This Week in BL
May 2021 Wk 3
Being a highly subjective assessment of one tiny corner of the interwebs.
It’s a cray cray Friday when Vietnam gets its eng subs up before GMMTV Thailand. What alter-reality are we in? Well, the Vietnamese offerings are better right now anyway. (Oooo, feel that burn.)
Ongoing Series - Thai
Top Secret Together Ep 2 - pulping it up in the best possible way. Sure sound and production values are pants, and in classic Thai fashion the editing in post is exacerbating (rather than fixing) pacing issues, but it’s still CUTE AF. I don’t even mind the added university storyline, because they’ve got good chemistry (and a confident gay fresher after a panicked gay hazer is an old favorite... what can I say, SOTUS was my first love). We aren’t spending too much time with any one couple, so it’s weighted a lot better than Brothers was, but also character development is slow.
Siew Sum Noi Ep 2 - Unfortunately, it’s just too hard to find, plus no subs. I’m dropping it in the hopes it comes back on my radar some day.
Y-Destiny Ep 8 - (Thurs) It’s rough having a ghost boyfriend, half your friends are scared, the other half think you’re crazy, and kissing shortens your lifespan. This was a cute couple even if I wasn’t wild about the surrounding story.
Close Friend Ep 5: (Dear My Star/JimmyTommy) - about high school penpals. It had to rely entirely on voice over work as the actors only meet face to face at the end. It’s a good thing they are appealing screen presences on their own, with good vocal control. It’s hard to imagine any other BL pair carrying this kinda plot. It’s by far my favorite of the series so far, and I’m not even a big JimmyTommy fan.
Fish Upon The Sky Ep 7 - no subs. Do we care? Not really. Because we have...
Nitiman Ep 3 - currently my favorite out of Thailand. It’s the university Thai BL i’ve been waiting for since... when was the last good one? My Engineer? Yowza. Anyway we got: head on my shoulder, baby is a floppy drunk (but still wants to be in control), proximity alert, boyfriend’s closet, seme gets seriously jelly, and a cute twist on feeding him. There’s something fun and complex about Jin’s character. He’s not a panicked bi. He knows exactly what’s going on, he just hasn’t decided if he wants Bb or not. He clearly enjoys being looked after, the compliments, and the attention, but he’s not sure if he’s going to like what happens if he gives in. I like that twist on the usual tsundere uke archetype a lot, cautious rather than willfully obtuse or freaked out. We can see Jin realizing in stages: I like this person, I like that they like me, I like the romantic attentiveness. But in the background is... do I actually want to f*k him? It’s a dynamic we don’t often see on BL.
Ongoing Series - Not Thai
HIStory 4: Close To You (Taiwan) Ep 10 fin - the most ridiculous show using BLs worst tropes in a sort of weird smoothie of bitter greens and too ripe banana. The ending was the sappiest cheesiest thing ever, like cheese syrup tapped from the cheese tree. So of course I loved it, but I’m pretty sure I giggled through all the bits meant to be profound. Because, in the end, to tolerate this show at all, you just can’t take ANY of it seriously. RECOMMENDED (with some SERIOUS reservations and trigger warnings.) Full review here.
Be Loved in House: I Do (Taiwan) Ep 1-2 - I don’t mind a damaged seme character but this one is a bit weird for me. Like creepy Cheese in the Trap level weird. On the bright side, the story has given our tsundere uke good motivation for his angst and great existing friendships, loyalty, and likability. Plus I’m invested in the cafe owner/innocent puppy side dishes. So if it’s only the seme character I’m not jiving with, and he’s the most established actor, it should all turn out fine. I believe in you, Taiwanese BL.
Papa & Daddy (Taiwan) Ep 6 fin - speaking of belief. This such a good show but they gave us a cliffhanger ending. Now we must hope against hope for season two. That’s never guaranteed with Taiwan tho. So, I’m docking a few points and saying, RECOMMENDED so long as you realize it’s a cliffhanger.
Love is Science? (Taiwan) Ep 1-9 (BL subplot) - this is a good het romance, but the fact that the BL subplot is a beautifully acted disaster bi + confident gay means you’re hearing about it whether you want to or not. Plus they just added in some GL! Come on! I gotta support Taiwan normalizing queer to this extent. They are fighting the good fight and if I also have to watch a career lady and her much younger softest straight boi get it on, too? Twist my arm with that service sub subtext. Go on Taiwan, TWIST IT. It’s on Viki. Join the revolution.
* Incidentally if you actually like the D/s het dynamic of this show, I highly recommend Japanese Kimi wa Petto - career woman keeps a hot young dancer boy as a pet. Oh yes, an actual pet, that IS the pitch. Never doubt Japan when kink is on the line. It’s also on Viki. Go get your kink on, thank me later. (If it helps: That was not a request.)
Most Peaceful Place 2 (Vietnam) Ep 2 (AKA 5) - love triangles aren’t my thing, but if you’re gonna do it short form, by all means bring in the lead’s other BL pairing so the chemistry is on point. Now I've no idea who I want him to end up with. Can’t they just be in a poly triad?
My Lascivious Boss (Vietnam) Ep 7 - I’m still enjoying it a lot. It’s still unabashedly queer and the tension is ramping up. We now have secret identity, blackmail, femme fatale, faen fatale, and incoming seme confrontation. Best of all, the series is still airing, which makes it longer than any other Vietnamese BL I’ve seen (aside from Tein Bromance - which is just too weird to count).
Gossip - Thai BL
SEVEN PROJECT TEASERS
No one is entirely sure what Studio Wabi Sabi’s Seven Project/7Project will entail.
It might be like Close Friend (1 episode per couple, no linking),
or Y-Destiny (2 episodes per couple, loosely linked),
or The En of Love (4 episodes per couple, linked but independent consecutive stories).
They’re giving the couple’s arcs separate titles. So each one would be what? Seven Project: Once Upon a Time or the like? We’re in Taiwanese title territory people and NO ONE WANTS TO GO THERE. Anygay...
Once Upon a Time is the BounPrem (og UWMA) anchor story, and seems to be the most dramatic and likely saddest. These two can handle most of what’s thrown at them at this juncture, so it should be good.
Vs Love is a BoomPeak (og Make it Right) university vehicle. Since I thought Boom was done with our nonsense, I couldn’t be more thrilled and surprised this pair is doing another show together. I don’t think either of them are the greatest actors but I find Peak very endearing and Boom charismatic on screen, so I’ll watch.
Would You be My Love is the hotly anticipated SantaEarth launch. They’re a (cultivated) IRL ship and Earth is an established BL actor. They have great chemistry and high energy so this could be lots of fun.
We are also getting a GL from this series from established BL actresses Samantha and Pineare. Nothing teased yet on that, but I’m looking forward to this installment the most. Also curious to see how the ladies handle the branding and promo side, not to mention the culture. (Thailand variety shows gonna force *girls* to play the Pepero game?)
Secret Crush on You upcoming Thai BL with no release date, co-produced by and featuring (but NOT staring) Saint and directed by Cheewin (sigh) with all fresh faces. (Previously known as Stalker the series.) It looks like pure pulp and I’m not wild about the plot but could be better than expected as it’s adapted from a novel. Cheewin is an okay director when he has an actual story to follow.
Don’t Say No the series. Coming from the producers of TharnType this is the JaFirst vehicle many have been waiting for. Friends to lovers + a good boy/bad boy pairing on a sports romance foundation. It’s basketball so they tapped Meen as well (he’s semi-pro). The bad news? You get one guess as to who is writing the darn thing? Yep it’s MAME. So, ya know, expect some slam dunk kidnapping, a light dribbling of rape, and me turning into a basketcase. AKA...
Will I have to live blog this series in order to survive it? That seems to be the only way I can. So probably. Which means the bad sports puns will continue. Look, if I’m suffering, SO ARE YOU!
Rumors of a new YinWar vehicle The Best Story (mini series) coming in July. Also rumors that their previously announced Love Mechanics (full length series) has either been delayed, is facing money issues, or is moving studios, or all three.
DELAYED (I’m talking these three off the watch list until we get new airing dates)
Love Area’s release was pushed out but it got a trailer.
Golden Blood was supposed to drop Weds but comments in MDL report that it is delayed due to C19.
Love’s Outlet (Taiwan) is supposed to have started a 50 episode run (only 3-5 min each, what utter nonsense). Sadly, this delay is due to a surge in cases in Taiwan which was doing so well, but also doesn’t have many inoculations.
Bad Buddy has started workshopping at GMMTV actual.
Kang Insoo’s BTS for Nobleman Ryu’s Wedding is SO FLIPPING CUTE. You have to watch it. Trust me, I don’t rec behind the scenes stuff often.
Next Week Looks Like This:
Some shows may be listed later than actual air date for International accessibility reasons.
Upcoming 2021 BL master post here.
Links to watch are provided when possible, ask in a comment if I missed something.
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