This month, we’re going to be treated to another series of guest posts, by mystery writers from the Patreon community. Woot! (Thank you so much, you guys. I love that you all are so up for this! ❤️)
This guest series is MC‘s brainchild, and is, essentially, a sharing of stories from the community, mostly around the topic of “How did you get into dramas?” and “What does your first drama mean to you?” – with flexibility to go off on personal tangents, of course. 😁 Feel free to share your stories too, in the comments!
We will be enjoying a total of 9 guest posts over the next few weeks (yay!!); I really hope you all enjoy.
I’m especially grateful to MC for thinking of this, and volunteering to write this post, because she’s got so much on her personal plate, with her job, and her baby too. Thank you so much, MC, for making time for this, for us!! LOVE YA. 😘😘
Come, Tell Me Your Story
One of my favourite quotes is the opening of Love Actually – “It seems to me that love is everywhere,” the British prime minister (Hugh Grant) says. “Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there … If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
Yes, while it’s true that love is all around us, I would like to add that stories, too, are all around us.
From advertisements on TV trying to tell you that if only you bought that watch or that sweater, you would be able to win the heart of that girl you eyed; to online food bloggers who insist on telling you all about the winter that they’ve had and how their children made snow angels when all you want is that recipe to perfect your Duck Confit; to vloggers whose income literally depends on people being interested in their lives – even Ms TSwift is into writing songs about fictional characters.
We’re all social creatures who love a good narrative.
And narratives are powerful! There is a whole course of therapy treatment called narrative therapy, which the American Psychological Association (APA) defines as “treatment … that helps [people] reinterpret and rewrite their life events into true but more life-enhancing narratives or stories.
Narrative therapy posits that individuals are primarily meaning-making beings who are the linguistic authors of their lives …”. Stories are powerful because we make meaning from understanding the stories of our lives and we, too, feel, learn and grow, from the stories of others.
I personally think that’s why so many of us are drawn to K dramas. Whether you like thrillers, horror, romance, or crime dramas – they weave such great stories. Gorgeous cinematography, assured directing, thoughtful writing, powerful acting – they all come together to invite us into their wonderful world, to laugh, cry, and feel, with our newfound friends.
So, here’s where I extend my hand to invite you, dear friend – come, tell me your story.
This isn’t about me, but about all of us.
Draw up a chair, pour yourself your favourite drink and come sit by the fireplace. Tell me all about how you entered the world of K dramas and your gateway drama; tell me the story of the drama (or characters) that touched your life or was memorable for you; gush about a drama that made you laugh and cry and feel like no other.
Or even if you don’t have a deep story to share, that’s ok! Not everything has to be deep, after all – tell me the story of how you watched a particular show for your favourite actor (come, let’s squee about him/her together!)
Join us in this story telling session! We offer cozy blankets and great stories – can’t promise you Lee Jong Suk though, I’m afraid…
Let me get the ball rolling:
How I was inducted into the world of Kdramas:
Funnily enough, it was with my mother-in-law. Turn your clocks back to 2013, where yours truly was a newly-wed who had just moved into my in-laws’ house as we waited for our house to be ready.
Kdramas (though I didn’t know it back then) were our way of bonding. Back then, the tv was on every night to some cable vision channel and there was this nightly drama playing. I didn’t plan to watch – I just sat outside on the sofa reading my book to accompany her, but slowly I got sucked into the story and soon, we would ask each other for the time and remind each other that it was soon to be 9pm, and it was time for another episode, lol.
Funnily enough, it was one of your typical trope-filled 100+ episode dramas – rich guy living in a big house, with a small outhouse that poor girl and her family lived in and they fell in love but couldn’t be public about their relationship as the boy’s mother looked down on them.
So they would send each other liquid looks of longing and had to part ways and yes, there was amnesia and the truck of doom – but I lapped it all up and could not bear to miss a single episode.
Strangely, the cable station didn’t air the last few episodes, and I was so desperate to know the ending that I googled and watched it online. Turned out that it was a Kdrama! (When I watched it, it was dubbed in Mandarin – it was probably a KBS/SBS production, I think, as our cable television carried these channels if I’m not wrong. So it was a shock for me to realise that the actors did not sound like what I had been used to!)
Also – if you know what show it is or want to try your hand at drama sleuthing, I would love to find out what it was. Unfortunately, I forgot, but I can still remember the scenes!
I then took a long break from dramas – somehow there were always other shows to watch and I (back then) snobbishly looked down on Kdramas. I was only re-introduced a few years later when – yes – the Descendants of the Sun craze happened.
Even a super manly guy friend of mine said it was good, so that piqued my interest, and I went onto Viu and checked it out.
Interestingly I actually saw a few minutes of Goblin/ Guardian but the fighting put me off so I left (sorry, you handsome man, Gong Yoo!).
I fell for the Song-Song couple and especially Song Joong Ki (so suave!), and then after that it was Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and I squeed with the couple as they fell in love (but not the humour… oh no that was not my cup of tea) and that, my friends, was my proper entry into the world of Kdramas, with no end in sight.
One of my favourite shows is Misaeng – let me quote you myself (lol) in my comment in KFG’s review, so you can understand how much this show means to me:
Honestly, this isn’t really my “kind” of show that I am naturally attracted to. For entertainment and when I want to relax, I tend to gravitate towards cheery happy shows, I like happy endings, I like romance, I like funny comedies – all of which Misaeng is NOT.
I mean, I have my days when I love deeper, introspective, contemplative stuff, but usually for fun, I wouldn’t naturally fish out a show like this. Also, I’d heard lots of good things about Misaeng, about PD Kim Won Seok (of course with my favourite show of all time My Ajusshi) and I knew I should watch it, but… there was always a funnier, more lighthearted, cuter, more romantic show that caught my attention first.
But then Netflix showed me that Misaeng will be taken off Netflix on 17 June (gosh that’s tomorrow!) and I told myself, I should watch it.
But still, I hesitated a little. [Some context is that I was then transiting, about to start a new job really soon, in a new industry that I was not familiar with.] And the premise of this show – a young guy who is inexperienced, thrown into the corporate world with nothing apart from his Baduk strategies – hit a little too close to home.
But I told myself, let’s just try it. And the first 2 episodes were SO HARD to watch. It hurt so much to see Geu Rae struggling wandering around lost in the office, struggling with the jargon, feeling so out of place, and friendless.
It’s silly, but I saw myself as a Geu Rae and wondered even if I made the right choice in changing job and starting over!! I had to force myself to watch the first few episodes, when life was so hard for him. But somehow, something just kept drawing me back to the show – you are right that it is so immersive that you feel you ARE Geu Rae and friends, so I cared for them and wanted to know what happened to them.
Thankfully it got better for Geu Rae and friends, and I love EVERYTHING you highlighted (in big or small ways) in the entire review.
How each character was so fleshed out and so real that I felt that they were me or they were my friends. The growth of each person. The camaraderie amongst the various teams. The pacing. The acting. The directing. The writing. The OST. Everything. So I won’t elaborate on those.
Who knew that a show about work would grip my heart so much? That a missing piece of paper, a presentation, a pitch to a client, would leave me on the edge as if it was a crime thriller show? Yet that was how I felt.
So coming back to my story – I guess, in a silly way, throughout the show as Geu Rae and friends found their place and found their feet in the company, I felt that when I started my new job, I could be like Geu Rae too.
Maybe I’ll be scared but I’ll remember that Geu Rae had an even-bigger change in life to overcome (from Baduk to the corporate world) and if he could do it, so can I. Maybe I’ll be lost in the beginning (thankfully I know how to use a photocopying machine though!), but every day will get a little better.
Maybe I’ll be friendless at first, but hopefully, I’ll find a tribe like the rookie tribe. And maybe, just maybe, if I’m lucky enough, I’ll find a boss like Chief Oh and teammates like Dong Shik.
But even if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll be fine somehow… every day is a new battle and all we can do is to keep doing our best – and I’m sure that as we keep doing our best, we deserve a message just like Chief Oh’s for Geu Rae – “Jang Geu Rae, you couldn’t have done any better. YES!”
“Mi-saeng [Incomplete]. Wan-saeng [Complete]. Here, we’re all incomplete”. So accurate and poignant that it still sends chills down my spine when I remember it.
I smile as I read this now, 2.5 years later, as I’ve settled in nicely into the job, found a group of friends who have become my sistas, earned the respect of my colleagues and bosses, and know what I’m doing. It’s lovely to look back and see how far you’ve come!
And lastly, just to lighten things up – one of my favourite shows is The Sound Of Your Heart.
It’s so ridiculous but so funny! I watched it in the middle of the pandemic and my husband would hear me laughing, crying, and rolling around clutching my stomach, and come check on me, only to roll his eyes when he realised it was because of a show.
Ah, Kwang-soo, you killed me (in the best way)! Plus, it was so funny to see my beloved Kim Dae-myung from Sales Team 3 (Misaeng) as the useless brother.
Ok, that’s it from me! Come join me. I can’t wait to listen to all of your stories!
So fun to read your story, MC! Kicking off your post with an introduction of narrative therapy is so insightful. I think that’s what has happened to me with kdramas for sure – watching others deal with situations and relationships and relating it to real life.
One of these days I will have to watch Misaeng. You said it’s not a happy ending, though? That makes me sad :).
Thanks for sharing! Enjoy life, wherever you are, and take care.
Hey! I agree, dramas have helped me to understand myself sometimes. And even if they didn’t they brought me to a world that I could feel for these characters so I love it. I would say that Misaeng has a satisfying ending. I would consider it happy, but more satisfying. It’s worth journeying with them! Thank you, it’s Lunar New Year so everyone’s in red nowdays – just quieter than in normal pre covid days!
Hello, MC! Like j3ffc, I’m only just finding time to read these – and what a great start yours is! I still haven’t seen Miseang… But I agree with your opening, how stories are everywhere and kdramas seem to harness compelling narratives especially well. Ah, Song Joong-ki 😍😎 Suave indeed.
♥️♥️ The Song Joongki love! He’s such a nice guy too, it seems. so that helps my fan curling haha.
And yes they do have such such deep and compelling narratives with well drawn characters who feel like my friends. Ah, if only there were more time to watch shows!
I’m just now slowly catching up to the group stories, and I don’t want to read them too fast so as to savor them. And yours was beautiful, especially by framing the series in how narrative arts teach and enrich us and amuse us and can bring us together. (Sadly though they cannot teach us how to properly use commas.)
Interestingly, your first three dramas (apart from the Mystery Show of 2013) were also among my first five (SWDBS, then DOTS, a couple of others, then M). I actually think it was good to start with a couple of not-perfect dramas because (1) if we continue to watch, we will continue to encounter them and it’s fine to enjoy the enjoyable and not over-think everything) and (2) when a really good one, like Misaeng, finally comes along, it’s so, so satisfying.
Thanks so much for sharing your journey and for kicking off this awesome series of stories . It gives us the literary equivalent of matching faces to names, and that’s wonderful.
Not sure if you’ll still see this but – wow, the wordsmith approves?? Hahaha. Thank you for your encouragement! I’m so very glad that this series has helped us to get to know so many people 🙂
I love that we had the same drama journey! I still have a soft spot for some of these earlier dramas when everything was fresh and swoony, tho I did realise the trick of doom was a trope pretty early on! And yes that we started out with not fantastic shows so that we treasure the really good ones. I can’t imagine if I start with My Mister – it really ruined me for a long while after that. If it was my gateway show I’d never watch any other drama again!!
i am kind of reluctant to share my story, as it can be misinterpreted. it is strange and some would call it even bizarre, definitely different than any other initiation in this world of dramas. so here it goes.
first of all, it is in no way based on or related to any belief of mine, “blind” faith, or anything of that sort. by nature, i am a very skeptical person.
i grew up with a mother who was one of the top fashion designers in the capital of my country (i am no longer there), she loved beauty – outer and inner, fashion, arts, nature – anything that is alive and life itself. that is what she passed on to me. i remember one incident, i was very young, may be 4 or 5 years old. my mom called me into the kitchen in the evening and asked if i wanted to see magic of beauty. of course, i did. she said i had to be totally quiet, patient, without even moving a finger. i promised. we sat by the table waiting. after a while, a tiny baby mouse appeared and quickly ran to the frying pen that my mother intentionally put on the floor, with some left overs from our dinner. i sat completely frozen in an intense overwhelming feeling of amazement and a warm feeling of admiration and love spreading within my body, kind of like when you have a shot of vodka and you feel it slowly spreading in your body (i am familiar with this feeling now, and that is how i can describe my feeling then). we sat in complete silence, and only the rhythmical sound of the little creature’s tongue licking the frying pen on the floor was adding to the enchantment of the moment. this was my first time i saw a live mouse, and it was so magical and beautiful to me that the feeling stayed with me till today. yes, beauty – all encompassing- was my mother’s god, and she passed it on to me.
how does this apply to dramas? so at the start of the pandemic, when all outside activities ceased to exist, i was just checking netflix and stumbled on the historical chinese drama the princess weiyoung (before that i never watched any asian dramas, never had any interest in anything chinese, exept chinese food in various china towns.) my first impressions were the magical beauty (that’s where my mom’s influence comes in) of the chinese fashion at that time, women’s and men’s, their hairstyles, the jewelry – o my god, the jewelry! the vibrant colors and combination of colors -visual is very important to me. i was sold! then i started actually paying attention to the story, the depth of chinese philosophy, the poetry flowing like a timeless river, and the most amazing and completely baffling to me was the mandarin language. i was drawn and attracted to the language, could not resist the power of it and could not understand my intense fascination with all of it. i felt the same about the customs and traditions, it felt like they were my own, i felt an urge to fold my hands in greeting like they do, an urge to bow… i finished the drama, i felt empty and could not move on to anything else, i had to go back to it. this also never ever happened to me, there are so many interesting things that i never had to repeat any production but just move on. suddenly – i could not move on. i watched this drama again and again, not being able to start anything new, like paralyzed. finally, after may be 4 or 5 times and all my family and friends thought that i am loosing it and declared me “medically insane”, i decided to watch some other chinese productions (could not imagine to move on to something NOT chinese). a few of them were ok, but not too impressive, although i was still a prisoner of anything chinese – the language felt like something familiar, something really close to my heart, i enjoyed the sound of it even without understanding. i got a notebook and started writing down some words that i thought i could identify in the translations, until i discovered the subtitles were not corresponding or not accurate… but the feeling of this intense connection to the ancient chinese world – it was powerful and all consuming. i then stumbled on to the rise of the phoenixes – it was the “final nail in my coffin” – it became my first TRUE love, till today. it had everything, cinematography, philosophy, poetry, smart and sophisticated, costumes (even the embroidery on the materials), and acting that blew me away, i could not come up with any western actors or actresses to compare to chen kun and ni ni, but all actors and the entire production were beyond my wildest imagination, i watched this drama 7 or 8 times, and i am not finished. but that is when i started to wish to share and find people that may be had similar experiences with this kind of productions. that is when i found kfangirl and this blog, for which i am totally grateful, it slowly introduced me to korean dramas, which i jumped into with all my heart and love to watch the modern korean productions, that are amazing, educational, thought provoking, etc., but it does not create the same insane attachment, fascination and all of the above that i described here as the chinese historical dramas do. i still dwell on this question, is this my imagination, but why now and how can it be so intense, or is it a case of my life during those times? or did i hook up to somebodies else life at that time? i simply do not know the answer, and to tell you the truth it drives me crazy till today. i personally am not convinced that reincarnation exists. but it sure feels like…
Wow, you really had such a deep and lasting incident! Perhaps you really were incarnated. And though I’m ethnically Chinese I don’t think I love the Chinese language and culture as much as you do (shame on me). I must say that the Chinese language is gorgeous though. For sad songs nothing beats Chinese! They just do sad and melancholic well. You can try Kings of Mandopop Jay Chou or Lin Jun Jie / JJ Lin!
Thank you for sharing so openly and I’m glad we have this space here to chat and fro me to know more about you! ♥️♥️
Sad songs, sad movies, sad TV shows….the Chinese know how to do “heartwrenching” in a masterful way 🙁 :). I remember watching The Joy Luck Club in the movie theater and ugly-crying my way through it. It was such a good movie….but the sobbing was real, and terrible!
I haven’t seen Princess WeiYoung yet (I’m still wondering if I should) but I loved Chen Kun and Ni Ni in The Rise of Phoenixes! I remember the set and their clothes were really exquisite and lavish (more than even other top tier dramas that I’ve seen). I know what you mean about being immersed and completely swept away by a story. Perhaps the length of Chinese historicals play a role too (where there’s more chance to flesh out the story as opposed to a 16 or 20-episode kdrama). There must be something in these two stories that deeply resonated with you.
Story-wise, have you seen The Long Ballad and Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (aka Eternal Love)? Both are on Viki. The lush set and clothing detail wouldn’t match TROP (which drama would?) but the engaging romance might reel you in.
jiyuu, thank you so much for the recommendations, eternal love is on my list, but the other i did not even know about, so of course i’ll add them to my never ending list.
I haven’t seen Princess WeiYoung yet (I’m still wondering if I should) yes, you should, it is a good drama, but as you said nothing can compare to trop or nirvana in fire.
there is one drama that is above trop or anything else for that matter in regards to costumes, jewelry, hair fashions – it’s like being in the metropolitan museum. the drama is ruyis royal love in the palace. it’s a difficult drama to watch, from many aspects, (length, contest, cruelty to women and between women, intense emotional pain, etc.) but exactly that issue of costumes, etc, kept me continuing to watch it. in general, even the architecture and interior design of the palaces – a lavish festival for the eyes, no question, the top.
i lately watched the glamorous imperial concubine, primarily wanted to see yan yikuan (THE most perfect specimen of a men, in absolutely everything, worth watching just for him, also great actor) and wallace huo. unfortunately, ruby lin is not on my favorite list – she feels to me like a symbol of a lollypop (sorry if you like her). this drama had potential, but it is truly an overkill of killings in this drama, by the end absolutely every character is dead, except ruby lin.
if course i have a lot of korean dramas on my plate, but always on the look out for worthy chinese. right now i am watching the legend of the condor heroes, the old version from 2008, mainly for hue ge, but also the folklore, legends, culture aspects of it. and another hu ge, modern chinese which i hardly ever watch, except movies of such directors like zhang yimou, ann hui, huo jian qi, etc. so the new chinese drama for now is good times with hu ge.
There must be something in these two stories that deeply resonated with you. i wish it would be that simple, but it is definitely NOT. there is something much deeper, going to the very roots of my existence, i cannot pin point it, and do not understand it. it’s like a secret chamber deep within me, i can not touch it, i can not reach it, i do not know where exactly it is within me, i just feel it with some senses that are beyond our regular perceptions. it does drive me crazy, till today.
What a story, Eda! I loved reading it! I didn’t know your first foray into dramas was through a Chinese story. I grew up on a steady diet of Chinese movies and TV and found them so utterly depressing. I’ve stayed away for a long time, but now after getting into kdramas I think I need to watch some of these more modern Chinese classics like Eternal Love and Rise of the Phoenixes. Mandarin is a beautiful language, isn’t it?
Sounds like Rise of the Phoenixes, to you, is like My Mister to me. It was a winding kdrama journey for me to find My Mister, and I’ve watched it so many times, but…like you with ROTP….I am not finished yet!
By the way….your mom sounds really cool.
Great post! And a great idea. I always enjoy hearing other people’s kdrama “origin stories”. Misaeng is one of my all time faves too.
My gateway drama was The Legend / 태 왕 사신기, so not exactly your garden variety introduction to kdramas. 😉 It was way back in 2008 when an online pal posted a set of icons she had made, that were so colourful, pretty and full of certain kind of “magic”, that I just had to find out what show they were from and where I could possibly watch it myself. That set the ball rolling and before I knew it, I was totally obsessed, ha. Ah, those were the days.
For a hot minute I thought your “mystery drama” might be A Problem at My Younger Brother’s House but that is from 2003-2004 and the storyline doesn’t quite match.
Ah thanks for trying to solve the mystery! I googled it but alas the house on the poster looks different.
Also I love how you came into Kdramas. From icons! They must have been really beautiful! It’s how I feel about Your Name (the Japanese anime movie). Every still is so gorgeous that you can’t help but be drawn into it. And that story too, I cried so much! It’s one of those where a one liner “body swapping” does NOT do it justice at all.
Yeah, that was sort of a funny way to become acquainted with kdramas and Asian dramas in general. Yes, the icons were pretty. Inspired by her and the drama I came to love, I made my own sets, which are still there, on my old LiveJournal account (I was very into icon making back in the day). 🙂 While watching dramas with great cinematograpy I at times find myself thinking that “ooh, that would make great icon”. I still make banners every now and then, when the mood stirkes.^^
Thank you so much for this, MC. You just convinced me to watch Misaeng and the Sound of Your Heart! I myself gravitate towards romance and fairytale. My first Kdrama was Crash landing, which I really enjoyed, but my first love was Secret Garden. Bonkers as that drama was, Secret Garden set the standard of excellence for me. It is then when I realised that it was all about feelings and that if a drama made me feel the Secret Garden way, it was a winner! Coffee Prince, Heirs, Healer and Goblin gave me that kind of warm feeling too, and then I discovered Cdrama Meteor Garden, which led me into all the Hana Yori Dango iterations with the overdone but comforting romantic tropes I adore. As for the most thrilling romantic kdramas of the last 2 years two come to mind: Run On and Start Up.
Saying that, I do appreciate shows like My Mister and Squid Game, which are more high brow and deal with social and psychological issues in such a polished and sophisticated way, but O admit these shows are a hard sale for me, because romance will always come first. But hey, that’s certainly not such a bad thing, because it was precisely my love for romance what has lead me to all kinds of Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese and Thai shows I would have never watched otherwise 😅
Yes Misaeng is wonderful! The Sound Of Your Heart is zany though so you have to be in the right mood. But it got me (still gets me) in stitches!
What’s wrong with Secret Garden? In my early days I watched the c-drama Meteor Garden (the recent one). I did enjoy it too – though many plot points enraged me for their sheer implausibility, haha. They all do feelssss so well though. I do love my romantic comedies/ melos though, despite my love for highbrow shows (Stranger, Money Flower, My Mister, Misaeng, Life on Mars). I naturally gravitate to happy chirpy shows so I get you. Did you watch We Married As A Job? (jdrama). I love that!! You might like it too 🙂
Haha, in my early days I watched Meteor Garden, too! So much sloooow walking! So many repetitive scenes! But somehow I enjoyed it all :).
@MC – This left me with a big smile. Thank you!
Awww thank you! You’re the best!
Thank you for sharing your story! I liked Misaeng too. Work place dramas are not exactly my cup of tea, but I started Misaeng because KFG recommended it. I never expected to become so invested in rooting for Chief Oh and Sales Team 3!
Oh yes tell me about it! I absolutely didn’t expect to be so invested. But it really gets you! To have a boss like Chief Oh is my dream… haha
What a lovely post MC! And a fantastic idea!
I loved how you bonded with your mother in law over a drama. Indeed, dramas seem ideal for that kind of thing. I wish I could do it too, to bad I didn’t think of it before!
Haha! It was unintended but worked out well 🙂 Till recently we still talk about dramas – once in lockdown she texted me asking me for recommendations. Clearly she was bored, lol. She likes romance and lighthearted stuff!
Great post MC! It is always fascinating to me how others have developed their love for KDrama. Everyone’s story is unique and really interesting. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. Thanks Fangurl for the opportunity. It brings our little community together.
Welcome! I love this little community here too 🙂
What a fantastic idea and fantastic post, including how you used photos and captions! I LOVE that you shared how Kdramas entered your heart and captured how I came to love this genre of entertainment. I really admire the articulate articles and posts on this site.
The pandemic suddenly provided the time and Netflix was the launching pad for my first Kdrama experience, Crash Landing On You, which captured my heart. I fell head over heels for Bin-Jin. I was drawn to it because I had toured the DMZ. I was surprised at the overall quality and immediately wanted to watch another Kdrama that was engaging and entertaining.
Then I discovered the KFangurl Verdict and the list of reviews–what a treasure trove! I am now officially HOOKED, line and sinker, on Kdramas. I am obsessed with burning through as many as I can as quickly as I can! I’m even looking forward to the experience of re-watching CLOY.
My favorites so far include My Mister, Miseang, Hospital Playlist and Reply 1988. I’ve tried some genres, including romances (favs: Descendants of the Sun, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?, Touch Your Heart), expanded to Joseon (favs: 100 Days My Prince, Red Sleeve) and other (favs: D.P., Navillera) except horror. I like to “cleanse my palate” between dramas by watching Kmovies (favs: A Melody to Remember, A Taxi Driver, Classic, Be With You). The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that following an “oppa” or a certain genre doesn’t always lead to the best dramas so I have tried to expand my horizons.
I have learned so much about Korean pop culture and about Kdramas yet I look forward to discovering more.
SO little time, SOoooo many dramas…..
Thanks for your kind words! KFG helped a lot with the pictures as I couldn’t find the right ones! It’s really our privilege that she lets us contribute to her site 🙂
Oh Crash Landing was so awesome! Epic in everything but especially its romance. My 50 year old male colleague watched it and became hooked to Kdramas too. Your list of favourites are similar to mine and seems like you like slice of life – so you would feel very at home and attuned to KFG’s recommendations since she has similar tastes! I do too, so I usually take her word and try out shows that I normally would’ve have and that’s how I discovered many gems (Life on Mars, Prison Playbook, When The Devil Calls Your Name, I Hear Your Voice) etc. She’s also recommended me a few K and J movies which were fantastic. Have you tried My Brilliant Life, My Tomorrow Your Yesterday? They are utterly wonderful shows that I found and loved thanks to KFG’s recommendations.
So little time so many dramas is my problem in life too! Ah, if only I had more time…
Agree and thanks so much for your recommendations. I have seen some of these and put the others on my list!
I think we should do a straw poll to see how many of Kfangirl’s blog readers arrived here through Crash Landing on You! CLOY was also my gateway K drama. With the lockdown in 2020, we had a lot of time at home, and Netflix kept promoting it. The premise seemed silly but intriguing and I clicked in. Haven’t looked back since, haha!
Elaine, I would be willing to bet that 6 out of 10 viewers started with Crash Landing…
My colleague (50 year old male, engineering trained, very methodical and systematic man) started his Kdrama journey with CLOY and since then he’s watched more dramas than I have in years! He’s now my drama chatting buddy! (dramas really do connect disparate people!)
MC, your intro on stories was so lovely, and yes agree that stories are so so powerful! I also love Love Actually haha. Misaeng and Descendants of the Sun are still on my list, so can’t wait to watch them, I have a feeling I’ll especially like Misaeng. Thank you for sharing and coming up with the idea for these posts!
Aww thanks for your love. Many Love Actually fans! And yes Misaeng is soo soooo good, you’ll relate so hard if you’ve worked in a corporate setting. DOTS – was great when I first watched but now as a more seasoned drama watcher it’s not objectively great… as a gateway show it worked though coz it has romance + humour + action, but for that combi I would recommend CLOY or Healer instead. But in these shows there’s no hot Song Joong Ki though! Haha!
I love that quote from Love Actually, MC 😊 As an aside, Bill Nighy was awesome re Will’s take on Christmas (Love) Is All Around 😂 It’s one of those songs I just play straight up on the old guitar.
What great experiences you have had on your drama journey. Thank you for sharing. I think Descendants of the Sun is one of those dramas that everyone should at least try. I have often thought about watching The Sound of Your Heart and it’s reboot. Perhaps, one day 😁
Yes I certainly had great experiences! Some crappy shows that I’ve deleted from memory, LOL, but mostly good 🙂 I do love Love Actually and Bill Nighy’s Christmas Is All Around is epic! I loved him in the show. Plus, it was my introduction to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now and I cannot listen to that song without feeling like crying!
Thank you for enjoying what I shared! While DOTS is not perfect but it certainly is a good gateway drama like Crash Landing on You. The Sound Of Your Heart has some toilet humour (which I don’t love) but much of it is sidesplittingly funny. It’s good silly fun. Though I heard the reboot is not good so I’ve steered clear of it. If you do watch both, let me know how the reboot is compared to the original!
Wow beautiful ! I think we started around the time then. For me, it was a Netflix suggestion after a japanese anime I had just finished watching. The algorithm proposed Strong girl DBS. Why not, the actress looked cute, and ouh who is that handsome chae-what ? Mmm, let’s try.
That was it. Everything was so new to me, the language, the 16X1h format, the clothing, the culture, the humour… I was like “what have I been missing all these years 😭 ???”
Then Netflix’s algorithm, sensing my 🤯 state, suggested DOTS… and after that, I watched Goblin… Deal was sealed. Goodbye Hollywood, French series…
35 kdrama later, I learnt some korean, planned my next trip to SK, purchased Korean cutlery, converted my BF to kdramas, and still completely addicted
Yes our timings are similar! And how lovely that Netflix was your enabler… lolol. Park Bo Young is certainly adorable and Park Hyunsik so charming in SWDBS!
The initial draw for me was all the feels and the way they showed growing affection and love in a non-sexualised way but I’ve come to love much more about Kdramas. I did get around to watching Goblin soon after and enjoyed it (that gorgeous cinematography and the OST is so haunting!) Tell me about it – goodbye Hollywood and French series! Though I do love Brooklyn 99, Fresh Off The Boat etc to death and really liked Criminal: UK (there’s also France, Spain, etc but I liked the UK one first and best). But I would say a good 80-90% of my TV watching are Asian dramas!
I’m so jealous that you’ve managed to get your BF into dramas. I’m about 60? shows deep and the husband is still not on board… 🙁 do you think I can get my son in tho? Hahahah! Maybe when he’s older!
Re your husband, have you tried Vagabond? I have 2 friends who managed to get their partners (non Asian) into Dramaland thanks to that particular show. My husband also watched it pretty easily, but he doesn’t count!
Unfortunately he’s biased he doesn’t like anything Korean (not even the food!) Hahaha. He thinks they’re too pretty boy or a bit plasticky aiyo. Lol. I can’t even find a pretty actress to attract him! I tried to introduce Vagabond, Prison Playbook, all the non romance thriller sort. Not even Squid Game enticed him! This man tsk.
@MC – There’s always Chuno! And as far as pretty actresses, Descendants of the Sun (although granted some of the foolishness where the story strays from reality may turn him off, but they don’t come any prettier than Song Hye kyo.
Oh! I forgot about Iris. That’s a man’s man show. And the fact that he may recognize Lee Byung hun from American movies might encourage him to watch.
Haha! Good ones. I shall try it with him! Thanks 🙂 I agree Song Hye Kyo is luminous though! My first K-actress love!
Way to go, MC! Now thats some storytelling! Ohh, I hope someone figures out which Show initially pulled you into Kdramaland. And its hysterical it was dubbed in Mandarin! Love it. I keep waiting for the right time to start Miseang. When I do you will definitely know 🙂
Aww thanks for your encouragement and support JJ! I really wonder what’s that show too, I think about it from time to time! But I know I didn’t give much for wannabe sleuths to work with.
Yesss watch Misaeng. It’s slow and sometimes it hurts, but you will feel so so much for the characters and love and miss them when it’s over <3