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.

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

Watching Now – 4 Mini-reviews!

It’s now the month of July and I’m watching a number of airing dramas all at the same time! That never happens with me! But currently I’m watching It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020), Marn Bang Jai (2020), Payakorn Sorn Ruk (2020) and My Husband in Law (2020) and liking them all to various degrees! Keep reading for more thoughts on these dramas! Spoilers ahead!

Four Mini-Reviews

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Synopsis: The story of a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who lives on 1.8 million won (approximately $1,520) a month and a storybook writer suffering from an antisocial personality disorder. A man who denies love and a woman who doesn’t know love defy fate and fall in love, finding their souls and identities in the process. Moon Kang Tae is a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who was blessed with everything including a great body, smarts, ability to sympathize with others, patience, ability to react quickly, stamina, and more. Meanwhile, Go Moon Young is a popular writer of children’s literature, but she is extremely selfish, arrogant, and rude. (Source: Soompi & Koreandrama.org)

Have you ever enjoyed a book or movie or tv show so much that you’re reluctant to move on, wanting to savor the magic? Two episodes in, I’m feeling strangely reluctant to continue watching IOTNBO. IOTNBO surprised me on so many different levels. There were visual surprises by the director, as well as surprises in how characters reacted to something or what they did and it is good. Marvelous. Awesome. Stupendous. I’ve written a recap of the 1st episode here and am expecting to continue the recaps. This is the masterpiece drama I was thinking The King: Eternal Monarch would be. I’m already dreading the end of this drama. On Netflix.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Payakorn Sorn Ruk

Payakorn Sorn Ruk Synopsis: 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)


James Jirayu is wonderful as Theeruth, coming off as strong, caring and compassionate. Ice Preechaya as Rosita also does a good job, but I think this is really James’ lakorn. This is a pretty solid production in terms of story, directing, acting, but also doesn’t really stand out outside of James so it leaves me little to say. The first two or so episodes were setup, and then we started to learn more about the story of the celebrities that Rosita told the fortunes about. We get more background about these celebrities and their motives. Minor spoilers ahead for episodes 1-6.

In just about every episode, Rosita is attacked and rescued at least once, if not more than once, although the methods and means vary. We’ve also been whittling down the list of suspects so after 6 episodes, with 3 suspects left, I wonder how they’re going to fill in the time for the remaining 7 episodes. Hopefully they’ll have some surprises left, because it feels like I know pretty much all there is to know about who’s trying to kill Rosita and why.

Another facet of this lakorn that I’m enjoying is the slow burn relationship between Rosita and Theeruth. They first start off as enemies, then reluctant allies, and finally we’re beginning to see a growing relationship between the two. Theeruth becomes more and more protective of Rosita, so much so that there’s some rivalry between him and Rosita’s boyfriend. Looking forward to seeing more of their relationship and this lakorn! Subbed by Muse

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Marn Bang Jai

Marn Bang Jai (2020) Synopsis: Fuenglada studies at a boarding school and her father lives with his new wife Soithong and stepdaughter Soisoun. One day on the way to see Fuenglada, her father had an accident with Taen’s car and passes away. Taen is a rich widower with one daughter and lives with his brother Tai. On knowing that Soithong is trying to sell Fuenglada to an old Chinese man, he offers to marry her himself and thus begins their marriage life. Path to a peaceful love is not easy with Tai being suspicious of Fuenglada’s family and Soithong trying to make Soun closer to Taen

Marn Bang Jai (2020) should be around 15 episodes and it has one of my favorite tropes, marriage of convenience, which I love along with Weir Sukollawat as Taen and Mookda Narinrak as Fuenglada. I’m on ep 7, so I’ve seen a little less then half. So far, episodes 1-6 have only been the setup for the marriage, which is a bummer. During that time, they’ve introduced the villain who causes the marriage because he’s owed money by the Fuenglada’s stepmom and he wants Fuenglada as the payment. There’s also another woman, Montira, a friend of the family who’s after Taen and uses his daughter to try to get to him. But like most pra’eks in lakorns, Taen remains oblivious to her scheming and Montira has free rein of his house.

Taen also has a younger brother who’s a cop, Tai (played by Yotsawat Tawapee) and Fuenglada has a stepsister Soisoun (Noey Paphada Klinsuman) she is close to, as well as a trouble making stepmom who’s always on the lookout for more money. Before watching the show, I assumed that I would like it for all the reasons I mentioned above, the marriage, Weir. But the marriage isn’t here yet and Weir as Taen is pretty much sleepwalking through this, plus the relationship between him and Fuenglada have been mostly adversarial on her part and him treating her like a kid (yet having a lot of undue interest in her at the same time 😁). So I’ve been enjoying this show for different reasons, namely the growing relationship between Tai and Soisoun. SPOILERS BELOW!

We can see Soisoun is attracted to Tai from their first meeting, though it’s less obvious on Tai’s part as he has a girlfriend already. Soisoun gets on about her life and they meet again through different situations and become friends. Soisoun tries to play it cool, and even helps Tai in his relationship troubles, but it’s obvious she has a thing for him. As the series continues, we see they have a lot more in common than Tai does with his girlfriend, and he starts seeking her out more and more, and Tai hasn’t yet realized that he sees her as more than just a friend. This relationship is nuanced and realistic and the main reason for my score, as the rest of the lakorn is pretty cliched and trite. I am also enjoying some of the humor in the lakorn, as well as the relationship between the sensible, nice Soisoun and her selfish mom, who’s always exclaiming, are you really my child? because they think so differently. Subbed by Neko

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My Husband in Law

My Husband in Law (2020) Synopsis: Muey is a young girl who lived with her mother, who has a very close friend. Muey also has a crush on Thien who is the son of her mother’s close friend. Although Muey loves him, Thien never seems to love Muey, instead, he always teases her, messes with her, and sometimes bullies her. Muey never got angry or responded to Thien when she got bullied because she loved him too much. One day, Thien was forced to marry Muey just to get rid of the wife of a powerful man. As Thien never looked at Muey as his life partner, he was not really okay with the marriage. In addition, Thien wanted a perfect woman as his wife, but Muey was never perfect in his eye. Will Thien fall in love with Muey at the end? Will Muey be the perfect wife for him? (Source: Collin Hypercuz at MyDramaList)

My Husband in Law (2020) is a 15 episode lakorn told from the pov of Muey, who’s been in love with Thien since they first met. I wrote a recap of episode 1 here, and was impressed by it as it seemed like the beginning of a beautiful marriage of convenience story as Muey marries Thien to save his life (literally). Then ep 2 changed the lakorn to a workplace setting and I thought, whoa, so it’s a workplace romance? Then ep 3 happened to leave a bad taste in my mouth and I don’t know if I want to continue recapping this. Spoiler ahead so highlight it to read:

In ep 3, Muey gets drunk and attempts to rape Thien and the whole thing is played for laughs. Now mind you, I love Sawan Biang which contained multiple rapes (and has the same director by the way), but I didn’t expect to see this in a romantic comedy and worse, played for laughs as if it’s not important. Why even go there? This seemed like such a throwback to older lakorns that it felt out of place. The whole scene seemed sooo unnecessary and stupid.

Muey’s look at Thien.

Then I went on to watch episode 4. And it took off into an entirely different direction from the previous episodes. Now I’m thinking I have to watch the whole series before I review anything, because honestly I don’t know what’s going on, what’s real or not. Maybe I missed something? Part of the problem is it seems to want to incorporate different genres and that’s hard to do.

By the way, there are things I very much like about this lakorn. The humor can be spot on, the way Muey looks at Thien, and moments of surprising impact, like when Muey and Thien are at the beach. So for now… Available at Muse, dimsum.my.

A big reason to continue the show.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What Next?

July Goal: My goal is to continue watching these dramas and I have a few more I want to look out for Duang Baeb Nee Mai Mee Ju and Train (2020).

What are you watching now?

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

What’s Next?

This is one of those lakorns I’m personally looking forwards to.😁
Payakorn Sorn Ruk
 (2020) stars James Jirayu as a celebrity and Ice Preechaya as a fortune teller. The nang’ek makes a prediction about the pra’ek he doesn’t like and that starts their enemies to lovers relationship. Plus, there’s a killer who’s after the nang’ek so she has to live with the pra’ek! 🤩 Sounds like fun~~~.

Synopsis: 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

James Ji Fansub may be subbing this. Word on asianfuse.net is that this may have an April or May release date.

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