Drama Ratings

Disclaimer! Not an exhaustive list. List is updated with both old and new whenever I feel like it.

 KOREAN DRAMAS 

49 Days (2011)
Rating: C-
Although the premise piqued my interest, the execution left me unsatisfied. The body-possession gimmick was done with more respect to both parties than in some more recent dramas, but the logic behind fantasy elements was somewhat flimsy. Ending was a downer.

Age of Youth (2016)
Rating: B+
Female friendships done right. The understated charm and poignant character journeys made it a beautiful, moving experience. Sadly, the ending didn't give me the needed answers nor closure.

Angry Mom (2015)
Rating: B-
Tonally really jarring, which prevented me from truly enjoying it, but the story of a badass mom (played awesomely by Kim Hee Sun) seeking justice for her daughter is immensely satisfying and heartfelt. An endearing performance by Ji Soo as the misunderstood Bok Dong.

Answer Me/Reply 1997 (2012)
Rating: A+
A nostalgic treat full of witty cultural references and moments familiar from my own youth. It took little everyday scenes and made them important milestones in the characters' lives. Saying goodbye to this show was like saying goodbye to family.

Big (2012)
Rating: D
High schooler finds himself in the body of his ditzy teacher's fiance and somehow steals her heart, while the unjustly dumped fiance spends rest of the drama napping away in the boy's comatose body. What's not to like?

Boys Over Flowers (2009)
Rating: D+
Entertaining. Whether it's for the laughably awful acting-directing-editing combo or for the unexplainably addictive story. But don't fool yourself into thinking it's good in any way.

Coffee House (2010)
Rating: A
Not for everyone, but it defies expectations and K-drama conventions in a charming, entertaining way. Adored Kang Ji Hwan and Park Si Yeon in it and their chemistry was exceptional. Will forever remain a personal favourite.

Dream High (2011)
Rating: B-
Despite its apparent flaws in several departments, the drama comes together nicely and tells a surprisingly endearing underdog story. Kim Soo Hyun shines with his character's emotional arc.

Dream High 2 (2012)
Rating: F
Half-assed attempt at imitating the success of its predecessor, which resulted in bad acting performances and especially poor character motivations. Rather than being fulfilled, dreams were given up on.

Drinking Solo (2016)
Rating: C-
Didn't really live up to my expectations. Once the characters grew on me, I had fun watching, but overall it was hard to connect with. Worse yet, the writer botched the romance with an incredibly hard to stomach male lead who never quite redeemed himself and a female lead who failed to grow a spine.

Emergency Couple (2014)
Rating: C-
Watched it for the leads, but the couple's reconciliation was hard to root for. Although I was ultimately happy with the way the romance wrapped up, getting there was more pain than joy.

Five Children (2016)
Rating: C+
Although it was admittedly just a speed watch of Yeon Tae and Sang Min's storyline , it's not the worst family drama I've tried to watch. Quite light on the yelling and evil in-laws, though still fairly repetitive. Skip to your favourite pairings and it'll be a likable show.

Full House (2004)
Rating: D+
The ultimate bickering romance between co-habitating lead characters, although the house was indeed worth fighting over. Had its cute moments but didn't age very gracefully, with the worst offenses being Rain's hair and fashion sense.

Healer (2014-2015)
Rating: A
This is my City Hunter. Perhaps not as phenomenal as the hype suggests, but consistent writing, lovely characterizations and fantastic main couple had me fully invested from start to finish. The drama made me loooove Ji Chang Wook, but I also adored Park Min Young and Yoo Ji Tae in it. Healer feels will forever be a thing.

I Need Romance 2 (2012)
Rating: D+
Frustrating romance and annoying female lead did not make this a pleasant viewing experience. I appreciated the attempt at exploring different kinds of romantic relationships, but the characters didn't need romance, they needed to move on.

Individualist Ji Young (2017)
Rating: B
Thought-provoking mini-drama about dealing with crushing loneliness and finding companionship from an unexpected place. Although I wish it had been twice its length, I found characters relatable and the story quite moving. Short, at times devastating, but ultimately beautiful.
READ REVIEW HERE

It's Okay, It's Love (2014)
Rating: B+
Jang Jae Yeol's story resonated with me on a personal level, although the depiction of mental illnesses had its obvious issues. The romance was a miss for me with all the silly fighting between the couple. Jo In Sung's performance, however, was a revelation.
READ REVIEW HERE 

Let's Eat (2013-2014)
Rating: B+
The constant stomach-growling effect aside, it features a very warm story about neighbours bonding over food and finding a little romance with each other. Enjoyed it a lot actually, but the knowledge of a second season ruins it for me.

Man From Another Star (2013-2014)
Rating: B-
A solid fantasy romance, although the couple's chemistry never convinced me. I could reason its appeal but sadly never feel it on an emotional level. Jeon Ji Hyun's portrayal of Cheon Song Yi is fantastic, though.

Misaeng (2014)
Rating: A+
Who would have guessed that everyday office politics can be so riveting? While wonderfully directed and filmed, it's really the cast that truly elevates the show. The story of a total underdog thrown in the midst of complicated workplace intrigue can be devastating, but the lowest lows deliver the highest highs.

Monstar (2013)
Rating: C-
Thematically appropriate musical acts are wonderfully performed, but otherwise the show is overstreched and slow. Enjoyed the characters and their stories, but kept feeling like I needed a pep-talk before starting each episode. 

Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart: Goryeo (2016)
Rating: C-
Plagued from the start by distracting production flaws and inconsistent writing, the drama sadly never reached its potential. I did like the costumes and the setting, but it was difficult to connect with characters you could not understand and root for the love story that happened too late. I enjoyed bits of it, at times very much, however it failed to convey a message of any kind. 

My Girl (2005-2006)
Rating: B-
Rather dated now, but it remains as a sentimental favourite. Lee Da Hae plays one of my favourite female leads in K-drama and has sweet chemistry with Lee Dong Wook. Show can get a little angsty near the end, but it's otherwise a very delightful watch.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010)
Rating: C
Cute, but doesn't offer much else. Shin Min Ah is the most adorable thing you've ever seen, but the gumiho mythology is used very superficially. On a random note, I never quite understood No Min Woo's part in the story.

My Secret Romance (2017)
Rating: C
Web-drama-like quality, predictable cliches and resulting cheesiness aside, this can be fairly enjoyable, albeit a bit dated. It's an easy, unchallenging watch, with plenty of Sung Hoon to keep oneself distracted with. Not the worst brainless fluff I've seen.

Nice Guy/Innocent Man (2012)
Rating: B-
Revenge drama that I actually enjoyed, mostly because of Song Joong Ki. The story was addictively melo and characters intriguing enough. But my biggest complaint was the ending, which tried to conveniently undo our hero's wrongdoings.

Oh My Ghostess (2015)
Rating: C-
Wanted to love it. So much. Drama had my favourite cast, but ruined the romance with messy, wrongful body-possession. Park Bo Young and Kim Seul Gi turn in fabulous performances, but I was mad at their characters by the end of it. 

Playful Kiss/Mischievous Kiss (2010)
Rating: D+
It was cute, I guess. Jung So Min carries the show; not much acting done on Kim Hyun Joong's part.

Plus Nine Boys/Age Ending in Nine Boy (2014)
Rating: B-
Expected something a bit funnier, so it kinda left me wanting. The contemplative mood isn't a flaw, but makes you adjust your expectations a bit. Still, the stories of the four men/boys in the year of unlucky nines were all engaging in their own way.

Prosecutor Princess (2010)
Rating: D
Never saw the magic in it that others saw. The romance did have a certain addictive quality to it, but the story was so mediocre.

Queen In Hyun's Man (2012)
Rating: B
A time-travel romance that actually stirs emotions the way it should. Leading couple's sizzling chemistry elevates the already thrilling story, but the ending tries to get away with heavenly intervention. 

Rooftop Prince (2012)
Rating: D+
Would have been great if it had been a straight-up comedy about four lost Joseon puppies in the modern-day and about 10 episodes shorter. Alas, it wasn't. Not really worth my time, especially with an ending that renders the romance pointless.

School 2013 (2012-2013)
Rating: B-
The one time I felt maybe the bromance went a bit too far, but boy, do Lee Jong Suk and Kim Woo Bin sell it. While a little rough around the edges, the stories of the kids and their bickering homeroom teachers have a lot of heart. I loved the ending.

Secret Garden (2010-2011)
Rating: D-
I consider it completed, even though I mostly just sped through it. With a borderline abusive male lead, totally illogical body-swap mechanics and yawn-worthy plot, its appeal is entirely lost on me.

Shopping King Louis (2016)
Rating: B
Consistently entertaining and impossibly cute. It's lacking in conflict, though, with baddies who are so pathetic and dumb that you'll feel sorry for them. Yet it's well worth a watch for the couple alone, but particularly for Seo In Guk's brilliant comedic performance.

Shut Up: Flower Boy Band (2012)
Rating: A
Heart-tugging story of brotherhood that had me fully invested from start to finish. The raw, rough tone fits the characters' search for a place in the world. Teen angst at its best, with a youthful soundtrack.

Splash Splash Love (2015)
Rating: B-
Extremely endearing for a simple, two-episode drama special. Kim Seul Gi and Yoon Doo Joon are so darn delightful together. Yet I can't help but wish this had been a full length series as I found it a little difficult to truly connect with the story within such a short time.

Stars Falling From the Sky (2010)
Rating: C
My memory of the plot is hazy, but I remember it being a rather warm story of a woman and her five suddenly orphaned younger siblings who turn a corporate lawyer's life upside-down. Mediocre, but earnest. Kim Ji Hoon's hair was a little disappointing, tho.

Surplus Princess (2014)
Rating: C
Iconic for Song Jae Rim's apple butt. The plot is messy, trying to be both a mermaid romance and a work drama at once. But worth it for the hilariously random humor and characters.

The Heirs (2013)
Rating: D
Overhyped, overblown and overdramatic this drama is. Caused what I fear might be permanent allergy towards Lee Min Ho. Didn't hate it when I watched it, but looking back I despise everything about the love triangle where two rich dudes keep traumatizing one poor girl.

The King 2 Hearts (2012)
Rating: B
A little ambitious in its attempt to create an alternative South-Korea that is ruled by monarchy, but still manages to deliver dramatic moments that leave you rather impressed. The lead pairing is solid, but it's the secondary pairing that really stirs hearts. Jo Jung Suk stole the show.

The Master's Sun (2013)
Rating: B+
Quirky, ghostly romance between a woman who sees dead people and a man who suffers from strange hand spasms whenever he tells her to leave. Plot is nothing noteworthy, but the winning chemistry between the leads carries the show.

The Princess' Man (2011)
Rating: A-
A sweeping Romeo and Juliet story set in the Joseon times and in the midst of an intense political power struggle. The plot is well-written and engaging all the way through. Also, marvellous soundtrack.

Twenty Again (2015)
Rating: B
An ahjumma's inspiring journey to rediscover herself and her dreams as she navigates the college campus with the help of her grumpy admirer. A gratifying reverse coming-of-age story.

What's Up (2011-2012)
Rating: A
Despite being advertised as a musical drama, this is above all a character-driven story about figuring out who you are and coming to terms with the past. A lovable cast and memorable musical performances.

White Christmas (2011)
Rating: B+
An intriguing psychological mystery that tries to find the answer to the question: Are monsters born or made? Acting from the inexperienced cast leaves a lot to be desired, but the plot is gripping.

Witch's Romance (2014)
Rating: C
What starts out as a winning noona romance between an unlikely pairing, unfortunately ends up in tiring angst that is difficult to get through. The romantic chemistry is amazing, though.

You're the Best, Lee Soon Shin! (2013)
Rating: C-
Had its moments and the ending was surprisingly thoughtful, but due to frustrating mama drama and a horde of aggravating side-characters, I really can't say these 50 episodes were well spent. Watched it for Jo Jung Suk, though IU held her own. Pro tip: fast-forward button is your friend.

 JAPANESE DRAMAS 

1 Litre of Tears/Ichi Ritoru No Namida (2005)
Rating: A
The infamous tearjerker delivers exactly what the title promises. My first and only watching experience left me a lasting impression.

Itazura Na Kiss (1996)
Rating: C-
Yes, I actually watched it. And yes, I wanted to strangle the female lead. That aside, the drama wasn't that bad, but it's obviously very dated now.

Itazura Na Kiss: Love in Tokyo (2013)
Rating: B+
Despite my initial doubts, this turned out to be a solid adaptation of the insanely popular manga. Heroine was less ditzy and more endearing here, and I had an easier time rooting for her. Suffers from same issues as the other adaptations, but these can be overlooked. 

Kurosagi (2006)
Rating: C-
Watched it in the hopes of Yamapi and Maki Horikita's characters hooking up with each other which ultimately didn't happen. The rest is a hazy memory. 

Memorandum of Kyoko Okitegami (2015)
Rating: A-
Started on a whim, but fell in love with it's consistent charm. Following along a forgetful detective and her unlucky admirer as they solve tiny mysteries is fun, at times moving. The mystery of Kyoko herself never really gets solved, but oddly enough, I did not care. 
READ REVIEW HERE

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge/The Wallflower (2010)
Rating: C-
Premise is ridiculous and conflicts laughable (the hero literally sulks over being TOO hot), but it can be very amusing in its outrageousness. Would make BFFs with Sunako.

 TAIWANESE DRAMAS 

In Time With You (2011)
Rating: B+
Well-directed and very poignant in its descriptions about love, friendship and adulthood. The plot movement is slow, almost frustratingly so, but it gives the opportunity to truly get to know the characters. Also, Li Da Ren is the guy we all want to marry.

Copyright © 2017 POPdramatic. Powered by Blogger.