my thoughts on W – Two Worlds Apart (thoughts on TV)

w two worlds apart 2W – Two World Apart (2016)
Country: South Korea
Genre: suspense, fantasy, drama
Episodes: 16
Rating: ★★★★.₅ – loved it

A surgical resident is pulled into the webtoon world of W, which was created by her father, and becomes entangled in a murder mystery.





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After I finished Romance Is a Bonus Book and discovered that Lee Jong-suk had started his mandatory military service, I knew I had to watch his other shows as well. After all, it would be a while since I could see him in a new one… W, Two Worlds Apart seemed like the perfect fit for me, as it has a lot of elements I love: suspenseful story, comic books, murder, romance, and more. I’m so glad to say it lived up to my every expectation! Here are my thoughts on W.

What did I like about this show?

⭐️ fantasy + murder mystery + romance. This show is a perfect combination of three of my favorite genres! It follows a surgeon, whose father is a famous webtoon creator, as she accidentally gets dragged into the world of his webtoon and saves the main character. What she decides to do while in the other world, shows up on the webtoon as well, even though no one is drawing it. It’s an incredible blend of a romance and thriller with fantastical elements, and I loved it.

⭐️ incredible characters. I was so attached to all the characters in the show! I think the actors performed really well.

⭐️ binge-worthy show. I don’t always binge-watch shows. In fact, most of the time I don’t. I either don’t have the time, or the will to sit through an entire season in only a few days. With W, I almost couldn’t make myself stop watching.

There was one downside to this show, however.

 💥 became too convoluted at the end. Towards the end, the storyline felt a lot less suspenseful or intense to me, because it was just too convoluted. It seemed as if they had originally planned 14 episodes, but then threw in some stuff so they could extend it to 16. That just made it confusing at times, and more dramatic than necessary.

I would highly recommend watching this K-drama if you like stories that are action-packed yet have their romantic moments too. I haven’t been disappointed in a Lee Jong-suk show yet, and I hope that trend continues!

my thoughts on Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo | thoughts on TV

weightlifting fairy kim bok-jooWeightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016)
Country: South Korea
Genre: romance, drama
Rating: ★★★★ – really liked it

Bok Joo is a weightlifter who is pursuing her dream of winning the gold medal but she then finds romance for the first time in her life. While she is a woman who trains with heavy steel weights, she is also very feminine when it comes to relationships. To focus solely on weightlifting would jeopardize her relationship but leaving her weightlifting career for love would keep her from attaining her dreams. Can she find a way to have love as well as glory at the age of 20? The characters within this drama are elite athletes in weightlifting, swimming and rhythmic gymnastics who work hard to reach their goals in life. It covers their coming-of-age stories and relationships through hectic life.

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As usual, I will talk through my thoughts on this show in bullet points divided into what I liked, and what I didn’t like. Let’s get started!

⭐️ the woman is a weightlifter, the man a swimmer. Can I just say how much I love the fact that this story is about a woman who is a professional weightlifter? YES. Thank you for showing that women can be both powerful, strong, beautiful, and “feminine”. And I meant strong in a literal sense.

⭐️ the romance is so cute. You know that has to be a positive in my reviews. I loved their relationship, it was so adorable!

⭐️ friendships. I adored Bok Joo’s friends! All three of the girls were competitive weightlifters at the same university, but they weren’t jealous of each other’s achievements. Instead, they supported each other all the time.

⭐️ the ex-girlfriend wasn’t made into a villain. I hate it when shows make the male lead’s ex-girlfriend into an awful person to make the female lead seem better. Yes, in this drama the ex did something that wasn’t very nice, but I think we’re all human and prone to doing not-so-nice things at times. Yet she was never made to look like a bad person, or a shallow one.

💥 while the show is fun to watch, it’s kind of forgettable. I binged this show when I watched it, so I definitely enjoyed it. And I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars! However, weeks later I can barely remember the details of this drama. I can only recall the main points. That tells me that while this show is fun to watch, it doesn’t have that special something to make it into a memorable one, or a favorite drama.

Have you watched this drama? What did you think of it?

my thoughts on Coffee Prince | Thoughts on TV

coffee princeCoffee Prince (2007)
Country: South Korea
I watched it on Netflix
Episodes: 17
Rating: ★★★★.₅ – loved it

Choi Han-kyul is the grandson of chairwoman Bang of Dongin Foods, a company that has a thriving coffee business. He has never had a job and does not care for responsibility. Han-kyul is hung up on his first love, Han Yoo-joo, who only sees him as a friend. Go Eun-chan is a 24-year-old tomboy who is often mistaken for a guy. Her father died when she was 16 years old and since then she has taken over as the breadwinner in her family. When Han-kyul and Eun-chan meet, he, not knowing that she is a girl, decides to hire her to pretend to be his gay lover so that he can escape the blind dates arranged by his grandmother.

After getting an ultimatum from his grandmother, Han-kyul takes over a rundown old coffee shop, later renamed “Coffee Prince”, to prove that he’s capable, both to his grandmother and to Yoo-joo. In order to attract female customers, he only hires good-looking male employees. Eun-chan, desperate for money, continues to hide her gender to get a job at Coffee Prince.

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I was kind of afraid to watch this incredibly famous Korean drama. Why, you ask? Mostly because it’s 12 years old at this point in time. The last time I watched an ‘older’ show, I ended up thinking it was okay, but I didn’t love it. However, I couldn’t just skip watching Coffee Prince either… When it appeared on Netflix a while ago, I decided to just give it a try. I’m so glad I did, because I ended up loving this show.

Let’s talk about all the reasons you should watch Coffee Prince if you haven’t yet!

⭐️ girl disguises as boy trope. I promise I’ll get into the details of this trope in the second point, but the fact that this show revolves around a girl having to pretend to be a boy to keep her job was more than enough to make me want to watch it. I’ve loved this trope for years, and I’m not ashamed of it.

⭐️ more than just a trope. Often, with the girl-disguises-as-boy trope, she ends up falling in love with a straight guy who never sees her as anything more than a friend, because he thinks she’s a guy. Did that make sense? It made sense in my head… Anyway, Coffee Prince is the first show I’ve watched that actually addresses gender and sexuality in this trope. Han-kyul thinks Eun-chan is a guy, and he has always thought of himself as heterosexual. Yet he knows he likes her in a way that isn’t very platonic. He spends days questioning his sexuality, and ends up deciding that Eun-chan’s gender doesn’t really matter to him. THANK YOU FOR THIS! Even though she actually isn’t a guy, I loved that the show made the main male character question his sexuality and think about what gender really means.

⭐️ found family. Yes, both leads to have actual family members in the show as well. Eun-chan lives with her mom and sister, and loves them very much. Even if her sister doesn’t really deserve it the majority of the time, let’s be honest. But the group of people who start working at Coffee Prince become a kind of family too. I loved getting to know the side characters, and seeing how they slowly started to care about one another.

⭐️ each side character has their own story. Like I mentioned earlier, I started to become attached to every character in this story, which was partly because they all have their own story as well. Someone who has been looking for a specific person for years, someone who can’t seem to go past date 1, someone who has been pining after a girl for ages but is being treated badly, etc. I was equally invested in all of them.

⭐️ a show that stay entertaining and relevant. Some shows that are more than a decade old don’t really hold up to today’s standard. Yes, I’m aware that 12 years isn’t that long, but the technology keeps improving so quickly and the viewers’ expectations keep growing higher and higher. There’s so much content to be consumed every day that it has become difficult to keep our attention. If I don’t like a show after 1 or 2 episodes, I won’t keep watching. There are way too many others on my to-watch list for that. Even though this show is one of the ‘older’ ones I’ve watched lately, I was immediately intrigued by it. The fashion, while a tad odd at times, didn’t bother me or make me laugh. (Yes, that definitely happens in other shows!)

I don’t really have anything negative to say about Coffee Prince at all! I love the girl-disguises-as-boy trope, but I adored the fact that this show didn’t implement it at the surface level. We actually get a main character who has to reconsider their sexuality, and has to determine whether gender matters to them or not. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. If you’ve watched this show, please DM me on Twitter so we can talk about it! I don’t want to leave any spoilers here, but I’d like to gush about it, to be honest…

I assume that a lot of you have already watched Coffee Prince but if you haven’t, please give it a chance! It’s definitely worth your time. If you have seen the show, what did you think of it?

My thoughts on Tidying Up With Marie Kondo | Thoughts on TV

tidying up with marie kondo
Tidying Up With Marie Kondo (2019)
Country: U.S.A./Japan
I watched it on Netflix
Rating: 9/10 – loved it!

In a series of inspiring home makeovers, world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the clutter — and choose joy.

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I watched this show days after its release on Netflix before someone broke down on Twitter over Marie Kondo’s thoughts on decluttering/tidying up your books. I’m not even going to go into that whole debacle, because I think it’s utterly ridiculous. I’ll get into that later, I promise.

If you don’t know Marie Kondo, she is a Japanese organization expert. She’s been helping people tidying up and decluttering their houses for years, and is quite famous for her KonMari method. 2 years ago, I read her well-known book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I even wrote a small review on it. While I didn’t think it was life-changing at the time of reading it, I’ve been a huge advocate of decluttering and organizing your home ever since. When I discovered her new show on New Year’s, I knew I had to watch it.

As usual, I will keep my ‘Thoughts on TV’ posts organized through bullet points. Let’s talk about what I loved about this show.

⭐️ Marie Kondo. I know it sounds ridiculous to mention her as one of the best aspects of her own show, but I truly feel like she deserves to be praised. She’s an absolutely adorable woman, and a big part of the reason I loved Tidying Up so much. Why? Because she’s such a kind, warm, and respectful person. The amount of respect she shows for every person and inanimate object is wonderful to see. She introduces herself to a home every time, never tells anyone they should get rid of something they don’t want to throw away, and understands everyone’s journey towards finding that spark of joy is different. She never tells someone they didn’t do a good job, or didn’t get rid of enough. She simply gave them the tools to decide what they needed and wanted in their lives.

⭐️ the amount of belongings everyone keeps is different, and that’s okay. I love the fact that this show doesn’t try to whittle down people’s belonging’s to a certain amount. They stress that every person is different, and so is their attachment to things. Someone might have a love for fashion, and clothes might bring them heaps of joy. If so, it’s perfectly okay for you to have a big wardrobe! Others might be avid readers and decide to keep a lot of books, and that’s okay too! The point is to hold your things, determine whether the make you happy or not, and act on that feeling. Marie Kondo highlights that it’s impossible for her to decide those things, and lets the owners choose for themselves.

⭐️ instead of organizing their home for them, she teaches people how to do it on their own. That’s one of the things I appreciate most about this show. Often in these type of self-improvement shows, a crew will come in and help the people improve their homes or lives. That’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but what will they do once the crew leaves? Will they be able to keep it up on their own? Here, that’s not the case. Marie gives people a plan to give structure to the process, and helps them get started. She gives them tips and encourages them to ask for her help when needed but she never actually did it for them.

⭐️ portrays a number of different home situations. Tidying up is different for everyone, and the show does a good job of portraying that. There’s a couple with two children, a couple who feel like they still live like college bachelors, a couple with their first child on the way, a couple whose children have left home, a woman who lost her husband, and more. It’s wonderful to see them explore the different homes and situations, and how her approach can help everyone. I’m also happy to see that they showed solutions for a family who can’t afford to buy new furniture to store things in or doesn’t have much space.

⭐️ all the wonderful families. I loved seeing how these people transformed their house, and made it a home again. An oasis of joy and peace, instead of a place that causes stress. Each person had different reasons for their need for organization, and it’s really nice to see. One woman lost her husband, and wanted to go through their stuff but didn’t know where to start. Another couple had just settled down, and needed to find a way to store their items to benefit both women best.  There were just so many different types of families showcased, and I loved that.

⭐️ Iida. Shoutout to the lovely woman who translated for Marie and the people she helped! She was so kind as well.

I have to admit that there’s one thing I didn’t really love about the show. Maybe this bothered me so much because I’m not a native English speaker, or maybe it’s simply my personality. Anyway, here’s what I didn’t like.

💥 they dubbed the show. I really, really dislike it when they dub foreign languages. If you’re unaware of what that means, when Marie was speaking in Japanese to the people around her, they layered someone’s voice translating her words over Marie’s voice. I can’t tell you how much I hate that. In Belgium, only children’s movies and shows are dubbed. The other shows are simply subtitled. I understand that for blind people or a disability relating to their vision, dubbing is fantastic because it allows them to understand what’s being said. So in a way, I do understand it. But I’d so much rather read subtitles and actually hear Marie’s words. A translator never brings the enthusiasm and inflections across in the same manner, and it really affects my watching experience. Trust me, as people whose first language is not English we are used to reading subtitles. We do it all the time. It’s really not that hard! (unless you have a disability that makes doing so impossible, of course)

I would highly recommend watching the show. I love Marie Kondo’s approach to decluttering, which is to get rid of things that aren’t serving you, and aren’t bringing you happiness and joy. She’s such a sweet, kind and respectful person, and the show really reflects that. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is uplifting, and does not put people down for the amount of stuff they own, or (don’t) want to get rid of. 

My thoughts on Just Between Lovers | Thoughts on TV

just between loversJust Between Lovers/Rain or Shine (2017)
country: Korea
I watched it on Viki
number of episodes: 16
rating: 4/5 stars – really liked it!

The story of two individuals who lost their loved ones in an accident and try to carry on with their lives as if they are not in pain.

Lee Kang Doo (Lee Joon Ho) dreamed of becoming a soccer player, but an accident ended those dreams. His father died in the accident and he broke his leg. Lee Gang Doo spent 3 years in rehab. Now, he doesn’t have anything and just wastes his days. Lee Gang Doo then meets Ha Moon Soo (Won Jin Ah).

Ha Moon Soo makes architecture models. Ha Moon Soo also endured through the same accident that killed her younger sibling. She has suffered from guilt that she survived. She has lived her life earnestly, while suppressing her feelings. After meeting Lee Kang Doo, Ha Moon Soo begins to express her hidden feelings.

my review

I should’ve written this months ago because I binge-watched this series in May and the details of it have escaped me by now. However, I do remember how it made me feel which is why I still wanted to devote a post to the series.

Let’s start with the things I loved about this series.

⭐️ emotional impact of this story. The lives of the main characters had been so sad up to this point, and it’s interesting to see how they both dealt with it. Moon Soo by making architecture models and ensuring buildings won’t collapse again, and Gang Doo by doing his best to simply survive and drowning in guilt. It’s an emotional story, and you’ll become so attached to the characters by the end of it. I wanted to hug everyone, and just wrap them up in a blanket and keep them safe.

⭐️ Lee Jun-ho. There, I said it. This man is not only incredibly handsome, he’s also a great actor. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Won Jin Ah’s performance too! She portrays Moon Soo really well. But Jun-ho is just so… beautiful.

lee junho in just between lovers

⭐️ not too much unnecessary drama. Mostly because the show only has 16 episodes. However, that’s one of the things I love most about it. There was a clear story to tell, and they didn’t prolong it to make more money. They stayed true to what was needed. There weren’t 5 additional episodes to up the romantic tension, and I thank them for it.

⭐️ showed how complicated family can be. Family can be complex. First of all, we have the family we were born into. Like it said in the description, both Moon Soo and Gang Doo have lost loved ones. It has created a sense of guilt within both. Why did they survive when so many people didn’t? What would happened if they had made one different choice? Losing loved ones changes family dynamics. You can’t help but blame yourself and others, and that creates a strain on your relationships. But there’s also a chosen family, which becomes clear in Gang Doo’s story line.

⭐️ romance. I’m a sucker for a wonderful romance, obviously, and this one was so cute. Maybe it’s because I adored Jun-ho as Gang Doo? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I loved it. He seems so kind and gentle.

Usually, I also go over the things I didn’t love in the series. I honestly can’t remember disliking anything about this show? Aside from the heart attack it nearly gave me by the end of it… So no dislikes for today! Maybe if I re-watch the show one day, I’ll have something to add here.

Please give this show a try! It’s emotional, beautiful and you’ll end up binge-watching it. 

My thoughts on Uncontrollably Fond | Thoughts on TV

uncontrollably fondUncontrollably Fond (2016)
Country: Korea
I watched it on Netflix
number of episodes: 20
rating: 4/5 stars – really liked it!

People change but can the heart adapt? Sin Joon Young (Kim Woo Bin) and No Eul (Suzy) were inseparable and very much in love in their younger days. But uncontrollable circumstances separated them and they went their separate ways. Joon Young is now a superstar actor and singer, while No Eul became a producer-director of documentaries. When their paths cross again years later, Joon Young discovers that No Eul is now a very different person than he remembered — materialistic and willing to do anything to get ahead. Is there any hope for Joon Young and No Eul to rekindle their past relationship?

my review

Uncontrollably Fond had been on my to-watch list for a while, mostly because I love Suzy. It follows 2 main characters in their twenties, one a producer and one a famous actor. No Eul is a producer of documentaries who gets fired for taking a bribe in the first episode (seriously, not a spoiler), even though her bosses have done the same. She desperately needs the money, however, and can’t afford not to take it. Joon Young is a famous actor who has just received some less than great news. Through some circumstances, No Eul has to convince Joon Young to let her make a documentary about him.

I quite liked the way I did my previous #thoughtsonTV review, so I’ll keep the format similar. Let’s talk about the things I liked first.

⭐️ the acting. Seems straightforward, no? I adored the acting in this show. I didn’t cringe, nor did I feel awkward at times. Yes, that has happened with other shows! I especially loved Suzy because her character changes so much over time, yet she played both versions convincingly. In high school, she was an incredibly selfless person and always gave away everything. Now, she’s desperate for money and doesn’t care whether people know it. It’s a big change, but she did it so well.

⭐️ the chemistry and romance. If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of hate-to-love or enemies-to-lovers stories. This one is most definitely a hate-to-love. They don’t really like each other, especially in the current time line. No Eul needs this documentary though, and Joon Young has his own reasons too. So they work together, but bicker all the time. The back and forth banter… I live for it.

⭐️ family. You’ll also see family show up in the things I didn’t like about this show, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. No Eul’s relationship with her brother is so adorable. She does her best to take care of him, and he takes care of her in his own way. He’s so wonderful!! Also, No Eul’s best friend is basically her family at this point.

⭐️ fighting the wealthy and privileged. A large part of this show centers around a wealthy man who has manipulated and bribed his way out of punishment and justice. I hate the fact that there are people out there who are so rich they are basically untouchable, and I wish I could tear them down one by one. That’s why I love that this show addressed the power of the wealthy, and how they try to fight it.

⭐️ full of emotions. That was me by the end of this series. I cried my eyes out. I’m serious… It’s not like the ending is a surprise, because you can guess what happens from the beginning! Yet there I was, sobbing. By the way, knowing what will happen does not detract from the story at all.

What didn’t I like about this show?

💥 ‘why we can’t be together logic’ I have some patience while watching TV shows, because I realize they need to increase the tension and leave the people wanting more. At some point though, I got so frustrated! I don’t want to spoil anything, so I can’t say why but I just didn’t understand their reasons not to be together, and to push each other away.

If it wasn’t obvious already, I highly recommend this show. Be prepare to bawl your eyes out at the end of it though. I warned you!

My thoughts on Meteor Garden | Thoughts on TV

meteor gardenMeteor Garden (2018)
Country: China
I watched it on: Netflix
number of episodes: 49 (DVD/Netflix version)
genre: romantic comedy
rating: 3.5/5 stars – I liked it

An ordinary girl is admitted to the most prestigious school in the country where she encounters F4, an exclusive group comprised of the four wealthiest and handsomest boys in the school – Dao Ming Si, Hua Ze Lei, Xi Men and Mei Zuo.

Shan Cai is an 18-year-old girl from a family that’s barely able to make ends meet. Due to a turn of events, she gets accepted into a school that only accepts the upper class elites. She immediately clashes with her classmates especially Dao Ming Si who is spoiled, arrogant and a bully. She remains defiant even after becoming a target of a series of pranks intended to torment her and just when she’s about to give up, Hua Ze Lei always seems to show up to lend her a helping hand.

Eventually, the four boys begin to acknowledge Shan Cai’s unyielding personality that is like her namesake which is that of a weed that can never be brought down. She also begins to see the good in the boys, which paves the way for friendship and an eventual romance.

my review

If you’ve never heard of Meteor Garden before, it’s a Chinese drama that centers around Shan Cai who goes to university for the first time. She wants to study nutrition, so she can help her family with their restaurant and improve their dishes even more. When she attends the school for the first time, she learns about F4. They’re a group of 4 guys, who are incredibly popular. They are the top of their class, rich, and handsome. One day, Dao Ming Si (one of the F4 members) steps on Shan Cai’s phone, breaking the screen. She confronts him and asks him to apologize. That’s where her relationship with the guys begins.

There are some things about this series I truly loved, and some I didn’t like. Let’s get started on the things I loved.

⭐️ friendship. I am a big fan of friendships in media, because my friends are so important to me. Every time a show centers around a friend group, I’m already intrigued. I enjoyed the friendship between Shan Cai and her childhood best friend who works in the same store as she does, the friendship between the F4 guys, and especially the friendship between Hua Ze Lei and Shan Cai.

⭐️ romance. While I did have my problems with the romance, I found myself shipping it anyway. They’re so cute! Actually, I was torn when I hit the middle of the show. I wanted her to be happy with Dao Ming Si, but I also wanted her to be with Hua Ze Lei. CHOICES.

⭐️ family. I’m lucky enough to be very close to my family, and have a good relationship with them. That’s why I love watching family dynamics on TV. I enjoyed how Shan Cai’s parents were so proud of her for getting in to the school and the dishes she made. I also loved Dao Ming Si’s relationship with his sister. She loved him so much, and tried to protect him without coddling him at the same time.

⭐️ addictive. I know this sounds weird, but trust me. This series is so addictive. I start watching it one evening in my hostel while traveling, and ended up watching 5 episodes in a row. I stayed up for hours just to watch this.

Now for the things I didn’t love…

💥 it was too long. This series could have been 25 or 30 episodes instead of 49. Honestly, at some point I got really annoyed. How many bad things can happen to one couple?? I’m not used to Asian dramas being this long. The majority of dramas I’ve watched had 20 to 35 episodes and I feel like that’s a great length for a storyline like this one.

💥 alpha male/aggressive behavior. This happens so often in these dramas, and I’ve learned to deal with it. That doesn’t mean I have to love it though. If you’ve seen an Asian drama, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about (not that Western shows don’t have these problems): grabbing and dragging the girl by the wrist, caging her in, yelling at her instead of talking to her, etc. It’s not healthy, everyone. It’s not.

Ultimately, I enjoyed watching this show. I binge-watched it, and have zero regrets. I’m still a little bit in love with Hua Ze Lei… Have you watched this show?