like in ‘Becoming Jane’ (I also can’t stand James McAvoy but that’s a different story). I feel like fabricating a history and emotional context does a disservice to the real people. I like the fact of their unknownness, but I feel like it is intellectually dishonest to pass off conjecture as truth. But of course, I don’t even subscribe to that philosophy consistently: i.e. I love the film ‘Freedom Writers’, which is based on a true story.

    I suspect if I knew the Korean history as well as I know the English, I might raise an eyebrow at the liberty-taking – I’m perversely glad that I don’t, because then I can just ignorantly enjoy it.

    • Mihansa

      >> I wonder if sageuk is moving away from the “everybody dies in the end” convention.
      >No one would be more grateful for that than me! I don’t know how other viewers are with this, but I really need my mostly happy ending.

      You should probably avoid biographical sageuk. They story of someone’s life tends to include their death.

      >I’m curious about your approach to viewing – if you catch snippets here and there when they air, do you worry about spoilers, or don’t you mind?

      Actually, if I think I’m going to go back and watch the whole drama, I stop myself from snippeting. I had to firmly turn off Sungkyunkwan Scandal today for just that reason. The element of surprise is one of the most delightful aspects of seeing something for the first time, and you only get that once, so I hate spoilers.

      I engage to different degrees, depending on the drama. If I run across one on TV, as often happens, and really like it, I may go back and catch up. If I like it only mildly, but run across it enough to become involved with characters and plotlines, I may make a point of watching every episode going forward without going back to watch past episodes. And then there are dramas that I know I’ll never go out of the way to watch, so I don’t mind catching an episode of them here and there when I come across one.

      >I haven’t watched more than one or two films since I entered the world of kdrama. It begins to feel to me like the difference between a short story and a novel – I wonder how you can fit a full and meaningful story into 90ish minutes.

      It’s interesting that you mention how film suffers by comparison to the drama series format. I have definitely noticed that since I started watching Kdrama. Perhaps I always noticed it, but couldn’t articulate it because I had nothing to compare it to. You can get a lot of story into the film format (any Harry Potter movie, for example), but it’s much more of a challenge to successfully condense characterization and relationships. It can be done, but it isn’t, very often. You should check out The Recipe (Doenjang). It’s the only Korean film directed by a woman that I’ve seen to date, and demonstrates what’s possible even in the shorter format with a really talented director.

      As you’ve probably noticed, transformation is a ubiquitous theme in Korean culture. Various passing comments by actors have suggested it’s assumed that major characters will experience a transformation. I wish I’d realized it a bit sooner. I lose interest quickly if there’s no one to like in a drama, and there are probably a couple of dramas I dropped that I would’ve enjoyed after all if I’d stuck with them. Now I know that characters who are horrible in the beginning will almost certainly improve.

      Transformation is part and parcel with Kdrama’s compassionate attitude towards villains. We learn how they got that way, and what underlying fears and longings drive them in the present much more often than we do in US TV.

      >It’s interesting what you say about male over-representation in media – I wonder if this is specific to east Asian/Asian TV?

      I think male-overrepresentation across all kinds of media (except porn) is characteristic anywhere there is pronounced sexism (which describes most of Asia, as far as I know). It was like that in the U.S. not so long ago, and still is to some degree. U.S. actresses often comment on the scarcity of good roles for women. In a male-centered culture, where men run the media, it’s not too surprising that there’s a focus on men. It’s hardly news to women anywhere that men find themselves very interesting :)

      I understand what you’re saying, though. I also enjoyed seeing Korean men be more relaxed with each other than American men would ever consider when I first started watching Korean TV. As I understand it, until fairly recently, there was total denial in Korean culture that gays even existed there. It’s a weird silver lining, but I wonder if this freed Korean same sex friendships from the homophobia that is so much a part of the more narrow range of “manly” emotions and relationships that American men restrict themselves to.

      Also, it is generally more acceptable for adults of either gender (especially adults under 40) to behave in a cute and playful way in Korea than it is for American adults.

      Dramas and variety shows are calculated entertainment, however. On Korean shows that are documentary in nature (i.e., the men featured are not professional entertainers), many appear to be as emotionally withdrawn, uncommunicative and authoritarian as you would expect in a male-dominated culture.

      On the U.S. side, I think depictions of bromance are becoming much more common (evidence: we have a word for that now). I enjoy the relationship of the two very different but highly bonded sidekicks Ryan and Esposito on Castle, for example.

      I share your feelings about Becoming Jane, though I understand the temptation to fill in the enormous gaps left when Jane Austen’s sister burned most of her correspondence after her death. I suspect it’s just as well. The art and the artist are not the same, and it can be more difficult to appreciate the art for itself alone if you know too much about the artist. Better to let the mystery be.

      Did you see the time-traveling series about the modern Austen fan who stumbled into some kind of warp and found herself inside Pride and Prejudice, replacing Elizabeth Bennett? So, so wrong! I’m not a total Austen purist, however. Colin Firth in a wet shirt was not in the book, and I’m OK with that.

  • Colin Firth in a wet shirt was not in the book, and I’m OK with that.

    Sing it, sister!

    [I’m siting here trying to edit an article and my email chimes and leads me to this — 재미 있어요! :D – And thank you for the supercool linguistic tangent!]

  • I’ve been thinking about how different the experience of watching a sageuk is from watching a contemporary fiction and I’d like to invite you to take a look and tell me what you think.

    The post started out as a “my K-Drama list” and evolved from being a catalogue to serving as a catalyst for reflecting on what I see in sageuk as a form of storytelling.

    I’m still new to the blogosphere, so I don’t know what the convention is for sharing this sort of thing. I think it is far too long to post in the comment section here so I do hope you have a moment to check it out chez moi and another to share your thoughts. Cheers.

    • Mihansa

      I don’t know what the conventions are either (or if there are any), but I assume everyone wants to be the star on their own blog, and will not welcome other bloggers coming in with links to steal their thunder. When I post to other blogs, I do it on threads that interest me, and on which I have something relevant to contribute to their topic. I do not repost content of my own posts to their comments. I do post as myself, so if someone’s really interested in what I said, they can click on my posting name to visit mihansa.net, but I rarely post links uninvited. If I’m posting on someone else’s blog, it’s because I like it and respect what they’re doing, and I don’t want them to feel used.

      One of the ironies of My Blogger Life is that the writing I embarked upon to connect with other Kdrama enthusiasts takes so much of my attention that I rarely have time to visit and interact with other bloggers, even the ones I like best. I also tend to avoid blogs that are covering a drama I’m currently watching or intend to watch, so I don’t see spoilers, or edit myself according to what someone else has written.

      Re: Your sageuk post, I like the way you divided it up by era. You are much more systematic than I am, but if you are a historian, that makes sense. I’ve actually found myself feeling conflicted when a sageuk takes me to the other side of a historical conflict that I watched from a different perspective in a previously viewed sageuk. Silly, no? I guess that’s what comes from identifying with characters. But I’m not the only one. Rumor has it, the old 3 kingdoms era still influences modern Korean politics, and as small as the country is, there are distinct regional differences descended from the politics of 1,000 years ago.

      I assume there’s a lot of artistic license in any sageuk, especially pre-Joseon. I know the records are pretty limited and don’t take anything older than 150 years or so as any kind of historical documentary, but I also love the sageuks that go to a lot of trouble to re-create the daily life of the era. That was one of the initial attractions of Kdrama for me. I’ve had lifelong exposure to historical depictions (of varying degrees of accuracy) of European and colonial life, but had no sense whatsoever of Asian history. It’s quite fascinating, especially when you compare what was happening in Europe during the corresponding era. There’s still quite a bias towards European history in US education, and I think that’s everybody’s loss.

  • Lost in Austen! I LOVED Lost in Austen! There’s something about it – like a really good fanfiction, maybe? I don’t usually like fanfiction either, but every so often, one comes along that is just. right. I found it hilarious and awesome, especially with it being set in modern London – seeing Mr Darcy on the bus, or with Teletubbies…the juxtaposition was so good. And little things like how Amanda bookmarks her page with a train ticket, and you think ‘! I do exactly the same thing!’ It’s a kind of homage to the whole Austen movement (and how about the meta of recreating the wet-shirt scene?), worked in and around the text in a way that worked so well.

    Austen purism is an interesting thing – I think readers (fans and devotees) enjoy seeing loving treatments of her work. We enjoy interpreting her over and over again – but that musn’t be confused with re-interpreting, which is where I feel the dissonance comes in. For example, I had a lot of problems with the 2005 Keira Knightley rendition of P&P, or the version of Mansfield Park that was a mash-up of MP and bits and pieces of JA’s own life.

    What exactly works for which reader/viewer though, in the end, is a purely individual thing. The only way I can explain my inconsistency is…I just like what I like.

    > You can get a lot of story into the film format (any Harry Potter movie, for example), but it’s much more of a challenge to successfully condense characterization and relationships.

    I really like this precis – I think you’ve neatly encapsulated just what I was on the brink of arriving at.

    It makes me think of this: I never studied a foreign language until high school, so I didn’t discover a facility for languages until I went beyond the ones I grew up knowing. The comparison I want to draw is of people who don’t know what they’re looking for because they haven’t found it yet: this is how I feel about kdrama’s deeply character-driven storytelling.

    > transformation is a ubiquitous theme in Korean culture.

    I find it really interesting that this isn’t limited to storytelling, but is actually embedded in Korean culture. I’ve found it difficult to get a good grasp on cultural norms and mores outside of dramas: east Asia is such a seemingly effortless blending of long-held tradition with first-world modernism that for someone unfamiliar, it can also be confusing.

    > I think male-overrepresentation across all kinds of media (except porn) is characteristic anywhere there is pronounced sexism

    You’re totally right XD I think what I was thinking of is English variety/reality shows and so on – there are always plenty of women – mostly, I believe, as fanservice, and I can’t think of anything other than Top Gear which is dominated by male presenters. It is pretty likely that my low exposure to that genre of TV gives me a skewed impression.

    > It’s hardly news to women anywhere that men find themselves very interesting :)

    I tittered hard at this! In an unsurprising un-twist, women also find men interesting, and the lack of well-written females often has female viewers dismissing the female characters (then Mary Sue finger-pointing begins). Another thing (related more to why women love bromance) that came up in conversation with friends, is that the working of female friendships aren’t as mysterious to women: even when poorly written or portrayed, we can/do subconsciously add a lot of subtext because it’s such familiar territory. But as viewers learn to take their media more and more critically, it is only right that we question lousy characterisation, and also the way the same media treat women in the field (cf. Scarlett Johansson et al.).

    Incidentally, if you’re interested in ‘sismance’, I was recommended Rizzoli and Isles – I would love to watch it for the relationship, but the scary and gory bits have me to frightened XD

    > Better to let the mystery be.

    Amen. Plus, what better way to torment people desperately geeking out? Just knowing those letters existed (but don’t anymore) must torture people.

    I will certainly check out The Recipe – thanks for the rec! (I have a reply in my head to the other thread – not enough hours in the day!) I’m also glad you took the time to answer my questions – I found it both interesting and fun (doesn’t that make you think of that Chinese curse, ‘may you live in interesting times’?).

    Good luck with the article, Curioser!

    • Mihansa

      >Lost in Austen! I LOVED Lost in Austen!

      I may not have given it a fair chance. I didn’t watch from the beginning, which might’ve engaged me more, just caught bits ‘n’ pieces while channel surfing. But you’re right, the line fans draw between homage and violation is a highly personal one. I received a vintage volume of the Complete Sherlock Homes as a kid, and have read, watched and listened to all manner of spin-offs ever since. Some of them I loved, some intrigued me though they seemed not very Sherlockian (the current Elementary, for example), and some offended me.

      > I had a lot of problems with the 2005 Keira Knightley rendition of P&P

      I totally agree. Eye candy, and little more. Which would’ve been OK if they hadn’t based it on a novel renowned for depth and nuance, but since they did, it was a travesty.

      >I’ve found it difficult to get a good grasp on cultural norms and mores outside of dramas: east Asia is such >a seemingly effortless blending of long-held tradition with first-world modernism that for someone >unfamiliar, it can also be confusing.

      I’ve found this too, partly because of my overwhelming ignorance of Asian history and culture, and partly because of that massive language barrier. But I also think there’s a rapid evolution happening in Korea (and other Asian countries too, no doubt) that confuses Koreans themselves. This is one of the ways in which a knowledge of the US in the 60s, 70s & 80s provides a useful context for understanding Korea. The details may not be identical, but the fragmentation by age, political perspective and commitment to conventions vs. eagerness for modernity are all familiar.

      Tradition vs. modernity, in particular, is much more complex in Korea. Tradition is much older and more intertwined with cultural identity, plus they’re (pretty literally) under the gun, which makes anything that impacts international relationships that much more loaded. I have a lot of sympathy for Koreans (all Koreans) trying to work out who they are, who they want to be, and how that all relates to how they are seen and want to be seen in a world context, in a pressure cooker environment.

      > the lack of well-written females often has female viewers dismissing the female characters

      Yes, in favor of the men, good point. I also think there’s a tendency to paint female characters as more emotionally muddy and indirect, which makes it harder to relate to them. This is 99% sexism – I recognize it from earlier eras of US TV and film. Not that there aren’t personalities like this, but when they’re always women, and especially when male characters articulate their feelings for them, my sexism alarm starts to scream.

      But as male-dominated as Korean culture may be, the drama-viewing audience is female-dominated. I suspect that’s why we start out with these fiercely independent (and sometimes just plain fierce) spunky heroines who are tamed by love, often of a man with issues who never really gets over them, but gets the girl anyway. I guess that keeps the spunky heroines from becoming too much of a threat in the entirely male minds of network heads, but I wonder. Are Korean women also complaining about these anti-feminist transformations? These are the kinds of questions that keep me plugging away at the language.

      I don’t mean to imply the US has this all worked out, BTW. Thanks for posting the link to the article about Scarlett Johannson It is, unfortunately, all too apropos. But I love that she’s naming the issue and not apologizing for being snappish about it.

      >I was recommended Rizzoli and Isles

      Had to look this one up, hadn’t even heard of it. Cable is kind of off my radar. I’m sure it’s full of good stuff, but I have a 20 year backlog of Kdrama and a 60 year backlog of Korean film to catch up with first :) But I don’t like police procedurals that are too gritty, either. How many images of violence can a peace-loving brain absorb before being changed in one way or another?

      >Just knowing those letters existed (but don’t anymore) must torture people.

      So true. Raise your hand if you’ve ever fantasized about renting a cottage in Hampshire in the summer, and discovering Austen letters in the attic.

      > I found it both interesting and fun (doesn’t that make you think of that Chinese curse, ‘may you live in > interesting times’?)

      Funny you should mention that. I’ve always been intrigued by that supposed curse. I learned recently that it is of modern western origin. Times seem to have been particularly interesting since I was born, but I could be biased :) Really, has there ever been a period of human history that wasn’t interesting?

  • oh duh, not refreshing my browser when I post:

    @Curioser: I haven’t had a chance to read your link yet, but I will. I think the accepted conventions for soliciting readers are basically like normal human interaction: being polite and interesting! But I kind of retired from blogging, so I could be wrong.

    I think you’re right about the timelessness being part of the potential unitemporal (that’s ‘universal’ as applied to time XD) appeal of sageuk, but I also think any story that has a compelling human truth to it can transcend its trappings – how else could you explain the continued popularity of older films that are obviously a product of their time? The ones that end up being forgotten aren’t forgotten because they were dated, but because there was something missing at its heart.

    Take the film, You’ve Got Mail – so clearly dated! We can watch it and laugh at dial-up and reminisce about that pinging, firing connection tone, etc., but it’s one I’ve watched every time it’s on TV, because the real story is about people and relationships.

    I could go on, but now I have to sleep!

  • Gasenadi

    Interesting conversations! I’ll definitely add my lists later (just watched Sandglass). Just a quick question: I’ve noticed in quite a few kdramas and movies that an impending death is prededed by a character looking directly at the sun. Do you have any idea why?

    • Mihansa

      Whoa, that sounds intense. Be sure to recharge your electrolytes, and get out and see some happy people :) What did you think of it as an historical account?

      About the sun, I’ve never noticed that, though I have noticed sunny days are few and far between on the Korean Peninsula. Now I’m wondering whether I overlooked it. When you are recovered, could you take a list at my “Dramas Watched – whole thing” list, and let me know if you have seen that in any of the dramas I watched?

      I did a quick search and found nothing (or nothing pertinent. Actually I found all sorts of other interesting things).

      This sounds like a job for Ask a Korean. I’ve asked him questions, and he always got back to me pretty quickly.

      You might want to wait a day or two, though. It’s really difficult to visit his site without spending hours browsing from answer to answer, and you need a break!

      BTW, if you are looking for your next drama, you can be the first to use the new What Should I Watch? page.

      • Gasenadi

        Before I forget, thanks for recommending The Recipe. What a treasure; I’m definitely watching again!
        Of your list of Dramas Watched, I recall off the top of my head Brain (the Dr.’s Mom) looking towards the sun and lifting her hand. In Queen Seonduk there was a variation of it (looking towards the horizon at the setting sun, I think). It definitely occurred in my all time favorite, Chuno, lifting the hand, looking at the sun and (variation) shooting an imaginary arrow. Thanks for recommending Ask a Korean. Will do that as soon as possible.
        Actually, it took me longer to recuperate from Chuno than from Sandglass because it was the first such overwhelming story I saw. Sandglass still has me wondering (and hurting) but I dare not spoil it for anyone, so I’ll refrain from my burning questions. Suffice it to say I’m looking for some Korean history books of that time period (yes, English translations of some books of interesst to me seem non-existent).
        So Chuno and Sandglass are only two of the dramas I’ve seen in my 18-month addiction. Since you stipulated 5, the next three that have grabbed my heart and resonated have been The Chaser, A Wife’s Credentials, and Conspiracy in the Court.
        I’m watching Shin Don now. After that, my To-Watch list includes War of Flowers, End of the World, Childless Comfort, Can We Get Married? and, if the subtitle snaffu ever untangles, Queen Insoo.
        My honeymoon with Korean entertainment continues although I’m slowly getting back to normal sleeping patterns. That means slowing down my compulsive watching, getting some reading done, and a semblance of normal life routines. For some reason, Korean movies and dramas touch me deeply and the more blogs I read the more fascinating they become. So, thanks again.

        • Mihansa

          Isn’t The Recipe great? Just goes to show what can be done in the short format. Spread the word.

          I was also obsessed and haunted by Emperor of the Sea while I was watching it, and shellshocked afterwards. I tried (unsuccessfully) to find a translation of the book because it raised so many questions. With a little more knowledge of Korean drama and culture, I understand some aspects of it better now. I also realize it wasn’t the best screenplay ever written (for example, there were kajillion scenes that began with a breathless underling entering a room, and someone sitting at a table asking “did you find out?”). And I’ve learned to steel myself for a shocking ending in sageuk dramas.

          Since I’m in it for the long haul now, I pace myself. Well, mostly :) If I’m watching a current drama on TV, I don’t watch more than one or two at a time. And I’ve set myself a one drama per week marathoning cap!

          I’ve seen a few episodes of both Brain and Queen Seonduk, but not enough to catch the looking into the sun foreshadowing. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ll keep an eye out for it, and let you know if I notice it in any other dramas. You let me know if Ask a Korean has an answer.

          One thing I did notice early on was references in several dramas to “going to the end of the world,” which usually involved depression, nostalgia for happier times, and a beach scene. That turned out to be related to a children’s song, though I’ve yet to find a translation of the song itself.

  • sandy

    concerning sageuks I was intrigued at first when I started watching kshows cause I love history and period stuff so I watched about 6 shows but not watching anymore cause I have discovered that the accuracy is very limited and that they are forcing cheesy romances in them while in the joseon era romance did not exist men only said romantic things to their gisaengs women suffered too much in that era because of the chaste craze and nothing was romantic about it so the whole contrived fan service romantic princesses and princes just gets on my nerves I would want to see something about the early korean feminists or something thats politically interesting anyway I have turned to reading history and korean novels instead the problem with the korean industry is that its very commercial they wana make money and talent and the rich history is just wasted

    from the sageuks I watched I would choose 8 days the mystery of jeongjo assassination & conspiracy in the court as the better written ones in you skip the silly romance part

    • Mihansa

      I’d like to see something about the early Korean feminists, too. Let’s hope some drama producers are reading this :) I’m not sure Korea’s ready to celebrate its feminist foremothers, however!

      There seems to be a wide range of sageuk, for many, if not all tastes. Some focus on romance, some on power struggles and battles, and then there’s sci-fi sageuk, fantasy sageuk, medical sageuk, detective sageuk, cross-dressing sageuk, and various fusions. Some of the sageuks I’ve seen go to a lot of trouble to recreate historical clothing and settings, not that I’m any judge of authenticity. Let’s be honest, history doesn’t appeal to a lot people unless it’s dramatized. Historical recreations are expensive, so it’s no surprise they are constantly reframed to appeal to contemporary viewers – the same thing happens in the U.S.

      I didn’t see all of Bridal Mask, but it seemed to be focused on political/historical aspects of the Japanese occupation – have you seen that one?

      The Korean entertainment industry is a for-profit industry, just like Hollywood is, but the Korean government is heavily involved in world outreach for a larger purpose as well. Korea wants to get itself on the mental map of the western mind. That’s not too hard to understand with all the thunder coming out of North Korea lately, although history with Japan and China may have just as much to do with it. The best protection from bullies is to have popular friends (or the international equivalent, interdependent trading partner/allies), and lots of them. Plus, Koreans want to be recognized as having something to offer the world, which seems perfectly reasonable. It wasn’t that long ago that the U.S. was perceived as insignificant and a long way from anywhere, lobbying to be included on the world stage.

      There are already networks that cater specifically to overseas audiences, such as KBS World and Arirang. Kpop is also custom-tailored for specific cultural contexts. I’m very curious to see how this impacts the the cultural “products” for the Korean domestic market.

      I was intrigued by your mention of Korean novels. Are you reading them in English? Any titles you’d like to recommend?

  • sandy

    bridal mask was manga stuff has nothing to do with that time the 20s is my fav era it was the real start of feminism in the world and in korea as well I have read a lot about those brave women who challenged the society and yes in a way korea is not that proud of them they all ended tragically there is the first western art painter she fought for her rights had an affair and ended up crazy and a beggar there is the first soprano singer also had a long romance with a married man and they ended up killing themselves together the first korean dancer she took the world by storm in the 30s and 40s ended up as a fugitive in north korea and was executed lots of very interesting women I read everything I can find about this era

    concerning novels korean literature is deep and interesting but pretty depressive especially talking about women struggles not a lot is translated to English some of the titles I like

    this burns my heart by samuel park /the writer is korean american this one is written in english and was a hit its a feminist story in a way sad also

    The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim

    A Step From Heaven by An Na

    Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-sook/ one of the most popular novels to come out of korea lately and the writer is a pretty good one but this is not my fav by her (Yi Jin 2007 ) is great it has everything you would want in a novel the thing is I have read it in french and in not available in english the story might or might not be based on a real story a very beautiful court dancer falls in love with a french diplomat serving in korea in the late 1890s he marries her against the conventions and takes her to france where she finds a new freedom but eventually she goes back to korea to see the assassination of the empress and ends tragically this could be one brilliant material for a drama the story might be true cause some french diplomat wrote about it but a lot of historians said there is no evidence and that it was not possible at the times

    • Mihansa

      Thanks a lot for the titles and authors – I’ll check them out.

      After watching Emperoro of the Sea, the first full Kdrama I ever saw, I went looking for Choi In Ho’s novel Haeshin, upon which it was based. I couldn’t find it in English, but perhaps that is just as well. The storyline was, as you mention is often the case in Korean literature, seriously depressive in the screenplay version.

      I did find one other novel by Choi In Ho in an English translation, but as I recall, it was pretty grim, and I put it aside after the first few pages. I also started Richard Kim’s Lost Names, about his childhood in Korean under Japanese rule, but reading about horrible things people do to each other always gets to me, so I only made it about halfway through.

      Re: Bridal Mask, I wasn’t referring to the story, but to the context. Joseon & Three Kingdoms era sageuk is much more common, but after reading Lost Names, it was interesting to see a visual representation of Korea under Japanese occupation. Just a quibble, but I think it was based on a manhwa (Korean-authored) story, not manga (Japanese). Under the circumstances, a significant distinction.

      I suspect there are Korean feminist stories with happier endings, going back much farther than the 1920s. Histories of women who defied the gender restrictions of their time can be found in most cultures with written language (this is also true of people who defied racial and religious discrimination). They tend to be overlooked, disbelieved, or ignored, (there is a wickedly funny book about this by Joanna Russ entitled How to Suppress Women’s Writing), but many of these records have begun to receive the attention they deserve as academia in the U.S. approached gender equity. Let’s hope the same happens in Korea, although I fear records may not have fared as well there.

      Still, Korean women don’t strike me as pushovers, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find historical accounts of women who lived as men, or took on exclusively male professional roles. Come to think of it, the very first Kdrama I ever came across was Queen Seondeok, and the fact that women were so central was a major reason the drama caught my eye. (I pause to think – if I’d instead channel-surfed through the KBS 99% male drama Gwanggaeto,The Great Conqueror, I would’ve kept right on going, I’d still know nothing about Korea, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation).

      There were three ruling queens of Silla, and queens in other Korean kingdoms and eras that are also remembered (including the last really influential Korean queen, Queen Min). Another poster suggested that imported Confucianism first undermined the status of women in the early Joseon era, and Korean feminists are still digging themselves out from under that influence to this day.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    you may want to see Great Merchant Kim ManDeok and The Reputable Family for early Korean feminist role models.

    • Mihansa

      Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn’t heard of either drama before, but Great Merchant Kim ManDeok definitely sounds of interest. One of my favorite parts of Emperor of the Sea was the 9th century female merchants, but alas, they were fictional.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    since you’re watching Grampas over Flowers, you may be concerned that the Polar Bear is in the news:
    Senior actor in hot water over pay at tourism agency
    http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20130925000856, and not in a good way.

    • Mihansa

      Hmm, interesting. Thanks for sharing. Politics in Korea are way too labyrinthine for me to keep up with, but I do know a high-profile leftist legislator was recently arrested for alleged revolutionary plotting. Can’t help wondering whether the accusation against Baek Il Seob from the opposition party is retaliatory. I guess we’ll see how it pans out – hopefully won’t impact GOF3. BTW, thanks for liking mihansa on Facebook :)

  • Cherryl

    Fowdy! It’s been a while since I last posted, my youngest and I have been super busy and our disappointment with one of the shows we queued had us stop watching the korean shows for a while. I, however, am a subscriber to your site so every once in a while have been able to take a peek at your blogging.

    We were going to watch Grandpas over Flowers one night but got sidetracked by “Good Doctor”. Very happily so. Hook from the first episode and just finished watching the entire show. It had it’s moments but then .. it had it’s *moments*. Worthy of a 1 on our kdrama scale.

    Thank you for keeping it going and for all you do for us! :)

    • Mihansa

      Welcome back! I’m glad to hear your breakup with Kdrama was only temporary. It’s hard to leave, isn’t it? :)

      There’s a pretty wide range of quality in Kdrama. If you look at my “shows I watched part of” list, you’ll see it’s a lot longer than the list of shows I watched all of. It isn’t always a matter of quality, sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. But there’s always something else to try. I don’t think I’ll ever catch up, even with the dramas I’m sure I want to watch.

      Did you ever try sageuk (historical drama)? That can be fun. I love the carefully created historical buildings, villages, costumes, and let us not forget the thronerooms. Joseon era sageuks seems to be particularly eye-catching – it was a rich period in Korean decorative arts. You have to choose carefully if you want something upbeat and not too violent, however. Gruesome torture scenes occur often in sageuk, and there is a distressing tendency to kill everyone off at the end. Fictional storylines with a supernatural twist are a better bet than dramas based on real historical figures to avoid that (although not guaranteed to be free of heartache).

      Re: Good Doctor, 1 is best on your scale, right? Or have I got that backwards?

      They have just finished filming Noonas Over Flowers. I don’t know how soon that will be out (and how long after that it will take for English subs), but it should be interesting, and different from the grandpas, who are not always on their best behavior. Also, Lee Seung Gi was apparently a lot less useful as a “porter” than Lee Seo Jin. PD Na sounds quite cranky about it!

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