Favorite Dramas

Top 10 Favorite Dramas (in no particular order, because just choosing 10 was hard enough):

Can You Hear My Heart – This show is so full of heart that it consistently made mine feel like it was about to burst.  I don’t normally like family dramas, but all of the characters in this show are fantastic, as are the actors that play them.  I never found myself begrudging anyone their screen-time, which is particularly amazing since this drama also features my favourite OTP.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal –  I didn’t watch this show for the longest time because I heard that it didn’t have a good ending.  What a mistake!  I actually liked the ending, and absolutely loved Geol-oh.  One of the worst cases of second-lead syndrome I’ve ever suffered from, but it was worth it.

Someday – This is a quiet drama, and one I may not re-watch any time soon, but I loved the quirky characters and unique story-line.  The artwork and animations featured throughout were an added bonus.

Time Between Dog and Wolf – As far as I can tell, this show is pretty much flawless.  Great drama, great action, great romance, and a great plot.  The only thing this drama could’ve used was a bigger budget, but Lee Jun-Ki is such an incredible martial artist that the fight scenes were fantastic anyways.  Great acting too!  I feel like I could recommend this show to absolutely anyone.

You’re Beautiful – I’m a sucker for anything with music or dancing, so a band-based show written by the Hong Sisters made this drama an inevitable winner. It’s incredibly funny, but still had me feeling emotional towards the end.

Dream High – Again…give me music and dancing and I’m sold! The idols did an unexpectedly good job, and for such a youthful show the storyline is surprisingly compelling and moving.  Also, for most of the show I wasn’t sure who was going to get the girl, and that’s crazy! I can’t wait to see Kim Soo Hyun in something else.

You’ve Fallen For Me –  I technically understand that it’s not great on a lot of levels, but I love it for it’s realistic characters and unpretentious vibe.  The color palette and music are fantastic, and I couldn’t wait to watch each episode even though it lacked addictive gimmicks and cliffhangers.  It feels high-quality in an understated sort of way, and I was baffled by the number of great songs.

Tamna Island (Director’s Cut) – Definitely the worst first episode of any drama ever, but it quickly redeems itself with its stunning setting and great characters.  Im Ju Hwan as Park Kyu was a complete surprise to me, but his character is what ultimately puts this show on my favorites list.  PLEASE don’t let the beginning dissuade you because the rest of the drama is fantastic.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho – Such a wacky and adorable storyline that it’s impossible to resist.  Mi Ho is probably my favorite female-lead character, and the combination of humor, drama, and romance is practically perfect (with a great soundtrack to boot).  Hoi-hoi!

Protect the Boss – This drama deserves some sort of award for making all four leads equally endearing and quirky.  The supporting cast was just as fantastic, and I found myself loving every bit of screen-time.  The best 2011 rom-com IMO!

Top 10 Honorable Mentions:

Return of Iljmae – This show is gorgeous, and it’s fun to watch Jung Il Woo grow as an actor while his character grows as a hero.  The story is beautiful, and I only wish that some of the action had felt more realistic (I’m not a big fan of wire-work).

Coffee Prince – So perfect until the end.  It’s the only drama I can think of with such a great romance between the second leads, and I love the more mature take on both relationships.  The plot direction and time jump at the end were big letdowns.

The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry – Loved the friendships and exploration of real-life issues.  Kim Bum also did a great job as a noona-killer. Towards the end I got a bit tired of some of the side characters,  otherwise this would be on my favorites list.

49 Days – Similar to Coffee Prince, the end disappointed.  I wouldn’t have minded an unhappy ending necessarily, but the ending they gave us felt contrived and like it didn’t fit with the rest of the show.  Kang-ah is a definite favorite, and Jung Il Woo amazed me with his emotional diversity as the Scheduler.

Spring Waltz – I mostly love this show for the colors and the music, but parts of it have really stuck with me and it has a lot of sweet moments.

Joseon X-Files – This drama is my favorite when it comes to directing.  The setting, camera-work, and color-palette are masterfully put together, and the storyline is is incredibly unique and fascinating.  I don’t mind an open-ended finale, but I wish this show hadn’t left quite so many loose ends.

Secret Garden – I’m not really sure why this show isn’t on my favorites list.  I can’t think of any reason I don’t love it, but I tried to re-watch it lately and ended up watching YaB instead.  It’s not even a fair comparison since I haven’t actually tried re-watching most shows.

Pasta – Most people complain that this show was way too slow, but I never noticed because I loved the characters so much.  It probably helps that I’m a big Lee Syun Gyun fan.

Prosecutor Princess – Refreshingly realistic relationships with good communication between characters and an engaging plot.  It’s one of the few shows that gets more interesting as it goes along, and it manages to avoid a lot of cliche kdrama pitfalls.

My Name is Kim Sam Soon – This show is pure gold, but I’m not a big enough fan of either lead for it to make my favorites list .  Everyone should still watch it though!

The sad thing is that I could easily make a third “Top 10 Honorable Mention Honorable Mentions” list.  Why are there so many good kdramas?
Currently airing dramas and upcoming dramas of interest:
The Musical – It feels a bit like the adult version of YFFM.  It has a great slew of characters that all show great depth (despite there being so many of them!). It’s lost a bit of steam lately, and I do wish there were more songs.
Vampire Prosecutor – I was prepared for this show to be terrible.  How could I not be with a title like that?  It’s actually fantastic, and I love that it’s not really a “vampire show”.  The fact that the lead actor is a vampire is just a character trait, and doesn’t define him or the make-up of the drama.  I do find some of the cases a bit predictable, but that’s no different than other crime shows.
Tree with Deep Roots – I was never planning to watch this, but I had it on my netbook and ended up starting it with my brother while travelling.  My family ended up getting hooked, and so did I!  I never would’ve guessed that it would be so exciting based on the premise, and I love the cast.  As much as I love Song Joong Ki, I don’t miss him simply because the adult king is so great (my heart is constantly breaking for him).  Every episode is a pleasant surprise (So Yi’s escape was badass!) and I hope it stays strong to the end.
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop – Finally, I got to watch this!  I am a self-confessed fan of the “fluff” dramas so I was expecting to love this drama right away.  I actually found the first two episodes fairly lack-luster, and it almost felt like work drudging through them.  There were mildly amusing parts throughout, but mostly I felt bored.  Then in episode 3 when something sad happened (I won’t say what) I was suddenly hooked.  Despite my weakness for fluff, I think this drama needed a bit more seriousness and heart.  It’s not quite funny enough to ride on humor alone, and I feel like it’s finally struck the winning balance.
Ojakkyo Brothers – Softy basically forced me to watch this, and I’m glad she did!  It hasn’t won me over as much as CYHMH (the pacing an chemistry isn’t as strong) but this show still has tons of heart and leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy just like a good family movie does.  It seems like the perfect drama to watch before Christmas 🙂
Love Rain – Yaaay, the director of Spring Waltz is back!  Honestly, I’m more excited about drawing this drama than I am about the cast or story.  I hope that drama itself is compelling of course, but I have faith that the directing alone will keep me watching.
What’s Up – Team Park Kyuuuuuu!!!!!  Finally, this drama will see the light of day!  Honestly, I don’t have faith that it’ll be great, but I’m super excited anyways.  Plus, it has the guy I call “Mister Mask” from Tree with Deep Roots!  Daesung is probably my least favorite Big Bang member, but if he can act at all I’ll be happy (at least he can sing!).
Padam Padam – I actually think the premise for the drama is quite unique and interesting, but I largely just want to watch it to see Kim Bum become a man.  It seems impossible, but I think it happened!
The Moon that Embraces the Sun – Based on a story by the writer who wrote SKKS?  Kim Soo Hyun?  A possible Joon Won?  Sageuk romance mixed with succession battles?  I am sooo in.  And so is my paintbrush.

9 responses

  1. Great list. I’m glad to see Someday on it. I don’t see it often on people’s faves list. That drama caught me at a perfect time to appreciate its mood and quirkiness. I LOVED the art and animation there, I thought it was a great addition to elevate the drama.

    Oh, have you seen DalJa’s Spring?

    • I have, and I remember loving it! The only reason it’s not on my lists is that I’ve forgotten almost everything that happens, which I guess means it wasn’t that memorable for me. I can’t even picture the second leads, although I do remember the “recharge” plant which I thought was super cute 🙂 I also really like both leads in that show. Has the guy been in anything else since then?

  2. I always like to read others objective opinion on dramas. Though I can’t completely agree with you on every drama on this list, it is nice to know what I failed to see in them that you didn’t. It makes me want to rewatch the series, maybe I misjudged it.
    Anyways, I’d love to hear your opinion on the worst dramas you’ve seen to date (so I would know to avoid them) 🙂

  3. Agree! I absolutely loved Can you hear my heart? from the beginig to the end, couldn’t stop watching it. And YaB is just unforgetable (music, dancing, love, love, love… and actors! Just like a drug). I didn’t like as much Heartstrings and Marry me, Mary (the plot wasn’t as good. But that’s my opinion).

    49 Days was among my favorites until the last episode. Soooo disappointing!! I can’t even listen to the OST without getting angry XD And I enjoyed a lot Coffee prince, specially for the main lead.

    By the way, great blog! And beautiful art. I’ll try watching some of the dramas you wrote about and I haven’t see yet. Right now I can’t stop watching “The Princess’ Man” (loving it!)

  4. TBDAW is one of my all-time favourites. LJK’s action shots are awesome and the story is something different from the usual K-dramas I watch. I also like the OST.

    Four of my top-10 listers landed in your honorable mention.

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