meganbmoore: (arang: boat)
 108 x Arang and the Magistrate (eps 16-20)

arang5 4 arang5 64 arang5 93

[here )
meganbmoore: (arang: bedsharing)
 158 x Arang and the Magistrate (eps 11-15)

arang4 157 arang4 39 arang4 74

here )
meganbmoore: (Default)
 135 X Arang and the Magistrate (through ep 10)

arang3 30 arang3 130 arang3 77

here )

meganbmoore: (arang: bedsharing)
I watched (and psoted on) the first few episodes of this when it was first airing, and then had a subs burnout, and when that happens, it takes me months to get back to things, no matter how into them I may have been before. Thankfully, it only took an episode or two for Arang to regain momentum for me once I started watching again.

Loosely based on a Korean folktale about a ghost who asks the new magistrate to solve the mystery of her murder, the bulk of that plot is resolved in the first few episodes, and the bulk of the series revolves around finding and stopping a demon who devours the souls of young women to allow her to maintain a human disguise. When Arang's true identity was learned early on, I was afraid that it meant that the series would end up mostly focusing on the magistrate, Eun Oh, and his plot instead, and I was right. While I really like the series and plot it ended up being, I'm still bitter that I didn't get the series focusing on Arang and the mysteries of her life that I was told I was getting. For a lot of the first half, the writers seemed more interested in developing the male characters than the female characters, but that definitely changed a lot in the second half.

DramaWiki lists the series' genre as "fantasy, period, mystery, comedy, romance, action, melodrama," and it's a very good blend of all those things, as well as a healthy dose of gothic horror, and generally strikes a good balance between them. Most twists could be guessed at at least an episode or two in advance, but the point of the twists wasn't "ZOMG! Didn't see that coming!" but the impact that it would have on the characters, and it pulled most of them off well, and maintained a great spooky atmosphere throughout, and the supernatural visuals are frequently amazing. The soundtrack is also great, regularly switching between anachronistic, rousing music, and more traditional, often haunting, instrumentals. There's less romance than the previews implied, and instead of a straight up romantic plotline it's more a case of partners who ended up falling in love but didn't let it get in the way of the bigger picture.

And Arang and Eun Oh make for great partners. They're both very roughly and prickly and prone to bickering with everyone, and especially each other, and Shin Min Ah and Lee Jun Ki have great chemistry. They also actually communicate and a lot of instances that would rely on conflict springing from a misunderstanding or one character not telling another what's going on are avoided. When they do keep things from the other, it's because it's personal (and so not actually the other's business) or because they want to figure something out first.
There's also a subplot involving a grim reaper looking for his siter that I was very into, and Yoo Seung Ho pops up for a few minutes every episode as the Jade Emperor. Which is certainly far from the traditional depiction, but when you're the King of Heaven, you're allowed to look like an almost overly-pretty 20-year-old if you want. The last 3 minutes of the series are also possibly the most adorable kdrama scene ever.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (arang: bedsharing)

118 x Arang and the Magistrate (eps 4-6)
39 x Ip Man & Ip Man 2

arang2 87 arang2 3 ip man 7

icons here )
meganbmoore: (arang: bedsharing)

These episodes are more like what I was expecting when the series started (not that I have any ocmplaints at all about what the first few episodes turned out to be.) A fair dose of action, humor and romance, but mostly spooky creepy gothic mystery, in line with the Liao Zhai series from a few years ago (one of which I actually haven't seen yet), the Hometown Legends anthology series, or, well, a better version of Gumino: Tale of the Fox's Child (I enjoyed that series a lot, mind you, but the first half needed to be condensed into about half as much time and the second half could have done with having an episode or two shaved off the end) only without feeling as hopeless as any of the above. It's actually kind of like City Hunter where the writers are all "let us emphasize all the Angst and Drama and Doom...err...but we don't want you to be too worried about not having a relatively happy ending, so let's not be too down on things."

spoilers )BTW, the scenes of heaven and the afterlife are seriously among the prettiest and most striking things I've seen in a TV show in years.


Aug. 26th, 2012 10:41 pm
meganbmoore: (covert affairs: gimme tv)

Continuum 1.10: Pretty good finale, lots of reveals and twists, but largely ones most of us guessed. I largely liked them? The most interesting stuff in the episode was probably Sonya's stuff. Between the developments and the improved wardrobe, hopefully Lexa Doig will have a larger role next season. Which has been confirmed for 13 episodes, so YAY.

Covert Affairs 3.5-3.6: I think these were probably my favorite episodes so far this season, because they focused on the parto f the show that's one of the main draws for me: that Annie isn't a good spy because she can fight or does dangerous things, but because she has good instincts and is good at reading people and finding the right kind of communication for individuals. I don't have any deep thoughts, though I'm glad we have a woman of color around now (no idea how long she'll be there) and am always happy when Oded Fehr shows up (which I wish would be more often).

Political Animals 1.4-1.6: Uhm...given the ending and the fact that the finale's recap referred to "the season" as opposed to "the series," I am going to assume that a second season is in the works. This series got its fair share of things wrong, but I love it deeply for what it wanted and tried to be.

spoilers )OK USA, if nothing else, you should renew just because Ciaran Hinds clearly adores hamming it up here. And, you know, for a lot of other reasons too. I need AU!Hillary Clinton/Murphy Brown dramatized fanfic in my life!

Sinbad 1.5-1.7: Did anyone else spend most of ep 7 thinking it was the season finale, and wasn't?

spoilers )(And there's a new episode tonight, but I forgot to post this esrlier this week when I watched everything.)

White Collar 4.5-4.6:

spoilers )
I also watched season 4 of Leverage. Surrising no one, my favorite epiosde was The Girls Night Out Job, but it was pretty closely followed by the episode with Sterling (because Evil Nate is always fun, and I'm a sucker for his motivations in that one) and the season finale, for the guest stars (Though I wish there had been more girls. But I guess Tara was probably out because she might be known as one of their associates, and The Italian probably isn't quite trusted enough. Or at all. And there's the muscle lady from Chaos's old team, but that would be doubling up and I think Chaos is actually the only one who could fill that particular slot. I can still be sad, though.)

Meanwhile, over in doramaland, I watched episode 3 of Arang and the Magistrate today. This one had a lot of angst, and while technically it was good angst, I think there might have been too abrupt a transition between the humor and the angstfest? Still a pretty fun episode.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (hometown legends: gumiho)

Arang and the Magistrate is based on a Korean folktale about a ghost who asks a magistrate to solve her murder. Adapted into a fusion sageuk, it is, naturally, now also an action packed romance. (One destined to end badly given the whole "our heroine is dead" bit. Unless she ends up possessing someone else's body for good, which would be an entirely different kind of bad ending...)

While there are definite horror elements, it's more supernatural mystery than horror. Arang remembers nothing from before her death, and has accidentally frightened the last three magistrates to death when she tried to approach them for help. Until Our Hero, Eun Ho, came along, the only human she could interact with was Bang Wool, a female shaman who can hear but not see Arang. Eun Ho is the son of the former prime minister and a slave who is looking for his mother, who disappeared years ago, and tries very hard to ignore injustice and people in need, but isn't incredibly good at it. There's no explanation yet for why he can see ghosts.

There's also Moo Young, a grim reaper who is supposed to capture Arang and take her to the underworld (but doesn't seem to be trying TOO hard), and Joo Wal, the strange son of the local lord who is possibly connected to Arang and either is secretly evil, cursed, or possessed. Yoo Seung Ho also randomly pops up as the Jade Emperor and is clearly having the time of his life.

The soundtrack is engagingly anachronistic and so far the writing is excellent. The plot is very much Serious Business but the show manages to frequently be hilarious, largely due to how Shin Min Ah and Lee Joon Ki deliver their lines and bounce off each other (though everyone that's needed comedic timing to so has been excellent at it). Also, I'm glad that instead of the typical "rough around the edges hero who will be Redeemed By Love," both leads are rough and on the crude side and have more than a bit of a bully in them (her more than him for the last part). I'm not sure how they'll maintain the plot for 20 episodes but I have high hopes.

brief spoilers )
meganbmoore: (ho gae/kiha)

This week's Rich Man Poor Woman was fun but I didn't like it as mch as the first 4 episodes.  Last week's Naniwa Shounen Tanteidan (subs are slower on this one) OTOH might be my favorite episode so far even with Shinobu spendng most of the episode in a hospital bed.

I other news, the only 2 kdramas I've really anticipted this year, Faith* and Arang and the Magistrate, both fantasy sageuks (one about a modern surgeon abducted to the Goryeo period by a studly young warrior, the other a romance between a vengeful ghost and a magistrate), start next week.  I anticipate both equally, though I suspect Arang and the Magistrate will end up my preferred drama of the two.  However, with Faith, I seem to be in the minority in that I was planning to watch it pretty much once I heard about it (I liked Legend, another fantasy sageuk by the same writer, the Goryeo period doesn't seem to be used as much in sageuks [subbed and accessible to me, at least], and time travel to the past interests me a lot morethan time travel to the present.) but my interest went WAY up when they cast a leading man who's 10 years younger than the leading lady, and I'm hoping the characters have a similar age difference.  A lot of people seem to not want to watch it because of that though.  (even beyond that being uncommon:  She's a modern, successful surgeon, so at the youngest she could be about 30, he's a soldier who's always in fights at a time with a shorter life expectancy even without that.  The age difference might be the most realistic thing in the drama.)

I'm betting most of the objectors don't object as much when actresses get cast with actors 10-15 years older than they are...

*I actually prefer the alternaive title, The Great Doctor, but most seem to be going with Faith, so...


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