Chinese dramas have been an embarrassment of riches this year, putting out so many dramas that have gone on my plan to watch list that I couldn’t get through them all in two years much less one. And The Blooms at Ruyi Pavilion (2020) is just the latest to go on my list. Ju Jing Yi (In a Class of Her Own) is our heroine who has “foreseeing dreams” and sees herself married to Zhang Zhe Han (Everyone Wants To Meet You (2020)) in one of her dreams. The drama starts airing October 21, 2020 on iQiyi, and I’m pretty sure this will get subbed.
Synopsis: Fu Rong who’s the second daughter of the Fu family unexpectedly had the ability of “foreseeing dreams” after a serious illness. She predicted that she would marry to Prince Su, Xu Jin, and finally suffered the fate of being buried. However, Xu Jin also has the ability of foreseeing dreams. Although Xu Jin also predicted the same tragedy, he doesn’t want to avoid it but try his utmost to change the destiny. These two people begin the sweet game of “framing one another”. (Source: iQiyi) ~~ Adapted from the novel “Chong Hou Zhi Lu” by author Xiao Jia Ren.
I’ve watched the two leads together in 2018’s Legend of Yun Xi before and they make a great couple. The screenwriter for The Blooms at Ruyi Pavilion (2020) is Jin Yuan Yuan and she was also the screenwriter of Legend of Yun Xi, so we have a solid team on this drama… including one of the directors Lin Jian Long who also worked on, can u guess? 😁 Yes, that’s right, he was the director of Legend of Yun Xi (the other director is Chen Guo Hua). So this looks to be very much a reunion of the 2018 drama, and you know what, I’m all for it. It was a good drama, but well, not exactly a happy ending. Let’s hope our couple here get their happy ending!
I debated whether to talk about this or not, as I’m no expert on the political situation in Thailand and/or their history. However, I have been following closely the protests in the USA this year, and what is happening in Thailand now seems soooo familiar, I feel I can speak from that perspective. The other thing that made me want to talk about it is that a number of Thailand celebrities have started talking about it using the phrase “Violence is not the solution,” so I figured that yes in some way, it is related to lakorns, which is supposed to be the main theme of this website.
In Thailand, there are a lot of protests going on against the government right now. Protests have been happening for a while, but recently the protests have garnered more attention recently as protestors have been met with more force from the police and the number of protestors have risen.
A Brief Summary of Thailand’s History
Let me take it a few steps back as before we even talk about the protests going on now, we have to have some idea of the history of the protests. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy (the constitutional part being fairly recent, say 1932) and they have a king, King Vajiralongkorn, as well as a prime minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha. Thailand had a democratically elected National Assembly, but in 2014, there was a coup and overthrow of the government by military forces, the leader of whom, Prayut Chan-o-cha, took power and then held onto as he was elected the prime minster due to the disputed 2019 elections. It seems as if power has shifted from military leadership to democracy at various times in Thailand’s history, with the monarchy only serving as a figurehead for much of the 20th century.
After the coup in 2014, of course there was protests, but in 2019 there finally were elections, and while these were problematic, apparently the protests really flared up again with the dissolution by Thailand’s Constitution Court of a political party Future Forward Party (FFP) in Thailand, which had placed 3rd in the 2019 elections and was very popular with students. The dissolution was supposed to be about campaign donations fraud, but as the FFP was an anti-military group and as such was often targeted by the military, this seems to be suspect at best.
The dissolution of the FFP set off protests primarily in schools in February 2020, but COVID soon came along and shut most of the schools (and protests) down, Then in July 2020, again under youth leadership, protests started again with the three demands as stated up above. Protests grew and the response to the protests grew as well, as many people saw the government taking oftentimes violent action against peaceful protesters.
On October 16, police used a water cannon with tear gas, as well as batons and shields against protestors, and the growing violence has led some people to ask celebrities like actors/actresses to step up and speak about these issues.
The protests have also seen an increasingly negative view of the monarchy rise and calls for an end to lese majeste laws, where criticism of the monarchy is strictly forbidden. There have been demands made by protesters from 3 to 10 demands, most of them revolving around government reforms and demanding more civil liberties.
Celebrities and Police Response to Protests
As it stands now, public gathering of groups of more than five people have been banned in Thailand, censorship has lead to crackdowns with news programs like the BBC being blocked. Celebrities such as singers/actors Ice Sarunyu and Nickhun have started talking about the protests and some people are looking for more celebrities to do the same.
Right now, there are many protests going on around the world. At the core, most of these protests resolve around one simple matter: dissatisfaction with the government. It’s true of the Black Lives Matter protests in the US (which are still continuing by the way). The protests that erupted in Beirut, climate change protests and the protests in Thailand, even the anti mask/anti covid-19 restrictions protests (which I don’t agree) are really all based on dissatisfaction with the government. (Plus a lot of misinformation in the case of anti-maskers.)
And the usual government response to these protests? Well, they usually respond by clamping down on protesters with pepper spray, tear gas, you name it. This results in an ever-escalating violence oftentimes by the police forward protesters, who the most cases are just exercising their civic duty. The very actions of the police in fact, often exacerbate the situation and make it very clear why people are protesting in the first place.
Please note: My knowledge of Thailand is very shallow, I’m merely sharing what I’ve learned so far, in the hope of encouraging readers to continue furthering their knowledge by clicking on the links and to lay the background as I examine the situation from my perspective as a USA citizen who has been closely following the protests in my country. But this piece seems too long as it is, so I’ll be giving my perspective/comparison/contrast in another post.
I’ve just finished Stranger 2, and still feel in a bit of a drama funk, but hopefully this lakorn will change things around. Sunya Ruk Sunya Luang(2020) is a past/present lives drama and I’m all for it. Ngamnet Denkhun (Toong Sanaeha (2020)) pairs with Namwhan Phulita (Fak Fah Kiri Dao) in this Channel 3 lakorn that starts airing October 16, 2020. Muse has it on their subbing list, so it should be English subbed!
Synopsis: A story transitioning between the past and present lives.
The teaser looks really interesting! The lakorn looks beautifully filmed, and I like the special effects too, I’m impressed. This lakorn will air 3 days a week, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 🤞 Fingers crossed it lives up to the teaser.
I’ve been in the mood to watch more suspense/mystery/thriller dramas and Search (2020) looks to be right up my alley. Kdrama Search (2020) starts October 17, 2020 on OCN channel and should have 10 episodes a hour each. This is a survival story that pits Jang Dong Yoon (The Tale of Nokdu) and Krystal (Player (2018)) against creatures. Hopefully, someone will English sub this!
Synopsis: A survival story about a search party that battles against monstrous creatures. It will highlight the heartwarming bond between the members of the search party as they struggle to escape the demilitarized zone together. The story begins as a military dog handler who’s only a month away from his discharge date gets seconded to the search party and encounters a monster in the demilitarized zone. (Source: Soompi)
I’m in the mood for a good romantic fantasy drama and Korean drama Tale of the Nine Tailed (2020) is looking like it might fulfill that slot. It stars Lee Dong Wook (Goblin ) and Kim Bum (That Winter, The Wind Blows) as gumihos and Jo Bo Ah (My Strange Hero (2018)) as a tv producer who’s interested in myths, like gumihos. This is a tvN drama which airs October 7, 2020 and it should be English subbed.
Synopsis: The story features the mythical nine-tailed fox, or gumiho, Lee Rang who has just settled in the city. Able to transform into human form, he goes about cleansing human spirits, all the while creating havoc. Enter the talented television producer Nam Ji Ah whose current show features urban myths. With nerves of steel, she will stop at nothing to secure unusual, if not dangerous, subject matter to showcase. She sets her sights on Lee Rang who appears just too good to be true; irresistibly handsome, intelligent, fit; in fact the ideal guest. But his heartlessness will render doubt in her that he is indeed of this world. Step-brother to Lee Rang is the captivating Lee Yeon, reputed to be the most dangerous of all gumihos living among humans. Despite being half-human himself, he harbors a deep-seated contempt for all people. For sport, he will unleash his seductive prowess upon his human-du-jour, by promising to grant them their wishes, only to trick them into paying a hefty price for their earthly desires. (Source: Lee Cox at MyDramaList)
The director of Tale of the Nine Tailed (2020) is Kang Shin Hyo and he worked together with screenwriter Han Woo Ri on 2018’s Children of a Lesser Godbefore so they’ve had experience working together. There aren’t a lot of dramas based on gumihos, less then 10, which is too bad because I’ve always felt they’re a very interesting legendary creature ever since watching My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010) (which is a great romantic comedy by the way, for those looking for more gumiho love.) Let’s hope this will be another winner!
So I’ve just finished multiple dramas in September, and now I’m in a bit of a drama slump. Without watching many dramas, I’ve little to blog about as my ideas usually come from what I’ve been watching. Hopefully that’ll change later in October!
But I have been thinking about what makes a good drama. Oftentimes, I’ve dropped lakorns I’ve considered ‘bad,’ but what are my criteria and why? So I thought I’ll start with looking at lakorn cliches or stereotypes. Usually, if a lakorn has these stereotypes, and don’t contribute anything new, like great couple chemistry or changing up the stereotypes to be a little different, it’s boring and I drop it.
For anyone who wants to learn more about the history of lakorns in Thailand, this is a great read in Bangkok Post from 2013 and it’s where I got the poster from.
There are 24 stereotypes discussed here. I thought it would be fun to compare/contrast two 2020 lakorns to see which one is less stereotypical.
But what makes a lakorn less stereotypical can also be about what changes are in it, as well as the stereotypes it has.
I’ve decided to divide this up into categories, namely people and actions.
24. Pra’ek with overseas education, naïve about life.
Marn Bang Jai (2020) got 10 or 11 no’s out of 24 stereotypes, while Mia Archeep (2020) got 14 strong negatives, with 3 maybes so Mia Archeep (2020) has less stereotypes based on this chart. Yet on mydramalist,com, Mia Archeep (2020) has a rating of 7.4 and Marn Bang Jai (2020) has 7.8 so more people liked it (and watched it).
Both had their strong points. I really liked how strong the bonds were of siblings in both lakorns, but Mia Archeep (2020) felt like an updated lakorn plot, complete with employees instead of maids and modern apartments, while Marn Bang Jai (2020) harkens back to older lakorns in most ways, I did like the fact that both the nang’ek and her sister had jobs in it. In Mia Archeep (2020), the nang’ek’s relationship with pra’ek matches more with modern norms.
Stereotypes (which aren’t necessarily bad) can be a start in determining how good a drama really is, but it is by no means the only criteria or even the most important criteria you should follow. After all, we haven’t even considered things such as writing, directing, acting, production values, and more. But it is a step in the right direction at taking a more critical look at what you watch.
What lakorns can you think of that match most of these stereotypes? Or match it the least?
I’ve been wanting to watch more Japanese doramas as I usually watch at least 5 doramas a year, but this year I’ve only watched 3. So Marry Me! (2020) caught my eye. The dorama starts airing October 3, 2020 and features Kumada Rinka as the female lead and Seto Toshiki (Anata no Ban Desu). Hoping for a sweet romantic comedy and that it will be English subbed.
Synopsis: The story follows 28-year-old civil servant Akiyasu Shin as he’s chosen to take part in a new government program under the so-called “NEET protection law”. This project pairs government employees with NEETs, as a means to rehabilitate them and re-introduce them into society. Problem is, his chosen partner, Sawamoto Himari, was signed up without her knowledge! Will Akiyasu Shin end up winning her over? Or will this arranged marriage be a bust!? (Source: MangaDex) ~~ Based on webcomic “Marry Me!” by Miku Yuki.
Roy Leh Marnya stars Pope Tanawat and Bella Ranee as the leads in this lakorn. The pair starred together in the hit show Bpoop Phaeh Saniwaat and became a fan favorite koojin couple as a result. This lakorn airs on October 5, 2020 on Channel 3 on Monday and Tuesday. This is going to be subbed by Muse.
Roy Leh Marnya (2019) synopsis: Pitcha a girl whose personality is confident, modern, and outgoing, moreover, she is the CEO of an organizing company. However, she was really unlucky because her husband was really playboy and throughout her life, she waited for the time that her bad husband turns to a good and loyal husband. When she finally realized that her husband will never change, she decides that she doesn’t want to be together with the men with no loyalty and gets pursues a divorce. Ramin is a smart lawyer who is helping Pitcha divorce her bad husband.
While Ramin is helping Pitcha, he falls in love with her and finds out that Pitcha was his childhood best friend. Even though Ramin loves Pitcha, Ramin motto for love was not achieving instead it was giving. As Pitcha faces many difficulties throughout her married life, she is really scared to start her new life with love. So will Ramin and Pitcha get happy marriage life at the end? (Source: Collin Hypercuz at MyDramaList)
The lakorn seems full of drama, Pope and Bella work magic together, and look so comfortable together. This drama was originally supposed to air in 2019, but COVID19 happened and we kept getting delays, well, at least we’re finally getting it.
I’ve been trying to kickstart my rewatch campaign, but it’s been slow going as there’s so much new stuff out there! Plus, when I’ve looked back at my pile of dramas put on hold/dropped, I realized it may not be as easy to pick up where I left off. And series? Forget about it. Some tips and thoughts about dropping dramas and what dramas I dropped in 2020 (hint, hint, there were a lot of them!)
There have been some recent articles on dropping dramas, like this very nice article here I could totally relate to. I found I paused and/or dropped dramas a lot depending upon a variety of factors including time, mood, what’s going on in the drama and so on. Here’s some questions to ask yourself if you’re not sure you want to drop and drama or not.
To Drop/Put on Hold a Drama or Not?
Are you ever planning on finishing the drama?
Will you regret not finishing it?
Are you at a place in the drama where you can easily resume it and still know what’s going on?
If the drama’s plot is getting you down, like there’s a case of noble idiocy you can’t stand or a big misunderstanding, what about just watching 1 or 2 more episodes and then that plot point should be over.
If you answer yes or maybe to any of these questions, I would look at the amount of episodes left and see if I can just watch a couple more episodes if that would help me pick it up later more easily and/or get me past a part in the drama I don’t like, or find boring or stupid.
2020 Dropped Dramas
The King: Eternal Monarch (2020) – was a drama I was sooo looking forwards to. I love the main leads, Lee Min Ho and Kim Go Eun and wanted to see them together. I watched 2 episodes and it was all rather boring and predictable. I was not impressed by the slow pacing of the plot, which barely started to move in episode 2. And the romantic chemistry between the two leads – ugh, no. Just no.
Why you might like it anyway? If you’re a big fan of the main leads, or you’re craving more dramas about parallel universes, fantasy and mystery, the production values are great here. If you’re craving epic romance, eh not here.
Tawan Arb Dao 2020 – I watched 3 episodes of this lakorn out of 18. I don’t think it’s bad, but it is rather mediocre in most areas. I liked the plot, the premise, however Kem Hussawee as the male pra’ek just came off as too young and not experienced enough to pull off the gravitas needed in the role. I mean, his brother is dead and he’s pretending to be him as he investigates his death! That’s… a whole lot of emotion there. You really need a seasoned actor who can make this role his own.
Why you might like it anyway? Hmm, that’s hard to say, if you’re looking for a revenge lakorn about twins, well this is the only one that came out this year, 😂. No seriously, I think if you watched it, you might watch the whole lakorn to find out who the main villain(s) were.
Dance of the Phoenix (2020) – This Chinese drama had a favorite actor Xu Kai Cheng in it, and a forced marriage, so it was catnip to me!!! Until I watched the first episode and saw the lead girl using a disguise which made her uglier (and that involved having darker skin.) At that point, I said, sJ*i4npi& or something like that and moved on to other dramas, and there are a ton of them out there!
Why you might like it anyway? It definitely has colorism in it, so if you’re fine with that, then I don’t know what to say. The idea that having darker skin makes you ugly is such a no starter for me. Plus, there are tons of other Chinese dramas out there that have come out with similar plots that it makes no sense to me why anyone would still want to watch this. No point wasting time on a drama with colorism in it when you could be watching The Romance of Tiger and Rose (2020) and tons of other Chinese dramas set in historical times with marriage in them likeMarry Me (2020), Fake Princess (2020), The Sleepless Princess (2020), and Oh! My Sweet Liar! (2020).
Chinese drama Together (2020) is a modern drama based on real stories about COVID19. It stars film actress Ni Ni (Love and Destiny), and Lei Jia Yin, Zhang Jing Chu, Yang Yang, Angel Zhao, Johnny Huang and many other stars in what looks to be an episodic drama with multiple stories to tell. It airs September 27, 3 days a week on various channels, hopefully it will be English subbed.
Synopsis: A drama about the fight against COVID-19. ~~ Based on real people and stories during the fight against the new coronavirus epidemic in mainland China.
Together (2020) isn’t the first drama based on COVID19, another Chinese drama, Heroes In Harm’s Way, just aired September 17, 2020, and it certainly won’t be the last COVID19 drama. And this is from China, so I wonder what part censorship will play in the drama.
I’m a little torn about whether I want to watch it, is it too early? What do u all think? We’re still in the middle of the pandemic, and the airwaves here in the USA at least are still jam packed with COVID19 news. I don’t know, this might be a drama that goes on my plan to watch list, somewhere in the future, years from now, when I want to look back and remember how it was.