dangermousie: (Mawang UTW by timescout)


In my not-so-humble opinion, TEM is the best drama airing right now (of the ones I've seen). Sure, I love K2H and enjoy Rooftop Prince, but TEM is just pretty much perfect (except for the soundtrack, which is toned down in ep 2 but still should be cut in half).

The performances are top-notch (especially from Lee Hyun Woo, who plays the younger version of Sun Woo, Uhm Tae Woong's character. That kid is going places) but even more interesting are the characters. I adore Sun Woo the way I don't often adore a character but I find Jang Il even more interesting, even if I don't like him much - take his crush on Ji Won - it is indubitable he's sincerely smitten, but he's smitten, in very large part, because she's an aspirational model - a rich young woman impeccably dressed and singing a song in English. It's not her, it's her status.

I am probably pushing similarities where they aren't, but in a way, Sun Woo and Jang Il remind me a bit of the protagonists of Mawang (my favorite drama of all time) - one is warm-hearted, immediate, prone to violence in just cause, and one a whip-smart, cold, calculating one who finds it hard to open up.

Only the roles have been somewhat reversed - in Mawang, it was the seemingly cold lawyer who was a wreck irreparably damaged by the horrific wrongs done to him and his family (and, in turn, made things only worse when he went for vengeance) and the warm-hearted cop was the perpetrator of the wrongs who has spent his life trying to right the past. Here, this is not the case - clearly, Sun Woo is the victim of the situation, doing everything, even some things that may damn his soul (the bargain offered by the Mob at the end of ep 2 was chilling) for a person whose father killed his (on orders of possibly SW's birth father? Eeeep, this is dark). And Jang Il's ambition and moral ambivalence are not a result of repeated horrific trauma as was the case with Joo Ji Hoon's character in Mawang - no, it's his hatred of poverty and desire for power, understandable but much less sympathetic.

Maybe it is more like Resurrection - I foresee Sun Woo going much darker once he finds out the truth - in Resurrection, Uhm Tae Woong's character morphed from a warm and loving man into a ruthless, ice-cold, terrifying carrier of vengeance who knew he was turning into a monster but could not stop. I wonder if his character here will experience the same trajectory.

Anyway, this is amazing, you should watch!
dangermousie: (Mawang UTW by timescout)


In my not-so-humble opinion, TEM is the best drama airing right now (of the ones I've seen). Sure, I love K2H and enjoy Rooftop Prince, but TEM is just pretty much perfect (except for the soundtrack, which is toned down in ep 2 but still should be cut in half).

The performances are top-notch (especially from Lee Hyun Woo, who plays the younger version of Sun Woo, Uhm Tae Woong's character. That kid is going places) but even more interesting are the characters. I adore Sun Woo the way I don't often adore a character but I find Jang Il even more interesting, even if I don't like him much - take his crush on Ji Won - it is indubitable he's sincerely smitten, but he's smitten, in very large part, because she's an aspirational model - a rich young woman impeccably dressed and singing a song in English. It's not her, it's her status.

I am probably pushing similarities where they aren't, but in a way, Sun Woo and Jang Il remind me a bit of the protagonists of Mawang (my favorite drama of all time) - one is warm-hearted, immediate, prone to violence in just cause, and one a whip-smart, cold, calculating one who finds it hard to open up.

Only the roles have been somewhat reversed - in Mawang, it was the seemingly cold lawyer who was a wreck irreparably damaged by the horrific wrongs done to him and his family (and, in turn, made things only worse when he went for vengeance) and the warm-hearted cop was the perpetrator of the wrongs who has spent his life trying to right the past. Here, this is not the case - clearly, Sun Woo is the victim of the situation, doing everything, even some things that may damn his soul (the bargain offered by the Mob at the end of ep 2 was chilling) for a person whose father killed his (on orders of possibly SW's birth father? Eeeep, this is dark). And Jang Il's ambition and moral ambivalence are not a result of repeated horrific trauma as was the case with Joo Ji Hoon's character in Mawang - no, it's his hatred of poverty and desire for power, understandable but much less sympathetic.

Maybe it is more like Resurrection - I foresee Sun Woo going much darker once he finds out the truth - in Resurrection, Uhm Tae Woong's character morphed from a warm and loving man into a ruthless, ice-cold, terrifying carrier of vengeance who knew he was turning into a monster but could not stop. I wonder if his character here will experience the same trajectory.

Anyway, this is amazing, you should watch!
dangermousie: (Mawang UTW by timescout)


In my not-so-humble opinion, TEM is the best drama airing right now (of the ones I've seen). Sure, I love K2H and enjoy Rooftop Prince, but TEM is just pretty much perfect (except for the soundtrack, which is toned down in ep 2 but still should be cut in half).

The performances are top-notch (especially from Lee Hyun Woo, who plays the younger version of Sun Woo, Uhm Tae Woong's character. That kid is going places) but even more interesting are the characters. I adore Sun Woo the way I don't often adore a character but I find Jang Il even more interesting, even if I don't like him much - take his crush on Ji Won - it is indubitable he's sincerely smitten, but he's smitten, in very large part, because she's an aspirational model - a rich young woman impeccably dressed and singing a song in English. It's not her, it's her status.

I am probably pushing similarities where they aren't, but in a way, Sun Woo and Jang Il remind me a bit of the protagonists of Mawang (my favorite drama of all time) - one is warm-hearted, immediate, prone to violence in just cause, and one a whip-smart, cold, calculating one who finds it hard to open up.

Only the roles have been somewhat reversed - in Mawang, it was the seemingly cold lawyer who was a wreck irreparably damaged by the horrific wrongs done to him and his family (and, in turn, made things only worse when he went for vengeance) and the warm-hearted cop was the perpetrator of the wrongs who has spent his life trying to right the past. Here, this is not the case - clearly, Sun Woo is the victim of the situation, doing everything, even some things that may damn his soul (the bargain offered by the Mob at the end of ep 2 was chilling) for a person whose father killed his (on orders of possibly SW's birth father? Eeeep, this is dark). And Jang Il's ambition and moral ambivalence are not a result of repeated horrific trauma as was the case with Joo Ji Hoon's character in Mawang - no, it's his hatred of poverty and desire for power, understandable but much less sympathetic.

Maybe it is more like Resurrection - I foresee Sun Woo going much darker once he finds out the truth - in Resurrection, Uhm Tae Woong's character morphed from a warm and loving man into a ruthless, ice-cold, terrifying carrier of vengeance who knew he was turning into a monster but could not stop. I wonder if his character here will experience the same trajectory.

Anyway, this is amazing, you should watch!
dangermousie: (Mawang angst by miss-dian)
These are just some random thoughts I keep having about Bad Guy. Pardon me as I ramble.

Whoever tried to advertise BG as a revenge story did it a disservice. At its heart, it's a family story/melodrama. It is best at showcasing interactions/connections between its damaged characters - the revenge plot is not only not tightly done at all, it's not even a driver of the story or takes too much space. Let me put it this way, if you are a revenge story junkie, you are better off with Green Rose or Resurrection or (the best drama ever made, IMO) The Devil (I am lazy and will from now on refer to it as Mawang).

Revenge stories in kdrama are often a conduit for other themes - forgiveness and change and one's own culpability in Mawang and Resurrection, passionate dysfunctional love in A Love to Kill and Queen of the Game, the suffering motivating such vengeful behavior - Green Rose, Dog/Wolf etc. But still, the revenge and its effects are the main driver in these stories. Bad Guy uses Gun Wook's plans almost as a mcguffin to create its emotional interractions and connections. Its vibe reminds me much more of classic melodramas like Something Happened in Bali and I'm Sorry, I Love You (MiSa). Nobody can claim that the revenge plan in MiSa is in any way anything but an excuse to have So Ji Sub's character meet the girl he loves and slowly become a human being. It's not a revenge drama at all - very little time is occupied with any revenge. And Bali, which is the drama BG reminds me most, has never been described as a revenge drama.

Actually Bali and BG have eerie similarity. We have the prevailing, corrosive power of wealth. We have a powerful, soulless rich family which ends up being brought down by a combo of a smart, poor man who has a grudge (after he realizes he will never be accepted and always used). There is a whole subplot between the poor man and an icy rich woman (though unlike the vulnerable Taera of BG, Young Joo of Bali really does have ice water in her veins). The heroine is a warm-hearted, conflicted gold-digger who draws both of the damaged male protagonists to her through her sheer humanity in contrast with what they normally deal with. The other male protagonist is a horribly damaged rich boy who is emotionally very open and very unstable. Etcetcetc. I could really be here all day but I believe I made my point - Bad Guy, like Bali, is IMO a melodrama and just as I had little interest in seeing So Ji Sub's financial machinations to bring Jangs down, I don't really care about the details of Gun Wook's plans to bring down Hongs in the end - I just like seeing the situations as they develop. Interestingly, just as in Bali, I am all about the damaged rich boy in Bad Guy and the smart poor man leaves me rather cold. Bali is what made me a Jo In Sung fangirl for life - I guess I am drawn to off-kilter vulnerability.

Ironically, I find the protagonist of BG the story's biggest weakness. Even though Kim Nam Gil is a great actor, Gun Wook himself is rather a cypher and not a fascinating one. If you compare BG to Mawang the differences are stark and not just because Mawang is the epitome of the revenge drama. Mawang is a story which really shows the damage and the cost of revenge and what sort of damaged person would be consumed by it. Joo Ji Hoon's avenger in Mawang is arguably even more self-contained than Gun Wook but he is a dynamic, interesting character anyway and as the story goes on you quickly see that this tight control hides a destroyed little child within. Reserved and restrained doesn't have to mean so controlled as not to show anything more than the controlled mastermind facade but that is a problem with BG - so far, after 6+ episodes, that is how Gun Wook comes across to me. He is not an interesting character because the feelings of anger and his background causing his desire for revenge come across fine on paper (i.e. I don't think it's illogical he wants to bring down Hong family) but they lack any emotional connection to me as shown and do not feel dramatic.

One does not need to spend episodes showing the hell that the avenger was put through in order to decide to become an avenger (Green Rose goes that route but something like Mawang reveals the truth stingily, slowly, in scattered flashbacks that probably take 5 minutes combined). But there has to be some sort of an emotional connection and I do not feel any. In part it's because Gun Wook's story is made so bizarrely evil and OTT it makes me roll my eyes at kdrama melodrama - sure, his evil adoptive parents realized they made a mistake and he wasn't the illegitimate son so they dumped the little kid in the rain, he hurt his back badly through being shoved, his parents died trying to pick him up, even his dog got run over. I mean - what???? It all seems a bit silly. Contrast it with e.g. Green Rose, where protagonist is a collateral damage for a corporate murder gone wrong and ends up having his family destroyed as a result and see himself convicted for life for a murder he did not commit , and then, when he goes on the run, almost starves to death in China - it's not just Go Soo's amazing anguished acting that sells this, it's just the story is explained in a number of eps, it immerses you. No crazy brief OTT flashback. One can get away with a brief flashback if it's something fairly simple (like in Resurrection - bad guys killed hero's father to hide their corruption and later his brother. Not much explanation is needed) but if the story is crazy OTT, you better spend more time on it.

But ultimately, what fails to sell me on any sympathy with Gun Wook is not the inadequate background stuff, it's his present-day demeanor. I could overlook a backstory that is lacking if the present-day revenge stuff is interesting either in being clever so the viewer is piecing together a puzzle or emotionally connecting because you are invested in the protagonist, or both. (All the best revenge dramas have both). But here, Gun Wook is so self-contained and so well-put-together and functional, I have little patience or sympathy with him and want to tell him to move on and do something productive - the drama fails to show that whatever happened to him in the past truly screwed him up enough to make him want to go all-out for revenge. The protagonists of Mawang or Dog/Wolf or A Love to Kill - they are all wrecked people and if not for revenge there would be no meaning to their lives. Alternatively, in Resurrection or Green Rose, you see how revenge slowly destroys the protagonist. It all makes for a sympathetic, emotionally grabbing story that has dramatic tension. But neither is the case here. Gun Wook is not particularly symathetic because he is not damaged nor does he become damaged by his vengeful actions. Let me put it this way, if Gun Wook walked away, I can see him living a perfectly fine life - I have not been sold on such a dysfunction which would make revenge necessary. And so the tension in the story is gone.

I cannot identify, sympathize, or get interested in emotions of the protagonist when he has so little of them.

The above is not a bash of Bad Guy or even Gun Wook. It is all a very long way of saying that BG does not work as a revenge story, but what it does work brilliantly as, is a melodrama. Gun Wook is boring as dirt in most vengeance-related stuff or by himself, but his scenes with Taera which sparkle with desperate sexual chemistry and her desires or his scenes with Jae In when he shows vulnerability (i.e. melodrama scenes) work beautifully. And I find the family dynamics of the Hongs and the Hong siblings themselves a lot more interesting than Gun Wook anyway. Taera's cold loveless marriage and her desperation for some genuine warmth and love before it's too late. Mone's spoiled sheltered self-centeredness. Tae Sung's self-loathing and childlike craving for love. Jae In's pressing her nose against the window of the rich people's lifestyles. Madame Shin's cold, socially-calculated scheming. This is what I find really interesting. Gun Wook is interesting to me only insofar as he is a catalyst for any of these people. If Gun Wook randomly fell of a bridge, provided the rest of these characters would remain 'stirred up', I could be just fine. To be honest, I think I would love BG even more if it was a Tae Sung show, instead of Gun Wook show (yes, Bali all over again).

One last quick comment - I have a problem with GW's choice of revenge. He can extract all the revenge he wants from the Hong Parents who wronged him and are monsters. But he is purposely hurting Taera (he is wrecking her life), Tae Sung and Mone, and they have never done anything to him. Tae Sung got torn from his family just as Gun Wook was - he did not choose to come into cold abusive household at 8 on his own. Mone was a baby when all the bad stuff was going down. And Taera was a teen with not much agency either. Leave them alone!

Phew, this was long.
dangermousie: (Mawang angst by miss-dian)
These are just some random thoughts I keep having about Bad Guy. Pardon me as I ramble.

Whoever tried to advertise BG as a revenge story did it a disservice. At its heart, it's a family story/melodrama. It is best at showcasing interactions/connections between its damaged characters - the revenge plot is not only not tightly done at all, it's not even a driver of the story or takes too much space. Let me put it this way, if you are a revenge story junkie, you are better off with Green Rose or Resurrection or (the best drama ever made, IMO) The Devil (I am lazy and will from now on refer to it as Mawang).

Revenge stories in kdrama are often a conduit for other themes - forgiveness and change and one's own culpability in Mawang and Resurrection, passionate dysfunctional love in A Love to Kill and Queen of the Game, the suffering motivating such vengeful behavior - Green Rose, Dog/Wolf etc. But still, the revenge and its effects are the main driver in these stories. Bad Guy uses Gun Wook's plans almost as a mcguffin to create its emotional interractions and connections. Its vibe reminds me much more of classic melodramas like Something Happened in Bali and I'm Sorry, I Love You (MiSa). Nobody can claim that the revenge plan in MiSa is in any way anything but an excuse to have So Ji Sub's character meet the girl he loves and slowly become a human being. It's not a revenge drama at all - very little time is occupied with any revenge. And Bali, which is the drama BG reminds me most, has never been described as a revenge drama.

Actually Bali and BG have eerie similarity. We have the prevailing, corrosive power of wealth. We have a powerful, soulless rich family which ends up being brought down by a combo of a smart, poor man who has a grudge (after he realizes he will never be accepted and always used). There is a whole subplot between the poor man and an icy rich woman (though unlike the vulnerable Taera of BG, Young Joo of Bali really does have ice water in her veins). The heroine is a warm-hearted, conflicted gold-digger who draws both of the damaged male protagonists to her through her sheer humanity in contrast with what they normally deal with. The other male protagonist is a horribly damaged rich boy who is emotionally very open and very unstable. Etcetcetc. I could really be here all day but I believe I made my point - Bad Guy, like Bali, is IMO a melodrama and just as I had little interest in seeing So Ji Sub's financial machinations to bring Jangs down, I don't really care about the details of Gun Wook's plans to bring down Hongs in the end - I just like seeing the situations as they develop. Interestingly, just as in Bali, I am all about the damaged rich boy in Bad Guy and the smart poor man leaves me rather cold. Bali is what made me a Jo In Sung fangirl for life - I guess I am drawn to off-kilter vulnerability.

Ironically, I find the protagonist of BG the story's biggest weakness. Even though Kim Nam Gil is a great actor, Gun Wook himself is rather a cypher and not a fascinating one. If you compare BG to Mawang the differences are stark and not just because Mawang is the epitome of the revenge drama. Mawang is a story which really shows the damage and the cost of revenge and what sort of damaged person would be consumed by it. Joo Ji Hoon's avenger in Mawang is arguably even more self-contained than Gun Wook but he is a dynamic, interesting character anyway and as the story goes on you quickly see that this tight control hides a destroyed little child within. Reserved and restrained doesn't have to mean so controlled as not to show anything more than the controlled mastermind facade but that is a problem with BG - so far, after 6+ episodes, that is how Gun Wook comes across to me. He is not an interesting character because the feelings of anger and his background causing his desire for revenge come across fine on paper (i.e. I don't think it's illogical he wants to bring down Hong family) but they lack any emotional connection to me as shown and do not feel dramatic.

One does not need to spend episodes showing the hell that the avenger was put through in order to decide to become an avenger (Green Rose goes that route but something like Mawang reveals the truth stingily, slowly, in scattered flashbacks that probably take 5 minutes combined). But there has to be some sort of an emotional connection and I do not feel any. In part it's because Gun Wook's story is made so bizarrely evil and OTT it makes me roll my eyes at kdrama melodrama - sure, his evil adoptive parents realized they made a mistake and he wasn't the illegitimate son so they dumped the little kid in the rain, he hurt his back badly through being shoved, his parents died trying to pick him up, even his dog got run over. I mean - what???? It all seems a bit silly. Contrast it with e.g. Green Rose, where protagonist is a collateral damage for a corporate murder gone wrong and ends up having his family destroyed as a result and see himself convicted for life for a murder he did not commit , and then, when he goes on the run, almost starves to death in China - it's not just Go Soo's amazing anguished acting that sells this, it's just the story is explained in a number of eps, it immerses you. No crazy brief OTT flashback. One can get away with a brief flashback if it's something fairly simple (like in Resurrection - bad guys killed hero's father to hide their corruption and later his brother. Not much explanation is needed) but if the story is crazy OTT, you better spend more time on it.

But ultimately, what fails to sell me on any sympathy with Gun Wook is not the inadequate background stuff, it's his present-day demeanor. I could overlook a backstory that is lacking if the present-day revenge stuff is interesting either in being clever so the viewer is piecing together a puzzle or emotionally connecting because you are invested in the protagonist, or both. (All the best revenge dramas have both). But here, Gun Wook is so self-contained and so well-put-together and functional, I have little patience or sympathy with him and want to tell him to move on and do something productive - the drama fails to show that whatever happened to him in the past truly screwed him up enough to make him want to go all-out for revenge. The protagonists of Mawang or Dog/Wolf or A Love to Kill - they are all wrecked people and if not for revenge there would be no meaning to their lives. Alternatively, in Resurrection or Green Rose, you see how revenge slowly destroys the protagonist. It all makes for a sympathetic, emotionally grabbing story that has dramatic tension. But neither is the case here. Gun Wook is not particularly symathetic because he is not damaged nor does he become damaged by his vengeful actions. Let me put it this way, if Gun Wook walked away, I can see him living a perfectly fine life - I have not been sold on such a dysfunction which would make revenge necessary. And so the tension in the story is gone.

I cannot identify, sympathize, or get interested in emotions of the protagonist when he has so little of them.

The above is not a bash of Bad Guy or even Gun Wook. It is all a very long way of saying that BG does not work as a revenge story, but what it does work brilliantly as, is a melodrama. Gun Wook is boring as dirt in most vengeance-related stuff or by himself, but his scenes with Taera which sparkle with desperate sexual chemistry and her desires or his scenes with Jae In when he shows vulnerability (i.e. melodrama scenes) work beautifully. And I find the family dynamics of the Hongs and the Hong siblings themselves a lot more interesting than Gun Wook anyway. Taera's cold loveless marriage and her desperation for some genuine warmth and love before it's too late. Mone's spoiled sheltered self-centeredness. Tae Sung's self-loathing and childlike craving for love. Jae In's pressing her nose against the window of the rich people's lifestyles. Madame Shin's cold, socially-calculated scheming. This is what I find really interesting. Gun Wook is interesting to me only insofar as he is a catalyst for any of these people. If Gun Wook randomly fell of a bridge, provided the rest of these characters would remain 'stirred up', I could be just fine. To be honest, I think I would love BG even more if it was a Tae Sung show, instead of Gun Wook show (yes, Bali all over again).

One last quick comment - I have a problem with GW's choice of revenge. He can extract all the revenge he wants from the Hong Parents who wronged him and are monsters. But he is purposely hurting Taera (he is wrecking her life), Tae Sung and Mone, and they have never done anything to him. Tae Sung got torn from his family just as Gun Wook was - he did not choose to come into cold abusive household at 8 on his own. Mone was a baby when all the bad stuff was going down. And Taera was a teen with not much agency either. Leave them alone!

Phew, this was long.
dangermousie: (Mawang angst by miss-dian)
These are just some random thoughts I keep having about Bad Guy. Pardon me as I ramble.

Whoever tried to advertise BG as a revenge story did it a disservice. At its heart, it's a family story/melodrama. It is best at showcasing interactions/connections between its damaged characters - the revenge plot is not only not tightly done at all, it's not even a driver of the story or takes too much space. Let me put it this way, if you are a revenge story junkie, you are better off with Green Rose or Resurrection or (the best drama ever made, IMO) The Devil (I am lazy and will from now on refer to it as Mawang).

Revenge stories in kdrama are often a conduit for other themes - forgiveness and change and one's own culpability in Mawang and Resurrection, passionate dysfunctional love in A Love to Kill and Queen of the Game, the suffering motivating such vengeful behavior - Green Rose, Dog/Wolf etc. But still, the revenge and its effects are the main driver in these stories. Bad Guy uses Gun Wook's plans almost as a mcguffin to create its emotional interractions and connections. Its vibe reminds me much more of classic melodramas like Something Happened in Bali and I'm Sorry, I Love You (MiSa). Nobody can claim that the revenge plan in MiSa is in any way anything but an excuse to have So Ji Sub's character meet the girl he loves and slowly become a human being. It's not a revenge drama at all - very little time is occupied with any revenge. And Bali, which is the drama BG reminds me most, has never been described as a revenge drama.

Actually Bali and BG have eerie similarity. We have the prevailing, corrosive power of wealth. We have a powerful, soulless rich family which ends up being brought down by a combo of a smart, poor man who has a grudge (after he realizes he will never be accepted and always used). There is a whole subplot between the poor man and an icy rich woman (though unlike the vulnerable Taera of BG, Young Joo of Bali really does have ice water in her veins). The heroine is a warm-hearted, conflicted gold-digger who draws both of the damaged male protagonists to her through her sheer humanity in contrast with what they normally deal with. The other male protagonist is a horribly damaged rich boy who is emotionally very open and very unstable. Etcetcetc. I could really be here all day but I believe I made my point - Bad Guy, like Bali, is IMO a melodrama and just as I had little interest in seeing So Ji Sub's financial machinations to bring Jangs down, I don't really care about the details of Gun Wook's plans to bring down Hongs in the end - I just like seeing the situations as they develop. Interestingly, just as in Bali, I am all about the damaged rich boy in Bad Guy and the smart poor man leaves me rather cold. Bali is what made me a Jo In Sung fangirl for life - I guess I am drawn to off-kilter vulnerability.

Ironically, I find the protagonist of BG the story's biggest weakness. Even though Kim Nam Gil is a great actor, Gun Wook himself is rather a cypher and not a fascinating one. If you compare BG to Mawang the differences are stark and not just because Mawang is the epitome of the revenge drama. Mawang is a story which really shows the damage and the cost of revenge and what sort of damaged person would be consumed by it. Joo Ji Hoon's avenger in Mawang is arguably even more self-contained than Gun Wook but he is a dynamic, interesting character anyway and as the story goes on you quickly see that this tight control hides a destroyed little child within. Reserved and restrained doesn't have to mean so controlled as not to show anything more than the controlled mastermind facade but that is a problem with BG - so far, after 6+ episodes, that is how Gun Wook comes across to me. He is not an interesting character because the feelings of anger and his background causing his desire for revenge come across fine on paper (i.e. I don't think it's illogical he wants to bring down Hong family) but they lack any emotional connection to me as shown and do not feel dramatic.

One does not need to spend episodes showing the hell that the avenger was put through in order to decide to become an avenger (Green Rose goes that route but something like Mawang reveals the truth stingily, slowly, in scattered flashbacks that probably take 5 minutes combined). But there has to be some sort of an emotional connection and I do not feel any. In part it's because Gun Wook's story is made so bizarrely evil and OTT it makes me roll my eyes at kdrama melodrama - sure, his evil adoptive parents realized they made a mistake and he wasn't the illegitimate son so they dumped the little kid in the rain, he hurt his back badly through being shoved, his parents died trying to pick him up, even his dog got run over. I mean - what???? It all seems a bit silly. Contrast it with e.g. Green Rose, where protagonist is a collateral damage for a corporate murder gone wrong and ends up having his family destroyed as a result and see himself convicted for life for a murder he did not commit , and then, when he goes on the run, almost starves to death in China - it's not just Go Soo's amazing anguished acting that sells this, it's just the story is explained in a number of eps, it immerses you. No crazy brief OTT flashback. One can get away with a brief flashback if it's something fairly simple (like in Resurrection - bad guys killed hero's father to hide their corruption and later his brother. Not much explanation is needed) but if the story is crazy OTT, you better spend more time on it.

But ultimately, what fails to sell me on any sympathy with Gun Wook is not the inadequate background stuff, it's his present-day demeanor. I could overlook a backstory that is lacking if the present-day revenge stuff is interesting either in being clever so the viewer is piecing together a puzzle or emotionally connecting because you are invested in the protagonist, or both. (All the best revenge dramas have both). But here, Gun Wook is so self-contained and so well-put-together and functional, I have little patience or sympathy with him and want to tell him to move on and do something productive - the drama fails to show that whatever happened to him in the past truly screwed him up enough to make him want to go all-out for revenge. The protagonists of Mawang or Dog/Wolf or A Love to Kill - they are all wrecked people and if not for revenge there would be no meaning to their lives. Alternatively, in Resurrection or Green Rose, you see how revenge slowly destroys the protagonist. It all makes for a sympathetic, emotionally grabbing story that has dramatic tension. But neither is the case here. Gun Wook is not particularly symathetic because he is not damaged nor does he become damaged by his vengeful actions. Let me put it this way, if Gun Wook walked away, I can see him living a perfectly fine life - I have not been sold on such a dysfunction which would make revenge necessary. And so the tension in the story is gone.

I cannot identify, sympathize, or get interested in emotions of the protagonist when he has so little of them.

The above is not a bash of Bad Guy or even Gun Wook. It is all a very long way of saying that BG does not work as a revenge story, but what it does work brilliantly as, is a melodrama. Gun Wook is boring as dirt in most vengeance-related stuff or by himself, but his scenes with Taera which sparkle with desperate sexual chemistry and her desires or his scenes with Jae In when he shows vulnerability (i.e. melodrama scenes) work beautifully. And I find the family dynamics of the Hongs and the Hong siblings themselves a lot more interesting than Gun Wook anyway. Taera's cold loveless marriage and her desperation for some genuine warmth and love before it's too late. Mone's spoiled sheltered self-centeredness. Tae Sung's self-loathing and childlike craving for love. Jae In's pressing her nose against the window of the rich people's lifestyles. Madame Shin's cold, socially-calculated scheming. This is what I find really interesting. Gun Wook is interesting to me only insofar as he is a catalyst for any of these people. If Gun Wook randomly fell of a bridge, provided the rest of these characters would remain 'stirred up', I could be just fine. To be honest, I think I would love BG even more if it was a Tae Sung show, instead of Gun Wook show (yes, Bali all over again).

One last quick comment - I have a problem with GW's choice of revenge. He can extract all the revenge he wants from the Hong Parents who wronged him and are monsters. But he is purposely hurting Taera (he is wrecking her life), Tae Sung and Mone, and they have never done anything to him. Tae Sung got torn from his family just as Gun Wook was - he did not choose to come into cold abusive household at 8 on his own. Mone was a baby when all the bad stuff was going down. And Taera was a teen with not much agency either. Leave them alone!

Phew, this was long.
dangermousie: (QSS by bambinainnero)
Finished Resurrection.

Excellent excellent excellent. It got rather dark by the end but I loved the hopeful ending (I nearly had a heart attack because for a while it looked like it was heading into Mawang-ending level trauma. Never again).

I loathed all the bad guys through to the end (felt bad for their dependents though).

Poor poor messed-up Haeun. Get better, woobie! The stuff with Haeun/Eunha (once she found out) was so ridiculously awesome and angsty and hot and comforty and perfect. When he is basically crying at her that he's not Haeun and she is so gentle and tells him if he says he isn't, he isn't and that's what breaks him? OMGSQUEE. And then all the adorableness after.

For a change of pace, next is finishing up Lawyers of Korea. I had some major problems with the male lead of that one but it looks funny so we'll see.
dangermousie: (QSS by bambinainnero)
Finished Resurrection.

Excellent excellent excellent. It got rather dark by the end but I loved the hopeful ending (I nearly had a heart attack because for a while it looked like it was heading into Mawang-ending level trauma. Never again).

I loathed all the bad guys through to the end (felt bad for their dependents though).

Poor poor messed-up Haeun. Get better, woobie! The stuff with Haeun/Eunha (once she found out) was so ridiculously awesome and angsty and hot and comforty and perfect. When he is basically crying at her that he's not Haeun and she is so gentle and tells him if he says he isn't, he isn't and that's what breaks him? OMGSQUEE. And then all the adorableness after.

For a change of pace, next is finishing up Lawyers of Korea. I had some major problems with the male lead of that one but it looks funny so we'll see.
dangermousie: (QSS by bambinainnero)
Finished Resurrection.

Excellent excellent excellent. It got rather dark by the end but I loved the hopeful ending (I nearly had a heart attack because for a while it looked like it was heading into Mawang-ending level trauma. Never again).

I loathed all the bad guys through to the end (felt bad for their dependents though).

Poor poor messed-up Haeun. Get better, woobie! The stuff with Haeun/Eunha (once she found out) was so ridiculously awesome and angsty and hot and comforty and perfect. When he is basically crying at her that he's not Haeun and she is so gentle and tells him if he says he isn't, he isn't and that's what breaks him? OMGSQUEE. And then all the adorableness after.

For a change of pace, next is finishing up Lawyers of Korea. I had some major problems with the male lead of that one but it looks funny so we'll see.
dangermousie: (Mawang otp by miss-dian)
Am through ep 20 of Resurrection, with a lot of marathonning and selective fastworwarding. It's such a solid, well-written, well-acted drama even if it doesn't (IMO) approach Mawang's masterpiece status.

It is brutal to see what his complex revenge plot and using people for that plot is doing to Haeun, who started as one of the sweetest, sanest drama heroes ever. It's an interesting parallel/echo of Mawang - we meet Seung Ha, Mawang's avenger, once he's already been destroyed by revenge but with Haeun we slowly watch his fall. (There are other differences of course - Haeun did not have as long to dwell on vengeance and powerlessness and started from a much more stable place as he only discovered the need for vengeance when an adult and not a frightened hopeless boy. But perhaps that makes Haeun less excusable - he was a whole person when he started so he should have known better. Except I can see how he could not take it, could not let it go. And I can see he also did not have much choice - if not for his masquerade, the bad guys would have killed him without a second thought).

It hurts to see Haeun turn into this monster, this dark mess, and he knows his transformation and is horrified by it (biggest reason he is hiding from Eunha - he does not want her to see what he has become) but he can't and won't stop it.

Honestly, by now, I'd rather Eunha was with Jinwu (who is such a heart-breaking character. He is going to go down so badly in Haeun's revenge against his father, isn't he? Even though he is innocent and is actually a good person). I rather despise Haeun for what he is going to collaterally-damage do (knowingly) to Gangju, the intrepid girl reporter, and to Jinwu, and to Heesu the swindler and even to Haeun's former friend the cop. But at least the cop is in possession of all the facts and is free to choose. The others are not. It's despicable. It makes me want to stab Haeun. But then I see how tortured he is, how he literally is not sure of his own identity any more, how he tries to create outs for himself, and I just want to comfort him and send him to a shrink and make it all better.

But he is still not worthy of Eunha. Sane, good-hearted, strong, pure Eunha. Not any more.
dangermousie: (Mawang otp by miss-dian)
Am through ep 20 of Resurrection, with a lot of marathonning and selective fastworwarding. It's such a solid, well-written, well-acted drama even if it doesn't (IMO) approach Mawang's masterpiece status.

It is brutal to see what his complex revenge plot and using people for that plot is doing to Haeun, who started as one of the sweetest, sanest drama heroes ever. It's an interesting parallel/echo of Mawang - we meet Seung Ha, Mawang's avenger, once he's already been destroyed by revenge but with Haeun we slowly watch his fall. (There are other differences of course - Haeun did not have as long to dwell on vengeance and powerlessness and started from a much more stable place as he only discovered the need for vengeance when an adult and not a frightened hopeless boy. But perhaps that makes Haeun less excusable - he was a whole person when he started so he should have known better. Except I can see how he could not take it, could not let it go. And I can see he also did not have much choice - if not for his masquerade, the bad guys would have killed him without a second thought).

It hurts to see Haeun turn into this monster, this dark mess, and he knows his transformation and is horrified by it (biggest reason he is hiding from Eunha - he does not want her to see what he has become) but he can't and won't stop it.

Honestly, by now, I'd rather Eunha was with Jinwu (who is such a heart-breaking character. He is going to go down so badly in Haeun's revenge against his father, isn't he? Even though he is innocent and is actually a good person). I rather despise Haeun for what he is going to collaterally-damage do (knowingly) to Gangju, the intrepid girl reporter, and to Jinwu, and to Heesu the swindler and even to Haeun's former friend the cop. But at least the cop is in possession of all the facts and is free to choose. The others are not. It's despicable. It makes me want to stab Haeun. But then I see how tortured he is, how he literally is not sure of his own identity any more, how he tries to create outs for himself, and I just want to comfort him and send him to a shrink and make it all better.

But he is still not worthy of Eunha. Sane, good-hearted, strong, pure Eunha. Not any more.
dangermousie: (Mawang otp by miss-dian)
Am through ep 20 of Resurrection, with a lot of marathonning and selective fastworwarding. It's such a solid, well-written, well-acted drama even if it doesn't (IMO) approach Mawang's masterpiece status.

It is brutal to see what his complex revenge plot and using people for that plot is doing to Haeun, who started as one of the sweetest, sanest drama heroes ever. It's an interesting parallel/echo of Mawang - we meet Seung Ha, Mawang's avenger, once he's already been destroyed by revenge but with Haeun we slowly watch his fall. (There are other differences of course - Haeun did not have as long to dwell on vengeance and powerlessness and started from a much more stable place as he only discovered the need for vengeance when an adult and not a frightened hopeless boy. But perhaps that makes Haeun less excusable - he was a whole person when he started so he should have known better. Except I can see how he could not take it, could not let it go. And I can see he also did not have much choice - if not for his masquerade, the bad guys would have killed him without a second thought).

It hurts to see Haeun turn into this monster, this dark mess, and he knows his transformation and is horrified by it (biggest reason he is hiding from Eunha - he does not want her to see what he has become) but he can't and won't stop it.

Honestly, by now, I'd rather Eunha was with Jinwu (who is such a heart-breaking character. He is going to go down so badly in Haeun's revenge against his father, isn't he? Even though he is innocent and is actually a good person). I rather despise Haeun for what he is going to collaterally-damage do (knowingly) to Gangju, the intrepid girl reporter, and to Jinwu, and to Heesu the swindler and even to Haeun's former friend the cop. But at least the cop is in possession of all the facts and is free to choose. The others are not. It's despicable. It makes me want to stab Haeun. But then I see how tortured he is, how he literally is not sure of his own identity any more, how he tries to create outs for himself, and I just want to comfort him and send him to a shrink and make it all better.

But he is still not worthy of Eunha. Sane, good-hearted, strong, pure Eunha. Not any more.
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
I am in the middle of episode 7 of Resurrection and I really love it.

A few brief points:

1. I sincerely appreciate that Haeun does his angsting while shirtless. It is an artistic choice that I really approve of. I rewound one such bit for purely plotty reasons. Mmmm.

2. Haeun was adorable as the sweet-natured, forthright detective but as the angry, revenge-driven, his-dead-twin-impersonating, beyond messed up Haeun? My God. Ridiculously hot.

3. I do see the same themes of revenge and damnation that echo in Mawang. It's a little less tortured (at least so far) because the bad guys in this one are such awful people - I am rooting for them to die basically (as opposed to Mawang where some of revenge victims were horrors but some not so and the main target of revenge, due to passage of time, changed and was actually a better person than the avenger. Not to mention the whole action that had to be avenged was much less clear-cut). But you also see what it is doing to Haeun, the good-guy, well-adjusted-despite-it-all Haeun and you want it to stop. You just want him to go back to Eunha and have adorable dorky babies and not ever think of this stuff. But ultimately, he doesn't have much of a choice - if he went back as himself, the baddies would just order another murder and this time it won't be his twin who gets it (oh, I totally cried - I liked Shinhyeok - he was reserved but so happy to see his brother and so hopeful).

4. I adore Eunha. Just as in Mawang, it is the woman who is the beacon of sanity.

5. I do not adore Haeun's former friend. Die die die you weak-willed scum.
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
I am in the middle of episode 7 of Resurrection and I really love it.

A few brief points:

1. I sincerely appreciate that Haeun does his angsting while shirtless. It is an artistic choice that I really approve of. I rewound one such bit for purely plotty reasons. Mmmm.

2. Haeun was adorable as the sweet-natured, forthright detective but as the angry, revenge-driven, his-dead-twin-impersonating, beyond messed up Haeun? My God. Ridiculously hot.

3. I do see the same themes of revenge and damnation that echo in Mawang. It's a little less tortured (at least so far) because the bad guys in this one are such awful people - I am rooting for them to die basically (as opposed to Mawang where some of revenge victims were horrors but some not so and the main target of revenge, due to passage of time, changed and was actually a better person than the avenger. Not to mention the whole action that had to be avenged was much less clear-cut). But you also see what it is doing to Haeun, the good-guy, well-adjusted-despite-it-all Haeun and you want it to stop. You just want him to go back to Eunha and have adorable dorky babies and not ever think of this stuff. But ultimately, he doesn't have much of a choice - if he went back as himself, the baddies would just order another murder and this time it won't be his twin who gets it (oh, I totally cried - I liked Shinhyeok - he was reserved but so happy to see his brother and so hopeful).

4. I adore Eunha. Just as in Mawang, it is the woman who is the beacon of sanity.

5. I do not adore Haeun's former friend. Die die die you weak-willed scum.
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
I am in the middle of episode 7 of Resurrection and I really love it.

A few brief points:

1. I sincerely appreciate that Haeun does his angsting while shirtless. It is an artistic choice that I really approve of. I rewound one such bit for purely plotty reasons. Mmmm.

2. Haeun was adorable as the sweet-natured, forthright detective but as the angry, revenge-driven, his-dead-twin-impersonating, beyond messed up Haeun? My God. Ridiculously hot.

3. I do see the same themes of revenge and damnation that echo in Mawang. It's a little less tortured (at least so far) because the bad guys in this one are such awful people - I am rooting for them to die basically (as opposed to Mawang where some of revenge victims were horrors but some not so and the main target of revenge, due to passage of time, changed and was actually a better person than the avenger. Not to mention the whole action that had to be avenged was much less clear-cut). But you also see what it is doing to Haeun, the good-guy, well-adjusted-despite-it-all Haeun and you want it to stop. You just want him to go back to Eunha and have adorable dorky babies and not ever think of this stuff. But ultimately, he doesn't have much of a choice - if he went back as himself, the baddies would just order another murder and this time it won't be his twin who gets it (oh, I totally cried - I liked Shinhyeok - he was reserved but so happy to see his brother and so hopeful).

4. I adore Eunha. Just as in Mawang, it is the woman who is the beacon of sanity.

5. I do not adore Haeun's former friend. Die die die you weak-willed scum.
dangermousie: (Mawang angst by miss-dian)
MAY YOU DIE IN A HORRIBBLE FIRE YOU HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE JERK!!!!

DIE DIE DIE WHY DON'T YOU DIE.

God, I hate the bad guys in Resurrection even more than I love the good guys.

Also, oh, poor poor Haeun. ((())).

You know, I can definitely see this as a predecessor to Mawang/The Devil in its themes but revenge here is, while corrosive, is a lot more desired and clear-cut. I wasn't cheering for Seung Ha's victims in Mawang to get it (even though I understood his motive and sympathized with him in some ways) but here I want to boil them in oil myself.

DIE DIE DIE DIE HORRID SCUM.

Man, this drama is so frelled up. In the best way.

You know a trainwreck is coming and you can't stop it and yet I want to take Haeun and EunHa and Eunha's Dad and Shinheyok and Shinkeyok's adorable reporter fiancee and relocate them all far far far away where they will be safe.

What is better than one Uhm Tae-Woong? Two Uhm Tae-Woongs.
dangermousie: (Mawang angst by miss-dian)
MAY YOU DIE IN A HORRIBBLE FIRE YOU HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE JERK!!!!

DIE DIE DIE WHY DON'T YOU DIE.

God, I hate the bad guys in Resurrection even more than I love the good guys.

Also, oh, poor poor Haeun. ((())).

You know, I can definitely see this as a predecessor to Mawang/The Devil in its themes but revenge here is, while corrosive, is a lot more desired and clear-cut. I wasn't cheering for Seung Ha's victims in Mawang to get it (even though I understood his motive and sympathized with him in some ways) but here I want to boil them in oil myself.

DIE DIE DIE DIE HORRID SCUM.

Man, this drama is so frelled up. In the best way.

You know a trainwreck is coming and you can't stop it and yet I want to take Haeun and EunHa and Eunha's Dad and Shinheyok and Shinkeyok's adorable reporter fiancee and relocate them all far far far away where they will be safe.

What is better than one Uhm Tae-Woong? Two Uhm Tae-Woongs.
dangermousie: (Mawang angst by miss-dian)
MAY YOU DIE IN A HORRIBBLE FIRE YOU HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE JERK!!!!

DIE DIE DIE WHY DON'T YOU DIE.

God, I hate the bad guys in Resurrection even more than I love the good guys.

Also, oh, poor poor Haeun. ((())).

You know, I can definitely see this as a predecessor to Mawang/The Devil in its themes but revenge here is, while corrosive, is a lot more desired and clear-cut. I wasn't cheering for Seung Ha's victims in Mawang to get it (even though I understood his motive and sympathized with him in some ways) but here I want to boil them in oil myself.

DIE DIE DIE DIE HORRID SCUM.

Man, this drama is so frelled up. In the best way.

You know a trainwreck is coming and you can't stop it and yet I want to take Haeun and EunHa and Eunha's Dad and Shinheyok and Shinkeyok's adorable reporter fiancee and relocate them all far far far away where they will be safe.

What is better than one Uhm Tae-Woong? Two Uhm Tae-Woongs.
dangermousie: (Mawang UTW by timescout)
1. Cord found but connection here is lousy so not much net time.

2. Baby Mousie is afraid of the ocean - she loved the pool when we took her to lessons but she sees the ocean, clutches me and cries. Clearly she is afraid I will drown her. City girl! :)

3. Have finished ep 3 of Resurrection and such ridiculous mad love (if you need a recommendation - it is by the same people who made Mawang, a.k.a. a perfect drama). I love the colors, the complicated dark revenge/mystery, and the OTP. Ohhhh, the OTP! They are stepsiblings - he was taken into her family by her Dad when he was 7 or so and was so traumatized he was mute - he has no memory before that time and his name is an inversion of hers - she was named Eun Ha so her Dad just flipped the syllables and named him Haeun. He basically has no identity outside of her. And they know they love each other but he's been trying to deny it for her good even though it kills him but he finally can't and...oh God, I love them so!

I love all the main characters but especially Uhm Tae Woong's protagonist - the happy-go-lucky detective who is such a good guy and whose really sunny careless manner conceals a really really messed-up past (Hello. Mute from Trauma!)

I love love love...
dangermousie: (Mawang UTW by timescout)
1. Cord found but connection here is lousy so not much net time.

2. Baby Mousie is afraid of the ocean - she loved the pool when we took her to lessons but she sees the ocean, clutches me and cries. Clearly she is afraid I will drown her. City girl! :)

3. Have finished ep 3 of Resurrection and such ridiculous mad love (if you need a recommendation - it is by the same people who made Mawang, a.k.a. a perfect drama). I love the colors, the complicated dark revenge/mystery, and the OTP. Ohhhh, the OTP! They are stepsiblings - he was taken into her family by her Dad when he was 7 or so and was so traumatized he was mute - he has no memory before that time and his name is an inversion of hers - she was named Eun Ha so her Dad just flipped the syllables and named him Haeun. He basically has no identity outside of her. And they know they love each other but he's been trying to deny it for her good even though it kills him but he finally can't and...oh God, I love them so!

I love all the main characters but especially Uhm Tae Woong's protagonist - the happy-go-lucky detective who is such a good guy and whose really sunny careless manner conceals a really really messed-up past (Hello. Mute from Trauma!)

I love love love...

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