Hey KFG. Hope you are well. An idea for “ask KFG” post was one around what your guilty pleasures are? And opening that same question up to the KFG community. In particular those that you couldn’t explain to a non K drama lover.
So for me three immediately come to mind. The first being “Secret Garden”. Body shifting, toxic couple. Female lead sometimes one note, an annoying mother but even though I watched this ten years after it was shown I still fell for all the iconic lines.
The second ” “You are Beautiful”. Cross dressing nun joins a pop band pretending to be her male twin. The chemistry between the OTP never sizzles but it is oh so sweet and actually what develops is a nurturing relationship despite the communication problems. And Jang Keun-suk is so mesmerising beautiful that you can’t take your eyes off him.
The third is” Don’t dare to dream”. Questionable OTP and questionable decisions and at one point the female lead dates both the ML and the second lead at the same but the sparkling chemistry between the leads makes this a great binge watch.
And an honourable mention for Masters Sun. FL sees ghosts and ML acts as a barrier to those ghosts but uses this power to manipulate the FL into furthering his interests but again the sizzling chemistry between the leads makes the show so bingeable”
Thanks for asking such a fun question!! I had a good time thinking about which dramas are guilty pleasures for me, and what makes a drama a guilty pleasure for me personally, as well.
I realize that a show can feel like a guilty pleasure for me, when it satisfies one or more of the following conditions:
1. It’s not objectively good, but I enjoy it anyway
2. There’s something about it that I find very slurpable
3. There’s an actor or OTP relationship in it that just draws me in, even if I have misgivings about other parts of the show
4. It’s a show that I’d like to rewatch, even though I have a watch list of shows that I haven’t seen, that is a mile long
To be clear, this doesn’t mean that all the shows on my list aren’t good. 😅 I think some of these shows are objectively excellent, but there’s still that giddy slurpy sort of feeling that I get while watching them, that makes me think of these shows as guilty pleasures.
If you guys have other titles to add, please share them with us in the comments!
A LOOK AT SOME OF MY GUILTY PLEASURE DRAMAS
A Love So Beautiful [China]
Light, warm and breezy, there’s just something about this show that works, for me. The story – about a warm girl who unabashedly likes an aloof boy – isn’t anything new, but there’s a charm and X factor in this one, that sets it apart, I feel.
I happily watched back-to-back episodes of this one, and I’d like to do it again sometime.
Flash Review is here.
Are You Human Too
Show is so flagrantly ridiculous in how melodramatic it is, and how much it stretches logic, but I loved it, while keeping my absurdist lens firmly in place. Did it make sense that I was rooting for the robot and not the human? No.
Did it make sense that our OTP loveline is between a robot and a human? Also, no. But I loved it anyway.
Review is here.
Ha. This is a show that’s objectively not at all great. But Gong Yoo‘s in this, and he looks amazing in it. I basically watched it just to spazz at him on my screen. 😂
I didn’t care that the script didn’t make much sense. I did care a little, when Show became a drag to watch after episode 12, but I finished it anyway, and then pretended that episodes 13 to 16 never happened, ha.
Review is here.
Bride of the Century
This show was so much fun, with the right lens on. Puppies playing makjang, is basically what this show felt like, to watch. It feels like writer-nim was playing Drunken Trope while writing this one as well, coz we go from trope to trope in a blithe, haphazard fashion, for the most part.
This was as slurpable as it was silly. I loved it.
Review is here.
This show isn’t objectively well-written, but the premise, of a boy falling for a girl-dressed-as-a-boy, is one that I’ve had a soft spot for, since Coffee Prince.
Plus, the chemistry between Megan Lai and Baron Chen is so electric, and Baron’s smoldery gaze is so mesmerizing, that I just couldn’t look away.
Flash Review is here.
Ok, I do think Coffee Prince is a very good show that deserves all the love that it gets. But, similar to Bromance, I am just so taken by the OTP chemistry, and Gong Yoo’s smitten gazes, which are simply glorious, that it feels like a guilty pleasure to binge this.
Review is here.
Crash Landing On You
There’s something so frothy and fun about this, that reminds me of classic Hallyu rom-coms. I think the OTP chemistry is nice and sparky, but to be honest, this feels like a guilty pleasure because I just felt really charmed by Hyun Bin in this role.
He’s so decent, and caring, and dorky, and swoony, all at the same time. 😍
Review is here.
I found this really fun and slurpable, when I watched it back in the day. There’s something about high school dramas that appeals to my inner teen, and when that concept is meshed with kpop, it just feels quite fascinating, even though I don’t even really listen to kpop. The music just made everything feel extra breezy.
Taecyeon and Kim Soo Hyun fighting over underwear also never gets old, for me. 😂
Review is here.
Find Yourself [China]
I have a soft spot for Noona romances, and this totally qualifies. Objectively, Show has some thoughtful nuggets that lifts it above the average guilty pleasure drama, but it was honestly the OTP chemistry, and Song Wei Long’s brand of youthful, intent smolder, that had me lapping this up.
Review is here.
Goong / Princess Hours
This one’s a sentimental favorite of mine, because Goong was my gateway drama. There’s something about the music that just sucks me into this drama world.
And watching the cold prince melt in degrees, towards our warm girl, always makes me squee. 😍
Review is here.
Hana Kimi (2007) [Japan]
Such nonsensical, slurpable fun. This show makes me laugh, because it’s so silly. I mean, a high school that only accepts boys based on their looks? Tee hee. That will never grow old, for me. 😆
But also, Oguri Shun’s brand of smolder really works for me, in this show, and I could completely understand why our female lead would go to such lengths, to go undercover as a boy, for his sake.
I think Healer’s an excellent show in many ways, but the reason it feels like a guilty pleasure to me, is because I melt into a puddle at so many of the OTP interactions; Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young are so natural together!
And also, there’s the thing where I swoon every time Healer casually parkours off a building. 🤩
Review is here.
Jang Ok Jung, Live In Love
Lots of people didn’t like this show too much, but when I watched only the OTP bits and fast-forwarded through literally everything else, this turned out to be solidly enjoyable, and quite delicious, even. Yoo Ah In as a young, smitten king? Yes, please.
Flash Review is here.
Just You [Taiwan]
This show is not objectively good, and is even rather draggy in spots, but overall, I found this fun, breezy and enjoyable, because Puff Guo and Aaron Yan share excellent chemistry. Also, I just liked looking at the Aaron Handsome, heh.
Flash Review is here.
Let’s Eat is a solidly good show, but it feels like a guilty pleasure to me, because I just like ogling all the food. Out of the 3 seasons, this first season has the best food p0rn. They truly nailed what it looks like, to eat deliciously.
And the food really does look wonderful. I could ogle this show all day, ha. 😋
Flash Review is here.
Marriage Not Dating
I think this one’s objectively good, but it somehow feels like a guilty pleasure, with all the contract relationship hijinks, that, if memory serves, includes a healthy serving of secondhand embarrassment.
Also, Yeon Woo Jin and Han Groo are so natural together, that it sometimes made me feel like I was a voyeur peeping at a real-life couple. That’s probably also why this feels like a guilty pleasure. 😅
Review is here.
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds
Show does get more serious in its second half, but I happily slurped up this one, because Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung are so cute together.
Also, I spazzed every time Park Bo Gum turned on our Crown Prince’s cheeky smirk, or his intense smolder. 🤩
Review is here.
I think Show’s very solid, but there’s a guilty pleasure vibe about watching this, probably because I can’t help but root for the OTP, even though my brain protests that technically, our female lead is really a man inhabiting a woman’s body.
Yes, it can be problematic when analyzed in an objective manner, but while watching these two burn up the screen together, I really didn’t care about being analytical or objective, heh.
Review is here.
My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
Yes, it is a little dated, and yes, it can be tropey, but it’s mostly breezy and feel-good, and Shin Min Ah is the cutest, most adorable gumiho that Dramaland’s ever seen. I just like watching her. 🤩
And also, the Fox Rain song really gets under my skin.
Open Threads are listed here.
My ID is Gangnam Beauty
Objectively, neither Cha Eun Woo nor Im Soo Hyang act that well, in this show. But there’s a BOF-flavored cracky quality to this that I really enjoyed.
I just loved the idea of the aloof boy actually being really decent and nice, and never hesitating to step in to save the awkward female lead, when she’s bullied by others.
Flash Review is here.
Noble, My Love
This one totally qualifies as a guilty pleasure show. It’s sooo tropey, but I still found it very watchable, because I found the OTP chemistry pretty good, and I also thought Sung Hoon did a nice job of his leading man smolder.
Flash Review is here.
I figure this qualifies as a guilty pleasure, because logically, Lee Sun Gyun’s Chef is too shouty and chauvinistic for a good chunk of the show, and Gong Hyo Jin’s character is too unabashedly smitten with him.
But somehow, when I watched this way back when, I lapped it up happily, and then watched it again.
There’s just something breezy about this show that appealed to me. Plus, Lee Sun Gyun’s velvet voice is just gorgeous. 😍
Queen In-hyun’s Man
Show’s actually really solid, but there are admittedly some logic gaps in its narrative, particularly towards the end.
Maybe because there are some logic gaps, this feels like a guilty pleasure to me? I think Yoo In Na is as cute as a button in this, and also, Ji Hyun Woo’s smitten gazes were all real, since he legit fell for Yoo In Na, while filming this. Squee!
Review is here.
Save Your Last Dance For Me
This one’s a sentimental favorite as well, since Save Your Last Dance was my second kdrama.
Young Ji Sung looking all fresh-faced and handsome; double amnesia, so that he falls for our female lead Eugene not once, but twice; an ear-wormy OST with dizzying violin crescendoes; I simply couldn’t get enough, even though Show got draggy in its second half. 🤩 I’d totally watch this one again.
Show is objectively very well-written, so it’s something I’d recommend even if we weren’t talking about guilty pleasure dramas. This one’s a guilty pleasure for me because I was so, SO smitten with the bromance between Lee Jong Suk and Kim Woo Bin.
I felt thoroughly hypnotized by the strength, depth and intensity of their bromantic connection.
I’ve seen this twice, and would totally watch it again.
Review is here.
She Would Never Know
I think Show is really well done, so again, this isn’t one of those shows I enjoyed in spite of its patchy quality. I’ve got it as a guilty pleasure show because I was just so taken by the OTP connection in this.
And, I definitely flailed all over the place, because I found Rowoon so swoony in this. 😍 (Words I never thought I’d say, but y’know, he’s just so much dreamier in this, than in Extraordinary You. 😍)
Review is here.
Splash Splash Love
Logic-lite, and so, SO cute. I wish this little drama special was longer. Doo Joon as a smitten king, and Kim Seul Gi as the time-traveling high-school girl who charms him, just really worked for me.
Of course it doesn’t make sense that she’d be able to time travel just by jumping into a puddle. But who cares, when that time slip involves a swoony king and a cute romance to go with? 🤩
Flash Review is here.
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
This totally qualifies as a guilty pleasure drama for me, because, to be honest, I hated – like, really hated – Show’s sense of humor.
I found the humor way too crass and insensitive. But, I couldn’t stop watching, because Park Hyung Sik and Park Bo Young are ridiculously adorable together, and their chemistry is so very sparky, and Park Hyung Sik’s smitten gazes are so dangerously molten.
Review is here.
Show has some weaknesses – like how Park Min Young doesn’t do a whole lot more than flash her winsome smile a lot – but I just love how fun this one is, as a fusion sageuk. The music’s so breezy, and the bromance between Yoo Ah In and Song Joong Ki is great.
Crazy Horse and Yeorim, foreva. 🤩🤩
Review is here.
Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms [China]
Ahhh.. Peaches. It was a bit of a slow burn at first, but this whole idea of gods and goddesses falling in love, which allows for emotions that are literally built up over a millennia, is so swoony to me. Our OTP has some seriously crackly chemistry.
And, well, if I’m being brutally honest, I also just liked gazing at Mark Chao, who’s ridiculously, knee-bucklingly charming in this. 😍
Flash Review is here.
Terius Behind Me
The spy-jinks are pretty lame in this, but So Ji Sub is so pitch perfect in this, that I just couldn’t get enough. I love that he’s a badass spy, and also, at the same time, an awkward dorky dude who somehow manages to get himself entangled with the adorable kids next door.
This show was my excuse to soak in the So Ji Sub awesome, which is why it’s on this list.
Flash Review is here.
The King Loves
I don’t actually think Show itself is objectively amazing, but with my Hong Jong Hyun appreciation lenses on, and Show’s decision to let him get the girl, even though he’s actually the second lead, I couldn’t slurp this up fast enough.
Not only does he look very handsome in the gorgeous hanboks and the mane of glory, his character is also really sweet and loyal. 😍
Review is here.
The Last Empress
The blithe makjang hijinks that Show revels in, is why this show is on this guilty pleasure list. Some of the logic stretches are almost insulting, and Show could have done better with landing the ending, but the makjang was so breathlessly delightful, that I had a grand ol’ time anyway.
Flash Review is here.
The Moon Embraces the Sun
Objectively speaking, there really isn’t all that much to Show’s narrative, and Han Ga In doesn’t do much more than open her eyes really wide all the time, but I was addicted to this, because I couldn’t get enough of Kim Soo Hyun‘s sexy regal smolder.
Review is here.
The Romance of Tiger and Rose [China]
A lot of the time, the details don’t make much sense in this show, and neither do the characters. But, I thought Zhao Lu Si was very cute as our modern scriptwriter who’s somehow gotten stuck in the drama world of her own creation, and I thought Ding Yu Xi was suitably Ken Doll-esque, as the handsome male lead in her drama world.
I found the premise fun, and the OTP, very cute together. Great for a mindless marathon.
Flash Review is here.
You From Another Star
An alien professor who falls for a top star in spite of himself, is just the sort of ridiculous premise that makes for a guilty pleasure watch.
Jun Ji Hyun is wonderfully hilarious as she leans into the physical comedy, and Kim Soo Hyun‘s an excellent foil for her, playing the stoic alien, whose more poignant layers get revealed as we get deeper into our story.
Show had me firmly and breathlessly by the heart, during my watch.
Review is here.
Nonsensical retro fun. Park Shin Hye’s a novice nun who goes undercover in a boyband, to fill in for her suddenly incapacitated twin brother, and of course she’d fall hilariously, awkwardly in love with the leader of said boyband.
Suspension of disbelief is required in spades, but Show is so much fun, the music is so ear-wormy, and Jang Geun Suk’s pout is so iconic, that it doesn’t even matter. 😂
I hope this list of shows gives you some new titles to add to your drama plate!
If you guys have more guilty pleasure dramas to recommend, please feel free to share them in the comments below. Sharing is caring, and we could all use a greater selection of guilty pleasure dramas to choose from, wouldn’t you say? 😉
Thanks, you guys.
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!
@Sean – I didn’t make it through the first episode of Ms. Fisher’s niece. She lacked that panache and cheekiness. I know there’s only one Phrynie but…darn my expectations.
Didn’t they imply Jack and Phrynie finally got together on the movie?
@Beez – I think I remember you saying that re the niece as part of discussion previously, Beez. The movie did imply that they did get together, but that was pure fan service I think 😊 Which, I am happy with 😊
@Sean – I actually felt sorry for Detective Jack. Phrynie could never be what he would have eventually wanted-needed… and he knew that but was a resistant moth to her inevitable flame. I could see him being destroyed in a relationship with her. You can’t have an alpha guy like him sit around waiting on when Phrynie has some love and time to share with him. “Share” being the problematic word when it comes to Phrynie and relationships.
(I’m sorry if I’m rehashing something were already discussed before.😞)
This has made me want to rewatch Miss Fisher all over again (and most episodes will probably seem like new to me). I think I will since I’m not enthralled with any Kdramas airing right now.
@Beez – Poor Jack, she is so lucky to have him in her corner. Their relationship is so well written: exasperating, mutual respect, glamourous and something that can never be (despite us wanting otherwise).
I know what you mean re kdramas at the moment. So yes, I do think its time for a Ms Fisher rewatch 😊 I am also going to take a look at the spin off series re Phryne’s niece. It has quite a following now.
@Sean – but I love the romantic aspect even if it’s only hinted at a la Ms. Fisher and her upright detective. (I was trying to swype “uptight” but “upright” fits him so well (compared to her) that I left it.l lol
@beez. Absolutely agree with the romantic aspect re Ms. Fisher. Lol, yes Jack is upright and uptight. He never stood a chance 😂🤣😂
@Sean – makes me sad that I don’t remember. 😥
But I did find the Miss S series on The Place that Shall Not Be Named but it’s not subbed. I’ve asked my son to see if his HBO account has it because I saw in the comments on the TPTSNBN that HBO has it but I’m not sure if it’s a regional thing with them as well. If worst cones to worst, I’ll skim the episodes just to see the fashion. 👀
@beez – Fingers crossed, beez! Yes, the fashion looks amazing 🤩
@Sean – so I can’t just press a button and easily watch this so I guess I’ll have to finally figure out all the stuff about VPN’s in kfangurl’s post about watching out of your region.
Thanks for making me aware this remake is out there. I’ve already emailed the article to my elderly cousin. She’s the one who introduced me to Miss Fisher but we never agree on anything else to watch. She’d rather watch old British guy detective shows which, for me, 🤭 [polite yawn]
That’s a shame, beez. From what I can see, you will need to use a VPN. I hope you both get to enjoy it 😊 The old British guy detectives are awesome 😂 I am watching quite a few modern cdrama detective shows though. Many of these have gone down the path of using real events. The good ones are really good, but the ones where there has to be a romantic interest as part of the story tend to self destruct.
@Sean – OMgoodness! Omo! I don’t even remember telling you how obsessed I am with Phryne Fisher but I must have! And that you remembered! 💙💙💙💜💜💜❤❤❤
Now I’ve got to open that Chinese drama app I have lying around on my phone and see if it’s on there. Or maybe, hopefully, Viki will have it. I’m so EXCITED!
@beez – we had quite the conversation at the time 😂
Seems like a lot of romcoms and teen dramas are in all our guilty pleasures’ list and I agree with several here (mostly as comfort watches but not exactly that they’re badly done).
For me, I think certain actors and actresses are my guilty pleasures. Some of them have limited acting skills and dubious choices in projects but I can’t still resist checking out. Top of the list would be Lee Min Ho and Kim Tae Hee.
Runner ups would be Kim Rae Won and Yeo Jin Goo.
Definitely not bad actors (YJG is phenomenal) but they have some projects that I normally wouldn’t sit out if not for them (like My Absolute Boyfriend).
Additional very minor guilty pleasures would probably be Ma Deong Suk (big, tough looking guy in Train to Busan and Along with the Gods) and Gong Hyo Jin (their roles are almost the same in any drama or movie). Jo Jae Yoon (Golta in Empress Ki and the guy who swallowed the diamonds in DOTS) too.
@phl1rxd – I find most of the movies hit the dark site almost the same time they’re released in theatres BUT it’s 50-50 if it has good subs. The machine subs are the worst!
Very fun question and list of guilty pleasures for you 🙂
I guess I don’t really have “true” guilty pleasures though since my tastes actually leans towards dramas that most people would consider to be not so great be it because they are considered, tropey, old-fashioned, or not well-written…hence guilty pleasures. They are just dramas that I like though! hehe 🤣
I mean, I guess it would be those dramas like Boys Over Flowers, Heirs, Love Rain, Ruler: Master of the Mask, Madame Antoine, Pretty Man, Melting Me Softly, You’re Beautiful. I seriously have so many dramas like that on my favorites list 😂
Fates and Furies!
Ah, guilty pleasures. I used to have those back in the day but not any more. These days I unabashedly like what I like, be it good, bad or middling. 😀
I too just like what I like, Timescout. I like so many dramas that most people consider awful that I just embrace it. It’s just my own personal tastes, and I always embrace what I enjoy 🙂
Oh KFG! it’s been a while, got busy and didn’t manage to check out the blog and I must say I really enjoyed this + the other recent Dear KFG posts. Sorry I couldn’t join the group watch but looks like y’all are having fun!!
And this post – I cackled when I saw it; love it. We all have guilty pleasure dramas! Mine would be those that I am ashamed to say I like or wouldn’t really recommend to others. Hence the guilty part! Haha with this stricter lens I have these on my list:
Ok that’s all, longer than I expected. Take care KFG and friends on this blog!
OK, well, I liked a lot of the shows on kfangurl’s list but don’t think of any of them was inspiring enough guilt in me to really count as guilty pleasures (well, maybe Strong Woman DBS). But the following three I think fit the bill:
Hotel del Luna. Famously hated on this site, but I enjoyed IU’s character and performance and allowed myself to get sucked into the show’s mythology. It was the first show that I watched more or less live as it was being released and I also allowed myself to get sucked into the show’s zeitgeist quotient.
Dinner Mate. Not a good overall plot and one of the least enjoyable sets of secondary leads in memory, but an absolutely fantastic star-consolidating comedic turn by Seo Ji-hye (right on the heels of CLOY – which they totally make fun of), who had great chemistry with Song Heung-heon. When the show focused on the OTP, it could be great, but that wasn’t nearly often enough. Also Ye Ji-won in a great supporting role. Not good a lot of the time, but when it was fun, it was really fun.
Drinking Solo. Let’s Eat lite and by far the weakest of the franchise. The only show where I was actively rooting against the OTP despite liking the FL. But show me enough likable characters eatin’ and drinkin’ and I’m all in’.
Hi Kfangurl, I think my definition of a guilty pleasure is when you’re slightly reluctant to tell other people that you liked it quite a bit 😁
I’ve watched a Japanese drama called Kakafukaka the other day and even though its completely ridiculous and probably not for the easily offended, I haven’t laughed so much in a while. 😁 Especially in the first half. Some Japanese dramas has such strange plots.
@Carulhein – Kakafukaka is so ‘manga-nese’. The cactus! Completely ridiculous is an apt description. 🤪😵😳 I was like “What the heck am I watching right now?”. 🤣😂
I’m choosing to apply a stricter filter of finding guilty pleasure despite accepting that it is really not that great a show.
By that measure, my only selection ends up being:
But almost on my list would be these two mass-audience-favorites-which-are-objectively-weak-in-spots:
There are sooo many others I’d add if the only measure were my degree of joyous spaz. That list would basically be any show I loved and that I loved because something about it was fun– usually at least one of the characters being quirky or adorable. So not the heavyweights such as My Mister or Secret Love Affair, nor even Pinocchio or Suspicious Partner or Search: WWW , although those last three come close.
These ones, perhaps?
Btw, we’re on episode 7 of the first season of Stranger right now. Thanks to everyone who recommended it!
It feels so odd that we’ve never seen Bae Doona in anything before, since yet my immediate reaction to her is what I’d expect if she were one of my long-time favorite actresses. She has a certain wonderful quality I can’t quite name.
I’m also impressed with the grandmother (mother of the original murder victim) played by Ye Soo-jung, who was so striking and strong as the evil chaebol CEO in Search: WWW and yet is so timid and beat-down in Stranger. What a great actress!
Bae Doona, charisma, screen presence, she has IT!
I loved and resonated so strongly with her character. On the outside she’s mature and tough, however on the inside she’s still a girl into cutesy things. *wistfully* I so wished they would’ve pursued the crackly chemistry between her and the male lead…
@Naomi – I agree that the chemistry was crackling.
Bae Doona is wonderful – I’m sorry she mostly does films as I’d love to see her in more dramas.
I was so impressed with Bae Doona in “Kingdom”, too! For that reason I have “Stranger” on my to-do list, although it is far from my usual fare.
Hi merij1 – she was in Sense8 and Cloud Atlas (she excelled in this). She is an exceptionally gifted actress. I hope you like Stranger 1 and 2 – she is so good in these.
Totally loving Stranger 1! We’re half way through episode 11. So many great actors in playing characters with depth. Not just the leads, but also nuanced bad guys and supporting characters.
Amusing tidbit, related to the recent Dear Kfangurl post on multi-season shows:
I haven’t told my wife there’s a 2nd season to Stranger. She probably wouldn’t have agreed to start it if she’d known. Now that we’re hooked, I’ll tell her near the end and we’ll probably watch a few other things first, then come back to season 2.
If I read you guys correctly, Season 2 is much slower-paced but has a more satisfying ending?
I personally found Stranger season 2 slower at the beginning, but the careful set up pays off in a big way by the end. Its focus is slightly different from season 1, but I found it equally strong as an overall show.
Like, phl, I didnt find Stranger 2 slower paced. There was certainly more space to make it more absorbing. S2 almost went to a different level. The final episode to S2 gave me boosebumps and left me with a smile 😊
We’re down to the finale of Stranger 1. So happy with this show!
So, are you moving on to Season 2?
Definitely! We did finish season 1 and loved the ending. However we will take a break from it for a couple of weeks before starting Season 2, lest they merge in our tiny little brains.
So you recommend Sense8 and Cloud Atlas?
I was also planning to watch at least the first 20-minute segment of Persona on Netflix, since it features Bae Doona and Lee Ji-eun/IU (the singer, of My Mister fame) in a tense older/younger woman stand-off.
merij1: I’ll be interested in your take on that segment of Persona. Once you’ve see it, I’ll share my “thoughts” as well.
My problem with Persona is that it felt like a set of over arty film shorts. The Bae Doona, IU short was interesting because they played tennis against one another in which Bae Doona plays an experienced tennis player and IU far less skilled. Egoless but not so great performance by IU. Bae Doona is terrific.
merij1 – Sense8 was hard to take (lots of very explicit scenes 🤦♀️) but I enjoyed Cloud Atlas – I read the book as well. It is different. It spans multiple time periods with the actors playing different roles.
I did not notice that Stranger2 was slower paced. As for the ending, I cannot say whether or not it was more satisfying than S1. It was all great. 😀
I agree wholeheartedly, phl! In each of these roles you get to see her portray such different characters. Amazing 😊
She embodied Sonmi-451 completely. That scene in the crosswalk (for lack of a better term) between the two high rise buildings in Seoul was unforgettable. Whew!
Yes, our “goddess” was breathtaking. There is a wiki dedicated to Cloud Atlas and it’s amazing. It discusses both the book and the film and everything else in between. The wiki is 137 pages long and growing 😜
Sean – well that is an amazing site. Wow! Big thanks for this.
“I believe death is only a door. One closes, and another opens. If I were to imagine heaven, I would imagine a door opening. And he would be waiting for me there.”
That’s amazing, phl. I thought about posting the same quote 😉
Sean – it is a great quote and one which deeply resonates with me.
Agree. She has that quality I can’t quite put my finger on. That’s why I want to watch Stranger 2 (part 1 was just alright with me, definitely not bad but not raving about it either). She’s also the first guest of House on Wheels’ second season. Not much happening on that show but you might want to see her there (it’s on Viu). Her interactions while playing Jenga with her co-stars on Kingdom was nice too (it’s on YouTube).
House on Wheels is my late night, can’t get sleep but can’t concentrate on anything much, happy place. It was especially nice during lock-down. I thought Bae Doona was surprisingly quiet and I would have liked hearing more about her work, but the charm of that show is seeing familiar faces doing ordinary things.
This season, I thought the most interesting eps were 3 and 4, where Gong Hyo-jin and Oh Jung-se were on. It was cute watching them revisit the town where Camellia was filmed and the personal dynamics were really interesting: it is obvious that all of them are a little bit in awe of Oh Jung-se’s acting skills.
Awww you’re watching it! I think I’m turning into a complete Yeo Jin Goo fan, something about his energy makes his seniors want to take care of him more (he had more mishaps too). Im Si Wan was good and everything proper but Season 2 was slightly less enjoyable (maybe because it was too cold and they were stuck in the house most of the time).
It is nice to have another House fan here in the guilty pleasure thread. I agree that S2 wasn’t quite as fun, probably due to the weather, as you mention. I just loved Yeo Jin Goo in S1, too (haven’t gotten to his turn on the show this year).My favorite moment was in S1 when, YJG, who does not strike me as someone who needs to lack confidence around women, was so shy around Ha Ji-won that he refused to look her in the face. Just strikes me as a fun, decent guy.
You might wonder, “why One Spring Night” if the only measure is pleasure? Odd choice for a joy-list, since that’s a highly realistic romance drama with very little that’s intended to be amusing, quirky or fun.
However, every time the song No Direction by Rachael Yamagata came on — which happened a lot, btw! — both my wife and I felt sooo happy. Our hearts just lifted. And “happy” is fun, right?
One Spring Night is a big one for me! There is something so wonderful to me about the OTP.
Fun question! There are lots of shows I’ve loved that were objectively messy in places, either technically or thematically, but if we’re talking shows that maybe weren’t “good” but that I enjoyed (or enjoyed for the “wrong” reasons) it’s a shorter list.
Bad Guy: Objectively terrible in every possible way from a screenwriting perspective, but OMG, Kim Nam Gil and Oh Yeon Soo in that elevator.
Flower Boy Ramen Shop: Actually quite well-structured plot-wise, but totally fluffy and ridiculous and completely fine with that fact.
Vincenzo: Ridiculously over-the-top in pretty much every possible way, but a lot of fun until it went full-on torture porn at the end.
One Million Stars Falling From the Sky (Japanese version): I know this was supposed to be DEEPLY SERIOUS, but for me it was all about watching KimuTaku sleep with every woman in Tokyo (I’m shallow that way).
Guilty-pleasures for me belong to either of the two categories: 1. They are old and have aged poorly because of some eye-roll inducing stuff but you can’t help but eat-it up & 2. I am old and shouldn’t be watching them because I know better (silly high-school dramas), but my inner fangirl is secretly still a teen, so again, I eat-it up. 2.5 Addicting, sugar-y stuff that never fails to make me smile 🙂
–Meteor Garden/ Hana Yori Dango franchise: any and all remake. I have to atleast check them out. It’s a loyalty-thing at this point of time.
–It Started with a Kiss/ Itazura na Kiss franchise: The feminist in me hates this (type of) story, but I can’t stop watching any and every version of it. Yes, this includes ‘Love Lasts Forever‘. I guess ALSB will be on the list too, once I happen to finish it
–Shanai Marriage Honey: And all similar kinds of manga-adaptations with FLs who overdo the kawaii. Bonus points if it features jerky-hand grabs, and some good ol’ kabedon!
–Autumn’s Concerto, Secret, Stairway to Heaven and Winter Sonata: Old, tropey, makjang, sometimes incredibly sexist. MLs used to be absolute d*ckheads back then. But guess what, I have a secret love for amnesia, oof!
–Secretary Kim & Strong Woman DBS: Not sure why I watched them, but whatever was served up on-screen, I happily consumed and wanted more. I sometimes still watch supercuts 🙂
–Word of Honor: the fluffy-bits is the real sugar & crack-level addicting, The eye-f*cking is amazing too. Also, can ZZH + GJ really not be someone’s guilty pleasure??! The concert-CP moments are better than any k-drama, istg. It’s a guilty-pleasure b/c it unnecessarily raises BL expectations for me :/ I’m ruined for the Untamed now.
–So Not Worth it & Tiger+Rose: Gosh, so ridiculously campy & the meta is so, SO outrageously good! The first is a sitcom, so even better!!
–CLOY & Peach-Blossoms: My gateway k-drama & c-drama (that got me from a ‘casual‘ watcher to a ‘serious‘ consumer, lol!) ^^
–I’m super tickled to see some of KFG’s GPs. A few titles common between her list & mine:
Bromance, Hana-Kimi & Mr. Queen! 😀 Special mention to my all-time favorites (the ones that you put on, while eating food, and can quote lines from, at gunpoint), which aren’t really asian dramas: Ouran High School Host Club (anime) & FRIENDS (american sitcom)
*goes and hides in a corner*
Yes, the Hana Yori Dango franchise. I have checked them all out (even if I didn’t finish some). And yes to high school teen series that I should have been over with also (recently watched and enjoyed True Beauty, Who Are You School 2015, School 2013).
Awww this post made laugh and agree and laugh some more.
Coffee Prince was my gateway kdrama and I have loved Gong Yoo ever since (my husband is totally aware of my celebrity crush, haha). Big was okish but again as you kfangurl was paying more attention to GY tgan to the plot.
Guilty pleasures for me are shows that I rationally can say I dont think they are that good or that will not be on my usual watchlist (e.g. all the high school ones) but I need to get to the end or even rewatch just the parts I like. On this list I definetely have: What’s wrong with Secretary Kim? A love so beautiful (both the Chinese and Korean versions), Faith, Dodosolsollalasol (I have erased the last 3 episodes from my memory), Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (not my type of humour at all and found it offensive in cases but the OTP is all), Descendants of the Sun and for the jdramas definetely the first one of Gokusen.
Thanks for the laughters!
Well, that would have to be the myriad of dailies I watch. I am up for 80 – 120 episodes at 5 episodes per week. If I really like it (such as Lovers in Bloom) then I will watch it every day. If it’s not all that crash hot, or it goes off, I will watch the week’s episodes back to back on the weekend e.g. Gangnam Scandal, I’m A Mother Too, Love To The End, Mom Has An Affair (I don’t even know how I got through it), My Healing Love.
The great thing about the dailies is you do get to see who is up and coming, who is on their way back (there are some big names in these shows) and the senior and veteran supporting actors who do everything: dailies, weekenders, prime time, movies etc. Some of them must film multiple shows over the course of the week.
Aha Sean – therein lies the key to your over 10,000 episodes – dailies!
I forget how many shows Sean said he watches at a time, but it was an impressive number.
At first… Then I remembered we all used to watch TV like that, many shows at a time, but only one episode per week, as they broadcast.
That seems so long ago to me, like another lifetime! We only cancelled our cable TV several years ago — falling for the “triple-play” packaging for far too long until we decided to drop our landline phone — but I think it’s been 30+ years since I watched any conventional TV show as it broadcast. Moonlighting with Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd might have been the last one, which was in the mid to late ’80s!
Since then, the only shows I watched as they come out were limited series premium offerings, pretty much only on HBO until Netflix and others got into the business. And now, K-drama, except that after Something In the Rain/Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food, I don’t trust the Korean shows not to implode at the end and leave a sour taste in my mouth.
It’s so much easier to drop a show that isn’t working than to fall head over heels in love with it . . . then totally hate the ending! So I prefer to wait until I know the show made it home safely.
Same here merij1 – we only have basic cable for internet access. We decided that a cable bill over $300 was ridiculous and went right to streaming. Now with subscriptions to Viki, ODK, iQIYi, Netflix and Kocowa I have all I need at a fraction of the price. There is also YT and the dark side. Now I also will drop a show at the first hint of displeasure. It used to be hard for me to drop a show but not anymore.
Moonlighting – that brings back some memories!
Sean is most impressive. I just hit 9,000 episodes and I will never catch up to him. 😆
Streaming is certainly the best way to go. You may catch me yet, phl! I have quite a few books to get through and I need to do some other things, which means a viewing pause may be coming up 😜 I dropped a whole heap of shows recently, too. I am finding my kdrama watch is dwindling week by week and that cdramas are filling the void for now.
Sean – this is exactly the same for me. I also am watching more CDramas.
@Sean @phl1rxd – When I first “cut the cable”, streaming was wonderful, but now it’s about to become where all the different streaming subscriptions will soon total the cost of cable. (I’m still pissed that even Apple is entering the Kdrama game and they’ve got Lee Min ho’s next vehicle. (I’m a little ticked with Apple on a whole although it’s not pc for me to say why.) I’m debating even watching LMH-oppa even though my son has given me access to his Apple account during his “free year”. Thinking back to when I wanted everybody to love and watch Kdrama so I wouldn’t be the odd woman out but now I want to go back to our small more simple community.
@Beez – I remember you saying that Apple was getting the new LMH drama. That is pretty wild Beez. It looks like it is Pachinko. I wonder when it will hit the dark site and maybe then I will watch it.
@beez @phl1rxd We are happy to subscribe to various streaming sites up to the value of what we used to pay for “cable.” We have had Apple TV for quite some time as I used it for other work related applications. Pachinko looks very interesting. I debate watching LMH at the best of times, but he might actually be okay in this one 😂😉
Go on, Beez – access the dark site when the time comes. Kdramas and the like are the current viewing battleground and will be for some time yet. So the expanded community, I think is in for the long haul. That aside, Apple makes For All Mankind, which we think is an amazing and awesome show.
I thought I would track down Miss S (Miss Fisher). It is out there. Fortunately, I can watch this locally. It sounds and looks wonderful. I think I might be hijacking the TV night 🤣. Here is an overview: miss-s-is-chinas-faithfully-glamorous-remake-of-miss-fishers-murder-mysteries
It was 32, Merij – but I have reformed my ways. I make sure I no longer watch more than half that number now. As for kdramas imploding, once I catch a whiff of that happening, I do tend to drop them. Every now and then I will see it through, though. For me, SITR turned into such a big disappointment I dropped it at episode 9. However, I am still happy to watch a show and drop it if I no longer enjoy it. When I fly I download shows to watch on flights, if there isn’t something that catches my eye. Anyway, we enjoyed Moon Lighting very much 😉
You got my number on that one, phl 😂
Absolutely agree with My Love from the Star, Healer, Crash Landing on You and Strong Girl Bong Soon. I would also add Her Private Life, Touch my Heart, Beauty Inside, W: Two worlds apart and the secret life of my secretary. I can’t actually really enjoy them in spite of their flaws hahaha. Sometimes it’s really all about the chemistry between the leads i feel.
Thank you KFG! And what a list I have seen a few on the list but I now know where to go if I looking from something slurpable!🤩
What a great question! I laughed when I saw you had Noble my Love as I really enjoyed that as well. 🙂
As for my ‘guilty’ pleasures I would say any drama that I watch or re-watch when the real world gets too real and I need an escape into wonderland.
They are Queen In-hyun’s Man, Rooftop Prince, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, You From Another Star and yes, Secret Garden. I will also re-watch Takane no Hana but only the parts that feature Kazunobu Mineta as Pooh. The rest of the drama was pretty terrible but he was brilliant and I loved him to pieces. NIF of course as well.
I think your list is stellar! ⭐⭐⭐
Great question! Although I didn’t watch (or derive pleasure from) all of the dramas listed, many of your guilty pleasures are mine also, e.g., Healer, Mr. Queen, Romance of Tiger and Rose, You’re Beautiful, and You From Another Star, to name a few. I would also add Faith, my gateway drama and one that I enjoy rewatching despite its many many flaws, not least of which is awful directing. I’d also add Reply ’88 (the who-is-the-husband guessing game is hmmmm but I liked the families and friendships) and W (setting aside logic, this one was fun and I loved some of the scenes, such as when she sank into the river). Plus the movies, The Dude Inside Me (loved Park Sung Woong and Ra Mi Ran) and Miss Granny.
I liked School 2013 a lot but I guess I don’t think of it as a guilty pleasure because I think it was pretty well done.
Such a great topic, KFG! Here are some of mine:
Faith-my very first kdrama, and my gateway into drama world. It is probably not the best drama ever, but it made me hooked forever. I liked the clothes and the swordfighting, plus, Lee Min Ho is rather easy on the eyes.
Warrior Baek Dong Su – ah, the flowing manes of glory, the tortured bromance, and the sweeping music! So who cares about the plot holes? Even better if I pretend that the last episode never existed.
Tamra the Island – the ridiculously bad English is part of the charm of this Jeju Island sageuk. Add the sweet romance between naive local girl and an uptight exiled scholar, and we have the perfect recipe for a guilty pleasure classic!
I like a lot of those you mentioned, but would not consider them guilty pleasures. But I would say Signal is a guilty pleasure for me. It’s really just a B grade suspense/sci fi mash up that finishes poorly, but Kim Hye Soo is so irresistible in it and, my goodness, those eyes!
I feel Racquet Boys, so wholesome and middle school sports showish, so manipulative in some ways emotionally, but in the middle of all of all these jaded show hits with endless violence, some of it pretty gratuitous, I dunno, Racquet Boys is a big time out mac and cheese bowl.
I loved the first sixteen episodes of Vincenzo, which was undeniably a guilty pleasure, but at least I found the final four episodes considerably less than pleasurable.
Although I think Queen Seon Deok is a straight up great sageuk, I do admit the guilty pleasure of getting caught up in the role played by Go Hyun Jung, Mishil, the most villainous villain ever, and you cannot take your eyes off of her for in the ballpark of forty some episodes. Truly a character one more than loves but lusts to hate.
Oh my lady! is objectively not a good drama but I lapped up every episode. I rooted for Chae Rim’s divorced ahjumma character to succeed, and cheered when she found her footing. Totally understood her insecurity when younger handsome ML professed his love. This was one if Siwon’s early forays into acting, so while he was still rough around the edges, I loved that he was acting as an actor that couldn’t act, so meta! His interactions with his daughter (who was so super cute) was lovely to watch.
Oooh, this is a great question prompt. Alas, that I haven’t seen enough dramas yet to have built up an impressive roster of “guilty pleasures.” Also, I think there’s bound to be some individual variance in what gets assigned to the “guilty pleasure” column; for instance, I just straight liked several on your list (Crash Landing on You, Healer, etc.) without feeling anything like guilty about it..
All that said, here’s a few I would list as maybe my guilty pleasures:
I Am Not A Robot. This is top of my guilty pleasure list, for sure. This was actually recommended by y’all, and then I started it and it was so slurpable I ended up binge-ing it in like two days, no lie. The narrative’s premises are utterly ridiculous on several axes (the mechanics of the ML’s medical condition; the advanced state of the AI; the human doing an extended masquerade as a robot, etc.), but the OTP is so good that I didn’t care about all of that. In fact I spent a good chunk of my recap/review write-up trying to figure out why that romantic pairing was so seductive… At any rate, Chae Soo-bin 4-evah!
The King: Eternal Monarch. This was my gateway drama, and I was so, so into it as it was airing. Now that I have many more dramas under my belt, I can see its flaws and shortcomings more clearly, but I still have a real soft spot for what it was trying to do, the whole alternate branching-history universes thing. And Goblin was my second drama in large part because Kim Go-eun was in it, as well.
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? This one just gleefully tromps all over professional norms and boundaries; the ML spends a very good chunk of the show being insufferably narcissistic; and his deep dark secret past isn’t all that interesting and doesn’t make a lot of sense to boot. But hey, at the end of the day, Park Seo-joon is dang hot, Park Min-young is, well, Park Min-young, and the OTP chemistry is undeniably sizzle-y. We can forgive a lot for that.
DoDoSolSolLaLaSol. But only through the, say, the 13th episode or so. This is a poppy, breezy, feel-good noona romance, with Go Ara in the ingenuous, optimistic-to-a-fault role she seems born to play. Right up until Show, for some inexplicable reason, feels compelled to take a turn to the grim side for the last 2-3 episodes, and then just throws up all over itself in the last half of the final episode in an utterly failed attempt to redeem its happy ending. But it’s a good guilty pleasure if you just cut the last 2-3 episodes off!
Alice in Borderland. This is a recent J-drama that showed up on Netflix, and is by turns gritty and dark and popping with some extreme violence. It’s also strangely gripping and adrenaline charged, making it very definitely a guilty pleasure of a certain type.
Lie After Lie. Makjang, so very very makjang. I mean, I haven’t seen a ton of makjang shows, so maybe it doesn’t actually rate that high on the outrageous plotting scale, but it seemed very makjang to my relatively newbie eyes. Nevertheless, this tale of the young ingenue wrongly imprisoned for the murder of her abusive husband, seeking by hook or crook to find and be reunited with the daughter taken from her after she gave birth in prison, was so very very watchable.
Oh My Ghost. Yet another show feasting on some wild premises, this time on the occult side. Young virgin ghost (who, let’s be honest, is more like young horny ghost…not that there’s anything wrong with that!) is convinced she needs to make with the sexy times to “resolve her grudge” and move on, and possesses a downtrodden kitchen assistant to make it happen. Kim Seul-gi is adorbs as the ghost, and Park Bo-young is flat-out amazing, in both her “possessed” and “unpossessed” incarnations. She does an aegyo that could kill at sixty paces, I’m not even kidding.
Anyway, that should be enough to be going on with…
We have so many of the same GP.
My goodness, I just loved both Robot and OMGhost – no guilt whatsoever. In the former case, I thought that the emotional truths of the show more than permitted the suspension of reality necessary to make it through all of the science-y weirdness (which is saying a lot, as I like actual science). And Ghost was my second show ever, which I sought out to see more of Park B0-young after Strong Woman (now that one is on my GP list but boy I liked it too!), and was great for all of the reasons you mentioned.
Yeah, to be fair there’s guilt, and there’s “guilt,” and I basically agree with you–I unabashedly love Robot just for the core romance and OTP dynamic, for instance…it’s just my cynical hyper-rational side refuses to completely be silenced and is still off grumbling about “deviations from reality” while the rest of me is busy squeeing.
(I had a similar reaction to My Love from a Star; I spent a good chunk of my write-up complaining about how stupid I thought the framing device was, just doesn’t make any sense, etc. etc. BUT then acknowledging that it doesn’t really matter because the core story is this lonely, kinda jerky guy who’s in the process of checking out of life on Earth, and this kinda narcissistic, down-on-her-luck starlet with a good heart, and how they find each other. And really, Jun Ji-hyun just kills it; she deserves all the accolades she got for that role).
So very true. I’m right with you on that. My rational mind gets gagged a lot when I watch some of my favorite Kdramas. I love all those on your list I just haven’t seen the Alice in Borderland one. Since it appears we have similar taste, I’ll have to check it out.
I thought Alice was good and watchable (and also short by normal K-drama standards, just 8 episodes (and only around 45 minutes long)), but like I said, it’s violent and occasionally shocking, so be prepared.
I adore Jun Ji Hyun. She was just soo funny in Legend of the blue sea. (another guilty pleasure 😎
Yes, loved Dodosolsollalasol, but it literally has the worst ending I’ve seen. Ever!!!!
I don’t read a lot of show commentary, admittedly, but as far as I can tell, that ending is pretty universally reviled. Is there anyone that actually thinks that was a good ending? (It’s okay to admit it, I won’t bite…much).
It’s been 6 months and no one. 😂 And just thi king about how they messed up that show still ANNOYS me 😁
I am not a robot was totally slurp able 😂. Loved it 3x already 😁
Oh my ghost was the first K drama I watched, but didn’t follow through. Then a person I followed on twitter recommended Arthdal Chronicles. I love Epic fantasy and there was no turning back. 😂 Rewatched Oh my ghost and loved it. And many many more 😅