While 2012 was a disappointing year for dramas, it was actually a pretty good year for young actors/actresses. There were quite a few solid rookies this year, and a few breakout performances by some not-so-rookies. Some, like Kim Soo Hyun and Song Joong Ki firmly established themselves as rising stars, while child actors like Kim So Hyun(not related) and Yeo Jin Goo showed just how talented the next wave of actors/actresses will be. Here, we’ll take a moment to recognize those who make their living by being people other than themselves.
Best Drama: The King 2 Hearts
My love for this drama is well documented on this blog. It had the best overall story of all the dramas this year, the best OST for me, a stellar cast, witty writing, and everything you could want in a drama. Admittedly, there were a few things I would have done differently, and I wasn’t a huge of fan of the development of Bong Gu’s character at times. Of all the picks on this list, this was probably the easiest.
Also Considered: none even come close
Best Actor: Lee Bum Soo as Yoo Bang(History of a Salaryman)
If Lee Bum Soo has been bad in a drama, I certainly haven’t seen it. I still like him best as his character in “On Air”, but I thoroughly enjoyed him as Yoo Bang in “History of a Salaryman”. His character in this was a bit tricky to play too as his emotional and development arc ran the gauntlet from being devastated when finding out his father died, to living it large as Baek Yoo Chi’s sidekick. Loved his interactions with Hong Soo Hyun and I kept rooting for them to be together, even if I knew it was never going to happen. I’m definitely looking forward to him in IRIS 2.
Also Considered: Lee Seung Gi as Lee Jae Ha(The King 2 Hearts)
Best Actress: Ha Ji Won as Kim Hang Ah(The King 2 Hearts)
Like with “Faith”, part of the reason why I wanted to watch “The King 2 Hearts” was because of how entertaining I found Ha Ji Won on “Running Man”. After two episodes of this drama, I immediately chain watched “Secret Garden” as well as a few of her other movies. And thus, Ha Ji Won became my favorite Korean actress. She really immersed herself in the role of the North Korean soldier Kim Hang Ah, and her tireless preparation came out brilliantly on screen.
Also Considered: Kim Ha Neul as Seo Yi Soo(A Gentleman’s Dignity)
Best Supporting Actor: Jo Jung Suk as Eun Shi Kyung(The King 2 Hearts)
Okay maybe I lied about Best Drama being the easiest pick on the list. There really wasn’t any doubt who would take this award for me, but I had to give a nod to the actors below for the jobs they did. A lesser actor wouldn’t have been able to give the Eun Shi Kyung character the subtle nuances that Jo Jung Suk did here. In all likelihood, that could’ve been the difference between this simply being a good drama and being one of my favorite dramas ever. I’m definitely looking forward to his future roles, but I can’t belp but feel he’ll always be Eun Shi Kyung to me.
Also Considered: Gentleman’s Dignity Trio, Lee Sung Min as Lee Jae Kang(The King 2 Hearts)
Best Supporting Actress: Lee Yoon Ji as Lee Jae Shin(The King 2 Hearts)
This was actually a pretty hard pick for me. Hong Soo Hyun and Yoon See Ah did very well in their respective roles, but Lee Yoon Ji gets the nod here by a slim margin. As I said in my drama Year in Review post, she’s become one of the few actresses that I’ll want to watch a drama for, no matter how bad it is. She had a pretty difficult role and pulled it off magnificently. Like with Jo Jung Suk, she’s one of the many reasons this drama is one of my favorites instead of another good drama.
Also Considered: Hong Soo Hyun as Cha Woo Hee(History of a Salaryman), Yoon Se Ah as Hong Se Ra(A Gentleman’s Dignity)
Best Couple: Jo Jung Suk/Lee Yoon Ji(The King 2 Hearts)
There were actually a good amount of couples this year that displayed sizzling chemistry, but none to me were more entertaining than this one. You have the quiet, straight-laced soldier trying desperately not to fall for his boss’ outgoing and outspoken sister. He fails, of course, and is surprised that she’d eventually feel the same for him. This is one of those rare cases where a couple really completes each other. It was impossible not to root for this couple and I’m really hoping they get paired up again in a future drama.
Also Considered: Lee Seung Gi/Jo Jung Suk(The King 2 Hearts)
Best Rookie: Park Se Young(Faith, Love Rain)
She’s been a busy girl this year. In addition to these 2 dramas, she was also in “Equator Man” and is currently starring in “School 2013″. Not only that, but I’m pretty sure she had a small role in Park Shin Hye’s “Don’t Worry I’m a Ghost”. Maybe I’m wrong, but regardless, I enjoyed her in both of the roles I saw her in. You couldn’t have two more different characters and yet she was able to portray both convincingly. She’s definitely one of the rising stars in the industry and I’m looking forward to her future roles. Same goes for Yoon Jin Yi, who I also considered for this award.
Also Considered: Yoon Jin Yi(A Gentleman’s Dignity)
Best Idol Actor/Actress: Park Jiyeon(Dream High 2)
She was arguably the only bright spot in this entire drama in terms of acting. Unlike the rest of this cast, it felt like, Jiyeon actually seemed to know what she was doing. Perhaps playing a bully didn’t exactly help her case with the whole Hwagate thing, but her full acting repertoire was on display in this drama. T-ara as a group might be finished, but I’m really hoping that Jiyeon will still be active as an actress as I think this is where her true strength lies.
Also Considered: Park Yoochun(I Miss You), Jung Eun Ji(Answer me 1997), Choi Siwon(King of Dramas)
Best OST: The King 2 Hearts
Yeah I don’t need to explain this one again. Just accept it for what it is. Lee Yoon Ji’s “First Love” and Taeyeon’s “Missing You Like Crazy” are the highlights, by far. K.Will’s is pretty good too.
Also Considered: To the Beautiful You
Best Writing: A Gentleman’s Dignity
This year actually had dramas by most of my favorite writers, so I actually had some pretty high expectations. Kim Eun Sook(“On Air”, “Secret Garden”, “City Hall”) is tops for me though and once again she didn’t disappoint. All the witty banter and dialogue that I expect from her works were there, especially in the opening scenes. The central conflict could have been done better, but I’ll still give this a razor slight edge over the other Hong sisters.
Also Considered: King 2 Hearts
Best Cast: A Gentleman’s Dignity
Given that “The Kings 2 Hearts” crew pretty much cleaned up all the acting awards earlier, you’d think that they’d take this one too. However, once again, “A Gentleman’s Dignity” barely edges them out. The chemistry between the four male leads was better than any I’d ever seen and when you add in the 4 female leads you get one of the rare dramas that I don’t hate someone in. There’s always someone I find annoying because of overacting or something, but there was none of that here.
Also Considered: King 2 Hearts
Favorite Male Character: Lee Seung Gi as Lee Jae Ha(The King 2 Hearts)
I do love my arrogant elitist characters, but for pure entertainment, I can’t think of anyone better than Lee Jae Ha. He’s an entitled, spoiled brat but in the end he always comes through for you. He’s a prankster, braggart, lazy, and full of bravado, but he’s also quick-witted and willing to do whatever is necessary to complete his goals. Seriously though, who makes their own beauty products?
Also Considered: Jang Dong Gun as Kim Do Jin(A Gentleman’s Dignity)
Favorite Female Character: Park Shin Hye as Lee Yeon Hwa(Don’t Worry I’m a Ghost)
Even though this was just an one-episode drama, Park Shin Hye as Lee Yeon Hwa was easily my favorite female character of the year. Maybe it’s just because I hadn’t seen her in anything recently, but she looked radiant as the friendly ghost haunting the guy she liked. I immediately was drawn to her character and was swept along the rollercoaster of emotions that her character went through. Definitely can’t wait to see her in “The Flower Boy Next Door”
Also Considered: Lee Min Jung as Gil Da Ran(Big), Ha Ji Won as Kim Hang Ah(The King 2 Hearts)
Best Villain: Uhm Ki Joon as Jo Hyun Min(Ghost)
Honestly, it was a pretty weak crop of villains this year in the dramas that I watched. Bong Gu(K2H) was pretty psycho and ingenius at times on how he tried to crush the South Korean royalty, but also spent half the time as a crazy magician who offered cookies to people. Ki Chul(Faith) never really struck me as particularly villainous so much as someone bored and willing to do whatever it took to not be, which I can understand. Jo Hyun Min though as the evil mastermind lurking behind the shadows of the internet to not only take out his uncle, his cousin, and everyone associated with them for killing his father and stealing his company? Now that’s a villain.
Also Considered: Bong Gu(The King 2 Hearts)
Worst Drama: Fashion King
While watching Dream High 2, I was convinced that nothing else would be as bad. So which drama ended up beating it? The very next one that I watched. Talk about a bad streak. “To the Beautiful You” isn’t too far behind either.
Also Considered: To the Beautiful You, Dream High 2
Biggest Disappointment: Big
So you have two A-list actors(Lee Min Jung and Gong Yoo), the Hong Sisters(“You’re Beautiful, “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho”, “Greatest Love”) as writers, and arguably the hottest female idol commodity around these days(miss A’s Suzy), you’re pretty much guaranteed a hit right? Nope. I like the Hong Sisters writing style normally, but they tried something outside of their comfort zone this time and it was a flop. I mean the characters were hilarious as they normally are in their dramas, but the storyline was all over the place.
Also Considered: Dream High 2
Worst Idol Actor: Minho(To the Beautiful You, Salamander Guru)
SME really needs to stop making their singers try out acting, or at least audition them first before throwing them to the wolves. I haven’t seen either of the TVXQ boys, who I’ve heard were so very awful, but I can’t imagine them being worse than Minho. When your own fans tell you to stop acting, especially given how irrational some of them can be, I think it’s time to call it quits.
Also Considered: JB(Dream High 2)
Worst Couple: Jang Woo Jae/Shin Hye Sung(Dream High 2)
If there has been a more awkward couple in a drama, I’ve yet to see it. Neither of them really seemed comfortable with each other and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes every time they came on screen. They’re not too far apart age-wise, so you can’t really blame that. JB being a rookie certainly didn’t help matters either. Like with most things in this drama, it’s best not to waste time thinking about it too much.
Also Considered: Jung Jae Hyuk/Lee Ga Young(Fashion King)
Worst Villain: Whoever you want to use in Wild Romance
I have no idea what this writer was thinking with how this ended. Maybe they thought it would be clever to switch up the “bad guy” right at the end when you think you’ve figured it out. Maybe he hit himself on the head and forgot who the villain was supposed to be. I guess we’ll never know. All I know is, it made so very little sense that I was actually mildly annoyed at it, despite the influence of Jessica being in it.
Also Considered: pick your poison in Fashion King
Most Annoying Male Character: Kang Young Gul and Jung Jae Hyuk(Fashion King)
Speaking of being mildly annoyed, man did these two bring it for me in this drama. At first I was thinking who to pick between the two, but in the end I think a tie seems appropriate. There was no consistency to either character, or to anything in this drama in general. I did feel bad for Yoo Ah In and Lee Je Hoon for having to play these two d-bags, especially considering they’re both decent actors(or so I’m told). Apparently it was so bad that Lee Je Hoon had to run away to the army for his mandatory service so people can forget he was in it.
Also Considered: JB as Jang Woo Jae(Dream High 2)
Most Annoying Female Character: Kang Sora as Shin Hye Sung(Dream High 2)
Not since Kim Tae Hee’s character in “Iris” have I found a female lead as useless or as annoying. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Kang Sora was horribly miscast for this role. She looked terribly out of place among the rest of the idol cast, nor is she a good enough actress to make up for their shortcomings. The character itself was already really annoying, but I found Sora’s portrayal of the character made it that much more intolerable. If that was her intention, then she did a great job and I take back everything I said about her. But if her intention was to try to make the character likable and sympathetic, then uh, it was a grand failure.
Also Considered: Shin Se Kyung as Lee Ga Young(Fashion King)