by Plushie, April 21, 2018

Old Korean dramas are something that has always intrigued me. I mean, every time I watch one it's like I time travelled without having to move an inch. Also, it's always good to see what trended back then, what changed and what remained the same, and (obviously) checking out how our current favourite actors and actresses used to look like when younger.

I have to admit that I didn't watch many oldies, but I'd like to share the ones I did and give a small review. Keep in mind I'm more of a romance person, so all of them are romance-heavy. 

Warning: some spoilers ahead.

A Love To Kill

Year: 2005

Tells the story of Kang Bok Gu (Rain), a rough, cold-hearted man whose brother falls off a building and becomes disabled. Disheartened, he seeks revenge on Cha Eun Sook (Shin Min Ah), the one person he blames for his brother's injuries. Though, along the way, he starts to slowly fall in love with her.

This drama can be summed up in one word: depressing. From beginning to end, it just doesn't give you a break. It's dark and melancholic tone is almost overwhelming, there are few truly happy moments and even then you remain wary because you know that it's just the calm before the storm.

Maybe the most depressing fact about this drama is that all the suffering could be easily avoided. Okay, not all, but the revenge aspect depends heavily on a series of misunderstandings, so it's wholesome dark tone can be interpreted as unnecessary for the most part, making this drama just yet another melo that tried to be a different, in-depth analysis of a man torn between revenge and love but ended up being about a man who decides he hates this woman because she (supposedly) dumped his brother.

Worth checking out? If you are a fan of one of the main actors or both & if you like melos and depressing dramas.

Beautiful Days

Year: 2001

The drama revolves around the music industry, in which our four main protagonists take a part in, one way or another. Lee Min Chul (Lee Byung Hun), the director of Victory Records; Kim Yon Soo (Choi Ji Woo), an orphan who works as a salesperson at Victory Record's store; Kim Se Na (Lee Jung Hyun), another orphan who grew with Yon Soo and an aspiring singer and Lee Sun Jae (Ryu Shi Won), Min Chul's brother and medicine student also a famous anonymous producer .

The plot of this drama is quite extensive, so I just gave what it revolves around and our main characters. Although I may add that the extensiveness of the plot helps me explain one of the major points: Beautiful Days is about many things. Love, friendship, business, music, seeking your dreams etc. It is about the day to day of different people and how their lives seem to be entwined in different forms.

It has many K-drama tropes we are so familiar with: rich boy-poor girl, love triangles, family secrets and sibling rivalry. What Beautiful Days manages to do though, is to address each of these in a semi-realistic, more down to earth way. Don't expect something overtly original, however, but at least something well done.

Worth checking out? In my not so humble opinion, yes. If you dig romance, a slice of life and don't mind a few clichés, then go for it. (Also, it's one of the few dramas that actually portrays more than one female to female friendship.)

Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy

Year: 2005

Na Bo Ri (Gong Hyo Jin) wants desperately to be a teacher at her former high school, which she was kicked out of due to a huge misunderstanding. Having been rejected by thirty schools, she finally finds her chance of becoming a teacher at her dream school, but with one condition: becoming the "babysitter" of Park Tae In (Gong Yoo), the school's "king" and major troublemaker.

This drama has a simple, romantic vibe to it that the viewers can't help but feel strangely nostalgic. After all, we all have seen this before: the hard working girl who, somehow, has to fix the rich jerk. If you can look past that, BTASC is a really sweet, fun ride to pass time.

My advice for this one is: don't take it too seriously. I guess the entertainment value comes from the delight of seeing a former "delinquent" become a beloved teacher among her students, helping them to solve their problems. Like I said. we all have seen and (deep inside) like this kind of story: from zero to hero, from enemies to lovers etc.

Worth Checking out? If you like "noona" romances (fun fact: Gong Yoo is actually OLDER than Gong Hyo Jin) and school dramas.

Delightful Girl, Choon Hyang

Year: 2005

A modern adaptation of "Legend of Choon Hyang", the drama is the story of Sung Choon Hyang (Han Chae Young), a clever and spunky girl who finds herself in a tight spot when a rumour about her and Lee Mong Ryon (Jae Hee) forces them to become a couple. Add in life struggles, two love rivals and a love-hate relationship and you have this drama as a result.

Who doesn't like a strong, resourceful female lead? Choon Hyang is one of the most interesting female characters I've ever seen. No wonder it's her name on the title. This would be such a worse drama if the main girl wasn't as smart, plucky and spunky like her. 

However, the awesomeness begins and ends with her. Is it a terrible drama? no, but aside from Choon Hyung, everything else is pretty dull in my opinion. It does have good moments, but I guess this drama could've been much better if it was a bit shorter. 

Worth checking out? If you can handle some absurd and if you want something to entertain you without much thought.

I'm Sorry, I Love You

Year: 2004

Cha Moo Hyuk (So Ji Sub) has had a rough life ever since birth: abandoned as a baby, adopted by an Australian family but was abused then left homeless. To top it all, even his girlfriend decided to abandon him for someone richer. All these circumstances made him a rather jaded, done with life individual, who steals and walks aimlessly on the streets. But he shows an ounce of decency when he decided to save Song Eun Chae (Im Soo Jung), whom later will find herself between him and his desire for revenge.

Just by reading the plot one can already predict: melodrama. Doesn't help that poor Moo Hyuk ends up having only three months to live due to an accident involving his ex-girlfriend's wedding. Want more? The screenwriter is the same as A Love To Kill (actually, one would say that A Love To Kill's writer is the one who wrote this one, a year before).

However, unlike ALTK, the show is not as depressing. I mean, the atmosphere isn't. There is a lot of space for you to breathe and this time the revenge feels justifiable. Also, it's a good tearjerker, so if you're in the mood to bawl your eyes, this is the right one. Also, Ji Sub does an incredible job of portraying every single nuance of his character.

Worth checking out?  If you like melodramas, tearjerkers and epic romances.

How about you? Did you watch any of these or perhaps others?

Do you like to watch old K-dramas? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Also, sorry for the long post. Here's a gif that probably represents what you'd do to make me stop writing: