Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Kmuse's Musings: Kdrama Hidden Gems

Its that time again to search out those great dramas that might have gotten overlooked. Something that might be easy to do with so many multiple personalities running about.  These are those hidden gems that combine acting, directing, and the all important writing, together to create something that will last long after many of the big hype dramas drift away (or at least we hope so). 

The first drama that I would suggest everyone start ASAP (at least if you enjoy Sagueks) is "Maids".  You might recall that this drama had a tragic opening week as a fire on set resulted in the death of an assistant writer and the loss of the whole set.  This forced the production to halt, while they scrambled to find somewhere to actually film the drama.  After a 7 week delay, the drama finally began airing again and I am so thankful this show did not just get scrapped. 

Gook In Yub (Jung Yoo Mi - Mothers Garden) plays our main character, a rich nobleman's daughter whose father falls out of favor with the king.  In the middle of her wedding In Yub is ripped from her comfortable life and branded the daughter of a traitor.  Her father is killed and In Yub is forced into slavery.  Unfortunately for her, it is to the household of her former best friend.  A friend who wants In Yub to suffer as much as possible for almost marrying the man she herself wanted to marry.  This drama follows In Yub's journey from pampered daughter to servant and how her life and sense of reality changed because of her circumstances.
Moo Myung (Oh Ji Ho - Couple or Trouble, Chuno) is the head servant to the Lee household (Evil BFF).  His stoic expression hides a lot of secrets as well as real emotions since he is forced to do all the dirty work for the household.  Moo Myung also is in charge of keeping In Yub from running away and in the process seems to be falling for her strength and determination. He also seems to be deeply involved with the politics that lead to the death of In Yub's father.
Kim Eun Gi (Kim Dong Wook - The Great Gift) is the ex- fiancee and childhood love of In Yub.  Forced by his father to desert In Yub, Eun Gi spends the majority of the drama trying to get In Yub to run away with him.  When that fails, he marries evil BFF at the promise that his father would save In Yub from her state of slavery.
Heo Yoon Ok (Lee Shi Ah - She's So Lovable) is my new favorite mean girl.  Yoon Ok truly is a very very mean and evil person with a heart so black that it would blend in with a coal field.  Yoon Ok's ability to be vindictive is unsurpassed and she makes our leading lady's life hell.  I won't go into all the things Yoon Ok does to In Yub (because of spoilers), but lets just say that you could compare her to most evil dictators (just on a smaller scale) and you would firmly be in the ballpark.  
Why You Should Watch This:
It is that perfect mix of love rectangle, political intrigue, and good vs bad, that makes for a great Sageuk.  If you are looking for a historical drama that is both easy to follow (for you first timers) and has a lot of emotional pull, then this is the drama for you. 
Ho Goo's Love
My second drama pick is Ho Goo's Love (also known as Fools Love).  Imagine if you combined the essence of rainbows, fluffy bunnies, and unicorns, and then used it to create a Korean boy.  A boy that exudes sweetness with a healthy dose of naivete, yet still manages to have a solid core of determination.  That boy would be Ho Goo (Choi Woo Shik - Rooftop Prince).  
There is literally no way to describe him without the word "adorable" coming out of your mouth.  Now a lot of you might be thinking that this sounds too cutesy sweet for your tastes.  But you would be completely wrong.  Yes, Ho Goo is different than the usual Alpha leading man that we are used to, but his boyish exuberance will win you over within the first episode.

 If you are worried about it being too agyeo, then set those concerns aside.  Our leading lady is tough enough to make up for anything that Ho Goo lacks.  Do Do Hee (Uee - Golden Rainbow) is a nationally famous swimmer, known for always coming in second place and having a bit of a temper.  Do Hee went to high school with Ho Goo and through a series of fateful encounters, the two end up reconnecting years later.  But rather than becoming a romantic OTP, the couple end up becoming friends who go through the trial of Do Hee's unplanned pregnancy together.
Why You Should Watch This Drama:
My favorite thing about Ho Goo's Love is that it is not formulated.  Sure I expect Do Hee and Ho Goo to eventually fall in love, but I don't know every action that the characters are going to make which makes it very refreshing to watch.  Add in the fact that all the side characters are highly developed and you have a very entertaining and fun drama.  A drama where you care about everyone's story and really want to see what happens.  Also I can't forget to mention the wicked sense of humor of the writers.  Every episode has had me laughing out loud (literally) and anticipating what is to come.  
I really hope that everyone gives both of these dramas a chance.  I know that there will be many of you that might put them aside because they don't fit the usual kdrama mold, but I promise that within both there is a chance for something really great to occur.  That moment when a kdrama touches your heart and really makes you feel for the characters.  There is nothing better than really being able to connect since it is what makes kdramas so different then other forms of media.  On the off chance you do watch and enjoy, be sure to come back and let us know.  We love hearing from our readers.

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  1. I love Maids! Oh Ji Ho is one of my favorite Kdrama actors. The show has everything and doesn't bore you with constant politics, the heart of the show is the plight of the maids and other servants and how they are treated by these so-called nobles. In Yub has become one of the greatest Kdrama heroines and really changed her attitude. (She still has lots of pride left.)

    1. I love that she still is so proud and dignified despite her situation. And she is not annoying proud, but just knows her worth.

  2. Both excellent choices! Both are very entertaining in entirely different ways.

  3. I will get back to Maids and I do love Ho Goos's Love. Great write-ups

  4. I am enjoying Ho Goo's Love. He is very adorable in this drama. I first saw him in Pride and Prejudice (have not seen Rooftop Prince).

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    1. I would suggest Rooftop Prince as well if you ever need a filler drama. He is really good in that as well.

  5. Thanks for these recommendations, I have been looking for something original for a while and these seem like the perfect fit. Like I enjoyed watching Miss Korea when the whole world and their grandma were watching My Love From the Star and felt so sad that so many people were only about the hype. So thanks :)

    1. you're welcome. Hope you enjoy both dramas.


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