It seems to be a recurring theme: Where did the time go? How in the world is it already the end of the year?! Each December, as we wrap up the year, I am always astounded at how quickly time has passed. When whitecarrot and I first started our little Patch, we had only hoped for a fun means to keep in touch with one another. Over the course of the next year, it morphed into a vibrant community of wonderful fellow dramaland-lovers and kindred spirits with whom we shared laughs and tears and hair-pulling sessions to boot. Then that monster named Real World reared its ugly head, and winter slowly settled here in our Patch of dramaland love. How long this winter will last, I do not know. But I do know that we will continue to be ever grateful for all of you and hope you know that we love you all!
It has been an incredible journey in the alternate universe these past six months for me personally. It was filled with sleepless nights and near-breakdowns (I do feel terribly… but I was running on four hours of sleep and entering the 26th hour of wakefulness 😉 ) and laughter (you can’t do anything but laugh when a woman wears a blindfold to the hospital because she wants to believe her “natural birthing plan” is still happening – and then requests a room with a view) and awe – much awe and humility and thankfulness to be able to share in these moments with these people.
But enough of that! We may not have been able to post regularly this year, but I was still watching dramas – sort of 😉 – and I was definitely still keeping tabs on the K-ent world. So I felt it most appropriate for us to open our Year-End Festivities with a quick peek at what might go down the next few nights in the Big 3’s Year-End Drama Awards.
Sadly, KBS did not seem to be any more motivated this year to put out good fare than it was last year, and it shows in the distinct lack off buzz about who may win the Daesang (Grand Prize, the highest honor) this year. The front-runners are:
Kim Hye-ja (Unkind Women)
Kim Soo-hyun (The Producers)
And… that’s about it.
Some are also including So Ji-sub (Oh, My Venus) and Jang Hyuk (The Merchant: Gaekju 2015) on the watch list, as well as Chae Shi-ra (Unkind Women) and Go Doo-shim (The Eccentric Daughter-in-Law; All About My Mom).
So Ji-sub is the current buzz man thanks to his drama still being on the air, and though he hasn’t really been able to show much on the acting front, no one can deny he and Shin Min-ah are adorable together. (I will say, he did have a great moment in today’s Episode 14 from 07:55-08:00 heh heh heh.) Of course, we have to show him some love here at the Patch since he is whitecarrot’s man. 😉
Jang Hyuk has been KBS’s workhorse in Gaekju these past several months, and though the show has gone by the wayside in terms of story and popularity, he has been giving his all, and I wonder if KBS will reward him for that.
Go Doo-shim is a dark horse contender for the Daesang (but her two shows with KBS this year and current weekend leader drama will net her some other award for sure), as is Chae Shi-ra (especially in light of Kim Hye-ja being touted as the lead of that show), but both are incredible actresses who would both be deserving if they won.
A part of me feels Kim Soo-hyun may win because of the sheer amount of buzz he creates in general, and it would be good press for KBS if they got to sell him (I know, I’ve become so cynical). People are lauding his turn as a bumbling newbie – very different from his stoic Doh Manager in last year’s You Who Came from the Star – and The Producers is one of the only shows that gained any traction in the ratings department or general buzz among netizens.
But it’s hard to snub Kim Hye-ja, she of just sheer magnetic presence and much-lauded performance in Unkind Women. That show was stacked with strong actresses – strong in personality, presence, and skill – and may not have made a large mark in the ratings but was still considered a “well-made drama”. Will it be enough for the Daesang? We’ll find out… in a couple days.
MBC had arguably one of the better years among the Big 3 in terms of ratings and buzz among Korean netizens, and it’s going to go down to the wire in terms of making a decision about who will win the Daesang this year. The three names being bandied about are:
Ji Sung (Kill Me, Heal Me)
Hwang Jung-eum (Kill Me, Heal Me; She Was Pretty)
Jeon In-hwa (Legendary Witches; My Daughter, Geum Sa-weol)
The netizens are clamoring for Ji Sung to win for his performance in Kill Me, Heal Me, where he delivered seven different characters with relish and gusto. I can’t personally weigh in (I didn’t watch it), but from all accounts he was a sight to behold. Immediately after the show’s run, everyone – netizens and critics alike – were sure that he would win the Daesang.
But lo and behold, his co-star, Hwang Jung-eum, has taken the peninsula by storm in the past several months with her second MBC drama this year, She Was Pretty, and no one can deny that she has really come into her own. I suspect she would have won an award (like Highest Excellence Award) for Kill Me, Heal Me, but with two buzz shows under her belt this year (and She Was Pretty holding its own against big hit Yongpal), it’ll be hard for MBC to turn her down.
Last, but certainly not least, is Jeon In-hwa, who helmed two big MBC ratings winners this year. Both were weekend shows, which are longer and generally less ‘hip’ than weekday primetime shows, but she created quite a buzz – and continues to do so with still-airing Geum Sa-weol – which is hard to ignore. At this point, she isn’t the favorite to win, but she did win the SBS Daesang in 2001, and many wonder if she’ll reclaim the Grand Prize in over a decade.
Oh, SBS, long live my love affair with you. MBC had a decent year all around, but SBS had itself a pretty good year as well – bar the weekends – with respect to ratings, buzz, and quality. My pick of the year, Punch, started off the year strong (though technically it was a hold-over from 2014); Yong-pal did its thing with Joo Won slaying netizens yet again; and I Have a Lover is closing out the year with fervor and passion. The contenders widely agreed upon are:
Kim Rae-won (Punch)
Joo Won (Yong-pal)
Kim Hyun-joo (I Have a Lover)
I want to add:
Jo Jae-hyun (Punch)
Ji Jin-hee (I Have a Lover)
SBS has announced its four candidates for the Daesang and they are the aforementioned (first) three and Yoo Ah-in (Six Flying Dragons).
Some had included Yoo and Kim Myung-min in their speculations for Six Flying Dragons, and it seems the former was included in the final four. The show hasn’t been as popular as SBS or the critics had expected, especially considering that there are some serious big names in the cast, and I feel like Yoo Ah-in’s inclusion is a courtesy nod. But who knows? Stranger things have happened.
Now, you all know how much I loved Punch, which deserves its own post. It’s not a spoiler to say that it is hands-down my pick of the year, and as much as I loved Kim Rae-won in it, Jo Jae-hyun was on another level. Sadly, the show aired at the beginning of the year, and I’m honestly very surprised – but inordinately pleased – it’s even being mentioned these days because we all know the K-ent industry loves to be in the now. Because Kim Rae-won is the lead, his name is the one most netizens and journalists vote for as the representative for Punch, but I would like to award Jo Jae-hyun the Patch nomination.
Joo Won helmed Yong-pal, which was the only SBS show – and I believe only primetime show across the board among broadcasters – to break the 20% ratings mark. Critics and industry people were beginning to wonder if viewership would ever be able to break 20% anymore in the modern era, due to dwindling numbers in recent years. Yong-pal proved there was still hope, and for that Joo Won just may win the Daesang. Yes, I know these trophies are supposed to be awarded based on merit, but in case you haven’t figured it out by now, how much you bring to the broadcasters in terms of buzz and ratings make a significant impact.
That being said, Kim Hyun-joo just may break the “ratings requirement” unspoken rule this year if she takes home the big prize with her performance in I Have a Lover. The weekend show has gained a strong – and very loud – support in recent weeks (deservedly so!), and the way articles have been popping up in support of her win, I feel she has a very good chance. She is technically playing two roles (twin sisters), but she has demonstrated four with the way the story has unfolded. Her swoon-worthy co-star Ji Jin-hee has played a large part in allowing her to shine, and he has given one of his best performances since possibly Dae Jang-geum (2003-2004). He is a dark horse for the prize, but I suspect he is more than happy with a “lesser” award and the current wave of love he is receiving from women across the peninsula.
Who do you think will take home the Daesang this year? Is it someone not even mentioned here? We’d love to hear from you!
Last, but certainly not least by any means: A belated Merry Christmas, dearest Patch Friends! Hope you are all enjoying the holidays and are excited for 2016!! 😀