An insult to snails

It’s October. This fact may mean something or nothing to you, but to an occasional kdrama reviewer—one with her own kdrama blog to boot—the tenth month of the year is usually that time to start checking numbers and planning a list of sorts, or maybe even three or more lists: crack, crap, hot, not.

These lists are only possible, of course, if you have finished four or more dramas and they conveniently happen to be crack, crap, hot and not respectively (“hot” and “not” referring to actors; a drama is never “hot,” not even when it leaves you all hot and bothered). The ideal is finishing at least nine by this time (one a month?), not a feat when you consider how many dramas air in a year. (Less ideal is merely watching fifteen minutes of the first episode and then judging the whole drama based on that cursory viewing.) In the past I’ve sometimes managed to watch close to twenty dramas, finishing twelve or more by mid-December. Not this year, though. As of now I’ve only finished Fermentation Family. That makes for a grand total of ONE.

In a decade of addiction I’ve not clocked a slower pace. No wonder I hear all these noises in the night and find more droppings than usual; the lizards in my room are displeased and they make sure I know it.

The days when I would devour dramas the way I inhale edamame seem so distant now. Spending thirty hours a week on everything kdrama-related (so many things to do for a single obsession hobby!) and still feeling like it wasn’t enough (watch more, write more, c’mon!). Staying up till five in the morning to finish a recap (the things I did for you, Song Joong-ki!). Panicking (and almost crying) when a certain mammoth file-sharing site got taken down and I thought I had to revert to my Stone Age (aka ten years ago) practice of waiting for a drama to hit the stores before I could watch it.

Those days.

I think it was that Tree With Deep Roots recap written a year ago that triggered some soul-searching. I felt physically ill, like I needed to throw up, because it was five o’clock and in just a couple of hours I would have to leave for work. (Thundie is a beast if she does not get her sleep.) This is insane, I thought. Don’t do this ever again, I added.

So in the last year I’ve reined myself in, sort of. Still, finishing just one drama in nine months is a joke, is it not? What has happened to that sense of urgency I once possessed about downloads and subtitles (grab the links before they disappear, yo!)? Am I not curious about Arang and her magistrate? Don’t I want to know if Nice Guy is nice?

Answers to the above: Yes. No idea. A little. If that’s the new drama with Song Joong-ki, maybe.

To show that I’m not one without conscience (I do often feel remiss about not updating the blog), I did something last week that I had not done in ages. Yup, I watched a drama and a movie. Seven hours. All on a Saturday. Which meant I did not bathe the dogs or step out of the house to get myself another chinchilla.

The drama I watched because I saw it in the store and the box set was gorgeous. Never mind that I had watched thirty-eight episodes last year and had already downloaded the remaining twenty episodes. On Saturday I rewatched Episodes 1-5. In a nutshell, it was as funny as I remembered it, it was more boring than I remembered it, the characters yelled a lot, and I missed Kang Dong-won terribly. Of the last point I ought to be ashamed of myself because it’s akin to going on a date with one guy but thinking of another guy the entire time. Sorry, Joo Won.

(Why I watched an old drama instead of current or more recent fare is a question the lizards in my room want an immediate answer to. What can I say? I fell on my head—from a great height, I must add—when I was a baby. It explains many things.)

The movie was about bows and arrows and the male lead was one of my first k-loves. If you do a search on Soompi, you will see that I even started a thread for him in the Actors forum. (Of course you will also see that I’ve done a disgraceful job updating the thread. For that I have no explanation whatsoever.) The movie was very exciting and I did not yawn a single time even though it was past three in the morning when I finished. I loved the hero (you go, Park Hae-il!) but loved the villain more (oops). The plot had holes as large as tiger traps but I didn’t mind one bit because any movie that makes me laugh out loud (look, they fly!) is a keeper.

(Humor is huge in my book these days. More, more!)

To recap, I’ve finished one drama so far and it’s a shoo-in for my “crack” list (just seeing its name makes me go all melty-soft; don’t listen to those who diss it). I don’t know how many more I will finish the rest of the year, but I need to get cracking if I want to make any headway. Better slow than not to move at all, right?

So while I scramble with my watching, tell me about your crack and crap. Without revealing spoilers (I may be a tardy viewer but ze strong principles have not changed!), what dramas have you really enjoyed this year? Which actors have burned up the screen for you? Have you watched more or fewer dramas in 2012? How many in all?

Categorised in: K-dramas, K-reflections

56 Responses »

  1. I haven’t found my Crack Drama yet… But… I think Answer Me, 1997 came VERY close.

    Crap Drama…BIG!!! I bailed in the Middle of episode 12. I regret NOTHING, because I heard the ending sucked. Also, Panda and Hedgehog. I bailed… I think it was episode 7. It was too simple for me… The Good guys were just good and the Bad guys were just bad… Atleast that’s what I got from those 7 episodes. Plus, I thought Panda was seriously stupid. The only thing I liked about P&H was Hedgehog the sister of the second Male lead.
    (I would say Dr. Jin, but I never watched it… Just read recaps here and there)

    Good Dramas… (Dramas that I stuck with til the end, but was never really emotionally invested in) Shut Up Flower Boy Band, Queen Inhyun’s Man.

    Dramas that are kinda hard to Categorize right now… Arang and The Magistrate, Totally Awesome BUT I really think it should have been a 16 episoder, because the more episodes there are, the draggier it becomes, and the less invested in the drama I become.

    FAITH!!!! MY GOD! Up until these last 4-5 episodes, Faith so seriously BORING!!! If I didn’t love Lee Minho I probably would have abandoned it. I suspect only MINOZ are still watching this drama. But these last 4-5 episodes have been pretty awesome, so even though it didn’t start out as good, at the pace that it’s going I can have some hope that the ending will be pretty awesome.

    Last, because it’s the latest one that I’ve started, Nice Guy. YYYYYYAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! No matter how much I’ve prepared myself before starting I still got super frustrated with KANG MARU!!!! OMG!!! This guy!!! I am so frustrated with him that words can express it!!! Like OMG!!! I might just abandon it on the count of It hurts my head. But because I’m so frustrated with Maru, I’m loving Song Joong Ki. And I want to see when and how Jae Hee gets her just deserts.

  2. my judgement for quality drama is questinable nowadays. Since I pretty much enjoy several drama that everyone think is bad. Lol
    My drama of the year.
    History of a salaryman, shut up flower boyband.
    And maybe nice guy, because so far this drama affected me so much.

    My drama that I enjoyed, drama that affected me so much despite bad excecution,cliches storyline, and some people may dislike etc….. Lol equator man, operational proposal, gaksital, BIG,
    While I enjoyed those drama, I suffered so much because some element makes me frustated.
    BUt i will remember only a good times I had watching that drama
    Maybe my standard for watching drama getting low by each time.

    character that affected me so much this year and makes me felt relate. The main reason why I stick with the drama:
    Kimura Shunji from gaksital, kang baek ho from operational proposal, Baek Yeo Chi from HOTS

  3. Well, this year is my first full time K-drama watching and its WORTH it Thundie!! I’m so glad that i got addicted in one of the best year. I’m definitely not new to drama watching, always almost first to watch anything among my friends, and the one to recommend them something to watch. But this year is my CRACK.

    My first and foremost is the lovely Answer Me, 1997 who climbed top spot, knocked Coffee Prince out of the first place. I almost don’t care about its holes (like i did with Coffee Prince) but it my heart feel so warm and i always cry and laugh watching it and the kiss, of course.

    I finished and liked soo many dramas this year (in no particular order) : A Wife Credentials, Queen In Hyun’s Man, Shut up flower boy band, King 2 hearts. enjoyed : Moon/Sun, Bridal mask, Gentleman Dignity, Operation Proposal and I live in Cheongdamdong and of course Arang and Nice Guy.

    also watched some classic : Sandglass, Ruler of Your Own World, and 9end 2outs. love all of them.

    Dramas i watched, not yet finished and maybe not going to : Lee Taeri, Love Rain, HAuendae, I need romance 2, The Marriage plot, May Queen (even though i love Jae Hee), Twelve Men.

    Suprisingly more than 20 dramas!!!

  4. hi..since the start of 2012 and up to present i’ watched a total of 36 kdramas which i finished and 5 dramas currently watching..

    The crack drama for me this year are:
    Queen Inhyun’s Man, Shut up flower bot band, I Need Romance 2, Golden Time, and Replay 1997..

    Dramas that i enjoyed:
    Bridal mask, Ghost, Whats Up, Operation proposal, rooftop, equator man, syndrome, feast of god, salaryman, dummy mommy, glowing she, can love become money, 1000th man, god of war

    Dramas that i can’t decide whether i like it or not
    Haeundae lovers, wedding scheme, i love lee tae ri, immortal classic, take care captain, wild romance, i do i do, moon/sun, arang, beloved. salamander guru, to the beautiful you

    Dramas that maybe bored me to death or just i hate it
    BIG, DR JIn, Fashion King, Love Rain,Tasty Life, Ill Give you the Star and Moon…

    • I would also to to add DREAM HIGH 2 to the dramas that bored me to death and hate to death…it was one of m biggest let down this year.. since im a newbie i just got addicted to kdramas last 2010, after watching to many korean drama i learn to Dont Expect to MUch.. expectations will just make you cry for too much DISAPPOINTMENT….

  5. hi thundie.. Actually this is my first “intense” and “crazy” year watching k-drama, starting with The Moon That Embraces The Sun and just finished Arang and the Magistrate, and still watching Nice Guy (but not that intense) and watched several old dramas like:
    – What Happened in Bali (bcoz they said Jo In Sung and Ha Ji Won had that great chemistry, and I found it beautifully frustrating but call me weird, I still like it),
    – Time Between Dog and Wolf (since watching Arang, I did a background checking on Lee Jun Ki, and found this surprising good action drama),
    – Sungkyungkwan Scandal (love it at first but get bored in several last episodes)
    – Tree With Deep Rooted (found it accidentally at viki and it turned up that I loveeee it),
    – City Hunter (quite disappointing at first knowing that the story is different from the original manga, but I also love this K-drama version of city hunter *maybe they shouldn’t name it City Hunter, since the character is way different*)
    – Personal Taste (watching it bcoz Lee Min Ho there, but yeaaaah.. basically watched it ’till the end becoz Lee Min Ho, and it’s quite light so I could maintain to watch it till the end)
    – Tales of New Gisaeng (many fast forwarding used in this drama)
    – Prosecutor Princess (aaaahh.. this one I like it so much, and this is how I met Park Shi Hoo)
    – Family’s Honor (gaaaaahhh this one becoz Park Shi Hoo)
    – Oh My Lady (this year is my second time watching it, I know it’s not that good, but I find it light and fun to re-watching it, love Siwon there)
    – Best Love (didn’t mean to watch it at first, but I get hook)
    – Will It Snow On Christmas (I watched it on a whim, but totally love Go Soo there)

    Wooow.. shocked at my own ability to marathon dramas. Now for 2012, this is what I think of them:

    Definitely Crack: Arang and the Magistrate, King2Heart, Queen In Hyun’s Man

    Crack: I Need Romance 2012 (I love the story, but not fond for the ending, once again I get this fall for 2nd lead actor syndrome), Ma Boy (ah this one refreshing)

    Good: Moon That Embraces The Sun (love it like crazy when it was aired, but when I think of it again now, it’s just become good drama *just figured out that there was so many flaws, but still love the story)

    So-so: Glowing She

    Dropped in the Middle: Love Rain (but maybe I’ll watch the rest if I have time), I Do I Do (fell in love with 2nd lead actor and come to the realization that he wouldn’t end with lead actress), Dr. Jin (really trying to understand the story up ep 7, but still couldn’t figure out what the director/writer want), BIG (aaargh glad to drop it),

    Crap: BIG, Dr. Jin

    Now that I count my drama this year, that was fantastic number for me!

  6. My addiction began this year when I bought a Roku and discovered Dramafever, my how life changed after watching my first K historical drama. Sorry, don’t care for the modern day stories.

    Thankfully, DH also dropped down the KHD rabbit hole with me and we’ve had so much fun watching them we’ve completed more than a dozen and some of those were many episoded!

    We’ve watched so many we joke we almost don’t need subtitles since words like – wretch, general, father, mother, brother (we don’t hear sister so often, wonder why? – and of course the varied terms for royalty.

    Our favorites have been Dong-Yi, Dae Jang Geum, Yi-San, Jumong, Kingdom of the Wind, Painter of the Wind, King Gwanggaetto (well the first part before the strike evidently crippled the end of the production), Joeson X-Files, and now we’re watching and enjoying the Iron Empress and the Great Seer.

    Hoping greatly that Dramafever will give us the new Great King’s Dream!

    Yes this is an addidtion for which I seek no cure, just more KHDs please and very happy to find blogs like this one by others similarly afflicted 🙂

    • Oh, I’m down with a terminal case, myself. I just wanted to tell you that I’m another one who mostly wants to watch historical dramas. (I’ve seen most of the ones you mentioned.) I do on occasion venture into present day dramas but they have to be exceptional and they have to come highly recommended. There are a few good ones out there. I’m watching one of them now – Fermentation Family. It’s available on Dramafever and stars Our Hero, Song Il Guk..

      Happy watching!

  7. drama crack of the year is definitely “reply 1997”. it’s an amazing journey in my fangirl life. i fangirl it with my real-life friends, i fangirl it with my virtual friends, i fangirl it with the fans even if it’s my first time encountering them, haha. i love jung eunji to tidbits here. i can’t believe i even join a-pink forum, watched their variety shows just for her part, and their several live performances which is basically eunji ft namjoo and the rest (and i’m addicted to some of their songs now lol)…. even if it’s only for a week of a-pink craziness (then i found this gem named block b, lol), it’s still lingering inside of me…. hahahaha. it’s not the *best* drama, but it’s still an amazing journey. truly the epitome of fangirling. every bloger can’t resist to blog about it, every active poster in a forum to make a thread out of this, discussing about the trivias, discussing about the songs, discussing about the fathers, the characters, the story, etc etc. the ending is a bit of stretch, but it doesn’t make the previous episodes bad. well-acted, well-written, well-directed, anything you can hope from a trendy drama.

    my another crack is arang. but i’m not talking about the drama… i admit i’m really late in junki-craze, but now i’m totally caught up in junkisitis…. i don’t know how junki managed to stole my heart, maybe those eyes or that sharp jaw or his overall sexy aura (lol), i started to watch his old drama. and damn “time between dog and wolf” is one great drama. it has good story-line and well-acted, but i seems to miss those points as i was dragged into junki’s world. every scene with him made me lose my mind~~ *-*

    as for “nice guy”, i’m a bit late with this trend and i’m still not caught up in joongki syndrom. perhaps after i finished my junki forray, i’ll start with this guy.

    until now, my drama crack of the year is definitely “reply 1997”. i can’t believe, you, thundieprattle, whom i looked up to after “sungkyunkwan scandal” craze, do not join the whole “reply 1997” fangirling parade. hahaha. jk. keep writing!!!! 🙂

  8. Thundie, my heart skipped a beat or two when I read your post. Please take care of your health first and always. Us addicts will continue being crazed, although your sharing IS appreciated enormously….

    Sadly, my addiction is recent, just over a year. Although I technically do have a “day job” caring for children, I’m retired, so it’s fairly flexible and allows for my viewing. My daughter in NYC probably never imagined the Monster she’d create when she emailed some kdramas to watch. The rest has been insomniac history. Actually, my holiday gift to myself last year and this has been to blissfully marathon dramas. I AM finally learning how to steer clear of the duds, despite my compulsion to finish what I start. And I have you and dramabeans to thank for making my “wasted time” so much more enjoyable. I won’t go into the ten-year roster of dramas I’ve seen since November, 2011, but will share highlights from 2012’s picks:

    Crack: Padam, Padam
    Golden Time (triggered a whole medical-drama binge)
    Queen InHyun’s Man
    The Chaser (last minute Xmas viewing thanks to dramabeans)
    Special Affairs Team Ten (same as above)

    Good: Rooftop Prince (the comedy)
    A Gentleman’s Dignity
    King 2 Hearts
    Arang and the Magistrate (Joon-Ki in MBS’s Hero, too!)
    History of a Salaryman (‘cept those last episodes)
    Wild Romance (love tomboyish female leads)

    NEVER AGAIN: Ohlala Couple (Tho my daughter warned me how they “always” end, I figured
    I’d seen different endings in Queen of Reversals and I Am Legend, so I could hold out
    hope, right? WRONG!) I found the ending-out-of-left-field an insult to viewers and am not
    watching any drama by that writer again. All that great, side-splitting comedy WASTED!
    Also made me decide not to watch a drama until all the episodes air, just in case.

    This last experience almost soured me on kdramas. BUT… I remembered all those fantastic dramas, classics and new, historical, melos, comedies that I’d devoured during the past year. Looked at the ones on my To Watch List and had to admit: I’m still hopelessly addicted. And loving it!

  9. This is a very good tip especially to those new
    to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise
    information… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

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