[Yeona] December is usually the month when the best Asian dramas and actors are awarded. But are they really the best? Are they using the right system in order to chose the best one? Anyway, we decided to have here our own awards for the past year, each one from our perspective.
[Bladey] Reflecting on 2012, it has been a really prolific year for dramas, giving us some rather creative ideas, and a few pretty much failed ideas, some old, some more fresh, some fresh disguised as old, some old disguised as fresh. A good variety. Here are our picks for 2012, the good and some bad too.
1. Best drama:
- Nominees: The Equator Man, Operation proposal, The Chaser, W no Higeki, Legal High, Ooku: Arikoto Iemitsu Hen, Miss Rose, Drama Go Go Go, My Daughter Seo-young, Reply 1997, A gentleman’s dignity, Queen In Hyun Man.
- Winner: The Chaser
- Special award: Ooku: Arikoto Iemitsu Hen
2. Best actor:
- Winner: Uhm Tae Woong (The Equator Man)
- Special award: Roy Qiu (Miss Rose)
3. Best actress:
- Winner: Takei Emi (W no higeki)
- Special award: Lee Bo Young (My Daughter Seo-young)
4. Best supporting role:
- Winner: Kim Min Jong ( A gentleman’s dignity)
5. Best couple:
- Winner: Kang Baek Ho and Ham Yi Seul (Operation Proposal)
- Special award: Sung Shi Won and Yoon Yoon Je (Reply 1997)
6. Best OST:
- Winner: Operation proposal
- Special award: Drama Go Go Go
Picks: King2Hearts, Shut Up Flower Boy Band, History of the Salaryman, Legal High, The Equator Man, Queen Inhyun’s Man, A Gentleman’s Dignity, Rooftop Prince, The Chaser
Best Drama:Legal High
Special Mention:The King2Hearts
Worst Drama of 2012: Wild Romance
Special Mention: Big
Best Actor in a Drama: Sakai Masato (Legal High)
Special Mention: Son Hyun Joo (The Chaser)
Best Actress in a Drama: Lee Yoon Ji (The King2Hearts)
Special Mention: Jung Wu Ryon (The History of Salaryman)
Best Supporting Role in a Drama: Lee Sung Min (The King2Hearts)
Special Mention: Shin Hyun Jun (The Bridal Mask)
Best Couple: Ji Hoon Woo and Yoo In Na (Queen Inhyun’s Man)
Special Mention: Jo Jung Suk and Lee Yoon Ji (The King2Hearts)
Best Ending Scene: Rooftop Prince
Best Opening Scene: A Gentleman’s Dignity
Special Mention: The King of Dramas
Best OST: The King2Hearts
So my choices seem to be dominated by The King2Hearts but for me it was a very uniquely creative drama. also really liked the official poster images, the costumes and settings were all really lush. The story itself is fairly controversial and I’m sure its reception was a little difficult given the not so easy ideas mixed to the tale, probably easier to swallow for international audience.It was quite a modern fairy tale with a genuinely evil villain and a bildungsroman of a prince who needed to find hios way to become a worthy king. On superificial level: nothing new: another story in which a corporate tries to take over, except this time Korea is a monarchy. But this is a superifcial treatment of the story, as it offers a lot more in the way it’s crafted. The principal theme of bilndugsroman is made possible by the way in which the stories of other characters are woven into and enrich the main plot. It was a memorable drama for me, a drama in which all characters had a moment to shine and contributed to the story in one way or another. The supporting cast really made their characters very endearing and likeable, in particular the ones I have mentioned in my picks. It was somehow very rich in overal design.
However, Legal high has definitely been the best drama for the past year. Well, from the ones that I have seen. It wins on all accounts as overall best drama for best acting and best directing as a drama that laughs at other dramas and does so whilst remaining highly entertaining. A real gem. It won television awards for best scripts and directing but the fact that Sakai was not is a bit disappointing, his performance was flawless. The Equator Man had a really good antagonist character, but I could not understand the blindness thing going on and off for the main character. The Chaser is a good story but very hollywood-like. However, the actors made it more relatable as their emotions were very tangible. I quickly grew attached to the characters, the main character remaining exceptionally noble under his dire circumstances. It has a particularly strong start but never really loses its momentum.
Shut Up Flower Boy Band leaves the viewer with something tangible after watching. It is as an excellent friendship story with genuine ups and downs that felt very substantial and very real. A really worthwile ride. I am not much of a fan of Rooftop Prince as there was plenty of the familiar in this drama but there was at least one scene which made me laugh out loud But most of all… I really have to admit that the ending scene was really well done for once, left the viewer something to think about, whilst being defined enough for the viewer to be satisfied. It was very very clever.
After much deliberation, A Gentleman’s dignity, while fun to watch at first, features too many things with which I can’t agree and which get on my nerves and therefore it is far from being a winner drama, especially because of: some of the characters being terribly annoying in the way they behaved. The drama relies heavily on gender sterotypes. I was also unhappy with how little space they gave for the sibling relationship. All of the space was hogged by the main couple but too bad, the other stories had so much untapped potential, a wasted opportunity. It made the story have loose ends and it felt like some things were a little too out of the blue and unexplained. There was nothing to this drama except for the friendship part and the interactions between four gentlemen; these were fun to watch. Definitely one of the most overawarded drama of 2012. History of the Salaryman is also a pretty unique drama in the way it relies heavily on slapstick and is quite successful in combining the over-the-top weird and the dramatic without them clashing.
Queen Inhyun‘s Man‘s speciality was the main character Kim Bong Doo – smart and kind guy for a change and the crushing chemistry betnween the leads. For sure they make the drama couple of the year for this reason.
One final mention: The King of Dramas. Out of the three dramas about making dramas I have seen over the years, I think I enjoyed this one the most, even though I really value The World That They Live in for its realism and focus on the actual shooting of dramas. The Wirld That They Live in I feel is the most adequate portrayal of making dramas. In terms of story, this one becomes closer to On Air, but I would rate King of Dramas a bit better than On Air, since King of Dramas has a more compelling character and is more focused than On Air.
King of Dramas also has better cinematography and an overall more appealing ambience, mood and story flow. This story is more dramatic and more character-centric as it traces a progression of one Anthony Kim as he is dethroned from his title of the king of dramas and as he tries to raise again by staking it all on one drama. It has a strong start, keeps up a good pace throughout and overall I enjoyed unravelling the main character of Anthony Kim, a drama producer who seems to have a lot of layers to his personality. We unravel them with the female protagonist of the drama as the story progresses. The main actor, Kim Myung Min delivers, as expected from one so skilled. The drama lost out on ratings, ironically, or so it seems. The story starts off on a very strong note, but I think they end up overdramatising some things a little. Even so, it is an engaging watch. Good cinematography adds to the overall well-established mood and additionally the banter between the leads is quite good and writes itself well into their respective personalities.
A lot of pleasant stuff came out in 2o12, the year which was dominated by time travel dramas in the later half of the season. Therefore 2012 could be described as the Time Travel Year. The worst dramas have had terrible plot and execution on all counts, but with cutesy characters played by favourite handsome stars even these have managed to gain their following.
The 2013 is off to a decent start now as well with some promising drama coming up. Apparently Lee Seung Ki is coming back..as a male gumiho in a drama vaguely entitled Guga Medical Book (?), a somewhat puzzling choice for someone who’s already played in a gumiho drama. I wonder how it’s going to turn out. I am personally looking forward to the drama by writers of Salaryman and Giant- The Incarnation of Money. That particular writer team is quite solid so I am counting on them to dish out something good again. In the meantime Cheongdamdong Alice is coming to an end: so what will it be? A turn around to the more convincing standard romance or will they try to pull something artificially overambitious and try to come up with a pretentious ending? I wonder, but all in all it’s better if they do a regular ending, this idea just isn’t working in this set-up otherwise.