A Drama Newbie’s Review of 2015: Jess’s Ramblings

Posted by JMertz on January 4, 2016


Kdramas came into my life in April of this year. I had no idea that this world existed. It all started with a friend insisting that I give one a try and that was all it took—I was all in. Immediately, I wanted to watch everything that I possibly could get my hands on. I did not want to miss any of the classics or even the crack dramas. There was so much! Why were there only 24 hours in a day? Why did I have to be a responsible adult? I’m getting there, one mydramalist completion at a time.

It took me a few months to get to a point where I would watch more current dramas, let alone anything currently airing, but here we are at the end of 2015 and I have even surprised myself with the dramas that I have seen from this year. Here are some thoughts on some of the 2015 dramas from this newbie’s point of view.

EXO Next Door


(Minor Spoilers)

This drama is just adorable. I found it when I was searching for something fun and short that I could watch when I had about a half hour before running out the door. This drama fit the bill. The episodes being short made it so that the cuteness did not get to be too much for me and I could still enjoy the story of Ji Yeon Hee’s (Moon Ga Young) life being shook up when the idol group EXO moves in next door. The drama was a mixture of sweet, caring and a little bit of cheese. It made my heart happy and the scene where EXO pretends to make out when they know she is spying through the window was just hilarious.




This drama. Oh, this drama. This is hands down my favorite drama of all the ones that I have seen to date. I have watched it more than once and will often just put on an episode that includes scenes that I love just because that is how much I adore this drama. I recommend Healer to anyone who will listen to me because it has everything: action, romance, a bit of humor, characters with well written back stories, an amazing OTP with undeniable chemistry, a great soundtrack and Hacker Ahjumma. What more could we ask for?

One of the things that I love most about Healer is that it has a strong female lead. Even when she is in a situation where she is paralyzed by fear and facing issues resulting from childhood trauma, Chae Yeong Shin (Park Min Young) stays so brave. We see it and, best of all, the character of Healer (Ji Chang Wook) sees this trait in her as well. I love watching the looks of pride he gives her at times when she cannot see his face.

Healer features other wonderful characters. Kim Moon Shik is the famous reporter who has been trying to figure out the mystery surrounding his family members’ past. Park Bong Soo is Healer’s alter ego that lets him in as Chae Yeong Shin’s junior at work so that he can get more information. This character is so timid, which is hilarious when the audience knows that Healer can kick some major butt. Chai Chi Soo is Yeong Shin’s adopted father and he is also one of my favorite parent characters in all of drama land. He’s just awesome. As mentioned before, there is Hacker Ahjumma. She not only adds humor to the story, but her mad computer skills are the magic behind Healer being so….Healer. There are moments that show that their partnership has also become a friendship, which is heartwarming to see since both characters keep to themselves.


I could go on for hours, but I will just say that if you have not watched this drama, make it next on your list.


I Remember You


I came for D.O and I stayed for him, the drama, and Park Bo Gum. After seeing D.O in the fluffy drama EXO Next Door or as a heartbreaking character in It’s Okay, That’s Love, I love seeing his talent come out in this drama. He is just so cold as killer Lee Jun Yeong. He remains so distant and when he smiles, it never once reaches his eyes or had an ounce of warmth. It gave me chills.

While I have nothing against the OTP, it is the interaction between Seo In Guk and Park Bo Gum as brothers who were separated during their childhood that had me loving this drama. I especially enjoy Park Bo Gum as the story’s villain. Some of my favorite scenes are when these actors are together and the audience can see Park Bo Gum’s character being in conflict after reuniting with the brother he grew up thinking abandoned him as a child. I Remember You is one of those great stories that makes you feel bad for the killer at times and also brings up the question of whether a monster is born or made.

Kill Me Heal Me

Confession: I was worried that I was not going to be able to get past the first few episodes of this drama because of Hwang Jung Eum’s needing to scream about 80% of her lines even when the person is 2 inches away. Thank goodness for Ji Sung and Park Seo Joon. These two actors are the reason why I ended up really loving Kill Me Heal Me. Ji Sung’s talent in portraying each of the different personalities and making them each their own character was wonderful to watch. Each one is given their time to shine and to also be caring, intense, heart wrenching and funny. I was impressed with his ability to change from one personality to another in a realistic way without poking fun at mental illness.

For anyone not familiar with the plot, Cha Do Hyeon (Ji Sung) has developed multiple oersonalities in order to protect him from remembering his past. The personalities include a rebel, 17 year old twins (an artistic brother who is also suicidal and a boy-crazed sister), a middle-aged man who loves boats and has a talent for making bombs, a young child and one that is revealed in the show. In order to put the pieces back together and get control of his life again, he seeks out the help of Oh Ri Jin. Each personality comes out depending on what Cha Do Hyeon needs help handling at the time. Hilarity, romance and heartbreak ensue.

I love the scenes between Ji Sung as Ahn Yo-Na (17 year old girl) and Oh Ri Jin’s brother, Oh Ri On (Park Seo Joon). Watching Ji Sung play a teenage girl with a crush on Park Seo Joon’s character was hilarious. I would have paid money to be a part of the crew when they were filming the scenes in which Ji Sung runs across the room and jumps on him. Pure entertainment gold.

Oh My Ghostess

This drama had been recommended to me countless times, but I had reservations because the idea of a virgin ghost possessing some poor girl to get all up on a guy weirded me out. After a friend made the deal that they would watch Healer if I gave this one a try and I had discovered how great Kim Seul Gi is an actress, I caved. I ended up really enjoying this drama, particularly after Na Bong Seon (Park Bo Young) begins to agree to the possession and the women work together.

I was pleasantly surprised that Oh My Ghostess has a lot more to the plot than I had expected. Watching Shin Sun Ae (Kim Seul Gi) find the truth of her own death was heartbreaking. I love that characters, both living and dead, help each other at different times. Oh My Ghostess is another drama that makes me feel bad for the bad guy. Well, for part of him. Once I figured some things out, I kept thinking “that poor guy”. This is also a drama where I like having story lines all tied up in a nice little bow at the end.

One of the things that I love most about this drama is the whole restaurant family. It may be due to my love of cooking shows, but the banter and kinship of these characters just makes me smile.  I wouldn’t mind Chef and his staff having their own show.


Pinocchio Button

I was wary that this drama would be entirely focused on the “Pinocchio Syndrome”, which causes someone to hiccup any time that they tell a lie, but that all went out the window after watching the first episode. Pinocchio has made me laugh, “D’awwww” and tear up….sometimes all in one episode. I love watching Choi In Ha (Park Shin Hye) and Choi Dal Po (Lee Jong Suk) grow up together as characters and have their love/hate relationship show while pretending to be uncle and niece. What makes my heart super happy is the times when the drama shows that he loved her the entire time. This drama also shows the strength of the family bond, be it blood related or adopted.

Byun Hee Bong as the grandfather is one of my favorite characters. He loves everyone in his family so much and he had the ability to make me laugh and cry. One of my favorite scenes in this drama is when he takes Choi Dal Po for a makeover. The fact that it is the lead male getting the makeover and it’s orchestrated by the grandfather just makes me happy. I love the depth of the story in this drama. Can a character get past the fact that the mother of the girl that he loves is the reporter who destroyed his biological family? Where do you draw the line between what people want to hear in the news and what is the truth? Pinocchio is a wonderful for anyone who likes their dramas with a side of all the feels.

Now I need to craft my own button necklace.

Splash Splash LOVE (Splish Splash LOVE)

I just love Kim Seul Gi. She is just so adorable and really brings her characters to life. I wish that this drama could have been more than two episodes, or just made into one two hour movie.

I want more.

I love the idea that someone can step into a puddle and be transported to another time. The interaction between Jang Dan Bi (Kim Seul Gi) and King Se Jong Yi Do (Yoon Doo Joon) is wonderful. I could not stop laughing throughout the two episodes. I loved the moments where her being from the future and the Joseon era cross. Watching him react to her cell phone is hilarious. It is like watching a little kid experiencing something new.

One of the best things about this story is watching Jang Dan Bi go from a struggling student who is overwhelmed by the idea of college and her future to someone who realizes that she can use her education to help these  people. This drama satisfied my love for romance, laughter and a heartwarming story all in one sitting.

I am still in the honeymoon phase of drama watching and so I stuck with the 2015 dramas that I really enjoyed. I know that not everyone will agree with me, but that is one of the things that I love about dramas is that there is something for everyone. I want to say a huge thank you to Stephanie for asking me to add in my two cents. I feel incredibly honored. Here’s to even more awesome dramas in 2016!


  • Reply amberkmuse January 4, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Great list. Agree with all of those.

  • Reply Molly in Kdramaland January 4, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    I started watching Kdramas two years ago, and I remember when I first started. My first drama was Queen In Hyun’s Man – a drama I’ve rewatched and still love. Initially, I marathoned classics, too. About 8 months in, I started simulcasting, and I haven’t turned back. I love your list – totally agree!

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