If I don’t like a kdrama in the first 2-3 episodes, I usually stop. These ones I’ve watched to completion. I had high hopes for these kdramas but was disappointed after spending 16-20 episodes of my time. They’ve either had stellar reviews, high expectations based on the cast or writers, or high viewer ratings. Some of them are still worth watching, others should just be avoided.
I apologize to anyone who is about to be offended by this post. I understand how extreme fans can be. This is strictly my personal opinion based on all of the kdramas I’ve watched. I don’t work on TV. These shows just didn’t do it for me.
The King: Eternal Monarch
Lee Min Ho ruined this show for me. This show had beautiful cinematography, an extremely creative story, and all of the other actors were so good. Lee Min Ho seems to only know how to play the rich d-bag and was very stiff when he had to play the nice guy, King Lee Gon. Kim Go Eun 100% carried him through this show. The rescue scene was so perfectly done but his facial expression was completely flat when he was supposed to be rescuing his love from her death.
The fear and anxiety and subsequent relief in Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun)’s face were definitely felt. Another issue I had with this show, Tae Eul goes from a strong and fierce cop to a meek helpless damsel in distress as the show progresses which is so disappointing. The side characters made this show somewhat watchable. Woo Do Hwan’s incredible acting range is displayed when he goes between the goofy sweet Jo Eun Seob to the sharp stoic Jo Yung. There was absolutely no chemistry between Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho) and Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun).
The story was very creative but was confusing at some points. Using time travel and parallel universes are sometimes difficult to execute and this show could have been done better. The opening scene is the murder of Lee Gon’s father and how Lee Gon is rescued. The person who rescues Lee Gon was his future self. The show should have stuck to either parallel universes or time travel and incorporating both were overly ambitious. This show was a disappointment because of a weak male lead and disorganized storyline.
I love Bae Suzy. She is a romantic chemistry goddess and is super cute. Only the last two episodes in this show were actually good. It did not need to be 20 episodes. There were a lot of wasted scenes with all of the back and forth between Noh Eul (Bae Suzy) and Shin Joon Young (Kim Woo Bin). It would have made a really good 2-hour movie instead.
Their strange abusive relationship took away from his illness and last days. It was so frustrating to watch. Suzy’s character, Noh Eul is this clumsy and pathetic woman who is determined to win over Joon Young and she endures so much abuse from him even before knowing he is sick. She is treated like garbage by him during the entire show and she loyally sticks by his side right up to the day he died. The abusive boyfriend trope made this show extremely hard to watch.
Do You Like Brahms
I watched this show because I like Kim Min Jae from Dr. Romatic and Park Eun Bin from Hello My Twenties. Maybe I went into this show with the wrong expectations. This show was just flat. There was no climax and zero character development. The lead female Chae Song Ah (Park Eun Bin) is supposed to be a passionate violin player that started late and got into a prestigious school.
She started as an underdog and her character never actually improves as a violinist which she is supposed to be so passionate about. You don’t feel the relationship developing between Song Ah and Joon Young (Kim Min Jae). Both of the lead actors are very green and this type of show is highly dependent on the actor’s skills to make it successful.
A show with a similar vibe that was way better executed was When the Weather is Fine which had two very experienced and talented actors, Park Min Young and Seo Kang Joon, or Something in the Rain with Son Ye Jin and Jung Hae In. Do You Like Brahms was pretentious, boring, and frustrating to watch? I did not like Brahms.
Another show to highlight the beautiful man with no acting skills, Lee Min Ho. This show is based on a Japanese manga series. This show had some enjoyable parts but it could have been done much better. Firstly, it needed a different male lead. Someone with more believable fighting skills and who can actually act and not just flare his nostrils and turn red. This would not be an easy task for most actors but someone more skilled would have made this show much more enjoyable. I personally would have cast Lee Joong Ki as the male lead Yoon Sung /Poochai. He has the action cinema skills (he does a lot of his own fight scenes and has actual martial arts training), is a much more convincing actor, and he can bring darkness to the role, like his characters Wang So in Moon Lovers and Baek Hee Sung in Flower of Evil. If they wanted someone taller and cuter, Ji Chang Wook would have been better.
I think Lee Joong Ki and Ji Chang Wook are superior actors and have acting skills. Lee Min Ho may have the looks and height that everyone seems to love but he does not have the acting or fighting skills for this role. Another thing I would change about this show is the overall vibe. When I read the synopsis I expected more dark anime-like characters. The actor Kim Sang Joon played Jin Pyo, who was Yoon Sung’s foster father, was the dark anime character I was picturing. I was kind of expecting something like Kill Bill, especially the scene where Lucy Liu jumps on the table, takes small steps because of her tight kimono to chop someone’s head off. Maybe not as graphic.
I love Park Min Young and she plays Kim Na Na, a bodyguard for the president. I don’t like how her character was written as always getting into trouble and being rescued. She’s a bodyguard! She doesn’t need to be rescued! I hated that they put my smart amazing dongsaeng in the corner like that! I was seriously disappointed by this one and stopped watching anything with Lee Min Ho in it. I realized he always needs a strong female actress to carry him. For example, Koo Hye Sun in Boys Over Flowers, Kim Go Eun in The King: Eternal Monarch (even though the show was a flop), and Jun Ji Hyun in Legend of the Blue Sea. His good looks and female partners are what makes him so successful as an actor, otherwise, he needs to go back to acting school.
Hwarang and The K2
Three words: useless female lead. Both of these shows needed better female lead characters. This theme is just played out now and needs to stop. In Hwarang, Ah-Ro, ( Go Ara) starts off as this intelligent strong woman who is very clever and creative, then she transitions to this damsel in distress who is always being tied up.
Princess Suk Myung ( Seo Yeji), was the saving grace for all the feminists and made up for Ah-Ro. The chemistry between Ah-Ro and Moo Myung (Park Seo Joon) is non-existent. Park Seo Joon can turn on the romantic chemistry with any female actress but this pairing didn’t work. Their love story became an insignificant sub-plot that the show would have been just as successful without Ah-Ro in it. Also, what’s up with that weird brother-sister romance? It’s gross! Aside from that, the rest of the show was a fantastic bromantic show with gorgeous men and still worth watching.
In The K2, Go Anna (Im Yoona) is completely useless. The show was only good for the action scenes and the villains. The story was boring and there was nothing about this show that wowed me. If it was just meant to be a cheesy action series, it needed more action and more cheesy comedy. I don’t need to know the backstory of Kim Je-Ha’s (Ji Chang Wook) tragic past love. Don’t waste your time with this one.
Song Hye Kyo is so beautiful but she only has one facial expression. She is perpetually sad. I kept watching the show in hopes of getting better and Park Bo Gum is so cute. I loved the scenes in Havana and it was beautiful but the show itself was straight-up boring. I was particularly annoyed that Cha Soo Hyun (Song Hye Kyo) is the CEO of a company and has her company saved by a man, Kim Jin-Hyuk (played by the loveable Park BoGum).
They had to make sure that even though Soo Hyun is a perfectly capable CEO of a large company needs to be rescued by a man. I was also annoyed that Jin Hyuk kept telling her, “I will protect you”. She does not need to be protected by any man. I am really confused why the ratings were so high. Other than Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo’s beautiful faces, there is nothing entertaining about this show.
W: Two Worlds
This show had so many great reviews on so many sites and I like Lee Jong Suk as an actor, so I obviously had to watch it. I did not like it. Firstly, I don’t think how they made the female lead, Yeon Joo (Han Hyo Joo) so stupid and clumsy is realistic.
She was a cardiothoracic surgeon! No one in that profession, especially a woman is stupid if they can survive that much school, standardized exams, and abuse from their seniors. Cardiothoracic surgeons cut peoples’ hearts while the hearts are still moving. I would not want Yeon Joo cutting my chest open. She has to be rescued and protected by her father’s cartoon.
Secondly, I couldn’t open my mind to the fact that Yeon Joo was in love with a cartoon character that came to life. This is not even close to Lee Jong Suk’s best work. If you want to see Lee Jong Suk bring his A-game, watch Doctor Stranger instead. I will likely get skewered for this unpopular opinion.
Another Miss Oh
Why did this show have such high ratings? Was there nothing else to watch at the time it was released? I hated this show so much because Hae Young (Seo Hyun Jin) was a complete moron and clumsy. I found her character to be unrelatable and frustrating to watch. I’m not a huge Seo Hyun Jin fan either.
I’m not sure if it’s because all the characters I’ve seen her as (Another Miss Oh, Dr. Romantic, Let’s Eat 2, Temperature of Love) were super obnoxious or if she is just an over actor. I tried very hard to like her. Was it supposed to be funny? I found her character in this show to be extremely cringy and pathetic. Just don’t watch it. There are a few funny parts and Kim Mi Kyung, who plays Hae Young’s mom was fantastic as always. She is everyone’s favorite drama mom. I also did not like the male lead and the story was stupid. Why are we defining women as the pretty one and the plain one and making an entire show about it?
I watched this one when I started on my kdrama rabbit hole. This was a terrible knockoff of Boys Over Flowers. If you’ve made it this far in the post, you will know how much I don’t like Lee Min Ho, as an actor. Well, he’s in this one as Kim Tan, the male lead, and the female lead is Cha Eun Sang, played by Park Shin Hye.
My main grievance about this show is that Eun Sang is severely mistreated and super useless. Tan is an asshole. I don’t see the appeal of this show. I think people generally just want to see the young and rich on TV. The story is about the typical rich guy who saves the poor girl garbage. Newsflash, we don’t need saving! Kang Ha Neul was the only good thing about this show. I’m sure every kdrama watcher has seen this one but if you haven’t, you’re not missing much.
Memories of Alhambra
Again with the useless female lead. Hee Joo (Park Shin Hye) runs a bed and breakfast in Valencia and she is always crying and cowering away when anything happens. I mean come on, she runs a bed in breakfast in a busy area of Spain with lots of tourists and she’s scared of her own shadow. I personally don’t think Park Shin Hye is a great actress and I think she became popular because she got lucky with the roles that she got. She’s always playing the helpless useless female.
I know she played a badass in The Doctors and Sisyphus but I found her extremely stiff when she was given the role of a strong female. Her crying also makes me uncomfortable instead of feeling the character’s pain with her. The only show that I liked her character in was maybe Pinocchio. Aside from her crappy character, the story itself felt unfinished. It was such a waste because the filming location was so beautiful and the story had the potential to be much better. What the hell with the ending? Does anyone have a reasonable explanation?