Hi readers, it’s been a long time. I have disappeared without warning for the past few months but the irony is, I watched more dramas than I ever did during the times I was active on here. During my disappearance, I was on a drama binge, probably because I finally had time to throw myself into the world of dramas without worrying about blogging and all.
I usually suffer from drama slump really quickly and it would take forever for me to start on another drama after 1 ended but in these past few months, I was on a roll. I watched everything from korean to japanese to chinese to taiwanese. I’m usually a taiwanese/chinese shows person but surprisingly, during this period of time, I watched mainly Korean dramas. (Kudos to subbers who are crazily efficient. Thank you!)
I watch most of my dramas on dramacool.io where subs are not only efficient, but also has the option for ‘2x’ speed during drama watching. (Yes, I’m crazy about watching on fast-forward, most of my dramas are watched on fast forward mode if I can help it.) Another site that I’ll recommend for subbed dramas would be viki but unfortunately, a lot of their dramas are not available in my region so I don’t use it.
Without further ado, let’s check out what I have been watching recently in chronological order, all neatly recorded thanks to MyDramaList.com. (PS: click on the link of each title to read the drama sypnosis on MyDramaList)
P.P.S: I’m a stingy rater, so I personally feel dramas rated 6 and above are worth a watch (even though they might not be fantastic) and anything above 7 is pretty decent.
GTO: Remake Season 1 (2012 Japanese drama, completed Jan 2016)
Rating: Originally 8, now reduced to 7.
Watch for: Dramatic, wacky plotlines belonging to jdramas
What I got to say: Reduced my rating because the characters are quite forgettable after a while. Yes, the drama was dramatic and unrealistic but ultimately, heartwarming. To me, it’s okay if dramas are unrealistic because they are dramas after all.
Bad Boy’s Diary (2013 Taiwanese drama, completed Mar 2016)
Watch for: A typical 2008 taiwan drama storyline
What I got to say: A coming-of-age story. I’m surprised that Taiwan is still producing this sort of wacky dramas even in 2013. It is definitely not mature, well thought-out or sentimental but it was fun, in a crazy way. Watch it if you are craving for a trashy taiwan drama that is not too long (since it only has 14 episodes).
Go Princess Go (2015 Chinese drama, on-hold since Mar 2016)
Watch for: Absurd storyline that turned into a comedy fest
What I got to say: Some shows are so bad, it becomes good. Go Princess Go was a hit when it first aired and it deserves to be. At 20 minutes per episode, it is a breeze to watch. It is also very funny, the only reason why I didn’t finish watching it was because I spoilt myself by reading recaps and thought there was no point in watching then. I might pick it up again when I need a laugh in the future.
Please Come Back, Mister (2016 Korean drama, completed Apr 2016)
Watch for: Heartwarming slice-of-life story
What I got to say: A surprise gem that I picked up while everyone was obsessed over DOTS. This was the first drama that got me back to watching currently airing dramas. (I usually wait till the end and binge watch.) The actors did a great job in portrayal and I became very invested in the characters. I also like how the villains were not completely villainous. Peppered with surprise plot twists, this drama got me hooked for good.
Woody Sambo (2008 Taiwanese drama, completed Apr 2016)
Rating: Originally 7.5, boosted to 8.5.
Watch for: Characters / Cast / Plot / Story
What I got to say: CRACKTASTIC. I didn’t thought that such an old drama would still be so appealing even now. I guess it helps that Nicholas Teo has the cutest smile ever even though this rom-com was more like a melodrama. There were many LOL-moments I loved but there were also many melo moments that made me cry. The romance aspect was just so-so but I appreciate that there wasn’t noble idiocy. What really stood out in this drama was the family ties. It’s probably unrealistic how problems were solved but it’s really heartwarming to see how united and accepting the characters are.
Kill Me, Heal Me (2015 Korean drama, completed Apr 2016)
Watch for: The 7 characters played by Ji Sung
What I got to say: Worth an 8, but was underwhelmed by ‘grand revelation’ hence, dropped it to a 7.5. The buildup to the’grand revelation’ was strong even though it turned out to be quite lame. The characters grew on me unknowingly and I was so sad by the time it was for them to leave.
Asuko March, (2011 Japanese drama, completed Jun 2016)
Rating: Originally 7, boosted to an 8.
Watch for: Unrealistic but very touching and motivational story + very relatable and lovable characters
What I got to say: This drama gives me such mixed feelings. On the one hand, I know this is cliche and stupid and oveused and simply… a all too typical motivational high school drama which is too unreal but on the other hand, I am crying buckets every episode because I am touched by the characters…. Boosted my rating for this drama because the characters stuck to me even months after I finished watching. I could remember all their stories until now and it seems like I won’t forget about them anytime soon.
Yes! Mr Fashion (2016 Chinese drama, on hold since Jul 2016)
Watch for: Chen Xuedong! And Ouyang Nana’s first lead role at the age of 16(!!!)
What I got to say: Ouyang Nana’s Lu Xiao Kui is the annoying, naive female lead we all hate…. except that I don’t anymore. I guess that optimism is infectious and I actually start to root for her. Gonna pick this back up soon once I start craving for some sweet rom-com.
Another Miss Oh (2016 Korean drama, completed Jul 2016)
Watch for: the second leads + side characters
What I got to say: This is the story of 2 Oh Hae Youngs. Oh Hae Young #1 is the second lead while Oh Hae Young #2 is the main lead of our drama. Oh Hae Young #1 is portrayed as the ‘perfect barbie’ we would love to hate but I loved her. We saw her flaws and insecurities, they were different from Oh Hae Young #2 but it was there. She was real and if I dare say, more lovable than Oh Hae Young #2. The side characters, especially the sister, were fantastic. And it was fun to learn about the job of sound producers as well.
Pinocchio (2014 Korean drama, completed Jul 2016)
Watch for: Interesting plot and amazing script
What I got to say: Stellar beginning but it peaked at the halfway point and never went up again.The start was refreshing and alluring but I started to get bored around the midpoint. The script was really well written though, I do love the characters and the relationships they had between them, especially Dal Po’s relationship with his new family. The drama also explores journalism pretty well, giving viewers more to think about without being suffocating or too deep.
Personal Taste (2010 Korean drama, completed Jul 2016)
Watch for: Lee Min Ho!!! And funny side characters including a sassy friend, a gay rival and a friend who is not gay but ends up pretending to be…
What I got to say: It was a good watch. The thing about this drama is that I don’t have any particular issue with it, but I also don’t see anything particularly outstanding (other than Lee Min Ho!) It was a great pick-me-up though. The story was pretty funny and the ‘bff’ side characters provided a lot of comic relief.
School 2013 (2012 Korean drama, completed Jul 2016)
Watch for: LEE JONG SEOK and KIM WON BIN
What I got to say: I was angry because I felt cheated. Everyone claimed that this was the best friendship drama ever without romance interfering and raved about Jong Seok & Won Bin’s bromance but half the time, they were enemies. And if anything, the two of them are more passive-aggressive (and hence, annoying) than the usual romantic couple… Still, the storyline wasn’t too bad and the drama was worth a watch. Plus, with those two leads, we can sit through any trainwreck hehe.
Ex-Girlfriend Club (2015 Korean drama, completed Aug 2016)
Watch for: a looooong screechy movie
What I got to say: At 12 episodes long, it’s a short drama but the plot is more suitable for a movie. This drama has a fast pace, which I like, but sometimes it just feels like a screamfest with all the women gathered. It is interesting to see the reaction of the different types of women in every situation though.
Angry Mom (2015 Korean drama, completed Aug 2016)
Watch for: ‘Evil’ and vulnerable high school students who just need some love
What I got to say: It gets very frustrating when it seems like there is no way out. While the ‘grand scheme of things’ about how the evil triumph can be depressing (and honestly, a bit too unrealistic), the characters saved the show. From the gangster Go Bok Dong who has a crush on Angry Mom herself and truly believed she was 18 (and forced to marry this ‘evil old bastard’ who is actually a huge softie – the latter’s death still hits me hard), to the cold hearted Hong Sang Tae who just want acceptance and love, the kids were my main driving factor in watching the show. I am so interested in them and they were developed very well.
Wild Chives and Soybean Soup (2014 drama, completed Aug 2016)
Watch for: A makjang that had so much potential but eventually fell flat because it was cut short
What I got to say: Everyone loved the story when they were kids but the show eventually screwed itself up because at episode 20, it was announced that the show will be cut from 50 to 26 episodes. This is the show that could have been it. There were a lot of potential plot lines I see being built up and I was interested and curious about but there was no time to develop it at all. Other than that, the ending was also not satisfying. They didn’t make use of the last 6 episodes properly. The leads’ story was a bit lame though, I was more invested in the Ham Cho-Soo Han storyline. Pity it never happened.
The Time We Were Not In Love (2015 Korean drama, on hold since Aug 2016)
Watch for: Korean remake of one of the best Taiwan drama, In Time With You
What I got to say: I can’t stop myself form comparing this to the Taiwan’s version. So, I can only stop myself from watching the drama. The remake ruined Cheng Youqing’s character but Li Da Ren seems to be better portrayed here. And the second male lead Ding Li Wei character was also more understandable and worth rooting for here.
49 (2013 Japanese drama, completed Aug 2016)
Watch for: Characters / Cast / Plot / Story
What I got to say: The drama is so short, it’s more like a movie. And for a movie, it’s pretty decent. Short, heartwarming story with comical moments… I mean, just look at the poster, how can these pretty cross-dressers not bring amusement? Even though the drama probably didn’t mean to, it’s pretty amusing to see how the idea that Asian parents will never be satisfied with their kids being embodied here.
Plus Nine Boys (2014 Korean drama, completed Aug 2016)
Watch for: Bum Jeo from Pinocchio (Kim Young Kwang)
What I got to say: Quite disappointed. I had expected more from this drama because I read rave reviews about it. The drama felt draggy at times because even though the characters aren’t detestable, there doesn’t seem to be much going on.
Doctors Crush (2016 Korean drama, completed Sep 2016)
Watch for: Characters / Cast / Plot / Story
What I got to say:The thing about Doctors is that even though it is named ‘Doctors’, it feels like the hospital plot is not important at all. Other than surgery scenes showing pieces of cut up brain, the weekly ‘patient side stories’ seems to be inserted pretty awkwardly and forced. It would have been fine if the viewers only expected a romance story instead of a drama about actual doctors but nope, the expectation has been set and delivery fell flat. This show feels more like “Gossip Girl: Doctors Edition” instead of “(Inspiring) Doctors”.
Age of Youth (2016 Korean drama, completed Sep 2016)
Watch for: Characters
What I got to say: It’s an interesting slice-of life drama. We have 5 girls, all very different from each other and each with their own story. Their interactions are fun to watch and I’m curious to find out about each character’s background. Seeing how they went from individuals to a tight knit family was sweet.
Love O2O / Just One Smile is Alluring (2016 Chinese drama, completed Sep 2016)
Rating: I LOVE YOU, DRAMA and I would like to give you a 10 but that’s impossible so settle with an 8.5
Watch for: Yang Yang. Zheng Shuang. The novel, Just One Smile is Alluring, comes alive.
What I got to say: I never thought a 30 episode modern drama would be too short for me but it is. This drama adaption from the novel Just One Smile is Alluring is pretty much perfect. In fact, stay tuned for my upcoming drama review because I love this so much!
W (2016 Korean drama, awaiting for last episode next week)
Watch for: an out-of-the-world (literally) romance
What I got to say: Rather than relegating this to a drama about manhwa characters coming alive, I would classify this as a sci-fi drama about parallel universe instead. This is a very special drama. It’s not my newest crack drama nor downright horrible like many other viewers seem to claim. However, it’s a drama worth watching if you are looking to switch things up a bit. I feel that this drama is the first of its kind for now (and it might just spark off the next new trend for upcoming dramas). It can get a bit mind boggling at times and make you have a headache trying to figure out what’s what so my advice is, don’t think too much, just take whatever the drama hands out and enjoy it the best you can.
A total of 22 dramas and counting. Guess this makes up for the year-end round up I never did last year…. just 9 months too late. I am quite a procrastinator but it’s never too late, right? 😛 Hope you enjoyed it and found a few new dramas to watch!
I have been 90% done with this post for quite a while already and was supposed to post this a couple of days ago but real life caught up with me and then the news of Kimi’s death came and I just couldn’t bring myself to blog about such frivolous stuff. My free time was spent on reading about Kimi instead. It was a good thing that I have typed out all the content already and only needed to add in the pictures and tags because I don’t think I’m ready to enthuse over dramas right now. I was initially very excited about reviewing Love O2O and even prepared my materials but after the devastating news, I’m not sure I will be able to be enthusiastic over a mere drama, however good it may be, any time soon so no promises there. Plus, such a happy drama like Love O2O is a complete mismatch of my mood now. For readers interested in Love O2O, you can read drama recaps here and the translated novel here. Both are done on wwyxhqc and it’s a brilliant blog that I love.
I thought Marian wrote this at first but was surprised with the Korean choices so I took another look. Haha!
Anyway, OMG SO MAAAANY. I’ve only watched around 3 or 4 in your list! Haven’t read the whole review yet but will take note of your recs! 🙂
Haha, I surprised myself with the large number of korean dramas in my list as well. The speed and ease of subs is making even me, a die-hard chinese drama fan start to waver. And yeap, this was a long list because I had a long holiday (which I spent entirely on watching dramas and neglecting this blog haha).
You watched so many dramas!! :O I watched a few of these above, but definitely not all. Love O2O was really good, I actually enjoyed watching School 2013 and I want to try out Age of Youth whenever I get the time!!
The death of Kimi was a real shock that made me realize just so precious everything and everyone we have are.. 😦
Well, I watched 2 years worth of dramas all at once since I had a hiatus last year xD Yeap, Love O2O was really light hearted and addictive. Yes, I still haven’t really accepted Kimi’s death. When I look at videos with him in it, my brain doesn’t realise he is not alive any more and that there won’t be new content of him in the future.
Ha, very true! Then it makes sense. I think I watch about the same amount, but my list is a bit less diversified than yours (I mostly watch recent dramas these days).
>< When you put it like that, that is even sadder. I didn't think of all this.. OMG, he is leaving such a big void behind :((
Nana Ouyang is my favorite Chinese vlogger. Recently she will hold a concert at the Berkeley Conservatory.