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The Five Must Watch Dramas Of 2015 - Staff Picks

BY Julie Jones | Dec 31, 2015 02:33 PM EST

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We've heard from the fans and the award ceremonies have honored their favorite dramas this year. So, it's only fair to let the KDramaStars staff have their say. We asked the staff in the U.S. KDramaStars and KpopStarz office to list a few of their 2015 favorites and here are the dramas we loved the most.

The winner of the most votes was the romantic comedy "She Was Pretty" starring Hwang Jung Eum, Park Seo Joon and Super Junior's Choi Si Won. A majority of the voters listed that drama among their favorites.

The comedy had it all. There were great comic performances from leading and supporting actors. We loved that an ugly duckling like Park Seo Joon's younger self grew into a graceful swan. We loved the loyalty that Hwang Jung Eum's character had for her friends. And we loved Choi Si Won.

Yes, this comedy also provoked a serious case of second lead syndrome.

"2015 was the year of Hwang Jung Eum, who emerged as a compelling dramatic actress in 'Kill Me, Heal Me,' said writer Adrienne Stanley. "While some were skeptical about her on-screen reunion with Park Seo Joon, her portrayal of Kim Hye Jin was beloved by viewers. Park may have been the leading man of 'She Was Pretty,' but his thunder was stolen by the infectious comedic timing of Super Junior's Choi Siwon, who shone in his last drama role prior to military enlistment."

The next popular drama was 'Twenty Again."  Cho Ji Woo plays an unhappy woman who gets a second chance at happiness. Lee Sang Yoon plays a professor who is charming even when he is cranky. Choi's character was deservedly persistent as a mature college student and far more patient of a wife than her husband deserved.

"'Twenty Again' was the only drama of 2015 to really speak to my soul," said writer Leah Westbrook aka blogger Zombie Mamma. "I identified with Ha Na Ra (Choi Ji Woo) on so many levels, it was almost scary. Her spunk and determination to better her life was inspiring and I cheered for her with my whole heart. Lee Sang Yoon's character was adorable, albeit a childish punk for most of the drama, but once he got the massive chip off his shoulder, he was quite lovable. I thoroughly enjoyed this drama and highly recommend it to anyone, though it tends to strike a chord with the "older" drama lovers. (Or maybe just me.)"

"Reply 1988" earned as many votes for its  nostalgic flashback into Korea's past. It proved to be the very popular third in a series of dramas about Korea's bygone days. It is unusual for a sequel to do so well.

"The third season of the widely popular 'Reply' series brings us back to 1988 and a changing Korea," says writer Tamar Herman. "The modern history of South Korea is intermingled with the show in the best way possible. 'Reply 1988' surpasses the earlier seasons in some ways because it combines the family drama with the nostalgia of 'Reply.' While some complain that there isn't enough time spent on the main couple, that has never been the point of 'Reply.' 'Reply 1988' doesn't have some long, wibbly-wobbly plot with drama around every corner. Instead, the plot is about people living their lives in 1988. It's simplicity at its best, with the touches of humor and drama that make 'Reply' so lovable and approachable to a wide range of people."

The drama also won a vote of confidence from Adrienne Stanley.

"'Reply 1988' reinvigorated the tvN franchise with its masterful mix of '80s pop culture and emphasis on Korean family dynamics," she said. While the topic of future husbands remains omnipresent, the most stirring episodes are those that focus on the relationships between parents and their children.

"Reply 1988" was followed by the makeover romance "Oh My Venus," starring So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah.

Leah Westbrook liked "Oh My Venus because of the chemistry between the leads.

"Though I was unsure about the premise of this story going into it, 'Oh My Venus' has quickly become my must-watch drama every week," said Leah Westbrook. "So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah are perfect together and the story, though rather predictable, is so much fun to watch. The supporting cast is every bit as wonderful as the OTP and it's just as much fun to squee over Jang Joon Sung and Henry as it is to loathe Kim Jung Tae and Yu In Young."

"Oh My Venus tied with "Healer," a drama about a mysterious messenger, starring Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young. Tamar Herman liked how thought provoking it was.

"With hidden identities and action, 'Healer' could have just been a big budget blockbuster drama," said Tamar Herman. "But it was anything but, and went into the dark side of South Korea's struggle for democracy. The story of journalists fighting to get the truth out there is a recurring theme in South Korean media, and 'Healer' offered a new take on the idea of citizen journalism. The action meshed with an intriguing plot to create one of the most enjoyable, and thought-provoking, dramas of the year."

Our staff also enjoyed and would recommend "Producer," "Angry Mom," "Ho Gu's Love," "The Village - Achiara's Secret," "Who Are You - School 2015," "The Lover," "Kill Me, Heal Me," "Hyde Jekyll and I," "Oh My Ghostess," "Sensory Couple," "Mask," "Remember," "Birth of a Beauty" and "I Remember You."

That list includes drama fare that ranges from thriller to teen drama to melodrama to comedy. If you're looking for a new drama, check our recommendations and let us know what you think.

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