It’s that time of the year again, when we all start taking stock of our drama years, and wonder where all the time has gone (it’s gone to dramas, of course). 😁
Everyone had so much fun with last year’s year-end guest posts, courtesy of the lovely folks on Patreon, that we’re doing it again this year, woot! 🥳
This year, we’re taking things in a more relaxed direction, so that we don’t all get stressed out from this (and so that I can actually stay on top of my revised, much more demanding Patreon schedule, at the same time 😅).
So, we’ll be seeing about 2 guest posts per week, and this will unfold into January 2023, and that’s perfectly ok.
AND, my annual year-in-review, which usually comes out in December, will also come out in January (or thereabouts 😅), after all the guest posts have been published.
Dear phl1rxd is kicking us off this year (thank you, phl1rxd! ❤️).
If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you probably already know that she’s a sweet, generous and kind lady, who has a passion for wuxia dramas, and a possible obsession with all things Nirvana In Fire. 😁
If you missed our Nirvana in Fire Group Watch, you can still enjoy our Open Threads, which contain my episode notes, phl1rxd’s very comprehensive notes, and everyone’s comments and insights (Open Threads are listed here).
I hope you guys enjoy!
I had a year enjoying some great Chinese classics. I finished The Dream of Red Mansion, Legend of the Condor Heroes and I will be starting on Return of the Condor Heroes before the end of the year.
I am also continuing my podcast listen of Outlaws of the Marsh (yes Trent, I am still listening to this which may take me another year to finish. I am persistent, if not timely).
Again this year I watched more CDrama than KDrama. I am only going to cover my Top 3 which are all CDramas. I dropped the number of dramas to ‘up’ the comments.
These 3 dramas grabbed me by the heart and refused to let me go.
As far as KDrama, not much inspired me this past year. While Little Women impressed me with its unique story and Pachinko was deeply moving, I never got the emotional reaction as I did with the three shows mentioned below.
Note – I have yet to see Under the Queen’s Umbrella, and Reborn Rich is still in progress.
Now, a word about Patreon – As I said last year, I cannot say enough about how great a place it is. Watching Fangurl’s process of breaking down a drama is quite enlightening. It has been on fire with ‘da crew’. Hanging out over there is downright fun.
As j3ffc has said, Hey Ho, let’s go…
Here they are folks, my top 3 shows ranked in order:
1. China | Be My Princess (2 watches in 2022)
I need to preface this by stating that I have never been one to depend on anyone else. I have been dedicated to reaching self-sufficiency and I am proud that I have been able to achieve this goal.
My favorite expression has always been “Time waits for no man and neither do I”. The thought of someone taking care of me is a foreign concept to me.
So, why did I fall hard for a drama about a man – Taifu – that quite literally waits hand and foot on his object of affection? I have no idea, but fall I did, and very hard.
Our OTP consists of Mu Ting Zhou, a perfectionist actor (AKA “The Movie Emperor”) and Ming Wei, an aspiring actress who is presently working as a model and an Italian interpreter. She models Hanfu clothing, looks for acting jobs and lives with her little sister.
What I loved about Wei Wei is that she is so steady, kind and compassionate. No high pitched theatrics here.
Mu Ting Zhou meets Ming Wei when his manager hires her to interpret at a meeting with an Italian businessman.
On the way there, Ting Zhou spots Wei Wei waiting for her bus. She is still wearing the Hanfu clothing from her just completed modeling assignment. He stares at her, mesmerized, and his gaze is only torn away as the light turns green.
It is a moment.
Mu Ting Zhou is preparing to take on a new role as the Grand Tutor (Taifu) of the Emperor’s young daughter and he devotes many years to her education. Taifu also has many responsibilities given to him by the Emperor.
The role of the princess is being cast and, although a few experienced actresses are named, Ting Zhou uses his clout to select rookie Ming Wei. He begins to fall for her as they are shooting the drama.
The problems begin after the drama has wrapped, when on a rainy night, Ting Zhou crashes his car and wakes up in the hospital as Grand Tutor Taifu.
The problem is that the Taifu only trusts one person, and that is the princess. As Wei Wei played the role of the princess, she is the only person he recognizes. She reluctantly agrees to help him until he gets back to being Ting Zhou. The delightful hijinks then begin.
This is a ‘two for one’ drama as it features the historical costume drama “Be My Princess” within the present day main story. We get the OTP in both dramas. You can decide for yourself whether this is an amnesia, reincarnation or a parallel universe theme.
Main Leads: Jeremy Tsui plays the ML as both Mu Ting Zhou and Taifu. In both roles he shows a sense of basic decency and he strives for perfection. I loved him as Taifu.
I have to admit that I am a fan of this young actor. He has been in a lot of period dramas such as The Autumn Ballad, Novoland: The Castle in the Sky 2 (the only Novoland I watched in its entirety) and Legend of the Phoenix.
He is known for his intense stare while lowering his head and yes, it is intense.
Ming Wei is played by Zhou Jie Qiong who I loved in Miss Truth. She is a talented pipa player in real life and although the syncing was not perfect, I gave a big round of applause whenever she was shown playing the guqin. I blame any mismatched movements on the editor.
Wei Wei is down to earth and emotionally stable.
She loves her family and they all get along quite well. She manages to handle all the twist and turns of her life in a responsible manner and she never takes shortcuts. She makes all the big decisions with a lot of thoughtfulness and I rooted for her all the way.
Support Roles: Ting Zhou’s manager, played by Hu Yun Hao, was excellent in the Darker Series and has such a memorable face.
He did a great job as the long-suffering employee. Wel Wel’s dad is played by Wang Li who recently played Great General Lu Tong in Strange Tales of the Tang Dynasty. He handles his fight scene with absolute realism. Most impressive!
The OST! There are some beautiful songs on this OST.
This drama also had more designer coats in it than The Long Ballad had wigs. It also has the best damsel in distress rescue scene ever – better than Fairy and Devil.
I personally did not agree with many of the costume designer’s choices for the ladies but some viewers may like them. Ting Zhou’s house was top notch and I loved the layout and design. My good friend Sean threw this lead to me in a side comment and as always, I am grateful.
This sits on my drama shelf with Queen In Hyun’s Man and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim for those days when I really need a sappy sweetness pick me up.
My only complaint would be that 30 episodes was not long enough for me to enjoy watching the OTP on my screen.
I read the original novel using Google translate as that is how much I loved this story. However, the drama is far better than the novel and kudos to scriptwriter Zhai Yu Fang Yide for her drama rendition.
I seriously cannot believe how much I loved this show.
This is not feminist theater here, this is an old time sappy, sweet love story. I fell under its spell hook, line and sinker. I end this by saying I could drop my independent streak – but – only for Taifu!
Available on Viki and WeTV.
2. China | Love Like the Galaxy
Well, what can one say about a drama that is almost too good to be true? I accidently happened on this and was immediately in stitches over GMom’s physical comedy act. What a theatrical show of FIFA worthy falls! She stole every scene she was in.
I love to see Fei Liu growing into adulthood.
Not much to comment here, as what more can one say that Fangurl has not already written in Patreon.
I read every single Patreon post on this drama, sometimes more than once. So – do yourself a big favor and jump over to Patreon to read them. If you have not watched this – do so immediately. You will not regret it.
Available on Viki, Tencent Video and WeTV.
3. China | Side Story of Fox Volant
I am a big time wuxia fan. If you are like me and are in the mood for a wuxia drama done just right, this one is for you.
What a breath of fresh air this drama is. This flew under the radar as there was not a lot of chatter on the internet about it and just a brief mention by Avenue X.
The drama is based on a Jin Yong novel set in the late 18th-century Qing Dynasty. It is also known as The Young Flying Fox.
A prequel to the pre-existing novel Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain it was published in 1959. It is a true to form wuxia hero story and our pure of heart hero is Hu Fei.
The story starts as Hu Fei, the orphaned youngster, is being raised by his father’s loyal servant Fourth Uncle.
Fourth Uncle teaches the boy his father’s set of martial arts and pushes him to avenge his father’s death. His father, Hu Yi-Dao, and his mother died in a friendly duel with their friend Miao Ren-Feng who has an otherworldly grasp of martial arts.
We follow Hu Fei’s journey to find and kill Miao Ren-Feng. He runs into many situations that alter his life path and make him question what he has been taught. He changes and grows, but never loses his will to help those in need. His heart remains pure even after all of his trials.
Every character has real human emotions you can relate to so you begin to care about them almost immediately. The relationships progress throughout the story and you begin to see the character’s true selves revealed.
There are love arcs, martial arts competition arcs, friendship arcs and let’s not forget birth secrets – this drama has them all.
The casting is sublime. Qin Jun Jie does a great job bringing Hu Fei to life with all of his earnest, shining qualities.
Miao Ren-Feng is played by Lin Yu Shen who fits this role to a T. He is one actor who actually looks better in period pieces.
In a support role there is Ye Xiang Ming, who may be the best looking actor with a queue Qing Dynasty hairstyle ever to grace our screens.
Along the way we see many older familiar martial arts actors. The two female leads are memorably played by Liang Jie (The Day of Becoming You) and Xing Fei (Put Your Head on my Shoulder).
There have been many adaptations of this story over the years both as films and dramas. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China have all created representations.
The instrumental OST is beautiful. I have read that the fights are not CGI enhanced and that is unreal as the fights were absolutely amazing.
I loved the perfect ending. This is real wuxia story telling. Jin Yong crafted a living, breathing piece of literature and the production team did a bang up job bringing it to our screens.
Available on Viki, Tencent Video and WeTV.
China | Love between Fairy and Devil – a Beauty and the Beast love story with an overabundance of uber adorable and super gruff. When he rescues her your heart will skip a beat.
China | Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty – I found it to be very entertaining. It features a great bromance and an actor who plays three roles with chilling effectiveness.
China | Reset – a gem of a time travel drama. Great acting and production values and a nice tight story.
China | Sword Snow Stride– a visually beautiful and well written wuxia story featuring Zhang Ruo Yun. It had all the great wuxia requirements and then some.
China | The Dream of Red Mansions (2010) – I finally finished this classic because some kind and beautiful soul finished subbing all 50 episodes this year. It was a real experience to finally get to finally see it and to watch Yang Yang as a young teenager.
China | Legend of the Condor Heroes (2008) – I also finally finished this 50 episode classic wuxia. This is the Hu Ge version.
China | Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty – Lu Ling Feng and Su Wu Ming bring out the best in each other and it was a pleasure to watch their relationship develop and grow. I could not get enough of their interactions. I am hoping for a season 2.
Best OTP (a tie):
China | Be My Princess: Taifu and Wei Wei without a doubt. A beautiful love story that grabs you by the heart and does not let go. The OTP has a sizzling chemistry.
Japan | Koi to Dangan: Oya Toshiomi and Yuri are a cray-cray love match made in manga heaven.
Definite Re-watch (2):
Korea | Reborn Rich – I will need to do a re-watch on this to pick up all the pieces I missed in the first watch. I think this drama is well worth it.
Korea | Alchemy of Souls – I need to look at this again as there is more than meets the eye here and I know I missed a lot on my first watch.
Best original score:
China | Be My Princess OST
Best original song: (tie)
China | Be My Princess “Love Will Find a Way”
China | Be My Princess “By Your Side” (English version)
Razzie Awards, Oh No!
China | Thousand Years for You – Alan Ren, I do love you but you have to show me more than a scowl. I know you can do better than this.
China | Who Killed Cock Robin – Please avoid this movie like the bubonic plaque is knocking at your door. Lock all the doors and windows, quickly run to the basement, dig a hole and cover yourself with dirt and hope you do not get infected.
It is the most disturbing movie I have ever seen and I only managed to get halfway through it before I had to turn off my TV. To each his own, but I cannot believe another human being actually thought this was art.
A HUGE shout out for something completely new and different:
Japan | Koi to Dangana | AKA Romance and Bullets | AKA Yakuza Lover – let’s put this right out front and say this one is definitely not for everyone.
First, it is a pretty sexually charged drama so beware. Second, you need a bizarre sense of humor to appreciate the high level of insane inanity on your screen.
It is also the funniest drama I have ever seen.
It is OTT extreme – extreme cheese, extreme camp and extreme cringe and it refreshingly makes no excuses for any of it. This drama does not care if you like it or not. It is cray-cray hilarious and I have laughed until I cried.
There are plenty of barking mad characters for you to love. Great actors who absolutely imbibe their roles without any fear, really fantastic OST and decent production values.
It is still in the production process but should be done by the time this posts. It is on Disney+ but – do not be fooled – it is no children’s drama.
The manga is X Rated and while the drama is very toned down, they do not hide the “feelz” shall we say.
A humongous hit in Japan right now, it is a Japanese manga rendition at its absolute finest. Sean – this is the best drama recommendation you have ever given me.
Available on Disney+.
That’s all she wrote folks! Looking forward to 2023 and a new slew of dramas that we will have to add to the Never-Ending List. The struggle to find time to watch them is real folks!
Wishing Fangurl and her family and all of you the very best holiday ever. I am looking forward to meeting more folks over at Patreon in 2023. Come and join the never ending party!
phl1rxd – I’m running so far behind and you’ve given me so much to watch, especially the stuff you warned about – perversely, now I’m super curious about them!
@Beez – the movie was so awful – like really awful.
The Manga adaptation is the bomb. I had to go to the dark side to watch as Disney+ does not show in US. The site-which-must-not-be-named just got E9 dubbed. The ultimate bad boy.
BTW Beez – Happy New Year!!
@Beez – I was thinking of you the other day. I started Physical 100. Beez it is something else. I have everyone watching it with me. Let me know if you have looked at it.
phl1rxd – Speaking of refreshingly different, your whole 2022 drama post is it! Thanks for taking the time to write on cdramas, and new ones-to-me at that (except Love Like the Galaxy. ❤️❤️❤️ I worry that with all the love being poured on to LLTG, some people are bound to be disappointed in it…nah, can’t happen. 😂 )
Do I have the courage to watch Yakuza Lover? I do have Disney+, so in the no-excuse zone. 😉 Why not? Some Japanese dramas/films work for me, and some don’t. When I do, I’ll leave you (and Sean) a note on Patreon. I kinda doubt Fangurl will be covering it on this blog any time soon. 😆
These end-of-year posts are racking up a lot of new “must sees”! Got to remember to have a “must rest-of-life”, too! What a delightful dilemma.
Leslie – you will need a VPN to watch Yakuza Lover on Disney+. You will either love it or hate – there does not seem to be any in between. 😂🤣😅
I haven’t really made the jump to Cdrama love. They are just so long with a lot of fluff and digression. BUT I’ve heard so much about Love like the Galaxy I’ve been very tempted. Be My Princess also sounds like something I would really enjoy. Maybe I should dip my toes into cdramas again. Thanks for the inspiration!
@lotusgirl – with CDramas it can be quite the challenge to find a good one. There are so many not-so-good ones out there. Love Like the Galaxy is truly one of the better ones – in fact it way up high on the list of CDramas you gotta watch. When a CDrama is this good you forget all about the number of episodes.
BMP – total and unabashed fluff. 🤣😅😂
Looks like this should be my “go to notes” on C-drama 👍. A lot of work is packed in this post and hence I am bookmarking the same to refer whenever I start my “C-drama” journey.
Great job phl1rxd – 💐✌️👏 – Take care and Happy New Year 2023.
Season’s greetings, phl1rxd!! Some festive elves meant for some reason I couldn’t see these end of year posts – and, no, I don’t drink – so just catching up now. Ah, I am growing increasingly obsessed with cdrama. The costumes! The settings! The humour! I never usually get the humour in kdrama, but I adored the grandmother in Love Like the Galaxy too – she had such Jane Austen vibes for me. Brilliant! I was mad for the whole show and plan a rewatch at some point to bask in its epic drama. xx
Happy Holidays Ele! 🤶🎅🎄🎁 I do hope you got to spend time with your family.
Chinese period dramas! When done right they are absolutely delicious. There is a lot of hit and miss and a lot of bloat with these, Having someone you trust give you a recommendation helps a lot.
LLTG was so good in so many ways – we need more of these. I myself am partial to period CDramas and Wuxia and I have found myself watching these slightly more than KDrama over the last few years.
KDrama does has a consistent production quality and a manageable number of episodes that I enjoy. I still love KDrama and this year we had some great ones. But give me a good Wuxia or a good period CDrama and I am immersed!
Let’s watch some good drama this year Ele! Onward to 2023! 🎉🧨🎎🎇🎆
Eeee, I agree! Kdrama is like Christmas chocolate (moreish) while cdrama is like year-round chocolate (equally moreish but takes longer to get through 😊) I am literally getting fatter… Am hoping kfangurl does an historical / Wuxia cdrama group watch in 2023…
So I had the biggest smile reading your post! I hope you are well
I think I am going to give Fox Volante and Koi to Dangan a go. You know I like a crazy J drama! And JJ tried to nudge me to watch Be my Princess and reading your review may just be the push I needed!
I hope you have a lovely Christmas and a happy new year!
Happy Holidays dear Shahz! 🤶🎅🎄🎁
Fox Volante is a real human story, kind of old fashioned wuxia and I loved it. Koi to Dangan is uber cray cray – think 5-ji Kara 9-ji on steroids.
Here is to a wonderful 2023! May you be filled with joy and experience many footie wins!
OMG Finally someone who loved Be My Princess as much as me! This is such an underrated drama, plus has low score on MDL and Douban! This drama deserves more attention because both the main actors as well as supporting actors did such a great job! They way the portrayed the characters……. amazing esp. Jeremy! And the OSTs are just GEM!!!
Happy Holidays Vish! 🤶🎅🎄🎁
I am a big Jeremy fan. I even sat through a few episodes of Trace, a police drama he did in 2020 and watched it raw as sadly, there are no subs for this drama. Sigh. Maybe one day.
In looking back, I do not remember a lot of buzz about BMP when it aired. I found it on IQIYI totally by accident and was hooked almost immediately.
It had an old fashioned fairy tale feel to it and that may have turned off some viewers which I can understand. I am so glad you liked this as much as I did.
Oh one more thing, if phl1rxd suggests or tells you to drop a Show, do it 🙂
😅🤣😂 Jennifer – you are cracking me up.
Yes, she makes me feel,I should stand to attention 😂🤣😂
Hey! What a fantastic guide to Cdramas this post was! I will use it as reference, and I will certainly put Be my princess on my list. I kind of feel that 2023 will be a Cdrama year for me.
Also, this year too, I will thank you again for all the helpful stuff, including the character guide you provided during the group watch of Nirvana. Actually I may thank you next year as well ❤
Happy Holidays Natalie! 🤶🎅🎄🎁 I had fun doing that list!
I loved this! Thank you for kick starting all of us off on a super high level. I’ve added even more shows to my list to watch thanks to your recommendations!
My especial thanks for your contributions to my Love Like The Galaxy binge and enjoying all my essays. Thanks to the power of FOMO I did not miss out on such a great show!
Happy Holidays MC! 🤶🎅🎄🎁 Your LLTG essays rocked. How can we not be happy when we see fellow Drama watchers sqeeeing over a good drama?
Thanks for this 🙂 I’m not much of a 古装剧 fan, but I’ll give Be My Princess a try. I found the first episode to be not terrible/cautiously optimistic. I’m a Chinese learner so always looking for gripping Chinese dramas but it’s hard to escape the gravity of Korean and Japanese dramas for me.
By the way I wonder if you have watched 暗恋：橘生淮南(Unrequited Love). Not sure if it’s your thing but I liked it quite a bit. It’s a college romance with an unusual premise.
Happy Holidays Joe! 🤶🎅🎄🎁 Good luck with your continuing Mandarin learning!
Unrequited Love – I see Hu Yi Tian is the ML and I have enjoyed him in several dramas, my favorite being My Roommate is a Detective. I think he does best in drama where there is a slow burn to the relationship. He suits those very naturally. I watched the trailers and i have added it to my watch – thanks Joe!
I liked the one with Zhao shun ran more
@Belle – I see there are two and the one you liked is the 2019 version. Is the story the same in both the 2019 and 2021?
Joe – to be sure – Be My Princess is for when you are in a absolute fluff mode.
Have you seen the other 2 dramas based on books written by the same author as Unrequited Love: 最好的我们（With You) and 你好，旧时光 (My Huckleberry Friends)? I would highly, highly recommend checking them out if you liked Unrequired Love! They are both in my top Cdramas and imo, significantly better than either drama adaptation of Unrequited Love (there was another web drama version that came out before the HuYitian one).
The author wrote a set of three web novels all set in the same high school, and they’re all very good. In the books the characters cross-over which is a lot of fun, but unfortunately it doesn’t happen in the drama probably due to casting reasons. Oddly enough, I actually liked the novel for Unrequited Love the best, even though I didn’t much care for the drama; perhaps something about the topic of unrequited love and the heavy emphasis on internal monologue works better in the written vs. visual format for me.
Happy Holidays CP! 🤶🎅🎄🎁
Thank you for the recommendations. I will check these out! The characters crossing over into other books is a rare event. Thank you for sharing this info!
Me too liked those 3 school dramas u mentioned.
Me too up for internal monologues.
In unrequited, ‘Writing on glass’ panel glued me more.
M fan of Landy li since ‘do not disturb my study ‘
I yet have to go through this article thoroughly, but had a glance over the top 3 names, haven’t watched those except LLTG, which I liked.
M fan of phl since nirvana group watch, even though I was just a watcher and dint contribute much in the discussion.
Terrific post, @phl1rxd! I will have to bookmark it for a nearly-one-stop-shopping site for C-dramas when I need to mix it up a bit. I’ve been a little nervous about getting into them, though (despite my admiration for “Someday or One Day”), I think in part due to the length. There have been sooooooo many posts on “Love Like the Galaxy” that I feel that I’ve seen it though…😂
And BLESS YOU for making me not the only one who has to multi-watch parts of “Alchemy” to follow what’s going on!!
Thanks for getting our group posts off to such a great start and best wishes for a wonderful 2023….
J3ffc – join us in the Love Like The Galaxy love!!
I wasn’t around when you guys were watching love like the galaxy, I sort of watched it without knowing what it was and…J3ffc, its length is NOT a problem!
@j3ffc – YES!!! Join us in LLTG. It has a fantastic musical score 🙂
Happy Holidays j3ffc! 🤶🎅🎄🎁 Hey Ho – Let’s Go 2023
I understand your issue with the number of episodes in CDrama. It can be daunting, but if the drama is really good, those episodes fly by. Case in point – The Story of Ming Lan was 78 episodes, yet the drama flew by too fast and I wanted more.
Then you have a lot of CDramas that you need to beware of – those dramas that are so bloated the writers throw any old story line in just to fill air time. Those are tough and why a lot of KDrama watchers have issues with as some of them get a bit ridiculous.
Love Like the Galaxy is a solidly written story. It is worth the episodes if you ever get in the mood to watch it. Plus it features NIF’s martial arts savant Fei Liu all grown up.
It’s not only because I have a short attention span (although I do 😬) but because it’s hard for me to get in more than 3-4 hours of drama watching in a typical week. But with a little more free time with only Alchemy on my weekly watch list (I’m actually slow-watching May I Help You but am finding it on the meh side), maybe I’ll see if I can take advantage of the holidays to start on it.
And happy holidays to you as well! Thanks again for the thoughtful and enjoyable post.
j3ffc – with just three hours of watch time, being highly selective is a must, as you do not have time to waste it on a bad drama. You need A or A+ dramas! It would take you forever to watch LLTG so I understand your reluctance, regardless of the show’s high quality.
MIHY has been very good so far (I am up to E13) and I love a good ghost/shaman/psychic story. Sean has said it goes downhill so I guess I will see when I get to the next episode.
Phl, just awesome, awesome, awesome. I had a big chuckle over Alan Ren, because what you say is true 🤣 One and Only is the show to watch of his, apart from many others of course, but it just grabs you. However, I couldn’t last with the sequel.
I relished your comments re Koi to Dangana. I have loved every minute of it. This is cray-cray done the right way.
Yes, Taifu and Wei Wei without a doubt are the OTP, not for just this year, but for many, many others. And as for our cray cray couple – phew, yes be warned…
Here’s to what lies ahead in 2023 and may your viewing experience be as every bit as good as what you have had this year 🎅🎄🤶
Happy Holidays to you Sean, Lovely L and the whole gang! 🤶🎅🎄🎁
Alan Ren – I actually liked him in Under the Power. I have not seen One and Only but it just went on my watch list. Looks like Bai Lu is the Fl and I really enjoy her acting.
Sean, you know I thought long and hard before adding Koi to Dangana mostly for reasons I am sure you understand. I hope I have enough warnings. 🤣😂😅 However, it had to go on because it is a drama that I will never forget for its bold decision to go in the direction that it did. The key to enjoying this drama is to not take even one second seriously.
It has the four Cs – Cheese, Camp, Cringe (lots) and Cray-Cray. It is so bad it is good.
Recently I saw these comments – “This is the worst drama I have ever seen” and another that said “Struggling to get past the first 15 minutes” to “This is hilarious. I cannot stop laughing”.
It is most definitely not for everyone but if you can see the humor in it you will not stop laughing, It is absolute shameless, in-your-face camp. I tried to find another piece of film that compares to it but the only thing i could come up with was Rocky Horror Picture Show and that only because of the amount of camp.
Onward and upward to 2023, sharing thoughts on some new dramas with some old friends! 🎇🎆🧨💥 Happy New Year Sean!
A very Merry Christmas to you and yours phl1rxd 🎅🎄🎅
The range of comments for Koi to Dangana says it all; decide for oneself 😂 Yes – those immortal words “come up to the lab and see what’s on the slab.” This show is very much like that. And the OTP are fabulous together.
Sadly, I dropped May I Help You at the end of episode 14. I felt the writers had done it again – tanked a wonderful, wonderful show.
I see Michelle Yeoh’s Everything Everywhere All At Once appeared on Prime here last night. So, I think that will be a Christmas watch for sure.
So, my ratio of Korean shows vs others has worked out to be 50/50 this year. I think Chinese tv and film companies are now using YouTube very effectively and I find myself getting distracted trawling through all the shows 😱😱😱
Here is to the New Year and I think some promising dramas ahead. I’m sure we are going to find one or two to wax lyrical about 😊🍾🎉🍾
Having only made it to E5 of MIHY, your comment makes me wonder if I should get out now sooner than later. Which would make it only the second show that I’ve dropped….ever. #DramaMasochism
Awesome hashtag, j3ffc 😂🤣😂 I have dropped 122 kdramas 😱 and a further 105 from other countries 😉
With MIHY, episodes 8-10 are so good. Eps 11-12 have some great moments, then the downward spiral commences.
I always listen to my gut instinct. The moment I think fast forward or drop – I drop it.
There are, I think, three shows I was convinced to pick up again (no JJ, it’s not TKEM or Fairy & D), and of these, I ended up only finishing the one – Devilish Joy.
Ah Sean – Memories! I remember watching Devilish Joy on Drama Fever only to be thrown off into outer space mid-episode when they abruptly closed their operations. Note – this was a traumatic experience. 😭😭 I went back years later after Viki picked it up and sadly the magic was gone (although I did finish it).
Sean – in a previous post you mentioned your 2022 number of watches. Question – are you tabulating your 2022 dramas manually? Stats for 2022 are not out yet in MDL (unless I am doing something stupidly wrong which is very possible).
Hello phl – you are not doing anything wrong with MDL. I work it all out from my watchlist as you can sort this for each section eg current, completed, dropped, on-hold etc by country, year and so on.
I also, make a note for the current year for those shows I watch on backlog. Sometimes, I do forget these eg Miss S.
Then there are those shows on the various YouTube channels. A reasonable number aren’t listed on MDL yet and I am reluctant to add them as a contributor, but one day I might do it. So, it is a case of recording these manually.
By the way, I finished watching Anna, and what a little triumph that show was. Suzy is doing an amazing job of late 😉
Sean – I noticed that all the drama in the watch lists have the year released in the title. So when I sort them by year the newest are there in alpha order and the oldest one – e.g. There Is No Poverty at the End of Labour 1920 – is on the bottom.
Backlog – are you referring to older dramas that you just so happened to watch this year? Say, a 2002 drama that you watched in 2022? It is not the quickest solution as you have to manually record these, but it most certainly effective.
If this is the way to go I will be more pro-active in 2023. I did not need to know this number before we had EOY reviews.
On contributing – I say go for it as you most certainly have the necessary credentials. If you do, please start by adding Of Monks and Masters as it is missing. I have also thought of doing this but as I cannot read Mandarin I am afraid I will miss an main actor.
Anna – this is available to me and at 6 episodes it will be easy to do in a day. Thanks Sean!
@phl – yes, the backlog refers to older dramas I have watched in 2022.
In some ways, the EOY process has sharpened my focus in terms of what I watch. I find myself continually revising what I watch from country to country. This has led to an upswing in jdoramas and Thai dramas this year.
I have corrected some MDL drama descriptions this year, as actors are often left out. The hardest part is working out if they are a main actor or supporting actor.
I hope you like Anna. It really is a classically done cautionary tale. I feel it is an important milestone for Suzy.
Sean — I have been meaning to get to Anna, but it keeps getting pushed off. I’m going to have to be more proactive about pushing it up the list. One question — did you watch the 6 episode regular release, or the 8 episode “director’s cut”? Both are available on Amazon Prime here in the U.S.
Trent – Both versions of Anna are available here too. I watched the 6 episode regular release. I noted quite a few comments saying that the “directors cut” helped flesh out the characterisation more, but I was very happy with what I watched.
I would be interested to see your reaction 😉
OK, I’ll bite: what’s MDL?
j3ffc — My Drama List (www.mydramalist.com), site that lists all the Asian dramas, past and upcoming, fairly comprehensively.
You can sign up for an account (I think it’s free? I haven’t done it, myself), and keep track of your dramas watched and so forth.
@j3ffc – sorry this is long…
I have watched so many dramas over the years that I would lose track if I did not have somewhere to log them. MDL keeps control of all my drama watching.
I am on MDL daily. I use it to record what I watch. You can log the last episode you have reached, so – if you walk away from a drama and go back to it later, you can look up the last episode watched if you cannot remember how far you got. Super helpful! I have 17 dramas I am currently in different stages of watching, some I have not touched in a few months but, I know I will return to finish them. Without this feature I would spend a lot of time going through episodes trying to figure out where the heck I stopped.
It records the date I logged in E1 to the date I completed the drama. It gives you a compilation of your viewing history by year which refreshes every January.
Each listed drama/movie can display and link to ‘where to watch’ and ‘when the next episode will drop’ and sometimes will even display a link to view the trailer. The ‘next episode drop’ is super helpful when the drama is great, not on Netflix, and you are waiting eagerly.
I can also leave comments as well as give each drama a rating. FWIW – MDL overall ratings are emotionally motivated so I never watch a drama based on the rating over there. I always watch dramas based on KFG’s rating chart and what we all talk about here on the Verdict.
Leaving comments also helps if someone asks me about a drama I watched years ago, This happened recently when Jennifer asked my thoughts on a drama – I can just bring it up and look at what I recorded for that drama.
Each drama has a section where viewers can leave posts. This section can get pretty nasty at times (as Sean and I can testify to) but it is really helpful for one thing – if the drama is not super popular and not on a major streaming channel, and you need to find out where to watch, it is pretty much assured that someone in the comment section will leave a link on where to watch, and lots of times they will even leave a novel/manga link. So it is super helpful that way.
There are more pros than cons with MDL. Oh, I almost forgot. Sometimes someone will write a really great article and inspire you to watch something off the beaten track that is really good. I discovered a few good Japanese dramas this way. While the majority of my drama selection is done right here, MDL has proven itself to be a really good secretary.
@phl1rxd and @Trent – thanks so much! I would not have deconvoluted MDL in a million-drama-years.. It does sound very helpful, even with a less full plate like mine. Will check it out.
I am impressed! I am less decisive in so far as I don’t just drop a show, but place it into a painful spiral of decline, watching an episode only a week later, then a month later, then….you get the idea. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, as there are rare occasions when I have time to watch a show but not really on the top of my game, so I can dial up something that I’m less invested in and still have an OK time. The only time I’ve ever consciously dropped a show was about E4 when I realized I was just slogging through and had zero interest in following where the story went (Arthdal Chronicles). So I said, nope, nada, zip.
It took me a little while to develop my “dropping” ability. However, once I realised I could do it, I was set free 😂🤣😂
That sounds like an admirable process to me, j3ffc.
Arthdal Chronicles has been a very divisive drama initially. I watched 12 episodes in all. I only stopped because the narrative no longer made sense to me. Otherwise, I thought it was a brave attempt at something very different. Season 2 is on its way 🤔
OK Sean – on E7 of One and Only and Alan can smile and it is refreshing! The drama is also good so far and I am on a binge!
Whew Sean – I just binged One and Only and I will say one thing. This drama must be watched without reading any articles relating to this drama. In other words absolutely no spoilers – like at all. Thank goodness I did not see any spoilers Sean! That was deeply moving and Alan Ren was very good indeed.
Yes, phl, you are spot on – no spoilers to enjoy this one in its entirety. Show also made me hold my breath – it’s really something else 😉
Sean – I shall not forget this one. Again – thanks!
Ack Sean – I just now realized what your comment on the “sequel” meant and I am starting Forever and Ever tonight. Let’s see if I last….
Phl – the sequel started so well – I was mesmerised. I also found it interesting re the commentary on what is happening in China, economically – some “ah ha” moments for me. Then, I felt the characterisation fell apart, but that’s just my perception 🤔
Sean – I agree with your assessment. I still enjoyed watching the OTP together even in the most boring moments. I completely understand why fans needed/enjoyed this. I don’t regret the watch.
Phl – I’m glad you didn’t regret your watch. I was intrigued that the makers were committed to such an extraordinary level of fan service through creating this show.
I have started watching Be Reborn a high tech crime thriller. It might be worth a look some time. It seems to be on Netflix – US, but it is definitely on You Tube.
Of course, I was watching Avenue X just now and she has said, have a look at Hi Venus – so, I’m off to do just that 😂😂😂
Sean – I am onto both of these! Be Reborn not available here but i will watch on YT. Thanks!
phl1rxd, your glowing reviews helped watch my first cdrama that I love with my whole heart (more to come on that lol)!! I still find them daunting, so really look to the ones you recommend to help sift out what to try.
Be My Princess sounds very intriguing with the story within a story, and I do love those parallels!
I am also very curious about Condor Heroes. My sister and I watched the 1980s version Viet-dubbed years ago and we’ve been looking for it ever since. I don’t remember much of it at all so wanted to find that version, but may have to check out the 2008 version.
LBFAD is still on my list, waiting to watch with a friend. Also want to see Reset and love a good bromance, so adding Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty too!
Happy Holidays Uyen! 🤶🎅🎄🎁
I await your review Uyen. Be My Princess – it is pure fluff on top of fluff. Come in handy when you are feeling down – Taifu will perk you right up.
I just found this standard definition Vietnamese version of Return of the Condor Heroes and I hope this song brings back some memories with your sister. I could not find a Vietnamese subbed 1983 version on YT but I bet it is probably out there somewhere and more than likely over on the dark side,
When I started watching the classics I found 2 Avenue X videos on all the novels written by Jin Yong along with the many adaptations that have been done – and there are a lot of them – and the pros and cons of each. She has links to these drama versions (and all the actors) in her info section (click more) but her link to the ’83 version is no longer available.
This is a pretty cool resource for determining which one to watch.
THANK YOU, phl1rxd!!!! That song!!! Instantly smiled hearing it.
I bet it is on the dark web too, just haven’t been brave enough to poke around. I hope an eng sub at least will pop up again.
I remember seeing the Andy Lau Return of the Condor Heroes and thinking it was kinda weird seeing Idy Chan/Xiaolongnu being both the master and love (I was a kid) but also thinking how pretty she was.
So interesting to hear Avenue X compare the different versions. I feel like once I watch Nirvana in Fire, I will prob want to watch the 2008 version for Hu Ge lol, but I’m also intrigued by the idea of the 2017 one being the dark hose.
Thank you again for sharing!!
phl1rxd – thank you for this enthusiastic post!! How wonderful to have someone on the other side of the world who lives wuxia so much. I will put these top 3 shows on my list.
Alas, Mandarin is not my strong suit so I have not read the wuxia novels or classic novels in their original language, and I’m losing more and more of it every year as I my workplace is English speaking and I have few other contexts to use it. Ironically Chinese dramas (oh yes and my kids having to learn Chinese in school) will probably arrest the decline and possibly improve it!
Elaine – I swear my mandarin improved when I watched Someday Or One Day. Taiwanese Chinese is closer to ours than China Chinese (if you know what I mean)!
Happy Holidays Elaine! 🤶🎅🎄🎁
I do have a soft spot for a good wuxia. The good ones tell a great human story not to mention the martial arts. Fox Volant had all the right pieces and they put it together so well!
My motto for the New Year “It is ok to go slow!”. Here’s to a 2023 with much needed self care and more positive thoughts!
phl1rxd — I like your persistent attitude; those traditional novels are pretty long, after all…
Thanks for sharing your faves from this year! One of these days y’all are going achieve critical mass and make me finally start on Love Like the Galaxy 😆
Happy Holidays Trent! 🤶🎅🎄🎁 Thank you for the wonderful posts on the Winter and Autumn classics. They were/are outstanding.
Yeah – it took me a year to finish Condor Heroes. I am slow….🐢 The turtle is my new spirit animal for 2023.
Such a fun and enthusiastic review.. Now I want to watch all of them, though lately I’ve been watching shorter dramas. May I post here a slightly off topic question, about Disney+??? I signed up in USA and am not able to view the Asian dramas supposed to be on the site. Your description of ” Koi to Dangana” was so interesting, but I see it’s on D+. For example ” My Dear Boy” left NFLX for D+, but so far not available.
Thank you for your detailed impressions of Be My Princess and Side Story Fox Volant.
Wishing you another happy and healthy year of drama watching.
@Maj – unfortunately I had to go to the dark side to watch this. Sean recommended it to me as he has full access to Disney+ Asian dramas due to his location. It is not available on Disney+ in the US. You can access it if you use a VPN but I am clueless about VPNs, as it is not an option for me. Fangurl address VPNs here. Please check it out!
Maj – do not take a second of Koi to Dangana seriously in order to get the full beauty of the manga interpretation. It is pure unadulterated cheesey, campy nonsense. I am laughing out loud right now as I am writing this.
Happy Holidays Maj!
@phl1rxd – TAIFU!!!!!
Let me tell you all this one fact – if phl1rxd suggest a Show, its completely worth it to take a peek and finish it. And if phl1rxdsays steer clear of a Show, steer clear!!!!
phl1rxd -I have you to thank for introducing me to TAIFU!!! THANK YOU!!! 🥰
And, I have you to thank for “making” me go back and watch Love Between Fairy & Demon! Talk about Summer Fun. 🥰
And also have to thank you for Love Like the Galaxy and B’Gma!🥰
Thanks for putting together this list phl1rxd!!! Loved it! Have more to add to my list to watch now 🥰
TAIFU!!!!!_______________________________________________________p.s. And IF you need to know anything about Nirvana in Fire, you gotta ask phl1rxd!!! I just finished my NIF Binge and their notes on KFG’s Group Watch notes along with KFG’s notes were invaluable.🥰
Ah – how good was this scene 🤩🤩🤩
There were so many Sean. I though E8 and E14 were exceptional. Like a modern fairy tale.
And this scene,,,
How awesome was this. One of the best moments ever 🤩🤩🤩
Jennifer – 1st, 2nd and 4th sister all read this post and all the comments. They loved it.
I totally agree with you regarding nif stuff.
One can certainly present PhD paper by just reading group watch discussion from phl