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My Year in Kdramaland

July 13, 2011

3 Ha Ji Wons, 2 Lee Da Haes, and a lovely Gong Hyo Jin later… I can’t believe it’s already July. The first half of the year has been a blur. The baby has kept me busy and tired. And it takes me about 5 sittings to finish watching an episode of a drama these days with a now more active baby. I had to stop watching The Duo half way because I couldn’t remember which episode I was watching and kept having to backtrack to figure out the storyline. It will need to be shelved until I can piece together more time.

But I have been able to watch a number of dramas (some halfway) for the better part of the past year and thought I would do a condensed review. What have I learned? Ha Ji Won is a goddess.

49 Days
I tuned in for Bae Soo Bin. The role was pretty anemic but he put on a good scowl for the cameras. I’m not sure why I watched this all the way through. (I actually didn’t watch the last few episodes – just read the recap on dramabeans.) I know that “Kang-ah” became an anthem to many during the series but I just didn’t get the hype. And didn’t anyone else find it weird that he took to the “my girl is living inside another girl’s body” thing too quickly?
Rating: 5

After wanting to watch this for years, I finally took the plunge right after the baby was born. I’m not sure if I would recommend a new mother to watch this drama. I was already on an emotional roller coaster with the hormones and Damo really threw me over the edge. I’m so thankful that the ending is shown right at the beginning because I don’t know how I would have survived if I was faced with the tragedy at the end.
Rating: 9

Dream High
Who would have thought that a little high school drama would be so addicting? It wasn’t the greatest drama in the world – heck not even that good of a drama – but it had a certain sparkle that kept me coming back for more. I especially enjoyed the old fogeys – JYP, Eom Ki Joon, and Lee Yoon Ji. (Why is Eom Ki Joon so adorable??) My guess is that Dream High 2 will have lost the luster but it was good while it lasted.
Rating: 6.5

The Duo
Now this is a drama I can get behind. As much as I want to finish watching this right now, I need to concentrate to do it justice so I’m shelving the 2nd half until baby tuna starts taking longer naps. I absolutely loved it with the kid actors. And after the initial lull with the introduction of the adults, things started picking up a bit. But you know what I loved the most? The music gets me pumped whenever I hear it.
Rating: TBD

Greatest Love
Oh Gong Hyo Jin – how I love thee. Even with the silly premise and set up, I just found her to be so endearing. I laughed when she laughed, ached when she ached, and cried when she cried. Dokko Jin was almost a secondary character for me – as much as I like Cha Seung Won.
Rating: 7

Mary Stayed Out All Night
What the what?? I watched the whole thing but I can’t even articulate the plot. I must have just stared at Moon Geun Young and Jang Geun Suk. I liked the two of them together. Maybe they’ll make something that makes sense one of these days.
Rating: 4

My Girl
Is it weird that I absolutely hated this? I went into it thinking that it would be a no-brainer. It might not be the best drama out there but it would be entertaining. I mean, it’s a Hong Sister Classic AND what’s not to like about this cast? Lee Da Hae, Lee Dong Wook, Lee Jun Ki, Park Shi Yeon – all respectably talented (especially the supporting cast). But by the end, I kept yelling: YOU’RE NOT RELATED! STOP CALLING HIM ORABEONI!
Rating: 4

Miss Ripley
Another Lee Da Hae drama where I absolutely love the supporting cast: Kim Seung Woo and Kang Hye Jung. I knew that Lee Da Hae had a tendency to overact but her crazy eyes is driving me batty. I was watched the first 10 episodes or so but I was pretty annoyed with the storyline and decided to give it a rest. Mostly, I’m sad that Kang Hye Jung has so little screen time.
Rating: TBD

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
I watched this when it came out a year ago but I wanted to include it on the list since I never blogged about it. Lee Seung Gi was cute and passable but I fell in love with Shin Mina. I absolutely adored her feminine and aggressive turn as Miho. The drama itself wasn’t anything to write home about but Shin Mina just elevated the whole experience for me.
Rating: 7

My Princess
I never in a million years thought I would finish watching a Song Seung Hun/Kim Tae Hee drama. I find him to be an ass and her, flighty. (Mind you, these are gross caricatures. I have no idea what they are like in real life. Kim Tae Hee’s actually supposed to be very smart.) But maybe the drama sorta worked because he kinda played an ass and she kinda played flighty. The more significant thing about the drama is that I went into labor while watching this. Either the baby was genuinely moved or wanted me to stop watching.
Rating: 5.5

Playful Kiss
I’m not a big fan of Kim Hyun Joong. (Please don’t shoot me.) But I was all about watching cute things while I was pregnant so his pretty face made the list. And I was pleasantly surprised, not with Kim Hyun Joong but with Jung So Min. Don’t get me wrong, I truly dislike this kind of dramas. I don’t understand why any girl would fall deeply in love with a boy who is truly an ass over and over again. I should have really despised Hani but I rooted for her to get the boy. And full credit goes to Jung So Min for making her Hani so likeable.
Rating: 6

This is another drama that I’ve tabled until I have a bit more time to sit still. It is really well written and directed. The storyline has me completely engrossed and the power couple of Choi Soo Jong and Ha Hee Ra has me eating out of their hands.
Rating: TBD

Secret Garden
Lots of Ha Ji Won this past year of my life. (Always a good thing.) This is definitely the weakest out of the 3 HJW dramas I watched. It started off cute but there was so much I didn’t like about the drama – weak storyline and poor execution to boot. If not for HJW and Binnie, this would have been a dud for me.
Rating: 6

What Happened in Bali
You know what’s funny? I have this vague memory of watching this drama when it first came out. The only actor I knew back then was Jo In Sung from watching Shoot for the Stars with Jeon Do Yeon. After watching it this time around (thinking that I had never watched it before), it amazes me that I don’t remember more about this drama from my initial (ignorant) watch. I mean, think about that ENDING!! I’ve convinced myself that I must not have seen that ending on my first watch because how could I have forgotten about that?
Rating: 8

White Tower
Kim Myung Min is truly a special actor. It was very refreshing to watch a non-romance driven drama for once AND have a main character be a full on egomaniac. It’s a rarity in kdramaland. Lee Seon Kyun was great in it as well but it was truly a one man show. Bravo.
Rating: 8

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lary permalink
    July 18, 2011 8:26 pm

    I’m so freaking happy to have your posts back! Thank you and your writing is amazing!

    • August 4, 2011 6:14 pm

      Thanks a lot! I can’t promise too many posts but I’ll try!

  2. halcyonkoala permalink
    July 27, 2011 12:29 am

    Ji Won unni is my favorite Korean actress! She’s amazing!

  3. thundie permalink
    August 3, 2011 8:54 pm

    Ooh, how did I miss this post? But so worth the wait!! Thank you, chingu!

  4. August 21, 2011 4:43 am

    LOL. I can relate to your inability to articulate the plot of Mary. I can’t even get into the brain of Mary the character.

    I’m currently at the beginning of adulthood in the Duo, and how I wish the childhood story would never end. For some reason the adult story feels like an entirely different one. Maybe because of the super vague time leap? (Why does Gwidong’s devoted mom turn into slut? Why almost-gisaeng and shoemakers turn merchants?) Maybe because I’m too attached to the child actors. It’s encouraging to hear that the adult story picks up after some dullness.

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