Revisiting old favorites

As you can tell from my previous post, I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic lately. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the hours I spend watching or reading about the manifold tribulations in Japan and feeling sorrowful and overwhelmed. My mind drifts easily when I’m in a pensive state, flitting from one thing to another, and it takes me to places that I wasn’t planning on visiting.

Last night I was in such a mood. My hands deep in dish-washing suds, one thought led to another and suddenly I found myself thinking about my favorite k-memories. Things long forgotten, things that once made me squeal in delight.

I went online and started searching. Oh the treasures I unearthed! I present to you, dear readers, five of my old favorites below.


Once upon a few years ago, a young actor took my breath away when he played a cross-dressing role in King and The Clown, a movie that would take Korea by storm. This actor was too pretty for words, something I normally would have disdained, but his charm was so addictive I couldn’t help becoming a rabid fangirl. Lee Jun-ki’s fanbase was growing by the thousands each month and it was easy to see why. Not only was the guy cute as a button, he could act!


Lee Seo-jin is very much under my radar now (I actually forgot his name as I was preparing this post, can you believe it?), but years ago he was beyond loved, all because of his role as Hwangbo Yoon in Damo. I’ve not enjoyed anything else he’s done since, though. Like the silly Damo fan that I am, I still can’t get used to seeing LSJ in a modern-day role; I want him to forever be Naeuri!


My favorite Bae Yong-joon role is his Kang Jae-ho in the 1999 drama, Have We Really Loved. Written by Noh Hee-kyung, HWRL was the first drama that I loved passionately in those days of yore when I had just discovered this glittery new toy called A Korean Drama. Playing a conflicted young man torn between two women, one a lecturer whom he loves and the other a classmate whose wealth is his ticket out of the poverty he despises, the BYJ here is chubby and has crooked teeth; in short, an imperfect BYJ who was very much perfect for me. How I miss his Jae-ho!


Here is the drama that made Lee Byung-hun an instant hit for many viewers (except one Dahee Fanel). A k-guru (on one of his exceptionally grumpy days) gave Beautiful Days a measly rating of two out of ten, but that has not dampened my love for this drama one bit. It had histrionics (and shouting) aplenty but also one delicious LBH. Case closed!


Finally, back when my k-crush closet was still a teeny thing with room for just one or two occupants, the first one to take up residence was Lee Jung-jae. It was very much love at first gasp when I watched him in An Affair where he stripped to nothing (!) next to an equally unencumbered Lee Mi-sook. I would go on to collect LJJ’s works like one possessed. You’ll understand why when you watch the MV (which can’t be embedded, dang; watch it here).

How about you? What are some of your old favorites? Do share!

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Categorised in: K-actors, K-dramas, K-movies, K-reflections

18 Responses »

  1. My old favorites ? I am not enough old with k-dramas to go back a lot in time but I have watched entirely some 70 and dropped nearly as much …
    Whatever my old favorite is the first one I saw ! King’s woman with Ji sung and Park Sun Young , a sageuk which introduced me to Korea and specially to its history which now I know quite well . And I am faithfull to sageuks : Yi San with Lee seo Jin , Jejungwon , SKKS … I was not mesmerized by Damo ( so sorry , I dropped it but I promise I’ll watch it again … ) .
    I liked quite a lot All In where I discovered Lee Byung Hun and one of all my utmost favorites was Time between … where is featured Lee Jun Ki whom I miss so much . I have recently watched Iljimae but it was difficult because there was such a violence and a convincing violence ; I will soon begin Hero .
    Of course I am so sad about what happens in Japan , there no words to say it but k-dramas are here to let us forget for one moment the atrocious reality .

    • Ohhhhh… I am pretty sure i have watched more than 100 k drama.
      @Alex I agree with you on Lee Byun Hyun (ALL IN) and Lee Junki (TBDG). Ditto, they are my all time fav too. They made me fall head to heels in love with Lee Byun Hyun and Lee Junki. Gosh, everytime i hear Lee Byun Hyun talk korean, i want to start learning the language immediately. He has this unspoken charisma and aura. And when he speak, his husky voice is so so sexy. Yes, i am a big time Lee Byun Hyun fan. And yes, i love love Beautiful days. But i watched it after All In… sooo that dosn’t count much. I could watch anything he is on.

      But my all time Fav K drama have to be ‘Atuumn in My Heart’. I go back and watch some of my fav scene even today and i still have the OST.

  2. Wow! I think this is fate… I was looking through DramaWiki for a new drama to start watching and Beautiful Days caught my attention more than any other synopsis I read. I think I’ll give it a try based on your recommendation. I’ve only been watching dramas for 8 monthns now, so I don’t have “old time” favorites 🙂 I think the oldest drama I’ve seen is Winter Sonata, but hey, it was new to me 🙂

  3. I think I must have shared here before that Lee Jung Jae was my first celebrity crush. I first saw him on Feelings where I liked him the best of the three brothers, but it was not until his role as the quiet bodyguard in Sandglass that I started madly crushing on him. I literally cried myself to sleep the night I saw *that* episode (spoiler: when his character dies). I vowed to myself that I would move to Korea and marry him, and I swore that my heart would die a slow and painful death at the thought of not seeing him for the two years while he went off for his military service. Immediately after being released from his military service, he did a drama called Snail, but by then, the ever-so-fickle me pulled a “Lee Jung Jae, who?” I still blush when I think about how crazy I was about him back then, and I’ve never been as obsessive with any other celebrities since then as I have been with him.

    If Lee Jung Jae was my first celebrity crush, Shin Eun Kyung was my first she-crush. I loved her tomboyish doctor character in the drama General Hospital, and I remember telling everyone that she was my role model. I used to rush home from school on the day of the week when General Hospital came out on video, and would only talk about it the next day to whoever would bother to listen. This was pre-internet, and the local sports/entertainment newspaper used to carry a section where they did a weekly ranking of the most popular actors (now I’m curious what the ranking was based on… hmm). But I rejoiced whenever Shin Eun Kyung moved up the list, and I still remember the glory days when she came in first for three weeks in a row.

    But if I go even further back, I remember seeing Kang Suk Woo (yes, the sneaky dad character from Smile You) in a cop drama from the 80s. He was known for being a pretty boy back then, and although I was just a kid, I gasped at how someone could look so handsome. And Jeon In Hwa did the same for me when she played Jang Heebin, and I ended up even rooting for Jang Heebin in the drama much to the dismay of everyone around me questioning whether I realized that Jang Heebin was the villain here. I still think Jeon In Hwa was the most beautiful Jang Heebin of all the actresses who played that character.

  4. Thundie, you should watch Lee Seo Jin’s Soul/ Possessed! I myself can’t watch horrors, but I forced myself to watch it since X wrote a review on it . Though, I still hate the ending, it was quite good^^

  5. Ah, Thundie, you’ve made me cry all over again over Damo. I’ve deliberately not watched anything Lee Seo Jin has done since then because to me he is forever Chae-Ok’s Naeuri.

    I think Damo is the oldest one I’ve watched so far (I’ve only been watching kdramas for the past 2-3 years), so I don’t yet have any ‘old favorites’. 🙂

  6. Oh a trip down the memory lane for days like these would be nice. My very first fav is Ahn Jae Wook in Star in my heart. Such a feel good drama. I still watch it every now and then, lovely OST, story, and lovely Choi Jin Shil’s character. Bae Yong Joon and Lee Jung Jae: I agree with what Thundie and Blue said about the same dramas: Did we really love?, and Feelings, Sandglass. What’s more, Did we really love? has a teacher Kim Hye Soo who I adore. Choi Soo Jong: he has this gripping emotional intensity and charisma. I first watched him in First Love, but it was Emperor of the Sea that made me his fan. Emperor of the Sea also got me hooked with my girl-crush Soo Ae. Oh the voice! Mine are not really old favorites though. I still like them a lot, with the only exception of the Yong sama.

  7. did we really love was on my mind for the last few days. for some reason i want to rewatch it. I dont like BJY but how i love Jae ho !gonna watch it tonight.
    my first crush must be cha in pyo in a drama that i dont know the name in English. its was dub in VIetnamese. his wife was in it too. is was so long ago but i still think about his character from time to time.

  8. okay so i JUST watched The King and the Clown on YouTube…asdfaweruiwgaerwgdfdfjhsfgsjf
    words cannot describe how much i loved it! i finally get why so many people are in love with Lee Jun Ki now. if only i had half of his beauty…now i have to watch his other dramas like Time between Dog and Wolf. i saw an MV of that dramas and owwww he’s hot! idk why i never watched it sooner
    i’m really depressed right now but it was totally worth watching that movie. i knew that he and the captain’s love was doomed from the start, but i still had hope they’d run away from the palace or something T_T

  9. I havent been watching dramas for that long so I dont have many old favorites..they are all pretty new favorites for me…but since I started with Kmovies before I got to dramas I can say tha my first actor favorites were from these:
    Cha Tae Hyun- The first Korean movie that I watched was My Sassy Girl and then I went on to watch more comedies and other movies with him in it. He was the very first korean actor that I came to love, sadly none of his dramas ever interested me though Flowers of My Life has been on my to-watch list for awhile, but I cant seem to pick it up because I know that he will die in the end. I’m afraid I might not be able to take that…lol
    Kim Ha Neul- I first saw her in My Tutor Friend, though the movie itself didnt capture me, I did like the leads a lot. I have pretty much watched all her filmwork and love nearly all of them. However I haven’t tries any of her dramas unless the first episode of On Air counts. That one just bored me and I’m not touching any of her other dramas ‘cuz they a lot of them sound like sobfests. However if anyone here does happen to know one that is decent, please let me know

  10. Funny, I’ve just been rewatching some old favourites for the last few days. I’ve been feeling ill and depressed, and somehow nostalgic. My brother was here for a few days to take care of me, and I wanted to introduce dramas to him (he’s the one that got me into anime back in the day, so I knew he would be interested in something different). I wanted him to watch something really good, but Korean dramas are so long. I ended up digging up my copy of Pride starring Kimura Takuya. It was one of my earliest dramas. Oh my God, I forgot how GOOD it was! I think I converted my brother too, lol.

    I’ve also been rewatching Kekkon Dekinai Otoko, which is smart and awkward and hilarious. It’s such a happy drama. One of a kind.

    And I’m downloading Hana Yori Dango because I’m going to make my mom watch it, and because I’m in some serious need of feel-good drama. (I think I’ve been watching too much Korean melodrama lately.) Actually all three of the above are very feel-good – I recommend them to anyone who needs a pick-me-up. Not to mention very well-written and well-made, with great directing and music.

    All of my “old favourites” – not so old because I’ve only been watching dramas about three years – are Japanese because I started out watching doramas. But it feels somehow appropriate in these days when Japan is on all of our minds. May God bless and protect the Japanese people.

    And Thundie, thanks for this post! It reminds me again that I must watch Damo. I’m waiting until my life settles down a bit and my heart can take it 🙂

    • Oops, did I go on only about jdramas on a kdrama blog?

      A drama I watched early on that doesn’t get a lot of love is Really Really Like You. It’s long at 30+ episodes, but I loved the chemistry between Lee Min Ki and Eugene (and I LOVED my first experience of LMK). Ryu Jin was surprisingly inoffensive, and the ensemble cast was great. It’s well-written, often funny and sometimes touching, and it has an inspiring coming-of-age story for both leads. Also a slow-building and satisfying romance.

      I watched it early on in my kdrama addiction, so I can’t say for sure I would have the same reaction to it today, but I have a feeling it stands the test of time. 🙂

  11. Oh Beautiful Days!!! Watching the MV brought back all the memories and reminded me why LBH made my heart stop. And CJW really nailed her char… and That was the beginning of my RSW crush too… I totally get her dilemma!!! *swoon*

  12. Old faves!!

    Most of my fav K-dramas are old, can’t really find many recent years drama that can root me to the chair and watch day and night … only a handful
    Amongst my long list of old faves are Autumn In My Heart, All About Eve,
    They are the ones which got me hooked on K-drama-land
    Afterwhich I have 1% of Anything – Kang Dong Won, My Girl – Lee Da Hae + Lee Dong Wook, Lovers – Lee Seo Jin + Kim Jung Eun, MISA – So Ji Sub, Stairways to Heaven – Kwon Sang Woo + Choi Ji Woo, Snow White – Lee Wan, Love Pattzi – Jang Na Ra + Kim Jae Won, Phoenix – Lee Seo Jin + Eric Mun Jung Hyuk, Bad Family – Nam Sang Mi, Green Rose – Lee Da Hae + Go Soo, Be Strong, Geum Soon – Kang Ji Hwan + Lee Min Ki, 16 Years Old Bride – Lee Dong Gun + Han Ji Hye, Save Your Last Dance – Ji Sung + Eugene …
    From the movie side, I love Too Beautiful To Lie, Kim Ha Neul and Kang Dong Won were hilarious. Oh, never forget Il Mare!

  13. Old time favorite kdrama? I believe I’m not the only one who swept away by “Beautiful Days”. I was not really into it (Kdrama) because when its aired in Philippine television it was Latin or Mexican Novela was at its peak. Out of curiosity when its first aired, I watched it and I fell in love with Lee Byung Hun and the rest is history : D Now my friends, colleagues and family tagged me as kdrama freak. Hence, they even asked me what drama or movies are worth watching (they find me useful now because of being kdrama freak, especially when it hit the Philippine soil – LOL.) I also love green rose, save the last dance and Oh! Terms of Endearment, Goodness I can’t stop crying! and so as “Sorry I Love you”. I’ll be doomed If I were to write all my old time fave kdrama (well, movies are not yet included). Love Kdrama.

  14. An affair with Lee Jung Jae? I’d agree to it. ^^ *sigh*

  15. For me, it’ll always ‘My Sassy Girl’ and ‘Autumn in My Heart’ aka ‘Endless Love’ (>_<) since both of them is the one who bear responsible for my long love for Kcinema land and yeah, WonBin all the way, huehehehehehe

    After that, I must say, it'll be 'My Girl' (Lee Jun Ki, omo!), 'Full House' and 'Goong' 🙂

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