The Best Crime Drama of all Time
Stranger 1 & 2
A South Korean crime thriller drama television series. The first season aired on June 10, 2017, and was renewed for a second season, which aired on August 15, 2020. The first series was a hit with domestic and international viewers and was featured on the New York Times list of Best TV Shows of 2017. It won several awards, including the Grand Prize for television at the Baeksang Arts Awards.
In the first season, we are introduced to Hwang Si-Mok (Cho Seung-woo), an exemplary but socially awkward Prosecutor who lives by his own set of acceptable social norms. While investigating a murder case, he meets Police Lieutenant Han Yeo-jin (Bae Doona) of the major crime unit. They begin to work together to solve the case. As they start to unravel the mystery behind the murder, they discover their efforts are continuously foiled, which leads them to a much larger corruption scheme between the Prosecutors' Office and a private conglomerate that shakes the entire prosecution system.
In the second season, Cho Seung-woo and Bae Doona reprise their roles as Hwang Si-Mok and Han Yeo-jin, who is now a Senior Inspector at the National Police Agency's HQ office. Hwang Si-Mok, on the other hand, serves as a prosecutor in a rural area outside Seoul. Two years after the prosecution scandal, an ethical dispute arises between the Prosecutors' Office and the National Police Agency. The former wants discretionary power over all investigative proceedings, while the latter seeks an autonomous authority. In the midst of the conflicts, Hwang Si-Mok, and Han Yeo-jin, though now on opposite spectrums, team up independently to conduct their own investigation on a concealed case that threatens to expose the corruption not just within the Prosecution Office but the Police Agency as well.
The Second Best
A 2016 South Korean fantasy police procedural television series starring Lee Je-hoon, Kim Hye-soo, and Cho Jin-Woong. It premiered on tvN on January 22, 2016. The series was inspired by real-life criminal incidents in Korea, including the Hwaseong serial murders. The series received widespread acclaim from the audience and critics alike for its story and performances. It is also the eleventh highest-rated Korean drama in cable television history, with a peak audience viewership of 12.54%.
The story's premise is that an old police walkie-talkie allows a detective in the year 1989 to communicate with a cold case profiler from 2015. With the power of fore- and hindsight, the two not only solve crimes but prevent them from ever taking place.
Fifteen years ago, a young girl was kidnapped on the way from school, and Park Hae Yeong (Lee Je Hoon), who was an elementary school student at that time, witnessed the crime. A few days later, the girl was found dead, and the police could not find the culprit. As time went by, Hae Yeong started distrusting the police.
Fifteen years later, Hae Yeong is now a police officer and criminal profiler. One day, he finds a walkie-talkie that allows him to contact Detective Lee Jae Han, who is in the past. Police officers Hae Yeong, Jae Han, and Cha So Hyun then set out on a journey to solve cold cases that have personal implications for each of them with grave unintended consequences.
The Best Drama of all Time
A 2018 South Korean television series starring Lee Sun Kyun, IU, Lee Ji Ah, and many other wonderful actors. The series was directed by Kim Won-Seok and written by Park Hae-young. The drama received critical acclaim, winning Best Drama at the 55th Baeksang Arts Awards, and deservedly so. My Mister is a melodrama and tells the story of a middle-aged man, barely enduring the weight of his life. A strong but cold young woman, hardened by a life burdened down by abuse, guilt, and debt and how from the time they come into each other's lives they begin to change and help each other not only endure life but find the strength and to like themselves and their lives in the process.
I cannot overstate how masterful the acting performances were in this drama. No matter how large or small their role, every actor had moments where they moved me in some way. IU may as well have been Ji An; she so perfectly embodied her misery and loneliness, which eventually gave way to acceptance and peace. Her transformation and journey as she gradually learns what it means to be appreciated as a human being for who you are and not what you have done were so subtle yet so powerful; there were plenty of times throughout the drama where I had to stop and collect myself before I could go on watching. Jang Ki Yong as Kwang-il made a similarly deep impression on me, making me care for him despite his violent nature but more so for the kind of person he could've become if he hadn't trapped himself in his unfortunate circumstances. And of course, Park Ho San, Lee Ji-ah, Song Sae Byeok, and the rest of this drama's fantastic cast all gave amazing performances, bringing something special to their roles, even Joon-young. Last, by not least, Lee Sun Kyun, what a fully rounded actor.
It may seem overly dramatic to those who haven’t seen My Mister, but I think that those whom this exceptionally beautiful drama has graced will understand when I say this drama is beyond precious and is one of the best made. It reminds us, just like Ji An's Grandma said, if one thinks about it, every interpersonal relationship is quite fascinating and precious and, as such, must repay each person that comes into your life by living a happy life. I don’t think it can be said any better than that.
Simply The Second Best
Lost (Human Disqualification) is a 2021 South Korean television series starring Jeon Do-Yeon and Ryu Jun-Yeol. aired from September 4 to October 24, 2021, and is available for streaming on iQIYI. Lost tells the story of ordinary people who have worked hard all their lives, but suddenly, no matter how hard they work, their life seems to amount to nothing.
Lee Boo Jung (Jeon Do-Yeon) has hit rock bottom. She has a thankless job, her marriage is in shambles, and a possible criminal record hanging over her head. At forty years old, she feels like she has reached the end of her potential and has amounted to absolutely nothing. Her elderly father is the last thing she cares about in the world.
Lee Kang Jae (Ryu Jun-Yeol) is only twenty-seven and runs a successful role-play service business, which makes him feel ashamed of the person he has become. He wears apathy as a second skin, to the point where he doesn't recognize who he is anymore.
Despite these two, having lived at the threshold of each other's lives they go about their business without ever truly intercepting each other until one faithful day they do. Both moved by personal loss and grief, Kang Jae begins to actually see Boo Jung and recognize in her a kindred lost soul on the verge of their lives. Lost is the story of these ordinary people struggling to find their footing in life.
Lost as a drama evoked some serious emotions and questions. It made me ask myself if I died tomorrow, would I be pleased with the life I've lived; would I be satisfied with the mark I left on the world, or would I even leave a mark if I would be pleased with the relationships I've had? It gave me a lot of food for thought moments that I appreciated. What I liked most about Lost, other than the way the story was told, was that it brought one of the most prominent issues that afflict everyone the same regardless of status, class, age, gender, religion, ethnicity, or race to the forefront, the feeling of inadequacy. Being ignored, as they say, is the worst feeling in the world isn't being lonely; it's being forgotten. Everyone has a secret sorrow, which the world knows nothing about. And oftentimes, the world calls them cold when all they are is sad.
What I appreciate about Lost and what made it among the best is that by the end of it as a viewer, I gained an appreciation for all the characters, even the not-so-likable ones. That is its strength. And as bittersweet as the ending of the drama is, it made sense because only in loss, do we appreciate the comforts of life. A thousand and one kudos to the writer, the director, and all the actors. They each did a fantastic job getting me as the viewer to relate to them, even though I hated some of them. But the standing ovation goes to Jeon Do Yeon and the ever-special Ryu Joon Yeol for the wonderful and eye-opening journey -- for showing us that inner peace comes when you trade expectation for acceptance. This is one drama everyone would benefit from watching it.
A Tie for Second Best
My Liberation Notes is a 2022 South Korean drama set in Sanpo Village, where more people leave than remain; it is where we are first introduced to the main characters, the three Yeom siblings, Chang Hee (Lee Min Ki), Mi Jung (Kim Ji Won), and Ki Jung (Lee EI), wish to escape from a life rife with uncertainty. But when a mysterious drunkard man, Mr. Goo (Son Seok Koo), with many burdens and secrets moves into their neighborhood his cautious personality and preference for keeping to himself attract the attention of all three siblings attention including their parents, and things begin to change in Sanpo. Mi Jung, the youngest and most timid Yeom sibling, decides to approach him and the story of liberation and acceptance unfolds.
My Liberation Notes is a drama that resonated with me in many ways. Just watching it made me feel like I, too, am being liberated, and I wasn't even half as deep as where the characters were, if at all. But then, who can't relate to the struggles of fading youth, wanting to love and be loved, managing mounting responsibilities to the extent of losing the will for idle talk, and the unavoidable frustrations and challenges of daily lives when even living itself is burdensome, not many.
I loved how the story handled itself, and the message that liberation is realizing the voices in our heads aren't who we are, and only when we see that can we indeed be free. I felt liberated by how this drama depicted human relations, giving me the sense to appreciate the people in my life and opening me up to accept those to come in the future, something my old self before My Liberation Notes wouldn't have done. Every relationship in this drama mattered no matter how small, which made it so special.
I loved how real this drama was in expressing real people's thoughts and actions; how it addressed the fact that some people put others down, not because they are evil or rotten human beings, but because sometimes it's the only way they know how to feel better about themselves. And that sometimes all a person needs is the knowledge that someone cares to make a difference.
More than any other drama, My Liberation Notes made me realize how blessed I was in my life rather than the life I think I should've had. I would not have had that without going on this fantastic, silent yet deeply touching and meaningful journey with Gu, Mi Jung, Ki Jung, Chang Hee, Tae Hun, and everyone else who was part of this story, whether in a prominent or supporting role. There were many touching and emotional moments in this drama, but the Yeom children gathered for their father's birthday, and him finally opening up to them is one of the best. The geninue moments between Gu and Mi Jung, Ki Jung her boss and Tae Hun, Chang Hee at work and with his friends -- all of the little nuisances in the storytelling made this drama one of the best if not the best of 2022. A thousand and one kudos to the writer who excelled at making me feel and live each step of this drama's journey. The director for bringing it all to life, and the actors for quietly yet forcefully imparting to me the message that life is what we make it, always has been, and always will be; we just need to believe that. I felt worshiped just watching this drama.
As much as I already enjoyed Lee Min-Ki and Son Seok Koo's acting skills in other projects, their natural way of depicting their roles in this one made me realize how talented they are, and the same goes for Kim Ji Won, Lee El, Lee Ki Woo, Chun Ho Jin and the rest of the cast. Next to My Mister and Lost My Liberation Notes will remain with me for a long time to come for silently making me hear the things I unconsciously and sometimes consciously ignored. Ignore what you may have heard or read about this drama; watch it you will never be disappointed; on the contrary, you may learn something about yourself you didn't know before.
A Tie for Third Best
The World of the Married
A 2020 South Korean television series starring Kim Hee-ae, Park Hae-Joon, and Han So-hee. It was based on BBC One's drama series Doctor Foster.
Everything seems perfect in the life of the successful family doctor and the associate director, Ji Sun Woo. She lives happily in Gosan with her husband, Lee Tae Oh, and their teenage son, Joon Young. However, when she discovers that her husband, whom she helped financially establish an entertainment company, is having an affair and that all their mutual friends knew and helped conceal it, the perfect image of the happy family life crumbles. And she sets on a difficult path of revenge to recollect her pride but, in the process, almost loses her soul and the things she values most in life, her son and herself.
The series is the highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history, overtaking SKY Castle with its final episode reaching a nationwide rating of 28.371%. It also recorded the highest average rating for a drama on cable television, with an average rating of 18.829%. Although the series was criticized for its portrayal of sex and violence, it received critical acclaim for its screenplay, direction, and acting performances. Mo Wan-il winning Best Director and Kim Hee-ae winning Best Actress at the 56th Baeksang Arts Awards.
The Best Historical Drama
a 2019 South Korean television series starring Jung Il-woo, Go Ara, Kwon Yul, and Park Hoon.Set during the Joseon Dynasty period, the series follows four people from different walks of life who came together to help Yi Geum, Prince Yeoning (later King Yeongjo) claim the throne and reform the Saheonbu.
Lee Geum is a prince, but, even though he is smart, he is not recognized as a prince due to his mother being born in the lowest class possible, a slave.
Yeo Ji is damo at the Saheonbu. She investigates cases enthusiastically. She has a talent for martial arts and foreign languages. Yeo Ji is the best investigator, including amongst the male investigators.
Park Moon Soo has been preparing for his exam to become a public officer. He is not very smart and has difficulty with the exam, but he is honest and tender to other people.
Dal Moon is a famous clown. He is good at martial arts
The Second Best
a 2018 South Korean television series starring Yoon Shi-yoon, Jin Se-yeon and Joo Sang-wook. The Grand Prince is about two princes who enter into a rivalry due to their love for the same woman. It is loosely based on the true stories of Grand Prince Anpyeong and King Sejo.
The drama tells the story of a man who would kill even his younger brother to have the object of his love, the woman who wants to keep the world at a distance, and the intense desires and pure feelings that they experience. The bromance between the royal brothers intertwines with both love and hate. There is a fierce rivalry among the women of the royalty in claiming the ultimate position of queen.
The young woman, named Sung Ja Hyun, is beloved by all and is the daughter of a prestigious government official. She’s so famous for her beauty that she has prospective suitors lined up from all over the country vying for her hand. She’s inherited her scholarly father’s personality; she possesses a strong sense of compassion and righteousness and tackles things with passion.
The Best Historical Horror Drama
Kingdom 1 & 2
It is a 2019 South Korean political period horror thriller web television series written by Kim Eun-hee and directed by Kim Seong-hun. Netflix's first original Korean series premiered on January 25, 2019. The series is adapted from the web-comic series The Kingdom of the Gods, which was authored by Kim Eun-hee and drawn by Yang Kyung-il
The series was positively reviewed and renewed for a second season, released on March 13, 2020. A special episode of the series, titled "Kingdom: Ashin of the North", a special episode story that bridges events between the first two seasons and the third. Ahin's part of the story focused on Ashin, played by Jun Ji-Hyun, a prequel of the Kingdom series two, and a backstory about a mysterious character Prince Lee Chang encounters at the end of Kingdom season 2 on his journey north to discover the origins of the resurrection plant.
Many decisions and actions the characters make and take are propelled forward because of politics. The pain that comes from politics, the price they pay because of that pain, are the message that penetrates the series. Set during Korea's Joseon Dynasty, three years after the Imjin War, the first season of Kingdom tells a story about hunger. It portrays people mistreated by those in power struggling with starvation and poverty through the monsters. It follows Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) and his subordinates, who stumble across an unnatural plague that resurrects the dead amidst his investigation of a brewing political conspiracy and rumors of the King of Joseon's death. As Chang and his allies scramble to understand and contain the plague they realize it has spread faster than they anticipated, but also adapted to its environment, which makes it almost impossible to control, let alone fight.
The second of Kingdom tells a story about monsters who crave blood and humans who desire a particular bloodline and lineage.
season picks up during Lee Chang's struggle to save his people from the spread of the plague and his dynasty from the powerful Haewon Cho clan's machinations, who hide a sinister secret.
It is a 2014 South Korean television series starring Jang Hyuk, Jang Na-ra, Choi Jin-hyuk, and Wang Ji-won. It is a remake of the Taiwanese drama Fated to Love You starring Joe Chen and Ethan Ruan, which received high ratings during its run in 2008. The series also reunited Jang Hyuk and Jang Na-ra, who previously starred together twelve years before on Successful Story of a Bright Girl (2002).
The series is a story about Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk), the successor of his large company. Kim Mi Young (Jang Nara) is an average-looking secretary in a law firm who earned the nickname “Post-It” for her inability to say no to her colleagues who dump work on her. When the two cross paths one night after separately having drunk a drugged liquid, a comedy of errors occurs. Kim Mi Young goes into the wrong hotel room because the hotel door number accidentally changes, and the door is propped open by the mischief-making drugged liquid makers. She ends up sleeping with Lee Gun. When Mi Young finds out afterward that she is pregnant, what will become of them? And will Kang Se Ra (Wang Ji-won) and Daniel (Choi Jin Hyuk) stand by and let Gun and Mi Young deal with the situation in their own way?
I loved this drama; it made me cry, laugh, swoon, and everything in between. It's my go-to drama when I'm feeling a drama slum coming on. Brilliantly done!
Another Favorite Worth the Watch
My Country: The New Age
My Country: The New Age
It is a 2019 South Korean television series starring Yang Se-jong, Woo Do-hwan, Kim Seol-Hyun, and Jang Hyuk. Set during the transitional period between the end of the Goryeo dynasty and the Joseon dynasty's beginning, two friends become enemies following a misunderstanding. They try to protect each other, their country, and the people they love, each in their own way.
When I started watching My Country, I wasn't sure what type of journey the writer would take us on; I just knew I wanted to watch it since Jang Hyuk was one of the main leads and, of course, Woo Do Hwan. By episode three, I knew there was no way this drama would end with both Hwi and Sun alive and understood it would be a very hard drama to watch, not because it wasn't good, on the contrary, because it was that good. This drama evoked serious emotions - everything from joy, pain, deep sorrow, laughter to heartache. Throughout the journey, it becomes clear that the true love story in My Country: The New Age was always where it started between Hwi and Sun, no matter what happened between them, be it hurting each other physically and, or emotionally, and even choices had to be made, they always choose each other.
Hwi, Sun, and Bang-won, every actor brought their best to this drama, particularly Jang Hyuk (Bong-won) and Woo Do-hwan (Sun). They both excelled at portraying less than perfect characters who nonetheless moved me for their vulnerability, sorrow, love, and regret. Yang Se-jong was fantastic, embodying Hwi with a soft yet stern quality that he never loses, despite everything he goes through. I started this drama for Jang Hyuk but came out a die-hard fan of all the actors for a beautifully told story, produced, directed, and acted!
Age is But a Number - A drama worth the Watch
Secret Love Affair
A 2014 South Korean television series starring Kim Hee-ae and Yoo Ah-in. A story about a married woman in her 40s who has an affair with a pianist in his 20s, the romance melodrama explores the struggle between attraction and societal expectation.
Oh Hye-won (Kim Hee-ae) is a 40-year-old woman who feels that she's leading a fulfilling life. Elegant, sophisticated, and excellent at dealing with people, she spares no effort in her quest for success as the director of planning for the Seohan Arts Foundation. But then she meets Lee Sun-Jae (Yoo Ah-in), a 20-year-old genius pianist from an impoverished background who is unaware of his ability and works as a quick delivery guy. Hye-won experiences for the first time what truly falling in love is like, and she and Sun-Jae begin a passionate affair which they must keep secret because it threatens to unravel both their lives.
Sun Jae is a twenty-year-old piano genius who became a delivery man without finishing high school due to his poor background. One day, he delivers a package to a classical music concert hall, and he plays the piano positioned on stage. Sun Jae is found by Hye Won, an elite art director in the Arts Foundation and wife to a piano professor. Hye Won instantly recognizes his talent and sends him to study under her husband to cultivate him into a leading young musician. Born to a low-income family, Sun Jae had never taken formal music lessons and is overwhelmed by Hye Won’s support. Piano lessons are his salvation, and she becomes his muse. One thing leads to another, and he confesses to her, “I need you more desperately than music now.” Hye Won is deeply affected by his masculine charm and pleading eyes. Yet, she cannot afford to throw away everything she has worked to build. However, it would be even worse to lose this young lover. Hye Won thinks to herself, “This is my punishment for being ignorant of my feelings and arrogant in the face of love."
A Drama Worthy of Anyone's Time
The Good Wife
is a South Korean television series starring Jeon Do-Yeon, Yoo Ji-Tae, and Yoon Kye-sang. It is a Korean drama remake of the American television series of the same title. The story is about a successful prosecutor, but he gets arrested for corruption in a political and extramarital affair scandal. His wife, who graduated top of her class and trained as a lawyer but gave it all up after marriage kids, is forced to get back to work after a 15-year hiatus to support her family. And in doing so discovers who she is really is and what matters to her the most.
Kim Hye Kyung (Jeon Do Yeon), the wife, goes back to work as a lawyer after 15 years of being a stay home mum after her prosecutor's husband, Lee Tae Joon (Yoo Ji Tae), gets arrested for receiving for prosecutor corruption and receiving sexual favors and bribes. She ends up working at MJ law firm, run by Seo Joong Won (Yoon Kye Sang), Hye Kyung's law school friend, and his sister, Seo Myung Hee (Kim Seo Hyung).
Hye Kyung is assisted in her cases by a super talented examiner, Kim Dan (Nana), while she has to compete with Lee Joon Ho, a young lawyer 10 years her junior (Lee Won Geun) permanent spot in the firm.
The show is rather episodic, with each episode featuring a different case for Hye Kyung & MJ firm to tackle. Still, the overarching theme is Hye Kyung's growth as a woman, single mother, a lawyer, and the threads that tie all of that together. The Good Wife is one of the better dramas of its time, with stellar acting all across the board. I didn't come across one bad apple in the bunch, a drama definitely worthy of your time.
An Aystetically Pleasing Drama to Watch
A 2018 South Korean television series written by Kim Eun-sook and directed by Lee Eung-bok [ko], starring Lee Byung-Hun, Kim Tae-Ri, Yoo Yeon-Seok, Kim Min-Jung, and Byun Yo-han. The series is set in Hanseong (the former name of Seoul) in the early 1900s and focuses on activists fighting for Korea's independence.
The series recorded the 6th highest cable television ratings, with its final episode reaching 18.129% and netting an average rating of 12.955%, which is the second-highest average rating ever recorded for cable television. It received critical acclaim for its cinematography and storytelling but was also criticized for the inaccurate portrayal of historical facts, with some even accusing it of being "pro-Japanese." Mr. Sunshine won the Drama of the Year award at the 6th APAN Star Awards and the Grand Prize for Lee Byung-Hun.
The story centers around Eugene Choi (Lee Byung-Hun), born into slavery in Joseon but escaped to the US after the 1871 Shinmiyangyo (US expedition to Korea). He becomes a US Marine Corps officer and returns to Joseon for a mission. While in Joseon, he meets and falls in love with an aristocrat's granddaughter, Go Ae-shin (Kim Tae-Ri), who is part of the Righteous Army. However, their love is challenged by their different classes and Kim Hee-Sung's presence (Byun Yo-Han), a nobleman in an arranged marriage with Ae-shin. Simultaneously Eugune also encounters Goo Dong-Mae (Yoo Yeon-Seok), a ruthless samurai in love with Ae-shin. He also meets Hina Kudo (Kim Min-Jung), owner of the "Glory Hotel" where Eugene stays. At the same time, he discovers a plot by the Empire of Japan to colonize Korea and soon becomes embroiled in the fight for Joseon's sovereignty.
Unlike most Sageuk (historical) dramas dealing with Korea's Japanese occupation, Mr. Sunshine takes place before the Japanese annexation of Korea, in the late 1800s to early 1900s, with a heavy focus on the Righteous Army. Real-life historical events such as Shinmiyangyo, the Spanish-American War, the assassination of Empress Myeongseong, the Russo-Japanese War, Gojong's forced abdication, and the Battle of Namdaemun are portrayed or mentioned.
A Drama With a Mature Theme -- Refreshing
On the Way to the Airport
A South Korean television series starring Kim Ha-neul, Lee Sang-Yoon, Shin Sung-rok, Choi Yeo-jin, and Jang Hee-jin, about married individuals who meet by fate and become more involved in each other's lives.
Choi Soo-ah (Kim Ha-neul) is an experienced AirAsia stewardess who is married to Park Jin-Seok (Shin Sung-rok), a pilot who dominates every aspect of her and their daughter Park Hyo-sun's (Kim Hwan-hee) life. Despite the protest, Jin-Seok sends Hyo-Eun to an international school in Malaysia where she meets Annie Seo/Seo Eun-woo, Seo Do-woo's (Lee Sang-Yoon) daughter. Tragedy strikes when Annie dies while attempting to come back home, and despite their denial, Soo-ah and Do-woo's lives get intertwined together.
Nothing about this drama is rushed, everything is slow and methodical. The story details how Choi Soo Ah has spent the last twelve years working, being a good mother and wife, putting her husband's selfish wants and needs before her daughter's and hers. Despite knowing that, she is content with her life; until she meets Seo Do Woo, and her life changes completely.
The bright and warm Seo Do Woo is a fully dedicated husband and father to his wife's daughter, whom he seems to care for even more than his wife does. He works as a part-time architecture instructor. They, too, send their daughter to the same international school as Cho Soo Ah's daughter. The two girls meet and quickly become best of friends, united in a strange country. Like Soo Ah, Do Woo is content until a shocking incident brings confusion and Choi Soo Ah into his life. What happens after is a beautiful story of two people who collide in a sad yet beautiful and wistful journey that goes beyond love and marriage but touches on the true meaning of relationships. The journey doesn't only change them but everything and everyone around them.
A Tale About Love in the Joseon Dynasty.
Jang Ok-Jung, Living by Love
A 2013 South Korean historical television series starring Kim Tae-hee, Yoo Ah-in, Hong Soo-Hyun, and Jae Hee. Based on the 2008 novel by Choi Jung-mi, it is a reinterpretation of Jang Hui-bin's life as a woman involved in fashion design and cosmetics-making in the Joseon Dynasty.
This drama tells Jang Ok Jung's story as a woman, one of the most famous royal concubines in the Joseon Dynasty, who was behind the deposition of King Sook Jong’s wife, Queen In Hyun. However, unlike the countless dramas and movies about this famous villain, this drama tells Jang Ok Jung's story before becoming the concubine Jang Hee Bin. It focuses on her role as a fashion designer and cosmetic maker in the Joseon era.
What drew me to this drama was Yoo Ah In as a King in-love. His delivery is outstanding, not only in acting but how in how he so blindly fell for Jang Ok Jung to the extent that he was willing to give up the throne for her, and how she loved him too much to let him be dethroned for her sake and makes the choices she does. The story is really about the woman, Jang Ok Jung, and not the royal Hee Bin. This is one of the very few dramas that truly touched me despite not having been a favorite with many. The acting, the premise of the story, and its era are what drew and kept to the end. I think it also helped that I am a sucker for historical dramas.
A Tale of Healing and Love
It's Okay to Not Be Okay
A South Korean romance drama television series written by Jo Yong and directed by Park Shin-woo. It stars Kim Soo-Hyun, Seo Yea-Ji, Oh Jung-Se, and Park Gyu-young. The series follows a selfless psych ward caretaker and an antisocial children's book writer.
The series was broadcast for 16 episodes on tvN and Netflix from June 20, 2020, to August 9, 2020. According to Nielsen Korea, it recorded an average nationwide TV viewership rating of 5.4%. It was the most popular show of 2020 in the romance genre on Netflix in South Korea. The New York Times named It's Okay to Not Be Okay one of "The Best International Shows of 2020". Critical responses were primarily positive; some commentators criticized the writing in the latter half of the series but praised the cast's acting.
Moon Gang-tae (Kim Soo-Hyun) lives with his older brother Moon Sang-Tae (Oh Jung-Se), an autistic. They frequently move from town to town ever since Sang-Tae witnessed their mother's murder. Gang-Tae works as a caretaker in a psychiatric ward at every place they've settled in. While working in a hospital, he meets a famous children's book writer, Ko Moon-young (Seo Yea-Ji), who is rumored to have an antisocial personality disorder.
Circumstances lead Gang-tae to work at the OK Psychiatric Hospital in Seongjin City, the same city where they all lived when they were young. Meanwhile, Moon-young forms a romantic obsession over Gang-Tae after finding out that their pasts overlap. She follows him to Seong-jin, where the trio (including Sang-Tae) slowly begins to heal each other's emotional wounds. They unravel many secrets, seek comfort from each other, and move forward in their lives.
A Love That Knows No Boundaries
It is a 2013 South Korean television series starring Hwang Jung-Eum, Ji Sung, Bae Soo-Bin, and Lee Da-Hee. The series tells the story of a man who does not believe in love falls for a woman who has been hurt by it. A rich "bad boy" falls in love with an innocent but tenacious woman who went to prison for her boyfriend's 'hit and run murder. As the story unfolds, secrets begin to unravel
Min Hyuk is a wealthy cheobel son, with everything but a good personality. He’s been enraged and consumed by the need for revenge ever since he learned his lover was the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
Yoo Jung takes the blame for her boyfriend, the actual driver at the time of the accident. She is imprisoned for five years and loses everything in her attempt to protect the man she loves, including her father and child. But what's even worse than that is in time, she learns that the person she willingly threw her life away for was not whom she thought him to be and starts to feel betrayed for having done so. But despite all that and having to suffer the wrath of Min Hyuk, Jung refuses to give up on life and, in the process, helps him realize what truly matters in life.
A Compelling Historical Time Travel Love Story
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryo
a South Korean television series based on the Chinese novel Bu Bu Jing Xin. The series recorded an average nationwide rating of 7.6% for Nielsen Korea and 7.3% for TNMS and was considered a failure for its performance below expectations. On the contrary, it performed well internationally and had over 1.1 billion views in China and high ratings in Singapore and Malaysia. The drama has reportedly been sold for more than $400,000 per episode to the Chinese broadcasting station Youku, totaling over $8 million and thus became the most expensive K-drama ever sold. The record was beaten a few months later by Man to Man.
A 25-year-old 21st-century woman, Go Ha-jin (Lee Ji-Eun), is transported back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty during a total solar eclipse. She finds herself mysteriously waking up in the Goryeo Era in the body of Hae Soo after trying to save a child from drowning. In complete disbelief, she tries to find her way back home but again finds herself swept up into the water into where the royal princes of the ruling Wang family during the reign of King Taejo bathe. After many failed attempts to get herself back to her own timeline, she finds herself living in the house of 8th Prince Wang Wook, who is married to her cousin. She soon befriends several of the princes and meets the ostracized 4th Prince, Wang So.
Although Hae Soo knows she should not get involved in palace intrigues over the succession to the throne, she inadvertently becomes a pawn in the struggle. Several of the Princes fall in love with her, including the 8th Prince, whom she also falls in love with. Still, things slowly start to change for her when she meets and gets to know the 4th Prince, fearsome and dabbed the "wolf-dog. She starts to fall for him, putting her in the stronghold of a love triangle that brings her greatest pains and joys.
A Drama with a Message
Hot Stove League
A 2019 South Korean television series starring Namgoong Min, Park Eun-bin, Oh Jung-Se, and Jo Byung-Gyu. The series received critical acclaim and won Best Drama at the 56th Baeksang Arts Awards.
The drama tackles the story about a major league baseball team's preparation period, the Dreams, that has placed last in the league for the past four seasons. When their General Manager is pushed out, the team hires Baek Seung-Soo (Namgoog Min) as the new general manager despite having zero experience managing a baseball team. Seung-Soo is, however, known for successfully managing several last-ranked teams from various other sports to success. Facing shrinking budgets, infighting between the coaching staff and a team deeply set in their ways, Seung-soo uses his outsider insight and the help of operations manager Se-young and Jae-hee to upend the Dreams' culture in a bid to create a championship-winning team, despite the looming fact that every team he has managed before has folded after winning the championship.
The drama tackles the trials and tribulations the team undergoes under new leadership as it prepares for its new season under new management. Each episode focuses on a different issue within the team and the lengths to which the new manager is willing to make the players into a team.
Se Young is the youngest ever Head Coach and is highly recognized for her perseverance and intense passion. On the other hand, Han Jae Hee is an energetic man who is the grandson of a furniture maker. Kim Young Chae is a softball player turned sports announcer. Yoo Min Ho, a pitcher who is crazy about baseball.
4 Reasons Why “Beyond Evil” is One of the Best Dramas of 2021
Beyond Evil is one of those rare masterpieces that sticks around long after its end. Tightly-plotted, enthralling, and altogether addictive, this show will have you on the edge of your seat throughout its heart-thumping run.
The story starts in the sleepy town of Manyang, where evil first bloomed 20 years ago when women started vanishing, with nothing found of them but their fingertips. When a popular, well-liked girl vanishes, her brother, Lee Dong Sik (Shin Ha Kyun), is accused of killing her. 20 years later, Lee Dong Sik, let go for insufficient evidence, becomes a policeman in the Serious Crime Unit in Seoul, where he serves for almost the duration but is demoted and transferred to Manyang because of a mysterious incident duty in Seoul. In Manyang, he is relegated to performing menial tasks at the Manyang Police Substation.
Changes come to Manyang in Han Joo Won (Yeo Jin Goo), a rising star within the police agency. He is also the son of the future Police Commissioner. Assigned as Dong Sik’s boss, the two form a reluctant partnership. But Joo Won keeps a secret that is froth with guilt and missteps, and when the disappearances from 20 years ago begin again, the two men are forced to question everything they know, especially what they think they know of each other.
The four reasons that make this drama the best of 2021 include:
1. The Undeniable Chemistry between actors Shin Ha Kyun and Yeo Jin Go
The spark in how the actors play off their roles can’t be called anything but chemistry from their drawn outstares, deep gazes, heartfelt pleas, and a hate-to-love dynamic that’s nothing short of electric. Both Shin Ha Kyun and Yeo Jin Goo anchor the show with nuanced, vivid performances that go above and beyond. It’s no wonder the show scored four nominations include best actor for Shin Ha Kyun at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards.
2. The people of Manyang
For a show that relies heavily on its two main stars to carry the plot, one might think that the remaining characters would be paper-thin, but this isn’t the case at all. From Manyang police chief Nam Sang Bae (Chun Ho Jin) to shaky, timid Park Jeong Je (Choi Dae Hoon), fiery Yoo Jae Yi (Choi Sung Eun), newbie Oh Ji Hoon (Nam Yoon Su), and all the way down to flamboyant, Russian-speaking Lee Chang-Jin (Heo Sung Tae), the people of Manyang are vivid and realistic with flaws, insecurities, and dreams of their own. Despite the show being male-dominated, there is no denying that the women featured in the show are the heart and core of this story.
3. The Mystery
Too often, thrillers begin by giving everything away and telling viewers who the killer is. It makes for a somewhat frustrating watch as we know that the characters are not, and we have to watch them struggle to realize what we know will happen. But the really great mysteries are the ones that leave you guessing until the very end. That’s exactly what this show does, but not with a series of unrealistic twist after twist after twist. “Beyond Evil” knows exactly when to pull the rug out from beneath its characters and when to hold back. We know only what the characters know, and sometimes even less than that. Like Dong Sik and Joo Won, we also play detective, trying to figure out who is abducting women and why they’ve started again after 20 years.
4. The OST
A drama like this requires atmospheric music. Nothing too cheery or overtly sinister but something that manages to straddle the line between tense and solemn. That’s exactly what the OST for “Beyond Evil” manages to do. There’s seriously such a great team behind this drama. It hits it out of the park, even with the background music.
The best song from the album is Choi Baek Ho’s “That Night,” which also plays at the end of every episode. It’s a stunning piece that somehow conveys loneliness, weariness, and fear, and it’s so incredibly addictive. The old-timey feel of the song fits perfectly with the small-town setting and the idea of time standing still for its residents like Dong Sik. The song’s lyrics speak of the narrator searching for someone, seeing their traces everywhere, and wondering if they’ll ever find them. This message ties into the story in so many ways and intersects profoundly with each character’s life. And the rest of the album is just as amazing.
If you decide to watch this drama, it will not disappoint you!