Drama Reactions & Reviews
2011 Editors’ Picks [Year in Review, Part 5]
by | December 24, 2011 | 388 Comments

Part 5 is here!

As in past years, we here at Dramabeans owe huge thanks to guest bloggers — thank you, kaedejun and Dahee Fanel! — for participating in the review series, as well as HeadsNo2 for contributing to our Picks. You guys are awesome and make this time of year extra-special, providing lots of good stuff to read, think on, and, yes, sometimes disagree with. It wouldn’t be as invigorating without a little friendly debate, would it? We’d also like to extend our gratitude to thundie, who was a key part of our selection crew in voting for our Picks below. Much love to all of the reviewers, as well as everyone reading.

On to the Picks!


Dear Cloud – “반짝이는 밤, 메리 크리스마” (Twinkling Night, Merry Christmas)
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2011 Editors’ Picks



City Hunter

girlfriday: There’s just something about a superhero story done right — a rich world filled with larger-than-life characters, a morally-guided code of honor, and a dash of dry humor to undercut the life-and-death stakes. It was as fun as comic books are meant to be, and as gripping and addictive as k-dramas know how to be. Certainly not flawless, but City Hunter broke new ground in k-drama badass hero fiction, and swept us up in the heart-pounding action. It took us to a world where we could indulge that childlike belief in heroes righting wrongs, and driving off into the sunset to fight another day.

Honorable Mentions: The Princess’s Man, Tree With Deep Roots, Can You Hear My Heart, Sign



Han Seok-kyu, Tree With Deep Roots

Dahee Fanel: I personally am not a fan of Tree With Deep Roots. But I don’t think anyone can deny Han Seok-kyu’s acting prowess in this show. He steals every scene he’s in, with humour, charisma, intelligence, and best of all, complete and utter ease. You never feel worried that he’ll mess up — we are in the hands of a professional. You get the sense that he could do all of this in his sleep and still feel natural. He’s the main highlight of the show, no doubt about it. It also helps that he’s sexy as hell. I want to stroke his beard. (Must…resist…the power…of…the…ahjusshi…)


Cha Seung-won

girlfriday: Cha Seung-won has been a lot of things — badass, slick, eeeevil — but he showed that he could erase all that in our collective memories with one outburst of manchild ridiculousness. At times his alter-ego Dokko Jin seemed legitimately crazy, like he’d gotten a few screws loose from shooting one too many action flicks. But Cha Seung-won always found a way to bring him back down to earth with one look of heartbreaaaaaaaaak. An actor who can make you cry is good, but an actor who can make you cry from laughter is the winner in my book.

Honorable Mentions: Lee Min-ho (City Hunter), Jung Il-woo (Flower Boy Ramyun Shop)



Su Ae, Thousand Day Promise

kaedejun: She is a tour de force as a young woman who grapples with her accelerating dementia by controlling it, and then falling apart. Pensive at times, cheerful the next, and then breaking down into a frenzy — in one frickin’ episode. You can’t help but watch her because she sucks up all the energy on the screen, and from Kim Rae-won. She can pull all these emotions from you and render you powerless. Now that is something.

Honorable Mentions: Ha Hee-ra (President), Yeom Jung-ah (Royal Family)



Kim Young-chul, The Princess’s Man

HeadsNo2: Kim Young-chul dominated the screen as the ambitious Prince Suyang on a journey to usurp the throne from his own nephew. As the main antagonist serving up the crux of the political turmoil which swept up the rest of our cast, he delivered a multi-dimensional political mastermind of a character that became a true force of nature. Terrible yet awe-inspiring, we couldn’t help but applaud him even as we scorned his vicious misdeeds. Not without his weaknesses, he delivered his own brand of wicked cleverness that remained just as wholly believable as his lesser-seen sympathetic side (just squint hard enough, you’ll see it). Played in a lesser actor’s hands, this role could have leaned more toward mustache-twirling and maniacal laughter, but in the capable hands of Kim Young-chul, it became one for the record books.


Eom Ki-joon, Scent of a Woman

Dahee Fanel: For years now Eom Ki-joon has been criminally underrated, cast aside in supporting roles, his immense talent ignored. So it was nice to see the surge of new fans that his role in Scent of a Woman created — a boost in popularity that was well-deserved. He gave a character that was a little flat on paper a very natural depth and realism, effortlessly portraying his awkward bumbling moments, his flashes of cold anger, and his pent-up sorrow. And on a shallow note, he wore glasses. I have a weakness for talented men with glasses. So, you know, in case anyone had any doubt: He’s MINE. Just sayin’.

Honorable Mentions: Choi Min-soo (Warrior Baek Dong-soo), Jung Bo-seok (Can You Hear My Heart), Park Ki-woong (The Musical)



Hong Soo-hyun, The Princess’s Man

Dahee Fanel: Finally, Hong Soo-hyun has found the role of her career. This is the turning point for her. She fit into the role of Princess Gyeonghye like a glove, and the two melded together so well that I often forgot that she was an actress who was portraying a character. And by finding that perfect outfit for herself, so to speak, she managed to tap into a special well of emotion, from which she drew out passion and tears and conviction. She hasn’t exactly had the most successful career, or the best acting history, but this role has changed the cards for her. And seeing how she’s chosen another promising drama for her next project (History of the Salaryman), it seems that she’s eager to continue to hone her newfound skills. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.

Honorable Mentions: Choi Myung-gil (Miss Ripley, Man of Honor), Lee Mi-sook (Thousand Day Promise)



City Hunter

HeadsNo2: With equal parts action, romance, comedy, revenge thriller, and family drama, the potential for a schizophrenic screen experience was high. Like the City Hunter who juggled his various personas and disguises, the deft directing hand elevated all the myriad genres at play into a cohesive whole, making what could have just been a comic book world into a heightened reality that drew us in and never let go. The streets of Seoul came alive before our eyes, beautifully lit and orchestrated with a loving hand that kept the action centered on a moving story that brought out the idealist in all of us — the hope that heroes exist, and that good will always prevail.

Honorable Mentions: The Princess’s Man, Vampire Prosecutor, Thousand Day Promise



City Hunter

javabeans: Reinventing a famous comic franchise is a tricky prospect, but City Hunter did so with style, giving us a new contemporary hero confronting modern evils. The drama boasted a directorial flair, invested acting performances, and a moody ambiance, but none of these would mean anything in the absence of a tight plot that kept us guessing, throwing in smaller arcs that tied into the big one for a smartly paced ride that delivered constant conflict and payoff. What resulted was a hero’s journey that was intellectually satisfying and retained thematic integrity, tied together with an emotional throughline that was at times feel-good, other times heart-tugging. Best of all? Season 1 was a total package that also gave us the perfect launchpad for a potential Season 2. *Ahem.* (I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.)

Honorable Mentions: Tree With Deep Roots, Best Love, The Duo, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Can You Hear My Heart



Best Love

HeadsNo2: Best Love delivered some of the most memorable characters of the year, with metaphors, puns, and meta commentary shooting from the script as fast as the whiplash of public opinion. In the cutthroat world of show business where she’s in constant danger of becoming irrelevant, Gu Ae-jung played the straight man to the zany man-child Dokko Jin, who’s perfectly happy to enjoy his lofty pedestal of fame while remaining in his ‘safety zone’. That is, until he experiences a little thing called first love — and it’s not long before he’s yelling “PANTIES!”, growing potato flowers, trusting Pororo to discern his feelings, and even threatening Lee Seung-gi. The humor laced itself into the witty dialogue as much as it did into the slapstick, assigning inanimate things like sneakers and pens with such meaning to the characters that it inevitably spilled over to us as the audience hook, line, and sinker. Ding Dong!


Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

kaedejun: Here’s my definition of “comedy”: a drama of amusing circumstances occurring to a character or characters, while tapping into an emotional center. Happy ending required. Flower Boy Ramyun Shop has had its share of ludicrousness and hot kissing scenes. However it maintains an emotional center: you cannot control whom you love — you just do. Seeing all the boys rise to the occasion and show their love for Eun-bi, and for each other, in their own way is kind of sweet. Most importantly, it never fails to bring a smile to your face when you see these young ‘uns hopping around, not knowing a thing about love but insisting they do.

Honorable Mention: Ojakkyo Brothers



The Princess’s Man

javabeans: Purists may balk at the fusion-ification of the sageuk genre (hi, Dad), but The Princess’s Man made the best use of the trend: by establishing the cornerstones of fact, then using it as a basis for a kickass story. It used historical record to establish its framework, but relied on its own well of creativity to supply its conflicts, thereby using history as a tool, but not a crutch. The story never lost sight of the grand-scale Big Picture — a kingdom, a country’s future at stake — but remained true to the human truths at its core: A father-daughter relationship torn apart by greed, lovers fighting tooth and nail to honor their love without dishonoring their families and senses of self. Epic stuff.

Honorable Mention: Tree With Deep Roots



City Hunter

HeadsNo2: Not only were the action scenes impressively shot and captured, but their creativity is what made City Hunter the true action standout of the year. As a vigilante hero raised for the sole purpose of revenge, Yoon-sung relied on his intelligence and resourcefulness in order to use his surroundings to his own advantage, literally imbibing the show with a brand of action specific to his character. We won’t soon forget the spoon fight, the baseball cap fight, the walkie-talkie fight, the water bottle fight, the money-bag fight, the junkyard fight, or the final fight. More than revenge, Yoon-sung’s desire to free Jin-pyo from the shackles of his dark past is what drove the narrative forward so that the action and thrills carried weight, leaving us on the edge of our seat at every tense moment and every slow motion hero walk.

Honorable Mentions: Warrior Baek Dong-soo, Vampire Prosecutor, Girl K



The Princess’s Man

Dahee Fanel: Music, when used wisely, can stir up the greatest emotions, and make a drama even better than it is. The music in The Princess’s Man did just that. Lee Ji-yong has been around for years, and you can tell right away that the music for this show is in the hands of a master. It is at times stirring, at times sweet, and often makes your heart beat faster and the blood rush to your head as you bite your nails in consternation over the fates of the characters. It’s never intrusive, and always elevated the scenes it was in. If there’s any OST this year that I want to buy, it’s this one. And that’s saying a lot.

Honorable Mention: City Hunter



Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

HeadsNo2: Individually, the cast was quirky and adorable. But tucked into a cozy ramyun shop, they transformed into something magical — a true family. Never will I forget Hyun-woo with his matching pajama sets, face creams, and knitting needles. Or Crazy Chicken Ba-wool and his adorably protective noona-love. Or Kang-hyuk, with nothing but a good heart and a desire to protect and nurture his adopted kids. Or Chi-soo, who learned the meaning of love and loyalty. Or Eun-bi, who had the joy of having her adopted brothers always on-hand with medicine for her intestinal woes. The best ensemble casts are the ones that make you believe that the characters weren’t frozen in time before the camera turned on — and that they’ll still be talking, laughing, making ramyun, and decorating Christmas trees long after the camera has turned off.

Honorable Mentions: I Need Romance, The Duo, City Hunter, Can You Hear My Heart



Kim Sang-joong as Jin-pyo, City Hunter

kaedejun: He’s the one who raised our hero, and he’s the one who heartlessly threatens and hurts Yoon-sung’s closest friends. I mean, what if your father went and ran his car into your best friend? And then said it was good for you?! What makes him an awesome villain is that he abuses but cares for his son. Jin-pyo may have have a bloody thirst for revenge, but some of his enemies are so sickeningly corrupt that you feel the law won’t be good enough. You hate him, but you can also understand his reasoning and therefore can’t completely hate him. That complexity is a turn-on.

Honorable Mention: Kim Young-chul as Suyang (The Princess’s Man)



Park Shi-hoo & Moon Chae-won, The Princess’s Man

javabeans: A well-written romance has me mentally cheering for the hero and heroine to get their happy ever after, but it takes a special one to make me feel their connection in the heart. A combination of strong writing, impassioned performances, and intense chemistry worked to make Se-ryung and Seung-yoo’s star-crossed romance one of my favorite drama pairings ever. Matched in every way — intellect, attraction, morals, worldviews — they truly did seem like two sides of one coin, though you feared that like that coin, Fate would keep them forever separated from sharing the same space, face to face. But they fought and rallied and earned their reunion a thousand times over. They may not have been Romeo and Juliet, but their marriage of true minds was worthy of Shakespeare.


Lee Min-ho & Park Min-young, City Hunter

kaedejun: Equally matched in skills and talents, both stubborn as heck, and both with parental issues that prompt them to seek nurturing from others, Yoon-sung and Nana’s love is based on grounds of mutual respect. They are each other’s biggest supporters and protectors, understanding the risks of Yoon-sung’s revenge. But what’s even braver of the both of them is that they’re willing to let go of each other and give each other space and time to clean up their baggage. But like all destined couples, it’s not like they can stay apart for long.

Honorable Mentions: Lee Min-woo & Hong Soo-hyun (The Princess’s Man), Kim Jae-won & Hwang Jung-eum (Can You Hear My Heart)



Lee Min-ho & Kim Sang-ho, City Hunter

girlfriday: Sometimes the best love is the one between a vigilante hero and his ajusshi-wife. Batman had Alfred, and the City Hunter had his Ajusshi, who did everything from prepare his meals to save the day with his sidekick moves. No matter how many spats they had about his home-shopping addiction or how unappreciated he felt, Ajusshi always came through. Sometimes heroes just need to know that at the end of a long day of fighting evil, home is wherever Ajusshi is.


Kim Sun-ah & Eom Ki-joon, Scent of a Woman

Dahee Fanel: He loved her even though she laughed at him crapping his pants. What better proof of a man’s devotion do you need than that? In a show where the male lead spent several episodes unable to make up his damn mind and just KISS THE GIRL already, Eun-seok was always there. Comforting her, thawing for her, and silently suffering for her. Behind his cold exterior lay a dorky little boy who didn’t know quite what to do with his own hands and feet, and who, over the course of the show, learned how to deal with people, and his own neglected heart. If ever there was a character worthy of our heroine, it was him. Poopy pants and all.

Honorable Mentions: Gong Hyo-jin & Yoon Kye-sang (Best Love), Lee Ki-woo & Lee Chung-ah (Flower Boy Ramyun Shop)



Ji Chang-wook & Yoo Seung-ho, Warrior Baek Dong-soo

HeadsNo2: Two beautiful warriors with equally beautiful manes of glory who grew up together as friends, only to be torn apart by betrayal and made mortal enemies by the cruel hand of Fate? That’s already enough fodder for active imaginations, but with Warrior Baek Dong-soo, we weren’t left with empty hopes and shattered bromantic dreams. The brothers-by-bond relationship between Dong-soo and Yeo-woon proved to be the true love story of the series, as their mutual respect and admiration for each other never faded even during the darkest of times. The fact that Dong-soo never gave up on his friend-turned-enemy no matter how far Yeo-woon spiraled down into his bleak and mysterious world, and that never once did he think Yeo-woon was too far gone to ever return to the way they once were proved a testament to their lasting bond. And that kind of unconditional acceptance and steadfast love? That gets me right in the heart.

Honorable Mentions: City Hunter & Ajusshi (City Hunter), Chun Jung-myung & Lee Sang-yoon (The Duo), Lee Hyun-jin & Jang Seok-won (You’ve Fallen For Me)



City Hunter (Lee Min-ho), City Hunter

girlfriday: He may have had a questionable sense of style at times, sure. But Superman’s been wearing his underwear over his pants for almost a century. City Hunter seemed like ten characters in one – the cheeky playboy, the cool-headed fighter, the agent of vengeance, the heartbroken son, and sometimes just the young man in love. But he remained from beginning to end the noble hero, which is why he stole our hearts and kept ’em all year long. His pants may have been pink, but of all the memorable characters this year, City Hunter takes the gold.

Honorable Mentions: Min Tae-yeon (Vampire Prosecutor), Cha Chi-soo (Flower Boy Ramyun Shop), Jung Jong (The Princess’s Man)



Han Groo, Girl K

girlfriday: This rookie actress put most A-listers to shame with her trifecta of kickass action, sass, and emotional vulnerability. In just three short episodes, she managed to leave the biggest impression as the breakout star of the year, and made us believe that it was possible to assassinate a target via sniper rifle, investigate the secret underground organization kidnapping your friends, and catch the attention of the cutest boy in school, all before first period. Now that’s badass.

Honorable Mentions: Park Yoo-hwan (Thousand Day Promise) Seo Hyun-jin (The Duo), Song Joong-ki (Tree With Deep Roots), UEE (Ojakkyo Brothers)



Lee Da-hae, Miss Ripley

javabeans: Perhaps this is an unexpected category for Lee Da-hae, who started her career strong with dramas like Lotus Flower Fairy, building on that with Green Rose and My Girl. But she hasn’t lived up to her talent in years, which is why Miss Ripley was a welcome turn for her, giving her a combination of meaty character to sink her chops into as well as a reinvigorated spirit. She schemed, lied, and cheated with regularity, but peppered Miri’s meannesses with a vulnerability that allowed you to understand, if not admire, her character. It was an intense role, which she brought to life with an intense performance. “Most improved” in this case isn’t as much about raising her overall skill level as much as it’s a long-awaited return to form.

Honorable Mentions: UEE (Birdie Buddy & Ojakkyo Brothers)



Kang Ji-hwan, Lie To Me

javabeans: This hurts me, it does. My love of Kang Ji-hwan is no secret ’round these parts, but you’ve gotta call a spade a spade: He was not good in Lie To Me. The writing’s mostly to blame for this one, but this is a man capable of making the craziest crazy seem kinda sane (Coffee House), or playing a no-good playboy wastrel (Hong Gil Dong) with vulnerability. He can do a hilarious comic bit and then rip your heart out with tears in the same moment. So his downturn in this drama was painful to watch, almost as painful as trying to watch him and Yoon Eun-hye try to figure out what the heck was up with the story. He got in some cute ad-libby moments, but that was tantamount to throwing in the towel, abandoning all pretense of character or plot logic. (Not that there was much in the way of plot logic.) Let’s all just hope his next role makes up for it, and then some.

Honorable Mentions: Yoon Eun-hye (Lie To Me), Yoo Inna (Best Love), Eric (Myung-wol the Spy)



Best Love

kaedejun: Grumpy male lead falls for spunky female lead. Puns spew forth with a litany of sound effects in the background to emphasize the cheesiness oozing forth. Second male lead is perfect; second female lead is perfectly catty. So why watch when I know exactly how it’s going to turn out? I don’t need metaphors to tell a “layered” story, especially when the ploy is so obvious. Try something new, Hong Sisters.

Honorable Mention: Protect the Boss



Me Too, Flower

javabeans: Granted, I’m a little less enthused about this entry with the Wild-Eyed Villain Piling On The Possessive Crazy in recent weeks, but there’s still a charm to the show that makes it unfortunate to have been so overshadowed by such stiff competition. It’s a little show with a quirky cast, a hero acted wonderfully by Yoon Shi-yoon (despite, yes, that baby face), and a heroine who’s endearingly grumpy. Her character has the least charm, but it’s her growth we root for, her vulnerabilities that get us in the heart, and her happiness we desire. If the drama could remember that, it could once again polish off its surface to remind us what a gem lies underneath the tiresome villianness’s machinations.

Honorable Mentions: Birdie Buddy, President, Ojakkyo Brothers



Lie To Me

girlfriday: There were quite a few contenders in this category this year, but none so disappointing as an unfunny rom-com that wasted two of the genre’s best stars. It even seemed that the show’s badness was contagious for the actors, because they turned in uninspired performances at every turn. Not that you could blame them for having to play the wishy-washiest characters ever written. Never have we watched an entire show starring Yoon Eun-hye or Kang Ji-hwan and spent the whole time going, MEH.

Honorable Mentions: Myung-wol the Spy, Scent of a Woman, Paradise Ranch



The cast of Athena: Su Ae, Jung Woo-sung, Cha Seung-won, Kim Min-jong

kaedejun: When you have A-list stars like Jung Woo-sung, Cha Seung-won, Su Ae, and Kim Min-jong, you should have a bona fide hit in your hands. When you have A-list stars and give them a shoddy script that’s a rework of its “prequel but not a prequel” IRIS, you just wasted the talent. These actors can give you so much more than Lovesick James Bond, Broody Baddie, Always Stoic She-Spy, and Comic Relief. I have not seen more than five expressions on each of these actors for all 20 episodes. Shame.

Honorable Mentions: Eom Ki-joon (Dream High), Kang Ji-hwan (Lie To Me)



Lee Ki-kwang, Me Too, Flower

javabeans: Dual roles don’t always work, but Me Too, Flower took a cheeky approach with its Double Ki-kwang: One’s a sexless sidekick, the other’s a sexy dreamboat. It was more than just a meta joke (look, an idol playing a normal dude, making fun of his idol persona!), however, in representing two sides of our heroine’s desire for love. Both were idealized — the eager puppy who idolizes her, and the fantasy who tells her she’s beautiful when she doesn’t believe it herself — and yet, both paled in comparison to the real thing, the love that made her believe life might just be a thing of beauty after all. Ki-kwang played his roles with cute charm, but it was the clever use of his character that puts him under the “best use of” category.

Honorable Mentions: Yoochun (Miss Ripley), Han Groo (Girl K), Jaejoong (Protect the Boss), Seo Hyun-jin (The Duo)



Changmin, Paradise Ranch

Dahee Fanel: I often make lighthearted jokes about how various bad actors make constipated faces whenever they try to conjure up facial expressions (because I do love me a good bathroom joke. Hey, I’m Korean, after all). But never in my wildest dreams could I have thought up the facial expressions that Changmin makes in Paradise Ranch. My god. If this were a contest on the best faces when suffering from bowel movements, then he would win it. Even the drama’s early use of horse manure as a “humourous” plot point seemed to be cheering him on. Alas, he was supposed to be ACTING, dammit. And yet he failed to, on every possible level. I was actually embarrassed for him. This is why rookie actors, idols or not, should start out in small roles on small shows, where they can learn and build their craft without stinking up the proceedings. Jumping headfirst into a leading role when you don’t have the faintest clue what acting is about is brave, sure, but hardly smart. Better luck next time, maybe.

Honorable Mentions: Yunho (Poseidon), Jung Yong-hwa (You’ve Fallen For Me)



Park Shi-hoo, The Princess’s Man

javabeans: This was the year of Sageuk Hair. Curly, straight, rugged, shiny, old, young, tousled, every-hair-in-place — there was a style for every preference. Of numerous fine candidates, Park Shi-hoo’s takes the prize for Best In Show, straddling the divide between good-guy nobility and bad-boy avenging spirit, boldly masculine and why-can’t-my-hair-be-as-shiny feminine. You can picture him equally at home swinging that sword around (rawr) and shaking out his flowing tresses in front of a wind machine, mouthing a cheesy tagline for a Pantene commercial. We’d never hate you for being beautiful, though, Park Shi-hoo.

Honorable Mentions: Ji Chang-wook (Warrior Baek Dong-soo), Yoo Seung-ho (Warrior Baek Dong-soo), Choi Min-soo (Warrior Baek Dong-soo)



Lee Ki-woo, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

girlfriday: Humona.
javabeans: It ain’t like I’ve never seen abs before…
girlfriday: Just maybe not as shiny?
javabeans: But runner-up Lee Dong-wook took a shower every other episode, and somehow those scenes weren’t as sticky. Er, not literally.
girlfriday: Now I’m thinking of whole new ways to use maple syrup.
javabeans: And dirty ways to interpret Shiny Pillar?
girlfriday: Rawr. God bless army duty.

Honorable Mention: Lee Dong-wook (Scent of a Woman)


388 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Ani

    *mutters* Most Overrated Drama should be City Hunter*cough*

    Other than that. Thanks Dramabeans for another year of awesomeness. May it continue.

    • 1.1 Ani

      Pillar Panda Onion = awesome abs indeed. I’m going to miss him. Lee Kiwoo come baaaaaaaaaack soon. X(

      • 1.1.1 Autumn

        I know! Panda was the sweetest and most adorkable person ever. I loved his quirks, his smile and his thoughtfulness. I rooted for him till the very bitter end. Still cannot fathom why anyone would prefer a spoiled brat over him.

        • Redd

          Was that a spoiler I just read for a drama that I haven’t yet finished watching…? I hope not, but if so, commenters, can you please NOT do that? Thanks!

      • 1.1.2 Kiki

        I totally agree with both of you guys- he’s awesome!!!! <3 Just to let you know, I found a movie he's in called Wedding Dress; apparently it was made in 2010 so check it out on youtube (just type in Wedding dress eng sub) if you can't get enough of him (like me XD)

        • Kushi


          *mutters along with you*

          In fact, I did like CH. Buuuut…*glancing down the list…* I don’t think it deserves THAT many ‘best’ categories. Seriously!):

          Biased. :/

          On a side note…

          Funny how for best mane of glory, all the ‘honorable mentions’ are from WBDS…AHAHAHA. 😀 I personally think that YSH’s mane of glory looks better than PSH’s(I think, because, I’m really used to PSH with shortish hair…)…buuuut…eeeeek. There are so many PSH fans here!O.O *cower*

          -looks for fellow YSH fans…-

    • 1.2 rjyuggy

      overrated drama it is!!! just because its an eye candy doesn’t mean it is the best drama. The editors placed too much bias on City Hunter.

      • 1.2.1 Ani

        Hahaha. Maybe most of them really do like City Hunter. I just didn’t fall in love with it the way everyone did. It’s ok. Everyone has a bias. To each their own.

        • cv

          haha~ yea, it was waaay overrated. It was gooood, but not awsome.

          • ivy

            I totes agree. Especially in the “Best Writing” department.

          • mariama

            so true, i was not a fan of city hunter but i love love love his crazy dad. best chemistry ever.

          • bd

            Third the esp. in the “writing dept.”

          • anais

            Second that re: the writing dept.

          • violet

            3rd!best writing should have gone to tree with deep roots imo

        • kimchi

          that’s why its called “editor’s pick”. just sayin….

          • Ani

            And jb has already said that even if it is Editor’s Pick, it doesn’t mean we can’t voice our own disgruntled opinion. Just sayin’….

        • haru


      • 1.2.2 Indi

        I have to agree with that. Exactly my thoughts!The Duo wasn’t chosen in at least ONE damn category! The Princess’s Man totally gets the best drama this year, imho.

      • 1.2.3 Dee Dee

        Way too much bias on City Hunter. I saw way too much City Hunter throughout the picks. Anyway, Hooray for Flower Boy Ramyun Shop!

        • Chandler

          I don’t see how it’s a bias really when this is supposed to be their opinion. You’re allowed to say you disagree, but if City Hunter was what they enjoyed the most in all those areas then they’re just being true to how they feel. I also disagree with them a bit and wanted some love for some of the other dramas out there, but I understand their reasons for picking what they did, they’re were some truly great things about City Hunter.

          It had a lot more heart to it than Tree With Deep Roots and in the end I think thats important. I ended up caring for the characters more in City Hunter. In TWDR I found myself only really caring for the King and his bodyguard. The other characters were fascinating, but lacked a certain spark that made me really care. ALSO I have a beef with the ending of TWDR. I won’t say it here, but I felt like the writers made their character’s make a really stupid decision (that was supposed to be a “brilliant” one) that lessened the effectiveness of it’s ending. And I always felt that the villain who originally seemed so interesting, completely lost his spark.

    • 1.3 Nadia

      You Jealous?

      • 1.3.1 Ani

        Truthfully? No. Nothing to be jealous about a drama when it’s make believe. I am jealous though that everyone found it exciting. Makes me feel like the odd ball out. I need to find a drama to fall in love with again and feel as passionate about as everyone here seems to be when it comes to City Hunter.

        P.S. Your comment really reminded me of them long gone high school days…. Heck, maybe a bit further back. ^_~

        • alua

          I loved City Hunter but still couldn’t get into FBRS. I also always film I’m the only one that can’t stand My Sassy Girl (the film)… I think everyone’s an odd ball out somewhere!

          • alua

            *”always feel” not “always film”

          • jose

            well i am happy 🙂 i am in the side of people who loved so much city hunter,i don’t think is overrated,it deserves its popularity,its ratings and the good review here,even without the actor lee min ho is amazing,i am a heterosexual man and i watched it because the story was good as well,it had some things i didn’t like ,but they were few; my other favorites of the year were: vampire prosecutor ,49 days, dream high and now i started watching the princess’s man

      • 1.3.2 SprinkledPink

        Why would someone be jealous of a drama? o.O

      • 1.3.3 poo

        LMAO! Jealous of a drama? or jealous of others liking the drama? Is that even possible? Maybe if u r in school i guess…but seriously what kinda ridiculous question is dat?
        Anyway even i wonder y CH is soo overrrated? I liked it! It was alrite, wont say that it was bad and nor did i hated it. BUt it was definitely not amazing or great imo.

        • K

          I laughed so hard. Hahaha. Maybe jealous of the person who found a drama that she liked? Or jealous because her favorite drama wasn’t in the list? Something like that. Nevertheless, it sounds completely funny.

          • Ani

            Even being jealous of my favorite drama not being on the list doesn’t make sense. The whole jealous thing really makes no sense. X/ Truthfully, I had some dramas I liked this year, but I don’t think I had one where I was head over heels in love.

      • 1.3.4 Indi

        You trolling?

    • 1.4 Kgrl

      Hahaha. Well, CH was a great watch, just didn’t end as spectacularly as I had hoped. Definitely not the best drama of 2011, but a good is a good drama. LMH kicked ass in it.

      • 1.4.1 cv

        totally agree with you there! ^^

    • 1.5 Countdown

      Exactly my thought.

    • 1.6 j.real


      • 1.6.1 Flikanio

        I am totally with those who can not figure out the hype for City Hunter.

        • Kim

          Agree, I like CH, but it’s definitely not the best drama of the year. Might as well place CH on all the categories since it took almost all of it.

    • 1.7 jessie

      yeah, my thoughts exactly. I don’t know why but City Hunter didn’t appeal THAT much to me. I mean it’s good I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it’s THAT great. You know what I’m sayin’…
      Just because they have Lee Min Ho in it, imagine if the PD put -for example Kim Soo Hyun (?)

      • 1.7.1 Molly

        I actually didn’t fall in love with Lee Min-ho until after I started watching City Hunter – didn’t think he was charismatic beforehand. But after I started, I fell hard for him, haha.

        • Kushi

          Same here. Tee heeeeee. But CH was okaaay. Ok-ish. Really, that’s what I think. :3

    • 1.8 TANYAS

      i feel that too, city hunter is the most overrated drama
      n after a few episodes , more than enjoying it i was just watching it to finish it.

    • 1.9 dongfishy

      yeah totally totally totally agree… i’ve watched more than 20 dramas this year ( yeah i have that philosophy of finishing whatever i started ), and city hunter is not even in my top 5 maybe in 8th-10th, but seriously – the best series… and also the best writing?! i nth demotion that it isn’t… i think there are many makjang manga elements there ( i also watched 30 anime series this year, hahaha i reaalllly do have a lot of time this year but it’s not good since there are only a handful that are good for the eyes, the mind, and the heart)

      • 1.9.1 Aeyouline21

        May I know your favorite drama among the many that you have watched?

    • 1.10 Enria

      yeah… I thought the same way with you… there’s so many good dramas in this year that should be given the drama awards… e.g: Vampire Prosecutor for the best cinematography and best thriller/action drama maybe..

      City Hunter was a good action drama but I thought it was just as good as it supposed to be and not really surprised me in story, directing, humor, or even the cinematography aspects…

      The dramas that gave me a lot of surprises this year mostly aired on cable TVs, such as: I Need Romance, Vampire Prosecutor, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, What’s Up, TEN, etc….

      I hope more surprising dramas will be coming up next year…

      • 1.10.1 Hannah

        I definitely agree with you on the cable dramas. I watched VP and thought it was great! CH was alright. Read the recaps but didn’t feel a need to watch it.

    • 1.11 malta

      Agreed. haha 🙂

    • 1.12 karened

      Ding Dong!

      And the most under-rated, for me…was I Need Romance…

    • 1.13 coolrepublica

      Agree 100%. City Hunter being best anything will be a mystery that I will never solve. Other than that that list was fine.

    • 1.14 Jo

      Ikr, I sighed every time it was City Hunter.
      ughh :T

    • 1.15 Azure

      *Side-way glances an “I agree” look.

    • 1.16 bluetsukky

      I agree. It should’ve been City Hunter. Well at least it’s worth the hype

    • 1.17 Mai Vang

      I actually agree on this. Everywhere I went on the web there was City Hunter blasted in my face…It made me mad! It was a good drama but I don’t think I’d marathon watch it like I would some other dramas.

    • 1.18 JJ

      Totally agree, and especially for the writing category. Fairly standard shoebox revenge plot, which the directing and actors managed to make slick and pretty. TPM and others had far better writing in terms of story, dialogue, character complexity, etc.

      It seems each year the editors at DB are obsessed with a single work, which they bring up over. and over. Last year was MGIAG, and I’m thankful at least that CH is a far improvement over that.

    • 1.19 Sinyard7

      Ditto, on the mutters…coughs…and thxs above!

    • 1.20 Kaiah


      I don’t what it is about City Hunter that has all the editors going googley-eyed over, but I definitely missed it. Good? Perhaps. Overrated? Definitely. And best writing? Pshaw.

    • 1.21 otchosais

      I doubt that!

      CH is so great that is why it had a HIGH RATINGS!!! 🙂

    • 1.22 katerentz

      that is so true..I really think that city hunter is too overrated here while Best Love is definitely not overrated!

    • 1.23 1V

      Totally agree.

  2. diorama

    Thank you! I have a feeling that if Vampire Prosecutor had been longer and had a chance to continue its fantastic upward streak, it would have swept the writing and directing categories. Drama of the year for me, totally, although I personally really enjoyed City Hunter as well.

    • 2.1 doozy

      Agree! Love Min Tae Yeon and his hyung!

      • 2.1.1 damianna

        they shud have won d best bromance too. heee

    • 2.2 Shukmeister

      I would’ve pick VP as well. I thought the writing was slick and the episodes, for the most part, fast paced but not out of control.

      Well, there’s always Season 2 (crossing all fingers and toes that they use the same writing/directing team).

      • 2.2.1 Enria

        I’ve just done watching the last ep of VP, and so happy because of this words: “2 be continued….” written in the of the drama…

        Min Tae Yeon-ssi… I’ll always be waiting for you…

    • 2.3 anais

      Totally agree. Vampire Prosecutor never made me want to hurl things at the screen or give up in boredom or rue my completist tendency that kept me watching a drama that belittled my intelligence.

    • 2.4 Mystisith

      I’m with you in this, diorama. An i agree with the answers to your post. If viewers could give a chance to VP, they would see than CH and VP don’t fight at the same level. I think that a lot of admirers defend Lee Min Hot rather tha CH. You know how to check this ? Just wait for 2 or 3 years then come back here and ask : Who remembers ? Even the bromance is better in CH.:)
      – Imagine CH without LMH : What is left ?
      – Imagine VP without Yun Joong Hoon ( yes, i know, it’s Hard… ). The story stands up on his own.
      Just my opinion, and now i’ gonna run to save my life from angry fangirls.

      • 2.4.1 Mystisith

        Ooops : bromance better in VP, i mean. ” beating keyboard “.

    • 2.5 Hannah

      yes! I love VP!!!!!!!!! I just wished there were MORE! oh welll, there’s always a season 2! yippy YAY!

  3. foraredrose

    Thank you for the picks! I be sensing some City Hunter bias, but that’s okay 😉

  4. Orleanas

    I’m a little surprise that Scent of a Woman lost its shine and hasn’t much love from you at the end of the year because that was the drama that got me totally engrossed and obsessed from beginning to end.

    • 4.1 Roxan

      ME TOOO!!!!!! its been awhile since i was last HOOKED to a drama. i did try a few but was unable to finish. dramas like, lLe To Me, Greatest Love (i LOVE Cha Seung Won but did not like this one), Baby Face, Birdie Buddy, Can’t Lose, heartstrings (WTH (-.-)), Manny, My Princess, Secret Garden (kill me later, i just never fell in love with it), Royal Family, Protect The Boss (it was fun, but not love), The Musical.

      The dramas I really enjoyed were

      1.Scent Of A Woman
      2.Tree With Deep Roots
      3.Vampire Prosecutor

      Now i am watching Fermentation/Kimchi Family ( I’m LOVING it)

      It was a Wonderful Year!!

      Thanks to Dramabeans Family and the one who recap dramas, it has been a pleasure reading your recaps.

      MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      P.S any recommendations?

      • 4.1.1 Abbie

        I like Fermentation Family/Kimchi Family too! But it isn’t what I expected it would be! I can’t wait to watch more of it!

      • 4.1.2 Abbie

        How about High Kick 3? I like it a lot!

      • 4.1.3 alua

        I might tackle Fermentation Family soon… But loving Padam Padam and What’s Up at the moment.

      • 4.1.4 ashura

        Hey agree totally with you. You love all the 3 dramas I loved!

  5. sleeplessinwgtn

    Off the topic.. but… I just want to wish javabeans, girlfriday, guest bloggers and everyone a Merry Christmas.

    I’m afraid the k-dramas I watched with great ardour did not figure in the list. Nevertheless, I could use above list as a guide to future watching.

  6. yui

    LIKE THIS! SUPER LIKE THIS! *silent……* THANK YOU!*speechless*


  7. TiaC

    Yay editors’ picks! Thank you chicas! And Merry Christmas!

    I gotta say, though, Kim Bum’s mane of glory in Padam Padam is pretty much killing me (or rather his newfound manliness, but that isn’t a category here, so I’ll push for his mane of glory).

    • 7.1 violet

      ok i know it’s a stupid question,but does mane of glory mean hairstyle?!

  8. come2noona

    Thank you! I really appreciate all of the hard work that goes into your “Year in Review”. All 5 parts were thoughtful, interesting and well written. Great job everyone!

    • 8.1 come2noona

      Oh, and Han Seok kyu as best actor? Heck yeah! He is awesome!

      • 8.1.1 Kgrl

        The best in Kdrama this year – heck, probably the best in the last 5 years. Absolutely astonishing portrayal. He completely blew everyone out of the water and was the deciding factor for me as to which was the best drama of 2011.

        MCW and PSH totally owned the best Kdrama pairing of 2011 – the chemistry was simply sizzling. Happy that Can You Hear My Heart was recognized for it’s writing – very emotionally-realistic and heart-warming.

        • violet

          Are u talking about TWDR?if so,i couldn’t agree more!

          • genevieve

            I adore TWDR. And it made me like Han Suk Kyu on a totally different level (i even googled him and found out he’s a Hayao Miyazaki fan just like me… ahh~!)

            Kinda sad that TWDR didn’t figure more prominently in the editors’ picks…. *cough agree with the other comments that CH is greatly overrated… there were too many plot loopholes…*

            But nevertheless, rooting for TWDR to win big in the korean drama awards in the coming days!

      • 8.1.2 dom

        what about his younger counter part Song Joong Ki? I think he should be in the ‘most improved’ or ‘the most shining performance although only used in 2-3 episode’ category…. he gave a good platform for HSK character to grow.. (imho)

        • Kgrl

          Of course my Joong Ki gave an amazing performance – I was so proud. But if I were objective, Han ahjussi just took that role and turned it into a masterpiece. His King Sejong has now become one of my most unforgettable characters in a Kdrama, along with Story of A Man’s Chae Do Woo, Kim Samsoon, Mishil, and bounty of other characters that I will vividly remember for their epic-ness. ^-^

      • 8.1.3 Celest

        The Princess Man is one of my fave dramas of this year, my second favorite after CYHMH but dang! I’m still in the process of watching Tree With Deep Roots and Han Suk Kyu is killing it! I thought TPM was cemented as my fave saeguk of the year but TWDR is slowly creeping up there.

        Kudos to the editors for picking Jung Bo Seok as an honorable mention for playing a mentally handicapped father in CYHMH. His performance as Bong Young Gyu was poignant and beautiful to watch (and no, this isn’t just my ahjusshi crush talking!)

      • 8.1.4 daniela

        So true! i just love this drama, for me TWDR it’s the best historical drama of the year.
        I don’t understand why it was choose TPM when the love part was more important there, and the history part was just a support, like the “second lead actor”. In stead, in TWDR I was “involved” every moment in history.

  9. ais

    Most overrated had got to be CH. These picks were pretty much bias to it. Oh well, to each his own. I personally couldn’t get past episode 5.

    • 9.1 swift

      You did better than me… I can’t get past episode 3…

      • 9.1.1 mihinikki

        Neither did I. I loved episode 1, hated episode 2, and by the third I thought it was trying too hard. AND I think Lee Min Ho is beautiful and enjoyed Park Min Young in SKKS, so there was no actor-bias. Maybe I should try it again.

  10. 10 moochi

    well the emphasis on city hunter was cool, it’s a drama that does deserve the attention. and thank you for putting “greatest love” as overrated..THANK YOU. i love the part 5 of this year’s review and i might really have to watch the princess’ man after reading this =p

  11. 11 Noemi

    I’m watching The Princess’s Man right now and I entirely agree about the OST and Hong Soo-hyun’s performance. Really quite spectacular! I do agree with Ani about City Hunter being overrated (kind of surprised it was picked for best writing), but nevertheless, I enjoy reading your other picks 😀 Thanks for all the end of the year reviews, and the hard work all the contributors have put into this site. My k-drama addiction wouldn’t be complete without Dramabeans 😀

  12. 12 Carrie

    Sad to see that “Protect The Boss” not only didn’t make any of the 4 reviews but gets honorable mention for most overrated as well 🙁
    I wish PTB had been reviewed even if not favorable.

    Anyways, great list otherwise 🙂 Haha, I could tell you guys sure loved “City Hunter”. “Can You Hear My Heart” also ended up on quite a few lists as honorable mentions so I’m thinking about checking it out.

    Thanks for the picks and Merry Christmas to all of you! ^_^

    • 12.1 Cha Eun Ae

      Yes concerning PB, I wandered about that myself. They categorized it as overrated yet I don’t recall even seeing it reviewed here. I think it was mentioned once and then never mentioned again or even reviewed. So not sure how it falls into over-rated here.

      For me City Hunter was way overrated. I started out watching and I finished, but it just did not capture me.

      Tree was mind blowing. All the lead actors in Tree were awesome and there was a synchronicity between all the characters.

      When scenes from a drama get “burned onto my brain” after a first watch then that’s when I know it’s made an impact. Tree did that for me…
      -Song Jong Ki as he stood up to his Father shouting with such conviction. I am!!…. I am the King of Josen!!!
      -Han Seok-kyu as he walked bootless to his sons dead body and then tried to place his dead sons hand on his face.
      -Han Seok-kyu – that primal scream, when he finally allowed himself to grieve for the prince.

      Nothing else was as memorable as Tree.
      No other drama this season did this to me.

    • 12.2 Shukmeister

      I enjoyed CYHMH, mostly for the characters of the Bong and Lee Families. Their interaction in the household between the three generations really showed how a blended family works.

      The Dong Joo / Joon Ha interaction was my first real look at bromance this year, and I really liked that it developed as the characters developed; first supporting each other, then love, then rivalry, etc. etc.

      And the handling of the challenged individuals, Bong Young Guel’s mental capacity and Cha Dong Joo’s deafness.

      All in all, a good watch.

    • 12.3 Llamaesque

      I really loved Protect the Boss, and would definitely rank it far, far ahead of City Hunter on the scale of 2011 dramas. Like a lot of Kdramas, both shows were stitched together, Frankenstein-style, from already existing bits and pieces. One’s a chaebol love story, the other a revenge quest–both tropes have been done to death. To me, though, PTB was more than the sum of its parts–funny and charming and full of bromantic goodness. Even though City Hunter’s component parts were of high pedigree, they fit together awkwardly–the student -teacher relationship, the hostile live-in, the cardboard cut-out bad guys who did their evil deeds in the most laughable ways possible (you hid 2,000 square feet of paper money in your house? Really?). Which is not to say that Lee Min Ho wasn’t so awesome in the show that he came within a hairbreadth of saving it for me, in spite of all the conveniently forgotten drug-dealing that enabled his character to live like a king…

      • 12.3.1 ArtofWar

        ^ I love you for saying this

        “in spite of all the conveniently forgotten drug-dealing that enabled his character to live like a king…”

        YAY for people with more than two braincells to rub together

        • Llamaesque

          I guess they thought Bad Daddy’s command not to sell in Korea was sufficient to address this issue, but come on. Our brave, pure, good hero doesn’t stop to think that maybe the ends don’t justify the means for more serious reasons than his real dad turning out to be pretty groovy? If only they had given the character the depth required for real soul searching, it might have been a truly great show. (Or maybe the real lead should have been Prosecutor Duddly Doright, who was smart enoug to see the big picture and his real place in it.)

          And not that Protect the Boss was perfect, either: it was way draggy toward the end and the male lead’s magical healing from a wounded, frightened individual to a flawless gem of chaebol-charm wasn’t earned (or desirable, really). But at least the writers didn’t just throw in every plot device known to man and hope for the best, like City Hunter’s.

  13. 13 songielove

    Haha. I do understand all the “City Hunter” squealing, but then my hype leveled up when “The Princess’ Man” came along. I’m so happy to see these two top the charts for the year! Honestly, they’re the only two i kept up with weekly (TPM at a daily rate ;P). Another enjoyable year of reviews and editors’ picks! Thanks so much to the DB team~~wishing everyone a very merry holiday! *^^*

  14. 14 melonhead

    Aaw, come on, Tree With Deep Roots should have been the best historical drama! I get that it’s not as emotionally gripping, but still, that drama is gold.

    • 14.1 pandaD

      I guess I’m in the minority, but I think that Tree With Deep Roots belongs anywhere CityHunter is posted on that list…. :/

      • 14.1.1 melonhead

        Yup. Agreed. Tree is my newest all time favourite drama 😀

      • 14.1.2 lenrasoon

        haha i agree, and i love City Hunter but Tree with deep roots is on another level.

      • 14.1.3 violet

        totally(well maybe except for best couple)

      • 14.1.4 Ming

        So true.

      • 14.1.5 daniela

        I already said early-ear : for me “Tree with deep roots” is the best drama (this is my firs k-drama year), but not only from Korean-drama. The main actor deserves an Oscar for this role.

    • 14.2 dramabliss

      Agree wholehwartedly. To me, TPM comes second only.

  15. 15 DeeDee315

    Two of my favorites this season that have received little attention Brain and Sign. I can overlook a little overacting, for a well written story & some suspense. If you didn’t see these the first time around, save them for the next dry spell.

    • 15.1 Kgrl

      Lols. Checked both of these out and they are underrated. However, one of my pet peeves is over-acting; particularly when it’s not of the fantasical, whimsical, and comedic genre.

  16. 16 nuri

    I don’t think Ojakkyo Brothers is underrated drama. It has pretty good rating and I think OB central is pretty busy especially in the weekend.

    But, always enjoy reading your posts. Thanks a lot Javabeans, Girl Friday, Kaedejun, HeadsNo2 and Dahee.

    • 16.1 dramalove

      Ojakkyo Brothers rating 30-40%! OB get 40.1% of the national rating on E40 last sunday. And always has the first place in the Тоp20!
      I love this drama!
      TH & JE very cute couple! They are the best!

  17. 17 Iviih :)

    Yeahhhh finally Can You hear my heart being mentioned.

    I’m just don’t get it, how can Junha and Dong Joo not be mentioned on the best bromance?

    But oh well. LOVE that you picked BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Hong Soo-hyun!!! If she doesn’t win a award I’ll be so disappointed.

    • 17.1 Celest


      I’m thinking that CYHMH was not watched by the editors who contributed to the “Best Of…” and the reviews. Yea…that must be it…right? I don’t think anyone reviewed it on this site, really. Kim Jae Won and Nam Goong Min had sizzling chemistry as “brothers”. Heck they were kinda like the OTP even lol. KJW who played Dong Joo at one point said that he loved his hyung more than anyone else in the world to his leading lady (in a half kidding manner of course! =P)

    • 17.2 ajewell

      CYHMH: I completely agree. They brought bro-mance to a whole new level – there were times when I thought *they* were the OTP, lol. I mean, soulful eye-gazing, hugging, bed-rolling, teasing, tears. It had it all.

      Case in point: http://youtu.be/g1laOH9ok28

      Should’ve gotten honorable mention at least.

      • 17.2.1 grany

        Jezz..I enjoy the bromance more than the story nor the OTP.
        Hell..they look good together.

        This was not the first time I dreamed that the triangle love could work..and that they will live happily ever after; but these people make me PRAYED that they would.
        The girl loves the guys
        The guys love the girl
        and best of all the guys love each other

  18. 18 Z

    Wow, no love for Protect The Boss round these parts. I was willing to concede the they didn’t watch it, since it didn’t make any of the year end reviews… but apparently they watched enough to decide that it was “over-rated.” I’m surprised and really don’t get it. I thought it was excellent and deserves credit for at least breathing some fresh air into your cache of KDrama Cliche characters.

    Color Me Flabbergasted. Ah, well, it was a fun ride for me. I was really looking forward to hearing what the “pros” thought of it but I guess it’s not to be.

    • 18.1 Carrie

      I found it puzzling as well that “Protect The Boss” was not reviewed in ANY of the 4 reviews but ends up on the “overrated” list. OooOo

    • 18.2 Jen

      yeah, that’s kind of weird. I don’t know how you can judge something as overrated if you didn’t even watch it enough to review.

    • 18.3 jn123

      Agreed, Z– I loved the play with kdrama stereotypes in PTB, and wondered as I was watching what Javabeans and Girlfriday might think of the Wang Ji-hye character in particular, given her previous turn as the dreaded Inhee-bot. (yes, I can no longer help watching dramas without wondering what jb and gf might say, whether with wonderful incisive snark, or just wonderful incisiveness). I also enjoyed the way the chaebol family’s ridiculousness was highlighted– can’t really remember having seen that elsewhere. Sure, the end was draggy and the separation/reunion annoying… but since well over half the dramas I’ve seen muff the landing (if not large chunks of the flight) in one way or another, I couldn’t hold that too much against PTB.

      But tastes of course vary and no one has time to watch everything, let alone watch and write about it. I’m just grateful for all the time and effort JB, GF and your esteemed guest writers (not to mention everyone who writes comments!) put into sharing their thoughts and knowledge with us. You’ve all made my kdrama addiction many more times as fun and addicting, and your year end reviews are always especially awesome.

      • 18.3.1 alua

        ditto, loved the play with drama stereotypes in PTB

    • 18.4 Brenda

      I found that interesting too, but i think they must have watched much more than enough to have given it a mention in their editors picks, but were just not willing to review it? (which is understandable considering the hefty number of dramas in 2011).

      Though i initially really, really liked the set up of PTB and all of the characters, my interest started to disappear after around episode 4? and only until about.. episode 8 did i decide to drop it.
      I understood the interest towards this drama since i am always especially supportive of a kick ass female lead but i found there was absolutely no romantic chemistry between the leads, i can only see them as friends, i liked them separately but cringed at the thought of them ending up together. I finally dropped it when i saw it wasn’t really going to go anywhere in particular except perhaps angstville which would just bore someone like me who was not invested in the couple. Just throwing my two cents out there 🙂 (also i found it strange how i never paid attention to Jaejoong in the jap drama i watched him in but i couldn’t stop staring at him in PTB..)

    • 18.5 ajewell

      Protect The Boss wasn’t covered because it was originally on Thundie’s review log, like many of the series that went ignored in the end (Tales of Ginseng, Can You Hear My Heart, Royal Family, etc).

      From what I understand, Thundie had some personal issues come up, so she had to temporarily withdrawn from her blog, and as a result, didn’t have time to finish her year-long review. Javabeans and Girlfriday probably didn’t have enough time/forewarning to hunt for someone else to fill her slot, so they just included her picks in the final review instead.

    • 18.6 Ming

      Yep. And the cha cousins should have won best bromine hands down.

    • 18.7 Ming

      Yep. And the cha cousins should have won best bromance hands down.

  19. 19 Chloe

    Thanks for the year-end reviews! Enjoyed it ALOT …
    And I want to wish the Dramabeans crew a fantastic christmas and a glorious New York!

    Love your writing!

    btw… I just don’t get the City Hunter bias. Could not finish the drama…

  20. 20 bd

    How TWDR didn’t win out for best historical drama AND best drama overall, I’d never know.

    Also toss in best writing for TWDR (“City Hunter” – really?).

    Plus, while not at the forefront as in WBDS, the “bromance” in TWDR (or more like the “nagging wife” and teasing husband) was so much more rewarding.

    As much as I like CSW and his hilarious portrayal of Dokko Jin and yet being able to show his vulnerability and sadness, Han Seok-kyu is far and above everyone else (only Jeon Do-yeon’s best work can match what he did as Lee Do/Sejong).

    Agree w/ Han Groo as breakout performance, actually let me redo that – Han Groo and Song Joong-ki as breakout performance.

    Both roles were relatively short, but they both packed a powerhouse.

    Most improved for me is Kim Tae Hee in “My Princess.”

    She not only hit the comedic parts right, the emotional scenes were also right on the mark (seemed like she was actually crying instead of acting – something that even well regarded actresses have failed to do).

    Also, not going to be too hard on Kang Ji-hwan for LTM b/c I don’t think any actor could have saved that role (agree that LTM was the biggest disappointment, it was worse than “Secret Garden” in my book which is saying a lot).

    And while KJH did the whole quirky thing in “Coffee House” wonderfully, his acting in “Hong Gil Dong” was a bit one-note.

    Think kaedejun is being too hard on “Best Love”; pretty much all romcoms are predictable, it’s how the relationships develop over time and whether it has witty dialogue that seals the deal for a good romcom and BL had both, and unlike the other Hong sisters dramas (as well as for most other romcoms), does a better job with the supporting characters and side-story lines.

    Next to “Coffee Prince,” BL is the most complete romcom.

    For mane of glory, I’d say Yoo Seung-ho (so long and shiny), altho Choi Min-soo had the most “bad-ass” mane of glory.

    • 20.1 Kgrl

      I completely agree with TWDP having the best writing, but disagree with BL – I found it pretty predictable though the dialogues were sharp and the puns witty.

      Bromance in TWDP unfortunately was much less emphasized than other dramas this year. I would have given CYHMH honorable mention for bromance since Kim Jae Won loved his Nam Gong Min hyung so much.

      • 20.1.1 bd

        Sure, BL was predictable (we all knew who was going to end up together), but pretty much all romcoms are like that – Coffee Prince, MGIAG, My Princess, etc.

        As I had stated, as long as there is a solid emotional basis btwn the leads (with the development of their relationship is believable) and some witty dialogue and some fun scenes to go along with the more emotional elements, that’s pretty much 90% of a good romcom.

        • wanne

          but i think MGIAG is not that predictable like other romcom. the ending is unknown until the last couple of minutes. maybe because it’s categorized as melodrama also.

        • Kgrl

          Lols. I don’t mean general predictability like who is going to end up with who, but much more specific plot points. BL was just more predictable for me.

          Rom-coms rely on 3 factors IMO: chemistry, wit, and relationship development. A great rom-com needs to have the trifecta and I found BL lacking in the chemistry department – didn’t hit me in the heart. Perhaps that is b/c I saw Cha’s chemistry with Sun Ah and it was much more magnetic in City Hall.

          • Shukmeister

            I agree. Ju Gook and Mi Rae’s romance sparkled much much more than Dokko Jin and Ae Jung, I think due to the chemistry between the actors.

            I think it may have more to do with the female leads. Kim Sun Ah also had great chemistry with LDW in SoaW. Gong Hyo Jin’s character in Pasta didn’t seem terribly in love, either.

    • 20.2 anais

      While I can’t comment on anything from Kim Tae Hee onward since I didn’t watch them, I totally agree with you on everything up to Kim Tae Hee.

    • 20.3 Stephanie

      I loved CH but the writing in TWDR so much better, thought provocking, complete!

    • 20.4 Belle

      Agree 100%!…
      “For mane of glory, I’d say Yoo Seung-ho (so long and shiny), altho Choi Min-soo had the most “bad-ass” mane of glory.”

  21. 21 Countdown

    Garr. City Hunter is overrated.

  22. 22 IceFlower

    As always, I would not agree with those… Haha.

    I really think Dream High is a wonderful drama. Kim Soo Hyun should had at least be honorably mentioned as Best Actor.

    And of course, the SamMi pairing of Dream High should be one of the best couples.

    Don’t forget the Sam Dong, Jin Guk Bromance.

    • 22.1 moose

      kim soohyun is a great actor, but DH didn’t require him to do that much acting compared to the other mentioned actors, therefore he doesn’t really fit in the best actor category. as for best couple & best bromance, if you give those other dramas a try, you’d see why the DH characters didn’t win those categories.

  23. 23 IceFlower

    City Hunter sweeping this kind of awards is really overrated. Well, they have their our own opinion.

    I’ll give the Best Writing in 49 Days.

    Warrior Baek Dong Soo for Best Historical Drama

    Best Actress for THE LEE YO WON.

    • 23.1 zazuki

      yeah! why no 49 days mention:( i loved that drama!!

      • 23.1.1 octopus

        I second that! I LOOOVE 49 days! <3
        Disappointed that Dream High was not mentioned much as well.

    • 23.2 Pitch

      I´m sad that 49 Days got zero love.

    • 23.3 Belle

      Completely agree! WBDS is the Best Action/Thriller or Historical Drama!

    • 23.4 qziwrites

      thank you for mentioning LEE YO WON.
      she was awesome in 49 days, portraying two different characters.
      But since i have not watched Su Ae in 1000 day promise, I cannot for sure say Lee yo won is the best this year.

  24. 24 asianromance

    I don’t think I’ve responded in most of the 2011 year in review posts, so I’ll just say it right here: While I am excited and grateful for all your dedication and contributions to the dramabeans blog and my kdrama addiction, I feel like I’m getting a special treat with your year in review posts and the thought you’ve all put into them! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    “BEST USE OF ARMY ABS”—> Will this be a regular category in the Editors’ Picks posts from now on??

    • 24.1 Shukmeister

      Yes, please!!

    • 24.2 malta

      How did Lee Dong Wook NOT get that category? It was such gratuitous fan service and boy was he on point too.

  25. 25 trixicopper

    Thank you one and all for the awesome year end reviews. 🙂

    As far as City Hunter goes… Best Crack, absolutely! Best writing? I disagree. But if we all agreed the world would be a boring place.

    Thank you all so much! Happy Holidays! Looking forward to 2012! 🙂

  26. 26 MeOnly

    Hi you did not mention Glitter, Glitter ..at all, what a miss.
    May be Family drama is not your thing, but you did include
    Ojakkyo Brothers…

  27. 27 peaches

    Merry christmas everyone! On the other hand.. Look at those abs. How sculpted are they?!! Yummy, Lee Ki-Woo x)

  28. 28 anna

    i’d have voted for the scheduler as the best character, but that apart, this hasn’t been the best year for dramas, has it? 🙁

  29. 29 dom

    LOL-ing so hard for the conversation in the “BEST USE OF ARMY ABS” criteria.. The mighly Pillar-onion-sunflower-Abs crushes every gratious-shower scene-army abs ever! *sorry Lee Dong Wook*

    kindda disappointed that Vampire Prosecutor got snubbed…
    I haven’t watch city hunter so I couldn’t get mad about the result, but my expectation for the drama got ridiculously high… well, I know what i’m gonna spend my holiday season watching.. 😉

    • 29.1 rjyuggy

      Shiniest abs indeed!

  30. 30 Abbie

    I agree with most of this, but I think Lee Min-ho and Jung Il-woo should have been named Best Actors. But that’s just my humble opinion. hehe. Thanks to all of you for a great drama-filled year!

    • 30.1 Kgrl

      Hahaha! Love these two, but no way can they outperform or outshine Han Suk Kyu in the acting department. You probably just haven’t seen the man act. Like Dahee I…must…resist…power…of…sexy…ahjussi!

    • 30.2 anais

      Have you seen Tree with Deep Roots? It’s a pity that Han Seok Kyu is limited to Korean drama and cinema because he’s clearly an actor who deserves to be on the world stage. Someone get him a Cannes-worthy role, please.

  31. 31 Paige

    I’m sorry, but how did Tae Yeon and Soon Bum from Vampire Prosecutor not get at least honorable mention for best bromance? I loved the interaction between those two. T_T

    • 31.1 dom

      2nd this!

      • 31.1.1 Verónica

        My thoughts exactly!

    • 31.2 Cha Eun Ae

      Oh My Gosh!
      So, true. It’s a true 2011 bromance, and itwas so believable in a real life way. It was not forced it felt natural. As I watched them I felt like the two actors were just being themselves. I got the feeling that this would be how they would interact with each other in real life.

      Yes…they should have at least gotten a mention.

    • 31.3 anais

      Totally! The scene of Tae Yeon doubled up in pain after drinking victims’ blood while Soon Bum looks on so casually while he sips his own fruity beverage? Awesome.

      • 31.3.1 >.

        Awesome Indeed!! I lol so much because of their friendship!

        Can’t WAIT for season 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 31.4 Hannah

      I KNOW! I was shocked! I was searching for their names!

  32. 32 B

    My fav two dramas this year are City Hunter and The Princess’ Man…hopefully 2012 will bring more dramas with similar if not better quality than these two! Thanks Dramabeans!

  33. 33 kaboy ha

    no comment

  34. 34 SoffeaRahim

    Can’t seem to like city hunter. Tried, and then tried again. Maybe I try it again. But I must say for a drama that can’t get me hooked with the first two episodes I feel weird that I can’t seem to like it as much as others. CH, overrated? hee. Everyone got their own opinion. Ah, well. Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, favourite !

  35. 35 Drina

    I don’t know, guys… seems like DB and other recappers are in love with CH, but I’m not. I even cannot finish episode 4 until now,,
    yeah,, I know everyone have their own preference,
    thanks a lot for this site.
    btw, I have fun (though not always) with your posts, onnie-deul! (are there any of oppa-deul among you, guys?)

    JaeHee and BongSun FTW! (n__n)

    • 35.1 ashura

      Same here to all who aren’t fans of City Hunter. Yup it got boring from episode 4, but I continued watching till the end because I didn’t like ditching dramas (I even finished Lie to Me, that shows a lot). It appeals only to those who like the couple! It was all lovey dovey between them from ep4-20, which was boring!

  36. 36 Ivy

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  37. 37 cv

    Thank you all for editor’s picks! Agree to and disagree to some. Oh well, difference of opinion!

    Happy holiday! 🙂

  38. 38 missjb

    I’m suprised I agree with Most of dahee’s pick this year in best music, best alternate pairing, and best supporting actress category… 🙂

    As for Best OTP, I Love princess Man, but Is it weird if I have never invested with the main pairing love story.. ? Considering my biased towards PArk SHi Hoo… What really resonated me is The 2nd OTP in TPM between Lee Min-woo & Hong Soo-hyun.

    MY BEST OTP this year is In Can You Hear My Heart, romance between Hwang JUng EUm and Kim Jae WOn… ^^

  39. 39 veritaserum

    Didn’t like City Hunter as much, but The Princess’ Man had good reviews all throughout so I’m sold

  40. 40 Cynthia

    Great review from all involved!! Many thanks – and as it’s officially Christmas Eve here, please accept these various bottles of soju, tied with big fancy red ribbons in appreciation for all your hard work over this past year! 🙂

    Most reviews I agreed with, some not – the only real surprise to me was Scent of a Woman receiving such a poor reaction, and the (almost) absence of 49 Days – thought the writing for both was exceptionally strong.

    Thanks again – have to go to bed. Santa’s coming and I’m expecting to find a 6PACK-someone under my tree in the morning…….
    Jingle Bells!! 🙂

    • 40.1 wanne

      I think both dramas have really great writing on some parts. SOAW is very motivational. but SOAW kinda dragged so much near the end and the hero took so long to make his decision and grow. 49 Days ending on the other hand really ruined it for me.

  41. 41 cherkell

    Yay Team!! BROMANCE FTW!!! And for the WBDS hotties almost sweeping the Manes of Glory Category — that would have been a nice Christmas present. 🙂

    Thanks tons to everyone who contributed to this wonderful forum in 2011… may your typing fingers shine brightly in 2012 as well. And to all… a good night!!

    • 41.1 Belle

      WBDS Fighting!

  42. 42 Suzi Q

    Sorry Lee Dong Wook. Lee Ki Woo and Ji Chang Wook have you beat in the Abs department.
    Love the guys in sageuks with long hair, but they all seem to have the same hair dresser.They still look cute.
    Looking forward to a new year of wonderful dramas! Love your splendid recaps year round. Happy Holidays….

  43. 43 Autumn

    This year really has been a weird year for me, so much so that I am starting to question my taste for dramas. For some reason, I just could not get into dramas that almost everyone seemed to love. City Hunter, Best Love, and even Flower boy ramyun shop…I thought they were all pretty overrated. On the other hand, I’ve enjoyed shows like You’ve fallen for me and My Princess, even if they are, objectively speaking, crap.

    Dream High was awesome, and definitely my favourite of the year. I am a bit surprised that they didn’t get an honourable mention for Best Ensemble. In fact, I think the Misfit Mafia totally trumps the “Family” in FBRS.

    Thanks for the end-of-year series by the way. Even though I don’t agree with most things, it’s still interesting and entertaining to read. Fingers crossed for a better drama year next year. At least, for me.

    • 43.1 Celest

      Haha don’t worry! Sometimes I feel the same way. I watched Best Love and City Hunter and I liked it but I didn’t LOVE it like everyone else did. On the other hand, I freaking loved the chemistry between SSH and KTH in My Princess. And I looked forward to more of those episodes than I did episodes of City Hunter and Best Love when those were airing. I’ve been watching kdramas for 7 years now and I have a better discernment of what is “crap” and what is not, but sometimes I just don’t care lol.

      Ultimately it’s the relationships and characters in a drama that make or break it for me. CYHMH is a prime example. My fave drama of the year but definitely not a favorite of everyone’s. I also LOVED Dream High even though technically everything was sketchy.

      But I have to say, kudos on all the love given to TPM. It’s totally deserving. I just wished my other faves of the year like CYHMH (no bromance honorable mention?!), 49 Days, President and Dream High got some lovin’ too.

  44. 44 Verónica

    As a general I agree with most picks, but…WHERE THE HELL IS PROSECUTOR MIN AND DETECTIVE HWANG’S BROMANCE???????? That was one of the funniest, most lovable bromance in tv ever! Too bad it didn’t even got a honorable mention! 🙁

  45. 45 shapby

    I might be TWDR biased, but I was really expecting to see more of TWDR mentioned. CH getting best writing? Really? If it’s just the ending, TWDR made a perfect launch pad for a sequel as well. And surprisingly, historically accurate too. The fact that the novel it was based on was completely different makes the writing even more awesome. (But then again, it might be a personal bias, since I’ve always thought CH is completely overrated.)

    But I AGREE TOTALLY with the best use of army abs! The oiiilll!!! xDDD

    Happy holidays, everyone!! It’s been a fun year following this blog! Can’t wait for next year!

    • 45.1 babis

      Have you read the Novel of “Tree with deep Roots”? I’m curious as to what happened in that book to Chae yoon and So yi in the end

  46. 46 Aye

    Yes! I am so glad the Princess’s Man is getting the recognition it deserves, not to mention Park Shi-hoo’s mane of glory!

  47. 47 deducing opera ghost

    Nothing for 49 Days? D:

    Ah, to each their own I guess. That drama tied with City Hunter for the Best Drama of the year for me, which happened to sweep the awards and rightly so. It was fan-frickin’-tastic.

  48. 48 aX

    I highly disagree with most of your choices (especially towards the beginning) but yet, predictable. I’m not surprised. Once again, my differences with Dramabeans…

  49. 49 aX

    You know, I can’t really agree with your ‘Editor’s choice’. Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but for the most part, I do agree regarding BEST LOVE & Princess Man…. still yet to see CITY HUNTER but wow, are we speaking Lee Min Ho-bias here or does the script actually have substance? God forbid it to be another BOF–what a complete disaster that was!

    And as many of you asked already, where does 49 DAYS stand in all of this? What a shame that it was completely ignored by Dramabeans which makes me wonder if any of them had actually watched it. It seemed to have been completely ignored and unrightfully so. If anything, I’d give THAT Kdrama recognition… at least, it had substance and had meaning despite its slow start. WHY OH WHY must Dramabeans completely ignore 49 DAYS? Again, more with my differences with Dramabeans!

    • 49.1 Brenda

      City hunter is definitely not in the same category as Boys over flowers (even though BOFs was definitely popular i doubt it was praised in anything but being mindless fun and easy to parody) but i think you should watch the drama yourself to make up your mind 🙂 I would rank it as good (as well as recommend it) but it would not in ‘my’ particular top favourites of the year.

      LOVED 49 days, but yes they did watch it, haven’t you read girlfriday and javabeans episode recaps? It was also contained in some of their individual end of year reviews, i don’t know how you could of missed it xD

      • 49.1.1 aX

        Oh, that’s right! I remember reading them but it surprises me even more that they didn’t give 49 Days any recognition. Hmm…perhaps, I preferred it more than some they’ve mentioned. Oh, and thanks! I am contemplating on watching City Hunter. Apparently, I am still having bitter aftertaste of BOF that I dare not to ever finish; therefore, I am (very) hesitant.

        Just started Flower Boy Ramen Soup and honestly, it’s heading to where I expected it would be which is rather dissappointing. Hopefully it’s popularity is not only due to its good-looking male cast. The main character (female) is annoying me more & more and the comedy is a bit immature and cheesy. I hope it only gets better from episode 3… Surprisingly I am enjoying BaWool though! At least he addds some substance!

        • Brenda

          I’m surprised you didn’t finish it! But since it’s BOF, you didn’t really miss much lol.

          I just started FBRS too (up to ep 5) but i’m enjoying it so far, i like how it’s fast paced and is making me laugh more than i had expected and it feels like a good drama ‘pickmeup’. I personally don’t think that FBRS is substanceless but it may be because of the style of it’s humour which i think is either a hit or a miss depending on each persons preference. I will stick with it since i’m amused and am yet to be bored, as well as waiting for growth in the charactars, i hope they’ll make me emotionally invested (it almost did once in episode 5, as short as that scene was).
          And BaWool is adorable, poor smitten boy in love with the wrong girl, perhaps you should watch just for him.. for now =P

          • aX

            It’s not that I don’t like FBRS because I do. It’s just going down a very typical and predictable path or at least in the first four episodes. Thankfully, the development (in both characters & storyline) is finally picking up and going somewhere and I’m very optimistic. In fact, I’m more excited now that Kang Hyuk entered!

            Anyway, thanks for your rpely! I really do appreciate it! And yes, BaWool is surprisingly a character I really liked from the very start. I’m still trying to get used to the lead actress though… there’s something about her that just really annoys me.

    • 49.2 Pitch

      They did recap 49 Days. I just re-read some recaps and they seemed to love it, which makes this snub a bit puzzling.

  50. 50 bd

    As I stated prior, thought that the “bromance” btwn Sejong and Mu-hyul deserved the nod for best bromance – even tho, a smaller element, can’t beat the quips back and forth btwn the 2.

    But there’s another one I overlooked, the bromance btwn Dokko Jin and “Ding Dong” in “Best Love.”

    Those 2 were simply endearing and hilarious together and really worked since DJ had a real childish side to his personality.

    • 50.1 sally_b

      Dooo Jin & Ding Dong…for the WIN !!

      cow mustache was the funniest thing ever~…points for mentioning. 🙂

      • 50.1.1 sally_b

        spell check- notoriously bad – *Dokko Jin

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