Mini Reviews of 8 Korean Dramas I Have Watched in 2021

Mini Reviews of 8 Korean Dramas I Have Watched in 2021

 

We are almost at the finish line of 2021, can you believe that we spent another year holing in at home and being a sloth? While your girl has definitely become much more of a homebody, I can’t complain because I got to watch so many more Korean dramas in 2021 compared to all the previous years.

Well, I suppose the fact that bangin’ dramas after bangin’ dramas keep being released can’t hurt either. Compared to all the previous years, I can very confidently say that 2021 is probably the year where I watch the most Kdramas. By the end of the year, we’d probably be at 2 digit numbers––and your girl is lowkey proud of that for some odd reason.

In today’s post, I’d like to write up mini-reviews for all the KDramas that I have watched to date and also include my thoughts on the Korean drama that I am currently watching. I did think about dedicating a full-blown post for each of them, but after further thoughts, I personally think it’s more fun this way by making the reviews bite-sized. I will have more fun writing them, and hopefully, you’ll have fun reading them as well. Oh and also, if there are any Korean dramas that you’d recommend, please do not hesitate to comment down below. Your girl is always open to more new and entertaining KDramas.

 

korean dramas mini review 2021

 

1. Sweet Home (스위트홈)

 

Genre : Horror, Psychological, Supernatural

Starring : Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Lee Si-young

Status : Completed 

Episodes : 10

 

BLURB 

 

Following the death of his family in an accident, loner Cha Hyun Soo moves to a new apartment. His quiet life is soon disturbed by strange incidents that start occurring in his apartment, and throughout Korea. As people start to turn into monsters, Hyun Soo and the other residents try to survive.

 

 

MINI-REVIEWS

 

Korean drama with an interesting premise. I don’t know if it is because of the budgeting issue, but as the show goes on, you can kind of see the quality of CGI also goes down compared to the first few episodes. The storyline itself was fresh but there are times where I have liked to have more gripping-the-edge-of-my-seat type scenes. One thing I really liked about Sweet Home is how willing the writers are to sacrifice their characters.

I don’t know about others, but I have always had this notion that Korean dramas are softer on their characters compared to western tv shows. However, as the years passed, we can slowly but surely see how the Korean entertainment field changed and them being more open and willing to take on risks when writing a drama instead of just flirting with what’s safe and predictable. Overall, I would say that Sweet Home is definitely an easily binge-able show that doesn’t take a lot of thinking trying to figure out who is who and who has hidden motives as all of the characters are quite one-dimensional.

 

korean dramas mini review 2021

 

2. My Roommate is a Gumiho (간 떨어지는 동거)

 

Genre : Romance, Fantasy, Comedy

Starring : Jang Ki-yong, Lee Hye-ri, Bae In-hyuk

Status : Completed 

Episodes : 16

 

BLURB 

 

Shin Woo Yeo is a handsome and smart writer, who is actually a 999-year-old nine-tailed fox. To become a human, he collects human energy in a bead. One day, the drunk friend of Lee Dam, a university student, falls asleep on top of an expensive car whose owner is Woo Yeo. While Lee Dam struggles to take her friend away and Woo Yeo trying to help her, Woo Yeo’s bead accidentally falls out of his mouth, and Lee Dam unintentionally swallows it. The bead can exist inside of a human for no more than 1 year and, afterward, the bead will break inside of that person causing the person to die. Not wanting to lose his chance in becoming a human, Woo Yeo explains to Lee Dam their predicament and suggests living together until they figure out a solution. Lee Dam, who has never had a boyfriend in her life, now lives with Shin Woo Yeo.

 

 

MINI-REVIEWS

 

A feel-good Korean drama. I think out of all the Gumiho dramas out there, this one is the lightest with no needlessly prolonged drama due to bad communication skills. It is really refreshing for once to see the female lead being so upfront and open about her feelings instead of bottling it up like a damsel in distress. While My Roommate is a Gumiho is mainly filled with happy moments, this drama also wasn’t afraid to flex its tear-inducing muscles because there was an episode or two where I was bawling my eyes out.

Not to mention, the fact that Jang Ki-yong just looks so handsome on camera really does my heart a flippity-floppity. Especially when he smiles in the drama as he graces us with his smiles so rarely. I very rarely swoon from looks alone, but Jang ki-yong seems to hold all the keys to my ooey-gooey fangirly heart.

 

korean dramas mini review 2021

 

3. Hospital Playlist (슬기로운 의사 생활)

 

Genre : Romance, Slice of Life

Starring : Jo Jung-suk, Yoo Yeon-seok, Jung Kyung-ho

Status : Completed 

Episodes : 24

 

BLURB 

 

The stories of people going through their days that are seemingly ordinary but actually special, at the hospital, a place known as the microcosm of life, where someone is being born and someone’s life meets their ending. The five doctors are long-time friends of 20 years who started their undergrad in 1999 in the same medical school and now are colleagues in the same hospital and have a band together.

 

 

MINI-REVIEWS

 

If I could crown Hospital Playlist (both seasons 1 and 2) as the best, the most feel-good drama of 2020 and 2021, I would. In a heartbeat, I would. While a lot of viewers have recommended Reply 1998, mentioning the parallels and similarities in emotions evoked in these two shows, I have yet to watch both the Reply seasons, so I will only be basing my opinions on Hospital Playlist. 

At first, I was very reluctant to give it a try since I was worried that it would be boring since the premise of the drama is literally just about the lives of 5 doctors, and secondly I was a little bit scared that it is going to end up somewhat like a cry fest like Grey’s Anatomy. Thankfully, neither of my worries came through. While Hospital Playlist does have its sad moments, the happy moments definitely eclipsed the black spots of sadness. Additionally, I cannot tell you how much I learned from Hospital Playlist. About being more understanding, being more patient, and standing up for my own beliefs even when the whole world is against me. 

Like many viewers out there who have followed the show from start to finish, I am just as heartbroken that the show has finally come to an end after 24 episodes. It’s a bittersweet kind of sadness because we know it’s the right time to say goodbye but we don’t want to since Hospital Playlist just brings so much joy and comfort to our everyday lives. While I am still sad thinking that my weekends won’t be filled with bingeing Hospital Playlist anymore, I am still glad that I decided to give this show a try on that fateful rainy evening. 

 

korean dramas mini review 2021

 

4. Nevertheless (알고있지만)

 

Genre : Romance, Drama

Starring : Han So-hee, Song Kang, Chae Jong-hyeop

Status : Completed 

Episodes : 10

 

BLURB 

 

Park Jae Eon finds dating a waste of time but likes to flirt. Even though he is friendly and cheerful towards all, he does not pursue others. Park Jae Eon is a master of “push-and-pull” who doesn’t get swept up in emotions. Jae Eon draws firm lines between himself and other people and doesn’t reveal how he feels. Yet when Park Jae Eon meets Yoo Na Bi, he wants to cross those lines. Yoo Na Bi wants to date but doesn’t trust love. After a bitter experience with her first love, she doesn’t believe in destiny anymore. But when she meets Park Jae Eon, he has a magical effect on her that challenges Na Bi’s decision to stay aloof.

 

 

MINI-REVIEWS

 

The mature scenes in Nevertheless hit all the good spots. In only 10 episodes, it made me squeal, gasp and squawk like a goose whenever Han So-hee and Song-Kang came on screen. The chemistry between these two is serious absolute fire. Like seriously, after this drama, the stake for steamy scenes is set so high I worry I will be left forever disappointed. 

Sexual tension aside, this drama isn’t really all that. What Nevertheless has going on for it is the fact that the casts are straight-up delectable and scenes are filmed in a way that is very aesthetically pleasing to the viewers. I really liked that it also embraces LGBT+ and depicts a more realistic college life where people are trying to figure themselves out whilst stuck between adolescence and adulthood. 

Now coming to Han So-hee and Song Kang’s relationship in the drama, while a lot of viewers were upset about how toxic their relationship is and would have liked a different ending, I personally think the ending is apt. The early 20s it the time when one grows into oneself by making mistakes and learning from them. And I don’t know, there seems to always be that attraction for “bad guys” or “bad girls” who cannot be tamed, pair that with a pretty face and we’ll have the perfect concoction for trouble. But despite that, sometimes in order to learn, one has to be burned again and again and again. Perhaps that is what Neverthless is trying to tell its viewers, or perhaps it is more simple than that. Simply put, lust is a strong emotion. And with enough lust, even red flags can look like roses. 

 

korean dramas mini review 2021

 

5. My Mister (나의 아저씨)

 

Genre : Slice of Life, Drama, Psychological 

Starring : Lee Sun-kyun, Lee Ji-eun, Kang Yoon-hee

Status : Completed 

Episodes : 16

 

BLURB 

 

Park Dong Hoon is a middle-aged engineer who is married to attorney Kang Yoon Hee. However, his life is not that happy as he has two unemployed brothers, Sang Hoon and Gi Hoon, who rely on him. Moreover, his wife is secretly having an affair with CEO Do Joon Yeong, his current boss and college junior. Receiving an unexpected bribe one day, Dong Hoon notices that his co-worker Lee Ji An witnessed the incident.

Ji An is a young part-time worker at Dong Hoon’s company who is drowning in debt and left alone to take care of her ill grandmother. Dong Hoon then gets entangled in his brothers’ struggle to get back on their feet and the company’s internal rivalry between the company’s CEO and the people opposing him. All the while, unaware that CEO Joon Yeong wants to get rid of him and that Ji An is working for him.

 

 

MINI-REVIEWS

 

I have heard raving reviews on how great My Mister is and how much IU’s acting skills have improved. And after watching around 10-12 episodes of My Mister, I too admit that IU has definitely been working hard to polish her acting chops. The role that she has taken is very different from anything she’s done before, the IU in My Mister is dark, vengeful, and selfish. It is like watching someone sink deeper into the black hole the harder they try to get out. Whenever I watch My Mister, it made me very appreciative of the life I have. It also made me think, and not in a happy sunshine-y way.

I tried watching My Mister thrice, the first two I stopped after the second episode but on the third go, I pushed myself to watch at least halfway and made it to around episode 12 before I waved the white flag. IU’s life in the drama just doesn’t seem to improve no matter how hard she tries, and as good a drama My Mister is, I just could not bear to watch someone being kicked in the butt over and over again no matter how hard they try in life. This is a bit dark, but after watching this drama, I can seriously understand why some people have committed suicide in circumstances like that. 

 

korean dramas mini review 2021

 

6. The Devil Judge (악마판사)

 

Genre : Mystery, Law, Crime

Starring : Ji Sung, Kim Min-jung, Park Jin-young

Status : Completed 

Episodes : 16

 

BLURB 

 

Set in a dystopian version of present-day Korea where daily life is chaos and society has collapsed to the point that people openly voice their distrust and hatred for their leaders. In this world bereft of law and order, Head Trial Judge Kang signals the need for change. His courtroom is the subject of a reality show where he mercilessly punishes the guilty, earning him the “Devil Judge” nickname.

As a divisive figure with an aura of mystery that belies his true identity and ambitions, the public is unsure whether he is a true hero or someone, knowingly sowing the seeds of discontent in his courtroom. A bitter rivalry has taken shape between the “Devil Judge” and the highly ambitious Jung Sun Ah, who has risen from poverty to become a corporate social responsibility foundation director. Into this turbulent world enter two childhood friends on a quest for true justice: rookie Judge Kim Ga On and Police Officer Yoon Soo Hyun. Do they have what it takes to challenge both the scheming Jung Sun Ah and the notorious “Devil Judge”?

 

 

MINI-REVIEWS

 

Hmm. The first 8 episodes are great, but then things started to go downhill from there in terms of plot. Character-wise, everyone seems to be getting the memo and stuck to their prerogative. Everyone but one. The character of the rookie judge Kim Ga On gave me whiplash where one second he was siding with the Devil Judge Kang and defending his logic, but then in the next episode, all of a sudden the boy will be working against Judge Kang through the most insignificant reasoning possible. 

Also, I don’t know if it is just me, but there seems to be some sort of sexual tension between Judge Kang and Kim Ga On. It could be argued that it is simply just a show of power from Judge Kang’s perspective, meaning that his power is so that he can influence both men and women. But all the same, it was really delightful to watch Korean dramas being more and more open towards interpreting different sexual orientations, no matter how subtle. 

Personally, I started speeding through the drama from episode 12 and then kind of just jumped straight to episode 16 on 2x speed. I didn’t feel like I missed anything in those 4 episodes that I skipped, which shows just how much filler unnecessary noise is being added in order to get the drama to 16 episodes. But nevertheless, do give it a try and judge for yourself as I know there are plenty of viewers who really enjoyed this drama. 

 

korean dramas mini review 2021

 

7. Vincenzo (빈센조)

 

Genre : Comedy, Law, Crime

Starring : Song Joong-ki, Jeon Yeo-been, Ok Taec-yeon

Status : Completed 

Episodes : 20

 

BLURB 

 

At the age of eight, Park Joo Hyeong went to Italy after being adopted. Now an adult, he is known as Vincenzo Cassano to the Mafia, who employ him as a consigliere. Because mafia factions are at war with each other, he flees to South Korea, where he gets involved with Lawyer Hong Cha Young. She is the type of attorney who will do anything to win a case. Now back at his motherland, he gives an unrivaled conglomerate a taste of its own medicine with a side of justice.

 

 

MINI-REVIEWS

 

Vincenzo is simply just…*chef’s kiss*

This drama has just the right amount of silly blended in with badass action and a good dose of healthy romantic relationships. I seriously binged the whole thing within a week and didn’t know what to do with my life the week after since everything feels so empty without Vincenzo and the gang to accompany my days. 

I really must say, during this pandemic time, all these amazing Korean dramas have come in clutch and Vincenzo is definitely one of them. I really don’t have anything else to say other than go watch it if you haven’t already. Vincenzo is one of those Korean dramas that are meant to be experienced and savored, not read from online blogs or forums. So for those of you who have not yet given Vincenzo a whirl, definitely do. I don’t think you will regret it.

 

korean dramas mini review 2021

 

8. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (갯마을 차차차)

 

Genre : Mystery, Law, Crime

Starring : Shin Min-a, Kim Seon-ho, Lee Sang-yi

Status : August 28, 2021 – October 17, 2021

Episodes : 16

 

BLURB 

 

A love story set in the seaside village of Gongjin.

A dentist, Yoon Hye Jin, is a woman who has both beauty and brains and a seemingly perfect life finds her life plan falling apart because of the tiny bit of righteousness in her heart. After various obstacles, she moves to the seashore village Gongjin and meets Hong Doo Shik. She becomes curious about him. Hong Doo Shik is called Chief Hong by local residents. Officially, he is unemployed but is a jack of all trades and a master of odd jobs, helping everyone in Gongjin with any situation they run into.

 

 

MINI-REVIEWS

 

I wholeheartedly enjoy Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. It is such a lightweight drama with no added petty misunderstandings that drags the span of episodes. All the characters in this drama are very likable yet flawed. Our female lead is not all pretty and perfect, instead, she is headstrong, stubborn, and petty yet at the same time kind, loyal and understanding. On the other hand, while Doo Shik seems to just be able to do everything and anything under the sun, there seems to be a deeper story to him than what meets the eye. 

All in all, I really enjoy watching Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. Despite the countryside setting and the drama basically just about a dentist’s journey in finding herself in life, it is surprisingly wholesome and enjoyable to watch. With Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, it seriously feels like my weekend cannot come soon enough.

 

 

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