2019 has been filled with ups and downs in terms of kdrama quality, some months were great and I was busy watching many dramas, while others were rather quiet. I went a couple of months without consistently watching kdramas because I simply couldn’t find anything interesting enough.
I guess this happens as we grow older, I value my time and I am a busy person so unless I enjoy something thoroughly, I won’t stick around no matter how much I like the actors involved in it. Having a pretty face on screen is not the only thing that’ll make me continue watching, its all about that script quality.
I have previously touched on a couple of kdramas I was very disappointed with earlier this year, today, I will reveal my personal list of the most disappointing kdramas of 2019.
Related: The Best Kdramas Of 2019
Note 1: this is a subjective article filled with my opinions, its not facts. Don’t treat it as such.
Note 2: this covers kdramas from December 2018, to November 2019.
Note 3: this is not a list of the absolute worst kdramas but a list of kdramas I had higher expectations of and felt disappointed after watching them.
Shin Sung Rok has had a busy year this year, he’s been in the famous drama “The Last Empress” which is considered one of the best performing (in terms of ratings) kdramas of 2019, he usually plays the second leading role but he upgraded to the first leading role and basically became just like every other lead, an insult to how talented he is.
Shin Sung Rok is a very talented and hilarious actor when he needs to be. He usually plays 3D characters that are fun to watch and whether he’s playing the villain or your average joe, he usually outshines whoever he shares the screen with.
However, “Perfume” ended up being yet another disappointment. It follows the usual kdrama narrative and is one of the most- if not the most- disappointing Shin Sung Rok dramas I have ever seen.
He basically almost always plays great characters that are way more interesting to see than the main leads but when he upgraded to the first lead he chose the lamest average kdrama ever, as a huge Shin Sung Rok fan this infuriated me.
He plays the lead in this drama but he’s quite the jerk, the lead actress Go Won Hee is that damsel in distress that needs saving. She changes him and he becomes better. This kdrama is like the text book kdrama we’re so used to seeing, nothing special. I can’t believe they’re still making these types of kdramas in 2019.
I’d rather he continues playing the second more-interesting-lead roles to the stale average first lead I have seen a thousand times.
“Perfume” brings nothing new to the table, its also very similar to many other Korean movies or dramas about a woman who transfers into a beauty to achieve her dreams.
The Secret Life of My Secretary
How many kdramas are broadcasting channels willing to repeat over and over again? It’s almost 2020, are we going to still enjoy the same secretary-CEO plot for the 1000 time already?
The only reason I was able to hang on as much as I did watching “The Secret Life of My Secretary” was because of how great the lead actors were. They actually made me care and made the characters feel real when at times they couldn’t have been any further away from being real human beings.
“The Secret Life of My Secretary” is very typical, a drama subject that has been discussed so many times it lost its touch. It’s about a secretary who falls in love with her boss (how original), nothing new or slightly interesting took place throughout the drama runtime. After a while, the male lead, who is portrayed as a smart human being, feel like the dumbest fuck on the plant.
There is a reason the secretary continues to trick her boss into thinking she’s a different woman but that hardly made the drama any more interesting. Kim Young Kwang usually chooses better projects, I was surprised by his choice here and honestly disappointed in him.
“The Secret Life of My Secretary” wasn’t all bad and had great moments but they continue to circulate around one idea that doesn’t warrant 16 long episodes. The writer doesn’t even try to be innovative or try to steer clear from narratives we’re so used to seeing in such types of dramas.
The second leads were more interesting. Kim Jae Kyung who played the second female lead had many iconic moments that made me laugh out loud, she was extra and so fun to be around. But even her character couldn’t save this kdrama.
If you have been following my blog for a while now for my kdrama reviews then you’ve probably already knew this was going to be on the list. I made an article dedicated to this kdrama and got shit tone of hate.
“Abyss” was disappointing throughout, the plot is so incoherent and dumb that you almost wonder if the writer thinks you’re so dumb that you’d fall for it. That’s not to say the actors were bad, they were the best part of it, and I highly doubt the majority of those who watched “Abyss” would’ve still watched it if Park Bo Young wasn’t a part of it.
I felt that Park Bo Young trusted the writer a bit too much this time, it looked like the writer had a stellar idea that needed way better planning, I can’t believe tvN saw the script and was like ‘yup, this will be great.’
The worst part of the “Abyss” is the plot, which is sad because the core idea is very interesting, but it needed better planning, the writer should have taken her time to think this through before putting people through all this trouble.
Nothing makes sense (not counting the abyss core idea), so many events are unbelievable. Characters contradict themselves and do things that are so unlike them to please the narrative. If you’re trying to understand whats going on you’ll probably given up by episode 6, it was so difficult to comprehend what the writer was trying to do because of how messy everything was.
A drama that involves a serial killer needs wayyyy better planning because judging by how the serial killer acts, it doesn’t make sense that he wasn’t caught so early on, this is coming from someone who enjoys serial killer documentaries and knows a thing or two about how police work is done. If you’re not used to seeing such types of kdramas, you might not be paying attention to how ridiculous characters reacted to some situations. I won’t take comedy-dramas seriously but if you’re trying to do a kdrama about serial killers at least put in the effort to construct a believable story.
If anyone values well-written scripts, they would probably skip this one.
“Encounter” was, simply put, boring. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open while watching it.
Park Bo Gum is basically playing himself (in the literal meaning), he’s playing his onscreen persona that we love and adore. Aside from the fact that I was weird-ed out by the thought of Song Joong Ki’s best friend romancing his wife (at the time), I was still anticipating the drama because I thought they would pick something interesting, at least.
“Encounter” is a niche type of drama, if you prefer slow kdramas that take their time, you’ll probably enjoy this one. But sadly, I am not interested in rich girl troubles with her wealthy family. There are way better similar kdramas that are also slow-er in terms of pace.
My biggest issue was with how safe their choices were. Aside from the fact that this time it’s the female CEO romancing an average employee, I found nothing remotely special about this drama. Its like every kdrama that discuses the same subject.
It could’ve been more ambitious and could’ve turned out a lot better. The writer had the chance to take risks with the script but she chose not to which is a shame because people would’ve still stuck around to watch because it has Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo. People came for them and stayed for them.
The Lies Within
I am a huge OCN fan. I rarely name any of their kdramas disappointing mostly because OCN takes chances with their scripts. They don’t always pan out the way you’d expect them to but at least this broadcasting channel isn’t afraid of tackling heavy issues in a gory/provocative way.
I love Lee Min Ki, he’s a stellar actor who is underrated among international kdrama fans. I think it boils down to the fact that he chooses the type of projects that the average kdrama fan doesn’t gravitate towards.
‘The Lies Within” felt like a watered-down version of your average OCN drama. The first two episodes were extremely boring and difficult to watch. I didn’t feel the urgency I usually felt watching OCN dramas. Everything appeared stale and hardly interesting.
The way both leads played their characters didn’t do the drama any good, the lead characters are very boring and uninteresting. The actors did well with the material they had, but no one could’ve saved this drama.
Everything simply looked boring which is why “The Lies Within” is on this list as one of the most disappointing kdramas of 2019 and probably one of my least favorite of OCN ever.
Love Affairs In the Afternoon
Where do I start with this one?
Aside from the fact that the drama is so gloomy, the setting was terrible. The drama is a remake of the 2014 Fuji TV drama series “Hirugao: Love Affairs in the Afternoon.” I don’t personally watch Japanese dramas but I heard great things about it, so I was even more excited to see how the Korean version will turn out, spoiler alert, it turned out badly.
“Love Affairs in the Afternoon” is so close to being a soap opera and not in a good way. The first couple of episodes are extremely boring and difficult to get through, I understand the writer’s motivation, but the execution was terrible. I nearly fell asleep each time I watched.
I stuck around because I really like Lee Sang Yeob, he’s criminally underrated. He also chooses interesting projects, in this drama he plays a cheating husband and the main characters all suck but the drama never once satisfied me with the way they executed any scene.
“Love Affairs in the Afternoon” didn’t need to be 16 episodes long, 10 episodes would’ve been enough. I didn’t personally mind the ending of the drama because I thought it was realistic but watching it was a struggle, not because its about bad people but because the script was boring, its a far-cry from another very good kdrama about cheating leading actors, Yoo Ah In’s “Secret Affair.”
It could’ve been better, they had good material to work with but it was so difficult to sit through this without falling asleep.
Melting Me Softly
As I had previously explained, none of these dramas are flat out awful but they’re not great either, the reason they made it on this list was that they disappointed me, and looking back at 2019, there was nothing more disappointing than “Melting Me Softly.”
The more we expect, the more likely we’ll be disappointed, but sometimes, I can’t help but have high expectations simply because the actors involved are very talented and almost always choose interesting projects.
Ji Chang Wook is personally one of my favorite Korean actors, so when he was discharged, I could hardly wait for his next project, he was one of the very few actors I actually missed when they were away serving the military.
This is why I got excited when I found out he was coming back with “Melting Me Softly.” The core idea is very interesting, we haven’t seen anything similar to this in a drama-like setting before. However, things didn’t turn out as good as I had expected them to be when I watched the drama.
“Melting Me Softly” falls short of expectations, the comedy aspect is unfunny, some actors overreact and it made me uncomfortable watching them overreact trying to instigate a laugh like that. No character in this drama was close to being interesting. Ji Chang Wook plays your typical kdrama male lead and as a character, he wasn’t that interesting or fun to watch.
Some people had issues with the chemistry of both leads, but I personally found it tolerable, however, the script was just dull, I was so disappointed in this drama. The mix of genres in this drama is also done poorly, it doesn’t know what it wants to be, transitioning between different scenes is done badly as well.
It felt as if the writer didn’t have enough material to last 16 episodes so she just made up scenes that serve no purpose but to add minutes to each episode. By the time the script started finally improving, it was too late to save the drama anyways. It felt as if the writer depended too much on Ji Chang Wook star power.
Its in no way Ji Chang Wook’s fault that the writer just wasn’t that good at writing this particular drama. Many people (not all) simply tuned in because of Ji Chang Wook.
And that wraps the list of the most disappointing 2019 kdramas in my opinion.
What about you guys? Which kdrama disappointed you in 2019?