lirazel: ([dh] why the caged bird)
Okay, so I still say the writing for The 100 started out really bad...but somewhere along the line it got better and by the end of the season I ended up enthralled. So come shout feelings at me and tell me what fic to read and tell me when the next season will be back. Random thoughts behind the spoiler cut.

+ At the beginning I felt like they were overwriting Octavia but she ended up becoming my bb girl


+ Also Raven. I sometimes feel like they push the sassy girl a liiiitle too far, but they did end up rounding her out more in the second half of the season so now I love her and want her and Clarke to be bffs and stop being awkward with each other over a bland guy

+ Also I think I do like Clarke, especially because I feel like she blamed herself for other people's choices less in the second half of the show

+ Bellamy gets to join my list of Obligatory Psychotic Jackasses That I Remain Fond of Even Though They're Kind of Terrible. List includes the usual suspects like Spike and Logan Echolls

+ Bellamy and Octavia sibling feelings, thank you writers

+ Octavia/Lincoln is the ship I am most invested in, so I was giddy when he ran away with her in the finale

+ Still not sure if I ship Clarke/Bellamy or if I just want them to be competent leader marrieds all the time without ever becoming romantic? I do know that HE FELL IN LOVE WITH HER WHEN SHE KILLED ATOM LIKE WHAT THE HELL???? And he sometimes looks at her with awe in a way that reminds me of like Buffy/Spike Veronica/Logan where the guy is the besotted one and in love with the lady's vicious side. I'm saying I think there's potential shippage there

+ But honestly I think the solution to everything is Bellamy/Clarke/Finn/Raven OT4. Like the ladies just share the dudes and then also end up falling in love with each other and everything's awesome

+ I can't figure out why I still don't care about Finn even though he was the one trying to make actually moral decisions in the second half of the season. I think something about the actor must not work for me? Because I feel like he'd normally be my moral baby?

+ DICHEN LACHMAN PLEASE BE A REGULAR NEXT SEASON

+ Ellen Tigh, I miss your scheming face already

+ And I wish they hadn't killed of Charlotte so quick because MURDER BABY was interesting and also I had a soft spot for her interactions with Bellamy

+ What exactly are the Reapers? Slightly mutated humans? When they found that weird skull in the pilot, was that a Reaper skull? AND ARE THEY CANNIBALS WHO EAT PEOPLE ALIVE?

+ Not sure how I feel about the fact that apparently the Mountain Men have been hanging out with civilization all along. And why is Anya so convinced they want to kill everyone?

+ Like, I just am not sure how I'll feel about next season because I basically started watching the show for the post-apocalyptic survivalist elements because that is my JAM especially when it's teenagers in such an environment. If things get too "civilized" in the second season I'm gonna be sad.

+ Has anybody read the book and is it good?
lirazel: ([tv] confession)
Charlie Brooker explained the series' title to The Guardian, noting: "If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set. The 'black mirror' of the title is the one you'll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone."


It's going to sound like typical Lauren hyperbole when I say that Black Mirror is the most important television show I've ever watched. But it isn't exaggeration. I mean that.

Are y'all familiar with Charlie Brooker? I'm sure my British friends are. He's a comedian--sort of--he's extremely funny, but that isn't his endgame. He's a writer and a social commentator. He's cynical and smart and more than one TV show where he talks about TV and how it's messed up society (is there a better name for a television show than How TV Ruined Your Life?) but he also loves TV. And in Black Mirror, he uses a TV show to ask huge, important questions and do it with really, really great style.

The show is...like The Twilight Zone for the 21st Century. It's speculative fiction in its purest form--by which I mean built around speculation, asking "What if?" I actually can't say much about it, because the best way to watch it is knowing next to nothing about it. But I can say that each episode is a stand-alone story, a mini-movie, and that the through-line of the show is the 'black mirror'--the screens in our lives: TVs, computer screens, phone screens, whatever.

It's a show about our relationship with technology, actually. A show about how we use technology and what our using it does to us and reveals about us. And it's far and away the most disturbing show I've ever seen.

I am not usually a fan of disturbing. Too many creators use it as an end unto itself; they think 'edgy' means 'important' and so they make things as edgy as possible for its own sake. I hate that. But there is a way to craft stories that are disturbing because they have to be. Because they want us to think. Because there's no other way to ask the questions we really need to ask, no other way to create the urgency that needs to be present in these conversations. And Black Mirror is so adept at doing that that I can't think of another piece of art that even comes close.

And this is art: from a technical perspective, the show is flawless. Perfect casting, perfect acting, perfect production, perfect music use, perfect direction. It uses the potentialities of the television medium to the utmost degree. But what really makes the show so important (I keep using that word; if you watch it you'll see why) is the content. It's the ideas. Each episode takes one central idea (sometimes a very simple one) and fully explores one potential manifestation of it. That's about all I can say without getting into spoiler territory.

I don't recommend this show to everyone. If you're the kind of person who prefers your media intake to be escapist or even just thought-provoking but not to this extent--and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that; we all use media for different reasons--then you will not want to watch this. You need to know going in that it's going to upset you, and that every episode (except perhaps the last, which is definitely messed-up, but not as much so as the others) is...horrific.

But if you're willing to go there, you should watch this. It's available on DirecTV now, as well as findable on the internet, and I really invite those of you who are intrigued to check it out. I'm going to talk some more under a cut, but if you're thinking of watching it DO NOT READ WHAT'S UNDER THE CUT. It will spoil you, and I have never, ever seen anything that would lose so much power by viewing it spoiled as this show. DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU THINK YOU MIGHT WATCH IT.

I think the thing that impresses me most about this show is that it is so completely about how we choose to use technology. Brooker (who wrote or co-wrote 5 of the 6 episodes) is no Luddite. He likes technology. He thinks it's great for a lot of things. He's just super super super aware of the potential it has for evil.

But that potential is always the result of human choice. This isn't "we created robots and the robots adapted and now they're killing us all!" (not that that can't be good). Every episode--even the ones that don't seem like it for most of their running time--explores the horrors that can result because of human choices of how to use technology. Sometimes those choices are on a very individual level, one single person making decisions that (supposedly) impact only themselves. Sometimes these choices are on a macro level, a result of society making choices collectively. Always they're not the result of one single decision by anyone. Both the ones that are based around individual choices and the ones that are based around societal choices are always really about a series of choices, usually small ones, that pile up, leading in one direction. Several of the trajectories feel almost inexorable, inevitable, like there was no way any other series of choices could possibly be made. Others feel like tiny, conscious concessions that someone makes thinking things won't be so bad.

Technology (in this show and, I would argue, in the real world) is not an outside force, the man-made equivalent of 'acts of God' like a volcano or an earthquake or something we can't control. It is a tool, always a tool, neutral in its morality, only possible as a source of evil when human beings choose to make it so. Brooker seems to think that some of these nightmares are inevitable, and I agree with him the sense that I think that when it comes to technology, humans will always choose to use it for terrible things. Always. And yet that's still a choice. I'm not quiet about my belief in free will. I find the idea of destiny or even providence morally insulting. But what's so scary for me, and what this show underlined for me, is that even though human choice is the most important force in life, individual human choices doesn't always matter, not in the face of collective human choice. This is why we have systemic injustice. And sometimes it would be so much easier to throw our hands up and say "That's just the way things are; this is destiny" because the force of inertia in culture is so unfathomably heavy. But we can't do that. Because it's always human choices. Change for the better is always possible. It is. But sometimes it is so, so, so unlikely, and that's one of the most tragic things of all.

Some of these things could happen tomorrow--"The National Anthem," "The Waldo Moment," heck, even "White Bear' could happen now if there was enough money put into it (and laws were changed). Others, like "The Entire History of You" and "Be Right Back" aren't possible just yet, but are clearly coming down the pike; I think it's very possible we'll live to see a world like "The Entire History of You" and the first part of "Be Right Back" (even if the second section--the body grown in the bathtub--is probably quite a distance in the future). "Fifteen Million Merits" is the most obviously sci-fi episode, the only one where the bulk of the world the characters are living in doesn't really look like our world, but the thing is that all the elements of it are already in place. They haven't been assembled all together in this way, and it's entirely possible they never will. But they could, and I think this vision of a possible future for us is a realistic, if improbable, one.

I really admire the way that each episode commits to one central premise and pursues it completely--unrelentingly--to its inevitable end. And that end is inevitable. By which I mean: we can't have a world in which people will contribute money to Stephen Colbert's SUPERPAC and that world not also be a world in which people (if provided the option) will not vote for a cartoon character for MP. We can't have a world in which we have the potential to record each and every moment of our lives and not have people do just that. We can't have a world in which people have the possibility of creating a synthetic version of a dead loved one and not have people take advantage of that possibility. This isn't because, again, technology is a force of its own. It's because of human nature. And human nature is such that, when a possibility exists, at least some people will choose to embrace it. Not everyone would vote for that cartoon MP. Not everyone would grow a synthetic version of their dead boyfriend in a bathtub. But some people would. And that's horrifying enough all on its own.

One of the things that scares me most about human nature is how we're always, always pushing forward when it comes to innovating. This is also one of the things that most delights me about human nature. We don't need to go to the moon. We can get along perfectly well without it. But like George Mallory said of Everest: it's there. And because it's there, we'll pursue it. When people figure out that they can invent something, can achieve something, we always then do so. There may be individuals who look to the future possibilities of this invention and say, "The risks are too great. I'm passing on this one." But someone else is always going to choose to do it anyway.

This is why we need bioethicists and scientists who try to think of all the ways in which new innovations can be used for evil. Sure, those who originally worked to split the atom may have just wanted to do it to see if they could--or they may have wanted to use it for good, for nuclear energy that will help people. But as soon as it became a possibility, anyone with a brain should have known that it would eventually be used to kill people. If something can be used for evil, it will end up being used for evil. By someone who makes a choice. This is what people do.

I'm not sure what to do with that. I'm not sure of what the answer is. When I watch something like "The Entire History of You," my reaction is to tell myself, "If you ever have that option, the option to record every single moment of your life, don't do it." And I think that I could hold to that. But other people will choose it. They will. And so does that mean that the people who are working to make that technology possible are not supposed to make it? Should they just stop working on it because they know how it will be used to twist people? I wish they would, honestly. I think there are areas in which the risks outweigh the benefits. And yet people don't stop. They still do it.

What Black Mirror brings into clear relief is that human nature doesn't change because of technology. The ways in which we can exercise human nature do, but people have always been and always will be people. There is nothing new that a technology creates inside humans. It only creates new ways for people to flex their will. The desperate ugliness of humans using other people's suffering for entertainment in "White Bear"--and exonerating ourselves of anything like blame because, hey! the person was a bad person! this is just justice, you know!--is just exactly like people throughout the millenia throughout the world gathering and watching public executions like they're entertainment. The human desire to cling to what we've lost instead of learning to live without it, like in "Be Right Back," is equally present in parents turning their dead children's rooms into shrines or ancestor worship. All of these things are in us already, and we display them generation after generation. All that really changes is how we do that. And Black Mirror knows that more than any other show I've ever seen.

Sidebar: At first glance "Fifteen Million Merits" appears to be the odd man out. It's the most "futuristic" looking, the most sci-fi-y. But I really think that "White Bear" is the anomaly. All the others were horrifying because you knew exactly what was coming (if not in the particulars, certainly in the generalities). You had a clear view down the road of the episode, and you knew the darkness you were headed for, and that is its own kind of horror. But "White Bear" pulled the rug out from under me. I don't think it's my favorite episode or even the most important one, but it is the one that shocked me the most. I was deeply confused during the first 2/3 of the episode; up until now, the show had been all about, as I said, individual choices, not technology as an out-there force, but technology as a tool used by human souls. "White Bear" seemed not to be. It was terrifying, sure, but it didn't have that overwhelming sense of Free Will hovering over everything that the others did, and that created a sense of distance between me and the episode: I could not figure out how this fit in with the others.

As it turns out, it fits in with the others perfectly, but you don't know that till the big twist 2/3 through the episode. It was a positively shocking plottwist. I did not see it coming. And yet it was not a plot twist for its own sake. There's nothing wrong with those, but the majority of huge plot twists in our media are there for drama's sake. This one served a completely different purpose, and that was purpose was to get past our prejudices.

When Ursula LeGuin was writing her Earthsea series, she purposefully didn't reveal till well into the first book that the main character was a man of color, not white. She wanted to give white readers a chance to live in this guy's head before she revealed that fact; she knew that if white readers had known Ged wasn't white right off the bat, they would have manufactured a distance between themselves and the character that didn't have to be there. By choosing to hold off on letting us know that conversation, she ensured that by the time we found out he was a man of color, we were already so close to him that we couldn't manufacture that distance.

That was a 'trick' created to sneak around prejudice. "White Bear" does the same, only it's much more vital here. If we knew from the beginning that Victoria had helped to murder a child and that this was all just a perverse 'justice' operation, we would have been grossed out at people turning it into entertainment--A THEME PARK. BROOKER IS A GENIUS--but many of us would have been thinking, "Well, the entertainment stuff is gross, but it's actually a kind of fitting punishment for this person since she's bad." It would have allowed us to label Victoria from the beginning as bad, creating a distance between us. By not telling us who she is, we don't have that 'bad' label creating distance between us: we identify with her immediately, plunging fully into her perspective in a way that we would never allow ourselves otherwise. If we'd known she was a criminal, we would have held back. We would have been observers. Since we don't know that, though, we could relate to her, latch onto her, and enter into the action and emotions completely via her perspective. That was vital not only to making the episode work emotionally, but it also ends up raising a question that would not be as pressing in other circumstances: are there punishments so terrible that not even people who have done horrific things deserve to go through them?

If we had been viewing Victoria at a distance for the whole episode, our focus would have been on the audience and how gross their actions are. Victoria would have become a cipher there instead of a person. But because we see her as a person before we see her as a murderer, the question then becomes: is it wrong to have this be her punishment? You can argue that it's far less than she deserves--she doesn't have to die like the girl she watched be killed. Often when I think of evil people, I wish the sort of things they'd done would happen to them, so they would have to suffer as their victims suffered. This seems like justice: the punishment fitting the crime on a very literal level. And yet because we see Victoria as a person, it seems wrong. Inhumane. It's a stunningly-crafted episode, and I'm going to be turning the questions it raises over and over in my mind for years.

Sidebar number two: I think the one misstep the show made was the little coda at the end of "The Waldo Moment." It became too futuristic and made Waldo's untouchableness too literal. That was the one part of the show that didn't work for me.


Frankly, I think Charlie Brooker is a genius. I think this show is genius. I think it should be required viewing for any and every media studies student. While my reaction to the stories it contains is usually revulsion or horror, my reaction to the show itself is sort of giddy, because it uses media so brilliantly to critique media. That's hard to do. But that's the essence of this show. And it's amazing.
lirazel: ([sk] up against the wall)
I know [livejournal.com profile] vergoldung wanted to talk about My Mad, Fat Diary but hasn't felt up to posting about it, so I'll do it. In list form.

Things I loved:

+ Rae. Duh. What a fantastic character.
+ The direction. There's a lot of fancy stuff going on, but it all WORKS and isn't a distraction at all. Probably because it blends so seamlessly with...
+ The soundtrack. SUCH A GOOD SOUNDTRACK. I'd forgotten how much I love Oasis. But all of it fits the show so perfectly.
+ The handling of mental illness. One of the very best of seen. It was very clear that people involved actually had experienced mental health issues firsthand, because it was so very well done.
+ Complicated relationships. Not one relationship in this show is straightforward, really. Everyone hurts everyone else, everyone loves everyone else, everyone misunderstands everyone else. It's very organic and realistic.
+ The fact that every one of the characters look like a real person (and by real-person I mean 'hasn't been made-over by professional makeup artists/stylists). Even the characters who are 'hot'--Chloe, Archie, Finn the doctor, (and Karim!)--are all believably hot in a way that people in a small town are hot. Not perfectly polished and styled, but attractive. That's amazing--you NEVER see that, not even on Friday Night Lights where the main cast is all stunning. (Forever and ever in love with Finn's crooked teeth.)
+ Kester. I just really love Kester--especially the actor's voice. I would actually listen to audiobooks if he was going to read them.

Things I wasn't so crazy about:
+ I felt that it needed another episode or two to deal with somethings like the main romance, which I felt was too rushed (I LIKE Finn! I ship it! But I didn't feel like it was built up enough for me to really believe they were in love. Which is maybe the point since they're young and naive? IDK. You CAN make me love a ship in a matter of one episode--see Chris and Jal on Skins--but it's hard to do); the situation with Rae's dad contributing so heavily to what triggered her breakdown (again, it felt rushed); Chloe's pregnancy, etc; maybe get to know Trix, Izzy and Chop more.
+ Also, I felt like the finale went a little conventional? The It's-a-Wonderful-Life bit that turned out to be nothing at all was a great subversion (I knew it would end up being not real, but I loved it anyway), but the speech at the wedding seemed a little too scripted to me? Especially with the follow-up with Finn and I'M SORRY I DON'T BELIEVE THEY'RE IN LOVE YET. I don't know, I just felt like the finale was one of the weakest episodes. Things wrapped up too much? IDK.
+ The reminder that there really are teenagers out there who party like that (it freaks me out to think about it). And it's probably even more common in small towns in the middle of nowhere like that, because it's not like there's anything else to do.

The realism actually made it quite painful to watch sometimes--I couldn't just sit down and watch an episode, I had to stop the episode to recover after something embarrassing or painful would happen. That's a testament to how realistic the show is, I think (other than that, it really reminds me of Skins at its best, though Skins was never realistic about anything except human emotions).

I'm not madly in love with it in a flail and be involved in fandom sort of way, but I thought it was very well-done and I was really impressed. Though I will say that it needs warnings for triggers for things like self-harm and eating/body issues.
lirazel: ([sufbb] rooftop couple)
Two dramas to rec to you, both of them ensemble shows with amazing young casts!

School 2013

So I did love this drama. It’s not perfect and I have some complaints about it (see below), but it’s one of the best depictions of community and how it actually works that I’ve seen onscreen. It’s honest about our responsibilities to each other and how they are and aren’t affected by our feelings for each other. It’s honest about the limits of those responsibilities and how no matter how hard you may try to help someone, people are ultimately responsible for their own decisions and you can’t place their burdens entirely on your own shoulders. And it’s honest about how sometimes we reach out and help each other and it’s so beautiful because it makes the world better—but sometimes we do the same thing and it doesn’t change anything because the world is still harsh and unforgiving—but the reaching out is still beautiful. It’s always beautiful. Hope isn’t futile and while we can’t always save each other, we can make a difference in each others’ lives.

It’s also really honest about how messed up education systems are (Korea’s is messed up in different ways than, say, the US’s, but they’re both messed up) and how teachers are in a bind and how students all have different motives for how they behave in the classroom. And there’s room in the world for hardasses who lay down the law in an attempt to protect the community and also for people who are endlessly encouraging and patient and generous and forgiving.

So I think it’s a really solid show. It’s certainly nothing lovely to look at cinematography-wise, but honestly maybe that feels more realistic? My one major complaint is that I think in the second half it got too bogged down in the boys’ stories and didn’t pay enough attention to the ladies. I LOVE the Nam Soon/Heung Soo friendship/enmity plotline so much and I also really like the Jung Ho storyline, especially how they handled the ending. But the ladies were SO EXCELLENT and I just feel like their storylines got sidelined so the boys could have more screentime and it hurts my heart. I especially wanted more Ha Kyung/Kang Joo ladytime bonding and to see In Jae interact more with the young women she could have mentored. That didn’t really happen, and I’m disappointed by that. The female characters were FANTASTIC, they just didn’t get enough attention. The lack of romance was okay, though. Though I totally think Se Chan and In Jae are going to get married and be adorable and have lovely babies at some point.

A word on the ending: I thought it was a realistic but hopeful ending. Jung Ho still has problems, problems that can’t be solved easily (the “what about next month? And next year?” speech he gave Se Chan was PERFECT), and for all the teachers’ laboring to help him, they couldn’t get him on the road most kids are on. But that’s okay, because not everybody has to go down that road, and school might not be the place for him. More importantly, they showed him enough kindness and compassion and that he mattered enough that I do believe him when he says he’s going to try to live his life—whatever life that is—as a decent person. I think he can do it. I may have wanted him and his bffs to move in with Nam Soon and Heung Soo because I kind of want a Go Nam Soon Home for Wayward Boys now, but ah well. They’ll still be bros.

This drama didn’t end with a big fluffy group hug—there are still people in the classroom who don’t like each other, people who are still selfish and weren’t particularly changed by what In Jae (and Se Chan) tried to do for them. But they weren’t untouched by what they experienced—it’s still going to be a part of them, just maybe not in the way they expected.

In Jae and Se Chan are going to be back, together, helping another classroom full of kids to figure things out. And it’s going to take a while to do that figuring, because as Nam Soon and Heung Soo learned, you can’t just fix all your problems immediately. You need time to think really hard on where you’re headed and what you’re going to do. This show gave us closure, but it didn’t solve all the problems the kids’ have and it definitely didn’t tell us for sure where they’re headed. We just know that now that they had that year with their teachers, they’re on a steadier path than they were before. And that’s beautiful. THE LACK OF EPILOGUE WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS ENDING LBR.

And In Jae still waiting for him at the end? I don’t think he’s going to walk in at the last minute. That’s not going to happen. But the waiting is beautiful, because it shows her heart. The waiting is important itself and it isn’t a waste. And Se Chan understands that now. And that’s amazing.



Summary: Seungri High School ranks as one of the worst of the 178 high schools in Seoul based on academic scores. Seungri High School is now busy preparing presentations for its new students. Class 2 is at the bottom of grade 2 at Seungri High. Nam-Soon is elected class president for grade 2, thanks to the support of Jung-Ho, who is a member of the school gang.
Se-Chan is the top Korean language teacher at a famous institute in Gangnam. In order to improve the student's scores at Seungri High School, the school hires Se-Chan.
- asianwiki
Starring: Lee Jong Suk, Jung Na Ra, Choi Daniel, Park Se Young, Hyo Young, Kim Woo Bin, Kwak Jung Wook
Watch it if you like: stories about high school, stories about community, examinations of idealism versus cynicism, enemies learning to appreciate each other, honest but sympathetic characterizations of teenagers, explorations of different ways of approaching education, honest depictions of friendships where people hurt each other but forgive and become even better friends later, realism, stories about the ways we help and hurt each other just by being in proximity to each other, lots of twists and turns in the plot that never really go into the realm of melodrama, hopeful but not tidy endings.
Why you might not like it: If you really want a female-driven show, this isn’t the one for you. What ladies there are are EXCELLENT, but they don’t get nearly as much of a focus as the guys. Also if you have no desire to revisit the hell that can be high school, might want to steer clear of this one. It’s full of hope, though, so that may help to know.


White Christmas

Those of you who follow me on tumblr might know that I did a marathon watch of White Christmas over the holidays and fell all over myself with love for it. It’s shot to VERY close to the top of my favorite-dramas list; the top five or so are really impossible to rate in order because I love them all so much. But at any rate, it’s completely excellent and unique and I very much recommend it.

Let’s start with the synposis, because it does a better job of explaining than I would:

Susin High School, nicknamed "Prison High," is an elite school attended by the top 1% of students in the country. Their stellar marks are the result of constant pressure and a strict punishment system, to the point where students avoid from any activities outside of studying. It is in this atmosphere that seven students and a teacher remain at school for the winter break, joined by Kim Yo Han, a psychiatrist who was forced to take shelter with them after he was involved in a car accident nearby. At a time when everyone else is celebrating Christmas Eve, the students realize that the anonymous letters they each received were not the result of a harmless prank; there was a murderer in their midst. A question lies unspoken: Are monsters created, or are humans born monsters?

This is a drama full of plot twists and surprise reveals and characterization porn. It’s basically about what happens when you lock nine people up in this giant school building that’s half labyrinth, half jail of glass and then put them in danger. Someone’s writing threatening letters. Someone is a killer. No one knows who, and since they’re trapped, they only have themselves to rely on. Who’s going to trust who? Who’s going to turn on who? Who’s going to snap under the pressure and strike out at anyone?

There’s a touch of Lord of the Flies in this—there are moments when you feel like any sense of humanity’s going to break down and it’s going to turn into a bloody free-for-all (and there is blood spilt in this one). You’re not sure as a viewer who to trust or even who to like, half the time. There’s questions of guilt and responsibility, the nature of humanity, trust and retribution, misunderstandings and lack of communication weaving through the whole thing. Everyone has layers, everyone has secrets, everyone has scars. And everyone will surprise you at some point. That’s what people do.

This drama’s got a really great cast of young actors, almost all of whom are models, but they’re all competent (and most of them are incredibly striking, too. Plus, you’ll recognize a lot of them from lots of other shows—quite a few of them have gone on to have really fantastic careers. Yay this cast!). The setting, in this labyrinth-like school of glass and staircases all by itself in the mountains, is perfect for the plot. The writing doesn’t lag and the focus is always on the characters and their interactions. It’s basically a thriller meets character porn. You won’t like everyone, but by the end you’ll feel like you know them. And what’s mindblowing about the way this drama is made is that so much attention goes into every single detail. Almost every single thing onscreen is important. There’s SO MUCH richness and texture—so many motifs and symbolism. I’m sure I could watch this a dozen times and not pick up on everything. You really get the feeling that the creators were absolutely committed to every detail. How often do you feel like that with a show?

That said, I do have some quibbles with the final episode. Up until then, I think it’s perfectly written, but the last episode isn’t quite so perfect. It’s still a satisfying ending and certainly not enough to ruin the whole ride—this is still going to be one of my all-time favorite dramas. But there are a few things to touch on.

First of all, are we really expected to believe this killer’s been running around the hospital the whole time they’ve been back? SERIOUSLY? I can’t handle that. There are quite a few plot holes related to that whole thing that are just DUMB. I LOVE the kids killing him on the roof—that was perfect and the only way it could have ended. But how they ended up on that roof? Was pretty stupid imo. Like I said, it doesn’t ruin the show for me, but I’m not pleased by it.

I also wish we could have seen the other kids’ parents. I feel like a few of the character examinations were just dropped at the end and I don’t like that. There was more to learn about some of them, and I missed out on that.

I do think Angel killing himself was the right decision writing-wise, though I still don’t understand 100% what was going on with him and the lady and his mom and the other little boy. Confusing stuff. And it hurt so much that he died, but it worked as far as the story goes.


Summary: Susin High School, nicknamed "Prison High," is an elite school attended by the top 1% of students in the country. Their stellar marks are the result of constant pressure and a strict punishment system, to the point where students avoid from any activities outside of studying. It is in this atmosphere that seven students and a teacher remain at school for the winter break, joined by Kim Yo Han, a psychiatrist who was forced to take shelter with them after he was involved in a car accident nearby. At a time when everyone else is celebrating Christmas Eve, the students realize that the anonymous letters they each received were not the result of a harmless prank; there was a murderer in their midst. A question lies unspoken: Are monsters created, or are humans born monsters? - asianwiki
Starring: Kim Sang Kyung, Baek Sung Hyun, Kim Young Kwang, Lee Soo Hyuk, Kwak Jung Wook, Hong Jong Hyun, Esom, Kim Hyun Joong/Kim Woo Bin, Sung Joon, Jung Suk Won, Lee El
Watch it if you like: psychological thrillers, suspense, complicated plots, characterization porn, small groups of people who don’t know/like each other forced to interact and get to know each other, symbolism, plot twists, Sung Joon’s everything, examinations of the nature of humanity and of evil, tight writing, perfect soundtrack choices, Kim Woo Bin’s beautiful devil face, attention to detail in every shot.
Why you might not like it: If you don’t like stories that go dark, this is not the story for you. And there aren’t enough ladies, which is one of the few weak points of the show. But the few ladies are fascinating, so.
lirazel: ([s] high-functioning sociopath)
I am back from vacation! And while it's nice to be home with my bed and my internet and my TV shows, it's also cold here and I do not like that one little bit after a week of lovely warm weather (on the upside: I don't have to slather on sunscreen in the mornings now. I managed not to burn! Just some freckles! Yay me!).

I had a very good time with my family and renewed my devotion to EPCOT. Harry Potter World is smaller than I thought it would be, but what's there is absolutely adorable. (Lil Sis is upset they don't make everyone wear robes when you go inside 'because then it would feel like you really are in Diagon Alley!') I thought of all of y'all while I was there. I seem to have developed planatar fasciitis over the course of the trip, which is NOT fun, but I'm hoping it'll heal up soon. Other than that, it was a great trip. :D

I read a couple of books on the drive back and forth and ended up sobbing my eyes out in the back seat of the car over Code Name Verity and getting teased by my dad about it. And I now have about 10K words of Infinite Star Trek AU fic because this is my life now. I'm all caught up on School 2013 for the new episode tonight and I can't remember the last time I watched something that put my heart through the wringer EVERY EPISODE like this. I watched White Christmas (the kdrama) over Christmas break and LOVEDLOVEDLOVED it (expect a rec post soon). My husband Dongwoo has pink hair and is starring in music videos with Hoya and being irresistible. And...that's pretty much it with me.

I hope y'all are all well--feel free to tell me about anything going on with you and also to link me to anything I missed. I missed y'all!
lirazel: ([sufbb] over your shoulder)


THIS IS THE BEST OF ALL IDEAS. Basically it's to get us to share the things we love with each other: you make a wish-list of things you wish more people would watch/listen to/read/write, and then you go through other people's lists and say, "I can totally watch ____!" or "I will definitely read ____!" and make each others' dreams come true! Could anything be more delightful? Y'all should all head over there and join! And then come back here and read about why you should give these things I love a chance.

MY LIST! )
lirazel: ([fnl] clear eyes)
Let's start like this:

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.


- John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


Now, I know, since you're on my flist, that every one of you has felt this at one point or another. It doesn't just apply to books, either: it can be music or a movie or a place, even. For me, often, it's TV shows.

So this is a post about two TV shows that I feel this way about. These are the two shows that--I'm serious--if I became stupid rich tomorrow, I would pay all the people I love to watch.


MY SHOWS ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU SHOULD WATCH THEM )

so!

Oct. 19th, 2012 11:51 am
lirazel: ([tvd] lighter than a)
I still haven't watched any of this seaon's TVD yet, and I've been hearing very mixed things. So let's have a poll, shall we?

[Poll #1873358]

I decided to wait on Downton Abbey to see how the season would be, and now I'm SO GLAD I did because I know to definitely not watch it and now I am completely over that show. I'm kiiind of thinking of doing the same thing for TVD?

so!

Oct. 19th, 2012 11:51 am
lirazel: ([tvd] lighter than a)
I still haven't watched any of this seaon's TVD yet, and I've been hearing very mixed things. So let's have a poll, shall we?

[Poll #1873358]

I decided to wait on Downton Abbey to see how the season would be, and now I'm SO GLAD I did because I know to definitely not watch it and now I am completely over that show. I'm kiiind of thinking of doing the same thing for TVD?
lirazel: ([kd] confirmation)
tumblr_m9r9ioSTf81ret6c7o1_500 crop 2

People!  Friends of mine!  I want to tell you about this girl because she needs to be part of your life.  This is Jung Eunji of kpop girl group APink portraying Sung Si Won from Reply 1997, and she is the first realistic depiction of a fangirl I've ever seen on TV.  Because she's an actual fangirl: she writes slashfic about her band of choice, she waits in line for hours for tickets and CDs, she knows ridiculous details about her bias that only a real fangirl would know, she has clashes with her dad who wants her to focus more on her studies and less on some stupid band, she guilts her bff into taping their TV appearances when she can't watch them (on VHS of course!  This is 1997, after all).  And sometimes she takes things too far--no, Si Won, you cannot climb over the wall to Tony-oppa's house! that is not okay!--and is kind of ridiculous, and sometimes the show laughs at her, but never, ever in a mean-hearted or mocking way, because this show loves Si Won and her passion and her wholehearted approach to life.  It even allows her to have the most amazing Crowning Moment of Fangirl I could imagine (involving a college application--you'd have to see it to believe it) and it doesn't make her "grow out" of her fangirl ways: she carries them with her right into adulthood, even if she does learn to be a bit more prudent in how she lives them.


And she is why you should watch this show.  There are lots of other reasons to watch it, of course: the fact that it has such a great affection for its families, both biological and found; that it understands friendships and gives us great ones that are complicated but beautiful; that it has the most moving, compassionate, and progressive portrayal of a gay character that Korean TV has ever given us; that it has the most amazing OTP (and an absolutely adorable B couple, too!); that it portrays perfectly what it feels like to be a teenager--when your world is both small and cozy like your hometown and so much bigger than you can wrap your mind around--and to take steps into adulthood and make the choices that will shape your life.  Those are all fantastic reasons. 


But Si Won is the real reason, her and the other fangirls in this show.  In a way, I think you could say this series is a love letter to fangirls.  WATCH IT. Because sometimes you just want to see someone else who's overcome by fangirl feels:



behind the cut: more reasons this show is awesome! )

lirazel: ([kd] confirmation)
tumblr_m9r9ioSTf81ret6c7o1_500 crop 2

People!  Friends of mine!  I want to tell you about this girl because she needs to be part of your life.  This is Jung Eunji of kpop girl group APink portraying Sung Si Won from Reply 1997, and she is the first realistic depiction of a fangirl I've ever seen on TV.  Because she's an actual fangirl: she writes slashfic about her band of choice, she waits in line for hours for tickets and CDs, she knows ridiculous details about her bias that only a real fangirl would know, she has clashes with her dad who wants her to focus more on her studies and less on some stupid band, she guilts her bff into taping their TV appearances when she can't watch them (on VHS of course!  This is 1997, after all).  And sometimes she takes things too far--no, Si Won, you cannot climb over the wall to Tony-oppa's house! that is not okay!--and is kind of ridiculous, and sometimes the show laughs at her, but never, ever in a mean-hearted or mocking way, because this show loves Si Won and her passion and her wholehearted approach to life.  It even allows her to have the most amazing Crowning Moment of Fangirl I could imagine (involving a college application--you'd have to see it to believe it) and it doesn't make her "grow out" of her fangirl ways: she carries them with her right into adulthood, even if she does learn to be a bit more prudent in how she lives them.


And she is why you should watch this show.  There are lots of other reasons to watch it, of course: the fact that it has such a great affection for its families, both biological and found; that it understands friendships and gives us great ones that are complicated but beautiful; that it has the most moving, compassionate, and progressive portrayal of a gay character that Korean TV has ever given us; that it has the most amazing OTP (and an absolutely adorable B couple, too!); that it portrays perfectly what it feels like to be a teenager--when your world is both small and cozy like your hometown and so much bigger than you can wrap your mind around--and to take steps into adulthood and make the choices that will shape your life.  Those are all fantastic reasons. 


But Si Won is the real reason, her and the other fangirls in this show.  In a way, I think you could say this series is a love letter to fangirls.  WATCH IT. Because sometimes you just want to see someone else who's overcome by fangirl feels:



behind the cut: more reasons this show is awesome! )

lirazel: ([kd] three hundred years)
Hey, y’all. I’m generally okay, but still feeling too overwhelmed to actually wade through my flist, so again I entreat you: link me to things! I can click on links when I can’t scroll through things. Ah, the joys of mental illness.

Anyway! I started watching Gaksital and I Do, I Do, and I like both of them lots in very different ways. Gaksital is great in a Robin Hood/Scarlet Pimpernel/City Hunter sort of way (and I never get tired of those stories), but with an added twist of having our protagonist be a bad guy at first. His moral journey is going to be SO MUCH FUN. I’ve only seen the first three episodes, so I need to catch up on the fourth before the next one gets subbed.

IDID is just light, breezy fun with Kim Sun Ah being flawlessly beautiful and Lee Jang Woo being too adorable for words, and I don’t hate the second leads for once! I do hate how much emphasis there is on the competition between the two main female characters: do we really need another bitch-off? Can’t they be friends? And I’m wary of the show going the route of “taking the competent career woman down a peg;” I really hope it subverts that at least a little. But other than that it’s hella cute and as long as it doesn’t get too annoying I’ll stick with it for a while.

I’ll probably be checking out Big despite my wariness of the Hong sisters. But I can’t resist Gong Yoo and that precious kid who looks like Sungyeol and Myungsoo’s love child and also I’ve heard good things about it. So.

Ranking King is finally decent! Especially since this latest episode was the “Dongwoo is the most delightful person on the planet” show. Because Dongwoo is the most delightful person on the planet, and I want to squish him. And also do naughty things to him, because he is also HOT. I’m also rejoicing that everyone else recognizes that Sungyeol is the smartest kid in that band because he is. And Myungsoo coming in last was hilarious. Actually, the whole episode was fun, which was such a relief after the last two that just weren’t. I’ll try to keep the rest of my Infinite feelings to tumblr. Except for fic, which is totally forthcoming (Lauren writing slash, did you ever think you'd see the day?).

As for Western TV, I realized that I never finished the last few episodes of this season of Cougar Town, so I need to get on that stat. I watched the pilot of Revenge and enjoyed it well enough (I won't lie: I'm checking out this show because tumblr has made me love Nolan), so I'll probably be working my way through it slowly. And I intend to start Teen Wolf shortly because everyone on my tumblr dash is obsessed with it and while I am typically impervious to peer pressure, somehow I am completely susceptible to it when it comes to TV.

And now for what I’m really here for: a new rec!

Queen In-Hyun's Man




Summary: Kim Boong Do is a scholar who had supported the reinstatement of Queen In Hyun when Jang heebin's schemes resulted in her being deposed and replaced as King Sukjong's queen consort. He travels 300 years into the future of modern Seoul and meets Choi Hee Jin, a no-name actress who is expecting a career renaissance through her role as Queen In Hyun in a TV drama - dramawiki
Can be watched on: dramacrazy, kimchidramas
Starring: Ji Hyun Woo, Yoo In Na, Kim Jin Woo, Ga Deuk Hi
Watch it if you like: time-travel, adorable people in love, smart heroes, smart writing, excellent pacing, romances that are sweet without being saccharine, plot twists that will actually make your jaw drop, barriers to romance that are actually barriers and not just idiot plots, culture clash, costume dramas, political intrigue (but not too much political intrigue), competence in your leads, characters who totally deserve to be happy, good people doing the right thing because it’s the right thing.
Why you might not like it: If you hate romance and love and adorableness. No but really: this is a straight-up romance with time-travelling goodness, and though it is swoony and adorable and lovely, it isn’t cheesy at all


Y’all, this is one of the most satisfying romances I have ever seen, and the leads are definitely one of my all-time OTPs. And Boong Do might just be my ideal man. I cannot gush over it enough. It’s a straight-up romance without having to be a guilty pleasure at all, because the writing is smart and the characters are smart and good people, and you just want them to be happy and together and everything in it feels earned. There’s no insulting of intelligence the way there so often is in romances. There’s angst enough for conflict but the angst is driven by both the plot and characters in ways that make total sense. It doesn’t lag in the last third like so many shows do. And just when you think the plot twists are behind you, a new one shows up! All in all, I love every single thing about this drama, and if it weren’t for Shut Up Flower Boy Band, I can’t imagine another drama getting anywhere close to this one on the top of my Best of the Year list. WATCH IT.
lirazel: ([kd] three hundred years)
Hey, y’all. I’m generally okay, but still feeling too overwhelmed to actually wade through my flist, so again I entreat you: link me to things! I can click on links when I can’t scroll through things. Ah, the joys of mental illness.

Anyway! I started watching Gaksital and I Do, I Do, and I like both of them lots in very different ways. Gaksital is great in a Robin Hood/Scarlet Pimpernel/City Hunter sort of way (and I never get tired of those stories), but with an added twist of having our protagonist be a bad guy at first. His moral journey is going to be SO MUCH FUN. I’ve only seen the first three episodes, so I need to catch up on the fourth before the next one gets subbed.

IDID is just light, breezy fun with Kim Sun Ah being flawlessly beautiful and Lee Jang Woo being too adorable for words, and I don’t hate the second leads for once! I do hate how much emphasis there is on the competition between the two main female characters: do we really need another bitch-off? Can’t they be friends? And I’m wary of the show going the route of “taking the competent career woman down a peg;” I really hope it subverts that at least a little. But other than that it’s hella cute and as long as it doesn’t get too annoying I’ll stick with it for a while.

I’ll probably be checking out Big despite my wariness of the Hong sisters. But I can’t resist Gong Yoo and that precious kid who looks like Sungyeol and Myungsoo’s love child and also I’ve heard good things about it. So.

Ranking King is finally decent! Especially since this latest episode was the “Dongwoo is the most delightful person on the planet” show. Because Dongwoo is the most delightful person on the planet, and I want to squish him. And also do naughty things to him, because he is also HOT. I’m also rejoicing that everyone else recognizes that Sungyeol is the smartest kid in that band because he is. And Myungsoo coming in last was hilarious. Actually, the whole episode was fun, which was such a relief after the last two that just weren’t. I’ll try to keep the rest of my Infinite feelings to tumblr. Except for fic, which is totally forthcoming (Lauren writing slash, did you ever think you'd see the day?).

As for Western TV, I realized that I never finished the last few episodes of this season of Cougar Town, so I need to get on that stat. I watched the pilot of Revenge and enjoyed it well enough (I won't lie: I'm checking out this show because tumblr has made me love Nolan), so I'll probably be working my way through it slowly. And I intend to start Teen Wolf shortly because everyone on my tumblr dash is obsessed with it and while I am typically impervious to peer pressure, somehow I am completely susceptible to it when it comes to TV.

And now for what I’m really here for: a new rec!

Queen In-Hyun's Man




Summary: Kim Boong Do is a scholar who had supported the reinstatement of Queen In Hyun when Jang heebin's schemes resulted in her being deposed and replaced as King Sukjong's queen consort. He travels 300 years into the future of modern Seoul and meets Choi Hee Jin, a no-name actress who is expecting a career renaissance through her role as Queen In Hyun in a TV drama - dramawiki
Can be watched on: dramacrazy, kimchidramas
Starring: Ji Hyun Woo, Yoo In Na, Kim Jin Woo, Ga Deuk Hi
Watch it if you like: time-travel, adorable people in love, smart heroes, smart writing, excellent pacing, romances that are sweet without being saccharine, plot twists that will actually make your jaw drop, barriers to romance that are actually barriers and not just idiot plots, culture clash, costume dramas, political intrigue (but not too much political intrigue), competence in your leads, characters who totally deserve to be happy, good people doing the right thing because it’s the right thing.
Why you might not like it: If you hate romance and love and adorableness. No but really: this is a straight-up romance with time-travelling goodness, and though it is swoony and adorable and lovely, it isn’t cheesy at all


Y’all, this is one of the most satisfying romances I have ever seen, and the leads are definitely one of my all-time OTPs. And Boong Do might just be my ideal man. I cannot gush over it enough. It’s a straight-up romance without having to be a guilty pleasure at all, because the writing is smart and the characters are smart and good people, and you just want them to be happy and together and everything in it feels earned. There’s no insulting of intelligence the way there so often is in romances. There’s angst enough for conflict but the angst is driven by both the plot and characters in ways that make total sense. It doesn’t lag in the last third like so many shows do. And just when you think the plot twists are behind you, a new one shows up! All in all, I love every single thing about this drama, and if it weren’t for Shut Up Flower Boy Band, I can’t imagine another drama getting anywhere close to this one on the top of my Best of the Year list. WATCH IT.
lirazel: ([kd] three hundred years)
Hey, y’all. I’m generally okay, but still feeling too overwhelmed to actually wade through my flist, so again I entreat you: link me to things! I can click on links when I can’t scroll through things. Ah, the joys of mental illness.

Anyway! I started watching Gaksital and I Do, I Do, and I like both of them lots in very different ways. Gaksital is great in a Robin Hood/Scarlet Pimpernel/City Hunter sort of way (and I never get tired of those stories), but with an added twist of having our protagonist be a bad guy at first. His moral journey is going to be SO MUCH FUN. I’ve only seen the first three episodes, so I need to catch up on the fourth before the next one gets subbed.

IDID is just light, breezy fun with Kim Sun Ah being flawlessly beautiful and Lee Jang Woo being too adorable for words, and I don’t hate the second leads for once! I do hate how much emphasis there is on the competition between the two main female characters: do we really need another bitch-off? Can’t they be friends? And I’m wary of the show going the route of “taking the competent career woman down a peg;” I really hope it subverts that at least a little. But other than that it’s hella cute and as long as it doesn’t get too annoying I’ll stick with it for a while.

I’ll probably be checking out Big despite my wariness of the Hong sisters. But I can’t resist Gong Yoo and that precious kid who looks like Sungyeol and Myungsoo’s love child and also I’ve heard good things about it. So.

Ranking King is finally decent! Especially since this latest episode was the “Dongwoo is the most delightful person on the planet” show. Because Dongwoo is the most delightful person on the planet, and I want to squish him. And also do naughty things to him, because he is also HOT. I’m also rejoicing that everyone else recognizes that Sungyeol is the smartest kid in that band because he is. And Myungsoo coming in last was hilarious. Actually, the whole episode was fun, which was such a relief after the last two that just weren’t. I’ll try to keep the rest of my Infinite feelings to tumblr. Except for fic, which is totally forthcoming (Lauren writing slash, did you ever think you'd see the day?).

As for Western TV, I realized that I never finished the last few episodes of this season of Cougar Town, so I need to get on that stat. I watched the pilot of Revenge and enjoyed it well enough (I won't lie: I'm checking out this show because tumblr has made me love Nolan), so I'll probably be working my way through it slowly. And I intend to start Teen Wolf shortly because everyone on my tumblr dash is obsessed with it and while I am typically impervious to peer pressure, somehow I am completely susceptible to it when it comes to TV.

And now for what I’m really here for: a new rec!

Queen In-Hyun's Man




Summary: Kim Boong Do is a scholar who had supported the reinstatement of Queen In Hyun when Jang heebin's schemes resulted in her being deposed and replaced as King Sukjong's queen consort. He travels 300 years into the future of modern Seoul and meets Choi Hee Jin, a no-name actress who is expecting a career renaissance through her role as Queen In Hyun in a TV drama - dramawiki
Can be watched on: dramacrazy, kimchidramas
Starring: Ji Hyun Woo, Yoo In Na, Kim Jin Woo, Ga Deuk Hi
Watch it if you like: time-travel, adorable people in love, smart heroes, smart writing, excellent pacing, romances that are sweet without being saccharine, plot twists that will actually make your jaw drop, barriers to romance that are actually barriers and not just idiot plots, culture clash, costume dramas, political intrigue (but not too much political intrigue), competence in your leads, characters who totally deserve to be happy, good people doing the right thing because it’s the right thing.
Why you might not like it: If you hate romance and love and adorableness. No but really: this is a straight-up romance with time-travelling goodness, and though it is swoony and adorable and lovely, it isn’t cheesy at all


Y’all, this is one of the most satisfying romances I have ever seen, and the leads are definitely one of my all-time OTPs. And Boong Do might just be my ideal man. I cannot gush over it enough. It’s a straight-up romance without having to be a guilty pleasure at all, because the writing is smart and the characters are smart and good people, and you just want them to be happy and together and everything in it feels earned. There’s no insulting of intelligence the way there so often is in romances. There’s angst enough for conflict but the angst is driven by both the plot and characters in ways that make total sense. It doesn’t lag in the last third like so many shows do. And just when you think the plot twists are behind you, a new one shows up! All in all, I love every single thing about this drama, and if it weren’t for Shut Up Flower Boy Band, I can’t imagine another drama getting anywhere close to this one on the top of my Best of the Year list. WATCH IT.
lirazel: ([fnl] clear eyes)
Okay, if y'all could force all of your friends (define "force" however you want: emotional blackmail, actual blackmail, duct tape, guns, whatever) to watch certain shows, what would they be? Here are my top 10.

1. Friday Night Lights, because it is a work of art and will make you a better person. I know I am given to hyperbole, but when I say that it's a work of art, I mean that it is a work of art.
2. The last three seaons of Buffy. I mean, I guess you need to see the first four to really get why the last three are so important, but I really just love the last three and they're the ones I watch over and over lbr.
3. Coffee Prince, because I genuinely think everyone in the whole wide world would like it. It's so lovable.
4. Parks and Rec because of happiness.
5. Press Gang, because no one but [livejournal.com profile] redsilverchains has seen it, and I have a lot of feelings I would work out in fic/flail form if there was a fandom for this show. Also: Lynda Day.
6. The Black Donnellys because best pilot ever and also heartbreaking brothers and Jenny Reilly is the best.
7. Designing Women because I'm pretty sure it's what made me a feminist. Also: best characters ever.
8. Miranda, because it is delightful and will make you all happy.
9. Shut Up! Flower Boy Band! because I want all the fic and I don't understand why there isn't a fandom.
10. The Good Wife, to convince you that it's possible for a lawyer show to be good. A lawyer show on one of the main networks, no less.

Play with me!

October 2017

S M T W T F S
123 4567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 18th, 2017 05:49 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios