“Star and Sky: Star in My Mind” Series Review (Ep.3 to 8)

This is one of those dramas that will leave you buzzing with unsatisfaction and make you question your sanity. Frustated though, I’m still unsure if I should be happy or sad that it is finally over!

I’m really having a bad string of experiences with the recent GMMTV’s “Frigay” romances (since Bad Buddy Series ended and left me bereft of shows that actually make any kind of sense). Logically, GMMTV should have followed up with stories that could surpass the popularity garnered by OhmNanon’s incredible chemistry. Unfortunately, the productions that preceded this exceptional drama were rather lackluster and mediocre (either in terms of storytelling or execution). I’m a huge fan of shows directed by New Siwaj (Love by Chance, Until We Meet Again, 7 Project), so I was anticipating something phenomenal or along those lines. Maybe that’s why I’m slightly disappointed; that disconcerting feeling you get when the final product doesn’t meet your expectations. That’s exactly what went wrong with Star in My Mind. Though the storyline had nothing new to offer; the chemistry between the main leads should have been sufficient to save the show. Sadly, it didn’t, and the melodrama devolved into a catastrophe of epic proportions. This is the nth time that I’m surreptitiously frustrated with my own first impressions (and we have no one else to blame but GMMTV). Without playing the blame game anymore, let’s review the entirety of this show (with a possible broad-minded attitude, but don’t expect it to be a magical exception).

Daonuea & Khlabkuen’s Regretful Interludes

Regrettably, our main couple has the most complicated relationship in the history of the Thai BL dramas. Whilst the first episodes banked on their budding romance, the following episodes failed to recompense on their chemistry. Both Daonuea (Dunk Natachai) and Khlabkuen (Joong Archen) are terrible at communicating with each other. Daonuea spends almost five episodes running from his base emotions; trying to fend off advances from variable suitors, confusing the hell out of everyone. His inability to deny their advances and speak his mind often leads to miserable situations. Although he tries to placate everyone with his reasoning (he doesn’t want anyone else to face the blunt of rejection in the same manner as he did), they seem like silly excuses. He is unable to accept the alternate reality where he is irrevocably in love with Khlabkuen. He glosses over his feelings, has angry tirades and often misjudges the situations according to his own liability. I can understand his hesitation to accept Khlabkuen’s feelings, but that doesn’t give him the freedom to mislead people. I actually felt bad for Papang (Earn Preeyaphat) and Typhoon (Pepper Phanuroj). They both seemed to have genuine feelings for Daonuea and end up getting dragged into the middle of his cold war with Khlabkuen. Daonuea’s inability to make a sound decision and stick to it often results in unfavorable situations.

Khlabkuen on the other hand, has a hard time expressing his feelings. His reservations and stoic nature are a major drawback; he is unable to vocalize his intentions, even in the most dire situations. The world might be falling apart and Khlabkuen will still choose to stay silent while watching from the bylines. Most of their arguments stem from Khlabkuen’s inability to voice his opinion; simple issues that could be solved via communications end up turning into huge conflicts. The worst part is that we can’t just blame one of them; because both of them are always equally at fault. One of the most disconcerting situation was where Khlabkuen kisses Daonuea forcibly. The scene was shockingly unexpected and totally in contrast to his complex nature. Khlabkuen is perplexing to the level where you start questioning his reserved nature. While Daonuea keeps wavering from his base emotions, Khlabkuen is deeply rooted in his misunderstandings. The most disappointing part about this show is that there is no character growth. The drama focuses so much on their conflicts that it loses sight of the important things. It helps that Khlabkuen’s ex-girlfriend Gia resolves their issues, or this romance would be at a standstill for another eight episodes. The rushed reconciliation in the penultimate episode seemed so out of character that I cried bitter tears. I didn’t know if I should be happy that they were finally together or act bewildered, because all it took was one Instagram post to set things right. Khlabkuen, what were you doing for the last six episodes?

The On & Off Chemistry

Are they adorable? Yes!
Do they look good together? Of course!
Is their romance heartwarming? Hell No!!!

While the initial episodes focused on their cute, fun-filled moments (I think they should have just stayed together in that dorm room), Khlabkuen was consistent and straightforward about his affections. I enjoyed their camaraderie, and the stolen moments in between where Khlabkuen makes efforts to step inside Daonuea’s world. He even takes Daonuea back home and introduces him to his Mother (the next candidate for Best BL Mom Award). Not completely oblivious, Daonuea senses Khlabkuen’s hidden interests. From taking care of Daonuea when he is drunk or injured to offering support when Daonuea is nervous, Khlabkuen does everything. Their interactions are honest and natural. Although Daonuea has his own reservations about Khlabkuen being in a relationship with Gia, he still gives him the benefit of doubt. Khlabkuen and Daonuea had all the makings of a compatible couple until the script falters and everything dives into the deep end.

They do come back from the dead end and manage to salvage their relationship. But it was a rather frustrating to watch them act dumb for most parts. Joong Archen maintains his character arc throughout. It is completely in contrast to his mischievous portrayal of Ming in 2moons2 and his acting skills have improved by spades (he does his level best with the script and that’s commendable). Dunk Natachai, on the other hand, leaves a deep impression in the pilot episodes. But then his expressions falter in the later episodes where his character goes through various phases of confusion and turmoil. Their chemistry seems believable initially, but Dunk seems majorly uncomfortable in the latter half. It could be because it’s his first time playing a BL role, so he seems a bit unsettled; Joong on the other hand, is more comfortable with skinship and doesn’t shy away from intimate scenes. He has definitely improved from his 2moons2 days and his rendition is much more mature. Frankly, JoongDunk’s offscreen interactions seem to have more chemistry than their on-screen ones. So, if you are shipping them together, let’s hope that Dunk’s acting talents improve in their future projects.

Final Impressions

I’m getting really bored with GMMTV’s adaptations; they begin with an interesting arc and then decline into unwanted drama. Star in My Mind stays true to this travesty. It starts with an intriguing storyline, promising an angsty romance which rapidly gets sidelined; as miscommunications wreak havoc in our happy couple’s lives. My major complaint with this show is overuse of usual tropes like jealousy, the ex-girlfriend angle and irrational projections. The worst part is that if these tropes didn’t exist, then there isn’t much to this storyline. Daonuea’s relationship with his elder brother Fah (Mek Jirakit) is indeed endearing. Fah is overtly protective of his younger brother, but he never oversteps beyond his boundaries. Acting as an anchor, he offers support and words of advice whenever Daonuea punctuates his terrible mood swings with angry outbursts. This is the kind of story you watch once and forget; while waiting for the premiere of the next new show. The second half of the duology “Star and Sky: Sky in Your Heart” premieres tonight and I’m hoping for a better performance from a veteran actor like Mek. Fingers crossed!

Star in My Mind is not worth the hype created during Safe House S3. The only saving grace is the handsome pairing; they do look ethereal together!

Rating- 3 out of 5

Krishna’s Sidenote-

☆ Joong Archen and Dunk Natachai featured on the cover of Kazz Magazine

Sky in Your Heart’s new OST release featuring Mek Jirakit and Mark Jiruntanin

3 thoughts on ““Star and Sky: Star in My Mind” Series Review (Ep.3 to 8)”

  1. Unfortunately- since the masterpiece of UWMA- P’New has helmed either disasters “LBC2?- A Chance to Blah Blah”, MGYG and now Stars- he always films beautifully- the actors usually look great. But his seeming ability to coach great performances out of new/inexperienced actors seems to have vanished. Dunk is awkward and I didn’t get what others seem to from Joong- he stared deeply a lot in 2M2 and does again here.
    There is no plot- and unfortunately another P’New specialty is pauses between each sentence a character utters- slowing things down even further.
    Without an interesting story- even veteran actors can’t do much- but at least in the next segment- it will be in a pretty country setting….
    I laughed at your “bitter teats (sp)”- I’d give it a 2.5/5- watchable 1x.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Since I live in Minnesota, it’s hard not to like this series. After all, our State motto is “L’Étoile du Nord.”

    I found Khabluen one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever seen on the screen. I don’t know if he’s an introvert, or as some have hypothesized, on the Autism spectrum – or both, or neither – but wow, I really understand the overthinking of everything. I can’t argue with the inappropriateness of Kluen kissing Nuea in the restroom or his altercation with Phoon, but found both actions absolutely within character. When a person who plans for every scenario suddenly is confronted with a situation in which he is forced to act, it usually doesn’t go well. Even though it can come off as wooden or evasive, I’ve learned to “stick to the script” during presentations because when I’ve tried to answer an unexpected question or ad lib, more times than not, the situation has usually ended up embarrassing for everyone.

    So, let’s give New a lot of credit for creating a swift moving, realistic in its quietness, and pretty engaging character study that contains no villains; where the conflict is mostly internal, not external. I also want to commend New for pursuing the “Bad Buddy” model of making the men equals in their relationship, which from what I understand, also like “Bad Buddy,” deviates from the source material.

    On the dock, Daonuea explains to Kluen that his name reflects his mom’s hope that someday he will help someone who is lost and guide their way. He fulfills that expectation with Kluen . And as part of the journey, finds his way, too.

    My rating:
    4.5 out of 5

    Like

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