New Dramas: King of High School, Joseon Gunman, and Trot Lovers

I had a chance to spend last Saturday hanging out with a bunch of other K-drama lovers/bloggers who happen to live in my area! Eating delicious Korean food and chatting about K-dramas was delightful. I had no idea that the people I read on the internet actually live near me in real life. Dewaanifordrama did a little write-up about our meeting here. I just have to say how much I enjoy the K-drama community. Whether it's the K-drama lovers I meet in real life or those of you who chat about dramas on the internet, you all make watching dramas worthwhile. Thank you. You're the best drama friends a girl could have.

Now that I've gotten my sentimentality out of the way for the day, it's new drama time! Last drama cycle was kind of a bust for us. Out of all of the options, I was only interested in You Are All Surrounded, and then I picked up Witch's Romance towards the end of its run. Coco and I are more interested in the shows this time around. Here's what we're watching:


King of High School/ High School King of Savvy

This poster. I hate it. But I love the show.
Image via

What it's about: Lee Min Suk (Seo In Guk) is a hotshot high school hockey player. When his hotshot businessman brother disappears the day he's supposed to start a new job, he asks Min Suk to act as his double. Min Suk juggles the stresses of high school and business as hijinks (and, I assume, a noona romance with Lee Ha Na) ensue.

First impressions (episodes 1-4): First of all, can we just agree that High School King of Savvy has got to be one of the least appealing show titles of all time? It sounds simultaneously smarmy and childish. I'm glad that I didn't let the title deter me because I went into episode 1 with reeeeeeeeally low expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Seo In Guk is carrying this whole show, no doubt about it. He's amazingly good at playing up the mannerisms of an 18-year-old boy, and I love that his character, while playful and immature, isn't your typical jerkface male lead. He's caring and friendly from the very beginning, which always scores points in my book. I have to admit, though, that I'm just pretending that he's a college student instead of a high school student. I enjoy a good noona romance, but rooting for an older woman to pick up on a high school kid crosses my pervy boundaries. Can we all just agree to pretend he's closer to Seo In Guk's actual age?

I'm a little split on the female lead. She's endearing, but her awkwardness is so over-the-top that it's kind of a cliche at this point. I also can't look at her without seeing this:
I have faith that she will grow on me over the course of the show.

If you're okay with suspending your disbelief of the absurd premise, I would say this is worth a watch for Seo In Guk's performance. And his grandpa.

Where to watch King of High School:


Joseon Gunman

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What it's about: At the end of the Joseon era, a sword fighter's son (Lee Joon Ki) must learn to take up the gun in order to get revenge. (Or so I hear. We aren't at the revenge part yet.) He is joined by a young woman (Nam Sang Mi) who fights for enlightenment ideals.

First impressions (episodes 1-2): I'm a sucker for pretty dramas, and this drama is insanely pretty. I'm also a sucker for Lee Jun Ki, so this started out with a stacked deck in my book. Although it might be odd to compare this to King of High School, they're both similar in that they have male leads who start out as immature, but kind and caring. I think the pacing on this drama is pretty smart, as well. We know that the heavy stuff is coming, but they started with some absurdly cute and romantic scenes to carry us through the inevitable melo. I already feel invested in this couple, and it has only been two episodes. As a bonus we already have a cross-dressing drama and forced cohabitation, which happen to be two of my favorite things!

The female lead is interesting. I don't know if the writers did this on purpose, but she's an interesting mix of traditional and assertive. She wants to be a scholar and she sasses anyone who disagrees with her, but she's also kind of damsel-in-distress-ish. Squealing and crying aren't usually my favorite character traits in female leads, but I'm willing to let it slide here because she encapsulates that interesting era of history so well. She's an embodiment of both traditional Korean women and enlightenment ideals. 

Where to watch Joseon Gunman:


Trot Lovers

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What it's about: A superstar (Ji Hyun Woo) falls on hard luck, and, in order to save his career, he must help a young woman who loves traditional trot music (Jung Eunji) become a singer.

First impressions (episodes 1-4): I love both of the leads (and I also like our second male lead, Shin Sung Rok, now that he isn't murdering people), but I'm a little bit worried about the writing after four episodes. The first two episodes were light and fluffy, episode 3 got pretty dark pretty fast, and then episode 4 went back to light and fluffy. I'm happy that they didn't play sexual harassment or suicidality for laughs, but consistency is also important. The tone has been swinging so wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other that I get the sense that these writers aren't quite sure where this train is headed. Let's just hope they don't steer it off of a cliff! 

Where to watch Trot Lovers:
Viki

What are you guys watching? Thoughts so far?

Comments

  1. Love love love King of High School. Seo In Guk is cute as a button with his sleepy eyes and yes, I agree, I am also pretending he is older than a high schooler. I like the main lady, I sometimes get annoyed by the faces she pulls, but she is watchable and so far she has a good chemistry with SIG. Watched first episode of Trot Lovers and I didn't feel anything, so I am not sure I will continue, maybe later when I run out of dramas. I am looking forward to watch It's okay, That's love.

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  2. I am in LOVE with High School and Trot Lovers so far. There's just nothing about them that I dislike at this point.

    I was originally pretending Min Seok was a couple years older, because 18 is just so dang young for a 27 year old, but I am now fully on board with the noona romance, so I've stopped really caring about his age altogether. Their personalities just really suit each other, and while he is very young, he's also pretty mature for his age. And he just has a goodness about him that makes me love him to pieces. But Soo Young is my spirit animal. She did eenee meenee minee moe to make a decision at one point (which is totally something I do), and I was just like 'Can we be best friends? Forever?'

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  3. Catholic GrammieJuly 3, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    I actually skimmed the article because I don't like spoilers and I haven't started watching any of these yet. I definitely plan on watching Joseon Gunman because I will watch anything/everything that Lee Joon Ki does! He is SO talented! Currently, I'm finishing up Coffee Prince because I've heard enough about it that I had to go back in time and pick up a classic. I only have the last two episodes to go so I will finish that tonight - marking the 40th drama that I have watched completely!

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  4. It was lovely to hang out with you too! And of course we should hang out again (and then again at KCON)! This week has been INSANELY busy for me, so I've only watched episodes 5 &6 of HSK. Seo In Guk is just dreamy and adorkable and lovely. As usual. And his gramps just gets funnier and funnier, and their interactions together more and more hilarious! Trot Lovers I've only just started episode 3...and I am despising Ji Hyun Woo's character, which makes my heart hurt! And Joseon Gunman, that is just excellent and delicious amazing loveliness. I am going to try and watch episode 4 soon...but I will have no internet tonight (but at least I will sleep under the stars).

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  5. Totally understandable. I imagine that would add an awkward layer to your drama watching.

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  6. Ji Hyun Woo's character gets somewhat better again in episode 4, but the whole thing is giving me whiplash. I reeeeeeally want to watch Joseon Gunman episodes 3 and 4 (and the latest You Are All Surrounded episodes), but holidays + family in town + a mountain of grading that I keep ignoring = not enough drama time!

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  7. ohemgee, i love love King of High School thus far....I haven't enjoyed watching a kdrama since My love from a star. It is hilarious and I love the whole cast.....found out about this drama yesterday when i stopped by your blog(thank you); i'm now at episode 6 and can't wait for the next one. Our main girl is definitely growing on me. I love her already. Seo In Guk on the other hand, is just fantastic on this one, so adorable and cute and lovable.....the heck with 18 vs 27yrs old, I'm shipping them already. I love their chemistry!

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  8. Yey for Coffee Prince, my favorite drama so far! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did...and congratulations on your milestone, may you watch 100 more :D

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  9. Catholic GrammieJuly 4, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    Thanks! I did enjoy it. I just started watching Doctor Stranger today.

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  10. Agree pretty much 100% with your thoughts on KoHS - it's the Seo in Guk show for sure, and his scenes with his harabeoji are real highlights. An unusually balanced and sensitive portrayal of dementia, I think, adding real human warmth to the comedy. I'm hoping that the two leads end up as just friends, even as a big fan of noona-dongsaeng romances, this one is stretching it a bit into the "er, um, well..." territory for me too.

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  11. I totall know what you mean! I sort of blew grading off and hung out in the boondocks with lizabreff and her family...and then we spent today watching movies, cooking, chatting, and watching the FIFA World Cup...yeah...not so productive ;) I think I want a TA to do all my grading or something. We can do this! Fighting!

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  12. I can imagine the request now: "I need a TA. Grading is interfering with my drama schedule."

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  13. Yay! I'm so glad you found King of High School!

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  14. I have been interested to see that a lot of fans hate the Joseon Gunman female lead. I'm with you. Sure, she has annoying moments, but it's realistic in context.

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  15. Harabeoji's character has made Seo In Guk's character even better. He's a major highlight in an already great show.

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  16. Lol. It's actually affecting my life more than my drama schedule. I don't get paid for all the grading hours...so it means late nights grading for no pay. It just irritates me :/ The interference with drama watching is a just another added annoyance ^^

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  17. I'm still finishing up You're All Surrounded and Doctor Stranger, but all of the dramas listed here are on my next to watch list because god yes Lee Joon Ki is just hotness in a human body, Seo In Guk is just way to adorable and Ji Hyun Woo looks great for being fresh out of his military stint. I'm hoping to get in as much kdrama time as I can before I start my college nursing classes in August.

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  18. I am intrigued by this new http://www.epdrama.com/

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  19. I'm watching Trot Lovers because of Ji Hyun Woo and then I fell in love with all the characters too, it's funny and have good music.
    Oh and I recommend you to watch Marriage Without Dating, omg this drama really hooked me. I never usually watch ongoing drama, but this one is so good, the editing of the movie is great, keeps us guessing every episodes, try watching, it's worth it.

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  20. Where can i watch hks episodes?

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