Patreon Year End Awards: Uyen’s Year In Dramas!

Hey everyone!

We’re having guest posts from the lovely folks on Patreon, to help us take stock of our drama years, kinda-sorta like what we had last year, woot! 🥳

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.

If you missed our earlier posts, you can check them out as follows: phl1rxd, j3ffc.

Today, I’m pleased to announce that Uyen is sharing her drama year!

I love that Uyen is a Junho-loving fangirl, and always encourages me by telling me that she very much welcomes any and all Junho content I share on Patreon, heh. She’s such an enabler encourager to me! 😁

Uyen also writes about dramas on her own blog, which you can visit here.

I hope you guys enjoy!

KFG ❤️

Uyen’s Year in Dramas

Hello!! I can’t believe another year is over, but here we are.

My drama journey started with Hana Yori Dango where I was absolutely smitten with that complicated and (now looking back) facepalming high school romance.

Had a hiatus and then two years ago turned on Second 20s and Goblin and have not looked back. Some of my favorites are My Mister, Just Between Lovers, Move To Heaven, Thirty But Seventeen, Because This Is My First Life, Be Melodramatic.

I lean heavily towards romance and the heartwarming with some tears.

I like stories that make me think and feel a lot.

If you responded, “duh,” don’t worry, I had the same exact thought after typing that out. LOL.

But I do like dramas that have introspective moments and characters that have me considering motivations and perspectives. There’s nothing like watching a well written drama where I may not agree with characters’ decisions, but I can understand why they did what they did.

I’m okay with “slower” dramas, as long as I like the characters.

So, here are my highlights from this year.

I really like background music, so sometimes I added in my favorite OSTs and if available, MVs that are spoilery but have nice scenes to rewatch.

Fav Actor:

I’ve never seen Park Ji Hoon in a drama before, but I was really impressed by him in Weak Hero Class 1.

Park Ji Hoon does a stellar job portraying a character who is so lifeless, but who emotes so much. He’s so weary and so quietly angry, that it’s unsettling to look at him because you can sense that he’s bottling up emotions.

There’s a bit of waiting with bated breath for when those emotions come out. And when they come out? We weren’t ready for it.

Fav Actress/Fav Character:

Zhao Lusi brought Cheng Shaoshang in Love Like the Galaxy to life for me. I’ve seen a lot of praise for Wu Lei (rightfully deserved, HEART EYES ONLY HERE), but comparatively less so for Zhao Lusi.

While Shaoshang had less dramatic scenes typically depicted on the big screens at awards shows, I really felt like Zhao Lusi pulled out Shaoshang’s nuances well.

Shaoshang is a complex and at times messy character who is both naive and savvy, impulsive and cautious, vengeful and loving.

I can see her being unlikeable in some ways, but Lusi had me rooting for her from the get go. How could I not, when all she wanted was to live fully for herself?

It was a treat to see her gradual growth over the course of the show.

Fav supporting actor:

I’ve had a major soft spot for Choi Hyun Wook since Racket Boys, and that only deepened this year with Twenty Five, Twenty One and Weak Hero Class 1.

He’s played very charming characters that make me laugh and cry. I wish he had a bigger arc in Twenty Five, Twenty One, but he never failed to make me smile. I’m excited to see the roles he takes on next.

Fav OTP:

Not from 2022, but counting it here since I watched it this year – 2021’s Bossam: Steal the Fate with Ba Wu/Soo Kyung (Jung Il Woo/Kwon Yuri).

They don’t have so much crackly chemistry, but goodness, what a tender love. Even when they barely touched in the whole drama, the way that they looked at each other was everything.

The show faltered in the last half for me with the politics and repetitive arcs, but I dearly loved seeing our gruff kidnapper-ruffian and our serene, kind princess grow to respect and understand each other.

[SPOILERS]

What scenes to mention? The entirety of ep 4, when Ba Wu saves Soo Kyung and they clash while settling into the reality of being stuck with each other for the foreseeable future.

When Soo Kyung cries out Ba Wu’s name for the first time and he throws back a look at her as he’s being dragged away.

Their soft gazes at each other. “If I may be so bold, I wish to live with you forever.” *keeling over*

[END SPOILERS]

“Collar” by SUNNY

Fav non-romantic OTP (but oh what we could have had):

Na Hee Do and Ko Yu Rim from Twenty Five, Twenty One.

Well, we knew they were going to be soulmates from the start. I would’ve liked their nemesis arc to be cut down just a little bit, but when they became besties, it was the most wonderful thing.

I remember Yu Rim got a lot of hate, but I really liked her. Yes, she didn’t have to be that gruff and cold, but I understood her guilt seeing her parents’ sacrifices, her envy at things seeming easy for Hee Do, and the insecurity of losing to a rival.

Their reunion made me shed more tears than some romantic OTPs, and I always loved the way they wholeheartedly supported each other.

Razzie Award:

This one always hurts to give, but mine this year goes to Love All Play.

The first few eps gave me cavities with the sickeningly sweet leads promising me a drama of young love. Of moving past devastated dreams while carving their own paths. I did happily rewatch the first two eps right after watching them.

But by kdrama law, I should’ve known if it’s cute from the start, I should get suspicious.

Sadly I felt like the drama got bogged down in an angsty arc with a character that I never fully felt for.

I was also expecting a sports drama in the line of Racket Boys, where there would be more focus on the team and sport, but again, the personal conflicts trumped these themes.

On the bright side, I enjoyed some of the OSTs and have a soft spot for Park Ju Hyun and Chae Jong Hyeop now. So, not all was lost.

“Flyin’” by Kevin:

Fav Use of Setting:

A tie between Twenty Five, Twenty One and First Love: Hatsukoi

Not all shows have this, but I wanted to do a special shoutout to these two, where the characters’ lives were so deeply intertwined with this idea of time and place, of nostalgia and memory.

For Twenty Five, Twenty One, it was all about the times.

We didn’t do a deep dive into analyzing the historical events, but we indeed have a huge dive into the effects on our characters’ lives from the very start. We had coming-of-age antics and chaotic friendships, but that was always set against the backdrop of these times.

Similarly, for First Love: Hatsukoi, I thought the writers did a really nice job tying societal events in with what the characters experience.

They weren’t just things that just happened to match up historically to the timeline, but were meaningful to the characters’ journeys and growth.

I do wish I had a better understanding of the cultural impact of some of the events mentioned, to have an even richer viewing experience.

Fav Overall Soundtrack:

I thought about Alchemy of Souls too, but Our Beloved Summer ends up being my pick for the best background music to do work to. And it brings back memories of my favorite bickering couple.

Fav character growth and on the flipside, fav character regression:

Both existed in The Princess’s Man (which KFG’s group watch of just ended)!! I will not say who these were but if you know, you know!

“Today I Love You” by Baek Ji Young:

Fav lines:

I wanted to shout out A Poem A Day.

It didn’t make my top list since I didn’t care much for the secondary characters’ stories and fastforwarded through some chunks. I also wish some characters had been more fleshed out.

But I really loved the way the poems were integrated into the story – in terms of how the lines fit into the themes of the episode, the way the words themselves were presented on screen with images, and the instrumentals in the background. Really lovely.

My favorite instrumental was “When Spring Comes”:

Fav chaotic crew:

It’s a tie for me between the young Twenty Five,Twenty One group, and Crown Prince’s time-traveling motley crew in Rooftop Prince.  Loved them both.

[Spoiler for Twenty Five, Twenty One]

Lots of fun scenes, like the car parking fiasco or high school concert. But if I had to choose my favorite memory of them, it would be the beach trip, from the way it went from bad cooking to sharing secrets close to their heart.

[Spoiler for Rooftop Prince]

How could I forget the way the boys made my stomach hurt from laughing when they freaked out over modern life, destroying a TV, bowing to a paper bill, and trying to figure out how to tackle a revolving door?

The one thing they always got right though was rallying around Park Ha ❤️

Top Dramas:

It was hard to narrow down, (I’m sorry, my sweet Our Beloved Summer!), but if I had to choose a few to highlight more fully, here are my favorite ones of the year:

7. Weak Hero Class 1

This was not an easy watch for me, and I had to take a break before picking it back up again.

Violence is always hard to watch, and when it’s youth hurting youth, somehow it feels particularly awful.

We have the “bad guys,” the bullies, but we can also easily see the cycle that leads to them becoming perpetrators of violence in the first place.

Violence is equated with being tough, with power, and violence becomes a marker of someone’s identity.

It’s a shorter watch with 8 eps, but the characters, the characters!

They stole my heart and showed the messiness and confusion of being young. There was warmth, wholesome friendships and pain – I loved it all.

Some scenes were a little violent, but I peeked through my fingers and it was okay. Worth it.

Excellent opening sequence with “Hero” by MEEGO:

6. My Liberation Notes

As an introvert, I related so much to parts of this drama.

The charm of this show for me was how well Park Hae Young can write characters who seem real, with warts and all.

It is definitely slice of life/slower paced, but credit to the writing and acting that I personally really enjoyed watching the conversations and felt like a fly on the wall.

I love that each of the Yeom siblings had very distinct personalities and trajectories of what they were grappling with: money/success, love, self esteem.

There’s also an interesting contrast between country and city life and the idea of dreams and failure.

It’s one of the dramas I look forward to rewatching because I feel there’s more things I’d pick up on during the rewatches.

It also has my Fav OST of 2022 that makes me feel so at peace: “My Spring” by LEE SUHYUN

5. Silent

As of writing this post, I still have the final episode to watch.

But unless things go terribly wrong (knock on wood), based on the emotions it’s wrung out from me, I’m pretty sure this drama is in my top ones for the year.

It’s another second chance romance, but more than that, I haven’t seen too many dramas centering disabled people.

I felt like in this debut work, Miku Ubukata was very empathetic towards the characters and showed the different perspectives of a hard of hearing/deaf man and the people around him.

There’s just a lot of love in it, from friends and family. The characters themselves want to learn more about each others’ experiences, and it’s kinda lovely to think about that happening in real life too.

“Subtitle” by Official Hige Dandism: ​​

4. Arang and the Magistrate

There are just some shows that grab your heart from the start for no rhyme or reason except that gut feeling that “I love this,” and Arang and the Magistrate felt this way for me.

Like most 20 episoders, I do feel it could have been cut down. Some of our plots/characters seemed draggy and dampened at the end, but honestly the worldbuilding here and our leads got my heart.

I like that with one exception, our antagonists were interesting; the notion of free will/desire and the fates of humans and gods were explored in a way that made me think.

I dearly love Eun Ho and Arang together (Lee Joon Gi and Shin Min Ah were a pairing I did not know I needed until I got it).

I have a soft spot for spunky ghosts trying to find out who they are and just wanting to live.

Instrumental “Destiny”:

3. First Love: Hatsukoi

I love second chance stories and have seen a number of variations by now on this. But I was happy to find that this drama still hooked me in.

It is largely due to the writing (kudos to Yuri Kanchiku) and strong performances that got me fully invested in our characters.

Technically it is slower paced just taking us through different scenes of their lives, but I was so curious to know what happened that I kept wanting to watch more.

The music fit perfectly and is woven through seamlessly with some beautiful shots.

I’m excited to rewatch because I know the piecing together of past/present timelines are very intentional.

This was as much about first dreams as it was about first love to me, about living fully with loss. I felt very sad when it was over and wanted to see more of our characters.

“First Love” by Itada Hikaru:

Instrumental “Thought of You” by Taisei Iwasaki:

2. My Unfamiliar Family

Family — you love them, and they drive you mad.

This drama captured what it’s like to be cruelest to the people you love the most, and also show up for them when they need it the most.

I found myself drawn to the characters right away and became very invested in our Kim family.

On one hand, the tangle of family secrets seemed dramatic, but on the other, they were grounded in very relatable emotions.

I had some minor gripes, but it made up for it in the moments that really gutted me or warmed my heart.

Non-communication is the death of relationships, and this was a reminder that even among family (perhaps especially among family), there is so much we don’t know and have to put effort into learning about.

I loved that our family members felt fully fleshed out, and I thought the cast was excellent.

Instrumental “You & Me” by Shin Min Yong:

Drama of the Year:

If you somehow missed KFG’s review or phl1rxd giving it a shoutout, yes, here it is, in your face, once again.

Love Like the Galaxy has to be the one for me.

I just did not see it coming. Bless the Patreon community for piquing my interest in this one.

I came in with little expectations and perhaps that helped? I rewatched it right after watching it and am on a third watch with my drama buddy.

I thought about the characters outside of watching the show. I fear I was and still am annoyingly obsessed with it.

It has all the elements in a good watch for me: some humor, some angst, some swooning.

I’m always here for a good yearning, a nice slow burn. I could watch it without thinking too deeply and still feel entertained.

But, as I like to do, there is lots to think about in terms of character relationships and personalities that makes it very fun for rewatches.

There are some one dimensional characters, but with that, there are also some strong and interesting female characters who made the show for me.

Yes, there are many episodes, but the character building was very important for me for the emotional payoffs. My brain recognized logic gaps at times, but my heart just skipped right forward over them.

I really want to pick the brains of the director and actors on how they adapted the drama from the source material because I’ve seen snippets of the novel, and I prefer how characters/scenes were changed in the drama.

Cinematography and editing were gorgeous to look at in certain scenes, and the choice to center instrumental music was an excellent one.

At the end of the day, it had me stupidly smiling, crying and screaming into a pillow at times and ain’t that a great show to make you feel that way?

I hope you all have that show that does that for you too! 

Instrumental “Wind Of Sorrows From Thousands Miles”:

In conclusion

Whew! That ended up up a bit longer than I expected. Thanks for sticking through it.

There were other great stories and characters who captured my heart, that I just did not get a chance to do justice to here. I’m excited to hear about which ones captured yours this year.

Wishing you all a restful and happy holidays!!

~Uyen

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Leslie
Leslie
19 days ago

Uyen – First, thanks for the Junho love at the end. Sigh. 😍 

Second, you really captured Shaoshang with “a complex and at times messy character who is both naive and savvy, impulsive and cautious, vengeful and loving.” Perfection. I loved her, too, for all of those contradictions. I also agree that Zhao Lusi has not been given enough love relative to Leo Wu (who was brilliant in his role, no doubt.) Her characterization of Shaoshang was always on point, and always stood up strong to the bright flame that is Leo Wu on screen. Really, props to her. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

Third, your thoughts on My Liberation Notes have pushed the drama to a top spot on my drama list for 2023. It’s neck-and-neck with Under the Queen’s Umbrella for the next drama I start.

Thanks for making the time to share your thoughts on 2022, Uyen!

uyen
16 days ago
Reply to  Leslie

@Leslie, I can’t pass up chances to share my Junho love 😂

Yes, I love Shaoshang very much and was blown away by Zhao Lusi. I’m very excited to watch more of her works. You put it perfectly that she “always stood up strong to the bright flame that is Leo Wu on screen” — agreed!! Both of them lit up the screen for me. Incredible.

I hope you like My Liberation Notes! I know it might be slow for some and the characters might seem unlikeable, but I really loved it. I also really enjoyed Under the Queen’s Umbrella though too, so I don’t think you can go wrong.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts too, Leslie, just read your wonderful post!!

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
29 days ago

From your list i have watched n liked n on rewatch list are liberatn notes, first love.
LLG also a good one but can’t rewatch coz of no. Of episodes.

Monologues/quotes from liberation notes were 👌.

uyen
16 days ago

@LaVieEstBelle22, I completely agree, I still think about some of those quotes from My Liberation Notes — very relatable and thought provoking. I also understand about the long eps for LLTG, it is a commitment! 😂

lotusgirl
lotusgirl
1 month ago

Great guest post! It’s wonderful to get to know you a bit better. I loved all the OST awards and appreciated you including the YouTube links to make listening to them so easy. So much beautiful music. Music is such a powerful part of show. When it supports the story and punctuates a scene seamlessly, it contributes volumes (pun intended) to the experience.

I don’t typically watch Chinese dramas because they are so long, but, since you placed it in the #1 spot, I’m definitely going to have to check out Love Like the Galaxy and also First Love. I just finished watching Silent and loved it, so I’m starting to branch out from the Kdrama. Little by little.

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  lotusgirl

Thank you so much, lotusgirl, and Happy New Year!! Yes, I completely agree that music is very important to me in a show and is a huge factor on why I love Asian dramas so much. Love your pun 🙂

I didn’t watch Chinese dramas before this year, largely because of the length too and because I didn’t know where to start. I think that even if you don’t like LLTG (but ofc I hope you do), there are some other ones I’ve heard people love a lot this year that were noted on some of the past Patreon Awards posts, so I think you should definitely check those out too! I am also just starting to branch more outside of kdramas.

I loved Silent so much. I found it to be understated but pretty lovely in its relationships. I hope you’ll like First Love too, I also loved that one!

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

Uyen, just following up to mention that I checked out your website/blog and it is gorgeous. I only had time to read your notes on Alchemy, which were wonderful, plus 31 days of songs (many of which I will need to look into).

Also, we share at least two all-time favorites (Be Melodramatic and Thirty But Seventeen). There might be more but I’ve not seen the others on your list, so I’ll take that as more shows to consider.

Keep up the great work!

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Thank you so much for taking a look, Jeff!! 🥺

My favorite part of Asian dramas are the soundtracks so always love keeping track of the ones that remind me of each show. Very happy that you liked Alchemy too, I am making my way through Part 2!

Be Melo has my favorite pilot ep of any drama and I loved the satirical moments so much. I was very pleasantly surprised by Thirty But Seventeen because I thought it would be more of a melodrama but it was so quirky and heartwarming, I quickly adored it after watching the first ep. So glad you love them too!

Princess Jasmine
Princess Jasmine
1 month ago

Hello Uyen – Thanks for this write-up. Of all the dramas you mentioned I managed to watch only 2521 (I am still catching up on the pre-2020 dramas…). But thanks for mentioning Choi Hyun Wook – he deserves it – there was some effortless acting by him in 2521 and glad that someone else also noticed it (I was practically grinning whenever he was on screen). And big yes 🙌 for the non-romance OTP as well – both girls did an amazing job – and for me this was the major highlight of this show (much more than the supposed romance track between ML and FL). As someone who grew up in that period I totally enjoyed this drama and thanks for your favourable views on this work. I have made a note of My Liberation Notes and First Love and hopefully get to watch them in the first half of 2023.

Take care and Happy New Year 💐

uyen
1 month ago

@Princess Jasmine, thank you so much for reading!!

Ooh yes, I did love a number of the pre-2020 dramas I’ve seen too. I really did love 2521 and feel Choi Hyun Wook has this charm (someone somewhere said he had the vibe of a young Jo Jung Seok and I thought…well I love JJS too and I find him indeed very charming).

Completely agree on the friendship between the girls being more of a draw for me than the ML/FL romance. I can see how the show means a lot to you and brings back memories, that’s so nice to find a show like that! I hope you do enjoy the other two.

Happy New Year!! 🥳

Princess Jasmine
Princess Jasmine
1 month ago
Reply to  uyen

Hello Uyen – I have posted my comment on your post on “KDrama OSTs” in your blog. Let me know if you can see the same as I am unable to see at this moment but it shows that it has been posted. I am yet to learn on how wordpress works 😢. Great job with your blog 💐👍.

uyen
1 month ago

I’m constantly trying to remember how wordpress works 😂 Thank you, Princess Jasmine!! Silly wordpress marked it as spam but I got it and marked it as CLEARLY NOT spam. I loved hearing about the songs you loved too <3 Happy New Year!

uyen
1 month ago

Thanks for all the work you do, KFG, in editing and bringing our thoughts here to your blog (during the holidays, no less)!! Yes yes, I will always enable you to spam us with more Junho love 😂

Elaine
Elaine
1 month ago

Of the shows you mentioned, I have watched Twenty Five Twenty One, My Liberation Notes and Arang and the Magistrate, agree very much with what you have said about them! For MLN I did indeed rewatch straightaway. I didn’t find it depressing at all, I actually found it comforting to see the characters grow and evolve, and the little odd or surreal or funny bits were intriguing enough to keep me going through the show despite the hard struggles the characters had to go through. Very unique and thought-provoking.

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine

Thank you for reading, Elaine!! Yes yes, those 3 shows are awesome. I didn’t rewatch MLN straightaway just because I felt I needed a breather to dive back in and catch all the little nuances. I agree, I found it comforting too! I really felt like the characters grew in a natural way. They didn’t become entirely different or ideal people but there were little changes to them. Seems very fitting on a show that felt very human, with all the awkward, happy, painful, sad emotions.

Ele Nash
1 month ago

Seasons greetings, Uyen!! Ah, YES to Zhao Lusi and Love Like the Galaxy. My heart eyes are for her and Wu Lei – they were both tremendous and the depth of their acting really belies their age. I still can’t believe how young they are!! I can hardly wait to rewatch this 😊
The only other show I’ve seen that you mention is Arang and the Magistrate. Agree, it sweeps you along from the get-go – and I think that’s thanks to Shin Min-a (always, always adorable) and Lee Joon-gi (so very, very beautiful) who act up a storm and have great chemistry.
xx

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Happy holidays, Ele!! You are too right, they both were awesome and I also couldn’t believe they are so young. It was magical. I loved squealing with you over it.

I was also swept away by the Arang pair. I so agree on their chemistry (yes to your describing them as adorable and beautiful), bringing out the bickering fun but also the heartfelt emotions too. Thought the instrumental was really great too.

Thank you for reading!!

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  uyen

I just read your LLTG and AofS reviews – excellent!

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Thank you for reading, Ele <3

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago

Uyen! Yes, Zhao Lusi has had a great year. She broke from her usual comic roles this year in Who Rules the World and LLTG and showed us a more in-depth, complex side to her acting. Your award is so on point.

LLTG- how did you find that instrumental link as I have looked for it and was not able to find it. I am bookmarking that! The instrumentals were used so effectively in this drama.

This is so well written uyen! I appreciated the way you set out your categories and I like that they were unique. To end with a Park Seo Joon pic – well that is just plain awesome!

Edit – Rooftop Prince – a classic and one of my all time oldie but goodie! My favorite scene was at the donated clothing box. Hysterical! The OST is stunning.

Great job you! 💯💥

Last edited 1 month ago by phl1rxd
uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl1rxd, your good reviews of LLTG helped me take the jump to try it, despite not knowing much about cdramas and being intimidated by the length — I am VERY grateful. Who Rules The World is also on my list, I’m just waiting to let go of Shaoshang so I don’t compare them too much.

JJ shared a link to the instrumentals (for which I am forever thankful because I needed it the minute I heard some of these in the show). I hope it’s not geo-restricted for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyOZGqGc1Wg. I so agree, they were used very well and I actually loved some more so it was hard to narrow down one pick here.

Thank you for reading, phl1rxd!! My one loving correction is that the ending pic is of Junho not Park Seo Joon 😂 although I do have a soft spot for PSJ after Fight for My Way

Rooftop Prince was both fun but also hit me with the emotions too. Oh yes, the donated clothing box was so funny 😂 I do love the OST too and found the story to be very creative

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago
Reply to  uyen

Uyen! Yes, it is Junho! Jeez – the eyes do not work as well as they used to. So to make up for that, I will just leave this baby here – two doll faces for the price of one…

Park Seo Joon.jpg
uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

, ❤️❤️❤️ (to both!) absolutely adorable!

kate
kate
23 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

eeeeek cuteness alert (I am having serious PSJ withdrawal these days)

Natalia
Natalia
1 month ago

Uyen, Zhao Lusi. What can I say ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Bossam was my OTP last year!
But, Arang: I might be the only one who dropped it just on the finale… I should go back sometime and see what happened!
All in all, thank you for your post!

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  Natalia

Natalia — right?! She’s awesome.

Yay, more love for Bossam OTP!! I tried Good Job with Jung Il Woo and Yuri this year, but it just wasn’t the same. They were really great in Bossam with the eyes shining with tears and being so grounded, lots of love with no words needed.

I’ve gotten better at dropping shows, but have not dropped on the finale because I just feel like I’ve invested too much time and need to know what happens 😂 I can understand that for Arang though (although I do think the very end is worth it at some point if you care to go back!)

Thank you for reading!!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 month ago

uyen – this is Fab-u-lous! There is so much detail here. I will gather my thoughts and post again(because Rooftop Prince deserves as much love as I can give them)

MC
MC
1 month ago

Uyen, I always knew we had similar drama tastes but it jumped to I LOVE YOU when I saw A Poem A Day. Hahaha ok before they lock me away for stalking (I’ll be good I promise I just need more of uyen’s thoughtful commentary! … no that makes me sound more stalkery??? hahaha) I have to say I love the poetry and how the characters were brought to life. I feel it’s an underrated show and I’m so glad you brought it more love.

I haven’t had enough time to watch many of this years shows but of those I saw, I fully concur with you. ♥️ And how could I forget your Love Like The Galaxy squeeing? Zhao Lusi did a fantastic job!

To a great 2023 for you and for the drama world, uyen!

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

LOL MC, you made me laugh 😂 I totally agree!! KFG called it a nightcap show in her review and I was like YEAH THAT’S A PERFECT WORD. I also felt like it was very comforting and I looked up some of the poems after because they were so lovely with the scenes.

I am SO glad you ended up loving LLTG, I hoped you would but it was so fun to read all your thoughts on it so we can spazz together.

Hope there are more dramas next year to squee over (looking at you, Jung Kyung Ho and Jeon Do Yeon’s drama! 😂)

anonymous
anonymous
1 month ago

Totally agreeing on Zhao Lusi

JJ
JJ
1 month ago
Reply to  anonymous

OH!!! Thanks for bring up Zhao Lusi, Reaper! I totally forgot to say something about her in LLTG ! I agree, uyen, she is fantastic in LLTG!

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  anonymous

agree anon, she’s awesome!! Only haven’t started her other shows bc I need to let this character go first. But I will definitely check out her upcoming Hidden Love

anonymous
anonymous
1 month ago
Reply to  uyen

@uyen You should check out “I hear you”, “Romance of Tiger and Rose” and “Dating in the Kitchen”
To be honest I didnt like LLTG or Who rules the world.

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  anonymous

@anonymous, nothing wrong with being anti mainstream!! (realized that was a diff thread but adding here bc it fits bc you saw how I loved LLTG lol!)

Thank you for the recs on the Zhao Lusi dramas!! Very excited to see her again. Will update you on how they go.

anonymous
anonymous
1 month ago
Reply to  uyen

Just a random side question. I started While you were Sleeping and I watched two eps. My question is: Will it stay so random, jumpy and nonsensical?

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  anonymous

@anonymous, I’m afraid I’ve never seen that so am not sure!

JJ
JJ
1 month ago

Ah Uyen 🥰 Always love your thoughtful comments on Shows and over on the Deep Dive Zone 🥰 You always pick out something from a character’s actions or the plot or just tiny things I always seem to miss and you make me sit back and think and mull stuff over. And I love it 🥰

And your writing is always beautiful just as you did here again. You brought back lots of happy memories from that watch with our lovely OTP. Beautiful phrase for them – “tender love”. I definitely agree 🙂

I Love you love First Love: Hatsukoi!!! As you know, I cannot get enough of this Show and what the writer did weaving her magic 🥰

Ill have to finally give Silent a go 🙂 And have upped the priority watch for Arang & Rooftop Prince!

Hoping we can convince KFG for a Group Watch of Love Like the Galaxy Extended Cut!!!!! So get ready for your 4th rewatch in 2023!!!

p.s. – Any time you want to start Healer let us know 🥰

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  JJ

Thank you, JJ!! You always comment and I appreciate your warmth!

Yes, that OTP will always be very special to me 🥲

I know, I’m always to spazz over First Love: Hatsukoi with you. I fully believe that it’ll be like what you said when I rewatch, that I’ll get to savor it.

I feel like you may well like Silent, hope you do enjoy it! And yes, Arang and Rooftop Prince have the 2012 vibes but are lovely in their own ways.

Yesss to the group watch, officially or unofficially. I’m not ready for the extended cut lol, good thing it’s so long otherwise I might be memorizing dialogues at this point 😂

I will let you know about Healer, these holidays have made it harder to commit to a group watch (behind in Children of Nobody and Alchemy!!) But in a few weeks I will be gearing up to watch it!

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
29 days ago
Reply to  JJ

Ditto.

Exact expression.

very nicely written one.

It was simple and a beautiful read (or vice versa?).

Trent
1 month ago

Uyen — as expected, a great year end review! I loved your picks, even the ones I haven’t seen (yet), since you have a thoughtful discussion of them and make all of them seem like potentially worth watching (well, except your Razzie, which I had already taken a pass on, so…yay?)

Keep on keepin’ on in your quest for good dramas in 2023, and I hope you keep sharing on the Exchange; your input and thoughts are one of the things that makes it worthwhile to hang out there!

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

Thank you, Trent!! Yes sadly, the Razzie makes me very sad, but it is what it is. I feel like you might like some of them, like My Unfamiliar Family.

I also love your thoughts on the Exchange, from the incredible recaps to the thoughtful analyses. To more watching, limited time in the day be damned! 😂

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  uyen

My Unfamiliar Family has been on my list for some time… it’s just so dang hard finding time to start a new show from “the list,” especially when I keep getting distracted by the shiny things (new releases).

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent, I completely get you. Never like it when there’s a drama drought, but then that is always a good time for me to go back to the neverending list!

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
29 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Exactly my point.

What’s the soln for nt getting distracted by these shiny new dramas n stick to the ones on the list.

And as on the topic, one more thing.

How to manage/take out the time for the dramas?

I feel guilty for not doing justice to the dramas when I come across some new dramas n read discussions abt it n m nt able to participate just becoz i didnt/cudnt watch it at that pace.

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

What a great post, Uyen, and especially impressive that you can do your own blog and participate here – wow. I’ve not seen your blog yet but that changes tonight.  

Great choices! Of the ones I know, I love the call-outs from 25/21. Ru Yim had such an interesting and challenging story (almost in parallel with an arc in Do You Like Brahms?) and I also liked Choi Hyun Wook’s performance and character in the show. And that whole crew was fun to watch (you picked a great photo of the beach trip to demonstrate that). But as you point out, a real pleasure in that show resulted from scene-setting.

I always note posts with show recs in them when I already like the overlapping shows, which is certainly the case here with Unfamiliar Family and First LoveArang has been on the list for some time but, sigh, I now will officially give in and start Love from the Galaxy thank to your encouragement, and phl1rxd’s, and so many of yours. 

Thanks for sharing and to more great dramas in ’23!

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Thank you, j3ffc!! I have to caveat that I have a lot more unfinished drafts than finished ones 😂 so I don’t often update as much on my site unless there’s a drama I have the burning need to vent or gush about.
What you said about the parallel with 25/21 makes me want to watch Do You Like Brahms even more (which I had already planned to do after your post).

I’m glad you loved Unfamiliar Family too, it really is a gem to me. I think you should definitely try Arang at some point. YES SO EXCITING if you do try LLTG, hope you do enjoy it and please let us know what you think!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
1 month ago

I felt like I was reading a much sort after coffee table book in my favourite room, as I looked out over the garden, digesting what is a very warm tribute to what you watched this year, Uyen.

I loved this comment: “I like stories that make me think and feel a lot.” My Liberation Notes did that for me, as did Extraordinary Attorney Woo, Silent, First Love: Hatsukoi, then there was Under The Queens Umbrella – just outstanding.

There are those shows I watch for no other reason than, as Beez put it some time ago “I just like what I like.” This Is a long winded way of saying I watch and like a lot of shows that others don’t – and some of them are the cheesiest, tropiest thing out there 😂

love Like A Galaxy is awesome – and I will be getting to your review soon. I agree re Zhao Lusi – she was the stand out for me in this show.

I smiled at your choice for the OTP for Bossam – Steal The Fate, because they are 10/10.

I’m glad you got to Arang and the Magistrate, because this is in my Top Ten dramas. Although you and I have different Razzie Awards, I do have to say Love All Play is right up there 😂🤣😂

Here is to 2023 and the next edition to your wonderful expose on some more great settings 😊😊😊

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Thank you for your kind comments, Sean!! I didn’t mention Queen’s Umbrella here, but I was very surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did — it had a lot of heart from Queen Im that made it really satisfying.

I’m sure I will watch Extraordinary Attorney Woo at some point. It was actually your rec of Silent that bumped it up my list to watch, and I’m very glad for that! Also glad you really enjoyed First Love: Hatsukoi too.

I know what you mean about liking cheesy shows, it was Mr. Bad for me this year and True Beauty for me last year 😂
Arang had been on my list for some time and I’m so so glad I got to it too. Loved them very much. I am very curious to see how your Top Ten might’ve changed and your EOY list as well!!

As always, I look forward to the list of shows that stand out to you (while also wracking my brain on how you have the chance to watch all of them) 😂

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
1 month ago
Reply to  uyen

Hello Uyen, re-evaluating my Top Ten is no mean feat! My objectivity is going to be sorely tested 🤣🤣🤣 Ironically, I suspect Arang and the Magistrate may be the drama that is relegated to make way for my No.1 drama of 2022 😱😱😱

uyen
1 month ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

@Sean, I know, I find myself shifting things around on my rating list and having to go back a few months later to double check how I felt still stands lol.

Noooooo — but also, understandable. Ten is a very small number given the amount of shows you watch, so I know Arang is still at the top there even if it’s not in the top top 10!