Last minute work is my forte, so I decided to make the last day of 2013 as my appreciation day…but so many things happened that the post was left unattended..until today. 2013 passed by in a blink of an eye, and there are so many things to be appreciated as well some that make me want to complain all day long. Life’s not adventurous without both delightful and not-so-fun things, right? Just like the drama offerings last year, there are some that worth mentioning and they will be in my mind for quite sometime, while others might probably lost themselves in my fading memory.
Time constraint and this picky attitude of my grown-up self have taken toll on my drama watching habit and in the year of 2013, I have completed less dramas compared to the number of dramas that I was initially interested with. If years ago, I would never thought that there are dramas that I won’t be able to relate with, nowadays they’re everywhere. Probably the abundance of dramas literally popping up here and there, causing no shortage of dramas at all, makes me selective when it comes to picking dramas to be watched. Plus, time isn’t always on my side and I realize that I have to cut down on my dramas.
I might have completed less than 20 dramas last year but looking back at the years before (2011 & 2012), it’s more or less the same. I usually choose my dramas either because of the cast, the plot, or the writers. But the decision to continue watching depends on the first episode: whether it can capture my attention or not, and whether I can watch it diligently as it is being aired or not, without disturbing my real life commitments. Yeah, I take my dramas seriously as they are a part of my life. Hehehe.
Now, let’s talk about the dramas in 2013: the dramas that made me laugh, cry, and roll my eyes.
Cheongdam-dong Alice – Everything was so perfect in the beginning: the quirky and weird Jean Thierry Cha Seung-jo (Park Shi-hoo), the adorable ‘Cinderella wannabe Alice’ Han Se-kyung (Moon Geun-young), the cold queen Seo Yun-joo (So Yi-hyun), and the suave but calculating Tommy Hong (Kim Ji-suk). So much potential, but the story became deflated really quickly and even with the short number of episodes, some of the characters ran out of steam even before the halfway mark. I found it difficult to root for Se-kyung and instead came to like Yun-joo, who continued to be awesome until the end of the series. The premise was promising but the characters somehow lost themselves in the Wonderland.
School 2013 – Honestly, I always have a hard time watching a high school Kdrama compared to Jdrama, but this one is an exception because of its closeness to reality. The characters were put in the ordinary high school setting, facing the challenges that were realistic (at least for me). Go Nam-soon (Lee Jong-suk)’s indifference towards the school, Song Ha-kyung (Park Se-young) dealing with her overachieving family, Park Heung-soo (Kim Woo-bin) and mysterious self, and the teachers (Jang Na-ra & Daniel Choi) dealing with the ever-changing students and school administration. It’s a show with heart that would steal hearts left and right. The drama might be slightly focusing on the boys instead of the girls, but the girls were also given the chance to shine in their own way. If you’re looking for high school romance, this might not be the show for you. Instead, anticipate the heartwarming friendship between the characters and as a bonus, the bromance (and tiny bit of gromance).
Flower Boy Next Door – The title should be changed to Flower Boys Next Door and In Front of My Apartment Complex. Recluse Go Dok-mi (Park Shin-hye) who was awesome in her own way, stole everyone’s hearts although she barely left her house. A stalker by day and a writer by night, her quiet world inside her little house was the best place to be, before a certain Enrique Geum (Yoon Si-yoon) broke the barrier that she built between herself and the outside world. Because of that barrier too, she didn’t realize that her neighbour Oh Jin-rak (Kim Ji-hoon) harbored one-sided crush towards her since the first time they met years ago. Her insecurities were relatable, hence her actions were something that I could understand, coming from a girl with wounds like her. However, with Pandarique’s encouragement, she decided to face her fears and embrace her insecurities, finally opening herself up to others but not sacrificing her true self.
The Incarnation of Money – The one heck of a roller-coaster ride for a drama. There wasn’t any dull moment and the characters were amazing in their own ways. Lee Cha-don (Kang Ji-hwan) was a grey character with flaws but redeemed himself to be a judge to the people who ruined his family, including his biggest rival Ji Se-kwang (Park Sang-min). Lots and lots of scheming and tricks done by the characters and sometimes, I really wished that the bad guys could board an express train to the afterlife. Love the main characters and also the side characters, not to mention the lovely cameos. Revenge is a best dish served cold, but the journey towards the ultimate retribution could use some heat. HA.
Jang Ok-jung, Live in Love – The first sageuk for me in 2013 was ruined because of the ratings. Yes, I blame the ratings! I loved everything about it: the opening credit, the cast, and the pretty hanbok, only for it to go down the road of appeasing the public. Owh. The first 9 episodes were the best for me, thanks to the amazing Lee Soon/Sukjong (Yoo Ah-in) and Jang Ok-jung (Kim Tae-hee). Their courtship period was so lovely! It’s worth mentioning the other characters: adorable and reliable Prince Dongpyung (Lee Sang-yeob), Queen Inhyun (Hong Soo-hyun), and Queen Inkyung (cameo by the awesome Kim Ha-eun!). The main love line was constantly being pestered by the bad guys and girls who were jealous of their relationship and also in the name of power, something expected from a sageuk. Palace intrigues was included in the package if there’s a king in the show! Still, the ending made me cry buckets…and sobbed like there’s no tomorrow. Oh, the memories..The first part was memorable, not to forget the OST (including the lovely instrumentals) and the beautiful hanbok galore.
Special Affairs Team TEN 2 – I was anticipating this one after the awesomeness that was the Season 1. Season 2 started out great; in fact, the first two episodes were so amazing that I felt that they were part of Season 1. The following episodes were not as engaging as Season 1, but there were some that left a deep impression on me, for instance Episode 8. That one was unforgettable! The final two episodes were nerve-wrecking and I almost went crazy while watching it. Phew! The ending…ahh, so touching, but the epilogue probably suggested that there might be a Season 3…or not. I vote for a movie. Joo Sang-wook will always be my Team Leader Yeo Ji-hoon, together with his kickass underlings: Nam Ye-ri (Jo An), Baek Do-shik (Kim Sang-ho), and maknae Park Min-ho (Choi Woo-shik). I miss them dearly.
Nine: Nine Times Time Travel – Every time I read ‘Sun-woo’, it would remind me of Park Sun-woo (Lee Jin-wook). The selfless man who would do anything and everything for his family but ended up ruining his own life. Pretty cruel, huh? That’s life and what this drama was all about. Coming from the writer of 2012’s Queen Inhyun’s Man, this one was another time-traveling piece that might seem so 2012, but don’t let the theme cloud your judgement. Watch it, and your life might never be the same again. Get ready to have some brain exercise and enjoy the eye candies while you can! Thought-provoking but it was worth the ride. Another big discovery was Park Hyung-sik.
Shark – Revenge was the reason why I picked up this drama, plus it had Kim Nam-gil, Son Ye-jin…and Lee Soo-hyuk (biased me is biased!). A dark drama full of pretty. The revenge and mystery were engaging at first but they soon became draggy. I was just hoping that the old man Jo Sang-deuk (Lee Jung-gil) would die sooner but nope, it didn’t happen. Gahhh so frustrated. Still, the drama was entertaining…except for the ending. Hum. A little disappointed for that part. Nevertheless, Shark was full of plotting, secrets, love, and…sharks. Look out for the child cast, because one of them is my favourite: No Young-hak! Also, Nam Bo-ra was so adorable in this drama.
Dating Agency: Cyrano – Right, I was so excited for this one, but unfortunately, real life got in between me and this drama and I had to ditch the possibility of following it while it was airing. However, I got the chance to marathon it and boy, what a pleasant watch it was! In fact, it was so hard to stop watching in between the episodes because I wanted to know what would happen next (This is one of the reasons I don’t really like marathoning dramas – I tend to have little patience and I can’t stop watching once I start a drama, knowing that the episodes are readily available!). Sooyoung was charming in her portrayal as the adorable ‘Stone’ Gong Min-young and Lee Jong-hyuk…no words needed. That man is like a fine wine, getting better and hotter as he ages. Prickly Seo Byung-hoon, I miss him! Ah, not to forget the sweet but dark ‘Master’ Cha Seung-pyo aka Lee Chun-hee. He deserved a good girl for himself after what he had done for the main couple! Lots of cameos but my favorite was Lee Min-woo. Favorite case for the agency: the Nurse and the Firefighter. So sweet.
Mandate of Heaven – Sageuk offerings were kind of lackluster this year but Mandate of Heaven defied the norm, except that the ratings were low. I marathoned this too and it was super addictive! I really wished that it was more popular, because it was superb. Great plot with great directing and stellar cast. Lee Dong-wook and Song Ji-hyo might be the weak points at first but they eventually blended into their characters pretty well and I was rooting for them: the runaway physician Choi Won and the royal nurse Hong Da-in. Song Jong-ho and Kang Byul stole the main couple’s limelight and who didn’t love their interaction as Inspector Lee Jung-hwan and Choi Woo-young? Ack, they’re so cute!! They were so many amazing things about this sageuk: the villains, the good guys, and others, so…please, watch this drama and see it for yourself. I miss my clueless and precious So-baek (Yoon Jin-yi)!
Who Are You – If there’s a drama that I would remember for shipping an already sinking ship, then it would be this drama. Yeah, I know that Taecyeon was quite adorable, but maybe I was just too biased towards Kim Jae-wook. Hyung-joon’s past shown in both Si-on (So Yi-hyun) and his memories were too lovely to be forgotten. Ahhhhh….
Master’s Sun – Airing around the same time with Who Are You with the same theme: the female leads who could see the souls of the dead, this drama raked in decent ratings thanks to the influence of Hong Sisters…and the electric sizzling OTP So Ji-sub and Gong Hyo-jin. These two were the reasons why I decided to start watching after all those promises and vows to wait until it ended. Their chemistry was enough to burn the screen and make hearts flutter, and it was a lovely experience watching Joo-gun and Tae-yang bickering and talking in between the flocking ghosts! My only gripe was the extension, which sort of ruined a bit of the drama. Hmmm…still, Joo-gun and Tae-yang were match made in heaven. Enough said.
Answer Me 1994 – I didn’t expect myself to start watching it right after it began airing but it’s probably the nostalgic charms that lured me into the drama…again. I was a little skeptical about Go Ah-ra but her portrayal of the tomboyish Na-jung lured me in, and the first thing that made me fall for the series was her interaction with her archenemy/brother Trash (Jung Woo). I love to watch their bickering which reminded of me and my little brother. But then, the shipping war got worse due to the appearance of the sweetest Chilbong (Yoo Yun-suk), who undeniably stole many of the viewers’ hearts (including half of mine). The war made me put some distance between myself and the drama, afraid that I would get too emotional over the constant arguments between the two factions: Trash Team and Chilbong Team. Alas, I finished it (even with those super long episodes that felt draggy at times): the lovely drama with a lovely team behind it.
Empress Ki – My current crack! Maybe I was just in dire need of a good sageuk to satisfy my yearning for it, but I fell hard for Empress Ki. The writers were my prime reason for tuning in but right now, I really love each and every cast, even the villains…I love to hate them! I was a little afraid that Ji Chang-wook would feel pressured acting beside Ha Ji-won and Joo Jin-mo, but he stood against them pretty well in the prologue. His portrayal of Ta-hwan is amazing! Not to forget, Baek Jin-hee, who is lovely as the dense but dangerous Tanashiri. I adore her and she might be one of my latest girl crush! If you’ve noticed it, this blog is converted into a blog about Empress Ki, so…yeah, I’m crazy about this amazing drama!
I used to watch every single drama that I picked up until the end, no matter what happened but I soon learned to be pickier and dropping dramas left and right. It was hard to get used to it, but this year it’s easy to drop dramas. Maybe I’m getting harder to please. Let’s see if I will pick these shows again in the future. It’s normal to fall in and out of love for dramas, right?
Queen of Ambition – Too much potential makjang. Dropped after episode 1.
7th Grade Civil Servant – I stayed for Joo Won but couldn’t stay until the end. It was painful. Dropped after episode 15.
That Winter, the Wind Blows – I sort of fell out of love for it. Dropped after episode 10.
When A Man Loves – I couldn’t seem to click with the story. Thank God. Dropped after episode 1.
Blade and Petal – We’re not a perfect match either. Dropped after episode 2.
Goddess of Fire, Jung-yi – Ummm…you and I didn’t match. Dropped after episode 1.
Wonderful Mama – I was excited for it but I was too busy back then. Dropped after episode 2.
Goddess of Marriage – Can I say that I was lucky for dodging the potential bullet? Dropped after episode 2.
I am not sure why but I tend to choose the less popular dramas. One of the reasons was probably the popular ones always came out when I was at my busiest time. Maybe I was just unlucky. Ha! So, I have no other choice to put these amazing dramas on the ‘to be watched’ shelf although I’m not sure when to do so. I have heard, saw, and read spazzes, rambles, and reviews on these shows, so I think they’re amazing! I also watched several episodes for some of the dramas and hopefully I’ll be able to resume watching them! To tell you the truth, I am trying to finish at least Two Weeks and Suspicious Housekeeper before posting this entry…but life got in my way. Hurr.
| Heartless City | I Hear Your Voice | Queen’s Classroom | Good Doctor | Secret |
| Two Weeks (Episode 9) | Suspicious Housekeeper (Episode 15) |
OTP – Be it a canon or non-canon/ secondary pairing, an OTP is one when you want it to be!
| Kke-geum – Dok-mi | Nam-soon – Heung-soo | Soo-hyun – Yi-hyun | Sun-woo – Min-young | Jung-hwan – Woo-young | Si-on – Hyung-joon | Joong-won – Gong-sil | Na-jung – Trash | Yoo – Seung-nyang | Ta-hwan – Seung-nyang |
Lee Jong-suk – 2013 was his year. He finally had his chance to shine and capture everyone’s attention! He started the year with Nam-soon (School 2013) and made a breakout performance as Soo-ha in I Hear Your Voice. He proved that he’s not just a pretty face, but a pretty face that can act. He’s pretty! Hehehe. I’m happy to see him being recognized for both his talents and looks, and 2014 might be his year, again. I need to catch up with I Hear Your Voice and his two movies released in 2013: No Breathing and The Face Reader, plus he has another film that is going to be released soon, Blood Boiling Youth.
Jung Woo – Nation’s Oppa? Probably. Hehehe. His character Trash made all wished that they could have a brother just like him. Even with his half-human way of living that annoyed the heck out of Na-jung, he’s still as adorable and precious as a little kid. HA! Seeing him in Answer Me 1994 was truly one of the best discoveries for me in 2013 and I am looking forward to more of his projects. I didn’t watch You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin! and I heard (and read) good things about him there, so I might check it out just for him…but it depends. I’m more inclined towards watching his latest movie, Red Family soon. He’s truly a hidden gem!
Ji Chang-wook – Ah, our Baby Emperor. I just realized that he’s one of the first few actors that I followed on twitter when I signed up for my account, but fate always got in between me and his dramas: I didn’t follow Warrior Baek Dong-soo closely and suddenly got busy when I was about to follow Bachelor’s Vegetable Store, plus I was too focused on Joo Ji-hoon in Five Fingers. Still, I did like In-ha, although he’s quite evil there. But then, Empress Ki made me realize that he’s beyond amazing. He managed to carry his character Ta-hwan really well and captured the viewers’ hearts for his portrayal as the timid and spineless Emperor. Although he’s surrounded by more experienced actors, he stole the limelight and made people care for his character. One thing that I notice is that he tends to pick longer projects. I wonder why…
Something to look forward to..or rather, dramas to look forward to….
I heard good things about these dramas, so I will probably check them out soon~
- One Warm Word
- Miss Korea – RECOMMENDED! I’ve watched the first 8 episodes and I love the characters!
- You From the Stars – Jeon Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun are nailing it. The hoot Cheon Song-yi and Alien Grandpa Min-joon!
- Prime Minister and I
- Emergency Man and Woman
- I Need Romance 3
Well…2013 will be a memorable year because of several dramas and here’s hoping that 2014 will bring on more exciting and enjoyable dramas for our entertainment. I’m also looking forward to 2014, wishing for a healthier year ahead.
Happy (belated) New Year everyone~!