dangermousie: (Chuno - bride)
[personal profile] dangermousie
While I often adore kdrama heroes, it is the heroine who is a deal-breaker for me. A drama does not need to have a woman in a prominent role for me to love it - as long as the relative absence of women makes sense (i.e. if someone made a drama set in the military and had only minor female characters), if the story is good, I will buy it. But if the drama does have a prominent female character, I have to like her or I bail. An unsatisfactory hero I can live with, an unsatisfactory heroine? Never.

Luckily for me, this season of kdramas is full of strong, intelligent, funny heroines. Sometimes all three at once. Here is your primer:

Un Nyun (Chuno)

Un Nyun looks deceptively fragile with her porcelain skin and tiny frame, but she is the ultimate strong survivor - ladylike but unbreakable. Un Nyun is a runaway slave - she and her brother escaped their owners after her brother has set the owners' house on fire and killed them because they were going to sell her. She has survived slavery and lost love and the deception of life on the run and false identity. She is the kind of woman that can haunt a man 10 years after the last time he laid eyes on her or make a man who has given up on personal wants feel again. She is the kind of woman who feels independent enough to leave a prospective marriage and safety it entails and instead go out into the world to travel to find her happiness, dressed as a man. The tragedies of her past have not broken her - she is full of quiet strength and grace. I am in love with her myself.

Sul Hwa (Chuno)

The other prominent female character in Chuno, Sul Hwa is loud, cheerful, enterprising, and desperate to escape her life as entertainer/discount hooker. She volunteers to be a servant to the slave hunter gang of Chuno, correctly deciding that better be a maid of all work to three men than a sex toy to dozens. She doesn't Just like Un Nyun, her past has not broken her - she is strong and forthright and a ray of sunshine in the somber world of Chuno. I look forward to getting to know her more.

Seo Yoo Kyung (Pasta)

Yoo Kyung would never be anything less than awesome - she is played by Gong Hyo Jin. Yoo Kyung is a wannabe chef who is employed/potential girlfriend of an eccentric and mysoginistic head chef of the restaurant she works in. She is well-adjusted, no-nonsense and cheerful. I can't wait to start Pasta in large part because of her.

Pal Kang (Pick the Stars)

I adore Pal Kang ridiculously much - she starts the story as a shallow girl dreaming of a nonsensical Prince Charming but the tragic loss of her parents transforms her into a strong, big-hearted caretaker of her 5 small adopted siblings - she will do anything to keep them housed, clothed and fed - becomes a live-in housekeeper smuggling the children in, become a hostess to earn money for medical fees etc. She is no-nonsense about her former crush (seeing him for the selfish and cold person he is) and is not interested in love at all - she has subsumed herself into making sure the children are OK - I am totally in awe of her.

Seok Ran (Jejoongwon)

Ahhh, Seok Ran - an upper-class 19th century lady who becomes an English-Korean interpreter to a newly opened Western medicine hospital and then decides she wants to train and become a doctor. If you do not undrestand how gutsy and intelligent and rule-breaking one has to be to do that, I have no words. SEOK RAN FTW!

Pul Ip (God of Study)

A young high school under-achiever studying hard to get into a good University and escape the family life of poverty - hard-working and hopeful, how could I not like?

Shin Young (The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry)

A 30-something reporter who is hard-working and cheerful. She loves to hang out with her girlfriends, and does not give up on love no matter what. And she also hooks up with a 20-something which actually not only takes guts but is kinda hot hot hot.

Han Dani (The Reputable Family)

Pure awesome, Dani is an upper class merchant lady who used to be a slave and has a family secret which could have her executed if she is caught. She is more than equal to the hero in his quest to restore his femily - she is mentor and inspiration and muse.

And not related, but because I am a geek, I went and compared all of last week's kdrama ratings.

Monday/Tuesday Dramas

God Of Study - 26.3
Jejoongwon - 14.4
Pick the Stars - 14.0
Pasta - 12.7

God Of Study is the clear winner here - those are really awesome ratings, especially for a drama that doesn't really have huge stars. Teen drama isn't my genre but I like KBS and some of the actors in it, so I am happy for them. I wonder if the ratings success of this and BOF will lead to more teen jdrama remakes - I hope not - but as long as Korea makes plenty of grown-up dramas as well, I am OK with it, I suppose.

The other three dramas all have mediocre but not awful ratings. Despite the numbers, I think the winner is Stars - its ratings are only a teeny bit smaller than those of Jejoongwon which is a much more expensive drama to make and has much bigger stars. OTOH, Stars airs an hour earlier than the other 3 dramas so it has the advantage of less competition.

Jejoongwon's ratings are respectable but for a high-profile expensive and long period drama, they are on a low side. It's not Princess Ja Myung Go abysmal but I doubt it would get an extension past its planned 36 episodes unless it really takes off into at least 20s. I am happy for it because I dislike extentions - they screw up the flow badly.

Pasta is the lowest of the bunch but it's still not bad ratings and OK for a romcom without a huge buzz before it came out. I look forward to watching it, ratings or not.

Wednesday/Thursday Dramas

Slave Hunters - 30.8
Will It Snow on Christmas - 11.5
Hero - 4.7
The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry - ????

What can I say? My favorite drama of the season, Slave Hunters, is kicking an insane amount of butt. In this day and age, 30+% ratings after 4 eps are insane. (For comparison purposes, so far by ep 4, it has outperformed the comparative ep of IRIS - last year KBS banner project.) The KBS gamble of financing this very expensive drama has certainly paid off. If this means more high-quality, intelligent historicals will be made, and/or PD Kwak will get more work, and/or careers of Jang Hyuk, Oh Ji Ho, and Lee Da Hae would get a huge boost, I am all for it!

Xmas has mediocre ratings, which is not surprising - it has always been either against IRIS or Slave Hunters. I wish Go Soo's comeback project did better, but the ratings aren't too bad and he is certainly getting buzz, which is all I care about.

Poor Hero was dead on arrival - it went against IRIS and Chuno, had a hard-to-sell concept (I still am unclear what it was about). I feel bad for the cast but it's karma for MBC's butchering of a whole bunch of shows in ruthless ratings plots - I am amused to note that Hero did even worse than Heading to the Ground which was chopped to be replaced with Hero sooner.

Woman starts this week and hopefully will do decently because I want Kim Bum to have a hit but I will be shocked if it does better than low teens - there are no more ratings to be had :)

Saturday/Sunday Dramas

Earlier Slot:

Three Brothers - 37.9
Loving You a Thousand Times - 24.3
Creating Destiny - 6.0

Later Slot

Assorted Gems - 23.7
Smile You - 16.3
The Reputable Family - 12.4

I don't really watch weekend dramas because they are way too bloody long (unless your last name is Borgia, your family drama does not deserve 50+ eps) so the only one I am watching is the 24-period drama The Reputable Family. The ratings for these range from hugely impressive to not bad except for poor struggling Creating Destiny. Ironically, I think that's the only one flisties are watching :)

Anyway, this was random and anal-retentive but I couldn't help myself.


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November 2012

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