Juvenile Justice (2022)

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Drama: Juvenile Justice (소년심판)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 10
Release Date: February 25, 2022

Plot: This drama is about bringing juvenile offenders to justice.

Main Cast:
Kim Hye Soo – Shim Eun Seok
Kim Moo Yool – Cha Tae Joo
Lee Sung Min – Kang Won Jung
Lee Jung Eun – Na Geun Hee

Review: This is a heavy drama about juvenile offenders. Bullying, murder, gang rape. Should they be punished or help them reform? Can they really change? This drama will make you think and this is not just applicable to SK. It’s an issue around the world. I realized it’s very important for kids to grow up in a loving and stable family/environment since their childhood trauma remains even when they grow up as adults.

I liked each of the cases although not always how these were resolved. It also made me think how far should we do our jobs. As judges they weren’t supposed to investigate but they crossed the line. Coz if they don’t do it who will? Or maybe they need everyone or the system (prosecutors, police, workers) to effectively work together to reform the children.

On the downside, I just couldn’t connect with or care for the two main leads despite their sad background stories. Cha Tae Joo is clingy and needy, although I like that he really cares for the kids. Eun Seok is too harsh and does not even smile. I would be scared if I had a mother or even a teacher/boss like her. She is soft hearted too and fair.

Rating: 8/10

Soundtrack No. 1 (2022)

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Drama: Soundtrack #1 (사운드트랙#1)
Network: Disney+
Episodes: 4
Release Date: March 23 – April 13, 2022
Runtime: Wednesday

Plot: Best friends for 19 years, Sunwoo and Eunsoo lives together for 2 weeks and feelings start to cross the line.

Main Cast
Han So Hee – Lee Eunsoo
Park Hyung Sik – Han Sunwoo
Kim Ju Hun – Kang Woo Il
Yoon Byung Hee – Yoon Dong Hyun
Park Hoon – Gyeol Han
Park Min Jung – Yuri
Lee Jung Eun – Eunsoo’s mom

Review:
At only four episodes at 45mins per episode, I easily binged watch this drama one Saturday evening. “Best friends turned lovers” is my second favorite trope after “enemies turned lovers”. I loved best friends Sunwoo and Eunsoo and their relationship. Han Sohee/Eunsoo is so pretty, I can’t imagine how Sunwoo didn’t do anything after being friends for 19 years. Park Hyung Sik is so good at playing the best friend who’s in love with his girl friend. Maybe because he looks so steady and wholesome. However, this showing after Happiness with almost same character made me feel like Hyungsik was playing it safe. I hope he tries a different role in his next drama.

Likewise, I cant believe Eunsoo didn’t see how great Sunwoo is to her or that he has been in love with her for years. Sometimes it makes me think if she was taking advantage of Sunwoo all this time? or maybe she really is just clueless, and that sometimes being friends for too long, one can forget or don’t realize what they have until it’s gone. In Eunsoo’s case, both times when Sunwoo went away, did she realize how much he means to her, and that she finally realizes that what she feels is love. I also thought that we spent 3 eps seeing Sunwoo in love with Eunsoo but only one episode with Eunsoo jealous/in love with Sunwoo. I think Sunwoo deserve to make her hurt for a bit and long for him and savor that feeling of being wanted before they got their happy ending. But Sunwoo is so giving, he probably won’t be able to wait that long. I still wished they added an extra 30 mins so we could more happy and good moments together.

My favorite scenes are when they slept side by side, when Sunwoo left for the army and Eunsoo broke down in tears, when Sunwoo asked Wooil if Eunsoo enjoyed the wine, when Eunsoo cried after Sunwoo leaves on a bus, and the flower shop scene when they met again.

One thing to note is that Eunsoo was supposed to be a lyricist and writing songs about their relationship, but there were too many songs being played in the background and not one made a huge impact to me. I also expected that we will get to hear Eunsoo’s songs for Jayjun and Taeyoon that were meant to be her confession to Sunwoo but we didnt hear them at all. How cool it could have been for Sunwoo knowing that he gets to hear her songs every day and that those were meant for him?

Rating: 8.5/10

Twenty Five Twenty One (2022)

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Drama: Twenty Five Twenty One (스물다섯 스물하나)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: February 12 – April 3, 2022
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:10

Plot: A story about five friends and their once youthful lives filled with dreams, passion and love.

Main Cast
Kim Tae Ri – Na Hee Do
Nam Joo Hyuk – Baek Yijin
Bona – Ko Yurim
Choi Hyun Wook – Moon Ji Woong
Lee Joo Myoung – Ji Seung Wan

Review:
The title alone should already warn us of the ending but some didn’t take the hint.

I loved the nostalgia feel of the drama because I grew up in the 90s. Actually I was the same age as Heedo in 1998 that’s why even though I didn’t grow up in Korea and was not an athlete, I could still somehow relate to her. I keep thinking, she is my age. What if I were her friend? How would I support her? It also made me think of my own high school experience and how different I am from when I was 18 years old vs who I am now and how I interact with my friends. I could totally understand them, that even though so many years have passed and we don’t always get to meet often, we will always remain friends and when we get together, it’s as if time has not passed. We also reminisce the good and bad memories and laugh about it.

I really loved the friendship between Heedo and Yurim. They started out as strangers, almost like enemies, fan to idol. They fought, they disagreed, they supported and comforted each other through out their personal and professional lives. I loved and teared up in all their final matches and when Heedo retired and Yurim was there to support her. Boys/men can come and go but friends will always be forever. The writer is the same as Search WWW and it’s no wonder you can also feel some girl-love vibes between Heedo and Yurim (just like Gakyeong and Scarlet in WWW).

I also loved Heedo and Yijin’s relationship. I think the drama spent more time showing how close they were (friendship, brother-sister kind of love) and less than when they were in love. A lot of people hated the ending. They thought they should have ended together. I was fine either way, as long the writer end it well (more on this in the latter paragraphs). I think it was the right love at the wrong time. The love they had was real and it was what they needed during those times. But their circumstances and the events just didn’t make it possible for them to survive.

Maybe if they met in their 30s they could have handled the relationship better. But Heedo was in high school. Sometimes she was brave but often times she was still immature and couldn’t handle a relationship with an older guy. But give her a break, she was young, she still had so many things going on for her and I agree that she deserved to have a relationship with someone who doesn’t make her sad and worry. There are other guys out there and she knows herself and to walk away when she is no longer happy. But at the same time, she also didn’t empathize and understand enough with what Yijin was going through. That’s why they failed.

On the other hand, Yijin tried his best to stay away from Heedo. Not only was she younger than him, he knows he also has a lot of issues to work with himself and his career and his family. Plus the trauma of witnessing the New York attacks took a toll on his mental state. I believe he wasn’t in the right state of mind to maintain a relationship and it was best to let go, no matter painful it was. I was also crying in that scene when they knew it was over and just wanted to take back all the hurtful words they said to each other. Their looks told me they may have broken up but they will always love and support each other. Just like 10 years later when they meet again via Yijin’s show. Although they haven’t kept in touch, you can see they’re still happy for each other and how far they have gone from 10 years ago.

On the other hand, Yurim and Jiwoong’s happy ever after is a contrast to H&Y. Despite the LDR they still made it work. Again, I would say the difference is that they didn’t have a lot of issues to deal with. No mommy issues, no mental health or career issues. That’s why it was easier for them to stay long and strong. I loved the proposal. Very creative Jiwoong and very apt for Yurim.

What I didn’t like in this drama? I think the present timeline wasn’t necessary. Maybe because they used a different actress to play Heedo and she had a very different vibe from the younger Heedo. It makes you think what happened to her all these years and how her youth and passionate love shaped her into who she is now but we didn’t get any of that.

Instead the present timeline served more as a way to introduce the story and was weakly trying to show a parallel between Heedo and her daughter who wanted to quit ballet. Before, Heedo’s mom was against her continuing fencing, but mom Heedo didn’t force Minchae if she didn’t want to do ballet anymore. Minchae, through reading Heedo’s diary also got inspired after reading all the hard work that Heedo went through to reach her success and made her want to take up ballet again.

Those were fine, but it doesn’t really link back to Yijin and Heedo’s story, which was very much the center of the plot. I felt like maybe she wasn’t really over Yijin? It felt like she had so many regrets and that she only had closure when she found her diary. Also, we didn’t see who she married and why they married. Is she happy? If she is happy why is she still not over the diary? Why did she have to go back to the tunnel and look so regretful? If she left Yijin because she wanted to have a relationship with someone who would be there for her, then why is her husband not around? The ending /present timeline really did not close the story well.

We also do not get see what happened to older Yijin aside from being UBS anchor. Did he marry or did he stay single because he couldn’t get over Heedo? He was able to build a home for his family, and we see his younger brother look so grown up. Is he happy? He is the male lead but I felt we didn’t get his own ending.

Overall, I loved this drama. It made me cry buckets of tears every single episode and made me feel so much emotions. I just wish the ending was stronger and made more impact considering the rest of the 15 episodes were almost perfect.

Rating: 9/10

Young Lady and Gentleman ep 47-52 (end)

Profile:
Drama: Young Lady and Gentleman (신사와 아가씨)
Network: KBS2
Episodes: 52
Release Date: September 25, 2021 – March 27, 2022
Runtime: Saturday & Sunday 19:55
Country: South Korea

Plot:
A young lady applies for a job as a live in tutor for a widower CEO with three kids.

Main Cast
Ji Hyun Woo – Lee Young Guk
Lee Se Hee – Park Dandan
Park Hanna – Cho Sara
Lee Jong Won – Park Soo Chul
Oh Hyun Kyung – Cha Yeon Shil
An Woo Yeon – Park Dae Beom
Cha Hwa Yeon – Wang Dae Ran
Yoon Jin Yi – Lee Seryeon
Lee Il Hwa – Anna Kim
Lee Whee Hyang – Lee Ki Ja
Lim Ye Jin – Jang Mi Sook
Kang Eun Tak – Cha Geon
Eru – Lawyer Ko

Review:
I think I already said everything in my mini recaps. Overall, this could have been way better had the writer not do the second amnesia and make Sara go borderline psychotic. Likewise I wish we had more good scenes between Young Guk and Dandan. All they did was cry for half of the show.

Summary of my rating through out the show:
Young Lady and Gentleman Eps 1-12 – 8.5/10
Young Lady and Gentleman eps 13-24 – 8/10
Young Lady and Gentleman ep 25-32 – 7.5/10
Young Lady and Gentleman Eps 33-40 – 7/10
Eps 41-46 – 7.5/10
Eps 47-52 – 7.5/10
Overall rating: 7.5/10