Thanks everyone, for your many suggestions, thoughts and contributions on the Group Watch brainstorm! 🤩
Lots of worthy titles were floated, and as promised, I sifted through all of them, and shortlisted the most popular titles for this poll.
Thanks, too, for your consideration, in worrying that the show picked might not tickle my fancy. I’m happy to say that this shortlist is made up of shows that I have watched and loved, as well as shows that I’m duly curious to check out. What this means is that whichever drama we end up watching, I do plan to provide episode notes for it. Woot! 🤗
Before diving into the contenders who made the shortlist, here are what I think are the main considerations to keep in mind, while making your choice:
We want the Group Watch to be as accessible to everyone as possible, so free streaming options are always the best. Remember that you can always use Opera’s free, built-in, unlimited VPN to get around geo-restrictions. A tutorial on that can be found here, and an article on why it’s not illegal to use a VPN to access legal streaming content can be found here.
Bearing in mind our desire for maximum availability, this does put Dear My Friends at a disadvantage, because that seems to only be available on Netflix. If you know of other legal streaming sources, for this or other shows on the list, feel free to share that information in the comments!
As Geo put it so eloquently, viewer fatigue can arise for any number of reasons, so do take the amount of commitment needed for each show into consideration, as you make your choices! I’ve broken down the commitment needed for each show below, so that you can easily tell at a glance, what kind of commitment each show would entail.
Here are the shortlisted dramas. The poll itself is at the end of the post. You may select up to THREE options! But if you just want to vote for one, you can do that too. You may also revote, if you change your mind.
Poll goes till end of 23 February 2021, my time (GMT+8).
Nirvana In Fire [China]
One of the best – if not the best – dramas I have seen. So well-written, and so well-acted, and also, clearly expensively produced. It’s intricate and meaty and does benefit from a group watch setting. One downside is that it’s dubbed, like most Chinese dramas tend to be, so you don’t actually get to hear the real actors’ voices, except for Hu Ge and Wang Kai, whose real voices are used. Review is here.
Commitment: 54 episodes. 3 eps per week = 18 weeks. This is a significantly longer commitment, so do consider carefully, while making your choice for the poll!
Availability: Available for free on Viki (US and Europe).
The best revenge drama I’ve watched (though admittedly, I haven’t actually watched all that many of ’em). I loved this, and thought Jang Hyuk‘s performance in this is as iconic as his performance in Chuno. Money Flower review is here.
Commitment: 24 episodes. 2 eps per week = 12 weeks.
Availability: Available for free on OnDemandKorea and Kocowa. Also available on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus
Dear My Friends
Everyone who’s seen this says it’s fantastic and absolutely worth a watch. I’ve also been warned that we should prepare tissues, if we’re going to watch this one. I’ve also been told that it’s so meaningful, and the cast is so sublime, that it’s completely worth it.
Commitment: 16 episodes. 2 eps per week = 8 weeks.
Availability: Unfortunately, this looks to be only available on Netflix.
I’ve heard that this is solid and worth the watch. I’ve also heard that it might feel a bit slow at first, but it picks up after a couple of episodes. Also, it’s Jang Hyuk. 🤩 Fair warning that there is reportedly no romance in this one. Edit! I’ve been informed by dear Drama Fan, that there is, indeed, a romance in this. It’s just pretty muted, is all. Sorry for the misinformation! 😅
Commitment: 14 episodes. 2 eps a week = 7 weeks.
Availability: Available for free on OnDemandKorea. Also available on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus, and on Kocowa, if you’re on a paid subscription.
So many people have so many positive things to say about this one; one of the most notable, for me, is that you don’t need to actually like medical dramas to enjoy this one. Reportedly fantastic and heartwarming. Trigger warning, though: I’ve heard that there are suicide attempts and a character with suicidal thoughts, at least in the initial episodes.
Commitment: 20 episodes + 1 special episode. 2 eps per week = 10 weeks (maybe 11, if we take on the special episode?)
Availability: Available for free on Kocowa, OnDemandKorea, iQIYI and Viu. Also available on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Plus.
While You Were Sleeping
On the upside, I’m told that this one is surprisingly good and that the connection between the leads is very meaningful. On the downside, this does give off pretty strong I Hear Your Voice vibes (it does come from the same writer), so it might feel a bit déjà vu in spots.
Fair warning, it does seem like viewers are divided on this show; some say it’s Lee Jong Suk‘s best drama, while others say that the writing’s a mess.
Commitment: 16 episodes. 2 eps per week = 8 weeks. (Also listed as 32 half-hour episodes, in which case it would be 4 eps a week = 8 weeks.)
Availability: Available for free on iQIYI and Viu. Also available on Viki, if you have Viki Pass Standard, and on Kocowa, if you’re on a paid subscription.
You may select up to THREE options! But if you just want to vote for one, you can do that too! You may also revote, if you change your mind.
Poll goes till end of 23 February 2021, my time (GMT+8).
- Dr. Romantic 22%, 136 votes136 votes 22%136 votes - 22% of all votes
- While You Were Sleeping 20%, 126 votes126 votes 20%126 votes - 20% of all votes
- Nirvana In Fire 17%, 104 votes104 votes 17%104 votes - 17% of all votes
- Dear My Friends 16%, 102 votes102 votes 16%102 votes - 16% of all votes
- Money Flower 15%, 95 votes95 votes 15%95 votes - 15% of all votes
- Beautiful Mind 9%, 57 votes57 votes 9%57 votes - 9% of all votes