Q1 2022 Drama Watch List

January 2022
1. Melancholia – 8
2. The Silent Sea 8.5

February 2022
3. One and Only (CDrama) – 8.5
4. Ghost Doctor – 8.5
5. Bad and Crazy – 8

March 2022
6. All of Us Are Dead – 8
7. Young Lady and Gentleman

Movies / Drama Special / Documentary
1. The Effect of a Finger Flick on a Breakup – 8.5
2. A Year End Medley 8.5
3. Hanwoo Rhapsody
4. Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure 8
5. 1987: When The Day Comes 8.5
6. Sinkhole 8
7. Collectors 8

Variety Shows
1. We Don’t Bite

Total Dramas watched in Q1: 7
Total Year to Date Dramas Watched: 7

Ongoing Dramas/Shows:
1. Forever and Ever (CDrama) ep 3
2. Business Proposal ep 8
3. Juvenile Justice ep 3
4. Twenty Five Twenty One ep 11
5. Unexpected Business 2 ep 1

I really thought I would be able to watch a lot of dramas because I moved to a new role with lesser working hours. But i guess the pressure of being the “new kid on the block” had me sleeping and going to work early, plus some family issues.

One and Only (2021) (CDrama)

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Profile:
Drama: One and Only
Original Network: iQiyi, Tencent Video
Aired: Aug 18, 2021 – Aug 27, 2021 (Wed, Thur, Fri)
Episodes: 24
Duration: 45 min.
Country: China

Main Cast:
Allen Ren – Zhousheng Chen
Bai Lu – Cui Shi Yi
Wang Xing Yue – Liu Zi Xing
Li Yi Ru – General Hong
Ethan Yao – Cui Feng
Su Meng Yun – Feng Qiao
Zhou Lu La – Xiao Yan
Liu Wei Wei – Cui Wen Jun

Review:
I heard a lot of great reviews about this drama last year that’s why I really put this on my watchlist. Finally had the time to watch in Dec 2021. This story started slow, I almost dropped at episode 6 but glad I listened and kept on watching. I did however, take several weeks until I was able to finish this. I couldn’t wait until ZSC and Shiyi’s romance starts (which was around episode 10) and I was hooked since then.

Zhousheng Chen and Shiyi’s forbidden love was heartbreaking! They never even held hands or kissed or confessed their love, but every gaze and every tear showed how much they long for each other and wished that things were different. I loved their “dates” and how they just connected so well and knew what each other wanted to do or say without telling the other person. One of my favorite episodes were during the time ZSC and Shiyi stayed in Long Kang Academy. It was there that they really started to feel more than just master-disciple. That scene when ZSC was kneading (?) her shoulders was filled with so much tension, and they weren’t even naked or hugging each other. Huan Yu (and later on Shiyi) asked ZSC if he ever regrets making his vow not to have a family. But he said every decision he made was worth it. Huhu. He is faithful, loyal, courageous, but also stubborn. I remember even when ZSC was set up, Feng Qiao cried to ZSC, “for once, just be selfish!”, but he still refused to yield.

Bailu also so pretty as Shiyi and when she cries, I can feel every emotion — when she hugged him so tightly because she was getting married to the Prince and knew she will never be with ZSC, when she found out his death, I was crying with her!!, and when she jumped to her own death 😭 OMG!!! I couldn’t stop crying in the last 3 episodes! 😭 Especially the final episode. I had to watch her final scene 3x and still I cried. I understand how she felt. What’s life without ZSC? Without freedom? Trapped inside the palace by a selfish prince? As long as she lived and refused the prince (now king) advances, her family will always be threatened. I think she took a courageous decision. In modern times, suicide is not the answer, but during the old times, someone always had to sacrifice themselves for the greater good and to achieve peace. Gah!! I just feel sad that Zhousheng Chen and Shiyi never saw each other for the last time before their deaths. ZSC’s final letter to Shiyi was the final thing that broke Shiyi’s spirit “Throughout my life, I never let down anyone except Shiyi.”

I wasn’t that interested in the politics, esp in the early parts where they introduced so many characters, I was getting confused who was who, who was siding with which family, and what they were fighting for. I hated the empress dowager and pushing her off the lake to drown wasn’t enough to punish her for all her crimes, including killing the emperor. She should have been beheaded or displayed in from of the capital. It was during these episodes that I started to like the politics side of the story, and this intensified and the story became thrilling starting from episode 16. But of course, there were too many collateral damage from the struggle for the throne. the emperor died, the grandmaster died, the loyal general was forced to betray the Nanchen army, 2 of Nanchen’s generals were injured, and 1 died.

One of the best things about this drama is the focus on the Junior Prince Nanchen army team. Let me break down the key characters in ZSC’s army:

I loved the story between Cui Feng and General Hong. It was also a forbidden love kind of romance. When Gen Hong cried when Cui Feng had to marry Princess Xinghua, when she learned that they got divorced, Cui Feng and Gen Hong were already planning to stay together. But then Cui Feng got kidnapped by Jin Rong’s army and she almost had to kill Cui Feng (as promised — good thing ZSC arrived in time to stop the arrow), and Cui Feng crying when General Hong was killed during a battle. It was funny though that there were so many troops attacking them but Cui Feng, Feng Qiao stopped to hug and cry over Gen Hong, while ZSC was left alone to fend off the attacks from all fronts.

Other characters I liked were Xiao Yan (the monk), although I didn’t like his interactions/semi flirtations with Feng Qiao. I find Feng Qiao annoying and dense sometimes – she couldn’t read the room and always looked clueless. I also loved Prince Pingqin, who was loyal to Western State and Shiyi, and was ready to take her away in the last episode. Huan Yu from the Long Kang Academy was a cutie with long straight flowing hair and small dimples. He tried so hard to play cupid between ZSC and Shiyi; and I also liked Gen Chou. You know what? I love everyone in the Western State. The whole Nanchen army were so loyal and dedicated to ZSC. It’s so unfair ZSC had to die of dismemberment 😵 when he was the only one who didn’t want to partake in the throne grabbing. Special mention to Yang Shao, who I thought was one of those annoying characters, but he redeemed himself later on by helping ZSC and Shiyi in their final moments.

The person i hated the most was Luo Zi Xing. First, he had this weird obsession with Shiyi just because he grew up being told he is arranged to be married to her. He doesn’t know her at all, but thinks he loves her and he felt unfair that the engagement was cancelled. I thought he treated her more like a possession than a human being. If he really loved her, he would have tried to understand her and not trap her into a marriage that made her unhappy. But in the end I dont feel bad at all or angry at him. Because of his hunger for power, he killed the Liu family (his relatives), Shiyi killed herself, he barely enjoyed being the king because he died young, sad and alone, and without an heir.

And now I’m off to watch the sequel Forever and Ever 🥰

Rating: 8.5/10

2021 Year End Recap

Another year is about to end and I’m not ready. Mostly because I have so many ongoing dramas that I wanted to complete before end of the year.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed with the dramas that came out this year. There were so many big names and couples that I was looking forward to watch but most of the dramas were just average. There were a very few that stood out to me. Just a recap of all the dramas I’ve watched:

2021 KDramas I rated 9 to 9.5:
Penthouse S1 and S2 (SBS) – 9 and 9.5, respectively
Navillera (tvN) – 9
True Beauty (tvN) – 9
Racket Boys (SBS) – 9
Police University (KBS) – 9
One Ordinary Day (Coupang) – 9

2021 KDramas I rated between 8 to 8.75:
Jirisan (tvN) – 8.75
Monthly Magazine Home (jtbc) – 8.75
So I Married the Anti-Fan (Navercast) – 8.75
Happiness (tvN) – 8.5
Hometown Cha Cha Cha (tvN) – 8.5
Mouse (tvN) – 8.5
Vincenzo (tvN) – 8.5
Awaken (tvN) – 8.5
The Veil (MBC) – 8.5
Youth of May (KBS) – 8.5
Work Later, Drink Now S1 (TVing) – 8.5
Sell Your Haunted House (KBS) – 8.5
Move to Heaven (Netflix) – 8.5
You are My Spring (tvN) – 8.25
Hospital Playlist S2 (tvN) – 8
Penthouse S3 (SBS) – 8
Delayed Justice (SBS) – 8
Squid Game (Netflix) – 8
Nevertheless (jtbc) – 8
Scripting Your Destiny (TVing) – 8
Hellbound (Netflix) – 8

2021 KDramas I rated less than 8:
Homemade Love Story (KBS) – 7.5
Lovestruck in the City (Netflix) – 7
Lovers of the Red Sky (SBS) – 7
Sisyphus the Myth (jtbc) – 7
LUCA The Beginning (tvN) – 6
Love Alarm S2 (Netflix) – 6

2020 KDramas:
Once Again (KBS) – 8.5
Hot Stove League (SBS) – 9
Kairos (MBC) – 9

Older KDramas:
The Lady in Dignity (jtbc) – 8.5
The Tuna and the Dolphin (KBS) – 8
I Picked Up A Celebrity on the Street (Viki) – 8
Misty (jtbc) – 8.5
Romantic Teacher Kim S1 (SBS) – 8

CDramas:
Moonlight – 9
The Rational Life – 9

JDramas:
Pretty Proofreader – 9
This Guy Is the Biggest Mistake in My Life – 7

For my top rated dramas, most of them were big on bromance and family. On believing in yourself and reaching for your dreams. Penthouse was my favorite makjang drama this year and One Ordinary Day is my favorite thriller.

2020 also introduced me to new faces such as Ji Jin Hee and Cho Seung Woo (I never watched their dramas even though they are veterans), Lee Sang Yi, the whole squad of Racket Boys; guys that came back from military such as Park Hyung Sik, Jung Yong Hwa and Jung Jinyoung; those that I didn’t notice before that are now a fan such as Choi Tae Joon, and Kim Seon Ho; and old faves such as Cha Seung Won, Ju Ji Hoon, Jun Ji Hyun, Namgoong Min (he had 2 dramas this year!)

There were some dramas that didn’t meet my expectations such as Lovestruck in the City, Love Alarm 2, Hospital Playlist 2 and Sisyphus the Myth.

I dropped a lot of dramas this year – some after episode 1 because I didn’t like the vibe or the story such as Mr. Queen, Royal Inspector Joy, Mine, She Wouldn’t Know. I tried to watch but couldn’t get past episode 4 of Run On and My Roommate is a Gumiho (no matter how much people loved these drama, I couldn’t get into them at all) and Oh My Master – I really wanted to like this drama but I finally stopped at episode 8 and decided to cut my losses. I’m stuck at episode 8 of Devil Judge, I haven’t dropped this yet as I want to know how this one ends (but will probably fast forward a lot of the scenes to reach the end).

There were also some great dramas that I missed such as Beyond Evil and Taxi Driver. Not to worry – I’m going to watch them next year since I have a lot more time in 2022.

I have several ongoing dramas right now, such as Melancholia, Red Sleeve, One and Only (CDrama), and the seriously addicting but I hate the villains in the weekend drama Young Lady and Gentleman. I’m going to continue watching them and hopefully before winter dramas start in mid-Jan.

Goodbye 2021!

Moonlight (2021)

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Drama: Moonlight (月光变奏曲)
Country: China
Episodes: 36
Aired: May 20, 2021 – Jun 6, 2021
Aired On: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Original Network: iQiyi, iQiyi
Duration: 45 min.

Plot
A cute love story between an editor and her author.

Main Cast
Ryan Ding Yuxi – Zhou Chuan
Esther Yu Shu – Chu Li
Yang Shi Ze – Jiang Yu Cheng
Ma Yin Yin – Gu Bai Zhi

Review:
For my favorite scenes, please check out these posts:
Moonlight (2021) Eps 1-18
Moonlight eps. 19-35

My first completed CDrama for the year!! Light romcom with a few heart tugging scenes. Hands down my favorite part of this drama is the winning chemistry between Zhou Chuan and Chu Li. They were perfectly matched. Zhou Chuan may have been a fool during the first part, but I’m glad that when it counts, he gives it all. He is always sincere towards Chu Li and think of her well being. Likewise, Chu Li is always there to support Zhou Chuan at work and at home. I’m glad there were not a lot of “big” fights except for that one time, but Zhou Chuan quickly redeemed himself.

I also loved bromance between Zhou Chuan and Jiang Yu Cheng. I really admire their friendship.. they tease each other and always try to be better than the other like how guys are like. But they also have each other’s backs when needed. Zhou Chuan supported Yu Cheng during his break ups and his new novel. While Yu Cheng advises Zhou Chuan on relationships (even though he fails big time lol) and during the ghostwriting scandal, he was one of the first who thought of finding a solution to his problem.

One of the storylines that I didnt expect would touch me is the the relationship between Zhou Chuan and his father. That part when Zhou Chuan was being battered by the internet trolls, his father didn’t hesitate to support his son, even though he may not always approve of him. Ryan Ding’s acting when he realized what his father has done, and how he has kept all of his school works, and finally when he won the Huazhi award which was handed to him by his father were my favorites. I wanted to cry and hug him too.

I love books and writing so the publishing house setting and having a glimpse of how book publishing works was so interesting to me. What I didn’t like was Editor Miao who was so unprofessional!!

Also, it was very unbelievable how Chu Li is so good at her job. She was intern and was able to sign the best authors without any experience. She always had the best solutions to each problem that even the chief editors couldn’t solve. She would go against the deputy editor, the head of Circulation Dept like it was a piece of cake. In reality I know it’s so impossible to happen. She also rose from intern to deputy editor to chief editor in just 4 ( or 5?) years which is also very unlikely. And whoever styled her should have been fired. She was always in baggy clothes or casual attire in the office.

Of course, the drama is not complete without stunning cinematography and the nice soundtrack. Both Esther and Ryan sing in the soundtrack and I love their voices.

On the down side, I didn’t like eps 31-35 that much — the ghost writing scandal and especially that storyline about the obsessed school mate/celebrity. I think there could have been better plots that could have challenged Zhou Chuan’s career and his relationship with Chu Li.

I like Jang Yu Cheng as Zhou Chuan’s best friend and author, but I didn’t like his love story with Gu Bai Zhi. The first half was so boring, I didn’t really care if they get together or not. I also didn’t like the old lady’s scenes. I just fast forwarded all of her scenes because it felt like it was “forcing” Gu Bai Zhi and Jiang Yu Cheng to remember their past. Gu Bai Zhe also looked cold, I wanted to side with Yu Cheng. I started rooting for them when they were flirting and were getting back together. But as quickly as they got back, they broke up again because it turns out, it was also Yu Cheng being a jerk to Bai Zhi and not trusting her. They eventually got back together although it didn’t feel “grand”. But what I appreciated most is the two of them, acknowledging their issues and promising to work on them and their relationship.

Rating: 9/10