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2013 Editors’ Picks [Year in Review, Part 5]

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

 

BEST DRAMA

Nine

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

 

BEST WRITING

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

 

BEST DIRECTING

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

 

BEST COMEDY

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*

 

BEST ACTION/THRILLER

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

 

BEST MELODRAMA

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

 

BEST HISTORICAL DRAMA

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

 

BEST MUSIC

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

 

BEST ACTOR

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)

 

BEST ACTRESS

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)

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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)

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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)

 

BEST ENSEMBLE

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

 

BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE

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.

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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.

 

BEST CHARACTER

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)

 

BEST VILLAIN

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?

 

BEST ROMANCE

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)

 

BEST BROMANCE

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.

and

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.

 

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

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

 

BIGGEST WASTE OF TALENT

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)

 

MOST OVERRATED DRAMA

Heirs

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

 

MOST UNDERRATED DRAMA

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

 

CHARACTER MOST DESERVING OF OWN DRAMA

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)

 

BEST WORST DRAMA
(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

 

BEST LOVE TRIANGLE

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.

 

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Aw, Cruel City only won in the bromance area (understandable since i loved it but wouldn't call it the BEST) so i get that it was ALMOST there but not quite, as shown in all the honorable mentions.
Maybe it can win best fashion? All of them wore some pretty sexy clothes and i didn't have to facepalm at any oufits.

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Well, I am old and cranky so I avoided the high school dramas and time travels which are my personal prejudices. But I will have to check out Empire of Gold and Cruel City.

Please consider Empress Ki in 2014! It's caught in that in-between time slot. But it is kickass!

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Thank you girls for a fun year, and here's hoping for a great 2014!

By the way, thank you headsno2 for hooking me with heartless city. I might not sleep soundly (or with a knife under my pillow, not that I'd be able to use it) but boy, it's worth it.

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Can't argue with the bromance winners; they 100% deserve it. But I'll throw out a left-field honorable mention - Na Jeong and Haitai from 1994. With all the talk about the love triangle, their friendship was probably the most realistic portrayal on the show and a real highlight for me. Chumming it up at school, drinking the night away, sharing their crushes and love missteps, this was a bromance through and through. Heck, Haitai telling Na Jeong that he'd date her if circumstances were different was basically the intergender version of "If I were a chick or gay, I'd totally go for you."

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Thanks for mentioning "heartless city" bc that drama was definitely a heck of a drama that i really love.

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oh yeah! I think DB is giving credit where credit is due, Nine may not be everyone's chopstick of kimchi but I absolutely agree it was the standout in a relatively mediocre k-drama year & btw what is Lee Jin Wook doing these days? somebody get him back in a good drama with hair & suits like in Nine pronto, Santa that means you! I've been fairly good this year :)

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Nine! it is no 1 in my list, too. The only drama that I even watched it raw and spent time to spazz in Soompi and made me got that severe withdrawal syndrome after it ended.
Lee Bo Young as Best Character, couldn't agree more.
Heirs is Overrated, indeed. I think 'Scandal' is more appropiate drama to suit its tagline; The One Who Wears It Should Endure Its Weight.'
I'm glad that I didn't watch MHIYD now that I knowhow dissappointing it is.
EoG... I think I should check it. I remember I watched this kind of drama about human greediness; Midas and quite loved it.
Bromance; Lee Jong Seok - Kim Woo Bin. D'aww.
Yoo Yeon Seok, Jung Woo... I'm glad they found right drama which doesn't waste their talent. I wish the same for Choi Jin Hyuk, Kim Jae Wook and Song Jae Rim (please don't forget this silent man on almost every show).
I would like to nominate Park Hyung Shik as young supporting actor for Nine. He was good there, but Heirs wasted him. :(
Last but not least, thanks for the article and thanks for making this year of mine as K-drama fans so fun.
Goodluck, Girls!

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BREAD MAN OPPA!
jungwoo may be trash for the majority but he'll always be the endearing bread man oppa.
I actually managed to watch the slight mess that is Lee Soo Shin just for his scenes. his story was the best part of that show imo.

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He was excellent in lee soon shin. I still remember the mortified reaction he had when he made the mistake of thinking soon shin's sister was dating the eldest's sister's husband! That reaction was classic :)

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I cant believe nine made best drama. I thought it was entertaining but at times it felt like they werent sure what's next as well. I thought heartless city suffered from the same problem. It felt like the writers were feeling their way around the story.

Really did not buy the romance in NINE either.

As for Empire of gold - from the first episode, the story and setup felt very contrived, so i didnt persist. Maybe i need to give it another shot.

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What?! Put Sohn Hyun-joo and Kim So Yeon just supporting role? Not agree at all

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Thanks all for the verdict. Hmm.. looks like I must watch Nine. I was so hesitant to pick it... the premise promises a lot of pain and there is an ominous not meant to be air around the leads.

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Nine is fantastic. Don't read the spoilers though. It is heart pounding. Literally. I really mean it because my heart was pounding most of the time. I loved it.

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Empire of Gold, really?
Should I trust you and try it again?
It was so icky to start with gorgeous man Go Soo being SUCHAJERK.
I really would love a reason to watch all those hours of Go Soo...
Maybe I'll watch it after 94 ends and there is a gaping hole in my heart where Chilbongie will no longer be.

YYS for me was the revelation of the year. HATED him in all that other stuff. Can't even believe it is the same kid as "Tsous les Jarus."

Loved Nine and Heartless City the bestest.

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I have not seen even the first episode. Makes me curious though. I guess I will watch it. When I have nothing else to watch, I have a lot of patience.

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of all the winners, the ones i watched and loved to bits are nine, master's sun, i hear your voice, school 2013, two weeks and secrets. they're not perfect but the goods parts trumps their flaws.

the ones i watched to the bitter end and rolled my eyes amazingly frequent at are heirs and mirae's choice. they could be good but it seems like the writers were out of story (heirs) and undecided (mirae's). they got great casts and wasted them away.

the ones i want to definitely find time to watch are heartless city and reply 1994.

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Thanks so much for all your hard work this year. I wasted a lot of time with the worst dramas like Heirs, so I'll catch up on the best during the holidays and when I get snowed in this winter. I especially want to see your top rated Nine. Happy New Year everyone.

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These rating work for me.

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i do agree as Empire is among the best drama for this year..i just watch a few eps first and got stick till the end..though it is only all about money, greed and power..in which the reality that happen among the elites..AND i think i really need to watch Nine as soon as i can...my final just around the edges and i need to stop watching k-drama for a while..i'll really study after reply 1994 end..huhuh go Chilbongie!!! :)

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BEST ROMANCE

Master's Sun Best totally agree :)

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NO!! IHYV romance it is.

Let the battle begin.

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He he. Please don't take me too seriously. I just love LJS to death.

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I totally loved Nine (yes, brain candy!) and I felt that it was the most mind-blowing drama I've ever watched. And Lee Jin Wook did really well as the main character and it's a bonus that he's so freaking attractive. :•)

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GAH Heartless City was so close yet so far in every category. I wish it won more considering it won't be winning any awards at the year end ceremonies (sigh the cons of cable but the show could only be that badass because it was cable so give take I guess). I've never seen Jung Kyung Ho in anything prior to Heartless City but man did he blow me away. I googled his other dramas and actually cannot fathom him playing a dorky guy in a romcom. Props to Nam Gyuri for not being a robot like she usually is. I actually liked Soo Min a lot. And OMG SOO! That bromance! His unwavering loyalty! The amount of times they saved each other's lives! Coming in right behind Heartless City is School 2013 for sure. I liked Lee Jong Seok and Kim Woo Bin before but dayum am I hooked for life now (I like to pretend Heirs never happened). Tsunami couple <3.

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CHARACTER MOST DESERVING OF OWN DRAMA
Gumiho daddy, Gu Family Book

Agree <3

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fun! i loved "the best worst drama" category -- thank goodness i didn't watch any of them...
; )

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No offense to Dramabeans, but I disagreed with you completely in acting category.. Maybe we have different opinion regarding category for the best acting ..
Go Soo ahead of an Awsome performance by Jung Kyung ho? okay... .. Go Soo just have no idea the words of subtlety in EOG ... But it's just my opinion..

and despite my love towards Kim So Yeon, she wasn't stellar in two weeks... she is just abit overacted at times .. Park Ha Sun just stole the show from her in terms acting performance.. ...

Best writing: the end of the world..
best action thriller: I choose Heartless City ahead of two weeks.. simply the plot at times too simplisitic and lack element of grey character in villain character to makes it more complicated, the plot is also lacking something...

It's my general opinion... SO feel free to disagreed with me..
Opinion is opinion and I know I have to respect your point of view ;)

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Totally not agree about Park Ha Sun stole Kim So Yeon in acting performance. Absolutely under levels!!! Even KSY quite less screen time but she had various term of act. She still outshine with her hot-tempered character. While Park Ha Sun just left no enthusiastic feeling whatever scene she appeared.

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I know many will disagree with me regarding Park Ha Sun's performances.... Because I stated my opinion in another page and many users disapproved my statement..
But I still stand with my opinion, I love PHS's acting better than KSY in two weeks.. KSY just at times using all technique with little sincerity in her acting

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Best writing: The end of the world (I agree with you for choosing EOG as best writing... but i prefer The end of the world because my personal preference)

Biggest Dissapointment: IMO Jang Ok Jung... simply the first 8 episode looks very promising but they ruined it for the sake of rating... It has so much potential but the production ruined it completely and they turned JOJ into makjang drama in sageuk clothes ... Mirae's choice s also had a promising start, but it's not as awsome as JOJ in the beginning...

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I also have to disagree on the best actor category - Go Soo started out pretty solid but both he and the show started getting a bit inorganic towards the end. He was probably a little confused or unsure about how to handle the character breakdown and there were a few scenes where he was actually quite awfully overacting to the point of making the character complete relatable. That is unfortunate since the strength or the point of the drama is to showcase how money and power corrupts for the characters involved, regardless where/how/what they started out with.

Go Soo certainly has his charm about him but I can't see how his acting in this drama could be worthy of the title. Sorry..

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Corrections needed - I meant to say "..completely unrelatable"

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Kim So Yeon surely better

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*sorry wrong reply

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Just comparison PHS acting with KSY that's enough funny but judge that woman better acting is most of the most funny!!! Honesty, I Really want to skill all scenes she appeared but can't help which my cute Soo Jin also screened with her, too

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Thank you for giving to Nine and Empire of Gold proper credit.I always thought these dramas were underrated because of their unique style and way of storytelling.
And I'm glad that I'm not the only one who failed to find any charm in Secret.

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Thank you!!

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Thank you. I always love reading Dramabeans ^__^

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YYS Manseh, for me YYS was the best thing 2013 offer then others come after. I love heirs because of LMH,KMH,krystal and KWB gu family book because of LSG, Am 1994 because of chilbongi and yys. I don't usually cry because of fictional characters but I cried so much for gumiho daddy. But chilbongi is my favorite character I feel like he's my brother. But ultimately am a fan of Heirs becos it has LMH and I don't care about the plot,not dat it was bad.

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Yay for Empire of Gold

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I just want to lodge a protest more than anything else because I really follow Dramabeans.

Lee Jong Suk should feature heavily and not just as part of a bromance.

I am glad you identified Nine because apart from IHYV, that is the only drama this year that had me addicted and heavy on adrenaline when even my husband got scared.

So I agree with Nine but I don't agree with anything else.

Best couple was IHYV, best actor was LJS (and Nine lead guy), and.....

mmmm..

errr..

I did not watch anything else you named except Masters Sun and I definitely did not think it was the greatest thing... I always felt Javabeans was biased about that drama.

So there!

I have said my piece.

Acknowledge IHYV and LJS or else!!!

.....

Well...Sorry... *impish smile and batting of eyelids*

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Though It may not appeal to a lot of folks it's nice to see Empire of Gold gets its due recognition.

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Mi rae's Choice?????

She didn't even choose!!!!! Whom she ended with actually!!!

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I agree, 2013 wasn't the best year of dramas for me. It was actually the first time I became sucked into a drama slump. However, there seem to be better dramas for the winter season recently (You From Another Star, Prime Minister and I, Empress Ki....) so things are kinda perking up for 2014 right? Right?

Heirs was one of my most looked forward-to drama but yeah, it was very overrated, and became my biggest disappointment.

Thank you Dramabeans for letting us take this ride with you in dramaland. :)

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Many dramas, many to pick from this year ..... what fun!

While I completely enjoyed I Hear Your Voice and Master's Sun, and I include them as two of my three favorites this year, the list is not complete without Empire of Gold.

For a drama that had that had, count em' ..... no constant chase scenes, no overt love story, no comedy antics, no murder-mystery-of-the-week-to-be-solved, no kiddie cuteness , Empire of Gold shined and intrigued like no other this year due to that outstanding writing. The accolades are well-deserved.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the entire Dramabeans team for this review and for all the work you did to make 2013 so wonderful! It's certainly appreciated.

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Worst Writing of the Year: WTF Paris. I don't think there is a dispute to that. I don't think you can trump WTF Paris with much of anything.... (yes there are worst written dramas, but not in this year).

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it was a crazy year in dramaland...but the thing that haunts me is whyowhy can't gumiho daddy have his own drama??!?! pleaseeeeeeeeee?

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that was so good (y)

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...

Heirs is doing a special on Christmas day.

Nothing new in it except some footage that was edited out previously.

This is starting to remind me of Freddy Krueger, Chucky or Jason or one of those guys that just won't go away. :(

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Basically died with "om nom nom"...

Spectacular list... but just realize how little dramas I watched the past 2 years... hopefully time machine get created soon and I can watch more...

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funnily dramabeans, while the two actors from SBS that you choose as best actor this year (Goo So and Gong Hyo Jin), no one of them even get nominations for Best actor in upcoming SBS Drama Awards...

http://www.hancinema.net/sbs-drama-awards-2013-nominees-64192.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

it'll look like I've to eat my words before, saying MBC awards is the worst, maybe MBS is not for this year... sigh...

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What an awesome year it was! Thanks to all the Dramabeans peeps!

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There are a lot of good dramas these years. I only like Master's Sun and probably You from another Star. Hopefully the new drama will not disappoint me after a few eps. So far, i find it entertaining.

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Glad EMPIRE OF GOLD is recognized here:). I loved it!

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I haven't seen Nine or Two Weeks but from reading the reviews here, I have to add to my watch list for sure!

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I watched the 1st episode of Nine a few weeks after it premiered. But for some reason or another, I never got passed that 1st episode. Probably didn't give me a very good impression. Brain tumors gave me that melodrama vibe, which are the kind of dramas that I usually avoid like plague. I thought the year would end with Reply '94 as the most enjoyable 2013 drama I have watched.
When I saw Nine made it as DB's top drama, i decided to give another go. Just finished marathoning it last night. I have to say that I changed my mind on Reply '94 being the most enjoyable. Quality wise it beat the rest of the 2013 dramas I have watched by a mile. So thank you DB for making me give Nine a second chance.

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The End of the World was a serious must watch. although there were some *cough* ethical issues with the way a CDC operates, it did keep it suspensful. I didn't know about the cut in episodes until it quit coming on. But seeing here where the decision was made around episode 9, you can tell some changes behind scenes were being made around this episode but,(romance rushed) like you mentioned not to the point where it destroys momentumor loses cohesiveness. I loved it, I wish it could've made it to 20 episodes, to see the complete vision.

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Heirs was a waste of talent for Lee Minho.. no brainer, no story, nothing.. just plain conversations leading to nowhere.. overrated drama ever.. but the OST was good. just like Almost Paradise... haha its playing over and over in your head even after the drama's long been done..

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I so loved Empire of Gold for 3/4 of the show but my expectations of what it was suppose to go with turned topsy turvy - darn it, the write / director lied from the word go on what was suppose to be! How can the synopsis be so wrong! The romance that was was - sish

Argggggggh so frustrating I wanted to wack #Q#%#$^ someone *sigh* on what could have been a perfect drama for me turned to quite something else....

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I'd like to suggest a Best Sisterhood (Sismance just doesn't sound right) for Na Jeong and Yoon Jin!

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