Level Up (2019). That was much worse than Melting Me Softly AND The Undateables. Possibly even worse than I Picked Up a Celebrity on The Street. I think if I had to vote for the absolute worst I’ve watched, it would take the medal.
But you can’t go wrong with anything featuring Sung Hoon as a lead. They are one worse than the other.
My Secret Romance is also a strong contestant.
Infuriatingly old-fashioned and predictable. Horrid acting too. Watching while doing other things, crocheting, eating, is ok. I could never give it undivided attention, it would be too boring. Even looking at a good-looking man gets boring after a while if there’s nothing interesting going on. he has this blank face with a total toolbox of two or three expressions. When there are so many good-looking Korean actors who can also act.
The writer didn’t have what to fill the episodes with and made them shorter. The real content starts at 1:45 and finishes at 43:45. So the actual content is 42 minutes out of the supposed 1 hour. If you take out the flashback, what will be left? Half an hour? These writers have filled up episodes with zero ideas. Everything is stolen from other dramas and romantic comedies/melodramas from all eras and all countries. It could be a telenovela, a Hollywood rom-com, or come from any other country in the world.
We all knew since episode 1 what would happen next - only a few details may change, otherwise it’s like “painting by numbers”, or “cookie cutter screenplay”. Towards the end there were no ideas whatsoever, so in ep. 10 a fake and unbelievable misunderstanding was inserted. This episode was on a new level of stupid. The excessive and “in your face” fan service will get on your nerves. Little details carelessly executed. Dialogue repetitive and not leading anywhere, scenes awkwardly cut. And the ending scene seems to come directly from the Fifties. I thought I was in a time-machine.
This drama is so bland, predictable, full of worn clichés, that it is perfect after a stressful day. It numbs your mind and makes a good transition between working out your brain and sleep. This doesn’t make it a good drama, though. It’s like eating junk food, nothing more.
But I do have to mention The Undateables… How can a list of worst k-dramas exist without it?
Handsome guy and Jeung Eum (a.k.a. The Undateables) (2018)
I had to force myself to go on and eventually finish this drama. The story was cliché, predictable and completely unrealistic.
The main actress was extremely irritating with her clownish over-the-top acting especially in the first half of the show (not to mention the terrible styling, which got better towards the end). I would suggest she sticks to dramatic roles like The Secret, because when she goes in rom-com mode one wants to slap her hard. Even my beloved Namgoong Min was wooden, expressionless and boring. And the two of them had ZERO chemistry - like two co-workers who politely go through the motions to finish a chore they were paid for. I actually found myself not wanting them to kiss, can you believe that?
The secondary characters were nothing to write home about. They were okay and all, but you actually didn’t care about their fate very much. The Zero Members were fun sometimes, but they were completely forgotten for a good half of the episodes in favor of the uninteresting love triangle.
And what about the cheesy, cringe-worthy lines at the ending? I genuinely felt sorry for the actors who had to say such things.
I hope Namgoong Min chooses more wisely his next project and Hwang Jung Eum forgets about romantic roles. And I will take note of the script writer’s and director’s names, so that I know to avoid them next time.
Web dramas are mostly terrible, especially the Viki Originals, but here are the three contestants for first place.
The Facetale: Cinderia (2016) (10 6-minute episodes)
Poor Choi Tae Hwan. Is his career in such a slump that he had to do this lame excuse of a show? A makeup tutorial wrapped in a cliché Cinderella story. But even as a makeup tutorial it doesn’t work, because the person talks so quickly and the subtitles fly so fast that you’d have to pause at every sentence to make sense of what they are saying. If I want a makeup tutorial I can go to youtube, thanks. Short as it is, it’s still a waste of time. It does have some slightly humorous moments but you mostly laugh at yourself, wondering why you’re watching this.
The Universe’s Star (2016) – 6 eps
A very plain actress with a beautiful smile, and an idol male lead (Suho) who cannot really act, try to convince us in an absurd story with elements taken from popular dramas. I don’t think this is on Viki, though.
Traces of the Hand (17 seven-minute episodes)
It must have seemed interesting as a 1-page synopsis, but the execution was very poor, both from the screenwriter and the director.
It started as a bland, uninteresting youth romcom which you could watch only while doing something else at the same time like eating or crocheting, and in the last 3-4 episodes it suddenly remembered it wants to take a dark turn and give a serious message about greed. Although the latter was unexpected and thus slightly more interesting, both registers (the romcom and the dark) were awkwardly executed, none of them really worked, and the transitions were too abrupt, hard to believe.
The actors were meh as well and failed to make us take any interest in their character’s fate. Totally forgettable. I regret spending time on it.
The Miracle (2016) (12 fifteen-minute episodes)
The story was a rehash of things done again and again, a collection of story ideas picked up from other dramas without a hint of originality, and the way these copied things were pasted together was not skillful, because there were many situations and reactions that were not psychologically realistic at all - including the ending which was kept ambiguous on purpose, because the writers put themselves in a corner and couldn’t figure out a way to get out of it. Everyone was a stereotype: the two sisters, the k-pop star, his manager, the school bullies and the poor excuse for parents - cartoons have more depth than these supposedly real-life characters. The comedy was of the very crude kind (think elephant sounds when the fat girl walks), and most of the actors mediocre. The main girl is an experienced actress, but again she lacks subtlety. The male main lead, although visually interesting, has still lots to learn as an actor, and… let’s be kind and stop there.
What’s With Money? (6 thirteenish-minute episodes)
My notes on it were short:
Remind me never to watch something written and directed by this guy. WTH? It’s totally ridiculous and unfinished.
Princess Hapyung’s Weight Loss
Childish comedy about an extremely fat, kind-hearted but also very stupid woman who decides to marry a man she loves without thinking that he is not in love with her. When she realizes the situation, she decides to shed weight and puts on a brave effort. But the ending will leave you seething with anger and disappointment. Not that the rest of it, full of silliness and cringe-worthy slapstick, is anything worth spending one hour of your precious life for. I sincerely regret it: cleaning behind the refrigerator would have been much more enjoyable, and it would have left me with a sweet sense of achievement, whereas this has left me grumpy and irritable for having wasted my time. Ugh!
Star: Radiant Love (2012)
Why oh why didn’t I trust the reviews and skip this one? One of the most ridiculously written scripts in Korean entertainment.