My Watchlist: Current Favorites of September 2021

Time and tide wait for no one. As the Covid-19 pandemic is still causing recurrent losses, the Boy’s Love world has become a comfort zone to most distressed souls.

As such, we bring you on our monthly feature on “The Current Watchlist” which will be your guide on the on-air dramas that are worth mentioning. Without further ado, let’s check the listings and find some quality content to enjoy!

Thai BL
7 Project

Director New Siwaj’s (Love by Chance and UWMA) ambitious new venture “7 Project” is an amalgamation of rather dulcet yet flavored stories (inspired from seven love songs). The project features seven different couples, four of which are LGBTQ couples. With a runtime of seventy minutes, each story adheres to the blossoming romance between the main characters and their subsequent life struggles. While the first episode “Would You Be My Love” was focused on the concept of school bullying, the electrifying chemistry between Santa (Santa Pongsapak) and Ozone (Earth Katsamonnat) was much appreciated.

The third episode “Remember” features the popular UWMA stars Samantha Coates (Proud) and Pineare Pannin (Jaidee) in a lesbian relationship. First of many, both Samantha and Pineare have an indescribable intimacy, that strikes a chord with the audiences. Trust is a fragile sentiment and Samantha must be applauded for embodying her character’s pain and sadness.

Of course, the most anticipated storyline belongs to Boun Noppanut (Mek) and Prem Warut (Balloon). The UWMA stars have a believable chemistry which has morphed into a natural intimacy. It is effortlessly beautiful and leaves you yearning for more. “Once Upon A Time” shone a spotlight on closeted relationships; as such, Mek-Balloon’s romance spoke volumes of their severed emotions.

Bite Me The Series

Have you ever relished the flavors in a new dish while savoring it slowly? Well, that’s exactly the base concept of this gourmet romance. Adapted from famous Thai BL author Sammon Scene’s novel “Grab A Bite”, the show focuses on the evolving dynamics between Chef Aue (Zung Kidakarn) and his new Assistant Chef, Aek (Mark Siwat). I have been reading a lot of comments on the social media about this drama’s slow paced storytelling. Unfortunately, it’s true! The main couple spend a lot of time staring into each other’s eyes, being hesitant and shy. So, by the time they actually start using their words and communicate, you feel relieved. This show requires a lot of patience from the audience’s POV. But remember, patience is a virtue and it actually pays. So, once our main couple start having heart-to-heart conversations, there is no stopping them. Especially Aue who is obviously smitten and looks at Aek like he hung the moon. Despite being a rookie actor, Zung Kidakarn emotes perfectly and watching his vivid expressions is a sheer joy. Mark Siwat is a seasoned BL actor and his performance is flawless (as expected from him). The second lead couple, Chef Prem (Paam Setthanan) and Vich (Toon Atirootj) are equally adorable. While Prem works in Aue’s restaurant as a Baker, Vich is Aek’s roommate. The age difference is viable, but that is what makes this couple quite unique and intriguing. Watch this show, if you are into slow burn romances!

Don’t Say No

I went into this show with zero expectations and came back pleasantly surprised. I’m not a huge fan of Thai BL author Mame’s books or adaptations; which are often ridden with rape or sexual assault scenarios. I was totally expecting this show to incorporate similar themes; but Mame has managed to turn the tide in her favor this time. A spin-off to “Tharntype The Series”, “Don’t Say No” features the infamous Fiat as he settles into an unlikely romance with his longtime best friend, Leo. It isn’t an easy task, as their relationship is riddled with hesitancy, fears and morbid insecurities. The show focuses its lens on the burgeoning struggles faced by each couple in the beginning phases of their relationship. It’s realistic, thought-provoking and entirely relatable. I’m actually flabbergasted that Mame was able to visualize such a somber storyline. Add to the fact that main lead couple Ja Phachara (Leo) and First Chalongrat (Fiat) have literally imbibed their character’s emotions. Ja embodies Leo’s effortless panache and affections, while First easily betrays Fiat’s confusion and pain. My favorite part of this spin-off are the second lead couple, Smart Chisanupong (Leon) and James Pongsapak (Pob). Leo’s pansexual brother might sound arrogant and display stalker tendencies, but that doesn’t take away his charm. Pob on the other hand is introverted and shy. These two are an interesting case of “Opposites Attract” and I’m in love with their ever-changing dynamics!

Korean BL
Peach of Time

Director Jang Eui Soon’s recently concluded Thai-Korean BL collaboration is a curious case of ghost romance forged with unresolved desires. The show’s open ending definitely broke my heart and I’m looking for closure. Will the upcoming movie compilation deliver a perfect ending? That’s under consideration. The show majorly focuses on the unadorned love story between Peach (Jimmy Karn) and Yoon Oh (Choi Jae Hyun). Fun-fact: there is a lot of back and forth between Thai and Korean dialects, because obviously the main leads are from two different countries. But both Jimmy and Jae Hyun somehow make it work. Their dialogue delivery is perfect, expressions on spot and the romance is encapsulating. The most surprising element is the tactful inclusion of Jimmy’s onscreen BL partner Tommy Sittichok. Tommy portrays the bewildered ghost Mario, who has been waiting to meet his lost love for more than twenty years. The fact that he hasn’t turned evil speaks volumes about his character. Mario integrates himself into the storyline without affecting Peach and Yoon Oh’s blossoming romance. In fact, he helps them and even acts an anchor when our main lead couple are ridden with various problems. It was actually refreshing to watch Jimmy romance with someone else (who isn’t Tommy). I do love Jimmy and Tommy’s comfortable camaraderie, but it was refreshing to watch Jimmy step out of the box. Choi Jae Hyun is fresh-faced, coy and absolutely the perfect candidate to portray Yoon Oh’s high-strung emotions. Riveting and soulful!

The Tasty Florida

I had alot of expectations from this new release (blame it on Light On Me‘s different approach). Although The Tasty Florida does fall short of those expectations, (when compared with the hugely popular teenage romance) it does have its own selling points. One of the most important aspects is the sparkling chemistry between main leads Cha Woo Min (Seo Hae Won) and Kim Yoo Hwan (Baek Eun Gyu). Their chemistry strikes you from the moment they accidentally met on the street. Hae Won’s enraptured expressions are seriously adorable. Baek Eun Gyu on the other hand is kind, caring and utterly confident. Their sexuality is still under wraps, but you can see Hae Won questioning himself on the obvious attraction. The sexual tension is unquestionable and I’m already enjoying the ride. My only complaint is the regrettably short runtime and also the inclusion of the age-old “Jealousy” trope. Moon Kang Hyuk’s Cha Ji Soo serves as the third angle in this breezy romance and although he is undeniably handsome as well as incorrigible; I’m looking for something else. Something that is on par with the brilliant storytelling in “Where Your Eyes Linger”, “To My Star” and “Light On Me”. Obviously, these series were helmed by different production houses, so the quality will differ. But when we talk about Korean dramas, we are looking for “Out of the Box” experiences that leave us reeling from revelations. Let’s see if “The Tasty Florida” can keep up with the trend!

Taiwanese BL
See You After Quarantine?

Taiwanese BL dramas are kind of pioneers in the Boy’s Love dramaworld. So, high feverish anticipation is inevitable, whenever a new drama premiere. The short timeframe and choppy storyline isn’t favorable to this miniseries. But don’t let that deter you from watching this budding romance featuring rookie actors Lance Chiu (Chen Bo Chun) and Akihiro Kawai (Itsuki Sato). Although the age difference is evident, their refreshing chemistry is startlingly obvious and enchanting. Lance portrays a young Taiwanese university student, whose passionate about photography. Akihiro plays his Japanese love interest, whom he meets online unexpectedly. Their online interactions are adorable as their budding friendship slowly morphs into romance. Lance and Akihiro’s social media interactions are just as vivid as their onscreen personas. They make an intriguing pair and I’m looking forward to watching their love story. Be Loved in House: I Do star Aaron Lai’s supporting role Zhao Chi Dong is an added advantage.

Innocent The Series

After an unprecedented delay in the production stage, Innocent The Series has finally premiered on the streaming portal, GagaOOLala. This miniseries focuses on the unusual romance between Wu Zheng (Blake Chang) and Zheng Yu Shi/Noah (Yi Da Dian). Because of an untoward incident in his childhood, Yu Shi suffers from split personality disorder. While Yu Shi is docile and shy, his other personality Noah is dominant and foul tempered. The first episode doesn’t reveal much about the main character’s background or their life struggles. However, it does display their strong emotional connection and physical intimacy. Blake Chang and Yi Da Dian have an exuberant sensual chemistry, which will inevitably set your screens on fire. The addition of the female love interest Shao Jie (Fifi Sun) is distracting and unwanted. But she will most probably pivot their relationship into the right direction. I’m looking forward to watching the next episodes, because the second lead couple are yet to be introduced. If they are as good as the main couple, then this miniseries could be a visual treat!

Danger Zone Season One

This crime thriller can be justifiably tagged as Bromance; because of the robust chemistry between main leads Vic Zhou (Liang Yan Dong) and Berant Zhu (Ren Fei). What happens when a brilliant crime lawyer falls from grace and gets incriminated as a sex offender? Chaos ensues and the resulting violence is undeniably shocking. Berant Zhu plays the wide-eyed rookie cop Ren Fei with finesse and a certain vulnerability; you can’t help but feel his base emotions. Zhu needs to hold onto his own, because being paired opposite a seasoned actor like Vic Zhou isn’t an easy task. There is an electrifying tension in the room, whenever these two are together. The first season focuses on a serial murder case which closely ties to Yang Dong’s sexual assault offense. The brilliance of the script coupled with the main lead’s powerful performances will leave you riveted. The “Bromance” angle is just a vested interest and each episode untangles a new secret code, that is unassailable. The show’s popularity can be gauged from the fact that IQIYI has already renewed it for a second season. Watch it if gore mysteries are your cup of tea!

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Japanese BL
Junkyouju Takatsuki Akira no Suisatsu

Yet another Bromance but the label can be stretched to forbidden romance. This show shares strong similarities with the recently released Japanese thriller movie “The Night Beyond the Tricolored Window”. Atleast the main lead, Fukamachi Naoya (Jinguji Yuta) does. Eight years ago, Naoya got lost in the Blue Lantern Festival, where he met his late grandfather’s spirit. After that encounter, Naoya gains the ability to detect people’s lies. People begun to avoid him, because he can easily decipher the lies from the distortion in their voices. Naoya’s world is turned upside down when charismatic Professor Takatsuki Akira (Inoo Kei) joins his college. Akira takes a keen interest in Naoya and hires him as his Assistant. Takatsuki although strikingly handsome has strange quirks and is fervently searching for a mystery to solve. Despite their opposite personalities, both Akira and Naoya are drawn to each other. Their chemistry is topnotch as Naoya seems entirely besotted with Akira. Akira on the other hand is drawn to Naoya’s lie detecting abilities, but also innately cares about his lonely assistant. If you are interested in folklore and urban legends, then this show should definitely be on your watchlist!

Chinese BL
Master, Wait a Moment

If you enjoyed watching “Killer and Healer”, then this light-hearted crime thriller could be a delightful addition to your repertoire. Xu Wu Shuang (Lin Yu Shen) heads up the criminal division of the Suicheng police department. He is rational, temperamental and strikes without thinking about the consequences. Things take an interesting turn when rookie cop, Wang Dai Yu (Liu Yi Tong) joins their team. Their clashing personalities often lead to recurring arguements. That is, until their Superior orders Wang Dai Yu to become Wu Shuang’s apprentice. Thus, begins a hilarious cat and mouse game, wherein slowly they grow closer and develop a tactile understanding. Yes, the show has two unwanted love interests who are in no way instrumental to the main story; but they are required to adhere to the censorship guidelines. Despite that, the chemistry between Wu Shuang and Wang Dai Yu is absorbing and it will leave you in high spirits. Watch this show, if you can look beyond the glitchy English Subtitles; because MGTV isn’t exactly conducive to the interests of the international audiences.

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

3 thoughts on “My Watchlist: Current Favorites of September 2021”

  1. thanks for these suggestions- It might be helpful to cite places they can be watched for international fans and if there is English Sub available.
    The Japanese series on urban folklore sounds like something I will really like:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. 7 Project is available on Studio Wabi’s YouTube Channel. Bite Me on Viki, Don’t Say No is available on Line TV, Peach of Time and Tasty Florida on WeTV platforms, See You After Quarantine on Viki, Innocent on GagaOOLala, Danger Zone on IQIYI, Master Please Wait on MGTV.
      As for the Japanese series, we will be posting the links with the show’s review!!!

      Like

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