Treasure Trove (Part 1)

One of the things that I hope to do consistently on Thundie’s Prattle is to share my love for dramas (and movies) that tend to slip under people’s radars. Gems that have burrowed into my heart even though they may have poor ratings and are rarely talked about. These little or obscure dramas may not boast a star-studded cast, but they wow me with their superlative writing and move me with the heartfelt performances. All of them make me laugh and cry.

Since it’s getting increasingly difficult to find download links (or DVD releases) for these dramas, I’ve decided to start a series called Treasure Trove. I hope you enjoy Part 1!

Der Yalu Fliesst

Based on the critically-acclaimed biography of Lee Mirok, a Korean writer who left colonial Korea to settle in Germany, this is a three-episode drama that was thirty years in the making. I watched the first episode (and will watch the remaining two soon) and loved it. Two of my favorite veteran actors play Mirok’s parents: Shin Gu and Na Moon-hee.

Its slow paced and poetic prose might feel out of place in today’s K-drama industry, so preoccupied with shallow glitz and glamour, but it’s with substance and narrative fundamentals that this drama succeed on almost all accounts, as one of the best overlooked gems of the year. –MisterX

EDIT:

All links deleted.

Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father

I first wrote about Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father here. My 2009 year-end review for Dramabeans contains more of my thoughts on the drama.

I feel like this drama is too important to ignore, too secret to share, too painful to watch and too funny to look away… That this drama makes us laugh isn’t because of the comedic aspects per se, so much as it is us laughing at tragedy. Still, the writing is what makes this so good, that and the superlative acting all around — Shim Eun Kyung is polished perfect and the rest of the cast are seasoned professionals. A worthy recommendation for those with the right perspective to watch and learn, or, watch and remember. –samsooki

EDIT:

All links deleted.

Taereung National Village

If Shin Don is the (long) drama that owns my heart, then Taereung National Village is the (little) drama that makes my heart want to burst every single time I watch or think about it. Only eight short episodes (each 30 minutes long), it’s a sports drama and a coming-of-age story, with characters that I love fiercely. This is still my favorite Lee Min-ki role, even if he completely Kang Tae-bonged me in Dal Ja’s Spring. But the one I love most in Taereung isn’t Minki or even The Voice (Lee Seon-gyun), it is Kim Byeol.

Even if we’re dealing with 8 really short episodes, she (PD Lee) manages to balance character development, the usual training and matches, romance, comedy, some intelligent and mature Drama, all in a very solid package which constantly entertains. Camerawork feels like a well shot independent film more than a TV Drama, and the soundtrack, by Dream Pop band Tearliner, is exceptional.

Nothing incredible happens in Taereung, and you probably have seen it all. But two weeks after finishing the show, I still miss those characters: I miss the quirky and silly charm of Min-Gi, the maturity and calm of Dong-Kyung, the down-to-earth personality of Soo-Ah, and of course Maru’s irresistible energy. That’s a sign of an incredibly well written show, which deserves a series of its own, like the shows’ many fans have been asking for the last few months. –MisterX

EDIT:

All links deleted.

Transformation

I previously reviewed Transformation here. To quote myself, the drama mixes “absurdity with normalcy, the ethereal with the visceral” and is “a smorgasbord of fantasy and comedy, satire and sci-fi.” It’s fantastic good fun with an amazing out-of-this-world script. Oh Man-seok is a scream here as a crazy monk.

Awesome CG work that fits in with the overall atmosphere, a smooth flow despite the leaps in logic and time, music that suits each scene perfectly, and some really nice editing…That’s what helped turn this drama into such a gem (although of course you can’t forget the sheer awesomeness of the script)… As long as you throw away all thoughts of high art and boring Hollywood-style linear plot, and as long as you simply sit back and take whatever it throws at you, then this is one of the best dramas of the last few years. –Dahee Fanel

Read the rest of Dahee’s review here.

EDIT:

All links deleted.

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23 thoughts on “Treasure Trove (Part 1)

  1. I love you Thundie.. When was Der Yalu Fliesst aired? Do you happen to know the Korean title? I love Na Moon-hee nim and I feel like I should give this drama a try.

    Speaking about Na Moon-hee nim, have you seen “The most beautiful farewell in the world” (세상에서 가장 아름다운 이별) by Noh Hee-kyung? I saw it many many years ago and have no idea where to find it, but I think you’ll like it a lot.

  2. Hi nabi

    Der Yalu Fliesst (The Yalu River Flows) aired its first episode on Nov 14, 2008. The Korean title is 압록강은 흐른다. There are more pics here (Soompi thread).

    I need to ask X about that Noh Hee-kyung drama you mentioned. She’s one of my favorite writers (but you already know that, hehe) and I try to collect her dramas. I believe X will be translating one of her earlier works this year and I’m really looking forward to it. The NHK dramas that I’ve watched:

    Lie
    Have We Really Loved
    Solitude
    More Beautiful Than a Flower
    Goodbye Solo
    Worlds Within

  3. That’s Noh Hee-Kyung’s debut. Brilliant, brilliant, stuff, but good luck finding that.

    I guess your only option would be ordering from mbcpro, and that would cost you 40,000won x hour. Short drama so kind of worth it, but maybe they’ll rebroadcast it down the line. They did show 유행가가 되리 last year, so who knows.

  4. Sweeeet! You describe them all in such great detail that makes us really want to watch, and then thoughtfully provide vids & subs too! It just doesn’t get any better than that.

    Thanks especially for Taereung National Village which I’ve been meaning to get to for ages since it stars my I LUB YOU. For that alone I’d be eternally grateful, but the rest of them really do make this a treasure trove!

    You’re the best!

  5. Thanks Thundie and X. I hope they’ll rebroadcast it soon.. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who want to watch it again because it was so good…

  6. Thundie!
    Thank you so much for posting these! I’ve been worried about finding some of these like TNV since with torrents it depends on whether anyone is seeding them (whcih can be a problem especially if they are older dramas). So much much love for posting these 🙂

    Oh and couldn’t we just time share Lee Jong-hyuk…like you can have him for majority of the time…couldn’t I have him for like a day a week something? 😉 Really he’s stealing the show…do you know whether he’s been a lead in any dramas? I’ve seen Green Rose and yeah he was awesome in that, but besides that I haven’t seen anything else.

  7. Thanks for sharing these, Thundie!

    I have been looking for Taereung National Village and its so nice of you to provide the links for the vids and the subs. I was not aware of Transformation either, but just seeing the words Oh Man Seok sold me.

    Thanks again!

  8. Thank you so much!! 😀 The problem I have with drama is there’s no video store near me that I can rent them or buy them, so I have to make due with online. With dramafever being new and trendy, and mysoju being very hit or miss, I often miss out on good dramas because I’m unwilling to succumb to the alternative – actually buying the DVD set, which is usually expensive. I’m hesitant to buy it for dramas I know and love, let alone something that could be absolutely terrible.

    That’s why I have come to rely on your blog as well as a few others for insight. You are my beacon of hope somedays!! 😀

  9. omg, thank you so much! and thank you for posting your link on dw4ptommyrot comments!

    I have been wanting to watch Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father sonce so many people were raving about it. Downloaded one epi from aja-aja, finally watched it, fell in love went back for more and found out they were closed temporarily. You are seriously God sent! Thank yo again for uploading links to awesome dramas. Keep up the good work!

  10. Aww Thundie, why are you so nice? You’re just too nice!!!
    Maybe we’ll see you post Chuno and subs in the near future ^ ^ The images of Der Yalu Fliesst & Transformation look very appealing, can’t wait to watch them.

    @nabi
    @The Cats Are Not What They Seem aka Eye of the Camel

    Sounds like “The most beautiful farewell in the world” is a great drama to watch, guess chances is slim from what X mentioned :<
    haved watched Noh's Have We Really Loved, More Beautiful Than a Flower, Goodbye Solo, Worlds Within but Flowers and Solo have lasting impression on me than her other dramas ;p

  11. Just relalized that a friend had downloaded Taereung National Village for me a while back so maybe I will start off with this little gem first since it was quite a rave not so long ago!

  12. I have heard so much about TNV and so thank heavens for the links. I really like Lee Min Ki ever since I watched him in I Really, Really Like You albeit the drama was nothing to rave about.

    Thanks, Thundie, for sharing with us your treasure trove.

  13. … not so much a LOL at taohu… but i couldn’t resist a snicker, i’m sorry. it wasn’t even so much the typo but your remark that followed thereafter.

    thanks for these links. i’ve heard lots about taereung national village and wanted to watch but had no idea where to get at it! now if only some kind soul could point me in the direction of the other drama that i want to lay my itchy hands on due to all the unexpectedly good reviews i’ve heard – story of hyang dan… anyone?? (yes.. the one with choi si won. i, too, was turned off my that which led to me apparently missing out on some serious fun!)

  14. I just finished watching Taereung National Village and I loved it! I loved the cast but I’m totally impressed by Kim Byeol’s performance.

    Thank you very much, Thundie! The links you shared are priceless. Please keep sharing your treasures with us. 🙂

  15. thanks so much for these links! good thing I was reading dramabeans then come upon the post of your 2009 review and yes, the link to your blog.

    been wanting to watch Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father because I admit I only have news about mainstream KEntertainment.

    but thanks to you and these links, I could see this for myself. 🙂

  16. Hi Thundie – just wanted to say thank you so much for posting these links! Recently discovered Dalja’s Spring and have since been completely Kang Taebong-ed/Lee Minki-ed and was looking high and low for his other dramas such as TNV. It really is an amazing gem – thank you so much for sharing it!!!!

  17. Hi Thundie,

    I just want u to know that i enjoy ur blogs, news, articles I think almost everything you and dahee shared with us. I love Manzzang! I wanted to see Shindon, Im finished with Hyena years back right after the Vineyard Man. Please post news about Manzzang if u get hold of anything even bits of information about him. I do like him he is such a talented actor. I even wanted to go to Korea ang see his plays …..lol. Im from the Philippines. Thanks and kisses!

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