Posted in Korea, Reviews, Uncategorized

My favourite Korean Dramas!

As you guys may or may not know, I love Korean Dramas. This time last year I had never watched a Korean drama because I was more of a Korean film fan, until one day, I found out that one of my favourite people, Rain, was the lead in a drama which aired in 2010. After watching Fugitive Plan B, I became addicted to watching Korean dramas!

I am at the stage where I believe I have watched enough dramas to create a list of my favourites. So here it is! It’s a bit hard for me to do a Top 10 list so I will list and write about the dramas I have watched. I only completed dramas which I liked so I recommend all of these. The are no spoilers! Don’t worry!

Originally I thought that I hadn’t watched that many dramas and thought I would write a little bit about all the dramas I have watched, but once I started writing this post I realised I have watched a lot! So this is a post with all the dramas which I think may not have been watched or that I truly love. Not to worry! I have also made another list here of all the dramas I have watched with the rating I give them! Enjoy!

The Virus/ 더바이러스.

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Genre: Mystery, Action
Aired: 2013

I have written a review of this drama here so I won’t give a synopsis on this post. Please read my review as this is a great and unique drama.

 Fugitive: Plan B/ 도망자 Plan B

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Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller, Romance, Comedy
Aired: 2010

This drama comes under many genres because it is a truly amazing drama. I finished this drama in just a couple of days because the end of each episode was a cliff hanger. Rain is an amazing actor and this drama, as mentioned before this drama was the beginning of my small obsession with Korean dramas!

I give it 5 stars! ★★★★★

My Girlfriend is a nine tailed fox/ 내 여자친구는 구미호

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Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Comedy
Aired: 2010

I can’t remember if somebody recommended this drama to me or if I stumbled across it, but I am thankful that I watched it! The stunning Shin Min Ah (신민아) is the main actress in this fantasy drama, along side Lee Seung Ki (이승기). Although this drama is romantic, it is original in it’s story line and kept me wanting to watch more! Shin Min Ah is really cute and this drama has the cutest scenes I have ever seen! It also has a cute soundtrack! It’s a must see!

I give this drama five stars out of five! ★★★★★

49 Days/ 49일49-Days15

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Comedy
Aired: 2011

I can honestly say this is a drama which I have already watched twice and could re-watch right now. Possibly my favourite K-drama ever. This is a super unique story line which I thought would be cheesy at first, but this drama really tugged at my heart strings. I cried many times and laughed many times. Perfect cast which were all incredible actors. Betrayal from a best friend and a fiancé. But there is more than one love story in this drama. Outstanding.

I give this drama six stars out of five! ★★★★★

Flower Boys Next Door/ 이웃집 꽃미남

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Genre: Romance, Comedy
Aired: 2013

There have been many ‘Flower Boy’ dramas but this is by far my favourite! It is cute, has a great sound track, flower boys (handsome guys) and helps young women get over fears and another female character to relate to (apart from knowing that it’s impossible to be surround by so many handsome guys unless you are super pretty). This drama is great for its comedy and sweetness. It is the ultimate romantic drama for me! My favourite drama of 2013! I made the mistake of watching it while it was airing so I had to wait a week to watch two episodes which sucked! But it also added joy to waiting for the drama all week. I was devastated when it finished because I didn’t want it to end!

Five stars from me! ★★★★★

Level 7 Civil Servant/ 7급 공무원

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Genre: Action, Romance, Comedy
Aired: 2013

This is another drama which I watched while it was airing. This is a really cool drama! I love it when families are involved in dramas because it makes me imagine how my mum would act it I introduced her to a guy, or in this case, if she found a guy in my room! A cute drama with action! I recommend it because, again, it was different from other dramas I have watched or heard of! Really cute but does make you sad and excited. I really love this drama and recommend it highly but it is slightly forgetful. Even though my ex-boyfriend is training to be a civil servant, I managed to forget about it. I remembered this drama last while making this list. Considering its forgetfulness, I will give this drama a rating of…

Three out of Five. ★★★☆☆
=[ Sorry Joo Won (주원). I still love you! If it wasn’t for me forgetting this drama it would have gotten a Five out of Five.

City Hunter/ 시티헌터

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Genre: Action, Crime, Suspense, Romance
Aired: 2011

This, along with Fugitive Plan B, is a drama which I could not recommend enough. Believe it or not, I don’t really like soppy romantic dramas. I love action. I mentioned in a previous post (read here) that when I was in Korea I met somebody who worked behind the scenes of City Hunter. I had no idea what City Hunter was about as I hadn’t watched any Korean dramas yet. But when I watched this drama, I was dumbfounded. This drama had me on the edge of my seat and similarly to Fugitive Plan B, I finished this drama in a couple of days. By far one of my favourite dramas and not just because Lee Min Ho (이민호) is the star. A must see drama.

Five out of five from me! ★★★★★

Another film staring the love of my life:

Personal Preference  Personal Taste / 개인의 취향

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Genre: Romance, Comedy
Aired: 2010

This drama also stars the tall, dark and handsome Lee Min Ho! The difference here is this isn’t an action drama. This drama is funny but still serious. I would recommend this drama to anyone who likes to laugh. Although Lee Min Ho acts arrogant in this drama, I still can’t help but fall in love with him! This was the 4th Lee Min Ho drama I watched and I recommend it to those who like romance and who like to laugh! Son Ye Jin (손예진) never fails to make me laugh!

Five out of Five! ★★★★★

To The Beautiful You/ 아름다운 그대에게

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Genre: Romance, Comedy, Teen
Aired: 2012

I’ve heard of many dramas where a girl disguises herself as a boy. However To The Beautiful You & Coffee Prince are the only two which I have finished. To The Beautiful You is a great drama for girls, as the cast consists of too many hot guys *cough cough* Seo Joon Young (서준영)! Although I am not a big fan of dramas where a girl disguises herself as a boy, this drama was fun and cute. What interested me about this drama is there is a white guy! This isn’t the first K-drama I have seen with a white guy but this is the first where the guy speaks Korean! So of course I researched and Julien Kang, is actually half Korean! Regardless, this is a good drama for its typical story line.

I give this drama four stars out of five. Mostly because of casting ★★★★☆

Dating Agency; Cyrano/ 연애조작단; 시라노

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Genre: Romance, Comdey
Aired: 2013

Dating Agency: Cyrano is a funny drama. Not my favourite but I finished it which means it must be a bit good! Of course the reason might be Hong Jong Hyeon (홍종현)! There were a few episodes which really grabbed my attention and I really enjoyed. However, there were also some episodes which I was bored with. I also watched this drama at the same time it was airing, but never really looked forward to watching the next episode. Overall, it is an okay drama. 

I give it 3 stars out of 5. ★★★☆☆

Faith/ 신의

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Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Medical,
Aired: 2012

Another one starring Lee Min Ho! This drama is different from the others I have seen. It is a historical film and I kinda liked it. It was a bit boring at times and dragged on for a while. But it has a really sweet ending and of course, Lee Min Ho! I like the action in this drama and also the clothing! Acting skills form actors apart form Lee Min Ho are really good. Unfortunately, I don’t know how this drama stands next to others which share a similar story as it’s the first historical drama I have watched. But it is worth watching at the least, one or two episodes to see if it is a drama made for you.

I give this drama three out of five. ★★★☆☆

Another serious drama:

Iris/ 아이리스

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Genre: Action, Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Aired: 2009

The reason why I started to watch Iris was because of Choi Seung Hyun (최승현), more commonly known as T.O.P (탑) & Lee Byung Hun (이병헌). I know I am bad, always watching dramas because the cast is hot. But then I discovered that the story line is better than the cast & I get sucked into the drama and forget that it isn’t reality. Iris reminds me of Fugitive Plan B & City Hunter because the story line isn’t about a stupid girl & a rich guy. Iris kept me on the edge of my seat and Lee Byung Hun is a very very talented actor.

You guessed it, five out of five! ★★★★★

Lastly, but definitely not least,

Secret Garden/ 시크릿 가든

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Genre: Fantasy, Comedy, Romance
Aired: 2010-2011

I left this drama until the end of this post because I am sure many of you have already watched this drama. Secret Garden is a Korean version of Freaky Friday but with a twist! It is so funny and cute! I cried a lot at this drama, but I love how it showed the lead character as being a strong woman! Brilliant drama!

Four out of Five ★★★★☆

Well, that’s my list with brief descriptions of my favourite dramas! Don’t forget to read my extended list here.

Posted in Korea, Portfolio, Reviews, Uncategorized

Hollywood Films, Korean Actors?

This post does not mean to offend or upset anyone who is reading. This post is solely my opinion.

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With the growing success of the Korean Wave, Korean artists such as Psy and BigBang are gaining more coverage and popularity in Western countries. But during my research in to my dissertation, I realised that the Korean Wave has been around before most of our favourite K-Pop groups and artists. The Korean Wave initially started with Korean Cinema.

Korean films gained popularity in Western countries in the early 2000’s. This lead to the rise in Korean actors wanting to be casts for Hollywood Movies. The increase in interest in Korean films made it possible for Korean actors to succeed in getting roles in Hollywood films. However, are they gaining recognition as being Korean?

sung kang

Last week I watched Fast & Furious 6. at the end of the film, it occurred to me that Sung Kang (Han in the films) is Korean. To be exact he is American Korean but what made me think was, in Fast & Furious 6 he is in China and of course he was in Japan in Tokyo Drift, but his character has never been stated to be Korean. In Fast & Furious, he actually has two names, Han Lue & Han Seoul-Oh. Obviously the later is a Korean name, but as the film does not mention that he is Korean, many people believe his character is Japanese. This made me realise that many Korean actors are cast in American films, but the characters they are cast for are very rarely Korean.

Now I know this isn’t important but it cropped up in my research for my dissertation. My dissertation was about how the Korean Wave has influenced adopted Koreans to connect with Korean culture. As the topic is under researched and specific, I needed to conduct in-depth interviews with adopted Koreans. One person I interviewed mentioned Korean actors in American films and this was really important.

To prove my point, listed below are a few examples of Korean actors in Hollywood films, being cast as non-Korean characters.

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Sung Kang – The Fast & The Furious series – Korean name but thought to be Japanese or in The Fast & The Furious 6 – Chinese
Rain – Ninja Assassin – Japanese
Sung Kang again – Ninja Assassin – Japanese
Randall Duk Kim – Ninja Assassin – Japanese
Lee Byung Hun (eek) – G.I. Joe – Japanese
Jong Dong Gun – The Warrior’s Way – Character name Yang – used by American directors when they don’t want to define the origin of Asian characters.
Leonardo Nam – The Fast & The Furious – Tokyo Drift – Japanese
Rick Yune – The Fast & The Furious (2001) – Vietnamese
James Kyson – TV Series Heroes – Japanese
Ken Jeong – The Hangover – Chinese
Bae Doona – Cloud Atlas – portrayed as 3 different characters with 3 different  ethnicities – Korean, Mexican and White (or possibly Mixed Race White & Black)
And many more.

Although my last example of Cloud Atlas is a bit more confusing.

However, as previously mentioned this post is not intended to offend anyone . I am not saying that Korean actors should only play Korean characters in Movies and TV shows, I just hope that American movie and TV shows can start to acknowledge Korea more in their films. There are, of course, films and TV shows such as Lost (starring Daniel Dae Kim & Kim Yun Jin), The Walking Dead (Starring Steven Yeun) and Film Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (John Cho as leading character Harold). But, during research for my dissertation, I spoke to adopted Koreans who, in their childhood and teen years, looked for Korean role models in Hollywood films and TV Shows. One adopted Korean I interviewed stated that he:

‘looked for Korean role models but whenever I saw an Asian guy in a movie, he tended to be Japanese or Chinese. I knew I was Korean so finding a role model was important for me to feel connected to my culture. When I grew up, I realised that Rain from Ninja Assassin was actually Korean, but his character was Japanese. I feel like the younger generation of adopted Koreans are probably doing the same thing I did but are having no luck. It’s strange how there are a lot of Korean actors in American films, but they aren’t playing Korean characters’.

But in the end, I am proud of all of the actors and actresses listed above and others who are breaking into Hollywood films. They are truly great actors and I wish them success in the rest of their careers. Hopefully with the growth of the Korean Wave, more Hollywood films and TV series will include Koreans as Koreans and acknowledge Korea more.

BACK ROW: ELIZABETH MITCHELL, DANIEL DAE KIM, DOMINIC MONAGHAN, JORGE GARCIA, MICHAEL EMERSON, HENRY IAN CUSICK, EMILIE DE RAVIN; FRONT ROW: YUNJIN KIM, MATTHEW FOX, JACK BENDER, CARLTON CUSE, DAMON LINDELOF, EVANGELINE LILLY, JOSH HOLLOWAY

Posted in Korea, Uncategorized

Missing Lee Byung Hun!

I work for a company on weekends. Most of the time I work from home as our lovely company has provided us with laptops so it is possible. However, every now and then we are asked to go into the office for training and meetings. One weekend we were told to go in to our lovely office which is located in Monument right next to London Bridge.

I know, what the hell has this got to do with Lee Byung Hun?

Well, on this day, there was a movie being filmed outside our office. I had no idea that the movie being filmed was, Red 2. The scene that was being filmed was an Asian man being shot.

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This Asian man was Lee Byung Hun. I was 10 foot steps away from him!!! It only clicked in my mind this week when I finished watching the Korean drama Iris, in which Lee Byung Hun was the main character.

This weekend I was also in the office and it hurt so bad to know that I was in walking distance of such an amazing (and damn sexy) actor!! Lee Byung Hun is an inspiration for Koreans and people interested in Korean culture as he has had roles in a number of Hollywood movies, such as G.I. Joe, Red and Red 2. 

Anyway, I suppose it wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t meant to meet Lee Byung Hun that weekend. =[ I hope they have to re-film a scene when I am in the office again! Haha! It’s wishful thinking but you never know!

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