The Fangirl’s End of Year Countdown – Best Dramas of 2016

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We are so close to the end!  Even though the end of 2016 was a little bit ago (sorry, real life issues took over The Fangirls this December).  Our second to last End of Year review is one everyone is curious about.  Namely our favorite dramas of 2016.  So come join us as we count ours down and see if our list matches yours.

KdramaJen:

W: Two Worlds

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This was one of my favorites of the year because it kept me guessing.  It’s kind of rare for me to find a drama that surprises me.  This one really did.  I also watched this with my son, so there was kind of an added layer of fun for me.  He enjoys manga and anime, so he recognized many of the tropes from THAT genre.  Beyond that, however, LJS is an actor I have loved for years.  He was pretty awesome in this one.

KMUSE: I loved watching this drama every week.  Sure it might have had a slight slower ending than I wished for but all in all it was a must watch show.

CLKYTTA: I liked this drama, it wasn’t my favorite of the year, but I enjoyed it.

Drama Geek: Okay, if we were just judging the first half of a drama this would probably be number 1 for me. It was like the writer looked inside my brain and saw all my worst fears and brought them to life. I drooled over the artwork of the W world. My favorite part of recapping it was getting screenshots. But the ending puttered and stuttered to the finish line. Which for most dramas wouldn’t cause as much disappointment but this show was a ride from second one and I wanted my heart pounding to the very last scene. For the innovativeness of this drama I will still put it in one of my favorites.

Goblin

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Yeah, I know it STARTED in 2016 and it’s not over yet.  We all know that things could go downhill and we could all end up despising it because it didn’t live up to its potential, but I LOVED it in 2016, so I had to include it.  The bromance is epic.  Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook are freaking fantastic, plus puppy BTOB idol Sung Joon is adorable.  On top of that, our Cheese in the Trap actress (Kim Go-Eun) gets to star in a show we are not all ranting about (at least not yet) and Yoo In-Na makes a great chicken shop lady.  I am glad I can like her again after My Love From Another Star.  So…yes.  Goblin is definitely living up to my expectations.  At least, it did in 2016!

KMUSE: This drama has my all time favorite bromance as well as a wonderfully constructed story line. The last few episodes would have to really suck for me not to give this show a 10/10.

CLKYTTA: I agree with KMUSE 100%.  The bromance combined with both romances have really kept me interested.  I am crossing my fingers that they don’t give it a bad ending.

Drama Geek: I’m pretty sure I will see you here at the end of 2017 telling you this was my favorite of the year. I am captivated with every facade of this drama. But… I’m a stickler for endings making a drama. If the last thing you let me see is nonsensical and makes me want to punch the writer, then it’s a drama fail for me. So, this is still TBD.

Moonlight Drawn by Clouds

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I rushed home every Monday, and I smiled through the day as I anticipated my drama time.  That tells me it was one of my favorites.  Sure, there were some kind of of obvious plot swerves that didn’t really move the story forward, but Prince Bo Gum was able to make me swoon with just a sideways glance.  I loved this couple and I loved the bromance with Guard Kim and Jinyoung.  Park Bo-Gum can cry in a way that makes my heart ache, but when he smile and laughs…it makes me want to smile and laugh too.

KMUSE: Prince Park Bo Gum’s smile pretty much carried this whole drama.  Which was totally OK with me.

CLKYTTA: Prince Bo Gum and Hottie Guard Kim were why I watched this.

Drama Geek: This drama had my heart with Prince Bo Gum and his beautiful eunuch. It made me happier than most dramas even hope to. The only reason it isn’t on my personal list is because the female character’s trajectory. But it will stay on my go to list for some Bo Gum feels.

Descendants of the Sun

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Among the fangirls, I may be the only one who thinks this belongs here.  I have my reasons, though.  First, Song Joong Ki and his ABS-olutely amazing post-military physique made this fangirl’s heart pitter patter a little faster.  I am a huge fan of Song Joong-Ki, so I was just WAITING for him to finish his military service.  I even watched old Running Man episodes and all of his dramas and movies while I waited.  Second, I had the opportunity to spend some of my summer in Korea.  This actor’s image was EVERYWHERE and many Koreans watched this show.  The sense of national pride it evoked was something many of my Korean friends shared with me.  It was groundbreaking in some ways because many women AND men watched this one.  This drama brought people together.  And how can one argue with a drama that somehow fosters harmony, unity, and patriotism?  So, I enjoyed it despite the fact that this one required some major suspension of disbelief. (Wow.  It was a good thing the medical team was on hand when Canada exploded…)  Despite some of the questionable plot twists, I still think it deserves to be here. (Drama Geek: I’m glad you put this here Jen, I like hearing the other side of it. It’s hard for an American to understand what it’s like to not have your country seen as the one to call in an international crisis. So with that perspective I may give it another try. That, and watching Goblin has renewed my faith in this writer.)

KMUSE: Song Joong Ki was superb…… and I liked how pretty the ocean was….. the rest I could have easily kicked to the curb.

CLKYTTA: I was more invested in the second lead romances than the OTP.  The story was ok, but I never really understood why everyone raved about this one.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a good drama, but I’m not interested in watching it again.

KMUSE:

Shopping King Louie

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I always expect Seo In Guk dramas to be wonderful but this one even exceeded my expectations. The romance, the side characters, and the plot were all 10’s and there was literally nothing I would change.

CLKYTTA: This was my drama of the year.  I adored Louie, he was childlike, but not an idiot.  Oska (he will forever be Oska to me) was a fun second lead that made me laugh.  We had a naive and kind leading lady who didn’t need to be saved all the time (I hate when the girl is completely helpless). I was so happy that she was strong and smart and could hold her own. This was one of those dramas I wasn’t sure I was going to get invested in, the title kind of turned me off.  I started watching it and it was drama gold! I don’t think any other cast could have made it work, and I’m really glad I went ahead and watched this one.

Drama Geek: The only reason this one isn’t on my list is because I knew KMUSE would put it on hers. This drama had everything right. An adorable couple. Seo In Guk. Quirky and endearing second leads and unforgettable side characters. Seo In Guk.Swoony Kisses. Seo In Guk. If I could wrap it up and give it to you as a present it would be that perfect gift you didn’t realize you couldn’t live without. And Seo In Guk. 🙂

KdramaJen:  This was on my list, but we all know not to touch Kmuse’s bias.  This was such a sweet drama, yet it showcased some of Seo In Guk’s very best acting.  He was this lost little chick with a dirty face that made me want to take him by the hand and lead him around, and then he was able to transform into this romantic, sexy, Khottie of the highest caliber and the kisses… Oh, the kisses!  Yes, definitely a drama that took me by surprise.  It was “Perpect.”

Beautiful Mind

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I try to forget that the stupid network cut down this amazing drama.  But even at a decreased episode count it was one of my favorite shows of the year.  I liked how dark and complicated the plot was and the romance worked for me.  It was a unique medical drama that focused more on the psychological issues of society rather than all the surgery storylines typical of the genre.

CLKYTTA: If you thought I was furious about Cheese in the Trap, I was beyond furious at what they did to Beautiful Mind.  Cutting this drama short was one of the worst decisions the drama gods could have made. I was completely wrapped up in this one, Jang Hyuk and Park So Dam did a great job.  I love a good drama with character growth and our leading man just grew and grew as a person.

KdramaJen: I am not sure where I was, but I know I was not watching this when everyone else was.  By the time I got to it, I was hearing my fellow fangirls cursing at network executives and threatening to call Korea and demand that they fix it, so I never started this one.  I might go back to it, though.

Another Miss Oh

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This show had me so hooked after they revealed the plot twist…which I won’t spoil for you viewers that have not yet checked it out.  Add in a truckload of steamy kisses and tons of beautiful cinematography and I was 100% hooked.

CLKYTTA: Another Miss Oh was a great underdog story.  I think everyone had that person growing up that seemed to have it all together and we felt like they ruined our lives.  Living in the shadow of someone with the same name would have been pure torture, and this drama shows that in a real way.

Drama Geek: I fell for Seo Hyun Jin in Three Musketeers but she knocked my socks off as Oh Hae Young. Everything this character went through, we went through too. And one of my all time favorite norebang scenes is Hae Young and her parents. Singing, crying, singing again. They were just the best family to watch. They had their issues but still they were awesome. The side characters in this drama were also unforgettable. And the SWOONY KISSES. I think I need to watch some of those again…

KdramaJen:  This didn’t make the top of my list, but I watched it for the kissing scenes.  I think I have openly admitted before that I am pretty shallow like that, right?  The kiss scenes are totally worth it.

The Good Wife

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I know that not many people watched this drama due to how difficult it was to find it online.  I still curse the main streaming sites for not picking this one up.  But trust me when I say it is well worth the effort to search it out.  The cast’s performance was so layered that it was literally a guilty pleasure watching it every week.  This is by far one of my favorite adaptations of the year and I hope that it will slowly make its way to more viewers.

DramaGeek:

Signal

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I’m pretty sure everyone is getting tired of me talking about this drama. But I just can’t tell you how much I loved it and how much it has stuck with me. It’s been almost a year, and I still tear up the minute the OST comes on. The whole production did such an amazing job. This story kept you on the edge of your seat. Not only the overarching story, but each case they investigated. And even though our two guys were never technically in the same place at the same time, their relationship had so many layers. They were just your wedged in bromance. The directing made the two times easy to navigate and the writer brought everything back around in a satisfying, if slightly vague way. I pray to the drama gods quit frequently that they will do a season 2. I know I’m waiting for that next transmission.

KMUSE: I knew that this would be on DramaGeek’s list and I was so happy to have the opportunity to co-recap it.  This is by far one of the best written crime dramas of all time and I urge everyone to give it a try.  Top notch acting, editing, soundtrack, cinematography… there was nothing that was not perfect when it came to this show.

KdramaJen: This was also on my list.  This was one of my absolute favorite shows of the year.  I watched it with my husband and we BOTH jumped and screamed out loud in several parts.  If you have not watched this, then go right now and watch it.  Well, finish reading the blog and THEN go watch it.  It’s THAT good.

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I think the reason this drama resonated with me so much is that the whole cast made me fall in love with them. Our OTP was the emotional center. And if we’re going to talk about steamy kisses, you can not leave out this show. Holy hotness. But it was the two fabulous older actresses that probably put it over the top for me. They brought something that most dramas don’t have. Sexy woman over 35. Huh? Can that happen? And ones who have a healthy libido. Their love for each other and their daughter was the icing on the cake. And lastly. Jo Jung Suk. I mean. He threw everything he had into his character. Whether he was being jealous (which I LOVED watching) or trying to put on a bra, or singing is gorgeous heart out. He did it with every fiber of his being. And we love him all the more for it.

KdramaJen:  This was not my favorite of the year, but I did enjoy it.  Jo Jung Suk was fabulous in this role, and any opportunity to hear him sing is always appreciated.  I love Gong Hyo-Jin and I was kind of falling for Ko Gyung-Pyo, the second lead.  It is definitely worth watching.

Age Of Youth

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By now you’ve probably guessed I’m a sucker for girl power. This drama had its quirks but over all it felt like an honest portrayal of five girls living together and trying to survive this crazy world. And over the course of rooming together they became true sisters. I laughed and cried with them. I wanted to slap them a few times. And when it was over I was left knowing they’d stick together no matter what life threw them. Dramaland, please more of these types of dramas in 2017!

CLKYTTA:  We rarely get to see real friendships among women in dramas, so this was very refreshing.  Watching these completely different women find things in common and create lasting bonds was enjoyable.  They weren’t perfect, everyone was flawed, but they were loyal and there when things were good or bad.

KMUSE: This drama was such a great surprise.  I really enjoyed watching all these roommates come together and learn from each other’s experiences all while supporting and fighting like normal roommates do.  Age of Youth easily earns a spot in my top 5 favorite slice of life dramas list.

KdramaJen: I loved the sismance they showcased in this one.  It was just a very easy show to watch, and I found myself really looking forward to each new episode.  It’s one I could have just kept watching week after week.

CLKYTTA:

Marriage Contract-

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This drama reached out and grabbed me by the collar, shook me, made me cry, and then made me cry again.  I loved this one so much.  Yes, it’s sad, but it’s also one of the most hopeful dramas I’ve ever watched.  Uee really surprised me with her acting.  I loved how stubborn her character was, she was determined to do what was best for her daughter no matter what. The romance in this worked for me too.  I like that it wasn’t all fireworks and heart eyes, but more of a realization that they don’t want to be without each other.  The side characters were all really good in this one too, especially the daughter.

Beautiful Gong Shim1a

I literally didn’t answer my phone or move when this one was airing.  I waited for the new episodes like a kid waits to go to Toys R Us.  This drama was so much fun and it kept me interested the whole time.  It was the first time I saw Nam Goong Min as a funny leading guy; he’s played more villainous roles lately.  This was a great feel good drama.  My only complaint was I was desperate for a makeover for our leading lady and it never happened.

Drama Geek: If we were rating this drama on the first half it might be one of my favorites. Gong Shim was so refreshing and sweet. I loved her to death and coupled with the zany Ahn Dan Tae they’re in league to be one of the weirdest couples out there. But the second half of the drama can not be ignored for me, and I’ll admit I skimmed the last few episodes.

KMUSE: I loved the chemistry of the OTP.  They were just so cute together.  Have to agree about the last few episodes petering out. It wasn’t horrible but the writing did feel very dated and unoriginal when finishing up their romantic narrative.  Still worth watching though since it brought me a lot of hours of joy.

KdramaJen: I really enjoyed this one in the beginning. It was so nice to see Nam Goong Min in this role. Comparing him to some of his truly creepy characters, I had to really give a nod of respect to his acting. The show, though, seemed to go off the rails a bit at the end, and I honestly can’t remember if I finished it or not.  That can’t be a good thing…

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This was a Chinese drama that I really enjoyed, and it is based off of Gu Man’s novel, Just One Smile is Very Alluring. Girl kicks butt on role playing game, meets guy in game and joins forces, then girl meets guy in real life and falls in love. I really liked that this couple didn’t go through a lot of miscommunication or misunderstandings.  They were just so stinking cute to watch fall in love.  They had a great supporting group of friends and I enjoyed some of the side stories. I really like this writer’s dramas (she also wrote Shan Shan Comes to Eat aka Boss and Me) and I hope to see more from her in the future.  Honorable mention to the movie that was also released this year; I really enjoyed Angelababy’s portrayal as Wei Wei in the movie.

Drama Geek: Again, if we could rate this on the first half I’d have to agree that it was super addicting. But once they met in real life her character totally lost me and I dropped this at the halfway mark.

KdramaJen: This kept me hooked.  I loved that I had new episodes to watch every night, and I somehow got very invested in this adorable couple.  It was a fun premise and easy to watch.

KMUSE: Love the book and love the drama.  It was a lot of fun and I would say it is a must watch drama when you want sweet fluff.

This concludes our favorite drama of 2016 review.  Did yours make the cut?  Let us know in the comments and check out our whole End of Year list HERE.

Til next time,

The Fangirls

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5 thoughts on “The Fangirl’s End of Year Countdown – Best Dramas of 2016

  1. wapz

    I am surprised that PU 38 didn’t make your list because I consider it one of the best of this year.
    I completed only a few dramas this year and my list would be JI, Marriage Contract, PU 38, This week my wife…, Weightlifting Fairy and W. These are the only dramas that I have completed and these are the only good ones too. Live watching has made it very difficult for me to continue with a drama that loses interest in the middle. For e.g. Lobs and Dots were dropped by ep 7/8 and many others didn’t make it past ep 4. Louis was good but at that time I was too much into JI, which is btw the best for me this year- top notch acting and great humor. Signal, the good wife and and AOY remain to be watched.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Angela

    Did anyone see Dear My Friends?? If not, please do so when time permits. I think it would totally make your list.

    Also, what about ‘Mane of Glory’s Scarlet Ryeo?

    Like

    1. While i enjoyed a lot of things about scarlet heart, it still had a few huge flaws that kept it out of my top 5 of the year. I enjoyed watching but it might not be a rewatch for me

      Like

      1. clkytta

        Scarlet Heart didn’t really leave a lasting impression with me. I watched it mainly because we were blogging about it. It was good to watch and blog with my friends about, but It’s not on my list to rewatch.

        Like

  3. purplerrr

    Marriage Contract and Dear My Friends were the best two dramas I watched in 2016.

    I don’t like melos but watched Marriage Contract for Lee Seo-Jin who was great. UEE blew me away and the little girl was fantastic. Sad, heartwarming, hopeful.

    Dear My Friends made me laugh and cry. This drama about a group of friends who have known each other 50+ years was so good. It really brought home the idea that life is for living even while our lives change and we are closer to the end than the beginning. It made me realize what a criminal waste of talent the Korean producers do when relegating their older actors to a phone in trope role of terrible father, supportive grandma, evil chaebol, etc. These actors were fantastic. I know I’ve seen some of them acting since the mid 1990s and they’ve never been better. This was the best drama of the year for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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