2PM, Girls’ Day, CNBlue and more coming to Los Angeles this spring – for free!

On February 13th, the Korean-American Federation of Los Angeles (KAFLA) partnered up with broadcasting company KBS America to announce the KBS ‘Open Music (열린음악회)’ K-Pop Festival being held at LA Memorial Colosseum on April 12. The event was created to commemorate the 111th anniversary of Koreans immigrating to North America. It will include various activities and a three-hour K-Pop concert. The concert will be recorded and aired on KBS America two weeks later on April 27th at 5 PM. Fourteen acts will perform in total, and so far, major K-Pop acts 2PM, Shinee, Sistar, CNBlue, Dynamic Duo, Girls’ Day, Kim Taewoo, Sul Woondo, and Song Soohee have all been confirmed. The festival will open its doors at 5 PM, and the concert is scheduled to begin at 5:30 PM. Details on ticket distribution are still in development – though it’s safe to say that with such a hot roster, the 100,000-seat venue will more than likely fill up quickly. Stay tuned for further announcements! Source: Korea Daily
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Friday Drama Review: “Dating Agency: Cyrano” Another fabulous installment in the Flower Boy Series

DatingAgencyCyranoWill Cyrano, Playing Cupid in the Theatre, Overcome his Sense of Inadequacy or Will Roxanne Perish Rejected?

 

Storyline/Synopsis: My Rating 8/10

Based very loosely on the famous Cyrano de Bergerac, Dating Agency: Cyrano introduces a modern and uniquely Korean flavor to a classic tale.

Once a financially struggling theatre, The Theatre Cyrano has become a secretive agency that hires itself out for high-tech matchmaking services. The owner, still struggling under a debt burden left by his deceased friend and partner, is the stoic, intelligent, emotionally blunt Seo Byung-hoon. He is assisted by engineering whiz Moo-jin, a sweet, but romantically naïve young man, and Do Ah-rang, a high school kid who dreams of becoming an actor.

Their well-scripted world is turned askew when Gong Min-young walks in the door. Her highly romanticized view of the world is a source of scorn for Byung-hoon, curiosity for Moo-jin, and admiration for Ah-rang. Min-young is intrigued by the work done by Cyrano Dating Agency and is drawn towards the ascetic and impersonal Byung-hoon, despite his best efforts to dissuade her.

Cha Seung-pyo is the romantic, mysterious “Master” next door – a chef by current trade, who we soon realize has had a dark past. He is captivated by Min-young and perturbed by Byung-hoon. The early episodes point to a deeper story between the two men.

The drama features fun vignette-type stories spanning a few episodes each. The narratives follow the matchmaking shenanigans between two seemingly impossible-to-match people. Each vignette features cameo appearances of well-known Hallyu stars, upping the ante for viewership ratings.

 

 

Script/Acting: My Rating 8/10

dating seoThe ‘Cyrano’ theme was an interesting and unique choice for a Korean drama adaptation. Lee Jong-hyuk (A Gentleman’s Dignity, Chuno) was a thought-provoking choice for the lead role of Seo Byung-hoon, our contemporary Korean Cyrano de Bergerac. Although attractive, his features are not the standard pretty-boy adorable, nor are they ruggedly handsome. While he does not sport Cyrano’s renowned beak, his personality, as portrayed in the drama, had both the panache and emotional shortcomings relevant to a Cyrano-esque character.

dating min youngBy far the best actress that I’ve seen amongst the women of SNSD, Choi Soo-young, (The 3rd Hospital, Unstoppable Marriage) was delightful as Gong Min-young, the charming Roxanne of the Cyrano story. The love interest of two rival males, Soo-young played the role with the wide-eyed romantic optimism critical to the role.  Her character was not, however, weak, but able to stand up to the strong men around her. Engaging and attractive enough to gain the loyalty of those around her, the Min-young character was like whipping cream on an espresso – a dollop of sweet joy floating atop the darkness.

Dating 2Rounding out the Cyrano Agency were two young men: Hong Jong-hyun (Jeon Woo-chi, Wild Romance) as Moo-jin, and Jo Yoon-woo (Strongest KPOP Survival, Flower Boy Ramen Shop) as Do Ah-rang. Both young men provided interesting characters integral to the plot but also appealing in their own datingCyrano04right. While the Do Ah-rang character was sweet, it was not as well developed or as intriguing as the pensive Moo-jin. Although identifiable by his economy of words and notoriously expressionless face, he was always understood, his meaning and his revelations clear despite their subtle presentation.

Dating-Agency-MasterThe character of Cha Seung-pyo, restaurateur, was a collection of contradictory actions and emotions mixed to create a well-thought-out, well-rounded character with complexity as rare as thundersnow. Lee Chun-hee (Take Care of Us, Captain, Road Number One) perfected the bad-boy glare, yet tugged at our emotions with his sincere attraction for Min-young. Along with his two comic henchmen, Min-shik and Young-dal, played by Bae Seong-woo and Kim Min-kyo, (two goons plucked straight out of Kiss Me Kate!), Seung-pyo provides mystery and intrigue throughout much of the drama.

dating taeminAs stated earlier, the cameo appearances of A-list stars was a fun treat: Lee Chung-ah as a ballerina and Choi Won-young as the sommelier she likes; Im Hyung-joon as veterinarian Jin Joon-hyuk, who is crushing on librarian Lee Yoon-ji; Lee Taemin (yep, from SHINee) as (what else) and idol singer; Lee Kwang-soo as a baker with a crush on Goo dating gong wooEun-ae, a chef; Jung Yoo-mi as a hilariously creepy girl with a crush on Gong Woo, a magician; and Ye Ji-won as a nurse in love with firefighter Im Won-hee.

Quite the all-star parade.

 

 

Cinematography: My Rating 7/10

Due to the surveillance work necessary to the Cyrano Agency agenda, interesting and fun camera shots/angles were often seen. The majority of the drama took place inside the Cyrano Theatre or the restaurant next door, limiting the need for extensive sets. The theatre set, however, was a fun construction consisting of multiple rooms, glass enclosures and enough silly eye-candy details to please a Willy Wonka fan. The creative lighting used inside the theatre evoked a sense of make-believe – perfect for the ‘creative’ scenarios dreamt up by the Cyrano team for their clients.

 

Music: My Rating 7/10

Jessica Jung (Girls’ Generation) “That One Person” http://youtu.be/w0nDNuEzYHw

The theme song: Peppertones “Chance” http://youtu.be/S2sEMs5j8WU

An excellent ballad!: Ra.D  “Something Flutters” http://youtu.be/RDc7JP5-0QA

Big Baby Driver “Take My Hands Tonight” http://youtu.be/3xO0VpQlkzQ

A fun 60’s-ish folksy ballad: Big Baby Driver “In The Same Storm” http://youtu.be/Q72DOWGwYl8

 

Overall Charisma: My Rating 8/10

All of the “Flower Boy” dramas, save Ramen Shop, have a certain flavor that sets them far apart from the standard table fare served up by the drama industry today. While Ramen Shop was sweet and fun, it followed the standard formats and had the same general romantic comedy feel of its contemporaries. The others in the series have all been just a bit edgier, a little off-center, slightly off the beaten path in a direction that makes them fresh and fun.

Dating Agency: Cyrano did not disappoint in that respect: a little bit of quirky, a lot of fun. In some respects it solidly nailed what Nail Shop Paris tried and failed to accomplish: a vanguard drama with fun sketches to capture the feel of the short story or single-episode series.

All in all, it is a wonderful addition to the Flower Boy Garden.

 

 

 Happy Drama Watching!

 dating couple

Director: Kang Kyung Hoon

Writer:  Shin Jae Won

 

Millie’s Top Ten April K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten April K-Pop Music Videos

This year, April releases have brought out a combination of cute and crazy comeback. It seems to be either cute, bubblegum-pop love songs about Spring, or funky tracks with crazy music videos. It’s either one or the other for this month!

Note: This chart is just my personal favorites and does not reflect any music video views or digital/album sales. 

10. M.I.B – Nod Along

M.I.B-Nod Along

M.I.B made their comeback with their new single “Nod Along” that expresses their desire for their girl to ‘nod along’ and say yes to getting back together. The music video is quite ordinary but the song is beautiful, and it makes me feel sad that this four member group is so underrated. This is the group’s third comeback with “Nod Along” being the promotional song for their album “Money in the Building”. Previous hits have been “Only Hard For Me” and “G.D.M”, along with all the members debut singles.

9. K.Will – Love Blossom

K.Will-Love Blossom

K.Will came back with a new fresh single “Love Blossom” that actually has the solo singer appear in his own music video (granted it was for only around ten seconds but still, making progress). “Love Blossom” is a typical spring love song but with a not so typical love music video. The two leading roles are played by Infinite’s L and Sistar’s Daesom; L’s character has the lowest position in his workplace, and when his bosses decide to visit an amusement park (what are they doing at an amusement park in the first place?) he is treated badly and taken advantage of for being the rookie. In retaliation, when they all go on a spinning ride he gets a gun, kills the person working the ride and traps his tormenting bosses on the never ending spinning ride. Then later he meets Daesom’s character and they have endless ice cream and explore the grounds like a couple in love. I enjoyed the song, but can’t really understand how they thought the music video plot would match.

8. Ga In and HyungWoo – Brunch

Ga In - Brunch

Gain In and Hyungwoo (contestant in MBC Star Audition “Great Birth” Season 1) collaborated, making this Ga In’s first duet album, “Romantic Spring”. Their title track is called “Brunch” and is a very cute song (like “nauseating couple in love” cute), that has a couple expressing their love for each other as they eat brunch together. The music video follows this theme with the two singers meeting for brunch and then they spend the rest of the day as a romantic date; visiting the beach, the amusement park, and feeding each other street food. This is a sweet song that shows the softer side to the fierce Ga In.

7. U-kiss – Should have treated you better

U-Kiss-Should Have Treated You Better

U-Kiss has unleashed a new sub-unit onto the K-pop world called “U-Beat”, made up of rappers Eli and AJ (and for these promotions also includes Vocalist Kevin). U-Beat has made their debut very soft and sorrowful with their title track “Should Have Treated You Better”; a song expressing regrets of not showing enough to the person they loved. I would have expected something stronger since this is a sub-unit with the rappers of the group, but U-Beat has assured fans through interviews that they will come back with a new song in the future that will show their other sides. I’ll be waiting for you AJ and Eli!

6. G-Dragon – Michigo

G-dragon-michigo

Just when I think G-Dragon can’t get crazier he comes out with a new music video that always proves me wrong. “Michigo” follows the G-Dragon style strictly with absurd props such as a pink elephant, big feet, evil minions with masks, crazy hairstyles and outfits only Big Bang’s leader could pull off.  Let’s put it this way; it’s what you would expect, just double the crazy.

5. Shinee – Why so serious?

Shinee-Why So Serious

Oh where do I begin? A lot of fans are quite upset that since Jonghyun was injured from his car accident, why SME decided to go ahead with this follow-up track when their lead vocalist would be absent from almost all promotions. Even though I too miss our “Bling Bling Dino”, I thought Shinee did a good job of pulling it together. However, it didn’t really feel like a Shinee comeback, more like a “Taemin + others”. I’m not hating on the maknae, just observing that he got some more screen time and lines in comparison to the members. I like the song itself though. “Why So Serious?” is exactly how it sounds; it’s a very funny, and upbeat song with very relaxed choreography compared to some of Shinee’s intense choreography. Not the best Shinee song, but still a fun song.

4. Jay Park – Joah

Jay Park-Joah

Sexy solo artist Jay Park came back with several songs lately with my favorite being “Joah” a…cute song? Yes, that’s right; when Jay Park actually has his shirt on, he is a very cute boy with a charming smile. Jay Park has not disappointed me yet, especially not with this song that is so simple but happy-going. It’s bound to leave anyone who hears this song in a good mood. Paying respects to his hometown, this music video is filmed in Seattle as Jay Park takes you through the streets he grew up in.

3. 4minute – What’s your name?

4minute-what's your name

Squeezing out its release in the last days of April, 4Minute came back with their latest single “What’s Your Name?” Spunky and sexy at the same time, 4minute went back to their roots and gave their fans another colorful and sexy music video to match this infectious song. This music video however became very strange, very quickly. Apparently if 4minute rejects anybody they turn into Zombies and attack. Not my favorite 4minute song, but it didn’t disappoint.

2. Psy – Gentleman

psy-gentleman

Psy made his first comeback after the amazing global success of “Gangnam Style” (which I’m pretty sure everyone has seen by this point), with his new title track “Gentleman”. Psy’s new music video had the same amount of craziness as the last one; with Psy acting like a jerk towards everyone but in the end gets bested by the leading lady (Ga In). Nothing can beat Gangnam Style but Gentleman was a strong follow-up that defiantly made me go back to the “Abracadabra” phase.

1. BtoB – Second Confession

BtoB-Second Confession

This is a new cute comeback from Cube’s latest boy group, BtoB (Born to Beat). The BtoB boys themselves picked out this concept – it’s about a broken relationship with the guy asking the girl for a second chance to start over. The music video shows the boys in different parts of Seoul, with the “confession letter” magically passing by all the boys. Even cuter is the dance version, or more known as the “Pajama” version, where all seven boys dance away in cute pajamas. It only took one time but I fell completely in love with the song.

Not Feeling the Love from the Korean Entertainment Industry

And don’t I deserve love? Really.

 

Korean dramas and Korean music are big business in Korea. Asian countries, especially Japan are bigger markets than the homeland. In fact, according to Bernie Cho, president of the DFSB Kollective, a Seoul-based agency specializing in the marketing and distribution of digital media, Korean artists can make as much money in Japan in one week as they make in a year in Korea.

Korean fan sites are currently geared for this audience as well, with translations in Japanese and Chinese and often entire sites dedicated to the fan-bases in those countries.

As the Hallyu wave sweeps the Americas, phenomena like the B.A.P. selling out their entire U.S. tour in an hour happen with increasing frequency. Interestingly, though, the Korean entertainment industry seems unprepared for the enthusiasm shown by English speaking fans. Although the Americas seem to be a market that interests them, not much effort seems to be given to catering to English speaking clientele, much less Spanish speakers. To be sure, K-pop groups tour the Americas with great success. But trying to join a fan club or view official websites is an exercise in frustration.

Logo_of_SM_EntertainmentSM Town’s website is notoriously difficult to navigate. Despite the enormous popularity of groups like Super Junior, Girl’s Generation, SHINee and EXO here in the US, there is no offer anywhere on their page to translate into English, nor is there an “official” place for English speaking fans to go, merely after-market fan-made sites.

**Update: Down at the bottom of the SM front page (right hand side) there is a small “English” box that will translate the site to English. It’s easy to miss, so look for it! Once clicked, much of the site is translated.

Want to join a fan club? Good luck. While English translations on that page may direct you to the fandom of choice, once you get there, you’re out of luck entirely.

Familiar with E.L.F.? The Super Junior fans? If you’re Korean, you can join E.L.F. for $15/year. If you’re American, you’re going to have to shell out $45/year. Why the discrepancy? Good question. It almost makes you wonder if SM is really interested in the American market after all. Or are they actively trying to discourage American fans?

Logo_of_YG_EntertainmentYG entertainment has recently added an English tab at the top of their website. There are some amusing translation errors, though, and no official fan club info, in case you were wondering how to join Big Bang’s VIP’s.

JYP_Entertainment_LogoJYP also has an English tab. Their website has much in English that’s translated pretty well. There are English profiles on the artists and overall, it’s relatively easy to navigate. The fact that the FanCafe is in Korean with no way to translate may be program related.

Cubeent Cube Entertainment’s Front page shows up in English but it’s a dangerous proposition clicking any further than that. Very little beyond that front page sport anything other than hangul.

FNC_ENTERTAINMENTFNC  Entertainment’s website does a lovely job of making life much easier for their American fans. Aside from a few side trips to google translate, I was able to sign up to join the CN Blue fan club (for free!) and enter the site. I took a look at the shopping area and while it’s not entirely translated, they did have a “Guide for Foreigner” tab that gave a step by step tutorial with screen shots, guiding the purchaser through the shopping and check-out process. Again, FanCafes, sadly, are not translated.

What about those networks that air all of those popular dramas?

kbs_rss_logoKBS World Website now allows you to select English as a language on the front page. Once you do, entire news world opens up to the English speaker. I highly recommend this website as they have a wide variety of informational areas as well as Korean Language learning pages. Everything is translated and translated well. Kudos to KBS for for their welcoming, informative and educational site. A full 10 soju shots awarded by the DramaQueen!

sbs_kr logo_mbcSBS and MBC, on the other hand, cater not at all to English speakers. Not at all. Nada. Nil. Opsoyo. Want to know more about your favorite SBS or MBC dramas direct from the source? Better learn Korean.

naverEven sites like Naver, the popular South Korean search portal, have made it pretty much impossible for an American to create an account. While difficult before, it is now appears impossible. However, Naver-Japan allows an American to easily sign up for a Naver account. Go figure.

So the question is why does much of the entertainment industry ignore (or in the case of SM – actively diss) English speaking clientele?

  • Are they unaware that the market exists or that there is an interest? (Nope, this can’t be – I doubt anyone is unaware.)
  • Have they just not “gotten around to it?” (Possibly. Translating effectively takes time and money.)
  • Are they actively shunning English-speakers – in other words, are they entering the market somewhat reluctantly? (Although rumors exist that some anti-Americanism may exist, my guess would be $$$ trumps that – always.)

I am honestly perplexed at the lack of effort shown by the Korean entertainment industry in trying to gain (or actively block?) my internet attention. In this day and age of instant information, it is increasingly frustrating trying to access accurate content directly from the source when the source is hiding.

I am actively working to learn Korean, but it’s slow going. And I really hate the idea of having to wait for fluency before I ‘feel the love.’

Rant over.

The views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of KKonnect, although anyone who disagrees with me is an idiot. 😉

The Ultimate KPop Electro House Party!!!

Break out the glow sticks, turn out the lights, and have a 4:05 minute party in your house.

DJ Zedd-Spectrum with a KPop Twist.

S.M. The Performance: TVXQ’s Yunho, SHINee’s Taemin and Minho, EXO’s Lay and Kai, Super Junior’s Donghae and Eunhyuk

This KKonnect writer likes the music, but ponders why there aren’t any K-Pop musicians with beards or mustaches.

(Original by Zedd)

© S.M. Entertainment

“Countdown to Lee Min Ho” Drama Review: “City Hunter”

Anticipation builds as the “Countdown to Lee Min Ho” continues. March 10th is coming up soon! I see no has has come up with any great gift ideas. Thanks. :-/

CityHunterPoster“City Hunter” is Lee Min Ho’s big Action Drama, proving that Romantic Comedy is not the only genre for which he is well suited. City Hunter, the modern day Hong Gil Dong, righter-of-wrongs, dark hero and wounded vengeful soul, is the hero of an action-packed Korean adaptation of the Japanese novel by Tsukasa Hojo.

Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 8/10

The story begins with high impact action and drama and seldom slows down. The drama literally opens with the Lee Yoon Sung’s difficult birth and goes on to tell the story of how the country’s highest officials betray his father and his father’s fellow elite soldiers. Lee Yoon Sung (Lee Min Ho) is kidnapped as an infant after his father’s death by his father’s best friend, Lee Jin Pyo (Kim Sang Joong) and is brought up as part of an elaborate revenge plan against the government. Episode 1 is jam-packed and lays down a sound foundation for the storyline that follows.

The adorable love triangle between Kim Nana (Park Min Young), Lee Yoon Sung and Prosecutor Kim Young Joo (Lee Joon Hyuk) is pure entertainment. In the beginning, Young Joo manages to stay one step ahead, much to Yoon Sung’s frustration. The acrimonious relationship between Yoon Sung and Young Joo evolves and matures throughout the episodes into an complex and interesting connection. The interaction and development of their characters is one of the better side stories seen in recent dramas.

The surprising twists that develop in the last few episodes are worth watching for.

Script/Acting: My rating 7/10

City-hunter-cast (1)Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young worked quite well together as the main duo. Lee Min Ho successfully created a difficult character: driven for revenge, yet reluctant to kill, skilled at manipulation, deception and seduction, yet pure in motives and desires. While Park Min Young’s character did not require the same depth, the consistency of a well-acted part throughout drama was commendable.

My favorite giraffe from ‘Running Man’, Lee Kwang Soo plays Go Ki Joon, who is, as usual, a socially inept but loveable character. Seasoned, veteran actors galore are strewn throughout the cast as the 5 ‘villains’ and Lee Yoon Sung’s poor, pathetic mom and others. In fact, for the most part, this is an ‘all-star’ cast.

The story lost some of its energy in the last episode, as the last of the 5 conspirators is due to be brought to justice. I feel the problem is due in part to the fact that viewers empathize with this particular cohort and are loathe to see him brought down too far. Sympathies began to swing against our hero, at least for me, which made for troubled viewing.

Drama clichés spotted: dead parents; obligatory shower scene (really, who’s complaining?); in some respects it’s still a poor girl / filthy rich guy, but that’s certainly not the point of the drama; and is it me or is it becoming a thing for Lee Min Ho to wash and /or dry his woman’s hair?

Cinematography: My rating 7/10

City-Hunter-2Well-choreographed fight scenes, amazing action stunts, and cool settings (the Thai jungle?) all factored into to a viewing experience that proved worthwhile. The masterful use of lighting make many scenes more than memorable. And it’s not just Lee Yoon Sung who gets to fight with the bad guys and drop from high buildings – Kim Nana’s got some serious moves! Ninja girl!

Music: My rating 8/10

Lots of good music in this OST, including some really great instrumentals – “Nana’s Theme” being my favorite. It’s a soft, slow, piano take-off on “Cupid” (see below): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG-XOlQ2pcQ

As for the vocal pieces, we have:

“Sarang” Kim Jae Bum  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXUDGXl9mXo

“So Goodbye”  Jonghyun   (Yep, from SHINee)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LYjToGNKCQ

“It’s Alright”  Yang Hwajin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nRhz_DbEOs

Bouncy, cute and fun: “Cupid” Girl’s Day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsIFTuYfysI

“Suddenly”  Kim Bo Kyung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KStsjgqkAc

“Lonely Day”  J Symphony  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSXpZ-xAvAk

Great Ballad: “I Only Look For You”  Park Gyuri  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rFEdaJustw

“You and I”   Rainbow  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI2S6U9bvZo

“Can’t Stop”   Son Han Byeol  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3RZfVsXnz8

“I Love You, I Want You, I Need You”  Apple Mango http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QMwVksgu0I

“I Love You, I Want You, I Need You (Sweet Acoustic Version)” Goo Hara http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1Njid41Rp8

Various versions of “City Hunter” are currently available on iTunes.

Overall Charisma: My rating 8/10

While ‘City Hunter’ is not my favorite action drama, it is definitely a drama to put your must-see list. I give it well above average marks in cinematography, music, acting and script. The overall feel of the drama is also very good with the viewer anxiously anticipating the next episode, rooting for antagonist and protagonist alike, feeling angst over the inevitable unfairness of life. Heavy sigh.

However, despite the charisma, I found myself emotionally unmoved until the second to last episode. I’m not sure if the characters lacked the compelling nature required to really draw me in or if the script itself lacked the dramatic appeal or force necessary to command my emotional response. The ending is also somewhat weak in relation to the strength of the rest of the script.

That said, I have watched this drama three times, so the previous statements have not lessened the overall appeal for me to the extent that it has prevented multiple viewings!

And really, where else are you going to see Lee Min Ho riding an elephant?

Happy Drama Watching!

“Countdown to Lee Min Ho” Drama Review: “Boys Over Flowers”

The “Countdown to Lee Min Ho” will now commence. Yup. I won 2 of the coveted tickets to see the man himself, live and in person, March 10th in Los Angeles. So to celebrate I will be publishing 2 critiques a week until the glorious event. I will review all of the Lee Min Ho dramas I’ve seen to date: “Boys Over Flowers”, “Personal Taste”, “City Hunter”, “Faith” and “I Am Sam”.

-Boys-Over-Flowers-boys-over-flowers-26731658-1024-768We’ll begin with “Boys Over Flowers” for several reasons. It was, after all, my very first Korean drama and continues to be a ‘gateway’ drama for many a new drama fan. It is also rather iconic in its own right. Iconic in that it contains all of the classic elements (and clichés, of course) of the standard Korean drama, and that it launched several young people into international stardom.

Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 7/10

Geum Jan Di is a spunky poor girl who, by a twist of fate, is given a scholarship to the most exclusive, expensive school in Korea: Shin Hwa. She promptly butts heads with the school’s elite, the “F4”, not only known at Shin Hwa School, but apparently famous throughout Seoul by reputation (and good looks): Goo Joon Pyo, leader of the F4 and heir to the Shin Hwa fortune, Yoon Ji Hoo, grandson to the former President, So Yi Jung, a famous artisan and well-known ‘player’ and Song Woo Bin, son of the Mafia boss and playboy. The story centers on the difficult romance between Geum Jan Di and Goo Joon Pyo, with Yoon Ji Hoo thrown in to make a nice love triangle. (One of the few real triangles seen in dramas!)

Script/Acting: My rating 8/10

familyClassic drama elements and a certain amount of predictability prevail, but somehow they don’t detract much from the overall entertainment value in this delightful, now classic, drama. The overacting seen on the part ofJan Di’s family adds a campy feeling their scenes. Interesting side note: Park Ji Bin who plays Jan Di’s little brother, Kang San, plays the character of the same name inKim & Kim May Queen. (He plays the younger version of the lead.)  Lee Min Ho played Goo Joon Pyo superbly, bringing out the vulnerable side of the arrogant young plutocrat in such a way that viewers could only hope for his success. Koo Hye Sun as Geum Jan Di was, in my opinion, one of the weaker points of the drama. Her character did not always come across as endearing enough to be the F4’s beloved little sister. Kim Bum was charismatic as the potter and ‘player’, So Yi Jung. KimSo Eun meshed well with him as well woo binas with her best friend Jan Di as Cha Ga Eul. Kim Joon as Song Woo Bin was probably the most underused and underrated actor in the drama. His was a well-played character that could have been put to greater use. Joon Pyo’s big sis was fabulously portrayed by Kim HyunJoo.

junpyosisterAnd by the way, is there anything Yoon Ji Hoo cannot do? Horseback riding, cooking, playing violin, guitar, piano, singing, dancing, fighting, fishing, sailing, swimming (lifesaving), and cutting hair like a pro. Let’s not forget that he’s wealthy and has an impeccable family background. OMG. All that and a tender heart jihoojandito boot. A more than perfect man wrapped up in a more than gorgeous package? A normal woman would have given up on the high road long before. Kim Hyun Joong was perfect for the role.

While overall the script is fun and well written, there are definitely parts that could easily have been left out. Take Macau, for example: It seems the writers decided they needed an excuse to spend a bit more time there so JiHoo’s ridiculous friend pops up out of nowhere just as they are about to depart and waylays them for a day. The potty tantrum and the one-sided bromance are incidents that added little or nothing to the overall charisma of the drama. The same goes for the memory-loss episode. Some time-fillers just don’t need to happen.

Cinematography: My rating 9/10

The cinematography is unparalleled in terms of locations. With filming in Seoul, New Caledonia, Waiheke Island (off the coast of New Zealand), Macau and Jeju Island, the settings alone are stunning eye-candy. Much effort was put into making this drama appealing visually and the efforts definitely paid off. Although the video quality in the following clip is not spectacular, it gives you a good idea of some of the great filming locations used:

Music: My rating 8/10

The music is a varied selection of ballads and pop tunes. All are widely available on YouTube, iTunes and your local Asian market.

There are actually 3 separately released track lists with a myriad of songs available. The above are the most widely known and the most used throughout the drama.

Overall Charisma: My rating 9/10

So despite the criticisms, I give this drama high marks in overall charisma. Why? It’s fun. It’s charming. The actors are worth watching. The music is evocative. ? I’ve seen it myself 4 or 5 times now. (Omo – should I really admit that?)

As a woman, both the Joon Pyo and Ji Hoo characters are deeply etched in my psyche. While Joon Pyo is infinitely attractive, what woman doesn’t ache for Ji Hoo and his forlorn love? For that matter, what woman doesn’t yearn for a Ji Hoo in her life? Sorry guys, those boys have set the bar really, really, really unapproachably, unrealistically, fancifully, castle-in-the-sky high! LOL But that’s why it’s fiction, right?

Happy Drama Watching!

Goo JoonPyo

SBS K-Pop Super Concert in LA on August 10th!

 

 

 

SBS 케이팝 콘서트 – 로스앤젤레스에서- 8월 10일. 홈디포 센터.

Ahh..summer is finally kicking into full gear, how do I know? Well, because San Diego Comic Con is happening, but sadly, I couldn’t go to it. Ahh….Depression.

But!!! If any like-minded individuals who are also suffering are out there reading this, fear not!

It was just announced that SBS will be holding a K-pop concert on Friday, August 10th at the Home Depot Center in LA!

The concert, which is named “K-Pop Super Concert” rightly so, will feature groups such as SNSD (Girls’ Generation), 2PM, 2AM, KARA, SISTAR, SECRET, CN Blue, Mblaq, SHINee, and maybe more as the details continue to roll out!

Tickets are on sale July 18th through Home Depot Center Box Office or http://www.axs.com. So keep on eye out for them!!!

http://www.axs.com/los-angeles-ca/music-events/k-pop-super-concert-in-america-2012august10-3680.html