Hey everyone, It’s me, Soju again. This is the first part of my “Reigniting Love for X” series. More information on how I found and lost love for K-Dramas is in my origin story section, however, for now… I would like to invite everyone to read about the journey I went on while trying to fall in love with K-Dramas again. (ง ื▿ ื)ว
✦ Last year, I decided to give K-Dramas & C-Dramas a second chance.✧ So I decided to write articles about both journeys.✦ For K-Dramas, I used very a very lenient approach.
Hello! I’m Soju, and I began watching East-Asian dramas in early 2016 after I got tired of the hyperfocus on sexual scenes and lack of moral values I identify with in Western dramas. Such as the FL dating one brother and then the other, or the recycling of male characters by FL and her friends, and so on. Many may enjoy it, but it’s just not for me. *Please, I’m too old for an MDL fight. Spare me.*
Aside from Western dramas, I had grown up also watching South Asian dramas, specifically Indian (Hindi) & Pakistani TV series. Both are to this day heavy on angst and crazy levels of melodrama. I was not interested in getting blood pressure issues at such an early age so I jumped ships. My first step into East-Asian dramas was through a K-drama called My Lovely Samsoon, and I quickly found myself spending the next few months sailing the sea on the canoe called K-dramas. Then it all faded away.
Actually, I had planned to write this two years ago. I even took various approaches in the selection of this challenge. To prepare for this article, I initially planned to ask for recommendations in a BL Discord server I am in and had decided to watch the top 10 most recommended K-Dramas. Eventually… the list was ready… but I wasn’t.
Later I realized if I wanted to do this successfully, I was better off having 100 % control over which K-Dramas I gave my time to.
The entire approach was very random, or well very reliant on what my mood was at the moment.
In the end, I ended up cutting the drama number to 6. I’m not sure if that’s a fair opportunity but I’m trying. I really am. I’m hoping it paid off!
✦ My Lovely Samsoon was my first K-drama.✧ I began watching K-Dramas around 2016. ✦ I fell out of love around 2017 or 2018.
I think my love story started with my childhood best friend sharing funny clips of My Lovely Samsoon with me around mid-2016 or so. It was a big culture shock to watch the ML get hit so much by the FLs and even their mothers as I’ve previously only seen women being hi… — well and so, after some time between being scandalized and laughing until my chest hurt, I decided I was quite interested in these Asian dramas she watched.
It seemed far more interesting and morally in line with my thoughts than what I was seeing in the western media. I believe My Lovely Samsoon was my very first K-Drama. After which, I watched another classic, Goong. I still have very fond memories of these two K-Dramas. In fact, I think I have fond memories of K-Dramas up until Goblin came around.
Afterward, I think I lost interest in the sort of dramas that were being made. Or perhaps It was because I started my journey by watching shows that were a little dated, I formed bonds with actors and actresses that were not the similar form of hype as before. Even more so, I feel like the K-Drama world has turned to more dramatic, dark, and twisted themes. Everywhere I see there are deaths, revenge, twisted psychopaths, crazy money games, and other darker theme. The magic and whimsical innocence that K-Dramas had when I first began to watch them has been lost somewhere in this evolution, and with them, so has my interest.
I will admit, there are a few K-Dramas here and there that have that classic K-Drama magic in them, but with the overwhelming amount of titles that don’t, I find myself least bothered to sit through 12+ episodes. I will admit that I am also having difficulty appreciating and becoming fond of most of these new actors and actresses being introduced into the K-Drama world. I’m honestly worried this might not even work, and I will not be able to find love here again.
✦ I am attempting to watch the 6 K-Dramas. ✧ I won’t force myself, it won’t be in a particular order.✦ I may even watch 2 or more simultaneously to get by.
I suppose one can call this an experiment of sorts. Or maybe just a study. Either way, I hope to use this experience to adjust to the current world of K-Dramas as well as attempt to find the charme and magic that has been lost from K-Dramas after 2019 (in my opinion).
This has been two years in thought and one year in the making, which has given me time to understand completely that I may not be able to succeed. This is why I am leaving a space open for a second attempt. I will call this “Attempt #1”.
The Sound of Magic
High school student Yoon Ah Yi (Choi Sung Eun) finances herself and her younger sister by working part-time jobs. She doesn’t know where her parents are. But even with her poor financial circumstances, Yoon Ah Yi manages to rank near the top of her school academically. Yoon Ah Yi wants to become an adult as soon as possible, to have a stable job.
Her classmate Na Il Deung
(Hwang In Youp) competes with Yoon Ah Yi for the top grade, but they begin to have feelings for each other.
One day, Yoon Ah Yi meets magician Lee Eul
(Ji Chang Wook) at an abandoned amusement park. He performs magic shows for people who believe in magic. He is a mysterious person; he comforts Yoon Ah Yi who tells him that she believes in magic.
I wanted to believe in magic.
It’s been a while since I’ve watched anything from Ji Chang Wook. I remember stumbling upon Healerin my early days, and how excited it made me feel! I tried to find the same adrenaline inCity Hunter but unfortunately couldn’t get past the first episode. Maybe I should try again one day?
Anyway, I didn’t know what to expect when I began this K-Drama. The most appealing thing about it first and foremost was the number of episodes. It felt like a very low-commitment sort of endeavor and that was just what I needed. So onwards I ran and I believe I ended it within a day.
I wanted to believe in magic. Is it too hard to hope that it was true?
I am writing this sometime after watching this, so I will have fewer words to say and a much shorter verdict.
Simply speaking, looking back, I have only one word in my mind: “Weird”. This drama was very weird. I think it was because the mood of the drama was more centered on the dark and gloomy themes that are most popular today.
Yes, there was magic… but it wasn’t magical. Or well… what magical stands for me. Nonetheless, I did manage to complete this with, although a sense of emptiness but still some degree of happiness.
Would I recommend this to someone else? Perhaps not. Would I watch this again? Perhaps not. Do I regret giving this my time? Definitely not.
Sell Your Haunted House
Ji Ah (Jang Na Ra), a woman who has inherited exorcism abilities from her mother, is the owner of Daebak Realty, a company that specializes in selling haunted houses. Ji Ah looks perfect and is also brilliant, but her hot temper makes her fists fly before her words. One day, Ji Ah encounters a conman named In Beom (Jung Yong Hwa) who specializes in exorcism fraud. Late at night when Daebak Realty operates, In Beom visits Ji Ah to make an offer. He suggests that they team up to exclusively sell houses that are haunted by vengeful spirits and lingering ghosts. Can the two get along well and deal with house prices, ghosts, and their sorrowful stories?
My OG K-world crush and a cute button actress in a badass role? YES PLEASE.
I was very excited when I came around this drama. Like, very excited. Nothing had excited me so much for a long time when K-Dramas still had that X-factor (for me). Okay maybeWhen the Camelia Bloomswas very close — but still, I was very happy to give this a go!
And let me tell you all, this did not disappoint! Even when there was no romance, I was very entertained and happy. After watching When the Camelia Blooms prior to this, I had hope… and after watching this I had even more hope.
If “dark” themes meant this, I wouldn’t mind watching dramas centered around such plots.
Sim Eun Seok (Kim Hye Soo) is an elite judge with a prickly personality who hates juvenile offenders. After she gets assigned to a local juvenile court, she tries to balance her aversion to minor offenders with firm beliefs in justice and punishment. This is the story of how Sim Eun Seok goes out of her way to break customs and administer her own ways of punishing the offenders, a few that even have a link to her past.
To be honest, I quite admire Kim Hye Soo’s acting chops despite not having watched much of her projects. However, what really attracted me to the drama was the unique element of child criminals.
I could feel the character’s hatred towards snobby underaged criminals who knew extremely well that their age was a protective shield that allowed them to get away with crimes that would otherwise warrant a lifetime in prison or even death.
It was quite a good drama overall. I binged through it and left with a desire to watch more. I think this is one of those rare dramas where I hoped would be more episodes and more cases that the main character would tackle.
The Business Proposal
Shin Ha Ri (Kim Se Jeong) is a single woman who works for a company. She has a male friend (Song Won Seok), who she has had a crush on for a long time, but she learns he has a girlfriend. Shin Ha Ri feels sad and decides to meet her friend Jin Young Seo (Seol In Ah), who is a daughter of a chaebol family, where her friend asks her to be a replacement for her on a blind date, and even offers some money for her time. Shin Ha Ri accepts her friend’s offer. She goes out on a blind date as Jin Young Seo, with the intention to get rejected by her date. When she sees her blind date, Shin Ha Ri is dumbfounded. Her blind date is Kang Tae Mu (Ahn Hyo Seop), the CEO of the company she works in. The next day, Shin Ha Ri receives a phone call from Kang Tae Mu. He asks her to marry him.
I had secretly promised myself that I was never going to watch this drama!
You guessed it right, it was because of how popular this drama was. Actually, the more popular a drama becomes, the less likely I am to be interested in it or watch it. This is because my mind immediately begins to label such projects as “over-rated”. When Squid Game came out and everyone went crazy, I rolled my eyes and noped out of there. When all of a sudden edgy zombie themes became all the crazy in the K-Industry, I rolled my eyes and nursed a migraine.
Everyone around me was going between making Dalgona coffee and Dalgona coffee candy, and here I was sitting and watching the chaos. Then when this cute manhwa-adapted K-Drama showed up, although I was happy that there was finally some fluff in the Kdrama world, I still was uncertain due to my reservations about the latest Kdrama trends. Then the old condition hit, the more and more popular it became, the least inspired I was to watch it.
Until one day… I just did.
Actually, I won’t lie. I attempted to read the manhwa before watching this. A lot of people will hate me right now, but the drama is more attention-maintaining than the manhwa (which I ended up dropping).
I won’t say that this was an extremely unique drama with absolutely no cliche (after all, at this point everything is cliche and that’s completely fine), but I will say that this drama took cute turns you wouldn’t expect it to.
Although I do not want to admit it, I will say that this drama had a flicker of magic that old K-Dramas had. In addition to that, I do enjoy watching MLs of this nature. The devoted, head-strong sort that locks their eyes on their target and just marches forward without stopping. Not that the FL wasn’t adorable — the actress is a very talented and beautiful woman.
Overall, I gave a super popular K-Drama a shot and was impressed. Very entertaining!
As one of the nation’s most beloved stars, Gong Tae Sung (Kim Young Dae) is used to living his life in the spotlight. With the eyes of the world constantly on him, Tae Sung does his best to keep a smile on his face and his temper in check. Seen by the people as a kind and polite young man, the only people who don’t buy into his whole good guy persona are those working for his management company.
As the head of that company’s PR team, Oh Han Byeol
(Lee Sung Kyung) knows exactly what Tae Sung is really like. Well aware of his strong desire to win and his hot temper, Han Byeol has had to employ her excellent speech and crisis management skills on a number of occasions, in order to keep Tae Sung’s reputation as spotless as it seems. Constantly bickering, there isn’t anyone in the world better suited to the role of natural enemies than Han Byeol and Tae Sung.
Forever at odds with each other, Tae Sung and Han Byeol seem destined to hate each other forever. But could the time they’re forced to spend together change those feelings or will their mutual loathing last for all eternity?
I for one think the name is quite fitting as this drama literally was shitting stars everywhere…
I joke, I apologise. However, whoever did come up with the brilliant idea of tweaking the name to this… piece of art… should get an award for messing with my mind every single time I refer to this drama in my head. To be fair, though, my thoughts are well supported:
Coming back to my experience with this drama. How I came about selecting it was quite random, to be honest. I had just completed The Business Proposal on Netflix and this showed up so I, feeling quite spontaneous and positive towards K-Dramas, gave it a go. I won’t say I regret it, this drama had its charm. However, it wasn’t mindblowing. It was just… fine.
Its biggest vice was the unneeded suspense arc.
I can understand the desire to highlight the importance of competition, fan-stalking, mental health, and suicidal incidences that may occur in the entertainment industry, but I think the message could have been expressed a little differently.
In my opinion, that’s where the drama lost its path. I would rather have liked to see more of the life and challenges of actors and the staff that works around them.
Still, I’ll admit finding out certain stories were inspired by real life, was very interesting.
The Witch’s Diner
At the age of 28, Jung Jin (Nam Ji Hyun) had everything in life that a person could ever want or need. With a great job and a fantastic boyfriend, Jin was convinced her life was as close to perfect as anyone could ever wish. Little did she know, her perfect world was about to come crashing down around her. Stricken by a string of bad luck, Jin now finds herself without a job, a boyfriend, or a clue as to what to do next. With no better ideas, Jin agrees to open a restaurant with her mother but even that venture ends in bankruptcy. With her mother leaving for the countryside, Jin is left with nothing but a failed business and overwhelming heartache. But after an unexpected encounter with Jo Hee Ra (Song Ji Hyo), a sorceress who specializes in granting wishes, things take an unexpected turn for the better. Wishing to borrow Jin’s restaurant to run a restaurant of her own, Jin agrees to the mysterious woman’s request. Soon the place is full of people willing to sell their souls for a taste of Hee Ra’s magical wish-granting dishes. Though thrilled by their success, Jin sometimes wonders if the price of Hee Ra’s dishes isn’t just a little high…
I almost forgot about this. Which is why it is mentioned last. I think that goes to show what I think of this drama. I completed this drama a little before The Sound of Magic, I think. What attracted me to it was the cast. I am quite fond of both Song Ji Hyo and Nam Ji Hyun having watched them in Emergency CoupleandShopping King Louie.
Besides that, the premise of the drama at face value was also quite inviting. Thus, I jumped right in. Upon reflection, I suppose this drama had its charme. I won’t dismiss the good points, however, it needed a lot of polishing. It just did not feel… like it was enough. There was a lot of potential… which is quite sad because just imagine how amazing that would be.
DROPPED & ON HOLDS
When reading about my story of love and love lost, and seeing my intention of making peace with K-Dramas again, you might have seen the list of K-Dramas I tried and frowned in confusion, thinking “Well why did she try such meh dramas?” or, “There were so many other better dramas out there and she totally ignored them!”
Well… unfortunately I didn’t. I began “great” dramas, as you can see above, but somehow never got through them or was able to complete them.
I began watching Extraordinary Attorney Woo while it was airing and liked it immensely. However, I began watching it while it was airing and I am a binger… thus I couldn’t keep up and lost interest midway.
The same could be said about Alchemy of Souls. However, I ended up dropping it and have no interest in picking it back up. It’s not my vibe.
Hometown Cha Cha Cha was Shin Min Ah’s comeback drama and I was so happy to see her back so I gave it a go. Plus, she was playing a dentist as well, and it felt like a treat seeing this representation. But I don’t know what went wrong… I didn’t continue beyond a few episodes.
I wasn’t sure what was going to happen in Mystic Pop Up Bar but I gave it a go one day when I was bored. I understand the allure, but it just was not captivating enough for me. One day I might pick it up, one day in the far future. Maybe.
Secret Royal Inspector & Joy — I began this with great hope, was entertained for 8 episodes, and then stopped when I knew shit was going to eventually hit the fan in the future. Maybe one day I’ll finish this in skip mode.
The Guest was started impulsively because I am a very big horror viewer. It was interesting, but I wanted something else at that time. I think I wanted to watch something cuter, less demonish. I’m open to picking this one up again in the future.
Partners for Justice has the most annoying FL I have watched, and she’s supposed to be a well-trained, top-of-the-class prosecutor. Is this what a top prosecutor looks like? An Immature, yell first think later, brain functioning at 20 % capacity sort of person? — I’m sorry… I had to rant somewhere.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella is a contestant in my Attempt #2.
✦I did not regain the love back ✧ So I will try again ✦Help me for my attempt #2 by recommending K-Dramas!
✧ Please do not recommend ones with SE, angst, or Alchemy of Souls
I suppose the cat’s out of the bag he he In the end, I have not regained my love for K-Dramas. I am still unable to see the magic in it. In my head, K-Drama’s are becoming overly saturated with dark plots like crazy school bullying, revenge, heinous crimes, lots of action, weird killer game shows, killer zombies, etc.
Gone is the time when pure romance prevailed. But I suppose that is how the entertainment industry works. What is popular is what is produced and published.
Nonetheless, while I was not able to find my love again… I was still able to see hope.
This is why I will try again. This time, I am going to incorporate more structure and plan into this entire experiment.
For that, I would love to have your help! You can help me by recommending dramas (including all the above dramas except Alchemy of Soul & Partners for Justice).
My requirements are simple. The drama should be released 2020 and onwards. There should not be any sad ending, little angst on the FL, and please no dramas with themes like
Little Women, Penthouse, Squid Game, Reborn Rich, Revenge of Others, etc.
In attempt #2, I will incorporate a “Love Jar” which I will attempt to fill with each K-Drama I watch. At this current moment, my love for K-Dramas is at 5 %.
Thus, for Attempt #2, I will give 10 K-Dramas a shot. Each K-Drama will have the potential to fill 10 % of my “Love Jar”. In the end, I will release a sum of the total love points collected and then see if it has passed the passing love point of 70 %.
So feel free to help a girl out!
ADD YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS ▸
in this voting list ❤︎
Next, I will attempt to light the candle of love I once had for C-Dramas. While this idea seems bleak right now, I am going to put a positive foot forward, and let’s hope by next year I will fall for C-Dramas again. See you then!
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kdrama the witch’s diner sell your haunted house juvenile justice sh**ting stars the business proposal sound of magic