I’ve been remiss in writing this year review for 2015 for one reason alone: It is getting harder and longer to watch quality video and English subbed Thai Lakorn dramas. There has been so many sweeps on my various resources that most of us use or the time that it has taken for the subs to be completed is taking longer and longer. However, until most of us learn the language….so we wait!
Most of you know that I am a big fan of series! I literally will wait all year for these dramas to be completed. As a matter of fact, I didn’t complete the Mafia Luerd Mongkorn series until this year! I was determined to finish it and was willing to wait as long as it took. Even though I only watched 12 2015 Thai lakorn dramas, I was able to finish some prior year dramas that had been on my list forever. So, I haven’t given up on them, it just takes me longer to watch the newer ones. So 2016 will be the year of catching up!
For cast list, check here
This lakorn is based off a series of novels chronicling the lives of five individuals in the mafia world: Suer, Singh, Krating, Raed and Hong. Set in the early 1950’s, this series demonstrates how Chinese immigrants accustom themselves to Thai culture. Each part represents a moral principle. Suer represents honesty, Singh represents honor, Krating represents obligation, Rhino represents patience and Hong represents kindness.
Everingham Ananda as Parob
Voltemas Kimberley as Wanvisa
Wanvisa pisses off a young mafia, so he tries to get back at her. However, Wanvisa won’t take the bullying. She gets back at him by putting him in embarrassing situations. They start exchanging blows, teasing and pranking each other. While they continue bickering, she saves his life many times coincidentally. Later she finds out that he is Parop, the heir of a rich household. He has been having bad luck and has had many life threatening accidents. A fortune teller tells his parent that he is in extreme bad luck; it may cost his life. The only way out is to find a girl who was born on a full moon Monday. This girl will be his lucky charm and will save his life.
I have to admit the episodes that I liked the most was when they were stranded on the island. That time period was fun, full of laughter, and so much more interesting. The back and forth with the couple as they slowing learned to first like and then love each other was nicely done. Even the abundance of romance between the two leads was more than we usually get on a Channel 3 drama. Well done. There were moments when they returned to civilization that will definitely stand out. I especially liked the ending scenes at the mock wedding that Parob used to get Wanvisa to realize how much she truly loved him. Overall, this was one of the decent ones of the series. I also attribute this drama with my first introduction to Ananda. I was looking forward to this one for Kimberley. Their chemistry together was quite good! I was convinced of their love and looked forward to them being together. Well worth watching.
Pholdee Jesadaporn as Songgrod
Nittha Jirayungyurn as Jirusaya
Songgrod is the heir of Lion Gang. He gets kidnapped along with Jirusya. The bad guys say they took orders from the leader of Turtle Gang. Both gangs do not want war, so they agree to work together to find out who the real bad guy is. As part of the plan, Songgrod and Jirusya are put into an arranged marriage. Lion falls in love at first sight. Thinking that this little turtle will be his dinner, he’s very happy. However the turtle won’t let him swallow her easily, so she comes up with tricks to get away every day.
My love of this drama may simply be inspired because of Tik as Song! I just love this man’s smile and wit when he is in these type of dramas. I’ve avoided any that shine him in a different light because that’s just how I roll with some actors! To add to the pleasure, I got to see him with Mew as Jirusaya who is just one gorgeous actress. I enjoyed their little tiffs on the screen where she tried so hard to avoid his advances. But the grandmother from HELL award goes to Jirusaya’s grandmother. That witch deserved to die by the ending! I cannot believe how evil that woman was at every turn! From using her granddaughter as an instrument of revenge (unbeknownst of her), teaming up with the evil antagonist, she was just pure evil! She killed without guilt and just did nasty things to her daughter-in-law, granddaughter and thought nothing of it. It was amazing! I was glad when she died! It wasn’t dramatic enough for me. Overall, I really liked this drama and it was a nice followup to Suer. Again, the romance was decent and the story line was interesting.
Wonpuapan Theeradeth as Chonlathee / Tham
Sirisukha Khemapsorn as Yayah /Janchompoo
Seven years ago, all member of his great mafia family were killed in the bomb led by Black Dragon gang after sending “Janchompoo” a young girl decoy to be his lover, only “Chonlathee” managed to escape this murder plan. Chonlathee flees to live with his father’s close friend in Hong Kong. The wound from that fire incident drove him into a facial plastic surgery and he even changed his name into “Tham” and later gets back into the mafia business again to wait for a revenge.
Ken plus Cherry equals “The Best of the Series”! Was there any doubts about that? It isn’t that I’m a big fan of Ken’s. I don’t qualify as one because I haven’t watched many of his dramas. Now, ask me the same question about Cherry, you’ll get a different response. I love her! This drama also represented the one with the most action. Not only from Tham (Ken) but also from Yayah (Cherry). The antagonistic relationship of the two during the Yayah phase was awesome! The back story prior to Thee becoming Tham and Janchompoo becoming Yayah was so sweet. To watch the betrayal happen and later the reason why was so very sad but a waste of time for Jan as we later saw. I admit that my sympathy was high for Botan (played by Panlertwongskul Manasnan). As the so-called neglected wife of Tham, I was glad when she finally accepted the advances of Chieng (played by Suriyon Aroonwattanakul).
The romance in this drama was mostly in the flashbacks. It wasn’t until later in the drama that Tham and Yayah rediscovered the feeling that they had, until Tham realized who she really was. My only complaint would be that the ending seemed super rushed to me, even considering this was one of the longer dramas of the series. There was so much that could have been done to make it a better ending. I guess I’m not a fan of leaving it to my imagination that there is a happy ending.
Gregson Andrew as Kanin
Temeeruk Nataporn as Pantheera
Kanin, a young playboy, is the only son of Red Eagle Gang. After his father gets into an accident, he has to come home from overseas. In order to take the leadership of the gang, he has to get married. He gets into an arranged marriage with the wild horse, Pantheera, and he has to tame his wild horse. At the same time, he has to fight against the opposing gang. After falling in love and understanding each other, Kanin finds out that his father ‘s accident was in fact an assassination, and the mastermind behind it may be his wife’s family.
There were so many reasons that I actually like this one. First, Andrew! His portrayal of Kanin actually softened the story a lot which without his character, this would have been the most melodramatic of them all. His character of Kanin was so in love with Pan from the very beginning that nothing was going to stop him from winning the girl! From serious things to silly; from jealous spats to protector, Kanin was them all and I enjoyed Andrew as he was doing it!
Admittedly, Taew was the reason I was looking forward to this installment of the series. Her Pan was such a tortured character. From an abusive father who not other beat her on occasions but thought nothing about selling her off to different men’s households to pay off his gambling debt to a step brother that was so obsessed with her that he was willing (and did) kill off many of the men that his father would sell her to. These two characters alone overshadowed the continuing story of Kanin and his father, Sia Seng (played by Janeaksorn Montri) and their fight for control of the Red Eagle Gang. The side story between Kanin’s sister Wipana (played by Nychaa Dungwattanawanich) and the son of a rival boss (sorry, name escapes me now) wasn’t as interesting but had it been developed just a little more could have been sweet.
The romance between Kanin and Pan was passable. Though I would have liked to see the actual romance built up a little more, there is no doubt that the focus was on their antagonistic relationship right up until and after the marriage. Still, a decent addition to the series.
Janie Tienphosuwan as Hong
Chatborirak Pakorn as William
Hong is the only daughter of Swan Gang. In addition to her beauty, she is also smart and can kick-butt. However, because she is a girl, some members won’t accept her as their new leader. She is working her way to prove her worthiness. Her beauty and decisive nature catches the eyes of William, the leader of Dragon Gang, the international gang with power in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Thailand. For William, he has found the most suitable person to be the lady of his gang.
To end the series with what was the longest to get English subs and the weakest of the dramas, Hong was somewhat of a letdown. Why? When you see Hong’s character in the other dramas, you have this impression of a strong female; however, she is not only dominated by her father, the leader of the Swan Gang but you continue to get this feeling that she needs rescuing not only from other people but herself. I waited a long time for this drama. I actually didn’t watch it until this year, 2016 but I went into the drama for Boy and Janie. The romance? What romance? There were hints of a romance between the two but you really never saw it gain fruit. And that ending? If the drama had been just a little better, the ending would have been okay with me.
Rating: 7/10 (this is generous)
A special “Hats Off” to Off Pongpat Wachirabunjong! Not only did he play the monk, Singsangwuang in the entire series but he also directed 4 out of the dramas (all but Singha!). What an accomplishment!
Kasetsin Puttichai as P’Suea / Leo
Thawornwongs Worranit as Junior/Joo
Very beautiful Khun Nu, a Junior, did plastic surgery because she had big cheeks. Without knowing that she was allergic to chemicals, it ruined her face by causing acne/pimples everywhere. After the incident, nobody wanted to get close to her and whoever saw her would call her a ghost-face. She couldn’t stand it so she begged her parents to study at a college in a countryside to avoid the social life of where she’s living and to have face treatment at the college’s hospital. And that’s where she meets P’Seua, a very handsome cheeky guy who has dimples but is very poor.
What’s not to love about Push in a romance/comedy? I’m trying to remember the last drama he was in that I DIDN’T like! Push is pretty consistent in not only bringing us a good drama and decent acting but my boy is NOT shy when it comes to the romance. You can pretty much guarantee that if Push is in the drama that the romance will be primo! Yes, even this short drama did not disappoint us in that department. Now, his leading lady, Mook, I knew nothing about her going into this series. She was cute as a button and I enjoyed her in the role of Joo a lot. Even when she was in her ‘super pretty’ mode, there was still that innocence in her character that continued on into her days at the college in the country. But one thing for sure showed our P’Suea was the inner beauty that Joo had from first they met.
Chemistry between P’Suea and Joo was wonderful and well portrayed. Even when they didn’t kiss, there was just that special something that shone through. Push is very good at bringing out the romance in his lady of the drama; this was no different. Even though I admit I didn’t complete the whole series (I just didn’t know a lot of the actors), of the 2 I watched, this was definitely the best. Decent story; great romance!
Rating: 8.5/10 (because it was all about the romance!)
Puengklarng Yuttana as Watit / Rut
Sonthichai Wannarot as Metinee [Me]
This drama tells the story of two male twins, Watit and Rut, who were separated from each other, leading completely different lives. One twin belongs to the high society in the big city while the other one leads a modest but good life in the countryside. When Watit, the twin from the big city gets hurt by someone, the father asks Rut, the other twin to take the life of his severely ill twin, leading a life under his name by pretending to be his unknown brother in hope to find the person who tried to kill his brother.
It’s funny that the first drama featuring twins (I swore off twin dramas after Sud Sai Pan) would feature not one, but BOTH actors from that drama together again. Once again, View reminded me why I like her so much since first seeing her in Dok Ruk Rim Tang. Her ability to keep you into the story and enjoying the drama even with their 90 minute long episodes, it is really hard to keep my interest with these. But both View and Toom managed to ooze the chemistry together. Toom also gave me insight into his acting improvement by playing two characters that are so different from each other. While Rut was the man’s man; Watit was the weak and shy one. These brothers were total opposites in the character realm so he did a decent job in playing both.
As you would expect, the acting together of View and Toom was great! I especially like when the acting is so strong that you wish for them to be together in real life. As usual, GMM One (becoming one of my favorite purveyor of Thai Lakorns) delivered with this drama. I enjoyed the story, the cinematography which was stunning at times, and the love story wasn’t too shabby either.
Rating: 8/10 (because it too was all about the romance!)
Guilty Pleasure and Honorable Mentions:
I would be remiss in not mentioning some of the other dramas that I liked, maybe not as much or for different reasons. So, I want to take this opportunity to mention them. One line review:
Mai Sin Rai Fai Sawart (2015): Nothing says congratulations best than wearing black AND drunk to someone you HATE wedding! Rating: 8/10
Lom Sorn Ruk (2015): Nadech! Rating: 8/10
Tawun Thud Burapah (2015): Thanks for introducing Son to me!! Rating:7.5/10
Nang Rai Tee Rak (2015): Boy in action mode is fun!! Rating:7.5/10
So, this might be the least number of dramas I watched this year. The total was 12 though I have a lot of 2015 dramas waiting in the wings. If there were any that stood out for you, let me know. I really need to weed down my list!