February 25, 2008

Most Anticipated Upcoming Korean and Japanese Dramas

What are the East Asian drama serials to look out for in the upcoming months ahead? I was asking myself that question and decided to look for some clues from the net and here is what I found:

Korean drama series:

East Of Eden

Anticipation Score: 3.5/5

This is Korean heartthrob Song Seung Hun's comeback drama after his military service stint and his first drama after 2003's Summer Scent. It will be interesting to see how he has matured since his tragic hero days in Summer Scent and Autumn In My Heart (aka An Autumn Tale or Endless Love). And the storyline seems pretty dramatic: spanning from the 60's to the 21st century, it tells the life stories of two men born on the same day in a hospital but switched at birth (hmmm sounds suspiciously like a male version of Autumn In My Heart). The other guy, his rival in the show, is played by the equally good looking Yun Jung Hoon of Yellow Handerchief and Sad Love Story (aka Forever and Ever or Sad Love Song) fame.

This is going to be a big-budget project, it will be 50 episodes long and there will be international on-location shoots in China, Hong Kong, Japan etc. Filming is scheduled to start in March and it will likely be aired in Korea in June.


Anticipation Score: 3/5 (if Lee Young Ae is in it: 4/5)

This drama attracted much attention earlier cos of rumours that Dae Jang Geum star Lee Young Ae will be acting as a female president in this drama serial! Since then there has been no further news on this that I know of but Kwon Sang Woo of Stairway To Heaven fame has been cast as the male lead. According to Dramawiki, he will play a male socialite who is ordered to create a scandal to bring down a woman aspiring to be South Korea's first female president. Lee Young Ae as President?? Kwon Sang Woo as a male socialite?? This I must watch haha ;-)

On Air

Anticipation Score: 3/5

Seems some of the hottest hunks from the golden period of weepy Korean romantic dramas in the early 2000s are making a comeback with a vengence... Besides Song Seung Hun's comeback drama East Of Eden, we have Park Yong Ha(Winter Sonata) making his return to Korean dramas in On Air. This drama starts airing in March and also stars popular actors and actresses like Lee Beom Soo, Song Yoon Ah and Kin Ha Neul (best known for her role as the klutzy tutor in 2003's My Tutor Friend). Popular stars like Lee Hyo Ri will also be making guest appearances in the drama.

Ths story is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a TV drama. A drama set in a drama? Interesting... For more info on this drama, check out this news report.

Iljimae / Il Ji Mae

Anticipation Score: 3.5/5

After his star-making turns in 2005's The King And The Clown and My Girl, any production that stars the interestingly androgynous looking Lee Joon Ki seems to attract lots of attention. This time he plays the lead role of Iljimae (picture), a legendary Korean robber who seems to be like Robin Hood and Zorro combined, he steals from the corrupt rich to give to the poor (like Robin Hood) then leaves his special mark (a branch from a plum tree) to let all and sundry know that he did it (like Zorro). This historical 20 episode drama is scheduled to be aired at the end of 2008.

Japanese Drama Series

Kimura Takuya's yet unnamed drama

Anticipation Score: 4/5

Ever since practically every one of Kimura Takuya's dramas have been ratings champs, his television dramas are regarded as almost sure hits by the public. And this April, the television dorama that he will be acting in may be an even bigger hit compared to all his previous television dramas. Why? Cos he will be acting as the Prime Minster of Japan! What with Lee Young Ae as President of South Korea and now Kimura Takuya as Prime Minister of Japan? Whew!! Go Go Prime Minister Kimura! I for one will surely vote for you ;-)

Another reason why I think this drama will be a ratings champ is because this drama is made by the team that gave us the super popular Hero. The drama also stars Fukatsu Eri as the Prime Minister's romantic love interest.

Gokusen 3

Anticipation Score: 2.5/5

This is the third series of the highly popular Gokusen high school drama series - Gokusen 1 in 2001 and Gokusen 2 in 2005. Gokusen 2 was especially popular, garnering a high rating of 32.5% and winning the Best Drama Series in the 44th Television Drama Academy Awards. Stands to reason that Gokesen 3 will be just as hot as the main cast members will all be reprising their roles. Gokusen 3 will be aired in April as well.


Anticipation Score: 2.5/5

Since baseball is so popular in Japan and manga is also so incredibly hot, a live action version of the popular manga series on baseball by Masanori Morita should of course be a hit... well at least I think so ;-P The story is about how a high school teacher hones a motley bunch of delinquents into baseball champs. The manga series ran from from 1998 to 2003 and 12 million copies have been sold so far. And another reason why it will be hot, the number of episodes is not confirmed, in other words, the show can go on as long as needed! This means that it is popular, they will just continue filming and it can only get more popular as time goes by. This drama will start airing in April too.

Ok so this is my list of most anticipated Korean and Japanese drama serials in the upcoming months ahead, I wanted to add in the Chinese language drama serials as well to this list but as this is becoming such a long post, I think I will leave those to my next post...

Until next time :-)

[Picture from http://seouldelight.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/drama-il-ji-mae/]

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February 18, 2008

Interesting Article on Asian cinema

Came across this article today on Asian films:


According to the article, East Asian films are in danger of becoming formulaic and possibly even petering out due to censorship issues and a general tightening in film financing brought on by the uncertain global economic climate. Some snippets that I found especially interesting:

On the face of it, Asian cinema has had a remarkably successful year winning top prizes at each of the world's major film festivals - in Cannes, Berlin and Venice.

But behind the scenes, the film industry in many Asian countries is under pressure not the least because of the global credit crunch and the current uncertain world economic climate which has resulted producers becoming more worried about budgets and the box office.

This in turn has raised the prospects of many film producers becoming conservative about the movie scripts they are prepared to back just when international film critics would like Asian cinema to become more daring.

The result could be that instead of more experimental filmmaking, Asian cinema could retreat to the relative safety of romantic comedies and horror movies.

This is particularly the case with Korea, which in recent years has helped to spearhead the so-called new wave in Asian cinema.

But a dozen years after South Korea emerged as a new filmmaking nation, some industry analysts say that the country risks tempting the same fate as Hong Kong, which has been unable to shake off the downturn that hit the industry a decade ago.

At the same time, China is still battling to come up with the magic movie formula to produce films that meets its ambitions to become a global movie powerhouse and which strike a chord with western, Asian and national Chinese audiences alike.

Tuya's Wedding from Chinese director Wang Quan'an about a Mongolian shepherd family, which took home the Berlin's Film Festival coveted Golden Bear last year flopped
badly at the box office in China.

While the sheer size of the Chinese market has made co-productions with mainland China almost a necessary part of filmmaking for many Asian countries, looming large over China's film sector is censorship which appears to become even more rigorous recently.

Hmmm, good analysis and a valid viewpoint, guess 2008 may be a critical year for East Asian movies... you can find the rest of the article here.

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February 1, 2008

Trailer For Red Cliff

The Chinese version of the trailer for John Woo's movie of the year Red Cliff is finally here. Check it out:


My thoughts: Frankly, I was ho-humming away while watching this 2 minute plus trailer because the battle scenes, although truly spectacular by anyone's standard, is just too similar to the battle scenes from so many other expensive period movies that I have seen recently, no surprises there...

That is... until I saw THE DOVE... Oh My God I actually missed the John Woo doves so much! LOL ;-D

Enjoy the trailer!

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