Two episodes in and I know I don’t want to marathon this drama in a hurry. I want to savor it slowly, like one drinking in the view from a mountain peak.
The cinematography blows me away. From the arid plains in Episode 1 to the verdant hills in Episode 2, I lose count of the number of times I’ve paused in mid-watch to sigh, “Show, you are breathtakingly beautiful.” Yet at no time do I feel that the beauty is there merely for display and for me to gawk at. The camera never lingers longer than necessary; the backdrops never distract.
Why an older drama like Emperor of the Sea? Isn’t that a 2004 production?
Guilt, first of all. That three-volume set sitting on the shelf and looking all forlorn whenever I walk past. How many years has it sat there?
And giddy anticipation. Because ever since I found this when I was looking for a suitable image for the Titans on our screen page, I’ve been antsy. Can’t wait to watch him!
So did he make an appearance in Episode 1?
He did. Even the lizards in my room squealed when he appeared. But you should see the lizards’ reaction and mine when Brad Pitt’s two lady loves, one current and one former, popped up on the screen.
C’mon, be serious.
I kid you not. At first I thought I was seeing things, but when they appeared one after another and then stood side by side (ready to scalp each other), every doubt dissolved and I about fell off my chair. Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. In a sageuk!
Was it six years ago? A man and a woman at night, she bleeding from a wound on her shoulder, he tending so gently to the wound. Their voices are as soft as the breeze is light. As they walk home afterwards, cherry blossoms flutter around them, like a million pink and white lights aglow in the dark.
Even now, six years later, I can’t speak of my first sageuk (Korean historical or period drama) without a lump suddenly forming in my throat. Damo changed my life, literally flinging me over the edge into the depths of kdrama addiction. It marked the beginning of a love affair that has continued to grow; both my top movie and drama are period ones and I don’t see any other genre coming along to topple them, in the foreseeable future or otherwise.
Damo stayed at the top of my favorites list for a long time, but the day finally came when I had to sadly acknowledge that another drama would take its place. So it has been, this game of musical chairs, this rotation of faves and favored. I’m not alone. One of the contributors to this post sent me this note along with her picks: “I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE MY MIND.” (See how passionate we sageuk fans are? Haha.)
So here we are, a special post on my favorite genre. Six dear friends, all familiar names in the Kdrama community, responded enthusiastically to my invitation to participate in this poll of sorts. Nine categories in all (because it’s obvious thundie can’t count; she thought she listed ten), with picks that I’m sure will delight or dismay you. Wrapping up the post is a hilarious and insightful look at how sageuk and wuxia stack up against each other.
Many thanks (and cups of coffee) to ockoala (who wrote the sageuk/wuxia piece), dahee, dramaok, hjkomo, javabeans and His Grumpiness misterX. All of you inspire me every day to be a more discerning viewer.
Ah, this was the year where I tipped over the edge into full-blown K-addiction.
Prior to that I was just an innocent hanger-on (this post explains the six stages of K-addiction; hanger-on is the second stage). But everything changed in 2004. I learned to download a drama for the first time, albeit with much hair-pulling, and I also met him. The rest, as they say, is history.
Part 5 of our Best and Worst Dramas poll brings back so many memories for me. I hope it triggers some for you, too.
(Psst, have you voted in the Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 polls yet?)