Korean Dramas, before 2009

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a collection of the dramas that I have watched 
Autumn in my Heart  가을동화 (2000)

Song Seung Heon as Yoon Joon Suh
Song Hye Kyo as Yoon/Choi Eun Suh
Won Bin as Tae Seok 

The story begins with toddler, Yoon Joon Suh accidentally causing the switch of his sister and another baby when he drops the name cards on the two babies' cribs in the hospital's baby room. A nurse who comes in puts the name cards back incorrectly. The story then jumps forward to the teenage years of the two main characters: Yoon Eun Suh (Moon Geun-young) and Yoon Joon Suh (Choi Woo-hyuk). They are the children of a professor and believe they are biologically brother and sister until Eun Suh gets hit by a truck and needs a blood transfusion. In the beginning of the drama, Eun Suh is portrayed to be very popular in school whereas her rival, Choi Shin Ae (Lee Ae-jung), is smart but does not get the attention she craves from the teacher and classmates. Later, their situations are reversed when everyone discovers that they have been switched at birth.

My Thoughts
The first installment of the 4-part drama series by Director Yoon Seok Ho, this pioneer show captivated all the K-drama fans, opened up another world of fairy tales for the girls. As most girls gushed over the chiselled looks of Song Seung Heon, I was rooting for Won Bin. However, the show got quite draggy towards the end.
Winter Sonata 겨울연가 (2002)
Bae Yong Joon as Kang Joon Sang/Lee Min Hyeong
Choi Ji Woo as Jeong Yoo Jin
Park Yong Ha as Kim Sang Hyeok
Park Sol Mi as Oh Chae Rin

Joon Sang moves to a new high school in search for his biological father. Yoo Jin and Sang Hyeok are close childhood friends, although Sang Hyeok wants to be more than a friend, Yoo Jin sees him as a brother. On a trip together with other high school mates, Oh Chae Rin, Jin Suk and Yong Kuk, Yoo Jin is saved after an accident by Joon Sang. They become close and she opens up his cold heart. However, circumstances and fate dictate that their love will never be. He abruptly disappears from their lives.

 Ten years later, the old High School buddies gather to celebrate Yoo Jin and Sang Hyeoyuk's soon-to-be wedding. Yoo Jin, who was deeply in love with Joon Sang, still has a fire in her heart for him. But at the party, Oh Chae Rin's new boyfriend arrives, who appears the same as Joon Sang.

My Thoughts
Winter Sonata is the 2nd installment of the 4-part series (the first being Autumn in my Heart). This show basically launched the Korean wave throughout Asia, evident of Bae Yong Joon's popularity. The enchanting snow scenes still remain in my memory even till now. I also fell in love with Nami Island (the filming location) and went on 2 separate occasions during my Korea trip in 2014. I have lost tears and sleep while watching this show, during the initial broadcast + re-runs. Worth a re-watch, but skip the draggy moments. 
Successful Story of a Bright Girl 명랑소녀 성공기 (2002)
Jang Na-ra as Cha Yang Soon
Jang Hyuk as Han Gi Tae
Han Eun Jung as Yoon Na Hee
Ryu Soo Young as Oh Joon Tae

Jang Na Ra plays a cute and innocent country girl who often daydreams of rescuing her prince. One day, she meets Jang Hyuk who accidentally falls into her bath tub while she was taking her bath. Not off to a good start they started arguing over the matter. However, the story goes on to tell how Jang Nara arrives in the big city due to her plan to settle her irresponsible parents' debts. She moves into Jang Hyuk's house as a hired servant hence begins to teach the rich spoiled brat (Jang Hyuk) some manners through her down to earth scoldings and no-nonsense attitude. This drama gets totally hilarious in many scenes where Jang Nara and Jang Hyuk's combination comes out as refreshingly cute. Jang Hyuk plays a rich and proud man who inherits his father's business (Snowy Cosmetics) but is later betrayed by his own cousin and uncle leading to his downfall. On the other hand, Jang Nara plays a girl that he meets who help him pick up the pieces in his life, from defeat to success.
My Thoughts
The pairing of Jang Nara and Jang Hyuk was quite refreshing, I quite enjoyed this show, especially the parts when she "scolded" Jang Hyuk, leaving him speechless. They paired up again for Fated to Love You, which is on my to-watch-list. Hope the chemistry still remains after so many years.
My Love Patzzi 내 사랑 팥쥐 (2002)  
Jang Nara as Yang Song Yi 
Kim Rae Won as Kim Hyun Sung 
Kim Jae Won as Kang Seung Joon 
Hong Eun Hee as Eun Hee Won

Song Yi is a girl with a pure heart with a bad temper. She was tricked and humiliated by her "best friend" Hee Won as a child. From then on, Hee Won has always been the princess and successful while everyone mistook Song Yi as the evil child. When Song Yi did not have a job, Hee Won introduced her to the amusement park that she is in charge of. There she found her childhood friend and ex-crush Hyun Sung, who Hee Won has "stole" when they were kids. From then on, Hee Won tried to humiliate Song Yi many times, framing her in many situations that Hee Won has created herself. To get back at Hee Won, she decided to break the train that the park was launching so that Hee Won would be blamed. Little did she know that she caused more damage and that the train caught on fire. What was worse was that the son of the president of the park was in the train. Ridden with guilt, Song Yi risks her own life to save the life of Seung Joon. Seung Joon fell in love with Song Yi for her brave spirit and charming attitude, but what will happen to their relationship when Hee Won exposes to the world of what she has done?
My Thoughts
Quite an interesting concept where the female lead gets interpreted as the bad girl - you don't often get this in K-drama, as the lead must always be portrayed as pure and innocent. Seung Joon reminds me of mini Bae Yong Joon in this show.
Stairway to Heaven 천국의 계단 (2003)
Kwon Sang Woo as Cha Song Joo
Choi Ji Woo as Han Jung Suh/Kim Ji Soo
Kim Tae Hee as Han Yoo Ri
Shin Hyun Joon as Han Tae Hwa/Han Chul Soo

Jung Suh and Song Joo grew up together. They were always there for each other. Tragedy begins when Song Joo begins his studies overseas without Jung Suh. Jung Suh's father remarries Tae Mira. Mira takes in her two children from a previous marriage, Tae Hwa and Yoo Ri. Yoo Ri is envious of the life that Jung Suh leads and is determined to take everything away from her, including Song Joo. Tae Hwa begins to develop feelings for his stepsister, however Jung Suh still loves Song Joo. Five years later, tragedy occurs when Jung Suh gets into a car accident causing her to lose her memory. Together with Tae Hwa, they start anew. Song Joo is led to believe that she is dead. However, when they meet again one day, he is determined to remind her of the love they had for one another. When fate finally seemed to be on their side, Jung Suh is diagnosed with eye cancer.

My Thoughts
Watched this due to Choi Ji Woo (after her Winter Sonata's fame) & discovered that I like Kim Tae Hee more, lol! Even though she's extremely evil in the show, I can't help but notice her nice collection on dangling earrings! Thank goodness for eye candy Kwon Sang Woo, but I still prefer her chemistry with Bae Yong Joon. (I admit I'm biased towards Bae Yong Joon, lol!)
Summer Scent 여름향기 (2003)
Song Seung Heon as  Yoo Min Woo
Son Ye Jin as Shim Hye Won
Ryu Jin as Park Jung Jae
Han Ji Hye as Park Jung Ah 

Yoo Min Woo's first love was So Eun Hye who gets into a car accident. Eun Hye dies, leaving him behind. Shim Hye Won has suffered from a terrible heart disease ever since childhood. Miraculously, she finds that she will be obtaining a heart from a donor, Soh Eun Hye. Suffering from the pain of a heartache, Min Woo goes to Paris to study, the memories of Eun Hye still hunts his heart. When he returns to Korea, fate takes a turn and brings Hye Won and Min Woo together. When the two first meet, Hye Won's heart (Eun Hye's heart), oddly beats faster when she is around Min Woo. Park Jung Jae is Hye Won's boyfriend. Park Jung Ah is Jung Jae's sister, she meets Min Woo in Italy and falls for him. 

My Thoughts
Once again, I'm mesmerized by this drama which is the 3rd installment of the 4-part series. His scripts hold the essential ingredients of a tear jeaking drama - "evil" supporting characters to sow discord between the leads (checked!), terminal illness (checked!), boy-girl falls in love while working together (checked!). I can't help but laugh at Song Seung Hoon's maggi-mee inspired hair. After this show, Son Ye Jin escalated to become one of my fave K-actresses.
Love Story in Harvard 러브스토리 인 하버드 (2004)
Kim Rae Won as Kim Hyun Woo (1st year law student)
Kim Tae Hee as Lee Soo In (3rd year medical student)
Lee Jung Jin as Hong Jung Min/Alex Hong
Kim Min as Yoo Jin Ah

Love Story in Harvard portrays the dream and love pursued by foreign students studying in Harvard. It demonstrates bright, hard-working, and romantic characters and storylines. A young love story set at the famed Ivy League school in the United States. Kim Hyun Woo, a 1st year law student at Harvard Law, enters into a rivalry with classmate Hong Jung Min for the affections of beautiful medical student Lee Soo In. The two men are both from prestigious families, while Soo In is from a poor family. Can the trio resolve their romantic differences and chase their dreams at the same time?

My Thoughts
Feels weird listening to some of the dialogues in English - apart from Kim Tae Hee who delivers her lines in decent pronunciation. Hey, she's a beauty with brains so I like her! Another drama that gets draggy towards the end.
Full House 풀하우스 (2004) 
Song Hye Kyo as Han Ji Eun
Rain as Lee Young Jae 

Ji Eun, an aspiring scriptwriter, lives in a house called "Full House" built by her late father. One day, her two best friends trick her into believing she has won a free vacation. While she is away, they sell her house. On the plane, she meets a famous actor named Young Jae. Through comedic events, they get acquainted during her vacation and when she returns, she discovers her house has been sold to him. Though they don't get along with each other, as she is messy and he has a bad temper and likes cleanliness, they agreed to live with each other. At first, Ji Eun works as his maid in order to buy her house back, but because of Young Jae's wish to make the love of his life, Kang Hye Won, jealous they get married. They set up a contract for the marriage to last six months. During that time, complications arise and Ji Eun and Young Jae become attracted to each other.

My Thoughts
I never knew that guys with single eyelids can look so cute! The classic scene of (a very muscular) Rain singing the 3 bear nursery rhyme in an attempt to cheer Song Hye Kyo is the highlight of the show, amidst the other sweet stuffs that he showered on her.   
My Lovely Sam Soon 내 이름은 김삼순 (2005)
Kim Sun Ah as Kim Sam Soon 
Hyun Bin as Hyun Jin Heon
Jung Ryeo Won as Yoo Hee Jin
Daniel Henney as Dr Henry Kim

Kim Sam Soon is a baker who has a talent in making pastries and cakes. On Christmas Eve, she caught her boyfriend, Min Hyun Woo, cheating on her and breaks up on the same night. On that same night, she accidentally went into the men's restroom and met Hyun Jin Heon, a somewhat callous fellow but sometimes considerate guy. By sheer coincidence, Jin Heon needs a baker for his restaurant Bon Appetit and Sam Soon is unemployed. Sam Soon is hired as the restaurant's chief baker and the two fights like cat and dog. Nevertheless, they started to have feeling for each other and Sam Soon agreed to post as Jin Heon's girlfriend so his mother would leave him alone. Things got complicated when Jin Heon's ex-girlfriend Yoo Hee Jin came back from the States intending to win him back.

My Thoughts
Not a fan of Kim Sun Ah nor Hyun Bin, the only draw in this show was Daniel Henney and the delicious cakes. Otherwise, a light-hearted love comedy to watch.
My Girl 마이걸 (2005)
Lee Da Hae as Joo Yoo Rin
Lee Dong Wook as Seol Gong Chan 
Lee Joon Gi as Seo Jung Woo 
Park Si Yeon as Kim Se Hyun
When Gong Chan meets the lively and beautiful Yoo Rin, he finds out that she has connections to his missing cousin, whom his grandfather has been searching for. He asks Yoo Rin to lie about being his long missing cousin until he can find his real cousin. She says yes, but soon their feelings for each other get in the way of their plans. Gong Chan's friend, Jung Woo falls for Yoo Rin while Gong Chan's ex-girlfriend, Se Hyun, a pro tennis player, tries to win him back. Will the two ever tell each other how they feel? Will Gong Chan ever find his real cousin? 
My Thoughts
Hmm, I don't remember much about this storyline, apart from I vaguely recall watching this. However, I find a striking similarity between Kim Sun Ah and Lee Da Hae.
Princess Hours/Goong (2006) 
Yoon Eun Hye as Shin Chae Kyeong
Ju Ji Hoon as Crown Prince Lee Shin
Kim Jeong Hoon as Prince Yul
Song Ji Hyo as Min Hyo Rin

Goong is a story about young love in face of tradition, politics, and intrigue. In the imaginary world, modern-day Korea is a constitutional monarchy and the Royal Family lives in a grand Palace, the Goong. Story opens with the sudden death of the reigning the King. Faced with the decreasing popularity among the public for the Royalty, a grand wedding for the Crown Prince, Lee Shin, is decided to be the best publicity move to improve the image of the Royalty and at the same time prepare Shin for immediate succession. The intended bride? The headstrong, awkward, and sweet spirited Shin Chae Kyung that just happens to go to the same exclusive art school. Chae Kyung was betrothed to become the next Crown Princess by her grandfather and Shin's grandfather.

After 14 years of living in England with his mom, Lee Yul appears all of a sudden. He is Shin's cousin as well as the former Crown Prince. Everything seemed to be going normally until Chae Kyung's optimistic spirit wins the heart of internally lonely, Yul. As the Crown Prince Shin and simple-minded Chae Kyung's relationship appear to developing deeper feelings, a series of scandals are exposed to the public right after the pair were officially announced married. Will love prevail all in a world of political pressures and martial hardships? Or will being in the spotlight of the public be too much for the young newlyweds to endure?

My Thoughts
Worth a re-watch! Indulge in a makeshift fantasy of fairy tale but with funny dialogues. Yoon Eun Hye is so charming that it is very difficult NOT to fall in love with her character. She basically pulled the show together with her effortless acting. 

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