Most of us love the traditional drama stories - whether rom-com or melo - where boy meets girl, they don't get along, they slowly fall in love, jealous rivals show up, and interfering parents cause distress. But sometimes, we just need something different. Most dramas in the "top 10" lists involve stories like this masked in different settings: corporation, school, store, resort, sageuk, etc... So where do you turn? One MDL user, Soul_Sale, asks this question. The ajummas provide her with some choices down below.
What I did want to say was, no matter how into these popular dramas you are, sometimes you may find it worth your while to look for new adventures and hidden gems. Even though many dramas may be rated "6" or "7", they may not be all that bad after all. I've personally been a fan of independent and quirky movies for a long time, because they provide stories that are vastly different from Hollywood. I still love Hollywood movies, but sometimes these lesser-known - many of them oddball - movies provide me with stories that are not only entertaining, but enriching as well. The same can be said for the hidden gems in Asian dramas.
As much as we love the more popular dramas, there can be much unexpected joy in the lesser known dramas. Give it a try. Watch something that you never considered watching before - you may be surprised!
- Introspective A
On with the questions!
"Hello, Dear Ajumma!
I've been a viewer of K-/J-dramas for some years now. I've seen quite a lot of them. Therefore now It's become hard to find something really good. And surprisingly, many dramas I really enjoy ( those which are not full of cliches which can bore me to death) have been rated lower than 8 or even 7 points. Many of us are looking for a new adventure (drama) through top-10/20/50/100 etc lists. But all them are quite the same. So can you please kindly give us your favorite 'unexpected top dramas' (those dramas that you really liked, even though you never expected to be that good - perhaps because their ratings were lower than the popular dramas that most everyone has seen.
Thank you so much! Tonnes of love and Nutella to you <3
PS If it is too broad ask, than how about Unexpected Top Comedies? chu~"
Soul_Sale, we totally understand. Three of us will share our unexpected gems. We hope you find something to your liking.
As a fan of dramas with a more mature-strong cast, and well written-mature storyline here a few and surprisingly or not, JDrama is predominant:
- Gokuaku Ganbo (2014) - JDrama, crime, quirky, strong female lead and entertaining male actors.
- LIQUID - Oni no Sake, Kiseki no Kura (2015) - JDrama, art of Sake making + a stunningly handsome lead. Enough said!
- Ooku (2010) - JDrama - Historical - Woman become the dominant members of society and males are sought out for the ability to produce children. Need I say more!
- Tenchuu-Yami no Shiokinin (2014) - JDrama - Action, Martial Arts, Mystery
~ Bookish A
When I search my list for some dramas with permanent impact, mature vibe and different tone, I could certainly pick these:
- Byakuyako: Crime/Tragedy with a rollercoaster emotional ride.
- Mother: Dramatic tale with strong acting and everlasting impact.
- Tonbi: Family/Drama/Melodrama. Too many emotions are meant to be invested in this drama.
- Sealed with a Kiss: Controversial romance, gritty and quite different from your usual dish.
~ Romantic A
If you're looking for comedy, here are just a few of my choices. I also love the ones that are not necessarily loved by everyone else.
- Evasive Inquiry Agency (S. Korea): 3 average down-on-their-luck people have a treasure hunt.
- Harvest Villa (S. Korea): I just started watching this... Looks good so far :).
- Once Upon a Time in Saengchori (S. Korea): This would be considered dark comedy. Mystery in a rural community.
- Koi wa Tatakai! (Japan): About 4 women, their friendship and their love lives.
Love At First Fight (China): Martial arts, slapstick comedy, and romance.
- Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (Japan): simply a cute high school drama
- Delicious Gakuin (Japan): Not for everyone - it's cheesy and cartoonish, but I love it anyway.
~ Introspective A
"I'm really confused, can you help me ? Could you name a few South Korean dramas that I won't regret watching?
Thank you :)"
Dearest Kawtar Idrissi,
I took a look at your list… Making suggestions for someone is difficult. You’ve watched a few of my favorites and rated them similarly, but you dropped a few and put a couple on hold that I loved as well. It also looks like you are a fan of the romance-y dramas and that’s TOTALLY up my alley.
Let's get started! Your plan to watch list has a few that were pretty good. With any kdrama that you decide to watch, you have to keep in mind that there are going to be blatant and obvious errors or things that just wouldn’t happen in real life. I like to think that the writers made it thusly so that the stories work better. *insert hopeful look* So, with that in mind… From your plan to watch list, I would recommend: Kill Me, Heal Me; I Remember You; and as long as you don’t mind some over the top facial expressions and some extremely unlikely situations (it IS a historical drama about vampires, lol!!), Scholar Who Walks the Night. Missing You was good as well, but that one leans more toward melo…
Some other ones that I’ve absolutely loved for the romance and/or comedy: Fated to Love You; Marriage, Not Dating; Birth of a Beauty; Trot Lovers; Witch’s Romance; Heart to Heart; and Cunning Single Lady. For more of a melo feel: Empress Ki; My Love Eun Dong; Secret Love Affair; Shut Up: Flower Boy Band; Incomplete Life (more slice of life than anything); and Doctor Stranger.
I hope that these help and that you find some that you absolutely LOVE!! Best of luck to you and happy drama watching!
~ Obsessive A
"I've recently finished dramas that features good guys in them. I say it’s a breath of fresh air from the usual bad guys, cold chaebol guy and indifferent guys that is usually is the character of the male lead at the start of the drama until the heart of the male lead melts and his personality changes after meeting the female lead. I know you even have a post on dramas about bad guys.
I've finished Ho Goo's Love, Khun Samee Karmelor Tee Rak, and Leh Nangfah which featured really earnest good guys from the start. I also remember falling in love with Bae So Bin's perfect man character (Park Joon-se) in Shining Inheritance way back in the day and I had a serious case of Second Lead Syndrome.
Can you tell me of dramas that features good guys? I want a break from the usual bad guy trope.
Looking forward to your reply and the answers of your readers. Thank you."
Thanks again for your very interesting question. I have to say that whereas initially I found the aspect of the bad guy in dramas fascinating, lately I have been more attracted to and intrigued by dramas which have good guys as main leads. I think this happened because it is encouraging to find good and gentle main leads which makes it a very pleasant and refreshing change for us viewers.
For what concerns the dramas you mention, I have only seen Shining Inheritance and I agree that Park Jun Se was a fascinating second lead - whom I imagine most of us would appreciate either as a partner or a best friend.
After analyzing my list carefully I realized that I've watched quite a few dramas which, in my opinion, feature good guys right from the start which are: 7th Grade Civil Servant, 9 End 2 Outs, Angel Eyes, Birth of a Beauty, Can You Hear my Heart (Cha Dong Joo), Crazy for You, Dal Ja’s Spring, East of Eden, Endless Love (Han Kwan Chul), Feast of the Gods, Flower Boy Next Door, Glorious Day, God’s Gift 14 days, Goddess of Fire, Gu Family Book, Heart to Heart (Jang Doo Soo), I Do I Do, I Hear Your Voice, Legendary Witch, Miss Korea, My Love Eun Dong, Road Number 1, Rooftop Prince, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, The Girl Who Sees Scents, The Vineyard Man, When a Man’s in Love, Witch’s Romance.
Out of my Jdrama list there are also a few with good main leads which are: Orange Days, Osozaki no Himawari, Papadol, A Taste of Honey, Massan, Last Cinderella, Ending Planner, Saikou no Rikon, Sapuri, Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu, Kokoro ga Pokitto Ne, Slow Dance, Soratobu Kouhoushitsu, Jin, Summer Nude, Sunao ni Narenakute, Tenno no Ryoriban, Dokushin Kizoku, Date, Zenkai Girl.
I hope this is a varied enough list of dramas for you to enjoy good guys in. I'm sure other drama lovers can also add more recommendations of dramas from other countries in the comments below. Happy drama watching!
We'd love to get a big variety of questions from you! Feel free to send questions about tropes and foibles, how dramas (and movies) relate to our lives, frustrating - and not so frustrating - aspects of being a drama fan, weird character quirks, and whatever else you can think of... Please send a message to askanajumma with your questions!
Disclaimer: We love answering your questions, but we're by no means experts. Like you, we are big fans of drama. We truly appreciate your queries & hope that we are able to answer your questions to your satisfaction.