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Giving 2015 a hand [Year in Review, Part 2]

As we’ve mentioned, we here at Dramabeans Central have been changing up our year-end review series, trying out new features and reworking others. It’s been an ongoing process looking for ways to make things fresher and better, and it felt like we were due for an update. Change is scary, but change is good!

Aside from feeling a creative itch to try new things, it occurred to us that with the addition of minion-recappers, eight full-length reviews covering every drama watched by each recapper this year could quickly get repetitive. And very, very long. (I know I wouldn’t want to read that many reviews of the same thing, not even if it were my favorite drama.) We tossed around the idea of streamlining the selections and turning everything into a Top 10 list—but that felt like it would get redundant, especially with our Editors’ Picks coming up. Furthermore, we didn’t want to set ourselves up to leave a whole bunch of dramas out of the discussion—shows that we enjoyed and want to talk about, but which may quite fulfill the criteria for “Best” or “Top” anything.

So what we decided to do was simplify things and set everybody’s review limit to five dramas—yep, a mere, measly five—but give the writer the freedom to pick any five shows, with no best/most/favorite requirement to guide the selection process. With eight writers involved, we’ll have 40 reviews in all, which feels like a pretty robust total, cutting down on redundancies. And rather than directing everyone to choose their list according to the same criteria, we decided to leave that up to each writer—thus, the act of choosing what to write about ought to be almost as meaningful as what eventually gets written. (Almost.)

Under this structure, one writer may choose to highlight all her favorite dramas, while another might opt to write about the ones that sparked the strongest emotional response—maybe joy, maybe boiling anger. Perhaps four bests and one worst, or maybe five worsts. Or possibly an entirely random theme to bring them all together. It’s both entirely freeing and painfully restricting. (You’re welcome, guys!) (Don’t shoot me!)

I have lingering fondness for the structure of past years’ reviews, but that format was a beast (imagine that multiplied eight times over!), and I have high hopes that our format this year will yield great reviews. (And of course, we’re always open to making them better the next time around.) We know some of you may be sad to have the old style gone, but we went into this process with the primary goal of making this a better experience for you guys. We hope it pays off.

That said, naturally our decision was accompanied by angst and regrets as soon as we set out to pick our five dramas and started tearing out our hair. I got multiple pleas to bend our rules, but I put my foot down like a good dramaland dictator. Rules are rules! Even arbitrary ones! Bending them would negate the purpose of instating them in the first place, and why be self-defeating like that?

Why five dramas, you ask? Well, partly because five’s as good a numeral as any. Because five is a nice, compact number that still allows for diversity. Because I said so. Because five is not as limiting as three or four, but not so daunting as twenty. Because you can count five on one hand.

Speaking of hands, I’m giving dramaland one for my year-end review, because I like the image of a hand being just as suited to giving a round of applause as it is forming a clenched fist in aggravation. Maybe you’re wondering what the sound of one hand clapping is. Or maybe you’re thinking the motif should be two hands, not one—but hey, that piano-playing drama wasn’t named Ten Fingers, was it?

On to the reviews!

 

KILL ME, HEAL ME

I’ve got five fingers and they’re giving you: A thumbs-up on the sticky scale.

I’m not kidding about our collective angst over narrowing our picks down to five, because it made us have to think about our year of drama-watching in a different way. I’d assumed at the outset that I’d just pick the five dramas that left the deepest impression, but what ended up making the cut wasn’t what I’d guessed up front. There were dramas I thought I would love while they were airing, which have since faded from my memory, while many others fell into that in-between pile: entertaining enough to watch, but melding into the same pool of general pleasantness after the fact. Enjoyable, but lacking standouts.

Multiple-personalities drama Kill Me, Heal Me was a surprise in several ways—it was one of the easiest to pick for my list, and when I first started watching, I really didn’t think that’s where it would end up. My first impression of the drama had been rather negative—the drama was full of unlikable chaebol characters, trite in dramaland with their snobbishness and bloodline obsessions; the tone was all over the place, hopping from rom-com to tearjerker to family sitcom in a heartbeat; the acting felt manic, if committed; and the jerky directing gave the drama a disorganized, rushed feel.

The interesting thing is, I didn’t find that those things went away as the drama went on, or transformed into better versions of themselves. By drama’s end, there were just as many unpalatable chaebols running around, the directing was just as disorganized, and boy those tonal shifts could give you emotional whiplash. It’s just that they stopped mattering quite so much, or maybe at all. Somehow, the drama conjured up a magical element—the actors committed, the hero’s trauma pulled at the heartstrings, and the chemistry of the cast was infectious. I watched for the emotional highs, which tided me over all the tedious lows whenever the plot focused on anyone outside the inner circle. There were certainly moments when the plot dragged down the energy levels, but my affection for all the good stuff carried me through, and now months later, those highlights are the only moments that stick with me.

Ji Sung wasn’t the only great thing about Kill Me, Heal Me but he was certainly its most dynamic force, giving each personality warmth and humanity. He made me pull for our tormented hero to find peace while feeling torn that his peace had to come at the expense of his other personalities, all of whom were given room to develop into complex, fully dimensional people in their own right. Based on the drama’s one-line premise about a chaebol with seven personalities, the show could have easily painted the other personas as comic relief or perfunctory plot devices, but instead they each endeared themselves in their own way. I found myself teary-eyed when we had to say goodbye to each one, despite knowing, as they did, that it was for the best.

I was further amazed when I realized at one point that I was thinking of each personality as their own person, rather than seeing Ji Sung as an actor giving multiple charged performances. I was aware he was acting, of course, since he was so very good at it—but the drama had an immersion factor where Se-gi became the tortured, unsung hero-protector, and Yo-na was a teenage girl. She just happened to look like a full-grown man, is all.

I know this drama has a huge and fervent fanbase that may disagree with me calling it tonally sloppy or narratively messy, but I do think most of us can agree that it left us with a magically giddy feeling. And no matter how coldly and logically you may be able to argue points of directorial intent or flawed execution, you can never argue with magic.

 

YONG-PAL

Five fingers give you: A wag of the (index) finger. Tsk-tsk. You had it all going for you, and then you chucked it out your thirteenth-story window.

Oh, Yong-pal. This drama was very good and then very bad, and it makes this list for both of its extremes.

Past encounters with dramas that take this strong-to-weak trajectory have usually averaged out to a middling overall experience for me, leaving me with a shrug and a “meh,” forgotten soon thereafter. Oddly, though, this drama lingers in my mind as two discrete parts, which I suppose speaks to just how much I loved the first half that I like to remember it as an entity separate from its dull-as-dirt second half. (I still wish we could surgically remove the latter half and leave the addictive first half—okay, first third—unsullied by the rest.)

Because really, those first six or seven episodes were heart-thudding and nail-biting, and had me all aflutter waiting for the next episode, cursing those cliffhangers. Yong-pal took on a bunch of labels that sounded like a hodgepodge of genres—it was a medical-action-romance-thriller-melodrama—and yet, those things all worked for me, and worked together. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a rush to catch the next episode of any drama, but this drama stoked the urge: I distinctly recall recapping a competitor show on Yong-pal’s airdates, a drama I was disappointed to find much less engrossing (Scholar, for the curious), and forcing myself to focus on the recap when I really wanted to sneak away and steal an hour to catch what was going on next door at SBS. I swear I never did it, but I nearly always wanted to.

At least that was true for the first month—before the show decided to veer away from the thrills and suspense and turn into a familiar chaebol revenge story where the underdog heroine became the overdog and started dishing out payback. Which wasn’t a terrible idea, raising those questions of whether revenge was worth it and whether the thing driving her to survive all this while would actually be the thing to destroy her. Had the drama actually had the stones to go down that path fully and commit to the darkness, I think we could have had something quite interesting.

But what often makes dramaland so addictive and entertaining is also what often prevents it from pushing the envelope into daring newer territory—that is to say, K-dramas are great at working our emotions and pushing our buttons, but they’re also scared of being unlikable. So inevitably, stories tame down and settle into routine plot turns, rough edges get smoothed out, and hard characters soften, completely missing the irony where it’s often those jagged corners and dark sides that suck us in in the first place.

I don’t begrudge Yong-pal its high ratings, because I’m just glad that any drama was able to lift dramaland out of its single-digit doldrums and was happy to see that numbers could break 20% in this day and age. (I’d wondered, I really had.) But it doesn’t soften the blow of feeling like the second half sacrificed everything that made the first half great in order to chase those ratings, which seems like it ought to be an Aesopian lesson taught to all drama producers their first day on the job. Don’t spill your milk as you’re counting your chickens, don’t cry wolf, and don’t rescue your damsel in distress in Episode 7 and twiddle your thumbs for eleven more episodes. That’s just sense.

 

WARM AND COZY

Five fingers give you: One fat middle finger, flipping you the bird.

Dear Hong Sisters,

Please go home and take a nap, and don’t come back to work until you’re rested. If not for Kang So-ra and Yoo Yeon-seok, this drama would have been unbearable… but without them, none of us would have sat through Warm and Cozy and wasted sixteen hours, so maybe it’s all a wash.

You used to be such fun, but now you seem tired. Are you tired? I’m your biggest fan when you’re firing on all cylinders, giving us cheeky, fast, punny comedy. Even when your dramas aren’t perfect (they’re never perfect) they’ve still managed to put a big stupid grin on my face and warm my heart. (See: Delightful Girl Chun-hyang, You’re Beautiful, My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, Master’s Sun, Best Love.) Sure you might sometimes be sloppy, but you know how to make characters endearing and funny and full of life.

In recent years I’ve downgraded myself to just kind of a fan, except for that one terrible year where I had to pretend not to know you. I’m sorry, but you were really embarrassing then. You bounced back with Master’s Sun and for that I was grateful. Still, I’m concerned that you no longer love to write zippy, infectious comedies. Or is it that you’re no longer able? That’s a sobering thought.

It’s to the credit of the leads that Warm and Cozy was made watchable at all, because damn if Kang So-ra and Yoo Yeon-seok didn’t work to give their characters life. Kang So-ra gave the heroine heart, while Yoo Yeon-seok did his best despite being bogged down by a character with no consistency in internal logic—at least he made his glib slacker character merely marginally annoying rather than shoe-throwingly aggravating. (I still wanted to throw a shoe sometimes. But always at Gun-woo, and never at Yoo Yeon-seok. That deserves props, no?)

But that was totally an actor thing, and not a writer thing at all, so you can’t take credit for that. There’s no rule in dramaland that says you have to write a drama every year. If there is, I’m pretty sure you’re the only writers who got that memo, so really, you’re ahead of the game anyway. You could take time off. You’re quite famous now. I’m sure somebody will still hire you when you’re refreshed. And if you’re never refreshed, that’s okay too—you had a good run. Better to sit things out than creating more Bigs or Warm and Cozys. Maybe it’s a shame to go out on a down note, but let’s not dig that grave any deeper.

I hope you find your mojo again. It was nice when you had it.

Love Cordially,

javabeans

 

HEALER

I’ve got five fingers and a big rock: Put a ring on it. Or maybe five rings. With Healer, every finger is a ring finger.

Perhaps discussion of Healer requires some added context, because the show was definitely an anomaly—wildly popular in one context, but almost entirely ignored in another. The response here on Dramabeans might skew perception about its performance, so it’s worth noting that despite the frenzy we witnessed here, this show was mostly overlooked in Korea, pulling in ratings that were neither shameful nor remarkable. Just kind of in the middle. Yes, there was an active mania following among Korean viewers, but the mainstream Korean media and audience kind of bypassed the show, to my chagrin. Healer didn’t pick up award buzz, and I expect that it’ll be mostly forgotten at KBS’s end-of-year awards ceremony later this month.

So I found it surprising (though not unwelcome!) when Healer tapped into a fan fervor here at Dramabeans—I’m not even sure that the craze extended to other English-language fan communities, at least not to the level we experienced here—which makes me consider the Healer phenomenon unique to us. I can see how that might give someone the wrong idea that it was a bigger success than it was, when really we were just having a really happy, boisterous party in our corner of the internet.

Which is why, despite being first in line to proclaim the merits of Healer, I still consider the drama to be an underrated and overlooked one. I’m just grateful to have been part of the party that recognized its appeal, and it warms my heart to have had such a fervent, positive community spring up around the drama—the Healer fandom was one of those hyper-cracky experiences that really brings out the best of the live-watch from the fans’ perspective. The fandom made everything more enjoyable and exciting, and I wonder if people who watched the show outside of that specific experience came away with a different feeling.

That isn’t to diminish the stand-alone merits of the drama itself, which were plenty: assured writing, smart pacing, and a romance that knew exactly which of my heartstrings to pluck, when to hold back, and when to deliver all of its squee-inducing, action-driven glory. I could count on the writer to provide us with one major giddiness-provoking development per episode, which was the perfect amount for me—enough to sustain me till the next one, but not so frequently that it felt gratuitous. I loved this couple enough to welcome gratuity, and fine, maybe a few times it dipped its toes into fan-servicey waters, but the drama’s crack factor came in the steady build, the constant narrative push-and-pull.

At the heart, I consider Healer a romance drama, but that doesn’t mean it was only a romance drama. (Not that I would ever be one to throw around the word “romance” disparagingly, as though romance somehow diminishes something’s literary, dramatic, or critical cred. I know that happens, and it drives me absolutely bonkers. Love feeds the soul! It makes the world go ’round!) I loved the layered generational mystery, the soberness of the darker threads that didn’t impinge upon the upbeatness of the storytelling, and the proof that a drama could be exciting, romantic, and feel-good all at once. Two thumbs up, a fist-bump of solidarity, a finger-waggle of excitement—I’d give you all the hand metaphors and then some.

 

THE PRODUCERS

Pinky finger gives you: A wet willy. Annoying, not that effective, but mostly harmless.

This entry was definitely the hardest to choose—not because I had strong feelings about any of the dramas that I’d considered for this last slot, but quite the opposite. Should I write about a show like Oh My Ghostess, which spurred me to laugh every week but also made me feel like it reneged on its central conflict? Or maybe I’d rather take on lesser-watched shows that might not get mentioned otherwise, like Let’s Eat 2 or Ex-Girlfriend Club, both of which I found very sweet but not strong enough to single out. I could take out my frustrations on Blood for being a vampire show with an interesting promise that was absolutely tanked by abysmal acting, or on Scholar Who Walks the Night for sticking Lee Jun-ki in a boring plot that wasted a lot of time running in nobly idiotic circles. Sassy Go Go and Who Are You—School 2015 and Angry Mom all landed in the same general vicinity on the stickiness scale, all fun and appealing, all flawed, none of them quite breaking ahead of the others.

Ultimately I’ve gone with The Producers, which did at least attempt something different—even if it got scared right away and backpedaled before it could get anywhere. It was perhaps more interesting on a meta level, knowing that it started out with tremendous hype about going with a new genre mixing reality and variety and drama, and putting a variety PD and crew at the helm to give it a dose of verisimilitude… only to get cold feet at first sign that the public wasn’t biting. The Korean audience response was decidedly chilly, and KBS brought in a veteran drama PD to take over, putting a swift end to that experiment.

Admittedly the first couple episodes were a little choppy, but I found it interesting that our response here (girlfriday’s and mine and a portion of the Dramabeans community) was so completely the opposite of Korea’s. I found the mockumentary-variety style refreshing and promising, going for a dry, satirical type of humor that’s already familiar to us with The Office, Modern Family, Christopher Guest and more. It wasn’t perfect, but the format gave the show an interesting energy, with sly cutaways and hidden-camera jokes, and when the new crew took over, all of the raw appeal got flattened out—Producers v.2.0 was smoother and sleeker, but also more familiar. Another love triangle, another workplace, another set of showbiz cameos and jokes.

I can’t say I disliked the drama, because the new Producers did have a wonderful cast and a sense of humor that poked at its own industry, and Kim Soo-hyun turned in an adorable performance as the brainy-but-socially-awkward rookie. I mostly had fun watching the episodes, even if they didn’t move me or stir much of an emotional response. If anything, I credit IU and her character, Cindy, for being the biggest reason I kept coming back to The Producers, even though ostensibly the main love triangle (and storyline) was the one about the three PDs. But Cha Tae-hyun and Gong Hyo-jin, as wonderful as they are as actors, were saddled with characters who just kind of dithered around their feelings, and it was Cindy’s trajectory that had the greatest emotional impact. I rooted for her to reclaim her autonomy, to stand on her own feet, to find herself and her drive and to win all the good things in life, while everyone else… could go on being successful and happy and fulfilled, I guess.

Like I said, it was a tough slot to fill, but how do you measure one meh against a sea of other mehs? Sometimes you just have to make the choice and write, already.

 

With all that said, I’ll bow out and turn it over to my fellow recappers, who are busily angsting over their respective sets of five and whose reviews you will be able to read very shortly. If you have comments on our new format or suggestions for next year, we welcome those as well. I’ll even take the complaints, preferably with constructive advice… though really, do you wanna be that guy? It’s the holiday season and everything. Don’t be the Scrooge!

 
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This year can be summarised in one word:

Healer.

???

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Will be sad when the next year comes around. Does it mean we'll have to move on? I can't! ?

Anyways, love you recappers! Thanks for another great year of hard work.

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Don't know about moving on. Healer will always have a special place in my heart. But I'm waiting for his new show (My male god) to air, soon after Feb I hope, despite not liking Chinese dramas. Sigh.

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Yes, Healer will always have a special place in my heart too (^^). Even when I watch another show, it keeps remind me about Healer, just heard someone mentions it name is enough to bring nostalgic smile for me~

Cheers for Healer!!

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actually, today i was at the voting site, took the courage to scan thru all the 5 pgs of comments. noticed something sad, finally couldn't help myself, but wrote back to one of them, now i am like sort of hating myself for being blunt,

i noticed that at the site of Beanie Award, voting for fav dramas for many cat, has a huge outpour for Healer. and because of this, generate a lot of displeasure against Healer, because of the zealous voting for Healer in many category. i know all these days as i kept reading comments and try to control myself not to "fight back", that these anti-responses throwing at Healer are due to those dramas that they loved having losing votes. just like any other voting competitions, eg. XFactors... the one that gained the hugh welcome sometimes will always be deem as nobrainer, no skills, no sustances, but win because of crazy fan crazes. to throw mud at Healer fans for voting blindly at every cat for Healer, is fine for me. but i just can't stomach the anti sentiments seems to attract like magnet more and more anti cpmments against the show itself, against JCW as the handsome face as the only draw for the whole show. ah-ha, this i cannot tolerate.
Healer is, personal to all of us, touches me differently, meant different to all of us, some were move by the OTP, some by thriller story lines, some loved the casts including teh supporting ones, some loved the OST.... of cause some just simply loved JCW.... but NOT EVERYONE of us loved HEALER because of JCW.
i am not the only one, that drawn out of my cocoon, and start to comment on DB, start to sign on instagram and Twitter and Tumblr, for Healer, i am not the only one who steal time off during works to read DB...i am not the only one who ordered Director cut DVD first time in my life, i am not the only one who start loving this OTP for the first time in my life. like myself, this OTP and these characters in Healer, created in all us, many many "first times" in our life. i am not the only one who becomes fans of JB and GF, after Healer, (JB, GF, not saying this to please you). i am not the only one who knows, JCW is not PJW, and PMY and not CYS. we knows the diff.
i am not the only one say to myself, if only i can experience that kind of love like this OTP, life shorter by scores of tens also nevermind.

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It's interesting that after Healer I dropped all of the Kdramas I started watching. The other day I was watching the fan made MVs with a nostalgic smile. It was a one of a kind of a show for me and JCW was amazing - from his styling to his performance! <3

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This is so, so true for me. After watching glorious Healer (twice!), I was struggling to get my mojo back to watch other kdramas. It felt as if the shows I selected afterwards were too shallow, too cutesy, bland, poorly-written, and just overall "meh." So I think I didn't watch another drama until 4 months after or something like that. Healer made that strong of an impact on me so it boggles my mind that it was largely overlooked. Wae??

Anyway, I could kick myself for missing all the fun and Healer-fever here. I wish I had live-watched it and spazzed with everyone. For missing out, I have taken it upon myself to spread the word on Healer and have convinced a few family and friends to give it a try. So far, I've been successful with my unnie...she is officially on the Healer train. All aboard! Choo-choo!

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Loved 'Healer.' Also agree with the reviews on other 4 dramas.

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I'm one of those people who watched Healer and missed all the fun in DB, I KNOW, I wanna shoot myself too! Nonetheless, I still love the show and hearing the OST makes me wanna watch it from episode 1 to the last second!

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So true!!!

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The Healer phenomena was definitely not limited to this site. Other discussion boards also flipped tables with love. The Facebook international Healer fan group went nuts like I've never seen a drama FB group do. There was a fanart project and they sent physical books to Korea and the writer of the series tweeted about it (even pics holding the fanbook -- and it might have been on her blog not twitter I can't remember) and messaged some of the cast and got some of their responses. Kim Mi-Kyng (Ahjumma) was particularly hilarious. Her comment shared by the series writer was something like "I'll get my husband to read me all these English comments. WOW, we're so popular internationally, I'm blown away." And of course Healer was huge in China so that's why the 2 leads spent months over there rolling in the $$ doing endorsements and appearances and such.

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To this day, I don't know what it was about Healer that turned me into a pervert of a lunatic. Honestly, I'm normally sedate, sensible and professional. That was the ONLY time in my 14 years of KD watching! Wish it'd happen more often tho. Couldn't have done it w/o the rest of the Healerites. Thanks for the HIGH!

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@Alessar,
what you said about Mi-Kyung Kim is true. i was riding the wagon of my life with this MegaBig Healing Family, from DB to the International Healer fan group,then months later after Feb, i still often stalked Moru Moru island for news. my actual family here think i am "too much already".
then i was thinking, here we ALL are getting high and swoon over every single preview of next ep, and new still of filming photos upload, and go cheering JCW and PMY "why don't date for real".... and there,i was thinking, does JCW or PMY or Writer Song really read any of these, if not all of these. we can swoon till nose bled, but what amount of love and what degree of what we wrote can reach them. how to let them know we understand their characters, how to let them know beside swooning, we also cried also, ached also when they were separated, we don't just loved them for being handsome and pretty. was really hoping some of them, esp JCW and PMY can read DB and moru moru blog. because beside swooning together with all new friends i made out of this "once in my life time" fandom experience, i so so so wanted to let All that WE ALL WROTE to reach them, hoping they to will not forget junghoo and youngshin, like us. that these 2 will love junghoo and youngshin as the OTP in all their acting history. this is my most earnest plea and longing . hope many years later, when they are no popular any more and are doing other kinds of job or have family, they can look back and still loved and missing doing junghoo and youngshin. ... mmm. i asking too much huh.

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What I dislike about K-Dramas is the fact that there are wayyyy too many episodes. Yes, I get it that it's a drama, but when a drama is really good at the beginning and dies down at the end, it really ruins it for me.

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Interestingly enough, when I first started out watching kdrama, episode length didn't bother me. I hardly noticed clicking the next episode because I was just so engrossed. But lately I've been feeling the effects of long eps (cough Reply 1988 cough). It's harder for me to stay focused with hour long or longer eps now. Perhaps it's the higher expectations from watching so many kdramas? But I often feel the same way, thinking the first four or so eps of a drama are good, and the rest not so much.

Maybe it's my lack of patience.

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I watch half of each ep. Go away, and watch the other half later, like it's watching eps of 2 shows. Thus I don't feel its length that way.

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For me the length is just right, or maybe because most of my favourite dramas are around 30episodes.

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I have actually gotten used to the length, now all the english shows I watch seem to over way too fast.

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Oh, I never thought of that. For me, I like the overall format of having fixed number of episodes. 16 is a good length for me. In my country, dramas would go on for 2 years and I hate it so much. Loooooooooong episodes bother me though. I just can't sit and watch an episode for and hour and a half. It's just too much.

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That's the charm Jdrama carries hihihi I've never watched a Jdrama longer than 12 episodes HAHA but Kdrama's length hasn't bothered me much. Will challenge Six Flying Dragons during the break, hope I survive hahaha

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LOL. There was one drama here in my country that ran for 5 years. I went through my puberty watching that drama.

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My goodness! Many ppl would die during that 5 year run, and wouldn't be able to see the ending!

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In my country when the drama gets popular it could go on and on and onnnnnnnn for few years... It's not uncommon they have hundreds of episodes and few seasons/sequels.

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My grandmother is still watching several shows that started their run over a decade ago.

I visit twice a year or so, and in ten minutes I can figure out everything that's happened in the past six months in show-land, in part because of how slow they go and in part because everything's been done before. The mother-in-law is nuts, the sister-in-law likes making trouble, the resident vamp trades some bit of venom with somebody else, and our poor protagonist is put-upon by everybody. Thousands of episodes later, the same exact things are still happening.

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By chance are you talking about Indian dramas?

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taiwan drama is it? i know of one, about 800 or 900 ep. i heard one even drag to over 1000 ep? dun-no how true?
my countries' ahjummas loved them.

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You're probably talking about a Filipino drama lol

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I quite enjoy this format, javabeans. Will we be getting more reviews from the other authors?

Anyway, what made the Healer experience so special was not just the drama itself, but the community here and the recaps. As javabeans mentioned, we were just a "happy, boisterous party in our corner of the internet" and it's as though no one else could understand or fathom the love we had for Healer. Reading the thousands of comments in the recaps, nearly all of which were lovely comments spazzimg about the awesome show, made the experience even that much better.

I will never forget this show. The greatest kdrama of all-time ???

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Hear hear ..the drama watching experience was double the joy with this wonderful community

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More than double! Unique and Unforgettable!

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Healer--the show that turned sane human beings into total nuts! Gosh, am I grateful for that!

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Insane cracked nuts ?

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Really? I hadn't noticed ?

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Snickers well I am the crushed and sprinkled one on yummy JCW

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So true KDaddict ! The show that turned sane human beings into total nuts !

The show was itself MAGICAL with its own life, and just to add to it were such amazing people I could ever meet in any internet forum. In a time, where internet is considered more hostile than polite in general.

We just passed one year Healer anniversary and I can't believe the warm afterglow still remains! That I actually have made friends through the show and have even met few awesome people and shared a meal with them! It's unreal!

Last year this time, I am pretty sure my interaction with human beings in reality would be wAy less than my interaction in the recap comments! Lol !
Where me giggling and smiling and blushing at my phone would mean I have a bf to outside which actually meant there was a discussion on armpit hair memes made by soompi users!
And muffled squeeing at work would mean i got my coding finally worked to everyone whereas in reality it's just finding JCW banner on top!
Where getting stuck in elevator and having someone pull us all out would make others daydream final destination style where we could split into two, and while I would be thinking of JCW in Healer mode and the rooftop kiss!
All the love story aside, the layered multi generational story with so many nuances and character growth! All the countless discussion on it!

Healer was indeed magical! Yes I would need ring on all my 5 fingers!

I am eternally yours , Show !

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@div so true I was watching healer on my family vacation locked in my room while all others well beaching around well I had the most fun vacation ?

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Divyrus, Sumee, Giegie, fab, Rigby, Teru, Lunatic, etc........,
OM goodness! It's so wonderful to see the Healer nuts out in full force!
Happy Healer anniversary, Merry Christmas, one and all!

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Divyrus, KDaddict , Sumee is eternally Ji Chang Wook's, Snickers:
just for fun, i went again to Healer ep 20 at DB again, to stalk them, i have been stalking without writing for months.
know what, (Snicker, you are still there, LOL) right now is already 10759 comments which span about 40 pages. alot of you are still there, GB, bongsookie... pastmidnight... (thanks to you gals for keeping the flame alive.)
if its just a silly show with pretty faces , any other KD shows also has pretty faces and sizzling kissing scenes,
Healer must be SOMETHING CELESTIAL unique to each one of us, to be able to SCORE THIS MEGA BIG, right?

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True! And it gave me my most unforgettable kdrama viewing experiences which for me is what made Healer my favorite drama this year.

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Yes..mention healer and see how we all come blazing out of hiding @giegie..

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It's my ALL TIME favourite! Here we are again on the feels-train...! Happy to see you all here, a big virtual hug your way Healerites! <3

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@Sumee
It's rhe Healer's magic! ^^

@Fab
On second thought, Healer is my All Time Favorite! ;)

Hugs ladies. :*

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Agree with you @[email protected]@[email protected]

HEALER is Magical! Its inspirational and alltogether lovely! Yes it made us all crazy nuts but hey this where i met all the most wonderful and incredible people on earth on the internet!!! And i even met one Healerite in person and soon another Changminers wow what a great experience made possible by our HEALER!

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Aanyo @rigby I know it's just such an amazing and satisfying experience ..hugs

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Healer is love indeed, nothing will ever beat the love we all felt for it. Especially all the amazing people I got to meet while watching it, it was my first time going insanely crazy, but it was all worth it in the end :D

Love you my healer beanies ;)

Snickers, sumee, Giegie, KDaddict, Divyrus, Rigby, Fab, Lunatik4KD, and Teru, and of course all the other beanies who are not here amongst us ;)

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yes, you know what Healer did to all of us>

thru out this whole year, every times when we read recap at DB for other dramas, ... whenever we came across words that link to Healer fandom friends, esp those mentioned here at #3.2.5....not to forget GB, bongsookie, ... etc. somewhat we will automatically smile and cheer up , no matter how stressed our work are.
we are really like distanced family, like minded family, closer than those that are blood related at times.

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Healer was indeed a fabulous experience, made even more so by the community we all formed - even creating a side group of 30 or so Healer nuts who went on to email each other - and some still do! The experience of Healer was a first of its kind for me and I felt the magic of how the internet unites the world. We were from all countries around the globe, happily chatting and spazzing away with each other. Healer is also the first (and so far, only) time that I watched episodes raw as they were airing in Korea, then kept refreshing various sites to see who had subtitles first and watched every episode at least three times, plus kept DramaBeans open all day and night long. It was an amazing experience - one filled with love and giddiness and joy. There will never be another like it. It's unfathomable to think so!

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@lunatic4kd agreed first time ever to watch a drama realtime

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It's so true! I barely have time to spaz about a drama since I'm too busy with work/life....yet Healermade me went NUTS and live life like a zombie!

Sigh, it will be a very very long time before I come across another drama like you again...

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Look look look who is here ..wow how are you @teru it's been so long..
Nutty healerites

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Kill Me Heal Me for me!!

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Hahaha.. Me too.
That was THE crack drama for me. While I also love Healer, Kill Me Heal Me has a certain magic that beat all its directional and writing flaws.

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Me too ! ? Even after months this show still remind in my heart ?

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My favourite drama of all time, honestly. Dethrone Liar game faster than I ever expected. Segi!!! Yona!! Perry Park!! *sobs*

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Me too! It made me want to watch/rewatch all of Ji Sung's work - he was fabulous!!!!

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+10000000
Though I don't exactly agree, I can see why one could think that it was "tonally sloppy" (for me, that was just part of the magic). But still, thank you javabeans for summing up the appeal so perfectly!

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Guess I'm gonna have to finally watch Healer.

Thanks for the review, javabeans! I can't say I'm not a bit sad to get a shorter review from you this year, because I love your writing and always want more of it. But it makes a lot of sense now that you have so many writers, and anything that keeps you guys sane and well-rested is a good thing in my book.

Happy holidays and thanks so much, as always, for everything you do for us. <3

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WATCH IT! WATCH IT! WATCH IT! (Lol, you do not know how many people I have nagged into watching this show. They call me crazy at first, but later on, they join me in the asylum too ^^)

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I watched Yong Pal only for Joo Won.

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Well, I think it's good tho. It's not bad as people say.

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I started Yong Pal at ep 6, and for me, it was good from there. I'm guessing that when it shifted gears after the 1st few eps, many who liked it being an action thriller got turned off.

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Here's the thing about Yong Pal, it would be better if it was split into two distinct dramas. The first half could be made about Yong Pal and all his awesomeness. Because he was awesome! And the second could be a revenge story about a badass crocodile female (she was badass. And I loved that we had a female who was not the typical candy, all love and forgiving. But was a crocodile and knew that she was!)
What ended up happening was that for the female lead to shine, Yong Pal was relegated to the background, and the viewers are left scratching their heads.. I came for Yong Pal. Who is this female? Which is probably what pissed me off the most, HE CHANGED! Suddenly all the nonsense she was doing was okay because she was 'cute'... Do not get me wrong, I loved her decisions (I have always felt Kdrama villians never get enough punishment and so for the female lead to be the one dishing out the punishment and not leaving it to fate? Somebody HOLD ME!) But these two awesomeness did not belong in the same drama... or with each other tbh.

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I found Young Pal, in the second act, a healing force, (no pun intended).

For me it was like he was enlightened. He was right, revenge doesn't gives happiness, balance or peace.

But why did he change?, Where were the catharsis?, The bullet?, That he was in love?, he loved his sister dearly and that TURNED him in to Young Pal.
I think that the growth was choppy or inexistent, and that killed the second part.

Awsome first 6 episodes by the way.

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I think I would have enjoyed Yong Pal more if they had stayed with the rescue part of the story. They could have easily expanded the first 6 episodes into 12 if they had kept Cynthia and the crazy nurse into the mix. Basically, drag out the rescue plot, add more scenes where Yong Pal is doing Yong Pal stuff, create subplots for Nurse Hwang and Cynthia, add more scenes where Yeo Jin and Yong Pal were getting to know each other and building that attraction, then have the actual rescue at around episode 12 with 13 to 16 Yeo Jin reclaiming her thrown, marrying Yong Pal, punishing the bad people and realizing revenge is not the answer.

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I think Yong Pal signalled its downfall when the hero suddenly fell in love with the heroine. They were doing a good job of building it up, and then he's already in love with her, and making weird declarations.

I can't remember the exact words, but the church scene made me cringe. It just came out of nowhere. A good romance has a great build up, and they really messed it up in Yong Pal. It's like they suddenly leaped ahead without showing us the progression.

Made no sense. Terrible drama that was a let down after building up expectations with a bunch of good episodes.

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I remember screaming at the church scene. Such a good confession but not the proper time to do so. It only needed an episode or two. . .

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Well there is no denying the fact that Healer popularity here on dramabeans is unparalleled ..and I seriously love all the healer beanies because of DB community the healer watching experience was an outrageously insane instance in a lifetime (it was craaazyyyyy back then)

All hail the power of Healer love ❤️

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I actually stopped talking to a friend who said she did not like Healer. The way I see it, I do not need that kind of negativity in my life. Oh, and she hated Sassy GoGo to... Contact blocked!

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Oh dun dun dun...
Drumrolls please ..you did the right thing ...

On the side note ..ha ha ha ha ha ..

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True sumee! I miss those spazzing days *sigh*

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@teru I miss it too..I really hope we can fing another drama like that ..something really spazzing worthy

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Five dramas for me:

1. Angry mom
2. Kill Me Heal Me
3. Yong Pal
4. Answer Me `988
5. Healer

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*Thumbs up*

I cant believe at the amount of criticism that Yongpal is getting, which is passed on to the casts. It's not fair since the storyline is extremely awesome to me. I think the casts, and production staffs have done a great job. Even professionals in the industry acknowledged the Director and cinematographers.

I dont know why, but the blogger from Dramabeans for Yongpal had some issues in understanding the characters. I've read reviews from other blogs who analyzed the characters really well, which made people understand the reasons for the characters' decisions. Of course, to each his own, but Yongpal's recaps in DB are just... unfairly written without proper analysis unlike other recaps.

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Like I explained earlier, No 6.2, Yong Pal is two different dramas being mashed up into one. They were awesome on their own (Yong Pal and his awesomeness and the female lead and her inner crocodile was amazeballs! ) But together, they were a hot mess. And what ended up happening was one person sacrificing who they were for the other person to shine. Or one half of the story sacrificing its plot for the other half.

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The characters weren't the problem but how the plot was develop or paced. Once it reached episode 6 or 7, the plot felt different than the original premise.

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I like this format a lot, javabeans! Thanks for all the reviews, DB :)

I don't know what came over me (maybe because I sneaked a peek at the recaps before watching the actual episodes), but I stopped watching Yong-Pal right before it apparently took a turn for the worse. And I guess that was for the better, because I absolutely LOVED the drama in the beginning, it was so addictive, so maybe I just wanted to keep that good feeling intact before the second half ruined it for me LOL.

Anyway, totally agree on Warm & Cozy, though I can't say I regret watching it because it's how I fell (more) in love with Yoo Yeon-Suk and Kang So-Ra. I just hope they get better dramas soon! <3

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Yet, Kim Soo Hyun brought the award back home! i liked him, i mean his character in Producer, but i just LOVED jisung's 7 personalities. i loved every single personality!

kinda agree with the list, haha.
but for the middle finger, im gonna put another name. THE TIME I REGRET WATCHING IT. sorry not sorry :D

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Yup. So agree with you on which drama entitle to the mid finger.

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We need more than 2 middle fingers each for this year's batch of lousy shows that wasted our time and insulted our intelligence!

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Where's the like button?

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hear, hear!

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RIGHT, I need to borrow two middle fingers to really rate some shows. Talk about a waste of precious drama-time. SMH.

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With this comment, I think you are eligible to run for Presidency.

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More intelligent than the Donald, u mean? lol.

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I have to give that middle finger honors to Super Daddy Yul. I still can't believe I actually watched that drama. I think I was hoping for more Han Groo cameo. lol

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I was one of those who watched Healer after the series ended...and thus avoided the live watch fanfare. To be fair I think it was nice and engaging - and something new too. Then I went on to watch an old drama God's Gift and then Kill Me Heal Me. After which I felt Healer paled in comparison (just on the entertaining grounds - myself and my husband felt the same). At the end of the day, I think having fellow drama watchers to squee with and discuss the drama might have elevated the drama watching experience from good to great. I would agree that Healer was a good watch..but it always amazes me to see people still going gaga over the mere mention of Healer. Personally I prefered KMHM.

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I tried watching Healer while it was on, but it just didn't hook me - I made it to episode 4 or 5 and dropped it after that (I almost did the same to KMHM, but pushed through to week 4, when things got a lot better - still messy, but elevated in a major way by Ji-sung).

And I do think the mental comparison to other dramas you're watching may be a factor too, because around the same time, I started Heard It Through the Grapevine, which made every other drama look like flimsy fanservice.

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I watched it while it aired (though I didn't join right at the beginning). Found it entertaining enough, but nothing more, nothing less. No squees from me, and not in any top-5 or top-10 list either. Can't relate to the hype at all. Pretty sure that a couple years down the line, I'll have totally forgotten about it too. The only thing I take away from it is that JCW acting was solid – his switching between the two 'characters' was spot on.

On the other hand, I liked Producers a lot more than everyone did here (everyone seems to just dismiss it?). I did like the initial experimental episodes the best and wish they had stuck with this format all the way through, but quite liked the rest as well.

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I think Producers wouldn't be as dismissed if we weren't so fixated on its genre label and the switch. It has its faults, but it's a far more solid watch than most romcoms this year (I can see myself rewatching certain episodes, especially anything involving either IU or Gong Hyo-jin....that is something I don't see happening with the other dramas)

I really wanted to like Healer more than I did, but it just wasn't my cup of tea so I dropped it. I'm glad the fans enjoyed it though.

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I really loved Producer as well, though I was one of those rare breeds who wasn't a huge fan of the experimental episodes, and only managed to connect after the change in format. I enjoyed all the characters though, and the clever writing, and thought it was one of the strongest rom-coms this year despite its sudden shift in direction.

I agree with pogo, Go Go! too - that too many people were fixated on the genre label and switch in format - so I can't help but wonder how it would've been received had it not been experimental from the start. But either way, I loved it. ^_^

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I was the same. I loved Producers but only fully got into it after they replaced the PD. I was originally in it for the cast but I ended up enjoying everything else about it too. It's in my top 5 for the year. Every drama has its flaws, but at least this one had enough hilarious and adorable and sweet moments to outweigh them.

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I think, given the stellar cast, anything less than phenomenal would have been a disappointment for Producers. The love square was meh but the rest was actually pretty good, especially Cindy's story.

I watched Healer while it was airing but never got into the fan frenzy. I think much of the fervor comes from swooning over the hero but since I am a heterosexual male, I got left out in that department. lol It was a pretty solid romance/action drama though.

Kill Me, Heal Me was all about Jisung's performance. I don't even remember some of the plot or any of the subplot. I just get flashes of Jisung acting the shit out of different scenes. lol

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I liked the "love square" in Producers. I liked it because the drama didn't care to follow the 'rules': it just had a few characters that had one-sided crushes rather than manipulative second leads getting between the OTP in some contrived, unbelievable manner. Nor did it insist on pairing up everyone. Which is pretty much what it's like in real life.

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yes thank you. I bared through more episodes of the H than pogo, almost 12, and yet ... under fire for HATING, which I never said I did. what I hate is being told I MUST like something, when people dont think I am capable of choosing my own favorites. look, I tried.

whileas I started liking KMHM much earlier, in ep 3. I come from the 1980ies, you know. That kind of thing was the norm, the icon, the mold.

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Can't believe I stopped by just in time to read JB's take on Kill Me, Heal Me! I've been wondering what you thought of this one. But "tonally sloppy, narratively messy, and magically giddy" describes it well. Though compared to the disastrous first two episodes, I think the directing did improve over the course of the series.

I, too, had the experience of forgetting that the same actor was playing all those characters. In one episode focused on Shin Seki, I thought, oh good, the actor who plays Cha Do-Hyun is getting some time off. It took me a minute to realize that actually, Ji Sung wasn't getting any time off at all. But I was so convinced at that moment that there were two separate actors.

I wish I could forgive Healer for its sudden abandonment of narrative tension in the last four episodes. After enjoying the first 75% of the show so much, I felt a bit used. Darn you, Healer!

And congratulations on having the fortitude to watch all of Warm and Cozy! I hope the Hong Sisters get that vacation they need so badly.

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I loved Kill Me Heal Me, but not till 7-8 episodes in - it absolutely was tonally messy and full of the kind of chaebol crap I don't care for, except where it directly affects the OTP. If it wasn't for Ji-sung and Hwang Jung-eum, I wouldn't have stuck with it, but I'm another one who actually did see all seven personalities as different characters.

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It's weird that I ended up adoring this show so much, when it was only at episode 8 that I stopped thinking, "Well, it's interesting, but I'm not sure if I LIKE it or not." That's a LOT of episodes to be on the fence. I think the production difficulties encouraged me to give it the benefit of the doubt.

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KMHM was saved by JS's great acting and, I can't believe I'm actually writing this, the live-shooting system. When I think of the kind of torture the writer had prepared for us I freak out; a horrible makjang full of child abuse (even sexually???) and very, very dysfunctional human beings who really needed tons of therapists. Thank you, Yona for saving us (and thank you, JS for the amazing Se-gi, LOL!!)

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The passage you wrote on the Hong Sisters was genius. Agreed 100% with what you said.

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Me too. I miss them, but I'd rather they come back when they have better ideas than do this yearly thing.

(Does that add up to 200%?)

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They took 2014 off! And this was what they came back with......I really hope Master's Sun wasn't a last flicker before the light died out, because if there is one thing they do well, it's cast good leads and give them the room to play off each other. For W&C, they did the first but then did everything possible to kill any pairing developments for the longest time.

They really should be writing thank-you notes to Yoo Yeon-seok and Kang Sora for persevering despite that weak soggy tissue excuse of a script they got.

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They definitely phoned in that script. It felt like something they threw together over a weekend. Even their metaphors were a bit of a shambles. It's like they were forced to put in the metaphors this time around just because it's part of their signature. Warm and Cozy was a testament to the likability of Kang So Ra and Yoo Yeon Seok as celebrities.

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Personally, I think Hong Sisters peaked at The Greatest Love. None of their previous shows were nearly as funny and neither one after it were watchable. I gave up on them after The Master's Sun.

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I am curious what your thoughts will be on another shows, but I like this format better since it means more dramas can be discussed. I'm excited about the other reviews. You were great, JB :)

KMHM -- I haven't had the chance to watch this yet, but will definitely check it out because of your review. I hope Ji Sung gets a Daesang for this tho!

Yongpal -- Same opinion. I was on high excitement after they were able to get the chaebol princess out of the hospital. I was expecting more action because they'd all be fugitive right? Taking out Cynthia (Stephanie Lee) is still a mistake--one I can never understand (why, was she stealing the supposed spotlight from Kim Tae-hee?)--because then there are more chances of the promised action-thriller. But it all ended in a huge chaebol drama. Meh.

Warm & Cozy -- I expected it to be a bit Misaeng-y because it has that feel when it started. Apparently it was an endless push-and-pull that was not entertaining at all. I wish I never saw it through until the end.

The Producers -- I liked this show for uts sentiments and contemplations about love and life. Granted, they are not something unfamiliar to us, but I loved its retelling in a different kind of set-up. IU's Cindy is, like what you said, the main reason I kept coming back to it. It was mediocre, yes, but still so so sweet.

Healer -- I never caught on the hype here in DB because I was focused on Pinocchio back then. I watched this show at a time when all the buzz has died down, but it turned out to be one of the greatest shows I've seen. In connection with what you said, I was quite disappointed with its last episode because it seems that the show was toned down into a "simple love story." And then I realized that it was the prime mover of our couple to do great things for the ones they care about and for themselves. It started out with a care for one another and spilled out to multiple others. It was a love story, but definitely a great one. And I will come back to it as many times I can because it was that good :)

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I agree with much that Javabeans said in this post:

Healer is indeed wonderful. The live-watch community here was out of this world. I don't know if we'll ever have that kind of a crake experience again, even if we continue to watch for the rest of our lives. Definitely the best in 2015!
Maybe Healer wasn't as well received in Korea, but it still propelled JCW to international stardom as a new or rising Hallyu star. Some of it rubbed off for PMY as well. So that says something about its appeal.

KMHM is my 2nd favourite for the year too, on acct of Ji Sung's performances. He really managed to make each personality distinct. No small feat, and fame on the network for not giving him the top award!

2nd fav could also go to Reply 1988, but I tend to think of it as a 2016 show cos it hasn't finished yet. Who knows, it could be really good or whither in the next 8 eps, so I want to reserve my judgement on it.

Lot of viewers on DB dislike Yong Pal, but I thought it was better than ppl were saying.

Producers didn't do anything for me, despite its cast. Warm & Cozy should be an embarrassment for all involved, including viewers. I'm not going to tell anyone I sat thru it, or else they'd say "K dramas are for soft brains to begin with".

Overall not a good year in KD-land.

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@ KDaddict?JCW 2015 was not a good year for KDramaland? I tend to file my favorite KDramas according to the year they air and my 2015 folder is by far the biggest folder on my laptop.

Well, I couldn't watch any of the dramas as they were airing because KDramas wreak havoc on my academic life, so I only started watching this year's KDramas early November and there have been a lot. I guess some people feel the lull in K-Entertainment when they are watching it as it airs. Maybe taking a long break from dramaland might help, maybe not if they still don't offer what you like. I have been a KDrama addict since 2006 and yeah,2015 was a good year for me.

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I don't think anything will allow me to forget how big of a flop and how disappointing YongPal was for me. Like Javabeans, said here, the first 6-7 episodes were so thrilling -- they had me on the edge of my seat every time! But then, alas, all good things cannot last in K-drama land. It just got so bad that I eventually gave up watching it. Pft.
BUT, similarly, I don't think anything will allow me to forget how much I enjoyed watching Healer! I nearly forgot it was a 2015 drama until a few weeks ago when I took part in the dramabeans poll. Woooo~ Go Healer!

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Javabeans, we think so much alike. You just put everything so much more eloquently. But I love reading your thoughts.

My thoughts on Healer are like what you said in the Healer podcast. As someone who has been watching dramas for a somewhat long time, it definitely has lost its magic for me. I'm lucky if I can find a drama that gives me so much feels anymore. By the time Healer had stared to air, I had wondered multiple times if it was possible anymore. Am I too old? Is it because the formulas are too apparent? Aside from the romance, I agree about the generational story line. I appreciated the detailing in all the characters. I like that it had heart to it (not just the romance kind). I do think that Healer had a lot of questions and ideals you could have a discussion on. The cherry on top was of course how the romance actually moved me.

Yong-pal. Well...I'm still a bit bummed. Unfortunately for me, I started to worry around the sixth episode. Not sure why, but I got the sense that the writer had no clear vision. sigh...Joo Won was beautiful as always though.

Producers... Out of spite, I dropped it after hearing that it had changed. The first two episodes though... hilarious. I haven't laughed so much watching a kdrama. Humor was my style.

Warm and Cozy. Can't say I'm angry because I wasn't looking forward to it in the first place. I tuned in for Kang So-ra and stuck around for a bit because it really did give me a warm and cozy feeling, at first. I did end up dropping it though. I wish it would've been better.

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Dear Javabeans,

I love the lengthy comments in the new format. The only reason I miss some features of the old format is with several recappers who have distinct tastes and styles I always wonder when x recaps a show how y feels about it. Part of the reason why I love the podcasts is to hear what you and Girlfriday (and Gummi and Heads when they join) think about the shows you are not recapping.

I know you don't have all the time in the world and you guys are doing more than enough, Dramabeans has been my first go to place about Kdramas since I started watching them. My one suggestion is this: maybe not during the end of the year because doing them all at once is way too much work but when a show ends can other recappers who also watched the show make their brief commentary for the whole show (the way you sometimes used to do with Girlfriday when you tag teamed in recapping - but this time even recappers who never wrote on that show can chime in)?

The reason I like reading the comments is to hear different voices and interpretations... After reading particular people for a while you start getting what they like and they don't, how much their taste fits with yours, whether their recommendations are useful for you. So, I guess I'd like to hear from more voices about one show even if they are brief, but that doesn't have to be during the end of the year...

Happy holidays everyone.

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PS. I pretty much agree with all your assessments above...

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PSS. Now that I think about it there is no reason this can't be done for shows that weren't even recapped here for lack of time if the writers felt like commenting after it finishes. That would also give Dramabeans readers who watched it a place to discuss it besides OT.

For example, I enjoyed listening to Javabeans' comments on Blood on the podcast. I watched the first episode because of the story, dropped it due to terrible acting but went back and watched all of it because I was still strangely attracted to it because terrible acting aside it was a very interesting story.

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So true! The new format is great and I wish they will cover a lot of grounds by having the top 5 of each writers being mostly on different dramas. But the best part of the old format is really just how enjoyable it is to read different writers talk about the different dramas, especially when they aren't the recapper.
Of course, there are lots of opinions and different perspectives on the comments, some very wonderful thoughts I'd say, but it's just even more fun to read from the different writers on Dramabeans as they put it very nicely. Reading it at the end of the year gives it even more of a bang as all the thoughts that once occupied our heads comes rushing back as we read the brief reviews of each writers.

However, what you said about doing it shortly after the whole drama have finished airing or maybe in the middle of it (once the writers have got the feel of it) is a brilliant idea; it'd be nice if there would be a post where all writers who do watch the drama give their quick standpoint on the drama. For people who don't mind some spoilers here and there - this could also help some decide whether they want to watch the drama or not. Of course, this all requires time, and a lot of us don't have so much of it, but it's a great food for thought for Dramabeans.

Happy holidays to you and to all! :)

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Totally agree!

I remember those times when they used to tag teamed in recapping, how much I loved the part when I can read two comments at the last episode. It's just great reading the opinion of another writer who also watched the drama. It'll be great to see that change next year. They don't have to recap the drama in order to comment at the last episode but if they watched it at the same time, reading their comments will certainly add more fun ??

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Honestly, I'm JUST watching Healer because I was so turned off by how you couldn't get away from someone (or a huge group lol) spazzing over healer, sometimes even in posts completely unrelated to it. I'm not saying fans weren't allowed to express their love for the show but I was just turned off watching it because it was a bit much. Also I didn't want to have my perception of it skewered by all the extremely positive comments. I'm usually like this when it comes to SUPER hyped shows.

Watching it now, I'm enjoying it and love the relationship between the leads. Now, I don't now if it's because I'm not super attracted to JCW and/or missed the live viewing but it's not a must-see drama for me. I watch it off and on. Objectively though, it is a good drama.

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It doesn't look anyone else has said anything but as much as I loved the old format I love this new format even more.

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"But what often makes dramaland so addictive and entertaining is also what often prevents it from pushing the envelope into daring newer territory—that is to say, K-dramas are great at working our emotions and pushing our buttons, but they’re also scared of being unlikable. So inevitably, stories tame down and settle into routine plot turns, rough edges get smoothed out, and hard characters soften, completely missing the irony where it’s often those jagged corners and dark sides that suck us in in the first place."

AMEN. THANK YOU.

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This is a really cool format and I pretty much agree with your opinion on all of the dramas (except Yong pal which I missed). I also knee where you were going with the whole finger thing right off the bat and knew healer would get the ring finger. That was such a cute and creative way to rate them.

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My 5 combination favorite slash just memorable dramas,

1. Sassy Go Go
2. Kill Me Heal Me
3. Angry Mom
4. Healer
5. The Village

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What bothered me about healer was her kissing him while blindfolded. He could have been a frog for all she could see.

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then she would have ended up with a prince..win win

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Yeah, but look at how that 'frog' turned into such a handsome prince... :D

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Well, that's why it's a KDrama. We shouldn't do that at home. *wink*

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You mean, for all she knew, he could turn out to be a DOM crossed w a flasher? ? But then she already had his photo pinned on her bedroom wall. So a most handsome prince she knew it'd turn out to be.

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But he could have a shrew for a wife and 5 screaming kids ?

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I'd still kiss him. Shrew or no shrew. 5 kids or 10.
Even if marriage is not in the cards, I'm not gonna miss out on a kiss w the Healer!

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Hear hear! Anyone who comes to my rescue in such a spectacular way deserves a kiss.

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Hahaha you guys are hilarious :-D

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I think this new format makes sense this year. But I think somewhere between 5 and 10 would have been a better number, because of the difficulty of picking the last drama, as you said, and because there's a good chance there'll be some dramas with a small (but devoted? not sure) following will be left out.

Healer is my City Hunter, my Gaksital, my Heartless City of this year (funny enough, they're all similar in genre). It was addicting and sweet, and I'm glad to discover Ji Chang Wook in this and that Park Min Young got to lead in this.

The disorganized feeling you describe of Kill Me, Heal Me is what also turned me off in the beginning, along with the fact that I didn't feel for any of the characters. It's interesting to not watch a popular drama during its broadcast period and observe the reactions and fan fervor "from outside" for once, and not get it for once, like with this and the Producers. Would I watch it in the future? Who knows, but I think probably not. But I do acknowledge that there was a magic spark in these shows that drew so much love from their fans.

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If there hasn't already, there should be a thing vs thing for all the school dramas this year. Sassy Go Go, Who Are You—School 2015, and Angry Mom are all similar in that the feisty lead female (take your pick, Jung Eunji, Kim So Hyun, Kim Yoo Jung, Kim Hee Sun) rebel against a mean bully/education system. And for me, they were all engaging at some point in the show, even though we've seen this exact conflict before recently in School 2013 and multiple times this year.

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Well... Heartless City for me is no way at the same category as City Hunter and Healer. It's the class on it's own. It's not without flaws... but it's just hit all the right note for genre like this

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Interesting - your comment made me realize that I had the same feeling about the leads in both Heartless City and Healer - like they were such heartbroken souls, holding in all their feelings to survive.

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as long as santa still appear, i'm all good.

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Haha.. Me too. I also always looking forward to Santa's "hiccuping " end of year review. It's an annual tradition for me to read while having a glass of wine and have good laugh.

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Yes please please I love Santa!?? Thanks guys for all your hard work!! You guys are my Kdrama support system❤️❤️

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My favorite drama this year was My Beautiful Bride. There were other shows that I enjoyed like Punch and The Village, but My Beautiful Bride to me had everything great writing, acting, directing a a pretty good OST.

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The Producer is a show that left me thinking 'what could have been'. The first 4 eps felt different and kinda fresh for KDrama but then they changed it and the only thing that made me interested in the first place went puff. Well, but still... thumb up for trying.

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The Producers isn't actually a bad drama, I just think people were too disappointed by it turning out to be a romcom and not the workplace mockumentary initially advertised.

Because as a romcom, it's pretty good, especially with IU at its emotional centre (talk about dark horse, I never thought she was a bad actress but her turn as Cindy was the best thing about the entire show - yes, even ahead of Kim Soo-hyun).

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That said, it really didn't need 90-minute episodes.

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Exactly. A 90-minute LONG romcom is a little out Of reach for me. If i ever get to finish it, it'd be for the awesome ensemble. Unless Cha Tae-young and GHJ do another drama in the near future- PLEASE.

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I'm just glad that even if it clocked in at 90 minutes, it ended at 12 episodes **looks at AM 1988**. Not my favorite drama of the year but one of the few that I finished and enjoyed, and I've dropped way too many this year. I definitely agree with IU as Cindy and she was a revelation to me! I must say though, I like puppy Kim Soo-hyun better than alien KSH :D

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What I love the most at healer is surprisingly the directing. Overall the directing might be not the best, certain scene is just look cheesy at best. but certain moment is just hit all the right note for me because of the directing alone.

I love the world they create in and the idea of an errand boy as our main hero. But I wish the setting about underworld (in this case about an errand boy) is not only a mere plot device to unfold the issues their parent in the past (absolutely not interested). Kind like Heartless City, where Drug Dealer world is the main setting and there is so many plot we can unfold...

Well I think It's just all about a trendy drama with superhero setting (despite he is practically a criminal) like City Hunter. too fairy tale sometimes...

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I don't mind the shorter recaps, although I will miss th longer ones :( my only concern though would be that all the recappers will be writting about the same few dramas since they can only pick five. What I love about year end recaps is seeing your thoughts on dramas when compared to other offerings in the year. Its also a good overview of what offerings there were in the year. With this format I feel like some of the good, but not as impactful dramas will be forgotten. While I like the idea of not talking about the same dramas over and over again, I feel like the 40 reviews will have more depth than breadth which I personally don't prefer. However I get its hard to ensure all dramas are covered. You shouldn't force someone to write a review of drama a when they rather write about drama b just because they're the only ones who watched a. It's a hard game to play. I would have done maybe top 10? Gives some more breathing room and a chance for people to talk about some smaller or not as impactful dramas. Not sure how daunting that would be though since I've never done something like this before.

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Ohhhhh. Love this idea of having any of the recapers put their two cents on the finale of a show. I love hearing different opinions of what the reacpers thought on the show, even if they werent the main recappers.

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I'll join in that middle finger to Warm & Cozy, if I may. Talk about a waste of talent.....

and JB, with all my love, I really don't think Angry Mom or Sassy Go Go deserve to be lumped in with the plothole-ridden School 2015(missing twin just went and chilled in an orphanage for a month? People just let the assistant teacher off the hook for stalking a student because, I don't know, she was sad? WUT. And that's even without the weird passive characterisation of the heroine), not even for Kim So-hyun and Yook Sung-jae's sake.

The other dramas are better than that, because at least they had a handle on the stories they were telling. They both turned out to be rather different from the way they were initially advertised (school bullying story/cheerleading drama) but I like the final products better.

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Following the same format as JB, here goes with the hand metaphors:

Sassy Go Go - fist pumped and cheering, for having a story with so much heart that it transcended the fluff we expect out of high school dramas.
And for a fantastic set of four young leads who had off-the-charts chemistry, as well as relationships that actively avoided falling into kdrama cliche land (people TALK to each other! And respect each other! And it doesn't detract from their insane chemistry levels at all).

Heard It Through the Grapevine - some really loud table-thumping, to make up for the standing ovation I can't give it if I use only one hand.
Grapevine isn't feel-good, but its odd combination of cynicism, humour and heart (and the deadpan way in which it chose to present its absurdities) elevated it way above any of the other dramas this year.

High Society - Talk to the hand. You're a budget version of part of the premise of Nice Guy (poor guy out to use a rich girl), and it shows in every way, from the writing to the cast.

School 2015 - Joo Joong-won's 'get lost!" gesture from Master's Sun. Get lost, you plotholey waste of 16 hours that wasn't fit to claim any kind of relation (even a franchise one) to School 2013!

Answer Me 1988 - Fingers firmly crossed. Don't turn into 1994, please!

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Yes, with all due respect, School 2015 really do not deserve a spot next to Angry Mom and Sassy Go Go.

Whilst I wouldn't say School 2015 started off boring or so, it was really just so pointless at the end of it. Maybe it was partly because KBS was the only thing I have on my TV and I was too busy with college to search out for good dramas, but something about School 2015 must have attracted me for long enough to keep watching for at least 10 episodes. But then, it all became clear that the story was a hot mess with literally no lessons to absorb. The whole bullying situation was messy, the way the bully was handled was unsatisfying, their lovelines were barely relatable as a teenager and was illogical (gosh, I hated that tall kid so much, he found a softer version of the girl he has liked for a decade in the exact same face so yay lets switch?) & the adults were not even remotely interesting. The only fitting thing was the soundtrack, I'm sure everyone needed that Reset.

Meanwhile, Angry Mom and Sassy Go Go excelled in every other way. Like you said, they didn't deliver exactly what I expected - with Angry Mom leading the run in this case, cause wow oh wow, that was some dark and serious plot. But regardless of that, they were both excellent dramas in their own ways.

Sassy Go Go was a heartwarming one. And for members of the youth like myself, it was definitely very very relatable. Some people thought it was extreme to go such lengths for petty things like grades - but hey, a lot of things seem to matter WAY more when we're in high school amirite?
And yes, it was sometimes frustrating to watch such a righteous character like Yeon Doo who keeps giving chances over and over again to the wrong girl. But who are we to judge - they were close friends, even if it wasn't always genuine on one side at that age friends are friends, all baggage left behind, we cry and we laugh and we fight and we forgive. Friends are people we could love and hate so much that sometimes we feel like bulldozing them or stapling their mouth but truth is if harm were to come anywhere near them, we'd be devastated if we couldn't help. For 10 long episodes, the drama's conflicts were mostly driven by a girl's ambitions to fulfil her mother's wish of sending her off to Harvard - but I didn't mind it at all. With this, there weren't actually that much stake, but just enough to keep us going.
The show wore its heart on its sleeve and it was just lovely. Like you said below there, they actually communicate! Toast to that rarity in dramaland. They potrayed youth nicely and it wasn't really "typical". Not your usual underdogs vs topdogs, rich ones aren't mean heartless jerks, the less-financially-and-intelectually-blessed were not bullied every darn second. It was sweet, powerful and it felt real. They all had hearts and they had their struggles and the bad and the good actually conflict! Those who do good weren't angels and those commit sins...

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...weren't devils. They were all such adorable puppies and I loved each character to death, I could not even hate on their "antagonist" for 2 mins before I want to cry for her. There was a lot to learn from Sassy Go Go and although they are simple lessons, they were definitely beautiful ones and they just left such great impact.

Meanwhile, Angry Mom was also a brilliant piece of work. I watched it not too long after finishing Sassy Go Go and though it was a bit of a shock to go from such a relatable, lighter story where conflicts are mostly solved within an episode - to a drama with a very dark and serious plot. The drama to me from episode 1 to the end had that movie-esque feelings, the pace was somewhat always fast and intriguing. I definitely couldn’t relate the crazy bullying (ugh I hate seeing guys hit girls, and they parallel these scenes with having a woman as a literal punching bag of a secretary for a nutjob Chairman damn it) and how much in control a student at school was just cos his daddy owns the school. Like man, does no one at the school have integrity? But then the story unravelled beautifully with lots of hilarity and badassness and it was nice to see their baddies (except for the demon and his demonic father) being very layered. This drama had that perfect balance of family love, humor, heroism and cruel reality. It was so heartbreaking to see young souls losing their lifes due to the greed of others, but whether we want to believe it or not, this is the world we’re living in. The focus on the adult characters and their business and politics with poor, innocent, growing children being entangled and their lifes LITERALLY at stake was a nice way to progress through the show. And at times it was just so efficient to remind viewers that just because the adults have a couple more years to their age it doesn’t mean they are any less conflicted than the children. It was SUCH a solid drama from beginning to end.

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With that being said, School 2015 just really really do not belong with these surprisingly amazing other high school dramas of 2015. I hope future productions reminds themselves that dramas taking place at a sacred ground called school should never be like School 2015 ever again; as it did not even have a good plot nor a good lesson for young people.

Anyhow, this comment got long. I have stayed quiet in the comment sections due to not being able to watch weekly I guess haha. Apologies. Have a good day!

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lol don't apologise! I'm glad someone agrees with me that Angry Mom and Sassy Go Go were a cut above School 2015.

And yeah, SGG avoided quite a few high school drama cliches, the rich kids weren't totally heartless and the underdog Real King kids weren't helpless victims of bullies. I liked that. And frankly, I know grades don't sound like a big deal to us as adults, but the pressure is real for kids, and it was far more realistic to have them worry about that than having 14572902 part-time jobs and being bullied like in School 2015.

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Yeah, people found it hard to believe when I said SGG isn't typical, I myself wouldn't believe it if I heard it from somewhere else I think. Me and a couple of my friends started watching it after our exams ended for the sole purpose of seeing the two boys who were total eyecandies; but ended up felling in love with everything else regardless of eye candy or not. In fact, I think Chae Soo Bin and Eun Ji definitely stole my heart more than anyone else on the show, haha.

Grades are a very strong drive for many kids definitely, on a personal level I was personally very pressured by grades at times. Trusts can be broken and students do sometimes end up attacking each other on more personal matters. Things like this do happen, and they make sense. And that thing on SGG where all of them are nearly equals are just so very nice to see. Some Baek Ho kids are proven to be filthy rich but I felt like I never saw them purposely flaunting it nor even taking much advantage of it (it's mostly just their parents).

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Javabeans, I so so so love what you wrote for Warm & Cozy! As I was watching the show, I kept saying out loud, somebody has to write a letter to the Hong Sisters telling them how terribly sucky their writing has become. Your blog is the reason why I keep coming back to K-Dramas. In the past two years, I've succeeded in controlling my K-Drama addiction a few times. As soon as I read your year-end reviews, it's back to watching dramas for a few good months. Your blog has become the bigger addiction. :)

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Good format. Very creative with the fingers. Agree with the review. KMHM and Healer made it a banner year for k-dramas for me. The rest, funny enough, I did not fully watch. I let the recaps finish it for me two thirds of the way for the others. I did not even start on Producers nor read recaps. Well done and as usual so eloquently written. Looking forward to GFs, G, H and the new writers. Would it be possible that the finger-choices will be limited to those ones that were personally recapped? Not that it would really really matter. Happy holidays!

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Healer was the first kdrama in the long time that keeps me so engrossed for the next episode. I marathoned it and I was itching on my seat to go home from work so I can continue to the next episode.

It wasnt a perfect drama but overall, it is my no 1 drama of the year for all the feels, sharing the award with Oh My Ghostess.
I Remember You comes second just because the OTP was a bit flat so it does not make me root so much for the drama, but I do have to admit, the quality of the writing and directing are better. Yong Pal comes third for Joo Won and the griping first half of the show.

Best drama: Healer
Best chemistry/romance : Oh my ghostess
Best comedy: Producer
Favorite actor that I found this year (I have only been watching kdramas for 2 years):
Joo won, Seo in guk, Park bo gum
Best actress: Park bo young
Favorite OST: OMG, I remember you

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Healer was already included in KBS year end drama awards last year, so naturally it won't appear in this year's.

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I finally get answers for my inner question "what happened with healer and db poll"
I loovee the drama, it was great, and i even joined the discussions here on their comment section. But then i move on.

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I justify my Dramabeans obsession with the fact that you guys write so well.

Javabeans, thank you for your year-end review. I like the new format. I completely agree with your hand gestures towards Healer and Warm & Cozy.

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I think The Producers can be more enjoyable to watch if you are following Kpop and familiar with 1n2d which I am that's why I liked that drama. I just don't know how this show will be received in Philippine television. I saw that its being dubbed to our language to be shown next year.

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Healer still strong in my mind. Still remember the scream that I let it out loud for the final episode that shock my entire family. Such an un-forgetful experiences watching it from the beginning to the end. I hope next year there will be another drama that can make same or even better effect to my life.

Still can't let go of the clinging effect of HEALER :)

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Yay!

I should really finish watching KMHM. I do agree about Ji Sung's characters. I don't see them as Ji Sung acting. It's more like those people actually exist and it not just Dohyun. Yona is hands down the best personality for me. Ji Sung deserves a daesang.

A year off from Hong sisters? it had me thinking which drama it was. Then, it came to me. Ugh. I guess I was subconsciously trying to erase that drama from memory but can't. ;A;

Ohhh, Healer. How do I love thee, let me count the ways. I didn't know that it didn't create much of a buzz in Korea. All of us here at db we're just partying by ourselves then. HAHAHA. This drama had everything I can wish for in a drama. It made me curious and think plus the romance was awesome! Too many times have dramas given us noble idiocy and useless understandings but in Healer, they handled things like adults! Just when you thought they would misunderstand and drift away from each other, they TALK and understand what happen. It's just so simple and yet dramas don't do it. Also had the best ahjumma in dramaland.

I had great expectations for Producers but it was meh. Plus the episodes are so looooooong. When you have actors like Cha Tae Hyun and Gong Hyojin in the show, it can't go wrong, right? But then they gave them meh characters. How can you have CTH in a drama and not use his full potential? WHYYYYY. Amazingly, Cindy's story is what made me continue watching. She's the only one who I actually cared for in the drama which surprised me because I wouldn't care for IU on a normal day. Looking back, I don't even remember much from this show.

Thanks for this javabeans! The new format is quite nice. it doesn't take too long to read and we will have more variety. Looking forward to the next ones! :D

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE how Big has transformed into that 'drama that shall not be named'. A million Gong Yoos could not have made that drama better. My heart... it still weeps in a corner.

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sssshhhhh don't say it! HAHA. A part of me still hurts when I hear the name of that drama.

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agree on Kill Me, Heal Me: the greatest strength was that the 7 personalities became people. you´d refer to Yo Na as a she without thinking about it. and when Perry leaves you feel like a family member is gone. The attachment I felt towards those individuals was unbelievable. It was incredibly difficult to let go of them. I agree, it was a little sloppy at parts and the chaebols were exc