K-Drama Year End Review

2012 has personally been  a long year for me, and my escape from reality was to play on my laptop and get me some Korean-related entertainment, and also Youtube. Yes, need life much? Haha..

I have watched…*contains Spoiler*

  1. The Princess’ Man: The show had been receiving very good reviews and awards by the end of 2011 that made me try to watch the show. I was impressed with the cinematography and pace; and surprisingly with the political plot which became the main driving force of the show despite the promoted romance of the OTP. The shining stars for me were definitely Kim Yeong Cheol as Prince Suyang, and Hong Su Yeon as Princess Kyung Hye. And Park Shi Hoo~ waaaw. All in all – it’s EPIC! I literally clapped with admiration after the finale.  TPM –  9/10gongju002a
  2. The Moon that Embraces the Sun (Moon/Sun): This turned out to be the most overrated drama of the year; especially right after I just finished TPM. It was basically about a selfish King upset about not being with his first love, with a backdrop of fancy royal clothes and palace. Pretty much lush HD visuals. I loved the first 4 or 5 episodes with the children actors who have been awesome this year, and will be even more so in the future: Yoo Jin Goo, Kim Yoo Jung, Lee Min Hoo, and Kim So Hyun. First time seeing Han Ga In in a drama, I am no fan of her acting. Moon/Sun – 5/10The-Moon-That-Embraces-the-Sun1
  3. fbrsFlower Boy Ramyun Shop: My bias in Moon/Sun was the second lead Jung Il Woo – who’d been unnecessarily killed in the end – pissed me off. I initiated to look into his previous works I hadn’t seen – and hesitated between Iljimae or FBRS. Well, I went for the light romcom after above mentioned sageuk. A nice surpirse for me that an Indonesian band, Mocca, sang their songs from Catatan Akhir Sekolah OST in Korean for the show’s OST. Jung Il Woo is so adorkable here haha. Ya~ Cha Chi Soo~! FBRS – 7/10
  4. Rooftop Prince: Fated one love that transcends time of the King and Princess. I honestly watched it for the child actor Lee Min Ho only. 4/10
  5. Queen In Hyun’s Man: Another take on time travel. The chemistry between the two destined was undeniably strong. I skipped the second half of the series to the ending. QIHM – 6/10
  6. Gaksital: I didn’t manage to go through the 3rd or 4th episode. (?)
  7. Arang and the Magistrate: Definitely one of the best series this year, yet very underrated. I find it very solid in terms of acting, plot, scoring, and visualization (especially the first half of the run). At first I was reluctant to start because 1. Shin Min Ah  ruined it for me in Naked Kitchen and the not-yet-seen My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, even if I really really liked her acting and prettiness; 2. Lee Jun Ki seemed too feminine for a sageuk (from The King and the Clown image); 3. The whole love story of a ghost with a human in sageuk premise during promotions. Nevertheless, turned out I was wrong! Surprisingly the romance was not even its main theme, which was fortunate for the so-not-conventional-korean-drama-rule-that’s-so-predictable disease. The whole mechanism of the human and divine worlds, gods-fairies-soul hunters-ghosts-humans-shaman, and the one fairy that escaped heaven to become one immortal human and find peace with her destined  not-be-together-ever soulmate -> worked. You could tell that the writers knew what they were doing and carefully established the rules, which I found  promising for a satisfying ending. Arang’s sassy personality kinda fade out though after the first half, which in turn made room for the Magistrate to shine and lead the show. arang20-00573The final episode didn’t deliver the bang I expected, almost anti climax, but the last scene was so adorable anyway. The leads proved me wrong: I liked watching Shin Min Ah and Lee Jun Ki’s chemistry and acting on screen (+ bonus that they are so easy on the eyes). I wish Lee Jun Ki would stick to a manly dark-colored hairstyle, but no he didn’t. I look forward to the casts and staffs’ next project. Thank you show, and thank you contributors at Dramabeans for the cool recaps. AATM – 8.8/10 
  8. Answer Me 1997: This is how easy high school romcom and nostalgia should be done right, with new fresh lead actors and a Busan accent (it’s addicting, isn’t it?). It’s solid from start to finish, although quite dragging the who-the-father-is until it got annoying. I’m not even aware of how big H.O.T was, not that I care, but wow avid fans can be so scary. AM1997 – 8/10
  9. Ma Boy: 3-episode teenage romcom drama about a school idol boy in disguise as a girl. Thumbs up for the awesome talent Kim So Hyun has! 6.7/10
  10. TreewithDeepRootsTree with Deep Roots/ Deep Rooted Tree: This for me is the best sageuk so far I’ve watched Korean dramas. The series was broadcast in late 2011 and received very good reviews, so why not try. It’s a mix of political intrigues and detective/investigation stories, yet set in the Joseon era and a little bit of romance with the second leads – perfect! I was surprised that the case everyone (royals, politicians, scholars, police, secret organizations) was all worked up about  was that King Sejong had been secretly creating a new written language, Hangul, for the Korean language to replace the Chinese writing system so that all ordinary people can learn how to write and read. A big change like that is a threat to some, of course. Han Suk Kyu as King Sejong absolutely deserved the Actor of the Year award. Jang Hyuk is very good and rough with his portrayal. Shin Se Kyung finally nailed her last scene. Very nice camera work, setting, plot, superb pace, soundtrack – very solid. Apparently, TWDR is based on a novel with same name by the same writer of the Painter of the Wind – POTW, which had also been adapted to the silver screen. How awesome is that?! I loved POTW, too, I think it was my first sageuk ever and the second time I’d seen Moon Geun Yong after My Little Bride. TWDR – 9.7/10
  11. Faith: Yes, I did try watching it even more than 5 episodes hoping that it would get better, but NOOO – it’s just disappointing- I dropped it. The directing is bad. As unrealistic as it may be, it didn’t feel believable – say like Arang. I don’t know why people enjoy Lee Min Ho and Kim Hee Sun’s acting here (or in any other drama at all). The actor playing King Gong Min – who I realized had played Moon Geun Yong’s brother in My Little Bride- was the one I’d wanted to see more of. Faith – 2.5-3/10
  12. I Need Romance 2: Starring good looking people (read: handsome version of HaHa). I tried to hang in there for quite a few episodes, but the whole thing for me is just push-and-pull (mildang): two childhood friends obviously in love with each other, and their gang with their respective love interests. It’s about timing, being innocent/a fool, being cool, making out, and being fake in relationships. I skipped to the final ep. INR23-4/10
  13. Nice Guy: I read that people had been raving about Song Joong Ki and that the drama was really doing well in the ratings. I finally joined the hype for the first 5 episodes, but then I’d lose much interest since I was watching TWDR at the same time. 121010-nice-guy-wideStill, my Mom made me play the series “Mil, where’s Kang Maru??” aah. I stopped playing it for Mom after the car incident episode and begged Mom to watch by herself. Applause to SJK for the great acting. Moon Chae Won did better than in TPM. It’s Park Shi Yeon that kept me hanging for the drama (fan biased since Family Outing). But if Jae Hee would’ve never ended up with Maru or even Lawyer Ahn, why bother to continue? Haha. I think it’s one of the most overrated drama of the year. Oh, the ending? Well, finally! NG – 7/10
  14. I Miss You/Missing You: Now THIS is how becoming not nice is done, Nice Guy! I read reviews at DB saying this show is too much, especially having watched NG in prior. Then how tear jerking show was. Helloo?? IMY is hell a lot better and interesting than NG imo!! The relationships are so messed up! Well, I loved the childhood part the most actually, laughed a lot and cried a bit, thanks to the cop ajusshi, Kim So Hyun and Yoo Jin Goo. But then until now (ep 11 as I’m writing) more people have shed tears on the adult part, where I haven’t dropped one tear even at the scene where Ha Jong Woo and lover eomeoni cried while having a meal at the police station (should I question my sensibility here?). It has its flaws, lost of character growth for some, yet the acting is good made it believable.i-miss-you-poster Yoochun has really stepped up in acting (meanwhile I’ve been learning more about TVXQ/JYJ haha they’re so cute). Yoon Eun Hye – thank you for picking up a cooler project at last! Yoo Seong Ho, I like you here more than in AATM. But why is adult Eun Joo not showing up anywhere, what – 3 seconds in each ep? WAE?? She really is good looking and can act – seriously what a waste, I want more of her in the story, more interaction with the family. And why only that one song playing? Anyways.. I’m enjoying the show. How great is that viki plays IMY in Australia haha ~ watching in 480p/720p ^^v. “Jung Woo ya~ Han Jung Woo~”. IMY – 8.5/10

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