Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Drama Recap

Happy new year everyone!

Ah... it's that time of the year where we reminisce about the dramas that have gone past. This year wasn't terribly good for me as a drama watcher as I didn't really watch all too much. Nonetheless, I did watch a handful of dramas this year and as per what I did last year tradition, I will rank them in order from best to worst from my subjective point of view. The dramas on this list are the ones that ended in 2015, so no unfinished dramas here *cough*Baeksang*cough*.

Updated on January 6th. This is what happens when you make your list last minute.

1. Oh My Ghostess
The number one spot is quite difficult decide, but I'm going to give it to the cute and lovely Oh My Ghostess. For one thing, the story line was magnetic. I felt excited to watch each week, which isn't the case to all the dramas. There were no wasted characters or wasted story lines. The ending could've been a bit better, especially regarding evil brother-in-law but it was such a satisfying ride. One thing for sure, the drama was front lined by the best. Both Park Bo-young and Jo Jung-seok are known to be charming scene stealers but when you put both together, magic happens. While watching the drama I had a crush on both of them, that's for sure. And we can't forget about the darling Kim Seul-gi who is becoming a powerhouse in her own right, not only charming her way in the more comedic scenes, but was utterly devastating when the situation becomes grim. It's a drama I loved a lot while watching.

2. Kill Me, Heal Me
Since I already made a review of it way back when, I won't say too much of it. Kill Me was like a storm on a clear day. Okay, I may be exaggerating there. But as a drama that was supposed to be the worst drama ever, this was excellent throughout its run. It really came down to Ji Sung, who was electrifying portraying seven distinct characters. I'm glad he finally won a Daesang in the MBC Drama Awards.

3. Healer
Objectively I do think Healer was one of the best dramas of the year, if not ever (I haven't watched too many dramas so don't hold me for that). But for some reason I can't put it any higher than this. I was excited for the first half of the drama but the excitement died down afterwards, unlike several titles on this list. I'm not sure why. Also, that ending was such an anticlimax. Maybe that's what did it for me. Who knows. What I do know is that this was an excellent drama that I would recommend to anyone.

4. The Girl Who Sees Smells
I was tempted to put this drama higher in the list because of my sheer adoration for the Murim couple but I resisted. The drama was cute but not as great as the three mentioned above. The highlight for me was by far the growing relationship of Mu-gak (Park Yoo-chun) and Cho-rim (Shin Se-kyung). It's rare to see the progression of love in a K-drama, oddly enough. It's usually a lot of angst and rejection up until basically the last two or three episodes. Which sucks. I'm glad Murim got straight down to business right away. And that proposal scene? To die for. I smile to this day thinking about it. The crime-mystery aspect of the drama was sloppy but I had friends who enjoyed this part more than the romance, which I can't understand for the life of me. But I guess this means there's something for everyone.

5. Hogu's Love
Whenever I think of Hogu's Love, I think of cute. (Super) cute cast, cute story. It wasn't all cotton candy and rainbows, which I liked. But there was too many misunderstandings for my liking. Reading back on my review, I really did enjoyed it. But there were stronger dramas this year so Hogu's Love got caught up in the mix. One things for sure, Choi Woo-shik will remain the cute bumbling idiot in my mind. You be you.

6. Ex-Girlfriend Club
In all fairness, Ex-Girlfriend Club wasn't all that bad. It's just that compared to all the other dramas I've watched, it wasn't the best. Granted, I did finish it, which wasn't the case and fate to some other 2015 dramas (you can read about what dramas I've dropped here). The drama in general was cute and inoffensive, but that's it. It wasn't anything special. I did love the trio of ex-girlfriends. They really did it for me.

7. Producer
This show could've been so great. The leads (Cha Tae-hyun, Gong Hyo-jin, Kim Soo-hyun, IU) were solid, the premise was unique, the setting was interesting. But being a public network that hates risks, KBS chickened out by the 5th episode and made what was once a funny workplace mockumentary into traditional and utterly boring romantic comedy central. I probably, or maybe even definitely, would've dropped it completely had it not been my great love for Gong Hyo-jin. She was fantastic in this. Actually, the ladies were the best among them all. Ye-jin (Gong) is the prickly pear with a softie inside and Cindy (IU) is the bitchy superstar that needs someone to accept her for who she is. Cindy's story line was the most dynamic of them all and I'm glad hers didn't fall too deep into the romance pit, which wasn't the case for Seung-chan (Kim Soo-hyun) and to a certain degree Joon-mo (Tae-hyun). This drama was one of the two that I watched sorely for finishing up and completing this drama recap so in a way I finished this out of obligation.

8. She Was Pretty
This drama was so insignificant in my life that it wasn't included in the original list. Oh the fails. I was quite excited about the drama initially but the drama ended up on the tail end of my list. The reason is because it just wasn't very good. At least compared to other dramas. Me forgetting about it doesn't make it any better. For one thing, I just got sick with the whole first love conquers all premise. Park Seo-joon is one of my favorite actors recently and while he tried his best with the difficult Sung-joon, he was still an asshole through and through. Hwang Jung-eum became ultra shrieky on this one and she had very few melo scenes to balance things out (unlike in Kill Me). Choi Siwon was a revelation and he was the savior of this drama, as are Hwang Suk-jung as the flamboyant director of The Most magazine and the ultra adorable couple Han-sul (Shin Hye-sun) and Jun-woo (Park Yoo-hwan). It's a problem when you like the supporting characters more than the mains. Just to add to my annoyance, they don't have official "behind the scenes" photos. So you're getting typical promotional pictures for this one.

9. Valid Love
Oh what a depressing little number. The premise itself was iffy: a married woman has an affair with another guy and wants her husband to accept this fact. At least, I thought it was supposed to be that, a progressive woman challenging the traditional norm. But nope, this had to go the makjang territory. It was expected, I guess, since this is a K-drama. The second half of the drama basically seems like a well-filmed makjang. This drama was beautiful to look at, aside from the fact that it had really beautiful people in it. But soft lighting does not hide its dramatic interior. And that ending too. Gosh, we went through hell and high water and nothing changed at all. What a waste of talented people.

And here are a couple of non-2015 dramas I watched during the year.

Misaeng (2014)
I made a review on Misaeng a while back so you can go there to read my full thoughts on it. Looking back, it really was a magnificent drama unlike any I've watched (although to be fair I have mostly watched rom-coms). For anyone who's bored of the K-drama formula, which usually encompasses a romantic story line, I highly recommend this drama.

Master's Sun (2013)
I'm pretty sure I watched this drama because I wanted to watch as many Gong Hyo-jin works as I can, because I love her. Also because I wanted to deem the Hong sisters in my mind after the miserable fail that is Big. They failed me again in Warm & Cozy so good luck getting me to watch any of your future stuff. But Master's Sun is definitely one of their better works. It's not their best (my vote is still to this day Sassy Girl Chun-hyang), but it's still quite pleasant. One thing though, if you hate ghosts as much as I do, then this will be a bit difficult to swallow. They're really not that bad in retrospect but let's just say I watched half of the first few videos behind a pillow. So Ji-sub also co-stars and he is adorable, although not as much as my girl Gong Hyo-jin. The story went downhill (in quality) towards the last quarter of the drama, which for some reason is expected in these things, but in general it was a pleasant watch.

And that's a wrap to 2015! It will be a year I won't forget, personally and drama/movie-wise. I'll be looking forward to what 2016 will bring and I hope you'll stick around these parts to join me!

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