Dramas that I Had No Expectations About But Were Surprisingly Good This Year (2014 Edition)

Beyond the Clouds
3 Days
Come, Jang Bo Ri
Hotel King

I think every year, there are dramas that people I know and love who love dramas as much as I do tell me “Watch this; watch that”. This year has the distinction of being the year that I’ve watched fewer KDramas since I started watching them almost four years ago. The reason that I am highlighting these particular dramas is I had absolutely no “pony” in the drama. Even though I was familiar with a lead here and there, none were actors that I usually jump in and watch immediately.

So, it was with utter surprise that when I finally watched each of these dramas, I was stunned and amazed how much I liked; no, LOVED each and every one of these!
MDL Rating refers to MyDramaList Website

Beyond the Clouds

Yoon Kye Sang as Jung Se Ro
Han Ji Hye as Han Young Won
Jo Jin Woong as Park Kang Jae
Kim Yoo Ri as Seo Jae In
Lee Dae Yeon as Jung Do Joon
Jung Won Joong as Shin Pil Do
Kim Young Ok as Hong Soon Ok
Song Jong Ho as Gong Woo Jin
Kim Young Chul as Han Tae Oh
Jun Mi Sun as Baek Nan Joo
Son Ho Joon as Han Young Joon

Jung Se Ro is a hardworking young man who works multiple part-time jobs while studying for the foreign civil service exam. His father is a petty criminal and a con man, and their family lives a transient life because of his deals, currently staying in Thailand.
Despite wanting an honest life for himself, Se Ro’s dreams are shattered on the night of a glamorous jewel exhibition opening in Bangkok. His father dies in an incident involving stolen diamonds, and because Se Ro was at the scene when another man was shot, he is accused and arrested for murder. After spending five years in a Thai prison.

Then Se Ro meets Han Young Won, heiress to a jewelry brand. She was madly in love with her fiancé Gong Woo Jin, and had closed herself off after his death. But Se Ro draws her out into the world, while Young-won gives him a reason to live when he had all but given up. They fall in love, not knowing that the man Se Ro was accused of killing had been Young Won’s fiance. His love for her becomes his punishment, but also his salvation.

My Thoughts
This drama did what Golden Cross drama should have done: entertain and captivate me with the story; it did both. From beginning to end, I was totally swept into the story as well as the romance. Pulling me into a romance is really hard to do as I hardly watch and like them; but, Beyond the Clouds managed to do both. I was vested in the main OTP, I wanted them to be successful even though I knew their relationship had two mountains to climb: proving Se Ro’s innocence as well as Young Won’s father being culpable in the framing of Se Ro in Gong Woo Jin’s murder. I expected it to be a hard road and it was but one thing that the actors did well was showing the gradual romance as it built between the two characters. Their love came through with each scene, something that you don’t always see or maybe it is just me. I’d seen Yoon Kye Sang in another similar drama, Crazy for You and so I had high hopes for him as the lead. As a matter of fact, he was really the reason that I decided to watch this in the first place. Now Han Ji Hye was a total surprise! I can truthfully say that this is the first drama I’d seen where I loved her character and acting! Her portrayal of Young Won was spot-on. And what I liked the most was the outcome of the final episode. For those who know me, I rarely do romance but this turned out to be a very, very pleasant surprise.

MDL Rating: 8.5

Three Days

Park Yoo Chun as Han Tae Kyung
Son Hyun Joo as Lee Dong Hwi
Park Ha Sun as Yoon Bo Won
So Yi Hyun as Lee Cha Young
Yoon Je Moon as Shin Kyu Jin
Choi Won Young as Kim Do Jin
Jang Hyun Sung as Ham Bong Soo

The President of South Korea goes on holiday at a private villa. In the middle of the night, three gunshots are fired, and the president goes missing and his bodyguards who pursue the case and try to save him.. His bodyguards, led by elite agent Han Tae Kyung, have three days to find the president and escort him safely back to the Blue House. The drama traces the footsteps of the security guards who try to locate the missing president and unfold the mystery surrounding the president′s disappearance. The questions answered are “Who, What, Where”? What happened to the President? Who is trying to kill the President? Where is the President now?

My Thoughts
I am not a big Yoo Chun fan! I will admit that upfront; but what I am is a HUGE fan of the Action/Suspense genre. This drama was recommended to me and I was told that I would like it: they were right. Yoo Chun excelled as the Presidential bodyguard, Han Tae Kyung. The stunts were realistic which explains the injuries that Yoo Chun suffered during the making of the drama. Son Hyun Joo as President Lee put in a great performance; but then I never expected any less. The more I see this actor; the more I like him. In Three Days, his performance was memorable. However, the actor that stood out the most for me was Choi Won Young as Kim Do Jin, Chairman of Jaeshin Group. Chairman Kim didn’t care what he did to get what he wanted done and Choi Won Young portrayed that attitude BRILLIANTLY! His performance is stellar and put him on my drama watch list! Unfortunately, the ladies of the drama were probably the least favorites for me. Neither Park Ha Sun or So Yi Hyun “wowed” me. They only managed to fill in the holes as well as time from one episode to another. I was SO glad that there wasn’t a romance. Because of the storyline, I think it would have detracted from the entire drama too much and as usual would have been nonsensical. Obviously, the writer felt the same and pretty much left romance off the table. For that reason, the story line as well as the pace of the story was perfectly timed from one episode to another. As each episode ended, I was ready to watch the next. This was definitely a great drama to marathon!

MDL Rating: 8.5 for a strong story and excellent cast performance. Yoo Chun, do more action dramas!!

Come! Jang Bo Ri

Oh Yeon Seo as Jang Bo Ri / Do Bo Ri
Yoo Eun Mi as young Bo Ri
Kim Ji Hoon as Lee Jae Hwa
Jung Yoon Suk as young Jae Hwa
Lee Yoo Ri as Yun Min Jung
Shin Soo Yun as young Min Jung
Oh Chang Suk as Lee Jae Hee
Jo Hyun Do (조현도) as young Jae Hee
Sung Hyuk as Moon Ji Sang
Kim Ji Young as Jang Bi Dan
Kim Yong Rim as Kim Soo Mi
Kim Hye Ok as In Hwa
Yang Mi Kyung as Ok Soo
Ahn Nae Sang as Soo Bong
Jung Won Joong as Hee Bong
Jun In Taek as Park Jong Ha
Han Jin Hee as Lee Dong Hoo
Geum Bo Ra as Hwa Yun
Woo Hee Jin as Jung Ran
Han Seung Yeon as Lee Ga Eul
Hwang Young Hee as Do Hye Ok
Park Gun Il as Kang Yoo Chun
Choi Dae Chul as Kang Nae Chun

As a child, Jang Bo Ri was adopted by a family without much money. She then learns that she is the missing daughter from a wealthy family and reunited with her real parents after 20 years. Bo Ri goes through the drastic change in her life and tries to become a successful designer of traditional Korean dresses. Meanwhile, Yeon Min Jung who grew up in that family as a surrogate daughter, must return to her place with Bo Ri’s adopted family. The two women struggle within their new surroundings and also get entangled in the hearts of two half brothers, Lee Jae Hwa and Lee Jae Hee. Can a long-lost daughter find happiness when she is reunited with her parents after 20 years?”

My Thoughts
I don’t even know where to begin. As family dramas have been a bust for me this year (Glorious Days and Wonderful Day were the exceptions), I really wasn’t expecting to come across another family drama that I like. Not only did I like Jang Bo Ri, I LOVED it! The child actors (especially the little girls, Yoo Eun Mi and Shin Soo Yun) at the beginning managed to pull us into the story and Kim Ji Young as Bi Dan blew us away! It has been a long time whereby I have been totally captivated by a young child actor (Choi Ro Won is the exception) in a way that I will not only remember her name but she managed to move up my “Young Actors to Watch” list.

It is not very often that I am drawn into a romance; however, Bo Ri and Jae Hwa had me rooting for them through the entire drama. Their love story was so cute and the chemistry between Kim Ji Hoon and Oh Yeon Soo was sensational. I think it is because of this chemistry that the actors excelled in their roles.

But when it came to the adult actors, nothing and no one could exceed the brilliant acting of both Lee Yoo Ri as Min Jung and Sung Hyuk as Moon Ji Sang. The evilness of Min Jung will go down in drama history as one of the most hated female characters in a drama, ever! The back and forth between Min Jung and Ji Sang who was always there to thwart her plans will also be remember fondly. Thanks drama, I now know Sung Hyuk’s name and will be looking forward to his next drama venture (Only You, My Love)!!

Hotel King (2014)

Lee Dong Wook as Cha Jae Wan
Lee Da Hae as Ah Mo Ne
Im Seul Ong as Sun Woo Hyun
Wang Ji Hye as Song Chae Kyung
Lee Duk Hwa as Lee Joong Goo
Kim Hae Sook as Baek Mi Nyeo
Jin Tae Hyun as Roman Lee
Gong Hyun Joo as Cha Soo Ahn
Alex as Yoo Joon Sung
Kim Sun Hyuk as Hong Joon
Go Yoon as Park Do Jin
Jung Suk Yong as Go San
Park Chul Min as Jang Ho Il
Ji Il Joo as Jin Jung Hyun
Kim Ye Won as Yoon Da Jung

Cha Jae Wan, holds resentment towards his father who he has been led to believe is Ah Mo Ne’s father; a father that left him and his mother many years before. He grows up to be very levelheaded character and a perfectionist at his job. Ah Mo Ne, an heiress who tries to save her father’s legacy, the one and only seven-star hotel in the nation, Hotel Ciel. Cha Jae Wan, the hotel manager becomes an enemy to his own father in order to help the heiress.

My Thoughts
Let’s give this drama a round of applause!! Why? I was finally able to get over my aversion for Lee Da Hee for the first time ever!! This was one actress that has remained on my “avoid like the plague” list for a very long time! So, you can imagine with trepidation that I’d avoided watching this drama. The premise of the drama intrigued me but I really kept putting it off; however, for some reason, a couple of weeks ago, I just felt the need to marathon it. Boy, am I glad I did! I loved it! I watched all 32 episodes in 2 1/2 days! I was inspired by the acting of not only Lee Da Hee (who knew that was possible?) as well as floored by the superb portrayal of Jae Won by Lee Dong Wook! I haven’t enjoyed him in a role since Scent of a Woman. I thought his portrayal of Jae Won was spot-on and you couldn’t help sympathize with his character, especially as time went on.

Lee Duk Wan as the hated Lee Joong Goo will be one of his most memorable roles for me! Who will ever forget his favorite saying “It’s a misunderstanding!”, even when caught red-handed, he was alway quick to say this. Kim Hae Sook as the stout and hidden agenda, Baek Mi Nyeo was also sensational. Another nice surprise was Jin Tae Hyun as Roman Lee. As the little dongsaeng to Jae Won when they were in the US, his character as well as acting was a nice surprise.

Now when it came to the romance, even I was moved to tears by the unbelievable chemistry between Lee Da Hee and Lee Dong Wook. As My Girl wasn’t one of my favorite dramas, I really can’t compare the two but with this drama, I remember ever scene as their love was palpable. And believe me, this coming from me means a lot, folks. A LOT!

So what were the dramas that surprised you this year? I’m curious!


3 thoughts on “Dramas that I Had No Expectations About But Were Surprisingly Good This Year (2014 Edition)

Add yours

  1. I am here for the Moony and MinJung love. I actually loved their animosity better than I liked the love between the OTP. And what more can you say about Kim Ji Young? Her Bi Dan made me cry every.single. time. I also really enjoyed Three Days as well. I really like Yoo Kye Sang, but his show here looked too sad for me to manage. Maybe I will marathon Hotelier though over the winter holidays. But 32 eps in 2 1/2 days?!?!?! How did you manage that. You really are incredible how you manage to watch so many dramas!

  2. Hmm. Should I be “happy” for you if your are on medical leave? However, to be honest; I think this is a drama watcher fantasy. People ask me what I want to do when I retire (not for another 20 years probably), and all I think about is being in my pajamas and watching dramas all day:)
    I hope you are feeling well. (sending virtual get-well soup your way)

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