Those of you who often read the blog know that we are all about Asian dramas and movies as a whole. So it would be tragic to not talk about our picks for best and worst without opening it to all the countries, not just South Korea. So come join us as we chat our favorite non-Korean shows of 2019.
Best Chinese Dramas
Karie the Maknae: This has been the year of the Chinese drama for me! I’ve been absolutely enchanted and/or thrilled by several, and my favorites are Le Coup de Foudre, Arsenal Military Academy, Wait My Youth, and Go Go Squid. (Clkytta: Stop licking all the cookies, Maknae!)
Clkytta: I loved Put Your Head on My Shoulder. I also enjoyed Go Go Squid and Le Coup de Foudre (I’m in the middle of a rewatch of LCdF.) I’m teasing the Maknae about licking all the cookies. The Maknae, MiataMama, and I watched several of these fun and fluffy Cdramas this year and loved them so much. We’ve had a lot of fun chatting about which of the couples are our favorites.
Telzeytalks: I’ll go with Ever Night because that’s the only Chinese drama I finished this year. This is one of those shows with lots of magic sword-fighting scenes. I liked the lead guy for his chutzpah, but my favorites were two older mentors, who were great actors and fun to watch. (This is just part 1, and the second half is going to have a different lead actor.)
Kmuse: I loved Love and Destiny and The Legends. Strong female characters are one of my favorite things about Chinese dramas and these two women were the best!
Worst Chinese Dramas
Clkytta: I can’t think of one. That may have something to do with the fact that I don’t stick with bad dramas.
Karie the Maknae: What Clkytta said.
MiataMama: I’m counting this one because I binge-watched it after it finished airing on Jan 2nd of this year. Flipped started out SO GOOD! Then the second half went sideways and had a horribly confusing and completely unsatisfying ending. I’ve have started a half-dozen other Chinese dramas, since completing this one. . . but have not been able to push myself through to finish ANY of them. Hopefully next year I can overcome my C-drama bad-ending phobia!
Kmuse: The Legends of White Snake just didn’t work for me. I made it half way through by forcing myself to hit play but eventually just had to accept that I needed to add it to the drop pile.
Karie the Maknae: I *watched* Love O2O this year, even though it came out several years ago. Does that count? It should. It’s been my favorite Chinese movie experience of the year. (Clkytta: I think it counts. I love Angelababy as WeiWei.)
Telzeytalks: I watched the Chinese movie Wandering Earth because I like space ships. The basic idea is that they put rocket motors on the earth and boost it out to another solar system. I enjoyed it, but let’s just say they spent most of their time on disasters with big special effects. A Japanese movie I liked was very different. My Long-Awaited Love Story was a sweet romance, with a few surprises and some character growth.
MiataMama: I saw this in the local theater, so I’m counting this as my movie pick! BTS: Bring the Soul – I laughed, I cried and I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes footage of a group of artists I admire very much.
Kmuse: I didn’t get as many movies watched this year. Which is sad since I love a good movie (feel free to send any suggestions my way in the comments.) I did see The Shadow and Wandering Earth. Both are worth watching but maybe not making it to my rewatch list.
Best Asian performance in a western show/movie
Karie the Maknae: I’ve loved Benedict Wong in the MCU since he sassed Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange. He’s the perfect blend of funny but dangerous as the scholar/warrior who works with Doctor Strange to protect this dimension.
Drama Geek: I have not finished any of the C/J/T/F dramas that I have watched this year. But I have to add two here since I watched a good bit of American TV in 2019. Michelle Yeoh did a PHENOMENAL job in Star Trek Discovery. She is badass and one of the best characters with questionable morals I’ve seen portrayed in a while. I also need to give a shout out to Manny Jacinto from The Good Place. It’s their last season I have thoroughly enjoyed is dumb as rocks Jason Mendoza for the last four years.
Clkytta: Second vote for The Good Place!
Kmuse: I third, The Good Place and am also adding Alli Wong’s performance in Always be My Maybe.
Best Japanese/Thai/Filipino/Indian drama or movie
Clkytta: I haven’t had much time to watch a lot of dramas in other languages, but I have watched a few movies I enjoyed. I really liked the 2018 Indian movie, Padmaavat. I’m a sucker for a strong female character, and this movie gave me chills. It’s ironic that the blogger who really doesn’t like saeguks, loves Indian historicals…
Telzeytalks: I watched several cute, lighthearted Jdramas. Pretty Proofreader was my favorite (Clkytta: I liked that one too.) There is a fun ensemble of friends, and the boss is probably the nicest boss ever in a drama. I also liked Sumika Sumire, a fantasy about a magical cat who tried to get free of a spell by turning a 65-year-old woman young again and helping her achieve her dreams.
Kmuse: I have so many in my To Watch pile and so many that I didn’t make it to this year. My goal for 2020 is to try and expand my dramas a bit more.
Have you ventured outside your kdrama comfort zone, k-fans? What have you watched? Drop down in the comments and share with us!
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi