2022 had me trapped in a slump. Writing my top drama favorites was challenging not just because of my writer’s block, but also because the dramas I watched from the past year were on a record low. I get vulnerable on this platform – often (and unnecessarily) pouring my heart out when things get tough for me in the real world. When we started Ahjummamshies, we intended it to be an outlet for us to express our reactions to ongoing Korean dramas, no matter how controversial they might be. But as time went by, this space transformed into an avenue where we release our inner thoughts and reflections about life. This little universe that we share with our readers became our reason for continuing to watch dramas even when we’re not in our best selves.
Ahjummamshies’ tagline is saving lives through K-dramas, and in 2022, I was one of them. I am still fighting this chronic slump – my longest record yet. One drama at a time. I don’t force myself to watch something I don’t feel good about just for the sake of writing about it. And as I’m trying to get back into the groove of writing reviews again, I ranked all the shows that made me look forward to each episode in 2022. These dramas motivated me to survive yet another week so I can watch a new episode. It’s an unusual basis for a top drama list, but this year’s Frown Crown is one of the closest to my heart. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling and how it can affect us on a personal level.
Alchemy of Souls Part 1 and 2
Another Hong Sisters story done right. A future gem and a perfect gateway drama for the new generation of Hallyu fans. It’s also one of the very few dramas that lived up to the hype. The young casts were the reason this drama topped my list. They breathed life into a complicated plot with so much enthusiasm. Both seasons had different charms, and that’s what made the drama stand out. It’s refreshing to see a drama that can balance humor and heartwarming moments so well. We have always known the Hong Sisters for their witty and creative writing, and this drama was no exception. The plot twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat, while the heartfelt moments made me feel connected to the characters.
But what truly set this drama apart was the Jin Bu-yeon/Cho Yeong/Mu-deok/Naksu four-way role. Two leads, one personality. Jung So-min and Go Youn-jung both deserved to be recognized for acing the challenging character! They both brought something unique to the role of Naksu, and it was fascinating to see how they each interpreted the character in their own way.
A Business Proposal
One of the cutest and funniest workplace dramas of 2022! This sleeper hit gave me all the legit rom-com fluff I craved since Touch Your Heart. Watching Kim Se-jeong struggle with a fake relationship with her strict boss, Ahn Hyo-seop was so much fun. It’s a high-stakes game of pretend – them constantly walking on eggshells around everyone. The drama’s plot is quite predictable, but the main leads’ charisma and chemistry carried out the story. Both actors gave great performances, and their comedic timing was spot-on. The supporting cast, including Seol In-ah and Kim Min-gue, also delivered solid performances and added to the overall charm of the drama.
One strength of “A Business Proposal” was its ability to balance comedy and romance. The drama had several laugh-out-loud moments, but it also had touching and heartfelt scenes that made the audience root for Shin Ha-ri and Kang Tae-moo’s relationship. The drama also did a good job of exploring the characters’ motivations and backstories, which added depth to the story and helped the audience understand their actions and decisions. While it might not be the most original or groundbreaking story, it was a well-executed and entertaining drama that showcased the talents of its cast.
Our Beloved Summer
My couple of the year! I don’t believe in getting back at an ex, but Choi Ung would be the exception to the rule. Ah, the sweet sensation of rekindling an old flame. There’s nothing quite like it – the butterflies in your stomach, the excitement of rediscovery, and the thrill of reigniting a connection that may have been lost over time! That’s the magic that Our Beloved Summer gave me this year. It was exciting to watch Choi Ung and Kook Yeon-seo taking the time to get to know each other again, sharing stories of the experiences that have shaped them, and learning about their dreams and goals that have evolved over time.
Every episode was a masterpiece. Perfect casting, well-thought-of script, and amazing case studies. The drama was so depressing; I loved it. It sustained my peak sad girl era in 2022. The characters were so relatable that it felt like their pain was my pain, too. I cried during almost every episode, but I couldn’t stop watching. The show tackled heavy topics like mental health, trauma, and addiction in a way that was both respectful and eye-opening. The performances were outstanding, particularly by Kim Hee-sun, who brought a raw and authentic portrayal of her character. The show also had a way of keeping you on the edge of your seat, with each episode teasing about her past life and relationship with Lee Soo-hyuk. It was a beautifully crafted show that left a lasting impression on me, and I know I’ll be re-watching it for years to come.
Under The Queen’s Umbrella
My savior during Q4! The literal reason I wake up each day. Every morning I always think of Kim Hye-soo and how I get closer to another weekend of watching her clean up after her royal sons’ mess. I miss the chaos and the joy that this show brought to my life. Definitely had a high rewatch value too!
There’s something about “Under the Queen’s Umbrella” that just hooks you in and doesn’t let go. Maybe it’s the sharp writing, the incredible performances, or the way it blends drama and humor so seamlessly. But for me, it’s all about Kim Hye-soo. She’s a force to be reckoned with on-screen and watching her navigate the cutthroat world of the royal palace is nothing short of mesmerizing.
To end this, I just want to put it out there that it’s okay to feel vulnerable and struggle with writer’s block. It’s also okay to take a break from watching dramas if it doesn’t feel right. Our mental health and well-being should always come first. It’s great that we find comfort in watching Korean dramas and that it becomes an outlet for us to express our thoughts and feelings.
I hope that this year brings you more joy and inspiration and that you continue to find solace in the dramas you watch. Keep taking care of yourself, and remember that it’s alright to feel not alright.
Video credits: The Swoon on Youtube / Netflix
- 2021 Favorites: The Frown Crown
- 2020 Favorites: The Frown Crown
- 2019 Favorites: The Frown Crown
- 2018 Favorites: The Frown Crown
- 2017 Favorites: The Frown Crown
- Under the Queen’s Umbrella | Series Review
- Alchemy of Souls | Series Review
- The Best of “Tomorrow”
- The Best of “A Business Proposal”
- Our Beloved Summer | Series Review