We are introducing a new feature where we will be talking about our current watchlist.
The watchlist will be updated each month wherein, we will discuss the currently on-air BL dramas as well as any new possible entrants. In today’s feature, we are dealing with the “Current Favorites of April, 2021”. Without further ado, let’s explore the Asian Subcontinent in search of some viable Boys’ Love gems!
Fish Upon the Sky
The latest entrant on the Thai BL block, “Fish in the Sky” is adapted from popular author JittiRain’s (2gether the Series, Theory of Love) novel of the same name. The show follows the journey of dental student Pi, who is a complete introvert and quite anti-social. One day he meets and ends up falling in love with one of the hottest students in the Allied Health Sciences Department, Mueang Nan. He also has an intense face-off with Mork, his apparent love rival. I’m slowly warming up to this show, which is an intriguing mix of romance and slapstick comedy. The storyline majorly deals with Pi and his elder brother Duean’s love life. We keep hearing about their super handsome eldest brother, but we are yet to meet him.
While the introductory episodes heavily leaned on setting the premise for this story, Pi’s dormant insecurities and his abject fears are clearly reflected. The fact that Mork might be mildly interested in him and doesn’t consider him as a rival is also obvious. Their dynamics borders on the “Enemies to Lover’s” trope and yet that pertains to Pi’s presumptions. Because clearly Mork wants to be his friend or maybe more!
Duean on the other hand spends the majority of his time running away from his stalkerish love interest, Meen. Despite being a medical freshman, Meen has a childlike attitude and as a result, he follows Duean like a lost puppy. Personally, it does sound annoying but Duean puts up with the farce because he needs Meen’s assistance for passing his exams. I’m immensely invested in both love stories, which are invariably different yet unique.
“Call It What You Want” The Series
Popular director Aam Anusorn’s latest mini-series “Call It What You Want” is certainly a daring yet satirical take on the controversial happenings in the BL industry. The fact that he easily draws comparisons to the various issues plaguing the actors as well as highlights the discrepancies pertaining to their management certainly deserves applause. The first three episodes have maintained a steady pace where the main lead, Director James was introduced. Unlike most directors, James is different in his approach when it comes to dealing with his actors as well as the script. He treats them both with respect and utter honesty. Also, the instant attraction to his young actor Ait might sound questionable and is subject to major criticism, but relationships cannot be forced.
The main highlight of this show is the problems faced by the BL actors who are forced to live a certain lifestyle (eating restricted meals or getting face contortions) to appease their fans. The actors are required to project a certain image which makes their “Ship” popular and marketable. Most actors are simply reduced to being mere shadows of their “Ship Names” and if anyone tries to have a real relationship, then they are publicly humiliated and spontaneously shunned. This show is doing a great job of highlighting the horrendous grinder that they are put through and how the management milks every dim out of their “Celebrity Status”. I’m also amused with Ait’s refreshing and daring attitude as he shamelessly flirts with our flustered Director. Certainly looking forward to learning more about the toxic relationship between actor Bas and executive Tee!
Lovely Writer The Series
Certainly one of the finest written Thai BL of 2021, Lovely Writer keeps surprising me with its random twists and turns. The show is really adept at throwing random shade on the ostracized practices in the BL industry, which pertains to both the books and the dramas. While Gene’s story majorly focuses on his attempts to write a BL novel that has quality content (as against explicit sex scenes), his unlikely romance with actor Nubsib is the main highlight of this drama. When I first started watching this show, I was sceptical about Kao Noppakao’s chemistry with Up Poompat. But they have managed to prove me wrong, since they have chemistry in spades which extends to their comfortable friendship offscreen. When two actors are good friends and understand each other, it translates to a beautiful romance.
Kao and Up are prime examples of this case study and it is immensely satisfying to watch them breathe life into their textbook versions. Nubsib and Gene’s relationship is undergoing major changes as Gene is slowly coming to terms with Nubsib’s new identity. They aren’t committed yet and I’m waiting for the day when Gene will be finally free of his vestiges. Nubsib might seem like a contradictory character most of the time, but his affections for Gene are genuine. Ostensibly, love rival Aey (Nubsib’s co-star) is certainly going to cause issues for this young couple and I’m hoping that Gene doesn’t give up on Nubsib to avoid unwanted circumstances. They look beautiful together and I’m hoping for a “Happily Ever After”.
I was really disappointed with the abysmal script for the first two episodes of this multi- star project. Copy-A-Bangkok certainly knows how to market their product well but the execution can be a bit choppy. Despite that, I didn’t give up on this show because the third episode was centered around my favorite BL couple Max Saran and Natasitt Uareksit. Despite their obvious age difference, this couple has a magnetic presence and it is reflected in their sensual chemistry. The third episode premiered to high expectations and Director Cheewin Thanamin has managed to turn the tide in the show’s favor. While the pilot episodes were loosely scripted and illogical, the third episode reins in control by giving us an over-the-top romance between the Devil’s Child “Nuea” and his hapless tutor “Sun”. I really enjoyed their exchange which turned from venomous to sultry within minutes. You have to appreciate Natasitt’s acting talents because he portrays the entitled spoiled kid with a touch of reality. His sultry demeanor and come hither looks are certainly mesmerizing and I totally understand Sun’s predicament. In between trying to establish professional boundaries and keeping his fragile heart at bay, Sun has a difficult time putting off Nuea’s advances. There isn’t much to the script, but the visual experience is elevated by the sheer intensity of their romance which oscillates from sweet to sexual. I’m looking forward to watching the next episode because the jealousy factor has been roped in and I’m wondering about the sudden change in their dynamics. Also, Max and Nat make one handsome couple and it is immensely satisfying to watch them together onscreen!
Second Chance The Series
I have mixed feelings about this show and that can be attributed to the lack of chemistry between the main leads Fluke Chinnathan (Tong Fah) and Tong Thanayut (Paper). They do look lovely together, but their storyline lacks something substantial. They seem more like a secondary couple with a distinct aversion to character development. I keep wondering about their inclusion which doesn’t have much effect on this show that is centered on highlighting the fraudulent issue of “Bullying”. As against them, the second lead couple have more developed storylines and they are the only reason for returning to watch this drama. Mawin Tanawin’s interesting portrayal of Chris and his refreshing chemistry with Tharntype co-star Run Kantheephop sets the bar too high. Similarly, Games Nanthipat’s Near and Nine Theepop’s M have a similar dynamics that represents two unique couples who will become each other’s solid support. This show has an engaging plot but suffers from lack of proper execution. The current episodes did try to reestablish the romance between Paper and Tong Fah, but I’m not impressed. I’m still going to continue watching this show, simply because I’m in love with the other two couples. Watching them triumph over their life travesties certainly makes for a life-changing experience!
Nobleman Ryu’s Wedding
I’m not entirely enamored with this crossdressing swindle romance that stars popular Korean BL actors Kang In Soo (Wish You), Lee Se Jin (Mr.Heart) and Jang Eui Soo (Where Your Eyes Linger) in titular roles. The first two episodes did establish the unusual relationship between the main couple Ryu Ho Sun and Choi Ki Wan. However, there are many loopholes that point to major discrepancies. The first episode begins with their deliberate collaboration to fool Ryo Ho Sun’s Mother into believing their fake marriage. We aren’t given a glimpse of the actual marriage ceremony or the circumstances that led to this farce. We suddenly dive into mother-in-law and sister-in-law dynamics where Choi Ki Won is subjected to kitchen politics. Although Ryu Ho Sun and Choi Ki Wan’s interactions are hilarious and their attempts to appease Ho Sun’s are praiseworthy, I’m wondering if we will ever get to watch their relationship evolve into something more. Firstly this show is based in the Joseon Era, so it leaves us with the major question of whether the main couple will accept their feelings for each other. Secondly, even if they do, how will they handle the consequences of their homosexual relationship? Ho Sun’s Mother expects grandchildren and it will be entirely difficult for her to accept this unusual situation. Ryo Sun’s over possessive sister is another constraint. I’m looking forward to watching the next episodes where Ho Sun’s love rival, Kim Tae Hyung will be introduced. Obviously, the jealousy angle will add the needed twist that will help unleash Ho Sun’s true affections. I’m looking forward to watching everyone’s reactions when Ki Won’s real identity is revealed.
HIStory4: Close to You
This show started on a slow slope and progressed to rapid development between both the main couples. Again, I have mixed feelings about this drama as well. While Xiao Li Cheng and Teng Mu Ren’s relationship started as a farce, the one thing I enjoy about this couple is their honest interaction. They truly value each other and their lives are mutually entangled. Mu Ren always worries about Li Cheng’s needs first, while Li Cheng is insanely protective of his fragile friend. So, when he saves Mu Ren from a possible rape assault and is forced to stay beside him (while Mu Ren suffers from the throes of passion in his drugged state), Li Cheng’s perspective about his close friend undergoes a sudden change. He starts looking at Mu Ren in a new light and notices things that he never did before. So, he decides to maintain a distance because he respects Mu Ren and doesn’t want to lose their friendship. Li Cheng might seem foolhardy most of the time, but he has an upright character and honest disposition. So, when his confusion clears, he tries his best to reveal his feelings to Mu Ren without scaring the latter. These two have a healthy relationship that borders on mutual trust and I’m sincerely hoping that Mu Ren accepts Li Cheng’s affections sooner than later.
As against the lead couple, I’m entirely disappointed with the second lead couple. Although I do like Ye Xing Si per se, I’m not a huge fan of his complex relationship with stepbrother, Fu Yong Jie. Yong Jie is a rather complicated character and I’m honestly not impressed with his intentions for Xing Si. His frequent attempts to stalk Xing Si, puts me on the edge. I do understand his reasons for trying to push Xing Si out of his comfort zone, but I’m not entirely convinced with his thinking. I can’t forgive him for sexually abusing Xing Si and then justifying his actions in the name of love. At this point, I’m also keep wondering about Xing Si’s easily forgiving nature, because Yong Jie’s manipulations stem from there. Hoping this couple get a better storyline or a supposed intervention, that drives a sledgehammer on the emotional blackmailing!
Word of Honor
My most favorite show right now, Word of Honor is one of the best adapted dramas of 2021! My love for this show stems from the beautiful chemistry between main leads Zhang Zhe Han and Simon Gong. Both of them are unabashedly honest in their offscreen interactions and their popularity can be measured from the fact, that the ticket sales for the show’s upcoming event were sold out within seconds. The penultimate episodes of this drama focuses on the healing process of our main heroes as they learn to trust each other. Wen Ke Xing might be one of the most complicated characters in the history of Chinese Bromances and yet he is entirely vulnerable when faced with Zhou Zi Shu’s sincerity and love. Make no mistake, this show portrays their homosexual relationship quite explicitly, so that the audiences don’t need to waste their time imagining the romance. The beauty of this script lies in the tumultuous relationship between two utterly flawed characters who are trying to reconcile their wounded past with their hopeful future. They both carry scars and yet they wish for salvation. Cheng Ling becomes the connecting link between these two adults, as he gives a new meaning to their life and relationship. While I’m in love with the concept of “Soulmates”, the antagonists in this show also draw your fervent attention. Scorpion King’s relationship with the mastermind Zhao Jing will leave you stupefied. Scorpion’s devotion to his father borders on obsession and Zhao Jing zealously uses his emotions for his benefit. In the current episodes, Scorpion is trying to figure out his Father’s true nature and intentions. I’m gobsmacked with Zhao Jing’s ability to lie and fake emotions. Tragicomic Ghost certainly describes him in the right way and although Scorpion has doubts of his own, his devotion to Zhao Jing supersedes his intelligence. Eagerly awaiting this week’s episodes because I’m anticipating major revelations!
My Toxic Lover The Series
Starring “My Day The Series” star Aki Tores and newcomer Kevin Salgado in titular roles, My Toxic Lover focuses on the toxic malpractices in the Filipino Entertainment Industry. Aki Tores plays successful model-actor Ethon Kaizer who is swamped with offers for roles and advertisements. He faces major competition from his archrival Martin and also faces harassment at the hands of fellow actress, Dane (whose Mother Madam Pink owns Ethon’s management). The show is loosely scripted and nothing to talk about. However, the show’s production PEPPS have left no stone unturned to turn this drama into a posh affair. The sets are opulent, actors are gorgeous and yet something seems amiss. I’m looking forward to Ethon and Bryce’s introduction and subsequent attraction. They are complete opposites and I’m hoping that the show’s writers do a better job scripting this romance. There is room for development and the obvious inadequacies could be deterred to better this abysmal storyline.
Wheel of Love: Weekend to Remember
Asterisk Management latest project “Wheel of Love” premiered to high anticipation last night and I’m besotted with the concept. The story follows the five Asuncion siblings- Romoe, Markie, Mateo, Miguel and Merry. Unbeknownst to their mother Martina, they are planning a secret party for her birthday on the weekend. We also introduced to Jenevie, who works for this family and has feelings for the eldest brother, Romoe. Quite solid performances and intriguing storyline. I totally enjoyed watching the pilot episode and my only complaint is the short timeframe.
Keep watching this space as we bring you further updates from the Asian BL World!