Drama Reactions & Reviews
Somewhere Over the K-Drama Rainbow [Year In Review, Part 3]
by | December 18, 2011 | 220 Comments

The other day, I sat down and thought long and hard about all of the various dramas that I’ve seen over the course of my life. I remembered secretly turning on the T.V. as a small child and pressing my nose against the glass, fascinated with the powerful, forbidden emotions at play somewhere inside that magical box (forbidden because my mother had deemed that I was too young to watch a story about cheating husbands and raging women). I remembered how, as a preteen, I would rent boxfuls of dramas at a time, taking out one video tape as soon as it was done and putting in the next, the addiction overpowering silly needs like food or drink.

And I looked at how I’m approaching dramas today. How the initial addiction has worn away, and how that magic sheen that had coated my eyes is long gone. I am no longer capable of returning to those golden days when I watched everything and anything without judgment, and always with a sense of pleasure. It’s a frame of mind that is lost to me. This sense of having slipped into a different viewpoint when approaching dramas has never been as strong as it was this year.

Because you know what? I took a look at the list of dramas that have aired this year. I remembered every twinge of disappointment, every flicker of anger. And I thought, “It’s no friggin’ wonder I’ve become so grumpy. 2011 SUCKED FLAMING CHICKEN BALLS.”

But for the sake of space and time, I will not mention the dozens of dramas that I tried to watch (and love), and ultimately ended up abandoning out of sheer disgust. I will not mention Shitty Hunter, Can You Hear My Bowel Movement, Smile Diarrhea, Best Lard, or Lie To My Bladder. Instead, I will stick to the dramas I stuck to (although that will require mention of a few duds), and try to shed light on some shows that I feel were tragically ignored this year. Because despite this being one of the worst years for K-dramas in recent memory, there were still a few gems that appeared out of the blue, and helped me to endure what has been the most tiring and frustrating year for me as a K-drama fan since the terrible year that was 2008. Maybe this means that we’re due for another good year? While the current crop of dramas airing right now don’t exactly support that view, there’s always hope…

The following are arranged in alphabetical order, and are divided between long dramas and short dramas.

SONG OF THE DAY

Park Wan-kyu – “하루애” (A Day of Love) from The Princess’ Man OST. [ Download ]

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LONG DRAMAS

 
Dream High

The main thing I took away from this show is: “Man, this is weird.”

The thing is, before it aired, I expected it to be absolutely insufferable, and to be full of all the kinds of things I hate about Hallyu and idol casting. Yet it turned out to be harmless fluff at best. It did have its insulting moments, but never to the extent that I initially expected. Sure, Bae Yong Joon still gives me the heebie jeebies, and someone should really tell JYP that he should just squash his dreams of being a Big Time Actor right here and now. And yes, the acting was atrocious all around, with even Eom Ki Joon phoning in his performance, and normally sweet and underrated actresses like Lee Yoon Ji being dreadfully misused. The only real highlight, acting-wise, was Kim Soo Hyun. I wouldn’t say he was amazing or anything, but when you’re surrounded by people who can’t even crack a smile without making it look like an exercise in painful constipation, and when you’re the only person who has a clue when it comes to acting, you look that much better for it. Plus, he’s adorable.

Let’s face it: The writing was flimsy and shallow at best, and there were some horribly cheesy moments that made me gag more than a little. (I do not understand what was so great about that scene where they all sing SNSD’s “Genie.” I mean, it was SO UNBEARABLY CHEESY. I could’ve been okay with just the dancing, but that guy crying while watching it…? Give me a break. Someone please explain its charm to me.) The music was bad, and the vocal talents of much of its cast more than a little questionable. And I was SO BORED so much of the time. BUT. The directing was actually, well, kinda good. And because it was good, it saved this show from utter failure. The atmosphere that it managed to create, one of warmth and good cheer, kind of saved what would otherwise have been completely unbearable crap. It makes me wonder what this PD has in store for the future (y’know, besides Dream High 2). Keep in mind that I added that “kind of” – I’m still not a fan of this show, and I certainly wouldn’t consider it to be “good.” It’s very forgettable. But it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, and in a year when even dramas that I was anticipating turned out to be unbearable, I guess that’s saying something.

 
 
Flames of Ambition

Yes, I realize that I talked about this show in my 2010 review, too. But a sizable chunk of it aired in 2011 as well, and I am not one to pass up the chance to gush over this wonderful drama that warmed my black, black heart.

The episodes that aired in 2011 (the show ended in March) were ones that centered around things like the reunion of a birth mother with the daughter she “abandoned,” the choice between power or love, and a look into heroine Yoon Na-young’s hidden motivations. Her fears and weaknesses were laid bare, and it became all too apparent that she wasn’t the evil mastermind that she perhaps strove to be. She was just a woman carrying the scars of her childhood, tormented by the mistakes of her parents and the burdens of society, and driven to desperation out of her own dark desires and ambitions. In the end, Flames of Ambition was not makjang. It was a character study of Yoon Na-young, in all her glorious complexity, and her fierce struggle for survival.

This is something I notice with every Jung Ha Yeon drama I watch, but his shows overflow with a belief in the strength and power of women, and are a call to try to be understanding of every kind of person. In his dramas, every single character is a human being, and no matter what awful things they do, there are always understandable reasons for their actions. You might not agree with them, but you can’t help but understand them. They are not monsters or caricatures. They’re just people. And it is that sensibility that emanates from every second of Flames of Ambition, overriding the ho-hum directing and the iffy acting of a few members of the cast. It roars out from the exquisitely expressive face of Shin Eun Kyung, in the greatest performance of her career. It swallows you up. All you can do is surrender to it.

The problem, then, lies in the aftermath. This drama made me reconsider the ways I interact with people, and my approach to everyday things. Javabeans and Girlfriday talked in one of their podcasts about “drama stickiness.” Well, if any drama is sticky, it’s this one. It lingers to the point of exhaustion. Thus, this is not a drama for everyone. It is not an easy watch. But those who do fall under its spell will never really break away. What more from a show can you ask for than that?

 
 
Just Like Today

Oh, Kim Gab Soo. The things I do for you. The pain I have suffered.

After the torture that was Everybody Cha Cha Cha, which I sat through all because of my love for Oh Man Seok, I swore that I would never again watch a daily drama of my own volition (because, of course, sometimes I watch dailies with my grandmother, because I just can’t say no to that woman, dammit). And then I heard that Kim Gab Soo had been cast in this as the lead. And I groaned with despair, because if there is any actor that I have a weakness for, it is Kim Gab Soo.

Actually, the first episode wasn’t so bad. It took things slow, focusing on introducing its characters without much fanfare or silliness, just showing us a family and how it worked. Alas, the end of the episode featured that dreaded daily drama cliche: FAUXCEST. Or, in this case, REAL incest, because they’re cousins but they don’t know that they’re cousins because Kim Gab Soo isn’t really his father, and AAAARRRGGGHHH. If only it weren’t for this incest plot, this drama would be actually kind of palatable. It does help a little that secrets aren’t really kept all that long (only about two or three weeks…which is a very short period of time for a daily drama), and that the core of this drama lies in Kim Gab Soo’s character’s deep love for his son. It’s kind of nice to see a show where the parents are the leads, rather than the youngsters (it is so sad to watch Han Groo, who was so badass in Girl K, act out such an annoying little goody two shoes here, making me want to strangle her half the time). Still. Still. That makjang plot element is just unforgivable.

This show is hundreds of episodes long, and the idea of watching it for months and months kind of makes me want to spork myself in the eye. But I will (probably) do it. Because I am a fangirl. And when you’re a fangirl, you must make sacrifices. Really, really big sacrifices.

 
 
President

President is not a perfect drama. But it’s a FUN one. Oh god, is it ever fun.

Reading the synopsis, you would not think that it is. What, a political drama about a man who’s campaigning to be the president of Korea? SNORE. However, as usual, looks can be deceiving. The drama approaches its subject matter in an exciting, easily accessible way, with a lead who certainly seems like a good man, but has moments when he is so manipulative and sly that you end up wondering whether your assessment of him is wrong – just like Jay Kim’s character does. Oh, there are plenty of implausible moments, and a few sappy ones, and the romance is forgettable at best. But it makes up for all of that with its speedy and smart twists and turns, and in the awesome chemistry between Choi Soo Jong and Ha Hee Ra, who are married both in real life and in the drama. Choi manages to escape a little from his usual Morally Steadfast Hero stereotype, while Ha is riveting as a woman who is willing to stoop to any lows in order to help her husband fulfill his dream of the presidency. I must admit I developed a bit of a crush watching her here (why do I always fall for the unscrupulous characters?).

President is an example of a political drama that refuses to become stuffy or dull, and really shows the entertaining side of politics – in fact, it’s often a pretty comedic show. I feel like a lot of viewers steered away from this because of its subject matter, and thus missed out on something that is actually a very easy watch. Because even the politics are rooted in the impact on the family, the relationship between husband and wife, and on father and son. It takes what could possibly be an impersonal topic and makes it very personal. All you have to do is sit down and watch it to feel the impact of this choice.

 
 
Scent of a Woman

*rolls up sleeves*

My god, do I ever have a bone to pick with this drama.

It started out well enough. The first episode actually reminded me of a kind of indie film aesthetic, at least in its visuals. It even had a light Japanese touch in its handling of weird situations and quirky characters. I thought it was promising. Even my sister, who watches maybe one drama every two or three years, sat down to watch it with me (although her crush on Kim Sun Ah may have played a large role in that decision). Every week we zipped easily through the episodes, often with a glass (or five…) of wine in hand and lightly poking fun at the silly moments and cliches that cropped up from time to time. We could endure those missteps because we felt that it was sticking to its overall theme, and that the emotional factor made up for it all.

How very wrong we turned out to be.

I can’t remember what episode it was. I think it was around the halfway point. At any rate, quite suddenly, one particular episode sent everything spiralling down to hell. The cliches came fast and furious, the noble idiocy started, and the repetitions came with mind-numbing frequency (you could make a drinking game out of how many times Lee Dong Wook started heading somewhere (usually towards Yeon-jae) and then changed his mind at the very last second). You want improbable coincidences? You got it. You want those coincidences to lead to people overhearing Important Conversations? You got it. You want tiresome repetitions of sexually suggestive tango dances that did nothing but make my sister and I howl with derisive laughter? You got it.

All of this just proves that writer Noh Ji Seol didn’t really know what to do with this show once it entered its mid-way point – she simply ran out of ideas, and fell back on lazy stereotypes in order to hand the scripts in on time for the shoots. Or maybe she’s just a lazy writer in general. It’s a shame, because visually it’s a pretty show – Park Hyung Ki certainly did a good job of capturing the sights of Okinawa, fulfilling the necessary product placement quota for the early episodes. And Eom Ki Joon, my love, was adorable and managed to get as much out of his potentially stereotypical character as possible, giving him layers and depth and charisma. I suffered some serious Second Lead Syndrome because of him (and also because Lee Dong Wook’s character was so useless so much of the time). Someone get him cast as the lead in a good drama, already.

If last year my biggest disappointment was Sungkyunkwan Scandal, which I felt careened off into mediocrity in its second half, then my biggest disappointment this year is Scent of a Woman. This is all because I felt that it did have potential, that it could have been a moving story about a woman’s wake-up call and her determination to live the rest of her life with no regrets. It wouldn’t have insulted me half as much if it had been bad from the very beginning. As it is, it simply made me angry, and curse the time I wasted on it. Oh well. I guess it was a good learning experience…

 
 
The Duo

There are dramas that are like a shot of hard alcohol, that burn on the way down and make you dizzy from the effects. There are dramas that are like a nice glass of wine, meant to be sipped slowly and with relish. And then there are dramas like The Duo, which was more like makgeolli – familiar, homey, and taking its time in showing its effects.

There is nothing hurried or overly dramatic about The Duo. Which might come as a surprise to some, who read its plot synopsis of two boys who are switched at birth, one growing up a beggar, and the other as the only son of a noble household, and thought it was more of a cliche-ridden makjang fest in sageuk clothes. This preconception could not be farther from the truth. The birth secrets are revealed fairly early on, and are discovered easily by characters who prove that they are not stupid, and need just a hint to realize what is going on. There is no huge drama there. Rather, The Duo chooses to focus on more important things.

The heart of this show lies in its complex study of everyday relations between the various classes, from the beggars on the streets to the yangban who pass them by without a second glance. It digs into several characters from different classes, but most of all it portrays the lowest classes with sympathy and understanding, showing their loves, their hopes, and their ideas. It shows us the effects of the differences between the classes, and how that motivates the various characters. For example, Mak-soon, our “villain” of the piece, played by a wonderful Yoon Yoo Seon, does some truly despicable things. And yet you can understand her choices, and why she is so selfish. How else would anyone in her situation have reacted to the horrific things that had happened to her, really? She acts out of love and self-preservation, and for that, I couldn’t judge her.

There is probably no other drama writer in Korea who could portray all of this so effortlessly and with so much heart and earthiness than Kim Woon Kyung. He takes his time with the plot, taking things slow, peeling back the layers of every single character, so that everyone becomes a friend, someone with whom you feel comfortable, someone you hope desperately will become happy. And beneath it all you can sense the bubbling of the rebel Robin Hood-like plot, and when it finally rises to the surface and really starts to affect our main characters, it fills you with excitement and a desperate worry for how it will affect certain relationships – especially what is pretty much THE bromance of the year.

I would not say The Duo is an addictive, or even particularly exciting, drama. Each episode ends on a cliffhanger, yes, but I never really felt a hurry to watch the next episode. Instead, I felt content to watch it in small doses, thinking with each episode: “This drama is like coming home.” That warmth, that certainty that it would never betray me, that feeling of refreshment and joy…I thank this drama for giving me all of that. I will love it forever.

 
 
The Princess’ Man

Ahhhh. It felt so good to feel addicted to a drama again. It felt good to feel the urge to marathon episodes until I developed dark circles the size of Antarctica. It felt good to feel feverish with love, to have my every waking thought devoted to the characters and themes.

I’ve written so much about The Princess’ Man that it’s a wonder my fingers haven’t fallen off, so for this I’ll just stick to the basics.

It makes me glow with happiness to know that such a gem of a drama was not ignored, and that it gained a fierce and loyal following. It’s not often that this happens for the dramas that I love, so it was a welcome change. The Princess’ Man is not only addictive and engaging, it’s also smart, actually knows its history (and then chooses to change it up for thematic purposes, but I’m fine with that, since I think it had good reasons for it), and has some wonderful thematic elements to which it remains loyal until the very last frame. It even manages to make its romance believable, which does not happen often for someone like me, who is often bored with romance in dramas. Sure, there were a few cast members that I felt were a little iffy (Park Shi Hoo, although he certainly improved here, will, I fear, never become a really amazing actor…and I’m not just saying that because his Batman voice grated so much on my nerves). But most of them brought it, with even people like Hong Soo Hyun transforming themselves into beacons of fire and passion. But really, the person I want to heap the most praise on is Kim Young Chul, who played the dangerously intelligent and not-quite-evil Prince Suyang with such skill and emotion that he left virtually everyone else this year in his dust. If he asked me to kiss his toes, I would.

The Princess’ Man was not without its occasional implausible plot points or convenient coincidences. But it elevated itself above all of that through sheer intelligence and power, something that forgettable shows like Scent of a Woman could never dream of doing. It proved that, even through the turmoil of a live shoot, it is possible for a show to maintain its integrity and quality, as long as there’s talent and passion involved. And it helped to reignite my hope for Korean dramas, for which I am personally most grateful. Onward ho, I say!

 
 

SHORT DRAMAS

 
Girl K

In a word: BADASS.

I grew up watching a lot of action flicks, so when I find something that does action well, I tend to fall head over heels in love. Girl K isn’t particularly original, has a flimsy story at best, and most of its actors are just cruising along. What makes it work, though, is the good directing and action sequences. You just wait on the edge of your seat for that next action scene that will make your heart leap into your throat. And y’know, I just loved the idea of its heroine, a teenaged girl with all of the usual problems, who just happens to have an evil father and these unbelievable martial arts skills. I rooted for her, and I certainly rooted for her protective ahjusshi, Kim Jung Tae, in his sexiest role yet. (Oh god, why do I have such a weakness for the ahjusshi of the world?)

Girl K proves that you don’t need complicated plotlines in order to be successful. You just have to stick to what you know you’re good at, and not stray from your original themes and intentions. Girl K manages to tap into that reserve of pure emotion and adrenaline that overcomes most of its flaws, and makes it one hell of an enjoyable ride.

 
 
Drama Special

Identical Criminals

At once a detective story and a cautionary tale on judging books by their covers, Identical Criminals is sleek and well-directed, with some impressive action sequences (especially considering the budget) and an engaging plot. But more than anything, it’s a story about a young up and coming detective who’s grown a little too big for his britches, and the fallen older detective who is scorned wherever he goes. It keeps this theme firmly in mind throughout its entire 60 or so minutes, even through its exciting plot twists and creepy murder sequences. And for once, I did not find Lee Ji Hoon annoying. Can he just stick to detective roles from now on, please?

Ji-hoon, Born in ’82

Ji-hoon is 30 years old. He is an office worker who doesn’t know when he might get fired, has a whiny girlfriend who is always threatening to leave him, and a father with whom he is always fighting. Over the course of the hour, we watch as one thing after another goes wrong, and the stress builds up until he explodes with the pressure of it all…and then, at last, learns what is really important in life, and how to deal with all of the daily problems that bombard him.

This drama paints this picture with such simplicity and steadiness of purpose that it might be easy to dismiss it in its early moments, especially with its physical humour that nonetheless later takes on a distinctive black comedy edge. But you realize by the end of the hour that the steady build-up leads to a truly stirring finale, one that calls upon the empathy of everyone who is struggling with the daily trials of life, and those periods of growth that everyone must face up to. This is also one case of a show where being able to understand the lyrics of the songs that play in the background helps add a deeper dimension to the proceedings (and really, any drama that uses a Kim Gwang Seok song automatically gets an extra point from me).

Of all the short dramas I saw this year, this one probably touched me the most. Although maybe it’s just because I’ve been really stressed out lately…

 

Our Happy Days of Youth

May 1980. A pair of young men dreaming of becoming comedians travel to Gwangju in order to try out for the KBN comedian auditions. There, one of them meets, and falls in love, with a Gwangju woman who dreams of becoming an announcer. They end up staying at her home during their stay in Gwangju, thanks to the generosity of her grandmother. And soon, it becomes all too clear that they’ve come to Gwangju at a time when one of its greatest tragedies is about to strike.

This is a fascinating little show. It starts out by establishing its characters as being uninterested in politics, and even buying into the propaganda of the ruling dictatorship, with them being far too concerned with things like romance to care much about the historical things going on around them. Even the tone of much of the hour is light and jokey, in keeping with the characters’ psyches. But all too soon, they are dragged into the current of the times, and come to realize how blind they have been, and how important it is to resist when a ruling power tries to take away the things that are most important to you. It’s a sly, intelligent stab at the current political landscape in Korea, and manages to slip in a few digs at the various media sources that support the propaganda of the government, as well as the tendencies of division between the various provinces (especially between Kyungsangdo and Jeollado). It’s a terribly important message hidden in a light and carefree package. And it shows more than ever the dangers of not knowing your history. Because allowing history to repeat itself is more dangerous than any of us can imagine.

That Man Is There

What is a dream, and what is reality? This stylish, atmospheric, and altogether creepy short examines that question but doesn’t provide any answers. Instead it sinks itself deeper and deeper into ambiguity, touching upon the tragedy of a mentally ill photographer who is silently suffering under the abuse of her tyrannical husband. In order to escape from her hellish reality, she runs away into her imagination, until the viewer her/himself can no longer tell what to trust. Into this it weaves the mystery of a murder, making the proceedings even more complicated and desperate. Yet it also manages to have an emotional impact, avoiding the possible pitfall of cold intellectuality.

Altogether, this is one of the most interesting and creative dramas of the year, and certainly one that deserves more attention.

 

The Man Is Crying

It’s a simple premise. A gangster finds out that he has cancer, and decides that before he dies, he must confess his sin of murdering a beloved friend to said friend’s fiancee. It’s a story we’ve seen hundreds of times before. And yet it feels realistic, with its tragic little details, never shying away from the terrible realities of poverty. It helps that the acting is so good – Son Hyun Joo proves once again what a talent he is, and how wonderful he is at touching upon the emotional cores of the characters he portrays. It’s a warm, heartbreaking little show that strives to cling to hope despite the odds, and to argue for the good in life, hidden behind the shadows.

Young-deok Women’s Wrestling Team

Sometimes a show comes along that isn’t particularly inventive and, when you look at all its separate parts, doesn’t seem so special. Yet when you look at the whole, for some reason it works. It just feels right.

Young-deok Women’s Wrestling Team does not do anything new. It has the typical cliches of the high school girl whose father has abandoned her and her mentally disabled sister, and her slow realization that life ain’t so bad after all, thanks to the intervention of a kind (if flawed and rather selfish) teacher. Some of its characters feel a bit like caricatures, and the progress of the story is pretty predictable. Yet its big heart, and its lack of any overwrought drama, helps to make it a fun ride. Besides, I love watching Lee Jong Hyuk as a fallen model who is a bit of a loser. How is it possible for a man to be so sexy even while playing such an embarrassing character?

 

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my years as a K-drama fan, it’s that patience is key. 2011 was not a good year, not by a long shot. But I try to remember that 2010 was wonderful, and that there were other wonderful years before that, and that dramas are always surprising me. Even when I’m feeling enormously frustrated, I cling to hope. Because it does exist. No matter how bleak things may seem. With every valley comes a hill. It’s the reason that I will be a K-drama fan for life. Because when they are at their best, nothing else comes even close. You just have to keep looking for that rainbow. Somewhere out there. Maybe behind the next cloud.

 
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220 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. DarknessEyes

    thanks for the review!

     (0)


    • 1.1 DarknessEyes

      I really liked your unique take on dramas, and even though for some off them I don’t necessarily agree, it was nice to read through. I love the names you made up for the dramas at the beginning! :)

       (0)


      • 1.1.1 cv

        LOL I agree with you. Funni names.

         (0)


    • 1.2 Lyvia

      I liked Killer K… the only thing that bugged me was that I’m still City Hunterized, so I couldn’t stop (unconsciously) comparing the 2 of them all the time, always expecting a Lee Min Ho killer fighting scene d:

       (0)


  2. Jessica Le

    thx for the review dang i thot i was 1st then refreshed n im 2nd

     (0)


  3. Ace

    #2 on my list this year: The Princess’ Man. Just finished it yesterday after 4 days. Just wowed me. Looking forward to more Moon Chae-won and Park Shi-hoo in the future. Hope they’ll pair up again the future in a more contemporary drama, maybe a rom-com this time. Simply wonderful all around.

    I’m also more choosy now on the dramas I watch, but hopefully not be as cynical or nitpicky in the future. I actually enjoyed this year in kdramas more than last year which had less to offer in my opinion. (I could only remember 5, compared to this year’s 10 which I watched in full plus some I’ve yet to continue and a couple I’m keen to watch)

    Thank you for the review. Waiting for the next one by GF hopefully…

     (0)


  4. agigi

    Thanks for review. It was so funny! I loved your insight on The Princess’ Man so I went over to your blog to read it!
    :)

     (0)


  5. Dramadict

    This review was interesting. As for me, I think it’s the dramas that you choose to watch make for the kind of year that you have I thought this year had some of the best dramas in dramaland such as City Hunter, Greatest Love, Flower Boy Ramyun shop, and 49 days which you did not watch. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but you’re the first person I’ve encountered that thinks Kim Soo Hyun’s acting is “subpar” or that Sunkyunkwan Scandal was a “disappointing” drama and yet you love dark dramas like Flames of Ambition. I fully agree with you with the Princess’s Man because for me it was flawless. However, I honestly don’t think a drama has to be weary and full of revenge, angst and melodrama for it to be a good drama.

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    • 5.1 sookiesoo

      I don’t know if the reviewer watched Flower Boy or 49 days, but she apparently tried City Hunter and Greatest Love and found them so unbearable that she had to stop. Those are pretty damning reviews to me.

      I have the same problem as well. I found most of this year’s dramas unwatchable all the way through. I would read Dramabeans and GF’s reviews and get excited because they would gush over how enjoyable they are. Then after sitting down to try them, I realized I enjoy the recap vastly more.

      Just to cap it off, I’m another person who wasn’t blown away by Kim Soo Hyun and thought SKKS was disappointing. I definitely didn’t finish the latter.

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      • 5.1.1 moose

        SKKS lost its charm half way through for me. i had to stop at episode 7 (or 8?) because everything was becoming so predictable. even my love for song joongki, yoo ah in, and seo hyorim couldn’t keep me watching.

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        • 5.1.1.1 jose

          the strongest sungkyunkwan scandal’s episodes were from the episode 8 to the 20 xD ,i though city hunter wasn’t shitty hunter,the first 5 episodes weren’t that great ,from episode 6 the drama gets much much better ;dream high?like dramabeans i didn’t like the first episodes that much,then it turned a good drama…to me,it was a crack high ;about the acting ,i can agree with that ,in the final i wanted suzy (her acting or character was pretty decent )with kim soo hyun’s character because his acting was better,i liked more his character than taecyon??’s character,because he didn’t act well xD ,about the music ,i liked it (i am talking about the opening song and maybe you are the one)

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          • 5.1.1.1.1 Kushi

            @sookiesoo

            I agree with you! After reading all those wonderful recaps…I sat down to watch SKKS. Sorry to you fans out there, but I was really disappointed. ): I watched through the first 5 episodes with lots of fast-fowarding. The recap I’ve read was of episode 19, I believe. And I found that it seemed to hint to an interesting show…so I watched from the beginning…how disappointed I was):

            I am considering TPM…anyone here can give me a honest review? I truly love sagueks in all its entirety, but SKKS, the much-acclaimed saguek, didn’t impress me at all. D:

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          • 5.1.1.1.2 Ace

            @ Kushi
            http://www.dramabeans.com/2011/11/the-princesss-man-series-review/

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          • 5.1.1.1.3 Kgrl

            @ Kushi

            So far there’s been 3 very different reviewers here who’ve had great things to say about TPM, that’s got to tell you something. ^-* Additionally, it boasts a strong leading cast that doesn’t comprise of idol singers or debuting actors. And lastly, the script and directing didn’t deteriorate to levels of disgust/confusion due to tight live filming schedules. Oh, and the music is quite beautiful.

            This year definitely had a lot of disappointments, but it also had some great gems. The thing is, more dramas were produced this year, so the number of dramas that are undigestable also increase. I’m currently smitten with Han Suk Kyu, so while I was immensely admirable of Kim Young Chul while watching TPM, he also didn’t make me lean toward my laptop screen like a school girl pining after her first drama crush.

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          • 5.1.1.1.4 Kushi

            @Kgrl

            I have watched the first episode of TPM…and honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with the male leads. But I really like the princess(for some strange reason) and Se Ryung…their friendship genuinely makes me smile.

            The opening sounds and looks awesome. I love sagueks with wonderful OST. It’s the first thing that will make me watch any Saguek, at any rate. So yes, I’m hopeful, even though I’m not crazy about Part Shi Hoo…(Ah well. There has to be a few weirdos out there like me who doesn’t like him. *shrug*)

            Speaking of obsession and fangirling:D I can’t wait for the new upcoming drama that YSH is casted in! And of course, I have to get back to RoI and try and hang on there, even though I hate the annoying narrating. All for JIW~~~*sighs*

             (0)


      • 5.1.2 Saima

        ok, so on the OTs here I’ve heard everyone rave abt KSH, and then some…so, I was expecting to be bowled over by him when watching DH….i still have 1 ep to finish the series but, umm, thus far I think he’s good….i think w/ every ep i was like, “ok, so this ep is gonna be the ONE when I’ll see the light”, heh….but unfort. it didn’t happen. What really distracted me was his dialect. Hopefully he can bowl me over in the next one! :D

        Yeah, i didn’t even finish SKKS. I wanted YAI to be the main lead coz Mickey was such a snooze!! oh, wells!!

         (0)


      • 5.1.3 Ani

        I am a fan of the City Hunter recaps, but I tried watching it and it just didn’t appeal to me. I just couldn’t see the appeal everyone was talking about. I do think Greatest Love was fun to watch, even if I am still not finished watching all the episodes for it – just episodes here and there and the final one (oh, to have the time to do so would be wonderful). So I can see how both these dramas may not appeal to everyone.

        I was actually impressed by Kim Soo-hyun, but it was mostly from his scenes when he was crying (e.g. when he saw his besty kissing his crush and his ears were acting up, or when he cried while feeling the beat from a speaker, and pretty much when he cried in general). I think I’m more forgiving when it comes to Dream High because I’m a j-dorama fan and if there’s one thing I love about j-doramas is the use of episodic arcs with the overall drama arc, added in with a group of misfits trying their best to make their dreams come true.

         (0)


        • 5.1.3.1 obsidian

          Haha. I totally agree with you about Kim Soo Hyun. Now that I think about it, the scenes I remember him doing were when he was crying. When he lost his hearing, it just about broke my heart. And that’s how I became his fan.

           (0)


    • 5.2 anais

      A number of people panned the ending of Sungkyunkwan Scandal, including both Javabeans and Girlfriday. Of all the reviewers, my viewing experience aligns most so far with Dahee_Fanel’s. Shitty Hunter… That is so satisfying a moniker for that show. Thank you, DF. I haven’t finished the Duo for precisely the reasons you mentioned, but now that I have a better sense of what to expect and given all the praise, perhaps I’ll bank it. Flames of Ambition, definitely banked for when I can afford “dark circles the size of Antarctica.” LOL!

      I loved Ha Hee Ra too in the President. Almost wished that she were the central character. No offense to the hubby.

      Thanks for the review!

       (0)


    • 5.3 sunda88

      “I honestly don’t think a drama has to be weary and full of revenge, angst and melodrama for it to be a good drama.”

      true. but i think dahee just want to point that a drama has to offer something (other than entertainment) to the viewers, so that after watching drama, you’ll be able to learn something valuable from it.

       (0)


    • 5.4 Rule

      I agree with you Dramadict!!
      the review is certainly interesting, but i have enjoyed SS a lot, the light dramas like Greatest L, Flower boy etc are fun to watch even though not perfect, but then you need such lightness and fun to go through a tough life dont you!!!
      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I cannot endure too much revenge angst or melodrama too.

       (0)


  6. kaedejun

    “Shitty Hunter, Can You Hear My Bowel Movement, Smile Diarrhea, Best Lard, or Lie To My Bladder”

    LOL! My fave was “Best Lard” ;-)

    Thank you for the interesting review! Especially with highlighting the drama specials!

     (0)


    • 6.1 ineedmoredrama

      Dahee had me at Shitty Hunter LOL.

       (0)


    • 6.2 MsB

      Those names were funny! Even though I liked them but also agreed with their failings!

       (0)


  7. Kristin

    I’ve enjoyed reading your reviews. Its funny you seem to hate Can you hear my heart and I loove it (though still have 12 eps to go) I also am really enjoying A thousand Kisses which sadly you havent recapped and while I e watched many this year that were great little gems none was I more surprised by thn Flower Boy Raymun shop. Unless the ending sucks horribly I know this is one I will be buying once on DVD in my region.

     (0)


  8. prE

    thanx!!
    i was mildly enjoying BL then for some reason i just stopped @ ep 10.. Now i realise that it’s because CSW and GHJ had no chemistry whatsoever and i found myself more interested in piljoo and the 2nd lead lady even though part of the reason i liked her was because of her character in secret garden. Scent was sooooo annoying and i dont get y kim sun ah had 2 suffer n look so sick for that drama… It started out so cute though, i love the ep where they 1st met @ that island (jeju?)

    I was totally waiting 4 ur review b4 i watch dream high lol, we seem 2 have similar tastes from what i’ve seen in yr past reviews. Think i’ll still watch city hunter though coz the leads r dating in real life hehe

     (0)


  9. lovepark

    Thanks for the review. I enjoyed reading it. I especially like how you review drama specials because they give me some ideas of what to watch. Sometimes the short ones are the best ones because they usually work or don’t. There’s no need to worry that they’ll careen off a cliff halfway through after you dedicated hours of viewing.

     (0)


  10. 10 Birdie

    Thank you for penning your interesting and hilarious takes on those dramas. It is refreshing to see different points of views. I must say I totally agree with you on Scent of a Woman.

     (0)


  11. 11 momosan

    Thanks! And especially thanks for the round up of the shorts (ok, that sounds very wrong).

    And a double WOOT! for President. 8-)

     (0)


    • 11.1 celestialorigin

      Thank you for the review. I’m finally reading it now(this is archangel444333 :0 I already had that Tw name, so I kept it). For me, it’s a triple Woot! for The princess man. Moobs or not, PSH<3

       (0)


  12. 12 Elana

    Although I really appreciated your well-written and well thought-out review I do wish you could have been a little less cynical and a bit more open-minded. Just because you hated something doesn’t mean you have to declare your never-ending hatred of it; you could have reviewed the good memories too. Just like how everything in life isn’t just black or white, but rather a mix of the two, dramas aren’t just all good or bad, but rather a mix of the two. Remember the happy times, don’t be so soju glass half-empty :)

     (0)


    • 12.1 Ace

      When watching kdramas, it’s good to be open-minded. However, sometimes you’ve got to draw a line so as not to waste precious time watching obviously bad ones. As I said, this year had more great choices for me, but it also had more bad dramas compared to last year (LTM, Paradise Ranch, Manny, etc).

      And @#5 Dramadict:
      “However, I honestly don’t think a drama has to be weary and full of revenge, angst and melodrama for it to be a good drama.”

      Completely agree. My preference are rom-coms to take out the stress from the real world so I tend to avoid makjang-ish or melodramatic plots. But now and then, it’s good to watch melos that gets you in the heart more than any rom-com can.

       (0)


    • 12.2 Jennifer

      THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one who was bugged by that. Usually I enjoy reviews/ recaps by Dahee but this was too cynical.

      But then again, I always have a problem when people compare something to shit. It is one thing not to like it and to say “I didn’t like it because…”. It is something else to say “It was unbearable shit.” It is a personal opinion but still. It has nothing to do with Dahee critizing dramas that I loved (except for the Princess Man which seems to transcend all kinds of taste :D). I am used to that. It is just the how, that I didn’t like.

       (0)


  13. 13 Yushi

    Thanks!!
    I actually really liked Scent of a Woman, personally I don’t think it slowed down at much.
    I actually really agree on the fact now that a person is older they view dramas much more critically, I wish I could go back to a time where I just sift through dramas.

     (0)


    • 13.1 MsB

      Agree! I thought the tango scene was one of the dance scene ever! Still gives me chills watching it!

       (0)


  14. 14 Aya

    Just for the record: when you go kissing those Kim Young Chul’ toes, you’ll need to share ^_^

     (0)


    • 14.1 lenrasoon

      lol @ kissing toes…i’m just picturing this….nevermind :P

       (0)


    • 14.2 anotheraddict

      Another toe-kisser here– Kim Young Chul rocks! What a versatile actor! When I compare the way he embodied his role in Life Is Beautiful to that of TPM, I get a little awe-struck.

       (0)


  15. 15 cv

    Thanks for the review. I haven’t seen some of the long dramas in the review but I saw scent of a women and I have to say, I liked it. It wasn’t too crazy serious yet, serous enough for you to want to watch it. Well, it kept me coming back so it works for me.

     (0)


  16. 16 foraredrose

    I’ve been looking forward to your review!!! I only watched 2 of the ones you talked about though… :( I think it’s time to add President to my list, I’ve been hearing good things about that one!

     (0)


  17. 17 serendipity

    Yay, it’s out! Nice one. Except for the k-shorts which have slipped my radar and on which I have no opinion, I’m in SO much agreement with you. Why, it almost seems as if we could have been comparing notes all year! ;-)

    The Duo Forever!!

     (0)


    • 17.1 xiaoSxin

      The Duo forever! Dimples! Pie! All that discussion/debate over Dong Nyeo and Maksoon!

       (0)


  18. 18 endodo4ever

    Kudos to you for getting this review out in time, Dahee! I absolutely love your writing, and don’t find this review to be inarticulate AT ALL.

    Everyone agrees that this year was pretty bad in terms of quality, but I’m glad that there were at least a handful of rare gems shining amongst the pile of coals. They were just hard to find, that’s all. This year was interesting for me because I realize that I haven’t finished a lot of dramas; I got pickier with what I watched and if a drama sucked, I dropped ‘em. Whereas before, I would finish a drama from beginning to end, no matter how bad it was. Plus, this year was also interesting because most of the dramas I finished were probably the least watched dramas of the year. Perhaps this means I’m slowly inching my way into the Church of 1%? How can I not, when I’m surrounded by its wonderful members every day? :)

    Here’s to hoping that 2012 brings us a better offering of Kdramas than 2011 did. Cheers!

     (0)


  19. 19 pugz

    Finally…someone else who didn’t like the tango scenes in Scent…they just felt too calculated & not well connected to the development of the story..or maybe I just didn’t see any chemistry between the leads and no amount of heavy breathing or close up shots of hand over thigh and legs brushing past each other could change my mind. I was really looking forward to this drama too, but had to shuffle it away into the category of disappointing dramas, alongside BL, CH, PTB, and everybody’s recent favorite Flower Boy RS. After reading some other year end reviews, I think I’ will give the Duo and The Princess’ Man a try…and maybe Flames too if there is time.

     (0)


  20. 20 Cruelsummer

    Interesting review. It makes me want to go and check out some of those dramas that I missed last year.

    I am glad to see someone else that didn’t get the Scent of a Woman hype. It started off decent and then I just kept watching hoping that it would recapture some of it’s original shine. It did not and the excessive crying and wimpy lead made it all the more unbearable, which is a shame because the man is damn fine.

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  21. 21 glace

    I thought this year was way better than last year!!!

     (0)


  22. 22 Jomo

    100% Absolutely agree with every word of your Duo review.
    Exactly.
    Despite it not being one I rushed through, I didn’t want it to end, either. Maybe because in these bromance types of stories, you know someone has to lose to the other.
    The fact that it ended still upsets me, but I thought it was fair to everyone, and they paid tribute to the amazing friendship between them.

    Oh yeah, and Lee Sang-yoon is THE hottest thing you will see in a Joseon Police “uniform” beads down. It was strange to watch Life is Beautiful after The Duo, because the characters were polar opposites. Yet, he convinced me in both roles.

     (0)


  23. 23 more

    I LOVE THAT U DID NOT GIVE AWAY SPOILERS without warning Like other review people who will remain nameless smfh.

    They THIS IS HOW U GIVE A REVIEW PEOPL

     (0)


  24. 24 Alexx

    Wooot, I can’t believe that this year 2011 is nearly over sooon. (inhales & exhales) Aigoooo. (shakes head) Anyway, thanks for this recap! ^_^

     (0)


  25. 25 jazza

    i have to agree with you in scent of a woman.
    it was boring in the middle part that I didn’t bother watching it then I just wait for it to finish to watch the last episode.

     (0)


  26. 26 Verónica

    I really, really liked your year review, even though I loved many of the dramas you thought to be bad(mostly Shitty Hunter and Best…Lard?? Hahahaha I died!). But somehow I think that it is mostly because I am a kdrama newbie, I’ve only been watching for the last 8 months or so and most of what I’ve watched has been the so-called “best of” of the last decade. While I’m still under the “kdrama spell”, I am aware it will wear off anytime, in fact I’m already becoming quite picky when it comes to dramas regarding chaebols and poor girls, “romantic comedies”, opposing parents, high school dramas, and kpop idols as actors, because chances are they will be predictable and highly clichéd…

    What is left for me to say is, now I’m curious about Girl K, and President. :)

     (0)


    • 26.1 MsB

      You got to see Girl K!! I thought, personally, it was better than City Hunter (if you liked it).

       (0)


  27. 27 mihinikki

    I really enjoyed reading your review, Dahee. Thanks for leaving out spoilers. I have to check out The Princess’s Man, President, and and The Duo. Maybe I shouldn’t watch any new dramas until the year end review next year :)

    Also, SOAW was definitely forgettable and I also had a bad case of second lead syndrome. Lee Dong Wook is gorgeous, but he bores me to death.

     (0)


    • 27.1 pipit

      Interesting review. I’m one of those who don’t like spoilers. So thanks a lot for leaving out spoilers.
      I can see that we probably don’t have the same taste. However I agree with you that most dramas these year are rather disappointing. Even those that the majority raved about.

      I still haven’t finished City Hunter. And although I finished SOAW, it has nothing really special/new to offer particularly in its last episodes (yes, they didn’t kill her on screen but in the end I hoped they did just that).

      Best Love. It’s very funny and fun to watch. But there’s no chemistry between the main leads. And it becomes choppy towards the end. But it is far more superior than Dream High which although I finished give me nothing but regret for watching it. Paradise Ranch is more interesting because of its second male lead.

      Based on your review I might give the Duo and Girl K a chance.

       (0)


  28. 28 Quiet Thought

    Interest alternative take, and very surprising that someone as finicky as Dahnee should gush on about ‘Flames of Ambition.’ My personal take, not being used to Makjang, is that the first ten minutes of Episode 1 were the most gut-busting hilarious spoof of soap opera cliches I had ever watched. I then switched it off, on the premise that life is too short to waste time watching soap operas. I still go back to it when I need a good belly laugh at the end of a hard day. It’s nice to hear that the writer managed to put some depth into the story later on.

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  29. 29 lenrasoon

    Dahee_Fanel i loved your review! and wow so many reviews out there praising dramas like “President” and “Flames of Ambition” i’m curious so now i have to watch it! (i’m already watching “The Duo” and i totally agree with your opinion).

    i love Park Shi Hoo but i just lol’d after reading about “his batman voice” aww.

    too bad 2011 wasn’t a good drama year for you, thankfully it was the opposite for me but being honest i’m just a youngin to kdramas, maybe when i grow up i’ll be just like Dahee ;)

     (0)


  30. 30 Missjb

    I agree with you on second lead in scent of o woman… He is the character that keep me going for watching scent of woman… And the strange happen, his character is more engaging than Lee Dong Wook’s character, that make me kind hope he is the one that would YJ’s love instead of Ji Wook. And I kind love his relationship with Yeon Jae so much.. It’s a rare cast where I have a second lead syndrome. It rarely happen to me while watching a romance drama. I always go for the OTP… But not in this case…

    I will check killer K and The duo.. So many good review in various blog that make curious…

     (0)


  31. 31 Kil

    I think you must not be a very happy person in real life. Even when you’re not watching Korean dramas.

     (0)


    • 31.1 abc.123

      lol ….. but i agree with you hahahaha

       (0)


    • 31.2 Rai-Rai

      Amen to that…I was a little taken aback with this year end review…

       (0)


    • 31.3 XD

      Agreed!! -.-

       (0)


    • 31.4 anna hae

      I think it’s not nice to call upon the reviewer on her personal life.

       (0)


    • 31.5 Rossi

      Well, that was completely presumptuous of you. Just because Dahee’s taste differ from the majority’s, that is not an indication whatsoever of who she is as a person. To think so is completely idiotic.

       (0)


      • 31.5.1 titi

        Hahaha take a chill pill, anna hae and rossi.
        I agree as well, I don’t care about who this random reviewer is in real life, but her writing style clearly shows she doesn’t really have a positive outlook on life.

         (0)


        • 31.5.1.1 Rossi

          *take the chill pill*

          *wait for its effects*

          Sorry, your advice didn’t work because I still think your comment shows that you have a moronic look on life.

           (0)


          • 31.5.1.1.1 lahaahaa

            Actually, maybe you’re the moronic one.

            Let me direct you to Dahee’s own words in her article: “And I thought, “It’s no friggin’ wonder I’ve become so grumpy.”

            There. Her own admission that she’s a grumpy person.

            But that aside, I agree with Kil and the rest of the people up there.

            There is a fine line between being entertainingly snarky, and just so downright negative that its a turnoff.

            Unfortunately, Dahee’s article just didn’t manage to find that balance. It just feels like she’s being negative to sound pseudo-critical/intelligent.

            Before any of the few Dahee supporters come out to flame me for my “negative” comment, I’ll like to say that I think I’ve been quite kind. At least I didn’t call her article, “shitty” or “lard” or “diarrhea”.

             (0)


          • 31.5.1.1.2 Rossi

            grumpy =/= negative look on life as a whole. Grumpy is an emotional state which also means that it’s not a permanent thing.

            Also, there is such a thing as a different sense of humor. I know it’s probably a hard concept for you to grasp but it does exist.

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    • 31.6 Kender

      I know Dahee and think she’s a wonderful person. Just because her opinions don’t align with yours doesn’t justify personal attacks.

       (0)


    • 31.7 Indi

      Lol, what a single minded person, quick to judge, we have here, haha. Just because someone doesn’t agree with the stupidity of the dramas that you probably watch, doesn’t mean that this person has a sad life, and, what is worse, that her life depends on the dramas that she watches to be fullfilled.
      The most childish and ignorant comment that I’ve seen in a while. Ew

       (0)


      • 31.7.1 Rob

        I second that!

         (0)


      • 31.7.2 Ani

        Hear hear.

         (0)


    • 31.8 msim

      I actually think she’s a real joy; she made me giggle, smile and snort.
      I didn’t agree with most of it but I enjoyed her witty, tongue-in-cheek, snarky review.

      It’s so utterly boring when everyone agrees with each other.

      She’s even induced me to try The Princess’ Man – despite the fact that I have no interest in neither princesses nor men.

      Hoorray for black-hearted grumpies!

       (0)


  32. 32 Minty V

    thanks for the review, very interesting read :)

    i’m very curious about the short dramas but i have no idea where i can watch them… the only one i watched from your short drama list was Girl K and boy did that show get my heart thumping during the action scenes…

    i’m glad you reviewed the President since it didn’t seem to made a noticeable impact when it was aired… to be honest, i only watched it coz of Lee Sung Min (i’m his fangirl LOL) but i really loved Choi Soo Jong and Ha Hee Ra in this show… i hope Sung Min learned a lot from them, they have so much to offer in terms of acting!

     (0)


  33. 33 Celest

    Thank you DF for the review! And yay for pimping out Flames of Ambition and the President! I have to agree with you about Ha Hee Ra. She gave a hell of a performance. I think it’s sometimes easier to praise her because her character ends up as some sort of antithesis to her cool, collected husband. And Princess Man!! Such a great drama: directing, script, acting. It could have easily been my fave drama of the year, but that honor is still Can You Heart My Heart, which I thought was also a drama focused on characters and relationships moreso than the plot. And after CYHMH I found myself being jealous of Bong Young Gyu’s sometimes dysfunctional family haha.

    I loved Girl K as well, just because it felt more like a well paced movie rather than a drama. I don’t think you mentioned Kim Roe Ha, but his character was a hoot to watch!

    I’m glad there are other people who couldn’t get into some of the mania dramas like City Hunter, Best Love or SKKS from last year. But I actually enjoyed a good part of these dramas this year like 49 Days and even Crack, I mean, Dream High. Glad to read reviews where I can say I totally agree! and then say, “I totally disagree!” Cheers!

     (0)


  34. 34 gella

    loved your review! thanks for this. Now I’m itching to watch President, if only my to-watch list was shorter.

     (0)


  35. 35 Ani

    Thank Goodness someone else thinks City Hunter was Shitty Hunter. Ok, granted I don’t think it was THAT bad. I just think it was a little overrated. And that coming from the ME, a person who finds great joy and solace in superhero, vigilante hero (most heroes are vigilantes anyways)and antihero type shows. I followed the recaps fairly diligently and enjoyed them, but once I sat down and watched the drama itself? I was not blown away. I even had a favorite character: Prosecutor Boy – and my heart broke when he died (from reading the recaps of course). But the show itself could not suck me in. I’m happy everyone else enjoyed it, but sometimes there’s heaps of us out there that just can’t agree.

     (0)


    • 35.1 Rossi

      agh! Seungri lookalike prosecutor boy died?! NO! He was the few people I was interested in after watching the first 5 eps of the show so far. Darn it! I was so into him and the vet’s side love story. T_T

       (0)


    • 35.2 mardie

      -*Prosecutor Boy – and my heart broke when he died (from reading the recaps of course)*-

      when i first read it, i kinda take it that the prosecutor died because of reading the recaps. hahahah. made me go back to read another two times and laugh at my silliness. :P

      i was not really into city hunter but i just keep it to myself as everyone else was raging about it. i cant past episode 3, so i just read the recap. glad im not the only one!

       (0)


      • 35.2.1 Ani

        Oops. Hahaha. My brain was so addled when I wrote that. Glad people were still able to make the most out of my comment and figure out what I was trying to say. Heh. XD

         (0)


  36. 36 ayreou

    Sigh,oh was it ever a terrible year…Only a few dramas managed to keep me hooked enough to watch to the end but even some of those, I didn’t enjoy so much. I too don’t really get what’s the deal with some of the dramas that a lot of people, even GF and JB was hyping over this year sadly.The biggest disappointments for me were City Hunter, Best Love, The Musical and Scent of a Woman. Maybe because I was expecting to much of City Hunter having been a big fan of the manga, but still…just…sigh.Then there’s Best Love…an even bigger sigh.It was wacky and crazy all over, or was that the point?Maybe just not my cup o’ tea.The Musical was decent at first, then it lost its focus and just became stupid and draggy till I dropped it, I’m just surprised kaedajun still manages to hold onto to it.Scent of a woman did redeem itself a teeny bit with its ending but that still wasn’t enough to make me get over the rubbish in the mid series. Is it just me or have I started to enjoy reading recaps for most dramas this year more than actually watching the real deal? Maybe cause the recappers summarize dramas so awesomely more than they actually are.This year was the year of sighs for me. :( Right now I’m just watching Padam Padam the Sound of His and Her Heartbeats and What’s up…pretty good so far, hopefully it will stay that way. PLEASE K-DRAMAS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

     (0)


    • 36.1 Ani

      I feel you on the whole “enjoying recaps on dramas more than actually watching it”. I think the only one I am still enjoying and trying to finish is Best Love. I love Daniel Choi, but even he can’t keep me around for The Musical. I love Kim Sunah, but from the recaps of Scent of a Woman there’s a drag in the show that annoyed me so much I just know watching it will piss me off even more. It’s a good drama considering how much I just want to cheer our resident heroine on, but some of the antics from the chaebol side makes me want to hit the writer upside the head Gibbs style. City Hunter I followed via recap, and I even fell in love with the prosecutor – which thanks show by the way for killing the only character I liked – but watching it is such a bore, even for me: lover of all things vigilante, superhero, and antihero related. X/

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      • 36.1.1 jose

        at least city hunter turned better with the time,it started so so and quite boring ,but then it turned gold and was action packed, the drama which finally bore me to tears was “best love” ,to me it was the opposite, it started truly witty and funny,hyper funny the first 2 episodes,super funny the next too,funny the next,then it turned boring :/ ,i stopped it ,my top of hong sisters dramas are: -my girl,-my girlfriend is a gumiho,-you’re beautiful

         (0)


        • 36.1.1.1 Ani

          My top picks for the Hong Sisters has to be Fantasy Couple (I know, I know, people freaking hate that drama, but something about a crazy bitch trying to find her way especially when she has lost all her memories and has no family to speak of made me want to see her grow and learn to love and be loved in return) and of course Delightful Girl Chunhyang and then everything else follows with My Girl being all the way at the end. Best Love is not the best, and you do get tired of the Hong Sisters having this formula that they follow that I wish they’d break from (the whole noble idiocy and being apart thing is totally uncool to me), but Best Love is pretty good in small doses – which is another reason, aside from time, that I haven’t been able to finish it.

          But City Hunter is boring from the beginning, and maybe the most exciting episode that I skipped to is when they killed of my favorite character (the prosecutor). But if I can’t get hooked from the beginning, hell from the 4th or 8th episode, than that’s just a lost cause to me. I’m just one last fangirl to worry about it in that case. X/

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          • 36.1.1.1.1 pipit

            Who doesn’t love Fantasy Couple. Certainly not me. I LOVE that one. HYS and my OJH!

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          • 36.1.1.1.2 Celest

            Are we twins Ani because I absolutely agree with this post 100%. Delightful Girl and Fantasy Couple are my favorite Hong Sisters’ drama, My Girl being my least favorite (in fact, I couldn’t stand it except for Jun-Ki) and everything else falling in the middle. Han Ye Seul’s portrayal of Jo Anna (Sang Chil) is still one of my favorite kdrama heroines EVER. She was snarky, foul-mouthed, bad tempered, snotty, bitchy, quick-witted but still so, so fun to watch. And then she developed a heart while still being all the characteristics of “Jo Anna”. It was a hoot to watch Han Ye Seul balance the two characters out. And Delightful Girl brings back the most nostalgia, not to mention Jae Hee!

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    • 36.2 agigi

      It’s quite funny because I’m up to date about my dramas by recaps. I know whats going on and talk to my friends about it. but when friends ask me if I watch dramas, I just say “oh I read recaps instead” Hahaha its a bit embrarassing. but reading recaps is way faster than watching an episode.

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      • 36.2.1 mardie

        same with me. there’s only a couple of dramas that i really watch until the end this years, most of them i just read the recap. save my time and the heartache of wasting 20 hours watching something that make me want to strangle people. :P

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  37. 37 lara mae

    woot! another review, thanks for this.:)

    i love when you said about City Hunter being Shitty Hunter, i think it was overrated drama. i always hear that it was great and good but i watched it and i felt bored, but, i think it was lee min-ho’s acting portrayal best.

    i salute you for commenting wonderfully to The Princess Man, it is my favorite drama for this 2011, because of it’s storyline, i didn’t expect it to happen, usually sageuk drama’s are boring to watch but i enjoyed TPM very much, and thumbs up for the great performances of the actors. Prince Suyang is really the best actor in TPM, i even compared his acting in Iris. i hate him in Iris but i will hate him more in TPM.

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  38. 38 song pong

    Thank you for your review, it was funny and interesting:) I like your style of reviewing and I think you’ve just convinced me to give it The Duo a try! And thank God for another person who doesn’t like Shitty Hunter, it makes me feel a little better about my hate for that show.

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    • 38.1 ditto

      Ditto! Thanks for the review.

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  39. 39 anotheraddict

    Thank you, Dahee~ what a great review! I love your strong opinions (and not just the ones I agree with!). Actually, my experience of the 2011 dramas differs from yours quite a bit, but in general, I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m grateful for the inclusion of the Drama Specials as I’ve recently started making my way through the DS list. Kudos, Dahee~ it was a very entertaining and well-written piece.

    I predict more rainbows next year~ K-dramaland just got a whole lot more interesting (and way bigger) thanks to the huge influx of cable-produced dramas.

    P.S. Where do you go to weigh a pie?
    ♬Somewhere Over The Rainbow♪ (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. *hears groans, slinks away…*)

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  40. 40 ripgal

    Dahee, where’s the SNARK?!! I miss the snark! >.< haha

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  41. 41 Laeah

    Thanks so much for being honest. Some people get their panties in a twist when someone doesn’t like everything they do and criticizes something they love, but everyone has the right to express an opinion.

    I loved Princess Man. I disagree a little bit with PSH – while sometimes he is a bit awkward, he always does make me feel something. He does make you feel what his character does. I think he does tend to pick similar roles though. It’d be nice to see him try to reach for something a little deeper, but I agree, I think he’s always improving. I think he has potential to grow, just as he has been.

    Anyway, Princess Man was my favorite drama the only one I watched without skipping. Read the recaps, but most of the dramas this year were trying.

    The one that disappointed me the most was Protect the Boss because it was good until the stupid love triangle crap ensued and then the writing just failed.

    Those two had the best ensemble/cast chemistry this year.

    The rest was pretty much all drivel.

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    • 41.1 TC

      I also disagreed with Dahel’s comments on PSH. I think his portrayal of Seong Yu in TPM was fantastic as he managed to draw me in with his actings and I can felt his sufferings as well as his love for MCW’s character. Unlike Dahel who disliked his ‘batman’ voice, it had the opposite effect on me as I liked his deep and low voice which reflected the change in him from a carefree and happy young man to a revengeful, hostile, cold guy but HOT!

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      • 41.1.1 TT

        me too…I love his deep, manly voice in TPM. I thought it added more effects to the character.

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        • 41.1.1.1 Kappy

          I third or fourth the motion. He can speak sweet nothings in my ear with that batman voice for a very, very long time.

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          • 41.1.1.1.1 ag

            Batman voice? Huh? I fifth the motion or 6th for that matter that PSH’s voice made the character! Sorry,but you were way off base here!

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  42. 42 MISSKFANZ

    2011 SUCKED FLAMING CHICKEN BALLS.
    i love this nigahiga quote..

    teehee=)

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  43. 43 Minty V

    why so many “finally, someone who also dislikes (insert popular kdrama title here)?… same thing since Part 1 of 2011 reviews…

    well, at least you now can heave a sigh of relief in knowing you’re not the only one who dislikes that drama and that someone finally had the guts to say it? LOL… what i sense is that you guys have been hiding all these feelings of dislike and disappointment and only now were able to air it out without fear of being in the minority… hehehe… let it all out!

    it’s OK if you dislike it and feel you’re going against the popular vote… we all have our own preferences…

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    • 43.1 Ani

      Well, in my case, it’s hard to go up against a whole slew of people who actually liked City Hunter. I don’t mind telling people to their face, but up here on DB, some things like City Hunter are sacred and I’ve tried my best to avoid being controversial or raising hairs about my opinions that might end up being unpopular. But when it’s on a post where it’s ok to share your opinions about not liking the popular opinion when the post is specifically stating they don’t like the popular opinion too, than I’m staying true to the DB rules about staying on topic.

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  44. 44 wanne

    wow, i clicked on this review expected to get my heart fired up. cant believe i felt slightly disappointed, this is no fun dahee! but thanks for my poor heart.

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  45. 45 Daniela

    ” Shitty Hunter, Can You Hear My Bowel Movement, Smile Diarrhea, Best Lard, or Lie To My Bladder” Hahaha I love City Hunter and Best Love, but that line was very funny

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  46. 46 eunshil

    I agree with everything.

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  47. 47 fallingstar

    Ha, I think you’re writer on this site that seems closest to my current views on dramas in general. So disappointing and a pit of stagnation.

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  48. 48 popcorn

    I only read the reviews for the dramas that I have watched.

    Hmmm…

    The only one that I actually finished … is Dream High. It wasn’t that it was perfect. It was just it came at the right time. I just needed to watch something easy to watch. Some sort of ‘sit back and relax’ kind of watching. There were moments where I rolled my eyes at the cheesiness or the lack of skills in acting but over all, I just love its cuteness. I really like the milk couple. They are cheesy but somehow remind me of … innocent times. *sigh

    As for Scent of a Woman…

    What a big let-down! I initially really like to watch it. I even recommended it to my best friend. Lucky she didn’t bother watching it since she hates melodrama or else she will … hit me. Halfway through, KSA’s character (I can’t remember Korean names…) bored me to death. The strong will of a woman who is soon to die makes me angry at her hesitating, at her weeping, at her…ugg… I just hate the overly dramatic events happening. I wouldn’t know really since I didn’t even bother reading the recaps…

    As for Princess’s Man, to be honest I watch it as I pass forward. This is probably because in general I don’t need to watch much and can get the most out of a drama. It was good…but for some reason…I didn’t get hooked in as I expected. MCW as good as SY but…I don’t know…for some reason (for the first time) I find PSH…facial expression…very very similar to when he acted in PP. :(

    I stopped watching. I’ll finish watching it when I feel like it. (Most like not…)

    Thanks for the awesome review!

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    • 48.1 noi

      agree with PSH’s expression. gosh. as much as I loved him and decided to put him as my gravatar for the whole next year *lol*, i still find his acting so so so so so lacking. his expression irked me at times that i prefer him to put up that pretty smile of him all over the show. hahaha. PSH is, if i’m allowed to borrow Dahee’s diction, my “older” bucket~ xD

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  49. 49 Mei

    why o why…it’s like i’m reading a very looonnnngggg comment from soompi. *Yawns*

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  50. 50 classied

    thank effing god there’s /someone/ who doesn’t think city hunter was the epitome of everything perfect and such.

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    • 50.1 sojumongi

      hear hear. i won’t say it’s shitty, but it’s definitely not great.
      i loved Best Love & Scent of A Woman though

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      • 50.1.1 tinyviolin

        I agree. I tried so hard with City Hunter, because I liked the characters and the actors playing them, but maaannn….JB and GF said it already, it was like Story of a Man’s little brother, and I’m already too old to be impressed. There was no hook for me to grab or angle to see, to really stick to the drama.

        Meh. City Hunter could have been so much funner, so much darker, it could have used Nana more. But it went commercial and bland. I still swallowed, but…Meh.

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        • 50.1.1.1 tinyviolin

          oooooh but I just remembered the prosecutor dying! That was HARD. But brilliant. I died, as well.

          Ah, City Hunter, what you could have been.

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