Kdrama Special – The Heirs, School 2013, You’re Beautiful, Coffee Prince & Gu Family Book

I was planning on listing everything I’ve watched last week but since that post turned so long, this will be the continuation. It was going to be a perfectly symmetrical 4 dramas per post, but since I wrote that last post I’ve finished a ninth drama, so that will be included here as well. Which means this post will be even longer than last week… But oh well, I hope you’ll enjoy!

The Continuation of All Kdramas I’ve Watched (In the Order I Watched Them)

5. The Heirs

the heirs

I don’t know if this or Boys Over Flowers is a bigger mess. Just as in Boys Over Flowers, there were side characters that really made me get through it. The main story line was incredibly frustrating, and got quite old very fast. But nevertheless I did enjoy it, and I definitely don’t regret watching it. I know a lot of people thought there were too many characters, but I disagree. I’m an enormous fan of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, so many characters is no problem for me. Actually, I wish more kdramas had bigger casts! I do agree that they didn’t have the time they needed to develop some of the characters though, which was a problem.

Thoughts About Characters and Actors

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Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho): (First a side note; I thought Lee Min Ho looked too old to play a high school student in Boys Over Flowers, and that was 4 years before The Heirs! You do not play a high school student when you’re nearing 30. Lee Min Ho, please take some adult roles.) I do think Lee Min Ho is a good actor, and I do think he tried to make me fall for Kim Tan. But I didn’t. I cared for him, and wanted him to do well, but his stalking and very immature behavior when it came to Cha Eun Sang really got on my nerves.

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Cha Eun Sang (Park Shin Hye): I don’t know what it is about Park Shin Hye. I don’t think she’s necessarily a bad actress, but she just never sells anything to me. She didn’t have any chemistry with either of the male leads (Even though they for sure tried) and I never really bought that she was in love with Kim Tan. And she cried way too much. She’s a good crier, but when someone cries that much it really loses it’s effect. I did sympathize with her and understand where she was coming from at times when Kim Tan didn’t, but that just made me not like him, not like her. I didn’t dislike Cha Eun Sang as a character, but I was highly neutral about her.

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Choi Young Do (Kim Woo Bin): This drama was my first introduction to Kim Woo Bin. And wow did I like what I saw. Even though Young Do was for the most part just a huge douche all throughout the drama, Kim Woo Bin still made me like him. He’s an incredibly charismatic actor, capable of stealing any scene he’s in. And he really did here. His love for Cha Eun Sang was sweet, and his complete incapability of showing it properly was quite heart-wrenching. His relationship with his father even more so, and his relationship to Kim Tan was quite interesting. I really wanted the two of them to make up in the end, but I guess you can’t have everything you want. I also really wanted him and Rachel to become an item in the end, or at least acknowledge that they’d be fabulous together. I ship it!

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Yoon Chan Young (Kang Min Hyuk): I had never seen Minhyuk act before this drama, and I didn’t know what to expect. But he really sold it to me. Yoon Chan Young was that perfect male friend that all of us girls have always wanted, and he was a voice of reason in the madness of this drama. I agreed with everything he did, and I could always stand by him, which for sure isn’t the case with most of these characters. His relationship with Lee Bo Na was a great breath of fresh air, and insanely cute.

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Kim Won (Choi Jin Hyuk): Even though I see Kim Woo Bin as the star of this drama, there were some other unknown (to me, that is) actors that really stood out to me. One of them was Choi Jin Hyuk, as Kim Tan’s brother Kim Won. I was really rooting for Kim Won to accept his little brother, and there was almost nothing more heartbreaking in this drama than seeing Kim Tan try to get close to his brother, and his brother pushing him away. I wanted to see Kim Won get a happy ending, but I somehow like that he didn’t. He was the only one that really sacrificed something to wear that crown.

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Rachel Yoo (Kim Ji Won): I didn’t like Rachel for most of the drama, which I’m assuming was the point. But the more humanity she showed, the more I liked her. I loved seeing her break down in front of her mother. I loved her awkward flirting with Hyo Shin. I loved her being close to Kim Won, and I adored every interaction between her and Young Do. Those two were meant to be, and don’t you dare tell me differently! Kim Ji Won sold both the good and the bad of Rachel to me, and she was another one of the cast members that really stood out to me. (And it’s not just because she’s stunning)

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Lee Bo Na (Krystal Jung): Krystal might not be the most seasoned actress, but she was one of the absolute best things about this drama. On her own she was amazingly hilarious, and together with her boyfriend Chan Young she was one of the sweetest things in there. I just loved everything about her, she made every scene better.

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Lee Hyo Shin (Kang Ha Neul): Kang Ha Neul was another one of the actors that really shined through, and I truly wish that they’d developed his character more. His relationship with his parents and his previous suicide attempt tugged at every part of my heart, his relationship with Kim Tan was a nice little side bromance, and his hesitant little love story with Rachel was super sweet. (Even though she’s meant to be with someone else, just saying) He was just like Chan Young; a sense of stability, and someone who would yell exactly what we were all thinking at characters acting like idiots. Thank you, Lee Hyo Shin, for conveying what I was yelling at my screen.

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Jo Myung Soo (Park Hyung Sik): I’m basically not at all into ZE:A, so I didn’t realize that Park Hyung Sik is a member of that group until I watched Music Bank and got very confused by the fact that Myung Soo was on stage. His character wasn’t really very interesting, but he did bring a sense of fun to the show. I never understood his friendship with Young Do, but it was nice to see that Young Do wasn’t completely friendless. His one-sided crush on Bo Na was quite funny too. All in all he was just there for comic relief, but he did that quite well.

6. School 2013

school 2013

This might actually be my favorite out of all the dramas I’ve watched. This was a drama that my friend watched and then pretty much shoved in my face. And I’m so grateful that she did, because otherwise I might never have watched it. Or at least not as quickly. This should be a drama that’s shoved in the faces of all new kdrama fans, the way Boys Over Flowers is. It isn’t flawless, but it’s amazing. There’s no love story, but there’s a bromance that’s just as grand and romantic as any love story. There’s not much humor, but there’s angst that feels real. And because it feels so real, you will cry your eyes out.

Thoughts About Characters and Actors

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Jung In Jae (Jang Nara): Jang Nara really sold this character to me. I believed in her story, and I was rooting for her the whole way. I loved how she supported every one of her students, even the ones we might not necessarily like. I believed in her struggle, and cheered her on as she became a stronger teacher. Her relationship with Se Chan was great, and I’m actually really happy that it didn’t turn into love. It’s important to show that it doesn’t have to be love for a relationship to be very meaningful.

school 2013 2

Kang Se Chan (Choi Daniel): In Jae and Se Chan both really touched me, but in different ways. Her struggle was about toughening up, without losing her heart, and his struggle was about losing some of his toughness, and regaining some heart that he’d hidden inside of him. Just as Jang Nara really sold In Jae to me, Choi Daniel really sold Se Chan. I believed in it all, since his story felt at all times believable. (And believable really isn’t that common when it comes to kdramas, so it’s relevant to point it out)

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Go Nam Soon (Lee Jong Suk): Oh Nam Soon… I was with you every step of the way. I cried for him the very first episode, and he kept breaking my heart every step of the way. But while Nam Soon is a quite sad figure, his primary characteristic is that he’s so good. He tries to do the right thing at all times, and often tries to take the fall himself to save people he loves. He does it a little too much to be honest, which just makes me love him even more. I took notice of Lee Jong Suk in the very first drama I ever watched, and I just keep wanting to see more from him. He just sells it all.

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Park Heung Soo (Kim Woo Bin): After having watched The Heirs I really wanted more Kim Woo Bin, but in a better drama. And wow, did I get it. Kim Woo Bin and Lee Jong Suk are both great actors, with great chemistry, and together they were just deadly. I don’t think I’ve ever been so desperate for two people to end up together ever before. Their story is just as romantic as any love story I’ve watched, and I just ate it all up. Heung Soo is, just like Nam Soon, a sad character. They’re lost without each other, and the closer they get to becoming one again, the better things get for them. It was beautiful to watch.

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Song Ha Kyung (Park Se Young): When I first started watching School 2013, I was sure that there’d be a love story between Ha Kyung and Nam Soon. But I’m happy that there wasn’t. This drama didn’t need that to make me feel, and I didn’t need to be confused by it. Ha Kyung turned out to be less important than I thought she was going to be, but she was still a quite fascinating character. And she motivated me to study, which is something I always need.

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Oh Jung Ho (Kwak Jung Wook): Except for the bromance, Jung Ho’s story was my favorite. It was never easy, and it didn’t get a truly happy ending, but it felt true. Jung Ho reminds me of boys I went to school with back in the 6th grade that were already going wrong. Jung Ho couldn’t just turn his life around, just as they can’t do that now, because it’s not that easy. Once you’re in high school it could very well be too late. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t want Jung Ho to return to school and make something great of his life, but it made sense to me if he didn’t return. Of course we can’t know what happened, he might very well have returned. But I doubt it, and I prefer it if he didn’t. The important thing is that he’ll live well, like he said he would.

I don’t know anything about Kwak Jung Wook who played him, and since he doesn’t even have a wikipedia page, I can’t look him up.

school 2013 7

Kim Min Ki (Choi Chang Yub): Min Ki wasn’t a very important character, but he broke my heart. Even though I knew that he wouldn’t jump, I was still holding my breath. I’m impressed that this drama dared to go there, and actually show someone who’s seriously considering taking his own life. Suicide is frighteningly common among Korean students, so I’m glad that this drama, that aimed towards showing all the struggles of students and teachers, didn’t shy away from it. I also love how In Jae handled the situation, it was so heartwarming.

7. You’re Beautiful

you're beautiful

To be honest, after the glorious angst that is School 2013, maybe You’re Beautiful was exactly what I needed. It was completely ridiculous, and never really completely grabbed me, but it was fun and an easy watch.

Thoughts About Characters and Actors

you're beautiful1

Go Mi Nyeo / Go Mi Nam (Park Shin Hye): Just as Park Shin Hye didn’t sell it to me in The Heirs, she didn’t sell it to me here either. She sold it even less here, to be honest. I don’t know what it is about her, but she just never does it for me. Mi Nyeo/Mi Nam was a truly ridiculous character, which was fun at times. And incredibly infuriating at other times. This level of being clueless and frankly, dumb, is not what I want from my female leads. I want someone to relate to and maybe even look up to, not someone who glues her fingers together!

I really couldn’t understand why all three of the guys fell madly in love with her. All three of them were great guys, and Mi Nyeo never seemed that special to me.

you're beautiful2

Hwang Tae Kyung (Jang Keun Suk): I’m glad that they chose an actor who can sing, not an idol actor, to play Tae Kyung. Jang Keun Suk killed it in this role, and this part really needed someone of his caliber to make it believable. Even though I loved Shin Woo, and never really got into Mi Nyeo, Jang Keun Suk convinced me that Tae Kyung and Mi Nyeo were meant to be together. He made me cry, and he made me laugh, and he really made me notice him. As an actor.

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Kang Shin Woo (Jung Yong Hwa): Is my love for Shin Woo partly because I love CNBLUE? Yes. Would the love triangle have been more dividing among fans if Yonghwa was a better actor? Yes. But I’m almost kind of glad that he isn’t. It was calming to always think that Tae Kyung and Mi Nyeo were meant to be, since that’s the way it would end up. And Yonghwa did sell it enough for me to love him. For me to feel for him, and to be mad at his cruel fate. He never actually did anything wrong, and Mi Nyeo might very well have fallen for him, if it wasn’t for timing. His timing was always off and he therefore never really got his shot. It was heartbreaking to watch, yet it made sense. Timing is everything.

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Jeremy (Lee Hong Ki): Jeremy was mostly a source of comic relief in this drama, and Hongki pulled that off perfectly. He made me laugh, or at least chuckle, in almost every single episode. But when it came down to his big emotional moment, he also made me cry my eyes out. It was awful seeing always-cheerful-and-happy Jeremy break down in that way, and it was well acted. I felt his pain, and his need for things to be normal. So for being an idol actor, you did real well Hongki!

8. Coffee Prince

coffee prince

Coffee Prince is one of those shows that kdrama beginners are always told to watch, and rightfully so. This is a great show, carried by great acting, and except for that weird part where Han Kyul got medicine to cure his supposed homosexuality, it has a great story. Having been raised in Sweden, I’ve never seen any problem whatsoever with homosexuality, but Korea still has a long way to go on those issues. I wish more dramas would deal with the subject, not as a joke, but as reality.

Thoughts About Characters and Actors

coffee prince1

Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye): Yoon Eun Hye really impressed me as Eun Chan. Being such a feminine actress, it’s quite amazing how masculine she managed to look, and very impressive how she didn’t just look masculine, she moved and talked in a typically masculine way as well. She’s definitely become an actress to watch for me, and Go Eun Chan is one of my favorite female leads. Her strength and independence is very admirable, and something I myself want to be.

coffee prince2

Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo): Just as Go Eun Chan is one of my favorite female leads, Choi Han Kyul is one of my favorite male leads. Gong Yoo sold this role to me completely, and I don’t think I’ve ever fangirled as much over a leading male as I did over him. That’s hard to pick though, he’s got some very stiff competition. All in all, Choi Han Kyul was a great character, emotionally engaging and entertaining all at once.

coffee prince3

Choi Han Sung (Lee Sun Kyun): The voice. Oh, the voice. I loved Han Sung all through this drama, and I’m completely convinced that Lee Sun Kyun is exactly like Choi Han Sung. He didn’t even seem to act, he just was Han Sung. I’m a firm shipper of the two canon couples, and Han Sung and Yoo Joo were just perfect for each other. That they lost the baby was heartbreaking though.

coffee prince4

Han Yoo Joo (Chae Jung An): I loved Yoo Joo from the very start. I know a lot of people apparently didn’t, but I can’t really see why. Maybe I’m more lenient on her because her flaws are very much mine as well. An extreme need to feel independent, a difficulty to commit and a history of leading people on, it all sounds like me. So I can’t judge Yoo Joo too harshly, for hypocrisy is one of the things I despise the most.

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Hwang Min Yeop (Lee Eon): Min Yeop was like a big and confused bunny. He obviously wasn’t the brightest, but he always tried to be satisfactory and to make people happy, and that is very important. Sadly, the actor Lee Eon that played him passed away about a year after Coffee Prince was aired. May he rest in peace.

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Jin Ha Rim (Kim Dong Wook): I never fully understood Ha Rim’s purpose on the show. Most of the time he was fun, sometimes he was infuriating, but he never made any real impact on me. Am I forgetting something? I feel like I must be, because he can’t have been completely unnecessary.

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Noh Sun Ki (Kim Jae Wook): Sun Ki is my exact ideal type. Literally, exactly. I couldn’t have imagined him better myself. So watching him in the drama was quite a ride for me. If he was in the scene I would basically just ignore everything else going on, even if it was the actual focus in the scene, and just look at him. And I regret nothing. I wish they’d fleshed out his story a lot more though, partly because I wanted to see more of him, and partly because I liked where it was going, but I didn’t feel like I got enough.

9. Gu Family Book

gu family book

I finished Gu Family Book very recently, and well, I’m upset. I was loving it so incredibly much, but I hated the ending. Those parts of Kang Chi in our time should have been left out, and we would have been left with a sad and open, but still satisfactory ending. Oh show, why couldn’t you have done that?! I’m a huge sucker for fantasy in general, and I have been wanting to watch an historical drama for quite a while, so this drama was perfect for me. (Except for the ending) This was actually the drama that made me want to start watching dramas, but I couldn’t find a good way to watch it. And then I got distracted by other things and… oh well. I’ve seen it now.

Thoughts About Characters and Actors

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Choi Kang Chi (Lee Seung Gi): For most of the drama, I was supporting Kang Chi one hundred percent. There were several occasions where I thought I was sure of what he was going to do, and then he surprised me, and did something that was way way better. I for some reason thought that I wouldn’t like Lee Seung Gi, but man was I wrong. He might not be classically handsome, but he has a smile that could end wars.

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Dam Yeo Wool (Bae Suzy): I didn’t love Suzy as an actress when I first saw her in Dream High, but I liked her here. She wasn’t amazing, but I was so in love with her character that I didn’t really care. Yeo Wool is one strong woman, and I was right there with her every step of the way.

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Jo Gwan Woong (Lee Sung Jae): Oh look, it’s McRapey McRaperson. I hated him, and I do think he should have died earlier. And when he did die, it should have been worse. I’m happy that Chung Jo got to kill him, though I wish she would have done it in a more violent fashion. I think that he was a little too one-note, and he would have been a more interesting character if there was more to him than “evil”.

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Gon (Sung Joon): Gon, I love you so much. His relationship with Kang Chi was hilarious, and at times heartwarming, and his one-sided love for Yeo Wool was beautiful. And I mean, who doesn’t love a broody and emotionally constipated super badass ninja? If you don’t, there must be something wrong with you. I’ll definitely look up a drama that features Sung Joon in a more prominent role, because he was lovely.

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Park Tae Seo (Yoo Yeon Seok): As long as he wasn’t trying to kill Kang Chi, or falling for Jo Gwan Woong’s evil schemes, I really liked Tae Seo. His bromance with Kang Chi was lovely, and when he was actually smart, he was quite impressive. I also liked that he at times randomly turned into a ninja. I didn’t really fit with my perception of him, but again, who doesn’t like a ninja?

Park Chung Jo (Lee Yu Bi): Is it weird that I want to be a Joseon era gisaeng? Yes. But their clothes are so lovely! But it isn’t really worth the raping, I guess. I’ll just have to find one of those gorgeous hanboks some other way.

I really liked Chung Jo, for the most part. I didn’t like it when she got overly jealous and even meddlesome in the relationship between Yeo Wool and Kang Chi, but she did move on from that fairly quickly. And besides that she was a very fascinating character. Her acceptance of her fate was both heartbreaking and impressive. She made the choice that Seo Hwa didn’t; to survive.

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Yi Sun Sin (Yoo Dong Geun): Lee Soon Shin was like the perfect fixer of all things in this drama. Whenever something was screwed up, you could count on him to come in and save it all. And while that did feel a little lazy at times, I did really appreciate the badassery that he was. And he did have some excellent quotes.

The portrayal of Lee Soon Shin in this drama felt very nationalistic and patriotic. He is a very well-known historical hero in Korea, and portraying him this way does ring of nationalism. He’s portrayed as strong, wise, patriotic and all in all, good. He wasn’t really that much of a character. I think it had been more interesting if they had portrayed this well-known hero as a multi-dimensional person, but oh well.

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Gu Wol Ryung (Choi Jin Hyuk): He fine. Sorry. I loved Choi Jin Hyuk in this drama. He was a pleasant distraction in The Heirs, but here he was an full-on show stealer. I would gladly watch a prequel drama all about him, ending with his love story with Seo Hwa. Their story was lovely, he was amazing, and I just loved all about him.


Wow, this is an insanely long post! Maybe I should have split this one up too… But I didn’t, so I guess you’ll just have to deal! (Mohahaha)

If you have any comments, suggestions or requests for Sunday’s random post, Tuesday’s review or next Friday’s list of the week then leave a comment, send me an ask on tumblr, or email me at topofthekpops@gmail.com!

– Admin A


5 thoughts on “Kdrama Special – The Heirs, School 2013, You’re Beautiful, Coffee Prince & Gu Family Book

  1. the kiss scenes in Coffee Prince are epic!!

    they set the standards for kissing in a korean drama.

    and also, i wanted Han Kyul’s “roller bed” for the longest time.

    1. Yes, they were most certainly awesome! I was quite shocked to be honest. And Han Sung and Yoo Joo even had sex! Gasp! Kdramas have made me innocent…

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