Korean Dramas, 2012

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a collection of the dramas that I have watched 
Arang and the Magistrate 아랑사또전
Shin Min Ah as Arang / Lee Seo Rim
Lee Jun Ki as Kim Eun Oh
Yun Woo Jin as Choi Joo Wal
Kwon Oh Joong as Dol Swe
Han Jung Soo as Moo Young
Hwang Bo Ra as Bang Wool
Kim Yong Gun as Nobleman Choi
Yoo Seung Ho as Jade Emperor
Park Joon Gyu as King of Underworld
Kang Moon Young as Lady Seo / Hong Ryun / Moo Yeon

The beautiful Arang, the daughter of a magistrate during the Chosun Dynasty, is brutally murdered. The woman returns from the dead as a ghost, still full of light-hearted mischief and spirited fun. When she meets a young magistrate, Eun Oh, she discovers that he has the unique ability to communicate with the dead. She convinces him to help her uncover her killer and bring the person to justice. Can a ghost and a magistrate team up to solve a murder mystery and punish the wrongdoer?

My Thoughts 
I was slightly confused while watching the show but my doubts were cleared as the plot unfolds. The whole plot was akin to playing chess (depicted by the chessboard of Hades King and the Jade Emperor), where the characters were all chess pieces planted by the Jade Emperor. Intentionally or not, I leave it to you to find out. 
Bridal Mask 각시탈
The Bride mask_KBS_drama_BG_poster02
Joo Won as Lee Kang-to/Sato Hiroshi/Lee Young (childhood name)
Jin Se-yeon as Mok Dan/Esther/Boon-yi (childhood name)
Park Ki-woong as Kimura Shunji
Han Chae-ah as Ueno Rie/Lara/Chae Hong-joo
Shin Hyun-joon as Lee Kang-san/Lee In (childhood name)

Two brothers - Lee Kang-to and Lee Kang-san – live in Seoul in the 1930s, oppressed under the Japanese rule. Kang-to, the younger brother, is a rising star in the police force and works with the Japanese police to capture “Bridal Mask,” a mysterious freedom fighter who fights for independence wearing a Korean Bridal Mask. Later when Lee Kang-to’s life is turned upside down, he dons the Bridal Mask and fights injustice and rights wrongs against the Japanese during one of the darkest periods of Korea’s history. Kimura Shunji is a gentle Japanese teacher who has come to teach in Korea against his father's will. He is best friends with Kang-to and shares a loving relationship with his Korean nanny. He also falls in love with the fiercely patriotic Mok Dan, a woman who is in love with Kang-to, a twist that begins to change him into a darker person.

My Thoughts  
28 episodes were a bit too much to stomach for my usual K-drama limit. Watch it if you have the time. Joo Won's transition from a police officer to bridal mask wasn't impressive. Not to mention his "BINGO" slang really gets on my nerve, haha!
Gentleman's Dignity 신사의 품격
Jang Dong Gun as Kim Do Jin
Kim Ha Neul as Seo Yi Soo
Kim Soo Ro as Im Tae San
Kim Min Jong as Choi Yoon
Lee Jong Hyuk as Lee Jung Rok
Yoon Se Ah as Hong Se Ra
Kim Jung Nan as Park Min Sook
Yoon Jin Yi as Im Me Ah Ri
Lee Jong Hyun as Collin

A drama about the careers and love lives of urban professionals. It will tell the story of four men in their forties as they go through love, breakup, success and failure. Kim Do Jin, an architect with a scathing tongue have romantic relationship with strict high school teacher Seo Yi Soo, who moonlights as an umpire at amateur baseball games. Im Tae San is dating a cold-hearted woman but wonders if there is someone else out there for him. Choi Yoon tries to heal his heart after losing his wife four years ago. Lee Jung Rok marries an older woman for money but may lose his comfortable lifestyle in a divorce

My Thoughts  
One of my favourite shows for 2012, a male version of Sex and the City. I've introduced it to a couple of my guy friends to watch & just as I expected, they all loved it as the drama focused more on brotherhood. Coupled with witty dialogues, this is one show not to be missed!
The Innocent Man 세상 어디에도 없는 착한 남자
Song Joong Ki as Kang Ma Roo 
Moon Chae Won as Seo Eun Gi 
Park Si Yeon as Han Jae Hee

A classic melodrama involving betrayal, revenge, and romance. The story is about Kang Ma Roo, who gave up everything for the woman he loves only to be betrayed by her. To get revenge on his ex-girlfriend, he uses her step-daughter and successor to Taesang Group, Seo Eun Gi. Unfortunately, she suffers brain damage and loss of memory after a car accident, and now Kang Ma Roo works to fix everything that went awry because of his blind sighted revenge and ends up falling in love with Seo Eun Gi.

My Thoughts
Can't recall much from this drama apart from Song Joong Ki being a pretty face with good acting skills.
The King 2 Hearts 더킹 투하츠
Lee Seung Ki as Lee Jae Ha 
Ha Ji Won as Kim Hang Ah 
Jo Jung Suk as Eun Shi Kyung 
Yoon Je Moon as Kim Bong Goo / John Mayer
Lee Yoon Ji as Lee Jae Shin 

The King 2 Hearts is set in modern day where South Korea is governed by a constitutional monarchy. Lee Jae Ha is a handsome and materialistic crown prince that doesn't care about politics. His life turns upside down when his brother forces him to join a team consisting of soldiers from North and South Korea to join a World Officers Competition.
Kim Hang Ah is a North Korean special forces agent who doesn't have experience in love or dating. Although she is tough and brave, she has a warm heart and naive, wishing to get married and live life peacefully. When her comrade convinces her to join the Korean team for WOC, she meets the cocky prince and they immediately start a love-hate relationship. Things take a drastic change when they find out that their families have been planning for their eventual wedding.

My Thoughts
My initial thoughts - John Mayer is really an irritating character! The love-hate relationship between Hang Ah and Jae Ha was the highlight of the show, though I feel that Ha Ji Won looks very much older than Lee Seung Ki in this show, making their relationship more like 姐弟恋. 
Moon Embracing The Sun 해를 품은 달
Kim Soo-hyun as Crown Prince/King Lee Hwon
Han Ga-in as Heo Yeon-woo/ shaman Wol
Jung Il-woo as Prince Yang-myung
Kim Min-seo as Yoon Bo-kyung 

The story of the secret love between Lee Hwon, a fictional king of Joseon, and Wol, a female shaman. Wol was born as Heo Yeon Woo, the daughter of a noble family who won the love of the crown prince, Hwon. Her enemies, jealous of her family's position in court, schemed against her and wrestled away her rightful place as crown princess and nearly takes her life. Years later, an embittered Hwon meets Wol, now a female shaman who has no recollection of her past.

My Thoughts 
My favourite drama of 2012 with Kim Soo Hyun as the (cute) king Lee Hwon :) The child actors were superb in their acting and I started crying by ep 3, lol! Despite being young, Kim Yoo Jung shown great acting skills. However, the transition was lost on Han Ga In, who acted every other scenes with her eyes wide open (slight disappointment!). On the other hand, Kim Soo Hyun portrayed his character well, with a lot of emotions. I cried buckets whenever he mentioned about his first love. A tear-jerker for sure & re-watch is a must!  
Phantom 유령
So Ji-sub - Kim Woo-hyun / Park Gi-young
Lee Yeon-hee - Yoo Kang-mi
Uhm Ki-joon - Jo Hyun-min
Kwak Do-won - Kwon Hyuk-joo
Song Ha-yoon - Choi Seung-yeon

Kim Woo-hyun is the only son of a prominent police officer. Determined to make his own mark, he breezes through police academy, and along the way racks up accolades, top of the class honors, a lot of praise and perhaps envy from his colleagues.Assigned to the cyber investigations unit, Detective Kim finds himself entrenched in an intense cat and mouse game with faceless enemies in the cyber world. Tirelessly hunting a hacker named Hades, he traces the hacker's location to an apartment building and arrives just in time to witness an actress fall to her death from the high-rise. What appears initially to be a suicide case reveals a trail of crime and conspiracy that leads to an enigmatic nemesis, and may link right back to Woo-hyun himself.

My Thoughts 
Cliff-hanger at the end of every episode, I finished the whole series in 5 days. Even though the drama is based on Information Technology, fret not if you don't understand any of the IT-terms. Focus on the plot, which is filled with twists and turns, to understand it better. 
Roof Top Prince 옥탑방 왕세자
Micky Yoochun (Park Yoochun) as Lee Gak / Yong Tae Yong
Han Ji Min as Park Ha / Bu Yong
Lee Tae Sung as Yong Tae Moo
Jung Yoo Mi as Hong Se Na / Hwa Yong 
When Crown Prince Lee Gak is transported 300 years into the future to present day Seoul along with his three retainers, they believe that it is their duty to solve the murder case of the Crown Princess in order to return to Joseon. They land in the rooftop apartment of Park Ha, a cheerful woman in her mid-20s, who eventually believes the odd quartet's predicament and becomes their guardian. As Park Ha educates the four on life in the 21st century, Lee Gak comes across Hong Se Na, who seems to be the reincarnation of his wife. Taking on the identity of Yong Tae Yong, Lee Gak slowly begins to unravel the murder of Yong Tae Yong and in turn moves closer to solving the murder case of the Crown Princess. As he finds himself in love with Park Ha, he figures that maybe the Crown Princess was not so perfect after all.

My Thoughts 
The first time travel show that I watched and I'm hooked! This make it to the list of one of my favourite dramas in 2012 & definitely worth a re-watch!
Queen In-Hyun's Man 인현왕후의 남자
Ji Hyun Woo as Kim Boong Do
Yoo In Na as Choi Hee Jin
Kim Jin Woo as Han Dong Min
Ga Deuk Hee as Jo Soo Kyung

Kim Boong Do is a scholar who had supported the reinstatement of Queen In Hyun when Jang heebin's schemes resulted in her being deposed and replaced as King Sukjong's queen consort. With the help of a spell when he is in going to be killed in a fight he travels 300 years into the future of modern Seoul and meets Choi Hee Jin, a no-name actress who is expecting a career renaissance through her role as Queen In Hyun in a TV drama. She helps him to know about the history of his time and change some events. After that they start to develop feelings for each other, but is it possible for them to have a successful relationship?

My Thoughts 
I'm a sucker for love drama. Add in the factor of time travel and I'm sold! Yoo In Na did pretty decent for her first major role; it was hard not to like her cuteness. Ji Hyun Woo may not be the typical handsome guy, but he is pretty charming in this role. Worth a re-watch (of the last episode!)  
Reply 1997 응답하라 1997
Jung Eun Ji as Sung Shi-Won
Seo In Guk as Yoon Yoon Jae
Hoya as Kang Joon Hee
Shin So Yul as Mo Yoo Jung
Eun Ji Won as Do Hak Chan
Lee Si Eon as Bang Sung Jae
Song Jong Ha as Yoon Tae Woong

Set in the 1990's, "Reply 1997" follows female high high school student Shi-Won (Jung Eun-Ji), who idolizes boyband H.O.T and her 5 high school friends, set in Busan.

My Thoughts
Awesome show that brought back a lot of memories! The plot shuffles between 1997 and 2012, as we watch the characters reminisce about their high school lives. It brought me back to the days of idol-chasing, calling friends via pagers and the first experience of internet. A must-watch for those born in the 80s!

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