End of the Year Musings of 2019

So, here we are again… it’s December. Where did the year go?! 2019 and the decade are winding down to their ends. I’m also wondering if my kdrama ‘obsession’ is winding down to it’s own end.

This was the year when ALL my best loved dramas were Chinese and my fave romantic themed drama was and odd Japanese one. When I developed a bad case of “inablity to press play”, which resulted in me being behind with just about everything I watched. When I realised I don’t like most sageuks at all. When I probably watched more Untamed Crack, cat videos, GOT7/kpop vids, and League of Legend/Generation Zero (I’m not even a gamer, for crying out loud!) than kdramas.

I started and dropped SO many Korean shows again, my interestest in most of what was offered being lukewarm at best. The only one to truly get me out of my stupor was The Light in Your Eyes/Dazzling. Thought provoking and heartfelt, it made me laugh and cry. It was an easter egg of a drama that hid it’s true form in a quirky romcom garb, to hit you squarely in the heart in the end. Best watched without knowing too much about the plot. So, in that essence it was the best kdrama I watched this year. Honorable mentions go to ‘Children of Nobody’ and ‘When the Devil Calls Your Name’, both great in their own ways, but all the dramas I managed to finish have bits I really liked.

I don’t do these year end best-of lists because that’s not how I roll. Besides, I’m not very good at deciding which actually are “the best” of anything. My grading of the stuff I watch is based purely on how much I like a show and how it makes me feel. I may appreciate the technical aspects too but to me, those are just the icing on a cake. No amount of polished grandeur will get any points from me if I’m not feeling the story or/nor the characters. I also have a hard time looking past ‘the stupid’ in some shows, notably anything with action in them.

So, on to the shortest “watched” list in… probably ever, ha.

Fave drama of 2019: The Untamed, because Joy of Life is still ongoing. πŸ™‚

Korea: Children of Nobody, Confession (tvN), God’s Quiz Reboot, He Is Psychometric, Her Private Life, Hotel Del Luna, Life, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung, The Light in Your Eyes, Watcher, When the Devil Calls Your Name + one classic: The Sandglass (Oops, forgot I also watched Life ;P )
China: The King’s Avatar, The Story of Minglan, The Untamed
Japan: Hajimete Koi wo Shita Hi ni Yomu Hanashi

I don’t think I’ve ever completed so few dramas as this year. If I listed those I dropped, that list would be waaaayyyyy longer. Not having as much leisure time as in the past still plays a biggish role but it’s also harder and harder each year to find dramas that hook me the way they used to. I kinda miss that heady rush a true drama crack brings, it happens so seldom these days.

My ongoing list is kinda short as well, as it contains only Joy of Life, Stove League, Be Melodramatic and poor Tasogare Ryuuseigun, which I haven’t been able to continue in months, something else always pops ahead of it.^^ I had big plans to dramathon Be Melodramatic and Tasogare but then Joy of Life happened and… well, that was that. πŸ˜€ There are even more 2019 and older dramas that are either on hold or on The List of Doom and I’m begining to think I’ll not be able to tackle those till I’m retired, ha.

18 thoughts on “End of the Year Musings of 2019

  1. I’m surprised that I haven’t actually found a Cdrama that truly caught my attention yet, considering how many Cdramas I’ve seen in 2018. Hoping 2020 will have more interesting dramas from Japan, Taiwan and China.

    • That’s how it goes sometimes. I was like that with kdramas in 2019, nothing much registered. Not that I watched many as it is. I’ve so far managed to find at least one cdrama each year to get really invested in and last year there were two. Couldn’t be happier. πŸ™‚ Well, Joy of Life is still ongoing. I’m throughly hooked with that one.

      • That’s cool! I’ve seen positive reviews for Minglan and Joy of Life so might give those a try. Although the eng subs for Joy Of Life is a little dodgy, not sure if I can get through the whole season with my limited mandarin πŸ˜‚

        • Minglan and Joy of Life are pretty different thematically and plotwise but I like both very much. One thing they have in common though, is that there are plenty of smart characters, both male and female. It makes the battle of wits more entertaining. No one has the upper hand all the time and everyone makes mistakes. One of my pet peeves is having one side of a “strife” being too overpowering and always on top.

          As I watch whole dramas without understanding a thing, I don’t mind if subs are a bit wonky. πŸ˜€ If they are totally garbage, that’s a different story though. Anyways, I don’t think the subs for either Minglan or Joy of Life @ YT are too bad and Viki has better subs for JoL, in case you have access to their content.

          • Sounds exactly like my kind of drama 🀣 Like you, I’m really into intricate scheming both in the villains and in the protagonists.

            Hmmmm, maybe i’ll give it a go again when I have time. The last time I tried JoL the subs weren’t catching up and it was super annoying. Unfortunately I dont have access to Viki from here 😫 Might even try watching without subs just to challenge myself lol

          • I forgot to mention that the cast is very good. The older/veteran actors especially are grand, but the youngsters aren’t doing too shabbily either. E.g Zhang Ruo Yun is considered as one of the best in his generation.

            Well, JoL has already fully aired for those who paid for the privilge and I guess for those who watched the leaked episodes. The YT channel available to me is here. They upload two epis with subs per day every Mon, Tue and Wed. Today we got EPs 36 and 37 (of 46), so it’s almost done for us common punters as well. πŸ™‚ Don’t know if you are aware but this is just Season 1 and I’ve heard it ends in a major cliffhanger. Not that it bothers me, as I’ve already read the novel (all 740+ chapters) and know how the story really ends. By all accounts there is going to be two more seasons.

          • I watched a bit of the first episode and got excited when I saw Yuan Quan in it! I guess it’s another addition to my never-ending list.

            Oh so they’re planning on two other seasons? Wow. Must be a huge production then. Since you’ve read the novel, what’re your thoughts on the TV show? Seeing as you liked the show, it must be a good adaptation. But still curious to know your thoughts!

          • Oh yes, The List of Doom, it just grows and grows. πŸ˜‰

            The novel is SO freaking long that it really needs several seasons to fit in the whole story. I think S2 has already been confirmed and hopefully they’ll manage to do the 3rd one too. As far as I can tell, the drama follows novel’s storylines pretty faithfully, with few tweaks here and there. Some due to censors, others probably because those parts would have been too costly to make. They’ve also streamlined the plot somewhat, which is good. The novel is awfully wordy and tends to go on and on about some things that aren’t all that relevant to the plot. I believe the main characters (the youngsters) are a few years older than in the novel. The scriptwriter is very good and she/he has sucessfully adapted other web novels too. One being Evernight which is by the same author as Joy of Life. Evernight is one of my fave cdramas of recent years, there’s lot of gorgeous scenery, great fight scenes and a lovely OST. S2 should be out some time this year. πŸ˜€

          • I can’t imagine reading a long novel in Chinese since my level of mandarin is so bad πŸ˜† I think that’s what makes it a good adaptation. They’ve kept the best parts of the novel and added the necessary improvements. It’s so rare to read the novel and STILL like the book as well!

            I haven’t heard of Evernight but I might check it out. I’m looking out for J-dramas atm since I’m trying to pick up Japanese (and hence, adding even more to my list 😣) but damn so many good shows to check out!

          • Oh, I don’t do Chinese at all. Well, beyond few words I’ve picked up here and there. I read the English translation of the novel, which you can find online. It’s actually available in several places. πŸ™‚

            I also made a bit of a mistake in my last reply. The scriptwriter for Ever Night is not the same as the one for JoL. It’s a very good adaptation though and Drama is well worth checking out, imho. It’s a long one though (60 epis), but as I rather loved the story, it didn’t feel like one. I’ve got a (non spoilery) post on it too, written more or less a full year ago. In case you feel like taking a peek. πŸ˜€ Jdramas have always been a bit of a hit or miss for me, but when they work, they REALLY work. What Japan truly excells in, is slice-of-life. They also have some pretty nice procedurals. There is certainly good and even great stuff floating around in the Dramaverse, but plenty of rubbish too.

          • Oh!! HAHA that’s still a feat, reading such a long novel.

            I’ll definitely check out ur post on Ever Night. I love reading blog reviews before watching a show but that also limits the range of dramas that I watch. Hmm.

            Same with me. Since Juhan Shuttai, I haven’t found a drama that’s as good. Most Jdramas are adaptations from manga that I’ve already read and they’re usually pretty bad (in my opinion). I’m watching Good Morning Call on Netflix at the moment and I’m just two episodes in but it’s pretty cute. Might try finishing it and see. Also, if you have a few Jdrama recommendations, do you mind sharing? πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

          • Oh, you liked Juhan Shuttai too! It’s one of my fave jdramas, such a feelgood show. πŸ™‚

            There are couple that I think are somewhat similar in feel: Soratobu Kouhoushitsu (of which some thoughts can be found here, with two other jdramas I really liked), Gomen ne Seishun, Jimi ni Sugoi and even Unnatural (it’s more serious but has a great Team with an awesome boss).

            Thoughts on jdramas I’ve liked over the years can be found in my Drama Grab Bag posts, if you feel like trawling the ‘jdrama’ tag, ha. I also have some longer posts in the ‘index’ section (which reminds me – I’ve forgotten to add new content in there). Feel free to browse. πŸ˜€ It’s been harder to find jdramas that appeal to me in recent years, so most of my faves tend to be old and VERY old, LOL! I’ve got two newer ones on The List atm, but never seem to find time to watch them. Sigh.

          • Wow! Thanks for the recommendations! It’s been years since I’ve finished Juhan Shuttai and I still think about it every once in awhile πŸ˜‚ Will definitely go check out the ones you’ve listed here though!

            Yeah, life huh. Why can’t we just spend our days watching and discussing about dramas? HAHA Jdramas are usually pretty short so I find it easier to binge-watch them but yeah…same as you, I haven’t been particularly drawn to them either.

  2. Aw, your completed list seems like a pretty decent showing, given how many dramas didn’t do it for you! πŸ™‚ Also, Sandglass! I’ve been curious about that show for some time, but never got around to checking it out. πŸ˜› Given that it’s on your completed list, it must be as good as they say it is! πŸ˜‰

    • I’m just glad that I still manage to find dramas to watch. There are some pretty decent and even great ones but you generally have to shift through a lot of ‘meh’ offerings to get to those. πŸ˜‰ Sandglass was really, really good! I now totally get why it’s been so well loved and still one of the greatest classics. I don’t know if you read my little intro for it but it’s in my February GrabBag, in case you want to see what I tought about it. No spoilers.^^

  3. You’ve actually got a pretty decent list of completed dramas despite having dropped so many πŸ™‚ And it does sound like there were several that you really enjoyed which is always a good thing. From your list of completed, I really enjoyed Her Private Life, When the Devil Calls Your Name, He is Psychometric, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung, and Hotel Del Luna. Hopefully, 2020 will give you more dramas you love whether they be kdramas, cdramas, or jdramas πŸ™‚

    • I suppose so. πŸ™‚ I just watch strictly those that appeal to me these days. I’ve long since moved past trying to force myself to watch anything. I generally know almost by 2nd epi if the drama in question is going to be worth me time. Sometimes it does take a bit longer to realise that I’m not actually enjoying myself, but those are often dramas that start out promising and then just loose their way in some way.

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