Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about the shows that you didn’t review? [Part 2]

Since you guys seemed to really like my last Dear kfangurl post, where I talked about shows that I haven’t reviewed on the site, I thought I’d do a Part 2! Surprise..? 😃

I picked 50 more (!!) shows to touch on in this post, with a quick “status update.” Mostly, these are dramas that people tend to ask me about, and also, shows that I’d like to give shout-outs to, but which I’m unlikely to write reviews for.

There are still more shows that I’ve either sampled or watched to completion, which I am not including in this list, but maybe (just maybe?) another post, another time? 😅

Let’s go over the reasons again, just so we’re clear? 😉

REASONS I HAVEN’T REVIEWED THESE SHOWS

I’ve already talked about this in my previous post, but in case you missed that, here again, are the reasons why I might not have written about a show.

1. I haven’t seen it yet – but I plan to. Despite my best efforts, it is literally impossible for me to watch all the shows that pique my interest in some way. This is how I haven’t watched some of Dramaland’s more iconic shows.

2. I haven’t seen it yet – and don’t plan to. Even though I run a drama blog, I don’t make it my business to attempt to watch everything that Dramaland has to offer, because that’s not humanly possible. Also, I want to watch stuff that I enjoy, and the truth is, not all shows appeal to me. I like to make exceptions for really good shows that happen to be out of my wheelhouse, but there are just some genres that aren’t my thing, and are unlikely to ever be my thing.

3. I attempted it – but it didn’t work for me and I didn’t write a Dropped post, either because I hope to give it another try sometime, or because I thought including a blurb in the year-in-review post would suffice.

4. I finished it – but somehow didn’t manage to get around to writing the review, either because I watched it before starting the blog (quite possible since I watched dramas seriously for 5 years before it occurred to me I might like blogging about them), or because I got busy with Real Life and newer shows, and never went back to write the review.

DRAMAS I HAVEN’T REVIEWED

Again, for easy reference, I’m putting everything in alphabetical order.

49 Days

Bittersweet, poignant and heartfelt, this show deals with the topic of death, dreams, love and regrets, in an interesting set-up, where a recently deceased woman tries to earn her second chance at life while in the borrowed body of another woman, by searching for three people outside her family who would cry real tears for her.

This was an interesting, engaging and thought-provoking watch, and Jung Il Woo is one of the edgiest Reapers I’ve ever seen. I think I would’ve given this a B++.

Back To 1989 [Taiwan]

I really wanted to like this, because I found the premise intriguing. A lonely young man time travels to the past and befriends his mother at a time when she was around his age? Not only that, he becomes drawn to Mom’s best friend? This just sounded like a potentially rich story.

Unfortunately, I didn’t finish this one. After some time, I found it slow, repetitive and more bland than I would’ve liked.

Baker King Kim Tak Gu / Bread, Love and Dreams

When Show was good, it was makjang that I could eat with a spoon; it was absorbing, cracky, and quite delicious. Unfortunately, I felt that Show lost steam in the second half, which I found rather draggy, frustrating and underwhelming. Which means it was something like a B, for me.

Beethoven Virus

I thought this was pretty underrated. Kim Myung Min is excellent as our main maestro, the struggling hodgepodge orchestra is perfect to root for, and the classical music is a nice plus. Not great as a romance drama, but very solid as an ensemble underdog drama. I’d say this was a B+.

Bubblegum

I really wanted to like this one, for the leads, for the gorgeous Spring palette, and for Show’s laidback vibe, but.. I couldn’t. I found this very bland, and couldn’t watch more than half of it.

Chief Of Staff

After my successful foray into political dramas with Designated Survivor: 60 Days, I thought I’d give this one a try. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into it, and wandered off after the first hour. I guess shows that are actually about politics really aren’t my thing, after all? 😅

City Hall

This isn’t strictly a political drama, even though politics forms the context in which our story is set. This one’s more of a romantic dramedy, and it’s a bit of a slow burn at first, but it’s so worth it, for the very, very excellent chemistry between Cha Seung Won and Kim Sun Ah. This was at least a B+, for me.

Defendant

Here’s what I wrote about this show in my 2017 year-in-review post:

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

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

Delightful Girl Choon Hyang

A little rough around the edges, but a show that I think of fondly, because I thought our leads are perfectly cast, and have excellent chemistry and comic timing between them. The humor is a little broad and the second half gets a little more angsty than I would like for a show like this, but I had a good time with this one, back in the day. I also liked that our story follows our leads beyond high school, which is not very common in kdramas. I’d give this one a B+.

Doctor John

I’ve heard that Ji Sung is mad badass in this, and I do love Ji Sung, but I’m not into medical dramas as a general rule, and this show’s mixed reviews don’t help. I’m unlikely to check this out.

Doctor Prisoner

I’d originally been put off by the “doctor” in the title, since I’m not into medical dramas. I’d also not been that interested in watching Nam Goong Min, since, until Stove League, I’d mostly found him either quite vanilla, or too OTT. As it turns out, this is more a revenge drama than a medical drama, and also, as it turns out, I now have Nam Goong Min-appreciating eyes, after his awesome turn in Stove League, so back on the list this goes.

Emergency Couple

I like second chance stories, so I did dip my toes into this one. However, I didn’t manage to get past E1. I found the bickery angst between our leads too aggressive; they were so hostile to each other, that I couldn’t see any reason why they ought to try to work things out between them. Also, I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of either Choi Jin Hyuk or Song Ji Hyo, and that didn’t help.

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

I think I liked this in a much more muted fashion than most. As far as I know, many of my dramaverse friends liked this one a lot. I finished this one, but never loved it. I found this rather predictable, and the funny wasn’t my kind of thing. Also, our immature, high schooler male lead didn’t really appeal to me either, so I found it counter-intuitive to root for this OTP. Lee Ki Woo is at his sweetest in this show, though.

Full House

This was a huge hit when it aired, and is considered a classic by many, but I have to confess that I didn’t love this one. I found Rain’s character way too shouty for my taste, and that took away from the OTP appeal a great deal. The story also gets repetitive in Show’s second half, and that made the watch feel draggy. On the plus side, this is literally the cutest and most winsome that I’ve seen Song Hye Kyo, ever. I’d say this was a B-, for me.

Good Doctor

Another crowd favorite that didn’t work for me. Joo Won is very good as our autistic doctor savant, but Show’s suggestion of a loveline between him and Moon Chae Won’s character troubled me. He’s supposed to have the mentality of a child, after all, so this gave me cradle-snatcher vibes. Also, I’ve heard that Show suggests that our savant’s condition can be cured, which is another problem on its own.

I watched a couple of episodes, but realized pretty early on that this wasn’t for me.

Heartstrings / You’ve Fallen For Me

Not a bad piece of fluff, if you like Park Shin Hye &/or Jung Yong Hwa, and particularly if you suffered Second Lead Syndrome in You’re Beautiful. Nothing to truly write home about, but reasonably pleasant, and with a nice soundtrack to go with. I’d give this one a B.

Hello My Teacher / Biscuit Teacher Star Candy

If you don’t take this seriously, and are able to roll with the idea that Gong Yoo plays a high school student even though he clearly is past high school, this is a fun retro noona romance. Gong Yoo and Gong Hyo Jin have excellent chemistry, and everything else is just set dressing for that chemistry to spark. I remember enjoying this one a lot. I think I would’ve given this one a B++.

I Live in Cheongdamdong

Ah, such an underrated gem of a show! Unfortunately, Show’s high episode count (170!!!) and the lack of English subs, make this one inaccessible to most drama fans. I was able to watch about half of this on a Chinese streaming app, with Chinese subs, before the app took the show down in favor of other shows. Boo.

It’s cute, funny, relatable and heartfelt, and a little quirky too. Kim Hye Ja is wonderful as always, and Oh Ji Eun, Hyun Woo and Lee Sang Yeob make a very cute love triangle. I wish JTBC would bring this one back for a rerun.

I Need Romance

I’m pretty sure I liked this less than most. I didn’t like Show’s take on “modern city love,” and I didn’t find our main couple very likable at all. I also didn’t feel that there was sufficient character growth during our story, to make the journey feel worthwhile. I didn’t find the ending satisfying, either. Not one of my favorites, for sure. I’d give this one a C.

I Remember You / Hello Monster

I’ve heard lots of positive things about this one, particularly about Seo In Guk and Park Bo Gum, which is why this is still on my list. I’ve sampled about 2 episodes of this, but didn’t find myself in the mood to continue. I have vague good intentions of going back to this one.

Iljimae

I watched this for Lee Jun Ki, but I can’t in good conscience recommend this. The writing is far from cohesive, and the ending is outright messy, since they literally had to write out Lee Jun Ki early, because he’d fallen sick. You might be able to enjoy this one, if you don’t actually care about story integrity and just want to gaze at the early Lee Jun Ki Pretty. I’d give this one a B-.

Introverted Boss

Here’s what I wrote about this show in my 2017 year-in-review:

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

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

Iris

I was dazzled by Show’s high production values and all the action scenes, and enjoyed this one fairly well when it aired – except for the ending, which sucked and didn’t make actual sense. In summary, Lee Byung Hun is cool, TOP is terrible, and Kim So Yeon is fantastic as a badass assassin. I’d say this was a B for me.

Joseon X-Files / Secret Investigation Record

This one enjoyed quite a bit of popularity among international fans when it aired, because it’s a rare Joseon-Sci-Fi blend, and smartly written and executed, to boot. Personally, though, I found this a little inaccessible, in that I found it far from easy to understand. If you’re a Sci-Fi fan though, this is worth a look. I’d give my personal watch of this a B or B+, but just know that folks who loved it would’ve probably rated it an A.

Live Up To Your Name

Here’s what I wrote about this one, in my 2017 year-in-review:

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

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

Meteor Garden 2018 [China]

Here’s what I wrote about this one, in my 2018 year-in-review:

I’ve concluded that I’m just not the kind of viewer who can watch remake after remake of the same show. I wasn’t going to watch this one, because I was sure that the J- and K-versions were enough for me. But there was so much spazz and hype over this drama, that the curious cat in me decided I needed to see what the buzz was all about.

Long story short, I surprised myself by really enjoying episode 1 – and then everything slowly slipped downhill from there, for me. I found the show mildly amusing, but nothing to really shout about, and at the episode 4 mark, I drifted off and never quite went back. I also couldn’t see myself sitting through 50(!) whole episodes of this story.

The thing is, though, my sister watched this and loved it. The key difference in our responses to this show, I think, is that this was her first watch of this story, period. Therefore everything felt new and more interesting to her. Plus, she was intrigued enough by this show’s lasting power across boundaries, that she looked up the original manga and read some of it. So part of her enjoyment was comparing this show to the original manga as well.

From what I saw of this iteration, I’d call this a potential B-, maybe. But depending on your viewing history and viewing lens, you might call this an A.

My Girl

A cheesy, tropey fun time, this one is rather amusing, for a retro whirl. The main loveline between Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae is quite enjoyable, in that quintessentially classic Hallyu rom-com way, and Lee Jun Ki looks like he literally walked off the pages of a manhwa. I think I would’ve given this one a B.

My Princess

Nothing very exceptional at all about this one, but it’s light and cute, and Song Seung Hun and Kim Tae Hee are both very likable in this, and play their roles well. I feel like this would work well as a mindless fluff sort of filler drama. I’d give this one a B.

My Sassy Girl

Here’s what I wrote about this one in my 2017 year-in-review:

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

One Fine Day

I hated this, yet watched it twice, all for the love of Gong Yoo. Ha. Yes, this was back when I had a lot more fangirl fortitude.

This show is terrible. It’s tiresome, angsty, and unnecessarily complicated. But Gong Yoo looks great shirtless? 😅

The show gets a D-, while Gong Yoo’s shirtlessness gets an A. 😆

Orange Days [Japan]

Many drama fans love this one and consider it a timeless, classic drama for the record books. Which is why I feel bad about never actually loving this one, despite my best intentions and greatest efforts. However, I did find the ending surprisingly moving and affecting in a deeply visceral way, that made all the other episodes before it feel worthwhile. I’m unlikely to make it back to this one to write it a review, but I’d give this one a B++.

Personal Taste

I watched this when it came out, because that was when I made it a point to watch almost all of the rom-coms, since I believed rom-coms were my drama bread and butter. I think I fooled myself into thinking that I liked this more than I actually did, at the time, and mostly because Lee Min Ho had better hair in this than in Boys Over Flowers, ha. 😝

(For the record, my LMH aversion began in 2013, with Heirs, so this was when I felt relatively neutral towards him. Also for the record, I’m now over my LMH aversion, coz I found him pleasant enough in The King: Eternal Monarch.)

In the end, there’s nothing remarkable about this show, plus if you think about the details a little too hard, a lot of the character behavior starts to feel unacceptable. I’d give this one a B- or a C+.

Playful Kiss

I couldn’t get into this the first time I watched it, then surprised myself by enjoying it very well on a second viewing. There was something about this easy, uncomplicated, bright drama world that just worked for me, on my second viewing. I don’t think I would be into this on a hypothetical third viewing though, since I am now very much over the Mischievous Kiss sort of story.

Probably not bad, if you’re a fan of the Mischievous Kiss set-up. Probably not a good idea, if you’re not.

Robber

A melodrama that explores the idea of redemption, second chances and personal growth, this one definitely lands on the bittersweet side of things. It’s quite possible that my enjoyment of this was enhanced by my fangirl appreciation of Jang Hyuk, but I actually liked this one quite well. It was a bit of a slow burn, but I found myself feeling empathy and compassion for both leads. It’s been a while since I’ve last watched this one (I think I’ve seen it twice), but I would’ve rated it a B+.

Scent of a Woman

This is definitely a show that leans bittersweet right away, since our premise involves our female lead learning that she’s terminally ill. But Show’s treatment of this is anything but fatalistic and trite. Instead, our female lead learns to love and live, and despite the fears that come with the diagnosis, everything’s treated with lashings of hope. Altogether, not bad. I would’ve given this a B+.

Also, the tango scene between Lee Dong Wook and Kim Sun Ah is so sizzling that it’s worth a look all on its own:

You’re welcome. 😉

Seven Day Queen

I’ve heard positive things about this one – namely, that it’s really solid and cohesive, with excellent performances by our main actors, and possesses an ending that feels satisfying – which is why it’s on my list, despite the already tragic title.

Shopping King Louis

Here’s what I wrote about this one in my 2016 year-in-review:

So many of you loved this one and asked that I check it out, that I couldn’t ignore this show. 3 episodes in, I kinda-sorta think I probably won’t ever love it as much as many of you do. I find the OTP cute enough, sometimes, but oftentimes, I feel like bonking Louis on the head for doing something stupid that’s just going to make things harder for Bok Sil. I.. think I have trouble with male leads who are too much like men-children, to be honest.

3 episodes in, this feels like maybe a C+.

Smile You

So good in its initial stretch, that Show got a whopping 15-episode extension, up from its original 30 episodes. This resulted in a really draggy final third, with lots of repetitive angst. Boo.

When Show was good, though, I was ready to inhale it all in one sitting. Lee Min Jung and Jung Kyung Ho are cute and bickery together, with her pampered rich girl character suddenly forced to live in his very humble home, due to her family situation. And then when they fall in love, they are toothachingly sweet together.

I’d give the initial stretch a B++, and the final stretch a C. I guess that works out to something like a B-?

The Disguiser [China]

Given that this comes from the same good people who gave us the amazing Nirvana in Fire, and with a lot of cast overlaps to boot, I felt like I had to give The Disguiser a look.

I think this is a very well-made show, and the acting is top-notch. It’s just really hard to watch, because of the subject matter. I got about 13 episodes in, before I chickened out; Show has several torture scenes which I remember as being really hard to watch. It’d probably be worth my while to go back to this, if I can just steel myself enough. From what I saw, Show felt like a potential A- or B++.

If you’re ok with war, betrayal and torture on your screen, you should give this one a look.

The Fox’s Summer [China]

Here’s what I wrote about this one in my 2017 year-in-review:

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

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

Grade: C

The Fugitive: Plan B

Hammy, over-the-top, and action-packed, this one is basically a Rain showcase that’s funner in its first half than in its second. Show gets pretty draggy in its latter half, and would have benefited from a smaller episode count. This show sticks in my mind for the ridiculous scene of Lee Na Young’s face stuck in Rain’s butt during a car chase. (That, by the way, was not a random combination of words, even though it might appear that way. 😆)

Overall, I’d say this was just ok. I’d say a B- or a C+.

The Good Wife

Here’s what I wrote about this one in my 2016 year-in-review post:

I generally don’t lean towards legal or political shows, but even I find this one gripping and engaging. In its writing, direction and execution, this screams quality from the get-go. The very strong cast delivers excellently, and I can’t help but feel completely sucked in.

7 episodes in, this feels like a solid A.

The Package

Here’s what I wrote about this one in my 2017 year-in-review:

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

Grade: C+

PS: I guess I should mention that lots of folks actually really like this one. So if you’re experiencing a bit of wanderlust, this might work nicely for you.

The Return of Iljimae

Not to be confused with Lee Jun Ki’s Iljimae, this one is much more quiet and contemplative, and played a lot more straight. I actually liked this version a lot, and thought Jung Il Woo was impressively mature in his delivery, despite being only 22 when he filmed this. I would’ve given this a B++.

This Week My Wife Is Having An Affair

I’m paused at the episode 5 mark on this one. I find this a bit of a slow burn, but I concede that Show is thought-provoking, especially with the way it tends to serve up multiple perspectives of the same situation.

So far, I like it but I don’t love it. Even though I have a soft spot for Lee Sun Gyun, that’s kinda canceled out by my general aversion to Song Ji Hyo as an actress. I mentally have this as a B or B+, and I may or may not go back to it.

Tientsin Mystic [China]

Here’s what I wrote about this one in my 2017 year-in-review:

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

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

Update: I took a break 9 episodes in, and now, even though English subs are finally available, I don’t have the inclination to go back. I, uh, don’t think zombie magic babies are my thing. 😝

Vampire Idol

So cheap, campy and ridiculous, that I couldn’t help but laugh at this one. An early sitcom where Kim Woo Bin, Lee Soo Hyuk and Hong Jong Hyun are bodyguard vampire aliens whose visuals are considered “ugly” on their own planet, who learn to become idols here on Earth, alongside their prince, who’s short, squat and stout, and considered the epitome of handsome in their world, this one is full of hilarious, unexpected nonsense.

Unfortunately, Show got cut by about 40 episodes due to poor ratings, and ended rather abruptly at episode 79. I didn’t manage to finish this one but I have very fond memories of it. I should try looking for this one again, sometime.

What’s Up Fox?

This noona romance was very popular among my drama friends, but I have to confess that I didn’t love it as much as everyone else. I think it squicked me out that our female lead has literally changed our male lead’s diapers. That just made it all feel very wrong, to my eyes. I don’t mind a big age gap in my noona romances (see Secret Love Affair, which has a much larger age gap than this show’s 9 years), but I realize it’s quite important to me that she didn’t once actually baby him. 😛😅

But hey, just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for you. After all, lots of people loved this one? My rating’s about a B- or C+, but most other folks would probably give this a least a B+ or B++, I think.

When A Snail Falls In Love [China]

Another drama that’s popular among drama fans, but which just didn’t work all that well for me, unfortunately. I didn’t feel the chemistry between our leads, I didn’t particularly take to how our main players were characterized, and I found the logic quite lacking, in the policing stuff. I don’t think I made it to the end of this one; my gut tells me that I wandered off somewhere in Show’s second half.

You’re Beautiful

This one requires the right campy, nonsensical lens, because a lot of stuff requires suspension of disbelief. I didn’t realize that on my first watch, and hated it. But I tried again with an adjusted lens, and then loved it.

It’s so over-the-top and ridiculous, but so much fun, at the same time. Park Shin Hye would never pass for a boy in real life, but who cares, because the story is full of silly fluff, amplified by Jang Geun Suk’s iconic pout, and a lot of feel-good breezy music. B++, totes recommend.

IN CLOSING

I hope you guys enjoyed this second installment of status updates on shows I haven’t reviewed! I hope this helps to clear up a few more questions you guys might have, about what I think of various dramas.

Like I said in my previous post, in the event that I end up checking out some of these shows, I’ll come back to this post to update with links to reviews or dropped posts.

Do feel free to share your thoughts about these dramas in the comments. Who knows, you just might intrigue me enough to bump some of these shows up my list? 😉

Love! ❤️

~kfangurl

There. All done (for now)!

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!

39 thoughts on “Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about the shows that you didn’t review? [Part 2]

  1. Kay

    It’s really interesting to get a nice little recap of a bunch of the dramas you haven’t reviewed for various reasons. Lots of interesting ones on your list 🙂

    I hope to eventually have all the dramas I’ve completed reviewed on my blog (I only occasionally do dropped posts). I’m down to only missing about 20 or so which were all watched before I started blogging. I’ve slowly reviewed pre-blogging dramas over the years, but it’s hard because I have to go back and at least re-watch portions of the drama again so I can properly review it. And we know none of us have time for that with so many unwatched shows still on The List! 😂😂😂

    Reply
  2. phl1rxd

    Fangurl – you must have a separate PC to be able to hold all of your drama musings. 🙂🙂 I went through this list and I have seen a lot of these. I had to check my MDL list as some of these dramas I completely forgot that I had watched them. However, a few deserve a quick comment.

    For what it is worth:
    Defendant: Has the all time creepiest creeper character to ever creep out from under a rock – Cha Sun Ho | Cha Min Ho played by Uhm Ki Joon. I had nightmares after watching this. Uhm Ki Joon is one amazing, multi-talented actor. I saw him on Master in the House (one of the reasons I never miss an episode of this variety show) and was surprised to see how musically talented he is.

    Live Up To Your Name: I enjoyed the heck out of this. I may re-watch this. So good!

    -My Girl: This 2005 drama has Lee Jun Ki and even though this is his 3rd drama you can see that he has real talent.

    The Disguiser: A hard watch for sure Fangurl. Jin Dong stole the show and has one of the greatest scenes in drama land where in the latter part of this drama he is in his office trying to deal with authorities while lying through his teeth. You just know he is on a tightrope feeling extreme terror inside while having to appear perfectly calm on the outside. He did this magnificently. I was so blown away by this scene and so into this drama that I actually could not breath for a second.

    When a Snail Falls in Love: I loved this so much I have watched it twice. I loved Wang Kai in this and I loved him with Olivia Wang. His logic versus her strangeness.I love my police|detective dramas.

    What this post did was make me realize that I have seen a lot of drama and there are some I can hardly remember although I know I have watched them. 😆😆 Jeez-o-man! Thank goodness for MDL’s watchlist! This was a great post Fangurl! Note – I am having a lot of issues with the formatting so I pray I do not create new notices when I do a correction.

    Reply
  3. MC

    Oh KFG!! You must have read my mind cos when I was reading part 1, I was wondering how you felt about This Week My Wife Will Have An Affair and you included it in this segment! I love both parts and would love to read part 3 if it ever comes around (no pressure though).

    My thoughts on some of the shows you mentioned:
    – Goblin: it was actually the first show I watched when I wanted to give K dramas a try. But the initial fight scene was not what I was expecting so I left. But eventually I came back and finished it. Like you I .. didn’t love it. It was beautifully done, great soundtrack, the actors were fantastic, I loved the bromance and Lee Dong Wook and Yoo Inna. But I can’t with Gong Yoo and Kim Go Eun. The age gap… just… weird. And it was a little too slow for me. But Lee Dong Wook is just so so handsome… haha.

    -Mister Sunshine: saw the ads on Netflix when it first came out and was immediately intrigued. It’s beautifully done too but like you I just couldn’t get into the OTP and gave up at ep 13. Maybe I’ve just never found a historical drama that I loved apart from Splash Splash Love (which is so fusion)! I do love the tortured Gu Dong Mae though. YYS is love in that. And Hinna is so beautiful and cool.

    -TWMWIHAA: I honestly think you’d like it, just that you’re right it’s a slow burn and you need to be in the right mood. When I was watching it I never felt super compelled to watch but once I started and got into the right mood it was absorbing. I would’ve given it a B+. It felt very realistically portrayed and you could understand everyone and where they were coming from. But it’s definitely not the easiest watch coz it’s slow and it makes you think! Not the fluffy sort of show.

    -Meteor Garden (2018): I don’t know how I completed it – completist streak hit I guess. The soundtrack is good. I’ve never watched the original MG (shocking I know it was so popular back in the day) so I thought I’d give it a try. I couldn’t stand that a lot of the plot lines were so ridiculously not-realistic and didn’t join. I had to tell myself these are different snippets of stories and aren’t linked then I could finish it. Lol. You didn’t miss out by not watching!

    -Signal, Secret Forest: both on my to-watch list. Everyone tells me Signal is so good but scary that I wonder if I can cope, lol. If there’s a group watch I would love to join! Same for Dr Romantic too. I know I said I would join the Chuno one but I couldn’t get into it and dropped early on.. maybe I wasn’t in the mood! Plus was watching I Hear Your Voice which was great.

    Okie dokie that’s all, take care!

    Reply
  4. Elaine Phua

    Rather unrelated but I have a Dear kfangurl question to ask! My question is whether you’ve ever had a problem watching the same actor in a different role, because you have such a strong impression of him/her in the first show you saw the actor in? Asking because I just started watching K dramas last year, and i started with highly rated ones like Crash Landing on You and Healer, where the OTPs are so smashing that I was reluctant to see the actors in other shows as it would feel to me almost like they were cheating on their original OTP! Lol. So far I haven’t “repeated” any actors besides Lee Jun Ki – I first saw him in Arang and the Magistrate and a few months later in Flower of Evil. But to me that felt ok as his performance made the two characters feel completely different. It probably helped that his Flower of Evil character was supposed to have antisocial personality disorder so has flattened emotions. But now almost a year after watching Healer, I’m watching Park Min Young in Her Private Life and I keep getting flashbacks to her Healer performance, especially when the two characters overlap on certain traits like optimism, pluckiness and sunny smiles. It’s probably a personal quick but I do wonder if anyone faces this issue too! For now there are so many dramas out there that I can avoid repeats of actors but soon it won’t be an option! Ha ha.

    Reply
    1. BE

      For myself, I have had a hard time seeing Yoo Yeon-Seok in other roles since seeing him in Mr. Sunshine. He basically, and for just about everyone, stole the show in that, but in other things I have seen him in, he always appears quite wooden by contrast.

      Reply
      1. Trent

        I have to respectfully dissent on this one. I liked Yoo Yeon-seok much more in Hospital Playlist than in Mr Sunshine. (But I also didn’t love Mr. Sunshine as much as a lot of people do).

        Reply
  5. seankfletcher

    Some further provoking of thoughts here, kfangurl! With Emergency Couple, I did enjoy it – however, the ending was, well, I guess, you can guess. I thoroughly enjoyed Live Up to Your Name. As for Doctor Prisoner, yes it is awesome – very clever, but the ending was underdone for me. Doctor John is quite good, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it – some good performances. Of course you know I am going to say Chief of Staff 1 and 2 are fab – very spot on re the portrayal of what really goes on in the political world. Anyway, been there done that. As for King Louie – that was a big no from me. Keep up the good fight and releasing those wonderful drama thoughts 🙂

    Reply
  6. merij1

    Speaking of Kim Hye Ja, we just saw her in the 2009 film Mother. Whoa. Heavy but great. I’d only seen her in Dazzling (AKA Radiant AKA The Light In Your Eyes) where she played the older version of Han Ji-min. Mother also features Won Bin (whom I think of as “Lee Na Young’s husband” lol) but don’t watch this one to fall in love with him, since he plays her mentally challenged son. Great acting, but not a role that leads to fan-love.

    As for Personal Taste, we mostly liked it, despite alleged “actor” Lee Min-ho being the male lead. We watched it for Son Ye-min. We didn’t think it was homophobic, but I will say that based on advice from others we skipped most of episodes 13-15 to avoid some of the idiotic tropes that plague so many of these shows.

    Reply
  7. Elena

    I would only add that Hello Monster is a must see for Park Bo Gum fans. He’s superb as a villain and it is by far my favorite PBG’s role, I fell head over heels for him, haha! He shines more impersonating complex, morally grey characters. To me, it feels that his talent is wasted in dramas like Boyfriend, etc. Anyway, the drama itself is not bad -if you are in the mood for killers and psychopaths. It’s kind of fun, and the bromance is intense…I still remember how much I enjoyed watching Seo In Guk drying Bogummie’s hair XD The only unnecessary thing was the romance, not that I didn’t like Jang Na Ra in this, she was totally badass.

    Reply
  8. zuzubee123

    “For the record, my LMH aversion began in 2013, with Heirs, so this was when I felt relatively neutral towards him. Also for the record, I’m now over my LMH aversion, coz I found him pleasant enough in The King: Eternal Monarch.”
    This is EXACTLY how I felt about him except with Faith as opposed to TKEM. I just finished it, absolutely loved it, and was like, “I get it now” lol 🤣

    Reply
  9. BE

    Of these, I only saw Iris, which I watched for Lee Byung Hun ,after seeing him in Mr. Sunshine. I agree with your scoring–B-B+. It was the first series or movie in which I became aware of how a popular South Korean culture view of North Korea and North Koreans might be more complicated than what I got as an American.
    Like many series in general, I thought it was a bit too long and would have been better expressed in fewer episodes.
    I liked seeing Lee Byung Hun as an action hero when younger, but I must say having seen him in a number of films, I am glad he largely eschewed being relegated to such roles because he is an actor with real range, quite capable of inhabiting a variety of characterizations.
    Action spy joints rarely interest me, but this does strike me as a classic in the South Korean iteration of this genre. The second lead female character, enacted by Kim So Yeon, stole the show.

    Reply
    1. Snow Flower

      I did enjoy Iris, especially the second female lead. As for the ending, I just pretend that the last 5 minutes never happened.

      Reply
      1. BE

        Sticking the landing in Korean drama always seems, given the innumerable plot complications of each, one of the most problematic challenges. Most of the time, these shows opt for shying away from tragedy and wind up seeming to lack the courage of the show’s conviction. Every once in a while, a show seems to have a gratuitously tragic ending. For me because Iris went on and on and on, by the time the show was finished, I was already a bit exhausted.

        Reply
  10. Natalia

    I’ve only watched Personal Taste, which I dropped because of how homophobic it was, and Playful Kiss, which was pretty sexist, I guess, but the female lead was so stupid that I found myself liking her in a bizarre way. If anyone feels like watching it, I recommend watching the follow up episodes you can find on YouTube.

    Reply
  11. j3ffc

    There’s a saying of the form “So and so has forgotten more about [name subject here] than most people ever learn”. (It’s a compliment). So now we have even more evidence that kfangurl has dropped more dramas than most of us will ever watch!

    It’s an interesting list and a fun read. My early days of drama watching were spurred by an New York Times article on the genre and I’ve seen all of them in their main list except for “Playful Kiss” and “Goblin”. I keep going back and forth on PK but will watch Goblin eventually.

    I did watch 1.5 of these shows, having seen and finished “Biscuit Teacher Star Candy” on a dicey site largely due to some writers elsewhere being highly complimentary of it and also b/c it was fun to see early work by the two Gongs. And I am going veerrrry slowly through “Delightful Girl Choon Hyang” as it was displaced on my workout watching slot by ongoing “Chuno”; picked that one as an early, well-remembered Hong sisters drama. So far, so good.

    Reply
  12. Aqua

    Iljimae was probably my favorite Kdrama of all time and still is pretty high up on the list. It was my first full-on sageuk so maybe that’s why I wasn’t that too sharp on noticing the inconsistencies? For me I don’t recall the writing being messy. To me it was incredibly touching and I can always root for a great zero to hero sort of underdog story. It really moved me emotionally, and while I don’t usually enjoy dramas that make me cry, this one had the powerful driving heart behind it that inspired me. And I really loved the OST too! Yuyeol’s Gingko Hillside is iconic.

    Reply
  13. Baobab

    Oh I forgot: I enjoyed Shopping King Louis a lot even though I rolled my eyes more than once because of the male lead 😀 It was a light and feel-good watch. 

    What was a bit weird was the second male lead (Yoon Sang-Hyun). Though he was a likeable character it didn’t sit right with me, that he was a 40 year old man in the drama interested in a 21 year old girl. 

    Reply
  14. Baobab

    I absolutely adore Live up to your name. Who would have known because I don’t really like medical setups. 🙂 I remember being 4-5 episodes in and I thought the main leads were just platonic.  

    I couldn’t feel much between them, but kept watching as I liked the back and forth time travel and how both of them had to adjust to the different timeline. Kim Nam-gil’s acting was a little comic-like and weird initially, but his character grew so much on me over time and his performance at the end of Ep 8 (or was it 9?) blew me away (where he begged for the brothers lives).

    After that I finished the rest of the episodes in just two days and I sobbed and sobbed at the last stretch. The love between the OTP grew naturally as they learned more about each other and the kiss in Ep. 12 is still one of the most real and hottest I have seen in Kdrama-land.

    I cannot remember any drama that made me cry and laugh so hard at the same time. I was thankful for the ending, too. Couldn’t move on from that for a long time and it still tops my list after almost 100 Kdramas.

    But I might be a little weird, as hits like Goblin or Scarlet Heart never really grabbed me. i dropped both half way in 😀

    Reply
  15. learjet1

    I watched Hello Monster/I Remember You a few weeks ago because both Seo In Guk and Park Bo Gum were in it so felt I couldn’t miss it. I enjoyed the first few episodes but I felt that it just got better and better and I would rate it as one of the best dramas I’ve seen. I was actually blown away by both actors – PBG was particularly remarkable because he played such a layered character (his facial expressions were amazing) and it was such a different role to anything else I’ve seen him in. It wasn’t the type of story I thought would appeal to me but I’m so glad I watched it. Also some great music.

    Watched Shopping King Louis because of Seo In Guk (do you spot a theme here??) and the FL was in Suspicious Partner. Yes, it was fluff but it was such enjoyable, heart-warming fluff. And SIG managed to make a character that should have seemed spoilt, immature and selfish into a totally adorable, lovable character. It left me feeling happy.

    Reply
  16. Trent

    I did enjoy it!

    …even though I recognized many fewer of the dramas listed here than in your first “didn’t review” post, which only serves to teach me a bit of salutary humility in reminding me that Dramaworld is truly vast, and I am only, after all, a very small animal (i.e. there’s a gazillion things I haven’t even heard of much less seen).

    Just a couple of thoughts:

    — Full House: I’d heard of this one, even seen a clip or two of it; I am resolutely not interested in the subject matter, on the one hand… on the other hand, a very young (relatively speaking) Song Hye-kyo, projecting maximum aegyo, is a mighty powerful inducement. What to do?

    — My Sassy Girl: not particularly interested in the series, but I was interested in the original movie, if only to see Jun Ji-hyun in her original star-making turn. I couldn’t find it available anywhere, but then that was before I started trying the ol’ VPN trick…hmmm.

    — One Fine Day: snerk Yes, yes, Gong Yoo does look great shirtless, you’re not wrong…

    — You’re Beautiful: You’re probably right that Park Shin-hye would never pass as a boy in real life… on the other hand, my eyes passed right over the accompanying picture, and when I read that line, I was all like what? what are you talking…oh, wait, yeah I guess that is Park Shin-hye, isn’t it. So I dunno, maybe she could pass for a little while?

    Reply
    1. j3ffc

      I watched the film on Google Plus here in the States. I didn’t luuurve it but I sort of think it’s a must-watch for Korean drama fans for exactly the reasons you mention. Jun Ji-hyun’s star power is quite evident in the movie (which, at 2 hours, is a modest investment by K-drama standards).

      Reply
  17. Snow Flower

    I am looking for something to balance the Chuno rewatch. I recently finished Girls’ Generation 1979 and loved every minute of it. Robber and Go Back Couple are next on my list.

    Reply
    1. Snow Flower

      Watched the first episode of Robber yesterday. It was kind of refreshing to see Jang Hyuk in a (mostly) comic role.

      Reply
      1. Ele Nash

        Lots to love about Robber, not least, seeing Lee Daehae in a role she excels in. Overall I enjoyed it but there were some moments where Jang Hyuk’s character is truly horrible, despicable even 😭 It made it very difficult to love him. And there’s little I enjoy more than fangirling over Jang Hyuk!

        Reply
        1. Snow Flower

          I just want to smack JH’s character in Robber! But his channeling of So Ji Sub in I’m Sorry I Love You made my day!

          Lee Da Hae is great in her role, plus I like the shabby chic style of the knitted clothes she is wearing.

          Reply
        2. Drama Fan

          But the redemption was soooo good and well done imo. Their chemistry was so good too ❤️ However, yes, he was a truly BAD guy, and as I watched those first episodes I wondered if I would be able to EVER forgive him (I did) but I understand and agree, it was a difficult character (makes me love JH more, that he chooses such difficult characters)

          Reply
        1. BE

          Lee Jung Eun in a supporting role. She is also in another recently released film, The Day I Died. I wish recent films were as accessible, even if I have to rent them, as tv series are.

          Reply
      1. phl1rxd

        Hi BE – I do as well. In BW no less and as crystal clear and sharp as can be. I always loved BW photography and video. You are not distracted by the color and can better focus on the subject. It is on my list to watch when it is released.

        Reply
        1. BE

          Same director did another black and white film, Dong Ju Portrait of a Poet, about one of Korea’s most celebrated 20th C poets, whose entire work was not published until after he died in a Japanese prison in WW2. The entire film is available on Youtube. Trailer:

          The novelist, whose name escapes me now sorry, who wrote the novel from which Tree With Deep Roots was taken also wrote a novel about Dong Ju’s incarceration. There was also a famous play performed in Korea about Dong Ju. And in Money Tree, Dong Ju is name checked when an older about to go to prison Cheobol don is gifted Dong Ju’s poetry.
          Here are 4.

          “Sleepless Nights”

          One.
          Two.
          Three.
          Four.

          Such nights indeed
          are many

          “Go with Your Eyes Closed”

          Children who adore the sun!
          Children who adore the stars!

          The night is dark:
          Go with your eyes closed.

          Go, scattering the seeds
          you have.

          Should you stumble over a stone,
          open the eyes you have closed.

          “Pockets”

          The pockets were worried
          having nothing to fill them.

          When winter came,
          two fists filled them up.

          “Cricket and I”

          Cricket and I
          had a talk in the grass.

          Crickitty crick,
          crickitty crick.

          We promised to let
          no one else know,
          no one else but the two of us.

          Crickitty crick,
          crickitty crick.

          Cricket and I
          had a talk in the night,
          the moon up high,
          ever so bright.

          From Sky, Wind, and Stars by Yun Dong-ju
          Translated by Kyung-nyun Kim Richards and Steffen F. Richards
          Asian Humanities Press

          Reply
          1. phl1rxd

            Hi BE – To be honest I have been avoiding this movie because it looks quite painful. I usually shy away from war movies. I really have a hard time understanding how humans can act so inhumane. It hurts my heart.

            I looked at some of his poetry and I was fascinated by “Self Portrait”. I do have it on my list however, and I think I may be able to watch by mid year. Thank you so much for the recommendation and thanks for sharing his poetry.

            Reply
  18. Growing Beautifully

    Hey Kfangurl, thanks so much for this. I’m totally with you on there being good and much loved shows that I can never get myself to watch, or, upon watching, to actually like all that much. I’m also fully on board with being put off by shows (poor shows!!) because of my own personal bias over certain actors. Sometimes it’s really not their fault, ie they can act and all, it’s just that I don’t like something about them. There are, also of course, actors who need a lot more coaching, let’s say… or experience.

    That being said, however, I might still give actors and shows a chance, where I find the premise interesting and the general review is that it’s not a train wreck. Hence despite certain reservations, I did a late viewing and found to my surprise, that Start Up is a pretty well made show, engaging and enjoyable, and I was fully invested in the concerns of the characters. 🙂

    Take care and stay safe!

    Reply

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