Monday, January 25, 2021

[Rearview Mirror 2020] Korean Series

And the last installment of the series is - Korean dramas. On this list there are 3 mini-dramas I somehow forgot to list on the Mini-dramas post, as well as anthologies - SF8, Drama Special, and Drama Stage. Every episode of the Drama Stage and SF8 has a separate short review on this blog, so in case anyone wants, it's easy to look for.

Some of these have reviews, some have First Impression posts. I do not list dramas I dropped, however the number is low, I started only the amount of shows I knew I could follow. Also, vast majority of these shows was watched live on twitter. 

And I have to admit - I watched lots of shows for THE PLOT!

One of the best series, wonderfully done and not a moment of weakness.

2. Secret Forest (2017)
I finished it this year, in preparation for SF 2, which I ended up not watching.
3. Confession (2019)
Yes, the plot. Legal battles, something something. Lee Junho.

4. Chief Kim (2019)
This was hilarious, a crafty, superbly acted and well balanced comedy.

5. Woman of 9.9 Billion (2019)
The writer of this one had 9.9 problems, but logic wasn't one of them.
6. KBS DS: Chuseok Special: After the Rain (2018)

 As with a special that aired on Chuseok, it dealt with family, hometown and how we grow to be humans.
7. Kill It (2019)
This had cats. And wonderfully brutal fight choreography. Plus, amazing OST.
8. XX (2020)
Little guilty pleasure with a dash of revenge.
9. Rookie Historian Gu Haeryeong (2019)
I loved it - fun, quirky and suspiciously relevant in modern times.
10. Never Twice (2019/20)
It had everything - love, hate, goofiness, growth, forgiveness, a cute baby, found family, Kwak Dongyeon, humor, resentment, secrets. One of the best in 2020.
11. Money Game (2020)
Yes, of course, everyone watched it for the plot. 
Meet the plot:

12. Splash Splash Love (2016)
I wanted fluff and I got my fluff. A nice fluffy rom-com.
13. Hyena (2020)
No sir David Attenborough. But it had other... ekhem... merits.
14. Kingdom Season 2 (2020)
Kingdoms are forged with blood and death. And death we had in abundance here.
Also, amazing character posters:
15. Nobody Knows (2020)
This one was a heavy watch, but so rewarding.

16. Hi Bye Mama (2020)
A sob-fest.

Nicely done time-travel drama. Some people survived. Surprisingly Lee Jun-hyeok too.

18. Memorist (2020)

Godly Yu graced our screens this year. And he saw it was good.

I honestly can't write enough paeans for this drama. Personally, my nr 1 drama of 2020.
20. Rugal (2020)

It was a mess. Not the worst or biggest mess among my 2020 dramas, but still - a drama with an identity crisis. It didn't know whether it wanted to be a sci-fi, revenge or unplanned comedy drama.
21. Haechi (2019)
Mmm, yes, I also watched it for the plot. Specifically, this plot:

22. Designated Survivor: 60 Days (2019)
I watched it on the whim expecting ,and was so immersed that even 2-day-long episodes didn't deter me. I finished it in few days. Writers finished Lee Jun-hyeok.
There was plot.

23. Good Casting (2020)
A great feel-good drama. Not too heavy on any aspect, be it the crime or comedy. With a dash of some culture for barbarians...

Again, one of the best, but overlooked, dramas of 2020.
25. Be Melodramatic (2019) 
It traumatized me.

26. Chip In (2020)
A nice, classical 'whodunnit' drama. After which you realize you hate everyone.
27. Squad 38 (2017)
Enjoyed this drama balancing on the thin line between shady and more shady. King SIG as the master scammer only added to the fun.
28. Train (2020)
If only they spent some more time on world-building. This could be great.
29. Into The Ring (2020)
Again - a marvel! Without any pretentious claims, this was one of the most entertaining dramas of 2020. Filmed in a unique way (lots of frog's perspective), it was acted so naturally and lightly, I just couldn't stop being amazed.
Again, not an easy watch, but a drama that slowly and meticulously dissected the inner workings of the power-play that disregards the collateral and powers through.
Another anthology. Every episode has its own short review posted.
32. When The Weather Is Fine (2020)
This isn't a drama for people who like fast-paced dramas or those series dealing with bigger-than-life "higher" affairs. It was very down-to-earth, but nearly palpable through the variety of the mundane happenings. It healed, just the same as the earth's smell heals us whenever we feel drained. It was warm and real.
33. Flower of Evil (2020)
Well, yes, another drama I watched for the plot.
This plot:

34. Live (2018) 
Frustrating at times because of the problems that were addressed here. But in overall - a wonderful journey.
Another overlooked gem from 2020 - about loss, healing and hope.
36. SF8 - 8 eps (2020)
Again, as with many anthologies - every episode has a short review on this blog. Some episodes were better than others, but it's a natural process.
37. Alice (2020)
I finished it even though every fiber of my being screamed to drop. Incoherent mumbling about time travel and faux-cest that wasn't faux-cest because other universe. Looks like someone has read the "quantum mechanics" wikipedia page and wanted to insert the newly acquired knowledge, sacrificing logic and well - science.
38. A Poem A Day (2018)
I actually didn't like it. And no, not because of who ended up with whom. It presented a distorted version of how a relationship should be. According to the FL: we should hide our discomfort when we're with the person we like/love. I thought (and a million of other rom-coms) that it's the other way round - when you like someone, you trust them enough to tell about everything and feel at ease, and not vigilant every damn minute. Also - no, I was paying attention as I wanted to include this drama in an article. I didn't.
But it had Infinite's song, so it wasn't a total waste.
39. The Guest (2018)
Possession is one of my favorite subjects, so of course I enjoyed this creepy and suspenseful drama about the primordial evil.
40. Cursed (2020)
Again, a drama dealing with possession, mixing Korean beliefs with Japanese ones (inugami).
41. Search (2020)
Nice manly men in military uniforms (or out of them), some mutated monsters, a dash of secrets, hideousness and army dirty past. With some splendid camerawork. And creepy music.
42. I Remember You (2015)
King SIG can have sizzling chemistry with virtually anyone and anything. Except for Jang Nara. Please dramagods, don't pair them ever again.
 Better chemistry with a mop than with a FL...

43. Shopping King Louis (2016) - rewatch
You could guess I was in a need of a good drama chemistry after the previous one, so I rewatched one of the fluffiest and most feel-good rom-coms.
44. Strangers From Hell (2019)
Oh, this was a wonderfully chilling experience. People die here. A LOT. And it soon became apparent that this was one actor show, that is Lee Dongwook. He was just creepily perfect here.

45. A Piece of Your Mind (2020)
At times it felt wandering off, aimlessly looking for a path, but ultimately it was a warm, cozy blanket and a cup of cocoa.
46. Kairos (2020)
I usually don't compare dramas (or actors), because I think it's dumb, but I couldn't help but draw parallels with Alice. Where Alice failed miserably - Kairos showed the biggest strength. That it - establishing the rules and keeping them. A time-travel drama done right, with an unsettling ending.
47. Scholar Who Walks The Night (2015)
Oh gods, this was bad. 
48. Sweet Home (2020)
Amazing. Wonderful. Exceptionally good. At breaking your heart.
49. Hotel Del Luna (2019)
This would be so much better without forcing the romance on the main leads. Yes, I'm bitter. Yes, this drama hurt me. Up until maybe 9 episodes it was great, ad later it stagnated, unsure what to do with the characters.
I forgot I watched this, because 2020 lasted some 12 years. A nice crime mixed with punishment.
Also, three KBS DS anthologies. They are reviewed in total: