K-Drama Review 2012: the Best, the Worst and all those liked in-between

Ok so the new year has begun, but this is the first chance I’ve gotten to sit down and collect the small amount of thoughts I had about the dramas I actually watched in entirety this past year. I’ve never done a review on the site mainly because I don’t dish out numbers to dramas cause I feel it’s too confining. Those numbers actually mean nothing to me in the long run and my reasons for a number rating, vary from story to story, drama to drama.
If you’ve spent anytime on this site, you also know I’m kinda all inclusive. Sure personally, I may refer to something as crap but I’m very reluctant to make those comments online for the sheer fact that there’s always something to like about a project, even if I don’t or refuse to see it.

***WARNING: Post may contain unintentional(or intentional) spoilers. ***

Wild Romance

Two Sents: The insulting depiction of women and men was the breaking point for me and this drama. But Lee Dong-wook and Lee Si-young were bundles of plucky spunk together and the most at ease I’ve ever seen him in a drama.
One Word: Infuriating
Veridict: Worst show of 2012
Couple Pop song: “Possibly Maybe,” Bjork

K-pop Survival

Two Sents: Cross dressing girls on a mission, makes much more sense, but the writing was adolescent at best. It was clear how the cast a blast and the bubble gum pop of the music made this drama good clean fun.
One Word: Ebullient
Verdict: Dramas should be given their complete run time, not just for the fans, but sucky story or not, it deserves to run its course.
Couple Pop song: “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” N’SYNC

Moon Embraces the Sun

Two Sents: All the adult actors basically got shafted with roles circling one another for the majority of this drama. However, Kim Soo-hyun and Kim Min-seo were stupendous and Han Ga-in’s best drama performance to date.
Verdict: A good premise wasted on an adult cast. This drama should have been about the kids, not their adult counterparts.
One Word: Repetitive
Couple Pop Song: “Because the Night,” Patti Smith

History of a Salaryman

Two Sents: Re-imagining history is always entertaining but having writers that know what they’re doing makes the experience masterful. The villain got a little too heavy- handed in the end but Lee Bum-soo makes all glitches disappear.
One Word: Clever
Verdict: Best drama of the year
Couple Pop song: “Put It On Me,” Ja Rule

Can Love Become Money

Two Sents: Lying and manipulating for money is nothing new, but this drama was grounded in hypocrisy to the point of lunacy.
One Word: Moronic
Verdict: A drama that should have been buckets of hijinks and hysterics was torn down by stupidity. I would liken this drama to the silliness that played out in Lie To Me.
Couple Pop song: “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” My Fair Lady

Queen In-hyun’s Man

Two Sents: Though time-travel was popular this year, this drama did it best all around, whether it be story, casting, romance or directing. The fan outcry and real-life hookups, ruined this beautiful drama for me, but what I saw, filled me with the butterflies and warmth of lasting attachment.
One Word: Heady
Verdict: This drama was a surprise but a lovely experience. Perhaps, most eerily romantic drama of the year.
Couple Pop Song: “Just Can’t Get Enough,” Black Eyed Peas

The King Two Hearts

Two Sents: Always been perplexed by the popularity of Lee Seung-gi but he pulled a phenomenal performance as a spoiled reluctant king. And to top it off, he and Ha Ji-won were so galvanic, they could light a fire in a windy iced over cave— with one hug.
One Word: Contingent
Verdict: Never wanted to watch this drama and initial instincts are usually the best. Plus, I’m still depressingly angry over Jo Jung-suk’s demise.
Couple Pop song: “Maybe I’m Amazed,” Paul McCartney

Marriage Plot

Two Sents: One of the many dramas this year that were entirely different from their blurb material and unfortunately also suffered from a loss of great potential. But the love stories were still cute and lived up to the ordinary family fare.
One Word: Unassuming
Verdict: I adore Kang Hye-jung and her pairing with Lee Kyu-han was a push-pull scenario I understood and could accept. Family secrets are too overwrought for me but the story didn’t drown in the “drama.”
Couple Pop Song: “This is Us,” Keyshia Cole

Rooftop Prince

Two Sents: Ensemble cast, fish outta water antics and time travel made for some fluffy flirty episodes. Also it was the best chemistry I’ve ever seen from Han Ji-min, since So Ji-sub, but still as stale as ever.
One Word: Anti-climatic
Verdict: Though I’m positive the story had a solid beginning and ending, the middle didn’t live up to either.
Couple Pop Song: “Your Love is King,” Sade

Equator Man

Two Sents: Uhm Tae-woong is the king of revenge dramas and EQ had a lot of raw energy and potential to be amazing. However, it dropped the ball and chose never to develop aspects of the story that left it a little washed up.
Verdict: Insane doesn’t even begin to define the antagonist(ic) half of this drama, but a bucket of crazy does not cover a multitude of sins.
One Word:Tedious
Couple Pop song: “Why Can’t We Start All Over?,” Debra Arlyn

Color of Woman

Two Sents: This was Jae Hee’s first drama after MS, therefore excitement abounded but all I did was second lead ship for 20 episodes(which is a unilateral waste of time!). Amazing how quick and easy a breezy comedy can become colorless.
One Word: Arid
Verdict: OTPs have to written for compatibility, thwarted first loves don’t float boats if the well is empty.
Couple Pop song: “Wonderful Tonight,” Eric Clapton


Two Sents: Controversial ending and all, BIG will stand as my favorite drama for what I interpreted from the Hong sister’s vision. Gong Yoo rocked this role and proved his popularity wasn’t an anomaly. Min-jung expressed depth I wasn’t sure she could conjure for this character.
One Word: Ambitious
Verdict: This drama has proved that my favorite Hong Sister projects are always the least liked. Though the premise was misleading and the project disjointed as a whole, I found it a daring endeavor, that will forever be close to my heart.
Couple Pop song: “Runaway,” Maroon 5


Two Sents: my initial response to Ghost was bore, boring and bored but it kicked into gear near the middle and the face-off regime worked in So Ji-sub’s favor. Kwak Do-won was nicknamed “mad pig” and though he pissed me off with his dogged assumptions and attitude, he and So had a perfect oddball partnership that no one could ever resist.
One Word: Placid
Verdict: There’s a way to make any subject interesting and in the end, none of the characters really mattered, just what new event had cropped up to tilt the balance of the earth’s cyber power.
Couple Pop Song: “Crush”, Jennifer Paige

I Love Lee Tae-ri

Two Sents: Though Park Ye-jin had one of the worst hairstyles of 2012, she had one of the best character personalities of the year. And Kim Ki-bum proved that his hiatus from Super Junior was used.
One Word: Endearing
Verdict:With a drama like this, no one but the main characters and those rooting for them matter. Now, that Eun-dong is all grown-up,all I want is to know he got the girl. Ten years mean NOTHING!
Couple Pop Song: “Replay,” SHINee


Two Sents: This was my first Joo-won drama and probably the best anti-hero of the year but overall, the most pivotal transformation, and subsequently, the show, belonged to Park Ki-woong. Hope he gets the opportunity for a love-line with Han Chae-ah, they have wonderfully gripping chemistry.
One Word: Perspicuous
Verdict: Park Ki-woong is a leading man.
Couple Pop Song: “You Send Me” Sam Cooke

Haeundae Lovers

Two Sents: I will say this over and over— Kim Kang-woo was the best thing about this drama. It had a bipolar middle, but overall turned out to be one of the most enjoyable dramas I watched this year.
One Word: Delightful

Verdict: Dramas that know what they’re doing, no matter how insane, always end up being the most satisfying watches.
Couple Pop Song: “Wild Horses,” Bush


Two Sents: Had zero expectations but ended up loving what the author wanted to convey; characters in this drama were drawn well and the theme permeated throughout each episode. For my first Kim Hee-sun drama, I’m pleased with her portrayal, while Lee Min-ho did a role I actually liked since his BoF explosion.
One Word: Commendable
Verdict: Zero expectations equal a multitude of appreciation.
Couple Pop Song: “Against All Odds,” Phil Collins

Arang and the Magistrate

Two Sents: This was a great experiment in the mystical genre and the performances lived up to the material. It also had perhaps the most adorable not so open endings of the entire year.
One Word: Conspicuous
Verdict: Couple chemistry can’t pull a dry drama through a drought.
Couple Pop Song: “Put That on Everything,” Brandy

To the Beautiful You

Two Sents: Decent try in adapting a popular manga, that was quaint but no cookie. The kids were cute and the extending cast, as always made this drama worth the watch.
One Word: Harmless
Verdict: Defintely not the best Hana Kimi but an admirable attempt at adding another interpretation to the pot. And the amount of names on my ICOCYM list has quadrupled.
Couple Pop Song: “Take You Away,” Angus & Julia Stone

Nice Guy

Two Sents: This drama was heavily overrated and overwrought with praise that I’m still not convinced it deserved. For the drama was predictable from beginning to end, no twists, zero turns.
One Word: Jaunty
Verdict: Everything but the story execution of this drama worked for me, despite the fact of Park Si-yeon portraying the same character at different stages of her life(which normally is only a small gripe but she was lauded as something altogether different). This drama should have ended at episode ten, cause after the scene outside Maru’s apartment, there was nothing more to say. For me, this was the second drama on my “wanted to see a different show” list, behind METS, of course.
Couple Pop Song: “One and Only,” Adele

Vampire Prosecutor

Two Sents: Second seasons are never as good as the first, but VP2 brought a story that kept me watching with a new villain tied in to boot. Procedural dramas work because there’s a new story every week, however ,VP has an arching story and needs balance and development, cause though the cases were entertaining, the prompt of this story rarely gets addressed.
One Word: Precocious
Verdict: Season three better be bomb, with gobs of guy-liner but leave Yoo Jung-in out of it.
Couple Pop Song: “Boom,” Anjulie

Answer Me 1997

Two Sents: The fan mania of Asia was not just a rumor, if this drama was to be taken literally. I don’t believe anyone outside the sphere would even begin to understand that world, however, the drama had a huge heart and knew how to tear yours apart.
One Word: Heartwarming
Verdict: Most talked about drama of the year but not the nostalgic teenage work I was anticipating.
Couple Pop Song: “Be My Girl,” New Kids on the Block

Oohlala Spouses
Two Sents: A quirky comedy that lived up to K-drama style by throwing in plenty of tears and tons of nothing new.
One Word: Ubiquitous
Verdict: Dramaland really needs to learn to think outside the box and cease creating abhorrent characters with shoddy sob stories and last curtain redemptions.
Couple Pop song: “Open Arms,” Journey

And the one Taiwanese Drama I watched this year:

Miss Rose
Two Sents: Simple straightforward forward drama that came alive due to Roy Qiu’s depiction of Gao Cheng Kuan. Too bad the female lead was a weepy wimpy mess.
Verdict: MR did nothing but make me smile until the last few episodes which ruined the pace and likability of this drama. No one ever cared about the marriage pact, knowing the drama had more to do with office politics but it would have been nice if the actual drama had taken it more seriously.
Couple Pop Song: “Happy,” Secrets in Stereo

3 Replies to “K-Drama Review 2012: the Best, the Worst and all those liked in-between”

  1. Park Ki-woong was defs the lead. I wanted him to have a love line too, with Han Chae-ah or Comrade Jin (cameo by the lovely Jung Eun-byul) *giggle* — ‘cos that was a total waste of pretty having him go celibate.

    Nice Guy wasn’t Lee Kyung-hee’s best work but it was classy and made sense in context — there aren’t a great deal many melo writers left so I’ll take what I can get. It was a show heavily buoyed by SJK fangirl hype though.

    1. “‘cos that was a total waste of pretty having him go celibate.”
      Hahahaha!! For the story and characters any romance between the two was impossible but all that chemistry just went to waste and I hated to see that! I think I’m still disappointed. Lol. Hilarious how consciously irrational one can be when it comes to dramas.

      I liked NG but I’ve found that I usually rebel against popular opinion. Or rather my opinion is rarely popular? It was a show I turned on out of courtesy to SJK and MCW and I absolutely abhorred the first episode and probably didn’t actually like the drama until episode four. The premise was interesting but nothing about it was fresh beyond the actor’s performances. I enjoyed the idiosyncrasies of Maru and Eungi’s characters but again, I was never impressed by the drama itself. My drama buddy and I predicted every plot point weeks before it happened. And I still remember telling her, after that redonkulous car accident, “If Maru dies cold and alone in the street, I’m going to be pissed!” Then what happens? And yes, I was pissed. I guess, the only consolation was that that wasn’t the actual ending, though by that point I didn’t even care. Overall, it was only ok and enjoyable, even satisfying at times but the hype was unwarranted. I’m not sure we can blame all this on tween fangirls, for some viewers were genuinely enamored. I just wasn’t.

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