September Round-Up: A Sudden Attack

I feel like I wait months for any sort of news, or spend years buoyed by rumors and fan hopes (“Bring back Level Up Project!”), so when the big announcements come, I’m caught completely off-guard. In short, 2022 keeps on giving. … More September Round-Up: A Sudden Attack

Happy Birthday 2022

It’s extraordinary, how quickly one ages. My appreciation of time itself has been warped lately, but think about it. We’ve decided that “your prime” is your 20s. If you’re fortunate (or bamboozled) enough to go to college, you graduate at, what, 21? A little delayed, time to celebrate? No, time to get a job. I hope you majored in web programming or graphic design, or have the connections to try business or law or film. You have four years to figure it out. … More Happy Birthday 2022

The Barber of Jeonju

You’ve read right! The most precious duo in K-pop debuted as a unit yesterday, and props for taking on the fandom name. I can’t explain “Iseul” for Irene and Seulgi, who have been known in English-speaking circles as “Seulrene” forever, other than Irene is the senior and her name must come first. The music video for Chobom’s song “Copycat” is live, and it’s delightful. It’s more bubblegum than Apink’s been trending lately, with an easygoing style. I was wondering how this subunit would work musically, given how Apink music usually works, where Bomi plays off of Eunji and Namjoo, I feel like. … More The Barber of Jeonju

Emmys 2022

For the most part, I think it was a pretty crowd-pleasing Emmy nomination announcement today, between Abbott Elementary, Yellowjackets, and of course, Squid Game. Does the first-ever nominated Korean show have a chance to repeat the success of Parasite three years ago? Seems unlikely. I have to agree with the Washington Post assessment, because between perennial favorite Succession and two big departures, the smart pick here is Better Call Saul. I’m pretty sure Breaking Bad won only one Outstanding Drama award, and that was for its last season. The Academy, or whatever it is, sure loves pulling that stunt. … More Emmys 2022

K-Drama Report: Inspector Koo

Little by little, I’m getting a sense for the geography of South Korea. Of course, there’s metropolitan Seoul and Busan. You land in Incheon, a major city to the east. Jeju is a popular vacation spot. Irene and her accent come from Daegu. Now we have the setting for K-drama Inspector Koo, Tongyeong, a destination on the southern coast which CNN praises for its “fresh seafood, picturesque seascapes and quaint fishing village charm.” After only two episodes, I desperately wanted to visit. Who knew a murder mystery could be so flattering for a city, but every chase scene, every surveillance detail is another opportunity for a wide shot or roving camera showcasing the mountains or festivals or public gardens. This is a regular feature of the genre as I’ve witnessed it, that K-dramas are always selling something, and in total present the shiny artifice of a country at its best. How is it that every male lead is at least six feet tall and every female lead is five-foot four? And take a look at this black bean noodle – doesn’t sound appetizing, but it looks amazing. How about that sunset on the skyline? There’s a beach in everyone’s backyard here, but you fall in love on the bridge over the river. … More K-Drama Report: Inspector Koo

Gianna Jun | The Last Vampire vs. Ashin of the North

Like all those books with straightforward titles like How to Learn JavaScript, I’ll note in this introduction that “This is not a book on how to learn JavaScript,” and in this case, I won’t be summarizing Gianna Jun’s career between the films Blood: The Last Vampire and Kingdom: Ashin of the North — not exactly. But I chose these two movies because together, they suggest something about how stars are made. … More Gianna Jun | The Last Vampire vs. Ashin of the North

Zombie Mad Scientist [PODCAST]

With Netflix K-shows being renewed left and right, what better a time to talk about Kingdom than this tense moment before season three gets the green light, too? In other words, I couldn’t wait. How could I resist Gianna, focus of this month’s discussion? For whatever reason, when Kingdom: Ashin of the North was released, my first thought was Blood: The Last Vampire, and together, they may say something about international star-making. … More Zombie Mad Scientist [PODCAST]

Queendom of the Gods

First and foremost, congratulations to WJSN for winning Queendom 2, though the real winner of course was Taeyeon, filling in for Lee Da-hee. I got into Girls’ Generation a bit sideways, so I’m only now reconciling with the scope of Taeyeon’s celebrity. For anyone else who doesn’t fully understand, Taeyeon is an idol for idols. I’ve seen a number of other idols talk about how cool it would be to one day meet Taeyeon, and I saw Bomi all nervous before being in the same room with her. That’s one thing I’d love to really get, the X factor of knowledge that might come from growing up with all that pop culture. The implicit things like Taeyeon’s godliness or what do Koreans reference in their day-to-day? I’ve picked up on some of it, like references to White Tower or The World of the Married? Anyway, speaking of K-dramas, what was interesting about Queendom 2 for me was Bona’s return of the king, where she joined her group after having missed more than half the show due to Twenty-Five Twenty-One. … More Queendom of the Gods

New K-Drama Alert! The Witch is Alive

The Witch is Alive is the show that Lee Yu-ri cut her hair for, and what makes it unique for me is it’s one of those “first-sight purchases,” or whatever the real term is. The only reason I watched Twenty-Five Twenty-One is because it was the same team as Search: WWW, and the only reason I watched Search: WWW is because of Lee Da-hee. And all the K-dramas I’ve watched and all the ones I’ve loved, it’s never been the premise itself that hooked me. Or even the poster, but I got an eyeful of the one above (POV: being disposed of) and knew everything was gonna be alright. … More New K-Drama Alert! The Witch is Alive