It is that time of year again when we begin to reflect upon the last year and choose our best and worst picks for various categories! So join us each week in December as we end 2019 with a bang.
Favorite Ensemble Cast
Karie the Maknae: This is a total tie between The Fiery Priest and Arsenal Military Academy. With Le Coup de Foudre coming in as a close second.
Kmuse: I also agree with The Fiery Priest, Kim Nam Gil led a brilliant cast of quirky characters that had me laughing every episode. My second favorite has to be My Fellow Citizen. Once again I chuckled through the whole thing thanks to a humorous ensemble cast. It was a great year for quirky characters.
Kdrama Jen: Melo is My Nature had an ensemble cast that just charmed me so completely. I loved every single character and I just want to go sit on their couch, stare straight ahead, and unravel the mysteries of life together. I love them SOOO MUCH!
Drama Geek: The entire cast of Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung was amazing. I loved the female historians to bits and even everyone in the palace helped make it a wonderful drama.
Clkytta: My pick would have to be Search: WWW. The whole cast built this drama into something magical. I loved the strong sismance between Bae Tae Mi and Cha Hyeon, and the way they interacted with all their coworkers, especially Brian, was the stuff workplace dreams are made of.
Telzeytalks: Although the group of people in Melo is my Nature gave me the most warm feels, and I also loved the gang in My Fellow Citizens, I’m going to choose the office staff in Designated Survivor (DG: I LOVED THEM!). The way they learned to respect the new president and grew to trust and support each other left me wanting more.
MiataMama: I loved the gangs from Fiery Priest and My Fellow Citizens so much! And I really want to give Special Labor Inspector Jo an honorable mention as well – that group still gives me warm fuzzies! But my top choice would have to go to Moment At Eighteen. They were all figuring out life together and had such an amazing teacher guiding and cheering them on!
Favorite OTP (One True Pairing)
Karie the Maknae: Maybe it’s because I’m coming off the high that goes with binge-watching a drama, but I *adored* the OTP in the cdrama Wait, My Youth.
Kmuse: It was not a good year for romantic couples this year. Most of them started strong but by the end of the dramas I was very “meh”. I guess if I have to choose one I would pick the writer/producer couple from Melodramatic. They at least kept me invested.
Drama Geek: I had two couples that I had a hard time deciding between, but the ending of When the Camellia Blooms is still very fresh in my head, so I’m going with them. Their love for one another, and just how steady and deep it was, really resonated with me. There were so many lines of affirmation between the two of them, that just kept me swooning. And I will fight anyone who says they can find a sweet puppy who loves his woman more than Yong Sik.
Clkytta: My favorite kdrama OTP had to be our sweet couple from Moment at Eighteen. So many longing looks and sweet moments, it just made my heart melt. Second runner up would have to be the cdrama, Put Your Head on My Shoulder. That couple made me laugh and cry.
Telzeytalks: My favorite couple was from Melo Is My Nature but it wasn’t the main leads. It was Eun Jung, the documentary producer, and the guy who had died before the drama really began. She kept seeing him everywhere and having conversations, and they were so sad and sweet. Mellow, you might say, or melo.
Kdrama Jen: I am going with Bai Lu and Xu Kai from Legends as my OTP. I think I enjoyed the bromances and sismances from Kdramas this year, but it was the Chinese dramas that gave me the most OTP feelz. This couple sacrificed for one another and learned the meaning of love together. Plus, they had fabulous hair.
MiataMama: Clkytta beat me to my first choice – Moment at Eighteen couple was THE sweetest!! So, I will just have to share my runner-up OTP for this year instead. I absolutely adored Haru and Dan Oh from Extra-Ordinary You!! Their epic love transcended the comic timeline and their height difference was super cute!
Sexiest Moment in a Drama
Karie the Maknae: My absolute FAVORITE moments are when one person in an OTP protects another. When Haru protects Dan Oh before he even has a name in Extra-ordinary You, I was very, very happy.
Kmuse: Before We Get Married had some super steamy scenes. Puff Kuo and Jasper Liu have fiery chemistry and they sizzled with their dysfunctional love!
Drama Geek: I had to scroll through my Twitter feed for a lot of these answers and the one moment I tweeted about that was hot, hot, hot was from Her Private Life. Ryan is sketching her shadow and you can see her silhouette with her hair up. Then he kisses her, and she lets her hair down.
Clkytta: I’m with Drama Geek on this one, Her Private Life was the hottest drama this year. So much skinship! Looking back, everything else seemed rather tame and bland.
Telzeytalks: I agree about the couple from Her Private Life for this one. In Time With You (JP) had a steamy kiss scene too, but it was with the wrong guy…
MiataMama: I’m with the Maknae – loved that part of Extra-Ordinary You!! In a similar vein, I absolutely swooned when Jun Woo stepped in to comfort and protect Soo Bin from her mother’s anger, in Moment At Eighteen.
Kdrama Jen: I actually watched some scenes in Before We Get Married multiple times, so…I have to agree with Kmuse!
Best Mane of Glory
Karie the Maknae: I didn’t watch any historicals this year, so I’m going to have to go with Lee Do Hyun’s mane of glory in Hotel Del Luna. He absolutely rocked it!
Kmuse: I know that my kbesties will mention the ever sexy Woo Do Hwan so I am going to expand my options to Jang Hyuk. We all know that he can rock a Mane of Glory and he does it again in My Country: The New Age. Between his fan and his hair, Jang Hyuk has become my favorite rendition of Bang Won.
Drama Geek: I’m pretty sure I’ll be unfriended if I steal Woo Do Hwan so I’m going with The Tale of Nokdu. I loved the fact that he pulled off both the woman’s style and the flowing locks at the beginning when he was on the beach.
Kdrama Jen: I love that my Kbesties know me so well—enough to be afraid if they steal my choice. Yes, Woo Do Hwan was simply stunning in his long locks. I really wanted him to be a better person, but he still looked fabulous. Honorable mention MUST go to Song Joong Ki as Saya in Arthdal Chronicles. That was some fabulous hair!
Clkytta: Tagon in Arthdal Chronicles. We all know I avoid historicals like the plague, so I had to think hard for this one. I’m also throwing in the Neanthals for good measure.
Telzeytalks: It sems like Rookie Historian and Tale of Nokdu had all the guys’ hair up in little topknots, except for occasionally when Nokdu let his ponytail down. The Chinese drama Ever Night had a lot of manes of glory though; the best one was the Ichthyosaur gang leader.
MiataMama: Tagon definitely had the most unique Mane of Glory and this was one of my favorites. My completed historicals list is pretty slim, so. . . I’m picking Yang Se Jong from My Country: The New Age. Probably not one of the more popular Manes out there, but I liked his messy, half-up, chopped locks.
Karie the Maknae: I loved Go Joon as Hwang Cheol Bum in Fiery Priest. Will he betray the good guys? Will he work with them? Will he bite the hand that is supposedly feeding him? His motives kept me on my toes the entire time.
Kmuse: Kim Min Jung in My Fellow Citizen was brilliant as the evil mobster leader who was trying to blackmail her way into power. This is an actress that I really disliked in her earlier romantic lead roles, but put her as a sassy villain and I can’t get enough.
Drama Geek: I have to give this to Tagon and Taealha from Arthdal Chronicles. They managed to make me cheer for their relationship while I knew that they were doing horrid things and only cared about themselves.
Clkytta: The Writer in Extra-Ordinary You. How cruel of a person do you have to be to keep writing a story over and over, and the characters don’t get their Happy Ever After? It’s so frustrating and mean, it’s like Romeo and Juliet mixed with Groundhog Day.
Kdrama Jen: This has to be the red-haired hottie from Legends. What was his real name, Kmuse? He was the manifestation of evil and sin (literally), but he knew how to draw our attention. (Kmuse – I just called him red haired anime hottie since he looked like he was straight our of an anime…and was hot.). Oh! Also, the evil mother who stole the life of another in Boutique. How evil do you have to be to twist the ring off a dying woman’s finger?
Telzeytalks: Definitely the most fun villain was the lady mafia leader in My Fellow Citizens, Park Hoo Ja. She was a hoot. The other one I found myself siding with was the friend in Memories of the Alhambra who was killed in the game and kept following Hyun Bin around with a sword. Does that one count? It ended in January. (Clkytta: That was a great villain!)
MiataMama: I just want to do a slow-clap for Park Hoo Ja – she was THE best villainess!!! As far as other dramas go – I don’t know if this counts, but I’m picking the brother from He Is Psychometric. His story was so sad. . . how can a villain make me feel so many feels??
Best Idol Actor Role
Karie the Maknae: Jinyoung in He is Psychometric. No contest.
Kmuse: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Kim Se Jung in I Wanna Hear Your Song. The drama itself got a bit slow in the second half but I was very impressed with how likable Kim Min Jung was as an actress.
Drama Geek: This is going to be a split vote, but they are in the same group. LOL. Cha Eun Woo is still green and can use a lot more experience under his belt, but he managed to win me over in Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung as the cute prince. Then over on Moment at Eighteen, his fellow Astro member Moon Bin won my heart over as the lead’s friend who was outed as gay before the show ended. I applaud his sweet portrayal of Jung Oh Je.
Clkytta: Does L still count? I’m counting him! I loved him so much in Angel’s Last Mission: Love. He’s really grown as an actor, and he made my heart pitter-patter as our angel turned human.
Telzeytalks: I liked Gong Myung, who was the assistant to our product-placement lady in Melo is My Nature. He’s from 5urprise. And in Chief of Staff Kim Dong Jun from Z:EA was an intern. He got me to like him by being one of the few characters in that first half to remain a good guy.
MiataMama: Ong Seong Woo!!! He blew me away with his performance in Moment At Eighteen. Not only does he have a lovely voice but his acting skills are top-notch. I can’t wait for him to get cast in another project!!
Kdrama Jen: I am torn between Jinyoung from Got7 (He is Psychometric) and Ong Seong Woo. They were both excellent! However, do we still consider IU an idol actress? If so, she was freaking phenomenal in Hotel Del Luna. I hesitate to mention her because she has moved so far beyond idol actress status!
Best good moment in a bad drama
Karie the Maknae: Lee Hong Gi in Melting Me Softly. He really was in it for just a moment, so it totally counts!
Kmuse: Abyss was abysmal but the cameos by Seo In Guk and Jung So Min was delightful. I think I am going through some serious SIG withdrawals so I will take what I can get.
Drama Geek: All the fight scenes I got to see in Vagabond. I only made it a few episodes in, and after hearing about the ending, I’m glad I dropped. But the chase scenes were superb.
Clkytta: Best moments in bad dramas go to people who have to finish what they start. I dropped so many dramas this year! I’m sure some of them were redeemable, but I didn’t stick it out.
Telzeytalks: Out of the shows I didn’t really like that I actually finished, I’ll go with The Secret Life of My Secretary. I watched it for second lead Veronica Park telling people her name and bossing them around.
MiataMama: This was the first year I gave myself permission to dump bad dramas. . . and I dropped A LOT of them. Kudos to those who powered through on those less than stellar shows!!
Kdrama Jen: I hesitate to say any drama is bad. I think we all have different tastes. I did keep watching Melting Me Softly, and the shower scene kiss was quite a highlight!
Kmuse: Her Private Life wins the best kiss category hands down.
Drama Geek: I second Kmuse that Her Private Life had the best kisses, but when I was reviewing kisses from 2019 the other one that stood out to me was Scarlett and Ji Hwan’s kiss in Search WWW. It’s the one where they are in a storage room with all the lost phones. At end of the kiss when his hand goes over her wrist. SWOON!
Karie the Maknae: Oh yeah, Her Private Life had amazing kisses — the chemistry between Park Min Young and Kim Jae Wook was off the charts from the VERY beginning.
Clkytta: Park Min Young + Kim Jae Wook = Kisses that make your toes curl. Her Private Life wins!
Telzeytalks: This one certainly goes to Her Private Life. Especially the kisses that were in her imagination.
MiataMama: I want to give an honorable mention to Melting Me Softly. The drama was ‘meh’ but the kiss scene in the shower DEFINITELY sizzled! My TOP pick though, goes to the staircase kiss from Moment At Eighteen. *sigh* That sweet scene brought ALL the feels (and memories) of that first kiss with your first love. By far, my favorite!!
Kdrama Jen: I have to agree with the Her Private Life comments. So many of those kisses were memorable, but the one in the wood shop area was sizzling!
Kmuse: I didn’t watch the whole show but I did see the bee kiss from Level Up. The bees didn’t really destroy anything that swoon-worthy.
Drama Geek: I don’t have a worst kiss this year, but I’m going to say the kiss in Nokdu between the two male leads was worth noting somewhere. LOL. It was hilarious and the behind the scenes were great. Throw in that one of them was actually evil and you have an interesting kiss.
Karie the Maknae: I honestly don’t remember any bad kisses. Nothing will EVER top the horrible kiss in Jugglers for me — that is the standard by which I measure all terrible kisses. (MM: I laugh AND groan, because this is SO very, very true. . .)
Clkytta: I was expecting a lot more out of Go Go Squid. In the novel, they have some pretty steamy kisses, but the drama was very unfulfilling.
MiataMama: Thankfully I didn’t have to suffer through any awkward and horrible kisses this year. Whew!
Favorite drama moment of 2019
Kmuse: The battle scenes in My Country are hands down my favorite scene of 2019. Followed closely by the fugitive hunting scene in Longest Day of Chang’an. In both moments the action, music, and cinematography are brilliantly done.
Drama Geek: In Melodramatic there is a scene where he does a presentation and you think he’s going to be amazing, and then it’s just the worst disaster ever. Kdrama Jen watched it live with us right before we did a podcast so that we could talk about that scene. I was laughing so hard, and I couldn’t even see the screen, it was just the audio. Which means I didn’t have a translation, but I was still laughing my head off so hard. It’s in episode six if you want to just watch that scene. It’s worth it.
Karie the Maknae: In Arsenal Military Academy, Liangchen, the girl pretending to be a boy so she can take her brother’s place in the military academy, gets kidnapped by Japanese thugs. She’s dressed as a girl at the time, and they completely underestimate her. After waking up (they knocked her out to kidnap her), even though she’s tied to a chair, she manages to get free and take out ALL THREE kidnappers and save herself. I LOVED that scene!
Clkytta: When Scarlet and Tae Mi are walking with baseball bats to go beat the crap out of a BMW in Search WWW. I love that Scarlet didn’t ask any questions, she just went to go help Tae Mi. That was such an epic moment.
Telzeytalks: There are some great girl-power scenes this year. Tammy and Scarlett’s power walk with the baseball bats reminded me so much of the one in Goblin. Another was when our favorite con man watched the lady cop beat up several guys at once in My Fellow Citizens.
MiataMama: This was a tough one for me to pinpoint. But I’m going to have to circle back to Moment At Eighteen. I cheered when Teacher Oh stood up to and called out Soo Bin’s Mom for treating her daughter so horribly. Teacher Oh was the BEST!
Kdrama Jen: My Country had some of the most powerful scenes of the year. The fight scenes were incredible, but some of the more emotional scenes were so well done and felt so real. I am still thinking about them. Honorable mention to Jinyoung’s shower scene in He is Psychometric since it was so educational and we all learned the scientific name for that one muscle…
Until Next Year,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi