The Year That Was – 2014 Volume Uno: Best of K-Dramas

Wow, hard to believe but this marks just over 1 year of hardcore drama watching.  First exposed to Secret Garden via Netflix a couple years ago, it took some time (and free time) in order to finally jump in to the magic of Kdramaland.  I come to this “official kdrama watcher tag” by my first experience live-streaming, aka watching shows that haven’t been recommended in some critical consensus because they are still airing, which can also mean #loomingdissapointment.  But I’m in no position to complain, as my first “live” drama just happened to be the small, modest You Who Came From the Stars.  I like the symmetry that my first drama and first live drama just happen to be the most popular trendy dramas of the past 5 years.

yoo in ah

Key to crazy drama hits – Yoo In Ah?

Both set viewer records domestically and abroad, while proving their worth far after the final episode through parodies, tours, references, and commentary from news outlets.  At this point you may be thinking, “wait, I thought this post was going to discuss the year’s best dramas, not some girls experience watching massive hits.” Well if y’all would just calm down, my stream of conscious thoughts will eventually catch up so take Xanax and chill/scroll down.

AAA secret garden from the stars

My misappropriated point is this.  With both shows I was giddy for watching/experiencing something new.  The former being a K-Drama or long-form rom-com and the ladder being the feeling of watching a drama with an international online community, all while only barley grasping how huge the show actually was.  Thusly, my biased for these shows were/are obviously impacted.  Both shows have many problems that keep if from being a “perfect drama”, and yet I shall look upon these dramas with fondness and happy nostalgia pains for all that it lead to, namely this blog and the online drama community.

With all that sappiness outta the way let’s move onto the the good, bad, and ugly of 2014 in dramaland.  This year I watched 18 dramas.  I count watched dramas as anything where I watched the majority of episodes in 2014, either by calendar dates (Pinocchio), or it was so bad I dropped (Greatest Marriage).  Two currently airing dramas I’m loving, (Healer and Valid Love) won’t have enough episodes aired in 2014 to allow inclusion, but considering my happy dance when each episode is uploaded, expect their inclusion for 2015’s list.

Honestly I’m not sure If I could ever see myself completing more then 20 dramas (live) annually because there is whole lotta crap to wade through in order to get the gems.  Though when you do find those few precious few shows that surpass expectations, it can make any so-so year feel suddenly one to remember.

Because I feel the sudden need to acknowledge all these shows I put around a days worth of time and subtitle reading skills to, I’ve decided to follow the People Republic of Boulder suit and give everyone a trophy/award.  Like is my want, not all awards are created equal.  In addition, the shows are grouped together and in two main cate–, eh well you’ll figure it out. Onwards!

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Dishonorable Mention – IHYV not Including Secret Garden Reference

Note: What follows is nothing but nonsense, but can be considered a precursor to the next Top 5- Best instances of dramas including a reference to the massively popular 2010 hit.  Hopefully, that should be released before the weekends out, but in the meantime, enjoy… whatever this is.

Seriously what gives? as its been shown previously, have SG cast member, will often produce SG callback. So have two SG cast members (possibly 4 with guest roles), who were always in scenes together which also featured an unrequited love – crickets.  UGH.  It could have been as simple as a glance of recognition, or upon meeting having one of them remark about having deja vu, remarking on his sexiness and/or musical ability, I mean come on! Soooo what follows is an excerpt of a conversation I  had with myself while watching an episode of I Hear Your Voice.

Me: Oye! Another scene with both of them [Sang-Hyun and Jong Suk], emotions running high, tempers flaring, obvious jealousy but not a single twinkle of some Secret Garden recognition, it’s like they are hiding the truth!

Myself: Calm down geeze, Sometimes I can’t believe we come from the same genetic material. Check what network IHYV played on, bet it’s different than SG.

Me: Googling..Googling…and both are SBS affiliated. Got anymore ideas Einstein?

Myself: You really need to work on your clichéd putdowns… Well, and I know this hurts, but perhaps the writers didn’t want to draw attention to other dramas because it takes you away from this one.  This is a fully immersive story and universe, with detailed attention to its characters.  So even if a couple of actors happen to have worked together previously, the fact is these are different fully drawn characters that don’t need to rely on silly references to appease a small section of viewers like some pop-culture parody laden Shrek movie.  This is like Pixar Y’all – all world building, no filler.

Me: Wow your out of your chair and everything, which is strange considering we’re the same person..  Well fine then, you [Myself] make some decent points.  But I still feel they are missing the easy lay-up to referential humorville. Population: me. Oh well tis not to be I reckon…Hey whose that guy on-screen meeting Oska?

Myself: Le sigh, you mean Yoon Sang-Hyun? His name in this drama is Kwan-Woo just ya know FYI..  But I haven’t a clue, appears to be a cameo of some sort.  Let me check.  … … …

Me: Hey, who is the ajusshi? Been in anything worth watching?

Myself: Definitely not.

Me: Okay, whose acting weird now. What’s he been in?!?

Myself: erm hes fromgentlemansdignity.

Me: You just quickly whispered Gentleman’s Dignity didn’t you? Which is preposterous as whywould a drama as refined as this not only refer to another drama, but refer to one whose creator/writer created Secret Garden before writing this Gentleman’s smignity nonsense.

Myself: I never said I was right, it was just a theory.

Me: Hm, well you were so full of it you were practically on top of that Greek Trojan thing, declaring the drama of having such dramatic purity that IHYV would never stoop so low.  Well here’s a thought – This drama is really just platform in which copious amounts of products can be shilled out to the masses.  I mean Lee Bo-Young would go into caffeinated shock with how much the character uses her special tea filters and coffee shop lattes.  Plus this cameo is the character from Gentleman’s Dignity meaning that show takes place in IHYV’s universe.  Thus taints your idealized IHYV world, that one where serial killers get the job done decades at a time, almost dying gives you sucky magical powers, and where the law was created by toddlers.

Myself: 1st off, was that a thinly veiled reference to “get off your high horse”? Not your worst I guess. Secondly, this hypocritical nonsense coming from the fan of said drama where switching bodies is caused by precipitation. And lastly, you done venting yet?

Me: Never! In fact this is why my snark needs to be let free, as taking everything so seriously watching these dramas will drive me nuts! So, since Me wins this round I will say that the slight mockery snarkfest will not be reined in!  At least not until the day comes when YSH and LJS are in yet a third drama together where the only other possibility remains.  They become the OTP of all OTP’s and ride off into the sunset.

Myself: And that my friend, is why we are the same person. I concur vehemently. Let it commence!

Lee Jong Suk Yoon Sang Hyun SG IHYV