What have we been watching this week? What kept you hooked for more or frustrated when you had to wait for episodes to air? What made you call quits? Here’s to sharing what we’ve been watching lately:
Lovers Of The Red Sky
Synopsis: Set in the Dan dynasty, Hong Chun Gi is a painter of extraordinary divine talent. She is born blind due to a curse by Mawang, an evil demon who lives off people’s suffering, but through a series of divine events, she later gains vision. After gaining vision, she continues to paint and is accepted into a prestigious art school despite societal views on such pursuits for a woman. In contrast, Ha Ram is an astrologer with an opposing fate: he is first born with sight, but later loses his vision in a childhood accident with Mawang. However, he is given divine abilities that allow him to read the stars and carve the trajectory of the night sky to see into the future even though he cannot see.
The two meet and fall in love, but are sucked into the political games of the royal court, particularly involving two princes: Prince Anpyeong and Prince Sooyang. What is the fate that the stars have in store for them?
Review: This was an immensely anticipated drama because of the combined power of Kim Yoo Jung, who is a beloved child actress, and Ahn Hyo Seop, who has been in a few good dramas (i.e. Romantic Doctor 2). I think overall this was a good drama with beautiful cinematography, good actors, and just an amazing production. Everything was so beautiful and pleasing to watch. The actors were also very pretty.
Where this fell short for me was somewhat the lack of plot. There were a lot of unanswered questions for me throughout the drama. Why did the evil shaman suddenly change her mind? It made her character development fall a bit flat. Why did the kids fall in love? Literally from spending half a day together? Romance doesn’t quite happen that way… How did she paint when she was blind as a kid? Like that’s not quite how blindness works!
All in all, I could discount those plot flaws because everything else was just so so beautiful. I also have a soft spot for historical dramas.
Overall Score: 8/10
Joy Of Life
Synopsis: Fan Xian is the adopted son of the head of a royal agency that operates in the government of the despotic Emperor of the Qing. Despite the Emperor’s tyrannical ways, Fan Xian remains loyal to his country. By some stroke of fate, Fan Xian is born in the ancient empire of Southern Qing with memories of the 21st century. After he was born, his mother was mysteriously murdered. In order to protect Fan Xian, he was sent to a rural town and raised by his grandmother as the illegitimate son of the Minister of Finance. While growing up, he learns about poison and martial arts from two experts, one of whom is a blind martial arts expert, Wu Zhu, who was his mother’s bodyguard.
After growing up, he was ordered by his father to return back to the capital to marry the chancellor’s daughter Lin Wan’er, in order to seal a political alliance. The two quickly form a tight bond, and she becomes his closest ally. He finds out that his mother, Ye Qingmei was once a celebrated inventor and the founder of the Overwatch Department, the country’s spy network but was killed shortly after her son was born. After an assassination attempt, he decides to venture into the capital to find out more about his mysterious mother and why anyone would want to kill him, as he perceives himself to be an unimportant person. He also wants to know why he has memories of a sharply different era. In the capital he accidentally meets Lin Wan’er, the sickly illegitimate daughter of the Princess Royal and falls in love with her. Unbeknownst to him, she is the woman the emperor chose for him to marry, so that he would be the new overseer of the Royal Treasury, an institute Fan Xian’s mother established in the palace and currently handled by the Princess Royal. In the capital, however, he gets entangled in the intrigues of the emperor and the two princes, as well as the Overwatch Department, leading to him questioning his whole identity and inducing him to find his true life goals, abandoning his original intention to just “enjoy life”.
This drama was based on the internet novel “Qing Yu Nian,” which was written by Chinese author Maoni.
Review: This had rave reviews which made me curious to watch it. The poster (see above), granted, doesn’t look that appealing because of how dark and moody it is but I am so glad I gave this a try. It has such an interesting plot and was so creative. It’s hard to explain the genius of the story but it’s incredibly appealing. Basically the story is about a guy who wrote a fictional script about a baby boy who grows up in “ancient China” with the memories of modern times.
I won’t say anything more except try it! You won’t regret it!
Overall Score: 9/10
Oh! My Emperor
Synopsis: In the glorious nation of Huang Dao, life is good. An ancient and mysterious land, full of wonder and beauty, the people enjoy a good life ruled by a benevolent king, born of the stars, the physical embodiment of one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac. To keep discord from arising among the other stars, a new king is chosen every thousand years.
As current emperor of the Huang Dao nation, Bei Tang Yi, of the Capricorn constellation, is charged with keeping the peace. But everything changes the day Luo Fei Fei appears, almost as if by magic.
A medical intern from the 21st century, Fei Fei has no idea where she is or how she came to be there but one thing is certain, her sudden arrival manages to disrupt the delicate balance of power that holds the zodiac members together. Setting off a chain of events that threaten to ruin everything, Fei Fei finds herself the villain in a story she barely understands.
With no idea how she came to Huang Dao, and no idea as to how to get back to her own time, Fei Fei must find a way to survive in this strange new world. Fortunately, she has the emperor’s uncle, Bei Tang Mo Ran on her side. But will that be enough to save her from the watchful eyes of an emperor who can’t seem to find a way to let her go?
This is a fun historical fantasy romance series spanning two seasons, “Oh! My Emperor” is a 2018 drama directed by Gao Bo.
Review: I got bored and went back to look at old Zhao Lusi and Xiao Zhan dramas and chanced about this. Production value is pretty low but there’s a decent amount of eye candy and an okay plot. Sadly, the comments that Xiao Zhan as the second lead did a much better job than the first lead is very accurate. Xiao Zhan steals the show whenever he appears. I don’t even remember what the first lead’s name is.
Overall Score: 6/10
Hikaru No Go
Synopsis: On a hunt for treasure and extra cash, sixth year primary school student Shi Guang discovers an old Go board in his grandfather’s house. Upon touching the Go board, he is possessed by the spirit of a Go master from the Southern Dynasty, during the reign of Emperor Song, named Chu Ying, that resides within. Chu Ying is a Go master who had dedicated his life to Go and was the top player during his time. Chu Ying’s greatest desire is to attain the “Divine Move” which can be interpreted as the perfect move.
Although Shi Guang initially detests Go and doesn’t understand it, he gradually develops a passion for the game. He starts off as a complete beginner which confuses people given that his earlier games showed the prowess of Chu Ying. Along his journey of learning Go, Shi Guang becomes frenemies with Yu Liang, who is the son of the top Go player in the world, as well as many other Go players of different ages and styles. He starts on a quest to become a professional Go player and demonstrates a natural talent for the game. He eventually proves his passion and skill at Go and strives to improve at the game together with his greatest rival and inspiration, Yu Liang.
Review: I saw this a few months ago when it first aired and passed on it because the poster also doesn’t quite frame it in an appealing light? I heard really good reviews and I. AM. SO. GLAD. I. GAVE. IT. ANOTHER. TRY. This was freaking amazing! I loved the friendships, the coming-of-age story, the acting by all the actors, the plot, and everything. I would say that this isn’t for everyone but if you love some bromance, good friendships, kids growing up, family relations, and everything in between, give this a try.
Overall Score: 10/10