It’s that time again where we turn back the clock by 10 years and revisit some of the more memorable dramas from a decade ago. Many of the dramas from that time drew huge followings and greatly bolstered the popularity of many actors, who would continuously churn out great entertainment in the years to come.
For obvious reasons, we can’t list out all the dramas that premiered in 2011, so here is just a small sampling of 10 that are memorable for one reason or another. And if we left out a major 2011-drama of yours, do head down to the comments section below to give your own shout out. Without further ado, let’s head down memory lane and say “Happy Birthday” to these 10-year-old dramas (in no particular order):
The Princess’ Man
“The Princess’ Man” is one of the standout sageuks of 2011, capturing the viewers’ interest with its strong writing, intense chemistry, complex characters, and moving OST. At the center of this story is the star-crossed romance between a beautiful and compassionate woman (played by Moon Chae Won) and a happy-go-lucky-turned-tormented-soul guy (played by Park Shi Hoo), who unfortunately come from warring noble families. The cinematography itself is gorgeous too, giving this epic story an even more intense and lush splendor that still holds up even today.
“City Hunter” was one the buzziest dramas of 2011 and remains on many “must-watch” action-drama lists. Starring Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young, the show follows the story of Lee Yoon Sung (Lee Min Ho), a trained operative who seeks to exact revenge on the politicians responsible for his father’s death. With cool action scenes, character driven plots, and sizzling chemistry between the two leads, it’s no wonder this drama was such a big hit.
Watch “City Hunter” here:
“Scent of a Woman” is probably most memorable for that steamy tango scene between Kim Sun Ah‘s and Lee Dong Wook‘s characters that still continues to live in the minds of anyone who’s watched the show. It also shown much-deserved light on the very talented Uhm Ki Joon, for his likable and nuanced portrayal of the second male lead character. And despite being a show about a woman facing terminal illness, it’s more uplifting than depressing, and sends an message of hope and to live life to the fullest.
Watch “Scent of a Woman” here:
A large majority of K-drama viewers will most likely have watched “You’re Beautiful” and had their hearts torn out by how Kang Shin Woo (Jung Yong Hwa) so selflessly watched over Go Mi Nam (Park Shin Hye) (spoiler alert: he didn’t get the girl). So thankfully, The Powers That Be put the two together in 2011 for “Heartstrings,” a college-set drama where Jung Yong Hwa plays the lead singer-slash-guitar player of a band and Park Shin Hye plays a traditional Korean music major. And just like the title suggests, this sweet drama with a memorable OST will easily tug at your heartstrings.
Watch “Heartstrings” here:
“Dream High” is definitely a major blast from the past, especially seeing how the then very green cast members have all gone on to accomplish so much in their respective careers. Suzy, Kim Soo Hyun, Ham Eun Jung, IU, and 2PM’s Ok Taecyeon and Wooyoung play six aspiring art school students who hope to achieve their dreams of debuting in the K-pop scene. This feel-good drama is filled with youthful vibrancy and uplifting messages, and will hit you with a strong dose of nostalgia.
Watch “Dream High” here:
Another super buzzy drama from 2011, “The Greatest Love” had it all — stellar cast, great chemistry all around, and brilliantly sharp writing from the Hong Sisters. Gong Hyo Jin plays a former first generation girl group member who catches the eye of both a top actor (Cha Seung Won) and a doctor (Yoon Kye Sang). With all the puns and tongue-in-cheek moments poking fun at the very entertainment scene they’re working in, you’ll never be in for a dull moment with this zany rom-com.
Watch “The Greatest Love” here:
The first installment in the “flower boy” series, “Flower Boy Ramyun Shop” is another great rom-com that left an impression in 2011. It’s every bit zany, funny, earnest, and heightened, all feelings we associate with a young romance. Jung Il Woo is perfectly cast as the main lead Cha Chi Soo, an arrogant high school senior who thinks he knows everything about love and relationships, until he notices a (slightly) older woman who’s very different from the girls he used to date. And while working at a ramyun shop (cue all the mouth-watering ramyun shots), Chi Soo and his pals begin to learn what love truly is.
Watch “Flower Boy Ramyun Shop” here:
“Vampire Prosecutor” is a procedural crime drama that’s quite similar in construct to American procedurals. What makes it stand out among the crowd is how slick and polished the production is, especially considering that this was made 10 years ago. The writing also balances out the science and the supernatural elements well, and gives us a colorful team of characters that range from the hot and broody to the insecure and goofy. This was such a ratings hit in 2011 that OCN went ahead with a season 2 in 2012.
Watch the 2012 “Vampire Prosecutor 2” here:
“I Need Romance” resonated with viewers so much at the time that there are two further installments, though with a different cast each time. The story follows three thirty-something career women and their messy, complicated, and realistically-portrayed love lives, where each of them have different dating experiences and are at different stages in a relationship. It is often compared to the series “Sex and the City,” which is a good indicator of the sexy fun times you are in for.
Watch “I Need Romance” here:
Though “Warrior Baek Dong Soo” wasn’t the most even drama, when it was good it was really good (those gorgeously filmed fight scenes!), and that is enough to leave a lingering impression. Loosely based on actual historical events, this coming-of-age period drama about brotherhood and loyalty is most remembered for the unyielding bromance between Baek Dong Soo (Ji Chang Wook) and Yeo Woon (Yoo Seung Ho), whose trust and respect for each other never faltered even when circumstances turned them against each other.
Watch “Warrior Baek Dong Soo” here:
Which of these dramas do you think best stood the test of time? And which other non-mentioned 2011 K-dramas left an impression on you? Leave your comments below!
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