Year-end Review 2017

kooriyuki: This year I’ve gotten a guest writer to share with us her thoughts about the dramas she watched for this year, as she watched some of those both sab and I couldn’t make time for (or simply not interested in). So let’s read what bearcatchong has to say about this year’s offerings!

Hospital Ship
This medical drama has an unique background not used in kdramas before – a ship with medical facilities to serve islanders with limited or no access to healthcare services. But then, the hospital ship is just a gimmick, the plot can be used in any hospital. Ha Ji Won plays a super talented surgeon (supposedly she can perform ANY surgery successfully on the ship without prior experience) who, like any other heroine in a melodrama has a whole string of family problems, is a bargaining chip in power struggles, as well as a patient of….. bone cancer (so…. this a medical-melodrama?). There were various discussion topics brought up in the drama, such as advance medical directive, medical consultation through video conferencing and as usual, medical malpractice, but these topics were only used as plot devices. I would like this drama better if they had focused on the problems the islanders faced in getting medical treatments, or how the medical staffs handled emergency situations when hospitals are out of reach due to unavailability of coastguards or helicopters. Food for thought: Well, actually a hospital ship in real-life is without any surgeons… I wonder how cases mentioned in the drama will be handled without Ha Ji Won’s character….

Strongest Deliveryman
One of my favourite Kdramas for this year, as this drama is short and sweet. There are only 16 episodes with less than an hour per episode, and many cute moments from the leads! I like how conflicts are resolved fairly quickly in this rather fast-paced drama, and how people without power unite to defend their dreams, or rather livelihood. The second leads (played by Kim Seon Ho and Go Won Hee) were atypical chaebols in kdramas, and their romance was as cute as our OTP’s (Go Kyung Pyo X Chae Soo Bin). If I have to make a complaint, that would be Kang-soo’s (Go Kyung Pyo) wild hair in the first half of the drama…

Manhole
What I have learnt from this drama: (1) changing the past may not be a good thing, we can make matters worse; (2) Jang Mi Kwan is really good at playing a psychopath; and (3) we don’t need to use much brain juice in watching this drama…

All Kinds of Daughter-in-laws
The story of a pair of fraternal twins who were at loggerheads since birth and married into families that were at loggerheads for 3 generations. Outcome? The fraternal twins resolved their differences to help resolve the hatred between their husbands and their families. Why did I watch this drama? Did I mention I like Eunjung (of T-ara)?

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
I know many like this drama, but I watched this at 1.5X playback. Although… I like the characters played by Kim Won Hae (he had too many memorable characters this year).. These characters were too funny…. Oh… have I mention Jang Mi Kwan is really good at playing a psychopath?

Whisper
Can someone please tell the leads to stop informing the villains about their plans? After all, isn’t the theme of the drama whisper?

Suspicious Partner
Jung Hyun-soo (Dong Ha) was shady, the crime scene guy was shady, the chief prosecutor was shady, but what was so suspicious about the leads?  

Buamdong Revenge Club
The revenge tactics played by our revenge club members were simply too hilarious, they were more like small paybacks rather than real revenge. My favourite “revenge” was when they left the drunk principal at the bus-stop, covered with cardboards as if he was homeless. I also like the chemistry among our ahjummas (Ra Mi Ran, Lee Yo Won and Myung Se Bin). It was nice to see them healing their emotional wounds through their friendship. Hmm… maybe they should rename their club to Buamdong Healing Club….

Revolutionary Love
Personally I feel Siwon’s acting as Byun Hyuk in this drama is not much different from his character in She was pretty, especially when both characters had his trademark goofy smile. Initially, I thought this drama was about Byun Hyuk growing up due to his love for a girl, but the concept of love in this drama seemed to include all kinds of relationships, be it family, friends or colleagues. The change in Byun Hyuk may be initiated by Baek Joon (Kang So Ra), but his ultimate resolution to make his father’s company a better workplace is more likely due to his love for his father (not wanting him to repeat his wrongdoings), his cleaner colleagues (whose help were no less than Baek Joon), and his only good friend Kwon Je Hoon (Gong Myung). Watch this drama only if you want some light-hearted drama, a fan of Siwon or a fan of Samsung Gear watch.

Ruler: Master of Mask
I like Yoo Seung Ho. I also like Kim So Hyun. So this drama was initially on my must-watch list. Feeling after watching this drama: total disappointment, total waste of talented cast. I thought Han Ga Eun (Kim So Hyun) was promised to be the heroine, the kind that was smart enough to save the crown prince (Yoo Seung Ho). But our heroine was mostly missing from the plot. When she does appear, she becomes the damsel in distress and the guys would rush to save her. I am so sorry to say that Kim So Hyun had a stronger presence even as a cameo in While You Were Sleeping. Blame on the poor writing in Ruler.

Criminal Minds (Korean version)
Looking at the cast, it seemed to be star-studded. Lee Jun Ki, Sohn Hyun Joo and Moon Chae Won… Oh wait, so the cast include Moon Chae Won?

Tunnel
The synopsis seemed like another version of Signal, where a detective from the past tried to solve the infamous case of Hwaseong serial murders. So Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) returned to 1986 after solving the case in 2016…then his daughter Shin Jae Yi (Lee Yoo Young) would have grown up with her father right? How will this affect the case solving in 2016? Or rather, why did we spend 16 episodes to watch events that will be rewritten?

Voice
This drama is too bloody for me, especially when that psychopath Mo Tae Goo (Kim Jae Wook) start hitting his victims with his kettlebell.

While You Were Sleeping
Nam Hong-joo (Suzy) once said that attempts to change her dream prophecies were like stopping the flow in the tributaries, water would then flow and maybe flood elsewhere. Yet, time and time again in this drama were only successful attempts to prevent the worst from happening without any side effects, which in turn make those dream prophecies kind of dull. Nevertheless, it was still heart-warming for me to watch a team of prosecutors who were kind and united, unlike the many of the dramas portraying corrupted prosecutors (unless you count the ex-prosecutor-turned-lawyer Lee Yoo-beom (Lee Sang Yeob)). In fact, there were hardly any bad guys in this drama (other than the criminals). I really like Choi Dam-dong ahjussi (Kim Won Hae) here, he was such a nice fatherly mentor to Jung Jae-chan (Lee Jung Seok). Why did his character needlessly die at the last episode? (*sob sob*) P/S: I also like the bickering between Hong-joo and Park So-yoon (cameo by Kim So Hyun) and their sassy hair flips.

Black
Dear Writer-nim,

I like how the details in initial episodes became puzzle pieces that fit nicely in later episodes. But, sometimes I feel the revelations come tooooo sloooooow, which makes me feel like I am being trapped in a black maze, unable to find my exit. I have so many questions to ask you regarding the last 10 min. (1) If Black became non-existing, how could he appear in the final scene? (2) How does Black’s non-existence prevent Haram’s parents’ car accident? (3) If Black really became non-existing, how could Haram regain any of the memory even before she passed away? (4) If the body of Joon had been found, why did Black still have Moo-gang’s face. (5) Why did you write the last 10 min anyway? Oh dear…. I think I am really trapped in this maze…

Witch’s Court
My favourite heroine of the year, Ma Yi-deum (Jung Ryeo Won). I like how she never hesitate to use underhand tactics to win those villains and the comical portrayal of her evil plans.  

Chief Kim
Namgoong Min is back with his wacky ways! It is so fun to have him punishing the wicked higher-ups. I also like the loveline between Sang-tae (Kim Seon Ho) and Kwang-sook (Im Hwa Young) and their parodies of other dramas.

Prison Playbook
Who said Kim Je Hyuk (Park Hae Soo) was slow? Have you ever seen anyone so quick to collect his bowls before the fight commence?

Defendant
No words need to be written. Superb performance from  Ji Sung, Uhm Ki joon and even little Shin Rin-ah.

Live Up to Your Name
This medical drama is fun as it includes time travels, western and oriental medicine, various medical cases and comedic scenes from Kim Nam Gil. Did anyone notice that Kim Nam Gil look perverted when sharpening his needles? 

Falsify
The attacks and counter-attacks between the goods and the villains become repetitive and boring after some time. But I like the childish competition between Han Moo-young (Namgoong Min) and Kwon So-ra (Uhm Ji Won).

Reunited World
Ok, the plot was interesting initially, about the return of a dead first love 13 years later. But it still seemed awkward to see romance between Lee Yeon Hee and Yeo Jin Goo, and the story seemed too long for 20 episodes! Ok, I had watched this drama at 1.5X playback.

Goblin
I really like the tragic romance between Reaper and Sunny, and how the clueless Reaper went on dates with Sunny. I know many complained about the ending, but personally, I felt this ending was closer to the theme of the drama – the shiny and lonely goblin. P/S: My favourite scene was when the gangsters were sent off in half the car in slow motion, with the background playing “Time to say goodbye”.

The Most Beautiful Goodbye (2017 remake)
I expected myself to tear during this drama, but I did not tear as much as I expected. Perhaps I was already prepared for the sad moments. Two scenes were particularly memorable for me, the first being the mother vomiting blood and crying for help from her husband, while the father could only hug the mother helplessly. The second memorable scene was when the mother tried to suffocate her mother-in-law who was suffering from dementia, upon the thoughts that her mother-in-law would burden her husband and children after she passed away. Fortunately, the family still had some time to prepare before saying goodbye to their beloved mum, so that the mother was able to leave in peace. Tissues, anyone?

Madame Jung’s Last Week 
Madame Jung (played by Ra Mi Ran) had spent the last 6 odd years living in darkness, away from the sight of anyone, as a wanted criminal. She has only a week left before ending her life on the run, but she risked being caught just to save a neighbour’s daughter (played by Shin Rin Ah) from the stepfather’s abuse, and even gave herself to the police just to protect her… this is what I called a true guardian angel…

Assistant Manager B and Love Letter 
I don’t understand why the male colleague (Jo Woo Jin) prefers another female colleague over Bang Ga Young (Song Ji Hyo). Anyway, the “love letter” was a spam mail from a slimming agency hahaha…

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4 thoughts on “Year-end Review 2017

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  1. About Tunnel… spoilers incoming 😀

    The end scene clearly suggests that everything that has happened in the future is going to happen because the back-from-the-future KH “caused” the birth of the other KH. The other KH’s existence would have been improbable had KH lived happily ever after with his family because there wouldn’t have been a back-from-the-future KH to help his mom. Which means, KH is predestined to disappear again after 1988-1993 (the year his wife died and his daughter was adopted) to arrive at 2018-2023 (which sets up a potential sequel).

    The other KH’s story is called a causal loop: His mother went to labor early and a back-from-the-future-KH helps her > she names him after KH > he grows up aspiring to be the policeman who helped his mom > becomes a policeman and discovers a killer > stalks killer and collects evidence > gets murdered by killer > KH assumes his identity > KH catches killer because of the evidences he collected > KH returns to past and helps his mom.

    In fact we can say there’s really nothing rewritten (aka the fixed history time travel model). KH doesn’t really have any free will to change history. It looked like he changed history but in truth, he was supposed to make those changes all along. He looked like he can choose to stay in 2017 with his daughter but if they wanted to bring the killer to justice, KH has to return and cause the birth of the other KH because the latter will hold the evidences that’ll convict the killer.

    The two events that looked like changes to the timeline were the killer remembering his second confrontation after his grandma’s funeral with the officer he thought has died and the daughter remembering the pen hidden in the bear. They looked like changes because KH is yet to experience them but we already see the effects of these future events in the beginning of the story: the killer changed his MO from actively killing women to passively killing elders which was the reason he was chasing the other KH. The pen was the reason KH and the killer fought in the tunnel in 2017 which resulted in him returning briefly to the past where KH confronts the killer’s younger self again then disappearing again. This made the killer change his MO and the new MO led to the other KH discovering the killer resulting in the murder of the other KH and coinciding with the start of KH’s timeslip adventure in 2016.

    The pen is what science calls a double-occupancy paradox where the same object though varying in ages occupies the same time. Not that I think the show even went that nerd deep. The pen’s internal timeline remains straight while the external time changed from 2017 to 1987 to 2017 again.

    From all the kdrama timeslips and time travel I’ve watched, this has probably the least plot holes if we dissect it because it used a really simple time travel model (fixed history time model) which eliminated any need to explain how or why his 2nd-4th timeslips in the tunnel occurred (he was just meant to), we know the start and end of the plot’s timeline so it’s easier to fill in the blanks, and it had set up a potential sequel without adding many unknown variables (looking at you Signal). The things that are left unexplainable for me are how the tunnel became a portal in the first place and why it only transports KH and any object within his person but not the person he is holding onto. Which aren’t that a problem because kdrama mostly prefers magical time travel method than making it sci-fi.

    Sorry for the long comment hehe. I just really loved how well done Tunnel’s plot timeline/mechanics is compared to most timeslip kdramas. I’m not even sure my rambling was comprehensible hehe
    ___

    I also loved Strongest Deliveryman. Tragic ramen hair aside, their story really resonates to young people and their struggle to survive against evil corporate world. Go Kyung Po’s character replacing the cold food for that sleeping man was so memorable for me. What a good guy.

    Looks like ahjumma from Reply 1988 has some good dramas, I’ll add them to my watchlist. Thanks.

  2. I need to check out Buamdong Revenge Club and I love that you mentioned they should change their name to Buamdong Healing Club 🙂

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