2020 was the year of TV shows for me. I used to watch a lot of shows in high school but, I had to drop this time-consuming habit when I started college. However, 2020 being the year that it was, I spend a lot more time at home and I watched a lot more things than usual!
I discovered Korean dramas in 2017 when I started to be a bit bored of Western shows (especially American shows) and they opened my eyes to a whole new world of stories.
It may sound a bit dumb but discovering a new culture and admiring new landscapes by watching a lot of dramas pushed me to learn more about South Korea which then led me to study abroad in Seoul. Funny how life goes sometimes!
In their own way, Korean dramas are as full of tropes and clichés than Western TV shows but, they play with those tropes in a refreshing way. The pacing is different and they focus more on characters than on the action.
It’s Okay not to be Okay
Moon Gang Tae, a health worker at a psychiatric ward is living with his autistic older brother, Moon Sang Tae. After experiencing a traumatic event when they were children, they are unable to stay in one place for longer than a year. However, one day their isolated life is disrupted when they meet Ko Mun Yeong, a popular children books writer with an antisocial personality disorder.
It’s Okay not to be Okay is a beautiful story about love, trust and forgiveness. The actors all did a fantastic job, especially Oh Jung Se, the actor who portrayed Moon Sang Tae. It’s a very emotional story so brace yourself for some crying (both sad and happy tears!)
This is my favorite drama of the year, all categories aside. It follows an ex-convict who want to open a restaurant in Itaewon, a hip neighborhood in Seoul.
I forced way too many people to watch this one (even if they never watched any Korean dramas before) and, so far at least, everyone has loved it!
It discusses many topics that are very taboo in Korea such as bullying, racism, LGBTQ rights and ex-convict reinsertion. It’s a beautiful and sad story about fighting for your beliefs no matter how hard it is. It’s about friendship and found families. Just maybe don’t watch it if you are feeling sad because it’s not exactly full of joy.
Crash Landing on You
The premise of the drama is a bit ridiculous but… I still loved it (even I rolled my eyes quite a bit in the first episode). It’s basically a love story between a South Korean conglomerate heiress and a North Korean soldier who meet when the South Korean woman crosses DMZ because of a paragliding accident. Hum, yes, I’m sure the writers could have found a better way for the two leads to meet but… paragliding accident it is!
As you probably know, the political situation between North Korea and South Korea is very tense so Crash Landing on You had a risky subject. However, it’s a great premise for a tragic love story and it really delivered. While some things about North Korea were a bit sugar-coated (probably to prevent a diplomatic incident), I thought it was an interesting approach on a very taboo subject and It showed that there are good and bad people on both sides of the 38th parallel.
When the Camellia Blooms
This drama is about Dong Baek, a single mom who opens a bar in a village. However, most people in the village (especially the wives of the men who visit the bar frequently) think that it is scandalous for a single mom to manage a bar and, Dong Baek has to deal with their hate, raising her eight-year-old boy, managing bar, and… a series of murder committed by someone who apparently want to kill her as well. Yes, Dong Baek’s life kind of sucks.
This drama discusses how single moms are treated in Korea in a subtle way. It has everything: a beautiful love between a mom and her child, a very cute romance and a mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.
Black Dog is a drama about the life of high school teachers and their everyday struggle trying to help their student in a country where high school-level education is extremely competitive and hard.
It’s not a drama for everyone since it’s very slow-paced and a lot of episodes are sad and discuss very difficult subjects. The first few episodes were the hardest because they were about corruption, nepotism and how badly treated short-term teachers are. Thankfully, the later episodes weren’t quite as sad and they had their fair share of heartwarming moments.
Also, I have to mention it because it’s very rare in Korean dramas but Black Dog doesn’t have a romance storyline! I obviously like romance but every so often, it’s nice to have a drama focused on other things. 😛
Yep, sometimes I enjoy watching things that are not in Korean! 😂😂
Daredevil Season 3
I have finally finished watching Daredevil! 😮 I think I started watching it when I was high school! I took me a while to finish it because while the first season was brilliant, the second was a bit of a letdown. However, this finale was very good and it made me want to finish Jessica Jones in 2021.
Rick & Morty Season 4
I love Rick & Morty and I had a great time with this last season. I didn’t want to wait between episodes so I watched all season 4 in 2020 and I loved it! Rick & Morty is a crazy blend of cynicism, crackhead energy and poop jokes which is exactly my kind of humor.
Money Heist Season 3 (NOT 4)
The third season of Money Heist (aka La Casa de Papel) was ride! It wasn’t quite as good as the first two seasons but, I still had a lot of fun watching Tokyo and Rio making terrible decisions and how The Professor was always there to save them.
I also like the fact that it’s a Spanish show, it’s nice to watch a show in another language and it’s a good way for me to revive my very dusty Spanish! However, if I liked this season, I was very disappointed by season 4 which had a lot of pacing issues. I will still watch the next season because it’s supposed to be the last one but my expectations are low.
I only watched a handful of movies this year so I will only mention my favorite one. And it is without a doubt Get Out.
Get Out is a horror film following a black man who decides to visit his white girlfriend family. However, after a very uncomfortable dinner, everything turns incredibly wrong.
Holy shit, this movie is brilliant.
The story, the acting, the pacing, the way the tension escalated, the ending (!!!), everything was perfect. I wouldn’t change a single thing about this movie. I really need to watch Jordan Peele’s other movie Us!
Star Trek TOS Season 1
I am very slowly making my way through Star Trek TOS and, even if it’s not a show I can binge-watch, I’m enjoying the ride.
The King: Eternal Monarch
I almost put this one in the favorite category but the scenario was too all over the place and the romance too intense and sudden for me. However, I still had a ton of fun watching it and it was beautifully directed.
To be honest, I don’t know if I loved or hated watching Start-Up. I have never been this angry and heartbroken because of one fictional character and it wasn’t even a main character.
This show had amazing actors but terrible writers which is not a successful combination. It had the potential to be very good but because of the love triangle and the horrible treatment of one character (my poor Han Ji Pyeong 😔), it just left me angry (and sad).
If you have read this rambly post in its entirety, you are the best. I wanted this piece to be short but I apparently can’t limit myself when I fangirl about things I have watched! Don’t worry, tomorrow’s post will be about books! 😉
Do you watch a lot of TV shows as well? What are your favorites of the year? I’m always looking for recommendations! 😀