Best and Disappointing Dramas (First Quarter of 2021)

We are keeping our promise on featuring new and exciting content, centered on the recent happening in the Boys’ Love world. In today’s feature, we are dealing with the “Best and Disappointing Dramas” in the first quarter of 2021.

We have been blessed with a continuous onslaught of anticipated dramas this year, that drew the attention of the local as well as the international community. There are some new entrants that will certainly pique your interest. We will also be drawing a blank on the “Disappointing” dramas that were highly anticipated but failed to make the mark!

BEST DRAMAS

Chinese

Word of Honor

Certainly the most talked about Chinese Bromance on the social media right now, Word of Honor is fast becoming a global phenomenon. Taunted as the underdog in the current slew of BL 101’s, the adaptation of Priest’s “Faraway Wanderers”, hits the mark because of its honest interpretation. Zhang Zhe Han and Simon Gong truly embody their characters “Body and Soul” and as such watching them reenact the scenes from the novel is entertaining. Zhou Zi Shu and Wen Ke Xing have come a long way from their initial interactions in the pilot episodes. While the intial episodes concentrated on setting a precedent for their relationship, in the ongoing episodes, the focus has shifted to delving deeper into Wen Ke Xing’s secrets. ZZS’s is currently focused on guarding his fragile disciple Zhang Cheng Ling and trying to figure out the mind games that his apparent “Soulmate” WKX keeps concocting. Our lovebirds are in the “Honeymoon Phase” where they are getting to know each other better but still have invariable trust issues. The scenes where WKX finally learns the truth about ZZS’s impending death, left the audiences devastated. Reading the dialogues in a book and watching them materialize onscreen in real is an incomparable experience. Simon Gong emotes with such sincerity that tugs at your heartstrings and leaves you wounded. The scriptwriter has made a considerable amount of changes to the original content and tried to add her own plot twists, which increase the mystique quotient. By far, this show is the best Chinese BL adaptation that I have seen in the recent times!

Killer and Healer

Words fail to express my joy whenever a new episode of this show premieres on MGTV’S YouTube Channel. It has got nothing to do with the storyline which is sorely lacking in ingenuity. I’m the picky type and I never watch shows with sub-par plot lines and yet Killer and Healer has managed to grab my attention. The excitement can be totally attributed to the amazing chemistry between the main leads Jiang Yue Lou and Chen Yu Zhi. Two lost souls find their way to each other and became each other’s support to rediscover life and happiness. Yue Lou suffers from depression which often leads to sudden emotional outbursts. Yu Zhi on the other hand has a calm and collected demeanor. These two are a “Match Made in Heaven” and somehow they fit together. Yu Zhi understands Yue Lou traits and quirks while Yue Lou is insanely protective as well as faithful to the person he loves. While these two have a healthy relationship which truly redefines the boundaries of Chinese BL, the second lead couple Zhan Jun Bai and Yu Tang Chun have an obstructive romance. Yu Tang Chun is using Jun Bai’s guilt to further his agenda while our wealthy Director spends too much time investigating Yue Lou and his social circle. Their disastrous relationship will most probably have an angsty ending and I’m not ready for the onslaught of ugly tears. Zhan Jun Bai and Yu Tang Chun are definitely going to break my heart and leave me devastated!

Thai

Lovely Writer The Series

Lovely Writer’s current episodes focus on the blossoming relationship between popular BL author Gene and the main actor of his book’s adaptation series, Nubsib. This show’s scriptwriters should be definitely applauded for highlighting various social issues and stigmas that plague the LGBTQ community. In this week’s episode, Gene’s college friends force him to disclose his sexual identity and that raises his hackles. It is important to understand that an individual sexual orientation is their own business and the right to “Coming Out” is their personal choice. While for others, it is speculation and random gossip, most people fail to understand the pain and sufferings that the LGBTQ community are subjected to!

Another beautiful facet of this show is refreshing chemistry between main leads Kao Noppakao and Up Poompat. I had my doubts when the pilot episode aired but Kao and Up have managed to steer the tide into their favor. Up’s honest portrayal of the trials faced by most BL Authors will leave surprised while Kao represent the BL actor’s whose personal life is always in limelight. While their relationship is in the initial stages, both Gene and Nubsib will have to be prepared for future tragedies, that is surely going to hit them hard. For now, I’m enjoying the slow burn romance that is equal parts endearing as well as sensual.

Korean

You Make Me Dance

Starring Won Hyung Hoon and Chu Young Woo in titular roles, You Make Me Dance is a musical journey that traces the journey of our main leads as they rediscover their life’s purpose. Song Si Oh and Jin Hong Seok cohabitation in a single space certainly gives a unique flavor to this Korean BL. Hong Seok’s becomes Si Oh’s guarantor and personal bodyguard. Their relationship is currently tied to the debt owed by Song Si Oh to Hong Seok’s company, but their underlying romance is undeniable. Hong Seok is overprotective about Song Si Oh’s interests and the lines between debtor and the loan shark are blurring. While Hong Seok is still confused or rather uncertain about his feelings, Song Si Oh is more openly affectionate. I’m banking on Song Si Oh’s evident win in the auditions to pave way for their love confession.

Beyond Evil

If you are wondering why this show is listed here, don’t fret. We got plenty of reasons to add this Korean Bromance to our list of Best Dramas. Beyond Evil focuses on the journey of two fearless men who are willing to go to extreme lengths in their pursuit of a serial killer that has shaken up their quiet city. Lee Dong Sik, a once capable detective, is now demoted to perform menial tasks at the Manyang Police Substation, while his new superior, Detective Han Joo Won, is transferred in. Joo Won is an elite detective whose father is the star candidate for the National Police Agency’s next chief. Dong Shik and Joo Wan are partnered together by their Chief. When a string of gruesome killings occurs, a pattern that is oddly reminiscent of the cold serial-murder cases from 20 years ago, is found to be recurring. Unexpectedly, Dong Shik was the suspect in one of the murder cases and as such Joo Wan vows to arrest him if requisite evidence is found.

Although the show isn’t tagged as “Bromance”, ardent fans of this drama will swear by the burning hot chemistry between Dong Shik and Joo Wan. Veteran actor Shin Ha Hyun and actor Yeo Jin Woo are portraying their characters in a phenomenal manner and their strong bromance adds the mystique factor to this crime thriller. Despite his suspicions, the fact remains that Joo Wan is intrigued with Dong Shik’s evasive nature and spends far too much stalking him. Their interactions are characterized by strong undercurrents of sexual tension and you can’t help, but be swept by their emotions. Although Joo Wan was initially suspicious of Dong Shik’s intentions, he is slowly thawing and trying to understand Dong Shik’s quirky nature. Their flirtatious banter is an absolute joy to watch and I’m looking forward to watching their changing dynamics (because Joo Wan is totally smitten with Dong Shik and possessive too).

DISAPPOINTING DRAMAS

Thai

A Tale of Thousand Stars

This is one show which has been consistent in its ratings throughout and I’m certainly digging into the romance. But the last week’s episode left me frustrated. It wasn’t even the cliché script but the insistent queer baiting that got onto my nerves. I haven’t read the book, so I’m unsure about the premise, but the storyline is headed towards a breakup and it is sorely disappointing because the main leads Phupha and Tian haven’t even confessed. While the last episode left me deeply unsatisfied because of its absurd premise and equally faltering sexual tension between the main characters, the upcoming episode will be a test of patience.

Tian is trying hard to redeem himself for his past mistakes. But forgiveness cannot be easily acquired. He left his high society lifestyle to step into Torfun’s (his heart donor) footsteps. His sole purpose in life is to recognize her dreams, but Tian never anticipated falling in love. Once the villagers and Phupha learn about the truth behind Torfun’s death, will their perception change? The same villagers who celebrated his bravery and hard work might turn into his adversaries. How will Tian handle the emotional onslaught while facing Phupha, who will definitely blame him for Torfun’s untimely death? Will the villagers be able to forgive Tian and give him a second chance? Will Phupha and Tian’s already fragile relationship survive this huge blow? I understand that each relationship is defined by arguements and reconciliations. However, I’m disappointed with the execution of the storyline in the recent episodes. It seems to be dragging and lacks consistency. The build up of Phupha and Tian’s relationship was beautiful. Earth Pirapat and Mix Sahaphap have a natural chemistry, but it is lacking substance and is sorely underplayed. I’m hoping that Phupha is considerate enough to forgive Tian’s mistakes. Because there is only so much that Tian’s already fragile heart can handle!

Korean

Mr.Queen

Mr. Queen is one of those dramas that ranked high because of its consistent storyline which was invariably riveting and unique. However, the show’s original premise was forgotten in the ending episodes and we ended up with a lacklustre finale that changed the recourse of the main lead’s emotional journey. Jang Bong Hwan is a South Korean chef who has risen up the ranks to cook for the country’s top politicians in the Blue House’s presidential residences. Ever the dreamer, he finds himself in the body of the young queen, Kim So Yong, when whisked away to an era deep in Korea’s past. Body swapping is nothing new but the subject was conducive to BL romance. Popular by the moniker So Bong (because Jang Bong’s soul is trapped in So Yong’s body), the storyline heavily focused on King Cheoljang’s romance with his unsuitable Queen. So Bong went through various episodes of sexual identity crisis, before finally accepting his feelings for Cheoljang. So Bong loved Cheoljong and it is evident from their interactions that Cheoljong felt the same. I was hugely disappointed when Jang Bong’s soul was suddenly sent back to the present era and So Yong uncharacteristically took his place. The character built up and the all encompassing romance was like a stage set for So Yong’s entry and that actually undermines Jang Bong’s love and affections. I wish the scriptwriters had chosen a better ending for both of our main leads because Cheoljong never got the chance to realise that Jang Bong was the person he fell in love with!

Chinese

Ping Pong Life

Ping Pong Life was certainly one of the most anticipated dramas of 2021. Subjective to the fact that it marks the return of Addicted fame actor Timmy Xu to Chinese Bromance, the audiences were awaiting the premiere of this show since ages. Although the premise seems interesting and the actors seemed to have put alot of efforts trying to understand the mechanics of the game, somewhere down the line, the storyline falls flat. The main leads lack chemistry and their relationship can be roughly translated to something that resembles “Friendship”. I’m not a huge fan of sports based drama, but after watching the recently on-air adaptation “Hikaru Na Go”, my expectations from this show were pretty high. Comparatively, while Hikaru Na Go had a better script, consistent storyline and abundant research, Ping Pong Life is recalcitrant on all aspects. Although the pilot episode does pique your interest, the following episodes fail to keep you hooked. I couldn’t get past the first four episodes and I’m still debating if I should continue watching this show or not. Bai Jing Ting as Xu Tan is an adorable mix of naivete and old school charm, while Timmy Xu’s Yu Ke Nan is a genius albeit one with a high temper. Their interactions are cute but lacking something persistent. I’m reserving my judgement on this drama until I watch some more episodes.

Keep watching this space as we bring you further updates from the Asian BL World!

One thought on “Best and Disappointing Dramas (First Quarter of 2021)”

  1. It’s interesting just how subjective experiences can differ. I’ve been thoroughly enraptured with a A Tale of 1000 Stars and found Lovely Writer to be a ham-fisted debacle.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s