I could probably copypaste most of last year’s end of the year post here as nothing much seems to have changed. Well, save for the dramas I did manage to watch. quirkycase @dramabeans pretty much said it in her post – “There were some dramas I enjoyed, but not many stuck with me afterward or made a strong impression.” Which is one reason I struggled with trying to write something, anything about most of those I watched. So I didn’t. The dramas I enjoyed the most were Under the Skin, Kikazaru Koi ni wa Riyuu ga Atte and New Life Begins. No surprieses there as those are the ones I was compelled to make a proper post about. All three were excellent in their own way and gave me planty of happy drama hours.
I really liked Reborn Rich as well but not so much as to try and muster up enough energy to give it a post of it’s own. It’s a well crafted drama that actually managed to stick it’s landing. I’ve seen grumblings about the ending but I think it was fitting. To me Reborn Rich is a pretty good dissertation about greed – for wealth and power. I don’t know how accurately it depicts a real chaebol family but there’s probably at least a grain of truth in it. Points for the clever inclusion of actual historical events which made the drama world feel more real. I’ve seen some confused tiarades about Joon Ki’s two characters. Maybe they shouldn’t have had the same actor play both Hyun Woo and Doo Jun but I guess they didn’t want to split those two between two different actors as both characters are very much intertwined. And no, they don’t actually look alike in the drama world, nor are they ment to. The cast overall was very good but the true star was undoubtedly Lee Jung Min. His Jin Yang Cheol is worth a trophy or two.
That said, the most memorable performance for me this year was Kim Nam Gil as profiler Song Ha Young in Through the Darkness. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more like turning into a mama bear to protect the preciousssss that was Ha Young. KNG was outstanding in the role. Just thinking about Ha Young’s strugle to stay afloat in the mire his profession pushed him into, makes my heart ache and I want to give him all the hugs in the world. 🙂
What a great start to the kdrama year Through the Darkness was. Pity it did not continue. There are many more dramas produced these days but it all seems to be quantity over quality. Kdramas have always been susceptible to botching their endings but this year there seems to have been uncommonly many of those. What is it with all these dramas that suddenly drop the ball at the finish line and decide to do something totally unncessary to more or less ruin what was an ok, working drama so far? (hello there May I Help You) Was it an excecutive intervenetion or did the writers really think that it was a brilliant piece of writing? It also seems that people are finally getting tired of dramas pretending to be romcoms or romances but filled with manufactured angst, unnecessary drama, violence aaannnddd… serial killers. Traditional Korean romcoms had a working template which imho could be dusted a bit and modernised to suit the current viewers. It would of course mean having to put some effort in it and not just add a serial killer to “spice” up the story.
Few thoughts on some of the other kdramas I watched in 2022:
1000 Won Lawyer / One Dollar Lawyer couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a somewhat ott comedy or a serious crime show, so it ended up being neither. The ingredients for a hearwarming, fun show were in there, but they choose not to go with those. If you want a good Namgoon Min comedy, pick up Chief Kim instead. Good Job was definitely silly but the humour landed quite flat for me. I had expected it to be funnier, so that was bit of a disapointment. The romance was rather cute. Again My Life should have been shorter, imho. Lee Jun Ki seems to be playing the same charcter in most of his shows and this wasn’t any different, but at least he wasn’t overacting. I liked Hee Woo’s Scooby Gang. 🙂 Gaus Electronics is a hidden gem. A proper comedy that was actually funny. Well, the first couple of episodes were a bit ‘over there’ but otherwise it just worked. Kwak Dong Yeon is a treasure and should be protected at all cost. 😀 It’s a bit of a travesty that he hasn’t landed more lead roles yet. Someone should cast him in a really good sageuk!
I dropped SO many dramas over the course of the year and passed up a plenty too. I do aim to give Alchemy of Souls and Under the Queen’s Umbrella a go at some point and finally finish Grid.
And here’s what I watched in total:
Again My Life, Extraordinary Attorney Woo, Gaus Electronics, Good Job, One Dollar Lawyer, Reborn Rich
A Dream of Splendor, Love Like a Galaxy, New Life Begins, Of Monks and Masters (re-watch), Sword Snow Stride, Under The Skin
Kikazaru Koi ni wa Riyuu ga Atte
Glad that if nothing else, Kikazaru Koi made it to your list, it’s such a sweet, refreshing drama. Here’s wishing more good dramas coming your way in 2023. Happy New Year!
Timescout – I enjoyed your EOY post. I am going to check out Gaus Electronics as I was not aware that this was a comedy. I so agree with Kim Nam Gil as profiler Song Ha Young in Through the Darkness as being memorable. He did such a good job with this role. Then I am going to watch Kikazaru Koi ni wa Riyuu ga Atte. So, two new dramas on my drama plate!