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[Beanie Recs] I need to fill the My Liberation Notes void


Ahoy, Beanies! It’s time to gather your collective genius for a new recommendation series that features you and your drama knowledge. Each week we’ll drop a drama conundrum and leave it up to you to provide a drama rec, and the appropriate rationale behind it, be it long or short. Respond below!

I need to fill the void after My Liberation Notes ends this weekend. Looking for something with similar vibes — deep, melancholy, wonderful.


Have a very particular drama itch that needs scratching? In need of a Beanie Rec? Email us at hello @ dramabeans.com and we’ll feature your topic in a future post.
 
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My Ahjussi is the obvious one, but if you can find them, Mixed Up Investigation Agency (give this one a few episodes - it seems really silly and over-the-top at first but becomes something truly wonderful) and Alone in Love might also fit the bill. Also possibly Ruler of Your Own World and Beautiful World.

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Oh my god, I totally forgot Mixed Up Investigation Agency exists. Now that’s a show that got better every passing week. It’s been such a long time since I remembered the show. Truly an overlooked gem. There’s also a younger Lee Min-ki so there’s another similarity to MLN.

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It’s rare that I see anyone ever mention Mixed-Up Investigation Agency! I didn’t love it as much as some others, but it definitely is unlike any other drama I’ve seen. Very unique. Ye Ji-won especially was so fantastic and I wish I saw more of her in dramaland!

It’s also another one where Lee Min-ki demonstrates a total lack of vanity in his acting. The man is so good-looking but he does his job so well with such gusto you completely forget about it and the fact that he was a literal model. Doesn’t care at all about looking ridiculous or “ugly”. Love it.

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Ye Ji Won and Park Hae Soon stole that show for me, and yes, it's completely one of a kind (although I think the fact that it's never been legally available on any of the streaming services means a lot folks haven't seen it). Alone in Love by the same screenwriter is closer in tone to My Liberation Notes and is much more slice of life, although I personally found it pretty bleak. On the plus side though, Son Ye Jin and Kam Woo Sung are fantastic in it.

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Alone in Love is sublime.

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Agree, Alone in Love.

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But I find beautiful world and My Ajusshi is more melo than My liberation Notes. like everything is dark and the mood is more depressing. Liberation Notes has such a hope.

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The three that come to mind are all older ones I have watched that had complex relationships amongst family and friends and life challenges for different generations.

The other issue is I have only seen a few of the early episodes of My Liberation notes so far so not be 100% up to speed on all the elements to do a direct comparison.

Navillera
My dear friends
On the verge of insanity

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OTVOI is an overlooked gem. Overlooked because a lot of people saw middle aged people in a workplace and shut it off halfway through episode 1. BIG mistake.

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That is so true but I think it also looked like it could be really depressing, the female lead presented as cold and heartless and the staff were in a position of helplessness so it was hard to know where the entertainment value was going to come from. Once I got into it, I wondered why I have not seen the male lead in anything before?
The cast did a great job, they must be seasoned actors who star in the many slice of life dramas that probably don’t get sold to the international audiences.

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I had recognized the lead from a movie, starring opposite Shin Min-ah.

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Lost/Human Disqualification, Age of Youth, and The Light in Your Eyes come to mind for me! Each has a different tone but all feel similar in pacing with slice of life, diving into the deepness of emotions of regret and missed opportunities and angst of social interaction. I would say some characters in these shows also seek liberation.

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I really enjoyed Radiance/The light in your eyes but as it’s starts with a fantasy element I think a lot of people don’t take it seriously. The characters are great and the story of youth, friendship and family alongside the way society treats elders was addressed in a unique way. I don’t think everyone who likes slice of life would want to watch it but I think it’s unusual format is very powerful.

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Yes, for The Light in Your Eyes and Age of Youth.
Plus, the Light in Your Eyes was also directed by the director of My Liberation Notes.

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I found myself recommending a friend who loves MLN My Unfamiliar Family recently and realized how similar the shows are. I mean, they’re also entirely different, but MUF is similarly about a family of 3 siblings. They’re trying to live their own lives when a family tragedy forces them to come together again and deal with all of their issues (of which there are many). The tone is melancholy, but it never veers toooooo far into melodramatic territory, and it’s a very thoughtful show with very flawed, complex characters. Choo Ja-hyun was a revelation to me here and I’m forever a fan!

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You remind me that I need to watch that drama soon. I heard only good thing about it.

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I think you would like it, gadis! It seems very much up your alley from what I know about your tastes. 😊

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Oh wow I forgot about this one, you are so right re the family story that unfolds. The thing that stood out for me is the way that being the youngest of the family meant they never saw the son as the man he had become which was a significant factor in the choices he made. The way the story is told appears low key and light but there is a lot of depth and the reason behind even the annoying character’s behaviour is a deep one.

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Was about to recommend MUF as well! I might rewatch it after MLN finishes.

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My Ajusshi would be the obvious choice since it was written by the same writer.

As for the other choices, I would recommend A Beautiful World if you don't mind school bullying theme, Misaeng for insightful workplace drama, Just Between Lovers for deep exploration on trauma and grief, and Matrimonial Chaos for some introspective and unique view about marriage and relationship.

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Your choices are just… *chef’s kiss*. I’m almost mad I didn’t come up with Misaeng and A Beautiful World myself because these are such excellent choices. I haven’t watched Matrimonial Chaos yet and this is another reminder that I really should. Guess I’m already learning how to fill the void when MLB (inevitably, sadly) finishes.

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If I could go live inside a drama, it would be Matrimonial Chaos. I want to hang out in the restaurant with all the women and I'm obsessed with the river crossing.

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A Beautiful World is a good choice.

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Writer Park Hae-young’s other works - Oh Hae-young Again and My Ajusshi - are the obvious recommendations. Branching out a bit, these are ones I’d recommend:

My Unfamiliar Family
Human Disqualification
Just Between Lovers
The Light in Your Eyes

TBH, finding dramas that are kind of similar in tone or subject matter is a bit difficult. My Liberation Notes has been such a transcendent and different experience compared to most kdramas for me that even trying to find a likeness seems…wrong. I mean, I can think of almost nothing that makes me feel the way this drama makes me feel on a weekly basis. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else recommends. Maybe I’ve forgotten obvious picks or will discover an overlooked gem.

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Lee El and Son Suk-Ku in 2018 (at their collective cutest) playing a dysfunctional husband and wife in "Matrimonial Chaos" (both Netflix and Viki). They're part of an ensemble cast starring heavy hitters Cha Tae-hyun and Bae Doo-na. 32 half hour episodes.

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The MLN director Kim Seok-yoon directed the excellent 2016 series 'My wife's having and affair this week' (inferior Netflix title 'Listen To Love'). My Mister's Lee Sun Kyun going through some very My Mister-like marital troubles just the year before My Mister. Only 12 episodes. A mix of deep melo along with some outrageous absurdist comedy.

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I stopped watching My Ahjussi at ep 7. I guess, now is the time to pick it up again.
Actually, my question right now is: How do I fill the void of Seon Seok Gu? *sniff*

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Kdrama: Be Melodramatic. Melancholy, funny, quirky, touching.

Non-kdrama: Six Feet Under. The show's family (mother and three very flawed siblings) owns a funeral business so the show explores life and death from all angles. One of the greatest TV shows of all time and truly existentialist.

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I didn’t even think to mention Be melodramatic/Melo is my nature because it is so funny I assumed that the person who liked MLN would want serious only. I loved the way Be melodramatic covered some really deep topics in a way that was not depressing at all.

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100% Be Melodramatic!!! They cover so many topics, and in the same way MLN has its comedic moments, Be Melo may have more but definitely has those deep moments you want to cry with the leads.

AND special bonus: a very hot eccentric enigmatic Son Suk Gu, the first time I saw him and fell for him

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Be Melo is indeed funny (the PPL scenes had me rolling), but the dead boyfriend storyline was gutting to watch.

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Be Melodramatic was the first one that came to mind.

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I rock my brain to find something similar but I can't find one. A piece of your mind before they cut it? MLN is felt more like Korean movie to me. A Little Forest Korean version and Japanese version?

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My Unfamiliar Family : For the family part.
When the Weather is Fine : For the countryside part.
A Piece of Your Mind : For the mourning part.

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This exasperatingly dysfunctional site doesn’t work again. I can’t access any comments. Surely, it isn’t just me? What is going on?

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It's been hit or miss for me for weeks now.

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It is really weird it freezes or send you to the wrong place on the site. For ages I thought it was my internet that was playing up! Someone commented on here that this happens a lot.

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This was a new and unwelcome problem for me as for hours I couldn’t access any of the comments. I wish this site could at least communicate with us about why these issues are constantly happening. Their approach seems to be based on the following: 🙈🙉🙊

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My Ahjussi without second thought.

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Just watch all previous works written by Park Hae-young.

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deep, melancholy, wonderful, that is not My Ajusshi? hard.. But you might want to try these for missing MLN Sibling’s situation kind of story with strong melancholy vibe:
1. Scent of a Woman (SBS, 2011) for Mi jeong-like workplace situation, and strong melancholy vibe on fullfilling bucket list when your days are numbered.
2. My Blooming Days/ My Spring Days (MBC, 2014) for Ki Jeong-lke of situation in term of falling in love with a good guy with kids.

bonus:
3. The Best Moment to Quit Your Job (Oksusu, 2017/2018) for looking at the grim reasons of quitting/losing job, so the you argue how lucky Chang Hee was for quitting his job because he can be with his parents on the most needed time.

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Scent of a Woman has been at the highest top of my most favorite shows for the past ten years, but I would have never thought of it as being in the same category with My Ahjussi. Interesting how different people see different shows.

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Ok I am lined up to watch The scent of a woman now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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Oof!!! There are Many...but the one that comes in my mind right now is DAYS!! I only finished that drama for the ever ADORABLE and TALENTED Seo in-guk. That is all!

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When the Weather is Fine. It has a similar vibe but more uplifting. It's calm and thoughtful.

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I would say "Live" and "Love Affairs in the Afternoon"

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My Ajusshi since its from the same writer. Plus Misaeng, My Unfamiliar Family and Just Between Lovers for office drama, family drama, dealing with trauma and similar mood overall.

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There were some really beautiful, tender, and heartrending moments in Wok of Love that I still remember vividly. Quirky, funny, and touching.

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For me it's a no brainer: Be Melodramatic and then, the new film, The Roundup, for more Son Seok-koo. The first because it's
Quirky
Funny
Sad
Unique
and the second because SSK is playing a completely different character.

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