Dear kfangurl: What makes a drama cracky?

LaurenSophie writes:

Hello,

I’m a longtime lurker and have never posted, but I love your “Dear kfangurl” column and think I finally have a question you haven’t already covered.

My question is: what makes a kdrama “cracky?”

Not just good or fun to watch or a classic, but really, truly so addictive that you either binge watch it in just a day or two if it’s an older drama or feel like you’re suffering from withdrawal if you have to wait for new episodes to air?

As I’ve watched more and more kdramas over the past two years, I’ve noticed that “cracky” doesn’t always correspond with a drama’s overall artistic quality.

Yes, there are some clear examples of dramas that are both objectively good and cracky (“Secret Love Affair,” “Healer,” “A Million Stars from the Sky” and “Beyond Evil” come to mind) but there are many dramas I’d consider to be very good, but not cracky (“Watcher” and recently “Move to Heaven“).

And there are also dramas I’d argue are flawed and have obvious weaknesses, but wow were they cracky (I’d put “Fated to Love You,” “King2Hearts” and “Oh My Ghostess” in this category).

And then there are some that are cracky in stretches but once I hit the halfway point, my addiction wanes (“Moon Embracing the Sun” is one of those for me. Also “Start-Up,” “Another Miss Oh, “Princess Hours,” and “Fates and Furies“).

But when I try to break down exactly what makes a drama “cracky,” I struggle to define it beyond a general feeling I get when I absolutely must inhale the next episode ASAP.

So what are your thoughts? What makes a drama cracky as opposed to just well-written, packed with likeable/attractive actors, or feel-good?

Which dramas do or did you find to be the most cracky, whether or not you would define them as quality dramas?

Thanks for putting out a wonderful blog. I’ve found so many cracky dramas thanks to your reviews and always love reading your perspective.

That’s an excellent question that I need to think about..

Dear LaurenSophie,

Thanks for your question! I apologize that it’s taken a while for me to put this post together in response, but.. better late than never, I hope..? ๐Ÿ˜…

I’ll do my best to provide some clarity, but as we’ll soon learn, it’s not that simple, defining what makes a drama cracky.

Still, I hope my attempt to shed some light on it, will be helpful!

Everyone, as always, feel free to share your thoughts, insights and experiences in the comments – as well as your own recommendations for cracky dramas!

PS: For the curious, I’m using screenshots of Lee Da Hee’s character Cha Hyun, from Search: WWW, to illustrate this post, because Cha Hyun is SUCH a huge drama fan. ๐Ÿคฉ

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY CRACKY?

All! Those! Feels! ๐Ÿ˜ญโค๏ธ

In general usage in the drama fandom, we refer to a drama as cracky (variation: cracktastic), when we mean that a drama is very addictive, such that you just can’t get enough of it.

(Therefore the not so subtle comparison to it being like a drug. ๐Ÿ˜…)

You can’t help clicking “play” on the next episode, if it’s available, because you neeeed it, almost as much as you need to breathe.

And, if the next episode is not yet available, the wait for your next hit, feels endlessly agonizing.

In more extreme cases, it’s not uncommon for folks to obsessively rewatch available episodes of said crack drama, to cope with the wait for the next episode.

WHAT MAKES A DRAMA CRACKY?

Wow.. This one’s hard to break down..

As LaurenSophie as rightly noted, quality and crackiness don’t always come together.

Just because a drama has the widely acknowledged trifecta of a good drama, ie, good writing, directing and acting, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be a cracky watch experience.

And, just because a drama is flawed, doesn’t mean that it can’t be cracky either.

I put some thought into it, and I feel like these are the main things that affect a drama’s crack factor.

1. There’s something in it that makes you feel invested

This could be lead characters whom you find likable &/or with whom you personally identify, and which therefore causes you to want to know what happens to them, and soon.

Additionally – or alternatively – there is something that you find particularly interesting about the show, and which therefore causes you to want to tune in, for more.

2. Well-crafted cliffhangers

This is one of the great hallmarks of a cracky drama, and that is, each episode ends on a well-crafted cliffhanger.

To create great cliffhangers, the writing has to support it, and the directing has to do a good job of delivering it as well, such that audiences are left hungry for more, at the end of each episode.

You gasp at said cliffhanger as the ending credits roll, and then decide that you really, really need to know what happens next, never mind that it’s way past your bedtime and you have work or school the next day.

3. Show’s slurpability

What I mean by slurpable, is that a show is easy to digest in large servings.

Meaning, it’s not too heavy or meaty, that viewers need to take mental &/or emotional breaks after each episode.

It’s light enough that it’s easy to keep going, without mental &/or emotional breaks.

This isn’t totally necessary, in the grand scheme of crack factors, but I do think that it helps.

4. Your personal context

I realize that, as with most things, crackiness is a subjective thing. What I find cracky, may not be cracky to you, and vice versa.

A lot of that has to do with personal context, and our own unique lens of personal experience that we bring to the watch.

If you’ve gone through a bad breakup or divorce, for example, then you are more likely to find a second-chance story immersive, engaging and addictive.

This one’s the wild card and is hard to predict with any kind of accuracy, but that’s exactly why I think it’s important to mention it.

CRACKY DRAMAS – A PERSONAL LIST

Like I mentioned earlier, crackiness is very subjective, so what I find cracky may not be cracky to you.

Still, for what it’s worth, here’s a list of dramas that I personally found pretty cracktastic.

Your mileage may vary, but if your drama taste is like mine, then some of these titles might be worth a look! ๐Ÿ˜‰

18 Again

I LUFFED Lee Do Hyun in this, and I felt extremely invested in his character’s journey.

Plus, there was always the question of whether his friends and family would actually discover his true identity.

Both reasons are why I found this so cracky, and couldn’t get enough of this show.

Review is here.

A Love So Beautiful [China]

Ooh, I found this one endlessly slurpable.

The story isn’t new – warm ordinary girl has a crush on aloof smart guy – but this one has an X-factor that so many do not.

I just found it all very cracky and appealing, and inhaled this one a lot faster than I’d expected to.

Flash Review is here.

Are You Human Too?

With the right absurdist, almost makjang lens, this one is SO much fun, in its ridiculous and entertaining plot developments.

I grew so fond of the robot version of the character, that he became a big part of the reason I liked this show so much.

Review is here.

Bride Of The Century

This one is trope central, with a side of makjang thrown in, but I found this extremely cracky and slurpy, in a fun, mindless sort of way.

Our leads are as cute as a pair of puppies, and I found it endlessly entertaining, to watch them bumble their way to true love.

Review is here.

Coffee Prince

There’s just so much that works, in this show.

I do think that a lot of the crack factor has to do with whether or not our male lead (Gong Yoo!) would discover that his love interest is, in fact, not a man, and how he would react, when he inevitably found out.

The off-the-charts OTP chemistry is also another crack factor – I just loved seeing these two together, on my screen. ๐Ÿ˜

Review is here.

Find Yourself [China]

I found this one light and slurpable, with just enough meat on its bones to not feel like a totally mindless watch.

Plus, I do have a soft spot for a noona romance where our younger man is extremely sure of his feelings for his leading lady.

Also, Song Wei Long’s onscreen smolder, and the way he kisses his leading lady like he means it, definitely added to the crack factor, for me.

Review is here.

Goong / Princess Hours

This one’s a bit of a cheat entry, because this was my gateway drama, and therefore, earns extra crack points, by pure virtue of being all new and shiny to me, when I’d been a drama noob.

I loved the idea of our warm girl melting our ice prince by degrees, and couldn’t get enough of this slow-burn romance.

By the time our story slumped in its last third, I was still gobbling this one up, because I was that invested in our leads and their story.

Review is here.

Healer

Ahhh, there’s so much to love about this show!

I was utterly smitten with how casually badass Healer is, particularly every time he casually leaps off a building, and I was also very taken by the extremely sparky OTP chemistry.

And then there’s the earwormy music, and the romantic loveline and all of the tenderness built into it; it all just hooked me in the best way. ๐Ÿ˜

Review is here. Open Threads listed here.

Money Flower

I basically couldn’t take my eyes off Jang Hyuk, in this.

He’s all shrewd intelligence and prowling panther, at the same time, as Pil Joo, our revenge-seeking protagonist.

Add on the crackling tension between him and Lee Mi Sook’s Mal Ran, and it felt like my screen might catch fire, if I wasn’t careful.

As a bonus, the great cliffhangers worked really well, to keep me hanging breathlessly on the edge of my seat.

Review is here. Open Threads listed here.

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds

Show hooked me with its adorable OTP, and Park Bo Gum‘s sassy, cheeky Crown Prince, and I couldn’t get enough of Show, in its first half.

And then when things turned heavier in its second half, I was already so invested in these characters, that I kept on watching, with similar levels of investment and interest.

Review is here.

Mr. Queen

Shin Hye Sun’s fantastic delivery of a modern man trapped in the body of a Joseon queen is packed with so much sass and hilarity, that I could not get enough.

Just wondering what s/he would get up to next, was enough to keep me tuning in, episode after episode.

And then, the development of the emotional connection of the OTP was another hook that I found to be unexpectedly cracky, as well.

Review is here.

My Roommate Is A Gumiho

I really liked this one for how light and fresh it felt.

Show’s not heavy, but that doesn’t stop it from demonstrating how clever it is, by regularly turning tropes on their heads. That definitely kept my interest high.

Also, aside from the OTP’s very solid comic timing, there’s Kang Han Na’s scene-stealing turn as a ditzy ex-gumiho. Fun!

Review is here.

Nirvana In Fire [China]

I never thought that I would find a political revenge drama (which is essentially what this is) to be so gripping, but I was inhaling episode after episode of this one. It’s just so well plotted, and so well executed.

I was always on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next, with our characters, and their fight for justice.

Not the lightest show on this list, but so cracktastic that it didn’t matter.

Flash Review is here. Open Threads listed here.

Queen In-hyun’s Man

This one’s so light, frothy, and fun, while managing to remain heartfelt, at the same time.

Yoo In Na and Ji Hyun Woo are wonderful in this, and the OTP chemistry is of the sparkling variety. I just loved watching these two together, on my screen.

On top of that, the writing in Show is pretty clever, and there are some pretty great cliffhangers in this as well.

Putting it all together, this one’s just so easy to slurp up, really.

Review is here. Open Threads listed here.

Reset [China]

This one’s so cleverly and tightly plotted, that almost everyone I know who’s seen it, basically inhaled it pretty quickly.

Our story develops in some surprising directions, and I basically never knew what to expect next, in each new episode. Very, very good.

Review is here.

Rooftop Prince

I remember finding this extremely fun to watch, back when it first aired.

The fish-out-of-water hijinks are gold, particularly since our Joseon F4, as this bunch of dorks were fondly known in the fandom, all had great comic timing as well.

Add on a surprisingly heartfelt love story between our time-traveling prince and an ordinary girl, and this was easily one of my top picks of 2012.

Review is here.

School 2013

I was utterly and completely smitten by the bromance between Kim Woo Bin‘s and Lee Jong Suk‘s characters, in this.

Sure, Woob’s character doesn’t show up until (I think it was something like) episode 3, but once he showed up, the tension between these estranged friends was so great.

I was much more invested in this bromance, than many a regular loveline, and Show’s very solid writing supported that excellently as well.

Totes recommend.

Review is here.

Secret Love Affair

This one isn’t light by any means, but I did find myself feeling quite addicted to this, upon first watching it.

I think it was a combination of factors.

The crackling chemistry between our leads; Yoo Ah In‘s Sun Jae having such an intent sense of adoration towards Kim Hee Ae’s Hye Won; the forbidden nature of their relationship.

And then, there’s the beautiful, haunting music that swirls all around the characters and the story, and gets into my head, and sucks me into this story world, rendering me quite helpless in its grasp.

Review is here. Open Threads listed here.

She Would Never Know

This is even more subjective than average, because I know a lot of people didn’t care for this show too much, but I loved it.

I was completely taken by Rowoon’s Hyun Seung being such a smitten puppy for Won Jin Ah’s Song Ah, and I was very much on board with Show developing this loveline.

I loved the writing, by and large, and found the relationship dynamics solid and healthy, after an initial false start in episode 1.

I found this one easy and pleasant to watch, and I often did want more episodes, and soon.

Review is here.

Someday Or One Day [Taiwan]

I LOVED this show, SO much.

Not only do the characters grow on you in a big way (Greg Hsu~!! ๐Ÿ˜), the writing is very deft, and the story has all these unexpected turns, which makes the watch experience feel fresh and quite exhilarating.

These two things together, made this one cracky and addictive; I always wanted to know where Show would take us next.

Review is here. Open Threads listed here.

Ten Miles Of Peach Blossoms [China]

To be fair, this one is a tiny bit of a slow burn, because it’s only in the tween episodes, that the crack bit, for me.

But – dang! – when the crack bit, it bit good.

I couldn’t get enough of this show, and inhaled multiple episodes, back to back (to back!), because I was so very invested in the loveline between Mark Chao’s Ye Hua and Yang Mi’s Bai Qian.

It’s a combination of Mark Chao’s smolder, crackly OTP chemistry (those kisses! ๐Ÿ˜), and all the twists and turns our OTP have to go through, that made this one as addictive and cracky as I found it.

Flash Review is here.

The First Half Of My Life [China]

I love second chance stories, and I found myself extremely invested in the journey that Ma Yi Li’s Zi Jun goes through, in order to find her mojo, and rebuild her life, after her husband dumps her for another woman.

To spice things up, Jin Dong is extremely suave and charming in this, and the crackling tension that resulted every time his character He Han gets intense, was a big thing that kept me hungry for more episodes, and soon.

Flash Review is here.

The Last Empress

This one is so blithely makjang, and SO much fun to watch, that I found it really quite addictive, if only to see what new ridiculous thing Show was going to pull out of its sleeve next.

Flash Review is here.

Twenty-Five, Twenty-One

This one was lightning in a bottle, for me.

Show made me remember so vividly, what it was like to be a young person coming into adulthood, that this felt magical, all on its own.

On top of this, I found myself SO invested in our characters’ stories, and so sucked into this story world, and its vivid nostalgia, that I was almost always jumping out of my seat for more, every time I got to the end of an episode.

Review is here.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

I had serious hearts in eyes for this show and its characters; everyone and everything felt so real and relatable.

I loved Lee Sung Kyung’s Bok Joo and her very relatable sense of awkwardness in her own skin; I loved her friendship with Nam Joo Hyuk’s Joon Hyeong, and then I loved their blossoming romance; I loved Bok Joo’s friends, who are awesome, and so full of s-wag.

This one felt like an ice cream sundae with extra rainbow sprinkles on top. LOVE. โค๏ธ

Review is here.

You From Another Star

Show had me by the heart, in spite of its ridiculous premise.

I loved Kim Soo Hyun‘s stoic alien professor (and his superhero-esque abilities! ๐Ÿคฉ), and I LOVED Jun Ji Hyun’s iconic Cheon Song Yi. These two characters worked so well together, and I was completely invested in their star-crossed romance.

Show was also very good at serving up strong cliffhangers, as well as great epilogues that added context and texture to our story, and I always found myself wanting more, at the end of an episode.

Review is here.

Yumi’s Cells

I love-love-LOVE this show, for how fun it is to watch, while managing to be perfectly spot-on, in the way it unpacks human behavior, both from the female and male perspectives.

Watching this felt like a multi-layered experience.

Not only did I get to squee over a loveline that I was genuinely invested in, I also got to delight in the animated cells, which are SO well conceptualized and executed, AND, I got to feel seen and understood, because Show demonstrated to me that I’m not weird; we’re just ALL like that. ๐Ÿ˜

I couldn’t get enough of this show, no exaggeration.

Review is here.

PS: Yumi’s Cells 2

On a related tangent, I am SO THRILLED that Yumi’s Cells 2 is now here, and I’m covering it as a bonus show, over on Patreon!

Episode 1 notes are now up, and Episode 2 notes will post on Thursday, 16 June 2022!

My episode notes for Yumi’s Cells 2 will be available to all tiers, so do come join us, if you’d like to have fun, and support me at the same time? โค๏ธ

IN CLOSING

I hope you find this post at least somewhat useful, in breaking down the factors that make a drama cracky.

And, I hope that you manage to find a cracky drama (or two, or five!) to enjoy from this list.

Like I mentioned earlier, everyone, please feel free to add your own knowledge, thoughts and insights (and favorite cracky dramas!) in the comments below. As they say, sharing is caring. ๐Ÿฅฐ

I hope this post helps!

Smooches.

~ KFG โค๏ธ

I hope you find your cracktastic drama to love! โค๏ธ

POST-SCRIPT:

1. If you feel that I missed anything, or if you have your own insights that youโ€™d like to share with the rest of us, do tell us about it in the comments!

2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on theย Dear kfangurlย page, or send me an email!

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eda harris
eda harris
10 days ago

hi everybody,
i just finished the movie inside men. i wanted to see it because of lee byung-hun, but to my surprise discovered that the other ML was cho sung woo (prosecutor shi mok from stranger). interestingly enough, cho sung woo is also a young, ambitious, smart prosecutor – under appreciated, because he has no important connections.
there are some other actors from stranger as well as other actors well beloved by us. this movie is done 2 years prior to the drama stranger, but there are a lot of parallels, especially how the prosecutor in both productions is presented. i have a feeling, that inside men was a direct influence on stranger, including but not limited to the character cho seung woo. anybody who liked stranger should check this movie out, you might find it interesting and enjoyable (especially with all the connections to stranger).
and most important – lee byung-hun and cho sung woo are an impressive and formidable combo – not to be missed.

Su San
Su San
13 days ago

Thanks for your insightful analysis of this question! Love the list. Wouldn’t it be great if production teams, especially including the writers would read your articles! It’s like a free focus group for them!

Elaine
Elaine
13 days ago

Just adding my quick thoughts – I think a mystery/suspense or “will they won’t they” element keeps me clicking to the next episode. Eeee they shared a moment, will they get closer or will their insecurities or wacky circumstances keep them apart? Many of the shows in your list (and mine) have an element of secret identities eg Someday One Day, Are You Human, Coffee Prince – whether the main character’s secret will be found out also adds to the suspense and fun of the show. Some shows also know how to string along fast paced events unfolding that keeps the viewer engaged, and the moments of heart and emotion are there but don’t slow down the momentum – CLOY, Healer, Are You Human Too, A Business Proposal, The Crowned Clown – I would put these shows into this category!

The will-they-won’t-they suspense goes away once the OTP officially get together, so I often find my momentum to finish the show slowing drastically at that point, eg Hometown Cha Cha Cha, Her Private Life, the humour and storylines and growing OTP connection really drew me in and gave me happy vibes, but after the OTP got together and it looked like the story would turn angsty i nearly didn’t finish both shows – I’m glad I did finish in the end, the angst was not too bad and provided a decently heartwarming storyline. Whereas for shows like Healer, even after OTP gets together there is still enough plot outside the romance to keep me engaged.

Whereas with My Mister, and My Liberation Notes, I find I take time to sit in the mood and savour it, because while there are plot developments there’s also a lot of emphasis on the characters’ inner journey, reflections and growth, and that makes me want to pause and reflect on my life too. Misaeng also falls in the category of enjoyable worthwhile shows, but it takes a while to get through it as several stretches really made me feel like I was at work with the characters and thus putting more time in at the office rather than relaxing haha.

Last edited 13 days ago by Elaine
My2Girls
My2Girls
16 days ago

Wow! Your list is almost exactly what I would put together. I would only add a few others – Youโ€™re Beautiful, Kill Me Heal Me, Marriage Not Dating, The Masterโ€™s Sun, and Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

eda harris
eda harris
16 days ago

actually, any drama that catches our fancy can become cracky.
i would add to those already mentioned the following: crash landing on you, chuno (how can we forget this one???), the disguiser, all in, that winter, the wind blows and… i know some people did not like it, but i still think it was superbly cracky – the devil judge.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Eda – That Winter the Wind Blows is definite crack, even with all its flaws. If I ever watch this again I will keep a click counter in my hand and click it every time I hear “Ahjussi”. I binged this one hard. I could not tear my eyes away from the screen.

eda harris
eda harris
16 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl, i know, right?
although, when a drama becomes cracky for me, that does not necessarily mean that all is well with this drama, especially the endings, like in my most beloved the rise of phoenixes or the crash landing, where both dramas were totally amazing, the endings almost plunged me into uncontrollable fury. in crash landing,

spoiler
after all the characters went through, they only get to meet twice a year in switzeland? really, writer? with all the connections these two had, meeting parents (some very influential persons, i am sure) of children from different countries, you want to tell me they could not come up with some ideas to be together forever? (even i had quite a few ideas for them) an ending competing with FL jumping off the cliff.

and that winter the wind blows, i must confess, i watched because of jo in sung – i love watching his 2 miles legs and in general – love this actor.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Eda – when the drama is that good and the ending is that bad, it does put me in a right snit. TROP is famous for its ending which was so bad that fans clamored in flocks to read the book to sooth their poor shredded souls. BTW – I am laughing at your spoilers. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚ I have only resorted to the comfy slipper throw twice (maybe 3?) times.

Even with that Eda we loved the first 60 episodes and my screen shot out electric sparks! โšกโšก

j3ffc
j3ffc
13 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Is Song Hye-ko good in That Winter the Wind Blows or is she in her block of slightly warming ice mode? Also, I’m not a bad person (really! I’m not!)

Why CLOY Did Not Send Me Into a Rage of Uncontrollable Fury
but I liked the ending of CLOY because it represented a reasonable approximation of present reality and, apart from one of them moving to the other country โ€“ probably illegally โ€“ it seemed like something that could actually happen. I preferred it to many dramas where some magical finger is snapped and all the problems that have beset the OTP over 16 episodes magically go away.

Last edited 13 days ago by j3ffc
Trent
13 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

— I agree with your take on the ending of CLOY, pretty much down the line. I liked it and felt like it was an appropriately balanced resolution. FWIW.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
13 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – with you on that. I could not see any other way for it to end without someone getting hurt.

eda harris
eda harris
13 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl, why so pessimistic? you don’t think our ML deserved better (and also FL) and could have accomplished it (i gave an example of how it could have been done.)

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
13 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Eda – Gotta admit, I never imagined the cliff version. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜… You have a great imagination Eda. I thought they had quite a unique situation with only hard choices available to them.

eda harris
eda harris
13 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl, well, these two characters are definitely portrayed as FIGHTERS. those two would not just “lay down and die”, they would explore every possibility on earth and find what is necessary to accomplish it. why would their character change at the end so drastically?
that is why i had to disagree with the ending.

eda harris
eda harris
13 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

j3ffc, yes, song hy-ko is just as you describe it she (is) in her block of slightly warming ice mode (love your description).
but the concept is interesting, the drama delivers and jo in sung is worth watching. i must add, that in this specific drama song hy- ko can get away with mostly icy demeanor, i mean the character can take it.

eda harris
eda harris
13 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

j3ffc and trent,
i have to respectfully disagree with you.

explanation of spoiler
the fact that they went through all these problems for 15 episodes does not mean they have to be stuck in it for the rest of their lives and should only strengthen the resolve of these two people to be together.

now, really, who would settle for just two weeks a year when you are sooooooooooo in love that life can be sacrificed for love. i simply do not believe it and do not accept it.

in regards to possibilities: he can ask for political refugee status, and most of the countries, usa, canada, great britain, etc. would no doubt grant him that.
but, he really does not even need that, he can apply as an original artist/musician of great additional value to the country, and he would get it. (i am very familiar with this and am sure of that) it would be very difficult for north korea to persecute him for that (he’s not alexei navalny in russia and he’s not a spy, even taking in account his past position in the army or his father’s position.) and of course, she can move freely wherever she wants. i do not want to explore other possibilities, but he does not need to be illegal.

2 weeks a year meetings seem to me stupid beyond words. who would settle for that?

and such stupid endings, like in iris (another one of “what’s wrong with this writer? hah???), CLOY and TROP simply do not benefit a drama that is really good until the ending. somehow the koreans specialize in that.
of course, and ending like in something in the rain, where the drama attempts to sweeten the bitterness it created with a so called “good ending”, is also not good as it is simply synthetic.

Trent
13 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

It’s okay, we can all agree to disagree, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

eda harris
eda harris
13 days ago
Reply to  Trent

totally, always. agreed.

J3ffc
J3ffc
13 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Thanks for your take, Eda! Itโ€™s always fine to agree to disagree (thatโ€™s why weโ€™re exchanging views, no?). For me, Something/Rain pretty much set the bar for terrible drama ending (not to mention a pretty bad last third). And thanks for putting Winter on my long-range radarโ€ฆ.๐Ÿ˜€

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
13 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– Funny comment! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚ To answer your question re: SHK, yes on the ice comparison. Sorry to all SHK lovers. The drama is old and I did enjoy it.

eda harris
eda harris
12 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl, did you see by any chance the chinese movie 1921, with nini and chen kun? i wanted to see it, but can not find it anywhere. any idea?

MC
MC
16 days ago

Ah I enjoyed this question and list so much, Fangirl. For those on your list that I’ve watched, I agree. Money Flower, You From Another Star, A Love So Beautiful, My Roommate Is A Gumiho, Queen In Hyun’s Man, Healer, and now that I’m watching Someday or One Day and am currently addicted – I can absolutely attest to its crackiness!

Other lighter fare I’d add to the list:

  • Love 020 coz it’s my gateway drama, lol
  • 1% of Anything for the couple
  • We Married As A Job (the Jdrama) – I inhaled it over 2 days, no lie
  • I agree with Trent on I’m Not A Robot. The couple! Gah, they’re so cute and break my heart in the angsty bits.
  • A Business Proposal. I had issues with the ending but seriously I regretted watching it live, it was soo hard to wait a week for the next 2 episodes!

The heavier, but also cracky shows:

  • The Smile Has Left Your eyes – not perfect but the front half of the show was utter crack I couldn’t look away
  • My Mister – heavy but had pretty amazing cliffhangers and it’s just a fantastic show all round
  • Likewise, Stranger/Secret Forest
  • Life On Mars had incredible cliffhangers and tight writing (and the amazing brotherhood over time… sob I love this show so much)
Ele Nash
16 days ago

Oh, what a feast of crackiness ๐Ÿ˜ So many shows I absolutely slurped up – some, at least twice ๐Ÿฅฐ For me, a cracky show is usually synonymous with a cracky OTP – I love a romance ๐Ÿ˜… I’m totally bingeing Who Rules the World at the moment because I’m smitten with the OTP. Anyone else watched it?

I like the idea that cracky is also cliff-hanger immersive, that need to know what next? What next?! It always fascinates me watching Chinese dramas, how the episode just like stops, no ‘ending’ on a knife-edge. Even so, I still am like, what next?

Ah. My favourite cracky shows where I just couldn’t stop watching (though I did have to when, you know, people made me) are:

Money Flower, Rise of Phoenixes, Coffee Prince, Ten Miles of Peach Blossom, Healer, It’s Okay That’s Love, A Korean Odyssey, A Business Proposal, Oh My Venus, The Princess Weiyoung.

All cracktastic ๐Ÿ˜Š

Last edited 16 days ago by Ele Nash
MC
MC
16 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Business Proposal! Urgh, I could NOT stop watching that!!!!

Ele Nash
16 days ago
Reply to  MC

I found it exceedingly entertaining, MC! Maybe cracky shows are also ones where you just can’t stop smiling ๐Ÿ˜

JJ
JJ
16 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@Ele Nash – I gobbled up Who Rules The World until I had to slow down and wait for new episodes. Loved that Show. Enjoy the Ride ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you seen the Fantasy CDrama – Ever Night???? Omo….

Ele Nash
16 days ago
Reply to  JJ

No, I haven’t. Is it Wuxia? I do love Chinese Wuxia / fantasy stuff.

JJ
JJ
16 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@Ele Nash – Im still trying to recover from my watch, but I wouldnt watch both Who Rules the World and Ever Night at the same time. You might not get any sleep ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here is the description
https://mydramalist.com/27178-ever-night

Here are the links to watch not sure which one will work for you.
https://www.viki.com/tv/36178c-ever-night?locale=en

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVN97VRdIjo&list=PLOW9dYWFXJ7H0hhPo0ceraKDTiomkxC6L&ab_channel=%E8%85%BE%E8%AE%AF%E8%A7%86%E9%A2%91

Ele Nash
16 days ago
Reply to  JJ

Brilliant, thank you JJ! I will pace myself ๐Ÿ˜…

JJ
JJ
16 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@Ele Nash – You are welcome! They are just totally different and both need their equal due I think, so savor the long journey with both of them. Im still trying to recover ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, btw – did you see The Sword and The Brocade, yet?!!! Talk about OTP ๐Ÿ™‚

Ele Nash
15 days ago
Reply to  JJ

I haven’t seen it! Oh, so many cracky shows, so little time ๐Ÿ˜…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Ele – ditto on Who Rules the World. Thank goodness all episodes had dropped before I started watching or I might have had a bit of withdrawal if I had to wait for new episodes.

JJ
JJ
16 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– It was brutal waiting….b r u t a l…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  JJ

JJ – I try to wait until all episodes have dropped before I start watching. Sorry you guys had to wait!

JJ
JJ
15 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– Reaper told me about this one and I misunderstood and thought all episodes were available as I started much later than reaper. So….I was caught before I knew what was happening!

So I do my best to try and wait for all episodes to be available because I have ZERO patience ๐Ÿ™‚
๐Ÿฆ„๐Ÿถ๐ŸŒˆ

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
15 days ago
Reply to  JJ

JJ – ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜…

Ele Nash
15 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

It was fluke I started it after it dropped – and am already on episode 33 ๐Ÿ˜‚

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
15 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Ele – Happy watching! I enjoyed it and hope you do as well.

eda harris
eda harris
16 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

o, ele, i completely forgot the princess weiyoung – it was my discovery of chinese historical dramas, the very first one, and i watched it in succession, one after the other, about 5-6 times. i did not want to part with it, and i was afraid to move on to any other drama. it drove me crazy, now that’s called cracky. i am not sure that i would consider it the crackiest of all now, after i have seen many more dramas, but it definitely has it’s proper place in my heart as my first love.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Eda – I have put Princess Weiyoung on my list and it will line up as my next CDrama. The OTP married in real life two years after this drama and I would be interested to see the dynamics between them.

eda harris
eda harris
16 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl, tiffany tang and luo jin are absolutely adorable together in princes weiyoung.(and without knowing it i thought these two should be married in real life). also, there are a few couples in that drama that are quite interesting, and one of them is vanness wu (whom i almost liked the most in this drama), whom you will see very soon as the ML in autumn’s concerto which is our next group watch.

i also saw tiffany tang with wallace huo in perfect couple (a hilarious comedy, especially in the first half of the drama), and again she has amazing chemistry with wallace, (and great acting) so may be she’s just this kind of an actress.

Ele Nash
15 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

I LUFFED Princess Weiyoung and the real connection the leads had I think goes some way to explain why it is so cracky ๐Ÿ’“ I’m so happy you loved it too. Chinese drama is often SO beautifully filmed and set and costumed. I mean, kdrama is ace and all, but cdrama has a kind of maturity I drool over ๐Ÿ˜

eda harris
eda harris
13 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

ele, i feel exactly the same  cdrama has a kind of maturity I drool over ๐Ÿ˜
the glory, the deep roots of their culture, the great beauty of their productions, the depth of their philosophies and poetry, the colors, the sceneries, and on and on… i am glad you feel the same. i myself almost feel like i have lived in ancient china, i am so into it.

Ele Nash
13 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Obsessed with so many of those things you mention, Eda! xx

JJ
JJ
16 days ago

I am going to represent the Fantasy Crew here and throw out some totally cracky Fantasy Shows albeit might be a bit controversial though ๐Ÿ™‚ I might be a Fantasy Crew of 1 with some of them…Sean…..๐Ÿ˜

TKEM – The King Enternal Monarch!!! Yes, I said it and will stand by it ALWAYS! Omo ! Am I glad this one had all episodes available on Netflix when I watched it because I would not have survived making it to the next episode like Trent had to wait. I cannot fathom this at all….

Guardian/ Goblin – I literally lost a week of time watching this one ๐Ÿ™‚

Bride of Habek – One of those had to gobble this one up as well and luckily no waiting for the next episode either when I found this one on Netflix ๐Ÿ™‚

And a most recent find for me, but its been out awhile the Cdrama Ever Night. Be still my fantasy beating heart….I still have not recovered ๐Ÿ™‚

And here is a total shameless plug for the post I wrote about the first three fantasy I just mentioned ๐Ÿ™‚

https://thefangirlverdict.com/2022/01/21/stories-from-the-community-jjs-story/

๐Ÿฆ„๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿถ

Reem
Reem
16 days ago

You named a few that I found super cracky! Iโ€™d also add Sungkyunkwan Scandal (that Second Lead Syndrome was baaaad), The Princessโ€™ Man (I know this one may be controversial ๐Ÿ˜…), Happiness, The Light in Your Eyes (even when it got heavy I did not want to stop), and Racket Boys. Iโ€™ve found some dramas too donโ€™t start with that Crack Factor but as you get deeper into them you build momentum and just keep wanting to hit โ€œnext episodeโ€

Su San
Su San
13 days ago
Reply to  Reem

Absolutely agree that some shows aren’t cracky in the 1st few episodes. I LOVED Reply 1988 and 1997 but the first few episodes didn’t go down easy.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago

Fangurl – I must say that I really appreciate that rush you get when you find a cracktastic drama. I love all of your choices and have experienced the crackiness in all of them.

I must say that NIF1 is the ultimate crack for me. It is my outright, out of control addiction. I am embarrassed at how addicted I am to it.

Then there is Rise of the Phoenixes – that was 60 episodes of crack until we got to the last 10 episodes when we realized that crack needs, no, must maintain the same level of writing lest we experience cold turkey withdrawal with all of its agonies.

My 2022 crack was Be My Princess. I did not know what came over me. I suddenly got weak in the knees and could not get enough of the ML, Taifu. I wanted to be that FL so badly. I could not stop watching and even goggle translated the entire book.

I could watch all three of the above multiple times (note that means only 60 Episodes of TROP) and still get the same crack high as the first time I watched it.

I have to add Money Flower for the crack of the sheer quality of excellence.

Great question LaurenSophie!

Last edited 16 days ago by phl1rxd
JJ
JJ
16 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– TAIFU!!!!!!

๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿฆ„๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿถ

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  JJ

๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿฅฐ

MC
MC
16 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Money Flower for the crack of sheer quality of excellence – YES YES YES. I could NOT stop!!! So good! (and that swirling menacing music…)

Trent
16 days ago

Just off the top of my head, the most purely cracktastic show I’ve seen has been I Am Not a Robot. Binged the whole thing in two days, no lie.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – yes, and I had to wait as I watched as episodes dropped and it was still cracky as all get out. That scene in the park! Oye!

MC
MC
16 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – INAR was total crack, I kept pressing next…..! Thankfully I did not watch it live so that I could feed my addiction!

j3ffc
j3ffc
15 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
16 days ago

Big yes for Flower of Evil and Money Flower! Sungkyunkwan Scandal is another example of cracky drama: The multiple love triangles! The heroine’s big secret! The Second Lead Syndrome! So much to slurp…

Speaking of crackiness, hubby and I are watching Chuno and he likes it.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Snow Flower – how lucky you are to have company on this watch!

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
16 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

We are now using “aigoo” and “aish” and other Korean expressions on a daily basis.๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜‚

eda harris
eda harris
16 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

snow flower,
same here. isn’t it funny?! it’s totally contagious.

uyen
16 days ago

A great question! I’ve also definitely wondered what shows are cracky and it has been very subjective (depends for me on my mood too!). Personally totally agree with Mr. Queen and Yumi’s Cells. I love the gut feeling when starting a show that I’m going to like it.

PW
PW
16 days ago

I would like to add True Beauty and Flower of Evil, two shows that couldn’t be more different from each other but that both share that addicting, slurpy, click-the-next-episode-before-the-credits-are-done quality that put them solidly on my top ten list.

Last edited 16 days ago by PW
seankfletcher
seankfletcher
16 days ago

Cracky crackiness personified with that list, kfangurl! I loved the way LaurenSophie classified her dramas with her question.

Speaking of Lee Da Hee, SJH has done it again with Kiss Sixth Sense, it is really, really, really cracktastic. It ticks all of KFGโ€™s criteria above ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

eda harris
eda harris
15 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

kfangurl, now that you defined a cracky drama, i have another question.
how do we get over a cracky drama that completely hijacks our brain and emotions, locks us into itself and locks us out of any attempt to move on to another drama? i have encountered a few of those, that even when i moved on, nothing seemed satisfactory for a long time, i simply craved another one like for example nirvana or the rise of the phoenixes, just to name a few (there were of course more). what’s the solution?

Leslie
Leslie
14 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Great question, @Eda. I can get such an emotional hangover when I inhale a show I really like, aka get addicted to it.

The only thing I’ve learned works for me to avoid said hangover is to, when I feel cracky coming on, watch a few/several dramas at the same time with some discipline, so that I don’t overdo on the cracky one (which may mean watching it in 10 days, rather than only 4! ๐Ÿ˜‚) At least it gives me a chance to remember there is life – mine – outside of my cracky drama world.

eda harris
eda harris
13 days ago
Reply to  Leslie

leslie, i follow the same prescription, watching several dramas at the same time, usually one historical chiniese (my real love), one contemporary korean and one of the old dramas that are still on my list. but with all my attempts to be disciplined, sometimes it goes up in smoke like a new year’s resolution. and these are the times that my own life ceases to exist, really. and these are the times that i do not know how to get out of it or how to control it.
like now i started watching in my blues, it seemed like such a down to earth drama, it did not seem to be dangerous to my psyche, or threaten my other dramas to fade away, even that they are also good dramas. but here i am, totally intoxicated, not able to move away from the blues, and i do not even have a sound explanation for this one. but it is a fact, i am “drugged”.

Su San
Su San
13 days ago
Reply to  Leslie

The idea of watching more than one show at a time really works for me. Also, “cleansing my palette” with movie works for me.

eda harris
eda harris
13 days ago
Reply to  Su San

su san, o, i do all those things, including “cleansing my palette”, and still can not overcome the “disease”.
by the way , i recently stumbled over a movie (which is nothing to write home about), but i found it pretty effective for cleansing. it’s a japanese movie, where the ML looks much like takeru satoh from rurouni kenshin (by the way, loved these 3 movies, especially the beginning and of course the actor), but this movie is nothing like it, just… it’s called love for beginners.

CarpControl
CarpControl
16 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

It’s a real shame 6th Sense Kiss is on Disney+ T_T and as a result, not getting as much love, as it deserves! xD

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  CarpControl

I agree Carp Control – I am loving all the serious parts.