2020 in Retrospect

“The worst plan is to not have any plan at all.” Yes, I do plan my drama watching activities, although there are times it didn’t go as planned 😛

If I am to look back at 2020 in the future, it would be memorable as the year of working from home for almost five months because of the pandemic. The year felt like a very long one, but ironically, each month passed by at light’s speed. It was a year full of uncertainties and going through it only a year after starting my current job, I was nervous. What if I had to be retrenched? Thank God it wasn’t to that extent in my case, but the lockdown allowed me to spend more time with my family. The time away from fast internet also gave me the space to pick up my pace in blogging and drama watching, although I definitely can never return to my heyday of watching more than 5 shows at one time.

Despite the seemingly endless time I spent at home, I was actually stuck at my hometown with little internet connection for two months, hence my drama watching activity was interrupted for a bit. I have to admit that Netflix was my lifesaver, allowing me to follow dramas even with my snail-paced connection.

So, to the shows I have finished in 2020…

Psychopath Diary
Ah, my love. I can still hear the opening theme playing clearly in my ear! Although it is technically a 2019 drama, I’m counting it in because I loved (and still loving!) it. I was marathoning the drama nearing its end and found it difficult to let it go, hence the only review I have written this year. Yoon Si-yoon ans Jung In-sun were adorable (as always!) here, but the star of the show was no other than Park Sung-hoon, whose portrayal of In-woo made it difficult not to follow his story until the end. He’s the bad guy, but he’s not the annoying guy you’d want to step on like a cockroach. If there is a Best Couple Award for tvn, In-woo and Dong-shik might be bringing it home for their awesome chemistry, ’nuff said.

Kingdom Season 2
After the short Season 1 (6 episodes were not enough, plus that ending? That drove me crazy!), I was more than happy to have the second season this year. It was worth waiting a year! Despite being unable to finish another of Joo Ji-hoon’s show this year (sorry, Hyena and Geum-ja!) I was savouring each and every episode of Kingdom. That was a wild ride but the story is far from finished! Not going to blabber much about it in case I spill the spoilers, but please, watch it from Season 1…and then suffer with me waiting for the next one. Hehehehe

Hospital Playlist
If not for Netflix, then I might not be able to watch this and indulge in the world of middle-aged doctors. The drama was a huge comfort for me when I was stuck in my hometown, thus began the painful waiting of having only one episode a week! At least the episode itself was almost as long as a full-length movie. Nevertheless, the characters and the songs were dear to me as I spent the days replaying the episodes and listening to the songs featured in the drama, and I even got the original songs on my phone as well! I understand how it became a sensation in dramaland, but it also invoked a new wave of kdrama fans…and huge fanwars began. I have never thought that a medical drama would have such a huge following that shipping wars even happened, but leave it all to the production team behind the famous fanwar-inducing dramas in the past as well! (Yeah, Reply series…I’m looking at you!)

The King: Eternal Monarch
I have a confession to make: I actually watched Legend of the Blue Sea properly for the first time prior to The King’s broadcast and I liked it. Hence, I started The King in high spirits, and also because my aunt was too keen on spazzing together with me. Hehehehe. Thus, my watching notes were for me to keep track of the revelations and theories, and for my aunt to read and discuss with me afterwards. It was fun while it lasted (Lee Min-ho is hot when he’s angry! Not to forget my lovely Maximus!) and the comedy (Eun-sup <3) was entertaining, but there were things that did not add up in the end, despite it being marketed as a parallel world drama. I have to admit that I was disappointed, but it might be a decent watch for those who want something to obsess about for a short time.

Extracurricular
Ah, my child. My sweet, lovely, but twisted child. I didn’t know what made me so into this drama from the moment the first trailer until the posters were released, but I knew that it was a different high school drama. Think that it would be all sweet and sugary? Nope, it was darker in both narrative and characterization. I couldn’t really recall my exact reaction after finishing it first time back in April since I was busy getting prepared to return to work, but I had a chance to rewatch it recently…and the feelings came pouring in. These high school students were bold enough to do something beyond their age and felt no remorse about it, even when they were on the brink of death. The subject matter reminded me of SBS Drama Special Everything and Nothing back in 2019. It is horrifying, but there is no doubt that the issue is what the teenagers these days are already facing despite their young age. Give it a try, and you might find yourself pondering over so many questions. Don’t worry, that is what exactly the intention of the production team.

Oh My Baby
The first drama I started right after I returned home and lived alone for the first time in my life. It was another comfort drama of mine and I was so glad I got to watch it. I laughed, cried, and then laughed again. Maybe I could relate to Jang Na-ra’s Ha-ri well since I’m still single, but it’s her appreciation for her mother and the other characters’ thoughts in silence which made me fall deeper for each and everyone of them. Discovering Go Joon properly through his portrayal of Han Yi-sang might be one of the highlights this year (yeah, I was and STILL smitten) and he was adorable in his first ever lead role! Park Byung-eun’s Jae-young was also a great character as well, and I still think of this drama as a gem of 2020 despite the slightly downward spiral it experienced in the last week of the drama (shoo-shoo, alien Yi-sang!).

Mystic Pop-Up Bar
I actually started the drama early on, but figured out that I won’t be able to handle all the feels included. Hence, I picked it up again later and finished it over two weeks with lots of tears, of course. One of the better shows last year, I admit. The story of Wol-ju as the problem solver of human’s resentment to pay for her sins was already heartbreaking as it is, but coupled with the troubled humans’ stories and the twist in Wol-ju’s own past, it was tear jerking for me. People were also thirsting over Captain Gwi aka Choi Won-young here and I totally agree to that movement. Hehehehe. I don’t want to describe too much in case I spoil it, but please give it a try and love them with all your heart!

Train
The drama was another offering of 2020 featuring the theme of parallel worlds, and that was the main reason for me to check it out (aside from getting double the dose of Yoon Si-yoon, actually). Unlike time traveling pieces in which the present could be changed with a change of course of things in the past because of the ‘butterfly effect’, parallel worlds are quite difficult to handle due to the endless possibilities it could create. Train actually had a decent start where dead bodies appeared in a town but some of the victims were still alive, leading to the lead Do-won discovering another world running parallel to his, thus began his obsession of finding and protecting the person he failed to do before. The premise was exciting, but soon the drama focused more on the investigation, turning it into a crime procedural drama. Still, it’s what OCN excelled at, so I had little to complain about…but STILL, the ending left the concept of parallel worlds hanging. But it sure left a deep impression thanks to the emotional wrought brought to your truly by Yoon Si-yoon and Kyung Soo-jin.

The School Nurse Files
I just realized that I did watch two school dramas last year, this one included…although it was more about the school nurse (the title is self-explanatory). The quirky teaser lured me in and I was smitten with the quirky world they lived in. Jung Yu-mi is born to be Ahn Eun-young, while Nam Joo-hyuk was an eye-opener here, thanks to his portrayal of Hong In-pyo. I LOVED them and their characters, really. The kids were also a delight to watch and they were all fresh faces of new actors and actresses. Although it was a short 6-episode watch, some might find it difficult to understand after the first watch. So, my suggestion: watch it a few times and you’ll love the strange world of jellies even more. I even bought the original novel!

Tale of the Nine-Tailed
It was as if I was watching a fairy tale coming to life. When it was first announced, I remember hoping that it would be a historical drama, but it turned out to be set in modern world…and I was thankful for that! Watching the mythical characters appearing among the humans in the modern setting made it even more enchanting. But then, the excitement of watching the characters slowly faded with the bad guy (darn you Imoogi) slowly turning into an annoying presence and disturbing people around the main couple just to mess with them for a number of episodes. It felt as it the story was being stretched just to make it fit the standard episode count of 16, while it could actually be told in 12 episodes. Good triumphed over evil in the end, but someone who was lost in the tricks of evil might not make it to the end, despite turning over a new leaf. All in the name of sacrifice. Hmm….

Cheat On Me, If You Can
I waited for so long for this! The drama was actually planned for October broadcast, but the pandemic (go away shoo shoo!) pushed it to November..and then it was finalized for December premiere. It has passed the halfway mark and there are still things left to be revealed, but so far I’m enjoying the slow burn of the story. I don’t even realize the time passing by as I watch every episode, proving how engrossing the show is. I’m hoping that the second half will be full of surprises and it will end with a bomb!

Mr Queen
I was afraid that I couldn’t catch up with the show or worse, ending up dropping it since I’m not confident of following more than one show at a time (yeah, I’m old). But then, this one turned out to be a hoot and a delight to watch. Who would have thought that a historical drama could be this funny? Although the series are laden with criticisms from its premiere (actually, way before) until now, that didn’t stop it from scoring high ratings with each new episode. It will soon reach the halfway mark, so I expect to be entertained until the last episode.

People have been saying that 2020 has great dramas, but it seems that more dramas are being appreciated due to the growing international audience stuck at home because of the pandemic. It is a good thing to see streaming service like Netflix and Viu thriving, but there have been lots of fanwars brought in because of the growing number of fans. I guess it is something we cannot avoid, and the most important thing is just to keep calm. Even with the new year opening its door, nothing much has changed and perhaps, the pandemic is not going away just yet. Personally, 2020 was decent to me as I get in touch with myself and then making myself comfortable in my current position in life. I am thankful to be able to watch dramas and spazz about it online while continuing to write here. I’m hoping 2021 will bring in more great dramas and more posts here. Oh right, this site is also turning 10 soon! Time really flies….

2 thoughts on “2020 in Retrospect

  1. Such a sweet post!

    I didn’t know Hospital Playlist had shipping wars! I watched it just recently…but for which couple? I can’t figure out because I never got the feeling that the drama was encouraging two possible pairings.

    1. People were arguing about the pairing for Song-hwa, between Ik-joon and Chi-hong…but I chose to ignore those wars completely, so they might seem smaller in size compared to those of Reply series lol

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