Top K-Dramas in 2017

Happy 2018!

It’s 2018 now and I think is a befitting time to reminisce on the top dramas that I enjoyed binge-watching over the past 2017.


1.) Defendant

Watched Defendant without really high expectations and was actually mildly bored in the first half of the first episode when it was setting up the background of the story.

Yet once all the main triggers were set, the drama was seriously on a roll. Mystery and injustice were elements at the core of the drama, when we followed the main lead Park Jung-Woo (acted by Ji-sung) roller-coaster journey of discovering what truly happened on that fateful night where he was found to have ‘killed’ his wife but with no memory of how it took place.


Defendant is an award-winning legal drama starring Ji-Sung.

Locked in prison and battling against time and an all-powerful nemesis, it was a truly adrenaline-filled ride as we joined him in his defence against injustice and his search for truth to come to light.

2.) Voice

I’ve been a bit addicted to thrillers ever since I started on Signal, and was led to watch Voice after seeing netizens’ favourable comments about Voice and it is indeed a great watch!

A policewoman Kang Kwon-joo (Lee Ha-na)  working in a call help centre with an uncanny ability to hear the smallest of sounds, she made the best use of her hearing ability to chase down criminals with the angsty mad-dog detective Moo Jin-hyuk (Jang-Hyuk) . And in the search for criminals, they finally discovered the elusive criminal who murdered their loved ones.


Voice sounded quite like a typical criminal drama with the exception of the superpower hearing element of the female lead, yet the pacing was fast, plotline intelligent and antagonist scary enough.

All in all, a great drama that made you glued to the screen throughout even while your heart hammers against your chest in half-dread and half-anticipation of what comes next.

3.) Rebel: Thief who stole the People

A story about the famous Hong Gil-dong, the thief who stole from the rich to distribute to the poor, a period drama about him is nothing new to Korean audiences as there had been various adaptions over the past years.

But this adaptation has Amogae, the father of Hong Gil-dong who is a slave and tried to break out of being a slave so as to give his children a better life. And this Amogae who is acted by the amazing and charismatic Kim Sang-Joon made the first half of the drama addictive. I was just so reeled in by his portrayal of this character.


The super amazing Kim Sang-Joon as Amogae in Rebel.

I rooted for him when he was beaten for simply being a slave and therefore reduced to being nothing in existence. I rooted for him when he killed his master over the injustice meted to him for his poor social standing of a slave. I rooted for him throughout the show and in fact I half-wished the male lead doesn’t come out haha, so that I can continue watching Amogae throughout the whole show.


Basically Kim Sang-Joon carried the whole show in the first half of the show. He was plain mesmerising in his performance. And I think he fully deserved all the acting awards he received for this role.

It helped that this drama has a very coherent plotline, pacing is reasonably fast, and amazingly all actors in this drama portrayed their roles decently. Some exceptional, some good, some average, But all in all decent. There was no one dragging the show down. And there was good characterisation for all characters. There was the robin-hood inspirational aspect as well as the brotherhood element when Hong Gil-dong and his gang of brothers worked together to correct the social injustices by stealing from the rich. It was at times thought-provoking as we take a glimpse at the mentality of the rich in which they truly believe that a noble will always be a noble, and that a slave can forget about having their own opinions of being daring to provoke or rebel against the master. Of course, there is also the love line, but it wasn’t drawn out, but kept rather realistic and sweet.

4.) Go Back Couple

Go Back Couple wasn’t a commercial success with rather lacklustre ratings in Korea and not much hype about it. I have yet to finish this drama, but its poignant, at times funny, and bittersweet story definitely left an impression on me and makes it one of the top K-dramas I have watched in 2017.

Acted by the super cute and youthful looking Jang Nara and Son Ho-Jun, this is a drama about a married couple jaded from the brutal realities of life after valiantly making ends meet in a much-hated job to support the family, encountering daily friction as what many married couples do, and being caught up in the wistful regret of what could have been if they did not marry.

goback couple

Go Back Couple starring Jang Nara and Son Ho Jun.

Go-Back Couple details what happens when one day after divorce, the couple woke up and found themselves back in their youthful selves in school before they started dating.

What was surprising to me about this drama was its unexpected mix of realism, comedic elements,  bittersweetness and poignancy. I could be laughing one minute and suddenly crying the next minute. I like this poignant drama that really pulls at your heartstrings and I believe viewers watching this drama will also inevitably ask themselves this:

If you have a chance to go back in time and redo your life, will you still want to be together with your current spouse? Will there be anything else that you will like to have done to your life differently?”

And here it is, my fave 4 K-dramas of 2017! What are your favourite K-dramas in year 2017?

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K-Drama Review: Is What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim Worth Watching?

Well, it is a definite yes!

Jumped on the bandwagon of watching What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim recently and it was indeed a breezy light watch, bearing testament to its strong ratings which has exceeded 10%, a remarkable feat for a cable drama!


Whats-Wrong-with-Secretary-Kim poster

The premise of What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is actually rather simple.

A narcissistic overbearing Vice President Lee Young Joon (Park Seo Joon) is used to having his capable Secretary Kim always by his side, keeping up with his demands and serving him efficiently. He had taken her for granted and gotten used to her presence after 9 years by his side.

One day Secretary Kim (Park Min Young) announces that she wants to quit as she wants to start living her own life in her own identity as Kim Mi-So instead of living in the identity of Secretary Kim with no personal life of her own. Hilarity ensues then as VP Lee Young Joon tries all means to tie her down and stop her from quitting with romantic gestures a guy does when courting a lady. During the process, both discover their feelings for each other.

Swoon-worthy Male Lead who is  Handsome, Rich, Intelligent, Devoted and Prone to Grand Gestures of Love

I gotta say that Park Seo Joon landed himself in a really good role. This is the type of male lead that have the female viewers swooning.

What's wrong with secretary kim 2

Handsome check. (Ok, actually I don’t really find Park Seo Joon good looking, but I know people do, and his role is supposed to be ridiculously handsome)

Rich check.

Intelligent check.

Clueless about love. Well, in the real world, don’t think an otaku being clueless about love is that cute. LOL. But in an idol drama or a webtoon, when the lead is attractive but clueless about love, it makes him cute to female viewers, especially when we see this male lead bumbling about trying to express his love.

Being rich, we definitely can expect grand gestures to express love like creating fireworks display, closing down an amusement park for a date with the female lead etc.

Whats wrong with secretary kim

Swooning already?

Narcissistic Egoistic and Inconsiderate Male Lead who slowly changes for the Female Lead

In spite of all the positive traits listed above, our male lead VP Lee Young Joon definitely has his fair traits of negative traits.


He is egoistic and narcissistic, believing himself to be a supreme individual with looks and intelligence. He knows nothing about the intricacies of human relationships and has never paused to consider about other peoples’ feelings, as such can sound really harsh at times.

Yet, after falling in love with Secretary Kim, he starts considering her feelings, even slowing down his stride such that Secretary Kim does not have to walk so fast each time to keep up with his pace.

It is all the small actions that count and there is nothing a girl likes more than seeing a guy slowly changing for the better due to love!

A Female Lead who is a Capable Career Woman Longing For Love Can Resonate With Viewers

To say the truth, there were many times when female leads end up being run-of-the-mill cliches, usually portrayed as feisty and strong-willed, but often coming across as being plain irritating.

Secretary Kim

Thankfully this time round, Secretary Kim is a strong and intelligent character who often carries herself with class. She doesn’t accept being treated badly and has no qualms with rejecting the male lead even though he is her boss.

Secretary Kim 3

Acting as a secretary who serves her boss wholeheartedly, but longing for more personal time to do her own stuff like seeking a boyfriend and having a guy to settle down with. I believe this will resonate with many female viewers in the workforce with no time for romance due to work.

Quirky Side Characters Who Livens Up The Atmosphere

As this is an adaptation from a webtoon, there is quite a over-the-top and quirky elements to the drama.


Some of the plotlines are quite nonsensical but surprisingly funny. Like for example there is a staff that always wear the same blazer but tries his best to hide the truth that he only owns one blazer. In a usual drama, it is quite weird and unnecessary to have such side plots, but in What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, it actually works and the end result is quite funny.

Conclusion: Light-hearted Fun Watch about Love and Friendship With Laughs and Occasional Poignancy

In short, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is a must-watch if you are into light rom-coms!

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Korean Drama Review: Grand Prince/The King

It has been a while since I watched a nice period drama and the hit period drama on TV Chosun Grand Prince, also known as The King, is a decent watch with a generally fast-paced delivery and an intriguing premise.

Grand_Prince poster

Grand Prince acted by Joo Sang Wook, Jin Se Yeon and Yoon Shi Yoon.

About Sibling Rivalry, Epic Love, The Fight For Throne

Broadcasted on TV Chosun, this drama starring Yoon Shi-yoonJin Se-yeon and Joo Sang-wook is about two princes – one unambitious and artistic, another more conniving and eager to become king – who fell in love with the same woman, and ended up in a bloody battle over her. Just from the synopsis, it is easy to imagine the themes of brotherhood, rivalry, palace politics and love.

I’ve always loved such themes, the more dramatic the better, hence such a drama is totally right up my alley.

I have never watched any of these 3 main casts in any show before so they are foreign faces to me. Initially I felt that Yoon Shi Yoon, who was casted as the Lee Hwi, the nice prince, is not very good looking. (Lol, shallow I know) However after a while I sort of got used to his look and even find him quite cute looking.

OK, I digress. Anyway, just in the first 2 episodes, there was enough backstory to allow the viewers to understand why the brothers turn out the way they are today.


Grand Prince is essentially about the rivalry between the two brothers Jin Yang and Lee Hwi.

Jin Yang (acted by Joo Sang Wook) was sent out of palace at a young age because apparently his presence will threaten the health of the crown prince who will become the eventual king, thus he was sidelined since he was young. It is no wonder then that he grew up bitter about the unfair treatment. Add that to the malicious tongue of his uncle who is eager to take him under his wings to groom him into the next king, and you have a scheming and ambitious grand prince with a thirst for power.

In contrast, Lee Hwi, the younger brother grew up in the sheltered palace doted by the queen, with a love for the arts. However in the first episode, we know that Lee Hwi was ultimately sent to the battle field, and it was his brother Lee Kang who plotted for him to be sent there with the aim of letting him die there.

What caused the crack in their relationship?  The questions got answered as the show progresses.

The Love between Lee Hwi and Ja Yeon

Grand Prince Lee Shi Yoon

The love between Grand Prince Lee Hwi and the nobleman’s daughter Ja Hyeon is a main plotline.

The love between Grand Prince Lee Hwi and one of the minister’s daughter Ja Hyeong is one of the main plotlines in the drama and one key reason for the crack in the brothers’ relationship, as both guys fell for the same girl.

Unsurprisingly, the woman they both fell for is portrayed as feisty, proud, righteous, and unconventional in the sense that she is not afraid to stand up for herself or even willing to dress up as a man just so that she can visit a brothel. The type of typical heroine who is supposed to be very different but frankly speaking can get quite tiring after a while.

It was cute when Lee Hwi and Ja Hyeon first met and their courtship was pretty sweet. However caught up in the schemes of others, their love met with a lot of ups and downs and basically these 2 lovebirds just kept getting separated.

Lost steam in middle with stupid leads who kept getting manipulated

Grand Prince started out really promisingly with a fast pace, but it sort of lost steam in the middle and got kind of exasperating with goody-two-shoes leads who do not seem to learn from their mistakes of being manipulated and end up letting the villains get their way repeatedly due to their sheer naivety.

I’m now 13 episodes in, and suddenly, I found myself getting more sympathetic towards the villain. Maybe it is just that the two leads are too much of goody two shoes and their characters are depicted as less complex. Basically just nice people.

Joo Sang Wook – A Convincing Villain Who Stole The Show

Credit has to be given to Joo Sang Wook who acted as the scheming brother Jin Yang who longs to be King and tries his best to win the heart of the girl who unfortunately only has eyes for his brother.

Joo-Sang-Wook Grand Prince

Joo Sang Wook as the Grand Prince Jin Yang who is hungry for the throne.

Unlike Lee Hwi, who is a more bland character, Jin Yang has more shades of grey in his personality and while he is an antagonist, he is not exactly hateable. Even though he was really hungry for the throne, at least he does seem to have to smarts to scheme and gain support, and as such kind of deserves the throne.

I feel that he was quite subtle in his acting and could convey the small nuances of emotions better.

Decent watch: 7/10

I have yet to finish the drama, but so far I think it is fairly decent. It is entertaining enough with moments of intensity albeit some slow and cliche parts. All in all, about 7/10. It is not spectacular, but it is not bad if you like sageuks and palace politics.

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Korean Drama Premiere Review: Come and Hug Me

Somehow in spite of the not-A-list cast, I was interested in catching ‘Come and Hug Me’ just after seeing the poster. After all, it stars Jang Ki Yong, who totally stole my heart in Confession Couple/ Go Back Couple  and Jin Ki-Joo whom I’m already kind of familiar with in Misty, therefore it is a drama that was enough to make me want to give it a try without even reading up on its synopsis.


Jang Ki Yong and Jin Ki Joo in Come and Hug Me.

I gave it a shot and within a short while, I devoured the first episode, and was eager for more.

So basically this drama is about Chae Do Jin (acted by Jang Ki Yong) who has a psychopath for a father Yoon Hee Jae (acted by Heo Jun Ho) and unfortunately this father killed his first love’s Han Jae Yi ( acted by JIn Ki Joo) parents. One day these two people meet again in their adulthood and I guess probably fell in love in spite of this traumatic past.

Intense and gripping, reels you in from the start

Because I didn’t read the synopsis before watching the drama, I wasn’t completely sure what I was getting myself into when I started watching it. Initially, when I first watched scenes of the father appearing with a hammer and behaving sinisterly towards an old lady whom he was supposed to help repair the water pipe for, I still thought it was the writer’s way of throwing us a red herring before realising soon after that hey, his father is indeed a serial killer who has been killing people for no apparent reason and not getting caught.


Ain’t Heo Jun Ho scary?

Whenever the psychopath appears, you can’t help but tense up as well cos he seems so unpredictable, appearing to be normal, yet lashing and killing people for no apparent reason. As such, there was always this heavy and anxiety-laden mood in his house whenever the kids see their father come home. His kids, including our male lead Chae Do Jin, does suspect that their father is dangerous, but keep their mouths shut.

Great Acting as of now

Kudos to actor Heo Jun Ho who really portrayed the pyschopath role well. The last time I saw him in Ruler of The Mask, he was also acting as the villain. Seems like he really mastered the art of portraying a formidable villain very well!

Come and hug me younger selves

Nam Da-Reum as the younger Chae Do Jin. The girl is really pretty and cute too!

Actually the first few eps were of the flashback with the younger selves of the two main leads driving the show. Chae Do Jin was acted by the handsome teen Nam Da-Reum who will obviously grow up to be a leading actor material with many fangirls swooning after him. In fact I think he already has quite a bit of a fan base with his numerous works and good looks!

Quiet, subdued and suppressed, Chae Do Jin, a ace student in school often keeps to himself until the pretty new girl Han Jae Yi in school arrives in his life. Bubbly and headstrong, Han Jae Yi  is eager to be Chae Do Jin’s friend even though Chae Do Jin has his reservations about warming up to her as he feels that his dad could pose a danger to her. Indeed, it ended up in a tragedy when his dad killed her parents.

Full of anticipation about how the drama will end up

As the drama keep teasing viewers with flashbacks interspersed with current time, I have yet to get a full picture of what exactly took place to result in the murder of Han Jae Yi’s parents. Why must the psychopath kill them both? I love a bit of mystery and suspense.

Will the psychopath get released from jail and pose any more danger to our leads and the society?

How will our leads end up? Will they be able to get past their traumatic past together and end up happily ever after? Or will there be more tragedy in store for them?

I’m 6 eps in for now and I’m still happily hooked to it. Let’s just hope that the drama continues its current momentum and doesn’t disappoint in the episodes to come.

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Korean Drama Review: Return (SBS)

I have been a bit late in catching SBS’s Return, which enjoyed high ratings, and hype due to the sensational reports of Go Hyun Jung assaulting the director which resulted in her leaving the set and being replaced by another actress Park Jin-Hee halfway through the drama. Talk about drama within a drama.

Return Korean Drama Go Hyun Jung

About Murder, Money, Power, Truths, Ugliness of Human Nature

Anyway, the story follows Choi Ja-Hye (acted by Go Hyun Jung and later Park Jin-Hee), a lawyer and Dokgo Young (acted by Lee Jin-Wook), a hot-tempered detective, and how they work together on a murder case where the suspects are children from the elite class.

The storyline sounds simple and focused enough; what makes it stand out is that the story revolves around the upper class society, namely a bunch of 4 friends with money and power who can manipulate information and hide truths with their money.

Yeom Mi Jung Return

Yeom Mi Jung, acted by Han Eun Jung, is a mistress of one of the 4 friends, and one day ends up killed.

Yeom Mi Jung, acted by Han Eun Jung, is a mistress of one of the 4 friends, and one day ends up killed with her corpse in one of these friends’ car boot. So who did it?

The viewers were kept in the dark as to who exactly is the murderer. But we do know that all these friends’ words cannot be fully trusted, and all have their own skeletons in the closet. All we saw were these rich man’s son embarking on more and more ridiculous actions to cover up the truth.

Initially intriguing but loses steam as story plods on

The first few episodes were interesting and we were introduced to the different chaebols, each with their own weaknesses and ugliness in personality. You can’t help but want to know more about their sordid relationships ( they are ok with kissing each other’s partners?!) , and their strange closeness in friendships. Their lives are really intertwined with one another’s and they share a long and shared history, yet I don’t feel that they genuinely like each other.  Instead of saying they are close friends, I will say they are just friends due to circumstances and more like “partners in crime” with shared history.

Return Korean Drama

It was intriguing how they got themselves in a situation where they are stuck with a corpse (who exactly killed Yeom Mi-Jung?) and the lengths they go to try and shirk any form of connection to the corpse in case they are labelled as murderers.

Yet, in their bid to prevent being linked to a murder, they end up murdering.

Basically it is a case of the bad doing bad, and the good trying all they can to catch the bad people, yet the bad people are often one step faster.

Such a premise is ok, however after watching 10 episodes and still seeing the cops being sidelined by the bad people, it starts to get kind of annoying.

A Bit Too Over-The-Top and Repetitive

Also, it does not help that I start to find the story a bit too over-the-top.

If you say that they murder people accidentally to prevent being seen as murder suspects, it makes sense the first time, after all they are rich people with image to maintain. But if it keeps happening, like how whenever any problem crops up, and the first thing that Oh Tae Seok and Kim Haek Beom thinks of is killing them so as to cover their tracks, it gets quite ridiculous. And this happens quite frequently. At least for the first ten eps that I have watched. Killing without any thought of consequences and at such a frequent rate just doesn’t make much sense, especially for two chaebols with so much to lose.

So, the story sort of keeps going in a circle. After they made another bad action, they have to cover it up with more ridiculous actions.

Good Acting from the Villains

Even though it was Go Hyun Jung’s comeback drama, it actually wasn’t very obvious that she was the lead. And in fact I don’ think it required much acting skills for her character.

Rather it was the villains that stole the show.

Shin Sung Rok was great in his portrayal of Oh Tae Seok, the seemingly gentlemanly and cultured rich man with a cruel streak, and apparently no conscience to speak of.


Shin Sung Rok as Oh Tae Seok (right) and Bong Tae Gyu as Kim Hak Beom(left).

Bong Tae Gyu was also fantastic in his portrayal of the sadistic Kim Hak Beom with serious anger management issues and who basically acts without thinking most of the time.

More Obvious Story Direction After Change of Return’s Lead Actress from Go Hyun Jung to Park Jin Hee

Even though it is quite jarring to have the lead actress who once appeared like a righteous lawyer suddenly become the villain in the drama, it at least finally gave the story a direction to move towards instead of veering around in circles.

park-jin-hee Return

Park Jin Hee replaced as the lead actress in the middle of the drama Return.

I don’t think the plot changed because of the change in lead actress, I believe the writer already had this in mind when she first wrote the story, which is why there were a few sudden scenes in the beginning of Go Hyun Jung looking sad in front of the sea and dreaming of drowning in water.

It is just that it was quite a sudden change in direction in the middle, without enough hints in the beginning to suggest this direction the plot is moving towards that makes it a bit hard to accept initially.

Having said this, I personally actually prefer Park Jin Hee’s portrayal of the character. I think there was more definition to her character , it made me understand who Choi Ja Hye is. Whereas when Go Hyun Jung acted as the lawyer, all I saw was a lawyer who appeared righteous. In fact I couldn’t tell what personality the lawyer is supposed to have.

In spite of the high ratings, I’m actually having trouble following this drama and getting into it, as I feel bored and annoyed at times at the repetitive twists.

Anyone feeling the same way?

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Korean Drama Review: Thoughts about Misty’s Episode 16 Ending

After eagerly waiting for its 2 episodes every week, I am finally done with Misty……and I’m left feeling kind of underwhelmed.

*Spoilers ahead.

The ending is definitely not bad, in fact it feels quite realistic that there isn’t a happy ending. But……

Why is he the murderer?!

I still can’t quite accept that Kang Tae Wook is the murderer or that the murder happened just like that.

Kang Tae Wook Misty

There have been hints pointing to Kang Tae Wook as the murderer the past few episodes, like his shock when he heard Go Hye Ran telling him that nothing happened between him and Kevin Lee, and that Myung Woo ended up in jail many years ago simply because he got his anger got the better of him and he chose not to believe Go Hye Ran’s words in the past.

According to the plot development so far, I could believe it if Kang Tae Wook killed Kevin Lee in error. It also added to the complexity of the relationship between Tae Wook and Hye Ran if Tae Wook was the murderer but did not confess to Hye Ran, rather letting her shoulder the murder charge while defending her vehemently. It added a dark side to Tae Wook who had been projecting an honourable image so far.

Expectations too high, ending left me disappointed

I guess it is just that I kept expecting a twist in the end , so I refused to believe that Tae Wook was the murderer as what the hints had pointed out, and kept waiting to be surprised by what the writer had in store for us.

I was expecting myself to be shocked, to be overwhelmed, to be brimming with emotions at the twist I was bracing myself for and in the end Ep 15 and 16 just fell short of my overly high expectations.

kevin lee misty korean drama

The tall and strapping Kevin Lee got killed so easily?

When the murder scene was finally reenacted in ep 16, my first thought was “Kevin Lee was killed just like that?” I find quite hard to believe that an athlete like Kevin Lee died just like that after Tae Wook bang him against the wall.

Questions Unanswered

  • And if Kevin Lee died of head injuries, why didn’t the police notice it? Why was he believed to have died from a car accident?

The plot development of Myung Woo stepping up to bear the brunt of the murder charge wasn’t too surprising, and was in line with his character as shown so far in the drama, but it was quite a pity that Tae Wook chose to commit suicide in the end which made Myung Woo’s sacrifice in vain.

  • Why was the black chip in Hye Ran’s car with Kevin Lee?
  • And the police just let Myung Woo get a life sentence like that even though there was no strong evidence proving that he murdered Kevin Lee? When he obviously was still in jail when the murder took place.

In spite of feeling mildly unsatisfied by the ending ,(after all it had been an intense ep one after another every week! )if I remove my feeling of being let-down at Tae Wook being the murderer, I do feel that this ending has a tragic tone which suits the mood of the drama so far. Seems like Kang Tae Wook and Go Hye Ran are just not meant to be together, who kept missing each other and simply can’t be happily together.

Go Hye Ran Misty

The competitive go-getter Go Hye Ran acted by Kim Nam Joo. Not a perfect character but you can’t help admiring her.

Go Hye Ran’s life seem so much sadder since she didn’t officially do anything wrong but everything is falling apart except for her career. The two men she loved killed for her and died. She had been chasing for success and happiness, yet happiness eludes her.

Impressive Acting from veteran actors

If Go Hye Ran had been honest and open with Kang Tae Wook right from the start! Then this whole tragedy wouldn’t even have happened!

Gotta say I am extremely impressed by Kim Nam Joo and Ji Jin Hee’s acting though!

Kang Tae Wook Misty Ji Jin Hee

Kang Tae Wook, I feel your pain man!

I wasn’t that wowed by Ji Jin Hee initially but as the show progress on, and especially in the final 2 episodes where he displayed his pain in committing the error, his suppressed nervousness when interrogated by the detective etc, I feel that he fleshed out this character really well.

Most Annoying Character: The Detective

Biggest Pet Peeve?

Misty Ending

The dumb detective! I mean everything started because he insisted it was a murder based on his gut feeling. Oh well, so his gut feeling was correct in the end, but seriously can he please do his work and find evidence? Instead of randomly zeroing in on suspects and insinuating that they are the killer? And basically making himself a nuisance?

Kang Tae Wook committed suicide after the detective went to find him to tell him that Myung Woo will be granted life sentence for the ‘murder’ and what he feels about that. So of course I do blame the stupid detective for Kang Tae Wook’s death. And it also meant that Myung Woo died for nothing. Seriously the detective has lots to improve in his skills.

All in all, Misty was a good ride and I enjoyed the process of eagerly waiting for each episode to come out. Kim Nam Joo has a new fan in me!

What do you think of Misty’s ending? Was it expected?

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K-Drama Review: JTBC’s Misty (Ep 1 -8)

Wow, what a drama. What a mindblowing, suspense-filled, intense drama that had me hooked from Episode 1.

Misty: About Mystery, Power, Secrets

misty korean drama

Misty reminds me of another JTBC’s drama Woman of Dignity, especially since both dramas started hooking viewers in with the mystery surrounding a murder and complex characters who may or may not be bad. It also kind of reminds me of book author Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies (a nice book btw!)  as Misty is about the pretences that one upkeeps beneath the seemingly perfect facade of marriage, but laced with guilty secrets and a dark past that one strives to keep hidden.

In short, the story follows a successful news anchor who got charged with murder of her ex lover, and requires the help of her estranged husband as a lawyer to help her win the case.

There is a mix of newsroom politics, crime, illicit affairs, dark past, schemes, secrets, revenge and passion. All ingredients that I like in my drama!

Kim Nam Joo as Go Hye Ran: Compelling & Enigmatic

Gotta say that JTBC did a good job in casting the veterans for the male and female lead, Ji Jin Hee and Kim Nam Joo. Kim Nam Joo was absolutely captivating in her portrayal of this shrewd, aloof, ambitious, beautiful news anchor who is unapologetically hungry for success, even if it means offending or stepping on others. But this seemingly perfect life got shattered apart when she fell from grace and became a suspect for her former lover’s murder.

Kim Nam Joo Go Hye Ran Misty

After 8 episodes in, I’m still not quite sure how to describe her character. There are still so many shades of grey about her personality. Is she manipulative? Does she love her husband? Or is she simply manipulating his feelings to get what she wants? Does she truly believe in delivering news impartially, is it just part of her facade as a news anchor or does she have some other end goal in mind that is not revealed yet? Why is she so so hungry for success? There’s definitely some juicy dark past that is not revealed yet, and I am just eager to know more about it.

Kim Nam Joo is bewitching is her portrayal of this character. I don’t think Go Hye Ran is a likeable character, yet I can’t dislike her. Cos she is just so ballsy, so upfront about being power-hungry and indeed very capable.

ji jin hee misty

Ji Jin Hee is acting as the quietly-suffering lawyer/ex-prosecutor husband who loves his imperfect wife and is willing to stand by her through thick and thin, even if he thinks his wife does not love him. Morally upright, he is in a sort of one-sided love with his wife, yet willing to make use of his connections to help his wife in her rise to power even if such political games go against his principles.

I think he is doing a good job in his acting as well, just that unfortunately it sort of pales in comparison to Kim Nam Joo, but this is because Go Hye Ran is simply such a complex yet in-your-face character that simply mesmerises the screen when she appears.

So Who Killed Kevin Lee?

The drama first started with steamy kissing scenes between Go Hye Ran and former lover Kevin Lee, followed by their accidental meet-up, when Go Hye Ran realised that this celebrated award-winning golf player Kevin Lee who is now married to her high school best friend was her former lover whom she dumped harshly because she deemed him too much of a loser without much prospects back then.

kevin lee misty korean drama

Go Joon acting as the sly and scorned ex lover Kevin Lee.

Hell hath no fury like a lover scorned and Kevin Lee, in his present day popularity, is determined to create chaos in Go Hye-Ran’s current seemingly perfect life.

One day Kevin Lee is found dead. So who is the prime suspect? We as viewers know that actually Go Hye Ran is innocent. But who else can it be? Could it be her high school best friend, and current Kevin Lee’s wife Seo Eun Joo who discovered their illicit relationship from the kiss she witnessed in the car’s camera and is determined to exact revenge on her friend for betraying her?

Seo Eun Joo Misty

Jeon Hye Jin in a role of Seo Eun Joo who appears naive and meek but secretly nurses a grudge against Go Hye Ran for cheating with her husband.

Could it be her supposedly morally upright husband who also discovered Go Hye Ran secretly meeting Kevin Lee, and having heard Kevin Lee allude in his face that he and his wife has something illicit going on?

Could it be the bitchy new news anchor who has been coveting Go Hye Ran’s anchor position and has much to gain from Go Hye Ran’s final fall from grace?

Misty korean drama Han Ji Won

Jin Ki Joo acting as the anchor wannabe Han Ji Won who is aiming for Go Hye Ran’s anchor position.

Or could it be the young male reporter Kwak Ki Sook who has always looked up to Go Hye Ran and once saw Kevin Lee “threatening” Go Hye Ran?

misty korean drama goo ja sung

Goo Ja Sung as the young reporter Kwak Ki Sook who remains loyal to Go Hye Ran.

I’m very sure that there will definitely be some twist in store, and judging from the twist in Woman of Dignity, I am inclined to believe that the real murderer might be the young male reporter, as he seems like the least likely candidate as of now. If it is Kevin’s wife who was the actual murderer, it seems a bit too obvious.

What do you think? Who do you think is Kevin Lee’s murderer?

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Korean Drama Review: Go-Back Couple/Confession Couple

Seriously, Go-Back Couple is dae-bak!

It makes my heart flutter and feel all giddy with the sweetness, the awkwardness and optimism of first love. Yet is also makes me tear at the missed opportunities and  misunderstandings that occur in relationships, as well as the bittersweet acceptance when some relationships are just not meant to be however much effort you put into it with the hope that the other party will fall for you.

*Spoilers ahead

Funny, Heartfelt yet Realistic

Go-Back Couple is basically about a divorced couple Choi Ban-do (Son Ho-Jun)and Ma Jin-Joo(Jang Nara) who got a chance to go back in time to their university days where they can correct their “mistake” of meeting and falling in love with each other.

goback couple

Choi Ban-do was a husband who tried very hard to work and earn money as a pharmaceutical salesman so as to support his young wife and son, even at the price of losing his dignity and bowing down to rich doctors and kissing their asses.

Yet, such hard work outside was not known or understood by his wife, Ma Jin-Joo who used to be pretty and popular in school, but reduced to a scruffy housewife ever since marrying Choi Ban-do. With no money and lots of unsaid unhappiness that led to misunderstandings, it is no wonder that they ultimately ended up divorcing.

Go Back Couple 2

Son Ho -Jun as Choi Ban-do, a salaried salesman trying to make ends meet and Jang Nara acting as Ma Jin-Joo, the scruffy housewife.

But somehow they woke up one day to discover that they are miraculously back to their younger selves where they got a chance to relive their youth and change the future.

I love all the ingredients that make up this show – time travel, youthful passions and first loves, the poignancy of reflecting on the past, not to mention the realistic portrayal of marriages and long-time relationships that lost its spark.

I believe this drama will resonate very well with the married working adults who are caught up in the rat race,stressed up with work, probably not even liking their job and have started to take their spouses for granted. This drama offers a great form of escapism for viewers as we follow this divorced couple’s journey back in time to college where everything was fine and dandy, where problems in the adult world all disappeared and all that was left was friendship and first loves.

Believable Four-Sided Entangled Relationships

Go-Back Couple did a great job in the 4-sided relationships for the 2 main leads and the 2 second leads when they travelled back in time during university days. Choi Ban-Do had a chance at love with the beautiful ballerina whom he used to nurse a crush on while Ma Jin-Joo had a suitor in the form of the tall and handsome Jung Nam-Gil.

The introduction of new potential romantic partners and the witnessing of their original partners in the prime of their youth also allowed Choi Ban-do and Ma Jin-Joo to reassess what they truly want and to recapture their appreciation for each other.

While the drama ended up predictably with the 2 main leads realising their love for each other, the drama focused quite a bit on the new love lines between the main leads and the 2 side leads, therefore viewers were left wondering who the main lead might end up and whether the couple might succeed in changing their future.

go back couple 2

The divorced couple Ma Jin-Joo and Choi Ban-do glaring at each other and their respective new partners when they walked past each other in school.

Notable mention has definitely got to be given to Chang Ki-Young who acted as Jung Nam-Gil, the handsome but aloof heartthrob who only has eyes for Ma Jin-Joo acted by Jang Nara, and posed as a realistic threat to Choi Ban-Do who later tried to win back the heart of Ma Jin-Joo.

Dreamboat Second-Lead Chang Ki-Young

I have no idea who Chang Ki-Young was previously, but I was really won over by his handsome looks and near-perfect dreamboat role. I mean, Jung Nam-Gil is handsome,rich, and lonely, aloof to everyone but with only eyes for Ma Jin-Joo, totally the type of roles in K-dramas that all female viewers swoon over. It was swoon-worthy when viewers see him smiling secretly to himself after witnessing Ma Jin-Joo’s cute antics or acting as the knight in shining armour to save her when in need.

jung nam-gil go back couple

Chang Ki Young as Jung Nam Gil in Go Back Couple.

I really liked the scene where he ultimately realised that he has no chance with Ma JIn-Joo, who at the end of the day only had eyes for Choi Ban-do, and accepted a hug from Ma Jin-Joo as she spoke to him of his good traits. It was very bittersweet and touching, for a lonely and lost man to hear such words of reaffirmation from a woman he love.

Tender Mother-and-Daughter Moments

What was unexpected but incredibly tear-jerking were the scenes of Ma Jin-Joo and her mother acted by Go Eun-Sook.

Ma Jin-Joo’s mother had already died in present time, so when Ma Jin-Joo saw her mother again when she travelled in time, she did all she can to fully appreciate her moments with her mum at every single opportunity, like hugging her and telling her how much she loves her.

The scenes were really well-executed – incredibly tender and bittersweet.

ma jin-joo and mother go back couple

Ma Jin-Joo sharing a tender moment with her mum.

All in all, this drama really tug at my heartstrings in all the right places. I found it a lot more realistic and poignant than most Korean dramas. And frankly speaking I couldn’t quite find any flaw in it.

Even though there were only 12 episodes, all characters were developed very well.Plus, Jang Nara and Son Ho-Jun really portrayed their roles impressively.I felt that I could really picture these characters as real-life characters as they were just quite believable and all the mistakes and regrets they made in life, could very well be mistakes that all of us have made or could make.

At the end of the day, I think this drama is about the choices we make in life, a reminder to not take what we have for granted, about rediscovering what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place and to never forget it.

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K-Drama Review: Woman of Dignity is Awesome!

Recently there is a new JTBC Korean drama that caught my eye, which is none other than Woman of Dignity starring Kim Hee-Seon and Kim Sun-A.

I only started watching after reading about its phenomenal ratings in the news reports, and I got hooked just within the first ten minutes of the show.

This story revolves around the lives of two women, namely Woo-A-Jin acted by Kim Hee-Seon and  Park Bok Ja acted by Kim Sun-A. It showed how one’s life goes from the bottom to the top, while the other falls from grace.

woman of dignity


This is a story that is centred on a rich but rather dysfunctional family. Basically Woo-A Jin is a dutiful daughter-in-law of the rich family who leads a luxurious life, however her life slowly came to shatters following the arrival of the new caretaker whom she employed to take care of the ailing father-in-law. The new caretaker Park Bok-Ja deliberately seduced the father-in-law and soon lay claim to her new status as his wife much to the disbelief of the rest of the disapproving family members.

Great start to drama with a hook

I really like intense fast-paced dramas with scheming women and this drama totally fitted the bill. I’ve got to say that this drama has a rather special vibe as it is sorta quirky, at times funny, yet with a sinister undertone.

There is always this sense of mystery and creepiness, probably because it started by revealing the morbid ending, which showed a luxuriously dressed Park Bok-Ja lying in a pool of blood.  The drama than went into flashback mode that slowly depicted how Park Bok-Ja went from being a caretaker that purposely entered a family to seduce the father for money ended up being murdered. Because all the family members have issues and were really against the manipulative caretaker, all of them could very well be the murderer so the show really keeps the viewer guessing as to who is the one who really did it.


Kim Sun-A was impressive in her rendition of the manipulative caretaker Park Bok-Ja that slowly climbed her way up in Woman of Dignity.

Kim Sun-A was fantastic as Park Bok-Ja

Kim Sun-A was extremely good in her portrayal of this cold-blooded and two-faced caretaker who bluffed her way into a rich family and succeeded in securing the heart of the father-in-law by pretending to be innocent and sweet. Seeing her manipulate the  feelings of all the family members was exasperating yet strangely addictive to viewers. In a way you feel sorry for the father-in-law who whole-heartedly believes in her, yet you can’t help but want to see just how bad she can become and how much of a disaster she can bring to the rich pampered family.

Woman of dignity kim hee seon

Kim Hee Seon looks beautiful in all scenes of Woman of Dignity.

Woo A Jin was the embodiment of female empowerment

Meanwhile, Woo A Jin was just as good as Park Bok-Ja was bad. She might be the rich daughter-in-law in the top level of society, but she certainly has a kind heart. Because of her goodness, it was hard for her to see how manipulative Park Bok-Ja was until it was too late to rectify the problem.

In face of a new enemy married into the household, and a husband who cheated on her with a woman whom she was nice to, her seemingly perfect life was ruined. It is refreshing to see how a rich and pampered woman stayed strong and went about righting the wrongs in her life such as putting the cheating husband and the adulteress back in their place and steering Park Bok-Ja into the right path.

Questions left unanswered

With only 4 episodes left to go, there are still many questions left unanswered. Why is it that Park Bok-Ja is so adamant about marrying into this family? What secrets are she keeping? Did Park Bok-Ja know Woo A-Jin previously? Who exactly killed Park Bok-Ja?Are there any twists awaiting us?

I am eager to find out all the answers, and I truly hope that the scriptwriter and director won’t disappoint us, not when the drama has been going so well so far!


Have finished the entire series and I have to say this drama does not disappoint. And kudos to Kim Sun-A, who made me really sympathise with her when she displayed her emptiness after attaining her wealth. During the end of the drama, she was trying to make amends and trying to be a better person, but alas first impressions last, and the numerous mistakes she made in the past has cemented her reputation as the “evil woman”, hence she is destined not to be forgiven.

As for the person who killed her, there was a bit of a twist, but frankly speaking I found the reveal of the identity of the killer underwhelming. I guess such a twist makes it more interesting? But I thought it is a bit illogical and does not tie in that well to the earlier parts of the show. Spoiler ahead.

I think it will make more sense if Park Joo-Mi’s son had appeared to be more deranged or emotional previously, so that I can better tie in his persona with someone who can kill.

Oh well, but all in all, I really enjoyed the show. It has this rather quirky dark mysterious vibe that pulls you into the show.

If you enjoy Woman of Dignity, there is a high chance that you will enjoy Misty too. Read the review here.

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How to Take Part As An Audience for Taiwan’s Variety Show 綜藝大熱門

Recently, I went on my yearly trip to Taiwan and decided to try my luck in applying to be part of the audience for the live recording of 綜藝大熱門 hosted by Jacky Wu at San Lih TV Station.

Monitor 綜藝大熱門 Hot Door Night’s Facebook to sign up for recording sessions

I regularly watch 綜藝大熱門 so I am aware that their staff often posts updates about the show and requests for audience on their Facebook page. And so I checked their FB page diligently about 2 weeks prior my trip to see if I could possibly make it for any of their recording sessions when I was in town.

When there is a call for audience, the staff will post a google doc link on the page for people to sign up, which was what I did. And about one week after my registration, just 5 days before the recording,  I received this email from someone named “Bird Bird” lol who told me that I was selected and that I could head to the TV station on that night for the recording session!

Plan your trip and register for your recording session before reaching Taiwan

As expected, you cannot possibly just go to Taiwan for a holiday trip and expect to be able to join a recording session as and when you are free since the these sessions have schedules.

Therefore in order to possibly make it for a recording session during your short stay in Taiwan as a tourist, it is important to plan ahead.

Eg. if you are going to be in Taiwan during the first week of May, then you should start monitoring Hot Door Night’s Facebook for recording updates about 3 weeks in advance to play safe because it is likely that registration for the May recording session could have closed 1-2 weeks before. It is necessary to count backwards.

Setting foot in San Lih TV Station

San Lih isn’t at a very accessible location and I took the train to the nearest station before cabbing over. Costs about 120 NT. (Can’t even remember which train station it is)


San Lih TV station in Taipei.

We were asked to wait opposite the Starbucks at an open space which I think was a carpark at 7pm. I was prepared to wait for maybe an hour before any staff will appear to bring us to the studio but I was pleasantly surprised to see a staff appear on the dot to bring us upstairs.


When we reached, we waited behind the set but we were all peeking to look at the performers rehearsing. And so I spotted Wang Renfu from 5566 practising his singing and dancing.


Wang Renfu from 5566 rehearsing his dance before the official recording.

After about 10 minutes of waiting, we were brought to the seats and given placards with hearts on it. Basically for the episode that I participated in, it featured celebrities singing and we needed to grade them for their performance. If the performance was good, we were expected to hold our placards up. For a celeb with the worst grade, there will be a penalty.

Soon after, the hosts came in!!

Lulu was very thin in person, and in fact her head looked very big on her skinny frame.


Host Lulu came in and said hi to the audience.

Jacky Wu looked slightly older in person.


Chen Han Dian and Jacky Wu chatting before the recording started.

I am quite impressed with the fact that the entire recording went very smoothly and quickly without any retakes. However watching the recording made me realise the importance of sound and graphic effects later superimposed on the footage cos it felt less funny when I watched it in person without those graphics moving about to highlight the witty parts as compared to watching it on TV.

The entire recording was over in about 45 minutes and we were then brought out to make room for the next batch of audience for the next recording.

By the way, San Lih TV station is quite near to Rao He Night Market, so it is a great way to end the night by indulging in yummy street food after a recording session.

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