End of Year Review 2020: Part 1

It is almost the end of 2020 (WOOT!) and that means it is time to reflect on all our favorite drama moments and characters. Thankfully, while other aspects of the year were not all flowers and sausages, dramas continued to give us those great moments we have grown to expect. Come find our favorites and see whether yours made the cut.

Favorite Ensemble Cast

Kmuse: I have two that really stood out this year. The first is Hospital Playlist, which was phenomenal. This writer is so talented on fleshing out multiple characters and giving them all depth and great story arcs. The second drama is Stranger 2. Once again, this is a story with really layered characters that have great interaction with each other. I can’t get enough of either show and hope for future seasons since I’m not ready to say goodbye to these characters.

Karie the Maknae: There were so many good ensemble dramas this year! How am I supposed to pick just one from Go Ahead, Hospital Playlist, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, Missing: The Other Side, or Team Bulldog? Except I will pick Go Ahead, because I love that found family THAT much. Team Bulldog is a very close second, though.

Telzeytalks: The best ensemble to me is Hospital Playlist. They are five doctors who go so far back together, know each other so well, and are such good friends. We thought in the beginning that there were too many characters to keep straight, but we love every one of them.

Drama Geek: I 100% agree with Telzey on that being the top ensemble cast. My Unfamiliar Family is one that fell under the radar, but also had a great cast of characters, and each family member was just as important to the drama as the rest of them. So maybe more a family ensemble, but all the side character were excellent as well.

MiataMama: I think I was the only fangirl to watch More Than Friends this year, and one of the things that kept me watching until the end was the well-balanced storytelling of the whole cast of characters. I was invested in not only the main couple but the two secondary couples as well. The way all their stories intertwined and impacted one another was well done.

Kdrama Jen: Missing: The Other Side grabbed me and shook me out of my drama slump. The ensemble cast was full of characters that kept the story moving and made me fall in love with the found family.

Favorite OTP (One True Pairing)

Karie the Maknae: I have two favorites. In Flower of Evil, I loved the relationship between Do Hyun Soo and Cha Ji Won. It was epic and nearly eclipsed the rest of the drama for me. Li Yu Bing and Tang Xue from Skate into Love were my other favorite — they were enemies to lovers, and then SO MUCH MORE. Tang Xue screaming that Yu Bing was her hero right before his hockey game is still one of my favorite drama moments.

Kmuse: The Song of Glory had such a wonderful power couple. I love an OTP that can kick butt and politic together. I also love me some fated/doomed/angsty love that somehow works out in the end. So Love and Redemption really deserves the OTP award since this couple had me swooning from start to end.

Telzeytalks: Strangely enough, even though they are not a romantic couple, the two leads from Stranger 2 (aka Forest of Secrets 2) are the perfect pair. They are friends; they worry about each other and trust each other completely. We could watch them indefinitely, and didn’t get enough of them together in this season.

Drama Geek: My choice this year might end up being the couple from Cherry Magic, but until I see the final episode I will not know. I want to pick It’s Okay to Not be Okay, but their relationship wasn’t the healthiest at times, so I think I’ll agree with Flower of Evil. Their devotion to one another, and finding how to grow through the lies, was outstanding.

MiataMama: Out of the very few straight-up romantic dramas I watched this year, My Unicorn Girl takes the top spot. I absolutely ADORED the OTP – they only had eyes for each other and fantastic chemistry! I just couldn’t get enough of their interactions in each episode.

Kdrama Jen: My favorite pairing this year was not a romantic pairing. It was Jasper Liu and Lee Seung Gi in TwoGether, the variety show that fulfilled my wanderlust while unable to travel on my own. These two made me laugh out loud, especially during their “couples yoga.” It was a real-life bromance that made me so happy.

Steamiest Moment in a Drama

Kmuse Tale of the Nine Tailed really had some great kisses, especially in the last few episodes. So it wins my pick as steamiest of the year. However, I will say that this year has had a lot less super sexy moments than years in the past.

Telzeytalks: I haven’t been watching anything very steamy. If you mean sexual tension, I will choose the end of Hospital Playlist, when Ik Joon asks Song Hwa to date him, and she carefully avoids saying anything.

Drama Geek: Um… did you guys not watch the steamy kiss scenes in It’s Okay to Not Be Okay? There were multiple fans blowing in my house when I watched them. SO HOT.

MiataMama: The two most swoon-worthy moments for me this year didn’t actually involve kisses! First up, Hyun Bin in Crash Landing on You. As he came swooping in on his motorcycle, guns blazing, in full-out bodyguard mode to rescue Son Ye Jin from her kidnappers, I swooned hard! But the other notable moment that ended up taking the lead and earning multiple rewinds, was in The King: The Eternal Monarch. Watching Lee Min Ho ride in with his actual cavalry, swords swinging, commanding his guards to protect his queen was the hottest K-drama moment of the year for me!!

Kdrama Jen: The Chinese drama, Pillow Book: Three Lives, was full of steamy moments that felt like centuries of pent-up longing being satisfied.

Sexiest Styling

Kdrama Jen: This goes to It’s Ok to Not Be Ok. I loved every single outfit our leading lady put on. She even had the fingernails painted to match.

Kmuse: I was thinking that several of the dramas mentioned by my fellow Fangirls all work when it comes to sexy styling. However, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay wins. Her dresses were hot hot hot!

Karie the Maknae: Tale of the Nine Tailed — except for Lee Dong Wook’s mountain god hair. That should have scared Imugi off all by itself.

Telzeytalks: I’ll go with all the beautiful hanboks Hwang Jung Eum wore in Mystic Pop Up Bar. They were all different, and at least one of them was strapless.

Drama Geek: The king from The King: Eternal Monarch and his bodyguard. This two were just hot, hot, hot in there. Honorable mention to the foxy girl in Tale of the Nine Tailed. Everything she wore was super cute but also sexy. (I will note that I’m trying to not put It’s Okay for everything but Go Moon Young was a storybook delight.)

MiataMama: Not on everyone’s radar, but I loved the vintage PI styling from Zombie Detective. And when he wasn’t sporting a fedora and trench coat, zombie Choi Jin Hyuk also rocked the deep V sweaters and guyliner.

Favorite Villain

Karie the Maknae: The goblin hunter in Kiss Goblin. He was nearly harmless and JUST SO FRUSTRATED. It was kinda hilarious.

Drama Geek: The emperor dad from Joy of Life. He was sexy and a great puppet master to his son.

Kmuse: I agree with Drama Geek. Joy of Life emperor dad was a very sexy villain. And we all know I have a soft spot for a sexy dad villain.

Telzeytalks: The villain from Train was very different, because for most of the drama you thought she was a good person who had mentored several younger people. You don’t find out until the end who it is, but you liked her, and it was a complete surprise. Very good suspense thriller.

MiataMama: I love, love, loved Lee Tae Ri as Imugi in Tale of the Nine-tailed. His cold and calculating behavior was totally hot! And I need to give a token nod to Im Joo Hwan in The Game: Towards Zero. While I’m not happy that he’s been pigeonholed into bad guy roles in recent years, I do admit he does do the emotionally tortured, evil character well.

Kdrama Jen: I think I have to agree with MiataMama on this one. I know he was a bad mythical dragon snake who did really really bad things, but I kind of had a hard time hating him. Tale of the Nine-Tailed has some good evil villain moments. It’s pretty horrifying that this guy can just whisper a suggestion and suddenly people start jumping in front of cars or trying to kill people they love. Chilling.

Best good moment in a bad drama (SPOILERS)

Karie the Maknae: Ra Ra getting Jun to bring her night cream in Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol when she’s testing out whether he’ll do something for her, even though he says he won’t.

Telzeytalks:In Hi Bye Mama, a man in black shows up, threatening to send all the ghosts to heaven and turn little punkin Seo Woo into a shaman. Everyone was scared of him, but I thought something exciting was about to happen, partly because he was played by one of my favorite North Korean soldiers from Crash Landing on You. Unfortunately, it all petered out.

MiataMama: All the close-up food shots in Dating in the Kitchen! The drama turned into such a train wreck in the second half, ugh! But watching Shengnan prepare those tasty dishes made my mouth water and sent me sneaking to the kitchen for snacks every single time.

Drama Geek: In Oh My Baby (which wasn’t really a bad drama, but veered off toward the end) two of the prospective dads have a fight out in the rain and it was hilarious and deserves all the screenshots.

Kmuse: The early meet cute scenes in Do You Like Brahms were so good. Unfortunately, the story didn’t stand up to their chemistry.

Best Kiss

Clkytta: The kiss on the boat in Crash Landing on You. I seriously squealed in surprise.

Kmuse: I have to agree that the kisses in Crash Landing on You were really great.

Karie the Maknae: * ahem * At the end of Hospital Playlist. There was some definite cheering coming from my house.

Telzeytalks: The kiss in the last episode of Into the Ring was the best. Gong Myung and Se Ra are sitting together on a bench, he asks her to promise to stay out of politics and pulls her closer. She gives him two little pecks and he gives her one, and then they kiss for real. They are lovely together.

MiataMama: I’ve been sitting here for a good 15 minutes, looking at my list of completed dramas for the year. I don’t feel that any of them have a standout kiss I can nail down as the ‘best of the year’. So I will just share a few honorable mentions instead: Crash Landing On You, The King: The Eternal Monarch, and Flower of Evil.

Drama Geek: Okay, I’ve already stated that It’s Okay had tons of steamy kisses, but I cannot forget the 2 kisses in Do You Like Brahms that had me swooning. Those 2 had OODLES of chemistry and it all exploded on the piano. It was such a sexy kiss, and was full of so much pent-up emotion. Then when they were sharing ice cream they had another kiss, and it was truly a beautiful moment.

Kdrama Jen: I have to second the piano practice room scene from Do You Like Brahms. Looking back at my text messages, this was the one I chatted about and rewatched!

Favorite drama moment of 2020

Clkytta: How do I pick just one? It has to be from It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. It wasn’t between the OTP, but it was when Moon Young and Sang Tae were giving their reading and they started fighting. I loved everything about the way these two interacted. They have a very public fight, and then they walk out hand in hand.

Karie the Maknae: There was SO MUCH TO LOVE in this year’s dramas! I have two favorites — when Teddy Jung in Team Bulldog took a hit off his inhaler before absolutely WIPING THE FLOOR with an entire gang, and when Chef Gwi in Mystic Pop-up Bar transformed into a warrior to fight off an evil spirit.

Telzeytalks: Halfway through Stranger 2, Shi Mok and Yeo Jin meet on her balcony and talk about the current cases. When he mentions the case she knows he should look into, she gives him a hint by snapping her drink can open. As he leaves, she tells him he already has the answer. She doesn’t say anything overt because they are in competing departments, but she trusts him and this is the scene where they start working together again.

MiataMama: There were many great drama moments this year, but I think the one that still haunts me the most was from Flower of Evil. Lee Joon Ki is a stellar actor and watching his character wrestle with himself, and his fragile hold on his sanity, during the cliff-side scene . . . It was so powerfully raw and emotional.

Drama Geek: I have two. One was at the end of Hospital Playlist when they were singing together and they go from the drunk moment of singing to them practicing. It was just a great character moment. Then in It’s Okay to Not Be Okay when they are all together at the end camping, having so much fun and just being a family. It warms my heart.

Kdrama Jen: One of the most memorable scenes for this year was something that appeared so simple. It was when Lee Yeon from Tale of the Nine-Tailed gave his egg to his younger brother while they were eating noodles. We learned only a short while earlier that Lee Yeon loved eggs so much that he held a grudge when another mountain god stole his egg, so the small action of affection took on such significance and became a symbol of brotherly love and sacrifice.

Until Next Year,

The Fangirls

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

9 thoughts on “End of Year Review 2020: Part 1

      • I loved HP as well – all the positives of the Reply series but without many of the negatives (toilet humour, filler, the dreaded husband mystery). The long episodes were actually a positive as it was tightly written and gripping. I had no urge to fast-forward because I loved every character and side-story. Can’t wait for S2!

  1. Favorite Ensemble Cast: Hospital Playlist-This PD/Writer team really knows how to get the best from their actors, and whoever is the casting director they work with is spot on

    Favorite OTP- Love Is Sweet- Bai Lu & Leo Luo were fantastic together, to the point where in some scenes I felt like I was watching a real-life couple.

    Steamiest Moment In A Drama- Lost Romance- When the OTP finally got together, whew! My computer screen almost melted from the hotness. Kudos to Marcus Chang & Vivian Sung.

    Sexiest Styling–It’s Okay To Not Be Okay- FL looked fabulous!

    Best Kiss- Love Is Sweet- the elevator-front door kiss in Ep 21-it was just so refreshing to see a passionate kiss with Both leads participating equally, and then the aftermath was just hilarious.

      • Love Is Sweet had flaws, for sure, but the OTP was amazing. Glad you are going to give the drama a chance. Bai Lu/Leo Lou couple are too good to miss, imo, even if some other parts are meh.

        • I’ll keep that in mind. I watched the first episode and the finance world aspect was really off-putting, for some reason. But good OTP chemistry will get me through almost ANYTHING.

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