Category: Must watch Kdramas

Unnie Recommends: Romantic Doctor Kim 2/Doctor Romantic 2

Fast-paced, adrenaline pumping surgical action, with a side of truth bombs and a potential romance, Romantic Doctor Kim 2 (Season 2) or Doctor Romantic 2 is back with a vengeance this 2020! Korean dramas rarely do a 2nd season of its shows but I’m glad that they decided to do it with Romantic Doctor Kim.

A quick background of the show is that the titular protagonist, Master Kim, is a genius yet unconventional (Not to mention brutally honest) doctor who works at a provincial hospital called Doldam Hospital. Aside from dealing with various medical scenarios within range of the hospital, a power struggle between him and upper management was one of the main conflicts of the 1st season. That story continues here as the villain returns to make Master Kim’s life just a little bit harder and a new breed of doctors battle with their personal issues as they set foot in Doldam.

Current Impression

Being someone who watched the 1st season, it’s heartwarming to see the familiar faces of the staff, listening to the the same background music, and remembering the overall intensity the show projected. I’m glad that they gave a short yet sweet explanation on why the main character doctors prior (Seo Hyun Jin as Dr. Seo Jung and Yoo Yeon Seok as Kang Dong Joo) left the hospital. I’m a bit sad they didn’t end up together but I could just imagine that they’re in a long distance relationship for now as they continue to pursue their careers, hee😙

A 2nd season means fresh faces and various potential for new storylines to get excited about and I couldn’t be happier!💙 Lee Sung Kyung is back in a new role as Cha Eun Jae, a 2nd year surgery resident working for Godae Hospital (Doldam is a branch hospital of Godae). Due to an incident of her getting caught performing surgery under the influence of medication, she takes the reluctant option of working at Doldam hospital instead of getting suspended. Meanwhile, Ahn Hyo Seop (Abyss) plays Seo Woo Jin, a smart doctor who has money problems and is treated as an outcast for a whistleblowing incident. He takes a job offer from Master Kim but with a deal that he gets paid USD10,000, by whatever means necessary, if Dr. Romatic deems his skills and attitude worthy enough.

Being rivals in medical school, Eun Jae and Woo Jin don’t exactly have a friendly relationship. There are some flashbacks indicating that Woo Jin might have feelings for Eun Jae but the latter is crushing on another doctor who happens to be working at Doldam. I felt butterflies in my stomach with their chemistry and I think it’s because Ahn Hyo Seop is a good actor. I hope this show further elevates him into becoming a male kdrama star.

What always captures my attention on medical kdramas is the variety of cases/situations that are featured in 1 or 2 episodes and Romantic Doctor Kim 2 is very skilled at this. Though I don’t totally understand the medical terms and why for example, a patient would get worse one minute after, it’s fun seeing them try to solve the problem like a puzzle. Getting to work with Master Kim is no easy feat as he is infamous for having a temper and doesn’t tolerate excuses. Seeing him in action once again is magic and having to interact with a new and younger generation will prove challenging, but it’s a chance for him to impart the tough love guidance he is known for😊

If you have the time, I urge you to watch the 1st season which has 20 episodes (Due to high ratings) but if you’re pressed for time, you can always watch Romantic Doctor Kim 2/Dr. Romantic 2 and still have a great kdrama experience!👨🏻‍⚕️

Unnie Recommends: Crash Landing on You

Often or not, the path to true happiness isn’t always smooth sailing. You encounter unpleasant bumps with other people, go thru turbulence before achieving your goals, and sometimes crash hard on problems that you never saw coming. But the most fulfilling experiences come from the collisions that bring out the best version of yourself💥

With North and South Korea in unification, Crash Landing on You is such a timely kdrama to show a wider audience how the people in the former live out their everyday lives. The premise of the show is ridiculous (A woman is caught in a paragliding accident that whisks her all the way to North Korea) but it’s a refreshing change to the usual romcom story arc. It still applies the normal formula of star-crossed lovers falling in love but at least the details are different, hee💞

Current Impression

Our titular crash landed person is Yoon Se Ri (Portrayed by Son Ye Jin) — a confident and smart character who although is the CEO/ladyboss of her own company, she exudes a playful and warmhearted aura. Poised to take over her dad’s position in their (estranged) family business, she unfortunately encounters a paragliding accident and has to navigate her way in North Korea. This is where she meets her Prince charming, clad in green uniform and a stern expression.

Falling (literally) on Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok (Played by Hyun Bin), he is unable to capture her as she is able to run away from him as he had stepped on a landmine. When Se Ri doesn’t follow his advice, she ends up in the nearby village and he luckily takes her in his care. Jeong Hyeok is a by the book kind of man and although seems aloof, he actually listens and is considerate of Se Ri’s plight. It was an eye opening sequence of scenes as Se Ri witnesses old school methods used by Jeong Hyeok and his unit to cook, store food/ingredients, and have no technological equipment like a cellphone to communicate.

An added conflict to the story is Jeong Hyeok’s higher in command comrades who support underhanded activities (Ex. Tomb Raiding) and since he is harboring a potential spy, he and his unit will certainly get into a lot of trouble. Each episode also features an epilogue where previous scenes or a new one is shown to further develop the story, I like it as it adds more depth and color to the show. I already like Se Ri and Jeong Hyeok’s individual personalities and I can’t wait to watch how the former deals with her existence (and eventually escape!) in North Korea and how the latter will fight against his bosses and uphold his principles.

Crash Landing on You soared to great heights in establishing interest and romcom feels with its first 2 episodes. I’m excited for the journey that Se Ri and Jeong Hyeok will take together and how they heal their wounds moving forward. Plus the fact that both the leads are rumored to be dating in real life is also a nice extra treat❤️

Unnie Recommends: Love with Flaws

Misunderstandings and an undeniable twist of fate are what often pushes 2 characters into falling in love in romantic comedies. It’s not about finding a perfect partner but instead, it’s choosing to love and accept someone’s imperfections because making mistakes is what makes us human.

How we get to the point of love is a personal journey and this kdrama, Love with Flaws, will surely teach us a thing or two about wrong assumptions, forgiveness, and liking the last person we expected to like!💥

Current Impression

Love with Flaws is about a woman, Joo Seo Yeon, who hates handsome men because she gets into all sorts of unfortunate predicaments due to her 3 good-looking brothers. She equates handsome men to having a mean and untrustworthy character. She crosses paths with her former classmate, Lee Kang Woo, who has irritable bowel syndrome due to a traumatic event involving her when they were kids. Seo Yeon is a gym teacher in the school where Kang Woo will become the chief director so expect a lot of pettiness, unpleasantries, and sparks to fly between our 2 leads!

The first 4 episodes had slow moments and it introduced a lot of characters but the laughable moments and inevitable tension between our 2 leads were firmly established. Seo Yeon’s brothers, her best friend, a potential 2nd leading man, and other characters will certainly make this kdrama all the more colorful🌈 Seo Yeon’s personality is a responsible sibling and cares about her students’ welfare even outside school, while Kang Woo is the son of a wealthy family and being reluctantly groomed to work in the business. As adults, I feel so bad for Kang Woo who gets diarrhea after meeting Seo Yeon💩

Love with Flaws is a classic enemies turned into lovers kdrama with a side of butt clenching moments and brewing relationships between the unlikeliest of people. Laugh the stress of your days away and add this korean drama to your weekly TV habit😁

Unnie Recommends: FAILing in Love

A simple premise tangled with complicated emotions, FAILing in Love, is a kdrama told from the perspective of 2 friends who seemingly like each other but because of wrong timing, awkward moments, and, well… life, getting together is not as easy as it seems.

It’s been awhile since I recommended a new korean drama since all the current ones premiered around the same time. FAILing in Love only has 10 episodes so delving into this when you’ve already got a stacked line-up of TV shows to watch shouldn’t be a problem!

Current Impression

Wanting to have a girlfriend already, the male main character perspective is told by Kang Pa Rang, an 18-year old high school student who has been rejected by every girl he asked out. Feeling fed up, he decides to ask out his close friend, Lee Si Won, who happens to be the main female perspective of the show. Si Won does like Pa Rang ever since they were kids but she’s never admitted it to him. When he asks her out, she denies the fact that she likes him and this leaves him confused.

There’s also a rumor that Pa Rang’s friend, Lee Si Eon, is gay since he has never shown an interest in girls and seems to be rudely affectionate only to Pa Rang. I’m not yet convinced that Si Eon is gay because there are little signs that he likes Si Won. It would be interesting if Si Eon indeed liked Pa Rang more than as a friend but we’ll see as the episodes progess. I like that even in the 1st 2 episodes, we got to know a little bit of each character’s personality already😊 Pa Rang as an awkward teen who has separation anxiety issues, Si Won is a popular and caring friend, while Si Eon is aloof but mindful towards the people he cares about.

FAILing in Love applies the familiar premise of high school students getting their first real taste of love, uncertainty, and making mistakes. The light comedy and subtle display of emotions are fun and not at all boring to watch. If you’re looking for something laid-back to tune into yet still has substance, you can’t go wrong with this kdrama💫

Unnie Recommends: 3 Reasons Extraordinary You is a kdrama to tune into!

It’s comforting to know that we are the heroes/heroines of our own story, but what if you find out that you’re merely the supporting character of someone else’s fairytale? Would you resign yourself to the grand scheme of fate or will you try and change the path laid out for you? Our protagonist, or rather, supporting heroine, Eun Dan Oh, gets the shock of her life when she discovers that not only is she a character of a comic book, but that she’s only an extra!🤯

Extraordinary You offers a fresh perspective on leading roles as a supporting character realizes that she isn’t human and her life’s purpose is to serve as a bridge between the real leading lady and man of the book . Funny, entertaining, and has stunning cinematography and comic book style graphics, this kdrama is certainly a page turner in its own league.

Current Impression

*As of this writing, I’ve only watched until episode 4 of this kdrama.

It’s an age old question of destiny vs. freewill as Dan Oh goes to great lengths to change her predetermined fate as a student with a heart condition and is engaged to one of her classmates.

1. Ever wondered if a minor character told the main story in their perspective? In this comic book universe, this is how extras live and feel their existence.

Dan Oh first realizes that something is not right when she experiences memory loss such as when she was about to take a test in class; in the blink of an eye, she is done with her exam, with answers and all. With the help of another extra character, she learns that she has become self aware and that’s why she recognizes these gaps between scenes.

She also finds out that despite her nice background of being rich, kindhearted, and well loved by her classmates, she is not the heroine of the story. Entitled “Secret”, the comic book is set in Seuli high school where a love story between two of her other classmates, Oh Nam Ju and Yeo Ju Da, takes place. Along with this revelation, she comprehends the rules governing the comic book realm and realizes that despite wanting to say or feel something else, she speaks and acts how she ought to according to how her character is supposed to act.

Although she can act freely at times and upset the course of the comic book’s story, things always go back to how the writer intended events to occur. Actions such as not paying attention in class, wanting to buy strawberry milk, and avoiding accidents are attempted by Dan Oh but she hears the sound of a page turning a few seconds later and she goes back to her original planned scene and story. Frustrating right? That is, until one fateful day…

2. You’ll surely root and hate the characters of the comic book as each person has a distinct role to fill.

Like any book, each tale has a set of characters to pique our interests. It follows the bullied heroine and the bad boy with a heart of gold type of romance, complete with a 2nd male lead who falls in love with the leading lady. From left to right, meet the cast of “Secret”:

  1. Eun Dan Oh – The main, supporting character
  2. Yeo Ju Da – A transfer student who frequently gets bullied and is the actual heroine of the book
  3. Oh Nam Ju – Leader of his gang, “A3”, and develops a romantic interest on Ju Da
  4. Baek Kyung – Dan Oh’s fiance who doesn’t like her and is part of A3
  5. Lee Do Hwa – The other member of A3 and is the 2nd male lead who falls for Ju Da as well
  6. Ha Roo – The mysterious classmate who helps Dan Oh change her fate in the comic book
  7. Sae Min, Il Jin, Sam Jin, Ae Il – Dan Oh’s classmates in school

It is because of Ha Roo that Dan Oh doesn’t get her leg broken when she was supposed to and she goes on a manhunt to find him. She believes that he is the key to changing her fate. I think that he’s also a self aware character at this point and it will open up a whole new story with her, Ha Roo, and Baek Kyung as the love triangle. Oohhh, I am so excited for this show’s potential!

3. Just because we are supporting someone else’s story doesn’t mean we can’t become a main character in our own story. We are our own person no matter what!

Dan Oh’s character is someone who talks to herself a lot and has an animated persona due to her saying her thoughts aloud and doing hand gestures to express her being dumbfounded or determination in lots of scenes. It’s not that she wants to be the main character in the book itself, like replacing Ju Da or ruining the main leads’ romance, but she just wants to live a life that is decidedly hers.

Will Eun Dan Oh defy the odds of her supporting role and become her own lead character of her own story? Or is she meant to be a bystander in someone else’s story? I have such high expectations for Extraordinary You and hope that like how Dan Oh is forging her own fate, we pen the chapters of our life with choices and memories that we willingly make✨

Unnie Recommends: Gender Switch Shenanigans for The Tale of Nokdu

Pretending to be a member of the opposite sex usually falls as a woman’s responsibility in Joseon dynasty shows, but this kdrama has a male take center stage for a gender role reversal👨🏻👉🏻👩🏻 Based on the webcomic Nokdujeon, Jang Dong Yoon pretends to be a woman to infiltrate a widowers only village to find the people that are hunting him and his family.

Before I go any further, can I just say that Jang Dong Yoon is beautiful as a girl?😍 You’ll enjoy this korean drama, The Tale of Nokdu, as the first few episodes dives right into the story and features Jang Dong Yoon’s character, Jeon Nok Du, struggle to fit in as a woman, deal with his first romance, and at the same time find his enemies.

Current Impression

Living on a remote island, Nok Du and his family are attacked by masked assassins. He manages to fight them off and slashes the legs of one of them who he finds out is a woman. Against his father’s wishes, he chases after her all the way to Hanyang. He meets Dong Ju (Kim So Hyun’s character) at a bad timing but helps her get out of a sticky situation that involved almost killing the King. In his quest to find the person responsible, he ends up disguising himself as Ms. Kim when he discovers that a secret group is inside the village: Ordinary women by day, mercenaries at night.

Having watched his previous kdramas (School 2017 and A Poem, A Day), I’m so happy that Dong Yoon is finally the leading man this time. He is smart and determined to achieve his goals as he thinks of ways to become chummy with the girls who he suspects is involved with the secret group. Nok Du is the funniest when he gets awkward and stammers to avoid eye contact when the girls of the village are so casual in taking off their clothes. It’s a stark contrast for women who disguise themselves as men because while they need to come off smug and strong, Nok Du tries his best to be reserved and keep his physical distance from the women😅

Dong Ju is a reluctant gisaeng in training at the widowers village. It’s not yet explained whose side she is aligned with because although she tried to assassinate the King, it seems like she isn’t part of the secret women’s group. Her character is a bit of a troublemaker and does things her own way, even cutting off her long hair to save another girl from being taken away. She and Nok Du end up as roommates and fight like cats and dogs, but asks later on if she could treat him as an older sister — which makes me think that she’s lonely and doesn’t have a real friend in the village. I’m curious about her backstory and hope that she can shine as an individual in this kdrama!

We’ll have to see when or how the women will find out that Nok Du is a man, but even if he’s been kind or isn’t a pervert, I’m sure the consequences will be hilarious and bad for him🤣 I have a feeling that the mystery surrounding Nok Du’s true identity could be similar with another kdrama (I’m looking at you Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency) where Nok Du is of royalty but let’s wait and see if my hunch is correct.

The Tale of Nokdu narrated its first few chapters with fun, laughter, and a little danger. Let’s enjoy our hero’s journey and watch his eventual happy ending unfold weekly😁

Unnie Recommends: Melting Me Softly

It’s 1999 in South Korea — a world on the cusp of a booming digital age, flip cellphones were still a thing, and the possibilities for scientific progress are endless. Melting Me Softly tells the tale of 2 people who wake up 20 years after being frozen in a cryo chamber🥶 The plot reminds me of the Hollywood movie, Passengers, where the leads also went into hibernation only to be awakened with no one to tell them what really happened to them. The similarity ends there though as Melting Me Softly applies a different setting, time, and angle.

Going into the 1st episode, I wasn’t sure what to expect but thankfully, any hesitations went away as Ji Chang Wook’s charm as Ma Dong Chan is simply irresistible, hee. I first watched the actress Won Jin A in her previous kdrama, Rain or Shine, and I’m happy that she’s portraying a spunkier and more outspoken person here as Ko Mi Ran.

Current Impression

I liked how they depicted the 1st episode through flashbacks and not a linear story telling style. In the first few minutes alone, we see both Ma Dong Chan and Ko Mi Ran participate in a cryogenics project of a Doctor Hwang, freezing themselves in a chamber for only a period of 24 hours. How they got to this point unfolds piece by piece when we see glimpses of Dong Chan and Mi Ran’s life before getting frozen.

Dong Chan is as a talented and out-of-the-box thinking PD (Production director) directing a very popular variety show. He is passionate, hardworking, talented, and has an equally supportive girlfriend. He veers away from the ordinary and prides himself in doing things that no one in TV land has done before. He is very interested in cryogenics as it is a very new technology in 1999 and wants to be the first one to show the world its revolutionary effects. He volunteers to be a test subject himself to make it more believable for viewers and enlists the help of another person to go in with him.

Enter Mi Ran, a 24 year old woman who takes the dangerous jobs that no one dares to do in Dong Chan’s variety show because it pays a lot of money. She is enjoying her youth while struggling to find a permanent job in between participating in the show’s experiments, happily hangs out with friends, and takes care of her little brother who gets bullied from time to time. She is initially reluctant to volunteer but when Dong Chan mentions that an effect of cryogenics is curing diseases, she thinks of her brother and is all in with the project.

Something goes wrong as the Professor is chased by a car and supposedly killed on the same day that both go into the chamber. He is the only one who can unfreeze both Dong Chan and Mi Ran to administer a special shot to prevent their bodies from reacting negatively to being frozen for a day. With the Professor still alive 20 years later, he finally sets them free…with a consequence that their body temperatures must be maintained at 31.5 degrees Celsius🤒

Both Ji Chang Wook and Won Jin A portrayed their frenzied and pale 2019 selves very well when the former calls his assistant PD to continue shooting and the latter trying to find her family. They are in for the surprise of their lives when they both finally realize that so much time has passed since their awakening! They can’t exactly resume their lives as if nothing has happened and have to adjust to a more progressive Korea and an older generation of their loved ones.

Melting Me Softly is an intriguing korean drama that combines sci-fi elements with romance and comedy. There hasn’t been much interaction between our 2 leads yet so let’s anticipate the temperature of their love to heat up and see how they navigate their 2019 together!😊