My K Drama Year in Review 2014 Part 2 of 3

Wow, I thought 2012 and 2013 were rough drama years.  2014 was not a banner year either.  It’s got to the point where I have no expectations.

Let me remind readers this is not a comprehensive review of 2014 dramas.  This is my personal opinion on the dramas that I chose to watch. There are many popular or acclaimed shows I do not watch because I know I will not enjoy them.  I do not watch most sageuks, makjang/melos, or family weekend shows.

I had some formatting issues with this, which I cannot seem to get rid of.  I do not know why, other that WordPress has updated.

My rating scale is seriously too complicated but here it is.

Coffee Prince Good 1-10

Boys over Flowers Crack 1-10

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 1-10

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 1-10  (is she too damsel like> Ability to take care of herself financially and otherwise,  and owning her sexuality)

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 1-10  vs How good (quality) it was 1-10

Completed Dramas:
Trot Lovers

Coffee Prince Good 3

Boys over Flowers Crack 1

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 4

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 3-Choon-hee started out as the strong older child keeping the family together, smart mouthjustice girl, and spiraled into noble idiot mean girl cannon fodder.  Thought we’d get some agency, but despite not being a complete shrinking violet, it never really happened.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 5 How good (quality) it was 4

It started strong with a likable strong female lead buy she turned into a cry fest martyr take the crap from the mean girl.   It nose dived from coming across and potentially more mature drama into complete stifling of two leads that can throw charisma and sexy heat and were not allowed to do so.   Despite all the cute and charming, it segued into typical family meddling, psycho second lead female, and noble idiocy. I find Shin Sung-rok generally creepy and not appealing but he lucked into a quirky fun character in this drama. The drama is basically kind of sweet and innocuous with a side of melo.

My take aways: Jung Eun-ji is just charming, and has a earthiness I like in an actress, and I love her voice. Ji Hyun-woo, I like the guy but I did not feel the role was a best fit for him,  Loved his wardrobe, different than we usually see,  I do miss his not so perfect teeth but I totally understand wanting to get his jaw aligned properly and his teeth straightened.

trotloverssweaterI think I possible love this blue color block sweater as much as anything else in the drama.

Bel Ami

Coffee Prince Good 4

Boys over Flowers Crack 1

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 6

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 5:  Bo-tong was a horny neighborhood oppa fan girl, who was really best friends with MaTe.  She knew him and even manipulated him sometimes, which was interesting.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 6  How good (quality) it was 4

Great characters in a drama that went nowhere. I did a review and I’ll stick with this assessment, no need to rehash.

Takeaway: Bo –tong was a good female lead character, and strong in her own way with Ma Te. I liked her very much. And her reaction to Ma Te was so horny fangurl, awesome.

botonghorney botonghorney2

You From Another Star or as I called it, Smoking Hot Star Guy

Coffee Prince Good 5

Boys over Flowers Crack 2

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 6

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 5- Song-yi was a hot mess of a lead.  She was not school smart, but had some ‘street” smarts.  She however, was still portrayed as the sexually pure girl that had never been serious about a guy type.  That was a hard sell watching a mature female character.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 5 How good (quality) it was 5

I had a really hard time scoring this drama.

First reaction was it was engaging and the characters might be fun. Second reaction was, Am I up for another beautiful plucky stupid heroine? Do you know how quickly that guy would have been nekked if I was Song-yi?  You put one of the most beautiful men on the planet in a drama with a really sexy woman and you make it deadly for them to even kiss?  Only in Twilight and k drama could this whatthefuckery exist. This was a schitzo drama that had a really fun female lead and then they had to put her in her place with some disturbing misogyny.    I still say it was a reworked vampire script. I think it is over hyped and over rated at this point, because there was just some little piece of pie missing.

I really find “accidental” kisses silly, but the one in this drama was probably the most rational, and actually entertaining one ever.

This is my opinion from March comments and I’ll stick with it: “Hot Star Guy sucked me in with a couple of good episodes and then lost me again when Song Yi started planning marriage and living together in her head.  Sometimes I really hate this show.”

This drama had a weird 1950’s vibe, I cannot even explain it.

Take away: I need this professor in my life. Now. I have no idea what he was teaching but I totally wanted to take that course.

do min joon

You Are All Surrounded

Coffee Prince Good 3

Boys over Flowers Crack 1

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 5

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 3-Soo-sun  gets that for being a cop.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 4 How good (quality) it was 4

This drama was a solid, fun, watch but doesn’t really stay with you. It reminded me of old school buddy police dramas.

Takeaway: Cha Seung-won is awesome.
A Witches Romance

Coffee Prince Good 5

Boys over Flowers Crack 2

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 7

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 4-Ji-yeon is a mature, career oriented, competitive 39 year old woman.   The drama never really addressed her relations with Polar Bear, but hello, almost 40, let’s not pretend she’s wearing a chastity belt. Which the plot didn’t with the drunk lusty scene, but  did for almost the rest of the drama. Sigh.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 5 How good (quality) it was 5

Sigh. So much potential and sexy left to linger and go nowhere but to chastityville, Oh good grief, she was 39 years old, let her ride the guy like a pony.   It improved on the weaknesses of the Taiwanese original, which I really liked, so that they took care of Polar Bear in a more efficient manner was great. I like the more mature version of the male lead.   I didn’t much care for the title of the drama or the message, demonizing the ambition or competitiveness of a career woman. I think they did a great job with something K dramas do well, giving life to secondary characters. I think it did not measure up to the sexy that it portrayed in the teasers and promos. After the first few episodes, I think they neutered everyone.

I wrote a little about early days of the drama here.

Take way:   It was a lot of fun in the first half.

awrbb

High School King

Coffee Prince Good 4

Boys over Flowers Crack 3

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 7

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 3 -Soo-young supported herself, and had crushes, so she had lusty thoughts lol.  Then spent the end of the drama fending off a horny teen boyfriend.  Seriously, if you are gonna jailbait, sister, go big or go home.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 6 How good (quality) it was 4

I talked about this drama here.  High School King was kind of weird and in your face with the jailbait and noona thing that, really, should have been a problem for someone, ya know?   This drama was uneven and left some stuff hanging in the end but Seo In Guk was so ALIVE in this drama, what a charming performance.  The plot not so much greatly done, but the performances and quirkiness were entertaining . Lee Soo Hyuk, wow, you have really gone from puppy to Korean Beef and you were a big part of the draw of this drama. Call me? His character Jin-woo, was kind of shuffled off in the last few episodes and deserved a better development and wrap up. I mean, really the anxiety was introduced and they did nothing with it. That was a failing of this drama, not dealing with the hanging bits throughout. I really had a hard time with the lead actress/character. She is the Queen of the Dorkanoonas.  I do not know this actress to know if she’s always so off putting or if she’s just a great character actress, but I had a terrible time with this character’s facial expressions. The character was kind of creepy.

This was one of my most most enjoyable watches, aside from the lead female facial expressions, of the year.  I really enjoyed watching the 2 male leads and the hi jinks tremendously.

hsk1

Let’s Eat

Coffee Prince Good 5

Boys over Flowers Crack 4

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 8

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 5-Soo-kyung was divorced, lived on her own, supported herself,  but did not exhibit sexual agency.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 8 How good (quality) it was 5

The murder mystery stuff needed way better handling but I love this drama.  The female lead was divorced, lived alone (well, with her dog who was a character all on his own), and supported herself, and the ex hubby was not in her life.  YES.  SCORE.   Despite this, they have a bugged eyed lip kiss at the end?  That lost girl power points.

Watch it. The end.  From the leads to neighbors to workplace to BARASHI!, the show was just a lovely viewing experience.

letseat

Grandpa Detectives-I am not rating this because who the hell cares, it was just awesomely cheesy fun.  I loved this little weird omg the budget is none existent drama because it was just fun.  I was mad when Heechul cut his hair because of the Heechul hair flip drinking game.

Bride of the Century

Coffee Prince Good 4

Boys over Flowers Crack 1

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 5

lee_hong_ki_1

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 5-Do-rim started strong, turned into a shrinking violet sort of.  Off camera sex with her guy.  What?  Yes, see below.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 5 How good (quality) it was 4

bocnono

They make a baby fully dressed.  Wow.

Very cute at times, and then in the middle a little dry and too angsty. The strong kick ass female lead turned into a crying mess of a bright girl. Lee Hong Ki is adorable even as the jerk chabeol. I just love watching him in anything.  They had sex with their clothes on apparently. I can’t even, all I could do was laugh.  The end separation period was completely nonsensical. Despite all the weirdo machinations from the protagonists, they were redeemed, whatever.  That whole melo plot sucked the energy out of the cute of the main couple.

Hong Ki’s hairy legs were my favorite take away from this drama.
Can We Love

Coffee Prince Good 5

Boys over Flowers Crack 2

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 4

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 7-Jung Wan=Divorced, head of her family, trying to restart a career, had the help of the male lead, points loss, but owned her sexuality, she was hot for movie man, lol.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 5 How good (quality) it was 5

I really liked this drama and was glad to see a woman centric drama that focused on the lives of 3 friends. I think the lead female and male characters were two of the best of the year.  I was appalled by the hate for Sun-mi by viewers.   Again, I have written about this drama here and here.

cwl1

The Mermaid

Coffee Prince Good 3

Boys over Flowers Crack 2

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 6

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 5.5-Horny, I mean, Ha ni, was a fangirl for a hot chef, kissed  him, the 2nd lead (or 1rst? The drama was a don’t kiss and tell-the other guy was listed in first lead place in the cast list, but you know, no one could tell in the drama wtf) in the first episode, lusted for his assets, went after him, and supposedly fell for other guy in the end?  Or not?

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 6 How good (quality) it was 4

sjrspAs Hyun Min said in King of Dramas, “Oh my mother father.”

I briefly touched on this drama here.  A horny female lead. WIN. Song Jae Rim. BIG WIN. Kim Seul-gi. WIN WIN. It was basically cancelled. To the people that made that decision: You suck.

mermaid1

applehip2

It’s Okay That’s Love

Coffee Prince Good 6.5

Boys over Flowers Crack 3

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 4

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 7 -Hae-soo was a professional career woman, shared a house with another doctor and a friend, had multiple boyfriends, but had issued with intimacy.  Complicated, passive aggressive,  manipulative, and wanted to have sex.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 6 How good (quality) it was 6

This drama was just plain out good from start to finish.   Gong Hyo Jin plays one of her signature passive aggressive man manipulators, but again somehow keeps her likeable enough-but be forwarned, these characters are frogs, not prince and princesses, and they don’t change into shining rays of light.

ItsOkayitsokthatslovedontgiveup

In that moment, he just won everything.

Blade Man

Coffee Prince Good 3

Boys over Flowers Crack 2

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 6

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 4-Se-dong=  Strong, good friend, knew how to deal with Hong Bin pretty quickly, but no sexual agency really,  and spent most of the drama fending off a horny Gojira.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 5 How good (quality) it was 3

I had no idea what ot make of this show in the first episode or the last except shirtless scenes from Lee Dong Wook, which, YAY. It was so off the wall. I was seriously disturbed by the violence in the first episodes.  I think it was about learning not to be angry about things you could not change, which is in keeping with being Korean.  The artistic frames blew my mind. Like this one, the asymmetrical balance, this was just thrilling.

blademan balance

The guy was basically Gojira, omg, it was hysterical to watch. Lee Dong Wook was just a joy.  I really liked how Se-dong handled herself, but it the end she went the way of the crying self sacrificing doormat female lead   The show was cut short and they were able to wrap it with a plausible, well, plausible for what it was, ending, but I really have no idea what the plot was supposed to be completely. They never explained half the stuff.

Loveable Girl

Coffee Prince Good 2

Boys over Flowers Crack 1

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 3

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 5-Enabled in career by love interest and a guy with a crush.  Knew what she liked and went after it even though the show was chaste.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 3 How good (quality) it was 3

This show started out with an odd mood and a touch of the supernatural.  I really liked the first few episodes. They did absolutely nothing with the supernatural, much to my disappointment. This was a drama about nothing in the end, it was a fucked up plot to start with, dude falls for his dead girlfriends much younger sister. Age gap, no big deal, dead sister, yeah, that was a problem.   Not only that,  he mentors her career and she calls him ahjussi. Creep factor to the max. The dog was awesome. Rain was awesome, but the characters were just so…flat. This was really a terrible waste of Rain’s, uh, sexiness and vibrancy? I actually liked the slow moodiness of the first few episodes but it just never did anything interesting to go along with the weird ambiance. L was fun to watch. Poor Krystal, her character was just, so, nowhere, and wins the ugly shoe award for 2014. The other characters were nothing in the drama, and that was a big writing fail, because supporting characters can really make a drama experience work.

I NEED RAIN TO MAKE A DRAMA THAT I REALLY LIKE.  Maybe because he looks like this?  Just keeping it real.

rainsoaked

Modern Farmer

Coffee Prince Good 5

Boys over Flowers Crack 2

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 6

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 5 Yoon-hee=Head of family and village, single unmarried mother.   No sexual agency otherwise, the show did not really do a romance.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 7 How good (quality) it was 5

ha naue mf

Love LOVE. This show snuck in non-traditional Korean families under the disguise of a tad slapstick comedy vibe. Lee Hanui was fabulous. The female character loses girl power points for the moping and the lack of any romance in the drama.  The street art in the first episode was awesome. I loved this little gem of a how people have families and make families and it’s not necessarily how the culture defines the perfect family show. MORE OF THIS.

Naeil’s Cantabile

Coffee Prince Good 4

Boys over Flowers Crack 1

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 6

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 5-She get’s this rating for being on Orabang like a duck on a June-bug and taking lingerie to Europe.

horneynail

*this came from tumblr, I did not make this one.  Can’t find the page-if you own it let me know & I will credit it.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 6 How good (quality) it was 4

This was definitely manga brought to live action, many of the characters are kind of just there.  Some of the characters were just fluff. Nae-il was up on Orabang from day one, and she scored points for being a horny fan girl  (that was 3 of them in one year, hahaha)  and that was fun, but you know, that not even a kiss thing. LAME. These people were living alone—next to each other. Let’s be real, sheesh.   It had it’s moments until Naeil turned into a I need a boyfriend to validate me, give me a ring to make us a couple UGH type girl in the end. Yikes. But you know, the guy cleaned her house and washed her hair and cooks dinner.  Go for it Nae-il.

Yoo-jin’s inability to fly  due to PTSS does not work in 2014, I mean seriously,  a lot of people have issues and fly regularly.   People just take medications or sedatives.  I am not down playing anxiety or PTSS.  I’m just saying that the character could not leave the country does not work in 2014.

Misaeng

Coffee Prince Good 6

Boys over Flowers Crack 2

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop Fun 6

Kim Sam Soon Rocking Female Lead 5-Young-yi was a okay female lead but there was no romance or sexual stuff so her points are for being the top intern really, living alone,  getting along with her coworkers, NOT sleeping with any of them , and not stabbing anyone in the office.

Dramabeans Scale:  How much I enjoyed it 7 How good (quality) it was 7

bossoverflowerGeu  Rae takes the blanket off Suk Yool and puts it on the beloved Manager Oh.

This is a wonderful drama. It really portrays the young, no idea what I want to be when I grow up, I had a life changing event in my youth and I don’t have a clue struggle of many young people.  Geu Rae has no office skills, but somehow ends up as a contract employee at a corporate office, and it changes his world.  I’m still not sure how he got the job, but I really did not care.  Siwan was great as the almost innocent and quietly ethical Geu Rae.  It also really does reflect the kind of stuff that happens in corporate life. With a super cast, this drama just snuck in a big win in quality tv. The treatment of the issues for women was really on point. I have nothing bad to say about it, nothing. Watch it.

misaeng1

Still Watching:

Pride and Prejudice

This has been a decent watch other than some of the crime procedures are a joke and I do not find the female lead likable. I can’t stand when a female character is set up as a smart cookie based on a little sass. An occasional smart ass comment does not make a character smart, strong or anything else. What these men see in this moron is beyond me.

Healer

Verdict is still out. Park Min-young is a hoot and refreshing but it appears she is going the way of the clueless lead.  But wow, she’s just going for it with an all out there performance.  The male lead is as about as graceful as a bull in a china shop, walks around with his mouth hanging open a lot.  The whole uneven bars sequence was ludicrous.  I like the hacker and the lackey as much as anything else.

Swedish Laundry:

Weird little low budget fun. I like it for what it is. Girlfriend, just stab all of your family members. No one will blame you.

The best friend beat the crap out of mean girls with half cooked noodles. Literally, she slapped them with wet noodles. This drama wins for this alone.

Dr. Frost

Not sure I’ll keep on this. The guys hair drives me nuts. It’s like he’s Yoon Ji-hoo’s older more Asperger’s hyung, which is cool, but the wig, man, wow.

I would have watched Bad Guys if I knew it was NOT a gangster movie, which is what I thought it was, and if it was available with subs in my area.

Nod to Taiwanese and Thai Dramas:

Cubic: Oh my, this drama is horrible. In so bad it’s funny kind of horrible.

Full House Thai: Too long, the last few episodes where heavy filler. I really liked this drama though. Om Am was delightful.

Fall in Love with Both of Me: Started off extremely strong and my Episode 9 it was down sliding into an awful mess and it never recovered despite Aaron Yan’s propensity for taking off his clothes and objectifying himself (don’t stop Aaron!)

But it gave us “Lu, like the deer, not the road.” Epic.

arondeer

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Caitlyn Burton
    Dec 25, 2014 @ 11:51:25

    I still don’t actually know why i liked Lovable Girl. Logically, i know it was terrible, and i agree with everything you said, but i somehow still liked it, right to the end. It was cute.

    Reply

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