[I don’t know why some of the content disappeared before Here’s the edited version.]
For various reasons, this year’s appreciation post is going to be longer compared to last year, simply because I watched quite a handful of dramas and I have a lot of things to be thankful for. I have to admit that 2012 isn’t the best year in my life as a student, but I’m grateful that I something that I can hold on to, just to escape the reality at times. Now that seems a little depressing O.O but student’s life is not normal without any sign of stress, right? Back to the dramas, I think I’ve watched more dramas this year and at one point, I even juggled eight currently airing dramas at that time. Crazy, but I managed to finish most of them.
Beware that this is probably going to take forever…
The Case of the Missing Moon
a.k.a. The Moon that Embraces the Sun a.k.a. MoonSun. Remember that time when Han Ga-in was first announced to star alongside Kim Soo-hyun in this drama? People were in doubt about their chemistry but soon enough, everyone was drawn into the story…because of the young cast. Yeo Jin-gu and Kim Yoo-jung further proved their endless talent, but the drama also introduced to me the other young actors and actresses: Kim So-hyun, Siwan, Lee Min-ho, Seo Ji-hee, and Jin Ji-hee. I won’t complain if the drama carried on with the younger counterpart until the end, but the adult cast did a good job in securing the top ratings, although I loved their younger counterparts a little bit more. I’d remember the hype that was going on when the drama was aired: the craze of translating and reading the original novel, finding the clues, guessing games, exploring the beauty of hanbok, and others.
Wild Wild Romance
Ah, my feels! Who else missed Eun-jae and Mu-yeol, not to mention our Robot-Battery couple? Wild Romance might not be the leader in the ratings game but it was still a memorable drama for me. Baseball and bodyguards, together with stalkers and ex-lover. Lee Dong-wook totally rocked his ‘jerky jerk’ Park Mu-yeol (plus his mustache!) and it was impossible not to miss his face once the mustache was gone. Eun-jae, the forever darling and kick-ass bodyguard played by Lee Si-young!! I couldn’t describe how much I rooted for her and her crush towards Mu-yeol back then, also her almost-friendship with Jong-hee (Jessica Jung). Her best friend Dong-ah (Im Joo-eun) and his manager Kim Tae-han (Kang Dong-ho) made the most adorkable and weird OTP the year that was Robot-Battery couple. Not to forget Reporter Go and the stalker ahjumma – one was the forced spectator of the OTPs while the other one was just…creepy.
I never knew that the term ‘salaryman’ was also used in Korea since I only heard it for the first time in History of the Salaryman. Quite late into the game but I stayed with the drama until the end. It might seem like a boring drama at one glance but the dark humor was just priceless. The epilogue was something that must not be missed, because they were just freaking funny and a little crazier than the actual drama. People were quite disappointed that Yeo-chi and Yoo Bang (Lee Bum-soo) didn’t even kiss once, but their chemistry was so adorable and I couldn’t help but love them.
This year was probably the year for strong heroines, as Baek Yeo-chi (Jung Ryeo-won) rocked her curses and cusses like there’s no tomorrow. Her scenes were worth watching (despite the endless bleep) because they’re just gold. The only thing thing that went wrong was the extension, which ruined the plot a little with extensive plotting by the bad side and the indecisive Hang-woo (Jung Kyu-woon). If only he turned over a new leaf sooner, I’d ship him with Woo-Hee (Hong Soo-hyun) a little more.
Time Traveling, Time Warping, and Time…Jumping?
This is something that can’t be overlooked. It’s…everywhere! Probably the most frequently used theme of the year, I don’t think I’ll watch any of time-traveling dramas in the nearest future (not that any of the production companies are planning to do..or are they?). From the funniest to the…worst: Rooftop Prince, Queen Inhyun’s Man, Faith, Dr Jin (was there any other that I didn’t know?). I only watched the first three and only followed recaps of Dr Jin, but that was enough to make me refused all offers to watch it. Harhar.
Rooftop Prince started out as a fun and exciting ride promised through the second Joseon F4 of the year and the mystery behind the Crown Princess’s death, but soon the excessive second lead scheming (and endless murder attempts) made the ride quite boring in the middle of the journey. Nevertheless, Lee Gak (Yoochun) and Park Ha (Han Ji-min) had a good chemistry, enough for me to secretly wished that they would end up together, although that’s almost impossible. I teared up a bit during the final episode but the ending was quite satisfying. If only the second leads’ plot were not that redundant…Hmmm..
Queen Inhyun’s Man: the underdog that made its entrance into the dramaland without that much publicity and ended up becoming one of the most popular dramas of the year. I clearly remembered watching it just because I like Yoo In-Na and I had to watch it without any subtitles with the help of recaps from DramaTalk. Soon enough, the drama found its own cult of followers and fans. The popularity was so sudden and the community was full of gushing viewers shipping Choi Hee-jin and Kim Boong-do (Ji Hyun-woo) but at the same time wishing that they would find their own Boong-do. Cheesy but true.
The big fandom gained by the drama meant that the price they had to pay for the satisfaction of the fans were also high. That explained the mixed reactions for the ending. Some loved it, others liked it while there were fans who didn’t find the closure satisfying and logic. At least, one of the fans’ wishes that was to see Hee-jin and Boong-do became a real life couple materialized when Yoo In-na and Ji Hyun-woo announced that they were in love with each other. Happily ever after? I hope they’ll get married right after Hyun-woo ended his army duty…because they deserve it!
If Prince and Queen were based on Joseon Dynasty, Faith took a further route to travel to the Goryeo Dynasty and the traveler was a woman. This was the first drama of Lee Min-ho that I picked up not because of him, but because of Park Se-young and Ryu Deok-hwan’s chemistry. Princess Noguk and King Gongmin were my focus on shipping but soon enough, Choi Young and Eun-soo (Kim Hee-sun) stole my heart with their undying love. The production might not be that stellar, but the plot was something worth seeing, not to mention the cast’s performance. It’s hard not to fall in love with every single character, good or bad; but it’s pretty satisfied to see the bad guys (and girl) died.
Now, I just had to let it out. I miss everything about this drama, because it was one exhilarating ride, full of nervousness and surprises. I have to blame Bridal Mask for affecting my drama watching activity because I found it hard to move on after the ending. The withdrawal symptom was no joke and I think that I watched each and every BTS of the drama. That proved how much I love it. And the OTP…yes, Mokdan (Jin Se-yeon) and Kangto (Joo Won) were my OTP of the year and the attachment I had for them was just too strong. I never watched episodes 27 and 28 properly after watching it live as I’m still unsure whether I could survive the ending for the second time or not. The drama was probably not for the fainthearted but it’s worth betting each and every emotion you had. I’m proud to say that I survived after watching a drama that never failed to make me wait for the next episode while chewing and biting my fingers. Oh wait, I bit my fingers throughout the live streaming sessions and it hurt so bad!
The drama introduced me to Joo Won and Jin Se-yeon, plus solidified my love for Park Ki-woong. He’s just amazing as Shunji: good when he was good and super evil when he’s jumped onto the bad side. While he was super evil, there was a splitting image of his past as a good guy visible in his eyes that made me wished he would return to his initial self. Guess that the evilness ran in his Kimura blood but I couldn’t totally hate him. I hated to see Shunji crumbling into a devil with his one sided love/obsession but in the end, he had to sacrifice himself for his sins. His bromance with Kangto was bittersweet and his friendship with Rie was beautiful (and ship-worthy!) because they understood each other. Ah, Shunji…you, and everyone else in this drama, broke my heart into pieces and grounded it into powder with the ending. Enough said, but I still ship KangDan!
Melo, melo, and Melo
The melodramatic ‘department’ of dramas didn’t really rear its head until the second half of the year. The plot was still the same old schemes: birth secrets, betrayal, murders, companies, love, revenge, and endless pondering. However, one thing that these melodramas offer (and I couldn’t resist it!) was the beauty of the dramas. The directors captured most of the scenes perfectly with the prettiest background, even if it was the most depressing scene in the entire drama. The long pondering time totally gave the excuse for the scene in front of the characters to be shown to the viewers like me, who couldn’t help but fell in love with the camera work. Even the teacups got their own screen time although they didn’t really had any significance in the dramas.
Melo, or makjang dramas aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and most of the newbies in dramaland preferred fluffy and funny dramas over the depressing and crazy plot of melodramas.I don’t have any particular reason for picking any melodramas to be watched but one thing I know: when I have the mood to pick one, it will be easy to do so. But it depends on my mood and I won’t hesitate to drop it once I lose interest. This year taught me that I will never have enough time to watch all dramas and there are times that I have to drop them without any particular reason. That happened twice this year: first with The Equator Man and the recent one was Nice Guy. I was so addicted to both shows but once I stopped watching them (due to several reasons), it’s hard to pick it up and resume watching it again. The only exception was Five Fingers, which I decided to drop but picked it up and finished it. It must’ve been the power of Joo Ji-hoon’s comeback.
Another ‘victim’ of my picky drama viewer habit this year was Arang the Magistrate’s Chronicle. I was pretty crazy about it right after the drama was to be Lee Jun-ki’s post-army comeback project. Who could say no to that, when his partner was no other than Shin Min-ah? It was the only pure sageuk I watched in the second half of the year (others were fusion because of the time traveling) and that was one of its selling point to me. Hanbok feast! The drama was so pretty from the start but it’s still creepy due to the ghostly nature of Arang and the mystical world invisible to the human beings. The ending was acceptable, even if it was a little inclined to the OTP. Oh well, I’d prefer for both Arang and Eun-oh to end up in the Heaven.
Recommending the story of the kids in 40-year old men’s bodies to everyone! This was a fun watch amidst the craziness of Olympics and pushing/pulling dramas in their time slots. A Gentleman’s Dignity could be a light and breezy watch for the weekends but the dialogues were something that would make you think about it; with the script penned by Kim Eun-sook, it’s normal. It might be the sibling of Secret Garden, but with maturity injected into the characters. I would be giddy over Kim Ha-neul and Jang Dong-gun every time they were together but my favorite was Yoon (Kim Min-jong) and Meahri (Yoon Jin-yi). A big age difference didn’t mean they couldn’t be together and the cast was just perfect to capture the essence of their respective age group. They were from different generation (he could be her daddy!) but managed to make me ship them. That’s the power of love.
Got your answer already?
I read through my last year’s appreciation post and I did mention about the uprising of the cable channels. True enough, this year witnessed several hit dramas from the cable channels. Answer Me 1997 received mediocre response at first but with its reference to the pop culture and using the power of a fangirl character Sung Shi-won (Jung Eunji), the viewers could relate with the drama and the characters living in the 90’s. Every fangirl would understand Shi-won and her crazy fangirl friends and every fangirl friend would feel what exactly Yun-je (Seo In-guk) felt. It’s not simply a drama about fangirls; it was about the life as a whole, told from several people’s point of view. The guessing game of “Who’s the husband??” didn’t really last until the final episode but I was quite worried about it: what if it turned out to be Tae-woong? I would be mad for a while. Nevertheless, the OTP didn’t change until the end. Thank God.
A drama that I encountered just because I wanted to see Park Ki-woong in a role other than Shunji. I promised myself that I would just watch the first episode, but the first made me wait for the second one, and it went on like that. Full House Take 2, although marketed as the sequel of Full House, wasn’t really the exact sequel of the 2004 drama. The only similar thing was the house name that was Full House. I adored Kang-hwi at first, but Tae-ik (No Min-woo) caught up fast enough to make his entrance into my good and adorable book. Who won’t love an awkward guy like him? Hearing Hwang Jung-eum’s voice made me realize how much I’ve missed her since Can You Hear My Heart (I didn’t watch Golden Time) and despite the hideous ahjumma curls her character Man-ok was sporting half of the series, she’s still adorable. Now I really miss those crazy curls and clothes. Not everyone can pull off those random attires, but these people proved that clothes didn’t determine how good or how bad a drama was. I’m still wondering, why it didn’t get any slot on the Big Three?
Dropped, Shelved, and…I just didn’t have enough time to watch!
- Big – I just hated one of the characters enough to make me drop the drama altogether. Turned out that I made a good decision, considering the BIG disappointment of year it had for its ending.
- The Great Seer – Your plot was just…hard for me to process it. Maybe next time, Ji Sung.
- Love Rain – To watch or not to watch?
- The King 2 Hearts – Soon. Soon.
- Shut Up: Flower Boy Band – Soon!
- Golden Time – I wanted to watch it, but no time. Blame the school!
- Ohlala Couple – I just couldn’t accept cheating husband. Stat.
The power of OTP
Oh, I really have to talk about the OTPs I’ve encountered this year. I was so engrossed with some of the OTPs but there were a few that I wished that it’s better for them not to end up together.
“I’m sooooo in love with both of you! I love it when both of you fall in love with each other!”
…but why, WHY on Earth she had to die? Show? Anyone?
“I love to see you two together.My heart was full just from watching both of you.”
SaRang, GakHa, GongNo, Young & Eun-soo, Boong-do & Hee-jin, Yun-je & Shi-won, Man-ok & Tae-ik
…no matter what the circumstances are, they will always find and comfort each other..
“The difference is what makes both of you more compatible with each other.”
Yeo-chi & Yoo Bang, Mu-yeol & Eun-jae, Robot-Battery
…bizarre couples; I wouldn’t think that they’re couples if I were to see them in real life.
“You’re better off away from each other.”
Ji-ho & Da-mi, In-ha & Da-mi
Their loves were just impossible from the start.
“Why you’re not together?!”
Shunji & Rie, Kangto & Rie, Katsuyama & Rie
Maybe in alternate worlds…
- Joo Won: I couldn’t believe that he’s younger than what I thought before! He deserved the praise, because he’s hardworking and his sincerity was visible in the way he did his job. Maybe I watched too much of Bridal Mask‘s BTS and slightly biased towards him, but I really admired him to be a lead at such a young age, both in numbers and acting-wise. I regretted that I didn’t get to know him during his Baker King Kim Takgu days, because I’d certainly became his fan from that moment. I wish that he will never change his adorable manchild antics and continue to hone his talent in acting. Gearing up for Level 7 Civil Servant next year~!
- Park Ki-woong: Bridal Mask made me appreciate him, Full House Take 2 made me love him. I can’t wait for his new movie but at the same time looking forward to the drama he will pick up next year. He’s better when he becomes the bad guy, but can someone make a drama with the bad guy as the main character? Pretty please?
- Kim Jung-nan & Cha Hwa-yeon: Just because their portrayals of older women in their respective dramas were so good and both of them nailed it, not to mention that their lines were prefect for themselves and their characters. It’s a coincidence that the dramas were both weekend dramas on SBS and also KBS. Can’t remember their characters? Kim Jung-nan was the Countess Lee in Bridal Mask and Park Min-sook in A Gentleman’s Dignity, while Cha Hwa-yeon was Mrs Na in Five Fingers.
- Song Joong-ki: A hit drama and a box-office movie, 2012 is indeed his year. He’s finally shedding the pretty boy image off his name and now everyone knows him!
- Park Se-young: My new found girl crush, I saw her first in The Equator Man. Her appearance was brief for the younger counterpart of the cast but she left a deep impression on me. I was so happy when she was cast in Faith and her chemistry with Ryu Deok-hwan made me watch the drama.
Big Three and PPL
While SBS had most of its dramas becoming hits in 2011, I think KBS did a good job for their dramas this year, with the popularity and the ratings. MBC scored the big national drama ratings with MoonSun, but that was it. On average, KBS had more success than failures from my point of view. But the dramas this year are peppered with PPL. I mean, they are everywhere~ I know it’s a business and marketing strategy thing, but it’s becoming a distraction when all I could focus on was the products and gadgets featured in the dramas. Also, they were putting too much emphasis on these gadgets until they failed to corrects those little mistakes.
I’ve never thought a phone could be used upside down…any new model coming soon that I don’t know?
Way forward to 2013
There are a lot of currently airing dramas and I’m only watching two of them: Cheongdamdong Alice and Cheer Up, Mr Kim!. Not sure whether I’ll watch Missing You, King of Dramas, Jeon Woochi, School 2013, etc and the only thing I can promise is it’s all depends on the time and my own mood. 2013 looks like a promising year ahead and while it’s been a mix of good and bad, 2012 can be regarded as a memorable year for me. So…2013, bring me a lot of good dramas…and give me some luck in my life as a student!