If you didn’t already know, we’ve got an unexpected special series to kick off the new year! Guests posts, by patrons on Patreon, sharing their personal drama stories, 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!
This guest series is MC‘s brainchild (thanks MC! 😘), and you can read more details, and check out her inaugural post, here.
After today’s post, there will be seven more guest posts by mystery guest writers, whose identities will be revealed when their various posts go live. Woot! 🥳
Today’s post is brought to you by Sean, whom, as you might remember from his year-end post, manages to watch an absolutely incredible number of dramas – particularly for someone who manages to live as full a life, outside of drama-watching, as he does. Sean is a true time-bending marvel. 🤩
You might also like to check out Sean’s blog, where he writes about management and leadership!
I hope you guys enjoy!
~ KFG ❤️
Hello, from the Home of the Black Swan!
As some of you know, I do watch more dramas than I should. I have a wide ranging taste in what I watch, but there are those shows I generally won’t watch either. When it comes to kdramas, I watch all the different formats i.e. mini-series (typically 16 episodes), dailies (Monday – Friday: generally 80 – 120 episodes), weekenders (typically 50 episodes), and web-series.
The tropes or plot devices that really bug me include: the (white) truck of doom, the interfering and badly timed mobile phone call and the male lead (ML) that takes at least two episodes to respond to the female lead (FL)’s question or suggestion 🤣 (that’s probably because it reminds me of myself, and it’s the sort of behaviour that tends to get me into a bit of trouble at home 😱).
Anyway, time to read on…
My Gateway Drama – Falling For Innocence (Beating Again)
So, back in 2016, I just happened to be filling in as the CEO of Western Australia’s smallest local government – the Shire of Sandstone. It’s in, what we call, the outback of Australia and no less than seven – eight hours driving time from home (although I can make the journey in a lot less time). It is, despite its remoteness, in a beautiful part of the world, surrounded by gold deposits as far as the eye can see and extremely hot in summer (can reach 53C or 127F).
Well, seeing as I had nothing better to do re my evenings, I kept trawling through Netflix looking for something to watch. I kept coming back to whether I should take a stab at kdramas or not.
In the end my curiosity won out and I clicked on Beating Again starring the wonderful Jung Kyung Ho and the delightful Kim So Yeon. Well, I was drawn in straight away.
We have a CEO with a stone cold heart that becomes the recipient of a heart transplant. Not long after he receives his donor heart, he starts to become human, taking on the attributes of the heart’s original “owner.”
Now, of course I had heard of and read about this phenomenon previously, but kdramaland took the premise to a whole new level. The use of another’s heart to make the lead more human is littered throughout kdramaland, we just haven’t had such a story for several years.
What compelled me to keep going with my watch, was the corporate side of the drama, something that I am obviously quite used to from a professional perspective. However, there was one scene that really got to me and that was where the chairman slapped Kim So Yeon. Now, the way this scene was done, it was quite realistic and perhaps, to this day still remains the most impactful level of work abuse I have seen on the small screen.
I was staggered that such a scene would be depicted as if this was common practice and the recipient had to live with it, feeling disgraced, for all the wrong reasons. As a CEO, I would not have put up with this behaviour from the chair and certainly would have acted on it (in fact, I have, where board members have abused their power).
After Beating Again, I went straight into Goong and then Dong Yi. I knew then, I was on a roll. I had also found something to stop me from being a workaholic; watching all hours of the day and night, instead of working!!!
My Favourite Dramas – The Top 10
Here is my eternal Top 10, in no particular order, other than to say, except for the first one listed below is my all-time Number 1. 😉
My Mister (My Ahjussi)
I can’t recall watching anything like My Mister before, and it is in my top three shows of all time, for any country. My Mister is currently part of the group watch, and although I am not re-watching it with the group, I am enjoying everyone’s wonderful comments and observations.
Quite simply, My Mister is the most amazing story with phenomenal direction and performances.
At its heart, there are two characters who give meaning to their lives through their growing understanding of one another, in what is painted as a bleak and dreary existence, but one which in fact, I find beyond interesting.
In fact, after the half way mark I had to hold my breath and watch Show through threaded fingers in case Writer-nim blew it! Sometimes, I had to delay watching episodes and then make myself do a countdown before pressing the play button.
But why did Show resonate so much? I used to be where Dong Hoon, our male lead, is, from a work perspective. Well respected, with forthright values, and kept in check by the person at the top. However, once I broke free, I never looked back and made sure I would never treat those who worked for me like I had been treated. 😊
Hot Stove League
I was totally mesmerised with the performances in this show. Here, we have not just a sports drama, but a drama that goes to the heart of what it takes to be a successful enterprise, contrasted against the traditional methods of business often depicted in most kdramas and cdramas.
I know what it means to bring an organisation back from the dead, and Nam Goong Min’s character does exactly that, in spades.
Nam Goong Min’s performance is superb along with Park Eun Bin (who was fabulous in The King’s Affection, but I dropped this show after episode 7). Of course, Oh Jung Se is in this show too, where he turns in a different performance yet again. If there was ever a Hot Stove League 2, I will be there, sitting in the front row, eagerly waiting to lap it all up. I won’t say slurp it up, because that’s what kfangurl does re dramas that tickle her fancy.
I see Nam Goong Min is lined up to do One Thousand Dollar Lawyer and Doctor Prisoner 2 (I can’t imagine what the premise will be here, but it should be awesome).
Money Flower was my favourite drama on the 2017/18 cusp.
What more can I say about Mr Chuno! Jang Hyuk plays the ultimate puppet master in this awesome show. He is always one step ahead of his detractors. He uses sophisticated methods to track, record and keep information on his adopted family’s transgressions.
Of course, I like Park Se Young too. She is adept at playing both despicable characters and vulnerable ones. In Money Flower, she finds out the hard way what it takes to survive in a family controlled by its own fear of losing influence over future events. [SPOILER] All the while, she comes to realise that although her true love put her into an arranged marriage, he was trying to protect at the same time. [END SPOILER]
I suppose on a certain level, show taps into my love of spy thrillers. Apart from that, it also has the delightful Lee Mi Sook. She is so adept at playing any role, but I thought she was devilishly manipulative in Money Flower. Contrast this to her hilarious portrayal along with Park Ji Young (currently in The Red Sleeve) as the bickering in-laws/friends chasing the local chef/restaurateur.
So, what are my favourite Jang Hyuk dramas? They are: My Country: The New Age, Voice, A Beautiful Mind (A very different role here) and Fated To Love You (He and Jang Na Ra are great together). Then there is his 2007 drama: Thank You, where he goes to Blue Island to fulfill his deceased girlfriend’s last wish.
Bpoop Phaeh Saniwaat (Love Destiny)
Love Destiny is not just an extraordinary Thai drama, but one of the best dramas out there. It’s classified as a lakorn, but it’s not what would be your typical equivalent kdrama makjang on steroids with lots of abusive slapping, furniture throwing and shouting. In its simplest form, a lakorn is a Thai drama that is shown in primetime. So, not all Thai dramas are lakorns, and some are very good, I promise.
Love Destiny is a time travelling, body swapping, supernatural drama set at the time of great change in Thailand’s history – the opening up to the colonial west.
It is a historical and cultural feast. We get to see not only how the Thais lived their lives at that time in great detail, but also a depiction of history that is extremely accurate. In fact, I was trawling though a lot of historical information regarding that period at the same time, and this drama got it right – even down to events that happened in the local markets that the fated OTP visited and became part of.
The other point of interest, is that when it was shown the first time, it was streamed into Thailand’s prisons so that the inmates could get to learn about Thailand’s past; it was considered that good. Now they are making the movie of the drama in 2022, using the same actors.
Now of course, it stars Thailand’s iconic actress, Bella as the time travelling, body swapping, supernaturally possessed archaeologist. Some would argue there are many iconic Thai actresses, but like Seo Hyun Jin, the screen absolutely loves her. I have seen Bella in quite a few shows – some very good and others, well, let’s just say, she should have been in something better. 😱
BG: Personal Bodyguard
The Japanese produce shows (jdoramas) on every subject imaginable! BG is my favourite jdorama – and there are many favourites.
It stars Takuya Kimura, a Japanese icon. He is also known as the “King of Ratings,” as he has starred in five of the top ten highest rating Japanese shows of all time. So, I am always more than happy to watch any show or movie he is in (he is also the lead voice actor in Howl’s Moving Castle).
The brief synopsis of BG is that Shimazaki Akira is divorced and lives with his teenage son. He used to work as a personal bodyguard but had since left the industry after an accident occurred in which his soccer superstar client was injured.
He now works as a security guard at a construction site. The private security company he works for is setting up a new bodyguard division. Without telling his manager about the past, Akira starts working as a novice bodyguard.
Just so you know, one of my favourite genres are shows involving bodyguards. So, this show may not be for you. It’s also a favourite theme re Thai dramas.
A couple of notable of dramas are: The Crown Princess, Girl Next Room: Security Love. It’s also a constant theme in cdramas as well. Speaking of which, the cdrama I am hooked on at the moment, devouring each episode as soon as it drops, is: The Lion’s Secret. This show is a combination of the contract marriage theme and bodyguard genre all rolled into one.
Arang and the Magistrate
Much has been written on this blog about Arang and Shin Min Ah. Needless to say, it is a wonderful show. My only criticism was the ending, but you know, in kdramas, you get that.
Hwang Bo Ra was also superb as the hapless shaman/psychic/medium, and she nearly stole the show for me. She has undertaken some very good roles since, and a couple of ordinary ones too.
I am a great fan of Shin Min Ah and I think she is a very astute actress who has made sure she can transition into roles that will ensure her acting future until the end of days.
I thought she was terrific in Chief of Staff 1 and 2 as the hard working young politician that actually had a clue about what was going on. If you want to know what it is like working in the political arena, apart from watching the West Wing, this show gives you quite a good idea. I have worked with, and clashed with, many a chief of staff, so I do have a pretty good understanding re the accuracy of the dynamics here. 😎
One thing I will say overall, is that I have a biased view when it comes to the Korean, Chinese and Japanese actresses. They seem to me to be, generally, much better than their male counterparts. Perhaps this is because of the typical roles that the male actors are cast in. However, I feel the actresses exhibit far more range, are more nuanced, and are more adept at different roles.
The one thing that kdramaland actresses can’t do better is running. The guys have much better techniques. 😂🤣😂
The Story of Minglan
Minglan is the first of my two all time favourite cdramas.
What a story, what a production: a husband and wife team who are so committed to the drama industry that they produced and worked in this very fine drama. Show is long at 72 episodes and we won’t see anything this long again as the Chinese government has now mandated that dramas are capped at 30 – 40 episodes.
Minglan herself is intelligent, decisive, wise beyond her years and knows how to run a household at an extremely young age. But as we know, in ancient times, regardless of your age, if you had a role to perform, you were expected to carry out your duties without a hiccup.
No matter what is thrown at her, Minglan comes out the other side fully intact, much to the chagrin of the other women in her extended family. Show itself uses beautiful language with the poems and songs of the great Chinese poet Li Qingzhao forming the basis of much of its context, and is the basis of the show’s theme songs.
As kfangurl has also commented in her review of Minglan, the relationship between Minglan and her grandma is very special and its hard not to hang off every word they say to one another.
Li Qingzhao lived at the same time that Minglan is set and penned the following:
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
She loved her husband very much and was so revered for the truth in her words. Li Qingzhao also wrote:
This year at the end of the Earth,
I find my hair greying at the temples.
Now that the evening wind is growing in force,
I shall be hard put to it to come by plum blossoms.
For those who don’t know, plum blossoms represent the young ladies, the potential love in their hearts and their joy of Spring.
Lovers in Bloom
Lovers in Bloom is a kdrama daily, running to 120 episodes, and I had to watch it each day – so no saving up episodes to do a binge watch here.
I just loved everything about this show. I like police shows, and this one tries very hard to put a positive spin on South Korea’s police at the local level. For those who don’t know, the police are not looked upon fondly and are given quite derogatory names. An insight regarding this string feeling is given through the Snowdrop controversy.
It’s also interesting to note that the delightful Im Soo Hyang would do such a show; isn’t she amazing? I am so much looking forward to her next role in Doctor Lawyer, alongside So Ji Sub!!!
The Longest Day in Chang’an
Chang’an is the second of my all time favourite cdramas.
If you want to see commitment to detail, cultural accuracy and a gripping story that’s like watching a good version of 24, this show is it!
Many historians spoke highly of this production, its attention to detail and even the costuming itself. No other show has been so accurate – although there were some rumblings about the emperor and the crown prince being depicted in the same vicinity – a Tang dynasty no-no. It would not have happened in real life, but I’m cool with that!
I was totally mesmerised by this drama and I know phl1rxd spoke so highly of the artistic nature of the camera work in this show. The hero, is an unsung hero of sorts, downtrodden, but highly adept, loved by more women than I could count and loyal, despite the treatment he received. Also, the relationship he had with Tan Qi was stoic stuff – understated awesomeness.
A Category All on its Own
Stranger (Forest of Secrets) 1 and 2
Stranger 1 and 2 are in a category all on their own.
I thought Stranger 1 was phenomenal, but then came along Stranger 2, which, to my mind, was even better than the original.
Both Jo Seung Woo and Bae Doo Na (can she ever put a foot wrong as an actor?) steal the show each time. In Stranger 1 we also had Shin Hye Sun, and I felt then, only bigger and better things were on the horizon for her, despite her previous performances perhaps indicating she was on a glorious path to somewhere. As we all know, Hye Sun was absolutely brilliant in Mr Queen, a showed that I dropped. 😱
With Stranger 1 we get to see, despite lacking empathetic abilities, Shi Mok being able to work his way through the “forest of secrets.” In Stranger 2, we get time to absorb the battle for control between the prosecutors and the police, and how Shi Mok and Han Yeo Jin make sense of it all.
I once worked in a cloak and dagger type situation, so the Forest of Secrets is all very real to me.
My Special Mentions
Finally, I am going to share with you my special mentions. Some of these could easily be in my Top 10, or were in my Top 10 until they were taken over by other shows:
|My Love from the Star||Kdrama version (The other versions are nowhere near as good)||So magical in its concept and the performances are a knock out. Jun Ji Hyun is breathtaking and glamorous (Pity about Jirisan). The ending of our resident alien gave us so much hope…|
|A Life: A Love||Jdorama||This is the type of show the Japanese excel at: brilliant surgeon returns home to perhaps reunite with his former, now married girlfriend (whose husband is the Hospital DG). And of course, it stars Takuya Kimura.|
|Saimdang, Lights Diary||Kdrama||A visual feast for the eyes. Every bit as artistic as the famous artist herself. Of course Lee Young Ae who stars, is also awesome as Inspector Koo.|
|Mr. Sunshine||Kdrama||Visually stunning, with marvellous performances that help deal with the tragedy that befalls some of the main leads.|
|Misty||Kdrama||This is a brilliant drama, except for, I will be honest, the last episode. I should have stopped at episode 15.|
|Marry Me Now!||Kdrama||Family Weekend Drama – 50 episodes. I love to see the older couples get back together and it was a huge ratings success.|
|Second To Last Love||Kdrama/ Jdorama||The Japanese version is the original. I consumed both versions with glee and of course, the kdrama version stars the delightful Kim Hee Ae, Ji Jin Hee and Kim Seul Gi.|
|Manpuku||Jdorama||Japanese daily that ran to 150 episodes – a fabulous story re Ramen and it’s creator!|
|Queen In Hyun’s Man||Kdrama||An amazing time travelling treat. Yoo In Na is an absolute delight and a personal favourite.|
|Weighlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo||Kdrama||Lee Sung Kyung is a fine actress. Plus, she can sing and dance too. The characters in this show are a delight and support our fairy wholeheartedly!|
|Romance is a Bonus Book||Kdrama||What an amazing story on how to have a second chance at life! Brilliant.|
|Vincenzo||Kdrama||A gangster delight that was operatic in its vision and entertaining from the beginning to the end.|
|On The Verge of Insanity||Kdrama||Show was a wow for me. It reminded me of when I worked in Industrial Relations and when I ran HR Departments and branches.|
Who Am I? – A Little Bit About Myself
These days, I am a consultant, a governance specialist, and consultant trainer to the local government industry where I live.
I used to be a local government CEO, and before that, a public servant, both in the traditional sense and in earlier times, with a large government corporation. I do hold high-level post graduate qualifications in leadership and regional development (economics). I am a student of history and politics and trained as an archaeologist originally. I am also an avid science fiction and fantasy fan (but only of the good stuff 😉) and play the guitar here and there.
So, I have been in the political space for most of my career and along with that, in the public eye. I understand what public personalities go through when they are in the spotlight.
That being said, I have been able to do more things than what most people get to do in their lifetime. I have met the most amazing people, including: world leading business people, senior ministers and politicians, and media personalities. And, I have made key decisions that have led to the building of more roads than I can remember, parks, gardens, ovals and recreational centres and medical centres, residential, commercial and industrial sub-divisions, airports and the list goes on.
I am not allowed to use the tv remote at home or select shows to watch, because I have a bad habit of picking films and shows that, shall we say, certain members of my family just shake their head at my choices (except for kdramas, jdoramas and the odd cdrama of course 😂). I admit I watch an insane amount of tv, which isn’t good for me, I know, but somehow I do fit everything in.
Ah, Sean, you and I share many great loves: Shin Min-Ah 😍 My Mister 😍 Stranger 😍 and, of course, the sublime Money Flower and Jang Hyuk 😍😍😍 I haven’t seen The Story of Minglan and will see if I can find it.
Cheers, Ele 😊😊😊 Minglan is on Viki, although it seems they too have gone down the geo restricted path on this one. However, it is on CN Drama on their licensed YouTube channel.
Having crawled out of my cave just the other day, I am now getting caught up on these wonderful life/drama stories. What a great post, Sean! I see a number of my favorites on your list (Hot Stove League, Weightlifting Fairy, and now – finally having seen it! – My Mister), and at least two that I already had on the what’s next list (Arang and Romance is a Bonus Book). I have yet to see a Thai drama, so that might be something of interest going forward, especially after your comments re Love Destiny). Thanks so much for sharing.
Thank you so much, j3ffc 😊 Lol re crawling out of your cave. Some days it feels like crawling out of the bat cave! It’s not easy to pick a Thai drama to watch, but if you ever do get to Love Destiny, I think you will appreciate how special it is 😉
@Seank – I love to see people break the “Now that I’m the boss, I’m going to treat people as awful as I was treated”. When I became a supervisor, I tried to be fair and treat people with dignity and respect and how I wanted to be treated. Kudos, sir.
Now as for this list of yours that I’ve been waiting for, I’ve added some of them to my Monster List (that I’m thinking of renaming “How Does Sean Watch Everything?!” per JJ. 😆
I was surprised to see Saimdang on your list (I can’t forgive it’s leap in logic regarding Song Seung heon’s character and the choice to have his younger counterpart from the past be alive in the future while his older self is alive??? Although show must’ve made some type of impression on me because as recently as last week, I saw it somewhere – maybe Amazon Prime (?) and I rewatched the last episode in hopes that now that it’s appearing on other venues (first Kdrama to be aired in China in 3 years) that maybe they resolved some things with the “missing episodes”. Not that I’m sure they even exist but I keep hoping and looking for them. (I couldn’t believe they cut it with only two episodes left to go.)I think I really want to like it in spite of myself.
@Beez – you sound like you were an awesome supervisor to me and that’s exactly what I wanted from those who worked for me in key roles.
I just had a look at my “plan to watch list” and it has 116 shows on it. I never make a dent in my “watch everything list,” because like phl, I get distracted when I see other shows pop up when I’m about to start something😂🤣😂
I thought Saimdang was an artistic masterpiece and I think from memory, up until it was made, it was given quite the budget with the goal of making an impact on the Chinese market. However, cost constraints in the end won out. I was a bit disappointed with the ending, but not enough for me to mark it down in any way. I don’t think anyone else could have played Saimdang herself.
It obviously “caught” me somewhere along the line because I keep checking back on it. I truly enjoyed the sequences in the past, but as a true fan of sci-fi (which I consider any time travel/past lives to be), I couldn’t deal with Yang Se-Jong’s character being present in the present. My brain gets stuck on something like that and can’t enjoy everything else that’s good around it. (I was like this even before my illness.)
I do agree that Lee Young-Ae was made for the rule (or it was made for her?) Either way, she was excellent in it. But when I think of this story, I cut out the modern day portions as they didn’t sit well with me. I wish they’d made the entire production set in the past, then they wouldn’t have needed so many episodes and we wouldn’t have run into the need to cut it early. 16 exposures of historical Saimdang would’ve been great for me.
I think the role was made specifically for Lee Young-Ae. Lol re Yang Se-Jong’s character – he was very popular in the neighbourhood 🤣
It was quite clear they wanted to showcase the existing artefacts from that time in a museum/gallery setting, so there was always going to be a present day element as the easiest way to display Saimdang’s amazing work.
I came across this post and beautiful short video today about her: https://loonytricky.wordpress.com/category/history/korea/
Thanks for this, Mr. Fletcher. The video of her family’s (parents’) home is so beautiful. The details made me realize, I know nothing of her son, who must’ve been a big deal for history to so appreciate his mother. Hopefully, they’ll make a drama to save me having to Google him cause my only interest in him right now is because of the drama about his mom. doink
And I know this is weird, and a betrayal of 21st century womankind, but I feel her husband wasn’t such a bad dude after all (considering the times). Most of what he did that we consider crappy today, was very common back then but two things impressed me about him – he at least didn’t try to suppress her by being all “barefoot and pregnant and have my meals on time!” [picturing a U.S. southern drawl and a stained wifebeater tshirt]. Well, he probably was that way since they did have seven children, after all. But the fact that he didn’t try to suppress her talent says something about him. Yes, he promised her father but after living so far away, not all men would’ve kept that promise. And I’m impressed that he didn’t try to enforce the 100 lashes that he could’ve for her going to the mountains to meditate. Maybe I’m giving him too much credit because maybe he was too busy with his gaesang to care/notice, but I still think it’s commendable that he wasn’t caught up in some male ego domination trip (aka just being a normal man at the time) that “You can’t do that because only men can!”
The comment on the video that Saimdang moved often between her parents’ home and her marriage home is telling though – especially when the map shows the homes are on opposite shores of the continent. She obviously was unique for her time, as well, to even express displeasure at her husband’s “dealings”. Extraordinary, indeed.
Seriously, though – thanks, sean. I’ll be saving the link to this site to see what other interesting things are posted there.
@Beez – I am so glad you got something out of this video and his site. I had read previously about how Saimdang moved between homes, a detail that is portrayed in the drama. It reminded me of how my own great, great, great grandparents with a horse and cart and 12 kids moved from Sydney to Perth – about 3,000 miles at the time. They walked. The cart contained the belongings.
Yes, her son was (and still is) a big deal. So you had an impressive dynasty going on. Her parents were open minded – although not common, it did happen in that they were willing to let their daughters be educated. This flowed on through Saimdang and then on to her son. Lol re making a drama about the son 😂
As for the husband, I think his life was pretty good, in that Saimdang’s patience was extraordinary – her nickname was “wise mother.” There are a number of accounts that paint the husband in a positive light – that he was an understanding husband, listened to her and let her pursue her interests, but his relationship with Kwon was a big sticking point with her and her children.
@Sean – “. It reminded me of how my own great, great, great grandparents with a horse and cart and 12 kids moved from Sydney to Perth – about 3,000 miles at the time. They walked.”
Wow! Now that takes those I walked 2 miles to school in knee-deep snow stories to a whole other level!
@Beez – I like to remind my offspring regularly they are far removed from the family’s original pioneering spirit and perhaps they need to find it 😂
Sean – this video was so darn informative. Looks like it was shot in 4K as well so the footage is superb. I liked it so much I subscribed to the channel. Everyone who loves KDrama should watch this! Very well done.
Absolutely agree, phl! His content is awesome 😎
Sean, since you’ve mentioned you like bodyguards in your fictional watchlist, I was immediately curious if you had watched the BBC (now on Netflix) mini-series Bodyguard? I thought that was an excellent show, especially the later half where the suspense and tension turned up quite a few notches higher.
I don’t know a lot about j-dramas, so I’ll be keeping BG: Personal Bodyguard in my mind once I have the time and mood to watch the next j-drama. Thanks for the recommendation!
Hello PP, yes I did watch Bodyguard. It was intriguing and very well acted. Also, some of the “internal management” re certain situations was on the money! I hope you do get around to BG: Personal Bodyguard one day, because it is one of those shows the Japanese do extremely well 😊
What a fun post, Sean. Like many others have noted, there are several to add to my watch list. Now here’s hoping I can find them.🤞🏼😉 I like how, at least some of your favorites may have been influenced by your professional experience and personal ethics, i.e. My Mister, Stove League, Money Flower, Stranger, On the Verge of Insanity. Interesting. I’m inspired to review my own favorites through that lens. Thanks so much for sharing your drama and personal story… and for the new k-, c-, j- and t-drama leads!
Cheers, Leslie and thank you for your very thoughtful comments 😊 I never thought about the use of the viewing lens until kfangurl discussed it in more recent times. Yes, some of my favourites have been influenced by my experiences and ethics. Similarly, the same has happened with a couple of key viewing disappointments eg Life. I know a couple of watchers here really liked it, but I was so at odds with how Gu Sung Hyo (Jo Seung Woo) handled things as a CEO, I felt I had gone back in time. I hope some of my leads work out for you 🤗🤗🤗
What a great post! It’s so nice to get to know you better. So many new dramas to me. I don’t believe I’ve not even seen your gateway drama. I’m going to have to go back and check it out. It looks good. I did at least see your favorite Kdramas and loved them.
Hello, lotusgirl. I am so glad you liked the post and I was able to showcase some new dramas and that you have seen my favourite Kdramas. I hope you can track down my gateway drama – it is worth a look 😊
I found it. I started it and am enjoying it! Thanks!
That’s awesome, and my pleasure 😊😎😊
Wow, so many shows that I haven’t even heard of and one in particular that I need to find where to watch: Love Destiny sound pretty good to me, plus I have checked, it’s not 5496 episodes long!
If you ever do get to find Love Destiny, I’m sure you will enjoy it, Natalia. Lol re the number of episodes. Thai dramas typically have long episodes, rather than many episodes. There are some nice excerpts on YouTube including the official OST: https://youtu.be/uNWIeZWD4sw
Sean: you made me go from lurker to poster! I’ve seen a lot of your favorites, but, for me, Love Destiny stands out for a number of reasons. First: yay that someone else watched it and loved it enough to mention on a Kdrama site! I’ve been watching Kdramas since 2014, but Love Destiny is my first and only lakorn. I don’t even know how I ended up finding it because it’s not available on legal streaming sites that I’ve found in my region. Despite that, I have watched it at least six times because it is so perfect from beginning to end. It’s so full of fascinating details from that time period, and it’s the only time traveling drama that ever addressed the real-life issues of using an outhouse or having menstruation that I’ve ever seen. The acting, the story, the historical setting were all so perfectly aligned, and it was good all the way to the end! How many time traveling dramas from any country have done that? (giving Mr. Queen the side-eye) Anyway, I was thinking of doing a rewatch over Christmas break but didn’t find the time, but now, obviously, the universe it telling me it’s time to watch it again! I’ll have to channel your ability to expand time to meet my drama-watching needs. Thanks!
Woo hoo, HolleyJane, that is awesome – lurker to poster 😎 You will have to keep making comments now 😉 Yes, Love Destiny is exceptional. I did marvel at the endless detail: from the presentation of flowers and gifts when visiting each other’s homes, the travel by water, the process around what to do when summoned to the palace, the way food was prepared and consumed and even the detail regarding the servants and their teeth. Lol re Mr Queen 😂 Well, I do hope you can fit your rewatch in. Like with kfangurl, I will send some viewing hours your way 👀🤗👓
*slow claps* Sean – what a great post, I loved every word you said. I love so many of the shows you love too – My Mister (the best show I’ve ever watched in my entire life, IMO), Money Flower (and Stranger season 1 – both of which I consider perfection in writing, acting, directing, music, everything despite not being shows I would typically gravitate to). And the Jung Kyung Ho fangirl in me loves that your first Kdrama was a JKH show! I actually have not watched Beating Again/ Falling for Innocence coz by time I wanted to watch it, it was gone from Netflix. Alas… I need to find my way to watching it, though, just to satisfy my oppa Kyungho love, haha.
Also – I echo everyone in saying – how on earth do you watch so many shows with such a busy and varied life? I need to know your secrets! And I love the little bits about your life. I would love to hear some stories from your life – I’m sure you have fantastic stories!!
Wow, MC, thank you ever so much for your comments 😊 I am very glad we like so many of the same shows. That’s awesome you are such a fan of JKH. I liked him from day dot and always keep an eye out for what he is up to. He doesn’t do that many dramas compared to others, but he has been in some big shows of course.
I do have some fantastic stories to tell. So many people have said to me I need to write a book, but then I would spend my whole time changing the names 😂 Mind you, I have thought about using the James Herriot approach.
I suppose a typical story is my involvement in many bushfires, which are terrible and devastating in themselves, but like red back spiders and along with a number of the world’s most venomous snakes, we tend to live with them. I have spent many a night in the past, in the middle of the night, weighing up when to make the call to evacuate people from their homes. The smell of smoke, the smoke itself and embers floating through the air making you realise that perhaps, sometimes it is too late, as bushfires can move that quickly.
The secret to watching so many shows is a strategy in itself and sometimes it’s just the opportunity that circumstances provide. There are those moments though where I would like a Tardis or the Doc Brown Delorean so I had more time to do other things, but I suspect I would end up watching more dramas instead 🕰⏳⏰
Damn Sean. Awesome post as expected of you 🙂
Very impressive list of dramas your taste is very diverse.
But even more impressive is this little snippet of your life. I tip my hat to you sir.
Thank you for saying my post was awesome, Reaper 😎 There are so many fine dramas out there. Even though some of the favourites in fandom haven’t made it onto my different lists, some are only a whisker away from being included.
I really enjoyed your post, Sean and am in awe how you juggle it all 😮
I feel like I don’t have nearly as much going on in my life nor do I manage as many shows as you 😉
Do you have some secret device to bend the space time continuum and if so, where can I get one? 😂
Do many dramas on your list I haven’t even heard of! *runs off to edit watchlist
*So many dramas, sorry for the typo 😉
Thank you so much, Kate – I am so glad you really enjoyed my post 😊 Ah, the space time continuum is one of my favourite subjects. I admit I am extremely organised, something I am well known for where I am. However, I wouldn’t use my life as any sort of yardstick 😂 I am very happy that I have given you some shows you may get to watch someday 😉
Loved reading your list. So diverse and wide ranging. Watched a few of your favourites and special mentions ( the obvious one). Will have to work through some of the others although I don’t feel I have the stamina for dailies. Although I am really tempted by a number of them!
Shahz – I found that you have to be in the right state of mind to watch dailies. I tend to run out of patience (and stamina) but if you get a good one it makes your day, every day. It is like watching soaps in the US.
The interesting thing with dailies, Shahz is often who is in them. I tend to drop many by the 15-20 episode mark. Just because a daily may have some of my favourite actors in it will not protect it from its fate 😱 I am glad you loved reading the list, and yes it is diverse, which is something Beez and I talked about once: sometimes we like what we like and there is no other explanation than that 😊
@Sean, you must be an awesome boss! Your coworkers are lucky.
As for Jang Hyuk dramas, Chuno will always be my number 1, with Money Flower a very close second, followed by My Country. I also liked Thank You and Robber. I even watched a super retro drama from 1999, Into the Sunlight, just because a 22-year old Jang Hyuk was in it. The drama was a rather pleasant surprise! I would like to watch Great Ambition, but it is nowhere to be found legally…
Thank you for your very kind words, Snowflower. Jang Hyuk is a special actor and deserves every accolade he gets. It would be interesting to see what his process is for getting into character 😊 The Great Ambition looks interesting. It also has quite the cast. I see he has a drama that he is filming in China this year – so he is doing something different again 🤗
@Seank – I must admit that I was surprised that Chuno wasn’t among your list of Jang Hyuk favourites.
@Beez – I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why. But some of it could be to do with not liking Chuno as much as the rest of the viewerverse 🤷♂️
🔪 meet chest.
@Beez and Sean – I needed that laugh! Thank you!
@Beez “Ooh, ah, Ow, ah, ooh, ah!”
Great pic, Sean. I was looking for something just like that. But to be clear, I meant my chest, not yours. lol
I thought about writing “et tu, Brutus” but thought it might be going a little heavy to accuse you of stabbing me in the back just because you didn’t love what I love. But seriously, Sean – how could you not! 😆
@Beez – Phew 😅
Here are some immortal lines from Rinse the Blood of My Toga:
He’s laying right over there.
Would you look at that. Eight daggers in him.
Yea, what do you think?
I think that if he were alive today, he’d be a pretty sick boy. He’s really fixed for blades, eh!
“I told him, Julie, don’t go. Don’t go Julie” 🤣
I have always enjoyed your infectious enthusiasm for Chuno, it helps make the world go round 😉
@seank @phl1rxd After watching one of the videos for Rinse the Blood Off My Toga, I can better appreciate your comment. Big Julie! And the Roman Private Eye. 😆
@kfangurl – I never got an email notice of sean’s response. I only received phl1rxd’s email applauding to Sean that caused me to see Sean’s post. 🤨
We actually had to perform this at school. I can’t remember which character I played though 😝
I was wondering how you remembered the dialogue as the videos are obviously pretty old.
I love the American gangster accents. lol
@Beez – the gangster accents really did give it that private eye Dragnet feel 😊
@Beez It might have gone to your spam folder. That sometimes happens to me!
@seankfletcher – First – Note I’m using your full gov’mint name here as I no longer feel that we”re on a familiar basis.
Second – I know not of which you’re talking about. Is that a musical or comedic take on Shakespear? Oh. I found it on YouTube. 😄
Third, your last sentence kinda sorta makes me forgive you, Seanie! Seaniekins! Seanpoohbear! (I probably went too far. I’m stick with seank.) Sorry about that. You know what happens when I think about Chuno! The warm fiuzzies got a little out of control.
All’s well that ends well. 😉
Can’t let even an obscure Buffy reference go unliked!
Of the various Jang Huyk references, I have to admit to being highly curious about him acting across Jang Nara in a show set in the 21st century….
Cheers, j3ffc – it’s one of my favourite scenes from any movie and I enjoyed it even more when we could still hear it through the credits 🤣
Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara are awesome together. He was almost unrecognisable as the spoilt jerk and she was lovely.
@j3ffc – I’ve seen many people love Fated to Love You without knowing anything about Jang Hyuk but… if you’ve watched any of his dramas up to the point where FTLY came out, you’ll recognize how FTLY is an h’ommage to his career thru certain situations in scenes or past OST’s that begin playing to heighten other scenes.
Sounds like fun (but a lot of research! 😬). Having only seen Chuno, Tree/Deep Roots, and Money Flower, I only have a vague idea of how deep JH’s oeuvre is. Better get cracking!
@j3ffc – first of all, thanks for the new word. lol You really can enjoy Fated to Love You without the knowledge of his body of work. It just adds that little nugget of extra appreciation when you when you can match a scene to a parallel scene from an older drama or when the theme from Chuno! starts playing.
@kfangurl – And by the way, Fated to Love you would be an excellent “light” show to add to to our list of possible shows!
Sean – An excellent exposition and list. I join the crowd in the outright astonishment over how many dramas you manage to get under your belt on the regular…
The three kdramas in your Top 10 that I’ve seen (My Mister, Money Flower, and Hot Stove League) are indeed first rate, which bodes well for the quality of the other titles there, I should think. Interesting to see a Thai drama there as well! Now there’s a virgin field, as far as my viewing is concerned…
Well, Thai dramas are difficult to navigate, Trent. However, when you find a good one, they are superb. Generally, the actors play defined roles e.g. the angelic protagonist is predominantly played by certain actresses. The evil antagonist is played by the Nang Rai – again a specialist actress and so on. In other words, you get an idea of what you are in for quite quickly.
They often do a romance novel series approach – so it will be about a group of friends with a series dedicated to each friend, with the other friends playing bit parts in each one. There a number of those that are worth a look. Then there are the stand alone dramas like Love Destiny and the Crown Princess that just stand head and shoulders above the rest.
I like to think my Top 10 is a quality offering, but I know that with a couple those I am quite biased. Thank you as well for saying the post is quite the exposition. I am glad I got to share a few thoughts and I do have to thank MC and kfangurl for that opportunity 😊😊😊
Sean – I am back! I am happy to see Minglan and Chang’an on this top ten. Both were so special to me as well. I got lost in Minglan – just completely lost in the story and missed everyone when it was over. Those 72 episodes were not enough for me. Then, Chang’an was a feast for the eyes – a virtual eyegasm. The lighting in Chang’an was just spectacular. Yes Sean, Zhang Xiao Jing and Tan Qi = understated awesomeness #1 and I am here for it. I just need to re-watch this.
I am adding any new dramas (from your Top Ten and Special Mentions) to the list you posted a few years ago that I have saved (next to Fangurl’s list). Bet money Sean, that they will be watched first starting tomorrow (First up are Love Destiny, The Lions Secret and Lovers in Bloom). I usually enjoy the dramas that you enjoy.
I too am a big fan of understated awesomeness. Also – I had to laugh at your least favorite tropes, especially the last one.
I will say that reading your blog reassures me and gives me a tremendous amount of hope!
Super Duper Post!!! Thanks Fangurl as I am really enjoying these posts. Great idea MC. You know Fangurl that you have some really cool and fabulous readers and commenters. 😉
Hello phl – I love how you have classified both relationships as understated awesomeness #1 and #2, because that is exactly what they are 😊 It would be awesome to see such combinations again!
I do hope you enjoy the additions to your list, phl. It can be a bit nerve wracking making recommendations sometimes 😉
As for the tropes what can I say. I was watching Ghost Doctor the other day and there it was again: the white truck of doom and as per trope law – no one saw it and blamed the driver of the car (our heroic surgeon) that got hit by the truck that as a result of the collision, caused an accident with a motorbike: 🏍🚙🚛
So, my favourite watch at the moment, despite the frosty CEO, is Boss and Me starring Minglan herself (Zanilia), who was also awesome in Legend of Lu Zhen 😎
Sean – I will add Boss and Me to the list! I just saw Zhao Li Ying in Who is the Murderer and despite the negative netizen reviews (totally unfounded), I found her acting superb in this drama.
The Truck of Doom – 🚚🚛🙄🙄 an oldie but goodie – https://youtu.be/OgGhZDXkfUU What cracks me up is how long she/he/they stand in the road looking at it before it hits them, and yes, as you point out the weird ‘who is responsible’ response. Ree- dunk-u-lous. I could run across the street and back again in that time. 🏃♀️🏃♂️
I just starting watching Reset (on Viki) and all I can say is “Holy Schnikes Batman!”. A Daylight Entertainment production (need I say more?) featuring some familiar NIF1 faces it is pretty riveting. Seriously, Hou Hong Liang puts out quality products. It is a time loop scenario but an intelligent one and the acting is top notch. I do believe that you will enjoy this. Only 6 of 15 episodes are available but if it keeps up with what I have seen so far this may end up being on my 2022 top ten list. I am loving it. Check it out Sean.
I loved your post! 💖🧨🔥💥💖
I think ZLY is a wonderful actress. She comes across as totally believable in her roles. I will need to watch Who is the Murderer, because I looked at some of the criticisms online and it seemed way out there to me – ie if the Earth was flat, the comments would have fallen off the edge.
Strewth, Ruth. Phl I laughed watching The Truck of Doom – “I’m sure the truck was blue.” I hadn’t seen this before and the Benny Hill theme was the icing on the cake for me. The Bold and Beautiful has been a bad influence across the world when it comes to the elongated stare 😂🤣😂
I have been meaning to dip my big toe and take a look at Reset. It sounds the bees knees to me. So, I might be able to have a chance later today. And thank you for loving my post – it is far more rewarding than the myriad of reports I write day in and day out. Every one is so generous with their comments 🎆🎆🎆
Reset – 🤞🤞🤞 Hoping that we will get the whole hive by E15 🐝🐝🐝
On E3 of BG: Personal Bodyguard and you have to just love Kimura Takuya and his portrayal of this character. Really well done.
I’m underway with Reset. I was instantly taken in by the opening credits and it’s the sort of time loop show I like. so, very happy 🤗
Kimura is effortless. You might want to check out his movie Masquerade Hotel as well – he’s a detective in that one 😉
So Sean, I am watching Reset and I keep looking at the head honcho female policewoman (in white) and I am going “Hmm, she looks so familiar”. Jumped over to MDL and viola! I had no clue that was her.
Also watching Masquerade Hotel as well – very Poirot-ish and I am really enjoying it. Big thanks!
Yes, I saw her most recently in Win the Future. Some wag made a comment it was a crime to put her in the wig she is wearing for Reset 🤣 I like how show gives different perspectives. I last saw the ML in You Are My Hero, which was okay.
There is a sequel to Masquerade Hotel that recently came out – not sure how long before we get to see it.
Sean – I liked Masquerade Hotel so much that I searched, in vain, for the 2021 Masquerade Night. Not available even over at the dark side. Guess we have to wait and see.
I’m with the wag – it is the worst wig ever Sean. Even with that, her facial bone structure is so magnificent that you think “That woman is gorgeous but what’s up with that wig?”. I knew I knew her, and I said she is beautiful but I honestly did not realize who she was until E4. I must be getting old. 👵
@phl – I couldn’t tell you the number of times I have watched a show, only for the penny to drop part way through re recognising a particular actor.
Usually, it’s a certain gesture, tone of voice or look and I go “aha.” I can say though, that type of wig or look is not uncommon in CDramas re portraying certain character types.
Hopefully Masquerade Night will be available sooner rather than later 😊
Sean – my man! I only got half way through and I had to stop and say this is an awesome post – just awesome! Back to reading…..
I loved reading your list, Sean!! So many I haven’t seen, but there’s a few on there like Dong Yi (my sister adores it), Arang and the Magistrate and Hot Stove League that I’ve been meaning to. My Mister is also my top drama, just in terms of ticking off all the boxes of what I like in shows, for much of the reasons you listed. It was also great hearing more about your background – so cool!
I am so happy you enjoyed reading my list, Uyen. I hope you do get around to Dong Yi and the others, it just helps round out the whole kdrama experience. As for My Mister, what more can be said! I am so glad that such a show was made and we got to see it 😊
OMO Sean!!!! OMO! OMO ! OMO! You just added around 20 Shows to my never ending list how am I going to watch everything (HOW DOES SEAN WATCH EVERYTHING ???) List!!!
Loved your post. Love seeing Romance is a Bonus Book get a shout out and a brilliant! Love that Show.
I cannot wait to check out the Thai Drama Love Destiny! Did you say time travel?!?!!! Exciting 🙂
p.s. – one thing we have in common is many moons ago I was trained as an archaeologist as well 🙂 We Sci Fi Fantasy Fans sure know how to stick together, dont we 😉
Count me as a member of the archeology club! That makes three of us already…
@Natalia – Love it!!!
Wow, Natalia, that’s awesome too. Welcome to the club 😉
Thank you for your enthusiastic appreciation, JJ 😊 It does take some effort to sift through what to watch, but I think that research side of me makes the task easier. I do think you will like Love Destiny, for a whole range of reasons. That’s awesome you trained as an archaeologist too. I think it makes for a natural fit when it comes to understanding our great love of Sci-Fi and Fantasy 🤗