Drama Reactions & Reviews
2016 Year in Review, Part 3: A drama for every day of the year
by | December 16, 2016 | 147 Comments

Is there such a thing as too much drama watching? Because I swear that last year around this time, I vowed to myself, with javabeans as witness, that I would watch fewer dramas in 2016. Well it turns out that Past Me was a liar. Maybe I was more patient this year (unlikely), or stubborn (possible), or bored (highly probable), because I finished more shows in one year than I ever have before. *holds out hands for shiny trophy*

Because I spent allllll of my days watching dramas this year, I thought I’d recommend a good day out of the year for you to pick up and watch each show. Whether you also finish it on that day is entirely up to you and your level of expertise as a marathon watcher. (Tip: Hydrate often, and take bathroom breaks during boardroom scenes and flashbacks.) Basically, if left to my own devices, I will find a drama for every day of the year, for every occasion and mood. I think I’m hitting upon the reason I watched so many shows…

Perhaps it’s a good sign that 2016 was full of such variety in dramaland that so many of us have walked away with a different batch of favorites at the end of the year. I always think it’s more interesting when that happens, and I can only hope that it’s an indication of a broadening drama landscape, with more to offer in years to come.

It’s been an eventful year here at Dramabeans, and we’re so happy that our little family of staff writers has grown (into a veritable minion army!), and we’re grateful to our larger family of readers for welcoming them with open arms.

Okay, enough mushy stuff! On to the reviews!

 
SONG OF THE DAY

Suran – “Step Step” (Jealousy Incarnate OST)

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Watch this: The day before you go on a trip, so that you come home and forget to finish it.

Cheese in the Trap ended up being more famous for its backstage drama than for the drama itself, but I do remember loving it for being a moody, contemplative show with a great soundtrack and an offbeat romance. I was especially taken with the fresh themes and the unusual heroine, who was an endearing bundle of neurotic energy and haplessness, and a perfect embodiment of youthful insecurity (the kind of embarrassment you wish you didn’t write down in diaries, though of course you did). It was often frustrating to watch her get trampled on like a doormat and suffer quietly, but that also made it extra satisfying when she grew a spine and learned to stand up for herself. I wish I could say the same for… well, just about anything else in the story.

It’s just such a crying shame that a drama that started out with such a strong beginning ended up pooping on everything we’d come to love about it, leaving us to wonder if the enigmatic hero ever reformed his morally ambiguous ways, why the heroine became so jaded in the end, why the romance fizzled and then fixed itself magically offscreen (possibly, who even knows). I believed that they loved each other enough to overcome their differences… I think.

But, uh, I wanted to see it happen with my own two eyes. Isn’t that obvious? What is the point of telling a story where the good stuff happens outside of the story you are telling? I’m especially dissatisfied with this show’s ending because as a slice-of-life story, there were so many simple ways to end it that would’ve been acceptable, but I guess the production imploded on itself to the point that shooting a satisfying ending was impossible. I think it says something about the show that I still remember a good chunk of it very fondly; I just wish the cheese hadn’t turned sour by the end.

 

Watch this: On Groundhog Day.

Watching Signal was like hooking me up to a crack IV drip. I started it about halfway into its run and immediately turned into a bleary-eyed monster, demanding the next episode, and the next, and the next. Admittedly, it’s a formulaic framework within the episodes that gets repeated, so once you come out of the crack-induced haze, you realize that the plot isn’t as crazy complex as it seemed at the time—the information was just doled out in a brilliant fashion. But it was paced so well that I’d swear to myself that I would stop watching after this one, and then cliffhanger of doom and evil portent would return without fail, and I’d be sucked back in. It’s an art, I tell you.

I was lured by the cast and the cool concept of two detectives who could never meet, who would irrevocably alter each other’s lives by cheating the rules of time (thanks, magical walkie-talkie). But I think it was the writer’s ruthlessness that really hooked me, when I first saw that there could be dire consequences and innocent deaths in the present for changing something in the past. It was then that my stomach dropped, and I thought, Oh, they’re not messing around. I liked knowing that cheating time and space wasn’t a magical cure-all, even if it was magic of some sort, and suddenly you had to weigh everything in the balance. What if changing one more thing obliterated them all? Why was time circular in the past and linear in the present? If they fixed A, and then B, but Jo Jin-woong returned to the time before A, why does A still stand? That mental loop kept me up for hours on end.

It was a riveting drama that barreled towards the finish line without ever slowing down, and I remember thinking that the relentlessness of the pace and quality was particularly impressive. I expected no less from this director, and yet I was still surprised. As for the end, I do think it’s problematic to raise such big questions on a mythology level and not give satisfactory answers, and I dislike that it ended on the ultimate cliffhanger—its specialty—when it should’ve given us more finality and trusted that we’d come back anyway. I have a feeling my questions will never be answered, leaving them stuck in an endless loop for all of time. Won’t somebody answer their call?

 

Watch this: On your birthday. The possibility of meeting a younger man like Song Joong-ki might take the sting off of aging.

As one of the biggest dramas of 2016, I expected Descended From the Sun to stand out a little more from the pack, but I think it was one of those shows that I enjoyed while watching but never thought twice about. I did like it, and I even remember thinking that it was nice to watch a Kim Eun-sook drama that didn’t make me ragey. And Song Joong-ki the heroic soldier man might as well have been a superhero, he was that cool (seriously, I wondered the whole time if the army had sponsored the drama, because they should have).

I just wish the romance had felt as epic as it looked, but I never felt the stakes in this drama, where the badass soldiers always saved the day from cartoonish villains, and the big question in the romance was whether the black ops soldier could make it through a date without running off to save the country. Hello, priorities. And I thought they were supposed to be stationed in a war zone, but it always seemed like they were just kind of on vacation in a picturesque town, where a bunch of unrelated bad things happened to them. I just wanted more substance to the romance, but they met and were attracted to each other and then dated, the end (except it was the middle).

Jin Gu and Kim Ji-won had the more interesting loveline, full of angst and ardent separations, but despite liking them more, their love story alone couldn’t solve the problem of the entire show feeling a little bit like a highlight reel. It was certainly fun moment by moment, but it was a case where I thought that the director masked the thinness of the story with his voodoo. To be fair, he’s very good at voodoo.

 

Watch this: On a rainy day. The rain will mask your tears.

I’m not normally a person who goes for tearjerkers eyes wide open, because sometimes it feels artificial to watch a drama in order to cry, and my taste generally leans away from purely emotion-driven dramas, especially the terminal illness ones. So it’s odd that I watched Marriage Contract, which was all of those things. I honestly can’t even remember why I did. Maybe it was Na PD’s fault for making me like Seo-jinnie enough to watch a melodrama? Yeah, let’s blame him.

I ended up liking it despite all those prejudices, even when it made me cry as much I thought it might, and even when it was not one of those fanciful dramas where terminal cancer has a magical cure. But that’s part of the reason I ended up appreciating it, though I sure wanted a magical cure while I was watching. In the end it was more realistic, and more powerful for sticking to its guns.

I think maybe there was just enough cute to keep me watching, mostly from Lee Seo-jin’s hilarious attempts to be a fake contract stepfather to UEE’s little daughter. I loved that he had to do internet research on how to befriend the precocious little girl who hated his guts. But then I stuck around because I became invested in UEE’s character, and was moved by her performance and the heartwarming family story. It may have been predictable, but it was no less moving because of that.

 

Watch this: Don’t bother.

 
 

Watch this: On The Day the Music Died.

Entertainer is one of those shows I watched for no discernable reason—you know, the ones where you’re not really sure why you keep watching, but you do it sort of passively because you already started? It was cute at times, and at least it was earnest. I wanted to like it more, but Ji Sung and Hyeri were so mismatched and so vanilla as characters that I struggled to care about anything that happened to them, and romantically, I thought it was an utter waste not to pair Ji Sung with Chae Jung-ahn, and Hyeri with Kang Min-hyuk.

But the real problem with Entertainer wasn’t the lovelines at all, because this wasn’t a show about the romance. The problem was, I didn’t really care for the talent agent as a protagonist. It just wasn’t all that appealing a story, even when he was the scrappy underdog agent who got betrayed and had to start from nothing. So while the indie band was a ragtag group of boys you wanted to root for, their conflict never hit deep because they weren’t bros who grew up together with a lifelong dream of making it big—they were scouted and brought together, without having to do much—and every time they ran into a problem, Ji Sung the good agent saved the day.

The only thing that really moved me in the whole drama was Kang Min-hyuk performing his hyung’s lost song, and it made me wonder why the two brothers weren’t the main characters in the drama. I think if the show had just been about the band out in the streets before they ever got an agent, it might’ve been better—less star power, smaller story, but more of a true underdog tale. But then I guess that would be Shut Up: Flower Boy Band, and this drama will never in a million years be that drama.

 

Watch this: On the day your frenemy gets promoted over you at work. Don’t forget the wine.

My memory of Oh Hae-young Again is that it was a melancholy show, which is inaccurate if I go back and look at it (turns out recaps are handy for that), because it was actually quite funny. I think I just have lingering resentment for the amount of suffering the characters had to go through, and us in turn. I tend to have a low tolerance for noble idiocy, and Eric’s character kind of drove me insane by pushing everyone away and always suffering alone for the good of no one. Stoic drama heroes must not be my thing.

But I have great fondness for Seo Hyun-jin in this role, because she was such a vulnerable mess of a person, and despite often cringing in mortification at everything she did and wishing desperately that she’d stop getting in her own way, she felt so three-dimensional and realistically flawed, and I was always rooting for her to scrape herself off the floor and make it through another day.

Maybe they thought making the heroine an over-sharer would make up for the hero being emotionally mute (that’s not how it works!), but their sizzling chemistry made up for a great deal when it came to the romance, and the show still stands out by the end of the year for that alone. I also appreciated the directorial flourishes and the moody style, and even though I often thought the heroine’s dilemma about sharing a name with a pretty girl was overblown, it was a good metaphor for a girl whose self-esteem was so far in the gutter that she’d lost her sense of self. It was worthwhile to watch her rediscover and love herself, only to realize that she’d been loved all this time.

 

Watch this: The day before Mother’s Day. That way you’ll still have time to go get a card.

Dear My Friends was the drama that took all of my tears in 2016, and deservedly so. At times painfully realistic, often wry and witty, it was somehow simultaneously cynical and hopeful as a picture of life, family, and friendship. I’d never connected to a Noh Hee-kyung drama on this sort of emotional level before this (her dramas often feel like cold statues in a museum to me), but this one felt raw and very personal, and it pierced my heart. Rather violently. It’s not like any one mom or grandma in the drama was exactly MY mom or grandma, but in the total sum of all the various families portrayed, I recognized parts of myself and my parents and my grandparents, making the stories feel achingly real.

This show also featured some of the best acting performances of the year, particularly from Go Hyun-jung, with whom I identified to an inordinate degree, and the mother-son pair played by Kim Hye-ja and Lee Kwang-soo, who often had me bawling like a baby. And in a surprise twist, Dear My Friends ended up having one of my favorite romances of the year. The heartbreaking long-distance relationship between Go Hyun-jung and Jo In-sung kept me going even when the show got bleak, and I would’ve given someone my left arm to ensure their reunion.

With such a strong ensemble of veteran actors, the one downside was that every storyline felt like a short vignette that I wanted to see more of. But the matter-of-fact way they dealt with life and death, how everyone repressed their emotions like habit, the dry way that older people talk about monumental tragic events like they’re telling you what they want for dinner—it was all so perfect, and oddly funny, and true to life.

 

Watch this: On Opposite Day. Then the things that happened didn’t happen, and all is right with the world.

Mirror of the Witch was a pleasant surprise, and it’s definitely one of the dramas I’ll remember very affectionately from this year’s crop. It was beautifully shot, well-acted, and it had a very cohesive sense of magic that bound it all together and swept me up, like a satisfying classic fairytale with a cursed young princess, an evil witch, and the fate of two lovers sealed by a spell.

The one downside was that it always stayed a very young story, partly because of Kim Sae-ron, who was very good as the princess, but undeniably limited when it came to the romance. It was Yoon Shi-yoon who really carried the love story and drove the central conflict, with his stirring portrayal of an idealistic young man who would grow up to be Joseon’s great physician Heo Jun. I sometimes forget about Yoon Shi-yoon, but every time I watch his dramas, I’m surprised by the emotion he can convey with just a look.

I wouldn’t say that Mirror of the Witch dipped in quality at any point, which is something to be proud of, but the ending left something to be desired. It made sense and wasn’t at all a random curveball ending (which I appreciate, I swear!)—the story just didn’t utilize the magical premise it had at its disposal, and I thought it was a shame that we spent an entire drama fighting to save the princess from the curse, and then we didn’t get to save her from the curse. I wasn’t even that dissatisfied with the idea of a semi-tragic ending, because their sacrifices for each other weren’t meaningless. It just seemed like we had a spell for everything in this drama, except for the one thing we really needed a spell for. Ultimately it wasn’t so strong a misstep that it took away from how I felt about the show, because I liked the bittersweet resolution in the final moments. Maybe I just wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

 

Watch this: On April Fool’s Day. That way you won’t get mad when the joke’s on you.

Oh, Lucky Romance, where did we go so wrong? I actually wish there weren’t elements of this superstitious rom-com that I did like so that I could dismiss it entirely, but Ryu Joon-yeol was so adorable as the geeky programmer who kept tripping over his feet and getting tongue-tied in front of his crush. It was worth some suffering to have seen that character. It would’ve been nice to like Hwang Jung-eum’s heroine just as much, but I could not for the life of me understand why she did anything.

Okay, I know why—she was so far gone in her superstition that she thought sleeping with a man would cure her sister—but I didn’t agree with a single thing she did, making it hard to do anything other than yell at the screen every time she got herself into trouble. I don’t mind a wacky, out-there character if there’s something relatable to latch onto, but every time I tried to root for her, she went and did some new crazy, illogical, superstitious thing, and I wanted to put that fortuneteller of hers in jail or at least ship him overseas before she got herself killed for believing a stupid curse. Because there was no actual magic involved, it seemed like a drama that desperately needed a shrink, not a shaman, to fix what was really wrong.

 

Watch this: On tax day. It’s the only day to celebrate not being a chaebol.

It was nice to come across a fun caper drama like Police Unit 38, which offered something different from dramaland’s usual fare. It was a fresh crime comedy that stuck to its strengths—swindling—and took us on a wild ride of scams and heists, where the heroes were modern-day Robin Hoods. It was hilarious to see the contemporary urban interpretation of the setup: the bad guys were evil chaebols, and the way they were cut down to size was to make them pay taxes like everyone else. There’s just something satisfying about stealing from spoiled rich people who think they’re above the law, which is why you can have an ensemble of criminals as your protagonists and never question that they’re the good guys.

The best part was the fantastic buddy-cop (er, criminal) dynamic between Ma Dong-seok’s nebbishy everyman tax collector, and Seo In-gook’s smooth-talking con artist. One was almost too naive and idealistic to survive in this world, and the other was so jaded and full of lies that it was unclear if anything about him was sincere. But they made a perfect odd couple, and got as many hair-raising turns in their relationship as any romance.

I do wish the overall pace of the series had been better, as I often found the episodes to plod along with too much conversation (there’s just only so much I want to see of the villains doing their armchair plotting). Naturally it picked up whenever we returned to the crew and put a con into motion; the one pitfall being that the bump-set-spike rhythm was often repetitive. This is probably why most heist capers are movies, though Police Unit 38 managed to keep us on our toes with clever twists the whole way through, which was probably its biggest accomplishment. Never has being lied to been so entertaining.

 

Watch this: On the night before a big test. It’ll remind you that even if you never studied up until now, you could still end up a surgeon.

This drama took a strong female protagonist and then proceeded to soften everything that was cool and different about her and turn her into a nice, normal girl. I can’t for the life of me figure out why, since I liked the sassy rebellious girl to begin with. Maybe I’m the weird one, but I felt like I was watching a show where the character progression was going in reverse. The thing is, Doctors was a light, easy-to-watch workplace drama that hit all the expected marks and breezed by. But it was so uneventful plotwise that I’m wondering now how they filled all those episodes. The character interactions were amusing, but there was no core conflict that drove anyone anywhere.

I also never warmed to the entire romance with teacher Kim Rae-won, who always acted like he knew better than Park Shin-hye and never changed anything about himself, but always wanted her to do all the growing up and changing. Which I didn’t get, because she’d already made something of her life and become a skilled surgeon, against the odds. I thought the most interesting part of the story would’ve been seeing how that teenage gangster turned her life around and put herself through med school and slaved her way through internships, but we just skipped right over the good stuff to watch her be successful, and where’s the drama in that?

 

Watch this: On New Year’s Day. So that you can make a resolution and break it.

I’ve never seen the original American series, but I checked out The Good Wife to see Jeon Do-yeon’s return to television and found it striking—it was visually cold and stark, and narratively repressed in a simmering-under-the-surface way. The characters were intelligent, all with conflicting agendas and little secrets, and the love triangle was really engaging. Even the law seemed realistic, thanks to the original show. I do wish that I liked the heroine more as a person, though I did root for her the whole way through. I just often didn’t know what she was thinking, and that got frustrating after a while. But her world was glossy and cool, and it made lawyering seem kinda badass. Or maybe that was just Nana’s job at the law firm.

The one thing that really bugged me about the adaptation is that it ended like it was a season finale. I was so onboard the Yoon Kye-sang train (who wouldn’t be?), but when they pulled out that ending where the heroine was inexplicably back with her husband, I shook my fists in the air and said ragey things. It was like she totally reverted to the life she had before, and even if she hadn’t broken up with her boyfriend (also problematic), that ending felt like we were going back on all the progress she’d made as a character. Hell, I would’ve preferred it if she’d pulled a Kelly Taylor and chosen herself; at least that’s a choice I can get behind.

 

Watch this: On the Day of the Dead.

When you have a premise as quirky as an exorcist becoming roommates with a ghost, you’d think that the resulting show would be really out there. But my biggest disappointment with Bring It On, Ghost is that it was safe and conventional, and never really did anything interesting with the initial concept, which was rife with potential human-ghost hilarity and afterlife intrigue. I do remember lots of funny beats, mostly thanks to the geeky bromance between the GhostNet boys. And the romance ended up being much cuter than I expected. But my general feeling is that the show lacked zing, and felt too predictable and slow despite the fun that was advertised.

Taecyeon was undeniably a big reason why I never connected fully to the show; he was actually cute in the rom-com parts, but when his character had anything to angst about, I cringed pretty hard. The one part of the romance I really enjoyed was when Kim So-hyun got amnesia and forgot all about him, turning the tables and making him chase after her for a change. That was charming, and I wished that it had been a larger part of the story instead of popping up at the very end. If the show had just focused more on developing the characters and less on the procedural ghost-hunting, it might’ve clipped along at a decent pace, instead of making me think I’d have to die and come back from the dead before seeing the plot advance.

 

Watch this: Yesterday. You just don’t remember because this isn’t the real world and you’re not real.

“Lost Memories” (W–Two Worlds OST)

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Despite sending me on a roller coaster ride of violent emotions, W–Two Worlds still remains one of my favorite shows of the year. It’s utterly flawed and some of the problems actually still get my blood boiling (*deep, calming breaths*), but when it was good, I thought that it could rewrite what fantasy K-dramas could be. It was new. It was mind-blowingly inventive. It was downright sparkly.

I was mad for the premise—comic book hero vs. comic book creator, in the ultimate battle between god and creation, predetermination and free will. And even though those themes seemed like too much to expect from a drama, it surprised me by tackling them head-on, in full-blown sci-fi, Matrixy glory, complete with amazing art design and slick direction. It was geek heaven, and I was so ready for W to be the best thing since sliced bread.

Unfortunately, bread continues to be more awesome than W, because the show committed the cardinal sin of not knowing what in the hell it was all for. The writer was so focused on establishing the worlds and shattering our expectations with twists that she never actually mapped out where the story would go from its epic beginnings, and what it meant in the first place that two parallel worlds existed and one was a manhwa that had come to life. Why had this one come to life, and what made this hero so special that he became self-aware and could be a real boy?

It seemed lazy of the writer not to answer the fundamental questions she’d raised, because I thought they were easily answerable given the world-building that had been done; but it’s like she’d changed the rules so many times that she lost track. Do you think she ran out of Post-Its? I’m not just going to fanwank that mythology explanation for her, because I deserve real answers, okay? Despite all that, I had the best time theorizing and dissecting this show as it was happening, and flaws and all, W raised my standards for what I want out of a good drama… even if it failed to meet the very standards it set.

 

Watch this: On the day you get dumped. Who needs boys when you’ve got friends?

Age of Youth was an unconventional drama that often gave me tonal whiplash. For the most part it was an upbeat story about friends, but it could go suddenly eerie and dark, then bleak and depressing, then light and sweet, then heartwarming, and then back to spooky again, all without any warning. It always left me vaguely on edge, because I would be waiting for the rug to be pulled out from underneath me in every scene. I think this writer got a sense of satisfaction in making us think that a serial killer could pop into the sweet coming-of-age drama at any moment and start a killing spree—I’m not even exaggerating, because I really thought someone might be murdered the whole time I was watching this.

You’ll laugh at me now, of course, seeing as how that was an overreaction. And if you asked me to describe the show, I’d use mostly happy words, like: Five very different roommates come to accept and love each other, and become true friends. Sounds so sweet! It’s just that a very big part of watching Age of Youth is the tonal dissonance of the show, where everything is off-balance and you’re left to wonder very dark things about the unanswered questions. So I’d almost call it a mystery before a coming-of-age drama, except I wouldn’t call it a mystery at all because it’s so much about the girls overcoming big personal obstacles and growing up. I give up trying to classify it. What I can say is that it was so weird that it intrigued me, and I came to like it, weirdnesses and all. It was surprisingly fresh and charming and fun. Yunno, whenever I wasn’t convinced that death was around the corner.

 

Watch this: On a day that ends in Y.

I never laughed as much all year as I did while watching Jealousy Incarnate. It’s a show that impressed me by doing comedy right—stylishly, with wit and perfect timing—and I could’ve easily watched another 24 episodes and asked for more. I was endlessly amused by the sharp comedic banter, where everything was buried under five layers of subtext and nobody said what they meant, so that minutiae became meaningful, like a secret code language spoken by emotionally stunted people. I loved it.

I think there was just a magical synergy in the writing, directing, and acting, because the dialogue was clever, the delivery was dry and side-splittingly funny, and the directing elevated it all with witty touches and visual gags, making it seamless. The show always subverted my expectations in every interaction—you think a conversation is going left, and characters suddenly veer right—and the surprise is as pleasing as the joke itself.

Jealousy Incarnate was in no way a one-man show, but Jo Jung-seok really took off and ran with his character, and he made me think that nobody else could’ve played that infuriating lovable manchild so pitch-perfectly. One major disappointment in the drama is that the world was set up with a whole host of fantastic side characters who should’ve gotten meatier stories and lots of development with episodes to spare, but they got shafted for the central loveline. I was sad that we never got to see the ins and outs of the Rak Pasta tenants becoming one big, mixed-up family; we know they did, but I wanted to be there for the nitty gritty, because I loved the family stuff way more than the news broadcast stories.

One of my favorite parts in all romance stories is when a burst of jealousy betrays a character’s true feelings, cutting past all the bullshit, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that an entire drama all about jealousy would end up at the top of my list for 2016. The jealousy was extreme, to be sure, and immaturity probably reached new lows (hilarious, awesome lows), but it also showed us that sometimes, pettiness is brutal honesty, and admitting jealousy is saying “I love you.”

 

Watch this: On the first day of snow. Then you and Show will live happily ever after. Why? I don’t know. Those are just the rules of dramaland.

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds was one of the best drama-watching experiences of the year for me, because I just bought into it wholesale—the jokes made me laugh, the romance made me swoon, the idealism clenched my heart, and I cried on cue every time the drama wanted my tears. I loved the Joseon-era romance told with a modern sensibility, with tongue-in-cheek jokes that only 21st-century viewers would get, adding a fun layer of meta to everything. And it was deservedly a star-making, career-defining turn for Park Bo-gum, who turned a familiar crown prince archetype into a romantic ideal and a pop-culture icon; Park Bo-gum is to princes what Gong Yoo is to baristas. It could have been a perfect little drama.

What I realized after Moonlight Drawn By Clouds is that I have a really strong love-hate relationship with this PD-writer team, who also did Who Are You–School 2015. I really love the director’s emotional and narrative sensibility and visual style. The music always makes me feel something. I love the way these writers portray youth, and the way each episode always packs an emotional punch. But I totally hate the way they resolve stories, because their idea of closure is bullshit. I’m never satisfied at the end, and that’s especially maddening in the case of Moonlight, because I loved it so.

It’s not even an argument for historical accuracy, since the story plays with history from the start; I just wanted narrative closure that made sense, because when your hero is a real prince who died young, you have to explain how you’re getting around this very big problem. The thing I don’t understand is, the source novel does this, but the drama just chose not to. Did they get tired? Did they not finish the book? Because if you’re going to deviate, which is a totally valid thing to do in an adaptation, you should maybe have a reason and an explanation prepared. It just seems like the drama skipped forward to the ending they wanted without showing us the roadmap for how they got there. I mean, you’d think it would be obvious—if you don’t take me with you, I’m not there with you. And if I have to write fanfiction in my head to explain your ending, you’re doing it wrong! At least I know it’s safe to read the novel? Guess I know what I’m doing over Christmas.

 

Watch this: Every day in five-minute increments. That way, you’ll never notice how disjointed it is.

Watching Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo was a huge source of entertainment for me, because every week javabeans, HeadsNo2, and I would discuss the show and everything it was doing so horribly wrong, and it became a fun weekly activity. Sometimes you have to make your own fun!

I did like a lot of the elements of this story, in particular the misunderstanding and rivalry between princes, the tragic tale of a lonely king who lost the very things he thought power could give him, the drama’s revision of history, cleverly filling in what could’ve happened between the lines of historical record. It’s cool stuff, led by a charismatic Lee Jun-ki as the complex hero, so you’d think that the result would be decent. Good, even.

But man alive, was it a mess. The directing was bad, the editing was screwy, the acting was uneven because half the cast didn’t belong, and the writing was especially infuriating, given the potential (not to mention—hello, you have source material!). I don’t know the original, but I would’ve fixed the adaptation by having fewer princes, because this show suffered from trying to tell too many stories and failing to do any of them justice. Why not strip away all the dead weight and tell a lean, emotionally charged story where your characters don’t suddenly disappear from the drama and then reappear with a personality transplant?

Sadly, it was just a case where having all the time in the world to pre-produce could never have fixed what was really wrong in the first place—a heroine you can’t connect with emotionally, a writer who never quite landed any of the emotional beats with a satisfying punch, and a director who wanted epic but didn’t know how to get there.

 

Watch this: On a sick day. You’ll suddenly feel like your cold is no big deal.

There were aspects of Fantastic that I liked a great deal; it just never stuck with me and really moved me, and I’m not sure why. I liked the hilarious foot-acting star of the universe (even though I could never shake the thought that he was Song Seung-heon in real life) and the awesome cancer doc. I appreciated the (mostly) upbeat portrayal of cancer—living with it, not just dying of it—and the friendships were very loving and genuine. Perhaps I never fully warmed to the prickly heroine, who had convinced herself she’d rather die alone and pushed people away, and then changed her mind, and then changed it again. And the romance was so chaste that it actually confused me, because I was filling in blanks that I later realized had been premature. I mean, not only are you both in your late thirties and already living together, but you might die of cancer, so what are you waiting for?

I mostly watched this on the recommendation that I’d enjoy the Park Shi-yeon/Ji-soo noona-dongsaeng loveline, which I did. But it was a minor plot that could’ve used some more development, and by the end I wished their story had been given more attention. I did really love Park Shi-yeon’s arc from a downtrodden daughter-in-law to a strong, independent woman, and I lamented the fact that I wasn’t watching the spinoff drama where she was the main character. Her story and the trio of girlfriends would’ve made for a great show. So yeah, I guess it really was the heroine I didn’t connect with, because if I could’ve turned her into a supporting character in her own drama, I would’ve done it in a heartbeat.

 

Watch this: On a day your unappreciative boss yells at you for something that wasn’t even your fault.

I was pleasantly surprised by Drinking Solo, which turned out to be a well-written slice-of-life comedy that often moved me. The stories were small, focusing on the everyday concerns of students and teachers preparing for the civil service exam, and the conflicts were so down-to-earth and relatable—being too poor to eat what you want, feeling adrift and lacking direction in life, wondering if your friends would move up in the world and leave you behind.

Unfortunately the central romance left a lot to be desired, partly because it lacked proper development, and partly because Ha Suk-jin’s character was such a pompous ass (at least he was a funny character who got his comeuppance, so I never resented him completely). But the romance was never the draw of this show for me, so I didn’t feel very disappointed. I loved the sitcom feel of just following one quirky character’s crazy day after another, and finding the humor and pathos in their mishaps and petty fights. I have a particular soft spot for the three Norayngjin Idiots, who were the most bumbling and hysterical set of friends I encountered all year.

The antics were outlandish, but the world was so real—almost too real that it hurt sometimes—and the conflicts landed with the audience because there were no easy answers or shortcuts offered to anyone. Dramaland is so full of chaebols and fantasy that sometimes it’s a breath of fresh air to encounter a drama where average people struggle to live well and find their path, and when a show can go a step beyond that and find the humor in it, it speaks to me and leaves a smile on my face, long after it’s over.

 

Watch this: On the day you fly home for the holidays. It’ll make waiting in the TSA line a lot more bearable if you consider it a chance to run into your soulmate.

This was a year I tried out more melodramas than usual, and I was glad that I gave On the Way to the Airport a chance, even though I can’t say I liked it all the time; but it was such a visually moody drama that it’s worth a watch for the style alone. I checked it out initially to see Lee Sang-yoon, but ended up continuing because I wanted to know what the heck Jang Hee-jin’s deal was, and why she was such a terrible mother. They made me SO curious about that in the beginning, and though it got me watching, I was a little miffed that the explanation was so mundane. I was expecting a twist, or at least one better than what we got.

They made it impossible not to root for the adultery, given how terrible the spouses were, and I did root for the central romance the whole way through. They really drove home the point that these two were soulmates who would always end up in the same place at the same time, like Fate was just hellbent on making it happen. Sometimes Kim Haneul’s character was frustrating (basically whenever she was in a room with her husband), but I thought her journey toward independence was worthwhile and uplifting. The real star of the drama is the director, who made every meeting seem fated, every hand graze momentous, and that kiss… like we’d been waiting a thousand years for it to happen.

 

Watch this: On the day you max out your credit card buying shoes.

Watching Shopping King Louis was a little like escaping to Neverland with Peter Pan—it was a fantasy world where no real grownups existed, everyone was good at heart, and problems could be solved with pixie dust. As a comedy it was successful, since I laughed at all the ridiculous antics and nutty situations; but the lack of realism kept me from fully engaging with the story beyond the laughs, since I couldn’t take anything seriously. I was always under the impression that our characters were more than a few fries short of a Happy Meal, and that sometimes worried me. How about, don’t leave your life savings in the hands of a shopaholic amnesiac!

But Seo In-gook and Nam Ji-hyun were precious little puppies, and they gave their characters a childlike wonder that was impossible not to find cute. Their sprightly charm carried the show, which could have caved so easily with such a flimsy plot and ridiculous villains, if you can even call them that. I can’t say that Louis’s world is a world I know, but I guess it can’t be that bad a place if shopping is considered a life skill there, and if Louis has his Bok-shil.

 

Watch this: On the day after you pull an all-nighter. You’ll fall asleep after the cute start and you won’t have missed much by the end.

The premise of The Man Living in Our House had potential—admittedly very wacky potential, but that can get you pretty far in rom-coms. A younger man claiming to be your new stepfather is a pretty strange way to begin a romance, which is why I was intrigued from the start. Coupled with his potentially shady past and confusingly tender demeanor, the stepdad made for a really different kind of rom-com hero, and I enjoyed the funny awkward relationship that resulted with prickly Su Ae, who didn’t know if she should treat him with respect or suspicion, and ended up bumbling on both counts.

It’s too bad that the show ran out of plot long before the end, giving us a very uneventful second half where lots of stuff happened, but nothing really happened. The supposedly Very Important fight over the land turned out to be rather meaningless, and bad guys just sort of stopped being pesky and were ultimately forgiven, who knows why. What about all of the life-risking and romance-thwarting they were responsible for? Where is my pound of flesh, goddammit? I don’t know that I would’ve cared so much if the romance had been better plotted, but here again they ran out of story too early, and by the time the couple had denied, confirmed, denied, confirmed, and reconfirmed their love, I was totally over it.

 

Watch this: On Friday the 13th. It’s when the weirdos come out to play.

Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim really started with a bang (or more accurately, a hot, rewind-worthy kiss) and sucked me in with its complex, damaged characters who have years of tangled trauma built up inside. That’s really what keeps me watching, because the basic framework of the plot is regular medical show stuff—death, mayhem, doctors—with the requisite hospital politics gumming up the works.

But the twist is in the show’s tone, which is off-kilter in a great way, sometimes making the remote hospital seem like a house of horrors, and making surgeon guru Teacher Kim seem alternately like a hero, and then a madman. You’re never quite sure what goes on in the hospital, and who’s in on it, and why no one except for Yoo Yeon-seok seems to think it’s weird. I love that, because everyone who works there is strange, but he’s made to feel like the weirdo for thinking that they’re weird. I really hope the show doesn’t turn normal on us anytime soon, because dramaland’s got enough medical shows to fill all the days of the year, but very few of them are as entertaining as this one.

 

Watch this: On Christmas Eve. One last chance to ask Santa for new legs and a happy ending loophole.

I do think that of the currently airing shows I’m reviewing, Legend of the Blue Sea is the one that has the highest risk of disappointing me and negating my generally positive feelings toward it, not because I think it’s going to dip in quality, but because fantasy dramas have a higher standard to meet on the satisfying-ending front. I’m optimistic though, because so far I’m liking the direction of the story, and now that we know some of the rules of this universe full of mermaids and doppelgangers and alternate parallel worlds, I’m more invested in the overall picture.

I wouldn’t say it’s a crack drama, because it lacks a certain sparkle to take it over the edge. Perhaps it’s because it retreads a lot of the trail that You From Another Star blazed, or because the romantic chemistry hasn’t ever gone beyond cute to sizzling territory. But I do think that it’s telling its own story now, and it’s one that I enjoy. Life-risking romance has a way of earning your empathy like that.

I expected to be watching this primarily for Jeon Ji-hyun’s comedic turn as a mermaid on land, and though she is as hilarious as I anticipated, I’m surprised that Lee Min-ho’s character is the one I like more. Maybe the human is the easier character to relate to here, but he’s cracking me up with his jealous boyfriend antics and his lack of cool when it comes to the mermaid. Also, his Joseon-era counterpart is really swoony. Is it the uniform? The ardent loveline? I don’t know, but whatever it is, it’s working.

I think I’m actually going to welcome some angst in this show, because that’s part of what makes the Joseon timeline so affecting, and what the mermaid lore really amplifies thematically in a natural way. It seems so cruel to be fated to love only one person your entire life and then to die without that person’s love to literally keep your heart pumping, but boy is it a good corner to back your characters into.

 

Watch this: When you’re having a bad day. You’ll thank me later.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju hits all of my youth drama sweet spots and makes me so happy, just by being its sweet, earnest little self. I absolutely love that this show makes me feel every awkward coming-of-age moment deep in my bones, because this is how I remember first love—embarrassing, fluttering, foot-in-mouth, heart-in-throat. You never say the right thing or dress the right way, and you never notice that dorky best friend with braces (in my mind, Nam Joo-hyuk’s character has big metal braces—wouldn’t that be better?). I like that it’s an uncomplicated pick-me-up drama full of everyday problems that feel organic and universal, with a levity that feels sunny and hopeful rather than juvenile.

At the heart of it is the lovable heroine Bok-ju, played by Lee Sung-kyung, whose bumpy road to self-discovery is as funny as it is relatable. It’s just nice to come across a regular girl in dramaland once in a while—someone who’s unsure of herself at twenty and facing regular problems like loving an unattainable boy from afar. The natural relationships, the adorable bickering friends-to-lovers romance, the lovely pastel color palette of the show—they’re all just part of what I love about it. But the moment when Bok-ju was on cloud nine because her first crush was in full bloom, and she said she was happy to have been born a girl? Straight to the heart. Me too, Bok-ju. Me too.

 

~

And another year comes to a close! As always, thanks for reading and watching with us all year long, and for being the best community ever. May 2017 bring us more dramas to love. Cheers!

 
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147 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. amy

    I’m curious…is there anyone who doesn’t like the main actress in Weightlifting Fairy in other dramas but who likes her in WF? I haven’t enjoyed her before, but it seems like everyone watching the drama really likes it, so I’m tempted to check it out…

    • 1.1 lindl

      DO IT.

      It’s a great drama. I liked her as Baek In-ha in “Cheese in the Trap,” so I don’t fit the qualifications in your question, but this drama is amazing for reasons beyond her character. Nam Joo-hyuk, in particular, is a revelation here.

      • 1.1.1 SJ

        Oh Yes! I want a JH for myself! He is the best friend to be boyfriend ever!

        • 1.1.1.1 Nikilann

          Oh really ? I loved her in everything she did. I think she’s an amazing actree. In Cheese in the Trap, I found amazing I liked her despite the horror her character was in terms of writing. I totally give her the credit for making a really annoying character very touching. She always goes straight to my heart. But with Kim Bok Joo, she doesn’t even have to go there, she already is.
          She is really really good. I just wish she wasn’t so beautiful because it’s still weird to think she is a weightlifter and that anyone is in its right mind when they say that Bok joo is not pretty.
          But she tries hard not to be. Gotta give her that even if she’s miserably failing at it.

          • 1.1.1.1.1 annica

            Maybe it was the character she played in Cheese in the Trap that was quite a turn off coz she was just so loud there and somewhat mildly violent as well, in short, a major biyotch, ok. though she was really, really pretty. Did I say she was so loud? yea. And in Doctors, I just can’t buy into the idea that someone who looks like her could be a doctor, it was just too much of a stretch for me. And after the first kiss in the rain which turned me off, I ditched that show. In WFBJ, she is still kinda loud but within reason and somehow Nam Joo=Hyuk balances her out. And the story is good, how good? I watch it raw, then I watch it again with eng subs, then I wait for the recap here in Dramabeans.

    • 1.2 SJ

      Please do watch it ! This drama is a marvel…even i found LSK annoying in CiTT but then she plays every role with such diversity and she has captured Bok Joo’s character really well for the viewer to be able to relate to her tiniest emotion. I recommend it a thousand times and more

    • 1.3 ET

      I’ve only watched Lee Sung Kyung in CITT. Doctors bored me so I can’t comment about her in that. She impressed me in CITT because I like actresses who are uninhibited, don’t care how crazy, silly or ugly they look. Usually it’s only comedians who do that. Not just that, Baek In Ha could easily have become a hateful character but LSK managed to make her more than just the cookie cutter or batshit villain.

      I think her turn as Bok Joo sealed it for me. When she was cast, I couldn’t see her in the role but now, I can’t think of anyone who can be Kim Bok Joo 😀

      • 1.3.1 Le

        Agree 100%. She has potential to be a great actress, weightlifting fairy is probably her best role so far.

    • 1.4 oneandthree

      Definitely a must-watch drama!! At first, I was hesitated to start watching since I haven’t seen both LSK and NJH in any dramas. Furthermore, *omo this is so silly* I hated their hairstyles.hahaha. Buth then, I started to watch based on those good reviews and I got hooked very easily and I am loving their characters!

      I am a fan of this kinda drama such as Reply 97, Sassy Go Go, Adolescence Medley, School 2013, or Page Turner. Therefore, WF gives me those vibes which I love so much!!

    • 1.5 Dee Em

      You should definitely watch Weightlifying fairy, trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed . Even I don’t really like LSK in all the other dramas of hers that I’ve watched, but her acting in this is spot on, and probably her best work so far. Do check it out

    • 1.6 jessi

      I can say that Lee Sung-Kyung is doing something entirely different here than she’s ever done in anything I’ve seen. From the first episode, I noticed that she is using facial expressions and awkward body movement that makes that character and distinguishes her from any other character LSK has every played.

      I had to rewind a moment in episode 4 a couple of times because the way she breathes and flaps her arms while thinking about her crush gave me all the butterflies.

      I think you’d be pleasantly surprised by how different (and hopefully enjoyable) you find her performance in this drama.

    • 1.7 Kendi

      “And it was deservedly a star-making, career-defining turn for Park Bo-gum, who turned a familiar crown prince archetype into a romantic ideal and a pop-culture icon; Park Bo-gum is to princes what Gong Yoo is to baristas. It could have been a perfect little drama.”

      SO TRUE. Bogummie really made the gold standard for crown princes, just like what french fries to mcd.

      For Moon Lovers, I just realized the charm of the show that it’s frustrating to watch but it never was boring. You can always expect the hero/heroine to do some crazy shit or noble idiot stuff that do no one good and then we all can go write essays about it. Good times.

    • 1.8 ap

      i hate her character because of her role and for being an annoying second lead in her dramas not totally dislike as an actress.

      you should watch WF, the PD and the whole team is doing a great job. this drama is a gem!

    • 1.9 cappucinoconversations

      TBH she and SKJ are the reasons why I stuck it out with CITT. Her portrayal of BIH is perfect.

    • 1.10 MCSquire

      DO IT.

      It’s possibly one of the best (very few) dramas for me this year.
      Wonderful acting that made the characters so believable.
      As we move further into the drama, the acting, the stories, the non clichés are just wonderful surprises.

      Weightlifting Fairy is one of those dramas that should be watched at anytime.

      • 1.10.1 MCSquire

        The story is the usual young girl & boy love somebody but the way it’s presented in the drama, I’d take off my hat to writer, PD and actors.

    • 1.11 pogo

      Lee Sung-kyung is so different from her previous in WF, I can hardly believe it’s even the same person.

      Watch it, and I’d say especially watch it if you haven’t liked her before. She’s fantastic here.

    • 1.12 Gem

      I saw Flower of the Queen and no, wasn’t impressed with her character or the story or her passable acting which is why I think I am going to give 150 out of 100 to Lee Sung Kyung. Practice makes perfect, truer words were never spoken. She improved quite a bit in Doctors but she is absolutely perfect as Bok Joo, doing everything right, hitting all the emotions and excelling in general.

    • 1.13 earthna

      I’ve actually liked Lee Sungkyung in every drama I’ve seen her in but that could just be me. Her Bokjoo is a really awesome character though. It’s definitely worth the watch.

    • 1.14 Viki

      YES! The drama is my life of the week (until Goblin came out but they are neck- to-neck to me)!

      She really did pull off the fact that she can act. I was doubtful at first (I happened to have watched all the dramas she’s in) but now she’s prove me wrong.

      • 1.14.1 Dramaninja

        Same here. I thought nothing better than WF could happen in dramaland after JI withdrawal blues but Goblin is definitely a strong parallel..Also LOTBS is definitely being powered by LMH now.. God this year is a hellava good drama year!

        About LSK, watch it to believe it. If Bk Joo will make you cry, laugh, dream, and sometimes cringe with embarasment along with her. Tgis show is visually and aesthetically amazing and SWAG!

        Though i have read that the male lead did not deliver in his previous roles, NJH’s JH is an absolute delight to watch too.

    • 1.15 Andee

      As someone who had a very strong love-hate relationship (more emphasis on hate) with her character in Doctors (and judging from what I’ve been for CITT, I also think I would hate her character there as well), this is definitely worth the watch. LSK is very sweet outside of the mean characters she played before (her instagram has so many fun moments of her with her castmates!), and she is killing it as Bok Ju.

      It’s a little embarrassing, but the fact that LSK was casted as the main lead in this was what drew me to the show and I have no regrets. So I definitely recommend it – it’s very enjoyable to watch!

    • 1.16 es

      I’ve only seen her in Cheese in the Trap, and I distinctly remember now how I accused the actress of overacting and having a really irritating acting style – but I LOVE her in WF. She had me at her very first utterance of ‘swag’ – in fact, I even remember being unimpressed with the first episode, but deciding to stick with it because I loved Lee Sung-kyung’s portrayal too much in Episode 1. Definitely have no regrets with that decision. She’s so committed to her character, down to ever little nuance and action, and she’s got my heart, entirely and irrevocably. 😀

    • 1.17 Adryanna

      Yes it is highly recommended! U will never get tired to see Nam Joo Hyuk with his eyes expression and won’t be annoyed with Lee Sung Kyung acting as a cute weightlifter!

    • 1.18 May.vida

      I was not expecting to love this drama so much. You should totally watch it now!!

    • 1.19 missjb

      Overall Weigthfairy Kim Bok Joo, is a well production drama. One of those drama who are well produce from production to a writing who knows how to tell a simple story without being simplistic.

    • 1.20 Le

      if you like king of high school or oh my ghost, the writer is the same, the drama has the same feel as those cute, feel good and funny. The whole cast delivers, Lee sung kyung is pretty good.

    • 1.21 melzwelz

      Yes! I really didn’t like the SungKyung in other places(Cheese in the trap, even reality TV shows). I always found her acting, facial expressions and way of talking OTT, loud and obnoxious and it became really distracting. So I was also hesitant to start this drama, but after watching a few episodes I can vouch that she’s really different in this drama! I guess she was just being that way to match her characters in her other dramas. Really opened my eyes to what a great actress she actually is!

  2. Ed

    So I just said teacher Kim was a nutcase in OT, and girlfriday confirms it right away!

  3. SJ

    This post is titled so aptly!!! there has rarely been a day this year..be it any season or exams, submissions…whatever it may have been, i followed atleast two episodes religiously. Every single day. The best part honestly was finding the company of sooo many beanies who would share the excitement over a passionate kiss or share the pain of your favourite character hitting rock bottom! Dramabeans has been my home:) kamsa hamnida chingus!

  4. Africangirllovesdrama

    How are you not watching Goblin? It’s only the best drama that was ever created!!

    • 4.1 Rachel

      Goblin’s probably not in this list because although the show’s not been completed, it hasn’t been substantially been broadcast unlike say Weightlifting Fairy, so I don’t think it’s fair for any of the editors to pass judgment on the entire series in a year-end review.

    • 4.2 Mindy

      Dramas that started airing in December will be part of next year’s review. There are too few episodes of Goblin for the writers to pass judgment on it.

    • 4.3 panshel

      girlfriday is obviously watching Goblin, since she is recapping it.

  5. Rachel

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It’s really impressive the sheer number of dramas you managed to complete this year. Do you even get any sleep?!

  6. knom

    Bwhhaaaahahaah I laugh on “Goodbye Mr. Black” because I wholeheartedly agree. Biggest letdown for me.

    I also agree on “The Man Living In Our House”. Dropped it after 5 episodes. It started out cute and promising but the plot just went downhill after.

    • 6.1 gadis

      re: Goodbye, Mr. Black
      That was a perfect way to say STOP for someone like me, who hasn’t watch it or read those recaps. The lack of description literally spell Trouble with big, bold letters.

    • 6.2 compota

      I spitted my juice the moment I read “Goodbye Mr. Black–>Watch this: Don’t bother” jajaja, people around me were scared of how maniacally I laugh reading this, but lol so true!!! please please do not bother

  7. Mary

    Lovely summary of this year’s dramas, girlfriday! Thanks for your effort, it must have taken much of your precious time. I am so tempted to watch all of them now!

  8. Lemon Meringue

    girlfriday, you nailed what I felt about Signal. The moment you realize the show wasn’t kidding about the consequences of messing around with time – that was when it sunk in that this show was something special. And it continued to tell a tight coherent story in spite of the shifting cause/effect possibilities.

    I wish I was watching it again for the first time.

    • 8.1 Gelai

      This is where I disagree. I don’t think the productionwas truly serious about the consequences of time. I wish the show killed Lee Ji Hoon’s character (or Jo Jin Wong’s) and they let him stay dead. The fact they kept him alive for the sake of casting says a lot about their attitude when dealing with time. That we don’t have to worry since our main leads will not die at the end. They did it three times, one for each lead. Why can’t they let one die and remain that way?

  9. annyeong

    maaaan.. 2016 is such a good year for dramas!! what a time to be alive!!!! (aside from the fact that terrible things happened this year around the world, but still) and to dramabeans (esp girlfriday, who’s like my soul sister when it comes to taste in dramas and perception of narrative): thank you, as always, for providing extra endorphins after watching dramas! <3

    • 9.1 bbstl

      ohmigosh that is IT, the way you put what dramabeans (and girlfriday) does: provides extra endorphins after watching dramas.

      This is such a profound observation to me that I feel it needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
      Thanks, annyeong!

  10. 10 blo

    So creative. I have as much fun reading these as I do watching the dramas. Maybe even more.

  11. 11 lindl

    “Cheese in the Trap” and “W” will always be special to me, flaws and all, because when they were good, they were SO GOOD.

    I’ve said this elsewhere, but “Descended from the Sun” made me ragey. A doctor who checks an unconscious patient’s radial pulse instead of the carotid pulse? Check. A grown woman who throws a tantrum in a war zone and kicks a compatriot out of her car, leaving him to walk home in mine-riddled territory? Check! God. It still makes my blood boil.

    “The Man Living in Our House” made me fall in love with Kim Young-kwang, but even that love couldn’t overcome my ennui after eight or so episodes – or my Yeo-joo fatigue.

    “Weightlifting Fairy” is the best thing in my life right now. Or maybe Nam Joo-hyuk is.

    • 11.1 ap

      i feel you lindl. so far, WF is my lifeline right now

      • 11.1.1 anon

        same… I LOVE W 😀

  12. 12 Even

    When it comes to W, I think all of the complaints about it are valid, but I REALLY enjoyed watching it.

    The idea was fresh, and aspects of it were great. I wish it had turned out amazing, but I wasn’t terribly burned by what it turned out to be. I guess it was my Moon Lovers since so many people stuck with that drama despite its flaws while I couldn’t bother with it after a while. (I do feel like it’s been extra long since I’ve seen lee jun-ki though)

    • 12.1 Even

      Same with CITT to be honest. All the flaws are there, but I can’t not love it for some reason.

      And Yong Pal as well…I’m sensing a pattern. Maybe I just love dramas that like to disappoint.

    • 12.2 Sancheezy

      I agree, W pull out some of the unique theme and I appreciate the effort, I don’t think it was that bad,

      • 12.2.1 rentenmann *SWAG*

        Of COURSE W was ground-breaking. Among other things it gave Truck of Doom agency in its own life and a conscience, the rewards of which have been a mixed bag so far.

  13. 13 jessi

    (Tip: Hydrate often, and take bathroom breaks during boardroom scenes and flashbacks.)

    Applying this tip could save a life (or a bladder).

    • 13.1 Dramaninja

      I loved this tip! I generally pause but now im like why did i ever do that? So many flashbacks on repeat. All the time i could have saved!!! LOL

    • 13.2 Divyrus

      Am I the only one who takes her electronics into the bathroom?

      Oookkayyy 😮
      Let’s move on *hides self*

      • 13.2.1 rentenmann *SWAG*

        I don’t know what you’re saying… 🙄😉

  14. 14 HelloBeautiful

    Thanks for the review, GF! I love how you describe Jealousy Incarnate which made me went back to the weeks when I really enjoyed reading people’s comments about it.
    Also I’m glad that MotW gets more love too, despite its flaws and all.

  15. 15 dramalover

    ‘Bring It On Ghost’ should be watched during the Chinese lunar calendar 7th month period. I am a Chinese Singaporean and I realise TVN tend to air dramas that involve ghostly elements (e.g. Oh My Ghostess) during the 7th month. For those who are new to this: it is said that the gate of hell is open during this month so the ‘good brothers’ (ghosts) have a chance to roam around the earthly world admist us humans. So we are all especially sensitive to the supernatural during this month.

    • 15.1 rentenmann *SWAG*

      I had no idea this was a thing. COOL! Thanks for the cultural lesson!

  16. 16 redfox

    the procedural ghost hunting was what I enjoyed best in Let´s Fight, Ghost. I think the themes were meaningful and connected with Bong Pals´ backstory sometimes. I also had no problem with Taecyeon. the only thing that really annoyed me was the villain. her was so bland and repeptitive.

    38 Task Force was paced just fine for me, it is nice to concentrate and put weight on words occasionally. It was my most favorite drama this year but made me incredibly paranoid.

    all the cuteness in Shopping King Lou´is: “Perfect!”

    • 16.1 redfox

      I sadly can´t get into Legend of Blue Sea at all. It is too boring. It doesnt just lack spark, it lacks point.

      • 16.1.1 Dulcinea

        I’m feeling the same way with LOBS. As much as I like both main actors, I just can’t get into it. I am liking LMH a lot more than JJH, but it’s lacking in chemistry and much more. As much as I want to get into it, I just can’t.

  17. 17 lynnet

    I haven’t yet watched On the Way to the Airport but after this review I’m definitely going to ! I read this line in your review:

    ” and that kiss… like we’d been waiting a thousand years for it to happen.”

    and my first thought was ” I have died everyday waiting for you , darling don’t be afraid I have loved youuuuuuu for a thousand years”

    • 17.1 rentenmann *SWAG*

      …and now that song is on my brain. I need to find some K-pop stat. 😂

    • 17.2 justanotherfan

      Go for it, chingu. It was a great drama. Definitely one of the best for me this year. Everything was just beautiful about it. I’m glad this drama was mentioned by girlfriday.

  18. 18 Michykdrama

    Thanks for the review Girlfriday!

    For the record, some vows are meant to be broken. And we your Beanies are ever so thankful for it! 😝

    To more resolution breaking and drama-watching record setting for you in 2017! 🍾

  19. 19 crazykgirl

    Am I the only one whose crack drama of the year was Oh Hae Young Again? Sad that it doesn’t seem to be getting much love ):

    • 19.1 lindl

      I found it riveting up to a certain point. But then it got dark and unhealthy and I couldn’t enjoy it anymore.

      • 19.1.1 Rose

        I like your choice of word Lindl : ” unhealthy”. THat’s exactly it!

      • 19.1.2 earthna

        Exactly the reason why I dropped it.

    • 19.2 -yuju

      I found addictive but after episode 12, it dragged so much I lost alot of my interest in it. I don’t even think it had enough story for 16 episodes, let alone 18 (and an extra long finale). It’s still one of the better rom coms I’ve seen recently though!

    • 19.3 Janet

      You’re not the only one. I paused thinking of what to say — I should just say that I go back to it when I find the dramas I start watching disappointing. Eric and SHJ are great actors and I equally love the family support the character of SHJ received.
      After I watched this drama for the first time, I went and reviewed all dramas of Eric, and of Seo Hyun Jin.

    • 19.4 missjb

      at times you need good writers to write meaty roles in other a thespian to shine. and that’s what Park Hae Young did to Seo Hyun Jin and the writers my wife is having an affair to Lee Sung Kyun!

    • 19.5 Jade0817RJY

      I loved OHY til the end!

      As Girlfriday said, SHJ made you root for her character, flaws and all. The later eps where some viewers found her petty and annoying I actually found in keeping with her character – cos that was when she had decided for herself that she deserved to go for what she wanted and she wanted Do Kyung so she was gonna do whatever it takes, throw tantrums and all just to be with him. And though there was noble idiocy (which I too generally hate), I feel the drama did a good job of presenting how DIRE the circumstances were to warrant the noble idiocy: seeing your own death plus the gravity of Do Kyung’s mistake in ruining someone else’s life sold it to me.

      The moodiness of that drama, the OST, the chemistry still reasonates with me. I loved it

  20. 20 junny

    Hahahaha, spot on for Goodbye Mr Black. Sigh.

    And Jo Jung-seok was love in Jealousy Incarnate.

  21. 21 gadis

    Jealousy Incarnate
    Watch this: On a day that ends in Y.

    That tagline just shows how much you love this show, Girlfriday. Well, me too. At first I thought JI will be the drama that got the biggest potential of being a trainwreck. What’s with romcom slotted for 24 eps. But I was totally wrong. That show (and Jo Jung-seok) just stole my heart and laugh and tears and that best-drama-of-the-year spot. Now my only wish is for this duo writer-director to work together again. Hopefully next year.

    • 21.1 Chandler

      “One major disappointment in the drama is that the world was set up with a whole host of fantastic side characters who should’ve gotten meatier stories and lots of development with episodes to spare, but they got shafted for the central loveline. ”

      – Actually, after reading this, I was just thinking that I would totally tune in for a family drama from this writer-director pair. I’d love them to re-team for anything, but I would especially love to see this from them because I think they could actually have fun with it, especially if it centers on a dysfunctional, make-shift family forming. It’s a shame that the general dislike for Pal-gang’s actress led to them pulling back that storyline because I genuinely loved how she brought them together, like at the police station that one time. The chemistry of the cast of characters was just fantastic whenever they came all together like that, though I personally loved the newsroom shenanigans also. Still, it would have been so great to see more of the family unit, like GF mentioned.

    • 21.2 Dramaninja

      I started watching JI with a strong sense that i would be dissapointed, but i wanted the .y8funnies so much at that point. Now i bfeel that JI is my fav rom-com ever. Ebverything about the show it so good! Ybes the side characters could have beebn explored more, but JJS is love ♡! b
      UbbbbbbbbbbboThose dances and the ending song was so classy !8

    • 21.3 Le

      loved JI, the drama of the year for me. Btw everyone vote for ShinNari for best couple, you can vote once a day. http://saf.sbs.co.kr/2016/together/vote.jsp?lang=en
      Would be great to see them at 2016 sbs drama awards.

    • 21.4 MyGirl2016

      ‘On a day ending in Y.’

      Ha ha.. I had to review the days of the week in my mind… You know, just to make sure there wasn’t a day not ending in Y.. 😉

      Thank you for supporting JI, girlfriday. I came here today just to read the awesome things you had to say about JI and then grin like an idiot remembering moments from the drama.

      Have a blessed 2017.

  22. 22 Manders

    Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, how did they explain that in the books? Dying of curiosity now.

  23. 23 Rose

    I have exactly the same opinion as you on Doctors : “I felt like I was watching a show where the character progression was going in reverse.”
    I felt like It was secret’s garden all over again !!!

    Sigh…. the mellowing of strong female characters in Dramaland is soooo irritating.

  24. 24 축하해

    Thanks Girlfriday.

    I’m a big fan of your writing and also other writers in the dramabeans. I’m not sure whether this happen to others or not, personally I find dramabeans had been a source of strength for me going through the ups and downs of k-dramaland. Sometimes I even feel like going through the blog itself is more fun than watching the dramas themselves.

    I had many laugh out load moments when reading through your year in review. Your sarcasms is so on point (especially the “Watch this” part).

    Agree with regard to Jealousy Incarnate is a comedy done right. Personally I find JI is a romcom with a capital COMEDY. If you like its brand of comedy, you’ll love the show through and through.

    감사합니다 to all fellow beanies!

  25. 25 Chandler

    “Watch this: On a day that ends in Y.”

    Awww, GF! I haven’t even read the actual review yet, but this just makes me so happy. As you said, this drama is wonderful and entertaining, from Monday to Sunday!

    • 25.1 ahkid

      LOL Chandler, nice OST reference!

      I had to read the ‘Watch this’ tag a couple of time to be sure if DB really meant to watch it every single day! Haha~
      Because that is such a high complement for any drama!

      Love love JI (and all the characters, esp JJS!) I’m so happy so many viewers enjoy it too! <3

      • 25.1.1 Chandler

        Haha, sometimes I really do feel like that OST is the drama singing to me, as it so accurately describes how it makes me feel.

        JI really got the highest praise possible 🙂 Although, I admit, what I really need is someone telling me to stop watching JI everyday (yes, I still do this…), not the other way around. Haha, GF’s suggestion is not helping me.

        • 25.1.1.1 ahkid

          LOL, I’m guilty too. I watch scenes here and there everyday too. I’m waiting for the day I’m sick of JI~ I wonder when that will be. =P

  26. 26 Clarice

    Random question but since u mentioned it….

    I wonder the reason behind the recappers being called “minions?” I thought it was a derogatory term… unless it’s like some people I heard where it’s normal to call their best friends b*tches?

    • 26.1 Candy

      Minions are the adorable little helpers from the Despicable me series ☺☺

    • 26.2 earthna

      I see it as an endearment closely related to minions in Despicable Me.

  27. 27 pogo

    re: the Park Shi-yeon/Ji-soo storyline in Fantastic and the lack of focus on it, I suppose it couldn’t be helped since Ji-soo’s time on set was cut short by a serious bone infection. But her overall arc was my favourite anyway.

    • 27.1 rentenmann *SWAG*

      As much as that drama made me think about the weight of my words as well as others, that pair was my favorite, too. I hope Ji-soo is okay!

    • 27.2 sharreb

      i totally love Shiyeon’s character and she and jisoo had really good chemistry. they are even following each other on instagram nw.
      Among the most thankful news this year was reading that it wasnt bone cancer and as painful as it was Jisoo’s recuperating well.

  28. 28 Cocoboo

    Man I really need to watch Weightlifting Fairy. It’s been on my list, but I’m still catching up on a whole bunch of other dramas.

    Glad to hear it has been good and solid. 🙂

  29. 29 heroonthebeach

    Thanks girlfriday for the enjoyable read!

    Based on all the comments, looks like I must watch Jealously Incarnate and Weightlifting Fairy! Ahh.. too much dramas, so little time..

  30. 30 Cozybooks

    Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim is perhaps the first medical drama I’ve ever watched (that’s a lie, I tried Blood on halloween and got out pretty dang quick).

    I think it’s the combination of everything that makes me like it so much. It feels like the Christy of dramas, where you get our well off girl (well, he’s a boy in this case) moves out to the middle of nowhere (hospital not school) and gets to know the people there and himself. That’s just the vibe I get thinking of our quirky hospital and the stories there.

    (it took me an embarrassingly long time to get the name of that book, I remembered the plot but not the title.)

  31. 31 Kakakash

    Thanks for the lengthy review!

    I was already going to watch Signal, but now I have to put Mirror of the Witch on my list…

  32. 32 earthna

    Eeeee I teared up while reading your review of Marriage Contract. It was indeed predictable, not very surprised at the path it took, but it did touch my heart and I felt for the character as if they are real. I’d watch it again if I won’t cry as much as I did the first time but I know I would so maybe not.

    Laughed hard at Goodbye, Mr. Black: Don’t bother and almost spit my hot chocolate after realizing that’s all there is to it.

    MotW: It just seemed like we had a spell for everything in this drama, except for the one thing we really needed a spell for. Aww. So true.

    Okay, it’s strange how I care more for the Joseon counterparts in LOTBS than the modern day people. I mean, they are the same actors but Lee Minho is just so different as Dam Ryeong. There’s pain in his eyes, I tell you! Even Jeon Jihyun is more captivating as Sehwa.

    Thank you, girlfriday! I love reading all your thoughts here and it helps me decide which one to marathon next.

    Ahhh, I’d love to hear that javabeans, girlfriday, Heads Moon Lovers discussions as a podcast.

  33. 33 Wag_a_Muffin

    I wonder if I’m the only one, but I just can’t watch Weightlifting Fairy. She’s just not built like a weightlifter. She’s not built like the real person she is portraying. And I liked the actress in cheese. (Or rather, I liked her portrayal of someone unlikable.) Maybe I’ll marathon W Fairy in a few years. But for now, no.

    • 33.1 earthna

      I was wary at first too. I mean, hey, there’s no way Lee Sungkyung would pass as a weightlifter. Still, the show is so good and it she does weightlift on screen (they look really heavy). And I think they refuted that it is based on Jang Miran’s life story. Or at least I remember reading that.

      • 33.1.1 earthna

        Nvm. I tried looking up where I’ve read but couldn’t find it.

    • 33.2 pogo

      Jang Mi-ran herself has refuted the idea that Weightlifting Fairy is supposed to be based on her directly, she said it would have been way too much pressure if it was. So yeah, Lee Sung-kyung isn’t playing her.

    • 33.3 Mindy

      I just see it as another thing where you kinda have to suspend your disbelief, as you often have to do while watching a work of fiction. I’m sure there are thin weightlifters out there, and they do try to make her look a little bigger than she actually is.

    • 33.4 Divyrus

      She belongs to the weight class of 58 kg at start of the drama and increases her weight class to 62 kg later on.
      And to me, that is pretty believable. She looks like she can be in 62 kg weight class – all weightlifters need not be big , it all depends on their body type.

      To be fair, it would have been extra awesome if they actually hired someone who is overweight and big. And for drama to then make statement to be proud of yourself and not let your body define your worth.
      Someday kdramas and Korean society would mature to that. Fingers crossed. Someday.

    • 33.5 ET

      I don’t think you are the only one although personally, I wasn’t bothered by it.

      I think this just makes Lee Sung Kyung’s feat even more amazing. In reality, she looks nothing like a weightlifter and where she was all made up and dressed to the hilt in CITT, she’s the exact opposite here. It’s not just her appearance but in everything, she is Kim Bok Joo.

    • 33.6 sharreb

      well to be fair, weightlifters in that weight class- boy wise isnt that big- they have very toned abs in fact- what is lacking in Bokjoo is actually the hand muscles. But for her weightclass and being her height – can be consider tall and not so bulky.
      Perhaps im now very into it for the character growth, the friendships and budding romance so this doesnt bother me as i initially expected during casting news. When you do start watching the show may change your mind. i just love the feels this drama is delivering evy single episode

      • 33.6.1 redfox

        her arms are very thin. other things don´t bother me, but that just looks like her arms will snap. and when you lift weights, shouldnt your biceps be more developed no matter what your buildt it? also thighs, cause they support all that weight.
        but she makes up for it with her body language and the right kind of movements

  34. 34 PakalanaPikake

    Thanks, girlfriday, for reminders of the shows I’ve loved watching this year… a few that I wish had lived up to their potential, and pointers to a couple that I’ll want to watch in the future. Wishing you all the best in the coming year of drama watching. 😉

  35. 35 Andee

    Man, is Goodbye Mr. Black that bad? Haven’t watched it, but I didn’t know it could be worse than Entertainer (I mean, I heard Entertainer was really bad).

    By the way, I probably should’ve asked this earlier, but is it better to read the Cheese in the Trap webcomic first and then the drama, or vice versa? Or should I stick with one and not the other?

    • 35.1 Andee

      And I laughed so hard at when to watch Moon Lovers. Man, can you imagine if this was all in five minute episodes? We could have one episode that’s all fluffy and cute and romantic and then the next episode is like WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHY IS EVERYONE DYING?

    • 35.2 gadis

      If you have enough time, watch the drama first then read the webtoon to take the sting of disappoinment away. The webtoon is also still ongoing at the time. But if you have little time, just read the webtoon.

    • 35.3 junny

      Goodbye Mr Black is pretty stupid.

    • 35.4 kanz

      I only watched GMB for 2 episodes but from what I heard, yes it’s pretty bad.. On the other hand, I finished Entertainer.. with lots of eye-rolling and pray for Hyeri to become better.

    • 35.5 knom

      for me, Goodbye Mr Black was soo bad I forgot it even existed til I saw this post. If you want a good Monte Cristo or revenge story with awesome bromance, definitely check out the C-drama ‘Nirvana in Fire’. That one is execute perfectly in terms of plot and acting. Way, way, so much way better than Goodbye Mr. Black.

  36. 36 gadis

    I would totally watch a 50 eps family drama from this team. I think they can even start a new trend for non-makjang and humorous family drama. Oh, the possibility of that…

    • 36.1 gadis

      Oops. It’s a reply for Chandler at 21.1.

      • 36.1.1 Andee

        OMG, now you made me wonder how a 50-episode drama with the DB team would work out. Who would be the mom? Who would be the dad? Who would be the silly children who fangirl over the hottest stars and who would be the grouchy grandparents who don’t understand the hype? Oh, the possibilities!

    • 36.2 Chandler

      Exactly. I would really love to see what they could do. Probably pull off some hilarious parodies of typical family drama tropes and broach some more refreshing topics. Ahhh, I just think it would be great.

  37. 37 Joytotheworld

    How about The K2? I feel like that was such a good drama!

  38. 38 voice

    I wanted to save up all the episodes of weightlifting fairy and then marathon it after it ends but i cracked and binged all ten episodes. I’m in so much love with this drama that i don’t want to watch anything else

  39. 39 Stardust

    I want to say I agree that fantasy dramas have a higher set bar for expectations, esp when it comes to closing the drama.
    So I feel the same abt LOTBS.
    I’m liking the show now, and it’s LMH joon Jae and DR who is doing it for me now compared to the mermaid who started off with a splash (pun intended) but I’m also of the view that it might turn out disappointing me.

    Simply for the reason, fantasy dramas have a richer world, the rules can be bended and possibilities are endless – all these meant that if you can’t think ahead of your viewers, you disappoint them.

    If your viewers can fan fic endings, theories or write 1000 essays on forums on the various possibilities and theories of the plot (think : W) and you end up with a lame or senseless ending (think : W, Big) you disappoint BIG Time because there is no excuse. You build the world, you should have explored the best story to tell because you could create those rules from the onset.

    I see that risk of LOTBS because the same writer wrote MLFTS – I love the show but the story did lose steam in the last portion and I completely felt the ending was just fan service. I mean I had to Google what’s a black hole in theory and then still feel it doesn’t make senses. Right now for her she has quite a bit of options but my expectations are high and it probably will miss the bar.

  40. 40 sharreb

    My feelings for W mirror yours girlfriday.
    It’s a case where W bested itself- it set the par really hight from sypnopsis to awesome first 7 episodes but didnt exactly deliver to the end. But i still think of it fdondly and im still blown away with its start.

    Weightlifting fairy is amazing because so many of us connected with the story and the leads. Everything felt so organic and so relevant. For what seemed like a simple story, it has me hooked so back evy week.

    DOTS was a weird one where i was interested in the banter and the atraction. i was waiting for it to be elevated but it didnt so midway i woke up from the DOTS current. I looked back now and couldnt imagine rewatching. But i did enjoy parts of it while watching.

  41. 41 Gina

    These are the dramas I watched:
    1.Moon lovers: it’s was whatever. Hot young actors but it felt incomplete, weak , and just something was missing.

    2.Jealousy incarnate: this was a good drama. Made me laugh and just enjoy it. Acting was great!! Loved the main actress . I have watched most of her dramas and she is always amazing and funny !

    3. Fantastic: I’m a huge fan of Kim hyunjoo. I got hooked ever since I watched her in what happens to my family. I honestly felt she was great in this drama. She has amazing acting skills. But the drama was too fast for such a story. I felt the foot actor lacked emotions. I liked the doctor more and felt his acting was way better than the foot actor. I really liked the story with the friend that lives with her controlling crazy Inlaws and I wanted more on that to . I didn’t care much for jisoo, I think the age difference kept bugging me with him and the actress he likes. Also the foot actors assistant was weird. In the beginning I thought he was gay and likes the foot actor , then he starts to have feelings for the actress that lives w her controlling in laws. Overall is was nice to watch and I honestly watched it just to see Kim hyun joo. I give her and the doctor an A for their acting , the others I didn’t care much for.

    4.W: I watched half of the first episode and I just couldn’t finish it. It felt so no real for me lol. I just couldn’t continue

    5. Unit 38 : this was a good drama . Fun and exciting!

    • 41.1 mary

      (Spoiler alert for W)

      The first half of W’s first ep was not real. It was a Cliff’s notes version of the manhwa…

  42. 42 rentenmann *SWAG*

    While I wait for more episodes of my favorite airing dramas, I decided to start one I’ve meant to for a long time: White Christmas. I’m sick now, and got comfortable, which is not a good combo for trying to watch anything. I will try again when I’m rested tomorrow, and after I watch both episodes of Goblin. Yes! A plan! Also, I might throw that idea out the window to rewatch all of Weightlifting Fairy. I never know until I press play.

    • 42.1 ET

      Now you’ve made me feel like rewatching White Christmas.

      Why doesn’t someone make a Christmas special like this one?

  43. 43 kanz

    PU38: “Never has being lied to been so entertaining.”
    Hahaha.. I believe Yang Jung Do could con anyone here and we’ll still be happy.. Oof I miss Seo In Guk and Papa Bear Ma Dong Suk!!

    Moon Lovers: I think because the original also have many princes, on paper, the Korean adaptation should have worked too… But the thing is, I believe the Korean adaptation didn’t have enough time/episodes to tell the so many little stories of the princes and their lives. I think it somehow would be better with 24 eps. Also, BETTER editor and scriptwriter! The original C-drama wasn’t perfect either, but it managed to make me care for every individual characters. Whereas in ML only a handful of characters I ever care about. Lee Jun Ki is good, Kang Haneul is good too, even Nam Joo Hyuk is improving, but the casting is so uneven and the plot holes are so obvious that you can’t help imagining things that might make it better. Well.. in the drama like this, I usually let my imagination runs wild and stick to it! Hahaha.

    • 43.1 ET

      About Moon Lovers, my take is that they had the wrong approach towards the adaptation right from the start. They thought they could depend on a popular hallyu cast and a PD which would give fanservice by offering close up shots emphasizing the beautiful faces and gratuitous scenes like the harem bath.

      If I didn’t recall wrongly, the scriptwriter had no experience in writing saeguk. If he/she was to write a fusion/fantasy saeguk, the lack might be less apparent. Compare it to Moonlight Drawn By Cloud – although it was loosely based on a historical figure, the writer didn’t try to follow real events or come up with a complicated plot. If Moon Lover’s writer had succeeded, it could be as awesome as the C-drama which struck a good balance between fiction and history. And I daresay, Moon Lover would be better than MDBC.

      Aside from the plot, the characters were badly written. Hae Soo and Wook made no sense to me. Even the central figure Wang So was to me a character written to please fans. Instead of someone who I’m supposed to swoon over how tragic and beautiful he is, I found Wang So and things that happened to him overly dramatic.

    • 43.2 redfox

      Yang Jung Do should take his time and make it a Long Con, you know. Butter us in thoroughly so we can meet him every day for 2 years or so

    • 43.3 siesta

      PU38 will go down in my drama watching history book as the one with the funniest sissy fight ever created in dramaland

  44. 44 justanotherfan

    On the Way to the Airport

    “On the day you fly home for the holidays. It’ll make waiting in the TSA line a lot more bearable if you consider it a chance to run into your soulmate.”

    ^THIS. HAHAHAHA. I’m going home next March, hope I’ll run into my soulmate in the airport.

  45. 45 Tee

    I’m just now looking through the year end reviews and the 2016 polls. How come no one has mentioned Remember – War of the Son? I really liked that melodrama. I usually never go for Melos but I was intrigued by the plot and the cast. It made me cry in almost every episode and the characters were pretty awesome! Love Namgoong Min as a psycho killer, he does it so well. I wonder if everyone forgot about it since it was a 2015/2016 drama.

    • 45.1 ET

      It was briefly mentioned in form of a haiku in last year’s review by Santa.

      I’d prefer to forget the drama. It didn’t leave a good impression of Yoo Seung Ho on me. I felt bad like hating on a drowning puppy. Even Namgoong Min’s psycho character became a caricature after a while.

      Hopefully, YSH does a comedy or light stuff next.

  46. 46 happybubble

    What about Beautiful Gong Shim? It isn’t as star-studded as some of the dramas that made it to the list, but for its goofiness (unwieldy birth secret saga notwithstanding) surely it could’ve taken the spot where Goodbye Mr Black was struck off :p

  47. 47 pickledplumtree

    I really enjoyed your write-up, Girl Friday! While I share some of your feelings and don’t share others about the dramas we both watched, after reading this I am most definitely going to watch Jealousy Incarnate. Thank ya. 🙂

    • 47.1 MyGirl2016

      Yay! One more lured in to the JI family.

      Word to the wise- don’t get TOO attached to the second lead. (I mean, if he is your type) You might not end up liking the show very much then.

      Also, the show doesn’t do conventional. Expect the unexpected ☺

      And once you have watched (and loved!) the show, don’t forget to send Girlfriday some flowers for introducing you to all the awesomeness that is JI. 🙆💐

  48. 48 weird

    I really hope there’ll be another remake for Goodbye Mr. Black with stronger lead actor. I was so down when Lee Jin Wook was announced as the main lead.

    Not liking Romantic Doctor. This is the example of makjang medical drama lol.

    Another Miss Oh, On The Way to Airport, DotS and Moonlight are my best drama of the year.

  49. 49 Holly Simpson

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when it comes to Lee minho. I just have never been able to get behind his acting. His characters all feel the same. He never feels genuine to me. The reason My love from another star was so engaging is because Kim Soo hyun can emote like a mother effer! He conveys feeling and depth. Lee min ho doesn’t do that. He is pretty and he can be fun, but his acting is way overrated. I was 70 times more invested in Jo Jeon suk’s character and he was there for like 15 minutes tops. I will never understand the hype associated with him. I don’t hate him. He is fine. But WHY is he so loved?!

  50. 50 Super Foxy

    Just because of Seo Inguk, but because he is damn talented, thus his dramas this year were my best dramas; Police Unit 38 and SKL. Nothing enjoyed me more than knowing your bias not only can sing, but can act in a wide spectrum too; he can be slick and serious in Police Unit 38, and totally goes puppy and adorable in SKL. He proves that he can do solid in rom-coms too; makes me cannot wait to see what he has in store after his two years MS. Hwaiting SIG!

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