I’m thankful I was able to do one of the things I love doing the most this year, and that is watching Asian dramas. I’m pretty proud of myself for watching a lot, and when I listed down everything (thanks to MyDramaList.info!), I was surprised; when I buffered and downloaded all these, I didn’t feel like watching these much.
I’ll be dividing this review into three: LOVED, MEH, and LOATHED. I look forward to next year’s roster of dramas, and I hope I’d watch as much as I did this year, considering I’ll be entering the work force already 😛
[One observation: Almost everything in this list had been dubbed and broadcasted by local channels. I have good taste, if I do say so myself]
[L]: dramas dubbed by local channels
[N]: dramas not broadcasted in 2011 but I only watched this year
[I]: dramas I have yet to finish
Autumn’s Concerto [L] [N]
Prior to watching this one, I’ve been hearing rave reviews from all around saying how AC is probably one of the best Taiwanese dramas out there, and I absolutely agree. Except the little lapses with Vanness’ acting (and it’s his first lead role so can we blame him?), everyone’s acting were just perfection. I was hooked with the story shortly after watching the first episode, and I think that says a lot. Before I watched In Time With You, this was definitely the best TDrama I have seen. And that also says a lot, especially with my outright bias for anything Rainie Yang.
49 Days [L]
One sign that a drama has you hook, line, and sinker is when you’re doing foot work for your OJT and your mind is already preoccupied with the next recap that Dramabeans has yet to post. If there is one KDrama that made me cry, fidgety, smile and blush this year, it’s this one. All my emotions were invested that a void was left when the drama finally ended. What I liked most about this is the unfolding of the story slowly but surely, and how every single episode has a cliffhanger for an ending. I love that technique, because it makes us anticipate the next episode and wait in eagerness. I also love the characters, but some I only learned to love (Nam Gyu Ri). Lastly, thumbs up to the perfect execution of the drama tropes, the explanation of rules that did not feel like rules, and the handling of the 49 Days. All-in-all: I would watch this again in a heartbeat.
In Time With You
LI DA REEEEEEEEEEN~ Wo ai niiiiii. :>:>
Forgive the fangirl speaking. Now for me this one’s the best TDrama of 2011. I love love love how this was directed, and the lines, well-written. I also love the actors–perfect choices to play the roles of You Qing and Da Ren. I have a soft spot for the best friend-turned-lovers story, so I’m glad [SPOILER!!] they only became a couple in the last episode [/SPOILER!!]. It’s much realistic that way. [SPOILER!!] I also like how she did not choose Da Ren immediately right after Ding Li Wei because that’s just stupid. She doubted because of Da Ren’s feelings, but it didn’t mean she liked Da Ren at that very moment. [/SPOILER!!] I am losing words to say about this one, but long story short: watch this and it will absolutely take your breath away.
Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge [N]
This is in the MEH section because: while it was fun and cute, it was also forgettable. The plot is not impressive, and while the cliches were minimal, it still lacked the edge of a Japanese drama which I usually like (refer to Voice and Smile)
My Name is Kim Sam Soon [L] [N]
This is in the MEH section because: I can’t relate anymore to the dilemma of the heroine because I only watched it completely six years after it was broadcasted. And at times, Kim Sam-Soon really came off annoying. It’s hard to sympathize with someone like that. And Hyun Jin-Heon (Hyun Bin) finding it hard to dump a girl who first dumped him? UNREALISTIC. But to their credit: I did like this, but only the good parts, which were actually few to be honest.
My Sassy Girl [L] [N]
This is in the MEH section because: Ahjussi is too old to be paired up with young Chun Nyang, the years after trope is just really out of place and disappointing, and while most people liked it, I didn’t. At least the overall of it, since I did like scenes here and there, and the OTP in general. In short: liked the parts, not the whole.
Secret Garden [L]
This is in the MEH section because: while it was pretty to the eyes (scene-wise and actor-wise), the plot made absolutely no sense to me. In-laws which resisted ’til the end of time? Body-swap for what? To save the girl, or to know each other more? And quite frankly, I liked the Oska-Yoon Seul pairing more, and I enjoyed their scenes better than the scenes with Kim Joo Won and Gil Ra Im on it. Sorry Hyun Bin.
This is in the MEH section because: while I enjoyed every single metaphor and joke, it was too much to me. Absolutely too much and very over-the-top. I liked the chemistry between Gong Hyo Jin and Cha Seung Won, and I absolutely love the romantic comedy, but somehow, as it tried to deliver, it missed some important parts. Like that moment when Goo Ae Jung was on her way to the hospital to sing Dokko Jin a song. Everyone anticipated that something would happen, but it just cut into years (?) after the surgery. How. Boring.
Scent of a Woman [L]
This is in the MEH section because: I adore the cinematography, and the actors are eyecandies. Oh, and the bucket list is always good in my book. But the clingy boyfriend who wants her to live with him just because her days are already numbered? And he kept on insisting? Tsk. He was almost the perfect boyfriend, what with the fireworks and the tango routines, but man is he clingy. For Filipinos: minus pogi points.
Material Queen [I]
This is in the MEH section because: it’s dragging. Really. I’m still at episode 6? 7? I’m not even sure anymore, and I’m putting it on hold because I can’t force myself to continue. At least I haven’t given up yet right? Which is why I’m putting it here in the MEH list, because the first few episodes were just stunning and promising and engaging. But how am I to continue watching when the plot’s going nowhere, the writer I believe was changed, and there’s still 10+ episodes to watch? Too dragging, I pass for now.
Love You [L]
This is in the MEH section because: while I have a great bias for anything Rainie Yang, this one I didn’t like at all. AT ALL. It was just, UGH. Dragging, pointless plot, weak actors (except for Joseph Chang and Rainie Yang). No wonder Rainie did not win a Golden Bell after her great win last year for Hi! My Sweetheart. Nonetheless, for all the stupid, careless storylines, I did stick with you, Rainie, and at times, I did laugh and cry. But I think this year has been a weak year for you acting-wise.
This is in the MEH section because: THEY ADAPTED THE STORY FROM A KOREAN DRAMA, BUT THE TAIWAN DRAMA IN IT CANNOT BE HIDDEN. Annoying parents? Check. Annoying love rivals? Check. Rainie, why?! But for all its worth, Rainie Yang + Wu Chun had the chemistry that I did not see with Joseph and Rainie. And Wu Chun showcases his greatly improved acting skills in this one. Too bad he chose a weak project to showcase that. As for Rainie: WHY?!
Sunny Happiness [I]
This is in the MEH section because: Ten episodes in, and I still don’t know where the story is heading. Given, it’s a 20-episode drama, but come on. Tenth episode and the OTP just got fake married? No feelings yet? I haven’t finished this yet, and I’m trying to, but this proves to be one of those dramas you pick up, you watch, and you put aside for a while–you don’t anticipate it, but you don’t hate it as well. MEH’s the perfect word, actually.
Gloomy Salad Days [N]
This photo is from one of the rare scenes in the drama where Aaron smiles, because in all the other scenes he only does two things: frown or deal with a headache. I hate the great potential of GSD which only went down the drain because of too many stories, too many plots, and a weak common thread to connect them all. I’m just sorry I wasted time with this one, because I could’ve watched a happier drama. But no, I watched a drama about death itself, and I don’t like how I felt after.
I’m Sorry I Love You [L] [N]
I’ve come to realize that I shouldn’t shy away from revenge stories because there are dramas out there that make it work (What Happened in Bali). But this one’s just…*shakes head* You know that feeling in which everything you’ve seen so far leads you to the very end of it all, and then you find out the end just makes absolutely no sense? Oh, yes, they made a word for that: disappointment.
Smiling Pasta [N]
Dear Time, I’m sorry I even wasted you with this stupid drama. I promise to choose my future dramas wisely. Love, Jee.