Best K-Dramas of 2014

2014 was an awesome year in K-dramaland. Gone were dramas depending on trends or copying each other. Anyone remember the oversaturation of time travel dramas in 2012? K-drama fans were rewarded this year with plenty of unique dramas with diverse plots. Let’s revisit some of the most interesting dramas we watched in 2014. The Soompi staff share their reasons for why you should vote for the Best K-Drama of 2014 for the Soompi Awards 2014 (videos included!). The final vote is up to you, so don’t forget to vote!

So do I talk about the fact that “My Love from the Stars” managed to break not only drama records, but also sent a Korean noodle company into a record high in more than its 15-year business in China, caused a luxury brand lipstick to sell out worldwide, and sent an old American children’s novel to the top of the bestseller list in Korea? Nope. Instead I’ll talk about what the drama meant to me.

I’m not actually a huge fan of K-dramas. I’ve tried watching a lot of them, but always end up petering out at the third or fourth episode. “My Love from the Stars” was the first drama in years which I felt the need to watch from begining to end. Why? It’s hard to explain, but somehow it just delivered that extra sparkle that made it worth watching. The character of Cheon Song Yi was fully rendered, not one-note as in many other dramas. She wasn’t blandly sweet and innocent; she wasn’t even just fiery and bold. You could see a lot of intricacies in her personality that made her seem more realistic and relatable as a person. And although she definitely had her moments of being spoiled and egotistical, in her most defeated moments, she possessed a weary, quiet grace that made me not just like her, but admire her as well. As for Do Min Joon, I can’t honestly say I related to his character as strongly, but Kim Soo Hyun had a difficult role to play because his character by nature needed to veil his true thoughts and feelings, and he pulled it off. I even loved the plot lines of the various characters (the one with Do Min Joon’s teacher was almost heartbreaking to me).

There were other things too. The plot was well-conceived and planned, which is no small feat when you consider how many dramas end up with plotlines that twist and turn until even the writers seem to lose track of them. And “My Love from the Stars” fully delivered on humor, somehow elevating funny scenes into cultural reference points without letting it overtake the drama. And the production quality was definitely there – the sets fulfilled every aspirational fantasy (Do Min Joon’s luxurious library or Cheon Song Yi’s girly bedroom), and the costuming was completely on point (the characters’ outfits actually told as much of a story as the actual plot). Jun Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun were fully operational in the role of eye candy as well. -melkimx

Emergency Couple” was full of lovable stars: Song Ji Hyo, Choi Jin Hyuk, Choi Yeo Jin, Lee Pil Mo, and Clara to name a few. The successful tvN drama centered on the divorced couple forced to work together in an emergency room, as if the emergency room isn’t stressful enough on its own. Their constant bickering was both realistic and adorable. The drama was highly entertaining with the romance and medical background. The sizzling chemistry between the two leads as well as the great acting by the supporting cast made this drama quite popular. -kokoberry

Secret Love Affair\" was for me. With the shocking premise of an adulterous relationship between a teacher and a (much) younger student, the drama got people interested. And it made viewers stay with its strong production and phenomenal acting by its two, irresistable leads. Whether you thought it was wrong or not, I'm sure you couldn't help but root for the tragic couple, connected through their passion. "]" data-sheets-userformat="[null,null,833,[null,0],null,null,null,null,null,0,null,1,0]">Sensual. There’s no other way to describe what “Secret Love Affair” was for me. With the shocking premise of an adulterous relationship between a teacher and a (much) younger student, the drama got people interested. And it made viewers stay with its strong production and phenomenal acting by its two, irresistable leads (Kim Hee Ae and Yoo Ah In). Whether you thought it was wrong or not, I’m sure you couldn’t help but root for the tragic couple, connected through their passion. ddangha

King of High School” is one of the few dramas of 2014 that I watched from beginning to end – and I loved every minute of it (even the episode extension). It was a ray of light after months of darkness; it was innovative, nicely paced, and had that tastefully written concoction of refreshingly funny brewed with a surprising ingenuity. Seo In Guk‘s vibrant Lee Min Suk is a confident 18 year-old pretending to be his 28 year-old brother in the working world – all the while still juggling his other day job – being a high school student. Solid chemistry with thoughtful storylines navigating family, love, school, and career. It boasts a great cast with Lee Hana, Lee Soo Hyuk, Jo Han Chul (aka comedic superstar), Oh Gwang Rok, and Kwon Seong Deok. Nearly every cast member gets a moment to shine. Also a welcoming sight to rising newbies Kang Ki Young, Lee Tae Hwan, and Lee Yeol Eum. luckymic

Fated to Love You\" is what I like to call the perfect drama cocktail: one part comedy, one part melo, two parts romance, and a pinch of mean secondary characters. Shake well with ice and sprinkle great directing, fabulous writing, and perfect acting generously. Finally, place a sweet two episode happy ending on top. Sip, relax, and enjoy!\n\nIn other words, \"Fated to Love You\" is the epitome of what happens when a team works flawlessly together. Every single aspect of the drama was carefully detailed and inspected to ensure that the production results in keeping the viewers thoroughly entertained and deeply touched. Each character was made with love and respect, carefully molded into someone beautiful in their own right. The plot was also incredibly moving... when it wasn't fall-out-of-your-seat hilarious.\n\nIt was not only made with the intent to provide heartwarming emotions to help heal those suffering from the Sewol tragedy, but also served as a homage to both Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara's careers through the multiple references and parodies dispersed throughout the entire drama. How many was noticed and how many was missed? There's always something new to discover with every watch and I couldn't help but fall hopelessly in love. And to think I originally hated the idea of a remake, thought that it would be doomed to fail in comparison to the original, and swore up and down that I would never, ever, ever watch it? Oops! Looks like I was fated to love the best drama of 2014! "]" data-sheets-userformat="[null,null,833,[null,0],null,null,null,null,null,0,null,1,0]">“Fated to Love You” is what I like to call the perfect drama cocktail: one part comedy, one part melo, two parts romance, and a pinch of mean secondary characters. Shake well with ice and sprinkle great directing, fabulous writing, and perfect acting generously. Finally, place a sweet two episode happy ending on top. Sip, relax, and enjoy!

In other words, “Fated to Love You” is the epitome of what happens when a team works flawlessly together. Every single aspect of the drama was carefully detailed and inspected to ensure that the production results in keeping viewers thoroughly entertained and deeply touched. Each character was made with love and respect, carefully molded into someone beautiful in their own right. The plot was also incredibly moving… when it wasn’t fall-out-of-your-seat hilarious.

It was not only made with the intent to provide heartwarming emotions to help heal those suffering from the Sewol tragedy, but also served as a homage to both Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara‘s careers through the multiple references and parodies dispersed throughout the entire drama. How many were noticed and how many were missed? There’s always something new to discover and I couldn’t help but fall hopelessly in love. And to think I originally hated the idea of a remake, thought that it would be doomed to fail in comparison to the original, and swore up and down that I would never, ever, ever watch it? Oops! Looks like I was fated to love the best drama of 2014! akinahana89

It’s Okay, It’s Love” was one of the dramas I looked most forward to in 2014. The story was different and it tackled an issue not commonly addressed in Korea which is mental illness. The story development was done well, the character interactions were great and it had a good soundtrack to boot. Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin did a great job in portraying their roles. Also, hats off to EXO‘s D.O. who also did well in this drama. small_smiley

the Three Musketeers starring Jung Yong Hwa, Lee Jin Wook, Yang Dong Geun, Jung Hae In, Seo Hyun Jin and Yoo In Young. The story follows a countryside adventurer preparing for his military examination during a time of fragile truce between Joseon and Manchuria. With a high budget and splendid scriptwriting, his perilous journey towards the capital will feature many battles with solid choreography including many stunts by the actors themselves. The show was very entertaining with its contrasted characters and romance. Despite tvN canceling the production of a second season, the ending of the Three Musketeers was surprisingly memorable and satisfying!"]" data-sheets-userformat="[null,null,833,[null,0],null,null,null,null,null,0,null,1,0]">One of the biggest surprises I’ve seen from Dramaland is the Korean adaptation for “The Three Musketeers” starring Jung Yong Hwa, Lee Jin Wook, Yang Dong Geun, Jung Hae In, Seo Hyun Jin and Yoo In Young. The story follows a countryside adventurer preparing for his military examination during a time of fragile truce between Joseon and Manchuria. With a high budget and splendid scriptwriting, his perilous journey towards the capital features many battles with solid choreography including many stunts by the actors themselves. The show was very entertaining with its contrasting characters and romance. Despite tvN canceling the production of a second season, the ending of “The Three Musketeers” was surprisingly memorable and satisfying! Hanyeoun

Where do I even begin? “Misaeng” has hands-down become one of my favorite dramas of all time. Furthermore, I haven’t been so pleased with an ending in a long time. Even though it left enough open-endedness to allow a second season, there was enough closure for the main plot with the tie-in from the beginning bringing everything full circle. One of the other things I liked the most was that rather than a love line, the work relationships and friendships became support for everyone to grow. The focus was on the day-to-day struggles of life rather than watching a couple’s ups and downs. bluephoenix1919

Liar Game\" had the right Triple T's: Twist and Turns, Thrills, and Terror. There was never a moment to breathe because from the very first to the very last episode, each moment was filled with intensity, mystery, and cleverness. The wittiness of the plot, the diversity of the characters, and the heart pounding game kept me occupied day after day for the entire duration of the drama. If I wasn't obsessively watching and re-watching each episode as soon as they aired, then I was thinking about the endless possibilities for the next episode or dissecting the details of what I had seen until my head spun. \n\n\"Liar Game\" is the kind of drama that's unforgettable and addictive, like riding the biggest, scariest roller coaster at an amusement park. Lee Sang Yoon was perfect as the smoldering Ha Woo Jin and Kim So Eun portrayed the kind Nam Da Jung flawlessly, but who could forget Shin Sung Rok's spine chilling Kang Do Young with his evil laughter and creepy stares? Just thinking about him could give me nightmares!\n\nThe rest of the cast also impeccably portrayed their characters and the end result was one of the most fantastic, intriguing dramas I have ever seen. No lie! Now, if they would just confirm a season two already..."]" data-sheets-userformat="[null,null,833,[null,0],null,null,null,null,null,0,null,1,0]">True to its psychological thriller genre, “Liar Game” had the right Triple T’s: Twist and Turns, Thrills, and Terror. There was never a moment to breathe because from the very first to the very last episode, each moment was filled with intensity, mystery, and cleverness. The wittiness of the plot, the diversity of the characters, and the heart pounding game kept me occupied day after day for the entire duration of the drama. If I wasn’t obsessively watching and re-watching each episode as soon as they aired, then I was thinking about the endless possibilities for the next episode or dissecting the details of what I had seen until my head spun.

“Liar Game” is the kind of drama that’s unforgettable and addictive, like riding the biggest, scariest roller coaster at an amusement park. Lee Sang Yoon was perfect as the smoldering Ha Woo Jin and Kim So Eun portrayed the kind Nam Da Jung flawlessly, but who could forget Shin Sung Rok‘s spine chilling Kang Do Young with his evil laughter and creepy stares? Just thinking about him could give me nightmares!

The rest of the cast also impeccably portrayed their characters and the end result was one of the most fantastic, intriguing dramas I have ever seen. No lie! Now, if they would just confirm a season two already… akinahana89

I have enjoyed watching “Birth of a Beauty” because of its perfect balance and combination of comedy, romance, and revenge. This drama is a little more intense, but it reminds me of the American movie “John Tucker Must Die.” Although it does have a twisted storyline, it isn’t extremely dark nor is it graphic. But the villains will definitely have you screaming sometimes because they are so unbelievably conniving and evil. The main actors, Han Ye Seul and Joo Sang Wook, show off their perfect chemistry as a couple. They have such an interesting relationship, but you can’t help rooting for them because they are so adorable together. It is still a cute, funny, and heartfelt drama that shows in life, everyone just longs to love and be loved. bubblybribri

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