30 December 2014


Squeecappers' Best of 2014

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on December 30, 2014
No, we won't do one of those Review thingies. There are far too many of those Review thingies around. But I do feel the urge to talk about what I enjoyed and what I didn't this year. The rules: Each of us gets to talk about a max of three good (and in a second post, about three bad) dramas. Who is with me? Go!
Oh I LIKE this idea!
[Shuk pops up for the first time in forever] Me too!
I actually don't remember what happened in the early part of this year.
See, the is what I love about you, Kakashi (among other things) - everyone else is pushing themselves to do a comprehensive year-end review, and you just say, "Nope," and keep it simple.
Technically, I'm not a squeecapper, but of course I do have my opinions! And since my choices are for the most part different from the others, I thought I'd add them.

SqueeCappers' TOP(s)


I tend to blog about almost all the dramas I watch, so there's no big surprise. Well, it's in fact the case that blogging has drastically reduced the amount of dramas I can watch (time, baby, time), but I don't mind: The longer I watch KDrama, the less I'm impressed in general. 2014 wasn't a good KDrama year for me - but three dramas stand out:

It's Okay That's Love: This drama blew me away. When I watch something raw and subbed and subbed again, I know it really has me. And this one owned me, heart and soul. It got (almost) everything right. And Jo In-Sung. Oh god. I was lost and I still am.

Bad Guys: When OCN gets it right, OCN gets it right. This is my favorite drama of the year. One of my all-time favorites, even! I just love me some bad guys. Especially when they look like Jo Dong-hyuk.

Yoona's Street: I must admit I'm only up to episode 18 at the moment, but this drama deserves to be in the top 3 list just because it's so special. Normal people, normal feelings - no chaebols, no noble idiocy. No amnesia. Wow. We need more of the kind.


Good or bad, I suppose what makes a drama work for me is when I find myself emotionally engaged - talking back to the screen, wondering what will happen as I wait for the next episode, missing them when they're gone.  These all qualify, in spades.

Bad Guys: Favorite drama of the year. The only show I've ever been willing to consistently watch raw and then subbed, the only show I've ever participated in subbing at all, I was passionately devoted to having these men successfully navigate a path toward redemption (and bromance.) Bravo, OCN. Bravo!

Misaeng: Best drama of the year. I can't complain about a single character or event.  They made office work edge of your seat exciting at times, and they made all of the characters compelling and real. Season Two for sure, is my vote. I'd love to see it cover the entire careers, over time, although I know that won't happen.

Come, Jang Bori: Most fun of the year. I'm guessing this will surprise Kakashi, but once I got into this show, I really got into it - and I won't ever forget the transformation of Moony or the way Min Jung just blithely barely-planned all her evil plots. Thinking on your feet can't be underestimated! 

Psst... Honorable Mention goes to BladeMan, Three Musketeers, and Liar Game. Two won my heart, one engaged my brain. None could be forgotten.


Looking over 2014, I realized that my SK drama watching dropped way below appreciable figures as the year went on (blame my current fascination with Thai and Taiwanese productions). Sadly, there are very few that stuck out in my mind, good or bad, but let's work with what we got. And most of them are cable shows, go figure.

A Witch's Romance: This one is one of my all-time noona-feelgood shows. Uhm Jung-hwa really knocked it out of the park when it came to portraying an older woman who is confident in her life and career, until it's shaken up by our tall puppy with the lickable Adam's apple. And the return of our Cutie Soo from Heartless City added that amusing overacting sidekick touch. I never saw the original TW drama, so I have no basis of comparison, but I still enjoyed this one immensely.  Plus, it made me feel okay to lust after younger guys.

Beating Hearts:  Okay, with the exception of an occasional Happy Together, or peeking at We Got Married, I'm not a fan of SK variety shows. But this one piqued my interest, and I'm happy to say I watched every subbed (and a lot of raw) episodes. Basically, it's celebrities acting as emergency medical personnel while being filmed. Since public safety is very near and dear to my heart, I enjoyed not only the celebs' reaction to some of the strange stuff you can encounter from a 911 call, but was fascinated by the differences in care and equipment between what I use in the States and what they use in South Korea. I learned that I want Lee Won-jong on my side in any difficult situation, and that prehospital care providers are professional and caring the world over, drama caricatures be damned.
Jeon Hye-bin, Lee Won-jong and Park Ki-woong at the fire station.
Secret Love Affair: Maybe this was my year of hot flashes, I dunno, but I really loved this show. I'd be the first to say I prefer sassy and fun to the darker side of dramas, but I thought this drama was well-executed. The cinematography and the music were well done, and it helped get the bad taste out of my mouth from the last Yoo Ah-in vehicle I watched, Fashion King. I didn't quite buy into the romance between the two, but the chemistry was enough that I felt satisfied at the end.

An honorable mention goes to Bride of The Century, which I squeecapped. Sadly, very few squees and quite a few yawns at the end, but until the final handful of episodes, it was engaging and cute.


I thought I would have a problem choosing these three but not really. I don't remember the dramas from the beginning of the year so I'm going to go with my immediate past.

Bad Guys: This was gooood!! I knew there was a reason I liked cable dramas. Except for the whisper Queen Mi-Young, this drama had everything. 4 Hot guys, orgasmic fight scenes, humongous feels, good (mostly good) writing and surprisingly effecting kdrama police work. I think this might be the perfect "come to the dark side" for all the men in your life.

Fated to Love You: OMG the feels! This was such a fun, sweet, ridiculous show. It slapped you upside the head with all the standard tropes but who could resist GaeDong, Uri Choi JinHunk, that hilarious snail and that atrocious (good gosh it was soo horrifying) but endearing laugh. There were plot holes wider than the grand canyon and Noble Idiocy so noble and so damn idiotic it made me want to reach through the TV and b$%%h slap everybody but it didn't matter! Because true love wins!! Always!!!

It's Ok That's Love: This show was just so real, so honest, so damn sad and so damn sexy. Even though the twist wasn't really a twist (I sussed it out by episode 2 and it was confirmed by episode 4) it still gripped me and moved me and made going to bed really really hard. Gong Hyo-Jin just has chemistry with everybody!! I thought after Master's Sun that she might be my lady crush but this show just confirmed it. And Jo In-Sung? *swoon* The camera loved him and for that I thank the camera. Wow. But...that exo kid is so strange looking eh?

Honorable Mention? We can do that? I Need Romance 3, GapDong (shiver), Three Days (solid drama), You are all Surrounded, Reply 1994!!! (Ok. I'll stop before I get carried away)


There are many dramas that I've loved this year, but I've probably only finished half of them. Life has been busy. There have also been okay dramas that I wanted to continue and a few that were truly terrible and were abandoned after I finally gave up hope. Anyway, here are the best.

Full Sun (a.k.a. Beyond the Clouds): What can I say? I love a good melodrama! And this one was solid, through and through. It didn't reinvent the wheel, but it took all of the best elements of the genre (and some of my favorite tropes) and used them to tell a thoughtful, human story amidst all the corporate schemes and revenge plots. Of all the dramas I watched this year, Full Sun was one of the few that truly grabbed me by the heart, and a big part of that is probably owed to Yoon Kye-sang's performance as a good man who was pushed too far. His character's inner conflict even inspired me to write a song about it (which is what I do instead of fanfiction, I guess), and the only other show I've done that for is Queen In-hyun's Man. So, yeah. I loved Full Sun.

Liar Game: I am not a mathematically inclined person, so a lot of the games went right over my head. Sometimes I'd try to pause and figure out the rules, and sometimes I just sat back and trusted that the character's reactions would clue me into what was going on. Whether I understood or not, though, I truly enjoyed the games - sometimes just as much as the characters. Speaking of characters, I'm not too proud to admit that there were times when Kang Do-young had me hiding under my blankets. Dude freaked me out, and it was awesome.

Misaeng: I'm only halfway through, but I think it's safe to go ahead and put this in my top 3. If I could only choose one word to describe Misaeng, it would probably be "raw." Every emotion is keenly felt, making the viewing experience both incredibly painful and incredibly beautiful. Because it can cut so deeply, and make my heart heart so much, when something good happens - even little things that wouldn't matter at all in any other drama - my heart feels like it's about to burst from joy. I sit there giggling like I've just gotten the best news in the world, when really, someone just smiled or said something nice to our hero.


I don't think this was a stellar year for dramas, and I unfortunately started way more than I finished. These are a few that stood out for me.

You Who Came From the Stars: This is one of those weird holdover dramas that started mid-way last December, but it truly is one of my favorites for this year. I don't think I've ever loved a female character as much as Cheon Song-Yi, and she wouldn't have been the same played by any one other than Gianna Jun. Kim Soo Hyun is not my favorite actor, but he portrayed his character brilliantly. The story had the warmth, laughter and an interesting storyline, plus some stunning visuals. The stop action kiss is a classic.

It's Ok That's Love: Yep, not much new to add to the others' praises. I really enjoyed the premise, dialogue, deeply flawed characters and the exceptional acting. Plus it certainly made me look at Jo In-Sung in a whole new light!

Marriage Not Dating: With the exception of the slightly overdone last episode, this drama was really a fun watch. I was routing for the leads throughout, and it provided more than enough laughs to keep me longing for another episode. I wasn't expecting much from this drama, but it really delivered for me.

My Spring Days: I hesitated to include this because of its duplicity. It's been a while since a drama made me feel so much from so little action. I was transported back to my younger days and felt like I was reliving those magical moments of falling in love. Kim Woo Sang gave new meaning to the words "Ahjussi crush" and Soo Young was a great choice for a relatively new actress. Unfortunately, the show let me down in the end. The unbelievably strong chemistry that made me blush as if I was a voyeur was never really acted upon (possibly due to the 20 year age difference?) and I would have done things slightly differently at the end. All in all, though, it was the acting and the believability of their feelings that put it on my list.

We Got Married: I have never been so invested in a couple or as hooked on a show as this season of We Got Married. And no, it's not the popular Rim couple, it's Nam Goong Min and Hong Ji Young. This is one show that I watch raw, several times, and then with subs several times. When all else discourages me in life, this show provides me with a little glimmer of hope that a couple could actually find true love in this made up, practically scripted scenario. (Of course if I find out afterwards it was all just an act, well, maybe I'll have hope for the next couple, lol!)


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