My Watchlist: Current Favorites of February, 2022

My watch list is overflowing with BL dramas. This is a statement that I never thought would be feasible.

But with the major onslaught of massive productions churning out BL content at an irregular rate, this genre is fast becoming a global obsession. While Korean BL’s are currently an international rage; Thai BL’s are treading on their local territory. Today’s feature deals with new releases, updates on ongoing shows and possible exclusives about fan favorites. So, join us as we dive into the Asian shores and check out the diaspora of popular Boys’ Love phenomenon!

Korean BL

First Love Again

A reincarnation saga with an unusual plot twist. That makes up the crux of this romcom. Popular web novelist Yeon Seok (Jin Gun) has reincarnated three times; all the while, he has been searching for his first love, Jeong Ha Yeon. He is helped in his pursuit by the nine-tailed fox, Yoo Sin Bi (who is indebted to him and has been following him through all his reincarnations). Unexpectedly, he meets Ha Yeon (Jeon Chang Ha), who turns out to be a man in this lifetime. Yeon Seok goes through an entire myriad of emotions, starting from shock, denial to abject frustration. Being unable to accept the fact that Ha Yeon has reincarnated in a male form, Yeon Seok is excessively rude to him. The tables are turned when Yeok Seok is introduced to Jeong Ha Jin (Ha Yeon’s elder sister) who resembles the older, feminine version of Ha Yeon. Yeon Seok is left shell-shocked and confused. Throughout these revelations, Yeok Seok keeps swinging back and forth. Although he seems interested in Ha Yeon, he does everything to keep him at bay. Ha Yeon, however, is a total contrast to Yeok Seok’s arrogant demeanor. He is sweet, gentle and smitten with Yeok Seok; so much so that he even puts up with Yeok Seok’s callous tantrums. But all good things come to an end and Ha Yeon ultimately has an outburst. The recent episode ended with them kissing passionately (it was freaking hot) and I’m looking forward to watching Yeok Seok redeem himself (he better grovel on his knees in front of baby Ha Yeon). Jin Gun and Jeon Chang Ha have a sparkling and refreshing chemistry; this show is fast becoming one of my favorite Korean BL’s.

Cherry Blossoms After Winter

Adapted from the webtoon “Cherry Blossoms After Winter” (겨울 지나 벚꽃) by Bam Woo (밤우), this live-action series focuses on the blossoming relationship between the two teenagers, Seo Hae Bom and Jo Tae Seong. The first episode premiered to high expectations and undoubtedly, the storytelling is surreal and intriguing.

After his parent’s sudden death, seven-year-old Hae Bom moves in with his adoptive family. While adoptive mother, Ha Eun Sun is sweet and loving, there doesn’t seem to be much connection between Hae Bom and Tae Song. The drama doesn’t dwell much on the intricacies of their relationship; but it’s obvious that Hae Bom feels indebted and doesn’t want to burden them much. As fate might have it, Tae Seong is unexpectedly transferred to Hae Bom’s class in their last year. Hae Bom’s diminutive and shy nature makes him an easy target for class bullies, Jun Seung & Sang Won. Tae Seong’s hackles rise when he sees Hae Bam getting bullied on a daily basis. The drama will be most probably focus on the slow transition as they move past their brotherly affections and develop romantic entanglements. Ok Jin Uk as Seo Hae Bom is believable: he accurately portrays the helpless nature of his character and you actually feel enraged on his behalf. Kang Hui is the very definition of an ice cold Prince; tall, handsome, but reserved. Their first interactions were surprising as Tae Seong suddenly starts taking an avid interest in Hae Bam’s life. It is going to be a leisurely progression; but I’m definitely looking forward to watching this new release.

Oh! Boarding House

A wacky romcom that I never thought would become my favorite! Adapted from the webtoon “Hasuk 5” (하숙집 5번지) by Penguin (펭귄), Oh! Boarding House has been dubbed as Bromance. But the pilot episodes were quite far away from this tag; so you can expect a healthy dose of unwavering attraction between main leads, Seol Won (Shin Yong Seok) & Kim Cheol Soo (Im Sung Kyun). Joining us on this wild ride are eighteen-year-old Jae Woo (Ho Jin), a lazy slacker who loves making excuses; grumpy writer Wang Ye Min (Kim Hee Joong) who implements strict standards of living; new tenant Cha Bong Deok (Shin Ki Hwan) who is in love with Seol Won. Things start to get interesting when PE teacher Kim Cheol Soo joins this mad gathering (simply because he seems like the only sane person in this group). He is rather mysterious and always ends up saving Seol Won (who is acutely accident-prone) from hilariously precarious situations. The contrast in their personalities is vivid. While Seol Won seems smitten, Cheol Soo is left irritated with his boarding owner’s attempts of showing gratitude. The chemistry is quite apparent but I’m going to reserve my judgment until the next episodes. The storyline promises close ties to friendship and unrequited feelings. Weirdly interesting!

Semantic Error

February is literally the month of romance and as such, the Boys’ Love world was unanimously flooded with Korean BL adaptations. Not that we are complaining; Watcha’s top tier adaptation “Semantic Error” is one of them. Avid fans waited with bated breaths for the premiere of this live-action series and the anticipation was worthwhile. Park Jae Chan and Park Seo Ham literally embody their character’s lively facets and imperfections.

Adapted from the web novel “Semantic Error” (시맨틱 에러) by Jeo Soo Ri (저수리), the show focuses on the “Hate to Love” trope between our main couple. Chu Sang Woo is a junior computer science majoring student, the literal definition of a perfectionist. He follows a rigid schedule and doesn’t take lightly to slackers. All hell breaks loose when he removes design major, Jang Jae Young’s name from their group project. Jae Young is his polar opposite- handsome, stylish and popular. When the credits for the group project are taken away, his plans to study abroad fall through. He vows to find Chu Sang Woo and torment him. Unexpectedly, they are forced to work together on another team project. Things spiral out of control when Jae Young suddenly starts developing feelings for his arrogant yet adorable co-partner. Despite their eight-year age differences, Park Jae Chan and Park Seo Ham are perfect in their depictions. Seo Ham leaves you enraptured with his expressions; his caricature is exceptional. Breaking away from his idol image, Jae Chan plays his character with a stoic attitude and fearless disposition. The contrast is strikingly vibrant and unassuming. I’m enjoying this show far too much and the next episodes will drive this romance into a different direction.

☆ Special Mention (borrowing words from PotatoBLChild’s dictionary)

Ghost Doctor

If you are in the market for a light-hearted fantasy, then the recently concluded “Ghost Doctor” should be high on your watchlist. After being drastically disillusioned by the Bromance promises in “Bad and Crazy” (I hate it when people promise romance and give me split personality instead), I wasn’t expecting much from Ghost Doctor. The only reason to start this drama was my fascination with the main leads, Rain & Kim Bum. And I’m glad that I stuck to this show. The plot squarely focuses on the antagonistic relationship between genius surgeon Cha Young Min and first year intern Ko Seung Tak. While Young Min has a 100% success rate and is a celebrated doctor, he is also exceedingly arrogant and cold-hearted. The heir to the hospital chairman, Seung Tak is a slacker, has a laid back attitude and is disinterested in his career. Their lives get entangled when Young Min turns into a coma ghost after being involved in a fatal accident; and the only person he can possess is Seung Tak. This event is followed by hilarious situations of epic proportions where both of them drive each other up the wall. However, animosity slowly turns into something more. While Young Min begins to appreciate Seung Tak’s kind and caring nature; Seung Tak understands the importance of saving lives. Along the way, they affect and change each other’s thought processes. Moving beyond their official relationship, Young Min and Seung Tak slowly becomes allies. Rain and Kim Bum’s chemistry is unbelievably realistic; so much so that they side track the female love interests. The show has strong messages that resonate the need for humility and kindness. Overall, this drama is indeed enjoyable; watch it because Young Min & Seung Tak will make you fall in love!

Thai BL

Enchanté

A breezy summer romance with an unwanted male harem quadrangle. That’s what I’m calling this new GMMTV offering (not that it makes any difference). I’m only overtly invested in the main couple’s relationship; while I’m treating the remaining four male leads as obstacles to their romance. When Theo (Book Kasidet) returns from France (after his grandmother’s untimely demise), he wouldn’t have imagined that his near future would be riddled with too many love interests (all of which are suspicious; I don’t trust them even a teeny tiny bit). While his reconciliation with Akk (Force Jiratchapong) is heartwarming and there are obvious signs of attraction, their romance alone won’t drive this story forward. The “Male Harem” concept is necessary to create unwarranted problems between our adorable couple, who just shared their first kiss in the recent episode (They are already kissing; do we really need the other four men trying so hard?). While Natee (Fluke Pusit) did help by unmasking Phupha’s (Aou Thanaboon) ambitious intentions; I’m pretty sure he has nefarious plans of his own. Same with Saifah (Gawin Caskey) and Boom (Boom Tharatorn); none of them are Enchanté or are seriously interested in Theo. The future episodes might cement Theo and Akk’s relationship while revealing Natee, Saifah and Boom’s true objectives. The cinematography is amazing and the storytelling is uncanny. Definitely must watch!

Gen Y 2

One of the most anticipated dramas that premiered last year, Gen Y 2 keeps swirling into unknown territories. While the prequel ended with Pha’s sudden entry, the social media was tethered with endless speculations. As such, Star Hunter Entertainment created a poll asking the audiences to choose a suitable love interest for Wayu (Bas Suradej)- Pharawee (Big Thanakorn) or Thanu (Dun Romchumpa). After the poll ended successfully, Thanu was chosen as the winner. The second season mostly focuses on Thanu and Wayo’s blossoming relationship in the midst of the turmoil caused by Pha’s entry. Pha is diagnosed with an incurable disease which leads to major guilt trapping and incoherent breakup between Thanu & Wayu. After spending an entire season hating Pha, it was difficult to reconcile with his reasons. But I felt bad for him and his death, though unjustified, gave a sense of completion to this complicated love triangle. Fan favorite Mark (Kimmon Warodom) & Kit’s (Copter Panuwat) romance keeps dragging and ardent fans are seriously disappointed by their unnecessary standoff. Given Kit’s ridiculous excuses to maintain social distancing, I’m pretty sure that they won’t reconcile until the finale. Pok (Bank Toranin) & Tong’s (Bonus Tanadech) love story is an entirely different ballgame. The hottest couple in this show went through their own trials and are right in the middle of a possible reconciliation. Jack (Jet Bundit) & Ko (Jame Kasama) are still in bickering phase, although they seem to be thawing. After being on the warpath, Sandee (Bank Thanathip) is finally turning over a new leaf. Maybe being around Phai (Pon Thanapon) will reform him and turn him into a better person. This pretty much sums up this bizarre story which seems to be headed somewhere (not sure where).

Rak Diao

One31’s latest BL release, “Rak Diao” is finally available on their YouTube Channel with English Subtitles. Although the wait was tiring, this show is certainly a worthwhile experience. Starring handsome hunks Earth Thanakrit & Win Songsin in the titular roles, Rak Diao follows the tried and tested formula of “Enemies to Lovers” trope. Both Earth & Win have an exceptional chemistry which does wonders for this fluffy romcom. The comic timing is brilliant and you fall in love with the side characters as well. Rak & Diao’s variant nature makes an interesting contrast. While Rak is mild-mannered and intuitive, Diao is smart yet hot tempered. Their clashes at both home and office are epic; although at times Diao’s proclamations seem overtly annoying, Rak is pretty whipped for his man. From the first moment they met, the attraction is obvious and vibrant. You slowly fall in love with the entire cast and their hilarious gimmicks will leave you in hysterics!

Something in My Room

Adapted from the comic “Me and the Ghost In My Room” (ผมและผีในห้อง) by raflael, Something in My Room is markedly different with its storytelling and nuances. Starring Nut Supanut in the titular role of Phob, the show focuses on his wayward journey as he tries to recall his memories. Plan Thanawat plays his love interest Phat, who helps Phob solve the mystery of his sudden death before the forty-nine days count is over. The pacing slows down in some bits and seems regressive, but the pairing is refreshing; Nut and Plan have a beautiful chemistry and look compatible together. While the mystery has been pretty much resolved, the romance is still on a recline. Phat’s jealousy might act as an incentive to bring them together; although it will take a lot more maneuvering to hightail a romance between a ghost and a living being. Despite that, I’m rooting for both of them; because Phat & Phob truly deserve their “Happily Ever After”.

Cutie Pie The Series

Adapted from popular Thai BL author Bam Bam’s novel of the same, Cutie Pie premiered to high expectations. Starring Zee Pruk (of Why R U Series fame) and rookie actor New Chawarin in titular roles, the story focuses on the unusual concept of an arranged marriage between their characters, Hia Lian & Nuea. While Nuea belongs to an aristocratic family, Hia Lian is an upcoming billionaire on the rise. The first two episodes focused on their unassuming relationship, as Nuea fakes living a dull and boring life to gain Hia Lian’s attention and affection. Zee Pruk plays a stoic character who is literally business minded and has no time for his fiance. New Chawarin on the other hand, portrays his character with an innocence and charm that tugs at your heartstrings. The second episode further cements the unbalance in their relationship as Nuea declares war and Hia Lian is left bewildered with his shy fiance’s sudden transformation. Zee and New have a nice chemistry and they make a formidable pair. The second lead couple, Hia Yi (Max Saran) and Kon Diao (Nat Natasitt), have an engaging storyline as well. Definitely looking forward to the upcoming episodes.

You’re My Sky

World Y Entertainment’s home production “You’re My Sky” is making waves throughout the global platform. Starring three different couples, the show focuses on their individual struggles as they fight to achieve their goals. While childhood friends Tupfah (Tae Chayapat) and Thorn (Suar Kritsanaphong) are a star crossed couple; Aii (Jump Kananat)- Saen (Boom Thanut) and Dome (Kris Strickland) and Vee (Porsche Tanathorn) are a work in progress. While the storyline carefully weaves their stories together, they never undermine each other’s journey. Each couple has an engaging storyline, and you feel enthralled watching them experience college life as they fight for their dreams and ambitions. I’m absolutely hooked to the amazing storytelling and the cinematography is brilliant. Undoubtedly, one of the best scripted Thai BL’s in the current times!

Not Me The Series

Director Nuchy Anucha’s political thriller is fast becoming a sensation all over the world. Starring BL heartthrobs, Gun Atthaphan and Off Jumpol in their fifth venture as a BL couple, Not Me addresses the fragile socio-political issues in Thailand. While political rebellion seems to be the main plot, at the heart of this series lies the poignant romance between Sean (Off) and White (Gun). Gun as identical twins, Black & White is phenomenal. The switch between both these characters is so seamless that it leaves you shocked and spellbound. Drives home the fact that Gun Attaphan is definitely one of the most talented actors on the GMMTV roster. While romance comes easily to Off, this is his first time playing a daredevil character; who somersaults through dangerous situations and wears his heart on the sleeve. The dynamics between Sean & White are charismatic and the romance is sensual as well as heart stopping. OffGun’s chemistry is incomparable and much better than their “Theory of Love” days. They seem much more comfortable and that speaks volumes about their offscreen relationship. Another intriguing facet about this drama is the iconic pairing of First Kanaphan with Gawin Caskey. Dan & Yok are currently the most popular side couple in the BL drama land; with ardent fans demanding that they get their own series as main leads. The charm is understandable because First & Gawin have an explosive chemistry that sets your screen on fire. Leaving that unexplored would be a major injustice. I’m definitely looking forward to the penultimate episodes because there are still a lot of issues that need to be dissected and resolved.

Love Area Part 2

Ardent fans of this drama waited with bated breaths for the premiere night. The reason was pretty obvious- they wanted to see Valen (Gun Tieosuwan) date his love interest, Kaitoon (Pak Chavitpong). While the show did bank on this premise and bought them together, the current episodes have been distressing (to say the least). I’m not entirely sure where the story is headed; because Valen has a fallout with Kaitoon for a reason that doesn’t even concern them. I do like Non (Pan Norawit) and he is definitely a better option than Valen; but I don’t feel the spark between them. King (Ohm Napatt) and Pete’s (Tod Techit) relationship problems are a whole different scenario. We still don’t know the reasons behind their first breakup; or why Pete was cheating on King with Sean (Jeff Satur). Inserting Ice (Aton Thanakorn) between them makes it even worse. The “Toy-June-Bill” (Jovi Sasiriya, Min Nisakorn, Connext Phumiphat) love triangle is pretty complicated. I’m actually bewildered with these inconsistencies and pretty sure the scriptwriter is just making way for another season (because there is no way in hell that they will solve all these problems in a single episode). This show is not making any kind of sense right now, but here’s hoping that the finale episode brings us some solace!

Special Mentions

Secret Crush On You

Co-produced by Saint Suppapong, Secret Crush On You is in a league of its own. Seng Wichai’s Toh will drive you up the wall with his stalkerish tendencies. The storytelling is superfluous and watching this show will be a test of your patience. But don’t fret, the handsome casting is the saving grace. Three things work in the favor of this wacko sitcom- the blazing hot chemistry between Toh and his secret crush, Nuea (Billy Patchanon); Toh’s insane yet supportive group of friends who stand by him through thick and thin; interesting side couples like Sky (Heng Asavarid) with Khaojao (Surprise Pittikorn) as well as Kongkwan (Freen Sarocha) with Fon (Becky Armstrong). This show doesn’t make a lot of sense but it is definitely a crazy addiction!

Physical Therapy

There isn’t much buzz about this medical romance, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the tenure; so a brief recapping. Pun (Petch Jakkaphet) and Milk (Son Ravisut) meet by a sudden twist of fate. From their first meeting itself, Milk gets enamored with Pun’s mischievous nature and outspoken attitude. When Pun is unexpectedly hospitalized, Milk turns out to be his Doctor. Being in close quarters during Pun’s treatment brings them closer and they slowly start falling in love. There isn’t much to say about the narrative; it’s mediocre. But the best part about this Thai BL is the attractive chemistry between Son and Petch. Honestly, I spend far too much staring at Son’s handsome face and wishing that I had a personal doctor like him. Watch it if you are looking for something light-hearted.

Our Days

Another show that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but is watchable. Our Days focuses on the romance between main leads Mon (Gap Narongkorn) and Soh (Mhing Thatsaphon). The story seems to drag in some places, and it’s quite possible that you might lose interest. But the one thing that works in its favor is the favorable chemistry between Gap and Mhing. While Mon is slow-witted and hot tempered, Soh is a perfect gentleman. Their story begins with an accidental kiss and the current episodes are focusing on Soh’s attempts to redeem himself. Nothing phenomenal, but you can watch this on those days when you got nothing else to do.

Exclusive Updates

Some of the most anticipated titles that premiered recently include- Love Stage, Restarted The Series, My Ride The Series and Cupid’s Last Wish. While the other three series are still not available for interfans, My Ride will soon be streaming on GagaOOLala. Cupid’s Last Wish will most probably be available on GMMTV’s YouTube Channel soon as well.

Pinoy BL

Quaranthings 2

The second season of this popular drama has finally premiered on YouTube last week and I’m definitely stoked. Kyo Quijano and Royce Cabrera return to reprise their original roles; as Judah and Rocky are trying to work out things in the initial phase of their relationship. Joining them this season is Karissa Toliongco who plays Che (Rocky’s ex-girlfriend) and Gian Bernardino who will portray the role of Kulas. When Judah and Rocky return to their apartment after spending sometime with Lolly (Judah’s Grandmother), they are hoping for some quiet time to understand each other better. Their plans are derailed when Rocky’s former roommates return to the apartment. While Rocky reverts back to his old habits (of hiding his true feelings), Judah becomes increasingly insecure because of Che’s presence. Despite their problems, Judah remains patient and tries to understand Rocky’s insecurities and inhibitions. The current season has a mature storyline which focuses on the issues faced by the community while banking on Royce and Kyo’s evergreen chemistry. Kudos to the entire team!

Rainbow Prince

I’m not a huge fan of Oxin Film’s productions and as such, I wasn’t expecting much from Rainbow Prince. But this show did surprise me. Although the storytelling isn’t something to write about, the drama mimics quite a few Disney musicals. If you are in the market for fairy tale romances, then Prince Zeyn (Adrian Dionisio) and Mikey’s (Eurwin Canzana) familiar love story might seem interesting to you. There is a rustic “Cinderella” and “Snow White” touch as Mikey plays the damsel in distress and Zeyn/Art is his Prince Charming. Driven out of his country Zubrania, Prince Zeyn seeks refuge in Philippines. There he coincidentally meets Mikey whose entire family works at the Grand Hotel. Adrian and Eurwin make a stunning couple and their chemistry is a chef’s kiss. Art’s flirtatious and humorous attitude gels well with Mikey’s shy and kind nature. They are a match made in heaven. Problems will ensue when Mikey discovers Zeyn’s true identity; I’m looking forward to watching the next episodes. How will Zeyn handle the problems back home? Will Mikey accept Zeyn’s real identity? Will they stay together? Let’s wait and watch!

Japanese BL

Kei×Yaku: Abunai Aibou

This mafia bromance is certainly interesting (the romantic vibes are abundant and unhindered; this makes me freaking ecstatic). Shiro Hanabusa (the youngest head of a designated gang clan) joins hands with Ichiro Kunishita (an investigator from the Public Security Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department) to investigate the reason behind the disappearance of his foster sister, Nakaba Rion. They grow conveniently close, as Shiro (Inukai Atsuhiro) and Ichiro (Suzuki Nobuyuki) unravel multiple layers of the mystery that links to the bombing incident, which killed Ichiro’s parents. Frankly, the murder mystery is riveting, but the real selling point of this show is the intriguing chemistry between Inukai and Suzuki. Both embody their character’s distinct strengths and vulnerabilities. At the same time, they also represent the evolving feelings their characters are developing. Shiro and Ichiro are invested in each other’s lives. Their feelings are pretty evident. Both Nakaba Rion (Kuriyama Chiaki) and Hazuki Chika (Hagiwara Minori) have noticed the same; only our investigative couple are oblivious to their own affections. I’m wishing for the moon, but I’m hoping the scriptwriters would be daring and turn these two into a reel life couple. I mean, just look at them!

Chinese BL

In Your Heart

Most probably the only Chinese BL to be released this year, In Your Heart is a typical teenage romance. The series tells the story of the childhood sweethearts Cheng Yi (Hu Shi Wen) and Ling Zi Ming (Hu Bo Wen) and their friends Lu Xiang Lin (Huang Bo Zhi) and Yue Yu Zhi (Meng Yue Chen). This show might remind you of “Addicted Heroin”, but the storyline is different. Ling Zi Ming and Cheng Yi are two childhood friends who come from two incomplete families. While Zi Ming has been living together with his second eldest maternal aunt since his childhood; Cheng Yi has been brought up by his grandma. Cheng Yi and Zi Ming’s friendship gets tested when Cheng Yi falls for Lu Xiang Xin. The entry of Xiang Xin’s cousin Lu Xiang Lin further complicates things as he develops feelings for Zi Ming. Jealousy drives them closer as Cheng Yi and Ling Zi Ming slowly come to terms with their true feelings for each other. A one time watch, but let’s be supportive of the cast and crew (who are fighting the homophobic Chinese censorship).

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

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