Year In Review: 2017

You guys might remember that this time last year, I pinky-swore-resolved to make better use of my drama hours – and better use of time in general – in 2017. Now that 2017 has flown by in what feels like a flash, and it’s time to check in all over again, I’m happy to report that I think I did.. pretty ok, all things considered. 🙂

Some of you know that I went through a drama-cum-blogging slump somewhere in the middle of 2017, and ended up not only neglecting the blog in a big way (I’m really sorry you guys! I did read every single comment, even though I didn’t respond to any, during my slump), but not watching a whole lot of drama either, for about 2-3 months (gasp! The horror!).

When I was watching dramas, though, I paid a lot less attention to what dramas were trending at the moment, and a lot more attention to my mood, and how much I was enjoying the dramas on my screen – or not. This meant that I ended up dropping more dramas this year than I have in previous years – if I just wasn’t feeling a show, I’d be much quicker to drop it –  and, it also meant that I missed out on some good dramas because I just wasn’t in the right mood. On the upside, though, I found that I ended up feeling happier in general, with my 2017 drama-watching experience. That’s not a bad trade-off, right?

I can’t believe it’s already time to reflect on 2017 though..

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo OST – 데리러 갈게 (I’ll Pick You Up)

WAS 2017 A BAD DRAMA YEAR?

One of the refrains I’ve heard around the dramaverse lately, is that 2017 was a really meh drama year. At the same time, I’ve seen comments where people protested this sentiment, because there were so many good dramas that they ended up enjoying this year. And so I thought I’d start this year-in-review post by weighing in, just a little bit, on whether I think 2017 was a bad drama year after all.

The short answer is.. I don’t think it was terrible, necessarily. But, I can see why people might find it a frustrating drama year.

From my observation, it appears that Dramaland is exploding with new dramas more than ever before, as more and more players get into the game to try and vie for ratings, profits, and viewers’ limited drama hours. Out of these drama players, it seems to me that many of them are more focused on the commercial side of things, than on the creative side of things. A well-told story doesn’t often seem to be the priority, and many dramas end up feeling like hastily patched together collections of drama tropes and storytelling shorthand. As a result, I feel like there are a lot more mediocre dramas that you have to sift through, to find the ones that are worth your time.

Getting your hopes up over a drama, and then diving in and waiting for it to get good, as your drama hours are frittered away, and then feeling disappointed when Show doesn’t actually get good, can be a frustrating experience. Having that happen over and over again, as you sift through a whole lot of mediocre dramas, can be downright aggravating.

I think that’s one of the reasons lots of drama fans have been frustrated with 2017 as a drama year. Of course, there are other factors at play as well; our personal tastes and moods, our personal drama-watching history, the challenges we are facing in our Real Lives all come into play as well.

Personally, I can’t say that I’ve had a bad drama year, because – drama slump and all – I managed to find a solid handful of dramas that I truly loved. In fact, there are more dramas in this category this year, than in my last year-in-review collection. And, a whole bunch of others that I found solid, worthy watches as well. Not bad at all, I hafta say.

In this post, as in my other year-in-review posts, I’m gonna break it all down for you guys, so that maybe you’ll end up finding a gem or two that you might’ve missed in 2017, and possibly also avoid a trainwreck or two that you might’ve otherwise invested time in. I’m basically gonna try and make your drama year better – y’know, coz I’m just helpful that way. 😉

THE ONES WORTH MAKING TIME FOR

If you’ve been around the blog for a bit, you’d probably have noticed that I’ve been exploring new drama waters of late. Besides Korean dramas, I’ve also been dipping my toes into dramas from China, Taiwan and Japan. It turns out that out of the Taiwanese and Japanese dramas I watched this year, none of them are actually from 2017. But, there are a number of Chinese dramas from 2017 that I wanted to share with you guys, and so, you’ll notice that I’ve split some sections into two, with a spotlight each, on dramas from Korea and China.

As before, I’m including dramas that started in 2016 but ended in 2017 in this post. It always makes more sense to me to credit a drama (or otherwise), after it’s finished its run.

This first section is where I’ve put my drama crack; these were the dramas that grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. These were the ones that I wanted to watch back-to-back episodes of, and the ones where I was sorry to get to the end and have to say goodbye to characters that I had come to love.

KOREA

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

So everyday and relatable, with lovable, earnest characters that feel like they could’ve been my best friends. Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk are great separately in this show, but they are truly wonderful together, with chemistry that shoots out of my screen and knocks me right over. As a bonus, we also get heartfelt friendships, characters with a passion for working hard to achieve their dreams, and a breezy, ear-wormy OST. I wanted this show to just go on, forever. <3

Grade: A+

Review: here.

Father Is Strange

Warm, toasty and heartfelt, this earned a spot among my all-time favorite family dramas. Mom and Dad share such an enduring, loving relationship, and their kids have their own lovelines, which are in turn amusing and poignant. Lee Joon and Jung So Min are especially adorable together, while Lee Yoo Ri steals just about every scene she’s in, by being one of the most awesome female characters I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know, in dramaland. I would watch this family for a hundred episodes.

Grade: A

Flash Review: here.

Lingerie Girls’ Generation

I freaking love this little show that popped out of nowhere and promptly stole my heart. I loved the nostalgic 1970s vibe, I loved the slightly awkward teenaged characters, and I loved being able to share in their journeys towards adulthood, maturity and true love, in the midst of an era that was sometimes dark and troubling. I loved, too, how the youthful energy and hope of our characters was never more than temporarily dampened, in spite of it all. Over and above everything else, I loved Dong Moon, played to adorkable perfection by Seo Young Joo. *hearts in eyes*

Grade: A-

Flash Review: here.

Because This Is My First Life

I didn’t love the way Show’s ending was handled, but for the most part, this show was truly a gem. The casting and acting is on-point, the direction is tender, the OST is lilting and evocative, and the writing is outstandingly thoughtful. Lee Min Ki and Jung So Min are fantastic in their roles, and they share a warm, believable chemistry that easily cranks up to sizzling when the occasion calls for it. I truly wish the ending had been written differently, but I won’t let that stop me from appreciating Show’s first 14 episodes, which made this show feel head-and-shoulders above its peers.

Grade: A-

Flash Review: here.

CHINA

Three Lives Three Worlds: Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms

With the exception of a touch of clunky CGI and some questionable timeline logic, this one was super easy to love. This is a love story so intense that it literally spans millennia, and because it’s brought to life by well-cast actors who make their roles pop, it’s just so easy to get completely sucked in. Mark Chao is uber melty as our story’s hero, Yang Mi makes a beautiful, strong heroine, and I swoon, flail, and then swoon again, at their palpably electric chemistry. SO MUCH CRACKY GOODNESS, Y’ALL. <3

Grade: A-

Flash Review: here.

A Love So Beautiful

This one feels like it might be inspired by the Itazura Na Kiss / Mischievous Kiss / Playful Kiss franchise, except I personally like this one better. Yes, it’s a story about a simple girl who likes a smart boy, but, importantly, Boy isn’t as mean as in the franchise, and Girl doesn’t build her life around him, unlike the franchise. Earnest performances by fresh-faced newish actors who feel like their characters, a happy Spring palette, an easy-breezy soundtrack, and a homey slice-of-life feel all come together to make this watch easy yet pretty cracky. So simple, cute and pleasant that I had to stop myself from gobbling this up all at once.

Grade: A-

Flash Review: here.

Fight My Way OST – 굿모닝 (Good Morning)

SOLID WATCHES I’D RECOMMEND

Age Of Youth 2

A solid continuation of the journey of our Belle Epoque girls. There are new characters in our drama world, cameos by old beloved characters, and even a complete actor-change – and therefore face change – for one of our girls. But, it still feels like the same world, mostly, and it’s quite a pleasure to follow them on their journeys through life, for just a little while longer. Some arcs got less attention than they deserved, while others got more attention than I thought they deserved, but all in all, this was a satisfying reunion with beloved characters.

Grade: B++

Review: here.

Fight My Way

A fun friends-to-lovers story that feels slice-of-life homey, but still manages to serve up generous helpings of giddy romance. I love the loyalty and friendship among our four main characters, but it’s Park Seo Joon and Kim Ji Won who steal the show as our OTP. Their bickering friendship is made all the more endearing and adorable by his he-man bumbling impulsive ways, and her feisty-yet-vulnerable-yet-passionate character. I couldn’t get enough of these two, for reals.

Grade: B++

Review: here.

Go Back Spouses

A show that’s not very elegant in its idea of humor or characterization, but which manages to pack a wallop of a heartfelt punch that other, more expensively-produced shows ought to be jealous of. Both Sohn Ho Joon and Jang Na Ra are great, but to me, it was Kim Mi Kyung’s wonderfully warm, poignant and moving performance as Mom who stole my heart – and the show. Jang Ki Yong as Jin Joo’s young smitten suitor made me squee as well. Totes recommend.

Grade: B++

Flash Review: here.

Suspicious Partner

A drama that manages to mix crime and romance quite successfully, for the most part. The supporting cast is solid, while Ji Chang Wook and Nam Ji Hyun are great as our main couple, and deliver an OTP connection that feels deep, organic and true. Dong Ha also delivers an stand-out performance that feels layered, faceted and empathetic; he literally lifts his character from interesting to fascinating, with his delivery. Show sags in its later episodes, but its satisfying ending helps make it worth the while.

Grade: B+

Review: here.

20th Century Boy And Girl

A lovely, angst-lite, charming little show that not only features Kim Ji Suk in his meltiest role to date, but also my favorite trio of girlfriends of dramaland in 2017. Yes, a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief is required around certain aspects of this drama world, but the warmth and loyalty – and generally healthy conversation! – that gets showcased among the friends and the lovers, made this a very enjoyable watch for me. Works super well as a drama nightcap, to put your mind and heart into a warm, cozy place, before you drift off to dreams which are hopefully just as sweet.

Grade: B

Flash Review: here.

The King Loves

The politics are on the clunky side, and Show doesn’t always successfully balance its focus on politics with its focus on its characters, but this one managed to suck me in and get under my skin anyway. Im Si Wan turns in an excellent performance as our titular king, while Hong Jong Hyun and Yoona both exceed my expectations with their performances. The relationships are solidly compelling, and our key characters share a good chemistry. The lovely costuming, beautiful color palette and melodious OST also come together to help bring this love story to life. For the record, this one lingered with me after I got to the end.

Grade: B

Review: here.

The Gentlemen of Wolgyesu Tailor Shop

A warm family drama that didn’t quite steal my heart, but which I found solidly engaging, nonetheless. Some characters were aggravating to watch in spots, but generally speaking, they all grew on me reasonably well by the time I got to the end. Not a bad drama nightcap, which is how I watched it.

Grade: B

OKAY, IF IT’S YOUR STYLE/YOU CAN SPARE THE TIME

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

I love-love-love Park Hyung Sik and Park Bo Young together; they are uber cute separately and together, and the experience of watching these two play lovebirds is like being immersed in unicorns and rainbows while hearts dance in my eyes. BUT. I seriously hate Show’s idea of humor; it’s lowbrow, insensitive to the max, and downright crass. When Show tries to be funny, I literally physically wince. So Many confused feelings about this show, seriously.

Grade: B

Review: here.

Seven First Kisses

A fun little parade of handsome, popular Oppas, who share the spotlight with the Main Star of the show, Lotte Duty Free. It’s a thinly disguised long CF for the store, but makes for a quick spot of drama fun nonetheless, with a new Oppa, new almost-kiss, and new kdrama theme or trope per episode. One of my favorites was the nod to makjangs in Taecyeon’s kimchi slap episode, but now I wish that Lee Jun Ki‘s episode had been sageuk-themed, so that he could’ve reprised his Moon Lovers role and swished around Lotte Duty Free in his mane of glory.

Grade: B

Flash Review: here.

The Liar And His Lover

A music-centric, youthy drama that tells a simplistic story, and requires a fair bit of suspension of disbelief, to enjoy. Lee Hyun Woo is a good actor in my books, but I found it hard to believe him as a music genius or as a romantic lead. Looking past that, though, Show puts a nice amount of focus on friendship, loyalty and dreams, which helps. The music is pleasant and the performances are earnest, which adds up to.. not bad?

Grade: B-

Flash Review: It’s coming!

The Best Hit

Show is laugh-out-loud funny in its early episodes with its fish-out-of-water time-travel hijinks, but loses the funny in its second half. I never bought into the OTP and didn’t think the OTP shared significant chemistry, but the recurring theme of found family warmed my heart sufficiently for me to want to finish this. Yoon Si Yoon is fantastic in this, as he always is.

Grade: B-

Flash Review: here.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon OST – 사랑에 빠진 걸까요 (Feat. 오브로젝트)

SHOWS THAT FEEL SOLIDLY GOOD, BUT WHICH I JUST.. DIDN’T FINISH

These shows ended up in this section, mostly because I was actively following my mood, and didn’t want to force myself to watch anything that I didn’t quite feel like watching. The fact that I didn’t finish these shows has no bearing on their quality whatsoever. Just wanted to put it out there. 😉

Defendant

I started this one because Ji Sung is amazing in just about anything, and he did not disappoint. I felt completely on board with Jung Woo’s rollercoaster of an emotional journey, and Uhm Ki Joon is suitably creepy in this, as Jung Woo’s tormentor. I even felt like Show consistently kept me on my toes, with each new piece of information revealed regularly shifting my understanding of the story’s context.

6 episodes in, this show felt like a solid A. I stopped watching because I found it just so hard to see Ji Sung suffering, so convincingly, every episode. *Heart. Break.*

Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People

I felt engaged with Rebel right away, it was so well-paced and interesting from the get-go. Plus, I loved Gil Dong’s parents, and felt acutely for the slaves, at the unfairness of the system.

Just 2 episodes in, this felt like a solid A. But, I drifted away from this one because I didn’t feel quite in the mood for a sageuk. That, and I really didn’t want Kim Sang Joong’s character to die.

Oh My Geum Bi

I’d heard that this one was solidly good, and dipped my toes into the first 2 episodes. Heo Jung Eun is fantastic as Geum Bi, while Oh Ji Ho is.. not bad.

2 episodes in, I felt like this might be a B+ or even A- drama, but wasn’t in the mood for a melodrama and ended up drifting off from this one.

SHOWS THAT I LOST INTEREST IN, SOMEHOW

Goblin

Show started off really strong for me, particularly with its epic sageuk backstory scenes. I enjoyed Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook as Shin and Reaper, and thought the two together were amusing with a nice side serving of pathos. I had trouble getting into the main romance, though, because I couldn’t quite feel the chemistry between Gong Yoo and Kim Go Eun. Eventually, though, the thing that made it hard for me to finish this show, was Show’s uber long, slow-moving episodes. I wasn’t in a reflective, introspective sort of mood (which would have suited Show’s ambience), and ended up leaving the show hanging, after 10 episodes.

I’m told that given the right mood, this one can be an excellent watch, so I might go back to it – uh, someday.

Legend Of The Blue Sea

This one started out super fun, with Jeon Ji Hyun’s mermaid-out-of-water antics being the highlight of every episode, for me. I also felt reasonably engaged by the OTP connection, even though it was the Joseon version of their characters that grabbed me more. On top of that, Jo Jung Suk’s cameo as a merman might be the funniest cameo I’ve seen, evar.

Still, at around the episode 9 mark, I started to lose interest in this show, and found that I didn’t feel very engaged by its story. I finished episode 9, but never mustered up the interest to go back.

Tomorrow With You

This show sounded promising, with its time-travel premise and its solid pair of leads. Unfortunately, I never got into the time travel concept of this show, and I also didn’t feel any OTP chemistry. I also found the writing frustrating, with our male lead frivolously using his trips to the future for shopping instead of mystery solving or death prevention.

After episode 5, I drifted off and never felt compelled to come back.

Live Up To Your Name

I generally don’t do well with medical shows, but found that this one’s medical bent was easier to digest than average. I liked how magical acupuncture was made to look, and I found both Kim Nam Gil and Kim Ah Joong solid in their roles. I also found their parallel journeys as doctors quite meaningful.

The thing is, this one never really grabbed me that deeply, so when other more heart-grabby dramas showed up, I fell off the wagon with this one and didn’t feel the inclination to go back. I got 8 episodes in, and might go back to this, er, eventually.

SHOWS THAT I DON’T THINK ARE WORTH THE EFFORT, TO BE BRUTALLY HONEST

KOREA

Father I’ll Take Care Of You

I started watching this one because of the Promised Cute between Lee Tae Hwan and Park Eun Bin, both of whom I have soft spots for. The thing is, just about every other character in this drama world is annoying, selfish and even rather screechy. I ended up fast-forwarding through a lot of the other characters’ scenes because it was just too trying to watch them be annoying. Sadly, I must admit that Lee Tae Hwan and Park Eun Bin don’t actually share that much chemistry after all, so even though their cute scenes should’ve been squee-worthy, I didn’t find myself squeeing very much at all.

Grade: B-

The Package

I found the main couple uninteresting – and sometimes downright unlikable – and the writing even rather manipulative on occasion, so much so that I was, at points, actually mad at this show. But, several of the ensemble characters were likable and interesting enough to keep me going. On the plus side, the music is pleasant, and France is very prettily shot.

Grade: C+

CHINA

The Fox’s Summer

I started this one thinking it was 21 episodes, and while I had some issues with Show’s idea of a feisty female lead, I found the OTP romance just cute enough to sustain my interest. The thing is, I finished episode 21 only to find that there was no ending, but that there was a second season of 23 episodes. And so I watched Season 2, which was much more draggy than Season 1. The plot cycled in place for a good chunk of Season 2, and the only reason I finished it is because my completist streak suddenly reared its unreasonable head.

At the end of a total of 44 episodes, I found myself dissatisfied with Show’s fast-dropping levels of cute, and I didn’t find myself very charmed anymore, by the OTP trajectory. Now, there’s apparently a Season 3 in the works, which I’m not planning to go anywhere near. Honestly, this would’ve been better off as a stand-alone, short, single season.

Grade: C

The Eternal Love

So cute and cracky at first, with an abundance of OTP Cute, and a whole lotta electrifying skinship to sweeten the deal. Unfortunately, Show tries to do too much with its story and implodes on itself with a very confusing, over-ambitious second half that then “resolves” with an ending that is as ridiculous as it is bemusing. Don’t get sucked in by this one, you guys.

Grade: C

Flash Review: here.

Goblin OST – Beautiful

ACTIVELY AVOID, IF YOUR DRAMA TASTE IS LIKE MINE

KOREA

Saimdang, Light’s Diary

I was mildly curious about this one, it being Lee Young Ae’s big comeback and all. Right away from episode 1, though, I found the story slow and plodding, and everything, rather old-fashioned. I was also frustrated with how servile Lee Young Ae’s character was, as our female lead. It didn’t help that I’m not the least bit interested in art. I bailed right after episode 1.

Hwarang

Show starts off quite promisingly despite its low-rent production values, with an epic bromantic arc and leads who appear interesting. Unfortunately, once Hwarang the institution is actually set up, everything started going downhill, to my eyes. I couldn’t get behind the OTP nor our leading lady, there was no bromance to speak of, and all the Hwarang activities felt random, cheesy, and almost irrelevant to the main story. I got 13 episodes in, before I realized that this was never going to get any better, for me.

Dropped Post: here.

Introverted Boss

Yeon Woo Jin is wonderfully faceted as our socially crippled male lead, while Yoon Park is good as his pleasant-but-really-not frenemy. Park Hye Soo is not nuanced enough of an actress to make the in-yo-face female lead actually likable, and this makes it really hard to root for the OTP. Worse, Show is clearly on the trajectory of curing our male lead’s actual phobia by simplifying his condition and recovery.

I got 4 episodes in before I ran out of goodwill and interest, with this show.

My Sassy Girl

I saw the original movie, and I think I don’t generally enjoy the “sassy girl” premise, because I don’t find the borderline bullying behavior of said sassy girl very charming. Still, I thought I’d give this a whirl because I like Joo Won and Oh Yeon Seo. Turns out I don’t feel much chemistry at all, between them. To be fair, Show’s production values and everything else seemed fine in a serviceable way. I just.. wasn’t feeling this one. I dropped out after just 2 episodes.

School 2017

Show has all the ingredients that ought to appeal to me, but it just never came together for me in a way that felt organic or engaging. I couldn’t bring myself to care about the school politics or the peer pressure arcs, or even the mystery of X, and, I couldn’t bring myself to care about the star-crossed bromance either. The romance wasn’t very appealing to me either, and Kim Jung Hyun ended up being the only reason I managed to finish 11 whole episodes of this one.

Dropped Post: here.

Revolutionary Love

I loved Si Won in She Was Pretty, but this was a huge disappointment. Si Won’s character is written as quite the imbecile, so much so that I didn’t find him appealing at all, as our male lead. To make matters worse, Show’s penchant for casual violence and exaggerated, manic, broad humor didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t hate what I saw, but I realized that if I stuck with this show, that it would most likely, at best, feel like an average watch for me. I dropped out after 2 episodes.

Temperature Of Love

Our OTP shares a warm, cracky chemistry, and Kim Jae Wook is dapper as our second male lead. But, there are quite a few unlikable characters in this drama world, which made the going harder than it needed to be. Also, by Show’s second half, I found our second male lead’s actions impossible to understand. Worse, I came across a spoiler and realized that one of the most awful characters in this drama world would actually get her bad behavior rewarded with a happy ever after with a guy who deserved much better. I bailed in the middle of episode 26 – and have been holding a grudge against Show ever since.

Dropped Post: here.

CHINA

My Mr. Mermaid

I thought I would like this, with Show’s bright and cheery world, and its focus on swimming dreams. I enjoyed it quite well for the first couple of episodes, but the swimming rivalry soon got Way Too Serious for my taste, and our cast’s greenness showed starkly under the demands of the more dramatic scenes. Despite the abundance of shirtless young men in swim gear, I really couldn’t see myself sitting through 36 whole episodes of this, and dropped out after 7 episodes.

Dropped Post: here.

JURY’S STILL OUT

KOREA

Money Flower

I thought revenge melos were so not my thing, but I am loving this, you guys. The pacing is tight, the writing feels assured, and Jang Hyuk is not only brilliant as our justice/revenge-seeking protagonist, but also, So Darn Sexy, so effortlessly, all the time. I literally feel like I’m always on the edge of my seat, even while I swoon at the Jang Hyuk schmexy.

9 episodes in, this feels like a solid A, and I dread running out of new episodes.

Edit: Review is here!

I’m Not A Robot

I find that I mostly don’t jive with Show’s idea of funny, but Yoo Seung Ho and Chae Soo Bin are uber cute together, and I’m happy to keep on watching, to see how the OTP connection deepens.

8 episodes in, this feels like a potential B+.

Edit: Flash Review is here!

CHINA

Tientsin Mystic

I had no idea going in, what to expect with this show, but I had it on good authority that it’s gorgeously shot, interesting, and is a rare glimpse into Chinese mythology. I went into this without English subs, and the Chinese-speaking part of my brain did its best to make sense of the somewhat difficult Mandarin in this show.

On the one hand, this really is beautifully shot, and I find our main trio of characters likable and engaging. On the other hand, I wasn’t quite prepared for Show’s weird bent, which includes cults, zombies, magic savior babies and a whole lotta dead bodies. Eep.

9 episodes in, I’m now taking a break from Show, to reconsider how I feel about it all, and also, to wait for subs – which, incidentally, are coming.

The First Half Of My Life

Melodrama’s not usually my thing, but I am seriously loving this one, you guys. Our story feels thoughtfully written and conceived, and our characters feel like flawed, real people who are doing their best at life. I felt engaged right from the get-go, and as I get deeper into the show, I find myself wanting to watch more than the usual single episode, in one sitting.

Watching this makes me feel like I’m living vicariously through our protagonist Zi Jun as she takes each difficult step after her divorce, to rebuild her life and find a way to provide for her son. Her quiet voiceovers are eloquent and illuminating, and her thoughtful lessons become my thoughtful lessons as well. I especially love Zi Jun’s bestie Tang Jing, who might be the most awesome friend in the world. Plus, I never thought I’d say this, but Jin Dong is very suave and appealing in this.

22 episodes in, this feels like a solid A.

Edit: Flash Review is here!

2017/2018 SHOWS STILL ON MY LIST

My track record shows that I typically don’t do amazingly well in terms of actually watching the stuff that’s in this section, mainly because newer and shinier dramas keep appearing on my radar. But, for what it’s worth, here are the 2017 dramas that I’d like to check out.

KOREA

Seven Day Queen I was going to give this a miss because it sounds like a really sad story, but I can’t ignore the fact that this show has a strong fan-base, and a reputation for being a truly satisfying watch. Plus, I do love Park Min Young and Yeon Woo Jin.

Smart Prison Living I’ve enjoyed every installment of the Answer Me series, so I’m uber curious to see how the same PD will bring a prison environment to life.

Secret Forest Crime/legal dramas aren’t usually my thing, but I’ve heard too many times that this is a brilliant drama, to ignore it completely. I’m very curious to know why this show is topping so many people’s 2017 drama lists.

Rescue Me I don’t like creepy shows, and in particular, I don’t care for shows about cults, but I’ve also heard a lot about how this show is very gripping. I’m duly curious, and will likely at least dip a toe in this one, just to see.

Andante I hear on pretty good authority that this one’s quite a solid watch, plus I’ve always had a soft spot for high school dramas.

Bad Guys: City Of Evil I very much enjoyed Season 1 of Bad Guys, and am curious to see how Season 2 fares, different cast and all. Plus, I do have a soft spot for Ji Soo.

CHINA

Tribes and Empires: Storm of Prophecy On the upside, this is supposed to be gloriously beautiful, and quite gripping. On the downside, I’ve heard it gets super draggy after the 40ish episode mark. But I still wanna see the glorious beauty that everyone’s raved about, so this is pretty high on my list.

Nirvana in Fire 2: The Wind Blows in Chang Lin I uber loved Nirvana in Fire, and consider it an absolute masterpiece. I’m definitely curious to see what the same production team will do with this next installment, which is a bit of an off-shoot, carrying on the story about 2 generations after the original NIF cast.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Did I do well? I did pretty well, didn’t I?

Given that I found myself in a drama and blogging slump that lasted almost 3 months, I’d say I didn’t do too badly this year.

With last year’s drama resolution firmly in mind, I didn’t spend too much time on meh dramas this year. In fact, I dropped more dramas this year, and that helped multiply my available drama hours. Plus, with the help of generous friends like you guys, I’ve been pointed in the direction of various interesting dramas that I might not have touched otherwise. So, you guys helped make my drama year better than it would’ve been otherwise. Thank you. <3

Here’s to more happy drama hours, and more shared love in the dramaverse, in 2018! We drama fans gotta take care of one another, after all. 😉

Fighting~!

170 thoughts on “Year In Review: 2017

  1. Gloglo

    Really and truly anticipating your Goblin review, whenever you’re in the right mood and finish watching the show, that is.

    I do agree that some episodes are slow, but actually surprisingly enjoyable during rewatch… There are also beautiful and incredibly romantic scenes. There is one in which a poem is read and Gong Yoo’s acting just melts your heart: amazing.

    I found that the chemistry between the main leads is much less physical than in other KDramas… The “sexy” is hardly shown and instead we are treated to larger than life emotions, turmoil and longing, all of which I think truly make up for it. The “sexy” appears to be left to anyone’s interpretation and I feel this was done on purpose, as if wanting to indulge in the age taboo but at the same time being delicate about not making it too explicit and objectionable. The love story between Grim Raper and the restaurant owner also focuses in the tragic and the beautiful. It’s this touch or Romanticism, this sad love, what makes this show that little bit meatier, I think.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Thanks for the insight and perspective, Gloglo, you do manage to make Goblin sound quite dreamy and appealing. I honestly don’t know when I’d be in the mood to give it another try, because I’d felt distinctly underwhelmed and uninvested on my first go-around, where I lasted all of 10 eps. But, I do know from experience that sometimes I can have a completely different reaction to a show, given time and perspective. So here’s hoping that that day will come, for me with Goblin! 😉

      Reply
  2. carulhein

    I’m a little late to the party with my comment, but I love your reviews and always check your list before watching a new show. Introverted boss appeared on Netflix though over the weekend and because of Yeon Woo Jin, whom I really loved in Marriage, not dating, I thought I’d give it a go. Must say, yes the first four episodes weren’t great, but he was so adorable, I kept watching and I’m happy to report that my patience was rewarded because I absolutely loved loved loved it in the end. I also had my doubts about whether the female lead could pull it off but she really did. Didn’t want it to end. So maybe one day if you have nothing to watch, start ep 5. I read somewhere that they made changes to the script after ep 4 and changed direction a bit. Funny scenes were truly funny and so cute and I loved the dialogue which was simple and natural. I hate unnatural dialogue where they spew poems. People don’t talk like that in real life. 😬 Woo Jin was amazing. I say give it another chance!

    Reply
  3. Storyteller

    2017 seemed to be a solid thriller year, headlined by Secret Forest with its excellent execution and acting despite a rather standard legal corruption plot. Tunnel and Voice were also solid procedurals featuring a cunning psychopathic villian.

    But Rescue Me was the most intriguing and innovative 2017 thriller deconstructing the mystery behind a religious cult and its dark clutches on family and society. I admit to reading episode recaps to mentally prepare myself for the jumpscares, hehe. The first 3 episodes were effectively spent introducing characters and setting up conflicts. However, I found the middle part (Ep 4-8) rather draggy and even indulgent on its depiction of the cult’s dark side (this coming from a thriller guy). Fortunately, the 2nd half pushed the plot forward through the development and execution of a daring rescue plan, and unravelling of the villains’ backstories.

    Woo Do Hwan is solid here as a selfless, courageous friend, while Seo Ye Ji’s Sang-mi is superb as a smart and strong heroine who actively schemes and works to rescue herself and others from the cult — certainly no damsel in distress.

    On a lighter note, the 5-friend group’s interactions, and a muted maybe-loveline between Sang-mi and the two MLs gave me R1988 vibes 🙂

    Reply
  4. Janjira Williams

    I’m an asian American.Thai-wainese lol. I just don’t get lot of the k-dramas. Maybe it’s cultural thing?it seem to me characters just acted randomly for no apparent reason.i watched Black&Korean Oddysey.got so pissed. I invested hours of my life into them just to see some silly grade school girl romance fantasy. Maybe in Korea it’s ok to see someone smooch lip kissed for ten years.I was expecting more of American fantasy novel kick ass adventures.so disappointed.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Janjira! 🙂 I haven’t seen Black or Korean Odyssey, because neither of the premises appealed to me. I assure you, though, that there are some excellent kdramas available. If you’re looking for some kickass adventure, one of my personal favorites that I’d recommend, is Healer. My review for Healer is here, which you can check out. Spoilers are marked in red so you can skip those if you’d prefer not to be spoiled. Overall, a fantastic drama with action, a bit of mystery, and a believable romance with leads who share a boatload of chemistry. <3 I hope you'll give it a chance! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Year In Review: 2018 | The Fangirl Verdict

  6. Ara :)

    I love how honest you are! I am actually looking for new series to watch, *I just finished I am not a Robot btw, and its was greaaaattttt!!!*, and this blog helped me decide on my “next to” watch list 🙂 THANK YOU! <3

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, thanks! Glad you’re enjoying the posts, Ara! 😀 And, yay that you’ve picked your next show to watch, based off this post! <3

      Reply
  7. Supti Mukherjee

    Last year was a busy one,this year is not gonna be better but now I seriously can trim down my “to watch” list, thanks to you!! This one is amazing.I love the way you write!

    P.S.: I would really appreciate if you could review Bad Guys 2 ,I’ll take it even if its just one word.Your view is all that matters. 🙂

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, thanks for the kind words, Supti! I’m glad you enjoyed this year-in-review post! 🙂 I’ve got Bad Guys 2 on my list, but haven’t gotten around to checking it out. When I do, I’ll definitely write a little something for it, at least! 🙂

      Reply

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