Korean Drama 2012
For all Korean drama lovers, 2012 was a fantastic year
Starting with time-traveling drama (Operation Proposal, Rooftop Prince, Queen In Hyun's Man, Dr Jin and Faith ) to unconventional not-cup-of-tea drama (The King 2Hearts) to melodrama / makjang (I want to see you / I Miss You, The Equator Man, Nice Guy, Five Fingers, May Queen) to medical drama (Golden Time), the classic romantic comedy drama (Big, I Do I Do, To the Beautiful You, Haeundae Lovers), family drama My Daughter Seo Young, Rascal Sons, sageuk drama The Great Seer, Horse Doctor, Arang & the Magistrate and the latest tvN sitcom / drama Answer Me 1997; I thank drama gods because I always have Korean drama to watch during my spare time.
Here you will find list of Korean drama aired in 2012. I will update the page with drama that will be aired for the second half of 2012.
Image: The King 2Hearts Episode 4 Screencap
Vote for your favorite Korean Drama (for the 1st half of 2012) - New Poll
These are the dramas which ended its broadcast in Korea before June 2012. I will create a separate poll for dramas which started its airing date after June 2012.
What's your favorite 2012 Korean Drama?
Korean Drama 2012 aired in the first half of 2012
The Moon that Embraces the Sun
A fantasy sageuk drama adapted from a novel titled The Moon That Embraces the Sun written by Jung Eun Gwol, this drama is set in a Joseon dynasty.
Portraying a story of two suns (brothers Crown Prince Lee Hwon & his older brother from the same father [the King] but different mother, Prince Yang Myung) who fall in love with a beautiful moon Heo Yeon Woo.
Their evil grandmother who wants to protect her own clan in the royal palace, asked a shaman to put a spell on Yeon Woo - making her outcasted from the palace and passed away on her father's shoulder.
Fate brought these three people together few years later, unfortunately, Yeon Woo who in fact didn't die, lost her memory. Step by step, she regained her memory - so who will she choose in the end? Her Crown Prince or her Prince?
This 20 episodes drama is the national drama and gained ratings of over 40%.
The combination of fantastic plot, magical storyline and great acting from its casts making this drama currently my #3 best drama of 2012.
==> More about The Moon that Embraces the Sun <==
Take Care of Us, Captain
This drama portrays a story of Han Da Jin (Koo Hye Sun), a female pilot who graduated from a prestigious pilot school and is trying to be the female pilot in a very well-known airline.
Life doesn't come easy for Da Jin as her mother who was pregnant & on the way to attend her graduation ceremony, sadly passed away on the plane due to a flight error. Da Jin's father was the pilot who was flying this plane, but the error was made by co-captain Kim Yoo Sun (Ji Jin Hee).
Da Jin's father is a very respected pilot and Yoo Sun admires him. But during that fateful flight, he decided to save 300 passengers instead of saving his own wife, which made Yoo Sun drowned in guilt and he relocated to Australia. Da Jin's father sadly passed away too due to accident.
Years later, Da Jin becomes a co-captain and Yoo Sun finally breaks through his shield and returns back to work as a captain. Fate brought Da Jin & Yoo Sun together & they fall in love.
But Da Jin doesn't know that Yoo Sun was the one behind his mother's death and his sister's illness.
A drama about an arrogant but talented baseball player Mu Yeon (Lee Dong Wook), he's the star player of the Red Dreamers. Eun Jae (Lee Si Young) is a bodyguard whose life entangled with Mu Yeon and to make things easier, she becomes Mu Yeon's bodyguard. But things are not that easy because Eun Jae is the fan of Red Dreamers rival team, Blue Seagulls.
History of the Salaryman
A quirky drama which portrays a tough journey of a salaryman / office worker "Yoo Bang". First of all, he becomes a guinea pig & paid by the son of the CEO of a famous pharmaceutical company (Chunhha Group). His father developed a new drug and their company need people to be guinea pigs before the medicines are out to the public. His son wants to steal this medicine and he uses Yoo Bang to do so.
Next, Yoo Bang forms an alliance with the competitor of this pharmaceutical company (Jangcho Company). Then, he joins forces with the grand-daughter of Chunhha Group as they're trapped and accused of killing the son of Chunhha Group's CEO - to discover who steals the medicine from the research centre.
==> More about History of the Salaryman <==
Shut Up: Flower Boy Band
Also known as Flower Boy Band Eye Candy, this youth drama portrays a story about Band Eye Candy (consists of 6 members), their friendship, their passion for music, their relationship, and their competition with Strawberry Field.
==> More about Shut Up Flower Boy Band <==
Dream High 2
Following the success of the original Dream High aired early last year, we welcome new fresh casts for Dream High 2.
We follow the story and journey of these students at Kirin Arts School:
- Shin Hye Sung (Kang Sora) who is musically talented but only learns music through books
- Jin Yoo Jin (Jung Jin Woon) has an ambition to become a rock star
- Nana (Hyo Rin) is a very talented vocalist but has a deep secret about her past
- Rian (Ji Yeon) dreaming that she will become a famous actress
Moreover, Kirin Arts School is currently in crisis so will they be able to return the glory that this school used to have? And will they be able to achieve their own person dream?
A romantic melodrama, staring Jang Geun Suk and SNSD' YoonA, Love Rain aired in Korea in March 2012.
Set in two periods; year 1970 and 2012, Seo In Ha (played by Jang Geun Suk) and Kim Yoon Hee (played by YoonA) fall in love with each other as two college students in 1970. But their love journey unfortunately doesn't last due to Yoon Hee's illness which prompted her to leave and get treatment in another country.
In Ha thought that Yoon Hee has passed away but couldn't move on from his first love.
42 years later, both In Ha & Yoon Hee have their own family.
In Ha's son, Seo Joon (a photographer) meets with Yoon Hee's daughter (Ha Na) during his business trip in Japan. He accidentally takes Ha Na's mobile phone and she's trying to get her mobile phone back. Ha Na took a peek at her mum's diary and went to Japan to meet with In Ha because she wants her mother to be reunited with her first love.
It's interesting to note that In Ha and his son have different personalities (In Ha is an art student & becomes a painter while his son enjoys a life as a photographer). Yoon Hee and her daughter both are beautiful character, her mom is pure, while the daughter is bright & loveable.
So, will their son and daughter be able to rekindle the romantic relationship that didn't work out for their parents?
What Happened in Bali's PD Lee Myung Woo, Director Choi Moon Suk & Writer Kim Ki Ho + Lee Sun Mi are now back with their next drama "Fashion King".
This drama portrays the life challenges, rivalry, romantic ties and life journey of four young people: Kang Young Gul (Yoo Ah In), Lee Ga Young (Shin Se Kyung), Jung Jae Hyuk (Lee Je Hoon) and Choi Anna (Kwon Yuri).
Young Gul started by selling clothing in a local market. An aspiring designer who started with nothing, he works hard and becomes successful in the fashion industry.
Ga Young is a seamstress, a very talented one; she received a false accusation and is kicked out from her foster home. Step-by-step, she knits her life back after her fateful meeting with Young Gul.
Jae Hyuk has a fashion company, and is a very successful entrepreneur. His life mission: to get back with his ex-girlfriend, Choi Anna. He refused to lend his money for a struggling Young Gul who's his former classmates.
The King 2Hearts
The King 2Hearts; a black melodrama featuring one of my favorite actress Ha Ji Won and national-brother Lee Seung Gi aired in March 2012 (Wednesday & Thursday), following the Moon that Embraces the Sun.
The story about a Prince from a modern-day (imaginary) monarchy who entangles in an unlikely romance with a top special force officer from North Korea. Things change as abruptly he has to step up as a King of the nation and he has to overcome many challenges from one very influential and powerful enemy.
The King 2Hearts is a drama with much more depth and has a theme about peace and unity. That love can cause war but it also can prevent war.
This drama is very gutsy, many real-life facts are portrayed brilliantly in this drama. All characters have so much depth, it's hard not to fall in love with all characters.
===> More about The King 2Hearts
A sageuk and modern-day drama, Rooftop Prince, staring Park Yoochun & Han Ji Min will be broadcast in March, following Take Care of Us, Caption. This drama will be in the same timeslot as King 2Hearts.
Park Yoochun will be playing as the Prince (from the Joseon Dynasty) who travels 300 years to the future. In this modern-world, he meets with his long-lost Crown Princess and her step-sister.
This drama reminded me of "Kate and Leopold", the only difference, Leopold found a woman in the modern-world and he brought this woman back to hundred years in the past.
While in Rooftop Prince, Park Yoochun a.k.a the Prince will have to adjust & adapt himself into a modern-day world with the help of his comrades (F3) and Park Ha. A romantic comedy drama, it also has a bit of mystery as the Crown Prince is in the modern world to help him solving the mystery behind the death of his Crown Princess.
==> More about Rooftop Prince <==
The Equator Man
A drama about betrayal, revenge which ruin the friendship between two friends Kim Seon Woo (Uhm Tae Woong) and Lee Jang Il (Lee Joon Hyuk.
An excellent student in school, Seon Woo builds a friendship with Jang Il and they become best buddies. Seon Woo often helps Jang Il when he's in trouble, but unfortunately, due to greed, Jang Il goes to the extreme and he causes his best friend to lost his vision. Seon Woo lost the man who raised him up and he doesn't know who his real father is.
Soo Mi (Im Jung Eun) has one-sided love with Jang Il. She knows what Jang Il and his father did to Seon Woo & his family; and she even paints all the events and put them in her wall of crazy painting; but she never let Seon Woo knows about that fateful accident.
Han Ji Won (Lee Bo Young) has a pure heart. Both Seon Woo & Jang Il care for her.
After being unconscious for 13 years, Seon Woo finally wakes up; however, he's lost his vision. He pretends that he lost all his memory; in which he doesn't and he even lies to Han Ji Won who helps him step-by-step to regain his life confidence.
One man comes into his life and declares that he's Seon Woo's father. He takes him overseas to get treatment for his eyes and when he returns back to Korea, Seon Woo has gained his sight back & is a very successful businessman. On the other hand, Jang Il has become a prosecutor, Soo Mi is a painter and Ji Won is a VIP manager in a hotel.
Will Seon Woo be able to get his revenge to Jang Il and Soo Mi?
And will he accept Ji Won's love?
===> More about The Equator Man
I Do I Do
A very successful shoe designer Hwang Ji Ahn (Kim Sun Ah) never expected that her drunken one-night-stand with a younger man turned up to be her fellow co-worker Park Tae Kang (Lee Jang Woo) will give her unexpected gift.
A workaholic, she's never been in any long relationship but turned up to any blind date set up by her parents. She never has any feelings with any man, that's until she meets Jo Eun Sung (Park Gun Hyung) on one blind date. Both of them are in their late 30s and successful in their own field. Eun Sung is a gynecologist.
But as her feeling towards Eun Sung grows stronger, a new life has grown inside her body.
So will she choose her true love Eun Sung or will she choose her baby's father?
This drama is beautiful and sweet and it portrays a reality about the harsh treatment received by unmarried single mother in Korea.
===> More about I Do I Do <===
- Big: Yoon Jae (30 years old) & Kyung Joon (18 years old) swapped their souls because of an accident. Kyung Joon's soul is trapped in Yoon Jae's body and vice versa. Unfortunately, Kyung Joon (body) is unconscious. Da Ran (Yoon Jae's fiancée) knows about this "secret" and she slowly begins her journey with Kyung Jae (Kyung Joon in Yoon Jae's body). She has to fight for her feeling as slowly she falls in love with Kyung Jae. Later on, Kyung Jae realizes that he has some sort of relationship with Yoon Jae's family... It's all related with the miracle book...
Korean Drama aired on the second half of 2012
Arang and the Magistrate
A forbidden love between a ghost named Arang (Shin Min Ah) who initially seeks help from Magistrate Eun Oh (Lee Jun Ki) to solve the mystery behind her death but as they grow closer, they will fall in love with each other.
Arang has no recollection of her life and the reason why her soul can't rest peacefully so she haunts every magistrate hoping that they will help her and bring justice to people like her. But no-one is willing to help her until a young Magistrate, Eun Oh, comes to that town.
===> More about Arang and the Magistrate
Faith / The Great Doctor
A fusion time-traveling drama portraying a story of Warrior Choi Young (Lee Min Ho) who kidnapped plastic surgeon Yoo Eun Soo (Kim Hee Sun) from the modern world back to the Goryeo era to save the injured Princess No Guk (Park Se Young).
Choi Young & Eun Soo have two very different beliefs:
- Choi Young: live without regrets. As assistant of King Gong Min (Ryu Deok Hwan), he faces with danger every single day so he never scared of death and he sleeps every time he has time to sleep
- Eun Soo: she has lots of regrets - but in the Goryeo era, she will learn about the true meaning of medicine
To The Beautiful You - Hana Kimi Korean Version
A girl's Jae Hee (Choi Sulli) personal sacrifice to meet her idol Tae Joon (Choi Min Ho), a very talented high jumper who after an accident which injured his foot turned him into an unmotivated man.
Jae Hee cut her hair and disguised herself as a boy. She enters all-boys high school and all-boys dormitory so she can be close to Tae Joon. But keeping her real identity proves to be a challenge, so will she be able to continue studying at this school and helping Tae Joon to get his confidence back?
32 episodes drama about Jeon Hae Joo (Han Ji Hye) success story as she climbs her way up in the shipbuilding industry.
Kang San (Kim Jae Won) is a genius and comes from a very wealthy family who is the heir of this shipbuilding company.
Jae Hee and Kang San entangle in love triangle with Jeon Hae Joo.
A makjang, tragic fate 30 episodes melodrama about young people's journey in achieving their dreams to be pianists.
Yoo Ji Sang (Joo Ji Hoon) and Yoo In Ha (Ji Chang Wook) are the heirs of a company producing musical instruments; Ji Sang, the oldest is a naturally talented pianist while In Ha practices really hard to be one. In Ha's left hand injured after an accident and he becomes a crazy man. Will he be able to achieve his dream and surpass his brother's raw talent?
Hong Da Mi (Ham Eun Jung) sadly has to bury her dream to be a pianist after her father's sudden death. What will happen to her life after she meets with Ji Sang?
A brand new romantic comedy about an amnesiac prosecutor who unexpectedly falls in love with a gangster's daughter.
A melodrama about a man who's been deeply hurt by his ex-girlfriend who leaves him for a much older man.
Feeling betrayed, he uses the daughter (an amnesiac woman) of the man that his ex-girlfriend falls in love with, for his own revenge.
Nice Guy will air in Korea every Wednesday & Thursday starting from 12 September 2012.
My Favorite 2012 Korean Drama
My Favorite Korean Drama 2012 (list frequently updated)
Out of more than 15 dramas I've watched this year, at the moment, only 4 dramas truly own my heart & soul.
Rooftop Prince was good but it has too many drama cliches which made me almost dropped this drama. But I love the comedic part of this drama.
I love The Equator Man too, but the writer was not too good in developing the male lead (Seon Woo) and especially the female lead (Ji Woon) characters.
The first 10 episodes of The Moon that Embraces the Sun were excellent and put me at the edge of my seats, but the story began to decline starting from episode 11. Both Kim Soo Hyun & Jung Il Woo were fantastic and they're the reason I kept watching this drama.
Without further ado, here are four dramas which made into the list of my favorite 2012 Korean Drama:
The King 2Hearts
The King 2Hearts is currently my #1 favorite drama this year.
It has the guts to portray a realistic but sad truth about North & South Korea situation. Not an easy drama to watch and definitely not a cup-of-tea drama for viewers who prefer a conventional drama.
Each episode will take the viewers in a roller-coaster ride, a ride which no-one wants to experience. It flawlessly goes from comedic to action to melodrama to thriller.
It doesn't have lots of romantic scenes but each romantic scene is surely will rip our hearts apart, as the main couple King Jae Ha & Hang Ah go through so many obstacles in their love relationship. A very difficult journey that they must face, but together, they grow stronger and their love blossom.
The secondary couple Shi Kyung & Princess Jae Shin will leave a big hole in our heart and I will also remember Princess Jae Shin's First Love song, a song she sweetly sang to her warrior / guard / guardian angel prior to her tragic accident.
In this drama, you will not find any k-drama cliches and it made me truly appreciate the beauty of the King 2Hearts. No evil mother-in-law, no annoying sister-in-law, no love triangle, no birth secrets, etc.
But you will find an over-the-top villain and his life is truly pitiful. He doesn't have anyone who loves him even though he has unlimited power & money.
Solid acting across the board from all actors, gorgeous cinematography, beautiful music, great storyline; the King 2Hearts, you own my heart!
Number of Episodes: 20
Original run: March 21, 2012 - May 24, 2012
Casts: Lee Seung Gi as Crown Prince Lee Jae Ha (King Lee Jae Ha), Ha Ji Won as Kim Hang Ah, Lee Yoon Ji as Princess Lee Jae Shin, Jo Jung Suk as Eun Shi Gyung
Average Rating: 12.2% [Nationwide] | 14.2%[Seoul]
===> The King 2Hearts drama review <===
Answer Me 1997
Never in my wildest imagination I would be hooked to a sitcom; but glad I did!
Answer Me 1997 is a sweet, heartwarming, beautiful sitcom / drama which stands out because of its uniqueness (set in Busan and they cleverly cast actors who can speak satori (Busan dialect)). At first I was skeptical because most of the leads are idols. And they proved me wrong; they can act and truly transform themselves to make the character their own.
This drama follows story of 6 friends who've been friends since high school and their teacher. In 2012, they came to their school reunion and 1 couple announce they're getting married and 1 woman is expecting a baby.
During their reunion, they reminisce their high school life, so this drama takes us back to year 1997.
2 brothers Tae Woong [a teacher] & Yoon Jae and one young woman Shi Won who's a huge fan of Tony An from H.O.T know each other since they're young. The brothers fall in love with Shi Won; and in the end, one brother marries her & becomes the father of her baby.
2 other friend (Hak Chan, a transferred student from Seoul and Yoo Jung [Shi Won's best friend but also rival as she's a fan of Sechs Kies. In the 90s, H.O.T and Sechs Kies were the two most popular k-pop groups; so fanwars were inevitable)) have a love-hate-love-relationship. Yoo Jung initially develops a feeling for Yoon Jae; but in the end, Hak Chan got her approval.
Sung Jae is really fun to be with - he's really talkative. While Joon Hae has to fight for his feeling as he falls in love with Yoon Jae.
As they go through their high school life, their crush, their friendship; the writer then takes us to year 2005 - and thankfully their friendship are still solid strong. They're there for each other, the couples are overcoming their differences & becoming more mature.
During their reunion, we can all see how beautiful their friendship are! Protecting each other, bickering with each other, loving each other.
And Answer Me 1997 has one of the best ending ever! Simple, yet meaningful.
Number of Episodes: 16
Original run: July 24, 2012 - September 18, 2012 on tvN every Tuesday 23.00 KST
Casts: Jung Eun Ji (A-Pink) as Sung Si Won, Seo In Gook as Yoon Yoon Jae, Shin So Yool as Mo Yoo Jung, Lee Ho Won [Hoya] (Infinite) as Kang Joon Hee, Eun Ji Won as Do Hak Chan, Lee Shi Un as Bang Sung Jae, Song Jong Ho as Teacher Yoon Tae Woong
===> Answer Me 1997 drama review <===
Bridal Mask / Gaksital
A gripping patriotic drama about Joseon people (Korean) who fight, sacrifice and ready-to-die to free themselves from Japan imperialism and dictation.
A flawless drama with beautiful and rich storyline about a young man (Lee Kang To / Sato Hiroshi) who initially opposed to the freedom of his own country, but in the end, fights together with his own people to get the freedom they truly deserve.
A sad but realistic friendship between two best friends turned enemies because of situations and one woman that they both love.
Bridal Mask gives the viewers a gripping reality about wars between themselves, between the best friend they care about, between the other country who tried to occupy their land. The romance is not fully explored here.
A brilliant drama combined with realistic acting from the casts, particularly from Joo Won & Park Ki Woong; I applaud the writer for giving us the open-ending that yes many people died during the wars, but their passion live on in the heart of Joseon people and they will continue their legacy to fight for freedom.
Number of Episodes: 28
Original run: May 30, 2012 - September 6, 2012
Casts: Joo Won as Lee Kang To / Sato Hiroshi, Jin Se Yun as Mok Dan, Park Ki Woong as Kimura Shunji, Han Chae Ah as Chae Hong Joo / Ueno Rie/Ra Ra, Shin Hyun Joon as Lee Kang San
===> My Bridal Mask drama review <===
Queen In Hyun's Man
Queen In Hyun's Man has such a sweet romantic love story and I fall in love firstly with its grandiose cinematography.
Then, the personality of its main characters, Boong Do & Hee Jin seal the deal.
Watching this drama feels like we're watching both of them falling in love for real (in fact, the actor & actress did fall in love for real and I wish both of them the best in their love relationship).
Boong Do, a Joseon scholar is given a talisman by his wife's servant to protect himself against bad guys who wanted to kill him. His whole family including his pregnant wife were all killed. Boong Do is also in danger as he uncovers the secret that they wanted to kill Queen In Hyun.
Through the magic of the talisman, every time he faces any danger, he will travel jump 300 years to year 2012. In the modern world, he meets with cheerful young actress, Hee Jin.
Hee Jin helps him in the modern era and they both fall in love.
As their love blossom, so does the danger in the Joseon era. Boong Do travels back and forth; and they separate for a while but in the end, their love is too strong and they're back together even without the talisman which is his travel medium.
To conclude, the reason Boong Do is able to time-travel is because of the strong bond & love he has with Hee Jin.
Some story especially the ending may not make sense for a lot of viewer, but the main theme about this drama is love. It's not the talisman, not the phone; but love.
Number of Episodes: 16
Original run: April 18, 2012 - June 7, 2012
Casts: Ji Hyun Woo as Kim Boong Do, Yoo In Na as Choi Hee Jin, Kim Jin Woo as Dong Min, Jin Ye Sol as Yoon Wol
===> My Queen In Hyun's Man drama review <===