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[Drama Chat] The drama you didn’t know you needed

It’s a common phrase among drama fans: the drama you didn’t know you needed. It usually signifies a story that snuck up on you in some way. Either you weren’t anticipating it at all, or you weren’t anticipating how — and how deeply — it would grab you.

To me, it’s all a part of the K-drama magic, because as we mentioned last week, sometimes the dramas you are excited about aren’t the ones you wind up watching. Sometimes another story finds you instead… as if on purpose.
 

What’s your current “drama you didn’t know you needed”? Or, what’s a drama that once signified that for you in the past? What made it strike a nerve or capture your heart?

 
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Mine was Romantic Doctor Kim, the first. I had sworn off medical dramas because of how contrived and inaccurate they all were. Turns out, I just needed to see a Korean one. But I saw myself in it and how the relationships were deep and meaningful between coworkers. It made me be more intentional and there for my staff and colleagues that I spend more time with than my own family sometimes. And it was my gateway to Goblin which aired soon after. And everything else is kdrama history.

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Appreciate our DB doctors for sharing your medical knowledge. Season 1 will always be my favorite.

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For me it was Encounter. The heroine’s journey really resonated with me. Watching her slowly break free from the cage of expectations and responsibilities, unlearn the identity others had given her and spread her wings struck such a chord with me. All she needed was one person willing to love and support her unselfishly to give her the courage to move forward. I know I’m in a minority of those who appreciate this show, but possibly because for once I’m not focused on the romance, but the process of self-discovery,

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Fellow Encounter enthusiast. 🙋‍♀️

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Nice to meet another member of the Encounter club. We are small but mighty ; )

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💪 ♥️💃

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I liked Encounter - minus the FL. 🤣 Or: I loved Encounter for the ever smiling and encouraging Park Bo-Gum. Not long before I had to overcome a major loss, and in this drama he showed me how to smile again. Or it was just contagious to watch HIM smile all the time. Anyway, it made me feel better, significantly. But that was all him (and all the beautiful shots of the sea).

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It's been part of my curated Viki collection since the premiere and has never left. I watch this yearly.

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Oh I don't know Encounter. Please educate me!

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It’s with park bo gum and Song Hye Kyo. Also called Boyfriend. PBG plays an intern under SHK’s CEO character. They meet in Cuba? Before he works for her and have a fling and then find out he’s her employee when they get back to Korea. She’s under a lot of obligation and is just a shell of herself and PBG’s character shows her how to love and live again.

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Perfect Marriage Revenge and Carry Sun-Jae and Run!!

PMR was makjang on speed and the Beanie fanwall was full of dazzling posts. 😊 It was a once upon a drama kind of experience.

Sun Sol are the cutest OTP in like forever. 🫰 ♥️ 🥰

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Great choices 😊
I love Lovely Runner / Carry Sun Jae and Run Too!!

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🥳 🥂

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Love Alarm (specifically season 2). Maybe a weird choice, given reactions to this show/ season have been less than positive. I don't know, maybe because I wanted to see the nice and soft guy actually win a love triangle and have the girl choose him, maybe because I found myself relating to him on some level, but this show just snuck up on me when I watched it a few months ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since. It's not perfect, but I think the story, the characters and the message just kinda spoke to me in a certain way.

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I liked this one a lot as well. It had a very thoughtful and unique feel, and I was totally addicted to the first part. I didn't love the second part as much, as the writing seemed weaker, but I can absolutely see why it spoke to you.

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I was very happy with the ending because I always rooted for Hye Yeong.

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I have more than 20 shows I listed as my favourites of all time. There are many (rightly and over-)hyped shows I haven’t watched. That is to say the majority in my favourite list did sneak up on me in one way or another, and often not because of their popularity. Each of them touched me in some way, and once was, if not still, a show I didn’t know I needed. The most recent one is See you in my 19th life. I’d been desperately looking for a romance that would grab my heart, a romance with everything done with the right amount, not too little, not too much, not too fluffy, not too angsty, and not emotionally manipulative. And See you in my 19th life delivered exactly that. It’s a dreamy show (I borrowed this word from @hopefulromantic ) that fulfilled my longing heart.

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I've often wondered how much so many of the relatively lukewarm-to-negative responses to 19th Life during the live-watch had to do with it standing in direct weekly competition with both King the Land and HeartBeat. It was a competitive time for the Beanatariat's full attention!

I will always have the way that Ji-eum whisper-speaks Seo-ha's name throughout that drama with such infinite affection in my head...and also the scene in the greenhouse when a teacup is accidentally shattered and Seo-ha and Do-yun both run in from the fields of flowers, both existentially worried that, instead, some tragedy had occurred. 😏⛈️☕️❤️

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I didn’t follow KTL’s recaps so I had no idea if those who felt lukewarm or negative about 19th life loved KTL. Heartbeat seemed to have been loved the most among the 3 shows you mentioned. But now that you said it, I think Ahn Bohyun wasn’t a name as appealing as Junho and Taec, especially for the role of Seoha, someone supposedly sickly and fragile? I did see comments saying Junho would have delivered a better Seoha. Of course I found ABH perfect for the role, but I also understand that the wishful thinking by others is not invalid, so to each their own.

Apart from being in a competition with KTL and Heartbeat, it was also in a competition with the webtoon. Many people who loved the webtoon didn’t like the drama very much.

In the scene you mentioned, it’s funny how Doyun mostly cared only about Chowon. When he knew she was safe, he just let his boss do the cleanup 😂 And when Seoha said he’d entrust Chowon with the hotel’s landscaping, Doyun looked so happy for her!!

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You make a valid and important point that "competition with the webtoon" was a real dampener during the live-watch. Perhaps folks watching it now as a binge can be a little freer of that effect than we were last summer.

I may be talking myself around to doing fewer live-watches in order to increase later enjoyment and possibly find the "drama I didn't know I needed" this way...but how to choose which dramas to postpone and which to greedily devour in real-time!?!?! 🍝 🤷‍♂️ 🕰️ 🤣

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how to choose which dramas to postpone and which to greedily devour in real-time!?!?!

My experience is that I've got to meet some toads before meeting the prince ☺️ So I just keep testing here and there!!

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Wrote by comment below without reading yours. Binge😃😃

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Your comments have supported my view that binge watching is so much better than weekly. You need the whole story in these dramas. You need the feeling that go from episode to episode that carry you through the parts you may not like or understand. For me- part of the experience is being wrapped up in the story and not wanting it to end. That, for me, means watching it as quickly as possible. Guess that says a lot about my personality.

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I'm a binge-watcher too. Every now and then I do some live-watch to enjoy the ride with my fellow beanies. Were I not on DB, I'd rare do live-watches.

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I loved that show, too. It's so weird to be totally enthusiastic about a show and then read all the "Yawn, yawn, how do people keep watching this horribly written trash" from other commentors.
Anyway, I loved almost all of that show. Like almost always, I would have liked the ending to be a little more radical, but still ...

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Please come join us in the community (re)watch, Cecilie. The first post is on my fanwall. I would love to read your comments about the show.

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It is slower moving with lots of emotional heart. Unfortunately those special shows with feeling tend to get lost in weekly. Hopefully as people pick them up they will fall in love with them. @minniegupta1 told me the like Flowers in Sand rating was 3 %. That is dismal. And I think most beanies look at it as a masterpiece.
What you think is all that matters. And if you can find a few likeminded people, all’s the better. But watch for joy not for what others think

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Numbers. This drama wasn't really even in the "so bad that it's good category," it was more like, "How do K-dramas do it? They consistently make accountancy crazy fun and sexy?? First, Chief Kim and now THIS!!" 😆

A huge part of the "not knowing what I needed" aspect, as @seeker notes above for PMR, was, of course, the devoted community of Beanies who gathered each week to both praise and tease this amazing drama, all following the lead of our amazing recapper, @alathe --- someone always equipped with pointed barbs and witty insights that kept us all aware that K-dramas are for our enjoyment.

It was six weeks delightfully spent.

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My brain usually doesn't register the accounting stuff, that's why even though I enjoyed Chief Kim, I haven't touched Number 😅.

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Yes, what one notices as a non-accountancy enthusiast is all the little guys standing up for each other to turn over the big guys. And the [insert big number].
The enthusiasm about sheer business does not catch on to me ... a lot of Misaeng was Soooo boring for me. When all the violins stream over with elated feelings because they made a deal, I can barely keep my eyes open.

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^^ Opps - didn't get the tag!! 😢

Numbers was always on my radar as I love both MLs ... and it delivered good numbers!! 😂

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MBC’s NUMBERS (2023) (Viki US) is the reason I will take a look at Kim Myung-soo’s upcoming KBS drama DARE TO LOVE ME. I would love to see Choi Jin-hyuk in a cameo role where he knocks our Confucianist goody two shoes down a notch, lol.

Yes @attiton, it was a fun ride. I have to think Choi Min-soo laughed all the way to the bank. It had to be the easiest acting gig in his career. Either he was sitting behind a desk in his office or on an elevator.

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Right there with you, @marcusnyc20 !!! I do hope L does us a solid in his upcoming drama. However, nothing is going to be able beat Choi Min-soo looking menacing in an elevator with one small move of his eyebrow or by tossing small wads of paper at subordinates, though...😉 😂

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Availability update. KBS’s DARE TO LOVE ME is now on Viki US’s “Coming Soon” list. According to MDL it will also be available Netflix in some regions. @attiton, I hope DARE will be available where you are.

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Dare to Love Me is on Netflix list too.

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For me this year it was Doctor slump, even though I'm a PHS fan I would have watched it anyway but I didn't know I would love it this much..It really comforted me..It was refreshing to see a communicating healthy couple in a kdrama.

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Exactly me. I didn't know I needed a drama to bring out all my tears, but I did.

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Yes and it was happy tears😍. It will be forever my comfort drama

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Mine weren't happy tears. But still, it was so freeing.

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As a nominal fan of PHS and definitely not a fan of PSH, I was happily surprised by how meaningful this drama was. The sensitive and more realistic way it deals with failure and trauma was so encouraging. It took their characters through the healing process and was honest about the fact that the scars may remain, but they can still move forward with healthy coping mechanisms. I loved the ultimate message that those hard times are only momentary but the good memories and experiences are forever.

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I watched Chief Kim during the middle of the pandemic, and it was exactly the combo of ridiculous humor and random misfits banding together to overcome impossible odds that I needed at that moment.

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Easy pick for me: Welcome to Waikiki (Season 1, mainly). It brought me so many laughs and I remember looking forward to each episode and in the midst of all the rom-coms I watch, this was a gem for me. Rebecca, Chewbacca, and "gwenchana, gwenchana, gwenchana" have become common references between me and my sister ><

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This for me too, but I watched series 2 first and then went back to series 1, and I never quite loved the characters in the first series as much as others seem to (except maybe chewbacca).

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That's indeed probably the effect of what one watches the first... I remember being in stitches during the first season (and with "no, you didn't... oh, you did go there" reaction).

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Baby Sol was another highlight.

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From the current shows it has been Byeon Wooseok who sneaked on me and captured my heart unexpectedly.

From the recent batch it was Chaebol and Cop which I originally hadn't planned to watch at all, but once I clicked play and the retro intro and fitting music started, it was oh, yes, I needed exactly this moment for me, with a huge grin on my face. Plus I was surprised how much warmth was hidden in this procedural.

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I love love the intro- so much like US cop shows I would watch in 70’s. The end credits music was also so different. Loved hearing Jazz in a kdrama. The show was so different than I expected and I loved the character progression. And friends that were created.

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For me there are several dramas that didn't make a significant impression upon first sight, but then popped out on me. "Hyena" was one of them. That came to me when I was in desperate times, not knowing how to get through the days and feeling strangled by my then-circumstances, and here was a heroine who didn't have "give up" in her vocabulary and was more than resourceful and self-confident in any given situation. This drama was a perfect match at the perfect time. I often feel that I owe it my sanity.
Then in times of grief there was Move to Heaven and A Piece of Your Mind which helped me a great deal.
And then, when I was close to give up kdramas for some time, The Matchmakers came along and restored my faith in the magic of a kdrama done right! Recently when I was contemplating that I should get in motion more and begin exercising again I stumpled upon Oh my Venus which was very different from what I thought it was, in a positive way.
So now I'm actually waiting to be found again! My most recent drama watch is about to end, and I'd like a new one that makes me feel all the feels again...

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What a beautiful recap of how kdramas can be meaningful in our lives. I never like to even tell people I watch because they give me a hard time- like they are only soap operas.
I can’t not comment on Oh My Venus. I never see that others have watched it. I found so much happiness in this show. I love that it inspired your fitness journey. The process she goes through is unique- one that now people might think of as bullying. The the friendship she finds with those men and their encouragement is so heartwarming. It is 1 of 2 dramas I actually own on DVD meaning it’s special

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Thank you! I was a bit careful how they treated the overweight issue in Oh my Venus, but as they put the emphasis more on health than on beauty I was mostly ok with it. It was a great idea to let the ML fall in love with her dimples, which began to show even before her weight loss. And I absolutely loved how the guys took her under their wings!

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That will be You Are My Spring.

When it aired, it was one of those dramas that I didn't like and also didn't hate. It was a lukewarm receive from me.

So imagine me bingeing episodes 5-12 in the space of 2-3 days. I stuck by the recaps and realized this was my kind of story and baam! I was folding my toes watching Kim Dong-wook and Seo Hyun-jin do thier thing.
And honestly, it has been. Why? Of all the dramas stored in my reserve, I've rewatched YAMS wholely a total of 5 times. Most times when I rewatch, I skim through and focus on the best episodes. But with YAMS, everything is everything.

Now, if you ask me to write a love letter to YAMS, I'll get to it immediately till I'm tired of waxing how much I love it.

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YAMS has one of the scenes that has been burned in my memory forever. When the siblings are crying together in the car in front of their mother's house. It is one of the best written, directed, and acted scenes ever.

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I love that drama. Aside from the serial killer plotline (BOOO!), this is one of the most emotionally mature romances I've seen.

And their friend circle are all very believable characters and they actually give the ML and FL great advice on how to get out of the way of their own happiness.

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Perfect Marriage Revenge
It wasn't perfect--the production values were not as good as many higher budget shows and some of the acting bordered on bad (or was it campy?)--but it came right when I was going through a low point in my kdrama watching life. PMR answered so many of the gripes I had with dramas during that period--Why do the bad guys always get away with so much for so long and why do the mains keep falling for their stupid schemes and lies? Can I like leads who are that gullible? Why can't the mains communicate? Why does the ML (or sometimes FL) have to be so deliberately mean/cold to the FL? Why can't the evil people get the comeuppance or scheme foiled earlier than the last episode? Why must adults titter like small children at the smallest thing like a brush of a hand? Why must there be actual falling to initiate heart flutters instead of more swoony moments? Why can't big corporations be run by professionals instead of just family members who get it birthright, but no obviously skill? PMR resolved these question and more by showing you could make a show interesting by having the mains foil plots early and often, having the leads talk and engage in real conversations about issues, and have the leads have a real relationship that deepens over time through communication work and trust. It did all this and still made show fun and entertaining. I didn't know how much I needed that until I got it--and it was a fun ride. Wheee!

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Run On:

I was never a Shin Se-kyung fan, but her character definitely won me over. It made me realize how underappreciated translators are when they are literally unsung heroes for us people who want to watch stuff in a language we can't understand. Glad I chose this over the overhyped True Beauty when both were still ongoing.

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There are a lot of dramas that have caught me by surprise by how enjoyable and/or engrossing they were--two recent ones were Perfect Marriage Revenge, for the reasons mentioned by @pynyc and Flowers in the Sand--who knew a drama about an obscure form of wrestling could at times be so moving?

But I understand the "drama you didn't know you needed" to be something more significant than that, so I would have to say the Park Minh Young rom-com Her Private Life, which was the first kdrama romance I ever watched. I had already seen The Stranger, Signal, Tunnel etc. so knew the high quality of kdrama mystery and detective series; I also have been a romance fan all my life, so in that sense, I knew I "needed" the genre.

But, as hard as it might be for long time kdrama fans to believe, I had no idea prior to watching Her Private Life how expert kdramas were in developing and employing romance tropes. This show, in addition to an appealing, adult romance, with some smoking hot kisses, also presented an aspect of pop culture that I'd always been curious about--obsessive fan interest in music idols, and it did so in the context of collection and curation, which still makes a lot of sense to me as an explanation of some of the bizarre aspects of this fan culture.

Unfortunately, the show also has the flaws that I am now aware are way, way too often a key part of kdrama romances, especially the obsessive focus on male psychological trauma. So I consider this show, as with many others, including a couple of the ones listed above, as part of my current love-hate relationship with kdramas. But at the time I watched Her Private LIfe I had no idea that I needed a kdrama rom-com--or any kdramas, really, besides suspense, mystery, and detective shows.

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Like Flowers In Sand. Long tragic sageuks are my favorite genre, so I never expected to be captivated by sports/coming of age/romance/ mystery/slice of life drama.

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I do like sports/romance/ mystery/slice of life dramas but never expected to get so engaged by Korean wrestling. There was much to like but imo what elevates Like Flowers in Sand to something special is the performance of ML Jang Dong-yoon.

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Jang Dong-Yoon is an absolutely joy to watch. He's really coming along as an excellent actor.

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What comes to mind right away is Shopping King Louis. (I also can’t believe it was from 2016.). I remember it as this light, fun, ridiculous show that somehow tugged at my heart. The premise was crazy but SIG and NJH and the production team made it work.

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Perfection, that drama. I agree fully with this.

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I'm so fond of that drama... ☺️
When I finished it I only rated it 7.5 in My Drama list but it has a special place in my heart. After so many shows watched, that means something.

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"Drama you didn’t know you needed".
As in dramas that gave me comfort when I needed it the most, but I didn't see it coming?

2013: Flower Boy Next Door

2017-2019: My Ahjussi
Live
Just Between Lovers
Be Melodramatic
At 18
Because This Is My First Life

2020-2021: You Are My Spring
Be My Dream Family
Run On
Mad For Each Other
2022: 25-21
My Liberation Notes
Seasons of Blossom
Gaus Electronics

2023: Tell Me That You Love Me
Like Flowers in Sand

Those dramas came out of nowhere to give me a little peace and comfort.
I guess this were shows that had a "great timing" in my life.

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Wow, I'm definitely going to add these dramas to my watchlist, as I have the same feeling about some of them.

I especially love Gaus Electronics, whenever I need a good laugh I rewatch some of the episodes.

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I hope you enjoy them!

Gaus is such a gem. This show really came out of nowhere to put a little joy into our lives.
It was probably the most random drama of 2022, but also one of the best.

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All of those from your list that I have seen*) are some of my favorites. So maybe I should do like @kellen123 and take notes.

*) Be Melodramatic, Because This Is My First Life, Run On, Mad For Each Other.

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I hope you enjoy them!! ^^

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For me, that would be "Because This Life is My First". The FL's journey resonated with me at that point in my life, and the title itself has been a very significant and instrumental part of my mental well-being and interactions with others -- reminding myself that it's ok to make mistakes because this life is my first, and similarly extending that empathy to others in their interactions vis-a-vis me.

Also "Find Me In Your Memory" - this coincided with the start of the pandemic lockdown, so it provided a great source of comfort during those uncertain times!

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For me its Perfect Marriage Revenge and Twinkling Watermelon. I loved both so much and both wrre not even in my To-Watch List initially. 🥰

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Definitely Hometown Cha Cha Cha evangelist this week, just having watched it... To me, such a beautiful commentary on acceptance-- of one's own flaws, of other's flaws and why they may be the way they are, and learning to move past all those into a relationship that works, whether it's between lovers, friends, antagonists. Also, the importance of communication- though if everyone in Kdramaland were open and honest about their feelings, half of all the shows would cease to exist hahah.
Plus, of course... Kim Seon Ho's emotive eyes and smiles- I could watch his subtle expressions that tell me a million things, all day :D :D

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For me it was WHEN THE WEATHER IS FINE. I was on a break from all things Kdrama then (I'm ashamed to say including this site!), and I wasn't updated on the latest releases. I had no idea the drama existed, but Netflix kept showing me the show so one day I just gave it go, and it turned out to be one of my fave dramas of all time.❤️

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I'd say that about all my favorite dramas, honestly: Flower Boy Next Door, Prison Playbook, Queen Seon Deok, Twinkling Watermelon, 25-21, Misaeng, Live up to your name, When the weather is fine, The Matchmakers...

Discovering these unexpected gems is exciting. I'm always on the search for a new treasure.

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Sorry for being late to the party.
Hands down Lovely Runner. I didn't even have to think twice. The Sol-Jae couple is having all my heart.

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I am not into zombie stories but thoroughly enjoyed Kingdom and watched both seasons.

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TOMORROW.

I started watching because I read the synopsis about how it's about a squad of Reapers and that's totally my thing.

But imagine my surprise that it turned out to be one of the rare dramas that could tackle the issues of violence against women, sexism, and misogyny so adroitly and on point. I had to break out the tissues at one point because they nailed it so well - and as the head of an anti-VAW nonprofit/charity, this is a rare thing because pop culture always gets it so wrong and/or perpetuates horrific stereotypes and ideas.

I just wish they'd do a second season. They ended with the squad waiting for Rowoon to live out his natural life and return to them 50 years hence. That right that is just begging for a sequel.

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i also loved *tomorrow*. i only watched it bc of Rowoon, having discovered him in *the king's affection*. i loved the reapers, their chemistry was amazing and hilarious. it was a very deep and heavy show, and i keep wanting to re-watch it but idk if i can bc it's very triggering for me. but it is one of my faves.

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Castaway Diva. I only watched it because there was nothing else that I was really watching at the time, and because it involved singing/music. And it ended up becoming one of my all time favorites. I'm STILL obsessed with it.

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The most recent drama I didn't know I needed was The Impossible Heir. I'd just started stinker after stinker after stinker -- none of them making it past a single episode (I'm looking at YOU Flex x Cop, Chicken Nugget, Like Flowers in Sand, Death's Game.)

I had no real intentions of watching Impossible Heir, but after five or ten minutes in, I was completely transported back via a classic old-school Kdrama with all the old reliable tropes. Illegitimate second gen Chaebol meets smart kid from the wrong side of the tracks. They become buddies with the aim of inheriting the chaebol. Both fall for the same girl -- also from the wrong side of the tracks. Everything goes fine, until the inevitable betrayal, and then it's a war to the finish.

It wasn't the best kdrama I've ever seen. It wasn't the best I've seen in the last three months. But it was the kdrama I needed right now, when I was desperate for something to watch while waiting for a couple of others to finish.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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For me, it's Reply 1997. The youthful spirit and the focus on family was something I hadn't really come across in such an uplifting way as I did with this show. It so dearly reminds me of how it felt to be a teenager.

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I didn’t anticipate to love “Like Flowers in Sand” and become evangelical about it but here we are. I adore it fiercely and feel a kinship with the small band of beanies who loved it as much and made my viewing experience so much richer and memorable.
I have just convinced an amazing bookworm friend who has never watched a KD to start it and she has embraced it like you wouldn’t believe. The sook that I am, I got teary when she told me and had she not lived in the States, would have given her a crushing hug.

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My Demon. It had been long since I cackled incontrollably in the middle of the night from a drama. it is lose spark later but I enjoyed it.I like when a drama draws some reacti reaction

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Love to see a couple happy and having fun

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It's Okay Not To Be OKay really surprised me with how perfect it was. And as I have said in a discussion before, the animations brought it to another level.
But the artful horror-thriller-comedy-romance feel-good-mental-healing drama really was more than I expected.
I have been surprised in a positive way by the dramas that include characters who have stranded somewhere in Life, as opposed to their expectations. To me, that includes Castaway Diva, though a lot of commentators seemed to see it as a failed attempt at describing a shipwreck. With to much evil dad. But I needed to see Park Eun-bin swim slowly around in the studio corridor at hearing herself spoken of as hopeless, and not so much me as SK needed a story that included why the right to privacy and other citizen rights are important. That not all policemen all the time are good. And not all parents should be reunited with their children.
The lost-along-the-way dramas also includes Because this is my first life, Romance is a bonus book, and most certainly Dr. Slump.
I was also so surprised and loved Mr. Queen so much, but to say that I "needed" it, idk ... still one of my favourite dramas, though.
And I also loved Run-on, and not only because I am a translator, though, also because of that. And I loved how messed-up her working hours were - very realistically. Lots of translators work in their pajamas and have weird sleeping habits.

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Omo, I forgot IOTNBO in my list!
That show was such a pleasant surprise.

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I loved IOTNBO so much too, and everything that you loved about it too- it was just so artistic and well-done. It's among my top dramas, and something I can watch over and over, finding something new every time.
I remember loving Romance is a Bonus Book, and so shall now hie to rewatch it :)

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I have a few— so please bare with me lol— and it’s because these dramas came into different times and phases in my life and made it better:

1. “The Untamed” (C-drama, 2019)
Low budget, a rookie main cast (but so, so, so, so talented!), 6 script/screenwriters 😱, 2 directors, and lots of online hate from the fanbase of the OG webnovel and antis of the cast … This drama will forever have my heart, regardless of how much time has passed and what others have to say about it. The journey of each of the main characters and the reasons they carried for doing what they chose to do in each of their journeys regardless of what others told them, regardless of what society dictated as “right”— it all came down to the common belief that something good HAS TO come out of it all. This is a story of strong-willed characters who went head first into making things happen for themselves and for those whom they cared about— all the while saying “to hell with what society dictates”— not only because of their own belief in themselves but also belief in the core of who they are as a person as influenced by all the love and all the good that brought them up before the world turned to shit. The BL aspect of this drama was honestly the very last thing on my mind compared to everything else. This drama came to me as a beautiful lesson and reminder of always remembering who I am as a person deep down in my core, to KNOW and to LOVE this person, and to also know and understand my own truth— everything else and anything else that anyone has to say about me at the core of who I am (especially the naysayers and the haters) don’t matter, because they my not know my truth or the full extent of it.

2. “Meet Yourself” (C-drama, 2023)
In a time when we’d just come out of a pandemic, you’d think and you’d hope that people of the world learned to slow down a bit, take a breath, and remember to soak in the beauty around them— I certainly did, and this drama made me do it. Time and time again—going as far back as 10-15 years— I’d always been told to be aware of burnout and that it’s okay to not always be a “Yes” person, that it’s okay to tell people “No” from time to time. I was told this long before the pandemic happened. It even got to a point wherein a friend bought me a mug that read “Pause” on it—meant for me to use every day as a reminder for me to remember to—well—essentially take a moment in my day to pause. This drama came at a time for me when I certainly needed the comfort and the reminder because at the time that it came into my life, I had already gone through burnout, some counselling I didn’t even know I needed but which ended up helping me, a period of self harm and really bad mental heath period with self harm involved and wherein I was really good at keeping under wraps from everyone around me. One could definitely say that this drama “saved” me in a way.

3. “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” (K-drama, 2022)
This drama is the one wherein I...

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… felt it finally gave me my voice. Through this drama, I was finally given a voice in a sea of Kdramas that exemplified perfection and beauty 9.8/10 times— something I definitely am not, and a lot of it has to do with me having a disability. This drama finally did what I wanted Dramaland to do (doesn’t matter C-dramas or K-dramas, what I mainly watch) for a long, long, long, long time. Not only is the topic of disability made into a taboo by society, but it has gotten to the point wherein people are outright scared of it. I get that a part of the reason why people are afraid to touch on the topic on television is because of the fear of getting it wrong and upsetting/offending people, but that is exactly the problem:
Creators have made it into a thing that is all about them and not about the people they are trying (in this case, NOT trying) to make the stories about. All it really takes is a little bit of patience, research, open mind & heart to understand, a genuine attempt at trying out a different perspective (the perspective of the disabled), and some compassion. Perfection isn’t any of those requirements nor is it a prerequisite.
So I totally get it when PEB said that she doesn’t want to do a season 2 because of the pressure, but what she HAS already given to us in season 1, I will forever love and appreciate her for, and this drama will forever be special to me.

4. “Marriage Contract” (Kdrama, 2016)
I’d always been morbidly attracted to melodramas and I had expected the same from this one and was just going into this because I like the cast, and boy, was I proved wrong about so many things about this drama, but I am glad that I was:
Despite its premise, this drama is all about hope and about finding the strength in carrying on regardless of what is to come tomorrow. Live in the moment, love as much as you can in the moment, keep yourself open to explore and to accept— be willing to live, even if it’s just for one more day. Where we find those things is all different from person to person, but as long as we have these things then we are set. This drama presents hope in the most simple, mundane, and quiet things— things we don’t think twice about in our every day lives— but that is the beauty of this drama, which I very much needed at the time I watched this and will continue to need as I continue to live day to day.

5. “Save Your Last Dance for Me” (Kdrama, 2004-05)
I had began my Kdrama journey probably like many on here— melodramas— yet, something about this one rang different when I first encountered it (I think it was in 2006, I honestly don’t remember). Before this one, I had already watched “Winter Sonata” (you know you’re a part of the older generation of Kdrama watcher when you’ve watched this one— a classic lol), “Hotelier”, and “”First Love” (can y’all see a theme? *coughBaeYongJooncough*) in terms of Kdrama heavy melos, so I was definitely not new to the game of this...

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… genre of Kdramas. I went into this one because I think I was just coming off from watching “All In” and was enamoured by Ji Sung and wanted to watch something else of his. Despite having all the aspects of a classic quintessential Kdrama melo— amnesia, poor country FL meets rich chaebol ML & 2nd ML, an unstable 2nd FL, family objections due to elitism, etc. etc…. The list goes on— at the time, I thought to myself, “This is a Kdrama melo with ALL of the tropes, but done well”, and to this day, I still kind of think that, even though— at the same time— I can sort of feel the dated-ness of this drama with the lens of 2024. Something about this combination of the cast (Ji Sung, Eugene Kim, Lee Bo Young, Ryu Soo Young) just took a grip on me and never let go. Even after all of these years (almost 20!!), any time I am in the morbid mood for a classic melo Kdrama, this has—and always will be— the Kdrama that I go back to.

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Thank you to @reply1988 for liking this post so that I knew to come back to it to see that it was actually cut off and that I needed to add to it for it to make full sense 😅😱

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I had literally liked it and started to write a reply to say it had cut off but thought I should wait to see if you had noticed. So glad I waited.

Thanks for sharing your thoughtful reflections on the impact of these dramas at key points in your life.

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♥️

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Omg! Untamed hands down. Loved what u wrote… the whole who gets to decide who’s right and who’s wrong. This story will be forever my favorite.

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I’m going to say Hospital Playlist 1&2. I was not thrilled with amazing dr Kim. I do like a great medical show like ER in America. HP had characters that took me about 2 seconds to be involved with. I loved the. Immediately and their stories. It was touching, funny ,loving, showed deep compassion. It was a people joy to watch

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I meant it was a Joy for the people who watched.
Also the music was fantastic 💜💜💜

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If I was to pick one, it'd be My Mister. Just from the first episode I didn't think it'd grab me, but once the emotional moments kicked in I was hooked. Also just introverts club part of My Liberation Notes, that speaks to me. And Gaus Electronics (again, not immediately taken by the first episode) turned out to be laugh out loud funny, it was like a cleansing.

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Good slice of life dramas tend to sneak up on me and surprise me by how much I enjoy them. Why? After all, there are no serial murderers, rich chaebols, heroic doctors or lawyers, time travel, body switching, reincarnations, natural catastrophes, amnesia, revenge plots, zombies, vampires, power plays, hanboks and swords, crazy controlling parents, or people falling from high cliffs into water and surviving. Plus slice of life dramas can sometimes be overly sentimental and contrived. But done right, they tend to make up the dramas I never knew I needed. I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed MEET YOURSELF (Chinese), OUR BELOVED SUMMER (Korean) and the currently airing TEASING MASTER TAKAGI-SAN (Japanese).

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Under the Queen’s Umbrella is the show I missed when it came out in 2022 and everyone watched it and was raving about it. I watched on Netflix just a month ago. Why did I miss it? I couldn’t stand the FL actress in most of her previous dramas save Signal. She toned down her acting in SignaI. I dropped Hyena because of her. Then a month ago I had nothing in my queue to watch so I gave up and started watching Under Umbrella. I immediately understood why people gave raving reviews. Not only I fell in love with Kim Hye Soo as the Queen, I discovered the handsome Moon Sang Min there. Truly, the drama I didn’t know I needed at the time.

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For me it was hands down Our Blooming Youth I must have said it countless times, but that drama changed my life.

I was never a big fan of television, and I used to only watch maybe one or two dramas a year, mostly to please my husband. A few years ago, after a surgery, I started watching a bit more, but I mainly stuck to crime genres and never felt a real connection with the characters. I stopped reading or watching romance purely for the romance long ago, and I haven't been obsessed with any drama since 2008.

My sister lured me into k-dramas and C dramas, and to give her company I regularly started watching k-dramas, though never was taken by them. Then came Feb 2023 and Our Blooming Youth happened. Something clicked about the main leads. Maybe it was because their relationship mirrored mine with my husband, I'm not entirely sure, but it struck a chord and stuck with me. We both became totally obsessed with it. I hunted anything I could find on the internet, and guess what - found Dramabeans.

The show pulled me out of depression, brought back fun in our lives, opened me up to new friends, new experiences, new food and new bucket list. I started reading about a dynasty I had not even heard about prior to k-dramas, and was not interested in prior to OBY. I have read books, research papers, archives, articles, blogs - you name it. I wrote a fan fiction and am now trying my hand at writing a story I feel I have to tell.

And the biggest thing - it brought romance back. Who knew the slowest of a slow burn could have this kind of an effect! Not complaining :-)

So yes, I can definitely say Our Blooming Youth is the drama I did not know I needed.

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How did I not know this from our group?
It’s beautiful and I think so many of us can relate in someway in our lives. It is a blessing to be watch a show that had such an affect on your life

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Twinkling Watermelon

Never been a fan of time slip story and teen romance so I didn’t have any expectation when this show came out and yet somehow this one turned out to be one of the best drama I’ve ever watched. It makes me feel. The stories of self discovery, family, friendship and love in the face of tragedy and suffering delivered in the way that is not heavy and burdensome for me as viewer but lighthearted and hopeful.

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The dramas I didn't know I needed were the ones that opened my eyes to genres that hadn't really appealed to me before. The example that springs readily to mind is Happiness. I never thought I'd love a show featuring zombies. It paved the way to dramas such as Zombie Detective and Kingdom. More zombies, please! 🧟💕

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zombie detectice is a gem! that and mr queen are the funniest kdramas ever!

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**detective

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There are so many dramas that I didn't know I'd love them so much and then they became my favorites unexpectedly, but I should name here just 1 show that got me back from my biggest drama slump ever and that was "Golden spoon" this drama was so fun yet so sad at times and Yoo Sunjea acting was wonderful I didn't really see him as a good actor before but that drama changed my views
I had little issues with FL acting and character but overall I enjoyed it a lot and it got me back to drama land.

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I have heard of The Golden Spoon so I looked it up. Turns out I LOVE Yook Sung-jae from Goblin. So thank you for your post. I will put this to the top of my list

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I hope you enjoy it, I really liked it and it was never boring and didn't fell flat after ep 8 or 10 like most of the dramas.
Oh he is Yook Sunjea sorry 😅

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So many dramas!!

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