2019 was a fine year for kdramas, certainly better than 2018 because many writers and directors took chances with their projects pushing the boundaries on what we consider being the definition of a kdrama.
However, I have noticed a rising trend, unfulfilling/disappointing/sad kdrama endings rose significantly in 2019 unlike any year in recent memory. Korean writers monitor the audience’s response which means that you would rarely find terrible kdrama endings on purpose.
When I previously made a list of terrible kdrama endings, I could only count about 1-2 kdramas a year that had such a terrible ending that left fans either furious or upset depending on the context. However, in 2019, I could count at least 6 kdramas that the general public had issues with and thus, I decided to discuss kdramas that had terrible/bad endings in 2019 and dive deep into why I believe this became more of a trend and why I think we’ll see more of it in the future.
The excuse for a sequel
While I do plan on making a specific article talking about how Netflix is ruining the kdrama experience for me, for now, I’ll talk about 2019 Kdramas that had terrible incomplete endings most probably due to plans of a second season that no one bothered to tell the audience about prior to the drama ending.
“Vagabond” and “Arthdal Chronicles” come to memory as soon as you mention incomplete 2019 kdrama endings and they all share this trait, they’re distributed by Netflix.
Americans generally have a knack for producing series with multiple seasons even if the script doesn’t require that. In contrary, South Koreans almost never make dramas with the idea of a second season in mind, there are many reasons for that but I could say that actors schedules is one of them, usually, idols or actors who sign up for drama projects (especially if extremely popular) don’t have enough empty slot in their schedules for a second season that’s because they’re usually always working without rest.
Fans across the board were pretty upset with “Vagabond,” and “Arthdal Chronicles” endings and when the production teams behind each drama were reached for a comment, they all mentioned the possibility of a second season.
“Vagabond” ended the same place it started and it was pretty obvious all it needed was two more episodes to wrap up things nicely but instead we ended up with a cliffhanger that nobody asked for. Fans weren’t aware “Vagabond” was made with a second season in mind before the ending; the production team didn’t even bring it up before that.
“Arthdal Chronicles” had three parts but unfortunately didn’t find huge success in South Korea despite high expectations. The drama cost a fortune to make and didn’t yield the results people had expected, the possibility of a second season is still up in the air as of this writing. With “Arthdal Chronicles” you could obviously tell the production team was aiming for multiple seasons, they were building a hypothetical world.
Sad but expected
As I previously mentioned, I believe many kdrama writers are taking chances and thinking outside the box and that usually means setting up scenarios that we know won’t end peacefully.
In 2019, there were many dramas with sad endings that a good portion of fans was at peace with mainly because they already knew it wasn’t going to end well early on.
A good example of that would be “My Country,” “The Last Empress,” and “VIP.” “My Country” and “The Last Empress” lost one or more of their main characters at the end and we all had seen it coming. “My Country” is a historical drama and usually speaking, historical kdramas have sad endings, in the case of “VIP,” the ending was also sad but expected to a certain degree because there was no way we were going to see a happy ending with the script direction.
Disappointing all around
2019 started with a bang, JTBC “SKY castle” was literally EVERYWHERE because of how good the script was, I previously reviewed this drama and talked about why it’s one of the best-written kdramas in recent memory.
However, the ending of “SKY castle” was a cringe-fest, at least in my opinion, the drama direction and tone was something through episode 1-19 but it completely changed in episode 20, the ending was too bright and too happy (if that makes sense).
“SKY castle” was a satirical drama that pokes fun at how shallow the rich can be and how obsessive they are of attaining and keeping their status, the drama overall vibe didn’t fit with the ending that felt too good to be real. “SKY castle” was about real social issues and the way the writer chose to end this drama was disappointing all around because she abandoned her core beliefs of the drama for the sake of a sweet ending.
“Memories Of Alhambra” had a terrible ending all around as well due to the writer messing up her own script badly but it was also set up in a way that alluded to the possibility of a second season, but netizens trashed the ending so badly that no one even discussed the possibility of continuation ever, and I agree that the ending was terrible and so disappointing because it could’ve been so better.
What did you guys personally think of 2019 Kdrama endings? Was there a kdrama ending so disappointing that you regretted watching it?