Confession: this Dear kfangurl post wasn’t actually triggered by a Dear kfangurl question. It just made sense to group it with the other Dear kfangurl posts, coz that’s where the other lists on the blog live, heh.
BUT! This post was triggered by a conversation with my friend Jan on Twitter.
Basically, yesterday, Jan had remarked that she was looking for a Kim Ji Suk fix, and I’d suggested 20th Century Boy and Girl, in which he is the sweet, perfect boyfriend.
Less than 24 hours later, Jan’s super happy with the drama suggestion, and her tweets are filled with happy spazz, and she’s also said that this was the rom-com she’d been looking for.
..Which got me thinking. With all the darker &/or heavier shows that Dramaland’s been serving up of late (like World of the Married, Graceful Friends, Flower of Evil and It’s Okay To Not Be Okay), as solid as these shows are, maybe some – or many? – of you guys might be looking for something lighter to make these dark pandemic days a little brighter.
Warm, wholesome goodness dressed in hospital garb, Hospital Playlist is the medical themed drama that even the medical drama-averse can easily love.
Hospital Playlist checks a lot of boxes, for me. The writing and directing is assured; the cast is outstanding individually and together.
The overall feel is balanced, with enough attention given to the cases of the day without losing focus on our key characters; the music is heartfelt and breezy, made even more special when performed by the cast.
The slice-of-life approach might feel meandering and slow to some, but in exchange, you really feel like a fly on these characters’ walls, in their professional and personal capacities.
The long episodes might feel intimidating at first, but once you grow to love the characters, the length of the episodes become more of a boon than a bane.
I legit didn’t want this one to end; highly recommend.
In the course of one of our chats scattered across the blog, where I was trying to think of dramas to recommend to Jesse, I’d suggested Romance Is A Bonus Book.
He’d ultimately sounded quite happy with this suggestion and said that he would probably check it out soon, but, he’d also said this, about the first time he’d considered watching the show:
“I remember at the time that I came across the show in a search awhile back, I saw the word “success” (as in Cha Eun-ho is a successful author) and completely lost interest.
I didn’t want to see successful characters! I wanted to see losers and average Joes, because that’s who I could relate to at the time. I wanted to see love interacting with unremarkable people so I could nod and say, “See, Jess – it happens. Just you wait…”
..And that made me realize that Dramaland’s been so focused on creating everygirls and everywomen to give the female viewers (traditionally a majority) someone to identify with, that it’s forgotten that our growing number of male viewers would also appreciate an everyman to identify with.
So I set about coming up with a list of dramas featuring regular guys – instead of the usual chaebol prince, or requisite geeenius – as romantic leading men.
thank you very much for your answer to my previous question, the one about strong and nuanced women 😀 I already started watching “The Story of Minglan’ and I am loving it so much! (Btw it’s also one of my first C-dramas, so thank you for the new experience!)
This time too, I have a similar question about couples. I love romance and I’ll never have enough of it, but many times it seems to me that the characters end up together just because it’s a “plot requirement” and because we expect them to get together.
So there may be no chemistry at all, or plot holes about their coming together, things can feel clichéd and may lack of depth.
I read your review of “Crash landing on you” and since you appreciated the OTP, I went to watch the show and yes! The OTP was marvellous! They were very believable and engaging. Thus I ask for your advice once again xD
Can you recommend me some dramas with believable couples and good chemistry?
Dear kfangurl, what makes a kdrama addicting enough that I want to rewatch at least 10 times?
I’m kinda in the middle of a tough transition period at the moment and I found myself going back to rewatching all my favourite dramas – Healer, My Love From Another Star, Because This Is My First Life, Fight For My Way and Suspicious Partner, but with the FF button when it came to the “evil chaebol” or “bad guy” bits.
But when I decided to try a drama that I hadn’t watched but was on my list, I kept dropping them half way. What is it in the above dramas, which I believe you loved as well after reading your reviews (which were amazing btw), or any general drama that makes me come back to these again and again?
Y’know, I’d gotten to the point where I was so tired of serial killers and murders being mixed with romance (what is up with that, Dramaland?), that I was ready to give this show a hard, blind pass, just for having the audacity to mix murder with romance, again.
But, the overwhelming positive buzz around this show piqued my interest, as did the high ratings, and the glowing, persuasive comments that a number of you left me, which is how I ended up checking out this show, in spite of myself.
With 20/20 hindsight, now that I’ve emerged on the other side, do I still think Show didn’t need a serial killer murder arc? BIG YES. Did I manage to enjoy this one, despite my by-now-very-firm serial killer drama allergy? Also, yes. I guess that means Show wins, overall?
Once upon a time, I used to categorize Jung Kyung Ho in my head as Dramaland’s go-to beta male, especially after seeing him in 2009’s Smile, You, where he was the sweetest beta male love interest to Lee Min Jung’s feisty broke chaebol.
(Twas a sweet and cute story, pity about the whopping 16-episode extension, which then resulted in lots ‘n lots of pointless and frustrating filler. Boo.)
Back then, I liked Jung Kyung Ho well enough, but mostly in a casual, almost cursory sort of way.
Compare that to today, when I would quite literally check out a show purely because Jung Kyung Ho is in it, y’know, because he is just so wonderful and brilliant and so good at what he does. *hearts in eyes* What an amazing evolution, eh?
So did I check out this show purely because Jung Kyung Ho is in it? Why, yes I did. Did I know what I was in for? No, can’t say I knew much at all, going in.
Did I eventually understand everything about this show, and its somewhat fantastical premise? I’m gonna hafta say, No, I do not.
But did I enjoy it all the way through anyway? Oh yessiree. I sure did. <3
A show that takes the dark topic of prison and crime, and infuses it all with warmth and hope, Prison Playbook is the unlikely contender for your heart that will likely make you laugh, cry, wring your heart dry, and then fill it right up again.
Writer-nim weaves a story that makes primary and secondary character pop, while every actor in our ensemble cast breathes actual life into the characters, and PD-nim’s signature touch comes alive in both the palpable sense of community and the corny jokes.
As a shining bonus, the bromance at the center of our story feels emotionally deep despite its often gruff surface.
Remember when I fell hearts-in-eyes in love with Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, for how simple and endearing it was? So many of us remarked, then, that we wanted more of such simple and endearing shows like it, to love.
Well. Guess what, you guys? I think I’ve found a pretty strong contender for your affections, in this sweet lil drama.
And, I honestly think it doesn’t even matter if you don’t usually watch Chinese dramas. I feel pretty confident that kdrama fans will find it pretty easy to love this one too.
Coz, first of all, there are familiar elements in it, that will make this one feel extra accessible to the average kdrama fan; to me, this show kinda-sorta feels like Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Answer Me 1988 and Playful Kiss all got together and had a cute baby.
Second – and most importantly – of all, aren’t simplicity and warm fuzzies universal, after all? 😉