Drama Reviews, There's Something About Dramas

Drama Addict Diary: LUCA Lands on its Head, Sisyphus Runs On…and Doctor Stranger Again?


LUCA HAS LANDED and no that is not a cute Italian boy. (That would be Vincenzo harhar.)

Mild spoilers ahead for LUCA 1-2 but you should go ahead and read it anyway only don’t say I didn’t warn you. You has been duly warned.

I decided not to overthink hitting play and here is what I got from opening week:

  • Daaaaaark. Much darker than I expect from tvN. Feels like an OCN show. 
  • Lotta action, lotta violence. Served a bit disproportionately to plot movement HOWEVER not without purpose as got a pretty comprehensive picture of what Ji Oh (Kim Rae-won) can do—and what he can’t—and the consequences of using his powers. With a peek into his history, it sets the stakes very nicely. Whys and wherefores yet to come.
  • LOL how is Lee Da-hee’s character name “Haneul-ae Gureum”? “A cloud in the sky”? Hahahaha, now that is next level name-game. 🤣
  • I have never before seen a scruffy Kim Rae-won but scruffy suits him. It suits everyone.
  • He is also a human defibrillator?! 😱 Ngl, that is SO COOL !!!
  • Learned about the Cis-AB blood type! That is fancypants for how parents with blood types A and O respectively can have a child with an AB blood type, in the event of a rare genetic mutation specifically found in Korea and Japan (though a little googling says it has also occurred in Europeans, just very very less). And they say we don’t learn anything from dramas!
  • I was a scientist once. Though I like to think that once a scientist, always a scientist. A bit like being a King or Queen of Narnia (“Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen of Narnia”) except you don’t get excommunicated for lipstick. #JusticeForSusan #AslanLied #StillMad
  • Finding the human/not human question really interesting, not as a philosophical enquiry (that is more of a monster/not monster question—which is also interesting, but also well-trodden ground) but as a literal question of the the biological definition of “human” and the taxonomy of Ji Oh. Or rather, Z-0.

Speaking of science, let me tell you about TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI) AND WHY LEE DA-HEE SHOULD HAVE IT. Because LET ME TELL YOU!!!! With the number of head injuries she receives in a mere two episodes, I am shocked she remains upon this mortal coil, with her mental faculties entirely intact, no less!

Halfway through Episode 2, it suddenly occurred to me that this needed inventorying. For Science. And very scientifically, I have made a neat list. 

Rather than cataloguing every blow she takes, however, I have only noted the instances where she receives direct impact to the head. Therefore, this list does not include: 1) blows that land on other parts of the body, 2) when her head hits something (ground/wall/logic) due to a blow taken in a different place, or 3) being choked or strangled.


Each impact is catalogued as a separate item, and given a severity rating out of 10, where 1 is “‘tis but a tap” and 10 is “I am definitely dead”.

Episode 1:

  • Truck of doom/hit and run accident in which she technically died. Massive head trauma? (12/10)
  • Ji Oh’s Dragonball Z moment at the end, where she flipped over again and ended up somewhat under a car (again). Bleeding head wound, medically diagnosed (in hospital) with concussion. (8/10)

Episode 2:

  • Childhood flashback: got hit by The Force aka Baby Ji Oh and smacked into a wooden pillar okay I checked again and we only see her hit a curtain. This time. I guess we can allow her to survive to adulthood. (5/10 because she still got struck by lightning)
  • Lift Elevator fight:
    • Smashed into elevator door (8/10)
    • Smacked into elevator wall (3/10—she took some of the impact of this one on an elbow—7/10 for the elbow though)
    • Smacked into elevator door again (4/10)
    • And again (4/10—this and the above are kind of a one-two)
  • Subway fight:
    • Kim Sung-oh smashes her into a corner-wall (8.8/10)
    • One minute later: redhead smashes her onto train tracks and leaves her for dead in face of oncoming train (10/10 for leaving her for dead in face of oncoming train)

How. Is. She. Not. Dead.

Well I guess she is the fittest, therefore she is the surviviest.

Maybe it is because she is a cloud in the sky.

We recorded just released the February edition of What’s Up in Dramaland? and here is a spoiler: we are excited about Sisyphus. (Psst we may even consider covering it here in weekly reviews like we did with Stranger 2—tell us if you want it!!)

It was my turn to edit, and here are some pearls of podcasting wisdom, 3+ years on:

  • No matter how much I prepare, I am not prepared. Using the ol’ brain on the go is hard. 😭
  • Three hours days after recording, I finally know what I actually wanted to say.
  • Oh god this episode is full of random flubs:
    • First, Anisa is deadpan sure I introduced Sisyphus as JTBC’s 10th anniversary drama (I didn’t) 😂
    • Second, Paroma is 100% convinced that Kim Young-kwang was in Good Casting (he wasn’t) and cries gaslighting 😂😂
    • Third, we are laughing so much! Hooting and howling and generally being the silliest of geeses. 😂😂😂
  • We are excited about Sisyphus. Did I already say that? WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT SISYPHUS. WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT SISYPHUS!!!
  • Please be Rascally Jo Seung-woo this time, please.
  • But your clean-shaven face tells me you will be more Shi-moksome than Dong-chanish.
  • Epiphanies can happen while editing, like this:
    Anisa: “It happens over two different timelines…
    Paroma: “…and Park Shin-hye has to stop the Apocalypse from taking place.

There is nothing about that that is not gimme gimme gimme except the part where both shows really, really hurt you.


Meanwhile, 18 Again finally came to Netflix, and Netflix subtitles’ crimes against language continue:


Apparently River Where the Moon Rises is Time’s most anticipated K-drama of 2021. I didn’t know Time anticipated K-dramas.

I thought it was a typo and meant to say “Times”, as in, the upcoming drama later this month. Huh.

Also, this is hard to qualify when writing, but that ‘huh’ is the Jess huh, that means ‘huh, interesting’, not the scoffy one.

Run On is still a WIP (Watch In Progress). The show finished this week and I am but on Episode 9. I think I like it more as a collection of vignettes than as a cohesive whole.

Do you ever feel like if you told people exactly what you love in a drama/character and why, you would have ended up telling them too much about your inner self?

Something Im Shi-wan said in Episode 4 made his character snap into focus for me. In that line, I understood what he was made of, and began to see his character’s actions through a completely different lens. It’s what anchors his character for me, this simple truth that is at the heart of him. 

At the start of the show, I kept having the feeling that he was not all there. As in, he wasn’t fully present. So where is the rest of him? I kept wondering.

And then—

Found you.

Surprised to learn how little people liked Sooyoung’s Seo Dan-ah early on. She was my #1 favourite character before I connected with any of the others. Isn’t she delightful? She’s all unapologetic and contrary and knows her mind, except when she doesn’t and absolutely also does not want to.

I’m still a little bit hmm on the central relationship, but I LOVE Young-hwa (Kang Tae-oh) with Seon-gyum, and the way Dan-ah always looks at Mi-joo (Shin Se-kyung) like she is just delicious is so lolarious and !!! I love the way the show does its incipient friendships with a bright, bewitching fizz that feels more than a little intoxicating at times. (Tell me if you have had a friendship like that!)

It’s not that I’m not invested in the Mi-joo—Seon-gyum relationship. It just feels so hard and like they are not even able to speak to each other in the same “language”. And I’m frustrated by the dynamic of Mi-joo who knows what she wants from Seon-gyum but won’t tell him, and he can’t figure it out fast enough for her. Broadly, it feels like how neurotypical people want autistic people to magically know how to human like they aren’t wired in a totally different way. It’s like being expected to ace an exam without ever having an opportunity to take the class or even read the textbook.

So as much as I enjoy their apparently frank conversations about deep life things, I don’t often feel like they’re really bridging their specific gap. Like, they talk plenty, but communicate little. The gaps between them—of understanding, of expectation—persist, and the tension between their intellectualising vs. emotionalising approaches remains unresolved. 

Plus I am afraid the wacky weird oddball-ness of the show will be overtaken by relationship angst. Just like the fizz in this micro-review of mine has been overtaken by existential angst. Whoops 😅

Patience, brain. It’s only Episodey 9.

Forest of Secrets withdrawal now joined by God’s Gift14 Days withdrawal. Remember back when outgoing dramas used to herald in the incoming ones by having the trailer of the new show play at the end of the episode in the last few weeks? I had totally forgotten that God’s Gift was followed by Doctor Stranger. And these teasers sure make the show look ATTRACTIVE. 

I’m thinking of (re)watching it.

I actually watched it up to 11 or 12 back then and I don’t remember why I didn’t finish. Maybe because everyone trashed it. I mean, it was no God’s Gift but it had a certain soapy appeal. Maybe I was annoyed at the Jin Se-yeon loveline, when Lee Jong-seok had far more chemistry, interesting plottery, and screentime with Kang Sora? Also I totally forgot that Park Hae-jin was in it too! And by now, I wonder if the myth of its badness has overtaken the reality.

I’m curious about how it ended. No, I’m curious about how I would have ultimately liked/disliked the show considering I never actually hated it. But am I curious enough to put 16 hours into it?

Okay I checked my notes, and all I’ve got is: “LJS fingernails” 

I presume the “LJS” part refers to Lee Jong-seok. But what about his fingernails, O Saya of K-drama Past?!?

I hate this song. How dare you, Yoo Seung-ho. HOW VERY DARE YOU.

Next time: I may regale you with my NOT AT ALL DULL adventures in Rewatch-Land, Baek Jin-hee’s waist, and how Lee Tae-hwan is the saddest little peanut. But only if you say you want it, otherwise I will sleep instead of paw through my million screencaps to make this dang post look perfect in a way only I care about.

Okay that’s enough. Back to the drama-cave, all of you.


14 thoughts on “Drama Addict Diary: LUCA Lands on its Head, Sisyphus Runs On…and Doctor Stranger Again?”

  1. Aw geez now I want to watch Doctor Stranger just to look at LJS fingernails 🤦‍♀️
    I couldn’t believe you hated that song till I got smart(dumb?) and turned on the captions, I was better off being sad Without knowing exactly why, but it did serve its purpose in the wonderful way of reminding me I still have 4/5 episodes of the Memorist to watch, now that’s Sunday sorted. Ha.
    I love your posts and am always eager for more. And keeping in Paromas name flub was the best choice it was great and sooo relatable.!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The world needs to know how often I mix up actors I’ve watched FOR LITERAL YEARS on screen and just accept that that’s who I am. XD

      Also, I’m NOT turning on the captions to that song, and you can’t make me.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Haha maybe we can enjoy LJS fingernails in an actually good drama and save our brains from whatever trouble Doctor Stranger has in store! (I got a very definite “it really was that bad” note from a twitter pal!)

      ALSO you totally do not need the subs on to hate this video! JUST LOOK AT HOW DARK IT GETS AT 3.32!! I am pretty sure the first time I watched this, I had no idea what the lyrics meant, but that turn is COLD and TERRIFYING. The version of YSH that made little conscripts cry, probably! Not the one that cries because he misses his cats!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m still laughing about Netflix’s war crime, oh my God 😂
    That was perfect, Saya.
    “And by now, I wonder if the myth of its badness has overtaken the reality” <— I also loved this.
    Also also, I was surprisingly tickled by you scratching out "lift" and replacing it with "elevator". I think if I called a lift an elevator I would be teased mercilessly.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I originally wrote ‘lift’ the whole way through, but then took pity on our international friends! Except at one point when I was trying to decide what to use up there, everything looked wrong. I think the lesson is: take the stairs!

      I actually got really used to using ‘elevator’ when I was writing for DB, but I suppose I’ve allowed my brain to reclaim its original Englishness! IRL I’d never *say* ‘elevator’ if in my natural habitat, that’s just odd!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ohh whenever anyone mentions 30 but 17 I have to stop from immediately pushing play on Viki it has turned into my comfort/feel good drama….and now maybe I’ll add Run On the urge to rewatch is strong, if so many new dramas weren’t coming out Right On Top of Each Other ! I would’ve already.
        I hope you enjoy finishing Run On it is truly a beautiful show with beautiful and memorable characters.
        Oh and I just had to rewatch that video since you put in a time stamp -creepy hairstroking and dark upcoming dramas did a weird segway in my head Beyond Evil is coming out soon(yay!) I suddenly realized Yoo Seung-ho and Yeo jin-gu need to work together, or have they already? Can you imagine!? Or too weird ? they can both pull off emotionally intensity like nobodies business mmmm who would be the villian??

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am also on Team Scruff, but always reserve the right to judge when scruff goes wrong.

    Oh, and you have reminded me that I’ve only finished episode 12 of Run On. I’m enjoying the drama, but I seem to forget it when it’s not directly in front of my face. And Dan-ah is my favorite. I have to love a powerful woman who understands that comfortable shoes are important. I like her secretary too, and not just because I want a secretary like him.

    Netflix’s subtitles ARE a crime.

    If you start sleeping at night will we no longer get these delightful articles? If yes, I hate to say that I vote no sleep for you. (Just kidding. Get some sleep, Saya.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ooo scruff gone wrong makes me think of Yeti Yang Se-jong in 30 But 17, ha!

      Re: Run On, yes, I love the detail about her shoes! And her secretary really is the best, hee.

      Oddly, I’m watching a show right now where I think the NF subtitles are possibly superior to the original DF ones. I’m shocked.

      I should really go to sleep, bye 😭😭😭

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ohh whenever anyone mentions 30 but 17 I have to stop from immediately pushing play on Viki it has turned into my comfort/feel good drama….and now maybe I’ll add Run On the urge to watch is strong if so many new dramas weren’t coming out Right On Top of Each Other ! I would’ve already.
        I hope you enjoy finishing Run On it is truly a beautiful show with beautiful memorable characters

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan-ah is my favorite, too, and you have nailed it: “She’s all unapologetic and contrary and knows her mind, except when she doesn’t and absolutely also does not want to.” I confess to relating to (or projecting myself onto?) this fictional character a bit too hard some days.

    Yes to the intoxicating friendships, which is one of the thing Run On does best, I think. I have several effervescent friendships that have not lost their fizz, and they continue to be one of my favorite things about life.

    Do you think if enough of us signal Netflix’s crimes against language, they’ll actually finally do something about it? We can keep dreaming, right?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think re: translations, it’s a bit more complicated than we perhaps give credit for. Different providers prioritise different things, and my guess is that NF have a protocol and style book which is very specific about what conventions to use when, how to standardise spellings, etc. Because I’ve noticed while their translations and transliterations are sometimes incredibly ugly, they are invariably consistent. The problem might be how that style book originated – the choices they made at the beginning are now the ones everyone is stuck with forever.

      With regards to translation, they clearly favour accessibility of meaning over elegance of expression, and generalise it for a US audience. So that’s why you get idioms translated into a US equivalent, rather than a literal translation. Ideally…well, I guess there isn’t a single ideal when it comes to translation? It’s all about what the goal is.

      On top of that, NF has a single translator working on each episode, which is different to the crowd translation model of, say, fansubs and viki, which allows a level of democracy in how things are finally translated.

      Or it might be completely different! But those are just a few of the complexities that might play a role in those very lacking subs!

      Also aaah! I love hearing about fizzy friendships, and I’m so happy yours are still going strong!


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