List of Korean Drama Reviews

RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS I MATURE
  1. Lie to Me 4.5 (2012), 4 (2011)
  2. Goong/ Princess Hours 4
  3. City Hall 4
  4. Boys Over Flowers 4.5
  5. Personal Taste/ Personal Preference 3
  6. The Greatest Love/ The Best Love 4
  7. My Lovely Sam Soon/ My Name is Kim Sam Soon 5
  8. Spy Myung Wol 3
  9. Protect the Boss 4
  10. My Girlfriend is Nine Tailed Fox/ My Girlfriend is a Gumiho 3.5
  11. Vampire Prosecutor 4
  12. Flower Boy Ramyun Shop 3
  13. The First Shop of Coffee Prince 5
  14. Secret Garden 4.5
  15. The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry /Still, Marry Me 4
  16. I Do I Do 3
  17. A Gentleman’s Dignity 4
  18. Scent of A Woman 4 (2011), 4.5 (2012)
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14 comments

  1. Winterapple

    Hello!! Your reviews are great!! Can you do a review of city hunter?? 🙂 I have not watch the drama but I hope to know more about it!

    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      I am actually on episode 4 of city hunter, but since it is being requested I will try to finish it quickly. What I can say so far is that it has one of the best first episodes I have ever seen out of any television shows. Now that I am finishing episode 4, I kind of wish it was a movie. There are a lot of sub-plots, so it takes a lot of energy, playback, to keep up.

      • Winterapple

        Oh okay! Thanks a lot!! Some of my friends say its not a nice show whereas some say it’s nice. So idk whether I should watch anot!

  2. Nyx

    Hi again, just a suggestion: To the Beautiful You,
    which turned out kinda like a mix btw Coffee Prince and K-POP Ultimade Audition.
    It’s basedon Japanese Hana Kimi, just like BOF,, and some fans dislike the changes made. And I’ve seen the Japanese original, but those focus more on comedy, while I prefer the drama in this Korean version.

    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      To be truthful,the previews of To the Beautiful You did not intrigue me. I really think that it seems too young for me, even though I am not near old. Ever since I was small, I think I have always liked stuff that was 10 years ahead of my time. Also, I am not that in to K-Pop, meaning I only know of people and groups that have been around a while or have current songs I like (DBSK, BoA, Rain, 2Ne1, BigBang, SES, Shinhwa, 2pm, SS501, Wondergirls, Secret, SNSD, Super Junior, Hyori, H.O.T., BEAST, 2AM, B.E.G. etc…).
      However, since you suggested it I will give it a try. Apparently, my ability to stick through young adult dramas is really weak. For instance, as much as I think Park Shin Hye is super talented I cannot seem to finish You’re Beautiful or Heartstrings. Another example is Sungkyunkwan Scandal… Although, if any people are thinking about watching this, don’t let this comment discourage you. It’s really just me. Generally, it takes a lot for me to go back to highschool or young adult relationships. However, I may eat my words after watching, since I do have my fair share of guilty pleasures: Goong, Boys Over Flowers (Japanese and Korean), It started with a Kiss, Devil Beside You

  3. Nyx

    Hi, it’s nice to hear back form you again, it’s been a while.
    I agree with you on this topic actually, since initially just like with Goong the posters and the summary of the plot put me off watching these shows since they seemed too young (also K-dramas used to make male leads too feminine for my taste)… So just like you I put off watching To The Beauitful You, just like I did with K-POP Ultimate Audition because I feared it would be too childish sort of like You’re Beautiful, (& Sorry) BOF (which I still haven’t finished and won’t).

    Still, just like Goong and K-POP UA they proved me wrong. Goong goes without saying, K-POP UA was a pleasant surprise as I’m not at all interested in this Halula Wave or whatever it’s called and didn’t recognise a single title among the ones you’ve listed above – it’s all Greek to me =D
    I’ve seen the Japanese Hana Kimi original and couldn’t finish it either; I have even more problems with J-dramas, their length and premises. So, it was really just due to a rainy Saturday afternoon that I clicked on the PLAY button, to be honest – and I’m glad I did.

    I was sucked in at once, even though having known the original plot the 1st episode did feel a bit annoying, mainly because I knew roughly what was about to happen. And although her “reasons” for dressing like a boy and more or less STALKING this Tae Joon athlete did annoy me in episode 1, in this Korean version they explain it and as the story progresses you see that she’s actually a deep character who’s not there because of some crush on somebody she’s seen on TV (obviously the crush is there, but it’s not THE reason she switched schools).
    Be warned there are plenty of “unrealistic” factors in this drama, but they are filmed realistically and you don’t really notice this unless you overthink this like I do. For example, it amazed me how her mother didn’t appear once, how the leads didn’t seem to have ANY financial difficulties or concern for money, how SMALL their Seoul world seemed to be… But seriously, it’s NOT AT ALL like You’re Beautiful = childish, or even Heartstrings = annoying.
    Some people complained about Min Hoo’s (lead’s) acting, but IMO they are all young and performed equally, neither better nor worse than the other.

    What I liked best about the show was how the Korean version focused on the DRAMA not the COMEDY. There plenty of serious topics here, and the pace of the plot doesn’t feel rushed. I like the love-triangle, and I LOVE the the fact that FOR ONCE the leads didn’t seem annoyingly retarded in terms of falling in love with one another. There weren’t any annoying Full House/Wild Romance 3rd parties that took more than 50% of air-time. OR Goong-like everlasting tongue-tied scenes where it was OBVIOUS to everyone but the two leads the other party has stopped caring for their 1st love AGES ago!
    Another PLUS, was just like in My Girl and K-POP UA: the main female character isn’t a weak, silly, worn out doormat, but stands up for herself and IS independent despite the fact that the male lead IS the reason for her return to Korea.
    Finally, skin-ship. Even though the cast is young I was impressed by the touchy-touchy relationship that the main couple had. It felt natural, not too much not too little. Several reviewers have pointed this out – there’s always physical contact, and it’s filmed in a good way.

    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      Okay you sold me. I’ll add this one to the list.
      It started With a Kiss (Joe Cheng and Ariel Lin)and Devil Beside You (Mike He and Rainie Young) are Taiwanese young adult dramas. In retrospect I think I have been the most satisfied with high school in Taiwanese dramas.
      I know people either lover of hate BOF, but for me the ridiculousness and flaws are what make it so great.
      I actually enjoyed Full House, but do agree there was too much 3rd party action. Couldn’t make it through My Girl, I am not even sure why. I think I just didn’t connect. I hope to try again one day.
      Wild Romance, another preview that did not do anything for me. Then I saw that epileptic scene and that basically nailed the door close. It also had to with the fact it was right after LDW did Scent of a Woman. I am not sure I will ever move on from LDW and KSA.

      • Nyx

        I’ve heard about Scent of a Woman, but there are several things putting me off here.
        First of all, isn’t it one of those “she’ll die in 6 months” plots? Which you already know will be a tear-jacker with a sad cliché ending. I’ haven’t seen it, but that’s what I heard…
        Second, isn’t it also older woman + younger man relationship? I barely accepter this factor in FBRS.
        Third, doesn’t the plot take place in some “far away far away, sunny sunny…”, something I also have issues with.
        Fourth, just like you couldn’t watch My Girl with LDW, and now probably won’t be able to since you love this show… well despite My Girl being filmed in 2005 with fashion sense quirkier than in Goong, it’s one of my absolute favourites simply because the female lead is so deeply troubled and also due to the relationship btw her and LDW’s character. In many ways it reminds me of Coffee Prince, actually.
        Even though there are some annoying “old K drama style” factors, this show is one of those golden oldies I CAN watch over and over again.
        (despite the fashion, the annoying Min HyoRin-like “other woman”, tongue-tied scenes)
        There are interesting storylines other than the lovestory, and the lovestory is just so so SO… warm, heartbreaking, funny, adorable – you can’t help but smile every time these two have scenes together!

        We’ll see, I might give Scent of a Woman a chance, since I like LDW but Wild Romance was a major disappointment mainly due to this Jessica chic!

      • peevishmagnifyingglass

        I actually attempted to watch My Girl long before Scent of a Woman. Scent of a Woman is not as good as MNKSS or City Hall (but closer to city hall). It may come down to I love Kim Sun Ah, but like Lee Da Hee (but that’s probably cause I also tried Ms. Ripley). I will have to watch now, because I thought LDW’s character seemed to be very one dimensional in the first couple of episodes. Now I have to finish the drama to find this greatness.

        Scent of a Woman is sad, but has depth with happy parts sprinkled through out. LDW and KSA’s age difference is never really highlighted in the drama (I think it is like 6 years in real life, so not bad. What is FBRS?). They go on vacation for about 2 episodes, but most of the drama takes place in Seoul or Jeju. It is more on the serious side and tissues will be needed, but the writing makes it worth it. The best part of Scent of a Woman is the take away, which is to live each day to the fullest, because you can’t take tomorrow for granted.

  4. Nyx

    I also think you ought to watch the following dramas:
    – The Princess’ Man
    – Me Too, Flower!
    – Rich Man, Poor Woman!

    The Princess’ Man was … awesome! I felt like I did when watching Goong. Goong raised my interest in Korean dramas, and The Princess’ Man is a RARE historical drama which FOR ONCE focuses on love and it’s also merely 24 episodes just like Goong – the PERFECT length if you ask me.

    Me Too, Flower! isn’t new and I’ve heard about it, but chose not to watch it as the summary of the plot is TERRIBLE: “telling the story about the complicated relationship between one man and three women, a mother and two sisters”… Now tell me that wasn’t off-putting. I don’t know WHO wrote this, but it’s not at all like that.
    At the time I chose to watch Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, which quickly became a favourite, and I forgot about this one. But a friend recommended it and I’m glad she did. I did have a problem with the female lead’s looks, but she IS quite cute, and the male character is SO handsome.
    The story is good, albeit it DID annoy me how frivolous the male lead was up till episode 6, as it brought back some unpleasant Goong memories about Shin’s behaviour! But as you go on, the ACTUAL plot is about a guy who lives in “two worlds” hiding behind a curtain and then falls for a female police officer who is DEEPLY troubled. This girl not only has trust and abandonment issues worse than his own, she’s depressed, thinks so lowly of herself that even though she eventually comes to terms with her own feelings for him she simply shrugs her shoulders and “gives up”. I’ve lost count on how many times she’s told him “I give up.”
    True, just as she is annoyingly indifferent and keeps a cold facade, he gives her reasons to by proving her suspicions right EVERY episode.
    You should definitely watch this show – you will love every character at some point: the evil cougar, the gold-digger, the suicidal lead heroine (reminding me of the one in 49 days), and the frivolous ever-changing male lead whom you seem to never be able to figure out.

    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      Rich Man Poor Woman and Princess Man are already on my list, because of Oguri Shun and Moon Chae Won. As far as the really young Korean actresses go, the Moons rule. Even though I would describe the physical manifestation of my experience with My Fair Lady as a shrug, it introduced a good lot of actors to me Song Joong Ki, Moon Chae Won, Jung Il Woo, and Yoon Sang Hyun. It is great to see how far all of them have come.
      If the last couple of paragraphs are about Me Too Flower, that does sound more interesting than what I’ve heard.

      • Nyx

        Yes, the last description is about Me Too, Flower.
        I totally get why you’d hesitate watching it, but I’m telling you after just having finished it this week-end … it’s worth your time.

  5. Nyx

    While I still remember it, I’d also recommend the sitcom Reply 1997, Soumatou Kabushikigaisha, Innocent Man and Capital Scandal.

    PS. Orugi Shun played the lead in Hana Kimi, which is the Japanese original for To the Beautiful You. So every time I saw the main couple in this show I was reminded of Hana Kimi. Both couples and all 4 actors are great, but in this Korean version it felt like the love relationship finally got some “on-screan” time. There were just so many wonderful scenes btw Min Hoo and Sulli, but one of my absolute favourites was in the beginning of Ep:13, when he refrains from expressing his feelings and just grabs her elbow, not letting go saying “Don’t think about anything else, just stay by my side.” And they stand like that for about 2 minutes. I got such a Coffee Prince flashback there – it was just like Eun C. preferring to stay by HK’s side as a man, instead of being loosing him as a woman. The roles are reversed and even though Tae Joon realises it’s at this stage impossible for him to keep pretending that she’s his guy FRIEND, he’d rather keep on struggling and sleeping in the nurse’s office keeping up the pretence of not knowing she’s a girl, than act on his impulses and lose her as a girl. DS

  6. Nyx

    I totally see why you might be put off LDW’s character Seol Gong Chan in My Girl. I liked it all, but when I re-watch the show I tend to start watching either from episode 3 or 4 actually.
    Like I said, you might get annoyed by some parts because of how the show is directed, there are some cliché zoom ins and characters talking to themselves… typical for pre-2007 K-dramas, but I simply imagine that we are hearing their thoughts.
    The chemistry btw LDW and LDH is wonderful, there are so many LOL scenes, making the complicated love story actually fun to watch. And there’s one episode when the characters actually make fun of the “situation” which is the main plot of the show: the two pretending to be cousins and then fall in love. Their friends make fun of these two by imagining how this would turn out in a soap-opera:
    1) They are INDEED cousins
    2) But it’s OK since Seol Gong Chan is actually adopted
    3) But then she inherited a deadly disease
    4) But after she dies he gets into a car-accident and loses his memories………
    This was all played out and hilarious!
    I hope you give this one a chance and watch all the episodes, as it’s really on the same level as Goong, CP, Protect the Boss, etc.

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