Hello, dear MDL readers! 2020 has just begun and to start this new year, I would like to look back at all the KDramas I've watched in 2019. I have always been an avid KDrama fan and out of all the years, for almost a decade, 2019 was the year when I watched a lot in one straight sitting. No jokes, it's been quite unhealthy, but I had a lot of catching up to do for the many KDramas I hadn't watched for a few years. As much as it was dreadful to my eyesight, I enjoyed lying back on my bed and watching the drama unfold as I munched on my snacks.
Without further ado, let's get going to my 'Top 5 KDramas of 2019!'
Summary: To become one of the entertainment industry’s most sought after songwriters, you have to have talent, inspiration, and passion. But to reach the level of popularity obtained by Ha Rip (Jung Kyung Ho), you also have to be willing to make certain sacrifices. Ten years ago, as a struggling artist, Ha Rip found himself wondering if he would ever make his mark on the world. On the verge of giving up, he found himself face to face with the Devil himself, who offered to give Ha Rip everything his heart desired, for a price. Desperate, Ha Rip agreed to sell his soul to the Devil and so began a decade of unprecedented success. But when those ten years are almost up and the Devil has come to collect his due, he learns that his success and fame is the result of taking Lee Kyung’s (Lee Seol) talent and life. Learning that every deal you make with the Devil comes with a hefty price, Ha Rip tries to barter with his life but will that be enough to satisfy the debt he still owes?
My Thoughts: If I remember correctly, I believe this drama was the first I've seen about selling one's soul to look younger. Ever since 'Cruel City', I've been a fan of Jung Kyung Ho, and his work 'Life on Mars', was one of my personal favourites. In this drama, Kyung Ho takes on a new challenge to play the character Ha Rip and he pulls it off marvelously. Moreover, this was the first drama where I got to see Lee Seol acting, and let me say, she played her character so well, I loved the drama more than I did before.
Script: The plot had me hooked in no time. It was a story I've never seen or heard of before, yet something about it intrigued me. I don't know how someone could write something so unheard about and have it work so well, especially in the KDrama world, where often, new ideas turn dramas into mediocre shows. 2019 didn't have as many top-tier, excellently-made dramas as I'd hoped, but this drama was simply exceptional. The cinematography was almost movie-like and the story-line never had a dull scene. I always believed that plot twists are what make dramas interesting and enrapturing. 'When the Devil Calls Your Name' had its own sets of plot twists and that made the drama all the more exciting.
Music: I always love a good OST in a KDrama, and once again, 'WtDCYN' did not disappoint. The OSTs were all so beautiful and I've saved most of them on my Spotify~ Kyung Ho's and Lee Seol's voices were heavenly, and when sung together, were simply angelic and divine.
My favourite OSTs:
Liver and Gallbladder - The Street You Left
Jung Kyung Ho - When I am in Busan
Kim Igyeong - Say to Myself
Sondia - You bring no sadness
My Thoughts: First off, let me start by saying, the two main leads, Lee Yoo Young and Lee Min Ki, weren't my favourites. I may be too cruel, but when I watched 'Tunnel' (starring Lee Yoo Young) and 'Because This is My First Life' (starring Lee Min Ki), their characters did not pull at me. Nonetheless, both the mentioned dramas were my absolute favourites in 2017. To me, the drama was not the problem, the characters were. So, trying out 'The Lies Within' was a big challenge. And would you look at that? It's one of my Top 5 KDramas of 2019~
Script: You might say I'm lying, but despite my reluctance towards this drama, the first scene of Episode 1 had me hooked. Was it because of the cinematography? Was it because of the actress that enacted her emotions so well on the rooftop? Or was it because of the sudden twist right from the beginning? I don't know, probably all of the above. But what I knew right then was that this drama was going to be outstanding. It may not be the best in terms of its 'pace', but overall, it was a drama I would binge-watch without blinking.
There were many likable characters, most especially the villains. I wanted to believe so badly that the villains were on the good side, but you can't always get what you want. Moreover, there's something you need to be ready for once the husband goes missing...You would always be questioning, "Is he still alive?" That's another reason I stayed through the whole drama, simply because I was asking myself whether or not I wanted him alive. No kidding, I may seem cruel right now, but watch the drama and you'll understand what I mean. There are many upsetting moments in the drama, too, but this will make you want the bad guys to suffer more.
Music: The OSTs weren't that good to me, but they weren't too bad, either.
Summary: Kim Hae-Il (Kim Nam Gil) is a Catholic priest. He makes spiteful remarks and he can be rude to others. Koo Dae-Young (Kim Sung Kyun) is a detective. He talks a lot and he is also timid. Park Kyung-Sun (Lee Ha Nui) is a prosecutor. She is smart and beautiful. She is also ambitious as a prosecutor and good at her job. The three of them team up and work together to solve a murder case involving a senior Catholic priest.
My Thoughts: Kim Nam Gil was an actor I've never seen or heard before, but I think he was a well-known star? I may have just been a hermit living under a rock. To be honest, all three of the main leads were people I never knew existed... Forgive me. I heard through the grapevine that 'The Fiery Priest' was a must-see for people into comedy and action. I love comedy and action, so I thought I'd give it a try. And, boy, was it my best choice.
Script: This drama is your typical 'there is corruption in the justice system, someone dies, higher authority people cover it up, main hero brings justice into the world' kind of story and I loved it to bits. I can't get enough of it. The more the injustice takes place, the more punishment I want those cruel people to get. And the satisfaction you get from justice being served, despite its late-coming, is a huge blessing. There's not much suspense or mystery, and you get to know who the bad guys are from the earlier episodes, nonetheless, this drama ain't wonky. It's solid gold. The best-selling point to me was the comedy aspect of the drama. It had been a long time since I've laughed heartily.
I loved almost all the characters in this drama, and that's not something I see everyday. Each and every character was unique and endearing in their own way, and I couldn't help but love them wholeheartedly. Except for the evil ex-NIS agent and Chief Prosecutor. They were plain wicked and I had no sympathy for them.
Another best part about this drama were the fight scenes. Oh my god, the fight scenes. They were MAGNIFICENT! I'm not much into jousting, but in here, it was the best. No more words needed, I insist you watch it if you still haven't done so.
Music: I'm a bigger fan of ballads and slow OSTs, so I didn't expect much for this kind of action full drama. Man, was I wrong. Also, turns out, I might actually like those upbeat, catchy songs.
My favourite OSTs:
Punch, GREE - Breeze
Kim Yeonji - Victory
Summary: A case involving the hidden truth behind the law prohibiting double jeopardy. When Choi Do Hyun (Lee Jun Ho) was a boy, he had a heart disease. He spent most of his childhood in a hospital. He miraculously had a chance for a heart transplant. Right after the successful heart transplant surgery, his father was accused of murder. His father received the death penalty. To investigate his father's case, Do Hyun now works as a lawyer.
My Thoughts: Lee Jun Ho, my favourite member from 2PM~ Usually, I'm against watching dramas where the main leads are actors from an idol group. I changed my mind after watching Jun Ho's 'Rain or Shine'. He was such an amazing actor, when I found out about 'Confession', I was all in. Nowadays, I'm into law and political dramas, so no doubt, this drama was my cup of tea.
Script: Mainly in law/political dramas, the more puzzling and mysterious the direction a drama goes through, the better it is. At least to me, that is true. This drama was just that, in the sense that you don't have any idea if that guy is the real bad person or this other lady. As the cases build up, they start to overlap. The corruption reeked so badly, I wondered if every single person involved would be caught, but I was glad that justice was finally served.
Music: I don't think any of the OSTs were played during the drama, but there were instrumentals and I found that they did a good job emphasizing particular moments/scenes.
Summary: "Leverage" will tell the story of Lee Tae Joon (Lee Dong Gun), an elite insurance investigator turned scam strategist who recruits the best "players" in order to catch the real criminals who think they’re above the law.
My Thoughts: I heard this drama was a remake of a US TV series, but I haven't watched the original so I can't compare. To be completely honest, I only watched this drama because I reached the limit of dramas I would normally watch. Dramas like the US series 'Mentalist' and 'Criminal Minds' were my favourites, but I don't see that vibe and attraction for such series in Asian dramas. So, despite giving this a try, I was still skeptical. Though, of course, seeing as this was my #1 KDrama of 2019, I guess I'm glad I gave it a chance.
Script: It started with the typical 'mission impossible theme song' kind of story and you find out the main lead's sick child is involved. Usually, when the main lead's sick child gets involved, you expect the plot to be focused on saving said child whilst investigating and being all cool and hero-like. Not here, it's not. I was so taken aback, I began watching more. As expected, there's some fishy business going on and the characters get down to business weeding out the 'bad plants'. Throughout the entirety of this drama, the excitement never died down as the team got more cases, and this is why I demand a Season 2! Please. This has so much potential for a second season~
One other thing that I loved was the relationship between Lee Dong Gun's and Jeon Hye Bin's characters. They're my ultimate ship~ If ever my wish for S2 comes true, I hope the both of them take it to the next level quickly hehe~
Music: The problem with this type of action, up-beat dramas is the lack of OSTs that appeal to me ;----; Oh well.