Review Doramas

Daniel Larusso

Member: Rank 3
Here's a nice thread to talk about dramas. I used to be a huge fan of these tv shows, especially in highschool. I think that I've seen over 50. The last one that I watched was Sion Sono's show "All Esper Dayo!" which had its film version a later, and that was a few years ago.

Here's my favorite dramas:
(I've seen them many years ago, this is what I remember from them)

1 Litre of Tears

The saddest drama that watched, and probably my favourite too. I remember the character's development beeing really good, we become easily connected with Erika Sawajiri's character, which was beautifully portrayed by the actress. The fact that it was based on a diary from a real girl added a lot of realism and feelings to the show. Every episode ended with a quote taken from that diary, which was related to the character's condition on that episode.

My Boss, My Hero

This was the first drama that I watched, recommended by a friend that I had in highschool. It's not my favourite but it's the most special drama that I've seen because it started my old addiction on tv dramas.
This show is so much fun that I still remember some of its most epic scenes. The main character's facial expressions are crazy. It's light comedy mixed with emotional moments too. The first and all the funniest drama that I watched.

I'm going to share some other drama that I like at another time.


Member: Rank 5
Erika Sawajiri was the girl in the drama? I didn't know that. 1 litre was a big buzz at one time. Unfortunately, I watched the film and wondered what all that buzz was about. I wonder if I can find the drama somewhere


Member: Rank 1
I also watched the "1 litre" movie, not the drama. It was all right for me, but not great. I suppose everything is better developped in the drama, but unfortunately not much time for watching whatever involves several episodies :(


Member: Rank 2
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (Korea, Feb. 24, 2016-)

After years of watching this kind of thing, I sometimes find myself starting to write the review even before I begin watching it. But I'm not wrong!

This krom-kom with a police-drama plot skeleton is currently airing on TV. I've never watched one of these in real time before, and it's terrible because you do have to actually WAIT A WEEK FOR THE NEXT EPISODE.

You guys know the drill by now: pretty, clumsy, hot-tempered Korean babe who can't stop herself from saying insulting things is courted by two guys; one of them rich and arrogant/cooks for her, the other one is the entire grab-bag of everything else desirable; surly, manly, fiercely loyal to her, etc. etc. etc. Through some wacky mix-up, the girl has to sleep over in the house of the one guy. Gosh I hope there aren't any misunderstandings!

SWDBS is premised on the superhero template; the girl has superhuman strength for kicking of butt. But with a typically Korean twist to it, it's a woman and she's not big and buff. She's about 5'1" and cute as button, and always decked out in Tokyo haute-couture. So this just goes to prove that a girl can be tough and strong, without looking like a member of the Japanese Women's Volleyball Team -- at least in the little cocoon of a k-drama fantasy world that we will continue to live in.

Park Bo-young is adorable and the script and directing are as tight and snappy as anything out of Korea -- they've still got it. She actually reminds me of my grandmother and her generation, and the Hollywood of the 1930s, with their tough little women, who are nonetheless totally feminine. SWDBS is somewhat over the top with the sound and visual effects -- way beyond the usual <<bloink-bloink>> sound when she blinks, etc, but in a fun way.

Some of the jokes are Korean plays on language that are tough to catch, and the problem with television is that they are yammering nonstop so you rarely get to glimpse up from the subs at their faces. But watching the latest in Korean television is sometimes just like fresh, wholesome food for the imagination. Funner than hell, this is good solid entertainment. For now, anyway.



Member: Rank 5

Sounds cool. It really IS the krom-kom that we love. I'll add this to my watchlist. That is, if I'm still alive after watching Moonlight Drawn by Clouds.


Member: Rank 1
A short history of my drama-watching:

My first drama was Summer Snow (I think it was 2008). I watched it because of its IMDb rating (it was something ridiculous like 9.7).

I watched 1 Litre of Tears in early 2009 because it had very good reviews on (a site that no one uses anymore), and I remember a lot of reviews said it was basically the saddest thing ever. It was great and my new favorite.

Several months later I watched Nodame Cantabile, and then that was my favorite drama. Then I watched the anime, which I liked too (but not as much as the drama). Then I took a 6.5-year break from dramas for no particular reason.

In late 2015 / early 2016, I watched two comedies, Hana Yori Dango and Coffee Prince (my first K-drama), recommended by a friend. At this point in time, although I liked every drama so far, I was beginning to wonder if any drama was as good as the best anime.

So then I decided to watch Signal (my 2nd K-drama) and Nirvana in Fire (my first C-drama), both in the top 3 on along with 1 Litre of Tears. Nirvana in Fire is my new favorite, and the first one that I can confidently call a masterpiece.


Member: Rank 4
My contribution, in roughly the order I watched:

All In (2003): Two former friends rise through the gambling world as rivals, and of course have a shared love interest. My introduction to K-drama, and a good one. I liked this a lot. 4 / 5

My Lovely Sam-Soon (2005): Somewhat chubby and crass pastry chef falls into a love/hate relationship with her arrogant boss, who has his own issues with a girl that disappeared for 3 years but who has suddenly returned. More of a comedy than a drama (although of course, someone is dying; someone is always dying in these things), and it all hinges on the portrayal of Sam-Soon. Which is great! I love Sam-Soon! I have a crush on Sam-Soon! I've actually watched this all the way through three times in order to get more Sam-Soon fix! 4.5 / 5

Stairway to Heaven (2003): My God. Extremely moving and emotionally gut-wrenching story of star-crossed lovers and the evil stepmom and daughter who will do anything and everything to keep them apart. I was a basket case watching this. I could only handle 2 episodes at a time, it was just so emotionally draining. Tears like a river. The "evil stepmom" part has the be the evillest villain I've seen in anything (movie or TV). I swear, if I saw the actress walking down the street, I'd really have to restrain myself from going up and popping her one on the nose. When watching, I kept thinking to myself, if this doesn't end "good" (which is relative for these sorts of shows), I was just going to kill myself. In other words, I loved it. 5 / 5 (I really want to watch this again, but am sortof scared to at the same time).

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010): Pretty little girly boy has everyone at the boarding school all flummoxed; love him, hate him, feel sorta gay about him--plus he's smart and has cool friends! My wife recommended this to me, as she knows I love the Korean movies "where they wear the funny hats" (1500s - 1600s dynasty period?) and she said it was funny. Yes, they wear the funny hats and it was pretty cute. I'm glad I watched it, but don't see me watching it again. It does have one of the best lines ever ("Please...don't...ever a girl again"--you have to see it in context). 3.5 / 5

Happy Together (1999): Pretty good drama about 5 adult siblings (half/step/full) who have a hard time getting back together after being separated as children. 3.5 / 5

Shoot for the Stars (2002): Illiterate wannabe-actor falls in love with his manager's sister. Of course there are those out to thwart them at every turn. Very engaging characters well-acted by all (especially the always amazing Do-yeon Jeon). She's the only reason I picked this up as a blind buy. Has she ever been in a bad role? Easy 4 / 5.

Save the Last Dance for Me (2004): Dude gets in a car accident (with amnesia, don't you know), and is nursed back to health by a girl who runs a vacation cottage with her dad. Girl and guy fall in love. But something comes up that breaks them apart. He regains his memory of his former life, but loses his memory for the year spent with vacation cottage girl. Then she ghosts him (twice!) due to some misplaced deference to his arranged marriage and…for other reasons. And someone is trying to kill him. Sounds ridiculous, but goddamn if it doesn't work. It's a slow build, so don't bail after just the first few episodes, which barley hint at the drama to come. 4.5 / 5

Love Letter (2003): Overlong and overwrought story about boy and girl orphans who become friends at the parsonage. She loves him but he wants to be a priest. But then he loves her and doesn't know what to do. Then she is dying. Meanwhile, his real mother shows up, and his half brother, and *he* falls in love with the girl. Melodrama ensues. Bleah. 2 / 5

The Handsome Siblings (aka The Proud Twins) (2004): Hong Kong/Chinese wuxia fantasy adventure romance TV series, rather than a K-drama. Stars Dicky Cheung, Nicholas Tse, Elvis Tsui, Bingbing Fan, and Quan Yuan. Happy-go-lucky jokester Little Fish teams up with long lost brother, the brooding Flawless Flower, to battle the ladies of the evil Floral Palace as well as Eunuch Liu and others. Of course various girls (Little Angel and others) assist. I almost didn't make it through the first episode. Very very silly. 20+ hours of this? No thanks. But then it got better. Much better. Plot started to flesh out and the silliness abated a bit. Some good romance and wooshing around. 4 / 5

Damo (aka The Undercover Lady Detective) (2003): In historical Korea, a "damo," (tea-girl) assists the Left Police Bureau with ferreting out a counterfeiting scheme, and later, a full-fledged insurrection conspiracy. Could the leader of the rebels be her long-lost brother? I wanted to like this more, as the first 7-8 episodes were actually quite good, but then it just got bogged down with the same "I hate you and want to kill you" /"Oh my god, please don't die" back and forth for the remaining episodes. While the adventure and such was good, the love stories and personal drama never dug into my heart, so I didn't much care about who arrested or killed whom, or who ended up marrying whom. I must say that I did not expect
that every single main character ends up dead in the final episode.
3 / 5

1 Litre of Tears (2005): As @Daniel Larusso indicated in the OP, the main actress is really something here. She really sold the story. Most of the other cast was pretty good as well, but they were very tangential to the story. I wanted to like this more than I did. It was a good drama and a good watch, but for reasons I'll get into more in the discussion post at the end of the thread, I never fell totally into it. 3 / 5

Legend of the Blue Sea (2016): Ji-hyun Jun plays a mermaid whose tragic tale that originally took place during the Chosun Dynasty time is being retold in the present day. It seems that all of the participants in the previous tale have been re-incarnated, and fate is repeating. The evildoers of the past are evildoers in their present incarnation. The lovers who were star-crossed then are similarly star-crossed now. Good mix of fantasy, romance, humor, and evil double-crossers. 4 / 5

My Wife Is Having An Affair This Week (aka Listen To Love) (2016): Guy has suspicions that his wife is having an affair and crowdsources for advice on anonymous social media. Some complex and difficult emotions explored really well. I liked it, but not super-liked it, mainly because all the good will built up in the first 9 episodes was shorted out just a bit by some really off-the-wall, out-of-the-blue ridiculousness of the last three or so episodes. But most of that dealt with the subplots. The main story of the couple was extremely well done and well acted. If they would have ended the show earlier, this would be a solid 4, but I have to deduct a half point for some of the annoyances of the last three episodes. More detailed thoughts in post # 55 of this thread. 3.5 / 5

Queen Seondeok (2009): Twin girls from a noble family separated at birth due to an inauspicious prophesy. One becomes the princess, while the other (who was supposed to be killed) grows up in a desert Chinese province learning about trading practices from the many westerners and easterners who pass through. About 15 years later, the person who failed at killing her the first time shows up to finish the job. This sets things in motion for our hero girl to return to the kingdom (dressed as a boy, natch), join the militia, and learn the truth about her noble background. The first two-thirds of this long series is some of the best TV historical drama I've ever seen. It's really really that good. 4.5 / 5. But the last third is very, very disappointing (2 / 5) for reasons discussed later in this thread. I'd love to watch this again, but will shut it off after the second inflection point.

Crash Landing on You (2019-2020): Young lady chaebol mogul (the unappreciated half/stepchild of an even larger chaebol family) engages in a paragliding stunt to promote her new sportswear line. However, a sudden tornado carries her across the DMZ and she crash lands in N. Korea territory and into the lives of several DPRK soldiers. Over the course of the series she and the lead soldier of course fall for each other. Comedy and drama ensue as the well-meaning squad tries to hide her; tries to smuggle her out of N. Korea; tries to evade suspicious N. Korean Secret Police and, later, when the show shifts to South Korea, they all try to keep things out of the eyes of the authorities, newspapers, and the ever-present Seoul social media and CCTV. Fun, and time well spent. 4 / 5

Winter Sonata (2003): Sweet high school crush comes to an end when the fellow presumably dies from being hit by a bus. However, things go topsy turvy 10 years later when the guy (or someone who looks just like him) shows back up. Seems like amnesia and falsely implanted new memories play a role. I wanted to like this more, because the main leads are engaging, but some of the drama is just so contrived and the actions and motivations of just about everyone make no sense at all. No one lets the poor girl in all this make her own decisions, or respect her feelings. Her friends; hell, even her own mother, basically tell her that her own feelings don't matter--just marry some obsessed schmuck she doesn't love because of some sense of obligation. It's a fine line between what sort of ridiculous K-Drama contrivances work for me, and which ones don't. Winter Sonata fell just to the "don't" side for me. But still, overall pretty good. 3 / 5
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Daniel Larusso

Member: Rank 3
Several months later I watched Nodame Cantabile, and then that was my favorite drama. Then I watched the anime, which I liked too (but not as much as the drama).
I liked Nodame Cantabile too. It has the best love story in dramas. I watched the anime later, but I enjoyed it a lot as well. It's one of my favourite animes.

I also loved:

Nobuta wo Produce
It has a great friendship story and memorable characters. I keep a lot of good memories from this drama.

Basically my favourite dramas are:
1 Litre of Tears
My Boss, My Hero
Nodame Cantabile
Nobuta Wo Produce

It was awesome to watch them as a teen. I don't know how I would feel about them now though, if I re-watched them. I liked these dramas a lot too (taken from my mdl):

49 Days
Ikebukuro West Gate Park
Love Shuffle
Saru Lock
Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake


Member: Rank 5
I’ll just post this now because I don’t want to keep on exploring PBG anymore because it will only take a matter of time before I enlist to his fanclub which has a gazillion members and not one of my family members or friends would expect to see me there. :((

I wrote this review right after watching so pardon me for the ahem, indecencies.


Starring: PARK BO GUM, therestpleasegooglethem

I'll try to be objective as I can in writing this review (but its so hard when you admire the lead actor so can I please just say Park Bo Gum Saranghae *strikes a cutesy kawaii seducting pose* IT IS SO DAMN HARD TO CONCENTRATE ON THE SCENE WHEN HIS HANDSOME FACE IS SO DISTRACTING!!!! He’s got the best eyes and smile of all SK actors I’ve ever seen. (How do you say “Will You Marry Me” in Korean???)

--Okay time to be serious now--

This is a Cinderella type of story that is reminiscent of Goong (Princess Hours) days. Who can forget Yoon Eun-Hye with her childlike antics who's destined to marry the arrogant crowned Prince. But I can say Moonlight is MILES away from Goong. One, the lead girl is not as annoying as Yoon Eun-Hye in Goong. Kim Yoo-Jung, well, is still a damsel in distress who did nothing but weep, but she wasn't as overkill as the lead girl in Goong. Second, the crowned prince in Moonlight is more loveable. He still has this cocky, arrogant look (without losing his soft side) but he's not a weakling, he speaks his mind. Third, there's not much soul-searching in Moonlight. Its like, yes I love him. I don’t like the other guy. As opposed to Goong where there's so much "Do I love him? Or I don't? Can you play a sad background music while I try to figure myself" which is very annoying really.

It's been a long time that I've felt this overwhelmed over a drama series. Whenever I watch K-dramas, I would usually just alot one or two episodes each day because I get exhausted if I watch more. And I remember whining its got 18 long episodes. But no, I could watch 56 more! (What about they devote the rest of the episodes to a plot twist. Like, the crowned prince travels to the Philippines and falls in love with a princess who does nothing but post nonsense on an Asian forum. Yeah, their loss). And wow, during the past week, I have foregone reading the usual sites I visit, I have put off some daily viewings on TV just for this. I even thought of putting off some of my workload just for this. This is how hooked I was.

@clayton, the "Kilig" term will come in handy here. I really don’t know how to describe the feeling. Funny I told @elanor I had butterflies in the stomach. Ugh. I can’t find the English expression for "kilig". Its…that feeling while you were in 8th grade and you look at your crush and he looks back at you and you think he likes you too. Yeah, that’s kilig. There’s so many of it here. No wonder it became a big hit.

PBG impressed me here. He has such potential and for a fairly young dude, he’ll make it far. Kim Yoo Jung, the lead girl, was perfect. I see she’s a very good actress. The other supporting characters complimented the chemistry of the two leads. Especially the senior actors such as Cheon Ho Jin who played the main evil lord. There’s an "other guy" and "other girl" here. But they’re not despicable.

Its been a long time that I cried this hard over a series. Like literal crying where tears kept on flowing and they’re so uncontrollable. Its not really a sad series because well, as always, good triumphs over evil. I think why I cried has something to do with the execution of the actors. And of course, the sad OST that befits the scenes.

I’ll give a brief brief summary to make my review sound more serious instead of a fangirl-going-gaga only. The story is set during Joseon era. A dumb king who is really a puppet, easily swayed by ill advices from his congress, rules the Kingdom. He has a son, the Crowned Prince, who’s more convicted and dignified. He regularly disguises as a commoner and goes to the villages.

Hong Ra On is a girl, but he dresses and assumes the identity of a boy named Hong Sam Nom. Through some debt he owed, he was sold to become a palace Eunuch (Palace servants). He was assigned to become the Prince’s assistant.

As with usual period pieces, there’s a villain, who of course eyes the kingship and becomes the struggle of our lead Prince. Several other plot twists also happened, which makes the viewing experience more interesting.

I’ve eaten my words with this series as explained in the following:

1) I’m annoyed at Knights in shining armor stories but I love this one. Especially how the Prince always comes on time, rescuing his servant.

2) I think I will still choose to believe in fairy tales, no matter how cruel the world is, because here is a Prince portrayed as someone who cut the gap between the rich and the poor and chose to become a King of the People.

3) I’ve always said how I don’t do rewatches because it bores me to death to watch the same thing all over again when I know where’s everything leading to. But with Moonlight, I’ll be happy to watch it all over again.

From an objective point of view, this is a Fairy Tale story. So if you're not into those, you might not like this. This has humor, but not krom-kom humor. This is a drama so there's tears everywhere. The story is not unique but the technical aspects of the production was almost perfect.
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Member: Rank 4
I've edited my post above to add the last K-drama I've seen. That's the whole list. If anyone wants to make a recommendation for my next K-drama viewing experience (based on what I've reviewed and liked so far), feel free. Caveat: It must be available for purchase as a DVD set (YesAsia or eBay or similar) or as a DVD rental from Netflix. That would seem to let out the Moonlight one, which does seem right up my ally.


Member: Rank 3
Just started watching The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016-2017) with Ji-hyun Jun and Min-ho Lee. It's fun so far.

Daniel Larusso

Member: Rank 3

Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger (Feb 21, 1992 to Feb 12, 1993)
I picked this up just for curiosity and I'm actually having a lot of fun watching it. Basically this is the original power rangers, but the american version only used footage from the action sequeces; everything else is different. Somehow, this show is very reminiscent of Hausu in its atmosphere and visual effects. Also, each episode has such a bizarre story I'm having great fun watching them.

This is something you don't see everyday:

And this show is also very fast paced. I also love the colourful suits of the sentais in contrast to the background. The fighting sequences are actually pretty good and it's funny to see the sentais moving their arms around everytime they want to speak. This show has a great attitude! Then there's Bandora, the awesome villain from this show.

This show makes me want to watch more stuff in the Tokusatsu genre. I've watched every Gojira and a few more famous films in the genre, but I'm going to look for more stuff after finishing all episodes (seen 15 by now).

And I also started watching:

Running Man (2010-)
A variety show in which cast members will go to a South Korean landmark and play games there. There are several games to be played within the landmark and at least one of them has to do with the specific landmark and with running, hence the title Running Man.

I'm having a lot of fun watching this as well. The cast members are funny so I'm probably going to watch the entire show as well. It has currently over 340 episodes, so good bye to my social life (lol). Each member has a distinct personality and physical appearance so it's always fun to see how they engage in their games and what tactics they use. I also like how the members interact with the cameramans which are always following each member. The captions they put on the episodes are fun and I like when they use music from famous films to create more tension. In this episode they used Oldboy's theme:

If he jumped from a higher distance, he would get more points to his team. Sure some moments feel scripted to me, or at least the members know that they have to play fun roles, but it makes the show very entertaing.

Also, each episode is in a different place. Episode 1 was in a shopping center, episodes 2 and 3 in a football stadium and episode 4 (which I'm watching atm takes place in a science museum), so I don't think this will ever get repetitive.
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Member: Rank 5
@Daniel Larusso

I also like watching some episodes of Running Man. There's another one of that sort, Two Days and One Night. If there's anything I've learned from these shows, its the fact that Koreans know how to laugh at themselves. They're very witty, and they know how to make fun of themselves.


Member: Rank 4
I updated my post above to reflect just finishing the drama series Damo. When I started watching I thought the main girl looked really familiar. Turns out it is the same girl from the "upskirt panty shot" in Sex Is Zero. Well, in Damo, she is very cute and perky and the first half of the series is really good. But it never took off from there. She spends one entire episode in a coma, and then another one reviving at a Buddhist temple, and then another stuck in a cave, and the whole main plot of the "insurrection conspiracy" was only mildly interesting. The one main love interest story was good, but the various other (competing) romantic subplots, not to mention the whole "lost brother" aspect, were not compelling. After about episode 10, I got so tired of the rebels that I wished for the Police Bureau to just whack them all and be done with it. I'm glad the series was only 14 episodes.

But still, 3 / 5. Our damo girl and the police commander are good characters and earn most of my good will. She's super cute as well, which never hurts. But
it is disappointing in the end that she dies, the police commander dies, the "long lost brother" dies...Yeah, I know someone has to die, but why the girl? We really were rooting for her![/spolier]


Member: Rank 5
While I was stuck in hell, I had the chance to see a marathon of another of Park Bo Gum's--Reply 1988. It was horrible. The story was uninteresting. The only scenes worth watching is when PBG is there and that says something. Anyway...

So since I was stuck in hell for the past week, I was able to watch every single whole day of Philippine dramas. And I may be one of the most unpatriotic and unnationalistic Filipinos there are, but watching these dramas and Philippine series and marvel at the acting versatility of the actors just made me realize that indeed the Philippines is a land of dramatic actors.

Here are a few recs and a brief synopsis:

The Greatest Love- story about a mother of four children with their own problems and endeavors. The twist: She has alzheimers. Sylvia Sanchez, who plays the mother, is PERFECT for the role. And her confrontation scenes with her eldest daughter (played by another versatile actress Dimples Romana) are awards-worthy.

The Better Half- story about a husband and wife who was separated because of a tragedy. The husband suffers amnesia and they find other partners then.


Member: Rank 5
Currently watching The Legend of the Blue Sea. Still on episode 2. Lee Min-ho is okay but I really really have a problem with Jun Ji Hyun. I endured the first episode of overacting. Now, here goes again. I'm thisclose to bailing out. One more time Jun Ji Hyun, just one more...................... fight7.gif