Upcoming dramas and my thoughts

Someone said to me on Formspring that they noticed I’ve been reblogging a lot of Exo on Tumblr, and if that means I’m “back” into K-pop. I guess you can say that based on my K-pop activity as of late. I started watching dramas religiously mid-2009-ish onwards and while I still knew what happened to groups, I didn’t follow anyone intensely and then my energy for K-pop seriously took a hit in 2010 when 1) the dramas got even better and 2) DBSK split.

It’s May and maybe there will be an upswing of things in the second part of the year, but 2012 has been extremely disappointing in terms of drama quality and output. This seems to be the year of cable, which offers a healthy number of alternatives, but that’s not enough to take away the extremely bad taste that MBC, KBS, and SBS have left in my mouth thus far. It’s drama after drama of mediocrity and sometimes it’s even dipping into feces territory -_-

So there are a ton of dramas in the horizon that are in the midst of production, or at the very least, have casts and I thought I’d weigh in on what I think of them before they premiere.

…And guess what? The rest of 2012 ain’t looking too hot either. With that little to work with, reblogging awkward screencaps of half-blinking Kris and Hangeng occupying the same space, gifs of Kyungsoo choking on water, etc. seem necessary.

COME ON DRAMA GODS, THROW ME A BONE HERE.

The following dramas are arranged according to premiere date, to the best of my researching abilities :D

Dr. Jin (Song Seung-heon, Park Min-young, Jaejoong) — premieres May 26th

I haven’t watched the highly critically-acclaimed Japanese counterpart to this drama but the second they cast Song Seung-heon I knew there was no good reason to believe that this version is going to be any good. And then they decided to cast Park Min-young and I let out nervous laughter, not unlike the nervous laughter one lets out when they find out that there’s a hair in their chicken salad.

Pre-premiere verdict: Bad casting is ruining 2012.

Gentleman’s Dignity (Jang Dong-gun, Kim Haneul, Kim Min-jong, Lee Joon-hyuk) — premieres May 26th

To have Dr. Jin premiere on the same day as Jang Dong-gun’s first drama comeback in more than a decade is some severely bad thinking on some exec’s part because let’s be real: if push came to shove, everybody would take Jang Dong-gun over Song Seung-heon, if not for the sheer fact that JDG has been withheld from the public for so long.

I’m not thrilled with Kim Han-eul and I absolutely DETEST (and want to violently spork) Kim Su-ro, but the three other gents on this project are just swell.

Pre-premiere verdict: I think everyone can openly admit that even if this drama turns out to suck, the sheer amount of physical attractiveness will keep this boat from sinking.

Father’s War (Wang Ji-hye, Sohn Hyun-joo, Kim Sang-joong) — follows Fashion King

I’m somewhat intrigued by this because it sounds like a nice break from the usual drama but I really need to watch the first couple of episodes to get a better sense of the story and the weight of the characters. This seems to be more centered around Sohn Hyung-joo and Kim Sang-joong and their dynamic rather than any romantic overtones, but I’m completely outie if Wang Ji-hye is the crux of this story because that lady is not strong enough to carry an extremely nuanced and dramatic performance. She’s perfect as the hilarious sidekick or vengeful and annoying second lead (a la Protect the Boss and Personal Taste) respectively, but when she has to sail her own ship and carry scenes (a la Bachelor’s Vegetable Store), she doesn’t fulfill her roles very well. There’s some gravitas lacking in Wang’s acting.

Pre-premiere verdict: Good as the story may be, if the crux of the plot rests on Wang, I’m bouncing.

Blue (So Ji-sub, Lee Yeon-hee) — follows Rooftop Prince

Blue comes from the PD and writer team that did Sign, which I thought was an over-dramatic, over-stylized, over-dialogued piece of shit. That project had one of the most confusing casts ever — Park Shin-yang with Kim Ah-joong? With Jung Kyeo-woon? Huh?

I’m not So Ji-sub’s biggest fan, as he seems to keep taking on shitty projects — all of which I have mind-bogglingly watched because I keep wanting to form a proper opinion on him — but I’ve now reached the point where I can say him being in a project barely qualifies as a drawing point. And then you add Lee Yeon-hee, one of my least favorite super popular actresses ever, and my ire overspilleths the cupeth.

Pre-premiere verdict: I do like Eom Ki-joon so maybe I’ll stick it through for a couple of eps for him to come to a later verdict.

I Do, I Do (Kim Sun-ah, Lee Jang-woo) — follows King 2 Hearts

Was so happy to hear that Kim Sun-ah won’t be playing a mopey cancer patient until they cast Lee Jang-woo. Dear. God. I. Hate. Lee. Jang. Woo.

Pre-premiere verdict: PASS. I HATE LEE JANG-WOO.

Bridal Mask (Joo Won, Park Ki-woong) — follows Equator Man

I really don’t understand the Joo Won love in Korea. He was positively mediocre in Baker King Kim Tak-gu, impossibly uninspiring in Special Investigation Unit with Uhm Tae-woong, and hopelessly lukewarm in Ojakyo Brothers as well, so all of this popularity is blowing my mind. Korea has really particular taste when it comes to the people they decide to love all of a sudden. Yeah he’s cute and cutesy (1N2D), but so are many other actors. My ire is due to, probably, the fact that Yoon Shi-yoon — being the actual breakout star of Baker King and a vastly superior actor — is weirdly suffering from lack of work post-Baker King and is now … making dramas overseas with 1/2 of Miss A. What the fuck?

Needless to say, I cannot watch a drama whose lead actor I feel is so vastly overrated, though I really wanted to watch Park Ki-woong because that is one actor who doesn’t get enough credit where credit’s due and seems to be stuck in supporting actor land forever.

Pre-premiere verdict: I’ll give the first few eps a go, but I doubt I’ll stick around.

Big (Gong Yoo, Lee Min-jung) — follows Love Rain

This cast is probably the only thing that has perked up my drama radar since forever, but 1) I’m getting sick of Hong Sister dramas and 2) the romance aspect of a HS drama is super important, so I’m not sure what the draw of the romance will be if Gong Yoo and Lee Min-jung’s characters are already engaged when the story starts, unless this is a Can’t Lose kind of story where the romance will come from falling in love again through trials and tribulations, but even that doesn’t stir me very much.

Pre-premiere verdict: I’m definitely going to give this a go and hope for the best.

Golden Time (Lee Seon-kyun, Hwang Jung-eum) — airs in July after Light and Shadow

I freaking love Lee Seon-kyun and freaking hate Hwang Jung-eum. WHY IS THE CASTING SO IRRITATING FOR ALL DRAMAS THIS YEAR. WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY.

Pre-premiere verdict: Maybe marathon after the whole series is over because I do love medical dramas and can watch it as background noise without investing myself into the characters too much (read: so that I don’t have to pay attention to Hwang Jung-eum at all).

Arang (Lee Jun-ki, Shin Min-ah) — airs in July

Not a fan of Lee Jun-ki, and slowly losing positive feelings towards Shin Min-ah so…yeah.

Pre-premiere verdict: Will probably only watch this if it gets overwhelmingly good response or recommendations from fellow drama watchers.

Faith (Kim Hee-sun, Lee Min-ho) — airs in August

I want to grab the father of the time travel fushion sageuk trend and slap him painfully in the face while shouting, “Do you know what you’ve unleashed onto the land right now? Do you?!”

I’m not sure if Lee Min-ho’s Seoul city slick metrosexual namja facade can carry him to a year somewhere before the turn of first millennium of human history. And, seriously, cast opposite Kim Hee-sun? Kim Hee-sun has been with this project since first announced, so I guess the question should be, why didn’t they cast someone more age appropriate for her?

Verdict: I’ll tune in for the first couple of episodes, but if it’s bad…back to my Exo nest I go!

Nice Guy (Song Joong-ki, Moon Chae-won) — airdate TBD

This is one of those miracle pairings that I don’t even want to gush over too early because the last time I did that, I very quickly proceeded to eat my own words and regretted it forever.

I don’t really like that this is a melodrama by Lee Kyung-hee, whose projects are all weepies with characters suffering from different stages of sickness, but if this is what will finally give me that mind-blowing performance where Song is not playing some variant of an idiot playboy, I am all for it. And I’ve always loved Moon Chae-won and still haven’t watched that one drama where I just fell in love — and she definitely has the ability to inspire that fervor — so this could be it. *crosses fingers*

Pre-premiere verdict: There is no reason I won’t watch this. I will watch until Song Joong-ki’s eyes fall out of his sockets from crying and emoting.

Third Ward (Kim Seung-woo, Kim Min-jung, Oh Ji-ho, Sooyoung) — airdate TBD

I love both Kim Seung-woo and Kim Min-jung a whole ton, and I love medical dramas, so I’m hoping they share some kind of chemistry, or else I’m gonna sadface. The main quartet really doesn’t make sense to me — Oh Ji-ho?? Sooyoung??

Pre-premiere verdict: Again, will probably wait for it to air a number of episodes before marathoning it as background noise.

  • lostmunkie

    AHAHAHAH i had a good laugh clicking on that link. oh the train wreck that drama was. and the worst part being it was kim jae wook’s last work before leaving for army duty. the one i’m most excited for is bridal mask bc park ki woong is amazing and i hope this project will give his career the much needed boost. i actually like joo won tho, and thought he did a good job in OB. and it doesn’t hurt that he looks similar to my much-missed kang dong wan. i’m interested in faith as well bc of song ji nah, but lee min ho is just an odd choice. even tho overall chemistry is more important than the age gap, i had a hard time getting behind YSY and LJ in MTF. i’ll probably just end up skimming recaps for GD and Big because something tends to not sit right with me for both writers, and they just love their weak, dumb females. at least for now i have queen in hyun’s man which i just love. biggest surprise of the year, since i wasn’t too interested by the trailer but it’s now become my favorite drama of 2012. a warm, kind, nerdy, male lead that likes to tease but isn’t mean and a female lead that may not be as smart, but is still helpful, cute and sassy without being annoying. and she isn’t afraid to jump the guy for kisses. 

    • http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog Amy

      Joo Won looking like a (cheaper) version of Kang Dong-won is one of the reasons why I dislike him, lol. That one is not fully rationally justified, but ah well.

      I actually thought Yoon Shi-yoon and Lee Jiah had more chemistry in “Me Too, Flower” than I anticipated. I thought it was going to be awful and sterile but I thought they had way better chemistry than expected, but the story just ultimately … didn’t really go where I wanted it to and I think Lee Jiah has a tendency to overact.

  • http://other-worldly.org Justine

    I need a romcom kdrama by Song Joong-ki. I hope this is it.

    • http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog Amy

      This is definitely a melo, so no comedy here :( Unless it’s like dark…comedy involving sick people…

  • whimsyful

    Hmm, you seem to put a lot of weight on the acting in judging a drama. I personally don’t mind mediocre acting if the story is good enough to compensate. 

    Bridal Mask – I haven’t seen Joo Won or the leading girl in anything so can’t judge there, but I really like both Park Ki Woong and Han Chae-ah. The story sounds interesting, the writer wrote Green Rose (revenge thriller), it’s adapted from a manhwa (so hopefully less chance of the story going to hell), and the director is Yoon Sun Shik who did amazing work in Story of a Man, so I’m really looking forward to this. At the very least, there’ll be gorgeous 1930s period clothes.

    Faith – Song Ji Nah is the writer = automatically going to check it out. The director has done good work before with Song Ji Nah so no worries there. Think Lee Min-ho is good but have yet to be blown away by him, but am glad he’s the lead here because that means subs will be insanely fast. 

    Father’s War – Intrigued because I love revenge thrillers, but apparently neither the writer nor the director have done anything thriller-ish before so I’m worried.

    Nice Guy – WHY did Song Joo-ki and Moon Chae Won have to pick a melodrama?
    Dr.Jin – looks like a complete trainwreck. Pass.

    Everything else: won’t check out unless I hear good things from fellow drama watchers.

  • danna

    just want to let you know that Wang Ji Hye won’t be in Father’s War anymore, even though I haven’t seen any official report that she dropped it, every site has listed Go Jun Hee to be playing the role that she was initially supposed to…also I do think Wang Ji Hye is actually really talented from what I’ve seen of her in Friend Our Legend and President but I do agree that she was far from stellar in PT and Bachelor’s Veggie store…. but I think those were just crap dramas where no one (not even Lee Min Ho, Son Ye Jin or Ji Chang Wook) pulled off anything resembling a decent performance
    Joo Won has also been pretty hit or miss for me depending on his projects and I was initially not in the least excited from Bridal Mask but it just dropped a teaser and looks pretty awesome..gives me a very distinct City Hunter vibe
    I’m totally checking out AGD and Big for the cast as well… the only thing that’s making me hesitant are the writers as well…never been a big fan of Kim Eun Sook (flashy dialogue and lots of funny but no substance so never really hooks me emotionally) but there’s no way I’ll miss a Jang Dong Gun comeback drama…also never thought the day would come when I would stop being excited about a Hong Sisters drama but I feel like their formulas have stopped working their magic on me….which is why the fact that the leads are already hooked up in this drama makes me think that there maybe some changes this time around…at least that’s what I’m hoping
    Most excited for Arang…love the PD and the leads…also has a very promising side cast ( Yoo Seung Ho as The Great Jade Emperor and Han Jung Soo as The Reaper!!!!!)..also won;t be missing Faith and Nice Guy although I do have some reservations about the time travelling premise and the Lee Kyung Hee thing…Still checking out Father’s War’s since its the only one of the bunch that seems to have a fresh premise

  • hapacalgirl

    Cable seems to be outdoing broadcast stations this year it seems.  So far some of my favorites in terms of cinematography and story have been the cable offerings.  For example, the time traveling thing is getting so overused its ridiculous but I actually think “Queen In Hyun’s Man” on TvN has been surprisingly really good and seems to be the only drama that is really incorporating the time travelling into the story well.  On top of that the acting has been fairly decent, chemistry adorable, gorgeous cinematography , and an interesting story. 

    As for the future drama offerings, I am only looking forward to “A Gentleman’s Dignity” , “Big” ,and “Nice Guy”.  

    Time Slip Dr. Jin  – I was planning on watching  due to my eternal softspot for SSH (I know I know he’s a mediocre/bad actor, but he was in the first drama I ever watched that also introduced me to the wonderful skills of a young Moon Geun Young and therefore I have a soft spot for him) and Jaejoong (he was decent in PtB and I still have DBSK/JYJ love for the guy) but Park Min Young is just someone I cannot watch on screen.  She is just so incredibly bland and expressionless. 

    Blue/Ghost –   I cannot stand Lee Yeon Hee as an actress, after all of these years she still is as bad as when she debuted, so Blue/Ghost is out.  

    I do I do – I actually want to check out “I do I do”, I love Kim Sun Ah and I don’t hate Lee Jang Woo like you do and actually find him to be a decent actor when given the right role so I am curious to how this pairing will work.  Plus the poster/stills have looked so incredibly cheeky and they seem to have a good repertoire off-screen so I am not that worried about the chemistry. , I just don’t have time for it right now.

      As for the rest, none of them really catch my eye enough to warrant me trying to break the time/space continuum to watch them so I may check a couple post airing at some future time if the reviews from fellow drama watchers is good. As for the 3 dramas  I am looking forward to, I will probably watch the first two episodes of each one and decide which one to watch live at least until July when my schedule finally lightens up to which I will probably marathon one of the other two.

  • http://ofstrangersensibilities.blogspot.com Joy Of Stranger Sensibilities

    just three letters for you amy, t. v. N. hope you had time to check out queen in hyun’s man – i finally discovered my crack drama of the year (i loved shut up: flower boy brand but it did not make squeal or watch-eps-raw-before they-were-subbed crazy). a lot more sites are now picking it up and subbing it since it’s getting SO popular…for your sanity’s sake.

  • hanie.gee. p

    Like everyone had said, you should try Queen In Hyun’s Man. When I read the storyline, it just similar premise as Rooftop Prince so I decided to watch it after RP end but I accidentally watched 1st episode and there’s no turning back now.

    For future drama, I look forward to Arang since I like LJK and this is his first drama after army. So, finger cross and hoping for the best. Please don’t disappoint me the way KRW in A thosand day promise.
    I Do, I Do – I hate the weepfest called scent of woman and need KSA in comedy again & I don’t hate LJW…….that much  =)
    Big – the premise sounds fun and hopefully they can deliver all the shenanigans.
    Gentlemen dignity – not sold on the story but it got JDG so I’ll watch the 1st episode to make up my mind

    I quite interested in Bridal Mask but haven’t make up my mind. Liking Jeajoong and Lee Bum Soo but not the lead, if there is glowing recommendation from everyone, I’ll may watch Dr. Jin. Blue – pass since I’m not really fan of LYH and SJB.

  • FallingSnow

    Amy, you just made me seriously depressed over the state of Kdramas and my viewing outlook for this year. Ugh. tvN shows it is for me – that and picking up some shows I didn’t get a chance to watch from the last few years. I need to cross a few shows off my to-watch list anyways. Just picked up What’s Up Fox and Story of A Man last night while waiting/praying for Queen InHyun’s Man subs. 

    I generally watch the first episodes of most shows premiering and go from there. Big and Nice Guy are definitely on my radar and I’d probably watch them in its entirety purely based on my loyalties to their actors and actresses. Although a Hong Sisters rom-com and a melo… doesn’t sound too appealing >_____<

    • hapacalgirl

      If you want Queen InHyun Man’s with eng subs you should go to to dramacrazy, they have english subs for all of the episodes that have aired so far.  They just posted the subs for last week’s episodes yesterday and today. 

  • http://twitter.com/emmaherself emmaherself

    im really looking fwd to BIG thats for sure