Dear kfangurl: How do you choose which dramas to watch?

Might I spy with my little eye.. a drama that’s worth watching..?

Beez writes:

Dear Kfangurl,

I need help! I know my K-bloom isn’t totally off the rose but I feel as if it’s hanging on by only a couple of wilting petals. I’m not tired of Kdramas but I find I can’t easily decide what to watch these days. At this stage in the game, where my biases (actors that I watched in ANYthing they starred in next) are getting older so filling less leading roles, I find myself with less that I’m interested in watching unless the synopsis snags me with a unique subject matter or hobby or career/lifestyle that I’m interested in. So how do you (I’ve noticed you’ve become more selective) choose the shows that are worth your busy time?

For example, I see you reviewed My Unfamiliar Family. I haven’t read your review yet because 1) I never read reviews of shows I have no intention of watching and 2) I never read reviews beforehand of a show I intend to watch. So looking at the synopsis on AsianWiki for My Unfamiliar Family – sounds like a total snoozefest. And I learned to never rely on video teasers as they are totally random and can set me up for disappointment when a teaser is hilarious but the show turns out to be a drama and vice versa. So, how do you decide what’s up next to, not necessarily review, but to watch?

Well. Let’s talk about this over a drink, shall we?

Dear Beez,

I feel your pain. Dramaland’s serving up more dramas than ever before, so there’s so much more to sift through, to get to the shows that are worth watching. And from what you say, this appears to be complicated by the fact that as a drama veteran, you’re feeling a touch of.. fatigue?

In this post, I’m going to share how I pick the dramas to add to my drama plate, as well as what I do, when I find myself in a potential drama rut.

Everyone, if you have other ideas, experiences or insights to share, please tell us about it in the comments! Sharing really is caring. 🥰

MY PERSONAL TIPS

The litmus test

Whenever I feel a drama rut coming on, I always wonder if it’s me, or Dramaland at large. Like, have I really fallen out of love with dramas, or are the currently airing dramas just not working for me, y’know?

I put on an episode of a show that I know I love, like Coffee Prince, or Healer, not to watch it, necessarily, but just to see if I still feel the drama feels. Gotta check if my internal equipment’s working, heh.

So far, I’ve always concluded that my internal equipment’s just fine (I get sucked into my old faves within a minute or two, usually), and then I know that I do still love dramas – PHEW. 😅 I just need to find the right one, is all.

Know your Stage

In my post about my evolution as a drama viewer, I concluded that I pretty much live in Stage 3, where I don’t blindly inhale anything and everything just because “Oppa” is in it.

I’ve come to the realization that the most important thing to me, when watching a drama, is the writing. If the writing sucks, no amount of Melty Oppa can make up for it. Worse, enduring a show that I dislike can drain me of Oppa Loyalty.

Exhibit A: While I was in Stage 2, I happily endured Heirs for the love of Kim Woo Bin. I thought Show was really bad, but I was a happy fangirl.

Exhibit B: After I’d moved on to Stage 3, I attempted to endure Uncontrollably Fond, also for the love of Kim Woo Bin. That endeavor was awful and painful, and I found myself approaching each new episode with a new level of dread. I ended up dropping the show pretty late in the game. But it was too late, coz Show had drained me of almost all of my Woob loyalty. Yikes.

To avoid a similar catastrophe, I now gravitate towards Shows that have a reputation for being well-written, and avoid the ones that are known for being hot messes – even if Oppa is in it. (And this is why I still haven’t watched Tell Me What You Saw, despite my deep affection for Jang Hyuk.)

So I say, know your Stage, and navigate accordingly. What do you like about the shows you like? The writing? Execution? Music? OTP chemistry? The more you understand your own drama tastes, the more successful you’d be, in picking dramas to enjoy.

Keep your ear to the ground

The next question is, how do I know what kind of reputation a show is making for itself, as it airs?

Ratings really don’t tell us anything except for what Korean TV audiences seem to be in the mood for, and often, what Korean TV audiences are in the mood for, doesn’t have anything to do with what I would enjoy on my screen. Case in point: Healer received low ratings in Korea, but international audiences mostly love the show. Imagine not watching Healer, just because it got low ratings – the horror. 😱

My drama spidey senses are fed by what I see on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and comments on the blog. If I see lots of people gushing about a particular show, that’s when I sit up and take notice, and start to evaluate whether this might be a show for me, too.

As an example, I was going to give Mystic Pop-up Bar a miss because it just didn’t sound that interesting to me, but because several of you spoke so enthusiastically about the show in your conversations on the blog, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. And so I checked it out despite my initial lack of interest, and ended up enjoying it very much.

..Which brings me to my next point.

Know your taste – but keep an open mind

It’s important to know what you like and don’t like, but it’s important to also keep an open mind.

In my head, this extends to both genre and actor.

Genre

For example, I generally like rom-coms, melodramas and slice-of-life stuff. And I generally avoid medical shows, sports, politics and revenge stories, either from a natural lack of interest (politics), or from having been disappointed by attempts to watch those genres in the past (medical, sports, revenge stories).

Yet, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Hospital Playlist (medical), Stove League (sports), Designated Survivor: 60 Days (politics), and Money Flower (revenge), all by keeping my ear to the ground and following the positive buzz, as well as keeping an open mind and making exceptions, even though I didn’t naturally gravitate towards these genres.

Actor

In terms of actors, there are certain actors and actresses that I mostly feel underwhelmed by, and therefore, when I hear that they are headlining a particular drama, that actually reduces my interest in the show rather than increase it. But I’ve found that sometimes, it’s worth it to make an exception.

For example, I’d actually felt quite underwhelmed by Lee Bo Young as an actress for years, after seeing her for the first time in 2005’s Save Your Last Dance For Me. It wasn’t until I’d heard so many good things about My Daughter Seo Young that I decided to give it a try, and in the end, that’s the show that completely changed my mind about Lee Bo Young as an actress. I now think she’s great.

Similar thing with Nam Goong Min, whom I’d felt quite meh towards for years. He’d always struck me as very vanilla and uninteresting, and I often felt like I was just watching him play different variations of the same character. And then, when everyone fell in love with him for playing villains and zany characters, I didn’t manage to get on that bandwagon either. *cue sad music as I twiddle my thumbs in the corner all by my lonesome self* BUT, I loved him in Stove League, and have now officially gotten over my Nam Goong Min allergy.

Sometimes, there are actors that don’t make a final breakthrough in my head, in terms of their acting abilities, but who manage solid performances in a particular show because the role is suited to their abilities, &/or the PD does a great job guiding their performance. Those are worth making an exception for, too.

For example, I generally don’t care much for Go Ara as an actress in the various roles that I’ve seen her in, but I truly loved her in Answer Me, 1994, and I’m so glad that I didn’t miss out on that show because of my aversion to Go Ara.

Yay for making exceptions!

Caveat

As a caveat, though, I just wanted to say that it’s still helpful to know what’s a hard pass for you. For example, even though I like to keep an open mind, I know that horror is really not my thing, and that stories about cults aren’t my thing either. And because I know that forcing myself to watch those shows would make me miserable &/or affect the quality of my sleep, I simply don’t watch ’em, even if people say they’re excellent (like in the case of Kingdom, and Save Me).

Know your friends’ tastes

Since my drama spidey senses are often fed by my friends’ reactions to dramas, I’ve found that it’s really useful to understand my friends’ drama tastes.

If I know a friend’s drama taste is quite similar to my own, then if said friend gushes enthusiastically about a show, I know to sit up and pay serious attention quickly, because there’s a good chance I might like the same show too.

Conversely, if I know a friend’s drama taste is quite different from my own, then if this friend gushes enthusiastically about a drama, I know to take it with a pinch of salt, because, while there’s a chance I might like the show in question, there’s a good chance it wouldn’t work for me as well.

Understanding my friends’ drama tastes – an appreciation which continues to evolve, just as my friends and I continue to evolve – has helped me sift through the spazz, to find the dramas that are more likely to work for me than others.

That said, I’ve also learned that we are all unique, and so even the most similar of drama buddies can and do have polarizing responses to the same show. But, y’know, that’s okay; we can still be friends. ❤️ It’s one of the things that keeps the dramaverse so interesting!

Be sensitive to your mood

There are basically three options, once you get started on a show and have watched enough of it to give you a feel for it: shelve, drop, or continue.

If you’re feeling it enough, it’s a no-brainer to continue. If you hate it, then it makes sense to drop it. But sometimes, the answer is neither.

Sometimes, it’s a mood thing, and you’re just not in the right brain space for a particular kind of show, for right now. I’ve learned from experience that rather than force myself to continue watching something because my brain recognizes that it’s a good show even though my heart’s not feeling it, the better thing to do, is to shelve it for another mood and another time.

Rather than end up frustrated with a show now because it just doesn’t match my mood, it’s a far better thing, I think, to save it for another time and space, where I might just love it yet.

Take a break – sometimes

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that can be true of our dramas too. Sometimes, when we’re feeling drama fatigued, what we really need is a break from our beloved dramas.

What that break looks like is different for everyone. It could be a deep dive into variety shows, it could be exploring movies, or it could be exploring dramas from other countries. I personally find food videos on YouTube a very nice change of pace from dramas – partly because nobody’s expecting me to write about the food videos that I watch, ha.

What I’ve found is that a break from dramas can do a really good job of making the experience of watching a drama feel fresh and fun again, when I do find my way back to them. My longest break from dramas has tended to be about a month at a time, almost on an annual basis. But yours could be completely different, and that’s perfectly fine.

It’s most important that you follow your heart, so that dramas feel more fun and enjoyable to you.

IN CLOSING

I hope you guys found this glimpse into my drama management methods useful in helping you figure out what might work for you, as you streamline the way you pick your dramas to watch.

As always, if you guys have other tips, perspectives, or insights to share, please tell us about it in the comments! 😊

I hope this helps!

Love! ❤

~kfangurl

Fighting~!

POST-SCRIPT:

1. If you feel that I missed anything, or if you have your own insights that you’d like to share with the rest of us, do tell us about it in the comments!

2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!

104 thoughts on “Dear kfangurl: How do you choose which dramas to watch?

  1. beez

    So here’s something new https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanmacdonald/2020/10/23/liv-hewson-revisits-k-drama-magic-in-season-two-of-dramaworld/
    It’s regarding the American produced show Dramaworld in which an American girl gets dropped into the world of Kdrama characters and that show getting a second season. I never watched the first season although I originally planned to but there was very little buzz about it so I considered it a novelty with no real substance or entertainment value so just crossed it off my list and never looked back.

    Well, somebody must have thought it was decent enough to create a second season and not just any second season but with the following stars:

    Ha Ji won, Henry Lau, and Daniel Dae Kim (yassss that Daniel Dae kim of Lost, Hawaii Five-O, and executive producer of the U.S. version of The Good Doctor).

    I guess I’d better hurry up and watch Season 1 so that I’m ready for Season 2!

    Reply
    1. Natalia

      I haven’t watched it either. By reading this article though I get this feeling that the lead, the actress I mean, is really not into Kdramas and, for some inexplicable reason, this bugs me.

      Reply
      1. j3ffc

        Well, I’ll have to check it out, too, not least of which b/c I found Ha Ji-won to be all kinds of awesome in her stint on the variety show “House on Wheels” and I’ve wanted to watch one of her shows to follow up (probably will start with Secret Garden).

        Reply
        1. beez

          @j3ffc – Ha Ji won is all sorts of awesome in Secret Garden! She has a scene where she’s shooting a movie as a stunt woman and she reminds me of Angela Jolie in one of those graverobber movies except Ha Ji won is doing her own stunts and she is incredible!

          Reply
          1. merij1

            We watched the first episode of Dramaworld a while back. Plus the scene where she sees Han Ji-min and some other actor dining at the restaurant where she works and blurts out stupid stuff because she can’t seem to keep in mind that Han Ji-min is a character in a K-drama at that moment and has no idea what she’s talking about.

            The premise seemed good and each episode was very short, as I recall. But we dropped it.

            Reply
      2. beez

        @Natalia – ME TOO! I mean REALLY, REALLY bugs me. I mean, she got the lead role, the very LEAST she could do is check out one complete Kdrama. Is 16 hours too much time to devote researching your job? If an actor spends time researching and observing then they can bring something more to their performance. She should’ve also been researching what fandom outside of S. Korea is like, especially Kdrama fans from America since that’s what she’s portraying.

        And I could be wrong, but I think that was her first role in anything. Talk about lack of commitment to your craft. Jeez

        But oh well, I know I’ll watch because of the KDrama veterans and Henry.

        Reply
      3. merij1

        Actually, the premise is that the the lead, a head-in-the-clouds American girl, is totally obsessed with K-drama. It’s all she thinks about. Then suddenly she is transported into one.

        Once there, she learns that some nefarious person or force is sabotaging the K-drama universe for reasons unknown. For example, as an avid watcher, the girl knows that the ML and FL have to express their love or kiss by Ep 9. Because that’s the rule. But someone is nudging things to prevent this from happening.

        It turns out she is not the only one who’s lucid dreaming, as it were. There are, in fact, helpers who work in the background to ensure these dramas play out well. So she joins them in trying to defeat those who would harm Dramaworld.

        Reply
    2. phl1rxd

      Hi Beez – I do not think I lasted more than 3 episodes. It was a frustrating watch and i 100% agree with Natalie. Not even Henry could keep me in it.

      Reply
  2. snow

    Nice post! I remember writing something like this a few years back.

    For me, the first thing is synopsis. If it interests me or has my favorite tropes like friends-to-lovers or marriage of convenience, I surely give it a try. Genres can be included in this too.

    Then I also see the writer’s past works…if there is any show that i had liked, that again places the drama in my plan list.

    Then comes the cast….if there are actors that I like, or not get excited about. Also, I don’t necessarily continue a drama even if it has one of my favorites. There has to be some driving force [in some cases I endure a drama I’m not enjoying because I’m watching it weekly with someone on Netflix :D)]

    Also, if a show gets a lot of positive word of mouth, I give it a try.

    Reply
  3. j3ffc

    Like all of you, I have my drama “home base” but, similar to my taste in movies or books, I find myself enjoying any genre under certain circumstances. I’ve found scanning reviews and overviews very helpful for sorting through shows I would ordinary be drawn to, but this community is fantastic for helping move outside my comfort zone. It’s thanks to y’all that I’m now watching and really enjoying “Tree With Deep Roots” – I had essentially no idea of which saeguk to begin with. And, although not an adventure/mystery guy (my wife is, so that is where we live on public television watching), thanks to this blog I will eventually watch Healer. Promise.

    Reply
  4. BE

    Another fertile topic, K, really do the big South Korean channels know about your site? They ought to, not to mention the show runners as well.

    I think I am choosier than most, and I am open to series from all over–right now Fargo, Season 4 has caught my eye. However I must say K-Drama does a number of things well that series from elsewhere (I like the Americans, the Brits, the Scandanavians for drama) have difficulty matching, complexity of character, great support both major and minor, the ability to carry several leads simultaneously, the literate plotting, the ability to sit broad humor that lacks cynicism next to compelling drama, and a certain straight forward quality even when being satirical that is refreshingly good natured. And there is hardly anything like sageuk drama anywhere else. How the South Koreans have taken something that appears to be a classical form of theatre and turned it into popular entertainment is quite wonderful to me.

    The problem, however, for me is the very, very good in K Drama sets such a high bar. It has been over a year and a half since I saw My Mister for the first time, and darn if every other contemporary drama I have watched since, the good, the bad, and in beween…well, none of them quite match up.

    But one thing I have been doing of late being an old person in American covid iso is to find good Korean movies. A lot of those that make it out to the states seem to be gangster and action flicks, which are not usually my cup of tea, but some have great acting ensembles, some of the dramas quite beguiling. There is a different set of actors, albeit some overlap, who are also noteworthy, and best of all the films only require an hour and a half to two hours of investment for that hit of K-film wonderful. I live where it is a zillion degrees on summer afternoons, so I have seen a number of wonderful matinees so to speak this past summer.

    As I said here before, the first K drama I got into was Mr. Sunshine, and let me say, as much as I liked the leads Kim Tae Ri and Lee Byung Hun, both have turned out even better performances in film. You want a holiday from the world’s bad news–my goodness Little Forest with Kim Tae Ri is simply a wonderful time out from the world’s nonsense and despair. I save it now for just those times when the world is too much with me, if you know what I mean. You want to see an edgy feminist erotic thriller, well then The Handmaiden in which she plays the title role, if second female lead, is perfectly disturbing with Kim Min-Hee who puts in a clinic on antihero character study. Lee Byung Hun has been in so many great movies and has played so many different kinds of roles–it really made me appreciate his enactment in Mr. Sunshine as a long cool drink of water kind of hero, because that is not the kind of character he usually enacts.

    Having seen him first in Descendants of the Sun, a ho hum, imo B grade tv series, I never got what a phenomenal actor Song Joon-Ki is…till I saw him in Wolf Boy–now if he is in a K Drama, I will check him out every time.

    And if it were not for seeing Korean films I would never have seen Choi Min-Sik, who is a devastatingly good actor, a giant, or Song Kang Ho, who is in one great film after another. By the same token, it was very cool to watch Park So Dam in Parasite, recalling this is the same actor that played the bubbly cop opposite Jang Hyuk in Beautiful MInd. I have my eye out in case she does some K drama lead. And speaking of Parasite, what a pleasure to watch the great character actor Lee Jung-eun as the housekeeper, remembering just how terrific she was in Mr. Sunshine as Ae-Shin’s devoted Haman, what an actor she is!

    Right now I am waiting… waiting… ear to the ground as K suggests, knowing what I like, but keeping an open mind when the word o mouth comes toward me with a lilt on the tongue. Being a follower of a number of art forms in my life, what I have found is that if you view your relationship with art as a path with a heart, good things without fail come to those who wait for them.

    Reply
    1. beez

      Park So dam is starring in an ongoing Kdrama “Record of Youth” on Netflix. It’s not bad but neither is it especially interesting either. She doesn’t look like herself in this one. I guess it’s the reddish-blonde hair.

      Reply
    2. merij1

      We finished My Mister last night. Sigh. Now that’s a truly perfect show. It’s so good I couldn’t even think of anything to say about it when I commented at KFG’s review page — nothing that the show itself didn’t already convey far more eloquently than I ever could. And coming from a wordy guy like me, that’s saying a lot.

      Despite many of you recommending it, I had put it off because it looked so depressing. Personally, I think the marketing was a fail. Based on the trailer and synopsis it looks like it will be an extended version of Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation (starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson). That kind of “sad sack meets sad sack and finds kinship” story is fine for two hours, but 20+ seems a bit much.

      To our surprise, it turned out to be the most uplifting show we’ve seen in years. And so well-executed in every respect. I’m in awe.

      Reply
      1. j3ffc

        I keep putting MM off, not because it looks depressing, but because it is on my list of “destination shows” that I save for special watches. The list has gotten kind of short so it may take a while – I hope it’s still available when I’m ready for it. Glad it was a fulfilling watch for you.

        Reply
        1. merij1

          Jeff: Netflix recently picked it up, so now you have options for how you want to see it. Their subtitle translation choices are quite different than, say, Viki, where amateurs sometimes take the added step of explaining Korean idioms that we wouldn’t otherwise get.

          For example, Netflix will translate someone raising their fist and exclaiming “fighting!” as: “good luck!” or “let’s do a good job!”

          I actually want to go back right away and re-watch it on Viki to compare.

          Reply
        2. BE

          The best. And it stands up to rewatch very well, all the nuances. Most of all IU’s performance. It is so understated that one sometimes does not notice how well she grows into her character. This is even more evident when one considers both other roles she has been in and her music performer persona. She is very well directed and puts on a wonderful physical performance. But this is true for the entire ensemble, the show bears rewatch to really savor the performances en toto.

          Reply
      2. beez

        @merik1 – that’s EXACTLY why I’ve been putting off watching it (that and I don’t care for the ML actor). I know EVERYBODY says it’s really good and I don’t doubt that. But it looks so sloooooow and sooo very Sad Sack and Debbie Downer. Your take on it is encouraging.

        Reply
        1. merij1

          Beez, have you ever gone on a several-day backpacking trip? The first day your backpack is super heavy and you are out of shape. But with each day the pack gets lighter — as you eat up the food — and you become stronger.

          My Mister is like that. It gets less sad and more deeply moving — in a heartwarming way — with each episode. And the plot moves so quickly into interesting territory, even the first episodes are compelling.

          I can’t recommend it enough. Must-see K-drama, for sure!

          Reply
        2. merij1

          As to Lee Sun-kyun (the ML), if Coffee Prince and My Mister are any indication, he’s certainly got a good eye for scripts!

          And I love his voice. For some reason I find it calming.

          Reply
          1. beez

            @merij1 – haha! It’s interesting you say that because his nickname in Kdrama circles is The Voice. It doesn’t matter what blog you visit, if you say “The Voice” everybody knows who you’re talking about. 😊

            Reply
    3. phl1rxd

      Great comment BE. I have also wondered over the years whether or not the K Entertainment industry ever looks at this site. They may have as this site has 6,409,158 views. That number is no small potatoes.

      Reply
        1. MC

          @merij1 so glad you loved MM! I cannot say enough good things about it other than I think it’s one of the best tv shows – not just K dramas but tv shows – I’ve ever watched in my life. Acting, directing, writing, music, themes – everything is pretty much perfect. This show left such a deep impression on me that from time to time I still think about it’s themes and songs. Just, so good.

          @beez @j3ffc please watch it! It’s just too good. @beez – it does start out depressing but as it progresses you’ll believe in the power of humanity 🙂 so it’s worth stomaching the hard part at first. A little like Misaeng another show I love – starts out hard to watch but so so satisfying to see the characters grow.

          And yes so much love for Lee Sun Kyun. I could listen to him all day!

          Reply
          1. merij1

            MC, I can’t think of a single thing about MM that wasn’t perfect. Above all, the absence of tropes and other lazy writing shortcuts.

            It felt like a team of creative people totally caught up in a great project, fearlessly aiming for the stars and actually pulling it off.

            Reply
  5. beez

    OHHHH NOOOOEEEEES! https://www.kdramapal.com/lee-min-ho-star-new-apple-tv-plus-series-pachinko/
    I just can’t with you K-Drama! I’ve been loyal up until now with paying for my streaming subscriptions – Viki, DramaFever (before defunct), Netflix and even Kocowa. But this is going too far! My son gave me his log in for AppleTv. I planned to watch the Emily Dickinson show but every show needs to be purchased (I thought his having an iphone meant the subscription was included).

    And now I know why I was so nervous when Netflix first began having currently airing Kdramas. While I wanted the world to join me in my addiction, look what’s happening now that it’s going mainstream. I guess they’re driving me to the illegit pusher/dealer to get my fix.😭

    Reply
    1. BE

      The novel was good, written by a Korean American, a serious drama/character study, highlighting the challenges of Koreans in 20th C Japan

      Reply
      1. Elaine Phua

        Agree, the novel was very well-written, it really opened my eyes to a short but significant time in Korean history, the time when it was under Japanese occupation, through to WWII, the Korean War and modern times. These big events were told from the viewpoint of a Korean family living in Japan over a few generations, quite a unique perspective that I’ve never known before. Super melodramatic at times. But well worth the read if you have any interest in the history of Korea!

        Reply
  6. Kay

    This is a great breakdown of what goes into choosing dramas 🙂 So many factors come into play: mood, timing, who its starring, writing, genre, and the list just goes on!

    Like you, I’ve been watching dramas for a long time and use a variety of methods to zone in on what I want to watch. It has definitely gotten harder to sift through. But I know my tastes pretty well and have my favored genres, genres I give a hard pass to, writers I love, and a few actors and actresses I will at least show up for and give it a go. Reading non-spoilery reviews and comments go a long way in helping too, particularly for shows I’m not sure about or that don’t fit my usual tastes. Drama watching really is a bit of a science 🙂

    Reply
    1. beez

      @Kay – “Science”! Yassss! I like that. Now I can justify the many hours spent on Kdrama as exercising my mind. 👍 👍 👍

      Reply
      1. Kay

        I use that to justify my drama watching too. All of the science and in depth experiments that go into a drama watching experience is well worth all of those hours 😂

        Reply
        1. beez

          @Kay – it’s true. It’s been educational and interesting to hear outside of my own country how certain historic events are viewed. For instance, while I’ve heard all of the homegrown conspiracies regarding the death of JFK – I heard an entirely different take on it while watching the first episode (or second) of Iris. (Sadly, I can’t remember what it was now but I remember being totally blown away at the time.)

          Reply
          1. Kay

            I know exactly what you mean. As someone who loves history, I really find it interesting to gain perspective on how different events are perceived around the world. Kdramas have caused to me research things further in depth so many times which is just one of the many reasons I am grateful to have found them 🙂

            Reply
  7. simple

    hi kfangurl,
    totally agree with you in all your tips on choosing dramas to watched. 12 years of kdrama watching only that i checklist the wikipedea yearly kdramas by networks if i missed any of kdramas on my radar. i avoid watching more than 60 episodes and try to stick with 16 to 32 episodes.
    i watched all genre but try not to watch same genre consecutively and yes our moods plays a role too. reading your websites reviews, insights,topics, comments nurture my kdrama addiction . i think im on stage 4 ,if there is such kdrama stage.. storyline,scriptlines, kdrama characters, productions, ost singers, pds, bts, – analyst

    ex. its ok to not be ok kdrama. – love that drama and waited for your full review and now i understand the script writer style point of view.. as a fairytale too.. the villian dont get a backstory .. she is evil period. 🙂
    – our jang hyuk in tell me what you saw, i know you seldom watch psycho thriller crime dramas. which is my fave genre , jang hyuk as a profiler. thumbs up.
    Have you tried watching ” chip in” ? its like playing the board game cluedo.

    kfangurl, stay safe, take care always. fighting!!!

    Reply
  8. merij1

    Yes, this is pretty how we go about it as well. Not being fangirls, we got to your stage three pretty fast. So we try to balance being careful — so as not to get turned off to where we need a K-drama break — with not being too timid and thus missing something great just because it’s outside our current box.

    Which is we recently watched Sungkungkwan Scandal and are currently watching My Mister.

    We typically go for romance, so neither was an obvious choice based on genre. But your reviews and fellow commenters’ recommendations overrode that shortcoming.

    My Mister is excellent, btw. We’re only through Ep. 7, which feels shocking since so much has already happened. Truly not a formulaic script. With those, you can watch 20 episodes, yet feel like it was actually only four in terms of the material, with annoying gambits to keep things from being resolved until they hit the magic 16 hours. In this show, the writers seem to have no worries that they can come up with new material once they play out the current tension.

    But I digress…

    Like everyone, I keep a list of shows you guys recommend. Recently I started adding a note on which person(s) recommended it and why. I really wish I’d done that from the start.

    That said, I’m pretty sure Beez thinks we should watch Six Flying Dragons, but only after watching Tree with Deep Roots. (ha ha)

    Reply
    1. MC

      Oh!! My Mister is so good that it spoiled me for a long time afterwards! Couldnt watch anything else coz it’s just so good. The show is so organic and heartfelt and I too am glad that I picked it up even though it’s not my usual fare. It’s honestly one of my favourite shows ever! Glad you are enjoying it!

      Reply
    2. beez

      @merij – YUP! YOU GOT IT!
      I’ll add another, albeit somewhat weird, recommendation: Chicago Typewriter. Show is some of everything. It’s difficult to describe but I think from what I’ve learned of you so far, I think you and your wife will really like it. Part of why I think you’ll like it are the many jokes in h’ommage [spell check is not helping me here] to older American movies.

      Reply
      1. BE

        Seriously, I felt the same way about Secret Love Affair before seeing My Mister. And it is still one of the greatest tv dramas I have ever seen featuring bravura performances by two of South Korea’s highest echelon actors. And there is simply no other drama that I have ever seen quite like it.

        Reply
        1. BE

          Don’t want to give away too much: SPOILER ALERT.
          Everything about the episode beginning with the tuna night out, but most especially given the eight previous episodes in which one can watch through the minutest facial expressions Li Ji-An’s growing affection for Dong Hoon, her overhearing the whole encounter at the end, and completely breaking down emotionally as a result. The whole series up to that point is a kind of slow burn. From there on out, buy kleenex.

          Reply
  9. Timescout

    Another great post! It’s been really interesting to read how others go about choosing their dramas. As of me, I just seem to pick things at random these days. 😀 I’m at the point now where most dramas just sound awfully trite, so when something catches my eye, I usually give it a go. No guarantee, I’ll stick with it though. g

    I do think that knowing what works and what doesn’t helps a lot. Apart from horror and extreme makjang, there really isn’t a genre that I wouldn’t try out, if I find the premise interesting. I don’t generally mind spoilers so I also read recaps/reviews and comments to some extent. And yes, mood matters. If you are not in the right mood, it’s better to just let be. “Force-watching” ain’t fun.

    Reply
  10. Natalia

    Love this post.
    My introduction to Kdramas, if I ignore a shocked first encounter with Boys over Flowers so many years ago, was Crash Landing On You and the reason was we were in lockdown and my husband (who is Japanese) was intrigued by the North Korea plot. The reason we stayed on in dramaland was Kingdom. Yes, zombies. So I believe our tastes somehow differ. Still, thanks to this site I got to watch and enjoy shows I wouldn’t really try were it not for you, such as Coffee Prince or Fight for my way.

    By the way, we are currently watching Save Me. It is a very interesting show but oh so dark. So I was wondering, if anyone has watched it, is it like this the whole time (we’re at ep.4)? Because this might be the first time I drop a show not because it’s bad but because it’s disturbing.

    Reply
    1. Shaz

      Hey Natalia, just responding to your question about Save Me. I’m not into horror/thriller dramas, at all, but started watching Save Me because of the cast. And I must say, I’m glad I stuck around and watched it till the end! While it’s mostly disturbing until the end, it’s also a really good drama with great performances from Seo Ye-ji and Woo Dohwan (Taecyon was just ok for me). My heart doesn’t take suspense all that well, so reading up the spoilers or recaps before watching really helped to lessen the scare. But definitely worth watching!

      Reply
      1. Natalia

        Hey Beez, I think I will stick around, but then I will probably need a very happy and fluffy show to watch immediately after. Are there any shows full of rainbows and unicorns??

        Reply
        1. beez

          My go to for lightweight fun is The Girl Who Sees Smells and Rooftop Prince. They both have heavy first episodes but after that… rainbows and unicorns (despite a serial killer in GWSS. The killer suffers from a disease where he can’t recognize faces so even he’s fun, in a way). lol

          Reply
            1. beez

              @Natalia – Let us all know what you think of the show over in Kfangurl’s review of it. It’s making me want to watch it again! Since I don’t have time for that, I think I’ll see if YouTube has any clips of the show so I can relive it a bit. ☺

              Reply
            2. phl1rxd

              Hi Natalie – I am with Beez on this one. I loved this show – you will not be disappointed. My favorite OST single – Hurt – is on my playlist and I listen to it quite often. Drama is full of fun, feelz and freshness. The love story is done well. On my re-watch list.

              Reply
              1. merij1

                We’re going to watch Rooftop Prince next, as well.

                Anything we watch next will pale, relative to our last show, My Mister. Sigh. So something light, breezy and romantic (that doesn’t aspire to “greatness”) seems like a safer transition to normal fare.

                It’s also a good fit since we recently enjoyed the ML in Sungkungkwan Scandal and have always been fond of Han Ji-min, starting with One Spring Night.

                Reply
                1. Natalia

                  My Mister is on our watch list as well. We haven’t watched it yet because it looks boring, but, reading everyone here this must certainly not be the case. But after watching It’s ok not to be ok and now Save Me, we need something fluffy before we engage ourselves in another “serious” show.

                  Reply
                  1. merij1

                    My Mister is def serious, but incredibly heartwarming. And not even close to boring. There is constant good guy/bad guy intrigue in play.

                    However timing is everything. So come back to it when you’re ready.

                    In the meantime we can compare notes on Rooftop Prince!

                    We’re watching a French show on Netflix, “Call Your Agent,” at the moment, which is kind of like Entourage, minus the bros. But it’s the type of show where you can choose to watch a few episodes at a time, so we’re using it as a palate cleanser.

                    Reply
                2. beez

                  @merij1 – just don’t make a judgment call based on the first episode. It’s all set up and not very pleasant or entertaining.

                  Reply
                  1. merij1

                    We’re about to start Ep 5 of Rooftop Prince. Here’s what I can say, thus far:

                    Eps 2-4 are much funnier with Tequila. It’s low-brow humor, so “less pain” definitely helps!

                    But what especially cracks me up is hearing people speak English.

                    I love Han Ji-min — as an actress and for her philanthropic work — and am personally terrible at learning other languages, so I give her a solid pass with big gold stars.

                    But the American actress who plays her friend from NYC is hysterical. I guess the idea is that Koreans TV watchers who speak some English enjoy understanding without subtitles. So she was directed to enunciate slowly like that. But it’s so wooden I’m literally glad to be watching just for that.

                    Ha. Gosh, am I a bad person?

                    Reply
                    1. phl1rxd

                      No Merij1 – Occasionally you will notice some Korean actors (Son Seok Koo, Shin Ae Ra e.g.) who are quite good at speaking English – the actors who live|d in Canada or US for a while e.g.. Like you, I give them a lot of credit for trying!

                    2. merij1

                      But this appeared to be an American actress, purposefully speaking oddly slow and stilted!

                      Btw, I’m fully aware that Americans are unique in the developed world for how provincial we are about other languages and the culture and customs of other places.

                      But this just cracked me up, somehow. Mostly it’s that I was already laughing a lot that episode.

                    3. beez

                      @merij1 But you will see stilted and overly pronounced English, a lot. First there’s the hard over pronunciation of all “t’s” whether they’re soft or not. I watched a Jdrama that starred a Korean actress and the ML’s name was Knight. I thought I would pull my hair out listening to her call him “Knight-TAH”. Thank goodness I’m used to it now. lol

                    4. beez

                      I don’t even remember Ha Ji min’s character having a friend. I remember something about a reincarnated step sister who really treated her horribly.

                      The Korean-American former hosts at Dramabeans used (coined?) the word “Konglish” for most of the English that appears in Kdrama. I know I missed some key plot points in Mr. Sunshine because the subtitlor assumed we could understand when the characters were speaking English.

                    5. merij1

                      Here are the scenes I was talking about with her American friend Amy:

                      Episode 4 of Rooftop Prince, from 22:40 to 24:00, ending with the odd syntax in this line:

                      “Bak Ha, come to New York. We can work happily together as before.”

                      Also amusing at 50:25 is an American-looking actor playing a bartender in NYC who, unlike “Amy,” clearly doesn’t speak English at all.

    2. Snow Flower

      Hi Natalia!

      Save Me is very disturbing, but if you liked Kingdom, you can probably handle it. Seo Ye Ji is excellent, and so is Woo Do Hwan.

      Reply
      1. Natalia

        Hey Snow Flower, thanks for replying. The thing is, I have no problem with zombies, because they are not real. However, monsters like the ones in Save Me unfortunately are real…

        Reply
        1. Snow Flower

          Natalia, KFG did a post on feel-good dramas. You should check the post and comments for ideas for your next drama watch after Save Me.

          Reply
  11. beez

    Thanks, so MUCH, Kfangurl! I think I’m going to take your advice about paying (more) attention to what other fans have to say about shows that I haven’t been interested in. I think I’ll try Hyena and then Memorials (although the guys here refer to it as something else that I can’t recall) and despite my dislike of actors Ju Ji-Hoon and Park Sung-Hoon. (Anti- oppas)

    I think my Dear FanGirl letter was prompted by my panic that I’m spending everyday learning Korean (sloooooowly) and thinking my very purpose of why I’m attempting to learn it is disappearing! I have no reason/motivation to learn it other than to be able to fold clothes or wash dishes or whatever while feeding my addiction. But if the addiction is waning… (which it is, due to the changing nature of Kdramas).

    But you’ve given me great advice. I just need to dig deeper to make good choices. It sounds like that means not jumping on every show that comes down the pike (sorry Oppas!) but rather that has been vetted through other fans (that I trust).

    Reply
  12. phl1rxd

    Hi Fangurl! I have two categories – PreFG and PostFG.

    PreFG – I would find an actor|actress I Iike and explore all their works. This did not always turn out as expected. 🙄
    PostFG – I first check with your Full List of Reviews first before making a decision! 😊 I watched all the As and then looked at the reviews of the Bs to see if I might be interested.

    Here are a few other things I have found helpful:

    I read every comment on this blog to see if there is any chatter on a drama that I might like. I pay attention when certain regulars comment on a drama being good, so I will dip my toe in the water to see if this is something I might like as well. It has proven to be highly successful.

    Sometimes I have to be in the mood for the genre of the drama. All of us have our preferred genre (mine being who-dunnits, wuxia, time travel and fantasy) but outside influences can affect that. For example, since mid summer I have been watching as many comedy dramas as I can find. This is due to my continuing CV-quarantine lethargy. Comedies lift my spirit and laughter really is the best medicine. If there are no new comedies out I will re-watch surefire classics. I also queue up dramas and will watch them when I am in the mood for the content. Right now I have a lot of classics in my queue (thanks to the wonderful suggestions I got from the great commenters on this site 😘) which I will start once I am ready.

    I pull a switcheroo! I will sometimes watch a few CDramas in a row and then go back to KDrama. I also will switch over to movies to fill in any gaps. I even watch very old Korean movies on YT. I usually drama watch every day but when I am in a rut I will turn off the TV and read, preferably a book that a drama I enjoyed was based on.

    Even with all that sometimes I find a bad apple in the bunch. I have gotten better at dropping (I am dropping a lot these days) dramas. But sometimes I find a jewel! I have also gotten better at researching posts on ‘dramas that will air soon’. I look at the actors and the summary of each show to ‘File for future reference’ or “Mark for the trash”.

    I regularly check your Patreon entries and read a little about the drama to see if I might like it.

    Bottom line is our time is important and drama selection can be a daunting task. This is why I appreciate the time and energy you have put into this site Fangurl. You saved us all so many ‘bad drama hours’. Seriously!

    Reply
    1. Elaine Phua

      Oh gosh, whodunits and wuxia were fusioned to nice effect in Ancient Detective which I just watched! Ha ha it wasn’t super excellent but it was very charming and light and entertaining. Only 24 episodes. I think the cast had nice chemistry together, lots of colorful and engaging supporting characters. What shows make your top list? 🙂

      Reply
      1. phl1rxd

        Hi Elaine! I have to break this down by country.

        CDrama – My top show is Nirvana in Fire. I dare not say how many times I have seen it. 😏 Read up to Chp160. So far 160 out of 174 chapters have been completed. It is a masterpiece. Then Story of Ming Lan and Longest Day in Chang’an.

        KDrama – Goblin, Kill Me Heal Me, Stranger S1 & 2

        JDrama – Takane no Hana but only for Pooh (Kazunobu Mineta) – the story was way too crazy Manga but I completely fell in love with his character. Then We Married As A Job

        TDrama – Meet me at 10:06 and In Time With You

        I completely agree with you on Ancient Detective. Yes Elaine, great cast! There was a blow up between the writer and director (or Producer I forgot) so we may not see S2 which is sad. 😥😪

        I read about another show – Of Monks and Masters – from Timescout who drops by here from time to time. I was so intrigued I watched some of it raw and I was hooked. It has wuxia, detectives and monks – totally up my alley. So sad that is not translated.

        Almost ever drama above was either reviewed by FG or recommended by one of the commenters. My list of “to be watched” is scary long.

        What is your favorite genre?

        Reply
  13. amanda hastings

    Hello,

    I’m so glad I found you, Kfangurl. I wait for your reviews then I go see the Show. I give it 4 episodes, then if I don’t like it, it’s dropped. I just don’t have 12 to 16 hours to spend on Shows. I should’ve found you before I spent so much time on The Heirs (my 4th Kdrama in and wanted to know what the fuss is about Lee Min Ho, I fell for Kang Ha Neul instead). Thank you for what you do and look forward to your reviews.

    A.

    Reply
  14. Snow Flower

    Another great post, KFG!

    My decision process is similar to yours. I know my favorite genres (history and mystery), but I like to try other genres too. I am currently watching Lie After Lie (melodrama) and DoDo Sol Sol La La Sol (romantic comedy) and find them both refreshingly old-fashionable. When I first started watching dramas, I was at stages 1 and 2 (Everything is so new and shiny and Oppa can do no wrong!) Now I pay particular attention to a drama’s writer.

    I also pay attention to other fans’ reactions.
    But every time I ask myself the questions: “Is this a story I want to see? Will it keep me emotionally invested? Will I want to watch it again?” Of course, the answers may depend on my current mood and may change over time.

    Reply
    1. Snow Flower

      I just broke my own rules! I started watching Search: WWW just because Lee Jae Wook was in it. I usually don’t watch work place dramas or noona romances, but the need for a LJW fix was too strong! I like the story of the drama so far too, plus Jang Ki Yong is in the drama, and I have nothing to complain about.

      Reply
      1. BE

        It’s funny, but my two all time favorite contemporary K dramas are My Mister, a workplace drama, and Secret Love Affair, a noona romance. Of course, the two of them take each of their genres (Secret Love Affair even throws in the Chaebol drama) and completely explode every single cliche to be found therein.

        Reply
        1. Snow Flower

          @BE, I watched and liked both My Mister and Secret Love Affair. These dramas were so much more than a workplace drama and Noona romance. I can say the same thing about “Search: WWW.” I see it as a portrayal of the complex relationship between the 3 female characters. Are they friends? Enemies? Rivals? Mentors to each other?
          The Noona romances are there, but they don’t feel forced. I also like the social media ethics angle.

          Have you seen “Masquerade,” an excellent movie with Lee Byung Hyun? Another very good period movie is “The Royal Tailor.” “The Throne” was already mentioned in another discussion here.
          Koreans truly excel in historical dramas and movies.

          Reply
          1. BE

            Love Masquerade and Lee Byung Hun’s version of that dual character was stunning, particularly the comedic turn he gave the clown’s role in the first part of the movie. And The Royal Tailor in which Han Suk Kyu plays lead support is a wonderful film, and I believe even those who do not care for sageuks would enjoy it. The ability to cover such a theme as the clothes designer who created a revolution in courtly garb for which the costuming of contemporary dramas centuries later owes a debt is so unique to South Korean sensabilities.
            I will once again pitch your way The Admiral:Roaring Currents with Choi Min Sik, the largest grossing film in S Korean history, albeit a straight up, almost all male naval battle war movie. Epic.
            I also liked The Last Princess with Son Ye Jin.

            Reply
            1. beez

              @BE – adding to your list – The Great Battle starring Jo In sung. He actually came across very warrior-ish, which really surprised me.

              Reply
  15. Adegoke Febisola

    For me, it is first the OTP chemistry- I live for believable and natural chemistry. Jung Hae In is pretty good at having awesome chemistry with his costars so I tend to watch anything I see him in. I also love Gong Yoo (Of course!)

    Next is the writing and its execution.

    Though I love OSTs and even have a collection on my playlist, I used to think music wasn’t so important till Something in the rain showed me how a terrible OST can ruin a drama. I hated that “sometimes its hard to be a woman” song!!! I legit cringed anytime it started. The soundtracks in that show made no sense to me.

    Totally agree with you on mood. I remember starting The Tale of Nodku and leaving it for weeks in just the first episode. I eventually returned to it and ended up really liking it.

    Reply
  16. BubbleTeaIcedAmericano

    This post was pretty thought-provoking for me. I looked back on my drama journey. I’ve been in the kdrama rabbit hole since early 2017, in my mid teenage years. I watched very few kdramas at the time, they weren’t my go-to entertainment. Another reason was that I only watched the subbed kdramas that would air on tv. My introduction to kdramas was with Descendants of the Sun, which blew my mind at the time and I still like it. Unfortunately for me, it was followed by boys over flowers and then heirs. I stuck with them till the end, I was not particularly pleased with the plot but they had good looking guys and I had hope that they would get better.Then came Playful Kiss, which I couldn’t tolerate and rolled my eyes at every other scene but saw it just because i was more than halfway through it. That was when my Phase-1 effectively ended.

    I took matters into my own hands and started watching kdramas in Korean with subtitles instead of dubbed versions that my dth network would provide. I started looking up popular kdramas lists and after one or two meh shows, I struck gold when I watched Strong Woman Do BongSoon, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo and Healer back to back. My drama journey has been pretty smooth since then. I never really had phase -2, I didn’t watch dramas of my biases just because they were in it except Melting Me Softly, because I had nothing better to watch back then and it was the one time I hoped that my oppa would have picked this show was a reason. Boy, was it a mistake. 
    When I have a slump, I watch variety shows or just watch American sitcoms to take a break. I took a break pretty recently after watching It’s Okay To Not Be Okay because I didn’t feel like watching anything and then I had exam season. 

    Now I’m watching a few currently airing shows, but there are more which have passed the ‘seems interesting I should give it a shot’ test  as they have generally good reviews and I liked their first few episodes I watched. There are also many other shows like flower of evil which I didn’t watch earlier. I’m drowning in shows at this point, only some of which I can continue. With dramaland pumping out shows and the barrage of assignments from college I’m quite literally torn because I have to pick and choose between so many shows for the first time. This is completely different from the dwindling interest you addressed, more like too much interest lol.

    Reply
  17. Sharra

    This is such an interesting post and I was reflecting on something similar. It recently took me 3 attempts to watch “When the Camellia blooms” and I am now watching “Love so beautiful”. I could tell they were going to be great dramas plus I trust the process i.e your reviews but was an immediate love? Not at all. But bizarrely now I grew to love the characters and even found myself thinking about them than the dramas I found easier to watch.

    One of the things I have learnt from you Kfangurl is adjusting the viewing lens and that has really improved my drama experience. It helps going with the flow. Also sometimes when I see a protagonist make poor decisions I think about how we all will have made decisions that we regret. It is human nature to be flawed

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi there Sharra! That’s really so interesting, that even though it took you several attempts to get into When The Camellia Blooms and A Love So Beautiful, the characters linger with you even when you’re not watching! It really makes a case for not judging a drama too quickly, coz it might grow on you yet! 😃

      YAY that you find it useful to adjust your viewing lens, I feel like it’s helped me enjoy my drama journey so much more, and made it possible for me to enjoy so many more dramas as well! 🤗

      Reply
  18. Sharbani Mukhopadhyay

    Hi Kfangurl,
    Totally feel what you said about Kim Woo Bin in Uncontrollably Fond. It was a terrible idea to watch that drama because it only got from bad to shriekingly worse! Unfortunately I felt the same when I watched Ji Chang Wook in Melting Me Softly (did not pick up K2 because I’d heard it was pretty awful.) Let me just say though, that your reviews really help so thank you!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi there Sharbani, YES, it’s a terrible idea to watch a bad drama for the sake of having your bias on your screen. At least, that’s been my experience. It becomes so painful to get through the show! 😝😝 I wisely avoided Melting Me Softly, though I did attempt The K2, so it seems like our experiences weirdly balance out..? 😂

      PS: I’m super glad that you find the reviews helpful, it makes me feel useful! 😉

      Reply
  19. Growing Beautifully

    Great write up Kfangurl. I agree with you through and through.

    Sometimes when nothing makes it clear to me whether to watch a show or not, one nifty trick I try is to jump in at episode 3 or 4 (it can be any episode, 4 but not too far in so that too much plot has gone past) of the series, and see how I feel about it. If the characters do not annoy me and the little I can ‘catch’ of what goes on intrigues me to know more, then I may go to Episode 1 and start it properly. 🧐

    The reason for this method is that Ep 1 and 2 are usually set up episodes, so they may be slower on the plot or too over stuffed with intros to characters … whereas from Ep 3 onwards, the plot should have started moving apace. 🤔 🤗 🤭 🥱 😬 😲 😪

    That being said however, I still do prefer to start from Episode 1. However, if my interest starts to flag … I do the same thing. I let the show go for a few episodes and come back later. If it still does not hook me, then it’s ‘sayonara show’! LOL. 😄

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi there GB! Always great to see you! 😃 That’s an interesting trick, jumping in at E3 or 4.. I think that’s worked for me once, when I jumped in on a random episode of Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love, and got sucked in. I then went back to the beginning and started over, and ended up enjoying the show quite well – while FF-ing through all the boring political stuff. Twas a great little find, all thanks to my random episode check.

      That said, I’ve only used it once, mostly because I agree with your last point. I, too, prefer to start from E1, after all. Maybe I ought to use your trick a little more often, since it’s worked so well for me before! 😅

      Reply
      1. Growing Beautifully

        Hey there kfangurl! It’s good to know that the random jump in can work for you too. I only tried it a couple of times, myself. LOL.

        BTW, I’m having trouble Liking any of the posts here. Is there any reason for a restriction?

        Catch ya later!

        Reply
  20. bubblebathdaisies

    Oh how I relate to the earlier bits of your post. Reading your blog at the same time as discovering dramas also converted me into a lifelong Kim Woo-bin cult member, but I have to admit that I actually loved Heirs when I watched it for the first time (I was like 13? and also extremely obsessed with bad romance Wattpad novels, so you see the correlation) Looking back, nearly everyone in that show sucked, except for Eun-sang’s mom and Bo-na and Chan-sung and Woob’s face (as much as I love him his character was basically an extremely hot bully.) For the first year or so I watched dramas, I would pick new ones based exclusively on how attractive the male lead was, which is a horrible, HORRIBLE strategy. I seriously do not recommend this (unless you’re getting over a breakup, are fourteen years old, or both) So this led to me getting bored of dramas quite quickly and having to invent new methods to get back into them, and my methods are actually quite similar to this! If anyone’s worrying about how long this method is, let me be the first to assure you that my attention span is ridiculously short and it still works brilliantly for me.

    I think another thing I usually do when I watch dramas is never justify why I’m watching it, if I enjoy it. It’s fine to recognize that a drama is, objectively, a steaming dumpster fire that makes regular appearances in Kfangurl’s nightmares, but as long as you personally enjoy watching it, why bother feeling judged or calling it a guilty pleasure? I learned this the hard way when I watched Misty (a great drama for other people, but far too depressing for me) instead of the far more fun The Great Seducer, which was an amazing trifecta of bad acting, bad writing and bad storylines, but I loved every second of it. And everyone loved Goblin, but the age gap kind of creeped me out (what would have changed by making Eun-tak an adult?) Your taste is your taste alone, and nothing can determine it 🙂

    Reply
    1. ngobee

      Hi bubblebathdaisies,

      loved your comment. Thank you for the term “extremely hot bully”. Yes.

      I also think that the amazing trifecta of bad writing, bad acting and bad storylines in The Great Seducer sounds like just my ticket. I’ve been toying with watching the series for some time. Now with corona measures being tightened again and more time at home this is a real option.

      That said, I don’t mind the alternatively heartbroken/stupidly in love 14-year old which kdramas tend to bring out in me. I must have missed her in my responsible, rational adult existence.

      Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      Ahaha, I’m amused that we both happily sat through Heirs for the love of Kim Woo Bin, even though it was a hot mess of a show! 😆😆 I am sure that I wouldn’t be able to repeat that feat of fangirl fortitude now, no matter how hot Kim Woo Bin looks in the show! 😜

      I like your stance of not justifying why you enjoy a show. I learned early on that my drama tastes buck the trend often enough, that I shouldn’t be too surprised when I love a show that everyone hates, or vice versa. I didn’t feel Goblin either, despite it featuring Gong Yoo, and despite just about everyone else loving it. Same thing with Mr. Sunshine and Six Flying Dragons. But, I’ve also learned that mood and timing can make a huge difference, so maybe one day I might just come around to these shows’ appeal. Never say never, eh? 😅

      Reply
    3. Snow Flower

      Bubblebathdaisies, if a drama makes you happy, it does not matter how bad everyone else says it is. I still regret watching Goblin. I was bored with it and did not drop it when I should have. But I liked Mr. Sunshine by the same writer. Many people were not happy with Memories of the Alhambra, but it made perfect sense to me.

      Reply
      1. beez

        @Snow Flower – Mr. Sunshine started out as a bit of a chore for me – pretty slow – but it was really worth sticking with it.

        Reply
      2. BE

        I found Goblin quite disappointing, but I have trouble in general with Korean fantasy writing in contemporary settings, Chicago Typewriter perhaps being an exception, and that worked far better in the past setting than the contemporary one. I believe same writers also did Descendants of the Sun, which was so cheesy, I could not make my way through it. But Mr. Sunshine, generally, setting aside the all star cast, and I do not think I have ever watched a better ensemble, and the beautiful cinematography, I could imagine a university senior level seminar devoted to analyzing the incredible use of plot devices of that show. A whole world history of theatrical techniques might be revelead in such an analysis.
        But tell me anything done by the writers or directors of Tree With Deep Roots, Six Flying Dragons, or Nokdu Flower, I will check it out for sure.

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        1. beez

          I think you mean that DOTS, Goblin and Mr. Sunshine all have the same writer. From the way you went from Chicago Typewriter to DOTS, it sounded like you were saying those two had the same writers but I don’t think that’s what you meant but I’m just tracking onto your comment fur those who might not know.

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          1. BE

            What I meant was that Goblin is a kind of fantasy genre in which the past and present get conflated by seemingly simultaneous supernatural realities (the recent Hotel Del Luna would be another example of such). It is a type of show, like hospital shows, I tend to find hard to get into. Not that Chicago Typewriter had the same screenwriter, but that the show was an exception to my taste in such. Sorry, as you can tell, I am given to asides. The main point was while I loved Mr. Sunshine, Goblin and DOTS, not at all.

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            1. beez

              Gotcha. I understood what you were saying about the nature of the fantasy dramas. I was more referring to the way your sentence was structured. You mentioned Chicago Typewriter and then said “the same writer…” so…

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        2. Snow Flower

          @BE, the writers of 6FD and Tree with Deep Roots also wrote Queen Seondeok, which is worth watching for its villain and anti-hero.
          The writer of Nokdu Flower is also the writer of Assembly and Jeong Do Jeon. I have not seen either of them, but I am interested in the latter. The historical setting is the same as Six Flying Dragons and My Country.

          Reply
          1. BE

            Sin Kyeong Soo was the same director for TWDR, 6FD & Nokdu Flower. Because for reasons I do not understand it seems impossible for me to get anything other than the horrible version of VIKI with its endless repeating ads and stallings out–I have tried a million times to subscribe but no go) I have found it difficult to see older sageuks, except on chancy online sites, and even then not always successfully. Thanks, I will keep an eye out for those you mentioned.

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            1. beez

              @BE – I also had a problem with Viki that went on for a couple of years. The videos would be static or frozen as long as I was signed in. But if I didn’t sign in, the videos would play just fine, but I’d be stuck with the ads. Their customer service was ZERO help. They would send me an auto response asking for my internet speed, version of Viki, type of device I was watching on. I’d respond with the info. But then the very next email (after waiting again for an answer) would ask me the same questions. Recycle-repeat. This was in spite of me answering in all caps in red font “I NEED A HUMAN BEING” and some other choice words. I eventually became so frustrated that I unsubscribed. They finally got around to fixing the app on the Amazon firestick, after 3 years, and so I recently subscribed again.

              I can only say their customer service was much better before they were bought by Rakuten.

              Reply

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