Worst of 2020: The Dramas that went downhill

Sadly, there have been an awful lot of dramas I hated, dropped or couldn’t watch at all in 2020.

Disclaimer: Some of the dramas I hated are well loved by the masses. I just have certain things that I personally hate to see that happened in some of these dramas:

The thing I hate in real life and dramaland is HYPOCRISY. When people are judge-y about bad behavior, but also guilty of bad behavior. Some writers push a plot narrative that the lead characters are great people I am clearly meant to like. Except their interaction with other characters says otherwise.

This is often lead girls who are meant to be sweet as pie, like spunky angels, but are actually immature and snarky towards their love rivals. Thai and Chinese dramas are the most guilty of this.

Example: Likit Haeng Jan

Or it’s lead male characters who are sweet and loving to the lead girl, but completely cold or even cruel to the second leads who love them. I am completely turned off by this. In real life, I would never want to be with a guy who was great to me, but a jerk to other people, and I have trouble rooting for them in dramas.

Example of a guy who is a complete jerk to the second lead: My ID is Gangnam Beauty

I also hate LOVE TRIANGLES – a lot. Especially angsty love triangles where someone, usually someone nice, or trying to be, gets hurt. I watch dramas to increase the joy in my life and watching people end up heartbroken and alone does not do it for me. Unless the second lead is given a love interest or let down very gently I get annoyed and sometimes drop a drama altogether.

Example: The Heirs / Inheritors

OK, disclaimer over. The good news is I didn’t see any many terrible dramas, but I did see some I couldn’t finish or wish I could unsee.

  1. Itaewon Class. Here is my longer review of the show. In short the lead male turned into a complete and total hypocrite. He stabbed his friend and the woman he said he loved in the back for an actual sociopath. Why should I support a mean, crazy person without a conscience? Or hope they get the guy in the end?
  2. It’s Okay Not to be OK (Psycho but it’s OK). Despite great acting and production, I couldn’t get into this for the reasons listed above. I really don’t understand why I should root for an actual psychopath. Or hope the crazy girl gets the guy. Doesn’t that happen enough in real life?
  3. Record of Youth. I think I made it through two or three episodes before I couldn’t watch anymore. It was the hypocrisy. The lead girl was nice, but she kept giving the impression to her co-worker that she was stealing her clients and she never cleared up the misunderstandings. She just let them grow and once her colleague got angry and mean to her, she got mean back. It was irritating to watch. Even Park Bo Gum’s perfect smile wasn’t enough to keep me watching.
  4. Twenty-Twenty. This is a web series where the leads, especially the lead girl were extremely unlikeable. I felt like she went from socially awkward to selfish and entitled. There was also a love triangle that was both angsty and weird. Here is my longer review: https://mydramalist.com/profile/pollysci/reviews.
  5. Hi Bye Mama. My first impressions of this show were great. I actually enjoyed it for the majority of its episodes, although I hypothetically may have cried a lot. But I absolutely hated the end. I won’t give it away, I’ll just say there were a million alternate ways to write it and I think the writers failed completely.
  6. Parallel Love. This show had the makings of a good drama, but it was SOOOOO CHEESY. Something cornball happened every two minutes and it was just too much to bear. Here is my longer review for the show: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/686.
  7. Perfect and Casual. I liked the show initially and maybe it got better after I dropped it BUT there were two things annoying me way too much. The first was the lead females dependence on the lead male. She claimed to be independent, but couldn’t seem to elevate her life at all without his obvious or secret assistance. The writers seemed to think I should believe that she was an independent woman, despite all evidence to the contrary. There was also a love triangle that was less than entertaining. I liked the second lead as much as the first and he was more in touch with his own feelings, and therefore more mature, so I wasn’t exactly cheering for the relationship between the leads.
  8. Likit Haeng Jan. This drama has a lot of good qualities. Seasoned actors. An interesting plotline. Some action and mystery. I even like one of the couplings. But the lead girl reacted to the competitive second lead villainess by being vindictive and immature, and it made her unlikeable to me, which made the show less entertaining overall.

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.

K-Drama: Love Revolution (9/10)

Love Revolution is a light. fluffy, teeny bopper webtoon-based web series, full of idols, that has an overall rating of 8. I don’t know if anyone else will love it as much as I do, and maybe I shouldn’t love it so much, but I do.

I LOVE IT SO MUCH! FOR SO MANY REASONS.

Here is a short(ish) summary of the show:

Gong Ju Young is a 17-year-old high school student who thinks he has found love at school when he falls for Wang Ja Rim at first sight. But winning her heart won’t be easy. Wang Ja Rim has earned a reputation for being cold and aloof – and, at first, seems totally unimpressed by Gong Ju Young’s garish displays of affection. But Gong Ju Young won’t be deterred so easily. Persistence is the key, he thinks – and, over time, Wang Ja Rim starts to open up to her classmate.

Gong Ju Young’s best buddy since elementary school is Lee Kyung Woo. Will he prove to be a help to Gong Ju Young in his quest for Wang Ja Rim’s heart – or a hindrance? And could Wang Ja Rim’s closest friends, including the popular Oh Ah Ram, also play a role in bringing the duo together? (Source: Viki/mydramalist.com) e

The reasons this show gets a hard-to-earn 9 rating from me:

It is addicting. I haven’t been this excited for a new episode of a show all year. The last time I felt like I absolutely couldn’t wait to watch the next episode was World of the Married.

It is unique. The lead male and female roles are essentially gender reversed. The girl Wang Ja Rim, played by Lee Ruby, is aloof and not into public displays of affection, while the boy chases after her adoringly, acting cutesy, giving her terms of endearment and hoping to confirm that he is as liked by her as she is by him. The lead boy Gong Ju Young is played by Park Ji-hoon of the now disbanded group Wanna One. He plays the role perfectly. I don’t know what methods he used to practice, but I assume it was observing girls trying to get a guys attention and commitment, and mostly failing at it.

It is very cute. Ju Young and his obvious crush is pretty adorable. The episodes are also very cute. The characters feelings stay the same throughout the show, but each episode is a new story. My favorite is one where Park worries about his height relative to his crush’s since she is growing faster than him.

It is very funny and quirky. I have laughed every single episode. There are so many funny moments.

The romance is sweet — and a little angsty. It is so easy to root for most of the characters to get their happy high school ever afters.

The characters are great. Second lead Yang Min Ji is my favorite character, followed by second lead and a half Oh Ah Ram, played by Im Da Young of Cosmic Girls. Min Ji is thoughtful, even while making a wrong decision, and a good friend. Ah Ram is funny and a boxer who can beat up all the boys, if necessary. She loves to eat and nothing stands between her and food. I like all the second lead boys too. I may have swooned a little over character Lee Kyung Woo, played by Kim Young Hoon of the Boyz. He is sarcastic and slightly thoughtless (sadly) and is a better looking version of the very charming eighties star Andrew McCarthy who stole my heart in Pretty in Pink. The other boys, Kim Byung Hoon, played by Ko Chan Bin and Ahn Kyung Min played by Ahn Do Kyu are slightly nerdy besties, and also very likable.

A lot of credit goes to the director Seo Ju Won and writer Kwak Kyung-Yoon.

The worst things about this show are:

The pink lip gloss Ji-hoon (yes, Ji-hoon, you heard me right) wore in every episode. I know kpop boys love them some makeup, but it was so distracting, and not his color.

The fact that it’s over (tears 💧💧💧). I wish there could be a hundred, no a thousand more episodes or shows just like it.

A-Drama: Never Have I Ever (10/10)

Never Have I Ever on Netflix is my new favorite show. Too bad I finished it (insert very sad face). Now I have to hope beyond hope that they have a sequel on the way. Or I can impatiently twiddle my thumbs until I forget most of the plot line so I can watch it again (my personal rule for re-watching movies and shows).

The show is great because it’s really, really funny. I wouldn’t expect less from producers and writers including Mindy Kaling, a guy who wrote for The Onion and a guy who worked on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who is America. I laughed through every single episode.

It’s also heartfelt. And it’s a teeny bopper rom-com, which is where my heart lies entertainment wise a lot of the time – probably because I enjoy them. but don’t get that personally invested (except for Dance Academy, that was a 150% investment lol).

Never Have I Ever starts off with a dramatic scene where the main character Devi’s father dies in front of her and she becomes paralyzed for months after that. This is definitely not the way a comedy usually begins, but it shares just enough of Devi’s heartbreak for viewers to understand her angst and empathize with her, even when she’s in the wrong.

Devi is a funny, loudmouthed, first in her class teenager who swears and says indecent things on the regular. She is an Indian American that relates a little more to American culture and considers her mom to be overbearing and overly critical.

Every episode is Devi trying to find her place in the world, more specifically her high school and the LA valley where she lives. Devi is also navigating friendship, how they work and how they survive with her two multicultural teenage dork friends.

What Devi wants more than anything is the school stud Paxton and she does some crazy things to try and get him. She also has an arch nemesis, her rich, obnoxious, academic rival Ben.

What sets this apart from other teeny bopper shows is definitely the humor. It’s a little raunchy, so if you’re under 16 be aware. And there are scathing jokes thrown in that are completely nuanced, so I don’t know how many people will get them. One of my favorites is when Devi tells someone that her volunteer experience includes reading Bill O’Reilly books to veterans. This is hilarious if you know that some American veterans love the former Fox News Host and his bestselling novels even though the books are trash and he is a total perv and %$&@#.

There is also a lot of mainstream humor. Usually it’s when Devi says something without meaning to, like saying “damnnnn” out loud when her school crush sits down in front of her in class (damnnnn in the catcall whistle you’re pretty hot kind of way) or a scene with a coyote that I won’t give away. I especially loved Devi’s cousin Kamala mentioning that all the Riverdale actors were really the same age as Devi’s mom since I rant during the shows and on this blog about how old high school and college age actors really look, example: Noah Centineo who has to be at least 35.

Also the show has narrators, including Andy Samberg and someone totally unexpected. Listening to them do crude teeny bopper talk is hilarious.

Here is a preview:

Truly, this show is sooo good. As mentioned above I give it 10/10 and recommend it 100%.

K-Drama: Itaewon Class (7.9/10)

This drama had promise. So much promise. If you have ever read my blog posts you know that I love Park Seo Joon’s acting. I will ride or die for him if anyone questions his artistic talent. That’s why it’s hard for me to say that despite his acting this drama made me mad and I wouldn’t watch it again if you paid me.

The acting by Park and the rest of the cast was good. The production value was also high. And the beginning was interesting and made it seem like the drama would be a good one. These are the reasons why I have rated it as high as I have.

Here is a summary of the show from Mydramalist:

Park Saeroyi’s life has been turned upside down after he gets expelled from school for punching a bully and his father is killed in an accident. Following his father’s steps, he opens a pub named “DanBam” in Itaewon and, along with his manager and staff, strive towards success and reaching greater heights.

What the summary fails to mention is that this show is about revenge.

The first quarter of the show centers on what happens that makes the lead character Park Saeroyi want revenge and who he wants it against. And his crush on a girl that he gets to know.

The next quarter is about how he works towards getting revenge which involves opening a pub that he staffs with a motley cast of characters, one of whom is in love with him.

The third quarter is about his growing revenge success and the forth is the culmination of all of this.

I was fairly into the show, although not addicted until quarter three when I wanted to throw it out a window. Basically the beauty of Park Saeroyi, that made him worth rooting for was that he was ethical and principled and would adhere to his principles no matter what it cost him. He loyally loved the same woman for over a decade, he stood up for anyone he felt was oppressed and he chose people over immediate revenge.

Then all the sudden he threw that side of him away, except that I can’t tell if that was meant to be a moral to the story. It doesn’t seem like it. More like the writers had him transition to be an unethical disloyal, revenge over everything type person while pretending he wasn’t. I haven’t read the manga it is based on, so I don’t know.

Worse than all of this, the lead/second lead female was AWFUL. I don’t know if I have ever disliked a character more, outside of some really evil sageuk ministers or evil moms of chaebols. She was described as a sociopath, which seemed right based on her behavior. She was a fairly bad friend, bigoted, although she would eventually see the error of her ways, but only because of Park Saeroyi who she was in love with.

It wasn’t really clear, minus his strong sense of ethics, why the ladies liked Park Saeroyi who wasn’t a great communicator and had one of the worst haircuts I’ve ever seen. And he didn’t disrobe like Park Seo Joon’s other characters have, so it wasn’t about his muscles. But they did like him – a lot. What is less clear is why anyone in their right mind would like this girl. She was a 20 year old running after a 30 year old, crossing serious boundaries to do it and being a godawful human the rest of the time. How any writer, director or producer thought that I would ship her with this guy or even root for her is beyond me. She is the kind of person that I cross the street to avoid IRL.

All I can say is that I ended this show after episode 14 of 16. Near the end of the episode I actually thought that I wouldn’t fault a guy for pushing Park Saeroyi into a street and in front of a speeding car. In fact, the show could have ended like that and I would have given it a better rating. That’s when I knew I was done.

I read the summary of the last two episodes, which helped validate that I made the right choice.

K-Drama: Hi, Bye Mama (1st Impressions)

This is a drama on Netflix about a woman who dies and becomes a ghost. As a ghost she spends years watching her husband grieve and then re-marry, and her daughter, who was born the day she died, grow up. When her daughter is in kindergarten something happens to her and as a result the woman gets 49 days to come back as a human.

I LOVE this drama more than I can say. The main theme is grief and dying , but it is sweet and fun and funny – and sad.

Most of characters are torn about what they should be doing. The husband has a new wife so he doesn’t know how to properly communicate with either woman. His first wife, the main character doesn’t know who she should reveal herself too and how she can be a mom to her daughter when her daughter doesn’t know her and her stay is only temporary. She also has to save her daughter from some trouble. The new wife doesn’t know that the first wife is back from the dead, but meets her, a woman who looks like her husbands deceased wife who has an attachment to their child, and is not sure how to handle it. She is also having some trouble communicating with her husband and with the mean treatment that she gets from the other neighborhood moms.

There is also a cast of characters who are all ghosts that live in a crematorium together. They don’t want to go to the afterlife because they want to continue to be there – in spirit – for their living family members. They all interact with a shaman who can’t bear to make any of them move into the afterlife if they don’t want to go. Although they mostly drive her crazy.

This drama will make you laugh. There is a scene with a sliding glass door that makes me laugh every time I think of it, and so many other scenes that I laughed my way through. And there are great sismances and bromances that are enjoyable to watch. And NO villains, which is so refreshing.

This show will probably make you think about the value of life and how you will be remembered when you are gone. It might make you cry. I think I’ve gone through at least one box of tissues so far because death can be so unfair to the people who pass away and the people they leave behind. This is illustrated in the main story and most of the side stories that are told.

You may also end up addicted to this show. I am. It is so hard to wait week after week for new episodes because it ends on the best cliffhangers. I am halfway through it now and already know it will be going on to my list of favorite shows of all time.

A-Movie: PS I Still Love You (7.7/10)

This is the sequel to the movie To All the Boy’s I’ve loved before. They are both books by Jenny Han and are now movies on Netflix. The lead character is Koraen American, as is the author so this isn’t straying that far from my regular reviews.

I did not do a review of the first one so here is a very brief review and synopsis of it: It’s a high school movie. The lead female, Lara Jean wrote love letters to all the guys she had crushes on, but wasn’t planning to send them. Then her sister sent them out 😲. One of the guys Lara Jean liked was a Lacrosse player named Peter who got one of the letters which lead to them talking which led to then pretend dating so he could make his ex, Lara Jean’s former friend jealous and keep her crush from realizing she was crushing on him. And of course they start liking each other. The end.

I liked it since I am a sucker for exactly this type of movie. I liked the lead girl and the plot, although it was slightly formulaic. I did not like that the lead “boy” Peter who was supposed to be in high school was played by an actor who looks like he is 30. It was weird.

On to the second movie

In this one Peter and Lara Jean are now in a new relationship and having to figure it out as they go. Lara Jean has never had a boyfriend before and is insecure about Peter’s ex who eggs her insecurity on a little since they have become pretty solid frenemies. Lara Jean also heard back from one of the boys she sent a letter to, possibly her favorite of the bunch who seems to like her back. In the first movie, the boy was a Caucasian brunette yet somehow in this one he is African-American. The wonders of movie magic.

Lara Jean finds herself in a love triangle while still worrying about the ex and this is the major challenge the couple faces.

I like the fact that the movie looks at the start of a new relationship and its challenges,. But I felt that Lara Jean basically fed the love triangle and led both guys on a bit, which I did not like. She even did the same thing to one of them that had hurt them in the past- something they had previously confided to her. Peter was also kind of dumb at reading signals.

There were good parts to the movie, but it didn’t end on a high note for me since I felt that both leads were not the kindest people they could be and didn’t seem all that compatible to me. And Peter still looked 30 :/. That said, when the next installment comes out I will probably watch it and hopes that it is a little bit better than part two.

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.

Thai-Drama: Great Men Academy (8.6/10)

Y’all I highly recommend this show. I had no idea what to expect when I started it, and to be honest, during the first episode I wasn’t sure if I should keep watching. This is because there was strange mix of the realistic, girl wants campus hero and gossips with her girlfriends -and fantastical – she finds a unicorn who grants her a wish, to be with her crush, but the unicorn puts its own spin on it and turns her into a boy.

Thank God I pushed through to episode two because I got to watch a show that I really enjoyed.

Summary:

The main character Love has always been a fan of the popular guy Vier of the famous Great Men Academy but has never had the chance to meet him. One day, she sees the mystical unicorn rumored to fulfill wishes and wished for her love for Vier to get a chance. Unfortunately the unicorn interpreted her wishes in a different way and Love wakes up to find herself… as a guy? (c/o of MyDramalist)

What I enjoyed:

The actors were great

The plot had a little of everything: thoughtful moments, comedy, fantasy, action and romance.

The way the love story played out was both unexpected and very sweet. I won’t tell you what made it unexpected, but I will say I have been hoping so hard that a drama would do what this one did. And it worked!

The story was engrossing and dealt with some interesting dilemmas and ideas around love. The main one was about the capability to love someone no matter what gender they are since the main character transformed back and forth from a girl to a guy. It’s a very Thai theme that I appreciate since I wholeheartedly believe that #loveisloveislove and that everyone deserves to be loved.

What I didn’t like:

There were some moments where I was confused about how something happened, mainly about the unicorn wishes and a contest that students participated in and would have liked some more clarification.

Freaking love triangles. I hate them. The heartbreak of some second and third leads – or sacrificial lambs as someone once ingeniously called them – made me sad.

Random Trivia:

The cast is part of a company created ensemble group 9×9 that also stars in Family We Trust.

Overall:

This drama is fun and interesting and it’s easy to root for the lead. I give it two thumbs up.

J-Drama: Chugakusei Nikki (8.8/10)

The leads

I was sick recently and all I did was sleep and marathon some dramas that had been on my list.

The one I want to review for you all most is Chugakusei Nikki because I have so many thoughts on this and ultimately want to recommend it to anyone who is comfortable watching the content, which is very controversial.

It’s about the inappropriate relationship between an adult teacher and her much younger student. Even though every person on earth may have a slightly different take and level of aversion to this idea, I am highly recommending this drama because it’s amazing.

I still don’t know how to feel about the idea. I feel like I understand – to a point how women teachers get caught up in these imbroglios. Many women feel unfulfilled and unappreciated, even while in relationships and the panting puppy dog love and attention of pubescent boys might flatter some of them enough to act on it. But even understanding that, if a 25 year old teacher did anything inappropriate with my daughter when she’s 15, their days would be numbered.

There are also the social ramifications for this behavior, which vary from country to country, city to city. It is generally seen as wrong, although a century or two ago, it typically wasn’t. The current age of adulthood also varies from place to place so what is illegal in one place is legal somewhere else. But despite how wrong it is considered to be in most places, it still happens. Possibly the most famous of these types of relationships was between 15 year old student Emmanuel Macron and his much older teacher, who is now his wife and the first lady of France. Chugakusei Nikki adds to his conversation.

This show is dramatic and very interesting, and some parts of it are beautiful. It follows a young, somewhat demure teacher, her fiancee, the student who falls in love with her, the student who is in love with him, his mom, his friends, the fiancees boss and some other characters as they navigate around the growing feelings between the teacher and her pupil. And shows the many repercussions the teacher, student and their friends and families faced as a result of their feelings and actions.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that watching all this play out kept me captivated. I also rooted for happy endings for everyone, as I always do, but here it felt much more strange to do it. I am not sure I would have hoped that the student, once he reached adulthood could be with the woman he loved if he hadn’t already looked like an adult when he was meant to be 15. If he had been a realistic 15, all gangly arms and legs and pimples I may have viewed him much more maternally. Instead though, Okada Kenshi who played the male student looks like a hot Japanese jock in his twenties so it was a little harder to see the age power dynamic at play with his teacher, played by long time actress Arimura Kasumi who only looked a couple years older. Kasumi did a phenomenal job in the role.

If you don’t mind watching something controversial, watch this drama because the story is interesting, the acting is good, the production is good, and it will leave you thinking about it even after it’s over.