The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Year In Review: 2019

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It’s that time of the year again, my friends. 2020 is upon us, and 2019 is just about done and dusted. Time to take stock of the year, celebrate the highs, brush off the lows, and get ready to usher in the new year.

Can you believe that this is my 8th year-in-review post?? Imma be honest with you guys; every time I sit down to do one of these, I get visited by a touch of blogger existential crisis. Essentially, I ask myself, “Where am I going with this? How long will I do this? Is there still.. a point to doing this?”

..And I gotta tell ya, I still don’t know the answer to those questions. What I can say, though, is, I’m still enjoying my dramas reasonably well, and I’m still game to write about ’em, and I’m grateful that you guys are still here on this journey with me. Thanks for sticking it out with me, y’all.ย  โค

And now, let me attempt to break down my 2019 drama year for ya.

There’re just so many dramas to talk about, though!

Romance is a Bonus Book OST – Rainbow

MY DRAMA YEAR IN 2019

This is the year that I realized in a more concrete manner than ever before, that I’m evolving, as a drama viewer. I used to be all about the fluffy rom-coms, and I used to eat up drama tropes like candy. Cold jerky male lead wrist-grabs his Candy heroine in an effort to assert his interest in her? Slurp. Swallow. Moar, please.

..Not anymore, my friends. This year, I’ve realized that the stuff I used to eat up with a spoon, is now sometimes – often? – the stuff that annoys and frustrates me, in a drama. What this means to you guys, is that a drama that I might’ve rated highly in the past, might not get the same grade if I were to watch it today. That inconsistency across the blog does frustrate me a little, because you guys have told me how you use my Full List as a drama guide, and it niggles at me that this means that you guys might be checking out a show based on an enthusiastic recommendation that I made years ago, that I just might not be able to stand behind, today. Yet, I can’t say, don’t check out my highly rated shows from years back, because I still do love a good number of those shows. But y’know, what can you do, since I can’t go back and rewatch and rewrite everything, right? ๐Ÿ˜›

My shifting tastes in dramas definitely shows in this year’s overview. As I did last year, I did my best to balance my desire to follow my heart and just watch what I wanted to watch, with taking suggestions into account, and giving at least some attention to drama buzz. As a result, I’ve found myself enjoying some shows that I never expected to enjoy, and I’ve also found myself feeling unable to love a show that everyone else seemed to love. So what works for me, might not work for you, and vice versa. And given that we’re all evolving on our drama journeys, one day, what works for me, just might work for you, and vice versa, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Spoiler: I feel like I had a pretty good drama year.

THE ONES WORTH MAKING TIME FOR

This first section is where I highlight the dramas that really grabbed me and sucked me in, and made me wait with bated breath till the next episode, and then made me wish there were more episodes, when there were no more episodes, because I’d already reached the final credits. A show only ever gets its foot in this section, if it manages to achieve that.

I’m fully aware that some of the shows in this section were not universally loved by others, but I did genuinely love these dramas, and hope that perhaps you will too.

As always, I will be including dramas that started last year, but ended this year, in this post. It has always made more sense to me, to judge a drama only after itโ€™s finished its run. It’s only fair, I think.

SKY Castle

Twisty, dysfunctional, and disturbing (in no small part because the premise hits rather too close to home for comfort), Show is a hyperbolic, satirical, polished take on the very real social issue of parents hothousing their children in a bid to get ahead of the proverbial Joneses. The toll this takes on children and parents alike is examined via the journeys of our wide cast of characters, brought to life by a very competent ensemble of actors. I thought the ending could’ve been stronger, but overall, Show is a compelling, thought-provoking watch.

Grade: A

Review: here.

The Crowned Clown

I found this one to be an intense, strong, and solid story, acted by a very capable cast. Yeo Jin Goo steals the show as both king and his doppelgรคnger clown, and showcases an incredibly nuanced acting range, while he’s at it. The forbidden romance blossoming between the Queen and the clown adds a sweet touch to our narrative, but our clown’s journey, as he grows into his new royal shoes, is the true focus of the story.

Grade: A

Review: here.

Romance is a Bonus Book

Packaged in shiny rom-com colors, this one is, at its heart, a lovely story of personal journey featuring a mature female lead, who not only finds her lost mojo, but gains a sweet boyfriend, as a bonus. Thoughtfully written, it feels like our characters are handled with tender loving care, with attentive consideration given to each of their inner journeys, and the thoughts, emotions and milestones along the way. Poignant, heartfelt, and sweet.

Grade: A

Review: here.

The Light in Your Eyes (Dazzling)

Quirky and refreshing, and at the same time, beautiful and bittersweet, I found this a very special drama indeed. I think it’s best not to know too much about the story going in, and just trust Show to unfold its story at its own pace. This show made my heart feel full, and broken, and everything in-between, and made me cry real, guttural tears, and I have absolutely no regrets. I’d do it all over again.

Grade: A

Flash Review: here.

Search: WWW

Gloriously women-centric and audacious, Show is unabashed in celebrating our three very capable heroines, who each feel flawed, eccentric, passionate and real, in their own ways. Each loveline is perfectly matched, and so different in tone, that it never feels like we’re being served more of the same. This show didn’t just sneak under my skin; it made me feel empowered as well. What a gem.

Grade: A

Review: here.

Be Melodramatic

Even though Show is quirky and sometimes outright wacky on the surface, it proves that it also possesses an inner core that is refreshing, heartwarming, thought-provoking, and ultimately uplifting. Every character’s journey is treated with respect, even amid the oddball, off-the-wall humor, and that’s some serious skillz. I loved this ensemble cast, and would watch more episodes of them navigating life together, in a heartbeat.

Grade: A-

Review: here.

When The Devil Calls Your Name OST – ๋‚˜์˜ ๋…ธ๋ž˜

SOLID WATCHES I’D RECOMMEND

KOREA

Her Private Life

A polished rom-com vehicle that lives and dies by the combined charm of its OTP, which, happily, is Quite Something to contend with. Kim Jae Wook is great as Perfect Boyfriend Ryan Gold, and Park Min Young is charming as our story’s super fangirl. Tropes abound, and I didn’t jive with some of Show’s humor, but the excellent OTP chemistry, and the remarkably healthy OTP conversations and interactions, had me consistently coming back for more.

Grade: B++

Review:ย here.

One Spring Night

Basically, it felt like the makers of this show took everything I disliked about Something in the Rain, and fixed it, in this story. Show might feel slow to some, but I really enjoyed the healthy OTP conversations, and the efforts of our primary characters, to grow into better versions of themselves, not because that growth would help them achieve an end romantic goal, but because they each believed it was the right thing to do. Refreshing and satisfying, if you can jive with Show’s leisurely pace.

Grade: B++

Review: here.

My Country

A healthy amount of suspension of disbelief is required, particularly in Show’s later stretch, but Show is so polished, so emotionally engaging, and so stirring, that I couldn’t help but forgive Show its missteps. The central star-crossed bromance is well-supported by excellent performances by Yang Se Jong and Woo Do Hwan (this is literally the best I’ve seen from each of them, to date), but it’s Jang Hyuk who steals the show with his compelling, can’t-look-away portrayal of Yi Bang Won.

Grade: B++

Review: here.

Touch Your Heart (Reach of Sincerity)

Heartfelt, cute and sweet, this show is an easy watch for when you just need a frothy rom-com to unwind to. Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na make a charming pair, and for fans of Goblin, this Reaper-Sunny reunion is a great way to mentally continue their romance. If all you’re in the mood for is something light and feel-good, this could be just the thing.

Grade: B+

Review: here.

Designated Survivor: 60 Days

A political story that’s told with heart, I found Show to be engaging, intriguing, and uplifting, even though I’m a self-confessed politics noob. Ji Jin Hee is fantastic as our titular Designated Survivor, and his journey towards growing more confident and comfortable in his new presidential shoes, is heartwarming to witness. The writing can be weak in spots, and I personally found Show’s ending to be on the underwhelming end of the scale, but I still found it well worth the watch.

Grade: B+

Flash Review: here.

When The Devil Calls Your Name

Because Show dances to its own narrative rhythm, it can feel a bit disorienting, but Show manages to tell a solid story, while keeping its mythology reasonably intact. Jung Kyung Ho and Park Sung Woong make a wonderfully sparky pair, and it was a delight seeing them reunite in this drama. The music in this feels a little extra special, with music written specifically to align with Show’s narrative milestones, and performed for real, for the most part, by the actors themselves. Even though it’s peppered with regular spots of funny, Show shines the most when it’s being poignant and laying its heart bare.

Grade: B+

Flash Review: here.

The Tale of Nokdu

Fresh and cute to start, with lots of cross-dressing hijinks, Show takes a more serious turn in its second half, leaning closer towards more standard sageuk fare to do with court machinations and politics. Importantly, Show never loses its warm, emotional core, so it’s not hard to stick with our characters in the second half. Kim So Hyun is excellent as always, but it’s Jang Dong Yoon who shines extra as our cross-dressing Nokdu, displaying an impressive acting range that I didn’t know he was capable of.

Grade: B

Review: here.

CHINA

Put Your Head On My Shoulder

Show can feel meandering with its slice-of-life approach, and often uses convenient connect-the-dots writing to get our OTP from milestone to milestone, but this OTP is cute enough to make it worth the while. It’s tropey, yes, but because our cold genius falls for the warm girl first, and falls hard, it’s amusing and gratifying to see him flounder in unfamiliar romantic territory, while trying (so earnestly!) to win our warm girl’s heart. Fun times.

Grade: B++

Review: here.

The Story of Minglan

Show can feel intimidating at 73 episodes, and the slice-of-life approach can make our story feel slow, but these characters grew on me, in spite of my reservations, and I ended up enjoying this one quite well indeed. Zhao Liying is rather wonderful as our titular Minglan, and it was gratifying to see her come into her own, from an overly cautious, beaten-down young girl, to a strong, wise and shrewd woman. Our story leans political and dramatic in the later episodes, but Show manages to deliver an ending that feels heartfelt and satisfying, and overall worthwhile.

Grade: B+

Flash Review: here.

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

KOREA

Memories of Alhambra

A fair amount of lens adjustment is necessary, but I found Show a more solid and enjoyable watch because of said lens adjustments. Yes, Park Shin Hye is horribly under-utilized, her character cries wayyy too much, and the romance between her and Hyun Bin is quite pointless, but if you can think of this as just one (not necessarily likable) man’s adventure-quest journey, Show’s not too bad of a watch.

Grade: B+

Flash Review: here.

The Last Empress (An Empress’s Dignity)

A veritable makjang-fest that makes the classic kimchi slap seem old hat and pedestrian. At its best, Show was delicious makjang ridiculousness that you could eat with a spoon – in each hand. Ha. Unfortunately, Show’s extension resulted in a late stretch that felt like it was stalling for time. I also sometimes didn’t do so well with Show’s idea of entertainment. An absolutely insane ride that would’ve been so much better, if it’d been shorter.

Grade: B

Flash Review: here.

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung

A fusion sageuk that stands out for its strong message of female empowerment. Yes, there’s a picture-perfect romance thrown in there for good measure, but the main focus of our story, was always Goo Hae Ryung’s personal journey to find purpose and personal agency in a male-dominated, patriarchal world. I didn’t jive with Show’s idea of funny much, and I thought the writing was uneven in spots, but this remains one of my favorite outings of Shin Se Kyung’s; she makes Hae Ryung feel likable and relatable, even in her flaws and foibles.

Grade: B

Flash Review: here.

Fates and Furies

When Show was good, I loved its theatrical flair, fast pace and immersive music. Joo Sang Wook and Lee Min Jung have solid, sparky chemistry, and Show uses that to its advantage, showcasing a good number of OTP moments right off the bat. However, on the downside, I grew frustrated with Show’s writing, and our characters didn’t seem very smart at all, after all. Despite Show’s slump in its second half, it does manage to end on a reasonably satisfying note.

Grade: B-

Flash Review: here.

CHINA

The Longest Day in Chang’an

This show is very solid, but it’s not for everyone. Technically brilliant and beautiful to look at, Show is a treat for the eyes, and each episode feels like a movie all on its own. The cast is solid, and Lei Jiayin in particular is just fantastic, as our protagonist Zhang Xiaojing. However, Show can feel slow and meandering, with a single day spanning 48 episodes. We get multiple tangents into (sometimes very long) flashbacks, which can feel confusing. Most importantly, for me, Show withholds context for far too long, before revealing character motivations. Show’s ending is also more muted than one might expect, given the suspense-filled narrative. Overall, very solid, but like I said, not for everyone.

Grade: B+

Flash Review: here.

Go Go Squid

The romance is hyped up in this, but Show is really more about our male lead’s personal journey, and his reconciliation with his estranged CTF teammates. It took me many episodes to figure this out, however, and in the meantime, I struggled to wrap my brain around the overly cutesy treatment of the female lead (and her very ugly wardrobe), and the odd writing around the OTP. There’s really very little foundation for this OTP that’s supposed to be so in love, so that made all the OTP moments land rather flat, for me. On the upside, the OTP dynamics lean healthier than most I’ve seen in modern C-romcoms, so overall, with the right lens, it’s not bad?

Grade: B

Flash Review: here.

Search WWW OST – แ„’แ…ฃแ†ผแ„€แ…ต (Sam Kim)

SHOWS WHICH FEEL SOLID, BUT WHICH I JUST DIDN’T FINISH

He is Psychometric

I found Show’s premise rather interesting, and I found Jin Young very endearing as the rather dim, very earnest Lee An. I found Jin Young’s delivery of Lee An’s more difficult periods especially impressive; that glassiness in the eyes of a troubled, raging, painfully lonely kid is so different from the guileless warmth that we see when we first meet him. Nicely done.

However, 5 episodes in, I got distracted by other, newer, shinier shows that grabbed me more, and just.. fell off the wagon, with this one.

From what I could tell, this one felt like a potential B or B+.

SHOWS THAT I LOST INTEREST IN, SOMEHOW

KOREA

Dae Jang Geum is Watching

On the upside, I was tickled by the concept, that Dae Jang Geum’s descendants have her food superpowers split among them, and we get to watch them grapple with said “powers” as they try to live normal lives and love food. I like the food tangents, even though they don’t grab me as much as the ones in Let’s Eat.

On the downside, this show’s definitely got a B-production sort of quality to it. The comedy is also a little broad, but not so OTT that it rubs me the wrong way. I don’t mind the various individual arcs but they feel unnecessarily protracted. I also wish episodes were shorter. Half the length would be ideal.

I wandered off from this after just 1 episode, and didn’t have the urge to go back.

From what I saw, I’d say this felt like a potential C+.

Wind-bell

I’d heard that this was cute, but I was quickly turned off by our very rude female lead. Our female lead seems overly exasperated and rude to the author that she’s supposed to work with. Even taking into account her frustration with her boss, the way she treats the writer – someone who’s supposed to be a client – is really rude. She shouts at him, gives him attitude, and says snide things to his face. Seriously, who does that? She ought to be fired.

I got just 2 episodes into this one, and.. never thought to go back.

From what I saw, I’d say this felt like a potential C.

CHINA

Love and Destiny

I like Chang Chen and Ni Ni in this, and I’m even quite happy with their characterization. I also enjoyed a number of OTP scenes. I guess I must not be in the mood for xianxia, though, because I felt increasingly bored by all the fantasy elements and all the groundwork covering said fantasy elements. I also found the plasticky white armor that everyone wore unappealing and unhelpful. It wasn’t just aesthetically lacking, it made everyone look so similar that I got confused over who was who, a lot of the time.

I got 6 episodes in before unintentionally shelving this one, and haven’t had the urge to go back – yet?

From what I could tell, this looked like a potential B.

A Little Thing Called First Love

This was recommended to me as something really cute and endearing, but I must be over stories about the socially awkward plain shy girl nursing a crush on a good-looking, popular, good-at-everything boy, and being transformed in the process, coz 1 episode of this is all I could take. The secondhand embarrassment is rather strong in this one as well, which didn’t help.

How many tropes can I recall from E1? Plain Jane who’s just too nice to everyone, a sassy younger sister who bosses her around, awkward meet-cute, mistaken identity, school bag switcheroo, an angsty second male lead with hidden pain. I feel somewhat fatigued by this set-up which feels too familiar to feel fresh, to my eyes. I think it also doesn’t help that I watched the Thai movie that this was based on, and I came away not loving that as much as everyone else too.

From the little that I watched, I’d say this felt like a potential C+ or B-.

ACTIVELY AVOID, IF YOU DRAMA TASTE IS LIKE MINE

KOREAย 

Boyfriend (Encounter)

Show wanted to serve up a dreamy romance, but I never bought into the OTP chemistry, and I struggled with the OTP operating on rom-com type expectations, when they were written into a world with real-world type consequences. I can’t get behind the idea of a boss romancing her employee and using her position of power for romantic advantages, unless the show itself is a rom-com fairytale, and this simply isn’t that. I know lots of folks loved this one, but this one just didn’t work for me.

Dropped post: here.

Clean With Passion For Now

Just an update on this show’s blurb in my 2018 year-in-review: I never did go back to this one. The toilet and vomit humor was too strong for my taste, and no amount of Kim Yoo Jung cute could entice me to continue this one, unfortunately.

My Absolute Boyfriend

I thought the concept of the show was promising, but I found the execution rather flat, and I failed to see any chemistry among our three main leads. Maybe Zero Nine becomes more compelling in later episodes, but I found the robot designed to be the perfect boyfriend quite boring, since he was only operating according to his programming, for the time that he was on my screen. I also found Da Da too much of a pushover, and ex-boyfriend Ma Wang Joon just as boring as the robot – if not more so.

I lasted just 10 episodes with this one.

Dropped post: here.

Abyss

I dropped out just 1 episode into this one. The fantasy construct seemed really weird to me, and I couldn’t get into the story of Ahn Hyo Seop’s character dying “ugly and losery” and coming back to life as a handsome guy and trying to convince his mom that he’s her son’s college friend. It felt quite all over the place to my eyes, and I couldn’t get into it.

Kill It

I thought the premise was a little odd, but I was curious to see Jang Ki Yong play a skilled assassin. I only got 1 episode into this show, though. I was slightly bemused but still intrigued by the idea of Jang Ki Yong’s character Soo Hyun being raised by an assassin who later develops Alzheimer’s, and who therefore attacks Jang Ki Yong on sight, because he doesn’t remember that this is his foster kid who lives in the same house. Rather intriguing, yes?

What I didn’t like, though, was the characterization of the female lead. The way she grabbed the syringe from Soo Hyun and aimed it at the injured fawn without even asking, or even saying anything, for that matter, and then expecting Soo Hyun to respond with gratitude or an apology, is kind of too much, I thought. Presumptuous, much?

I never made it back after episode 1, for lack of personal interest.

Angel’s Last Mission: Love

Shin Hye Sun is fantastic in this, but L is just ok. The OTP connection is quite nice in concept, but I didn’t feel a great deal of OTP chemistry, so that worked out to neutral. Also, all the ballet stuff is taken Way Too Seriously. The scheming relatives (would you kill, for ballet??) and the weird, unclear mythology just got too much for me, and the logic lapses didn’t help either. I dropped out 16 episodes in.

Dropped post: here.

Mother Of Mine (My Prettiest Daughter in the World)

I jumped on this one thinking that it would be a warm story of Mom and her three daughters, and I was also drawn to the hidden chaebol arc, where secret chaebol heir Hong Jong Hyun goes to work incognito as an ordinary intern, and ends up falling for his prickly supervisor Kim So Yeon. BUT. The noona romance was better in concept than in execution. I kept trying to convince myself that the OTP moments were cute and melty, but the lack of OTP chemistry meant that they really weren’t that cute or melty. The other arcs were similarly underwhelming. I enjoyed my watch less and less, as I got deeper in the show. I foolishly lasted 68 episodes of this one.

Also. Just so you know, word on the street is that Show becomes Full! Of! Angst! by its later stretch.

Dropped post: here.

Extraordinary You

I loved Show’s premise, which I found fun and fresh, but the shine wore off after a while, and everything just didn’t feel so novel anymore. I didn’t buy into the main loveline, which is supposed to be really Deep and Fated, and worse, Show seemed to serve up more questions than it was planning to answer. I tried to finish this, just to get to the end, but I just.. couldn’t do it. I lasted 28 episodes of this.

Dropped post: here.

CHINA

Well Intended Love

I finished this one, but I’ll still warn anyone who’ll listen, that this one should be actively avoided, if your drama taste is anything like mine. The OTP romance is set up very weirdly and clunkily, and the Intended Funny was so cringey. Show is then mildly cute for a while, until Show does a Terrible Reveal in episode 10, which negates all – and I mean ALL – of the sweet. And even if you get past that, Show is just full of filler and cycles in place a whole lot, before reaching its pretty underwhelming conclusion. Meh.

Grade: C+

Flash Review: here.

TAIWAN

Before We Get Married

There was lots of buzz on this one, but I’m convinced that if your drama taste is similar to mine, that you’d be happy to avoid this one.

I’m honestly quite disturbed by the set-up. I knew that this would be a story about inappropriate attraction and that this story’s so-called lead couple would likely be unfaithful to their partners. But, I wasn’t prepared for the general debauchery of it all, or the rapey vibe of the supposed OTP’s almost-encounter in episode 1. I think it’s supposed to be tantalizing, but it really is very disturbing behavior.

[SPOILERS] He handcuffs her to the bed against her will – I think that’s already a big cause for alarm bells. And we haven’t even talked about how they basically bet on a claw machine outcome, of whether she would spend the night with him. And this thing about him picking a woman in the room to spend the night with, smacks too much of the Burning Sun scandal in Korea to be at all comfortable to watch. [END SPOILER]

I also felt like all the so-called edgy cool people (the male lead, and the female lead’s promiscuous best friend) came across as rather try-hard.ย I finished episode 1 thinking, “How does a show manage to be lame AND rapey-disturbing at the same time?”

I hear that if you wait a couple more episodes, that it gets better, but for a show that’s only 13 episodes long, that’s a pretty big ask, in my books.

JURY’S STILL OUT

KOREAย 

At Eighteen (A Moment At Eighteen)

I thought that I was possibly over high-school dramas since I didn’t take to Extraordinary You, but I immediately found this drama engaging and rather thought-provoking. The characters feel real and layered and interesting, and the struggles they face feel real too. Most importantly, the feelings feel real, and that’s probably why I feel the feelings too, as I watch. That’s precious.

I’m just 3 episodes in, but so far, this feels like a potential B++.

When The Camellia Blooms

I was initially put off by the idea of yet another romance laced with murder, but this is turning out to be a heartwarming watch. You guys are right. The serial killer thing isn’t too heavy-handed, and the community and relationship focus kinda-sorta reminds me of the Answer Me series. Gong Hyo Jin is solid as always, but Kang Ha Neul is quite a revelation as the super earnest, slightly socially awkward, very forthright and very dorky male lead Yong Shik. So far, I’m loving the honest conversations shared by our OTP, and the emphasis on empowerment and respect.

18 episodes in, this feels like a potential B+ or B++.

Edit: Flash Review is here.

Graceful Family

I feel conflicted about this show. Everyone says that this is makjang done right, but I think I like the concept more than the execution. I think it would work a lot better if Show hammed it up more (like An Empress’s Dignity), instead of taking itself seriously. It doesn’t help that the acting of our leads is just ok so far, and that I find the writing rather lacking in spots. I’m planning to try to wear a heavily ironic lens with this one, and see if that helps.

6 episodes in, this feels like a potential B-.

UPDATE: Dropped post is here.

Hotel Del Luna

I haven’t properly enjoyed a Hong sisters’ drama in a while, so I thought I’d give this a pass. But, I’m pleasantly surprised that I like it more than I thought I would. The production values are high, everything looks polished, and IU’s killing it as the jaded, mysterious, somewhat temperamental owner of the hotel. On the downside, I’m not feeling any OTP chemistry, and I have a niggling dissatisfaction with the cohesiveness of the writing. Hopefully Show improves as I go.

5 episodes in, this feels like a potential B or B+.

Edit: Review is here.

CHINA

Le Coup de Foudre

I started on this one because lots of you mentioned this in the same sentence as Answer Me 1988, which I love. So far, the watch has been a little uneven for me. Sometimes I feel rather meh at an episode, and sometimes, I really like an episode. I don’t jive so well with Show’s idea of funny, and I feel like our female lead’s shy hesitance almost always translates into mumbled, slowly uttered words, which is getting a little old for me. Show generally feels slow too, thanks to its slice-of-life approach. But, I do like some of the themed episodes, where relationships among our characters get the spotlight.

10 episodes in, this feels like a potential B or B+.

2019/2020 SHOWS STILL ON MY LIST

History has proven that I typically donโ€™t do that well in terms of actually watching the stuff thatโ€™s in this section, coz there’s always something newer and shinier on the horizon. But, for the record, these are the 2019/2020 dramas that Iโ€™d like to check out.

KOREAย 

VIPย I’ve heard that this one is very good, and focuses a lot on the female characters and their stories and relationships. I’ve also heard this one can be depressing. Let’s see.

Edit: Flash Review is here.

My First First Loveย This one sounds cute and sweet. I’d planned to check it out after the second season was released, but just never got around to it.

No Second Chances (Never Twice)ย I’ve heard lots of good things about this one, and it sounds potentially warm and sweet. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a warm family drama, so this sounds like a possible fit.

Chief Of Staffย Since I liked Designated Survivor: 60 Days, I thought I’d give another political story a try, and this one has a good reputation.

The Nokdu Flower A number of you have called this a masterpiece, which makes me curious. No promises that I’ll finish this, but I’ll give it a toe-dip, just to see.

Black Dogย Ra Mi Ran and Seo Hyun Jin? Yes, please.

Crash Landing on Youย I’ve heard this is utterly ridiculous, and that it’s also very entertaining. I’m not quite a fan of Son Ye Jin, but this does sound potentially fun.

Edit: Review is here!

Diary of a Prosecutorย Lee Sun Gyun and Jung Ryeo Won in a slice-of-life drama? That sounds promising.

CHINA

The Untamedย So many of you have requested that I check this out, that I’ve put it on this list. My sister is convinced I’ll hate it, and I haven’t made it past the opening credits, plus I find myself in a xianxia rut, but I do want to at least give this one a fair chance.

The King’s Avatarย I’ve heard this one’s really quite solid for the gaming and team dynamics storylines.

Joy of Lifeย There’s so much good buzz about this one, and how it’s fresh and funny, that my interest is duly piqued.

Royal Nirvanaย I’ve heard that this is quite excellent, so I’m curious to give this a go.

Wait, My Youth Retro youth dramas are my kryptonite, so I can’t resist at least giving this a try.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Ahhh!! We did it! We got to the end!!

Woah. I.. talked about 41 dramas this year, which is a little less than last year’s 45, but it’s still enough that I wonder whether I need an intervention, heh.

I’ve had fewer drama hours to spend this year, coz I’ve been spending more time on stuff like working out and getting stronger, and that all takes time. So I’ve also been slightly more ruthless on the dropping front, which is why you probably noticed that I bailed after just one episode, with several dramas. It’s my way of attaining some kind of balance, so that I can keep doing health and fitness stuff, and not miss too much, on the drama front.

Thanks for another great year, you guys. I truly appreciate your support, encouragement and company. Here’s to an even better 2020 for us all. May 2020 bring us good health, happiness, and all them drama feels. โค

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

80 thoughts on “Year In Review: 2019

  1. Pingback: Dropped: Love And Destiny [China] | The Fangirl Verdict

  2. I started watching Kdrams last year by mistake hen a friend put on Boys over Flowers after exams and I have watched almost every recommended one since. I watched crash landing on you last week and no actress apart from a handful comes close to what she prt4ayed for me in that drama and I wasnโ€™t even aware of her before hand,. So I was curious as to why you arenโ€™t a fan of hers I have only come across a few other actresses I will list below who can compare to her. In terms of talent, Lee Bo Young, Choi ji woo, Gong Hyo Jin, Song Hyo Kyo, Shin Min Ah, Jun Ji Hyun, Hwang Jung Eum, Kim Tae Hee, Ha Ji Won and Yoon Eun Hye. The rest are pretty yes but their performance is average at best. I recommend you to watch the drama it might alter your perspective on her acting. She was phenomenal to me.

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    • Hi there Vee, how funny, that you started watching kdramas by mistake! ๐Ÿ˜€ What a great mistake though! ๐Ÿ˜† As for Son Yeh Jin, hm, I find it hard to explain, really. We all have specific quirks when it comes to liking or disliking certain actors. For example, I love Shin Min Ah, but a fellow drama fan can’t bear to watch her, saying that she can’t bear her style of acting. Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

      In an attempt to nail down what I didn’t care for about Son Yeh Jin, I think I found her too cute and too weepy, depending on the role. I haven’t seen her in all her works, of course. I mainly felt fairly neutral towards her, even though I wasn’t a huge fan, and then I really disliked her character in Something in the Rain, which made me even less enthusiastic to watch her projects. BUT. I have watched Crash Landing (the review will some soonish!), and I do agree that she did very nicely in that, and I must admit that that has definitely helped to endear her to me as an actress. I still wouldn’t purposefully seek out her projects, but I’m back to being open to checking out a show whether she’s in it or not. Again, this might change down the road. I used to find Lee Bo Young’s delivery quite meh, but I changed my mind when I watched her in MDSY and IHYV, and now I really do enjoy her as an actress. Long story short, my opinions are always evolving. ๐Ÿ˜… I hope that helps to clarify!

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      • It was by mistake like for real but yes you are right sentiments differ. There are high rated dramas that I find annoying and low rated ones that I think are classics. But thank you for existing when I watch something I really like I always come on here to see if you have reviewed the drama and to see your thoughts on the drama. Like you I find delivery of the actors makes a difference to some poor written scripts. Canโ€™t wait for your review of crash landing on you. And I recommend you to watch Princess Weiyoung (China) I thought it dragged and was a bit annoying at times but mostly I loved it. Thank you for all you do. New fan, and even wanting to experience East Asian in a couple months now thanks to the culture and fun these dramas bring. Kamsahamnida โค๏ธ

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        • Haha wow, this is the first time anyone’s thanked me for existing, I feel quite honored! ๐Ÿ˜† Glad that you’ve been enjoying the reviews – I hope to publish the review for Crash Landing in the next week, I hope you’ll enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve heard of Princess Weiyoung, but have not checked it out. I’ll take a look at it sometime, when I’m next searching for a drama to check out! ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy your travels to East Asia! โค

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  3. Dear kfangirl!
    I really really suggest you to watch “doctor prisoner”
    please please Give it a try!
    :-*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eep, it’s a medical show though. I.. generally don’t do well, with medical shows. ๐Ÿ˜› I’m currently enjoying Nam Goong Min quite well in Stove League, though, so if this turns out well, I might reconsider giving Dr. Prisoner a try. ๐Ÿ˜…

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      • Wow Very nice! I have watced Stove League too and enjoyed it so much!
        But the character of namgoong min in “doctor prisoner”,is completely different and it’s so more challenging !
        Have you seen “remember ; war of the son” ? In that drama,namgoong min’s performance is sooo good that I didn’t know if I should love him or hate him!
        Or have you seen “chief Kim? THAT character was a big challenge too!
        Oh I’m not a big fan of namgoong min ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜… I just watched these four drama but really enjoyed all of them๐Ÿ˜…

        And I have to say that I always enjoy your drama choices!๐Ÿ˜ƒโค

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        • Lol. You had me going for a while there, Tara! I really thought you were a huge fan of Nam Goong Min, the way you were listing all his dramas! ๐Ÿ˜†

          I don’t do well with zany Korean humor about 98% of the time, so I avoided Chief Kim. I tried and failed to enjoy Nam Goong Min’s zanier roles (which is where everyone suddenly started to love him), like in Beautiful Gong Shim. If I end up liking him a lot more due to Stove League, I just might give Dr. Prisoner a try. I don’t think I’ll be checking out Remember, though. I heard that that was a sobfest that was just pain and more pain for Yoo Seung Ho’s character. Eep. I don’t tend to like those types of shows either, so I’ve stayed away from that. Maybe one day I might try Chief Kim though, if my Nam Goong Min affection is high enough, and if I’m curious enough, about why everyone else loves that show so much! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜…

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          • Oh yeah I understand!
            But I must say:No ! I’m just a fan of kdrama shows! And there is no special actor or actress that I’m a huge fan of him or her!
            Just fan of good shows,i think๐Ÿ˜…
            And I also agree with you about the type of chief Kim character! I didn’t like it for the first 5 or 6 episodes too! But after that,i changed my mind ๐Ÿ˜… so i really understand if you don’t like it!
            And about dark and sad shows,you’re right! Watching those shows is hard!but i like some of them,for example i enjoyed “money flower” and “return” and “remember”!but i can watch them just for one time because they’re sooo heavy๐Ÿ˜‚ and i usually watch them with another rom-com next to it๐Ÿ˜

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            • Yes, I personally find the Chief Kim kind of character quite, uh, hard to get used to. ๐Ÿ˜… And 5-6 eps is quite a while to wait for a show to get better, so kudos to you for having the patience to hang in there! ๐Ÿ˜† Ooh, I do love Money Flower a great deal, so I can’t say I don’t like dark shows at all. What I mean is, shows that seem to inflict pain on their characters just for the sake of it. That was the reason I couldn’t finish I Miss You. Everyone was just in so much pain and crying all the time, and I just found it too much. Logic was lacking too, which didn’t help. ๐Ÿ˜› My impression is that Remember Son’s War is a bit like that, so I’m keeping away from it. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜… But yes, very good strategy of balancing your drama feels, I do that too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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              • Yes I’m a patient person!
                But I usually wait for about 25 or 30 percent of the number of episodes!and i hardly drop dramas๐Ÿ˜…
                And YES! Remember IS sad! I had a hard time watching it too๐Ÿ˜ i suggest you not watching it !
                But i still hpoe you like stove league and give doctor prisoner a try๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜โค

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                • Hahaha, I love that you’re telling me NOT to watch Remember! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜† I think I will take your advice, lol. I’ve paused momentarily on Stove League because I was focusing on Crash Landing On You for the review, but I’m looking forward to getting back to Stove League. I really have liked what I’ve seen so far! ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll have to see about Doctor Prisoner though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. The King’s Avatar was really good if you aren’t looking for any romance in your sports drama. I kept waiting and expecting romance and was pleasantly surprised when there was none at all. The characters were dedicated to their sport and to each other as a team and that was actually really refreshing to watch.

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    • Ooh, thanks for the endorsement of King’s Avatar, Barrie! ๐Ÿ™‚ It sounds like a nice departure from the drama norm, which is so romance-saturated that I think it can work against the show. I will bump it up my list! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Hi!
    Iโ€™m always get so excited to read your year in reviews! And it difficult for me to explain as to why that is maybe because Iโ€™m curious to see which shows worked out for you and which ones will work out for me. Anyways, in this year I watched 12 dramas, and while I had liked most of them there are two that stands out. Maybe it will interest you, maybe it will interest others.
    So, here my opinion on the two shows, and I will try my best not give too much too away on what it is about, but enough so you had some sort of perspective when going in.

    1. Children of Nobody: the main character Woo Kyung played by Kim Sun Ah, is a child therapist who seems to have it all, a husband, an adoring daughter but one day an accident occurs that changes Woo Kyung live for the worse. Eventually she starts to see mysterious little girl dressed in green, and no one but Woo Kyung can see her. The problem is that Woo Kyung doesnโ€™t know who that little girl is, or if she might even be real at all. This is a psychological Korean drama that is about child neglect, child abuse and how that victim lives with that trauma for the rest of his /her life. The premise might sound heavy and difficult, but I appreciated the realness of how it portrayed trauma. As it is very difficult to overcome trauma especially when it follows you through childhood to adulthood. Also, this drama does have a serial killer who genuinely believes *it (not going to reveal the gender as it is a huge spoiler) does a society a favor by getting rid of the abusive parents. Now, if you want to watch it there is a few things to keep in mind, one is donโ€™t expect it to be fast-paced, at times it felt, too dark you might not want to continue watching the show. Also, donโ€™t expect a huge character development for the characters, even though I disagree that there wasnโ€™t any character change at all. My guess is that people watching it wanted to go the other way, while I didnโ€™t have a problem with how the story went. The ending can be seen as open for the viewers to interpret however they wish. And there are some characters who feel without much purpose in being there. So, there it is and honestly the drama is good, and I agree there are parts that could have been done better. Iโ€™m often hesitant to recommend this drama because it is not for everyone. But take it as you will.

    2. The fiery priest is about catholic priest named Hae-il played by Kim Nam Gil who tries to uncover the death of an elder priest who was like a father figure to him. And now it sounds like it will be a serious drama, but no it isnโ€™t if anything it has black humor and yes at times too much toilet humor. So, if you can somewhat deal with the humor of the show you will not have that much of a problem in watching it. However, the drama has characters that can come across as annoying or flawed. For example, Kyung Sun played by Honey Lee, is an ambitious prosecutor who is intelligent but also has certain vanity in her and has dubious moralities. I loved her, because she was so unapologetic of being herself but she is not likable (at least not in the beginning). As for Kim Nam Gil character Hae-il one of his main problems is that he is not being able to control his temper and can come across as rude or too hot-headed. But he is someone who canโ€™t stand injustice which is why we often tend to root for him, and he has a past that haunts him till this day. I admit the show has some problems, for example the humor isnโ€™t always funny and it does suffers a tonal-shift (sad one minute, happy in the next), the plot isnโ€™t anything spectacular as you might predict how it will all end, and the pacing isnโ€™t the strongest. But if you watch the drama as a character driven story than for the plot you might enjoy it a little bit more. And I felt like flawed as it was it had also a lot of heart. So, take a risk if you want ๐Ÿ™‚

    Bye!

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    • Hi there Verity Rose! Thanks for looking forward to the year end reviews! ๐Ÿ˜€ Glad to hear that 2019 was a good drama year for you. Also, thanks for the introduction to Children of Nobody and Fiery Priest. I’ve heard good things about both shows, but didn’t get around to checking them out. Thanks for sharing your insights and comments on both shows, it really does help to give perspective not only to me, but to other readers as well, and help us make our drama decisions! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year, and may 2020 be great for ya! โค

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  6. I actually found myself in a bit of a drama rut this year. The first third I spent most of my time binging Chinese BL novels and audiobooks. I didnโ€™t really watch many (if any? Canโ€™t remember off the top of my head) dramas then. The second third I started a whole lot of dramas in the beginning of summer and didnโ€™t finish any of them, actually. I did shelve a few (Untamed) bc I knew I wasnโ€™t in the right headspace and flat out refused a couple popular ones. You mentioned Kingโ€™s Avatar, but Iโ€™m putting that on the shelf, maybe forever, because I HAVE read the book and itโ€™s freaking amazing and fantastic and will forever be one of my favorites. I donโ€™t really trust myself at all to give it a fair watch, bc Iโ€™ve already heard some minor flaws that would be fine for another viewer but I know would rub me the wrong way. If anything, I highly recommend the animation to introduce you to the story and itโ€™s awesomeness. I dragged like all three of my best friends into the fandom through the animation and they loved it. Their was a lot released in the summer but I didnโ€™t end up finishing any of them, even ones I did like, simply bc I somehow just lost motivation.

    This rest of the year I havenโ€™t watched much. Started a couple of kdramas actually, but didnโ€™t finish any (surprise, lol). BUT I have to say that I AM watching Untamed, which I had shelved for reasons, and itโ€™s great, itโ€™s amazing. ACTUALLY I shelved it bc I was tired of the source material, and thought the book itself was overrated. BUT all the little things that the drama DID change, I actually thought made it a lot better. So much better. I will say that I think I like the drama more than the book, for once. It very very well done. And it preserves the essence of the book and all the best quotes and feels very very VERY well. The BL is so elegantly done and so subtle that if you know, itโ€™s glaringly obvious, but if you donโ€™t care to know and hate BL, itโ€™s still convincingly bromance. Man it toed that censorship line very very dangerously lmao.

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    • Hi there Julianne! Happy new year to ya! โค I can empathize with the frustration of a drama rut. I haven't had a drama rut lasting through most of the year, but I seem to find myself in a bit of a drama rut for about a month or so each year. I can only imagine how meh it must feel, to have a rut last for months!

      Glad you ended up enjoying a drama more than you'd originally expected to. That must've been a welcome surprise! ๐Ÿ™‚ Untamed is still on my list of dramas to check out, so let's see if I'll like it as much as everyone else. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for the input on King's Avatar.. I'll keep the animation in mind. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. A great read, as always! I amazed at how many dramas you were able to finish, even while being more ruthless haha. I definitely also agree that after ten years (!) of watching dramas, and writing about them for eight, I don’t gravitate towards the same kinds of stories. Not that I don’t still love my rom-com fix – I definitely do – but I have such a low tolerance now for bad writing, toxic tropes, and stories and characters that I just don’t connect with. Perhaps it’s also just us getting older and wiser ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Totally with you on Search and Be Melo, I loved those two SO MUCH (and I really needed them, as a woman in 2019).

    A belated Happy New Year! โค

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    • Hey there Anisa! Thanks for stopping by! โค You're very possibly right.. with more life miles AND drama miles under our belts, it's highly likely that we've become a lot less tolerant of lazy writing. As for finishing many dramas.. I guess it comes with having a relatively simple life that doesn't involve a Significant Other or kids, all of which require a lot of time and attention..? ๐Ÿคฃ Happy New Year to you, may 2020 be fabulous for ya! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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  8. Pingback: Dropped: Graceful Family | The Fangirl Verdict

  9. You share a lot of the sentiments I have for many Dramas, just perhaps, I don’t take shows that seriously. There are hardly more than 5 in a year I really like and maybe one for my All-Time-Favs…China, Korea and Japan combined. But other than you I started to have a knack for XianXia last 2 years instead of staying with contemporary. And I’m more in C-Drama since K-Drama feel so “Western” these days. I always will come back for Slice of Life stories and not because something has good ratings since that ends with 99% disapointment.

    I agree with your sister that you proably will dislike The Untamed. I really liked it but more for all the side character interaction and OTP chemistry than for the story who pretty often looses focus. It is more something for the heart than the brain ;). And Yunmeng family got on my nerves for being such an immature pack. I would have killed them off ALL * evilgrin *.

    I dropped King’s Avatar. I liked the premise and the FL (and actress) very much but – sorry – YangYang still can’t act. I felt so often oblivious what his character felt, that I gave up. He is okay for RomCom but not this. Can that guy ever get truly angry or have deep feelings without that looks like acting? Probably partly also the director’s fault.

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    • 5 dramas that you really like in a year is a pretty good haul, I think! ๐Ÿ˜€ If I have 5 or 6 dramas in my A-list in a year, I consider it a good drama year. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Lol, let’s see if you and my sis are right about me disliking Untamed. I need to give it another try one of these days. It’s not my usual kind of show, but I’m curious to know why just about everyone is obsessed with the show. As for Yang Yang, that’s disappointing that he doesn’t improve in King’s Avatar.. I haven’t seen much of him, but I saw Love O2O, and I have to agree that his acting is on the stiff end of the scale. ๐Ÿ˜› I’ll still give King’s Avatar a try though, let’s see if the story is enough to help me get over the bump that is Yang Yang’s limited acting range..! ๐Ÿ˜…

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  10. I recently got into KDrama and was absolutely lost by all the choices. How does a girl pick a good one? Luckily, your website has been my go-to every time I get curious about a drama, and your ratings are always spot on. I know I can trust your score so I don’t waste time on duds, although I have finished a few dramas that you either didn’t finish or scored meh. If you are having an existential crisis, please know that your efforts are highly appreciated. Your reviews are comprehensive, well thought out and entertainingly dissected without being mean. That’s quite a feat. Thank you for taking the time to write these reviews.

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    • Aw, thanks for your support and encouragement, Annette! You are very kind. โค I'm so pleased to know that you enjoy the reviews and find them helpful, even though our feelings for a drama may not coincide exactly! ๐Ÿฅฐ Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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  11. Yay I was looking forward to your Year In Review! Glad that 2019 seems to be a good drama year for you. 2019 was a wonderful drama year for me – mainly because I had a few months’ free time where I watched way too many dramas (lol, to the exclusion of other shows). I watched so many good older ones based on your recommendations, and found so many that I love. My Ajusshi! ALSB! Misaeng! Prison Playbook! We Married As A Job! And so many other pretty good / thought provoking ones like Hundred Million Stars From The Sky, My Love From The Star, RIABB, This Week My Wife Will Have An Affair, In Time With You etc.

    Also, I’m now on Answer Me 1994 and I am obsessed! I love it so much. I’ll read your review & comment when I’m done but right now my heart is breaking cos I am team Chilbongie and Na-Jung is with Oppa.

    And, don’t worry about older shows. We all understand that tastes change. If you really want to, you could just add a postscript on your thought on it today and if you still agree with your rating then, but it’s not necessary. After all these are just your opinions and it’s ok to feel differently after a while! I look back at some of the shows I started out with and I probably wouldn’t like them as much today (ahem, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon).

    Lastly I’ve watched My First First Love – I thought it was just all right and dropped it halfway. I would tell you to spend your time watching other, better shows, haha. And I hope you do watch Diary of A Prosecutor because Lee Sun Kyun forever and forever. I intend to watch that one after AM1994, just for him!

    Hope 2020 will be great for you – normal life wise and drama life!

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    • Aw, YAY that you had a great drama year, MC! ๐Ÿ˜€ I feel so chuffed to have had some influence on your positive drama experience in 2019! ๐Ÿฅฐ Thanks for allowing me to persuade you to give those dramas a try! โค

      Lol, I know what you mean about SWDBS.. I feel the same way about BOF and Secret Garden! I was sucked in with both shows, and they'd felt completely cracky to me when I first watched them, and now, I find that I can watch neither show. I attempted a rewatch of Secret Garden some years back, and I couldn't make it through E1! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Thankfully, I never got around to writing reviews for either show because I watched them before I started the blog! ๐Ÿคฃ

      Thanks for the heads-up on My First First Love.. I already downloaded it, so I'll probably at least dip a toe in, just to see if I like it. I'll know to drop it fast(er), if it doesn't grab me, now that I know it didn't grab you! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And yes, may 2020 be great for us, in dramas and everything else too! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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  12. Hi Fangurl – Thanks for all of your 2019 reviews. The thoughtful care and consideration you put into them keeps me coming back for more. I appreciate that you have a safe space where drama obsessed viewers (like myself) can post their thoughts and feelings about all the different and varied dramas out there. What I like especially is the kindness and consideration you show all of us and let’s not forget to mention that your headers really rock.

    Now to 2019 โ€“ I had to go back and find my list which is pretty big given that I only watch Viki, ODK, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Kokowa.

    My personal favorites were:
    1. Longest Day in Changโ€™an โ€“ stunning visuals, acting and OST
    2. Story of Minglan โ€“ I was happily lost in this story for all 70+ episodes
    3. Perfume โ€“ Shin Sung Rok was hilarious | The Last Empress – what a crazy ride I would never have taken without your review
    4. Kill It โ€“ loved this | Partners for Justice 2 โ€“ better than season 1 which I also loved | Vagabond โ€“ I was tired for poor Lee Seung Gi
    5. Touch your Heart โ€“ chemistry was perfection | Evernight – Fei Yu and Yi Ren are a match made in heaven

    I also dropped a lot this year โ€“ Abyss, Hotel Del Luna, Guardian and Extraordinary You (I lasted all of 15 minutes on this one) to name a few. I also continued with my variety shows โ€“ Superman, Master in the House and added a new one which seems promising โ€“ Because I Want to Talk with Lee Dong Wook.

    For 2020 โ€“ I am already hooked on Crash Landing on You. It has all the basics that drew me to KDramas in the first place and so far it is delightful. I understand what you are saying above about Son Ye Jin (could be the remnants from Something in the Rain) but she is very, very good in this drama as is Hyun Bin. Writer Park Ji-Eun may pull off another classic drama as good as her My Love from the Star story.

    I am also looking forward to The Game: Towards Zero, The King, Eternal Monarch (by my favorite writer Kim Eun-Sook), Ssang Gap Poocha for Hwang Jung Eum, Call It Like You See It for Jang Hyuk and I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day for Park Min Young. Lots coming up in 2020!

    Happy New Year to you Fangurl!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks so much for your encouragement and appreciation, phl, I feel so.. valued! ๐Ÿฅฐ Thank you! โค Thanks too, for enjoying the headers.. I'm particularly proud of them coz I started with zero knowledge of photo editing and banner creation, so I'm extra chuffed that you singled them out for appreciation! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Sounds like you had a very solid drama year in 2019, though I didn't check out Perfume, Vagabond or Evernight. YAY that you checked out Last Empress because of my review, and ended up liking it! It really is a special kind of crazy, and I'm amused to realize that I rather enjoy that brand of crazy! ๐Ÿ˜†

      I've started on Crash Landing on You, and I'm happy to report that I'm enjoying it very much. You're absolutely right, I find that I have no objection to Son Ye Jin after all, in Crash, and she and Hyun Bin have been so much fun to watch. I'm behind (I'm just done E4), but I find myself looking forward to the next ep after finishing each episode, so that's a very good thing indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

      May we have a fabulous 2020, in dramas and all other things! โค

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  13. Thanks for the time you spend on this blog. I can only imagine how much time it takes, and I love your dedication to this work. I have been addicted to your reviews. I love reading them after watching a drama, and making comments to myself like โ€œyes totally agreeโ€ or โ€œshe has a point but I still enjoyed itโ€. No one around me watches kdrama (I am working on it though), so every time I read a review, it feels like you are talking to me personally ๐Ÿ™‚
    Wish you a prosperous year !!!

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    • Aw, thanks for hanging out on the blog, aliaghiba! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m so glad that you enjoy the reviews, and I know what you mean, about not having drama buddies in real life to share drama thoughts with. It’s why I started the blog in the first place, as well! So feel free to come on here and share your drama thoughts, we drama fans gotta support one another! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Wishing you a lovely 2020! โค

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  14. Ah! Kfangirl! I just love you so much. I’m in awe of your patience in dissecting dramas, the depth of your insight into things I find hard to articulate and sometimes even understand, your effortless descriptive power, the interestingness and beauty of your writing and the warmth and love that you so genuinely radiate. Muah!๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜. You are doing awesome. Please keep at it. You have no idea how valuable, inspiring, awing and special you and your blog are to me! Have an amazing 2020!โค

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    • Aw, thank you so much YayteeLoves, I feel the love and support! ๐Ÿฅฐโค You are very kind, and I’m so glad that you enjoy the reviews, KISSES RIGHT BACK ATCHA! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜ I hope the blog will continue to bring you as much enjoyment in the new year, and may 2020 be fantastic for ya! HUGS! โค

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  15. Hi!
    I enjoy your reviews and have a similar taste. I am quite new to K Drama and I have realised that I love the serious type of drama with mature actors , ofcourse with a few good fluffy romances thrown in here and there. This year , two dramas that I really really enjoyed were ‘ When the Camellia blooms’ and ‘ VIP’. The latter was so intense and heart breaking but every episode pulled me like a magnet. It was truly a great experience. I don’t kno if everyone will have the same opinion as me though! Happy New Year to you and keep writing!

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    • Hi Girija! A belated welcome to dramaland – and the blog! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve started on VIP, and I must agree with you, it sucks you in quite quickly! I rarely watch back-to-back episodes, but I did watch a couple of eps back-to-back, with VIP. That’s saying something! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Since you mentioned you like more serious dramas, have you watched My Mister? I loved that one! โค Thanks for enjoying the reviews, and Happy New Year to you too! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  16. Great post as always!! Looking at your post I realised how little dramas I’ve watched this year so it’s always nice to read your posts to help me pick out the ones that are truly great hehe. I’m also really interested in Chief of Staff and it has a House of Cards vibe to it so I’m really keen to see it.

    I know I recommended HDL to you but I’ll admit, the OTP chemistry does NOT get any better ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’ve kinda just ignored the romantic scenes and focused on the other parts which really intrigued me, especially the character of Man Wol and all the other characters working in the hotel.

    But anyway, have a great 2020!

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    • Thanks for stopping by Simeon, always great to see ya! โค I hope you find some worthy watches from this post – I did enjoy a nice number of dramas in 2019, and hopefully you'll find a few intriguing enough to add to your drama plate this year! ๐Ÿ™‚ Dang, bummer that the OTP chemistry doesn't improve in HDL.. I've not yet seen Yeo Jin Goo in a romantic role that really grabbed me. Crowned Clown worked coz the romance was restrained, sweet and muted, and it was also not a primary focus of the story. I do agree though, that there are other elements that are interesting enough to make it worth the watch. I'm about halfway through at the moment, but have to pause because I'm traveling in the next little while. Let's see how I like it overall, when I get back! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • My drama plate is just ever-increasing ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ

        I haven’t seen Crowned Clown but I’ve seen alot of buzz over it! It’s interesting how chemistry works on screen, huh. Yeo Jin Goo and IU both did pretty well individually (with IU definitely killing it) but I guess its not enough to create chemistry that doesn’t exist…? I’m glad you’re still enjoying the show though!!

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        • I thought Crowned Clown was fantastic, but not everyone loves it.. It’s worth a try, I think. Yeo Jin Goo is amazing in it. I was sucked in within the first episode! And yes, chemistry is a weird thing. Perceived chemistry as well. Whichever it is, I’m not feeling it between Yeo Jin Goo and IU in HDL, sadly. ๐Ÿ˜…

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          • Right! There’s also the thing with perceived chemistry. I usually don’t focus too much on romantic tension (I’m just too jaded maybe LOL) but when the chemistry is good…like with IU and the second lead guy…it’s hard to ignore ๐Ÿ˜†

            I’ll give Crowned Clown a try! Hopefully it drops on Netflix though HAHA

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            • Oh yes, IU’s chemistry with the 2nd lead is hard to ignore indeed! It’s the kind of thing you just can’t miss, and it perplexes me that she has this chemistry with the second lead, and then a much more muted sort of connection with the actual male lead! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜…

              Yes, I think Crowned Clown is definitely worth a try! I personally enjoyed it a lot, and I hope you will too! ๐Ÿ˜€

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              • Yeah same!! And the thing is, IU and the second lead doesnt even try that hard. Whereas with the main lead…it seems like everytime they’re in a romantic scene I just fastforward it LOL.

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                • HAHA! ๐Ÿ˜† I haven’t actually fast forwarded anything in Hotel Del Luna yet, but I must admit that I got to the confession of love part of the show, and it didn’t bring on the feels for me, in the least. ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿ˜… It’s still solid overall, so imagine how much better it would be, if IU and Yeo Jin Goo actually shared good chemistry! ๐Ÿ˜

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                  • I know right! It would’ve been perfect (to me anyway, I know many others who would disagree) but yeah, such a bummer. Have you finished it yet?

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                    • I’ve been going slow on it.. I just watched ep 9 yesterday! I’m watching it with a friend, so it’s extra slow.. but I think now that I’m past the halfway point, it should be TOO long before I hit the finish line! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  17. I think you did have a pretty good drama year, and I do consider this year overall was better than last year ๐Ÿ˜Š I felt there was a wider variety of topics, and with some shows a demonstrated move towards a touch more โ€˜realismโ€™ and dispensing with some of the usual tropes and even the order of how a drama would normally unfold. Thereโ€™s no doubt the production values across all our drama producing countries was on the up and up in 2019.

    My top five for the year are:

    Changโ€™an
    Minglan
    Romance is a Bonus Book
    Touch Your Heart
    Partners for Justice 2

    Manpuku, Kingdom and Chief of Staff are just outside by a little toe nail ๐Ÿ˜‚

    I am approaching 500 shows now and Iโ€™m not sure I have settled on any viewing formula as such. Of the shows I am currently watching, I do have to say that Crash Landing on You is a personal favourite. It is very funny and pokes fun at kdramas left, right and centre. Iโ€™m a sucker for this type of genre going back for as far as I can remember. Then there is Diary of a Prosecutor – itโ€™s very different, I think quite clever and a lead pair who really bring it home.

    A year of drama watching is not complete without your fabulous and insightful reviews kfangurl. To this end, in his play Wit Without Money, the great playwright and poet John Fletcher said โ€œspeak boldly, and speak truly, shame the devil!โ€ May you continue to do so in 2020 ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿพ๐Ÿฅ‚

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    • You’re absolutely right, Sean! 2019 did give us a wider range of topics, and yes, I did feel that we saw more dramas departing from the usual tropes as well. Both very good things indeed! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m leery of zombie shows, so I’m still staying away from Kingdom despite the raves, but! I’ve got Chief of Staff on my list to check out, which is a big step for me! 2019 will always be the year that I blew my own mind when I found myself enjoying – gasp! – a politics themed drama! ๐Ÿ˜†

      Glad to hear that you’re also enjoying Crash Landing on you! I was a little wary going in, but happily, I’ve been finding the drama very slurpable! ๐Ÿ˜€ It really is funny, and it’s an easy, amusing watch that still manages to bring the feels. I really hope Show holds up to the end!

      Aw, thank you for the empowering and supportive wishes, Sean! Thank YOU, for your insightful contributions to our drama discussions, and for sharing nuggets of your colorful life experiences with us. This place wouldn’t be the same without you too! โค Cheers to an even better 2020! ๐Ÿฅ‚๐Ÿฅณ

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  18. I can totally relate to our drama tastes changing as we grow up. I used to squeal a lot more for fluffy dramas when I was younger (I can’t believe I watched Boys Over Flowers not once, but three times???), but then I realize there’s only so many I can take! I’ve started appreciating ones that have more substance and reserving fluff for times when I’m in a slump and just want something to make me feel warm, like watching Christmas movies during the holidays.

    I just finished VIP, and I honestly couldn’t stop watching until maybe near the end, when cliffhangers and secrets were more or less revealed. It really was sad, and I was often frustrated and hated characters, but I guess I was supposed to. I’m still watching The Untamed; I’ll admit, it seemed boring the first few chapters because they were setting up backstory and not much seemed to be happening, but then I got sucked in!

    I’m just grateful and happy to read your reviews! Even if we might have different drama tastes, it’s nice to read little details you caught and see what makes or breaks a drama for you. Because of you, I’ve started dropping dramas completely even with a few episodes to spare because, well, there’s more dramas to watch. Here’s to a great 2020!

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    • I feel you, rainmakermelody! I can’t believe I was ever sucked in to BOF, since I can’t bear to watch it now! ๐Ÿ˜† Our drama tastes sure can change in a big way, over time! I’m watching VIP now, and I feel very nicely sucked in, just like you were. I haven’t gotten to the point of hating characters (yet?), and I’m still curious about why these people are doing the things they do, so it’s still all good for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m curious to see if I manage to get sucked in to Untamed like everyone else.. it looks like I’ll have to be patient though, coz the set-up can take quite long, with these long Cdramas. ๐Ÿ˜…

      Thanks for enjoying the reviews, and YAY, that you now feel comfortable dropping dramas! I used to be such a completist, and drag myself to the finish line even if I hated a drama. I have no idea why I did that! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Being able to drop a drama is a very useful skill for a drama fan, so congratulations on achieving that in 2019! ๐Ÿฅณ Cheers to a great 2020 indeed! โค

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      • Hey kfangurl! I know this post is from last year (cue eye rolls), but I wanted to give an update on The Untamed (through a terribly rambly post, so apologies and warning if I don’t make sense)! I just finished it and really liked it. For context, I wasn’t aware of the novel nor am I a fan of historical/period dramas (although I see you called this one xianxia).

        I actually started Untamed in October, but I shelved it away for literally three months (Viki watch history doesn’t lie to me). It’s a bit sad that this drama didn’t grab me and keep me wanted to watch episode after episode, which I attribute to Chinese dramas always taking their time setting up background. I made the mistake of returning to the drama where I left off (around ep 9-10?), where I only recalled basic plotlines at that point. I was pretty confused from all the episodes, and the initial setups didn’t make sense at all because this drama does the thing where it starts present day, and then jumps back into previous time from the very beginning. Basically a lot of things didn’t make sense to me. Some CGI is laughable (but not as bad as Guardian, I’ll give it that).

        I think it was around ep 12/13 where it was a turning point and I actually wanted to keep watching to find out what happens. I nearly teared up soon afterwards. The plot starts to pick up some more, and it just kept snowballing, and I became hooked. I thought it was pretty interesting watching things unfold.

        Something I noticed is that I had to take in more of the little details. Something a character mentioned in passing might become an “a-hah!” moment later (it happened quite often, and I actually messaged my friend when I had one of those moments and she laughed at my live reaction). I think most of the characters were set up nicely so that I could feel some sort of emotions for them. Some of the acting takes time to warm up too [Lan Wangji (played by Wang Yibo) seems stoic (well, it’s literally his character’s personality), but there’s development and little nuances to watch for. Wen Ning (played by Paul Yu) just grew on me, and I literally told my friend that I would “protect this baby at all costs”].

        I really enjoyed seeing all the character relationships evolving throughout this drama, so much so that I could feel my heart tear a bit during some scenes. Of course there’s the relationship between the two leads (oh boy), but there’s also other family relationships and friendships. There’s some quotes that hit a bit too close to heart.

        Once I finished the drama, I really went back to watch the beginning episodes (and then it made a bit more sense). I would actually rewatch this. If you do finish the drama, the OST would make more sense (there’s so many character theme songs, and they’re all lovely and SAD) but if not, the OST is still wonderful to listen to.

        There is a (I believe) 20-episode “special cut” being released to make the storyline more understandable, and it’s available on YouTube. From the few episodes I’ve seen so far, they’ve taken most significant scenes and cut them together so it makes more sense (it also didn’t do the timeline jump). I’d say if you gave up on the drama, this might be a good “summary” to watch.

        I don’t really know what one thing kept me going. It’s probably a mix, and I really don’t watch these types of dramas. I’m really glad I did though, because now I’m having trouble finding another drama to fill this emptiness right now. Anyway, if you made it this far, thanks for reading! I think, like you said, you have to be in a certain mood/mindset. I’m glad I gave myself the chance to thoroughly enjoy this rather than rushing through it (like I normally would when I don’t have holiday breaks). I really do hope you give it a chance!

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        • Oh, thanks for sharing your experience with The Untamed, rainmakermelody! ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I know more about what to expect, and also, I do agree that one needs to be in the right mood for it. At least that’s true for me, since I don’t generally gravitate to this genre. I plan to give it another try, after I’ve finished giving Love and Destiny a second try. I went back to it, and I’m enjoying it more than I did previously, so I’m hanging in there, for now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  19. The drama I think you missed seeing is My Fellow Citizens. I enjoyed it immensely. It’s well written, well acted, very funny, with a tight twisty plot. Never a dull moment, with a great villain and a wonderful cast of supporting characters.

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  20. Thank you for your year end review. Although I don’t comment often, I have been an avid reader of your blog. I always enjoy your take when you dissect a drama.

    Hope you never feel frustrated to what you perceived as inconsistencies on your taste. Like many of previous posters have mentioned, we are ever evolving creature. In drama terms, we would’ve call it ‘character development’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

    May drama God brings us many great 2020 dramas! Thanks for your great work. Fighting!!!

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    • Character development! I LOVE IT! Thank you Yoona, for framing my evolving drama tastes in such an apt way! โค Thanks for enjoying the reviews, I so appreciate the support. ๐Ÿฅฐ Cheers to a great 2020 indeed! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  21. Great list! I always am surprised how you manage so many shows despite a busy personal life! It’s quite inspiring!
    I loved Romance Is A Bonus Book, and liked Her Private Life (the only 2 shows I watched)…I’m at different episode level of Be Melodramatic (So good) and Crash Landing On You (getting better with each ep!)…I dropped Nokdu (same reason…cute in the beginning but the tonal shift was getting uninteresting). Well Intended Love โ€” hahaha…a drama to be avoided at ALL COST! I think you can also add Psychopath Diary…I watched 1st 2 eps and it is interesting. Search WWW, Dazzling, Strangers From Hell, Fiery Priest and VIP are on my plan list!

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    • Aw thanks snow! I manage so many dramas mostly because I don’t have a husband or kids to take up my time, lol. YAY that you loved RIABB, I found that such a heartwarming, sweet drama. โค Be Melodramatic really IS so good (yay that you're watching it!), and woot, I'm enjoying Crash Landing on You too! Hope Show manages to keep it up. ๐Ÿ™‚ And OMG yes PLEASE avoid Well Intended Love, since I think our drama tastes are rather similar. ๐Ÿ˜† Happy New Year, dear snow, may 2020 be a great year for ya! โค

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I live for your drama reviews, they are the only ones worth reading . Thankyou so much for always sharing …

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  23. It looks like you had a pretty solid year all around with lots of wonderful dramas that were enjoyed ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a really great drama year. And I don’t think you need an intervention, I actually completed 40 dramas myself (not counting the dropped ones). Or maybe we both need an intervention? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Oh WOW. 40 completed dramas?! I think I may not need an intervention, Kay, but perhaps you do? ๐Ÿ˜‚ That’s some very impressive drama prowess, salute! Yes, it was a very solid drama year all around I do think, with a little something for everyone. May 2020 be as good – or even better! – to us all! ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • Haha, yeah, I don’t know if it’s a bad or a good thing that that number is actually down from the previous couple years! Ah well, I love my dramas! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, let’s hope 2020 is an even better drama year for all of us ๐Ÿ™‚

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  24. Dear kfangurl,

    Thank you for another insightful end of the year review. I totally agree with your comments about our changing drama tastes. When I first started watching dramas 7 years ago, I relied on the recommendations of my friend who introduced me to the drama universe. As time went by, I found myself relying more on my own judgement. Yet, I still like to read other people’s opinions when I choose a drama to watch. It makes me feel like a part of a worldwide community. Plus, sometimes I end up watching (and liking) a drama that was flying too low on my drama radar.
    I like to rewatch dramas that I liked. I noticed that some dramas hold extremely well to multiple viewings (Chuno!!!), and others are better watched only once. I used to think about the elements that made a great drama (or a book, or a piece of music), and now I only have to ask myself a question: Is this something I want to watch (read, listen to) again? If the answer is yes, then the drama must be good enough for me (at least until my answer changes, haha!)
    I was very satisfied with the 2019 drama offerings. I like sageuks, so there were a couple of worthy ones to watch. Nokdu Flower was really a standout with its writing, directing, and acting. It is not an easy watch because it is quite dark and violent. The violence, however, is not gratuitous, and it is essential part of the tragic story the drama tells. The character journeys were fascinating to watch. The subtle romance was not a distraction, but skillfully integrated into the main story line. Also the female characters were excellent.
    I am interested in checking out Be Melodramatic because of your glowing review and because Son Seok Koo is in it.
    Other 2019 dramas on my radar are Pegassus Market, Haechi, and Hotel del Luna.
    2020 dramas I am looking forward to: Kingdom Season 2!

    Happy New year!

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    • Hi there Snow Flower! Happy New Year to you too! โค

      Indeed, I remember that you love sageuks, and with 2019 giving us such a nice range of sageuks to choose from, I'm not surprised that you're solidly satisfied with your drama year! ๐Ÿ˜€ YAY that you're planning to check out Be Melodramatic, I think it's very unique and refreshing. And thanks to your glowing comments, I’m more intrigued by Nokdu Flower than I was before! Win and win! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Oh yes, I do think that Chuno would hold up to multiple viewings! โค I've only seen it twice, but I enjoyed my 2nd viewing so much more than the first, that I imagine it would be able to stand up to multiple viewings too. Plus, Jang Hyuk in it is just magnificent. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿ˜

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    • Having just now finished Nokdu Flower, I very much want to second your opinion. It is very dense, bloody, and tragic in grand proportions, but spectacular and epic, passionate and deeply felt. The cast was made up of actors that really know how to inhabit their characters, not just spectacularly good looking people, though there are enough of them, but artists who know how to wring the juice out of the power of history, and the twisted good and evil brought to the fore of the human condition existing side by side and at times within the same individual in periods of extreme crisis. The cast top to bottom was simply terrific, but given this is about bests of 2019. I believe a special shout out to the leads, Han Ye Ri (the benchmark for what a female lead in a historical drama ought to project), Jo Jung Suk, whom I have not seen in other roles, but look forward to seeing again, and the wonderful, almost irresistible character actor Choi Moo Sung, who plays General Nokdu, or Jeon Bung Jun, the charismatic, inspiring, and sagacious leader of the Donghak rebellion at the core of the series’ historical arc.

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      • Wow. Thanks for the insights, BE! You certainly make me more intrigued than ever, about Nokdu Flower. It sounds like a really meaty watch, albeit a darker one. I need to bump it up my viewing list, a little bit! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, I do love Choi Moo Sung, Jo Jung Suk and Han Ye Ri, so hearing that they do such a fantastic job in the show definitely is bonus! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  25. It sounds as if you and I have been on a very similar trajectory this year (which considering out similar taste in shows does not surprise me in the least). I too have become ruthless in what I will spend my precious little viewing time on and I too have spent the past year working on my physical health. I started karate a little over a year ago and I have fallen in love with it. I am now an orange belt and spend 3 nights a week in the dojo (rather than watching dramas). I also have taken tennis back up (after a 12 year hiatus) and spend 3 mornings a week playing. And then there are my 2 amazing daughters that I have to be present for (especially because my big girl is a senior in high school and will be leaving me soon to go to college – sniff!). So the one thing in my life that I had to give up was dramas.

    I have only seen two!!!! Of the โ€œOnes Worth Making Time Forโ€ – how is that even possible? But now I have a wonderfully helpful list of shows that I know are worthy to watch and that I will enjoy because you have never steered me wrong in the past. How wonderful is that!?! I agree with the above comment that there is no reason to be embarrassed about past reviews – part of life is constantly growing and evolving and shows that we once loved may look different to use years later but AT the time they were something we loved and people reading them will understand that. It is like when you look back at old family photos and see yourself in a ridiculous outfit (that at the time was the height of fashion and you were so proud of) and now you are mortified that you ever wore it.

    I can only speak for myself but I am eternally grateful that you continue to blog. I am sincere that of all the blogs that I used to read daily from Dramabeans on down – yours is the only one I still do read. I have not read any other reviews in years. But though I donโ€™t comment on your reviews of late I still do read them ALL. I donโ€™t comment because I have not seen them and feel like I have no real contribution to make. Once I do start watching some of these shows I will of course go back to the reviews and may have plenty to say – so be warned.

    I hope you have a peaceful New Year and that you are happy and healthy. You are greatly appreciated.

    Amy

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    • Amy! It’s always lovely to see you! โค Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ˜˜

      Also, are you another me from a parallel universe or something? ๐Ÿ˜€ I'm amazed that our drama tastes are always so aligned, and I'm even more amazed that you also invested more time in health and fitness in 2019!!! Hi5! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜„ Congrats on your progress with karate and tennis! I have been on a much "milder" fitness kick, focusing on Pilates and weightlifting. I'm hoping weightlifting will not only make my muscles stronger, but my heart as well, so that I will eventually have greater cardio strength, and be able take on more cardio intensive activities – maybe even like karate and tennis ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks so much for continuing to keep up with this blog, even while life has gotten so much busier for you. I'm honored to be writing the only blog that you still do read! โค Thank you! I do hope that when you do have the chance to get back to watching dramas, that you'll end up enjoying the ones that you've shortlisted based on my reviews. The sense of responsibility is real! ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‰

      That's a perfect analogy, some of the old dramas I used to love once upon a time, really are like retro fashion items that were all the rage in the past, but which now look outdated and ridiculous. Love it! ๐Ÿ˜† That certainly helps put a fun – and funny! – spin on my drama evolution! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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  26. Oh yes, our tastes do evolve indeed but in different ways, depending on what the starting points was. I came into the drama world already a grumpy old curmudgeon, with years of TV show credits, so my taste hasn’t really changed very much in the past 11 years or so. I’ve just become more picky and less tolerant of the usual tropes, which I wasn’t too hot on to begin with. ๐Ÿ˜€

    As the years go by, I find myself watching less and less kdramas. Most of them just don’t ‘do’ the trick anymore. I’ve only watched a handful of those on your lists, as you well know. ๐Ÿ™‚ Still, I truck on, picking up any show that catches my fancy, some of which even turn out to be totally grand.

    Wishing you lots of happiness and healt for the coming year! May 2020 bring us less shows that are duds and more of those that shine.

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    • Lol. You aren’t as grumpy a curmudgeon as you make yourself out to be, Timescout! ๐Ÿ˜† You just know what you like, and you don’t mess around. I, on the other hand, tend to be much more easily swayed when I see other people loving a drama. It just makes me curious to find out whether I’ll like it too, which sometimes results in me finding a gem that I wouldn’t have otherwise, but most times, it just results in disappointment and wasted drama hours. ๐Ÿ˜…

      Yay that you’re still trying out shows and finding some gems here and there! I appreciate your company out here in the dramaverse! And yes, may 2020 bring us more excellent dramas to enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  27. Hi KFangirl,
    I am happy I stumbled into your blog as it has helped me set priorities for my viewing. I am sure we all appreciate your work here and also highly value your opinions. Nobody will look askance at any older reviews. Remember how detailed they are. There are more a “college cliff note” than just an opinion. I read the review for each story I start now as I know what I personally enjoy and I can tell if elements in the show/series will be an entertainment o an irritant.

    I am now 77 years old and have multiple health problems so literally I have no time to waste on poorly developed shows. I appreciate your sophisticated sense of cultural appropriateness and also use that as one measurement of my potential enjoyment.

    Being a newcomer to this place I have puzzled sometimes, is it me, is it the acting, did I understand the plot correctly? It puts me on my tiptoes sometimes.

    And yes, your change has matured, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
    Thank you for all of your hard work here.

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    • Hi Lionel, thanks for your kind words, I’m glad you found me, out here in the interwebs! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m so pleased to know that you’ve found the reviews helpful, and that your drama journey has become smoother as a result! That certainly makes me feel useful ๐Ÿ˜‰

      โ€œWhen I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.โ€ Such wise words, thank you Lionel! It is so true, that even as drama fans, we go through a “growing up” process. Even as you continue to explore this weird and wonderful world of dramas, I hope you’ll enjoy the journey, and may 2020 bring you not only great dramas to enjoy, but improved health and well-being too. Cheers to ya! ๐Ÿฅ‚๐Ÿ˜Š

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  28. Hi kfangurl, just want to let you know how much I appreciate your excellent reviews. Kamsahamnida! Keep up the good work! I do hope you will never get tired of it. Be assured that what you are doing is darn good and helpful ๐Ÿ˜˜

    As I only recently started watching Korean and Chinese dramas , I am so very glad I stumbled upon your wonderful blog ๐Ÿ˜ I closely follow your reviews as I highly respect your insightful opinions and discerning, good taste.

    Happy New Year! May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness (to quote Neil Gaiman) and many, many awesome shows! Blessings.

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    • Hi there Sumiko! Happy New Year to you too! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m so glad you found me, along with the wonderful world of dramas! I’m really happy to know that you’ve found the reviews helpful – and I’m thinking that also means that we have somewhat similar tastes in dramas! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you for the very lovely new year wishes, and likewise, I wish you a wonderful 2020, filled with happiness and uplifting dreams, drama and otherwise. โค

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  29. Happy New Year, Fangirl! I’m sending massive hugs to let you know I appreciate you, your blog, and your end of the year review! I found you at the beginning of my k-journey (5 years ago?!) and you have always brought a thoughtfulness and loving heart to all of your reviews and comments.

    There is no doubt that we evolve …as humans and as drama viewers. I would not fret about early reviews; I feel they capture the excitement and the wide eyed wonder we can’t help but bring to those early experiences.

    Wishing you the best in 2020๐Ÿ’‹

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    • I went back, Fangirl, and looked at my completed 2019 dramas on MDL. Out of the 21 dramas I completed, only 8 were kdramas, and out of that I found only two, Kingdom and One Spring Night, that were truly “grab-me-by-the-throat-and-not-let-me-go” dramas for me. Interestingly enough, they were both broadcast on Netflix here.

      2019 became the year I really broadened my viewing experience! I had just as many doramas as kdramas, and the balance fell between China and Taiwan.

      Your reviews definitely empowered me to step outside my comfort zone and explore other countries productionsโคโค Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Mary! Happy New Year to you, and I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to reply to your comments, particularly because both of your comments made me smile. โค

        First of all, thank you so much for your loving comment. That made me feel very appreciated indeed. ๐Ÿฅฐ Thank YOU, for helping to create a welcoming environment for me to share my thoughts as well. As bloggers, we are also affected / shaped / influenced by the kind of comments that we receive, and I'm so blessed to have you guys, who are all so supportive, kind and thoughtful! โค That does help to keep me in a creative, positive space as I keep writing, and that is something I appreciate a lot. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Also! I'm so pleased that you've decided to venture beyond k-shores to explore other dramas! While kdramas will always have a special place in my heart because that's where my drama journey began, I'm so glad that I've explored other countries' dramas too, because there are some gems that I would have not experienced otherwise. I hope you will have a fantastic 2020, not just in finding wonderful dramas to enjoy, but in real life, with lots of happiness, health and well-being. โค๐Ÿ˜˜

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