It’s that period of the year again! It’s the time to get a little critical and start judging a whole year of dramas. Did you meet something that made you jump Yay, Nay or got you stuck in between? Worse, did you encounter a naughty drama that started with a joyful Yay and ended with a miserable Nay? Nothing is out of place for a year full of all sorts of dramas. I met many nerve-wracking pieces this year, but I got compensated through some satisfying productions.
Please note that everything written in this article is my own personal opinions. Meaning Cheer has all the right to write anything she wants in her article without reservation, no offence or harm is meant for the fans of the ‘Nay’. To each their own taste.
My review for 2014 dramas will include all the dramas I saw this year regardless of their country of origin. Let’s try to shuffle things up (Yay to that!).
Lost Days (Japan)
Yay or Nay: Friends’ mysterious trip turned into an ‘out loud’ NAY!
Let’s face facts, this drama started like one of the most promising ones out there. Why wouldn’t it? Japan and psychological mysteries are good friends for a very long time. A failure in those genres is literally unforgivable. Lost Days’ havoc writing and disappointing mystery build-up wasn’t only inexcusable but it was also plain, simple, and forgettable. I watched this at the beginning of the year, and I can barely remember the drama’s developments. I only recall the let-down I felt after its completion, therefore the obvious justifiable Nay.
Beyond the Clouds (South Korea)
Yay or Nay: A shy Yay
“Hey! A yay is a yay so stop trolling Cheer” Okay, I am sorry about that I will try to work on it in the future!
Serious now, Beyond the Clouds is a revenge melo and I am in no way a melodramas’ person but this one clicked on me more than 70% of the K-dramas I saw this year. And let’s admit it; Korean dramas suffered a big blow of failure in 2014. Only a few dramas survived the loser bracket. Beyond the Clouds could be considered among the good ones, especially for a melodrama. At least it was watchable, enjoyable and well-acted despite some obvious flaws.
The Long Goodbye (Japan)
Yay or Nay: Big passionate Yay with a whistle and a happy dance!
This drama made it to the podium of the year for me: One of the top dramas (check), the best mystery drama (check), One of the best leading males (double check just for the fact that Asano Tadanobu doing a freaking a drama).
The Long Goodbye is a different type of a mystery drama; it’s more noir oriented with heavy developments. The screenwriting didn’t count on twists to run the plot forward. Instead, some intriguing elements were used to assist the flowing of events. It was definitely one of the most remarkable mini-Japanese dramas ever made, and I will be held captive to that statement. No wonder it gets an honest brilliant Yay from me.
Watashi no Kirai na Tantei (Japan)
Yay or Nay: Half Yay half Nay with a condition.
My only condition would be: Do you appreciate dry type of humour? If no, then you’re wasting your precious time here. Scratch that, do you think you would like an episodic detective drama that parodies other dramas of the same genre? If yes, then you’re in the right place.
One thing’s for certain, The Detective that I hate is a unique view of detective dramas that invade Japanese drama seasons yearly. The production team tried to make a drama that defies the term it’s enrolled within. They were successful but again, not everyone appreciates dry parody humour. Personally, I would take silly Japanese humour before dry comedy any day.
Man from the Stars (South Korea)
Yay or Nay: Nay to the alien darling and the drama, Yay to Jun Ji Hyun.
I don’t understand the huge hype around this drama. But again, I don’t like romantic comedies to begin with, and each hyped-up drama usually disappoints me big time. Well, this one wasn’t any different for the lack of better terms. I reached the point where Jun Ji Hyun and her character held the whole drama for me. I keep thinking: why in the effing heck did an acknowledged film star decided to come back to dramas after all these years? I just don’t see why, especially since films’ actors are more successful and way more talented. I still didn’t find my answer, but I do admit that she saved the drama for me. Everything else could be forgotten, and it’s already in the ancient past.
Full House (Thailand)
Yay or Nay: Yay for a remake better than the original.
Yes, you can loathe me: I completely hated the original Full House. Sorry folks!
I watched Thai lakorns for two years now, so I decided to check the drama that made everyone compelled to jump into this different world. Well, it was completely dissimilar from any Thai lakorn so if you’re thinking that you will find similar Thai dramas to FH then you’re terribly mistaken. The bright side is that this drama was really better executed than the original Korean version. Well, the Thai Full House wasn’t perfect but it was watchable, something fluffy, cute and even funny. However, the praising stops right there, I still consider this drama a bit overrated.
S - Saigo no Keikan (Japan)
Yay or Nay: Quick sharp Yay
S-The Last Policeman is a different action drama. It highlights the life of Special Forces and the way they handle their job.
The shady side: A male lead with cheesy principles and an episodic pattern.
But who cares about a little shady side? I don’t, because I am waiting for the film sequel.
Golden Cross (South Korea)
Yay or Nay: Huge Yay in the beginning and an even bigger Nay at the end.
Me: *screaming a Yay*
Drama: I am building revenge for you.
Me: Thank you drama, you’re the best.
Drama: I am giving you an irresistible male lead and an amazing revenge plot.
Me: Hey drama, I am in love with you!
Drama: I like flatteries, here’s more great events for you.
Me: I am just waiting for you to end so that I could announce you the best K-drama of the year!
Drama: Oh really? Here are four episodes of complete nonsense.
Me: You know what they say about love turned to hatred, right? Drop dead stupid drama!
MOZU Season 1 / MOZU Season 2 (Japan)
Yay or Nay: Guilty Yay with signs of Nay
Mozu held one of the highest production values for a Japanese drama. You can clearly notice the immense attempts to make this an incredibly unique drama. Unfortunately, the thriller-action-packed show didn’t make it to the masterpiece podium. It barely survived being a failure, oh wait! It did manage to stir disappointment. Co-produced by TBS and WOWOW, led by a ground-breaking main cast and starting with an utterly promising conflict, the drama held the signs of an outstanding drama but alas! Winds do not blow as the vessels wish; the chaotic screenwriting messed up a potential masterpiece. The second season wasn’t any better. However, the drama isn’t all that bad. It could be nerve-wracking at times, but that doesn’t deny its great potentials and some of its amazing characters. The bottom line is, hard-core thriller/mystery fans like me should keep their expectations downright low.
Inspiring Generation (South Korea)
Yay or Nay: Absolute Nay with a little Yay to the supporting characters
So this drama should be called the black sheep of the year or something. So much drama went within the drama; casting issues, production issues, writing team issues and most of all: Plot issues! Inspiring Generation held the realms of a unique production; it was set in the 30’s and had a nice backup push by a similar drama The Bridal Mask but ended in a failure. The changing of the writing team could be the cause of it but even with the first team, things weren’t coherent at all. The only thing that held the whole drama for me was the supporting cast. Five of my favourite characters were supporting while the main ones didn’t even appeal to me – at least not as much as their co-characters. And yeah, I hate Jin Se Yeon with passion – not apologizing about that one!
Miyamoto Musashi (Japan)
Yay or Nay: Shockingly deliciously surprised Yay!
Yes, this is a four-hours-long-two-episode special, not exactly a drama but it still counts, right?
I admit I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about this one because the Miyamoto Musashi trilogy made by Inagaki back in the late 50’s was the best thing that could ever be done out of this story. I still hold that opinion firmly, but this special was actually good – even great! The tremendous cast was certainly a master stroke – not that Kimura Takuya can compare to the legend Mifune Toshiro – but it was smoothly executed over the four hours length. It was also well-accomplished for the most part; it left me surprised in a very pleasant way.
Yay or Nay: Cautious dispassionate Yay
The thing about Border is it's simple and complicated at the same time. On one hand, we have this exciting ghost detective story and a main character that develops in the right way each case – Oh, and Oguri Shun playing the main guy. But on the other hand, we have another stereotype looking detective drama with the whole boring episodic pattern and some of the most useless side characters ever. At this point, all the odds play for the favour of detective dramas’ lover alone (including me of course). But the little element to make this noticeable above other detective shows was nowhere in sight until the last episode ended with a bang turning all the odds to a Yay and a second season potential.
Vampire Flower (South Korea)
Yay or Nay: Nay with a shrug!
This is a web drama so yeah, it’s not really that important to most people, me included. My sole interest in vampires brought me the courage to watch this one; I don’t care about the idol group that I don’t even know what it’s called (sorry fans). The whole story was too short and simply not engaging, the hideous acting of the idol gang didn’t make things any better. The whole thing wasn’t worth the while but thankfully the ‘while’ was only six episodes long with 10 minutes each. Phew! At least I didn’t waste much time with this one. Yay to that!
The first part ends here. What are your thoughts about the dramas above? Do you agree or disagree? Let me read your Yay or Nay in the comments.
The second part will be coming soon. Until then, have nice drama-watching!