I’m not embarrassed to admit my television consumption a) is predominantly done online and b) mostly consists of overseas shows. While I’ve paused other shows to mentally prep for the new season of Orphan Black next week, East Asian dramas (mainly of the Japanese and Korean origin) are my weakness. I’m going to highlight just two of my all-time favorites.
You’re Beautiful (2009)
The young woman in the bottom-left corner is Go Mi-nyeo. We are introduced to her as she trains to become a nun. Before that comes to completion, a series of wacky occurrences lead her to disguising herself as her twin brother — Go Mi-Nam. The only issue? He’s been training to become a singer and was auditioning for the band, A.N.JELL. The three gentlemen in the poster above are his potential band mates. I don’t want to give too much away beyond that.
This was the first show I was watching live (instead of during a weekend marathon between homework and work). The Hong Sisters put together a crazy, highly unrealistic script. But if you enjoy and/or are open to: the wackiness that can be the Korean idol industry, mistaken identities and love squares (or octagon, really)…well, give this 16-episode series a try.
Liar Game (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 & 2014)
This Japanese psychological thriller was based on a 2005 manga series of the same name. It’s not normally a genre I go for, especially once gambling also gets added to the mix. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Our main protagonist is Nao Kanzaki and she will quickly become someone you love to hate (to a certain degree). The premise of the series depends on you accepting that her naivety never changes over the course of the show.
This college students ends up being in possession of a crazy about of money — to the tune of roughly $1 million USD — along with being forced into the “Liar Game”. The game basically involves all sorts of questionable tricks and legal ramifications. Players are kept in the game due to a) high levels of greed and/or b) the fact that they can only leave by paying off the debt they unknowingly accepted upon receiving the money.
The dynamics of those Nao involves herself with, as well as those from the past that backstab her, keep the story arc exciting. Each episode, let alone season, always had a twist that came out of nowhere. The show had two seasons, followed by two feature films. Last year, a Korean adaptation of the tv show came out. The latter veers off the original plot, but still had a lot of fan interest and support.
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Terry White did a cool live stream of trying out the new Apple Watch today. I make never buy it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find it fascinating.