Should we have a Kdrama club on Fanfare?
July 17, 2020 6:08 PM - Subscribe

Is there any interest in having a Kdrama club on Fanfare?

There seems to be an ever-increasing catalog of Korean tv on Netflix, is anyone interested in coordinating on shows to watch? Or are people fine with my continuing to pepper Fanfare with random series as I find/finish them, since they can all be found under the 'kdrama' tag?
posted by oh yeah! (9 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would be into this! I'm just finishing up Romance is a Bonus Book. I'd love to have other people to talk to about the shows I watch so I don't have to bore the pants off my sweetie, who has zero interest in them.
posted by rednikki at 2:21 AM on July 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

(Also, I just dipped into My Golden Life and the subtitles are much better than the original KBS version! Still not quite as native-English as Romance is a Bonus Book though.)
posted by rednikki at 2:45 AM on July 25, 2020

Netflix has put 'Romance is a Bonus Book' in my recommendations, but I haven't looked into that one yet.

I figure with a club thread, there would at least be somewhere for the handful of us to post when we're starting to watch a new series, in case anyone else wants to try to finish in the same time frame. There's always the option of posting an Episode 1 thread, but it would scroll off the page & poster-art sideboard before long, and I feel like the full-season threads are more useful in the long run, especially if the show turns out to have an unsatisfying ending.
posted by oh yeah! at 11:03 AM on July 26, 2020

(Meantime, I'm just going to keep posting Korean tv show threads to Fanfare at random - since I have no personal blog/twitter/facebook page, I gotta keep track of what I've watched somehow)
posted by oh yeah! at 4:36 PM on July 28, 2020

Your posts about these series have sparked my interest, is there an intro show you'd recommend for someone who's new to Kdrama?
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:46 PM on July 28, 2020


Crash Landing On You was a recent hit; poignant love story and a strong ensemble.

For a crime/legal procedural, I loved Forest of Secrets (called "Stranger" on Netflix). Doona Bae (Sun from Sense8) plays the lead cop, and there's going to be a second season beginning on August 15th on Netflix, so now would be the best time to get caught up on the original series.

For the supernatural, I liked "Bring It On, Ghost!" and "Oh My Ghost" (I think "Oh My Ghost" was the better of the two, but 'Bring It On, Ghost' has a fun ghost-of-the-week Buffy-esque vibe to it.) Also the recent "Mystic Pop-up Bar" which is only 12 episodes long and was a good mix of funny and angsty.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:00 PM on July 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

Ahhh I'm sorry I only noticed this just now (I'm often on mobile so I don't see the sidebar like I do on desktop) but:

YESSSSS please please please please! Even though I watch like maybe 1/100th of the dramas I used to watch. But I still have opinions about dramas that I am always happy to share with everyone.

Where to jump in if you're new to kdrama and have a Netflix account:

My go-to recommendations are Forest of Secrets/Stranger (as mentioned above) and Signal. Because there's some procedural aspect to those shows (mystery/thriller/suspense/etc), it can be a bit easier to follow for people who are used to a story line being wrapped up in one episode. Also, they're just really, really good dramas -- some of the best of the respective years they aired.

For something that isn't in the thriller/mystery realm, I second the very popular romantic-bent Crash Landing On You which seemed to bring in a bunch of newbies to the dramaworld. I've not seen it personally (not yet!) but I've heard it's really good.

If you can tolerate looooooong episodes about a low-key slice-of-life situations, Prison Playbook and Hospital Playbook are also good. These are from the same production team that did the Reply 1997, Reply 1994, Reply 1988 dramas, which are also slice-of-life glimpses of nostalgia that were very popular. The issue sometimes is that Netflix will censor out things that they don't have the licensing for (but the drama did when it originally aired) so it takes a little of the charm away, but they're still good. Most people prefer 1988, but I'll forever be a 1997 girl at heart. (And they don't need to be watched in any particular order, although there might be a few in-jokes -- mostly about the cast -- you'll understand better if you watch in the order they aired.)

Hello, My Twenties (aka Age of Youth) is also a fun slice-of-life, especially if you want to relive those college years with a bunch girls in a share-house.

My Mister is also (surprise!) slice-of-life and has a dark and kinda depressing bent to it, but it's really, really good.

The Let's Eat series (there are 3 seasons) are adorable and fluffy and will make you want to eat everything in your house. Not recommended if you suffer from misophonia, though.

Incomplete Life aka Misaeng is excellent but painful if you've ever worked in an office before. It's slow-paced but worth it!

Also want to shout-out Chicago Typewriter which I feel is a bit underrated. The first six eps are kinda... eh... but it's definitely worth sticking until the end. One of the best endings I've experienced in dramaland, which is saying a lot because I have seen many, many dramas.

Where to jump in if you're new to kdrama and have a Hulu account:

Descendants of the Sun was mega popular. It broke tons of records. I didn't see it and have no plans to see it because I do not vibe with this drama writer, but it brought in a lot of new drama fans and it had a big budget which apparently means it was shot prettily and not with a potato.

Just Between Lovers falls into that kinda dark slice-of-life thing that I love so much, so I'm sorry that I keep recommending those but there is at least some romance if you're like "Hold up, I thought kdramas were about silly rom-coms?"

Where to jump in if you're new to kdrama and have an Amazon Prime account:

The Hong Sisters are a writing-duo icon, and I realize I haven't recommended any of their shows yet (I'm not even sure where their other shows are available) but The Greatest Love is a nice representation of their fun, funky, weird sense of humor. It's a more light-hearted rom-com that will teach you the meaning of Second Lead Syndrome. But it's also very Hong Sisters, so you can decide if you like their style. They love puns, which can be a little confusing for a non-Korean audience, but you gotta just go with it.

I haven't talked about historical dramas (aka sageuks) much because, well, I don't watch too many historical dramas except for the mystical fusion ones, but Empress Ki is maybe my favorite of the more realistic historical dramas. I binged all 51 episodes in the space of a week. Yeah, I didn't have a life back then.

Oooookay, so that's a lot of recommendations that could easily last someone an entire year or more, but it's so hard to pinpoint what someone is into.

For example, I got into dramas a dozen years ago with stupid romcoms that I cringe to think about now and can't in good conscience recommend (although they are out there, on the various platforms mentioned above...). The best recommendation is just dive in with something that intrigues you (even if it's one of the trending dramas of the day and is still airing) and then go from there. After a bit, you'll get a feel for whether you're a light'n'fluffy rom-com fan, or mystery-thriller fan, or slice-of-life fan, or just a fan who has to consume all the dramas ever.

And huge thanks (and finger-hearts!) to oh yeah! for opening up this discussion, as well as adding new posts for kdramas even if we're the only two who actually comment on them.
posted by paisley sheep at 12:07 PM on July 30, 2020 [5 favorites]

Ok, I've created the Kdrama Club page and tagged every kdrama-tagged post with the kdrama_club tag. At some point I'll start a 'what are people watching/wanting to watch' club thread, though anyone else please feel free to start one too.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:31 PM on August 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

Thanks for doing that, oh yeah! I'm a bit out of the kdrama habit at the moment but I'm glad to have tags and club to draw me back in when I'm watching more TV.
posted by asperity at 10:24 AM on August 3, 2020

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