Annyeong! I know the year is not up yet but new dramas just started and some are about to start for November and December so they may be done on the start of the New Year. I would like to go ahead with my fave Korean dramas of 2016. You may have your own favorite dramas which may not be on the list. The major reason they may not be included here is that they may not have the same impact on me as the others did or simply because I HAVEN’T WATCHED THEM YET. I just have WAY too many dramas on my to-watch list from too many countries, not to mention my animes and mangas and there’s also, you know, work. Now, I sound like I’m complaining but I’m not. Anyway, let’s go ahead with the list.
Descendants of the Sun (태양의 후예)
Airtime: February 24 to April 14, 2016
Lead: Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo
Alright, now tell me, who in K-dramaland hasn’t heard of Descendants of the Sun? Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo are practically everywhere now. I just opened Youtube and there he is selling me Jeju Island and inviting me to explore Korea with him. Sure! I love Song Joong Ki even before Descendants of the Sun. He was such a charmer in Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Innocent Man still remains on my fave list to date and dare I say that Kang Maru haunted me for several months. Here’s the thing about Descendants of the Sun: I’m not a fan of the overall writing plot but I do love the editing and cinematography. I’ve seen better plots but I give major props to the comedic timings, the witty lines, and, of course, the UNPROBLEMATIC MALE LEAD. The only problem is I don’t think a Yoo Si Jin exists in real life. And as a victim of the Noona Disease, I do appreciate the Noona- dongsaeng pairing. Song Hye Kyo remains as beautiful and as talented as ever. I have to give a major daebak high five to the supporting cast as well, especially to Jin Goo and Kim Ji Won for having an amazeballs chemistry.
Love in the Moonlight/ Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (구르미 그린 달빛)
Airtime: August 22 to October 18, 2016
Lead: Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung
KBS is on a roll this year. Before I forget this, let me tell you that Gummy has also been incredible this year with soundtracks for Descendants of the Sun and Love in the Moonlight. That woman has pipes I would pay for! Watch out for Park Bu Gum’s My Person in the drama too. I love his voice and everything else. Love in the Moonlight or Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (I’m still confused to which is the official English title) is a sageuk or a historical drama set in the Joseon dynasty. It’s like a historical coming of age drama as it follows the steps of a young crown prince on his way to the monarchy and how he falls in love with a eunuch. Wait! Hold it! I can hear you gasp. This is a gender bender drama. That’s right! Another crossdresser! I know, I groaned out loud when I first heard about it. I am, to be honest, a little bit sick of gender benders but the thing is IT’S SO FREAKING HARD TO HATE A DRAMA IF PARK BO GUM IS IN IT. That boy keeps pushing me into the Noona zone since Reply 1988. He is so hard to resist! It doesn’t help either that he is close friends with Song Joong Ki. Can beautiful people of this world look for the uglies too? Like myself? AND I really need to tell you that I got the THIRD MALE LEAD SYNDROME in this drama, not the second lead! Kwak Dong Yeon as the crown prince’s BFF, swordsman, royal guard, master tailor, and awesome hair-man is my kind of guy. The sword fights always made my day.
The K2 (더 케이투)
Airtime: September 23 to October 12, 2016
Lead: Ji Chang Wook, Im Yoona, and Song Yoona
In tvN we trust and I do love me some action so I knew right away that The K2 was going to be on my list. K2 is former soldier turned mercenary turned fugitive turned bodyguard. I was scared for a moment thinking that this tough guy was going to be the jerk-at-first-sight and HE WAS. In fact, he was more than that, he left her with the bad guys but conscience comes knocking at the door and way too late for me. But in all fairness, Kim Je Ha (Ji Chang Wook) turned into a tough sweetheart and remained so until the end. Ji Chang Wook sure made the bodyguard role look so good. He was adorably cute when he’s annoyed. The face mask scene cracked me up so bad. Violence is given but could be too brutal to some but I did enjoy the fighting choreography. It felt real and painful. Unfortunately, Anna (Im Yoona) is such a weak character. As of the moment, I can’t find any redeeming words for her except that Yoona is beautiful and she’s there as a sunlight to Kim Je Ha. Other than that, there’s nothing. I badly needed the female lead to be decisive and strong. I give my major bows to Song Yoona for giving life to one of the most complex female characters in dramaland. It’s always a fight between hating her and being in awe of her. Give her awards this year… please.
W- Two Worlds (더블유)
Airtime: July 20 to September 14, 2016
Lead: Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo
I am telling you right away. I am awarding W my BEST KOREAN DRAMA OF 2016. First of all, let’s welcome Han Hyo Joo back on the small screen after 6 years and we can now all say that she’s made for Lee Jong Suk (As far as the drama is concerned… and in real life too?) Hmmm. Alright, I have to give my biggest admiration to the first person who conceptualized and wrote this drama. You Sir/Ma’am… Damn! Those brains! My first thought on the first episode was “I WISH I WROTE THIS.” That’s how good it was. It was so complex and so addictive. I know the fiction crossing reality part may remind you a little bit of The Last Action Hero but come on! This has so much depth to it. The webtoon/manhwa hero turning into reality is MY ANIME/MANGA dream. Lee Jong Suk, with his perfectly proportional face, has convinced me that Kang Chul is more than just a webtoon character. He has become a real person in my eyes. The complicated characters and story twists has turned my brains inside out and that’s why this is my best drama of 2016.
Moon Lovers- Scarlet Heart Ryeo ( 달의 연인 – 보보경심 려)
Airtime: August 29 to November 1, 2016
Lead: Lee Jun Ki and IU
I have made the biggest mistake of my life in watching the first episode of Scarlet Heart Ryeo. THIS DRAMA HAS BROKEN MY HEART INTO PIECES, TRAMPLED ON IT, AND BURNED IT TO THE GROUND. I know this is on my list of the Top K-Drama but if you are not ready for heartbreaks and for sleepless, pleasurable suffering, do not, I REPEAT, DO NOT WATCH THIS. But if you are the toughie you claim to be, want an army of beautiful people and you want to bask in the beauty of my favorite person of the year, Lee Jun Ki, then please WATCH THIS. Prepare yourself for the seemingly Korean version of Game of Thrones. Moon Lovers- Scarlet Heart Ryeo is the Korean remake of the 2011 Chinese drama Scarlet Heart (Bu Bu Jing Xin). The Chinese drama was based on the novel of Tong Hua with the same title. The Korean version backdrops on the Goryeo dynasty and it is a time travel/historical drama. I would like to go with the parts that disappointed me the most. First of all, dear writers and editors, what the heck! The time skips, the angles, the lighting, the editing, the shitty deaths… what the heck! The palace politics, the incest, and the violence has made my head spun several times and not for a good reason. Now let me tell you why this is in my Top 5. This drama has beautiful scenery and beautiful people. The number of princes alone may give you a double take. There can’t be that many beautiful people in one place. I also have to give props to the villains in the story (I’m too lazy to mention them). I hated them. Good job, actors! IU also surprised me in this drama. I had major doubts of what she can pull off in this drama after seeing her past works but she actually improved a lot. It could be that she’s acting beside veteran actors this time and she’s being paired with Lee Jun Ki who is JUST AMAZINGLY TALENTED.
Lee Jun Ki is the diamond of the whole show. Honestly, I may have given up on this drama if it wasn’t for him. Let me get to the obvious first. HE’S TOO BEAUTIFUL FOR THIS UNIVERSE. That man got me good! His eyes, his lips, and his jaws! It’s so unfair. And let’s get to this man’s talent. Lee Jun Ki was born to be an actor. THAT MAN CAN ACT. Wang So was as complex, as twisted, as flawed, and as beautiful as any character could be and Lee Jun Ki gave him the justice he deserved. I didn’t know before that a man could actually command the muscles and veins on his neck to go along with the pain in his eyes. How in the world did he do that? And that scene where his face transcended from hysterical laughter to pain to anger to grief was a sight to behold. I’ve never seen so many emotions in ten seconds from an actor before. LEE JUN KI IS AN ACTOR. He’s also a ball of fluff in reality and that makes him my favorite person. What have I been doing before I met him? Well, actually, I’ve seen him before in My Girl and I’ll be doing a solo post on his works next time. If the drama is too hard to bear, then just stay and marvel at Jun Ki’s talent.