2019 in Review – Miscellaneous Musings

2019 In Review – Miscellaneous Musings

* Historicals.  The historical category dramas beat the contemporary dramas this year. My Country – The New Age, Arthdal Chronicles, Haechi, Tale of Nokdu were all winner series.
* 2nd Ladies versus Men. I wasn’t wowed by the majority of secondary leading ladies finding the men had more punch. The secondary leads in Arthdal Chronicles (Tanya and Eunseom) could have/should have been categorized as leads.

* Series After Completing Military Service
.Two leading men had “come back” series after returning from military service. Jung Il Woo (Haechi) landed in a much better series than the Ji Chang Wook (Melting Me Softly).
* Villains. It struck me that the villains I enjoyed the most were portrayed by an actor that embodied an element of humanity even in the most evil of characters. Two villains stood out in 2019, Prince Milpoonggun (Haechi) brought to life by Jung Moon Sung and Nam Jeon (My Country – The New Age) perfectly portrayed by Ahn Nae Sang whose scenes with Jang Hyuk sparkled. Between these two, my favorite villain was Prince Milpoonggun. Per my Haechi Review:
This evil Prince was a dreadful, angry, murderer that believed he was the rightful person to take the throne. But Writer Kim made him nuanced. When you saw behind the curtain to the unsure man that desperately wanted to fulfill his promise to his father that he would be King, you felt for him. He only wanted respect and the throne, nothing else mattered. He never gave up his quest…Jung Moon Sung did a terrific job with this character and commanded the screen.

Asian drama fan. I watch and blog dramas on https://kjtamusings.wordpress.com/.

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11 comments on “2019 in Review – Miscellaneous Musings
  1. Snow Flower says:

    I am a sageuk geek and I was very happy with what 2019 had to offer. I liked all the sageuks you mentioned. I have not seen Haechi yet, but it is definitely on my watch list. I would like to recommend Nokdu Flower, probably my favorite historical of 2019. Its writing, directing, and acting were standouts for me.

    I agree on your assessment of villains. I liked the nuanced portrayal of Nam Jeon by Ahn Nae Sang. Nokdu Flower also had a very memorable anti hero, masterfully acted by Yoon Shi Yoon.
    What are the 2020 dramas you are looking forward to? I am eagerly waiting for Season 2 of Kingdom.

    Happy new year!

  2. beezrtp says:

    Nokdu Flower was amazing! Not in the same way that My Country was. Nokdu Flower has no glitz, no pretty boys, no romanticizing war – just gritty realism. Someone pointed out to me recently that it’s the same team as Tree and Six Flying Dragons, which made me go “No wonder…” (Although both Tree and SFD is more stylized fighting. Nokdu Flower is not pretty in any way. It’s just gut wrenchingly real and there is beauty in the slowness of the storytelling.

  3. Kay says:

    2019 really was a great year for historicals. I enjoyed most of them immensely. They gave us some wonderful stories and performances. I really hope 2020 can deliver on the historical front too 🙂

    • What I liked about the 2019 historicals is that the deaths made sense versus death is a given which can occur in this genre.

      • Kay says:

        Right you are. It’s definitely a toss up with this genre, but this year the historicals did well in that area.

        • beezrtp says:

          hmmmmm. I never thought the deaths in saeguk didn’t make sense. Senseless a lot of times? Yes. But I always took it to mean that’s how little value was placed on a person’s life back then when people walked around with swords, similar to the USA Old West (cir. 1890’s).

          • Kay says:

            That’s actually how I see it too, more that there are so many senseless deaths. Like you said, there is so little value placed on life. And sometimes this genre just likes to kill people for the heck of it for that ending dramatic effect. It always felt the writers had a thought out plan for the characters in the historicals this year though 🙂

  4. Jane Tilly says:

    I read somewhere that 2018 had a dearth of saeguks due to so many older actors being in trouble with the “Me Too” movement, so there was not enough middle age men for parts in saeguks. I was very happy to see some excellent saeguks this year.

    Where can I find Nokdu (or Mung Bean) Flower? I’ve been wanting to watch it.

    I concur that both Prince Milpoonggun (Haechi) and Nam Jeon (My Country – The New Age) were some of the best villains I’ve EVER seen in Kdrama. The were unapologetic antagonists with their hegemonic agendas, yet they were nuanced. I found myself feeling like I had an understanding of where they were coming from, even though I VEHEMENTLY disagreed with their agendas. Nam Jeon, portrayed by Ahn Nae Sang, was a ruthless father and politician whose verbal sparring was RIVETING. Prince Milpoonggun, portrayed by Jung Moon Sung, was a psychopathic serial killer that I found myself pitying, which is a difficult feat, as I have a strong sense of justice. Both of these actors gave BRILLIANT performances that contributed depth and richness to their respective dramas.

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December 2019

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