Following in the footsteps of the Dramabeans team, I’ll be rating the dramas by how much I enjoyed the series vs. how good it is objectively.
49 Days (8/8)
In between the stalking and the eavesdropping, I was genuinely touched by some of the life-death reflections in some of the quieter moments. I feel a bit meh about the ending, but it was definitely solid throughout with a few really stellar performances (I’m talking about you, Scheduler).
Autumn’s Concerto (8/7)
I was chomping at the bit throughout the middle arc, but the suspense faltered and shriveled away with all the unnecessary truth-withholding after Guangxi gets his memory back. The lead couple’s chemistry was aces, even if the characters themselves drove me a bit batty by the end.
Baby Faced Beauty (8/8)
I didn’t hate Jang Nara’s long suffering heroine type (since I felt it was justified due to the fake age difference shenanigans), but I didn’t really fall in love with any of the characters, either. It was the workplace arcs and her struggle as a designer (more so than the romance) that kept me anticipating the next episode.
Best Love (8/9)
I fell so hard for poor Yoon Pil Joo. The main love triangle was cast perfectly, each side tugging at my heartstrings and reducing me into a mess only chocolate can cure. I loved the tight plotting and quick, witty dialogue, and while the drama wasn’t perfect, I certainly had a fun ride.
Boys Over Flowers (9/5)
My very first exposure to K-Dramas was Goo Hye Sun’s over-exaggerated facials as the plucky (but dim) Geum Jan Di. I pushed my way through bad English and shoddy YouTube quality to discover a compelling plot and a swoon-worthy hero, and suddenly I was hooked. There’s really no going back from here.
Brilliant Legacy (9/8)
Though I’ve seen a lot of complaints, Lee Seung Gi’s hair never really bothered me at all throughout this drama. I fell so prey to the addicting Makjang twists and Bae Soo Bin’s perfect man character that I got swept into a marathoning frenzy. In retrospect, I can see more of the drama’s flaws, but it was some rush.
City Hunter (10/9)
I followed City Hunter obsessively through Dramabeans while stalking YouTube for fan-videos. I fell in love with the complicated characters, twisty plot, and gorgeous visuals. As one of my first forays out of romcom land, there was enough pretty for the eyes and action for my thrill-seeking soul.
Delightful Girl Chun Hyang (7/8)
I watched this drama out of love for the Hong Sisters. I’d already watched Gumiho by that point, and though I took into account that this was an earlier work, I was a bit unimpressed. Chun Hyang is sweet with adorable leads that (in the drama’s second half) end up far too weepy from all the melo. I enjoyed it, but not enough for more than one marathon session.
Dream High (10/8)
Though Dream High had many pretty idols, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Kim Soo Hyun. His performance was everything. I’m a devoted shipper of the Milky couple, and I found all the teachers delightful. The music was catchy and the performances never became fan service. Though its underdog themes are predictable, it’s humor and heart get me every time.
Duang Jai Akkanee (7/6)
I plowed my way through annoying secondary characters, long stretches of inaction, and a predictable plot all for the sake of an amazing OTP. It truly felt like falling in love. Their chemistry was undeniable, and their scenes together were magic. As far as Thai lakorns go, this may be my last, since I wasn’t really a fan of the quality.
Fated to Love You (8/6)
Frothy and cute, but the extension bogged down the pace and the characters were left running around in plot circles. So much undeveloped potential, but the OTP chemistry was sizzling, and my emotions were put through the ringer (episode twelve was a complete sobfest).
First Shop of the Coffee Prince (7/9)
Maybe it was because I marathoned Coffee Prince after its initial airing that I never really fell in love with the drama. I appreciated Yoon Eun Hye’s acting ( though I haven’t since), and loved Gong Yoo, but the premise didn’t really appeal to me. I was in it for the hype, and while I liked what I found, it didn’t leave me in awe.
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (9/8)
Although I initially tuned in for the pretty, I set up camp for the sharp, metaphor-laden writing, rich characters, and youthful tone. The love triangle was equally weighted, with compelling love lines on both sides, and the ragtag family that formed around the ramyun shop was absolutely adorable. The tongue-in-cheek humor was always offset by poignant character beats that grounded the zaniness to reality, giving the show heart to offset its pretty face.
Girl K (9/8)
In a perfect world, the four brilliant episodes of Girl K would have been a full length drama. I loved the grittyness of Yeon-Jin the assassin juxtaposed against the innocence of Yeon-Jin the high schooler, and the puppy-dog romance pulled at my heartstrings. The premise was so badass and the execution was so slick that it kills me that it’s not longer.
Lie to Me (5/4)
All the drama’s cuteness doesn’t make up for the fact that I feel like I wasted my time with this drama. There were so many loose plot ends and unexplored, more organic conflict that was wasted. I was on board until about episode ten, and I stayed along to see if the ride would pan out. It didn’t, really. But on the upside, the actors were pretty.
My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (10/9)
The dimples had me at hello. I fell head over heels for the OTP’s pure, adorable romance, and though the drama spiraled into a bout of angst, I still couldn’t peel my eyes off the screen. The second leads were a snooze – especially pretty boy Gumiho hunter that did no Gumiho hunting to speak of. The writing was witty and smart, and I was squeeing with every smile.
My Lovely Kim Sam Soon (8/10)
I loved Kim Sam Soon as a character, and I really appreciate how the drama changed the standards of all future K-Drama heroines to come. Her chaebol prince hardly deserved her, but I wanted them to be together for Sam Soon’s sake. No matter what choices she made, I was behind her carrying pom pons and a blow horn.
My Princess (7/7)
I’m pretty sure I fell asleep during the princess politics, waking only when the OTP lit up my screen with their effervescent chemistry. The cuteness saved the drama from the doldrums of boredom, and I really enjoyed Kim Tae Hee’s plucky princess with the gorgeous wardrobe. There was some wasted potential for a more exciting conflict that left me disappointed.
Personal Taste (8/7)
I actually didn’t mind the web of lies Lee Min Ho’s character trapped himself in. Plot wise, it made for some good suspense, though I can see how his hypocritical ass-hatery could drive a viewer bonkers. And I really wasn’t a fan of the heroine’s bumbling doormat act. Watching it for the first time, I couldn’t take my eyes from the screen, but in retrospect, it was a bit more flawed than I’d given it credit for.
Playful Kiss (8/6)
Playful Kiss dove into the ups and downs of first love a bit too well. The pace was slow, and I felt uncomfortably embarrassed for Ha Ni’s blind devotion. I wanted to beat the hot and cold act from Seung Jo – if only to change up the dynamics a little. There was plenty of cute to cover the flaws, and Ha Ni’s inner conflict felt adorably earnest.
The Princess’ Man (10/9)
I was completely captivated by the OTP’s transformation from innocent romance to heart-breaking tragedy. The Princess’ Man is a beautiful drama enhanced by a stellar score and some amazing acting (especially from the secondary cast). I’ve got mixed feelings about the ending, but I found the Romeo-Juliet plot is ridiculously cracktastic.
Prosecutor Princess (8/7)
Prosecutor Princess may have some superficial flaws (the blaring OST, the garish wardrobe, that unfortunate haircut), but the conflict is compelling and well drawn out. I hated Ma Hye Ri’s ayego voice, but loved her sincerity, and there was not a thing I didn’t like about Park Shi Hoo’s performance. The chemistry was blazing, but I found the requisite separation period a bit dull.
Protect the Boss (7/7)
I think I’d have different feelings about this drama had I marathoned it as opposed to watching it live. The problem was the extension, which conjured up a contrived conflict to what had started out as a winningly sincere plot. Unfortunately, that really tainted the memory of the lighter, earlier episodes of the drama.
Scent of a Woman (9/8)
Despite being turned off by the cancer premise, I stuck around for the breezy tone and beautiful seaside. And wow. If you could bottle the chemistry from those electric tango scenes, you’d make instant millions. I loved the main love triangle, but the poignant reflections on life and death were a bit muddled with all the chaebol meddling and corporate shenanigans.
I chomped at the bit during the first half of the series, waiting eagerly for the OTP to finally meet, and their relationship certainly didn’t disappoint. But I was frustrated by the amount of time it took to get to that point, since I didn’t really like Hong Yu Jin at all. The rest of the drama was wonderful: a stellar soundtrack, nice explorations of the soulmate motif, and a tightly written script.
Sungkyunkwan Scandal (7/8)
It was the bromance that really endeared me to the series. I found the politics interesting but far less compelling than the relationship between the Joseon-era F4. The suspense fell after the big, gender-bending reveal, and I was a bit disappointed at the lack of angst after all that dramatic buildup. I was drawn in by the hype, and stayed on board for the cute.
Two Outs in the Ninth Inning (10/9)
I don’t usually envy relationships in K-Dramas (too much drama and angst), but I was absolutely charmed by the thirty-year friendship between the OTP. Their love story was mature, realistic, and adorable. The roommate hijinks mollified me through the first half of the series, and I was rarely bored despite the slower, slice-of-life pacing.
What’s Up (7/8)
I tried so hard to fall in love with this drama, but something didn’t quite click. I enjoyed the rich character backstories, but their individual plot threads never seemed to weave together in a way that made sense. That said, it’s worth a watch for the slick production values, cute musical scenes, and youthful energy.
The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry (8/9)
Is it possible for Kim Bum to be any more charming? I was never really excited by the premise, and so I jumped into the drama with little expectations – only to be blown away by the wonderful, complicated relationships that drove the plot. I loved the endearing trio of heroines and the drama’s portrayal of aging and opportunities.
You’re Beautiful (7/8)
I’m pretty predisposed to liking Hong sisters’ dramas, and You’re Beautiful wasn’t an exception. I enjoyed the wacky premise, cute characters, and catchy music, but it never really turned into a full blown infaturation. I can’t really pinpoint why. Maybe the setups were too zany?