Film + TV, Geekiness

My first impressions on a bunch of new shows

With the amount of things I try to fit into a day I don’t exactly have much time on my hands to watch a lot of television. I have to look through TV.com’s articles on network lineups just to have even the remotest idea of what’s new and what’s hot and all that. I wish there was a good blog to follow that talks about US TV shows in the same fun way that Dramabeans does for Asian dramas so I can be on the loop. In any case, here are my first impressions on shows I’ve been considering putting on the regular rotation of my very precious TV-watching time. Let’s go with Asian dramas first:

I’m sure K-drama fans have already witnessed the amazing that is Liar Game. After the fourth episode I didn’t think I could be an even bigger fan but I am! In fact I am inclined to name this as my favourite Korean drama of the year if it continues to be this way. Please please please drama gods, let it be as good as I follow it through to the end!

It comes as a bit of a shock to me how much I liked the first two episodes of Pride and Prejudice. Okay, not too much of a shock since I am generally drawn to legal dramas, but I have not seen one like this. None of the prosecutors in the show go to court and all of them are more like detectives really. (Is this how they do it in Korea?) However I am enjoying the main characters quite a bit, especially because the chemistry is unmistakable especially with the leads (as well as the potential love triangle). The show also has great dialogues and fun banter, with the mysteries involving each character backstory strangely deepening the more pieces they reveal. So far I’m very inclined to follow this through. Plus, Lee Tae-Hwan is such a cutie! I love the whole cast actually so bring it on!

Can’t find a decent promo picture anywhere! Anyway, Kyo wa Kaisha Yasumimasu (Today I Take A Day Off From Work) is the only Jdorama I have watched in the year and it is super adorable. To be specific, Ayase Haruka is adorable. I’ve loved her since Hotaru no Hikari. I don’t find it hard to believe two hot guys have fallen for her because she is gorgeous and charming and I wish I had her skin. Seriously. The drama is a bit of your typical ugly duckling blooms into a rose story, but with enjoyable quirks. And Tamaki Hiroshi. (Yes, THE Chiaki from the original Nodame Cantabile, kyaaa!) For the cast alone I am going to follow this.

I have been looking forward to Constantine since laying eyes on its trailer, but by jove was I disappointed with the pilot. I guess it’s always that way when expectations are so high on something that fails to hit the mark. I wish Live could teach me how to suspend my disbelief as fast as she did when Constantine told her about her true identity. It just feels so disjointed and rushed, and as good as Matt Ryan was as Constantine, even he could not save the pilot from being all over the place. I’m sorry to say that I will probably just drop this though I’d give the succeeding two episodes a chance if I have the time.

The CW seems to have found its niche in these types of superhero shows. Arrow is a pretty fine example of that. What makes this show work is pretty much the same formula that makes Arrow work: good casting choices, great effort in special effects, a decent storyline. And the fact that it is based on an existing superhero mythology that already has fans. The first four episodes have been solid and highly enjoyable. This is definitely something to follow.

I love Maggie Q. In fact it’s the only reason why I started watching Stalker in the first place. Otherwise, the subject matter creeps me out. The trailer was superb in its creepiness so I thought the show had much promise. I watched the first two episodes and thought they were pretty okay, but halfway through the third one I kind of started losing real interest in the show. I can’t really relate to either of the leads, especially McDermott’s character. I don’t know. As a procedural it’s decent, but as far as latching onto my empathy and emotions as a viewer it’s not happening. I think I’m just going to drop this thing but I’m happy for Maggie since this got picked up for a full season.

What did not make the list: my general disdain for the Nodame Cantabile Korean remake; the inexplicable reasons why I keep watching Blade Man despite it going around and around in circles; how much I find Batman-less Gotham not so exciting.

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Film + TV, Geekiness, PICTURES

On my telly, lately

I admit I don’t watch a lot of traditional television. Apart from the sports programs I follow, I don’t actively open the telly to channel surf and stuff. I don’t watch the news because I prefer to read about in since my memory has a tendency of recording random things I’ve seen with HD quality. I don’t want to run the risk of having nightmares more terrifying than any horror movie could ever cause me.

Most of what I watch is either streamed, DVR-ed, or downloaded to my hard drive. The great thing about that is how you can watch whatever you want whenever you want, and you can go back to the old stuff you might’ve missed from years ago. I especially love catching up on old Asian dramas, but I watch a well-rounded mix of things: American dramas, British dramas, Japanese, Taiwanese, or Korean dramas, I watch them all. Typically I watch dramas in languages that speak to me, I want to learn, or those I have some knowledge of. And much like with books, I get inspired by watching TV shows too.

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Film + TV, Inspirations, Journal, Rants & Raves

I really must say how much I love ‘In A Good Way’

No. Actually I find it weird that they translated the title of this show to ‘In A Good Way‘. It doesn’t really capture the essence of the show like the actual title- 我的自由年代- does. My Era of Freedom. Sounds more like a college drama to me! But those things are pretty trivial considering how high this show is rating in its native Taiwan. And I completely understand why!

In A Good Way

I chanced upon 我的自由年代 when I saw a Facebook conversation between two of my college friends (oh the irony!) wherein they were virtually gushing about this show. When I went home that night I started watching this and found myself inevitably gushing along with them. I’m trying to recall a time when I’ve ever watched a show like this in the world of Asian drama (Korean, Japanese, AND Chinese/Taiwanese dramas in general) and I can say that I have never watched such an honest and insightful college drama series EVER.

Most of the things going on here are actually relatable, and for the first time in… forever for me, a show targeting my age group actually throws out the typical cutesy/angsty drama stereotypes out the window. There aren’t any of those klutzy unbelievably-dense and all-around imbalanced leads, nor have I encountered any cheap shots to increase the show’s shock value so far. There is a sincerity in which the story here is written and told; unwound alongside characters with distinct personalities that we see change and blossom with time.

I love how consistent the actors have been portraying their characters all throughout, and though we see some of them mature and inevitably change the way they perceive their surroundings and the people around them, the very core of their characters remain intact. I guess I’ll have to credit the cast for pulling in some extra effort to study their characters well! SETTV hit the casting jackpot when they put Lego Lee (new discovery of mine!) and Kirsten Ren (adorbs younger sister of Selina Ren from S.H.E. fame) together, because their chemistry has been undeniable since episode 1. I’ve never seen either of these two act before and I must say I’m pretty impressed by how they carried the show’s romantic aspect together. Even the secondary leads are pretty great and I love them both as well!

Thankfully this show isn’t just heavily centered on the romance. Individually, these characters also face their own shares of insecurities and doubts about the future, as I’m sure every person at college age has encountered– myself included. Mirrored in this show are my own fears about my own future, whether it be relating to work or love or anything really, and I realize how tragically hilarious it is that the world seems to expect us to figure things out in our 20’s when it’s damn near impossible!

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