Monday, October 21, 2013

Top 5 Dramas for 2011

Top 5 Dramas for 2011

These are my picks for the top dramas that I've seen from 2011. Again, they are not arranged in no particular order as I love them all equally. This was probably the hardest list to narrow down to 5 as there were so many dramas that I watched from this year that I loved but when I thought long and hard, it was these 5 that bubbled to the top easily. Compare it with your list for 2011:

Ojakgyo Brothers
Stars Joo Won and Uee. The story of a family with four sons who live together with their relatives on a farm near Seoul. Hwang Tae Hee is the third son and a policeman who falls in love with a girl named Baek Ja Eun. Baek Ja Eun is a haughty young woman who only believes in her pretty looks and is quick to flare up in anger.

This truly was a drama that reminds you of a cold car that has been sitting for awhile; like that cold car, it takes it awhile to start; so too does this drama. The first 5-6 episodes, I kept asking myself why do people like this? The next 10 episodes were a lot better but I still didn't see the fascination; however, from that point on it kept getting better and better. The bromance between the brothers; the individual romances, even though the second brother and his wife's story will grate on your nerve, hang in there. However, the highlight romance and story, you must give to Uee and Joo Won. I was so glad to see him again and for him to have a great chemistry with his co-star lead. Their chemistry was so sweet and so was their story. You really didn't want it to end. The conflicts, even though serious, you hated to see them. I loved the brothers, the women in their lives, everything. Great story! Great acting!
The Princess's Man
Stars Park Shi Hoo and Moon Chae Won. Princess Se Ryung is the headstrong and forward-thinking daughter to Grand Prince Su Yang, who is determined to be King. She falls in love with the son of his mortal enemy, and their romance gets caught in the crossfire of her father's quest for the throne.

TPM effect is alive and well! I have lost count the number of times I have watched this very well put together drama! Every time I watch it, I end up marathon watching until the end. The acting was amazing! I was already impressed with Park Shi Hoo but his portrayal of this tortured soul was beyond amazing! Moon Chae Won's portrayal of not a wilted flower but of a very strong and determined young woman willing to do anything to protect her man; outstanding! The secondary romance between the crowned princess and Jong, you will become totally vested with that relationship also. This rates higher than a 10! It comes highly recommended!

New Tale of a Gisaeng
Stars Sung Hoon and Im Soo Hyang. New Tales of Gisaeng depicts the love, sadness and pain of people surrounding a gisaeng house, where only VIPs can enter. Dan Sa Ran majored in classical dance while attending college. Her mother died when she was still young and her father remarried, bringing with him a new stepsister and a materialistic stepmother whom she has trouble warming up to. Sa Ran comes from a poor family, but she maintains her dignity around friends who come from rich families. Either fate or coincidence brings her together with Da Mo, to whom she feels an instant attraction, but her awareness of her poor background restrains her from voicing it. Da Mo is cocky and tends to look down on women, but begins to question his attitude when he meets Sa Ran by chance. He finds himself involuntarily drawn to her, and their relationship begins.

Mind Blown!! What can I say about this drama! Family dramas are probably the ones I watch the least; however, I have been very fortunately in watching some of the best and this is definitely one of them! Im Soo Hyang as Sa Ran and Sung Hoon as Da Mo, if you don't fall in love with this couple, you're immune to love! I cannot even say I hated a character; even Da Mo's crazy father has his endearing characteristics! My one complaint is the possession storyline, that could have been dropped and condensed this drama below 50 episodes. 

But what I did like about this drama was that you got to explore their relationship from start, to dating, to heartache, to marriage and finally children! A complete story!! What is absolutely amazing is that this was Sung Hoon's first drama ever!! Sure, he starts out the typical chaebol, spoiled brat but his transformation is like no other. Sure, you are going to look at the 52 episodes and say, this is too long but to give you an idea how well the acting is, just watch the last 10 minutes of episode 33. I guarantee in those 10 minute, you will want to watch the other 51 hours and 40 minute; guarantee!! I call those 10 min my emotionally stunned moments!! Only one other drama has ever affected me the same; one!!
49 Days
Stars Lee Yo Won, Jo Hyun Jae, Bae Su Bin, Jung Il Woo, and Nam Gyu Ri. A young woman named Ji Hyun was enjoying absolute bliss as she was about to be married with her fiance, but her perfect life is shattered in a car accident that left her in a coma. She is given a second chance at life by a reaper, but it comes with a condition: she has to find three people outside of her family who would cry genuine tears for her. In order to do this, she borrows the body of Yi Kyung, a part-time employee at a convenience store.

I really think that this story was well done. The originality was definitely in the possession or swapping of souls, otherwise, it was definitely a story we had seen before; however, the concept of an afterlife is achieved in a way that I have not seen previously. I like that all of the characters are consistent even as certain characters grow. It isn’t a happy drama by any means, but it isn’t overly sad either. I think it is thought provoking. I love the twists and turns this story makes as well as the love stories. The only point of the story that I don’t like is the reasoning behind In Jung’s behavior. It is a convoluted explanation that I really had a hard time understanding sometimes.

Lee Yo Won's acting alone definitely deserved a 10. This was the drama that made me a lifelong fan of hers as it was the first time I'd seen her in anything. She is amazing. I really could tell the difference between Yi Kyung and Ji Hyun. 

Bae Su Bin/Min Ho, Jo Hyun Jae/Kang, and Jun Il Woo/Scheduler did a terrific job playing their characters. Min Ho is easy to hate and Kang is easy to love while the Scheduler is just all together adorable.  Seo Ji Hye's character was pretty one dimensional to me. I’m not sure if it is just because I hated In Jung or if it was her acting. Her character was certifiably crazy though. The music is good. Not the best, but the rewatch value for me is pretty high.
What's Up
Stars Im Ju Hwan, Jang Hee Jin, Kang Dae Sung, Oh Man Suk, Im Joo Eun, and Kim Ji Won. And let's not forget Jo Jung Suk. Jang Jae Hun is a high school dropout who roams the streets at night with his two best friends pickpocketing drunkards. He accidentally causes an accident that leads to the death of a stranger. Park Tae Hee lives in the countryside with her grandfather, and inherited her musical talents from her father. Ha Do Sung composes songs in anonymity as rock star HADES. Having been abandoned at a young age by his ambitious mother, he tries to live quietly without drawing attention to himself. Kim Byeong Gun is the odd one out in his family of businessmen, wishing to pursue a career in musicals - despite his debilitating fear of performing in front of others. Eun Chae Young is the experienced actress, having been in the industry for 10 years. However, she has the desire to prove herself on the musical stage, rather than a movie actress with a pretty face. 

What she doesn't expect is to be challenged by Oh Doo Ri, an equally talented actress who prefers to spend her time playing first-person shooting computer games than rehearsing. These young adults end up together in the musical department of Haneul Arts University, and find themselves under the guidance of unconventional professor Sunwoo Young. With each passing day, they get a chance to learn what it is to be a 'star,' and to prove to the people around them that they can succeed in their chosen path.

While everyone was watching Dream High, this was the drama that grabbed and held my attention from start to finish. It was my first introduction to DaeSang (yeah, surprising) and especially Im Ju Hwan (yes, I've shocked a few people with this revelation) as well as pretty much everyone else in the cast; the exception being Man Suk and Joo In who I'd seen in previous dramas and were the draw to this for me.

Imagine my surprise when I was drawn into the story from the beginning. It was rare and totally different than any I'd seen before. The love story was different; the characters were human. The absence of the usual drama cliques were a welcome surprise but most of all the acting was superb but the singing was PHENOMENAL!! Every time I listen to the OST and play the duet with Ji Won and Jung Suk, I still get goose bumps!! I really felt that this drama did what Dream High failed to do to me; woo me into the story that I really cared about the characters. I imagine that where Dream High was definitely for the younger viewer; I imagine the older viewers would definitely appreciate this story more; I sure did. But most of all, it introduced me to Im Ju Hwan! And what an introduction!

Honorable Mentions
Both of these dramas are very popular with others and while I loved them, it is always hard to pick your top 5: 

So What Are Your Top 5 for 2011?
Let me know in the comments!


  1. Here is my top 5 (not in order):
    1. 49 Days
    2. City Hunter
    3. Can You Hear My Heart?
    4. TEN
    5. Vampire Prosecutor

    - missienelly

    1. Agree. All were great!! Had to think long on this one.