2021 mid year drama updates

2 Jul

I’ve been on a drama slump in the past few years as evidence by the lack of posts here but seems like Word of Honor has turned it around! I’m still kinda on the mountain 4 months after WoH?? There’s still one reaction I’m following and also slowing listening to the 16 hours (!!!) worth of audio live stream session which AvenueX has done with couple of her friends. For those who understand Chinese you can check it out here.

But while still camping on the mountain, I’ve had a good run with dramas in the past few months. On the non-Asian drama side, I thoroughly enjoyed WandaVision series and am curious to see how it ties in with the next Dr. Strange movie. I’m following Loki now though it’s not capturing my attention as much.

Back to Asian drama … first off we have The Imperial Coroner 御赐小仵作, a small production which surprised many people with the strong script and proving once again that a story is ultimately what attracts real audience (not just fans of the stars who blindly support). We finally have a drama where people actually work! People communicate with each other! Characters that are supposed to be ‘clever’ actually demonstrate their intelligence! If you are a fan of detective stories this is definitely one to check one though I must acknowledge that as much as I affirm the drama, it didn’t elicit a strong emotional response from me. Given how common it is in idol dramas these days where toxic behavior is packaged as ‘romantic’, I’m very appreciative of how Imperial Coroner shows what positive, healthy relationships looks like, both romantic and platonic, between friends and within the family. On the flip side, the drama tension is driven mostly by the plotting done by the two villains and not the internal struggles faced by the main characters. Not saying it’s a flaw for The Imperial Coroner, because for the purpose of this particular story that’s not its focus and I was happy watching the OT5 work with gusto but it didn’t move me on an emotional level. All that said, I’m still giving it a 5 star recommendation!

Then out of the blue The Eternal Love 3 双世宠妃 3 dropped! If you scroll a few posts down you’ll see my last post on it back in 2017. It was a budget silly romcom which I enjoyed tremendously but even then I’m amazed they kept it up for 3 seasons. I saw a comment that said something like we’re already on season 3 but Yuwen Yue is still freezing in the river (those who watched Princess Agent will get the joke lol). Yes indeed, it’s more of the same type of comedy with nicer costumes and larger sets and while I don’t feel the urge to binge watch it like I did with the original, it’s something fun to watch while having dinner. I only watched a few episodes of S2 cos it had 2 Mo Lian Chengs from different timelines and the plot had MLC from S1 disguise himself so another actor played that character and I just wasn’t used to seeing not-Xing Zhao Lin romance Liang Jie. Fortunately in S3 we have the same actor pairing back again and I also rather enjoy seeing Liang Jie play both the fun Xiao Tan and the more serious Empress character. This will all make no sense if you haven’t been following the fantastical world of The Eternal Love haa, but hey, if you ever feel like just being a bit silly, you can start with the first season!

I checked out Ugly Beauty 皮囊之下 briefly too but the story pacing and acting was a bit grating in the initial episodes. The setup is interesting though so I will probably pick it up again when I run out of dramas to watch.

And finally! The drama which prompted me to start writing this post in the first place before I got side tracked: Love and Destiny 宸汐缘 (I’ve mentioned this before but C-dramas need better English titles and stop with the Love Love Love). I’ll make a separate post (if I don’t get lazy) that goes into more detail, but for me this was kinda like the opposite of Imperial Coroner. The xianxia (fantasy) genre isn’t something I fancied to start with and the plot for LAD is pretty standard as far as xianxia drama goes but boy oh boy, the acting from the two main leads was SO GOOD that they had me invested in the OTP. And really, I suppose that’s the magic of dramas, that they can transport you into a different world to laugh and cry with fictional characters. I binged watch 60 episodes of LAD in one week (!! ok but I admit I fastforwarded a lot of side plot) and have already started to re-watch just the OTP parts. XD

Word of Honor – reaction translation

12 May

I’ve been watching various reactions to Word of Honor and have recently come across one by Sang Sang and Ah Yi (桑桑和阿一) where Sang Sang laoshi is a psychologist/therapist. She is able to take note of many small details/characters and logically analyze the hidden plot threads while I was just hyperventilating over WKX half the time on my first watch of WoH lol. I really like the analysis of the psychology of the characters that she does at the end of each 2 episode viewing, so I’ve translated those below for more WoH fans to enjoy. I won’t be doing a word by word translation and will sometimes summarize the points raised. And of course this is a non-professional translation (expressions may be stilted) so any corrections are welcomed!

They have released up to ep11 so far. I will update the translations periodically when I have time to translate. Here’s starting off with ep1-4!

Full episode reaction on Youku

Summary comments on Bilibili

Ep1-2

ZZS: We see his change in status from leader of Tian Chuang to a beggar. He left an environment where he felt stressed and emotional pressure.

When you say you feel stressed, there’s a tendency to look for a specific event as the source of your stress, but you should also consider if it’s the general environment that you are in that is causing the stress.

Outwardly it would appear that beggar ZZS no longer holds the power he once had, but the change in ZZS’s psychological state is evident in the first couple of episodes. He was cold and aloof, his smiles are not smiles and his cries are not cries. But as a beggar he could smile and say he wouldn’t even change this to be the emperor. This is ZZS actively removing himself from an environment that’s causing him stress and improving his state of mind.

WKX: Currently I’m more interested in WKX. We can tell from various details that WKX is in fact the Ghost Valley Master, but outside of the Ghost Valley, he presents himself as a gentleman and takes an unusually deep interest in ZZS.

WKX has not exhibited much of himself so far. The main trait he displayed so far is indifference. He is not interested in the people around him. For example at the run down temple when the boatman died and Cheng Ling/ZZS was visibly upset or affected, WKX appeared to be happy instead. It’s possible WKX was happy at ZZS staying at the temple for the night, thus giving him the opportunity to find out more about ZZS.

General comments: Too many slow-mo fighting scenes, but we can see the old wuxia vibe from the overall presentation of the story.

Ep3-4

ZZS: ZZS went from being a lone beggar to having WKX and Cheng Ling around and went through a few events together.

Some of ZZS’s traits that were displayed in these couple of episodes:

嘴硬心软 Harsh in speech but soft in heart. We can tell this from his interaction with Cheng Ling.

清醒独立 Cleared minded and independent. From WKX blowing the Bodhi mediation song for him at the riverside, ZZS made a judgement on WKX’s character and he has confidence in such judgement he made.

自信要强** Refusing Cheng Ling’s help in wiping blood from his mouth after his internal injuries acted up in the fight with Beggar Sect.

**要强: I have trouble succinctly translating this word. Yao Qiang literally means ‘want (to be) strong’. It seems to be mostly translated as ‘competitive’ but it encompasses the idea of being a perfectionist and not wanting to appear lacking/weak in front of others. Which… yea, it’s our ZZS.

WKX:

体贴周到 Thoughtful and attentive

执着敏感 Stubborn and sensitive. He keeps following and testing ZZS.

很会察言观色 Observant. WKX can easily pick up ZZS’s change in emotions

有谋略 We can tell WKX is plotting something

反差明显 crosses between his 2 identities in front of difference audience. We can tell there’s a lot of complexity in him that will likely be explored in later episodes.

Change in WKX/ZZS’s relationship:

They started off testing and guarding against each other in ep1-2 but in ep3-4 they went through various sudden events which prompted the change in their relationship. ZZS is actually the one initiating this change. ZZS has visibly let his guard down against WKX, whether it be from his own judgement of WKX’s character or from going through those event together. And ZZS being less guarded around WKX gives WKX the space to push forward in the relationship.

I noticed in ep1-2 that both times ZZS killed someone, he used his sword to block the blood from splattering onto himself. And in ep3-4, WKX also displayed this similar detail when he looked at the blood on his hands in disgust after killing the Beggar Sect and immediately washed it off.

I feel that the character set up of ZZS / WKX are being linked by some subtle similarities. What’s interesting is that they are supposed to be characters that are used to killing people but on such detail (getting blood on themselves) which they should be used to, they display a non-acceptance of their actions. In modern terms it’s 自我认同障碍 (not sure what is the scientific expression, it means they have trouble reconciling with their self identity). The characters will need to have with more conversations with themselves and with each other.

General:

The pacing is faster and many different sects have shown up. Shen Shen is one of the more interesting characters I’ve seen. His martial art skills should be pretty good, but he is more simple minded and rash in actions. And for Zhao Jing which appeared at the end of ep4, he looks to be rather thoughtful. I’m not sure how he will develop in the later episodes but I can feel that he will be a crucial character.

Word of Honor – still on the mountain!

25 Apr

Word of Honor is such an interesting case where the drama continues to live on even after it finishes airing. Besides the main leads Gong Jun and Zhang Zhehan going on various variety shows / interviews (which typically is done before and during the drama to promote it?? But then I guess the media outlets are cashing in late after WoH blew up), there’s the endless behind-the-scenes / cut version of certain scenes being released steadily by Youku. I have to give it to their marketing team. Especially on releasing the cut version of some scenes by packaging it as a behind-the-scenes thing I presume it doesn’t have to go through censorship but fans like me can still incorporate those scenes into our version of WoH living in our head, and it wouldn’t affect the officially release version of the drama which continues to appeal to a wider audience by keeping some things less visually explicit between WKX / ZZH (although … the whole drama is really them saying I love you without uttering those exact words).

Then there’s GJ and ZZH being super cute in their real life interaction. ❤ The closest I ever came to shipping 2 celebrities in real life was the Adam couple (Jo Kown / Ga-in) in We Got Married years ago but obviously that went no where hahaah, so I’m very clear minded when it comes to shipping real people, or really when it comes to fangirling any celebrities in general. We see what they show us, and we see what we want to see. So I have fun with the memes and go heart eyes when they interact with / mention each other but well, eventually they will move on to other projects and on-screen partners. I will just appreciate and applaud them from afar for their great partnership in and out of the drama.

Keeping some links here of analysis posts and fanvids that I like. Unfortunately they are all in Chinese 😦

Updated on 22 May 2021

Articles

山河令,一个写给成年人的爱情童话 (Word of Honor, a love fairytale for adults)

婚姻咨询师:周子舒的知己只有张哲瀚?阿絮无人疼被辜负?深度分析两性视角差异,带你与酒桌解密和知己线和解,愿我们都成为更好的自己 (From a marriage counselor: only ZZH knows ZZS? No one cares about Ah Xu being let down?)

婚姻咨询师带你吃刀嗑糖:为什么韩英的结局已经注定?从创伤的角度,聊一聊双向救赎 (From marriage counselor: Why is Han Ying’s destined for his ending? Discussing two way redemption from the angle of trauma)

Reaction / Commentary videos

五彩哥哥 :看哥哥们真情实感的追剧!Partially English subbed reaction of 5 Straight Guys

高冷人设不崩 : 听直男高输出吐槽,各种脑洞大开,不亦乐乎!不喜勿看。

桑桑和阿一 : 桑桑老师逻辑帝!!

橘子是沃特: 剧评和人物志大推

山河令加长 | 全剧70组闭环台词,这是圆规成精吧!! : 每看必哭,真的佩服编剧把他们的感情圆得那么完美。

Fan MVs

鬼开心 vs 人开心

A super cute and accurate lyrics for WKX and ZZS set to the same adorable tune!

老温眼里全员都是狐狸精

I watch this when I need a laugh haha… it’s amazing how fans can fit the mouth shape of the actors in various scene to look like they are actually singing this song about WKX complaining about ZZS flirting with all these vixens surrounding him XD

山河令 《山 神 降 临》

There’s been many many great fan MVs made for WoH but of those I’ve seen so far, this is my favourite. I’ve not heard of this song prior to this fan MV but the lyrics are so beautiful and fitting for WenZhou.

我在红尘等你 人间等你 守繁华之外

揽尽星辰入怀 千川归来 化一片沧海

我在九幽等你 极乐等你 望彼岸花开

长对三生浮白 不畏不改 渡过去将来

— — —

A tip for non-Chinese speakers watching clips on the Chinese platform Bilibili, click on this tiny blue button at the bottom of the video to grey it out to turn off the on-screen comments.

Word of Honor – Light Chaser

4 Apr

Ahhh… still not out of the WoH pit! How can I be when Youku is still stringing us along with the behind-the-scenes clips filled with thought, laughter, sugar and subtle knives? I’m also slowly re-watching WoH together with this reaction series with 5 (occasionally 4) guys and they have some super funny comments.

Beauty Ghost giving her work report to WKX

In Ep11 where Ah Xu’s internal injuries act up and WKX hastily moves over to transfer some energy to him.

Guy in white: Can’t WKX just play the flute?

Guy in green: Playing the flute is like wifi, it’s wireless. This is plugging in the internet cable, the transfer is faster!

Guy in white agreeing: Efficiency is more important in such critical time

They are up to ep12 and I can’t imagine their reaction when all the big knives start coming out in later episodes. Unfortunately it’s all in Chinese… but if you do understand Chinese definitely do check them out!

Re-watching this again reminded me of how I was lured into the world of WoH by our crazy beauty WKX and his shameless flirting, but I ended up a sobbing mess by the end at how Ah Xu and Lao Wen save each other. To be very honest, my heart leans towards WKX. His earlier brazen antics are just his shield against the world and as he slowly falls for Ah Xu, you can see him getting softer and smaller around Ah Xu. IMO the turning point was in ep12 when WKX realizes that Ah Xu believes he is / can be a good person. WKX had no qualms about burning with the world to get vengeance for his parents because what does it matter even if he dies? What value is there living as this half person half ghost? It is exactly because WKX had a heart, he had a family, he had love that he despises the person that he had become even more. But here someone is telling him, no, there is a path back, there is good in you.

I see the good in you.

I see you.

That’s why WKX keeps struggling with hiding his identity because while ZZS keeps reassuring WKX through words and actions, there’s always a part of WKX that believes he is not worthy of someone like ZZS. The greater his desire for light, the greater his fear of rejection.

I’ve seen some viewers go as far as to say that in the last episode WKX was disrespecting ZZS by intending to sacrifice his life for ZZS, because ZZS would hate for someone else to give up their life for this, and ZZS wanted to live free instead of being trapped in the cold mountain. Now, regardless of what you think of the plot’s progression that led to this point in the story, there is just no other way that WKX would’ve chosen. WKX literally cannot live without Ah Xu and in his mind obviously he must give Ah Xu a chance at life. Ah Xu has Cheng Ling, has Qi Ye, has Da Wu, has a host of Four Season Manor disciples waiting for him. Someone will take care of Ah Xu, someone will make Ah Xu smile again. But WKX without his Ah Xu is nothing.

So really, I cannot blame WKX for not fully comprehending how much he means to ZZS because he hasn’t been loved and treasured since his parents died. While he received some human touch from Gu Xiang and maybe even Luo Yi in his formative years, how can he not be emotionally stunted from growing up in the Ghost Valley?

I’ve always thought of the song Light Chaser 追光者 (lyrics translation) when seeing WKX look at Ah Xu, and indeed someone has made a fan MV!

你看我多么渺小一个我

因为你有梦可做

也许你不会为我停留

那就让我站在你的背后

Word of Honor – to have your heart as mine

27 Mar

My thoughts and feelings have been all over the place since I finished Word of Honor so don’t mind me just throwing out anything that comes to mind in this space. Head over to Lovefia’s post for a more coherent review of the drama!

What a ride is has been with WoH, from the initial crazy fangirling at Wen Ke Xing’s shameless flirting, to slowly getting drawn into the game of cat and mouse between the jianghu players plotting against each other, and of course journeying with Lao Wen and Ah Xu as they found light and redemption from their past in each other. Maybe the bar had been set so low for drama watching that I would have been perfectly happy with being entertained by beautiful people flirting and falling in love for 36 episodes, plot or no plot. I mean, I fast-forwarded half of Under the Power 锦衣之下 and the main couple did put a smile on my face whenever they appeared and I had no complaints about that. But but but. WoH came out of nowhere to prove that good storytelling can happen, that characters can be alive! It’s made even all the more precious knowing the restrictions the production faced from their scheduling being thrown off by Covid, lack of budget, to censorship constrains given its BL origins.

It wasn’t a perfect drama and valid criticisms were made for some later episodes but for me, the world and character/relationship build up to that point have been sufficient for me to understand WKX/ZZS to fill in the blanks where the drama isn’t explicit in showing and… I’d say that’s job well done enough. I saw a number of viewers being angry and disappointed by ep31-36, and that’s fine. Drama watching is a subjective affair after all, coloured by the viewer’s experiences and expectations so I can only say I’m personally happy with WoH in its entirety, and grateful that this production with a heart wasn’t axed by the censorship board midway!

There’s 2 parts to the ep31-36 discussion. One, the way the story was presented on screen, and second, the actual plot points/development. Great care had been taken to slowly develop WKX/ZZS’s relationship up to ep30 and the plot just reached a new tension height with ZZS taken by Prince Jin, so naturally audiences were holding their breath to see how Lao Wen would lose his mind to save his Ah Xu. And… it was kinda anti climatic? I don’t have a problem with the scene in itself, I was of course swooning at WKX literally flying in with all his Demon Valley Master glory and snark to chase Duan Peng Ju away and bowing in front of Ah Xu without hesitation as his shidi. But the lack of follow up to that build up really threw me off and 31-32 was just jammed full of plot movement while not giving enough visual cues to link the various scenes together. I appreciate that WoH is a drama that leans towards showing instead of telling (we need more of that in dramaland!), but 31-32 was a lot of half showing and not telling which made me constantly go huh?? When did that happen? We will never know what went on behind the scenes that resulted in the jarring ep31-32, I can only guess that the production had to force 40+ episodes worth of content into 36 due to resource limitations and they had to fastforward the plot themselves!

Moving on to the second point, a good number of viewers are unhappy about WKX keeping ZZS in the dark about his fake!death plan which led to ZZS suicidally forcing out his nails, and by extension feeling that ZZS got the short end of the stick in this relationship given the subsequent developments. Would it have been healthy communication 101 for WKX to discuss his plans with ZZS? Sure, but our boy WKX is not known as Psycho Wen without reason and as much as ZZS has guided him on the path back to the human world, he has behind him years worth of emotional baggage and trauma. It’s partially the fault of the editing / visual presentation of plot mentioned above that makes it unclear on first viewing how much time passed between WKX/ZZS parting and WKX ‘coming back from the dead’, but going by WKX’s original plan, it should be a 1-2 day project and ZZS should still be recuperating in peace when WKX returns in his ‘human form’. It wouldn’t be out of character to me for WKX to want to do this by himself and wrap the result in a bow to present to ZZS. I can almost imagine WKX standing there proud as a peacock going ‘Look Ma Ah Xu! I did this all by myself!’ It has always been his dream to stand in front of his Ah Xu as a ‘clean’ person. As much as ZZS repeatedly showed and told him that he is loved completely and unreservedly as he is, it is WKX himself that is rejecting his own past, and therefore fears that ZZS would reject him the same way like what he tells ZZS in that (SO PERFECT) hugging scene in ep34.

And as with life, things often don’t go the way you plan even with the best of intentions and WKX returns victorious to his Ah Xu who is now going to die in days instead. 不合时宜 – untimely, it’s how WKX described his life. Always so near yet so far, and it has once again taken an untimely turn through this time it’s ZZS bearing the brunt of it. Yet, they still found something precious in return. The encounter with Ye Baiye has shown WKX that ZZS is 120% on his side but I don’t think he truly comprehended the lengths that ZZS would go to for him until he saw ZZS jumping off the cliff after him with no hesitation. And for ZZS, he sampled the immeasurable grief and rage that burned within WKX from the death of his parents. Yes, untimely indeed, but even through that their understanding of each other was deepened.

It’s hard not to feel for ZZS post ep33 knowing that he made such a big sacrifice over a lie, but even as ZZS griefs silently over the lost dreams and possibilities, he is truly happy for WKX. ZZS regrets how things turned out but I don’t think he regrets doing what he did. It is what it is. ZZS accepted it, and so do I.

As for some viewers being upset over WKX apparently not doing enough for ZZS, I can only say that love is not a neat 50/50 split in giving and receiving the exact same things. ZZS is WKX’s light, and I’d like to think that WKX is ZZS’s warmth. ZZS left Tian Chuang as a man disillusioned with the world, a lone wanderer in this vast jianghu counting down his days on earth. But then WKX happened and ZZS found a person to drink with, a person that calls him Ah Xu Ah Xu Ah Xu incessantly, a person that makes him feel that living can be such a good thing.

After finding out about ZZS’s nail situation, WKX accepts ZZS’s attitude about not wanting to be treated at the cost of losing his skills but he constantly keeps this at the back of his mind and asks about treating Ah Xu whenever there appears to be a chance. Later when they returned to the Four Seasons Manor, WKX literally cooked and cleaned for Ah Xu! XD Oh yes, when they fell off the bridge at Long Yuan Ge it was also implied that WKX used his body to break the fall for his Ah Xu. These are all kept in ZZS’s heart, hence he can say confidently to WKX, I don’t know when you are coming, how you are coming, but I know you will come. I don’t believe ZZS ever felt he was loved less by WKX, in fact I think ZZS felt equal parts joy in loving WKX and being loved in return.

And therein lies the beauty of WoH for me.

相见恨晚幸未晚 幸得君心似我心

Image

Word of Honor musings

4 Mar

Ah, Word of Honor 山河令 . It’s been a while since a drama got me fangirling this hard, enough to get me writing again! If you aren’t watching it yet, head over to AvenueX’s video to get a summary of what the fuss is all about.

Leading man Wen Ke Xing had me hooked from the first moment he appeared, with his charming smile and shameless flirting with our other leading man Zhou Zi Xu. While he has me all heart eyes over the 10 episodes I have watched so far, the appeal of WoH for me is more than that. It’s been a long time since I had a good ol’ wuxia drama that is not yet another remake of Louis Cha’s novel. 仙侠 xian xia (genre featuring magic / deities / demons etc) has been pretty popular in the last few years, why so hard to give me more wuxia?? Ancient Detective 侠探简不知 was a pretty decent effort considering their budget constraints, though it was held back somewhat by lead couple’s acting and their relationship got a bit meh towards the end after a strong start. And my Listening Snow Tower 听雪楼 … sigh. I really enjoyed the novel collection (I even loved the novel sequel which book fans seem to hate on lol) but in the drama adaptation, the scriptwriter changed the female lead set up so much she was practically a different person and I couldn’t bear to watch the drama. Anyway, point is WoH is giving me a new jianghu to indulge in as we uncover WKX’s plan but by bit.

In terms of the characters, if the online comments are to go by everyone is losing their minds fangirling over WKX and his Ah Xu, and who could blame them? Haa, but I also love WKX’s relationship with Gu Xiang. We haven’t gotten the back story to their history in the ghost valley, but while WKX controls the rest of the ‘ghosts’ by fear, he clearly has a close and trusting relationship with Gu Xiang. If they hadn’t cross paths with ZZX, it would have been them against the world in the execution of WKX’s revenge plan and I’m glad at least WKX had the faithful Ah Xiang by his side all those years before.

While they are technically master and servant, he indulges her whims and gets big brother protective when he sees her with another guy haha.

Do you think I’m crazy? Aren’t you scared I’ll go crazy one day and kill you?

I’ll follow you even if you’re crazy. And if you kill me, I’ll follow you as a ghost!

They have probably walked a long and difficult path together to get where they are today, and Ah Xiang has embraced her master for all of his beautiful façade and hidden demons.

But for all that Ah Xiang is to WKX, she is not his equal. For that, we have ZZX.

Looking forward to see their relationship develop as more secrets come to light and for these two lost souls to find their redemption together.

Watch Word of Honor here with Eng Subs! It pains me a little to spell ‘honor’ the American way but most people are spelling it that way so … XD

Thai dramas finally airing in Singapore!

19 Apr

Hey guys, hope everyone is doing well under the current Covid19 circumstances. I’ve been staying at home mostly since the start of the ‘circuit breaker’ in Singapore and have lots more free time during the weekends since no more meet ups outside! The drama front has been kinda meh for me, I ended up re-reading an old copy of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ I found at home last weekend, and this week I’ve started on the Chinese web novel ‘Chenghua Fourteen Years’ (成化十四年). It’s a detective novel set in the Ming dynasty and while it’s technically a ‘BL (boys love)’ novel, the love line between the OTP is pretty subtle and focus is still on the cases and sleuthing skills of the main character. The current airing Cdrama ‘The Sleuth of Ming Dynasty’ is based on this novel (which was how I found out about it) but reviews of the drama thus far have criticized the scriptwriting so I’ll leave it for now unless the tide turns for it like how it went for ‘The Untamed’.

In other news, Thai dramas are finally on Singapore’s free to air TV channels! It’s been what, 10 years since I started watching lakorns but it’s remain a pretty niche drama choice in Singapore, I don’t even know anyone personally in real life that watches it! Please do leave a comment below if you are a fellow Singaporean who enjoys watching lakorns!

I saw an ad for ‘Buppae Saniwaat (Love Destiny)’ airing on Channel U, I think it’s the weekday 9pm slot? Hopefully this means more lakorns to come on prime time slots. Mediacorp (SG’s official broadcaster) has some tie up with another entertainment company and now has a few lakorns on their free streaming site. The choices don’t look super updated? But guess we gotta start somewhere.

mwl

Maybe it’s time to start poking around for new dramas to watch and get this blog active again! Please send your recommendations my way!

The Eternal Love 双世宠妃

19 Sep

So I ended up dropping Cheewit Puer Kah Huajai Puer Tur after ep8 cos as delicious as Jespipat was as Wayu, I found it hard to believe that Rin could fall in love with him so easily when she barely knew the guy. I re-watched a few old lakorns instead and wonder if it’s a sign that I’ve been watching lakorns for too long when I think they don’t make lakorns like they used to. lol

the-eternal-love

After starting and stopping on a few new dramas, I finally found one which I couldn’t stop watching. The Eternal Love 双世宠妃 – not to be confused with Eternal Love aka Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花, gawd cdramas need less repetitive English titles – is a low budget web drama with a very Mary Sue-ish plot and starring new faces. Doesn’t sound like much but it all came together to form a very addicting show … kinda like opening a giant bag of potato chips, once you start you can’t stop. If you’ve watched Go, Princess Go! 太子妃升职记, The Eternal Love is pretty much in the same vein. While both are about time travel, they each have their own unique spin on it. GPG had a guy who ended up in the body of a crown prince’s consort after travelling through time, while in TEL, a modern lady travels back in time and wakes up as Qu Tan Er in ancient China but the original consciousness of the body she now inhibits is still present, so we have 2 souls sharing the same body! This set up is not spelt out upfront and since I didn’t read the synopsis before starting the drama, I got a bit confused initially but it was easy enough to pick up after one ep. Zhang Tian Ai wowed me at first sight in GPG (she was so perfect as Zhang Peng Peng I feel her performance alone warrants watching GPG) but I was mildly irritated by Liang Jie in the first few episodes especially when she’s playing Xiao Tan who’s from the modern era. It’s surely not easy playing 2 different characters in the same drama and maybe that’s why she plays up the differences by making Xiao Tan very brash but it feels a bit forced? That said, I got used to how the characters were presented after a while and thanks to the love story developing at lightning speed, I was soon swooning over the oh-so-sweet main couple and was ready to ignore everything else. There were so many real kisses omg! and save for a short misunderstanding, the OTP’s love was unwavering. After the head banging experience watching Yu Wen Yue and Chu Qiao in Princess Agents ALMOST GETTING THERE BUT NEVERRRR FOR 58 EPISODES, this was such a joy to watch. TEL’s male lead Mo Lian Cheng is played by Xing Zhao Lin who also acted as Yue Qi in PA and it was hilarious reading the many comments asking ‘Yue Qi’  to go teach his master Yu Wen Yue some moves on how to get the girl.   Continue reading

A love to die for

23 Aug

I struggled through a couple more episodes of Fun Rak Fun Salai but with the various relationships making less and less sense, I finally decided to throw in the towel for this one. It’s a shame really, FRFS had potential but it sputtered out after a promising start. Anyhow, I have plenty of lakorns to catch up on since I was pretty out of touch for the last couple of years so I’ve now started on Cheewit Puer Kah Huajai Puer Tur.

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Jespipat plays Wayu, a reticent hitman with a bartending day(night) job who feeds pigeons in his spare time when he’s not out there shooting people for cash. As of ep3 we are not privy to Wayu’s past and what led him to this lifestyle but money is clearly not the motivator as he only takes enough for his living expenses and has his boss save the rest of his cut. Contract killing appears to be the only life he knows, and it’s a reclusive if occasionally violent one he leads.

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On one of his regular pigeon-feeding trips at the park, Wayu meets Rin, a girl whose sketching session of the pigeons was disturbed by him throwing bird feed in their midst. Rin, a cheerful and sociable girl strikes up conversation with Wayu and as they meet again in the following days, she is like a warm breeze that has unknowingly started to blow into his cold heart. Unbeknownst to Wayu, Rin is actually the daughter of Thanatat (Willy), a drug lord and a regular patron of his services and only finds out when he sees her at the scene of his next hit. I don’t have time to delve into all the plotty bits (need to catch up on more ep!) but as of ep3 Wayu and Rin haven’t gone Romeo and Juliet yet since they are technically on the same side (for now) … only slight problem being Rin has no idea of either Wayu or her father’s actual ‘occupation’.  Continue reading

Fun Rak Fun Salai 7 – 18

9 Aug

After Pakorn brings Meili home, we get to see them interact as individuals instead of police vs illegal immigrant.  Meili slowly realises that Pakorn sincerely intends to help her achieve her goal of going to America while Pakorn starts to see her as Meili the person with her hopes and dreams instead of another illegal immigrant to send home. And of course I have to thank ep8 for this scene.

Does it add anything significant to the progress of their relationship except to dazzle Meili with his pecs? hmm, not really? And Meili doesn’t even notice Pakorn’s bod unlike me lol but it was a nice moment.

Worried that habouring an illegal immigrant will destroy her son’s career, Pakorn’s mom sent Meili packing while he was away at work and she wanders the streets lost and afraid, calling the only other person in this world she could depend on, my dear sweet Chang. I liked how the shots framed Meili against the towering sky scrapers behind her, surrounded by prosperity in this city yet here she was alone with only the clothes on her back and a bit of cash in hand with no where to go nor return to.

That said, by now I could not help feeling sad for Chang cos Meili barely thought of him while she was safe at Pakorn’s house. Yea, the very first night she thought of using Pakorn’s phone to contact Chang but she didn’t exactly try very hard and she didn’t attempt to do so again until she got kicked out. Meili is definitely very grateful towards Chang but it’s clear one means more to the other, no prizes for guessing who.

I really enjoyed FRFS up till ep8 and thought the plot/character setting was a refreshingly different one but unfortunately it gets progressively shaky from there. It’s not bad bad but there’s not enough development in the characters or their relationships for the next 10 episodes to get me behind them. I wasn’t expecting Meili’s time with Pakorn to be so short. Meili probably stayed for a week at most? Then she goes back to Chang and we start all over again. Then after Captain Wu catches up with Chang and shoots him, she goes back to Pakorn’s house and he’s swearing eternal love? Granted he witnessed her breaking down and attempting to kill herself after hearing news of her family’s death and I’m sure that ellicited an outpouring of sympathy but immediately after that we got the love declaration and a willing? And the next morning Pakorn decides to marry Meili!

From how the story played out, I’m not convinced of deeper feelings between them beyond sympathy from Pakorn and gratefulness from Meili. I actually feel more for Chang’s wholehearted devotion to protecting and caring for Meili despite having so little himself, it’s more believable if they ended up together. It was a pity so much screen time was wasted on Om being a stalker and Captain Wu chasing Chang and Meili around instead of giving Pakorn/Meili the necessary development in their relationship.

Speaking of Om, she’s the no.1 nonsensical character here. She goes from wanting to quit because boohoo Captain Pakorn wasn’t nice to me to suddenly, SUDDENLY crushing so hard on him that she secretly follows him (multiple times!!) to see who he is with and her only purpose from then on seems to be to get Pakorn. I don’t have a problem with her liking Pakorn (I like Gade, Parkorn’s neighbour who’s also crushing on him) but it came out of the left field with no apparent reason and the way she went about it was so annoying and disturbing. Oh, the other villain Captain Wu from Meili’s hometown was unexpectedly killed by Pakorn. I never did figure out what why/how he was able to terrorize the town like he did and why he was so intent on catching Chang & co.

Pakorn’s mom didn’t exactly jump for joy at his decision to marry Meili so they moved to an apartment while sorting out Meili’s documents (I think) … and voila, she gets a perm job overnight when she supposedly does not leave the apartment at all to avoid getting caught.

I’m not sure how many more ep FRFS has to go and I’ll probably see it to the end considering I’ve made it this far but by now I’m not holding my breath.