Drama Reactions & Reviews
2010 Editors’ Picks [Year in Review, Part 5]
by | December 26, 2010 | 383 Comments

Here we are, Part 5!

As girlfriday said in her review, I’d also like to thank guest bloggers Dahee Fanel and thunderbolt for participating in this year’s year-in-review roundup. A particular thank-you goes out to GF herself for being so game to jump into this whole world of crazy with me, and I think you’ll all agree when I say that Dramabeans is better for her addition to it. I never fail to get a huge kick out of her wicked humor, or for Dahee’s frank and bold insights, or thundie’s thoughtful eloquence. We don’t always agree, but that’s exactly why I love hearing the differing points of views.

Most of all, thanks to the DB readership — that means you! — who have been so supportive, vibrant, and often laugh-out-loud funny. We don’t take you guys for granted, rest assured, and are honored by the community you’ve built here. It’s like a second home, which sounds like a metaphor but actually isn’t because with all the hours I spend here, it really IS one.

So here’s the last of the reviews! With that, we bid adieu to the past year and look forward to lots more laughs, craziness, and yes, head-pounding-WTF-ery in the new year. Bring it on, 2011.


Standing Egg – “First Christmas.” The song’s a day or two late, but no matter: Hope your Christmas (or other seasonal holiday) was merry! [ Download ]

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2010 Editors’ Picks



Joseon X-Files

javabeans: On its own, Joseon X-Files is a standout, weaving together story, direction, ambiance, and emotional threads while also succeeding at being a kick-ass sci-fi mystery thriller. But when you step back and compare it against the rest of the dramas this year (as we did when compiling this here list), it’s all the more noteworthy for standing so far ahead of the pack. It was exciting and driven by heart-pounding suspense, but had a brain behind all the stylish camera work and smart editing. As a whole package, it’s a gem of a near-perfect product. The k-drama landscape is better for counting Joseon X-Files among its ranks.

Honorable Mention: Jejoongwon, My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho



Jang Hyuk, Chuno

Dahee Fanel: There are always those actors whom you watch in a few shows and think, “Huh. He’s decent,” and then you immediately forget about them once they’re not actually in front of you. Jang Hyuk was one of those actors for me. He’s been around for years, and has always shown good performances and potential, but he’s never really tapped into it…until now. His performance in Chuno was a tour de force of passion and power, the kind of acting that left me breathless and in shock at what he had become. Here he holds nothing back, and BECAME Dae-gil, a human being whom you couldn’t always like, but who always felt real. His emotions were so raw and viscerable that I felt they were reaching out of the screen to dig into my chest and clutch at my heart. His performance elevated Chuno to make it become an even better drama than it was. How many actors can boast of that?


Rain, Runaway Plan B

javabeans: Most acting awards — Western, Asian, or otherwise — tend to use dramatic acting as the default, but I credit Rain’s performance in Runaway Plan B to his comedic skills as much as his dramatic ones. While I didn’t always love his character’s cheesetastic flirt mode, I really believed in Ji-woo’s integrity as a person underneath the frivolous jokester exterior, even when his partner, Lee Na-young, wasn’t so sure. Playing a cocky lothario who uses laughter as a coping mechanism, Rain managed to weave together Ji-woo’s glib humor and serious intensity into an intricate net, then switched back and forth between the two with ease and, more importantly, emotional credibility. Also? Dude can fight.

Honorable Mention: Hyun Bin (Secret Garden), Park Yong-woo (Jejoongwon)



Moon Geun-young, Cinderella’s Sister

girlfriday: Moon Geun-young had a hell of a year. I can’t say that either of her dramas didn’t each drive me crazy in their own sadistic way, but through no fault of hers, that’s for sure. The Nation’s Little Sister transformed herself in her most memorable role to date, the one that really made me stand up and take notice of her for the first time. Gone was the sweet and innocent young ingenue, and in her place stood a heartbreakingly wounded, feral animal, otherwise known as Eun-jo the friendly neighborhood porcupine. Moon called forth a darkness and an angst from the depths of her soul, and she exuded the raw emotion in every fiber of her being. She was utterly mesmerizing, and the fact that she followed it with Mary and made that character equally believable is a testament to her phenomenal range.


Shin Eun-kyung, Flames of Desire

thunderbolt: In a 50-episode drama, you expect the lead actress to take her time easing into her role, so that her character can be unpeeled like the skin of an onion. You certainly do not expect her to knock your jaw to the floor in the very first episode and to trample on said jaw until it’s a bloody mess. This is a leading performance like no other in the last few years; I tried to think of another actress who could match Shin Eun-kyung in sheer mesmerizing power, but no, she made even Go Hyun-jung in last year’s Queen Seondeok look like a lamb. Whether you love or loathe Flames of Desire, there’s no question about its lead actress’s performance. She simply has no equal this year. Is her Yoon Na-young just vastly misunderstood as a wife and mother, or is she shaping up to be the villain of all time? There’s no telling at this point because this is one character you can’t pin down.

Honorable Mention: Kim Ji-hyun (My Sister’s March)



Kim Gab-soo, Cinderella’s Sister, Jejoongwon, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Joseon X-Files, Home Sweet Home, and every drama ever

Dahee Fanel: This has really been Kim Gab-soo’s year. Not only did he act in a billion and a half dramas (as well as a movie and a sitcom), he also acted in many of them simultaneously, often portraying completely different characters. Which isn’t that rare for a veteran actor used to playing supporting roles to do. But he managed to be memorable in every single role, and also upped his popularity considerably, which is something that not everyone can claim. Whether it was as the slimy villain in Merchant Kim Mandeok, the stern father in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, the World’s Best Stepdad in Cinderella’s Sister, or the mystery man with the pipe in Joseon X-Files, he gave depth and charisma to every character he took on, and lit up the screen with his very presence. It also helps that he has the sexiest eyes of a K-drama ahjusshi evaaaaah. And yes, in case you were wondering: He’s MINE.



Lee Mi-sook, Cinderella’s Sister

javabeans: Lee Mi-sook’s character was based on the familiar archetype of Cinderella’s Evil Stepmother, but she made Kang-sook into so much more than that. Hard, calculating, and selfish up the wazoo, she’s a character you’d expect to hate as a stereotypical stand-in for the kdrama villain… if only Lee Mi-sook hadn’t given her such dimension. While you could hardly admire her, you had to admire her resourcefulness and deftness at self-preservation, which sometimes yielded devilishly funny moments (her feigned hysteria at a funeral? Hilarious). Underneath her cold, manipulative shell (albeit one thick and impenetrable enough to rival the Great Wall of China), there was a woman who felt self-loathing, guilt, and love. Though she’d sell her daughter before admitting it to anyone else. Lee Mi-sook was commanding and fascinating, and above all entertaining.


Eom Ji-won, The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry

girlfriday: She had her whole wedding planned, right down to who would catch the bouquet…all she needed was a man. Jung Da-jung is that friend we all have, whose single-minded obsession with marriage lands her in the wackiest of situations, but Eom Ji-won also managed to imbue her with such empathy, and loneliness, and love. It’s hard to be emotionally vulnerable, and even harder to be funny while doing it; Eom was pitch-perfect as the Chanel-wearing, guru-chasing girl on a marriage mission who wore her heart on her designer sleeve.

Honorable Mention: Sung Hyun-ah (Flames of Desire)




thunderbolt: How many actors acted their hearts out in this war drama? I started counting and gave up after I ran out of fingers and toes. In a cast of hundreds, so many stood out in Comrades it’s unfair to single out just a few for special mention. Whether playing a general or just an unnamed soldier, an old village elder or a child, everyone delivered in this heart-wringer of a drama. In a year of exceptional ensembles (because this was such a great year for kdramas!), you can’t watch this ensemble and not be moved or changed. The group camaraderie is the best this year, as though these actors have worked together all their lives. When a character in Squad One goes missing or is killed, the sense of loss is so palpable it’s like losing a piece of one’s body. It’s no wonder fans of the drama can’t listen to the lyrics of the theme song and not experience an onrush of tears. “O friend, my dear friend. I will never forget you until the day we meet again.”


The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry

thunderbolt: This was my favorite ensemble until Comrades came along, but it is still tops for giving me the most toasty-warm-from-head-to-toe feelings. Everyone jelled in this drama that repeatedly made me burst out in raucous laughter. Their individual comic timing was perfect but as a whole they brought the house down. But I love this perfect rom-com not just because it made me light-headed with joy, I adore it for the chemistry between the cast members. Be they playing best friends, housemates or soul mates, they obviously had so much fun together. Each role was expertly cast, with Park Jin-hee and Eom Ji-won as standouts. This is one drama to watch over and over, its ebullience carrying you along on its heady and heartfelt way.

Honorable Mention: Sungkyunkwan Scandal



Joseon X-Files

Dahee Fanel: Here’s a fact: Joseon X-Files would not have been the amazing drama it was without the brilliant directing. With this kind of story, with a mixing of the sageuk and sci-fi genres, execution is everything. And JXF got execution down to an art. From the fascinating camerawork to the gorgeous lighting to the tight editing, it made the already wonderful script seem even more genius, and captured the actors’ best moments. It’s enough to make you count down the days until Kim Heung-dong announces his next drama.

Honorable Mention: Bad Guy, Chuno



Joseon X-Files

javabeans: Sometimes cryptic, sometimes elusive, Joseon X-Files doesn’t hand you the easy answer or dumb its story down. It assumes its viewership is smart, and therefore makes you feel smart when you start to put together the clues, seeing how the pieces fit together in the world they’ve created. No, it doesn’t wrap up everything in a neat bow, but for a show whose premise is all about the unknowability of absolute Truth, we could hardly expect the key to the universe. Instead, the drama raised questions and showed us the path to various different possible answers, allowing us to determine what Truth meant to us, just as its main character does over the course of his journey into the world of the supernatural. Sharp, mysterious, fascinating.

Honorable Mention: My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho



Sungkyunkwan Scandal

javabeans: Stately, uplifting, dignified on one hand. Cheery, playful, animated on the other. A drama that combines the giddy schooltime antics of energetic, hormone-driven young scholars (and a crossdressing girl) with the gravitas of court politics and government intrigue needs a score/soundtrack to encompass all extremes of its material, and somehow Sungkyunkwan Scandal’s music does it. Whether we’re talking lush, delicate instrumentals or even the occasional modern pop song, the music enhanced the drama of the moment while refraining (mostly) from being overbearing (I admit to finding a few modern selections a bit jarring). Just as a particular scent can take you back to a specific childhood memory, listening to the soundtrack now calls to mind particular scenes and fills me with corresponding feelings of youthful optimism, idealism, and/or giddiness. I’d say it’s done its job.

Honorable Mention: Flames of Desire, Bad Guy, Jejoongwon



My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho

javabeans: You know what makes a good comedy great? When it makes me cry as heartily as it makes me laugh. Granted, the ratio of laughs to tears was (thankfully) skewed much more heavily in favor of laughs with My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, as it should be. Furthermore, the humor was often rooted in fundamental themes that drove the drama, tying the comedy thematically into the mythology of the narrative. Double bonus points. Scenarios included Mi-ho’s adorable explorations of what it means to be human, whether it’s eating her face cream (“Yum!”) or using cows as a barometer of all that is good in the world. Add to that a wimpy hero and an assertive heroine who was unashamed to want love (and skinship!); Gumiho spun common tropes on their heads to give us comic beats that were as refreshing as Mi-ho’s favorite bubbly-fizz water.


Harvest Villa

Dahee Fanel: Comedy is one of the most difficult of art forms, so when one succeeds at it, the taste of it is that much sweeter. Harvest Villa is one of those comedies that comes along only every once in a long while. It’s a riotously funny show, but it also has a dark side, as the best comedies do. It’ll use a moment of extreme tension and then turn it around at the last minute to force a surprised laugh out of you. It’s smart, never too over-the-top, and has great timing. True, the comedy petered off in the second half in favour of more suspense and darkness, but ultimately it was a show that really understood the strength of laughter, and the humour in little moments.

Honorable Mention: The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry




thunderbolt: Set during the twilight years of the Joseon dynasty, during an era of tumultuous change, this drama is unwavering in its vision: a faithful retelling of a historical event that many people aren’t aware of. The writing stays focused through the 20-year span of the drama’s story, beginning and ending with one man’s astonishing journey from butcher in a despised caste to surgeon in Korea’s first Western-style hospital. Interwoven with that central story are other stories that will grip and move you. The directing is splendid and always sensitive, with cinematography that is achingly beautiful but never self-engrossed. Straddling both the ancient and the modern, the sets and costumes are reinvented with grace and boldness. Yoo Seok-ran’s (Han Hye-jin) hanboks are a visual feast in themselves, so much so you want to steal both her clothes and her dad!


Joseon X-Files

thunderbolt: Unidentified flying objects and otherworldly occurrences in 17th-century Joseon? This is the basic premise of this masterpiece of a drama. Fabulously written, directed and acted, and also barrels of fun, Joseon X-Files is both awe-inspiring and humbling. (No drama will make you feel smaller this year.) It tells multiple stories, each one beguiling in itself, but its message is singular: the Truth is out there and it’s stranger than anything we can imagine. Helmed by a small but fantastic cast, and imbued with a pulsating energy that will suck you in and leave you breathless, this cable drama has done what no other period drama has managed to do before: make ancient Joseon suddenly hip and happening. We demand a sequel or two, Station!

Honorable Mention: Sungkyunkwan Scandal, King Geunchogo




Dahee Fanel: My heart still beats a little faster when I remember all those scenes of chaser versus chased, the gorgeous fight sequences that emphasized every straining muscle in the actors’ gleaming bodies, and the sharp editing and exciting music that heightened the tension that much more. The scenes were also very creative, using different tools to make them feel fresh each time, such as the three-on-three fight, or the fight on the beach with emphasis on the rippling of water. And best of all, the action ultimately had an emotional throughline – you sat on the edge of your seat while watching Dae-gil chasing Tae-ha because you wondered if THIS would be the time he would finally encounter the love of his life, Un-nyun. How could it possibly get any better than that?


Runaway Plan B

javabeans: It comes as no surprise, then, that the same writer-director-production team that did Chuno also brought us Runaway Plan B. Runaway’s action sequences were plentiful and creative, and to make up for their excess (lots of running without enough plot movement made for some repetitive episodes early on), the drama gave us a cornucopia of innovative fighting methods and backdrops — in cars, on high-rises, onto trains, among crowds, underwater. Initially played for slick entertainment, we soon got to see the emotional undercurrent driving the best fight scenes, which revolved around a wrongly accused Ji-woo struggling to prove his innocence, against the cop who was at first convinced of his guilt and then came around as grudging ally. Then the goofiness stepped aside to up the stakes and allow real danger to befall our underdog Casanova, making for a fun, sometimes silly, sometimes intense thrill ride.



Jung Bo-seok as Jo Pil-yeon, Giant

thunderbolt: In one of the most chilling scenes of the year, a father bashes his grown-up son with such viciousness it causes his unflinchingly loyal lackey to scream out, “Stop! You’re going to kill him!” But nothing stops Jo Pil-yeon, least of all blood ties. This man will do everything to get what he wants. See how his eyes gleam, with nefarious intents, as he gazes upon a little boy; it’s enough to make our blood curdle. In this 60-episode drama, no one laughs as much as this villain, but it is laughter that terrifies rather than titillates. So frightening is Jo Pil-yeon, it’s the first time that I do not care for a Jung Bo-seok character. The times that I watched this veteran actor previously, he played flawed humans who possessed a certain charm that made you waffle between dislike and grudging admiration. But not this time. I watched transfixed as usual, because this actor is gold, but I couldn’t wait for his character’s comeuppance and eventual downfall. For making Jo Pil-yeon this year’s most unforgettable villain, thanks and no thanks, Jung Bo-seok.


Kim Hye-ok as Madam Shin, Bad Guy

girlfriday: You better watch out/ You better not cry/ You better not pout/ I’m telling you why/ Santa Claus is coming to town/ He knows when you’ve been killing/ He knows when you’re a snake/ He knows if you’ve been bad or good/ So be good for goodness sake/ You better not gloat/ You better not lie/ You better go choke/ I’m telling you why/ Santa Claus is coming to town



Lee Seung-gi & Shin Mina, My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho

girlfriday: Dimples, Ahoy! What these two lacked in maturity, they made up for in sweet, unadorned, bask-in-the-sun sincerity. They made us cry when it rained, swoon when they they touched, and die of laughter when Mi-ho wanted some lovin’… which was all the time. Of the twenty(!) dramas I watched this year, this was the only couple who moved my stone-cold tear ducts to let loose the floodgates. For that alone, they deserve a prize. One giant chicken leg, coming up. I felt just like Woong on that fateful first day: as soon as this couple entered my life, they stuck to me like superglue. They defied the laws of the universe to be together. What could possibly be more romantic than that?


Kang Ji-hwan & Park Shi-yeon, Coffee House

javabeans: Coffee House had its uneven spots, and there were probably bubblier, cuter romance dramas this year. But the relationship between Kang Ji-hwan and Park Shi-yeon is one that stands out for skirting clichés, as well as being mature and passionate rather than being the cute puppy-love dynamic that characterizes so many trendies. These two are best friends before they’re lovers, and carry relationship baggage into their romance, lending it a dash of realism. She’s strong, feisty, and utterly winning, while he uses his eccentricity as a defense mechanism. But when you cut through facades and comic gags, the love between them is palpable and imbued with emotion.

Honorable Mention: Lee Seon-kyun & Gong Hyo-jin (Pasta), Park Yong-woo & Han Hye-jin (Jejoongwon)



Yoo Ah-in & Park Min-young, Sungkyunkwan Scandal

thunderbolt: We knew where Yoon-hee’s heart lay, but that did not stop us from wishing fervently for a miracle: a Yoon-hee twin or clone. What we would do for Jae-shin’s happiness! From the instant he saw and saved her, his curiosity grew, even if he professed otherwise. He asked her never to appear before him again, but when she did, his heart skipped a beat and soon gave him away; he could not help the hiccups. The first to discover her true identity, that she was a woman in disguise, he protected her in a way that made us swoon and giggle. She in turn adored him as she would a brother or best friend; he was the one she sought when she was beset with doubts or just needed someone to talk to. They were two puppies at play, bantering with such ease it made a certain someone jealous and confused. Jae-shin had never smiled so gleefully on the Sungkyunkwan campus until Yoon-hee came along, nor hurt so deeply. In an alternate universe, they would be the perfect couple. Hear our prayers, ye drama gods!

Honorable Mention: Lee Tae-ran & Kim Myung-soo (Comrades), Jung So-min & Lee Tae-sung (Playful Kiss)



Yoo Ah-in & Song Joong-ki, Sungkyunkwan Scandal

girlfriday: It’s the bromance that spawned the fanfic boom of the century. And Lawd have mercy, for some of those youtube videos were just, um, Idon’tknowbecauseIdidn’twatchanyofthem-onrepeatIswear. Now we know what the REAL scandal at Sungkyunkwan was all about. Ahem. But beyond the subtext was a friendship that was as grounded as it was noble and heroic. Yong-ha’s unparalleled affection for his tough-guy bestie was the sweetest surprise of the year. Who says your BFF can’t be the love of your life? Relationships come and go, but a true blue friend is for keeps. It should be the highest compliment you could pay to a friend: You’re the Jae-shin to my Yong-ha. Or vice versa depending on who’s the bigger badass.



Gu Mi-ho (Shin Mina), My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho

girlfriday: I was ready to throw down on this one. **waves fists ineffectually** This category had a four-way tie, but I bullied everyone for the win. Because, HELLO, gumiho totally trumps human! Mi-ho was a revelation. Two parts Anya (centuries old being who takes everything literally) and one part newborn (wide-eyed with wonder), she brought a whole new kind of heroine to the k-drama landscape. The most impressive thing about her wasn’t even her super-strength or her ability to eat her weight in cow, but her unflinching open heart for her one and only Woong-ah. She made love look easy, and life seem precious. Best. Character. Ever. **finger guns**

Honorable Mention: Seo Eun-young (Park Shi-yeon) in Coffee House, Park Il-kwon (Kim Roe-ha) in Comrades, Hwang Jung (Park Yong-woo) in Jejoongwon



Yoo Ah-in, Sungkyunkwan Scandal

thunderbolt: If you poll Sungkyunkwan Scandal viewers, you’ll likely find that some think Micky Yoochun acquitted himself well, while some others want him to stick to singing. Try finding such a divide where Yoo Ah-in is concerned. Everyone, and I mean practically everyone, loves our Guh-ro. As far as I can remember, there has never been a breakout performance like this one, where the second male lead in a drama is loved so universally and fiercely. The moment Yoo Ah-in’s Moon Jae-shin appeared in the marketplace in Episode 1, a bidding war broke out among viewers. “Mine, mine!” chants rang out; by the end of the drama, new YAI-dedicated blogs had sprung up and reams of fanfiction penned in his honor. Those who had watched him before marvelled at the newfound fervor even as they themselves were swept along; they always knew he could act, but holy cow, the Yoo Ah-in in SKKS was startlingly different. He nailed every scene and broke our hearts in tandem with how his own broke, he acted with such strength and also gentleness. Never has scruffy been this gorgeous.

Honorable Mention: Jung So-min (Playful Kiss)



Road No. 1

Dahee Fanel: I will never forgive MBC for ruining a potentially good (or even great) drama by pushing the brilliant Kim Jin-min out of the main director’s chair, and replacing him with that sorry excuse for a PD named Lee Jang-soo. Road No. 1 should not have become the mess that it did, and my heart bleeds to this day at the thought of what it could have been. I mean, sure, Han Ji-hoon is a very flawed writer, but he worked with Kim Jin-min in Time Between Dog and Wolf too, and that drama was simply cracktastic. No, I have to blame it all on Lee Jang-soo, who insisted on emphasizing the romantic storylines, and made it painfully obvious every time he directed a scene. It is him I blame for the bad acting, him I blame for the incredibly schizophrenic mood, and him I blame for what is my biggest disappointment of the year.


Mary Stayed Out All Night

girlfriday: You take Jang Geun-seok, Moon Geun-young, and Kim Jae-wook, put them in a trendy rom com, and THIS is what you get? How is that even mathematically possible? By all accounts this should have been Full-House-meets-You’re-Beautiful. Instead it’s a cautionary tale for drama writers: knowing that they’re cliches does not make it subversive. If there’s ever a drama that wasted its talent, it’s Mary, bar none.

Honorable Mention: Personal Taste



Sohn Ye-jin, Personal Taste

Dahee Fanel: Sohn Ye-jin is one of the most talented young actresses working in Korea today. End of story. So why did she agree to star in something like Personal Taste, which wasted her immense talents so? It is true that it has been a very bad year for K-actresses in Chungmuro, with few meaty roles for them to choose from. So it’s understandable if she figured that this was a good time to flex her romcom acting muscles a little more, and widen her audience. But couldn’t she have chosen a romcom that at least understood what kind of talent it was working with? Couldn’t she have chosen to play a character that actually widened her scope as an actress? Oh well. I’m just going to pretend Personal Taste never happened, and wait eagerly for her to choose her next (hopefully better) project.

Honorable Mention: So Ji-sub (Road No. 1)



Baker King Kim Tak-gu

Dahee Fanel: Baker King is a perfect example of makjang, the kind of show that throws all integrity to the winds and opts to do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, for the sake of ratings and money. Each episode I watched had me rolling my eyes and laughing out loud at parts it clearly meant to be serious. It is predictable and brainless, and yet it garnered over 50% in ratings in Korea. That’s good news for the cast and crew, but it was annoying for everyone not caught up in the hype to be faced with it wherever they went. With this show’s success, it signals to broadcasters that makjang works, and makes them keep dishing out the same old tripe, over and over again, in hopes of repeating the previous dramas’ successes. I can’t wait for this trend to be over. (It will end eventually…right? Please say yes!) [God, if only. Not in our lifetimes. -gf]



thunderbolt: It began with a bang, pulling in 23% ratings (4th in the nation) and then took off like a speed demon from Episode 5, never once relinquishing its lead in the Wednesday-Thursday primetime slot. It even saved the best for last; the night it aired its final episode, 36% of households were tuned in. If only it were deserving of that sort of following. This was a drama eagerly anticipated for months before its airing, as it teased and excited with its seductive stills and trailers. It lured us in with its opening desert scene, so jaw-dropping in its beauty. And then it slowly dawned on us, with disconcerting clarity, that our expectations of greatness were just a mirage in the making. The plot meandered along, losing its bearings in pursuit of style rather than a solid story. Its characters, most of them, left us cold and eventually disinterested. It was never really bad a drama, with masterful directing that got carried away, but it could have been so good.

Honorable Mention: Sungkyunkwan Scandal



The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry

girlfriday: It came and went quietly on the drama landscape, but this funny, true-to-life, heartfelt comedy about the friendship between three thirtysomething women is definitely this year’s diamond in the rough. It takes three very different friends on a journey through harsh, side-splitting, and heartbreaking moments in life and love, to help them discover that age is just a number, life never goes the way you plan it, and family is the friend who scrapes you off the asphalt when life gets you down. Literally.

Honorable Mention: Jejoongwon, My Sister’s March, Freedom Fighter Lee Heo Young



Micky Yoochun, Sungkyunkwan Scandal

javabeans: There were a LOT of idol stars in the drama world this year. With this trend comes a stigma that has become attached to idol-actors (Korea even coined a new word, the 연기돌, akin to saying the act-dol, or id-act — yeah, it doesn’t translate well). While that fear/skepticism is often proven true, a number of idols held their own. Micky Yoochun was one of the idol-actors under the most scrutiny — to be tackling a debut in a lead role and a historical piece — and surprised many by being…well, not bad at all. To be honest I can’t say he was revelatory, but he gave Sun-joon a fitting noble, principled air. Was it good acting or good casting? Probably a bit of both; ultimately what mattered to me was that I bought him as Sun-joon and thoroughly enjoyed his and Yoon-hee’s nerdy romance without once thinking, “If only he weren’t an idol-actor, we could have had a better Sun-joon…”

Honorable Mention: Taecyeon (Cinderella’s Sister)



Kim Hyun-joong, Playful Kiss

javabeans: You write this blurb!
girlfriday: No, YOU do it!
javabeans: I can’t. You saw the uproar when I called him a bad actor.
girlfriday: But do you disagree with that?
javabeans: Um… is this mic on? *tap tap*
girlfriday: I be scared of hate mail.
javabeans: I get WAY more hate mail than you do!
girlfriday: Because you’ve been running the site for four years. That’s bound to add up.
javabeans: He’s back to having straight hair. I have nothing positive to say.
girlfriday: But…fangirls are scary.
javabeans: YEAH they are.



Yoo Ah-in, Sungkyunkwan Scandal

girlfriday: Is it just me, or was it the Year of Hair? I’ve watched k-dramas pretty much my whole life, but never have I noticed such an emphasis placed on hair: from idol oppa perms to 80s rock mullets, hair took on a life of its own this year, and went beyond just the latest fashion craze. In some cases it was the make-or-break IT factor that turned actors into characters, became dominant character traits themselves, and even became plot devices to chart characters’ emotional changes. The honor of Most Glorious Mane of Glory goes to Yoo Ah-in, whose transformation from cutie pie into Badass Messenger Hottie was ALL ABOUT THE HAIR. Honorable Mentions include: Jang Geun-seok (Mary Stayed Out All Night) for Most Glorious Mane of Androgyny, Moon Geun-young (Cinderella’s Sister) for Most Glorious Mane of Angst, Kim Bum (The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry) for Most Glorious Mane As Grand Gesture, and Noh Min-woo (Rock Rock Rock) for Most Glorious Mane of Rock.

Annnnnd…. that’s it! Onward to the new year!


383 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. CLEE

    YES! thanks so much! ive been waiting for this 🙂

    • 1.1 DRAMADDICT/4ever

      Where is secret garden? I am a little sad that my most love drama of 2010 did not get mentioned at all, where some that did not even got recapped her got mentioned. Am I the only one who thinks this drama is one of the best dramas of 2010?
      But either way I love this review and agree with most of it (where is secret garden?) and LOL the “WORST USE OF AN IDOL STAR” is hilarious!!!!
      Can SG at least be included in best hot kiss ever!!!

      • 1.1.1 jojo

        SG’s not over yet. The writers still have six episodes left to screw up…

      • 1.1.2 John

        to be fair…secret garden is still airing…

        • mskololia

          Is MSOAN still airing or has it finished? 🙂

      • 1.1.3 dramalover2012

        haha~i was thinking the same thing! (yes…i LOVE this drama! my fav of 2010/2011!) but i guess like what others said, its not over yet….hopefully it’ll make it on next year! 😀

        • yeeee

          SG is my favorite drama of 2010 too!
          I love HyunBin&HaJiWon <3

      • 1.1.4 yui

        me too..LOL non stop ‘WORST USE OF AN IDOL STAR’ hahahahaha…
        SG would be included next year maybe…aahh..i kinda agree with all ur choices! ^^

        best drama : BAKER KING…but maybe cuz i haven’t watched joseon – x files…

        but well thanks all..

      • 1.1.5 anglvue

        for me, secret garden started off with a bang. i loved ha ji won’s character in the beginning because, i’ll admit it, she was hot and she when got on her bike to chase after that guy, well, she’d already won me over. as the drama went on, i felt like her character’s presence just disappeared. it was a heart breaking moment for me when i realized she wasn’t going to return to that character but would become, gasp, that damsel in distress. the drama kind of ended half way through for me but i endured until the end just to see the end.

        i feel like secret garden should replace chuno as most overrated. it started off with a bang but when the characters did the switch, hyun bin did not do a good job with playing what’s-her-name. i also felt like there was no point to the switch at all. the drama would have continued on had there been no body-switching. of course, this is just my personal opinion. my niece adored it for some reason. lol.

    • 1.2 tutu

      nice save javabeans on worst use of an idol lol. but i strongly agree with u.

    • 1.3 Angeli

      I agree about Miho in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho as the most favorite character. 🙂

  2. Lady Seoul

    Awesome first time to be first! haha. <3

    • 2.1 Lady Seoul

      Close, haha. Thanks so much for all the reviews! Read everyone one of them. Am now watching some dramas I didn’t because of the review. Seems like I missed a few good ones. <3

      • 2.1.1 Lady Seoul

        Oh! Man! GF you seriously make me LOL!
        **Finger Guns** haha!
        Hands Down Best Year & Review<3

  3. fanny

    LOL at JB and GF’s debate on worst use of an idol star… you’re the best and funniest recappers… thank you for all your hard works

    • 3.1 Anonymous

      LOL! Best review EVER!!

      • 3.1.1 deannadsc

        I would’ve agreed whole-heartedly that this is the best year-end REVIEW…….

        …but can’t you just stop the KHJ-bashing already? It sure leaves a sour taste in the mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 3.2 mrskimchee

      Best review EVER!!! couldn’t agree enough anymore LMAOL

    • 3.3 rachel

      hilarious! yes, fangirls are scary!! their idols do not have clay feet! 😀

      • 3.3.1 Anonymous

        That’s what I’m saying.

        I LOVE YOU JB & GF!! ♥

  4. hunterbear

    Lmao! Love it. Thanks you guys!! Now I want to watch Gumiho all over again.

    Shin Min-ah+ Lee Seung-gi = love, love, love

  5. d

    hoihoi couple!<33

  6. VanillaSalt

    woohoo first comment! lol. loved the part about Kim Hyun joong, its so true though. He IS the worst use of idol star!i think he either, needs more acting practice or goes back to being a pretty boy singer.

    • 6.1 VanillaSalt

      just kidding, im not first. I was when i was reading it…. 🙁

    • 6.2 graceayaladezobel

      Why? are you a better actor than him? can you even act?

      • 6.2.1 J

        You don’t have to know how to act to be able to judge how good someone’s acting is..

        Sorry fangirls, KHJ needs to work harder in his acting..or just stay in SS501 yup.

        • graceayaladezobel

          of course you have to…it takes one to know one…nd if you’re not better than him…better shut your mouth up…ok?!!!

          • Carina

            Do I need to be a baker to be allowed to judge if a piece of bread tastes good?

          • kim

            oppa, i will support you although I’ve become scary fangirl, gosh……

            you’re acting always great for me, i’ve fallen in love with your new hair oppa,

            sample of delusional fangirl, and why did you bothered to red dramabeans, please go to your idol forum

            it make me afraid to judge bread now, cause ayala tell me i need to be good baker to judge taste of bread

      • 6.2.2 bb

        i don’t think you don’t need to be an actor to judge if someones good or not…

        • graceayaladezobel

          and you are not God to judge other people’s capabilities…

          • azu

            you just proved that fangirls are scary..

    • 6.3 m

      Haters are confused admirers who cant understand why everybody loves you. -Paulo Coelho

    • 6.4 viola

      hey! vanillasalt who do you think you are saying KIM HYUN JOONG is the worst idol? definitely, KHJ is the BEST IDOL among the BEST. his acting career is not the topic here, but the effort his trying to give to all his supporters worldwide happy. you know what, maybe KHJ is not a good actor but definitely there’s an OUNCE of GOODNESS in HIS HEART & HIS being HUMBLE that makes HIM so SPECIAL & LOVE by MANY worldwide. you better stop saying ungood things about KHJ. anyway you’re not a fan of him so just ZIPPER YOUR STINGY MOUTH, okay……. or if you want, you can join with us, don’t hesitate to ask if you want to be one of KHJ fans. you’re always welcome with an open Heart. we, fans of KHJ love all those uneducated people like you . we pampered them with lots of LOVE & attention. sorry if i’m being rude but you’re the one who started it….

      • 6.4.1 Jackie

        See?!! hehehehe.. ROLF!!!! You GF and JB. The predictions is right!! Your mails will flood. Nothing against the idol, its just a comment.

        But honestly, I dropped the Playful kiss at the middle part episodes, its boring! ** Peace you all the fans***

      • 6.4.2 azu

        There is a difference between “the worst idol” and “the worst USE of an idol” I believe vanillasalt used the latter. Read more carefully next time…

        Being a fan, you don’t have to like everything about a celebrity. I love KHJ as an idol and as a person (i fell in love with him in We Got Married) but not as an actor. At least not until he proves himself.

    • 6.5 viola

      vanillasalt what are you waiting for, join with us & be one of KHJ fans so that the BAD air you breath may change to Good air……..

      • 6.5.1 xuperjoyy

        LOL oh my goodness. reading this post and the comments has thoroughly amused me.
        my night has been made.

      • 6.5.2 notevenfunny

        wow how old are you, five?

  7. yay

    This was great review! Thanks JB, GF, and all the guest bloggers. and you will def. not be getting any hate mail from me for calling Kim Hyun Joong the worst idol star actor. Lets hope our mind changes in the future 🙂

  8. monocot

    Thanks and here’s to the new year!

  9. Jane

    Definitely agree on Park Si Yeon and Kang Ji Hwan 🙂

  10. 10 langdon813

    I lub you guys so much. Wish I had more time to post like I used to, but rest assured I’m still hanging on every single word, every single day!

    2010 was a such a great year for dramas and a wonderful year for DB with the addition of girlfriday. Can’t wait for the rants and snarks of 2011 with you guys!

  11. 11 Anon106

    I had a ton of fun with Gumiho. Nice that it makes your best comedy series. (:

    Thank you guys for your fantastic work on this site. I love this place. Happy New Year!

  12. 12 miss unknown

    LOL @ the comments on worst use of idol star/actor! LOL…it’s so true though! He’s good as an eye candY! I seriously only watches Playful Kiss for his goodlooks!! LOL…

  13. 13 Anonymous

    omo.LOL..I love the conversation with the subject of worst use of an idol star. thank you for the review.

  14. 14 danna

    Thank you sooooooooooo much!!!….i’m surprised JB didnt mention Kin Hyun Joong’s hair in the mane of glory category which by the way is the best category ever…..LMAO…..and speaking of Kim Hyun Joong that biton him as the worst use of an idol was hilarious…..u girls are the best (all 4)…thank you so much and a Happy New Year to y’all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. 15 indigowine

    No one would bash you both for allegedly trying to make Kim Hyun Joong as the worst used of idol this year.. cause he IS.


  16. 16 jj

    Personally don’t think MGIAG was deserving of that many awards- it was cute, but bored me by episode 9. I tried forcing myself through the later episodes and ended up having to settle with reading the recaps and watching the few comic scenes (I was fast forwarding through nearly every minute). I guess if you buy the connection between the leads it’d be passable, but was a giant Meh in terms of story and acting for me.

    • 16.1 Jen

      I agree. MGIAG was amusing at first but it started boring me to where I lost interest entirely and I had to force myself to finish watching it. I fastfowarded through a lot of parts also and found myself rolling my eyes at the ‘comedic’ scenes because they were so lame and UN-funny to me. And I found both the story and acting to be rather weak and didn’t care for it all.

      • 16.1.1 Anonymous

        Well, that’s how you see it.
        But still, as a romantic comedy genre, it really deserves to get the award, since you’ve mentioned that it was amusing and comedic.
        However, it appeared to be boring on the next episodes since they need to resolve the conflict.
        It is something that is not funny anymore, how should they rely on comedy just to solve their issue?

        Come on, romantic comedy isn’t just about being amused and not bored. True comedy should let us feel the emotions that we should feel at the moment. And I think what makes MGIAG a strong contender here.

        It would take a lifetime (I think) to replace Delightful Girl Choon Hyang in our hearts but MGIAG was another Hong creation that I’m very proud of.

      • 16.1.2 alex

        I agree too .

      • 16.1.3 alex

        I am sorry , I agree to JJ and Jen : MGIAG was so boring after the first episode that I stopped and the recaps I read ( thanks to you all recapers ) did not give me the desire of watching the next .

      • 16.1.4 jandoe

        I agree too, was surprised to see guniho in so many of the awards. Its a decent show to me vut it bore me too in its sexond hhalf.m though I’m also a lil surprised that SS was mentioned in overrated drama- I always thought it was too underrated!

        Enjoyed this plenty though, thanks a lot you 4!

      • 16.1.5 anon

        I usually love Hong sisters’ dramas, but I agree with this.

    • 16.2 bakshah

      100% agree…me also fast forwarding nearly every minute… but still want to know the ending…

      • 16.2.1 xuperjoyy

        I’m not going to lie, I really really wanted to like this drama. MGIAG is one of those shows that makes you want to love it because it’s premises are so adorable and likeable!
        But to be honest, I was only watching for Shin Mina after the third episode. She’s beautiful and hilarious, I loved her as the gumiho!
        Everything else seriously bored me.
        But no worries, it was a good drama.
        There was no good romcoms this year other than SKK Skandal so no hard feelings, esp because SKK is kind of straddling 4 different genres.

  17. 17 Nano

    OH! It’s out!
    Thanks so much, JB and GF for the wonderful year, the wonderful posts, and the wonderful reviews. There’s no doubt that your wonderful and incredible writing skills blow me away EVERY SINGLE TIME.
    새해 복 많이 받으세요~!

  18. 18 ly

    Well, i really think “Baker King, Kim Tak Gu” is the king of drama and rating of the year. Tak Gu’s acting is very persuasive. The storyline is addicting and the setting is beautiful. I couldn’t stop watching after episode 5.

    I don’t know why nobody mentioned “Life is Beautiful”…but it is one of the year greatest drama. The rating is very respectable and it was one of talk of the town dramas of the year. It also gained alot more K-drama fans oversea as well. Some of my friends here in Texas that never interested in K-drama before told me that they started to watch and love K-drama after seeing “Life is Beautiful”…

    Anyway, other than that I agree with the rest of the editor-picks.

    • 18.1 Yen

      Call me a sucker but I loved Baker King, too. Just great acting and while cliched, a great plot. A feel good drama. Nothing wrong with makjang as long a it is done well, I say.

      • 18.1.1 hanjiyoon

        Agreed with both of you!

      • 18.1.2 sunandmoon

        Agreed! I am no fan of makjang, but I loved King of Baking, Kim Takgu. It sort of started out like a trashy revenge melodrama, but turned out to be a beautiful story about wisdom and forgiveness, grappling with the big themes of life that romcoms rarely touch and portraying complex characters. I especially liked that no one was good or evil in the end — the last conversation between the antagonist father and son was one of the most poignant k-drama scenes I’ve ever seen. Despite some obvious audience emotional manipulation and over-the-top yelling and crying scenes, I found this drama to have substance.

        Maybe my tastes are changing. I loved You’re Beautiful last year, but this year I couldn’t get into Gumiho, Mary, Sungkyunkwan, Prosecutor, Champ, or any of the romcoms this year except Secret Garden and My Country Calls. I’m thinking of going back and starting Life is Beautiful, Giant, and some of the other more dramatic series.

        • niKai

          i agree about baker king being a great drama. even though some may not like it because they think it’s predictable because it’s makjang and you sort of know where it’s going, i think the predictability is part of its strength. why? because you know certain things/ending will happen and the gripping journey towards that expected ending makes it even more worth it when it finally comes. some dramas you think are great when they are open-ended or make you feel intelligent with it’s not so straight-forward approach. But if you’re given a heart and soul performance from a straight-forward drama, then even average people, or not-so-smart or whatever can appreciate it. that’s why it appeals to a larger crowd. Sometimes, people just want a moving, simple, easy to understand drama with a heart. And that doesn’t make it overrated.

      • 18.1.3 Kay

        I guess I’ll join the sucker clan because I loved Baker King as well….though I love my share of highly intellectual and thematic dramas, I do love a little melodrama in my life and Baker King did a fantastic job!!! I was literally hooked from episode 1, yes it did have some over-acting and the plot could have been less “dramatic” however I think this is what the category “melodrama” is and Baker King did a fantastic job of bringing out different themes with the story.

        I certainly don’t think its the “best” drama of the year however I also think it should get its fair share of credit (and not in the form of being the most overrated lol). And I gotta add, this drama had the best break out actors….Yoon Shi Soon was phenomenal

        • xuperjoyy

          I’m not going to lie, I thought Baker King was really interesting too. But unfortunately, especially near the end, I found that the plot started getting really wacky and the antics in the show were boring me.
          I watched up to episode 18 ish and from then on fast forwarded through everything. I honestly didn’t even need to watch the ending since it was kind of obvious what was going to happen (which it did, everyone lives happily ever after.)
          I did think it was rather well thought out though, and I loved all the actors and actresses.
          Makjang, but nonetheless it deserves at least some of its fanbase!

      • 18.1.4 adj

        i second that!

    • 18.2 noi

      give me yoon~ give me shi~ give me yoon~ give me YOON SHI YOON! xD

  19. 19 Biankoy

    I sooo totally agree with most of your reviews!!!
    The best actors and actresses awardees are really deeserving. and i couldn’t help but laugh my guts off with your review of Kim Gab Soo! He was in everything that i watched this year! hahaha.
    Thanks Dramabeans for this wonderful year!

  20. 20 chriskk

    So so so so funny, yet so so so so true.
    Girlfriday, you did good by being the last one standing in the fight for favourite character. Shin Mina rocks Gumiho!!

    Love javabeans & girlfriday’s “little chat” regarding worst use of an idol star! hands down the funniest part ever in this review.
    2nd place goes to the various Glorious Mane Awards….spot on all of them, you did ^^

    ah….this makes me wanna go re-watch all the dramas again

  21. 21 Mel

    JB, GF, DF, Thundie…thanks for all your work, that makes us Kdrama addicts more addicted to dramas that are great and awesome and the non awesome, average and the so, so ones. All of you make me me glued to all kinds of dramas but it can’t be helped there may be statements that can be unacceptable. But always, it’s great to have this site to share a laugh, sad moments and just simply be entertained. My addiction is just growing worse and worse to any kind of drama that I take to and your recaps always bring enlightenment and “oh yeah… I didn’t see that or naaa, that couldn’t be..” I’m learning to talk to myself and it’s amazing I really can hold long conversations with myself by just reading all your recaps!!!

    Fighting to the Dramabeans crew, hope that you guys hold a convention since I don’t think you can hold a concert. You know just have you guys talk and have us your faithful audience be there to ask questions afterwards. Really, how about a seminar on Kdramas, I’d be willing to pay just to meet you all. I mean, I am already aware that this addiction to Kdramas is incurable and have accepted.

    Again, thanks to all of you for just making my Kdrama addiction get worse and worse!!! It’s okey, I’m just loving all your points of view even when we don’t agree…

    … but really best use of mane category (?) Yoo Ah In–has been fascinating to me since Chil Woo–he was great there. I did love Chuno a lot, got me glued to the TV every week–those bare muscles and skin exposures didn’t hurt at all and Dae Gil’s devotion to Onion–one of the most heart wrenching love stories, though I didn’t mind Onion ending up with Tae Ha… Coffee House–loved PSY’s character–no self sacrificing heroine but someone strong and that the 2 female leads did not antoganize each other!!! What a breath of fresh air in Kdrama… if I could go on and on…

    Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…simply happy holidays to all Dramabeans followers.

    • 21.1 Mel

      … I really liked Baker King… I cheated and watched it from Ep 24 on, still I understood the story and ended up liking it.. it’s okey to cheat to get my daily kdrama fix (that’s my stand)… of course my love for this year has to be Oh! My Lady, yeah I’m not the only one who did a lot of fangurling for Si Won–all you OML Angels out there join me!!! I loved Chae Rim for taking the role to let him shine, yeah it should have been called Oh! My Daddy… really, I could go on and on… thanks for this great forum … I may be back later on to add more…. Oh yeah, there was My Country Calls/Call of the Country with Lee So Kyung and Ryu Jin–who stole the show… again thanks JB, GF, DF and Thundie…

      • 21.1.1 hanjiyoon

        “Oh yeah, there was My Country Calls/Call of the Country with Lee So Kyung and Ryu Jin–who stole the show…”

        YES! I undoubtedly agree with you. Call of the Country has probably got to be the most underrated drama this year. It’s a shame it got such low viewer ratings. Hana and DoHoon? Love them. Hahah, if only… ;P

        • ktb

          “Ryu Jin–who stole the show…”

          He was hilarious. I was watching it in the library during breaks between classes and got dirty looks when I snorted with laughter during his scenes (yes, hello run-on sentence). I tried watching the drama, but ended up just fast forwarding to his scenes. So funny!

          • kay

            his scenes were seriously the funniest of all dramas this year. i loved his character hahaha

          • sunandmoon

            I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who fell for Ryu Jin’s Dohoon!

          • hanjiyoon

            Hahahah. Agreed! I usually don’t fall for male characters that much in dramas… but DoHoon was definitely another story. He’s so dorky… how can you NOT love him?

    • 21.2 maria

      you know, with a little bit of planning, we could totally make a Dramabeans convention HAPPEN… i’m positive. whaddya say??? 😛

      • 21.2.1 maria

        i think the site is popular enough to get a little bit of support, huh? and a couple acts, maybe? 😛 😛 😛

  22. 22 LL

    A wonderful read – thank you, and happy holidays!

  23. 23 rayray


    hehe I m so happy Mi-ho won as fav character.

    also must say, am glad to see am not the only one who has an inappropriate crush on Kim Gab-soo.:B

    • 23.1 D

      he’s my fav ahjusshi ever.. but have you read this?


      • 23.1.1 rayray

        oohhhhh my goodness!!!
        hahahahahaha!!*hugs D* I m having such a bad morning but this just cheered me up on so many levels!

        hes too funny and cool!

      • 23.1.2 Christy

        Gee, this is hilarious! 😀 😀

  24. 24 Mawiie

    Thanks a lot! Before the year ends I just want to say a big THANK YOU for all the hard (and awesome!) work JB and GF (as well as the guest recappers) have done this year. I’m sure that you hear it often, but we fans truly appreciate the heart and soul that you always pour into this website.

    I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and may 2011 be a good drama year 😀

  25. 25 stars4u

    while reading this:

    Best. Character. Ever. **finger guns**

    I was doing the finger guns myself! LOL!!

    • 25.1 bishbash

      me too! hoi-hoi!

      • 25.1.1 xuperjoyy

        me too! why is shin mina so cute!? LOL

  26. 26 estel

    A big THANK YOU to Dahee, girlfriday, javabeans, and thunderbolt! You guys are awesome. ^_^

  27. 27 grateful1

    And the award for The Funniest, Most Insightful and Utterly Delightful K-drama Blog goes to…… DRAMABEANS! (thunderous applause)

    We love you!!!

  28. 28 celestialorigin

    What a delightful recap summary. I giggled, screamed and am utterly satisfied. Thank you so much. Big hugs!

  29. 29 j

    I think Kin Hyun Joong did improved a lot in his acting compared with BOF . But the problem is the wrong choice of role. Rather than the quiet type of character , he should go for something cheerful , lively, talkative and even crazy. This guy has lots of potential but simply choose the wrong road to go.
    I hope you will become his fan in the future.
    I wasnt a fan of Noh Min Woo but after Rock Rock Rock, I start to like him a lot ~
    Anyway thanks for all wonderful reviews :X

    • 29.1 blue jay

      um, yeah, i agree, Kim Hyun Joong wasn’t really the best in Playful Kiss, but somehow I can’t help but feel that he can be a good actor – compared to BOF he actually did improve though not satisfactorily enough.
      Uh, I actually find the whole Idol-Star phenomenon a bit bemusing, rest assured JB and GF – to hell with the hate mails, you guys are the best recappers here!!!
      Big time LOL at the Manes of Glory! 🙂 Thnx gals!

  30. 30 hanjiyoon

    Ohhh hahahah. The comments on Kim Hyun Joong. Yes, fangirls ARE quite scary. 😛

    Thanks for everyone’s hard work into writing these reviews!

  31. 31 sequestial

    Definitely agree that Joseon X-Files was the best drama of the year. It felt great seeing it win so many Beanie awards.

  32. 32 Ro

    lol I love the description for Kim Hyun Joong ;P

  33. 33 dramaboy1

    i think just because a drama is predictable, uses a previous successful format, such as takgu, it doesn’t mean that its a bad drama…i mean in the end the best dramas are the ones which were able to draw the most viewers interest and passion aka the ones with the highest ratings…i just couldn’t get past the first few episodes of both the woman who wants to marry and runaway bc acting just wanted to make me puke

    • 33.1 phoenixash

      I could reply with pretty much the same thing… just because a drama is popular/has high ratings doesn’t make it a great drama. You have to keep in mind that it’s all subjective- the best drama to me is obviously different than the best drama for you, but that doesn’t make either of us wrong. Ratings can sometimes play a factor into the quality of a drama, but it’s a sad world if we automatically assume popularity = best. Awards like these are great because they can help expose us to shows that we have not necessarily heard of before and make new fans out of us.
      If you think about it in terms of the Oscars (or whatever awards ceremony you have in your country), Avatar shouldn’t sweep all the awards just because it earned over 2 billion dollars in the box office.
      And I liked Runaway 😛

      • 33.1.1 Megumi

        It clearly signifies that homegrown korean audiences and overseas audiences feel differently for different dramas, I also think calling kim tak gu most overrated drama just because it got too high ratings is just little bit too much because it does sound like fans are jealous because the drama they didn’t like got high ratings and the dramas they like got lower ratings. It’s not an easy task to pull national ratings no matter who was casted or what kind of plot or story was told. I think it clearly deserves a little bit of respect for achieving that rather than bashing them for it…

  34. 34 ktv

    Love The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry. That’s the best drama of this year to me. Its humor and its story just touched my heart so much. It makes me feel so much alive and human.

    Thank you for your great work this year. JB and GF, you guy rock!!!! Hwaiting ^_^

    • 34.1 msim

      For me too, it was the absolute best.
      It was modern, sincere and hilarious. Love stories not obsessed about longevity and fitting-in but about growth
      and originality and being true to one’s heart and integrity.

      In my book the Best Glorious Mane prize goes to Buki.

      I really want to express my gratitude to javabeans and girlfriday for providing this oasis of k-drama-joy for people all over the world. Much love.

  35. 35 Autumn

    ah thank you so much. i really appreciate you guys for taking the time to put this awesome review series together.

    lol @ Kim Hyung Joong. never underestimate the power of fangirls. honestly, i did somewhat like him in PK, but acting is clearly not his forte.

    agree with the best alternative pairing. *sob* gulro, it pains me every time i think about his hopeless crush for daemul. sigh.

    hahahaa, those good yeorim/gulro-inspired fanvids (sure you haven’t watched them on repeat…). i still remember the first clip i saw and was rather traumatised by it. clearly i didn’t know how far some people could take on the meaning of bromance. from that point on, i couldn’t get naughty thoughts out of my head every time SJK and YAI appears onscreen. damn you fanvids.

    i think Chuno deserves an honorable mention for its ost, each track was awesome and made the show much more bearable for me.

    thanks again for the review and can’t wait to see what great dramas will be offered to us in the new year.

  36. 36 bishbash

    “Jang Geun-seok (Mary Stayed Out All Night) for Most Glorious Mane of Androgyny”

    Thanks to all of you @ Dramabeans!! This is the year that I visit Dramabeans more faithfully than ever 😀

  37. 37 Severine

    “Idon’tknowbecauseIdidn’twatchanyofthemonrepeatIswear” LOL!

    Guess who went on Youtube and typed “Jaeshin and Yongha” in the search box right after reading that…

    • 37.1 Mawiie

      me? xD

    • 37.2 maria

      me? ..ME! 😛

      • 37.2.1 Renhye

        ME! ME!

    • 37.3 Reiven

      LOL I have no interest in the drama but I so did.

    • 37.4 Serendipity

      I confess! Me 🙂
      am watching kbs award and jaeshin and yongha were nominated best couple too!! JB / GF, were u both the deciding vote? Hahaha

  38. 38 Eleven11

    LOVE you guys (girlfriday+javabeans) for all you’ve done this year. You are the cream the holds my drama-watching cookie together.

    Stay classy, ladies!

    Also, to everyone who comments on this site. Many good discussions have been had, with people far more intelligent than I. Thanks!

    • 38.1 Eleven11

      Also: you’re the vermouth to my drama-watching martini.

      The sugar-encrusted glass to my cosmopolitan.

      The mint leaves in my mojito!

      • 38.1.1 Lahlita

        LOL at all the alcohol analogies.
        Just how lit are you right now, dear?

        • Eleven11

          it seems to be getting worse as time wears on. I fear that if I comment anymore from this point I will never be able to show my username here again..

          Bah, tis the season! falalalala, lalalala

  39. 39 Karen

    oh, thanks for the editors’ pick of the year…

    I agreed that BK is not everyone’s cup of tea..especially not with overseas fans. I watched for a few episodes until Tak Gu went to the bakery shop to work. After that it bored me….

    My girlfriend is a gumiho, on the other hand, is my favourite of the year. This time, the gumiho becomes the lead. Shin Min Ah with Lee Seung Gi, nobody thinks that they can work so well together (because of older woman-younger man pairing). Their chemistry was 1 of the best we have seen so far in k-dramas. Guess it is going to be difficult for other comedy drama to take over this drama in my heart..

    GF & JB are so funny on the write-up on ‘The Worst Use of an Idol star’ Kim Hyun Joong. Both of you are so scared of his crazy fans and start pushing the job to one another. They(Kim Hyun Joong fans) are so fierce & scary?? This is the best part of the write up.. LOL!

    • 39.1 phoenixash

      I completely agree on baker king. It was quite fascinating to see how many Koreans were crazy in love with the show, but how few international fans there were in comparison. I hardly ever heard it mentioned on English-language drama sites. I didn’t enjoy it all that well either, I wouldn’t call it the worst drama of the year but I think it deserves its spot as most overrated.

  40. 40 hapacalgirl

    I actually preferred Cinderella Sister’s soundtrack more than that of Sungkyunkwan scandal and more than any of the OSTs I heard this year (I haven’t seen your honorable mentions so no opinion on those). Cinderella’s soundtrack was great in itself and was used masterfully in the drama. There is just that something special about an OST that is more instrumental. In fact I think the downhill of the 2nd half and underutilization of CJM were the only things I didn’t like about CS. The acting, cinematography, and music was done amazingly well if only the story didn’t go to angstville x 100 this would of been a great drama but even with all of that its still one of my favorites for those other factors alone.

    I liked MGIAG as everyone but I really don’t get the accolades because as a story and acting it was passable but nothing great if anything it was the chemistry between the leads that made this worth watching and not really their acting.

    For best couple it would be MSOAN hands down for me. I know people are hating on MSOAN but the acting ability and the chemistry (especially the chemistry) is amazing between the Geuns. Even the hoi hoi couple was no match to the Geuns chemistry on screen at least for me. I loved Park Shi Yeon’s and Kang Ji Hwans portrayal of their characters but I honestly didn’t like the Eunyoung/Ji Soo couple at all but thats just my opinion on that drama.

    • 40.1 Eleven11

      Yeah, I have a soft spot for Cinderella’s Sister too. If only the writing hadn’t petered out after episode 4, I would have made it my best friend and bought it a condo. My Korean friend sent my the OST (all the way to NZ!) and I’m pretty sure I had a drunken chat with her about it on Facebook, so I kind of have to love it.

      • 40.1.1 hapacalgirl

        Oh the writing….. This drama had everything and I mean EVERYTHING going for it to make it one of THE dramas of the year and one of my favorites of all time but the writing just had to go downhill. Its first 4 episodes were some of the best episodes I have ever seen in a drama. Most dramas that leave a lot to desire are missing more than one thing but this drama had everything going for it, the cinematography was GORGEOUS , the music on point, and the acting AMAZING and well casted, but the darn writing.

    • 40.2 Jen

      Yeah MGIAG is really is not as good as everyone makes it out to be. I liked it initially but found myself checking out of the latter half because it bored me to death. And the story and acting really wasn’t anything special. Lee Seung Ki actually annoyed me here, and I never liked Shin Min Ah to being with.

      I didn’t like the Ji Soo/Eun Young coupling either. The two were way too dysfunctional for my taste and I honestly feel that the two would never work out ever.

    • 40.3 lilly

      I also think Cinderella’ sister OST is the best of the year

    • 40.4 ucul

      totally agree. although i hate the drama, but cinderella sister ost is best soundtrack of year. at least for me .

  41. 41 l1lskyl1l

    thanks for the post. I was surprised My girlfriend is a..was a winner for some of them..anyway u guys made me excited for next year dramas =)


  42. 42 shelly

    I love this!!!!!!! <3 Thank you so much to all the editors who I adore ALMOST as much as Jaeshin.
    Let's see. I agree with I think everything lol.
    Though Chun Jung Myung should also be part of "Biggest Waste of Talent." He comes back from 2 years in the army and you give him that?! CS, I am like javabeans in that I refuse to forgive you for your utter fail. The cast was PHE-FRICKIN-NOMENAL and you let them down like that?! WHY WRITERS WHY. Anyway. Moving on.
    Yoo Ah In. Oh god how I love him @_@
    "Badass Messenger Hottie" (that I more or less want to have babies with………I mean…..*apologizes) shocked me most because I had seen "The Man Who Can't Get Married" which kind of sucked in all ways but in that, he took adorable to new levels with the huge glasses and the eye smile and the funny flannel shirts. So I was kind of in shock when I saw him in SKKS. Really hoping for a new drama from him soon <3 And please. Pick a good one.
    LOL at the KHJ argument.
    Hope everybody had a merry Christmas!

  43. 43 AmbieH

    – girlfriday: I be scared of hate mail.

    Dammit yall should have a podcast lol!!

  44. 44 maria

    LOL that one for KHJ has got to be THE BEST BLURB EVER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    also that one on the Bad Guy evil witch. nyahahahahahahahha! you guys crack me up so much, i’ literally (LITERALLY!) hiding in the kitchen, away from our annual family reunion, just so i can pop in to read this. NYAHAHAH! thanks for the reprieve. 😛

    i think SKK had a pretty good ensemble, although let’s face it, i never really gave Road No. 1 a fighting chance. oh, sue me. it was horrible, okay?! O_O 😛

    i have a question, though– are these the results of the Beanies already? coz i just watched something (ahem, *Something Great*) that would totally require us to open the category for Best Kiss again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 44.1 DRAMADDICT4ever

      I think I know what you are talking about, and agree with you 100%

  45. 45 ela

    i agree Joseon X-Files wins hands down for best drama, absolutely brilliant!
    HAHAHA ROFLMAO on the whole KHJ argument hahaha
    i’d be scared oehe tf the fan girls too hhey are scary with their pitchforks haha but we are all entitled to our opinions and they should respect that
    KUDOS to JB and GF for the recaps, you make me crack up each and every time

    • 45.1 ela

      *of the
      haha typos sorry

  46. 46 Nana

    Where is the BEST PERM AWARDS ??? How dare you left it out ?

  47. 47 a

    JYJ fighting

  48. 48 rorikurama

    i guess Secret Garden got shut out… 🙁

    • 48.1 maez


      • 48.1.1 DRAMADDICT4ever

        I am sad too, but still I am happy because I love MGIAG!!!

    • 48.2 asianromance

      Hyun-bin from secret garden got honourable mention for best actor! Didn’t you notice? I think it is hard to judge Secret Garden because really there are just too many awesome dramas this year that had actually finished airing and Secret Garden is only abt 2/3s through as of this weekend (and I’m sure javabeans & co. have started preparing for what they were going write even before this weekend).

      And for all we know, it may completely eff up in the final episodes as the writer is also preparing for My Princess, which airs next week. I don’t know many writers working on two dramas with overlapping airdates.

      anyways, the beanie awards will most likely yield different results.

  49. 49 JD

    Rofl, you and Girlfriday’s little blurb was hiiiiiiilarious!

  50. 50 lessaofpern

    LOL Have I said how much I LOVE you guys 😀 Thanks for a wonderful year 😀 HUGS 😀

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