Hindsight Review: KBS’ Shark is an Absorbing and Emotionally Compelling Journey

KBS Shark

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Huge finale spoilers!
For the non-spoilery First Impression Review, click here.

Ending exactly the way it started, the final episodes of KBS’ Shark (Don’t Look Back: The Legend of Orpheus) showed off the talents of its strong cast and glided through a script filled with “quiet tension, emotion, mystery and thrills.”

Visually beautiful and emotionally gripping, Shark‘s finale mostly wrapped up what was a fully engrossing and ultimately tragic journey of a man hellbent on revenge.

It was a painful journey for everyone involved, but most especially for our tragic hero, Yi Soo. It wasn’t necessarily an action-packed, shoot em’ up, fistfight-type of finale. There were no last minute stabbings on roofs (That Winter!) or last minute cars ramming into phone booths (Nine Time Travels!).

But Shark‘s finale was able to carry just as much dramatic and emotional weight and heft with a simmering, though never boiling over, string of events that would culminate in what would be a heartfelt, but tragic ending. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: tvN’s Nine – Nine Time Travels – Simply Epic

Nine Time Travels

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
HUGE!!!! Spoilers. Stay away if you don’t want to have the entire series spoiled!
Instead, click here for my non-spoilery First Impression Review or click here for the very spoilery, but only up to episode 10 Check-in Review.

How can you even start talking about tvN’s drama Nine: Nine Time Travels? Where to even begin?

First off, maybe by echoing my sentiments in my Check-in Review. Just ten episodes in and it was clear Nine was going to be more than just a fun time-hopping ride. Merely halfway through the series and it was already shaping up to be a “a genre-bending, game changer.” It was “mind-blowing” and “thought provoking.”

I went on my Philippine vacation before the final six episodes aired with no way to watch them until I got back, thinking, “I hate to do it, but I have high expectations for the last 10 episodes. Not expectations about what’ll happen next, but expectations that the series will continue to be as or even more amazing as it has been so far.”

Still fighting off the jetlag, I excitedly sat down to watch those final episodes and now that it is all over, my opinion hasn’t changed. It’s only been reinforced, if not strengthened. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: Willing to Engage in Emotionally Satisfying “Psychological Warfare” for That Winter the Wind Blows

Winter Wind Blows

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!
For the non-spoilery First Impression Review, click here.

I want to preface this Hindsight Review by saying it will probably be just as convoluted as the show’s ending. But hopefully, this Review will be just as satisfying as the show’s ending, in spite of its perplexing nature.

But what is easy is seeing why That Winter the Wind Blows has become the most talked about drama of the year so far. The SBS drama series’ ratings win against its more hyped competitors was a testament to its great writing and excellent performances. And that is definitely not a common occurrence in Korean dramaland.

That Winter the Wind Blows started off with an incredibly poetic aura about it. It’s stunningly breathtaking visuals were matched by both the deep and intriguing writing and the powerful performances of its lead actors. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: tvN’s Charming Flower Boy Next Door a Satisfying Journey with Plenty of Heart

Flower Boy Next Door

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Lots of spoilers! For my First Impression Review, click over here.

tvN’s Flower Boy Next Door did not disappoint. It started out as a sweet and charming romantic comedy and it ended a sweet and charming romantic comedy.

That isn’t always the case. Sometimes Korean dramas start out all light and fluffy then turn into a melodrama, or vice versa.

But Flower Boy Next Door maintained its sweet and warmhearted tone throughout, telling the love story of Go Dok Mi and Enrique Geum while also helping the other characters find love as well. The series was cute and fun with touches of drama that never overwhelmed its lighter side. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: How Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters Had Everything I Look For

Go-Busters

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Lots of spoilers.

It was my fourth Super Sentai series and I can confidently say Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters may be my favorite one so far.

It was an experimental season that toyed with formula. It featured a dramatic, emotional storyline, but didn’t forget to have a little fun to help put things into perspective. It had legitimate and truly surprising twists that kept things exciting. It had a large group of likeable characters and a deliciously crafty and slick villain.

In other words, it had everything I look for in a Sentai (or Power Rangers for that matter) series. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: KBS’ Authentic and Resonant School 2013

School 2013

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Fair amount of spoilers. Less spoilery First Impression Review here.

There have been many high school-set Korean dramas in recent years, all with varying degrees of commercial and creative success. But none have been able to (though many didn’t aspire to) accurately and realistically portray the lives of contemporary youths.

But KBS’s School 2013 was able to do just that.

This 2013 revival of KBS’ successful turn of the century drama franchise which ended more than ten years ago was a harshly realistic, but sincere depiction of today’s youth and the people and situations that will play a part in shaping the rest of their lives. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: So, What Happened with Power Rangers Samurai? No, Seriously. What Happened?

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
No spoilers. Just lots of ranting.

Indeed. What did Power Rangers fans experience these last two years?

After Power Rangers RPM and during the last gasp, misguided re-versioned Mighty Morphin, I think many if not most fans accepted that Power Rangers was pretty much done.

Believing the franchise ended on a high note with RPM, I was one of those fans. Which is what finally helped me open up to where Power Rangers was born out of.

I started watching Samurai Sentai Shinkenger when, to my surprise, I realized having no Power Rangers left a hole in my life. And Super Sentai filled that hole. I loved it and immediately became a fan.

Then the huge news broke. Haim Saban and his vast fortune would reclaim the franchise he helped create and take it to Nickelodeon where it conceivably would enjoy a much better platform than Disney was willing or able to give at the tail end of their ownership.

Fast forward to February 7, 2011. After plenty of shiny promos and the promise of morphing in high definition for the first time in 18 years, Power Rangers Samurai premiered, in primetime, on Nickelodeon.

And that’s where it all started. Despite marveling at Continue reading

Hindsight Review: SBS’ Five Fingers – An Emotional, Different, Yet Fulfilling Drama Experience

Five Fingers

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Lots of finale spoilers! Beware!

I am amazed. And I love being amazed by television. Amazed in a good way, of course. I hate being amazed by idiots and stupidity on TV.

But with the SBS drama Five Fingers, it was one of those rare times I was amazed and surprised in the best way possible. I started watching the series for one reason, then another came along. I stuck with the series for a different reason then solidified my interest with another. But after the final episodes, I look back at the series and place it on my all-time Korean drama list for a new, completely different reason.

Those final three or four hours of the series were some of the most unexpected, yet thoroughly fulfilling hours of drama and soap opera I’ve ever seen. And it made me realize just how incredible the 30 episode journey had been.

Continue reading

Hindsight Review: KBS’ Haeundae Lovers a Perfectly Charming Summer Getaway

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
No spoilers.
Click here for the First Impression Review.

It is rare when Korean dramas successfully balance lighthearted comedy and real drama.

But KBS’s Haeundae Lovers (해운대 연인들) is one of those rarities. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: KBS’ Bridal Mask is Simply Incredible

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Major finale spoilers! Click here for the less-spoilery First Impression Review.

So I wonder if Korea ever got independence from Japan?

Now, everyone knows how Korea’s fight for independence turns out (and the unfortunate struggles they would find themselves in a decade or two later). But going into the final two episodes of KBS’ Bridal Mask, you had no idea of the roller coaster of emotions that would lie ahead.

Bridal Mask (Gaksital/각시탈) deserves all the praise and acclaim and eventual accolades it’ll be sure to receive. There have been many heroic epics on Korean television and it’s a great testament to the talent in the country that such huge stories have been wonderfully brought to the small screen.

But Bridal Mask took it a step further. A brave, slickly produced and excellently performed series that barreled its way through and never looked back. Continue reading