Friday, January 3, 2014

My Drama List of 2013

Dramas are quite different from K-pop because even though I know that I have probably missed a lot of music, I feel good about the amount of things that I have been able to listen to. Music videos are normally over in a matter of minutes and then you can listen to them on repeat afterwords in you like it enough. Dramas take a considerable more amount of time so there are only so many dramas that a person can watch, and it feels like you are playing a continuous game of catchup which you know you can never win at.

After that happy note, there are quite a few dramas that I heard were awesome that I didn't watch this year and hopefully in the future I will be able to watch them. There are also dramas that I have heard I shouldn't go near with a ten foot pole, unfortunately, I watched some of those ones.

So here are all the 2013 dramas that I watched this year from best to worst.

I Hear Your Voice

You know the feeling you get when you are presented with a puppy that just wants to love you? That is what this drama makes me feel, it gives me the warm fuzzies, that is until people start trying to kill each other and then the puppy isn't so cute anymore.

I seriously loved this drama and would totally watch it again and tell everyone I know to watch it as well. There was the giant question that was never answered: where did Soo Ha's powers come from and why did they appear and disappear? but aside from that, it was a very well written drama. I didn't even mind when they threw us the amnesia card because that gave us more opportunities for cute puppy moments and it actually moved the plot forward. The resolution of the amnesia was a little sudden, but I have definitely seen worse.

This is also the first thing that I have seen Lee Jong Suk in other than Secret Garden because I started watching School 2013 and then didn't finish because like got in the way. I know, I'm terrible. I'll finish it eventually.

The Master's Sun

Like I Hear Your Voice, this drama also had a few weird plot moments, but was otherwise amazing. I know that there are a lot of people in the drama community who have been watching dramas for years and have seen all the Hong Sister dramas and they are only content with this drama. I have only seen You're Beautiful and there are a few others that I want to watch as well, Big is not one of them, I've heard stories.

If the chemistry in I Hear Your Voice was cute and made you squeal with joy, this couple's sexual tension was almost tangible through the screen. Gong Hyo Jin and Seo Ji Sub acted off each other so well and you could tell that the actors liked each other too which made their relationship that much more believable.

The one main issue I have with this drama is that the ghost stories were sometimes boring. I really liked the episode with the ghost children but then others like the cheating husband were a little bland. Then there was the whole "sell your soul" to the creepy ghost marriage lady just to have it ended suddenly by Joong Won. I'm still scratching my head over that one. 
Dating Agency: Cyrano  

One of the main reasons that I started to watch this drama was because Jo Yoon Woo. I really liked his character in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop and I thought that it was funny that he was cast in another Flower Boy drama in a similar role. It did make me sad that his story ended in a similar way though. You'll get the girl someday. I also really liked Hong Jong Hyeon's character and he was one of the reasons that I decided to watch White Christmas. My friends and I all affectionately named him Roppa (robot/oppa) because that's what we do.

I really liked the story too and the theme that is brought forth about can a person be tricked into liking another person and what happens in the figure it out. I was always interested in the stories too I liked that they were their own stories, but they were also used to bring the main couple together. It was cute.

Now about that main couple. I wasn't really feeling it. I think that Lee Jong Hyuk was just too old for Sooyoung and when they kissed at the end, it didn't feel genuine and it made my skin crawl a little. I mean, he is 15 years older than her! I was rooting for Lee Chun Hee through most of the drama anyways. He still had 11 years on Sooyoung, but I felt that they had better chemistry and she seemed to like him more that Jong Hyuk at times.

Gu Family Book 

This drama was pretty good, but it wasn't amazing. I thought that it was going to focus more on Kang Shi's journey to become human and the battle with his dad and less about his love story with Yeo Wool. Not that I didn't like their story and their chemistry was fantastic but the drama did turn into a giant love story rather than a story about finding yourself.

One thing that I absolutely loved unconditionally though was Wol Ryung and Seo Hwa. That was beautiful and I might have cried a little. You know a drama has some good writers when you cry about some characters you see for a short time at the beginning and then for an equally short amount of time at the end.

But then there was that ending. What was that? Like, seriously. What the heck? Unless there is going to be a part two, there was no need for any of that. I just like to pretend that the last ten minutes didn't even happen.

Flower Boy Next Door 

To be perfectly honest, I don't remember a lot about this drama other than the fact that I did like it. It was cute and playful and didn't require too much brain power. I have really liked all of the "Flower Boy" dramas as well, the best, of course, being Shut Up! Flower Boy Band, wow was that good.

One thing that I do remember is that the second OTP was fantastic. They were so funny and such an odd couple you can't help but root for them to get together. I also had some serious second male lead love for Oh Jin Rok and his stupid pants that occasionally made him look like he was wearing a diaper.

I am also always down for a retold fairy tale, this one being "Rapunzel", kind of. It took that general idea and used it in it's storytelling. I also liked that this drama would be used as an example of a lot of people's lives. How many of us live in a neighborhood, whether house or apartment, but don't actually know our neighbors? Why do we coop ourselves up when there is so much out there to live for?

The ending did slow a lot compared to the zippy pace of the beginning and the ending was a lot like Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, but this drama has the most natural kiss scene that I have ever seen Park Shin Hye give, like ever. Good job Yoon Shi Yoon.

Who Are You?

And the award for worst use of an amazing actor goes to *drum roll* Kim Jae Wook's role as Lee Hyung Joon in Who Are You. Congratulations! Now go sit in the corner and think about what you did. Seriously, he was the best actor in this drama and he spent 90% of it staring longingly and looking mournful.

I would also like a rewrite of this drama that either involves Yang Shi On dying so she could be with Lee Hyung Joon or Hyung Joon pulling a Arang and becoming human so that the two of them could live happily ever after. I don't know what the writers were thinking in making Hyung Joon's character so likable and sad and showing us all those wonderful flashback of the couple before his death. Taec's character didn't stand a chance with me, maybe next time.

All that being said, I didn't love this drama. It wasn't bad, but if someone asked me which ghost drama to watch, I would direct people to The Master's Sun. The story line was a little weak and so was Shi On who supposedly was this honored graduate of her academy, but she was always taken down pretty easily. The ghosts also disappeared from the story and all the energy was focused on Hyung Joon. Not that I'm opposed to that, but it was suppose to be a ghost drama right?

The end was also a little weird. I understand why the writers made it the way that they did in a kind of open ending, "what will the future hold for them?" but I didn't totally buy it.  

Nail Salon Paris 

Thinking about this drama makes me want to weep anew. I'm trying hard to forget that it ever happened. It started out with a good idea, a girl dresses like a boy to get a job and then there is also a dash of fantasy with the gumiho element. I was excited for it to begin, and then I was excited for it to end.

This drama just tried to be too many things at once though and it was it's downfall. There was the easy nail salon, secret girl thing, but then there was also therapy sessions, birth secrets, magic, love triangles, and some near death experiences all within ten episodes. The only thing that kept me watching was that it was such a train wreck, I had to find out how it all ended and Song Jae Rim and to a lesser extent, Thunder.

I had only seen Song Jae Rim in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, where he sits in the background with his hair and cheekbones and The Moon that Embraces the Sun where he also flaunts his hair and cheekbones but he also gets to do a little acting. He was also the shinning light it a sea of bad acting. It's not even like it was this phenomenal performance, he just didn't suck.    

The only thing that this story did that brought me any joy though (SPOILERS) was that Song Jae Rim, our second male lead, got the girl in the end. It was kind of a backhanded victory with the whole "is he or isn't he" angle, but at least I got something for my pain.

Mi Rae's Choice

This drama had so much potential to be awesome, but unfortunately the writer got tangled in his own web which caused this dramas web to become unsalvageable.

This dramas one saving grace is that everyone got to see that Jung Yong Hwa's acting skills have vastly improved. Even though he has gotten better, his character was not a great character. But let's be honest, nobody's character was that great with the exception of Yoo Kyung. All the characters were so indecisive and annoying and because of that, the plot never really went anywhere.

Something else that left me scratching my head was, what was Mi-rae's choice? She never made one! Future Mi-rae goes back to the future and somehow receives the box that Present Mi-rae buried (which breaks the rules that they set up). Then Present Mi-rae never chooses a man! It is left annoyingly open! After all that time and all that set up, nothing happens! I think I need a drink.

Yes, Heirs is last. Why? Because I didn't even finish it, I read recaps for the last four episodes. I was bored to freaking tears and it became a waste of my time to watch it. I was sad about that too because the acting was good but I didn't like all the characters which also added to the boredom.

Everyone in this drama, especially our main trio, were always being acted upon instead of them making decisions on their own. This resulted in the same situations happening over and over because they didn't know what they wanted and even if they did, they rarely did anything to remedy their situation.

With all of that, there was a lot of wasted talent in this drama that was filled to bursting with some fantastic actors and actresses, namely Choi Jin Hyuk. Hopefully, in his next drama he can be given a roll where he actually does something.


As for what I am watching right now, Beautiful Man is going to finish up next week and I have been fully enjoying that. The way that the writers wrote Myo Mi out was sloppy, but whatever, I can deal with that. I am really sad that I will probably have my heart broken though because I am totally in love with David. I will go down with my ship!

I am also watching My Lover From the Stars which started recently and that it also fabulous. I will not be suffering from Second Male Lead love here because I totally love Kim Soo Hyun and the second male lead is a little desperate and annoying.

The last thing is Golden Rainbow which is a weekend drama and will have, by the end, a whopping 50 episodes. I will not give up on this one like I did on Cruel Palace though, and I would like to pick that up again. I like the family angle that is being played along with all the intrigue that is going on within the Golden Fisheries. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top and who comes out dead, because I feel like a few people might come out dead in the end. Hopefully it's not our main people.

Well, I had a bit of a mixed bag this year, but there were a lot of good dramas that came out and I know there are a lot more excellent dramas that I need to watch. Drama watching is seriously a never winning battle or catch up.

Here's to another great year!

~ Alora

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