Hitting all the right notes

So we’ve been rather ranty of late (see the two uproariously funny posts, Finis Origine Pendet and Irrational Impediments). Justifiably so, because kdramas can be infuriating, no? Endings that make us rage. Plot devices that make us roll our eyes.

Yet we continue to watch. Because once in a while a drama comes along and it’s as perfect as a drama can be.

If there are warts, they aren’t so large that they make our skin crawl. The writing is tight and the characters feel real; the story resonates with us. There’s just something about the whole drama that hits all the right notes.

Maybe it’s barrels of fun. Or barrels of heart. Maybe it’s filmed on such a grand scale that you feel transported to a magical place – one that you don’t want to leave. Or maybe it’s simply the bravest thing you have watched, so bold in its vision and so daring and refreshing in its execution. Maybe it’s because the acting is so fantastic you feel unworthy.

Whatever the reason, our affection for the drama deepens with every episode. We continue to love and miss it long after the final credits have rolled.

Is there such a kdrama for you – among old, recent, and current ones – where everything is served just right? Don’t keep it to yourself. Tell us which ones and why!

60 thoughts on “Hitting all the right notes

  1. On the top of my list:
    1. Damo- Gosh, so beautiful! The cinematography, the acting, the chemistry! The saddest ending but the most unforgettable too.
    2. Joseon X-Files – It exercised my brain more than any other kdrama. And the directing, cinematography and acting was awesome too. Although the chemistry bet. the leads was almost non-existent, the stories never centered on their romance anyway. Hope to see more dramas like this soon.
    3. Coffee Prince – the quintessential rom-com with heart. Cleverly handled and perfectly acted. It’s a pick-me-upper with lots of heart.
    4. Heartstrings – I’m not sure why I like it so much. Something about the young leads’ chemistry kept pulling me in. But the hideously awkward PDA scenes were so bad! Wish the director just told Park Shin Hye to be more affectionate at least, huh? And Jung Yong Hwa, how can you kiss a girl while standing 10 ft. away from her?
    5. SKKS – The bromance just about killed me! And the second lead just about ran away with the drama! Loved it!
    6. Best Love – It was hilarious, bumpy ride, even if the male lead overacted sometimes and the second lead guy once again ran away with the drama.
    7. Duelist – Although it’s a movie, I still wanted to include since I found myself discovering new things each time I re-watched it. It’s so deep that one viewing is not nearly enough to appreciate its beauty. Such grace in the middle of violence and such intense longing while in the middle of a swordfight! Gah! Beautiful leads, beautiful story and beautiful cinematography!

  2. For Me It’s

    1. Que Sera Sera
    2. Time between dog and wolf
    3. Prosecutor Princess
    4. Dream High
    5. Comrades
    7. The Devil (Mawang)
    8. Harvest VIlla

    Those are show where I cried, laughed, screamed, when I watched it. I’m so into character, make me feel for them so much, I can’t bear watching them struggle, success make me cried endlessly when they feel pain, and always laughed and smile like crazy when they are happy, and being silly… Their emotions really resonate with me so much…. when I watched them again, They always never failed to make me involved again, and again, with their story.. I love when writers show character flaws in a realistic way, because that’s where I feel them a real person

  3. Alone In Love and 9 End 2 Outs. Both because they’re quieter and more understated. No over-reaching, far-fetched or ridiculous plot, no overly done or exaggerated acting, no glossy direction or anything. Just perfect slice-of life dramas which touched and warmed my heart. In every single way. 😀

    • I just watched 9 ends 2 outs. And I have to agree with you. The story and the issues felt so REAL. And never had I wanted a relationship more like that as compared to any other kdrama story.

  4. My top 4 :
    City Hall – Best Love – Secret Garden – Coffee Prince (I could re-watch any time.)
    And others I really liked : My Name is KSS, 9 End 2 Outs, SKKS, Prosecutor Princess, You’re Beautiful, PTB, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.
    But there must be some hidden jewel in my to-watch list.
    Damn I should begin to make a list of those I’ve already watched.

  5. My barometer is the number of rewatch I have made of my favourite dramas. These are the ones that remain in my heart… long after the addiction has faded, the blogs are no longer visited daily, the OSTs have stopped playing in my ipod and their names don’t automatically come up as keywords anymore in youtube and google searches. Yes, my favourite dramas have warts, lots of wrinkles and perhaps even gaping holes. Nevertheless, I love them because I felt them right.here…*points at heart*. When my heart needs feeding, I turn to these dramas to make me feel good, yes, even if I am guranteed to cry. Did I say they make me feel good? Yes, thank you…that is the bottom line. My top favourite dramas are: Coffee Prince, City Hunter, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Secret Garden, Save the Last Dance for Me, Personal Taste and Lie to Me.

  6. City Hunter for sure. The actors, the music, the cinematography, how the plot flows…everything combined made it the best kdrama I’ve ever watched. It’s surprisingly endearing because I usually don’t watch or like action dramas. I found myself recommending it to everyone in sight who has any interest in watching dramas. I still love City Hunter to this day…

  7. Hmmm…

    * Wang Guhn was an epic story, but the ‘corn’ factor was a little high
    * Shin Don dragged, but was a good story. 9,000 episodes is a bit long for that ending
    * Emperor of the Sea (Sea Gods) loved – loved – loved, also fell in-love with Song Ilgook
    * Age of Warriors, Yi San (loved the intrigue), & Jumong – couldn’t stop watching

    But I think the most perfect drama, the least cheezy, the least drawn-out: The Devil (Mawang). Great cinematography, the acting was good, the plot kept me riveted, and the ending wasn’t improbably “blue skies.”

    The comic romances are fun, but the plots are far-fetched and the female leads irritate my western sensibilities. Plus, the male leads could benefit from more kicks-in-the-shin (or higher). The family dramas can be fun, but the constant reliance on birth secrets and other far-fetched coincidences tries one’s patience. My general feeling is that all series would be 100% better if 50% shorter. Looking forward to watching some of the recommendations here.

  8. Hi evry1..:)
    I am just so glad 2 see that mawang is on the fav list of so many ppl…I thought I was alone in that aspect!! I luvd JJH’s acting in that…I remember a lot of bawling…;)
    My recent favorite is “Princess man”…for its awesome plot,suspense,acting,direction…and what not…I was not a fan of PSH or MCW…TPM changed evrythin …:) I came upon the drama on tv by chance…and it was the 14th episode…eventhough I didn’t know the story one bit, by the end of the hour I was sitting gaping and clutching my chair…so damn addictive!!
    My all time favorite would be:
    MGIAG : I love this drama to bits…eventhough I adored LSG ,I started watching this because of Shin Min Ah..By the 13th episode…I had become a LSG fan…the leads are awesome..the plot is awesome…Hong sisters are amazing!!and…I really want them to work again with LSG( A girl can wish!!)…:)

  9. My top picks ( just because they gave me the balance of great writing, great acting and that X- factor that draws viewers like me and become emotionally invested in the drama) :
    The Princess Man
    City hunter
    Prosecutor Princess ( so underrated)

    Because it gave me barrels of laugh but got me hook line and sinker as well:
    Best Love
    You’re Beautiful

    • And I have to add Can you Hear My Heart now that I just finished it. This little gem just have a strong gripped on my heart. It defines heartwarming to a new level.

      • And i just finished 9 ends 2 outs. I almost did not watched it because at the time it was shown, it was on years I was a prodigal daughter from kdramaland. I was meaning to picked it up but kept putting it off because I thought it would be too sport-centric… but it was far from it. it was love for me. The story felt so real to me… even the circuitous plot and the issues that some say felt dragging.. felt strangely real. It depicts the issues of a 30 something old in terms of career and love. The hesitancy, the fears… they felt so REAL

        so I’m adding this one to my list.

  10. Capital Scandal, 9 End 2 Outs, City Hall and Call of the Country, definitely! They are the only dramas that I’ve rewatched. Soulmate was good too, but I don’t know if I’d watch it again…

  11. Friend our legend – I am new to k-drama and only now watched this one. Was blown away! It definitely hit all the right notes. At the other end (LOL) I loved Secret garden also. That definitely also hit all the right notes for me! With the latter I can’t say that I did not notice the flaws but just that they did not matter at all.

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