Favorite Dramas

It takes a lot to get added to this list.  I don't ever add dramas I love immediately after finishing them the first time.  Ultimately, beyond keeping me invested the entire time I watch, they must become an obsession in my thoughts for months afterward to earn a spot.

Dana 2 days ago
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  • Secret Garden
    1. Secret Garden

    Korean Drama - 2010, 20 episodes


    My gateway drama to the obsession; it will always be my number one, faults and all.  Hyun Bin was my first love in dramaland, and his performance won me over to dramas forever.

  • The Bridal Mask
    2. The Bridal Mask

    Korean Drama - 2012, 28 episodes


    The closest I have found to my favorite trifecta in Korean drama - dark, beautiful scenery, memorable score and soundtrack, and deeper thematic plot.  Not to mention a reluctant hero with chips on his shoulder and an equally complicated second male lead to counterbalance his choices.  It's pure <3 for me.

  • Battle of Changsha
    3. Battle of Changsha

    Chinese Drama - 2014, 32 episodes


    A rich depiction of a family's journey through World War II that struck me with its honesty and care with the story, and the realistic acting brought this to the top of the list.

  • Reply 1997
    4. Reply 1997

    Korean Drama - 2012, 16 episodes


    I'm a sucker for coming of age stories that weave romance into the plot, and this group of friends has my heart.  It's unconventional compared to the normal Korean drama method, and I love getting a taste for Korean culture in a more realistic setting.

  • Empress Ki
    5. Empress Ki

    Korean Drama - 2013, 51 episodes


    As a headstrong woman myself, I love watching one on screen, and Seung Nyang is the best.  No, really.  No doormat ladies to be found here.  The drama length gave the writer time to slow burn the better plot lines too, and it was worth the wait.  Not to mention the excellent score and stunning costumes.

  • Full House
    6. Full House

    Thai Drama - 2014, 20 episodes


    The quality of plot isn't on par with most of my favorites, but I will freely admit to being obsessed with the couple chemistry.  Aomike is a drug.  And whoever decided to showcase Mike in blues and grays is a genius.  I force myself to one rewatch of this show per year. 

  • Pride
    7. Pride

    Japanese Drama - 2004, 11 episodes


    Another pick that nails the couple chemistry, but unlike Full House Thai, Pride also excels in other plots too - especially the camaraderie and bromance of the team.  And the soundtrack was epic.  I didn't think I would enjoy American music in a drama, but Queen just...works.  And to top it off, I was sure that Kimura Takuya would be like so many kidols trying unsuccessfully to act, but that man owns the screen.

  • Healer
    8. Healer

    Korean Drama - 2014, 20 episodes


    The soundtrack for this is probably my favorite of everything, but it's almost impossible for me to deny the pull of a masked hero like Healer.  Plus, I enjoyed the couple strength as they fought against the bad guys in the drama - they weren't pulled away by the slightest sign of trouble like so many others are.  They stand and fight for what they believe in.

  • King2Hearts
    9. King2Hearts

    Korean Drama - 2012, 20 episodes


    This drama goes back to my early days, so there is a strong nostalgic pull, but what I believe sets it apart is the soundtrack and score and the evolution of Lee Jae Ha's character from jaded playboy to king of a nation.  I like its darker quirkiness, too.

  • Cruel City
    10. Cruel City

    Korean Drama - 2013, 20 episodes


    While not quite as good Bridal Mask for me, Cruel City is also playing on my trifecta of happiness - dark, beautiful scenery, memorable score and soundtrack, and deeper thematic plot.  And I just love a dark hero that goes his own way.

  • What Happens to My Family?
    11. What Happens to My Family?

    Korean Drama - 2014, 53 episodes


    A complete surprise and the newest addition to my favorites list.  I admit that there is still annoying, over-the-top comedy that you expect, but the true strength of the drama is the acting and the main story line amongst the characters.  It's practically impossible to not identify with the characters, as we all take life and love for granted.

  • Marriage, Not Dating
    12. Marriage, Not Dating

    Korean Drama - 2014, 16 episodes


    I don't love romcom like I do drama, but Marriage, Not Dating is one of the few romcoms that actually had me laughing.  When I want something light, this is my go-to.  I also loved how the family drama worked its way into the OTP relationship in a more realistic way.