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
Fated To Love You (2014)
운명처럼 널 사랑해
(? / ?)
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. (6 / 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)
High School King of Savvy (2014)
고교처세왕
(? / ?)
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 Gunman (2014)
조선 총잡이
Gorgeously shot, well-acted, engaging use of history—just a bit less exciting than I’d wished for. Consistently solid storytelling, but I would’ve taken lower lows to get higher highs. (8 / 7)
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)
Marriage Not Dating (2014)
연애말고 결혼
(? / ?)
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
Trot Lovers (2014)
트로트 연인
A silly show with outlandish plot twists that overdoes what could (should) have been a sweet story of romance and growth in the lesser-known world of trot music. Points for Jung Eun-ji’s awesome a cappella singing, which was a highlight—perhaps the only one. (5 / 5)
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
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1,157 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. 751 Leila

    You didn’t put Nice Guy or Full House Take 2 up there yet, even though you recapped them. Is there a specific reason? I loved reading your recaps for them, by the way :)

    • 751.1 Kathleena Ramos

      they’ve only just finished. i’d give them some time before they put them up here

  2. 752 Rhonda Garcia

    I’ve only recently discovered Kdramas and find your ratings and recaps a helpful tool in exploring this new world. I totally agree with you about Flower Boy Ramyun Shop and You’re Beautiful, both were a hoot to watch. I still laugh whenever I think of the Taser scene in You’re Beautiful or the final plunger scenes in Ramyun Shop. I loved Coffee Prince as well, but thought the ending was awful.

    Although I agree with your assessment of Faith’s weaknesses, I would give it a much higher rating because I loved the main love story, secondary love story, Woodalchi and Lady Choi so much. With decent directing and tighter writing, it could have been amazing.

    I enjoyed Queen In-hyun’s Man, but found it unbalanced. The storyline in the past had movement and depth, but the storyline in the present was both jerky and static with all the secondary characters getting stuck in a time loop that played the same scenes over and over again whenever our hero returned from the past. Not much happened in the present while he was gone either. The ending felt like a cheat. Cell phone turned into talisman with no set up. I’d give it a much lower rating based on that alone.

    My Name Is Kim Sam Soon was well done, but I don’t rate it as high as everyone else seems to because I didn’t fall in love with Kim Sam Soon or her jerky boyfriend. I did love the actors playing them though. I would have enjoyed the character of Sam Soon more minus the occasional Sam Soon is “wonderful” and “special” line spouted by someone in the series – heck, even her sleazy ex got into the act at one point. It was just too much. This series also had an ending that was a disappointment. I found it pessimistic and slightly fatalistic when I think it was going for pragmatic and practical.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of the endings for these dramas are less than satisfying. Why is that? Any good kdramas out there with great endings?

  3. 753 Faranak

    I respect your opinions,but i wanna say my own opinions :-D
    Gaaaaaaksital: 10/10 Awesome,shaking,and believable story, powerful acting,for showing emotions( It IS obvious i mean Joo Won :-D ) park ki woong was Great 2! The last scene Realy Made Me Cry and feel proud ;-)
    Queen inhyun’s man:10/10 cute and believable love story,I Enjoyed A Lot watching it+tip toe kiss :-D
    The king 2hearts: 10/9 Bromance was great!and i could feel the love with them :-)
    The princess man: 9/9 it was sweet and painful,specialy in scenes both lovers were face to face!

  4. 754 Alice

    I’m so glad you like The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry! It’s one of my favorite dramas, but it seems like its never mentioned, constantly overlooked and under appreciated! If you thought that couple’s chemistry was cute in TWWSWTM, you’d probably like the chemistry between the leads in Office Girls. It gives plenty of adorable couple moments, even if the office manager and stock characters arereally, really, really annoying. It was my second Taiwanese drama after Miss Rose (which wasn’t terrible, but the heroine was a limp noodle). Office Girls has nearly the same cast – I don’t know if this is typical of TW dramas or if I just happened to pick two shows with the same casts playing the same roles- but was much funnier, and the main couple much cuter.

  5. 755 katey

    if you are interested in checking out taiwanese dramas, i strongly recommend In Time With You. It is rather atypical in that it is more thoughtful and less slapstick, but it has a lot of heart. the premise is rather similar to 9 Ends 2 Outs, which might be a plus!

    • 755.1 Evadiva

      I love that drama! It was the 2nd Taiwanese drama I watched and it was so great. It didn’t seem that the plot would exist only the drama world, but actually in real life. The acting was superb and the plot was realistic, lovely, and amazing on so many levels.

    • 755.2 dramalover

      I agree with you! It is similar to ‘Reply me 1997′. But more emphasis is placed on the deep friendship between the 2 leads and within the classmates, and also the kinship. The setting is different too. ITWY started off with the leads in their 30’s, hence the exploration of more mature themes. Reply adds in the fandom factor and emphasise on the growing up process.

  6. 756 michca

    Thanks for your ratings list! It reminded me of dramas I’ve loved and have forgotten, plus some of the really bad ones that have made me curse at the computer screen. *cough* Big *cough*
    Also, this is helping me choose my next drama to watch while I wait for more Flower Boy Next Door episodes to air. :) Cheers!

  7. 757 vika26

    autumn in my heart,the king 2 hearts,my princess , full house ,oh my lady,playfull kiss, 49 days,my girlfrien is a gumiho kapan diputar lagi di layar kaca

  8. 758 'School2013'FORTHEWIN

    I absolutely love your commentary, even after watching dramas I come to this site just to read your guys’ witty analysis! If you enjoyed answer me 1997, shut up flower boy band, You’re beautiful, and Vampire prosecutor I would highly recommend Special affairs team ten and school 2013!! My k-drama taste lies within the seemingly ‘light’ stories.. but reallyyyy tug at your heart throughout the series and fills you with countless emotions, making you rethink the philosophy of life and your reasoning of logic, ethics, etc. It fills you with this type of nostalgia and some school related series like ‘school 2013′ brings sentimental thoughts of ‘youth’ as you watch the characters have this purity of love that tries its hardest to endure all the worldly realities and forcing it to be a apart of the “adult like” games that they are not yet ready for but have to force themselves to be a part of. The ‘police – criminal investigational – secretive mystery’ type of drama like ‘Special affairs team ten’ makes you feel a type of solemn reality and although it may be a bit gory/scary the mysteriousness of the characters that unfold throughout the series gets you really attached and the cases they deal with one after another reallyyyy draws you in. And how everything eventually ties in, it makes you shiver but wanting more! LOL special affairs team ten is having a second season just like vampire prosecutor and I’m counting the days… anyways I absolutely loved these two series and would love to see your feedback on it, PLEASE WATCH IT!!

    • 758.1 jan

      i agree with you on the TEN series.. i’ve watched TEN2 and is similarly interesting.. the team tho were sent to their mother nits in the end.. would be interesting to have them reunited for a 3rd season.. hope network producer OCN would consider that.. :D

      i recommend Cruel City ( aka Heartless City).. it’s still ongoing but on it’s last 2 episodes next week.. can’t wait how it will end.. i only hope that it justifies the means for the plot has been amazingly developed in every episode.. giving the viewers the eagerness and can’t wait feeling to see the next.

  9. 759 TechnoKeats

    Why is “Padam, Padam” not here?

  10. 760 Best in the World

    Although I agree with some of the rankings here, I don’t understand why you gave a high score to Gaksital and The Return of Iljimae.

    Gaksital – considering that some of your drama had low ratings because of repetitive plot well this one should have took the cake. Just how many times Mok-Dan got caught by the police? Two or three? And not just her, a hell lot of others. They got caught, tortured, interrogated, and perhaps killed. And that actually drag up to 28 long episodes.

    The Return of Iljimae – yes, they had laid the story systematically. But because of that, the story become stale and boring. The Iljimae (before this one) is much much more better than this one. I can’t believe this got 10 on your rankings.

    • 760.1 vitaminde

      agree with you.. iljimae is better than the return i think..
      i rarely watch saeguk, but the first saeguk that catch my heart is iljimae..

    • 760.2 luci8le

      About the return of iljimae/iljimae comparison… well I find it difficult to compare actually. the main character is the same but the writing, the acting, the tone of the show is completely different.
      I see ROI as the hyung, smart and serene, while iljimae is more like the nice funny little brother who’s trying to play badass.
      I found iljimae enjoyable at the time but I don’t think I could watch it again now (like I enjoyed BOF when it was airing but there is no way I will lose 25 more hours of my life watching it!) while ROI is still one of the most beautiful show I’ve seen. It’s smart, poetic, well written and well played. It’s like watching a movie – quality speaking.
      in my opinion at least.

  11. 761 sterlingisme

    Just thought I’d write a quick note and let ya’ll know how much I loved this list and the quipy remarks.
    It’s more closely aligned with my ratings than any other drama list.
    Thanks!

  12. 762 NewFan

    I got bored one day, decided to browse the international genre on Hulu Plus, landed on Coffee Prince and got hooked. Hooked, I tells ya! I even played sick and stayed home from work to watch City Hunter, literally all day. I’ve since regained control of myself, but I can still lose a few hours a night watching “one more episode” of something. Then I come read your recaps since some things obviously don’t translate too well, and the subtitles can be a little….odd.

  13. 763 Ruby

    Just wanted to say thanks for your excellent recaps. I’m a newbie to kdramas – in the past couple months I’ve watched Faith, Rooftop Prince, SKK Scandal, Boys Before Flowers, and City Hunter. Thanks to your recaps, whenever I’m a little confused about what happened, I can always come here for clarification. I know how much time recapping takes (I reviewed shows like Merlin, 24, and Sanctuary over at CliqueClack), and you do an outstanding job.

  14. 764 fewmore

    if i wanna watch a drama i just look up to your suggestion since you people have very much similar taste like mine……
    ur ratings are so exact and true…

  15. 765 Devin

    Your comment on “I Miss You.” <3

  16. 766 laraffinee

    Thank you so much for your recaps and ratings! Of course everyone has their individual favorites and many of us may differ in what we like in a drama, but you do an exceptional job of giving the gist of the story and the production quality and I find you an invaluable guide to what I will watch. I also find your recaps to be excellent to clarify some spotty translation/subtitles.

    I feel cheated when a story I have watched for 16-24 or more episodes fizzles into stupidity (“Big” anyone), so it really helps to get the insights to where a series is going. My all time favorite so far is “Queen In Hyun’s Man”. Each of us have our favorites.

    Thank you again for this wonderful site!

  17. 767 annieflln

    Great work!! I love your review…especially the extra comment…their great, often hillarious. Keep the good work guys!!

  18. 768 anouk

    ohh…we have the same wavelengths i gues…some of the above movies that i have seen …i wud rate it the same as you did…….am gona c the other ones you loved!!! thanks

  19. 769 Greg

    Just wanted to add my thanks for the ratings and reviews you’ve done. My wife and I have been watching KDramas for nearly 2 years now, and always have trouble deciding on which drama to commit to next. We watched Queen InHyun’s Man based on your recommendation. We were concerned during the first episode by the casting of Yoo In Na. We didn’t think she would be able to pull of the role. Ji Hyun Woo was fantastic from start to finish, and by the finish I had to admit I was wrong about Yoo In Na. Very wrong. Their chemistry really made the show.

    Since you were so right about that one, we gave Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy a try. Another winner. Also nice to see Gong Hyo Jin and Gong Yoo when they were younger. Gong Yoo really stood out, even then. Nice to see him back from the army and finding work acting, again.

    Your site has become our first destination when looking for something new. Please keep the reviews coming. I don’t agree with all of them, but appreciate the comments to explain your ratings far more than the ratings themselves. Your enthusiasm (or lack of enthusiasm) clearly comes through in those comments.

    Thank you to both Javabeans and Girl Friday.

  20. 770 MISA

    How come Jumong/ Dae Jang Geum,(historical) and I’m sorry I love you( modern ) are not in your list ? I strongly suggest you to watch it if you didn’t because those are on my ” masterpiece list”.

    • 770.1 Susan

      I am with you on Dae Jang Geum! It’s k-drama gold!
      I haven’t seen the other one…will have to put that on my watch list!

    • 770.2 Joy

      Love, love, love I’m sorry I love you, rewatched some scenes numerous times, i think its my fav kdrama, he loved Eun Chae to death literally and she loved him the same, brilliant drama

  21. 771 MISA

    PS: If you have time one day, you should make an “awful drama ” list and put 7 level civil servant in the top. I waste 5 hours of my life watching the first 5 episodes! Horrible! 0/10. I am not joking, I hope I will forget it soon. I don’t know if it’s me, but I watch korean drama since 2007 and the quality is dropping dramatically.

    And I find historical drama are very biased towards Korean history. I just saw empress Chun Chu and you can tell some events are ridiculously exagerrated. Chinese dominated Asia, and had the largest empire yet they make it as if Goguryo was a challenger for the Chinese empire ! LOL ?! Korean can pe proud of their history but they should tell the truth instead of making false praises.

  22. 772 Caitlyn

    I’ve been coming to this site for I don’t know how long, and i’ve only just discovered the Ratings tab, lol. I wanted to know what JB and GF thought of What’s Up Fox, and if they enjoyed it as much as I did. And they did, so i’m happy.

    I’ve gone through the list and added the higher rated shows to my Must Watch list, and i’ve taken a few of the lower rated shows off my list. I can guarantee that if GF or JB didn’t like it, I won’t either. It’s crazy how much I agree with them, GF in particular. If she says something is boring or not worth my time, it’s Dropped.

  23. 773 Leileiquisha

    Thank you so much for this. Very interesting and saved me alot of time why trying to decide what to watch next. ^.^

  24. 774 flower boy

    Can u recommend me the best drama for me to watch it??

  25. 775 Kurayuzaki666

    both writers are ACTUALLY BIAS AT SOME POINT. Be OBJECTIVE, dont be SUBJECTIVE. If you love the drama because you love that darn actor starred in that drama then you just waste your credibility. #Shameful

    • 775.1 celloangelninja

      It’s their opinion. If you don’t agree, then that sucks for you.

  26. 776 jat

    hi JB and GF, I just wanted to ask if there’s any drama that you would tilke to re rate? the drama that first time watching, u kinda dislike it and the second time, u watch it like u never watch it before. becoz the the first time I watch Marry me Mary, I can’t process all the craziness and illogical things happened in the drama. though I finish it coz I love kim jae wook. but the second time I watch it, I seriously love it, i dont know if it becoz my love for KJW or I knew whats coming and I am able to focus on and enjoy the romance instead of other things.

  27. 777 Slayer

    I really love That Winter The Blows. Two leads, not only beautiful, they played their roles with great fineness, surfacing all the rest of the current popular actors. wow! Time worth spend…

  28. 778 Anonymous

    I don’t agree with most of these ratings but then again everybody is entitled to their own opinions

  29. 779 Susan

    my fav K-dramas so far:

    Brain
    Horse Doctor
    The Great Queen Seondeok
    Dae Janggeum (aka Jewel in the Palace)
    Shining Inheritance
    Faith
    City Hunter
    Beethoven Virus
    The Moon Embracing the Sun
    My Name is Kim Sam Soon
    Boys Over Flowers (special to me as it was my first K-drama and got me hooked!)
    Autumn in my Heart

    Others that i’ve seen and enjoyed:
    Bridal Mask – very good drama,, plot and acting, but too many torture scenes, which i didn’t enjoy as much. I learned a lot about that period in Korean history though…which was great and well done.

    Full House – enjoyable and cute. I agree that it got a little repetitive towards the end. And I didn’t like the whole theme re: the girl being the “maid” and loving the guy who forced her into that role. That just bothers me.

    IRIS – entertaining, kept me watching, and I wished there was a good sequel, but there really isn’t. (IRIS 2 was soo boring i couldn’t get through the first episode! and what’s the point if none of the original cast is in it!). Wasn’t the best i’ve seen though. City Hunter is a MUCH MUCH better action thriller movie, by a longshot.

    K-drama I DIDN’t enjoy:

    Flower Boy Ramyun shop – totally superficial. zero plot. The only thing that kept me watching was Lee Ki Woo. The girl was stupid for clinging to the arrogant rich kid. I can’t stand it!

    • 779.1 anonymous

      agree! i didn’t enjoy flower boy ramyun shop

  30. 780 POPSMISSION

    Hello everybody!!

    My favourite Kdrama list: (Not in order!!)

    Arang & the Magistrate
    Faith
    Tamra the Island
    Queen In-hyuns Man
    Flower Boy Next Door
    Dream High (the first drama I ever watched, cheesy as hell but with SO MUCH HEART…sob!!)

    I have also very recently started watching ‘Time between Dog and Wolf’ after hearing really good things about it. I think it is really fantastic so far (not quite halfway through) and man is Lee Jun Ki wonderful in it!!!

    Although I did just reach the bit where he cuts his hair into the most atrocious feathery mullet I have ever seen and is also wearing a dangly earring… :(

    Apparently that is how gangsters dress in Korea but
    I still really hope that he changes it back again soon….

    It is such a tense and exciting drama so I am really loving it and hope it stays this good!

  31. 781 POPSMISSION

    Also, I forgot to say….. I just watched Duelist, (the absolute best movie I have ever seen, Korean or otherwise) and I heard that the Kdrama ‘Damo’ is based on the same source material and also stars Ha Ji Won, which has made me quite interested in it.

    Has anyone seen Damo and if so, was it worth it?

    I have read some positive reviews but get a bit upset if there is no happy ending…..

  32. 782 hissycow

    I recently started watching taiwanese dramas, and while not as good as K-dramas (IMO), I love, love, loved ToGetHer, AKA Superstar Express with Jiro Wang and Rainie Yang as the leads. From there, I went to Absolute Boyfriend, mainly because of Jiro, he is shirtless a lot in that one and let me tell you he is H-O-T!!! Now I have the song “Pretend we never loved” From the absolute boyfriend OST in my head all day and watch it on youtube all the time! Jiro, how do I love thee………..

  33. 783 KDramaShroom

    You’re Beautiful was the best drama ever! Should have been a 10/10 but still glad that you guys gave it high rankings. Can’t agree with dramas like dr. jin, secret garden, and Gentleman’s dignity having such low scores though..I thought they were both great. I guess it is the difference in opinion though. I don’t look to dramas to feel the realism and emotional connection, but rather the fun chemistry and interesting plot of the drama. Different opinions I guess.

  34. 784 Vine

    Where are mah sageuks? hahahaha!

  35. 785 jan

    You’re beautiful is the best!

  36. 786 Choco

    You’re ratings are quite okay but I disagree with some. ‘I Miss You / Missing You’ is a great and a very recommended movie! I’ll rate it between 8 to 10.

    What’s with ‘A screaming, wailing, fucking mess. (3 / 4)’? That’s soooo untrue

    • 786.1 Best in the World

      because the lead girl is so ugly end of story

    • 786.2 bluesky

      @Choco
      IKR..IMY is one of a great drama ever! even my boyfriend who didn’t like melodrama and more to action drama says daebak to IMY..

      I am in shocked the way they rates for “Flower Boy Ramyun Shop” and also for YAB.. *mental breakdown!

      okay..okay..I respect yours..peace^^

  37. 787 Wesley Lee

    I really do not understand the major mindless wave of infatuation with You’re Beautiful. I didn’t finish the drama and it did have its cute charm but Park Shin Hye’s two dimensional, flat, boring character made it hard for me to watch. She didn’t seem to have a personality but spout lines. Same with Rooftop Prince. I tried watching Coffee Prince but Yoon Eun Hye’s cry baby, tough chick character was too much. However, The Innocent Man kept me on my toes each week with magnificent acting and character development.

  38. 788 Xache

    Queen In Hyun’s Man pawns each and every one of those. Period!

  39. 789 valerie

    I’m really sorry for asking this, but I noticed that reply 1997 is missing. Do you intend to not giving rating to it, coz I would love to see your rating and opinion about it :)

    • 789.1 Best in the World

      it is on the list you are just blind

  40. 790 Best in the World

    Reply 1997 = best kdrama ever period

  41. 791 Raine

    Hi GF and JB, I just wanted to say how much I love your blog. I always check it out to see if you are reviewing the drama I am currently watching and then read your recap after I have watched an episode. I love your comments and insights.

    I only just discovered your rating list now. I just wanted to say I agree with GF about Choi Han-gyul, although I also love Choi Hang-seong. Coffee Prince is my number 1 all time favourite k-drama (I think I have watched it at least 5 times now and never get sick of it).

    Thanks also for the rating for Winter Sonata. I have been going to watch it for ages precisely because it is THE classic Hallyu Wave drama but am worried it will be one big cry-fest. One of the first k-dramas I ever watched starred Choi Ji-woo, along with Lee Byung-hun (Beautiful Days 2001) and I was emotionally exhausted with all the crying. I barely survived it, so I am quite terrified to watch Winter Sonata :P After reading your rating, I might hold off a bit longer lol

    • 791.1 Raine

      opps – typo: Choi Han-seong, not Choi Hang-seong.

  42. 792 celloangelninja

    Please update this more… I really do enjoy your insight on dramas, and agree with you on most terms.

  43. 793 juner

    Well, here most of melodrama received low ratings and yeah I never succeed in gain a satisfied feeling about it. I agree with most of jb and gf drama ratings…. I have been visiting dramabeans for three
    years and most of drama I watch area influenced a lot by this site… well it fails sometimes but most of the time it works. I also watching old things that gain favors from this site … I open this site everyday and choose this site as my drama-pedia. No perfect but I always love the writing and the articles and the recaps and all.

  44. 794 Jezabel

    I wonder if you (javabeans and girlfriday) will ever get to read this comment…I’d like to think that you will eventually, even if I do not receive an answer to this comment, because I would very much like to thank you both for creating the opportunity for me to watch one of the most wonderful drama ever!

    I’ve been avoiding K-drama “Que sera, sera” for years! I am not quite sure why, because back in 2007 I wasn’t so picky and I used to watch almost any drama that came my way…

    It’s been 5 years since this drama was broadcasted and many dramas later, yet somehow it defied all my expectations and (fortunately) unbased fears! Even after seeing 100 drama-series (more or less) to this day, “Que sera,sera” managed to make me feel as if it were my first time! I don’t have words to describe in entirity how I feel about this drama! I’d need pages and pages and I’ve been at it (watching it, I mean) since yesterday and I am too tired to expand on the subject…Alas, thank you again! It was a unique and delightful experience! :D

  45. 795 Jacek

    NINE TIMES TIME TRAVEL ruined the ratings scale for me. I thought Reply me 1997 was my most favorite until I watched NINE. It was so good I don’t understand why it’s so underrated. Go watch it people!!
    Read more reviews about it and do not watch the horrible trailer. I’m sure most of you will thank me later.

  46. 796 madzline

    Where can i read per episode recap of Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy? Cant find it anywhere here.

    • 796.1 ichigo_daisuki

      This is just a list of the dramas javabeans and girlfriday have watched all the episodes of and rated. It doesn’t necessarily mean either of them have done a recap on the site. If you can’t find one for the drama you want, that’s just it.

      I hope this helped you (^.^).

  47. 797 kmushbeauty

    You should watch Powerful Opponent :) I didn’t see it on the list so I am assuming you haven’t seen it!? If you have I’d love to know what you think? Personally I love it.

  48. 798 LisaP

    Thanks JB & GF for your ratings! I agree with you 100% on Gu Family Book. It started off really well, so promising but that ending…what the hell were they thinking?!

    Raine – I highly recommend Winter Sonata. It’s one of my favourites. Yes there’s a lot of crying but so worth it!

    • 798.1 Ashukaruco

      I like the ending of Gu Family book, it is reasonable. I believe the faith brought them together and no matter how long it would take, they will find each other again once there is love. But I agree that the director dragged the tears and emotional scene too much that i become very very slow and boring.

      I see you rate 2013 dramas not very high. Which one do you think is the best for this year? Initially I think I can be “That winter the wind blows” but it disappoints me at the end. :(

      all the recent one appears so so, therefore, I am not sure which one should i continue committing to watch.

  49. 799 Kaybee

    Vineyard man is one of the BEST dramas I’ve ever seen. It introduced me to S. Korea’s country side and so much more. My entire family loved it so much…I guess it has something to do with us being from the countryside too.
    It is one of the few dramas, which I watched like 5/6 times already. The setting was nice and the romance was cute. Oh Man Sook was great and Yoon Eun Hye was so endearing.
    Initially everyone in my family thought Oh Man Sook was untypical and not a looker and also that he doesn’t look Korean but as the drama progressed everyone fell in love with his character. He is an amazing actor. I loved the drama and the story. It wasn’t boring or dragging. Each episode had something to offer unlike many dramas given better rating above with repeated themes and draggy plots.
    Personally I’ll recommend the drama to anyone who has interest in S. Korea and likes fun/cute/ romantic drama with good story line.
    I’ll give it at least 9.8 out of 10.

  50. 800 Lila

    aww man.. I want to know Javabeans’ comment and rating for White Christmas too though.. :'(

    can’t wait to see how you’ll rate ‘I hear your voice’, ‘Dating Agency Cyrano’, and ‘Shark’ :3

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