This is it! The final smorgasbord of awards for 2018. What’s our favorite kiss? Who had the best ensemble cast? Which drama do we wish we could have a redo on? Come find out this and more as we put 2018 finally behind us.
Karie the Maknae: I was really impressed with the detailed sets in Legend of Fu Yao. The various courts felt lavish and distinct, and the landscapes were gorgeous. Also impressive was the warmth of the house in Still 17–it was light and bright and welcoming, much like the story. Lastly, I was just as impressed with the different levels of the underworld in Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days as I was in the first movie. The rich details and imaginative landscapes added such depth and drama to the story all on their own that I couldn’t help but be awed.
Telzeytalks: A Poem a Day was really well done and thoughtful, especially the scenes that went with the poems. There were a lot of beautiful shots, from the old grandma pulling her cart home at night to melancholy scenes of lonely people, to the main couple sitting in a garden of flowers.
Clkytta: I know that it’s a more recent drama, but Memories of the Alhambra has really impressed me with its use of color and setting. From the way the camera pans in and out during the fight scenes to encompass the setting, to the pops of color like Emma’s dress have impressed me.
Kmuse: Oooh. I agree with all those that have been listed. But I am going to jump to the Chinese side of my drama list and choose The Rise of the Phoenixes and Ever Night. The Rise of the Phoenixes have the most complex costuming and sets that I have ever seen in a drama. And Ever Night creates the most beautiful and complex fight scenes. The director makes me feel the magic that is supposedly being thrown about willy nilly.
Drama Geek: The two that stick out to me this year were Just Between Lovers and the currently airing Encounter. Just Between Lovers had a way of drawing you into the various relationships by framing scenes just right. And with Encounter, I truly believe that both the writer and director have the heart of a poet. The cinematography brings the story to life is such a soothing and beautiful way. When you add in the distinct artwork animation they also use, it just makes a perfect package.
KMUSE: I have to add this one in last minute. I just got back from watching the movie Swing Kids with Drama Geek and it 100% deserves to be on the best cinematography list. The things this director did with dance and movement was pure brilliance. So glad I had a chance to pop this in before we published.
Karie the Maknae: Jin Yong Tae from Terius. He was delightfully cocky and arrogant, but also a shivering coward who does just about anything to save his own skin. However, he’s one of those villains who has a great growth arc, and I loved him by the end.
Telzeytalks: You said favorite, right? To me that means I enjoyed watching this person. Therefore I choose Hwa Da, the evil witch from Witch’s Love, who is really not all that evil. She was a real spark of life on my screen and I wanted more of her!T
Clkytta: The psycho killer dad from Come and Hug Me. There was a good reason we all called it “Come Hug a Psycho”. The way he manipulated everyone was just chilling. He had the ability to pull people to him and make them believe in him. To me, that’s the scariest kind of villain, the one who can make people question if he really is a bad guy or just misunderstood.
Kmuse: I choose the royal family & the evil succubus mistress from The Last Empress. I love to hate those characters.
Drama Geek: I second both Clkytta & Kmuse. The dad in Hug Me was chilling, but I’ll add the reporter to my list. I hate to admit that I cheered when she died. She was just so horrid. In The Last Empress I love that the palace is just swarming with smart, entertaining evil people. Even the little princess can be a hellion.
Which drama do you wish you could recast and why?
Karie the Maknae: RADIO ROMANCE. I will say it again and again — that story would have been SO MUCH BETTER if Kim So Hyun had been even just five years older. That was NOT a role for a teenager.
Clkytta: I am probably not going to have a lot of people agree, but I’ll say The Undateables. I don’t watch anything with Hwang Jang Eum in it because her method acting drives me crazy and I can’t watch. So I didn’t even try to watch this one because she was in it even though it sounded like a good drama. I’m not the fangirl who can suffer through 3-16 episodes of her screeching and making weird faces and then calming down a little.
Kmuse: Uhm………..I swear I had a drama in mind when I chose this question and now I can’t remember. Guess that drama gets a pass….whatever it was.
Best Idol Actor Role
Karie the Maknae: Delightful Puppy Chan from Still 17 absolutely stole the scenes he was in, and I loved his “Don’t think, feel!” mantra. He was played by Ahn Hyu Seop from 101. (Sidenote: He’s fluent in English, according to his bio, and yet I had NO IDEA until I read his bio, even though he chants his mantra IN ENGLISH throughout the entire drama. I’ll be watching for him in other things…). I also loved Lee Hong Gi in Hwayugi as the pig-made-human deity. He was emotionally engaging and a lot of fun.
Telzeytalks: There were two idol actors this year who particularly caught my eye. One was L, from INFINITE, who had a lead role in Miss Hammurabi as junior judge Im Ba Reun. The other is CNU from B1A4, who stole hearts as young policeman Bae Do Hwan in Ms. Ma Nemesis. (I would not have known they were singers if I hadn’t been looking things up.)
Clkytta: I may have been the only one of us who watched My Husband, Mr. Oh. I like Uee, she’s not the best actress out there, but she is growing as an actress. I felt like she did a pretty good job in this drama.
Kmuse: Do Kyung-soo did an amazing job on his first leading man roll in Hundred Day Husband. I hope this is the first of many dramas in his future.
Drama Geek: Is this a real question???? Junho (Just Between Lovers)!!! Kdrama Jen and I agree to share our love for him so I’ll back off a bit. His groupmate Changsung was in Secretary Kim and his one suit wearing character had an adorable side romance. He was also in Queen For Seven Days which didn’t air this year, but I didn’t get to watch until just a few months ago. The two characters were so different I barely even recognized him at first.
Worst Idol Actor Role
Karie the Maknae: Can’t think of one.
Telzeytalks: If I had to choose a bad idol actor, it would be Hong Bin from VIXX who didn’t do much for me as competition for the male lead in Witch’s Love.
Clkytta: Oh I’m going to say CNBLUE’s Jong Hyun in Evergreen. I’m not sure it was all his fault because the storyline was weak. His overacting was killing me though. That could have been a mix of bad writing and bad directing. I’m hoping when he gets out of the army someone gives him a good supporting role so he can continue to build up his acting.
Kmuse: Joy in Tempted just didn’t work for me. Disclaimer* I only watched the first four episodes so if she suddenly improved I am unaware of the acting transformation.
Drama Geek: I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands here, but I am going to say Cha Eun Woo from Astro in My Id is Gangnam Beauty. There are two camps when it comes to his performance in the drama. Those who think his expressionless portrayal stayed true to the character, and others who think he might have stuck to the 2D rendering of his character and never added anything else. I do think that given the right character, he could be very enjoyable to watch.
Favorite Ensemble Cast
Karie the Maknae: How am I supposed to choose between I Am Not a Robot, Still 17, Terius, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?, Prison Playbook, and Come and Hug Me?? I can’t. I just can’t. This was a great year for ensemble dramas.
Telzeytalks: Having just finished Room No. 9, I am full of feelings for that drama. The way the characters got to know each other and start to become a real team was so real. The two leads, who are both women, the bestie girlfriend, the young supporting boyfriend, and the detective walked right off the screen into my living room.
Kmuse: I have a tie between Prison Playbook and Life on Mars. So much chemistry and so much joy just from watching these amazing actors. Runner up would be The Last Empress which I am thoroughly enjoying despite not liking any of the characters ethical makeup.
Clkytta: Life on Mars! While I agree with the other suggestions, I have to say I fell head over heels in love with the cast of LoM. I loved our little ragtag team, all of them had strengths and weaknesses that combined to help make them a strong team.
Drama Geek: I agree with everyone here, and I’m going to add both Just Between Lovers and Encounter. Junho’s character collected people and made them his family, and the show was littered with such layered and amazing characters. With Encounter, there are tons of side couples and I like every character, even the ex. Okay, except both moms. They suck.
Best good moment in a bad drama
Karie the Maknae: The Security Couple in Where Stars Land. I think I would have happily watched a drama about them instead!
Telzeytalks: Any scene in the first two episodes (which is all I watched) with a good view of Daniel Choi’s cheekbones in Ghost Detective.
Clkytta: The first 10 episodes of Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food/Something in Rain. I’ve griped a lot about how the story was pretty near perfect up to that point when it went straight to crap.
Kmuse: Pretty Noona for the win. I might have to rewatch the first ten episodes again and go write me some fanfic to conclude the story to my satisfaction.
Karie the Maknae: HA! Jugglers finished in January of this year, so I can say the awkward first kiss between Daniel Choi and Baek Jin Hee in Jugglers. It’s seared into my brain.
Telzeytalks: I’m going to say the kiss at the end of Are You Human Too? because by then the show had gone downhill and I didn’t buy that the girl could love the robot. He didn’t seem the same anymore. The best worst kiss I think is in Room No. 9 when ex-con Mi Ran pulls the flunkey Sang Soo aside and kisses him to keep him from seeing someone sneaking past the window. It’s not exactly bad, but you couldn’t call it good, could you?
Clkytta: Oh I’m a second vote for Jugglers. Hands down that has to be one of the worst kisses I have ever witnessed!
Kmuse: Oh no. I had almost forgotten about Jugglers. That kiss went on forever and was awkwardly horrible from every angle.
Karie the Maknae: I Am Not a Robot also ended in January, so I can say the kitchen kiss in I Am Not a Robot. That was the moment when I realized JUST how strong the chemistry between Yoo Seung Ho and Chae Soo Bin was, and it gave great depth to their relationship in the drama–warm and domestic and full of potential in the future.
Telzeytalks: I’m going with the kiss at the end of Just Between Lovers when the main characters kiss with the cityscape behind them. There was no one there but them. No crew, no director. Just them.
Clkytta: I’m going with all the kisses in The Eternal Love 2. ALL THE KISSES. I can’t pick just one, there’s just too many of them.
Kmuse: The Eternal Love 2 wins my vote as well. That show was built on the kissing compatibility of the leads.
Drama Geek: I third Eternal Love 2, but want to add the underwater kiss in Legend of Fuyao. The look on Wuji’s face when the emerged from the water was gold.
Best Sismance of 2018
Karie the Maknae: Honestly, the girls in Your House Helper take the prize for me this year. Their friendship was better than the actual romances. (DG: They were my favorite too!)
Telzeytalks: In Room No. 9, Hwa Sa (the main character/prisoner) and her ex-con bestie, Mi Ran, are established friends when we meet them. Mi Ran is so fierce and loyal, I want her for my friend! By the time they were through with her, the lawyer Hae Yi, who was at first antagonistic, was fitting right in.
Clkytta: I’m going to say The Eternal Love 2, the relationship between Tan’er and Jing Xin has to be one of my favorites of all time. There wasn’t just forced loyalty between these two, there was a true relationship that was as close to sisterhood as one can get without blood.
Kmuse: The besties from Beauty Inside win my vote for best sismance.
Drama Geek: I really liked the actresses in Come and Hug Me. They started out with the older actress feeling territorial but then grew into such a support for one another. It was a pleasant surprise.
Best OST (Soundtrack) of 2018
Karie the Maknae: Hwayugi.
Clkytta: I’m really enjoying the OST of Encounter.
Kmuse: I’m not sure if any really stood out for me this year. A huge difference from last year when I had a ton.
Best Bromance of 2018
Karie the Maknae: Cha Seung Won and Lee Seung Gi in Hwayugi. They are the reason I stayed with that drama until the end. Also, the bromance between Choi Jin Hyuk and the secretary in Devilish Joy was a delight–I loved their witty repartee.
Telzeytalks: The two radiologists in A Poem a Day, Dae Bang and Joo Yong, meet my criteria of a bromance, complete with the plot line of not liking each other at first and growing to become friends. We don’t like them at first either, but we find out soon enough that they are a couple of softies.
Clkytta: Han Tae Joo and Kang Dong Chul in Life On Mars. I loved seeing these two together. They butted heads at the beginning but by the end, they were perfect partners.
Kmuse: Once again, Clkytta and I are on the same page. Life on Mars bromance was the best.
Drama Geek: I LOVED the relationship between Park Seo Joon’s character in Secretary Kim and the director guy. They were hilarious together. On the flip side, in Come and Hug Me the relationship between the brothers was so heart wrenching but also very moving.
Favorite drama moment of 2018
Karie the Maknae: HA! This one is EASY. In Still 17, I loved Seo Ri and Woo Jin’s conversation right after their first kiss, when Woo Jin mentions that it’s his first kiss too. I cracked up at Seo Ri’s reaction: “What have you been doing with your life?” Woo Jin, sheepishly: “I don’t know….”
Telzeytalks: It’s hard to remember a favorite moment from a drama I saw a while ago. But my favorite moment right now is from the currently airing Feel Good to Die, when somebody falls into a manhole. Priceless.
Clkytta: Mine is from Come and Hug Me. When Crazy Psycho Dad is about to kill Hyun Moo and a bound Ok Hee moves over to protect him. That moment will be etched in my memory. The unwavering love of a mother who knows she will die, but she will die protecting her child. Ok Hee has to be the best drama mother I have ever watched.
Kmuse: Watching that first episode of Memories of the Alhambra and realizing how cool the concept was. Sadly, the drama hasn’t lived up to the awesomeness of that first episode but at least I will always have that moment.
Drama Geek: The two shirtless fight scenes in Legend of Fuyao. I promise it’s not just because of the shirtlessness. I just loved the fight choreography in that drama, and how they came up with such creative ways to display how talented both the leads were at fighting.
Weird Trivia Moment by the Maknae: You remember last year’s The Liar and His Lover? Yeah, I wish I could forget too. Anyway, it turns out that the band members from that drama are decent actors! The lead singer played the delightful genius hacker, Ra Do Woo, in Terius, and the drummer is none other than our Jang Ki Yong, Na Moo from Come and Hug Me.
This concludes 2018! It has been a long year full of good and bad dramas. Be sure to check out all our End of Year Reviews HERE.
Wishing you a Happy New Year,
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi