Truth is though, without the romance and the eye candy, these dramas would've been nothing to me. I found that out when I tried to write a full review of I Hear Your Voice and realized I had nothing to say. "Cute characters, great romance, lagging plot devices, melo and comical all rolled into one." There's only so many times I can repeat the same cliche phrases before I get annoyed at my own prose.
|Don't give me that look, Jong Suk - you know I still love you for your acting skills!|
I also dislike reviewing dramas right after air because A- Everyone's talking about them and I'm usually ready to put a drama to rest after so much time, or B- Sometimes dramas hit me differently after I've let them sit for a while. Either I'll change a rating or general opinion, for better or worse. Because sometimes it's posterity that determines which dramas we remember, which we love, and which we never want to see or hear of again. I suspect that in time one of these dramas will drop a point in my ranking factor, and the other will rise when I start to get nostalgic, but for now I'll stick with my 8s and move on to the 'review'.
Not to be forgotten, I bring you: I Hear Your Voice (2013) and Monstar (2013).
I Hear Your Voice
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If for some reason you haven't heard yet, I Hear Your Voice has a lovely noona romance between a stern, lazy lawyer Jang Hye Sung (Lee Bo Young), and a high school age Park Soo Ha (School's dreamy Lee Jong Suk). Alright, so technically this isn't the main storyline. An actually well done childhood backstory forever links the two leads after Hye Sung becomes the sole willing witness for a particularly viscous murder case. Soo Ha's father was the victim, and when the murderer declares revenge on Hye Sung, cutie baby Soo Ha vows to protect her. Did I mention he happens to be able read a person's thoughts? Yeah, that's nifty.
Fast forward some years, and tack on a love triangle with
Overall I think I Hear Your Voice creates a nice balance with its narrative, other than the highly unrealistic court cases. With the exception of a few of the more interesting cases (particularly the twins' robbery-murder case), most are predictable and cause the story-line to come to a crashing halt. Good thing there are plenty enough feels to go around as the drama weaves itself between vaguely episodic cases and the main creepy villain storyline. Still, my main enjoyment factor was the romance. For that age gap, Lee Jong Suk and Lee Bo Young actually have chemistry, and the story does a great job of giving them plenty of time to interact naturally as comrades, friends, and finally lovers. It was a good ship.
Monstar's a great little Bildungsroman about a bunch of misfits, one of whom just so happens to be a Kpop idol forced back into attending school. Beast's Junhyun as the 'star' Yoon Sul Chan becomes a catalyst for this ragtag gang of musically inclined teens, and his crush-of-a-lifetime for the quirky Min Se Yi (newcomer Ha Yeon Soo) is absolutely precious. Aside from the requisite love triangle/square completed by veteran young actor Kang Ha Neul and Glam's Da Hee, what's so refreshing about Monstar is that in spite of all the drama - or maybe because of it all - all the kids in the Color Bar band are essentially friends. It's a nostalgic twist, and one that gets my heart all wrapped up in a knot. What can I say, I just gush about young love and the bond of friendship.
I have an otherwise hard time describing Monstar's genre. I catch myself calling it a high school musical, but really with all the connotations 'that' brings, it's fairly inappropriate. Sure there is a band, and they sing a lot of music for performance or competitions. Sometimes the compositions are brought out only the kids' fantasy-driven minds. The music itself varies from Kpop, to retro, and a whole lot of genres in between, and most of the show's main cast sing (or at least lipsync) throughout.
For those interested, the cameos are a pretty interesting draw. 4 members of BTOB make an appearance as Sul Chan's idol bandmates Man in Black; solo female vocalists Kim Ye Rim and Ivy make random appearances to sing and/or act; and even that great rockster himself No Min Woo shows up in cameo to sing a major piece for the drama finale. So many other cameos are littered throughout, but each time a song is featured, it's quite a treat to see what cool vocals or sets will show up this time.
Be prepared for a sometimes plodding, sometimes hasty story line, but if you're in the mood for it, the 12 hour long+ episodes, a little bit a time, can be a fun way to spend an afternoon, or an evening, or the middle of the night when you wake up and can't sleep. Or you can just marathon it.. that's always fun too.