Our Top 5

It's damn hard to choose, but here we try to tell you about our All Time Top 5 KDramas! Favorite does not necessarily mean "best" - this is about where our hearts are.

Kakashi's Top 5

Joseon X-Files (tvn 2010)
What an odd-ball of a drama ... a scifi-horror-mystery story set in the Joseon era? KDrama, why can't you be like this more often! This drama delivers everything I love in good television: mystery, action, a compelling story, unfulfilled romance, and a wonderful Kim Ji-hoon in his probably best role to date.

It's Okay It's Love (SBS 2014)
This drama swept me off my feet last summer. Zo In-Sung is absolutely marvellous in this and the story made me laugh and cry and love and hate. I love the soundtrack (and listen to it often) and I'm in awe about the way No Hee-Kyung told a difficult story of mental illness, without letting any of the characters give in to despair. 

Cruel City (jtbc 2013)
Ah, our love. I'll always remember the feeling this drama gave us when we watched much more than the story. It is rare that a drama manages to give you not one, but about 10 characters you connect with deeply. The noir-feeling in this one is phenomenal and the OST will always make me shout: "Paksa Adeul"!

Pied Piper (tvN 2016)
Cannot say how much I loved this. Great acting, superb script, deep meaning. The perfect thriller: it gets a 10 our of 10 from me. Have totally fallen for Shin Hakyun, I don't think I'll ever recover.   

The Princess' Man (KBS 2011)
I like a good sageuk, even fusion sageuk. The Princess' Man brought me all I am looking for in a historical drama: A good story (yes, this too is really well written), heartache, romance, intrigue. Park Shi-hoo has since fallen deep, but this was the role of a life time for him. And Moon Chae-won as his love-interest is one of the best female Kdrama characters I remember. Yup, this beats Chuno, which would be up here if I could do a Top 6.

JoAnne's Top 5

Goong (MBC 2006)
My first, and thus special forever. I felt every pain in Chae Kyung's heart, and I fell right along with her for Prince Shin, that poor sad boy. It was visually arresting, completely strange, and absolutely confusing for me because I couldn't understand what was HAPPENING to me. I marathoned it, without a hint of FF. I was so tired I was nauseous, and yet I couldn't stop watching.

Sang Doo, Let's Go to School (KBS 2003)
Not my introduction to My Beloved (that was Full House) - but it was a brutal introduction to the Truck of Doom. That shit just don't happen in US shows, and I was as stunned as if it happened in real life. I had no fucking IDEA that was coming. I cried for days, off and on. Still can't really talk about it without welling up. My favorite drama ever, probably. All I wanted was some happiness for the poor man. God, my heart is hurting right now, 6 years later.

Cruel City (jtbc 2013)
Paksa Adeul. Cutie Soo. Safari. Thighs. Scale. Dead Girlfriend. Min That Fuck. Jin Sook. Soo Minnie. From those first moments where we saw Paksa silhoutted against the night sky, I was smitten. That OST. Man, that OST. One of my favorite moments is when he meets up with pre-Dead Girlfriend in that warehouse. The emotions on his face - Jung Kyung Ho is a king to me. (Another would be later in the drama, at that same warehouse, where he meets up with Thighs and you think he's done for because Thighs won't understand.) Episode 4, when we learned that our beloved bad guy was in fact a good guy. That stroll he and Cutie took along the pool. His fight in the hallway. The moment when we learned about Safari. Honestly, there is nothing that should not be loved in this drama.

Pinocchio (SBS 2014)
A wonderful combination of a revenge/growth/redemption story that actually posed a very interesting question about the role of media in our lives. Acted by an entire cast of gorgeous people/beloved character actors I am happy to watch at any moment because they can act - led by the all-time King of Puppies AND Park Shin Hye? Why would you even have to ask why this was on a list of favorites?

Autumn's Concerto
Technically a non-contender since it's not Korean, but sue me. Gorgeous to look at, and a classic story of love lost and then found. My first real exposure to amnesia as an obstacle to love, too. Plus it's Vanness in probably his most compelling role ever, and every moment between Xaio Le and Alien Daddy is precious. I also really really like Ady An.
And if it has to be Korean...then I'll replace AC with Bad Guys. Our dogs need a good home!

PS.  I'm only not listing My Beautiful Bride because it's not done yet and I'm trying to pick shows that still bring out a strong emotional response to just my memory of watching...but yeah, it's probably going to be in the list.  My Love Eun Dong may end up here, too, someday, although it has more potential to end badly.

Nabi's Top 5

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (KBS2 2010)
SKKS is on my list because it's the most fun KDrama I've ever seen, but it's definitely not the "best" in any objective sense. It features a brainy, cross-dressing heroine, which I love, and she makes friends with a trio of ridiculously nerdy, steadfast, and handsome young men. Their antics don't always make sense, but they are relentlessly entertaining.

The Princess' Man (KBS 2011)
Epic and addicting! TPM features a lot of evil cackling from the bad guys, but that was more than offset by its gorgeous production design, photography, and music, plus two very strong, very passionate lovers at the center of a sweeping and believable love story, a compelling conspiracy, and a beautifully executed secondary romance.

The Moon Embracing the Sun (MBC 2012)
I bawled for two weeks after I saw this the first time. No joke. Still, when My Beautiful Bride was close to its end I re-watched this drama in anticipation of knocking it out of my Top 5. Instead, it stood up better than I had expected! The heroine can be frustratingly passive, and the king is a bit of an ass-hat, but I still found the story totally addictive and compelling, even the second time through.

Chuno, aka The Slave Hunters (KBS 2009)
Another sageuk, and full of the angst that I have to admit I love, but Chuno also has a sense of humor. Its main characters are a group of three nicely muscled Slave Hunters (including the ever-yummy Jang Hyuk!) who like to expose their chests a lot, and what's not to like about that? The ending wasn't exactly what I would have chosen, but I have to admit it felt right. And I still listen to the soundtrack.

Gaksital, aka Bridal Mask (KBS2 2012)
Gaksitaaaaaaal!! Loved the setup, for both the compelling story and the actual sets. The costumes looked more like what I would do if I were trying to fake a 30's or 40's style, rather than genuine vintage, but they were close enough for me to adore them anyway. More importantly, I could watch Joo Won wink and say "Bingo" from beneath that retro pompadour all day long (Here, now you can, too!) Unfortunately, the story lost its way in the final third, right around the time poor Shunji devloved from equisitly angst-ful bromantic partner into full-on psycho, and the main leads had way better chemistry as enemies than they ever did as lovers. But it still deserves a spot on this list for its good parts...and as my gateway drug to KDrama. Thank you, Gaksital, for the gift, and the curse, of my ongoing ride on the Hallyu wave. You remain in my Top 5 over several much "better" dramas because of it...

Jaehyus's Top 5

Great Queen Seondeok (MBC 2009)
This was my first kdrama and it was fabulous. Amongst the many things that struck me were:
1. Each actor had exactly 3 expressions that hit each scene on the heaad. For Uhm Taewoong, he even made one expression do the work of three, and it was always right. It was so impressive, I still admire them all for it. Kim Nam Gil, my first ever bias in K-ent, however would mess up and do 4 or 5 new expressions, even 6, and overall be too realistic for a tortured emo prince. Shame on him.
2. The womens' costumes looked like King's Landing fashion, which means that's where the Game of Thrones designers got the idea, from Three Kingdoms Korea.
3. Lady Mishal rocked. Queen Seondeok wasn't bad either, but she did not have the full wherewithal to be so completely and totally complicated like Lady Mishal. Lady Mishal could sit there with her husband, ex-husband, and sons from each and discuss getting another husband. She scared all the yangban and the generals. And she looked fabulous the entire time.

Producers (KBS 2015)
So funny and so wittily done that I rewatched the up through ep 10 as a marathon while waiting for the final two eps. Really well-written and humourous.

Entertain Us (MNET 2014)
MNET drama from last year giving a behind-the-scenes mockumentary look music agencies. Yes, I like mockumentaries.

Cruel Palace (jtbc 2013)
On a par with Great Queen Seondeok for me - I like strong, intelligent women at the center of my historical dramas - for just sheer pageantry and - ta-dah! - with better acting. As with Great Queen Seondeok, I spent a lot of time learning the history of that period and generally enjoyed myself very much.

Faith (SBS 2012)
It was a good show! That's all, really, and I loved the main actress and happily rewatched episodes too.

Becca's Top 5

Queen In-hyun's Man (tvN 2012)
In a word: magical. The romance is toe-curling good, and the suspense had me on the edge of my seat and biting my nails. I lived on Wednesdays and Thursdays and spent the rest of the week desperately waiting for new episodes. Ji Hyun-woo's turn as the logical, self-possessed time-traveler Kim Boong-do was a career highlight. Will he ever be that good again? I wonder.

The Princess' Man (KBS2 2011)
Tied with Queen In-hyun's Man for my favorite drama, this is another one that swept me up in the romance and kept me in suspense. And like most of my favorite dramas, it's very revengey. The twisted relationships between the heroine, her father, and the hero are both compelling and devastating.

Shut Up: Flower Boy Band (tvN 2012)
The first drama I watched as it was airing, this show gets under your skin with its gritty feel, rockin' music, and, of course, the group of misfit friends at its core. This is angst at its very best: addictive, heartbreaking, and So. Much. Fun.

Gaksital (KBS 2012)
I was hesitant to put this one in my top 5 because there were times when it was not only boring but also outright bad. But here it is. Why? Because when it was firing on all cylinders, it completely owned my heart, and it managed to keep it through that final, exhilarating scene. Here is one of the few shows that promises darkness and thoroughly delivers with some of the most twisted individuals you will ever know and love. Or hate to love.

Nine: Nine Times Time Travels (tvN 2013)
Have you noticed that I like time travel? I do. I love it. And Nine is one of the best time travel stories I've come across in any language. Just like the hero, the writing is detailed, taut, and possesses a wry sense of humor. Too bad the villain is so (SO) badly overacted. Thankfully, we have Lee Jin-wook to distract us.