by Soju, December 28, 2017
44

I always find myself doing extensive research and reading before starting a new drama. I'm one of the weird ones~ the more spoilers the better. Almost 99.99% of the time I like to know exactly what I'm getting myself into. And most of the time, with plenty of dramas, there are a lot of resource materials to dig into before investing my actual time. 

Although I must admit, Taiwanese dramas are one of the more trickest options to choose from. It's usually always either a hit or a miss for me.  To think how much of a hassle it could be for beginners~ is a bit terrifying since I was once in that exact spot. And I had a lot of misses. A lot. 

That is why, ladies and gentle folks,  I have curated a list of 10 dramas (in no particular order) that may very well be great for beginners to sink their teeth into!

However, the contents of this article are subjective to my own opinion. If you find that you would have some other drama in your own 'Beginner-Friendly' list, please let me know. I do love recommendations!

(Click on the Image to be re-directed)
(Warning: Spoilers ahead)


Year: 2009
Episodes: 23
Genre: Comedy, Romance

Introduction:  

Xue Hai (Show Luo), sole heir of a multimillion dollar inheritance has always been sheltered by his two sisters. Deciding to finally get a slice of independence, he demands to attend a college away from home. While on a road to experiencing new things Xue Hai also decides to keep his fortune and real identity hidden, naming himself Dalang instead (after his favourite TV Cartoon "The Pink Panther"). However, when the certified dork first arrives in Hanzhou, he clashes with the school bully, Bao Zhu (Ranie Yang). Xue Hai's child like innocence leads him into seeing the goodness in Bao Zhu and soon the two fall in love. But, a misunderstanding causes the two lovers to separate. Years later, thinking that Bao Zhu has dumped him, a very bitter Xue Hai has turned himself from a dork into a hunky womanizer who laughs at the face of 'love'.

Then one day he hears her voice over the radio....


Good Points:

  1. Hilarious AS HELL. 
  2. You get the best of both worlds with the male lead~ a cute puppy-like dork, and a sexy angst filled hunk. 
  3.  Seeing as how ridiculous absurd (not in a bad way) some things were, I never thought this drama would be able to make me cry. It did. The female lead's love was something that I hadn't been able to comprehend until the very end. But when I could... damn, that woman could love. 
  4. The chemistry between the couple was great! I even searched if they had ever dated irl.
  5. You get to learn the 'Pink Panther Dance' by heart. 
  6. The role reversal is strong in this one. The female lead is the uncaring, physically strong one & the male lead is the naive, adorable one. 


Warning:

  1. You may not like the male lead's fashion sense. Spoiler: After the time leap, he is first introduced to us in a purple pant, hot pink shirt, and pale pink jacket.
  2.  May contain a good chance of a Second Lead (Wai Lee) Syndrome contraction in the 2nd half. Viewers are adviced. 
  3. Spoiler: Amnesia for the male lead in the second half.
  4. Spoiler: Lots of angst for our female lead in the second half.
  5. The drama could have ended earlier than needed. Although it did not feel draggy, it was still dragged out.
  6. Spoiler for Ending: A Happy Ending with Unsatisfactory bits. I did not like how the male lead went back to being a mushroom head~ sometimes it felt like he had two personalities altogether. I don't know, that part always leaves me confused.

Year: 2013
Episodes: 13
Genre: Music, Comedy, Romance

Introduction:  

The story revolves around a fictional boy band named A.N.JELL. The management company of the idol group A.N.JELL insisted on adding a new singer to the group as the lead vocal, Tai Jing's (Jiro Wang) throat was hurting. However,the new member, Mei Nan (Lyan Cheng), had to go to the States to repair a botched eye job just before signing the contract. His agent came up with the idea of having his twin sister, Gao Mei Nu (Lyan Cheng), a nun-in-training who has to pose as her twin brother and take his place in the group and to stand in for him. The two of them grew up in an orphanage and Mei Nu, who was all set to become a nun, agreed to this charade as she didn't want to spoil her brother's chance of fame which would make it easier to look for their mother.

Good Points:

  1. Much more pleasant to watch then 'You're Beautiful'. (I have not watched the Japanese version, Ikemen Desu Ne)
  2. I thought it was also more romantic than YB.
  3. Less period of angst. Or maybe I did not find the angst in this that effective.
  4. PARK SHIN HYE HAS A CAMEO!
  5. You actually get to see the twin brother in this. Yes, the actress also plays out her twin brother. It's so cool! I think the second female lead, Jiang Xin Yu, (Wang Jenna) even falls for the twin brother~ I could be wrong!!!
  6. The second male lead's (Hwang Jacob) presence was much more intense in this. I don't know~ I felt myself giving him more of my serious attention when compared to Shin Woo (Jung Yong Hwa). 
  7. I thought it had a much more satisfying ending when compared to YB. 


Warning:

  1. The second female lead is still as annoying as ever. 
  2. Expect a little angst. 
  3. You may get Second Lead Syndrome. (I did not because I love Jiro a lot.)
  4. You may get just as attached to this Jeremy (Yo Evan) as you did to the Korean one (Lee Hong Ki)
  5. A very satisfying ending. 

Other versions of this drama:

                                            

                                                          You're Beautiful                                   Ikemen Desu Ne        


Year: 2011
Episodes: 30
Genre: Comedy, Romance

Introduction:  

Two strangers (Ranie Yang and Joseph Chang), one who proposed marriage to his girlfriend (Tiffany Hsu) and the other that expected one from her boyfriend (Kingone Wang) but both get rejected on the same day. They decide that the best way to deal with the rejection was to get drunk, real drunk. During the 24 hours of their crazy drunkenness, these two stranger become fast friends and also get married... to each other. When they finally sober up, they embark on a mission to undo every crazy thing they did while they were drunk and pray that their girl/boyfriend don't find out.

Good Points:

  1. Really good humorous scenes. I couldn't stop blushing and giggling sometimes.
  2. Great plot. Good watch!
  3. Has Rainie Yang. +100 Points!
  4.  It was fun watching the main male lead falling in love with his wife and being straight up with his girlfriend about it.
  5. I liked how Rainie Yang could play the indifference card whenever the second female lead came in flashing her 'secret girlfriend, the one he really is in love with'  card.
  6.  The two main leads have bomb chemistry.
  7.  Usually, in dramas, I see that the male leads have the usual 'model' visuals. I liked how different Joseph's visuals are to the contemporary male leads who have this 'business suit and expensive wine' sort of manly feel to them. But from the get-go, I appreciated Joseph's rough and rugged appeal. It's very attractive in the rawest sort of sense. He isn't your usual sort of male lead 'handsome' but I was taking whatever sort of' handsome' he was trying to hand my way.  Thank you very much for existing, Joseph.
  8. The second female lead gets a prince charming (Price Tom) for her own so it buffers a lot of drama that could have occurred had he not been a part of the plot. +10 POINTS.


Warning:

  1. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE KINGONE AND RAINIE A DRAMA WHERE THEY END UP TOGETHER? I mean no offense, but I found myself wanting Kingone to just disappear. I really ship him with Rainie and it was hard to see him being the second lead again. 
  2. You'll have to endure the second female lead and the male lead being in a secret relationship while using the female lead as a cover. It's not that bad for a while since the female lead's character is pretty alright with it for some time. 
  3. The girlfriend does pull a few of the typical tricks out of her pockets in order to keep her love with her. 
  4. The main male lead's mother is a bit of a pain for a while until she softens up to the female lead. 
  5. Has the 'long lost childhood best friend who enters the scene suddenly and becomes a strong contender' angle. 
  6. Spoiler for ending: Happy ending!
  7.  The story can get a little draggy. It does have 30 episodes after all. 

Year: 2015
Episodes: 18
Genre: Friendship, Romance, Drama, Family

Introduction:  

Because of one simple word from a soothsayer, Pi Ya Nuo (Megan Lai) has been raised as a boy all her life with a promise that she will be able live as her true gender after her 26th birthday. One day by chance she saves underworld mob boss Du Zi Feng (Baron Chen) and his sister (Mandy Tao) . His sister falls in love with Pi Ya Nuo at first sight. Things gets complicated when the she becomes "sworn brothers" with the mob boss, just as her 26th birthday comes closer, and with it her chance to finally live as a woman. As her 26th birthday approaches, she must decide if she wants to return to a woman or continue to be Du Zi Feng's best pal, while finding herself wanting to be something a little bit more.

Good Points:

  1. This was one of the most entertaining things I have ever watched. It's so bad but it's so good. I couldn't get over it. 
  2. Finally, a cross-dressing drama with a female lead who actually looks, behaves, fights, and talks like a man.
  3. You get the best of both worlds with this Megan, she's absolutely beautiful as both a man and a woman. 
  4.  The fighting scenes were really good. 
  5. Beautiful men everywhere! The main male lead (Baron Chen), his friend (Bii), the vet childhood best friend AKA second male lead  (Sean Lee), the evil dude! (Edison Wang), the female lead!!! (Megan Lai) I think I found myself questioning my sexuality more than I questioned some illogical scenes. 
  6. Great OST, kind thanks to Bii for that. 


Warning:

  1. Do not watch this with too much of a serious mind. It's nothing you should take too seriously or analyze too deeply. Just go with the flow and enjoy it as it is. 
  2. No offense to anyone who thought otherwise but I really didn't find Bii's love-line necessary or entertaining. I skipped my merry self out of his partner and his scenes whenever they came on the screen. Think about it now, it's a shame because I really liked Bii's character. Just not his side story.
  3. The villain was too hot to be a villain. It was torture sometimes. 
  4. Almost got myself with a Second Lead Syndrome because I'm biased with Sean. 
  5. It was sort of torturous (like it always is) watching the main male lead realizing that he has feelings for the female lead, a 'man' in his eyes and then being torn over whether he is gay or not.. or what his sexuality is now. 
  6.  Spoiler for the ending:  A very happy ending.

Year: 2010
Episodes: 16
Genre: Comedy, Romance

Introduction:  

Xiang Yu Ping (Jerry Yan), a divorce and inheritance lawyer, is seen by others as cold, selfish, and ruthless. He had taken in his brother's orphans and was in need of a nanny. But after he exhausted his supply of nannies, he still couldn't find one who doesn't fall in love with him or gets scared off by the kids. Fed up, Yu Ping asks his secretary, Yang Duo (Kelly Huang), to find a nanny that meets his requirements. She recommends her younger sister, Yang Guo (Ella Chen), for the job; assuring Yu Ping that her tomboyish sister will not fall in love with him by lying that she does not like men at all.

Good Points:

  1. I liked how plain and truly boyish the female lead looked. To me, it depicted the normal female population (including myself) who do not look like a 'could be model' with perfect visuals and amazing bodies.  
  2. Ella is a great actress~ I liked her comic timing. She excels in this. 
  3. Adorable kids~
  4. The male lead falls in love first folks, and when he realises that she isn't into women, he fights for it. That's always such a pleasure to watch. 
  5. Personally, I thought the main characters had very good chemistry. 
  6. The plot was bearable. Nothing new~ but nothing the exact same either. 
  7. I loved how clear the main male lead was with his ex-girlfriend. A direct man is always welcome. Very very welcome. Very very rare though. 
  8. This drama has a very happy playful vibe, had me giggling like a teenager most of the time.


Warning:

  1. Now I'm not trying to diss anyone because I love both of these folks but every time I watched the female lead I thought I was watching a female version of Suga (Yoongi) from BTS. So to all my fellow ARMY... be aware. 
  2. Annoyingly delusional second female lead alert (Amanda Chou)
  3. No chance of getting Second Lead Syndrome. I thought the second male lead (Michael Zhang) was a repulsive rat. Especially when he decided to help his delusional crush AKA second female lead out by making the female lead fall in love with him. No amount of redemption could make me like him again. 
  4. It drags out a little bit... 
  5. Spoiler for ending: A happy ending :)

Year: 2015
Episodes: 20
Genre: Romance, Drama, Melodrama

Introduction:  

A man loses everything in one day in a tragic car accident. Fang Zhan Cheng (Kingone Wang) lost his fiancée (Lorene Ren), Liang Luo Han, but he also lost his own eyesight. Devastated by the loss of his fiancée, Zhan Cheng is inconsolable and even refuses a corneal transplant that could restore his vision. But his life takes an unexpected turn when Wang Yu Xi (Nita Xia), who looks exactly like his fiancée, is hired to become Zhan Cheng’s day nurse. Another young woman (Lorene Ren), Xu Ya Ti, receives Luo Han’s heart in a transplant and begins to exhibit many of Luo Han’s mannerisms and personality. Caught between a woman who looks exactly like his beloved dead fiancée and another woman who behaves just like her, what will Zhan Cheng do?

Good Points:

  1. Kingone plays one hell of a blind man tbh! I don't usually talk about actors' acting skills because I think I should not since I hold no merit myself but DAMN THIS MAN CAN ACT!
  2. Don't take the second female lead's part in the introduction very seriously. The main lead knew exactly who he wanted, and it had nothing to do with his dead fiancee. 
  3. The plot was something out of a fairytale that I never knew I wanted to see. It was simply so new and beautiful to me. 
  4. The OST is the most touching thing ever. I loved the OST so much I found myself on Youtube looking for it after the drama ended. 
  5. The second female lead is not crazy mad about the male lead. Feel free to not expect any scheming from her. 
  6. The main female lead lives on this mountain town and the only way to get there is by cable cars. I really liked that idea. 
  7. The chemistry and scenes between the main leads are great! For instance, this once-!SPOILER ALERT!- while the male lead was still blind, he and the female lead made a trip to this hotel and they were walking around when the female lead sprained her ankle. The main lead gave her a piggyback ride. One of the cutest things ever!
  8. I feel like the main lead was very sorted when it came to his feelings. Not once did he view the female lead as his dead fiance- since he was blind when they first got introduced, he had the opportunity of meeting her personality first and that is what he fell in love with. To him, she was always a different woman and I really appreciated that. It didn't feel like our female lead was just a substitute for our male lead. Even when the second female lead arrived and the male lead found out that she had his dead fiance's heart- although he did show a soft spot for her, never once did he falter from his feelings for the female lead. 


Warning:

  1. Sigh...  I have a soft spot for Sean Lee who played the ex-boyfriend AKA the second male lead in this. Even though he was ungrateful, even though he cheated on her, even though he did a million crappy things that I hated him for. I still couldn't truly hate him. So when he-SPOILER- died in the end in order to save the female lead from a fatal crash, ~ I was devastated. If you're like me, you will cry like a baby too. Him dying was the only thing that made this drama's melodrama tag real for me.
  2.  Where the male lead was very patient and constant about his feelings for the female lead. She was very insecure. Be warned, you may be annoyed. Spoiler: So when the second female lead showed up and the female lead about out about the heart situation, she decided to become a noble self-less idiot and donate her boyfriend to the other girl because seeing the female lead and the male lead was giving her heart burns or something. *rolls eyes*
  3. Ending spoiler: A very bittersweet ending because Sean dies, leaving his 'girlfriend' pregnant.

Year: 2005, 2007
Episodes: 20, 20
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Manga

Introduction:  It Started With a Kiss

After an earthquake destroyed Xiang Qin's (Ariel Lin) house, she and her father moved in with the family of her father's college buddy, Uncle Ah Li. To her surprise, the kind and amicable aunt and uncle are the parents of her cold and distant schoolmate Jiang Zhi Shu (Joe Cheng), a genius with an IQ of 200 whom not too long ago rejected her endless crush on him. Will the close proximity give her a second chance to win Zhi Shu's heart? Or, will her love for him end under his cold words? What happens when there is competition for his heart?

Introduction : They Kiss Again

Even after marriage, they experience problems and interferences within their marriage such as mistaken pregnancy, misunderstandings, and new found jealousies. Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu switch to medical school to become nurse and doctor. During that time, Zhi Shu meets new rivals who wish to outdo him and Xiang Qin makes four new friends,and one of them likes her and wishes to replace Zhi Shu.
How will their lives turn out to be?


Good Points:

  1. Addicting!
  2. One of the better remakes, definitely better than, Playful Kiss, the Korean version. 
  3. The first season was great. The second season was even better!
  4. Great chemistry between Ariel and Joe. Honestly, although Ariel made one of the dumb Kotokos... I still found myself liking her a lot. 
  5. Joe was definitely one of the more expressive Naokis. I like that a lot. I think he came in second for being expressive, right after Mike's Naoki in Kiss Me Thai
  6. Jiro Wang was an absolute cutie in this!


Warning:

  1.  Oversmart, rude as hell male lead.
  2. Dumb and completely in love female lead
  3. Lots of devotion and lots of casting aside
  4. Lots of jealousy and drama
  5. Famous umbrella scene
  6. HOT honeymoon scene in the second season!
  7. Sigh, love rivals don't leave our poor Kotoko even when she's married to the male lead. Bless her.
  8.  HAPPY ENDING in both seasons.

Other versions of this drama: (Dramas & Movies)

   

In order of my liking:

Kiss Me -> Mischevious Kiss 1&2 -> It started with a kiss & They Kiss Again -> Mischevious kiss 1, 2, &3 ->Playful Kiss 1&2.

( I have not watched Miss in Kiss or Itazura na kiss 1996 yet)


Year: 2013
Episodes: 21
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Life, Drama

Introduction:  

Qi Yi (Aaron Yan) is a boss from hell. He is worse than a control freaking dictator. He is a saboteur of office romances. Cheng Liang Liang (Puff Kuo) was tasked by her coworkers to break down the boss' defense and have him lift the anti-office romance rule.

Good Points:

  1. A fun plot.
  2. Aaron Yan always does have good chemistry with his co-stars. However, I personally think that he has the best chemistry with Puff so far. 
  3. It has this Boss & Me reference where the main female lead looks at her goldfish and says "Shan Shan lets eat!" (I love Boss & Me!)
  4. Steamy make out scenes? Yes!


Warning:

  1. Aaron's hairstyle just defuses any sort of sincerity he wants to show. Personal opinion only.
  2. I couldn't understand how shorts are considered a part of formal wardrobe? 
  3. Spoiler: I almost dropped this drama when the second female lead kissed the male lead and he didn't pull away instantly. Actually, I've noticed that Aaron always does pick dramas like this (Fall in Love with Me) where he either marries the second female lead or he kisses her. Maybe it's just me. 
  4.  Got draggy towards the end. The final was worth it though. 
  5. Second male syndrome? Yes, please. A lot. 
  6. Happy ending.

Year: 2005
Episodes: 20
Genre:  Comedy, Romance, School

Introduction:  

After finally getting the courage to confess her feelings, Qi Yue (Rainie Yang) was handing her love letter to Yuan Yi (Kingone Wang), but by a stroke of bad luck, he did not see and walked passed her. The person standing in front of her was the troublemaker of the school, infamously known for his devilish ways - Jiang Meng (Mike He). The devil will get what he wants, and the object of his desire was Qi Yue. Although having a cruel exterior, Jiang Meng's heart is kind and caring, which truly touched Qi Yue. The big problem remained - Jiang Meng is the son of the man Qi Yue's mother is going to marry.

Good Points:

  1. A bit mind-blowing to be honest.

I was initially very very much against watching this. I mean 'step-sibling love'? No, thanks! But then one fine morning I had absolutely nothing to watch and my cousin sister was over~ we both somehow decided that watching this together would result in this being 'not that bad'. What logic brought conclusion about~ I have no idea. But we did begin watching it... and never looked back.

  1. Mike He made for a very delicious bad boy.
  2.  Fire chemistry between Mike He and Rainie Yang. 
  3. A very entertaining plot. 
  4. It has a very quick pace. So even though a lot of mess happens, they get cleared up fairly quickly as well. 
  5. It's pretty advanced for a 2005 drama. Actually, I've noticed how older Asian dramas seem more advanced than most dramas of today's age. Another example: Mars. 

How was this advanced? Spoiler:  Ahem!! They have it. More than once. 


Warning:

  1. Has a lot of typical cliche plot points. 
  2. More teen oriented but who am I to say you can not watch it? I'm 22 for Lord's sake!
  3. Ending Spoiler: The male lead leaves the female lead to go to Italy and be with his mum, but then he comes back in the end. So... happy ending?
  4. When you feel like everything is going right... shit will drop. 
  5. There is this constant awareness that their parents are getting married and this is potentially illegal. That didn't sit well with me. 

Year: 2004
Episodes: 21
Genre: Action, Suspense, Romance, School, Drama, Manga

Introduction:  

Han Qi Luo (Hsu Barbie), an extremely shy art student went to the same college as Chen Ling (Vic Chou), a popular playboy. By chance one day they met at a park when CL asked HQL for direction to a hospital to visit his friend who was injured in a bike racing incident. Hurriedly HQL drew him a map, unknowing that she was drawing on the back of one of her sketches. She ran off before he could thank her. He then noticed the sketch of a mother holding a baby and was touched. In school, HQL was sexually harassed by a teacher and CL came to her rescue. They began to grow fond of each other but each of them had a secret past that needed to be addressed and overcome before they could accept and love one another freely.

Good Points:

  1. This drama had a very different feel to it~ so if you're not afraid of a very heavy, realistic plot and characters... this is the one for you. 
  2. The two main leads had real chemistry. Their whole relationship just felt so raw and real.. sometimes I felt like I was intruding.
  3. A tag they missed in this was #supernatural because! SPOILER! that twin of his was still roaming around as a ghost yo!
  4. Amazing OST!
  5. This drama had some amazing heart touching quotes, to be honest. I think I'll share my favourite here~

"In a forest, there was a young boy tree and a young girl tree. They loved each other, but they grew on opposite ends of the forest. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t even touch each other. Only when the wind blew, could their leaves float together. Still, the girl tree felt very lonely. Afterwards, a fire broke out in the forest. Both of them died and became smoke drifting gently into the sky. But the girl tree felt very happy because they could finally be together forever.” - MARS. 2004.

 (Thank you @Chrisstina for sharing this quote in the comments section of the drama's page. I really did love this one so much!)

Warning:

  1. Potentially may leave you in a very dark space when this ends. Please keep a very light drama as a follow up for this. You will need something to lighten up your mood. Trust me.
  2. Lots of real-life issues = lots of angst. 
  3. Lots of crying. A LOT OF IT. 
  4. Happy ending.

Other versions of this drama:

                                                             


Honorable Mention:

Heartbeat Love
(Taiwan, 2012,5 episodes~10 minutes each)

 I think it's sweet, short and simple enough for a beginner to watch. :D Enjoy!


And that is my list of Beginner-Friendly dramas!
What about you? Do you have other dramas that you would keep on your own list?

If so, please do share! I love recommendations!

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