Best & Worst High School Dramas from around the world

This is my first blog introducing a future blog, but my reasons are good. I hope you’ll like them.

If you’re like me and enamored with high school dramas (I am and I’m not afraid to say it) than I present to you (drumroll please) my upcoming blog series:

Best and worst high school dramas from around the world

I will review new and old dramas full of teens in high school hallways, on beaches, covering up murders and other wholesome activities like that. The shows I think are amazing and addicting and the ones that made me roll my eyes and change the channel.

To start this off, here are the links to my past high school drama reviews:

13 Reasons Why (America): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/862

Le Coup de Foudre (China): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/472

Love Revolution (Korea): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/746

Never Have I Ever (America) (technically a dramedy): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/668

Great Men Academy (Thailand): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/546

A Love So Beautiful (China): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/56

Just Dance (Korea): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/593

The Big Boss (China) (technically a dramedy): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/123

Proud of Love (China) (also technically a dramedy: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/177

I offer this series as a public service to you all for the following reasons:

  • It can help you decide which shows to watch
  • It may open up a new geographical viewing area to you. So many countries have great shows.
  • If you have already seen one you can compare your opinions on it to mine and see where we agree and disagree on things like the plot, production, characters, cast talent and hotness.
  • It can change your mind if you don’t like the high school drama genre

Warning: Series reviews will be sporadic since I work a lot and sometimes I can’t face any more typing when my work day ends, which is why my blogs are posted randomly. Please also note: I will continue doing other reviews of movies and non-high-school themed shows as well.

Th-Drama: Senior Secret Love: My Lil Boy (7/10)

Why God why did I watch this? Even the name is stupid.

Ok, I know how I ended up watching this. It looked like a cutesy Thai high school drama, and sometimes I like them. Unfortunately, I did not like this one so much and fast forwarded through most of it. Mydramalist.com gives it a 7.4, so it looks like most people didn’t like it much.

Here is the summary for the show, which is called Roonpi on Netflix:

Belle is known for her beauty throughout the entire school and she has always been successful getting the man she wants. Yet her charms don’t seem to work when it comes to a junior boy named S that she has taken a liking to. Determined to get S, Belle asks for the help of her two best friends.

My major problem with the show was the lead girl Belle. She was basically a stalker. S, the male lead, told her over and over and over that he wasn’t interested in her and she refused to leave him alone. She lied to be near him, she followed him home, and found any reason to be near him. She also had her girls help with her obsession. They went as far as getting the boy injured to get the two together.

I didn’t find Belle’s consistent stalking charming. I also didn’t understand what made the lead boy so much of a catch to the girls around him. The girls crushing on him wouldn’t stop crying, which was not cute. And randomly, I wondered about the lead actor and rubix cubes, since he has been in c=two shows now where he plays with the cubes a lot. Weird.

This is one show where I did not have any interest in seeing the leads get together or care what happened to them later. The actors were ok though, and the show filmed at a number of places, which helped break up the stalking monotony. Those are the only compliments I can give it.

A-Drama: 13 Reasons Why (8.6/10)

Trigger warning: This show and therefore this blog touches on suicide and other topics that are sometimes hard to talk or hear about.

I had no idea what this show was about when I started it. It was on Netflix and at some point I had added it to my list, based on whatever description of the plot that they gave.

The summary did not accurately reflect the plot. It turned out that the show was about a high school girls suicide and the 13 reasons she gave for why she made that terrible decision. The show is about many of the things that teens / young adults go through in school and with their friends that traumatize them and lead them to make terrible choices.

The first episode was a bit of a lift to get through because the writing was very teenybopper, and I was also surprised by the subject matter, which was somewhat dark. From watching so many dramas though, I’ve learned to push past to the next episodes if there seems like there’s any hope for a show.

It turns out that was a good decision because I really enjoyed the show despite the depressing overtones.

The main characters the first season are Hannah, who died but narrates her life from before and beyond the grave and Clay her work and schoolmate who is clearly crushing on her. Other characters include a few popular jocks, the friends Hannah first met when she started at her high school, and a bullied yearbook nerd. There are also parents, a mom grappling for answers about her daughters death and others concerned about their own children, as well as the principal and high school counselors.

It didn’t seem to me that people were all that broken up about Hannah’s death until they found out they personally contributed to it. Some started to care a little and some began to mourn for her after that. Maybe this is natural, but it was sad to see. Hannah’s death was a tragedy and the show does a good job of pointing to all the little cuts she got from her peers that eventually became a very big wound, large enough to make her feel like life was not worth living.

Viewers also learn that Hannah would have had more love than she knew if she had lived.

Hannah’s character was interesting to watch, although I did not always agree with her choices, especially the big one. After considering it, I didn’t really love any of the characters. Like people in real life there were glimmers of good in everyone but a lot of self absorption too. Some just had more than others or handled situations with a little more kindness or grace.

Clay, the male lead was very loyal, but he was also on his high horse all of the time. There were stereotypical jocks, too entrenched in sports hero culture, students who were bullied, and others who were in between. Most of them, no matter how popular or unpopular were secretly insecure, some of them facing family problems, issues with their cliques, high school gossip or worries over growing into men.

“Clay”

Most of the time I was riveted by this drama. Sometimes I felt pretty sad or frustrated while I watched. It is especially sad that all the issues this show pointed to are the same ones so many kids have in real life. Some of the characters were struggling to redeem themselves after making really bad choices and the show gives viewers the space to grapple with their humanity and what types of consequences they deserve.

I don’t know if the acting was good. I think it was a mixed bag, but the show was intense and interesting enough that it didn’t really matter.

The show has a lot of trigger warnings and disclaimers before the episodes started, which makes sense. Most had the actors speaking in them, including the girl who played Hannah. She is apparently British, which is weird since the show is meant to be at a high school in California and she is meant to be all American. Could the casting director not find one actual American girl for this part?

Because I’m me I managed to watch a show filled with traumatic themes and still spend a good portion of it wondering which people I considered the most attractive lol. The guy who plays Clay is very much my type looks wise. Blue eyes and dark hair are my kryptonite, along with dimples and razor sharp cheekbones. His character was not my type, it was too judgey and too broody for my taste. Many of the guys and girls on the show are pretty people, although everyone is distinct and thankfully there is diversity among characters.

Watch this show, if you haven’t already and you can handle themes of teen suicide, sexual abuse, guns and drugs, to name a few. If any of these are too upsetting to you, then I recommend giving it a pass.

K-Drama: Run On (7.9/10)

My feelings are torn about this drama. I watched it until the end so I definitely enjoyed it. That said, I have to share my controversial opinion that I disliked a good bit about the main leads. and even fast forwarded a few of their scenes.

Here is a summary of the show:

Ki Sun Gyeom is a sports agent who was once a popular sprinter on the national team but was forced to quit due to legal issues. Oh Mi Joo writes translated subtitles for movies. She was thrilled to see her name listed among the credits when she first started. Ki Sun Gyeom had just quit sprinting when he encountered Oh Mi Joo, who felt that destiny most certainly brought them together. Seo Dan Ah is the CEO of a sports agency and rightful successor to the Seomyung Group. Despite this, she is held back from advancing in the company due to her gender. She fiercely wishes to reclaim what is rightfully hers and lives her life accordingly. Lee Young Hwa, a university art major who enjoys movies and drawing soon enters her life. (via AsianWiki)

If you know me IRL my reaction probably isn’t surprising. I hate when people are rude. And I especially hate when people pretend to be great, likable people while being impolite jerks because I dislike hypocrisy most of all in this world.

In the first episode the main female lead is annoyed and bored at a dinner and shares her frustration out loud for the guest of honor and others to hear. Then she escalates a situation that could have been resolved much more easily – and politely. Of course this was a plot point that needed forwarding in order to create the situation for her to meet the male lead and get to know him better, but still.

Throughout the show the female lead continued to state her mind in all situations. I appreciate a strong woman, and appreciated her sense of humor, but she was also tactless. And she insinuated herself into the family drama of a family that wasn’t hers. She did this because she supported the male lead whose family was dysfunctional, but she never knew or asked for the back story to their problems and basically put her nose into things she knew nothing about..

The male lead had some good qualities, like a sense of justice and the type of bluntness and social anxiety that is often reserved for people on the autism scale. This was endearing BUT he was also a spoiled brat. He was one of the neverending k-drama lead rich boys who didn’t receive enough love from his parents and doesn’t know how to handle it as an adult.

He was angry at his parents, which was fair considering their inability to provide him and his sister the love and support they needed, but he wouldn’t maturely talk it out with them, Instead he repeatedly rebelled, had temper tantrums and stormed off. He also had no need to work because of the money he received from his family. He spent a good amount of the show lazing around doing whatever. In my opinion, if he hated his parents so much he should have cut himself off and become self made. Or taken one lump sum from them and left the family, To take their money while yelling at or humiliating his parents every time he saw them was a bit rich.

Basically the leads annoyed me with their lack of manners and filial piety.

What I did like in the show was the pace of the romance, which was not too fast or slow, and the leads took a number of factors into consideration while deciding whether they should be together. The plot was also somewhat quirky, which I always appreciate. And I loved the second female lead. She was rude and tactless too, so why would I love her and dislike the leads? Because she owned it 100%. She was her authentic self at all times and did not pretend she was good or thoughtful. She also peppered her insults with compliments, making her meanness much less cutting. And she was very funny.

I liked the other characters too, such as the second lead who was clearly good hearted. The professor was awful, but funny. The male leads parents who could have been easily dismissed for their awfulness had enough depth that I could not hate them completely. I really liked the second male leads friend and his sister, along with the butler and the female leads only(?) friend too.

Those characters and the overall plot, plus the lack of stressful love triangles helped to cushion my dislike of the leads lack of manners.

Thai Drama: Forever Sunshine, 1st Impressions

I think I’ve seen almost every great Thai Lakorn drama out there. It wasn’t hard. There are only around a dozen lol. Most Lakorn plots are nuts, or the leads are unlikeable, or the production quality is low, so I wouldn’t call most of them great. I watch the semi-bad ones anyway, when I’m in a bad mood, because for some reason they make me feel better.

It’s probably because my life looks pretty good compared to a typical Lakorn family where the wife has to raise the child of her husbands mistress, and the child is mistreated and messed up and comes back later to wreak vengeance on the family before being consigned to a contract marriage with a relative who they end up falling for.

My hope was that Forever Sunshine would not be mediocre, or worse, but would be a great Lakorn. It had a good shot since the lead Mark Prin has been Kleun Cheewit, one of the great Thai dramas. And Husband in Law, which I enjoyed. He is also cute AF.

The plot is fairly standard for a Lakorn. A family becomes indebted to someone and the debt they are expected to pay is irrational. It causes all kinds of problems and the male and female lead go through trials, tribulations, and slap kisses and I assume end up in love in the end.

You’re welcome

I don’t actually know how it ends because I dropped it. For now. Or ever. I might revisit it when I’m in a really bad mood. Or miss Mark Prin’s bangin’ bod. Or both.

I dropped it because the female lead was supposed to be 16 and was trying to seduce a 20(?) year old. I assume nothing happened in the drama until they were both older, but ick. More importantly, the lead females actions, which were whiny and bratty, started to stress me out.

I realized I was feeling anxious while I watched this drama, which is not ok, since I watch dramas to de-stress. That’s when I turned the show off and watched Korea’s Love Revolution instead, which is funny, sweet and fun, and made me feel much happier, calmer and content.

Worst of 2020: The Dramas that went downhill

Sadly, there have been an awful lot of dramas I hated, dropped or couldn’t watch at all in 2020.

Disclaimer: Some of the dramas I hated are well loved by the masses. I just have certain things that I personally hate to see that happened in some of these dramas:

The thing I hate in real life and dramaland is HYPOCRISY. When people are judge-y about bad behavior, but also guilty of bad behavior. Some writers push a plot narrative that the lead characters are great people I am clearly meant to like. Except their interaction with other characters says otherwise.

This is often lead girls who are meant to be sweet as pie, like spunky angels, but are actually immature and snarky towards their love rivals. Thai and Chinese dramas are the most guilty of this.

Example: Likit Haeng Jan

Or it’s lead male characters who are sweet and loving to the lead girl, but completely cold or even cruel to the second leads who love them. I am completely turned off by this. In real life, I would never want to be with a guy who was great to me, but a jerk to other people, and I have trouble rooting for them in dramas.

Example of a guy who is a complete jerk to the second lead: My ID is Gangnam Beauty

I also hate LOVE TRIANGLES – a lot. Especially angsty love triangles where someone, usually someone nice, or trying to be, gets hurt. I watch dramas to increase the joy in my life and watching people end up heartbroken and alone does not do it for me. Unless the second lead is given a love interest or let down very gently I get annoyed and sometimes drop a drama altogether.

Example: The Heirs / Inheritors

OK, disclaimer over. The good news is I didn’t see any many terrible dramas, but I did see some I couldn’t finish or wish I could unsee.

  1. Itaewon Class. Here is my longer review of the show. In short the lead male turned into a complete and total hypocrite. He stabbed his friend and the woman he said he loved in the back for an actual sociopath. Why should I support a mean, crazy person without a conscience? Or hope they get the guy in the end?
  2. It’s Okay Not to be OK (Psycho but it’s OK). Despite great acting and production, I couldn’t get into this for the reasons listed above. I really don’t understand why I should root for an actual psychopath. Or hope the crazy girl gets the guy. Doesn’t that happen enough in real life?
  3. Record of Youth. I think I made it through two or three episodes before I couldn’t watch anymore. It was the hypocrisy. The lead girl was nice, but she kept giving the impression to her co-worker that she was stealing her clients and she never cleared up the misunderstandings. She just let them grow and once her colleague got angry and mean to her, she got mean back. It was irritating to watch. Even Park Bo Gum’s perfect smile wasn’t enough to keep me watching.
  4. Twenty-Twenty. This is a web series where the leads, especially the lead girl were extremely unlikeable. I felt like she went from socially awkward to selfish and entitled. There was also a love triangle that was both angsty and weird. Here is my longer review: https://mydramalist.com/profile/pollysci/reviews.
  5. Hi Bye Mama. My first impressions of this show were great. I actually enjoyed it for the majority of its episodes, although I hypothetically may have cried a lot. But I absolutely hated the end. I won’t give it away, I’ll just say there were a million alternate ways to write it and I think the writers failed completely.
  6. Parallel Love. This show had the makings of a good drama, but it was SOOOOO CHEESY. Something cornball happened every two minutes and it was just too much to bear. Here is my longer review for the show: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/686.
  7. Perfect and Casual. I liked the show initially and maybe it got better after I dropped it BUT there were two things annoying me way too much. The first was the lead females dependence on the lead male. She claimed to be independent, but couldn’t seem to elevate her life at all without his obvious or secret assistance. The writers seemed to think I should believe that she was an independent woman, despite all evidence to the contrary. There was also a love triangle that was less than entertaining. I liked the second lead as much as the first and he was more in touch with his own feelings, and therefore more mature, so I wasn’t exactly cheering for the relationship between the leads.
  8. Likit Haeng Jan. This drama has a lot of good qualities. Seasoned actors. An interesting plotline. Some action and mystery. I even like one of the couplings. But the lead girl reacted to the competitive second lead villainess by being vindictive and immature, and it made her unlikeable to me, which made the show less entertaining overall.

2020: Goodbye and mostly good riddance

What a crazy year. To be fair it wasn’t all bad. I started it off at a party full of friends. My new years selfie looked gorgeous. I had a huge crush one someone, during that window when the crush makes you giddy. My life was alright and my kid, who is my everything, was pretty happy too.

Then came my crushing workload that never really ended. My crush turned into a sweet and sour memory. And coronavirus showed up ready to destroy the peace and lives of so many people across the globe.

At first, the pandemic did very little harm to us. My parents, who live in other states were safe, I was sent home to work remotely and the kid was sent to finish school at home, but the work was mostly easy and school expectations were lowered.

We are a team of two, and single parenting without nearby family is basically a course in isolation already, so social distancing wasn’t that hard. I did miss visiting friends and going out to eat, but we took a lot of walks, marathoned dramas* and took some isolating trips, to a really nice cabin in the woods and to a quiet coast where we basked in the waves.

I also started teaching myself to cook Korean food since k-dramas made me crave it like crazy and the restaurants around here are really expensive and carry only the most standard fare. The markets have everything I could ask for to make great meals, and I have made some great ones.

The worst thing about the summer was my workload, which was much more than full-time. And also the growing coronavirus case and casualty count, which was extremely depressing to see.

Then school started up for the youngin’, a new one for her. She got into the ivy league of public schools which should have been the greatest gift, but they started up virtually and did not know what they were doing. The kid had 11 (yes 11!) classes and a new online system that was complete chaos and an insane class and homework workload. I was forced to work and act as part-time teacher, tech support and emotional support and it was exhausting.

My child started having anxiety attacks because she had too much work, the teachers didn’t accurately calculate the amount of time things would take to complete, she didn’t know and couldn’t see her classmates and her teachers were too overwhelmed to remember that kids like her were new and struggling to get adapted and fit in.

For a few months, life went to hell in a handbasket.

Luckily we sought help for her anxiety and alerted her teachers, the school improved their virtual schedules and teaching methods and things started getting better.

I have continued to work 40-50-60 hour weeks, but I have at least perfected watching shows as I work, even reading subtitles while I write reports etc. Pretty bad*** right?

And despite the hard times, there has been a lot of smiling and giggling, cuddling, and walks amongst the flowers this year.

And now we will have a president who isn’t a few tools short of a toolbox, which gives me some hope for the new year ahead. So do coronavirus vaccines.

I have mixed feelings about the last year, but I am happy to see it wave goodbye. I look forward to the new year and hope it improves on the one before it, not just for me and my sweet kid, but for you and your families, and everyone everywhere.

Best moments of the year:

  • Sitting in the sunlight, next to a waterfall, with my feet in the water, while pink flower blossoms rained down in the breeze.
  • Watching and laughing at Reply 1994 with my kid who has been all in on this drama.
  • Having a picnic with two very happy kids while the sun sets in bright pink and purple colors behind us.
  • A very sweet date that made me smile and laugh and learn new things about the person I was interested in.
  • Intertubing on a lazy river during a drizzle.
  • Taking car trips to try new things, and eat new food, and bond with my kid, while schooling her on good music along the way.

*The kids favorite dramas that she watched this year are Reply 1994 (Korea), Fake Princess (China) and The Gifted (Thailand), and she loves Gabby and the Untouchables on Disney (America).

Here is a list of my favorite dramas of 2020.

HAPPY NEWS YEARS EVERYONE!

Best Dramas of 2020

BEST DRAMAS OF THE LAST YEAR

AMERICA

Never Have I Ever

This show from Mindy Kaling and found on Netflix is soooo funny. It’s about the life of an Indian-American, very smart, slightly lewd high school girl in California. I laughed through every single episode and am extremely excited that there is going to be a second season. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/668

CHINA

Lovely Us

The show is called Lovely Us and it really is lovely. I enjoyed it a lot. It was less of an addicting marathon and more like sips of hot cocoa with marshmallows. It’s a drama about friends, family and first love. This show is funny and sweet. The leads are five high schoolers. Three are underachievers, two who squabble all the time. The other two are top of the class and much more sedate. All of them love each other completely and are loyal to the core. The show is also about their families, many who are struggling in various ways. Marcus Li who played Tan Song stole the show.

Twenty My Life On

This show is about girls in their last year of college who share a dorm together, straddling youth and adulthood. Three of the girls are close friends and one is less than friendly. All of the characters personalities are very different and interesting. The script is great and has one very unique and refreshing quality. Parts of it are far more realistic than most dramas, making it less formulaic and more relatable. I really enjoyed this show and looked forward to every episode. I highly recommend it if twenties slice of life dramas are your thing. Also, I just learned they are coming out with a season two. Yes!

Nothing but Thirty

This show started slow, but then it picked up speed and got interesting. I ended up invested in the characters and watching it through to the end. The story is about three women in and around age thirty and the trials and tribulations they face in their work, home and love lives. And the blessing that friendships can bring. Like Twenty Your Life On, some aspects of this show are more realistic than other dramas. Not all people, including the leads are selfless, not all choices are fair and not all endings are perfect.

I liked Twenty Your Life On better, if I had to choose, but both shows are good and worth the time spent watching them.

KOREA

World of the Married

This is my favorite show of the year. I wasn’t even planning on watching it. But I gave in and watched one episode. Then I was completely hooked. This show is the definition of drama. It’s crazy. But it’s a well written, well acted crazy that makes it a fun ride to go on. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/715

Love Revolution

I adore this show, which is based on a webtoon. It is light hearted, quirky, funny and sweet. The actors, some of whom are amateurs, did a great job. There is no show I looked more forward to watching in 2020 than this one. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/746

Kairos

This may be the best scripted Korean drama I have watched. Mr. Sunshine and This is My First Life were also very well written, so it’s hard to say for sure, but the dialogue and the twists and turns are ingeniously written. The acting was also phenomenal. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/735

Nobody Knows

This is a show about a serial killer and the police officer tracking him. I am not normally into shows like this, but it was so well written and acted that I watched it anyway. I still don’t like shows like this, but I have to give credit where credit is due. It was a truly good drama.

THAILAND

2Gether

This BL is a sweet college romance, with a few surprises in the plotline that make it a little less formulaic. Here is my longer review for it: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/677

BEST OLD DRAMAS I WATCHED THIS YEAR

Money Flower (2017)(Korea)

I LOVE this show. It’s about someone getting revenge on a Chaebol family, how they do it and the consequences it has on them and everyone around them. I didn’t watch it before now because I am not always in the mood for a makjang, and when I am, I watch Thai Lakorn’s, which are always waaaay over the top. But the show was on my watch list for a long time, and I was in the mood, so I put it on while I worked, and got completely sucked into it!

The acting is great and the plot is intriguing – and infuriating. This has all the makings of a good makjang including cheating, murder, embezzlement, and revenge. By the end of the show I hated the male and female leads and did not wish them any happiness, but this didn’t make the show itself worse. I don’t think I was supposed to like them both. I ended the drama liking it even more then when I started it and will probably watch it again.

Game Sanaeha (2018)(Thailand)

This is my new favorite Lakorn. It has all the things Lakorn’s are famous for. It has rich versus poor, hatred and revenge, slap kisses, misunderstandings and some really, really stupid decisions. It is also unique because some of the characters are fairly mature and others gained some self awareness, learned from their mistakes and had personal growth throughout the course of the show. It was really refreshing and very entertaining.

K-Drama: Love Revolution (9/10)

Love Revolution is a light. fluffy, teeny bopper webtoon-based web series, full of idols, that has an overall rating of 8. I don’t know if anyone else will love it as much as I do, and maybe I shouldn’t love it so much, but I do.

I LOVE IT SO MUCH! FOR SO MANY REASONS.

Here is a short(ish) summary of the show:

Gong Ju Young is a 17-year-old high school student who thinks he has found love at school when he falls for Wang Ja Rim at first sight. But winning her heart won’t be easy. Wang Ja Rim has earned a reputation for being cold and aloof – and, at first, seems totally unimpressed by Gong Ju Young’s garish displays of affection. But Gong Ju Young won’t be deterred so easily. Persistence is the key, he thinks – and, over time, Wang Ja Rim starts to open up to her classmate.

Gong Ju Young’s best buddy since elementary school is Lee Kyung Woo. Will he prove to be a help to Gong Ju Young in his quest for Wang Ja Rim’s heart – or a hindrance? And could Wang Ja Rim’s closest friends, including the popular Oh Ah Ram, also play a role in bringing the duo together? (Source: Viki/mydramalist.com) e

The reasons this show gets a hard-to-earn 9 rating from me:

It is addicting. I haven’t been this excited for a new episode of a show all year. The last time I felt like I absolutely couldn’t wait to watch the next episode was World of the Married.

It is unique. The lead male and female roles are essentially gender reversed. The girl Wang Ja Rim, played by Lee Ruby, is aloof and not into public displays of affection, while the boy chases after her adoringly, acting cutesy, giving her terms of endearment and hoping to confirm that he is as liked by her as she is by him. The lead boy Gong Ju Young is played by Park Ji-hoon of the now disbanded group Wanna One. He plays the role perfectly. I don’t know what methods he used to practice, but I assume it was observing girls trying to get a guys attention and commitment, and mostly failing at it.

It is very cute. Ju Young and his obvious crush is pretty adorable. The episodes are also very cute. The characters feelings stay the same throughout the show, but each episode is a new story. My favorite is one where Park worries about his height relative to his crush’s since she is growing faster than him.

It is very funny and quirky. I have laughed every single episode. There are so many funny moments.

The romance is sweet — and a little angsty. It is so easy to root for most of the characters to get their happy high school ever afters.

The characters are great. Second lead Yang Min Ji is my favorite character, followed by second lead and a half Oh Ah Ram, played by Im Da Young of Cosmic Girls. Min Ji is thoughtful, even while making a wrong decision, and a good friend. Ah Ram is funny and a boxer who can beat up all the boys, if necessary. She loves to eat and nothing stands between her and food. I like all the second lead boys too. I may have swooned a little over character Lee Kyung Woo, played by Kim Young Hoon of the Boyz. He is sarcastic and slightly thoughtless (sadly) and is a better looking version of the very charming eighties star Andrew McCarthy who stole my heart in Pretty in Pink. The other boys, Kim Byung Hoon, played by Ko Chan Bin and Ahn Kyung Min played by Ahn Do Kyu are slightly nerdy besties, and also very likable.

A lot of credit goes to the director Seo Ju Won and writer Kwak Kyung-Yoon.

The worst things about this show are:

The pink lip gloss Ji-hoon (yes, Ji-hoon, you heard me right) wore in every episode. I know kpop boys love them some makeup, but it was so distracting, and not his color.

The fact that it’s over (tears 💧💧💧). I wish there could be a hundred, no a thousand more episodes or shows just like it.

K-Drama: Kairos (9/10)

Wow. This drama is gooood. The production value is high. The screen writing is top notch. The acting is fantastic, and the OST is nice.

I somehow missed that this show was playing, and randomly came across the reviews for it, which were all about as flattering as mine. I wasn’t confident the story was my cup of tea, but I started watching anyway. I was not disappointed.

Here is the summary:

Living a precarious life as a part-timer at a convenience store, Ae Ri strives to support her mother who is on a waiting list for a heart transplant. Unfortunately, her mother’s worsened physical condition leads her to forgo the long-awaited opportunity for the transplant, and just like that her mother disappears. Things were already chaotic enough for Ae Ri when she receives a phone call from a strange man claiming to be from the same world but 31 days in the future. Ironically, he desperately asks Ae Ri for help. Seo Jin, a father and a husband of a close-knit family, has been living a successful life as the youngest person to become a director at a construction company. One day, it all crumbles down with the kidnapping of his daughter and his wife’s suicide. On the verge of breaking down, he is given an opportunity to restore everything that was lost under one condition, help from a strange woman. To bring his daughter and wife back to life, he makes a phone call as the clock strikes 10:33. Source: KOCOWA/Mydramalist.com

I cannot begin to express how incredible the script is. I never knew what was going to happen next, and the show did something I normally only dream of in action and thriller based shows. They crossed all their t’s and dotted all their i’s.

Almost every action in the entire drama has a purpose, and every decision has clear consequences. It is close to flawless. With the exception of the first couple episodes when I genuinely couldn’t figure out what the cops were doing, which seemed to be breaking every established police protocol. And very occasionally the lead female who made some decisions that seemed more dangerous than they needed to be.

There is no way I could have watched episodes as they aired because the story is too riveting and I wanted to know what would happen next so badly. There is never a dull moment and although some characters were steady all the way through, some were more flexible. There were many surprises along the way.

The acting is great too. The last time I saw the male lead actor Shin Sung Rok was in Perfume, where he made me laugh a lot. This role is very different. Rok plays someone who is at times arrogant, intelligent and distant, and at other times helpful, a great father and a great friend. The female lead, Lee Se Young is also fantastic. She plays a character who is struggling, kind, confused, scared and fearless perfectly. The second leads are incredible too. Nam Gyu Ri is completely believable. I emotionally reacted to her character so many times. Second lead male Ahn Bo Hyun was similarly good.

Every single actor was great. Many played roles that were nuanced, where they were both selfish and selfless, good and bad, and did an exemplary job.

The OST is also good. I am partial to the song Can You Feel Me by Yoon of Winner, which I love.

Note: Thank you to CHTAJU for inspiring me to write this review after a hiatus due to waaaaaay too much work.