2019 Was A Year Of Terrible Unfulfilling Kdrama Endings, Here Is Why It Happened

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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.




Related: “Vagabond” Open Ending Has Fans Furious And Disappointed, Will There Be 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.

Related: Why “Arthdal Chronicles” Had To End With Such A Disappointing Cliffhanger

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.





Related: “The Last Empress” Final Episode Shocks Fans- A Bittersweet Ending 

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.

Related: Fans Disappointed With “VIP” Bittersweet Ending, Was It Underwhelming Or Just Right?

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?

17 COMMENTS

  1. Finally. Thank you for putting this up on your blog! I totally agree. VIP was sth I expected and willed for but Arthdal and Vagabond?! I was thrown into a for of rage (inside). It made me so mad and I felt I was scammed. And also Alhambra. *Cries*. How could they do this to Hyun Bin. It started really good. Sobs. I really hope Crash Landing is not gonna be like Alhambra. But seeing how it involves the North and South, they don’t usually end up at a good note. Except for that King 2 Hearts. (Minus the sad part). Thank you for writing this up. You have no idea how much I wanted someone to post this.

  2. I regreted watching vagabond because of the ending.it was disappointing and sudden.This is the second movie Lee Seung gi and bae Suzy starred in, that had a sad ending(Gu Family book)

  3. For me, it was the ending of Voice 3, the writer makes the death of Chief Na pointless because of what happened in the last episode. Plus the tiresome cliffhanger ending no one ever need.

  4. Alhambra killed me, I went in a murderously rage , same with vagabond, with Crashlanding I started to watch and the went ..ahh nahhh no waisting my time, a shame because I love that hunky guy! It’s this going to be a Netflix trend of producing dramas that leave subscribers fustrated?? Pay attention NETFLIX at my age I want to see happy ending nothing that elevate my blood presure or make me depressed hahaha

    • Crash Landing on You will likely be a safe watch. It is 16 ep format and by the same writer as My Love from Another Star and Legend of the Blue Sea. She has a very consistent writing style and plans her script very meticulosly. There were a few netflix aired dramas that had a proper ending (rookie historian) so I think this one is safe 🙂

  5. Thanks for writing this, I’d thought the rise in bad endings were just my imagination. I haven’t seen all the kdramas you mentioned, so I’m glad to be forewarned.

  6. I do not think netflix understands why people like kdrama. They want one season with a great story and ending, not a soap opera that never ends. I am now at the point that I watch the last episode first to ensure I don’t waste my time on a show that ends without resolution or sadly.

    • Exactly! NETFLIX needs to pay attention. The appeal of kdramas for me has always been the clear beginning, middle, and end. I don’t want another American style show that goes on for years. End the dang show and recycle the characters in another show.

  7. Seriously, is there a place where you can leave comments for Netflix? Because I feel the same–they don’t seem to understand that one very large reason so many people like Kdramas is because you can count on a clear beginning middle, and satisfying ending. Not something that just leaves you hanging for a maybe-we-will-maybe-we-won’t season 2. If I wanted that kind of half-done story, I would have stayed with American media. No thank you. Don’t mess up what Korea is already doing right!

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