The Strong Woman who Stole Depunim’s Heart

 

“Fated love is seeing your happy face in the eyes of the person you love”

And that’s how you tie up the loose ends, execute a heartfelt closure for a love that missed its timing, and celebrate how true love happens when you are patient enough to wait.  If you are on a k-drama slump, this will hook you up back to oppa-land.  The fast paced quirky rom-com promised an addictive run and delivered it in flying colors with a riveting thriller plot incorporated on the side.  

It was a whimsical love ride with thugs, a psycho, a police, a gaming company CEO and a woman with extraordinary strength.  The labyrinth was a whirlwind of cuteness and mirth and everything a fan would ask k-drama gods for a gift. Consistently endearing with amusing surprises along the way, “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” is a steady delightful drama that deserve all the raves and hype it has been getting from k-drama followers.

I was always in a trampoline of stimulating emotions while watching Do Bong Soon’s story.  From thrills to laughter to poignant bliss to heart flutters and to sweet tears, I already placed it in my all-time k-drama favorites.  What made this drama so endearing was the perfect blend of the engaging love couple/triangle chemistry, the warranted humor even the slapstick travesty, and lastly, the charming tale of the heroine who bloomed to become a woman who acknowledged her strengths and frailties.  Hers is a story that any girl can relate to.  From those love confusions, career-where-I-am-going-questions and finding her worth as a person.  “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” might have been coated in chocolates and marshmallows, but it gave a tangible encouragement especially to women watching it.  

 

Cast, Storyline and Conflict

I usually pick k-dramas to watch based on the history of the production team. There are a few that I chose because of the actors like how I signed up for “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”. This is my no-reservations-i-just-love-parkhyungsik-so-im-going-to-watch-it drama.  So, I was surprised that the premiere week gave me more than I expected and steadily raised my anticipation all throughout my devoted trailing.  The energetic pacing, the charming CEO zooming on a hoverboard, the small framed heroine with herculean strength and the uptight hot detective, are some of the reasons why this drama has charmed and chained me in so many ways.  Because of its intriguing plot, knee-weakening sweet moments and cute bickering, Bong-Bong and Min-Min’s love ride has been so invigorating.

We sure had a second lead syndrome with Ji Soo playing Bong Soon’s long running one-sided love, and it was a relief that the transition given to us so we can move on along with Bong Soon was well enacted in the narrative.  Bong Soon’s one sided love to Gook Doo was cute as hell.  Gook Doo’s line of how he was so overwhelmed with his emotions towards her that he missed knowing that she felt the same way made me sob and sigh as his pain attacked me in the finale episode.  I liked how that scene properly sent off the alternate love pairing with a breathtaking moment which you rarely see from past rom-coms once they hit the culmination of the main love line.  Usually the second lead will be disregarded like he never helped in highlighting the main love tale.  The right love at the wrong time story of Bong Soon and Gook Doo was established well propelling an exciting race for the lead girl’s hand and perturbing heartache for the second lead that we also want to keep in our heart.  The love triangle premise broke my heart when it has not even happened yet, so when we got to the steamier love plot it made everyone happy and confused at the same time since we have an equally adorable second lead.  

My shameless noona romance with Park Hyung Sik was rewarded well, and I’m so happy for him landing a drama that was loved so much by the viewers.  I love how our hero has figured out all the answers to his illustrious life and how he lives to his gaming company owner persona and treating every life setback as a challenge to overcome for him.  Hyung Sik was awesome in projecting the same bread and butter rom-com element of bickering with the lead girl that seeing him caught in a love bug was quite a delightful watch. What’s amusing about his character was how he diverted from the lead man prototype by being soft-hearted and crazy over his girl dummy.  It’s hard to put it in words but his interaction with Bong Soon cracked me up a lot because we got to see him hilarious without the love connection, so when we hit the romantic rope, he was a bundle of gaiety since he was drawn to rationalizing everything about their relationship and literally translating it to how his weird mind perceived it.  Park Bo Young who has always been known for her brilliant portrayals owned her Bong Soon character by giving it a unique resonance even when her image was sketched with imperfections.  And her stunning connection with Park Hyung Sik along with the ardent gazes and heart-stopping kisses has made me hug my pillow so hard while squealing like a highschool girl watching her crush shoot a basketball from afar.

The love progression turned so effective in inducing laughter fits because Min Hyuk’s one-of-a-kind hubris was always at lost, as his lady love knows what buttons to push to make him surrender at her fingertips.  The dynamics of Bong Soon and Min Hyuk’s reversal of roles are clearly defined thanks to Park Couple’s committed portrayals.  As a cushion for my weak heart, I did not give my all in trusting the production team, but I have a big faith to the awesome actors playing in the tv stage.  

15 years of Korean drama following will give you a power to predict stories from its onset and a liability to easily give up on dramas showing no kick off promise.  In a way, “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” resurrected my old fan girl spirit, and made me reminisce when I was at that stage of being so forbearing with any kind of drama given to me regardless if it was good or bad.  I found myself watching the drama without subtitles and scavenging YouTube for any drama related uploads available to kill time while waiting for the next episode to happen.

I only have a minimal complaint on the narrative.  There were scenes I wish did not linger more or were used as fillers like the excessive thug frames.  But overall, I am mostly satisfied with its simple premise and gleeful romantic realization.  On this note, the only 1% pout I will give the story was how the writer should have capitalized more to Bong Soon’s power’s back story anecdotes or how Min Hyuk established his company, or any love couple’s mushy moment, than placing those gangster scenes that I am already not interested about after the 1 vs 30 encounter with Bong Soon.  Bong-Bong and Min-Min’s story gave us a hybrid of fantasy and reality characters that helped in making the vibrancy of the story conspicuous.  I like how our creepy conflict functioned as a neutralizer to the witty love interlude and the satire comedy we were high on for the most part of the story.  We had a solid love triangle, a vivacious main cast, a cute storyline, and an exciting pacing that encouraged my usually swaying heart into 8 weeks of faithfulness in this series.  The uncomplicated resolution of the side conflicts and the gripping chase of the focal problem were achieved reasonably without giving us the run arounds.  Strong Woman Do Bong Soon sprinted an amazing spectacle with the stunning and lively depictions and comical storytelling.  It was technically bare, but the simplicity and the fascinating cast synergy accompanied by the palpable humor kept the viewers warmly sedated and feeling good after watching it.  While providing the gist of the background of our characters, “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” presented the love premise and conflict in a smooth way.  The ratings justified everything that we got from the narrative.  Sometimes there are stories like Bong Soon’s that we all need a taste of each week to relieve life complications and uncertainties.

“Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” marked everything required on a k-drama rom-com checklist.  It was also the brightest and most cheerful bulb that opened K-Dramaland 2017.  The thing about first quarter k-dramas is that you tend to forget it if another beautiful drama comes in like what happened with “Descendants of the Sun” and “Goblin”.  Both are equally amazing but we remember Goblin more.  Now I don’t think it would happen to me.  There were two points I know for sure I will still do after the finale.  That it will stay on my phone to function as my cheering up pill and that I will rewatch it again this year and the next years to come joining my resident drama rejuvenating playlist.  That’s what I did not do with the top two dramas last year.  The hype was high while it was airing but the rewatch value is not that strong.  That’s the advantage of feel-good rom-coms, you see it again because it is easy to watch and will just make you smile and giddy-ish even if you have seen the heart fluttering moments a lot of times already.


2017 K-DramaLand is so far not as explosive and busy compared to 2016 KDrama Parade so you have ample time to dive in this exceptional and amusing love tale.  I rave on dramas that deserve to be praised, and that’s the case for me with Bong Soon and Min Hyuk’s story.  I’m sure you will enjoy it the same way I did.  

-jediprincess

 

Summary

“Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” highlights the tale of Do Bong Soon who inherited a superhuman strength that is passed on from her maternal ancestors. Her incredible strength cannot be used for personal interest though, as it would cause an inevitable misfortune for her. An incident involving saving a bus driver bullied by thugs made her crossed paths with Ahn Min Hyuk, a pompous CEO of a gaming company who offered her a job to become his bodyguard. Bong Soon agreed considering the huge amount of money tied up with the job offer.  The strange working agreement opened a connection for them, but he must wait for her to end a long running one-sided love with her police friend – Gook Doo.  Complications arose when a neighborhood psycho abducted women and ended up taking Bong Soon’s best friend – Kyung Shim.  She could rescue Kyung Shim, but the psycho’s failure triggered an obsession to punish Bong Soon.  Min Hyuk promised Bong Soon that she will be transferred to Strategy Development Team if she will do a great job protecting him as well as uncovering his secret stalker.  She managed to unravel the culprit and soon after she revealed to him her secret power.  The thugs who cannot move on from the humiliation they got from Bong Soon’s hands tricked her to going to a place where they staged a 30 vs 1 combat with her.  She pulverized the gangsters but failed to punish the big boss when a hiding thug zoomed to attack her with a knife but Min Hyuk ran to take the hit for her.  From there, Min Hyuk who has been interested with her from the start escalated to being officially smitten as he recognized the girl from his dreams who once saved his life was Bong Soon.  Bong Soon’s heart who has harbored a secret adoration with Gook Doo soon realized how her heart already changed who it beats for.  Bong Soon’s friend was taken by the psycho again and in the process of saving her, she lost her power.  During her most vulnerable moment, Min Hyuk stayed by her side.  When he asked her to love him back she finally admits how she also have him in her heart.  The villain who was chased by Gook Doo and fell on a cliff survived the fall and went to plan another revenge game with Bong Soon and Min Hyuk.  He disguised as a reporter to enter the office and drugged Bong Soon who regained consciousness and a ticking bomb attached to her.  Min Hyuk finds his girlfriend at the rooftop through the tracker necklace he gave her but was unable to open the door that separated them.  Bong Soon begged with all the love she had for Min Hyuk and the heavens opened to give back her power enabling her to throw the bomb for an amazing firework display.  Bong Soon who wanted to catch the psycho with her own hands asked Min Hyuk and Gook Doo to help her and they managed to trap him in a steel cage which Bong Soon threw in his escaping motion.  Bong Soon who has been working on a game successfully got the nod for the first game she developed and officially entered the Strategy Development Team she so wanted to join.  But working to save and help the weak people was causing her attendance issues at work so she ended up being sent back to Min Hyuk’s office as an intern.  Min Hyuk proposed marriage when all the ruckus was settled and just when he thought that it will be an ever after, they got a twin daughter who took after their mother.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Ep 14 Recap

 
We had a lot squeezed in for this adorable and gripping episode.  Let’s cut the chase and go straight to the story.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Episode Recaps

01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Episode 14
Gook Doo engages to a car chase with Jang Hyun.  The latter winces from the pain of the gunshot wound.  He maneuvers at a fast speed but a car approaches so to avoid a collision he swerves the car and falls on a cliff.  Gook Doo steps out of his car to check on Jang Hyun but he cannot spot any movement.  The police arrives at the cliff to perform a thorough investigation but Jang Hyun’s body remains unrecovered.  Chief assures worried Gook Doo that the case is closed as the team deduce how the psycho won’t be able to survive the fall.  He receives a message from Min Hyuk that he took Bong Soon home.
Aboji paces the room waiting for his daughter when Bong Ki arrives.  At the same time, Min Hyuk gazes at Bong Soon’s weary face as she sleeps.  Park Hyung Sik has really one of the best oppa gazes ever. period.  He gets Bong-Bong’s phone to call aboji and he apologizes for not letting him know earlier that she is with him. 
Aboji responds not to wake her up if she is fast asleep and tells him that he trust him.  Min Hyuk promises that he will take care of Bong Soon to rest aboji’s woes.  Bong Ki hands a can of beer tohis father and confirms that his noona is with her boss.  He mutters if they are in a serious relationship as aboji replies how Min Hyuk seems to be a nice guy so he feels assured.  Aboji speaks about how when Bong Soon was growing they were scared that she might accidentally used her power in the wrong way and how they were always scared that she might get hurt when she is outside.  Bong Ki also confesses that he went to medical school so he can do a research on why the family had that inherited genes so he can help his noona live a normal life.  
Bong Soon regains consciousness and sees Min Hyuk sleeping beside her.  She moves her hand to touch his face but changes her mind at the last minute.  She tries to get up but he felt her move so he locks her back to on the sofa with his arm as her pillow.  His eyes meets hers, and she finally returns the love he deserves.
Min-Min:  Look at me.
Bong-Bong:  I am looking at you.
Min-Min:  Love me Back.
Bong-Bong:  I do love you.
Min-Min:  You’re as small as a peanut so you fit inside my heart.  But I don’t think I fit inside yours.
Bong-Bong:   You are in here.
 
Min Hyuk embraces Bong Soon with all his love as she rests in his comforting arms.
Omma beams when she realized that Bong Soon did not go home and her son affirms that she slept at her boss’ house.  Her cheerful mood fades when she receives a call from Kyung Shim and the latter cannot help but sob on the phone.  
Min Hyuk wakes up without Bong Soon by his side so he hurriedly searches for her and finds her struggling to reclaim her strength through an apple.  She notices his presence and asks for Kyung Shim right away, he responds that she will go to their house after her treatment as she does not want to stay in the hospital.  Min Hyuk gives her a love filled scolding for not listening to him and now wanting to push her despondent mood for losing her power, he slices the apple she was trying to break earlier and made a morning apple drink and gives it to her.  He mutters how he remembers she mentioned how she eats apple in the morning as her routine.
Gook Doo is busy writing the case report of what happened last night.  Chief appears and inquires if Jang Hyun’s body already showed up but he gets a negative response.  He chats with Gook Doo and babbles how Kyung Shim insists that Min Hyuk saved her but her statement does not seem to fit the story.  Gook Doo guarantees that he will take care of the report and goes back to his computer.
Omma is flustered on why they were not informed of what has been happening with Kyung Shim as the family waits for her in the living room.  She enters the house and they catch up in the living room.  She narrates how her mother knows about it but she was threatened not to call the police or she will die.  Omma insists on preparing food for her before she leaves for Busan while waiting for Bong Soon.
Min Hyuk drives Bong Soon home and fumbles on her seatbelt when they reach her house.  She stops and recalls the security guard she accidentally hurt, but Min Hyuk soothes her to rest her worries because he will take care of it, and just meet Kyung Shim to take care of her.  She steps out of the car and was about to close the door when he mumbled that he needs to be taken care of too.  Bong Soon smiles and promises him that she will which made Min-Min grins.
Bong Soon goes straight to her room and reunites with her best friend.  They cried and embrace together as she checks on the hardships she suffered from Jang Hyun’s hands.  Bong Soon is relieved how Kyung Shim has a strong heart and tells her that she saves some money from her salary because she will buy her the nice dress she wanted.  Kyung Shim also asks if she is okay aftet what happened in the construction site, and she admits to her that she lost her power.  She sobs while saying how for the longest time it was what she wanted, but she is feeling uncomfortable not having it at the moment.  Bong Soon appeases Kyung Shim not to worry about her strength because she is more important than having it.  
Bong Soon prepares a serving of soup for Kyung Shim while mom blabs on how Bong Soon hid what happened to her friend and gives her back a quick spanking.  Bong Soon complains how her mom’s spank stings surprising her family.  She leaves the dining room so Kyung Shim explains how Bong Soon lost her power.  
Bong Soon bids goodbye to Kyung Shim who will be escorted by the police to Busan.  Omma calls Bong Soon when she enters the house to do a heart-to heart talk with her.  Omma soothes her woes by saying how it is normal that she would get depressed after losing her strength because that’s what she felt.  She narrates that the first thing she did after her power was gone was to lift weights and started on the light ones again. She stresses how she went back to her routine life like nothing happened.  She advises her to do the same so she can easily move on.  Bong Soon promises she would.  Omma promises that she will take care of her more and explains the care she gave Bong Ki was because he was a weakling while growing up since all the strength in the family was absorbed by the female line.  Omma sneaks im to check the progress with her future son-in-law so Bong Soon whines for ruining the moment.  Aboji who is pretending he is asleep smiles at that moment.
The next day, Bong Soon dressed up for work and waits for the bus.  When the bus alights, she falls down as people rush to ride it.  She thinks about how she is not special anymore so she has to live a typical life from then on.  She ruminates how she may not be able to roam around at night, protect other people from bad guys and help out those who needed help.  Bong Soon reaches the office and does her usual greeting to the game character image at work after pledging that she will go on with her life after everything that happened.
Bong Soon enters the empty face and heeds her mother’s advice to do her usual life.  She preps her laptop to work on her game character image and wonders if she will tweak her with a necklace.  She receives a text message from Min-Min not to worry about the security guard as he is recuperating well.  At the hospital Bong Ki checks on Hwang Bok’s pained bum so he tells the patient that it was a stuck bandage that is causing him discomfort.  eeewww He gets upset again remembering why he ended up battered and screams Do Bong Soon’s name out of frustration.
Hwang Bok’s doppelganger frets about the Bong Soon’s metal bracelet to Secretary Gong but the latter is disregarding him.  They spot Bong Soon so Dong Byeong picks on her again.  He drags her to the break room and orders her to get the bond paper bundle like the last time.  Min Hyuk just came back from the hospital and Dong Byeong calls him and Secretary Gong to show Bong Soon’s super strength display, but when they proceed to his room.  Bong Soon is carrying the bondpaper rim one by one.  Dong Byeong nips at the show he claims she is putting while Min-Min is giving a serious expression.  Secretary Gong scolds Dong Byeong for tiring out Bong Soon as depunim takes her hand and brings her outside.
Min-Min speaks about why she came to work when she is supposed to be resting, but Bong Soon quips that she worked hard to get that job so she has to put an effort on it.  He mentions how Kyung Shim is safe and the psycho is dead so at least they could go on a normal date.  He adds how because of his spectacular girlfriend, it is hard to go on a single date with her.  Bong Soon replies that he can now go on a date with her anytime since she is not special anymore and feels sad about it.  
Min Hyuk places his hands on her shoulders and checks if she is okay so she responds that she will be honest that she is not, but she is optimistic that she will move on fast just as what omma told her.  Min-Min utters that it does not matter to him whether she is peculiar or not because he just wants her to be happy.  He remarks how he can do everything that requires physical strength for her since he is her oppa.  He smirks how he will open a jar for her this time remembering how Gook Doo did it for her before.  Bong-Bong is dubious of his claim so she teases if he is really older than her so he insists that he is.
 
Bong Soon bluffs that she knows they are of the same age so Min Hyuk gripes at how he can never trust the police because he thought Gook Doo revealed it to her.  She gets the affirmation of her speculation so she starts playing cute on how she would drop the honorifics and will just talk casually with him since they are friends.  He retorts that he is still an oppa for her since he has more life experiences, however she continuously teases him leaving him mutter tondo as she pleases while trying to walk away.  Bong-Bong carries on with her mischievous attack and calls his name sweetly.  He chases her mumbling how she is making his heart flutters by doing it.
Baek Tak and his men joyously celebrates the approval of redevelopment counting the profit they will earn because of the project.  Jaws receive a phonecall from the Indian monk and delivers the conversation to his boss about the monk’s request to relax at a bath house.  Baek Tak agrees citing how the monk loves water a lot since he used to bathe at Ganges river for meditation.  Meanwhile, omma and friends mope on the failure of their petition to stop the redevelopment program.  Just then Gook Doo’s mom enters the store to buy some walnuts for her son and mutters how he seems to lost his appetite lately.  Omma calls her and informs her that she is refusing to sell her goods to her.  Aboji steps in the bantering mothers and bawls out at his wife for her bias selection of customers so omma escalates to a super saiyan mode as aboji orders the store helper to pack the product fast before his wife erupts.
Min Hyuk coaches Bong Soon to make the villain’s face on her game look sharper.  They pause and feels weird finding the image look familiar to them.  Just then Secretary Gong appears to remind him of a meeting and they both realize how he resembles the villain.
After work, Bong-Bong and Min-Min goes home and passes by the chocolate store.  He buys the sweets for her and grins when she offers him a piece of it only to be annoyed because she eats it at the last minute.  She pleads her to eat a piece again but he remains poker face on her urging.  
Then he inches closer to the chocolate but go straight to kiss her lips catching her off guard while making all of us faints from that sweet scene.  Min-Min chews it happily exclaiming in double meaning how soft the choc and her lips were.  She whines how he did it on purpose and he kids how he wants another bite.
Baek Tak and his gang sweat in a bath house.  He inquires any news related to Bong Soon so Jaws reports that she is dating Min Hyuk which alarms him since he is not over in the idea of trying to recruit her.  Indian monk emerges from laying down and complains that the bath house session is not helping at all especially in his skin problem.  He asks Jaws to scratch his back for him since he cannot reach it.  He urges him to put his hand inside so he can feel it more and he finds a map drawn on his lower back showing the Korean peninsula map.  
At the police station, Chief and his team learn about Jang Hyun’s clothes being found but his body still has not resurfaced.  Chief calls for a soju session with his men for the hardwork they gave in the past few days.  Bong Soon gets home to her parents’ quarreling.  Omma demands a divorce with aboji as they banter on his close relationship with Gook Doo’s mom.  Bong Soon mediates to avoid further conflict and was pushed to the ground in the process.  Her parents continue to fight so she lets them tussle as much as they can.
Bong Soon takes the family’s record book and feels sorry how she will not be able to write on it.  Her gloomy mood lightens up when he receives Min Hyuk’s message reminding her of their picnic tomorrow.
Bong Soon wakes up early to prepare the cheerfully the lunch box for her picnic date with her boyfriend.  She stands in front of the mirror swaying here and there while picking what she will be wearing.  Min Hyuk feels good on the great weather while he waits for Bong Soon outside their house. 
Bong Soon shows up and he beams as she looks pretty in a summer dress and hat.  He can’t stop staring at her so she has to snap him back to reality and remind him that they should be leaving.
 Min-Min lays down on Bong-Bong’s lap as she shields his face from the sun rays.  He realizes what she has been doing so he quips that he is getting sunlight and takes her hand muttering that she will get hurt doing it.
They read comic books together but she teases him for crying over it.  She exchanges the funny one she was reading and learns why her Min-Min sobbed while reading it.  Bong-Bong carefully opens the packed lunch boxes she brought to Min-Min’s shocked and happy face.  She feels disappointed that the heart design on one of the boxes was scattered so he takes action claiming that he is expert in drawing hearts.  She dotingly feeds him food as he exclaims how he has already known it before how she is a good cook.
Finally, Jang Hyun’s body resurfaced but it is alive and kicking.  He winces and curses from the pain of his wound, and gets back to his revenge plan right away researching on Min Hyuk and his company.  Psycho with the chiseled abs cuts his hair to prepare for his next villain move.  
Secretary Gong praises his boss for his photogenic face on his recent interview.  He feels proud for 5 seconds but reminds his secretary to check on the Strategy department meeting than fussing about his interview.  
Gook Doo calls Bong Soon and advises her that he will visit her office since he is nearby.  Bong Soon accidentally drops her tea cup as Jang Hyun enters Ainsoft’s building pretending to be the reporter who interviewed Min Hyuk last time.
Gook Doo who just came from meeting Bong Soon passes by Jang Hyun and realizes it was him.  He tackles the psycho but he escapes when the elevator opens and he grabs an employee as a hostage.  Gook Doo loses him and calls Min Hyuk to alarm him of a looming danger in his building.  Min Hyuk orders the security team to close all the exit points of the building and rushes to go to where Bong Soon is.  Gook Doo chases Jang Hyun on the fire exit stairs but loses him eventually.
An announcement airs in the building that the exits were all sealed because of a suspicious person.  Min Hyuk confirms Bong Soon’s suspicion that Jang Hyun is in the building as his evil laugh broadcasts in the air.  He taunts Min Hyuk on proving his competitive spirit by finding him or his company will explode in 15 minutes.  He walks to his secretary to make sure Bong Soon is safe as she reaches for his hand worried of what might happen to him.
Gook Doo goes to the broadcasting booth and finds it empty with the personnel tied and gagged.  Min Hyuk comes after and announces to have all employees aave their files and evacuate the building premise.  Gook Doo asks where Bong Soon is and he replies that she is in his office.  Little did they know that Jang Hyun’s target is really Bong Soon as he takes advantage of the ruckus and knocks out Secretary Gong while drugging her to lose consciousness.  Min Hyuk orders the command center to shut off the power source but Jang Hyun manage to reach his destination.
Bong Soon recovers consciousness and finds the psycho putting her in a tight bind.  He coaxes her to free herself and when his rage erupts he punches her and she fainted again.  Gook Doo informs Min Hyuk that Bong Soon is missing so Min Hyuk frustratingly reaches for the wall to gather strength.  He checks on her tracker and advises Gook Doo to proceed to the roof top.  
Jang Hyun mutters how Bong Soon broke her promise of not marrying him so she ought to  die.  Min Hyuk climbs to the rooftop looking for Bong Soon and shouting her name.  Gook Doo misses Jang Hyun again and follows the sound of a music box which turned out to be a prank.  
Min Hyuk spots a locked door and calls to check if Bong Soon is on the other side.
Bong Soon wakes up to Min Hyuk’s voice and to the sight of a ticking bomb due to blow up.  She sobs upon realizing Min Hyuk is there to rescue her so she begs him to leave the place as there is a time bomb ready to explode.  He tries to unlock the door with his body and might until his hands are covered with blood but the door won’t open.  Bong Soon continuously pleads for him to go away.  He replies he will not go anywhere without her.  Bong Soon tries to wriggle out of the metal bind to no avail.  She weeps so hard making all of us weep and begs Min Hyuk to leave as time is almost running out, but he utters how he will stay by her side so she won’t be afraid.
Bong Soon makes a last attempt and pleads to give back her power so she can save Min Hyuk.  Because the power of love defies everything, the heavens and the book in their house light up and showers her with a blessing.  Bong Soon feels her power coming back and rushes to free herself.  She picks up the bomb, destroys the door lock and runs to throw the bomb exploding painting the sky with a pyrokinetic festival.  
Episode 14 Thoughts
I will give the 2017 Best Kdramaland Boyfriend award to Ahn Min Hyuk already, and I think everyone will agree.  This is the best episode yet in the series for me and it put me on a whirlwind of sweet bliss, exhausting thrills and all is well sigh closure.  I was hoping two episodes of fan service but given the amount of laugh and heart fluttering scenes this drama gifted me, I am so looking forward to the finale even if we will have to finally do a last showdown with Jang Hyun.  I know that I will be sad after this drama ends and will miss Park Hyung Sik terribly so I hope he will get back to dramaland soon like the last quarter of this year to entice me.
 
 

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Ep 13 Recap

Worried about her friend in peril, Bong Soon can’t keep her promise to Min Hyuk and sets forth to the junk yard in trying to rescue Kyung Shim but psycho Jang Hyun moved to another location.  In the midst of her woes, Min Hyuk was at lost on how reckless her decisions were.  Bong Soon willingly accepted getting lured by the psycho, and thanks to Min Hyuk’s necklace tracker, he came in time to save her at the moment when she helplessly needed to be saved.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Episode Recaps

01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Episode 13 – “Nevertheless”

Bong Soon rushes to Min Hyuk to tell him that Kyung Shim is with the psycho.  She asks for his help to trace their whereabouts as he tries to calm her sobs and made her promise that they will work on it together.
Gook Doo is with Chief deciphering what so far they have established on the case and how his victim’s pattern changed to confuse the police since he was aware of their plans but a turning point happened when he failed to abduct Kyung Shim hence he is determined to avenge his failure against Bong Soon.  They worry on how to tackle the culprit since he will become hard to handle from then on.
Min Hyuk lecture Bong Soon how Hee Ji was a decoy for his plan when psycho was really intending to abduct Kyung Shim.  Since he knows her connection to Bong Soon he mutters how he is worried about it.  He moves closer to her and pleads her not to do everything on her own.  
He gets the necklace tracker he intends to give to her and locks it on her.  He tells her to wear it all the time as it will protect her.  He calms her down and asks her to get some rest and sleep as he will work on finding the person to which she agrees.
The next day Gook Doo’s team discuss the information they gathered about psycho Kim Jang Hyun who had an impressively bad resume of being sent to juvenile prison because of killing a person through arson and skipping military service because he was said to have psychiatric concern.  Gook Doo voices out that the Sudan alibi never happened since he did not leave the country.  They arrive at the conclusion that Jang Hyun’s employee is really an accomplice who does what his master tells him so he can get his drug supply.  Chief assigns task again to each member and they set forth to help out in pinning down the culprit.
Bong Soon wakes up zombie-ish trying to organize her thoughts.  She goes back to Kyung Shim’s video and recognizes the metal welding sound which she heard from the junk yard the night before so she proceeds to the place again.  She receives a text message from Secretary Gong for her presentation, but she opts not to go to work and head to the junk yard.  
Ajussi welcomes her and asks if she is looking for her friend.  He tells her that Jang Hyun is not at the place and answers he does not know where his boss is when she asks his whereabout.  Bong Soon frantically searches the place by flipping and kicking the parked cars surprising Jang Hyun who is in his lair.  He goes to the girls and gets Kyung Shim escaping the place before Bong Soon comes.
Bong Soon hits a door and it leads her to the basement.  She rescues the girls by pulling out the metal doors.  One of the girls tell her that Jang Hyun got Kyung Shim and has left the place frustrating Bong Soon.  Jang Hyun order ajussi to blow up the place so Bong Soon covers her body to protect the abducted girls.  They successfully get to the ground just as Gook Doo arrives to capture Jang Hyun’s accomplice.  The rest of Gook Doo’s team appears to search and seize the crime scene as the kidnapped girls are taken to the hospital.
Min Hyuk works on tracing Jang Hyun ignoring his secretary who just noticed that Bong Soon has still not arrived yet.  Min Hyuk rubs his face out of worry on Bong Soon’s absence for her PT and goes back to his office to track his location only to find out that she did not listen to his pleas and works on her problem alone.  He drives to the junk yard and sees Bong Soon leaving the already busy place. Silence creeps between them while they are in the car as Min Hyuk does not know how to handle her risky decision making skills.  
They pull over to talk as Bong Soon gets a scolding from him for going alone without him.  She says sorry and confirms that she rescued the victims, but Kyung Shim was taken by the psycho.
 Gook Doo’s team proceeds in obtaining evidences from Jang Hyun’s underground prison as Gook Doo discovers his monitoring room and finds Bong Soon’s picture along with the other girls pinned on the wall.
Omma and her friends watch the news report about the police raid in the junk yard to save the abducted ladies.  Manhunt has been issued for psycho Jang Hyun.  Chief visited the victims for their statement on how they survive the explosion while the girl who saved them wallows in agony worrying about the fate of her best friend.  Min Hyuk broods on his problem with Bong Soon and goes to let go of his fury steam on a punching bag.
Min Hyuk watches the morning news intently so Secretary Gong decides not to disturb him.  Bong Soon is watching the same news and disregards her mom when she mumbles to tell Kyung Shim not to go to Seoul yet.  She meets Gook Doo who was upset for not telling him that Jang Hyun is in contact with her.
 Bong Soon responds that she has an unfinished business with the psycho so it agitates him even more.  He advises her to leave the investigation to the police, but she insists on doing it on her own afraid of Jang Hyun’s warning that Kyung Shim will die if she will involve the police.  Gook Doo promises that they will conduct a close investigation and will hide who save the victims just as Min Hyuk finds them at the cafe.  
Min Hyuk leads her to the library and asks Bong Soon if he matters to her at all.  He speaks about how he knows that she is not his priority and he cannot do anything when she has set her mind on it because she is special.  He adds how he relented to change himself because he loves her so much.  Bong Soon replies how she has set expectations that she is different from the start and he counters how he know it very well but it is not helping him to go crazy worrying about the thought of her facing the psycho alone.  She argues why he trained him in the first place if he will whine like that.  Min Hyuk replies how he did not expect that he will love her that much.  Bong Soon remains unwavered and tells him that they have to stop dating because she will choose to live as a monster.  She walks away and in her thoughts she tells him how she wanted to live a normal life while Min Hyuk vows that he will never lose someone he loves ever again.
Gook Doo reveals Bong Soon’s secret to Chief so that they can have a closed investigation.  The Chief agrees having no other option but to hide it since the victims’ statements are all ludicruous stating she took down the metal door using her bare hands.  He adds no one would believe that kind of secret anyway but Gook Doo insists on keeping everything private as his friend wants to have a normal life. Gook Doo tells him how the psycho knows about Bong Soon’s power and how he has kidnapped Kyung Shim to get a revenge from Bong Soon.
Omma and her friends see Aboji and Gook Doo’s mom together so the latter explains that there is a charity bazaar in the neighborhood where she was asked to do a signing event and aboji volunteers to teach children how to bake cookies.  She replies they would not know the event since they only go to gossip websites and advises to visit the community office sometimes as there are information there they can learn from.  She walks away leaving omma angry so she directs it right away to her husband who gets a beating right away.  Gook Doo’s mom goes back to interfere chiding omma of how she is vulgar and how her husband does not deserve her spite.  At the police station, the Commisioner welcomes reporters to the team that solved the abduction case but Chief shoves them away babbling that the culprit has not been found yet.  
Min Hyuk is venting his Bong Soon related troubled mood to his poor secretary whom he asked to look for Bong Soon.  Secretary Gong finds her and she apologizes for not making it to the presentation the other day.  He asks if she fought with Min Hyuk but she remains silent.  
Min Hyuk goes to the break room and sees Bong Soon slumped on her seat.  He orders her to eat but she declines mumbling how Kyung Shim has not been eating for days.  He stops her from walking away and tells her that she has to eat to have strength in saving her friend.  He appeals again by not eating as well if she won’t eat but she stays defiant of her decision.  Min Hyuk has had enough and storms out of the room muttering he won’t care for her anymore.  
Min Hyuk sits in the cafeteria with the untouched food in front of him contemplating on his recent debacle with Bong Soon.  Unable to sway my heart away from her, he gets his phone to order her favorite comfort food.  dear kdramagods can you please send me a real life boyfriend like depunim *wink
Chief interrogates ajussi accomplice but cannot exhaust any useful information from him.  Baek Tak’s men visit him in the temple to convince him to end his spiritual cleansing session but he is resolved to living away from money and material things but when Jaws receives a good news that the redevelopment plan was approved, Baek Tak gets hurries to leave the temple mumbling the money they will profit from the project.  Meanwhile Bong Soon’s minions raves at the increasing likes they are getting from their noonim’s uploaded video.  The indian monk tells Jaws that he will contact him so they can go to a bath house next week.
Jang Hyun uses a grandpa to steal a cellphone from another grandpa who is busy playing baduk.  Bong Soon receives a call from Jang Hyun and taunts her amazing strength to withstand the recent blast.  She demands to know Kyung Shim’s whereabouts so he tells her to meet him that night and advises that he will text the location so make sure that she will come pretty.
Min Hyuk places Bong Soon’s comfort food that he ordered on her table.  He wonders where she is and steps out of the office.  Bong Soon waits for his text message and goes to Min Hyuk’s office to leave a note that she will go home early.  She sees her favorite food on her table and takes it with her.  Min Hyuk returns to his office and notices that the food he bought is missing and sees the note that Bong Soon left for him.  
Bong Soon reads the note on the food Min Hyuk bought saying how no matter what she said or did, his feelings will stay the same.  Min Hyuk debates if he will call Bong-bong or not, and eventually decides not to.  She paces on her room waiting for the text message of Jang Hyun.  She finally gets the direction of a construction site and heads to the place immediately.
Min Hyuk notices Bong Soon’s movement through his tracker and alarms Gook Doo to proceed to the place where she headed.  Bong Soon reaches the place and calls on her friend as Jang Hyun’s evil cackle airs welcoming her to the place.  She finds her friend tied and above her is a moving heavy metal cage ready to smash on Kyung Shim.  Bong Soon runs with all her might and succeeds in blocking the cage and throw it eventually in the process.  She hugs Kyung Shim and helps her out.  Kyung Shim tells her that psycho is not the one inside the cage lift so Bong Soon checks on him.  
Jang Hyun appears from her behind grabbing Kyung Shim and when she stands she sways and falls on the ground as her power is stripped by her accidentally hitting an innocent.  Bong Soon is not aware that the smart psycho learns about her strength so his premeditated plan to undo her power worked.  
He points a shotgun to her heart as she holds on the gun and he sneers if she lost her strength.  He pulls her closer and chokes her just as Min Hyuk approaches them enraged on seeing Bong Soon being hurt by the psycho.  
The two engage in a brawl but Jang Hyun runs to his car to escape. Gook Doo also arrives and shoots him but he steps on the gas leaving Gook Doo behind.  Gook Doo goes to his car to chase him as Min Hyuk cries out loud as he cradles Bong Soon who fainted in his arms.
Episode 13 Quick Thoughts
While I can understand Bong Soon’s stubborn head, I also feel Min Hyuk’s frustration because his girl does not want to listen to him.  The lovers quarrel I hope would mean sweet moments when it ends.  In fairness to the villain his sinister acts are really annoying.  I think Gook Doo’s team should just implore the guidance of Jang Hyuk oppa and the Golden Time team.  *chuckles  I love how Min Hyuk who was so miffed on Bong Soon is still behind her even if she pushed him away.  This was an emotionally draining episode and I can’t wait to see what will happen on the next episode. –jediprincess

The Binding Love of a Time-traveler to His Wife

I can’t remember an emotionally draining drama where I did not cry, but “Tomorrow With You” really knocked my heart out, because I was hoping for the best that can happen to So Joon and Ma Rin’s love story given the arduous time-bending road they had to overcome to finally get a tomorrow with each other.

Lee Je Hoon oppa was so cool with the time-bending walkie/talkie sleeper hit “Signal” last year so I never pictured myself swooning over him because he is known for his poignant character portrayals. “Tomorrow With You” caught me easily with its time-traveling hero and his quest to prevent his eventual death in the future.  We uncovered  layers of mystery to another as we were presented with the future focal conflict of the love couple’s death that can be saved only if our hero can work on the circumstances happening at his  present life, which of course he does not know about, but us viewers have already fathomed.  Working out the strenuous hitch was no easy task if you have a perceptive wife who wanted everything in her married life done together.

I was thrilled watching the scenes unravel, and yet I was also frustrated trying to decipher the hindered rules as So Joon travels to the future. I like the sudden marriage plot.  I like the back story.  I like that he was forced to confront the main problem not with his initial urge to survive, but because he slowly but surely felt that his future involved Ma Rin because she crept in his heart without him realizing it… that he cannot picture a future without her anymore.

The way the story withheld the future twist by furtively hiding the key turning points and yet presenting well the essence of the time-traveling plot on the romantic premise, has made me on the edge of my seat trying to decipher the puzzle pieces that will help So Joon in case I bump with him in one of his sojourns.  I like the laid-back-we-will-not- be-rushing here tone, so I was surprised that the big reveal to Ma Rin that she married a time-traveler came sooner than I expected.  It was most of the time maintaining the wistful sphere thanks to our caught in between time wrinkling love couple.  I can understand the urgency on So Joon’s end trying to protect Ma Rin, but how the latter responded after learning the truth was understandably confusing if So Joon keeps on hiding what their full story was about.  In a way the narrative was sort of intermittently detaching on its own accord, but it finds a way to wake me up and entice me again.

That’s what it did when it crossed the middle part when we have established the villain and his wrongdoings.
Then we got to the conflict of So Joon conflicted between leaving Ma Rin of the present because of a warning from Ma Rin of the future, but true love always prevails so we got past that hurdle and they compromised to work on the repercussions of their actions that could make an impact to their supposed future fall out.

What I cannot understand sometimes, because we have so much going on in the future was how So Joon stubbornly overlooked the present moment.  And whenever he goes to the future, it’s like he was getting bits of information that was not able to back up the premise of the integral conflict which was the future that won’t happen in two years time for them anymore.  True that it started smoothly at the first half and every episode since then was problem stricken and gave a half-baked resolution.  The villain conflict was resolved and he got jailed, but he still ended up vanishing in the subway.  Ma Rin who could meet So Joon of the past decided not to and told Ki Doong to tell her husband a lie in a futile hope that his life will change for the better if she will not happen to his life at all.

On the finale episode, I was hoping for a glimmer of hope that he was still alive because hey dokpang is a time-traveler, goblin braved and endured that frozen limbo for 10 years to be with his bride so give me a time-traveler who could do as much for Ma Rin who patiently waited for him writing those future emails all those times.  Someone from kdramagods haven heard my plea and gave me answers.  But not after pushing deep the invisible knife piercing my heart as it gave those minutes of So Joon recovering from coma and waking up to the knowledge that his wife died 3 years ago, and she has a few days left to see and save her at her present living moment.  I mean man that was so mean.  It’s really a must for writers to be at their happiest moment when they are writing.  I was tired worrying and hoping and going back to the past and future and living their present lives as well.  So I was resolved to failing the drama for real.

But the drama literally saved the best for last. The frames of So Joon’s future escapades started to make sense as explained in the finale episode.  Along with how Ma Rin chose to lie about their supposed failed marriage so that past So Joon can be reprieved of his fate.
The scenes that marked in me most were first, that scene when Ma Rin told So Joon how she got through those lonely days by stalking his time traveling past self who would constantly leave food and even send video messages for her.  The other one was how when they survived their inevitable tragedy and lived as a normal married couple bickering with the usual wife’s nagging and the husband’s stubbornness, Ma Rin’s future emails would pop up to remind him of how much he was loved by her during those tumultuous times.  I knew that ajussi will do the sacrifice when the camera panned at the scene when So Joon visited Ma Rin’s year 2022 graveyard so I was not surprised as their fate has been intertwined since the Namyeong station accident.

Since time-warping is a complex plot where the writer of the imagined world is the boss, I am okay with how he gave us the answer to how present time So Joon survived the fatal injury by skipping the year he was supposed to die,  in exchange of losing his powers temporarily the moment he recovered from coma.  It was a pertinent move to propel the climax of whether he can save his wife with all his might and yearning to her looming demise.  So yes, I heaved a sigh when after all his attempts he successfully arrived to the present time where he belonged, to give everything he has for the last chance of saving himself and his wife to their imminent misfortune.

Unrequited and patient love was the binding tangible that cushioned So Joon and Ma Rin’s tale as it was a tough job to unlace the intricate connections of the characters’ present, past and future.  But all those hints So Joon discovered were key points to how they eventually freed themselves from the initial burden.

“Tomorrow with You” tested my fortitude as together with the heroine I serenely calm myself and focus on the love promise dokpang gave to her.  Although it was a sad ending for ajussi, it was a heartfelt gesture of a father’s love… to make sure that his daughter will be showered the love she deserved which he has failed to give.

This drama felt like a roller-coaster as I hiked on the twists and turns and got lost in time and space continuum.  It might even give a frustrating ride so consider you are forewarned if you are not used to a story that you have to analyze from start to finish.  Nevertheless I got my closure even if they fit it in less than 60 minutes.  So Joon and Ma Rin’s road to ever after was definitely something I would not dare to have, but they gave me lessons on how compromise, patience and love are essentials that secure an unwavering relationship. -jediprincess

 

Why you should watch Love 020?

I used to watch KDramas, Doramas and Taiwan dramas religiously when I was younger, but since I find Korean dramas more well conceived, I have decided to just focus on hallyuwave dramas.  But every now and then I watch other dramas recommended by friends, and that’s why I watched the Chinese drama Love 020 last year.  My review is a bit late, but who knows you have not seen this gem yet so I’m giving you one of the best fan service asian dramas ever.

To be honest the love story is too trite, but the lead man will burn you with so much cuteness and heart flutters.  You will sure develop a fictional romance with him, one sided of course… and you will thank me later for introducing Xiao Nai. *chuckles

Love 020 is set in a university where Bei Wei  (Zheng Shuang) a sophomore Computer Engineering student fell in love with her department senior (Yang Yang).  Unbeknownst to her, he was also his virtual husband in a popular role-playing game they were both playing.  He finally revealed his identity and they became an official campus couple.  When she graduated, he eventually asked her to get married with him.

So there’s no heavy love conflict in the drama, there was a girl who loved the lead man, but he was quick to disregard her because he has only his eyes for the lead girl.  There was also a guy who likes the heroine, but she was quick to draw lines that it will never work out between them.  The plot is easy to digest and never swerved to anything remotely unrelated to developing the romantic ride of the love couple.

Xiao Nai will sweetly haunt your dreams.  I promise.  He was my year end addiction for 2016 and until now his 30 eps drama is sitting pretty along with Something About 1% for my quick relief drama pills on my phone.  The mushy scenes were nailed to induce girly squeals and hyperventilating moments every time the camera captured Xiao Nai’s lazy smile and handsome face.  It is a drama cure for pms or when your boss annoys you. *chuckles

Again we only have a plain, just cotton candy romance in the story, but it’s a feel good spectacle perfect for drama spree-ing weekend.  If you can have a pj party with your girlfriends, then it’s a drama I would recommend to munch on your video plate.  It is a love drama full of ideas on how to make female viewers happy by reminding us of our very own campus crushes and those untold coy memories we had of our first loves.

Time-defying cops and an ultra wicked psychopath

 
Even now, I am baffled on why South Korean film/tv production companies are so enamored on making projects with a serial killer as a main character.  I have seen a lot of psychopath driven stories over the years, but nothing has impressed me or made me cringe so far.  I still give it to the Americans on how they have seamlessly conceived stories on cop and crime dramas as well as serial killing themed ones.
 
 
So “Voice” was a tremendous surprise.  It brought me on the edge of my seat everytime, although I have slight headache issues with the camera movements and the lead girl’s sometimes-okay-most-of-the-time-contorted-face acting. *chuckles  
 
OCN’s ‘Voice’ takes me back from the fantasy world dwelling to the real world of psychopath’s wickedness.  Given the creepy premise, it is disturbingly amazing.  It gives me mini cardiac arrest on every episode as the team solves its cases in a gripping finish accompanied by nifty editing. The suspense-filled drama displays one major conflict when it begins, and connects efficiently to the clues and personal battles of the characters as the story progresses. It enables the audience a thrilling experience while cheering the protagonists in capturing the psycho-villain.  There are no irrelevant frames as every episode is polished, and it paved a well-explained preparation to the succeeding story arcs presented.
 
 

 

‘Voice‘ narrates the story of a special police division team — Golden time. It is an exclusive task force group that solves urgent real-time incidents from phone calls received through the city’s emergency service line. Golden time team was formed in cooperation of the emergency call center and local police officers. Its prime responsibility is to race through the precarious time left for crime victims, who are held captive or being chased by their assailants and save them from the imminent danger.

Kang Kwon Joo  and Moo Jin Hyuk lead the team. Their history goes back three years ago when Jin Hyuk’s wife was violently murdered by a serial killer and Kwon Joo’s police father who was near the site came to fulfil the police dispatch order, but ended up suffering the same fate. Kwon Joo, who has an incredible hearing prowess, listened to both murder scenes that night and vowed to avenge the death of his father. The police present the culprit, but Kwon Joo who knows the true voice of the culprit, denies that the man they caught is the true murderer. It causes a stir and headache on the police officials, who are already on a tight spot due to the public attention given to the savage killings. Kwon Joo is ordered to shut up, and even altering his father’s death cause to a hit-and-run case.

Three years later, Kwon Joo and Jin Hyuk’s path cross again. Through cases they solved in the Golden time unit, they establish trust between each other as Jin Hyuk learns of Kwon Joo’s hearing ability.  She reveals to him the story of what happened the night their family members were slayed. She voices her thoughts on how someone in the police organization is covering the tracks of the main villain. As they investigate the recent serial killings, they uncover the clues to finally pin down the psychopath, who mercilessly took the lives of their loved ones and other innocent victims. When they finally solve the puzzle, they must deal with money power plays to overcome the insanely rich maniac, whose iniquities are overlooked because of his father’s powerful protection.

 
 
 
 
 Think Criminal Minds and CSI but they trap the villains through what the heroine’s ears can picture and Jin Hyuk’s smooth police rescue operations.  With Jang Hyuk’s gritty police detective portrayal, I assure that you will be left on the edge of your seat every time and feel elated about the police task they conquered.  The villain’s inventive and perturbing display of his abominable crimes is to be applauded because it placed the momentum of the story in equilibrium while the heroes decipher the fitting resolution he deserves.  The cold verbal spats he exchanges with the hero are wow moments to watch due to the protagonist’ dauntless attitude.
 
 
‘Voice’ is always at a high note, and not taking a chance to rest the grit and vigor of the story-building.  If you are up to a police procedural story with ingenious characters and a balanced outwitting game from the heroes and villains, I highly recommend you to watch this enthralling psychopath chase.
 
 
 

Teacher Kim’s Life and Love Prescription

This is the only drama from the year-end group of 2016 that I have not written my thoughts yet on so I better take this opportunity before the 2017 opening dramas hit their endings.  *wink

I admit I miss Gregory House and Teacher Kim is a sure reminder of my favorite doctor TV character, so I willingly jump in his arms.  He is eccentric and yet brilliant… calculating and yet warm hearted.  He battled through the career sabotage that he had and emerged victorious through it all.

“Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim” narrated the story of an amazing triple board certified surgeon, Boo Yong Joo, who shunned his life to a remote provincial hospital when he became a victim of politics in the big city hospital he worked before.  There he met three young doctors whom he inspired and nurtured to become righteous and skilled surgeons.  But his past came haunting him back as the villain who pinned the medical malpractice to him before was determined to destroy him fully so he can achieve his greedy aspirations as the CEO of the top hospital in Seoul.  A VIP patient though left his operation in Teacher Kim’s hand, and the almost not possible to survive surgery was nailed deftly by Teacher Kim and his team leading him to redeem his stolen and lost glory.

I have not seen a lot of nicely done medical dramas in kdramaland so I did not set my hopes high when I was watching Romantic Doctor.  I am glad that the story progressed along with polished and make-sense connections of the surgeries showcased.  The characters’ stories moved well with the main conflict and provided resolutions to each character’s established problem whilst achieving the climactic bounce back from the focal conflict.  That is the case where “Doctor Crush” suffered, the ability to make a cohering plot to the character’s individual stories.

The teacher-student relationship between Teacher Kim and his young surgeons was well-played in presenting their strengths and weaknesses through the furtive ill-fated links they had with each other.  The romantic plot was just a bonus for its sassy insertion and for a refreshing note after those quick thrilling and emotional surgical side stories wrap up.

Teacher Kim and his team deserved the ratings they received because they worked well in delivering an outstanding cast ensembles in a genre that is hard to be successful on.  It will be hard not to like this drama because it knew well how to play with the audience mind and emotions in hooking them up till the very last episode.

It is hard to pin point where the drama struggled because it was well written and well executed by the cast.  Han Suk Kyu is a well-respected actor, and this is one definite reason why he has that reputation.  A perfect everyday drama to watch after work before you sleep, “Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim” will teach you love and life lessons taken from real life pain, bliss and experiences.

 

KDramas that screams Girl Power

In celebration of the international women’s month, let’s take a trip to some of the most memorable female characters who celebrated the passion and beauty of being a woman.

“Jumong” – Celebrating the woman who supports her man unconditionally with all she has

 

“City Hall” – Celebrating the woman who is not scared to share her dreams with her man

 

“Dae Jang Geum” – Celebrating the woman who knows how to win her battles

 

 

“Queen Seon Deok” – Celebrating the brilliant mind of a woman

 

“Scent of a Woman” – Celebrating the courage and faith of cancer-inflicted women

 

“My GF is a Gumiho” – Celebrating the woman who can become stronger for her man

 

“Personal Taste” – Celebrating the woman who embraces her vulnerabilities and works to convert it to become her strengths

 

“Dong Yi” – Celebrating the woman who made her rough journey an inspiration to make her push through her dreams even more

 

“Sungkyunkwan Scandal” – Celebrating the woman who understands and values her worth

“Secret Garden” – Celebrating the woman who is not afraid to challenge herself may it be love or her dreams

“The Greatest Love” – Celebrating the woman who hits her life’s rock bottom but rises again in the most graceful way

 

“Faith” – Celebrating the woman who knows how to be patient in love 

 

“You Who Came From Another Star” – Celebrating the woman who hit a career slump but stayed being optimistic in life

 

“The Master’s Sun” – Celebrating the woman who overcomes her insecurity because she knows it has to come from her first

 

“Secret Love” – Celebrating the woman who was wronged and persecuted but remained steadfast to go on with her life

 

“Miss Korea” – Celebrating the woman who knows she is beautiful inside and out.

 

“Mask” – Celebrating the woman who is not afraid to admit she committed a mistake

 

“The Legendary Witch” – Celebrating the woman who chooses to become a blessing to the people around her

 

“On the way to the airport” – Celebrating the woman who chooses not to stay in a non-loving and disrespectful relationship

 

“The Flower in Prison” – Celebrating the woman who did not let life’s cruelties change how she views the goodness of life

 

“Another Oh Hae Young” – Celebrating the woman who wants a love that beats in her heart

 

“Jealousy Incarnate” – Celebrating the woman who chases her dream even if people puts her down

 

“One More Happy Ending” – Celebrating the woman who trusts that a divorce does not end her life

 

“Oh My Venus” – Celebrating the woman who challenges herself to work on her weight insecurities for her own self fulfilment

KDramas that you can watch over and over again… because… Part 1

I have this recent pensive moment when I realized how there are amazing Asian dramas during its run that I won’t feel the urge to watch again for another serving.  A good example of that for me is “Goblin”.  I was raving and anticipating the episodes, but I would choose “Weightlifting Fairy” for another round if in case I need a kdrama pill to get me through a stress battle or if I just want to relax.  

Though Goblin is addictively charming, the narrative was thorough so you get everything in one shot.  It’s a kind of drama that you will remember the plot even ten years after. It’s weird, isn’t it?  But there are really great dramas that are magical only on the first serving.  Melodramas suffer a lot on this note because hey we won’t be liking to do a weep fest again since we saw that the evil villain was punished well, right?  

What makes the dramas on my list timeless and enjoyable for a rerun would be the excellent pacing and impeccable cast chemistry.  The writing was also sporadic hence you forgot the details often so when you rewatch it, you’d be surprised that you missed it.  The key scenes in these dramas were also polished to perfection that you melt like crazy even when you have seen it a hundred times.  Off I went to kdrama dungeon and pick the dramas that would work wonders to any kind of rollercoaster emotions you might be having or when weekends need to be spent in kdrama binge-watching. 

Let’s start with the last 7 years list for this first part, and we will delve on the classic kdramas for the second part.

 

Legend of the Blue Sea

Because the mind-reading conman perfectly loved back the always curious mermaid who only dreams to be loved by him…

Key Points:

  • lead man mind-reading ability
  • quick to uptake heroine
  • the no reservation kisses
  • the smooth timeline transition
  • the careful use of reincarnation plot
  • the hilariously cute one-sided love of the second lead woman
  • the bromance ala Ocean’s Eleven
  • the effort of Lee Min Ho to match Jun Ji Hyun

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Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Because you have all the license to be happy, stupid, hopeful and sad when you are chasing your college romance…

Key Points:

  • the swag girl friends
  • the friendship turned romance
  • Joon Young is your college boyfriend poster boy
  • the lively heroine who loves and lives incidentally
  • the mushy new couple dates and jealousies

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Descendants of the Sun

Because no other man can suavely chase a woman and love her amidst disaster and career barriers like Captain Yoo Si Jin…  

Key Points:

  • the cool Captain portrayal of Song Joong Ki
  • the topless morning jog of the soldiers
  • the equally engrossing second love pairing
  • the love chase fulfilment
  • the crazy humor scattered and neatly placed in the story
  • the nifty writing

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Something About One Percent

Because it is your perfect rom-com drama trimmed to remove all the unnecessary fillers, making you just fell and enjoy the kisses and the sweets…

Key Points:

  • fast-paced and lively writing
  • engrossing love couple
  • lee jae in is a rare prototype of kdramaland chaebol
  • the lead couple always communicate
  • the melting kisses
  • the heroine who knows how to tame her lead man well

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Another Oh Hae Young

Because there’s no other kdrama character that can teach you how to be brave when it comes to loving like Oh Hae Young…

Key Points:

  • heartfelt screenplay
  • beautifully captured what-i-did-for-love scenes 
  • a memorable heroine
  • Eric Moon oppa’s melting and intense kisses

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  Reply 1988

Because it is a nostalgic growing up story that will remind you of the neighborhood you grew up with along with the memories you shared with your friends and family…

Key Points:

  • perfectly selected cast 
  • the husband guessing game was well hidden
  • the outlandish and witty humor spread evenly
  • a deserving second lead syndrome
  • an engrossing love tale that never gave up
  • Bora and Sun Woo’s noona romance
  • the sibling fights
  • the neighborhood friendship

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Healer

Because the basic need of a woman in love is to feel safe in the arms of the man she loves…

Key Points:

  • Ji Chang Wook slayed his “Healer” character
  • ajumma hacker is the best side kick ever
  • the narrative was neatly written considering a socio-political premise
  • Yoo Ji Tae is the uncle you will wish you can have
  • the love progression was intricately written and that’s why it was so affecting

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Punch

Because the character portrayals are mindblowingly wicked…

Key Points:  

  • the hero and villain showdowns are amazing
  • Kim Rae Won oppa at one of his best element
  • the cliff-hangers were superb and yet the continuity of story was never compromised
  • the grit and the passionate cast chemistry 
  • the intelligent and thrilling writing

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Finding True Love

Because this first love drama will haunt you of your very own love failures and bliss…

Key Points:

  • the spectacular transitioning narrative based on the characters’ memories
  • the equally fought love triangle
  • Jung Yu Mi as Yeo Rum perfectly captured the faces of woman in love and falling out of love
  • the mushy moments were fortified to a more realistic romantic scenes
  • the screenplay is relatable to the audience who lost and find love again

 

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You Who Came from the Stars

Because an alien and a top actress falling in love in fictional world does not need any further teaser to entice you.

Key Points:

  • the neat and mischievous storytelling was consistent all throughout
  • Jun Ji Hyun owned Cheon Song Yi’s character very well
  • all those crazy things Song Yi did for Do Min Joon’s love
  • all those secret things Do Min Joon did for Song Yi’s love
  • the fusion of fantasy and reality in a romance setting was well-conceived and well-played
  • Do Min Joon is love

 

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Misaeng

Because once in a year in our adult lives, we hit mid-life crisis syndrome that no chocolates can heal…

Key Points:

  • brave characters and inspiring storyline
  • is equivalent to 100 self-help books
  • Jang Geu Rae will remind you of your past, present and future career woes
  • the best workplace drama for me so far

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The Master’s Sun

Because a CEO who loves a ghost whisperer heroine and waits for her to settle in her own fears is everything but romance…

Key Points:

  • So Ji Sub oppa in his first rom-com role was refreshing
  • Gong Hyo Jin channelled her ghost-seeing character so well
  • the romcom resident bickerings and mushy scenes are ever present
  • another stellar writing from Hong sisters

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Nine:  Nine Times Travel

Because no matter how many times you watch it, you will be awed by its labyrinth twist…

Key Points:

  • the brilliant time traveling premise and timeline switching scenes were neatly tied to perfection
  • the editing and directing were notched superbly
  • the young versions of the main actors did well in their roles
  • Lee Jin Wook at his best

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  Queen In Hyun’s Man

Because this is the best time-traveling romantic comedy drama yet so far…

Key Points:

  • the smart hero and the quirky heroine 
  • the neat alignment of the time traveling premise
  • the time traveling rules was explained well
  • the kisses are sigh-inducing coming from a Joseon scholar
  • Kim Boong Do’s flexibility in adapting to different worlds was impeccable

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Reply 1997

Because any fangirl can relate to the hilarious journey of the lead girl to claim her fangirl and real romance…

Key Points:

  • the high school friendship circle will remind you of the one you had before
  • the sweet unrealized young love that was given a second chance 
  • Jung Eun Ji nailed the boygroup fangirl character superbly
  • Yoon Yoon will remind you of your high school crush who is also every other girl’s crush
  • without Reply 1997, nostalgic siblings of the Reply series would have not been aired so just pay respect lol

 

 

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  Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

Because this is your perfect noona romance drama, and it threw in an equally hot second lead to confuse your heart…

Key Points:

  • the cohabitation of the flower crew felt like watching the Starwars’ Ewoks enjoying a Rock festival
  • the romance built up was slow but surely sweet and addictive
  • the lead girl tug-of-war between long lost half brothers was mind bogglingly sweet
  • the storyline is flirtatious
  • brimming with sweet and comic scenes

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Sungkyunkwan Scandal

Because this is the epitome of how a fusion-sageuk should be done… youthful and flirty but thrilling with character conflicts and political conspiracies…

Key Points: 

  • the sassy historical school setting
  • the cross-dressing heroine was energetic in promoting girl power
  • the Sungkyunkwan Scholars were the best PMS pills ever
  • the narrative was fresh and amusing
  • the love line was mushy
  • Yoo Ah In will give you a second lead syndrome

 

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  My GF is a Gumiho

Because the folk-tale infused romance will make you remember Mi Ho in rainy days…

Key Points:

  • Mi Ho’s character will wake you up from a kdrama drift
  • The folklore infused love tale was engrossing to watch thanks to Mi Ho’s childlike take of the mundane modern things
  • Lee Seung Gi secured his leading man belt with his easy-go-lucky-chaebol-grandson who dreams to become a movie action star
  • the reversal of roles span the comedy and propel the romance in the story

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Secret Garden

Because the body swapping chaebol-stunt-woman romance felt good and cute at the same time…

Key Points:

  • The almost kiss scenes like the sit-up scene will make anything flutter
  • the eccentric CEO in sparkling tracksuit chasing the girl of his dreams was epic
  • the strong-willed lead girl who makes a point to straighten up the chaebol who loved her
  • the swift and zippy narrative
  • the romance satiating screenplay

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KDrama Bucket Listing: Trusting the Actor for your KDrama/Movie Binge Part 1

Here goes another spree watching suggestion perfect for when you are currently in an imaginary romance with your favorite Korean actor.

Jung Woo Sung

He rarely does linger in kdramaland and works incessantly in stringing movies in the past ten years. Jung Woo Sung oppa is your quintessential poster boy for your ideal action/drama star, but he did well in Romantic Melodramas as well.

FAMOUS WORKS: The Fox with Nine Tails, Born to Kill, Beat, City of the Rising Sun, Musa the Warrior, A Moment to Remember, Sad Movie, Daisy, The Good The Bad and the Strange, The Restless, Reign of Assassins, Athena the Movie, Cold Eyes, The Divine Move, Scarlet Innocence, Don’t Forget Me, Athena Goddess of War, Padam Padam

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Jun Ji Hyun

As the other half of the pairing that led me to kdramaland, Jun Ji Hyun secured a special place in my heart. I have been religiously watching her movies and her recent side trips in dramaland.  She has reinvented herself over the years. Watching her will educate you on the difference between a real actress’ portrayal versus a girl group idol turned actress role playing.

FAMOUS WORKS: Il Mare, My Sassy Girl, Windstruck, Daisy, The Thieves, You who came from another star, The Berlin File, Assassination, Legend of the Blue Sea

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So Ji Sub

I have been in a long running one-sided romance with him. Who won’t? His mesmerizing gaze and his countenance just disarms me and sends me to a world where only the two of us exist. *giggles In movies, he typically do action so when he made a comeback with the hit Master’s Sun in an engrossing and eccentric department store CEO role, I loved him even more.

FAMOUS WORKS: We Are Dating Now, What Happened in Bali, Sorry I Love You, Cain and Abel, Road Number One, Ghost, Master’s Sun, Oh My Venus

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Son Ye Jin

A chameleon actress, she can easily transition to any role given to her with her expressive gaze and almost perfect rendition of her roles.  Most of her movies were a hit for me as she can easily draw you to her characters.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Lover’s Concerto, The Classic, Crazy First Love, Summer Scent, A Moment to Remember, April Snow, Alone in Love, My Wife Got Married, Spotlight, White Night, Personal Taste, Spellbound, The Tower, Blood and Ties, Shark, The Pirates, The Truth Beneath, The Last Princess

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Jo In Sung

I first met him in The Classic but fell in love with him in What Happened in Bali. Jo In Sung oppa fits the leading man role especially in Romance genre because of his handsome features. He has also experimented on his roles to challenge himself and improve his acting.

FAMOUS WORKS: Piano, Shoot for the Star, What Happened in Bali, Spring Day, The Classic, Love of North and South, A Dirty carnival, A Frozen Flower, That Winter The Wind Blows, It’s Okay that’s Love, The King

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Han Hyo Joo

“Dong Yi” made me a fan of Han Hyo Joo since I was not that into her in her earlier dramas.  Since then she has successfully crossed the film scene with memorable pictures in the most recent years.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Spring Waltz, Iljimae, Shining Inheritance, Dong Yi, Postman to Heaven, W: Two Worlds, Adlib Night, Always, Love 911, Masquerade, Cold Eyes, Cest si Bon, Beauty Inside, Love Lies

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Kang Dong Won

Kang Dong Won oppa is more famous in the big screen.  His last stint in dramaland was “One Percent of Anything” which is a dear watch.  As a sought after movie actor, his collection includes box office and critically acclaimed films.  

FAMOUS WORKS:  One Percent of Anything, Magic, Too Beautiful Too Lie, Temptation of Wolves, Duelist, Maundy Thursday, Voice of Murderer, M, Jeon Woo Chi, Secret Reunion, Psychic, Camella Love for Sale, The X, Kundo Age of the Rampant, My Palpitating Life, The Priests, A Violent Prosecutor, Vanishing Time, Master

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Song Hye Gyo

A known kdrama royalty, we first loved her in the tearjerker Autumn Tale and loved her even more in Full House.  Her charming demeanor and stunning beauty transcends through time a decade and a half after and still going on.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Autumn Tale, All In, Hotelier, Shining Days, Full House, Crazy First Love, A Reason to Live, Hwang Jin Yi, The World that they Live in, That Winter the Wind Blows, The Grandmaster, The Queens, Descendants of the Sun

Yoo Ah In

I actually liked Yoo Ah In when he was just a second lead in Sungkyunkwan Scandal.  He has rich emotions when working on his roles without appearing exaggerated.  He initially got me with his kissable lips *chuckles, but he has clearly proven his passion for his craft as he progressed to a bankable actor of his generation.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Fashion King, Jang Ok Jung Live In Love, Secret Love Affair, Six Flying Dragons, Antique Bakery, Punch, Tough as Iron, Veteran, The Throne, Like for Likes

Park Bo Young

Acting wise, Park Bo Young is definitely the front-runner in the batch of actresses in her generation. Her knack on owning her roles has made her synonymous to the projects she starred in. Whether it may be young or zippy or heartbreaking, she always bring her A-game to her portrayals.

FAMOUS WORKS: Our School ET, Jungle Fish, Speedy Scandal, Don’t Click, A Werewolf Boy, Snow Queen, Hot Young Bloods, The Silenced, You Call it Passion, Collective Invention, Oh My Ghostess, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Cha Seung Won

The young generation might not find this ajussi hot, but his Dokko Jin and Jo Gook characters I keep dearly in my heart. You have to watch City Hall and realize how the wedding proposal there looks so surreal. He is known these days for his chajumma stint in variety show “Three Meals a Day Fishing Village” which is fun to watch if you like laid back cooking show set up.

FAMOUS WORKS: City Hall, Athena: Goddess of War, The Greatest Love, You’re All Surrounded, Hwajung, Blades of Blood, 71 Into the Fire, Athena the Movie, Man on High Heels

Gong Hyo Jin

Like a wine, Gong Hyo Jin keeps getting better and her drama choices hits home in me. She’s best served in rom-coms. She was able to establish impeccable chemistry with her lead men and her comic timing is also impressive.

FAMOUS WORKS: Sang Doo Let’s Go to School, Biscuit teacher and Star candy, Thank you, Pasta, The Greatest Love, Master’s Sun, It’s okay that’s love, The Producers, Jealousy Incarnate, Crush and Blush, Love Fiction, Missing Boomerang Family, Sisters on the Road

Song Seung Heon

I have a complicated relationship with Song Seung Heon oppa because I was not consistently drawn by him since his projects are kinda sporadic.  I sure lovw his classics so he deserves a spot on this list.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Happy Together, Calla, Autumn in my Heart, He Was Cool, Make it Big, Summer Scent, East of Eden, A Better Tomorrow, My Princess, Dr. Jin, Ghost in your arms again, When a Man Falls in Love, Obsessed, Wonderful Nightmare, Saimdang Light’s Diary

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Kim A Joong

She is that one actress who surprisingly made this list without me realizing it.  *chuckles  Her excellent choices on tackling roles given to her in varied colors made her roles memorable hence she is trusted with amazing offers.

FAMOUS WORKS:  200 Pounds Beauty, My PS Partner, The Accidental Couple, Sign, Steal My Heart, Punch, Wanted, The King

Eric Moon/Moon Jung Hyuk

This oppa I dearly love. He is quite lucky because the history of his works is quite successful. He has also picked interesting roles and made it his own. His previous three rom-coms were all love drama spectacle for me.

FAMOUS WORKS: Invincible Parachute Agent, Diary of June, Que Sera Sera, Strongest Chil Woo, Myungwol the Spy, Discovery of Love, Another Oh Hae Young

Lee Yeon Hee

Smartly traversing films and television dramas, Lee Yeon Hee has picked her acting challenges very well based on the positive outcome of her works.

FAMOUS WORKS:  A Millionaire’s First Love, M, One Fine Day, My Love, Hello Schoolgirl, East of Eden, Paradise Ranch, Phantom, Marriage Blue, My Way, Phantom, Miss Korea, Detective K, Hwajung

Kim Soo Hyun

I know it’s surprising but Kim Soo Hyun has not reached yet the oppa stage for me. As we all know the rule is anyone younger as long as he is cute and gives you the hear flutter, he is considered oppa. I enjoyed his recent dramas and movies, but I don’t swoon that much the way I do with my resident oppas. I’m still waiting for that one drama that will make my knees weak.

FAMOUS WORKS: Jungle Fish, Dream High, Giant, The Moon the Embraces the Sun, You Who Came from the Stars, Producer, The Thieves, Secretly Greatly, Real

Kim Ha Neul

As a veteran actress she has explored various genres on her decorated celebrity life.  What I like most about her is how she reinvents herself by taking risks on her acting choices than playing safe to roles she is comfortable with.

FAMOUS WORKS:  Secret, Ditto, My Tutor Friend, Piano, Stained Glass, Too Beautiful to Lie, Almost Love, Lovers of Six years, My GF is an Agent, On air, Blind, You’re my Pet, Road Number 1, A Gentleman’s Dignity, Don’t Forget Me, On the way to the Airport, Misbehavior

Lee Min Ho

His mother might have prayed a lot for his son’s success and we cannot disregard how he has been honing his craft through the years to prove that he is more than just a pretty face. From trendy to action dramas, we can’t help but be amazed at his charisma and dimples. *chuckles

FAMOUS WORKS: Boys Before Flowers, Personal Preference, City Hunter, Faith, The Heirs, Legend of the Blue Sea, Bounty Hunters, Gangnam Blues

Han Ji Min

Her charming demeanor helped a lot in landing her lingering roles and commercially successful projects. While she has an impeccable comedic timing, she is also good when tears are to be summoned from her arsenal.

FAMOUS WORKS: Capital Scandal, Yi San, Cain and Abel, Padam Padam, Rooftop Prince, Hyde Jekyll and Me, Detective K Secret of Virtuous Widow, The Plan Man, Salut d Amour, The Age of Shadows

Kim Sun Ah

She is famous as Kim Sam Soon from the kdrama classic “My Name is Kim Sam Soon”, but I loved her more in City Hall and her stint in Scent of a Woman inspired to make the most out of my life. She is best in portraying women empowering stories celebrating girl power and assuring that vulnerabilities are but normal. While she is not that consistent in hitting big kdrama hitters, she gave me three classics that I watch when I’m sad.

FAMOUS WORKS: My Name is Kim Sam Soon, City Hall, Scent of a Woman, I do I do, Masked Prosecutor, S Diary, She’s on Duty, Happy Ero Christmas, Pitch High, The Five

Joo Ji Hoon

I loved him as Crown Prince Lee Shin in Goong (Princess Hours). Since then, even when he had that scandal, I think he is one of the most expressive actors that can slay characters in romantic melodramas. His movie portfolio is a bit varied but he is known to make his portrayal poignant and neat.

FAMOUS WORKS: Goong, The Devil, Five Fingers, Medical Top Team, Mask, Antique Bakery, Naked Kitchen, I am a King, Marriage Blue, Love Suspects, Confession, The Treacherous

Don’t panic if you are looking for your favorite actor/actress, and it’s not here yet.  This is a two-part list so kindly bear with me until I publish the next part.  -jediprincess♥♥♥

Permission to swoon on Hwarang Flower Boys Granted

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Because I remained faithful to the end, I decided to ruminate and write my thoughts about Hwarang before I fall asleep.

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dear Goblin, saranghae.

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1.  Hello  breathtaking cinematography!
2.  Gong Yoo oppa in long mane and warrior clothing is hot.
3.  Thank kdramagod we don’t linger much on the backstory.
4.  That is a fiery red scarf.
5.  If the Grim Reaper with kissable lips will escort me to after life, I will gladly oblige.
6.  The gutsy heroine had me at that cheery love declaration.
7.  Autumn in Canada is pretty.
8.  Cohabitation with two hot guys with supernatural powers is such an intoxicating kdrama plot.
9.  Goblin and Grim Reaper struggling with smartphone is epic.
10.  Goblin ruminating on the pros and cons of loving his bride is hilariously cute.
11.  I’ve got to give it to Lee Dong Wook for bringing out the Grim Reaper’s adorable character.
12.  Goblin and Grim Reaper is the best bromance ever.
13.  Seriously, that villain is creepy.
14.  All the pieces are laid out, it breaks my heart on the ill-fated love of Wang Yeo and the Queen.
15.  *sob This Wang Yeo – Kim Shin reveal drained my tears.
16.  Hail to the second leads and to that emotional kiss-me-forget-me scene.
17.  Wow!  Just wow!  That Episode 13 is like a full movie in acting and plot scale magnitude.
18.  True love rules!  Yay for Eun Tak summoning Goblin back from limbo.
19.  Just as how I love the pain, forgiveness and reconciliation between Goblin and Grim Reaper, I was sad to see Reaper voyage to his next life.
20.  How many times are you going to make me cry?  Why did she have to die?
21.  Dear Goblin, it’s me Abby.  I’m here for you, I still have three lives in case your bride will take time to reincarnate.
22.  I wish Sunny and Grim Reaper’s future lives linger more, but it’s the drama’s last episode.
23.  I think any girl wishes now to have a summoning power to the man they love.
24.  Oh there you are Ji Eun Tak, yes Maam, you are the one and only Goblin’s bride.
25.  Goodbye Goblin!  *saranghae

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Arguably the best korean drama that aired for 2016, “Goblin” affirmed my kdrama fan girl spirit with its addictive pace, perceptive characters, detailed back story and the exciting race to its closure.  I was at constant awe at how the yarning of the folklore and supernatural mise en scene fit so perfectly placed in the modern setting.  The cast portraying a whole new chimeric world that I want to be a part of moved through the story seamlessly alternating a wistful and lively performance that burrowed straight to my kdramaaddict heart. *chuckles

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Cursed to immortality, a Goryeo warrior captain lived for 9 centuries waiting for his bride that will vanquish the jinx laid by a deity.  He finally meets his bride who has the ability to see ghost and has been aware of her status through the metaphysical grapevine gossips she heard through the years.  Goblin fell in love with her in the process and she is all willing to wield the sword stuck on his chest not knowing that by doing so, it will make him vanish.  Their romance bloomed fully, but they had to face the villain responsible for Goblin’s immortal fate.  Goblin used the stuck sword to finally kill the ghost fiend and was transported to a limbo clear of his initial curse, but trapped and had to journey for years to be with his bride again.  10 years later, Eun Tak who has always been bothered by missing pieces she felt in her heart but lost in her memories, summoned Goblin back to her world through her honest and painful longing.  Goblin worked on winning her back and her memories of him were retrieved and they finally tied the knot.  Just as they had a taste of the love they so bravely fought, Eun Tak who has lived a borrowed life faced death when she sacrificed herself to save a bus loaded with school children.  Years after, Eun Tak was reincarnated on her second life and sought the man she vowed she will only love for the rest of their lifetimes.

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The summary does not justify all that happened in the story as the cast were intricately connected through their past and present lives.  What made Goblin such a novelty for a love story with transcendental element is how it neatly blended the mystical notes and sensible realities to propel the narrative without losing focus and as simply told as it can be.  The drama made me yearn a romantic interlude with men like Goblin or Grim Reaper.  I was on a long moony phase struck with the impact of the characters who fervidly brought life to their sketched personas.

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 Goblin marked all the bullet points of a lingering story eventhough the metaphysical milieu was very tricky. Although set on a melancholic tone, the dynamics of the cast and the lively humor cushioned the viewers so well given its inevitable tragic scenario ending.  At times there are moments when it was languid, but it was necessary for the built up of the character connections to make the climactic conflict confrontation solid and stunning.

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Breathtaking – Goblin has always been beautifully done from its cinematography, storyline and character portrayals.  The writer did a lot of impossible tweaks and conceived an intricate realm and made sure that she will succeed on the labyrinth she has set for her story.  With actors embracing their roles so well, the exquisite tale of a man searching for the woman to end his immortality curse established a memory that kdramaland followers will still love in the future.

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There are a lot of things to rave about “Goblin”, but I feel like Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook’s stellar chemistry in their very own bromantic world was what kept me in love with this drama as a whole.  Sure the love lines for the main and second leads were notable, but the supernatural boys swept me off my feet with how they kept up with human induced emotional conflicts that their powers can’t resolve.  Kim Go Eun and Yoo In Na were both amazing in their roles and a great support to the main character’s chronicle.  The heartrending love rides these foursome sojourned yielded a memorable impact due to the efficient layering of the reincarnation plot.

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Goblin explored the boundless creativity of Korean culture through writer Kim Eun Sook’s sweet story manipulation.  See for yourself why this drama raised a cult following.

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Bok Joo’s college boyfriend that we all wanted to have

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“Everyone spends their youthful years. It’s a time that we are beautiful because we can be immature and yet we shine brightly. We are not afraid because we have nothing to lose and our hearts flutter because we can have anything.”

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Credit the cast for their commitment to this coming of age drama.  It created an international cult following especially on the teens and the early-twenties.  “Weightlifting Fairy” was my first and last kdrama binge for 2016.  I initially had reservations if I will put it on my plate, but one night when I don’t have anything scheduled to watch anymore, I took it and was uncaring if I wake up the entire village with my laughter festival.

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This is the drama I will make my daughter watch when she goes to college so she can have an idea of what a perfect college boyfriend is.  *wink  I still have a lingering one-sided noona romance with Nam Joo Hyuk.  Gawd that guy is just swag!

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This campus romance will poke any person’s buried love memories set in their college life.  Yes sir, it was also the case for me.  “Weightlifting Fairy” lunged to a momentum that is so binding and relatable for the viewers as it somehow gave us another peek of a love story that we were once in the same kind.  Lee Sung Kyung was just a pretty face actress for me prior to her role as Kim Bok Joo, but I can’t imagine anyone who can fit to that role the way she pulled it off in the series.

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“Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo” narrated the story of a prolific college weightlifter who just like any typical girl fell in love with a weight management doctor.  Nurturing her one-sided crush she signed up for a weight loss program and suited up for a new identity as a cello player.  Her secret second life bumped to a reality when she learned that the doctor is the brother of her gradeschool classmate, Joon Hyung, whom she recently met again at the Sports University they were both attending.  She was forced to be nice to Joon Hyung to keep her secret going but Joon Hyung’s ex-girlfriend who wanted to win him back and jealous of Bok Joo, discovered her weight loss management appointments and used it to hurt her by letting her coaches know about it.  Bok Joo was punished and was locked down to keep her weightlifting figure so she was forced to stop coming to the clinic.  Joon Hyung and Bok Joo became closer and as her puppy love towards his brother faded, he realized he has fallen in love with his sassy friend.  She soon returned his affection and they made every girl in the planet envious of the young imaginary love they shared.

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Buoyant and feel good, Bok Joo and the rest of the sports athlete in Haneul University gave us an awesome time with their interactions and side chronicles.  It was such a simple story with an almost non-existent conflict, but it was told in a smart perspective hitting the familiar situations we also had at some point in our lives when we were young and unafraid to love.  Jung Joon Hyung is now the prototype for an ideal  college boyfriend ever.  The #relationshipgoals captured in their friendship turned love adventure was mushy and cute that I was so shamelessly having a noona romance in my very own world with Nam Joo Hyuk. *chuckles

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Bok Joo and her girlfriend moments were also hilarious in keeping up the upbeat tone of the story.  Being easy to digest and not traversing complications without basis, what I love about this drama is how it was straightforward with its plain premise, but the characters made me feel like I’m watching the thrills in Criminal Minds coated in the sweetest chocolate frosting. *wink

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When I sent off the “swag couple”, I was all smile and teary-eyed remembering my youth days in them. I wish we can have Bok Joo and Joon Young’s story 5 years after.  The hours spent watching them fall in love was like a comfort food and bubble wrap combined.  I picked “Weightlifting Fairy” as one of the best kdramas of 2016 for being such a genuine coming of age story that beautifully captured the joy and pain and everything in between of being young… of building dreams and of falling in love for the first time. 

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KDrama Bucket Listing: Bundling Kdramas by Trusting the Writer or the PD

Just how do I choose which dramas to watch when a new set of drama premiere in hallyuland?  I actually rely on the production team more than the actors.  There are a few exceptions like So Ji Sub, Jo In Sung, Cha Tae Hyun, Yoo Ah In, Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji Hyun dramas, but I mostly put my faith on the works headlined by the conceivers of the story.  Deciding on which dramas to keep, park and drop is a skill you should work on in order for you to still get a life and plenty of sleep while nurturing your kdrama-addiction.  *chuckles  Trust me, you will eventually hit that stage when you have seen a lot so you want to see something new for a change.

 I have learned to trust the previous works of these writers and directors.  Those who hit one or two dramas in me, I still have reservations.  So if the first eight episodes of their new work seems not going anywhere, I will skip it and move on to another story.  

I still do trust new writers and directors. It is important that we do because the more narratives and worlds these growing production teams want to explore, the more happy we will be as viewers.  

This list will help you whom to trust in case you have specific genres you prefer to binge watch.

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The Seasoned Writer

Choi Wan Kyu’s works span 23 years of classic favorites and modern surprises.  If you want to have a grasp of Korean history, he is great in exploring period narratives and is also strong in character-driven stories.  He is superb in handling big cast productions and long-running storylines.

NOTABLE WORKS:  General Hospital 1 & 2, All In, Jumong, Lovestory in Harvard, Gourmet, Swallow the Sun, Iris, Midas, Lights and Shadows, Triangle and Flower in Prison

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The Sentimental Writer

I loved how almost all her love stories led me to warranted self-introspection because of her ability to sketch poignant stories and lingering characters.  Noh Hee Kyung can switch from refreshing comedies to tear-jerkers inside her love stories.  She also dares to traverse variety of love setting that surprisingly endeared the viewers.

NOTABLE WORKS:  More Beautiful than a flower, Goodbye Solo, The world that they live in, Padam padam, That Winter the Wind Blows, It’s Okay, that’s Love, Dear My Friends

 

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The Star Writer

Her ability to tap to what the general audience like has been an amazing talent.  I once thought she is overrated, but I got to give it to her because her recent works in the past eight years were all striking.  Kim Eun Sook works wonder mostly on romantic-comedies.  She has forged indelible love couples and bromance through the years.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Lovers in Paris, City Hall, Secret Garden, A Gentleman’s Dignity, The Heirs, Descendants of the Sun, The Lonely, Shining Goblin

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The Nimble Director

I had a lot of fun in Myungwol the Spy and Sungkyunkwan Scandal while I had some retrospection in Goodbye Solo.  Director Hwang In Hyuk is stunning in designing polished dramas and injecting clever humor all throughout the story.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Goodbye Solo, Empress Chunchu, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Myungwol the Spy, Assembly, Laurel Tree Tailors

 

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The Flexible Director

Deft on bringing life to ardent melodramas, Boo Sung Chul PD can throw charming humor when required by the plot.  I just found out that I like him while doing my research, so I made sure he is marked well for his future projects.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Lobbyist, Star’s Lover, You’re Beautiful, My GF is a Gumiho, Jang Ok Jung, Living in Love, The Heirs, Mask, Our Gab Soon

 

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The Trendy Director

One look at his works and you will know that he is the god of trendy, youthful rom-coms.  He has a knack of keeping up well on heart-fluttering scenarios even as the time evolves.  I look forward to him proving this claim  on his future projects.

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The Master of Thriller Writing

His pace will surely leave you at the edge of your seat, but he sure knows how to weave a story by making the characters and the plot as one.  I fell in love with him at “Punch” but the rest of his works are equally amazing.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Punch, Empire of God, The Chaser

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The Mushy Screenwriter

Yang Hee Sung writer’s character sketches are vibrant and energetic.  His recent works made me feel warm and he can sure blend romance and comedy right on point.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Oh My Ghost, Highschooler King of Life, Soonpoong Clinic

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The Sassy Screenwriter

Before her big hit in You Who Came from Another Star, she already showed that addictive cheery vibe in her earlier dramas.  The situations she has written in her stories have brought out the best of the comic timings in the actors starring in her dramas, and I thank her for that.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Legend of the Blue Sea, Producers, You Who Came from the Stars, You Who Rolled in Unexpectedly, Queen of Reversals

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The Affectionate Director

Baek Sang Hoon can transition from young love themed dramas to real romance stories by stirring the plot well and hooking the viewers with the actors’ portrayal.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds, Descendants of the Sun, Who Are You School 2015, Secret Love

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The Chameleon Director

This director’s portfolio boasts with great actors in various genres.  Analyzing his works made me realize how he is quick to uptake in building the synergy of the love couple without forcing it, but by perfecting scenes that captured the characters well in their moments of falling in love.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Goblin, Descendants of the Sun, Secret Love, Discovery of Love, School 2013, Dream High

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The Exciting Director

As reflected on his noteworthy creations, Yoon Sung Shik can go on serious storytelling to perky narratives.  His strength is he knows well when to place the hook on his stories and he makes the cast as a whole shine together.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Hwarang, The King’s Face, Bridal Mask, Lee Soon Shin is the Best

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The Storytelling Guru

Expert in long-running stories, Lee Sung Joon PD has made memorable dramas mostly on period drama setting.  He can do standard narration, but he is also stunning when he tweaks it to a fusion sageuk.

NOTABLE WORKS:  The Scholar Who Walks at Night, Empress Ki, The Moon that Embraces the Sun, May Queen, Gyebaek, The Duo, Creating Destiny

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The Romance Sensitive Director

The string of dramas on his file screamed a lot about painful and patient love.  He can be charming with the light scenes, but he will throw you at a weep fest on the emotionally stirring scenes.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds, Discovery of Love, Who Are You School 2015, Dream High

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The Mischievous Romantic Screenwriter

Jung Hyun Jung writer is my long lost friend from parallel universe who might have peeked on my very own lovestories, thereby translating it in the TV screen.  *chuckles  What I like about him is how she creates those love frames that anyone can relate to.  From the blooming romance, to sad goodbyes, and to love second chances.  She is also great on lively ambiance and his screenplay is top knotch.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Five Children, Because it’s the first time, Discovery of Love, I Need Romance 1, 2 and 3 

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The Ardent Director

Known for emotionally draining melodramas, Kim Kyu Tae induced witty humor in his directing, but never lost his focus in displaying the tearjerking scenes.  He is excellent in capturing the love progression of the main couple.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo, It’s Okay, that’s love, Padam padam, That winter the wind blows, Iris, A Love to Kill

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The Snappy Director

I love how Jang Tae Yoo PD is flexible on historical dramas and modern dramas.  Just ruminating on what he did in Tree With Deep Roots and You From Another Star was fascinating.  He deftly navigates the story without losing its footing and neatly wrapped everything to a plausible closure.

NOTABLE WORKS:  You from Another Star, Tree with Deep Roots, The Painter of the Wind, Money’s Warfare

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The Cheerful Writer

The love lines he created are lingering and engaging.  The love couples he introduced to us have lived well in the setting he created so naturally that we were able to relate to them easily.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Full House, You’ve fallen for me, Producers, The World that they live in, Which star did you come from?

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The Innovative Writer

Song Jae Jung writer is unfazed in establishing realms where he can bring the viewers in awe and wonder.  His impeccable skills to draw chimeric worlds swept me off my feet.  He is a master of push and pull when it comes to inducing excitement.  

NOTABLE WORKS:  W: Two Worlds, The Three Musketeers, Nine: Nine Times Travel, Queen In Hyun’s Man, Highkick through the Roof

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The Nostalgic Writer/PD Tandem

Giving us the elaborated “Reply Series” required thorough research and attention to details.  A trip down to the memory lanes of our high school and college life as well as our growing up years in the local neighborhood was achieved to perfection by these wonderful duo.  The Reply Series are kept dear in my heart and belong to the drama pills that aid me during rainy days.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Reply 1997, Reply 1994, Reply 1988

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The Period Drama Experts

These masters of acclaimed period dramas intricately wove the stories to present an elaborated picture of character driven stories based on historical setting.  Through their dramas I was forced to hit Korean history books as well leading me to a forced history lessons as well.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Dae Jang Geum, Yi San, Flower in Prison, Dong Yi, Horse Doctor,  Six Flying Dragons, Tree With Deep Roots, Queen Seon Deok, Hwajung

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The Resonating Screenwriter

There’s something about the vibrancy of the cast portrayal in his stories that left a lingering effect in me.  While he sprinkled comedic notes, he discussed the characters in detail so well that you can’t help but cheer on them.  Kim Won Suk lead me at cheerful bliss in Sungkyunkwan Scandal and made me want to leave my regular job at Misaeng.  *chuckles  He is one complicated writer that you would surely love.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Signal, Misaeng, Monstar, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Partners 

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The Smart Screenwriter

I first noticed her at “Ghost” and since then, I’ve become her fan.  For a girl, I like that she is valiant and polished in working mostly on thrillers with crime genre as premise.  You have to sit on her dramas to understand what I am saying, but she is sure one intelligent writer worthy to stalk on.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Signal, Three Days, Ghost, Sign

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The Reliable Veteran Writer

Song Ji Na’s career spanned two decades of writing and she amazingly adapted to the changing times and was able to bring stories you won’t expect she could pull.  Such was the case for Healer and Faith, which I thought was made by a young writer only to find out that it was conceived by a veteran writer.  If you want a taste of reality and fantasy, then Song Ji Na’s dramas will be a perfect fit for you.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Healer, Faith, The Legend, A Man’s Story, Kaist, The Sandglass, Eye of Dawn

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The Perky Sisters-Writer Tandem

Now I am starting to miss these two.  Most of their dramas are quirky and lovable.  Although my most hated drama came from them, most of my favorites were also written by them.  Such is the irony in kdramaland.  *lol  They are a resident rom-com writer favorites and has created memorable love couples through the years.

NOTABLE WORKS:  The Master’s Sun, The Greatest Love, You’re Beautiful, My GF is a Gumiho, My Girl, Sassy Girl Chun Hyang, Hong Gil Dong

The Midas Touch Director

Jin Hyuk PD is sensitive in executing the written stories to moving pictures.  That being said he is the kind of director that any writer would want to work with because he visualizes well the scenarios based on the written text.  His projects are of different genres, but he can pull it off with breathtaking cinematography and yarning of the story.

NOTABLE WORKS:  The Legend of the Blue Sea, The Master’s Sun, City Hunter, Prosecutor Princess, Shining Inheritance, Doctor Stranger

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KDrama Bucket Listing: The Best Fan-service Korean Drama Romcoms

This new project of mine is a useful guide since you have decided to join the kdramaaddict community.  Kdramaworld has been running for quite a while so I’ll share you the dramas that you need to complete and you might have missed along the way.

Since we are celebrating the love month, let’s commence this bucket listing activity with trendy romantic comedy dramas.  These stories are typically what initiated your kdrama cravings.

The sighs, the swoons, the squeals, the hot flushes, the involuntary parting of our lips on the kiss scenes, the hot oppas, the we-wish-we-can-be-the-leadgirl-moments… There are a lot of reasons why we love these kind of dramas. Most of the dramas in this list are runaway hits, others have sweet chemistry between the main leads. These are love pills that we can watch over and over again every year, and yet we don’t get tired of it. These are my favorite fan service romcoms, what’s on your list?

 

♥My Name is Kim Sam Soon  (Hyun Bin and Kim Sun Ah)

Sam Soon’s love adventure gave hope to girls with weight insecurities that they can still snatch the man of their dreams as not all men are blinded by pretty faces and hot bodies.  *chuckles

This is where I first met Hyun Bin oppa and I fell in love with his then chubby cheeks. *lol  I was on my early 20’s when this was aired, and I was not hooked at that time.  But when I watched it in my late 20’s, I was able to appreciate it more because the heroine’s sentiments appealed to me probably because I was at the stage of my life when I endured love frustrations and experienced being blissfully in love.

This is my first dose of contract relationship and it endeared me a lot as it left a love lesson that no matter how extremely different a man and a woman is, spending time together and getting to know each other in the process would warrant a leap of romantic emotion that can result to a sweet love declaration.

 

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♥ Full House (Rain and Song Hye Gyo)

The modern Cinderella story of an aspiring scriptwriter and a famous actor who were forced to cohabitate when the former’s friends sold the house she inherited from her father.  We get a contract marriage plot in this love story which pushed the romance between a man and a woman who seemed unlikely to fall in love with each other.

The bickering scenes and the eventual falling in love were the strongest points of Full House.  The feel good premise still make me pick this drama when I don’t have anything on my plate to watch.  

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♥ Princess Hours (Joo Ji Hoon and Yoon Eun Hye)

Any princess story appeals to most girls right away.  With a distant and yet secretly warm prince portrayed nicely by Joo Ji Hoon oppa, I can’t help but love the nines on the clouds of high when I was watching Lee Shin and Chae Kyung’s royal love story.

My pillows suffered a lot from strangulation on the emotional and heart fluttering scenes.  Actually Goong had mostly melodramatic tones, but it was neutralized by the lead girl’s vibrant presence and optimism to survive in the arranged marriage she was forced to take for the sake of her family.

This is one youth drama you should not miss as it is one of the kdrama staple classics.

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♥ My Girl (Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae)

I know right?  Contracts are often part of kdrama plots.  For “My Girl”, we have a business conglomerate heir hiring a con-woman to pretend as his long-lost cousin to appease his ill grandfather, but ended up trapped in the lie they created when they started falling in love with each other.

The strong second leads supported well the romantic development by playing well the annoying ex-girlfriend and the how-could-you-not-love-him second lead man.

“My Girl” had a consistently addictive run and nicely done closure credit it to the bubbly heroine and her chemistry with the workaholic lead man chaebol.  

I think this is where I first saw that lead-man-following-drunk-lead-girl scene which became a guaranteed cute scene on rom-coms.

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♥ The First Shop of Coffee Prince (Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye)

This cross-dressing heroine and coffee shop owner’s love ride slayed the ratings with the unique premise on how their romance was imagined.  

It was so cute when Gong Yoo’s character disregarded everything and was okay to admit that he could possibly be a homosexual due to his growing feelings on his pretending-to-be-a-man lead girl.

Coffee Prince’s ending was also sweet as it wrap up with how the lead man let go of his girl for the mean time to pursue her own dreams.  This is a must-watch grandpa classic that will not lose its appeal even after a few decades from now.

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♥ Boys Over Flowers (Lee Min Ho and Gu Hye Sun)

Almost Paradise… Yay!  This is Lee Min Ho’s breakthrough performance that swept hallyuland like a storm during its run.  Finally adapting the famous Japanese manga, the Korean version gave a pretty depiction of the rich-boy-poor-girl love story by projecting an elaborated presentation of the wealth disparity of the main love couple.  Sprinkling it with the flower boy bromance and their side love stories cemented a victorious run for this youth drama.

“Boys over Flowers” is a great initiating drama to welcome you in kdramaland.  It is feel-good, buoyant and everything sweet perfect on movie marathon sessions and rainy days.

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♥ My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (Shin Min Ah and Lee Seung Gi)

Fusing Korean folklore to a modern lovestory was notched perfectly by chilsung cider addicted Mi Ho and her action star wanna-be lead guy.  When a nine-tailed fox was released from a painting she was imprusoned to, she sealed a deal with a free spirited guy who does not have any dream but to become an action star.

The arresting face and portrayal of Shin Min Ah made Mi Ho one of my all-time favorite kdrama characters.  Hong sisters blended the supernatural and folklore premise in this drama in an innovative approach to complement the modern setting.

This is where I first saw the reversal of roles for the lead couple.  The always curious heroine took charge in taking care of her lead man in the most part of the story.  

The quirky interaction of the lead couple until reaching the eventual love zone was something you would root for while you are watching the narrative.

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♥ You’re Beautiful (Jang Geun Seuk and Park Shin Hye)

When her twin brother met an accident, Go Mi Nyu, a nun-to-be was forced to assume her brother’s identity  (Go Mi Nam) who was posed to join a famous boyband.  Having spent most of her time in the convent Mi Nam worked hard to adapt in a new world of cohabiting with her fellow band members.

There are a lot to love about ANJELL and the main lead couple.  The second lead also made an impressive showing to shake the official love pairing.

“You’re Beautiful” was brimming with witty humor and sweet scenes which propelled its run to a strong fanbase.  I think this is also was the start of me stalking Hong sisters dramas.

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♥ You’ve Fallen For Me (Park SHin Hye and Jung Yong Hwa)

This youth drama set in a Music school was the fulfilment of the second love pairing that we did not get from “You’re Beautiful”.  The refreshing tone and the campus romance drew smiles and sigh in me as Lee Shin suited up to his campus hearthrob role effortlessly and effectively.  

The music, the youthful vibe, the college setting dates endeared this drama to me.  Maybe because it just went free flowing and did not exert effort in placing overly conceived central conflict.  “You’ve Fallen For Me” is light and comforting perfect for your stoic days.

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♥ Discovery of Love (Eric Moon and Jung Yu Mi)

Now this was not as popular as the rest of the dramas in this list, but it belonged to my all-time favorite love dramas because of its superb screenplay and storytelling.

Yeorum is a furniture maker who was caught between her present boyfriend and her first love.  “Discovery of Love” took an ingenious path to uncover the woes and inhibitions of a woman in confronting love confusions that involved weighing down the amount of pain and love you are prepared to invest in a relationship.

You will thank me later after you watch it.

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♥ Another Oh Hae Young (Eric Moon and Seo Hyun Jin)

Yes I think I can declare that I stalk Eric oppa’s dramas as he mostly pick interestingly done projects.

Another Oh Hae Young was the best romance drama for 2016 banking on its realistic approach on the frustrations and bliss of trusting the love willingly given to someone only to be disappointed for not reciprocating it well.

The hot kisses, the brave heroine and the weird journey on how fate intertwined the love couples were some of the things you would love in this drama.

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♥ Legend of the Blue Sea (Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji Hyun)

Freshly caught from the kdrama sea, this mermaid-conman romance gave us laugh fits and heart-fluttering moments.  The love-fueled-mind-reading ability of Heo Joon Jae was a favorite twist of mine in this drama.  I got a lot of laugh trips from those scenes.

The writing was almost perfect except from that last episode auto pilot ending.  Nevertheless, “Legend of the Blue Sea” will surely warm your heart with the overflowing love vibes sketched in past and present timelines with reincarnation plot on the side.

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♥ The Greatest Love (Cha Seung Won and Gong Hyo Jin)

When a top actor, Dokko Jin got entangled to a third-rate actress, a hilarious romance ensues as he battled out his emotions only to succumb to it when an equally adorable traditional doctor wields his intention to be with the lead girl.

This is the third Hong sisters entry on my list and the trademark smart humor on the writing was evident.  I loved Cha Seung Won in City Hall and even more in his overconfident character in this story.  Gong Hyo Jin as always brings out any character given to her.  Her submissive and kind attitude neutralized Dokko Jin’s strong persona and forced him to become a better person worthy to accept and give love.

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♥ Rooftop Prince (Park Yoo Chun and Han Ji Min)

Time-traveling and a clueless Joseon prince who was transported to modern times made me a happy camper on its weekly run  because of the Prince and his warriors hilarious adjustments to technology powered way of living.

The romance was an added bonus, but when I look back it is really the cute bromance that sealed this drama in my kdrama memory compartment.

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♥ Flowerboy Ramyun Shop (Jung Il Woo and Lee Chung Ah)

Dear drama, you know you got me at Jung Il Woo.  

“Flower boy ramyun shop” checked the romcom essentials of cohabitation, mean love triangle, and rich boy poor girl love line.  The adorable chasing of the lead man to win the heroine’s heart was crazily sweet and in turn secured Jung Il Woo a spot inside my heart.  *chuckles

 

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♥ The Lonely Shining Goblin (Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook and Kim Go Eun 

You have two wonderful love pairings to indulge on and an extra equally sweet bromance for dessert.  What more can you ask for?

Drawn in folklore and chimeric premise, consider Goblin as a karmic prize for kdramaaddicts’ loyal following.  The polished storytelling and amazing cast portrayal nailed a quintessential drama that you can share with your grandchildren in the future.

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♥ Reply 1997 (Seo In Gook and Jung Eun Ji)

I chose the first story from the Reply Franchise as it gave an impressive showing of a first love story as well as friendship turned romance narrative.  Nostalgic in its projection, “Reply 1997” will give anyone a trip back to those wistful memories of their young, unrequited love.

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♥ The Master’s Sun (So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin)

My final Hong sisters drama on the list went to a spooky millieu and was successful in doing so.  A ghost-seeing woman has been burdened by her ability all her life.  When she finally bumped with the person who can shield her from the compelling ghost request she keeps getting with and without her warrant, she stuck by the prickly rich department store owner and soon after developed a relationship with him.

“Master’s Sun” exhibited the usual comedic and romantic writing brilliance of the Hong sisters.  I meant to watch this before because of So Ji Sub oppa and I got more than I asked for.

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♥ Queen In Hyun’s Man (Ji Hyun Woo and Yoo Inna)

Abby’s Man aka Queen In Hyun’s Man stirred an excitement in me due to its avant-garde story of a time traveling Joseon scholar who utilized his talisman powered time-space wrinkling ability to hide in the present time while brewing his next moves on fulfiling his duty to the deposed Joseon Queen. 

An actress helped him to adapt to contemporary living and they eventually fell in love with each other.  “Queen In Hyun’s Man” was hip and fun and affirmed that my decision to eat kdramas for breakfast was valid.  *chuckles  

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♥ Healer (Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young)

“Healer” put me on my longest kdrama character crush.  It was so severe that I watched all Ji Chang Wook dramas even the ones that were not worth watching.  That’s how much impact the drama gave me.  

The love progression was steady and engaging in this drama and you bet I was in dreamy land after that Healer hideout kissing binge.  “Healer” is the fulfilment of any adult woman’s ideal man.  

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♥ Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk)

Credit the cast for their commitment to this coming of age drama.  It created an international cult following especially on the teens and the early-twenties.  “Weightlifting Fairy” was my first and last kdrama binge for 2016.  I initially had reservations if I will put it on my plate, but one night when I don’t have anything scheduled to watch anymore, I took it and was uncaring if I wake up the entire village with my laughter festival. 

This is the drama I will make my daughter watch when she goes to college so she can have an idea of the perfect college boyfriend.  *wink

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♥ Oh My Venus (So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah)

There were a lot of sighs, swoons, melting moments and heart-stopping arrests when I watched coach-nim and Daegu beauty realized their love potential through a weight loss program.

To reclaim her goddess body, a woman sought the help of a famous weight loss coach to carry on with her project.  He was initially adamant about it, but she trapped him by threatening how she will reveal his identity to the world if he does not agree.  

“Oh My Venus” oozed with sweet, steamy scenes that will tickle your heart and imagination.  If you are on a weightloss program, watch this so coach-nim can inspire you.

 

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♥ Descendants of the Sun (Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Gyo)

Suave and prettily written, Captain Yoo Si Jin won my heart in his cool depiction of a military elite officer who got the girl he dreamt of even when their careers inhibit them to spend quality time with each other.

Thanks to Song-Song couple’s right on the dot chemistry, they were able to pull off a breathtaking lovestory that will be forever loved by many like me.

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♥ Something About 1% 2016 (Ha Suk Jin and Jeon So Min)

Cropping unnecessary scenes and light on its conflict, Something About 1 Percent is the exact description of a fan-service drama.

Jae In and Da Hyun’s love story progressed in an addictive pace through their sweet kisses.  It is a big, pink bubblewrap drama that will comfort you when you want to be alone after a break-up.

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♥ Oh My Ghost (Jo Jung Seok and Park Bo Young)

A virgin ghost hosted on a meek woman’s body to get a formal passport to afterlife.  The ghost helped the timid girl worked on the crush she harbored on the Chef of the restaurant she was working.  Chef-nim mistook the sudden changes in her personality as a psychological disorder and tried to help on but nurtured emotional feelings in the process.

“Oh My Ghost” was a quirky watch that will give you laugh fit and enough knee-weakening scenes to feed your love cravings.

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♥ It’s okay, this is love (Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin)

Kdramaland has displayed refreshing love stories through the years and it keeps getting better.   The love story between a famous writer with some psychological issues and a psychiatrist was a runaway hit for me in 2014.  And not just because of Jo In Sung oppa, but due to the cast that you can’t help but fall in love.

It’s okay, this is love fulfilled the promise of a lingering chronicle of ardent love.  It may not appeal to tweens and young women but I’m sure that women in their 30’s will appreciate it a lot.

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♥ Fated to Love You (Jang Hyuk and Jang Na Ra)

When I look back on this drama, I can’t help but remember Jang Hyuk oppa’s outrageous laugh.  hahaha

“Fated to love you” tells the story of a one night stand that brought together an unlikely to fall in love couple.  Left with no choice they got married, but misunderstandings  and losing their baby separated them unfortunately.  Years after fate brought them together again and they finally get the validation that they have always been meant to be.

This is probably my favorite Jang Na Ra drama because it achieved a balanced story of how relationships have reasons why they are not meant to be at a particular moment.

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♥ A Gentleman’s Dignity (Jang Dong Gun and Kim Ha Neul)

Before the Goblin-GrimReaper Bromance, the brotherhood in this drama was my most favorite.  The snappy storyline and side love stories were some of the reasons why I picked this drama.  This is one of the earlier dramas from Goblin/DOTS writer so you will get an idea on how she has really worked on her skills over the years.

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♥ My Princess (Song Sung Heon and Kim Tae Hee)

The long lost last princess of Korea was found and to prepare her for her royal duties, the grandson of a rich family who nurtured the princess family wealth prepped her up in facing her new responsibilities.  Think Princess Diaries + Pretty Woman.

This is the first bribe I got from both the actors to notice them and they were successful in forming a cheery love story.

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♥ Myungwol the Spy (Eric Moon and Han Ye Seul)

A serving of a North Korean spy who got entangled emotionally with a South Korean top actor needed nothing else to convince me in watching it.

This is one hilarious romcom spectacle you should not miss.

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♥ Personal Taste (Lee Min Ho and Son Ye Jin)

The cute twist of the heroine misconceiving her lead man to be homosexual plus the cohabitation ride that slowly but surely built up the romance, this is the drama that secured Lee Min Ho a slot on my radar as I enjoyed their story immensely.

There are a lot of love and life lessons for women to learn on this drama as Gae In provided her insights on how focusing on personal dreams should come first before frustrations.

A must watch Lee Min Ho drama to add on your plate if you have just recently started liking him.

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♥ Secret Garden (Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won)

This body-swapping stunt woman and chaebol love story exceeded everyone’s expectations in nailing an experimental supernatural love story.  

I swear that curl up sweet scene still make my heart flutters.  *chuckles  “Secret Garden” showed a reversal of gender roles as we are given a heroine with unfazed attitude who fell in love with a rich man who did everything to make her love him.

Now that I remember the “rain twist”.  There’s something about rain that makes it a staple twist in kdrama stories as projected in Goblin, My GF is a Gumiho and Secret Garden.  Anyway, I loved Hyun Bin here more than his stint in Samsoon probably because I am more inclined to like unusually imagined story premise.

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♥ Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Park Yoo Chun, Park Min Young and Yoo Ah In)

For me “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” is still my best pick for both school and youth drama even when the drama is set in Joseon era.  If you are curious why then take some time off and spend time with these scholar flower boys plus the cross dressing heroine.

If you liked the recent Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds, the missing nudges on that drama were effortlessly notched in Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

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♥ W:  Two Worlds (Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo)

“W” strode a scintillating first half but fell short on the labyrinth and depth of the ambitious plot the writer conceived.  Nonetheless, Kang Chul sweetly haunted my weak heart as he romanced his lady love.

Kang Chul is everyone’s dream guy and more.  If you want to forget a recent relationship set back feel free to enter the worlds of Kang Chul.

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♥ You From Another Star (Jun Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun)

Since my favorite actress headlined this drama, it was already a given that I secured a spot for my busy time to watch it simultaneously as it aired.  In 2015, I let kdramas conclude first before I delve on them.  I had to break it because I trusted the girl who brought me to Hallyuland that she was up for a brilliant project.  She did not prove me wrong and I was on high savoring the beautiful alien and top actress love story that served as a lesson to current kdrama actresses roster to learn how rom-com should be done.  Kim Soo Hyun was a bonus like equivalent to $1 Million dollars.  The impeccable chemistry of the lead couple surged a memorable love story that would appeal to anyone.

“You From Another Star” is still my all time top pick for the Best Romcom Drama ever produced in kdramaland.  

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The time transcending pure love of a mermaid to a conman

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A lot of expectations were already thrown at this drama even before it was airing due to A-list actors and top writer/director headlining the production.  I say it did exceptional in maintaining the fantasy, romance and comedy as it progressed along the story.  His hero projection to his lead girl in a refreshing and a quirky run I thought he won’t be able to pull off.  I was so fond of Jun Ji Hyun’s inventive approach to suit up her role in a fun, lingering kind of way.

True, that it can’t be helped for it to be compared with “You From Another Star”, having the same psycho villain and supernatural love defying theme, but the base fairytale approach that seems to be familiar to anyone is most likely the key ingredient to its delightful run. 

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Lee Min Ho overturned the table and took in the reign of carrying the story by leveling up to Jun Ji Hyun’s expected brilliant portrayal by polishing his comic timing halfway through the narrative.  His hero projection to his lead girl in a refreshing and a quirky run I thought he won’t be able to pull off.  He owned Heo Joon Jae’s character so well that I can finally say he’s grown from a pretty face to a now versatile bankable actor.  On the other side, Jun Ji Hyun’s inventive approach to suit up her role in a fun, lingering kind of way made me cracked up a lot of times because of her optimistic approach to her new-found world.  Her love ride with Heo Joon Jae was an amusing and love-affirming watch as they learned to understand each other’s flaw and adjust when necessary in appeasing their fears and celebrating what makes them happy.

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The fusion of reincarnation plot and the mermaid-human romance appeared trite on its onset, but as the plot thickened, it felt like the mythical element was stronger as the driving point than the real-life premise projected in the story.  Another thing that was nicely done by the writer was how the melancholia of the past timeline seemed to complement the quirky flow of the present timeline.  Legend of the Blue Sea made me smile a lot and warmed my heart as I cheered on the impossible fulfilment of Cheong and Joon Jae’s reincarnated romance.  It effortlessly kept me piqued on how the plot will unfold and did not give me a slight annoyance because it came well prepared on its weekly spectacle and knows when to trigger the adorable points and cast the entrancing spell for me to stay invested on its future. 

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I struggled giving the proper love “Legend of the Blue Sea” deserves because it is airing with equally amazing dramas on its run, but I remained steadfast and faithful even with the penultimate episode’s joke.  

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The consistency of the plot while using alternate timelines of the past and the present would have gone ambiguous.  But the writer strategically switched the focal character point from the heroine on its preliminary episodes, then maneuvered to the hero halfway through the story, and converged them in equilibrium as we hit the waning events and push through the conflict resolution.  “Legend of the Blue Sea” succeeds in a lively pace of intelligent storytelling with smart characters you will not hate as they don’t play dumb at hindrances thrown at them. 

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Having time-transcending and supernatural love defying themes appeared to be ambitious and risky due to its tendencies of not being able to expound on the development of the characters moving in the story.   But the base fairytale approach that seems to be familiar to anyone is most likely the key ingredient to its engaging ride. 

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I was impressed on how the story stayed focus while fusing the two timelines by not over-using the technicalities and details, but by enhancing the emotional connection of the main leads.  Instead of me having a kdramaaddict moment like “why is Cheong physically adept in the present but not in the past?”, I was more of “come on now, he took a harpoon from the past to save her and she took a bullet for him in the present, let’s give them the ever-after they deserve”.

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I chose to say the best things about this drama given that it was steadily amazing on its ride.  Each episode was a satisfying watch that propelled me to look forward on how the story will unfold.  My only issue was the safe landing or more of auto-pilot ending on the last episode.

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Legend of the Blue Sea was strong on the candied-heart-fluttering moments of Joon Jae and Cheong, but even stronger on relaying the couple’s sweet and yet agonizing journey to endure the love they have in the present in the pretext of a human-mermaid romance impossibility.  It neatly executed the narrative by using simple rules considering its metaphysical premise.  It modernized the reincarnation plot, by playing the resident drama fix of how love overcomes anything and beyond everything. 

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The Sweets and Surprises of 2016 KDramaland

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Limitless and scintillating in showcasing varied stories for 2016, this by far is the best Hallyu-Drama flaunting in my 11 years of K-drama stalking.  It was a year of no specific recurring theme, interestingly imagined premise and mostly character-driven plots.

 

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We saw a lot of memorable characters and narratives that kept k-drama faithful like me on panda eyes in trying to keep up with the amazingly consistent stretch of these creatively crafted stories.  I don’t have any disappointing rant for this year’s parade given that even those mediocrely done productions delivered strong moments in their run.  So, in closing my kdrama experience, I would like to walk down the memory lane on those fiction- driven moments that touched my pure heart, revived my broken heart and stirred my strong heart.  Join me drift away to calming felicity, biting agony and sweet oblivion in reminiscing the diverse beauty definitions brandished by kdramaland players this year.  Here are dramapills perfect for when you can’t seem to understand your emotional outbreaks or when you just want to be alone and to relax.

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THE RUNAWAY HITS

 

Descendants of the Sun

comfort food + bubble wrap = your dream love story

Dazed and intoxicated in a fictional one-sided love, I got more than what I bargained for choosing “Descendants of the Sun” as my first pick this year in my favorites and placing it on my all-time-favorite list.   And no, it’s not because of Captain Yoo Si Jin’s dashing and magnetic appeal nor the running topless army guys doing their morning routine.  It is simply because it deserves all the hype and kdrama addicts’ rave it got because of its superb screenplay and well-executed story.
Rarely do we get a story in drama land that is so affecting when the narrative is relying on the love plot.  Most of the time it maintains a decent showing but in the waning part of the series it will lose its magic.  No romance kdrama has made it to my top favorites basing on the screenplay and the acting.  What they all failed to achieve, DOTS casually slayed in a watch-us-this-is-how-it-should-be-done manner.

The drama was pre-produced and raked millions with its budget.  KBS gambled in taking over the drama meant to go to SBS, but the risk paid off a thousand-fold because of its success.  So why did a drama set in a not so positive environment won over the viewers’ hearts?  The applause it got can be attributed to how fit the actors to their characters were, the realistic-sometimes-cheesy-most-of-the-time-pure-love of the main characters, the snappy lines, the giggle inducing captured frames and how the story depended on the fulfilment of the romance just as the romance bloomed because of the flowing story. 

The issues resolved in the story focused on braving the odds for love and the death defying conflict in the finishing kick of the series.  The charm of Captain Yoo Si Jin would have not been possible if his lead girl was not as endearing as our clever surgeon Mo Yeon.  I must admit that episode 15 was the weakest episode because it struggled in a denouement or conflict limbo.  I was hoping the finale week would just be a fan service but they scared me when I thought it would push an open-ended closure or everything-is-a-dream-lead-man-is-dead ending.  That’s the only negative point I had in its entirety, but given the balanced conception of a drama thriving in a love premise, it was forgivable.

I gave a 10/10 score for Descendants of the Sun for its ingenuity in capturing the heartfelt romance even with violence and disaster plot.  It left lessons on patriotism, life, career and friendship.  There are stories that need not to be embellished because they can stand alone when you chronicle it without confusion and with a direction.

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Another Oh Hae Young

Princess Leia Organa + Cinderella = one strong, romantic woman in love

“Another Oh Hae Young” was as prettily written as Descendants of the Sun, but even more heartfelt because of the realistic approach of the love plot.  The kisses were intense, the arguments were heart-wrenching, and the scenarios created were what you did in a real love world.  

We typically get utopian love stories, but that was not the case for “Another Oh Hae Young”, they shared the pain and the bliss in its barest and heart piercing manner.  What drew the viewers is how the angst and confusion of qualifying love was stripped to its messiest and yet sweetest state just how someone would remember how he fought for his one great passionate love.

I think anyone who has loved someone to the point of being drained and crazy will have a weep fest watching the drama.  I can only imagine the heartbreak the writer of this drama had experienced in his life to capture the real emotion someone must go through when he is bargaining with love and when he is angry and missing the person at the same time.

If there’s one lesson Oh Hae Young and Park Do Kyung’s romance would leave their viewers is that how you don’t overthink when you intend to love someone all the way… how you say I love you because that’s what you felt at that moment… and how you embrace the love feeling because you believe it to be true.  

Another Oh Hae Young is not just your typical rom-com drama.  It takes pride on its keen perception of the difference between how a man and a woman take on distinct approaches on loving someone while weighing on their pre- conceived inhibitions that the relationship might not work.  It tackled playfully and seriously the kind of love someone can give after learning lessons from a heartbreak.

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Something About 1%

A magical stone that can grant you a wish to get the oppa of your dreams + sweet kisses = pure bliss

With its swift format following how web dramas usually are, it managed to fully explore the story with each closing chapter, and that’s a feat hard to maintain given the limited minutes for online dramas.  The lead couple’s chemistry is spot on in delivering those knee-weakening scenarios courtesy of the dapper lead man and the sunny disposition of the heroine. It will make any girl squeal on her pillow as the drama generously displayed heart-fluttering scenes every chance they can get.  I swear you can feel how melting the kisses were by Jae In and it will literally emanate from the TV screen straight to your parted lips. For those who religiously follow Korean dramas we all know how the trend is for the lip locks — fish-like and boring, so be prepared for strings of whoa! and kyaaa on those extended smooching frames because Ha Suk Jin oppa knows how to feast on the romantic ride and will put you on a lovestruck-fangirl-trance and turn your eyeballs to hearts.  *kkk

This amazingly done rom-com darted cheesy and predictable.  Even now I still wonder how I got so addicted with everything so unadorned about it.  The premise of contract relationship has tendencies to overkill rom-com tropes if not executed with the right amount of love chemistry progression.  What made me got hooked in the story of Da Hyun and Jae in was how their romance happened like how it should be… by sharing conversations, bickering and meaningful events.  They were on a clear agreement that strings will not be attached only to succumb to the emotion that sprung because they willingly involved time to spend with one another.  They were intending not to cross the wall they set initially, only to be struck on the reality of how binding shared memories can be in a relationship.

Something About One Percent was brilliant in creating simple situations for the main leads and turning it to cohering pieces that has fulfilled a stunning love narrative.  The vibrancy of the heroine’s character complements the temperament of the lead man leading to a charming yin-yang romance.   It was refreshing to feel a romance drama that is not fortified with misplaced conflicts and negative vibes.  It may not be that polished or creatively conceived with twist and turns and top actors that can make such a romantic drama spree amazing.  But it is with its heartfelt and pure storytelling that made me pick it as one of my favorites for 2016.  There was no special frosting and extraordinary premise Jae In and Da Hyun went through to arrive in that moment when they realized they love each other.  They were just there letting love happen through their shared memories.  The simplicity of the romantic narrative won me over.  It made me reminisce those unadulterated girl crushes I had when I was younger.  “Something About One Percent” engrossed me because the love built up came in so natural and sweet.  Something that pierced those old love memories I had when they were not yet nightmares.  *chuckles

Focusing on the sparks and connection was what was so efficient in this love chronicle.  The conflict thrived to whether the love couple will disregard their feelings toward each other after the relationship contract or surrender to each other, make the relationship real and face together the varying world they have armed with their steadfast love. 

A beautiful love story sometimes does not need to be elaborated.  It can be as simple as it can get if we can feel the heartfelt love flowing.  Love does not ever happen in an instant.  You’d be lucky if you recognize it happening in the moment.  It is when we are not beside the person that we realize we are in love, and holding them in our arms is when we want to love them even more.

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Signal

a vikings theme park ride + a hard to crack mystery game = an addictive adrenalin rush

Dear JJ Abrams, this is your fault.  While “Signal” hit an impressive run with its linear storytelling in different timelines, it did not give me jaw dropping moments and rave spree months after it ended.  Sure, it was good while I was watching it, but it was not something new that I have seen.  If my preconceived knowledge on the genre though will be stripped, I would probably have liked it a lot. 

Halfway through the drama, I liked what I saw even if I saw it already.  The only peculiar thing in the drama was the use of the haunted radio that linked the main police officers from the past and present.  But I have religiously watched Criminal Minds, Dexter, The Mentalist and the rest of police procedural Hollywood TV series so there’s nothing surprising that I saw with the criminal files they tackled.   It was more of me waiting if the writer will niftily tie the loose end and connect the relevance of the supernatural twist to complete the story. 

When the story conflict was resolved, I didn’t like the open-ended closure.  I followed the thrill and analyze the situations like I was also a police officer, and then I was given something to ponder on in the dying minutes of the drama.  I was like what was that?  You already baked a satisfying conclusion, why cool it down and put it in a fridge?    But for the record, that’s my only concern about “Signal”.  Over all it was excitingly projected.  The runs on how they made the cases simultaneously being solved from different timelines were easy to follow and the main actors exhibited great chemistry.

If you are up for quick fix of cop drama with a supernatural serving, plan your next binge-watching activity and set it to the radio frequency of Signal.

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Legend of the Blue Sea

the little mermaid + Jack Dawson = epic love that defies fate 

A lot of expectations were already thrown at this drama even before it was airing due to A-list actors and top writer/director headlining the production.  I say it did exceptional in maintaining the fantasy, romance and comedy as it progressed along the story.  His hero projection to his lead girl in a refreshing and a quirky run I thought he won’t be able to pull off.  I was so fond of Jun Ji Hyun’s inventive approach to suit up her role in a fun, lingering kind of way.

The fusion of reincarnation plot and the mermaid-human romance appeared trite on its onset, but as the plot thickened, it felt like the mythical element was stronger as the driving point than the real-life premise projected in the story.  Another thing that was nicely done by the writer was how the melancholia of the past timeline seemed to complement the quirky flow of the present timeline.  Legend of the Blue Sea made me smile a lot and warmed my heart as I cheered on the impossible fulfilment of Cheong and Joon Jae’s reincarnated romance.  It effortlessly kept me piqued on how the plot will unfold and did not give me a slight annoyance because it came well prepared on its weekly spectacle and knows when to trigger the adorable points and cast the entrancing spell for me to stay invested on its future. 

The consistency of the plot while using alternate timelines of the past and the present would have gone ambiguous.  But the writer strategically switched the focal character point from the heroine on its preliminary episodes, then maneuvered to the hero halfway through the story, and converged them in equilibrium as we hit the waning events and push through the conflict resolution.  “Legend of the Blue Sea” suceeds in a lively pace of intelligent storytelling with smart characters you will not hate as they don’t play dumb at hindrances thrown at them. 

Having time-transcending and supernatural love defying themes appeared to be ambitious and risky due to its tendencies of not being able to expound on the development of the characters moving in the story.   But the base fairytale approach that seems to be familiar to anyone is most likely the key ingredient to its engaging ride. 

I was impressed on how the story stayed focus while fusing the two timelines by not over-using the technicalities and details, but by enhancing the emotional connection of the main leads.

I only have the best things to say about this drama given that it was steadily amazing on its ride.  Each episode was a satisfying watch that propelled me to look forward on how the story will unfold.  

Legend of the Blue Sea was strong on the candied-heart-fluttering moments of Joon Jae and Cheong, but even stronger on relaying the couple’s sweet and yet agonizing journey to endure the love they have in the present in the pretext of a human-mermaid romance impossibility.  It neatly executed the narrative by using simple rules considering its metaphysical premise.  It modernized the reincarnation plot, by playing the resident drama fix of how love overcomes anything and beyond everything. 

 

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Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim

doses of magical medicines + hot doctors with surging cranky attitudes = finally a medical kdrama worth watching

The high ratings Romantic Doctor achieved justified the impeccable performances the cast gave to the first medical drama I ever liked.  The doctors of Doldam hospital feasted on showing off the dynamic interaction hence turning the surgeries worth watching.

Blending well the character growth while sticking on the medical world premise was successfully achieved thanks to how the actors brought out their characters’ resonance.  The character-driven story left me wondering on why I suddenly became a cult follower when the base narrative is bare and typical.  It could be that I miss House and Meredith and McDreamy, but there’s something engaging in “Romantic Doctor” that is so addictive and yet unrealized up to the very last minute.

 

Goblin

a rich immortal boyfriend + a Haruki Murakami romcom novel (if that is even possible to make) = a supernatural love story that all girls dream about

I can only imagine the amount of money Goblin’s writer will rake this year after successfully creating two hit dramas in a year.  I am actually imagining Grim Reaper handing me down a number for the queue to her cult following.  I like everything about Goblin even the minor flaws.  The yarning of Korean folklore and supernatural premise fell so perfectly placed in the modern setting.  The chimeric world it created became a haven for kdramaaddicts who enjoyed an amazingly sweet drive of blind curves while cheering on the interconnected lives and fate of the main cast from the  past and present.

The bromance, the love pairings, the heart-wrenching central conflicts and the impeccable writing are some of the reasons why I think this is probably one of the best dramas in the last 10 years.  “Goblin” exhausts its potentials to a movie like scale and claimed a victorious conclusion in the most consistent and wistful way.  While being strong on the light scenes, it did not lose focus on the emotional moments.

“Goblin” deserves the hype and the ratings because of the amount of hardwork, the production team and the actors committed in perfecting the story. 
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THE SURPRISES

 

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

your dream college boyfriend + your swag adorkable young love = you will thank me later after watching it

I was initially adamant to watch this youth drama because there were a lot of dramas on my plate already.  But one weekend when I was done with my pending reviews and watch list, I gave it a chance and before I realized it, I was giggling and crazily laughing uncaring if the entire village will wake up due to my kdrama late night frenzy.  *swaaag

I was all smile and teary-eyed remembering my youth days as portrayed by Bok Joo and Joon Young in Weightlifting Fairy.  The hours spent watching this couple fell in love was like a comfort food and bubble wrap combined. I am picking “Weightlifting Fairy” is one of the best kdramas of 2016 for being such a genuine coming of age story that beautifully captured the joy and pain and everything in between of being young… of building dreams and of falling in love for the first time. Jung Joon Hyung is now our prototype of a best college boyfriend ever as Bok Joo will reminds us always of how as a woman we will go through phases living all the kinds of girl we could ever be.  

Weightlifting Fairy felt like the virtual child of My Lovely Sam Soon and Reply 1997 dramas with its engrossing charm to withstand the heavy ratings block competition while it was airing.  

This youth drama will put you on a spell and you won’t realize it until you find yourself doing reruns of it prior to your sleep just like what it did to me.  I promise you a sweet throwback experience that you will have a hard time to compose a hashtag comment on.  

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W:  Two Worlds

Pretty Woman + The Triwizard Tournament = meeting the man of your dreams and his beautiful wife

I struggled in a long lull trying to come up with my thoughts about W: Two Worlds as it gave me a mixture of an electrifying writing but then it failed to close the story with a befitting ending.  Sprinting in a mind-blowing setting and pushing me to the extent of an imaginary world where everything is possible to happen, I had a lot of jaw-dropping and head splitting moments following Kang Chul and his adventures in discovering the world inside the world he lived in.  This drama has endless possibilities and was so strong in mocking predictable outcomes that the viewers pondered about.

Kang Chul and her swoon worthy adorably sweet moments with Oh Yeon Joo made me almost kill my non-living pillow out of the butterflies in my tummy that must have been wanting to see Kang Chul too.  Just like Yeon Joo I know most of the girls like me passed that stage where we put in writing our ideal man, and that’s why maybe “W” is hitting home very well in me because it tapped on my young woman fantasies so I can relate well to Yeon Joo.  I was like “aigoo!  Kang chul!  be still my heart!” on the heart fluttering episode 7 that I forgave MBC right away with Episode 8 preemption.  I didn’t notice Lee Jun Seok before but his Kang Chul portrayal suiting up a dapper handsome face, teasing smirks and mouth gaping smiles encumbered the rational woman inside me, making me consider the possibility of being with my dream man if I draw him too, even when I can only write.  *giggles

After crossing the half of this sweetly addictive drama journey, I have fears on how all the dots will be connected as we winded down to the story.  From the bottom of my heart I rooted for the love couple’s ever after.  Even though from the onset realistically speaking it doesn’t seem viable.  But since we are defying rules in two alternating worlds, I took everything bargaining on the possibility that the closing episodes will be seamlessly done basing on the already established scenarios.  So, when Kang Chul and Yeon Joo went to a more complex conflict in trying to defeat the villain who has outwitted his creator and has forced the love couple to part ways for them to survive, the reset Kang Chul pictured to be the resolution in protecting his lady love ended up to be an additional pile of side problems they had to overcome which in turn frustrated me.  By the time they successfully nailed their happy ending, I was so exhausted with the writer on why he had to do that long route and diminish the fan service scenes he could have extended to compensate on how he twisted his plot and teased the followers in catching where he intends to go.  Did I like the ending?  It was fair and satisfying but the movement of the story from its strong onset felt like the waning episodes hit a roadblock and the main leads were stripped of their initial brilliance and were thrown at a UFC fight night where they had to survive.  *chuckles

Less the staggering twists and turns that were ever present in the narrative, I still like how “W: TwoWorlds” was so ambitious on how it vividly displayed and chronicled a love story that defied alternate universe.  It maneuvered to constant deviation and possibilities having the premise of “everything is possible to happen if they can draw it”.  I love smart characters playing in the story so I must give it to Yeon Joo on how she perceives efficiently in moments when Kang Chul is hindered by the limitations of his heroic role which was dependent on his fictional character.  All throughout its showing, I was immersed on the extent of chimeric world the story would thread to, even when it hit a frustrating circle, but then it bounced back to a neatly delineated denouement although I would have wanted another hour of extension.  

There is no doubt on how exemplary “Two Worlds” accelerated to its proxy-universe-deriding setting.  It gave a surreal drama experience and yet the romance development for the main leads was pragmatic and memorable.  If you have not caught up on Kang Chul and W yet, don’t wait for next year to happen, and be prepared for a mixed emotion spin as you frolic on this enslaving kdrama spectacle. 

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Task Force 38

Neal Caffrey + Oceans 11 cast = new world heroes against corruption

With the amount of romance dramas brandishing in KDramaLand 2016, a story maneuvered by a con-artist and his snappy team helping an employee of the city’s Taxation office in retrieving unpaid revenues from greedy rich people surprisingly caught and glued my attention due to how exciting it propelled a simple premise with its gripping manipulation of the cheats they pulled to complete their missions.
There was a time when I went gaga over Neal Caffrey in White Collar so I think that’s why I was committed in watching Jung Do and his team plus Seo In Gook is a feast even without topless scenes on this drama.  I love the snappy editing.  All those small cons they created to push the final trick to tame down the villains were visually achieved while narrating it clearly.  There were not moments of indecisiveness on where the story is flowing.  From its kick off, “Task Force 38” was strict with presenting what they will do and how they will resolve the conflict.  Adding a well-blended team that explained to me well through their conversations about the new world I was introduced to about the politics manipulated by the tax evaders.  On paper and when you get the picture on the premiere episodes, it looked something that will require patience or Seo In Gook devotion to finish but the exciting vibe set each week made me crave waiting on how the reversals will be accomplished.

The story was on spot on establishing the war between the villains and heroes.   While it builds the conflict from the greedy intentions of the fiends, the showdowns were always fought through strategy and wits.  The writing skillfully incorporated the character sketches and their roles in fulfilling the goodness over wickedness lesson given in the story. 

Task Force 38 is straight to the point with the premise, the conflict, and how the people moving in the story resolved and closed it.  It helped that even with the serious topic, the protagonists were drawn as suave Robinhood and upright citizen who only wanted to make sure that no one is above the law in paying taxes.  True it made use of an illegal approach to defeat the baddies by brewing schemes to make them forcefully pay what they owe which is still technically bad, but it fairly explained the limited options in stopping corruption when the people responsible for it are puppets of organized crime group.  Life have inconvenient realities that can’t be dealt with by justice.  So, if you get to the resolution even if the means defy law if there is no life threatened, then just settle with it.

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Age of Youth

Dawson’s creek + American Pie = a trip to your 20’s self

Just like the Belle Epoque girls, I too have a lot of regrets and dreams when I was in my 20’s.  Coming from a disappointing drama stalking from summer dramas that turned stale halfway their runs, picking up Age of Youth was merely decided by the number of episodes it will sprint. Thank heavens that I got more than I expected from it.

“Age of Youth” is a retrospective youth drama about women in their 20’s. The five ladies promenaded their love inhibitions, self-esteem issues, school worries, what happens after school disappointments and all the rest of typical predicaments, 20’s women usually worry about.  Tailored to show the common faces of women, this honest drama has a melancholic resonance as it progressed to strengthening the bond of the 5 women living together in a dormitory who all have baggage from their past that haunt them in their present lives.

These sassy girls and their friendship made me spiral down to the recesses of my memory 10 years ago onwards… Those are the years when I also had part time jobs to support my studies and had broken up with a long-time boyfriend. After permanently joining the society’s work force I lived like a normal 20-ish woman but not the bar hopping, wine/beer drinking kind of life because of the remnants of the values I had from the religion I was raised. I was more of a bookworm-couch-potato kind of girl. Ouch, yes I spent most of my 20’s like that trying to piece myself up after a painful broken heart.

So, this drama hit home in me. The friendship, the life uncertainties, the magical feeling of being in love, and the regret on the wrong choices echoed clearly on the situations narrated by the characters in commanding vibrancy that made me smile on how everyone of us has different stories, pain and bliss from when we are younger, and when you fast forward to the present, you will be proud of yourself in surviving those life and love complications.  How the story put together the strong connection of characters through their growing respect, love and friendship to one another was sketched beautifully in a way that I thought of those moments that led me to my very own circle of lady friends. It was drawn in logical detail solidified by the attachment of situations that made use of the girls’ sincere understanding of each other’s vulnerabilities.

Jin Myung, Yi Na, Ji Won, Na Eun and Eun Jae are fictional reminders that we will get to have different kinds of friendship in our life, most of it will be dependent on time. So, it is very important to keep friends who shared you a lot of memories because as time changes, you can never go back to it, but if you cherished the memories, it will always put a smile on your face no matter how much time passed by.

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THE STEADY PLAYERS

 

Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds

cherry blossoms + paragliding = the first love you keep dearly in your heart

Like most of the girls these days, I willingly plunge to “bogum virus”, hence I was ready to invest in “Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds” regardless if it will break me or not.  I was rewarded with an impressive picture of a young prince who defied the political struggles surrounding the power he is destined to have while chasing his one true love.  Eventhough Lee Young and Hong Ra On will not be hitting the pinnacle of my best dramas this year, the full drama package was commendable due to its poignant sketching of the main characters and the writer’s impeccable timing to pin me on my spot and not sway away from following the story in those moments when I almost did.  Drawn on a historical premise, “Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds” is a sweet drama treat brimming with giddy-ish scenes that will make you reminisce that once special love when you were young.

It’s hard to keep the balance of romance and conflict on period dramas.  There will always be a moment when the plot will drag so proper blending and stirring is pertinent to avoid a stasis.  That being said, there were some languid events in the story when Prince Young was battling with the government officers as he took a long route to overcome the surge of the villains.  It was good that they started on a strong note and added some comic hints to establish the love story of the Crown Prince and a young woman who disguised herself as a eunuch.  It was like a big net was cast to the viewers, holding us still, that even when the narrative hit the agonizing break up and frustrating powerlessness of the hero, we remained optimistic that he will conquer it all and prove that love can happen if you earnestly work on it.

“Moonlight drawn by the clouds” began a spirited and addictive stride, struggled a bit while substantiating the story conflict and characters’ driving forces, and ended safe and steady.  The closing episodes though cracking the main problem and giving out a happy ending to the main characters I felt would have yielded a more well-explained conclusion if they pushed for another two episodes.  It looked like the fragments of the resolution were forcedly laid to prove a feasible happy ending coming from a strenuous attack of the antagonists who made the most out of their evil ways in challenging the hero of the story.  And for this reason, much as I want to hail the brilliant facets of the drama and to overlook the imperfections out of my one-sided-bogum-noona-romance, I should be fair that it was a good drama, but it shared some weak points from the story writing.

“Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds” is an engrossing period tv production starter if you are a new kdrama addict recruit.  The mixture of youthful romantic vibe and the seriousness of historical plot will encourage you that this kind of genre is not boring as it seems.  All those strong moments and a little of those dragging villain runs, this heartwarming love tale will tap on those youthful romantic memories that we kept in her heart.  Those days when our love views were not yet corrupted and just free flowing.  Not cheesy and heart-fluttering nonetheless, Prince Young and his first love will take you to an amazing ride with their binding commitment in not giving up on love.  

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Five Children

Family outing + seafood feast = your dream family getaway

Second serving of love has never been this lively until these adorable families connected through marriages and made their family even bigger, wackier and happier.  “Five Children” was the first family weekend drama I finished and it was a feat I’m so proud of because it was 54 episodes.

“Five Children” presented lessons about filial love, parenting, friendship, failed relationship, romantic love, life uncertainties and personal worth.  It covered almost all the facets of the common struggles adults face in daily lives and in the long run.  I like how the dynamics of an extended family was pictured in the series.  It was messy, rowdy and crazy, but at the end of the day, the people interacted, listened and accepted decisions that are beyond their control and that they should not worry about. 

In its entirety, “Five Children” presented a glimpse of an everyday Korean family life with beautified love milieus.  It taught me a thing or two about the generation gaps when joining a new family.  The story was clear with its most important lesson on how communication plays a vital role in empathizing and understanding the situation you have with someone in any kind of relationship.  It left a positive encouragement to pursue romance regardless of how many times you might have failed in the past and how much pain you might go through until you finally get it.

It might overwhelm your drama addiction spare time so pace yourself if in case you would want to enter Mi Jung and Sang Tae’s family.  For its feel-good approach and fetching family and love memories framed each episode, I am happy to sprint my way to see all the characters smiling through the happy endings they achieved.

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Flower in Prison

Joan of arc + Voldemort reign = good intentions yield positive results

Bracing myself with a lengthy period drama run, what hooked my loyalty to weekender “Flower in Prison” was its balanced execution of political struggle, neat narrative, infuriating villains and optimistic underdogs.  I journeyed with the heroine Ok Nyeo in exploring the situation of state prison, merchant organization as well as the early days of defending crime convicted victims who can’t fend for themselves circa Joseon era.

It helped that the fiends were established since Day 1 and there were no alterations thereafter.  It was an amusing video book read, I was totally immersed to following the lead girl in search of her birth secret and ultimately being instrumental in serving justice to the antagonists that have put her in a lot of rough situations.

Flower in Prison was not an easy watch especially if you mostly lean on trendy dramas.  There are a lot to absorb in a long sitting but there will be so much to learn.  It has resonating characters and encouraging plot that magically locked me on a weekend alarm to check how Ok Nyeo and the rest of the guys were doing.  I like that for a period drama, the main cast propelling the scenarios of the story did not reach a hundred in numbers and that the concentration of the wickedness was centered to the married couple only.

 It gets so draining when punches are thrown from every direction so I felt that it was in a fair equilibrium.  There was a moment that I want to rage war with Ok Nyeo for delaying her birth secret revelation and accepting all the stomping they received from the villain, but the charm of period dramas has always been the battles played by the heroes and villains in outsmarting each other.  As romance was not a major element on the series, the vengeance plot took a lot of swinging and swaying and painstaking binge before the goodness banner finally prevailed.

With its perfect blend of political intrigue, side plots of espionage and state prison situation, memorable characters and engrossing storyline.  I picked “The Flower in Prison” as my period drama this year because while it was fundamental in its approach in combining the political background to the characters’ impetus drive in creating their own moments, it was easy to digest without losing a polished vibe and a classic video storybook.  It kept the excitement and historical lesson of the plot at a level where you craved for more and notched a satiating closure befitting of its humble opening and unwavering chronicle.

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Remember: Son’s War

filial love + painstaking hero journey = a decent melodrama worth your tears

Remember:  War of the Son came strong to my attention once it hit the TV waves.  It was heading in a thrilling direction where revenge is the premise and where the characters can’t trust one another.  The story was backed up with superb character portrayals out shadowing some of the lengthening kicks I did not see in “Punch”.  Yeah I believe “Punch” will now be my yardstick for kdramas in this kind of tone.  Nevertheless the heartfelt please-save-my-father plot was more than  enough to spin the story of a son’s promise to uphold the truth and clear the name of his father who was victimized by an abusive powerful family.

I was actually praying for warranted kdrama miracle out of the hardships Jin Woo took, but they ended it on a sad note.  I  don’t know if they were implying that revenge at the end of the day does not matter, but I was hoping some magical or experimental treatment to save Jin Woo’s memory.  But at the end of it all it dawned on me that the story is really about a son’s  unconditional devotion to his father.  So throwing  a romantic ever-after twist really don’t fit in the journey of the lead character.  

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Jackpot

joseon gambling + persevering hero = a historical drama that would be easy to endure

Only when you have learned to appreciate Sageuk productions can you really claim that you are a certified kdrama addict because understanding the beauty of period dramas requires patience and total immersion to Korean history and culture.  So it is but a challenge and a path you have to go through in discovering the extent of your kdrama addiction.  *chuckles 
The longer the period drama the greater the struggle so it will be a blessing if it will be a mid length drama that can tackle the story without rushing it.  Unfortunately that was the case for me for Six Flying Dragons so I settled with Jackpot/Daebak as it didn’t tire me out with its 20 episodes.
Jackpot managed to nail the fundamental elements of a historical drama.  It has a thrilling plot with Joseon gambling scene on the side, birth secret and family issues, conspiracy woven conflicts and the strong showdowns of the villain and the hero. Though it may not be perfect, it presented a solid story that didn’t go astray but focused on the main characters’ discovery of the lessons they have to learn on their own journeys.  Jackpot opened to the brilliant rawness of the set design of the gambling scene of Joseon.  The antiquated but thriving in excitement ambiance of underground gambling houses more than 200 years ago put me on a hypnosis and before I knew it,  I was religiously watching a drama that didn’t thrive on the romance plot of the story to sail the story to its finish line.
Jackpot has all the required elements of a period drama but it focused more on the development of the character.  The story was not as shifting when it comes to the outwitting moves of the heroes and villains but it was steady to the protagonists’ goal to defeat the villain and vice versa.  When I looked back to what I recall most about it, I remember most the equally brilliant depiction of the main  cast.   I really enjoyed the gambling scene premise and any story  with master-padawan-ish story arc is sold for me.  I also like that the brothers chose patriotism over love.  lol  The ending scene put tears in my eyes while the OST airs because it made the picture even more poignant and satisfying.
Though it was not perfect, Jackpot delivered and its length didn’t drag me from dozing.  Kudos to Jang Geun Seok.   As always he can do well in romantic stories but even more in drama.  It started strong, sailed steady and closed without any rush and with finality.  If you like organic historical story,  you would appreciate its authentic drive to present the story without unwanted plot swerving and misplaced characters.

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THE FEEL GOOD DRAMAS

 

Shopping King Louis

Drunk merry hobbits + first time entering Diagon Alley = an easy go lucky day that won’t ever go wrong

If there’s one story in kdramaland this year that was brimming with optimism and happiness, that will be Louis and Boksil’s journey in living together a world they were not familiar with, trusting in their friendship and eventually realizing that fate brought them together for them to fall in love.

While every drama was busy with the ratings and solidifying a remarkable plot, “Shopping King Louis” sassily strutted like a big pile of positivity due to its endearing characters, heck even the villains were adorably bad in the story.  It’s that one drama that was made for sunny days and for people who just want to lounge and not worry about kdrama clichés and conflicts and just want to live each episode as light as possible and without worrying about so many things.

The sincere characters and the optimistic theme spread evenly all throughout captivated my emotionally drained self from the heavy plotted melodrama and period dramas this year.  “Shopping King Louis” was designed to become an elixir of positivity and sometimes we just need those dramas that will make us feel good.

Bok Sil and Louis complemented each other so well that I can’t help but cheer them on learning and living a new life thrown at them.  It made me so happy seeing a fictional couple unrestrained and yet so innocent in their life approaches.  The heart-warming romance that bloomed between them may not be steamy but indelible just the same.  In its entirety, the cast were all fetching in their roles to a point that even the villains will not even annoy you.  I was closed to thinking that hobbits oversaw the production while they were merrily drinking because depression was never hinted in its run.

With its zany warmth, although lacking in depth, “Shopping King Louis” will amuse you of the character centered plot that teaches friendship, trusting and love.  If you need a grin and laughter inducing drama treat, then settle your camping things and imbibed on the cheerful adventure of a shopaholic who found the meaning of life and love when he lost all his memories.

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Drinking Solo

Road trip to nowhere + solving a rubix cube for the first time = understanding why alcohol washes out life problems painlessly

What drew me to watching “Drinking Solo” was the simple storytelling, setting and character building.  It was a plain picture of the struggles of students taking lessons to pass the civil service exam and the battles of the instructors in surviving the present day adult life complications versus those idealistic dreams they had when they were young.  The love concerns inserted were additional bonus in amusing myself in watching the cast move on with their fictional life.  

Conversations and communication propelled the built up of the story.  It was more of the characters’ side stories connected to create one full thought without losing track of the individual narratives.  The love plot though at par pleasing would have been so great if it ended the love couple being together than the shown hint that they were probably heading that way.

My favorite part of the show to be honest was the scene stealing spree by the instructor who did all those impersonations.  *chuckles Yeah, there goes the extent of my minimal adoration to slapstick comedy.  But all those tricks he pulled made me laugh hard.  It was an enjoyable run to watch every one of them moved within the Noryangjin world.  The casual vibe was comfortable and that’s why even with its bare setting, I endured witnessing how all the cast members conquered their struggles and dreams.

A light and chirpy watch if you have patience with talk-induced drama.  The hook was cast halfway for me.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the simplicity, easy conflicts and the humor that was nailed nicely by presenting how single people deal with the lack of love, dreams and life.  

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Beautiful Gong Shim

neighborhood lawyer oppa + dorky woman with self esteem issues = a surprisingly sweet and lingering lovestory

 A typical neighborhood love that bloomed from pure trust and understanding between unexpected friends and their journey to acknowledge that they were built so perfectly for each other because it is their destiny to fall in love eventually. Crossing the line between friends and romance requires a courageous stance that you know what you are doing and you are prepared to take a leap of faith. Love is not romance until it is reciprocated. The impeccable sassy and cheesy chemistry of Dan Tae and Gong Shim has had me on laughing fits most of the time.  Their comic characters were drawn so well and so compatible to each other that they compensated to the predictable plot of the series.  KDramas are known for the weird-looking kisses but the delightful love couple made sure to redefine the awkward kiss scenes and made me giggle a lot with the enchanting build up of their love story.

I mentioned how “Beautiful Gong Shim” played on trite scenarios but even if it did, it didn’t wear me out because the cast especially the main love couple were so endearing to watch in their comic takes and cutesy moments. It was the kind of love story that I rooted for because the romance built up so genuinely from friendship and dismissed the usual uncalled for love complications present in traditional kdrama romcoms. Gong Shim and Dan Tae left me feeling good after closing the book of their story and in the near future if I looked back on their story, at least there will be something for me to remember because of the refreshing take of the narrative.

There’s nothing fancy in the drama, it followed the basic ingredients of a romcom but leaned on the main leads’ personal struggles while discovering their romance. The quirky vibe of the love couple on their romantic moments were the generator of zest and appeal from the onset till the finale episodes. I was used to seeing Nam Goong Min in his evil roles so his laid back approach here mixed with Gong Shim’s free spirited portrayal compensated to the threadbare setting. Sure, the conflict dragged up until the closing episodes but it did not annoy me much because the series refused to dig on so much negativity. True that the last minute break up plot was not needed but as usual the charming heroine threw her grudges and trust the man he loved right away after learning the reason why he never contacted her. They always talk to each other in quirky and honest kind of way all the time. Their dorky love just make me overlook the technical points and just happily engage on the bright side they always offer.

“Beautiful Gong Shim” had this unique sense of drawing you and before you realize it, you look forward to the story. It might not be smartly written with out of this world plot or sweetly created with perfect romantic premise, but it was a moving story with engaging characters that worked harmoniously to present a pure, relatable and charming story telling.

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One More Happy Ending

damsel in ex-distress + single dad trying to forget his deceased wife = finding love at the right time

Cooked and prepared like your average rom-com, One More Happy Ending was a delightful watch.  I would like also to applaud the strong side stories of the supporting characters which were equally vibrant as the main love story.  The plot delved on the varying emotions of women struggling to keep up with love and relationship.  The marriage camp and relationship board sticker ideas were also some of the cutesies I will remember about this refreshing romcom.  This most likely will appeal to singles in 30’s who have failed their marriage once… who are finding the love lost along the way in their current marriage… who are unsure of finally settling down and who have been waiting for the right person to come along.

Love perspectives change as you age and as you learn from your past mistakes.  What I learned about this drama is to never give up on love and romance and to understand its importance in sustaining a relationship.  Love will take different forms in a relationship as time goes on.  It will kick off to adoration, go steady through memories and romance, move to years of comfortability and will stand firm to loyalty…  and it is important that in  those changing moments you are by your lover’s side.

Nicely blended, safely done and just pure encouraging love and dating narrative.  One More Happy Ending was as bright as spring and feel good as summer… perfect to add on your rom-com binge list.

 

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THE PRETTIES IN THEIR OWN DAMAGE WAYS

 

Moonlovers:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Jack Dawson + Juliet + World War 2 = meeting your dream boy who fell in love with the wrong girl

Sprawling to a grand setting and power house cast, I did expect a lot on “Moonlovers:  Scarlet Heart Ryeo”.  I sure have issues on the languid built up of the story in the beginning episodes, but I came to realize the staid plot yarning was necessary to cushion the heaviness of the tormenting conflict faced by the lead couple heading to the culmination of their romance and eventual break-up.   Albeit the tormenting emotional strain I got with Scarlet Heart Ryeo, it will belong on my favorites for this year because I love that it became even more believable and fervent due to the plot’s instability and the main characters’ indecisiveness.  It was a situation that might have killed the drama, but because the essential character motivations were clearly drawn, as a viewer I enjoyed that feeble and vulnerable facet of the production.

I was not expecting a happy ending given that most of the characters were killed.   It was still Hae Su and 4th Prince So’s love journey for me.  The sweets, the tears and the angst… all of it.  I took So’s last word as an open-ended closure on his acceptance of losing his one great love and longing to find her in the future.  I witnessed how they defied the shrewd political struggle in the royal family to get to a point where they can freely love each other and share memories together.  So, I’m good that I know they love each other and they know it very well too.

Just as life is short, love is also fleeting.   The all-important love lesson #ScarletHeartRyeo taught us is how loving someone does not stop when we gave up on the person because the love does not belong anymore in the future.  It is a sweet reminder on keeping as much happy memories as you can to keep you going in moments when you yearn to be with them in the future, but they can’t stay by your side anymore.

 If truth be told, I was not expecting something cohering anymore because I was so scared the writer will kill all the characters at the last minute.  *chuckles Did the closing chapter satisfy me?  Though I did not get the happy ending, I was okay with it.  I know that it was bound to be a sad ending so I was prepared for what will happen.  I was okay that they did not push to a scene where Hae Su of the present meets So while he passes by the cosmetic store where Su was working to ask for a BB cream.  *lol So I was relieved.  Though Scarlet has a lot of flaws, I was fond of it because the love story was pragmatic in tapping on melancholic memories where viewers can relate to especially if they have once loved crazily like the kind of love they paraded in the drama.   I take Scarlet Heart Ryeo with all my heart because I believe that a happy ending does not measure how great a love can be.

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Fantastic

Love apprehensions + to hell with everything = the blind faith we put on true love

Even with the dying premise, I have grown to love “Fantastic” because of the dexterous cast and how they blend together supporting each other’s friendship and stories.  Fantastic is an optimistic story that not only encourages through its love theme, but also with how the main characters could leave cool life lessons as they tackled the roles they played in the narrative.

There was a point when I stopped watching the drama when the cancer plot was too much to handle for me, but it drew me again because I want to believe that it will still end on a positive note and not an open-ended closing.  That I think was a great move as the story was rendered in simple sketching but has taken pride on how immersing the actors were in playing their roles.

Hae Sung and So Hye’s love story though challenged by the cancer problem concluded in a not traumatic ending.  I was scared that it may follow the sad wrap up trend of the romance dramas this year so I was happy that they settled for a happy ending for all of them. “Fantastic” incorporated some agonizing notes.  Hence, it can go to a consistent direction that would be complementing the story well, but choosing to go to a sunny closure was also befitting to its story given how vibrant the characters were.

What I like about the stream of Romantic Dramas for this year is that it avoided the weep fest routine.  They were crisp and daintily designed to balance the problem and the resolution of the story.  The friendship side story and the noona romance from the supporting cast make “Fantastic” an engaging watch.  It has an appealing cast chemistry and the sad cancer conflict is cushioned by the no-frill-just-heartfelt delivery of the scenes.  It is a complete package with the right amount of kdrama clichés, engrossing love couple, wacky supporting characters, annoying villains and unswerving storyline.

“Fantastic” gave a nonchalant committal with me, nonetheless I could finish it because it did not give me a hard time in understanding the cast and their stories as well as the minimal discrepancies of the plot along the way.  The feisty heroine, the comedic timing and the binding friendship circle were the reasons why I remained loyal with them.  Although plain and leaning on the cancer cliché, I was drawn to the lucid role-playing of the main cast as they went along with their struggles.  “Fantastic” did not surge to such outstanding impact, but at the very least I get to remember what it was about a week after watching it and even now because it was an easy watch and yet lingering.  If you fancy a sane and steady romcom then buckle your seatbelt for a fantastic ride.

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Jealousy Incarnate

bromance + woman who loves falling in love = perky love triangle that will make you smile

Sure, there were a lot going on in “Jealousy Incarnate” that sometimes the sporadic mini plots did not equate well to its overall make, but the eager and vibrant cast made up to that missing push the story failed to achieve.  Honestly the safe ever-after ending failed to complement those strong moments of the lead cast along with the story conflict they had to face together hilariously and painfully.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy the sweet ride and the endearing couple who tackled the friendship defying love chase.

While I did not fully rave on “Jealousy Incarnate”, there were a few strong scenes that lingered in my mind after watching it.  That cute Hwa-Shin-Jung-Won bromance was so quirky, I can bottle it for my PMS days.  I love when rom-com dramas focus on the love story conflict, and what a way for “Jealousy” to present a love triangle that did not feed on angst or misplaced and incomprehensible obsession of second leads.  Instead it gave out a nice fight between the lead man and second lead who equally deserve the heroine.  I don’t know why the finishing kick delved to career drama because I already claimed my closure when Na Ri reverted to following Hwa Shin again, but the latter had to restrict himself out of respect to his best friend’s grieving heart.  I don’t know if I can label it as a bland extension or a last-minute attempt to add embellishment on this romantic cake, but