Asian Drama Simulcasts: June 29-July 5, 2015

A hard-boiled woman detective & a “ghostess with the mostest.”

OH MY GHOSTESS (South Korea, 2015; tvN)

(South Korea, 2015; tvN)

Two new dramas join the roster of simulcasts, and I’m excited about both because of the talent involved.

Oh My Ghostess has a high-concept premise. A meek sous chef has an unusual talent (or affliction): She can see – and is highly susceptible to being possessed by – ghosts. Romantic hijinks ensue when the heroine is possessed by an amorous ghost who decides to pursue her boss (and crush), the head chef. Some of these elements have appeared in recent K-dramas, most notably in Master’s Sun, but what makes this execution stand out is the actresses tapped to make it happen.

Park Bo-young, who plays the timid chef, was once primarily known as an excellent child actress on TV. In more recent years, she’s made a name for herself in film with lead roles in box-office champs, including the 2008 comedy Scandal Makers and the 2012 supernatural romance-turned-tearjerker A Werewolf Boy. Although this is the first time she’s headlining a primetime drama, she’s veteran actor who has already demonstrated the ability to pull off serious drama, comedy, and everything in between. Similarly, Kim Seul-gi first came to public attention as a member of the SNL Korea cast and has gone on to become a first-rate scene stealer on both big and small screens (Discovery of Romance). She goes for it every single time – while managing to inject likability and humanity into the zaniness.

I truly can’t imagine any actress other than Kim Seul-gi in this comedic, ghostly role. After seeing the teasers, I also can’t imagine anyone other than Park Bo-young capably channeling Kim’s unique cadence and vocal inflections during the promised ghostly possessions.

Action-thriller My Beautiful Bride focuses on a man’s frantic search for his fiancée, who has suddenly – and mysteriously – gone missing. I’ll partially be tuning into the first episodes to see if it bears any similarities to the K-film Helpless (and its source material, the Japanese novel All She Was Worth). But I’ll mainly be tuning in to see Lee Si-young take on the role of a tough detective that the male lead (played by Kim Moo-yul) encounters during his search. She’s effective and entertaining in all of her roles and is a certified badass off-screen. She’s earned several amateur boxing titles and, at one point, intended to try out for a spot on Korea’s 2016 Olympic boxing team! It’s kind of a wonder it took so long for the powers that be to cast her in this type of action-oriented and potentially fierce role.

The final episodes of Jeju Island Gatsby (a.k.a., Warm and Cozy) also air this week.

  • And the ongoing list of confirmed, upcoming simulcasts has updates, including the K-dramas I Order You and Yong Pal.

What are you watching this week?  Read More »

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Asian Drama Simulcasts: June 22-28, 2015

A high-profile remake & criminal investigations with a quirky twist.

THE TIME THAT I LOVED YOU, 7000 DAYS (South Korea, 2015; SBS)

(South Korea, 2015; SBS)

Can longtime best friends become something more? That’s the question at the center of The Time That I Loved You, 7000 Days. This Korean remake of In Time With You features Ha Ji-won (As One; Secret Garden) and Lee Jin-wook (Nine: Nine Times Time Travel) as its not-a-couple leads – best friends since their school days but out-of-sync with each other in the romance department. The original Taiwanese drama is a beloved fan favorite, as is Ha Ji-won, whose filmography is packed with years of winning (and relatable) TV and film performances. As a result, The Time That I Loved You has already earned its spot on many a watch list, including my own.

While several currently airing dramas feature crime fighters as main characters, the teasers for I Remember You indicate a tone that’s as comedic and eclectic as it is deadly serious. Seo In-guk (The King’s Face; Master’s Sun) stars as an elite criminal profiler, and Jang Na-ra (Fated to Love You; Mr. Baek) portrays a police detective who – in her own character’s words(!) – has been “stalking” him. Naturally, the two are forced to team up for a murder investigation.

Korean cable drama The Lover wrapped up this week, and the five-episode J-drama sequel Innocent Lilies 2 – starring members of the idol group – was also released.

  • And the list of confirmed, upcoming simulcasts has some updates, including the Death Note J-drama and K-dramas Oh My Ghostess and My Beautiful Bride.

What are you watching this week?  Read More »

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Asian Drama Simulcasts: June 15-21, 2015

Debuts include a gritty police procedural & a delicious tour of Taipei.

HIDDEN IDENTITY (South Korea, 2015; tvN)

(South Korea, 2015; tvN)

Go undercover in the cable crime drama Hidden Identity, which stars Kim Bum (Boys Over Flowers; That Winter, The Wind Blows), Park Sung-woong (She Is Wow; Bridal Mask), Yoon So-yi (IRIS 2; Warrior Baek Dong Soo), and Lee Won-jong (The Girl Who Sees Smells; Vampire Prosecutor) as a squad of elite agents who often bend the law as they pursue violent criminals.

Lonely Gourmet – Taipei is a Chinese web drama, starring Taiwanese actor Winston Chao (1911; Road to Dawn) as a businessman who ends his workdays by going on the prowl for good eats in the local restaurants he discovers along the way. The series is based on the Japanese manga Kodoku no Gourmet, written by Masayuki Kusumi (Hana no Zubora Meshi) and illustrated by acclaimed artist/writer Jiro Taniguchi (A Distant Neighborhood; The Summit of the Gods). Notably, the original manga also inspired a Japanese drama that ran on TV Tokyo for four seasons.  If you’re a foodie—or just happen to like dramas that coincidentally make you hungry—this might be one to check out. Just be sure to eat first!

The final episodes of J-dramas Doctors’ Affairs and Love: Redux and of K-dramas School 2015: Who Are You?, Producer, and Prince’s Prince also air this week.

  • A list of confirmed, upcoming simulcasts is at the end of the column.

What are you watching this week?  Read More »

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Asian Drama Simulcasts: June 8-14, 2015

HIGH SOCIETY (South Korea, 2015; SBS)

(South Korea, 2015; SBS)

New simulcasts, series conclusions, and some housekeeping this week.

Conflict (and romance!) across social classes abounds in High Society, a Korean drama that stars Uee (After School, Fool’s Love) and Sung Joon (I Need Romance 3), with supporting performances from Park Hyung-sik (ZE:A, What Happens to My Family?) and Lim Ji-yeon (Obsessed).

Although it shares some themes with Heard It Through the Grapevine — the black comedy of manners that just vacated the timeslot — High Society’s teasers and promotional materials indicate it will take more of a traditional, romantic-drama approach to the material. Case in point: Its wealthy heroine goes undercover and gets a part-time job, as part of her scheme to find someone who loves her for herself, rather than her money.

Web drama Prince’s Prince is based on a popular webtoon, in which a concerned older brother (FT Island’s Choi Jong-hoon) goes to extreme (read: comedic) lengths to bring his video game-obsessed younger sister (AOA’s Yuna) back to reality.

How much should you trust your first impression? And when should you give someone a second chance? These are the questions in play in When I See You Again, as a guy who’s an all-around success at life re-crosses paths with a woman from his past. The cast of this Taiwanese romantic comedy is led by Jasper Liu (Love Myself or You?) and Mandy Wei (Say I Do Again).

Japanese drama Crazy for Me, Taiwanese web drama The Crossing Hero, and Korean dramas Divorce Lawyer in Love and Ex-Girlfriend Club also wrapped up this week.

  • Visit the Current Simulcast board to find out which shows are licensed to stream with English subtitles. (Or see the index of current shows after the jump.)
  • An updated list of confirmed, upcoming simulcasts is at the end of the column.
  • Over the next several weeks, I’ll gradually add the following to the boards:
    • Simulcast titles that were licensed but translated and subtitled too slowly/sporadically to include in previous columns.
    • Catalog titles that were stealthily added to the streaming sites/apps.

What are you watching this week?  Read More »

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Rec: “Golden Touch” by Namie Amuro

Namie AMURO is one of my favorite Japanese pop performers. As a song, “Golden Touch,” is representative of her musical output, but this video is a fun departure…

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