2015 End of Year Drama Review

Collage 2015Wow, what a year 2015 has been! I can’t believe that another has just flew by with a blink of an eye. 2015 was a very important year for me, taking some of the biggest steps in my life and embarking on wonderful adventures. I have learnt so much in 2015 about myself and beyond that I would never have thought would have been possible. 2015 was full of challenges and while challenges they were, they were challenges that has helped to shape me into the person that I am today. I found myself quite busy in 2015 with various commitments consuming most of my time leaving me not much time to spare for dramaing. Surprisingly, I watched a similar amount of dramas as I did in 2014 butI found myself being a lot more picky with what I chose to watch. I started the year quite slow with drama-watching as there was not much dramas that called for my attention to watch them. Then the year-end came around and there were a number of dramas that all wanted my attention at the same time. It has been especially hard for me to catch up on my current dramas as I am currently in Shanghai where the internet hasn’t been so great and that added on with my current commitment has made drama-watching less of a priority. Nonetheless, it has been a very eventful drama year and I am quite happy with my drama choices. This end-of-year drama review is late but it’s finally here! Better late than never, right?

Chinese Dramas

My SunshineMy Sunshine

It’s called My Sunshine but the drama wasn’t all sunshine. In fact, there were more clouds than there were sunshine but seeing the sun come through from behind the clouds was very worth it. This drama was one that I enjoyed very much. The drama is adapted from famous Chinese internet author Gu Man (顾漫)‘s internet novel Silent Separation (何以笙箫默) and comes from the production team who did Boss & Me, one of my all-time favourite dramas. My Sunshine is a romance drama that is filled with angst but it is also one where the romance just shines through, and I like watching that because in a lot of romance dramas, the romance comes either superficially or in a very forced kind of way. Luckily that wasn’t the case here with the romance showing through in a way that felt very real and was of something was filled with heart.

I really liked how the angst showed through. It wasn’t overbearing in a sense, but I wouldn’t say that it was subtle either. There was a good amount of angst there to really tell the OTP’s love story while at the same time there was enough cutesy-ness to balance out all the angst. My Sunshine is about a couple rekindling their romance seven years on after a misunderstanding that tore them apart. Although they were apart for seven years, but their love for one another was never apart. Wallace Chung and Tiffany Tang had a really nice chemistry with each other and that really helped them to channel out their characters and their relationship. However, I found that their chemistry wasn’t a strong, powerful one that their characters called for. It would have been better had their chemistry be more fire-filled but otherwise their chemistry was pretty good. The OTP’s relationship development was quite interesting to watch. It went from something very angsty to a forced relationship and then to something that was all cutesy and loving and Wallace and Tiffany managed to nicely portray this relationship.

My Sunshine is definitely a very interesting drama to watch being more on the melo side. It was nicely paced too which I liked. I do wish that the drama would be heavier, to bring out more of the angst between the OTP. Otherwise, I’d say that this is a really good drama worth watching.

All in all: Through the clouds there were definitely lots of sunshine to see.

Lady & LiarLady & Liar

Tiffany Tang was in full force in 2015 with My Sunshine airing right at the beginning of the year and Lady & Liar airing right after it. L&L had a very different tone with My Sunshine, set in the pre-modern period of Shanghai. I’m not usually a fan of ancient or pre-modern dramas but this drama sounded interesting enough on paper to lure me in and it delivered on-screen too. It wasn’t perfect but it was definitely a really well fleshed-out drama and a nicely fleshed-out drama makes a good drama, both in terms of the plot and characters. The romance here was a very dangerous one, one that put the OTP’s lives and the people’s lives around them at risk. It was love-at-first-sight for mafia boss Bai Zheng Qing “Bai Lang”, played by Hawick Lau, who placed his position on the line to chase for his Cinderella. Tiffany plays Jiang Xin who finds herself caught between two men and also in a loss of what to do in life.

What really brought the drama home for me was the liar aspect of the drama. The liar was a woman who was fierce and determined to chase after what she has in her eyes despite knowing the sacrifices that she has to make. She has ambitions and although the path she took wasn’t necessarily the right path, she was ready to face head-on whatever was coming her way. I really love her character and just how ready to take on anything she was.

This drama was wonderfully structured and the pacing was very nice, although it did head down the draggier side at some points. The execution was wonderful as well, with the pretty costumes and editing. I really enjoyed the vibe and tone that came from the drama. The drama as a whole was a brilliant treat to the eye and very worth my time watching it.

All in all: No lying here, this was a well-written drama that comes with some nice visual treats.

The Lost TombThe Lost Tomb (dropped)

The Lost Tomb is a web-drama adapted from an internet novel and is about grave-robbing. It is action-packed and filled with action right from the start. The drama will be part of a series and will have eight instalments filmed over eight years, though I am not sure if this is still the case any more. This drama does have have a very interesting premise and there’s Li Yi Feng playing the leading character and Tiffany Tang playing his leading lady, but I didn’t stick around long enough to see much of Tiffany. Despite how much I love him I couldn’t stick it in for him. I thought I would like this drama but I guess it just wasn’t my type of drama so I ended up dropping it. I do think people interested in this genre of things, this would be a very interesting drama to watch but I found myself growing disinterested with it. Maybe this is because I found the drama hard to grasp. It wasn’t moving too fast or anything, but rather the background story was hard to grab hold of. There was a lot I didn’t understand and so I found myself lost. Maybe this is why I couldn’t enjoy the drama as much as I would have liked. Dr

All in all: I was lost with this drama so I couldn’t continue with it any more.

My Best Ex-Boyfriend

My Best Ex-Boyfriend

I did not expect myself to like this drama as much as I did but sometimes reality can beat expectations. My friend recommended this drama to me and before I knew it, I marathoned through it and finished it in a couple of days. It was very breezy and easy to watch and before I even knew it, I had already fallen in love with the drama. It’s a drama based on fashion and about an ex-couple coming together again after misunderstanding that tore their relationship apart. They still hold feelings for one another but they must work through their past together in order to step into the future together.

The dynamic in this drama is really fluffy despite the conflicts involved, particularly the character dynamics. The characters all have a really nice bond with each other and are all quite comfortable to be in each other’s presence, which is something that I love seeing. In addition, they are also quite nicely written characters, with each of the four leads given their on limelight at some stage. I do, however, am not so fond at how some of the relationships turned out to be, but otherwise the drama was pretty nicely written and filmed.

All in all: Never say never to your old flame, because you never know, they might be your perfect one!

Love Me, If You DareLove Me, If You Dare

This was an amazing drama that I did not see myself loving, but I was wrong and completely fell in love with it. It’s a drama that is of crime, detective procedural mixed in nicely with some romance to boot. I really enjoyed this drama for its mysteriousness and suspense, which it managed with keep up throughout the entirety of its run. At first it was sectioned out with individual cases but then as we got more into the drama, the individual cases were irked with links building up to the final case. I really enjoyed how the final case came about, with the drama laying down the foundations of the final case right from when we first encountered the characters. This was really nice because the final case did not appear until the very end but this help to build the momentum that was needed for viewers to anticipate what would come of the final case and how the drama will conclude on this.

The romance, while not the centre of the drama, was nicely tied in with the drama. Wallace Huo plays Bo Jin Yan, a very intelligent criminal psychologist who always kept to himself. That was until he met his assistant, Jian Yao, played by Sandra Ma, who challenged him, his way of life and his heart. Jin Yan was initially cold towards Jian Yao but warmed up to her and allowed her to enter into his life. The romance tipped into the drama and allowed Jin Yan and Jian Yao to bond while working together to solve the cases that came at them. I love their subtleness in romance and how Wallace and Sandra were really able to accentuate that aspect. That made their romance all that more a delight to watch despite the darkness that surrounded their romance.

Romance or not, this drama worked out wonderfully in all aspects. There were times when I wished the drama would move faster but otherwise, this drama is nicely written with each of the characters also nicely written. It helps that they had a nice chemistry with each other and were comfortable in portraying their characters.

All in all: I dared and I loved it.

Japanese Dramas

Itazura Na Kiss 2Itazura na Kiss 2 ~ Love in TOKYO

This drama is the second instalment to Itazura na Kiss ~ Love in TOKYO and is about the couple’s life after marriage. Whoever said marriage is easy is speaking of lies because these newlyweds know best that this is not true at all. Going through the ups and the downs, these two know that marriage is not something easy to deal with. It doesn’t help though when the hubby is being cold towards his wife, which made watching frustrating too. You married her because you love her so maybe actually interacting with her and showing some love would be a good start. I didn’t really like the character interactions here, mainly because the hubby was just very cold throughout the drama, though he was a bit warmer than he was in the first instalment but you know, you’d expect him to be much warmer to her considering that they are now married.

The OTP really frustrated me because the drama kept trying to push them together but it never felt like they were really together. This comes down to character interactions which there was minimal of. The OTP were very distant and I didn’t like that. I wanted to see them in a warm relationship but there was constantly a sense of distance between them, even though they’re meant to be closer this season. Part of the reason was inequality in their relationship in that hubby never saw his wifey as an equal, and this was probably why he kept his distance.

The drama flows very nicely from the first season as a sequel but it was painfully frustrating to watch, seeing the drama force the OTP together when the emotions just weren’t there.

All in all: Not much love here.

Date

Date

Hmmm, this was not what I hoping to get from a rom-com. I didn’t enjoy this drama very much, I found it quite boring to watch and felt that the overall tone was quite dull. I just didn’t enjoy it. Every ep, I was waiting on either one of the main leads to make some changes to make this relationship happen. Relationships like theirs shouldn’t have to happen out of force but that was how their relationship felt like. I think I might just be viewing this drama too negatively but I’m not sure, to me this drama was just boring. Plot-wise I think it was quite nicely structured and written but it could have been injected with some energy. Overall, the drama just didn’t appeal to me.

All in all: Sorry, but I wouldn’t go on a date with you.

5jikara9jimade5-ji Kara 9-ji Made

Typically, it’d be from 9 to 5, but not the case here with it being from 5 to 9 instead. 5-ji Kara 9-ji Made does things the atypical way, telling the love story between an everyday woman and a monk. One wouldn’t think it would work but it does and works out quite well too. It was love at first sight for Hoshikawa Takane, played by Yamashita Tomohisa, who fell in love with Sakuraba Junko, Ishihara Satomi and was determined to go above and beyond to make her his wife. That was his goal which he was very determined to achieve. Despite receiving numerous rejections from Junko, Takane did not give up and used that motivation to motivate him to further pursue her. There was family support and there was also family disapproval but Takane was very willing to make their relationship happen. Him being around her slowly became something of the ordinary and Junko found that her heart was moving for him.

It was so sweet watching them and their love story. It was just a really nice rom-com to watch. It was hilarious how many times they nearly kissed but didn’t. But the drama delivered in that and gave them a really cute ending, one that finally gave them a kiss that was not missed.

I also really loved the character development. It was pretty much spot on, highlighting the characters who needed to be highlighted while still allowing the rest of the cast shine. The character interactions were also something that I enjoyed from the drama. I love how the majority were supportive of Takane and Junko’s relationship and really wanted them to succeed. And they did, thanks to those around them and this drama was a success in my books too.

All in all: I’d stay up from 5-9 watching this and then again from 9-5.

Korean Dramas

I Remember You

I Remember You

This was a mediocre drama, it’s a police procedural kind of drama which appears to be my kind of thing in 2015. It’s a drama about a very intelligent college professor who works together with a lowly crime detective to solve criminal cases. Of course, it’s not merely as simple as this, with the two falling in love in the process and comes to realise that they actually met before when they were younger, which is a plot line basically that most K-dramas have nowadays. I didn’t quite like this drama all that much. The writing of this drama was pretty nice but there wasn’t that enticing factor to keep me keen for the drama. I just felt like the drama was missing something, just something. It was definitely a nice, watchable drama but that was all I felt from it. I don’t really know what else to comment about on this drama because there wasn’t anything of stand out for me to comment on.

All in allI’ll remember you, maybe, or maybe not, probably not.

The Time We Were Not In LoveThe Time We Were Not In Love

The Time We Were Not In Love is a remake of the TW hit In Time With You but disappointingly, this version did not live up as being a remake. I found this drama really hard to watch and I was constantly hoping that something would steer it on the right track but that something never came. The whole tone of the drama was not dull but somehow the execution was very dull. The biggest problem with this was that it tried to change too much of what defined ITWY, and as such there was no longer that element that made me love ITWY. It strayed too far from the original plot and the characters were quite different to their TW counterparts. Even detaching it from ITWY and viewing this as just a standalone drama, there wasn’t anything gravitating from this drama to make it love it or want to love it.

There were a lot of elements that just didn’t work here. Probably the biggest problem here was that the OTP already held feelings for each other right from when we met them. It was just a matter of time that was limiting them from being together. That was frustrating to watch because they were just stuck in that phase where they weren’t able to do anything about their feelings for majority of the drama and I found myself unable to do anything to appreciate the drama better.

All in all: Yup, that was definitely a time that we were not in love.

The Girl Who Sees SmellsThe Girl Who Sees Smells

This drama was adorably cute despite the dark crime in place. I really love this drama with it winning my heart in all ways possible. The drama is about a girl who has a supernatural sixth sense of being able to see smells. She meets a police officer and uses her ability to help him in his work all the while falling in love with him and getting herself entangled in a case.

There is such a nice balance between the light-heartedness, supernatural ability and the police procedural and the atmosphere presented is a very likeable one. It is one that grabs your attention in to watch and keeps you there. I really like how the characters fell into pace with the plot, letting us fall in love with the characters first before the major plot line kicked in place. There were bits and pieces to the major plot popping up here and there, building up our anticipation for what was to come while never fully directing us off track from the drama. I like the plot but like a lot of the dramas out there, there were times when I felt like it was pacing a bit too slow, but the execution and writing made up for it.

I really adored the OTP’s cute romance. They had a motive for keeping one another by each other’s side and that motive was initially their reason for being close with each other but the more time they spent with each other, they more they realised that they complemented each other on a heart-to-heart basis. Park Yoo Chun and Shin Se Kyung share such a comfortable, bubbly chemistry with each other. I love watching them on-screen and just seeing them together makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

All in all: I didn’t just see but I was also able to smell what a beautiful drama this is.

She Was PrettyShe Was Pretty

I heard good reviews about this drama so I just had to go see for myself and I was so glad I did because this was a really good drama. This drama was really well-written and executed, it had an element of mysteriousness to and managed to keep that up for the entire drama run. It’s about a pair of childhood lovers who meet again but this time what separates them is the social status and the changes in their looks. As they spend more time with each other, they come to realise that it doesn’t matter, it’s the feelings they have for each other that count.

Looks has a very important role in our society, everyone wants to look good and everyone wants to feel good, but it’s not always about the exterior, the interior is equally as important, if not more. I really love how the drama allowed this aspect to show through. Looks was never a thing of concern for the OTP, it was always about the interior and always has been. They love each other for who they are and meeting again allowed them to realise just how they were able to fill the hole in each other’s heart.

The friendship between the two girls was honestly one of the best things of this drama. It’s so precious, because it is such a sweet friendship. They’re always thinking of each other and always on the lookout for each other. They will always be there for each other when one needs a shoulder to lean on or a listening ear and they are always ready to put up a fight if need be. I just adore them! For Min Ha Ri, played by Go Joon Hee, it broke her heart when she went chasing after the guy she knew Hye Jin was heads over heels for. It was a betrayal of their friendship and that broke her heart. She knew it was something she shouldn’t do and despite giving up and apologising, she still felt very wronged in doing something like that to her best friend. This friendship is just so sweet and I love it so much.

All in all: It’s not about the looks, and it never has been, it’s the insides that counts. But for this drama both the insides and outside were pretty.

Taiwanese Dramas

When I See You AgainWhen I See You Again

When I See You Again is a drama that I would describe as having a flat-toned plot with not much challenges. It doesn’t try to go over the top, which was good enough because the drama was serviceable at the very least which is a lot better than one specific drama *ahem* that I watched in 2015. This drama tried to really sell on the OTP to keep the drama running and while this was indeed kept the drama running, the drama was of one that lacked a meaningful plot. The drama did not try to challenge the characters and as such we were unable to see any growth in their characters.

The drama was not that well written. It was very dull with nothing much to give the drama the punch that it needed. It was also paced very slowly and was quite a drag to watch. I found a lot of the scenes either repetitive or predicable and dramas like that aren’t all that fun to watch. The romance as cute enough to maintain the drama, but only barely so.

All in all: I don’t think I ever want to see you again, goodbye.

BoysitterBoysitter

Boysitter is a drama that tried so hard to be something that it was not meant to be and because of that, the drama did not tell out as well as it could have. It is a drama about bringing back an ex-couple who were connected by their six-year old child. The drama tried to make it more than that though by having some very complicated relationship situations. Annie Chen plays Yuan Fei who finds herself caught between two men – her ex-boyfriend Hao Jian Ren, played by River Huang, and her boss Wen Hao Ran, played by Melvin Sia. However, the problem with this was that the relationships were all really wishy-washy. After all these years Yuan Fei and Jian Ren still holds feelings for each other, but it was never something that was never acted upon. It was lingering and kept lingering on until the very end until it was forced that they had to be together. Yuan Fei and Hao Ran’s relationship was also not well written either with their feelings essentially being held back by a contract.

The romance was basically the plot but because there was only lingering feelings in play, this made the drama progress too slowly. On paper, the synopsis sounded very bright and inviting but when executed on-screen, the outcome was very different with the bright synopsis turning out to be quite a dull one.

All in all: A drama that’s not worth boysitting on.

Marry Me Or NotMarry Me, or Not?

Of all the dramas I watched in 2015, this drama stands as one of my faves. I love this drama for everything that it is worth and so much more. I found myself in a bipolar situation with the drama – either raging at the screen for the underrated moves that were placing the OTP in danger or smiling with gushes of happiness in seeing the OTP face everything together head-on and with determination that they can work through this together. What this drama managed to work really well on was the two leads, played reuniting co-stars Roy Qiu and Alice Ke from their previous drama Office Girls, and their fantastic chemistry that spoke more than words. Roy and Alice really brought the drama up a level, really, because the even under a weak narrative state they will still be able to bring the drama life. Of course, that wasn’t the case here. This drama was narratively dense and coupled with amazing execution from Roy and Alice, this really brought the drama over and beyond expectations. Another thing that I really loved about this drama was how the OTP’s relationship was developed. It went from being a fake relationship to becoming one that was real and filled with with lots of love. I love that they were constantly met with challenges that challenged their relationship for the better, but what I loved more than that was how we got to see them hange and grow with each other all the while battling through these challenges.

The second leads were a whole different story. I really wanted to like them but couldn’t, not when I couldn’t figure out their characters. I couldn’t figure who they were and that really disappointed me because they could have been amazing characters just like the leading OTP. Due to the time in trying to figure out their characters, this came at the expense of their relationship development which was such a shame because their relationship progression felt way too rushed. I really would have loved see more from them, in fact I was anticipating to see more from them but that didn’t happen.

This drama is an amazing one as a whole. Another important aspect that I really loved from this drama was the visuals, not the filming visuals but the physical background visual from the costumes through to the make-up. I just really love how this complemented so well with the plot of the drama, really helping to bring out the characters.

This drama is a must-watch, I can guarantee that. The writing of the plot is nicely done and the OTP is just incredible in terms of their relationship development and chemistry. Minus the second leads and this drama would have been perfect in all aspects.

All in all: Yes please! Yes, yes, yes! I’d marry you over and over again if our love permits.

To The Dearest Intruder

To The Dearest Intruder

This was a drama that I thought could bring back the success of The Fierce Wife but that clearly was not the case. This was a drama that could have gone great but was a direction that they opted not to head for. It started off well, showing three best friends caught in a love triangle but a third of the way in, the drama started to head down the crazy route, and when I say crazy I mean crazy. The writing of the drama in general was really messy and that was what really let down this potential drama. Like I mentioned before, the start was great but the whole transition into the “intruder” phase was what really let down the drama. The drama could have played more with this “intruder” aspect and actually let that surface, but instead it was like the drama did not know where else to head any more and so it decided to head into cray-cray land. Honestly, here writing this short review I still find myself struggling to comprehend how this drama managed to go from good to horribly wrong. The thoughts of ideas that was injected into the drama was just terrible – going to the extent of killing your best friend for a guy? What was the drama thinking?

Minus the plot, Melvin Sia, Amber An and Aggie Hsieh did put in their best effort to try and pick up a drama that was heading downhill, but what is a drama without a plot? Actually, in this case the drama probably would have fared better without a plot.

All in all: What happened here??? My advice to stay far, far away from this drama. Don’t trust me? I dare you to take a look for yourself.

And…that was 2015!

2015 was an amazing year for me in every single way possible, and in so much ways that I don’t even know where to begin. I am so grateful for all the opportunities that 2015 offered me, opportunities that helped me to grow into a better and stronger person. They were opportunities literally waiting for me to accept and that is something that I am so thankful for. 2015 was just an amazing year, probably the best year of my life by far! Hopefully 2016 will be able to surpass that!

Drama-wise, I was very selective in what I chose to watch, mainly because I was very busy in 2015 leaving me not much room to just pick up any drama as I please. I have made some very poor drama decisions *ahem* but at the same time I have made some fantastic decisions and that’s the great thing and while I do have some regrets, for the most part I am very satisfied with all my drama choices.

This year will be another busy year for me but I hope that I can keep up with drama-watching and this blog. I just want to say a quick thank you for your continual support throughout the years. Here is to another year of great dramas. <3 *muahhhh*

5 thoughts on “2015 End of Year Drama Review

  • January 24, 2016 at 11:43 pm
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    Thanks for the great review. I have watched some of the dramas while due to time constraint have shelved some of the dramas mentioned till I find the time. Guess some of them are just not worthed watching 🙂

    Have a great 2016 and looking forward to more recommendation and reviews this year.

    Reply
    • January 25, 2016 at 7:31 am
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      Awww, thank you! <3 They will be coming! Please keep a lookout (:

      Reply
  • January 25, 2016 at 10:41 am
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    Such a long post! I don’t know how you did it! How did you remember all you’ve watched dear?

    I only finished….like 3 dramas last year in full and I don’t even remember those except for Flower. LOL.

    Happy New Year! 😉

    Reply
    • January 29, 2016 at 10:43 am
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      Ahahaha! Was racking through my brain to remember everything! Belated happy new year to you too!

      Reply
  • November 14, 2016 at 7:58 am
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    Stumbled on your post when googling My Best Ex-Boyfriend. My sis told me it’s worthwhile to watch since I just finished Jerry Yan’s Loving, Never Forgetting and totally loved it. I’m fairly new to cdramas and happy to have found a few new recommendations that look like it is right up my ally. Adding My Sunshine and Love Me if You Dare to my watchlist. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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