Pachinko (2022)

Drama: Pachinko (파친코)
Network: Apple TV+
Episodes: 8
Release Date: March 25 – April 29, 2022
Runtime: Friday

Plot: A sweeping saga of Kim Sunja’s family — from when she was young, while also showing Kim Sunja as grandmother, and her grandson Solomon’s professional journey.

Main Cast
Youn Yuh Jung / Kim Minha – Kim Sunja
Jin Ha – Baek Solomon
Lee Min Ho – Koh Hansu
Soji Arai – Baek Mozasu
Noh Sang Hyun – Baek Isak
Jung Eun Chae – Choi Kyung Hee
Han Joon Woo – Baek Yoseob

I didn’t read the book yet, but I loved the story of Sunja’s family, from the time she was born and how she got married, had family, and struggled for a better life. At first I didn’t understand why guys were falling all over Sunja but watch the drama and you’ll find out why (and the actress is amazing). I think Sunja made the right choice of choosing Isak (he seemed like a great guy) instead of Hansu. But if Sunja lived in the present time, she probably would have chosen Hansu.

Surprisingly I find Koh Hansu interesting (not just because he is played by LMH) but because adding one episode about his life (which is not in the book) gave some perspective of who he is now. But yes, Lee Minho is so distractingly handsome and dashing in his white suits (and looks so out of place in 1920s-1930s Korea/Japan era).

I honestly prefer watching young Sunja’s journey and not really the present timeline. Mostly because I’m don’t like Solomon. I can’t imagine strong and loyal Sunja having a grandson like Solomon!!! Surprised to see him act like this considering his family’s experience. But I think that’s the point of the story and he will learn and mature because of this and appreciate his family by the end of the story.

I don’t like Hana so not sure why we had to see one episode about her.

I wanna know more about what happened to Noa and how Mozasu grows up to be who he is, and Kyunghee. I think I will read the book now coz I cant wait for 4 more seasons how the story ends.

I hope Apple will be able to film all 4 seasons!

Rating: 8.5/10

The Sound of Magic (2022)

Drama: The Sound of Magic (안나라수마나라)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 6
Release Date: May 6, 2022

Plot: Ahyi is struggling with her life, trying to take care of herself and her younger sister while her father is hiding from his creditors. One day, she meets a mysterious magician and her whole life starts to change.

Main Cast:
Ji Chang Wook – Ri Eul
Choi Sung Eun – Yoon Ahyi
Hwang In Yeop – Na Il Deung

Do you believe in magic? Annara Sumanara

The first 3 episodes were strange yet fascinating. Ahyi’s life was depressing to watch then they’ll start bursting into a song and I feel like I’m in a Disney movie with the fireworks and flying horses.

I probably wouldn’t have watched this if not for Ji Chang Wook. He was so mysterious, sometimes scary but often times like a child. I don’t know if he was trying to be Willy Wonka or PT Barnum in the Greatest Showman movie.

I loved Sung Eun, sometimes I feel romantic vibe between them especially when they’re singing a duet but then I remember Ahyi is in high school and Rieul is 30yo and that just sounds creepy. I guess they found a connection because they’re both outcasts and trying to get out of their situation but can’t.

I loved all the musical performances but sadly the songs were not memorable enough to give me LSS.

The second half was way better, when the childlike fantasy plot became serious murder storyline. I loved the last episode, I even teared up hearing Rieul’s past and when he gave Ahyi his hat. That final stage scene.. wow.. Is it really magic?

“You should do the things you want just as much as the things you don’t want to do.”

– Rieul to Ahyi

“I didn’t know before that flowers don’t bloom on smooth asphalt but on bumpy dirt.”

– Il Deung

I think the real magic is Rieul being able to comfort and guide Ahyi and Ildeung to be better people.

Six episodes felt just about right for this drama. However it felt like it was trying to be too much at the same time. Musical. Fantasy. Sexual assault. Murder. Daddy issues. The first half was for kids, the second half was for adults.

Rating: 8/10

Through The Darkness (2022)

Drama: Through the Darkness (악의 마음을 읽는 자들)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 12
Release Date: January 14 – March 12, 2022
Runtime: Friday & Saturday 22:00-23:10

Plot: Based on the non fiction book by Korea’s first criminal profiler, Kwon Il Yong, where he details some of Korea’s most gruesome cases and how they were able to solve the crimes through profiling.

Main Cast:
Kim Nam Gil – Song Ha Young
Jin Sun Kyu – Kook Young Soo
Ryeo Un – Jung Woo Joo
Kim So Jin – Yoon Tae Goo
Lee Dae Yeon – Baek Joon Sik
Kim Won Hae – Heo Gil Pyo
Jung Soon Won – Nam Il Yong

This drama is very dark and horrifying as the criminals just kept getting worse after every case. Shocked that the cases are based on actual murders in Korea. That period must have been terrifying with several serial killers running loose, and targeting single women living alone. Out of all the cases, I was personally scared of the balding serial killer with the creepy smile. I had to double check my door locks before going to sleep everyday after watching the episodes. The second creepiest killer was the last one — the guy that pretends to be lost and offers a ride to the ladies.

I love Kim Nam Gil as the first criminal profiler. I was hoping he wins the Baeksang Awards for Best Actor — too bad he lost. I almost thought that this drama will turn into ‘Mouse’, especially in ep 10 when Ha Young couldn’t contain his emotions any longer. He was absorbing all of the criminals’ feelings and in his line of job, he needs to be strong enough to separate work and personal life.

I also loved the teams. They first didn’t believe in what the Criminal Profiling team is doing but when their analyses were always correct, the rest of the squad started consulting with them. By the end of the show, they were almost like a family.

If you want to know more of the Daesung serial killer, try to watch Netflix’s The Raincoat Killer (2021).

Rating: 9/10

Juvenile Justice (2022)

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