Th-Drama: A Tale of Thousand Stars (8.2/10)

Gambling, guns, girl on a bus. That was the beginning of this drama. It was definitely exciting enough and a little mysterious.

It wasn’t clear right away who each character was or what was going on, but I was very interested to find out.

Tien is in the stripes.

Then there was a death and an operation where the main lead Tian gets a heart replacement. His parents who were rich and prominent used their money and status to skip the normal donor line to ensure that their son received a heart in time.

It’s definitely an ethical dilemma. I would likely do the same thing to save my own kid no matter how wrong it was. For most parents, our kids are our lives, the moon, the stars, everything.

The mom in this show grabbed me by the heartstrings before the parents knew they had a donor by crying that she wished it could be her instead of her son.

After this part, the show lost me a little. Tian (the main lead) woke up and heard they had jumped the line for him.. He was mad and upset and also frustrated that his mother was always around making sure he followed the directions given to him about living safely post surgery (so mean of her – eyeroll).

I understand being disappointed that your parents would make an ethically gray decision, but kid YOU LIVED and have a potentially long life ahead of you now. BE GRATEFUL. GEEZ.

Instead Tian acted spoiled and surly to his parents and then went in search of information about the organ donor.

Once he found out who it was, learned the story of her death, and gained access to her journal he became extremely guilty, along with angry and decided to go where she had been and complete the projects she had started.

At this point I almost dropped the show and did stop watching for the evening. Tian’s inability to be thankful that he was alive and privileged, and his outright animosity for his parents who clearly loved him a lot was too much.

BUT I decided to keep going the next evening, mostly out of laziness since I didn’t want to pick out something new and from curiosity. I am really glad I kept watching.

Tian did grow on me. He became a lot sweeter overall, although never to his mom (grrr). I mostly liked him even though he did do at least one thing so stupid I could hardly take it. I actually said out loud “don’t do that, don’t be that dumb.” And then he went ahead and did that dumb thing. (No. I don’t talk my way through shows – most of the time – and this was technically to my kid who in all honestly had tuned out and didn’t care what I was talking about. If you want a spoiler to that extra stupid thing he did, just ask in the comments.)

Tian’s journey took him to a small, rural village in the North of Thailand with no running water or electricity where he would teach children. He was met by a stern and strict forest officer known as Chief Phupha who was not impressed with Tien’s rich kid attitude and spent a lot of time yelling and lecturing him. The Chief also noticed that some of the things the Tien did reminded him an awful lot of the last teacher there, who he had been close with (the one who unbeknownst to him was Tien’s heart donor).

Then like all dramas annoyance and hate turned to secret glances and flirting and then eventually love, despite a series of setbacks.

Most of Tien’s clothes were awful in this show, especially his pants, and the Chief almost always wore a uniform. I actually think the Chief should have just gone shirtless most of the time which would have made for a better wardrobe and better viewing.

This is actually when the drama picked up. I give almost all credit to Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri who did such a fantastic, phenomenal acting job that I think he carried a lot of the show. Earth is a veteran BL actor who has played multiple supporting roles. Neither Earth or Chief is my type but the acting was good I had a small crush on the chief by the end of the show.

Note of apology to boys out there, Earth is yet another Thai BL actor who is in a relationship with a girl and likely hopes to transition into straight dramas like some of his friends have. As far as I know, he only acts like he likes boys, but he does a great job, especially in this show, which really is the mark of a great actor.

Sahaphap Wongratch, who played Tien, was alright. In a lot of ways, his character was like a very flighty flirty girl. He was able to play angsty, which not all actors can do. I give him that. It turns that Sahaphap is studying to be a veterinarian IRL, which I love though.

The village

A lot of the show centered around Tien doing something well meaning but dumb, and the Chief being annoyed at first and then finding him adorable. It was also about Tien assuaging his guilt, and finding meaning and happiness in his life despite being somewhere with no amenities where he couldn’t spend his money, except on snacks from one of the shows sponsors 😉 (One of the things that makes me laugh most about Thai dramas is the BLATANT product endorsement that happen repeatedly throughout a show. The products rarely fit in with the plot at all but are added in all the time anyway).

The show also has a number of action scenes since the Chief is a forest officer and there’s a subplot with bad guys, but honestly, they are all pretty cheesy.

The things that make this show so good are Earth, as previously mentioned, His acting really was stellar. The sweet, slow burn romance. The villager characters who were all entertaining to watch. The Chief’s doctor friend and Tien’s two friends, who were the best friends that anyone could have. And the overall vibe during a lot of the show went from thoughtful to joyful. The characters spent a good amount of the show being happy, which was fun to watch. There was also a pretty good OST.

Best & Worst High School Dramas from around the world

This is my first blog introducing a future blog, but my reasons are good. I hope you’ll like them.

If you’re like me and enamored with high school dramas (I am and I’m not afraid to say it) than I present to you (drumroll please) my upcoming blog series:

Best and worst high school dramas from around the world

I will review new and old dramas full of teens in high school hallways, on beaches, covering up murders and other wholesome activities like that. The shows I think are amazing and addicting and the ones that made me roll my eyes and change the channel.

To start this off, here are the links to my past high school drama reviews:

13 Reasons Why (America): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/862

Le Coup de Foudre (China): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/472

Love Revolution (Korea): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/746

Never Have I Ever (America) (technically a dramedy): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/668

Great Men Academy (Thailand): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/546

A Love So Beautiful (China): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/56

Just Dance (Korea): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/593

The Big Boss (China) (technically a dramedy): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/123

Proud of Love (China) (also technically a dramedy: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/177

I offer this series as a public service to you all for the following reasons:

  • It can help you decide which shows to watch
  • It may open up a new geographical viewing area to you. So many countries have great shows.
  • If you have already seen one you can compare your opinions on it to mine and see where we agree and disagree on things like the plot, production, characters, cast talent and hotness.
  • It can change your mind if you don’t like the high school drama genre

Warning: Series reviews will be sporadic since I work a lot and sometimes I can’t face any more typing when my work day ends, which is why my blogs are posted randomly. Please also note: I will continue doing other reviews of movies and non-high-school themed shows as well.

Best Dramas of 2020

BEST DRAMAS OF THE LAST YEAR

AMERICA

Never Have I Ever

This show from Mindy Kaling and found on Netflix is soooo funny. It’s about the life of an Indian-American, very smart, slightly lewd high school girl in California. I laughed through every single episode and am extremely excited that there is going to be a second season. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/668

CHINA

Lovely Us

The show is called Lovely Us and it really is lovely. I enjoyed it a lot. It was less of an addicting marathon and more like sips of hot cocoa with marshmallows. It’s a drama about friends, family and first love. This show is funny and sweet. The leads are five high schoolers. Three are underachievers, two who squabble all the time. The other two are top of the class and much more sedate. All of them love each other completely and are loyal to the core. The show is also about their families, many who are struggling in various ways. Marcus Li who played Tan Song stole the show.

Twenty My Life On

This show is about girls in their last year of college who share a dorm together, straddling youth and adulthood. Three of the girls are close friends and one is less than friendly. All of the characters personalities are very different and interesting. The script is great and has one very unique and refreshing quality. Parts of it are far more realistic than most dramas, making it less formulaic and more relatable. I really enjoyed this show and looked forward to every episode. I highly recommend it if twenties slice of life dramas are your thing. Also, I just learned they are coming out with a season two. Yes!

Nothing but Thirty

This show started slow, but then it picked up speed and got interesting. I ended up invested in the characters and watching it through to the end. The story is about three women in and around age thirty and the trials and tribulations they face in their work, home and love lives. And the blessing that friendships can bring. Like Twenty Your Life On, some aspects of this show are more realistic than other dramas. Not all people, including the leads are selfless, not all choices are fair and not all endings are perfect.

I liked Twenty Your Life On better, if I had to choose, but both shows are good and worth the time spent watching them.

KOREA

World of the Married

This is my favorite show of the year. I wasn’t even planning on watching it. But I gave in and watched one episode. Then I was completely hooked. This show is the definition of drama. It’s crazy. But it’s a well written, well acted crazy that makes it a fun ride to go on. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/715

Love Revolution

I adore this show, which is based on a webtoon. It is light hearted, quirky, funny and sweet. The actors, some of whom are amateurs, did a great job. There is no show I looked more forward to watching in 2020 than this one. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/746

Kairos

This may be the best scripted Korean drama I have watched. Mr. Sunshine and This is My First Life were also very well written, so it’s hard to say for sure, but the dialogue and the twists and turns are ingeniously written. The acting was also phenomenal. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/735

Nobody Knows

This is a show about a serial killer and the police officer tracking him. I am not normally into shows like this, but it was so well written and acted that I watched it anyway. I still don’t like shows like this, but I have to give credit where credit is due. It was a truly good drama.

THAILAND

2Gether

This BL is a sweet college romance, with a few surprises in the plotline that make it a little less formulaic. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/677

BEST OLD DRAMAS I WATCHED THIS YEAR

Money Flower (2017)(Korea)

I LOVE this show. It’s about someone getting revenge on a Chaebol family, how they do it and the consequences it has on them and everyone around them. I didn’t watch it before now because I am not always in the mood for a makjang, and when I am, I watch Thai Lakorn’s, which are always waaaay over the top. But the show was on my watch list for a long time, and I was in the mood, so I put it on while I worked, and got completely sucked into it!

The acting is great and the plot is intriguing – and infuriating. This has all the makings of a good makjang including cheating, murder, embezzlement, and revenge. By the end of the show I hated the male and female leads and did not wish them any happiness, but this didn’t make the show itself worse. I don’t think I was supposed to like them both. I ended the drama liking it even more then when I started it and will probably watch it again.

Game Sanaeha (2018)(Thailand)

This is my new favorite Lakorn. It has all the things Lakorn’s are famous for. It has rich versus poor, hatred and revenge, slap kisses, misunderstandings and some really, really stupid decisions. It is also unique because some of the characters are fairly mature and others gained some self awareness, learned from their mistakes and had personal growth throughout the course of the show. It was really refreshing and very entertaining.

Th-Drama: 2gether (8.4/10)

If you haven’t watched a Boy Love (BL) drama but love dramas, you are missing out. Honestly, throw you pre-conceptions out the window. They are truly some of the greatest dramas out there.

I love them because a lot of them remind me of 90’s American high school and college movies like She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You and Never Been Kissed. The kind that are so fun to watch and always have happy endings, but have mostly disappeared. Thai Bl’s are helping fill this void.

2Gether is about a freshman college boy who is basically being stalked by a guy that has a crush on him. At this point the lead is sure he is straight and can’t seem to get the guy to leave him alone. He tries a fake girlfriend and when that didn’t work, he and his friends decided he needed a fake boyfriend instead. It is a little unclear why they went this route or why they picked the guy did, but it was a plot point they had to forward, so I guess it’s ok.

The guy the lead picks to be his fake boyfriend is a school heartthrob who plays in a band but is otherwise quiet, cold and introverted. The heart throb repeatedly turns the lead down until eventually giving in.

The fake relationship turns into real love, as it should since this is what dramas are all about. BUT this evolution isn’t formulaic, which is something I really liked about this show. The person doing the running after the other is unique, and the story behind it and the responses they get are mostly unexpected. There is also some time spent on the lead character trying to work through whether they really like their fake boyfriend or if they are just infatuated with having someone so hot and sought after next to them,

I should mention that the fake boyfriend is PRETTY. Every episode he got more and more attractive to me. Some study found that the humans that people find universally attractive are the ones with symmetrical features and this guys are pretty perfect. The character also turns out to be adorably shy versus conceited so it is too easy to ship this couple.

There are reviewers out there who didn’t love this drama, but I think that it depends on what a viewer is looking to get out of one. I loved it. It was light-hearted, sweet and romantic, I didn’t get too invested in the second lead love triangles, and I ended the drama feeling even happier as a person than when I started it. THAT is what I watch dramas for.

I highly recommend giving this show or other BL’s a try because they really can be adorable and sweet and funny – basically the perfect pick me up. Love by Chance, 2 Moons and Scotus 2 are my fav, and 2gether just got added to that list.

Thai-Drama BL: TharnType vs. Dark Blue Kiss

I should tell you all that I might be addicted to Thai Boy Love (BL) dramas. This is mostly because really good ones remind me of American romantic comedies from the 90’s like She’s all That and the Amanda Bynes ones from before she started talking to walls and other inanimate objects (Sorry Amanda, I hope you got some help ♥). The first Two Moons Series got me hooked and the show Love By Chance won my heart.

Unfortunately like any good drama binger I have seen almost all of the good BL’s out there and have to wait impatiently for more. This time I waited months for two of the newest BL’s to finish airing since, in my opinion, marathons are the only way to watch these. Both finished their runs in January and I watched TharnType first than Dark Blue Kiss a week or so later.

TharnType is a prequel sequel, the characters were first introduced in Love By Chance, but the story is meant to take place before the stories in Love By Chance occurred. Dark Blue Kiss is part of the Thai Kiss series. The first one of these is on Netflix and is possibly the worst Thai drama I’ve ever tried to watch even though the cast members are all great. This show was followed by Kiss Me Again, which was better, although not great and included the gay love story between Pete and Kao and also the love triangle with second lead Sun, a sweet, hardworking coffee shop owner with a godawful mustache.

The first surprise in TharnType was that they recast Type. Tharn was only mentioned in Love By Chance so this was the first casting for his character. I don’t know why the producers didn’t just cast the original Type, who is a BL vet, but I’m sure they had their reasons. I thought nuType was pretty cute until he did this shifty eye thing when he was mad, the same one that my mom does. Associating a guy with my mom is a surefire way to stop finding them attractive lol. Tharn on the other hand looks like a Thai Ken doll, which I was not too into. He also looks like he is 30 when he is meant to be a young college student. What redeems him is that he looks 10x better when he smiles, has abs of steel, and Mew Suppasit Jongcheveevat who plays him does a pretty excellent job.

The second surprise, which I did not welcome was thatthere was a little too much less-than-consensual activity for me in the first few episodes. Enough that I almost stopped watching the show, but ya know… drama addiction made me want to see it through. Luckily the non-consent stuff ended once the guys became a couple, but note to Thai directors: you should all look up the hashtag #metoo and recognize asap that it’s not necessary to add this stuff to your shows. It’s creepy not sexy.

Dark Blue Kiss on the other hand had a plot that was mostly PG-13 minus some make out scenes, one in a pool (that I am putting on my bucket list to re-enact on my first opportunity ;). It centered around Pete and Kao’s three year relationship and how it was effected by Kao staying in the closet and Pete ‘s anger management issues. It also focused on Sun, who was unlucky in love in the last show and his brothers hotheaded rebellious friend Mork. I liked how the last show set them up as a possible future couple, and it was the main reason why I watched this one. I was pleasantly surprised that someone had the actor who plays Sun shave off his mofugly mustache for the sequel, which made him look so much better. Mork is just adorable. It’s probably because I used to love a bad boy with a heart of gold and still love characters like that.

I really liked how all the couples on both shows seemed to enjoy each other’s company. It wasn’t a stretch to imagine the characters as couples. Tharn and Type had crazy chemistry and the actors did a great job of seeming in love. The actor who played Tharn did a break up scene that I think deserves an award. He managed to perfectly portray the heartbreak that most of us have felt at least once in our lives after a rejection from someone we loved. Sun and Mork were very cute, although there were a few scenes where Mork was trying to get some space and Sun wasn’t letting him which made Sun look codependent. They were meant to be cute, but it didn’t feel that way, more like they need to have a chat about personal space. Pete and Kao were the hardest to root for. I couldn’t have done it if they weren’t so cute together when they were happy. The problem was that Pete was too jealous and Kao was too cowed to stop Pete from being a jerk and had to resort to lying to him just to keep the peace. I wouldn’t consider that a functional relationship.

An issue with TharnType was the beginning, as I mentioned, was not great and there was a whodunnit mystery on the show which I didn’t like. It dealt with non-consent in a really flimsy way and the great unmasking was unsatisfactory because there was no straightforward villain I could hate. Some of the show is really immersing and the characters are well developed, but I would score it lower than most viewers have for the reasons that I’ve laid out.

Dark Blue Kiss is no Love By Chance, but it was better than I thought it would be. The show also had a whodunnit that I didn’t like very much. I didn’t hate the villain and it wasn’t clear what happened to them in the end. Overall though the show was cute, which is all I could ask for and it ended on a good note so I actually preferred it to TharnType.