30 December, 2012

Oh the Dramas I've Seen...2012: A Year in Review


I've watched a lot of drama this year apparently, and some of it, let's just say I wished I hadn't. Some I've loved, some I've loathed (well, maybe more was ├╝berly disappointed by), and some were just...um, well average. There are also several that I LOVE but I still haven't finished, and there's no way I will before the new year. Enough rambling...


Queen In Hyun's Man



What wasn't to love about this crack addiction? I remember it was almost impossible to find English subs for while it was airing *thus commenced first raw watching* but boy oh boy was there lots of bloggersphere activity with this drama. It was fresh, and funny, and romantic. Just thinking about the chivalrous, romantic, manly Kim Boong Do, you seonsu you, just makes my heart flutter. While it took a few episodes for the story to pick up, once it did, it had me sold, craving each new episode. Sometimes I wonder if watching currently airing dramas is good for one's health - too many heart palpitations and stress from week to week. Another thing that I really loved was the OST's use of traditional Korean instruments - it seems symbolic of the show's ability to seamlessly blend the ancient and the modern into a lovely story. All in all, it was a lovely story, well told, with lots of pretty, romance, and with some of the screen's best chemistry to boot which made for some of the best K-drama kiss scenes ever.

Answer Me 1997



I really loved this little gem of a show. Who didn't fall for Seo In Guk's heartfelt Yoon Yoon Jae?! I think this show boasted one of the best ensemble casts of the year as well. I cared for each character, their back story, their growth. The PD, the writer, everyone involved made it a pleasure to watch; the whole everything was just so well done. It also showed me that idols can act given the right guidance and of course some natural talent. Another thing I really loved was that it felt like going back to the nineties for me too - and that I think comes from the heart of the show - honest, sincere, human. While the show was certainly not perfect (they really drew the "big" reveal out waaaaaay too long), I am perfectly content, no I should say delighted with this show. I just ❤ it!

Gaksital



I still have not finished this show probably because it's last few episodes happened to fall during my sister's wedding, and then some more real life happened, and, and...man I need to finish this drama. I just love this it. It's raw, full of heart, not afraid to be dark when it needs to be, and just all round beautiful. It has also been a phenomenal role for Joo Won - man, he can cry like nobody's business. Park Ki Woong's Kimura Shunji also happens to be one of the scariest villains in all of film. It's probably because you see his transition from good to evil  told so convincingly - I mean, while watching Full House Take 2 when Park Ki Woong's character got angry, I would be like crap, he's going to go all Shunji - and start to get afraid for everyone. This drama is also just beautiful, the camera work, the soundtrack. Sure, it's not perfect, but it's heart is so sincere and earnest, that I just find myself loving this it completely. Now I really just need to finish it already.

Arang and the Magistrate



Hmmm, I really loved this show, but I was also really disappointed by it - ish. I think it lost steam towards the end (not like any other dramas haven't ever done that...) but I think it sort of sold out a bit in the end. It lost a bit of it's dark and creepy mysteriousness. Oh well, I still love this show. Shin Min Ah and Lee Jun Ki were lovely, and cute, and romantic (too much noble idiocy though which means heroine goes all passive - blegh), but for the most part it was sassy, intriguing, and heartfelt. Yun Woo Jin's Joo Wal was excellent - you hated and pitied him, but for me mostly pitied him - and that is definitely to Yun Woo Jin's credit. Kang Moon Young - holy creepiness lady! Eek! And of course I loved the Jade Emperor, Moo Young, and Moo Yeon (yay Yoo Seung Ho, Han Jung Soo, and Im Joo Eun). I think this is definitely a show I want to re-watch and maybe screencap. Despite it's flaws, I still love it in all its lovely, wistful, and melancholiness.

King 2 Hearts



This show suffered from weak writing in parts, but I still really, really love this drama. Lee Seung Gi gave a stunning performance as the playboy growing to become the king, Lee Jae Ha, worthy of following. And true to the message of that transformation, the people who helped get him there made the drama so worthwhile. Jo Jung Suk's performance as the earnest Eun Shi Kyung was just lovely - and the bromance between Eun Shi Kyung and Lee Jae Ha just made me so happy. Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won - holy frickin' chemistry Batman! Another reason I just lurved this drama was that family and supporting cast were not dysfunctional - they just made me want to hug them all. Oh, except for the worst villain ever. Not that he was inept - ugh, he was just crazy. I know that everyone always complains about the bad international actors, but really, is Hollywood any better? No - actually sometimes I find them worse - but that's a rant for another day. It also had one of the most moving and lovely soundtracks I've heard in a while. This show is definitely one of my favourites for the year.

Nice Guy



Another drama I have yet to finish. I think this is definitely one of the most well-executed dramas I've seen this year. Clean, crisp. great camera work, stellar acting (particularly from Song Joong Ki) - it's definitely a treat. I've loved Song Joong Ki for a while (thank you Sungkyunkwan Scandal for introducing us) but I think this was a memorable experience watching his characterization of Kang Ma Roo in all his tender, earnest moodiness. I am intrigued by how this drama is going to end (and I have avidly avoided spoilers). Here's to hoping I finish it soon!

Shut Up: Flower Boy Band



Another excellent show I have yet to finish. How does that happen? I probably got distracted by something currently airing or something. Why didn't I watch this currently airing? Too many questions! I lurve this drama! It has heart, soul, angst, bromance, raw emotion, excellent music, a fantastic cameo by Lee Min Ki, and really, all the earnestness and heart you could wish for. It has a nice, real-life feel to it - and Sung Joon's performance is great. I'm only half-way through with the show, but I already love it, now to finish it. Wow, I am saying that a lot.

What's Up



I know that this showed started airing in December 2011, but it finished in February of this year. I love musically based things, so of course I was a complete sucker for it, but really it was the lovely characters that just swept me up into their stories. They had so much life and heart, that I couldn't help but fall in love with them. Im Joo Hwan's (❤) performance was excellent, Jo Jung Suk made me fall in love with him, and the pairing of Oh Man Suk and Im Joo Eun was just so good. Why is it that any character Im Joo Eun plays is just so fabulous? Really! And I also really loved BIGBANG's Daesung as the shy, earnest, rockstar genius. Now if only it were possible to buy the OST for this drama - what is it, a state secret or something?

Rooftop Prince



I think I need to have a category for dramas that are awesome in the beginning, and then end poorly. When we had the Joseon four onscreen together with Lee Gak and Park Ha I loved the drama. It was funny, cute, and enjoyable, but the stupid chaebol business shenanigans started to take over the plot and it was goodbye funny, hello stupid, boring angsty melo. Okay, maybe it wasn't so bad, but it was enough to make me mad. The ending at first made me really angry, now I just feel sorry for poor lovely Lee Gak - at least he gets his omurice reunions with his minions. Inept murderers, stupid chaebol business plot, and evil sisters aside, it was a fun drama, and I'm glad I watched it, and it's still sort of a favourite.

Wild Romance



I think it's a pity that this drama had a confused PD. It was billed as a romantic comedy, but wasn't really supposed to be, oh well. Lee Dong Wook and Lee Si Young were absolutely funny and hilarious for most of the drama. The dialogue was zippy, funny, witty, fabulous and then the drama seemed to get confused. Most definitely my favourite pairing in the show though - Im Joo Eun and Kamg Dong Ho - fabulous, just fabulous!

The Moon Embracing the Sun



So yeah, I totally got caught up in the hype that was Moon/Sun but really the show had little substance. The child actors did a fabulous job, as did Kim Soo Hyun and Kim Min Seo, but in reality I think that the script needed a complete overhaul, well, maybe just some good editing, and a story for most of the second half. Nothing really happened for about 20 episodes, but so much could have. The OST though, it was gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I did love watching the show, and I love all the beautifulness in it, but yeah, definitely lacking on the substance side, which is really a pity because it could have been so much more.

Operation Proposal



What can I say, I enjoyed watching the drama (probably mostly because of Yoo Seung Ho). I have not seen the J-drama which inspired the Korean drama, but I probably should. I loved the characters, I loved their growth, but really, the drama didn't really make sense. I got that he loved her, and I feel like he did actually show her rather convincingly that he did. The drama however made him go back in the past so many times because apparently he wasn't convincing enough (?), and it didn't work properly because the heroine's character was poorly written and then they tried to flesh it out too late in the drama. It just made a mess of things, which made the last section of the drama excruciating to watch. The end couple of episodes more or less redeemed it for me,  but only sort of. This is also one of those OSTs that are practically impossible to find, really, would it hurt iTunes/other music providers to actually make it possible to obtain?!

Vampire Prosecutor 2



It was still great, just not as good as the first season. I think that too many new characters and backstories hurt the plot because we ended up seeing much less of the lovely vampire prosecutor in all his guyliner gloriousness, no I mean really. There were so many characters that I felt there were long periods of time we didn't seen anything of Min Tae Yeon, and that means less bromance between Yun Jung Hoon and Lee Won Jong. We also didn't get another awesome episode like in the first season with Yoo Jung In's backstory. I wanted more emotion and more heart, and more of a relationship development between the leads (it doesn't necessarily have to be a full blown romance - but people, show a little more, please); hopefully, if there is a season three, that might be remedied.

Haeundae Lovers



I am still not sure why I finished this drama. It wasn't super good, more on the tolerable side, yet it had a certain appeal to it. Perhaps Kim Kang Woo? Actually, I think I just loved the silly banter of the uncles - they were my favourite. I don't really have much to say about the drama, I watched it, I liked it well enough, it wasn't very good, but it wasn't very bad. Maybe I said more on the ratings page.

Faith



Another big disappointment for me this year. Man, I am sounding whiny here. It was a drama that tried desperately to be epic, but wasn't. It was plenty cute, and funny - Lee Min Ho and Kim Hee Sun's banter, bickering, and general cuteness was great, but yeah, the show just couldn't quite suck me in. I will say that Ryu Duk Hwan's performance as King Gong Min was excellent, heartfelt, and human - I felt his struggles and the relationship between Choi Young and Gong Min was great. The Woodalchi were adorable, I loved Lee Min Ho, and Sung Hoon was hotte. And the score, lovely, lovely, lovely (though not always used to great effect). I think this drama made me a little bitter because I could see all the unrealized potential - and that just hurts.

Big



Oh my goodness! What a huge disappointment this show was! It had everything going for it, Gong Yoo, Lee Min Jung, Hong Sisters, a fun supporting cast - and then somehow it belly-flopped. I am really not sure what happened to the writing - it just fizzled. I know some people don't like the Hong Sisters, but I have loved the dramas of theirs I've seen before, it's just a big puzzle to me and I could probably go on and on about it. One thing I will say is this, poor Lee Min Jung - she can act (I liked her in BOF) but really - her character is indicative of all the portrayals of K-drama heroines I that are getting waaaay too overused (and that I really, really don't like). I am tired of the types of characterizations of Gil Da Ran like characters that proliferate the K-drama world - it's getting boring people.  It's one saving grace - Gong Yoo, Gong Yoo, Gong Yoo.

I Do, I Do



Let me count the ways this drama disappointed me...I think for the most part the story was a good one, but I don't feel like the drama ever really found it's pacing, it's flow, or whatever you want to call it. It felt like it took too long to get anywhere, which ended up in a rushed and poorly told ending. Lee Jang Woo was absolutely adorably lovely in it, but the drama just lacked real connection and heart for me as a viewer. There were some moments I loved, but they are obscured in my memory by how poorly the show ended. I think I have a long draft for a review somewhere that I should probably post at some point. It really was a pity that the show ended so poorly because I really did like it initially, that and all those lovely shoes.

Full House Take 2



Hmmm...it was zippy, adorable, cute, loads of fun and barrels of laughter in the beginning...and then it started taking itself waaaaaay too seriously. Do I regret watching it? No, sort of, kind of - but I did get to read Raine and Deeno's most hilarious recaps for it, and that helped assuage the pain of actually finishing the show. I am definitely one of those people who finds it hard to drop a drama - it can be paused indefinitely, but I hate actually dropping one *must learn that skill*.

And I feel that I should mention some currently airing dramas that have captured my love:

School 2013



I ❤ this show in all its angsty, heartfelt, teenage struggle-ness. The show is most definitely getting better execution-wise as it progresses, but that is not what has grabbed me. It's the pure heart displayed in this show. Lee Jong Suk is rocking it as Go Nam Soon, and the lovely, frenemy-bromance-gone-wrong with Kim Woo Bin's Park Heung Soo is heartbreakingly lovely. I think this role also seems made for Jang Na Ra because it draws on her strengths, and I quite like the friendship developing between her character and Daniel Choi's. I am really looking forward to the rest of this show. Yay for shows with characters we love!

Cheongdamdong Alice



I was a little hesitant to dive into this show (even though I love Park Shi Hoo), and while the first few episodes were a little slow, the show soon picked up pace. I am loving Park Shi Hoo's absolutely batty Cha Seung Jo/ Jean Thierry Cha. I will admit though that I am a tad worried at this point. There is too much of that too-oft used drama technique of NEVER communicating that results in so much angst and unnecessary plot machinations. People, there are other ways to advance your plot! I have high hopes though that the show can pull it off, it's surprised me with goodness so far...and really, who doesn't want to miss the man with the magic smile.

King of Dramas



Well, last, but not least. Who knew that a drama about dramas could be so addicting, fascinating, funny, lovely, and hilarious. I am kind of sad I joined this party late, but man am I enjoying it now. Kim Myung Min is killing it as Anthony - he's just so fabulous! That lip-sneer-quirk-smile thing he has going. And yes! Jung Ryu Won's Lee Go Eun is smart, lovely, charming, and funny. I love it when the drama heroine is actually an equal to the hero. I have also been pleasantly surprised by how much I love Shiwon's Kang Hyun Min. He is not my favourite member of Super Junior, but he has won my heart with this drama. There is this one scene, I think in episode 6 where Director Goo is describing his vision of the first episode and Kang Hyun Min is so into it. And then he motions for his manager to applaud, and motions him to stop, and then applaud, and stop - the timing of it was perfect! And hilarious! I have been laughing out loud and cheering with each victory and awesome moment. It also has one of the best used soundtracks ever! Seriously, whoever the PD, the writer, and everyone else behind the scenes, they are fabulous.

◀ K-Pop Awards: Best of 2012                                     bustered's Top 100 K-pop Songs of 2012 ▶

3 comments:

  1. Great breakdown! :D I've also a bunch of 2012 dramas that I haven't watched &/or plan to finish! I'm currently watching Gaksital (I know, SO late to the party!) and I'm loving it!

    Absolutely, absolutely finish Shut Up, it's fab! And lastly, I have to completely echo what you said about Big's saving grace: Gong Yoo, Gong Yoo, Gong Yoo! <3 <3 <3 Big was a huge mess, but it totally showed off Gong Yoo's awesomeness! And he is a lot of awesome ;)

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    1. I think I just start too many at once. Gaksital is AMAZING!!! It's just so heavy, and sometimes I am not quite in the mood for the emotional intensity. SU:FBB is high on my list of dramas to watch. Actually each time I watch School 2013, I think, man, I need to finish SU:FBB.

      Oh Gong Yoo - he is so fabulous!

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    2. Oh I know what you mean about needing to be in the mood! That's mostly why I'm so late to the Gaksital party.. I was waiting to be in the right mood! ;)

      I haven't checked out School 2013 yet, tho I plan to. I've so much love for Shut Up, tho, that I'm already doubting School's ability to better Shut Up, heh :P

      And Gong Yoo. My gosh, I can't say enough about how amazing he is. He's not only scorching hot, he's also an amazing actor, and then to top it all off, he's got such a charming, easy, witty presence in interviews & BTS vids. I love him <3

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