Thursday, August 15, 2013

Un-reviewable Dramas 4: I Hear Your Voice and Monstar

Today's dramas aren't un-reviewable because I didn't like them.  On the contrary, I enjoyed I Hear Your Voice and Monstar immensely, probably because I live-watched both and they fit my weekly heart-racing quota of intoxicating thiller romance and homey school-age romance respectively.

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 Oska Lawyer Cha (Yoon Sang Hyun). Bonus points because we even get a girlmance! (Can I say that? If guys can have a bromance, then girls can have a girlmance??) between our snarky public defendant Hye Sung and age old rival and now prosecutor Seo Do Yeon (Lee Da Hee). They're just cute, and I always think it's refreshing when dramas take the time to show friendships between women who aren't just love rivals.

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. 


  1. I could not possibly agree with you more about both these shows. I enjoyed watching them, but I don't have much to say beyond "So that happened."

    And sometimes I wonder why we bother to blog when it's growing increasingly impossible to say something that isn't already being said by like ten other people at any given moment ;)

    1. "So I wrote about that" is how I often think. Lol. I have so many half written reviews that I never bother to finish, just because I don't have anything to add on, or I'm waiting for a particularly brain spark to turn into something unique.

      I fail more often than not though. But I'm usually more excited talking about older shows or the Japanese dramas that don't get as much love. I'm still trying to do justice to Flames of Ambition which I finally finished woooo! - it was so awesome. Can I just review it like that? Hehe

  2. "Truth is though, without the romance and the eye candy, these dramas would've been nothing to me." Yes yes yes yes. I loved I Hear Your Voice but it was the romance (well, and the friendships as well) that had me hooked. Whenever they bought the law into it, it just became stupid and boring and you wanted to get back to SuHa and Hye Sung.

    With Monstar, I really liked the music and most of the characters, but it was inconsistent and random and sometimes annoying. But there was a cute romance and a cute bromance, and that's pretty much enough for me, lol

    1. It's amazing how a little bit of cuteness and our favorite drama themes can keep us addicted to these kinds of dramas. I frequently bash them as 'light entertainment' more suitable for creating feels, but at the end of the day - that's usually exactly what I'm looking for in a drama. And despite loving dramas that make my brain hurt with how awesome they are, if I don't have 1 or 2 like this going on to take the easy off my drama stress, I don't make it through the week Lol.

  3. I too was gonna review IHYV but just couldn't finish thus it is stuck in draft mode for now. I first I thought I had writers block but after reading your review...what else can I possible say that no one else has. New fangirl here, I absolutely love your blog. Your honest which is refreshing to see nowadays! :)

    1. Thanks! It's funny, I feel like the more 'good' dramas I watch, the more I crave something even better that'll just blow me away. Maybe it's bc I'm just getting jaded? Lol who knows. Hope you drop by again!

    2. Haha I feel the exact same way! It was like that with Gaksital - which I know you didn't like that much, and King 2 Hearts....the writing was so on point that after watching those dramas anything less was sub par!