The Good in 2017 (End of the Year Post, Part 1)

Happy New Year, everyone! We want to thank you all for reading, commenting, interacting with us - it has been a wonderful year on this blog, yay, for happy places! - and it is a true honor to be friends with so many great people. May your year be splendid and your blessing be plentiful. Like every year, we want to take stock of our favorite dramas of 2017. This post will be followed by what we thought were the worst dramas.


I watched more than 50 Korean and Chinese dramas this year. More than usual, but I always do watch a lot of shows (so I can tell you about them! Honest!) Anyway, of those shows - I really enjoyed a lot of them. I always dread this end of year accounting because it's so hard to choose. Everyone else finishes first and seems very certain of their choices.'s a struggle to get here. Today it dawned on me WHY. Kakashi watched maybe 3 shows. Panda watched 20 - it would have been more but you know she has to go and do things like get her PhD and have a second baby and stuff. Showoff. Trot, how many for you? Saki? it clicked for me. Of course it's harder to pick a few shows out of 50-something than it is out of half a dozen, or twenty! So I'm giving myself a pat on the back and allowing myself to list shows that I loved simply because I loved them. They could be great or they could be full of flaws - it doesn't matter. Something about the show grabbed my heart and will stick in my mind, and that's why they're here. And while I enjoyed Peaches, I'm sick to death of that show and only really think of it because you all keep talking about it - so it's not on the list.

Goblin - for the sly humor, a love that won against time and fate, and the gorgeous visuals.  No, I did not care one bit about the age difference.

Father is Strange - for the very normal family full of members I loved immediately or grew to love, but either way, by the end they were all in my heart.

Seven Day Queen - for the mad king, for two brothers torn apart, for the sad ending that we knew was coming from the first minute, and yet hoped against hope to be wrong about.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon - for our tiny toughie and the amazingly beautiful boy who loved her, but mostly because in the end she learned to love herself.

Baumdong Revenge Club - for the friends who always had each other's backs, and because it gave us Jun. 

Could as easily have picked: Chicago Typewriter, Third-Rate My Way, The King Loves, School 2017, Save Me, 20th Century Boy and Girl, Mystery Queen, Tunnel, Solomon's Perjury, Weighlifting Fairy, Go Ho's Starry Night, The Liar and His Lover...


I have watched barely nothing, especially no Korean drama. That's why I nominate Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms as my favorite drama of the year. Hey, I'm not even lying about it :D I really liked it. What a phenomenon! It broke all records on this blog. Comments, clicks, community building... you name it!

As some of you know, it also got me to write Fanfiction and that's been a huge joy ever since. So many great, dedicated readers! It feels great.

Honorable mention (I am still watching) are deserved by Advisors Alliance and, I guess, Tribes and Empires. While the first is very well written (and mostly excellently acted), the second is just so, so gorgeous. 


I actually watched quite a number of dramas this year despite opening each RAWR with something like "I'm not really watching anything" or" "I don't seem to be in the mood for anything." I was a big fat liar. Just because I don't have the drama watching skills of Jo, doesn't mean I'm not watching stuff. I reread all of the RAWR posts to remind me of what I watched, and there were so many gems for me that I really had a hard time narrowing down my lists. Secret Forest and Defendant are clearly at the top, but so many shows are fighting for those other three spots. Do I pick Chief Kim, which made me laugh, or Whisper, which made me want to wrap myself up in the beautiful blanket of well-crafted scorn and shade? Do I vote for Woo Do-hwan's stand out performance in Mad Dog (and the always yummy Yoo Ji Tae) over the well-crafted if green Solomon's Perjury?

Tomorrow is the deadline, and I won't have any time to post, so here are my picks:

1. Secret Forest: Everyone was excellent. I enjoyed the various levels of bad and good and surviving to survive and was frequently surprised.

2. Defendant: This was a Ji Sung tour de force, but he didn't carry the show on his own. It was heartbreaking a lot of times with deaths that made me want to commit crimes and a very satisfying revenge.

3. Baum Dong Revenge Club: Speaking of revenge, this is actually a show that kept an excellence balance between humor and pathos, not something that dramas do well. It sounds corny but the show really did make me both laugh and cry and the alliances made seem foundations for everyone to move forward well. Can you imagine all of them at his graduation or even better yet at his future wedding? I could've used these women as friends this year. Okay. Any year.

4. Crisis: I just rewatched this show with my daughter and she became as hooked as I was and as ravenous for a second season. As I said before, I started this show because of Oguri Shun, but the show introduced me to this man Hidetoshi Nishijima:
And I will forever be in its debt. It's also a tightly woven political thriller that make you agree with the domestic terrorists' philosophy. It has the best fight scenes I've seen outside of the Rurouni Kenshin films.

5. Tied: Voice and Lookout. I loved both equally. Lookout for the fine team and the different layers of the mystery and Voice for our unlikely crime fighting pair, the depth of their forgiveness, and the evil sexy kettlebell wielding Kim Jae Wook. Should 2017 be called the year of Kim Jae Wook's return to us for good?

Feel Good Honorable Mention/ Almost forgot because I thought it was from 2016: Weightlifting Fairy. How did I forget? I loved this show. It had a great heroine, great friends, great friend to romance plot. Even the traditional 2nd lead turned out to be great. To be honest, this is the show that I will probably rewatch the most. Hmm. Maybe I'll rewatch it right now . . .


This year, I watched the least number of Korean dramas EVER in my viewing years but I don't even care, because one Chinese drama captured my heart and has refused to let go. So, my favorite dramas this year are:
1. Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms which should come as no surprise to anyone. LOL. I fangirl-ed, I cried, I laughed, I swooned, I watched the last episode via Google hangout with my lovely twitter Chingus, I refreshed TPOTP fervently to read recaps and post comments and chat with Blog Chingus, I wrote FF, I became a member of the Admin; all because of this drama. Was it perfect? Nope. But it spoke to me and stole my heart completely. Completely. I am still in it's grasp. It's crazy. Plus, have you seen this guy? SWOOOOON

2a. Cold Case This is the best adaptation of an American show into an Asian one I have ever seen. Looking for smart detectives including our kick-ass female lead, check; looking for heart tugging episodes, check; looking for brilliant villains, check. This J dorama had all these and more from the camaraderie between the cast to stories that moved and it was just SO GOOD. One of my top 10 of all time.
2b. Secret Forest finally a whip-smart kdrama female detective! Can I just say that that's what did it for me the most? Bae Doo-Na's character was a truly smart cop who didn't wear ludicrous heels to chase after suspects. She more than held her own and her chemistry with Jo Seung Woo was fantastic. But the beauty of this drama also lies in the fact that the other characters brought their A-game.

3. Because it's our first life (First 14 episodes) I have refused to watch the last 2 episodes as to not sully my memory (I did peek at the last 5 mins of episode 16) but I loved the first 14. I loved the cat, kick ass Soo Ji and the sis-mance.

4. Baum Dong Revenge Club, Tokyo Tarareba Musume: Sis-mance in spades!! Love these two shows for the women's friendship. In the former show, I love how everyone grew and evolved and that there was actual revenge enacted with none of the annoying "forgive all their transgressions BS" Korean shows sometimes pull. Love, Love, Love. 

5. Mystery Queen, Crisis, Tunnel, Black Obviously I like crime shows. LOL. MQ was so much fun, another good female character and I loved her friend. Crisis was good as was Tunnel. I can't believe Black is on here, but that show was fun in a crazy way and Handtowel was Good! *throws glitter*

So I completely cheated but yeah, that was my drama year more or less. Honorable mention to The Advisor's Alliance (which I can't in good faith put here as I am just on episode 16).


I've got one favorite Korean drama, one favorite Chinese drama, and, unusually for me, one American drama. Out of all the Korean dramas I tried this year, I loved The Package and saw it all the way through.. At first, I thought, it's okay, I don't know about this, but I kept going back to see what they were all up to, and enjoying the way the characters were all fish out of water in France. We saw the tougher sides of their lives, not just their vacation lives, and we saw why they'd decided to do a package holiday and what they hoped to get out of it. And, pretty much each and every one got their happy ending, even the lady who was dying of cancer! To be honest, I don't think there was a single character I disliked, and I felt concerned for each one individually. As shows go, it worked out well. No brain abuse with pointless storylines or unanswered questions.
The Chinese drama I loved was First Half Of My Life.  Hooooo Boy, Jin Dong was an absolute dream man in this.  Of course it was full of romantic hero and heroine tropes, but they never once got on my nerves.  The romance between the two leads was so quiet, and yet so intense, and it was truly heartbreaking that they could not end up together.  Seriously, not a detail was wrong in this story.  Whoever wrote it, I love you, and want to see all your shows (as long as they're not 3310 or Lost Love In Times).
I'm a little surprised at this official picture because our heroine usually wears gorgeous greens. 
The American drama was Netflix show, Alias Grace. Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, we have an incredibly intelligent heroine who is definitely manipulating our hapless hero, and who is doing everything she can to gain some control back in her terrible life. It's hard not to root for her. And the show had some of the spookiest scenes I've ever watched and then mildly freaked out about.
Courtesy of CBC/Netflix (Sabrina Lantos)