Group Watch: What shall we watch next?

Thanks to those of you who expressed your interest in continuing with the group watches here on this site.

Like I recently announced, we will continue with the group watches, but with some tweaks.

Basically, we will have only one group watch at a time, instead of two, and we will decide via discussion, with me making a final decision, rather than via a poll.

Here’s our brainstorming post, so that we can discuss what we should watch next, as a community.

As promised, here are some initial ideas, feel free to let me know what you think, in the comments!

Some things to consider

1. Group watch benefits 

I realized that one of the cool things about having the group watches, is that even though we are watching shows that have long completed their runs, we still get to have that “live watch” experience, by sharing the experience as a community. I think that’s pretty cool. So let’s pick dramas that have already completed their runs?

2. Availability

In picking a show, we do need to take into account availability, so that anyone who wants to join in, can join in.

We need to pick a show that people can access on legal platforms like Viki, Kocowa, OnDemandKorea, Viu or iQIYI, preferably without needing to pay additional membership fees.

3. Geo-restrictions

If you’re geo-restricted, a VPN service would help you get around that. Not only does it provide online safety, it also gives you access to lots of great geo-restricted content.

I personally use NordVPN. You can find my review of NordVPN here.

You can use my affiliate link (here!) to enjoy up to 60% * off, with prices starting as low as US$3.29 per month.

* This used to say 73%, but because NordVPN’s changed the way it calculates the discount, it now says 60%. BUT, it’s the same great price, starting from US$3.29 a month!

An article on why it’s not illegal to use a VPN to access legal streaming content can be found here.

4. How are we going to choose?

We will brainstorm in this post for about a week, and based on your input, I will make a decision and announce the winning show next Saturday, and our first Open Thread can kick off a week after that.

So, in summary:

Brainstorming: today until Friday, 16 September 2022.

Announcement: Saturday, 17 September 2022.

First Open Thread for our next group watch: Saturday, 24 September 2022.

Some contenders

You can totally add more suggestions in the comments, but to kick things off, off the top of my head, here are a few dramas that I thought we might want to consider, in alphabetical order.

I tried to include a nice mix of everything in this initial list, taking into account suggestions & requests that have been made in the past, and also, including a few options that draw from retro classics, as well as more recent dramas.

Again My Life

I haven’t seen this one, but I’ve heard that even though Show doesn’t tread any particularly new ground for a story of this genre, it’s much more engaging and enjoyable than one might expect.

Plus, it’s Lee Jun Ki playing an underdog, and I do have a soft spot for underdogs – and well, Lee Jun Ki too. 😁

16 episodes.

Availability: On Viki with Viki Pass Standard and on Viu.

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 8 weeks

Trailer:

Because Of Love [China]

The reason this one’s on my list, is because someone mentioned to me that this is a mature melodrama, somewhat on par with My Mister (My Mister review is here, Open Threads are listed here).

Given that so many of us enjoyed My Mister (enjoyed being a huge understatement!), I thought you guys might be interested to check this one out together.

Also, the acting and chemistry is reportedly quite excellent, which is a big positive.

That said, the trailer does suggest that this one’s more overtly melodramatic than My Mister, so there’s that too.

30 episodes.

Availability: On Viki

Commitment: 3 episodes per week = 10 weeks

Trailer:

Bridal Mask / Gaksital

This one is a request by Snow Flower, because it’s finally become available.

I remember this one as pretty epic and stirring, despite its melodramatic lashings, and a female lead that I was rather underwhelmed by. Joo Won pretty much carried this show, and his performance in this, is outstanding.

There is some romance in this one, but I’d consider it more of a supporting arc than anything else. It’s more a story of one man’s journey, towards something bigger than himself.

28 episodes.

Availability: On Kocowa.

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 14 weeks

Trailer:

Dear My Friends

BE‘s been saying fantastic things about this one since forever, which is why I’ve got it here as an option.

I’ve sampled a few episodes in the past, but had kinda chickened out when I’d thought that one of the main characters might die. 😅 (Technically not a spoiler, because I actually have no idea if it happens!)

However, it strikes me as a very well-acted, well-executed drama, with a rare cast of consummate veterans, and I’m sure it’s well worth a look.

16 episodes.

Availability: On Netflix.

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 8 weeks

Trailer:

Dr. Romantic 2

I thought you guys might be interested to revisit the Doldam crew, after finishing Season 1 together. I’ve heard that Season 2 is just as enjoyable as Season 1 – if not more so.

I’ve been told that Ahn Hyo Seop is really good in this, and that Lee Sung Kyung is very solid too. I do believe there’s a loveline between their characters, so there ought to be some romance in this one.

16 episodes.

Availability: Free on iQIYI, on Viu and on Kocowa. Also available on Viki with Viki Pass Plus, and on Netflix.

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 8 weeks

Trailer:

Go Ahead [China]

This looks potentially really good (and the very high ratings on MDL support that thought).

I like the idea that this is a coming of age story for our three protagonists, interwoven with the stories of their respective (apparently rather dysfunctional) families.

I also like the idea that the three are a found family, which is such a heartwarming thing in itself. Plus there’s the thing where, in the midst of our main characters growing up and finding themselves, there’s healing, bromance and romance.

I imagine that there could be lots to unpack in terms of characters and relationships, which could make for a pretty great group watch experience?

46 episodes.

Availability: Free on Viki, and on YouTube.

Commitment: 3 episodes per week = 15 weeks

Trailer:

Good Manager / Chief Kim

I’ve heard that this one is funny, and ironically enough, that was one of the reasons I’d given it a pass, previously.

I just wasn’t sure I’d be on board with the humor, since k-humor and I don’t typically get along. But, now that I’ve come to appreciate both Nam Goong Min and Lee Junho, I think I’m finally ready to give it go, maybe?

From what I understand, there is no romance in this one, but there is a reluctant connection between Nam Goong Min’s and Lee Junho’s characters that is solidly compelling.

20 episodes.

Availability: On Netflix, on Viki with Viki Pass Plus, and for free on Kocowa.

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 10 weeks

Trailer:

More Than Blue [Taiwan]

So.. apparently this one has sadness built into it (because our male lead is terminally ill – not a spoiler coz it’s right there in the trailer and is part of the story’s premise), but is also very beautiful, at the same time.

This is a remake of the 2009 kdrama of the same name, which has also inspired a Filipino remake.

I haven’t seen the original drama, but the fact that it’s inspired several remakes, and is highly rated on MDL, must mean something?

10 episodes.

Availability: On Netflix.

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 5 weeks

Trailer:

Mother

I haven’t seen this one, but am told that it’s a very solid watch.

It’s not an easy topic, since child abuse is part of the story, but I’ve heard that it’s touching, warm, meaningful and beautiful, with fantastic acting by the cast.

16 episodes.

Availability: On Viki and YouTube (if you’re geo-restricted set your VPN to Turkey).

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 8 weeks

Trailer:

On The Verge Of Insanity

So many of you had good things to say about this in our year-end wrap-up series last year, that I thought I should include this as an option.

I think it’s rather underrated, in the sense that I didn’t hear a lot of people talking about it, when it aired. But those of you who’ve seen it, say it’s highly entertaining and amusing. There is no romance in this one.

16 episodes.

Availability: On Viki with Viki Pass Plus, and for free on Kocowa.

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 8 weeks

Trailer:

Thank You

In the spirit of including some older shows in the mix, I thought Thank You would be a good option to have, because it’s now available.

It’s been years since I watched this one, but I remember it being a warm, gentle sort of melodrama. Plus, it’s Jang Hyuk, acting as a badass doctor with a hidden marshmallow heart. 😍

And yes, this one has romance in it, though my (admittedly hazy) impression is that it’s handled with a more muted sort of touch.

16 episodes.

Availability: On Kocowa.

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 8 weeks

Trailer:

I couldn’t find a trailer, so this MV will have to do.

You’re Beautiful

Such a fun, nonsensical, retro classic. It’s good for both laughs and feels, if you can put aside your need for logic.

Also, Jang Geun Suk recently hilariously joked on Instagram, on the occasion of Park Shin Hye’s marriage, that her character from this show, Go Mi Nam, has abandoned his character Hwang Tae Kyung (article here), and that made me think that perhaps it might be fun to do a group watch of this. 😁 Romance is the main point, in this one.

16 episodes.

Availability: On Netflix, on Viki with Viki Pass Plus, and for free on Kocowa, on iQIYI and on Viu.

Commitment: 2 episodes per week = 8 weeks

Trailer:

In Closing

Like I said, these are just some initial suggestions!

Please indicate your interest, &/or add your ideas in the comments below, and we can figure out together, what we should watch next, as a community.

Like I’ve mentioned before, there will be NO POLL, so this discussion is what will guide my decision-making, when it comes to picking our next group watch.

You may also indicate your interest by liking others’ comments, if you agree with their choices &/or suggestions.

KFG ❤️

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Ufan
Ufan
13 days ago

I can’t believe three of my favourites are on the list. I would’ve watched Mother a third time as a group watch.

Dear My Friends is a gem. This drama is not just for golden ones. It’s an oath to lasting and true friendship.

Go ahead is the first 46 episodes drama I watched. Our family finished it in 2 weeks. My 13 years niece still thinks the character Li Hai Choa is the best drama dad ever. The casts was great, but stand outs are Tan Sung Yun (Li Jianjian), Li Hai Choa (Tu Song Yan), and He Ziqiu (Zhang Xin Cheng.)

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
15 days ago

Fangurl – it is getting close!! As of this minute your counter is about to hit 10 MILLION hits. You are at 9,932,293 views – just Wow! 🧨💥

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
15 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

It is downright awesome Fangurl! Congrats!

JJ
JJ
14 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

AMAZING!!!

MC
MC
15 days ago

I’m so late to the party but I am interested in

  • you’re beautiful
  • chief kim / good manager
  • you’re beautiful
  • dear my friends

either way, they generally sound great! ♥️ please choose something you’d like too!

Trent
15 days ago
Reply to  MC

@MC — Hey, no fair trying to slip two votes for You’re Beautiful in there! 😁😁😁

MC
MC
14 days ago
Reply to  Trent

HAHA trent that’s hilarious! And my brain has clearly stopped working that was at 12+am where I am at. Good spot! I meant to say OVOI was my other option but my brain clearly likes you’re beautiful…

JJ
JJ
14 days ago
Reply to  MC

@MC – YES!!! Another vote for OVOI!!!

eda harris
eda harris
14 days ago
Reply to  JJ

jj and mc
i am joining you – OVOI.

learjet1
learjet1
15 days ago

My vote goes to Good Manager. Keep meaning to try but I could do with the support of a group watch.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
16 days ago

Hmm, not many comments this past couple of days! JJ and I did suggest I Am Not a Robot, but before we did it seemed like quite a lot of people were keen on Bridal Mask (Gaksital)? That’s just my impressionistic impression heh! Of the other shows on kfangirl’s suggested list, there were some “for” and some “against” comments, but Bridal Mask seems to have garnered favourable comments!

JJ
JJ
18 days ago

@KFG – Over on Patreon Deep Dive Zone or the Spoiler Free Zone, one of them we were discussing doing a mini group watch of I Am Not A Robot, then I forgot 😬 So, I am throwing it out there, I think there were about 4 or 5 of us talking about being down for a rewatch of I Am A Robot. Then, someone mentioned Healer and I got all distracted thinking oh which one did I want to binge rewatch and then ended up watch a Cdrama called Crush and then the Netflix Special The Hungry and The Hairy 😬

So here are 5 votes for I Am Not a Robot 🙂

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
15 days ago
Reply to  JJ

Ladies – add mine to that, so now 6. I loved this drama. If you do on Patreon I will def jump in.

JJ
JJ
14 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

@phl1rxd- SWEET! Yes, lets do this!!!! 🙂

seankfletcher
19 days ago

Some of my favourites are on the above list, kfangurl. However, I have never watched Dr Romantic 2 as I enjoyed Dr R1 so much. I keep reading how good Dr R2 is. So, I think I would be very tempted to undertake a group watch, if Dr R2 is chosen.

kate
kate
15 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Oh, if you liked season 1, Sean, you will like season 2 as well! There is everything about the doctoring and hospital politics shenanigans that is equal to season 1. Plus a decently written backstory of trauma for the romantic leads in this one. I really enjoyed it.

Esther
Esther
15 days ago
Reply to  kate

Just saw on MDL: Dr. Romantic 3!
https://mydramalist.com/article/dr-romantic-3-confirms-its-main-leads

Looks like time to watch 1 at the very least 🙂

Esther
Esther
19 days ago

Hello all!
I have not participated in a group watch yet, but would like to.

I read the group watch episode comments while watching shows later and found it adds a lot to my enjoyment of the shows (Chuno, Money Flower, My Ahjussi, Queen In-hyun’s Man, Secret Affair, all awesome and am grateful for these recommendations via this site.)

My votes are for Thank You (for Jan Hyuk!), You’re Beautiful (on my list), Again my Life because I have not seen Lee Jun-Ki in anything yet but want to.

For Dr. Romantic 2, I would want to see 1 first. But if it is the choice I could binge 1 and catch up. (binging is my kryptonite).

I watched Good Manager for Junho, shortly after The Red Sleeve and was pleasantly surprised to come across Namkoong Min for the first time, they are both great and so funny in this but Namkoong Min stole the show for me. That said, I watched it too recently to want to watch again. Plus, I almost never re-watch shows because the list of shows I want to watch is so long.
I hardly watch C-Dramas or other Asian dramas (Japan, Taiwan, Thailand) because there are so many Kdramas I still want to see and I feel I have to draw the line somewhere. That said, the CDrama Meteor Garden was my gateway, my first Asian Drama in 2018, which led to BOF, which let to 122 mostly KDramas completed since then….I am one of those obsessed with KDrama people.
Looking forward to the decision and participating in the next group watch.

kate
kate
15 days ago
Reply to  Esther

If you want to see Lee Jun-Gi, you have to – HAVE TO – watched Flower of Evil, Esther 🙂 So so so good. <3

Bingeing is my kryptonite as well. Currently speeding through “Who Rules The World”, which is absolutely fabulous.

Trent
15 days ago
Reply to  kate

Ooh, I second Flower of Evil. Really liked it a lot!

Trent
15 days ago
Reply to  Esther

Esther — you’re in luck, in that Dr. Romantic is very bingeable, at least from my perspective (when our group watch started, I found myself sucked in, binged it, went straight on to DR 2 and binged it, then came back and rewatched the first one on the group watch schedule). (Also, they just confirmed they DR 3, to start filming in the next couple months, so pretty excited about that!).

Elaine
Elaine
15 days ago
Reply to  Esther

I have seen Lee Jun Ki in two shows now – Arang and the Magistrate, and Flower of Evil. He was totally awesome in both, and his performance was very different too, so I totally did not get deja vu unlike some other actors ahem. He was extremely cool ane charming in Arang. But I have to say I didn’t agree with some of the story choices in the last quarter of that show so it dimmed my enjoyment somewhat. Lee Jun Ki and Shin Min Ah remained excellent throughout.

eda harris
eda harris
19 days ago

no matter what will be chosen, i will follow the leader, so that’s a given.
the list. although i did not see a single drama from this list, i have full confidence in KFG. but i did check them out, to see what would interest me. there’s only one that i would not watch with the group if chosen, dr.romantic 2, because i feel i need to watch the first season one first.

the most interesting seems to be BE’s recommendation. so first of all, i do trust BE’s choice, because it’s BE. second, the director is noh hee kyung. here is his resume: our blues; it’s ok, that’s love; that winter, the wind blows. these are just a few of his, and they are pretty impressive. the cast is also very appealing: jo in sung, lee kwang soo, sung dong II… and more. seems like these are people who love to work together, including the executive producer – same thing – his work includes our blues, it’s ok it’s love, that winter, iris

of course, there is one drama thank you with jang hyuk – who can resist him?! and the assistant director (no director mentioned) is lee sung joon who did empress ki (pretty impressive).i found it on ondemand korea, but no subs. so i just watched it a bit (in korean) just to get a feel, and yes, i would like to see it. i also checked kokowa, but one needs to sign up, which is $7.99 a month, and i was told that in general kokowa has all that viki has, and i have the top choice for viki. for that reason i am a bit reluctant to sign up, but if chosen, i will. otherwise, it’ll probably come to viki, so i’ll wait.

another one that sounds interesting: on the verge of insanity. lee sang yeob is the ML, and i have a very (but veeeery) soft spot for him. the composer for this drama is also very promising, here’s his work: hymn of death, money flower, vincenzo, to name just a few.

the drama mother has a little problem for me, that’s why i did not watch it. i could never warm up to lee bo young, even that she’s married to one of my top adored actors – ji sung, she always seems to me artificial or like a doll frozen in her perceived beauty (i do not find her that beautiful). but that’s of course just me.

eda harris
eda harris
19 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

there is one thing though missing on this list: a good chinese historical drama -those are my favorites. i know, they can be lengthy, but isn’t it worthy, didn’t we all enjoy nirvana?

i have seen a few chinese historical lately, but after all i have chosen to add to this list only one, THE ONE!!! it is the untamed. the rating on MDL for nirvana is 9.1, and for untamed it is 9. not very far apart, although many more viewers 71,289 for untamed and only 21,352 for nirvana.
also, please go to wikipedia and check the amount of nominations and awards the untamed received, you almost never see that many.
all this must tell you something – it’s beyond impressive but totally deserving.

i am going to put here some of the things i wrote about untamed, and forgive me for too many words.

if extraordinary absolute beauty can count as thought provoking (or may be emotions provoking) -for me it is. that’s this drama : untamed . although, of course there are also some philosophical ideas, like “good versus evil”, courage, relationships… to name a few.
don’t get scared of the amount of episodes – it is actually a very pleasant watch. it’s just such a pure unadulterated beauty – many times you can not even peel off your eyes from the screen. everything in it is done with utmost attention to the smallest detail, fitting the particular event, or character, or a specific clan personality – from costumes, to colors, to the décor, to the lighting, etc. the cinematography all the way – it must be one of the most gorgeous or THE MOST gorgeous scenes i ever seen in dramas, totally designed to enhance each event or character. and it even has some nirvana vibes, not that it is similar to that iconic drama, but even the very beginning when they present the names, titles and so on – it’s like straight from nirvana. the monochrome hues of the costumes and many decors also remind me of nirvana, although even richer and more elaborate. or there is a scene where the boats are gliding on the serene surface of the lake, and people are just standing there without anybody doing anything (like the scene of mei chang su playing his flute in the boat on the lake). i can’t even explain it, but it somehow gave me this nirvana vibe.
but the most mind boggling, mind bending are the two mail leads – xiao zhan (the role of wei wu xian) and wang yi bo(the role of lan wang). as a side note, i saw xiao zhan for the first time in joy of life, he does not have much screen time, but when he appeared, i had to rewind and rewind, i could not believe my eyes: HIS EYES and he – stunning beauty. yes, no joke, On July 20, 2022, Nubia Magazine announced that after a very lengthy poll spanning 141 countries, Xiao Zhan was chosen as The World’s Most Handsome Man of 2022. he IS.
so , he uses his eyes to the full advantage, and in general, the acting of both of these most handsome men deserve highest marks.
if you want to see “the world’s most handsome man” – not a joke.
tempted to see for yourself the most glaring perfection in a form of a human, who’s a very talented actor on top of how god created him?
but do not worry, underneath all this beauty, there are those most profound philosophical/psychological/spiritual torrents of ideas and thoughts, exploding exactly at the middle of the drama. so just be patient, as at first it might seem light and easy, a pleasant “walk in a beautiful park”, and then… you are just swept into this whirlpool of questions that humanity has been dwelling on for eternity, with no way out…pushing your brain into a myriad different directions. everything is explored by this drama and under the microscope: good and evil, do people have the right to label anything as good or evil, as beneficial or distractive, can good be turned into evil and vise versa, the essence of true friendship and love, the extent of brotherly/sisterly love and care, the value of it or lack of it, the power of human collective thought… and many more.
this drama is joining my two all time favorites: the rise of the phoenixes and nirvana in fire.
the music is also very enjoyable, it is the same composer as in the rise of the phoenixes (it did sound to me kind of familiar, so i checked and it was true. i loved loved the music in TROP.) it’s a pity i do not understand the words, and they do not have a translation. but i especially enjoy when the two of them play together, the flute and the guqin.
there is one more thing, i am now rewatching it and simultaneously reading the books (there are 5 of them, available on amazon). that is a first for me and i find it a totally different and rewarding experience.

manukajoe
manukajoe
19 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

I don’t understand the love for the untamed. The main character is well acted, apart from that I found it boring and very slow. I watched about 10 episodes.

eda harris
eda harris
19 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

yes, it’s a bit slow, but still pleasant at the beginning. if you can master patience, it will be worth it. it starts building up a bit later, and i do not remember exactly what episode, may be 15 or so.

eda harris
eda harris
19 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

manukajoe, i just wanted to add that may be it’s just not your cup of tea. we all have different tastes and different sensitivities. although most people love love this show, i am sure there are a small percentage that do not connect to it. like one time i read a comment that somebody did not like nirvana in fire. (go figure.)

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
13 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Maybe I should give it a try til 10 too and see where I fall on the untamed spectrum

kate
kate
15 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

color me intrigued!!

I watched a few historical c dramas so far. Let me see if I can find “Untamed” on any of the streaming services I am signed up for.
Where did you watch it?

eda harris
eda harris
15 days ago
Reply to  kate

it’s on netflix and also on viki. i did not check other places. enjoy. just be patient, it takes some time to get to the “pick of a mountain”, but it’s so worth it!

eda harris
eda harris
15 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

o, and it’s a pleasant “hike to the top”.

kate
kate
15 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

no worries, I can be patient. Thank you for the recommendation 😍

MariaF
MariaF
19 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

I can’t really comment, because I haven’t seen any of the suggested shows, except for You’re Beautiful. Wouldn’t want to rewatch it. Ever.

I think I’m in a mood for something real. No tricks, no flying saucers… Not too much suffering. Presence of a romantic intrigue (will they, won’t they) wouldn’t hurt.

Although a bit unfocused, the show you mentioned (Our blues) is a good show.

eda harris
eda harris
19 days ago
Reply to  MariaF

i’ll try to think of a show for you.

MariaF
MariaF
19 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Thank you😊

Elaine
Elaine
18 days ago
Reply to  MariaF

Have you seen My Liberation Notes? I really enjoyed it. Its about 3 siblings in their early to late 30s who are feeling stuck in their lives. Quite meditative but very funny and dramatic in parts.

MariaF
MariaF
18 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

@Elaine

I didn’t finish it.

I’m not sure if my explanation makes sense, but it felt as if the show was filmed under water: bubbles instead of sounds, everyone and everything moves very slowly, etc…

I understand that it was done deliberately, to give off that “stuck in life” vibe. But to me it felt forced, artificial, overdone. Felt like the director and actors used tricks to “communicate a message”.

It’s not that I’m craving for more action. I remember watching a documentary once about flora and fauna in a desert.
Very rarely do I watch documentaries about nature, and nothing much was going on in the program (it was about a desert, after all).

And yet that documentary somehow managed to keep me engaged and interested.

I can’t say the same about this show. Also, it turned out that I don’t like Kim Ji-won now, which didn’t help either.

Still, this drama has very high ratings, so I might give it another chance…

Thank you for reminding me about it.

eda harris
eda harris
17 days ago
Reply to  MariaF

i’ve been pondering your desire for a few days now. i must say i was kind of surprised that you wanted

Presence of a romantic intrigue...

from what i understood of your drama taste – you usually require “real meat on the bones”, and not just meat, but “raw red meat” (hope you are not vegetarian and it does not offend you. although, that in real life i hope you are vegan or vegetarian, as it is healthier and better for the planet).
but i could not come up with a single drama with “romantic intrigue” that has no suffering, or any drama at all that has no or little suffering. suffering is the major hook that we the viewers are caught on and it traps our emotions. we love, hate and connect to the characters that way.
so, although i haven’t been able to come up with something 100% satisfactory, i would still like to tell you about a few dramas that i think you might like.
i recently watched money flower, which happened to be a group watch some time ago but i did not see your comments there so i assume you did not see it.
well, this drama is up there with MM. secret love affair, misaeng, healer… just like these dramas i just mentioned, i got this temporary drama paralysis after it, unable to move to any other drama, it is THE MOST POWERFUL, endlessly cracky, insanely intense and best EVER acting of jang hyuk. it is not an easy fluffy watch, but a must for any korean drama lover. and i believe that you might just get deep into it. i believe it is totally up your alley.

there are two dramas that may be go along with what you want now. although these are not on top of my list, it kind of has this romantic spice that may be you’ll appreciate, and no flying/tricks. although some suffering is as mandatory.
so one is love like the galaxy that i just finished watching. what i like about it is the emotions seemed to be backed up with real hugging, kissing and other expressions that usually you do not see in asian dramas, so that was refreshing. even the emperor and the empress were portrayed with human emotions and openly expressing them. but there was a fair amount of suffering. the ML is our adorable fei liu (leo wu) from nirvana, now all grown up, portraying a mighty general and doing a great job at it. the FL also did an outstanding job, and their chemistry was awesome.
the second drama encounter/boyfriend that i want to mention to you is one that KFG actually dropped after 10 episodes, and i can understand why, but for me… i sort of enjoyed it, although i, who almost never fast forward anything, i had to do it quite a few times, because it had so many flashbacks that it drove me crazy. but the ML (park bo gum, whom i saw in seobok and was quite impressed with him, ) is beyond adorable in this drama, and his smile can melt a glacier in the antarctica (it is really something special, and there is a lot of smiles there). apart from all the other stuff, the romance is quite cracky and that’s what kept me staying with this drama. and there is not too much suffering. and park bo gum is so handsome, so it makes it a pleasure to look at him and he’s a good actor also.
so it completely addresses your request for
Presence of a romantic intrigue (will they, won’t they)
hope you find it helpful, you’ll have to let me know.

eda harris
eda harris
17 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

maria,
forgot to mention. the opening episode in the encounter is almost entirely filmed in cuba, and it’s so beautiful, colorful, enveloped in this enchanting island music and inviting to this island, and the story is inviting to this drama, irresistible. in general the whole scene is worth watching even just as the only episode you’ll decide to watch. (for the cinematography as well as the romance). i encourage you to watch just this, and decide for yourself if you want to continue…

MariaF
MariaF
15 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Eda

i must say i was kind of surprised that you wanted 
Presence of a romantic intrigue..

I’m surprised you are surprised.

Romantic intrigue was a big part of the three group watches that I actively participated in (SLA, MM and Healer).

But you are right that I need more than that. “Real meat.” Just syrupy romance is definitely not my thing.

(hope you are not vegetarian and it does not offend you.

I’m not a vegetarian. I eat very little meat 
(and not read meat, just poultry), but I do eat it.
And don’t worry: I’m not easily offended. I guess I’m old school.

I agree that suffering is necessary and serves as spices. So I don’t mind it.

But I don’t like what’s called tearjerkers. Or when characters in a show can’t catch a break no matter what.

I haven’t seen Money flower. I’ll check it out. Thank you.

I saw Encounter/ boyfriend. I admit that there was A LOT of fast forwarding involved, but I managed to finish it.

I watched it during my “kdrama culture discovery” (cultural shock, in other words) phase, so I wasn’t dropping shows that easily.

I agree that scenery in the first episode is stunning. And ML is adorable.

eda harris
eda harris
15 days ago
Reply to  MariaF

maria, money flower is a must!

eda harris
eda harris
15 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Presence of a romantic intrigue..
I’m surprised you are surprised.

maria, i misinterpreted. i was thinking of a sweet, swoony, melting your feminine senses kind of stuff,
but of course, it was not what you meant. i get it now, i should have known better, you are right.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
15 days ago
Reply to  MariaF

@Maria – Yes, Eda is right. Money Flower is a must watch. Some of the best that KDrama has to offer. It has everything from great OST to great acting to great story. The best ciffhangers ever!

Leslie
Leslie
20 days ago

I’d be on board for most of your suggestions, KFG!

Of the China options, Go Ahead would be the top of my list. It’s pretty meaty, and I liked it very much. Because of Love is also good, but a little less even in quality, imo.

I got through 1 episode of Bridal Mask/Gaksital earlier this year, and thought “I might need some guidance on this one” (i.e. a Group Watch), so it would fit the bill. Also in that vein is Mr. Sunshine, which I haven’t seen, but a trusted friend has highly recommended. It gets good ratings on MDL, too.

On the Verge of Insanity is intriguing, and as you say, it was mentioned often in last year’s wrap up.

JJ offers a couple of interesting options in Bride of Habaek and The King Eternal Monarch – because I haven’t seen them and she loves ’em. 😉 If you twisted my arm, I’d sit through another re-watch of Goblin, 🤤ing over Gong Yoo (and his clothes) the whole time. Yes, it would be that kind of watch. 🤤

There are also a couple of shows I saw in my early kdrama days, that I’m ready to watch again: Search:www and Romance is a Bonus Book. I think there is enough substance to each for a good conversation.

Last edited 20 days ago by Leslie
Drama Fan
20 days ago

Hi, one vote for Thank You and suggesting Beautiful Mind.

J3ffc
J3ffc
20 days ago

Having seen every second of every group watch without voting/commenting yet on show selection, I’m not going to start now, but this looks like a nicely diverse list and I haven’t seen any of them.

Full disclosure
I did mention one show we might consider for a group watch deep in another thread, but it was just an errant comment.

Aside from noting that we’ve just finished one old-school melomelomelodrama and an arch social commentary, and that switching it up might be nice, I’m happy to put 16-72 hours of my upcoming drama time into kfangurl’s capable hands.

Cathy
Cathy
20 days ago

Thanks so much for your good list, KFG, so full of variety. I’m most interested in Good Manager, On the Verge of Insanity, You’re Beautiful, or Gaksital. The latter has been on my list for a long time but I’ve been too intimidated to watch. Another suggestion would be The Princess’s Man.

Elaine
Elaine
18 days ago
Reply to  Cathy

I second The Princess Man, quite intrigued after some waxed lyrical about it on Patreon! Would also like to second the following as shows I am interested in
I Am Not a Robot
Romance is a Bonus Book
The Long Night (C Drama)
The Bad Kids – this is a tough watch and I would need to give trigger warnings. But it is very meaty and compelling and I would love to have company to finish the watch (I stopped halfway cos it was quite dark).
Nirvana in Fire 2

Many of the dramas on kfangirl’s list look intriguing! I would be open to just about all of them but will confess to feeling meh about the 2 retro suggestions, Thank You and You’re Beautiful. Doubtful on Mother too because of tough subject matter.

Ele Nash
20 days ago

Happy to go with whatever if I haven’t seen it. Cdrama might be good, though. I think often the epic scales of Cdramas make for potentially good discussions. xx

eda harris
eda harris
20 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

ele,
I think often the epic scales of Cdramas make for potentially good discussions. xx

i so agree with you (but what’s new, right?)
i am still working through all the suggestions and post soon. i’ll make sure to include at least one cdrama – a historic one, that’s my first love.

Antonio
20 days ago

Mother is the show that made me cry the most. Top 5 among the thousands of shows I’ve seen.

Haven’t you seen Go Ahead? it’s really moving

I also recommend The Story of Xing Fu

Elaine
Elaine
18 days ago
Reply to  Antonio

Can you share what other shows are in your Top 5? =)

Antonio
18 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

Unreachable number 1: My Mister

Equal favorites: Mother (Korea), Friday Night Lights (US), The Office (US), Mad Men (US), Shtisel (Israel). Thanks for asking! 😊

JJ
JJ
18 days ago
Reply to  Antonio

@Antonio & Elaine – Ohhhh, thanks so much for asking Elaine, I was wondering myself 🙂

My Mister is in a class of its own isnt it? I am so tempted to watch Mother. Never saw Friday Night Lights, but hear its awesome and people loved the Show. Same with Office and Mad Men.

Shtisel is amazing isnt? That music they use. Gorgeous and so fitting. Excellent acting. Great writing. Such a good Show!

roomvithaview
roomvithaview
20 days ago

I would love to watch Good Manager! Have wanted to watch it for a long time but I found it difficult to get to it by myself. A group watch might be the motivation I need. Go ahead is fantastic (I have a re-watch every year) and i wouldn’t mind Dear My Friends either.

Islander _58north
Islander _58north
20 days ago

Some good ones on the list. Perhaps add Signal or Tomorrow.

Elaine
Elaine
18 days ago

Kfangirl already did a group watch of Signal, you can search the blog to find the posts. Hope this helps!

uyen
20 days ago

I haven’t seen any of these before but would be most interested in Gaksital and Mother because they’re on my list but I’ve been too chicken to watch on my own because they seem like they have heavier themes! Also would be interested in The Princess’s Man.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
20 days ago
Reply to  uyen

I second Gaksital and Mother.

Trent
20 days ago

An interesting list with some worthy possibilities!
I would be most interested in:
Bridal Mask — this is supposed to really good, and it’s on my list. I hadn’t seen Joo Won before, but just saw Carter and although it is…of variable quality, to say the least, he is very dynamic in it, so interested to catch him at an earlier stage.
Dear My Friends — also on the list, largely as you say because BE is so positive about it, but BE has pretty solid critical judgment, so I expect this to be very good, if weighty.
On the Verge of Insanity — normally not sure I would be drawn to this, but again, lots of people with pretty solid judgment keep praising it.
Mother — I dunno, this just sounds like it could be really good, and I’m interested in giving it a go.
Dr. Romantic 2 — I’ve already seen this one, actually, but I enjoyed it and especially since they just greenlit a season two and are supposed to start filming in a month or two (so reports say), I’d probably watch along if this one got picked. I liked An Hyo-seop in this probably as much as anything I’ve seen him in.

Additions I might suggest:
I’d really like to say World of the Married; with Kim Hee-ae and Han So-hee and its status at the top of the cable rankings and rep as a top flight melodrama, I’ve been wanting to see it forever and it seems like the sort of thing that would be good grist for a group watch, maybe? But it’s basically unavailable to stream in the U.S. (for reasons I don’t understand), so…
I know sageuk tend to be disfavored by the GW crowd, but a couple of romances with fairly high repute I’ll throw out anyway: The Princess’s Man; and Moon Embracing the Sun.

ETA: I know this is probably an unpopular take, but I would downgrade the C-drama options, personally. I tend to find C-dramas kind of hard to get through.

Last edited 20 days ago by Trent
Snow Flower
Snow Flower
20 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Joo Won and Park Ki Woong are excellent in Bridal Mask. The relationship of their characters is one of the highlights of the show. Second FL is also great.

Esther
Esther
19 days ago
Reply to  Trent

I recently subscribed to Disney+ and Nord VPN just for the Kdrama (currently watching Big Mouth) and World of the Married is available there. I don’t ever log into Disney+ without my VPN set to Korea (somehow nervous that they will cut me off) so have not checked whether is available without VPN in Canada

Trent
18 days ago
Reply to  Esther

Good to know, thank you. I’ll no doubt get around to watching it eventually on my own, and Disney+ and VPN will probably be the smoothest path.. (that’s how I saw both Bloody Heart and Soundtrack #1).

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
13 days ago
Reply to  Esther

They won’t cut you off, don’t worry. But they’ll give you an initial “looks like you’re travelling” prompt (which you can just ignore). Last I checked, Big Mouth and the rest of the new kdramas are not available in Disneyplus Europe and North America. I’ve been setting my VPN to Japan, maybe I’ll try Korea next.

lotusgirl
lotusgirl
21 days ago

I loved Thank You! It’s been a long time since I watched it and would love to watch again. With a group would be cool. I’d be happy to rewatch You’re Beautiful with everyone also or check out the Verge of Insanity. I ended up being behind on Grapvine but finally finished and really enjoyed it. So crazy! I loved all the tongue in cheekiness.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
20 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Fangurl – thanks for posting this comment on Nothing Gold Can Stay – I watched the trailer and this is right up my alley. I am stoked that I can access this. I think I will start on this in a day or two.

I have also had Graceful Friends on my list for the longest time. I did watch the first episode (it was great), but it got shelved at the time for another drama I was watching, and I never went back to it. I fully intend to at some point as the actresses are top notch, but mostly I have a lot in common with these wonderful ladies. 👩‍🦳

Lynette
Lynette
21 days ago

I would like to watch You’re Beautiful again, but everyone should be warned that the first episode might scare people off, it’s so silly. The rest is wonderful.

JJ
JJ
21 days ago

Oh! I forgot to say On the Verge of Insanity is FANTASTIC even though it doesnt seem like it would be 🙂

JJ
JJ
21 days ago

I would suggest that Again My Life would not be a high consideration for a group watch because even though the first 8 episodes or so were a FANTASTIC ride for me, then something happened to the story and I ended up using FFWD to get to the end.

And just because I always say “Fantasy is My Wheelhouse”, I am gonna through out there the following Shows 🤭

  • Goblin – its Gong Yoo, people!!! AND just finished a back to back rewatch of this one
  • TKEM (just for Sean 😝🤭😂 )
  • Bride of Habek – because Ele picked this one up, YAY!
  • My Love from the Star – because Jun Ji Hyun, need I say more?
Kim
Kim
21 days ago
Reply to  JJ

I finished Bride of Habaek recently and definitely would recommend it. I am curious to watch Goblin, it has been on my want to watch list for a while.
What is TKEM?

JJ
JJ
21 days ago
Reply to  Kim

@Kim – YAY another Fan of Bride of Habek !!!!!

Oh let me tell you about Goblin. Do you have awhile to listen???? 🤭

TKEM = The King:Eternal Monarch 🥰

Shameless “Self Promotion”, but really its promoting Goblin, TKEM and Bride of Habek 🙂

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

Last edited 21 days ago by JJ
seankfletcher
21 days ago
Reply to  JJ

@JJ – nothing gets past me, JJ 😂 Hmmm – so 2/4 ie BoH ✅ and MLFTS ✅

JJ
JJ
18 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

– LOL! Im always here to remind you about TKEM!!!! Wait what does that mean?? 2/4? You have seen BOH and MLFTS or you agree with them being on the list?? 🧐

Trent
20 days ago
Reply to  JJ

I would be willing to jump into a Bride of Habaek watch, just because I haven’t seen it before. I mean, it’s not high on my list at the moment (sorry, JJ, I know you love it), but I would do it (I like Shin Se-kyung, Krystal, and Nam Ju-hyun, so that’s all good). I would probably also tag along on Goblin and TKEM rewatches, because although I’ve seen them, I hold them in some esteem. I also liked Star, but not sure if I’m up for a full rewatch. JJH is always great, but I found the ML kind of jerky, and the overall plot didn’t super grab me.

Elaine
Elaine
18 days ago
Reply to  Trent

I also am of the unpopular opinion in not liking My Love from the Star. Jeon Ji Hyun was absolutely charming but I didn’t buy the plot and love line. I think ML was also way too powerful (I like my superheroes or fantasy characters to have limitations in their powers, so didn’t fancy either the alien or the Gumiho in My Roommate is a Gumiho)

JJ
JJ
18 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – Its ok if its not high on your list, Trent, even if you are a fellow Fantasy Fan, Ill let it slide…this time 😢

Ohhhhh, yes more votes for TKEM and Goblin!!!! YAY! I know they want make it, but its nice to see them receive some love 🥰

Elaine
Elaine
18 days ago
Reply to  JJ

I thought we were going to promote I Am Not a Robot for the next group watch? 🤣🤣🤣

JJ
JJ
18 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

@Elaine – Ohhhhh, right! YES!!! We have to promote that now! Thanks for the reminder!!!!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
15 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

Ladies – I loved this drama. I would join a GW with no problem. It was so good!