Drama Ratings

 
Note: These are only series I’ve seen in their entirety. (I’ve seen a lot more series that I haven’t come around to finishing, whether it’s because I got bored, forgot, or couldn’t find the time. I haven’t “graded” those here.)

Also, I’ve separated ratings into how much I like something and how good I think it is objectively. Because there’s often a big difference. ;)

Because there’s nothing wrong with liking populist material. I just can’t quite bring myself to rate one, for instance, above something less “fun” but more substantial.

Javabeans‘s ratings in black. Girlfriday‘s ratings in blue.

K-DRAMA SERIES HOW MUCH I ENJOY IT vs. HOW I RATE IT (of 10)
49 Days (2011)
49일
Didn’t hate the ending, but it did make me think I’d given the drama way too much credit along the way. Decent effort at making a sentimental ghostly-possession story, mucky execution. (7 / 7) The writing carried the acting, but well enough for me to be swept along and care. Love the theme and tone, despite flaws in structure. (8 / 7) -GF
Air City (2007)
에어시티
Hot guys. Cold plot.
(5 / 5)
All In (2003)
올인
Gambling, intrigue, foreign locales—it was a blockbuster hit and people went crazy for Lee Byung-hyeon and Song Hye-kyo. It was almost swallowed by its own hype, but there’s a reason why every revenge/success/empire story tries to emulate this one. (6 / 7) –GF
Answer Me 1994 (2013)
응답하라 1994
Lovely small moments of friendship and family, buried under a mountain of sluggish, self-indulgent meandering. A ruthless editor would have done wonders. (6 / 7) Wonderful characters stretched thin in an endless tug-of-war that loses sight of the big picture. Heartwarming and nostalgic, but also makes you tear your hair out. (7 / 7) -GF
Answer Me 1997 (2012)
응답하라 1997
Nostalgic, witty, and sweet. Captures the pounding fervor and emotional extremes of youth with humor and heart. (9 / 9) This drama ran away with my heart and soul, probably because it felt like the story of my life, set to the soundtrack of my youth. Sharply written, with affection. (10 / 10) -GF
Arang and the Magistrate (2012)
아랑사또전
Creative universe built with a tightly plotted internal logic and a stirring romantic core. Quirky at times, dark at others, and sweetly satisfying. (9 / 8) Love the supernatural ‘verse with its own elaborate mythology, engrossing mystery, and leads bursting with romantic chemistry. A faster plot would’ve done wonders. (8 / 8) -GF
Athena: Goddess of War (2011)
아테나: 전쟁의 여신
You’d be surprised what two guys will do in the name of national security…over a girl. Starts out bloody and badass, but winds down into predictable and safe. (6 / 6) –GF
Attic Cat (2003)
옥탑방 고양이
One of the earlier cohabitation dramas that fired off a trend. Cute chemistry from the leads and funny situations, although the workplace storylines drag the thing down. (7 / 6) –GF
Baby-Faced Beauty (2011)
동안미녀
Plot and characters are familiar, and the heroine’s rather meek for my post-Sam-soon tastes, but it does the workplace setup and the cute noona-romance with a sweet, funny touch. (7 / 7)
Bad Couple (2007)
불량커플
Bursts out of the gate with peppy chemistry, then slows with tears and angst and The Dreaded Illness. Lost interest after episode 6. (6 / 5)
Bad Family (2006)
불량가족
Love it. Heart-warming and hilarious as this motley mock family becomes a real one, without dipping into cheesiness. Kim Myung-min is a hoot. (9 / 9)
Bad Guy (2010)
나쁜남자
I can’t heap enough superlatives for the drama’s assured directing, gorgeous visual appeal, music, acting, overall ambiance. Story drove me nuts. (7 / 7) The ending killed whatever love I felt for all of the above. (5 / 5) –GF
Best Love (2011), aka Greatest Love
최고의 사랑
Tight writing, hilarious scenarios, memorable acting, and a string of the wackiest, yet oddly appropriate metaphors I’ve ever seen in a drama. Feel-good and satisfying. (9 / 9) Pee-your-pants funny, killer cute, at times achingly romantic too. Hits that rom-com sweet spot. (9 / 8) -GF
Big (2012)
Like getting to the bottom of a tasty meal and finding a half-eaten worm. (6 / 4) Promising setup with body swap hijinks and a great cast, but fails to deliver anything but plot hodgepodge. Akin to an emotional drive-by. Perhaps more violent. (5 / 4) -GF
Biscuit Teacher Star Candy (2005)
건빵선생과 별사탕
Gong Yoo as a bleeding heart high school cutie and Gong Hyo-jin as a badass teacher? Sold! This one has comedy, a nice episodic pace, and most importantly, a lot of heart. One of my all-time faves. (10 / 8) –GF
Bottom of the 9th with 2 Outs (2007) aka 9 End, 2 Outs
9회말 2아웃
Two lifelong best friends turn 30 and take steps toward becoming adults…by shacking up together and denying their growing attraction. Yeah, good luck with that. Cute, sexy, and fun. (9 / 9) -GF
Boys Before Flowers
(2009)
꽃보다 남자
Such a hot mess, but a blast to watch. The fandom frenzy was sometimes more fun than the show itself. (8 / 5) It served up just the right amount of crack at every turn. By all accounts this should have been a disaster, but the sum of its parts is better than you’d think—you’ll be screaming at your screen while reaching for the next episode. (8 / 5) –GF
Brilliant Legacy (2009) aka Shining Inheritance
찬란한 유산
It’s the classic Candy Cinderella tale laced with just enough makjang elements to make it addictive. Nothing new, but a good family drama with a fresh-faced foursome in a compelling love square. (8 / 7) -GF
Can’t Lose (2011)
지고는 못살아
Cute and funny, proving that conflict can exist without crazies or baddies. Simple but sweet. (7 / 7) Cute earnest story about a couple whose marriage and divorce are just stops along the road to finding love. (7 / 7) -GF
The Chaser (2012)
추적자 The Chaser
A gripping political thriller with big ideas and a tense, well-woven plot. Worth a watch for the performances, though I wish the action was as good as the written material. (8 / 8) -GF
Chuno (2010) 추노 Visually breathtaking and characterized by sweeping grandeur, though a bit lacking in soul. (7 / 8)
Cinderella’s Sister
(2010)
신데렐라 언니
Marvelous start and stellar acting counter the heavy angst, but the frustrating plot slows to a near-crawl. (4 / 6) What began as a whimsical twist on a classic fairytale devolved into lots of soulful staring. Had enough plot for eight episodes, but at twenty, it stretched my patience thin, despite my love for the amazing cast. (7 / 6) –GF
City Hunter (2011)
시티헌터
It isn’t flawless, but it did everything I wanted it to and then some. Action, intrigue, humor, heart. (10 / 9) This show has ruined me. Now I want every drama to be as badass and heartfelt. Damn you, City Hunter! (10 / 10) -GF
Coffee House (2010)
커피프 하우스
Wacky, offbeat comedy with loose plotting and a light feel, though second half gets heavier. (7 / 7) Quirky characters and compelling main pairing, but it never hooked me completely. (7 / 6) –GF
Coffee Prince Store #1 (2007) 커피프린스1호점 Thoughtful rom-com hit that became a cornerstone for Hallyu. At times cheeky, at times poignant. Standout soundtrack. (9 / 9) Will forever be in love with Choi Han-gyul. The end. (10 / 10) –GF
Dal Ja’s Spring (2007)
달자의봄
Fresh and fun, with dashes of insight into modern (career-)womanhood, rife with Heroine’s romantic and professional foibles. Adorable main couple, great supporting cast, easy to zip through. (9 / 9)
Dating Agency Cyrano (2013)
연애조작단 시라노
Light on emotional heft, but angstless in a good way. Fun rapport between the agency family, breezy romance, and well-used cameos keep things zippy. (7 / 7) An example of a good movie adaption that’s light and quick on its feet, but it never really shot me in the heart. (6 / 7) -GF
Delightful Girl Chun Hyang (2005)
쾌걸춘향
High comedy factor with strong chemistry between the leads, playing teenagers forced to marry who fall in love later. Jae Hee is wonderful, and the directing is sharp. A sentimental favorite. (9 / 8)
Dr. Champ (2010)
닥터 챔프
Main pairing is cute beyond words, and the sports stories are surprisingly engaging. But the best thing about it? That camera. Made every shot moody, crisp, and stunning. (6 / 7) -GF
Dr. Jin (2012)
닥터진
This craptastic show is tons of fun to mock, with amazingly bad directing and laughable dissonance between intent and execution. And there’s no denying the idea itself was intriguing. But taken straight, as a drama? More pain than fun. (4 / 3)
Dream High (2011)
드림 하이
Adorable friendships, great handling of youthful foibles and the shark-infested showbiz waters. A showcase for its idol cast; if only they were better actors, it could’ve been even better. (9 / 8) A feel-good drama about chasing your dreams, full of sing-offs and dance-offs. Earnest in the best way. (9 / 7) –GF
Dream High 2 (2012)
드림 하이 2
Was it lazy, trying to ride Season 1′s coattails, or was it overambitious, trying to be everything and ending up with idol/dance-off/rivalry/romance hodgepodge? It tries both too hard and not enough. (5 / 4)
East of Eden (2008-9)
에덴의 동쪽
Epic, sweeping backstory that broke my heart. The adult storylines had great potential, but landed in a spin cycle of the same conflict for dozens and dozens of episodes. I watched with fervor but am still waiting for my refund for the hours I spent. (6 / 7) –GF
Emergency Couple (2014)
응급남녀
Touted as a divorced-lovers-reunite comedy, it’s awfully low on comedy. Slick and beautifully shot, but emotionally feels empty. (6 / 5) Not bad as a glossy medical drama; as a romance, the couple never convinced me they belonged together. Cute, but forgettable. (6 / 6) –GF
Empire of Gold (2013)
황금의 제국
An ever-shifting game of one-upmanship with three whip-smart characters who bring the world of dirty backdoor business deals to life. A fascinating look at how money corrupts, with memorable performances. (8 / 8) -GF
Exhibition of Fireworks (2006) 불꽃놀이 Started great with lots of comedy, went downhill with convoluted evildoers gumming up the works. Kang Ji-hwan is the only good thing here. (5 / 4)
Faith (2012)
신의
Absurd villains, repetitive conflicts, and a clumsy director bog down execution. At least the leads and their romantic connection hold up their end; the rest tends to plod along. (5 / 6) If there’s any show I wish could get a do-over, it’s this one. Only I wouldn’t sit through all the episodes again. (5 / 5) -GF
Fantasy Couple (2006)
aka Couple or Trouble
환상의커플
Flawed but enjoyable opposites-attract comedy. Its humor overdoes the slapstick, but the Hong sisters writers keep the plot moving. (7 / 7) I could never really get on this train, no matter how hard I tried. The humor lost me, and the chemistry never went past tepid. It didn’t help that I hated the main character. (4 / 4) –GF
Flower Boy Next Door (2013)
이웃집 꽃미남
Wistful, sweet, and thoughtful. The first half is pitch-perfect, balancing humor and insight; the second half drags. (7 / 8) A fun cast of quirky characters and a refreshing contemplative tone. Wish the plot hadn’t lost steam in the end. (7 / 7) -GF
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (2011)
꽃미남 라면가게
Super cute camaraderie in the ramyun family. Jung Il-woo is a hoot. Plot spins its wheels a bit, but it’s sweet and funny. (8 / 8) Adorable spazztastic tale of young love, full of wit and heart. Cheeky in the best way. (9 / 8) -GF
Flowers For My Life (2007) aka I Came In Search of Flowers
꽃찾으러 왔단다
Criminally underrated. Witty with a touch of dark humor. Set in a funeral home, it gives lovely, quirky insights on life and death. (10 / 10)
Friends (2004)
프렌즈 / フレンズ
Joint collaboration between Korea and Japan. Pleasant, with gorgeous leads Won Bin and Fukada Kyoko, but unexceptional. (6 / 6)
Full House (2004)
풀하우스
One of the most popular cohabitation dramas out there—lots of bickering-as-courtship, cute couple moments. It’s overrated (plot becomes repetitive), but enjoyable. (7 / 6)
Gaksital (2012)
aka Bridal Mask
각시탈
Epic in the best of ways. This show has major stones, venturing dark and grim to fearless degrees. It’s not perfect—though its grand, stirring culmination more than makes up for earlier missteps. (9 / 9) It’s not often that dramas can be both wildly entertaining and deeply moving, but this is one fist-pumping gut-wrenching hero’s tale that does both and really well at that. (10 / 9) -GF
Gap-dong (2014)
갑동이
How I wish this serial-killer suspense mystery had more suspense and mystery. The slow pace and lack of surprise can be frustrating, but it offers an intensive psychological study of some damaged characters. (7 / 7)
Girl K (2011)
소녀K
At 3 episodes, this badass shoot-em-up revenge story tantalizes with hints of what a full drama could have done. Doesn’t have time to really get you in the heart, but sets up a great world. If this is the future of cable, I’m onboard. (8 / 8) BADASS. (8 / 8) -GF
God of Study (2010)
공부의 신
Cute stories for the kids, but I am no longer studying for my SATs, so the rest of it bored me to tears. (4 / 5) –GF
God’s Gift – 14 Days (2014)
신의선물 – 14일
Starts with a heart-pounding bang. Plot’s overly convoluted, but strong performances and speedy pace keep it exciting. What could go wrong? OH, THAT ENDING. (8 / 7) Clever, gripping mystery with sparkling performances from Lee Bo-young and Jo Seung-woo. Too bad the plot spun itself into a destructive tornado. (8 / 7) –GF
Gold Rainbow (2013-4)
황금무지개
Please don’t ask me why I spent forty hours watching this show. Then I’ll be forced to answer. Oh, who are we kidding; Jung Il-woo, it’s all your fault. I want my hours back. (6 / 4) –GF
Good Doctor (2013)
굿 닥터
The medical stories are laughably simple and the politics are tedious, but the growth and bonding amongst the hospital family makes for heartwarming human drama. (7 / 7)
Goong (2006)
aka Palace or Princess Hours
Beautifully executed but slow. Gorgeous rendering of fictional monarchy—if only the plot didn’t drag. (7 / 7) I loved the fusion-fairytale world and all the strangeness of an anachronistic set of values placed in modern society. Candy-coated, but all the sweeter for it. (8 / 8) –GF
Goong S (2007)
aka Palace S or Prince Hours
궁S
A reverse-Cinderella tale as an ordinary guy becomes a prince. Disappointing start and poor acting. Still, picked up toward end, inversely to its ratings. (5 / 5)
Gourmet (2008)
식객
Solid execution perhaps obscures a banal story, but Kim Rae-won makes this work. Predictable but enjoyable, like comfort food.
(8 / 7)
Green Rose (2005)
그린로즈
Who doesn’t love a Count of Monte Cristo revenge story? Dramatic thriller veers into over-the-top territory, but the underdog revenge plot can get addictive. Great romantic angst. (7 / 7)
Gu Family Book (2013)
구가의 서
Drama, I sentence you to 422 years of time out. Maybe I’ll like you better then… or maybe sucky endings last forever. (5 / 5) A whimsical spin on gumiho lore with a cute romance at the center. I had fun, but I also tore a lot of hair out. I’ll let you decide if the pain is worth it. (7 / 5) -GF
Haeundae Lovers (2012)
해운대 연인들
Cute chemistry, but the plot is completely insane. Both Kim Kang-woo and Jo Yeo-jung have been better in almost anything else they’ve done. (4 / 4) -GF
Heirs (2013)
상속자들
I know it’s popular… but why? A big tease, and then nobody got off. Rom-com drama blue balls. (6 / 5) Not funny enough to be fun, not weighty enough to bear its own crown of pain. Like one long angsty music video. (5 / 5) -GF
Hello! Miss (2007)
aka Hello Baby
헬로! 애기씨
Light and jokey, but not much emotional depth. Lee Da-hae can do (and has done) better. (5 / 5)
High Kick 3: Counterattack of the Short Legs (2011)
하이킥 3: 짧은 다리의 역습
Surprisingly well-drawn characters and relationships that mean something. Packs a lot of heart into those 20-minute episodes, and consistently, week after week. Slice of life and poignant. (8 / 8)
Hong Gil Dong (2008)
쾌도 홍길동
This fusion historical drama has action, comic gags, romance, political intrigue, betrayal—but lacks subtlety. The tone is uneven, but Kang Ji-hwan is wonderful. (7 / 7)
Hyang Dan Jeon (2007)
aka The Story of Hyang Dan, 향단전
Fun blending of folktales and modern humor in a fusion romantic comedy. Only two episodes, it’s a silly, Shrek-like goof.
(8 / 7)
I Am Legend (2010)
나는 전설이다
Started off so well, but suffered an identity crisis halfway through. (6 / 5) Why is a law drama masquerading as a rock ‘n’ roll drama? I have no idea. Got off to a great start, and I was humming the songs for weeks. But then it went nowhere…and really, really slowly at that. (5 / 5) -GF
I Do, I Do (2012)
아이두 아이두
Started with cuteness, chemistry, potential. Unfortunately, a slow place and business machinations nobody cares about drag it down. Nice overall character trajectories for our leads. (6 / 6) Lee Jang-woo is the only good thing about this show. (6 / 5) -GF
I Hear Your Voice (2013)
너의 목소리가 들려
Not a subtly crafted show, but compulsively watchable with an addictive pace. The legal stuff is unrealistic, but who’s watching this for the law? (7 / 8) The noona romance to end all noona romances. The cast of quirky characters is memorable, the show’s message heartfelt, and the couple rivals my favorites of all time. (9 / 9) -GF
I Miss You (2012-13)
보고싶다
A screaming, wailing, fucking mess. (3 / 4)
I Need Romance (2011)
로맨스가 필요해
A frank, stylish rom-com about friendship, love, sex, and dating that manages to be fun but not frivolous. (8 / 7) -GF
I Need Romance 2012 (2012)
로맨스가 필요해 2012
Fun, but didn’t manage to capture the magic of the first, both in the friendship department and in the romance department. (5 / 6) -GF
I Need Romance 3 (2014)
로맨스가 필요해 3
Sexy, feel-good romantic comedy with another relatable contemporary heroine, as the franchise promises. Not many noona romances are sizzling, but this one lights some sparks. (8 / 8) –GF
IRIS (2009)
아이리스
Some smoldering performances decorate this explosion-packed action series but the writing gets spotty. More style than substance, a fun ride with eye candy. (7 / 7) Been there, done that. But it’s definitely slick and fun, if you don’t care about gaping plot holes. (6 / 6) –GF
It’s Okay, Daddy’s Girl (2010)
괜찮아 아빠딸
Okay, this show isn’t good. It’s got the potential to be, but is marred by poor acting and weird pacing—it’s like a highlight reel of a longer family drama. Yet, oddly, it draws you in with its good-naturedness and warmth. (7 / 4)
Jeon Woo-chi (2012-13)
전우치
A solid B-list drama. Strengths are its light comedy and the hero’s cute backup team. The villains and romance are its weaknesses. (7 / 7) Good for the laughs, not so much for the effects. Cha Tae-hyun is winning as always. (7 / 7) -GF
Joseon X-Files (2010) aka Secret Investigation Record
기찰비록
FANTASTIC. Quite possibly genius melding of historical record and sci-fi mystery. (10 / 10)
The King 2 Hearts (2012)
더킹 투하츠
A surprising series that hit all my drama sweet spots: idealistic, funny, epic, and sweetly romantic. It could do with better finesse in many areas, but has so much heart that it’s bursting at the seams. (9 / 9) -GF
King of Dramas (2012-13)
드라마의 제왕
Light, funny, and acted with commitment. But what really makes it stand out is the fact that henceforth, I will always see dramaland through the lens of this show’s world. Not a little accomplishment. (8 / 8) What Would Anthony Do? (8 / 7) -GF
King’s Family / Wang Family (2013-14)
왕가네 식구들
Ridiculous characters, beat-you-over-the-head simplistic with its outrageous conflicts. This is makjang in the most dumbed-down way, but there’s a silly entertainment factor that kicks in once you stop caring or taking anyone seriously. (6 / 4)
The Last Scandal of My Life (2008)
내 생애 마지막 스캔들
What happens when first loves reconnect 20 years later… when one’s an ajumma and the other’s a movie star lying about his age? Hilarious, touching, and well-acted. Never a dull moment. (9 / 8)
Let’s Eat
(2013-4)
식샤를 합시다
Part food commercial, part drama, it’s an experiment that has more than a few storytelling hiccups. But the friendship between neighbors is endearing, and the characters are memorable. (7 / 7) –GF
Level 7 Civil Servant (2013)
7급 공무원
I’d said that the funny, flirty spy-romance movie should be made into a drama. I take it back. Silly in the extreme, with no sense to speak of. How are these people functional adults, much less national agents? (3 / 3) This drama didn’t exist. I don’t know what she’s talking about. (3 / 4) -GF
Lie To Me (2011), 내게 거짓말을 해봐 It’s like Drama blew its budgetary wad on the stars and forgot to provide a story. Some randomly cute couple scenes, but mostly so boring. (4 / 3) Drama Cliché Soup, thrown together in the most unimaginative way possible. (3 / 4) -GF
Love & Marriage (2008)
연애결혼
Cute story between an uptight divorce attorney and bubbly matchmaker. It’s like a meal of dessert. Sweet filler, but speedy, flirty fun. (7 / 7)
Lovers (2006)
연인
Brisk start descends into weepy melodrama with birth secrets, family strife, and a Love That Cannot Be that’s more like a Love That Should Not Be. By the end I couldn’t stand it. Oh! The! Tragedy! (3 / 6)
Ma Boy (2012)
마보이
For being based on a big gimmick (pretty boy disguised as a girl star), this tween-targeted mini-drama displays surprising restraint with the gag—played more with sweetness than slapstick comedy. Doesn’t reinvent anything and the young cast is green, but there’s a nice simple story here. (7 / 7)
Man of Honor (2011)
영광의 재인
Cute players, but zero romantic chemistry, and the one-note story never goes anywhere interesting. (4 / 4) -GF
Mandate of Heaven (2013)
aka Joseon Fugitive Story
천명
A solid, heartwarming, well-paced fusion sageuk about a fugitive out to clear his name. Gorgeously filmed and packed with a bevy of awesome side characters who tend to outshine the hero and heroine. What it lacks in crack factor it makes up for with feel-good payoffs and consistency. (8 / 8)
Manny (2011)
매니
A cute premise and a light, episodic format keep this comedy watchable, but the romance angle is the least interesting. Why are the adults acting like kids? (6 / 6)
Mary Stayed Out All Night (2010)
매리는 외박중
Uber-boring. Worst drama I saw in 2010. (3 / 4) Not enough Cute in the world to cover up the crazy mess that is this drama. It sure does try though. And it fails. (4 / 3) -GF
Master’s Sun (2013)
주군의 태양
Smart use of ghost premise to drive the romance—a slow but steady burn, loaded with chemistry. Not quite crack-drama status, but satisfying and sweet. (9 / 8) A fantastic rom-com match-up in the leads. Everything else isn’t as sparkling as you want it to be, but there’s a lot to be said for a magnetic attraction. (8 / 8) –GF
Me Too, Flower! (2011)
나도, 꽃!
What a way to tank a promising series; watching its steady decline was a sad thing as the show lost focus on the characters we cared about. At first, it was unfairly underrated. By its end, deservedly so. But Yoon Shi-yoon is wonderful, despite being terribly miscast. (6 / 6)
Mi-rae’s Choice (2013)
미래의 선택
Agh, it could have been so sweet and interesting. Waffled around in indecision, and not even a cast of likable characters could perk up the cop-out of an ending. (6 / 5) W.T.F. (5 / 4) –GF
Miss Korea (2013-14)
미스코리아
Full of heart, despite a frivolous-sounding premise. Aimless heroine teams with desperate hero to become an underdog team worth rooting for. A sweet, if low-key, watch. (8 / 8) This drama caught me by surprise, but it had a breezy slice-of-life style that made it watchable, and a cast of characters that made it charming. (8 / 7) –GF
Miss Ripley (2011)
미스 리플리
Interesting character study of some unlikable personalities who draw you in with charged acting. Story loses its bite in the end, though. (7 / 7) Not nearly as dark as it sets out to be, but the swift pace makes it an easy-to-watch melodrama with engaging characters. (6 / 7) -GF
Mixed-up Investigative Agency (2007)
얼렁뚱땅 흥신소
Quirky, offbeat, extremely well-plotted. Strong acting, particularly by Yeh Ji-won. A comedy romp, treasure hunt, and mystery rolled into one. (9 / 9)
Monstar (2013)
몬스타
Had the makings to be really special, but fizzled in the end. Atmospheric with strong (though long) musical numbers. Too bad the dip at the end killed the already meandering pace. (8 / 7) Ultimately it didn’t live up to its potential, but it was a sweetly satisfying drama all the same, with good old fashioned teen angst and heart. (7 / 7) -GF
The Moon That Embraces the Sun (2012)
해를 품은 달
A straight-up juvenile romance, dressed up as a grown-up sageuk. The drama’s one-track mind keeps it from having depth or substance, but it’s easy to watch. (7 / 7) The conflict is laughably simple, but there’s a whole lot of pretty to keep you distracted for most of its run. (6 / 7) -GF
My Fair Lady (2009) aka Please Take Care of the Lady, 아가씨를 부탁해 Terribly written plot, even if the chemistry of the couple carries the drama. Skip. (4 / 4) What a waste of Yoon Eun-hye and Jung Il-woo. I felt zero chemistry between the leads, and the plot was so fluffy it evaporated. (4 / 3) –GF
My Girl
(2005-06)
마이걸
Fantastic fun, speedy pace. Super chemistry between the endearing lead couple. (9 / 8)
My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho (2010)
내 여자친구는 구미호
Super enjoyable, adorable chemistry, and great mix of the gumiho mythology with the rom-com bits. But somehow it’s only my No. 3 Hong sisters drama. (9 / 8) Show, you complete me. (10 / 10) -GF
My Love Patzzi (2002)
내 사랑 팥쥐
Short, cute drama with two too-perfect guys and a spunky heroine as an anti-Cinderella. Not very deep, but easy to watch. (7 / 6)
My Name Is Kim Sam Soon (2005)
내 이름은 김삼순
Poignant and funny, worth the hype. (9 / 9) This is the one to beat, in my heart of hearts. (10 / 10) –GF
My Princess (2011)
마이 프린세스
Who knew such a middling rom-com could be a turning point for Kim Tae-hee (and, to a lesser degree, Mr. Robot Hotness Song Seung-heon)? (7 / 6) Mediocre as far as rom-coms go, but the main pair is adorable and cheeky. (7 / 6) –GF
My Sweet Seoul (2008)
달콤한 나의 도시
Halfway between indie and trendy. Plotting is loose, but has a refreshing atmospheric feel and good directing. Unfortunately, I hate the main character. (6 / 8)
Myung-wol the Spy (2011)
스파이 명월
Could’ve been so wacky and hilarious, but changed its mind halfway through and tried for earnest angst. We got tedious moping instead. (5 / 5) What began as quirky absurdist humor ended up just plain absurd. (5 / 5) –GF
Nail Shop Paris (2013)
네일샵 파리스
A weird show, tonally—it’s a hodgepodge of crossdressing, flower boys, romantic comedy, melodrama, procedural, and paranormal. Anemic acting and strange writing make it a head-scratching experience. Song Jae-rim may be the only reason to watch this. (5 / 4)
A New Leaf (2014)
개과천선
(? / ?)
Nice Guy (2012) aka Innocent Man
세상 어디에도 없는 착한남자
Polished, suspenseful, addictively paced. Characters are whackadoo in the extreme, but intense and compelling. Not meant to be overthought; just go with the melo. (7 / 8) Dark and contemplative, with lead characters who are all fire and ice. Fun in a soapy way. (6 / 8) -GF
Nine: Nine Time Travels (2013)
나인: 아홉 번의 시간여행
The definite winner of the time-traveling genre, with a tightly written, complex (and yes, sometimes convoluted) plot that keeps you guessing. Intelligent and suspenseful. (9 / 9)
Oh! My Lady (2010)
오! 마이 레이디
Light and fluffy older-woman/younger-man, housekeeper-landlord romance. Choi Siwon’s charm carries the show. An easy, unchallenging watch. (6 / 6)
Ojakkyo Brothers (2011-2)
오작교 형제들
Cute, poignant relationships make you care about the characters, while the romance keeps you addicted. An example of family drama done right. (8 / 8) A funny, heartwarming drama about a family who gets turned upside-down when a stray little duckling waddles into their lives. (9 / 8) –GF
One Fine Day (2006)
어느 멋진 날
Akin to getting your eyes poked out. I watched for Gong Yoo, but even he could not save this train wreck of a drama that takes every cliché and makes it worse, if that’s even possible. (3 / 3) –GF
Only You (2005)
온리 유
Bleh. I can’t remember why I bothered. Han Chae-young is pretty, but Jo Hyun-jae is wasted. (4 / 3)
Oohlala Spouses (2012)
울랄라 부부
This marital body-swapper should have been uproariously funny. It had some amusing bits, but the couple was too aggravating to wish for reconciliation, thereby negating its entire point. (5 / 6)
Panda and Hedgehog (2012)
판다양과 고슴도치
A makjang dressed in cupcake clothing. Buy a cupcake and skip the drama. (3 / 3) -GF
Pasta (2010)
파스타
The couple is SO cute together, and individually very appealing. Yet there’s so very little plot. (6 / 6) Nothing happens. Ever. Although I would probably watch these two actors weave baskets for twenty hours, so… (6 / 5) –GF
Personal Taste (2010)
개인의취향
The jerky directing is the biggest flaw; the writing is engaging at parts but random in others. Lead couple is well-acted and have charming chemistry. (7 / 6) The untapped potential of this drama nearly kills me. But the main characters are fantastic and funny, and so damn cute. (8 / 6) –GF
Playful Kiss (2010)
장난스런 키스
Despite lack of conflict, the couple is sweet and Jung So-min lovable. But there’s so little story here. (6 / 6) It’s as undramatic as a drama can be, but the cute makes up for it…a little. Jung So-min carries it, although her character can be infuriating at times. (6 / 6) -GF
Poseidon (2011)
포세이돈
Choi Siwon and Lee Shi-young are an adorable matchup. Too bad this coast guard action thriller wants to be cooler than it is. (4 / 4)
Prime Minister and I (2013-14)
총리와 나
A warm, pleasant contract-marriage romance with cute rapport between the mismatched couple. A shame that the ending sputtered out so dully. (7 / 6) They make a sweet candy confection of a couple, but the drama played it so safe it never went anywhere remotely interesting. (6 / 6) –GF
The Princess’s Man (2011)
공주의 남자
Epic and stirring. Constant plot twists, tight political intrigue, and a strong Romeo and Juliet romance with stakes that actually feel life-and-death. (10 / 9)
Prosecutor Princess (2010)
검사 프린세스
Addictive and compelling tale of a modern Love That Cannot Be. The main couple is aces; the rest pales in comparison. It’ll make a Park Shi-hoo fan out of you, and you’ll thank me later. (8 / 7) -GF
Que Sera Sera (2007)
케세라세라
Took a few episodes to fall in love, but boy did I. Intense and unapologetic. Not for the casual watcher. Flawed but complex people drive this character drama. (9 / 9)
Queen In-hyun’s Man (2012)
인현왕후의 남자
Thrilling, romantic, adorable, and engrossing. One of the best of the time-traveler dramas. (9 / 9) Sweeps you up in the romance in a way that many dramas can’t achieve. Some glaring imperfections, but the tone is damn near perfect. (9 / 8) -GF
Queen of Reversals (2011)
역전의 여왕
A comfort-food workplace drama with a lot of heart. The heroine gets put through the wringer, but learns that there’s life after divorce, and maybe even love. (8 / 7) -GF
The Return of Iljimae (2009)
돌아온 일지매
Gorgeous. Poignant. Soundtrack and cinematography are exceptional. (10 / 10) Sweeping, romantic, poetic, and kickass too. I would watch this for a hundred episodes. And then watch it again. (10 / 10) –GF
Rooftop Prince (2012)
옥탑방 왕세자
Uproariously funny once the time-travelers land in Seoul. First and last episodes are an interesting sageuk story, though they feel out of step with the stuff in between. Adorable cast. (7 / 7) Cute, but the tone never hit the right spot for me. Wish it went all-out on the funny instead of spinning its wheels with the needless drama. (5 / 5) -GF
Runaway Plan B (2010)
aka Fugitive Plan B,
도망자 플랜비
Wastes a lot of time in the beginning with flashy action and goofy comedy, but once it settles down, there’s a compelling conflict here. Rain does a fabulous job juggling emotions, action, and humor. (8 / 7) Overly simplistic plot, but the humor and the performances carry it. (7 / 7) -GF
Scent of a Woman (2011)
여인의 향기
A drama about death that’s not really about death. The main trio’s stories edge out the aggravatingly meddly second leads. (8 / 8) Uplifting story about a death sentence spurring the heroine to begin living. Often bogged down by needless plot circles, but the good outweighs the bad. (7 / 8) –GF
School 2013 (2013)
학교 2013
The understated, slice-of-life storytelling packs a surprising emotional punch. (8 / 8) One of my favorite onscreen bromances of dramaland. A good example of youthful stories told in a meaty way, with substance and heart. (9 / 8) -GF
Secret (2013)
비밀
Addictively paced, the show churns out a steady diet of extreme behavior committed by people who are either morally reprehensible or dumb. Often simplistically melodramatic, it’s at least a soapy, entertaining watch. (7 / 7)
Secret Garden (2010)
시크릿 가든
Well-acted, sharp dialogue, great chemistry. Beautiful to look at, but it’s a lot of slick veneer. Alas, I found it hard to connect with emotionally. (7 / 8) Runs the gamut from hilarious to infuriating. Stellar performance by Hyun Bin, but I never managed to fall in love with the characters. (7 / 7) -GF
Shark (2013)
상어
Starts out as a dark, pensive revenge game, but peters out into a rather ordinary and almost pointless melodrama. Revenge should be sweeter than this. (5 / 6) -GF
Shut Up: Flower Boy Band (2012)
닥치고 꽃미남밴드
Pitch-perfect. It’s rockin’ with music and brotherhood, but most of all it’s about the heart-tugging process of finding yourself. (10 / 10) The best and worst of what it means to be young and lost, told with raw energy and a beautiful sense of realism. (9 / 9) -GF
Sly and Single Again (2014)
aka Cunning Single Lady,
앙큼한 돌싱녀
At times silly and overly simplistic with rather broad comedy, but the core of the show is sweet and heartwarming. The main couple (and actors) buoy the show. (7 / 7) Not a deep drama, but it shows what fun a rom-com can be when the actors commit to the comedy. (7 / 7) –GF
The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House (2009)
aka My Too Perfect Sons,
솔약국집아들들
Hilarious, heartwarming family comedy about a family with four sons who each find love, with some help (and interference) from their boisterous family.
(8 / 7)
Soulmate (2006)
소울메이트
Witty, trendy, funny. Fabulous soundtrack and surprisingly tight plotting. Skillful use of chronology and narrative. (10 / 9) Feels like indie cinema in the form of a drama. Edgy, while still capturing a bit of whimsy and romance. (9 / 9) –GF
Standby (2012)
스탠바이
Oh, how I wished this were better. So many actors I love playing characters I didn’t care about. Ha Suk-jin carried this sitcom for me, and for that alone it was worth watching. But only just. (6 / 5)
A Star’s Lover
(2008-09)
스타의 연인
Pro: Choi Ji-woo and Yoo Ji-tae’s acting and great chemistry. Con: Everything else (slow, repetitive, predictable). (5 / 6)
Story of a Man (2009)
aka The Slingshot
남자이야기
Intense, thrilling, smartly woven together. Great balance of light and dark. Hits on all three points of acting, directing, writing—and it’s FUN. (10 / 10)
Strongest Chil Woo (2008)
최강칠우
This is not a good drama, but thankfully its outrageousness (intentional and otherwise) keep it entertaining. Alas its hilarity doesn’t come as frequently as one would like. (6 / 6)
Summer Scent (2003)
여름향기
Probably my favorite of the Season Dramas, because it’s a) not about incest and b) more about the realistic moving on from first love into the present. Atmospheric, and actually uses the feeling of summer in a palpable way. (7 / 6) –GF
Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010)
성균관 스캔들
So cute and well-done. But, ran out of steam toward the end, curtailing the earlier addiction high. (8 / 8) Fantastic fusion sageuk world with gender-bendy shenanigans. Idealistic and addictive, but doesn’t deliver on all its setups. Makes up for it with bromance explosion of epic proportions. (9 / 8) -GF
Suspicious Housekeeper (2013)
수상한 가정부
A little mysterious, a little ominous, the drama turns out to be a heart-warming story of healing, growth, and bonding. Has some slowish moments, but refreshing in tone and message. (7 / 7)
Sweet 18 (2004)
낭랑18세
A breezy romance between a couple who marries first, then falls in love. Led by an adorable pairing (who became a real-life couple after this drama), the stakes are low and so are the dramatics, but the show keeps up a chipper tone as a sweet, innocent rom-com. (8 / 7)
Sword and Flower (2013)
aka Blade and Petal, 칼과 꽃
Overdirected and underwritten, with an ending that’ll make you want to throw your screen. The style actively works against substance. Often pretentious, sometimes insufferable. (3 / 4)
That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013)
그 겨울, 바람이 분다
Beautifully filmed, elegant schlock. Draws you in with its moody, almost dreamy melo touch, but the story it tells is nothing we haven’t seen in other (faux) incest-chaebol-takeover dramas. Disliked every character and the tiresome machinations. (5 / 7)
Thousand Day Promise (2011)
천일의 약속
Su Ae is commanding. Virtually no plot, just a grim progression of a disease with no hope at the end. Depressing and a little smug. (5 / 7) Compelling performances, but in the end you’re left wondering about the point of it all. (6 / 7) -GF
Three Days (2014)
쓰리 데이즈
As an earnest story about a president and his bodyguard, it succeeds. As a taut condensed-time thriller, it pretty much fails. Points for multifaceted characters, but I really wish the plot had been executed differently. (7 / 6) –GF
To the Beautiful You (2012)
아름다운 그대에게
I watched the whole thing and still don’t know why anyone did anything in this drama. It’s cute at times, but I’d trade that for story logic any day of the week. (3 / 3) -GF
Tree With Deep Roots (2011)
뿌리깊은 나무
Sharp writing, slick directing, stellar acting by Han Seok-kyu as Korea’s most famous king. Full of intrigue and thrills. (8 / 9)
Triple (2009)
트리플
Breezy and refreshing, but also slow. Tone feels like Coffee Prince, but lacks focus and direction. (6 / 5) What on earth was the point of this story? I still don’t know, and I watched every single episode. Seriously. Waste of a stellar adult cast. (4 / 3) –GF
Twelve Men in a Year (2012)
일년에 열두남자
A fresh concept and a fun way to explore singledom. But the execution leaves a lot to be desired, and the heroine always felt miscast. (6 / 5) -GF
Two Weeks (2013)
투윅스
Skillfully maintains compelling pace that tempers a breakneck fugitive plot with character development. Wonderful growth trajectory for the underdog hero. (8 / 8) A fugitive story with laser focus and a heartfelt redemption arc. It succeeds in making you feel like you’re along for the harrowing journey every step of the way. (8 / 8) –GF
Unemployed Romance (2013)
실업급여 로맨스
Took what could have been an endearing story of a couple’s reunion and told it upside-down and backwards. I like that it’s about an underdog hero and heroine, but it’s paced all wrong. (4 / 4) –GF
Unstoppable High Kick (2006-07)
거침없이 하이킥
Loosely plotted family sitcom featuring an adorable cast of future superstars. The problems are small, but the show’s heart is big. (8 / 7)
Vampire Idol (2012)
뱀파이어 아이돌
You don’t make a show about alien vampire idol trainees, then half-ass the camp factor. Props for taking all the best parts of a ridiculous concept and adding adorable relationships on top. Sweetly dim. (7 / 6) Messy and low-rent, but all the more endearing because of it. The cutest dose of zany this side of Vampiritus. (8 / 6) -GF
Vampire Prosecutor (2011)
뱀파이어 검사
Sexy and smart, this action-crime drama is more procedural than paranormal, but damn if the paranormal (Mr. Vampire Hotness) isn’t sizzling. (8 / 8) Slick procedural with a supernatural edge that leaves you chomping at the bit for more. (8 / 8) -GF
Vampire Prosecutor 2 (2012)
뱀파이어 검사 2
The crew is back, the dynamic is funnier, and the addition to the team is a welcome and heartwarming one. And yet, it doesn’t quite have the bite (or the punch or kick) of the first season. (7 / 8) Same vampire, less sizzle. (7 / 7) -GF
The Vineyard Man (2006)
포도밭 그사나이
Mildly amusing, but very ordinary. Oh Man-seok is great, Yoon Eun-hye is forgettable. If you’re a Yoon fan, skip it and see Coffee Prince instead. (5 / 6)
Warrior Baek Dong-soo (2011)
무사백동수
Breathtakingly badass and bromantic. Can get draggy at times. Just fast-forward to the fight scenes. (8 / 7) -GF
What’s Up, Fox (2006)
여우야 뭐하니
Good follow-up by writer of Samsoon. Go Hyun-jung is always a treat to watch, as is Chun Jung-myung. Not necessarily exciting, but humorous and witty. (8 / 8) So. Cute. (8 / 7) –GF
White Christmas (2011)
화이트 크리스마스
Hauntingly stark and beautifully shot. A compelling, psychologically tense character study with a flair for darkness that leaves you amazed, and a little scared. (9 / 9) -GF
Who Are You? (2008)
누구세요?
This drama is all heart. Surprisingly better than its silly start, it gets steadily better as you go along, and the body-swapping is both hilarious and meaningful. Yoon Kye-sang is a standout. (9 / 8)
Who Are You? (2013)
후아유
Watchable mix of mystery, paranormal, and procedural cases lightened up by intermittent comic beats. Neither as poignant nor as dark as I wanted it to be; lead couple lacks that spark. Decent showing, but leaves some of its potential unfulfilled. (7 / 7)
Will It Snow For Christmas? (2009-10)
크리스마스에 눈이 올까요?
First half of this romance melodrama is poignant, emotionally wracking, layered; second half gets too convoluted for comfort. Go Soo is marvelous. (8 / 7)
Wish Upon a Star (2010)
별을 따다줘
Pro: It’s unexpectedly charming. Con: Messy plot and weak secondary characters. Adorable kids and an appealing heroine keep it watchable. (8 / 6)
Witch Amusement (2007) aka Witch Yoo Hee

마녀유희

Endlessly mockable, but in the fun way. Pure eye candy, no nutrition. (6 / 3)
Witch’s Romance (2014)
마녀의 연애
This cute workplace noona-romance does nothing different in the rom-com genre, but it hits all the sweet spots and has sizzling couple chemistry. (8 / 7)
The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry (2010)
아직도 결혼하고 싶은 여자
Breezy, witty. Touching and fun depiction of modern friendships and romance. (9 / 8) If you’re ever having a bad day, watch this drama. Instant pick-me-up, and crackling chemistry to boot. (9 / 8) –GF
Wonderful Season (2014)
참 좋은 시절
(? / ?)
The World They Live In (2008) aka Worlds Within
그들이 사는 세상
True to the title, the world is the most compelling thing about this drama. It’s an inside look at drama producers and directors, and while I never loved any of the characters, I did find them fascinating. (6 / 8) –GF
You From Another Star (2013-14)
별에서 온 그대
With its winsome comedy, sizzling chemistry, and a zippy story, it’s not hard to see why this became the rom-com sensation of the year. It’s got some plot holes, but still is one of the best rom-coms to come around in a while. (9 / 9) Lightning in a bottle. A case where its astronomical popularity is well-deserved and then some. (9 / 9) –GF
You’re All Surrounded (2014)
너희들은 포위됐다
(? / ?)
You’re Beautiful (2009)
미남이시네요
Hilarious situations, fast-moving plot, memorable characters. Park Shin-hye is adorable (if dim), but it’s Jang Geun-seok who kills it. (9 / 8) I never knew I wanted to be a cross-dressing girl/boy in an idol band…until this drama. It takes crazy up a few notches, but in the best way possible. (9 / 9) –GF
You’re Here, You’re Here, You’re Really Here (2012)
왔어 왔어 제대로 왔어
As insipid as shows get. I cut it some slack for being on a fledgling cable station with a minuscule budget, but ultimately it flops. Winning leads in a dull world. (4 / 4)
You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin (2013)
최고다 이순신
Alternately adorable and aggravating; had all the parts of a cuter, funnier show yet failed to take advantage of its assets. Focused too much on the insufferables, not enough on the more enjoyable storylines. Not the worst family drama ever, but not the fun ride I wanted it to be. (6 / 5)
You’ve Fallen For Me (2011)
aka Heartstrings
넌 내게 반했어
Cute players, breezy, youthful vibe. But lacks anything resembling an interesting plot. (6 / 5) –GF

 

And for the old stuff…

Autumn Story (2000)
aka Autumn Fairy Tale
가을동화
They’re siblings! They’re not! It’s the classic twisty melodrama, and one of the earlier ones that came before Winter Sonata (same PD) and made stars out of Song Seung-hun and Song Hye-kyo. –GF
Feelings (1994)
느낌
One of the earliest trendy dramas boasting a hip, young, good-looking cast. Probably the first college campus drama. The drama that spawned my love of all things Lee Jung-jae. I blame you, Feelings. –GF
First Love (1996-7)
첫사랑
Choi Soo-jong and Bae Yong-joon as brothers in love with the same girl…their entire lives. It did solidify my early love of Bae Yong-joon as the tragic bad boy, although that image didn’t last very long as he went on to be the headliner of his own dramas. –GF
Forever Yours (1998)
세상끝까지
Watched this because it was the re-team of Kim Hee-sun and Ryu Shi-won, and was sorely disappointed by the overwrought melodramatic fare that never made use of their adorable chemistry (see: Propose, below). –GF
Hotelier (2001)
호텔리어
Bae Yong-joon and Song Yuna (also with Kim Seung-woo and Song Hye-kyo) in an early hit, about the ins and outs of the hotel business. A Cinderella story, of course, with a little wheeling and dealing thrown in. –GF
Icing (1996)
아이싱
A direct rip-off of The Last Match (see below), it tried to re-create its success with recycled cast and story. See Jang Dong-gun with Lee Seung-yeon back when they were trendy young things.
Jealousy (1992)
질투
THE original trendy drama starring still-famous Choi Jin Shil and Choi Su Jong. Funny and cute, see the drama that started the trend. Lightning in a bottle, I think. It was all about the lead couple and the cracktastic will-they-won’t-they. –GF
Last Match (1994)
마지막 승부
Superstar Jang Dong Gun in one of his earliest roles, featuring an extremely young and new Shim Eun Ha! Spawned the sports-drama trend. I loved this drama. To an embarrassing degree. –GF
Popcorn (2000)
팝콘
Oh, this was a bad drama. Mediocre acting and all the typical cliches—she’s dying, he cries a lot—but it’s old-school Song Seung-heon, before he hit his big break.
Propose (1997)
프로포즈
One of my favorite old-school dramas. A trendy romance that followed in the vein of Feelings, and highlighted the burgeoning love between two best friends, played by Kim Hee-sun and Ryu Shi-won when they were both adorably young. –GF
Sandglass (1995)
모래시계
One of the highest-rated dramas ever, and one of the most highly regarded. Stellar cast, stellar writing, this swept the nation and deals with some intense historical events, such as the Gwangju Massacre of 1980. Still probably one of the best, even by today’s standards. I still have a cassette tape of the soundtrack. –GF
Star in My Heart (1997)
별은 내가슴에
Early Hallyu hit and one of the first Cinderella-story dramas. Over-the-top by today’s standards, but who doesn’t love a rags-to-riches romance? Every girl in Korea wanted to be her. Yeah… –GF
Tomato (1999)
토마토
Another Kim Hee-sun vehicle, with a man and a woman as (gasp!) roommates. Sadly, it veered away from the cute and went towards the melodramatic as the series went on. –GF
Wedding Dress (1997-8)
웨딩드레스
Lee Seung-yun and Kim Hee-sun as sisters who both want to be married. I remember it as being wildly popular back in the day, probably because of the stars, as the story is family/romance, and nothing groundbreaking. –GF
Winter Sonata (2002)
겨울연가
The quintessential Hallyu hit, which skyrocketed Bae Yong-joon and Choi Ji-woo to mystifying heights. There’s amnesia, incest, switched identities, life-threatening illnesses, and a lot of crying. A whole lot. –GF
No tags for this post.
1,142 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. all4movies

    Hey Javabeans,
    Since you’re such a fan of Coffee Prince, have you checked out Gong Yoo’s previous work in Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy? He was really adorable in that too.

    [I haven't, but I like Gong Hyo-jin, so maybe will have to eventually. -j ]

     (4)


    • 1.1 jane

      A site ranking Goong higher than Secret Garden, i cant take it seriously.

       (23)


      • 1.1.1 Abbi Kay

        It’s their opinions. In the 21st century, it’s okay to have varying opinions. Some of their ratings I cannot wholly agree with, but I respect their choices.

        End of.

         (23)


      • 1.1.2 kittikiki

        dude, secret garden had a 7/7 and an 7/8. Goong had a 7/7 and an 8/8. There is a one point difference in rating.

         (17)


      • 1.1.3 qiu

        in my opinion,, goong is better than secret garden also…

         (39)


        • 1.1.3.1 LoveDrama

          I strongly disagree! I think that Secret Garden is better the Goong but, yes there were times that I got bored in Secret Garden but then it became really interesting. It made me laugh and cry and those feelings of confusion I didn’t feel in Goong. (This is my opinion) If you want a drama that is the best!! You should watch “You are Beautiful” That drama is the best I have ever watched in my whole life! I recommend for everyone to watch it! It’s really good…If you don’t like it you can come and yell at me as much as you want.

           (6)


          • 1.1.3.1.1 FrozenPearl

            Rate: The plot/how much I enjoyed it

            I’ve watched both. And I think they are neck to neck. I’d rate Goong a 9/8 and Secret Garden an 8/9. If there weren’t any magic soul swapping rain thing (whatever you call it) then it is most definitely an outstanding drama and deserves a 10 for the plot. It will be better than Goong I s’pose, (if without magic soul swapping rain) but…yeah it’s my opinion. You may have something different and it is totally fine.

             (7)


        • 1.1.3.2 nancy

          Bull** I have watched Secret Garden more than 10 times, it has to mean something!

           (3)


      • 1.1.4 jewel

        Agree. Secret Garden my first K-drama. Although Coffee Prince is a very close second…closing in on a tie. Goong??well it was okay but definitely not kin the same league for me.

         (7)


        • 1.1.4.1 Sunset

          Everyone has a soft corner for their first drama no matter what!

          Most of my friends watched BOF first whereas I didn’t. For them BOF i the best. To me, after watching more than 10 K-dramas before BOF, I didn’t find BOF the best!

           (9)


          • 1.1.4.1.1 Sweetpea

            I agree!

            As a matter of fact, BOF was my first drama; I thought it was THE best drama in the whole world when I first saw it. Then, I saw the rating, then recaps (and comments) criticizing the drama to my shock. Haha. Now, after having become a Kdrama veteran, I no longer think BOF is the best- in fact, it’s quite bad honestly. But, I still love it because it was my first “crack”.

             (6)


          • 1.1.4.1.2 kstalls

            I rewatched it and after 2 years and it came tumbling down off it’s pedestal (which is currently now occupied by The Master’s Sun)

             (9)


      • 1.1.5 indiechikki

        hey i think its personal choice.. and both dramas have a different genere. so no point questioning and technically they both were close to each other in terms of acting, mixed emotions, plot etc.. and its just a rating.. ultimately the choice is of the viewer.

         (0)


    • 1.2 BAKAKOI

      Try Stairway to Heaven. It’s a very good one :)

       (3)


  2. vanessa

    Love your work!! Found your site when I was hunting down latest updates on coffee prince a while back and it was great to have you be a step ahead of us anticipating this series.

    [ Thanks! Glad it's helpful. -j ]

     (1)


  3. Anonymous

    hey! i have never commented before on your blog, but i visit your blog a lot ever since the start of CP. i totally love all the information you have on this website and all the amazing songs you upload. i read your reviews or chk out your ratings once im done with any show. i saw soulmate on your recommendation and loved it! i saw que sera sera recently (and dal ja’s few months ago) as well and really loved it. i kept comparing your updates to the shows, and reading it was the same as watching it, coz your updates are well…..simply perfect.

    i was actually posting to ask you whether you have seen any taiwanese dramas? ISWAK/TKA or Sweet relationship or Devil beside you or any other…? if you have, it would be nice to hear your reviews or ratings of these as well. =)

    thank you for all that you post. keep up the excellent work.

    [ To be honest, I haven't tried much in the way of Taiwanese or Chinese dramas, although I tried watching Meteor Garden. I have nothing against them, I just feel more pull when I can understand the language, as with Korean or Japanese dramas. If I hear of an outstanding one, though, I may have to give it a try. -j ]

     (1)


    • 3.1 anniejang

      MARS-absolutely-a must must must, I’m not kidding-

       (1)


      • 3.1.1 anniejang

        And-Sweet Relationship. Both starring Vic Chou, but still-they’re the type of dramas, especially Sweet Relationship, you just live in it.
        Still, MARS, which came later, and is the bigger story, so to speak- is the one that convinced Vic Chou that acting was worth it.

         (0)


  4. nadseventh

    i love how u rate MNIKSS…
    LOL

    [I take it you agree? ;) -j ]

     (0)


  5. Sue

    I second the recommendation for 보리건빵생! It’s really great because it tells so many different stories.
    Should I watch 모래시계? Can you even be considered Korean if you haven’t watched it? Haha.

    [ Sandglass is one of those seminal kdramas. I think everyone has at least *heard* of it and knows the general idea. I wouldn't push someone to watch what they don't want to, but it's a good one to know. -j ]

     (0)


  6. Alodia

    Same here! Love how you rate MNIKSS… gives me goosebumps. Very well said “Poignant and funny, worth the hype”… like your comment for What’s Up Fox as well, which is indeed a good follow up of Kim Do Wo after her MNIKSS. Love Kim Do Wo. If you’ll be able to find some info about her, pls include it here.
    ~~Can’t wait for your review of MNIKSS…

     (0)


  7. hmm

    i’m surprised you haven’t watched Capital Scandal… Kang Ji Hwan was wonderful in it as well! made me fall in love with him! and the drama itself was great.. the entire cast did a great job! highly underrated drama…

    [I know, I know, I'm a bad KJH fan! I tried, but found it too slapstick. Maybe will go back one of these days... -j ]

     (1)


  8. bumper

    Thanks for including Star in My Heart in your oldies ratings. It has been my favorite drama for years. Great music and great looking stars. I wish Ahn Jae Wook still looked like that.

     (1)


  9. dae

    I loved QSS too, I was dissapointed not to see the tandem MJH and EH but I think it worked even better with the female lead being there. It was well worth the watch. Since I have watched MJH in Firebird I followed his acting career so far I have loved the rookie i think it was really hilarious. Didn’t like the parachute like i did the first 2, it was good he had it good with QSS.

    Since your preview of coffee prince, I have been checking out all of those you reviewed well that I haven’t watched. I think am going to check out soulmate.

     (0)


  10. 10 melmac

    as an “old bird” heading toward my “golden years” who has recently discovered the treasure of KDRAMAS please review all the Korean dramas as my goal is to watch every single drama I can get my hands on… I am not Korean but am currently a die hard Kdrama addict….I do my best to get to your blog spot daily…Enjoy your work, keep it up…!!!

    [I'm trying my best! I wish I had more hours in a day, that's for sure. -j ]

     (0)


  11. 11 crrabb

    Hi!! Found your blog while browsing CP related sites.. I guess this list could serve as a guide for my next Kdrama :).. I’m not a Korean, but I usually listen to the dialogues in Korean and read the Chinese subtitles (as I found Korean kinda similar to Chinese in the pronouciations sometimes, so I’m able to catch parts of the speech). It’s good to read your recaps in English, as it helps to capture what was missed out after the subtitling :).. All the best in your blogging.. Aja!!

    [Thanks! -j ]

     (0)


  12. 12 malen

    great site. I love to read you recaps of HGD. I really love the drama. I had tried to watched Flower of My Life which you rated 9/9, but can’t finished it. Not because of the plot but because the heroin looks too young for the hero. She looks like 17.

    [Lol, funny because she's about a decade older than that! -j ]

     (0)


  13. 13 lea85

    i absolutely agree with ur rating, cp and mnikss was my fave ever and now im obsess with soulmate! it really is an underated drama!

     (0)


  14. 14 Helda

    Hi. I love your blog and thanks for uploading CP unofficial soundtrack. I agree most of your ratings, well done.. In my opinion, CP is the best so far especially the soundtrack. i will use your ratings to watch k-dramas.. gonna watch soulmathe ;) keep up the good work.

     (0)


  15. 15 mzpakipot

    mnikss should’ve been 10/10 ……..can’t argue w/flower for my life (i agree!)
    CP didn’t really impress me much..i skipped after 3episode (will try to watch it later)….thanks dramabeans!

     (0)


  16. 16 RoShBob

    The fact that you gave Soulmate and Flowers for My Life both 10s is mind boggling, but to each his or her own. Soulmmate was slow and painful to watch, I endured it out of pure irritation. While Flowers for my Life had me feeling like I just attended a funeral for a horrible storyline. I admit it appears the drama content lately have been lacking and uninspiring, but I wonder if it is because the writers assume we will accept whatever they produce as good entertainment or just boring fillers. I saw an oldie the other day “Country Princess” and I laughed remembering why I love the absurd and predictable at times, but I still have hopes of seeing a drama that will be new and fresh not just full of eye candy and one liners.

    [Yep, to each his/her own. I stand by my assessments, but obviously that's my opinion. -j ]

     (0)


    • 16.1 hs

      Yea, I agree with roshbob. Soulmate is so very very very very painful to finish and, I slept 2-4 times in EACH episodes of Flowers for my life.

      btw, I watched soulmate online while flowers for my life on tv.

       (0)


      • 16.1.1 Judy

        If ifnoramtion were soccer, this would be a goooooal!

         (1)


    • 16.2 Linja

      I would give Soulmate and Flowers for My Life both 10s aswell. Loved Soulmate so much I rewatched it a few times (mainly the last few episodes when everything cames together, LOL) and the OST was awesome. Flowers for My Life was something new and refreshing steering from the norm plots of Cinderella style or Cancer-somebody-dies style. Javabeans rated well. Or maybe we have the same taste =]

       (0)


  17. 17 Miki

    Now that HGD is finished, I’m waiting for your rating….

    I’m thinking of an 8/9. If the pacing and mood could’ve been more consistence (like, the ending and the parts near the beginning but not EXACTLY at the beginning were great, but the jokey-tragic swing mood could’ve been transitioned much better and some parts were just plain repetitive) it would’ve deserved a 10…..

    I’m glad some of my faves got high marks. MNIKSS was my first drama and still remains my fave, but I can see why you didn’t make it all the way 10….I might check out Soulmate and Flowers for My Life.

     (0)


  18. 18 Felicity

    I’m glad that you rated Hong Gil Dong 7/7. While I enjoyed watching this drama, I didn’t find it to be all *that* good, given the hype and massive interest shown by netizens. Sagueks in previous years like Damo and Jumong were much more memorable with stronger development of the central characters and better pacing, imo.

     (0)


  19. 19 Pully

    You don’t know how satisfy I was when I saw you rate HGD 7/7. lol.

    I loved HDG, yeah, past tense. But the ending is like an arrow shot my heart and threw me off the cliff. (LOL)

     (0)


  20. 20 Imee

    I must have seen more than 50 Korean dramas since being introduced to it by friends in New Jersey last year.

    I agree with you 100% with Flowers For my Life. I also enjoyed Delightful Girl. One of the best made Kdramas is Lovers in Paris and I enjoyed Tree of Heaven though I must have finished 2 boxes of tissues while watching. Thank You is also a good one and Heart of 19.
    The series I am currently watching and enjoying so much is YI SAN and the very hilarious drama HAPPINESS which I am liking more than LIKABLE OR NOT.

     (0)


  21. 21 sungjin

    Hong Gil Dong deserves a 10 in my opinion! It was the best drama ever!!!

     (0)


  22. 22 devi noviani

    Hong gil Dong, the best movie i wacth in this year…

     (0)


  23. 23 Morgan_Marie

    Coffee Prince is amazing. I had the chance to watch the entire series a year after it originally aired, and was so very sad to see it finally end.

    Recommendations:

    Winter Sonata

    First Love of a Royal Prince (Not the correct English translation)

     (0)


  24. 24 Jhansu

    Hong Gil Dong was sooooo awesome! I totally loved it! I’d give it a 10/10!

     (0)


  25. 25 serendipity

    I’ve been newly discovering K-dramas, and I don’t think I could have done it so quickly without your reliable guiding – thanks! My own ratings would differ from yours largely as a matter of personal taste, I think. For instance Dal Ja’s Spring didn’t quite push my buttons, but I agree it was more original than most. I find myself returning to Goong because I adore its beauty and lyricism, notwithstanding its risible plot and acting. I am now watching Exhi of Fireworks for my KJH fix, and it’s such a mess I’m speechless (but still watching out of what I can only imagine is morbid fascination). No doubt you have been told before, but you really have to somehow or another fit into your busy viewing schedule my favourite, Mawang. It is stupendous!

    [Haha, Fireworks is almost trainwreck bad, isn't it? It's almost a separate enjoyment to watch out of curiosity. -j ]

     (0)


  26. 26 corn

    you should watch ‘wonderful life’, ‘sweet 18′, ‘surgeon bong hal-dee’ and ‘new heart’. those are in my opinion some of the better k-dramas def worth watching.

    [They're on the (ever-growing, sigh) list. -j ]

     (1)


  27. 27 L!nda

    I;ve watched like 89% of these drama and i totally agree with your rating..My fav drama are MNIKSS..Whats Up fox (in love with it)..Goong..The Vineyard man was great and so many more..Wonderful Life..Great Inheritance loads more

     (0)


  28. 28 gail

    dear javabeans, have you seen “alone in love?” if so, how did you rate it? i finished it in january, but even now, I still miss the drama. i am rewatching the scenes i enjoyed. i am sad that i’m not currently following a drama that affects me the same way as “alone in love” does. :(

    [Ah, must go back and finish! I agree it's an excellent show, but I started watching when I was super-busy... -j ]

     (0)


  29. 29 km

    Hello, I just wanted to thank you for your drama ratings! Because of them, I’ve watched shows that I would have skipped otherwise, like Flowers, Soulmate and EIA.

    EIA was an AMAZING ride. & I loved the fact that you’ve provided recaps, so I had a chance to go through the whole drama again (which I did, almost immediately after finishing the last ep)! Can there be any actor more perfect than Min Ki for the role of Mu Yeol? He was soo hilariously cute :D He was terrifically suave in Dalja’s Spring as well sigh. Anyway, I’m really enjoying your site, so keep it up!

     (0)


  30. 30 Bee

    Thank you for all the great summaries and comments. They are very helpful to lure other people into watching the shows. :)
    One kdrama that took me by surprise is “One mom three dads”. At first I was very sceptic, what with the “Three men and a baby” premise, but I was pleasently surprised at how they have handled it so far. It’s a very warm and heartfelt drama with lots of humor, and currently fighting over the “top spot” of fav drama with “Who are you”…

     (0)


  31. 31 Row

    Your site is very informative. Nice, easy read and most enjoyable. You write well. Most of the dramas you’ve rated I’ve seen (except the old ones) and I agree except for one, which is Lovers. I thought it was one of the best I’ve seen for a Korean Drama (not that I prefer anything else, LOL), probably because the interaction of the two leads are most natural, their perfect chemistry shined throughout. I always thought that when they are together, interacting, they are literally alive (and thus, the drama). Like you, I loved Que Sera Sera! I was feeling it completely.

    Goodluck to you! Please keep blogging! Hopefully one of these days you’ll write about the current drama Hapiness/Bliss. Please be particulary obervant about the character being played by Ha Suk Jin and Eun (sorry forgot her full name, she plays Ae Da). They are good and so is the drama.

    [I do think Lovers is a decent show, but I had a very strong negative reaction which was totally personal. -j ]

     (0)


    • 31.1 Kimberley

      Hey, Javabeans, first off: have you done any subbing for some of the dramas? I have seen “Javabeans in some of the subbing credits.

      Secondly, thanks so much for these drama ratings! I have watched my last 4 dramas based off your reviews–especially loved Return of Iljimae, which I even got the hubs to watch with me! The only drama I couldn’t finish, that you gave a good rating was “Flowers for my Life.” I managed around 4 or 5 episodes, but it just seemed to be dragging to me.

      Please keep up your good work!!

       (0)


  32. 32 debbie

    agreed with you on A LOT of dramas :D delightful girl choon hyang was my fav! loved your analysis on all the dramas XD

     (0)


  33. 33 celia

    everytime i look for a good k-drama to watch, i go to this page, and it never disappoints. your picks are awesome! they’re not typical, (mostly) underrated, fresh and offers something different from the usual k-drama stuff. otherwise i wouldn’t have watched and loved soulmate, bad family, and que sera sera. please do watch more dramas for us to pick! i know this blog’s all about k-dramas, but it would be great if u can recommend some great k-movies too.. pretty please?

    [I'm glad to be of help! As for movies, I'm not nearly as familiar with them as I am with dramas, but who knows, maybe one of these days i'll write about 'em... -j ]

     (0)


  34. 34 phuongthanh

    just wanna ask you..what nationaly are you?

    [I'm Korean by ethnicity, American by nationality. -j ]

     (0)


  35. 35 *dramas2

    whaaaat? javabeans you haven’t yet watched stairway to heaven?! why is it not on your list?

    [I know STH has its diehards, but sorry, all the weepiness gives me hives. -j ]

     (0)


  36. 36 polarmi

    very pleased WHO ARE YOU got high rating..

     (0)


  37. 37 Katrina

    Javabeans – thanks so much for sharing your reviews of Korean dramas; this does help in deciding what to watch next among numerous dramas out there. Majority of your highly rated selection I’m in alignment with like My Name is Kim Sam, Delighful Girl Chum Yang, Coffee Prince and Full House. However, I tend to differ with your outlook of Only You and Lovers. My Mom who is 80 likes the Only You series so much she watched it 5 times to date. Both of us have fallen in love with JHJ, and thinks he’s a good actor. Lovers I enjoyed especially how the attraction developed between the lead actors. I think some of the episodes should have been edited out, some of the scenes were melodramatic, but overall I liked it.
    As always, keep up the good work!

    [Makes sense -- I think if you love the lead actors, the series are much easier to like. If you don't (like me), things were less interesting. -j ]

     (0)


  38. 38 vieny

    FYI, much ppl in indonesia fall in love in korean drama because of FULL HOUSE . the cast was good, pretty, fresh and funny..lots of ppl admit that. they like funny story than the sad one. and so with the Dae Jang Geum and Princess Hours (goong) drama. these drama make a remarkable korean wave here. so, i must give the three drama two thumbs up!

     (0)


  39. 39 innocentsteps456

    you should watch Capital Scandal with Kang JI Wan especially since you seemed to enjoy Hong Gil Dong.

     (0)


  40. 40 kim

    You have not rated 4 of my all time favorites

    1) Resurrection
    2) The devil (Mawang)
    3) White Tower
    4) Thank you

    Good to see two old favorites on the list “sandglass” and “jealousy”. Coffee Prince was entertaining fluff. The only new thing was the gender bending angle. It doesn’t hurt that they have a gorgeous cast either.

    [The first three are on my must-watch list. They're darker though, which means I've gotta be in a particular mood to watch them. I've tried to start Thank You about four or five times but it never gripped me. -j ]

     (1)


    • 40.1 oppie

      what about Ghost?? That is one of the “two thumbs up” drama.
      So Ji Sub is the best actor !!!

       (0)


    • 40.2 ReiBo

      I agree with you about Thank you, in the sense that the first 2 epi are sloppy but as you pass that stage, its a heart-tugging story.
      Also, I didn’t see any rating for Iljimae or did I miss it?

      Nevertheless, thank you for always connecting us with the K-drama world! :)

       (0)


  41. 41 sticyo

    Hong Gil Dong…I rated it 9/9
    It’s really completely… full of comedy,action and romance…
    I like the chemistry between Hong Gil Dong and Yi Nok … So romantic…

     (0)


  42. 42 smiley6yrl

    hey javabeans, i was wondering the same thing. Since you are so into Kang Ji Hwa, why arent you watching Capital Scandal yet? I think that it was a great drama done by him along with his cast members. You should really check it out.

     (0)


  43. 43 YEHfanGirl

    OMG thank god i read your Blog because i was about to watch bad couple but i said no then i said ill give it a try but i read this and now i wont. i didn’t like the synopsis of it in the first place.

     (0)


  44. 44 epyc

    just a note to the KJH fans out there. I think his talent in Capital Scandal is wasted in that the drama itself is very one-dimensional – beautiful set with eye-catching costume and so on but the emotional side is very lacking due to a very thin and unconvincing plot. I actually can’t believe it came from the author of Coffee Prince which I adore to bits. The female lead character played by HJM, to me, is the weakest of all to the point of unbelievably naive. The only more appealing aspect of CS with gravaitas is actually the second couple. Having said that, KJH did a great job nonetheless.

    For a good KJH fix, watch Be Strong Geum Soon which brought KJH to stardom. Dont’ get scared by the length of over 160 episodes, you’ll feel rewarded after watching it. I went through the journey of fast-forwarding all the what I consider unneccessary bits but then returned to watch in full after falling in love with almost all the side characters whose personal strengths and weaknesses make this is a very ‘complete’ and fulfilling drama.

     (0)


  45. 45 Dele

    Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!! Soulmate got 10/10…duh its the best drama I have ever seen to date. Your rating were pretty fair:)

     (0)


  46. 46 mys

    the vineyard man is one of my favorite dramas. the first time i watched it..i didnt like it much..the second time i felt like i saw it through different eyes. love the way the country life was depicted even though its ur typical cheesy 4 way romance drama. The countryside..Eun Hye’s hilarious antics..her acting wasnt the best but she always made me laugh and of course Oh Man Seuk’s great performance made it worthwhile.
    Many people consider Coffee Prince to be hyped up only due to the gender bending turn but the drama is a lot deeper than that and not ur typical romantic comedy…the script was very cleverly written..the supporting cast were given importance…close attention was given to set details, the producing and acting were great and so was the chemistry between all the characters.

     (1)


  47. 47 momo

    Totally agree with your ratings especially of soulmate. I really wish there’d be a season two. Although its quite obvious they’d meet again. I think I’ll check out flowers for my life. I heard it got real low ratings so i kept on putting it off. Anyways keep up the good work. will be visiting your site frequently from now on :)

    [I wished for a Season 2, too, but it's okay. I was satisfied with the way it ended, and I totally have my version of how that story continues in my mind. -j ]

     (0)


  48. 48 leanie

    xD you’re missing…

    1) stairway to heaven
    2) all about eve
    3) my girl

    have you really not watched those or do you just not feel that they’re good enough to be on this page? lol just curious.. ’cause those three are all AMAZING dramas!

    [STH I didn't react well to. All about Eve, ooh, I did watch it, but I barely remember it now. My Girl's on the list. ;) -j ]

     (2)


    • 48.1 Dee Dee

      I think liking All About Eve all depends on the person. My mom loves it, mainly because of the lead couple. But, personally I didn’t really like the chemistry between Jang Dong Gun and Chae Rim. Chae Rim looked a lot better in All About Eve, but in general, her role in Dal Ja’s Spring was so much better. Dal Ja and Tae Bong were amazing!

       (0)


  49. 49 nygrl

    Agree Stairways to Heaven was terrible. That and Autumn Tale were the two dramas that I despise the most. It was so trying and annoying. I don’t even think I finished watching either of them.

    Though I enjoyed watching Coffee Prince it didn’t leave much of an impression on me after I finished it. I would hardly call it deep and its not a drama I would watch twice. I do applaud it by pushing the kdrama envelope to another level by exploring a topic of loving someone despite their gender and having a less conventional kdrama heroine.

    [I was impressed by that aspect as well, being fairly progressive considering the usual kdrama conventions. -j ]

     (0)


  50. 50 DharAl

    I’m not sure that “Who Are You” should receive 9/8 since the story itself somehow a bit boring, and I don’t think there is a chemistry between the two lovers. Because the character building is very weak. my opinion, the girl did a very terrible acting compared to the guy.
    Soulmate, Hong gil dong, Flowers of my life are some of the best i’ve ever watch.

    [How you react to the characters is probably the biggest factor in whether a person likes a drama, so I can see your point. Personally, I loved Yoon Kye Sang, which is why I was so drawn in. -j ]

     (0)


Add a Comment

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published)

Website

 characters available. Comments will be truncated at the word limit.