tv review

TV Review: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

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Title: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Written by: Yang Hee-Seung (Oh My Ghostess)

Directed by: Oh Hyun-Jong

Country of Origin: South Korea

Starring: Lee Sung-Kyoung, Nam Joo-Hyuk

Episodes: 16

My Rating: A

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It was honestly a travesty to me when I was watching this beauty of a show that it had very poor ratings and didn’t do very well domestically most likely because it was up against Legend of the Blue Sea.  And honestly I have to ask, why?? It has its flaws but honestly, this show has so, so much to offer. Based on South Korean Olympic gold medalist weightlifter Jang Mi Ran’s personal life, it is essentially a coming-of-age (is anyone surprised, I love CoA) as Bok Joo navigates university and love and friendship. This drama just made my heart feel so full, there is no other way to describe it. It also sounds cheesy but I felt so happy as I was watching as if I was stuck in my own little world with these adorably genuine characters that I grew to love.

As light as it is, it is sad that this drama couldn’t have casted a heavier girl to play Bok Joo as this is a show about weightlifters for heaven’s sake. It especially hurts because throughout this drama,  Bok Joo is insecure about her being overweight, not because she thinks needs to change but because she feels she won’t get a guy because of her weight and people around her constantly tell her that she’s perfect the way she is but the fact that they casted a really skinny actress sort of undermines those statements, sincere as they are. It’s sort of like falsely complimenting someone on what they’re wearing and but then telling them you would never wear it yourself. However. However. I think this drama’s heart is still in the right place. These are the top five reasons you should be watching this lighthearted but hard-hitting drama.

  1. The OTP

Ladies and Gentlemen, this OTP. This OTfuckingP. Forget W. Forget Legend of the Blue Sea. This couple should have won that Best Couple Award on the MBC awards. On all the network awards tbh except kbs because ya know. But this couple is everything. And the reason they work so well together for me is because this is one of the few dramas that truly knows how to execute the hate to friends to lovers trope. Because long before they even realize an inkling of their feelings for each other, they already do so many of the things that lovers do for each other. They genuinely like talking to each other and can go out and have fun with each other but they’re also each other’s biggest cheerleader.

It always warmed my heart when Bok Joo would feel insecure about other boys not liking her because of her weight but Joon Hyung would always tell her, without hesitation, that she was pretty without any sort of romantic connotation. And when Bok Joo would pray for Joon Hyung to win his swimming competitions. Ugh, the feels <3. Usually when the hate to friends to lovers trope is used, drama writers will skim the friends part or skip it altogether to get to the love part. But allowing Bok Joo and Joon Hyung’s feelings and relationship to progress organically, it just feels so much more believable and more importantly, gives me a sense as to why they are together. Not to mention, that Bok Joo and Joon Hyung have some of the best chemistry ever.


Their hugs and the way they lovingly and playfully touch each other, as friends and as lovers, are some of the most natural and realistic I’ve ever seen which only sells their love even more. Remember, writers, hugs can be just as swoonworthy as kisses if done right.

Their relationship is so interesting to watch and they’re always butting heads and there’s always conflict but their love and support for one another is so admirable and something that honestly, every on-screen and off-screen relationship should strive for.

2. The OTP’s family and friends

In a lot of Asian families, the concept of “tough love” is almost always practiced where harsh discipline equates to love. When it comes to a lot of parents in Korean dramas, it mostly consists of yelling and then when something tragic happens to the parent (usually dementia), the child will inevitably apologize for being a bad daughter or son. Even in Reply 1997, family dynamics usually consisted of the dad yelling at Shi Won nonstop only pausing for the more sentimental moments. Although I understand this is a cultural thing, I still found it really refreshing that WFKBJ detracts from that formula. Bok Joo’s dad and Joon Hyung’s aunt and uncle verbally show their love. Bok Joo’s dad would always defend Bok Joo calling her cute and even though she was a troublemaker, if anyone else said so, her dad would immediately shut them up. Joon Hyung’s aunt always showers him with smiles and harmless jabs. Maybe it’s the Western culture in me talking because usually Asian families don’t express their love so openly but nevertheless I still appreciated it because it felt like a combination of Western and Asian parenting. But the parents never felt like overly eccentric and cutesy parents that sometimes Western sitcoms have. You can always see that they will support their kid 100%, but they had their flaws and their “I know what’s best for you moments”. I think it’s always nice to see nice parental role models who aren’t constantly yelling at their kids even if it’s for their own good. We get to seem them struggle with parenthood and realize that they are people that make mistakes as well and so they are just as beholden to their kids as their kids are to them. And speaking of supportive network, there’s also two friends that Bok Joo spends most of her time with and they are such friendship goals. Nan He is fun and flirtatious while Seon Ok is no nonsense and practical and they both provide a humorous foil to Bok Joo.

I also found the dynamic between Jooh Hyung and his roommate so amusing and hilarious. Although I did feel bad for him because Joon Hyung kept ditching him and relying on him to make up cover stories. Even though this drama had a realistic quality, it still retained a certain magical/fairytale quality because even though this drama showed the deep-seated conflict behind every family you know that not everyone has such a supportive group of friends and family that love you so much. Sometimes it is just so nice to see TV friends and family unconditionally support Bok Joo especially when she is this age and she’s undergoing a lot of changes and discoveries about who she is. Not everyone has that and it’s nice to see that maybe this is possible. Joon Hyung’s brother is the sweetest and most caring cinnamon roll to grace any TV show and he gets his own little storyline and it was so cute. I also loved the interactions between the coaches and the weightlifting team.

3. The “bitchy” second love interest

I was watching Witches’ Castle last month (not by choice) and of course, there’s the heroine and then there’s Hee-Jae, the lady with the bright red lipstick, who has to fulfill the role of hysterical second love interest who will do anything to get the man she’s supposedly in love with. I’m sure long-time kdrama lovers know this trope well. There’s another love interest–usually pretty–who will do everything, legal and illegal, to get back with the main love interest. Usually this sexist trope just inspires a lot of girl-on-girl hate and is suppose to amplify how great the main leads are but instead just seems contrived and melodramatic. And in the end, she goes to jail or something so viewers can feel vindicated. I was afraid for a time that the writers were going to trap Si Ho into this despicable trope but I should have trusted them because the trajectory of Si Ho’s character was just beautiful.


And even the fact that she stubbornly tries to make Joon Hyung like her even though he clearly has no residual feelings for her is an extension of the way she wants to fit everything under her control not the fact that she just has to be that way because it’s needed for extra drama. She struggles with controlling the things that are uncontrollable in her life like her parent’s impending divorce so she turns to controlling what she can (like her eating habits). Yet she continues to compete in professional gymnastics even though she doesn’t even know if this is something she even wants to do. I truly felt for her. Throughout the drama, she struggles to find where she belongs, to be comfortable with who she is. Her last competition scene in the drama brought tears to my eyes. I was just so happy that her character was given the dignity and respect that she deserved.



Surprisingly the thing that kept this drama from sailing off into a bubble of permanent happiness was how little angst there was. Everything happened so organically and plot twists happened at just the right time for it to feel hard-hitting. These characters felt so real because they weren’t dealing with earth-shattering drama but just your normal everyday school drama. And yet the everyday drama felt important from Bok Joo buying a hairclip to impress the boy she liked to the rivalry between the weightlifting team and the gymnastics team, everything really capturing that time in youth where these little things felt important. That’s not to trivialize them but to revel in them. Sometimes the best part of your youth was just spending time eating with your friends while your dad cooks really awesome chicken for you.

It’s also really funny and the humor mostly consists of the characters finding themselves in awkward situations but it just worked instead of coming off as forced. Yet as non-angsty and light hearted as it was, that doesn’t mean it shied away from devastating parts of a coming-of-age story from mental illness to filial duty etc. From familial relationships, where Joon Hyung reconciles with his mom who abandoned him to the struggle of finding what you want to do with your life but falling out of love with it and trying to find what you were meant to do instead. 

5. The visuals!!! The cinematography and editing!!

Despite the contemporary university setting, I found myself loving this world that Bok Joo was in. This was helped by the bright, saturated color palette and the solid, minimalist color blocking. It just gave the visuals a sort of airy feel.

I also never thought I’d say I liked watching eavesdropping scenes in a K-drama but here I am loving those scenes mostly because the camera was showing the scene as less of a plot device than a way to reveal character emotion. And the editing was so great. It effortlessly cuts from a happy, top-of-the-world scene to a more emotional, grounded scene that simultaneously makes you feel both happy and sad. I loved it. It never self-indulges on a particular storyline for too long and even the smallest side characters get a storyline that never feels intrusive. This is even more impressive because sometimes the side characters would get a small storyline in the middle of the drama that would still feel satisfying. Not to mention that the drama comes with such a sweet soundtrack ranging from rock to the usual piano. Listening to the soundtrack while writing this makes me so emotional already.

It probably seems to redundant to mention that all of the acting was so natural and impressive. Nam-Joo Hyuk is effortless in conveying multiple emotions in one look. And just to add a cherry on top of all this, mah bae Lee Jong Suk made a cameo as a character from W in one of the episodes ❤ and it was brilliant. It made me a lot happier than it probably should have.

This drama is quite literally the perfect pick-me-up for those days when everything is going wrong, but it doesn’t have fluffiness to recommend, it has a touching story about a weightlifting girl who tries to find her place in this world. As always, you can watch this drama for free and legally on or



Book to Movie Review · movie reviews · tv review · Uncategorized · What I've Been Watching

What I’ve Been Watching: Winter 2016-2017

Because I always seem to do these in big groups, I thought why not just do seasonal wrap ups of what I’ve watched; winter meaning November-February (so far). As always, I will be listing all the movies first and then TV shows. I have links to my reviews. I decided to do something different this time and rank them from my least favorite to favorite of the season. So least favorites are at the top, favorites at the bottom of that specified list. I also added a letter rating to each. And sorry for being the most inconsistent person ever, these wrap ups always look different every time I do them. If anyone is interested in talking spoilers,  leave a comment tagging spoilers or hit me up on my Goodreads or email me at or you can even message me on Tumblr =). 


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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Fantasy, Family Movie, Book to Movie Adaptation | Director Tim Burton| Review

Overall, I was pretty disappointed; it was just so uninspiring. It seems that for every one great Hunger Games movie, we have to get at least 50 duds. D

Me Before You

Romance, Melodrama | Featuring Emilia Clarke, Sam Clafin | Review

I was also pretty meh about it. It wasn’t totally horrible thanks to the cinematography but I didn’t expect much and I got pretty much exactly what I thought I would get. No tears were lost in the process of watching. But maybe a good Valentine’s Day movie..if you have a bottle of strong liquor with you. C

        Image result for animated wonder woman poster   Image result for the dressmaker  Image result for fantastic beasts poster

Wonder Woman: Animated Original Movie (2009)

DC Comics adaptation, Animation, Children’s | Director Lauren Montgomery, Written by Gail Simone

Because I’m freaking obsessed with Wonder Woman now, I thought that I would try and watch some of the movies. Sadly, this was just ok. But Wonder Woman was so well-animated as a person like girl crush alert. And she is just so badass. Steve Trevor, however, was just weird and a womanizer in a creepy and annoying way. If you take away all the lines he says about creepily flirting with women, you’d only have around 3 lines left. It’s pretty good for a TV movie but nothing great to rewatch or seek out if I hadn’t already had a predisposition to WW. B-

The Dressmaker (Australia 2015)

Historical Fiction, Revenge, Comedy-drama | Featuring Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth

This movie tries hard but ultimately does not sustain itself in my opinion, I mean this movie has won a bunch of awards. Kate Winslet is good in it and so was Liam Hemsworth but they are not enough to carry the whole movie. It also hosts a cast of quirky side characters that are not odd enough to be quirky and not interesting enough to be compelling. The story itself was also way too linear and simplistic to warrant such a long movie. It could have been cut in half. The ’50’s costume design was a feast for the eyes though. B-

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantasy, Family Movie | Director David Yates, Written by JK Rowling

So I finally got to watch this and honestly I was a little disappointed. I think it’s because there was no sense of urgency throughout. Grindelwald was mentioned at the beginning of the movie and then not again until really the end. There were just so many loopholes and inconsistencies in the magic system (why is everyone so careless about doing magic in front of Muggles, excuse me, No-Majs) it didn’t really even feel like the wizarding world sometimes. But it was so much fun getting to learn about the different creatures (can I please get a Niffler) and Eddie Redmayne is always great in whatever he does; he is such a precious cinnamon roll as Newt. I can’t really see anyone else as Newt. The other characters were good (how sweet is Jacob??) but the romances were kind of boring. I say that but the ending made me tear up a little. I did NOT think they would go there. Also, petition to open a Jacob Kowalski bakery please and thank you. And after watching this, I’m wondering how they have enough material to sustain 4? more movies. B

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Train to Busan (Korea 2016)

Post Apocalyptic, SciFi, Zombies | Director Yeon Sang-Ho Featuring Gong Yoo | Review

Train to Busan lacks in anything substantial thematically but it was still a lot of action fun and the immediacy of the zombie transformation heightens the suspense into more good fun. B+

Mustang (Turkey 2015)

Contemporary, Drama | Director Deniz Erguven | Review

A quietly feminist movie about 5 orphan girls dealing with the restrictions of freedom and sexuality placed on them. A-

Wadjda (Saudi Arabia 2012)

Contemporary, Drama | Director Haifaa Al-Mansour | Review

Wadjda-A charming and feminist movie about a girl who wants to own a bike. A

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La La Land

Musical, Magical Realism, Romance | Director Damien Chazelle, Featuring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling | Review

Despite the simplicity of the storyline, La La Land boasts an inspiring color palette along with stunning technical visuals and two charming and romantic leads. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy and inspired inside and I love it for that. A

The Edge of Seventeen

Comedy, Coming-of-Age, High School | Featuring Hailee Steinfeld

I know this movie slipped under the radar among the giants of Oscar bait but that’s such a shame because it is a hilarious and honest coming-of-age movie. I know it seems like a teen comedy that doesn’t have much to offer but its authentic screenplay (these are things teens would actually say!!) and an amazing lead performance (Hailee Steinfeld) catapult it above the rest. The side characters have a kind of depth beyond their stereotype that is rarely seen in teen movies and the love interest is Asian!! Props to him for actually being a 30-year-old but looking like a 17-year-old. How is that even possible? It has a lot of heart and sincerity combined with really funny jokes. I love this movie and I’ll definitely be rewatching it again. A

Want to Watch:


Hacksaw Ridge


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Seven First Kisses (Korea 2016)

Webdrama, Romance, Contemporary | Featuring Lee Cho-Hee, Lee Jong-Suk (aka bae), Lee Min-Ho, Ji Chang-Wook, Kai, Lee Joon-gi | Youtube | Finished

I’m going to be honest with you; I only watched this short webdrama (available on Youtube right now) because Lee Jong Suk was in it. He is too precious. And I loved his episode the most. But other than that, it was so cheesy and ultimately boring. I actually watched this in twice the normal speed which made it more entertaining lol.  Watch it if you have some eye candy you need to see more of. D

Sherlock Season 4

Mystery | Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman | BBC, PBS | Finished | Review

What even happened this season??? What even is Sherlock?? C

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The Abominable Bride

TV Movie, Historical Fiction, Mystery | Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman | BBC, PBS

Half of my enjoyment of this was due to the constant references to Sherlock’s hat and the ever cool transition and text scenes. The other half was due to the costume design. The rest was sort of forgettable. Shouldn’t it be obvious to everyone that it couldn’t have been a ghost? And if it wasn’t obvious, it shouldn’t be so obvious to the audience. Also, the ending really rubbed me the wrong way. B

W Two Worlds (Korea 2016)

Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Romance | Featuring Lee Jong Suk, Han Hyo-Joo | MBC | 16 episodes | Finished | Review -ish

I mentioned this in my honorable mentions of my favorite TV shows of 2016 and all the reservations that I had about it after episode 9 came true. Awkward…It was so illogical, inconsistent, Oh Yeon Joo’s character just devolved into a pawn for Kang Chul’s emotional development, and the ending was so abrupt and unsatisfying. However, something about it still kept me watching though so I give props to it. And even at its messiness, I still found it to be incredibly enjoyable and suspenseful. B

Image result for the people vs oj       Image result for voltron legendary defender

The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story

Crime/Court Drama | Featuring Sara Paulson, Sterling K. Brown, Kenneth Choi, John Travolta | FX | 10 episodes | Finished | Review -ish

A compelling, bingeworthy drama worthy of its hype and praise. A

Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2

SciFi, Children’s, Animation | Produced by Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos | Netflix | 13 episodes | Currently finished with Season 2 | Review of Season 1

Oh man, this show is so dear to my heart and makes me so happy. I think I liked the second season even more than the first. The animation is definitely better especially the landscapes. It also got more heavily anime in my opinion but that’s definitely not a pro or a con. It is the definition of fun at its most finest. I love each and very one of these characters to death and I will defend them till I die. I don’t think I can wait another year for the next season to come out.  For the record, I ship Klance and Shallura 😉 A-/A (for ripping my heart in shreds)

Image result for insecure tv poster       Image result for the americans poster

Insecure Season 1

Comedy, Contemporary | Created by Issa Rae, Larry Wilmore | HBO | 8 episodes | Season 1 Finished

I love Insecure soooo much. It’s about the friendship between two black women, their friendship, and exploring the realm of dating, jobs and everything in between during their late 20’s. It is funny with a diverse cast and so well executed. The humor is sarcastically dry which is just my type of humor. It slyly explores race, gender, and sexuality in a natural and underhand way. It was pretty steamy for a comedy but only in the last episodes and only sprinkled throughout as part of the narrative (although this is a show on HBO so what did I expect). It feels a lot like a Netflix show because one story arc will just bleed into the next episode to make the season one giant story and I binge watched in two days. Excluding the one distasteful Asian joke, I can’t wait for Season 2. A

The Americans Seasons 1 & 2

Spy Thriller, Melodrama | Featuring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys | FX | 13 eps per season | Finished Season 4, Season 5 starts March 2017

Why didn’t I watch this sooner??? It is so amazing. An amazing combination of family drama and spy action and mystery during the Cold War. The main two leads are Soviet spies and was arranged to be married to keep up their spy covers. They move to the US where their next door neighbor is an FBI agent working for counterintelligence to capture spies.  I love it because so much attention is paid to character layering and the two main leads are fast becoming my new OTP even though their relationship so messed up. They often have to form relationships with other people, platonically or sexually or even romantically to get information they need. There’s definitely not as much action as I would like sometimes but it’s great anyways. A

Currently Watching: 

Tomorrow with you (Kdrama)

Powerless (NBC comedy)

The Crown (Netflix show on Queen Elizabeth)

Secret Love Affair (Kdrama)

As always if you think I would like something based on what I’ve watched, let me know!! I’m always down for recommendations. 


tv review · Uncategorized

Spoiler Discussion: Sherlock Season 4

So as of the 20th of January, I have caught up to all episodes of the BBC Sherlock including the mini 7 minute episode on Youtube and The Abominable Bride. So unless there actually is a secret fourth episode (I wouldn’t put it past them) I’ll only be discussing Season 4, the three released episodes. SPOILERS.

I don’t know why the hat thing always gets me everytime LOL


Imagine my surprise when the show actually decided to focus on Mary this episode, a little bit out of the blue but interesting nonetheless. But I knew there was something suspicious about Moffat & co. suddenly giving a female character her own agency..and I was right. so Mary died and for what. Oh right, for more angst between Sherlock and John and for John’s angst. This was just poor decision making. We know that however sure and confident Sherlock was in thinking that he could protect John and Mary, it remains that Sherlock was not at fault for this. If Sherlock had done something himself to John like I don’t know, put him or Mary in danger purposefully for the “game” then John’s anger would make sense but it just feels anticlimactic. And, of course, this is also marred by the fact that John himself couldn’t confess his “affair” before she died so of course he felt guilty. Btw I didn’t even think that John could cheat. I don’t even understand why they put that plotline there. Plotwise, this episode was so plot twisty and not in a good way? Like the six Thatchers mystery was actually about Mary? It just felt like they wanted to add more and more plot twists on top of the other just for the sake of plot twists. Like a USB drive? Really?

Also, fanservice anyone?

Sidenote: I need more Sherlock babysitting Rosie. They are too precious together.


I’m kind of sad that Mrs. Hudson didn’t have a bigger role in this series because she is THE sass queen.
John: Can I borrow your car sometimes?
Mrs. Hudson: no
She is literal comedy gold. Sherlock just keeps getting better and better with their on screen transitions. It’s honestly a work of art. I loved the part when Sherlock and Eurus (apparently) are trying to deduce the mystery in a dark street and Sherlock is deducing it all from a worn note. That that part is my favorite scene should tell you how much I’m nostalgic for the old deductions of Seasons 1 and 2. Everything else was kind of just a mess. For one, Culverton Smith. He’s set up to be the mind blowing bad guy in this episode but he comes no where near as compelling as some of the villains of Season 1 let alone Moriarty. And the only reason why he was compelling was because Sherlock’s mental state was in a fragile state itself. And as the episode wore on, I found myself not caring whether Culverton had actually killed anyone. Maybe I just have no soul. Idk. And of course the fact that Sherlock even cares that Culverton is a despicable human being is kind of laughable because Sherlock has never cared how inhumane a villain is. All he cares about is if “the game’s afoot”. You can say he’s changed but has he really? Especially when you consider the fact that just last episode, he was considered as the godfather for Rosie and he was texting during the baptism and all these microaggressions. And then in the end, it turns out that John’s therapist is Sherlock’s secret sister?? I actually did not see that coming.
Sidenote: So do the CDs labeled “Miss Me” Moriarity’s? or Mary’s? I’m really confused about that.
So throughout the these 3 episodes, we’ve been teased with Miss Me? which by this point just felt like a gimmick, like the creators didn’t know how to hook the audience without Moriarity. I felt like screaming at the TV when Moriarty came to talk to Eurus and I assumed he was still alive but then the text said 5 years ago. And in the end, he didn’t even really have that big of a part in this whole scheme which completely ruins the point of teasing us about him all this time. I don’t get it.
I thought the tests themselves were really interesting. The sort of mind games that only Sherlock as a show can pull off. I actually really liked the whole Sherlock getting Molly to say I love You even though once again, the show decides to disrespect and emotionally manipulate Molly for Sherlock but it was interesting to see Sherlock break down like that.
Remember when everyone was freaking out when they saw this in the trailers? Good times.
It would have also been pretty interesting if he was forced to call Irene because I suppose she would have been far less susceptible although Molly is the far more emotional option.
It would have been really interesting to see Sherlock shoot Mycroft but I suppose that’s out of the question. I love it when Mycroft says “Brother mine” it is so endearing.
The ending was kind of anticlimactic. I just wanted more. The whole well thing was anticlimactic because obviously John was not going to die at this point. It’s hard to believe Sherlock feeling this gutted maybe because we never got to know yellowbeard and never really got to know SHerlock before he was an adult except for snippets from Mycroft. But the fact that Sherlock repressed these memories kind of proves that the creators didn’t know how else to fit the whole eurus storyline in without Sherlock knowing about it. And that ending felt a lot like a series finale. A very, very rushed one at that. So I’m not really that satisfied.
Sidenote: Sherlock’s parents that appear at the end were actually Benedict Cumberbatch’s real parents. I thought that was cute.
At this point, I don’t want a Season 5. I had a glimmer of hope that Season 4 was somehow going to improve on Season 3 but it actually regressed sadly. But Sherlock, despite its flaws, always manages to entertain me so I’ll always come back. I’ll just come back with a lot of reservation.
favorites · tv review · Uncategorized

My Favorite TV Shows of 2016

Hi! I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas or holiday yesterday. I spent it with my family eating good food and just catching up with them. I hadn’t seen some of my cousins for a while and it’s interesting what time will do to someone both physically and personality wise.

The last week of December is always my favorite because I get to reflect on the things I’ve read and watched over the year and compile and talk about my favorites. And as you probably know, I never get tired of talking about my favorite things. 2016 was if nothing else a really great TV year for me. If you look at my 2015 favorite TV shows, I tend to gravitate towards the comedy and the slightly weird. This year was actually really different and here’s why: the inclusion of kdramas and shows revolving around crime. These two categories of TV have always been polarizing to me and I thought I would never really enjoy one enough to call my favorite but it just goes to show you that you shouldn’t judge a genre of TV before you’ve really dug into its many different facets. I have 4 honorable mentions and 8 favorites and at the end, I list a couple of shows that I would like to get to in 2017. The honorable mentions have no particular order however I have ranked my favorites but some my favorites can be interchangeable. Bear in mind that I have only included new shows that were new to me this year. So shows like Brooklyn Nine Nine will not appear because even though I watched the new season this year, the show itself wasn’t new to me this year. Also, if you would like to know more of my thoughts for a certain show, click on the corresponding banner and it will lead you to my review. As always, if you have any recommendations for me based on what I’ve mentioned, I would love to know, I can never have too many shows to watch. Actually I can but I would like to think that I don’t.

Honorable Mentions


It’s a kdrama and a crime thriller, so who would have thought it would end up on my list but it was an amazing surprise. This show is the near perfect melding of character and plot. You would be surprised at how many shows fail to find this balance, when plot fails to be the proper catalyst for the character’s development or when the characters don’t get enough choices to advance a stagnant plot. I loved the exploration of the concepts of idealism and corruption of the police force through episodes of tightly-woven suspense, a blend of magical realism, thrilling soundtracks, and heartbreaking characters at its core.


I’ve been loving my limited series this year mostly because they are so binge worthy. The Night Of is comprised of subdued, monochromatic blues and grays which is fitting for its gritty and brutal examination of an oftentimes flawed justice system. A system that would rather paint the picture of innocence and guilt instead of finding the truth. It’s less concerned with plot (although it still has a decent one) and prison life (like in Orange is the New Black) than its characters and ideas.  But what emerges is a thought provoking drama that actually doesn’t answer the whodunit at the end but by then, it doesn’t really matter.


Voltron is the type of show that I naturally gravitate towards and it does exactly what it set out to do. It’s a really fun and entertaining animated show featuring a diverse ensemble of characters that play off one another in funny and heartwarming ways. It’s one of those shows that can reach a wide audience, kids, teens or adults and still be fun to all. The animation is expertly done (what did you expect from the team behind Legend of Korra) and it never seems to run out of action-packed fight scenes and adventure to keep you on your toes.

WTwo Worlds.png

As of the time I’m writing this, I’m currently on episode 9 but I cannot imagine an honorable mentions list without it. I have to admit at points, I was more in love with the concept than the execution. And what a concept, I mean a surgeon from the real world accidently gets sucked into the world of a comic and falls in love with the main character. Please. That shit is my jam. And while it does fall into some unbelievable territory and tension-sucking tropes and the old mistake of consistently making the main female character’s story revolve around the male main character, I continued watching because of the gorgeous production value (I particularly loved the transitions between the comic art world and the real world), the nonstop action and plot twists, and of course, the romance (That handcuff kiss though; I’m shook). And although there is just so many loopholes and logic problems, this show boasts main leads that are as smart and capable as they come which to me, is kind of a staple of the thriller genre second only to the horror genre.



When I started watching this, I was expecting an angst-fest similar to the likes of Downton Abbey. What I got instead was a sweet and touching story about one woman’s ingenuity working at London’s first department store with a surprising commentary on feminism, how a woman’s ideas often gets credited as their male counterpart’s work. What it lacks in plot, it compensates with a (mostly) lovable cast of characters that get their own resolutions. This show also cemented my aesthetic love for period pieces set during the Industrial Revolution (the latest being Peaky Blinders). The set design of the department store is so intricate and aesthetically pleasing and Denise, the main character, works for women’s fashion so there’s a lot of gorgeous costume designs. I’m sad to see that this show only got 2 seasons but it was sweet while it lasted.


This had to be included in here somewhere. I cannot believe this is the first time that I’ve watched this series from start to finish. It’s so awesome how this show has stood the test of time and I can totally see why. It shows a deft hand when writing about friendships and relationships and at the end of the day, it is just hilarious. Everyone probably knows or is some parts Monica or Chandler or Joey or any of the Friends cast. I can’t wait to watch these again and again. I suspect that when I do, it’ll feel like a cozy cafe ready to invite me back. And you do not want to know how many times I’ve referenced “We were on a break” in outside conversation. It’s embarrassing.

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Do I really need to explain why I like this show? I don’t think so. Although I have to admit I might have been predisposed to like it because my favorite movie of all time is Super 8 and guess what it features: an 80’s suburban setting, middle school aged kids running around having adventures, themes of friendship and coming of age, and a supernatural alien. You can see why I might like Stranger Things..


I watched this near the beginning of the year and it has stuck with me ever since. This show is so completely underrated. It’s a romantic comedy following two eccentric characters but unlike most romantic comedies, the end goal is not necessarily for the two characters to be together but more about how people meet each other, how they perceive others and how they interact with other people. Of course, this is all helped by an amazing screenplay and great acting from the two main leads. It also has just the type of humor that I love where the two characters get into bizarre, derpy situations that are just hilarious and both of them are really sarcastic and wry. I can’t exactly explain why I love this show so much because it might seem just like any other comedy but there’s just this level of hard hitting emotion and truth that undercuts the episodes that elevate it above other comedies I’ve seen. Whether you like romantic comedies or not, please give this one a shot, you will not regret it.

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This show is so, so deserving of its 22 Emmy nominations including Outstanding Limited Series. I guess, in 2016, I’ve become as crime-obsessed as every other American. But inaccuracies aside, there is literally no weak point in this show. It’s such a compelling story told with so much sympathy for its characters under a shroud of ambiguity and never ending tension. It’s clear that this is more than just the biggest celebrity crime case in America, it’s about how these characters manipulate the changing racial and gender politics to bend to their agenda and win the case. The reason why this crime show is on my favorites and not The Night Of is because it keeps such a breakneck pace and no scene feels unnecessary and each character (from both the prosecution and the defendant side) feels as fully realized as if they were all the main characters. Although I have to admit I cannot see David Schwimmer as anyone but Ross however he was brilliant in this one so it’s ok. I finally understand why this case is so interesting to so many Americans and to this day, this case has still not been solved which is kind of bizarre to me.

We’re getting to my top three now. DRUMS PLEASE


It feels like I’ve been watching this show but I’ve only started this year. It’s crazy. If you saw my favorite TV shows from 2015, you’ll know that I included Parks and Recreation in that list and this show is very similar to it in feel. It follows a cast of eccentric but loveable characters working in a big box store that looks suspiciously like Walmart. It started as a sweet but forgettable comedy that grew into such a funny romp that makes the most of its funny situations. I cannot get enough of these comedies so it’s only natural this show would end up on my list.


Just from the things I read and the TV I watch, you can probably tell I have a huge, huge soft spot for epic romances. Don’t be fooled by my jaded and pessimistic exterior, in my cold heart of stone sometimes there is nothing more pleasing to me than to see my OTP exchange witty banter and give swoon worthy, angsty looks at one another. And holy shit, did this drama deliver that for me featuring, let’s face it, such good looking actors (Soong Joong Ki, you slay me) and magnetic chemistry. Oh and a really good ost. And the best part was that it was so blissfully unproblematic in the romance department. Aside from that, this drama was just pure escapism for me, logic and reason be damned. I also know that objectively speaking, Signal is far superior drama in almost every way but I also know that when there was a scene with Kang Mo Yeon and Yoo Shi Jin flirting together, nothing could tear my eyes from the screen. Obviously, I’ve got my priorities straight. It also reminds me of happy times when I was watching this with my roommates eating ice cream until 4am screaming at the computer screen.


While Descendants of the Sun delivered in the feels department, it lacks in its plot objectively but Age of Youth delivers on both fronts. It’s true that it’s quite a niche drama seeing that it will probably only appeal to people in their 20’s (most likely women) but hey that’s me. Don’t let that deter you from watching however, it is so well-crafted and such a gift to the coming of age genre. Age of Youth is ultimately an ode to friendship more specifically female friendship. It is funny, inspiring, and hopeful in all the right ways but more than anything it is a quiet melodrama that resonated with me, with who I was, who I am, and who I will be. I miss these girls already.

TV to watch in 2017

The Americans (long overdue)

Homeland (political thriller)

Please Like Me (another comedy)

WestWorld (against my better judgement; the hype’s getting to me)

Narcos (show about drugs is all I know LOL)

Sense8 (Why haven’t I seen this yet?)

And that’s it! My top TV shows of 2016! I hope there is more good TV to come in 2017; I can’t wait to watch them all. Winter break is almost over so watch these before you’re too busy to 😉 Let me know what your favorite TV shows of 2016 were and if we have any of the same ones!



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TV Review: Black Mirror Seasons 1-3

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Show Title: Black Mirror

Created by: Charlie Brooker

Seasons: 3 (Season 3 released on Netflix Oct. 21,2016)

# of episodes total: 12

Length of episodes: Approx. 1 hour

Original Country of Origin: UK


I knew I was in for a weird experience when I first started watching Black Mirror. I mean the first episode revolves around the kidnapping of a member of a fictional Royal family and in order to get her back, the Prime Minister must have sexual intercourse with a pig. On live TV. That shocking premise was enough to get me to start the show but what kept me watching was its immaculate writing and its original commentary on modern technology to make it some of the most thought-provoking TV out there.


The format of Black Mirror is unusual in some aspects. It’s a science fiction anthology show where every episode is completely separate from the previous episode but all the episodes revolve around technology. Having that format allows each episode to take place in different worlds with entirely different characters, actors, rules and time periods. The first episode, “The National Anthem”, takes place in relatively modern-day Britain but the second episode, “Fifteen Million Merits” takes place in an alternate reality in an isolated facility where people ride exercise bikes to gain merit points to compete on an entertainment show and you are constantly bombarded by advertisements all day long. The worldbuilding sounds over the top but the great thing about Black Mirror is that its details and parallels to our modern world make it entirely plausible. And each episode spends virtually no dialogue in trying to explain what the rules are in this world. Instead it relies on visual cues to help the viewer figure it out, almost like a mini mystery in each episode. Each episode sort of plays like a thriller. You know something bad is going to happen and it’s not going to end well purely by the setup of the world but you don’t know how. In the last episode, “The Entire History of You”, people are implanted with memory chips so they can replay their conversations and never miss an appointment and things like that. The main characters are a seemingly happy couple but the suspense is expertly built up to make the most use of the technology described and how it leads to this couples’ ultimate downfall. I loved Season 1 and I think all the episodes were really strong.

Episode Rating (Worst to Best)

  1. Fifteen Million Merits
  2. The National Anthem
  3. The Entire History of You


Most Black Mirror episodes are really depressing and that was never more so apparent than in Season 2. However season 2 had my two favorite episodes out of this entire series (and there are only 3 episodes in each season so..). The first one is “Be Right Back” which follows a woman who is grieving for her boyfriend. She receives an AI from her friend that looks and acts exactly like her boyfriend using his past voicemails and online messages to recreate his persona. The use of technology in this episode or in any Black Mirror episode doesn’t feel like it’s from far into the future. We have or we are getting close to having these types of technology featured. It feels as though we could step inside this world the very next day and that’s what makes it really exciting but also really terrifying. And just because these episodes are self-contained does not mean it’s any less emotionally investing. It explores the human consequences of using these. You might think the main character of “Be Right Back” is crazy and a little creepy for using an AI to replace her deceased boyfriend. Who would do that? But the episode plays with a well of human insecurities and concepts like grief, memory and what separates us as humans from something that humans made.

Episode Rating (Worst to Best)

1.The Waldo Moment (I actually didn’t even watch this one lol..because it had unusually bad ratings for Black Mirror)

2. White Bear (The twist fucked me up)

3. Be Right Back (I almost cried)


Season 3 was the weakest out of all the seasons, series..whatever. In Season 3, this show was transferred over to Netflix and instead of 3 episodes, it now had 6 episodes. Binge-watching them felt a little impossible because the satire felt like it was trying too hard to make a point and a lot of the setup now felt predictable. The first episode, for example, is about a world where people’s statuses are  literally determined by how many likes they get on social media which turned a little too gimmicky to me. These episodes can be watched in any order but it was worth slogging through the first 3 episodes to get to the best episode, “San Junipero”, a story about two women meeting each other and falling in love in an ’80s era world and that’s all I’ll say about that because half of the fun is figuring out how this world works. If anything, I suggest watching Season 3 first and then going back and watching the brilliance that is Seasons 1 and 2.  None of the episodes bleed into the next, so each hour-long episode feels like a finished movie.

Episode Rating (Worst to Best):

  1. Hate in the Nation
  2. Men Against Fire (video gamers might like this more)
  3. NoseDive
  4. Playtest
  5. Shut Up and Dance
  6. San Junipero

Even through the bad episodes, I still completely adore this show. I think it’s a must watch especially for scifi junkies like me. People have compared it to the Twilight Zone. I don’t know how accurate that comparison is but if it’s compared to The Twilight Zone, I’m sure it’s a good thing. Let me know if you’ve seen this show, what your favorite episodes were, if you’ve heard it or if you’re planning on watching it.



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TV Review: Age of Youth

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Title: Age of Youth

Country of Origin: South Korea

Written by: Park Yeon Seon

Channel: JTBC

Number of episodes: 12

Starring: Han Ye-Ri, Han Seung-yeon, Park Eun-bin, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-Soo



Age of Youth is a drama that reminded me of one of those montages where a little child is running across a dandelion field in the late afternoon and the sun is casting this hazy sheen over the video while indie acoustics is playing in the background. It just makes you feel inspired and warm and content on the inside. AoY just has these lovely moments of friendship and unconditional support woven throughout that were so heartwarming and hopeful. Couple that with immersive acting, a brilliant indie rock and pop soundtrack*, and a story that defies stereotypes and you have a gem among kdramas and a serious contender for my favorite TV show of 2016.


Over a mere length of 12 episodes, it follows the lives of five 20 something year old girls who live in the Belle Epoque together.

I felt like this drama truly gives life to the term, “slice of life”, because the viewer is only following these girls for a short period of time (a year?) and not all the storylines are wrapped up neatly in the end. You get the sense that you are peeking in at only one part of their lives and it feels as though they’ve had a life before the drama started and they will have a life after the drama has ended and that speaks to how rich and nuanced these characters. This is true despite the fact that these girls’s families are rarely mentioned–a rarity in a kdrama. There are only hints sprinkled throughout about their families and it’s all that’s needed to glimpse their character and interpret the rest for yourself.

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I didn’t get a sense of all of these girls until maybe I had watched the first three episodes but once I did, I came to adore them as though they were my dearest friends. There is Kang Yi Na, who sleeps with wealthy men for money and is haunted by a mysterious past; Jung Ye-Eun who is your traditional girly-girl who is loving and loyal to her boyfriend, Yoon Jin Myung who works two part time jobs in order to pay for school, Song Ji-Won who is the brash and flirty mediator of the group, and Yoo Eun-Jae who is shy and reserved and newcomer to the group.

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Most left: Song Ji Won, Yoo Eun Jae, Yoon Jin Myung, Jung Ye-Eun, Kang Yi Na

I was so impressed with how much the drama was able to follow each girl in her own story with an almost equal amount of screentime for each; some of their stories had a bit of a mystery element to them as it was slowly revealed what their past is. There’s also a hint of the supernatural (one of the roommates supposedly sees ghosts) and although it is jarring it does tie the girls’ stories together. I was as equally impressed by the way that the emotional topics explored were done in an exceptionally unexpected and interconnected way. I have to give part of that credit to these actresses because they didn’t just play these characters; they became the characters. They wore their vulnerability so openly that you can’t help but feel for them. I loved all their storylines but my favorites would have to be Yoon’s and Kang’s. Yoon is an example of how realistic this drama is and how much better off it is because of that.
Because of her 2 part time jobs and her dedication to her studies, she rarely spends time with the other girls and the drama actually shows that! She is reserved and no nonsense but finds herself enduring things like abusive bosses and missed buses as just another obstacle to face. She believes her suffering will become rewards in the end. Kang is more of your carpe diem character. She is resourceful and blunt and would probably have been characterized as the “bitch” in any lesser drama and given a cliche and disrespectful story arc but she doesn’t let anyone judge her for the way she lives her life or her sexuality and the drama has a lovely development arc for her that doesn’t sacrifice who she is as a character.

Although each girl has a journey to find her own agency, a lot of their storylines parallel each other. Each episode follows a theme of sorts and each episode ends with interviews from the characters regarding the events of the episode so we get to see more of their inner thoughts. There are jealousies and petty fights as seen with Jung and her constant jealousy over Yi Na’s beauty. In any other kdrama, I feel as though these girls would have been pitted against each other as enemies but AoY is so much smarter than that and sees that you don’t have to only have a one-sided view of someone because that’s just not human and that doesn’t have to change the fact that they will both support each other in the end. This mixed bag of emotions just makes them more relatable and dynamic.

AoY explores a number of different topics: poverty, familial duty, envy, friendship, abusive relationships and, of course romantic love. I love my love stories. I truly do but I loved the fact that romantic love came second in this drama. I love that these girls’ aspirations are not just an added bonus for getting the guy or just something that’s conveniently solved for them because they suffered and were “good girls”. Like oh the rich guy who I just ended up with just paid for my bakery startup or whatever. These dreams had weight to them because these girls had to achieve them and there was an uncertainty about their dreams that felt honest and genuine to their age. Although AoY is at heart a lighthearted drama, it delves into its more serious and nuanced drama head on and although sometimes it felt offputting, it never loses its tone, consistency of the characters or their friendships with each other.

This year seems to be the revival year for Korean dramas for me. I’ve lavishly praised Descendants of the Sun and Signal but this one just spoke to me. It spoke to me in the ways I remember college and all the uncertainties and hope that came with and is still with me in my 20’s. It is unabashedly centered on female stories and their friendships and unabashedly unafraid of showing the slow details of daily life living with roommates. And of course, its nuanced and realistic in depth exploration of difficult topics makes it stand out as one of the best.



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TV Review: Voltron: Legendary Defender

Title: Voltron: Legendary Defenders

Original Release Date: June 10, 2016

Seasons (as of now): 1

Episodes: 11

Length of each episode: 20 minutes (except for first ep-69 minutes)

Production Company: Dreamworks Animation, Studio Mir

Starring the voices of: Steven Yeun, Jeremy Shada, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Josh Keaton, Tyler Labine, Kimberley Brooks

I would like to confess that I am having a love affair with Netflix.

Ok, I’m sure Netflix has had mediocre original content distributed before, but when it’s good, it’s good. It all started last year when I watched Aziz Ansari’s Master of None to serious documentaries like Hot Girls Wanted to romantic comedies like Love to one of my personal favorites of last year, Marvel’s Jessica Jones. And now Voltron: Legendary Defenders has made it to this list of glory.

This show is fun in its pure form. I wasn’t initially too interested in this show because it’s a reboot (what is with all these reboots this year???) of a popular ’80s cartoon and ’80’s cartoons are just not my thing. (He-man anyone??) I personally just don’t like the animation style.

1984 Voltron series

But then I read a review and the reviewer mentioned that the executive producers were *gasp* Joaquin Santos and Lauren Montgomery aka the producers of Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra. So right off the bat, you can probably expect a quality show.

Ahh, much better..2016 Voltron: Legendary Defenders

The plot is not really anything original. The evil emperor Zarkon, leader of the Galra Empire has been conquering the universe for 10,000 years. Five Earth teens–more like 4 teens and 1 adult who is 25–discover Voltron, 5 lion robots that form one tall robot (Think Power Rangers meets Transformers) that is rumored to be the only weapon to defeat Zarkon. They are joined in their fight by the Princess Allura and her royal advisor, Coran. A very Star Wars-esque plot now that I’m thinking about it.

The main opening scene follows 3 of our main characters, Lance, Pidge and Hunk in a space flight simulation. Lance is about to attempt a risky landing and in the background Hunk is trying not to throw up, and Pidge is trying to contact Earth which makes for a really amusing scene that immerses me into the show right away.


And immediately, I noticed the animation(in between keeping up with the scene because this show is relentless). It is absolutely fantastic. It’s very reminiscent of the Korra animation style (almost like a sister) but with heavier anime influences. The animation truly shines during the action sequences that are so epic in scope but it also does justice to the character’s nuanced facial expressions that make it more intimate.

Ah.. I’m so proud of this shot. An exercise in moon light.

The second thing I noticed is the character dynamics. Oh and how I love these characters. When we first meet them, they fill the usual stereotypes that you’ve come to expect in kids’ shows and movies. You know, there always has to be the nerdy one, the ladies’ man, and the comedic side relief. But the thing that makes it different is the fact that when we meet these characters, some of them already have an established history together so there’s an added layer of mystery and you’re kind of a stranger peeling off the layers of  their friendship. It also doesn’t hurt that the voice acting is top-notch. Watching these characters banter and play off one another is so entertaining to watch that you can forgive the sometimes predictable and cheesy dialogue. There’s a lot of situational and self-aware type of humor which I love (“I get to be the head next time”). It just gives off such a fun and familiar vibe like going to hang out with your best friends who are a little weird but you love them all the same. And as the characters start to work together as a team, they really start to feel like a real family that you can’t help but love. I also have to admit, once again, that I am lowkey attracted to a fictional character.

Just stop..

Reboots can be a hit or miss in terms of character because sometimes the creators are so wrapped up in nostalgia and tradition that it doesn’t offer anything new to the table. And at first, I thought this was going to be the same thing but I shouldn’t have been worried because as the show went on, it totally impressed me with its character relationships and understated diversity.

But that’s only two things this awesome show has to recommend itself. It is also fast-paced, extremely action-packed and suspenseful show that doesn’t skimp on the heart. There’s also plenty of humor and friendship woven in that will make you smile. The worldbuilding is expansive and steeped with hidden curiosities. It’s been in so many reviews, but it’s true that it will seriously make you feel like a kid again, with that same sense of adventure. 

I binged watched this show in 3 days but I could have finished it in a night if I didn’t have other things to do. I actually wanted to wring my face after the cliffhanger of the season finale (it’s a Rick Riordan status cliffhanger) BUT it was revealed just yesterday at SDCC no less that Season 2 will be coming out later this year!! Holy fuck am I excited.