My FIRST Year in Dramas: New (to me) Actors to Admire

By Ally:

This blog started because I started to watch kdramas this past year and and fell into the deep end with its lovely story-telling and beautiful people.  I started following another blog for interpretations and recaps of what I was watching.  Through, I found my writing voice again, and actually had a piece featured which may have been a highlight of my year!  So, this is another piece I was writing for that site, but unfortunately missed the deadline, so I’m posting it here, as I wanted to document some first impressions I had of several dramas (or actors) I watched this year.  Enjoy!

How appropriate that has asked us to write and contribute to this site the same year that I delved headfirst into kdramas and have yet to re-emerge from the deep.  My full first year in dramas is probably similar to many of yours—binge-watching mixed with live-watching shows, foregoing sleep for emotional payoffs, and then regretting it the next day, how much regret dependent on my caffeine intake (and I rarely drink coffee).  Everything and specifically, everyONE was new and interesting. 

I had some difficulty deciding what to write about.  Should I tell you about the dramas I watched in a didactic manner, telling you what I learned with each, or should I go more humorous, sarcastically picking apart each drama that had any degree of makjang-ness or  gaping plot holes, or should I just go superficial and just tell you of all the brooding oppas/actors I fell for?  And the winner is (oh, for the love of Pete)…brooding oppas, um, I mean actors! 

I’m a sucker for sad, brooding male characters. And even more so if they’re tall, dark, and handsome.  What is it about a guy that looks put together on the outside, but hurting and complex on the on the inside that gets to me?  And it doesn’t even have to be the lead; give me any man whose back story is more interesting than just his pretty face and I’m hooked.

Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 8.27.32 PM.pngI started this year firmly in the grasp of Dokkaebi-oppa (and he will not likely die soon 😉 ) with his “sad eyes,” his many lifetimes of death and finally, his “sad love.” Gong Yoo in The Lonely Shining Goblin made loneliness sexy, not something to strive for, but something that if otherwise inevitable, can be lived with, dealt with, and looking amazing in a full-length coat while doing so.

Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 8.30.28 PM

Then there was Circle, with a pair of the most unfortunate twins you’ve ever seen.  Each one gripped me and wouldn’t let go.  From Yeo Jin Goo’s facial contortions and frantic sprints through the streets and corridors chasing anything and everything that would give him answers, to Kim Kang Woo’s Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 8.30.45 PMdesperate crieover losing his memories, his personality, being unaware of his past and therefore where he fit in the whole scheme of his future.  Each episode was a cliffhanger for me, and I couldn’t wait to see my brooding actors in one more scene. And now, may I have my second season, pretty please?


Lookout was the dark horse that slayed me.  I mean I had no idea I would live and die by the mere presence of these people on my screen.  More specifically, I came for Kim Young Kwang, and stayed for Shin Dong Wook (who played step-brothers, each dealing in their opposite ways with the murder of their mother/step-mother by their father/step-father).  But, who am I kidding, I also stayed 

Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 3.37.43 PM.pngfor Kim Young Kwang!  His brokenness, revenge, and utter blindness to morality and ethics portrayed through every muscle of his face and body was riveting.  How he carried himself, in those designer suits, made it that much more watchable.  It pays to have been a successful model, I guess. *wink*
Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 8.42.48 PMBut oh-my-priest Shin Dong Wook stole the show for me!  How he just oozed sex appeal through that black robe made me look forward to every scene with him.  *double wink* Every word, every line, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, I held on to, like I was falling off a cliff.  Little did I know that Do Han (Kim Young Kwang’s character) should have been hanging on to these words as well, lest he fall off his own cliff in the finale.

And then there was The King Loves, with another pair of star-crossed heroes.  What started off as an epic bromance ended up with one of the most heated debates in netizen history, on who would get the girl, and made enemies out of complete internet strangers.  But in the middle of this was poor Rin, who could never acknowledge his love for San while

Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 8.48.21 PMWon was also very much in love with the idea of being in love with San. Im Shi Won played Won exceptionally well, but Hong Jong Hyun was perfection in this role as Rin and made a character that would not have even made me look twice at, into one that I sympathized with, analyzing his every move and subtle expression he made, and then rejoicing when he finally did get the girl.  (And then made me watch everything else he’s ever acted in.) A drama which wasn’t perfect, but still spoke to my heart, in telling me that we may outgrow our friends, but never their memory.


Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 8.32.36 PM

And last, but certainly, not in the very least, was Because This Life is Our First, where Lee Min Ki trans-formed himself into a shell of a man: prickly, difficult to read and understand, and made the reveals into his past that much more shocking.  That was the emotional payoff here. A man who showed little emotion, finally opening the flood gates and drowning himself in them.  A man who served out a 12-year penance for his sin, refusing to love and to be loved.  A show that showed me the power of words, with those unspoken as or even more important than those that are.

So, that was my year of appreciating all these actors and their talents.  I still have a couple more to admire before this year is up.  So, who was your favorite oppa, um, actor this year? 


6 thoughts on “My FIRST Year in Dramas: New (to me) Actors to Admire

  1. Loved your blogpost and the actors you highlighted. I really need to watch The King Loves. I was wary because of the comments made about Yoonah in K2 but who can resist an epic bromance gone wrong?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Manseh, Ally!!! Happy New Year!

    You hit most of the high points, my dear. I’d just have to add Yang Se-jong for his first sageuk, SAIMDANG (he looks terrific in hanbok), first thriller, DUEL (with his triple role plus one clone impersonating the other!), and first romance with a side of makjang, TEMPERATURE OF LOVE. Its ending wasn’t to my liking, but his performance (and smooches) were a revelation for a guy whose debut role in ROMANTIC DOCTOR, TEACHER KIM just over a year ago was about as tsundere as you can get. And don’t forget Woo Do-hwan in MAD DOG, who emerged on my radar in SWEET STRANGER AND ME just over a year ago. His Jan Gebauer/Kim Min-joon could be Prosecutor Jang Do-han’s scheming kid brother.

    Yoon Si-yoon floated my boat just fine in THE BEST HIT, which had great music and Kim Min-jae as his aspiring idol son — and Cha Tae-hyun as his long-suffering manager. I know it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it set me off on a YSY retrospective that was great fun. Viva, Enrique Keum and Kim Tak-goo!

    Keep your eyes peeled after HWAYUGI finishes (I know, it’s barely begun) for the debut of LIVE (as in the adjective). Shin Dong-wook’s next role will be as a cop. You can book me anytime, Officer. 😉

    Let’s not forget all the oppas and ahjussis in REBEL, with Kim Ji-suk turning in a surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of Yeonsangun, and Kim Sang-joong, Yoon Kyun-sang (Gil-dong), and Sim Hee-seop as the founding Hong and his two sons who stole the people. I’ve got Joseon tyrant overload after Lee Dong-gun’s stunning turn as Yeonsangun facing off against his kid brother Yeon Woo-jin in SEVEN DAY QUEEN. Last but not least, Song Seung-heon was simply fabulous in his duel role as a reaper and his human host in BLACK. (Just beware the ending.)

    Finally, RIP Kim Ju-hyeok. His turn as GU AM HEO JOON was one of my favorite sageuk roles. I still have 7 episodes of ARGON to look forward to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You had me at Yang Se Jong. He’s a favorite as well. I just wish I could finish one of his dramas as a leading man! Loved him in Romantic Dr Kim, but I loved that whole ensamble cast. They were exceptional!


  3. I just found this site (via a link Ally posted in DB) and *you guys are so cool!* what a great idea!!

    But also I wanted to echo this: “But, who am I kidding, I also stayed for Kim Young Kwang! His brokenness, revenge, and utter blindness to morality and ethics portrayed through every muscle of his face and body was riveting.” I agree so so much. This is so well-put. I wasn’t a big fan of this actor before Lookout, but after seeing him in this, I am SOLD. His performance was masterful—it took me through a wide range of feelings for his character: sympathy, admiration, revulsion, pity, anger, and then shock.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog—it’s just fun and really to document our conversations and thoughts along the way. And for busy career women, a great outlet from the stresses of work and life! KYK is AMAZING in LOOKOUT! I’m looking forward to his next drama, and if he’s a little (or a lot) darker in it, I’m all in! —ally


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