Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kdrama Throwback Thursday - Epic Love Edition

Welcome to my new segment called Throwback Thursdays.  This is where I am going to pick random topics and find the best dramas to suggest.  For the most part I am going to avoid suggesting those dramas that most people have watched (unless it is one that has to be mentioned like Secret Garden in today's list).  I hope it will be perfect for those of you searching for new stuff to watch but are a bit overwhelmed with how many dramas there are out there.  I cant promise that this will come out every Thursday but I am shooting for at least twice a month.  If you like a specific genre or are looking for suggestions feel free to message me in the comments and I will work hard on creating a list to fit your needs.
It's that time of year again where people are either blissfully happy in a relationship or cranky and single.  Or of course there is the middle group that I fall into, married for a long long time and at the point where I would like a new book than flowers and chocolates.  But for those of you looking to increase the romance in your lives and want a drama to commemorate love and all that entails, this is the list for you.  
I searched my drama lists to find the most epic love stories.  Not your every day sweet romance, but those relationships that are fated to be.  Not time, comas, amnesia, nor death itself is going to keep these OTPs (One True Pairing) apart.
Moon Embracing the Sun
You can't have a romantic couple list and leave this drama off it.  Moon Embracing the Sun pulled in some amazing ratings when it aired in 2011/2012 and it was all because of its fated love story.
Prince Lee Hwon falls in love with Heo Yeon Woo when he is a teenager.  Although they become engaged/married court politics create a situation which results in her poisoning and fake death (which resulted in her having amnesia) and the lovers are torn apart.  Forced to marry another (although he stays celibate and true to his dead love.... Now that is devotion) Lee Hwon becomes king and battles against the same factions that killed his love.  Reunited years later Yeon Woo (now a shaman who goes by the name Wol) returns to the palace still minus memories.  This then starts their story of overcoming trials to find each other again.
Why You Should Watch It:
One of the things I liked best about this drama is that it was not based on real historical people (which if you watch Sageuk's, you would know that a lot of time writers make up romances that never really occurred so they have to kill off couples or split them up to be historically accurate.)  The younger and older cast were all amazing, with the younger cast being so good that most people actually felt bereft when they grew up.  But never fear for Kim Soo Hyun (My Love From Another Star) plays the older version of the prince/king and he owns this drama.  His epic love for his (thought to be deceased first love) was so pure and touching that he pulled the audience along every step of the way.  If you are looking for a great story with characters that you can cry with then this is your drama.  Also if you are searching for a drama to get your friends hooked into the kdrama world, this is also a good choice.  It is simple themes and easy to follow characters.  Just one last note, the OST (Original Sound Track) for this drama is so good.  Every time their main song comes on I still get a bit misty just remembering how I felt when I watched this drama.
Secret Garden
I think that Secret Garden is on most kdrama fans "must watch" list.  It is one of those that has every kdrama cliche and then some, however it still hooks you in with its zany hijinks and even crazier romance.
Quirky egotistical CEO Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin - Snow Queen) meets poor stuntwoman Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won - King 2 Hearts, Empress Ki) and becomes infatuated, much to his dismay.  They must overcome their social differences to find love.  Add in a huge dose of WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING body switching (yes this drama pulls a freaky friday) and you really have a fun busy romantic comedy.
Why You Should Watch It:
I will admit that the writers shoved a HUGE amount of stuff into this drama.  However, even though there are plot holes (don't go into this drama expecting everything to make sense.  Just pretend it is a magic trick and accept it for what it is.) it maintains a fun tone through the whole drama even while the characters are dealing with serious life changing decisions.   I also like the pacing of the main couple who go back and forth trying to see things from each others point of view (especially once fate literally forces them to walk in each others shoes).   I also found it amusing that I went into the drama thinking that Hyun Bin was just so so in a skinny guy type of way, but by the end of the show I was totally in love with him.  He and his character really grow on you and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Queen In Hyun's Man
  I was not expecting to really be into this drama but the great story and chemistry between the leads (turned out they were actually & still are dating in real life) shot it up to the top of my kromance list.  The leading lady is usually a B lead actress Yoo In Na (Greatest Love, My Love From Another Star) and I was not really looking for much as she jumped to a lead role.  And I had only seen the leading man Ji Hyun Woo (Invincible Lee Pyung Kang) in one or two other things and had mostly forgotten him.  But I guess the write role and co-actor really made all the difference.
Kim Boong Do is a scholar who is in support of the return of exiled Queen In Hyun.  He is given a magical talisman which allows him to transport 300 years into the future if he is ever about to be killed.  Enter actress Choi Hee Jin who is playing Queen In Hyun in a TV drama.  She helps him figure his way around modern Seoul and around the archives which allow him to change history  for his cause in his favor.  They develop a romance but is fate going to allow these two to be together?
Why You Should Watch It:
I love that they are very up front about liking each other.  There are none of the usual hurdles to overcome (except for the one big 300 years apart one).  I also really enjoy how smart the leading man is.  He does not let his circumstances overwhelm him but quickly stratagizes on how best to use this chance fate has handed him.  For example he uses modern transportation to travel hundreds of miles then pops back into the past moving around distances that would usually take him weeks to travel.  By doing this he was literally able to make people think he was in two places at once.  This is a sweet romantic comedy that has hidden depths and is perfect for the person who wants to watch a drama without having to cry all the time.
Directors Cut Steamy Ending (SPOILERISH) Clip

 Innocent Man (Nice Guy)
I could not resist adding this drama to the list.  Yes I know that it is not really a traditional romance, but no one can deny that these two people go to hell and back before finding happiness with each other.
Ma Roo (Song Joong Ki - Sungkyunkwan Scandal) is your boy next door nice guy.  He is studying to become a doctor  and has a childhood sweetheart that he loves completely.  Han Jae-Hee, his childhood sweetheart, accidentally kills someone and he takes the blame for the death in her stead.  Needless to say she does not remain faithful to him and while he is rotting in prison she marries up in the world.  Discarded and without any career after leaving prison, he turns to selling himself as a gigolo to earn money for his sisters medical bills.  When he meets Jae Hee again events occur that send him on a quest for revenge.  He uses Jae Hee's grown step-daughter, Seo Eun-Gi (Moon Chae Won- Good Doctor) as means to enact that revenge however, while he was using Eun Gi he falls in love with her.
Why You Should Watch It:
The main reasons you should watch this drama is for the two lead actors.  They are not just your average (I'm pretty so my acting does not matter as much) couple, Song Joong Ki and Moon Chae Won can seriously act.  She is one of my top three favorite kactresses and can emote better then any other female that I have seen to date.  She can play vulnerable and hard with ease and it is so enjoyable to watch an actress that is more then just a pretty face.  And he is beyond amazing.  If you have ever watched any of his films (werewolf boy) then you would understand what I am talking about.  I can't wait til he is back from his military service and be back on my TV.  They totally have me biting my fingernails as I watch them play each other in an effort to survive, love each other, and get revenge.   Even though each do some seriously messed up things I am a cheering for them to the end.

This concludes my very first Throwback Thursday.  Hope this has helped you decide on what to do with you valentines day.  I personally can not even think of a better time then dramathoning one of these dramas on Friday (although don't tell my husband that. You never know maybe he will be romantic and buy me that book I have been eying.).  Remember if you have any favorite genre's or themes that you want to see in upcoming posts just leave me a quick message in the comments. I always like helping fellow addicts feed their kaddiction.


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