TV Binge: Find Yourself (下一站是幸福, 2020)

Find Yourself (下一站是幸福, 2020)

Find Yourself

Cast: Victoria Song, Wei Long Song, David Wang, Yu Jian Zhang, Esther Yu, Katherine Yang, Miles Wei, Elaine Tong, Jocelyn Zhou

He Fan Xing’s company is at risk of being acquired while her relationship with Yuan Song faces societal pressures due to their age difference. The consecutive blows in her work and love life push her to an emotional quagmire and it is during this time that Ye Lu Ming enters her life. Being older in age, he is mature, stable and knowledgeable. He becomes He Fan Xing’s life coach and the source of conflict between the couple. For He Fan Xing, it’s not merely a matter of choosing the man that she loves but considering the contradictions of adopting the traditional mindset on marriage. – MyDramaList

Where to Watch: Netflix

QUOTES/SCENE

Yuan Song (YS): Almost there! Almost there!
Fan Xing (FX): How long?
YS: Right away. Just a few steps.
FX: Where are we going?
YS: We’re there!
FX: Wow!
YS: Looking at night scenery doesn’t count as creative but when I spend a lot of money, you have pressure. Not spending money and making you happy, I didn’t have time to prepare.
FX: You noticed?
YS: When you filled up my fridge, I already noticed.
FX: What else did you notice?
YS: I noticed that today you are exceptionally pretty, does that count?
FX: *laughs*
YS: What are you laughing at? Was I really weird just now? Did my eyes not attract you? Online, it said that when you look at someone up close, they will be attracted to you. ..Stop laughing. Is it that funny?
FX: It tickles. Stop, stop! *hugs*
YS: I wish that time would stop.
FX: Being in love (relationship) is so good. We can happily make cups together, can go see movies, look at night scenery, have sweet talk and huge each other next to the river. You’ve already made reality all my imaginations about being in love. No regrets now!
YS: You shouldn’t be easily satisfied. You should keep making a lot of requests to me or else I’m scared that I’ll be proud.

STORY

Find Yourself takes a somewhat different approach to the romance drama love story as it tells the story of the love story between a management level lady in her early 30s and an intern 10 years younger. In many ways, this story is a topic very heavily discussed especially in China.

Find Yourself

It takes on various topics/discussions about whether the person you choose to get married should be someone that you love or someone that’s suitable to you (as in their social status/achievements/age, etc.). Its also the concept of whether respecting your parent’s appearance to others and all the other things needed to be done to be considered a filial daughter when you choose someone that will cause a lot of debate. In reality, its a fun topic to look at because the story actually gives the female lead this “stubborn” view of her ideal relationship and insisting on following her heart which is why at 32, she still hasn’t had a relationship, making this first time full of stumbles and bad decisions when she dates the younger intern as her idealistic self is met with some realistic concerns that causes them to break apart (as expected in these series) and to choose to give up her idealistic relationship bar and try to be with a man who is suitable for her. The story direction and premise is a good one to say the least and the execution is decent for the most part however these dramas are always a tad predictable and some of the events were a little unbelievable.

LENGTH/PACING

Find Yourself

Episodes: 41
Episode length: approx 40 mins.

Any dramas hitting the 40+ episode mark is a little tricky. It always has a little too much of something here and there but seeing as a lot of Chinese dramas hit the 50+ episode marks, 41 episodes isn’t too bad. The fortunate thing for Find Yourself is that it uses its time well. It establishes quickly its main couple, Fan Xing (Victoria Song) and Yuan Song (Wei Long Song) and then give them problems that make them question their relationship around the halfway point. At the same time, the story also establishes quite early on the different elements of family, friends as well as work colleagues and focuses on the relationships between these people to create the different dynamic and uses each of those supporting plot lines well. I’ll talk about each of the relationships in the next section but in essence, the story focuses on one love triangle, three groups of friends, a few families as well as one other main relationship and one supporting one. It sounds like its really full but it actually changes between these scenarios and then flows rather well. It also helps that the dialogue and character development as the story moves along is pretty good that it all wraps up in a satisfying ending for all the characters.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

Romantic Relationship

He Fan Xing (Victoria Song) & Yuan Song (Wei Long Song)

find yourself

The casting for Victoria Song and Wei Long Song is really good. In reality, their age difference is also rather similar to their characters that they portray making it even easier to believe the two of them. On top of that, they are natural in their roles and its believable when they are together and even after their break-up and still thinking of each other and adjusting to the new norm, the dynamic between them shifts and it helps their characters develop. Its what gives so much to the characters of  Fan Xing and Yuan Song when they finally (inevitably) get drawn back together. This time, its with the courage that they should have. In reality, the show gives them both space for Fan Xing to be more brave to follow her heart and not settle and force to do something that against her own beliefs and for Yuan Song to be more mature about his approach and understanding towards Fan Xing’s standpoint.The chemistry between the two is incredibly good and it has a lot to do with the many scenes (as unreal as it might feel, because I’ve seen discussions about this online) setup and structures.

He Chan Yang (Zhang Yu Jian) & Cai Min Min (Esther Yu)

Find Yourself

A flip side of the main relationship is a later developed story line between Fan Xing’s brother Chan Yang who gets pursued by his quirky and over the top student, Cai Min Min who previously was pursuing actively Yuan Song. Her character plays two fold  and in the second half, when Chan Yang agrees to be in a secret relationship with her, things get complicated because of the teacher-student element as well as the age difference. For them, it brings up the point of how people have double standards in society about men dating 10 year younger girls versus women dating 10 years younger men. That’s just an aside as these two are a different dynamic altogether. Their personalities are both more outgoing and actually they each have their own quirkiness and they both brave in their own way to embrace their relationship once they become more stable. Still, it becomes finding the balance of power between being a dominating and more teacher character for Chan Yang or being a boyfriend toward Cai Min Min. These two also have great chemistry but in a different way.

I’m not going to lie that I’ve seen Esther Yu and Yu Jian Zhang before in other TV series (in separate TV series, not as a couple) however these two are really fun to watch all the time. They do get cast in very similar character types but they also can carry their scripts and present those characters really well. They definitely were a ton of fun to watch in this one.

Cong Xiao (Katherine Yang) & Chang Huan (Miles Wei)

Find Yourself

The previous two was more of a main romance where this pair is also a different angle in a more supporting love story as they are best friends and colleagues with different views on love and because of that doesn’t embrace their feelings right away but works hard to get the girl. Their story drags out a little and flails around as they both find their footing but somehow, these story was one side of the characters and chemistry that I liked a lot and worth a mention.

Friendship/Family/Love Interests

Friendship plays a big part here and in reality, the script for the drama seems to focus a lot on the different friendships through different age groups and the things they are going through, mostly relationship-wise. Fan Xing’s two girlfriends have great communication together as they protect each other just like Cai Min Min’s two best friends who also analyze the situation different from them. You can see the script seeing them deal with different stages in life and having to face different problems from cheating husbands to deciding between a future of marriage and kids. Each of these have their concerns at their own age and their own views, giving them their value in the show.

Find Yourself

One of the better friendships to show up is from its love interests. Cai Min Min being Yuan Song’s previous love interests and ends up in a similar situation to his previous secret romance with Fan Xing and finding their discussions to be reflective on both his characters and hers as their opinions start to flip around. At the same time, Fan Xing’s trial to be in a relationship with her suitable choice, Lu Ming (David Wang) always started with a friendship between the two that was much more suitable. Their dynamic being much better when they were interacting as friends than when they were trying to be together with a goal of getting married. In fact, Lu Ming’s chase game for Fan Xing and his big game plan actually was a lot more fun to watch.

Find Yourself

In terms of family, its a huge highlight and probably one of the strengths of the show aside from the romantic elements. Fan Xing’s family in particular focuses on this fun sibling love/rivalry and the parents are very comedic to say the least and actually different from typical Chinese parents in some ways. They had some great moments as well as some great script.

OVERALL

Find Yourself

Find Yourself is a decent Chinese drama. It has a lot to thank for its outstanding cast and gives so much unique life to its characters. It also has a diverse topics of discussion and web of intertwined relationships of romance, sibling, friends, colleagues, schoolmates and family that all play a part in the story its trying to tell. Its about secret relationships and views in the eyes of others as well as age gaps in relationships. There’s enough character development throughout. The first half is a lot more fun to watch than the second half which is a bit more dramatic in probably the third quarter. Luckily, it still remembers those comedic and awkward moments to keep it more light and fluffy. TV series are meant to bring joy especially dramas in this sort of romance, friendship and family area. There’s a few episodes or moments that feel like it drags out but it does quickly find it again. Can I say that other than my obvious love for Esther Yu and Yu Jian Zhang, I’m finding a love for Victoria Song and Wei Long Song and both of them are really popular now with the former being on a good few variety shows lately and the latter having one TV series recently finished airing (I think) and probably one more series to be released.

MAIN THEME

What’s Up 2020: Week 21

Welcome to What’s Up weekly recap of Week 21 of 2020! Last week was somehow very busy or perhaps, its just that I had some writing slump as I’m trying to push through some TV binges and they take a little more writing motivation. Either way, it seems balance is the hardest to achieve in these categories on a weekly basis. This time, I’ve managed to get more reading during the week and now, movie watching is decreasing. I’ll talk more about it all in the different parts below!

READING

to wake the dead

Currently reading: To Wake the Dead

I’ve been working hard on reading To Wake the Dead. So far, I’m almost halfway through the book and its been a pretty fun read. I can’t say that I’m quite as enamored with it as I was in the first book at the moment but its still a solid sequel. There’s still half a book to go and I’m in a semi crunch time to start up the next book so you should be seeing a review for this one sooner rather than later!

It sure feels nice to get back into some morning or evening reading time! Its been actually rather motivating and a nice change in pace to not stare at the PC monitor all day.

PLAYING

Color Spots

  • Color Spots

Currently playing: Orwell, M.O.N.I.T.O.R.

Steam released their Spring Cleaning Event so I’ve been playing around their suggested games. After a little bit of a back and forth on what to review for the next Game Warp, we finally decided on Orwell and that’s what I’ve been playing lately. Its very weird because the event queued up a bunch of surveillance style games on my list including the free game MONITOR that I’ve played less than an hour of before it got hit with a bug that froze it (probably before a save point but I’m scared to go look to find out that I have to replay the section) so I had to shut it down.

On a fun note, I don’t finish a lot of mobile games unless its story-based but Color Spots has 100 levels of main game and 9 extra levels and I actually was having so much fun with this one that I finished all 100 levels and working through the bonus levels right now. I’d say that’s as close to finishing a mobile game as I’d get, right?

WATCHING

Zodiac

  • Zodiac (2007)

Currently watching: Flavors of Youth

As the week ended, I had started up Flavors of Youth but didn’t finish yet. The very sad watching section consists of one movie. Maybe its the long Fincher movie that took a lot of energy to watch and then I just didn’t feel like watching anything. Its not the truth though but more that real life took over and I had to make choices and movie watching was put in the back burner. However, my first time watch of Zodiac (if you don’t count the unfinished first time watch that I dozed off and forgot to go back to finish it) was pretty good. I’m not a fan of the length but its a pretty good movie to say the least.

BINGING

The Love Equations

  • Oh! My Emperor (Season 1, 2018)
  • X-Fire (Season 1, 2015)
  • The Love Equations (2020)

Currently binging: Me To Us, Youth With You 2, Produce Camp 2020, Oh! My Emperor 2, Welcome Back To Sound, Yes I Do 2, Go Fridge S6

I’ve been on a Sean Xiao revisit lately since its been pretty much 2 months and I’m still stuck on The Untamed and a little bothered by the whole stupidity (my opinion on the situation) that he went through or is currently still “kind of” going through, I guess. Either way, I went back to watch the competition show that he joined that kickstarted his career called X-Fire and then went on to watch the TV series with the X-NINE boys called Oh! My  Emperor. I only finished Season 1 and needed to take a moment before continuing Season 2. Love Sean Xiao’s character but not a big fan of the main male lead though. The female lead though has already been in 2 Chinese dramas in 2020 so its inevitable that I’ll watch her in more shows and she’s actually rather fun to watch.

However, the highlight of the week goes to The Love Equations ending and its still such a sweet romance. Its a little quirkier than the previous sister series but this male lead is also rather memorable. I’d have to say that pros and cons in all three. I wonder how long they can make these series because its a nice break from those really dramatic ones, plus these ones usually stay around the 25 episode length which is a well-paced length.

Lots of TV going on so I’m losing track of when certain shows release their new episodes so I’m taking a little break from TV right now to catch up on all the series that I need to do TV binges for. Probably will go back to rewatch some of them in the background as I write or something (if I can stop rewatching The Untamed…).

That’s it for this weekly recap!
What have you been watching/reading/binging/playing?

What’s Up 2020: Week 20

Another week has passed and I’m going to say that Week 20 was a rather low point for myself. The week itself had a few issues that lingered on my mind and made the entire week rather unproductive. Perhaps its mildly the lockdown getting to me but then at least things did round out better on the weekend as the weather got better.

READING

double barrel horror vol. 3

  • Double Barrel Horror Vol.3 (Review)

Currently reading: To Wake The Dead (The Dead Dreamer #2)

Reading is definitely back on track as I have managed to get in more time for reading every day. At least its progress from no progress, right? I wrapped up Double Barrel Horror Volume 3 really quickly as I needed to get the blog tour done. I’ve moved onto the last book from the first batch of reading commitments of this year that I had wanted to get done earlier but didn’t end up doing but its better late than ever. To Wake The Dead is the sequel of To Dream is to Die (review) which I read earlier this year in March and was an incredibly enjoyable read.

PLAYING

need for speed no limits

Currently playing: Need For Speed: No Limits, Color Spots, Happy Color

Mostly mobile games in the progress right now as I haven’t quite been in the mood for starting anything more challenging. Our next Game Warp recording is just around the corner so I need to get cracking on the next game. Its going to be an interesting one to say the least and one that I’m looking forward to. New game that I tried this week is Need For Speed: No Limits which is quite similar to console games like Most Wanted and the newer titles where its campaign and cops chase and different races and moving up the racing world. I still think the thrill of playing on mobile is not quite as good as on console but why  not, right?

WATCHING

exists

  • Exists (2014)

Slim pickings when I only watched ONE movie last week, right? Exists is on Shudder currently and is directed by one of the directors of The Blair Witch Project (review). Its still a found footage project with what seems like a fairly low budget (although I haven’t done any research on that yet) but instead of supernatural lores in a forest, its also set in a forest with bigfoot roaming around. While my opinions are rather mixed, it had its charm and I’ll talk about it in an upcoming double feature.

BINGING

youth 2018

  • Youth (2018)

Currently binging: The Love Equations, Yes I Do 2, Me to Us, Welcome Back to Sound, Youth With You 2, Produce 2020

As variety shows are flooding my currently binging category, I had to start looking for something that was all released to have a proper binge among my rather subpar week and ended up starting (and finishing) Youth, a 2018 series about flat with 5 university roommates and their trials and tribulations through finding themselves, embracing their relationships as well as resolving their own “ghosts”. Its been one thats been on my list for a little while and it had a decent amount of episodes and I’m a big fan of watching stories about girls and their friendships/sisterhood that builds.

A few of the currently binging is in its final week or two and should wrap up soon. Its a good thing since there are some new series landing and playing right now that I’ve put aside due to the long currently binging list. Its hard to track all the days of new episodes landing sometimes. Two ending soon would be The Love Equations which has one more weekend to go and Youth With You 2 which has two more performances before their big reveal of who makes it into the final 9 girl group. Some optimal group choices has pretty much fallen apart at this point but luckily, some of my faves are still in the running. Its good also because its hard to track all these trainees between Youth With You 2 and Produce 2020 just starting.

That’s it for What’s Up Week 20!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 18

Welcome to the next What’s Up! Week 18 was a rather slower one, kind of. Like I had said before, it was also a week of immense stress and lots of overtime so in turn, a lot of things suffered from it. Luckily, next week’s recap returns to normal so we’ll be all back on track with everything (hopefully)!

READING

Undead Ultra

Currently reading: Undead Ultra

Very little reading was done! My main reading material has been catching up with news mostly for work purposes. Suffice to say, not enough progress in Undead Ultra to say much more about it. I am rather frustrating for not finding more reading time though.

PLAYING

Samsara Room

  • Samsara Room

Currently playing: Pinball FX3

Last week had the release of Samsara Room, which is a remake of Rusty Lake’s first game. It was offered for free on Steam and mobile devices which is always great. The game itself is very much to Rusty Lake’s style of puzzles/escape room. It was a fun little game with some decent puzzles for sure. I’m working on some mobile games roundup posts for Game Warp currently so this might get on one after I finish up the current post. There’s some gaming reviews backlog but things are slowly getting back up and running.

On the other hand, I finally started Pinball FX 3 which is one that’s been recommended to me by my podcast co-host Elwood after I had been on the pinball craze with Demon’s Tilt previously.

WATCHING

The Edge of Seventeen

  • Escape Room (2017)
  • The Edge of Seventeen (2016 rewatch, Review)

Currently watching: Fight Club (1999)

Movies was on a low. i watched a bad movie to start the week and that was 2017’s Escape Room. Don’t confuse it with the more recent Escape Room that I reviewed HERE. Very different experience. It was so bad that I couldn’t use it as my feature film so I ended up rewatching a sure-fire, The Edge of Seventeen. Its been a few years since I’ve seen this one and it still is really fun to watch.

Much to a lot of people’s surprise, I haven’t seen Fight Club and was doing it for Movies and Tea recording. Way ahead in recording so you can guess what our next season is pretty much about at this point. I got shocked by the movie’s length and lost the focus to watch so about half done and stopped.

BINGING

wolf creek

  • Unrequited Love (2019 rewatch)
  • Wolf Creek (Season 2, 2017)

Currently binging: Youth With You 2, Me To Us, The Love Equations, Produce Camp 2020, Welcome Back to Sound, Go Fridge (Season 6), Yes I Do (Season 2)

TV is still going the strongest. After The Untamed, I’m not going to lie, its not done yet. I’m still incredibly obsessed with it so I haven’t found the mood to start a whole lot of new TV dramas. There’s one that just started that I want to see but just not in the mood at this current moment. Either way, variety shows have been bursting out everywhere. New seasons for shows that I like. Everything in the “currently binging” section is all new shows updated once or twice a week so once I caught up with everything, I went back to rewatch Unrequited Love which I am also working on a TV binge for and a second watch has got me scratching my head even more why they are remaking this so soon. Either way, we will see whether the new one works as well when it gets released.

As for Shudder, it finally got Wolf Creek’s Season 2 which we’ve been waiting for since we finished the first season a year (or maybe two) ago. Luckily, this is an anthology series so every season the story is different because the first season is slightly foggy (more for my husband). This one was very different to the first season but overall, other than the first episode, it was a pretty good one. I’m not sure whether Season 3 was confirmed but I did see in my research that Wolf Creek 3 is in the plans.

The only changes for this week for currently binging goes to the newest season release for Go Fridge and Yes I Do on Tencent and iQiyi respectively.  There are some changes to the structure but overall, it seems like its going to be a good time.  Only one episode in so we never know, right?

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 14

Another week has passed by as we jump into week 14 of 2020! The rhythm of working from home and balancing out the to-do list for blog and home stuff is definitely setting itself into place. Everything here is finally more balanced now.

READING

Blackthorn

  • Blackthorn by Terry Tyler (Review)

Currently reading: Highland Cove

Back on track with reading (kind of) as I finally finish up Blackthorn! Its not a dreading way that I’m saying this because Blackthorn is a really good read. You can check out my review that I’ve linked above. Terry Tyler is a really good author, judging from the two books that I’ve read of hers so far and definitely an author I’d like to read more of as she has some fantastic world building skills.

Of course, its time to move on as I’m reading Highland Cove, a story along the paranormal horror genre. A genre that I honestly haven’t read in a while so it will be a nice change in pace.

PLAYING

cookies must die

Currently playing: Happy Color, Cookies Must Die, Bounce That Bird, Demon’s Tilt

As I try to find some time to stream (which should be coming up), I’ve been working on my next gaming post reviewing some of the games who made the finalists in the Google Play Indie Games Festival for this year. Its quite a feat and probably won’t be done until they announce the winner of the whole thing but you know, its an attempt. With that said, Cookies Must Die and Bounce That Bird are both free games on the list that I’m checking out at the same time.

WATCHING

justice league

  • Pride and Prejudice (2005 rewatch, Review)
  • Hell House LLC 3: Lake of Fire (2019)
  • Justice League (2017)

It was a week of taking it easy on the reading as there was just a lot of TV that I wanted to watch and I had a few things that I needed to take care of. With that said, I tend to enjoy rewatching Pride and Prejudice every once in a while as its one of my favorite movies. Its probably the top movie of the week but then, I never choose rewatches to highlight so we’re going with Justice League, a movie that surprisingly was a decent watch since I have been pretty much indifferent to the DC Universe films except for Wonder Woman. This was a fun watch. As for Hell House LLC 3, I’m going to be doing a double feature on both the sequels so I’ll just review it there.

BINGING

nailed it

  • Nailed It! (Season 4, 2020)
  • The Great Canadian Baking Show (Season 1, 2017)

Currently binging: Skate into Love, The Singer 2020, Youth Is You 2, The Great Canadian Baking Show (Season 2), J-Style Trip

TV has been a huge focus this week. I’ve been watching a lot of baking shows as you can see. Nailed It Season 4 arrived and well, I watched that over two days. Its still a lot of fun and I should be doing a little review on that since there’s not a whole lot to talk about except maybe a few little things. While I am watching through the 2 seasons of The Great Canadian Baking Show that landed on Netflix and since I have zero actual TV channels at home, I don’t even catch CBC shows so didn’t really know this existed before. Still, its a good show as I start tackling Season 2 already.

Most of everything else has already been in progress but Skate Into Love is wrapping up in the coming week and boy, that series is SO AWESOME! Luckily, when that one ends, there’s another one that I’ve been looking forward to coming out. The good stuff for Chinese dramas are popping up now and its starting to look forward to!

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

TV Binge: Ashes of Love (香蜜沉沉烬如霜, 2018)

Ashes of Love (香蜜沉沉烬如霜, 2018)

ashes of love

Director: Yui Bun Chu

Cast: Andy Yang, Allen Deng, Leo Luo, Adonis Liao, Zhi Yuan Xia, Faye Wang, Ting Wei Zhou, Yukee Chen, Kathy Chow, Bella Du, Yang Peng, Run Jun Wang, Zhong Hua He

In ancient times, the Flower Goddess dies after giving birth to a daughter. Before she passed, she fed her daughter the Unfeeling Pill, ordered her subordinates to keep the girl’s birth story a secret and to imprison her within Shui Jing for 10,000 years. The girl’s name is Jin Mi. 4,000 years later, the Heavenly Emperor’s second son, Xu Feng, was entrapped by someone and mistakenly entered Shui Jing. He was saved by the ignorant Jin Mi. After living together for 100 years, Xu Feng gradually developed feelings for Jin Mi. Someone close to them wants to use those feelings for their own benefit. – MyDramaList

Where to watch with English subtitles (as at March 25, 2020): Netflix Canada & Youtube

QUOTE/SCENE

Jing Mi: That one’s so ugly. Why did you bring it here also?
Phoenix: I feel that one is the most beautiful of all the Phoenix lanterns, because it contains our memory.
Jing Mi: This is the memory of Saint Girl and King Yi. [pause] What a beautiful view!  It’ll be great if we can drink some self-made osmanthus wine. In fact, before I descended to the mortal world, I buried some osmanthus wine I made here.
Phoenix: I dug it out several days ago. Let’s try  your wine today. [next scene] The wine you made is indeed savory and mellow.
Jing Mi: I must have some skills amongst the six realms. Why are you staring at me like that?
Phoenix: Its great that I don’t have to look at you through the veil.
Jing Mi: Isn’t it beautiful?

STORY

ashes of love phoenix jingmi

Ashes of Love is essentially a love story and its where it thrives at its best. Much like the structure of 2017’s Eternal Love (review) and background, this one is set a little different  in the actual fairy world where this one has six realms however, the Sky realm is still the highest one (as it usually is) and the story resides in these different deity/fairy ranging from flowers to nocturnal creatures to celestial creatures and all kinds of animals and even inanimate objects. In terms of creativity, the story is full of them and that is one of the many highlights of this one and can bring so much fun to this as it makes for some leaps of beliefs but in a fantasy world like this one, its more about learning about it first. And that is a lot of the charm especially as it starts off fairly light-hearted and fun.

The realms here are really where the many past dilemmas have ignited from the past generation between the Floral Goddess, Heavenly Emperor, Water Immortal and all the other people linked to them. Its created essentially what happens to Jing Mi to have been given the Unfeeling Pill when she was born to prevent her from meeting her curse of love with the first 10,000 years of her life, which ends up being the catalyst of all the events that end up happening as misunderstandings happen as the truth unfolds. But that said, each of these realms of the three focused on among the six is different in its own way and has its own traits reflective of the place but yet still has their own good and evil characters.

ashes of love war

At the end of all this, between war and feuds and misunderstandings and realm battles for power, it all dials down to the romance and the love triangle between Jing Mi, Phoenix and Runyu instigated by jealousy and unfairness on one end and then creating revenge and hatred, making things worsen. Its all a story of the basic philosophy and belief in Chinese that what is meant to happen will happen regardless of how you plan on changing its course, that act alone is also destined to happen. Also goes along with you reap what you sow at the end of the day especially as what is given off from one generation can affect its next. Its all very common plot points and themes in ancient Chinese fantasy TV series as Eternal Love has about the same kind of plot point (as an example since its the other one in the same genre). What does work here is that once you get past those similar plot points and embrace what they do different in building this new world and its characters, Ashes of Love has a stronger bond with its love story and leads (for myself) whereas in comparison, Eternal Love is entertaining well-rounded but perhaps didn’t quite connect as much in terms of the main leads and their love story. I don’t mean to compare but I did watch them almost back to back.

ashesashes2

Before we jump to pacing, I need to mention that the costume designs here are really nice. There’s a lot of thought of each one from the Birds Realm to the colorful Flower Realm to the dark Demon realms outfits as as well as the gold and white and more royalty colors in the Heavenly Realm. Its one of the elements that make me love watching Chinese Fantasy TV series. The costumes and the hair ornaments and hair styles are just so beautiful! While I’m talking about this, I do have to mention that when they do close-ups of the props, fake flowers and such, it is pretty apparent, maybe one of the lesser elements of this series. But then, I guarantee you that there is one “sex” scene in this (its public TV so nothing explicit) and its filmed so poetically and beautiful that I was really impressed by the whole thing especially when you remember the true forms of the leads on hand.

LENGTH/PACING

ashes of love jingmi

Episodes: 63
Episode length: 40-45 mins approx.

Its incredible how long Chinese TV series are sometimes especially these big production Chinese fantasy ones. Ashes of Love is surprisingly long at 63 episodes and yet, the script is done so well that the story progresses in phases that gives time for each stage of these characters to grow and develop individually and together in their different relationships, friendships, family, brothers, etc. It doesn’t take a break from this other than maybe the secondary couple from the demon realm which ends up being a rather touching story as well by the end.

Looking at the phase, the first part (as I mentioned) before is about the meeting between Phoenix and Jing Mi and her introduction from the Flower Realm to the Heaven Realm and gradually the reveal of her true identity as well as her growing relationship in their few hundred years as the helper and disciple of Phoenix. As her true identity gets revealed, it jumps into the next phase of the story where it shares about the past and the characters involved and what actually happened, throwing the hatred of the Heavenly Empress and her desire to split up Jing Mi and Phoenix while Phoenix’s brother, Runyu gets pulled into the mix and he learns about his mother and it builds on his revenge and his plot slowly conspire. Things gets more messy here as this also get intermitted with Jing Mi’s mission to become an immortal by going to the Mortal Realm to experience the suffering of mortal life to gain knowledge where she ends up connecting with her feelings more as a turn of events takes Phoenix to have a rather intense romance. Finally, the third phase appears after all the plots of phase 2 unravels and Jing Mi unexpectedly breaks the Unfeeling Pill’s effects and realizes her real feelings and makes up for her mistakes to Phoenix. That turns into the most painful, emotional and heartbreaking moments of search and hopelessness and this last part is just such a ode of how the beginning builds up its characters and relationships so well that this part ends up working a lot. (I mean, I bawled my eyes out a ton in the last 8-10 episodes or something)

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

Leads: Jing Mi & Phoenix

ashes of love phoenix jingmi 1

Ashes of Love takes a lot of time and attention on building these two characters. Its great because the focus never quite leaves them even when they are apart and doing their own thing. There’s a lot of factors that work here. The first is that its not dubbed voices and the actual actors are voicing these characters because both Andy Yang and Allen Deng are really talented actors and in their respective roles as Jing Mi and Xu Feng (aka Phoenix, as I keep referring to him), they are incredibly convincing and hard to not ship them, to be honest. These two characters are strong individually as they both have their own family, relationship and realm issues to deal with and consider in all their choices and their own secrets to uncover. Its what makes their love story so heartbreaking and bittersweet altogether because each of their own issues and it all comes down to Jing Mi and the Unfeeling Pill that stops her from realizing her own feelings until its too late which makes their relationship take a very heartbreaking turn of events. The chemistry between these two characters are fantastic especially in some scenes of how the director uses close-ups to the dialogue around them where they both are able to act with their eyes and interpret some genuine feelings without saying anything.

Brothers & Family Feud: Phoenix & Run Yu

ashes brothers

All royalty has their own conflicts and Phoenix’s family is the Heaven realm’s family which creates all kinds of crazy as the Heaven Emperor reveals to be a rather unloyal man where his past creates the Empress’s hate and jealousy making a lot of issues become unfair to the older son, Runyu the Night Immortal. What starts off as a rather good brother relationship despite the parent issues ends up turning sour as Runyu’s character ends up having a subtle villain type of change full of plot and schemes, creating this character that flips from the nice guy at the beginning.

Love Interests, Villains & Other Characters of Interest

Love Interests for Jing Mi is mostly Runyu as well as some other characters that don’t really have too much to mention however the main villains of the series is one, the Heaven Empress, aka Phoenix’s mother (as mentioned before because of jealousy) and the second is Phoenix’s “cousin”/crush who likes him a lot and believes she is the one destined for him and does increasingly evil acts. The two villains in the end are the main cause of Phoenix’s “demise”. Everything comes in full circle in Chinese philosophy and nothing proves it quite like how TV series stories work. You can’t say these two villains don’t do a great job. Empress is portrayed by 90s Hong Kong TV actress Kathy Chow who does a fantastic job that its hard to not dislike the character much like Faye Wang as the love interest who plays on the more annoying side of things.

Of course, the more fun additions do go to the Green Snake and the other colorful character of the Flower Realm just like the Moon Immortal (Phoenix’s uncle) who are comedic but in desperate times, knowledgeable and contribute to the dilemma in their own ways. There’s a lot of characters in Ashes of Love so its hard to talk about all of it.

OVERALL

ashes phoenix

Ashes of Love is a really great series. Its one that takes its sweet time to move through its different story levels to gradually connect with each of these characters as they develop and learn about the different secrete in their life, especially with the main female character, Jing Mi. The magical elements and this new world and the possibilities gives it the space to believe in all the twists and turns and thats because its already given it such a creativity to begin with which also sparks some deeper thoughts on how certain plot points would work but never quite doubt its possibility, leaving space for the audience to draw their own conclusions. The different worlds have beautiful CG effects that make them unique as well as their own kingdom and rules as well as different worlds and their feuds with each other.

Aside from all that is crafting these characters that work so well on their own in complexity. Having 63 episodes to do it definitely feels like it would be a drag but it isn’t most of the time because these characters need it and its because of that, it makes especially Jing Mi and Phoenix’s story so much more emotional to watch whether its happy moments to the extremely heartbreaking moments. Fantastic series that makes me want to watch and rewatch and notice those little story plot details more.

MAIN THEME

TV Binge: All I Want For Love Is You (满满喜欢你, 2019)

All I Want For Love Is You (满满喜欢你, 2019)

all i want for love is you

Cast: Yu Han Liu, Zhao Hua Lu, Yin Jun Liu, Zhi Xun Xie, Yan Qing Sun, Xin Yu Han

A story full of laughs follows sanda fighter Gu Xiao Man and school genius Zuo An as they chase after love. Graduation is fast approaching for 3rd year high school student Gu Xiao Man. Unlike your average school girl, she is a sanda fighter who wins medals at the sport but not in class. Because she wants to continue to be schoolmates with her idol Zuo An, she decides to give the same effort to academics as she does to sanda. Her hard work combined with Zuo An’s efforts to be her personal teacher pays off and they get into the same university. There’s nothing sweeter than to have your crush crushing on you and their story continues on. – MyDramaList

Where to Watch with English subtitles

QUOTE/SCENE

STORY

All I Want For Love Is You is a simple love story. It starts off with neighbors where Gu Xiaoman likes her neighbor Zuo An. However, he is such a genius and she’s really just good at her martial arts that she feels like she will never be able to get his attention until one day, she accidentally rips his track pants and from then on, she catches his attention. Despite his cool exterior, he finds different ways to help her out to get to spend more time with her. However, they never truly find the timing or the courage to tell each other.

All I Want For Love Is You

All this is fairly similar plot line for these youth romance that runs from high school to university romance and following their dreams. There’s a lot of unrealistic things that happen here. That usually isn’t a problem since TV series are meant to have that magic to them that resolves issues making it hopeful and happy for the viewers as well. The story here has a good deal of fluff and it does also have some light-hearted moments. However, it does also have a lot of drama in order to create misunderstandings. There is two rivals, one who likes the girl and one who likes the guy, the former one is a lot more fun to watch than the latter.

The unique element done here that adds some fun comedic elements is that Gu Xiaoman dreams up these ancient China scenes where she plays this martial arts female hero and its all the fantasies that she has as she falls in love and then the misunderstandings which propel further into certain situations. Its a fun little mix-up to the story and gives this series a little more charm.

The story actually is fairly harmless and does a decent job at being an okay dose of light fluffy drama. The only issue that I can’t quite decide is a good or bad thing is how it decides to throw in some additional issues as the ending 2 episodes to give it a dramatic twist, which felt a little too contrived but at the same time, if that scene didn’t exist, the main female lead wouldn’t have been able to show her best acting skills throughout the entire series with a lot of depth. As of now, I’m still debating that point.

LENGTH/PACING

All I Want For Love Is You

Episodes: 32

Running at 32 episodes, there’s shouldn’t be pacing problems and yet, All I Want For Love Is You has that issue. One of the main issues is that the chase takes too long. The couple only get together after 80% of the series is done, which is absolutely crazy as it gets a little tiring and frustrating to watch them dance around their obvious feelings for each other and then go through various misunderstandings created by third parties. There is a good bit of stuff happening to these two main characters, whether its to do with school or friends or new acquaintances or love rivals and so on so forth. The question is whether its interesting enough to keep it fun. This series is aimed towards the youthful genre and usually its meant to more light and fluffy and yet this one seems to have a lot of drama and misunderstandings, making it a tad overdoing it at times. This series could easily have cut a few episodes to make a little more tight-knitted and paced better.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

All I Want For Love Is You is essentially a first love story and in many cases, finding their true love as their first love. With that said, this lies heavily not only on how the story sets up different plot points but also chemistry. Because this is a shorter series, there are less characters and pairings to look at.

Gu Xiaoman & Zuo An

all i want for love is you 3

The main couple here is Gu Xiaoman, played by Zhao Hua Lu and Zuo An played by Yu Han Lu. These two do have quite a good chemistry. Their acting skills are decent and their characters are structured to be more distant with Xiaoman being more shy but brave and Zuo An, the cooler introvert loner. Both their characters have their insecurities and their burdens which has time to develop and together, they change each other for the better. They just take  a little too long to actually get together. It builds up some good moments and they do have a decent chemistry. There’s an awkwardness between them and their first love reenactment that actually does work pretty well and the main development in character in terms of opening up definitely is in Zuo An who definitely is rather smart and sly to catch her in the most unexpected moment.

ChiYao La & Zhan Yue

all i want for love is you 5

The couple that starts off from dislike is the norm in most series. This time, its used for the secondary couple who actually are both best friends of Gu Xiaoman. These two are definitely the ones who break up the tension sometimes in the situation as they both have this silliness to them. Especially when they bicker. There are some pretty fun moments with these two. Although secondary male lead Zhan Yue, played by Yin Jun Liu, starts off as interested in childhood friend Gu Xiaoman and takes a slightly ambitious turn, the roles takes a nice turn with the help of the secondary female lead Chi Yao La, played by Yan Qing Sun. Just like the main couple, they spend most of the series as frenemies and as their friendship grows and their care for their best friend, they find motivation in each other to help each other reach their dreams together.

Love Interests: Sun Anning and Shen Chen Yang

all i want for love is you 4

Both Gu Xiaoman and Zuo An have their hurdles in their getting together. Gu Xiaoman as mentioned before starts off in high school with Zhan Yue liking her and trying to stop her from being with Zuo An (along with all the other girls who liked the school genius). However, the one who definitely made a bigger impact is Shen Chen Yang, a rather eccentric character as he has a pig as his pet but of course, also has a little deeper to his story as he hopelessly falls in love with Gu Xiaoman and of course is all quite unrequited because Gu Xiaoman only ever likes one person. He acts like the childish, attention grabbing sort of guy and a bit of a clown but has quite the character that creates an impression.

On the other hand, Zuo An’s childhood friend Sun Anning, played by Xin Yu Han, is a girl that likes him a lot and expects to be with him. Her story becomes a manipulative story of the usual variety where she acts a certain way but under that elegant and friendly exterior isn’t really what you’d expect. You can say that she does a good job because her character is very annoying and something of a mean girl with her two little minions at her side in some shots but then, she was just slightly frustrating to watch.

OVERALL

All I Want For Love Is You is a harmless series. It doesn’t do a whole lot to make itself stand out as the story itself isn’t unique enough. Its cast is young and they do decent in the chemistry department with what they have but as much as these characters are rather fluffy and lighthearted and its quite the romantic comedy style, they do add in a few dramatic twists to give it some substance. Its a fairly average viewing experience but one that will fulfill that quick dose of cute youthful romantic comedy story. It just seems to run around the chase a little too much for its own good, creating more drama than is needed and puffs itself up more than necessary. Still, they do manage some nice moments but in the long run, its not something that really is one to revisit.

Trailer
(because I can’t find any music videos)

TV Binge: Eternal Love (三生三世十里桃花, 2017)

Eternal Love (三生三世十里桃花, 2017)

Eternal Love

Cast: Mi Yang, Mark Chao, Ken Chang, Dilraba Dilmurat, Vengo Gao, Maggie Huang, Vin Zhang, Alan Yu, Lawrence Wang, Bambi Zhu, Wayne Liu

After a devastating war, the immortal tribe paid a heavy price to seal the demon lord. 70000 years later, in an attempt to re-seal the demon lord who broke free, Bai Qian was sent to the mortal realm. In the mortal world, she meets Ye Hua and falls in love with him after forgetting about her life as a goddess. Ye Hua gifts her the name of Su Su. Su Jin, who is jealous of Ye Hua’s love for Bai Qian, intentionally creates a series of misunderstanding between them and causes Bai Qian to lose her eyes. Thinking that Ye Hua has betrayed her, the devastated Bai Qian jumps off from the Zhu Xian Terrace. At her request, all her memories have been erased and she forgets Ye Hua. Hundred years later, the two meets again as deities. Another lifetime another world, Ye Hua recognizes Bai Qian but the latter remains indifferent. Three lives three worlds, her and him, are they fated to bear an entangling love? – MyDramaList

Eternal Love is currently available on Netflix (as on January 15, 2020)
You can also find it on Youtube via Croton Mega Hit Channel with English subs.
Below is the playlist:

STORY

ten miles of peach blossom

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Tang Qi and later translated, titled To The Sky Kingdom, Eternal Love aka Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms is the most watched Chinese Drama in China to date. The C-drama tells the story that spans over Three Lives, Three Worlds (as the Chinese title calls it) and as its about the love story that happens between the many trials and tribulations between Fox King’s youngest daughter Bai Qian and Nine Heaven’s Prince, Ye Hua. Their story is told over the events of the Sky Kingdom: Nine Heavens, Ghost Tribe, Kun Lun Mountains, Fox Clan and other fantasy lands as well as the mortal world. Suffice to say that, the story itself might sound a little back and forth with its focus on the three lives and three worlds for these two characters and their love stories.

eternal love baiqian

However, the story is done well that it gives room for each of the characters to grow and each love life in each world has their own depth. Plus, the supporting characters also have a good amount of entertaining filler to guide these characters. Between good and evil, love and trust, and the schemes and power balance, the story has a lot to love. It has its frustrating moments with some of the scheming characters but overall, its done really well.

LENGTH/PACING

ten miles fighting

Episodes: 58

58 episodes is the norm for a Chinese drama of this calibre. Anything set in the fantasy world and such always has the 50 or more episodes attached to it. Its something that doesn’t always work depending on what the story interpreted is. Surprisingly, while there are some small moments that feels like the plot stays or simply some characters being frustrating as times because of their stubbornness or whatever character trait (which I will talk about in the characters section below), the story does move forward.

It does so by giving it enough places to move around these fantasy worlds. Between the rigid rules of the royalties in Nine Heavens to the much more relaxed Fox Clan’s Fox Burrow  setting to the dark Ghost Tribe and the beautifully enchanting Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms owned by the Phoenix God, the story shifts from its political elements of war between good and evil to maintain peace and the romances and friendships that happen between the characters and with that, its own set of misunderstandings. There’s a decent amount of action scenes which are well-executed and the dialogue is done naturally, while giving it a good amount of space for building the chemistry between the characters.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

eternal love dilraba

If you haven’t noticed, characters and chemistry are my favorite parts of TV series and with Eternal Love and its 58 episodes and different worlds, we’re in for a ride in this section as there are some really good ones to highlight and talk about.

Bai Qian & Ye Hua
(and their 2 other lives/worlds)

eternal love 1

I’m not going to lie that its a little hard to totally figure out which romance this whole Three Lives and Three Worlds was initially for Bai Qian and Ye Hua but they do make an effort to point it out at the end which is pretty cool. There’s a lot to love about these two as their different romances each have a different sort of feeling whether its the type of love or the conflicts that happen that cause them to break apart and in the end, solidifies their love more by the end. Its the first time I’ve seen Yang Mi in this sort of role and she is so pretty in her various outfits and they match well with Mark Chao’s character in his various prince transformations. Mark Chao’s character becomes one that changes in his personality and not so much the lives prominently so its easy to quickly feel and connect with his character quickly.

Dong Hua Di Jun & Bai Feng Jiu

eternal love fengjiu dijun

While the main couple was done really well, this supporting characters of Bai Feng Jiu, the rare nine-tailed red fox niece of Bai Qian portrayed by Dilraba Dilmurat and Dong Hua Emperor Lord who is has lived so long that he has let go of emotions. These two are the focus of the sequel coming up this year. Suffice to say that they were done very well. Their romance is one that is not only fun because of Bai Feng Jiu who is a bit clumsy and naive but will do anything for love but facing Emperor Lord who seems to care but not reciprocate affections, it turns into a roller coaster of emotions that probably hits even harder than the main couple.

Li Jing

ten miles li jing

Li Jing is the second son of the Ghost Tribe Emperor and ends up taking over when his father’s war against Nine Heavens fails. He is a character that is one that isn’t very ambitious but at the same time, a rather frustratingly silly character as he constantly gets led astray by Xuan Nu, a childhood friend of Bai Qian who uses a prettier face to gain attention. Li Jing also is the first person that Bai Qian falls for romantically but due to Xuan Nu’s action, it causes them to break apart. Li Jing is not exactly a bad character. He actually fills up some of the spaces well as Xuan Nu is one of the “bad gals” who orders harm because of jealousy. Li Jing becomes a fairly tough character who stands up for peace and rights as the Ghost Tribe King and has a bit of character development that suits him well.

Bai Zhen & Zhe Yan

eternal love alan yu

I’m a huge fan of Alan Yu as an actor. There’s something very unique about him that I enjoy about him and as Bai Zhen (Alan Yu), the fourth son of the Fox King and the older brother of Bai Qian, he pops up occasionally in a very carefree and relaxed way randomly and yet him and his best friend (who seems like they have a special relationship) Zhe Yan (Ken Chang), a Phoenix Immortal both spend time together drinking peach blossom wine and playing Reversi and then randomly have arguments that makes Bai Zhen run off to his palace in the Northern Seas. These two are something of a comedic relief as well as surprisingly insightful guidance for all the characters and the myriad of dilemma.

There’s a ton of other characters that we could also talk about but I’m going to leave it at these top ones that truly appealed to me. However, one of the bad ladies in this one is the woman who loves Ye Hua called Su Jin and her role was to create a lot of the misunderstandings and misguidances that lead to a lot of the drama happening. As frustrating as her character was because she was able to get away with it because of her status, it was all merited because she was a character that had nothing to like.

OVERALL

Eternal Love is a much easier mountain to climb than expected. Other than the elements that I talked about for the story depth and the great fantasy world that is presented here with gods and fairies and spirits and a roundup of some well-written and well-developed characters, it also has some lovely visual effects. Every scene is done really nicely. Sure, some of the flowers might look a little fake in some scenes but overall, its done relatively nice for TV dramas. At the same time, as I was researching this up, the costumes are actually rather intricate with each one done by hand to show off the details for each of the characters plus all the sets were newly built to not have any replicas. Not to mention, the soundtrack here is amazing. Every song is so great that I almost wanted to share it all. Eternal Love is definitely one of the better Chinese dramas out there. Sure, its a bit long but it has enough content to make it really nice. If you watch the behind the scenes, its actually a pretty involved process between the actors and the director with how they work the script and how each scene is done. All things great for bingeworthy TV.

MAIN THEME

What’s Up 2020: Week 2

Week 2 of 2020 has wrapped up and its been a fairly crazy time. A lot of it got affected by the fact that we had some bad weather hit Montreal and the lovely suburbs that I lived had power outage for 16 hours or something which of course, took a toll on the whole movie watching and gaming elements along with one other issue. With that said, it still is pretty balanced of late. I’m trying to start 2020 with a nice start of not procrastinating any writing so taking things a little slower to allow more time to do the write-ups.

READING

Death in Smoke

  • Death in Smoke by Barbara Elle (Review)
  • The Weighing of the Heart by Paul Tudor Owen

As with any power outage, my Kindle became my best friend, especially as the cell towers seemed to also be affected. I was able to catch up on some reading and finished up The Weighing of the Heart which will be reviewed in a blog tour coming up very soon. Both of these books that I finished was pretty good. I’d have to say that The Weighing of the Heart was good because of the Egyptian mythology angle as well as a quick concise story that helped keep the pacing really good.

PLAYING

color pieceout

Currently playing: Color Pieceout, Overcooked 2 (co-op mode)

I’ve been playing Color Pieceout for a while already but never really quite talked about it because its a mobile game. Mobile Game Roundups are hitting a little stand still over at Game Warp Blog which is mostly a writer’s block for specifically game reviews. Its coming up soon but I just need to get back into the groove of things. However, Color Pieceout is a fun little game. Its free and uses coins collected during the puzzles to unlock things which makes in-app purchases unnecessary. Its animation is similar to Professor Layton and blends Match-3 puzzles with mystery cases. So much fun!

WATCHING

brokeback mountain

  • Brokeback Mountain (2007)
  • Mamma Mia! (2008 rewatch, Review)
  • Sinister (2012)
  • The Marshes (2017)

I’m not going to lie that I started a few movies but just fell asleep so I’m not adding it in like Robocop, The Raid 2 and some other one that I can’t remember right now. However, these few are those that I did finish. We are getting back into horror, not that I took that big of a break from it in the first place. The highlight of this week goes to Brokeback Mountain which is part of the Movies and Tea season. Why it gets the highlight is simply because it surprised me how much I liked it. It shouldn’t because its Oscar fodder and it comes with its talent but I liked it a lot more than I expected that I would. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Sinister which was a pretty tight fight between the one to highlight. Sinister did a lot of things right and had a sequence that I absolutely loved and had some clever twists to the story.

BINGING

all i want for love is you

  • All I Want For Love Is You (2019)

Currently binging: The Circle, Who’s The Murderer 5, Ashes of Love

I took an unexpected turn and started watching All I Want For Love Is You, which wasn’t part of my list anywhere and just popped up on my feed and I was like, “Sure. Why not?” It turned out to be pretty fun overall. It had the whole teenage high school romance that went into university. There were some silly moments but it had some SERIOUS pacing issues. I’ll be getting the post done for this one and will talk more about it then. One the other hand, The Circle has one more week of their event to go before it ends. I honestly can’t wait to talk about it since there’s a lot to discuss about that and it’ll depend on how the final few episodes go. While I’ve started a new series via Netflix called Ashes of Love which was a big deal the year that it was released. I literally just started the first few episodes so hard to say how I feel about it so far.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 1: The Start of a Decade!

2020 is finally here! As with a new year, I’ve spiced up the What’s Up banner for this year, giving it a little more depth.

The last few days of 2019 and the first few days of 2020 brought a lot of resting time and hang out with friends and such. With that, there is still some down time to get some little things done here and there. As with the beginning of the year, I do urge you to go check out last week’s announcement of 2020 plans for Tranquil Dreams in case you missed it. You can find it HERE.

READING

Death in Smoke

Currently reading: Death in Smoke

With a blog tour literally around the corner, I’m incredibly behind in reading and have been trying to catch up like a crazy person. A lot of this has to do with this Week 1 being all partying and not too much commuting so even less time to sit down and read. I’m working on getting myself a reading nook of sorts at home so that I can be away from any other distractions. However, standing at around the 30% mark as I write this weekly recap and only a mere few days that the review needs to go up, we’re looking at reading at every free moment that I have. Luckily, Death in Smoke is not too long and its been a decent read so far.

PLAYING

The Room Three

  • The Room Three (2015)

Next up: Life is Strange 2
Still playing: Undercooked 2

I love playing The Room series games. I’ve previously played the first and second game and honestly had bought The Room Three on Android and then just didn’t find the same motivation to play it until it landed on PC. Something about these games make them so great to just sit down during the holidays to play. The puzzles are definitely elevated again with so many different layers and different rooms to work with. I only finished one ending but apparently that unlocks other endings (4 endings in total) so I may go back to check it out more. In the meantime, I’m workingont he review that will go up on Game Warp blog soon (hopefully).

WATCHING

Turbo Kid

  • Geostorm (2017)
  • Turbo Kid (2015)
  • Hell Night (1981)
  • Summer of ’84 (2018 rewatch, Review)
  • The Big Sick (2017)

The husband got to do all the movie watching choices this week or the majority of it at least. I only ended up watching The Big Sick on my own as the rental was about to expire. Luckily, he picked some good ones. A lot of death and apocalypse to ring in the New Year’s for ourselves in terms of movie choices as Geostorm is a disaster film and a rather meh one then Turbo Kid is set in the future of the world as a wasteland and then an 80s slasher and then I ended up rewatching Summer of ’84 as the husband wanted to watch it after he loved Turbo Kid. I mean, its an obvious standout this week which came between Turbo Kid and The Big Sick, which both were pretty good.

BINGING

Eternal Love

  • Eternal Love (2017)

Currently watching: Who’s The Murderer 5, The Circle

Finally finished binging the entire 58 episodes of Eternal Love also known as Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. In fact, I actually didn’t really feel like I was connecting with a lot of the characters until it hit me in the most subtle and crazy way in the last two episodes when something happened and I bawled my eyes out non-stop for 30 minutes or something. Good job, Eternal Love, good job. That’s all I have to say as I’m already working on the TV binge. The sequel is coming out sometime in Janaury so I”ll be watching that, of course especially since, the sequel follows the secondary couple here as the main couple who I loved a lot, probably more than the main two.

I guess, I should mention it that I started watching the 3 week event on Netflix called The Circle. I’m not quite sure what to make of it right now. Its supposed to be a social experiment and while I get what they are trying to do, I’m not quite sure if the purpose is well delivered with the event. I’m going to need to think about that one after I watch the next two weeks.

That’s it for this Week 1 of What’s Up 2020!
Its a new year and a new banner look!
What have you been kicking off the year reading/watching/playing/binging?