The story has potential but the production seems to be lacking in budget and time. Also, they need to get an experienced English translator for their embedded translation or just include one and leave it to their partner streaming sites to do the English translation for them.
I hope the sequel, if there ever will be one, will have the budget and time to allow the writer and director to tell the story. A good story shouldn't be wasted like this. Make it count.
Last but not the least, the robots does not have to be "stiff". What they lack are emotions not oil. They came from a very advance universe. The virus may have had removed their emotions but it did not made their motor movements like a robot prototype of the 1900s. Make them relax. I mean, look at that female robot host to the virus, not once did she act stiff. Why are the other robots stiff? They don't need to be. Even the fighting scenes of the robots, it was like watching someone do the robot dance.
I hope this improves in the sequel.
Episodes 23 and 24 are superb. From what I've read from those who have read the original novel "Time Machine" that this was based on, the ending was changed in the TV adaptation, based on that information I could say that the director and writer did an amazing job in giving us a different ending--it was heart wrenching, lovely, and touching.
As with most adaptations with a different ending than its original source, it is rare that the new ending leaves an impact to the audience, most often than not the original ending is still better. Not in the case of First Love Again (2021) TV adaptation, their ending deserves to be an official ending too, especially since we are talking about parallel universes and time travel.
The male and female leads were a perfect match. They portrayed perfectly what many of us experienced back in High School and whenever we fall in love. The anger, the sweetness, being playful with each other, even the little things they captured it all awesomely. The same with the side stories with their friends, like the pain of being rejected or the unexpected surprise classmates no one expected will be together ended up getting married.
It is also worth mentioning that they effectively used all 24 episodes to tell us different interconnected stories. It was not rushed nor was it lacking. They also kept the physics of spacetime travel (yes, one word "spacetime") simple and to a minimum. If we are going to talk about how logical it was, at this point it is hard to say. In the latter episodes, there appears to be some leaps when it comes to spacetime travel, but since I have not taken the time yet to fully review and gather my thoughts about it, I can not say anything about it … yet. Regardless, the spacetime travel is overall good and easy to follow for the majority of the episodes. Those who are not keen with parallel worlds and time travel stories would find it easy to watch this.
And hey, the overall story, the romance between our lead characters, are more than enough reason to watch First Love Again (2021) even if the Science does not make sense. This is a story of two High School friends that not even the universe can ever separate. A story about two souls who will always find each other and fall in love again and again and again and again …
Chronological order of the story:1. The Beginning (2021) - when it all started, Himura Kenshin became Hitokiri Battousai; Yukishiro Tomoe meets Battousai2. Rurouni Kenshin (2012) - 10 years after "The Beginning", Hitokiri Battousai reappears as Himura Kenshin and meets Kamiya Kaoru3. Kyoto Inferno (2014)4. The Legend Ends (2014) - when Himura Kenshin finally learns and masters the final technique of Hiten mitsurugi-ryu which signifies or symbolizes the end of "Hitokiri Battousai"5. The Final (2021) - they come full circle, Yukishiro Enishi takes revenge on Himura Kenshin
It was great how they did this live-action franchise as well as how they titled each.
There are two arcs in these 5-movie franchise:  The Yukishiro arc; and  the Hitokiri Battousai arc.
It all started in "The Beginning" when Himura Kenshin became Hitokiri Battousai. Then later met Yukishiro Tomoe and [accidentally] killed her.
From "Rurouni Kenshin" to "The Legend Ends", it was about Kenshin being forced and struggling to fight Battousai from coming out again. In "The Legend Ends", it was the end of the Hitokiri Battousai arc when Kenshin finally learned the final technique of the Hiten mitsurugi style.
--> "The Legend Ends" for Hitokiri Battousai.
"The Final" is when Kenshin and the Yukishiro family comes full circle. Enishi witnessed when Battousai [accidentally] killed Yukishiro Tomoe. Once again, a fitting title:
--> "The Final" story of Kenshin and the Yukishiro family.
I don't know what to say with "Azumi 2: Death or Love". As the title suggest, and if you've watched the first movie, this is a sad ending for the story of Azumi.
Movies with sequels usually fail to live up with the original film, Azumi 2 is one of those rare sequels that was equal to or even surpassed the first film. The production was great and the background music were at the right scenes. The story was great, now that the background or introduction was out of the way, this sequel concentrated on Azumi and her hidden conflict inside: Death or Love.
Both movies are highly recommended. In fact, these two movies are closely tied-in together, it was as good as a single film. I'm glad they did not follow this up with another sequel "Azumi 3" because that would more likely not be at par with "Azumi" and "Azumi 2", though of course it would be great to see Azumi in action again.
And this is where I give Ueto Aya the highest praises, she was able to pull the exact same fierceness and one-mindedness when her character is in killing-mode. She did not force it, it was natural as if she was Azumi. Aya was born to bring Azumi alive.
Another perfect 10.
P.S. Time period aside, it would be an epic match if Azuri and Hitokiri Battousai met.
This is actually good! It's slow at first, building the story of the group of assassins. Then it picks up and showed us amazing sword choreography. Great acting by Ueto Aya and even though she looks beautiful and pretty, she was able to exude her character's fierceness and one-mindedness of a true assassin. I can not help but compare her to Battousai whenever Azumi the Assassin shows up.
In memory of the original 10, and the perfectness of the production, story, and cast, I give this a perfect 10.
They should replace the Byakuya actor, he was trying hard to be fierce. Everytime he showed up, he was pulling the movie down.
If they will retain him, then the director should tell him to relax and to own the character. He does not need to copy the Byakuya in the anime adaptation. Own the character, be a unique Byakuya.
As for the Orihime character, they should've signed-up a Korean actress, they know how to act cute. That was Orihime's charm, being cute. The actress for Orihime was too serious but in fairness she did well in looking "innocent".
I wasn't aware Eiko Kadono's novel "Kiki's Delivery Service" had a live-action film adaptation in 2014. I love this movie, it's sweet, lovely, and touchy. Even though the CG for the baby hippo was not so good, overall that can be easily overlooked because of the acting, story, production, and proper setting. Highly recommended for the family!
Infinite is a 2021 movie starring Mark Wahlberg. It was based on the novel The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz which he self-published in 2009.
A short review of the adaptation: while the action scenes were great, the film was lacking in many ways, one such is depth. The story of the adaptation has potential but unfortunately the movie format is very limited, so it ended up going everywhere and nowhere.
This should be adapted into a TV series instead.
In the end it became a mashed-up of The Matrix + Assassins Creed + Kill Bill. A pure entertainment movie that does not care about the story.
7 out of 10 stars from me.
Thank you team Doom At Your Service for a very romantic and very memorable story. You will all be missed.
To Ms. Park Bo Young, once again, what a superb performance! See you in your next TV drama (or movie)!
Fan synopsis: A better version of "The Mist". ;P
Lessons:1. Don't be greedy2. Don't wish … instead pray for it.3. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Mark 8:36 KJVHave Faith, Hope, and Love.
For those who are not aware, the Korean movie "#ALIVE" is based on the 2019 script by Matt Naylor. This same 2019 script was also made into an American movie entitled "Alone".
For more information:* American version based on the same script: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alone_(2020_horror_film)* Korean version based on the same script: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alive_(2020_film)
Can someone add Season 2 information? The official streaming website is: https://www.iq.com/album/2c1yna4728d
New episodes are released every Friday and Saturday. Here's the schedule:1 - April 32 - April 93 - April 104 - April 165 - April 176 - April 237 - April 248 - April 309 - May 110 - May 711 - May 812 - May 1413 - May 15
Trust is the magic that changes the world, not technology.
An amazing TV series about family love, self-growth, finding yourself, and turning over a new leaf. There is not much to say because no words can truly express the lessons this Korean Drama imparted to all of us.
Challenging ourselves to new things every day gave us strength and courage.It doesn't matter even if you collapse or fail every day.When that happens, tell yourself this:"You're doing well."You're the most magnificent star in your life."That is, if you refuse to give up"and get back on your feet once again."
"Mind Jumper" is actually a 2020 TV series from Singapore. The main female character is autistic and they did well in portraying an autistic working mother. This is rare and I applaud them for getting it right and for the actress portraying her character properly.
This is a 2020 series and already finished, so I don't understand why it's listed as 2021 here and in other sites.
A story you will never forget for the rest of your life
Practically a movie, 2 hours and 20 minutes running time. I would say that by approaching this from an episodic method, they were able to tell the story in a simple and yet very touching way. If they turned this into a movie, it wouldn't have the same impact as the expectations and requirements for one is far different.
This proves that great stories does not have to be long, it is the execution and delivery that matters. I also love how they embedded the importance of studying mathematics and science--something that students need to understand--by throwing a modern student into the past where their survival lies on it, just as how important these are today.
I can't believe I only discovered this today. I will never forget this story for the rest of my life.
The ending killed the episode.
It was going very well for a full 10 stars until the last few scenes where she made a call knowing full well it can be traced back to her. There are a hudred ways to lead the "bad guys" to her without making her the dumbest experienced detective in the world.
《허쉬》 or "HUSH" was a Korean TV serial which ran from December 11, 2020 to February 6, 2021 in jTBC. This show is about the life of a group of news reporters and how they faced the trials thrown at them.
"HUSH" started by introducing the audience to the process of getting hired in a newspaper company. Once the key characters were introduced, the story immediately tacked its first of many interconnected plots. These were no ordinary plots as it touched on the issues people face daily in work environments and in society. Stories where the audience can relate and question the ethics and morality of what they see, what they hear, and what they read.
In particular, it talked about suicide. Suicide is a very serious social problem in South Korea in recent years, it produced different movements, revision of existing laws, and even new laws, to help fight against the most common reason for suicides--bullying and unfair treatment. This show beautifully handled this subject and encouraged the audience to put themselves in the shoes of other people and to question and care about the things happening around them.
The stories in each episode and the main plot were deep and provoking. It was not simply an office drama in the world of news reporting, it was a life drama which touched the hearts and minds of its audience.
The casting was picked well especially with veteran actors like Son Byung Ho, Yoo Sun, Kim Won Hae, Lee Seung Jun, who were what is commonly called today as "second leads". They portrayed their characters well which was vital to the success of the main leads played by Hwang Jung Min and Im Yoon Ah.
Lim Yoon Ah, or "Yoona", brought all her acting skills in this drama. I can say that this was her best in all of her acting career a perfect match to her veteran male lead partner, Hwang Jung Min. From her innocent look as someone new in journalism to a matured character who earned her badges in life.
This is a good series to watch and I recommend it to anyone going through trials in their work and life in general. A show which reminds us and encourages us to speak out when we see bullying and unfair treatments and practices.
Originally posted on my blog: https://youronly.one/yuki/review-hush-2020-202140/ under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 International License.
Space Sweepers is lightyears better from recent Western space scifi shows
"Space Sweepers" is South Korea's first-ever space science fiction show. For their first venture into space, they did not disappoint and made sure audiences were awed by the show's deep story and unforgettable space adventure.
I. StoryThe story started out as a typical Western space scifi. Humanity encountered a life threatening situation and the only way out was up, out there in outer space. Slowly and perfectly the Korean signature in storytelling and plots surfaced up and it started to get very interesting.
There was a grand or overarching story guiding Space Sweepers but they instead zoomed-in and told the story from a human perspective. This approach allowed them to tackle the questions from the vantage point of ordinary humans, attaching the audiences to the characters in ways not possible from a "bigger picture" method. A story about a crew of "Space Sweepers" but at the same time it was not about them.
It is rare to see this type of story and storytelling in live-action movies considering the limited time available and yet they were able to flesh out the characters, presented a family relationship plots, questioned human moralities and ethics, and explored the notion about "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".
II. Acting/CastThe casting was excellent. Song Joong Ki, playing as "Tae Ho", and Kim Tae Ri, playing as "Captain Jang", are two popular and veteran Korean actors. They were joined in by Jin Seon Kyu as "Tiger Park", Yoo Hae Jin as the Robot, and the child actress Park Ye Rin as "Dorothy". Five actors who complimented each others' acting style enabled them to bring the story closer to the audience.
Kim Tae Ri is best known from her 2016 movie "The Handmaiden" and the Netflix TV series "Mr. Sunshine" in 2018. Despite the huge jump from historical romance genre to a space scifi action and adventure, Kim Tae Ri has proven once again her talent in acting. She showed her character's strength and fierceness and yet behind it all she was caring and loving.
Song Joong Ki is well known from his major role in the hugely popular 2016 TV series "Descendants of the Sun". He masterfully played his character, a man who lost his daughter in a tragedy and ended up as a sweeper of space debris to make his living. Throughout the movie, he showed perfectly the thoughts and goals of his character despite of what was in front of him. His emotions and expressions were in check, thus completing the aura of his character while at the same time letting the audience feel his sadness and difficult choices.
Special mention is the child actress Park Ye Rin. She is technically a newbie in the industry, having only appeared as a guest in a 2020 TV series. Having thrown in a blockbuster film this early would have a huge challenge for her and yet she amazingly showed that she was born an actress. She played as "Dorothy", one of the key characters in this film. This being a space scifi, which means they had a lot of filming in front of green screens, Park Ye Rin was not distracted and was able to deliver her dialogues and interacted with her co-stars naturally. Oh, did I not say that she's only 7 years old?
III. ProductionThey did not shy away from giving this a budget. The superb visual effects, cgi, and editing, definitely placed this movie equal in rank with Western shows like "Star Trek" and "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy" to name two.
It was also a brilliant idea to bring in actors from different nationalities and to use their native languages. This is rarely done and is simply explained as some magic or technology like a "universal translator". But that's not where it ends … even though they have a "universal translator", they did not resorted to "English" or "Korean" as a "universal language". They showed all directors in the world how to properly portray different languages even if there is a "universal translator" available.
That deserves a huge mention especially for a show which concerns multiple nationalities, languages, and cultures--the planet Earth. The flow of the story was not broken even though the characters were speaking different languages. Everything was flowing smoothly, this is how it actually will be like if "universal translators" become a reality. Well done!
IV. ConclusionWhile this is a space science fiction film, the story was about you and me, being a human, and the relationships we build in each of our adventures. This is what "Space Sweepers" was about. It is about you and me. Our humanity. Our frailties. The challenges we face every single day and how to ultimately triumph (or not).
Can you guess how many languages were spoken and nationalities represented in "Space Sweepers"?
Originally posted on my blog: https://youronly.one/yuki/review-space-sweepers-2021-202137/ under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 International License.
RomCom done right
Simply, it's romantic comedy done right. There are many shows categorised as "RomCom" over the years and very few deserving of this label. "Please Don't Date Him" is one of the few exception as it brings out genuine laughter in every episode while building on the romantic relationship of the characters.
The literary device used for the plot was properly used and was not just a literary device later forgotten after setting up the story. When this was revealed, I was expecting this show to turn serious and deviate from being a romcom and turn into a serious drama, but the writer(s) stayed true and kept it in the sidelines yet still an important part of the show.
Song Ha Yoon, who played "Seo Ji Sung" did very well in portraying an A.I. programmer yet still "just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her" (to borrow from "Notting Hill"). I also love how they chose a woman as a programmer in this show debunking the stereotypes  programming is for men; and  girl programmers does not have a love life.
I recommend this show if you are looking for a series which will make you laugh, fall in love all over again, and appreciate the people around you, even strangers like our brave firefighters. Don't forget to check my review of episode 9: https://mydramalist.com/62539-please-don-t-meet-the-man/episode/9 -- a must-watch episode.
It's sad that they only planned a total of ten (10) episodes, they could have extended it to thirteen or a full series (sixteen episodes).
A great watch … worth it!
I. Storya. Episode stories: The stories per episode were mostly good. Out of 16 episodes, I like the story of 9 episodes.
b. Series story: From the title, "Start-Up" (or "Sandbox"), it gives the impression that it is primarily about starting up a business or about joining a, well, sandbox program. However, overarching story is more about  a love triangle and  sibling rivalry. The impression from the series title only takes tertiary importance. It would have been better if the importance was as follows:  sibling rivalry;  start-up/sandbox/business; and  love triangle.
Regardless… the way the overarching stories were delivered and the choice of story per episode were enough to pull up the score for this rating.
However, avoid introducing important facts and then never mentioning it again. For example, Ji Pyung and the sisters have met when they were kids. It was also weird that a bloodied person can pitch his company, that does not happen in real life.
II. ActingActing! This is where I had to give a low rating. There were too many crying scenes where the facial expression was neutral. It was obvious they were only "acting" instead of actually feeling and letting their emotions out.
I'm a fan of Suzy but I have to mention this: relax more during kissing scenes, make us feel it, and it doesn't need to be "wild". The kissing scenes can still be romantic even if there wasn't too much lip action. A room for improvement. I love her acting and the way she brings life to the characters she plays but the kissing scenes needs improvement. Relax, take it slow, don't make it wild -- rather make it romantic. Don't act, imagine he's your boyfriend or some secret desire. You want to enjoy the moment, to just let him feel your desire.
As for Joo Hyuk, great job in portraying what appears to be an eccentric, possibly even an autistic, character. It is never easy if an actor is not in the autism spectrum--in particular asperger syndrome. Very geeky, logical, all about facts, and clueless about everything else, especially fashion and social skills. Those scenes where Dal Mi was sending signals and Do San missed it all--those were all great. Sometimes annoying but all of it were relatable. Neutral face, going back to the discussion he was focused on, definitely a character with aspergers syndrome. Well done there.
For Han Na, excellent job in keeping the character mysterious. It was not easy when the character In Jae had a change of heart, especially when it comes to her sister. There were clues but the next moment it's the total opposite. This happens in real life and so it's great to see it on screen.
III. MusicThis one is hard. I can not remember any memorable music other than the theme songs.
IV. Rewatch ValueDefinitely in my list of series that I'll choose to re=watch.
V. SummaryOverall, the production, story, and acting were awesome. The inclusion of business terminologies and explaining each, that was a very good idea. Explaining the processes, the whys and the hows, definitely a plus. It would have been better if they toned down the "young adult" giggles because that very rarely happens in-real-life. They should've used sandbox and showed the idea behind it and what's happening in it more as well, instead of just providing a free office and free funding.
The "revolutionary" ideas were well thought out especially the app helping those with vision challenges. I do hope such an app exists but we haven't achieved that speed of AI recognition still something to look forward to. Great choices on scenes and I wish they added more, like a team building session where they could feature the beauty of Korea instead of the exact same office.
From a dramatic episode 1 and funny episodes later, to the building up of the trials and tribulations, to the eventually resolution in the latter episodes. it was enough to pull up the overall rating to 9 out of 10 stars.
Deserving of high praises and top rating
"The Uncanny Counter" (2020) Season 1 was a live-action adaptation of the webtoon ("digital Korean manhwa") entitled "Kyeongirowoon Somoon" (2018) by Jang Yi. It stars Jo Byung Kyoo, Yoo Joon Sang, Kim Se Jeong, and Yeom Hye Ran, as the Counters--people who hunts evil spirits.
The multiple story arcs were well thought out and I was amazed with how these different stories perfectly fit together in the end which brought out the best in the characters and the moral lessons of the series. The casting and acting for the four lead characters were so good it was as the audience witnessed a true story.
The music, overall production, editing, and directing, were all superb. The choreography in the fight scenes were not lacking and were not overdone, simply fitting for four ordinary individuals to do; otherwise it would have been unrealistic.
Finally, and it is rare to see this in most Asian dramas, they ended the series properly leaving an option for a sequel or a new season. Stories should not be sealed--leaving no room for the audience to create their own continuation, which in turn also leaves no room for an official sequel.
Since it was already announced that season 2 was given a green light, it further proved the importance of ending a series with room for the future. Well done. I will be waiting for season 2.
Definitely a must watch show
I. StoryWhen you thought you have guessed the twists and turns, a new layer is introduced to prove your guesses wrong. This is rare in this genre and the writer, Hyuk Rin Jang, wrote a masterpiece.
While "The K2" was mainly about the political game, it was also about family relationships and the politics that is common in large clans with huge money at stake. This type of story is usually told by showing a dragging drama but in this TV series they approached it from an "outsider" view or as a secondary story. THe family politics was there but they were careful in keeping it from becoming the main story.
II. ActingExcellent acting from the veteran and younger actors. The fight scenes, especially in episode one was beyond Western choreography, "James Bond" and "Mission: Impossible" can never match what they did.
I was also impressed by YoonA's acting of her character. At first it looked like her role was easy but as we get into the middle episodes, her character was challenging--she had to be a totally different person, someone with PTSD and deep hatred.
III. MusicThe background music were perfect. It adds to the impact of an already powerful scene. It was good because BGMs should act as an amplifier for scenes and not as "the scene".
IV. ProductionGreat production. Clearly every centavo was spent to create a realistic show which captivated the audience and made the boundary between reality and fiction non-existent.
A story about healing, moving on, forgiveness, and loving again
n.b.: Might contain what others consider as "spoiler" but is not in my opinion.
At first, one would assume this is a typical romantic comedy about some couple who found each other, denies being in loved, and eventually lived happily ever after. However, one will soon learn that this is a story about healing, moving on, forgiveness, and loving again.
IU, as Jang Man Weol the owner of Hotel del Luna, beautifully brought to life her character. She successfully hid her image as the world's "Queen of Pop" with her superb acting. From a very friendly, approachable, smiling IU, she totally became the bitter, easy to anger, and strict that is Jang Man Weol. As this story spans a thousand years, IU's talent in acting shone as she took on different roles and genres in one series.
One would probably also assume that Hotel del Luna was an IU show especially since she wore countless of dresses in every 1.5-hour episode, which could range from a thousand years ago to the present. I would say she probably beaten Lucy Liu in Elementary in this area, turning a series into a subtle fashion show. However, Yeo Jin Goo made this his own show as well, himself a veteran actor who have taken challenging roles, playing as Goo Chan Sung, the Hotel Manager, equalised the show between the two actors and their characters.
The music were also great. Yeo Jin Goo's and IU's acting were more than enough but with the right music at the right time, it deepened the emotional connection to the important scenes. From action to the most heart-wrenching scenes, the music made the series very memorable and touching, especially for those who are going through the same challenges in their lives.
The writers also did well. While Hotel del Luna was a hotel for ghosts/spirits, nothing was too scary, I wouldn't even categorised this show as "horror". In each episode, they touched on different subjects about death, murder, accidents, forgiveness, and separation with the people we love, that longing desire to be with them even after life has ended. They carefully guided the show to not turn into "horror"--which amateur writers would've fallen into and throw the story everywhere--by always bringing in the light-hearted comedy of Yeo Jin Goo and IU.
Finally, the overall story of healing, moving on, forgiveness, and loving again was told perfectly in 16 episodes averaging 1 hour and 20 minutes each. This was very eye-opening for those of us who were recently deeply broken, those of us who are denying we have lingering bitterness in our hearts, those of us who are finding it hard to forgive and move on. Goo Chan Sung and Jang Man Wol showed us how and why we should heal, move on, forgive, and love again. Goo Chan Sung demonstrated to us how we should let someone heal first before entering into a relationship with them, how we can be the support they need and not give in to their every demands just because they were deeply hurt. While Jang Man Wol told us how bitterness and an unforgiving heart can lead one to live a sad, unfulfilling, pointless life, and how we can once again love by healing ourselves first.
Thank you to the whole team for bringing us an amazing production and a great meaningful story.
If there will ever be a "Hotel Blue Moon", I hope that it will tell meaningful stories as with Hotel del Luna, and that the sequel wouldn't fall into "just another entertainment show"--a common pitfall with sequels.
Hotel del Luna: 100 out of 10 stars!
An impactful lesson-filled short story
"Dear My Name" (2019) was a 6-episode web series for 10 minutes each which was later re-released as a 2-episode show. However, do not get distracted by it, not every good story has to be long just as how short stories can be as awesome as novels, "Dear My Name" was as awesome as any other full-length TV drama.
The acting was simple and the production and direction captured the spirit of the plot. A story about soulmates, liking each other, rejection, moving on, courage to confess, and having the freedom to choose who we want to spend our lives with. Having presented these "stages of relationships" in a total of one hour tells us the talent of the actors, actresses, the writer, and the director.
Could it have been done longer? Sure. But it won't be as perfect as what it is with its current format.
Relive your first love ?
Architecture101 is a Korean movie about first loves and making decisions. This 2012 film stars Tae Woong Uhm and Ga In Han as the adult "Seung Min Lee" and "Seo Yun Yang", and Je Hoon Lee and Suzy Bae as the younger "Seung Min" and "Seo Yun" who first met in college in Architecture 101.
While this received high ratings in Korea, it was underrated abroad where Asian drama fans are always expecting deep romance and giggles. This drama is beyond that, it tackles our "first loves" when we were young, the hopes, the dreams, that feeling of having first fallen in love with someone we totally did not expect but in the end it did not work. Later in life, when we have moved on and our paths crossed again with our first love, it's all about how we handle those feelings and making adult decisions, very hard adult decisions which can make or break relationships and our future.
Architecture 101 is for adults who have faced and went through life and the challenges it threw toward us. I do not recommend this to young adults and teenagers as most of them will never appreciate the beauty of the story. Yet highly recommended for anyone who wants to capture the long lost hope, beautiful smiles, and sweet memories that only a first love can ever give.
High emotional impact. Amazing cast. Great music! A story we can always watch.
NOTE: There are no spoilers. However, some people might consider some information as such. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
I. StoryThere are two stories in this series, the first is the political rivalry; and the second is the relationship between the Main leads.
The political rivalry story was well-written. There were always fresh "content" (if we can call it that) in every episode. They avoided repeating the same plot or reusing what was already "solved" in the previous episodes, while maintaining the overarching plot.
The story between Kang Chi Choi (played by Seung Gi Lee) and Yeo Wool Dam (played by Suzy Bae) was more than perfect. I loved how they did not dive into romantic scenes and dating game, otherwise it would've ruined the whole show. They carefully built-up the expectation and tension between the characters and perfectly used the intense emotions they captured from the audience at the right time, at the right moment.
The finale episode (ep. 24) was beyond perfection. While writing this review, I can still feel the impact and weight of this episode. Anyone can easily feel the emotions of both characters and the dialogues were realistic, what most people would say if they're in the shoes of either of the characters.
II. ActingEveryone successfully brought to life the characters they played. The seriousness, the anger, the laughter, and craziness were also reflected on their faces. Superb acting!
The Main leads--Seung Gi Lee and Suzy Bae--captured the hearts of the audience which made it easy to feel their characters, to think like their characters, to be their characters. The way they gave life to their characters was natural, we can feel their humanity.
Special mention to Suzy, if I am not mistaken this was only her third Main role in a TV series, the delivery of her lines and they way she showed us her character's personality was at a veteran actor level. It wasn't perfect, similar with Seung Gi, there were a few scenes which were awkward or maybe forced but both of them quickly recovered (even in the same scene).
III. MusicThe best music/OST. Perfect timing, at the right place, at the right scene, at the right time. The songs were also memorable and easy to listen to. They also did not forget to lower down the background music a second or two before a dialogue, something often forgotten in many other shows.
IV. ProductionIt was clear they gave a very good budget for this show. The texture and colours of their costumes and props were awesome on the screen. It helped in bringing-in the audience to live in the world of "Gu Family Book".
V. VerdictHighly recommended. 20 out of 10 stars. Very high in the re-watch list.
Did I just watch a true-to-life movie series?
I. StoryOverall, the story was great. The number of twists and turn, unexpected revelations, the high level political game, and the multiple layers, made this series one of the best crime drama of this decade ('10s). However, it failed closing the story properly.
In the last episode (16th), it was obvious it was rushed. There was no direction. Everything the series built up from episodes 1 to 15 disappeared. It started awesome, then became great, good, and ended poorly.
It is common among creative writers to have an open-ended story but in this case the ending was not an open-ending, no, it was a cliffhanger intended to be a premise for a guaranteed Season 2. If the intention was to have an open-ending, it should have ended with them driving to the airport. Everything else after that scene killed what made it great.
I still give it 8 out of 10 stars for the story regardless of the disaster after the "driving to the airport scene". I also applaud the writers and director for not inserting romantic scenes just because their lead female is well-known for it.
II. ActingSuzy did well in portraying an intelligence officer. This was a big change from her usual romantic roles and I wasn't expecting she can pull it off. Yet, in the first two episodes, she already shone in her role, that's a sure sign of a talented actress.
The acting of the other actors were superb. I usually see them in dramas about family and relationships, seeing them portray political and intelligence roles was refreshing and in they owned the characters they portrayed in series.
Together, the acting were too believable I kept thinking I was watching a fictionalised true story. The characters were too real, all thanks to their acting and synergy.
III. ProductionDid I just watch a 16-episode (16-hour) movie? It was clear they spent money on "Vagabond" to get it all right. But in the last episode the explosions were very bad. This was the other reason why I said earlier that anything after the "driving to the airport" scene should not have been included.
IV. Overall scoreAll things considered. I give it a rating of 8 out of 10 stars. The superb acting and quality production were what pulled it up, and for avoiding creating romantic scenes just because they have a great romantic-genre actress as a female lead.
A series I'll watch again in the future but not the scenes I mentioned earlier.