The Most Disappointing Korean Dramas Of 2020

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2020 was a good year for Korean dramas, generally speaking, I’ve listed 12 of what I believe to be the best kdramas of this year, 12 is a lot of dramas, I was surprised and happy with a lot of works this year which set the bar pretty high for whats considered good, okay and disappointing.

So today, I am taking a look at my personal picks for the most disappointing kdramas of 2020.




Note 1: the below list doesn’t include any kdrama above 20 episodes, and may contain spoilers from the said dramas. This article is a personal opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

Note 2: Disappointing doesn’t mean awful/bad necessairly, but it means that I had higher expectations of the said dramas and was shocked by how the results came out, hence I was ‘disappointed.’

1Meow, The Secret Boy

A drama about a man who’s secretly a cat, how wrong can it go?

I dont know if it could/should be called beastiality but the drama was such a turnoff. It features many uncomfortable scenes. I just didn’t know how to feel about it, should it be taken seriously or lightly? If seriously, then I am disgusted, if lightly, then its been done wrong. I would have preferred it to have focused on friendship rather than love and a romantic relationship. Kim Myung Soo’s choice here was definitely odd considering how seriously he’s been taking his acting career.

2When I Was Most Beautiful

“When I Was Most Beautiful” was set up for failure since episode 1, it features a love triangle between two brothers who fight over one woman, that woman ends up marrying the older brother.

The theme was uncomfortable from the get-go, you know their actions are morally wrong and the way they go about it enforces that idea in your head. Pinning two brothers against each other is already cheesy and has been done too many times already but the added tension here is that one brother actually ends up marrying the girl while his younger brother still harbors feelings for her.



Not only weird but very difficult to understand, I couldn’t wrap my head around why the writer had written the script like this, most people were uncomfortable shipping the main leads together and that’s telling. Added to that, the clear use of the damsel in distress in this drama bothered me a bit more than I’d like to admit. Ji Soo’s choice here was definitely weird.

“When I Was Most Beautiful” would’ve served better as a cautionary tale, it would’ve also been a lot better had it been about 6 episodes long with the idea focusing on how the younger brother gets over his love for his brother’s wife and moves on with his life.

3The King: Eternal Monarch

While initially, in my review of “The King: Eternal Monarch” I wrote that it wasn’t exactly disappointing, I’ve changed my opinion after watching the rest of the Korean dramas this year, and overall, I’d put “The King: Eternal Monarch” up there in terms of how surprised I was with the script.

I guess my biggest surprise was how poorly executed the script was, it was written by beloved screenwriter Kim Eun Sook who you probably know from hugely popular kdramas such as “The Heirs” and “Goblin.” The writing was nonsensical, incoherent and lacked the spark her dramas usually have.

The romance part was set up extremely poorly and towards the second half of the drama, things just went south real fast and you come to accept whatever the writer shoves in your face because there is no point in asking ‘why’ or ‘how.’

The cast was probably what made me sit through it, I loved Woo Do Hwan and Kim Kyung Nam’s performances. Lee Min Ho’s performance was the weakest of the lot but not entirely bad, I know he can do better.

4Backstreet Rookie

“Backstreet Rookie” is arguably one of the most controversial kdramas of 2020, based on a very questionable webcomic that has gotten backlash for numerous reasons. The first episodes got backlash from the Korean and the international communities. “Backstreet Rookie” holds the record for the most complaints submitted for a Korean drama.

It features very odd choices, choosing to make this webcomic was already quite weird and the setup for the first episode was also surprising and in certain areas downright unacceptable.

Many international fans also criticized this drama for its portrayal of Jamaican culture, which was never addressed by SBS but the scenes featuring that said character were so unnecessary and difficult to sit through at times.




“Backstreet Rookie” also makes fun of a wife repeatedly abusing her husband psychologically and emotionally to entice laughter which was unacceptable to say the least.

What became of “Backstreet Rookie” following the backlash was a watered down version of the controversial webcomic. The screenwriter was very careful not to cause further controversy and it showed with the way the script was handled after the backlash. The main characters don’t even get into a relationship up until the last minute and dont even kiss, which made me wonder, why would you even make such a controversial drama to begin with if you wont be able to handle the backlash?

5Alice

“Alice” was Joo Won’s first drama following his military discharge, too bad it was both weird and disappointing.

Time-travel dramas are generally pretty difficult to pull off, while “Alice” was off to a great start, it went downhill pretty fast, again the script that made the least sense, you could pick so many holes in it, its impossible to ignore them.

The screenwriter also thought it was a good idea for us to show how the son (Joo Won) cared deeply for his mother only to surprise us with another woman who is his in theory his mother from another universe and then alluding to their romantic involvement. That’s called incest and it doesn’t matter if she’s from a different universe. The screenwriter’s need to shove this particular love line down our throats felt so unnecessary, it could’ve been a lot better had he focused on the time travel part rather than focusing on the romantic relationship between both leads.

6Hi Bye Mama!

The main reason I watched “Hi Bye Mama!” was none other than the screenwriter who wrote one of my favorite Korean dramas in recent memory, so I walked in with high expectations only to be shocked by how repetitive it quickly became.

The idea was noble and such a tear-inducing experience but the execution was subpar. “Hi Bye Mama!” didn’t need to be 16 episodes long to tell its story, 10 or 12 episodes would’ve greatly benefited the drama. Stretching a script beyond its capacity hindered the drama and it quickly lost its charm. The characters oddly act/react dumb to situations and delay certain reveals for no obvious reason, petty happenings are created to add substance to the plot without providing much to the narrative in question.

The characters talk repeatedly about the issues over and over again until it becomes annoyingly repetitive.

7Chocolate

Probably one of the dramas that shocked me the most with how boring it was, “Chocolate” was cringy most of the time and featured some of the most repetitive overly used kdrama cliches for a 2020 kdrama, and that’s telling. Its basically like a book of stereotypes and cliches all kdrama screenwriters use when needed.

Its my least favorite Ha Ji Won drama in recent memory. The performances felt dull at times not at the fault of the actors but rather the screenwriter who has been writing for a long time. Its the type of kdrama that would’ve exploded in popularity in 2007.

The characters were so typical, the damsel in distress who’s too kind despite going through hell that needs a saving by a man who disrespects her and humiliates her on multiple occasions only to end up later falling for her, as if his trauma or past experiences should ever excuse his actions.

It was disappointing to me because I was shocked by just how typical it turned out to be.

8Unique! Chef Moon

Imagine going from “Another Oh Hae Young” to “Unique! Chef Moon”…

“Unique! Chef Moon” marked Eric’s comeback for the first time in a while, so I was admittingly excited. Imagine my surprise seeing the premiere which can only be described as something straight out of a 15 year old imagination coming to life. At times, it felt like the screenwriter wasn’t even taking this seriously.

The whole tone felt very comical and I don’t think the screenwriter intended for it to be like that, Eric plays yet again the hot competent jerk male lead and its getting tiring watching him re-play the same character over and over again.

“Unique! Chef Moon” had one of the most disappointing scripts of a kdrama I had seen in recent years, not only for 2020.



So these are my picks for the most disappointing 2020 Korean dramas, what about you guys? What were your least fav kdramas of 2020?

8 COMMENTS

  1. The only one I saw was “When I Was Most Beautiful” and it was one of the best dramas I’ve ever seen. I mean no offense but I’m thinking I should check out the other dramas because obviously we have different criteria.

  2. The King: Eternal Monarch is so disappointing that it took me three good Kdramas to get over it. The only reasons I finished watching it were the beautiful cinematography and, of course, Lee Min Ho oppa. I gave the drama a 2/10 in my review.

    P.S.
    Please be mindful of your grammar (especially your apostrophes — i.e. its vs. it’s; and your syntax — admittedly vs. admittingly), it doesn’t look good to have grammatical errors on a blog as it undermines its credibility.

    But I like your blog so much as I am also a Kdrama fan since 2000.

  3. Alice wasn’t really disappointing because in the end of the drama, they never really said that the both leads were is love or something. They just show the two together. They could be friends too. And for the plot holes, all of it was a theory. I read one theory which explained the ending and everything that went after the reset. I’ll provide the link or the theory itself in another comment.

  4. Theory by lotlot96 on https://asianwiki.com/Alice_(Korean_Drama)
    I’ll post the theory too
    Spoiler!!!

    To offer you guys a little help,

    1. Omega in math means the first of all, close to nothing, so it explains why Tae Yi is the only with an omega mark, because she invented the time travel and is the first one or original of all the time travelers.

    2. 2050 people who time traveled to the past get the sigma mark. Sigma means summation, or the sum of all. So to denote which one is from the future, they will get sigma mark, since they are the summation of all the years their past lives have lived.

    3. Why did Jingyeom still exist after the reset? Because time travel wasn’t totally erased. Only the events from 2010 onwards, starting from when his mother was murdered. That’s why his present altered. As to why he remembered present Tae Yi, deja vu happened. Meaning, other parallel universe memories got into him. Note that only his universe got a reset and not the other parallel universes. Also note that Tae Yi came from another parallel universe, not exactly from their timeline.

    4. Why does Tae Yi remember everything? Because she’s the omega, the mother of all, she’s the creator written in the “book of prophecies”. She’s untouchable. Reset won’t apply to her as she already met another version of herself in 1992.

    5. Where is Minhyuk and others? Pribably in their universe, but not in this timeline.

    6. So if Tae Yi from 2050 is still alive, does it mean there are 2 Tae Yi’s in the present? Yes, probably, but take note that Jin Gyeom’s mother wasn’t shown in the last scenes. So we’re not sure if she died after some time or if his mother was also altered as a result of the reset.

    7. Time travellers won’t be able to come to their time line if present Tae Yi will not invent it. There will be no way to enter and exit their universe, so they are safe from their parallel universe selves.

    8. Last scenes doesn’t really imply to them being lovers. They were just simply connected and attract each other. Their feelings for each other go beyond the definition of lovers. I still believe Jin Gyeom and Do Yeon will end up with each other.

    • Kim Hee Sun the one who played Yoon Tae Yi said in an interview:-

      “To Park Jin-Gyeom, Yoon Tae-yi looks just like his mother Park Sun-young, so he has the desperation and sorrow that he doesn’t even want to lose Yoon Tae-yi, who looks the same as his mother.
      As Yoon Tae Yi I thought I was in favour of Park Jin-gyeom, who protects me so much, but i didn’t feel the love line.”
      News link: http://m.koreadaily.com/news/read.asp?art_id=8788601&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Egoogle%2Ecom%2F

      Glad to see someone defending Alice with right reasonings. When I watched Alice I didn’t see any loveline between Jin Gyeom and Tae Yi. Rather throughout the drama Alice had shown us little by little that both Tae Yi are same regardless of they end up being Jin Gyeom’s mother or not. Jingyeom always cared for Prof. Taeyi because she reminded him of his mother, he wanted to take care of her because he never got to take care of his mother( the moment he started to open up to her, his mother died) and he didn’t want to loose her second time- like he confessed to Min Hyuk(his father). Taeyi on the other hand is a young woman who needed time to identify her attachment with Jingyeom. She wasn’t a mother yet so she can’t grow motherly attachment for Jingyeom just like that, can she? So only when she met the mother Taeyi and found how how they’re connected she got the sentiment of mother Taeyi. So after reset Jingyeom and Taeyi are just uniquely bonded by the past memories they share.

      I feel bad that Alice couldn’t really make the ending more easy to understand, organized and some of it remained unsaid but what I liked most about it is how it showed the human aspect. Being Family without sharing blood applies to Jin Gyeom-Captain Go and Taeyi-her adopted family, being a family regardless of timeline which applies to Taeyi-Jingyeom-Minhyuk.

      Doyeon and Jingyeom on the other hand were so cute.. the way the drama made us discover how Jin Gyeom felt for Doyeon was so heart -tugging. I feel sad that we didn’t see them having a sure happy ending but I’m also glad to see it wasn’t really one sided. Jingyeom did like Doyeon in his own way but he just didn’t have any name for it. I also feel like Doyeon Jingyeom will end up being together because it’s interesting that tho Doyeon isn’t friend of Jingyeom after reset, she still is the first one to meet Jingyeom when she met him for interview. So there’s always possiblity.

      The theory you gave is helpful. I didn’t see it before. But I had my own assumptions. Anyways the truth is the ending wasn’t that much strong the way the drama started. If the ending was done with a bit more care the drama would have been perfect to me. I enjoyed Alice nonetheless. The cast acted amazing the story was quite solid most of the time to keep me interested.

  5. Since this covid/be at home time, I have been watching a lot more Japanese drama, which suprisingly is shorter than Kdrama. Mostly just 10eps & 45mins long. Some even have only 30mins/episode. I really wish some kdrama writer realised they dont need 16eps long to tell their story . Some are having 1hr>/ episodes now…its get to draggy in the middle. Mystic Pop Up Bar with 12 eps is such a gem. Really hoping future kdrama will have more flexibity in this.

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