Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Before I got into K-drama, I had little clue that death and departures would be so prevalent a theme. I mean, it’s a rare series that doesn’t have a funeral scene at one point or another, not to mention such dramas as Move to Heaven and Missing - the Other Side which are completely rooted in the theme.

So, I’ve compiled a list of five of my favourite such moments, and I’ll look forward to hearing everyone else’s recommendations:

Hospital Playlist is full of departures, and near-death moments, which necessitate a ready supply of tissues and ‘no, just something in my eyes’ excuses. Taking it most to heart is children’s doctor Ahn Jeong-Won (Yoo Yeon-Seok) who when the waterworks begin just becomes even more adorable.

My Mister: Surely, Ji-An’s (IU) life can’t get any worse, but then comes a call announcing the death of her grandmother. She could hardly be more alone with not a surviving member of her family, but then Dong-Hun ([Lee Sun-Kyun], his brothers, and all their friends wrap around her like the warmest of blankets. In her darkest hour, a ray of hope and the prospect of a new life break through.

Chocolate: The thing is … blub-blub, blub-blub, blub-blub … Sorry, can barely write about it for the tears in my years. Terminally ill, disappears into his own fantasy world as Iron Ranger No. 3 from Iron 130 from where he’s been sent to bring peace to earth. But the job is too difficult, and they are calling him home. He struggles to let go, just the same as the adult before death, but consoled by his doctor and nurse, they assure him of all the good he’s achieved in his short life. His mind put at rest, he’s gone, and there’s not a dry eye in the house. His older brother grows hard knowing the fantasy is just make believe, but the adults follow it through, accepting it as the white lie they tell themselves, the balm for their own grief.

Tomorrow is all about the mission of the Grim Reapers gathering up the departed: the murdered, the lost and forgotten souls, and the miscreants, passing them over into the hereafter. In episode 6, A Soul Becomes A Star, they encounter a forgotten soldier of the Korean War and when his time is come, all the reapers descend to escort him out this world, with full honours, in a masterfully staged set-scene, involving what seems like a hundred background artists.

Move to Heaven is a supreme example of television drama. World beating. Geu Ru is the Asbergers young adult who works with his father as a trauma cleaner. His papa is a beautiful presence of a man, his rock and his stay, his guide through a world confused by his condition. They process the effects of the recently passed and make complete the end of their lives, but then suddenly Geu Ru’s father has also passed, leaving him in the guardianship of his rough and uncouth cousin. Through clashes and conflict, they eventually find a bond and come together as a team, but Geu Ru struggles badly to let his father go. Brilliant performances by Tang Joon-Sang, Ji Jin-Hee and Lee Je-Hoon. Exceptional writing by Yoon Ji-Ryun and direction by Sung-Ho Kim.

Thanks for reading x


I will come back to this topic later …
It’s that I might have watched too many.

edit coming - there might be some dramas that either have a regional restriction or no license here or elsewhere, don’t be upset about it, if we were able to watch all the dramas in the world, we would have found out how to live without sleep, food and people dear to us … Should this be our goal in life? At least for me, I can say - No!

Thank You - 2007

It was the first K-drama with the topic of HIV I watched. It’s not an adult that got hit with the diagnosis it’s a child, and it is hard at times to see adults turning their backs to the child, because they simply “ignorant”. As if not knowing about an illness and avoiding the infected person keeps you to stay healthy. Her mom is a tough cookie, as they say, she got pregnant “by herself”, as the father of the child is his mom’s greatest possession, and she doesn’t want her son to be together with a woman, who already has her grandfather as a “burden”. The old man has dementia, so little Boom’s (the meaning of her name is Spring) mom has a lot on her plate, to make a living and looking after her grandpa and daughter. The appearance of a doctor, who becomes her tenant, will change his and her life. He lost his lover, but made a promise to look for the child she gave a blood transfusion that infected her with HIV. Those two don’t look like they have much in common, but just like she gets him out of his way of numbing himself, he changes her way of life just as much …

Radiant or The Light in Your Eyes - took me by surprise, you need to be awake to watch this story, I don’t want to spoil too much but just like a person losing focus at times or can’t think of the right order chronically for events in her/his life, this dramas pace and shifting of scenes messes a bit with you, but if you let go trying to get everything right and just follow the flow, you might think of it as a gem, just like I did.

As you mentioned, this one is a one of a kind drama, with many deaths and disclosures about the circumstances of those who left, yet are still around because they can’t let go. It is a great watch to show you that regrets in life are best to be avoided, but it is not the only reason some souls can’t rest properly.

Bad Family - 2006 -
A little girl loses her family in an accident, she was the only survivor, but met a trauma and can’t talk anymore. So she gets a fake family including “uncle”, who is bringing up all kind of oddballs to join the ride. It amazed me that from such a horrific event, they still made one of the most hilarious dramas I ever watched, to the point you almost forget that it is all faked. Even the people involved start to defend “their family members” in front of others, and you are about to forget why the little girl lost her ability to speak … There is a culprit, but who says you need the same blood in your veins to be family …
If you ever come across this one, try it …

When disaster strikes, you either have luck or you are resilient, best to have both. D-Day is one of many Asian dramas with an earthquake, but the only one from Korea I saw so far, there are victims and survivors and then there are those who sacrifice for others … Doctors and firefighters are always those on the front lines when it comes to natural catastrophes in urban areas. How much they need to do in order to save lives and stay alive, themselves a hard struggle …
I didn’t regret watching it, never mentioned it before, but you might better ready some tissues.

there are more, I will see, if I get to “talk” about more dramas …


Wow! Sounds very powerful. Thank you for the recommendation.

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Part II

Two dramas where ML played by Lee Jun Ki has to run for his life …


How to make it through?

This drama is fiction, but a mall that collapsed in South Korea isn’t fiction, it actually happened in Seoul in 1995 killing around 500 people leaving more than 900 injured. So the writer used this incident to tell this story …
Death was all around the two leads, when the building collapsed over their heads, they were “lucky” to make it out alive, just that often they wouldn’t think of themselves as lucky ones. They live their lives with the scars their rescue brought upon them, physically and psychologically. When their paths cross many years later, is it really the first time they meet?
One of my favorite dramas of all time, I even rewatched it.


also playlist of the character in the latest drama game…

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Here is an article written by someone who favors this drama, they gave it a 10/10. I’ve never watched this drama myself, but the way this article is written, you’ll read with their enthusiasm.
!Review – Move To Heaven (cause this drama will ■■■■ you) | subtitledreams

… and I did leerla73! Very good precis. Thanks for the recommendation :slightly_smiling_face: :+1:

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You’re welcome! These are the things that happen when you’re on a search for a drama. Especially when trying to answer, with confirmation, to posts from, :drum::drum::drum: :laughing: drumroll (⁠*⁠❛⁠‿⁠❛⁠)⁠→ :point_down:t5: this thread, called Guess the drama by seeing the picture. . .

You might fear that it is an old drama from 2010, but the age doesn’t hurt as much since this a long drama with 60 episodes because it was such a success it got longer as planned. Do not fear that it is more than 10 years old, as it offers some good acting and it spans over a story of roughly 30 years.

It starts with the story of the two eldest brothers of soon-to-be four siblings, they are a happy family but financially on the brink. Times are tough, and, their dad is meeting an old friend offering him a “small” job, he can make some money, all goes well until …

the dad is sending the goods on a truck to the appointed destination. Little did he know that at the end there will be a bullet waiting for him ending his life, what nobody else knew that one of the boys was with his dad in the truck and after watching his dad getting killed, leaving the truck deeply shaken to run for his own life.

The family has to run off to new horizons, on the way they are losing their mother but gaining another life, the little brother, trying to make ends meet and feeding and taking care of their younger sister and the baby, those two meet their limits. They are urged to give their little brother up for adoption to the US. The kids get separated from each other. They try to make a living to get back together one day, living as a family. Each of them meets other obstacles, corruption and immorality, their fate is connected with the families of the murderer and the old “friend” of their dad. Driven by the will to succeed in life and the will to get their family back together, their lives are full of hardships and sacrifices, but they are risking it all in love and life determined to leave their marks in history and bring their enemies to justice.


When life is fragile …
In Sickness and in health …
How often do we have a drama, where the FL is diagnosed with cancer or another (terminal) illness? Sometimes the production leaves us hanging at the end, as to give the opportunity to dream about a happy end or face the so-called truth, that probably only a miracle could help … Anyway …

There are indeed a lot, the first experience I made was the drama - Beautiful Days - a tragic love story, from 2001, if anyone remembers? It is said that in the original script the FL was supposed to die, but the viewers stated their opinion, that she should survive … I will let you guess what happened …

I don’t know if I should say it is a good one, it is not like wine that it would get better with age. As an Asian-drama watcher over more than a decade’s time, it may be only a guilty pleasure to watch shows with Korean actors when they were more than 20 years younger and still fresh in the business.

Another good one with an actress who is s almost equally long in the entertainment business, Kim Sun Ah, she played the FL role in

And of course there is another one with great characters on the sideline as well and a nice romance

Honorably mentioned in no partcular order:

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Not a K-drama, or K-movie

Lightning Up The Stars is a C-movie recommendation. The lead is so young, but so good at her craft, talented. Very touching, and inspirational.
Lighting Up the Stars | Mainland China | Movie | Watch with English Subtitles & More ✔️

A documentary about Mortician School in Korea - Very watchable - Presented by K-Doc

I watched this first episode.

🦋Lee SunKyun🕊️


!An icon passed away today - #209 by leerla73

I came across this information.

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Wow! Thank you so much. I find the top really compelling and I will watch that with great interest. Thank you for thinking of me.


Stephen (London)

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