A Word or Two:
I try to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible. Even when I rate the endings, I rate them for half-spoilerists like myself who want to be assured of a happy ending, but don’t want the who’s, where’s, why’s, and how’s spelled out before they get to see the conclusion. Just wanted y’all to know that it’s pretty safe territory here. If I did include spoilers, I try to indicate it with an alert. I apologise for any older reviews that do not remain as vague as they could.
Click the title for a more in-depth review of each drama. For a more squished and less fun-looking list of the drama’s I’ve watched/am currently watching, go to My Drama List.
Total Drama Count:
In Progress: 4
These ratings are scored on a 1-10 system; 1 being the worst, 10 being the best. They are based solely on personal opinion. And you should know that I’m entirely biased for mushy-gushy romance and a happy ending.
DNC = Did Not Complete
This is a very bad marker for me, as once I start a series I usually feel compelled to finish, no matter how stale or infuriating it gets, hoping that last stretch will make up for all the lows. If I didn’t watch through to the end, it was beyond horrible in my opinion.
B1A = Beautifulest 1 Award
These are the dramas that exceed all the feels. Whether they have a bias as a lead, incredible script and acting, or just that special something that touched me, I love them to pieces. I rewatch and probably own them, and if you get me started on one of these, I could gush for pages. This is the HASH version of an academy award. And yes, it’s a wink and nod towards one of my favourite Kpop groups: B1A4
P.S. Although I’m sort of copying Dramabeans with this, they are much, much better than I am and have recaps of some series, episode by episode! So go there for more Kdrama wonders!
♦Boys Over Flowers/Boys Before Flowers – Episodes: 25 – Rating: 10 (B1A)
-Jan Di disrupts the lives of four privileged young men by standing up to their forced injustices, making a special impression on the worst of the bunch–F4 leader Joon Pyo. Absolutely stunning from start to finish. You will go through every single emotion through each hour-long episode several times over. Infuriating, heartbreaking, brilliant. Bring tissues.
♦City Hunter – Episodes: 20 – Rating: 7
–A boy is raised by his father’s comrade to avenge the deaths of fallen soldiers who were betrayed by their own country. Intense action drama that keeps you glued to the screen; awesome plot twists and proof of Lee Min Ho’s superb acting/stunt abilities. HOWEVER: (Spoilers included, highlight to read.) there is a major character death and stupid relationship problems that make me never want to watch it again. As I said, I’m a sucker for happy endings that include all the cute couples! It started off amazing, then totally lost me in the last three or four episodes.
♦Creating Destiny/Making Fate – Episodes: 31 – Rating: 9
–Two fathers arrange the marriage of their children for the sake of their long-time friendship, tricking them into believing they’ve been betrothed since early childhood. Slow beginning, lots of conversations, but held strong with a wonderful cast and incredible ending. Doesn’t hurt that the leads are total eye candy.
♦Flower Boy Next Door – Episodes: 16 – Rating: 9
–A shy recluse is brought out of her humdrum life by the boys who live in and near her apartment complex. One in particular plays a special role in coaxing her out of the dull existence she’s sentenced herself to. Starts off over-the-top hilarious with a lot of ridiculous situations, but gets sadder near the end with a happy finish. A refreshing change for the lead male to not be a jerk in need of redemption.
♦Full House – Episodes: 16 – Rating: 7
-Han Ji Eun enters a contract marriage with impossibly fastidious actor, Lee Young Jae, in order to reclaim her house and possessions. And, oh… B-Rain is Young Jae. Need I say more? : P Got a bit repetitive, and the plot twists were stale, but remained lighthearted almost throughout.
♦The Greatest Love – Episodes: 16 – Rating: 9.5
–The nation’s most beloved celebrity with a secret heart condition falls for a disgraced singer whose career was put to a tragic end when her reputation was smeared by scandal. Absurd situations and super exaggerated acting, but still full of touching moments and tear-jerking episodes. Teaches a great lesson on perception and hype in the world of Korean celebrities.
♦Gu Family Book – Episodes: 24 – Rating: 10
♦Heartstrings – Episodes: 15 – Rating: 6
–Lee Shin and Gyu Won form a rivalry over music styles and are forced to work together for their school’s big musical production. Had promise, but Lee Shin was too irritating for too long, and the end he didn’t make up for it. Best part about it wasn’t even the main couple, but the director and choreographer.
♦Lie to Me – Episodes: 16 – Rating: 10
-Gong Ah Jung is caught in a web of lies when she mistakenly pretends to be married to a hotel manager from an affluent family. Full of squees, laughs, and steamy kisses. A superb, lighthearted drama without all the sad to bring it down.
♦Love Rain – Episodes: 20 – Rating: 9.5
–On a rainy day, two shy college students happen upon each other and fall in love. After their feelings are finally confessed, circumstances force them apart. Years later, their children meet with no knowledge of their parents’ connection, and although the feelings between them begin as little more than annoyance, it’s not long before a romance blossoms. Sweet, sentimental, and a visual treat.
♦My Girl – Episodes: 16 – Rating: 9 (B1A)
–Ju Yu Rin pretends to be the cousin of Gong Chan, a successful hotel heir, in order to ease the conscience of his dying grandfather. For Yu Rin, expert con artist, the job seems easy… until the grandfather recovers. Then, her “cousin” starts to fall for her. Upbeat, adorable, hilarious. Will have you laughing to pieces. Heart-wrenching in the last two episodes, but definitely one of the best.
♦My Lovely Sam Soon/My Name is Kim Sam Soon – Episodes: 16 – Rating: 8.5
–Strong female lead who defies societal norms and not in an annoying way. Pudgy and jobless Sam Soon is paid to fake date a younger man who hires her as his patisserie chef. Consistently endearing and emotional, as well as funny. Probably could have a higher rating, but the ending was terrible.
♦My Princess – Episodes: 16 – Rating: 10
–Ordinary college student, Lee Seul, is discovered to be the great-granddaughter of the last emperor, and urged to take up the title of princess in an effort to restore the monarchy. Hae Young is the man who will lose his entire inheritance should the restoration succeed, and yet he finds himself in charge of the young princess’s education to equip her for the role. A delightful conflict of interests ensues; intensified when Hae Young begins to fall for the girl who might make him lose everything.
♦Personal Taste – Episodes: 16 – Rating:
♦Playful Kiss – Episodes: 16 + 7 YouTube specials – Rating: 8
–Oh Ha Ni is a clumsy student with poor grades. She’s consistently been in love with popular and talented Baek Seung Jo who rejects her with a cold disapproval. Her life revolves around trying to get closer to him, and when she and her father move in with Baek Seung Jo’s family, she thinks she finally has the chance to make him fall for her. Kim Hyun Joong (Baek Seung Jo) is beautiful in any role, and it’s pretty much his looks that make the drama. The female lead is infuriatingly stupid at times, and Seung Jo shows so little emotion, that the payoff at the end feels weak. However, the YouTube specials almost make the whole thing a 9!
♦Protect the Boss – Episodes: 18 – Rating: 10
♦Queen In Hyun’s Man – Episodes: 16 – Rating: 10 (B1A)
♦Secret Garden – Episodes: 20 – Rating: 9
–A successful department store president falls for a poor stunt woman. If that wasn’t enough plot for you, they also switch bodies more than once. Really good drama. Beautiful ending. Lots of kisses. : ) Sometimes it seemed like I was watching two different dramas that had the same actors, but a triumph despite its disjointed nature.
♦Stars Falling From the Sky/Wish Upon a Star – Episodes: 20 – Rating: 9.5
–Have to get past the first episode or two, but once the drama starts, there are constant “Tears Falling From my Eyes.” Good-for-nothing Pal Kang has to turn her life around when left with the care of her five younger siblings. Excellent cast of characters. Hilarious as well as heart wrenching.
♦Summer Scent – Episodes: 20 – Rating: 6 (DNC)
–This was the first Korean drama I began, before I was fully aware of the genre. I happened to stumble upon it via YouTube, and loved it instantly, but it lost my interest due to the lead female and her inability to grow a backbone and choose a man. It seemed that for every step forward they all took two or three steps back. Fast forward three years. I skipped around to the end and was hugely disappointed. I’m so glad I didn’t use this as my end-all authority for Kdramas, because I probably wouldn’t have watched another had that been the case.
♦When a Man’s in Love/When a Man Loves/Man in Love – Episodes: 20? – Rating: (DNC)
–When the lead girl refuses to marry Song Seung Heon not once, not twice, but three times in a drama, it’s not worth continuing. This had a lot of potential, but I got so fed up with the stupid lead female and the side guy that not even SSH’s shirtless scenes could save it for me. I tried to skip around to find some epic moment that would bring me back to finish it, but instead I got more and more infuriated. Watched the end scene. So mad. Ige moyeah, drama? Weh!
♦You’re Beautiful/He’s Beautiful – Episodes: 16 – Rating: 10 (B1A)
–Innocent and sheltered Go Mi Nyu pretends to be her twin brother in order to keep his place secure in the famous singing group, A.N.Gell. But it’s not easy being a girl, pretending to be a boy, while living with three attractive guys. Best of the best! Funny, emotional, great soundtrack, absolutely adorable. First Kdrama I ever finished, has a special place in my heart. ♥