Category Archives: TV

“Dramaworld”: A Year Later, or What Happens After You Become An Addict To Kdramas

Long time no see, readers. It has been a while. Without getting personal, this last year has been hectic for me, which has had some consequences on my TV habits. I am no longer able to keep up with television weekly, so I have been stuck on what to write about, because I rarely consume western media anymore.

Key word: western.

The last entry on this blog was about “Dramaworld”, a TV show about a girl whose kdrama addiction ended up bringing her into the actual “world of kdrama” where she changed things up to her liking. Little did I know, soon I would be relating to that girl a little more. Thus, the title.

Yes. I am an addict to Korean dramas. And let me tell you, they are pretty damn great.

I can hear your thoughts: “Taylah, but you used to watch so many great shows, how come you have fallen that pit of hell? Aren’t they basically soap operas?” And, that my friends, is where you are 100% wrong. Let’s address some of the biggest misconceptions about Korean dramas, some of which “Dramaworld” fell into, and one of the reasons why I don’t love “Dramaworld” as much as I did upon first viewing.

Continue reading “Dramaworld”: A Year Later, or What Happens After You Become An Addict To Kdramas

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‘Dramaworld’: A Little Hidden Gem to Binge-Watch In A Day

Being a daydreamer is part of a fangirl’s DNA. We’re conditioned to get lost in our fictional worlds even after the episode ends, we finish the book or we finish watching the movie. Those characters belong in our brains now and have taken a seat, ready to be put in whatever situations we want them to. Many tend to put those thoughts into fanfic, others into fanart, others write meta posts about them and some simply prefer to randomly daydream about what would happen if their favorite characters met differently or what would they do in different situations. A fangirl’s brain is rich, complicated and imaginative, so of course the thought “what would happen if I was a character in this fictional work?” has gone through many minds.

There is a stigma against self-insert fanfic, even within the fan community. It is usually considered self-indulgent, bad and generally gross. But the truth is so much of the fiction we consume is based on self-insert stories we probably wouldn’t watch anything if that was where we drew the line. The difference is it’s usually men writing that fiction. Many of them get published, some of them are written as movies in which the main lead happens to be the writer and somehow we consider them masterpieces and pay for them rather than enjoy them for free in the comfort of our home, as we do with fanfic.

Dramaworld however, is a self-insert fanfic by all means and although it is not written or directed by a woman, at least it never disregards the main character’s fantasizing as crazy or makes it sound gross. To Claire, the show’s heroine, self-indulging in fiction (in this case, k-drama) is a way to escape from a boring, uneventful life. And though her dad tells her to get off her phone and live in “real life” she then gets literally swept into her fantasy in order to save the world. So she is kind of being rewarded for being who she is.

kdrama

Claire Duncan (Liv Hewson, who by the way not just by hair color but by mannerisms and voice could honestly be Jane Levy’s little sister) is a 20 year-old college student absolutely obsessed with Korean dramas (or k-dramas). She spends most of her time talking about it or waiting for the next episode of her favorite show to go online. She is particularly obsessed with a show called “Taste of Love” in which Joon Park (Sean Dulake) is a handsome chef whose heart has been broken by his dad’s suicide and Seo-yeon (Noo-Ri Bae) is the adorable dishwasher turned sub-chef who is hoping to gain his love. But something wrong is happening in “Taste of Love”: unlike every other k-drama, they’re now into episode 13 and the two characters haven’t kissed. That is dangerous, since the show is coming to an end. One night, while cleaning up her dad’s sandwich shop and watching the show in her  broken smartphone she sees the worst is about to happen: Joon Park is about to kiss Ga-in (Sa Hee), his longtime childhood friend and restaurant manager, while poor Seo-yeon watches it happen from the kitchen. But kisses in k-drama are way different than in American TV. If Joon kisses Ga-in, that means she is going to be his true love. So while screaming at the screen for him not to do it (seriously, who hasn’t yelled at the screen when our favorite characters are doing something dumb?) she accidentally trips and falls and…

Continue reading ‘Dramaworld’: A Little Hidden Gem to Binge-Watch In A Day

Is Death On TV Becoming Boring?

Death is all around us. It’s inevitable, it’s heart-wrenching, it’s devastating and sometimes, despite the pain that it causes on those left behind, it can be beautiful. It makes us think about what we want in life, about the people around us, about what we wish we could’ve said and we could’ve done. So it makes sense that good fiction, which is often based on exploration of humanity, would show us death and how it affects its characters and everyone around them. But have we reached a point where death on television has stopped being gripping and interesting? Where it has become boring instead? I think so.

There are several blog posts written right now about the current death toll on TV. It seems that death is hitting our favorite shows more than ever and it is worth noting that the victims have been, save for a few exceptions, anything but straight, white guys. There are a thousand reasons behind this, but because I want to avoid the “not everything is about race/sexuality/gender” argument, let’s look at it at a different way:

Let’s put sexuality, gender and race aside (you will realize as I give my examples this is rather impossible, given the current panorama on TV, but I will try not to use it as part of the argument). If we take a look at television at the moment, it seems that death has become a very cheap, very repetitive resource to get out of bigger narrative issues that writers do not want to face. When I first created this blog, I wrote about the M.S.F.D. and here is how I described it.

It appeared out of the necessity to keep audiences engaged and thrilled throughout the Christmas hiatus, but the problem is, it has become dangerous. It no longer infects the viewers and leaves them wanting more. Instead, it destroys the subjects and leaves them in a constant state of anger, sadness and impatience.

The thing is, it’s no longer happening during midseason finales anymore: death on TV can come at any moment. Any character could die any episode, and while that should be something that actually makes it interesting and thrilling to watch, what’s happening is that it is exhausting for the viewer, because as much as they want to be entertained, they are also now more critical than they ever were.

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Why ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ could be making a big mistake

Opening statement: I have loved Crazy Ex-Girlfriend from the very first episode. I have converted several people into the show and I try to live tweet as I watch every Monday as well as creepily tweet the cast how much I love the show. And I still do, believe me. To this day Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is still my favorite show on television at the moment, which makes it harder for me to criticize it even a little. But I do think Crazy Ex-Girlfriend might be about to make a big mistake, and here is why:

When the show first started we were presented with teenage Josh Chan, a bit of a jerk who wanted to get rid of Rebecca at the end of camp for being “too dramatic”. Even though he had a point (Rebecca is dramatic and that’s one of the reasons we love her) we all as women have heard that before: men get scared of us reacting the way they don’t expect us to and then suddenly we are dramatic. It’s a scene that immediately makes you side with Rebecca and her heartbreak and think “he didn’t deserve her anyway!”. But then in present-time we see a very different Josh Chan, one that when he sees Rebecca tells her she was kind of the one that got away and sparks all kinds of feelings into a woman who was literally in the middle of a nervous breakdown over a miserable life in New York she never wanted for herself.

So she follows Josh into West Covina, California, because she projects her dreams and hopes of happiness into him. He represents a time when things were easy for once and she was truly happy. We are not supposed to see Josh as any other thing than that: an object of desire that catalyzes this big change in Rebecca. He is merely there to be chased, followed and stalked until Rebecca ultimately realizes that it’s not healthy for her to do it and moves on.

Then we meet Greg. They meet as she looks for Josh, he asks her out, beautiful and charming Greg and they end up making out only for him to realize she clearly has some feelings for Josh, who happens to be his friend. He is clearly heartbroken over this, but he still offers Rebecca his friendship. Immediately as the audience, we know: Josh is the dream. Greg is the reality. Greg is real and flawed and obviously she is gonna end up with him. Josh will be nothing but a stepping stone in her way to recovery!

But then something happened: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend made of both Josh and Greg two well-rounded, realistic characters with their own development, their own stories and their own issues. And the thing is… Greg kind of sucks.

After months of development, Rebecca is finally in the right path: she realizes Josh doesn’t love her after they kiss and she overhears him telling Valencia about it. She gets on a plane ready to go back to her old miserable life in New York when has an epiphany that she’s actually made the people in her life in West Covina care about her. She also finally realizes that Greg has always been there, caring for her, secretly.

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But has he, though?

Continue reading Why ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ could be making a big mistake

5 Signs You Need to Stop Watching A TV Show

As I move away from my mid-20s, I haven’t grown any less attached to TV shows and its characters as I used to when I was younger, but my tolerance levels have significantly decreased over time. I no longer watch TV shows with the hope of them becoming better. I no longer give shows too much wiggle room to fix gigantic mistakes I know deep in my heart there is no way to come back from. Maybe it’s cold and maybe it’s cynical, but with the amount of TV shows out there right now, why waste my time with something that I will not enjoy?

It’s a crossroad every fan of TV has been at in their lives at some point: the show you love has changed and you are angry and upset, but you loved it so much. So why would you leave it? So you let it consume you with rage, as you tut your way through the episodes with the small hope that the show that once was so good to you returns from the war. In some cases that might happen, but the truth is in most cases, it will not. So here are 5 signs that you should stop watching that TV show: 

They ruin your favorite character

image credit: The CW
image credit: The CW

Sometimes characters make decisions that do not feel true to what you know of them. These decisions make sense in the writers’ heads and they might even convincingly get most of the audience on board with them (they might even be justified! no one is questioning the decision itself here, just your personal feelings about it) but when the character that you once loved changes so drastically there is no longer a hint of it still being there, why continue to watch it being assassinated in front of your very eyes? It’s time to stop watching and remember what you once liked about that character while you still can. 

One (or more) of your favorite characters dies

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Let’s take it a bit further and say that your favorite character gets not figuratively, but literally assassinated. Everything the show does after that will make you angry, bitter and disappointed. Here is what you have to do: mentally go through all the reasons why you like the show, if most of the reasons were related to the character that is now gone, stop. If they’re not, but the character’s death taints every other thing you like about the show, stop.  Regardless of people claiming you’re not “a real fan” because of it, at the end of the day your feelings about it come first and if the show took away the main reason you used to watch it for, why continue to? Screw them. And screw that show.

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Women Making Me (And You) Love TV Right Now

It is the time for women on TV. They’ve got a chance to be difficult, wrong, fallible– even unlikable!– and surprisingly, those shows are making it on the air. Women have also started to embrace the love for other women, and lists like this one are a must in entertainment blogs. There is still a long road to walk, but we can be happy to say TV is making space for some of the best female characters in a long time. These are some of my personal favorites from this and last year.

Jessica Huang – Fresh Off the Boat

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Jessica Huang manages to be a pretty amazing mother with a career of her own and she also gifts us with hitting teenagers with a car or dedicating a song to her best friend that’s not a duet. Not to mention, she is hilarious.

Peggy Carter – Agent Carter

peggy_carter_agent

A badass from head to toe, Peggy never stops feeling real. She is rough, she fights dirty and somehow she manages to do it without smearing her signature red lip all over her face. But most of all, she’s human and she is vulnerable, and the show makes sure to remind us that there is more to the woman that founded S.H.I.E.L.D. than her fighting skills.

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Goodbye Clara: One of Doctor Who’s Best

It is that dreaded time for Doctor Who fans again: we’re losing a companion. Whether you have watched from the very beginning of the classic series or whether you are a ‘New Who’ fan, you have probably experienced the loss and pain of seeing your favorite companion leave. And it hurts almost as much, if not the same, as losing your favorite Doctor. After all, you know the Doctor comes back. Different face, same man. But companions leave and many times we do not get to see them again.

In the coming weeks (or even possibly next Saturday) we’re going to be saying goodbye to Clara Oswald. Clara has been a divisive companion by all means: she is by many loved and by many disliked. To me, however, she has been one of Doctor Who’s best elements since the reboot.

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Three Weeks In: How Are Our Favorite Shows Doing?

Fall TV has been back for now three (four, for some and two for others) weeks, and it is time to look back at our favorite TV shows and check how are they doing? Let’s see what Doctor Who, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., iZombie and Sleepy Hollow have brought to the table in their new seasons

Doctor Who

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Doctor Who is possibly in one of its best seasons since its revival. Peter Capaldi has completely made The Doctor his own, 100% Rebel Time Lord. The new two-parter format, reminiscent of the classic stories, allows the writers to set up more complicated adventures that wrap up beautifully at the end of the second episode. Missy’s return (and posterior disappearance) were brilliant, and the cast in ‘Under the Lake’ and ‘Before the Flood’, including a hearing-impaired character was amazing. I am also quite enjoying how the show is dealing with Clara and The Doctor’s codependency. Contrary to what the show did with the Tenth Doctor and Rose, this is not painted in a positive light. These two would bend the rules for each other, and it’s very clear that they both have gray areas when it comes to what the right thing is. Clara is not the companion to stop The Doctor from going too far anymore and he can see this. The thing is, he doesn’t know how to stop it because he needs her in his life, wholeheartedly. It’s a very dark path to take the characters in and I am enjoying it a lot. Of course, there is a huge sense of doom above them, but I give the show props for embracing it. Prepare for the heartbreak, my friends. The glory days of The Doctor and Clara are soon to be over.

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Midseason Review: ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’

Weekly ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ reviews took a small break last week in order for me to fly over to London for a small geeky trip (no conventions this year, so I had to do something). But fear not, friends, for this is the perfect opportunity to write a review on the show as a whole up to midseason and what is working and what isn’t about season two, so far.

YAYs 

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New dynamics explored

The best part of this season so far have been the ways the characters have paired off. Seth and Kate lasted so little but gave us a lot and quickly became a fan favorite pairing (#sethandkate4everrr), but their separation didn’t mean their stories became boring. Quite the contrary, Sonja and Seth’s relationship, which seems to be going too hard, too fast, is interesting because Sonja obviously has something to hide and doesn’t stop herself from giving Seth crap and Seth seems to be throwing himself into it because it’s the most ‘normal’ he has felt in a while.

Kate found her brother Scott and even though Scott didn’t want to accept her help and flew off despite Kate’s efforts to understand him, Freddie showed up when she needed him the most. And he needed her too. Their partnership in the last episode was great, and it was nice to see Kate being valued and taken into consideration as an equal, since it took so long for Seth to actually let her work with him.

Meanwhile Scott and Carlos are in young padawan – Jedi Master territory, with Scott becoming his right hand in the setting up of his new empire of evil.  Santanico found a shadow of her former self in Paloma, a young girl she kidnapped in order to make her way to Malvado’s hideout, but who keeps reminding her of the monster she is becoming versus the girl she used to be.

All of these new dynamics are keeping the show from becoming stale and repetitive, and keeping the brothers away from each other worked out rather well, to my surprise. But of course you cannot do that for too long, and now the Gecko brothers ride again.

Continue reading Midseason Review: ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’

‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ – ‘Opening Night’ Review

And we’re back from a long summer hiatus just in time for “From Dusk Till Dawn”‘s return. If you haven’t watched Robert Rodriguez’s show, based on Tarantino’s script (and his own movie), you should really give it a shot, because it is a fun-filled, never-ending rollercoaster ride of action, gore and family stories.

The show comes back from the hiatus with a three-month jump. Richie and Santanico have taken it upon themselves to bring down the nine lords, and that starts with Malvado, the lord who imprisoned and forced her into becoming a dancer at the Titty Twister (which we find out a lot about during a flashback). During the first season I must admit I had a complicated relationship with Santanico. While I understood her need to be freed, she did manipulate Richie into killing to connect with her (RIP Monica, we hardly knew ya), and forced him and Seth into the Twister. She also didn’t quite seem to mind playing a part in Carlos’ schemes, including but not limited to feeding the counselors with other girls and bringing Kate in for her replacement (what was up with that? Will we ever find out why Carlos was so keen on having Kate, specifically, replace Santanico?) When looking at it in retrospect, she probably thought all those things were little a price to pay for her freedom (“I do what I do to survive”), which to someone who’s been enslaved for over 500 years, is probably the first priority. Santanico was a pure girl in the beginning, but she had means to an end and part of being a complex, interesting character is sometimes not doing the right things. It’s not like everyone in this show is a saint.

Continue reading ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ – ‘Opening Night’ Review