Drama quick cap #2: Arang, Faith, To the Beautiful You

Arang (up to episode 8)

This is my tentative favorite for the current season, which surprises me.

My favorite thing about this drama so far is the mythology and Arang’s character. It didn’t really occur to me until watching this that fantastical sageuks are kind of far and few in between? I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen the Jade Emperor depicted in a K-drama, and seeing him reminded me that he was a mainstay of so many of the Chinese dramas I grew up with.

I love the way the afterlife is depicted. It gives me a lot of food for thought. I grew up tending to a bazillion rituals and never really considered what any of it was for, and Arang kind of creates fictional guideposts on who those rituals would serve, and why. It’s a nice touch and adds nuance to this fantasy world.

There are some drawbacks to the drama, but they ultimately don’t bother me to a severe degree. I think both Lee Junki and Shin Minah do well with comical beats and delivery, but are extremely embarrassing to watch once they have to amp up the drama. As long as the drama remains heavier on the comedy side, I think we’ll be okay.

Answer Me 1997 (up to episode 5)

Yes, I’m watching this. I’ve been stuck on episode 6 for a week. My initial and very superficial thoughts on it at the moment are that it’s good, but it hasn’t gotten me in the heart yet. I don’t think I’ve watched enough to fully expound on that, but hopefully that (quickly) answers all the people who’ve been asking me if I’m watching and what I think of it.

To the Beautiful You (up to episode 6)

I gave this drama a sincere watch — six episodes of a shitty drama is no joke, people — but I give up. I actually thought the first episode was pretty great because Sulli made it so, but the subsequent episodes remind me that there’s nothing in this Hana Kimi story that I ever liked, so watching it in yet another rendition is not going to happen. This story is incredibly dated now, and seems like the kind of farcical story that can only exist in manga-form. It doesn’t translate very well into live action. I just cannot stand the whole idea of some girl finding so much inspiration from a genius athlete that she decided to pretend like a boy, succeeds in fooling school administration that she is, is accepted to an all-boys athlete school, and becomes one of the guys so that she can become closer to him. My brain just does not compute. I know I’m supposed to suspend a certain about of belief for a lot of stories, but this one is just one of those big and well-known ones I cannot fathom in any way possible. It’s even worse than Hana Yori Dango.

But I mean, I’m sure I’ll keep watching…through Tumblr gif-sets. It’s bound to happen.

Faith (up to episode 6)

What…is wrong with Lee Minho?! Okay, there’s nothing wrong with him per se, but I am not feelin’ it at all with him in Faith. I think a lot of it is the story’s fault. There’s a ridiculous amount of posturing and dick-waving, but not a lot of stuff actually happening. All talk, no action makes Amy CHANGE THE CHANNEL AND SAVE PICTURES OF SEHUN. I’ve looked past the sci-fi parts of it (as in, if I had known this was sci-fi, I probably wouldn’t have started) but the sci-fi is too clumsily and heavily done to be compelling.

I find the entire drama a drag to watch. The story is slow and meandering at times. There is an extremely large cast of characters that I don’t care for, all of them badly outfitted and weirdly moustached.

My biggest gripe is still with Lee Minho, though, because I thought him being cast was a guarantee that I’d at least watch it for him. I’ve never had a problem with his acting until now. First, I don’t think Lee + sageuk is a very good mix, as his sageuk talk drives me up the wall. Second, because this is a sageuk and because I’m paying more attention to the way he talks, I’m noticing that his line delivery is kind of weak. His enunciation is mediocre and he muddles his words a lot? On paper, his character is the kind of character that’s supposed to say a lot without talking much, but he’s not doing that very well.

I also have to lament the fact that he always gets cast opposite the some of the most lackluster ladies ever. Barring Son Yeh-jin who is great but someone Lee doesn’t have much chemistry with, all of his costars have been duds. Lee Minho is perfectly capable of acting beyond the romantic genre — which, at the end of the day, we can admit doesn’t require that much from an actor/actress — and he’s done projects that stretch that scope, but I always find his romantic subplots lackluster because he’s always working with so little.

I’m watching, I’m not watching, I’m half-watching, I’m falling asleep. I’ll try to pull through this one, but we’ll see…

  • http://twitter.com/emmaherself emmaherself

    im going to refer to this when im looking for a new drama too much, for once in my life im kind of busy lol …………..

    • http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog Amy

      Yeah, what are you up to nowadays?

  • hapacalgirl

    Have you seen the original trailer for faith, the one with with Kang Ji Hwan in it? Now that was a drama I would of watched. Apparently they shot a trailer to promote at a festival of some sort prior to all of his management issues that resulted in his departure from the drama. Based on the trailer, Faith was supposed to be called the “The Great Doctor” and was meant to be a lot more darker than what faith has become. I think with the stalling of filming, inevitable budget cuts due to loss of some funding, and the casting of much younger LMH, Faith ended up being no where near what it was supposed to be.

    You have more patience than me, I was out of TTBY by episode 2 but at this point in time I am over the story so I really had zero intention of wanting to watch another rendition.

  • http://twitter.com/pincoil pincoil

    I think I can stick through 응답하라. It’s rough-cut and earnest, and I think Eunji and Seo In Guk are surprisingly good.

    By contrast, I FEEL NOTHING WHEN I WATCH SHIN MIN AH ACT. It’s maddening. Lee Junki, on the other hand, has developed more depth in his face. I think I might start on 아랑 after I finish 응답하라.

  • hanie.gee. p

    I try to watch Faith but the female lead grates on my nerves. Also, Lee Minho has no chemistry whatsoever with her. I’m liking the king+queen storyline more than the lead. And after I watched the original trailer with Kang Ji Hwan, I weeps a bit. The original ones is epic.

    TTBY did not have that manga-ish vibe that jdrama had, so it kinda awkward to watch and I happily dropped it. Or is it because there is no Nakatsu and Nanpa senpai innit?

  • Belle

    “All talk, no action makes Amy CHANGE THE CHANNEL AND SAVE PICTURES OF SEHUN.”

    Lol! Your bias in EXO I presume? The only drama that’s catching my attention atm is Nice Guy.

    • http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog Amy

      Is it called being a bias if he’s not even in my top 5? I just find Sehun super physically attractive.

      • http://twitter.com/starriexo starrie

        may i ask who is your top five? :)