My Top 15 Favorite Dramas
As a newbie to Asian Dramas (since May 2011), I have grown to love and pretty much extensively watch only dramas and movies from Japan, Argentina, Philippines, Taiwan, China, and S. Korea. My drama watching is so extensive that I’ve turned off cable and purchased a 32″ Google TV for my bedroom. The corner of my bed has a permanent dent because its my normal watching spot. Here are my top 15 (in no particular order) and a brief review.
Incarnation of Money
Okay, sorry folks, this was the BEST so far this year, 2013!! It is so rare that you can watch a drama from beginning to end and never, I say NEVER be bored!! This drama went from funny, to serious, back to funny without a hitch in the story!!
Kang Ji Hwan, I now have a totally worship of his acting ability. Sure, I had liked him in various movies and have watched a couple of dramas that were watchable but in this he totally shined as a consummate actor! He showed us joy, laughter, happiness, and even sadness very effectively! He is truly a comic genius.
Hwang Jung Eum, I was already in love with her and my love affair will just continue! Her portrayal as Jae In was hysterical! I enjoyed watching her transform from the unsure of herself daughter of a powerful woman to a woman willing to do anything to save her man.
I could list all of the cast at this point to espouse about their great acting but let’s just say, the right actors were picked and they did their jobs!! Everyone was great!
Overall, if you have not watched this, you must!!
New Tales of a Gisaeng
Mind Blown!! What can I say about this drama! Family dramas are probably the ones I watch the least; however, I have been very fortunately in watching some of the best and this is definitely one of them! Im Soo Hyang as Sa Ran and Sung Hoon as Da Mo, if you don’t fall in love with this couple, you’re immune to love! I cannot even say I hated a character; even Da Mo’s crazy father has his endearing characteristics!
My one complaint is the possession storyline, that could have been dropped and condensed this drama below 50 episodes. But what I did like about this drama was that you got to explore their relationship from start, to dating, to heartache, to marriage and finally children! A complete story!!
What is absolutely amazing is that this was Sung Hoon’s first drama ever!! Sure, he starts out the typical chaebol, spoiled brat but his transformation is like no other. Sure, you are going to look at the 52 episodes and say, this is too long but to give you an idea how well the acting is, just watch the last 10 minutes of episode 33. I guarantee in those 10 minute, you will want to watch the other 51 hours and 40 minute; guarantee!! I call those 10 min my emotionally stunned moments!! Only one other drama has ever affected me the same; one!!
A lot of people probably never heard of this. This was my first exposure to Jang Hyuk! The fact that the subject matter covered (HIV) also contributed to this being an amazing story! I fell in love with the young child actor,Seo Shin-Ae who played the young daughter, Lee Bom, was simply amazing! I am truly going to watch her career!
The story covered every aspect of a person with HIV living in Korea; the fear of being found out; the attitudes of people when they do; the suffering a patient, especially a young child. Couple this with a seriously tortured soul (Jang Hyuk’s character Min Gi-Seo) added to the phenomenal acting displayed. I cannot forget Kong Hyo-Jin who plays the mother, Lee Young-Shin. Whose story consisted not only of a single parenthood but raising a child with an illness! Amazing story and amazing acting! Made me a lifetime fan of Jang Hyuk!
This drama introduced me to another genre, the melodrama and I’ve been in love with them since. Call me a glutton for punishment. I love the stories and I loved this one in particular. It not only introduced me to the genre but also to a whole new group of actors I’d never seen before as I was relatively new to watching Korean Dramas. I was so impressed with not only Lee Yon Won, who played the tortured character, Song Yi Kyung but also to Jung Il Woo as the Scheduler. It increased my appreciation for Bae Soo Bin who I’d last seen in Shining Inheritance. After watching this drama, I cried for days! Only complaint was the ending!
One thing I can say about Taiwanese dramas and I’m just going to put it out there, they tend to do romances better than Korean dramas. Sure, there are exceptions but the more that I watch, the more that I come to this conclusion. This was a GREAT story from start to finish!! 21 episodes and I was never bored!! It took us from the very start of a relationship, to the end. It shows the conflict, very well done as well as the happy times!
The chemistry between the two leads, Barbie Hsu and Vic Zhou, off the charts!! The protagonists were many but unlike Korean dramas, those story lines were not dragged out to the end, I hate that!! I especially liked how the secondary characters, Da Ye and Qing Mei were portrayed. We got to watch their story and relationship evolve and you can’t help but love that too!! This drama deserves high ratings and I will definitely be re-watching it and recommending it to my drama buddies!! If you want a really, well-done romance to watch, this is it! Guarantee!!
Time Between Dog and Wolf
I had an ajumma crush on Lee Jun Ki after watching Iljimae and wanted to see everything he had starred in, both dramas and movies. I came across this on Netflix. I watched the first disc from Netflix and immediately went and ordered the entire drama! I’ve never done this before. Never have I been swept into a drama so thoroughly that I immediately wanted to own it!
The action, superb; the story, excellent; the acting, phenomenal! I became an obsessed fan of LJK after this. This drama is on my computer, iPad so it travels with me. There are very few moments where this drama is uninteresting. It takes you to Korea and Thailand; showing you the darker sides very well. I was hoping when LJK returned from service he would do another action drama but because I have total faith in his acting ability, I am looking forward to whatever he does in the future. I don’t want to give away any plot lines in this review, let’s just say I highly recommend this to all, you will not be disappointed!
Bridal Mask (Gaksital)
I cannot believe I actually never wrote a review for this! This is a rare occurence!! This will be considered a modern epic drama. What is amazing about this drama is that it starts to lure you in from episode 1 and continues until the end. The cinematography and action sequences are off the charts!
The story is very suspenseful. This was one of the few dramas for 2012 that I waited with bated breath for the episode to be subbed and as soon as it was, I watched it, sometimes twice! The only weakness in this drama for me was the romance. This drama was definitely about the bromance between Kimura Shunji and Lee Kangto. Their relationship was so important to the drama, you sometimes forgot about Mok Dan and her relationship with the male leads. I think this will remain one of my top dramas for awhile.
Autumn’s Concerto; a Taiwanese drama, my first romantic one! I watched on viki, mysoju and any site I could find it! It was that addicting! It made me a Vanness Wu fan! And let’s not forget little Xiao Xiao Bin, who was the absolutely STAR of the show! Little Xiao and his interactions with both Vanness and Ady was amazing for a child, at the time only 5 years old! It was really hard to marathon this as dramafever was only uploading 1-2 episodes a week. The love story between the two leads was great at the beginning. After the story shift in the middle, the story became all about their child, Xiao Le. He was so amazing and such a great addition to the story, who cared about the adults!!
Oh my goodness, I don’t know where to start. This was truly the first drama, more modern that represented to me as an epic! Sure, there have been sageuks that I could name but this was the first slightly modern drama that truly showed you a complete story. I especially loved the child actors here as their portrayal helped catapult the adult actors tremendously!
All of them, not going to just mention one, all did a great job. The story was the best. It helped the viewer to not only understand the politics of the time in S. Korea but also how those same politics (and politicians) could be manipulated for personal gain. Do I think it was an exaggeration? No! Was I shocked and bothered sometimes by it? You’re damn right! Even though this drama focuses mainly on the construction business; I’d have to classify it as a political drama more so!
The acting by all the cast was stellar. Note worthy performances has to be given to all of the main cast which I would include the secondary cast under that same umbrella; Lee Bum So, Park Jin Hee, Joo Sang Wook, Hwang Jung Eum, Park Sang Min and especially most props to Jung Bo Suk, who play our sadistic leader of the baddies, Jo Pil Yeon.
Of all of the dramas I’ve watched, I have to say the romance that developed between secondary characters, Min Woo and Mi Ju was absolutely one of the best! As they fell in like, then love, then hate (maybe); you felt every emotion with them! I found their romance more convincing and heartfelt than the leads. So much so, you prayed for a happy ending, who cares. But the writers did an excellent job in grabbing our emotions, attention and making you invest a lot of time to watch this. I highly recommend this!!
My first Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin drama! What an introduction to these two! I can truthfully say I’ve watched this several times when the new dramas just did not interest me at all. I loved their interactions with each. I’m always a sucker for a romance devoid of love triangles. Sure, Jong Soo (Lee Philip) liked Ra Im but it was definitely not reciprocated! Granted, this was one of the many typical chaebol son in love with the poor girl but what made this different was he recognized his feelings a lot earlier than she did. But of course, in Korean drama fashion, he had one of the worse mothers we can encounter in these dramas. And unlike most dramas, she never really redeemed herself in our minds. She is hardcore right until the end. Definitely one of my favorite romances.
The Princess’s Man
TPM effect is alive and well! I have lost count the number of times I have watched this very well put together drama! Every time I watch it, I end up marathon watching until the end. The acting was amazing!
I was already impressed with Park Shi Hoo but his portrayal of this tortured soul was beyond amazing! Moon Chae Won’s portrayal of not a wilted flower but of a very strong and determined young woman willing to do anything to protect her man; outstanding! The secondary romance between the crowned princess and Jong, you will become totally vested with that relationship also. This rates higher than a 10! It comes highly recommended!
Okay, this is one of favorite dramas! It was my first drama over 50 episodes that I marathon watched. I loss sleep, barely ate, you name it. This was my first introduction to Bae Doo Na as I started watching this because of Suh Ji Suk! I fell instantly in love with Doo Na’s portrayal of Gloria. Not to forget about Suh Ji Suk as Kang Suk.
I thought the chemistry between the two was magnetic! I was also surprised by the secondary romance between Dong Ah (Lee Chun Hee) and Yoon Seo (So Yi Hyun). Even though the main couple’s relationship was not totally resolved until the end, I felt the story was absolutely fun to watch. One of the best scenes is when Kang Suk serenades Jin Jin when she thinks he no longer likes her. It is one of the most romantic scenes EVER!!
As this is a melodrama, beware, there are some seriously twisted moments that make you want to wretch your hair out; but overall, this is one of the best! And it is the only 50+ drama that I have re-watched from start to finish.
Can You Hear My Heart?
My first drama over 24 episodes became one of the best dramas I’d ever seen for 2011! I’ve lost count how many times I’ve watched this since the first time watching it! The acting was superb by both the child actors as well as the adults! I became a fan for life to the principal actors, Nam Goong Min, Kim Jae Won, and Hwang Jung Eum; couldn’t wait to watch other dramas/movies with them as characters. Everything about this drama is wonderful! You watch a romance that started as children continue to grow as adults with little conflict in relations to how they feel about each other.
The stories about each of the characters is amazing. The supporting actors Lee Hye Young, Jung Bo Suk and Yoon Yeo Jeong is amazing! There are so many aspects of this drama which are very good. From the acting, cinematography and music; no stone was left unturned and the writers made sure that the story flowed! What else can I say without giving details except, this is a must-see!
I, like a lot of people really wasn’t sure that this would work. With the 8 year age difference between the two leads, I really did not think they could pull it off. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. Not only was the romance of Hang Ah and Jae Ha effective, but this was one of those dramas where a lot of viewers took more interest in the secondary couple of Eun Si Kyung and Lee Jae Shin. What a romance story, that could have been a drama by itself!! Overall, this still remains one of my favorites because it simply was fun to watch and again, a rare occurrence in Korean dramas where there is no outside interference in the love relationship!
Queen In Hyun’s Man
No, its not Rooftop Prince, its nothing like it. Don’t be fooled by the basic story. The bar for romantic comedies has now been set sky high! The tears shed by both Boong Do and Hee Jin will resonant with the viewer. One step in sync as the the song says, same sky same place.
The ending is perfect for the story and the premise of time-travel. Its a tale of love and a deep relationship! WOW! I may never look at another romantic comedy drama again the same! It will be hard to match or exceed this perfectly well crafted romance. It’s not surprising that the actors developed true feelings for each other after filming this, not hard to believe as their emotions as they played their roles was pitch perfect! BRAVO!!! ENCORE!! I wait for this writing team’s next project! This truly is a perfect production! Best romance for 2012!
Boys Over Flowers
Who can forget their first drama?! This was mine and will always remain on my favorite list as it introduced me to Korean Drama! Not because of the acting or any love for the characters but simply because it did make me a fan and totally curious about other dramas.