Second Husband (두번째 남편) is a South Korean daily drama that aired between 9th August 2021 thru 4 April 2022.
The story revolves around Bong Seon Hwa. Going through a tough childhood she was bought up by her grandmother. She fell in love with Moon Sang Hyeok and was in a common-law relationship with him. They had a baby together. He had an affair and then married the evil Yoon Jae Kyeong who started to murder people and become involved in multiple scandals.
There are too many cast members to mention here but I will list the top ones from my perspective.
Uhm Hyun Kyung (엄현경)
Popular actress with a good track record of shows she has appeared on. The last time I saw her was on A Man in a Veil, now she has jumped ship from KBS to MBC to be the lead actress in Second Husband. She won an MBC award for her performance in this show. Instagram
Cha Seo Won (차서원)
A young actor from Busan appeared in numerous shows before but Second Husband is the first I have seen him in. He plays the new love interest for Seon Hwa, I understood he is dating Uhm Hyun Kyung – but just a rumour. He won an MBC award for his performance in this show. Instagram
“Study with me” YouTube video
Oh Seung Ah (오승아)
Talented singer and actress, she plays the evil Jae Kyeong. I understand she is the main vocalist for a group called Rainbow. She has appeared in other soap-style dramas before, this is not the first time she has played an evil character. Instagram
On “King of Masked Singer” YouTube video
Han Ki Woong (한기웅)
He has appeared in numerous TV dramas but this appears to be one of his first as the main character. He plays a more “little boy lost” character who is misled but certain people especially when there is money involved. I have seen him before in “Love to the End”. He played his part well here, a slightly downcast character even though in real life he seems very jolly. Instagram
Ji Soo Won (지수원)
She delivered a great performance as the wife who has been trying to get revenge for 30 years, she is very popular with a long list of roles. I have not seen her in other shows. Instagram
Kim Hee Jung (김희정)
I can’t believe how busy this actress is. I saw her play an evil character in A Man in a Veil. She then performed in 6 other shows before going on to Second Husband. Then, is now in two other shows. I thought her role in Second Husband was a bit subdued and the character could have developed more, however, I think that was down to the director, producers and writers. She is now in KBS soap Bravo, My Life.
Great performances by all the actors, it’s not easy being on a daily show.
Second Husband TV Show Review
The show was originally contracted for 120 episodes but since it was so popular it was extended by 30 to 150. Actually, there was a 151st episode which was just a “best moments of the show”. The show was broadcast on MBC, Monday to Friday, from 19:15 to 19:50.
It had all the elements of a typical Korean daily drama. Crazy mothers. People are supposedly dead but returning again. Revenge. Evil rich people. A gap in time between the storyline, for example – Love To The End had 6 years, A Man in a Veil had 5 years, and Second Husband had about 4 years. Cute child. Lots of Soju was consumed. Quite a few product placements, first a health supplement up to episode 120 and then a food delivery service for the rest. Pretending to be someone else. Memory loss after an accident.
The show had dramatic incidental music without words, on the whole. They had slightly different versions of that music, probably about 5 I think I counted. The album from the show was released on 16 April 2022, singles have released dates prior to that. I did note that the show and album included Trot music!
More music info here
The story kept going despite the longevity of the show, additional stories were included when it was extended. Some reviewers I noticed was complaining about the additions which made the story slow. I thought it was ok though. There were a couple of hints in the early episodes about a couple of the characters but one of them at least was done purposely to mislead or surprise the audience later.
My only criticism was the character of Seo Jun. I’m not sure if it was the actor not just getting into the role or the writers just didn’t explore his background. He seemed to be at home when he was part of the action but otherwise, the lines he was given weren’t that great.
Cha Seo Won and Uhm Hyun Kyung won the Best Actor and Actress category at the 2021 MBC Drama Awards broadcast on 30 December 2021.
I will give this a 5 out of 5, top marks. I thought this was better than A Man in a Veil. So far, this is my favourite daily melodrama.
L.U.C.A. The Beginning (루카: 더 비기닝) is a South Korean TV show that was broadcast on tvN between 1 Feb and 9 Mar 2021.
LUCA ran for 12 episodes of just over an hour each.
Ji Oh has superpowers but whenever he uses them most of his memories go away. He is chased by a mysterious sect who want to bring him home to perform further experiments in order to duplicate and clone his species.
A younger Ji Oh had spent a day in Gu Reum’s home but the day after her parents vanished. When Gu Reum grows up and becomes a detective she is determined to find out what happened to her family.
Even though the titles are familiar I’ve not seen any of the productions the actors have starred in.
Kim Rae Won (김래원) as Ji Oh
A popular actor mainly for TV rather than film work. He will be starring in a 2022 production called “The Police Station Next to Fire Station”.
Lee Da Hee (이다희) as Gu Reum
She is a model, singer, television and film actress. She is better known for her TV performances.
Kim Sung Oh (김성오) as Lee Son
A very popular actor starring in many TV and film productions, he also directed a movie called Warikkang.
Summary – Spoilers
Other people who have reviewed this drama are more or less in agreement that after episode 8 the storyline became much worse.
A group of mad scientists made Ji Oh in a laboratory, it was linked to a religious sect that used the followers to carry the clone babies until birth. A government agency was also linked to the experiments. They wanted to create a race of superior beings with the most powerful parts from animals. With Ji Oh on the run they wanted him back, to obtain his embryos. The sect would go to any length to get him back.
There was a soap opera element to this drama going on in the background. Woman meets super being, falls in love, has his baby, and so on. Then there is the action side where Ji Oh was being chased all the time and only narrowly escaping each time. The action sequences were done well, very good special effects. There would be most likely too much violence for many people in this show. Probably the lack of action and more romance put some people off the drama, after episode 8.
The ending is another story, it was a little bizarre, but left the series on a cliffhanger about a possible return. I think I was hoping for a happy ending but giving the way the script was going it was most likely impossible. I think it’s best to put this drama to sleep at this point. I did enjoy it though.
I will rate it 7/10. That is about average compared to everyone else.
The drama is available on WeTV and Viki. I don’t know what’s on WeTV but Viki procured “behind the scenes” footage which is just as interesting to watch as the drama itself.
Escape from Mogadishu (모가디슈) is a South Korean film released on 28 July 2021.
The movie is based on a true story. “Escape from Mogadishu” tells the story of personnel of the South and North Korean embassies attempting to escape Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
In 1991, a civil war broke out in Mogadishu. The South Korean embassy’s staff and their families became isolated. One night, a group from the North Korean embassy knocks on their door asking for help.
I haven’t heard of any of the actors in this film.
Kim Yoon Seok (김윤석) plays Han Shin Sung, the South Korean Ambassador
He has appeared in mostly movies but is also a screenwriter and director.
Heo Joon Ho (허준호) plays Rim Yong Soo, the North Korean Ambassador
It looks as though his big-screen career started in 1992, and the small screen in 1993. He has appeared in many productions. Other members of his family are well-known actors as well.
All the actors did an outstanding job with this movie.
Summary – Spoilers
This was an outstanding and memorable movie.
I have to start out by saying, even though it’s based on a true story it is more “inspired by events”. The former South Korean Ambassador talked about this period in time, read about it here.
The movie cost ₩24 billion (South Korean Won) which at today’s rate (25th October 2021) is equal to GBP £14,796,900 / USD $20,362,600. From what I understand it’s made USD $29m at the box office to date. The film was delayed by about a year due to the COVID pandemic. There is an IMAX version of the film as well. The film was shot in Morocco in the second half of 2019.
I was particularly interested in the movie because a work colleague of mine was posted to Mogadishu in the 1980s, she was a Personal Assistant with the British diplomatic service. Her life there was pretty good, she had her own three-bedroom house on the beach and staff to look after her since they were cheap to hire. Hiring staff also meant putting income into the local economy where those people may not have had a job otherwise.
There was a certain vastness about the movie, it really felt as though you were taken into a city. The devastation on the streets and children carrying guns added to the realistic representation of the movie.
This was generally about the relationship between South and North Korea. When the North Korean mission comes under attack they only have one choice but to ask the South Korean’s for assistance. Both the Ambassadors, staff and families had one thing in common, to escape the city, so the two sides called a truce and worked together to figure out how they were going to get out of the country. Both the South and North had built up a relationship through their common adversities.
Parts of the film were incredibly powerful as there were some continuing tensions but how each side protected each other to achieve their common goal. It reminded me of the Christmas truce between British and German soldiers in 1914 during the 1st World War [read more (via Imperial War Museum UK].
I’ve been unable to find out information on the side actors in this film, the ones who played the Somali people. Some of them had significant roles so it would have been nice to know who they are.
There was some CGI in the movie, although at first glance it was hard to tell. The dogs were most definitely CGI. Whether some of the town was CGI I would have no idea.
I would give this movie 9/10. It’s one of those “must-see” films that wasn’t over-hyped.
Love To The End (끝까지 사랑) was an extremely popular South Korean soap opera that ran between July and December 2018.
The story is about four main characters, as follows:
Han Ka Young
A bright and positive young lady whose parents divorced after the father became bankrupt. The father now owns another company and the mother running a small restaurant. She falls in love with Yoon Jung Han who works at a glass factory.
Yoon Jung Han
The successor to the family-owned glass factory. His father has some health issues, and the mother is a little hypersensitive.
Kang Se Na
Determined to destroy the family that ruined her “adoptive” mother’s life.
Kang Hyun Ki
The successor of a large conglomerate company the owners of which are up to no good. He falls in love with Yoon Jung Han’s sister.
Lee Young Ah (이영아) as Han Ka Young
I hadn’t seen her in any other productions. She has won several awards. Gossip columnists suggested that she was dating Kang Eun Tak around the time of this production.
Kang Eun Tak (강은탁) as Yoon Jung Han
I saw him in A Man In A Veil recently, he has starred in many soap opera type series. He will be in a 50-part series starting 25th September 2021 called A Gentlemen and a Young Lady (신사와 아가씨), first venture out of soaps in a while.
Follow him on Instagram.
Hong Soo Ah (홍수아) as Kang Se Na
An actress I hadn’t seen in any other dramas. After Love To The End she also had a main role in soap Phoenix 2020, playing Lee Ji Eun. She recorded a Chinese series called Billion Dollar Heir but some experts are saying it won’t be aired, I guess we’ll see.
Shim Ji Ho (심지호) as Kang Hyun Ki
An actor whose career started in 1999 and has appeared in many regular TV drama’s as well as soap operas. I hadn’t seen him in anything else but he is very popular. He is starring in a new soap called National Wife starting in October 2021.
Follow him on YouTube, he’s a jolly fellow who is a bit of a foodie.
During the first 25% of this drama, I almost gave up on it. Everything seemed to revolve around the on/off romance between Han Ka Young and Yoon Jun Han. More off than on. However, after that was out of the way I would say the show was brilliant.
There were certain episodes that had a cliffhanger that had the viewers on edge. Episode 55 was one of them.
All the actors did a brilliant job on this show. For example, Hong Soo Ah didn’t look the part to play someone so evil but she really went to town with it. The most interesting relationship was between actor Im Jae Geun (Kang Se Na’s secretary) and Eun Hae Sung as James’s assistant K. As a side fact both Kang Eun Tak and Eun Hae Sung both speak English well.
So, this show was a welcome COVID distraction. Be patient some of the slower episodes because the drama will become more exciting. I will give it an 8.5/10.
Where To Watch
Love To The End is available on the KBS YouTube Channel, in this playlist.
Color Rush (컬러 러쉬) is a short web-based LGBTQ series from South Korea. The following contains spoilers.
Choi Yeon Woo cannot see any colors apart from those in greyscale, rarely people with such a condition can see color if connected to the right person. When Go Yoo Han, a classmate, takes his mask off, Yeon Woo can suddenly see color. This can not only open a whole new world for the color-blind person but can also lead to a dangerous obsession. They start to form a mutual bond between each other…!
In the meantime, Woo, along with his aunt, is trying to find his missing Mother who also has the same color-blind condition.
The story is adapted from the book 컬러 러쉬 (Color Rush) by Se Sang.
Each episode is around 15 minutes in duration, there is a compilation movie of the same name. There are rumours of a season two.
I hadn’t seen the two main actors in this series in any other productions although both have had decent careers.
Yoo Jun (유준) plays Choi Yeon Woo
He was an advertising model in 2009 and acting since 2012 in TV shows and movies.
Hur Hyun Jun (허현준) plays Go Yoo Han
His main career seems to have been in singing, modelling, and dancing. Color Rush was his first acting role, it seems he did a decent job with this character.
Well, where shall we start. might be best to dissect each element.
It was a good story line. The concept of how a color-blind person can cured temporarily by a certain person is more or less a medical science fiction element of the show. “Mono” in real life is short for another condition, so not to be confused with that. The story ranges from Woo not wanting to connect with Han as he is aware of the dangers a “Mono”/”Probe” relationship, to Woo learning about colors from Han, to trying to find the missing mother, and how intimate the two guys relationship is becoming. The two main characters grow as the story progresses and there are little surprises along the route.
Good performance from all the actors, I was surprised to learn it was Hur Hyun Jun’s first endeavour into that area.
The show didn’t seem to flow as well as I had hoped, not sure if that was down to the directing or the way it was split into 8 x 15-minute chunks. There wasn’t something quite right to me, can’t pinpoint it.
There were some minimal special effects in the show, the moment when Choi Yeon Woo could see color, this well done.
It was worth watching but there was something missing with the how things flowed.
Where To Watch
The show is on Viki and according to some on Apple TV.
For Asian movie night this week we saw Pipeline (파이프라인), a Korean movie released in May 2021 and available to view on Viki.
To make himself rich and pay back loan sharks Hwang Gun Woo hires a team of misfit “experts” to siphon oil from the national grid into his own storage facilities. Things go sour when he threatens the teams’ lives for not meeting his deadline and spying on them.
Seo In Guk as Kan Se Doi (aka Drill-Bit). He is the leader of the team, also known as Captain. I haven’t seen this actor in other products, but he is popular starting his career as a pop singer. He is known to have some health issues along the way including bulimia, he was told to lose weight, and Osteochondritis dissecans, a bone and cartilage condition, which made him exempt from military service.
Leo Soo Hyuk as Hwang Gun Woo, the bad guy. As well as an actor he is also a model. I haven’t seen him in any other productions.
Jung Jae Kwang as Sang Goo. He played a support role, police officer, in this movie but I mention him since we saw him in It’s OK Not To Be OK, he played patient Joo Jung Tae.
I thought this was a surprisingly good movie, better than I had envisaged. I did think beforehand why they would make a pipeline seem exciting, they should have named it something else, either way it was worth the watch.
I thought the actors and storywriters did an excellent job of the cast interactions, some of its drama, and some of it very humorous. I’m sure the story was a bit farfetched and headed into an odder direction with the bad guy’s goals being that of a mad scientist towards the final 30 minutes of the movie. It was a shame they knocked off one of the team, but I guess that’s what made the bad guy so evil.
It had some special effects. The oil running through the pipes wasn’t well done. The pipeline exploding in the hills of Korea was well done.
Many of those reviewing the movie clearly watched the movie because of Seo In Guk, one said “I wouldn’t be bored with him reading the entire phone directory”.
I would give this a 7/10. Much better than anticipated, worth a watch.
This is the first South Korean soap opera I watch, A Man in a Veil, which broadcast between 2020 and 2021.
After an accident during childhood, Tae Poong had a learning disability and was looked after by his Mother. His life is caught in between two sisters, one who is kind-hearted and the other who is…very evil with visions of grandeur. The show consisted of 105 x 35-minute episodes.
The show has a huge cast but generally revolves around 4 characters played by the following actors:
Kang Eun Tak (강은탁) plays Lee Tae Poong / Yoo Min Hyeok
He won an award for his performance of Tae Poong which I would say was very justified. Kang Eun Tak is a doyen of South Korean soaps having been in 7 different ones with a total of 936 episodes.
Lee Shi Kang (이시강) plays Cha Seo Joon
He has previously been in another soap called Happy Sisters. Earlier in 2020, he appeared in the Taiwanese LGBTQ drama Because of You, this is where I heard of him first and followed the trail to find A Man in a Veil. He reprises his role of Yuan Jun Cheng in Because of You season 2 soon, airdate not fixed.
Uhm Hyun Kyung (엄현경) plays Han Yoo Jung
She has appeared in many TV dramas as well as 4 other soaps. She will be appearing in the upcoming soap Second Husband which starts airing in August 2021.
Lee Chae-young (이채영) plays Han Yoo Ra
She is a very popular in-demand actress too also being appearing in 5 other soaps. I see she is an upcoming movie called Tomb of the River but don’t know any details apart from that.
Some spoilers ahead
I absolutely loved this show and couldn’t wait until the next episode. 105 episodes seemed a bit daunting at first but it wasn’t a trial to get through them due to the exciting script.
The pace of the first 20 episodes was exciting, a lot happened. Some side stories never developed throughout the series but contained important messages, especially about disabled people. I had never seen Kang Eun Tak in any other shows but his performance as Lee Tae Pong in these 20 episodes was extremely convincing. As I saw the actor in other shows the role of playing someone with a learning disability wasn’t a role he normally gets.
I was slightly disappointed that they knocked off a couple of characters in the first 20 episodes, from 21 the script was a much slower pace. However, as the series developed the pace sped up again. There were some “edge of the seat” moments in the final episodes with a few twists and turns. There were a couple of surprises in the final episode and I thought “she’s got what”!!
Brilliant show. I rated it 5/5, a top score is unusual for me but they deserved it.
The show can be watched on Viki but you will need a subscription. KBS TV in Korea sometimes puts in soaps on YouTube so you never know it might appear there one day.
Mission Possible (미션 파서블) is a Korean film that was released on 17 February 2021. It is a spy orientated comedy-drama film.
Yoo Da Hee is a trainee with the Chinese Ministry of State Security, she is given a mission that could cost her life. Her job is to close the net on an arms smuggling ring. She needs to reach out and pair up with a Korean counterpart but there was a mix-up and is partnered with an inexperienced private detective, Woo Soon Han, who has cases for missing dogs.
There is a strong cast in this movie:
Kim Young Kwang (김영광) plays Woo Soon Han.
I haven’t seen this actor in anything else even though, from the looks of his resume, he is very much in demand.
His character is the strongest in the film which includes slapstick to serious.
Lee Sun Bin (이선빈) plays Yoo Da Hee.
I have seen her in “The Uncanny Counters” even though she only appeared in two episodes.
I think this character seemed as though it was more in the background, I’m not sure whether that was the purpose to provide focus on the male lead.
In the first few minutes I wondered what I was watching, it seemed serious and a bit difficult to follow. Then, a bit further on the comedy started to show and it got better. The best parts of the film were when the storyline moved at a high pace. Some of the gags were spaced out as such it took a while to get the gist of the joke, like a dry sense of humour. There were moments in the film when the storyline appeared to go too slow and I was getting a little bored, in other words, they should have kept a faster pace during the whole movie. There are a few surprises along the way and a complete about-face in one of the character’s storyline.
The movie felt like an introduction to a second one or maybe a TV series spin-off. We did enjoy it very much, it was like a cross between a comedy version of the US TV series Mission Impossible and Get Smart.
So, I would give the movie about a 7.5. It can be watched for rent on Viki.
Train is a very impressive TV show from South Korea about an interdimensional detective trying to solve a 12-year-old murder case.
This is a basic summary of the show:
“Haunted by the thought that his drunkard father killed another man before also dying on the same day and not paying for his crime, Seo Do Won lives his life trying to secretly repay Han Seo Kyung for his father’s sin while hiding the truth. He is now a detective who overworks to escape his guilt, and she is a prosecutor who is still looking for her father’s killer.”
It is so much more than that and I don’t want to give away the plot too much, but there is a mysterious train that travels to an extraordinary place.
I only recognized one supporting actor in this show, the main actors I hadn’t heard of. They all did an amazing job, most of them played two different characters. The main actors were:
Yoon Shi Yoon (윤시윤) who played the central character Seo Do Won.
Kyung Soo Jin (경수진) played Han Seo Kyung.
The actors I had heard of was Kim Dong Young. In Train he played Kim Jin Woo, a detective, but also saw him in Let’s Eat season 3.
The drama was more gritty than many we have seen from South Korea tv. The cinematography was very good too as it had to reflect a darker image. The Train special effects were ok but they probably could have thought that out a bit more. The general storyline was well planned, it was very fast-paced and kept everyone on the edge of the seat. The part of the story where the train took one person to a mysterious place was good but the missing part of the script was what happened to the other passengers. Some parts of the story weren’t well planned where you were kind of left guessing what just happened. Usually, in Korean dramas there is a lot of romance, that wasn’t central to the script in Train.
Could there be a season 2? Probably not, seems the story had more or less been wrapped up but I guess there would be potential for something else. So, I would rate this 4.5/5, the missing point is for the little oddities in the continuity that they could have cleaned up pretty easily.
My Paparotti is a 2013 South Korean film based on the true story of an Opera singer who was involved in gangs. I’ve been wanting to watch this film for a long time and this past weekend finally found the time to enjoy it.
During his youth, Kim Ho-Joong was involved in gangs but thanks to his grandmother, who looked after him, developed a deep interest and talent in Opera music. The film is about his struggle to choose between gang life or receive an education to take him to the heights of fame in the Opera world assisted by his eccentric teacher.
There were two main actors in the cast who played their roles brilliantly.
Lee Je Hoon (이제훈) played Jang Ho. He was born in 1984 and already has an impressive movie career. I hadn’t seen any of his work before but he clearly put a lot of effort into this important role.
Han Seok Kyu (한석규) played the teacher Sang Jin, they couldn’t have chosen a better actor for this role who is known to have a very unique style.
As usual, the film had an average rating on Internet Movie Database, however, on Asian sites it was rated much higher. I am in agreement with the Asian sites.
There was a great mix of humour, drama and action that kept me engaged throughout the film. The acting was really good, excellent chemistry between the main cast, they did an excellent job with the roles they had. It was very believable that Lee Je Hoon was singing but obviously wasn’t. It was definetly the actors that made this film so believeable.
I am not sure how close the film was to the true story of Kim Ho-Joong but it did interest me to find out more about the singer, listen to his songs, and wonder what he is working on now. Recent “gossip press” about him was disappointing and diverted my attention away from it, I just want to remember the positives.
Absolutely a 5/5 for the movie, a must watch.
The Real Kim Ho-Joong
This is a video of the real Kim Ho-Joong, sharing his talent on stage. There are many videos on YouTube worth discovering and enjoying.