Ah, 2016 was such an eventful year. We had great dramas, shit dramas, dramas with great beginnings and shit endings… All in all, we got a lot of variety, which was both exciting and stressful as a drama viewer. Which gave me excitement and which gave me stress? It’s time to find out as I give one last goodbye to my favorite shows of the year.
*In the order of release date
1. Remember–Son’s War (★★★☆☆) – This was the first drama of 2016 that was immensely addicting for me. When I think about it now, the show’s not great, and I have no intentions of ever rewatching, but I can’t deny the strong pull it had on me at the time. Even as the plot started getting repetitive, I was desperately holding on because I loved the characters (and obviously, the actors portraying them) and I felt like I absolutely needed to find out if the good guys would win at the end. The drama was very good at making me care and making me want to see justice prevail, but the journey to that justice was just so looong and exhaaausting. But, eh, you know… Yoo Seung Ho and Park Sung Woong were kind of worth that long, exhausting journey.
2. Five Children (★★★★★) – There are dramas that I force my mom to watch and there are dramas that my mom forces me to watch. And then there are dramas that the both of us love so much that there’s no forcing necessary. We just give each other a certain look and plop in front of the TV without a word. Five Children was that drama for us this year, and what made it even better was the fact that it was over 50 episodes long. A drama with that kind of episode count can seem intimidating (it’s some serious commitment, after all), but my mom and I knew after the very first episode that we were in for the long haul. Though almost everyone watching this show was watching for the cute Sang Min/Yeon Tae ship, Mom and I were mainly watching for the awesome main couple Sang Tae and Mi Jin. Believe me, Sang Min and Yeon Tae were a sure highlight of the show, but the main couple was everything. When two middle-aged people are so in love that they can’t help but flail about like teenagers with crushes… Ah, it’s the best. Boy, do I miss them.
3. Descendants of the Sun (★★★★☆) – Yes, yes, I was sucked into this drama just as everyone else in Korea was. I know there were many people who didn’t get the appeal, and after the show started to drag a little, I understood where those people were coming from. But there was just something about the premiere and the overall atmosphere it had that created an almost instant addictive quality. Ah, it was so addicting! After the drama ended, I began to realize why certain people couldn’t bring themselves to like the show: you really had to like the characters to like the show. Descendants was pretty thin on plot, but the characters were so incredibly likeable, all the way from our charming Yoo Shi Jin to our cutie soldier Kim Ki Bum. So yeah, I ignored the drama’s flaws for the sake of the characters. A painful process, but I was more than willing to go through it.
4. Oh Hae Young Again (★★★★★) – I loved this show. So much. I loved “Just” Oh Hae Young. I loved Do Kyung (his annoying jerkfaceness and all). I loved Soo Kyung and her drunk slurring in French. I loved Hae Young’s freaking awesome parents.
5. Beautiful Gong Shim (★★★★☆) – This was a total surprise. I never had a single thought of watching this show when the promos came out. But then I noticed the show gaining more popularity, both on streaming sites and on recapping sites. So I got curious. Why was this little weekend drama gaining so much attention? Once I switched on the first episode and saw main couple Dan Tae and Beautiful Gong Shim herself, it all became clear. Those two were hilarious, both on their own and together. However, I wasn’t too crazy about the typical long-lost chaebol plotline. Like Descendants, this show’s strength was all in its characters, though admittedly, the characters in Gong Shim had a few more screws loose than those in Descendants. But, hey, the wackier they were, the more I loved ’em.
6. W–Two Worlds (★★★★☆) – I’ve talked a lot about characters, but W, for sure, was allllll about the plot. And what a phenomenal plot it was. Of course, then the plot got too cocky and decided to take over the entire show. After I finished W for the first time, I had mixed feelings. One minute, I liked the ending, and then another minute, I hated it. After taking some time to really think about it and also taking the time to rewatch it with my mom, I decided this drama is still pretty solid. I had trouble critiquing it objectively since it hurt me on such a personal level (it was my most anticipated of the year), but that second time I watched it did give me some peace of mind. It’s a good action thriller. And it had the potential to be out-of-this-world amazing. If I think too much about all the wasted potential, I’ll drive myself insane, so I’ll leave it at that. Goodbye, W. A fangirl’s gotta move on sometime.
7. Age of Youth (★★★★★) – I feel like I’ve already said a lot about this show, and I fear that if I break it down any more, it’ll lose some of the magic it showcased from my first viewing. It’s a silly thing to fear, but I fear it nonetheless. All you need to know is that this drama came out of nowhere, stomped all over my heart, and then carefully bandaged it back up and returned it with gusto. It’s easily my #1 favorite drama of 2016. No doubt about it. To read a little more on why I love it so, venture here.
8. Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (★★★★★) – Oh, Moonlight was a dream. It was just so, so good. It was one of the few rare dramas that come every year that has everything you could ever ask for. For one, it had Park Bo Gum. AUGH, THAT MAN, I SWEAR. His main purpose in life must be to kill fangirls everywhere. He’s certainly doing a hell of a good job. I would say he carried the show, but that’s probably a total biased opinion. Though Bogummy was outstanding, every single person in this project was equally worthy of praise. There were some great veteran actors, some impressive newbie actors, and behind them, a wonderful production team. This drama is the whole package and more. I’d watch it again if I hadn’t already rewatched it four times.
9. Shopping King Louis (★★★★★) – I can’t believe I almost skipped this drama! Ah, the very thought of missing out on my precious Louis… I can’t even. This drama took one of the most overused plots in Dramaland and somehow turned it into something fresh and new, all thanks to a unique sense of humor and a main couple that was literally too cute for words. All my words were gone with each episode because those two never failed to wipe my mind clean with their cuteness and turn me into a useless puddle of goo. I throw the word “cute” around a lot, but *squeal* Louis and Bok Shil were the cutest thing ever. Ever, ever, ever. And I’m still obsessed with Maxim Gold coffee. I guess when product placement is done right, it really gets ya.
10. Legend of the Blue Sea (★★★☆☆) – The romance. The show lost a lot of its charm early on, but that romance, man. I really like it. *swoons at picture above*
Dramas I missed but intend to watch eventually:
(*sigh* I’ve got some serious marathoning to do…)
Signal | Police Unit 38 | The Good Wife | Jealousy Incarnate | Drinking Solo | 1% of Anything