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
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1,128 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. 301 alexandra maeve gutierrez

    for me..
    the best drama ever is YOURE BEAUTIFUL,GOONG,BOF!!

     (0)


  2. 302 CrimemasterGogo

    YAB rating is fine, I would rate it 8/8 personally. The later eps weren’t as good.

     (0)


  3. 303 seprienna

    I thought you would have given YAB 10/8, anyway this series deserved some awards,i really like the comedic storyline.

     (0)


  4. 304 Sunshine

    Hello Javabeans your site is really cool! I agree with practically every comment except Soulmate. It’s was actually borring…such a waist

     (0)


  5. 305 Doutzen

    I cant believe somebody likes “SoulMate” ….was so boring for me :S ….but in the other way i love “My fair lady” , Eun Hye was so cute! . Please add “Thank U ” and “Beethoven Virus” to this rank

     (0)


  6. 306 beki

    Hi Javabeans,
    Thanks for your ratings and recommendations. I follow them to a T. Can you please tell me where to watch Que Sera Sera online?

    PS: My husband hates you.

    :-)

     (0)


  7. 307 Anonymous

    I’m so agree with Doutzen, Soulmate was completly boring, such a waste of time…
    Javabeans your site is really really cool!

     (0)


  8. 308 Sunshine10

    I’m so agree with Doutzen, Soulmate was completly boring, such a waste of time…
    Javabeans your site is really really cool!

     (0)


  9. 309 Ling

    I’m gonna have to disagree with your rating of Soulmate. I did try very hard since you recommend it so highly but I honestly cannot see the appeal. I thought it was over-acted, silly and melodramatic (without, ironically, having much dramatic tension at all). I don’t know whether it is supposed to be ironic or whatever, but it lacks any kind of seriousness. Maybe it’s something to do with the language, as it seems like there are lots of Korean puns and cultural references which went right over my head.

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  10. 310 more

    You really should watch THE DEVIL Korean drama which is very similar to Story of a man

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  11. 311 817

    YAB 10/10 for me

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  12. 312 zefreak

    Just gotta comment.. I’ve been coming to this site daily (I found it while searching for information on Coffee Prince) and it has been really enjoyable. I’ve loved your recaps (I’ve watched Coffee Prince, Que Sera Sera and Dal Ja’s Spring ‘with you’ so far) and hope you keep on writing! I have only seen four Kdramas so far (I started with MiSa which I had heard so much about, and enjoyed it enough to look for more), but I have seen many many Korean films.

    You should expand your writings to film reviews as well! Ones I have really enjoyed on multiple levels:

    Save the Green Planet
    My Tutor Friend (an outlier on my list)
    Happiness (ripped me apart)
    I’m a Cyborg but thats OK
    ing..
    JSA
    Memories of Murder
    3-Iron

    Have you seen these, and what do you think?

    Btw, my favorite drama so far has been Coffee Prince. It really resonated with me.

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  13. 313 filmbeats

    I’ve watched a fair number of Korean films and a few k-dramas but am more or less new to Korean cinema. I have to say I don’t understand the praise for Soulmate.

    Having watched the first three episodes, the plotlines move way too quickly and get confusing following all the characters. Almost all the female characters are hyper-exaggerated stereotypes that display extreme emotional outbursts at almost everything which I found more annoying than entertaining. Some conversations are insightful like when the three guys talk or when one girl is advising the dumb girl what to write in a text message. I find the overacting ruins the experience to the point I can’t even enjoy it as brainless entertainment.

    Then again Alone in Love is my favourite K-drama which is the exact opposite of Soulmate.

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  14. 314 heyo

    LOL at the rating of THE RETURN OF ILJIMAE.
    OVERATED

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  15. 315 Alex

    no Queen Seondeok rating or On Air

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  16. 316 YongWon K_addict

    Why don’t you have ‘One fine day’ in your list?
    I like it better than ‘Coffee prince’.
    Gong Yoo’s performance there is much more intense and a good story as well.
    I thought ‘Cofee Prince was my favourite but when I saw OFD…
    Actually I can’t decide which one I like better…
    Oh well, I’ll just have to watch them both again

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  17. 317 seprienna

    started watching the return of iijimae after i read the full 24-episodes recap from dramabeans.
    i must say the cinematography was really beautiful. they chose the right cast and location for it.Jung iI woo definitely took my breath away. 10/10 from me too.

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  18. 318 shinhyesungluv

    Wow, I agreed with all your ratings except that I thought Goong was too low and Who Are You too high. Story of a Man definitely deserves the 10s.

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  19. 319 kdramadik

    I agree with your ratings for the ff dramas
    Coffee Prince, Last Scandal of My Life, My Girl, and MNIKSS.

    Ratings for the ff dramas should be higher IMO
    *Fantasy Couple (7/7) – i rate it 9/9 because i don’t see any flaws in the story, i enjoyed it immensely, all actors did their characters justice especially Han Ye Seul.
    *Green Rose (7/7) – i rate it 9/7. the story is ok, Go Soo’s acting is fine, Lee Da Hae is pretty but i think her acting ability was not fully utilized. all she did was cry, but she does cry prettily. her character is not strong enough. the bad guy is really scary (tho for the life of me i can’t remember his name)
    *Only You (3/3) – i rate it 9/7. the story is ok, very light, a feel-good drama, typical kdrama, one of the few kdramas that has a definite happy ending for the lead couple. something to watch when you are feeling down and out and looking for somethng to make you feel better. the biggest negative to me though is Han Cha Young. She is pretty, true, but her acting has been stuck in her Chun Hyang character in DGCH. Her acting hasn’t matured at all! Lee Chun Hee is credible as the 2nd male lead, but then what woman will choose him if she’s got a Jo Hyun Jae in her life? Jo Hyun Jae played his part well as the rich jerk who falls in love with a poor girl. I know that JHJ’s character here is so typical kdrama stuff but he does it so well and so effectively. I love his interaction too with the boy who plays his son.

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  20. 320 kdramadik

    to continue with my comment @320
    * Only you (3/3) – i rate it 9/7. JHJ’s portrayal of the rich jerk who falls in love with the poor girl is so spot on. no overacting, no underacting also. i gave it a 9 for enjoyment, but i rate it a 7 because of HCY irritated me and because I don’t like the fashion styling done on JHJ and HCY. HCY had her beautiful hair hidden most of the time, and JHJ’s hair and wardrobe didn’t look too good on him. but you still have to give it to JHJ because despite the bad fashion, he still captured the heart of many viewer’s in this drama.

    I WOULD GIVE THE FF DRAMAS LOWER RATINGS:
    *Exhibition of Fireworks (7/7) – i would rate it 2/2. i didn’t enjoy it at all. the story is bad, the acting by all 4 leads was bad, the whole cast is so unappealing. you may well ask why watch it at all. well, i watched this after watching ONLY YOU and i wanted to find out if HCY’s acting has improved at all. Sorry to say I saw no improvement at all. I finished watching the drama in the hopes that she will prove me wrong, but until the end of the drama, her acting is still the same. but HCY is not the only actor that irritated the hell out of me in this drama. Kang Ji Hwan annoyed me so much that I can’t for the life of me see why people rave about him all the time. i think he’s overrated as an actor. i read somewhre that he used to be a stage actor. if that is true, then he’s the worst stage actor i have ever seen act. plus the fact that i find him absolutely unappealing.
    *Full House (7/6) – i would rate it 5/3. the story is funny, but there were some points that were illogical. like how SHG’s 2 friends got her to leave her house, and how she allowed these 2 to mess up her life time and again. i don’t like Rain’s acting, IMO he should stick to singing and dancing. SHG and the 2nd male lead are the best thing in this drama.
    *Goong (6/7) i rate it 3/3. the premise of the story is fine, YEH is adorable, but the 2 male leads annoyed the crap out of me.
    *Boys Before Flowers (8/5) i rate it 3/3. story bad, acting bad. only 2 good things about this drama – the cars and LMH.
    *Hello Miss (5/5) – i rate it 3/3. story is blah. the 2 male leads are even more blah. i love lee da hae as an actress, but she is wasted in this drama. i felt her character here (not her acting) is very contrived and trying hard.
    *Hong gil Dong (7/7) – i rate it 2/2. i didn’t enjoy the drama, and i think it’s the worst drama to come out of the collective mind of the Hong sisters. I watched this because I wanted to know if Kang Ji Hwan will change my opinion of his acting which i first saw in ex of fireworks. sad to say, KJH as HGD didn’t work again with me. all throughout the drama i kept asking myself “he used to be a stage actor? really, he used to be a stage actor?” because his acting is subpar and it leaves me cold. JGS, didn’t act, he just scowled throughout the drama. but Sung Yuri is a surprising revelation.
    *My Love Patzzi(7/7) – i rate it 2/3. the story is fine, and I love Jang Nara’s acting and character. But for the life of me, I can’t connect with the 2 male leads – Kim Jae Won and Kim Rae Won. both are so unappealing, esp. Jae Won. Rae Won’s acting is ok, but i don’t like his voice, i don’t like his hair, i don’t even like his face. both actors leave me cold with their acting and their presence (or lack of).
    *Story of a Man (10/10) – i rate it 10/7. I love the story, but the acting left me cold. PYH alternates between wooden and over-the top. Kim Kang Woo’s acting didn’t scare the hell out me, it just left me cold.
    *Strongest Chil Woo (6/6) – i rate it 2/2. the story is meh, the acting is meh. it was a pain in the ass sitting thru this drama. pressed the FF button many times, until i finally gave up and just skipped mannnnnnyyyyyyyy eps to watch the ending.
    *Who Are You? (9/8) – i rate it 2/2. the story is fine, but the acting is subpar across the board. besides that, the whole drama is boringgggggggggggg from start to finish.

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  21. 321 kdramadik

    i didn’t give my own rating to the other dramas in your list because some i didn’t watch at all, some i started but dropped after watching half of the total # of eps for 2 reasons:

    1. i find the cast unappealing – air city, bad couple, dal ja’s spring (i like chae rim, but i don’t like the rest of the cast), delighful girl chun hyang, flowers for my life, goong s, gourmet, hyan dan jeon, iris, love and marriage, lovers, mixed up investigative agency, my sweet seoul, qss, return of iljimae, sons of sol pharmacy, soulmate, a star’s lover, triple, vineyard man (i love YEH, but i don’t like the male lead), what’s up fox (i know the male lead is hot, but he leaves me cold), and My Fair Lady.

    2. i find the story unappealing – bad family, friends, WISFC, YAB and My Fair Lady.

    My Fair Lady – i love YEH, MCY, and JIW, but IMO YSH is miscast as the butler Dong Chan. I watched half the # of episodes but I reached a point where I can no longer enjoy the drama even if i park my brain somewhere else.

    WISFC – i know this drama is still airing. the cast is very appealing, but the story has reached a point where i can’t relate with the characters’ actions/decisions anymore so i dropped this drama already.

    IRIS – i don’t understand the hype over LBH, i don’t find him sexy/hot, i find him unappealing. i like spy stories, but i’d rather read them than watch them, besides that, IRIS’ story has so many holes in it. After reading all the spy stories written by Robert Ludlum (those wirtten before the Cold War ended anyway) it would be very hard to please me with half-baked spy stories like IRIS.

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  22. 322 aLoha

    #315 heyo – I def agree. I think The Return of Iljimae is Overrated. I decided to finally watched it after reading the recaps but I was disappointed. I dunno, maybe because I expected too much. Also, for Who Am I, the only thing I like is YKS but I would give it a 6/6.

    I agree with the rating of Bad Family, Flowers for my Life, Soulmate and Story of a Man. =)

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  23. 323 aLoha

    #284 WTF – I would rate Naruto 11/8 (scale of 10) as I enjoy it so much. This is drama ratings though not anime rating… LOL!

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  24. 324 love_kdramas

    Hi Javabeans, I love your site. My daily life isn’t complete without it. I love your recommendations too. Just saw “Que Sera Sera” based on your ratings and I loved it. One of the bes Kdramas I’ve seen (although I’m still a newbie). I just wish that the ending was a bit more apparent. Still loved it though. Anyway, keep up the good work.

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  25. 325 popololo123

    thanks for your rating. now i know what drama i want to download. :P

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  26. 326 jackie

    update your rating for will it snow on christmas please =D

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  27. 327 bloop

    Return of Iljimae is my favorite K-drama. It’s so ridiculously good. And Soulmate was really good too!! Though I hated the ending..

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  28. 328 CrimemasterGogo

    kdramadik your ratings are really odd, and Delightful Girl is a classic so don’t miss out on it.

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  29. 329 Nandar

    Omo.. Will It Snow For Christmas is so good!! I hope you watch it!!

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  30. 330 lee2

    I, myself is a die hard drama addict who spend endless hours on watching dramas (mainly k-dramas, but I also watch taiwanese & jdramas). I agree that American tv doesn’t ever get me on as emotional/touched level as kdramas do. Jealousy was the first drama that I watched and got me hooked on dramas. I used to watch only mini series (& some longer historical like HuJoon, Sangdo, Jewel in the palace) unil I had a chance to see ‘Immortal Admiral Yi’ (Thanks for mentioning this and Kim Myung Min). Since Then my watching horizon was expanded to long series/daily drama like you are my destiny, LIKABLE OR NOT. be strong Geum Soon, pure 19 etc. etc. So I came to appreciate every kind of dramas -long or short, modern or historical. Despite of its flaws- same old cliches/too predictable, rushed ending and leaving issues hanging, I just love kdramas.
    What is my fave among hundreds of dramas that I have watched? – HuJoon, Damo, Admiral Yi, League of their own, Attic cat, Let’s go to school SangDoo, Resurrection, Devil to name a few.

    For recent ones, I liked
    East of eden
    Cain and Abel
    City Hall
    Tamra the Island.

    The ones that I loved, but didn’t see mentioned here -
    ***scale of god!!!! must see!!!
    Iljimae (not return of, was it mentioned?)
    love story in harvard (just me?)

    I agree with you on underrated but excellent dramas for
    Flowers For My Life
    Investigative Agency
    Who Are You?
    And there are many more like that (Capital Scandal etc).

    I also liked taiwanese dramas like ISWAK, fated to love, autumn’s concerto, etc. They are simple, funny, touching (somewhat like watching old Kdramas). Also liked some Jdramas which are witty & creative (absolute boyfriend, vampire boy, nodame cantabile, 1 litre of tears etc.)

    Then again there are many that I wasn’t crazy about despite of all the hypes/fuss -
    Boys Before Flowers (I watched Korean, J & taiwanese version as well as manga. I loved the manga the best. Korean lead actress was painful to watch. Taiwanese male lead was cute.)

    Que Sera Sera – loved the plot but I’d like more mature looking female lead
    coffee prince
    iris
    you are beautiful
    alone in love
    Whatever Happened in Bali
    Great Inheritance and many more.

    Currently I am watching ‘the world they live in’ and enjoying it.

    It was fun to read the postings here. I laughed when someone said
    PS: My husband hates you.
    My husband gave up on me long time ago~~

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  31. 331 lelouch

    how about CONSPIRACY IN THE COURT/SEOUL’S SAD SONG? i remember you like jin yi han so i thought you must have watched it, but i can’t find it here. have you watched it btw?

    i just finished watching it….gotta say i love it but the ending is kinda tragic. how would you rate it? 9/9?

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  32. 332 Celeste

    now Im watching Smile, you its really hilarious and sweet the main characters are the best lee min jung and jung kyung ho!!!!

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  33. 333 lee2

    Came back to add my other favorites-
    Piano
    More beautiful than a flower.

    Dramas Korean netizens talked about the most regardless of ratings (from what I gathered). Must be a reason you think~
    MiSa/sorry & love you (SJS got his nickname -SoGanJi from this)
    Alone in Love
    What happened in Bali
    Ruler of Your Own World
    Boys before flowers
    Coffee Prince
    Bethoven Virus
    White tower (KimMN got his nickname -MyungMin Ja/supreme actor)
    Iljimae, Time between Dog & Wolf
    On-air, New heart,
    Seoul’s Sad Song (HanSungByulGok)
    4 Gods/Legend
    Women of The Sun
    Capital Scandal
    Couple of fantasy, MNKSS
    Lovers in Paris, Money’s war, All in, iris
    Damo
    Evasive Inquiry Agency,
    Que Sera Sera
    MeRi, DaeGu’s Attack & Defense Battle
    Resurrection (UTU got his nickname -UmForce from this)
    The Devil/Mawang
    The Scale of Providence
    Ireland, The Bean Chaff Of My Life, Mr.Goodbye, Painter of Wind, city hall, Chumo.

    Too many things to watch, not enough time :{

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  34. 334 Murasaki

    Just wanna say WOW at your commitment to K-dramas. I think someone mentioned “Time Between Dog & Wolf,” definitely a great drama to check out if you get the time. I agree with you on an amazing amount of these, esp. Full House, most overrated drama ever, couldn’t even bring myself to finish it (still haven’t). Also, just wondering if you watch any J-dramas? ’cause there are some pretty great ones too though the subs are sometimes harder to find … with that, haha, keep up the good work :)

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  35. 335 lee2

    Here is one more reference as to decide which Kdramas to watch.
    Following is from the drama sites for Korean netizens with replys over 100k .

    Couple of fantasy 601
    Beethoven Virus 554
    Legend/4Gods 308
    Queen SunDuk (long) 297
    Painter of wind (long) 268
    Boys before flowers 256
    White Tower 224
    Unstoppable High Kick1 (long) 201
    Capital Scandal 184
    Unstoppable High Kick2 (long) 179
    Coffee Prince 164
    Hong GilDong 143
    Time between Dog and Wolf 140
    MNKimSamSoon 136
    ISan (long) 130
    New Heart 127
    You are beautiful 122
    Surgeon BongDalHee 106

    Of course, you can get similar information from Soompi site ( Goong & Boys before flowers got the most repls when I checked last time)

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  36. 336 Molly

    “First half is poignant, emotionally wracking, layered; second half gets too convoluted for comfort. Go Soo, however, is marvelous.”

    Agreed. I still have to watch the finale, but I keep putting it off, knowing of the emotional ride I’ll have to go through. But since it means seeing Go Soo, I’m going to have to watch it sometime soon. :) Do you know what his next project will be? I’d love to see him in a rom-com or something light like that. Love his expressive eyes, but let’s not torture him anymore!

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  37. 337 홍길동

    I still think BOF is overrated (the fangirls are to blame) and simply a waste of time (since it spawned x-series in different countries -> just filmed for the sake of money, not for the joy of the dramafan!(you shouldn’t support this kind of capitalistic thinking if you watch to enjoy dramas)). I Think Hello! Miss should be rated at least with a 7, its comedy is a lot better than that of my girl, the characters and actors are better and the plot is one of the best I’ve seen for that genre( although it’s always the same thing: poor girl meets rich guy,they become enemies,fight, fall in love, happy end) since the female lead is simply hilarious(traditional,simple-hearted (naive), over-sensitive and a bad drunk :P) and the male lead isn’t acting like your typical bratlike playboy guy( I hate this kind of guy, exceptions only for the leads in Invincible I pyeong gang (yes, I didn’t write Lee pyeong gang since the trasncription is simply false, it is simply an I in Hangeul (이) and spoken like the ees in words like bee, blame it on the American language, learn German and you won’t need those wrong transcriptions to speak it the right way) and in Shining Inheritance since it was hilarious to watch their behaviour).

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    • 337.1 Senna

      BOF didn’t “spawn” other versions. a 1995 japanese movie appeared first. meteor garden was the first live action version that was made into a series in 2001. the japanese hana yori dango came second in 2005. and THEN boys over flowers in 2009

       (0)


  38. 338 srndpty

    Thanks for all your wonderful recaps and comments on the dramas. You express your thoughts in a deep and profound way. There are some that I don’t agree with though, but reading your perspective is always interesting, ofcourse everybody differs in the way we see things. There were some that we may agree upon but its impossible that everybody think perfectly alike. Anyways, just want to say that you are doing such a wonderful job and hope you continue on your recaps on more dramas to come.

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  39. 339 pichia

    well i read your rating bout Kdrama
    but somehow i didn’t find Hello God
    i crying a lot when watching the episode
    that was my first time crying when see Kdramas or Japan / Taiwan dramas
    i suggest u to see it ^^
    thanks for sharing your thoughts
    hwaiting~~XD

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  40. 340 frappucino

    I still love coffee prince!!! :) GYEH acted so well together…loved it! hope there’ll be a sequel, if not hope they make another drama… :)

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  41. 341 Dara

    YAB is the best for this time around. To me this one stands out in 2009.

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  42. 342 Leayotta

    Hi, I would agree with your thoughts on soulmate ,but at some parts I was totally lost in wonder how a director could make such a drama. There was no perfect flow in the drama and it was sometimes hard to comprehend. In my opinion I love YAB the best out of all the dramas I watched so far because of the comedy and the lovely couple they put into the story. I loved everything and I can remember every scene which kept me waiting to watch more. I love Jang Geun Suk he is the best new male actor around.

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  43. 343 amal

    thumbs up for brilliant legacy !!
    all the actors and actresses showed a very good characters of themselves..
    then drama is about family and love..so just ignore the long episodes and enjoy the drama..
    don’t forget to watch!!

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  44. 344 Himemiya

    MY GIRL forever….

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  45. 345 schatzky

    thanks for this site,it gives me a hint what kind of drama i need to watch,coz some drama are boring and non sense, i don’t waste my time. In my opinion Korean drama production much better in Taiwan and japan. keep it up guyz ;))

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  46. 346 pyxiong

    Curious to know why there isn’t a rating for City Hall even though it’s a recapped series. Loved it btw. :D Love this website.

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  47. 347 oca

    Oh, I definitely agree with you about “SOULMATE” . This serial is very different with others korean’s drama … When the first time I saw this DVD on the shop, I never thought that the story will be sooo interesting to watch .. especially with the flash back scene and also it’s not comedy but we can laugh all the time because of the funny of the scenario, not the slapstic’s one … also this serial also has so many beautiful and unusual funny song … 10 is really perfect rate I guess ;)

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  48. 348 sarah belbase

    i love you’re beautiful and boys before flowers>>>
    *..^

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  49. 349 YuMiRae

    i have to say your beautiful is the most overated KDrama i’ve ever watched . i thought park shin hye was cute in it but jang geun seuks acting left me cold in so many ways . He seemed to be scowling through the whole show even in Hong Gil Dong which am currently watching ( a bit too angsty towards the end ) .

    Goong was cute in the begining but was absolutely ruined by the families never ending ” scandals ” , i still didn’t get what the big deal was .

    now to different matters . whats with all the hate for Boys over Flowers . i really enjoyed the show , even though the chemistry between the main actress and kim hyun joong was questionable at times and the constant ‘ how many times will jan di get herself in trouble in this episode ‘ rang a tad bit too much in my head . way too many obstacles in jan di and jun pyo’s relationship which when solved leaves you happy for about two seconds before something else pops up . but apart from all that i enjoyed it verah verah much . i

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  50. 350 JO

    Whether you like it or not our rating for LOVERS is 9/10.
    For lovable PASTA 9/10 as well.
    So far all Korean movies/dramas we watched were magnificently entertaining and likable forever. We will still continue to watch and support your film industry.
    GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

     (0)


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