Saturday, September 30, 2017

While You Were Sleeping Episodes 1 & 2 Memes

Hi friends! Hope you've all been well. While we still seem to be at a slow drip for dramas, there is a sun rising on the horizon with While You Were Sleeping. I'm very intrigued with the first couple episodes and will let you know after next week hope I'm feeling overall with the drama. That and Siwon's new drama is out! Although neither DramaFever or Viki picked it up, so it may be difficult for us international fans to watch it. Guess I'll have to get creative. In the meantime, I have decided to meme While You Were Sleeping and will continue to do so as long as the drama retains my interest. You will be able to find all my While You Were Sleeping posts here.

The Good Doctor - Korean vs American Version - The First Episodes

The first couple of times I heard that Hollywood had purchased the rights to produce an American version of a popular Kdrama, I got excited. I would get to see a story that I loved recreated by those in my own country. I was interested to see their take on it, what elements translated well, and what they changed. But as the years went by and none of these remakes ever came to fruition, I gave up hope. So much so that I had completely forgotten that "Good Doctor" was among those that were up for a remake. Until I saw that the pilot episode of the American "The Good Doctor" came out this week. I never watched the Korean version when it came out, because at that time in my Kdrama life, I was looking for cutesy romances (still am, tbh). But now that an American remake has come out, I decided to give Good Doctor (Korean) a try as well as The Good Doctor (American) so that I can compare the two and see what an American adaptation of a Korean Drama is really like and how it lines up against the original.

As a disclaimer, at this point I have only seen the first episode of both versions. If the American version has factors from the Korean version shown in later episodes, I won't know because I haven't gotten that far yet. So first, I'll point out some similarities, then I'll point out key differences, and then give my thoughts overall. There are spoilers below, but only from the first episode and I haven't seen beyond that, so it doesn't really spoil the plot of the drama at all.

Honestly, I was impressed because there were more similarities to the original than there were differences. Even scene by scene they were nearly identical save a few factors. All the way up to the lead's name Shi On in the Korean version and Shaun in the American. So rather than detail every single frame of what was similar, I will highlight the important things that remained the same.

  • Autistic Savant: In both versions Shi On/Shaun has both autism and savant syndrome making him a medical genius with impaired social skills.
  • Board Needs Convincing: Shi On and Shaun's mentor doctor is the lead of the hospital in both versions and has to speak in front of the other directors to convince them to give Shi On/Shaun a chance.
  • Saves A Boy's Life: Shi On/Shaun both save a young boy who is injured by a falling sign. In both cases he delivers first aid that saves the boy's life that even the other doctor on the scene didn't know how to. Then he takes the ambulance with the boy who happens to be going to the hospital that Shi On/Shaun has been recently "hired' at. Video of Shi On/Shaun saving the boy's life goes viral which impacts the hospitals decision to give Shi On/Shaun a chance.
  • Female Doctor is an Advocate for Mental Health.The female lead in both versions has a fight with the senior surgeon about how mental health of a patient/their peace of mind is just as important as physical health.
  • Domestic Abuse: In both versions Shi On/Shaun was abused by his father growing up and bullied because of his condition.
  • Doting Brother: Shi On/Shaun both are close with their brother. Their brother protects them and tries to help them befriend the other kids. Both Shi On and Shaun keep the toy scalpel their brother gave them as a gift when they were kids.

  • Cold but Brilliant Lead Surgeon: In both version the Senior Surgeon is arrogant, but recognizes Shi On/Shaun's skill/expertise. He's mean and doesn't want Shi On/Shaun to be a surgeon, but something tells me he's going to become a softie as the story goes on. At least in the Korean version. Lol.
  • Inspired to Become Doctor by Brother/Bunny's Death: In both versions, it is a speech from Shi On/Shaun explaining how he wanted both his bunny and his brother to grow up and have children and how it wasn't fair that they didn't and that is why he decided to become a doctor that inspires the directors to give him a chance. It's a moving speech and I'm really glad that they kept it.
  • Director's Job is on the Line: The one that surprised me the most was that in both versions, the director/president of the hospital vows to resign if Shi On/Shaun cannot make it as a doctor. This surprises me because it seems like a much more Kdrama -specific thing but it certainly ups the ante for tension in the American version. 
As I said before the shows are both very similar, so there aren't a lot of big differences but here are a few that caught my attention.
  • Sex: Unsurprisingly there is sex in the American version, within the first 7 minutes and it keeps getting brought up. They don't show the act, thought.
  • Attitude: Shaun is more talkative than Shi On was and in that way he's also a bit more antagonistic/curt towards others. This could be a cultural thing or just a different portrayal of autism. I find both portrayals to be accurate to life. 
  • Type of Hospital: In the Korean version, they work in a pediatric hospital. In the American version, it's just your standard hospital.
  • Death of Brother: In the American version, Shaun's brother is younger than him and dies from falling off of an old train car. In the Korean version, Shi On's brother is older and dies in a collapses old mine.
  • Surgery Timeframe: Shaun goes into surgery with the other doctors at the end of the first episode, whereas the first episode of the Korean version does not see Shi On in surgery.
  • Gender/Racial Discussion: In the American version the difficulties faced due to racial and gender issues with the difficulties faced as someone with a disability such as autism.
  • Drunk Kdrama Trope: In typical Kdrama style we get a scene where the female lead gets drunk, goes home but apparently it's in the house that Shi On is living so obviously one of them is in the wrong places, and wakes up to find him in his underwear brushing his teeth. 
 Firstly, I will say that I really enjoyed the first episode of Good Doctor - the Korean version (and the American version to but more on that in a minute). I was intrigued by the plot and the characters and definitely plan on finishing it. Because the American version is so similar to the Korean, I also plan on giving it a chance. However, I didn't feel quite the love Freddie Highmore's portrayal of Shaun as much as I did Joo Won's portrayal of Shi On. I just felt more drawn to Shi On as a character, but that could have been an acting choice on Freddie Highmore's part. Also, there is the fact that Freddie's American accent is a fake one (he's British) and he has that to add on top of acting as an autistic man. In addition, there is the fact to consider that the first episode is the pilot and acting in the pilot seems to typically be a little stiffer. That being said, I look forward to seeing what the American version brings forward and how it lines up with the original. So far they have maintained not only the spirit of the drama, but also have remarkably stuck very closely to the original. As the show progresses, I hope they are able to at least keep the spirit of the show the same. Unfortunately, based on the pilot critics don't seem to be the biggest fan of the shows, viewers however say otherwise. But as I say, you can't judge a show from its pilot.

Let me know your thoughts! I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Strongest Deliveryman: Drama Diagnosis

Brief Summary: Strongest Deliveryman is about a small neighborhood in Seoul where the restaurants serve authentic food and the deliverymen (and women) are exceptional at their jobs. But in moves the Jung Family Food restaurants that threaten to take over the whole neighborhood and put all the other restaurants out of business. Kang Soo is a deliveryman who has been in the business for a long time and made a lot of friends throughout the city along his way due to his incredibly kind nature and loyalty. Along with his loyal friends and fellow deliverymen, they rally together to save the neighborhood and fight against the evil corporation trying to destroy them.

LoganLand Rating: 4.7 Stars

I felt really content after Strongest Deliveryman finished. The drama didn't go where I expected it to, but I really enjoyed where it did go.I'm a sucker for great characters and this drama had so many of them to choose from. The story was filled with hard work that paid off in uplifting moments, sweet and tender romances, and so many laughs. This drama easily makes it into my recommendation list. 

Things I Loved
-Kang Soo. I think it's safe to say there isn't another person in the world like Kang Soo. He's the type of person that is so kind and so selfless that he actually inspires other people to become more like him. He literally had hundreds of people drop what they were doing at a moment's notice when they found out he needed help -because they remembered how good he was to them in the past. I love characters like Kang Soo because they make me want to be a better person myself. I find anyone with that much capacity for forgiveness so admirable. 

-Character Development. The characters were so amazing even more so because of the capacity they showed to change. Especially Jin Gyu and Dan Ah. Even when they displayed their less than positive traits, the drama still made sure that you could see the goodness in them. They were diamonds in the rough.  Jin Gyu was a spoiled chaebol and Dan Ah  was hard-edged and mean. I don't think that Kang Soo's influence on either of them played a small part, but as the drama drew on they both softened and their kind-heartedness that used to be buried deep was brought to the surface in both of them. They both started chasing their dreams in a productive way. Every other character was fantastic from all of the deliveryman to the chef and Soon Ae, this was the kind of group of characters that you want to make your friends for life.

-Funny. I laughed so much during this drama. The main four actors were so fantastic that they played off the comedy bits with ease. They each had such a sense of their character and went for it. I was especially impressed by the actors who played Kim Sun Ho and Go Won Hee who played Jin Gyu and Ji Yoon respectively. They were the two that had me cackling more than anyone. I feel like those two are going to go far in dramaland, especially Kim Sun Ho. You just watch.

Things I Didn't Love 
-The Timing For A Couple Episodes Near the End. Because I liked the drama a lot, I have to get really specific on the things I didn't like. The drama slowed down for a bit about 4-5 episodes from the end for an episode or two. The episodes were still enjoyable, but I felt it didn't have the same momentum/progression. That remedied itself pretty quickly in my opinion and the drama finished with a bang!

-Kang Soo's Mom. She was really not a good person. She treated Kang Soo and his father horribly. At least she knew she was awful and that she shouldn't be a part of his life when they reunited as adults, but in reality knowing Kang Soo's character it was only a matter of time before she was completely forgiven. Still, a woman who can abandon her child and then completely ignore him when she met him as an adult is a loser in my book.

Resolution: 95%  
I was very happy with the ending that we got. I feel like as my Kdrama tastes have matured, I'm not as satisfied with dramas where they get married and have babies. Yes, it's nice to know that they'll be together forever and happy, but it seems almost too easy/predictable to have a drama ending that way. The ending of Strongest Deliveryman was in the not to distant future and we got see the characters that we grew to love living out their dreams and genuinely happy together. The mere fact that despite the fact that they were not all the way to completing their dreams/reaching happily ever after, they were happy and they were together was all I could have asked for. The only way I could have been more satisfied with the ending, is if I could have seen every other character from the drama living out their dream, but there were just too many for that to be plausible.

I think my views of this drama were a little more favorable than most. Still, I think most people would agree that this is an overall enjoyable drama. It may not hit him for those who are very plot-driven or need a lot of conflict. It had cutesy elements, but to me the moral/character development was too strong to be considered a purely "cutesy drama". I would recommend this drama to everyone who puts character over any other factors and to anyone who loves a feel-good underdog story. 

You can find all my Strongest Deliveryman posts here

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Strongest Deliveryman Episodes 15 & 16 Memes

Aw man, first I had to say goodbye to School 2017 and now Strongest Deliveryman. That's the bane of  a Kdrama fan's existence, isn't it? Always having to say goodbye to the dramas we love. But where the kdrama gods close a door, they'll surely open a Kdrama window soon, won't they? I'd better find a new drama - stat. All the ones I'm watching right now are old. Lol. Until then, here are the last of my Strongest Deliveryman memes. You can find all my Strongest Deliveryman posts here.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

School 2017 : Drama Diagnosis

Brief Summary: School 2017 follows a group of students in a school where those with good grades are favored and those with money are favored even more. A corrupt school where the principal and the chairman hear the sound of money over the sound of the students' protests. Finally fed up with the unfairness Hyeon Tae Woon, Ra Eun Ho, and their friends decide to fight back and stand up for their school, their friends, themselves, and for justice.

LoganLand Rating: 4.7 Stars

For me, School 2017 has become a strong contender for my favorite drama of the year. As I have mentioned before, it was my first foray into the School Series and has definitely piqued my interest in the others. The drama first hooked me with its similarity to one of my all-time favorite Kdramas, Cheer Up. The characters are unique and compelling, the story keeps moving, and the chemistry between the cast is all I could ever hope for. I would still place Cheer Up above School 2017 in terms of quality due to the fact that Cheer Up hit some heavy themes and handled them really well such as: teen suicide, depression, and displayed characters with overwhelming capacities for forgiveness.  That being said, School 2017 still stands as a very solid drama that I would recommend to nearly everyone. 

Things I Loved
- Chemistry. Don't even care if I sound like a broken record. If you follow me on social media you've definitely heard me say how much I loved Ra Eun Ho and Heon Tae Woon's chemistry. They managed to build such believable tension and attraction to one another that it elicits that voice in the back of my head asking if they're in love in real life. And they managed to do all of that without a single on-screen kiss. That's impressive. In other dramas where there are no main lead kisses, I felt a little disappointed that I devoted that much energy only to be let down but I did not feel that way at all with them. Their other moments of skinship probably helped, but I want to mostly credit it to their incredible acting skills.

-The Friendships. Okay, maybe this is a bit cheesy. But it was more than just the friendships, it was the way in which the friendships developed. When the drama began most of them were not friends. Heck, most of them did not even have real friends. It was through helping each other, learning to forgive, and learning to seek forgiveness that our cast of characters formed these strong bonds with one another. My personal favorite was seeing the transformation of the character Bo Ra going from a quiet outcast who got bullied and had no friends to a happy, perky member of the group even forgiving and befriending her old bully. 
-Hyeon Tae Woon. Excuse me for a minute while I start with another quick Cheer Up parallel. In Cheer Up, the lead female ends up with the nicer, smarter, perkier of the guys. The second male lead (played by the infallible Jisoo) is rougher around the edges, scowls, stays away from others - that is until he falls in love with the lead female. That drama gives a painful case of SLS. Clearly Hyeon Tae Woon is closer to the second male lead of Cheer Up. So it almost felt healing in a way to see a similar character as the lead male. Hyeon Tae Woon starts out rough, but becomes fiercely kind and protective of all his friends but especially of Ra Eun Ho. The way he is so forthright in confessing to her and how he has no shame about how he loves her is absolutely refreshing. He never does that "I'm leaving you for your own good thing" which is another refreshing bit. 

Things I Didn't Love
-Bullies. I mean who likes bullies, right? Lol. It's hard to say things I didn't love because I really did like everything in the drama. But the bullies in this drama were more psychological than anything and they were really over the top. I just wanted to say "Mind your own business". It's almost like the bullies had a need to bully only to cause drama because they really only made things more difficult on themselves. 
-What does the future hold? This is an unfair criticism, but again I'm really stretching to find complaints here. Because I think the only school drama I've ever seen where we get to see the kids in the future is Dream High (1&2). But I'd like to know where these characters end up in the future - ideally I'd like to see Ra Eun Ho and Hyeon Tae Woon married with children. Lol. 

Resolution: 90%
In all seriousness I was pretty satisfied with the ending. As we say goodby we see our characters happy. I get annoyed when they show the leads fighting in the end to make it realistic. While our couple may always bicker, there is no love lost between them. Although we don't know what the future holds for the characters we have come to love over these 9 weeks, we do get a sense that they are all in a good place and that they are all headed toward an even better place. I think that's a realistic view of life to take in some ways. We know that the road we travel in life will have bumps and detours, but that does not mean we are not on our way to a better place. I feel like School 2017 leaves us with the same sort of feeling. So even though I'm sad that it's over, I was happy to be on the journey and it left me feeling really good. 

I know there were some out there who didn't enjoy the drama, but I never really heard any specific criticisms that I could pass a long for full disclosure. Someone will always throw out the clique "boring" without any further explanation, but honestly I wasn't bored for a moment. Still, I recognize there is no accounting for taste but I recommend that everyone give it a try. Even if you don't typically like school dramas or have not liked the others in the schools series, watching at least one episode of this drama just might be worth the risk.

You can find all my School 2017 related posts here 

School 2017 Episodes 15 & 16 Memes

Alright, just a brief sentence here since I'm about to post a drama diagnosis on School 2017 to follow up this post. The drama is over and I already miss it. School 2017 definitely goes onto my recommendation list for this year! Without further ado Memes! and you can find all my School 2017 posts here.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Strongest Deliveryman Episodes 11 & 12

Hi guys! You may be noticing that I didn't do memes for episodes 9 & 10. That is because Tiara and I decided to alternate weeks doing memes since we were both getting a little burnt out and are both on the Drama Club for DramaFever. So for some awesome memes from last week, be sure to find her on Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter under ajavillablog. But I'm back to making memes for week 5 so without further ado here they are. You can find all my Strongest Deliveryman related memes here.


School 2017 Episodes 13-14 Memes

Hi guys. I know I've been lacking on the memes. I had a couple things going on the first of which being that my computer was down for about a week and secondly I was feeling a little burnt out. So my computer is back and as a compromise I decided to still keep doing memes because I love them, but also to limit the amount of time I devote to them which will mean not quite as many but I'm hoping that only makes the memes that I do make better. So belatedly, here are just a few memes that I made for week 7 of School 2017. You can find all School 2017 posts here.

New Blog - Where to Find New Memes - 611 Drama Unnies

Hi Friends! Since it's no longer just me who is creating the memes and since Tiara and I are working  together on collaborations across...