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Top 5 Dramas for 2008

These are my picks for the top dramas that I’ve seen from 2008. Again, they not are arranged in no particular order as I love them all equally and are not limited to Korean dramas alone. Compare it with your list for 2008:

The Kingdom of the Winds

The Kingdom of the Winds

Stars Song Il-Guk and Choi Jung-Won. The historical drama “The Land of the Wind,” features Song Il-Guk as King Daemushin of the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C.-A.D. 668). The drama about the life of Jumong’s grandson, Moo Hyul, who was born with a curse to kill his parent, siblings, son and destroy Goguryeo.

I started this with the intentions of just watching a couple of episodes; however, 4 days left, I had completely finished all 36 episodes! I enjoyed this immensely. I love the history being told, the story and the love story that was not the main focus. It was a well told story that had me craving to learn more of this period during the Goguryeo period. 

Since I’ve now watched Jumong, the predecessor to this drama, I really feel that this follow-up drama was well done. And can I say that I’ve officially dubbed Song Il-Guk as the King of Sageuk Dramas?! Talk about mane of glory?!! His hair is almost always real!!! If you truly like historical dramas, you will like this. Superb acting by all!

Bloody Monday

Bloody Monday

Stars Haruma Miura and Takeru Sato. I must not omit Hiroki Narimiya (because I simply love him as J). After a biological terrorist attack kills off the population of a Russian town; Japan’s Public Safety Special Third unit, code name THIRD-i, believes that the terrorist organization responsible plans to unleash the same virus known as Bloody X into Tokyo.

Subsequently, THIRD-i recruits the help of genius hacker Takagi Fujimaru (Haruma Miura) to find out what happened in the Russia. However, as Fujimaru becomes involved, he soon finds out that he is in over his head and that the terrorist groups influence reaches not only his school but even the police. Fujimaru must now rely on his skill as a hacker to unravel the organizations sinister plot and find out the truth behind “Bloody Monday.”

For you old school people, this is the movies, Hackers meets Contagion! Loved it! What a ride! Started and finished in a 24 hour period! And 24 hours later, I was still riding a Bloody Monday high! The acting was stellar! I still can’t get over the fact that Miura was like 17 years old when this was filmed. 

The constant twists and turns of the story will keep you on the edge of your seat. Sleep? What’s that when the world as we know it is about to end. I really did enjoy this. So much, I continued the ride and watched Bloody Monday 2! (see previous post on Bloody Monday)

Iljimae

Iljimae

Stars Lee Jun-Ki, Park Si-Hoo, Han Hyo-Joo and Lee Young-Ah. Set during the Joseon Dynasty, Yong (Lee Jun-Ki) acts as a hooligan in the marketplace by day but at night he was a thief who robbed corrupted government officials to give to the poor. After each robbery he left behind a painting depicting a plum tree branch to make his mark and was thus named Iljimae.

His main purpose was not so much to rob but to search for the owner of a specially designed sword which he saw as a child was used to kill his father, a loyal subject of the emperor. Eun Chae (Han Hyo-Joo) is a government official’s daughter who despite her upbringing has a lot of empathy towards the poor. She met Iljimae by chance and couldn’t help admiring him for what he stood for even though she had never seen his face.

This is the drama that started me down the sageuk as well as the intense ahjumma crush that I have on Lee Jun Ki. Iljimae is well written, acted, and directed. I wasn’t bored for one minute. Now, I have to admit that it takes some concentration to keep up with who is related to who. The story totally drew me in from the 1st episode. A lot of people may not have been happy with the ending, but I was simply okay with it.

There really wasn’t any romance to speak of, so if that is your motivation, this is not the drama to watch.

The acting in this is well done by all of the cast. Lee Jun Ki as Iljimae and Park Shi Hoo as Shi Hoo did exceptionally well in their roles. This was my introduction to Park Shi Hoo and it was from this role that lead me to subsequent dramas of his that you will see on my lists.

Bara no nai Hanaya

Bara no nai Hanaya

Stars Shingo Katori and Yuko Takeuchi. Shiomi Eiji (Shingo Katori) is a florist. He is a single man with a young daughter named Shizuku (Yuki Yagi). One day, he invites a blind woman seeking shelter under his shop awning to come in out of the rain. A surprising tale gradually unfolds as the story of their budding love transforms into a complex web of lies and dark motives. Nothing is as it seems at first, and each of the characters is burdened with their own painful secrets.
 
I was looking through a list of dramas on a website that I had recently found that basically had a lot of pre 2010 Japanese dramas. This one caught my eye because the description wasn’t one of the typical dramas that I had watched. I finished this entire drama in one day because the story was that compelling!
 
It’s about a man who is forced to be a father and now living with his daughter. This story revolves around this man … few characters show up in his life and stays with him. I loved how this drama portrays gentleness and kindness of this man in such a sweet way. 
 
The acting was excellent from the main leads and their chemistry was simple and pure. I am always amazed at the little actors and actresses who play in dramas, I especially liked the little girl, Yuki Yagi. She did an outstanding job.. 
 
The writer does an outstanding job in capturing your attention all throughout the drama. I kept watching episodes one after the other in curiosity to what will happen next. The story-line is very different and unpredictable. It had me until the very end.
Family Honor

Family Honor

Stars Park Shi-Hoo, Yoon Jung-Hee and a whole list of other actors and actresses as this is a family drama. Ha Dan Ah (Yoon Jung Hee) is very dignified and beautiful yet she also had a sad life. Dan Ah was married in her 20’s, but her husband died in a car accident during their honeymoon. She is pursued by two men, a man from a rich family, Lee Kang Suk (Park Shi Hoo) and a man who is younger than her, Jung Hyun Kyu (Lee Hyun Jin). The drama chronicles how the Ha Family upholds their aristocratic reputation. 
 
I think I’ve lost count how many times I’ve re-watched portions of this drama. What I especially liked about this particular one is the lack of conflicts for each of the couples that were featured. This really was a true romance and definitely the type that I liked the most. Each of the couples and their romance was featured and we, the viewer got to see their relationship from its infancy until marriage. It was this drama that started my love for family dramas. This also solidified my love for Park Shi Hoo and ultimately lead me to my favorite and still #1 sageuk, The Princess’s Man.
 

So What Are Your Top 5 for 2008?

Let me know in the comments!
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