Treasure Trove (Part 1)

One of the things that I hope to do consistently on Thundie’s Prattle is to share my love for dramas (and movies) that tend to slip under people’s radars. Gems that have burrowed into my heart even though they may have poor ratings and are rarely talked about. These little or obscure dramas may not boast a star-studded cast, but they wow me with their superlative writing and move me with the heartfelt performances. All of them make me laugh and cry.

Since it’s getting increasingly difficult to find download links (or DVD releases) for these dramas, I’ve decided to start a series called Treasure Trove. I hope you enjoy Part 1!

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Best and Worst Dramas (Part 7): 2009

I know. I know what you’re thinking.

“HELLO! It’s not even December and you want us to vote for the 2009 dramas? Getting carried away with this poll thingy, are you?”

Wait, hear me out. I know it’s early, but depending on which spot on the planet you’re planted, December is just 1-2 days away, anyway. Also, some of you made up your minds long ago (woohoo, City Hallers!) and have been waiting for a poll like this, right? (Excuse me, Ms. Thundie, we’re not poll-crazy like you!)

I’ve been checking the voting for the 2003-2008 polls and reading your comments. The results have been interesting, with some dramas leading both the best and worst categories! In about 2-3 weeks I would like to write up a special summary post on the Best and Worst Dramas of 2003-2009. Instead of the seven-year itch, this will be the seven-year pitch where I’ll pitch (on your behalf, because you’re the ones who voted) for the best dramas.

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Episode 1 teasers: Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father

If Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father (2009) is a forerunner for what we can expect from Korean dramas this year, then 2009 looks like it’s going to be a great year. At least streets better than the dismal pickings of 2008.

Set during the turbulent years of the Korean War, this four-episode drama is a delightful surprise. Extremely funny but also suspenseful, quirky but also sad, affecting but disturbing, it is a perfect concoction of comic and tragic. I lost count of the number of times I burst out laughing, squealed even. Or the times my heart pounded, afraid for the characters’ well-being.

The antics of Jung Bo-seok, playing a rascally and irresponsible father, further entrench him as one of my favorite actors. Although his conduct is reprehensible indeed (abandoning his family in the middle of the war), just like Jung Bo-seok’s characters in Shin Don and La Dolce Vita, it is impossible to hate Jo Jeolgu. He is tremendously flawed, yes, but he still manages to make me shed tears for him. That is the power of Jung Bo-seok’s acting.

But the best acting in the drama comes from someone who is only one-third of Jung Bo-seok’s age. Playing his daughter, Shim Eun-kyung is magnificent as Jo Gyeongsuk. She is the heart of the drama, the one her mother depends on, the one sent out to search for her missing dad. Smart as a whip and more mature than some of the adults in the drama, yet never letting us forget for a moment that she is still a young girl who gets easily afraid and hurt, Shim Eun-kyung is a joy to behold. Put daughter and father together in a scene and watch the sparks fly!

Let’s revisit the first episode of Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father, a shoo-in for my Top Five dramas of the year.

What is Gyeongsuk holding and why is she all sweaty?

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