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Top Five Binge-able Korean shows on Netflix

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Rugal

Police officer Kang Ki-beom lost his eyes and his wife and was set up for the whole thing after he put all his efforts into taking down the large criminal organization Argos. Now recruited to the super-secret NIS special task force known as “Rugal”, where the members are given biotechnology implants to replace their missing body parts and thus gain the equivalent of superpowers, Kang Ki-beom, and his teammates set out to really take down Argos, and bring his wife’s killers to justice!

The show is full of kick-ass fight scenes, fun Robocop-like scenes courtesy of Kang’s bionic eyes and his co-worker’s replacement parts, and all the Korean cop drama you can shake your kim-chi at!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZtgPv3LjrI

Mystic Pop-Up Bar

Mobile outdoor tent pop-up bars known as pojangmacha are a staple in Korea, but this one is special! Run by sharp-tempered proprietress Weol-ju and her stoic partner Chief Gwi, Mystic Pop-up Bar actually solves their client’s issues through a supernatural method of dream incubation. Both Weol-ju and Chief Gwi are spirits sent back to the Living Realm as a punishment; Weol-ju has to settle the grudges of 100,000 souls to be forgiven for her crimes in a past life and Chief Gwi has sworn to help her.

Han Kang-bae is a kind young man who was cursed since he was little with the ability to make anyone pour out their innermost truths to him through physical contact. And when Weol-ju meets hapless Han Kang-bae, it’s a match made in the supernatural realm, and ripe for all kinds of nefarious shenanigans!

Full of heart and snark and the continual reminder that people really need to just talk to each other instead of keeping it all in, Mystic Pop-up Bar boasts shades of the beloved Japanese anime Xxxholic and is a great supernatural jaunt for a Korean drama.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0RfpPHksRA

100 Days My Prince

The first of a few saeguk (Korean historical drama) entries, this one begins with an unusual premise – a prince suffering amnesia who finds love amongst the common people.

So Lee Yul is the crown prince, whether he likes it or not, after a successful coup completely rearranges the power and King of the Court. From a devastated boy who loses his beloved mother at a tender age too, he grows into a bitter and cold young man who seems to delight in pegging-down everyone around him. Resentful and angry, during a drought plaguing the kingdom and everyone else plaguing him about consummating his marriage to the crown princess, Lee Yul commands for all unmarried people under a certain age to wed.

And then en route to the rain ritual, a botched assassination attempt sends the crown prince with a head wound amongst the common folk, to be taken care of by Hong-shim, her adoptive father, and a cadre of other very-common peasant friends. Facing arrest if she doesn’t obey the new law, Hong-shim ends up marrying the newly-arrived and rechristened amnesiac Won-deuk, and hilarity ensues!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LxsJGR7DgU

Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung

A fictional story of one of the first four female historians of the Korean Joseon period to ever be involved in compiling the Veritable Records of the dynasty.

Goo Hae-ryung is plucky and smart, but also young and undeniably female, which of course means everyone thinks she’s destined for an arranged marriage with a stranger, a passel of children, and likely young death from overwork. Instead, Goo Hae-ryung takes her destiny in her own hands and determinedly joins the testing for female historians, passing the challenge and joining a highly exclusive formerly mens-only club of historians that compile the Veritable Records for future generations.

As she struggles to work on the same level as the men, Hae-ryung meets the throwaway prince Yi Rim, himself an frustrated and overlooked soul who loves to write romance novels, of all things, and that earns him arrogant sniffs from his peers too.

Workplace romance shenanigans ensue, the constant struggle for the stability of the Joseon dynasty leads to life-threatening political entanglements, and through all this, Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung is there to fearlessly endure and record it for the precious historical records.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqaGhUJ9Vgs

My Country The New Age

Another saeguk entry, this one focuses more on military battles and aristocratic political mongering, though there is a small, sweet romance laced throughout the bloody business; a pretty pair of pink shoes abandoned on the battlefield as Korea fights its blood-soaked way from the Goryeo dynasty to the new Joseon dynasty.

A pair of friends begin the story by taking the state military exam together – Seo-hwi is a blacksmith and the disgraced son of a man wrongly executed for embezzlement, while Seon-ho is technically an aristocrat but still looked down upon as his mother was a concubine. Seon-ho commits an unforgivable act of betrayal against Seo-hwi at the exam, setting off a downward spiral that pits the two brothers at odds with each other, set against the backdrop of epic dynastic changes as one era ends and a new one attempts to rise from the ashes.

Lavish with well-made fight scenes and the kind of drama and tragedy that Korean shows are famous for, My Country The New Age is a tear-jerker of the finest quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khANmq-3Too

Bonus entry – Kingdom

Yet another saeguk entry, Kingdom is of course set in the Korean Joseon period and is full of your standard political and social strife, but with one significant addition – zombies!

Three years after the fictional Unpo Wetland Battle, where 500 Korean soldiers and the governor-turned-general defeated an invading Japanese army of 30,000 using some terrible secret methods, Kingdom skillfully weaves a horrific storyline of the unquiet dead through an already-epic tale of dynastic betrayal and manipulation. Featuring a starring role from Bae Doona (Sense8, The Host, Cloud Atlas) as the physician’s assistant turned war medic Seo-bi, Kingdom boasts two whole seasons available on Netflix now!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l-yByZpaaM

 

 

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Frogfathers lessons from the Normandy surf

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Frog Fathers: Lessons from the Normandy Surf” is a deeply moving documentary directed by Bob Whitney, narrated by John C McGinley, and presented by World of Warships and FORCE BLUE. It chronicles the journey of four Navy SEAL veterans revisiting the site of the D-Day landings to honor their forefathers and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made during World War II.

The film’s strength lies in its raw emotional impact and historical significance. It blends personal narratives with archival footage, offering a poignant tribute to the bravery and resilience of those who fought on June 6, 1944. The veterans’ reflections and the cinematography effectively capture the solemnity and reverence of their pilgrimage.

While the documentary focuses primarily on the veterans’ experiences, it also serves as an educational tool, highlighting the strategic importance of the Normandy invasion and its pivotal role in shaping modern history. The film’s respectful approach and engaging storytelling make it a compelling watch for anyone interested in military history and the enduring legacy of the D-Day heroes.

Overall, “Frog Fathers” is a powerful and heartfelt documentary that honors the past while inspiring present and future generations to remember the sacrifices made for freedom 

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American Horror Story: Delicate

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As most of us are already aware, the 12th Season of AHS has been fraught with all kinds of differences to the previous seasons, mainly in that this is the first one to be based entirely off a novel, ‘Delicate Condition’ by Danielle Valentine. The first half of the season aired in October 2023 to mediocre reviews, while the SAG-AFTRA strike caused production and airing delays for the latter half of the season, and the episodes of Part 2 were all cut to less than an hour long apiece. And none of that is even getting into the disjointed attempt at storytelling for Season 12, so let’s dive into this! 

Meet Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), former young ling star of Hollywood now struggling to recapture fame as an adult, who wants a baby, very very badly. Bad enough to drive herself and her husband Dex (Matt Czuchry) through multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF (in-vitro fertilization), bad enough to keep trying no matter how crushing each failure turns out to be, bad enough to involve her purported best friend and bougie publicist Siobhan Corbyn (Kim Kardashian) in her struggles, and maybe, just maybe, bad enough to give up on a burgeoning resurgence of her career after interest in her comeback role for The Auteur begins garnering her Oscar-worthy attention. 

So, Anna and Dex are going to go through yet another round of IVF, likely one of their last attempts at it, from a different doctor, Dr. Andrew Hill (Denis O’Hare), and clinic based on Siobhan’s recommendation. And already, strange things are beginning to happen to Anna – her appointments that she set herself begin springing up incorrectly, a doom saying woman called Preacher (Julia White) shows up spouting warnings about trusting no one, dire warnings appear in unlikely places, and BTW, it seems as though long-suffering but good-nurtured Dex has a side-piece too. It doesn’t help that Dex’s new partner at his art gallery, Sonia Shawcross (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), bears a striking resemblance to his dead ex-wife Adeline, either. Those spiked emerald heels start appearing weirdly too, and it seems as though no one will listen to Anna as she grows more and more suspicious that some sort of sinister cult has designs on her as-yet-unborn baby. At the same time, Anna tries to live the life of a successful returning actress, attending parties and gallery openings while draping her rapidly-expanding middle in shimmering fabrics and actively ‘campaigning’ for that little golden statue that most actors covet. Competition is fierce, even among her co-stars of The Auteur, and while Anna wants to be supportive of her fellow entertainers, she clearly appears to be incapable of doing both at the same time – wanting the baby and the little gold award at the same time is too much to ask, apparently. 

Elsewhere, mostly in the past, various women in states of desperation formed from one situation or another are visited by sinister-looking women in prim black dresses, headgear reminiscent of – to me anyway – an odd cross betwixt birds and bunnies, my guess is an ostensive nod to fertility in general, and a general feeling of blood-bound witchery about them at critical moments of crossroad choices. 

Though the second half of the season moves a good deal faster than the first, the attempts at callbacks and reminder flashes to Part 1 hit with all the impact of a dropped bag of garbage onto their friends Talia’s (Julia Canfield) borrowed bougie kitchen floor – splat, into incomprehensible silence, from all parties, both characters and audience, concerned. Even the reminders that, in Part 1 of Delicate Dex’s mother Virginia Harding (Debra Monk) did indeed have perfectly valid memories of abuse at the hands of a black cult and Dex’s own father Dex Sr. (Reed Birney), the revelation pales and peels away in the face of Dex’s true parentage. 

Which brings us back around full circle kinda sorta, to the only real character worth a damn in this entire miserable season of strange feminism and aspirations of world domination through a kind of idiotic Rosemary’s Baby nightmare scenario, we should have known she’d steal the show when Kardashian was cast for it, Siobhan Corbyn, leader of the blood cult her high and mighty (old) self. Throughout the whole show her character has remained exactly the same, and it’s a wonder Anna can stare at her all stupefied while Siobhan does her villain speech at the end of the last episode. Siobhan never masked her ambition or greed, her mysterious protective vibe and even deep love for Anna, and can always be counted on to have secret plans of her own, already in motion, bitch. 

The idea that Anna herself was used as a surrogate for Siobhan and her incestuous eugenicist plans, plus the sweet little demon baby she just birthed, has an ironic the-world-is-tilting-the-wrong-way kind of witchy madness to it. Sure, Anna really can have it all, the baby and the golden statue, if only she joins the patriarchy-crushing cabal of blood witches with world domination plans, got it. 

I have questions, or I would have, but things are moving on and Anna is being saved by … Dex’s dead ex, Adaline the former member of the coven right okay her, she’s going to show back up and offer Anna a simple chant to Hestia her patron Goddess, and that is somehow enough to deal with Siobhan entirely – poof. And finally, after all that rigamarole, decades of planning and scheming and witchy plotting finally settled, Anna really can have it all as a White Witch of Hollywood, heaven help us, with her perfectly human baby and that damned little golden statue, clutched in an only slightly desperate grip. 

As with any season of AHS there are a great deal of statements that could be implied just under the skin of the season – the canker way of ambition, the millenia-old pain of a woman giving birth, the savagery and bloodshed that comes with bringing forth life, pushback against both the patriarchy and ultra-feminism, the absolute desperation of humans wanting to have a child, and perhaps strangest and most open to interpretation of all, what it means to be feminine. The worlds population of women who can’t or don’t or simply won’t have children, for any reason or none, are relegated to servants, expendable servants at that, for this new world order that Siobhan is proposing, and that is far too close a comfort to things like outright slavery. A dictator is a dictator, no matter how great she looks in those emerald spiked heels. 

It’s not the really beautiful grotesquerie that Ryan Murphy and his AHS gang are often known for, nor is it utterly terrible and should be burned at the stake. What Delicate should be, is put back together with missing and cut footage, an hour long per episode again come on folks, fleshed some more of Siobhan’s baby-stealing adventures in the past and given us an actual reason to like anything about the whiny Anna, at least the Part 2 we as longtime AHS fans deserve. Toss in some more spidery hijinks! Give us the actual origin of those weird feather bunny-ear headdresses! 

American Horror Story Delicate the whole season can be seen on FX! 

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Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery in a World Gone Prehistoric!

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Hold onto your hats, dino fans! The highly anticipated sequel to the adrenaline-pumping Camp Cretaceous saga is here, and it’s taking us on a wild ride six years in the making. Following the harrowing events of Camp Cretaceous, our beloved “Nublar Six” are back, but they’re not out of the woods just yet. In fact, they’re about to plunge headfirst into a world where dinosaurs roam freely alongside dangerous humans, and trust us when we say, it’s a Jurassic jungle out there!

Picture this: a world where survival isn’t just about avoiding sharp-toothed predators but also navigating the treacherous waters of human greed and deceit. As our resilient heroes reunite in the aftermath of a heart-wrenching tragedy, they quickly realize that danger lurks around every corner, and trust is a luxury they can’t afford. 

But wait, there’s more! Prepare to embark on a globetrotting adventure like no other as the Nublar Six find themselves thrust into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens not only the fragile balance between dinosaurs and humanity but also their very existence. From the lush jungles of Isla Nublar to the bustling streets of bustling cities, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions as our intrepid group races against time to uncover the truth about one of their own and, ultimately, save both dinosaur and humankind from certain doom.

So, dear readers, if you thought you’d seen it all in Jurassic Park, think again! With heart-stopping action, pulse-pounding suspense, and jaw-dropping revelations, this latest installment promises to be a game-changer in the Jurassic universe. Get ready to roar with excitement because Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery is about to take a bite out of your imagination and leave you hungry for more!

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