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[2023 Year in Review] Tell us about your year in dramas

It’s that favorite time of the year where we reflect on life, love, and K-dramas. How did K-dramas speak to you this year? Were there any moments that affected you, spoke to you, struck a nerve, or had an interesting ripple effect in your real life? We want to hear your stories!

Submit a guess essay and tell us about your year in dramas.


To submit:

  • Email your submissions to hello @ dramabeans.com. If you have a registered Dramabeans account, include your handle so we can link to it.
  • Include at least 1 image, though more are preferred.
  • Suggested length: Between 500 and 1,000 words.
  • Deadline: We will post these on a rolling basis, so we’re taking submissions starting now! We will cut off accepting submissions on December 24.
  •  
    NOTE: Not all essays will be selected for publishing, and if they are, itโ€™s likely they will undergo some editing. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

 
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2023 was the year of my K-Drama renaissance. I started watching around 2020/2011 and watched a lot of dramas in the beginning. For the past few years this came down to maybe one or two dramas a year.

But somehow while watching King of the Land I can as suddenly all in again and since then I have been in a KDrama binge and I love it. I am looking forward to watch Perfect Marriage revenge and some others once they are finished.

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December ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคญ. It is that time of the year...๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ. I look forward to reading and hearing about your perceptions and reflections.
I don't think I have something to write about this year though cause displeasure is a focal thing I have for kdramas this year.

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I could've, but 90% of what I TRULY think about this year's dramas won't pass DB filter... and the remaining 10% will likely break the words cap. Maybe next time lol)))

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I feel your twinkling heart in Junhoโ€™s show.

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At least I was spared from THAT! Surely would've add quite a bit of insult to an injury.

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It is such a delight sitting in my corner gleefully holding onto KtL like a kid that knows they don't have to share a treat with anybody and can have it all to themself ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿคฉ

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I want equal share of that candy, I absolutely loved KTL and Jun Ho.

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The beauty of sharing love is that it doesn't get halved, it doubles ๐Ÿคฉโค๏ธโค๏ธ

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๐Ÿ‘ very well said. ๐Ÿ’•

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My biggest issue is the schedule. The week and the week-ends are so unbalanced now.

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Truer words could not be said.

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This year I will end with around 15 k-dramas watched, 2 weekender lurks, and several drops. There was also 2 old series I watched as I followed Jo Yeo Jeong's career path. But the biggest change was Korean movie watch - - - 11 so far from various years (with two seen in Seoul).

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I forgot to mention . . . it was another banner year for child actor performances.

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Year 2023 is when K-dramas are beginning to look more and more like fast fashion. The plot starts off well and then fizzles out (Netflix's ones especially!). Have yet to come across dramas that I remember the plot after watching like Descendents of the Sun (2016); It's Okay to be Not Okay (2020); Crash Landing on You (2020); Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022); Hotel Del Luna (2019); Youth of May (2021); even Liar Game (2014). Watched a number mainly because of the male and female leads.... the closest to my fave would be The Glory (2023)...

The shows that did get me hooked instead were reality shows The Devil's Plan (2023) and Physical 100 (2023).... mainly because of how the game was set up. The interactions between the contestants. And the amazing set! Waiting for Singles Inferno for visual-fix.

Hope we do better in 2024!

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People's tastes differ a lot. I either disliked or completely forgot most of the shows you have mentioned as memorable. Hope next year is a better drama year for you.

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Yeap indeed. What are your top three?

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Top three ever or from 2023?

In 2023 I absolutely loved:

Brain Works
The Pefect Deal
King the Land

Top 3 ever is very difficult. I have quite a lot of favorites. To name a random 3 from my top favorites list:

Lookout
Wild Romance
Stove League

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I loved Namkoong Minโ€™s cold, reserved character in (Hot) Stove League -- a real change from his more usual flamboyant style. Itโ€™s one of my favorites, even though it doesnโ€™t get mentioned much. Another favorite baseball-focused drama of mine, with a bit more humor, is Prison Playbook. I was not familiar with Wild Romance, but I see itโ€™s got baseball and is on Viki so I will now watch it -- thanks for the tip.

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Hmm thank you! Will check those out :). I am more like thinking if a person is completely new to Kdrama and slightly skeptical, what can I get them to watch? Crash Landing on You was my safe bet. Looking to add to that repertoire.

Dr. Cha is nice for this year as Um Jung Hwa and the supporting cast did so well.

Still scratching my head on finding the next no-skip drama TBH. I unconditionally watch anything from Cha Eun Woo and Ji Sung haha. Castaway Diva and maybe My Demon if they can keep it up...

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@mpc07 I have never been able to lure anyone into kdramas so I am no help there lol.

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Started promising. Started floundering midway. Upswing the last bit. My grip is it is getting so hard to FIND the ones you want to watch. There are just too many networks trying to put their hands in the pie and having restrictions like only in certain regions or have to subscribe to watch etc. that it is frustrating to actually be able to watch the dramas you want to. BUT, will I stop watching? NO! I will trudge on and try my best to find and watch them. Hey, its tradition now! Its a part of my life I am not ready to give up, if ever. +_+

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I share your frustrations. I am keen to watch the new series Tell Me That You Love Me because I love introspective melodramas, but itโ€™s not on my streamers (Viki, Netflix, Amazon) in the US. I see itโ€™s on Disney/Hulu, but apparently not in my region.

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I am waiting for TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME to become available also,

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Indeed 2023 was a mixed bag for me. I think Iโ€™ve watched more cdramas. Too many platforms spoil it for me, along with regional blocks. And with more than one gadget, the mix up with passwords and subscriptions are too much sometimes. Takes out much of the joy. I think on premiere announcements, the platform it is available should be identified. As for Netflix, I have not been current, but Alchemy of Souls and Dr. Cha stand out for me months after theyโ€™ve aired.

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gripe

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2023 had some huge hits, but only a few hit the mark for me. At the top of my list stands Call it Love. I loved everything about it--the slow pace, the stillness of every scene, the yearning of the ML for this unusual woman who came into in life in such a strange way, and the depiction of the impact of divorce on a family, even years later.

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One of the shows I recently binged and loved. I discovered Kim Young-kwang just before that in The secret life my secretary and already thought he was great. Then came Call it love and I just finished Hello, Me. He is absolutely fantastic.

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Just finished secret life of my secretary. It was a fun drama and better than most of the romantic dramas released of late.

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Absolutely, it was a lovely romcom and I really liked that cast. Kim Young-kwang made me laugh so hard at the pantyhose scene.

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It sucked, lol.

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No Sic, the year when Kim Young Kwang is finally appreciated and recognized as a powerhouse cannot suck. Or should we be sad that now we have to share him with everybody...

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๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ but *my* year in DRAMAS still sucked, so~ ๐Ÿคญ

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Fair enough. Hope next year will have you glued to your screen, squeeing endlessly.

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squeeing endlessly

Matchmaker ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿฅฐโค๏ธ

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๐Ÿ˜† So I didnโ€™t miss much?

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Nope ๐Ÿคฃ also hi!

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I donโ€™t think so. Another fallow kdrama year following a fallow 2022 kdrama year.

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This^. Perfect description.
Coincidentally have been in a fallow field myself for some time as well. Hmmmmm ๐Ÿค”

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I hop Sic you can snap out of it.
The year may end on a positive note for me. I have SAMDAL-RI starting today and Jang Dong-yoonโ€™s ssireum drama starting in the 20th. I have high hopes for both.
in between I have SIGโ€™s DEATH GAME (total crap shoot). I have watched the 2 first two episodes of SWEET HOME 2 and will keep going with GKW.

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Well I have some things... I have started... Although I won't say anything incase I get burnt again. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ
But you know it is the Season of Hope, so. (Happy first day of Advent btw ๐Ÿ•ฏ๏ธ๐Ÿ’œ)

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Same to you. (I am just about to light the first candle on my Advent wreath.)

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Hi, Sic.
It's really suck to be a veteran in kdrama watching. I'm down to 4-7 dramas a year now, and I'm lucky if half of it was interesting all the way through.

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I watched too many again idk why this keeps happening I almost would prefer to just only watch half a dozen lmao, then the pitifully small list of dramas I felt a single feeling towards wouldn't feel as tragic. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

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I've been watching kdramas for a couple of years now, but this is the first year I allowed myself to really binge them with no restrictions without feeling guilty. This allowed me to catch up on many of the more popular shows I missed from previous years that everyone else had already seen as well as some of this year's new releases.

One of my methods of choosing my shows this year was to focus on working my way through the filmography of actors/actresses I really enjoy. This led me to lose interest in some and upped my admiration even further for those I already liked.

I also finally found some Chinese dramas worth watching and was thrilled about that since my past experiences weren't all that encouraging. And I also got more comfortable with DNF'ing shows I just couldn't get into.
So overall, I'm pretty happy with my drama watching experiences of 2023!

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I've only discovered kdramas this January, so for me it's been a wild ride! I have seen over 40 shows (I'm keeping track), some multiple times, some I've dropped in the middle, and quite a few I saw 1 or 2 eps and didn't continue.

I've even started my own *Oscars/Grand Bell* list with categories such as: best & worst villain; best soundtrack; biggest plot hole; WTF show; cringiest show/characters/moments; cutest kids; best platonic chemistry; best non-human characters; worst ending; characters I hate; slowest show; most anxiety-inducing show. Plus the usual more technical categories, such as soundtrack and special FX. With a spreadsheet and everything LOL I want to post it on my wall but there's a 200-char limit, so boo.

Besides this, there's the fact that kdramas made me start learning Korean (I'm obsessed with the language!), I've tried K food, K skin care, and pretty much renounced Hollywood etc.

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Aww I wish I could go back and relive my first year with kdramas. It was so much fun! So much to discover!

Also, itโ€™s been ages since Iโ€™ve posted on the fan wall, but if you write it somewhere else (like on a word doc) and copy paste to the wall, you should be able to bypass that character limit!

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Though there may still be a limit with that too @sicarius should be able to tell you about that ๐Ÿ˜„

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๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€

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noice! imma try that

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For help with the 200-character limit, feel free to use the help here: https://www.dramabeans.com/members/attiton/activity/1452362/

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AHHHH I LOVE YOU!!!!

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Welcome to the Korean obsession!

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I donโ€™t keep lists so I went back and looked at all of the WWW for the past year and cobbled what is probably an iffy list.๐Ÿ˜‚
I finished a lot of iffy dramas ๐Ÿ˜‚
There were dramas were I said I watched 4-5 eps, yet I donโ€™t recall them at all ๐Ÿ˜ตโ€๐Ÿ’ซ
C dramas, J dramas and older dramas took up a good amount of time . I think the C dramas beat out the K dramas*,

*The current crop of shows are finishing strong for team K drama

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Iโ€™ll add this here as well

Roundup 2023. Day 1 โ€“ Female lead you will never forget (for better or worse).
K drama : Ahn Eun Jin I finished My Dearest & Good Bad Mom ( those poor pigs ๐Ÿท ๐Ÿท ๐Ÿท )
These dramas has some issues but she did well.

Honorable mention
Kim Yoon Seol as young Mok-ha Castaway Diva K dramas have good โ€œyouthโ€ actresses & actors

Other than K drama
Natsume Masako as Tripitaka in Monkey
Alice Ke in Someday or One Day

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I managed to goon up the post ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿค”
Lee Re as young Mok-ha

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Roundup 2023. Day 1 โ€“ Female lead you will never forget for worse
Baek Jin Hee in The Real Has Come
I didnโ€™t complete this drama, but, ouch what a mess.

These weekender shows write some garbage scripts
for the FLโ€™s ๐Ÿ˜ช
Looking at LYOL

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UEE deserves better. At least she had a good script in the earlier weekender OJAKKYO BROTHERS.

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I started watching k-dramas two years ago. 2022 was the year of discovering everything: actors, directors, writers, OSTs, language, food, history... and even my first and only Korean crush.

2023 has been as "2022 part two", because I have been binge-watching as crazy lots of older shows and quite a few new dramas too. Btw, In January 2023 I watched Prison Playbook, my favorite k-drama so far.

2023 has been the year of getting to know C-dramas too. I had watched Love Between Fairy and Devil in 2022, but this year I have watched Butterflied Lover, Le coup de foudre, Meteor Garden, My love enlighten me, Go Ahead, Meet Yourself, New Life Begins, Reset, Fake it till you make it and the Taiwanese drama Someday or One Day.

Maybe in 2024 I won't consider myself a rookie k-drama watcher anymore :)

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Without a list of last yearโ€™s shows, not many come to mind, so forgettable were they. Netflix failed to rise to the level of previous year offerings like โ€œMy Liberation Notesโ€ and โ€œOur Blues, and the only show that even came close was โ€œDr Cha.โ€ On Viki, the one standout was Lee Na young in the 8-part gem, โ€œOne Day Off.โ€ With the well running dry, I found myself turning to older long-form romcoms like โ€œFather is Strange,โ€ โ€œWhatโ€™s Wrong With this Family,โ€ and the wonderful โ€œFive Enough.โ€ Will 2023 be an outlier year for drama, then back to the good stuff? I sure hope so.

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Thimble, Yes, 2023 was a disappointment to me compared to other years. Slow-burn, emotional, lost-soul — yet human-scale — Kdramas are my favorites, so My Liberation Notes is in my special list of such dramas. This year I added to my list (and my favorite Kdrama I watched this year) Lost [released in 2021, on Amazon Prime]. It's also called Human Disqualification (in Korean surely this name must roll off the tongue much more easily).

I too liked Our Blues, mainly because of its many accomplished actors. And — yes, letโ€™s hope 2023 is an outlier year.

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It is so interesting that your list of older shows included 3 Weekenders: FATHER IS STRANGE, WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS FAMILY and FIVE ENOUGH. These shows are what weekenders used to be. If you haven't seen it yet ONCE AGAIN is another great one that is still available.

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A few years back when most k-dramas started to seem the same, I switched to c-dramas. This year continued the trend, of the 43 dramas I watched, only 13 were k-dramas, with the rest being c-dramas. These were several outstanding c-dramas that aired during 2023.

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For me this was the year of the dropโ€ฆKing the Land, Moon in the Day, Heartbeat, A Lovely Liar, Strong Girl Namsoon, She Would Never Know, Doom at your Service, Flower Crew, Fight For My Way and Crash Course in Romanceโ€ฆ

The absolute standout was Alchemy of Souls. This reminded me of the magic of shows like Crash Landing on You, Vincenzo, My Mister, Human Disqualification, Mr. Queen, Kingdom and Itโ€™s Okay not to be Okay.

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I agree on Alchemy of Souls, I completely enjoyed the drama. The Hong Sisters at their best.

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Isn't the consensus that every year is worse than the year before? ๐Ÿ˜…

I feel like almost every kdrama year has been good for me. I never found myself without anything to watch, especially nowadays when you can pick up a drama from last year or 10 years ago. The currently airing list is also getting longer every year. Given the increasing number of platforms, we get a lot more kdramas.

It's got its pros and cons. More diversity of storylines and themes. There will be at least one or two things on air that I will like. I love seeing the burgeoning number of opportunities across genres for actors to really flex their acting muscles, especially older actors. However, this also means running into a lot of things that ultimately don't appeal to me (which is cool; hope they get lots of love from other watchers) and feeling a bit sad when thinking about all the things I didn't get around to watching.

I'm impressed some dramas took risks like Alchemy of Souls, doing the korean spin on the fantasy wuxia drama. And then, there's Heavenly Idol. What did i even watch? LOL. Happy they tried, though.

There is overall, just a lot of content everywhere. More than ever. So I think this year is about the feels. Maybe as I get older and the details of older memories seem to fade away, I rely more on feel too.

Between korean dramas and chinese dramas and watching so many at a time and simultaneously on top of the US tv shows that I watch but don't mention here, I can't remember a lot of the plot points. I mostly just reflect back to my feelings. Did I feel impressed? Did my heart feel an emotional tightness? Horrified? Numb?

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This year can be described as a sampling year for me. I have watched the beginnings of many dramas but failed to pass the first couple of episodes. Perhaps I am reaching saturation as not many shows have original plotlines, stories, and unique approaches. I am a bit bored with similar stories and often in the midway I am not curious anymore. There were a few I finished and they were pretty decent: The kidnapping day, Black dogs, Moving, Twinkling Watermelon..
Not that great but finished regardless: Doctor Cha, Behind your touch, Not others, Oasis, My perfect stranger, The killing vote..
There used to be a hate-watch category, but this year I just could not be bothered.

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I finished Oasis, however, the Eternal Love Triangle was active until the last seconds of the show,
The OTP had zero quality screen time . Aigoo.
I finished several trash dramas ๐Ÿ˜‚

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I've set up my computer background wallpaper to loop through movie posters of my favorite movies and Kdramas.
Though I liked some dramas from 2023 ( to name 3: Black Night, See You in My 19th Life, D.P.) — no 2023 drama made it to my looping Wall of Fame.

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Update: I just stumbled on The Deal [2023] in Viki. This edgy, sometimes grim, suspense drama had slipped in under my radar, but I am happy to say it is my favorite Kdrama of 2023.

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My Dearest is a strong contender for my drama of the year. Certainly in my top three with Oasis and See You in My 19th Life.

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In 2023 I broke my personal record for number of dramas watched due to downtime from two surgeries. I completed more than 75 dramas plus several Kmovies in 2023. I focused on watching older dramas while trying to catch the best of the new releases in 2023.

-"Classics" included Sandglass and Bridal Mask

-"Oldies but goodies" included The Good Doctor, Signal, Padam Padam, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and Fated to Love You.

-"New to me" was the long (50+ episodes) or weekend drama format, including: A Jewel in the Palace, My Father is Strange and Love Like the Galaxy (C-drama).

-2023 Also "new to me," was "Doramas" or J-dramas (not a priority for me) included First Love (2023).

-2023 Highlights: My Dearest, Dr Romantic 3, Twinkling Watermelon, The Good Bad Mother, D.P.2 and King the Land--yes, I'm a Junho fan

-2023 Disappointments: See You in My 19th Life, Doona!, Dream (movie)

-2023 Yet to come, looking forward to: Gyeongseong Creature

-2023 topping my "to wach" list: Castaway Diva, Welcome to Samdalri, My Perfect Stranger, Tale of the Nine-tailed 1938

-2023 DB highlight: promotion from "Noble Idiot" to "Eunuch in Drag"

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I enjoy those 50+ episode family dramas. Sadly, not a lot of good ones. Some of my favorites are: Father is Strange, Five Enough, Family's Honor, Ojakgyo Brothers, Unexpected You and Giant (but mostly for the secondary romance),

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Similar to the past few years, I continue to find c-dramas more interesting and enjoyable than k-dramas. Several very good c-dramas aired this year, including When I Fly Towards You, Hidden Love, Here We Meet Again, The Starry Love and Fireworks of my Heart. I did love Part 2 of the k-drama Alchemy of Souls which finished airing in 2023.

In total, I watched 43 dramas in 2023 (13 of which were k-dramas), with the remainder being c-dramas. I am in process of watching my first Hong Kong drama, a remake of A Business Proposal.

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2023 K-dramas for me were dominated by the little series 'One Day Off'. The sort of series where you watch an episode then go back and immediately watch it again. Everything else, even the dramas I genuinely loved, come in second.

The standout K-drama feature for me this year was the 'satisfying ending'. I can retroactively forgive a LOT if the series ends well. The best part of a few series this year were their pitch-perfect finales. The worst part of a LOT of high profile series this year were their fumbled endings.

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I'm about four years into my k-drama journey, with 150+ under my belt. I've recently gotten pickier, better at pulling the plug on a show I'm not really enjoying. I'm no longer willing to suffer through long stretches of emotional manipulation, and certain types of story lines are just not worth it.

I've also become more protective of my spare time, as I recently paid for a subscription to a good Korean course. I started dabbling a couple of years ago but have decided I want to become fluent and read novels in Korean. (I've previously learned English and French, so I'm aware of the magnitude of learning a new language.)

This year I've completed 6 Korean movies and 26 k-dramas (from 2023 or before), and dropped an additional dozen or so. Another 10 are half-finished, and some of these I may not finish.

Series I liked quite a bit or a lot:
The Glory, Hospital Playlist 1 and 2, Call it Love, When the Weather is Fine, King the Land, Mr Queen, Revenant, Moving, Castaway Diva, Perfect Marriage Revenge. I enjoyed the first half of My Dearest, but am stuck on episode 15. I'm quite enjoying My Demon.

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Great to hear you're good with the regulation when it comes to how you spend your time!! Also - is this an online Korean course? Would love to know which one you went with because I'm currently shopping around to invest in one too!

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#TTMIK - talktomeinkorean.com. I'm very happy with it, plus I'm supplementing with their podcasts and videos by a YouTube channel called ChoiSusu (Easy Korean), as she has good 5-7 minute videos for beginner and intermediate learners, but entirely in Korean and with full transcripts. Also, the Papago online translator is your friend.

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I JUST found choisusu earlier today thanks to the algorithm, what are the odds!!

I was eyeing TTMIK so might take this as the sign to commit - thank you for your detailed answer ๐Ÿ’•

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Fascinating fortuity! I sometimes put the algorithm to work for me by deliberately doing a few searches for content related to a new interest, and voilร ! it tailors my feed like a well-trained little research assistant... :)

I realized k-dramas (and even more so k-pop songs!) cannot be trusted to reliably provide accurate, realistic language content. For example, no one actually says ์ข‹์€ ์•„์นจ for good morning in real life, but you hear it all the time in k-dramas.

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