Top Korean Dramas of 2012: Mid Year Review
6. The Moon That Embraces the Sun
This drama starts of well with a great cast of teenagers, including ZEA's Siwan and Lee Min Ho (not the lead actor of Boys Over Flowers/City Hunter) for the first few episodes before the adult cast takes over. Taking on the lead role of Prince Lee Hwon who then becomes the king is Kim Soo Hyun (whom I loved in Dream High). Here, he is effective in his role. He is paired with Han Ga In, who acts as Yeon Woo and Jung Il Woo, who takes on the role of his half brother, Prince Yang Myung. Somewhere in the middle, the pace and plot loses its footing but once you reach episode 15 it regains its footing. A little too late though! In my opinion, this drama would have been much better if there was more action leading up to the climax in the last 2 episodes. A few other characters, especially Yang Myung, could have been given more to do. The legend of the sun and moon was interesting at first but due to repetitive use, I would cringe whenever it was mentioned. All in all, it was a fun watch, but it wasn't a must watch.
Back in Time by Lyn (The Moon That Embraces The Sun OST)
5. Rooftop Prince
Finally, Yoochun takes on a more comedic role after the impossibly melodramatic drama, Miss Ripley which was too cliched for my tastes. Once you go pass the first episode which may confuse some with its many time jumps, you are guaranteed lots of laughter as the prince and his F3 ( which also includes actor Lee Min Ho, whom appeared in the earlier episodes of The Moon That Embraces The Sun) learn how to adapt to modern South Korea, while trying to maintain their Joseon roots. Han Ji Min also continues her good streak with another interesting role, after Padam Padam. This drama captures my heart during the more lighthearted moments, but interest always dies down whenever they switch towards the fight for the company's rights. In fact, if those scenes were reduced, I would have definitely rated this drama higher!
Hurt by A-Li (Rooftop Prince OST)
4. History of A Salaryman
This drama offers lots of humour thanks to Lee Bum Soo's character, Yoo Bang. I did not look forward to this drama but I was blown away by the first episode. I laughed so much especially during the "fight" scene and "Versailles" Yoo scenes. I also love the amazing chemistry between Yoo Bang and Yeochi (acted by Jung Ryeo Won). This drama really surprises me with its writing and if you have not watched this, always remember to keep on watching after the ending, as every episode has its own epilogue! And they are usually awesome and drop-dead funny!
Bravo by Lee Teuk and Key (History of a Salaryman OST)
3. Shut Up: Flower Boy Band
Bad boys have never been so attractive! Lee Min Ki plays Byung Hee so deliciously! His cameo for the first two episodes was amazing. However, the rest of the cast can stand well on their own too especially Sung Joon who takes on the role of Ji Hyuk perfectly. Infinite's L also plays the part of Hyun Soo well. While watching this drama, I fell in love with their friendship and their passion for music! It also moves at a fast pace. And to make the whole package close to perfect, we have an awesome soundtrack! Lastly, to top it off, the drama has an excellent ending with a twist.....which differs from my expectation but still leaves me with a smile.
Love U Like U by L (Myung Soo of INFINITE) and Kim Yerim (Shut Up: Flower Boy Band OST)
Again and again, Lee Seung Gi takes on the role of an immature brat, pretty similar to his characters in Brilliant Legacy and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. Here, he plays the character of Prince Jaeha, hence his immaturity leads to serious ramifications in the shape of marriage to Ha Ji Won's character (Hang Ah), a top soldier from North Korea. Thanks to the cultural differences between the North and South, we get lots of arguments. It was quite interesting how Girl's Generation or Sonyeoshidae, a popular Korean girl band, was used to show the differences between the 2 camps. As the stakes get higher, we get to see how Jaeha matures and become a man worthy of Hang Ah's love.
For some viewers, they may lose interest in this drama as the plot takes a serious turn to include politics and the issue of what is right versus what is wrong. But for me, it makes the drama more interesting. It's definitely not a typical romantic, loveydovey Korean drama.
Another Time, The Same Sky by Joo Hee (8Eight) (Queen In Hyun's Man OST)
1. Queen In Hyun's Man
Time travel seems to be the theme for this season. This was my first thought when I first started watching this show. But soon, I was pulled in by the fast pace and the awesome chemistry between Ji Hyun Woo and Yoo In Na. The push and pull between the straight-laced Boong Do (Hyun Woo's character from the past) and the impulsive Hee Jin (In Na's character in the present) makes for a wonderful watch. Each episode just zips past quickly and I just can't wait for the next one. The characters are loveable and you really really want them to end up together. And in fact, in real life, Ji Hyun Woo did confess that he did like Yoo In Na! Overall, this is a really cute and fun show to watch!
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Other Korean Dramas Which I Watched
Besides the previously listed dramas above which I would recommend, I also watched some other dramas.
Dream High 2 - When the show started, my reaction was, "Finally it's here". The opening scene shocked me! I did not expect Kim Soo Hyun's cameo to be like that but it was great! IU's cameo was too short though. I loved Kang Sora and Jinwoon (2AM) did surprisingly well. Just as in the first season, Park Jin Young (better known as JYP) continues to bring on laughter! But the sequel fails in comparison to Dream High as there are too many unnecessary Music video (MV) type of scenes and unlike the first season, the songs are less effective in pushing the plot forward.
Padam Padam - Jung Woo Sung and Kim Bum had excellent chemistry and showed off their great acting. I especially love the back and forth conversation between the pessimistic Kang Chil and optimistic Gook Soo. However, the conflict between the two lovers (Woo Sung and Han Ji Min) due to her father dragged on for too long. It is a necessary part for the story to move on but it became too draggy. The supporting actor, Kim Bum, has continued to surprise me by taking on a variety of characters, veering away from the F4 flower boy character he became known for in Boys Over Flowers. And, he does it well too! On another note, awesome scenery is featured in the drama. It makes me want to visit South Korea again!
Operation Proposal - I started watching Operation Proposal because of Yoo Seung Ho, who is an emotions maverick! (I previously watched him in another Korean drama, Warrior Baek Dong Soo). This drama is not a must watch but if you have the time, catch this drama revolving around first loves. It is also a remake of a Japanese drama.
Fashion King - This is another drama featuring a Girl's Generation member, Yuri. For me, this drama started off well. However, the plot never developed beyond that and I got bored pretty soon. I gave up on this drama from episode 10 onwards and never looked back. Give it a try if you a big fan of the actors. If not, just watch another drama!
Love Rain - The very first thing you will notice about this drama is how beautiful everything looks. The cinematography is just excellent. However, personally I did not enjoy the first few episodes where the characters played by Jang Geun Seuk and Yoon Ah (Girl's Generation) are still in the olden days. Once they move to the present though, the pace picks up, the humour gets better and it kept me watching for a while, until I got bored again.