2012 End of Year Drama Review

This year I opened myself to different dramas as well as different genres of dramas. There were some ups and some downs and there were some surprises. I haven’t seen as much k-dramas, c-dramas and tw-dramas as I would have liked so my new years resolution for next year is to watch more dramas outside of hk-dramas. As I do not watch k-dramas, c-dramas, dormas/j-dramas and tw-dramas as often as I watch hk-dramas, I tend to be picky with what I watch and usually I would pick up dramas that I find interesting or  appealing to my tastes.

This year I managed to watch some dramas that were really up there as well as a few that fell below the radar. I found myself jumping back into the c-drama bandwagon after a long overdue hiatus and for those that I watched, I found it bombarded with tw-actors/actresses which is probably why I am drawn to them in the first place. Ahahahas! This year, I ventured out into doramas for the first time (yay!) and I was ever so glad I did because this drama literally blew me away and makes me ready to jump into doramas. With hk-dramas, there were a few that I loved but there was only which I loved everything from top to bottom and in between. Even until today I am still swooning over it. I was quite picky with my k-dramas so all in all, I was satisfied with what I watched, though this year with what I watched I find it in high standards of all sorts. Lastly, with tw-dramas, nothing really blew my socks off and I wasn’t overly excited for any one drama so this year for me, I wasn’t too happy with the offerings of tw-dramas when compared to last year’s share.

I would say that this year was quite the drama year for me. Not only did I start this blog, but I managed to keep it running year out (it turns on in a 6 day’s time!) so that is something that I am most proud of. I also ventured out and broadened my drama base and managed to seek out dramas that I never would have once considered. Let’s keep up this drama enthusiasm shall we?

Hong Kong Dramas

Bottled Passion – I didn’t have much interest going into this, but I quickly fell in love with it. It was intriguing as it took you on a path that create a sense of curiosity. What I enjoyed about this was that from the very start I feel in love with what a kind-hearted and sincere Bun Sin was and then as the drama progressed my love for Bun Sin was still there but it also contained a sense of hate for what he was doing towards Tsui Sam. He loved her and despite everything that he was doing he still loves her but at some times there are things that are more important than love.

I loved watching Niki Chow and Raymond Wong playing a couple. Tsui Sam really fell for Bun Sin before she regained her memory. Together, they were walking down a lane of fluffy clouds that soon had to come to an end. I also really liked that even though he was putting his revenge plan to action Tsui Sam was still at the top of his heart. Though, I am in a so-so state with my opinion on the ending.

Daddy Good Deeds – I was devasted to learn that this is Steven Ma‘s last TVB drama before he leaves TVB. I am just glad to see that he paired with Linda Chung for the fourth time because I just love their chemistry together and this drama proves why I love to watch them together. They were in remarkable sync with each other and I just love seeing them together. When they were friends, you could see their chemistry as friends and when they started to fall for each other, you could really see that. This is purely the reason why I love to see Linda and Steven together.

This drama was extremely light-hearted and comedic. Really, it was. I loved to seeing the obvious jokes thrown in and how each family member would just react to it. And by the end of this, it will just leave you laughing.

Divas in Distress – I didn’t expect much going into this but when I got to watching it I was blown away as to superior it was. I just thought that this would be an ordinary rom-com with two mums getting in the way of their children’s love life but it is actually deeper than that. The obstacles that the children have to face is not just from their mothers but also themselves. They have to learn to let go and move on if they truly want to love. I also really loved the light-comedic affects here as this is one of the many things that helps to connect the couples together.

I especially love seeing Him Law and Mandy Wong on screen together and playing a couple once again. For Mandy, I was glad to see her take on a new role. This role was different to all that she has ever played before and she did well in this. As for Him, I felt that this role was too similar too his previous roles, namely Tiger Cubs; he was still playing the same arrogant and stubborn character who does not think before he takes action. Urghhh, I was so annoyed with Vincent! He did things for Yi Hei before telling her about it and then he tells her that this is for her own good. Although I was annoyed with Vincent, I did find Vincent and Yi Hei to be an adorable couple.

I also loved seeing Chin Ka Lok and Eliza Sam‘s interactions. They were just a hilarious couple! Everything that they did for each other was worth a laugh, seriously, from her giving him her bra so he could support his broken arm to him giving her a bun that he warmed with his butt. What I also loved about this couple is that she persisted to pursue him despite him trying to shoo her away. He had to learn to let go of the past and she helped him to do that. I found Eliza to be a pretty good actress considering that this is her debut role. Another stand out was Koo Ming Wah as So Gei. Is he one of the best characters or what? He was just hilarious and I think Koo Ming Wah pulled off So Gei with ease. This was one drama where I found myself falling in love with the characters.

Ghetto Justice II – My expectation going into this was low because when TVB makes sequels, they tend to diverge from the original concept, and this drama did just that. For the reason that I loved Ghetto Justice I, the reason it lacked here. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching law suits but it is just that in this instalment it was too community based whereas in the previous instalment it was more of an all-rounder which gives a lot more diversity.

Though what I loved about this drama is that the cast remains relatively the same. For once! I loved watching the chemistry between Myolie Wu and Kevin Cheng in GHI and I continue to love watching them here again. This time, they had to face different obstacles, both as lawyers as well as in their relationship. Not only was their work life influencing them as a couple but those around them as well.

Though what I found inconsistent about it was Lynette. Her role was inconsistent towards LA’s past and it just feels weird that she suddenly re-appeared still loving LA. It just doesn’t make sense on LA’s behalf to lie to Kris in order to protect her. Also, many people were just annoyed with Christine Kuo playing that character. I wasn’t particularly annoyed at her but rather Lynette. I just felt that her character was kind of useless and just another obstacle that Kris and LA had to walk through. This drama is one of the most perfect sequels that I have seen in a while but for the drama itself it did not live up to its predecessor.

Gloves Come Off (AKA The Boxing King) – I wasn’t too keen to watch a boxing drama but I went into this with a neutral heart. This wasn’t exactly my genre but I did find myself enjoying it. I loved the interactions between each of the characters. I especially loved Nancy Wu as the mute Chi Yan. Nancy did a remarkable job portraying Chi Yan. She was vulnerable and she was determined to succeed. She did not give up even in her most vulnerable times and was instead persistent. Giving up is a phrase not in her dictionary and despite her setback, she did not think of herself as a “disable” person but rather one who could persist. I just loved her character so much! She was just brilliant!

I wasn’t too fond of the storyline with Ka Sing betraying Sap Yat after all that they had been through. Sap Yat was his friend and helped him through his time of need yet he could betray him. I found the storyline to be quite dull and overused. Even so, there was nothing creative done to the storyline to make it unique. Even before the betrayal I did not see much bromance between the two men. They are both worthy lead actors but somehow they did not work well together.

Selena Li might not be the best actress on earth but I enjoyed her as Donna. She took the initiative to pursue Sap Yat despite his numerous rejections. She did not give up, and she tried time and time again to get to him. I shipped her and Kevin; I wanted them together. I like seeing them on screen and was eager to see them together after their failure of a successful relationship in The Seventh Day but I was so disappointed with what happened. They both love each other and they both know it but why? Just why couldn’t they end up together? That aside, I love that all the women here did not give up because this parallels the toughness of the boxing scenario.

Highs and Lows – Starting off, it was amazing and actually exceeded my expectations. I haven’t seen a police drama based on narcotics before (on a side note, TVB is trying a lot of new formats this year) so I was pleasantly surprised with this. I was even more surprised when I discovered that it was being dealt case by case because narcotics is unlike crime scene cases where you can go in search of forensics evidence. However, when it got to the second half everything started to unravel for me. It switched from being case by case to being based solely on the corrupt officer ongoing case and hunting down Ka Bik. I thought that things, well the drama plot, would have turned for the better once Ka Bik turned to drugs but it fell to the opposite direction because everything started to turn on their initial persona. So while that fell, people started to come falling down too.

The cast here works for a police intense drama for this but what this drama faltered at in the casting is that there is too much leads/supporting leads that made it clearly distinguish what role they played. There was a total of three male leads/supporting  (Happy Sir, Gordon and Brian) as well as three female leads/supporting leads (Ka Bik, Sandy and Helen),plus, this is not including the heavier supporting cast. With the extensive heavy cast, it made the plot head a bit haywire with so many things happening at once. This, on top of the narcotics crisis ultimately lead the drama downhill as the drama progressed.

With the lack of druggie development (AKA Ka Bik turning to drugs) and the draggy corrupt officers crisis, what I was eager to turn my eyes towards the romance department. And there was no other development that I looked forward to the most than Sandy-Ka Bik-Happy Sir’s love triangle. When it actually got around to evolving, I was quite pissed off because Sandy was just kicked out of love triangle! I wanted to see a battle on! Then I was sad to see the not-so-working relationship between Ka Bik and Happy Sir. Raymond Lam and Kate Tsui were what made me ship Ka Bik and Happy Sir over Sandy and Happy Sir because I knew that their relationship were never going to work yet I wanted it so badly for it to work. The ending was all that I expected but it was exactly how I did not want it to end. So if you are looking for a unique drama to head into and a disappointed ending to finish with then this is for you.

House of Harmony and Vengeance – There isn’t anything shining or dull about this drama. There wasn’t anything that was gleaming at you to come an watch. The plot was progressive and stable but it lacked a drawing point to keep you interested. I did however really enjoy the presence of Bobby Au-yeung and Mak Cheuk Ching as they managed to make the atmosphere livelier.

I was very impressed by Myolie Wu and Linda Chung‘s dancing and acting skills. I was impressed with their dancing skills, especially Linda’s. They have great chemistry with each other but despite the acting and chemistry present, it was enough to bring up the mediocre plot.

King Maker – I found myself is a so-so state with this drama. I didn’t really like it all that much but it was interesting to watch how the events unfolded themselves. It was followed a clear plot from the start and it wasn’t that messy despite the various relationships and fights going on. I actually found it to bbe quite an interesting storyline that way because in ancient dramas where romance is put to the sideline and fights for the top position occurs, it is good to have lingering storylines here and there. It is quite interesting to watch how the relationship between each of the characters work.

L’Escargot – It was a complication all right, from each of the storylines present. It got off to a good start and I found it quite enjoyable but then it started to get complicated and confusing and I started to lost interest. For one thing there were too many storylines all happening at once and for another, there was a lot of things that were occurring through inter-relationships. And soon it was no longer based around housing but rather what occurred as a result of the family’s relationship with Wang Chim. The drama would have been better if the inter-relations were toned down.

Watching the way that Ka On treats Long Kiu and his daughter, I just wanted to slap him and tell him to not be so generous. Now, I am not saying that being generous is not good because it is in fact a very good thing to be generous but as a husband and a father he should have his limits towards his generosity. He should put his wife and daughter first but instead his friends and other family members always take priority.

I didn’t really like Ka Lok’s relationship with Wang Chim because it was just complex among complexity. She didn’t even love him and she had a boyfriend. Just complex. Regardless, Linda Chung was brilliant as Ka On and portrayed the emotional scenes effortlessly. The other stand outs where Mandy Wong and Oscar Leung as Kwan Yi So and Kwan Yi Gor respectively. I really like their portrayal. This drama doesn’t have the best of storylines but is definitely great if you watch certain relationships.

Let It Be Love – Nopes, no love here, at least not from me. Acting was great, as it always is from Charmaine Sheh and Moses Chan but the plot heavily weighed the drama down. Considering that it is their 6th collaboration, they do have a lot of chemistry together but again, the storyline was a huge let down. The story was lost, confusing and a mess. This definitely isn’t one of my favourite dramas.

No Good Either Way – I haven’t seen a good office drama in a while and this was far from being a great one but it was good for being one. It was kept light-hearted and I actually enjoyed seeing how the different relationships worked with each other because they all interconnected one way or another. I enjoyed watching Alex’s relationship with his friends as well as with Ling. It was even more interesting to see how Alex and his friends handled with his fiancée being his supervisor. There was humour used but it didn’t work all that well but overall this was an extremely light drama to get across.

Queens of Diamonds and Hearts – This was one of the better ancient dramas because it was so light-hearted and I like it that way. Roger Kwok never fails to impress with comedic role and here was no exception. I loved him as here as an emperor. He was so dorky and adorable. I love Emperor Chai Suen’s relationship with both of him queens. He connected with both of them and found the heart to love them both. I loved how despite his initial hate towards Mo Yim he fell for her after he got to know her. They had a connection that was non-existent before their meeting with each other.

I also really enjoyed the body switching scene. It allowed Chai Suen and Mo Yim to not only fall for each other but also to realise the position that they hold and importance of it. It was also added humour and was it made the drama easier for me to understand. I enjoyed the light atomosphere of it and the chemistry between the three leads. If this was anything, it was sort of a Secret Garden genre of sorts. 

Sergeant Tabloid – The police force not only consists of males but females as well and I was glad to finally see it being told from a female’s perspective. I actually found it ironic that Michael Tse was not a police in a police drama. This is an interesting story as it follows how one falls in love and how their job is an obstacle that they have to face, and on top of this they had to face a lot of other conflicts before being able to get together.

I actually really like Niki Chow and Michael as a couple. They make a refreshing couple and they have sparking chemistry with each other. I love how Fei Hup and Yat Yat are constantly at each other’s ends yet there are many coincidences that bring them together time and time again. Maybe it is because of their constant bickering that makes them such a interesting couple with great chemistry?

I also really like Fei Hup’s relationship with her superior. It seems like there are a lot of people who she doesn’t get along with. Either way, she works her way to get along with them, or at least try to stay out of their way. This drama works because there was a connection between love, work and people.

Silver Spoons, Sterling Shackles – Watching this and seeing Tavia Yeung and Kenneth Ma together, I wanted to stick them together. Although they had a mother-son/friend-to-friend relationship, I so wanted them to be together. This year must be gold to have Tavia and Kenneth collaborating in three dramas together and as a couple/close relationship. Ahahahas! Although that was an impossibility I was glad to see them together, with ever so growing chemistry.

Tavia is a great actress and her role here proves why she deserves her Best Actress award (although I do feel that she should have gotten it for The Hippocratic Crush). Tsz Kwan was a woman who longed to be loved and she was not afraid to stand up for women rights. Tavia was amazing portraying this; she was strong from top to bottom and her emotions were stellar. Just watching her emotions you can immediately tell what was going on. I love the way that she interacts with both Damian Lau and Kenneth. In the drama she has a different relationship to them both and she portrays it so well what her different connection to them are.

I understand why the motives of each of these characters and I like them for who they are but one character who got on my nerves was Muk Shui. He is just so arrogant and never thinks of others. Urghhh! I am so tired of Ron Ng portraying the same role over and over again. I want to see him in a new and refreshing role.

I enjoyed the storyline of this drama and how all of the wives all wanted attention but halfway through the drama the storyline started to go lopsided. Each on of the wives had their own views and soon everyone were on their own. The story didn’t pick up again until it was 3/4 through when the turning point occurred. I thought the drama ended on a high note and it did manage to make me shed some tears.

The Confidant – I am not a fan of ancient dramas because for one thing they are not my type and for another, they always use dialogue that is not my type of language. However, despite my dislike for ancient dramas, I loved this one. It is not your usual palace dramas based on fighting for power but instead this told the life of an eunuch. It explored the themes of loyalty, friendship and trust. Each of the eunuchs here have a bond that no one else had. They had to learn off each other and learn what right and wrong.

Wayne Lai was amazing as Lei Lin Ying and was truly deserving for his Best Actor award, for the third time in four years. I love that despite the conflicts happening in the palace, all that Lin Ying wants is to lead a peaceful life. He does well in his role and as he rises in ranks he remains to be the peaceful Lin Ying. Whether it is for the Emperor/Empress Dowager Cixi or his friends, he helps them honestly and peacefully. I really love Michelle Yim‘s portrayal; it was strong and powerful.

I really love the relationship that Lin Ying has with Empress Dowager Cixi. It wasn’t love or anything of that sort that they shared with each other but rather as close friends where they would help each other. I also really loved Nancy Wu as Sin Yung. Her relationship with Lin Ying was supportive. This drama definitely scores with its deep and meaningful themes.

The Hippocratic Crush – Hands down that this is my favourite hk-drama of the year. This drama has all of that to create an outstanding drama – a good script, cast and most importantly great execution. Everything was just so right in this drama. I haven’t seen a drama based around the medical field since, well forever. This drama was just gold. Each of the cast were amaing and share immense chemistry with each other. This drama has made Tavia Yeung and Kenneth Ma my hk-drama OTP and even until today I am still swooning to see them together again. Part of the reason why I love them so much is that their characters are so real, from start to finish. I love that as a couple they had to overcome many barriers and obstacles before actually uniting as a couple. They had their struggles and for both Chi Yu and Yat Kin, they had time as a limiting factor to their relationship start. However, that did not stop them from loving one another. They persisted and succeeded. One scene that I really loved was the proposal scene; not only was it real but it was also spot on in perfection. It was just real in every single way, and I dare to say that scene can get anyone teary.

I also found the other cast to be perfect and real characters. Everyone connected with each other and just by watching it you can see how in sync the chemistry was. Him Law and Mandy Wong were amazing as supporting leads. I love them to bits despite their opposites as characters. They were equally different characters who were great to aid in the flow of the story.

Realism is what I see from this drama and this is largely one of the reasons why I love it so much, plus I think the theme song was just perfect. This drama was just perfect on so many levels and it continues to showcase what an amazing actress Tavia is. Personally, I really thought Tavia should have gotten her Best Actress award for this drama rather than Silver Spoons, Sterkling Shackles but either way, she deserved the award. I would definitely recommend this drama to everyone. I seriously believe that this drama stacks up to its counter k-dramas, and is one of the outstanding ones. This is really one rare gem worth to keep!

The Last Steep Ascent – I actually really enjoyed this drama and the chemistry between Maggie Cheung and Moses Chan. Although the romance did not actually occur until the very last ep, I didn’t really mind because I loved watching them grow with each other. Even with their eight year age gap they had excellent chemistry with each other. They gave off a really warm and close vibe from the very beginning even though they had only just known each other for a while. Initially, what they had with each other was friendship but as time went on, it unknowingly developed into love. What I loved about their relationship is that even for the viewers, we were watching them unknowingly fall in love with each other and even if you question when they actually fell in love no one would really know the answer.

I actually enjoyed the progress of the plot because it showed just how Mui Tin and Sun Yuet fell in love with each other. He would continually help her with her business and she would be there to support him. Together, they were able to overstep obstacles together. I enjoyed the second leads together as a couple but they lacked chemistry from Aimee Chan‘s side. Sometimes Aimee feels very stiff with her acting and for some of her emotional scenes they don’t feel very natural. That aside, this drama was very sweet to watch and I just love the chemistry that Moses and Maggie shared.

Three Kingdoms RPG – It wasn’t exactly the best ancient drama but I liked it because it was quite light. Plus, Kenneth Ma and Tavia Yeung were paired up again and considering my love for them in The Hippocratic Crush, why wouldn’t I want to see them again? Also, Raymond Lam was in it. It was refreshing to see a time travelling drama. I know that time travelling is a trend this year in k-drama but I didn’t see one (maybe Reply 1997 (AKA Answer Me 1997) is one) but I guess this satisfied for it. It was interesting to see what Szema Shun would do with his technology and knowledge to help Zhugot Liang. I love the chemistry that Raymond and Kenneth shared in The Mysteries of Love and I continue to love them here. They have a bromance that I love to see.

It was interesting to see Kenneth portray an immature role after his ever so serious role so this was quite refreshing to see. He wasn’t suited to being a gamer but it was nice to see him try.

I should have been excited to see Kenneth and Tavia as a couple again but somehow this series didn’t give me that excitement. Nonetheless, they had chemistry but I would have loved to see more of them together. There was enough interactions between them and Tavia was pushed back to being more of a supporting actress than a leading actress. As this drama was based more on the tasks at hand for the males to handle, romance became a sideline that was forced to be included.

I was glad that this experience managed to change Szema Shun as a person and this was why I so disappointed with the ending. After everything that he has been through he managed to pick himself up and grow into a mature man but yet he was lacking the love of his life. So close, yet so far.

Tiger Cubs – Now this is what action should be! I especially love case-based dramas so this was no exception. What I also loved about this is that it is based on a new format of 13 hour-long eps with each ep based on a different case. It was also different in that this is based on the Special Duties Units, so that was refreshing. With the intensity of each ep, romance was pushed aside (there were only hints of romance here and there) but I couldn’t care less because what I wanted to see most was the action. I also really enjoyed the movie-like experience of each ep.

With romance on the sideline, there was a lot of bromance! I loved watching Hok Lai and Chun Hin’s friendship as well as Hon To and Cheuk Yuen’s friendship. Each of these friendships offered a closeness that I enjoyed to watch. Between them, they were there to support each other and help each other in times of need and they shared a close bond with each other. I really loved the close friendship present between each of the team members, and I also loved seeing Him Law and Mandy Wong together as close friends with a potential romance line on the way.

What I really loved about this drama is that it allows you have an emotional attachment to each character. Watching this, I felt something for every character, whether it was for the depressed Cheuk Wah, only female SDU member Man Keung, overshadowed Chun Hin, stubborn Hok Lai or uptight Hon To. Each of these characters had their own personal story to tell and while working though the cases, it allowed each of these stories to be exposed. This drama was beautiful in its execution and I loved that each person had their own obstacles to overcome. I love Chun Hin and the ending just made shed a bucket load of tears. This drama is amazing and is definitely one of the best hk police dramas out there. I could re-watch this time and time again and I will continue to grow more attached to it.

Wish and Switch – It was like a slide, it started high and then fell to the bottom. I liked it when Suk Heung met Hailey and had their bonding time. I even liked it when they first switched with each other but then later on the storyline started to drop from there and I was no longer interested with what was going on. I was just rooting for more Selena Li and Vincent Wong scenes. They are such an adorable couple together and they shared chemistry. It was cute how even though they married each other without love, they grew to love each other. I just like watching them together.

I didn’t enjoyed Myolie Wu‘s role as a housewife. I thought that she was overdoing it as a housewife. She just didn’t suit to being one and I didn’t really like her pairing with Johnson Lee either. They didn’t really share much chemistry and do not match with each other. They just didn’t work. I wasn’t actually pissed with the ending nor was I satisfied with it. I actually enjoyed that it was an ambiguous ending and I would re-watch this just for the Hailey-Wayne scenes.

Witness Insecurity – This is a tragic love story. It started off quite slow but it took off at the second half. The first half of the drama was more of an introduction and bring the leads together. It may have started off slow but I enjoyed the pace of it because it was just right for for Wai Sum and Hailey to get to know each other. It was a steady meeting for them; they met because of work purposes and she found herself attracted to him. So she took the initiative to pursue him despite her shyness. I love the way that Wai Sam treated her when he was a WPU and even as he rejected her he still treated her quite nicely. I love that whatever did for her was to protect her, whether it was for work purposes or not. It was only when he became a CID that he turned cold and bitter towards her. However, she never gave up and you could see that he has feelings for her only he was denying the fact that was before his eyes.

For Hailey and Wai Sam to be together, they had to walk through many obstacles. And they did so. What made me believe their love for each other was so real was that both Linda Chung and Bosco Wong were really into character and they had great chemistry together. They really showed that they were in love with each other. Also, I found that Linda did an amazing job portraying Hailey as it is quite difficult to execute.

Romance was the highlight of this drama but what I also loved about it is how it came about. It was a progressive story and I love what they had to face to reach the situation that they are in. The ending was a huge disappointment for me and I was just laughing at how absurd it was. Other than that, this drama is a cute romance drama.

Chinese Dramas

Drama Go Go Go (12/30 episodes watched) – Why is Jiro Wang everywhere these days? He was in Absolute Boyfriend, this, KO One II and he is currently filming a Taiwanese adaptation of You’re Beautiful. That’s not to say that I don’t like seeing him because I do, it’s just that this year each of the Fahrenheit members have had at least one drama out and I long to see Wu Chun back on my screens. Okay, that aside, I love this drama! It is light and sweet and more importantly, there is chemistry between all of the cast, from head to toe. Ruby Lin literally has chemistry between all of her co-stars. She is able to connect quite easily with each of them (though I am unsure of the third male lead) and she does so with ease. I love watching her with both Jiro and Lin Geng Xin as she has immense chemistry between them that it makes it hard for me deciding who I prefer her to be with. She should just have both of them!

I really like this sweet storyline. The plot may have been re-used time and time again but this drama manages to put some creative spins to it that it diverts from following the regular storyline. I really like how it is made to be different and keeps within its storyline. This is why this drama is so fun to watch! I just love it! But who knows, this might all change once I reach halfway or once the third male lead makes his entrance. 😛

SOP Queen – I am a sucker of rom-coms like these so as soon as I discovered what this was going to be about, I knew I was going to fall in love the every second I set eye to it, and that’s exactly what happened when I watched it. saw Chen Qiao En and Zhang Han together is just a perfect match. Actually, CQE works well with all her co-stars and I just so happen to fall in love with Zhang Han. They have such splendid chemistry that I will never get sick of watching them together. They are just so cute together and they make such a sweet couple! In fact, they are powerful together.

This drama was 33 eps long so it was bound get draggy but what I was surprised about was that despite its explosion of being draggy, it managed to quickly turn that around. About halfway when Shanghai was the focus was where things started to wind down but then it quickly picked up pace. The narrative nature of this drama helped it to remain steady and helped it to extend the storyline. This drama may have been about romance but career was another strong point present.

What I also loved about this drama is that the Xiao Jie is not a stupid woman but rather a career wise woman. I love that she is able to make decisions confidently. She is able to take risks and prove that she is worthy of being loved. For her being a strong woman, I loved that she was weak when it came to love. All that she longed for in her life is someone who would love her so she fell head over heels for Zi Qi when he proposed to her. Then her heart shattered to pieces when she discovered the shocking truth that he doesn’t love her. This was the turning point of what made her reluctant to love. It was only because she met Tang Jun that she slowly melted away from her barrier. I love how Tang Jun is able to open her and he pursues her from the get go. They are just so compatible together. (I still love Zhang Han’s voice, still so sexy!)

Btw, all dramas should have split screen talks because this is what brings couples together! I absolutely whole heartedly love these split screen talks that Xiao Jie and Tang Jun have. It is beyond cute and it is beyond adorable. It is just out there! I love it and I love this drama! It was such a breeze to watch and filled with cuteness.

Refresh 3+7 (8/10 episodes watched) – This was something new for me. I have never seen a format like this but I actually quite enjoyed this. It is interesting to see how much can happen in 40 minutes. It told a story from head to toe and what I loved about this was that each ep got to the point quite quickly. It was interesting to see where the story would head as well as the chemistry between the cast. What I loved about each ep was the cast was able to have chemistry with each other and you could really see it in that short amount of time.

Each ep told a story that was meaningful and it was sweet to see such a quick introduction, complication and finally a resolution. Each ep was different but was all connected in a way that ties this series together. Some eps may not match up to another but if the right ep is chosen then that is a good 40 minutes to spend your life on.

Japanese Dramas

Rich Man, Poor Woman – This was one drama that completely blew me away, now I have huge expectations for j-dramas. If all dramas could be of this standard then dramaland would be perfect. What worked so well for this drama was that it had two leads who worked well with each other. Even though the second leads were weaker than what I would have liked to see but that wasn’t a concern because the leads overshadowed any imperfections. I seriously would have been content to just watching the two of them holding hands and taking a leisurely stroll. They were just that good. Oguri Shun and Ishihara Satomi were perfect in their roles; just seeing them on screen were able to hold my attention.

Stellar, period. It was so good in so many categories. I loved this real life Cinderella; it was a fairytale that was real. What I loved about this was that this drama had aspects of Cinderella yet these were quite dimmed that gave this drama its own unique take. Romance played a huge role but this wasn’t what made the OTP a couple but rather it was their lives that developed before them that brought these two together. They didn’t have to openly pursue each other because their development occurred so naturally.

The romance happened so naturally because the business linen occurred. I found this business line quite interesting. It wasn’t only just a way to success but it was a way to connect the OTP. Toru had his ambitions for his personal file and all that Makoto wanted was a successful career. More importantly is that she is willing to stand by him at all times and help him to the best of her ability. The rich and poor status were quickly pushed to the side before that was no longer what kept the OTP apart.

I also really liked the friendship between Toru and Kosuke. Kosuke may have betrayed Toru but Toru never gave up on this friendship and even helped his friend to stand up again. Their friendship was a depth of all sorts; they both wanted success for different purposes and both succeeded one way or another. This drama worked for me because it told a story and in these short 11 eps, it allowed discoveries to be made and solutions to be found. This was one drama that kept me eager for the next ep time and time again, and even when it ended I wanted to see more of it.

Korean Dramas

Missing You (AKA I Miss You) (10/20 episodes watched) – This is my first k-melodrama and it is unique in its writing. I have never encountered a drama like this with such a different storyline. I enjoyed how the first four eps built a strong foundation for the the following body of the drama to develop from. The children storyline was just splendid, and the child actors Yeo Jin Goo and Kim So Hyun did so with power. This all lead to the adult storyline being filled with a solid starting point. It may have started off quite confusing and even leading into the adult portion there were many answers left unanswered but this just is something that the adults have to work upon.

After what has happened to Jung Woo and Soo Yoon in their childhood, it is a mystery of sorts to see how they will react meeting again after so many years of separation. So far Park Yoochun and Yoo Eun Hye have great chemistry together but I was more surprised to see the chemistry between Eun Hye and Yoo Seung Ho. Watching Seung Ho, I just love him more and more! I just hope the following 10 eps head for an uphill.

Reply 1997 (Answer Me 1997) – Is this one of the surprise dramas of 2012 or what? It just blows you away. I was actually relucatant to watch this I was so glad I did because it was amazing! This drama worked because it was creative beyond creative and took school life to a whole new level. What I loved most about this aside from the chemistry of the cast is that this drama leaves hints here and there to keep you interested until the very end. I especially loved the bombshell of who the couple-to-wed will be and who Shi Won’s husband is. I loved that each ep took us closer to find the answer but yet it left us wondering if our supposed answer is correct. I was constantly left wondering, wondering whether my predicted outcome is right. What I also loved was the smart switcher-roo between the present day and the past. This was so smartly done that it flowed well with everything else that was going on.

Love many have been an important factor but the real deal was the connection between the six friends and family. Each of the friends all had a connection with each other as well Shi Won’s parents. It worked because the parents weren’t left as a sideline character but they were also one of the shining lights. The six characters were there to discover themselves and pin-point who they are as a person. I loved watching them grow, mature and realising what their identity was. This drama smartly showed the ups and downs that they had to face as a teenager and although the post-2005 dropped in quality (not by that much but it slowed down dramatically when compared to the 1997) the overall production was amazing.

I really loved the different sides of love present. Yoon Jae loved Shi Won from the start, Shi Won was on a quest to discover who her heart belongs to, Joon Hee held onto a long unrequited love, Yoo Jung and Hak Chan found themselves discovering what it means to be girl/boyfriend and Sung Jae was just a lost puppy without love. Also, Tae Woong learnt what being in love means and Shi Won’s parents proved that their love cannot be broken. There was love all round because I loved it to bits!

The King 2 Hearts – This drama also another big surprise for me. This is one drama filled with emotional attachment and a substantial amount of sentiment. I loved the way that two people from totally contrary sides were brought together and not only that, but their opposite personality made them fall in love. North Korea and South Korea is something that should not work together but it did here because of the deep characters that each of the four leads were from Jae Ha and Hang Ah as the leaders and Shi Kyung and Jae Shin as the sidekicks. I loved watching them being there for each other every step of the way because this is the way all relationships so be!

This drama handled both the political side and romantic side really well. Romance wasn’t a sideline but more of a path to delivering a political system. There was jealousy and rivalry going on but Jae Ha and Hang Ah managed to stand strong and tackle it all down. What this drama did well is create a tough and loving experience for us to watch.

I love watching Ha Ji Won and Lee Seung Gi together despite their age difference because they just look so right for each other. I also really loved seeing Jo Jung Suk and Lee Yoon Ji together as a couple. I think this is one of the rare dramas were I shipped both the primary and secondary OTP from the get-go. This because the right pairing was there as well as the character. I love them all as individual characters and had a substantial emotional attachment to them so once ep 19 hit I was in a state of devastation. What made me so drawn to this drama is that the characters all had a worked especially well with the storyline and made it come to life.

To The Beautiful You (AKA For You In Full Blossom) – A remake of a remake that just didn’t work out so well. There was so many additions and changes to the original line that it was no longer an adaptation of the manga. I especially disliked what they did to the doctor and the alteration to the theme of sexual orientation. It could have worked out well if the foundation wasn’t there but it was there. The storyline soon turned to be murky and confusing in a way.

Also, there was the fact that neither leads were great actors and so they lacked chemistry with each other. I found Sulli quite stiff acting as a boy and just lacking doing so. She was weak and everytime that she acts innocent like she doesn’t know what is going on does not feel real or even natural. I found Minho more compelling in his character but not that much more than Sulli. However, I did love Lee Hyun Woo as Eun Gyul. Not only was he cute but he was also really adorable and really into character. This drama is not the best remake, and personally, Hana Kimi (tw-version) would be a better option.

Taiwanese Dramas

Absolute Boyfriend – Jiro Wang sweetie, this definitely isn’t one of your best dramas but it is not that bad either. It wasn’t the storyline that let down this drama because I liked the storyline but I think it was the execution and the chemistry that was lacking. Jiro wasn’t really connecting with Ku Hye Sun so that immediately was a romance that I was not keen on seeing. They just didn’t connect regardless of how much I imagined they would. They felt like two strangers forced to be lovers. She didn’t have much chemistry with Kun Da either and there wasn’t much bromance going on. What I did like was that Nightly had a connection with Xiao Fei and Zong Shi.

Individually, each of the actors where fitting for their role but together they did not work. I loved Nightly. I thought it was very fitting for Jiro to portray and Jiro did well to portray a loving and sweet mechanical boyfriend. I loved Kun Da as the guy who has a secret from on Xiao Fei. He kept this all to himself and although he tried to tell her, he knew she was happy with Nightly and so he kept his crush to himself. The storyline worked well but it’s just the characters who do not tie the story together.

Alice in Wonder City (AKA Giving Alice a Miracle) – Giving Alice a Miracle? It should be giving the drama a miracle. This drama was just down so low that it had no chance to stand up again. I went into this with low expectations and despite how low my expectations were, this drama did not even met my standard. Aaron Yan, Aaron, Aaron my baby, why on earth did you accept this drama? This drama was downright outrageous and was going no where.

This was one drama to get me confused alright! I didn’t know where the plot was heading. Halfway through Ting Yu slept with Alice and then in the end he claims that he loves Die Fei. Not only that, but his relationship progress with Die Fei was definitely not lovers. Friends? Nope. Strangers? Nope. You can’t even identify what their relationship was! Also, there was Die Fei who suddenly had a change of heart from her Hai Jie to Ting Yu despite her consistent love for Hai Jie. None of the relationships were working and this just lead to a complicated the plot that was already complicated and not working. Because in the midst of the complication relationships is violin rivalry, singing problems, revenge seeking and lies. This drama had so much to be a mediocre drama but it tried to do too much at once.

Heartbeat Love – Will I ever get sick of Rainie Yang and Show Luo co-starring together? Nope! I will just continue to love them more and more because they just continue to grow with chemistry! They were perfect here as a couple and gave of the vibe that they were a close and comfortable couple despite the limited time that they spent together. They are so adorable together that I can guarantee that even if a drama has a poor plot just having these two on screens will dilute all of that. Luckily, this mini drama/micro-movie/mini film did not have that.

Short and sweet, just like this. I felt that five 15-ish minutes were not enough and was eager to watch more of Rainie and Show. Why does the eps have to be so short for? I guess the up side for this was that because of the limited time, it did not allow much time for diversions to be created and so the plot flowed nice and smoothly. I also really loved that the cinematography present, it was so pretty! Plus, I loved that this was shot in Australia to show off the pretty attractions that Australia has. Although this is not actually a drama, it definitely tops my list of tw-dramas for 2012 because it was sweet and up my alley.

Love Me Or Leave Me (AKA I Rented A Lover) (6/20 episodes watched) – Firstly, the promotion poster of mannequins have nothing to do with the drama. Seconding, following the prologue I went into this with high expectations but sadly, the does not live up to my expectations or even the prologue. It was nothing that I expected it to be and not even the title seems to match the drama. The first two eps were good but then it quickly dropped from there. It was like an abrupt change of direction and then the storyline started heading downhill. What I think it lacks is that it did not play on the “rented lover” properly, thus leaving that part of the storyline with a hole that was not properly filled in.

I do like the individual characters though. They all have their perks and quirks. I especially love Shan Shan, she is such an interesting character despite being a creep. I also love watching Chris Wang and Tiffany Hsu together. Throughout the eps they gradually built more and more chemistry with each other. I just hope that their relationship can take a turn and turn this drama around.

Love Me Or Leave Me (AKA I Rented A Lover) Prologue: Love Before – I loved loved loved this lead up to the drama. In a short 15 minutes it managed to exchange so much to both the audience and both of the leads. There was not much dialogue going on but that’s what I loved about this. There didn’t need dialogue to portray what was going on because emotion was all that required. I loved that because it shows how Ji Qing and Hao Ming came to fall in love with each other. They didn’t have to talk to each other to fall in love with each other because they were already two hearts that was connected. I think the cinematography was a main factor that helped to bring this out even more.

Although Chris Wang and Tiffany Hsu looked a bit awkward together, that wasn’t much of the matter for me because the communication that they exchanged with each other was incredible. This prologue really set the barrier up for the drama to build upon. Whether or not you are watching the drama, this prologue is a must-watch.

Skip Beat! (AKA Extravagant Challenge) – Technically, this is a 2011 drama but since majority of the eps aired in 2012, I’ll consider it a 2012 drama. I wasn’t too keen on the storyline since it is adapted from an unfinished manga series but I watched it anyway and I wasn’t too happy about the storyline but that is the way it goes. 

Ivy Chen, Choi Siwon and Lee Donghae are all people who I like. Together, they work well together and have chemistry. I really wanted to see more of Donghae though as he was being omitted from the drama in numerous eps. Regardless, the they all have great chemistry together and I thought that it would be a bare scrape through if the chemistry was good considering Siwon and Donghae do not speak fluent Chinese and Ivy does not speak fluent Korean but that doesn’t matter because they somehow worked together and chemistry was flying here and there. I also really loved the supporting cast and together, the cast worked wonderfully well together.

I was disappointed with the ending and was hoping somehow this drama wouldn’t have the same fate as the manga but well, they both followed the same path and by the end of it was ready to scream out too.

Ti Amo Chocolate (dropped after 5 eps) – The first five eps were sweet and I would have had the desires to continue on with it if it wasn’t 80 eps long. If I am going to watch a drama of that length, I would rather choose one that can hold onto my attention for its entire run. If I had to choose, I would watch Love, Now or Inborn Pair but right now I just do not have the time on my hands to seek out a drama of this length.

Overall, TAC was quite light-hearted and airy but it lacked the drawing force. While watching the five eps, some of the eps felt like it was quite useless and one could miss an ep and not miss a thing. I can’t give much of a review on this since I barely saw any of it but I would dare to say that it is a sweet long running drama.

Wishing For Happiness – Another beautiful mini drama by Rainie Yang. I was glad to see Rainie take on a different role, and even more glad that she took on this mature role. She is another one of those actresses who has chemistry with all her co-stars, and of course here was no exception. I love seeing her and Tony Yang together. It was snap-bang chemistry. I was quite surprised by this because of the short time that they spent together. 

I actually liked watching this more mature story. It gave a different side to allow Rainie to shine. It really allows us to see a different side to her and watch as she matures. It shows how well she can handle her emotions in any scene. She does it so well nowadays that it is natural for her to just get into character. You can really see just how comfortable to play this character. I love the way that she can express herself so well; just beautiful.

What I loved the most about this drama wasn’t the dialogue, or the characters but rather the final second of this. That scene was just the perfect way to end this drama. It was beautiful and holds so much depth. This drama is filled with happiness, once you get to the end.

Final Note

All in all, this year was an excellent drama year for me, and I loved some of the offerings while not-so the others. If I had to give a run down of my top five favourite dramas for 2012, they would be:

  1. The King 2 Hearts
  2. Reply 1997 (AKA Answer Me 1997)
  3. Rich Man, Poor Woman
  4. The Hippocratic Crush
  5. SOP Queen

It was actually quite hard to narrow it down to just five dramas despite my non-extensive list of dramas outside of hk-dramas. That is because this year there has been a lot of dramas that were really out there and just absolute amazing. What it all comes down to is personal preference and these five just happens to score high in my drama books. I enjoyed watching this year’s share of dramas and hopefully next year will bring on another delightful share. Alas, I wish everyone a merry christmas and a happy new year! ❤ Oh, and more to dramaing!

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10 thoughts on “2012 End of Year Drama Review

  1. lifewithdramas December 23, 2012 at 10:00 am Reply

    Wow!!! You watch a lot of TVB Drama!!! 🙂 I really like your style of writing btw!! Keep up the good work!! :))

    • misscupcakees December 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm Reply

      Ahahahas, yeah, I practically grew up with it! && many thanks, I will do so!

  2. starryblue December 23, 2012 at 11:43 am Reply

    My favorite drama this year was The King 2 Hearts. I was heartbroken when Jo Jung Suk died.

    • misscupcakees December 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm Reply

      Mines too! Me too, I was balling tears!

  3. Adverseffects December 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm Reply

    Wowww, I always get so impressed seeing how many dramas people watch in a year. My list is meager compared to this.

    Although, I do have this to say: I totally love AM1997 and Heartbeat Love both, as well! Heartbeat Love was something I happened across as I was scrolling through DramaCrazy and I’m so thankful I found it! It was really cute.

    And there are really no words to describe my love for AM1997. It was, hands-down, my drama of the year. It was so sweet and well-made and well-acted. Everyone involved put their hearts into the project and it totally showed through!

    • misscupcakees December 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm Reply

      Ahahahas! Really? I think I just have an extensive hk-drama list.
      Yeahhh, I loved Heartbeat Love too! Show and Rainie are just the cutest! Reply 1997 was brilliant too! Like you said, it was well made and well-acted, especially well for those who only has scant acting experience. (:

  4. Harroro December 28, 2012 at 3:00 am Reply

    Thanks for your 2012 thoughts! I could not agree more on loving the split-screen talks in SOP Queen and loving both couples in King 2 Hearts.

    • misscupcakees December 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm Reply

      Ahahahas, those are the best dramas of 2012!

  5. […] to watch a 73 ep drama, which is another thing which I am very proud of. I looked back at my 2012 End of Year Drama Review where I said that one of my resolutions for this year was to watch more dramas outside of […]

  6. maiden August 3, 2014 at 9:53 pm Reply


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