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2015 Drama Recap

It feels like every year, I make some sort of excuse as to why I didn't watch as many dramas as I could have. So this year, I'm just going straight into the recap.

Total Number of Dramas: 8 (5 cdramas, 2 twdramas, 1 jdrama)
Breakdown: 6 finished, 1 still watching, 1 on hold

FAVORITE DRAMA
Someone Like You

Someone Like You was broadcast from January to May, and usually having an air date so early in the year means I have little to no recollection of it when I put together my yearly recap, but this one was different. The story of how Fang Zhancheng (Kingone Wang) loses his fiancee and eyesight in a car accident and later meets and falls in love with her twin sister Chen Yuxi (Kirsten Ren), Someone Like You never really broke any ground with its storytelling and characters, but I loved it anyway, and it is by far my favorite drama from 2015. It started the year off right.

As expected of all SETTV dramas, Someone Like You began very strong (the first two episodes were amazing) and slows down a bit afterward, but as a whole, the drama was still very cute and enjoyable to watch. There was one slightly annoying plot point, in which Zhancheng's dead fiancee had her heart donated to a girl named Xu Yati, who becomes Yuxi's friend and sparks some minor drama because Yuxi notices that when she and and Zhancheng together, Yati's heart from the dead fiancee starts to hurt, so Yuxi wants to be all noble and break up with Zhancheng, and blah blah blah. Luckily, the melodrama over this isn't as crazy as it could have been, but I could have done without the whole plotline, to be honest.

My favorite things about Someone Like You? One, that Kingone's character is actually a really nice guy. Usually, male leads are such overbearing and obnoxious jerks that you wonder why there are girls falling all over them. With Fang Zhancheng, I can understand why. Two, Bii contributed a wonderful, wonderful song, "We Are Walking in Love" (我們在愛中漫步), to the soundtrack. There is a beautiful instrumental version that plays in episode 15, and I'm sad that the OST (which is great overall) didn't include it. If only Kingone had sung something, though, since he used to be in a boyband. c:

Bonus gif because Kingone is too good-looking for his own good.


Related post: "Someone Like You" Continues Kicking Butt with Episode 2

ENJOYABLE DRAMAS
Marry Me Or Not?

As Marry Me Or Not? is Roy Chiu's newest drama, not to mention his second collaboration with Alice Ke from Office Girls (one of my favorite dramas from 2011), there was no way I was going to just skip over this one. At first, I was a little hesitant because the main female has such an off-putting personality and I'm not into watching two bitchy females catfight, even if they are catfighting over Roy. But I stuck it out, and Marry Me Or Not? has proven to be one of the better written stories I've seen.

In a nutshell, Marry Me Or Not? tells of two frenemies, Cai Huanzhen (Alice Ke) and Hao Shengnan (Joanne Tseng), who were best friends in their university days but got into a huge argument over Jiang Qianyao (Harry Chang), an older boy whom Shengnan really liked (and still likes). Years later, the two meet up again during a reunion lunch, and Shengnan, who is desperate to one-up the recently engaged Huanzhen, drags out her extremely attractive older brother, Hao Meng (Roy Chiu), and pretends that he is her boyfriend. More trouble ensues as Shengnan successfully ruins Huanzhen's wedding, causing her fiance to call the whole thing off, and a now engraged Huanzhen vows to steal Shengnan's "boyfriend" from her. Hao Meng, who is a divorce lawyer that doesn't believe in marriage, also has an agenda in this, as he believes dating Huanzhen will cause his mom to stop bothering him about marriage.

If the story sounds like a mess, it kind of is, but somehow, it all comes together quite well, even if I'm not too impressed by the schemes that Huanzhen and Shengnan come up with. However, Roy and Alice still have boatloads of chemistry left over from Office Girls, although they are playing drastically different characters, and I adore seeing Roy in an older brother role. It's also fun catching cameos from the various Taiwanese entertainers, including one from Chen Bolin as a parody of his character from In Time With You.

Whirlwind Girl

I went into Whirlwind Girl with very low expectations but came out pleasantly surprised. The storyline is simple enough: orphan girl Qi Baicao (Hu Bingqing) is a staunch defendant of her taekwondo teacher and adoptive father, Qu Xiangnan (Vincent Jiao), who is villified in the martial arts world because he was involved in a doping scandal years before. Although Baicao practices taekwondo every day, her connection to Qu Xiangnan means she cannot officially practice the sport, so he pushes her away and disappears, forcing her to be accepted by a taekwondo dojo. There, Baicao befriends Ruobai (Yang Yang), the highest-ranked student and her eventual boyfriend; Yu Chuyuan (Bai Jingting), a previous taekwondo supserstar who gave up the sport for unknown reasons and pursued a medical career; and Fang Tinghao (Chen Xiang), an international taekwondo champion who is by far the best character in the drama.

She also meets some other people and participates in various taekwondo competitions and events, but let's be real, we're only here for Yang Yang and Chen Xiang. The two of them really carry the drama, especially Yang Yang, who embodies the Perfect Male Lead character without once making you want to roll your eyes. Chen Xiang is an ace at comedy relief, and his character actually has a very compelling backstory. The story itself is pretty tame and predictable, but Whirlwind Girl is loads of fun to watch, and I'm all set for season 2 next year, provided Yang Yang and Chen Xiang reprise their roles.

Related post: Final thoughts on "Whirlwind Girl"

My Sunshine

Based off a popular novel that I never read, My Sunshine is one of those "they were together during college but later broke up and now they meet again" stories. In this case, it's Zhao Mosheng (Tang Yan) who has a huge crush on He Yichen (Wallace Chung) and eventually wins his heart. However, misunderstandings ensue (Mosheng's rich father interferes and sends her off to America, Yichen has a younger sister who is not related by blood who obviously likes him, etc.), and they don't see each other for years until Mosheng returns to China. Now a successful lawyer, Yichen is very cold to her upon meeting again, causing everyone to wonder "omg does he still like her" or "omg does he hate her now."

I'll admit, My Sunshine is all very cute, for the most part, maybe even a little too much "happily ever after." And while I do think the drama handles the story better than the movie adaptation does, there's just something about Yichen and Mosheng's relationship that just doesn't work for me. It's very disjointed and bizarre, almost like they're bipolar or something, which makes it hard to root for them or even want to spend time watching their scenes. Yichen as an adult, in particular, is almost like a robot! Why are people falling in love with this personality-less creature?

My Sunshine's one saving grace? Getting Bian Jiang to dub Wallace Chung. His voice, it slays me.

Related post: First thoughts on "Someone Like You," "My Sunshine"

Lady & Liar

Oh ho, this was a fun one. Lady & Liar pairs together Tang Yan as street magician Jiang Xin and Hawick Lau as mafia boss Bai Zhengqing. She accidentally rescues him from an assassination plot, and he falls in love with her, but she totally (and rightly) rejects him because she has Tony Yang, playing the blind gentleman Sheng Jiewen. But as fate would have it, Jiang Xin finds out she's Ye Xin, the long-lost heiress of the Ye family, and off she goes on a train to reunite with her family, except it gets derailed and she falls into the ocean! A thief named Du Xiaohan (Yang Rong) pretends she's Ye Xin, while Jiang Xin loses her memory and gets rescued by Bai Zhengqing, who claims she's his fiancee.

I really really liked the beginning of Lady & Liar -- the drama level was right up my alley, and I was totally swooning over Bai Zhengqing's love for Jiang Xin. I also liked Jiang Xin as a character and how she didn't fall for him right away and had a sense of justice. The derailed train scene was quite impressive, and there was a good sense of drama after that (there is one scene where Bai Zhengqing stabs himself to save Jiang Xin -- so fake but so good), but once Jiang Xin and the fake Ye Xin met after that, I got annoyed really fast because of all the petty bickering.

Also, Tony Yang was gone getting his eyes fixed for like TEN EPISODES. What gives??? I can only drool over Hawick for so long. Speaking of which, I bet he gets typecast in these roles all the time. I've never seen him in anything else before, but he is truly captivating in this type of character. And he did have great chemistry with Tang Yan, which makes me LOL wondering how Yang Mi (Hawick's real-life wife and Tang Tang's real-life bestie) felt while watching this drama.

Related post: "Lady & Liar" Heading Down the Crapper?

THE "MEH" DRAMAS
Cruel Romance

I was going to put Cruel Romance under the "So Bad It Was Painful" category, but to be honest, that wouldn't have been fair. It was an okay drama and lots of fun at some points, but I just got waaay too into the pre-broadcast hype (I actually read the original book in Chinese) that the actual outcome was somewhat of a disappointment. As it is, I don't really like to dwell too much on this one because I had a lot of hopes for it, and it didn't live up to my expectations at all.

Cruel Romance is basically how Rong Jinxiu (Chen Qiao'en) travels to Shanghai after her parents are horribly killed, bumps into businessman/triad boss Zuo Zhen (Huang Xiaoming), and somehow catches his eye despite her utter ineptitude at everything. She initially has a crush on Zuo Zhen's good friend, Xiang Yingdong (Kimi Qiao), who has a crush on Rong Jinxiu's half-sister, who is actually the woman of Yingdong's older brother but is involved in some dodgy business with an evil Japanese man whose deceased lover is Jinxiu's facetwin. Throw in some general stupidity on the part of every character, and you'll understand why I put this under "Meh."

I also get the feeling that Cruel Romance suffered from airing after Lady & Liar, because they had a lot of similar plotlines and characters, except Lady & Liar did most of them better. Sorry, Huang Xiaoming, this was not your best drama.

Related post: This is not the "Cruel Romance" I was hoping for

The Journey of Flower

Not gonna lie, I watched The Journey of Flower only for Wallace Huo. At first, I thought the story was fairly interesting, with Hua Qiangu (Zhao Liying) as an orphaned girl with strange powers who is taken under the wing of immortal Bai Zihua (Wallace Huo), with whom she later falls in love, even though master-disciple relationships are strictly forbidden. There are some cute characters in this, and it's chock full of drama and angst in the later episodes, but by the halfway point, I was watching it just to finish it.

The highlight of The Journey of Flower, apart from Wallace Huo (and his unintentionally funny facial expressions), was probably mainland actor Ma Ke. He plays the metrosexual demon lord Sha Qianmo, who takes on a sort of older brother role to Qiangu, and is by far the funniest character in the series (though he doesn't really have much competition in this area, tbh). He also has a very dramatic backstory and was definitely the character I was most invested in, though not invested enough for me to check out the "modern-age sequel." (Didn't anyone learn from the disaster that was Bu Bu Jing Qing?)

Related post: Anyone here a fan of Wallace Huo?

Death Note

Congrats, Death Note, for being the first jdrama I've checked out in years! I invited a friend to watch this with me, since we were both fond of the manga on which it's based, and after the first episode (which was sooo long), we both ended up agreeing that we liked the manga better. It's not that the drama was bad; it just wasn't what we were expecting. So this one's more or less on hold until... someday. Maybe when I'm bored enough to use Crunchyroll's 14 days of free Premium so we can skip over the endless commercials.

STILL TO WATCH
Love Through a Millennium
Watching for Chen Xiang.

Nirvana in Fire
I've heard good things about it. My cousin and uncle were both raving about it, and the storyline sounds interesting.

The Disguiser
Watching for Hu Ge.

Bromance
Watching for Baron Chen.

The Lost Tomb
Watching for Yang Yang.
Hah, and I was feeling disappointed that I only completed 22 shows this year. Lady & Liar sounds interesting, but I should get back to Marry Me now that I've finished Siren. I didn't watch any Cdramas this year. =/
Haha, I've grudgingly admitted that I am abysmally slow at finishing shows. It doesn't help that the usual release schedule for cdramas (two eps per day) is really tiring. But yeah, check out Lady & Liar if you have the time.
Totally agree with Whirlwind Girl, My Sunshine and Lady & Liar. I thought Journey of the Flower started out great, but it went downhill in the 2nd half of the show, which happens a lot in Cdramas. :-/
Happy belated New Year, btw! Best wishes.

Yeah, Journey of Flower was pretty good in the beginning (I even recommended it to a friend haha), but it definitely wasn't worth it in the end.

Happy New Year to you too! :)
I would definitely put NIF and The disguiser as my favorite dramas! ah you should finish it and i will gladly reading your thought/review.
kinda agree with 'enjoyable' list but totally agree with meh list. those are so meh meh meh.

i quit watching Love Through a Millennium cuz i couldnt stand Zheng Shuang's acting. i like her, but her acting... meh. hehe.. sorry not sorry. But she always acts with my fave actors, so... i always give her drama a try :P
It'll be a while before I get to watch Nirvana in Fire and The Disguiser, but I will definitely check them out!

Out of curiosity, why do you like Zheng Shuang if you don't like her acting?