Love to Hate You (2023)

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Drama: Love to Hate You (연애대전)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 10
Release Date: February 10, 2023
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot: A top star and a lawyer fake a relationship because of a scandal but ends up falling in love.

Main Cast
Yoo Teo – Nam Kangho
Kim Okvin – Yeo Miran
Kim Ji Hoon – Do Won Jun
Go Won Hee – Shin Na Eun

Review:
Finally, a straight up romcom without murders or fantasy elements!! I wasnt planning on watching this until i saw the preview. Enemies to lovers? Top star and lawyer? Sassy lady vs Cool guy? Count me in!

I love Miran. She’s feisty, assertive and can beat the guys in any game or fights. No wonder Kangho was so impressed at this “unusual” woman. He doesnt get to meet a lot of them in his work. I love the maturity of their relationship even the dates and bed scenes looked more age appropriate and natural. I laughed at the scene where she spoke aegyo to Kangho while on the phone. She was so shocked that she can do aegyo, even the lawyers in the office were grossed out. LOL.

I also like Kangho, he looks cold but is actually playful and romantic when he finally got past his trauma. His bromance with his bestie was so funny and cute. I wouldnt have minded if they ended up together! i mean that scene in the early episodes when they were rehearsing a confession/kiss scene was so hot!

The second leads are cute but I wasnt as charmed by their story like the leads. Most of the time Na Eun was in love with Won Jun because of his looks and kept stopping him because of it (like hello, he wasn’t interested then!). On the other hand, Won Jun prolly fell in love because she understood him or was the only other female he can comfortably talk to.

This drama probably takes a jab at actors and actresses who look like they are friends in public but actually hates their guts in private. And all the insider rumors that go around the industry. Again, fans and netizens should also stop obsessing on their faves and let them live their own lives. Im imagining Lee Seunggi as I watched this show and how awful fans have been to him because of his upcoming wedding.

That super cringy public confession. I’m so glad Miran didn’t accept! The ending although is not bad is also not especially fantastic. But it also feels like it’s more realistic and the two leads stayed true to their characters.

Sometimes the vocalizing background music didnt fit the scene or was too loud.

Rating: 8.5/10

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Lesson In Love (2023)

ProfileTitle: 第9節課
English title: Lesson in Love
Genre: Romance, youth
Episodes: 12
Broadcast network: iQiyi, EBC
Broadcast period:
2022-Dec-11 to 2023-Jan-08 (iQiyi)
2022-Dec-11 to 2023-Jan-15 (EBC)
Air time: 12:30 (iQiyi), 20:00 (EBC)Country: Taiwan Language: Mandarin

Plot: A forbidden love between a high school student and his teacher results in secrets being revealed about the past, and a stalker that threatens the relationship and their lives.

Main Cast
Tiffany Hsu – Chen Meng Yun
Edward Chen – Zheng Yi Xiang
Simon Hsueh – Li Da Wei
Ivy Yin – Xie Shu Fen

Review
Thought i’m open minded when it comes to relationships but this one really tested me!

The drama was addicting because the topic is taboo and there were a lot of twists along the way. The first 6 eps weren’t easy to watch and I wasn’t sure why I was still watching. Not because it was bad, but because I was uneasy seeing a high school guy bullying his teacher and also harassing her to like him, while the teacher wasn’t doing anything to stop his advances and seems like she liked it too! Ep 7-9 made me feel uncomfortable coz I thought although it’s not a crime to fall in love, it felt too inappropriate for the teacher to fall in love with a high school student. Couldn’t they have waited until he graduated before they started anything? Ep 10-12 added a stalker storyline to already stressful events, which I thought wasn’t really needed.

To be honest, it’s tough to like the couple, Mengyun and Yixiang given the circumstances. But I admire them for fighting for what they want. If I were Mengyun’s friend, I would have told her to stop or wait, instead of her nurse friend who was even egging her to snag the hot young blood. Are they really teachers??? I also didn’t feel any passion in all their steamy scenes because I look at the guy and all I see is him wearing his high school uniform in every scene, reminding us that he is still a boy. And an adult should not be messing around with a kid!!! But later on, his father telling his son that he was ok with the relationship also made me think. He’s right, the more they try to stop them, the more the kid will rebel. And it’s better to accept them so they won’t further hide what they were doing and they can monitor their relationship.

However, I didn’t like the way Mengyun was written. From the start her decisions and actions have been terrible. We don’t always know what she is thinking or feeling because she has one expression. What did she like about Yixiang? He was bullying her, humiliating her in front of the class, almost sexually harassing her, and she kept telling the other teachers that it wasn’t like that, he wasn’t harassing her etc. Maybe it’s really true what they say. If you don’t like the person, he/she is a stalker, but if you like the person, it was sweet and romantic! And then just because he had a puppy love, he starting cleaning up his act, walking her home, going on cute dates, she easily fell in love. If she didn’t find out that they could be potentially siblings, she probably wouldn’t even stop to think what am I doing with a kid when all my friends are getting married and having kids? I really can’t imagine, but hey she seems happy so be it. But she should have resigned even before it became public because it was really unethical. Another thing is I get that she is angry and wants revenge from Yixiang’s mom, but if you look at it reasonably, the mom was an adult when she started the affair with the dad (not that it excuses her actions), but you don’t get revenge by doing the same thing to a kid. She knew the trauma she kept all these years, and if it turned out badly, Yixing could also be scarred and traumatized by her too!

I really hated the mom at the start but in the end, I actually liked her even more than the FL. She had the most growth in the drama. Still doesn’t excuse all the bad things she did and I understood she tried to protect her son from an adult trying to get her revenge and hurt her son. if I had a child and he was having an affair with the teacher, I probably would also try to stop it from happening too. But not the lying and trying to get the teacher fired through power abuse. Or on second thought, maybe I would be the cool mom and say, okay you can date after you graduate from high school. But do not get her pregnant now. Oh and also if the teacher is younger than me!! i can’t have a daughter/son in law older than me! lol!

The whole stalker thing was unnecessary and obvious but can’t believe they didn’t figure it out! Probably because they were too busy with themselves. When Dawei showed up in her hometown just as she was taking her vacation, it was too creepy and Mengyun should have seen all the red flags!!! Also, I didn’t like that the ending was written in a way that they’re forced to forgive or sweep everything under the rug after the stalker. Like thank you, my son almost died but you saved him and for that I will accept you as my son’s girlfriend. I think without the accident, the mom would still be fighting with her son and be totally against Mengyun, which I think is more realistic than showing all is well after 6 years. Also, I’m sad that it seemed like Mengyun ended up being a stay at home wife/girlfriend (not that it’s bad) but I wished they showed her still being confident and successful despite the initial scandal. She literally took what Yixiang said that he will protect her and support her if she waits for him.

Rating: 7.5/10

Work Later Drink Now S2 (2023)

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Plot

Main cast

Review
“I don’t know if we’re better than before. We don’t know if our future is better or not but we are the best to enjoy this moment.’

The above statement summarizes the 2 seasons of this drama. There was no big resolution at the end, it’s just about going through life and enjoying it with your friends, family and partner.

At first, I thought this drama lost its magic in the first 2 episodes. It was so odd and didn’t like their time at the mountains and how Jiyeon’s cancer was miraculously cured. Was the time spent there supposed to mean something because they didn’t really grow up when they went back to the city. Maybe it was just to wrap up Jiyeon’s cancer story. Should she be drinking so much?? I’m so glad they went back to the city and the story went back to how it was in season 1. I watch this because of the 3 girls and their relationships with each other, their memories about their parents, and the guys. They didn’t drink as much as in S1 though.

I always look forward to Sohee’s story and her weird romantic vibes with Director Kang. They always show him as gross and dirty but she oddly feels attracted to him, esp when he does those little things to support her. We also get to hear Kang’s story and why he is that way. He also has a lot of trauma (Siwon in fatsuit is too cute!!) And Sohee loves helping pitiful men. I think they are a match or complements each other well. But wow to Jiyeon for taking care of Kang and his dad instead of running away.

Jiyeon is the friend that I also love. She is too noisy most of the time but she shines when you need her the most. I thought the story with the siblings were boring but end up liking them too. They should bring Seonjung to their trio. She is also crazy. I also thought pairing loud Jiyeon with a guy with hyperacusis is interesting. But wait Jiyeon and So Hojun (funny cameo!) also works!! Alas she is still single by S2 end (but with 3 men) lol. Just a note that she told the siblings that communication is best, but when she fought with Jigoo, there was also a lack of communication.

Jigoo is the most silent and boring (for me) but she is the most thoughtful. I love that she found someone who really likes her. Yoon Si Yoon fits right in with his lovely artsy vibe. And Jiyeon is right, when the time comes, Jigoo will be the first one to leave and never look back. I wish Jiyeon told this to Jigoo, so that Jigoo can reassure her that they will be friends no matter what.

I dont know if there’s a possibility of S3 because I’m going to miss the girls!! They can actually stop at S2 but the ending just begged for a new season!! Would love to see the girls evolve since they’re now in relationships. They’ll prolly continue to be crazy.

Rating: 8.5/10

Alchemy of Souls Part 2 (2023)

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Drama: Alchemy of Souls: Light and Shadow (환혼: 빛과 그림자)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 10
Release Date: December 10, 2022 – January 8, 2023
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:10

Plot:
Three years after Mudeok dies, Jang Uk has been on a mission to kill all soul shifters as ordered by the King. Lady Jin has been hiding the fact that she retrieved Mudeok’s body, and revived her daughter, Jin Bu Yeon’s soul, but taking on the face of Naksu. Jin Bu Yeon, who doesn’t remember anything about her past, is arranged to be married to Seo Yul’s uncle, but she got away and met Jang Uk. Will they be able to find their way back to each other and can they fight the evil forces of Jinmu once and for all?

Main Cast

Review
I liked the chemistry between Jaewook and Youn Jung more than with Jung Somin. Maybe that’s why I liked part 2 more than part 1 (although I admit without the love story in part 1, part 2 wouldn’t work that well). Mudeok and Jang Uk to me felt like Master-Student while Buyeon-Jang Uk felt like the real thing.

I missed the original Naksu shadow assassin (GYJ looked soooo different as Jin Bu Yeon – the hair, light eyebrows etc) so sometimes I had to stop and think if this was really the same actress or not. Cho Yeong’s evolution from the young girl, the teenager that Seo Yul met, to Mudeok, Jin Buyeon and back to Yeong was amazing. I’m still a little bit confused how this all happened, though it somehow made sense, but I love that she will spend the rest of her life as Cho Yeong. She may never take up the sword again, but with her powers, she and Jang Uk can fight together for good.

I also love how much Jang Uk has grown since part 1 episode 1, esp now that he is the most powerful mage in Daeho. You dont need to be the king to be the most powerful, as long as you do your job and your passion well. I hated that Go Won was always threatened by Jang Uk when he never made any intention known that he wanted to be king.

I didn’t however, like that there were a lot of flashbacks that could have been skipped. I also didnt like that Go Won had many scenes that were unnecessary and the turtle squad, trying make their scenes funny like in part 1. Good thing the turtle actually had a purpose in the story.

Park Jin and Kim Dojoo are too funny!! I miss Danggu’s blonde hair and he didnt get a lot of cute scenes with Choyeon. Of course Master Lee is always all knowing.

I also never liked Seo Yul and Soi’s “relationship” from the very start. Soi has caused so much pain to Seo Yul and almost died because of her. and Soi dying trying to save him doesn’t justify her actions or make her a better person. Even she didn’t give him the blood parasite, none of this would have happened in the first place. Plus Seo Yul is so nice and virtuous, how can the writers pair him up with Soi, plus his one sided love with Naksu! how cruel! I was hoping he gets his own love interest at the end, but i guess, his heart is with the mages. I also was so annoyed with Yun Ok. Why is she even in this drama? She was catty for no reason, and put her nose in every place she didn’t have to be.

It’s always hard to write a great ending for fantasy dramas so was very happy that this show ended with quite well!!

Overall part 1 and part 2 could have actually fit in 20 episodes if they removed some of the draggy parts at the start, but also ok that they separated part 2 to give time for people to get used to the new actress/character and the 3 yrs later part of the story.

Rating: 8.5/10