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.
Today, I’m pleased to announce that Sean is sharing his drama year!
As many of you may already know, Sean is a master at magically squeezing in a literal TON of dramas into his already packed schedule. I don’t know how he does it, but I am always in awe of the number of dramas he manages to watch, every year. 🤩
Sean also writes about management and leadership on his own blog, which you can visit here.
I hope you guys enjoy!
A Little Bit About Me 😊
I opened the portal to the world of Kdramas during 2016. As I entered this enticing realm of drama possibilities, I stumbled across thefangirlverdict. After reading a number of reviews, I knew I was on the path to something fabulous.
The types of dramas I enjoy are varied. I like a romcom as much as a like a thriller or political sageuk. The show can be heavy or light. I will always be up for a show that embraces the zero to hero, a contract marriage, a lonesome bodyguard, or a beleaguered spy.
Of course, I haven’t stopped at Kdramas, there are Cdramas, JoDoramas, Tdramas, HKdramas, Thai dramas, Pdramas and dramas from Singapore.
Now for the thundering drum roll across the drama universe as I reveal my awards for 2022:
The Top Three
This year has ended up being a belter of a viewing year. As Kdramas waned, Cdramas came to the fore. Then, Kdramas came back with a vengeance. My top three contains one Kdrama and two Cdramas. Please read on. 😊
Number Three – Reset
Rita was so right when she convinced me to watch a show in which I had my finger over the press play button, trying to decide whether to watch it or not.
This show was a sci-fi delight for me. The moment I watched the opening titles, I was drawn in.
Throughout my watch, I couldn’t fault the “ground hog day” moments as each story strand unfolded after a reset. Then there was the OTP. How great were they!
Number Two – Love Like The Galaxy
So, phl1rxd was on a roll when she suggested I should take a look at Love Like The Galaxy. Even my wife was taken with this show.
As I did with The Silent Sea last year, I finished watching Galaxy without her – not the smartest move on my part, but I did have my viewing schedule to stick to. 😁😁😁
Here we had a show where both leads cut through the shenanigans of the imperial court and arranged marriages. We had some wonderful humour, some darker moments, heroics galore, a stoic love, warrior parents and a grandmother who was utterly delightful.
In terms of Chen Shaoshang’s ability to construct and make things, show never addressed how she had such a talent due to time travel censorship.
In the novel, she is a well educated, troublesome young woman living with her grandmother in modern times who somehow ends up in Shaoshang’s body.
On another note of interest, the author also wrote The Story of Ming Lan.
Number One – Under The Queens Umbrella
I mentioned roughly, over on Patreon, the umbrella is an emblem of protection, power and dignity. And didn’t we see this played out in spades by Queen Im.
Show has it all: power plays, a wily king, clever and powerful adversaries, a range of romantic happenings, humour, drop kick sons, some heartfelt moments, the most amazing queen of all time and mother to boot.
My further observations were:
“Without doubt, UTQU is going to redefine Sageuks. It’s just a wow for me on every front. The attention to detail re the buildings, the costumes. We are also getting more of an insight in how the Queen does queenie stuff too. Fabulous 😊”
“Honestly, KFG – Queen Im has entered the pantheon that is the list of the great drama and literary creations. And, re her scenes with the Queen Dowager. Let’s face it, Kim Hae Sook is without peer here too. I relish their confrontations.”
“As for Mama Bear, Goldilocks wouldn’t even tempt fate with Queen Im. 😂🤣😂”
In terms of those shows that could have been in the Top Three, this included: Extraordinary Attorney Woo, From Now On, It’s Showtime and Glitch.
The next three down are: One Dollar Lawyer, Bad Prosecutor and First Love: Hatsukoi.
If you want to know about the show that nearly tipped all of the above from my list, see my award for the hidden gem.
Kim Hye Soo was sensational this year as the magnanimous queen, the exasperated (but loving) mum and canny daughter-in-law.
As a result, Queen Im for me has become one of the great drama characters.
It was as if the role of Queen Im was written for her. In many ways, our indefatigable queen is the role of a life time.
Hye Soo played her with such depth, unending energy (all that running about) and compassion. She was wholeheartedly believable and left no doubt that Queen Im would have been a formidable monarch in her own right.
However, I do have a special mention for Park Eun Bin. Her performance as Attorney Woo was as beautiful as it was heartfelt. She has been acting since she was a little girl, and I think, has well and truly come into her own as an actor capable of a wide range of performances.
Then there is Zhao Lu Si (Lucy). This has been a monster of a year for her and at 23, she is showing what a tour de force she will be in the years ahead.
Ah!, what more can I say, the couple from Be My Princess was superb!
Their love story in the ancient Chinese drama part was breathtaking. In fact, I would have been extremely happy for the show to stay with this storyline instead of what happens when the production is finished.
However, this show overall is a mini triumph and deserves some viewing appreciation.
Best Supporting Actor
Straight up my best supporting actor is Kim Hae Sook, also known as the National Mother. The number of acting awards she holds, breathtaking.
As the Dowager Queen in Under The Queens Umbrella, she gave a performance full of menace, ruthlessness and admirable gloating.
[SPOILER] My favourite moment was when she feigned sickness to try and get her son’s sympathy. It was then I knew she would do anything within her power to be number 1. [END SPOILER]
I don’t think anyone could have played the Dowager better. Queen Im was deserving of such an adversary. Here they are together preparing for an interview:
The Razzie Award
Oh boy😱 There’s been more than just a few razzies this year.
However, the standout 😂🤣😂 for me was Forecasting Love and Weather. I struggled to finish the first episode.
My notes on this one were quite to the point: “It wasn’t engaging and the male leads annoyed me!”
Apart from this, I was bemused by the whole forecasting weather office setup and internal staff politics.
Writer-Nim spent 12 months living and breathing what happens in what we call over here The Bureau of Meteorology, but for my mind, show missed the mark.
I know it’s only a drama, but in terms of what I do in life, I attend weather briefings with the meteorologists for the coming year where we look at the weather patterns and so on.
Despite the improvements in technology and the depth of knowledge we now have with changing weather patterns, blaming a meteorologist for getting it wrong is pure lunacy – oh, yeah, that’s right it’s kdramaland. 😁
It also meant that as a result, I gave Love in Contract a wide berth. I’m just hoping Park Min Young’s future drama choices get back on track.
My Special Awards 🎉🎊🍾
I have a range of special awards this year with some fine winners throughout. They are:
My hidden gem is Be My Princess.
The use of filming an ancient Chinese drama as the faux mechanism regarding a time travel story was awesome.
We have actors filming this wonderful romantic story set in ancient times while their romance also unfolds in present day. It’s two romances for the price of one, with some of the best backdrops and scenes to be found in any show.
Then there is the best scene of any drama regarding a male lead desperately trying to get back to his princess.
The imagery of Jeremy on horseback, breaking back through into the city is a triumph and a big thank you to phl1rxd for inserting such an image in one of my comments somewhere on The Verdict.
The OST from Be My Princess does the trick. In particular, JiJi’s Love Will Find A Way has a great hook and something I like to play along to:
Let’s face it, there were so many shows this year that had an awesome start and then tanked in stunning fashion: the swan dive pirouette into oblivion.
There was Doctor Lawyer, Kiss Sixth Sense, and It’s Beautiful Now (This show for the first 16 episodes was fabulous).
And the winner is:
Kiss Sixth Sense
The whole premise was fabulous. The OTP – Ay caramba. Then, it happened. The story became classic Kdrama “let’s put everything in the way of the happy couple.” Some of you might like this, but for me when this happens, I start reaching for the fast forward button. 😢😢😢
I suppose I could mention Love Is For Suckers, but I won’t. 😉
DP was quite good. It certainly treated the subject matter with respect and with a ring of truth. As much as many viewers enjoyed Ancient Detective, I found it didn’t live up to the hype. The execution of the story was lacking for me. However, the concept was awesome.
The winner of the Backlog Award though is: Rainless Love in a Godless Land.
This Taiwanese show is a triumph on so many fronts: the concept, the respecting of local mythology and language and awesome characterisation with acting to match. In fact, some bloggers even dedicated travel posts to the story’s location.
The music was also awesome – so much so, I enjoy playing Shi Shi’s Never Ending Rain on the guitar.
The Best Short
Cdramas now come in a range of 2, 3, 5, 8 and 10 minute episodes. We even get 15 minute episodic (morning) shows from Japan.
The best short this year is Female CEO Love Me.
This was cute, tropey and lots of fun and consisted of 12 x 8 minute episodes. The OTP have been in other dramas together, so some very solid fan service was going on.
The Best Post (Or the Kfangurl Post I Enjoyed the Most)
I am always amazed by Kfangurl’s ability to pull together such amazing reviews and the way she accommodates her readers is second to none.
The gong for best post by Kfangurl for 2022 goes to Love Like The Galaxy. Not only was this post by her epic in its construct and delivery, it was a homage to how much Cdramas are changing. 🤗🤗🤗
[Aw, shucks, thank you Sean! ❤️ I never imagined there’d be special award for lil ol’ me, in the year-end drama awards! Excuse me while I implode a little bit, from the feels. 🥰😅 ~KFG]
The Year Ahead
As I turn my attention to the year ahead, I am making my way through She and Her Perfect Husband. Unlike so many other Cdramas where I have given up on at the halfway point, this Yang Mi vehicle is doing the trick. The cast is superb.
There are many promising offerings for next year.
Those shows I have my eye on are: Gyeongseong (Seoul) Creature, The Worst Evil, Chicken Nugget (lol), and Ask The Stars – this is right up my alley for a whole range of reasons!
And yes, I am watching Alchemy of Souls 2.
And with that, wishing you all a very Happy New Year and see you around here and on Patreon too.