Category: Unnie Watch

Unnie Recommends: Abyss

Every now and then, a mystery/romance/supernatural themed show makes its way into kdramaland. Perhaps its the thrill of crafting a killer’s motives or piecing together how the protagonists will deal with each other & their dilemmas — its these different elements that make korean dramas so addicting to watch.

Having premiered with its first 2 episodes this week, Abyss tells the story of 2 friends who work together to solve a crime despite literally having an out of body experience.

Current Impression

The opening scene introduces us to a man drinking his sorrows away on a building rooftop. As he sits on the edge after climbing past the railing, we learn that the man’s (Cha Min) fiancé, can’t go through with their wedding because of his unattractive face. He is accidentally killed by supernatural forces (Special guest appearances from Jung So Min & Seo In Guk from Hundred Million Stars From the Sky🥰) but revived by them with an orb named Abyss. The rule is that a person will be revived with the reflection of their soul and since Cha Min is a kindhearted person, he was given a more handsome and fitter body.

Before Min’s untimely death, he calls his long time friend, Ko Se Yeon, a beautiful, smart, and driven prosecutor who is in the middle of a crime scene. Though it hasn’t been explicitly shown, Min apparently has been in love with her for the longest time but she isn’t reciprocating those feelings. She is murdered one night and by Min’s efforts, he was able to revive her with the Abyss. Only this time, she gets a downgrade as her face & body is just like any other normal Korean woman.

It’s a cat and mouse game they try to solve the mystery of Se Yeon’s murder and navigate everyday life with their new bodies. We weren’t shown any flashbacks yet of how Min and Se Yeon’s characters were like before they died but it’s safe to assume that how they are interacting with each other, revivial mode, is still their true personalities. I hope that Min stays humble and thoughtful even with his more attractive physique. Se Yeon doesn’t have a bad personality (Park Bo Young is adorable & not common at all!), she’s actually resourceful and practical but as the show stands, she has a normal-faced soul but I don’t really see anything wrong with that.

It’s obvious that Se Yeon will fall in love with Min now but I hope that she’ll be able to accept him for his physical features before. Falling in love with his handsome, reborn character is easier but accepting Min’s original face seems like an important point of this show. Despite having a fiancé, I think Min still cares about Se Yeon more than as a friend but with the roles reversed (She’s a plain Jane while he’s a hottie) now, I’m excited to see how their relationship progresses from this point on.

Unleash your detective sleuthing skills and don’t be surprised when you also get romantic feels as Abyss will surely deliver a mayhem of fun and suspense worth the weekly wait!

Unnie Recommends: That Psychometric Guy

The ability to touch is a powerful sense part in parcel with how we function as human beings. The sensation or emotions that spring from a physical contact can even dictate our actions or sentiments towards a particular subject. But what if one touch can reveal so much more?

Current Impression

That Psychometric Guy is the newest kdrama from TVN: It has mystery, romance, tragedy, comedy, and murder — basically all the great makings of a great show (Don’t let me down midway!) 😜 Playing someone who can access someone or something’s memories when touched, Lee An is a gifted but troublemaking high school student who finds clues in dead bodies of victims to help identify culprits in crime cases. He first discovers his unique gift when he was a kid after both his parents died in an elevator caused by a fire incident. I like that the show didn’t go with “the secret power will be revealed much later” plot and that a number of important people actually know his ability already. He can only access pieces of memories and not the whole picture but who knows if he can develop his psychometric abilities even more.

Like many other korean dramas though, the story is rooted in childhood connections where a much larger destiny is laid out for the main characters. Lee An meets Yee Jae In, another troubled but very smart girl who he gets into a perverted misunderstanding when they first met. Although she hides the scars of her past, her true, bold, and defender personality shines through as she reluctantly gets to know Lee An to solve a problem. She learns about his psychometric ability pretty quickly which will most likely result inyo hilarious and bickering moments between them moving forward.

I admit that when I don’t know the actors/actresses playing the titular roles, I get skeptical of the kdrama’s quality but in this case, seeing is definitely believing and the 4 main protagonists are so far convincing & appealing to watch. I’m not sure how Lee An and the prosecutor, Kang Sung Mo (the guy pictured above) are related other than they have a brother like relationship but it seems as if he knows a lot more than he lets on.

It’s fresh, exciting, and stimulates our brains to think; if you’re looking to try a different kind of kdrama, That Psychometric Guy is indeed your guy 😜

Unnie Recommends: Clean with Passion for Now

Hoping that I’m not too late to recommend you guys this kdrama, Clean with Passion for Now, as it is already in the middle of its run. I initially scrapped my entry for this because some of the storylines were a little bit disappointing and messy, but it has tidied itself up in the succeeding episodes enough for me to give this show a chance for a clean slate.

Current Impression

The show is about Gil O Sol, a 20 something girl looking to find a job and be part of Korea’s workforce. She has a good personality — warm, friendly, but does not have the best track record when it comes to hygiene. With food stains on her clothes and showering only when really needed (Stinky alert!), she wasn’t able to land a traditional office job but instead, she is hired as a cleaner at a cleaning company called “Cleaning Fairy”, owned by CEO Jang Seon Kyol (Wearing a suit in the poster above), who happens to have mysophobia (fear of germs). He is a germophobe — he literally has several sinks in his bathrooms where he washes his hands sequentially, wears gloves when he needs to touch something unsanitized, and so on. They get entangled in each other’s lives with O Sol getting into all sorts of trouble with Mr. Jang and testing his limits of cleanliness. Is she the key for Mr. Jang to overcome his fear of germs? We’ll have to wait and see.

Before you read further, please be advised that I’ll be talking more about the story and can serve as spoilers already. You have been warned 🙂

*Spoiler alert*

Like a true romantic comedy, Clean with Passion for Now has a love triangle angle, with the second lead being O Sol’s rooftop neighbor, Dr. Daniel Choi, a renowned psychiatrist who Mr. Jang happens to be consulting with. Dr. Choi pretends to be a jobless, friendly neighbor as he hides his true identity to both leads. He’ll eventually confess his feelings for O Sol and reveal himself truthfully. At this point, I am also afflicted with a condition, dubbed “Second Lead Syndrome”, defined as liking the second lead more than the intended main partner of the leading male/female. 

I mentioned above about being disappointed because there was one scene where Gil O Sol kissed her CEO, Mr. Jang, as an attempt to prove to her ex crush by then that she was in a relationship with the former. I get that it’s a romcom thing, girl kisses boy inappropriately, but sparks fly between them. But in real life, that is not acceptable in any circumstance. This is grounds for dismissal or even harrassment as an employee kissed his/her boss on the lips. Also, it’s a common theme in korean dramas for the male lead to be initially mean to the leading lady because they are apparently in denial of their attraction/feelings towards the girl but come on, there’s really no reason to be rude! How about the second male lead who is almost always the kinder and more caring from the moment they meet? I’d like to see them win over the girl because despite the male lead really having a heart of gold, the second male lead already showed that same compassion and respect right from the start. Clean with Passion for Now applies this plot device to a tee and as much as I adore the chemistry and interactions between O Sol and Mr. Jang, my heart goes out to Daniel Choi! ❤ 

Sorry for the supposed to be short rant that turned into a minor fan rage, hehe! This kdrama is still worth your time as the heartwarming moments between O Sol’s family, the friendship of O Sol’s Cleaning Fairy team, and underlying themes of social acceptance, workforce woes, and journey of self discovery are factors that make the show a great watch. This kdrama is not perfect but a little grime and plot clutter can always be cleaned up with better story development and a passion to provide viewers with quality entertainment.

Unnie Recommends: My Strange Hero

Discrimination.

Corruption.

Revenge.

Legal drama, thriller vigilante type of show, or a police procedural? Let’s add high school to the mix. Whaaaat? Let’s throw in romance and loyalty. Friendships and secrets. Still scratching your head for an answer?

My Strange Hero takes all of the aforementioned themes above and is proving by far that this playful mix is just the right formula for the makings of a strange but interesting korean drama.

Current Impression

I felt that the first 2 episodes (or 4 episodes since the show follows a 2 episode format in one day), to give homage to the title, was strange. The first half of the 1st episode focused more on a romantic comedy style — characters showing exaggerated emotions, funny antics or key scenes accompanied with a certain music/song, and slow mo timing sequences of certain scenes. It reminded me of the style of Scott Pilgrim versus the World movie where characters would talk matter-of-factly or absorbed in their own thoughts and the next scene or sequence would happen abruptly.

The rest of the episode and episode 2 was a blur of melo and mystery, I can even say went dark with how this kdrama’s main antagonist is portraying his role. The plot is not unique in terms of originality as My Strange Hero is about a male student (Kang Bok Su) who was wrongfully accused of pushing someone to their death back in high school. The scenes unfold in flashbacks of the past as the story timeline is already at their present age (27 years old). We see glimpses of him falling in love with his smartest classmate, Son Soo Jeong, and how she’s been living her life as an adult as well.

He seeks out his revenge on those people who wronged him with the incident thru a series of events that will lead him back to becoming a student of the very same high school that kicked him out. Although his plan includes Soo Jeong, I’m sure he’ll feel conflicted once they get to know each other again as she is a teacher at the school. What ensues in his (mis) adventures towards revenge is something I’m looking forward to! The male lead is a seasoned actor already having portrayed several kdrama leads but the actress playing the role has always been the lady antagonist in previous shows. I’m excited to see her play the lead female this time. She is no pushover as she is stubborn, says whats on her mind despite getting in trouble, and beautiful (of course). There is a border between annoying and confident and her character definitely belongs to the latter.

My Strange Hero depicts the story of loss, revenge, love, and other various emotions that a person can encounter. If you need a break from the routine of your daily life or you’re just looking for something different to watch, this kdrama is for you! After all, isn’t it the odd or the remarkable occurrences or things that we usually seek for in our lives? 😉

Unnie Watch: Strongest Deliveryman

Anyeong! 🙂 Backtracking on my posts, I realized that I’ve been recommending kdramas that are only currently airing in TV today. I’ve decided to start a new segment, “Unnie Watch”, as a way to honor previous korean dramas that I found interesting and enjoyable to watch. It’s nice to be updated with the latest shows but I also want people to explore and discover any kdrama, may it be past or present, that are worth the watch.

Let me start by recommending “Strongest Deliveryman”, a korean drama released around August 2017 starring Ko Gyung Pyo (curly hair guy in the poster) and rising star Chae Soo Bin. This was a refreshing kdrama as the main plot/theme revolved around the lives of Korea’s deliverymen (and woman!) on how they go about their jobs and how their daily life looks like. Although the plot probably isn’t a 100% accurate representation of this occupation, Strongest Deliveryman indeed delivered in terms of its heartwarming scenes, comedic moments, and romantic leads.

It was the actor’s first leading role after starring as the second lead in other shows and I couldn’t have imagined someone else play the role of Kang Soo. Fiercely loyal, smart, and maybe just unrealistically kindhearted, his character was portrayed with positivity and a penchant for doing the right thing in a situation. He never sticks around at a job for too long, constantly moving around because he is searching for his mother. Along the way, he meets Lee Dan A, a competent and confident delivery woman who is saving up every cent of her pay to study English and eventually work abroad. They don’t initially get along as Kang Soo gets a job at Dan A’s working place but she eventually warms up to him as he helps her earn money to pay off a debt. 

This kdrama also has a strong supporting cast that made the show extra fun to watch. The daughter of a food conglomerate (Won Hee) who harbors a crush towards Kang Soo, the son of a rich family (Jin Gyu) who needs to prove his worth to his family and to himself, the gangster owner (Dong Soo) and his feisty sort of girlfriend (Soon Ae) of the jajangmyun shop where Kang Soo works at, and the gang of deliverymen who Kang Soo forms a great friendship with. 

Strongest Deliveryman is a romantic comedy but wasn’t afraid to get into tear jerking topics with family issues plaguing the main characters. The culmination of this kdrama comes when Kang Soo helps the neighborhood he works at by creating his own delivery service company, appropriately called Strongest Deliveryman, with the help of his friends to combat the monopoly of a food company threatening to bankrupt its surrounding mom and pop restaurants. The romance between the two had its “aww” moments and the dynamics of the cast with their antics and mischiefs really made the show far from boring. They made the lead male’s character the anchor of the show– he was the one who had solutions to problems and didn’t seem fazed when the odds were stacked against them. But when he needed the support of someone when he was feeling down, I was happy that Dan A was able to show her support and belief in him.

Please make room for Strongest Deliveryman on your must watch list! It will definitely deliver in terms of quality and worth the watch criteria for any korean drama fan 🙂

Unnie Recommends: Memories of the Alhambra

We all seek a little adventure to spark our routined everyday lives with something other than the ordinary. The thrill of experiencing something new and the subsequent memories that are forged are stories that we’ll remember as long as we live.

Memories of the Alhambra introduces itself as a fast-paced, gorgeous, yet mysterious adventure poised to make a mark as an innovative yet nostalgic kind of korean drama experience.

Current Impression

Set in the vibrant yet laid back setting of Granada, Spain, the male lead Yoo Jin Woo, CEO of a successful investment company, (Played by comeback actor Hyun Bin) gets a mysterious call urging him to fly to Granada about an important proposition. There he meets Jung Hee Joo (Park Shin Hye of The Heirs), a 27 year old hostel owner who he initially clashes with but needs to befriend soon after. The whole enemies turning into friends then lovers is a kdrama signature but even after witnessing so many stories unfold, each new tale is worth a watch.

Let’s face it– anything set in Europe is already a grandeur production but having two of Korea’s hottest stars portray the leading roles is golden. The plot is intriguing and unique as we get a gimpse of Jin Woo playing an AR type of game, though playing in an augmented reality (AR) has been a device used by foreign movies already, Memories of the Alhambra uses has the user, Jin Woo, actually experience the game in real life. He is not transported to another virtual world nor plays a virtual character, he is literally attacking, dodging, and leveling up on his own accord in Granada. We get a brief tour of the city’s charm as he searches for a weapon and clashes with warriors from a different time.

Park Shin Hye’s character has yet to make an impact on me yet though but it’s refreshing to see her in a timid and uncertain role. She was strong-willed and determined in her last kdrama (Doctors) that it’s nice to see the female lead not all put together.

The plot details were minimal before and I wasn’t sure if this kdrama would have fantasy elements. Right now it seems hinged on real life (possible future) occurences but there has been the mention of magic and mystery by Jin Woo that makes me feel like this show can develop even further. Gaming enthusiasts can take an interest in the show with the AR angle and us unnies who live for romance, action, and some kdrama spunk!

Up to this point, I’m not sure what the main conflict of the show is aside from the rivalry between 2 former friends/business partners and a slow brewing romance. I honestly have high hopes for Memories of the Alhambra and am eager to explore a new kind of reality as seen in the eyes of our main hero.

Unnie Recommends: The Beauty Inside

Ever wondered if your loved one suddenly had another face, body, and even a different gender — would you still somehow be able to recognize them? Because you share a deep connection with each other, can such a bond differentiate beyond your loved one’s physical aspects?

These are the questions that best describe this 2015 remake of a Korean movie with the same title. The Beauty Inside, a show helmed by the JTBC network (Hello Strong Woman Do Bong Soon), is sure to deliver a great show with life lessons that will surely be more than skin deep in depth and significance.

Current Impression

The plot is about a popular actress, Han Se Kye, who mysteriously transforms into another person once a month. With no clue or idea on why this happens, she is often shrouded with gossip and negative reputation of always running away or escaping events. Despite that, she is still loved by the Korean masses. I love how Seo Hyun Jin is portraying the lead female character: funny, strong-willed, but also silly and childish at times. I haven’t watched her other popular romcom drama (Another Oh Hae Young) so I’m not sure what she’s capable of but she is so beautiful and charismatic here and that’s enough for me.

The leading male is played by Lee Min Kee, the guy who stole our hearts in “Because this my First Life” and recently had a guest role in “What’s wrong with Secretary Kim?”. His character here, Seo Do Jae, somehow possesses the traits of his previous role of being stoic, expressionless, and talks in a refined manner. It suits his looks to play such a role and I was surprised that he could pull off being a stern guy but can still deliver goofy lines. Both actors’ chemistry is sizzling as well as they play a game of cat and mouse to catch and disclose each other’s dirty little secret. He is “face blind” here (He has difficulty recognizing one’s face) and needs Han Se Kye’s help with his business. How their love story will develop is interesting as he is the only one who can recognize her even if she changes into another person, while she is the one of the very few people privy to his situation.

The secondary cast here is also wonderful as they provide not only comedic relief and support for our main leads, but it is often the supporting roles where one can gain recognition and adoration for their roles. Han Se Kye’s two best friends, Seo Do Jae’s stepsister and secretary, are wonderful complements to the show. Have I also mentioned that the soundtrack is awesome too? 🙂

If you want a healthy dose of laughter but can also appreciate tear-jerker moments, unnie recommends you to watch “The Beauty Inside”. This kdrama is certainly a show that is beautiful inside and out.