We are two years into a global pandemic, and there is a lot of stress in the world. So what do we Fangirls do when things get tough? Watch more dramas, of course. However, sometimes you just don’t feel up to experiencing something new, and that’s where this post comes into play. Come find out which dramas Kmuse and Drama Geek think are the best comfort rewatches to get you through the rough patches of life.
Kmuse: After watching Asian dramas for the last decade, I have to admit that I am a serial simulcast fangirl. While I used to rewatch many shows back when I started, now I mostly watch as it airs. That said, this past year has hit hard, and I have begun rewatching some older shows. More importantly, I have been trying to find shows that had some pacing issues (back when I first watched them) in order to see if binging makes the drama better. Often it actually does. There is something about not having to wait a week for the story to continue that really adds to the enjoyment.
Drama Geek: I am notorious around here for never watching anything more than once. Most of my excitement from watching something is figuring out what happens next, and when I watch something a second time, I tend to get bored and move on. I’m not sure if it’s the pandemic or that I’m getting older, but I have watched several dramas for a second time this year and loved it. I appreciated them even more with the binge experience and really felt all the feels this time.
W: Two Worlds
Synopsis – Oh Sung Moo, the father of cardiothoracic surgeon Oh Yeon Joo, mysteriously goes missing while writing the last chapter of his webtoon “W”. Yeon Joo goes to his office looking for him, but a hand from his monitor suddenly pulls her in, and she finds herself on the rooftop of a building next to a bloodied man. She manages to save the person, only to realize that he is Kang Cheol, the main character of her father’s webtoon. Yeon Joo later discovers she can only enter and leave the webtoon depending on Kang Cheol’s feelings. (MyDramaList)
Kmuse: This is a drama that really benefits from a person not having to pause every week and reflect on possible plot holes. The romance is extremely swoony, and I found the bad guy scarier the second time around. So much of the multi-world aspect required so much thought the first time around that when I watched the second time, I didn’t have to delve as deeply. I can accept the romance, the comedy, and the scary bad guy as they are and just enjoy the insanity.
Drama Geek: During my first watch, I thought it was one of the most innovative concepts I’d seen in a while, at least for the first 9 episodes, and then the pacing went south. Kmuse and I also recapped this one, and that always makes plot holes or pacing issues stick out more. It’s been a long time since I’d seen this show and the distance made the first few episodes feel so fresh and exciting. It really was just as groundbreaking visually as I first thought. The romance was better for me this time, and the pacing didn’t bother me at all. I finished this right before Happiness started and it gave me the contrast of the two characters, and showed me how much Han Hyo Joo has embraced some new acting techniques and grown even more onscreen.
Synopsis – Kim Je Hyuk, a famous baseball player, is arrested after using excessive force while chasing a man trying to sexually assault his sister. Shockingly, to him and the rest of the nation, he is sentenced to a year in prison. There he meets his childhood friend and fellow baseball player, Lee Joon Ho, who gave up on baseball after a car accident, but now is a prison guard and one of Je Hyuk’s biggest fans. The drama revolves around Je Hyuk’s time in prison, as well as the prisoners he meets and the events that take place there. (MyDramaList)
Kmuse: The characters in this drama are like that old comfy sweater and lounge pants that you just want to wear on a dreary day. They make you laugh, they make you cry, they fill your heart with the best of humanity. Who knew that a ton of hardened criminals would be so endearing? It doesn’t matter how many times I watch this drama, the result is the same: absolute relaxation and satisfaction are guaranteed.
Drama Geek: I’ll confess that I have not gone back to watch the entire thing again. I have watched many clips on YouTube over and over instead. It’s great to revisit the characters and see all the funny moments. The longer episode runtime could be what’s keeping me from a binge.
The King: Eternal Monarch
Synopsis – Lee Gon is the third Korean emperor of his generation. His citizens regard him as the perfect leader. But behind this flawless appearance hides a deep wound. When he was eight years old, his father was murdered before his eyes following a coup. Today, instead of respecting his filial duty, he prefers to escape the palace to attend university conferences. During one of his escapades, he sees himself propelled into a parallel world where he meets Jeong Tae Eul, an inspector with whom he teams up to defeat the criminals but also close the door between their two worlds.
Kmuse: This is another show that really benefits from not having time to sit and obsess about the worldbuilding specifics. Just sit back and enjoy the multiverse plot unfold and our super swoony OTP falling in love. I also love how beautiful the directing of this drama was. Not only is it a good story, but a visual feast to help you escape those negative real-world vibes.
Drama Geek: I 100% agree that this is one of the best dramas if you want to feast your eyes on beauty. Not only does the director capture the seasons so beautifully in both South Korea and The Kingdom of Corea, they put everyone in the best clothes too. Lee Min Ho is at his finest in this. Collarbones and kingly robes, all on top of a beautiful horse. You also get not one but TWO Woo Do Hwans. They are both hilarious and super yummy. I really needed the laughs the rewatch provided without having to figure out any of the time travel or universe hopping. I also don’t think we’ve had a lot of romances in 2020 or 2021 that felt this much like a fairytale, and I was in need of that kind of romance. I’d also finished Yumi’s Cells before this and appreciated seeing Kim Go Eun again.
Forest Of Secrets (Stranger)
Synopsis – Hwang Shi Mok underwent brain surgery as a child to curb his violent temper, which left him devoid of emotions. Hwang becomes a prosecutor known for his piercing intelligence and logic, but he is ostracized because he lacks empathy and social skills. He is also one of only a handful of upright prosecutors who have refused to take bribes. One day, he encounters a stabbing victim while investigating corruption. He meets Lieutenant Han Yeo Jin at the crime scene. They join forces to root out corruption at the prosecutors’ office and solve a serial murder case. (MyDramaList)
Kmuse: I recently did a rewatch of this drama with a friend who was watching it for the first time. I was shocked at how much more I got from the show the second time around. The plot was so intricate that I missed a lot of small moments the first time around. It also helps if you know who all the characters are and don’t have to try and figure out how everyone interconnects. I was surprised by how satisfying the rewatch was, knowing all the twists beforehand. It lost none of the suspense, and I found even greater respect for this scriptwriter.
Drama Geek: I wish I could say I’d watch this one again, but I just don’t see that happening. I do agree that a second watch would be really good to catch all the things you missed the first time. I should probably go finish season two instead.
There you have them: our top recommendation for dramas to watch agai!. Which shows do you think were better the second time around? Let us know in the comments and check back for more drama recommendations in 2022.
Til the next drama,
Kmuse & Drama Geek
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi