A few days ago, we finally entered a new decade and left the 2010s behind. It left us with memories we treasured and moments that mold us into who we are today. And I, a self-confessed fangirl, would always look back to these ten years as the years of my best fangirling days. Korean dramas have been part of my youth and before going full speed towards 2020, I would like to reminisce my whole decade through these unforgettable series. Kaja!
2010: Conquering College
Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Yoochun, Park Min-young, Yoo Ah-in, Song Joong-ki, Seo Hyo-rim)
Looking at the list of dramas I’ve watched in 2010, Sungkyungkwan Scandal is a runaway winner for me that year. Until now, I still remember Park Min-young’s gender-bender adventures, rugged-yet-lovable Yoo Ah-in, and the cute SongSeo second couple. I’ve watched this quite a few times throughout the years and even read the translated version of the novel. I firmly believe that I started my decade right with this series.
2011: From K-drama viewer to K-pop fangirl real quick
Dream High (Kim Soo-hyun, Bae Suzy, Taecyeon, Ham Eun-jung, Wooyoung, IU)
The K-pop fever is in full blast during this year and even I couldn’t escape the epidemic. Thanks to IU, I’ve become fully immersed into the Korean entertainment industry. Her songs Someday and Dreaming from this series converted me from a K-pop muggle into UEANA, which then became my gate pass towards being a SONE, Pink Panda, Inspirit, Lovelinus and the list goes on.
2012: Escaping time
The Moon That Embraces the Sun (Kim Soo-hyun, Han Ga-in, Jung Il-woo, Kim Min-seo, Yeo Jin-goo, Kim Yoo-jung)
Rooftop Prince (Yoochun, Han Ji-min, Lee Tae-sung, Jung Yoo-mi)
Reply 1997 (Jung Eun-ji, Seo In-guk, Shin So-yool, Hoya, Eun Ji-won, Lee Shi-un)
I never understood the hype about Jumong and Jewel in the Palace before 2012. Sageuk is not really my cup of tea but after watching The Moon That Embraces the Sun, my taste for K-dramas widened. The curious cat in me has also read more about Korea’s culture and history due to these dramas. And when I say history, it wasn’t just the Three Kingdoms and Joseon period. I’ve watched HOT and Sech Kies videos and learned more about Korea’s pop culture through the throwback series, Reply 1997.
2013: Falling in L-ove
Master’s Sun (So Ji-sub, Gong Hyo-jin, Seo In-guk, Kim Yoo-ri)
This is the year I’ve met this Ahjumma Squad. The company rookie has been recruited to their group after the intense interrogation of dramas I’ve watched and actors/actresses I like. They’ve also taught me that it is more exciting to watching ongoing K-dramas than wait for its dubbed version in local networks. This is the reason why I chose Master’s Sun as my 2013 Favorite. It is the first drama I’ve watched with them and well, it is where I’ve met the love of my life – Kim Myung-soo (haha!).
2014: It’s Okay, It’s Life
My Love From The Star (Jun Ji-hyun, Kim Soo-hyun, Park Hae-jin, Yoo In-na, Shin Sung-rok)
It’s Okay That’s Love (Jo In-sung, Gong Hyo-jin, Sung Dong-il, Lee Kwang-soo)
I still remember my squad’s seemingly endless conversation about the plot twists of these two 2014 dramas. Will Do Min-joon ever come back and live on earth? Busy Ahjussi becoming a fulltime fanboy of Park Hae-jin. Tipsy and Grumpy laughing their ass off the wedding photoshoot scene. Unica and I falling in love all over again for the chinito modern looks of Kim Soo-hyun after we watched Dream High and TMTETS. Six years after and these moments are still vivid in my mind. And that includes that one night shift we couldn’t concentrate at work because of the revelation about DO’s character in It’s Okay, It’s Love. Still gives me chill up to this year tbh.
2015: Panda Eyes Realness
Oh My Ghostess! (Park Bo-young, Jo Jung-suk, Im Joo-hwan, Kim Seul-gi, Park Jung-ah, Shin Hye-sun)
At this point, I’ve come to accept that there’s no turning back from the life of a K-drama fan. I have now a schedule of dramas to watch in a particular day and what filler dramas to pick for a perfect long weekend. I’ve also now developed a loyalty to some actors/actresses but in 2015, I’ve betrayed my top picks and reshuffled my bias list. Park Bo-young has then become my beloved actress through tvN’s Oh My Ghostess! She took me in a roller coaster ride of emotions through Na Bong-sun. Her chemistry with Jo Jung-suk is also palpable. And yes, this is also the year I’ve adopted Kim Seul-gi as one of my favorite new actresses.
2016: Hello my youth
Reply 1988 (Hye-ri, Ryu Hye-young, Ryu Joon-yul, Ahn Jae-hong, Go Kyung-pyo, Park Bo-gum)
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (Lee Joon-ki, IU, Kang Ha-naeul, Hong Jong-hyun)
Age of Youth (Han Ye-ri, Han Seung-yeon, Park Eun-bin, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo)
There was a plethora of good series in 2016 but Reply 1988, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo and Age of Youth were the standouts for me. These series left me some scars and truth I still bear up to this day. I was Team Ryu Jun-yeol in Reply 1988 and although Park Bo-gum is lovable, I can’t get over the fact that Ryu Jun-yeol lost his first love because of timing (and traffic lights!). Speaking of not getting over, I don’t anyone has moved on from the heartbreak brought to us by Hae-soo and Wang So.
On the other hand, the Age of Youth holds a special place in my heart. Whenever I see this on my streaming app, I always remember some personal moments I’ve spent with Tipsy and Grumpy while watching this series.
2017: Enjoying My First Life
Fight For My Way (Park Seo-joon, Kim Ji-won, Ahn Jae-hong, Song Ha-yoon)
Because This Is My First Life (Lee Min-ki, Jung So-min, Kim Ga-eun, Kim Min-suk, Esom, Park Byung-eun)
Goblin (Gong Yoo, Kim Go-eun, Lee Dong-wook. Yoo In-na, Yook Sung-jae)
I thought 2016 would be a tough year to follow in terms of quality dramas. Little did I know that these 2017 series would dethrone my all-time favorite classic K-dramas. Fight For My Way and Because This is My First Life are my favorite because they reflected my own #adulting and #growingpains dilemma in this year. But personal feelings aside, Goblin is the real winner for 2017 and is no doubt the K-drama of this decade. It converted casual onlookers to full-time K-drama viewers. And as K-drama fans multiply, we decided to finally share our thoughts and recos to other fans through this blog.
2018: Still Twenty-five
Still Seventeen (Yang Se-jong, Shin Hye-sun, Ahn Hyo-seop, Yoon Sun-woo)
It’s the year when I committed to watching K-dramas I wouldn’t normally pick. Even though I’ve become genre-fluid, my favorite drama for this year is still from my favorite genre. Shin Hye-sun knocked my bias list out of order and I couldn’t stick to a permanent list ever since. Still Seventeen is also the reason why I now know I have a weakness for puppy-looking Beta Male Leads.
2019: The Drama Queen
SKY Castle (Yum Jung-ah, Yoon Se-ah, Kim Seo-hyung, Oh Na-ra)
Be Melodramatic (Chun Woo-hee, Jeon Yeo-bin, Ahn Jae-hong, Gong Myung, Han Ji-eun)
Be Melodramatic is my top Maknae’s Choice for 2019. I didn’t include Sky Castle on that list because I know it didn’t deserve to be just a K-drama of the Year. Sky Castle’s story and characters were all exceptional. I wouldn’t be surprised if its scenes and lines would still be remembered for years to come.
Another decade has come and gone but I don’t think my love for Korean series will ever be gone. It may wane from time to time but it’ll come back and swept me off my feet again. Here’s to another ten years of K-drama fangirling and a happier 2020s!
One thought on “Best of the Decade: Maknae’s Favorite K-dramas (2010-2019)”
I agree that Goblin and Sky Castle should be on this list! Goblin is groundbreaking because it converted casual viewers like me to become a kdrama fan haha. If you’re going to make a list of the 10 best dramas of the decade they should be in there. 😀