I just realized that since we have such a diverse group watching and chatting about dramas, we have moved from chatting just Korean, to really covering shows from all over Asia. I hope that this can help readers get good suggestions for branching out since good TV is good TV whatever the language. So come join the fangirls as we chat dramas from Korea, Japan, China, and Thailand!
-Six Flying Dragons-
A historical drama about the ambitions and success of six characters based around Lee Bang Won. Lee Bang Won was the third king of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea and the father of King Sejong the Great. He helped his father King Taejo establish the Joseon Dynasty.
4KMUSE: 14 episodes in and this drama just gets better and better. It says something when you can’t choose which of the sexy characters is your favorite. I am at the point where my favorite is whatever one is on the screen at any given time. Heaven help my hormones if all three ever team up and have scenes together.
KdramaJen: This drama has it all: an amazing cast, fantastic cinematography, and a plot full of intrigue and surprises. Throw in a few Khotties that make my heart skip a beat or two and we have the perfect formula for an awesome show. This is definitely one I start sub-stalking the day it airs.
KMUSE: I would also choose this drama if I had to pick one based on the quality of acting. There are scenes that are literally award winning and it is definitely worth all the ratings & acclaim that it is currently receiving.
Jennie: I just started this one thanks to everyone’s recommendations. I don’t normally watch sageuks, but I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this one. Only four episodes in and the characters are already really complex.
-Love me If You Dare-
Getting inside the head of a violent criminal is not easy. But Simon Bao Jinyan, a brilliant criminal psychologist, has the ability to get into the minds of even the most mysterious and violent criminals. He’s a professor at The University of Maryland and works as an analyst and adviser on the police department’s most violent or difficult cases. With the help of his young assistant, Jenny Jian Yao, Simon delves into the thoughts and intentions of the criminal mind.
CLKYTTA: I haven’t watched many Chinese dramas, but everyone was raving about this one so I added it to my list. I love it! Our lead man has layers, lots and lots of layers. He’s brilliant and conceited and gorgeous and physically and emotionally damaged. He has good intentions, but they are negated by his horrible bedside manner that puts people off. Our leading lady gets that he has layers and she works hard to cover up his flaws. I laugh every time he says something and people just stare at him in shock, then she translates his (real or her purely made up reason) and people calm down. Essentially, it’s Beauty and the Beast. The second lead is meh for me, so I’ll just pass him by. My real hook in this show is Andy, the car, I want an Andy!!!
Kdrama Jen: Oh my! I was minding my own business just trying to be productive last week when one of my Kdrama Besties happened to mention this little show. So…ten episodes later… Yeah, this one captured my full attention to the point where I am quite sure the kids were foraging for dinner on their own. Sometimes, though, allowing a meal of ice cream and bacon bits is a small sacrifice in exchange for a CSI/Sherlock/Knight Rider combination that just works! I have to agree with CLKYTTA. I want an Andy too. And his socially-challenged owner would be welcome to come along for the ride.
Jennie: Think of every brilliant, beautiful, amazing detective in fiction, roll them into one, make him Asian, and you have Simon. The forty-five minute episodes are just NOT LONG ENOUGH. I keep feeling like they’re giving us appetizers when I want the full meal. I regret marathoning the first ten episodes because now I have to wait. Side note: It’s hilarious to watch someone who doesn’t know how to express emotions try and woo a girl. I think I laughed for a solid thirty minutes through episode 12.
JenKaddict: I have a confession: I’ve always secretly wanted to be a crime novel writer. So I was in heaven when I found out there was a C-drama that managed to balance both crime procedural and romance. Not something Kdramas are good at. Either the romance is great but the cops couldn’t solve a case to save their lives or the crime part is dark and interesting but it’s void of romance. I agree with everything already said. I want an Andy of my own. Simon is freaking adorable when he’s trying to woo his girl. Who knew turtles made good wing men?
-From Five to Nine-
Sakuraba Junko, an English language school teacher, has had no boyfriend even before her 29th birthday and dreams of working in New York. But one day, she encounters a handsome monk in the worst moment when she attends a funeral service at a temple. Because of numbness in her legs, she grabs the altar and ends up emptying the ash from burning incense on him while he is chanting the sutra. Although a rueful Junko thinks they will probably not meet again, she is deceived by her family and made to go for a matchmaking session. The other party is none other than that monk, Hoshikawa Takane.
KMUSE: I am so glad I started this drama. It is very busy, fast paced, and kind of odd, but this couple really works.
KMUSE: Most of the time I don’t enjoy Japanese female characters. They tend to stick them in very specific roles with little development. Thankfully Junko has more character than most and brings a fun flair to the show. Sadly, all the other females are firmly stuck in either supportive sister roles or as aggressive mean girls. I might be guilty of fast forwarding the mean seducing co-workers story.
KMUSE: The highlight of the show is definitely Hoshikawa Takane’s clueless lovelorn monk. So cute, so oblivious to social cues, so borderline stalker. He kind of reminds me of a cute puppy. Sure it might pee on the floor (or in Takane’s case, kidnap a girl and make her live in a shrine) but in the end you forgive it because of the adorable gaze.
JenKaddict: Okay, so Satomi Ishihara (Junko) is my number one Japanese bias. I fell in love with her when I watched Dear Sister and then watched as many of her dramas as I could. She always brings this adorable quality that I love to her characters. It took me a little bit to get past the monk’s stalkerish ways, but he won my heart. He is adorable, in a bumbling way.
-Oh My Venus-
Kim Young-Ho is a personal trainer for Hollywood stars. Even though he comes from a wealthy family background, he suffered a devastating injury during his childhood days. Now, he overcomes his problems with patience and stubbornness. Kang Joo-Eun is a 33-years-old lawyer who has struggled to support her family. Now, she’s overweight and not so attractive.
These two had a connection when they were younger. Now as adults, they meet once again. They both go on a diet, which leads to them becoming healthier and having a romantic relationship.
KMUSE: Sorry, couldn’t resist sharing this picture one last time. So Ji Sub in a bathtub is a work of art. Beautiful naked khottie aside, this drama actually really worked for me. It felt like a wonderful 90’s style romcom. Shin Min Ah is both flawed yet tough (So happy that she didn’t try to keep the cheater just so she would be in a relationship). I also like that they are letting her deal with her health issues in a healthy way and not just acting like plastic surgery is the only option. On the leading man front, So Ji Sub has never looked sexier. His character is both kind and sincere and I am loving this OTP (one true pairing) combo.
Kdrama Jen: No apologies necessary for sharing the bathtub picture! I fully support brooding bathtub scenes. This is a fun drama that is showcasing excellent chemistry between our leading man and lady. I am a little nervous that the focus will be too much on the outward beauty angle, but I am definitely sold on this one. I am looking forward to the next episode.
Jennie: Only two episodes in, and I am hooked! I even had a dream about it last night, no joke. I am worried about how much everyone focuses on her weight (even her supposed best friend) but I have a feeling Shin Min Ah’s character won’t be taking crap from anyone whether she’s chubby or skinny. Also, it’s not fair that she looks that cute in a fat suit!! And So Ji Sub… No comment. You saw the pictures.
JenKaddict: I came to this show for the couple chemistry and it has not disappointed me. Shin Mina is too adorable in her chubby suit and it doesn’t seem fair. The story hasn’t exactly pulled me in yet. It feels a little too much like Birth of a Beauty, which isn’t helped by the fact that the second lead is the same guy playing pretty much the same character. But I have faith in our OTP and feel like they’ll rise above the fat shaming and make this drama more than a story about making a girl pretty again so she can be happy.
-Answer Me 1988-
Drama series follows various families living on the same alley road.
KMUSE: This show is making me so happy. I was really hesitant when I started, but this might be my favorite of the series just because the writing is so spot on. I am also enjoying recapping it with Jennie.
Jennie: I was worried at first too, but last weeks episodes were like comfort food–familiar, yet deliciously new once they hit your tongue. Thanks for inviting me to recap Kmuse!
JenKaddict: When I found out they were doing the husband hunt again I got really worried. But last week’s episodes really cemented this installment for me. It reminded me why I fell head over heals for 1997. The characters. These writer just know how to make them feel real, flawed, and show how a family or a rag tag group of friends grow and learn from each other.
KMUSE: And what a wonderful acting find in Ryu Joon Yeol! This is his first drama (except for a small part in the beginning of “Producers”) and he is stealing the show so far. It’s too early to claim he is the husband, but either way I am enjoying this character falling in love.
CLKYTTA: I think he’s the husband. I WANT him to be the husband. The scene in the alleyway? Totally innocent, but totally hot! Where did this actor come from? He’s totally won me over.
Kdrama Jen: I love this drama. I have enjoyed this series of dramas, although I did not enjoy having my heart shattered last time. You know, that one where the wrong guy ended up with the girl… Oh, right, I promised I wouldn’t start a fan war again. I am completely over it. I only whisper “Chilbongie, Wae WAE???” every so often. But, THIS time, I will not get attached. I will not allow myself to get swept away in the shipping wars. Of course, after the bus scene, I think we all know which boy is going to get the girl. At least, he better end up with her. They wouldn’t string us along and then go in a completely different direction, right?? Right???
Jennie: I’m trying not focus on the husband either, but yeah.. really hard after the alleyway and bus scenes. This boy is killing it. I have to echo Kmuse–no matter what, it’s fun watching him fall in love. And even though I’m still upset about Reply 1994, too #chilbongie4life, there were a lot of good moments that I’ll treasure from that series, and I’m sure this series will be the same. But seriously…Jung Hwan better be the husband.
JenKaddict: I can’t lie and say I haven’t fallen for Jung Hwan’s charms and want him to be the hubby. I love how this series can take an unknown actor, or an actress who gets a lot of hate for her acting, and bring out the best in them. I’m really looking forward to lots more of the awkward scenes like the alleyway and bus.
Taliw a cute, lively but clumsy girl has had a crush on a popular and genius, Tenten, a new student who has 200 IQ. Tenten just returned from Japan with his family. How Taliw will deal with her feelings towards Tenten? Sometimes, he treats her kindly and cares about her. But sometimes he teases and made her embarrass in front of all students in their school.
KMUSE: Could this drama get any cuter? We have the romance, we have the chemistry, we have all of the annoying aspects of the original drama evened out. It is so close to perfect. The only complaint I have is the 2nd lead girl. She is much more annoying in this version than those of the past. It might also be because the writer is giving her character more scenes than in past adaptations. She just bugs.
CLKYTTA: Even though this is a familiar story, I love this version the best so far. The chemistry is real, Ten Ten has *gasp* emotions! I can’t stand the second lead girl, but I really love the second lead guy, he is worthy, very, very worthy. Taliw, isn’t completely helpless and hopeless, she has many more redeeming qualities than in previous versions. The mix ups in the story line make it fresh and fun, some of the trickier parts of the story make so much more sense in this version.
Kdrama Jen: Why have I not been watching this? I think I know what I will we doing THIS weekend. Sleep is kind of over-rated. Besides, ice cream for dinner is not so bad if it’s only once a week, and I am pretty sure we still have those bacon bits left too. See you Fan Girls later. I have some dramas to watch!
Focusing on a story of betrayal, romance, friendship, familial ties behind the Sino-Japanese war. Ming Tai is a man from a wealthy family who was trained as a spy and then became part of the Communist Party. With his brother, who is also a double spy agent, they have to succeed in their infiltration and defeat their enemy. ~~ Based off the novel by Zhang Yong.
KMUSE: This is my replacement drama for “Nirvana in Fire”. It does a great job of filling the void since a good chunk of the actors were also in Nirvana. Including the leading man Hu Ge and my C-bias Wang Kai. This is the story of a playboy who gets kidnapped and forced to become a spy. Just so happens that he excels at the assassination spy game and quickly rises in the ranks of the underground communist party.
KMUSE: If you are looking for a complex show with hot guys and takes us through a traumatic time in history, then this is the drama for you.
Woo-Hyun is a Korean man and Haruka a Japanese woman. They live different lives, but they both carry emotional scars from their first love. While looking for answers and hope, their fateful encounter will change their lives.
CLKYTTA: This one hit home for me in so many ways, who hasn’t texted or emailed someone knowing there will never be an answer? This drama is all about missed connections and heartbreaks so far. It reminds me of The Lake House for some reason. It’s not really a fast moving drama, but there is something frantic about it. There are so many underlying emotions in the character of Haruka. She is so much more closed than T.O.P’s character. It has me intrigued to find out what happens next.
JENNIE: This show is almost as quirky as T.O.P. is. In fact, I could see him actually doing most of these things. (Except pining away for his last girlfriend who didn’t really like him. I mean, who doesn’t like T.O.P.??) One second it’s really slow and sweet, and then it’s like a horror movie, but then there’s T.O.P. dancing like an idiot (I love that he can’t dance. So cute). I have a feeling there won’t be happy ending to this one, but that’s only because of the underlying horror feel to the whole thing. There’s this beautiful moment when Haruka is dancing with with her troupe and it’s haunting and frantic and soo deeply emotional without a word being spoken. Seriously amazing for a web drama. And the episodes are short so it’s a quick watch. Go. Watch it.
JenKaddict: I love the directing in this one. It’s kooky but beautiful. Like, Jennie said, the dance scene with Haruka was one I loved. And this horror movie type scene where Haruka walks through the darkened house with just her phone. Her movements reminded me of a silent movie. This one is a nice breezy weekend watch for me.
That’s all for now. If anyone thinks we are missing a real gem of a drama (from any country) leave us a note in the comments. What is one more drama added in since sleep is highly overrated?
Til next time,
*Synopsis from MyDramaList