Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Hehe. This is random but I recently rewatched Autumn’s Concerto (my top 5 spring break recommendation post made me want to watch it again lol) and I just want to review it while I still remember most of it’s story line. I was supposed to do My Princess but I already forgot half the plot so I will need a refresher before I get to that. Like last time, my [in a nutshell] section will be available for all you lazys out there. ^^

Hopeless romantics: this one’s for you. Add a hero in shinning armour, a righteous girl, a disapporving mother and juicy romance. What do you get? Mhmmm. A delicious drama.

Episodes: 21
Stars: Van Ness Wu, Ady An, Xia Xia Bin
For fans of: Easy Fortune Happy Life(TW) , Mars(TW)
Watch it here
IMPORTANT TIP: Do not and I repeat, DO NOT watch the mini commercial breaks in between the drama. There are major spoilers in there. ^^

Story/Plot (Note: Spoilers up to episode 4)
This drama’s storyline looks quite simple at first: Girl meets Boy. Boy falls for girl. Problems arise. But Autumn’s Concerto is a drama that just loves to complicate things. Hence the surprising twists and dark side-story lines. One thing that I loved though was that this drama was so (I don’t really know how to say this but I guess I’ll go with:) adult-oriented. That’s right. The problems were actual PROBLEMS (in all caps because that’s how incredibly problematic they were). So if you’re in it for the cheese, might as well leave now.

So here’s our main girl, Liang Mu Cheng. The drama begins with a (rather unnecessary, in my opinion) flashback to her past. Her mom died when she was young, followed by her father’s death a couple years afterwards. Her father leaves her and her step-mother penniless but fortunately, some guy takes them in. Fast forward a decade or so. Mu Cheng is a young adult that works as a bento girl in a University which her best guy friend, Hua Tuo Ye, attends. This is also where she Ren Guen Xi, a self-proclaimed player and the son of the President of the University studies. She had first met him when his convertible had crashed into the bus she was riding. It was a nasty first encounter that ended in her telling him off and richboy Guen Xi having to serve community hours. At school, Ren Guen Xi’s friend bets him to ask Mu Cheng on a date and get her to kiss him. Mu Cheng is the unattainable pretty girl on campus who is known to reject all her admirers. Getting that kiss will only add glory to Guen Xi’s player status so, he accepts. At first, Mu Cheng rejects him but Mister Player finds a way around that obstacle. He practically blackmails her into coming using a textbook that Tuo Ye needs for his classes.

Ren Guen Xi’s player charms work on poor unsuspecting Mu Cheng and he successfully captures their kiss on his camera. Alas, Mu Cheng soon finds out about the bet and catches him off guard by lying that someone also bet her to kiss him. Both parties part with a hurt ego. They meet again when Mu Cheng accidentally discovers Ren Guen Xi’s hideout spot. They bond over a song that Mu Cheng knows to play on the piano. Soon enough, they become close friends and Guen Xi even lies to his friend that he lost the bet. One day, he discovers one of Mu Cheng’s deepest secret which is that her stepmom’s boyfriend, who works as a chef in the University cafeteria, sexually abuses her. He convinces her that she should speak up about it and even goes as far as proposing to pursue him in the University’s court.

She reluctantly agrees. Guen Xi acts as her lawyer for that case. After much studying and practising, they win the case; the stepmom’s boyfriend is fired from his job. All seems well until, suddenly, Guen Xi discovers that he has a brain tumour. A whole skew of problems arise as he hesitates to involve Mu Cheng in a deeper relationship than they have and as he discovers that the one man that can give him a chance to live is willing to help him only if Guen Xi dates his daughter.

The acting
The acting in this drama was incredible. The majority of actors were really strong; whether that be the main leads or the secondary/tertiary characters. Even the child actor, the precious Xia Xia Bin, was just amazing. This drama is one of the few that shows a consistent solid performance from its cast.

The people were pretty. The locations were pretty. Still, since that palette used was kinda lame, the show wasn’t as visually appealing as say Boys over Flowers or Playful Kiss.The directing was very basic. No fancy shots or anything. The music was slow for the most part. So, nothing you can dance to but it goes with the story well enough.

Additional Commentary
Okay, first of all this is my favourite Taiwanese drama OF ALL TIMES. Second of all, this drama was so… dramatic. It was like a watered down and cut down version of a soap opera (without the poor acting). And surprisingly, I loved it. It dealt with real (although rare) issues. This drama was more dark than light but it still had a really hopeful message at the end. The situations were believable even if they were unlikely to happen in your lifetime. And Ren Guen Xi? He is like my number one drama lead crush ever. Just UNF. I love him. As for Mu Cheng, get ready for FRUSTRATION that will make you want to scream at the top of your lungs. She is a respectable lead female character (no aegyo, honest person, strong etc) but she is stubborn as hell. If it wasn’t for her, the drama would have been cut down by 5 episodes at least.

[In a nutshell]

Things I like
Vaness Wu as Ren Guen Xi
respectable female lead Mu Cheng
believable situations
good acting
cute kid Xia Xia Bin
beautiful lead couple

Law and Order segments

Things I dislike

stubborn female lead Mu Cheng (yes, I both like and dislike her)
unremarkable directing
side story lines that I didn’t care about
Overall Rating
how much I liked it: 9/10
how good it was: 8.5/10

Do I reccomend it?
Yes, yes, a million times YES!


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Note:  I have only watched 9/13 episodes of this drama, so my entire review is based on those nine only. Also, this review is going to be on the short side so I think putting my [in a nutshell] section would be unnecessary. Let’s jump right in!
Episodes: 13
Stars: Yu Huang Yun, Aaron Yan, Calvin Chen
For fans of: Playful Kiss (Korean and Taiwanese), Romantic Princess (TW), Down with Love (TW)
It’s one of those dramas again. You know the type: more cheese than substance, more pretty characters than complex characters. But I don’t have a problem against that! Bring on the cheese.
The plot for this drama is very minimalist. There is like one main plot and one minor one and that’s it, which is not bad I guess. It means that the drama is more straightforward and to the point; no irrelevant and random side stories here.
The story revolves around Hu Xia Feng who has that sweet girl-next-door thing going on. She is a first-year university student and she aspires to be a social worker. However, her life takes an interesting turn when two cousins (not her cousins.. that would be gross), A Yi and Da Ye, move upstairs of her apartment. The two boys are rich heirs to their grandfathers and they were both sent away to study at Xia Feng’s university in hopes that A Yi could forget a painful love.
 Da Ye who is funny and outgoing instantly cozies up to Xia Feng and it doesn’t take much time for Xia Feng to develop a crush on him. A Yi on the other hand is a more quiet and reserved type who at first seems to dislike our main girl but who ultimately ends up becoming close to her. After spending much quality time with Da Ye, Xia Feng finally gathers enough courage to confess her feelings. Unfortunately, she finds out that Da Ye doesn’t reciprocate them. Hurt, she turns to A Yi who comforts her only to end up falling for her. The problem is that A Yi still hasn’t gotten completely over his past love. At the same time, Da Ye is also slowly falling for Xia Feng’s charms. Who will end up with Xia Feng in the end?
The Acting
This is a silly drama therefore the acting isn’t top notch. Most of the characters are either overacted or underacted. A lot of the actors have difficulty portraying the right amount of emotion. Aaron Yan plays his role well but even then I would say it’s still lacking. Yu Huang Yun is okay.
Well, we have Aaron Yan and Calvin Chen here so how could this drama not be pretty? The music on the other hand is nothing spectacular.
Additional Commentary
I was fine with this drama until I found out that the one I like wasn’t going to get the girl. Then I was just angry.(biased opinion)On a more serious note, this drama is nothing nutritious. It’s like candy, sweet while it last but not exactly satisfying in the end. You know what I mean? Just don’t watch it expecting to be wowed by the acting or directing or scriptwriting or something because you really won’t enjoy it. Watch it for the fun of it.
Overall Rating:
how much I liked it: 4/10 (because I’m biased :P )
how good it was: 5/10
Do I recommend it?

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I promised a long meaty review so here it is. I am feeling kind of uninspired today so this may turn out less in-depth than I want but here we go anyway. For those who want just a quick and dirty summary of all this, you are welcomed to skip to my [in a nutshell] section below.
This drama raised a lot of eyebrows when it first came out, including mines. What do you mean five rookie idol-actors with no or very little acting experience will star in a High School drama?Honestly, I was expecting a hot mess of a drama but I was pleasantly surprised. Dream High may not be THE BEST DRAMA EVERRR but it is solidly good and it sure did surpass my expectations.
Episodes: 16
Stars: Suzy, Kim Soo Hyun, Taecyon, Ham Eun Jung, Woohyung, IU
For fans of: Fame (the movie), High School Musical (don’t worry it’s better than HMS), Musicals in general
The Story/Plot
If you are expecting a romantic comedy (like I was :/), this drama is not IT. The story gives off a Fame-ish feel with the story focusing on six ambitious teens attending an Arts High School with big dreams of becoming superstars.
Jason (Woohyung) is the golden boy of Kirin High with the charm, looks, and talent of a star that has already debuted and is well established. His problem, however, is his cockiness. Throughout the drama, we see him grow and learn how to be member of a team.

Baek Hee (Ham Eun Jung) is the kind of girl who has been an underdog all her life. She was always overshadowed by Hye Mi, her best friend, and even underestimated by her parents. When she gets admitted to Kirin and Hye Mi does not she finally starts to find strength in herself. However, she is still overwhelmed by her insecurities and starts on a path of lies and shortcuts in order to get to the top. Then, there is the four ‘rejects’ who got admitted to Kirin on special admission and for this reason are considered the ‘bottom bunch’.
Pil Sook (IU) is a sweet girl with a sweet voice but her main obstacle is her obesity. She is Jason’s counterpart and together they provide the drama with comedic and romantic relief.
Song Samdong(Kim Soo Hyun) is the country boy with a musical talent and ambition that surpasses the small town he used to live in. He falls head-over heels for Hye Mi.
His rival is Jin guk (Taecyon), the tough guy with golden morals who has a father who is ashamed of him. Jin guk starts on his path to become a star as a way of rebellion but it soon grows into a dream.
Finally, there is Hye Mi(Suzy). She used to live a rich priviledged lifestyle until her father’s debt took over her life. So, she is forced to give up her dreams of becoming a classical singer in order to enter Kirin, debut, and pay off the debts by becoming an idol. She is somewhat of an anit-heroine however because she has a tendency to look down on others and basically be a b*tch. The story is about how they grow together to become better persons and pursue their dreams. Throw in a few awesome songs and a few cuh-razy dance numbers and tada! you have Dream High.
The Acting
Poor. The acting was pretty poor, sadly. Taecyon was okay but I liked him way better in Cinderella Sister. Maybe it was because his character was too one-dimmensional? I dunno but something was missing there. Ham Eun Jung was actually pretty good. You could really feel how desperately her character wanted to be loved and you couldn’t help but feel sorry for her yet still hate her at the same time.  Suzy did solidly for a rookie but it was still not good enough to be a lead. I guess the reasoning behind casting her was that since her character was cold and mostly unemotional it was okay. But they were wrong. Unemotional characters require more acting skills in order to earn more sympathy from the audience… and not bore them. Kim Soo Hyun was the real star in this drama. I was very moved by his performance and you could basically see his character growing and developing in front of your eyes.
Well it would be pretty sad if a musical drama didn’t have a killer soundtrack, so of course Dream High has that. It also remakes popular kpop hits such as SNSD’s “Genie”, BigBang’s “Sunset Glow”, and 2AM’s “Can’t let you go even if I die”. The drama itself was very appealing visually because of the palette used and of course the gorgeous face of idols don’t hurt the eyes either.
Additional Commentary
I think what the drama did best was character development. Almost all the characters grew immensely from the first episode to the last. This is not even just restricted to the students. The teachers and the other adult characters grew as well. The plot itself was good albeit repetitive. It seemed there was always something that MUST BE WON or else. But that’s okay because it built up tension and was realistic in the sense that the main characters didn’t win anything they didn’t deserve to win. The end was loose. It was the kind of end that while it wrapped up the main things nicely, a few strings were left hanging here and there. I guess the purpose of this was to open up a possibility for season 2 (which is happening!) yet still provide enough fan service so as to not outrage the viewers if a season 2 hadn’t been made possible.
[in a nutshell]

Things I like
Kim Soo Hyun
the soundtrack
character development
good life lessons in the story
plot is not too slow but not too fast
plot is original in terms of kdramas
tales of friendship
random references to popular kpop culture
Things I dislike
poor acting
loose ending
love story is on/off
Overall Rating
how much I like it: 7/10
how good it was: 7.5/10
Do I recommend it?



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