[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 7 2018/01/21,
Prepare for another round of "Does he or doesn't he", as "A Korean Odyssey" continues to struggle with its lack of a main plot or any significant progress in character and world development. Episode seven is slower than usual and the creators are unfortunately back to treating the main romance as a conventional one, this time dangling the carrot of a love triangle with someone we do not even know,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 6 2018/01/16,
Ask and you shall receive, and although "A Korean Odyssey" is still dawdling on and regurgitating a lot of its key concepts this time around, there is at least one major point of progress in the ever so shaky thing that is its main romance. Ma-wang is feeling the burn of his little tasting and we are slowly discovering some connections made by our self-centered group of supernatural misfits,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 5 2018/01/15,
Seon-mi's burdens keep multiplying, as something happens to put our previously detached Bull Demon King in a much more invested position. After the big revelation of our heroine's mission, "A Korean Odyssey" takes a step back to look at her unique connection to Oh-gong. While the nature of this fake bond has been there for us to see, it is starting to dawn on Seon-mi that her needs tend to feed a dangerous and painful delusion of closeness on her end,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 4 2018/01/08,
Well, I asked for a main story and for Seon-mi's purpose in it, and episode four of "A Korean Odyssey" delivers. It turns out that our heroine has a much heavier burden to bear than expected and she needs her group of merry monsters to help her carry it. Seon-mi starts bonding with the group, but the reality of Oh-gong's forced connection to her leaves her feeling lonely as a challenging future approaches,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 3 2018/01/07, "A Korean Odyssey" is back this week and although the messy production and the injury that was caused due to it should never be forgotten or treated lightly, it looks like enough measures have been taken to keep the related authorities pleased for now. Story-wise, we are starting to get hints about the why of it all and the role of Seon-mi's fate in it, but we also meet new characters and backstories,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 2 2017/12/26,
The plot thickens and by that I mean the new ways in which every character here tries to backstab one another. This is the only story to speak of at the moment and while the romance is apparently getting started, we still do not know what role Seon-mi's existence as Sam Jang will play. "A Korean Odyssey" (also known as "Hwayugi) is fun in a cheesy way, but we need more story and it has to come soon,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 1 2017/12/25,
It has been a while since the Hong sisters were in any way exciting and while "A Korean Odyssey" (also known as "Hwayugi") is not exactly wowing with its first episode, the drama presents the workings of what could be a really fun story. We have a case of every man and beastie for themselves, as we meet a lot of characters, none of them anything but self-serving and with some pretty hefty behavioral and personality issues. I pity our heroine already,...More
Korean drama of the week "Master's Sun" 2015/11/26, Source,
Korean drama of the week "Master's Sun" (2013) Directed by Jin Hyeok Written by Hong Jeong-eun, Hong Mi-ran Network : SBS With So Ji-sub, Gong Hyo-jin, Seo In-guk, Kim Yoo-ri-I, Choi Jung-woo, Kim Mi-kyung,... 17 episodes - Wed, Thu 22:00 Synopsis The Hong Sisters, famed romantic-comedy screenwriters, flirt with horror in this unique take on opposites. Joo Joong-won (So Ji-sub) is a rapacious CEO who is only concerned about money. His secretary, Tae Gong-sil (Gong Hyo-jin) is a dark and reticent insomniac who is burdened with the ability to see ghosts. Joong-won and Gong-sil are an unlikely duo in every regard, but they share one thing in common: they are both intensely crippled personalities that need a lot of help. Can the money hungry Joong-won recognize priorities beyond the dollar sign, and can the lonely Gong-sil ever live a life without fear? Together, strange as it may be, it's possible in this unique dance between yin and yang,...More
Korean drama of the week "My Girl" 2015/06/04, Source,
Korean drama of the week "My Girl" (2005) Directed by Jeon Ki-sang Written by Hong Jeong-eun, Hong Mi-ran Network : SBS With Lee Da-hae, Lee Dong-wook, Park Si-yeon, Lee Joon-gi, Jo Kye-hyeong, Hwang Bo-ra,... 16 episodes - Wed, Thu 21:55 Synopsis Contract marriage? The couple won't live in the same room. In the end, they actually will anyway. Contract dating? Why be shy when you're going to date anyways? What? Contract siblings? That is quite something if you ask me. However, there is one bizarre contract between two couples. Her major is creative writing (overflowing with lies), double majoring in acting (nice looking face with exceptional acting skills), minor major in broadcast entertainment (wonderful showmanship with quick agility of wit),...More
[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Warm and Cozy" 2015/05/23,
There is great pressure to deliver when it comes to people's favorite pastime, especially from creators who have raised the bar. Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran have been creating the same type of romantic comedy shows for years, which means viewers mostly know what to expect from them for their entertainment. "Warm and Cozy" is an old school romantic comedy at a time when those are no longer popular, but it stays true to its nostalgic nature as light entertainment,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Warm and Cozy" 2015/05/09, Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran are among the most beloved Korean drama writers, especially for foreign fans. Their romantic comedies offer star power and successful pairings, lively and unique characters and a writing style many love. Despite a few bumps along the way, their shows are entertaining and well received. Their latest installment is "Warm and Cozy", a phrase which will hopefully describe viewer sentiment throughout,...More
[HanCinema's Column] Strong Drama Women - The Examples 2013/12/07,
In the two previous pieces of the 'Strong Drama Women' trio, 'The Norm' and 'The Definition', I talked about how problematic and limiting the portrayals of women often are in Korean drama, with the rom-com drama being my main focus. When it is the genre most watched by and intended for women, it is surprising to see how little it sometimes thinks of them. But in my second piece, I talked about the existence of hope. And hope is here,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic Couple" 2013/11/15, Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran are names any drama fan would probably know. Having produced hit series time and time again ("My Girl", 'You're Beautiful', 'Master's Sun'), these two ladies are nearly a sure bet for those who like the romantic comedy genre. While not without their problems and mistakes ("Big" mistakes), they are popular and profitable. They are also known for their 'Candy' (a term they themselves seem to love) characters. Poor women finding themselves in the arms of the usual rich and complex-ridden men. With "Fantastic Couple", the Hongs went for a reversal of this, producing what could be their most habit-breaking work,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 17 (finale) 2013/10/07,
"Master's Sun" has completed it's run with no major snafus despite the extension. This finale was a solid bookend to the seventeen-episode run, but as a standalone episode, it was rather blasé. It tied up all loose ends and had neat, happy endings for all. The largest standing problem left to resolve in "Master's Sun" was Gong-shil's ability to see ghosts and how it would resolve. Would her ability disappear after her trip with Lee Chun-hee, or would she learn to live with it? It was an intriguing dilemma because it can be paralleled with real life. And true to real life, Gong-shil's ability did not disappear and she learned to live her life while seeing and helping ghosts. She even used the ability abroad to make money,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 16 2013/10/03,
"Master's Sun" has managed to power through the extension without losing too much steam. The story is rolling along, emotions are strongly felt and no character is left undeveloped. Around this time in a drama, the last few episodes, stories seem to stagnate and spin on their wheels as they wait for their finales. While "Master's Sun" was slower-paced throughout episode 16, it was full of juicy emotional development. Gong-shil is annoying in her insistence that she leave Joong-won to seek out the reason behind her ability to see ghost. However, her reasoning for wanting to leave is solid: she is terrified to hurt him again. These unilateral decisions are frustrating. There are two people in a relationship and decisions should be made after discussion,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 15 2013/09/28,
Tensions come to a head as Joong-won's past is finally sorted out and Gong-shil remains determined to live life independently of Joong-won. While Gong-shil wants to help him resolve the Hee-joo situation, she also is terrified to be involved with him. She doesn't want him to get hurt again. It's a decent reason to sacrifice a relationship and pretend that she doesn't care, but at the same time, noble idiocy is exasperating. The storyline involving Hee-joo's living sister is a bit pedantic. What is more interesting is the effect that the plot thread has on Joong-won, Gong-shil and Joong-won's secretary, Gwi-do. The living sister is actually the real Hee-joo and she framed her twin, Han-na, for the kidnapping,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 14 2013/09/26,
"Master's Sun" episode 14 is a veritable game of cat and mouse. Joong-won desperately attempts to catch avoidant Gong-shil and figure out the truth of their past relationship and the missing time in his memory. In her nobly idiotic attempt to keep him safe from her and her terrifying world, she repeatedly asks him to leave her be, but he doesn't. In fact, he is so persistent that he finally figures out how to regain his memory through a solution that seems a bit too convenient: he has to remember what he lost while he was a spirit. It would have been nice had the solution been more complicated. In any case, once Joong-won remembers, he refuses to let Gong-shil push him away anymore,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 13 2013/09/21,
Because of Cheosok, the autumn festival in Korea, "Master's Sun" only had one episode this week and will be extended to seventeen episodes. Extensions tend to hurt K-dramas in general. This worries me as well as the fact that there are an overabundance of K-drama tropes that came into play during this episode, which now have to be seen to their logical ends,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 12 2013/09/13,
The ending of this episode overshadows the rest of it: Joong-won is stabbed and killed while saving Gong-shil. Then his ghost comes to say he loves her before he disappears; Gong-shil is left sobbing on the ground. It is such a powerful and shocking ending that it's hard to recall the beauty of the Hong sisters' writing from before the death. It's even more surprising because this is the darkest path that they have ever taken in a drama. They killed the hero four episodes before the ending.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 11 2013/09/12,
"Master's Sun" is one of the most refreshingly honest dramas out there. Despite the awkwardness that the characters feel, the way that the writing deals with love, relationships and emotions is forward and incredibly fun. There are weaknesses in the writing and that mostly has to do with the ghost plot threads. But the wonderful depth of the characters in the show more than makes up for it. In this episode, the ghost was the CEO of the competing mall. He his a secret for his entire life: he was a crossdresser. It's a touchy subject and like with the child abuse, the Hong sisters dealt with it quietly and tastefully. The dead CEO's son acknowledges his father's secret and accepts it, which allows his father's spirit to rest. Then he quietly hides the truth from an unaccepting society. It was a great way to bring up the subject, respect it and deal with it according to societal norms,...More
TV dramas use similar names for main characters 2013/09/12, Source,
Jang Tae-san, Jang Tae-joo, Jang Tae-ha
They sound like names for brothers, but they are characters appearing in different TV dramas in Korea. Jang Tae-san (played by Lee Joon-gi) is the main character in MBC TVs Wednesday and Thursday drama series "Two Weeks". He is a fugitive who is mistakenly charged for murder, and struggles to save his daughter. Jang Tae-joo (played by Go Soo) is the main character in SBS TVs Monday and Tuesday drama series "Empire of Gold", and is an ambitious man who seeks a hostile takeover of a chaebol enterprise to take revenge for his father who died due to false allegations.
Jang Tae-ha (played by Park Sang-min) is a character of hard-headed conglomerate owner on MBC TVs weekend drama series Scandal. They come to have similar names because all of them are serious and strong characters, and the screenplay writers sought to pick names suitable for such characters,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 10 2013/09/08,
Silence is the name of the game in episode 10 and it leads to a lot of misunderstandings. Rather than talk things out, the characters bottle things up and make assumptions, which leads to crossed wires, dialogue full of double entendres and moments full of intense chemistry. Joong-won has returned from China with a faux fiancée in tow. Poor Gong-shil, however, thinks the engagement is real and struggles to cope. She considers herself a burden on him and on his future, while he has no intentions of alleviating her anxiety. He instead tries to test her affections for her and seems sure that she does care for him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 9 2013/09/05,
When the truth comes out it can be scary. Kang Woo learns Gong-shil's secret and it terrifies him. Joong-won figures out how he truly feels about Gong-shil and that petrifies him. While Kang Woo seems to accept the truth, Joong-won turns away from it - he gets engaged to another woman. It's a nice juxtaposition to explore between the male leads and one that can sustain through the remaining episodes. They need to choose to be courageous and accept fear and change. They have the choice to be courageous unlike Gong-shil, who is forced to face her fears everyday. Even so, the "safety zone" that Joong-won's touch provides allows Gong-shil to consider change. The truths that ghosts ask her to impart to the living no longer take priority in her life. She now chooses to help the ghosts and to start living her own life outside of fear,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 8 2013/08/31,
"Master's Sun" experienced a large shift in tone, which makes sense at this point in drama time. Usually episode 8 in a sixteen-episode drama brings about a big plot turn. It is also almost always one of the most unpredictable and uneven episodes in dramas because of the need to introduce the new idea that will sustain through the rest of the show. This episode was no exception. It teetered between the lame ghost-story-of-the-day, the developing romance between Joong-won and Gong-shil and focusing on unearthing the truth behind Joong-won's kidnapping,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 7 2013/08/30,
The Hong Sisters have a magical Touch when it comes to combining levity and gravity. This was the strongest episode by far because so much happened, and it was all clear, poignant and moved the story right along. The ghost of the day was in fact a trio of ghosts - abused and neglected children who died with a doll as their only companion. At first the ghostly trio seem to have nefarious intentions, but actuality, they are trying to band together with living children who suffer abuse so that they won't be alone. It is a beautiful thought. The doll is intensely creepy, but it has suffered along with the children and is just as battered as they are,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 6 2013/08/23,
The love quadrangle is in full swing and is hilariously funny in true Hong sisters fashion. They develop their characters along with the romance and the world that Gong-shil lives in through their signature witty repartee. Along with that we get a dose of horror, a lot of cute, and some wicked chemistry. The weakness of the show is still in the horror aspect, but even then they manage to make the ghost's situation highlight the beauty of the relationship the ghost left behind. This episode's ghost is a cameo from man's best friend who stayed loyal even in death to help his distraught master,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 5 2013/08/22,
"Master's Sun" continues to improve. The ghosts are becoming more interesting even though the way they involve themselves with Gong-shil is contrived. But the heart of the story lies with Gong-shil, Joong-won, Kang Woo and even airheaded Yi-ryeong who are developing into wonderful, zany, heartwarming characters.
Gong-shil is a constant source of amusement because she is always flirting with Joong-won and Kang Woo, but her intentions with each man are completely different. She physically needs Joong-won to live. Being with him allows her the most basic of human necessities: sleep,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 4 2013/08/16,
And here we have it, folks. A Hong sisters episode at its best. The story finally hit it's stride and I'm fully invested in it and the characters. Everything that I asked for in the last review was satisfied by this episode - except for the terrible ghost makeup.
Horrible makeup aside, I have to say I loved everything about this episode, including the second female lead, Tae Yi-ryung. Unlike in other shows, the second lead doesn't have an inordinate amount of power to make the female lead feel miserable. Yes, Yi-ryung makes Gong-shil feel embarrassed, but the embarrassment does not give Yi-ryung any real leverage over Gong-shil. It's a welcome change in first and second female lead dynamics,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 3 2013/08/15,
"Master's Sun" is a fun show despite its creepy premise. The Hong sisters are great at delivering solid, fun, and quirky characters while also making these characters loveable. Relationships having always been the Hong Sisters' strong suit. Take the infamous relationship between Ae-jung and Pil-joo from Best Love. It was based in friendship and beautifully, naturally formed. Or the fun-loving friendship between Jeremy and Mi-nam in You're Beautiful - they didn't have a ton of screen time together, but they were still memorable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 2 2013/08/09,
"Master's Sun" is getting stronger and earned it's 1% increase in ratings. It's starting to find it's stride although it's not quite there yet. The Hong Sisters seem to be struggling for a tone that balances the horror with romcom and the mystery. Along with that, they are trying to juggle the pacing and exposure of guest characters and stories. There ended up being too much air time spent on the ghost-of-the-day and not enough on developing the relationships between the main characters. The ghost-of-the-day story could definitely have been cut down and still have been just as interesting and served it's purpose. Despite all that, this episode still held strong and was a fun, enjoyable watch. The ghosts showed marked improvement as well and Jin Hyeok's directorial hand was tighter and more efficient. Only one ghost had horrible makeup that made him look like Heath Ledger's Joker,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 1 2013/08/08,
It's that time of year again. The Hong sisters, Hong Mi-ran and Hong Jeong-eun, are back with a new drama. They are known for their witty dialogue and heartfelt characters like in popular dramas "You're Beautiful" and "The Greatest Love". This summer, along with "City Hunter"'s director Jin Hyeok, they bring us Master's Sun, a horror romcom starring Best Love's Gong Hyo-jin as Tae Gong-shil, a woman who can see terrifying ghosts and loses sleep because of them. Opposite her is the money-loving, dyslexic Joo Joong-won played by the charismatic So Ji-sub. The opening of the show immediately throws you into Gong-shil's world: dark and eerie. She walks through life feeling afraid, which is a very captivating premise. The orchestral accompaniment and creaking sound effects initially add to the mood, but then become overpowering. And then the first ghost appears and it's a CG nightmare,...More
The pleasures of the honeymoon deepen… 2012/07/01, Source,
Drama "Big" by the Hong Sisters (Hong Jeong-eun, Hong Mi-ran) slowly reveals the secret behind Kyeong-joon (Gong Yoo). Kyeong-joon and Da-ran (Lee Min-jung) started living together. Da-ran woke up early in the morning to make breakfast for Kyeong-joon. They became more and more affectionate for each other.
Mari's (Suzy) jealousy also began. She went to their honeymoon house with her baggie. She shows Kyeong-joon a yellow amulet. Will the three of them start living together,...More
Television fans all recognize singer and actor Lee Seung-gi for his perfect guy-next-door image with a sweet smile and attr,...More
[PREVIEW] SBS TV series "My Girlfriend Is Gumiho" (1) 2010/08/05, Source, What to expect from, or worry about, Lee Seung-gi, Shin Min-a and the Hong sisters
Korean actors Lee Seung-gi (left) and Shin Min-a at the press conference for their upcoming TV series "My Girlfriend Is Gumiho" held at SBS headquarters in Seoul, South Korea on August 4, 2010. [photographed by Chae Ki-won/10Asia]
Press conference for SBS TV series "My Girlfriend Is Gumiho"
'The Hong Sisters' are back. They joined hands with Lee Seung-gi, the so-called 'man of 100 percent viewership rating' while Shin Min-a, who is 'not just a coffee' [as she is described in her recent TV commercial for coffee] also hopped aboard. SBS TV series "My Girlfriend Is Gumiho", which premieres August 11 at 9:55 p.m. as the follow-up Wednesday/Thursday evening drama to "Bad Man", is neither a historical epic nor a blockbuster drama with a production budget of over,...More
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