2017 End of Year Drama Review

Drama 2017.pngPlease excuse me for being MIA! Can you believe that this is only my third post of the year!? Thank you to those of you who are still around and reading what I write! You guys are seriously so amazing and what keeps me motivated and passionate about writing! I’ve been a busy busy busy bee this year trying to piece together life, to work out what is it that I want to chase after and sometimes real life just gets in the way. This year has been a hectic year and although I might not have achieved everything that I had wanted at the start of the year, I am a true believer that when one door closes, another will open. Everything happens for a reason and at the end of the day we can’t change the past, but we can change the future! 2018 will be sure to be one crazy year for me and I can’t wait to see what the ahead year holds.

It is without a doubt that my life orientation has changed and I no longer have the time and urgency to write as much as I once did. My love for drama has certainly shifted too, but watching dramas is the one thing that I can always turn back on. I will continue to write and drama, but I just won’t be able to devote as much time towards this any more. And talk about diversity – I’ve only seen Chinese and Korean dramas this year :O Not one single Taiwanese drama. :O This is a shock to myself ahaha.

Also, My domain subscription and blog server is due to expire in the new year as well and I will be shifting back to afairytaleworld.wordpress.com. Please bear with me while I make the shift. I once again thank each and everyone of you for reading my blog! Thank you for all your love and support! ❤

So without furtherado, let’s get this year’s drama review cracking!

Chinese Dramas
Because of You

Because of You 

This drama is a remake of the makjang Jang Bo-Ri is Here! I haven’t seen the original, but this drama definitely lives up to being a makjang. This drama is crazy ridiculous, but I enjoyed it very much! I marathoned through this and I couldn’t stop myself from clicking onto the next ep and the next. This drama sure knows how to keep viewers hooked. The writing of this drama contains the perfect mix of elements to keep you hooked in, yet at the same time makes you want to rip your hair out and that’s exactly what you’d want to feel from any makjang drama.

This drama is not by any means perfect but it was a very nicely curated drama from start to finish and that made watching a very pleasant experience. The storyline flowed well, but there were some parts which were a bit too makjang, which all the crazy birth secrets and family feuds you could think of and more thrown in. I enjoyed the leads in their roles and they had really nice chemistry which helped with making the makjang craziness of the drama seem not so crazy. My favourite element of the drama was the second female lead – she is the core of the drama’s craziness. I despised her and that was exactly what her character was all about.

The drama may have been crazy, but it worked very well.

All in all: Crazy drama? Yes. Worth the watch? Yes.

Ode To Joy 3

Ode to Joy 2

I loved the first season, and I am back at it again for the second season. There are three seasons to this drama, but it’s very nicely written and each of the ladies has a sufficient amount of screen-time which I loved because it provided them with sufficient time to develop their characters through the different life events that they are faced with. I also love the division of screen time, which feels just so right – there’s a clear distinction between which of the ladies plays a more important role, but at the same time it emphasises the ladies’ friendship. It doesn’t matter what hurdles the ladies have to jump through, but they are always there to support one another. I love watching this friendship blossom even more so than the first season. They may all have different personalities and sometimes their personalities clash, but that is what makes their friendship so loveable. They only have good intentions and want the best from each other. Again, much like the first season, I love that the ladies all stem from different socioeconomic statuses and upbringings but that doesn’t hinder their friendship but rather it is because of their different circumstances that bring them closer together as friends.

I love the progress that we’re seeing from the three ladies. They’ve opened up a lot since the first season and the challenges presented to them this season has definitely tested their waters. They have discovered what is it that they are seeking from life and what they have to do to work towards these goals, whether it be personal or professional fields. They have developed heaps and bounds since the first season and I love that we get to them become even more courageous and determined women from when we first met them in the first season. I am loving the romance in this season much more than I did in the first season. The ladies have come to discover what is it that they are looking for in a partner and in a relationship. They have slowly come to realise what it means to make compromises to find that perfect balance in their relationship with their other half – a relationship cannot happen single-handedly; it requires lots of nurturing from both parties through jumping through hurdles that come their way.

I really love this series. It is a truly beautiful drama experience. It’s quite a long series, with three seasons but the development of the drama is just so right! It doesn’t feel draggy or repetitive and that is beyond anything that I can ask for from a drama!

All in all: Definitely bring on season three! I’ve been waiting for season three to come around since I finished the last ep of season two!

The Starry Night

The Starry Night, The Starry Sea

I thought this would be a drama that’d I enjoy, but sadly it wasn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I started it thinking that I’d enjoy it but it soon came apparent that I wouldn’t. The concept of the drama is fine and I’ve definitely seen enjoyable dramas of that concept before but the drama was just… bland. There wasn’t much development to the plot to make the drama exciting, even halfway through. Each ep felt the same as the previous and there wasn’t much character growth either. Further to this, I didn’t quite feel the chemistry between the two leads, which is quite disappointing as this drama is purely driven by their romance, but I guess this is also due to the lack of drive with writing itself.

All in all: A big disappointment for me. I could have spent that time watching a different drama 😂

Korean Dramas

Because This is My First Life

Because This is My First Life

I loooooovvvvvvveeeeeeee this drama! This drama is written ever so beautifully! There’s lots of subtle elements here which I absolutely loved. It’s very real (or as real as it can get in a drama sense) and gets you right in the heart. When I first started watching this drama, I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did and thought that it’d be your typical fluffy rom-com kind of drama, but it proved me wrong in so many ways. Everything about this drama is what you can ask for and so much more, though, I do have to say that the drama really owes it to the scripting. The writing is very on point and nicely balanced – every element is just beyond perfect and the writing flows very well from one element to another. I also really love the subtleness of the writing, which really helps with telling the romance between the two leads. The writing feels deeply organic, feeling like I’m watching a personal romance story unfold rather than a drama, and it’s not very often that I come across writing like this. The dialogue between the two leads is probably one of the best elements of the drama (which comes from the writing of course). I love how touching the dialogue is and how it makes you question your own life.

I also really love our lead’s relationship development and we really got to see them develop romantically from being housemates to friends and then to lovers. Nam Se Hee (Lee Min Ki) and Yoon Ji Ho (Jung So Min) are really peculiar people to say the least, but they bring out the best in each other and why they are so perfect for each other. Life just feels empty when they’re not around each other. I didn’t think I’d enjoy Woo Su Ji (Esom) and Ma Sang Goo’s (Park Byung Eun) storyline, but to my own surprise, I did! I love how independent Su Ji is and how Sang Goo was able to win her heart through his sincerity and accepting of who she is, despite her initial distance from him. They are some amazing supporting characters.

I loved everything about this drama, but the penultimate stretch was my biggest disappointment about this drama. I just couldn’t quite understand how Se Hee and Ji Ho just broke off their contract marriage and essentially cut off all ties with each other. That was just too abrupt of a transition given their closeness prior to breaking off their marriage. Se Hee and Ji Ho were quite out of character with how they dealt with the marriage break up. Had this component be written differently, the drama would have worked out to be heaps better.

In saying all of this, this drama goes to show that you don’t need all the fancy fantasy elements or family makjang drama to grab in the ratings, you just need a drama that talks from the heart. However, the final two eps wobbled a bit, but that the other 14 eps were amazing!

All in all: A beautifully written drama worth watching.

Bride of the Water God

Bride of the Water God

This drama scored many comparisons to Goblin due to their similar fantasy setting, but unlike Goblinit was a mess. A watery mess. The scripting really let down the drama. The drama was nice but I didn’t enjoy how it flowed. I found myself getting bored of this drama quite quickly and there were times where I was disengaged with what was happening with the drama. The drama had a slow start and it wasn’t until about halfway through the drama that there was a direction as to where the drama wanted to head towards. I liked that this drama tried to craft a mystical world for us to see, but it was only decently done. It could have definitely been crafted better, but I guess for what we got it was pretty good.

I feel quite indifferent to majority of the characters Ha Baek (Nam Joo Hyuk) and So Ah (Shin Se Kyung) are nice characters, but not really likeable. There were multiple instances where I got really annoyed by their actions and just the way they handled the situation that was presented in front of them. It also took them quite a while to get together and their chemistry wasn’t quite there as I would have liked, though I did enjoy watching them fall in love with one another. The standout from the drama would have to be Shin Hoo Ye (Im Joo Hwan). I absolutely loved his character development, which was nicely layered. I also loved Joo Hwan’s portrayal of him. He was amazing in this role!

The drama was quite a disappointment for me. It could have been portrayed in a much better way than what we were offered on-screen, but it is what it is.

All in all: Quite a disappointment, didn’t make quite the splash as it could have.

Revolutionary Love

Revolutionary Love

It takes a lot to revolutionise the dramaland nowadays as dramas are now a staple of Asian culture that has since flowed into the western culture. I appreciate it when dramas attempt to try something new, but I also appreciate it when dramas try to create a very real, relatable and sincere drama. That is what Revolutionary Love tried to do, but unfortunately could not achieve.

I decided to give this drama a try because the premise seemed to be of one that is very relatable and real. The premise is about the challenges young adults from different spoon classes face as they move forward in society. However, counter to what the premise promised, the drama failed to deliver. The drama definitely had a good foundation to spring off on, however, it did not successfully do so. The drama did not show the characters moving forward to face the challenges, but rather more about a chaebol and damsel-in-distress story coupled with a few so-called challenges thrown in here and there that the characters did not learn from.

I’m just frustrated with how the drama was laid out. We met Byun Hyuk (Choi Si Won) as a bratty, love-struck chabeol and by the end of it, he was still a love-struck chaebol, just a little less bratty and we met Baek Joon (Kang So Ra) as a diligent woman who gets by through part-time jobs, refusing to get a full-time job and by the end of it, she was still getting about through part-time jobs. Sure, they went through a number of challenges together, but it was just frustrating watching them because they didn’t really grow as characters. And I must say, their romance was very poorly structured – it was love at first sight for Hyuk, but we didn’t get to see Joon fall in love with him. The character of Kwon Je Hoon (Gong Myung) was also poorly written and undeveloped.

I just felt like there was not enough thought given to the drama. It could have done so much more and could have achieved so much more, which it unfortunately did not.

All in all: Watch if you’re willing to spend 16+ hours watching a bland drama with next to no progression.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Strong Woman, Do Bong Soon

This is an adorable drama and fun drama mixed in with lots of fluffy rom-com. I adored this drama to bits and pieces and I just love how easy on the eyes it is. It’s a pleasant watching experience. The leads will honestly leave your grinning from ear to ear, ep after ep. I watched this drama with not much expectation as I was pressured by my friend to do so, and I’m so glad I did, because I definitely needed a pick-me-up to take away from my stress. This drama was just perfect for that. Nice and fluffy – that was what this drama was all about. I love the two leads; they’re adorable together and really helped to make the drama what it is. They have a really cute chemistry with each other and I just adore how sweet they are together as a couple. I love how Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young) and Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Sik) just love each other so effortlessly for who they are.I really enjoyed watching their romance, which is oh-too-cute. They really did help to bring the drama together. Bong Soon isn’t your average woman – she’s got superhuman strength – but Min Hyuk sees past that and falls in love with her for being the person that she is, as a strong woman with a fragile heart. He won her heart through his sincerity and she won his heart through being herself in front of him. While she’s been harbouring a crush on her childhood friend, Guk Doo (Ji Soo) for the longest time,  she was never her true self in front of him, which is why Min Hyuk eventually won her heart. She is her true self in front of Min Hyuk and is able to pour her fragile heart to him. I just love their romance so much. I love how all he wants for her is for her to be happy as who she is and how she wants nothing less but the same for him.

While I liked the drama, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have. The writing of the drama could have been done better. I like the take of adding in superpowers and the psychopath storyline, but these two elements (which are two of the main drivers of the drama) could have been much better woven into the drama. There were times where I felt an explanation is needed to create a clearer storyline, but that explanation never came about, and there were others where some of what happened felt too rushed which could have been better developed through better integration into the drama.

All in all: If you’re after a light and fluffy drama, then Strong Woman, Do Bong Soon is your pick.

Suspicious Partner

Suspicious Partner

There’s been an abundance of crime/legal + romance themed dramas in the past three years in K-drama land, and they do not always come in a nicely packaged mix. Suspicious Partner is one of those rare packages, with a nice blend of writing, OTP chemistry, supporting cast and plot development. The drama is engaging and even manages to keep me surprised, which makes me want to stick around for the drama. One of the things the drama really does well is letting the drama do its own thing and run – a lot of things seem to happen at once from as soon as we are introduced to the drama, but surprising it all just works very well and is engaging. What I really like about it is that it does not feel rushed at all; it’s very nicely developed and leaves you engaged and curious to find why it happened the way it did.

Our OTP, Noh Ji Wook (Ji Chang Wook) and Eun Bong Hee (Nam Ji Hyun) have a very nice chemistry between them and you really get to see the sparks that fly between them from when they first meet each other right through their comfortableness around each other. I love how organically grown their relationship is – their relationship progress just feels so natural and we get to see the reasons behind why they love each other and why they are the perfect fit for one another, despite the underlying circumstances that surround them. I also really like their respect for each other. They respect each other as individuals with small acts such as knocking on the room door before entering and considerate understanding whenever one of them goes through any hardships is a powerful tool in marking the beauty of their relationship. The way they look out for each other is also very tender and sweet. They bring the best out of each other and I love watching them two grow as individuals through being together. They really do bring out the best qualities in each other.

Another element that I really enjoyed about this drama is the supporting cast, who ultimately helped to make the drama what it is. The subplot with Jyun Hyun Soo (Dong Ha) was very nicely played out and definitely is an element of surprise. Further to this, Dong Ha did a remarkable job in his portrayal of Hyun Soo. I also really love the office-gang, who added a much needed comedy break to the drama. They’re so adorable!

This drama faltered a bit towards the end, but overall it held up really well. It finished out quite nicely and was able to tie all the loose ends together and just end in a way that satisfies my drama wants.

All in all: A nicely crime/legal drama balanced with some fluffy romance.

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping

While Suspicious Partner is a nice mix of crime and romance, I wouldn’t quite say the same for While You Were Sleeping. I like it, but I didn’t quite like it as much as I thought I would have. It’s a decent watch, but not an amazing watch and there was just a number of elements that I wish was done better. It might also be because I’ve seen a number of crime/legal + romance dramas and it just doesn’t have the same excitement for me any more.

I would say the writing of this drama is mediocre at best. I just wish it was better. It just wasn’t exciting. I get that this drama is a crime/legal drama but the drama was essentially lining up case after case after case, which a) becomes really repetitive and b) doesn’t really add anything substantial to the plot because of a). There’s no excitement there because our leads are fed through the same repetitive cycle of using their ability to foresee the future and then rushing in just in the nick of time to save the day. Each case and each dream becomes more familiar and less exciting to watch because there’s no surprise element to catch us off guard.

I like the OTP, but they could have been better. They have a nice chemistry between them but it wasn’t firey enough. There just wasn’t that easy-to-fall-in-love vibe there. Even had the chemistry been better I don’t think that would have saved the drama. While the chemistry between the OTP was not quite there, I did really enjoy watching the friendship between Jung Jae Chan (Lee Jong Suk), Nam Hong Joo (Suzy) and Han Woo Tak (Jung Hae In).

This drama is much too familiar to I Can Hear Your Voice, with the presence of supernatural ability, and it’s probably also because I’ve seen Lee Jong Suk in a similar drama, in a similar role with similar abilities and that familiarity meant that I couldn’t like the drama as much as I could have.

The drama is mediocre, definitely not great. It was too rushed coming to the ending, even though the whole plot development itself seemed quite slow because of the repetitive scenes and was just crazily killing off our characters. The drama also left many unanswered questions to the dreaming ability, which left me scratching my head wanting an answer. One standout I do have to mention from this drama is the OST. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the music used in this drama.

All in all: Maybe could have dreamed that would be a better drama?

And… that was 2017! 

Wow, I’m so shocked that another year has passed just like that! Time flies and I can’t believe how much has changed since 2016! 2017 was a good year and I definitely went through a lot of challenges that have helped to get me to where I am at today. Of course, along the way I was met with hurdles and disappointment but I’ve come to realise that at the end of the day, these are all just experiences and is just meant to be. My favourite saying in 2017 is “when one door closes, another will open”; I really believe in this and believe that it will be the same for 2018.

2017 was a crazy year for me. I had so many goals and expectations for the year and I was met with disappointment when I was unable to achieve them, but I guess this all about the learning process. I’ve definitely dropped off with my drama-blogging, as evident by lack of posts, but I can always count on dramas (: (Maybe more posts next year?). I’m surprised myself with my drama viewing experience this year. I’m so shocked that I haven’t seen a Taiwanese drama this year! Hopefully we’ve got some amazing ones lined up next year!

Oh, and can I say how much I love you guys for still reading what I write!?!?!? Thanks for sticking around! I’m not sure what will happen next year, but thank you so so so much for reading this!

I’m so excited for 2018 to come! 2018 will be one crazy year for me, that’s for sure. (: Thank you for your love and support throughout the years. Here is to another year of great dramas. ❤

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