Drama Reactions & Reviews
Witterings on 2008 dramas [Year in Review, Part 1]
by | December 28, 2008 | 49 Comments

[And thus begins the year-in-review series for 2008 dramas! This’ll be a four-part series, and I’m honored to have three lovely bloggers — Sevenses, thunderbolt, and Dahee_Fanel — offering up their reviews in addition to mine. Hope you enjoy! –javabeans]

Year in Review – 2008
– In which I practiced my ?? face a lot.

Well, I’m but a wee babe in dramaland compared to Sarah, thundie and Dahee – I really started watching kdrama in earnest in late 2007. *pause while everyone picks their jaws up from the floor*

Caveat: I don’t have a huge base from which to compare, so this is all in my own humble opinion. You don’t have to agree, and you are definitely welcome to discuss. (No trolling, though, or I will start waving the Baton of Baleetion.) First of all, I’d like to say that my watching dramas is purely for the sake of relaxation – I have enough stress and overwork from school already, plskthx. Therefore it’s rather unlikely for me to take a huge tearjearker and run with it, if you know what I mean.

(And the concept of tearjerkers in general just baffle me a little. Why make yourself unhappy? I do love Atonement to the itty bitty pieces of my fairly battered heart, though that’s neither here nor there.)

So, looking over at the ones I watched this year, I’m actually fairly monogamous about my dramas. (Yay for having schoolwork?) The one thing that kind of stood out in my memory of this year, however, is that mostly all of them tended to have many ‘bleh’ moments – including the ones I’d loved and watched like an obsessed thing.


Alanis Morissette – “Orchid,” as it is currently my favourite song ever and I wanted to share it.
[ Download ]

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Hong Gil Dong

This was the hilariously rousing drama that kicked off my new year. Fusion sageuk? No problems there. The gags were funny (well, minus the toilet humour), the plot very much full of the intrigue and politics common in sageuks, but the two elements balanced each other out nicely. Plus, baby hottie Jang Geun Suk and Kang Ji Hwan of the Expressive Eyes did a very good job of glueing me to the screen. I was kind of annoyed at Sung Yuri for being overly acty at the beginning, but she was otherwise adorable to a tee.

And then the writers decided to ditch the ‘fusion’ and went for a big, tragic, sageuk-y ending. Seriously, Hong sisters? That wasn’t necessary.

Understand that I am in no way insulting the ending – it was beautifully done, for what the writers and producer were going for. I just don’t think it was the appropriate one for a good message, if you will.

In the end there was much ranting from both Chang Hui and Gil Dong about their ideal governments, and how the two clashed, with tragic results for the Hwal Bin Dang. The message I get from that is – Strive and you shall not obtain, but at least people will remember you afterwards.

That’s terribly depressing, and while I totally recognize that perfection in politics will come in a day when the sun rises in the west, that still doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have tried. Gil Dong was so adamant that his views be upheld that he would rather lead people into death? What happened to changing the system? Compromise? (Because in real life it is infinitely preferable to kill yourself than sit down with the enemy at peace talks.) (No, it isn’t.)

They gave the people hope, and then took away their own means to do anything with that hope.


I really did love all of Hong Gil Dong, it’s just that the ending leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But hey, this was the series that got me out of lurkerdom, so hats off to Hong Gil Dong.


Um… give me two seconds for hysterical laughing, yeah? Oh, dudes, Iljimae. I am going to be 100% honest and tell you all that I watched this show only for Lee Jun Ki’s beautiful face.

Iljimae – “인연” (fate) by Woong San [ Download ]

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I know. Sometimes I facepalm at my own superficiality. (But – but that face! That nose! Those cheekbones! *is tied down and gagged*)

Taking my cue from the over-the-top opening, I laughed my way through the first episode, expecting a semi-serious hero tale, which it totally delivered on, with added Bond effects. Everyone was pretty much exaggerated into character tropes – with Eun Chae as the Perfect Lady and Bong Soon as That Lovable Scamp Tomboy, to name a few. Also, the child actors were super cute.

Pure superficial fun, in other words. Iljimae tended to take itself too seriously at times (Oh! Ye! Tragedy! Of! Lee! Kyum!), and the ending was a bit too rushed to be satisfactory, but I threw my brain out the window watching this one and enjoyed every moment of it. Especially the bits where he miraculously escapes – at least there were no megadeath levers? πŸ˜€

My secret theory is that Iljimae is modeled on Spiderman, with minor adjustments and apparently the same disregard for reality. (I’ve already exhausted its common themes with Time of Dog and Wolf somewhere else.) Eun Chae is the perfect MJ, kept at a distance and half-guessing the true nature of the boy who keeps popping up wherever she is. Iljimae rationalizes not telling his ‘one true wuv’ because he wants to keep her safe, etc etc. Wires, fighting sequences, cardboard opponents and last-minute miracles abound.

Special mention goes to Lee Moon Shik, or papa Swe Dol (RIP), who extracted a front tooth and acted the hell out of his role.



People in real life tell me that every third sentence out of my mouth is food-related. Is that even possible? Unless you count chocolate or sleep as a food group, I mean. So, you know, there was no way I was going to miss a show about cooking. Especially if the delish Kim Rae Won was also there, exuding his boy-next-door charms. (If there was a boy next door who looked like Kim Rae Won, seriously, I would never move. Alas, that my life is not a kdrama.)

There was less food than I had expected and a lot more raw beef, but no quibbles.

I actually don’t have a lot to say about Gourmet. It’s the kind of drama that you know will go in the direction you expect it to, even with increases of tension and oh-noes drama. The cast did well in portraying their characters without high excellence but also without crashing and burning. I found Kim Soo Yeon’s Joo Hee a little too passive, but that was in the writing, and not in the acting.

Perhaps the dramatization of all those cook-offs was overdone, but there’s very little else to actually critique. Comfort drama of the year, you could say.


Beethoven Virus

… Or alternately, that series Sevenses recapped and then had to stop or stab someone – though in all honestly I had already covered the worst ones. For those who have been waiting, I’m truly sorry, the 17th and 18th episodes are coming, sometime after the New Year (and I regain internet access, *shakes fist at snow*).

It started off great, with a cast that had eyecandy (Lee Jia and Jang Geun Suk) and loads of talent (Kim Myung Min, who is also eyecandy, but I digress). The plot wasn’t insanely hackneyed – jaded old man meets with two refreshing young kidlets. There was also the music element, which I thought would make things more interesting, right? The jaded older male will see the error of his ways and mentor the younger pair, with discoveries and daisy blossoms astrewn in the field of life (kidding… sort of), and each will compliment the other, to new, dizzying heights of classical music.

This show took great pains to tell me what I could do with my thoughts.

So instead we got the love triangle that derailed halfway through, multiple threats to the sanctity of the orchestra, much griping about the asshat that is Kang Mae, etc etc etc. Each of these things, taken individually, would have done fine. I’m not sure what they did with the episodes they had, but the tension (and by extension plot devices) just felt so off. In addition, events were recycled to the point of becoming almost criminal. Kang is abrasive, we get that. Orchestra members can stop freaking out for the SIXTH TIME NOW.

To my lasting surprise, I liked the ending. Well… the last few minutes, anyway. It was thoughtful, hopeful and subtle in a way that the rest of the show was not. But the general direction was just… very wtf. I mean, real life is like that – it meanders and you don’t get definite closure on many issues and your heart will be broken, maybe even more than once – but that in turn doesn’t explain the crazy melodrama threaded throughout all the events. Hysteria =/= fun.

If not for Kim Myung Min, Beethoven Virus probably would have been a massive train of fail. (JGS and LJA are improving, but they’re not even in the same category as KMM.) There’s absolutely nothing to fault with his acting, and hey, it’s nice to see one leading male who’s not your average gentleman. Having him in the show made everything so much better, though there’s only so much you can do with a plot that leads to nowhere.

I did like the cutesy, hey-i-c-whut-u-did-thar names, though.


Painter of the Wind

There are a few words you can fling into a drama summary and immediately guarantee that I will watch (for however a short amount of time, mostly for me to widen my eyes and then run away). One of the them is crossdressing, and another one is homoerotic tension (okay, so they’re two words – still).

Not having been acquainted with Park Shin Yang’s previous dramas, I was a little squicked by the huuuuuuge age difference between his character’s and Moon Geun Young’s. The way they handled it (by not touching it at all, it seems) made things work out in the end, so that was good. The genderbending was full of fanservice, but hey, we got to see Moon Geun Young sashay around pretending to be a boy pretending to be a girl.

Painter was just so pretty in every single scene – the colours, tones, angles were all very carefully arranged, and I loved the scenes where the drawings came to life under the brush. I have about the same artistic ability as a cat on acid, but even I could appreciate the sheer beauty of the show.

In terms of the story line, things worked out well – as a rule I tend to get bored when people start sitting around on mats and plotting, but the king’s absolute dishiness (and the Queen Mother being totally awesomesauce) helped that along. This was one of the rare dramas where everyone did well in their roles (Kim Hong Do’s tendency to go into shouting fits notwithstanding) and I especially enjoyed the interaction between the two Moons.

Must not forget – the music made me melt into a puddle of happy.


Well, now that I’ve disgusted all of you with my absolute superficiality, ahaha… There were others that I dropped along the way, but mostly for time issues and not quality. Overall 2008 was slightly less good than 2007, though hopefully with the new crop of dramas coming at the end of this month things will improve.

Thank you for reading, and please do recommend ones I’ve not watched or tell me where I missed the brilliancy of [insert drama name here].

Have a great New Year!


(Picture credits to Baidu.)


49 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. mel

    lol i love that spider-man comment (Iljimae)… that’s probably why I loved that drama. The Painter of Wind sounds cool. I shall check that out

  2. mikaney

    Painter in the Wind- I was also worried about the age gap, but they dealt with it in a very nice, subtle manner. One of the few dramas I enjoyed watching immensely this year, which I thought was extremely underrated. MGY’s acting was superb.

  3. JiHwan

    Thanks Sevenses! I both agree and disagree with your review. As much as I love Kim Myung Min (and yes he is eye candy. Such a charming and talented actor), I have to admit that I could not stand watching Beethoven Virus. It was one of those dramas that had me yawning right from the start. Now that you mention it, I do notice the similarities between Spider Man and Iljimae. I think Iljimae and Beethoven Virus are both extremely overrated dramas. There are plenty of great dramas such as Single Papa In love that barely recieve any attention. Can’t wait for the other reviews and hopefully they’ll cover a wider variety of dramas!

  4. cc

    Wow, so cool~
    I’ve watched all the dramas that you’ve reviewed Sevenses!

    You should also watch “On Air” and “Women of the Sun”. =D

    Looking forward to the other reviews!! πŸ™‚

    P.S I also watched Iljimae because of Lee Jun Ki.
    I absolutely loved Painter of the Wind. (MGY was great~ Go YB& JH πŸ™‚ I hope they win best couple! It’ll be noted down as k-drama history)
    About Beethoven Virus…in the beginning, it was interesting to watch but I kinda lost interest in the middle…I’ve managed to finish the drama because of KMM!

  5. jani

    thanks guys! i look forward to your year end summaries. it reminds me of what i loved and what i hated myself for watching.

  6. Azzuri

    Hey Sevenses,

    Nicely done recap. Thanks!

    Only caught Gourmet and Painter of the Wind this yr. Started on a few others but gave up after first few eps.

    I felt Gourmet had a leeetle too much raw beef moments, and was grossed out by the graphic meat carving scenes. Otherwise, all was good.

    Loved everything about POTW except the ending. πŸ˜‰

  7. S H A Y

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sevenses!

    HAHA, I really liked your comment about Kim Rae Won’s boy-next-door charms xD.
    I know my cousin wouldn’t move either.
    Comparing Iljimae to Spiderman was genius πŸ˜€

    School’s been a bitch this year, so I didn’t have time to watch many dramas.
    But I did manage to finish (and enjoy) Beethoven Virus, The Last Scandal of My Life, and On Air.

    Hope 2009 brings us many great dramas! (I’m highly anticipating Boys Before Flowers, keke.)

  8. jolee

    Love your honest rants and recaps about the dramas!!! I have to say, I do watch a lot of these dramas due to dramabeans’ recaps and recommendations.

    While I did watch through and enjoyed Kang Ji Hwan in Hong gil dong, it didn’t really hook me as a must watch. There are some shows where you absolutely NEED to watch the next episode….this wasnt one of them. It was fun, but it didn’t have the same punch as the other Hong sister dramas.

    I definitely wanted to join the Beethoven Virus ship, but I died of boredom every time I tried to “get into it” and gave up on episode 3. KMM is a great actor, but not enough to save JGS and LJ. I’m sorry, the boy may be cute, but he is a terrible actor and LJ reminds me of Sung Yuri in HGD being too “actingy.”

    One drama I did enjoy was Painter in the Wind, although sadly recaps were dropped here. I must say, at times I forgot Moon Geun Young was girl. The age gap, which totally grossed me out before the show aired, actually wasnt much of an issue. Somehow they did make it work. The music and the painting scenes were fantastic! However, I wish it was more personal development focused near the end instead being all about the solving the murder. I felt like the ending was a bit rushed to include the case, when it should have been more about the growth of Hye Won as a person and artist.

  9. asianromance

    I love your year in review articles and I am glad to know that there are other people out there as superficial as I am. Thank you so much. And Lee Jun Ki DOES have a beautiful face!

  10. 10 xing

    i love Kim Myung Min but i cant take Beethoven Virus too~i wasnt really sure at which esp did i stop ..maybe around esp 12! glad i wasnt alone because i was about to declare myself one of those werid one .who cant appreciate the so called one of the best drama . Kim Myung Min acting is flawless and stand up to the task of him as the pillar of the drama but the script and direction wasnt up to expectation , it was disappointing coming from PD Lee . it was those kind of disappointment when you know it shouldnt be so , that you feel like crying at what went wrong ..sigh

    hope next year will be a better drama year .

  11. 11 SAM

    you forgot the one I hate/yet love at the same time “My Sweet Seoul”!!!!!

  12. 12 ron

    I have been looking at your Year in review since I would like to know which dramas can be entertain and tear-jerking.

    Anyway, I only watched two dramas out of five; Hong Gil Dong and Beethoven Virus.

  13. 13 ovette

    oh yeaaaaahhhh! just what ive been waiting for!! thank you! waiting patiently for the other parts πŸ˜›

  14. 14 ron

    I have been looking at your Year in review since I would like to know which dramas can be entertain and tear-jerking.

    Anyway, I have only watched two dramas out of five; Hong Gil Dong and Beethoven Virus. Hong Gil Dong is a type of drama which gives me a lasting impression among the dramas I’ve seen this year. It is comical, sad and action. It talks about politics etc. I really like the ending and I agree it is beautifully done. It is much opposite to what the “5 years” in the episode one.

    Beethoven Virus- I currently watching this now and it is a good drama. Kang Mae’s character is much interesting to watch; how he deals with everyone around and how everyone has change him.

  15. 15 Ishida

    My personal top 3 of 2008

    1: Painter of the Wind, maybe the best drama EVER! Enough said.

    2: La Dolce Vita: Great Direction, great plots and great acting from the 4 main actors, I must say I was very ecstatic by the big improvement of Lee Dong-wook & Park Si-yeon.

    3: Hmm let’s says… Gourmet, I totally agree with the “comfort drama” sentence but Kim Rae-won perfomance was just stunning, I take my bet on him for the SBS 2008 Daesang.

  16. 16 ilovekangmae

    Beethoven Virus is on top of my list. The drama, which I think focuses on pursuing one’s dreams and passions, emanates a positive message. More importantly, I love Kim Myung Min and his performance is the best, as always. Kang Mae is one complex character – one would hate and love him at the same time. The classical music is something that I’ve enjoyed immensely!

    Painter of the Wind is another good drama. At first, I was a bit apprehensive about Hong Do’s (PSY) and Yoon Bok’s (MGY) big age gap but all my worries came to naught. I found myself shipping for these two. LOL. PSY and MGY are both awesome here; the music is so touching. Oh wait, the King is one hottie as well!

    I don’t know but is Kingdom of the Wind included in 2008 since it’s going to end in 2009? This is another must see!

  17. 17 amy

    the only drama i watched out of these five is Iljimae which was fun to watch but didn’t leave me any lingering thoughts. 2008 was not a good year for me K-drama-wise.. I’ll be watching the painters of the wind though cuz it seems like a good drama.

  18. 18 Dahee Fanel

    Great write-up, Sevenses! πŸ˜€ I savoured over every word. And hurrah for watching Iljimae solely because of Lee Junki’s pretty face! πŸ˜€

  19. 19 popcorn

    Only watched Gourmet and PotW but I haven’t finished them. Once school hit me and I lost track of them, I couldn’t quite find myself the same momentum of obsession into finishing them.

    =_= Despite me liking LJ, I couldn’t watch lljimae because it doesn’t attract me. Bethoven Virus…the first 15 minutes ruined it for me and the background comparsion of it with Nodame Cantabile lurking at the back of my brain fairly forshake it into oblivion.

    (By the way I don’t quite like Atonement, even though James McAvoy is charming for the eye…it’s too fuked up for my taste.)

  20. 20 djes

    i watched less Kdramas this year, which means less than 10! πŸ˜›
    Yes I have no life so that I watched (too) many dramas in a row, but this year’s menu isn’t that interesting.

    I love the Last Scandal in My Life, enjoyed Women in the Sun ( not that superb, btw, but I just liked it ), but I passed all the titles you’ve mentioned above. But year hasn’t ended yet, and I’m planning to watch HGD and Beethoven Virus ( love Mr Kim Myung Min ) soon.

    BUT! thank you for your year end review, Sevenses, and I’m looking forward for the next 3 parts ~ really anticipating what the others are going to say!


  21. 21 thunderbolt

    “This show took great pains to tell me what I could do with my thoughts.” LOL! (And so true.)

    Guess what? We picked the same Kim Myung Min pic, bwahaha!

    LOVE your review. Nothing superficial about it at all. ^^

  22. 22 Rong

    truth to be told, 2008 was not a good year for me as the shows are just not oustanding enough for me to rant and rant and rant. most of the shows are just so-so. like what sevenses said, Gourmet was the comfort show and it still is for me… it is just not like my favourite Coffe Prince where i really hope to know what happens during the process when we all know where it’s heading. but i did enjoy The Scandal of my Life (courtesy of Javabean) where it felt like a more in-depth and expressive Full House, with all the wonderful doings of a great script and acting. but death of CJS did damper my mood for it… upsetting right? New heart, so-called drama of the year, given Ji Sung’s first since army, i tried and didn’t really see the appeal of the show. it’s blood and gore and lots of JS’s great smiles. However, the story line just didn’t work for me. somehow, something’s missing, the links in between individual patients and how they made JS turn off the female lead’s affections, not once but twice. appearance of Lee Ji Hoon was for naught cos it served no purpose, at all. he didn’t pose to be any form of threat to the main couple, who don’t really feel like one to me. The only effort to hold tight to the ‘love relationship’ was JS and it felt tiring to me. lastly, the way they made JS regain his use of his right hand during a surgery was kind of fake for me. but i enjoyed the infamous doctor, Choi Kang Gook, acted by Jo Jae Hyun, which made me want to see more of his acting in other genres.

    of course, this yr’s drama winner was taiwan drama – fated to love you – for me as it is everything that a person can ask for. it’s the kind of quality that i thought taiwan dramas can never achieve. for those who are interested, pls try it and u’ll know what i’m saying, especially if u’ve tried taiwan dramas before. of course, the regret there is that they actually extend the drama while it’s hot and made my overall love for it to fall. BUT it’s still a must-try cos i think the script and acting is something that comes very true from the script-writers and actors.

    let’s all pray 2009 is a good year ya?

  23. 23 Vieny

    Best drama this year:Hong Gil Dong.i’ve never head over heels over one actor except kang ji hwan.he did a great job as gil dong and made me track another series of him such as capital scandal,be strong geum soon,90 days in love,fireworks, host n guest movie.just watch kjh superb acting as soo ta the annoying movie star:-) looking forward his next project in 7 grade civil servant n drama series,triple. Many thanks 4 hong gil dong that introduce me with ji hwan ssie;-) nice 2 know him as a great actor to be!

  24. 24 asik g

    I do admit that after thinking about 2008, Hong Gil Dong seems to be my drama of the year. (KJH! My man of the year) I’ve watched so many that I’m not even sure which one belongs to 2007 or 2008! Last Scandal, Gourmet (whenever I think about this one all I can say is :colours, food and KRW! Without him the series would probably be only ‘decent’, but with this guy on board you have to admit it was more) were really good, I was certain that the crew knew all along what they were doing.
    Then comes the dramas I enjoyed from some weird reason. Like “The Lawyers of The Great Republic Korea” (still can’t stand the title..). Lee Soo Kyung was irritating for me, the plot was average, music decent, but there was this guy – Han Min Gook, and I absolutely love weird guys with fobias, manias, etc. He was enjoyable to watch and that’s why I made it through all episodes.
    Women Of the Sun – one big drama for 20 eppies? I was surprised myself that while it was all about 1 happening, they managed to keep me interested enough to watch 20 episodes. I mean, ok, Shin Do Young’s romance with Cha Dong Woo was like WHAT for me, but I really did enjoy Lee Ha Na’s acting. Big talent, I’ll surely be watching her future dramas.
    Unfortunately, there were also times when I was expecting something good, but ended up suffering in the middle, trying to make it to the final episode. Like Beethoven Virus. I know that for some people it was THE drama, but for me even Kim Myung Min wasn’t enough. At least I finally watched Bad Family, that’s the guy’s charm ( should I really call him a guy? Seriously, he deserves more respect and I can’t go aroung calling him a guy! MAN! That’s the word).
    I also finished Powerful Opponents, but it just didn’t feel right. I can’t say what was wrong with it. I had no idea where the characters were going, and while sometimes surprises are good, here – certainly not. What the hell was the ending supposed to mean? Or middle? Or.. the whole plot? Can’t give mark as I’m still confused. Just.. well, my dear dramabeans, you can skip this one for sure.
    Did I mention Bad Love? BIG NO. Not mentioning, still trying to forget that.
    There are also couple of dramas I watched but forgot and couple of dramas I still didn’t finish, so no comments for them as for now πŸ™‚

    If I have to say what was 2008 for me in drama’s world, I’d have to say it was all about people. I have to praise them. Kang Ji Hwan, Kim Rae Won, Kim Myung Min made me catch up with their older dramas. I also watched Son Yeh Jin’s Spotlight for her, and Alone in Love for Lee Ha Na. Should I forget about our lovely comebackers? Kim Sun Ah, Yoon Kye Sang (the smile!)Moon Geun Young and Song Seung Hun kept me glued to the computer as well. And my beloved Choi Jin Shil and Eon.. just.. Can’t say enough to describe how I’ll miss them on the screen. Let’s hope next year is better, had enough of sad news. Oh , and also Park Kwang-jung.. I think it was one of the most warm people out there.
    Well, finally the end πŸ™‚ And dramabeans, have a great 2009, let’s all hope it’s filled with remarkable dramas. Thanks for your hard work, can’t say how many times a day I visit your blog πŸ™‚ Hugs!

  25. 25 Vieny

    Iljimae was good n entertaining drama!love lee jun ki and lee young ah chemistry as yong n bong soon.and applause for lee moon sik as swe dol:-Di put iljimae in my 2nd fav drama thiz year.i’m not watching bv yet.coz i lost interest 4 KMM weirdo eyebrows.i’m not watching much new drama coz i prefer watch old dramas that ppl said were great such be strong geum soon n jumong.i have on air,worlds within,love n marriage, POTW,KOTW,on my list. N wait 4 Korean hyd,return of iljimae(MBC) n triple also in 2009.

  26. 26 Vieny

    @asik g: i give up watching GLORK,coz lee sun kyung ‘over’acting. even lee sung jae n ryu so young cant even help me!and i have 2 put Women of the sun on my list i guess.thx!dramabeans thx a lot:-D i enjoy read ur blog everyday..

  27. 27 shp

    Thanks, Sevenses for your fun and informative review! (btw, how did you choose your name?)

    @ JiHwan: I agree with you that Single Papa in Love was a really good drama. The acting was not fantastic but was well done overall, especially the cute little boy. And I loved the ending where the little boy is surrounded by all the adults in his life who love him as they watch Single Papa prepare for the fight of his life. I’m surprised that it got such low ratings and so little attention.

    @SAM: I really enjoyed My Sweet Seoul, as well. What aspect of it made you love/hate it?

  28. 28 kellie

    The year was so-so. The reviews were less than. I could do with a little less cutesy emoticon-speak, frankly.

  29. 29 chajjye

    i really liked beethoven virus. there’s something about it that goes away from all the romantic stuff dramas offered nowadays. not saying that there aren’t other better ones in terms of non-romance, but kmm did justice to the drama and though sometimes it got a little repetitive, i still like how the story flows for all the characters. and kang mae is just BRILLIANT!

    i find fated to love u a lil overrated. i don’t disagree it took a different path from other idol dramas, but the only time i liked it was when she was still an ugly betty. the story dragged towards the end and the ending was a bit of a bleh. maybe it’s just me, but i liked “they kiss again” more. maybe because i like serious, less kuso dramas more. πŸ™‚

  30. 30 Catherine

    I agree about iljimae. I started watching it and although I can’t claim it’s good- I find I cannot tear myself away. It is just so much fun to watch, and lee Junki is so beautiful to watch even in that hideous mask.

    and the only other recent Kdrama I watched was painter which I haven’t managed to finish. Although beautiful I found it a little slow…I got a bit bored.

  31. 31 Free

    Hi Sevenses,

    thanks for sharing your thoughts & insights with us. I’ve been looking forward to reading the year-end reviews here.

    I’ve finished watching POTW and am half-way through Gourmet. Absolutely love POTW. The age difference between the two main characters did not bother me at all. The series built up / developed their growing relationship so nicely that it did not seem awkward at all.

    MGY did a brilliant job here. I started to look for her previous works. PSY….I would recommend “Lovers in Paris”.

    Gourmet….it’s “easy” & enjoyable to watch and I do not have the urge to really complete it since you more or less can guess how it would end.

    Thanks again for your great review!

    Hi Javabeans,

    thanks for inviting Sevenses and your other guests to share their year-end review with us. Really looking forward to reading them in the next several days.

    Happy New Year to you all and wish that year 2009 will be a great year for Kdrama!!!

  32. 32 doris p

    tnx for the review….been waiting for the year end review to get some recommendations on some dramas I have yet to watch……and I must say we almost have the same taste….watching dramas for the sake of relaxation and avoiding the tearkjers (though in my case will watch it if the main lead is a cutesy like Ji Hwan and Jun Ki coz will still feel relax having to see their pretty faces for almost 16hrs and up *wink*)…..will probably start watching Gourmet coz cutesy Kim Rae Won was there….. am still thinking about Painter coz I don’t like sageuk that much, only watch Hong Gil Dong and Iljimae and it’s not even totally sageuk…….if Painter probably has some cutesy actor will definitely not have second thoughts, but it so happen that I don’t like Park Shin Yang (though I admit that he’s a great actor, it’s just that I don’t see him as an eye candy type) but will probably watch this if I have some excess time on my hand……and Beethevon Virus….started watching this coz read some reviews that it’s one of the best this year but wasn’t able to finish even episode 1, got bore in the middle of it…..if only Kim Myung Min is as cute as he is on his Bad Family days and Jang Geun Suk on his Hong Gil Dong days, will probably able to endure it…..but it so happens that they bought have some weird hair do and thus wasn’t such an eye candy for me and therefore I don’t feel ‘relax’ and got easily bored……sorry folks….in watching dramas almost always I satisy my eyes first before my brain and only feel relax in this order…….but my current favorite this days…….A Star’s Lover……of course it has a cutesy again…..my current fave eye candy Yoo Ji Tae…..

  33. 33 doris p

    oops sorry….should have been ‘both’…..not ‘bought’…..wasn’t able to edit on time…..

  34. 34 fizzle

    Hilarious write-up, sevenses. You have quite an imagination πŸ˜‰ Oh, and I got no problems with your superficiality. I watched (the first 6 episodes of) The World They Live In just for Binnie and am currently watching Rivals to see Lee Jong Hyuk shirtless.

    Yay for Part 1! Can’t wait for the rest of ’em.

  35. 35 dahnah_ko

    dramabeans, i love your yearly review..>__<
    but how can you forget “east of eden”? that’s like the most awesomest of all the most awesomest drama. *sigh, i guess it’ll be posted next year since the series haven’t finished yet…

  36. 36 ginnie

    Thanks Sevenses!
    Your comments are hilarious. πŸ™‚

    I hope 2009 can be more colorful…K-dramas, no more fusion-type saguek. Pretty please?

  37. 37 javabeans

    Thanks Sevenses!! Hilarious as usual.

    Btw, just to clarify… Obviously we can only comment on the dramas we’ve seen, so certain titles missing from Sevenses’ list have not been “forgotten” — they just weren’t watched by the reviewer. But that’s why this is a four-part series, because between all of us, we’ve got a pretty good handle on the drama landscape! Stay tuned.

  38. 38 phiphi

    Sevenses, thanks for sharing your views on those 5 dramas.
    Quite surprised to know you just got into K-dramas in the late 2007!

    Lol, I’m really missing out a lot this year as haven’t watch any of those.
    2008 is very flat for me, only finished 1 drama so far.
    Just starting on Tazza but don’t have a drive to go back to it yet.

    Hope 2009 bring more excitements!

    Can’t wait for the other 3 reviewers to share their goodies.

  39. 39 winnieee

    “To my lasting surprise, I liked the ending. Well… the last few minutes, anyway. It was thoughtful, hopeful and subtle in a way that the rest of the show was not. But the general direction was just… very wtf.”
    Lol! I actually laughed out loud from reading that πŸ™‚
    I enjoyed reading your review and agreed in most parts. I haven’t watched painter on the wind yet.., since you gave it good critiques I might just watch it.

  40. 40 le

    I loved Hong Gil Dong, made me like Kang Ji Hwan even more but i really thought Capital Scandal was his best work so far, & it also made me see Sung Yuri in a different way, she’s a good comedy actress. Beethoven Virus made me like Kim Myung Min, he really knows how to play a mean, talented guy with a kind heart, i’m watching Bad Family now, also i never knew an orchestra could have so much drama. i want to see Gourmet next just for the food cause i’m not too familiar with the actors.

  41. 41 yen_nguyen

    I love your comments.
    Happy new year to you too!

  42. 42 Shaenna

    I love reading year end reviews, plus I would have to agree with your people, food does seem like a common subject with your writing, it works though. Hahaha… I also found a new line:

    -A massive train of fail. (How can you not love it?)

    You also got with your artistic skill being as good as a cat on acid…. That was GOOD! Hahaha.

  43. 43 Atsirk

    I see you missed your reviews on Tazza…just started watching it…and i’m halfway…

    I totally agree with Hong Gil-dong…it could’ve had a better ending…and KJH was just so adorable…

    Iljimae was awesome, thanks to LJK…he’s amazing nonetheless…

    I’ve yet to watch Beethoven Virus…but I heard it was good…thanks to KMM…

    Hopefully the coming year would be another great year for K dramas…

    Hats off to you πŸ™‚

  44. 44 ...

    just want to say thanks to all of you who put so much time into recapping and giving comments! happy new year!

  45. 45 noob

    I think almost everyone agrees that Painter of the Wind and Moon Geun Young have been really underrated this year. The drama and MGY deserved much much better and it’s sad to see overblown dramas (cough East of Eden cough) win awards.

    Plus i wanna say thanks! I’m gonna watch Iljimae. How can I not when you’ve put up the most adorable pic ever! (refering to Lee Junki rabbit pic) ^.^

  46. 46 zerohundred

    I’ve gotta tell you, I love the way you write. I feel like I’ve just sat down and chatted it up with a friend! I just wanted to mention that I think it’s so refreshing to have someone ditch “properness” in blogging. I mean, that isn’t to say that I hate more “factual” posts, but I like your casual style.

  47. 47 Claudette Faye

    YES!! I’m here to say that the BEST DRAMA OF 2008 is HONG GIL DONG!!!!
    And KANG JI-HWAN is the BEST ACTOR(Man of my dreams) OF 2008…
    I loved Hong Gil Dong… I’m bit disappointed at the ending but it was really worth-watching… Thanks for the comments that said that Hong Gil Dong was very nice… I really appreciated it as the number 1 fan of the drama… I hope it will be shown here in the Philippines at GMA 7 so that this great drama will gather more fans…

  48. 48 Roberto Long



  49. 49 Eliza

    I agree with Sevensen’s description of Painter of the Wind. I consider it the best overall drama of 2008. This sageuk is not too long, but classy, with good production and actors, interesting and with a different plot. (By the way, nobody mentioned Dae Jo Young

    It’s not a sin to be a little shallow and watch dramas just for the eye candy/hunky actors (I do it all the time, too). TV dramas are for our enjoyment and entertainment so I watched a lot of comedies, especially after watching heavy dramas like La Dolce Vita or Bad Love (which to my surprised, I liked a lot. I felt that it had a lot of passion).

    There were quite a few dramas that I started and dropped (such as East of Eden and World Within). Others, I forced myself to watch them until the end (Gourmet, was my biggest disappointment).

    Being a fairly newcomer to K-drama, I have tried hard to catch up with dramas of the past, and in 2008 saw many from previous years. One of them was 2003’s Love Letter. My heart literally ached and I cried so much it made me a bit dehydrated. It now is at my top three favorite dramas of all time.

    Someone mentioned the Taiwanese drama Fated To Love You. It was ok. I liked better Wish to See You Again and this year’s (2009) Black and White ( I highly recommend this unpredictable action packed drama starring Vic Zhou.)

    I hope that the rest of 2009 bring us good dramas worth spending our time and eyesight on.

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