It's the time of the year again to take some time and review the dramas watched in the past year! I watched a lot more this year compared to 2018, with a mix of Chinese and Korean drama mainly!
I will first go through my personal top 3 dramas of 2019, not in a particular order.
Top 3 Dramas of 2019
The Untamed (8.5/10)
Everyone might know this drama. This has been the most hyped drama of 2019, not only in China but also in Southeast Asia countries. At least, that's the truth in my country.
Its success could be contributed to several reasons - one being the chemistry between the two leads, Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo. Even for heterosexual dramas, it is rare to find such chemistry between the leads. But The Untamed has been successful in creating the real chemistry between the same-sex leads, without pushing too far to pass the Chinese censorship. I have to salute the production team for that.
Secondly, the script! It is a novel adaptation and the novel fans have also been satisfied with how the drama has stayed true to the original material. I have read the novel as well; I have to say the novel itself is really great and the drama did a great job portraying all the character developments and recreating some of the big moments in the novel.
It is one of the BL dramas that has succeeded in portraying the same-sex relationship without over-sexualizing it and making it memorable for everyone and it deserves all the recognition and fandom that it has currently achieved.
The World Between Us (10/10)
I loved this drama so much but it is so under radar internationally. It is a very short 10-episode Taiwanese drama from HBO Asia and it is high quality in terms of script, acting, cast, and production. I don't have anything negative to say about this drama except it is quite heavy as it deals with social issues such as psychological disorders, media professionalism, and cyberbullying. I have written a separate review on this drama, if you are interested, check it out here!
This drama similarly deals with school and cyberbullying when a teacher decides to take the matters into his hands when one of his students committed suicide. I have always loved Japanese dramas with school settings and this drama is one of the heavier ones. Although there are over-exaggerated moments and expressions in the drama, as usual for Japanese dramas, the acting of the male lead (Suda Masaki) is quite raw and top-notch!
The Rest of 2019
2019 wasn't a good Korean drama year for me; I didn't find any drama that I loved, that I would rate over 8. The below dramas are not too bad but I didn't really get attached to any of these. I found Korean dramas getting boring lately with similar plots and just following trends; If you find any interesting/unique plots, please let me know in the comments!
Touch Your Heart (7.5/10) - A light, fluffy romantic comedy with great chemistry
The only reason I watched this drama until the end is because the chemistry between the leads was great! Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na have been one of the dream couples for a rom-com drama since Goblin has ended and this drama serves all the shippers with another great chemistry between the leads but that's all it had! I would say the first part was great but the second half turned downhill when the mystery/suspense became the focus.
Romance is a Bonus Book (7.5/10) - Another rom-com but watch it if you love books!
I liked this drama because the whole drama set up is at a book publishing firm and the drama shows the behind the scenes of how a book is published. I love books and I like the idea of working in the book publishing industry though I am not. That's why the set up is kind of charming for me. Furthermore, I like the fact that the male lead is not a typical arrogant jerk, but rather quite understanding and patient towards the female lead. But, this drama felt like there was nothing much going on in terms of the plot; the romance wasn't that great, the office plot was not that realistic either. All in all, it is a light rom-com with a unique set up for book lovers but nothing more!
Vagabond (7.5/10) - A drama with blockbuster action scenes
I had expected a lot from this drama since it was filming because it has been a long time since SK drama land has a great action espionage drama since Iris/City Hunter era. The action scenes were really great, even par with Hollywood's standards but I found the story uninteresting, not that intriguing enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.
This year, I watched a lot of Chinese dramas, compared to previous years and there were quite a few that I liked.
Gank Your Heart (8/10) - A great e-sports drama with loads of cute friendships
This drama was a surprise for me this year. I watched this drama solely because of Wang Yi Bo since I wanted to watch more of his works after The Untamed. But, surprisingly, I really loved this drama. This drama focuses on team spirit, competition, and friendship and there are lots of cute friendships. There is also romance of course. Wang Yi Bo's character, Ji Xiang Kong, also suited him very well - kind of aloof, but good-hearted character. His friendship with his teammates (old and new) was also touching. Supporting characters were also enjoyable. Overall, I really liked how the story flowed. I gave it an 8, also because of my fangirl-self.
On another note, this drama introduced me to a new drama genre - e-sports since I haven't watched any drama of that kind before.
Put Your Head on My Shoulder (7.5/10) - A light, fluffy romance drama with college settings
It is a very cute youth romance drama, it does have typical drama tropes like cohabitation. The story is very simple and light-hearted with no villain characters and the male lead is not as cold as you would think he would be and it is a plus point for me. The chemistry between the leads was very cute.
You all might know the famous sensational Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. This drama didn't become as sensational as that one, but it has a very similar story set up as TTPB. And it's my first time watching Ni Ni in a drama and I really enjoyed her acting. In terms of visuals, she really has an air of a fairy/princess. The chemistry between the two leads was also really great. So, it's a must-watch for fans of TTPB.
So, the above are the dramas that I would like to mention in my Year in Review of 2019 as we move to the new year. Please let me know in the comments if you have any drama that you really loved in 2019!