My Top Kdrama 2018
(A Year in Review)
Finally! It is finished. My Top Kdrama 2018 is finally done and I felt like a heavy weight off my shoulders have been lifted. I wanted to post this earlier but there was just so much more I had to include.
I felt like the year 2018 has snuck up on me and by the time I knew it, it’s 2019 already. Last year January felt like it laster three months. Then we got the snow. Skip Spring and then bam. Heatwave. And then Winter.
Unlike 2017, I haven’t finished as much Kdramas as I wanted to or as I did that year. I watched LOADS of dramas in 2017 that when I looked back and saw what I watched and completed this year, I was shocked to say the least. To be fair, there were quite a lot of disappointments drama wise at the start of the year. A lot of the ones I planned to watch didn’t end up satisfying or as great as thought. And after a certain drama, it took me months to get over it and start something new.
My Top Kdrama 2018 includes dramas from previous years. I found myself looking through dramas from previous years and there’s a few I’m so happy I gave a chance.
I definitely hadn’t watched as much as I did the previous year with the amount of completed dramas totaling to only 15 fully completed Korean Dramas.
Without further ado, the following are the ones I’ve watched this year, with only the top 5 being in particular order.
A short 2-episode Korean drama starring ChaeYeon and the guy in Defendant. The reason why I decided to check this out was because of the leads. Loved them both individually, having watched Jung Chae yeon in Drinking Solo. This was a musical/drama so you get them starting to sing in the middle of something. Those were quite nice to watch but it didn’t really stand out for me. It could’ve been better but the overall story didn’t get to develop as much as it could’ve been. One of the highlights was when they covered My Ahjussi’s Grown Up OST.
P.S: That was a very sweet relationship between the older brother and the sister though. SO cute!! I would watch even if it was just for that. It was really nice to see.
Secret (Secret Love)
Once again watched it because of Netflix, I bingewatched this in about 3 days! I was totally into the story. It was full of angst and a lot of grudge. I was so impressed by Hwang Jung Eum by the end. Oh the tears she shed. This was a totally addicting drama. Secret was filled with betrayal, and a lot of plot twists.
So if you’re looking for a good revenge turned romance drama – this will be right up your alley. Despite some flaws, I just couldn’t stop watching it. It’s been a while since I’ve had a drama so addicting that I’d stay late at night watching it. Amazing performance by the cast especially Hwang Jung Eum and Bae Soo Bin caught my attention.
If you loved Ji Sung and Hwang Jung Eum together in Kill Me, Heal Me, this is definitely worth checking out as it is completely different from that drama.
I’m Not a Robot
One of the really good but underrated (though certainly not by the international fans) dramas this year, do not be deceived into thinking that this is only full of fluff because of the title. With this being Yoo Seung Ho’s FIRST ever romantic comedy, I’m Not a Robot offered a lot of heartwarming scenes you wouldn’t have expected with the plot. And with his amazing emotional acting range, you’d be rest assured you’re getting a top notch performance.
Chae Soo Bin really balanced everything up – convincing with her performance as a Robot, she also drew light upon Yoo Seung Ho’s dark and lonely life. I’m Not a Robot was fun, lighthearted with just the right amount of mellow. And they certainly made me feel giddy. It’s such a unique take on a drama and somehow, they made it work amazingly. I think K-viewers missed out a lot with how much depth this story proved it got throughout its run.
You have to check this out.
100 Days My Prince
100 Days My Prince has got one of my favourites premiere episodes of all time. It delivered so much action and promise. Do Kyung Soo was a revelation in his acting, setting him apart from a lot of idol-actors to establishing his name in the acting industry. Individually, our main leads, Kyung Soo and Nam Ji Hyun were as always, great in their acting.
As much as the first few episodes were exciting in the hope that there’s something grand that’s gonna happen out there, it sadly didn’t do that for me. This drama did very well especially in South Korea, breaking records almost every week ratings wise. However, the story fell flat along the way and though it didn’t fall to become a bad drama, it’s not a story that would stay with me. I wasn’t convinced by our main couple together too. I don’t know, The development of their story didn’t help although there were scenes that showed their potential as a lovely couple.
Overall not one of my favourite dramas but I still recommend you to check it out. The actors all did fantastic on their given roles despite the disappointing turn of the story.
My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
Because I was looking for something older to watch and Netflix suddenly went on Kdrama upload spree, I decided to give this a go. One of the most popular older dramas, I wanted to see what the hype was all about. And, if years later, I’d see what if I could still enjoy this.
Shin Min Ah was so adorable and having watched her in Tomorrow With You first, it was quite a surprise to see how she was in here. Such a transformation! She was fun to watch and really nailed her role as Gumiho. Lee Seung Gi was good and I really enjoyed a lot of the moments in this drama. Overall it was a light drama but sadly I didn’t really enjoy it as a whole, as much as I wanted to.
I think it could’ve been a lot shorter in episodes than it was and I found it to have quite a lot of draggy parts and points that could have been explored more to deepen the story. It was an okay watch.
Unfortunately, My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho just wasn’t for me.
Life On Mars
Life On Mars was something I really looked forward to upon knowing of the casts. Jung Kyung Ho I’ve watched in Wise Prison Life – and I really loved his subtle character and his friendship with Park Hae Soo in the drama. I just really liked the way he acts and with Park Sung Woong together with him, it seemed like a great combination.
This was a remake of the original BBC drama of the same name. Never watched that one so I don’t know how it compared to the original. The highlight of this drama was definitely the casts. They all greatly contrasted yet complemented each other so well. I loved Go Ah Sung’s character – she was very soft spoken but has a good head on her shoulders. She helped balance everything out. The plot overall was a bit unclear and fell a bit short of what it promised. However, it really was the cast that kept me watching it. It wasn’t perfect but strangely, I really have a fond feeling when I hear about this drama. I guess they just managed to capture perfectly the bond between the characters and it felt genuine that it radiated through to the viewers as well.
If you’re thinking this is similar to Tunnel, they’re similar only on the first episode but you’ll find how different they are from each other. I definitely do not regret watching this despite my points above. Recommended.
Queen In Hyun’s Man
Oh, I really really adored this one too. This was the drama I watched after my drama hiatus caused by *cough *cough, My Mister. I honestly couldn’t bring or force myself to watch another drama. I tried Secretary Kim and Are You Human too (both of which were on my to watch list) but I couldn’t even get past one episode. After looking at recommendations, I finally found something I could a see myself watching and sticking with.
And Queen In Hyun’s Man didn’t disappoint. Overall, there was nothing too heavy in the drama. It was mostly cute and really showed off the amazing chemistry of the leads, Yoo In Na and the silent charisma of Ji Hyun Woo. They were really cute together and I was just cheering for them and squealing internally from their super cute scenes. I fell in love with Ji Hyun Woo. He isn’t the most good looking guy but the way he comes across is really swoon-worthy. He carries himself so well you can’t help but be drawn to him. Yoo In Na nailed it with this role. This was perfect for her.
Queen In Hyun’s Man is high on my list of favourite Kdramas – it really delivered the perfect amount of romance that kept me coming back for more. The time-travel bit was also done right and was believable right through the end.
Ofcourse, it is also a time-travel drama. Hehe
Another time travel drama and I’m not complaining. Put time travel genre tag in a Kdrama and I’m in. I just love them so much. This one had its flaws but the good definitely have overridden the bad. And I guess that was the whole point of this drama. It showed how reality isn’t perfect and no matter how much we think that it could’ve gone better if we just chose the other option we had, that probably is just a wishful thinking.
The plot of the story wasn’t something I wholly loved or at times even agreed with, but the characters were really the stand out point in this. I could have just carried on watching them all interact with each other.
Familiar Wife really felt so similar to Go Back Couple (another time travel drama, duh) at first but along the way, it’s been more and more obvious that they are different.
Despite its flaws I found myself enjoying and loving it. I especially loved the ever supportive bestfriend (Jang Seung Jo) and the bank team. They’re just the perfect addition to this drama. Despite its imperfections, Familiar Wife had its good points and I’m happy to have watched till the end – that ending episode really made me forgive about the flaws beforehand.
The Beauty Inside
I wasn’t looking forward to this when they announced they were doing the drama version of the film. I liked the film but not enough for me to follow this drama through. However, giving this a chance proved more than worth it for me in the end. And braving through the first and second episode was really worth the watch too. This was very well done. The writer of this drama is one of Kim Eun Sook’s assistant writers. Kim Eun Sook penned the highly popular dramas Descendants of the Sun, Goblin and the recently concluded Mr. Sunshine. For me, I can really see that she’s got what it takes to be a superb writer too.
I absolutely loved The Beauty Inside. Everything from the characters to the flow of the story, the plot and the path it has taken was enjoyable. I was caught off guard by how much I loved it. Seo Hyun Jin’s performance was flawless and once again proved just why I like her as an actress so much. Her and Lee Min Ki’s chemistry together was so adorable. There were some scenes that really made me cry.
And the thing the surprisingly I found I loved the most? NO one here was truly bad just for the sake of it. That alone is a win win. I loved everyone.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE.
MY TOP FIVE – STARTING FROM THE FIFTH
My Top Kdrama – 2018 (5)
Scholar Who Walks the Night
Three years after I started watching this, I am glad to say I’ve remembered it and finally finished watching. Again this drama had flaws but doesn’t most dramas have? Also, those flaws obviously didn’t prevent me from loving this drama the way I have. I was so immersed in Scholar Who Walks the Night and found their romance really beautiful. Lee Joon Gi really carried this drama and made his character stand out more than other leads in a drama. He just owned Lee Yeol.
I loved the vampire plot and the conflicts and problems that came with it. I found myself speeding through episode after episodes. I was really glued in to the screen. This drama has one of the most beautiful couple scenes. They were so sweet and sooo simple that made them all the more special.
I can now also understand the Lee Joon Gi fever. I love how he gives it his all and it shows.
My Top Kdrama – 2018 (4)
One of the most underrated dramas of 2018, Live was action packed and served up a mixture of reality and great camaraderie. I loved the team so much and they just all blended well together. Sung Dong Il gets a special mention for being so lovable and loving with his direct personality in this drama. Bae Sung Woo was a nice surprise – I’ve never seen him before but I really loved his character in here. He was undoubtedly the pillar of our more junior police officers.
This drama was a mixture of everything and I loved it. It delivered funny comedy, a blooming love story and most of all, showed us the lives of police officers in South Korea. It was interesting and it makes you feel a sense of patriotism along with them. I’m not Korean but I think you know what I mean.
If you’re looking for something different, with action, a bit of a mystery from crime solving and the ups and downs of everyday life – I highly recommend watching Live. I truly enjoyed watching this on Netflix after discovering they were streaming it online – binged watched happily. 😊
My Top Kdrama – 2018 (3)
Wise Prison Life
WIse Prison Life depicts the life of prisoners and its staff. Jae Hyuk (Park Hae Soo) is a famous baseball player who was on the verge of catching his big break when tragedy strikes. Proven to have used excessive force in beating up the person who entered his sister’s hous, he soon finds himself in prison. Joon Ho (Jung Kyung Ho) who was his best friend, is a prison guard. Jae Hyuk has to learn how to maneuver in his new environment – and his new cell mates.
Wise Prison Life is hard to describe in a few sentences. There’s no one plot that tells what happens apart from that it is about how a man – who probably would never have been in prison – who suddenly is faced with this drastic life change. Through his eyes -we start to see the story of each of the other prisoners, putting faces to the people we only know to be a murderer, robber, drug addict or a fraud. It also gives a glimpse to just what it takes to be a prison guard.
This is really something you can only understand unless you watch it. Each character you grow to love or really hate. Wise Prison Life tells you what was at stake for these people and as we saw more of their story – understanding dawn. It was episodic and each episode offered new insights and new challenges for Jae Hyuk.
Wise Prison Life was such a unique drama. Tension was almost always high and you never know what could happen next. It showed scenes the way it wanted to – sometimes brutal, sometimes light and fun and then, hopeless and sad. I was attached to each character by the end. The prison guards are defintely one to applaud and appreciate more, too. That break from all the male testosterone with Krrystal’s appearance every now and again. Their romance was sweet and subtle and as opposed to quite a few, I really liked. Krystal was good in her portrayal too.
If you want a slice of life, dark humour, comedy with the touch of life’s harsh realities, Wise Prison Life is a drama to go for. It was most certainly unique and one of a kind.
My Top Kdrama – 2018 (2)
Just Between Lovers
This is the drama that started my year 2018 off. As soon as I heard the title Just Between Lovers, I was in.
Just Between Lovers deals with two people who survived a tragic event. Coming out from it and living life in the present, it brings up the question of how the people who survived are living in the present and do they truly move on from what happened? I was surprised by both the main leads performances. They were just quietly outstanding in their roles. Paired up with amazing supporting actors, this drama delivered a very hopeful and saving kind of love.
It made you think of what ifs and what could’ve beens. And the leads were just perfect, individually and together. They were outstanding in their roles and Won Jin Ah just proved why she was chosen out of 200 auditionees. Kpop Idol Lee Jun Ho solidified himself as a talented actor. The people around him were amazing – Ma Ri (Yoon Se Ah) really caught my attention. Their relationship was one of understanding and bond forged from respect for each other.
I was a fan of Kang Ha Na after watching this. The writer really outdid herself with the characters in this story. They felt so real and had so much depth. They could be your next door neighbour, that friend you don’t often speak to but always there when you need them. Your grandmother who comes cross so strict but willing to do anything for you.
This is a melodrama that seemed endlessly sad and tragic but it showed that despite all that – there is hope in love. Won Jin Ah and Jun Ho captured perfectly the emotions of broken people trudging through life just because they’re still alive. And how having just one person who understands can make all the difference in the world. They found and saved each other when they couldn’t seem to save themselves.
Without a doubt, Just Between Lovers makes it to the top of my Top Korean Drama of 2018. HIGHLY Recommended.
My Top Kdrama – 2018
And the award for the best drama of 2018 goes to, without a doubt, My Mister.
My Mister or My Ahjussi was the start of it all. It set the bar so high.
This was the reason why this website is even up and running. I had so much feels about this drama Soompi Forum wasn’t enough to spill all my thoughts and emotions to. I searched for every review I could find for this. Even took the meager amounts and satisfied myself with reading the comments below those, in Youtube, on Reddit. Everywhere. I read and then re-read those. I watched and re-watched clips on Youtube for months on end my sister was familiar with the drama by the end of it. The OSTS I listened to every chance I got and if I didn’t force myself to, I’d still be in that cycle till now.
This was slow at the start and I couldn’t see what it’s exactly going to be about but after those few episodes, it left me hoping this will never end.
They said it’s a healing drama but how do they heal the obsession the viewers of it got by the end?
Like Oh Nara said, they wanted to leave it at that, with those lingering feelings behind. GRRR. I do agree on not having part two though because I feel like it will totally change the whole feel of it. I feel like I could just watch the two walk side by side together, forever. Just listen to Ahjussi’s breathing, listen to their conversation. *sigh* Like always, good things must come to an end. This drama was such a blessing to me and for a lot of people who watched it.
How the writer could have thought of such concept, script, details. Amazing, amazing, amazing. T
he writer and the director are like the perfect combination. And ofcourse, the amazing chemistry of our leads, no one saw that coming. It was silent and subtle but definitely there.
I could go on and on about this drama then this article would turn into a full blown My Ahjussi Review. So I’d end it here and say, I wish I can erase this drama from my mind and watch it fresh again. My Ahjussi, THE drama of the year, drama of all time, hands down.
I was so happy with the awards this drama and its actors got 😭😭. And a Daesang Award? I’m so happy it got what it deserved.
This might also be the reason why I hadn’t watched as much dramas as before. Even now, no drama can come close to how poignant and lasting of an impact this drama had on me. The relationship especially between Ji-An(IU) and Dong Hoon (Lee Sun Kyun) was beautiful and soul deep. I love how they loved each other. It didn’t need saying because it showed. Truly a life drama and what a performance by the leads. So raw and so real.
The OSTs were amazingly fitted into each scenes and every detail was carved in oh so carefully. I’m so amazed at how people could pick out the small nuances in the drama and how they actually tied into each other. Talk about mind blown.
DO I still need to say to watch this?
And for all those who wanted more after seeing this drama, here is the website dedicated solely to My Ahjussi – you’ll be surprised to see more to discover 😊 This was actually created by the people in the Soompi Forum group – I’m so happy to see the important stuff compiled all in one site to go to.
And there you have it, My Top Kdrama of 2018. This was a bit longer than intended but I’ll have my Unfinished and Dropped Dramas in a separate post instead. Otherwise, this would be too long. I’m also planning on having a post about my favourite osts from last year. This was a bit late but I still wanted to post it so I can look back and see what I thought and how I felt about these dramas.
What were your favourite dramas you watched last year?