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.

My Absolute Favorite Male Actors from Asian Dramas

These are the guys who I consider the very best at their jobs, which are to interest me, make me laugh and/or cry, keep me entertained and sometimes make me swoon. They are the actors I anxiously await new work from because they are amazing.

They are listed in no particular order, since I like them all pretty equally. What they all have in common is an ability to act. probably beyond what they have been allowed to do. They are all expressive, most can do comedy as easily as they do drama, and they all fully immerse themselves in the characters that they are playing.

  1. Park Seo Joon (Korea)

There are not enough adjectives to describe why I like Park’s work. He is basically the total package. He plays humble just as well as he plays arrogant. He was not just especially hot (which is not a requisite for this list btw, though I would like to commend him for his perfect abs and make out abilities, which seem to be on point). He was also oh-so-humble and sweet in Witches Romance (which I only recommend for his performance), and in Fight for My Way (one of my favorite dramas of all time), while he was completely conceited in What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim. He was also hilarious and made me laugh during every episode. His comedic timing is also showcased in Midnight Runners, along with his ability to do action. Basically, he can act in anything.

My only problem with Joon is that he does not act in nearly enough stuff. And I refuse to watch any interviews with him or the show he’s in in Spain. This is because he could turn out to be an amazing person, and not just an amazing actor. Than I might start viewing him as a prospect, not just an artist, which would be deeply problematic.

2. Aaron Yan (Taiwan) (China)

Although typecast first into youth shows, since he started acting so young, and then romantic dramas, I believe with all my heart that Yan could act out any genre presented to him. If I were a producer I’d bring him to the U.S. and give him something Oscar worthy, but I’m not one, so a girl can only dream. That said, I love him in a romantic drama because he’s truly believable in whatever character he plays, and his love for the female lead looks completely sincere (because 🌟 acting). I think his seeming sincerity is what sets him apart, along with his expressions (that I’ve referenced on this blog before), which are incredible. As a viewer I can see what he is trying to convey at all times even when he has no dialogue.

My favorite Yan show is Just You (one of my fav dramas ever) because it is cutesy and interesting and entertaining (plus I really love his co-star Puff Kuo and think they make a great team). In Just You he manages to be a character (Qi Yi) that is multi-dimensional. Qi Yi is anal retentive, hard working, bitter, lonely, mature, youthful, responsible and kind, all at once. That is not an easy feat, especially in a drama that is fairly lighthearted. Yan is also (in my opinion) the very best male actor kisser in all of Asia (major feat, right?) and the fact that he may not be the least bit attracted to any of the ladies he has kissed, despite getting all 10’s from me for it, makes him an absolute rockstar actor in my book. And during the only time I have ever watched a behind the scenes of a show video (since they are not normally my thing), I saw that he is a consummate professional who goes from being himself into character the second the cameras are rolling. Lastly, he gets no acting points for this, but he is also the actor I would most like to have a conversation with because he seems like a fun, funny, and intelligent person, and I’m impressed by his personal strength.

3. Puttichai “Push” Kestsin (Thailand)

First off, this man could have chemistry with a rock, as observed after he was in a show where he spent over a dozen episodes falling in love with a bird (Leh Nangfah). Watching that, I really wanted to be that bird. I’m guessing most viewers did. Kasetsin clearly took his role seriously because he talked to that bird and cuddled that bird like it was a person and made a story that is fantastical and kind of crazy totally believable.

As an actor, he is not only capable of delivering perfect dialog, like Yan he has great facial expressions and like Joon he is great at comedy (Wannueng Jaa Phen Superstar had me laughing out loud). He can play anyone from a student to a CEO and can play a romantic lead like no other.

He gets no extra points for this since it’s not about his acting, but from a aesthetic dental perspective Kestsin has the most perfect smile (even better than Park Bo Gum’s). I also appreciate his willingness to be exploited into taking off his clothes in all of his lakorn’s so his fans will be happy.

4. Seo Kang Joon (Korea)

I was first introduced to Seo in Cheese in the Trap (the show version). I didn’t love the show, but he gave me my very worst case of second lead syndrome ever. His character, although a technical bad boy was just so everything, and the girl still fell for the sociopath (which sadly happens in real life way too often). And although I liked the character, I think that if another actor played him I wouldn’t have been as receptive, because Seo played him just right. He was able to play sincere, angry, sweet, responsible and irresponsible at one time. And later in Are You Human Too, he plays two completely different characters with different attributes, and does an amazing job. I really think this ability, to create such multi-faceted characters is what sets Seo and my other favorite actors apart.

Seo is also a professional, which I gauge from the fact that he seems so mature when he acts. I’m sure this comes from his years of acting experience, but I genuinely cannot believe he is 25. This is a compliment to him because it’s not easy to seem mature at that age. I’m sure I didn’t seem half as grown up as he does at that age.

5. Ahn Hyo Seop / Paul Ahn (Korea)

Ahn’s acting stole my heart in Thirty But Seventeen (see my review here). He was adorable. And like Seo, he managed to take a character and elevate it,making a character that was not meant (by the writers and director) to be my favorite into my very fav of the drama.

I also love Queen of the Ring, which is cutesy with a positive message and Ahn stole my heart (as a viewer) in that too. He is just charming, even when he is meant to be conceited, musical (Top Management) or back from the dead (Abyss) which is why I will basically watch him in everything he does from now to eternity.

C-Drama T-Drama Hello Again is So Cute!

This show gets pretty high marks from me because it is ADORABLE. It meets all the criteria of a standard drama, but flips some tropes on their head in the very best way. The actors are great, especially lead actor Bruce Hung who makes this show shine.

Hello Again! is about a male and female who went to high school together but weren’t friends. The female, Chang Ke Ai was the top student in their grade, and the male, Yang Zi Hao was good at extracurriculars, but not a great student. He also rubbed Chang Ke Ai the wrong way for interrupting her speech to the school and study hall with his antics. During an argument between the two they make a bet that if Yang gets into the same school as Chang she will have to carry his bag there everyday.

This motivates Yang to study hard and get accepted. So he wins the bet, except it gets foiled. Watch to find out how 😉

The story centers around their time together 10 years later when they meet back up under very different conditions and end up working together.

What makes this drama different in a way I find refreshing is that instead of a long drawn out hate to love relationship between the two, Yang is very clear that he likes Chang and most of his actions involve helping her and keeping her in his orbit.

He finds tons of cute and ridiculous reasons to get her to spend time with him, like making a business bet where she wins a steak dinner with him as the prize or giving her a loan where the interest is having breakfast with him. In most cases, his secretary, played by Sean Lee is rolling his eyes at Yang’s nutty and immature antics, which is pretty funny. And Bruce Hung acts all this out so charmingly

Hung is another one of those actors that I probably wouldn’t look at twice if I saw him in the grocery store, especially in his earlier days like in A Good Day, but he has officially grown up, and away from the days when he dabbled in the ladies bikini pond 😂😂😂.

OMG LOL

Now when he’s on screen showing off his insanely adorable dimple and washboard abs, and being so sincere while in character, it’s a whole other story. The Chinese idol judges are always talking about auras as a determinant for idolhood and Hung definitely has one.

In the show, Chang has no idea that Yang likes her and never even considered him as a love interest, which is why she is immune to his charm and cant see why he repeatedly takes actions on her behalf. I would not have that problem. In fact this is an open invitation to Hung and his aura to come to the U.S. and have dinner with me anytime 😉

I’m only halfway through this drama, but so far it’s only gotten better, so I can’t wait to see the rest. And I waited soo long to see it. I have had it on my to watch list for awhile now, but it just, and I mean just got English subtitled episodes that are available to see in America up to episode 13 out of 16. For weeks only the first episode had subs and I was dying to know what happened next.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am learning Mandarin, and c-dramas are a perfect way to practice (note: I met a guy in Spain who learned English through a Netflix marathon of an American show which influenced this decision), but my proficiency isn’t high enough to understand entire dialogs – yet. And it’s not always easy to find a c-drama that I love, but this one, I love. At least so far.

My only major critique is that although actress Amber An does a really great job in the role, and is pretty as pie in real life, in this drama she looks like a fairly unattractive mess who dresses herself in the dark. It makes it hard to see why her character, although very smart and spunky, is so attractive to the males (and females 😉 around her, or how she has a job in fashion. Her outfits are atrocious and do nothing to flatter her. Same with her hair. The girl wears banana clips, which went out in the 1980’s last I checked! Her pants are floodwaters, she wears frayed denim on denim and grandma sweaters. There is one scene where the guy is supposed to be wowed by her in a dress he picked out, except that dress is a 1990’s knock off with no shape to it. If Hung or his character actually finds that look attractive I will start wearing mumu’s which they must find equally seductive 😂. My 2 cents: An’s costume designer and hairdresser for this show need to find a new line of work – pronto.

Amber An in real life

Hello Again! is not a work of art (I dont want to mislead you) and some situations are completely improbable, but it is quirky in the best way! It’s lighthearted with some very sweet and funny moments. It has a business storyline where they actually do business (so rare lol). The actors do a great job and hopefully the show continues to grow on me for the 7 episodes I have left.

Note: Just You is still my favorite Taiwanese Drama of all time (and one my fav dramas period) and I hope directors and producers will magically find this post and take note that we need more dramas like Just You and Hello Again! – maybe one starring Puff Kuo and Bruce Hung.



Choosing a Drama

Decisions, decisions…

Choosing a drama is a lot like deciding what to eat for dinner or where to go on vacation. There are a lot of variables and in the end it’s usually about what I’m craving most. Some days a light, fluffy romace is the best thing on earth and other days something with more depth or comedy is up my alley. In this vein, I thought I would share with you all my steps for choosing a drama.

  1. What am I craving? i.e. what type of drama am I in the mood for. Whatever it is I am a happy ending girl, so anything I watch has to have that.

2. My first choice is usually Chinese. The irony in this is that Korea has more dramas and they’re generally better and there are good Thai and Filipino dramas too, BUT, I’ve been learning Mandarin so I try to find c-drama’s whenever possible so I can practice.

3. Does the plot sound good?

4. What rating does it have on My Drama List, since I’ve found that the ratings and reviews are usually on point (with a few exceptions). I try to stay at 7.7 and up unless I really love the plot and/or the actor/actress so I don’t waste my precious time.

5. Is the lead guy even remotely attractive >>> because I’m superficial I have a hard time watching romances where the guys are not my cup of tea.

6. How many episodes is it <<< Since I have to plan how I spend my precious time

7. Can I find it eng subbed

I dont know if anyone else uses this method, but it works pretty well for me.

Aaron Yan – How I went from flinching at him to fangirling.

My introduction to Aaron Yan was in the drama Fall in Love with Me, which I found on Netflix.

To be honest, my first impression wasn’t great (don’t tar and feather me yet #Yanfans). In the first scene the man had more makeup on than a pageant queen and his clothes were just as frilly. For this reason, I didn’t find him at all attractive. I also assumed he was a boy who liked boys. I don’t know if that was based on his costume or if my uber fantastic gaydar, which is always on point was going off. Either way, I found out about the scandal with his bf later on and it all made sense.

Truth is, I believe wholeheartedly in #loveislove so I am neutral on his orientation, but feel heartbroken for him that he got kicked out of the closet the way he did. I also feel bad that he has to make a living kissing girls, although that won’t stop me from watching him do it (bad me ;). That said, I will hope beyond hope he does a BL drama one day which would be the most epic BL ever.

After my introduction to him, Aaron Yan grew on me FAST. The first half hour of Fall in Love with Me included a shower scene, where his six pack abs were in full view, and if you all haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a MAJOR sucker for some rock hard abs. Then Yan switched out of the froofy clothes since he played an Ad Exec. pretending to have a doppelganger – for a fringe, glasses and student clothes, which, although not my type, made him way more attractive to me.

Then I was acquainted with, what I now think is Yan’s very best quality. He has the ability to act using only facial expressions. It’s amazing!

Basically, what I have realized is that despite being typecast into certain kinds of dramas, he is a really and truly talented actor. He is the reason why I watched every episode of Fall in Love with Me, despite the story getting overly dramatic and draggy towards the end, because he continued to wow me. I also recently found out that he did the OST, which is pretty good.

I followed it up with a Yan weekend, which included Just You and Refresh Man. I liked both plots slightly better than Fall in Love with Me, although I did like FILWM’s actress Tia Li.

Refresh Man was interesting to watch, with an actual plot involving a company where people actually did work (hard to find in dramas amirite?), and of course Yan repeatedly did his yearning face, which is all it took for me to root for his relationship with Zhong Yu Tang, played by Joanne Tseng.

Then I fell completely in love with Just You. Aaron Yan + Puff Kuo are a fantastic combination, one I hope beyond hope to see again. The story was cute, interesting and funny.  It is my favorite Yan drama so far and one of my favorite dramas period.

Oh and apropos of nothing, I give Aaron Yan the prize for best kisser of any Asian drama star. Let me know if you have other nominees (My runner ups are Koreans Ji Hyun Woo and Lee Min Ki and Thailand’s Off Jumpol Adulkittiporn and Lee Thanat Lowkhunsombat). Not that I pay attention to any of that lol. Yan is also the very best at “whoops, I accidentally fell on you and now we’re in lust”, which he has perfected into almost a stunt move. His only downfall, in my opinion, are his clashing suits and his dancing on fast songs, which is just too awkward to watch.

In short, I’ve become a giant #YanFan, desperately waiting for his future projects to come out. The next one I am watching is Please Give Me a Pair of Wings where it looks like he gets to highlight his acting abilities in a more serious drama focused on a really important topic, and I can’t wait to see it.