KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: Dramas that are kind of terrible.....but you end up sort of (or completely obsessively) liking them anyway.
- Vampire Idol
- Runaway Plan B
Vampire Idol:I don't know if this drama deserves to be on a list of terrible dramas at all. It was sort of fantastic and knowingly silly, working within its limitations rather than trying to overcome them. The only disappointing aspect of this drama is that I cannot find it subbed past episode 8 anywhere, such a shame as this one was a silly slice of fun and adorable ridiculousness.
I still struggle through an episode every now and then raw, (as an attempt to help me study my incredibly basic Korean) but it is not quite the same when you cannot understand any of the jokes. Sigh.
Iljimae (Lee Jun Ki version):
Ok this drama was pretty mental. It was serious and bloody at the start (as Sagueks so often are in their childhood segments) then got silly and (lets face it) kind of annoying when teenager Iljimae appeared with his whiny overacting before, for me at least, getting surprisingly rather fun about midway through.
Still quite silly mind you, but also really rather fun.
Maybe I wouldn't still have that opinion if I had been forced to actually watch all the boring bits (old dudes plotting and coveting their treasure, side characters talking and doing things, mopey brothers etc) instead of just fast forwarding straight to the cool stuff, but as it stands I ended up having a lot of fun with this one.
I was pretty familiar with the legend of Iljimae prior to picking up this drama, having struggled through a few episodes of Return of Iljimae (Jung Il-woo version) quite a while ago. Unlike that drama though, this version of Iljimae never felt like it took itself too seriously and even when it was going through all the standard tragic saguek plot points that usually pop up, the circumstance were usually just a bit too far fetched (more than usual) so I never got fully invested with any of the characters enough to really mind what happened to any of them.
Usually that would be a really bad thing, but somehow in this case not caring really worked for me, allowing me to thoroughly enjoy a tragically silly drama in a kind of 'Switch Iljimae on, switch brain off' mentality.
Which is of course the only logical way to enjoy a show like this one!
This drama is pretty weird plotting wise, never really getting off the ground at any point, almost like watching 20 episodes of setup and filler for a story that never quite starts. To sum up, nothing ever happens, nothing ever concludes (like, really never), nothing really makes any sense, but Lee Jun Ki is fun to watch if you are a fan (when he gets through the cringey teenage part) and if you can turn your brain off then go ahead and enjoy this one for the mindless silliness that ensues!
Runaway Plan B:
Not sure if this one really falls under the tag of 'loved' or even 'thoroughly enjoyed' to be honest. It was a bit of a big old messy, flashy mess, with an entirely unbelievable plot and crazy characters. Not to mention Rain's rather crackpot detective and strange asymmetrical haircut.
I did enjoy it though for all my complaining, and even though it was hardcore shallow flashiness over substance it still had its moments. There was a bit more emotional depth around the middle, making Rain's character a tad more likeable and accessible which was a relief. The love story between the two cops was actually rather lovely, but totally ruined by an unnecessarily serious and downbeat ending that just made no sense to me at all, placed as it was, in a silly drama like this.
The rest however was so so terrible it was almost good, providing me with some truly giggle-worthy golden moments. For instance, it was pretty amusing for me to watch the heroine's big fight scene with one of the female baddies, hair flying gracelessly in the wind as their twiggy bodies tried to attack each other without snapping in half. Laugh out loud ridiculous, but pretty fun right?
Or Rain's little spy headquarters with all the shiny modern glass walls and high tech equipment, not to mention the redonkulous people that worked for him. Or the opening scene with Rain on a motorcycle, his shirt ripping open to expose his shiny oiled up abs as a fireball explodes right behind him. Even the end kiss with the car put on autopilot was pretty bloody hilarious.
Mmmh. This is another one which had me on the fence. I enjoyed it enough to finish the whole thing but I must admit I am not a massiveYoon Eun Hye fan (though obviously Coffee Prince is fantastic) and found her character a bit too weak and bumbly to really get behind and root for. I really cannot stand the weak female character who just lets the jerky male lead walk all over her while she moons about after him, loving him unconditionally even though he has done nothing to earn it. ('Playful Kiss' I am looking at you!)
For instance, Goo Jun-pyo was a big douche, but Jan-di wasn't having any of his crap and so she fly kicked his face! And that is exactly what Shin could have used a little more of in this drama, a big kick upside his stupid head.
And Shin's clothes! Oh my gosh, I just can't take him seriously at all when he is getting all angsty about whatever while wearing a pink waistcoat and a 17th century ruff on his neck. Or polkadots! Or a brooch!! Oh god...my eyes!! Just put it away Shin!!
Although, in saying all of the above, I still didn't have second lead syndrome at all and was actually totally shipping the main OTP. There were some very sweet moments scattered throughout this drama between the two leads, just unfortunately not quite enough for me to fully get behind their romance.
So all in all this drama was not fantastical for me, so much so that I fast forwarded every scene that did not involve one or the other of the leads, however.....there was still something that made me keep watching until the very end. Maybe it was just the prospect of seeing more of Shin's embarrassing outfits that kept me going? Or was it waiting for 'that' Kiss?
We may never know for sure.
Boys over Flowers: This drama totally deserves to be on this list, it is rather awful and yet sooooooo embarrassingly fantastical that I just cannot fully express my love for it. (Possibly something to do with Lee Min Ho at a guess though....)
However, I am planning on re-watching it again in the future so will hopefully get around to writing a proper review at that time, hence its absence from this list.