I may be slow when it comes to my drama-watching, but I keep going, enjoying drama after drama at my own sluggish pace. I have now finished another four dramas, bringing my total up to sixteen, and I now intend to share my thoughts and opinions on them with you guys. I’d recommend for you to only read the passages about the dramas you’ve already seen though, since this post will most probably be rife with spoilers. Unless you don’t care, and just want to read it all. Be my guest.
The Continuation of All Kdramas I’ve Watched (In the Order I Watched Them)
13. My Princess
This is the cutest bit of fluff I’ve ever watched, hands down. There wasn’t a whole lot of substance there but I really didn’t mind. It was sweet and cute, pretty and just all in all enjoyable. Plus I loved the OTP. I’ve heard that they’re both considered to be quite weak actors, but I loved them together.
Thoughts About Characters and Actors
Princess Lee Seol (Kim Tae Hee): Adorable, sweet, likable and gorgeous. If I had been allowed to vote on whether or not she could be the princess of my country, there had been no doubt in my mind. She wasn’t particularly classy or conventional, but she was so charming that there truly wasn’t any need for her to be. She was lovely and just such a great princess. This role catapulted Kim Tae Hee straight into the ranks of my favorite actresses.
Park Hae Young (Song Seung Heon): Hilarious, for sure. This was a definite romantic comedy, and Park Hae Young carried a lot of the comedy for me. He was so full of himself that it hurt, being basically completely convinced that he was the greatest man to walk the earth. You’d think that’d make him unlikable but it just made him unbelievably funny. He’s a very handsome man, for sure, and he sold this drama to me very well. I think I preferred the princess over her diplomat man, but I liked them the absolute best as a pair.
Oh Yoon Joo (Park Ye Jin): This chick I really didn’t like. I’m all for a high-powered and successful professional woman, but Yoon Joo was such a massive bitch, for no good reason, that I had no patience with her. And to be honest, she didn’t really lose much at all. She lost the marriage that she didn’t actually really want and a job that she’d been handed. And she had another good job in the end, so she wasn’t exactly starving. And she got her gorgeous first love back. She deserved none of it, in my opinion.
But what bothered me most about her was that she was so flat. Her motivations didn’t make sense, and she had next to no believable personality.
Nam Jung Woo (Ryu Soo Young): This is the princess’ dreamy professor that she’s got a major crush on in the beginning of the drama, and I can see why. He’s basically a way more handsome version of Indiana Jones, minus the whip. I never got what he saw in Yoon Joo and I’m a bit upset that he was back with her in the end. But him minus the missus I really enjoyed, especially during his constant dick-measuring competitions with Hae Young.
Lee Geon (Lee Ki Kwang): Kikwang, why? Why would you do this to yourself and to your fans? Before I watched this drama Kikwang was an attractive, sexy even, member of B2ST that I could take seriously. Now all I see is aegyo and noona-baiting. He was so disgustingly cute that it was hard to watch.
14. Liar Game
This drama isn’t a widely known one, but it’s one of my absolute favorite dramas ever. It’s only twelve episodes, so you’ll make it through quite quickly. It’s not something for everyone though, it definitely requires an acquired taste. If you don’t like anything psychologically kind of creepy, don’t watch it. If you don’t like a drama that requires you to constantly keep up intellectually, don’t watch it. If you want a drama’s main pull to be based on feelings, don’t watch it. If you’re not fond of games and brain teasers involving logic, don’t watch it. But I loved it. This drama will not show you anything pretty, nor any romantic love. It will mess with your head, and allow you to realize how dumb you really are. In general I’m not a very emotional person, so it worked for me, but as I said, it’s not for everyone.
Thoughts About Characters and Actors
Nam Da Jung (Kim So Eun): Da Jung is our leading lady, a college student with the sweetest and most naive disposition I’ve ever seen. She really trusts people, waaaay too easily, and I find it amazing that she’s survived in the big bad world at all. You’d think she’d be terrible in a game that you win through deceiving and out-smarting as many people as possible, and yeah, she kind of is. She has good help though. Kim So Eun played the part in a very convincing way, but Da Jung really wasn’t a character that interested me much. Even though she was the main lead, she felt mostly like background noise.
Ha Woo Jin (Lee Sang Yoon): There’s no way Da Jung would ever have made it anywhere in the Liar Game without this guy. Literally, she would have been eliminated in the first round. Ha Woo Jin is a genius of an ex-psycholgy professor/ex-swindler. He gets out of jail, and is immediately pulled into the Liar Game as Da Jung’s helper, but then ends up becoming a contestant of his own. He’s a cool guy, and definitely mentally impressive, but he never blew my mind as much as this next guy:
Kang Do Young (Shin Sung Rok): He’s the host of the show, but later ends up joining it himself. He might seem like your average super smart slightly creepy dude, but he’s way more than that. He’s mildly nuts, and has some unfinished beef with Woo Jin which the Liar Game will help him settle. I fell so in love with this character that it catapulted Shin Sung Rok straight into the ranks of my absolute favorite actors. He’s mainly active as a musical actor, and he brought to Liar Game a sense of drama that blew my mind.
Oh, and this is how he ended up. For a while, at least. This crazy genius can never be contained.
Jo Dal Gu (Jo Jae Yoon): This dude has the look of the stereotypical loan shark and gangster in my opinion. And while he does play those exact two things in this drama, he’s far from stereotypical. Da Jung’s distant father owns a lot of money and therefore she owns a lot of money to the loan sharking business that this dude works for, and he’s the employee that keeps tabs on her. But somehow they have the sweetest relationship. He is both the father and the younger whiny brother that she doesn’t have, and he’d do anything to protect her. The relationship between the two is truly heart-warming. He might not be the brightest fish in the barrel, but he does his very best, and he is a good guy. No matter how he seems.
Oh Jung Ah/Jaime (Lee El): After Jaime is introduced in the second round (third episode) she quite quickly turns into the drama bitch. But she moves on from her bitchy ways when she realizes that Do Young is in it completely for himself, and has no intention of helping her unless it benefits him. She’s really quite the smart cookie, and her makeup is always so on point it’s deadly. Lee El is really becoming an actress to watch for me, but for some reason the drama industry doesn’t seem to agree and she isn’t getting lead roles. Well I think she’s flawless anyway.
Choi Sung Joon (Lee Si Hoo): He’s really not that important to the plot, but he’s so cute and sweet and lovely that I had to include him here. He’s even younger than Da Jung, meaning he’s a total baby. He’s a very smart kid though, and definitely not someone to disregard because of his delicate features. I mostly appreciated him as eye-candy, but there were some scenes where he definitely impressed me by being way quicker on the uptake than most.
15. Glorious Day
With a total length of 44 episodes, this is by far the longest drama I have ever completed. I took me a long time, but I enjoyed it every step of the way. This is a weekend drama, which means that the emphasis is strongly on family and family bonds, and that the pace is slower and the story in general less dramatic. But I quite enjoyed that. The conflicts felt realistic, and the solutions came in natural ways without exaggerated angst. It’s a very relaxing drama to watch, and it will make you feel happy and at peace with life. I really felt like I’d been adopted into a whole new family, it was great.
Thoughts About Characters and Actors
Jung Da Jung (Park Se Young): This was not my first encounter with Park Se Young, but this role of hers catapulted her straight into favorite actress territory. Jung Da Jung is the middle daughter of one of the two families that are the focus of the drama. She’s 27 in Korean age, so either 25 or 26 in “Western age” and is starting out as a nutritionist at a middle school when the drama kicks off. She’s a very stable personality, with a strong sense of right and wrong and a great personal integrity. She’s a really hard worker and is in general also very athletic and out-doorsy. She’s a cool girl, there’s nothing about her that you can’t love.
Seo Jae Woo (Lee Sang Woo): In the house next door there lives another family, and in that family Jae Woo is the oldest son. In Korean age he is 31, and he works in the marketing department in a large company that makes various outdoorsy products. He’s kind of stubborn and infamously slow to get a move on when it comes to things, but he’s also very sweet and always concerned with the needs of others. He’s kind of a dreamboat, and every mother-in-laws perfect guy. As you might have guessed, he and Da Jung end up together and even end up marrying. They’re an adorably precious couple, and I’d be ecstatic if the actors announced that they’re dating. I’ve grown very fond of Lee Sang Woo. He starred in a drama which openly and respectfully portrayed gay love, which gives him about a thousand points in my book. Plus he’s said that this character is the closest to his real personality that he’s ever played, which means he must be amazing.
Han Song Jung (Kim Mi Sook): Song Jung is the single mother of Da Jung and her two sisters, and a struggling author who becomes very successful over the course of the drama. She’s an incredibly strong person, and definitely one of my favorite characters in the drama. This drama actually put her on the list of my favorite actresses as the only actress on there over the age of 37.
Jung Da Ae (Hwang Woo Seul Hye): Da Ae is the older sister of Da Jung. She’s 30 in Korean age and a pharmacist. Da Ae is an amazingly sweet girl and quite emotional. But there’s a strength and a resilience in her that comes out at times, that really shows that she truly is her mother’s daughter. Her wedding was the first out of the four that took place over the course of the drama.
Han Da In (Go Woo Ri): Da In is Da Ae and Da Jung’s youngest sister, she is 21 in Korean age and in her second year as a photography major at the university. She’s kind of materialistic, kind of whiny and kind of self-obsessed, to be honest. She definitely has a bit of the youngest-sibling syndrome, if you know what I mean. But deep down she’s definitely a sweet girl, with loads of unresolved father issues. Meaning she never had one and it bugs her. (Her mother threw out her worthless husband before Da In was born and then told the girls he was dead)
Nam Goong Young (Son Chang Min): Young is close to Jae Woo’s family, and especially his father. Jae Woo and his brother actually calls Young “uncle” but he is not actually related to them. He’s a very successful businessman and owns several fancy hotels. He’s also the man that shows Song Jung that even though she’s old and has three daughters, she isn’t too old for love. He’s a great man, albeit slightly immature at times, and I was all for their relationship.
Kim Chul Soo & Lee Soon Ok (Choi Bool Am & Na Moon Hee): These two are Jae Woo’s maternal grandparents and at the start of the drama they make up the oldest generation of their three generation household. They’re in their seventies, but they have a love that’s as pure and heartwarming as any young kdrama couple’s. Over the course of the drama Soon Ok finds out she has Parkinson’s, which to Chul Soo is a chance to take care of the amazing woman who’s always taken such good care of him. It’s really sweet, and amazingly heart-warming.
Seo Min Sik & Kim Shin Ae (Kang Seok Woo & Lee Mi Young): These are Jae Woo and his brother’s parents. Min Sik, the father, is also a older brother of sorts to Song Jung, since they grew up in the same orphanage. They hadn’t seen each other since he went off to college, and reunite at the beginning of this drama. Min Sik is a stable and calm personality, a lot like his son Jae Woo, while Shin Ae is loud and dramatic. She doesn’t think that Da Jung’s family has a high enough standing, and she’s the main obstacle that tries to stop Da Jung and Jae Woo’s relationship and marriage. She’s not at all on Boys Over Flowers or The Heirs level though, this drama is a lot more reasonable.
Seo In Woo (Kim Hyung Kyu): This adorable thing is Jae Woo’s younger brother, who’s 29 and a dentist. In Woo is quite immature and a bit kid-like, but he develops a lot over the course of the drama, and really matures. He marries at the end of the drama. (WHICH WE DIDNT GET TO SEE. GAH.) I really liked him, he was really funny. I had a hard time accepting Kim Hyung Kyu as a grown man with a job though, since he looks more like a high school student.
Kang Hyun Bin (Jung Man Sik): This is the man Da Jung’s sister Da Ae marries, a 39-years old dentist who was In Woo’s professor in college. Sounds all good, right? Wrong. He’s divorced and has a teenaged son, which leads to Song Jung strongly objecting. But he’s really nice, albeit a bit clumsy, and his love for Da Ae is super sweet. Even her mother has to accept that eventually, and they marry.
Yoo Ji Ho (Lee Hong Bin): Hongbin! Ji Ho is Da In’s boyfriend whom she meets when she’s scouting for a model for one of her photography projects. It’s all good, until she finds out that he’s a couple of years younger than her. And in high school. Da In freaks out, and doesn’t ever want to see him again. But she realizes that this booty is too fine to lose, and they date throughout the majority of the drama.
16. White Christmas
This is a mini drama of simply eight episodes that me and my friend marathoned yesterday. I’ve been meaning to watch it for some time now, and now it finally happened. And it’s one of the most hauntingly disturbing things I’ve ever watched. It’s about seven students (eight actually, since one secretly hung around) and their teacher who stayed behind at their super competitive crazy strict high school way up in the mountains during their winter break. The students all received a creepy letter, which I will include at the end of this paragraph, and stuck around to see what it’s all about. The main question that this drama asks is: are monsters born or are they made?
This is the letter:
You tainted me, made me pitiful.
You made me a monster in the corner.
You silenced me.
You ridiculed my false hopes.
You took the only thing I had and put it around your neck.
I held out my hand to you and let you go.
You deleted me from your eyes.
Finally, you overtook me.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
After eight days, walk up the path by the Zelkova tree.
Under the clock tower, you will see someone dead.
The night that Jesus was born, I curse you.
Yeah, that’s creepy alright.
Thoughts About Characters and Actors
Kim Yo Han (Kim Sang Kyung): This is the monster that wants to know how monsters are made. He turns up at the school after being in a car accident and introduces himself as a psychiatrist. Which he is, but he forgot the mention the other part: he is a serial killer currently on the run from the police. This is a very creepy character, and he’s obviously completely bonkers. But the creepiest thing about him is that most of the time he seems sane, almost sympathetic. He seems reasonable and almost helpful. But he’s really not.
I’ve of course been pondering his question, whether monsters are born or made, since I watched the drama and I’ve come to somewhat of a conclusion. The question itself is flawed. Yo Han, and the drama as a whole sort of, implies that you’re either a monster, or you aren’t. Like there’s a switch, and once you’ve done something monstrous you are forever a monster. I don’t think that’s accurate. The way the story ended definitely implies that there is something monstrous in the students, but I really don’t think that means they’re all monsters now. With proper therapy they might, might, be fine. Let’s hope so. Please.
Park Mu Yeol (Baek Sung Hyun): He’s a goody-goody, someone who studies loads and’d never dream about breaking the rules. He’s also a very kind and good person. To start off with. Yo Han says that when Mu Yeol snaps, his monster will be greater than everyone else’s combined. And in the end, that might have happened. The blankness on his face when he lied to the cops about what happened on the roof was truly disturbing. Mad props to Baek Sung Hyun, because he managed to convey the change in Mu Yeol in the subtlest way, while still making it super clear.
Jo Young Jae (Kim Young Kwang): Young Jae is the cowardly bully of the lot, a lost soul that obviously has some deep-rooted emotional issues from his childhood. Him running through the halls of their mighty creepy school ready to bash his schoolmate’s brains in with a steel rod was truly disturbing. He snapped several times, in different ways, and every time it was painful to watch.
Yoon Soo (Lee Soo Hyuk): He was the only one of the students that didn’t make it out of this alive. He was to begin with the most unstable with depression, substance abuse and hallucinations being present from the very beginning and in the end he, rather than let the monster emerge, took his own life. If you read my post about my favorite actors you will remember that Lee Soo Hyuk was on that list because I’d never seen him in anything, but was very excited about doing so. And he blew me away. He portrayed Yoon Soo in a beautifully tragic and almost graceful way, and the fate of his character was shattering.
Yang Kang Mo (Kwak Jung Wook): If you’ve read my second “Everything I’ve Watched” post you will remember that when I wrote about School 2013, I said that I had absolutely no idea who Kwak Jung Wook is. As it turns out, this is him. Looking completely different, in a widely different part. I’m very impressed by how well he transforms. Kang Mo is quite the bright and smiley character to begin with, but of course, it’s hard to keep that going throughout the drama. He’s also hearing-impaired and seems to be completely deaf without his hearing-aid. Which leads to terrifying moments of him hiding, using a computer with access to the school’s security networks to keep track of the movements of his schoolmates and the serial killer in their midst.
Lee Jae Kyu (Hong Jong Hyun): In the beginning I quite liked Jae Kyu, he seemed like a nice pal of Mu Yeol and was always there to help out. But then something about him started seeming weird, he was just too neutral. He pretty much never spoke unless to agree with something previously said and he took no initiatives. He was just there, and it seemed strange somehow. As it turns out, he was the one who had sent the letters to everyone, to bring attention to the suicide of a student whose diary he’d found and whose struggles he identified with. And when he snapped, it was bad. He went from calm, sweet, nervous and scared to beating the big bad bully senseless with a metal rod. It was terrifying.
Yoon Eun Sung (Esom): This drama didn’t feature many females at all, and Yoon Sung was the only out of the students who was of that gender. She’s the prettiest girl in school, but there’s an apathy and a darkness to her that I don’t even think she truly understands. She comes from a troubled family life and is the first one to snap. In the first episode she is hypnotized by Yo Han and tries to kill herself. But after that, she is actually one of the more stable ones. She doesn’t take much initiative, but she doesn’t snap and go violent, neither towards herself nor anyone else.
Kang Mi Reu (Kim Woo Bin): This is Kim Woo Bin’s (who is one of my absolute favorite actors) acting debut, and boy did he do well. I’d say he was about as good as he is now, right from the get-go. Mi Reu, known as “Mad Mi Reu”, is kind of a bad boy/troublemaker kind of guy, and he’s known for pulling crazy stunts. He wasn’t actually supposed to be at the school, as he’s already been expelled. He’s one of the ones that’s the absolute most sane over the course over the drama, which might have a lot to do with the fact that his contact with Yo Han is actually quite limited. He was an excellent addition to the cast, and I’m happy to have seen him do so well right from the start.
Choi Chi Hoon (Sung Joon): Sung Joon, another favorite of mine, plays Chi Hoon, an absolute genius with literal problems with feeling emotions. His brain just can’t process some of it. This leads to him seeming quite robotic and stiff, both to the other students and to the audience. Sung Joon did it really well, and I grew very fond of this kid. One thing I liked about him was that when everybody else got stressed to pieces and cracked, he literally couldn’t. Those kinds of emotions weren’t accessible to him, meaning that I could always count on him doing the logical thing. That was nice.
Yoon Jong Il (Jung Suk Won): This is the teacher that stayed behind with the students, and the only one who was physically murdered by Yo Han over the course of the drama (though you could argue that he murdered Yoon Soo as well). He’s a quite terrible teacher and definitely not a responsible enough adult to be left with them, but at least he was somewhat of a secure point. Him disappearing marks the start of things getting really bad for the students.
Oh Jung Hye (Lee El): This was Yo Han’s first patient as a psychiatrist who became a bit obsessed with him and turned into a stalker of his. She’s fiercely devoted to him and even gives her life only to hand him a single bullet. She’s really a very sad character. She was sexually assaulted consistently as a child and was sent to Yo Han because she’d completely sealed herself off from the world. If she’d been given a proper therapist she might have been able to live an alright life, who knows? But she wasn’t, and she didn’t. She wasn’t actually a bad person, and it was quite tragic when she died.
Having seen Lee El both here and in Liar Game she is really growing on me. She definitely lends herself well to these kinds of darker dramas, and since I love them too, I’m hoping to see way more of her.
This is a very long post, and for that I am sorry. But I would like to strongly recommend all these dramas to you guys, if you haven’t seen them already. Especially especially Liar Game and White Christmas who both seem to be very underrated but that I absolutely loved.