2021 Year End Awards: POLL RESULTS!!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote on The Poll!

The results are in, and, as promised, I’m here to announce the winners – and also, tell you where my votes would have gone, if I’d voted.

Come see? 😃

A total of 5,273 votes were cast by more than 350 voters, to get the results that I’m sharing in today’s post. WOW. That’s a lot of votes! 🤯

Thanks so much for playing, and without further ado, here are your results!

Best Drama: Mr. Queen

Votes cast in this category: 1,512

Number of voters: 349

Mr. Queen came in on top, with 109 votes, while Hospital Playlist 2 came in a close second, with 107 votes. Hometown Cha Cha Cha was in third place, with 104 votes.

Editor’s Picks:

You guys already know from my 2021 Year In Review post, that Navillera was my drama of the year, so my pick for Best Drama is a no-brainer.

It just so happens that I had ten A-rated dramas in my “Worth making time for” section, and so, I’ve done a forced ranking, to rank them in order. This is where my votes for this section would have gone, if I’d been voting too. If you’d like to know more about what I think of each of these shows, you can either visit my Year In Review post, or click on the individual reviews!

1. Navillera

2. Move To Heaven

3. Youth Of May

4. Lost [Human Disqualification]

5. Yumi’s Cells

6. She Would Never Know

7. Beyond Evil

8. D.P.: Deserter Pursuit

9. Squid Game

10. Hospital Playlist 2

Best Actor: Song Joong Ki, Vincenzo

Votes cast in this category: 439

Number of voters: 284

Song Joong Ki for Vincenzo, came in on top, with 82 votes. Tang Joon Sang for Move To Heaven was a distant second, with 47 votes. Kim Seon Ho for Hometown Cha Cha Cha was a close third, with 46 votes.

Editor’s Pick: Ryu Joon Yeol, Lost

There were many excellent performances in the dramas that I watched in 2021, and among the ones I saw, I have to say that Ryu Joon Yeol’s outing in Lost was the one who that really lingers with me. His reaction faces were subtle and restrained, but so layered and expressive, that I was completely mesmerized.

Best Actress: Shin Hye Sun, Mr. Queen

Votes cast in this category: 383

Number of voters: 263

Shin Hye Sun for Mr. Queen was a runaway favorite with 129 votes, while Jeon Mi Do for Hospital Playlist 2 came in second with 68 votes. Park Eun Bin for The King’s Affection came in third with 49 votes.

Editor’s Pick: Shin Hye Sun, Mr. Queen

I have to agree with the majority of voters, that Shin Hye Sun in Mr. Queen deserves the Best Actress crown in 2021.

Among the leading actresses in the dramas that I watched last year, Shin Hye Sun had the most opportunity to display a wide acting range in her role in Mr. Queen, and the range that she served up was nothing short of outrageously good. I completely believed that there was a manly Bong Hwan on the inside, perplexed over how to live the queenly life.

Best OTP: Kim Seon Ho & Shin Min Ah, Hometown Cha Cha Cha

Votes cast in this category: 426

Number of voters: 264

Our Hometown Cha Cha Cha OTP came out on top with 77 votes, while Jeon Mi Do and Jo Jung Seok for Hospital Playlist 2, came in second with 57 votes. Coming in third, with 47 votes, is Park Hyung Sik and Han Hyo Joo for Happiness.

Editor’s Pick: Won Jin Ah & Rowoon, She Would Never Know

It was a hard fight between the winning Hometown Cha Cha Cha OTP, and the OTP from She Would Never Know, honestly.

I decided to pick the OTP from She Would Never Know, because this romance had me completely invested. I loved that both leads felt like real, down-to-earth people, and I loved that the romance felt earthy, yet sweet and whimsical, at the same time. Show had me flailing all over the floor in big puddles of squee at points, and that definitely counts for something!

Best Supporting Actor: Im Chul Soo, Vincenzo

Votes cast in this category: 327

Number of voters: 217

Im Chul Soo for Vincenzo came out on top with 63 votes, while Hwang In Yeop for True Beauty came in second, with 54 votes. Lee Duk Hwa for The Red Sleeve came in third, with 47 votes.

Editor’s Pick: Im Chul Soo, Vincenzo

Im Chul Soo’s been a favorite of mine, since I first noticed him in 2020’s Crash Landing On You. Ever since then, I’ve perked up every time he’s shown up on my screen, and this role in Vincenzo really gave him the time and opportunity to showcase his comic timing and acting range. He was absolutely fantastic in this, managing to steal just about every scene he appeared in  – even from Vincenzo himself.

Best Supporting Actress: Jung Ho Yeon, Squid Game

Votes cast in this category: 329

Number of voters: 216

Jung Ho Yeon for Squid Game came in with the most number of votes, 81. Kang Han Na for My Roommate is a Gumiho came in second with 66 votes, while Cha Chung Hwa came in third, with 61 votes, for Mr. Queen.

Editor’s Pick: Lee Bong Ryun, Hometown Cha Cha Cha

Lee Bong Ryun had several very difficult scenes in Hometown Cha Cha Cha, where I felt that she delivered brilliantly, which is why she’s my pick for Best Supporting Actress. There’s what feels like an effortless depth of emotion, with multiple layers and facets, in those scenes, and she makes it all land in such a raw and natural manner. Really impressive.

Best Ensemble: Hospital Playlist 2

Votes cast in this category: 368

Number of voters: 244

The crew from Hospital Playlist 2 came out on top with 141 votes, and in second place, the gang from Vincenzo ended with 92 votes. The residents in Hometown Cha Cha Cha came in third, with 62 votes.

Editor’s Pick: Hospital Playlist 2

I had to go with Hospital Playlist 2, because the Main Five has wormed their way into my heart as an intact group, and seeing them together on my screen, never fails to give me warm, cozy, found family feels.

I know we’re not likely to ever see a Season 3, but if it ever materializes, I will be so, SO happy to see my Fabulous Five share the screen again. 🤩

Best OST: Hospital Playlist 2

Votes cast in this category: 288

Number of voters: 201

Hospital Playlist 2 came out on top with 53 votes, while Hometown Cha Cha Cha came in second, with 48 votes. Vincenzo came in third, with 29 votes.

Editor’s Pick: Hospital Playlist 2

I confess that the OST from Hospital Playlist 2 doesn’t exactly live rent-free in my brain. HOWEVER, with the Fabulous Five singing and playing practically everything on the soundtrack, listening to it makes me smile. Watching them sing and play it together, automatically gives me a case of the goofy grins. For that reason, I can’t not give them Best OST.

Best Song: Bong Hwan A, Mr. Queen

Votes cast in this category: 227

Number of voters: 154

Bong Hwan A for Mr. Queen came out on top with 32 votes, while Romantic Sunday for Hometown Cha Cha Cha, came in second with 25 votes. Run To You for Run On came in third, with 24 votes.

Editor’s Pick: Romantic Sunday, Hometown Cha Cha Cha

This is the song that lives rent-free in my head, long after I’ve finished my watch of Hometown Cha Cha Cha. I think that’s a pretty solid reason for me to pick it as Best Song. That, and it immediately gives me breezy, seaside vacation vibes, just from the opening riff alone. I do love that.

Most Underrated Gem: Navillera

Votes cast in this category: 324

Number of voters: 223

Navillera came out on top with 60 votes. Youth Of May came in a rather distant second, with 46 votes, while Happiness came in third place, with 36 votes.

Editor’s Pick: Navillera

I feel like quite a lot of people gave Navillera a pass, and since I love it so much (it is my drama of the year, after all), I want everyyyyone to watch it. To my mind, the feels in Navillera are deep and wonderful, and very likely more accessible, compared to the feels in other excellent underrated gems like Lost and Youth of May. That accessibility is why I give my vote to Navillera.

The Razzie: Doom At Your Service

Votes cast in this category: 324

Number of voters: 212

Doom At Your Service came out on top, with 79 votes, while Sisyphus came in a distant second, with 56 votes. In third place is Nevertheless with 48 votes.

Editor’s Pick: Doom At Your Service

I was hoping Doom At Your Service would manage to do more with its set-up, but the more I watched it, the less sense it made, despite my best efforts at lens adjustments. What a waste of a great pair of leads. Seo In Guk and Park Bo Young have done better – and deserve better.

Most Worthy of a Rewatch: Mr. Queen

Votes cast in this category: 326

Number of voters: 213

Mr. Queen came out on top with 56 votes, while Hometown Cha Cha Cha came in second with 50 votes. In third place, Yumi’s Cells came in with 34 votes.

Editor’s Pick: She Would Never Know

This was a tough one. I rarely rewatch shows anymore, so it was particularly hard to select a show that I could see myself rewatching.

While I could see myself maybe reaching for Hometown Cha Cha Cha when I next want a virtual seaside vacation, I have to admit that when it comes to the actual unfolding romance between an OTP that I’d like to re-experience, it’s She Would Never Know that I would pick.

..And that concludes our 2021 Year End Awards!

Thanks so much to everyone for voting – you helped to make these Awards possible!

And here’s a big standing ovation for all of our winners – led by our charismatic Vincenzo leads themselves. 😉

Thanks for playing, everyone! ❤️

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1 year ago

Hi KFG: The year end polls are a great idea, I haven’t been able to read all the guest year end polls but they’ve provided me with a quick synopsis on a number of shows that I’ve now added to my “To Watch” list. I’ve been concentrating on older shows given my relative late start to Kdramas so I’ve seen only a couple of the 2021 shows. Like Ele Nash, I’d put the older shows I saw in 2021 against the current top ten list though I know it doesn’t quite work that way. I keep a spreadsheet and in 2021, the best shows I saw were:

  1. Nirvana In Fire
  2. Chuno
  3. Secret Love Affair
  4. Chicago Typewriter
  5. Love in the Moonlight
  6. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
  7. I’m not a Robot
  8. The Light In Your Eyes
  9. Moon Embracing the Sun
  10. Sungkyunkwan Scandal

All of the above were referred to me either through your list of reviews or referrals by fellow followers of your blog, thanks and most appreciated.

I would also add two movies: Assassination and The Handmaiden.

All in all, a very successful year of Kdrama viewing for me

Ele Nash
1 year ago

It’s such a great idea, to have an end of year poll (good one, Shahz!) I just find there’s too much old cool stuff to watch 😊 So although I didn’t vote – the shows I have seen from this (sorry, last) year,- Vincenzo, Squid Game, Hometown Cha, Cha, Cha – I did enjoy but of all the shows I watched in 2021 (ooh, Coffee Prince, Money Flower (Ok, for the fourth time!), It’s Okay, That’s Love, loads and loads I can’t immediately remember) those 2021 shows wouldn’t make my top ten list of faves I watched in 2021. Will I ever catch up?! I expect I’ll be wanting to vote for loads of these shows in next year’s poll…

Paul Hicks
Paul Hicks
1 year ago

Thanks for approving my comment.

That said, re the Witch’s Diner, the “order” that I wrote of is the “natural order”. See episode 6, at about the 9:51 mark, Mr. Oh speaking with Hee-ra, he’s standing while she’s sitting:

Oh: I did some digging as you asked.
Hee-ra: If I were to fully meddle with her life would I be able to change it?
Oh: “Do not suspect the way of the natural order”, you know that rule.
Hee-ra: That thing called fate. It’s so darn crafty.
Oh: I think it’s a lot like you.
Hee-ra: Like me?
Oh: You’re stubborn. You always find a way to do what you set out to do. Don’t worry too much. I’ll keep an eye on her too.
[whatever that sound is along with some smoke, enter Park Seon]
Hee-ra: Your unannounced visits are very displeasing.
Park Seon: Let’s talk.
Hee-ra: What would you want to talk with me about? Since when were we on speaking terms?
Park Seon: Don’t interfere with her life anymore.
Hee-ra: Were we so close that you’d come here in person to give me such advice?
Park Seon: We are not deities. YOU CANNOT LIFT YOUR OWN CURSE [my emphasis].
Hee-ra [first laughs and then stands]
Park Seon: Hee-ra…
Hee-ra: Quit pretending to be my mom. Leave. [about ready to walk away] I will not be a spectator like you were [walks away].

Now skip to the epilogue of the very last episode. I’m a mom. My child’s happiness is mine. And so, two pictures, Jin with hers and Gil Young and his. Hee-ra took care of them both. I rather suspect that Gil Young’s mom started Hee-ra down the road to deciding to “disappear” if that’s what it took for Jin to be happy. Our elderly gal who gave up her memory so her son could be happy cemented the thing. Nice bookends, by the way. I give the show an A-, though to state my own bias, as with Gil Young so too with me, meaning, Nam Ji-hyun/Jin floats my boat, as it were.

Paul Hicks
Paul Hicks
1 year ago

Was there any requirement that one had to watch all?

Since I have a whole other list. That related, for a younger crowd that has nearly completely and utterly lost its way, the best song is from Happiness, Isaac Hong’s Pain:


This old dog wouldn’t ever call the poll winner a winner. Would instead be in the, Hot Mess, category. And that’s not just a musical taste thing.

By the way, your review of The Witch’s Diner missed one essential item. There near the end, Hee-Ra’s “revenge” was not going to be against the married fellow but instead she was going to do away with her prior curse re Jin, which would mean her death, cue Mr Oh’s remark to that same result, and no more Witch’s Diner, hence her remark to Gil Young re the place closing. Did you miss how Park Seon kept the witch’s order, Hee-Ra not so much, cue the appearances of Park Seon saying, careful there, you’re not supposed to be doing that. Then near your own end, you wrote something about Jin as kinder, more gentle witch. Indeed, as Jin completed the path of breaking the order once and for all. Why no need for a second season, by the way.

Now well and truly lastly, see the viewership numbers here, and so Navillera could hardly be called “underrated”, at least in the ROK:


If you mean, US audiences, perhaps has something to do with:

Navillera deals with relatable issues of old age, whether you’re the one approaching it or your loved ones are, but while the fear that a diagnosis like Alzheimer’s can cause is clearly evoked by the series, it steers clear of the day-to-day realities of the condition.

Just what I was looking for, a showing saying, Alzheimer’s, but never really bothering to concern itself with the daily reality of even an early stage Alzheimer’s. Kinda like how here in the US, Breaking Bad was all that, except it wasn’t, and for the cherry on top, rather worse in the noted respect than Navillera, since in an era of mass meth addiction, sure, let’s have a series where our lead goes into meth production, it’s for his family, then himself, and not so much as once concern ourselves with the tremendous personal and societal costs of meth addiction. Oh, for the love of all things holy and pure, can some stop with the whole Walt’s “descent” madness. Not so great either, but please see episode 4 of HBO’s Chernobyl, The Happiness Of All Mankind:

My first time– Afghanistan– we were moving through a house– a man was
suddenly there– and I shot him in the stomach. That’s a real war story. They’re never good stories, like in movies. They’re shit. Man is there, boom, stomach. I was so scared, I didn’t pull the trigger again for the rest of the day. I thought, well– that’s it, Bacho. You put a bullet in someone. You’re not you anymore. You’ll never be you again. But then you wake up the next morning, and… you’re still you. And you realize– that was you all along. You just didn’t know.

And so Walt is Walt, but I digress…

1 year ago

It was a fun end of year wrap up. A few surprises but not too many. I should probably try Vincenzo again. I got distracted from it late in the year by some other really shiny shows that appealed to me more before it had really hooked me. Maybe I should go back.

KFG, I enjoyed seeing your top 10 ranking of what you saw. Definitely not surprised by Navillera. It was truly an incredible show. I just want to shout from the rooftops for everyone to watch it. I’m surprised more people haven’t checked it out. I know Lost is harder to shout for because of the nature of the story and it’s on iQIYI and not as many have that as Netflix. I was a little surprised though that your number 2 show is Move to Heaven. I figured it would be on your list. I just hadn’t gathered how highly you regarded it. It’s another one I’m surprised more people haven’t watched. Hopefully more will in 2022.

I loved that you had Lee Bong Ryun from HCCC as the winning Supporting actress. She was amazing in that. She was also incredibly moving in Sweet Home.

1 year ago

Just as a side comment: I always read the spoilers! That’s so I can avoid any shows that feature fatal illnesses. Not naming any particular shows, though.

1 year ago

So I really enjoyed this series of posts which culminated into this final posts It was so much fun! Looking forward to some great dramas and even better drama discussion this year!

1 year ago

Definitely some mainstream choices. Just happy Squid Game isn’t Best Drama.
Biggest surprise was Best Song. Didn’t see that coming.
Quite the interesting list. A list I do not agree with at all but gives me some things to think about ^^

1 year ago

Really interesting results from the voting, a little more mainstream than I would have guessed, but the choices fit beautifully into the mini-celebration model that this exercise deserves! [Raises virtual glass 🥂.]

PS Thanks for showing a little end-of-year love to Lee Bong Ryun. She was so, so good.

1 year ago

Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah! What an awesome finish to the drama year that was 2021. As phl says, the pole and guest posts were so much fun. They created more than just another layer of interest. Now it’s time for a mini celebration 🏆🥇🏆

1 year ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Absolutely, 100% on board with doing it again this year 🙌 👏😊

1 year ago

Fangurl – That was a fun and festive end of year blog wrap up from beginning to end. From all the guest posts to this final vote, it was a ball! It single handedly made up for the trials and tribulations of 2021. I loved it.