Bladey’s Drama Picks in 2012

The first half of 2012 drama season nears its end with the ending of the hottest and most popular drama this summer- the Bridal Mask. These are the dramas that I think have become somewhat indicative of the trends in popular demand this season and as such they have become the highlights of the drama season.

If you yearn for a romance comedy chick flick with four guys over 40- friends acting like kids and their romances with four problematic ladies then A Gentleman’s Dignity is for you. But beware if you’re very sensitive to stereotypes about women- it may disappoint in this respect. However, the drama is hilarious and if you enjoy bromance, you will enjoy the relationship between the four guys. The behaviour of the female leads is not always acceptable and the drama may come off as annoying. Also, most screen time is devoted to the main couple. If you like cute, cuddly couples- pick this drama. The drama is far from perfect but it will satisfy an undemanding mood, it’s a feel-good chick flick.

Check out The King2Hearts for storytelling.  King2Hearts is one of the most creative stories this drama season and features an ensemble cast of utterly endearing and lovable characters. It is a drama about the makings of a king, a sort of a bildungsroman. It is also about how a corporation wants to take out a nation and about reuniting two Koreas- its thematic repository is, thus, quite rich.  The setting is very lush and appealing. And the story follows the best traditions of storytelling, leaves no lloose ends. It is a sort of political fairy tale: you have your prince charming, whose progress happens over time. All characters are there to make his transformation possible.

Check out Salaryman  for character portrayal in comedy. It’s the most  slapsctick wacky production this year. Set in a corporate world, it presents the trials and tribulations of a man who wants to succeed..and does so after many, half-comical, half-tragic events. The cast is great.

If you yearn for some action, Bridal Mask may be a choice for you- it’s a polished production with pretty faces and attractive gimmicks. The acton sequences are very good, and the priod it is set in is also refreshing. It is a story about fighting with Japanese oppression and about how difficult it is to be hero. It is not my favourite drama, but it is the hottest drama this season and it is sure to be a hit with the majority of viewers. Especially if you like Joo Won. It’s a glossy production, fast paced, and therefore gives the impression of being overpacked and pretentious – because it does not explore all the themes too deeply, and instead glosses over them. I’m also not a fan of the actors. Joo Won may be a promising actor, but he has much to learn still.   But for fans of fast paced dramas and Joo Won,  you may enjoy its themes, as it is presented in a very attractive package. If you liked the Princess Man, chances are you will also like The Bridal Masl as it reaches for the same type of cliffahngers, extreme moods to make the viewer want to watch more of it.

Legal high is the best Japanese comedy so far this year, offering a refreshing satire on drama cliches coupled with a good courtroom drama.It features one of best written main role ever, portrayed by Sakai Masato. If you have a bit of a cynic in you, if you are tired of standard drama cliches, watch this, this drama is a surehit comedy. Very intelligent but also engaging and entertaining, it is not crude or pretentious in being critical of drama cliches. They maintain the same drama tensions as in all dramas, but they also ridicule and laught at them at the same time.

For a Japanese love story of 2012, Rich Man, Poor Woman may be the one to watch. It  has the rhythm of a korean romcom, features two lovable characters an the story is modern, dealing with IT company and rivarly. The main character is a self-centred neurotic with a condition which makes it hard for him to remember things. He’s a Zuckerberg-like character. And into his life comes a slightly ditzy female character, who is immediately smitten with him and follows him around everywhere, trying to help him. If you like romcoms in general, you will likely take a liking to this one as well. It is from the same director as Buzzer Beat and has a similar feel to it.

The drama season of 2012 was also filled with time travelling dramas. The top recommendation in this area is Queen Inhyun’s Man– which takes a smart guy from the past and puts him in modern times, where he falls in love with a country bumpking playing a role in a drama about the period from which he comes. Ther chemistry between the two leads is sparkling and you will love it, even f the story itself was lacking a bit. There is a very clear theme of fate signalled here and moreover the time tavelling does have a very precarious rule.

For a modern revenge-crime-suspense story from 2012, check out The Equator Man. It has some very annoying inconsistencies and annoyances, like the main female lead and a forced romantic relationship which had little chemistry, or blindness that goes on and off and is not quite believeable.   The overall story is interesting, the cast is excellent- check it out for the two leads involved, the OST is great and camerwaork quite interesting at times.

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