I decided I shall juz start on the mid-show review for Witch Romance slightly earlier, given the buzz online with viewers comparing the Taiwanese (original) version with the Korean (adapted) version. Imo, both shows have its flaws and strengths. But both are equally entertaining.

1) Witch Ji-yeon vs Queen Wu Shuang

wr3Witch Ji-yeon loses this round. Comparatively, she is less mean and caustic than Queen Wu Shuang. Some viewers have explained this as a cultural difference between how women are treated and viewed in Korea versus Taiwan. They suggest that majority of Korean women are still expected to become homemakers with the men bearing the brunt of earning the household income after marriage. Thus, women are fully feminised and from what I observe from k-dramas, usually the female lead is hardly a mean hussy. So, maybe this interpretation is correct?

Or it could simply be explained by the lack of having the luxury of 21eps to flush out a story. My Queen is longer, so Wu Shuang can display all levels of bitc*iness in the early parts of the show and only gradually reveal her weaknesses. However, that does not explain why Ji-yeon had to crawl around wailing for rescue when she sprained her ankle during the company’s retreat. If I remembered, Wu Shuang was panicky, but she didn’t get discovered by Lucas (the Taiwanese version of Dong-ha) on all fours.

2) The White Knights: Dong-ha vs. Lucas

Lucas is more annoying, so Dong-ha wins this round with his 100% gentlemanly behaviours. In My Queen, Lucas does come across at certain times to be reckless, rash and a little spoilt. However, Lucas is faster than Dong-ha to pointedly tell Wu Shuang he likes her, and repeats non-stop that the 8-years gap between them is not an “infinite gap”. In contrast, Dong-ha from the onset is the perfect dongseang boyfriend to have. Despite him being younger by 14 years, he has emotional maturity to see through Ji-yeon’s bluff to her deep-seated insecurity. He is also very sensitive to the age issue, unlike Lucas (maybe cos theirs is more pronounced?), and doesn’t keep pressing Ji-yeon to overlook it. In fact, he fully empathises with Ji-yeon’s hesitation.

(also I personally find Park Seo-joon better looking than Ethan Ruan…so maybe this comparison isn’t that fair) 😛

3) Pacing

Of cos Witch is on speed dial as compared to Queen. Advantageous, cos the story is tighter and we get to the juicy bits (like the retreat and the hyacinth incidents) much faster. But something needs to be done about the editing for Witch. It is so tight it becomes jumpy. I bet all of you were scratching your head and going back to ep4 to see if you missed out anything (like me)…cos ep5 of Witch has done a time-space jump. We ended in ep4 at the airport with Shi-hoon and Ji-yeon sitting a mere metre apart, then in ep5’s beginning, Dong-ha and Ji-yeon are packing for the company’s retreat. (what the ???)

I understand that the objective of ep4 is to start introducing Shi-hoon the second lead to us, and pre-empt the conflict leading up. But that is still not an excuse for seriously lousy editing.

Also, since Witch has pushed forward the meeting between Ji-yeon and Shi-hoon, and we still  have like 10 more eps left, I hope the remainder of the show is not going to be a lot of angst and rubbishy noble idiocy — the potholes of k-dramas.

4) Bi*ch war

wr2I am referring to the female second lead, usually termed as the Annoying Bi*ch in dramaland. If I am to compare the level of potential mean-ness and backstabbing ability, Han Jia Jia from My Queen will take home the prize. Similar to Eun-chae, she first appears as a harmless and innocent intern. But Jia Jia initally also has a bad taste in clothes. Her transformation comes about after the episode where she meets and conquers her “old flame” — in her case, the mean je*k who bullied her at the retreat WAS an old flame she knew from the States, he tried to date rape her and later lost his chance in the national football team cos of the assault. After the episode, she sheds her Ugly Duckling’s innocence (and her wholesome goodness) to become the Black Swan.

Eun-chae, on the other hand, doesn’t undergo such a drastic transformation. Other than becoming a little more confident, a little braver…she is, more or less, still the same Eun-chae. Which means she is less of a threat to Ji-yeon than Jia Jia is to Wu Shuang. (i don’t mind really, i am sick of seeing women playing the pro-active roles being labelled as “evil” in dramaland)

5) The cockfight

It’s still too early to compare Yun Hao (Shi-hoon’s Taiwanese counterpart) with Shi-hoon now…since we are only formally introduced to Shi-hoon in ep6’s ending. However, like T-drama, K-dramas also love the idea of having 2 men fighting over 1 woman (very caveman-like, but well..). So we can look forward to many heated tensions between the two guys.

Then again, Queen’s Yun Hao is the perfect prototype of k-drama gentlemanly and sensitive second make lead. Witch’s Dong-ha is already uber sensitive and gentlemanly, since they have scaled down Lucas’ brashness. So…that lands us where? (or maybe Ji-yeon can juz take both guys. i’m sure Uhm Jung-hwais fully capable of that)