Category: Review

DryedMangoez reviews of television series, films and music.

Good Ol’ Review: Hopeful and Heartwarming, SBS’ “Racket Boys” an Absolute Joy to Watch

Simply put, SBS’ Racket Boys (라켓소년단) is one of the best of the year. A thoroughly feel-good and heartwarming series that doesn’t shy away from difficult topics and dark themes. With the help of one of the best ensemble casts assembled in a drama in a long while, an eclectic and diverse group of characters of all ages come to life to depict life with all its joys and hardships, ups and downs. Fiercely relatable, proudly down to earth, emotionally affecting, absolute fun; Racket Boys is an unexpected, but outstanding treat.

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Good Ol’ Review: Though It Doesn’t Quite Reach the Heights It’s Capable Of, Netflix’s “Squid Game” Still a Bloody Good Time

Netflix has been on a roll ever since they began pouring money into Korean drama production. And its latest is another refreshingly bold entry. Squid Game (오징어 게임) is a flashy (and bloody) series that takes on familiar themes and sets them against the backdrop of a jarring and unsettling game of life and death. Though the series is not short on talent and style (and blood), the series misses an opportunity to go a bit deeper and truly allow it to be something more profoundly affecting.

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Good Ol’ Review: Jung Hae In and Koo Kyo Hwan Lead Netflix’s Excellent, Timely and Unflinching “D.P.”

Mental health and the lack of support or resources for anyone who needs help as well as the scourge of bullying and school violence continues to plague South Korea. And that has offered plenty of opportunity for such topics to be portrayed in many a television drama; whether in a coming of age high school drama or a psychological crime thriller. But dealing with those themes with the backdrop of Korea’s compulsory military service is rare, especially on TV. That’s one of the many reasons Netflix’s original series D.P. (디피) is so striking and intriguing.

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Good Ol’ Review: Lacking Depth Despite Its Interesting Ideas, “Nevertheless” Unfortunately Misses the Mark

You will have no problem understanding the meaning of the title Nevertheless (알고있지만/I Know But) as you watch this 10-episode JTBC adaptation of a webtoon by the same title. You might even find yourself following up every statement made by the characters of the series with a “nevertheless…” or “but…” throughout the equally ethereal and exhausting series.

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Good Ol’ Review: Stellar Cast Not Enough to Carry Dry Korean Remake of “Criminal Minds”

It can get frustrating to see a series with all the necessary pieces for success fail to come together. One such example is tvN’s 2017 Korean remake of popular, long running American series Criminal Minds (크리미널 마인드). Despite its stellar cast, the series is unable to give the characters they play much depth. And that in turn makes the cases of the week feel more procedural than they should be. It’s that failure of connecting the characters with the audience, a common trait of Korean dramas, that ultimately keeps the series from rising above the sea of television crime thrillers.

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Good Ol’ Review: KBS’ “Perfume” a Hilarious and Heartfelt Journey
Good Ol’ Review: Sincerity, Dynamic Characters and an Amazing Cast Power the Excellent “At a Distance, Spring is Green”

At a Distance, Spring is Green (멀리서 보면 푸른 봄) is a wonderful coming of age series. The 12-episode KBS drama about young university students just trying to keep up with everything life throws at them is a charming and captivating slice of life. A stellar cast brings to life the joys and pains of youth in between adolescence and adulthood. With fascinating hints at something that could have been truly groundbreaking, the series is nonetheless one of the year’s most emotionally satisfying series.

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Good Ol’ Review: “The Sweet Blood” an Easy Watch, but Could’ve Been Something More
Good Ol’ Review: A Relatable and Sweet Nostalgic Treat with KBS’ “Girls Generation 1979”

For a nostalgic, well-written and engaging coming of age slice of life story, look no further than Girls’ Generation 1979 (란제리 소녀시대/Lingerie Girls’ Generation). Based on a novel by Kim Yong Hee, the eight episode 2017 KBS series chronicles the moment between adolescence and adulthood of a group of high school teens living in 1979 Daegu. With Korea’s growing tense political situation as its backdrop, Girls’ Generation 1979 is able to balance sincere heart with innocent romance as well as heavy dramatic themes.

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Good Ol’ Review: KBS’ Generally Enjoyable “Imitation” Held Back by Missed Opportunities

KBS’ Imitation (이미테이션) is an interesting series. It knows what it wants to be, but seems to be better at what it isn’t. That is, Imitation seems to be focused mainly on being a fluffy, idol-driven romantic drama. With the ripe-for-drama world of K-pop as the backdrop, the series isn’t short on material to pull from. But while the series does offer a terrifyingly realistic portrayal of the Korean music industry, it focuses on typical romantic triangle tropes rather than other truly intriguing topics.

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