A/N: I apologise for the misleading title; it purely states my opinion that cable dramas were outstanding this year.
Crowned as the Most Overrated Drama of 2012, this fusion Saeguk broke 40% in ratings. I have no idea as to WHY these 40%'s gushed over it. Yes, it had virtually zero competitors (Sungkyukwan Scandal Special on KBS and History of a Salaryman on SBS), but now that I look back, I don't understand why I loved it so much. Maybe it was just the hype?
To be honest, this drama had a strong start, with the child actors hyping up the anticipation for their respective adult versions. Yeo Jin Gu's stellar performance as Prince Hwon, Kim Yoo Jung's wonderful portrayal as the intelligent Heo Yeon Woo and Kim So Hyun's realistic portrayal of the willful and manipulated Yoon Bo Kyung, set a whole new standard with regards to the quality of child actors. And yes, these shoes were going to be hard to fill in.
Consequently, the spirited and intelligent Yeon Woo fizzled out once Han Ga In took over, and she turned into a docile and obedient secret lover of the King. The passionate spirit, quick wittiness and intelligence were stored away in the back room along with her. The adorable and charming Yang Myung turned mopey and sad once Yeon Woo "died," and look at how the talent of Jung Il Woo went to waste. Nonetheless, Kim Soo Hyun sustained the tempo of this show, but he had to do it singlehandedly, which is just sad. It just doesn't work when you have a female co-star who doesn't respond much to your flirtations comments. For example,
Hwon: Since you've given me your heart, I will give myself to you.
Wol: *Teary blank stare*
But I've got to give this drama some credit as well, because it was just too pretty. With the charming Kim Soo Hyun and pretty boy Jung Il Woo, combined with gorgeous hanboks and palace scenery, it was a really pretty drama. If everyone stopped moping and harping on the death of Yeon Woo, maybe I would've loved the characters more.
But then again, the death of Yeon Woo was the basis of the story, so...
Why, Heo Yeon Woo? Why?
tvN: Queen In Hyun's Man
The Best of Fusion Saeguk of 2012. Really, nothing beats this. I've never seen such a clear time traveling concept before, and there were barely any loopholes in the mechanism of the talisman. Compared to Rooftop Price and Faith, the mechanism made sense and it was consistent throughout the entire drama. This was logical.
The cast was overwhelmingly outstanding, where Kim Boong Do (Ji Hyun Woo) turned into everyone's ideal man within a week of broadcast. Charming, adorable, dedicated, caring, smart, intelligent...There is NO end to the number of positive adjectives that this guy accumulates. He is literally perfect and coupled with the sizzling chemistry with Choi Hee Jin (Yoo In Na), these two charmed everyone, even off-screen. The confession during the screening of the last episode, the radio show, the subsequent coupling...it was just too real to be true!!! I wish this adorable couple the best of luck :)
Similarly, the writer's incredible abilities were reflected in the supporting cast as well, where playboy/second male lead, Han Dong Min (Kim Jin Woo) was so adorable that I couldn't even bear to hate him for his selfish acts. Furthermore he wasn't intentionally being selfish (okay just watch the drama and you'll understand). I understood Yoon Wol's (Jin Ye Sol) worries for Boong Do, I felt for her as a helpless woman who could only watch her lover suffer...
This drama made me laugh, giggle at their adorable interactions, blush at their passionate kisses, frustrated with the gap in time, bawl and cry my eyes out when they were separated. It was a lovely experience, and I really look forward to quality dramas from tvN.
SBS: To The Beautiful You
I gotta do this. I shall snip off my hair and pretend to be a boy for maybe 4 years. I gotta do this.
Where is the logic in this??
A die-hard Hana Kimi fan who has read the manga thrice, watched the Taiwanese version and both Japanese versions, my expectations for the Korean version soared. But this was a big fat disappointment. The lack of chemistry (they seemed more like siblings) and poor acting skills from Choi Min Ho drove this drama into the drain. It was an underwhelming performance by Sulli, but I choose to believe that it was the cause of poor writing, especially since the reason as to why she entered Genie High was so vague and underdeveloped. In contrast, the Japanese live-action had a valid reason, which was pretty convincing--Mizuki flew to Japan to convince Sano to high jump again, because she was an indirect cause of his injury.
But the day was saved by Lee Hyun Woo! His adorable character (but it went overboard at times) and puppy-eyes distracted me from the plot loopholes...and yeah the pretty boy cast in this show kept me going. Admittedly, it was really cute (innocent teenage love), but it was a pity that the poor writing and lack of a well-rounded cast (only in looks) brought this drama down.
Watch this if you must; watch it if you're a fan; if not, just skip it! You'll find out that SM Entertainment actually sucks at something--dramas.
I loved this drama. The raw emotions, fierce loyalty and unwavering friendship had me hooked from the very first start, thanks to Lee Min Ki's cameo as Joo Byung Hee. But once his cameo was over, I did't feel like continuing with the drama anymore. Lesson learnt: NEVER let the cameo play such a significant role. But I per preserved to watch Sung Joon's performance as Kwon Ji Hyuk, and my bias from the Kpop group Infinite, Kim Myung Soo/L, was acting in it as well. And so it didn't disappoint me; the newbie actors functioned well in their roles, and the reused plot of finding a family/sense of belonging never fails to touch my heart.
The OST was brilliant; Sung Joon's baritone and husky vocals were raw and surprisingly apt with the whole drama theme of the drama, ad in the process, I discovered Kim Ye Rim's (from Superstar K3) individualistic and special voice. This drama was unbelievable unique; it's not just the choice of genre as the OST, but also the cinematography...I guess you'll have to watch it to find out for yourself.
Tooniverse: Ma Boy
This mini-drama builds on an overused plot line--cross-dressing. However, this drama takes cross-dressing to a whole new level, where the GUY cross-dresses. Believe me, he actually passes off as one...and is PRETTIER THAN A GIRL.
How is he even this fair? D:With Kim So Hyun heading the cast as the only familiar face (child Bo Kyung in MoonSun, child Soo Yeon in Missing You) and a newbie idol-infested supporting cast, I had qualms about taking up this drama. But I gave in (thanks to the positive reviews), and it required absolutely no commitment (just 3 episodes or so)...And, it was really refreshing and cute!! Like a marshmallow.
SBS Plus: Full House Take 2
Sequels rarely live up to/surpass their predecessor's ratings and reputation and this drama wasn't an exception. The lack of chemistry, the PERMED HAIR (WHERE IS YOUR GUMIHO/MIDAS HAIR, NO MIN WOO?!), the annoying antagonist and the whole, "let-me-just-suffer-in-silence-while-sacrificing-for-you" thing pissed me off!
The casting was surprisingly well thought out. With Hwang Jung Eum as Jang Man Ok, No Min Woo as Lee Tae Ik and Park Ki Woong as Won Kwang Hwi, I expected much more out of this drama. It started off well, with characters firmly establishing their roles and personalites, but it started to fizzle out towards the halfway mark and the end was...meh. Disappointing. And when Second Lead Syndrome struck, I found myself in a fix. To side with the second lead, or my ultimate bias No MIn Woo?
Nothing much to say; at least this drama has made me appreciate No MIn Woo's slender hands/fingers/limbs, but NEVER EVER perm his hair again!! Give me back No MIn Woo of 2011!!
This drama was emotionally exhausting, and it was pretty much an emotional rollercoaster, which left me tired and worn out in the end. Double amnesia, cruel backstabbing, revenge...a whole lot of complicated concepts and well shis show was merciless! So much so that I dreaded the last few episodes, knowing that the ending wasn't going to be much of a fairytale. It didn't help that the characters were all confusing and strange and complicated and really what's WRONG with all y'all and your ulterior motives?!! Just when I begin to feel sorry for ANY of them, he/she does something unimaginable heartless and yea..bye pity. And why, Joong KI, why did you allow yourself to be treated like dirt throughout the entire show? Doesn't do your pretty face any sort of justice.
Cable reigned this year; with Queen In Hyun's man, Reply 1997, and a whole lot more! Free-to-air definitely has to step up their game and recognize this upcoming competition, especially with more cable dramas airing next year. I'm SO glad that 2012 isn't the end of the world.