K-Drama: ‘Thumping Spike’ Series Review

If there’s one thing I can do well, it’s binge-watch a drama when I shouldn’t. All things in the universe can be working against me, but I still find time to marathon. Albeit, it’s usually taking away precious z’s (sleep), but dramas are worth the sacrifice. Sometimes. The perk of this particular series is that it’s gotten the web drama treatment. With episodes hovering between the 15 – 18 minute mark, Thumping Spike is a perfect cool off after the intensity of Descendants of the Sun. That is, if you enjoy your dramas with a little noona romance.

Thumping Spike is light, fun, adorable, endearing, and serious just enough to tug at your heartstrings. And while this isn’t a full review, I just wanted to touch base on some of the basics of the story.

Kang Se Ra is a pro volleyball player who has loved the game ever since she first picked up a volleyball when she was eleven. She has dreams of playing through her 30’s and 40’s, but when an old ankle injury flares up and she falls into a mega slump that causes her to lose a major tournament, her dreams take a slight detour.

She ends up meeting Hwang Jae Woong, a nineteen-year-old high school student who has just returned to volleyball after his own injury. Jae Woong is an impressive athlete, and thanks to Kang Se Ra coaching his last place team, they finally stand a chance at showing the world just what they can do.

Through this journey, Kang Se Ra finds as much satisfaction coaching off the court as she used to feel on the court. She is very observant and places the boys in a position due to their strengths. Ultimately, she helps bring the team closer together, but the only she really gets close with is Jae Woong. Yes, this bite-size web drama has a nice little budding romance that’s rife with its own complications – namely their ages and Se Ra’s very public life private life.

Like any k-drama, there are quite a few tropes that you’ll recognize here, but they weren’t over the top. Thank goodness for this drama dialing back on the crazy. As much as I love dramas and all of their quirks, sometimes it’s too much. I’m glad to say that wasn’t the case here.

So if you’re looking for something quick and fairly decent, Thumping Spike is a good choice for your weekend binge-watch. There’s a solid cast on board here, and their acting really helped me to enjoy this series on a deeper level. If you love a sports drama that tells the tale of an underdog fighting to prove their worth, you’ll definitely find that here in spades.

A FEW LINGERING THOUGHTS:

Song Jae Rim has yet to disappoint me. I love him as leading man material, but it’s so obvious that he looks older than 19 here. (He’s actually 31!) I would have liked that maybe they set the story in college as that would be slightly more believable to me. That’s one of my pet peeve with k-dramas having a tendency to cast high school male leads with actors that are in their mid to late twenties — sometimes even a little older. It didn’t take away from me enjoying the series, but it was hard to envision him at that age.

I really love the ease of watching web dramas. It’s reasonable to finish an entire series in a day without feeling too guilty for binge-watching and forgetting about the real world. The only problem is that time constraints leave little room for delving deep into character development, which is one of my favorite areas of any drama.

Volleyball is not close to one of my favorite sports, but I actually wanted to see more of that aspect in this series. For a story centered around volleyball, I thought the sport wasn’t as prominent as it could’ve been.

There is going to be a sequel called Thumping Spike 2, which stars Lee Won Geun (Kim Yeol From Cheer Up) and Kim So Eun. I love me some Lee Won Geun something fierce, so I will probably keep a close eye on that project.

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Song Jae Rim: Leading Man Material?

Image credit to kbs.co.kr

I have to admit — I’m liking Song Jae Rim a lot these days. While his character, Shi  Kyung, from Surplus Princess was intriguing, awkward, and adorable at times, I didn’t  really see, feel or understand the Song Jae Rim appeal. Now, I’m not going to say that  I’ve been converted to a super fan or anything remotely as extreme overnight, but as I’ve  been watching him on We Got Married, I can’t help but really, really, really adore and  admire this actor.

Whether it’s all part of a script, improv, or otherwise, I find him so adorable, charming,  quirky, cheesy, random, and thoughtful. I could probably include a myriad of other  descriptive adjectives, but I think I’ve gone far enough.

And he loves cats. Particularly, he loves his cat. And it tugs at my heartstrings as a fellow cat lover/owner. Seriously, I could just watch an entire episode of We Got  Married with SJR doing things for/interacting with his cat.

And, as far as We Got Married goes, he’s proven to me that he definitely has the appeal and talent to be leading man material. He’s so charming, random, funny and awkward. Regardless if it’s true of his personality or not, he sells it really well. And I do believe he has  the acting chops and talent for a leading role. Hopefully, this will be a departure from the Shi Kyung character as I’d love to see more range from this actor.

All of these things combine to bring good news. Song Jae Rim snagged the leading role in upcoming drama Unkind Women. The big question: what’s this new drama about? Or maybe you’d rather hear about the female lead? Lee Hana. You might remember her as the dorky, awkward Soo Young from King of High School. I had a love-hate relationship with this character on King of High School, so I’m looking forward to a bolder, more extroverted role from her this time around.

From what I’ve gathered from the internet and official website about this series, it seems the premise is revolving around three generations of hot-headed women that live together. So, it will be especially interesting to see how SJR’s character fits in.

I just hope the script-writing and his character helps exhibit this guy’s talent — because he appears to have plenty of it. At the very least, Unkind Women is a family drama scheduled for 24 episodes. So, as long as this drama does well, it means we’ve all got 24 episodes to sit back and enjoy with SJR as the lead. Not bad either way, right?

Here’s what you need to know:

Unkind Women (aka Unkind Ladies, Bad Women) is scheduled to broadcast on KBS2 on February 25th at 10:00 PM. It will air an episode every Wednesday and Thursday, which is great for those of us that cannot bear one episode a week.

Oh, k-dramas, how you’ve spoiled me with two episodes in one week. How could I possibly accept anything less than that?

Anyone else care to chime in? What do you think of Song Jae Rim? If you’re more familiar with his work than I am (I’ve only seen him in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Surplus Princess, and We Got Married), do you think he has the abilities to hit a home run with his first leading role in a drama?

Korean Variety Shows

As I am no stranger to the wonderful and addicting world of k-dramas, I thought it would be great to expand my wings and tackle another part of Korean television: variety shows. Typically, variety and reality-geared shows irritate me to no end. I’d rather stare at a wall and watch paint dry. No, really. So, becoming interested in Korean variety shows was the last thing I ever expected.

I’m currently watching We Got Married, and I’m shamelessly sucked into the cuteness and quirkiness this show has to offer. Sometime in the new year, it might become a possibility to see some reviews and discussion on k-variety.

Until then, can I just say that I totally adore the SoRim couple? Like, they’re just so fun to watch, especially Kim So Eun’s reactions to some of the weird, cheesy, and random things that comes out of Song Jae Rim’s mouth.