Category: Must watch Kdramas

Unnie Recommends: 3 Rules for Survival in 365: Repeat the Year

Cheating death — the age old premise that no matter how many times you think you’ve outsmarted or escaped the end of your lifeline, a dark force will always comes back full circle to collect your soul☠️ Whether you like it or not, you just unknowingly pressed the start button to a game that you just can’t lose.

Think of 365: Repeat the Year like the movie Final Destination where a group of random people escape death, but one by one mysteriously meet their demise sooner or later. The show’s plot is more farfetched though because our main characters experience this “death by fate” kind of game when they travelled back through time a year prior to the present. This is made possible by a psychiatrist named Lee Shin who claims to have found a gap in the time space continuum to achieve this feat. Little do the participants know the deadly consequences that await them for wanting to reset their lives.

Top pictures: Before Reset; Bottom pictures: In the Reset Year

Join at your own risk!

1. Find the patterns and uncover the rules on how each target is chosen.

The 2 main leads of the show (Refer to the pic above) are a detective named Ji Hyung Joo and a popular webtoon artist named Shin Ga Hyun. The former agrees to do the reset because his senior teammate/friend died due to a set-up by a criminal who Hyung Joo previously arrested but has since served his time. Ga Hyun on the other hand is a hit-and-run victim and has to go undergo therapy sessions to learn to walk again. She uses a wheelchair before the reset.

The people who joined the experiment are picked apart one by one too and start dying a few days after they’ve started living again in the reset year. Whether their enemy is a supernatural force (Death itself) or themselves (The people who involved in the experiment) is something we’ll have to figure out or wait and see! I honestly think it’s a mixture of both like the consequences of escaping death or in this case, cheating time, will always catch up with you. It’s also possible that someone in the group can cause a chain reaction of paranoia and the people within end up hurting one another.

2. One’s choice can produce a butterfly effect that can affect other innocent people’s lives for the better or worse.

Ga Hyeon avoided her fate of getting hit by a car which ultimately led to her friend, Joo Young, taking her place in the reset year. The consequences now are much tragic because her friend dies from the accident. Ga Hyeon is able to figure out who the culprit is and finds out that the participants may not have been randomly picked at all💡

Hyung Joo was more fortunate because he was able to save his friend by capturing the criminal in the reset year and nobody got hurt this time. Since we’re only on episode 4, I feel like his action of saving his friend will cost someone else their life. For others, it turns out that the things you want to avoid is still meant to happen no matter how hard you run away from it.

3. Whatever happens, try not to die.

There are still a lot of hidden rules and clues to the game and the psychiatrist Lee Shin is the most suspicious of them all. She’s definitely concealing valuable information and her statement above about having another reset implies that she could have done this with another set of people before already. Could she be the devil disguised in human form..?😈

Those who work together to solve the mystery are more often than not the last men/women standing so we can expect our 2 leads to fight their destiny until the very end. But kdramas can be unpredictable so I can’t wait to watch what happens to our group moving forward! Unlike a game where you can start over, 365: Repeat the Year kdrama is a high stakes, cat and mouse hunt that you can’t afford to make any mistakes because you only get 1 chance at life.

Unnie Recommends: A Piece of Your Mind

Let me declare a new kind of kdrama genre: “Quirky Melo”. It’s a show with a slow-paced and offbeat aura, where the characters’ thoughts are deeply emphasized and their backstories are seemingly portrayed to be devastatingly tragic than it should be. This is how I feel watching a current airing kdrama, When the Weather is Fine, and I knew from the trailers for A Piece of Your Mind that this was going to have a similar feel to it.

I usually don’t want to discourage anyone from watching kdramas but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill lighthearted show to binge watch. If you can get past the heavy undertone of the plot and don’t mind having to really listen to the characters conversations to understand their state of mind, then please open your hearts and spare a portion of your time to tune into A Piece of Your Mind kdrama😌

Current Impression

Seo Woo and Ha Won

Helming this show are 2 rising stars in the Korean entertainment industry: Chae Soo Bin (Fox Bride Star/Where Stars Land, I’m not a Robot) plays a woman named Han Seo Woo, a classical music recording engineer who meets Jung Hae In’s (One Spring Night, While You We’re Sleeping) AI programmer character, Ha Won, randomly one day. Ha Won hires Seo Woo to record the voice of his first love, Kim Ji Soo, who he has lost touch with. We don’t really get a sense of the actual conflict between Ha Won and Ji Soo other than the latter married another man. Ha Won is still in love with Ji Soo after all this time that they haven’t communicated with each other.

Ji Soo and Ha Won

Ha Won is currently working on a project where he programmed a device to possess his personality (Similar to Siri but on a personal level). When Ha Won and his co-worker asks the device questions about his life, the responses ought to be how he would answer in real life. He is still fine-tuning the accuracy of the responses and is startled when the device responds to Seo Woo asking it questions.

Seo Woo just happened to get tangled with their unfortunate love story and she finds herself getting attached to both people. I’m looking forward to see how Ha Won will possibly fall in love with Seo Woo and how this will change his life since he’s always been in love with another woman most of his life. I’m always a fan of seeing how someone realizes that they don’t need to feel scarred anymore and that an unexpected miracle such as a newfound love can bring about better days in one’s life. For Seo Woo as well who has abandonment issues but still believes in the purity of love, I hope that she gets the care that she’s been craving for all her life.

It’s a weird premiere for me to be honest because although the story just started, it feels like we’ve already been through a lot with these characters!😅 Despite the heaviness of this quirky melo (hehe) show, I do feel a wave of comfort watching the scenes unfold. It’s like people watching where you enjoy a state of calmness just observing other individuals go about their own lives and you don’t have to think about yours too much. In a busy and ever changing world such as ours right now, feeling just a glimmer of peace can sustain us for a long time✨

Unnie Recommends: Memorist

Put on your conspiracy thinking hats and flex those sleuthing muscles of yours as TVN’s newest show, Memorist, will be a worthy addition to your weekly korean drama sessions! I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a crime/police thriller since watching Voice 3 last year. Expect a less brutal show as Memorist kdrama still applies a comedic and toned down mood in contrast to its dark web of criminal tales and race against time moments.

Current Impression

Just like any police/crime drama show, I’m hoping that while there is an overall bad guy for the entire season, we’ll also get treated to other individual cases that would last for 2 – 3 episodes. Yoo Seung Ho (My Strange Hero, I’m not a Robot) stars as Dong Baek, the titular protagonist who can view a person’s memories just by touching them. He became a detective and is very successful in his career. Dong Baek uses his abilities to solve crimes and while he has legions of fans behind him, others are not too keen about him violating human privacy rights.

With the first 2 episodes premiering, the story introduces its first serial killer case with women getting kidnapped by an unknown assailant. If you watched the Voice series, the female lead there is in charge of a team called the Golden Time team wherein they solve emergency cases within a specific time range to get the best possible results/outcome of a case. The female lead here, Han Sun Mi, plays a similar role as a senior superintendent running a golden time team of her own as she finds clues and tries to solve the abduction. Though Dong Baek and her are dealing with the same case, they are not on the same team and try to find the culprit separately. I’m sure they’ll work together at some point so it’s nice to see their individual characters shine first. They are both smart, stubborn, and will even go against the rules to solve a case.

If you’re looking for something to tickle your brain cells and challenge your deduction skills, then Memorist is the kdrama for you. Although I love shows where you don’t need much attention to understand the story, tuning in and analyzing the clues with our protagonists is fun and a nice change of pace. I guarantee you’ll love the adrenaline and excitement of this korean drama, especially when our leads bring the bad guys to justice!🤛🏻

Unnie Recommends: Hi, Bye, Mama!

With Crash Landing on You kdrama being the talk of the town or what I figured is the new Descendants of the Sun, don’t worry about having a gaping hole in your weekly kdrama habit just because it ended. I decided to try the show that replaced our North/South Korean romance a couple of days ago and now I’m hooked!😁 If you haven’t tried Hi, Bye, Mama! korean drama, get ready with a box of tissues and to laugh to your heart’s content because this show will leave you smiling, crying, and being thankful all in a bundle of emotional explosions.

Current Impression

This is Kim Tae Hee’s comeback drama after getting married to Rain and having 2 kids. Though I personally haven’t watched her previous kdramas, I know that she’s a popular and beautiful actress. She stars as Cha Yu-ri, a woman who died due to a freak accident and is now roaming the world as a ghost. She was pregnant at the time but her child, Seo Woo, was fortunately saved. Yu-ri hangs out often at her and husband’s apartment, Cho Gang-hwa, is a cardiothoracic surgeon who has since remarried.

I honestly didn’t expect a lot of humor with the episodes and I appreciated it as a nice contrast to the otherwise heartbreaking aspect of the show’s plot. Hi, Bye, Mama! establishes the rules of its own supernatural setting with ghosts getting to decide if they want to move on to a better place, the concept of reincarnation, and the 49 day rule as a timeline to accomplish whatever it is you need to do before something eventful happens next.

Five years since her death and becoming a ghost, Yu-ri miraculously becomes a human being again and if she finds her rightful place in the world (Going back to her family as a wife & mother), she gets to stay human for the remainder of her existence. With 4 episodes in, we see how each character involved with Yu-ri (Gang-hwa, her own family, her best friend) is living their life but still carries the pain of losing her. Although Yu-ri is happy to be able to spend time with her child but she doesn’t want to cause complications between Gang-hwa and his now wife, Oh Min Jung, as she is a good person and takes care of Seo Woo too. Not to mention the emotional and mental impact her temporary presence will bring to her family and best friend when they find out that she’s alive!

Hi Bye, Mama! drama explores a life taken unexpectedly along with the realizations and consequences that come from knowing or being related to such a person. I’m confident that this show will give justice to Yu-ri’s 2nd chance and instill in us to live our precious life to the fullest✨

Unnie Recommends: When the Weather is Fine

Don’t you just love fresh starts? Moving on from what feels like a long standing time of enduring pain and suffering. Seeking a quieter mindset and resetting your life away from the people or experiences that have hurt you. When the Weather is Fine kdrama is a melancholy tale of love and healing as it narrates the life of a woman, Mok Hae Won, in need of a fresh start.

Starring Park Min Young (What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?) as Hae Won and Seo Kang Joon (The Third Charm) as Im Eun Seop, the former quits her job at Seoul and returns to her hometown where the latter works at a bookstore. I felt like peering into an already unfolding story as we are introduced to Hae Won already back in the village and Eun Seop recognizing her from afar in the first few minutes of the opening scene. I like that it feels we’re in the middle of something progressing because it leaves me wanting more, and the only way to know is to keep watching.

Current Impression

When the Weather is Fine reflects a slow and deliberate pacing, with each scene aptly conveying Hae Won or Eun Seop’s feelings through their facial expressions and voiceover. In contrast with the flashbacks and non linear style of storytelling is the simplicity and details that the first 2 episodes emanates. We can immediately deduce that Hae Won came home because she was fed up with her life and job at Seoul as a cello teacher and that Eun Seop has had a long time crush on her. You can also feel Hae Won’s sadness and eagerness to keep her mind off things in disparity with Eun Seop being content in writing his blog and running a non busy bookstore.

Aside from our main protagonists, we also get to know their family and friends (Baek Kyung is here! hee). Just how much influence other people will have on them and whether or not it’ll help them further is something we must wait and see. Aside from the obvious romance that will bloom between Hae Won and Eun Seop, I hope that the former goes through self healing first and bounces back from her past. I can see this story being Eun Seop just waiting for Hae Won to recognize him as she overcomes her struggles and falls in love with him.

I think When the Weather is Fine kdrama’s strength lies in its ordinary story and character backstories. Ordinary meaning relatable because there are people like Hae Won who need a break or Eun Seop who is just happy where he is at his life. We could even be both of them at one point in our lives as well. The kdrama is not flashy in terms of its cinematography nor will it give overly complicated problems that dramas are known for — it’s a quiet and comforting show that can console your wounds or be with you on an uneventful yet good day.

Unnie Recommends: Itaewon Class

With so many slice of life kdramas, I’ve learned that hardships is always a companion of any leading man/woman’s life. That sinking feeling that tells you something is wrong and antagonists always breathing down your neck making the world just a little more unfair with their power and influence. But if hardship is a constant, then so is hard work and good karma. What you put out in the world will surely go back to you✨

Park Seo Joon is back as the leading man of Itaewon Class where he plays Park Sae Ro Yi, a no nonsense guy who goes about on his own and abides by his values system to a tee. A series of events leads him to losing his father and opening up his own restaurant in Itaewon a few years later.

Current Impression

The first 2 episodes establishes the beginning of Sae Ro Yi’s journey as a student who moves to a new high school due to his father’s new job. He gets into trouble in school when he helps his fellow classmate who was being bullied by another classmate, Jang Geun Won, who just happens to be the son of a powerful CEO conglomerate. Coincidentally, Sae Ro Yi’s dad, Park Sung Yeol, works for Geun Won’s father and this prompts the former to quit and start his own restaurant business. Geun Won accidentally kills Sung Yeol and Sae Ro Yi ends up going to prison for having assaulted Geun Won at the hospital.

I like Park Seo Joon’s character here because he is essentially a good person — stands up to bullies, sticks to his beliefs, and is apologetic or expresses regret when he’s made a mistake. I do think it’s an idealistic character since it’s hard to be “good” all the time but he’s certainly a kdrama character we can aspire to be. Sae Ro Yi isn’t lonely with regard to matters of the heart as well as he is attracted to Oh Soo A, a classmate and orphan at an orphanage where his father frequents. Though it wasn’t love at first sight for them, they eventually grow to like each other after spending some time together. It was actually Soo A who gives Sae Ro Yi an idea of Itaewon and the latter falls in love with the neighborhood, enough to put up his own restaurant there. Any woman you put together with Park Seo Joon and I swear instant chemistry sizzles between them😍

It’s been awhile since cooking was an integral theme of a kdrama so I’m glad that they’re exploring the craft here. Itaewon Class may have started out on the dramatic side but expect lighter scenes and romcom feels once the show progresses! I’m excited to see from being a lone wolf, how Sae Ro Yi will meet and get to have his own loyal pack of friends, fall in love, and ultimately fight back against Geun Won and his father’s evil ways.

Unnie Recommends: Romantic Doctor Kim 2/Doctor Romantic 2

Fast-paced, adrenaline pumping surgical action, with a side of truth bombs and a potential romance, Romantic Doctor Kim 2 (Season 2) or Doctor Romantic 2 is back with a vengeance this 2020! Korean dramas rarely do a 2nd season of its shows but I’m glad that they decided to do it with Romantic Doctor Kim.

A quick background of the show is that the titular protagonist, Master Kim, is a genius yet unconventional (Not to mention brutally honest) doctor who works at a provincial hospital called Doldam Hospital. Aside from dealing with various medical scenarios within range of the hospital, a power struggle between him and upper management was one of the main conflicts of the 1st season. That story continues here as the villain returns to make Master Kim’s life just a little bit harder and a new breed of doctors battle with their personal issues as they set foot in Doldam.

Current Impression

Being someone who watched the 1st season, it’s heartwarming to see the familiar faces of the staff, listening to the the same background music, and remembering the overall intensity the show projected. I’m glad that they gave a short yet sweet explanation on why the main character doctors prior (Seo Hyun Jin as Dr. Seo Jung and Yoo Yeon Seok as Kang Dong Joo) left the hospital. I’m a bit sad they didn’t end up together but I could just imagine that they’re in a long distance relationship for now as they continue to pursue their careers, hee😙

A 2nd season means fresh faces and various potential for new storylines to get excited about and I couldn’t be happier!💙 Lee Sung Kyung is back in a new role as Cha Eun Jae, a 2nd year surgery resident working for Godae Hospital (Doldam is a branch hospital of Godae). Due to an incident of her getting caught performing surgery under the influence of medication, she takes the reluctant option of working at Doldam hospital instead of getting suspended. Meanwhile, Ahn Hyo Seop (Abyss) plays Seo Woo Jin, a smart doctor who has money problems and is treated as an outcast for a whistleblowing incident. He takes a job offer from Master Kim but with a deal that he gets paid USD10,000, by whatever means necessary, if Dr. Romatic deems his skills and attitude worthy enough.

Being rivals in medical school, Eun Jae and Woo Jin don’t exactly have a friendly relationship. There are some flashbacks indicating that Woo Jin might have feelings for Eun Jae but the latter is crushing on another doctor who happens to be working at Doldam. I felt butterflies in my stomach with their chemistry and I think it’s because Ahn Hyo Seop is a good actor. I hope this show further elevates him into becoming a male kdrama star.

What always captures my attention on medical kdramas is the variety of cases/situations that are featured in 1 or 2 episodes and Romantic Doctor Kim 2 is very skilled at this. Though I don’t totally understand the medical terms and why for example, a patient would get worse one minute after, it’s fun seeing them try to solve the problem like a puzzle. Getting to work with Master Kim is no easy feat as he is infamous for having a temper and doesn’t tolerate excuses. Seeing him in action once again is magic and having to interact with a new and younger generation will prove challenging, but it’s a chance for him to impart the tough love guidance he is known for😊

If you have the time, I urge you to watch the 1st season which has 20 episodes (Due to high ratings) but if you’re pressed for time, you can always watch Romantic Doctor Kim 2/Dr. Romantic 2 and still have a great kdrama experience!👨🏻‍⚕️