ImaginAsian TV Monday, Aug. 28 (8 p.m.)
“Warning: This is fiction, based on imagination. Criticism not appreciated.” That tongue-in-cheek disclaimer appears early on in Princess Hours, a Korean series that is making its U.S. bow on the Asian-American-targeted Imagin- Asian TV network. But Princess has little to fear in the way of serious criticism — not only is it a charming and high-spirited entertainment, but it’s also already a hit in Korea where it aired earlier this year. While it’s sure to score Stateside with ImaginAsian’s core audience, non-Asian viewers would be hard-pressed not to surrender to its winning ways.
Based on a best-selling comic book series and set in a fictional Korea under a constitutional monarchy, Princess tells the modern-day Cinderella story of high schooler Chae-Gyung (played by singer Yoon Eun Hye of girl group Baby V.O.X.) who discovers that, because of a pact between her grandfather and the emperor, she is to marry the Crown Prince.
The series opener wastes no time setting the stage for the romantic complications and palace intrigue that ensue over the course of 24 hour-long episodes. Some of the characterizations — particularly Chae-Gyung’s parents and classmates — are broad and cartoonish, but overall the tone works, considering the plot’s fairy-tale qualities. Princess also boasts a lovely score and first-rate production values. Though clearly aimed at teen audiences, the series should hold older viewers’ interest as well. — George Vernadakis
Eye of the Storm
Fox Sports Net Sunday, Sept. 3 (9 p.m.)
In the wake of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Eye of the Storm: The 2005 Tiger Football Season — a chronicle of Louisiana State University’s 2005 football season — is both appropriate and timely.
The first quarter of the hour-long documentary offers an overview of the Tigers’ 9-2 season, the challenges posed by a devastated New Orleans, and above all, the fans for whom college football is as much religion as sport.
Though a bit belabored in its attempt to capture the university’s emotional response to Katrina, the film does a good job evincing the die-hard nature of fans and portraying Tiger football as an emblem of hope in a time of desperation.
The film really comes alive in Act III with the kickoff of the football season. After postponing their season opener against North Texas due to the conditions in New Orleans, the Tigers — under-practiced and overwrought — trekked out to Tempe, Ariz., where they staged a remarkable comeback against Arizona State in what would be the first of many stunning performances last season. The film does well capturing the emotion of the event, weaving game highlights with voiceovers from coaches and team members, and commentary from one die-hard fan who hadn’t missed an LSU game in 25 years.
Subsequent acts follow the same format, tracking the team from its stinging loss to Tennessee and dramatic win over Alabama in overtime, all the way to the Southeastern Conference championship against Georgia. — Christian Lewis