Top Korean Dramas of 2011: Mid Year Review
Korean Drama Recommendations
After watching a few great Korean series in 2010, of course I had to continue watching in 2011. Although we are now only halfway through 2011, I decided to share my list of recommendations for 2011 so far. Below, I will recommend 5 dramas which kept me hooked.
Starting with No. 5 is Dream High: Whenever I recommend this to friends, I always give a warning. Please ignore the first 2 episodes. After the first 2 episodes, the drama really picks up especially since Kim Soo Hyun gets more screen time! From this, you can probably guess that the first thing to thank this drama for is definitely Kim Soo Hyun. Without this show, I wouldn’t have discovered him. Awesome acting by a young actor! Look out for the parts when he realizes that his world may be crashing down and his dreams crushed due to a disease. Another great point is that thanks to JYP, who also acts as a teacher in this drama, we get good songs and performances throughout the series.
For a drama which has such a young cast and where most of them are pop idols, most people would think that this drama would only be suitable for those crazy about idols. Surprisingly, the drama had quite an interesting plot and the characters grew a lot throughout the 16 episodes. We get to see how they each become successful in their own way (making their dreams come true), and to spice things up, certain scandals were included. It was definitely daring to point this out in a drama like this.
Flashmob scene in Dream High (featuring Miss A and 2AM too)
No. 4: My Princess
At number 4 is My Princess. When I first heard the pairing of Song Seung Hoon and Kim Tae Hee, it didn’t really pique my interest but they subsequently won me over with their great chemistry and the overload of cuteness.
Yeah, I know. Surprise surprise! I have never liked Song Seung Hoon although one of the first few Korean dramas which I watched was Autumn in My Heart. However, here he really fits the role. Kim Tae Hee is also awesome as the princess. She has good comic timing and I love all the scenes when they are together. They should however have reduced the supporting actress screen time though. Whenever she appeared, it was fast forward for me....
Falling (My Princess OST)
No. 3: 49 Days
Among my top 5 is 49 Days. This show is quite well written. I loved the surprises incorporated into the drama. It keeps viewers like me engaged. Also, the flashback scenes were sweet as we got to learn more about the main characters’ past particularly Yikyung (acted by Lee Yo Won), Yisoo/Scheduler (acted by Jung Il Woo) , Han Kang (acted by Jo Hyun Jae) and Ji Hyun (Nam Gyu Ri). One thing I did learn from Ji Hyun’s character in this series was that a friend is one of the best gifts you can give someone. And I do agree with this!
Lee Yo Won also stands out as she had to act as 2 characters in this drama. One as Yikyung, and the second as Ji Hyun's soul inside her body. She was pretty good as it was easy to distinguish when she was which character. Definitely not an easy job! This drama also marks Jo Hyun Jae's return to the entertainment industry after completing his army stint.
No. 2: City Hunter
At second place is City Hunter. This is based ona popular manga, titled City Hunter. I have never read the manga so I can't really compare it. But on its own, this drama is fast paced and I have to admit that Lee Min Ho's charismatic acting is what keeps me glued.
As both Lee Min Ho (Eun Sung) and Park Min Young's characters (Nana) can fight, you will get to see some cool fighting scenes too. The storyline is also pretty interesting too as we get to see the dirty reality of corruption and see them get their comeuppance through the handsome City Hunter! Actor Kim Sang Joong who plays the villain is also another reason to watch this drama.
Yang Hwa Jin - It's Alright (City Hunter OST)
No. 1: Greatest Love or Best Love
For me, the top Kdrama of 2011 so far has to be Greatest Love. The Hong Sisters did not disappoint with this well-written drama. Loved their metaphors and that they added their own commentary on the entertainment world in this drama. Many times, we comment without thinking too much....but the people we comment about (celebrities in this case) are humans too. Just that it's too easy to just type something on the internet compared to saying it out loud to someone....
Oh well! I will probably never ever wish a couple to break up or comment that they don't suit one another. One good lesson from this drama definitely! And kudos to the leads Cha Seung Won, Gong Hyo Jin, Yoo In Na and Yoon Kye Sang for playing their characters so well! Thank you for the laughter and the tears!
Sunny Hill - Thump Thump (Greatest Love OST)
Other 2011 Korean dramas which I watched
- Can You Hear My Heart? : In one word, draggy. This series would have been much better if it was shorter. There were too many filler episodes which I felt were not needed. On another note, I liked the way Bong Young Gyu was played. The plot is also the normal makjang type, full of revenge and overacting especially by the actress acting as Dong Joo’s (Kim Jae Won) mother.
- Manny: The premise of this series is interesting as it is seldom that we see a male nanny. Hence the title “Manny”. However, I felt the love plot wasn’t believable. It suffered from the same problem as 2010 Korean drama, Oh! My Lady. I just couldn’t understand the attraction unlike the awesome transition in The Woman Who Still Want to Marry. That is like the best example of an older woman, younger man relationship.
- Miss Ripley: I have to admit that I started watching this because of the lead, Park Yoo Chun! I liked him from Sungkyunkwan Scandal which I watched in 2010. So far, I haven't been hooked to the drama yet.And I guess the problem for me is that it is too melodramatic, which I do not like! And it also doesn't help it when the main female character is not very lovable!
- Royal Family: The beginning was done well with lots of mystery reeling you in. I wanted to know more about why each character was acting in this manner. But…it did not make it to my top 3 despite my love for the lead actor Jisung since watching him in New Heart. Sigh….why show? Why did you have to turn draggy?