The weather has been really cold lately in Vancouver and I am too lazy to venture out. What better to do than to stay home all snuggled up next to the fireplace to watch a drama series or two. All my friends know that I love Downton Abbey and many of the other English productions. Next on my list would have to be Korean dramas. I am somewhat of a latecomer when it comes to the whole Korean Wave culture. But, I know a good drama series when I see one and the ones produced in South Korea are very popular. Many of these shows have an extended market reaching out into Japan, Taiwan and China to name just a few. Apparently there are more South Korean made dramas airing in Japan much to the dismay of many local Japanese artists who feel that they are not represented enough. It's not only the Asian market, a quick look on-line at the various forums and on YouTube and you will see many people from other parts of the world have all caught the Korean Wave fever. I recently found Faith/The Great Doctor starring Lee Min-Ho and Kim Hee-Sun. It's a fusion of costume, historical and modern story about a plastic surgeon who is kidnapped by a warrior and goes back in time to the Goryeo period 700 years in the past. Palace intrigue mixed in with warriors and romance - I was hooked by the end of episode one. I spent every spare moment when not working watching all 24 episodes. I highly recommend it. The two main leads have great chemistry and the music soundtrack to this series is very good. I have been playing it on my radio show. Check out the trailer below.
Then, I moved onto Arang and the Magistrate a 20 episode historical drama. It's a love story involving a ghost and a magistrate set against a backdrop of love and revenge. I enjoyed the premise, the setting and costumes. The two main leads Lee Jun-ki and Shin Min-Ah also had good chemistry. Interestingly enough, lead actor Lee Jun-Ki was originally cast in the role of the Warrior in Faith(The Great Doctor) but had to decline to serve his mandatory military service of two years in South Korea. Now that I have watched both shows, I can't imagine anyone else playing the role of General Choi Yong other than Lee Min-Ho. Many of you will know Lee Min-Ho from Boys Over Flowers and City Hunter. I have watched both these dramas and definitely count myself as a fan of Lee Min-Ho! While Lee Jun-Ki played a terrific magistrate. I enjoyed both these historical costume dramas and am looking forward to catching a few more. Here's the trailer for Arang and the Magistrate.
Incidentally, both Lee Min-Ho and Lee Jun-Ki are famous not only for their acting. Both of them sing and dance and are hugely popular in South Korea. Can't talk about the Korean Wave without mention KPop. I have eclectic taste in music and play a variety of styles on my radio show. Lately, I have been hooked on a few Kpop songs, you can find them listed on my music list for this month. Here's an MV from a very popular four girl group from South Korea who call themselves 2NE1. I love the song Missing You. I like the melody and the highly stylized video. I also really like FT Island Madly
Hope you've enjoyed this selection of my favourite Kpop bands and songs. There are too many to add here. You can find a list of CD's on my website. After watching several Korean dramas, I have come to the conclusion that I prefer historical/costume dramas. There are a few more on my list including Gu Family Book and Iljimae. Lee Jun-Ki also stars in Iljimae and he is fast becoming one of my favourite Korean actors. I hope I can find the time to watch these two dramas soon. You can send me your recommendations for other Korean dramas to watch or Kpop songs to enjoy! Gamsahaminda!