2022 has been such an average year in terms of kdramas, there have been some stand-out projects here and there, but overall, I’d say this year had very average dramas in the grand scheme despite the massive never-ending rollout.
Note: this part of our end-year content recap for 2022, you can read more here
Many of it was too average for my taste, but not shocking in either direction. Thus, this year was more boring than usual, I think the biggest issue was the fact that Korean broadcasting stations refuse to acknowledge that the 16-episode format is dead. Dead and gone, just let it go. Its not working anymore and the fact that OTT dramas show just how unnecessary it is amplifies why having 16 episodes for a kdrama does not make sense anymore.
- This does not mean this is a list of the worst of 2022 kdramas, its only a list of the most disappointing projects in my opinion. Projects that I had high expectations for and the results didn’t deliver, hence the title.
- Its a subjective list and in no particular order.
- Also, in this article, I shall explain why I wrote this about each kdrama which means this article is filled with spoilers for each project.
This one’s a dizzying experience.
The main idea behind “The Golden Spoon” is very intriguing, I am not here to bash that, but whatever surrounded it was shockingly poorly written to say the least. I’ve also heard from my fellow friends who watched this kdrama and read the webtoon that the webtoon was A LOT better. The drama started to take a nosedive around episode 5, which is sooner than I had expected. I liked how it tackled the divide between the rich and poor and how your circumstances play a role in your future, but I didn’t appreciate a lot of the things that were written mixed with it.
The biggest thing is obviously the fact that everyone got a golden spoon. I figured the father got a golden spoon early on around episode 3, but I didn’t believe there were so many spoons. I mean adding so much unnecessary drama to an already very complex idea makes it a more dizzying experience than it already is. Then it became dumb. You get a spoon, I get a spoon, everybody gets a spoon.
Why would you waste such a good idea that had so much potential like that? I will never understand some of the writing decisions screenwriters make.
Suspension of disbelief works up to a certain point before it ceases to make valid criticism go away. I would have loved it if everyone was just oblivious to the golden spoon aside from one more character. This would have also reduced the plot holes in the drama.
This is what happens when you stuff your project with unnecessary filler content to pad the run time. It borders on stupid. Ridiculous could be fun but stupid isn’t. And this is without me getting into specifics about character writing. I could literally write 10 more pages on the character writing alone but you get the point.
“The Golden Spoon” only needed 8 episodes. The idea behind it is nice, it should have not been this long, it should have concentrated on one or two changes in between characters and the consequences of the said decisions while hammering in the idea that your life and future is greatly determined by how rich and resourceful your parents are, and how shockingly little can some people have an actual grasp on their lives.
Seo In Guk’s choices in recent memory have been infuriating me more than I’d like to admit. I think this drama showcases just how talented he is while also showcasing just how boring everything surrounding him is too.
“Café Minamdang” is a very forgettable kdrama. Its not bad, it is also far from the worst thing I’ve seen this year but the talented cast deserved a more interesting script to work with.
The comedy in the drama is horrible, simply put. I know comedy is subjective, and in my opinion, it was not funny in the least bit. Comedy is not easy to write and the way it was written here feels like an insult because you know the targeted audience for this drama is on the older side but this is what we got. A dramatic over-the-top physical comedy that doesn’t require much talent to write.
Kwak Si Yang also does an amazing job with his quirky character, but sadly, the material they had to work with was not up to par.
If I could describe who is one of the most toxic male lead characters in a 2022 kdrama, Mister Noh Go-Jin would be on top there.
“Crazy Love” also had a nice idea. As the episodes progressed, I became optimistic. It was about a horrible human being who took out his frustrations on people around him causing everyone to hate him in the process and it was retribution time.
Its nice to have an unlikeable kdrama male lead presented as such but even this disappears as the drama carries on.
By episode 16, you find out that what led up to what caused this lacks any basic sense. And when the screenwriter is teasing viewers with ‘who done it’ mystery, it is to be expected that the script will come under more scrutiny if it fails to make sense.
And worst of all, despite only changing after falling in love and doing very little to undo the harm to the people he hurt, Noh Go-Jin is awarded one of the best most patient female leads in kdrama history.
The first half focuses on him being so horrible but the 2nd half attempts to redeem his character not by his actions but by the consequences of the actions Lee Shin-A makes while she attempts revenge against him by donating his money knowing it’ll infuriate him, if that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about his character, I don’t know what will. He only begins to act ‘nice’ in episode 16 which is quite literally too late.
On top of that, since our love Kim Jae Wook plays this character to perfection and puts on an amazing performance, what annoyed me was how people were trying to justify Noh Go-Jin’s actions simply because Kim Jae Wook plays him. Viewers and fans being unable to separate a character from a real-life human has always been something that grinds my gears and its on full display here.
I disliked Noh Go-Jin and everything he presented, but I still like and respect Kim Jae Wook, nothing changed. Its just a character and if it does something bad, you can go after it. You can analyze where it screwed up and examine why that is.
The screenwriter does the confusing decision of demonizing Noh Go-Jin before deciding to take a 180 and having him redeemed in the most lazy way possible.
The pairing of Moon Ga Young and Yeo Jin Goo should have been the catalyst to make anything almost perfect, but thats not what we ended up with.
“Link: Eat, Love, Kill” has an interesting story to tell, and I think performances from the actors, specifically Yeo Jin Goo will remain memorable for quite some time but the script is far from ideal.
The biggest issue is how the screenwriter doesn’t know what to make of the town’s people. He paints them in a way but then tries to convince you of another, and it makes for a very jarring experience.
I liked the way the drama tackled the grief part but still, the majority of it left so much to be desired. The drama is 16 episodes long and it REALLY shouldn’t have been this long. It didn’t need or deserve to be this long. The base idea doesn’t need more than 8 to 10 episodes to befully explored.
Its truly a shame because it could have easily become one of the standout stories of a 2022 kdrama, yet, we ended up with a messy script and puzzling message.
I have seen my fair share of kdramas throughout the past decade but very rarely do I see a kdrama do what “Forecasting Love And Weather” did.
“Forecasting Love And Weather” actually started out with okay ratings, and then peaked before slowing down again. The biggest draw was how the main actors slept together in the first episodes, which is still unheard of for a traditional broadcasting station. They usually take 8 to 10 episodes to confess and kiss.
This made the drama feel a bit fresh and rather interesting. Because it hinted that there was more to come from this, however, that was far from the reality of it.
Screenwriter Sun Young ran with the plotline that its a good idea to separate the couple over the dumbest of situations since episode 8 and/or 9, and to spend the second half of the drama going over that situation to the point that people were begging for a resolution.
To add to that, the couple was always good at communicating, almost so good you wouldn’t believe such a couple exist. They usually were very open and sat down to resolve misunderstandings, the way they handled their differences was truly something I enjoyed…. then, they separate over a non-issue and we spend a good 6 hours going over that point. The couple hadn’t been together for so long that it would justify that either.
Ha Kyung was also made into a flawless character who is deeply wronged by society without much depth. This also made her character feel boring and flat. She suddenly makes drastic life decisions despite her age on a whim because she met a younger guy who believes otherwise. On top of that, Ha Kyung and Ki Jun, who broke up after she caught him cheating, actually become friends and grow closer as the drama progresses becoming each other’s confidant.
So many of the drama’s plot points either failed to make sense, or felt as if they were running on borrowed time without any clear plan of how to tackle the ramifications of the lovers who slept together on the day they met.
I think I am not the only person who is frustrated with Hae Jin’s choices. The reason for my frustration is simple. I am a fan and believe he’s capable of more. I always felt he never managed to reach his full potential despite his acting chops.
I don’t know to what degree it could be his own decisions, but recently, he’s moved agencies so I better see him make better choices.
I always say picking the right project is half the battle, no matter how talented someone is, if the project is boring, there is almost nothing that can fix it. “From Now On, Showtime!” is just that, its boring and typical.
“From Now On, Showtime!” feels like it should have been a much shorter kdrama, not 16 episodes. There is no justification for why it ran for this long, the plot is typical and as expected as you’d assume of its type.
The acting is amazing, but its so sad such talented people were given such lackluster script.
Is “From Now On, Showtime!” the worst thing I’ve seen in 2022? of course not, it doesn’t even come close, buts its definitely disappointing. Jin Ki Joo also deserves better, she’s such a talented actress and the spark she has in her eyes when she acts is beautiful, I love seeing her perform. However, nothing could have saved this drama.
If there is a project I’d called the epitome of disappointment for a 2022 kdrama, “Doctor Lawyer” might be it.
“Doctor Lawyer” had many plot holes to the point that it is quite distracting, and sometimes, a bit funny because it feels so disconnected to the point it feels intentional. One of the biggest plot holes is something that happens in the premiere week of the drama. If the screenwriter is already struggling with plot lines making sense in the first episodes, you know it won’t end well.
“Doctor Lawyer” also had an issue with pacing that became worse as time went by. Each week, the two episodes are split into two parts, an hour and a half of mostly boring happenings, and a solid half-hour of actual fun. Thus, it makes the watching experience very difficult because you struggle to get through the tedious parts before arriving at what actually matters and whats actually fun. The drama felt like a chore to me at times rather than a fun ride. I want to support my fav actors but I also have a limit.
On the characters’ side, Yi Han, who is supposedly the man we should be rooting for, is one of the most boring protagonists I’ve seen ever in kdramaland. Geum Seok-Young is equally not interesting either. These two characters go head to head with the fierce Jayden and Im Yoo Na who make them pale even more in comparison.
There is zero chemistry between So Ji Sub and Lim Soo-Hyang. And most shockingly, So Ji Sub’s performance was astoundingly boring. I sensed hesitation I expected will go away with time. I thought he might have felt too pressured or was just warming up because its been a while so it should go away, but it didn’t.
I saw hints of doubt in his eyes and sometimes, just pure calm with no energy. This is not what you want for a character that is supposed to be seeking revenge so badly for 5 years. My thoughts on Lim Soo-Hyang’s acting aren’t the best either as I feel she struggles with capturing the essence of the characters she plays.
In contrast, we have Shin Sung Rok who overthrows So Ji Sub into a loop whenever he’s on screen, his charisma and performance were definitely enjoyable. He had so much passion for the project and made Ji Sub’s performance stand out as odd even more. Lee Joo-Bin is also stunning in this drama. It was definitely a jarring experience comparing the two opposites together. I found myself rooting for Jayden most of the time.
While some might be surprised this is on the list and others not, its not for the same reasons you’ve read about else where. I think the main thing I didn’t like was the directing of this drama. It was over-the-top dramatic with flimsy execution.
I am well aware that Seo Ye Ji and Park Byung-Eun can act, however, in this drama, I felt that their acting was stiff and weird. As if they’re trying to convey emotions in a way they couldn’t quite understand. I came to the conclusion that its possibly a directing issue because I have seen them in so many projects in the past, and they’ve never once acted like that.
Park Byung-Eun had a look as if he was constipated 24/7, while Seo Ye Ji was trying so hard to appear as a female Fatale in an odd way even though she already is, why was she trying so hard? Sis, you’re already that.
Added to that, their performances felt forced. Not to mention how they shared zero chemistry, I think I would have definitely not gone too hard on the previous point if they shared some chemistry.
There are also many plot points which were handled sloppily in my opinion. I think the base idea is nice but its execution was lackluster to say the least. It should have also definitely been shorter. If it had been shorter, many of the plot holes could have been easily fixed or ignored, but the longer it went on, the more I realized the plot holes existence and a general lack of sense despite the fact that the drama tries so hard to convey how raw emotions can be when it comes to affairs.
I don’t mind the 18+ rating, and its not even about it, this is not why its on this list. Some Korean reviewers put this as a negative point but personally speaking, I didn’t mind it. This was the least of the drama’s issues.
The only person who seemed to be having fun with their role was Yoo Sun who also seemed to be the least restricted. She is receiving many awards for her performance as she should. She was easily the best part of the show and now I am a huge fan who will look forward to her next projects.
“Money Heist” is one of those kdramas that will either make it onto someone’s best-of-2022 or worst of-2022 depending on one decisive factor…. Have you seen the original or not?
The biggest point of “Money Heist” is the fact that its a remake of a Spanish series by the same name. The remake aired merely 6 months after the original drama wrapped up on Netflix…. which already means the drama is fresh in people’s minds and the odds were stacked against them.
The main issue is that this drama was originally released on Netflix. So, why?
It doesn’t quite add up why Netflix would re-purpose the same content [aside from money] on its platform by remaking it in Korean. It doesn’t serve any purpose. Anyone with a Netflix subscription could easily watch the original either subbed or dubbed in many many languages. I could have understood it if it had been 10 years and they’re remaking it but no, its been like 6 months.
Thus, it doesn’t quite ring as a logical move to do that to one of the platform’s biggest money makers, EVER. Thats like if Netflix one day decided to remake “Squid Game” into an American/French/German/etc. series and publish it on their platform too when people can easily watch and enjoy the original as its creators intended.
But all of that could be brushed aside if the remake improved on the original or tried to be different, and it did neither of those. If you watched the original, I highly doubt you liked the remake. At the same time, I could totally understand why someone who hasn’t seen the original probably doesn’t understand why it received such negative reviews especially from overseas fans. I watched the original after watching the Korean version, and O.M.G…. I didn’t realize the remake was this unnecessary.
The drama is not bad, its very fun and fast paced. The acting is also amazing. But the Korean version slashes the drama’s original run time by half And a lot of either interesting/important details are omitted from this version to make for a shorter kdrama experience.
While I would not call this quite ‘disappointing,’ its definitely an odd choice to be made. And not the correct one either. I hope this serves as a warning for Netflix not to do such a similar move ever again.
So what were your least favorite kdramas of 2022?