The Kdramas of 2016: Q4 Roundup

Just like that, the first two weeks of 2017 already flew by, and dramaland seems to sustain its momentum from the good productions it gave last year. This makes me optimistic that 2017 will just get better, with my current favorites –Goblin, Hwarang and the recently-concluded Weighlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo making their (hopefully epic) finales in the first quarter, and some buzzworthy productions on the horizon.

But before I immerse myself with new dramas, let me go back to some of the talked-about productions I followed that wrapped up in the last quarter of 2016. Some were hits with both the local and international audience, while others surprisingly weren’t able to please all. And yeah, even though I was gung-ho about watching more dramas and writing reviews on all of them, I had to drop a few shows this time around.
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Amnesia, Cohabitation, and Lots of Clinginess in New Fall Drama ‘Shopping King Louis’

Seo In-guk is one busy man. I haven’t quite gotten over his clever cons and occasional satoori in 38 Task Force and now he’s back in dramaland – speaking random English and French!

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New MBC Wed-Thu drama Shopping King Louis opened this week, promising a quirky romance between an amnesiac chaebol raised abroad and a kindhearted (this seems to be an understatement) country bumpkin. Honestly though, it started out as a bit too weird and ridiculous for my liking, but the main couple’s winning performances got me watching on. The second episode is much better with the chemistry and cuteness now that the hijinks are kicking in. However I’m still cautious that things may spiral out of control in the future. I’ve already been burned by quite a number of dramas to be blindly optimistic.
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‘Reply’ Series Tribute: My ‘Reply’ Awards

The Reply Series is my favorite K-drama franchise, which started as a humble tvN project that turned into a phenomenon – earning both critical praise and commercial fame. Every era brings a different flavor to the timeless stories of love, youth, and family – with each season breaking TV records. I’ve been wanting to write about the series (aka fangirl away) for sometime now. So I’m using this window to finally do it, before the post-Chuseok premieres spring up in late-September.

Fans tend to ask each other which is best among the three; but it’s almost unfair to choose one absolute favorite as they all have their own strong points. Not all dramas are created equal, even if they were written and directed by the same people. And since there’s the tvN10 Awards next month, I was inspired to create my own “Reply Awards”, to acknowledge the strengths of each season – at least in my opinion.
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New Teasers: Upcoming September KDramas

This is one busy month indeed in the world of Kdramas. New JTBC drama Fantastic aired last September 3, kickstarting the month’s batch of show premieres. Just when you thought your watch list is getting cleared, several new additions are just around the corner. Here’s a little taste on what to expect in these upcoming dramas:
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When Crooks Take the Spotlight: the Crime/Heist Genre

There’s something about crooks pulling off a perfect crime that is so satisfying to watch. I’ve recently been following the OCN drama 38 Task Force, and it definitely reawakens my fascination with stories where bad guys become heroes.

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First, a little intro about 38 Task Force (aka Police Unit 3838 Squad38 Revenue Collection Unit). Seo In-guk plays a con man that teams up with a tax collection chief (Ma Dong-seok) to swindle money out of high-profile tax evaders. He doesn’t do it alone, though. He gathers a team of professional criminals to deceive their way into people’s pockets – one unlucky victim at a time. See, even a boring thing such as taxes can turn sexy when you have a felon onboard.
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On My Drama Radar: What I’m Currently Watching

Dramaland continues to churn out interesting productions this summer; it’s going to be a challenge to keep up. One show ending (e.g. Another Oh Hae Young) means three other more will pop up and grab a share of your drama time.

Every now and then I shall share my current watch list, along with my thoughts on them mid-series. Most of them will be ongoing series, but there may be an old drama or two that I’d pick up or revisit.
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