In case you missed it, we’re doing something special and different to end off the drama year this year! Guests posts, by patrons on Patreon!
You can read more details, and check out Shahz’s inaugural post, here. You can also find JJ‘s post here, and Trent’s post here!
After today’s post, there will be three more guest posts by mystery guest writers, whose identities will be revealed when their various posts go live. And then we’ll cap everything off with a poll, where you’ll be able to pick YOUR favorites for the year, from among the gems identified in these posts. How exciting! 🤩
..But, wait! Didn’t I already say, the last two times, that there would be three more..? 😂 You are very right. What’s happened is, one more mystery guest writer has volunteered to share their picks for 2021! Huzzah! 🥳
Today’s post is brought to you by Sean, who seems to have the much-coveted, uncanny ability to watch just about everything that Dramaland puts out. It always, ALWAYS blows my mind, whenever he talks about the number of dramas he’s watched! I’ve always strongly suspected that he secretly knows how to bend time and space. That, or his drama-watching set-up looks something like this picture below..! 😁
You might also like to check out Sean’s blog, where he writes about management and leadership!
I hope you guys enjoy!
~ KFG ❤️
Sean’s 2021 Year End Award List 🎥
In determining my list of worthy recipients for 2021, I looked back over the year and did a drama count:
Thai dramas: 01 (Not all Thai dramas are Lakorns 😉)
So, a total of 84 dramas. What was surprising for me is that, for the first time, I didn’t watch any Taiwanese dramas. They usually include a time-bending fantasy or two, which they are extremely good at and I have promised kfangurl previously a list of some of these.
The Top Ten
My Top Ten, after much soul searching (because there wasn’t much in the first five), is:
1. On The Verge of Insanity
2. Inspector Koo
6. Sell Your Haunted House
7. My Name
Best Female Lead
Lee Young Ae in Inspector Koo
It was a tour de force this year re the female leads, even though this may not have been the best drama year across the board.
For me Lee Young Ae as Inspector Koo takes out my award. To see her depart from those classy and polished appearances to one of a crazy hair, dishevelled whisky drinking on-line gamer was delightful. I think she truly relished the part. I did promise Jennifer that she would be able to watch IK comfortably. The show is more about the cleverness of the leads and not grisly crime scenes.
Best Male Lead
Song Joong Ki in Vincenzo
It goes to Song Joong Ki as the revenge seeking lawyer: Vincenzo. And if he hadn’t survived then Inzaghi, that heroic pigeon, would have been my next choice. 😂
Jung Il Woo and Kwon Yu Ri in Bossam
What would we do without our One True Pairings?
It came down to a choice of three shows. In the end, the stoic and never ending love portrayed by Jung ll Woo as Ba Woo and Kwon Yoo Ri as Princess Hwain carried the day. They just managed to push out our delightful and supportive Happiness couple and the crazy Mad for Each Other misfits who came to appreciate some normality in their lives.
Best Supporting Actor (Female)
Shin Dong Mi in Bossam
It has to be Shin Dong Mi as Court Lady Jo in Bossam. A delightful performance made even richer through her interactions with her other co-star Lee Joon Hyuk as that delightful scoundrel Choon Bae.
Best Supporting Actor (Male)
Lee Duk Hwa in The Red Sleeve Cuff
Without a doubt it is Lee Duk Hwa from The Red Sleeve Cuff. Truly a masterful performance and makes many of the other Joeson kings we have seen much, much more wimpier 👑 👑👑
The Razzie Award goes to, wait for it: Devil Judge. It even pushed out: So I Married an Anti-Fan (which was excruciatingly bad) and LUCA (which I think a particular actress probably regrets being in this one). 🤣
Best Original Score
Well I just loved the sound track from Inspector Koo, it’s as simple as that!.
Best Original Song
Yeah (Round and Round) by TRPP, Inspector Koo
For me it is Inspector Koo’s Yeah (Round and Round) by TRPP. It really did suit the dynamism of this drama.
Chimera’s Don’t Go, by Klazy was a close second. Take a look at the film clip.
On The Verge Of Insanity
Why was On the Verge of Insanity my best drama for 2021?
Apart from the wonderful performance by The UnHoly Trinity, aptly named by Shahz, it was a drama I could relate to. You see, I have run HR departments and teams in a previous life, and I can tell you, nothing like what we saw in OTVOI. For me, it was always about credibility and the C suite never liked to see me walking down the corridor towards them. 😎 This also stood me in good stead for when I became a CEO later on.
For me it was the time travel mystery thriller: Times. It was very different, with some fine cliff hanging twists at the end of each episode. I also thought it was quite cerebral when it came to the resetting of the timelines each time. There were moments you were not aware that the timeline had changed until someone said “who are you?”
Ta dah: it is Mad for Each Other. Show was short, packed a delightful punch for each of its 30 minute episodes, a format which worked extremely well.
Without a doubt Revolutionary Sisters. This was a weekend family drama and probably the best such drama for some time. Although the sisters were a nightmare, you can’t help but feel a real attachment to their poor suffering father (and some sympathy for the husbands too).
I felt that, in the end, Kdramaland left the best for last regarding 2021. There are a number of shows that have popped up towards the year’s nadir that have been very good (The Red Sleeve Cuff, Uncle and Happiness) and it looks like there will be a couple more right on Christmas.
@SeanK – I “watched” just as many shows as you if you count my dropping almost all of them as “watching”. 😆
But seriously, my friend, you’ll always be King of Dramas to me! Looking forward to 2022 dramas and our discussions here on The Kfanfurl Verdict.
@Beez – What a year for dropped dramas, Beez! I thought it was just me initially, but not so, as it turns out 😂 Thank you for the title. I shall wear the 👑 with pride. Like you, I look forward to our interactions re 2022 dramas and having a chuckle at those comments re certain actors (even though I rarely comment on these). My MIL still gets the fireman’s calendar each year from her daughters for Christmas (and she is in her 90’s) 🤣😝
Thanks, Sean! I really liked the way you organized your post. Thanks for sharing!
Nice to hear from you Su San and thank you for your feedback. I enjoyed sharing my thoughts 😊
Sean, great post! I too cannot hold a candle to your watching prowess. I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!
I have noticed that we tend to like some of the same shows and will bookmark t your post for future suggestions. I also liked Jang Nara in Haunted House; I had previously only seen her in Oh My Baby, which I thought was sort of meh, but was surprised by her badass character in SYHH.
Curious about Inspector Koo. I hadn’t seen Killing Eve, starring the great Sandra Oh, and am sort of remake-averse, but have been told that they are only passingly similar. Thoughts?
Best holiday wishes to thee….
Merry Christmas, J3ffc 🎅🎄🧑🎄 Thank you for your gracious comments and I am very glad you got something out of my post.
Jang Na Ra is truly wonderful. Apart from being an actress, she is every bit the singer too. She started of as a model, then was in a kdrama that was 422 episodes. The Chinese love her too, so she has done many Cdramas along the way. She did stop singing for quite a while as she developed stage fright and was, by all accounts, incredibly stressed. Oh My Baby was not my cup of tea, but she was wonderful in VIP, The Last Empress (which I didn’t enjoy), One More Happy Ending, Hello Monster and Fated to Love You (with Mr Chuno).
I can put your mind at ease re Inspector Koo – it is not even passingly similar to Killing Eve. IK is a former police inspector who first crosses paths with her nemesis, when the latter was a high school student. In some ways, it’s more like Columbo and is filled with many interesting machinations and a range of kdrama moral dilemmas.
Thanks, Sean I knew JNR was a good singer from Oh My Baby. In general, I’d like to see more singing in drama…
Thanks for the intel on IK. Sounds like fun! I’ll add it to My Neverending List.😁
Oh, and a passing thought based on the Killing Eve mention: I think it would be supercool to see Sandra Oh in a K-drama. I see her playing the errant big sister who went to America, but who recovered from cancer, and is now back home to settle scores.
Or Columbo. Anything really, please. I’m not picky.
Cheers, j3ffc – I agree that Sandra Oh would be great in such a role. She would bring a whole, makjang flavour with a Sandra Oh comedic twist 😎
We are going to take a look at her new comedy soon: The Chair. The trailer is extremely 😆
Oh, do please let us know what you think of The Chair! My wife and I both enjoyed it; very much the feel of an actual university and its issues.
@Sean – Awesome post, awesome selections. I love it when I get an “Oh, ya, that one, too!” reaction (In this case your Best Supporting Actor choice, Lee Duk Hwa, The Red Sleeve Cuff.) And you offer a number of new options for me – Revolutionary Sisters, Times, On The Verge of Insanity (it’s on so many lists, must try), Inspector Koo, Chimera.) Go, Dali and Cocky Prince! 😉 The only entry we don’t see eye to eye on is Sell Your Haunted House. I thought the premise was interesting, but ultimately found it kind of a snooze-fest. But varying mileage and all that. Thanks for a really fun read!
I think I might steer a middle course on Sell Your Haunted House: intriguing premise, and I enjoyed much of the first half or so as they went about their exorcising adventures, but I got a bit disenchanted/bored as it went on and spent more time on the big mystery and the evil property developer (Ahn Kil-kang!) and such. First time seeing Jang Nara in anything, though, and enjoyed her.
@Leslie. I am so glad you found a little bit of awesomeness and some new drama options 😊😊😊 Lol, re Haunted House 😂🤣😂 I guess that’s what makes the fandom we share so interesting and there is no better place to do that than in the environments in which kfangurl has created for us to share our points of view 😊
Sean – stellar post sir! ⭐ I know that you have a special place in your heart for The Verge of Insanity and I expected to see that in your number one position.
So yes, we do share one of our top tens. Ha! I have added Times to my list. I originally avoided this due to the fact that I am not quite enamored of one of the leads, but, I am going to push that aside (this drama may change my mind?) and go for it. I really enjoy a time travel theme.
I laughed out loud at this – “Although the sisters were a nightmare..” Yes, Sean they really, really were. 😆 Also, it is time to look at Inspector Koo. I have meant to do so for a while but, like Doug the dog, I keep seeing other squirrels… 🙄
P.S. I have been able to crack that 10,000 episode mark with Sword, Snow, Stride E8. I do not know whether to celebrate or schedule a therapy appointment. 😏
Great job Sean! Loved reading this.
@phl1rxd – you and me both on Inspector Koo. I’m thinking as soon as I gobble up The Silent Sea, it will be time to jump in on IK.
Also, 10,000 episodes. Daebak!! that’s amazeballs. Just for funsies, I went and did a really quick back-of-the-envelope calculation, and from beginning (May 2020) to end (today), I’ve seen 1,383 drama episodes. Apparently. Got a ways to go…
Trent – I’m thinking I might need a drama therapy session. Do those exist? 😅🤣😂
Uhh…I thought that’s what we were doing here 🙄🤗😁 ? You mean it’s not?!
@phl1rxd and @Trent – pure comic awesomeness, guys 😎😜😂
Before you know it, Trent you will be looking back wondering how you clocked up so many drama episodes. Well today is Friday 24th for us in the land of Oz, so The Silent Sea should drop sometime (it’s not there yet).
Sean – 🤣😅😂🧨🔥💥
Thank you ever so much, phl 😊😊😊 There you go, you know me better than I do. It was interesting compiling my list, because my ratings along the way did determine the final outcome. At least we shared one top 10 😜
The set up for Times is very convincing. I found LSJ redeemed himself after Trap (I gave it 5/10)
Doug the Dog is often my downfall, especially with Cdramas this year. July reached its zenith with watching what I refer to as ra ra ra dramas, as Inwent from one to the next, trying not to be disappointed. I don’t mind a bit of the political message and censorship (as it is to be expected), but then I realised this is a special year for political celebrations and adjusted my lens accordingly and dropped quite a few others.
Congratulations on reaching 10,000 episodes. You could celebrate a therapy session Kdrama style 😂🤣😂
Sean – with you on the CDrama. It was a crazy year censorship-wise too. So, to celebrate our penchant for new and shiny dramas, here is Dug (I had to look up his name 🧐 as my spell cell is a downright rebel and never behaves) himself…
Yes, that’s him from Up! – awesome. Ah, yes, that rebellious spell cell 😂 What do you call a person with a spade? … 😁
Oh boy Sean – here we go. I am so, so bad at jokes…I have no idea so, pray tell, what do you call them?
Doug (Dug) 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂
Sean – 🤣😅😂🧨🔥💥
@Beez – 😂🤣😅
OK, so I am officially pointless at commenting on everyone’s end of year hurrahs because I have seen so few of these shows – but you make them sound ace and then I’m like, well Happiness next watch or, wait, maybe Red Sleeve Cuff? Or Bossam… Or perhaps Mr Queen 😭😆 I think my tastes are too broad so I don’t know how to narrow it down beyond which screenshot looks prettiest 😏
Lol, Ele. I tend to way up a whole range of comments and other research as I know that just because a certain actor is in it does not mean it will be good – here’s looking right at you Wok of Love 😂🤣😂 My apologies to all the Jang Hyuk fans out there 😱
Fantastic post Sean! Agree about the HR element in OVOI. We are actually there to hold senior people to account and have those tough conversations. And good leaders will recognise that and actually appreciate those conversations maybe not at the time but certainly later😂. OVOI made me appreciate how far we had come and how important it is to uphold those principles.
Going to read your Leadership and Management post now!
Cheers and thank you for your comments, Shahz 😊 We have come a long way and upholding those principles is so important. Jung Jae Young will always get my attention and like with OVIO, he was awesome in Partners for Justice (1 and 2) as a very cranky forensic scientist 😂
Sean – Jung Jae Young puts the cool in cranky. I loved Partners for Justice (1 and 2).
Phl – Have a look at him in the kmovie – The Plan Man. He is a librarian with obsessive compulsive personality disorder and Han Ji Min is delightful as the person who creates chaos in his life (after watching this I realised how talented she truly is).
Sean – thanks much. Will do so tomorrow! I just cracked up over here over watching that trailer, especially when the office shot off the streamers!
Phl – cheers, I hope you enjoy your watch 😊
Sean – I had to watch it today. OMG – where to start?
So dorky, but loveable, phl 😊 I’m so glad you watched it.
Sean, I had to google some of your choices to see what they’re about and wait, there is a show with “Haunted House” on its title and I haven’t seen it yet??? Not only it entered my to-watch list, it also got straight to no1!
Seriously, thanks for all the fresh suggestions!
That’s fabulous, Natalia. I’m glad you got something out of my list – also, Haunted House is awesome, and straight to No. 1 on your watch list – enjoy 😎
Wow! You watch a lot of shows! You must be a time bender or turner. I’ve only seen 2 of your top 10. I have a lot to add to my to be watched list. Great job hosting!
Thank you for your comments, lotusgirl😊 I have honed my time bending skills over many years. I did get to sit in one of the DeLoreans from Back to the Future several years ago. I think some of the time bending energy from the flux capacitor may have worn off on me 😂😂😂
Thank you so much for including the pics and links that really do add a whole new dynamic dimension to the post, kfangurl 😊😊😊 Lol, re the multi screens – that’s me to a tee 😂🤣😂 Also, thank you for the shoutout re my blog 😎😎😎
@seankfletcher My pleasure, Sean!! I’m glad you like the little additions! 😁 Muahaha! Have we finally cracked the code for how you get SO much done, both in real life, and in drama-watching?!? 😆 You have some serious multitasking talent! 😉
That’s an awesome laugh, kfangurl 🤣
Yes Fangurl – Sean is most impressive. He is a veritable drama-watching machine.
Happy to see some Bossam love! And big YES for Lee Deok Head’s performance in The Red Sleeve!
I really didn’t want Bossam to end, Snowflower 😊 Lol re Lee Deok 😂😂😂 As phl has pointed out, he is partial to his magnificent head of hair 🤣
Ah, the joys of Autocorrect… Korean names are confusing it.😀😂
So excited we have similar picks for our favorites!!! Woo Hoo for On The Verge of Insanity!
I love that KFG found your secret Kdrama Hideout hanging out with Ajumma from Healer 😉
What is this wonderful thing called Times? How have I not heard of this one prior to now? Exciting!!!!
Thanks for sharing and adding some new ones to my every growing list 🙂
JJ – thank you for your kind feedback. It is awesome to have similar picks! it is always nice to share the excitement a show can bring.
Kfangurl is certainly crafty re tracking down my secret kdrama hideout 🤣 The ajumma from Healer was certainly my inspiration. She gets a bit cranky though when I take over the remote controls 😜
I think you will like Times, JJ. It’s 12 episodes, and there is some debate as to whether it is better than Kairos or not.
I am glad you got something out of my list. There is one thing we all know and that is our ”watch lists” keep growing 😊
Also I am starting to think I am the only one who loved Devil Judge even with its flaws 😅
you are not the only one, i LOVED devil judge and went into pretty extensive explanations for the reason in my comments at the time. and of course, ji sung and kim min-jung gave smashing performances. but my biggest disappointment this year is “hellbound”, including my favorite you ah in.
I haven’t looked at Hellbound yet, Eda. I think in part because of the mixed reaction, but I just might do that later today.
Sean – I could not stop watching Hellbound…
I am underway, phl!
phl1rxd, i of course watched it because of you ah in (can’t let him go!), but it was almost torture to watch this. i watched the first 3 episodes (again because of you ah in, but was disappointed – i did not think the character fits him, it was almost some other actor i was watching). the monsters made me laugh where laughing was not the intent – in my opinion they were so poorly designed, that i could not really relate or believe. i left the show after you ah in left – there was nothing else to wait for. i decided to watch at least the last episode, skipping 4 and 5. it did not bring any joy, emotions or anything else for that matter. and i understood the issue with the religion (which i agree), it’s just the choices and presentation was not my cup of tea. i am usually much more forgiving, but had to force myself to watch the few episodes that i did. i must admit though that i do not like productions (asian or western) with some monsters or any other imaginary characters (it sort of feels like children’s stories). the exception probably (the only one) is spielberg’s ET , ages ago.
but since you seem to like it that much, please, please, tell me, what am i missing? there must be something, since in quite a few other dramas we were more or less in agreement.
and sean, what did you think about it?
Eda – I could not stop watching and went through a lot of different feelings throughout. The (religious/righteous) cult message resonated with me deeply and to be honest was more scary than the monsters. I paid very little attention to them and more to the real monsters – the humans out of control. It was scary to see those people lose their ability to think rationally.
YAI is extremely versatile. I have seen him play a gangster and he was so good at being ‘bad’ I had to stop watching. The violence really upset me. It may be that you are having the same reaction to Hellbound as I did to his gangster movie.
thanks for the explanation. the religious/righteous issue is totally of interest to me (actually more than a lot of other topics) and i would welcome any exposure/light shedding on such issues in a drama, it’s just the way it was presented here that rubbed me the very wrong way. i simply did not find it to be a good production, in any way, and even boring. the humans out of control, that’s scary indeed, like i could relate to this “scary” in devil judge, but not so much here, because the demonstration of this issue seemed fake to me, not real. and the introduction of these stupid monsters did not help.
but i do understand now where you are coming from. i kind of thought that you might inspire me to rewatch it and see it from your perspective, but i think it just might be the case where i am in the minority, happens to any of us, so i am at peace.
happy holidays to you and yours.
Same to you and yours Eda!!
There were some interesting moments and fascinating acting, Kun. I just felt DJ got a bit lost in its own bluster. It’s great that you loved it, because that is what drama watching is all about. Just so you know, I am not allowed use of the remote control in my household – some of my movie choices are not popular 🤣
Oh I completely understand why DJ would disappoint people, I was definitely immensely forgiving of the show because of the elements I loved in the show (chief among them being Jisung).
Great list and definitely some worthy choices, although as expected there are a number that I haven’t seen! (which I was hoping for, it’s good to get a look at stuff that I wasn’t able to get to or otherwise aware of).
On The Verge of Insanity and Inspector Koo are both firmly on my watch list at least partly due to your enthusiastic thumbs up, looking forward to them..
Thank you for your comments, Trent. I am glad I was able to provide something a little different for you re potential watches. Really looking forward to the compilation of the final list for voting (a Herculean task, I think 🤔). I hope you do get to enjoy OTVOI and Inspector Koo. I am sure you are going to nod you head in agreement on certain issues with the former and even yell at your screen 😂 I think you will be intrigued by the latter!
Very cool to see Haunted House make a list! It was one of the few shows I completed this year and boy was Jang Nara fantastic in it.
Jang Na Ra is fabulous. She is probably my overall perennial favourite 😊😊😊
I love her 😍 She is one of those actors I immediately relate to.
She just seems to fit into any roll she undertakes, very much like hand in glove 🤩