Drama Review: Taking the Path Less Traveled: The “Misaeng” Journey

This review was written for and appeared in the Korean Quarterly

Do you (or have you) work in the corporate world in a “cubicle farm,” or do you love someone who goes into the office day after day? Perhaps you’re in the medical field, and fight a never-ending battle every shift to see to the welfare of your patients.

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Do you go to school, and crack the books night after night to keep on top of each day’s lessons, or do you watch over someone who does?

Is your daily life a harried blend of chores and obligations, with just enough sunshine to keep you emotionally fueled and able to continue?

Have you ever felt that you were an outsider and were challenged to find ways to fit in, or have you seen others on the outside and witnessed their efforts?

If so, then the special 10th anniversary drama from the Korean cable channel tvN, “Misaeng” will touch you and inspire you!

“Misaeng,” translated as an “incomplete life,” or one that is not yet lived, takes its characters on voyages of discovery, as they seek the paths that will lead each to find his or her own place in life, and fulfillment. Continue reading

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Drama Review: Not Your Average Next Door Neighbors

This review was written for the Korean Quarterly.

A young woman observes the neighbor across the way far too intently. A small dog may come to harm. A wedding ring goes missing. No, that last sentence is just a joke, this is not a remake of Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,” it’s the romantic mishaps of the a group of young neighbors in manga-inspired “Flower Boy Next Door!”

The third installment in the Flower Boy series (“Flower Boy Ramen Shop” and “Shut Up Flower Boy Band” preceded it) proves that the Korean cable network TvN has a successful franchise on their hands with the flower boy conceit. Take a cast of attractive young men, add a central heroine to the mix, and spin a romantic tale. The one thing that the three dramas have done very well is to deliver well-cast stories that illustrate an understanding of human behavior. They’ve all succeeded exceedingly well in portraying some very genuine and touching emotions. The writers have captured the humor and the angst, as well as the vulnerabilities and egos of their characters. Furthermore, beyond the great casting work in selecting memorable lead performers, they have created supporting roles that mesh as successful ensembles.

Let’s meet the neighbors in question.

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"Los Exitosos Pells" comes to TVN / TV Chile

Tuesday marked the return to the TV Chile airwaves  (Monday in Chile on TVN) of the incredible actress Claudia di Girólamo in “Los Exitosos Pells.”

Claudia Di Girolamo

Claudia Di Girolamo

She’ll be taking the role of Franca Andrade, head of TV News, originally a male role (Franco) in the Telefe production, and no doubt will make the role her own. She’s been a devout and pure nun (Estúpido Cupido), a grifter (Los Complice$), a doctor forced to impersonate a man (Pampa Ilusión), a ‘shrewish’ manager of a salmon operation (La Fiera), and a merry widow (Viuda Alegre), to name just a few of her many roles, and in each case she is unforgettable. Any opportunity to watch her in action is a cause for celebration and should be recommended viewing for actors in training.

The chileno remake of “Los Exitosos Pells” also features one of the finest ensemble casts working today as those who have come to love the work coming out of TVN will attest. Amparo Noguera is another actress worthy of mention, but the men shine too.