Happy Friday! Here is our second ever weekly review of the dramas that we are watching! I just want to give myself a pat on the back. It is inspired from The Kthree’s Weekly watchlist and is a way to stay up to date on the dramas we’re liking, loving, and leaving. We watch lots of shows over here, mostly Korean dramas, but we also dip into western shows, so we will cover both here. Let’s get into it!
Arthdal Chronicles (17 and 18 Finale)
Everything about the two episodes worked for me, if only it wasn’t the final two episodes! I loved the political intrigue, Taealha’s rebellion, the gathering of foes (with the Aboo) and the introduction of the NeAnthals and martial arts. It was building to something so powerful. Except, it ended right on the western face of the mountain. The peak should be the next two episodes where the war would actually take place.
But alas, Korea is not so familiar with seasonal dramas, and Arthdal Chronicles did not make stellar ratings, so they may not have a season 2 or 3 as they planned. If Netflix gives them money, then they might. Hopefully someone on their side is digging and digging for funding because that is a hard way to end a TV show. But, at least they did give us the Epilogue illustration to let us know just what they had planned for the next season.
Strangers From Hell (episodes 5 and 6)
Y’all, Y’ALL, this show is so creepy on another level. I completely get how a person can get trapped in that situation because they are broke, trying to make it in Seoul without knowing anyone, and need a place to live that is super cheap. If everyone in the building is in on a murder, then that one person does not really stand a chance.
I was so happy when that one guy came in to look for a place and decided to leave. Whew, you just dodged a huge bullet, sir. But it was also pretty cool that the show went full circle with Jong-woo buying a knife and helping out another new resident (poor guy). It completely reminded me of the thug from the opening two episodes giving Jong-woo advice to leave as soon as possible. That thug also slept with a knife. Though it didn’t really look like he did much sleeping, he mostly just stayed awake with the knife in his hands.
I am simultaneously looking forward to and not looking forward to the next episode because I know it will be good, but I also know it will be scary and more deaths are on the horizon. I just want to protect everyone, y’all.
Flower Crew Joseon Marriage Agency (episodes 3 and 4)
This show is finally at the part where we will change this run away slave into a woman that the King can marry. It took a full four episodes to get there, jeez. So hopefully they will start to do it in episode 5, otherwise I might punch my hand through the screen to slap some sense into them. I really don’t want to watch anymore people being hooked up in the show unless it is Lee Soo and Gaedong.
I understand that they are a marriage agency and it is fine to know that a lot of other people are continuing to be paired in their agency, I just don’t need a full backstory on each one of them that takes up two episodes. So, yeah, this show is just barely hanging in there on a maids braid. There is also a bit of confusion with the fusion elements thrown in (like contemporary vernacular or something) that don’t really feel like they belong because they aren’t going all in with it. If they are going to do something, then do it all out or leave it alone. Though it is a bubbly drama if any wants to check it out.
When the Camellia Blooms (episodes 3 & 4)
This small look at a town is definitely growing on me more and more. It is a peaceful story, when compared to the stakes of Arthdal, Vagabond, and Flower Crew, but it is also a highly impactful show as far as the characters are concerned. Especially the character of Dong-baek who is being played so lovely by Gong Hyo-jin.
In episodes 3 and 4 (using Netflix episode numbering, otherwise it would be 5&6 and 7&8) we got an even better look at the serial killer backstory, but not enough to make you gag. It was just enough to understand the stakes that Dong-baek and Yong-sik have in the situation and leave you intrigued. At least, it left me that way. One thing I really appreciate is that, though the serial killer storyline is there, it is treated as background and somehow fits into the quirky story of the show.
One problem is, the more I like the hero, Yong-sik, the more I do and don’t want to see him bursting into tears when he sees the body pulled from the river. Of course I welcome a good emotional performance, which it looks like he is definitely giving there, but I don’t want it to be Dong-baek. So, I would need to have the payoff that it is not Dong-baek, and have it believable enough to make me forget that it should not be Dong-baek in there.
I think that all falls on Kang Haneul’s feet during that scene and it also falls on him as he gets us to love him more and more as the episodes progress in order to build the tension for a scene that we know if coming. We want to see the poor love fool baby cry over his woman, but we also don’t want to see the poor baby cry over his woman, you know?
Vagabond (episodes 1, 2, and 3)
Vagabond hit it out of the park with their opening two episodes. I wasn’t to big on the nephew storyline or all the kids dying, (just because it is so sad, you know) but I do kind of understand why they did it, especially with Koreas recent history on similar tragedies. So, I bucked up through the airplane disaster in order to get to the part that I came here for – the action, adventure, and espionage! And, they are really giving me both in spades.
I love how they are using the filming locations for all that they are worth, shooting on rooftops, in markets, near the ocean, in hotels, off cliffs, and in apartments, to really give us a feel of Tangier. It is a beautiful backdrop to this story and sets up the international stakes well. I think they also had a couple shots in Portugal. It is all just wonderful to see and kind of had me thinking about the Iris heyday of big action tv shows coming out of Korea. I am on board.
The third episode continued ramping up the stakes, we had more deaths, more double agents, and now jobs are even on the line. I love how they brought up embarrassment to the NIS as a reason to cover this up, because the chief is worried that they might all get fired. Of course, everyone does not care about their job, they just want to give this situation the respect and attention it deserves. So, those poeple need to find each other and work together, which I think episode 4 might do. I am looking forward to it.
US TV SHOWS
Daredevil (Season 1)
Ahh! I am so hooked! Everything about this show is aces. I should have believed everyone who said it was the cats meow way back when it first stared airing in 2015. I just thought they were just talking and that it would just be another cartoony type bubble gum depiction of a Marvel character with bad acting thrown in. But that is the opposite of what this show is. Y’all, I binged the entire season in like 4 days and already started on season 2.
The actor who plays Daredevil (Charlie Cox) sells this show for me. Honestly, I can watch it only for him. Plus Rosario Dawson is in it, and I love her. But what I really love is the storyline and character development they have going on. It really focuses on the vigilante aspect of Daredevil in that he is really just a normal guy that is fighting crime. But on top of that, he is a blind guy fighting crime.
Of course, he has heightened senses, but he isn’t bullet proof and he can’t punch any harder than any normal man. His shear determination to get the job done is what makes him amazing. When he gets punched, he doesn’t stay down, he gets right back up, with is also part of his backstory. Plus, he is super Catholic and has this internal Hamlet battle in his mind of to kill or not to kill, that is the question. He talks it over with his priest a lot, which I love.
There was this one scene where he was trying to save this boy and had to fight his way through like 20 men in a hallway. He was literally too tired to stand and had to rest against a wall but found some extra energy to get the job done in small seconds of full on attacks and then a few seconds of rest and then attack and rest and repeat until they were all on the ground. He would just not give up until he got to that boy. I love that scene.
Another great aspect of this show is that he does not have his costume yet, he is really running around beating people up in a long sleeve black shirt and pants that he bought on Amazon. He covers his face with a thick black scarf he rigged up himself and threw on some worker boots. None of this is bullet proof or even knife proof, which hurts him later on, but that is also a big character building moment.
So anyway, I could go on and on about this show, just know that I am obsessed and might cry buckets of tears when it is pulled from Netflix due to Disney owning the character and kick starting their own streaming service. Hopefully they add it to their lineup, because it is great. But it might be a bit too gritty for Disney.
And those are the shows that we watched this week! I am almost done with season 2 of Daredevil and might be able to sink into season 3 this weekend. We shall see. Though I really should not stay up all hours of the night to catch just-one-more-episode. But, you know I am *wink*.
So tell me, what are y’all watching? Any good shows out there?
Image from Acoma Photography