Welcome to our 2013 Kdrama review!
It’s that time of year when every self-respecting drama blog is reviewing the year’s drama crop. I was debating whether to put my Kdrama and Jdrama reviews in one post, but maybe shorter is better? For today, let’s just talk about the Kdrama offerings of 2013.
But first, a disclaimer. This is OnigiriLove’s list so it will be skewed towards rom-coms and lighthearted shows. For those unfamiliar with the shows (just in case you wandered in here by accident), click on the YouTube videos for some fun previews. I swear you won’t regret it!
MY 2013 KDRAMA FAVORITES
Starring: Park Shin Hye and Yoon Si-Yoon
I loved the first episodes of Flower Boy Next Door. This kdrama felt fresh compared to other show offerings. It’s not everyday that we get a heroine who is a hikkomori or shut-in. The pairing between Enrique and Dok Mi was sweet, and the premise was unique. Add to that a richly atmospheric and textured world. The main lead, Dok Mi, was quirky, unusual, and I loved hearing her inner thoughts.
If you were like me, I’m sure it made you listen a bit harder to YOUR own inner thoughts. Often, there was real poetry to the lines that the writer whipped up.
Happily, I did not develop an excruciating second lead syndrome in the show. This is one of those shows where you get to really like the first lead. He was confident, fun, straightforward, and down-to-earth. I did root for the second lead a bit though. I mean, who wouldn’t? He was bumbling yet earnest. He had me laughing and at the edge of my seat.
The show is a good watch for its interesting characters (leads and sides). I just wish it finished as strongly. Towards the end, the show injected that formulaic push and pull that becomes so senseless and frustrating for us viewers. Still, show delivered enough for me to add it to my faves list. 🙂
“When she goes out into the world, that woman often becomes invisible. When she gets pushed aside by shoulders, stepped on by feet, and stuck in between the lines, she feels like she’s not visible to the world. So she hid in her room. The small room was soft and comfortable, like a nest to a bird that’s injured its wing. In that space, that woman can breathe freely. She never once missed the outside world or dreamt of it…At least until now…- Dok Mi”
Starring: Lee Bo-Young and Lee Jong-Suk
I Hear Your Voice is the story of Soo Ha who has the superpower to hear people’s thoughts due to a traumatic accident when he was a child and Hye-Sung his savior who later grew up to be a lazy and good-for-nothing lawyer.
This show doesn’t fall under the usual candy fluff that I watch. Oftentimes, it’s gripping and menacing thanks to the plotline and villain. I nearly peed myself in that scene where the kids were hiding in the bushes!
And yet, I loved it because it was an awesome show. It managed to be sweet and funny, while at the same time suspenseful. I love shows that can be two things at the same time. They can make you cry and scared, yet they’ll give you good laughs at the same time.
I Hear Your Voice is a well-crafted show with great actors. I am so happy that the writing, directing, and acting were able to keep it together until the very end.
And that’s how you do it, other-shows-I-will-not-name!
“Since that day, there are two sounds that exist in my world. One is the sound everybody else can hear. And the other… the sound only I can hear -Soo Ha”
Starring: So Ji-Sub and Kong Hyo_jin
And finally, my MOST favorite 2013 kdrama – Master’s Sun! Woot woot!
Master’s Sun is about a girl named Tae Kong-Sil who can see ghosts. Her life has taken a huge slump since her accident that rendered her a ghost magnet. But what do you know? Her ghost magnet self is neutralized whenever she’s in contact with a sizzling hot chaebol. I just die laughing when the show gets touchy-feely-naughty!
You know you’ve hit drama gold when you can’t wait for the next week so you get your next dose of show… when you’re desperate enough to keep re-reading the Dramabeans recaps, going through the fan comments, and maybe even re-watching episodes.
At first, before Master’s Sun came out, I cringed when I heard that the Hong sisters were writing it. I mean, I love the Hong sisters. They’re my favorite writers. However, they broke my heart with that trainwreck Big. I thought, gosh don’t mess it up don’t mess it up don’t mess it up. And happily, Master’s Sun was awesome!
The first episode is fairly fun. It doesn’t make you an addict right off the bat. In fact, people were on the fence. Happily, show just got better and better. I believe Kong Hyo-Jin made ALL the difference. Nobody would have managed to pull off such a ditzy ghost-seeing character like that. I mean, the I-see-a-ghost-premise is sooooo old. You’ve even got a similar ghost-seeing show running in the same season. But, Kong Hyo-Jin made her character real and layered. It’s what she always does for her characters. She always does so wonderfully that everyone – director and writers and actors – just have to step it up too.
There’s a running joke that the Hong sisters should just sign Kong Hyo-Jin eternally for their shows. I mean just look at The Greatest Love. 😉
The episodic stories were fun too. It was nice to see how they wove each ghost story to mean something in the main plotline of the story. So good job, show! I had separation anxieties when you aired your last episode, but I’m better now. 😉
When your heart doesn’t tell you the truth, pain gives the answer – Cha Hee Joo
2013 KDRAMA THAT I WANTED TO LOVE
Like a relationship that was perfect at first, and then went steadily downhill. These are the dramas that I wanted to love and wanted to fall in love with, but sadly, good intentions are not enough. I dropped most of these mid-season. Too bad. You were almost there, show.
I should have loved Heirs. My oppa Lee Min Ho (Boys Over Flowers) was there. Also, Park Shin Hye (Flower Boy Next Door) and Kim Woo Bin (School 2013). Apparently, the big bosses spent big bucks promoting the moview MONTHS before the actual show. And look, they shot several episodes in the US.
So yeah, everybody had high expectations when it rolled around. I mean, I was counting the days. I wasn’t too worried when the first eps finally rolled around. Show seemed solid, albeit a bit slow and angsty. I cringed at the accents and bad acting while they were in the US, but I thought things would get better when they moved back to Korea. I was half-right. The bad accents and bad acting fell away, but the show became even slower and angstier. It was like, c’mon show. Make something happen!
I could be totally unfair, but I blame it on the writing. Incidentally, Heirs is from the same writer of Secret Garden. Moving on, I loved the cinematography and I can’t fault the actors. You can see they gave it their all. Now that it’s finished, I’ll watch it again and see if maybe I’ll appreciate it a 2nd time around. (I like the actors THAT much.)
He who wears the crown, bears the weight of the crown – Kim Tan
Mirae was a 2013 kdrama that started great. I mean, I got totally suckered in. I was even rooting for Jung Hyong Wa who was playing a lowly employee when all the while he was a rich chaebol in disguise. Mirae’s Choice had a lot of things going for it but unfortunately, it kept dithering. Mirea’s choice got too complicated and befuddling. Too bad, show.
On the other hand, Jung Hyong Wa’s acting has improved. A miracle. Yeeeaaay! I loved him in You’re Beautiful (I bledddd…) and Playful Kiss.
We all loved Cyrano Agency (the movie) so understandably, I wanted to love the series too. I thought I would, however, while I love silly romcoms, it was just too much fluff and silly for me. All sugar and air. No substance. Like an overdose of cotton candy. Still, the staged tricks were a lot of fun, though the love triangle was a tad weird.
Great music, cute actors, popular idol star and nobody schoolmate… it sounded like right up my alley. Unfortunately, Monstar got gloomy and didn’t take the opportunity to add in some lighthearted fun. There wasn’t even so much push and pull. Just push, push, push without getting anything back. I was up to my eyeballs in the fighting. Monstar, you were cute. Sigh.
I can forgive this show for casting So E-Hyun. She only has one acting face when she’s in a panic (or sad.. or distressed), which is often in this show since she sees ghosts. (Yes, that one.) I can even forgive the show for casting TaecYeon even though he can barely act. The episodic ghost stories were fine. In fact, they were scarier than Master’s Sun, which employed a different technique in their ghost-telling. What I can’t forgive you, show, is what you did to oppa Kim Jae Wook! You took this awesome actor and made him a ghost who can’t talk? Now who’s dumb?! Huge potential wasted with the way that his character was manipulated in the story. Ugh! (Yeah I’m getting totally upset here so let’s move on…)
And that’s it for my year in review.
There’s a handful more awesome kdramas that I didn’t get the opportunity to watch. Just to give this a good closing, I want to list the dramas that got awesome reviews in Dramabeans – my go-to for kdrama news and gossip.
Hopefully, I have time to watch these:
Empire of Gold
Answer Me 1994
For Answer Me 1994, I couldn’t understand the 1994 references so those meta references were wasted on me. I hear the love triangle is swoon-worthy so I might watch it for that.
I back away from onscreen suffering and misery, but I am genuinely intrigued by Nine and Two Weeks. I’ll be giving those two a chance. Once I get free time. Some time this year. Or the next ten years. (No seriously, I’ll make time…)
And that’s it, drama friends. What did I miss? If you have similar or dissenting views, I would love to hear from you. And feel free to make drama recommendations!