Drama Reactions & Reviews
2013 Editors’ Picks [Year in Review, Part 5]
by | December 23, 2013 | 273 Comments

Here are your winners for 2013! It was an interesting year in dramaland, with a wide array of genres to choose from all year long. It was also a year without one drama to sweep all categories and all hearts, but never fear, because that just means the love gets spread around. Thanks again to HeadsNo2 and gummimochi for joining the fun as we battled it out for our favorites this year, and as always, we have you guys to thank for being a part of the ride all year long. So thanks, beanies!

Without further ado, the big winners of Dramaland 2013. Drumroll please…


2013 Editors’ Picks




javabeans: Best Drama is always a tough category, but it was an especially hard decision to make this year; we had a number of dramas that were pretty good and even a handful of very good, but not a clear front-runner. And while it may be less fun when one drama charges through and sweeps all the categories, it certainly makes for a less stressful decision-making process.

In the end, Nine edged ahead of the pack for its taut, tense, and well-crafted story, which was bolstered by deft directing and solid performances from its cast, particularly Lee Jin-wook in a career-defining role. Smart and suspenseful, it took a well-worn concept—traveling back in time to right a wrong in one’s past—and spun a new narrative out of it, giving the premise a fresh take to keep us on our toes. Each of its parts was solid on its own, but more remarkable was the seamless whole it became when all you added everything together. It was brain candy, oxymoronic as that seems, both intellectual and reach-for-your-popcorn fun. We’ll keep our eyes out for the U.S. remake, but as far as we’re concerned we’ve already got the goods right here. Pass the popcorn.

Honorable Mentions: Empire of Gold, Heartless City



Empire of Gold

girlfriday: When you consider the fact that almost all of Empire of Gold unfolds in armchair conversations between the power-players who call the shots in a money war, it makes me wonder if production and budget limitations created the confines in which writer Park Kyung-soo managed to thrive, or if he created the very action-less, word-heavy world that often felt more like a stage play than a drama. And still, chicken-egg quandary aside, the writing manages to crackle and bring a set of whip-smart characters and their harsh world to life with nothing but rapid-fire dialogue. The writing is at times lofty thought-provoking allegory, or a calculated examination of the flawed side of humanity. But mostly, you just have to give it up for writing that can make words land with the impact of any bullet, sword, or war-winning nuclear missile.

Honorable Mention: Nine




javabeans: The directing in Nine overlaps heavily with writing, but if I had to choose one category (…which I did), I would have to give directing the nod, in that the directing accomplished all its requisite functions (cinematography, set design, pacing, performance-wrangling) on top of taking an active role in the storytelling realm. That is to say, key narrative elements were conveyed specifically via the direction, giving clues and allowing revelations to unfold with clever visual cues and thoughtful editing. Even with multiple timelines in play—and multiple realities within those timelines—the drama never lost its way, leading us along with confidence and aplomb. The show accomplished this all without making an utter muck of the complicated plotting, which would have been the result were Nine entrusted to less skilled hands. So PD Kim Byung-soo, thank you on behalf of all of our non-melty brains and satisfied hearts.

Honorable Mentions: Two Weeks, Heartless City



Answer Me 1994

girlfriday: Despite its flaws in other areas, the Answer Me franchise never fails to deliver solid laughs, whether from broad physical comedy, clever wordplay, or Answer Me 1994’s particular specialty—the misunderstandings and earnest misinterpretations of country bumpkins who move to the big city. There’s nothing quite like a comedy that can brand its own humor, because in what other dramaverse would you get the same laugh out of two boys ordering forty biscuits to impress their dates, a heroine who becomes a dog when sauced, and the utter perfection that is Chilcheonpo? *Baaaaa aaaaa aaaaaah*



Two Weeks

gummimochi: A smartly written survival story of a man on the run that delivered a constant stream of action, suspense, and thrills, Two Weeks was the standout action series of the year. As an ordinary hero driven by the motivation to clear his name, Tae-san relied on his street-smarts and resourcefulness to get him out of tight situations and outsmart both the baddies and the system alike. Each tension-filled minute that passed safely brought both relief and restlessness, and every tiny achievement left hearts pounding in its wake. We were witnesses to a dark, unlikable hero enduring a fortnight of never-ending trials and tribulations and saw him come out a changed man, making every moment of the nail-biting countdown to D-day totally worth it.

Honorable Mention: Heartless City



Empire of Gold

HeadsNo2: Empire of Gold may not fit the usual parameters of how we’ve come to perceive melodramas, but then again our usual perception of melodramas leans toward those with the most tears, angst, and overall sadness. Empire was drama in its purest form, effectively establishing a world of ambition and avarice in which every breakfast table was a battlefield, every conversation a war, and every relationship easily corruptible by power. Tense, unrelenting, and smartly written, this was a drama which not only presented the class divide as the despicable barrier that it is; it also reinforced the futility of man’s struggle against the inescapable and all-consuming nature of greed. Nothing warms the heart during the holidays quite like the reminder that we’re all slaves to money.

Honorable Mention: Secret



Cruel Palace: War of the Roses

HeadsNo2: Epic in every sense of the word, Cruel Palace took the historical facts of King Injo’s rule and fleshed them out into an addictive, fast-paced character drama which was as much about palace intrigue as it was about simple human desires in a constant state of war. Told mainly through the perspective of one of Injo’s concubines, it excelled at treating historical canon like a jumping-off point and less like a constraint, allowing us what felt like a rare glimpse into the microcosm that was the day-to-day life of women in the palace during a time when human lives meant little overall—even royal ones. Daring and unflinching in its portrayal of the type of person one had to be in order to survive the rigors of palace life, its characters existed as products of a broken system, one which allowed a weak king to rule just so that a concubine could conquer.

Honorable Mention: Mandate of Heaven



Answer Me 1994

javabeans: The music of Answer Me 1994 pulled double duty: It established a sense of time and place, much as a well-dressed set might accomplish, and also added a layer of thematic relevance to the proceedings. The drama’s wittily selected tunes evoked nostalgia for the era, even when the specific song wasn’t recognized; the music contributed a distinct atmosphere of the nineties, as much as the tongue-in-cheek throwback fashions and sepia-toned colors. The music also helped underscore that divide between past and present, between what you have now and what you once had—and it’s that duality that gave Answer Me its wistful charm. Our highlight reel of bygone K-pop hits happened to both spotlight key emotional moments and wring laughs at the memory of one-strapped overalls, Slam Dunk hair, and goofy bouncy dances of yore, which really is the best kind of Greek chorus to have scoring your drama.

Honorable Mention: Monstar



Go Soo, Empire of Gold

girlfriday: Perhaps because Empire of Gold was such a platform for pure acting—just actors conveying everything through charged dialogue with little else to help or hinder—it’s the drama that makes its lead performances stand out. Go Soo played one of the year’s least likable heroes, but infused him with such dimension and raw emotion that you couldn’t help but root for him, even as he was surely walking into the pits of hell and damning himself to feed his bottomless avarice. His character ran the full spectrum from a poor young man living off of principles alone, to a cocky gambler with the balls to bet big against the real estate giants, to a man desperate and undone by his own ambition, and finally the monster he had sworn to never become. Through it all he remained empathetic, and just real enough to be truly frightening.

Honorable Mentions: Jung Kyung-ho (Heartless City), Jung Woo (Answer Me 1994)



Go Hyun-jung, Queen’s Classroom

HeadsNo2: Sometimes it’s not about the huge breakdown moments, the biggest crying scenes, or even the largest and most obvious character transformations. Sometimes it’s about letting the subtlety of an understated performance wash over us until what we mistake for effortlessness turns into quiet, restrained magnificence. The fact that Go Hyun-jung is a master of her craft is of no question, but her portrayal of a cruel-at-first-sight middle school teacher in Queen’s Classroom was simply awe-inspiring in the level of control needed from her to portray a role which didn’t allow for any outward displays of emotion, thus robbing her of the traditionally star-making (or in this case, star-reinforcing) standout scenes. What we got in lieu of that was an actress who knew how to do her part in order to best serve the story—and that, my friends, is true talent.

Honorable Mentions: Gong Hyo-jin (Master’s Sun), Go Ara (Answer Me 1994)



Sohn Hyun-joo, Empire of Gold

HeadsNo2: Sohn Hyun-joo commanded the screen with his portrayal of would-be family usurper Choi Min-jae, making a man whose pathos was as much a part of his character arc as his unrelenting greed. While he was perhaps the closest thing to a villain Empire of Gold had, it matters little in a drama filled with nothing but villains—so perhaps “rival” serves as a better descriptor for a man who was always going head-to-head with the hero, and one made all the more tragic because of it. He brought sensitivity and nuance to a character who could’ve just as easily had none, creating a complex, completely fallible human being in the same place where a one-dimensional cutout could’ve just as easily stood. He made us believe in a man whose ambition ruled over his rational thinking, whose need to accomplish more than his easy-going father, to become more, was worth every life-altering sacrifice. Let’s face it, Sohn Hyun-joo could make us believe anything.

Honorable Mention: Choi Moo-sung (Heartless City – Safari)



Kim So-yeon, Two Weeks

javabeans: Chameleon-like Kim So-yeon has been steadily putting in strong performances over the years, in a range of roles—whether as the lead or supporting character, as chatterbox or silent killer, as ditz or soldier or serious professional. In Two Weeks, she added dimension to a character that could’ve easily been one-note, coming in with guns (and temper) blazing to make her prosecutor a crackling, messy, real person. And not to open a can of worms, but my favorite aspect about the dogged prosecutor was that it was a non-gendered role, written not to be played specifically by a man or a woman but by whoever could give it the right fire. While she may have been abrasive, there was a grittiness to the acting that lingered after the drama dropped its curtain—we left the show feeling a little nervous for what lay in her future—so real in its rawness.

Honorable Mentions: Lee Yubi (Gu Family Book), Jang Shin-young (Empire of Gold)



Answer Me 1994

gummimochi: We could all name one or more of our favorite characters in Answer Me 1994, but what made us fall in love with this particular boardinghouse was the magic of watching its oddball and different inhabitants become a true family in the bustling city of Seoul. As a collective group living under one roof, they exemplified that life was never a journey meant to walk alone as they tackled the ups and downs of life together. The lifelong bonds of family, friendship, and love they formed were sturdier than the four walls and roof that held up that building and made that house a home.

Honorable Mention: Queen’s Classroom



Jung Woo, You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin and Answer Me 1994

javabeans: Bread Man Oppa! It’s hard to argue that Jung Woo’s skyrocketing popularity isn’t mostly due to Answer Me 1994, where he took the oddest mix of traits, some of them truly disgusting (He chews his milk! Wipes his face with the floor mat!), and somehow came up with a character who owned our hearts and made us cry along with him. But I also have to credit You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin for first putting him on the map, which was perhaps the more surprising achievement; in Answer Me he was given loving attention by the writer, but in Soon-shin he took a small background character and turned him into one of the standouts of the show. In any case, this one-two punch gave Jung Woo the recognition he surely deserves for his ability to breathe life into characters just brimming with sincerity, and winning us all over in the process. Sure, 1994 may have been a big year for Oppa, but 2013 was Jung Woo’s to conquer.


Yoo Yeon-seok, Gu Family Book and Answer Me 1994

girlfriday: Yoo Yeon-seok wasn’t a total unknown, but there’s a huge difference from being the guy who gets hate mail for playing villainous second leads to being universally beloved for harboring the one-sided love of the year. He’s been quietly putting in stellar performances in movies and dramas for some time now, and his vulnerable turn as Lee Yubi’s brother in Gu Family Book earlier this year made me regret that he wasn’t given more to do. But it was Answer Me 1994 that catapulted Yoo Yeon-seok to mainstream fame, and I think we can all agree that Chilbongie makes up for the past in spades. I’m pretty sure what everyone wants for Christmas this year is a sweetly dim major league pitcher who throws a mean fastball and only has eyes for one girl.



Lee Bo-young, I Hear Your Voice

girlfriday: This is always a tight race in any year, because even the most flawed dramas can have some memorable character gems. But Lee Bo-young’s jaded public defender heroine in I Hear Your Voice takes the cake as the most lovably flawed character of the year, who proves that petty, immature, haughty, and bitchy are all just relative terms when you add in a layer of relatable vulnerability and a sparkling sense of humor. In a dramaland overpopulated with Candys, Cinderellas, and Machiavellian schemers, it’s an understatement to say that a smart capable woman who knows what she wants is a breath of fresh air.

Honorable Mention: So Ji-sub (Master’s Sun)



Jung Woong-in, I Hear Your Voice

gummimochi: There’s nothing like a serial killer who’ll make good on his word to hunt down the one who put him behind bars to keep you up at night. Pair that with his relentless and unwavering determination to carry out his personal vengeance, it’s no wonder then that a simple utterance of Min Joon-gook’s name alone can trigger fear and anxiety. Something must be said for a man who can send chills down your spine with one working hand, but then again, if the constant threat of his revenge-fueled hate forces a couple to seek refuge under one roof (and brings with it cohabitation hijinks galore), it certainly makes you wonder—does that make him a good villain or the world’s scariest matchmaker?



Gong Hyo-jin & So Ji-sub, Master’s Sun

gummimochi: As one of the most memorable romances in dramaland this year, Master’s Sun gave us the best excuse for skinship I’ve seen in dramaland yet: a ghost-seeing heroine touches a paranormal cynic hero to make ghosts disappear. Why hadn’t anyone thought of this sooner? Couple that with a sizzling chemistry between two strong leading performances, and what you have is a romance that begins on a dark and stormy night where a touch strikes like a lightning bolt and each word rumbles like a clap of thunder. Every hand-holding moment and hug came with a price tag that eventually amounted to a debt that could only be absolved with kisses, which I consider a pretty good payoff at the end of the day.

Honorable Mention: Lee Bo-young & Lee Jong-seok (I Hear Your Voice)



Lee Jong-seok & Kim Woo-bin, School 2013

girlfriday: Sometimes friendship gets a raw deal in a dramaland that’s dominated by romance, no matter what genre you’re in. So it’s nice when you have a year filled with some great friendships, or this year’s usual suspect—the frenemy-turned-reluctant-mate-ship. School 2013’s bromance is the best of both, as the story of a pair of childhood friends who had no one but each other in this bleak world, but were too hurt over the loss of their friendship to go back to bygone days. It was a bromance powered by raw teen emotion, endearments via swear words, and a whole bucket of manly tears. The tense relationship between two school jjangs carried the heart of the show and even launched the real-life meme that is Lee Jong-seok ♥ Kim Woo-bin. The rest, as they say, is history.


Jung Kyung-ho & Yoon Hyun-min, Heartless City

gummimochi: In a city filled with drug lords, kingpins, and undercover cops, the bromance between a drug courier and his underling in Heartless City was the darker side of the brotherhood coin. From prison buddies to maneuvering the drug empire together, there simply was no time for a happy-go-lucky bromance of hugs, aegyo pouts, and ramyun-sharing when their lives were in constant danger. Instead, this real bromance endured multiple tests of loyalty and devotion—it meant taking that knife that was meant for him now… and also those two other times over the years. You know it’s forbidden when his mother slides an envelope of money across the table to ask you never to see her son again. And love when you remain friends anyway.



Mi-rae’s Choice

gummimochi: It should have been simple: A time-traveler comes back to the present to change ONE decision in our heroine’s life. Because who would know more about yourself than yourself, right? Wrong. What started off as a breezy and fun romantic comedy of a girl caught between two decent suitors sadly turned into a show caught in its own indecision of not only its romance, but also its own sorta-maybe-not-really-time travel explanation. Snagged by flawed writing, Mi-rae’s Choice became less of a matter of choice or fate, where neither relationship was fully developed, and simply… stopped, ultimately robbing its viewers of seeing a choice made. Or at least that’s what we’re led to think, because she chose—

Honorable Mentions: Heirs, Basketball



Kim Jae-wook, Who Are You

HeadsNo2: The waste of Kim Jae-wook’s talent in ghost-seeing mystery fandango Who Are You should be considered a criminal act. Perhaps fans would’ve been up in arms sooner had we not been lulled into a false sense of security while watching his chiseled face and soulful eyes meander about tragically, not only because his character had died and become a ghost, but because he wasn’t able to, you know, speak. So comforted were we by his mere presence that we figured that he’d surely have more lines later, right? I mean, it’s not like we thought the drama would dare to employ him for sixteen episodes as just a memorable mime… right? Wrong. So wrong. In a drama that could’ve seriously stood to gain from Kim Jae-wook’s considerable talents, they instead opted to just not. And I’ll never fully understand why.

Honorable Mentions: Jo Jung-seok (You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin)




javabeans: I’m not going to argue that there was no reason for Heirs to have been popular. The drama’s just stuffed with reasons, most of them named things like Lee Min-ho and Kim Woo-bin and Choi Jin-hyuk, topped off with mountains of glib dialogue and buffed to a sheen with a layer of pretty gloss. Like we weren’t going to tune in. On the other hand, despite all the genuine causes for excitement in Heirs, the drama never did anything special with its ingredients; never mind whipping up a tasty new version on a favorite dish, it barely even did anything resembling cooking, instead letting the parts just sit there and marinate in angst from beginning to wearying end. I can’t begrudge a drama its high ratings for being entertaining, even if the product is messy and flawed; however, when a drama garners such numbers for hardly doing anything—especially when it had so many excellent opportunities and players at its disposal—I’m left wondering at the meaning of it all.

Honorable Mention: Secret



End of the World

HeadsNo2: This has been an unforgiving year in terms of sheer numbers, where ratings duds could go their entire run without hitting 5%. Due to the lightning fast nature of pre-production you’re less likely to see a broadcast show cut due to low numbers and more likely to see that happen in cable, even though lower numbers are generally better tolerated. Alas, such was the case for apocalyptic pandemic drama End of the World, which was not only cut from 20 episodes to 12, but was also relegated to showing only one episode per week. It’s a shame considering how masterfully the show handled its frightening subject matter and the talent on both sides of the camera, but it’s a testament to said talent that the show actually rose above the cut to deliver an ending as pitch-perfect as its cult following could’ve hoped for; one which spoke to the tenacity of the human spirit and its ability to overcome anything, even the end of the world.

Honorable Mention: Two Weeks, Queen’s Classroom



Gumiho daddy, Gu Family Book

girlfriday: If by “deserving of his own drama” you mean “cried buckets over his few measly episodes of Gu Family Book and gnashed our teeth and cursed the heavens while doing rain dances until he came back to us,” then yes—Gumiho Daddy deserves his own drama. Preferably one where he doesn’t fall in love with a woman who breaks his heart, betrays his love, and unwittingly turns him into a thousand-year demon, but yunno, beggars can’t be choosers. We’ll just settle for more of his most glorious mane of glory, good or evil. I mean, when your character is a god of the forest who lives for an eternity, the prequel possibilities are endless, right?

Honorable Mentions: Kim Jae-wook (Who Are You)


(Most watchable despite itself)

Hundred Year Inheritance

HeadsNo2: We can point to a lot of dramas this year and say they were the worst, but it takes a special breed of show to be the best of the worst—a drama so bad you hate yourself for watching but so compulsively watchable that you just can’t help yourself. No drama this year made me more ashamed of wasting fifty hours of my life than Hundred Year Inheritance, which opened by throwing its heroine into an insane asylum and ended with a groom-to-be wheeling himself down the wedding aisle due to a sudden and debilitating car crash. It was never about the noodles, it was about the craaaaazy—but boy, could that crazy be fun.

Honorable Mentions: King’s Family, Nail Shop Paris



Na-jung & Garbage & Chilbongie, Answer Me 1994

javabeans: Oppa!

girlfriday: Chilbongie!

javabeans: Oppa!

girlfriday: Okay, Oppa.

javabeans: Wait, then I choose Chilbongie.

girlfriday: But I just agreed with you!

javabeans: Shhh! We’re not allowed to agree! It’s in the rules and everything.

girlfriday: The imaginary rules of best love triangles?

javabeans: Well, best-worst. It’s kind of a twofer.

girlfriday: So is an Oppa-Chilbongie sandwich.

javabeans: Om nom nom.



273 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. moondust

    Thank you all at dramabeans for an awesome year!

    • 1.1 febz

      Yeah, thank you so much. This was a great year for dramaland.

      Lol and I think it’s the first time in years since the best drama that won wasn’t recapped by db in entirety and also none of the honorable mentions either.

  2. BellaMafia

    Wow.. most of them I totally agree. But, I just never thought EoG can be considered as melodrama.

    • 2.1 kuxi

      And I don’t know why EOG considered as best writing maybe because the writer has won award last year? But it’s different drama and I think EOG is bigest dissapointed drama & waste talent especially for Sohn Hyun-joo. And the ending is very dissapointing

      • 2.1.1 eny

        empire of gold for best writing, this drama deserve t o get that the story is smart n unpredictable.
        i think best drama is betwen good doctor, empire of gold or shark, i haven’t see nine so i can’t complain but i heard it’s good
        for best actor for me it’s go soo or joo won
        Mostly agree with editor pick…………

      • 2.1.2 Niara

        On the contrary, I absolutely loved EOG and it was my second fav drama of the year after Nine.I thought the writing was brilliant and the ending very compatible with the theme and message of the story.This is the first time I agreed with almost all the categories of Editor’s Pick (except acting category) at DB…But I guess the unique style and plot of EOG would not be appealing to everyone.

        • faizahmnoor

          EoG was fabulous and it definitely deserved the best writing.. i started in the middle of the series out of boredom when i flipped through tv channels.. it was so intense yet so intriguing and so twisted, it makes me hooked on immediately.. the execution and pace of the story was perfect.. dark dramas like these was not usually my cup of tea unless they’re this good.. had never love dark drama as much as this before aside from kim kang woo’s story of a man..

      • 2.1.3 Lord Byron

        My impression of Empire of Gold: It had an intricately knitted script, but like accounting principles, many developments in the script were too artificial and too forced. (Also, the dramatization of it took the least intricate, most predictable road. As a result, it was as if we were watching the cast doing a first reading.)

        In my opinion, best writing belongs to Childless Comfort. Simply perfect.

  3. snow

    yayy, the Soo & Shi-hyun bromance got a mention! thanks, editors! enjoyed reading all your recaps and reviews, and many thanks once again for all your hard work so that we get to “experience” these dramas too. two thumbs-up for you all, and the beanie community!!

    • 3.1 ilikemangos

      This. Bromance. <3

    • 3.2 nomin

      And an honorable mention for Safari Samcheon ♥

    • 3.3 pogo

      I’m glad they were mentioned, especially since Heartless City/Cruel City wasn’t recapped here. Such a great pair, even in their darker moments (Baksa leaving Soo’s girlfriend to die, for the sake of getting Soo to help first? And Soo guessing at it but still remaining friends anyway? I love them.)

      • 3.3.1 Lixie

        I thought Baksa did that because he she was a spy for his aunt and he knew. The nicest moments of their bromance for me were after he found out he was a cop but I truly loved ALL their scenes, probably best part of HC.

        • pogo

          It’s still pretty hardcore, you have to admit – I mean, he had the motive but to leave the girl anyway…WHOA. But Baksa was totally not your typical hero.

          That whole Drug Family – Baksa, Soo, Jin-sook, Safari – was such a great unit, in all their power struggles and back-and-forth, but for all that, they loved Baksa.Long live proxy families <3

          • Lixie

            Yes, yes, it was hardcore, it was one of the nice touches of first part of HC. The Drug Family was really what made stick with the show for 20 eps. They were excellent. There are 2 categories that I always miss in the editor picks every year. One is best soundtrack and another is best ensemble. The best ensemble prize would certainly go to HC this year. 🙂

          • Lixie

            Wait, I just saw there IS a best ensemble and best music. I forgot it because I never watch the AM1994 series. I tried but it’s so strangely slow and boring, I wish I could find them amusing like everyone else.

          • pogo

            @Lixie – re: Answer Me 1994, I’d still give them Best Ensemble despite the show’s flaws (you are right that it’s too long and slow in parts, I’m never going to finish it at the rate I’m going), because of one reason – there is not a single weak link in the cast.

            I love Cruel City to pieces and most of the cast put in flawless performances, especially the Drug Family, but not everyone was on their A game like them. (I’m thinking Soo-min, mainly. Especially when she was still convenience store clerk, Nam Gyuri looked way too much like she was play-acting).

          • pogo

            @Lixie – speaking of Heartless City/Answer Me 1994, it turns out Kim Yumi (Jin-sook of Heartless City) is dating Jung Woo (1994’s oppa). It’s confirmed and everything, but I just had a weird ‘this is all meta isn’t it’ feeling when I read that so I had to come back here and post it, ha.

  4. Mawiie

    Yayyy! Thanks for the post!

    CHARACTER MOST DESERVING OF OWN DRAMA you created this new category just for Gumiho Daddy didn’t you? 😛 Not that I’m complaining… Give me this drama, k-dramaland!!!

    As I was reading this post, I realized how 2013 was so… not exciting. The previous 2-3 years I’d come running here like the biggest fangirl ever to see if my favorite dramas/character/made it to the editors’ picks. This year… not so much.

    2014, please be better!!!

    • 4.1 tacprio

      Thank you for this. Such a great read … and thanks for keeping this site such a fun place to visit.


      i would vote for Safari Samcheon together with jinsook onni …

    • 4.2 Yee

      Totally agreed – More Gumihot Daddy Choi Jin Hyuk, pleeeease!

  5. Drama Debussie

    Can’t believe Kim Woo Bin’s Choi Young Do didn’t get CHARACTER MOST DESERVING OF OWN DRAMA. Heirs was horrible, but Kim Woo Bin was the brightest light in that mound of pretty caca.

    • 5.1 maldita

      I’m probably the one who utterly disliked Youngdo’s character throughout the whole series, ~redemption~ or not.

    • 5.2 Anonymous

      Let’s be real here, there was no story to tell for Young-do, and just because Kim Woo-bin was “good” doesn’t mean that Young-do is worth having a drama for.

      At least Gumiho daddy had a 16 episode worthy story.

      • 5.2.1 pogo

        Gumiho Daddy, I would totally give him that story if they could rewrite Gumiho Mommy to not be a totally irrational betrayer – or at least give her some reason for the betrayal, like she’s scared of spirits or something.

        Or better yet, take a 20-year leap forward in time (he’s a thousand years old already, what’s 20 more?) and pair him up with Chung-jo, she’s far more interesting.

        • megumi

          yeah that gumiho mommy was so cold to gumiho daddy, she didn’t even think for a second about turning him in to the authorities, no hesitation after all he had done for her and the happiness he had given her and also saved her life, i understand her decision but still they could have showed some of her emotional conflict about making that decision…it was so heartbreaking for him for her to act so cold like that…

    • 5.3 callmeadreamer

      A drama centered on Choi Young-do wouldn’t be bad, but I would only watch it if their leads from The Heirs were MIA. 😛 The rest of the secondary characters could stay, though.

    • 5.4 Windsun33

      I don’t agree, mainly because I think he just looked good because everyone else looked so bad. 😀

      • 5.4.1 kngdrama

        I agree with DB – he was good at playing a naive, kind gumiho and then a dark monster with brief flashes of his old self. And man, he looked so good in white and black clothes. He made me believe in his love and remorse.

        • kngdrama

          Oops, that was a comment about GUMIHOT, not Young Do.

    • 5.5 pogo

      Don’t get me wrong I thought Woobin was fantastic in that role, but a drama centred on a school bully with a soft heart who changes after meeting a poor girl?

      We’ve had that drama already, and it was called Boys Over Flowers.

      • 5.5.1 Lixie

        It’s true. I’ve just realized that the best part of Heirs was BOF! How ironic.

      • 5.5.2 Ttyy

        Comparing the Heirs to BOF? Instead, how about comparing it every other romance story ever written.

        The real truth is that vast overwhelming majority of practically every romance ever written boils down to the exact same basic plot, as follows: Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back. The end.

        Yes, there’s a few exceptions, but honestly, not all that many. Only real differences are the settings, back stories, and supporting cast. That’s all.

        There’s really only a few basic plots in ALL of literature anyway. Somewhere between 1-36, depending on how you boil it all down. Everything else are minor variations. Further explanation can be found at this link: http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/plotFARQ.html

        • pogo

          considering the number and degree of similarities between the story and setting of Heirs and BOF (more than between any other two high school dramas or rich-boy-poor-girl dramas), you really don’t have a leg to stand on with that argument, sorry.

    • 5.6 ziggystardust

      Just give Kim Woo Bin a drama, forget the Choi Young Do.

    • 5.7 Yee

      Like everyone mentioned before it’s BOF and we’ve that already.

      Even KIM WON & HYUN JOO are even more worthy of their own story with more weight to the crown than the leads!

      Totally, agreed that NINE & TWO WEEKS are the best drama for 2013 and also THANKS to DB I’ve discovered the Gumihot Daddy CHOI JIN HYUK!!!

    • 5.8 anonymous

      I agree with Drama Debussie about CYD having his own drama. I would watch that. KWB was really good as that character, and I could see how much CYD was changing by the end of the drama. He would continue to change, even getting therapy to better himself. KWB brought a lot of nuances to CYD that I didn’t see in GJP, and I loved him for that.

  6. CupidinLove

    I have just realized that I barely scratched the surface this year! So many dramas, so little time–what with finals and all. I’m gonna watch all that are here that I missed and maybe my 2013 will be complete.

  7. me22

    Love you guys for doing this

  8. Mashimomo

    LOL at Mirae’s choice: “Or at least that’s what we’re led to think, because she chose—”

    Thanks DB team for an awesome year of recaps, rounds of shots for everyone!

  9. Kiara

    Agreed with Best writing (I’d follow Park Kyung Soo’s projects from here on), best historical drama (yay no one does it better than writer Jung Ha-Yeon), best action thriller <3 LJK, best actress <3 Teacher Ma, best supporting actor <3 Sohn Hyun-joo but I loved him more in The Chaser, most underrated and best drama for me was End of the World, most overrated Heirs.

    Thank you girls for the year reviews. <3

  10. 10 I ♥ Heirs!

    The hate Heirs constantly gets from these editors and the commenters here never fails to amuse me. It really doesn’t. There’s no point arguing eith people over why it really is the best drama of the year and why it has and will do so well, but haters always come up with the same hilarious excuses – it was just cause of the popular cast… Secret had ended… people watched it to see how bad it was… LOL

    • 10.1 Dongsaeng killer

      Can we get a downvote button?

      • 10.1.1 DramaFan100

        I love this one despite how redundant this comment is. He he.

      • 10.1.2 Anonymous

        We were the ones who got rid of it…

    • 10.2 savanna

      It’s just an opinion. Same as this review, so relax and WATCH other dramas.
      Maybe its time to stop obsessing over heirs and try to watch other kdramas. Not saying you shouldn’t like heirs but by watching other dramas it’ll open your eyes to different types of themes,characters etc.
      Here’s a tip: try watching something on this review like nine or maybe empire of gold. You never know, it might surprise you 🙂

      • 10.2.1 I ♥ Heirs!

        Since the conclusion of Heirs, I’ve watched Masters Sun, Gu Family Book and Nine.

        Heirs may not have the most superior storyline (I knew that whilst watching Heirs, and it isn’t very intellectually stimulating either) and those 3 dramas have better storylines.


        Heirs’s storyline is sufficient, and it more than makes up for it in so many other departments. The OST was amazing (you can make fun of Love is the Momentttttttt but truth be told it’s a great song too), the emotional angst and crying scenes were beautiful and always had me in tears, and the cute and wonderful chemistry not just from Chanyoung & Bona, but also from our main leads CES & KT (I fail to see why some people think they had no chemistry, but just watch ep 19 for their cuteness). And many more reasons.

        • pogo

          Heirs does have certain aspects that aren’t complete garbage.

          However, the overused OST songs, endless crying scenes from the main leads and (lack of) chemistry between LMH and PSH were not those aspects, so if you’re trying to convince anyone here that they were, please be prepared for us to do the internet version of laughing in your face.

          • Mrs.Jang Guem Suk

            When u say lack of chemistry u mean that JB & Hye sung ( from Dream High ) had 100x better chemistry than those 2 😃 anfld that’s saying something smh

          • Ttyy


            Who is this ‘us’ you speak of? Isn’t is rather presumptuous to imagine you can speak for everyone here?

            What I noticed is that the Heirs seems to have gotten more comments than pretty much any other drama, oh, ever? I was also watching the Internet counts on the number of people reading the recaps on this site, and boy oh boy, for a show that you seem to believe sucked so bad, it really generated an incredible amount of interest.

            For the record, I greatly enjoyed the Heirs, and although I disagree with your personal opinions, guess you have the right to express them, same as anyone else.

            Peace out.

          • pogo

            @Ttyy – Enjoy your garbage, by all means.

            What I noticed is that the Heirs seems to have gotten more comments than pretty much any other drama, oh, ever?

            Please take this comment as me laughing in your face, because if you’re talking about the number of comments on this site, there are plenty of shows with far more comments than Heirs got. (go on, try to tell me it’s got more comments than The King 2 Hearts. Or that the highest comment count on any Heirs recap is even close to that of Master’s Sun).

          • Ttyy


            On Dramafever, King 2 hearts has 2,011 fans. Masters Sun has 9,059, while Heirs has 64,359 fans.

            Keep laughing

          • Kiara

            Ttyy, -” What I noticed is that the Heirs seems to have gotten more comments than pretty much any other drama, oh, ever?”

            That would be a big fat No. King2Hearts had the most comments. By episode 12 the comments went past 1000. The final episodes alone had around 2,355 comments.

          • pogo

            @Ttyy – I find the immaturity of fans who try to use dramafever ‘fans’ and facebook likes as proof of quality very amusing, indeed.

            Especially when they make claims about maximum comments and don’t say just where, (the default assumption being left for readers being that you mean this very site) and then have to backtrack to ‘but I meant dramafever!’ mode when it turns out you’re quite comprehensively wrong.

            Anyway I hope those dramafever stats keep you warm at night, you Heirs fans seem very hung up on the idea that having a lot of social media fans means your drama is good or something.

          • Ttyy


            Now that you mention it, The Heirs has over 2.2 million “likes” on their Facebook page.

            If you don’t find that relevant, well, the advertisers find it extremely relevant, and as they are the ones who pay for the production costs, and all the salaries of the cast and crew members, well, I would have to say that their opinions matter far more than yours.

            Dramafever coproduced The Heirs, meaning they provided the financing to market the program to international markets. The opinions of their viewers matter, as I have no doubt they helped generated far more revenue for the show than the korean market alone.

            Although you may think otherwise, your opinion isn’t paying anyone’s bills, and holds no relevance to anyone but yourself.

          • pogo

            @Ttyy – Sure, my opinion isn’t relevant to anyone except me…..and the many people who agreed with me, right here.

            Your stats, on the other hand, are irrelevant to people’s opinion of the quality of the show.

        • Rossi

          Truth is indisputable fact like”Gravity”. Opinion such as “Heirs” was a good OST is subjective thus not a truth.

        • Arhazivory

          But um….just cause you like it doesn’t mean everyone else should. Opinion is what it boils down to and you aren’t the only one that likes the show; you’re just the minority. Take a walk over to other blogs like NetizenBuzz and the general sentiments are the same: overrated.

        • baND

          Poor you..,boring drama is your type,then i guess Heirs & Mirae Choice are your favourite drama of the year…hwahahahahaha..

          • Anna Moshita

            Here I am…laughing at all these comments and pressing the like button.Amuse me more guys! XD

      • 10.2.2 KDaddict

        Sure, it’s just an opinion of the reviewers’. Only followers take their cue from the bloggers, and a tide is formed:
        It has become COOL to hate Heirs on DB, and quite the opposite to defend it. Freedom of speech should apply to both sides.

        It is no secret that DB hate Secret Garden, KES, and now Heirs. For the past 2 years, SG-hating comments sprung up non-stop. Heirs may become the new puppy to kick.

        I don’t think Heirs is great. I don’t think it is that bad to warrant the kind of language employed around here. Even if u think it is, If we leave some leeway out of respect for other ppl’s deep love, there wouldn’t be fan war.

        Either way, I hope we can all move on.

        • AdAl

          @KDaddict You do have a valid argument that most commenters tend to follow the opinion of the reviewers, though, I’d like to think that some commenters are actually capable of independent thought and are voicing their own opinions’ and not someone else’s.

          It might also be the case, that viewers of like minds tend to congregate together – so you’ll find that viewers who think that Heirs is fantastic will comment on the same sites and those who feel the converse will generally aggregate to websites like this.

          Whatever the case, the beauty of DB is the fact that it really is the most analytical site of Korean Dramas that I’ve come accross (and believe me, I’ve scoured the web) – people are free to agree or disagree, and those heated debates are quite welcome so long as its respectfully done.

          I often find the comments to be actually more interesting than the reviews, because it lets me know how people generally feel or think about a drama.

        • pogo

          It has become COOL to hate Heirs on DB, and quite the opposite to defend it.

          This is the line I’ve seen parroted by almost all the die-hard Heirs fans on here, despite the fact that a read-through of the comments on recaps reveals plenty of commenters who actually liked or were interested in various aspects of the drama, and that includes people who were critical about other aspects.

          So yeah, unless you’re the kind of fan who thinks literally all criticism = ‘hate’ and it’s ok to ‘defend’ your drama by hinting at commenter conspiracy theories and insulting people…..

        • jaglaine

          I must say that many of us are independent thinkers (at least I like to think so). Personally, I liked Heirs until Ep14. After that the turns the story took did not make sense to me. So I became a semi-hater for the next 4 episodes. So, NO, it was not because of JB and GF. And besides, they state their opinion but they were not overly-critical.

          Btw, DB, this piece is very entertaining. Good job guys!

          Merry Christmas!

    • 10.3 callmeadreamer

      It seems like you are trying to invalidate those opinions that disagree with you but lumping them into a hater group. Why does it matter what other people think?

      • 10.3.1 Windsun33

        That whole “hater” thing is something that I never figured out. It is almost like people think they have something to lose by admitting that not everyone agrees with them.

        I don’t agree with all the opinions here, and don’t expect others to agree with me, but I don’t quite see where that makes anyone a “hater”. Perhaps it is some psychological thing where people get so emotionally invested in something that there is no longer like or dislike, there is only love and hate?

        • KDaddict

          It really depends on the language that ppl use to discuss/describe a drama. Using words in the neutral zone/tone is one thing. Start using incendiary words or sarcasm, one comes across as none other than a hater, and a fan war erupts.

          Freedom of speech, saying what is on one’s mind is very much the American way. Where criticizing a drama is concerned, I’ve learnt to curb my tongue out of consideration for those who love it.

          Ppl don’t need to know EVERYTHING you (the general you) think about every drama in every occasion, esp. if it is negative.

          • pogo

            Freedom of speech, saying what is on one’s mind is very much the American way. Where criticizing a drama is concerned, I’ve learnt to curb my tongue out of consideration for those who love it.

            Really? Because I had the impression that Korean netizens are far worse than any commenter on dramabeans, when it comes to criticising things they don’t like, whether that is an actor’s (lack of) skill or, well, anything else really.

            I can take a negative opinion about my favourite drama if it’s honestly given, and don’t expect anyone to hold back out of consideration for my feelings even if I disagree with them. I do not see why on earth fans of another show feel the need to go around attacking those who don’t like their drama. (and no, ‘defending’ their favourite thing is not a justification of it – it’s some drama criticism, not a personal attack or a human rights violation)

          • Rossi

            But why does a person have the right to extol every single virtues of a drama but another person NOT have the right to dislike it?

            This is a drama discussion site and comments ranging all color of the rainbow should be allowed here (unless they become vicious personal attacks), right?

          • megumi

            yeah the language is the most important, people can criticise any drama they want but should do it respectfully, sometimes people don’t realise some words they use can cause arguements, that is why i always keep out of making fun of dramas that i don’t like, i will say i don’t like this drama because it’s not my taste or something like that but i never make fun of the actors and actress and harshly criticise them like some people here tend to do…

        • callmeadreamer

          I really don’t get it either.

          TBH, while I like hearing what other people think almost nothing will make me change how I feel. I approach things in a similar way, in that I will discuss things but I’m not out to change anyone’s mind.

          • Windsun33

            That is basically true think. While others often bring up points about a show that I may not have considered or noticed, it is unlikely to change my mind from love to hate or vice versa. It might move the slider a bit one way or the other, but not likely that I will do a complete change. Nearly always, my love/hate comes from the show itself – quite often shows that start one way might better or worse.

            The most common effect is for me to reconsider dramas that I have not watched or gave up so I may try it again. After all, even if 3 million people say it sucks, it is not like I can un-watch it 🙂

          • megumi

            yeah but that’s just you, some people like most of my friends tend to believe what the critics had to say or even commenters, if the drama they are about to watch are criticised heavily by some people they don’t want to watch it or automatically hate that drama, there are people who can get influenced by other’s criticism of the drama rather than experiencing themselves what it’s about, it depends on the individual on how they perceive it, not everbody thinks or acts the same.

    • 10.4 pogo

      And defensive Heirs fans who seem to have no understanding of the concepts of ‘difference of opinion’, or ‘move on, already, no one will care once this final year-end post is done’ never fail to amuse me.

      • 10.4.1 KDaddict

        1st, I certainly hope you are right that “no one will care once this final year-end post is done”. Wasn’t at all the case w Secret Garden.

        2nd, if it is truly a matter of “difference of opinion”, then let the other side speak up without reacting to, or hammering down every “defensive” comment.

        No need to add oil to fire, like in 10.5 for example.

        • pogo

          If you really want to stick up for people who throw internet tantrums every time someone makes even a mildly negative comment about their favourite drama and makes a song and dance about facebook likes and 13 country airing rights or whatever, please be my guest.

          Secondly, the other side has every right to ‘speak up’, as you say. However, people who take issue with their persistent inability to accept the existence of differing opinions and lack of rationality have every right to respond. There are plenty of dramas that have divided opinion on here, but the persecution complex I’ve seen among the more fanatical Heirs fans is something new to me (they’re behaving like fans of idols, and I don’t mean that as a compliment), and it is not a thing that should be allowed to flourish in the comments section of dramabeans.

          • Ttyy


            You didn’t mean “that as a compliment?” Of course not. it’s pretty obvious that your intent was to insult anyone who has a differing opinion from your own.

            You can have all the negative opinions you want about the program, but that’s not what you’ve been doing here. Calling other people “fanatics” and accusing them of having a “persecution complex”? How is that not a personal attack?

            Remember, every time you point a finger at others, you are actually pointing 4 more fingers, back at yourself.

            Now, Merry Christmas and have a nice day 🙂

          • pogo

            @Ttyy – I call it exactly the way I see it. I don’t know what else to call the very persistent belief of Heirs fans who like to imply that those who dislike the drama are some kind of Lee Min-ho antis/brainwashed by dramabeans/sheeplike , besides a persecution complex. Like I said above, there are plenty of people on dramabeans who love dramas that are disliked by most commenters. They don’t all behave like you. (I said that already, but clearly it went right over your head so maybe repetition will help).

            If Heirs fans want to not be called fanatical or irrational, they could start with not attacking other people for the awful crime of – gasp! – not liking their drama, and saying so. Even if they add sanctimonious little platitudes and faux-season’s greetings to the end of their defensive comments.

          • Ttyy


            I implied nothing of the sort, nor have I resorted to the use of the inflammatory language, name calling and personal attacks that you have been inflicting on me and other commenters who have disagreed with your opinion. You are accusing me of what you yourself have been doing. this is called “projection.”

            To clarify, calling others who disagree with your opinion “immature” and all the other nasty little insults, is not rendering an opinion about the show, it is a personal attack. When done on the Internet, it’s called cyber bullying.

            My bet is that the reason the reason the majority who enjoyed the show have not been commenting on this board is because they don’t want to be subjected to the cyber bullying and neither do I.

            This is my last post on this board.

          • pogo

            @Ttyy – Oh, I see you flounced, complete with over-the-top accusations of ‘cyber bullying’ (what, no reporting me to javabeans and gf? Which, you know, an actual victim of cyber bullying would at least try to do?).

        • bbstl

          I dropped Gaksital (2012 DB Best Drama), didn’t understand Nine and loved Secret Garden. Just goes to show that DB is here for all of us despite strong differences in opinion.

    • 10.5 Windsun33

      The fact that it was popular or that you liked Heirs does not make it anything like “the best drama of the year”. I would not even place it in the top 20. If you want reasons (or excuses as you call them), there are plenty: Bad writing, bad acting by many, plot that skipped around for no reason, continual manufactured emotional tugs from criers (one viewer on Soompi claimed that they had counted 54 different crying scenes from PSH alone).

      If you think this is the only site with “Heirs haters”, you should look around at some others that are NOT fansites but actual reviews, such as Koala’s Playground, and you should watch some other dramas to get some perspective.

      • 10.5.1 kngdrama

        All the major recapping sites outed Secret as sick and crazy, now it is overrated. Really?!!!

        I strongly disagree with “overrated” and I would not align my judgment with the party line. Secret had almost no promotion and was aired along with mega promoted Heirs and still that “sick” drama won hearts and occupied minds of many people here on OTs.

        For Heirs lovers – stick to your guns! Play your OST and congregate on Heirs FB.

        For Secret lovers – secretly stick to your guns! Erase the “rape” kiss from your memory. Because surely, that stalkerish obsessive unhealthy addictive love is not something to be admired. But what a ride it was.

        Merry Christmas!

        • Windsun33

          I think it depends on what people mean when they say “over rated”. I usually use it in the sense that it was more popular than what I thought was justified for the actual overall quality of the show.

          And yeah, I know Secrets was full of sick people, but I still loved it – maybe because they were so believably sick 😀

          • kngdrama

            For me “overrated” rings true when it’s promoted, praised, adored, and hyped all over the net with laughable attempts to find depth in a shallow pond of one-dimensional characters or waiting and waiting for something significant to finally happen and then oops, what was that?

            Now to Secret. Oh yes, I am biased and out and proud about it.

            When the drama is not being recapped but talked about in chat rooms or on casual OTs and people watch a few episodes and come back screaming and biting their nails… When it spreads like a true forest fire without tons of gasoline, just firing up hearts with excellent artwork of talented actors… that is not overrated. That is being recognized and acknowledged.

            Like a fair market value.

          • Windsun33

            I think we are saying the same thing in different ways, but I loved your “shallow pond” analogy. 🙂

        • cynkdf

          HeadsNo2, thank you for giving Secret Hononourable Mention for Melodrama 🙂

          One man’s meat is another man’s poison – in this case, Secret is definitely my meat while DB reviewers find it quite the reverse.

          Never mind – DB Poll of Year for Favourite Melodrama has Secret leading at the moment with 37% of 13,696 votes, followed closely by That Winter the Wind Blows. On MyDramaList, which is a large social network for Asian culture, Secret is leading Best Melodrama – 42% out of 2,054 votes followed next by TWTWB with 30%.

          Secret was eagerly anticipated and much loved or liked by most viewers on viki.com during its airing period. And last but certainly not least, there’s a huge Secret thread on Soompi where Secreteers used to congregate. So while I am unhappy that the drama was not recapped by the major English-language drama blogs except for one discerning blog, I am gratified to learn that many K-drama viewers share my liking for Secret, the dark horse 🙂

    • 10.6 djprincess

      excuse me! for me, secret was the best. you think people are so dumb as to wait 16 episodes just to realize that the show was bad? haller?! which star are you from?!

    • 10.7 ilikemangos

      I remember you said heirs was your first k-drama so i will let your comment slide this time, since we all watched our first k-drama with fascination. Just give it a few years of watching several k-dramas. You’ll look back (like i did with my first) and see why the majority thought it was a horribly written k-drama. Even on k-drama standards, because I found makjang even more entertaining than heirs, where there was so much moping around, staring, crying, and more moping around.

      • 10.7.1 Windsun33

        My first was think Sweet Spy, and at the time I thought it was pretty good. Looking back, well – maybe it was not so good. Not the worst, but in the bottom quarter. And I have to admit, Secret Garden is not my favorite, though in the top 25%.

        • bee

          I liked the first episodes of SG. Then they swapped bodies and I dropped it. Mmm… now I want to rewatch those first scenes until it became a different drama. Love <3 HJW.

      • 10.7.2 bee

        I remember watching Mary stayed out all night without ff and until the end, because I thought that was supposed to be good (even if it was hard to finish it). It was my second or third kdrama. Now, after only three years, I know better ^^ (this is just a nostalgic anecdote, another year almost over! I’m not comparing MSOAN and Heirs.)

      • 10.7.3 Simone

        I don’t think majority found the Heirs script and show horrible. Heirs received a lot of love not only in Korea but other countries as well. There must be a reason for this, right? Those who don’t like such a popular show like Heirs are not necessarily the more sophisticated, discriminating, and experienced viewers. And it’s unfairly condescending to conclude that those who liked Heirs liked it only because they have not seen enough KDramas. I’ve watched countless Korean, Taiwanese, and Japanese dramas, and I still liked Heirs. I believe Heirs succeeded because it resonated with its target audience.0

    • 10.8 cynkdf

      Hi, I won’t offer an opinion on Heirs because I haven’t watched it (Big Secret fan here). One of the DB editors’ choices for acting was severely criticised for acting performance by a K-drama critic on another site. So it’s all about opinions …

      • 10.8.1 megumi

        yeah you’re right, it’s all about opinions, it’s just DB editor’s opinions on who they thought acted great or which drama was good, even opinions between their own editors vary when they do it separately, i don’t know why people take it seriously when these drama websites like db, soompi etc voice their opinions, i normally don’t agree with most of db editors picks and choices but i understand it’s just their personal feelings on the actors and dramas they think were the best and worst. Also, not all the k-drama viewers in the world come to these websites and voice their opinions. So people should not take the commenters here as the whole representation of K-drama viewers. Almost each websites have different opinions on the actors and dramas they thought were best.

  11. 11 te


  12. 12 Shaista

    YESSS GO SOOOOO!!! So agree with editors’ picks!

  13. 13 Abled

    I always thought Secret was the most overrated Drama of the year. Largely because Heirs was terrible, but it was so universally acknowledged. Whereas so many people have a boner for Secret when it isn’t even that great. (I would, aaah, also argue Master’s Sun in everything else but the romance.)

    I also think Kim Woobin and Lee Jongseok deserve kudos as breakout stars. They weren’t as unknown like YYS and Jung Woo, but they both exploded this year.

    • 13.1 I ♥ Heirs!

      LOL yet you fail to acknowledge that Heirs actually had a lot more fans than haters – it’s just the haters were vocal. Extremely vocal.

      The popularity and fans for Heirs encompasses having over 2.2m likes on Facebook (no kdrama comes remotely close) and going to be aired in 13 different countries aroujd the world.

      • 13.1.1 pogo

        I think you need some quality time with the dictionary entries for ‘popular’ and ‘overrated’. And maybe a critical comprehension exercise on the differences between the two words.

        • tyler

          I think you’re missing the point.

          • pogo

            No, I think I ♥ Heirs! is the one not only missing the point, but giving it a very wide berth.

        • tyler

          I think Heirs Lover’s and Abled’s statements are compatible. Read it through.

          • pogo

            They are compatible, though I very much doubt that Heirs Lover intended to provoke a reflection like Abled’s.

            And I was responding solely to Heirs Lover, who seems to think that popularity and facebook likes mean that a drama is not terrible or overrated.

      • 13.1.2 Abled

        Reading your comment I’m tempted to reevaluate my original stance. Maybe javabeans was right on the money and Heirs WAS the most overrated in that case.

        Look man, when even certain fans of the show freely admit “yeah it’s terrible but it’s my guilty pleasure” — there’s not much going for it. Being on the Reply 1994 discussions has made me open to various opinions on dramas and that no one is right or wrong. But sorry, I will raise my eyebrows at anyone who genuinely think a Heirs was a good show.

        • Kiara

          “yeah it’s terrible but it’s my guilty pleasure”

          So true, there is a few movies that are really stupid that I like to watch when I’m bored. Napoleon Dynamite, Robin Hood Men in Tights, Dumb and Dumber etc. I have them all on dvd ……. shhhhh don’t tell anyone.

          • bee

            “Robin Hood Men in Tights” O_O googling…

          • jaglaine

            Robin Hood: Men in Tights…just fox it! Bwahaha! Also, Dudley Do-Right and Army of Darkness.

        • alexis

          Heirs cliff notes (**spoiler alert**): Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy’s mean dad won’t allow him to date girl. Boy haz a sad. Boys dad allows him to date girl. The end.

          • Cynthia

            Substitute ‘mom’ for ‘dad’ and you just described BOF.

      • 13.1.3 Emma

        Heirs probably does have as many fans as it had people who claimed it was much ado about nothing (me among them). The point is that popularity doesn’t equal quality. As far as I know, Heirs wasn’t critically acclaimed whatsoever. *shrugs* Hence why it is overrated. Its popularity is indisputable, but did anyone think this was quality tv? Not really; it had nothing meaningful to say about anything.

        • shelly

          my beef with heirs is that with all that time spent in promoting it, they couldn’t spend any on making it a memorable or at least watchable drama.

          i learned the hard way you can’t watch through if you think the first two episodes [email protected] so i just… couldn’t.

          and this is from a fan of lee min-ho and choi jin-hyuk. they might have made a sell-able, nicely packed product… but it wasn’t a good drama.

      • 13.1.4 lenrasoon

        sorry, but i’m cracking up at the mentions of likes on facebook. Gonna use it next time i defend a bad drama i like lol.

        • Windsun33

          Can’t get a good idea of how actual general opinions are though, because FB does not allow “dislikes” – your only option is to like it or ignore it. One of the many reasons I hardly ever use FB.

    • 13.2 pogo

      I think the whole point of Master’s Sun was the romance/chemistry, with a few amusing side characters – none of its fans seem to like it for much else. I mean, if non-romance aspects of the show aren’t really praised that highly, it’s hard to call them overrated, I’d think – the plot was pretty silly, and the ghost-of-the-week stuff dragged, but everyone admits that.

      I’d totally agree that Kim Woo-bin and Lee Jong-seok were breakout stars of the year, too – and they’ve both been in successful movies in addition to their dramas (LJS had a supporting role in Face Reader), that should count.

      • 13.2.1 Windsun33

        I am sure it was the chemistry in Master’s Sun that made it popular. I loved the interaction of the characters, even though I also thought the Ghost of the Week was bleh.

      • 13.2.2 Abled

        I’d actually go to say that the romantic storyline was also overrated? Like, their chemistry was totally A+++, but in terms of how their romance unfolded, sometimes I sat there going “if only they did this with the writing instead!!”. I felt like there was a lot of untapped potential there, where it could have been totally swoon-worthy or heart wrenching, but the Hong Sisters were like NUP. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Masters Sun (one of my personal favourites this year), despite not being a big Hong Sisters fan. But when I was looking at the drama beans poll, I was really surprised at how much Masters Sun was leading in areas there weren’t romance.

        Can you imagine Gong Hyo-jin and So Ji-sub in another, better written drama together though? Imagine of GHJ got out of her RomCom bubble (would never happen, but gotta wonder), and maybe brought her personal sunshine into one of So Ji-sub’s moodier and serious dramas? Omg, someone write me a fanfic like this.

        • pogo

          It’s true, even for a drama that involved that much skinship for them, I was definitely left wanting MORE, in more ways than one. I could generally get behind the developments of that drama, but it could have been better.

          Though I don’t know if your assessment of GHJ as being in a rom-com bubble is fair, her first breakthroughs came off melo and she’s done quite a few – she’s a two-time Lee Kyung-hee alumna, no less. I definitely want her and SJS to work together again, though, and in something where they can be a little more, er, physical. (they’re both too A-list to star on cable, but a movie maybe? SJS should do more things that aren’t melo)

    • 13.3 callmeadreamer

      Looking at it objectively Secret could be seen as overrated, but it really didn’t stop me from enjoying and waiting for each episode 😛 There surely were parts that were terrible but it really did draw me in.

      What do you mean you would argue Master’s Sun in everything but romance?

      • 13.3.1 Abled

        I mean, I can understand that why some people found Secret so gripping, but I found the melodrama pretty predictable and at times I sort of balked at where the plot was headed. It’s better than Heirs by a lot, but considering how many people were reccomending Secret to me, I was definitely underwhelmed.

        Oh, I mean that although the romance in Masters Sun was great, I felt like the dramas other aspects left a lot to be desired. But I feel that way about pretty much all of Hong Sisters dramas.

        • callmeadreamer

          Maybe that’s were our differences lay. I went into it with low expectations and was happy with what I got while based on recommendations you were expecting something more epic?

          Ah, okay. I thought I read it wrong initially I did. For some reason I thought you were saying that everything worked for you but the romance.

          • Abled

            I think GHJ is more than capable of doing melos, but I really don’t think she’ll being doing anything other than RomComs for a good while. She’s great at the genre and has found a great niche for herself there, so I can’t see her doing anything else any time soon. I’d love her too, but yeah.

    • 13.4 AdAl

      I agree with you on this Lee Jong Suk and Kim Woo Bin were the breakout stars for 2013.

      I haven’t watched Answer me 1994, but the stars that were listed as breakout stars in the editors picks could be rightly reserved for 2014 as I’ve read that they’ve just signed contracts to release movies next year.

    • 13.5 Windsun33

      I would be the first (or second at least) to admit that the plotline in Secrets was not the best nor the most original ever. But I think the acting pulled it up, at least for me. I loved Secrets – but if I actually analyze “why”, I can’t really explain it. Part of it was the way the story flowed, without a bunch of filler… I dunno.

      • 13.5.1 AdAl

        @Windsun33. I’m with you on this one. Though the plot used for Secret was mostly overdone or derived from other shows, the acting was spot on and believable which was part of the magic of Secrets. As a viewer, the acting convinced me that what was going on was real – I could easily understand the characters motivations and empathize with their pain. This is a quality that I feel most of the melos of 2013 lacked (I’m referring to The Winter The Wind Blows, Shark, When a Man Loves and so on).

        If a show’s plot is not great, sometimes the acting carries the show and makes it unforgettable – and arguably, I feel Secrets went places some other shows would hesitate to go – such as the story-line about having her baby in prison and letting her child remain adopted because it was best for the baby.

        • Abled

          I think in terms of melodramas Secret was probably the best of the year (of course, I’ve yet to watch Empire of Gold, I’m sure I’ll change my mind when I do). But I feel like melodramas as a genre in itself needs to be something you look at in a different critical light. Especially k-melodramas, because you only start enjoying them once you accept the fact it is in fact a melodrama. I’ve seem very few of the genre that don’t fall short or seem reminiscent of that other melodrama I watched that other time.

          That’s how I felt about Secret. It was what it was as a melodrama, and I never found myself /hooked/ on it. Which is why the many countless recs I got dumfounded me. But if I just watched it as a melodrama, I’d definitely like it a lot more. Because you need to give it credit; it never made things seem too crazy or the characters too out of our perception of human sense.

          It definitely did it a lot better than say, That Winter the Wind Blows though. I disliked almost every character there, and faux-cest will never be something that can turn me on with it’s “tabooness”. Especially when Song Hyo kyo herself can’t even act like it’s taboo.

      • 13.5.2 callmeadreamer

        After reading your comment, I think that explains it for me. The actors did elevate the story for me and were very compelling to watch.

  14. 14 Joanny

    I agree with d reviews for me worst dramas where basketball and marry if you dare wat a pit fall I wasted 16 hours of my life dat I’ll never get back.
    Hated d end of the heirs Kim Won wat an idiot he couldn’t tell his girlfriend he were getting married, he had 2 allow her to read it on the newspaper, real bright man. Wat a wimp his younger brother has more guts than he did.
    And d series was named Mi-rae’s choice so at least Mr screenwriter pls tell us wat her choice was, wat a bus kill

    • 14.1 Windsun33

      That whole “dumping his girlfriend by news article” in Heirs was kind of the final straw for me. I pretty much lost all sympathy for him and for the show with that.

      • 14.1.1 pogo

        That was really the final straw for me, too. Heirs lacked any kind of internal consistency, and that love line was where it really showed. They have a tearful breakup in front of Sack of Shit Dad with Won saying he hasn’t even confessed to her yet, and two episodes later they’re having sleepovers? Or back to having sleepovers? idek.

        This is not a popular opinion, but making them the central romance could have actually brought home the high-stakes aspect of the corporate stuff in Heirs – as adults who are involved in corporate power struggles/indebtedness issues thanks to childhood poverty, they could have been far more effective than the actual leads we got (bonus: throw in a cute non-assy noona-romancing high school student with controlling parent issues, and we could really have had something. As it stands, though, what a waste)

        • Yee

          TOTALLY AGREED as posted above

          @5.7 Yee December 24th, 2013 at 8:37 PM

          Even KIM WON & HYUN JOO are even more worthy of their own story with more weight to the crown than the leads!

  15. 15 meanrice

    Guess I need to watch Empire of Gold because I’m shocked Master’s Sun wasn’t up there more.

    • 15.1 Ennayra

      I think I need to watch Empire of Gold too

  16. 16 sahara

    I agree with maybe 40%, but who am I to judge? I’m just an ubiased supporter, a consumer, nothing more. thank you for your good intentions.

  17. 17 Anonymous

    While I unabashedly love Go Soo for some wild reason, I don’t think he deserves best actor at all. I would have given it to Yoon Je-moon.

    • 17.1 poli

      I would have given it to Jung Kyung Ho. But, that’s just me 🙂

      • 17.1.1 pogo

        It’s not just you!

      • 17.1.2 Dody

        believe me not only you, he made a memorable character 😀

  18. 18 callmeadreamer

    I haven’t watched any of your best dramas yet, though two of them are on my list. Nine always looked interesting to me and my mom loved Heartless City, but my emo told me that Empire of Gold was bad. I may have to rethink my position on that.

    Yay for best Bromance!!! About halfway through School 2013 I started hoping that there would be no romance and was pleasantly rewarded with one of my favorite friendships ever. ♥

    Heirs was also my biggest disappointment this year (I’m baffled at how well it did), and if I didn’t have an issue with at least finishing everything I start I wouldn’t have made it past the halfway point. This will also mark the drama that forever turned me away from PSH. Cannot stand her acting anymore.

    Awwww Gumiho Daddy ♥ (crossing fingers for Emergency Man and Woman)

    Hmmm, this is the second time End of the World has been mentioned in these end of the year reviews. I will have to find time to download/watch.

    • 18.1 pogo

      yeah, I wasn’t looking forward to what initially looked like a would-be romance between Lee Jong-seok and Park Se-young’s characters, but the drama surprised me very pleasantly by making Kim Woo-bin the object of LJS’s affection instead <3

      I came into Heirs as a fan of Park Shin-hye, it's going to take a repeat viewing of Flower Boy Next Door to remind myself that she can have great chemistry with her male leads and is actually a pretty good actress – because Heirs succeeded in reducing my love of her, which I didn't even think was possible.

      Thank god Gumiho Daddy is the lead of his next drama, I just hope that doesn't go and do a Mirae's Choice on him now. Lee Dong-gun didn't deserve that, and DaddyHo doesn't either!

      • 18.1.1 callmeadreamer

        Flower Boy Next Door was the first drama I watched with Park Shin-hye and I really, really liked her there so I went to watch her to other dramas. Unfortunately in each one I found her more and more annoying 🙁 Heirs diminished your love but it killed mine completely. With no hope of resurrection, haha.

        Ack, that would be terrible. Trailers and teasers don’t always tell the whole story but the one released does make me hopeful. And I like medical shows so that part doesn’t bother me at all.

        • pogo

          I liked her a lot in the Cyrano Dating Agency movie too, she’s no Candy there even if the real stars of the show are Uhm Tae-woong and Lee Min-jung.

          I wonder if any actress would have been able to make a character as terrible as ES worth watching, to be honest. I mean, I’m happy for her that Heirs has probably got the highest ratings of any project she’s ever done, but I sincerely hope she never plays another character like that again.

          I guess the way you feel about PSH is the way I’m feeling about Yoon Eun-hye post-Mirae’s Choice (loved her to pieces no matter what crappy dramas she did, but now…..not so much), and that one is ALL the writer’s fault.

          • Windsun33

            I still love YEH :). If not for her I probably would not have gotten halfway through Mi Rae.

          • Kasmar

            OMG… I felt the same way about Eun Hye. I was sold with Coffee Prince and her X-Man days. I always thought it was a shame that the more successful she became the less unique she became. My great loves in K-entertainment industry are Lee Hyori, Song Ji hyo and the Eun-hye of the past.

            Another example of success killing a unique personality would be Kim Hyun Joong.. I watch him in interviews and am like WTF…. whatever happened to the 4Dness of this guy. I just don’t understand why they can’t be unique and successful at the same time, considering their uniqueness is what brought them their initial success.

            Anyway, I still loved Eun-hye irrespective of her changes, choices in dramas but Mirae’s Choice is really breaking my resolve in her…. Will re-watch Coffee Prince for revival….or maybe if she could just appear on Running Man……

          • pogo

            @Kasmar – ‘the more successful she became, the less unique she became’

            This is exactly how I’m feeling about her right now. I haven’t liked any of her post-CP romcoms, but I really liked her a lot in I Miss You and appreciated that it was a major step out of her comfort zone to do such an extreme melo – I feel like she actually did grow and show a different side of her acting abilities there.

            I even looked forward to Mirae’s Choice because it seemed so promising in every way, at first – and rationally, I can’t fault her performance itself because she really did give 110% of herself to it – but she just happens to make really crappy choices, and this choice turned out REALLY bad even if it was no fault of the cast. A romcom might have seemed like a safe choice, with some added interest thanks to the premise, but boy, it sucked. I hope she’ll find her groove again in a decent project – she’s not a great actress but she is a good one, and it makes me sad to see her go from one unpopular drama to another.

    • 18.2 Miky

      If you expect some romance of EOG this isin’t your type of show and you will find it very bad…I watched this drama Live and even now i remember the thrill to wait for each episode and to discuss what will they do next,who will stab who,who will join hands with who,will the antihero get the Empire or the Heroine uptake him with her plans,both were 2 brilliant minds and the dialogue was one of the best out there…This show is more mature and quite heavy if yoou’re not into this type and more into light rom-com’s…Who watched EOG willl know of this…Someone said that EOG is like a modern sanguk and it was indeed right…And i’m sure most of the buget was spent n the heroine clouths…

      • 18.2.1 August

        Yeah, I’m sure most of the budget was spent toward the fashion/clothing that Choi Seo-Yoon (Lee Yo-Won) wore -like a true Chaebol princess.

        • Lc

          @ August, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression is that for dramas the wardrobe of the cast would be sponsored by the fashion brands instead of the production team paying real money out of the budget for them.

          Because for EoG, there was no way the production budget could be able to afford all the fashion showcased throughout the drama. Lee Yo Won wore over 100 outfits from various fashion houses, and among the accessories, there were 5 Hermes Birkins bags, each worth a five figure sum, and they happened NOT to be the most expensive items – some of the watches or jewelry could easily outstrip them.

          • Anonymous

            Her wardrobe must have cost at least 1/2 a million dollars, if not way more. God, I loved it–classy and refined.

          • August

            It was said it in a playful, jesting, jocular, and tongue-in-cheek manner. Too bad it didn’t translate that way. 🙂

      • 18.2.2 callmeadreamer

        Nah, romance doesn’t make or break a show for me if the plot is otherwise engaging. Your description of the makes it sound really interesting.

    • 18.3 Windsun33

      Last time I checked (couple weeks ago) End of the World had not been subbed on any of the usual sites. I would like to check it out as it has been mentioned here a few times.

      • 18.3.1 callmeadreamer

        Thanks for the warning (going to find it now) but I don’t need subs 🙂

      • 18.3.2 callmeadreamer

        I just wanted to let you know when I started downloading it there were subs attached. So if you were waiting for those to watch they are now available.

      • 18.3.3 DDee

        Darksmurfsubs has subs for EotW

  19. 19 ty

    sighh…heirs…what you could have become…
    for me, i was pleasantly enjoying the show until (spoiler?) kim tan confessed that he liked eun sang (end spoiler? idek). up until then, i liked it, wasnt completely addicted, but it was alright. but ever since that confession scene, the romance became too unwatchable for me. i mean, im pretty loyal to my dramas; if heirs just had a good romance, i wouldve watched all of it. but everything just went downhill for me from there on out, until i finally stopped watching at episode 16. by that time, i had jumped ship to young do and eun sang, and i didnt want to be prone to second lead syndrome (which i have NEVER had before; except for maybe answer me 1994, depends on whos the husband in that one).
    the only good thing this show did for me is introduce me to kim woo bin. wow that guy’s a good actor…

  20. 20 pogo

    Yay for Two Weeks/Cruel City love! 2013 really has been a good year in terms of female leads/characters, from FBND to IHYV, Master’s Sun, Two Weeks, Heartless City (I mean Jin-sook, NOT too-stupid-to-live damsel in distress Soo-min, though I give Nam Gyuri props for great chemistry with JKH) and now the very promising Song-yi of You From Another Star. And I’m glad to see Lee Yubi get a mention in here too, girl was good and would have made a truly fascinating lead if her character was the heroine of GFB. Same goes for Go Ara, Na-jung isn’t as instantly engaging a character as Shi-won of 1997 but I enjoy her hugely, and shipper wars don’t bother me as long as she ends up happy, which we know she does.

    School 2013 may not have been a huge ratings hit, but it’s saying something that a drama that finished airing in January leaves such a strong impression on us even now, that I still want to give those boys a hug and feed them (they are too skinny!!), and that the word ‘saekki’ will always sound vaguely like a term of reluctant endearment now. Soo and Baksa were also epic in their own right, and I shed buckets when the time came, but for Best Bromance, School 2013 was a lock.

    And despite the very well-scripted, reservations-conquering noona romance of IHYV, I think the chemistry of Master’s Sun is what makes it the lock for Best Romance. I’m happy to have returned to the land of sanity and am sticking to merely wanting So Ji-sub and Gong Hyo-jin to work together again as opposed to doing 19+ rated things in their down time (and if he really is dating After School idol/Uee bandmate Juyeon, then all the best to them both), but oh man, when they were on, it was so heady.

    Like GF said, romantic chemistry is something you can’t take for granted and sometimes even skilled veterans lack it (case in point: Gong Yoo and Im Soo-jung in the non-flashback parts of Finding Mr. Destiny) so when a couple does connect, it’s doubly amazing. And the fact that SJS/GHJ’s performances were so good, individually and together, is something I’ll always be grateful for.

  21. 21 nomin

    Yeah, unlike last year with Gaksital, there was no single drama this year that would sweep majority of the awards. I had high hopes for 2013, so I watched atleast 20 dramas this year but alas no best drama for me. Cruel City came close though, but I just didn’t love it as much as I wanted too. I’ll be sure to watch Nine, it sounds amazing.

    Thanks JB and everyone at dramabeans. Here’s hoping that 2014 would be a better year for us all.

  22. 22 spark

    wholehartedly agree on best actress. i just love her acting and dramas- eye of dawn, sandglass, queen seon deok, etc… she really has an eye for good projects.

  23. 23 Grace

    YES YES YES! NINE is definitely the best drama of the year. Thank you for reviewing this! Nine and Heartless city are my fav dramas of this year. But they seems not so popular because they aired on cable. But I’m glad you guys mentioned them here. And I looove Go Soo in EoG too.

    • 23.1 Windsun33

      Nine is about #5 on my list for best, but it still remains #1 for it’s treatment of time travel, which is something that nearly all other shows get totally wrong and just screw it up with weird plotlines (you know who you are, FMR).

  24. 24 Ssie

    Best Drama is an arguable category and is never that easy to pick especially this year where a lot of series certainly made worthy hypes, but boy am I glad to see Nine there in competition with Heartless City! <333 Fangirl feels!!! I both love love them, and I think the only reason you picked Nine is because you have to pick one lol Though I think in subtlety and tight-plotting, Nine would win over Heartless City, so there.

    Also, Lee Bo Young! <3 She's my favorite character this year hands down. I want all my heroines to be just as flawed and loveable as her. Who would have thought that was even possible? I also love Jeong Seok as Soo Ha but Bo Young just completely won me over daebak!

    I haven't watched Empire of Gold yet, staying away from reallllyyyy depressing endings. But since it won over Nine in terms of writing, I might give it a chance.

    Again, thank you for this year as always!! See you next year in dramaland!

  25. 25 YxoR

    I’m so glad I finished watching Heirs without reading comments or recaps. That way my judgment can’t be clouded by others. I like Heirs. I won’t watch it twice, but I like it. A lot. I’ll do the same thing with You from another stars. Some people need to try it, don’t read comments or recaps, let it finished airing and do marathon. Decide for yourself whether you’ll like it or not, with a clean slate.

    • 25.1 Tweetiebird

      I still think it depends on taste and expectations. I went in thinking it would be bad but hoped against hope to be proved wrong and found it awful and while I read recaps I didn’t visit the comments much (only do so for drama’s I really love or hate). Heirs wasn’t the worst drama I have seen. But it was like a lot of dramas I have seen and I found it boring, couldn’t get passed episode 6. so marathoning wouldn’t have helped.

  26. 26 Shiku

    My fave dramas this year were End of the World, Cruel Palace, Two Weeks, and Queens Classroom. Almost all of them were underrated so I’m happy they got chosen as Editor’s picks so that more people could check them out.

    The only sad thing is that there is no love for Ten 2.

    Anyway, Cruel City, Nine, Empire of Gold and Master’s son are on my to watch list

  27. 27 Tweetiebird

    Loved this. am gonna use the holidays to marathon Nine and Two weeks and might also do Heartless City.

    • 27.1 August

      If you find yourself in the vicinity of Crayons, a timestamp, and the sound of a ticking clock. . .you will never think of those items the same way again. 🙂

  28. 28 mysticmalady

    NINE!!!! Definitely my favourite drama this year, so pretty glad to see it up there! Time-travelling is not an easy genre to tackle, but they did it well and gave us a worthy lead to root for.

    Haven’t been able to watch as many dramas this year as I had hoped to…but I do agree that 7th grade civil servant, Mirae’s choice and Heirs were pretty disappointing (for me anyway, ‘coz we’re all entitled to our own opinions).

    7th grade – Gave up halfway when I could feel my brain cells dying while watching the failed spying
    Mirae – Saw the potential of a good drama, but what ending was that?!?! Grrrrrr…
    Heir’s – Too many looooong staring moments; even watching an ant crawling across the table might have had more logical plot movement

    Anyway, thanks for all the recaps and year end reviews, you guys have definitely worked very hard this year!

  29. 29 Ang

    Hmm I totally agree with Jung Woo being the breakout star of 2013, but I think Kim Woo Bin deserves the other spot than Yoo Yeon Seok. KWB had 2 successful (media coverage wise) dramas and 1 awesome movie under 1 year.

    • 29.1 Ang

      oops sorry meant breakout performance

    • 29.2 Ang

      Even Go Ara’s performance in Reply 1994 was better than YYS (although he’s breathing more depth to the flat CB character). She did an amazing job in this series, just watch the proposal scene, it felt so raw and real.

      Why do I feel that this site favors guys more than girls. Sigh. What happened to feminism. Are we just blinded by looks and abs???

      • 29.2.1 ♪♪ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♪♪

        well… typical girls..

      • 29.2.2 jaglaine

        YES!!! We are!

  30. 30 atz


    It’s so unfortunate but it is so true!! Even with his upcoming drama’ Age of Feeling’ I have not seen his picture in the drama yet!!! Sorry for Kim Hyun Joon’s fan, but while I was staring at Kim Hyun Joon’s ever changing nose in the Age of Feeling promotion pictures, I kept saying’ where is Kim Jae Wook? ‘ He is not going to act another ghost who is invisible , is he?’ I hope KHJ can play the main lead fine but I wish KJW play the lead in this drama. He is sexy and handsome and he can act,,,,,, sigh sigh sigh.

  31. 31 Emma

    Heads – thank you for your shout out to the End of the World!! Fantastic show, and the best of the year in my heart (personally I couldn’t get into Nine). If I hadn’t read that the show had been cut short I wouldn’t have known, because it was handled so amazingly well (especially considering its entire middle act was cut and they had to immediately jump to the climax – the transition was so smooth it didn’t even feel like anything was happening bts). Other shows this year that have definitely suffered because producers messed with the episode count (IHYV, Master’s Sun etc) but this show knew what story it wanted to tell, and nothing could stand in its way. Can’t wait for PD Ahn’s next show :’).

    Also Jung Kyung Ho was absolutely brilliant in Cruel City imo – the cast was excellent overall but he was the standout. He put 110% into his performance; I honestly didn’t he even know he was capable of such stellar acting. Very impressive stuff.

  32. 32 Miky

    Those who didn’t watch Cruel City you must give it a try..it has romance as welll BUT it isin’t the centre of if so don’t expect mushy mushy scenes because there won’t….This drama was one of the best this year had..It had one of the best hero out there…The plot was full of twists that will keep you wanting more and be like”Really,how did that happened”,one of the best friendships out there besides School 2013 …Soo,Chingong!!! my heart bleeds for you even now…This show had no real good and no real baddie,ok one was more baddie to say so but nobody was perfect and white in that dark world that the plot moves and i loved it,it felt real and raw…Fight scenes,oh boy loved them..I loved Safari very much and his bound with our hero and JiSook as well…The genre is Noir for those who don’t know…I don’t regret even one minute of my time spent watching this gem…

    • 32.1 Dody

      yeah Cruel City is really really magnifisant to watch, the drug dealers and gangsters world was so cool, the fight scenes, the complicated relationships, even the side romance everything was so good to me, I’m didn’t watch many action dramas but this one totally caught my attention, to me it was the best action drama this year, I really liked two weeks, I love LJK but I think CC is the one in the action/thriller category to me, and I can never forget Doctor’s son 😀 JKH was so smexy in that black suit, lol

      • 32.1.1 Dody


    • 32.2 bluesky

      Cruel City, I was thinking to watch that it since I can see everywhere talking & recommending this drama..I should try it too 😉

      I love Nine, 2 weeks, IHYV, AM1994 so much but still Secret being my favourite drama for 2013..just love Ji Sung & HJE’s acting..too good!

  33. 33 Carole McDonnell

    Couldn’t stop cracking up about 100 year inheritance. Although I gotta say Oh la la Spouses ran a close second in the worst drama category. Still, you’re so right. It was not the best worst drama. 100 year wins that hands down

  34. 34 peepingthoughts

    I wouldn’t mind if you guys take a break ‘coz after all, it’s the holidays! Thanks for all your hard work, master beanies. We, your minions, wish the Drambeans staff a happy Christmas! Take care and enjoy your well-deserved break ♡

  35. 35 Windsun33

    I disagree on best/worst villain. My choice would have been the anti-heroine in Queen of Ambition. While the serial killer was not a nice person, everyone KNEW he was not nice, so we all expected him to do Bad Things.

    In Queen of Ambition, Joo Da Hae was just as despicable, but it was all covered up by lies and pretense. The villain in IHYV was a wolf in wolf’s clothing, the villain in Queen of Ambition was a wolf in Candy clothing.

    • 35.1 pogo

      I’ve been curious about Yawang, heard a lot of good things about Su Ae’s performance (not surprising) but no idea if I want to dedicate 20+ hours of my life to what sounds like a revenge melo)

      • 35.1.1 Ann

        It is definitely a revenge melo, all the way! I liked it, but I made up the time by not watching Heirs.

      • 35.1.2 Windsun33

        I like Yawang (Queen of Ambition) a lot. But some people did not, and I don’t think it was discussed here much, even in OT. Yes, it is a revenge melo – but about halfway through you start wanting revenge even more than the hero does. I think it was probably the ultimate “screw your friends, lovers, kids, your dog, anything for greed” show. It was also one of the very rare dramas where in the end people get what they deserve and don’t go all repentant and good on us.

  36. 36 Kdjjang

    Numerous DB reviews has mentioned NiNE may times as number one, then I better get started.

    I havn’t seen Queen’s classroom yet, but that lady Go Hyun-jun looks like an ahjuma version of UEE.

    Rotfl @ best love triangle dilemma, you guys wrote there! lol its the best!

    As for Mi-rae’s choice, boy am I glad you guys did a review. I won’t be wasting my vision in that category.

  37. 37 John

    If there were a catagory for best child actor/actress,

    I’d give the nod to Kim Hyang Gi for Queen’s Classroom.

    • 37.1 August

      I would nominate Lee Chae-Mi (as Seo Soo-Jin) from Two Weeks in the best child actor/actress category.

    • 37.2 John

      Waste of talent, I’ll nominate

      Kim Bum in Goddess of Fire, Jung Yi

      He did get a girlfriend out it though.

    • 37.3 pogo

      Lee Chae-mi for Two Weeks, and Kim So-hyun for Suspicious Housekeeper/I Miss You (IMY ended in 2013 so it counts, right? KSH is a keeper, she and Kim Yoo-jung will definitely be leading lady someday, probably following in the footsteps of Park Shin-hye and Shin Se-kyung )

  38. 38 Coolrepublica

    My vote for best drama is Cruel city.
    Best actor Jung kyung ho
    That show passed my “could this show be on American TV ” test with flying colors.
    Nine was my second best drama

    But to anyone who haven’t watch cruel city/heartless city run don’t walk. This show may be korea’s soprano moment (a change in story telling on American TV.)

    Gosh I hope jung kyung oh spoke English, I would lobby endlessly for hi. To get his own show on American TV. He is Emmy material in cruel city not just Korean drama award material. He is that good.

    • 38.1 Dody

      lol, yeah Exactly, maybe that’s why I loved it! it was so different comparing to other kdramas in general, it’s not that I hate the ordinary kdramas but sometimes they are too cheesy for my taste idk 😐 it’s always good when you see something new breaking the ordinary concept of kdramas, anyway this drama delivered the Noir genre in it’s best for a kdrama

    • 38.2 Arhazivory

      I agree. This was my best show for 2013. Jung Kyung’s Ho was phenomenal and the show was unlike any drama I’ve ever seen. Man….now I just wanna watch it again.

  39. 39 readlead

    Best drama : I need to watch nine soon! And glad that heartless city is one of the best too!

    Best writing : no comment.

    Best directing : again heartless city is included! YAY!

    Best Comedy : tough I love master’s sun and dont watch answer me 1994 yet, but I’ve predicted that answer me 1994 will win best comedy since I’ve heard so many praises for this drama also rating is really high for cable tv..

    Best Action : again, heartless city is included! YES!!

    Best Melodrama : Secret is included, YESSS!

    Best historical drama : no comment.

    Best Music : I watched monstar and adore they have good music, but I objectively, I think Heartless city have better music, no ? 😀

    Best Actor : yesssssssssss, parksa adeul! I believe go soo will win award in the end of the year, so I really wish at baeksang award, jung kyung ho will win best actor!

    Best Actress : I think it’ll be choi ji wo since I’ve heard many high praises for her acting in the suspicious housekeeper, but well, I am still happy to see gong hyong jung name there, queen classroom is definitely one of the best in terms of acting! And super glad super double YAY and YES for gong hyo jin too! 😀

    Best supporting actor : OMG, is it really safari????? Thank you dramabeans!!! I LOVE HIM!!! 😀 but how about kim tae woo in TWTWB? I think he was so good as second lead, no??? You still can include his name tough in honorable mention T-T

    Best Supporting actress : dont know any of them… well, I think the one in secret is quite good, no?
    Best Ensemble : Ah, glad queen of classroom is included again! Love all the child actors, specially Cheon Bo Geun (Oh dong goo)! 😀

    Breakout perfomance : no comment.

    Best Character : tough I dont watch IHYV and love tae gong shil (taeyang) in TMS so much, but I adore your choice, reading many recaps of IHYV, so yeah I accepted her 😀 and well, at least My joo jong won make it finally! Hahaha for sure, he is one of smartest lead male ever in any rom-com I’ve ever watched! Haha

    Best Villain : why there is no Bae So Bin from secret??? He is devil! Best thing from secret for me T-T

    Best Romance : best real romance too for me! I LOVE YOUUUU Dramabeans!!! Really!!! This OTP is the best thing in kdramaland of the year for me! Tough I got a mini heart attack yesterday about SJS’s dating rumor, thankfully everything has denied and cant wait to see them in SBS drama awards next 31th dec!!!

    Best bromance : again heartless city is included??? WOW! I am really happy! <3

    Biggest disappointment : no comment.

    Biggest waste of talent : I still grateful get to see KJW in who are you rather than never seeing him of the year tough it’s bitter since he is only second lead T-T
    Most overrated drama : okay DB, since secret is one of the best melodrama of the year, why is it included in most overrated drama??? If you dont included it in best melodrama, I’ll accept this, but since you included it in best melo, I am quite confuse right now, can you give a little explanation… please…

    Most underrated drama : totally just as I’ve expected before, this drama absolutely one of most underrated drama ever! So sad that it’s even cut down by some eps! And glad you include queen’s classroom too. 

    Character most deserving of own drama : agree with kim jae wook in who are you!

    Best Worst drama : no comment.
    Best Love triangle : no comment.

    So, for this year DB’s editors’ picks : the most winner goes to Answer me 1994 (8 times are…

    • 39.1 readlead

      So, for this year DB’s editors’ picks : the most winner goes to Answer me 1994 (8 times are mentioned) then Empire Of Gold and Heartless City (each of them 6 times are mentioned)..

      Thank you so much to javabeans, girlfriday, gummimochi and headsno2 for all recaps, reviews, and news you’ve shared this year with us, really thank very much tough sometime I dont agree with you, but still, most of time I enjoyed reading posts in dramabeans. May next year will be much better and more wonderful than this year, wish all the best for you all! 😀

    • 39.2 kaleido

      I am agree with CC has the best music.. very moody… best OST for me

    • 39.3 Miky

      Jung Kyung Ho deserves without a doubt the Baeksang from all the tv stations..that’s the bad thing being on a cable station most of the time,Cruel City can’t win on other Year Ending because it’s not from the big 3 stations and maybe get more buzz to those who don’t surf the blogs etc..i really hope Cruel City and JKH wins the anual Baeksang because those who saw him will know that he deserved it…One of the best post army projects an actor did without a doubt…If those who watched him in 2009 Smile,Yu and feel in love with his bubbly character will be in love and would see him from now on as Paksa♥
      and yeah the OST was beautiful,even now i listen to it especially the instrumenta,even houg i’m sad they didn’t include the one from the last epsiode where JinSook was looking at the Paris picture(who saw knows,not to spoil the thing)
      and i’m glad he is well now because he hurt himself very bad and did to undergo surgery while he was still filming and it didn’t show a bit on screen….That’s why in the last episodescthey toned down the action but he was still on massive painkiller and still did the action scenes,many of them…

  40. 40 Dorotka

    Jung Woo was definitely the revelation of this year for me. His Bread Man was fantastic and only his scenes kept me much longer on YATBLSS… before I definitely dropped it.

  41. 41 Denali

    Too bad “King of Dramas” couldn’t make the Editors’ list in 2013 for Anthony would have deserved his very own category.

  42. 42 earthna

    Biggest Waste of Talent. I so agree. Gosh, that poor guy. He just got our of the army and the first role he got was a ghost who can’t even speak. Lead role for him, please!

    Thanks for this! I’ll have lots of dramas to watch now. I haven’t seen most of them but they look really interesting.

  43. 43 Miky

    And to mention as a daily drama the crazy/bad show that “the one who should not be named” goes to “Princess Aurora”
    Didin’t see that show but read the comments and it was enough trust me,so if someone wants to invest time because the first 10 episodes and plot look cool it’s a mirage,don’t be fooled by it as well as Sincerity Moves Heaven….

    • 43.1 pogo

      I read the post about it, and that was enough of the crazy. Because it sounded SERIOUSLY crazy.

  44. 44 ...

    thank you to everyone at dramabeans for making my kdrama experience this year another wonderful year, and helping to keep my kdrama addiction alive and healthy (hehe)! i remember the first time i found this site, back when it was still javabeans doing it solo reviewing Dal Ja’s Spring… how time flies!

    after watching my dramas, i never feel like i’m properly finished with an episode until i’ve finished reading your reviews/comments, which are always funny, thoughtful and entertaining. hope you guys keep up the good work, and merry christmas!

  45. 45 Aparna

    No big fan of secret. But it was kinda popular and had a good cast despite the not so creative or original story. Wonder why JB didnt like it. But then again JB has been kinda consistent in her hatred of the popular but makjang kind of dramas – Kim Tak goo and Can you hear my heart were treated shabbily too. So I guess its just a principled stand 🙂 I cant wait to begin watching Reply 94 – was waiting for it to be done. Didnt finish a lot of dramas this year except for School 2013, I hear your voice, Monstar, the Incarnation of Money and Secret. I would say this was an average year for dramas – no big standout ones. Was disappointed with a lot of dramas which began well but tapered away and didnt hold my attention much – including the King of Dramas, Heirs, Gu Family Book, Flower Boy next door, Lee Soon Shin and the Master’s Sun ( Yes, have to include that, loved the actors but there was something missing, cant put a finger on it ). On the other hand, I watched a few good dramas I had missed out earlier – like whats up fox, Dalja’s Spring and King2Hearts. So I guess a pretty good year for me. Adios 2013! Let the drama gods favor 2014 more.

  46. 46 mysterious

    Yes, Gumiho Daddy does deserve his own show. I would totally watch that! Not only was he the best character in Gu Family Book but Choi Jin-hyuk was fantastic playing him. In fact it was reading all the praise about CJH’s portrayal of Wol-ryung that made me start watching in the first place and boy was I glad when they brought him back and bored again when he left.

    • 46.1 Gyumri

      I was bored when he played daddy Gumiho and happy when he left. This actor did not impress me at all.

  47. 47 Lee Hyori

    I have to say that I agree with all these categories. I watched Empire of Gold after seeing it mentioned in an another [Year in Review]. Despite, the fact that I finished it three days ago, there is still a strong lingering feeling. The drama really affected me emotionally and made me think about the importance of money in this world. I would strongly recommend it although its a slow drama and mainly you have to listen to people talk. Not much action outside of the dialogues. I think what I really like about this drama is that it was somewhat realistic. It wasn’t about the perfect hero coming and saving the world. it was about how flawed and greedy humans are.
    Go Soo is an amazing actor, after Empire of Gold I watched three of his movies and he was good in all of them!

  48. 48 bbird

    It’s been my first full year silently following DB. It’s been tons of fun. Thanks to all the editors!

  49. 49 Noemi

    Aw, love the nods to Queen’s Classroom and Soo and Shi-hyun’s bromance! And Jang Hye-sung was most definitely my favorite character of the year. Probably one of my favorite k-drama characters, period.

  50. 50 Unpopular_Opinion

    I am slightly shocked that Nine and Empire of Gold have scored so highly given that they both received hardly any coverage on this site and neither one was fully recapped.

    • 50.1 kuxi

      Ditto! Because I read first recap in here and they didn’t continue it, from their comments I thought they didn’t like it. It’s not same like Gaksital which JB & GF recap last year,and trully I thought and agree Gaksital is the best kdrama 2012

    • 50.2 cynkdf

      It’s mystifying about the lack of recaps (or few recaps) of the following dramas here on DB :

      Cruel City – no recap

      Nine – recap of Ep 1 and 2 earlier on, then a series review and discussion

      Cruel Palace – recap of first ten episodes out of fifty

      Empire of Gold – no recap

      Yet series were fully recapped which turned out to be disappointing or poor dramas eg Dr Jin, Level 7 Civil Servant, Basket etc. I myself will fully understand if a recapper drops a series midstream if the recapper finds it poor; why waste the recapper’s wonderful writing on a dud?

      • 50.2.1 kuxi

        From your explanation & my experience,I think it’s the best watching kdrama is marathon full drama series than waiting for next week and analyze what’s wrong & right so that’s mean don’t visit DB when your drama is airing.LOL because it will ruin your mood & you will affect by commentator from recapers. I think Level 7 civil servant is not much dissapointing for me because it’s comedy genre & sometime unillogical because it’s based on movie which I thought some parts are not logic but I had fun watching that movie but I think most of comedy drama/movie are unillogical

      • 50.2.2 Anonymous

        The cool thing about those shows was finding recaps from smaller blogs that do a great job as well and not fixating on DB (they still do a good job, obviously). I loved reading the Cruel City recaps from a ton of smaller blogs.

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