232

K-drama problems: Tumbling down the rabbit hole

It’s always been interesting to me that K-drama lovers are always very cognizant of their point of entry — i.e., everyone has asked herself at some point, “How did I fall down this rabbit hole, exactly?”

It turns out that the Alice in Wonderland metaphor is perfect in many ways, and not just because it tells the tale of a girl falling (literally) into a new dimension. It’s also about a girl who encounters a world that’s unlike her own, that has different rules, operates under different constraints, and is a little bit “mad”!

Does this sound at all like when you fell headlong into dramas? Some of us were lucky enough to have dramas a part of our lives and culture, but for many of us, we discovered or got into dramas independently. Whether it was like drinking a love potion or falling down a tunnel of twisted logic, dramaland is where we wound up.

My own fall down the rabbit hole is completely mundane. So mundane, in fact, that I often think how strange it is that minor turns of events wound up opening so many doors for me, and affording me so much enjoyment.

Pre-K-drama me was working a small job in a big company in an even bigger city. One summer our office employed a high school intern who, in addition to helping me catalog a huge collection, kept obliquely referring to this show she was watching. It was this popular Korean TV show called Boys Before Flowers, ever heard of it? Well, everyone in her class was watching it. And week after week she kept mentioning the show to me, telling me bits of the plot — and yes, even showing me her cellphone wallpaper featuring Lee Min-ho. Perm, fur coat, and smirk included.

Why did I resist watching this show so much at first? I really don’t know. When I finally succumbed, it was months later when I had just moved to an apartment on my own. If you’ve never lived alone before, it can be odd at first, and awfully quiet. That strange Korean drama title stayed lodged in my head, though, and long story short, I located it online (I don’t even remember how) and began to watch it in the solitude of my tiny living room. All it took was one episode for me to be confused, intrigued — and completely addicted.

Boys Before Flowers wound up keeping me company as I settled into my new home. This is partly why, now and forever, a) a tiny fragment of Lee Min-ho will always be mine; and b) why K-dramas became like a friend to me. Also medicine, but most usually a friend. It wasn’t till ages later that I learned Boys Before Flowers was actually an infamous “gateway drama” for many viewers, and was responsible for creating many avid K-drama fans besides me.

What do you do when you’re a drama novice, and you’ve just made it through a drama like Boys Before Flowers? After a brief recovery period, your thoughts might do something like this, as mine did: Okay, that was actually fun. And I kind of want more. But surely that was a one-off event. All K-dramas can’t be that wacky and addictive and fun. That drama was an outlier, right? I’ll go back to watching my serious and depressing indie films now.

Nope. I might have tried, but there was something that I was missing. With my first K-drama, I had experienced some of the most joyful and fun entertainment I had since watching TV shows as a kid. Sure enough, dramaland called me back.

When you’re new to dramaland, and know very little about how it works, it’s a good enough method to follow the drama breadcrumbs left by an unsuspecting participant — like Lee-Min-ho for instance. What else has he been in? City Hunter? Hmm, what’s that, I wondered. I probably won’t like it.

Wrong again. City Hunter was it. It solidified the very serious notion that I had found my PLACE, and it was full of stories and storytelling that I could love forever. I realized, with only two dramas under my belt, that I had accidentally stumbled upon a lost city of Atlantis. Except it wasn’t lost. It was alive and thriving and bursting with new stories on an alarmingly rapid basis.

City Hunter, I quickly learned, was actually a way better measuring stick for what I could expect from K-dramas as a genre. Maybe not as hare-brained as Boys Before Flowers was, but infinitely enjoyable, and full of all those things I have come to love the most about dramaland, from the tropes to the humor to the worldview.

As you might have imagined (or experienced for yourself), after City Hunter, it was downhill (as in down the rabbit hole) from there. Actors led me to new dramas, which led me to the wider drama industry, and hungrily looking for a place to talk about them and learn more, I stumbled upon Dramabeans. ♥

From there it blossomed into the geekfest that most Beanies can easily relate to. Whether it’s priding yourself on knowing which dramas are airing on which networks at any given moment, knowing what’s coming up and who’s starring in it, or curating a fine To Be Watched list and building a reservoir of drama knowledge — it’s all a part of tumbling into dramaland.

I’ve come a long way from my clueless newbie Boys Before Flowers days, and the way I interact with dramas has changed a bit, too. My expectations (read: demands on a drama’s quality) are not only well-established, but I’m more judicious about the time I’ll spend watching a drama, too. I’ve seen some of the best, along with some of the worst. I’ve logged a lot of drama hours at both ends of the spectrum, and learned a lot in the process. I might even have some secret frequent flier miles by now.

But while a lot has changed, a lot has stayed the same. I still love this crazy place called dramaland. Even after all these years, it’s still my secret oasis of storytelling fun. Because an oasis is exactly where it feels like I ended up, after that long tumble down the rabbit hole and into dramaland.

RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , ,

232

Required fields are marked *

I am relatively a newcomer when it comes to kdrama. I have long resisted watching them and preferred American movies. I've always thought that the oppas look like cute ladies, more beautiful than their co-stars.. until i saw a cf of Rain. Wow. So my very first kdrama was a strongly recommended blockbuster worldwide Descendants of the Sun. I have been swallowed bybthe rabbit hole despite warnings of friends not to ever start watching kdramas. Curiousity got the better of me. There is no turning back after that.

15
33
reply

Required fields are marked *

I thought the same about flower boys being more beautiful than their costars. Then there was Gong Yoo, and I never looked back.

14
32
reply

Required fields are marked *

Completely felt the same way about the boys looking like girls. Then Hyun Bin 😍

7
22
reply

Required fields are marked *

And then the action stars visit the romcom world (looking at you, So Ji Sub and Cha Seung Won), and the rabbit hole gets so much more cozy.

11
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Isn't the rabbit hole a fascinating place?

8

God bless them, every one!

3

So Ji-sub is one of my favorite actors- and I actually prefer to see him in a comedy- he really understands comedy in a way that is alien to many actors and actresses.

1

Then Hyun bin.

This should be the title of a new drama.

Other cool titles

My Husband, Hyun bin
Hey, Hyun bin

8
15
reply

Required fields are marked *

What's Wrong with Hyun Bin?

Be Hyun Bin

Falling for Hyun Bin

8

My Hyun Bin from Another Star
My Private Hyun Bin

9

The Light in Your Eyes, Hyun Bin
Hyun Bin Chronicles
Melt Me Softly, Hyun Bin
Hyun Bin Flower
When Hyun Bin Blooms

8

Strong Man Hyun Bin
Marriage, not Hyun Bin
Hyun Lovers
(now I am imagining a very long CF drama Hyundai lovers...)

10

Life on Hyun Bin

My Lovely Kim Tae Pyeong *

*Hyun Bin's real name

6

The Great Queen, Hyun bin. (Nope. I guess it doesn't work with just any K-drama.)

8

Potato Bin
Hyun Bin's Spring
Chicago Binwriter
Hyunnest Deliverybin

10

Binniebond
Person Without Flaws
What's Wrong with Alhambra?

9

@redfox What's Potato bin about? Laughed my head off btw.

You guys cracked me up.

3

@YY: Potato Star

1

Answer me! Hyun bin!
Hyun bin IS Mr. Sunshine.
Hyun bin, baby-faced beauty
Hyun bin Hunter. (This could be my autobiography.)

5

This thread is cracking me up 🤣

5

Extraordinary Hyun Bin - Shine or Go Crazy
Hell is Other People, Hyun Bin is Just Otherworldly
I Am Not Hyun Bin [obviously]

4

I'm loving Answer Me, Hyun Bin.

3

My Hyun From The Bin
Equator Bin
Misaebin
Hyun Bin in the Trap
Emergency Hyun Bin [keep it secret! keep it close!]
...
and if I am already branching out into non-korean territory:
Fellowship of Hyun Bin

4

One boy is more good looking than all the girls = JDY 🥰

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, you're right!

1

Gong Yoo is D-I-V-I-N-E. Gong Yoo has the most beautiful legs, fingers, torso ever. I love his hands. They are the most beautiful hands ever, the fingers so long and tapered. I noticed them first in Coffee Prince. After that I couldn't stop looking at them in Goblin and Train to Busan. His legs are soooo beautifully long and slender. Remember the scene he strode up the stone steps with the sword....his long, long legs and the grace of his approach made the scene so beautiful and breathtaking.

9
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’m a hands person, all the way. I noticed that about him too! He’s beautiful but also has an interesting face—not to gorgeous, like we could all have a chance with him—lol.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

funny I dont consider him handsome AT all but he is interesting and memorable and unique which is better than handsome. for an actor especially. you need to stand out and be remembered.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@ally-le @redfox Gong yoo's not handsome. Not in the traditional perfect face way. But once you watch him, you can't stop. It's his appeal, that gruffness, or rawness? His deep, deep voice, his height, his physique? Like Lee Jae Wook of Extraordinary You, he's not handsome, but he's just so attractive, and charismatic.

3

My mother adores him! She first saw him in Goblin, her first and still go-to Kdrama.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same, bong-soo, same. 😅

1

I love someone with no height, no physique... just oozing charisma... and that is Jang Hyuk!

1

Yes yes and YES!! He is perfection!!!
Not to mention his acting. So vulnerable, so calm yet so sexy. There is something insanely warm and sexy about him. I can’t!!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

He was great as GOBLIN.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@missvictrix, this is exactly how I got into Dramaland! I mean the exact same thing. I'm sure it did for many other Beanies too. I think its the odd name of the show, Boys Over Flowers. When my friend told me about it a good few years before I watched it, the name sort of got stuck in my head, until I came across it on some streaming site, and just started watching it. I think it was a beginning scene in the first episode only where Geum Jan-di was being badass and I think she punched some bully, that just got me hooked. And then Lee Min-ho! Then subsequently I just randomly looked up BOF on Google and stumbled upon Dramabeans! My second drama was Personal Taste though!
"This is partly why, now and forever, a) a tiny fragment of Lee Min-ho will always be mine; and b) why K-dramas became like a friend to me." I feel the same.

16
13
reply

Required fields are marked *

Going to third this entry point - though technically I started with Meteor Garden 2018 before transitioning to Boys Over Flowers, but basically the same deal.

5
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same for me. I'd never even heard of Kdramas, but I have netflix, and for some reason it recommended the ongoing drama, Meteor Garden (2018) to me. I was immediately hooked on the story (although, as I find has become the norm for me, I tend to dislike and be annoyed by the FLs in Korean and Chinese romcoms and melodramas). Also, I found that I am very unlikely, if ever, to have SLS, but if I do get it, I ship the first and second MLs. (And seriously, in MG-2018, there were so many HoYay! scenes between Dao Ming Si and Hua Ze Lei that I occasionally felt like I was watching a show written/produced by Joss Whedon, who was known to cheekily give shout-outs to the fans who shipped same sex pairings, like Angel and Spike, from BTVS and Angel, including writing a dream sequence in which the two flirt with and kiss each other, to Buffy's dismay).

After MG-2018, I did some google research, and watched BoF to see the "gateway Kdrama," fell in love with Lee Min-ho (I adore Dylan Wang, but he was only NINETEEN when he filmed MG, and I was a little creeped out at drooling over a boy still in his teens!)

When I discovered DramaFever, my first two dramas were Return of Iljimae and then Goblin, so I really started out with some excellent dramas.

I am now a K-and-C-drama-holic!

4
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

LMAO @ Buffy reference - yes to this!

Re: Dylan Wang being 19, as much as that made me very uncomfortable from a fangirl heartthrob perspective (almost as much as Riverdale's Jughead aka Cole Sprouse does), I think I preferred his treatment of the character over Lee Min-ho's... I could not tell you why, I think the character himself is hugely problematic in both versions, but... so be it.

1
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Agreed. And Lee Min-ho's version treated the FL better than the webtoon and perhaps the earlier versions (including the Japanese version, which I think preceded the Korean BoF) did.

I think that social changes in the years between 2008 and 2018 (or 2017, which is probably when MG-2018 was being filmed) caused some necessary updates with regard to issues like bullying, non-consensual sex, and domestic violence, to make it more palatable to a 2018 audience (although there is still a lot of misogyny in these dramas). But despite all his BoF character's flaws, I still loved Lee Min-ho!

4

This is making me feel like an ancient crone because I want to say (while shaking my cane), haven't you girls seen the real first Meteor Garden from Taiwan? It predates Hana Yori, it's so old. Major problems with political correctness, and hunkier guys *cackles madly*

3

@bbstl Meteor Garden with Jerry Yan was impossible for me to watch. The orange hair...*shudder* But I love Jerry Yan. I think he's a terrific actor, and that final scene with him - so short, yet so memorable - in Our Times made my heart flutter.

I prefer the Korean version, though I supported the second lead all the way, and just writing this makes me smile, because I'm thinking of Do hwa and his violin in Extraordinary You.

6

@yyishere it took me about 2 seconds to get used to that orange hair! Did you know that they did wardrobe on the cheap by deciding that the characters were all "quirky" dressers, and shopped at resale shops. I vividly remember one circle skirt that was appliqued with something about the Kentucky Derby 😂

0

@bbstl the original MG is so old That the only thing i remember is all the girls going gaga over F4 at that time 😂

1

I realize now that i actually watched till this date all versions of Hana Yori Dango including the 1995 movie jjaja

1
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

That is impressive!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same for me. I even watched the anime. Oops! I think I just exposed which era I am from hahaha

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

And I've watched all the versions of Playful Kiss, and my favourite is the Korean version, and the Chinese adaptation.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think there might be many of us who started with BOF and then LMH lead them on.

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I started with Jdrama. I was watching the animated version of Nodame Cantabile and then the drama version. It was a pretty crazy heroin but surprisly it worked very well in drama. So I started to watch Jdramas but it became difficult to find them, so I tried the other countries mainly Korea and Taiwan. My first KDrama was Que Sera Sera and it was quite unusual, it didn't follow the typical formula that I discovered later. And here I am, but it feels like more an endless abyss than a hole :p

6
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oooh, I also started with Nodame Cantabile!! (drama)

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I love the Kdrama remake of NODAMA CANTABILE: NAEIL'S CANTABILE. It has flaws but is a lot of fun.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Personaly, I never could watch the korean version. I started but the Japanese one was so good.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have heard that, and tried to find it but it appears that it is no longer available.

0

Yup, I'm with you, starting with Jdramas, then switched to Korean dramas when a friend recommended You're Beautiful! These days I'm watching some Chinese and Taiwanese dramas too.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Having started with Que Sera Sear must be hard! Because there will never be a show quite like it. It is unique.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I also started with Jdrama - my kids were all into anime and manga so I started reading what they read, and when I found out there were live dramas based on manga I stumbled upon Boys Over Flowers and discovered everything that was online - not much back then, mostly Kimutaku. In my search for more things to watch I found My Soju which also had *ahem* several stolen Kdramas, and I went for Coffee Prince which seemed to have the most buzz. It was so much warmer than Jdrama - more humorous, more down-to-earth, more relate-able, to me - that I pretty much turned to Kdrama forevermore. Wow, that was so long ago now! I was an inaugural member of Dramafever and won a t-shirt in their caption contest...I remember when all Dramabeans posts came with songs...fun times!

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I actually started with T-DRAMA'S which I got on DVD's from my library- because my son was living at home and I wanted him to retain some of his Mandarin (although sometimes the actors speak Taiwanese instead). Then, out of curiosity I brought home FULL HOUSE and tumbled down the rabbit hole... helped along by the fact that there was a Korean re-make of the T-Drama FATED TO LOVE YOU (I have loved Jang Na-ra as one of my favorite actresses ever since).

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

So now your son speaks Mandarin and Korean ? :p

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Only Mandarin and I myself have just barely begun to learn Korean

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I actually got into kdramas by curiosity...I discovered in 2009 kpop first(my one big love at first sight BIGBANG via youtube mistake) and my best friend watched a kdrama Summer Scent 2003(exactly the pic posted by you) at that time and called the plot "STUPID"... In my desire to try it out for myself and somehow prove that the stupid wasn't the norm that defined kdramas even if i never watched it myself i watched 1% of Anything with Kang Dong Won and from there started watching as many as possible and mostly the newer ones at that date....My memory is a bit hazy how i stumbled with this particular one and didn't watch the same drama as my friend;i guess the synopsys wasn't appealing to me or to cringey but after finishing my own batch of drams i raved that kdramas were addicting and great to her making her give another chance(she was watching jdramas,liking them more,Gokusen ringing bells?)...being a kdrama duckling back then everything was soooo suspenful and the twists were unpredictable unlike now that have 10 years of avid viewer under my belt jajja ...Still remember looking on My Soju(older fans might know) for the dramas and was part of my daily routine...I don't regret falling into this dramaland hole because i gained much more than losing(opening my horizon to new cultures,learning korean,metting u guys)

13
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

😁 smiling super wide at your YouTube mistake leading you to BB (the best!!!) because hitting the wrong button on my tv remote is how kdrama happened to me.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

My gateway drug errr drama was also Boys over Flowers. I initially watched it because at the time kdramas were being shown on Hulu and kept showing up on the suggested watch list. When I was younger I had loved the manga and anime Hana Yori Dango so figured I would give it a try. Me and my little brother managed to somehow binge watch the drama in 3 days. It's definitely not a good drama and I could never go back and watch it because I know it's bad. But it is ultimately what got me into dramas. I cannot name what was my 2nd drama but some other earlier ones I distinctly remember is Secret Garden and You're Beautiful which helped solidify my descent into drama watching.

It took me awhile to branch into other Asian dramas, but some of my other firsts are:

Cdrama: Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (Eternal Love)
Tdrama: Fated to Love You
Thai Drama: SOTUS the Series

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

yes, my experience parallels yours, with Hulu and BoF timelines, and cant forget my Sam Soonie! i haven't gone over to the side of posting on Dramabean walls as, even though i love the dramas, they haven't had the 'first time' kinda thrill in a while, even though Untamed (china) came close. Sad news of how the k-pop/drama stars are passing away, with all of what they earned left on the floor. I think the availability of the shows lends a huge influence on what we watch. Hulu to Dramafever to Viki,even though i have a watched a couple off license shows and then backed out, technophobe that i am. the movie Antique/Cake really got to me back then. Havent had too many fangirling on our boys Lee Min Ho or Hyun Bin or even Gong Yoo. i have though found Seun gi, Namgoon Min, Kim Jae Wook, Yoo Seung Ho, Junki, Joon Ki irresistible at times. My favorite has to be the JDrama, with the Lady Girls and Frankensteins Love.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Flipping through the over-the-air antenna TV channels when a period piece caught my eyes on a local Korean channel. English sub was intermittent. Show didn't seem to be on a regular schedule. Sometimes it suddenly turned dead air during the broadcast. Still, managed to watch a few episodes over a few weeks.

After a few months, some time between Thanksgiving and New Years, decided to google the show with a vague description. DramaBeans recap of The Moon Embracing the Sun were the top search results. Skimmed through the recaps the found the episodes I watched. EUREKA!

After this one, City Hunter, Secret Garden, Warrior Baek Dong Soo... VIKI and DF memberships. Then cdramas and jdramas.

I don't watch much dramas or shows in general anymore, preferring reading web novels and listening to audio dramas. Still, visiting DB and checking up general viewer sentiment about dramas has become a habit.

8
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Obviously, Boys Over Flowers was one of the early kdramas for me too.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wasn't it just electrifying to find DramaBeans? You must have thought you were hallucinating when your search turned up the right show, I first googled "Korean soap opera". Then again the first drama I saw was a total soapy mess (Phoenix).

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The intermittent English sub helped. That vague description contained a character name. Not quite the spelling that DB used but google search can be quite "smart".

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ah are you me? Lol. My and your drama pattern has been the same. High school fellows started watching a strange Korean drama called Boys over flowers and discussed it everywhere. So I just gave it a try in summers and I was hooked. Hooked definitely to the reverse harem story, seeing those good looking guys and weird jerk tsundere male lead who still ended up winning my heart. It was a whole new world. Obviously I followed it with City Hunter which I love to date but never rewatched because I know these two wouldn't stand the test of time and my maturity now. But I took quite some rest and then returned in 2013 to check Heirs . Clearly I only cared about Lee Minho at this point. I don't anymore, I also think he lacks a lot of acting skills but I will still check out the first episode of a show for him. That fragment remains, he is my first kdrama crush. Though I was a little older by that time and realized soon enough that Heirs was trash. So I started seeing recaps because the show was dropped but I wanted to see how the story went. That's when I came across DB. The only platform that acknowledged Heirs for the mess it was lol. Since Heirs had a star studded cast, every other recap site (i came across) was praising it, rather praising oppas but DB was the only place critical of it and that's when I knew I needed to stick to DB. But I didn't, I took a rest again. I occasionally checked Dramafevers facebook page where they kept mentioning dramas. I saw the comments of a few and it felt that You who came from the stars was popular. I checked that out but wasn't impressed except for the first few episodes. Then all of a sudden I saw a few of my friends discussing Healer on facebook. And I thought ok let's give this one a try. And probably that might have been the last try I could ever give a kdrama because even though I liked Bof and City Hunter, they didn't really bring me down the rabbit hole. They were just on the same level as foreign language films would be. You might try them once or twice but won't watch them forever. But I knew less. Healer was it!! It was amazing. It's run had already finished so that's when I remembered I needed recaps to check reviews and voila I landed on DB again (I might have checked DB for YWCFTS but that was only for the recaps to fill up episodes but for Healer, I stayed for the comments and the personal opinion of the recappers). After I completed Healer I followed it with my first live watched show Falling for Innocence. In summers I catched up on already acclaimed shows like Misaeng and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and other Hong sisters shows. Since then I have been a regular both in kdramas and DB. Come to think of it, always my real life circle has brought me to kdramas. But unfortunately the people who introduced them to me, don't watch them anymore. Now that BOF is too old I wonder what show acts as a gateway drug. Is it Dots?

7
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lee Min Ho is how I started finding dramas too. I think he is a terrible actor, but initially because I hadn't found kdrama affiliated websites like DB I could go through actors and he was the one I knew. Also cheers to your love for Healer, my friend and I are stilled slightly obsessed with that drama.

1
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Anyone who thinks Lee Min Ho is a terrible actor but has enough of a soft spot for him to give him another chance should watch Faith.

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lol, I don't. I stopped watching his dramas awhile ago. I think the last thing I saw him in was the first episode of Legends of the Blue Sea, and I hoped out of that really quickly. He seems like a nice person, but his acting is a no for me, unless he brings back that luscious perm.I 🤣🤣

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I noped, not hoped(autocorrect)

0

I have never liked his acting, but he is a completely different person in Faith.

2

I am forever grateful to Netflix for exposing me to Kdramas. I accidentally clicked on Mirror of the Witch AKA Secret Healer, and I still remember the confused text messages to my BFF about what I was watching but I did not stop watching and by the end, I was hooked! I've been free-falling down the Kdrama (and all things Korean) rabbit hole ever since :) Now if only I could learn the language

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Stumbled across a Korean movie named A Millionaires First Love on YouTube while I was pretending to do an assignment back in 2008. Watched it, loved the dashing hero with the dimples (Still in Love with him)... googled... saved LOTS some of his pics on my Nokia 6300... more googling/YT... ended up watching my first kdrama... Goong (Bunked class to binge it) ....and 11 years later here I am... still exploring in this rabbit hole!

10
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

Loved the movie back then when i watched it in 2009...I even cried...Damn,reading all this other posts aside from you,makes me feel sooo old and nostalgic for that time jjajja

4
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

It’s okay, I feel old too... or maybe we were just exposed to k-dramas sooner that others? After all, I was only 17 when I watched Full House. Lol, yeah, I’m old now 😅😂🤣

I remember choking with my own tears while watching young Hyun Bin’s millionaire. He’s very good in movies but he has a terrible taste in dramas.

5
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

So true! It's bizarre how many good movies he have done but at the same time how many terrible dramas to cancel them out!

I hope the next one will break this jinx. ::D

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Indeed,the days when WITHS2&Haru2Subs were my main source of subtitles seem so long time now jajjaj...Still remember the crazy that Full House was...I think i'm among the very minority of minority that didn't like the story back then and was constantly furious with the Candy...
About Millionaire Binnie i was the same,also when i watched Temptation of Wolves(as i watched almost all dramas/movies of KDW back then) i cried on silence mode soooo much in my cave in the shining moonlighy...After that was busy days looking for one OST without any clues and limited info...
being a Newbie in dramaland and having sooo many dramas it was soo hard what to see as i wanted to see so many at once jajja Burned sooo many DVD's to be sure i have them in case something happenes...
The same happened with breaching out to variety with 1N2D that i adored along the older shows...Sooo many hours went into that blackhole!
My family having a feast listening a mad seal in the middle of the night laugh with tears since back then

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved the subs from WITHS2! When Drama Fever came along, it was so much easier to watch dramas, but I really missed the quality of subs from WITHS2.

5

Yes shout out to WithS2 subs and Haru Subs. They were awesome. After that I went on to Viki Subs. Sadly not all subs these days capture the full essence of what is said. Especially for sageuks.

7

'A millionaire's first love' was one of the very first Korean movies I watched along with 'My Little Bride' and 'He was cool' after being introduced to dramaland by my cousin. Boys over flowers was my gateway kdrama too!

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

MY LITTLE BRIDE was one of my first as well.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

loooooved MFL, still love HB!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was born into a drama-watching family. We lived in a small town where the only entertainment were watching TV together after dinner. My first venture to kdrama was Autumn in My Heart. My roommate owned the DVD set and it had this inexplicable draw that I could not comprehend even now. I hate tear-jerker and felt iffy about the faux incest, but I could not stop watching. When Officer Min touch Jang Geum's hand in Jewel in the Palace, I screamed.

I stopped watching kdrama after for a few years because I had no access to it. Then, my friend had to gift me a DVD set of Full House and I knew of the free dial-up Internet. It's down the rabbit hole after that.

It came the time when I could not wait to go home to watch the next episode of Protect the Boss and discovered that there's live recap online. One site led to the other, and then I discovered DB. Kdrama watching experience was never the same since.

12
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

"It's down the rabbit hole [of Korean dramas] after that." I love the combination of your comment together with your name, Ms. Rabbit!

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

My first was BOF too. I got tired of American shows three years ago and that's why I decided to watch it after I found it on Viki and I liked it. So I then watched Playful Kiss and found it a little weird, heh. Then me and my sister who watched only the first half of BOF with me decided to watch City Hunter and we loved it. After that I finished most of LMH's dramas before I start watching other kdramas. I took a break afterwards for about a year and went back to American shows. Then I decided to finish watching the kdramas that I just left in the middle (which were quite a few), I found myself not be able to to stop. Before I knew it I was so addicted that I feel like I can never go back to anything else. I just adore kdramas now. I rarely watch anything else. I even got bored of reading even though I was a bookworm.

11
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

If you need subtitles, you are basically watching a book. My friend flatteringly refers to my k-drama watching as a hobby because it is basically reading and watching a tv show, while learning about a different culture.

9
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Okay now I feel way better about that. :)

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

That's exactly right! I like your friend, it is a hobby 👏🏼

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

This is great. My first drama was Boys over Flowers too. Terrible, terrible drama. It was hilarious though. Afterward, much like you I thought if I'm bored enough I'll watch another. Then I watched Coffee Prince, after that it was all over. Coffee Prince was my 3rd drama. This is going to sound really arrogant and so I apologize for my ignorance but I was like "Oh kdramas can be good." Coffee Prince will forever and always be my rabbit hole and has a very special place in my heart.

10
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think my previous years of kdrama watching, including Coffee Prince, helped cushion me against the excesses of Boys Over Flowers. I finished BOF, but my mantra was "put the brick down, don't throw the brick, the screen is an innocent conduit, not an accessory to the crime." I think part of the appeal of Coffee Prince was that it was different from traditional romcoms. Although I will always be a romcom fan, I enjoy the fresher, more modern takes on the genre, especially slice of life ones.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I love your name by the way. Also🤣🤣😊🤣 at put the brick away, hehe.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you. We call my grandson HRH = His Royal Hugo.
The brick is just a foam yoga one, thank goodness.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I started with a Taiwanese drama my friend had told me she was watching, she kept talking about every episodes she watched giving me updates, I got impatient waiting for updates so I figured I should do it myself It started with a Kiss Finished it in 2 days then the 2nd season. Then I had nothing to watch. she gave me a list I watched the other Taiwanese dramas on there, then the Japanese ones (since I’d watched animes & read mangas before, it seemed more familiar.) having nothing left to watch I started my first K-drama: Delightful Girl Choon Hyang & that was it. You’re beautiful , Full House , basically anything I could get my hands on, anything with subs, not that it made a difference, I could barely speak English & had never watched anything with subtitles. Dramas became my excuse, I’m not watching TV I’m learning English. I only watched K-dramas after, binging everyday after school.

9
20
reply

Required fields are marked *

There was a point where I read somewhere that learning another language would help prevent Alzheimer's, so that was my excuse when I started watching more shows than was smart. Since Korean was so different than English or French (high school req), it would really force my brain to stay in tip top shape. I have to learn a new alphabet! There are honorifics which is totally different! Dialects, idioms, history, culture! etc. etc. Of course, that led to finding out about KPop later too. (I think my spouse found Eat Your Kimchi soon after I had started listening to Kpop, and we would watch the MusicMondays together.)

I'm so glad I didn't find kdramas until after I finished college. =D

8
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Spouse just corrected me. I had totally forgotten that we had tossed around the idea of moving to Korea to teach, and he found the one with Martina talking about the exchange program and what it entailed.

Holy cow. So much for learning Korean helping my memory. XD

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for giving me another reason to watch - brain exercise to prevent Alzheimer's - as long as I try to learn one new word or expression per show.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Came across an summary in a medical newsletter about what Alzheimer prevention methods might work. Might. Leaning something challenging is one, but not easy to work into scientific research.

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2019-11-15/will-you-get-dementia-many-may-not-understand-their-risk

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

So you need to exercise while watching K-dramas.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great, I’m covered then! Lol. 😂

1

😁😁 Learning Korean is my excuse now. Even though you’d think after all these years I would have picked up way more. I’m gonna add Alzheimer to my justification list. Oh I used to watch that channel too. I feel old now. The same friend introduced me to Kpop; I don’t know which one was first Park Bom’s “Don’t cry” or 2NE1’s “I am the best”. One day over dinner she just showed me & a friend the MVs on YouTube. It was so different than what we had in my country. That’s so nice with your spouse; I wished I still had people I could fangirl & enjoy Kpop & Kdramas with in real life

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I love Simon & Martina

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved ISWAK~~~ curious what else was on the list?

2
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same, I’ll look for it tonight when I go home. Lots of old school dramas I think there was about 20

1
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’ve found it 😊 but it’s torn in half & can’t find the other half ://

_ Full House
_ delightful Girl Choon Hyang
_ You’re beautiful
_ Still Mary me
_ my girl
_ Hana Yori Dango
_ Goong
_ Fantasy Couple
_ Love is all around
_ Wonderful Life
_ My sister-in-law is 19
_ Save the last dance for me
_ Smile again
_ Heaven’s Tree
_ Sweet 18
_ Dalja Spring
_ Que sera sera (with a note telling me to watch it last which I obviously didn’t listen to)
_ Wedding

On the top of my head I remember:
_ Hana Kimi
_ Nobuta Wo Produce
_ Nodame Cantabile
_ Life
_ Autumn’s Concerto
_ Meteor Garden
_ Coffee Prince

I actually couldn’t watch a lot of them because I couldn’t find subs :/ (at the time it was more downloading & torrents (which I didn’t know how to do) & less streaming )

2
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

ohhh there's a bunch of my favourite on here! and some i haven't seen before!
Thank you for sharing :)

1

your friend gave you a list of Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean dramas! wow! I remember watching Nodame Cantabile and loving it very much.
I wonder if Heaven's tree is the same as the tree from Heaven?

1

@gmelenco It had young Park Shin Hye in it, very very sad. At least that’s what I got from my non subbed watching

1

Ah, if it was very very sad and had park shin hue, then yes, it definitely is Tree of Heaven. I’ve seen it like 15 years ago and just recently rewatched it during the summer and man! It was still sooooo good!

1

@gmelenco Thank you for reminding me of that list again because now I can actually find these online & subbed. I can actually watch them :)

1

It is my pleasure (and your list contains so many classics it’s a benefit to all Beanies) :)

1

IT STARTED WITH A KISS and (second season) THEY KISS AGAIN is still best T-drama version of ITAZZURA NA KISS, the newest one . If you love the story then the best version is the Japanese MISCHEVIOUS KISS: LOVE IN TOKYO. One pf my more disappointing Kdrama experiences was watching the Kdrama version PLAYFUL KISS (except for the wondeful performance by Jung So-min - I have been a big fan ever since).

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

From 2013? Is that this one: Itazura na kiss: love in Tokyo?

I’ve only watched the 2 taiwanese seasons of ISWAK. I’ll try the one you recommended. I’ve heard bad things about the korean one so I didn’t bother. & it’s been a while since I’ve watched Japanese dramas so.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I believe that 2013 is correct. The Korean version is watchable but both the Japanese version and ISWAK are much better, in part because the story is not truncated as it is in the second T-drama version and in PLAYFUL KISS.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was a huge General Hospital fan. I will never forgive my Liz and Jason ship not sailing. A GH recap blog I read reviewed Fated to Love You. I was so intrigued. I kept circling around it and then finally watched. I think Googling it brang me to DB. When I really started to consume dramas I was consuming the old recaps at the same pace. I'd read them on my commute like a book.....I really need to go back and WATCH them. Anyway, looking up dramas I'd always see Coffee Prince I just went ahead and bought the DVDs. I didnt have streaming sites figured out yet, lol. Then came Secret Garden and Samsoon. I mean once you see those cheekbones....
Boys over Flowers was like crack. I was so sleep deprived and as I'd press play I kept asking myself.."What is this? Do I even like this? But I need it!!"

7
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

"What is this? Do I even like this? But I need it!!"
This line is the perfect sentiment to describe BOF 😂

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lol, perfect

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, The wonderful rabbit hole that is drama land! Mine was exactly the same except I started with *Personal Taste* in 2013. Hiatus for about a year then I stumbled upon the wonders called "City Hunter", "Moon that embraces the sun" and "My Love from the Star". Never looked back since! What an exciting 5 years as a non-native speaker and now I can understand about 60% of the drama w/o subs. Lee Min Ho and Kim Soo Hyun.. goldies...

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

K-Beauty was a gate to kpop and kdrama for me, and first dramas: My Love from Another Star ( every kbeauty blogger mentioned it), Keigo Higashino Mysteries, Dr Qin Medical Examiner.

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My first k-drama was Full House with Rain and Song Hye Kyo in 2004. I was visiting my relatives in Vietnam where everyone watched it, like everybody was obsessed with the show. My eyes nearly popped out of my head at Rain’s extravagant fashion. And I mean EXTRAVAGANT. Nobody even came close to his crazy fashion from Full House days. I still remember those revealing clothes on Rain’s huge body until this day. It really was the weirdest thing to me as I was used to European and American series. I loved Full House despite all the craziness but I considered it only just anomaly and went back to my “white” TV (even though I’m not white).

It was Coffee Prince 3 years later that really pulled me into dramaland and never let me go again. My white friends used to make fun of me because I watched some girlish guys with questionable fashion but - that was before k-pop took over the world.

Nowadays dramas and Dramabeans are daily part of my life and I’m happy I found fans who are as passionate about dramas as I am.

10
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great write-up, thanks @missvictrix for echoing my experience on how I stumbled upon K-drama and how it remained this oasis, like a friend I can find solace in. I also got introduced to K-drama by a classmate in grad school, who insisted I watch Boys over Flower. I watched... and nvr looked bck for the past 5 yrs! Thanks to Dramabeans which makes it even more enjoyable and interesting!

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I didn't start out with BOYS OVER FLOWERS, but it was my first modern drama. I started with sageuks (JUMONG, KINGDOM OF THE WINDS, EMPEROR OF THE SEA) and didn't even notice that they had +50 episodes. But I always ended up in tears, so I looked up time travelling dramas (as if those wouldn't end in tears pffft, I was young and naive).

Anyway, I was hooked by FAITH and wanted to see more of the soft-spoken handsome general Choi Young. So I looked him up, tried to learn his name (Lee Min Ho) and did my research of "best kdramas" on internet. And that's how I found BOYS OVER FLOWERS.

14
12
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have to thank Haechi for somehow curing my sageuk allergy earlier this year because now I have a long list of good old sageuk I want to watch right when dramaland's offering felt a bit dry.

6
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, what's on your list? I also have a long list of sageuks I want to watch, including BALLAD OF SEO DONG, PAINTER OF THE WIND and JEONG DO JEON.

And of course HAECHI itself!

2
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

For now, I'm slowly savoring Jumong. Next on the list is Subaekhyang because my sister (who is a huge fans of Seo Hyun-jin) can't stop praising and recommending it. And I like historical story that focused on women.

I'm also curious about Jeong Do Jeon, though I'm not sure whether I'll watch this one or 6 Flying Dragons first. I guess I'll let my mood to decide when the time comes.

Painter of the Wind is also tempting especially since it has shorter eps, but I'm not the biggest fan of Park Shin-yang's acting. Dilemma, dilemma...

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

JUMONG was my gateway drama and I love it to pieces, all 81 episodes of it.

I recently finished KING'S DAUGHTER SOO BAEK HYANG, and while it may look dated it has some wonderful acting, and is definitely more focused on women. I still find myself humming the main theme.

I watched SIX FLYING DRAGONS earlier this year. Once I got through the first four episodes it was an exciting watch, with a rocking OST. I now want to try JEONG DO JEON for a more historically accurate interpretation.

3

Now that I think of it, JUMONG has several strong female characters, like Seosono and Jumong's mother. It's probably another reason I loved it.

2

@wishfultoki
I'm only halfway through, but I'm already liking Sun-lan, the first prince's wife. She is such a fascinating antagonist, always appeared soft-spoken and demure, but with such sharp claws and tongue. I feel like a bad person for clapping and laughing whenever she managed to tame her husband to do one more thing in her favor.

2

Full House was my very first Korean drama. Everyone else in my family was watching Korean drama, except me. Then one day, I was forced to watch Full House, years after it showed. After that I became an addict. I started watching all the dramas that were recommended, Jewel in the Palace was mesmerising, and then I watched Winter Sonata, even though there was a CD in my house on the piano pieces from the drama...had been there for years. Stairway to Heaven came next. All of these were tearjerkers, but it made me hurt in ways I had never felt before. That's the beauty of Korean dramas...you get a mediocre scene, and then suddenly, wham! they hit you with such a moving, thought-provoking line, you go, "No wonder I love Korean dramas...I can never get a line like this anywhere else."

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

No wonder Full House and Winter Sonata are special for you!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Watch UNTAMED with me Toki :).

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm not sure it's my cup of tea... I have seen lots (and I mean LOTS) of fanwall posts but it strikes me as more fantasy than I can handle.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

If you ignore a few zombies and don't judge the drama based on the first 2 eps you might like it, it's about a free spirited guy and his best friend. It's the kind of show you love if you like the leads.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I totally understand and it is fantasy. It's not my kind of historical either but I didn't know I needed one after all the heavy and serious sageuks this year.

I find it rather refreshing. I've never watch anything about cultivators so it's all new and exciting to me.

I love a good adventure between two good friends which I had hoped for Hwi and Sun-ho.
I'm a sucker for sibling love. It's almost similar to Yeon, Hwi and Sun-ho but the trio had a lot more screen time together and I'm loving this darling big sister.

Anyway, let me know when and if you'll start JEONG DO-JEON and I'll watch it with you. We'll hijack some old thread and talk about it.
Writer Jung and his awesome quotes needs to be compiled in this drama too:).

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

For me it was Coffee Prince. Our local network surprisingly aired it, and it was dubbed in my native language. I was indifferent at first when seeing the commercials. Then, one day my mom started watching it and told me to join her. And all it took was 10 minutes to fall in love with the characters, the story, the bromance and of course Gong Yoo! After it finished airing, I stopped watching kdramas for a while because the network didn't air other shows and because I didn't know where to watch them. A while later I wasn't feeling well, I was in a dark place. Remembering the fuzziness I felt while watching Coffee Prince, I started searching where I can watch kdramas online. So, Boys Over Flowers and Goong it was! Kdramas are the same for me: an oasis where I feel like I can breathe. Thank you for this piece! It was lovely!

11
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@missvictrix Thanks for this post! That’s me speaking. When my family (my hubby included) started watching BOF, I resisted. That’s until I saw him watching My Princess and I thought Song Seung Heon was really handsome. I checked it out and he became my Oppa. It was followed by BOF, Lie to Me, Goong, Prosecutor Princess, Coffee Prince. LMH was the ultimate in City Hunter, which for me is one of my top drama, only to be beaten by Chang Wook and Healer. And BTW @msrabbit I got traumatized by the ending of Autumn in my Heart but SSH and Won Bin made it so worth it.

These weren’t perfect dramas but I feel that these older dramas were more addicting than recent dramas, tropes and all. After watching an episode, there was just this great urge to watch the next one. These days I’m more selective in my choice of dramas.

9
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

I still don't know what it is about Autumn in My Heart that is so compelling. I hate almost every trope and I am not really into oppas (yes, even SSH and Won Bin). It wasn't even a hate watch, more like bewitched watch? LOL.

5
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Autumn in my heart was my first makjang! I believe it was my second K-Drama watch because I wanted to see Song Hye Kyo more. I don't know what happened to me throughout the show. I was appalled by the "incest" plot, I wanted to drop, it was so boring, too soapy, and the male lead - I didn't even find him attractive, sorry Song Seung Heon fans but WON BINNNNNNNNN <3. Anyways so.... all that negativity about this drama led to me bawling my eyes out. My tears were rolling down my face nonstop. My mom burst into my room and caught me crying and she freaked out! She slapped when when she figured out I was crying because of a show I didn't understand the language, but had to read subs to know what was going on! LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Damn this rabbit hole.

6
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm sorry about your Mom slapping you but I'm laughing so hard right now. My friend's husband came home after she'd just finished an old drama (this is 15 years ago) and she was crying so hysterically she couldn't even explain why. He completely freaked out. Now we laugh about it and he just thinks we're freaks.

8
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Huehhehe all good! That was a very fond memory of going down this rabbit hole. People didn’t understand the craze we, drama addicts, had/have for dramas and how much they affect our lives. Totally their loss for not getting how great it is to be so emotionally attached to these fictional characters!

Anyways the rest is history since then. Whenever she caught me laughing or crying, no biggie, it’s just one of those days her only daughter was having emotional breakdown for her beloved fictional characters lol. Fast forward to some more years later, it’s my fiancé who now has to deal with me and my drama craze 😛

5

I watched Autumn in My Heart in the time of dial up internet connection, with no subtitles. All because of that guy named Won Bin.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I've spent 8 years in this k-drama rabbit hole and getting very comfortable here (though also a lot more hard-to-please) that I never expected myself to experience the similar tumbling-down-another-rabbit-hole anytime soon. My gateway is I Hear Your Voice, though I unsuspectingly started this 'crazy' journey with My Girlfriend is a Gumiho thanks to my friend's recommendation one day.

But yeah, hello there, c-dramas rabbit hole. 👋

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I might be the odd one out here but watching an episode or two of Boys over flowers (which was not my gateway drama) almost killed for me the drama watching experience. My first drama a binge watch of She was Pretty and i remember watching it because I was binging girl makeovers in movies on youtube and someone recommend to watch this. Park Seo joon will always have a special something in my heart.

7
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I once bought a seaweed wrap just because Park Seo Joon's face was on the packaging. I was both the most embarrassing and the most enjoyable grocery trip I ever made.

12
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Meanwhile, I have a mouse pad with Gong Yoo's face on it. My God-sister bought it for me when she went to Korea. It is still in its original plastic covering and slightly faded now. It's been 15 years after all!! 😂

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I want to see this!

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's on my fan wall

0