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Archivist, reader, writer, knitter, skater, open water swimmer. Rinse and repeat.

You'll never see truthful lines like this in American television.

1/21/2022 - An updated look at general drama questions you might ask me, especially since we still in this time of social distancing.

I probably started seriously watching Asian dramas in about 2012 when my daughter was home from school for the holidays and suggested we watch Goong.  I still love it and regularly rewatch it. I like the balance of youth and adult storylines as well as the balance of intimate (the romance between Chae Gyeong and Lee Shin) and the large (the state of the country and monarchy) – it’s near perfect. I found the Thai version, Princess Hours (2017) to be a mere shadow of the original and I’m not holding up any big hopes for the next Korean remake!

As of today, I’ve listed 659 finished dramas (not counting rewatches!) but as I started watching two years before I found MDL, I’ve probably watched more. I still don’t understand how other viewers can have so few shows in their “Currently Watching” and “Plan to Watch” lists. I like to dip into shows/movies and watch a bit here and there so this – plus the sometimes-fluctuating nature of streaming sites – keeps me at about a regular 164 dramas in play. I use the “Plan to Watch” list as more of database of shows that I’ve heard of that piqued my interest. Obviously, some shows never get released or only in formats unavailable to me. Sometimes, a promising idea or script turns into dreck. But, if I leave them in my PTW list, I can check in at some point in the future. Right now – I have 1561 shows to check out someday! They range from movies from 1955 to dramas releasing in 2022. Also, those sad 0000 release date dramas – I have 51 of those on my Plan To Watch list.

I still love Korean dramas (184 completed) the best but thought that my Chinese dramas were catching up. Nah, after a hard look at my lists – it turns out that I’ve only watched 149 Chinese dramas.  Thai (138) lakorns are still climbing up and up onto my Completed list, especially as more series are being bought by international platforms like Neflix and Amazon Prime. Although, I guess I still watch them the most on YouTube, though. Japanese dramas, oh Japanese dramas – please release these on more legitimate sites! I only had 109 so far and many of those are very old films being released on YouTube.

I’ve been really impressed by the number of Filipino dramas released recently with subtitles. I wish that more Japanese dramas were released with English subtitles! Also, I watch a lot of Singaporean dramas and those don’t get counted on My Drama List (insert sad face here!) – that’s not fair!  

I hardly ever watch reality shows because their subtitles are so flashy and random that I find it hard to knit while watching.  And knitting is really my life, after Asian dramas! Seriously, I knit a couple of hours a day and I’m almost always watching Asian dramas. Although I do listen to a lot of Korean pop music – I’m not much of a music video watcher.

My favorite drama of all time might STILL be In Time With You but I’ve rewatched Scarlet Heart a zillion times so I’m not sure anymore! My highest rated dramas almost all have strong female characters, but I appreciate strong male characters with moral decisions to be made. (Looking at you Money Flower and Bleak Night!)

I just checked my list, and it turns out that I gave the drama version of Cheese in the Trap the same rating as ITWY. Unpopular as my opinion may be, I enjoyed the drama and liked the various characters and their storylines. Park Hae Jin’s poor Yoo Jung totally got the short end of the stick in all familiar and friend relationships! Hong Seol’s skill at looking in other relationships is what makes this story tick. I really, really liked it – and I don’t mind if others do not.

It’s funny that I think I like historical dramas the most because according to MDL stats, it’s in fourth place behind romance, drama, and comedy.  I think it’s because most of the dramas I really like have all those points in common.
For example, the drama that I obsessed the most about so far has got to be Scarlet Heart: Ryeo. I live watched it over my phone (after clearing my mornings for those two days!) on a link supplied by a drama lover watching it at night over in Korea. Then, I watched it subbed in the afternoon on the long-gone Dramafever and then, posted a long series of commentaries on my Tumblr page. I still miss it even – the friendships, the rivalries, the loves. Ugh – it got me right in the feels!

 Right up next to SHR on my favorite list is the historical Chinese drama Goodbye, My Princess. It has all the drama plot points that I love - hard work, personal achievement, love and romance, the leads have secrets and REGRET.

Yes, I love it when one of the leads has severe regret after leaving their love! Bring on the regret! When a character who should regret more (cough, cough, Elvis Han as Cheng Zheng in Never Gone) doesn’t – that really sucks away some of my enjoyment.

For me, I regret watching Boys Over Flowers. I know that was a starter drama for a lot of people but practically every one of those characters were horrible and the only ones I liked got pushed out of the story line. Not even the sweaters could save it.

My favorite older drama is the Taiwanese drama The Fierce Wife (2010) – so many layers! My favorite older k-drama is still 1% of Anything (2003) because of Da Da’s wonderful family.  My favorite older Hong Kong drama is A Step into The Past (2001) because of smirky Louis Koo. I just tried to watch the newer version and – it’s just not the same.  An older movie I re-watch regularly is the wonderfully silly Kung Fu Hustle (2004) with Stephen Chow. GO WATCH IT NOW!

I’m still puzzled by Tra Barb See Chompoo. It was just ever so slightly off. I originally watched it for my favorite new Thai actress (Bua Nalinthip Sakulongumpai) and director (Sarasawadee Wongsompetch - watch her "Kiss Me" series and the movie "Yes or No" right now!) but it was as if they took a more adult storyline (quite frankly, if Ken had done these things, it would be a full-out "slap/kiss") and toned it down to suit the more juvenile actors. Or perhaps the time it aired at night? BUT - no one really worked, no one was ever shown studying even after four years in college, no one was shown doing more than a chaste kiss, people who visited the hospital used the same hospital room and no one ever listened to their elders! It was just all very fake. The actors were all so top notch that I felt bad they had to work with such a plastic storyline. It pops up on my YouTube suggestions every so often and I rewatch it – and I’m still bothered by it. I guess I’m hoping it might change?

As of today, I'm really enjoying You Are My Glory (2021).  I think it's because I've read the novel it was based on so I understand the feelings inside. The stars are charming and the plot - well, I still don't understand what parent wouldn't want an aerospace engineer for a son!

On the flip side, the amazing JTBC Super Band (2019) is a still a fantastic look at competition and harmony among musicians competing for a spot in a band. After you watch, go right out and buy the multi-album OST. There is not a bad song in the bunch.
As for long-term enjoyment, the not-very-complicated-but-meaningful La Ong Dao has been my crack drama for the last four years. I've been just putting in on repeat play - either the unsubbed playlist on YouTube or fan-subbed episodes from elsewhere - and letting it fly. The unspoken love! The regret! The great friendships! The well-deserved ending for the villainess! The food! The knitting!

Happy Viewing!


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