Throwback Thursday: 2006 Drama Edition

“Time flies while you’re binge watching dramas.”

2016 marks my 11th year of watching dramas. I still fondly remember coming home from a long day at work and settling onto my couch with my dinner and my laptop, watching dramas piece by piece on YouTube. For those who may only know the luxury of Dramafever or Viki’s ad free subscriptions, you see, back then in the beginnings of YouTube, Veoh, and DailyMotion, I watched in uploaded ad free low quality clips. Mysoju.com was one of the first popular sites to consolidate and index all the drama links. Well organized and updated daily, I could easily find what I needed there. Crunchyroll was also a good source, adding episodes that were usually only split into two parts. There was even a netflix kind of site for dramas (I think it was called tiger cinema?) where you could have a series mailed to you for a monthly fee. I think I only used it for a month or two because the subs weren’t always great. 

It was fun while it lasted. Within a year, we’d start to see channel suspensions and copyright violations, forcing those like me who were too lazy to download, to find other means of getting their drama fix. I knew the subbers (With S2, I miss you), the uploaders and their alternate IDs, I got my news from Han Cinema, joined discussions on Asianfanatics and popcornfor2. This whole new world opened up to me was a welcome distraction from a stressful time in my life.

My first drama was Autumn Tale. I found it on YouTube after watching Tae Guk Ki on cable and falling in love with Won Bin. I think from there I watched Full House (linked by http://mydramalist.com/people/294-song-hye-kyo), and by 2006 I was watching dramas as they aired while binge watching those from years’ past. As my first “Throwback Thursday” post, I’d like to reminisce on a few of the dramas I watched ten years ago as a newbie to the drama world. Listed in no particular order….

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Goong

This drama was probably the fourth of fifth drama I had ever watched and I started about midway through as it aired in Korea, catching up by the end. The plotline, the teenage angst, the teddy bears, kept me interested until close to the end though I skipped eps 22 and 23 (I have a habit of skipping episodes towards the end of a drama, for most are at least an episode or two too long, especially those with too much angst, noble sacrifices or redundant misunderstandings.) and watched the finale. About a year later, I caught it on cable able and watched the episodes I missed, one of the few dramas that I’ve seen more than once.

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Bulsae/Phoenix

Rain was my first Kpop star, and through him I found Shinhwa. By 2006 I was a non card carrying Shinhwa Changjo (‘til now since they’ve only this year opened the fanclub to foreigners) for life. I first watched  Jun Jin's Nine Tailed Fox as I had become a fan of him first, but in early 2016 I watched Phoenix,, Eric’s Eric Mun's signature drama. By then I had learned of Lee Eun Joo's passing and watching it was bittersweet. The plot was heavy, full of melodrama, and the actors were all great. Eric was still a bit rough but he fit the role well, and I was able to find movies of all the drama’s leads on netflix, sending for the dvds one by one.

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Freeze

I found this drama on the now defunct AZNTV network on my local cable. It’s a short five episode drama, dark and mysterious about a vampire lead. I didn’t care much for the acting, the storyline or the pace, though if it was on, I’d watch. Somehow it pulled me in. I was intrigued by Lee Seo Jin  who also starred in Phoenix, probably more because of his looks than the drama itself. 10 years later, I cannot remember the plot at all, but I can remember the dark cinematic look of the drama very well.

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Soulmate

Wahh...this drama was part of my top 10 list for a long time. A mix of Friends and Sex In the City, this drama had more of an adult feel and I liked that. The format was different than any drama that I had seen, with 22 split episodes instead of the normal hour long ones. The ensemble of characters were all well developed and the storyline was light, relatable and funny. The best part of the drama was the OST. I still have most of the songs in my playlist and smile nostalgically when I hear Sia, Basement Jaxx or Corrine Bailey Rae. Now that I write, this, I’d like to watch it again to see if it is still as good as the "ten" rating I gave it.  

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Nobuta Wo Produce

My first Japanese drama was Hana Yori Dango but my second holds a special place in my heart. I guess I could say it was when I fell for Yamapi and his adorkableness.I started a few weeks after it began and binged until I was caught up. Though I was hesitant to watch, this was my first gakuen drama,. I at first thought that a high school drama would be too childish for me to enjoy but the fast pace of Japanese dramas, the acting and the comedy were a welcome contrast to the heavy melo Korean dramas that I had been watching. I’d even find myself imitating Yamapi’s “Kon Kon” when I was annoyed at work.

Other Mentions: Let's Go To The BeachWonderful Life, Invincible Parachute AgentA Love To Kill, Gokusen 1, and Gokusen 2.

If you look at my drama list, you’ll see the massive volume of dramas and movies I’ve consumed over the years but these days I’m quite picky with what I watch. The love triangle/quadrangle, birth secrets, chaebol plotlines are still so popular that I often feel bored, so I appreciate new concepts like Signal and  Kill Me, Heal Me. Currently, Another Miss Oh has me hooked (not because Eric’s in it I swear!) and Daebak/The Royal Gambler Daebak/The Royal Gambler is interesting enough to keep me watching.

What dramas did you first start off with, and what are you watching now?

Comments (57)

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  • Reply
    AmberleyCanegitta Jan 20, 2017

    YALL REMEMBER WHEN VIKI WAS VIIKII.

    sometimes I still type that in by accident. Muscle memory screws me over a lot.

    But my first drama was the 2007 Taiwanese Drama Romantic Princess and I watched that on youtube. EVERY EPISODE WAS SPLIT INTO EIGHT PARTS. IT WAS SO DIFFICULT. I just wanna say thank you to LimeSubs back in 2008 youtube, who subbed every single drama I watched. Without them I probably never would have found my love for asian dramas.

    I used to use websites like mysoju, sugoideas, and I still use dramafans if I feel like it.

  • Reply
    rockthisromance Dec 10, 2016 - edited

    This is such a great article, I was just perusing my list and having a moment about how it has also been 11 years since H2, which was my first official series... (I'd seen short snippets before but this series was my first foray into waiting for the subs, hanging out each week, downloading via BT - no real consistent streaming services back then!)
    It's almost scary realising that just over a decade has passed! Shortly after I smashed out Winter Sonata and Spring Waltz (Yes I have yet to watch the rest of the Endless Love series!) and my love for Asian Drama was cemented.

    • Reply
      infiniti512 Dec 18, 2016

      I remember H2! I watched on Crunchyroll. I tired the other Endless Loves but I couldn't finish. I think I've only seen Autumn Tale in its entirety.

  • Reply
    Reavel Sep 15, 2016

    Nobuta Wo Produce, Soulmate and Goong.... awesome.... so awesome.

  • Reply
    fanitha Aug 12, 2016

    I remember those days when you could find dramas on you tube, but they were split like in 5 parts. Oh! Those days when my internet speed was so slow I had to preload in different windows each part, young people will never understand how much work and time was invested on loading a video from You tube! Loved your article made me reminiscence those days :)

  • Reply
    biniBningPunkista May 31, 2016

    I love your article. It totally made me feel nostalgic.
    During my time when I was still getting into the hype, I usually ran from school to my house to catch up with the latest episode of drama which was being aired on our local TV and dubbed in our own language. Then the internet boomed, I was sucked into the world of streaming... buffering... frustrations and sleepless nights. haha! And yes, I knew Crunchy Roll, Daily Motion, Veoh and Mysoju. But I preferred the previous dramas I have mentioned due to better quality and subs. Lastly, torrent downloading was introduced to me and so I said goodbye to my streaming and buffering days! We watchers do evolve too. haha! >_<

  • Reply
    prettytin May 27, 2016

    Soulmate!!!!! i totally totally love the OST of that. and until now, i'm still thinking, will I meet my soulmate? hehe

  • Reply
    69goddess May 27, 2016 - edited

    In 2008 I accidentally tripped over Hana Kimi. Back then I was anime only girl and was suffering from severe withdrawals symptoms when FMA ended. And so with Hana Kimi the gateway to the wonderland was paved. No other drama has a special place in my heart like Hana Kimi, I laughed and cried and faced heart wrenching with the adorable cast and when it ended I desperately searched for anything that will fill the gaping hole left by the drama. And so what was started as a slight foray into dramaland, turned out to be a permanent stay.

    Although I have been away from dramas for the last 2 or 3 years but I am catching up now with extreme binging as well as keeping a tab on the current dramas - Another Oh Hae Young, making any strides for anyone atm?

    • Reply
      infiniti512 May 29, 2016

      Love Oh Hae Young! I've been in a bit of a drama slump since Signal and this has gotten my attention.

  • Reply
    hazel321 May 26, 2016

    I didn't start until 2009, but I've watched Full House, Goong, and Norbuta wo produce from your list. My first Drama was Boy's over Flowers. I just finished My amazing boyfriend and am waiting to marathon Another Miss Oh.

  • Reply
    graytrigger May 25, 2016

    I think I just might be the most atypical drama fan of all. Didn't discover this wonderful world of asian drama until the ripe old age of 62. I am 68 now so I have been at it for just six years. My introduction to this magical world was thru movies. There was so much hype about "Oldboy" I watched it on netflix and loved it. Then it was "the catcher" and "Maunday Thursday" and my favorite movie of all time "The Classic".Then on youtube I clicked on "Shining Inheritance" thinking it was a movie. Then I was totally hooked. Watched every genre at first but now I just search for the dark melodramas.. Now I am back on the hunt for something new. Just hate to get to the end of a drama that I am completely absorbed in. I think "autumn tale" was my second drama. One of these days I am going to watch it again. Sometimes I think I should be rewatching dramas that I loved when I am disappointed in the new stuff. But still I watch the new series that are running. "Signal" and "Memory" were both brilliant. Dramaload and Gooddrama.net are my goto places for drama. Use to love Viki for the comments and info that people provided as the dramas would unfold. Got a lot of good leads from Viki. Now MDL leads me to my new dramas. Articles like yours are invaluable. I really appreciate the people who take the time to provide newbies a starting point about what to watch.

  • Reply
    lyssa May 25, 2016

    omgosh, I feel old.

  • Reply
    MartaTorres May 23, 2016

    Oh my god, Soulmate is one of those dramas <3

  • Reply
    asinensis May 23, 2016

    I started off with Autumn in My Heart too and never looked back hahaha. Can't believe my relationship with kdramas have lasted for over a decade like you. Saw soulmate back when I was in high school, a great drama! :)

  • Reply
    Neza May 22, 2016

    Soulmate :) my fave

  • Reply
    SHIRLEYMOLINA May 21, 2016

    Thanks for the article I first started watching on KBS I believe Ladies of the palace was my first.
    I was at that time not good at computers and knew little about Utube . I ended up finding all the dramas on Yes Asia and Kimook needless to say I spent a lot of money to acquire them . Some had bad subs so I appreciated the S2 subbers . I saw Phoenix and Autums tale with bad subs then bought them from YesAsia with perfect subs what a difference. About that time I think the US became aware of Asian dramas and there was a Kpop and drama explosion. I am a avid drama fan have a collection of 800 K!C,and J dramas You made me nostalgic so I will revisit some of my favorites thanks again for sharing.

  • Reply
    infiniti512 May 21, 2016 - edited

    Thanks everyone for your comments! I'm happy that I brought back pleasant memories for everyone.

    • Reply
      YuanWei May 25, 2016

      I'm just curious: you started watching dramas 11 years ago and you only watched around 400 dramas and movies? ^^

    • Reply
      infiniti512 May 29, 2016 - edited

      In the past few years, I've been very selective with what I watch. The storylines have become too repetitive to me. And I will drop a drama in a heartbeat. Considering I haven't owned a TV in almost 4 years since I only watch shows online, you would think I had more on my list! haha

    • Reply
      rockthisromance Dec 10, 2016

      I have to agree, I've been watching for 11 years and I have far less on my list than you (well done!) but I too have become a bit selective in what I watch, mainly due to work, time, everyday stuff. I've recently come to love web dramas for their short run time that I can enjoy with my morning coffee before work or while I'm commuting :) ... I pretty much never watch TV anymore!

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