Preview: Yoon Ji Soo is in her 40s and has a son from a divorced marriage. She is having a hard time as a single mom trying to raise her son and make a living as a piano teacher. After several years, she meets her first love unexpectedly. His name is Han Jae Hyun, his senior in college who she deeply admired and loved. “Beautiful love story! Older but still gorgeous top leads!”
Preview: King Lee Gon of the Kingdom of Corea, a parallel world of the Republic of Korea, crosses dimension chasing after a person who he thinks was his savior when he was a little boy who was about to get killed. He finally meets Jung Tae Eul, a detective in the other world, who he thinks was his saviour but she doesn’t have a recollection of him. ” Lee Min Ho is finally back!”
Preview: Ji Sun Woo is a successful doctor and she seems to have everything including a happy marriage and family but she realizes that all around her is full of lies and she painfully discovers one after the other including her husband’s infidelity. “What a bomb first and second episodes. I can’t stop watching!”
Summary: After a failed teaching career in Seoul, Mok Hae Won goes back to the countryside where she grew up and studied. She meets again her former classmate Im Eun Sub who now owns a bookshop and is quite content with his life in the village. Little did she know that Im Eun Sub liked her a lot even when they were still young but opted to admire her from the far.
Likes: I would normally go for the romantic comedy but I won’t say no to a wonderfully made romance drama complete with all the necessary spices.
A beautifully written script. Such a great storytelling with focus on details. It didn’t give me an impression of being lost while following every episode. There was always a sense of cohesiveness. It was of course focus on the present but with important flashbacks of the past. It was going back and forth like that but it was just so well done.
The small town set. Some kdramas seem to be parting away from the usual Seoul scenes these days which is a breath of fresh air. Something new, something we don’t normally connect with Korea. I love the small town feel in this one. A place with very few people who mostly know each other and gather on special occasions to connect with everyone further. That very close ties between people in this town was also very well emphasize in this drama.
The focus on values. I love how the characters had emphasis on their values. It didn’t matter if one had a similar value to another, the important thing is how a character stood by his or her own values. For example, when there was this discussion during the book club meeting and someone said, you go around trying to find your happiness somewhere only to end up going back to where you come from and realize that happiness lies there. Then someone else contradicted, what if the case is you’re trying to find happiness somewhere but could not find it so you just decided that the simple happiness you find at home is actually the happiness you’ve been looking for.
It gave us a lot of thoughts. What is really important to each one of us?
The unique characters. This was something that really impressed me about this drama. The characters are very well thought of. I could appreciate it already if the main characters are very well defined but in this case everyone’s character was equally important. The aunt and mum of Mok Hae Won surprised me in the later episodes, they had their own interesting story. I also like the way how Mok Hae Won’s family appeared cold towards each other. They didn’t like to talk about feelings which is okay because in reality some people are just like that.
The top leads. There’s no denying that our top leads are both good looking. Not just that, they’re brilliant actors as well. But what I enjoyed most is the strong chemistry between Park Min Young and Seo Kang Joon. When this is ticked, then the kissing scenes are awesome.
Perfectly conveyed feelings. Another amazing job done was conveying those sometimes unimaginable feelings. How could you show it on TV? This was thanks to a combination of good acting and I would say directing.
Consistent mood. The picturisque scenes (a combination of beautiful countryside and dramatic seasons), the warm atmosphere of the bookstore despite the thick snow of the outside word, the cold feel of the Hodu house where people as cold as ice live, the simple and somewhat happy lifestyle in a small town, the camaraderie between people, and so on. It was somehow very appealing to me.
The focus on books. I love how this drama promoted reading books and even just the existence of books in general. We live in a digital time when we can get information easily online. Books are somewhat no longer a thing. Well, think again, there’s something in books than just the information it gives. They bring people together. We sometimes forget that, don’t we?
I also love that every episode is a title of a book in the drama (if you’ve noticed). I particularly like The Maze of Sisterfield! That episode unfolded a lot of secrets.
Summary: Park Sae Royi, after losing his father and who did not get justice from it, promises himself to take revenge against the people who did him wrong. After some years serving in prison and later working very hard to raise some money, he finally manages to own a pub in Itaewon, an area in Seoul popular for its nightlife and restaurants.
Likes:The story was great! It had a revenge theme with a tinge of romance. I like how it all started, from the time when our main guy, Park Sae Royi, was still in highschool, how he met his first love, how he was challenged by the powerful, how he lost his dad and how his life crumbled after that. The foundation of revenge was clear and strong. I loved how the story developed from that main foundation. The determination of our main guy to be successful in order to get back to the people who hurt him – what a way to get his revenge.
Character development. Everyone in the beginning was just a nobody but I love how the writers focused on the character development and I’m not just talking about Park Sae Royi’s, the main character of the drama but all the others as well. Like how it became clearer how powerful Jang Dae Hee was, how Ma Hyumi became the most popular transgender chef, how Jo Yi Seo fell in love with Park Sae Ro Yi, how Soo Ah faded in Park Sae Royi’s eyes, how Geun So became greedy with power or how Jeung Gun turned into a messed up person. There were a lot of characters but I ended up knowing each of them by heart. Everyone was well-justified.
The name Itaewon Class. How did they come up with it, I wondered that myself because it wasn’t explained until the other half of the full drama. So don’t be impatient, wait and it will be explained later.
Itaewon. I’ve had dramas before focused on other popular areas in Seoul like Cheondamdong but never heard of Itaewon. Itaewon means freedom according to the drama and it’s good to know that there’s such a vibrant and multicultural place in Seoul with lots of restaurants and pubs. Thus, it was a great idea to add a foreigner in the main cast. Toni spoke Korean fluently, well done!
The awesome cast! Who are they…
Park Seo Joon as Park Sae Royi – this was his best performance yet. His character was serious, firm, determined and proud so there were times when he had to deal with things like flirting and he suddenly turned awkward. Park Seo Joon portrayed this so well. It’s good to see him doing some serious roles.
Kim Da Mi as Jo Yi Seo – cute and obnoxious, she was a natural! I also like her coolness. Her outfit, hair, the way she walked and talked, witty and smart, young and head over heels for Par Sae Royi. You’ll despise her at first but you’ll fall in love with her later on.
Yoo Jae Myung as Jang Dae Hee – this guy is a veteran. His acting was flawless. I liked him when he was very powerful but I love his acting more when he was going down. Gosh, that final crying was impressive!
Nara as Oh Soo Ah – she is pretty like a doll and like other former idols, she found her talent in acting. She was quite good! I think the chemistry between her and Park Seo Joon was really great.
The outfits. Got to credit the costume designer for the cast’s outfits, well done! I especially love Soo Ah’s executive outfits, Jo Yi Seo’s very cool leather jackets, Jang Dae Hee’s traditional clothes, Ma Hyumi’s pretty outfits and Park Sae Royi’s loose, relaxed but cool clothing.
Love the OST. The tracks were so well-integrated with the drama. I especially like Gaho – Start Over.
Finale. I love it!!! There were closures on pretty much everyone. It felt like I could sleep properly after that.
Cameo. And yes closure with a great cameo at the end, hello Park Bo Gum!
Dislikes: I think there was a soar in rating towards the end of the drama because there was an obvious crowding of ad placements. Hello Tifanny, Mercedes Benz, Samsung… too many to handle. But got to give them credit on how they integrated Montblanc so well at the start.
Summary: Kang Sun Hyuk does everything to acquire important business deals even if that would mean joining a special rescue team in order to get a good glimpse of Miryeong forest, which has a potential to be turned into a resort. He gets to share a house in Miryeong village with a surgical resident, Jung Young Jae, who got kicked out from a top hospital in Seoul because of an incident.
Likes: The main set which was Miryeong Forest was lush and green. It was beautiful and it set a very calming atmosphere which was perfect for the healing of two lost souls who were bound to work in the place. I love how the camera captured fantastic angles that made the forest looked enchanting, calming, relaxing, a breath of fresh air, a shelter, and since it’s a kdrama, a place to fall in love. Added to that, the drone shots were fantastic! A birds eyeview of the vast forest was just mesmerizing.
I love how they focused on bicycles as the main transport going in and out of the forest. I admit, there was something romantic about bikes but it wasn’t just a Korean drama thing, I thought it was perfectly matching with the main nature theme. Something that doesn’t contribute pollution whether it’s air or noise.
The two main characters were interesting. Both had trauma in the past that despite what they have achieved in the present, the past remains haunting them. The character development was definitely there but how it was achieved I would put it under dislikes.
Park Hae Jin was looking so good in this! He looked tall and handsome in suits. And how can I forget those naked scenes, what an eye candy! But wait, he wasn’t all looks, he did well in acting too. His tears were so convincing!
Jo Bo Ah was pretty and bubbly and there was definitely a good amount of chemistry between her and Park Hae Jin.
Jung Yun Joo & Noh Kwang Shik were such a cute couple that sometimes I like watching these two than the top leads, hm, sometimes. Excellent acting as well even for just supporting roles.
My favourite quotes from this drama:
No matter how much time has passed, your mind dwells on the moments when you were hurt.
That’s called wisdom, not cowardice. Because you acknowledge your limits.
Pretty deep but they make a lot of sense, agree?
The Kiss. I still can’t decide which one is my favourite, the stethoscope kiss or the kiss under the trees!
The Ending. I love endings that involves healing. I love it when nature heals after a storm or a fire. I love it more when mankind heals after trauma, loss and pain.
Dislikes: Although the character development was there, how it was achieved was messy. The storytelling in general was all over the place. There was a big effort to integrate their top sponsor which is Okada in the Philippines so they have to find a way how they could make scenes that include Okada – which wasn’t really that necessary for the main story.
Jo Bo Ah, although she’s quite pretty, I wasn’t really warming up to her acting. When she cries, tears running down her cheeks and all but she still looks like she’s smiling. I don’t know if it’s just me.
I mentioned above how I like the bicycles in the drama and how they promoted clean air. I find it unnecessary that our main guy was driving a sports car in the countryside. Not matching at all.
The ending. Yes, I love the healing part but it got so cheesy in some closures.
Summary: A lady constable from the countryside, Cha Soo Young, tries to join RIU using her special ability to memorize what she sees in detail, as her passport to get a job as a detective. She starts working with the lady head of RIU after her ability was being noticed. She is then introduced to a famous profiler, Oh Hyun Jae and gets her skills tested.
Likes: It’s quite a dark drama but it was sooo good I was hooked till the end! Why? Let’s dissect this…
The crime, detective genre. I’m a huge fan of this type of drama especially if it’s done well. And this one is worth watching. It will leave you on a dark, scary mood but if you’re a fan, it’s satisfying.
The small crime cases surrounding the main one. I like those related and independent stories that had their own puzzles to solve. They’re like mini bonuses, it kept the excitement going.
The main story and the main villain. Although it took a while to get to that part and to get to him, the last episodes were quite thrillling and definitely worth the wait. It was good to see how everything unraveled, how questions got their answers.
The links. I like how most of the things were interconnected, not all, but most of them. Our main cast’s past stories were all pointing to the main villain which justified the desire to catch the GUY.
The heinous killings. Although most sensitive parts were censored but most scenes were detailed, almost realistic.
The atmosphere. Quite consistent with this throughout the drama. Dark and scary moods.
The brilliant cast. What could I say? Everyone did so well!
For once, I’m a huge fan of Jang Hyuk. I watched most of his dramas. He was just so cool and deep in this one. Loved the hair, the scar, the martial arts skills, the outfit and the way he talked. He was his very character, Oh Hyun Jae, the profiler.
Choi Soo Young, I’m quite impressed with her. I’ve watched one of her dramas before and I knew she was good but I think her portrayal of Cha Soo Young, the detective, was her best performance yet. It’s refreshing to see a former kpop idol (of girl band, Girls’ Generation) does a detective character! Impressed!
Jin Seo Yeon has a beautiful face but she turned it into a fierce one fitting her detective character Hwang Hwa Young. Lots of fighting and dark experiences for this fierce lady in this drama. I don’t know but I have this feeling that she felt more for Oh Hyun Jae here than just mere friendship.
Special mention to the main villain of this drama, he was quite good! All the time I was thinking of someone else. Well done!
The road to finale. Well, it was bloody. I was getting ready to lose more people from the good side but glad they left the best ones for me.
The finale. The suspense was on in full, it was nerve-racking. Lots of fighting and more blood. It was the final showdown! I like how it ended and I even still got an epilogue.
Dislikes: I found the connection of the main villain and his close friends to be a bit overboard. Could you actually really manipulate other people to kill others then kill themselves? Hm…
The kdrama lover in me was hopelessly waiting for a bit of romance but my dream got shuttered haha. Oh well, there was a little hint at the end or is it just what I wanted to believe?
Summary: A South Korean heiress lands in North Korea by accident when she was paragliding. She is captured by a North Korean soldier who treats her well and helps her get out of the country safely. But the more time she spends longer with her captor, the more she is falling for him.
Likes:A different impression. There are so many reasons to love this drama but for me the most important is how this drama gave a different impression of North Korea. Finally, we have something popular in the south which is humanizing the people of the north. It was good to see all sides even if they’re only possibilities.
The humour. I’ve got to say this is the funniest kdrama so far this year! Every episode always left me giggling. It’s good to see something that could have left so much tension to be sooo funny (especially that it involves the military). So many funny moments in this drama but my favourite would be when the North Korean soldiers under Capt. Ri Jung Hyuk went to the south to bring back their captain in one piece. Oh gosh, I couldn’t stop laughing from all those naive experiences in the south! Of course, it had a good share of crying moments but I would highly recommend it for something that will really make you laugh.
The contrasting sets. I’ve seen over a hundred kdramas so I’m used to how the sets taken in South Korea would look like. But to have two contrasting sets, first the North Korean sets then the South, I found that very interesting. How different these two countries are – pointing out the lacking and good in one and same with the other. The very basic lifestyle in a North Korean village stroke me as primitive but on the other hand, there was emphasis on camaraderie among each other. The advanced, stylish lifestyle of the South brought out estrangement but on the other hand, there was freedom.
Lessons about the North. What did I learn from this drama about the North? Ah, the accent! It must have been Hyun Bin’s doing but suddenly North Korean accent just became so sexy! Agree or disagree? How about those surprise house inspections. I thought, no way, but it actually made sense. The tapping was funny if you’re just watching it but if you’re actually there, that could be quite scary. How about power and connection? Serve and follow the powerful otherwise you’re dead meat. The traffic in Pyongyang is not at all bad, and that’s even the capital! And yes before it gets forgotten, bring some blankets and food in case trains get stranded for 12 hours!
The cast. Undoubtedly, we had an awesome cast, I love them all but will focus on the leads. Let’s start with…
Hyun Bin as Ri Jung Hyuk – so handsome in North Korean military uniform and he also did so well with the northern accent. No reason not to fall in love with Ri Jung Hyuk’s character, he might be stiff but a good and true person. I think Hyun Bin carried it so well.
Son Ye Jin as Yoon Se Ri – I love her in this drama – fierce, pretty, powerful and smart. She was awesome here. Her chemistry with Hyun Bin was top. Son Ye Jin, didn’t leave a good impression with me in Personal Taste (with Lee Min Ho). I had to drop that drama a long time ago, never finished it. It’s good to see her awesome in this one.
Seo Ji Hye as Seo Dan – oh my gosh, I love Seo Dan! I should have taken notes when Koo Seung Jun told her what he liked about her. That fierce, stylish North Korean lady. Love her stares! They were like lasers, lol! And isn’t she looking like Chanyeol of EXO? She could be his sister!
Kim Jung Hyun as Koo Seung Joon – First, I found him just good looking but when his character developed, I couldn’t help liking this guy. I bet this supporting role will bring Kim Jung Hyun to the top.
The kissing scenes. Ha! How I like a good one! But wait, I didn’t just get one but several and they were all great! Which one was my favourite, let me think… no, not the last one but the one outside the hospital! I thought that was so romantic!
Romanticising the demarcation lines. Well, after watching this drama, everyone will think romantic about those lines. Am I wrong? Oh, it’s already happening!
Important reference. I love the reference to Hyun Bin’s previous drama, Memories of the Alhambra! It was funny when the famous music of Memories of the Alhambra played when Hyun Bin’s character here, Ri Jung Hyuk was playing a computer game.
Cameo. Was that really Kim So Hyun? This just tells us that a new drama from him is dawning. Please, make it happen soon!
The ending. How would I say it. It pleased me and I guess most of you too. I’m glad they found a way to make it work despite the Romeo and Juliet kind of situation. And I love how they ended it where it all started, at the picturesque Switzerland.
Dislikes: It’s obvious how desperate they were to make that sudden paragliding scene. I know it looks cool and it justified that Yoon Se Ri was still alive, but it just didn’t make sense. How did she manage to get the parachute fixed suddenly, same with her paragliding outfit?
I was hoping and crossing fingers for the supporting love team but sadly someone had to be sacrificed.
I dislike very much when episodes don’t get shown on schedule. The excitement gets interrupted. It happened twice with this drama. But glad it didn’t take a month to continue.