Review: Triad Princess (2019)

Triad Princess 2019

I was really excited for Netflix’s new original Taiwanese series Triad Princess but unfortunately my feelings after watching it are: salty and disappointed.

I can’t believe Netflix released a first “season” with six episodes that are ~40 minutes (the final episode is only 34 minutes!) and ended it on a cliffhanger. These six episodes not only felt like only part of the story, but they also felt extremely rushed and at times disjointed.

I really like both Jasper Liu and Eugenie Liu, and the premise of this series sounded like fun—gangster’s daughter meets and falls in love with the actor she’s always fangirled over! The action scenes in the show are purely comedic, cheesy, and just for fun. Sometimes it’s over the top, but I can accept that because at its heart Triad Princess is a romantic comedy not an action thriller.

Eugenie does a great job portraying Ai Qi (Angie in the subtitles), a fierce, bubbly young woman who tries to forge an independent path for herself. On the other hand, Jasper’s character Yi Hang felt underdeveloped. He’s a cute, charming, popular actor who loves elephants. That’s all I got from him. The relationship between An Qi and Yi Hang developed unbelievably quickly. Emphasis on unbelievable as in “I absolutely did not believe it.” It seemed more to me like An Qi’s fangirl dream was coming true and Yi Hang liked the novelty of someone new and fun. Interestingly enough, An Qi’s mother was also a celebrity so there are parallels presented but they are not adequately explored.

When Yi Hang and An Qi quickly face their first obstacle, I was still in disbelief that they had already fallen in love. These obstacles are all told rather than shown—various characters tell the main leads about the challenges and sacrifices that their relationship will cause, but we don’t see the damage that should have already been caused. In addition, Jasper is working on a secret personal project and I would’ve thought that perhaps the storyline would be that An Qi feeling used. I’m just skeptical that An Qi sees past Yi Hang being this dreamy actor she’s always had a crush on, and realizes that he is a real, layered human being with flaws. He could be an elephant pajama-wearing jerk! I’m not going to automatically be on Team Yi Hang just because Jasper Liu plays him and he has a cute smile, alright?

In comparison, I found myself liking Eddie Kim much more and thought the actor who plays him, Tsao Yu Ning, was excellent. He’s sweet, caring, and patient to An Qi, and at the same time, you know he’s a gangster’s son and there must be more to him. He’s an intriguing character and his moments with An Qi feel more genuine.

In addition, a lot of interesting side stories are introduced, including An Qi’s friend Ding Ding, the actress Ling Yun, and Yi Hang and Ling Yun’s manager Sophia, but none of them are developed nearly enough. Ling Yun’s storyline seemed to demand the most urgency and yet it only came into play when it was convenient. There’s a cute m/m side romance, although the scenes felt overly dream-like.

If Netflix releases more episodes (I mean, they’d BETTER!), then I will definitely continue watching but I wouldn’t call myself a fan of this series at this point. There’s so much potential but we’ll see if Netflix can fulfill it.

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Triad Princess (2019): Episode 1 Recap

Triad Princess 2019

I’ve been so excited for Netflix’s original series, Triad Princess, because it stars Eugenie Liu and Jasper Liu. After watching two out of the six episodes, I’m really enjoying this action-romance-comedy. Six episodes seems so short, so my guess is they’re waiting to see if it does well before ordering a second season.

Drama Synopsis: Eugenie Liu plays An Qi (the subtitles say Angie), the daughter of a mob boss who runs away from home to avoid an arranged marriage. Meanwhile, Jasper Liu plays Yi Hang, a popular actor known for his charming, warm personality, and it just so happens that Angie’s fierceness melts into a fangirl daze every time she thinks about Jasper. When Yi Hang’s reported girlfriend and actress Ling Yun, played by Cecilia Choi, receives a blackmail letter, their manager hires An Qi to be Ling Yun’s bodyguard.

Keep reading for my recap of the first episode!

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Review: Lucky’s First Love (2019)

The World Owes Me a First Love 2019

Also known as The World Owes Me A First Love, this 24-episode modern drama is available with English subtitles on Viki. It stars Xing Zhao Lin, best known for The Eternal Love, as Xia Ke, the CEO of a gaming startup, and Bai Lu, best known for The Legends and Arsenal Military Academy, as Xing Yun, the startup’s first employee.

I like that this drama doesn’t begin with our two leads meeting, but after they’ve worked together for a couple years. Since they already know each other so well, Lucky’s First Love is about overcoming familiarity and realizing that you’ve fallen in love with someone who is already by your side.

That being said, it takes quite some time for the romance between Xia Ke and Xing Yun to develop. In the beginning (and this is not a spoiler since it the storyline happens immediately), Xing Yun dates someone else and since it’s her first time dating, she’s not familiar with what to expect. There are huge red flags that she rationalizes due to her lack of experience. I was cringing so hard. Then almost immediately afterward this storyline, there’s another “obstacle” between her and Xing Yun, and it was even worse. Although most reviewers called this drama “light and fluffy” it actually stressed me out because I was waiting so long for them to get together.

However, I did for the most part enjoy the supporting characters and there were a lot of humorous moments. Although Xing Zhao Lin’s acting isn’t always that great, and Bai Lu’s wig gets a little annoying (it just drives me crazy that she has that center braid hairstyle the entire way through!), I thought the two of them had good chemistry and I loved their scenes together.

If you haven’t watched this drama, here’s the trailer:

Additional thoughts with some minor spoilers follow!

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Review: Graceful Family (2019)

Graceful Family 2019

I haven’t watched a Korean drama in a while, and Graceful Family seemed like the dark and intense mystery-thriller drama I was looking for. I watched it on Viki with English subtitles, and actually watched it as it aired. I rarely do this because I don’t like waiting every week for new episodes.

While Graceful Family started out strong, I lost interest at around episode 11. Since there are only 16 episodes in total, I powered through to the end. Unfortunately, it never won back my interest. The best part of this drama was Im Soo Hyang, who skillfully plays the main character, Mo Seok Hee, showcasing both fierceness and vulnerability. Mo Seok Hee returns to Korea after being exiled to the U.S. 15 years ago when her mother was murdered. Her grandfather wants her to be his successor, but her father has other plans. Meanwhile, Mo Seok Hee teams up with lawyer Heo Yoon Do to find out who really murdered her mother.

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First Impressions: The Love by Hypnotic (2019)

The Love By Hypnotic 2019

I’m pleasantly surprised by The Love by Hypnotic, a historical romance web drama currently airing on Tencent (concluding next week on November 13). The first few episodes had me laughing out loud non-stop, and I have reached episode 15 (out of 36) in just a few days. I’m watching on YouTube with English subtitles via Tencent Video. If you’re looking for a fun romance-centered historical drama, definitely give The Love by Hypnotic a try!

Li Ming Yue (played by Ling Mei Shi) is a princess from Xiyue who is brought to Beixuan to marry Li Qian (played by Alen Fang), a prince. Li Ming Yue has the ability of hypnosis, and after using it on Li Qian, he discovers that he is able to recover lost memories from his childhood.

For a historical drama, the plot so far has been very focused on their romance. Ming Yue is playful and spirited, in opposition to Li Qian’s calm and serious demeanor and their interactions are so fun to watch. Yes, I’ve seen so many dramas recently with cold/stony male leads, but I don’t consider Li Qian one of them because he does show emotions. (Also, the sleepwalking is hilarious.)

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Review: My Girlfriend is an Alien (2019)

My Girlfriend is an Alien 2019

This was such a fun drama and despite some flaws, is one of my favorites of 2019.

The summary I’ve seen for My Girlfriend is an Alien makes it sound so bizarre but the basic premise is: the female lead, Chai Xiao Qi, is an alien who gets stuck on Earth unintentionally and needs to get her homing device back from the male lead, Fang Leng, a CEO who happens to suffer from a specific kind of amnesia that causes him to forget the women in his life when it rains.

Wan Peng and Hsu Thassapak were so great as the leads and had a lot of chemistry. I thought Wan Peng really pulled off the clueless boy-crazy alien without being annoying. (Maybe a hint of cringeyness at times, but overall I thought she was endearing!) They had plenty of cute moments and kissing scenes, and I laughed so hard when Xiao Qi kept trying to touch his chest. I really loved that this story wasn’t instalove for her (just instalust, lol), and she approached everything with a positive attitude.

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Review: Conspiracy of Love (2019)

Conspiracy of Love 2019

Conspiracy of Love is a 2019 iQiyi web drama consisting of 24-episodes. I previously wrote a recap of episodes 1-3. This is a suspense/mystery drama with a twist.

My immediate reaction upon finishing this drama was: wow, what did I just watch?? But not in the good way.

I really liked the first 9 episodes. When the story seemed to be about the female lead trying to uncover the truth/get revenge using all kinds of methods and entering a partnership with the male lead, it was enjoyable. They were an even, balanced match—both smart and driven, with their own goals. I thought they were a pretty cute pair. The male lead’s best friend is also a fun, kind-hearted character.

But after episode 9, the plot becomes increasingly convoluted and nonsensical. There are so many different people involved, their motives were murky (I never did understand Xia Yu Xuan), and a certain aspect was pretty far-fetched. From episodes 13-21, the plot just kept going back and forth with no progress, and then in episodes 22-23, the characters finally just flat-out explain everything. Even the final episode was disappointing; I was hoping for some fun scenes to reward me for getting through 23 episodes of ridiculousness. If you are watching for the romance, you’ll be especially frustrated. *sigh*

Note: On iQiyi, this drama is separated into two seasons of 12 episodes each.

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My Girlfriend is an Alien: Episode 1 Recap

My Girlfriend is an Alien Episode 1

I started watching the currently-airing web drama My Girlfriend is an Alien because I’m always curious about storylines involving aliens, and I am LOVING it. I have watched through episode 16 and despite things getting a tad repetitive in episodes 9-12, I’m still really enjoying it. The female lead is so charming, and since she’s not familiar with human norms you can’t really fault her for her behavior. There are so many scenes of her touching the male lead’s chest, lol.

The official translated summary is somewhat confusing, but the basic premise is that Chai Xiaoqi (played by Wan Peng) is an alien who gets stuck on Earth after she’s attracted by Fang Leng’s (played by Hsu Thassapak) hormones and saves him from a car explosion, becoming separated from her spaceship and losing her communication device in the process. In order to get the device back, she seeks him out. Fang Leng is a capable CEO who secretly suffers from a psychological condition that causes him to forget the women he’s met when it rains, and he enlists Chai Xiaoqi for help in treating his condition.

The other major characters include Chai Xiaoqi’s boss, who takes her in, and Fang Leng’s younger half-brother Fang Lie, who becomes a close friend of Xiaoqi’s. (If you watched Fall in Love, you’ll recognize Fang Lie! He’s played by the same actor who played An Yue Sheng. I feel like his acting has improved in this drama.) There’s also Fang Leng’s assistant and his doctor, his father and stepmother, and an old flame seeking to get back together with him. Oh, and Xiaoqi has a talking turtle.

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Review: Love Is Deep (2019)

Love Is Deep 2019

YIKES. After I wrote such a positive First Impressions & Episode 1 Recap, Love Is Deep turned out to be overwhelmingly disappointing. This drama is frustrating 40 episodes long because the same issues kept arising but the characters never seemed to learn and grow from them. I began watching half-heartedly in the second hand and the final storyline was awful. I can’t believe how they wrote the ending.

Ding Ding, the female lead played by Kang Ning, dreams of designing pet toys and finally begins pursuing her dream, facing the challenges of running an online shop and creating original designs. I loved that this was a major storyline that didn’t get pushed aside for the relationship. In fact, Ding Ding actually put her work first at times, which I really liked. That’s a valid choice! 👏

Ning Wei Jin, the male lead played by Hu Yun Hao, is a talented young surgeon, and although unexperienced with love, he is reliable, caring, and mature. I personally didn’t swoon over him but he was excellent boyfriend material. I liked his relationship with his younger sister Ning Wei Xuan and his best friend Gao Ren. He (and his sister) have a difficult relationship with their father.

The real highlight of this drama was Ding Ding’s best friend Xiao Feng, who gave the BEST advice. You could always count on him to call her out on her behavior. Basically, every time Ding Ding’s ex-boyfriend re-appeared in the storyline (which was way too many times), it would cause an issue between Ding Ding and Ning Wei Jin. It made Ning Wei Jin feel like Ding Ding wasn’t letting go of her ex, and Ding Ding never seemed to understand or care about how he felt. It seemed hypocritical on Ding Ding’s part given how she felt when she saw Ning Wei Jin with his close female friend.

As for the supporting characters, Ning Wei Xuan is a really energetic and lighthearted, and relentlessly pursues her brother’s best friend Gao Ren. Their scenes initially are so much fun—another highlight of the drama for me—and had me laughing out loud. However, there was a point when she really crossed the line and I no longer found her antics funny. I really wanted her to reflect over her actions and grow up a little. Also, while I loved Gao Ren, the introduction of the other doctor really showed how immature he was in comparison. (That other doctor deserved better.)

In conclusion: If you start to feel like you want to drop the drama, especially because of the storylines with the ex, then you should probably drop it before the last few episodes.

SPOILERS FOLLOW!

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