[K-drama scribbles] White Tower

White Tower (2007) is a drama that deserves a thoughtful and thorough review, preferably after multiple viewings.

But as I explained here, time is not on my side for now. Thus, rather than let many months slip by – the prospect of a review growing ever dimmer – I thought I should post the White Tower scribbles I wrote four years ago. Hopefully that will rekindle memories of the drama for those of us who have watched it, or jolt into “I’m going to watch it now!” action the people who have been sitting forever on it. More importantly (ha!), it will give us an opportunity to talk about Kim Myung-min. I don’t know about you, but I do miss him so.

I will divide this post into two parts: a spoiler-free overview of the drama and a spoilery discussion of Kim Myung-min’s character, Dr. Jang Joon-hyeok.

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White Tower giveaway results

The brief was demanding, but then again a great drama deserves to be hard-earned, yes?

On November 28 I asked blog readers to write about their favorite actor’s best role. Eight of you responded, with prose and poetry that wowed ockoala and Serendipity, my two guest judges. Thank you for writing from your heart, everyone. The judges and I have loved reading every single entry.

Now for the results. The three winners, who will each receive an English-subtitled DVD set of White Tower, are…

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White Tower drama giveaway

I first saw Kim Myung-min in More Beautiful Than a Flower (2004) where he played a man hiding a dastardly past. “What a gem of a drama and actor,” I thought, not realizing at that time that MBTAF would mark the beginning of an abiding love for one of Korea’s greatest actors.

Bad Family (2006) was next, and I fell even harder for this chameleon of an actor who went from classy in MBTAF to coarse in BF, playing a foul-mouthed but soft-hearted ex-thug in the latter. But it was 2007’s medical thriller and masterpiece White Tower that knocked my socks off and forever sealed Kim Myung-min’s place in my heart.

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Bad Family (SBS 2006)

Bad Family is a thoroughly endearing and enjoyable drama. Strangely, it must defy reviewing, because I am having a terribly constipated time writing about it. The words just aren’t coming to me like they normally do. I’ll take this as a sign from the drama gods that this is a drama that needs to be watched instead of talk about. Continue reading

Sageuk Awards

Was it six years ago? A man and a woman at night, she bleeding from a wound on her shoulder, he tending so gently to the wound. Their voices are as soft as the breeze is light. As they walk home afterwards, cherry blossoms flutter around them, like a million pink and white lights aglow in the dark.

Even now, six years later, I can’t speak of my first sageuk (Korean historical or period drama) without a lump suddenly forming in my throat. Damo changed my life, literally flinging me over the edge into the depths of kdrama addiction. It marked the beginning of a love affair that has continued to grow; both my top movie and drama are period ones and I don’t see any other genre coming along to topple them, in the foreseeable future or otherwise.

Damo stayed at the top of my favorites list for a long time, but the day finally came when I had to sadly acknowledge that another drama would take its place. So it has been, this game of musical chairs, this rotation of faves and favored. I’m not alone. One of the contributors to this post sent me this note along with her picks: “I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE MY MIND.” (See how passionate we sageuk fans are? Haha.)

So here we are, a special post on my favorite genre. Six dear friends, all familiar names in the Kdrama community, responded enthusiastically to my invitation to participate in this poll of sorts. Nine categories in all (because it’s obvious thundie can’t count; she thought she listed ten), with picks that I’m sure will delight or dismay you. Wrapping up the post is a hilarious and insightful look at how sageuk and wuxia stack up against each other.

Many thanks (and cups of coffee) to ockoala (who wrote the sageuk/wuxia piece), dahee, dramaok, hjkomo, javabeans and His Grumpiness misterX. All of you inspire me every day to be a more discerning viewer.

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Favorite Male Roles (Part 1)

Today’s a wonderful day because one of my favorite stars was discharged from the army. It makes me so happy to know he’s back!

I’ve been thinking about Chun Jung-myung all day and revisiting memories of his past roles. Which of those have I loved the most? One thing led to another and I thought, “Hey, let’s have a poll!” The last (and only) poll on the blog was so very long ago.

Here in random order (except for the first one because today is his day; welcome back!) are twenty actors and seven of their most recent or most prominent roles. Some of them I love ardently, some of them you love ardently. All of them are familiar names, I’m sure.

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Accidental Couple

Episode 1 of Accidental Couple (aka Just Looking aka That Fool, 2009) was surreal. Never had I been so simultaneously awed and repulsed. Here was acting at its finest and here was acting so excruciatingly awful I wanted to throw a shoe at the screen.

Imagine the very best tenor in the world giving the standout performance of his life. He opens his mouth to sing and your jaw drops; it will remain on the floor for the entirety of the concert. Then it’s the turn of the accompanying “choir” and your hair stands as you listen to what sounds like seagulls and sea lions cackling and barking at each other. You call that singing?

But behold a miracle midway in the performance.

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