The edit above is not in the order of my top 10 but the list below is. This was my first time making an edit so I was just trying to make it all fit, lol. Please feel free to tell me your thoughts on these dramas, I’d love to hear that ya’ll think!
1. Descendants of the Sun (Song Joong Ki, Song Hye Kyo, Jin Goo, Kim Ji Won)
This was the first drama I followed along with while it was airing and it cemented my stay in kdrama-land so I’ll forever be grateful for that. I loved everything about this drama from the cast to the plot, I thought it was unique and funny and so very enjoyable to watch. A soldier and doctor falling in love in the middle of a crisis with brilliantly amusing scenes and secondary characters? It’s a win for sure. I think it found the perfect balance between drama, action, romance, and comedy. Also, the OSTs in the drama were amazing; Talk Love by K.Will will forever be one of my favorites.
2. Goblin (Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook, Kim Go Eun)
So I’m cheating a little with this one because it didn’t finish airing in 2016, but this is currently my favorite drama so I felt obligated to put this on my list. This was my first real venture into a fantasy kdrama and I love everything about it. The aesthetics and cinematography is unreal, the cast is fantastic, the beginnings of romance is natural, but the bromance and friendships are probably my favorite things about this drama. It’s honestly just so witty and fun and the performance by each actor is amazing. It never fails to make me smile or laugh. Since it’s by the same writer as DOTS, it has the perfect combination of fantasy, romance, drama, and comedy. Also, the OSTS are wickedly good in this as well.
3. The K2 (Ji Chang Wook, Im YoonA, Song Yoon Ah)
Despite the drama surrounding the characters and it’s obvious problems story-wise, I loved The K2. One of my favorite genres is action-romance and this drama was packed with both. JCW is brilliant as always in acting but his action scenes were amazing. I thought the plot was pretty unique and the lead three gave great performances (I know people thought YoonA’s character was useless, but I didn’t; the story literally wouldn’t exist without her, lol). I have to praise Song Yoon Ah for her performance especially because this was the first time I empathized with the villain; I certainly didn’t agree with everything she did, but they gave a depth to her character that I really appreciated. There are some things I’ll never understand regarding the drama, but I don’t want to spoil anything for others so I won’t mention it here.
4. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung, Nam Joo Hyuk)
Again, this drama has yet to end, but I honestly think that this is one of the most brilliant dramas of 2016. It’s a feel-good, coming-of-age drama that balances romance, comedy, and friendship and that honestly delivers each week. It tackles first love and all the innocence and insecurities that comes with liking someone unattainable, it explores friendship between women and the unbreakable bond you can make with life-long friends in college, it shows characters with unhealthy issues taking the right steps to get help, and it shows how guys should treat girls and how naturally you can fall in love with your best friend. Most of all though, it tells us that it’s okay to fall out of love with your talents and what you have been doing your entire life; it’s okay to take a break, try new things, and find yourself. Brilliant cast, brilliant writing, and brilliant performances.
5. Reply 1988 (Lee Hye Ri, Park Bo Gum, Ryu Jun Yeol, Go Kyung Pyo, Lee Dong Hwi)
I’m late to the game but there are not enough words to describe what a good drama this is. I love that it focused so much on family bonds rather than romantic love. More than the individual families, the entire block was one big family that supported and took care of each other. I laughed, I cried, and I was happy when they were happy. The line between friendship and family is easily blurred in this drama because I swear the kids were more like family than they were friends. The parents’ friendship also made me happy because for once there was no evil parent or scheming; they all loved their kids and were such good friends with each other. There were so many lessons to learn from in this drama, it’s A+. Also, the goat noises made my life.
6. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (Lee Joon Ki, IU, Kang Ha Neul)
I had/have a love-hate relationship with this drama. This was my first saeguk drama and I did really like a lot of things about it. The cinematography was beautiful, it really was so well done. I liked most of the characters, especially early in the show when it was more funny and cute. And the actors, even the idol-actors, did well in my opinion. What I hated was how they tried to jam-pack the Chinese version into the last 4 episodes, the insanely terrible editing that just made it seem like the characterization for leads did not align at all with what we knew about them, and the ending. I truly detested the ending; it was sloppy and unnecessary. If they didn’t cut that one scene from that ending, I would have been satisfied but they chose to do a disservice to the characters and for that reason alone, I’ll probably never re-watch this drama.
7. Age of Youth (Han Ye-ri, Han Seung-yeon, Park Eun-bin, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo )
I loved everything about this drama. The friendship between the Belle Epoque girls made me smile; they grew from being so awkward with each other to being such good friends. They teased, fought, and took care of each other like any good roommates would do while living their own lives. The drama did brilliantly in highlighting each girl’s unique struggles and allowing them to grow because of them. There is nothing I didn’t like about this drama; it was funny, interesting, and just really good. The Belle Epoque girls are special.
8. The Legend of the Blue Sea (Lee Min Ho, Jun Ji Hyun)
I like drama a lot but mostly because of JJH’s character and performance. I’ve never failed to smile, laugh, or feel second-hand embarrassment for her character and that just really made the drama fun. I’m not really a big LMH fan, I think he’s an decent actor, but I think this is probably my favorite role of his. He’s actually doing really well and I really enjoy his character. One of my main issues is the plot and direction of the drama; I think it’s been a little sloppy and some things just don’t make sense and are poorly explained. Also it’s taking forever to get through some of the sub-plots and it honestly just feels like a waste of time. To be quite honest and in my opinion, if the leads weren’t as big stars as they are, this drama would not be doing as well as it is now.
9. Doctor Crush (Park Shin Hye, Kim Rae Won, Lee Sung Kyung, Yoon Kyun Sang)
The beginning of this drama was brilliant; PSH’s character was the epitome of a bad-girl who was also kind to her friends. I loved the plot; a girl with an attitude problem with no care in the world changing her ways and becoming a brilliant physician to not only prove people wrong but also to get revenge on the people that wronged/hurt her? Yeah, sign me up for a drama like that. The secondary characters were great, there really were some comedic scenes with them. I liked the medical part of the drama and PSH’s friendship with her childhood best friend and the other doctors. What I hated what that she never really got her revenge; they went with the most predictable way of the guy getting out of it for a medical drama and I hated that. He wasn’t even sincerely apologetic for what he had done. And honestly, I also hated that she never really called out step-mother for being such a terrible person. I had higher expectations for this drama.
10. Cinderella and the Four Knights (Park So Dam, Jung Il Woo, Ahn Jae Hyun)
This was definitely more of a feel good drama for me. I love the “cinderella” trope so this was just really cute. Park So Dam was just adorable and she made the story fun. There was nothing overly special about this drama; it was fun and light, there were some pretty-boys, and a sweet best friend. All the makings of a classic feel-good drama. My favorite thing would probably have to be the OSTs in this drama; they were all just so good and I still re-play some of them.
This is the only Taiwanese drama on my list. My choices were between Devil Beside You, Mars, and this one, and this one won. I am completely in love with Rainie Yang and Mike He as a duo because they know how to bring amazing chemistry to my screen. I didn’t just love the humor and cuteness of the drama, but also the storyline and powerful acting. Their love developed into something more than just a cute game. It was real. They weren’t going to let the fear of death stop them from loving each other. They wanted to be brave and strong for each other and I enjoyed that the most. Such a good drama. I recommend it!!
2016 is about to end and K-Dramaland has been kind in bringing us so many goodies this year. As per our blog’s tradition [For 2015 faves click here] , below are my Top 10 favs on the year (my faves in alphabetical order so it might not be yours so please don’t judge)
My only specific criteria is the show must have had more than 5 episodes at this point to be considered a 2016 series (Hence, Reply 1988 was in last year’s list and Hwarang cannot make the cut of this one)