2020 in Lakorns: Drama! Reviews

Lots of dramas were English subbed in 2020, so many I can’t really talk about all of them. So I decided to focus on the lakorns I’ve actually watched at least half of and give some mini reviews so you can decide whether you want to watch or not. And there weren’t a lot of dramatic lakorns that I felt should be English subbed that wasn’t except perhaps the Thai remake of Japanese dorama Mother (2020), so I won’t have a part two this time where I talk about the dramas I wished were subbed.

This year, I’ve already done 2020 comedy lakorns part 1, part 2, historical lakorns and action lakorns. Last year, I put all the 2019 English subbed lakorns in part 1 and if they were not subbed, but sounded interesting, or different and should be subbed, they were part 2. So you can check out these posts to see what you may have missed out on in 2019. So 2019 action lakorns part 1 here, part 2 here, 2019 comedy lakorns part 1 here, part 2 here, 2019 drama lakorns (slap n kiss included) part 1 here, part 2 here. 2019 historical lakorns here.

ENGLISH SUBBED

Drama can be a very broad category covering everything from melodramas, more even keeled, but non comic lakorns, to slap and kiss lakorns. I decided to narrow this to lakorns that don’t fall into other categories, so if it’s a horror lakorn or historical lakorn, I’m not covering it here. I did decide to include slap and kiss lakorns because I’m not making a separate post about them.

My Forever Sunshine (2020) – The story about Paeng, a girl with a tragic life. After losing her father, she has to go live at Artit’s house. The only way for her to be able to stay at this house is to be with him. But no one expected that her approaching Artit nearly costs him his life. He ends up hating her to the bones and she is exiled far from home for four years until the day they come across each other again. One might think that time will lessen hate, but not for Artit. Not only he still hates her, but he also hates her even more than before. But in order to keep her final promise to Artit’s father, she must endure it! (Source: VIU)
(Source: MyDramaList)

Reason it’s interesting? My Forever Sunshine (2020) started off on a really intense note, with our main heroine losing her parents and practically witnessing their deaths at the age of 16. She proceeds to really self-destruct and then we have a time skip of years before we meet her again and we land in a farm comedy. Literally. I was expecting this intense, psychological study of a girl in crisis that would really have revolutionize lakorns forever and instead I got a farm comedy. We stay in that farm comedy mode for most of the drama, only near the last episodes is the trauma of the first few episodes even addressed. I felt this was such a lost opportunity, but on the other hand, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the comedy part or how the romance slowly develops. And why can’t a drama choose to focus on someone who’s healthy and whole rather than broken by their traumatic past? Still, it was disappointing in all. Subbed by Muse.

Payakorn Sorn Ruk (2020) – Rosita gets into a car accident and suddenly gets a talent where she sees the future when she touches a rose. She becomes a famous fortune teller. One day, she makes a prediction in public to reporters that Theeruth, a famous actor, will make a woman pregnant and have a secret child. That prediction gets Theeruth into trouble and their relationship becomes antagonistic from that day. A few years later, there is a charity event and the host invites Theeruth and four celebrities as special guests, and also invites Rosita to tell their fortunes. Five celebrities choose different roses and give them to her to read. Once Rosita touches those roses, she sees sweet scenes of Theeruth and herself hugging, kissing and loving each other very much. She is so shocked. Her reaction is so strange and the five celebrities are very curious about what she saw. Rosita does not tell anyone and claims that she saw nothing. But all the guests do not believe her. After that day, something strange happens to her. She is attacked by someone and the suspect is one of the five celebrities whose fortunes she had read. The biggest suspect is Theeruth who had always been her opponent. But one day, he coincidentally saves her from the criminal and also offers to let her live with him as it is the safest place for her since everyone thinks that they are opponents. Their relationship improves little by little from that day through many dangerous situations to find the real criminal who wants to kill Rosita. (Source: James Ji Fansub)

Reason it’s interesting? Overall a solid drama, Payakorn Sorn Ruk (2020) featured one of the top themes in 2020 lakorns where the main character has some sort of special powers, be it ESP or some other type of power. This drama also had one of the best male leads in any drama, he was very sweet, protective and he was always watching out for the heroine. James Jiyaru did an excellent job acting as Theeruth. I didn’t feel the same enthusiasm for a heroine (or her hairstyles, which distracted me greatly as they seemed to change multiple times in the same episode.) but she was okay too. This was a mystery/thriller as someone kept attacking the nang’ek and you had to figure whodunit from a range of suspects, and while the main villains weren’t too surprising, I enjoyed the mystery and learning more about what was behind the attacks. Subbed by Muse.

Mia Archeep (2020) – The Plan is a business that turns women into perfect ladies for a man, which is managed by Mr. Robert. He calls these women the “Ideal Wife”. Chollada is from a middle-class family who became a perfect and educated lady by The Plan. She was considered to be a great product from the company. Mr. Robert thinks she’s perfect for Kasidit and tries to invite him for this service many times. Kasidit starts to think of this as a fun game, so he accepts it and meets Chollada. It’s no longer a game for him when he falls in love with her, but he doesn’t know if she truly likes him or if it’s a set up by The Plan.

Reason it’s interesting? Solid lakorn overall, that played up some clichés, had loving family relationships. Unlike some lakorns, this lakorn felt much more grounded in the present, with the female lead Chollada having a more modern relationship with the male lead played by Mai Warit. There is some angst here because of the premise and also people who are trying to break up their relationship, but I felt this was a surprisingly well made lakorn and the main couple had lots of chemistry. Subbed by Neko.

So Wayree (2020) – Two hotel moguls, once family friends since their grandparents’ generation, are now sworn enemies, and are competing with each other to become the top in the industry. Parin never thought that he would be part of the hatred. Although his father is the son in law of Sirimantra, his mom was only a mistress who was abandoned in America. Growing up, he never knew what having a father was like. Paramita is the only heiress of the famous Emporium real estate mogul. Before going overseas to further her studies, something horrible happened to her. Four years later, she came back with a set of twins but she told everyone that they were her cousins, adopted by her aunt. She then meets the man who caused her misery after many years and decides to willingly help her father into the warring game after finding out that he was the son of her father’s rival. Parin and Paramita, standing on opposite sides of the line as sworn enemies
(Source: asianfuse.net)

Reason it’s interesting? This was one of the most popular and talked about dramas of 2020. I watched about half of it before I couldn’t take it any more. There is a lot of drama here and this is a slap and kiss drama featuring a rape. I was there for the female empowerment, the heroine getting revenge on her abuser, but I just couldn’t stand how weak the heroine became as she fell in love? And the fall in love part? I didn’t see that. How, when, where did she fall ln love? I wanted to see them reunite, but not without major groveling on hero’s part and actions that showed he was sincere. I also wanted heroine to be more fierce and really make him work for his redemption. Kids are cute though. This lakorn really could have used some rewriting and more seasoned actors. Subbed by Neko and Muse.

Prom Pissawat (2020) – This is the story of God bringing two unlikely people from different parts of the world together. Plapol, a half Korean-half Thai man who grew up in Korea his whole life but chose to escape to Thailand sees his new step-mother as just another gold digger after his dad’s wealth. He pretty much thinks that of all women because his mother disappeared from his life since divorcing his dad when he was young. With hatred for his step-mother, Plapol decided to go to Thailand to find his mother. While in Thailand, Plapol goes to a bar and meets a young woman named Pantawan, a sexy singer who’s popular among the men there. He views her in the same light as the other women he has come across in his life. However, Pantawan is not that type of woman and doesn’t take insult from anyone especially from a misogynistic man like him. The two always get in a fight but eventually they came to an understanding and fell in love. But after love blossomed, all is not rosy for Plapol and Pantawan because of one truth that gets revealed: Pantawan’s mother is Plapol’s new step-mother. (Source: NinjaKKN) ~~ Adapted from a novel of the same title by author Tepita

Reason it’s interesting? This was another popular drama and for many of the same reasons that the previous drama was popular. Again the very angsty story, lots of drama and conflict. Here we also had a tale of families divided and reunited. But overall, the storyline was pretty cliché and mediocre. I didn’t really feel the romance, or the acting or anything really took it to another level which made me want to continue watching the last part of it. I may still finish it, I don’t know, but it’s no priority. Subbed by Muse and Neko.

Rahut Rissaya (2020) When the heiress of a billionaire family lost everything including her parents who got murdered…lost all the properties to her aunt and her daughter. Her revenge starts with a businessman who is a fiancé of her aunt’s daughter, as he becomes a chess piece in her game. She uses a confidential document that shows his father’s bad deed as a way to force/pressure him. But their closeness turns to love. Before she starts to see the value in his love and to learn how to forgive, everything is almost too late. (Source: Choi’s_(MY) at MyDramaList)

Reason it’s interesting? A remake of a 2007 titular lakorn, this lakorn seemed more like a complete reimaging of the 2007 version rather than a remake. Just a lot of scenes changed and/or deleted and new scenes added. Characters were fleshed out, or changed and so on. I liked the idea of the changes more than the execution because often times the new dialogue/scenes wasn’t very compelling. Still, good chemistry between the couple and Bank Artit really gives a stand out performance here as Siwa, who has to go through seeing his family torn apart and yet also have a new love bloom. This is even darker than the previous 2007 version, with more attempted murders/murders, but there are some comic moments here to lighten things up. Subbed by Thippy.

Many More English Subbed Lakorns

There were a lot of lakorns subbed this year, in part thanks to streaming platforms like Viu, Dimsum, which isn’t accessible from the US. So there were a lot of lakorns I didn’t watch but still wanted to include in case you’re interested.

What makes a good drama? Lakorn stereotypes

So I’ve just finished multiple dramas in September, and now I’m in a bit of a drama slump. Without watching many dramas, I’ve little to blog about as my ideas usually come from what I’ve been watching. Hopefully that’ll change later in October!

But I have been thinking about what makes a good drama. Oftentimes, I’ve dropped lakorns I’ve considered ‘bad,’ but what are my criteria and why? So I thought I’ll start with looking at lakorn cliches or stereotypes. Usually, if a lakorn has these stereotypes, and don’t contribute anything new, like great couple chemistry or changing up the stereotypes to be a little different, it’s boring and I drop it.

Lakorn Stereotypes

Source: Bangkok Post 2013

For anyone who wants to learn more about the history of lakorns in Thailand, this is a great read in Bangkok Post from 2013 and it’s where I got the poster from.

  • There are 24 stereotypes discussed here. I thought it would be fun to compare/contrast two 2020 lakorns to see which one is less stereotypical.
  • But what makes a lakorn less stereotypical can also be about what changes are in it, as well as the stereotypes it has.
  • I’ve decided to divide this up into categories, namely people and actions.

Lakorn Comparison

Lakorn Stereotype (from poster)Marn Bang Jai (2020)Mia Archeep (2020)
1. Snoopy maidHeck yes. No maids really
2. Camp ladyboyNONO
3. Camp gay manNOYes?
4. 2 women fighting over manYesYes
5. Mia noi – MistressNONO
6. Mia luang – Main wifeNONO
7. Nang ek disguised as manNONO
8. Someone with evil eyeProbablyProbably
9. Mean mom-in-lawNONO
10. Maid sitting on floorYesNO
11. Man having more than 1 loverYesNO
12. Mansion with Roman columnsYesMaybe?
13. GossipingYes Yes YesYes Yes Yes
14. Someone being poisonedNONO
15. Villains saying evil plans out loudYesYes
16. Nang rai drugging pra’ekYesNO
17. Nang’ek sleeping in fake eyelashesYesYes
18. Nang rai screamingYesYes
19. Nang’ek disguising herself as manNONO
20. Someone being pushed down stairsNONO
21. A slap followed by a kissYesNO
22. RapeYes, not nang’ekNO
23. Snuggling under white sheetYesYes
24. Pra’ek with overseas education, naïve about life.NOUnsure

Marn Bang Jai (2020) got 10 or 11 no’s out of 24 stereotypes, while Mia Archeep (2020) got 14 strong negatives, with 3 maybes so Mia Archeep (2020) has less stereotypes based on this chart. Yet on mydramalist,com, Mia Archeep (2020) has a rating of 7.4 and Marn Bang Jai (2020) has 7.8 so more people liked it (and watched it).

Marn Bang Jai (2020)

Both had their strong points. I really liked how strong the bonds were of siblings in both lakorns, but Mia Archeep (2020) felt like an updated lakorn plot, complete with employees instead of maids and modern apartments, while Marn Bang Jai (2020) harkens back to older lakorns in most ways, I did like the fact that both the nang’ek and her sister had jobs in it. In Mia Archeep (2020), the nang’ek’s relationship with pra’ek matches more with modern norms.

Mia Archeep (2020)

Stereotypes (which aren’t necessarily bad) can be a start in determining how good a drama really is, but it is by no means the only criteria or even the most important criteria you should follow. After all, we haven’t even considered things such as writing, directing, acting, production values, and more. But it is a step in the right direction at taking a more critical look at what you watch.

What lakorns can you think of that match most of these stereotypes? Or match it the least?

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

First Impression – Mia Archeep

Like with most office romances, the romance takes center stage in Mia Archeep, a new romantic comedy starring Mai Warit and Prang Kannarun. I’ve watched the first two episodes and have enjoyed myself for the most part. This lakorn is being English subbed by both Neko and Muse.

Source: Channel3 Thailand’s yt channel

Cast of Characters

Synopsis: The Plan is a business that turns women into perfect ladies for a man, which is managed by Mr. Robert. He calls these women the “Ideal Wife”. Chollada is from a middle-class family who became a perfect and educated lady by The Plan. She was considered to be a great product from the company. Mr. Robert thinks she’s perfect for Kasidit and tries to invite him for this service many times. Kasidit starts to think of this as a fun game, so he accepts it and meets Chollada. It’s no longer a game for him when he falls in love with her, but he doesn’t know if she truly likes him or if it’s a set up by The Plan. (Source: MyDramaList)

Summary

Chollada makes a deal with the devil, aka Khun Robert as her friend looks on.

In episode 1, we are introduced to the main characters, the nang’ek Chollada and her sick dad who needs expensive treatments she has to find the money for. Her friend tells her her boss might be able to help her and so the nang’ek signs a contract with Khun Robert, only to find out she has a target she must try to capture, the pra’ek Kasidit.

The first meeting! They will meet again accidentally on purpose several times.

Our pra’ek is a bachelor, a state of affairs his parents in particular wish him to change and his mother is especially eager as she seems to have a rivalry with the other members of her family in regards to Kasidit securing his inheritance. Kasidit is a successful businessman who is looking for a secretary and Chollada is hired on the spot and starts working immediately.

A glamorous Chollada again bumps into Kasidit, this time on purpose.

We also meet Anna, who is Kasidit’s friend, but she wants to be more than that and she and Chollada immediately dislike each other and trade barbs. Then there’s Mahanati, a competitor of Kasidit who also likes Chollada and Kotchakorn, Kasidit’s sister who likes Mahanati and dislikes Chollada.

In ep 2, a change of scenery as Kasidit takes Chollada with him on an overnight business trip, although this is apparently unusual behavior for him to take a woman with him. A busted pipe has Chollada sharing Kasidit’s suite while they fix her room. The whole episode revolves around Kasidit and Mahanati taking pot shots at each other and trying to outmaneuver themselves to get closer to Chollada.

Our nang’ek dresses like no real secretary ever would dress, but who cares?

And guess who fabricated an excuse to come along and join in the fun? Yep, Anna, who seems to be the nangrai here and she brings along her friend/partner to help her capture Kasidit or at least, prevent Chollada from her evil attempts to win Kasidit’s heart bank account. The episode ends with both Kasidit and Mahanati winning awards at a banquet, but still fighting to win Chollada’s attention.

My Take

I enjoyed this alot. The episodes are 1 hour long and they go by fast. I do hope this lakorn keeps up the fast pace because it keeps things moving. It reminded me a bit of kdrama What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim (2018), which was also a boss-secretary romance and had a light, airy romance that was also happened pretty quickly. Right from the start, it’s apparent that Kasidit is interested in Chollada, along with Mahanati. Chollada seems to like both guys, she went on a date with Mahanati, but Kasidit is her boss, so that gives him an advantage. Right now, it’s unclear what the motives of Khun Robert are exactly, so there is a little mystery here as well as romance.

In regards to our nang’ek, she’s strong, gives the nang’rai back exactly what she gets and is also caring about her father. She already seems to regret tricking Kasidit, as at least one of the meetings with him was planned, along with her becoming his secretary. Kasidit seems like he’ll be the possessive, passionate male lead that knows what he wants and goes after it and I like that as well. They look very good 2gether as well.

However, there was one scene in episode 1 that made me cringe, when Anna explains her love of Kasidit to her friend. Apparently, they grew up together and Kasidit stood up to a kid who was bullying Anna about her looks. The main objection to them? She was darker skinned as a child. Thankfully, Anna grew up to be fair skinned. Honestly, this example of colorism is nothing new in lakorns, or other dramas. It was a short scene and I do want to point out that our pra’ek Kasidit says she is beautiful to her bully, so I continued watching the lakorn. Outside of that scene, which may have said more about Anna then the lakorn, this is definitely a solid lakorn so far.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

Also screenshots based on Neko’s subs, many thanks to Neko for subbing this!

Subbing Now

So we’re getting a number of new projects being subbed now. By the way, I don’t post about cable/digital dramas being released on GMM youtube channel, but they do English sub their lakorns on a regular basis, so I urge people to subscribe to their channel to keep up. With the fansubbers, it’s much more unclear which lakorns will be subbed and when, so I think it’s more important to focus on them.

NEKO

Some new projects on the horizon! Neko is finishing up Marn Bang Jai and continuing to slowly sub the lakorn, Baan Sila Dang (2015). She has picked up two new projects, Mia Archeep and Prom Pissawat (2020).

Prom Pissawat (2020)This is the story of God bringing two unlikely people from different parts of the world together. Plapol, a half Korean-half Thai man who grew up in Korea his whole life but chose to escape to Thailand sees his new step-mother as just another gold digger after his dad’s wealth. He pretty much thinks that of all women because his mother disappeared from his life since divorcing his dad when he was young. With hatred for his step-mother, Plapol decided to go to Thailand to find his mother.

While in Thailand, Plapol goes to a bar and meets a young woman named Pantawan, a sexy singer who’s popular among the men there. He views her in the same light as the other women he has come across in his life. However, Pantawan is not that type of woman and doesn’t take insult from anyone especially from a misogynistic man like him. The two always get in a fight but eventually they came to an understanding and fell in love. But after love blossomed, all is not rosy for Plapol and Pantawan because of one truth that gets revealed: Pantawan’s mother is Plapol’s new step-mother. (Source: NinjaKKN)

(Source: MyDramaList)

THIPPY

Thippy is still working on currently airing lakorn Por Mai Lek Tai Song Tua (2020) which looks like it will have 30 episodes and Prao (2014) or Proud in English. She just finished English subbing Tawan Arb Dao (2020).

Por Mai Lek Tai Song Tua (2020) – When Panu’s twin children Oley & Nene wants Karaked, a teacher, to be their step mom, the two starts to play cupid. But their obstacles are General Samurjai, Karaked’s father who tries every way to intervene between Panu and Karaked and the twin’s maternal grandmother Khun Nuankae, who wants to take custody of the two children. So Panu must use his love and sincerity to prove to everyone.

(Source: OhSweetHaven)

MUSE

Muse is still working on English subbing a number of lakorns like Leh Game Rak (2020), Raeng Tian (2019) and Payakorn Sorn Ruk (2020). They have picked up a number of new projects though, including Fai Sin Chua (2020) and Mia Archeep.

Mia Archeep (2020)The Plan is a business that turns women into perfect ladies for a man, which is managed by Mr. Robert. He calls these women the “Ideal Wife”. Chollada is from a middle-class family who became a perfect and educated lady by The Plan. She was considered to be a great product from the company. Mr. Robert thinks she’s perfect for Kasidit and tries to invite him for this service many times. Kasidit starts to think of this as a fun game, so he accepts it and meets Chollada. It’s no longer a game for him when he falls in love with her, but he doesn’t know if she truly likes him or if it’s a set up by The Plan.

(Source: MyDramaList)

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

Tuesday’s Teaser: Mia Archeep?

A marriage agency? Mia Archeep (2020) is a new romantic comedy that has a slightly unusual take for a lakorn, as there is a business called the Plan, which seems like type of a marriage agency the nang’ek is part of. This is going to be on Channel 3 and stars Mai Warit and Prang Kannarun. It airs July 15, 2020. This is one is on both Neko’s and Muse’s English subbing lists so it will be subbed.

Source: Channel3 Thailand’s yt channel

Prang Kannarun (Bpoop Phaeh Saniwaat) is the nang’ek here, and pra’ek is Mai Warit from Kaew Klang Dong and this looks fun. The teaser strikes familiar notes, seeing girls fighting over a man, but the couple looks good together.

Synopsis: The Plan is a business that turns women into perfect ladies for a man, which is managed by Mr. Robert. He calls these women the “Ideal Wife”. Chollada is from a middle-class family who became a perfect and educated lady by The Plan. She was considered to be a great product from the company. Mr. Robert thinks she’s perfect for Kasidit and tries to invite him for this service many times. Kasidit starts to think of this as a fun game, so he accepts it and meets Chollada. It’s no longer a game for him when he falls in love with her, but he doesn’t know if she truly likes him or if it’s a set up by The Plan. (Source: MyDramaList)

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki