8 K-Dramas That Were Expected To Be HITS But FLOPPED In 2023

Vinod Pandey
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Several K-dramas took over our screens in 2023, and viewers could not wait to see their success. However, not all of these shows lived up to the expectations. Flipping from the pages of a webtoon to viewing the story on the big screen comes with its challenges, and failing in this process can result in a disappointing adaptation. 

Korean Dramas That Were Expected To Be HITS But FLOPPED In 2023

1. Bloodhounds

Bloodhounds was one of those adaptations that lacked proper transitions making it difficult for viewers to follow the plot and connect with the characters. Bloodhounds faced highs and lows throughout the release of the drama, one significant low being the slight removal of actress Kim Sae Ron's character due to her legal troubles for driving under the influence. 

This scandal prompted the show's director, Kim Joo Hwan to downplay Kim Sae Ron's character, resulting in confusion and disruption to her storyline. In an attempt to address this, the director stated, we tried our best to minimize the actress's appearance. To decrease the viewer's discomfort. 

We did our best to increase the quality of the drama while minimizing her appearance. As the series unfolded, bloodhounds faced even more setbacks. While the episodes held a good start, the storyline took an unfortunate turn, leaving viewers questioning the story's direction and purpose. 

The narrative came to viewers at a rushed pace, leaving numerous loose ends and making it challenging for the audience to engage in it fully. These abrupt transitions, along with the drama's excessive violence due to the thrill factor of the series disinterested potential viewers. 

While some may appreciate action-packed thrillers, the heavy scenes in Bloodhounds led certain viewers to disengage. 

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2. Kokdu: Season Of Deity

A romance with a well-written plot often makes a captivating drama worth the watch. However, Kokdu: Season Of Deity has mixed reviews from its audience. 

While some applaud its storyline and characters, several viewers familiar with Im Soo Hyung's previous works expressed dissatisfaction with her role in Kokdu: Season Of Deity, while others expressed the drama's inconsistency in tone and pacing, falling from the strong starting rating of 4.8% to the lowest within two months of the release at 1.3%, ranking 43rd nationwide. That's a true decline. 

The character of Han Gye Joel is criticized for being overly childish throughout each episode, causing irritation and boredom rather than contributing to humor as initially perceived. 

The lack of chemistry between the leads adds to the disappointment, too, with viewers saying the acting cute and supposed cheeky arguments between the male and female leads are just as annoying, noisy, and pointless. 

It got to a point where I had to just skip through the whole dialogue to scenes where it might have looked like part of the plot. The inconsistent tone of the story constantly shifting adds to the frustration, and despite having talented actors, some feel the potential wasn't fully there. 

The overall viewing experience is described by an audience review as disjointed, with a struggle to stay engaged until the end. While some recommend not watching it, there's acknowledgment that individual preferences vary. 

The storyline surrounding reincarnation and an uninteresting romance further overshadow the potential of the fantasy K-drama genre. 

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3. Strangers Again

Now on to another case. Deciding on the perfect show to watch can be determined just by the trailer. In this case, that trailer was misleading from start to end. 

Strangers again followed two divorce lawyers, Ohara and Kutumbam, who had a falling out in their relationship. Viewers think that they are going into a second chance love story, yet the ending fails to deliver that and leaves viewer's expectations unfulfilled. 

The on-screen chemistry between the two makes the confusion surrounding the characters difficult to understand, as they seemed good for each other as the show went on, what could have been a rekindling of their relationship resulted in a disappointing ending, with only closure open ends. 

The drama's expectation from the anticipated second chance romance felt like a missed opportunity to dive into the lead happy ending discussions within fan circles debating the choice of the open ending, desiring a conclusion that offered more of an intense love story. 

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4. Island

Gathering a group of iconic actors for a drama as seen in Island naturally raises expectations for a highly anticipated show. 

However, despite featuring actors like Cha Eunwoo and Kim Nam Gil, this 12-episode fantasy K-drama split into two parts fell short of satisfying its eager audience in terms of overall plot and pacing. 

From the start, the execution of the show appeared lacking and disorganized. Island introduced numerous storylines, each receiving either too much or too little attention, leading to a story of imbalance that left fans waiting for a well-structured plot. 

Despite the promising storyline, the show struggled to bring them to life, resulting in what many perceived as wasted potential. One example of this was the treatment of Eunwoo's character's storyline, which was rushed in one episode and concluded by the next. 

Fans called out the missed opportunities, mentioning that the show failed to give attention to his storyline, leaving viewers wanting more. 

Adding to the disappointment were the show's open-ended conclusions. While some viewers want another season to provide closure, the reality for many knows that this wish would likely go unfulfilled and cast a shadow over the viewing experience. 

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5. Heartbeat

Loyal fans will usually stick around to watch most shows that feature their favorite actors. Despite Teac-Yeon's loyal fan base, his recent drama heartbeat has fallen short of expectations, leaving many viewers unsatisfied. 

While his acting remains strong, the drama's flaws come from its lackluster CGI, underwhelming storyline, and most notably, the performance of Won Ji An the female lead playing Joo In-hye. Ji An's inexperience as a lead actress is noticeable throughout the drama, as this is her first lead role. 

Her performance lacked the experience and chemistry required for the role. Overall. Fans argued that this affected Teac-Yeon's performance, as his character's chemistry with the female lead suffered. 

Another complaint from watchers was the drama's CGI and special effects that were often cringe-worthy. Taking away from the overall production quality, the storyline too fails to deliver a satisfying conclusion, leaving viewers feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. 

As a result of these factors, many fans have dropped the drama which led to its decline on the charts. Teac-Yeon Star Power, unfortunately, could not save the series from the disappointed audience Reactions. 

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6. Doona

Doona, starring BAE Suzy, is another example of a notable actor who fans eagerly follow. The show stirred up a significant buzz within the K-drama world due to its angsty and intense love story. 

Suzy's portrayal of the main character not only marked her return to the big screen since her last drama, Anna, in 2022 but also garnered attention for her leading smile that originated from the show. With fans eagerly anticipating Suzy's performance. The drama's ultimate response turned out to be mixed with fan criticisms. 

The criticisms mostly centered around the two main leads of the show, who failed to deliver the anticipated K-drama fairy tale chemistry that was hoped for Their on and off-screen chemistry was widely criticized, with viewers finding the kissing scenes between them awkward and lacking any genuine connection. 

Some viewers even attributed this lack of chemistry to the show's weak writing, despite the rocky journey of the protagonist's relationship throughout the series, the show also chose a conclusion that left many fans feeling unsatisfied. 

This unexpected turn of events led to overall confusion among viewers, asking why the resolution didn't align with the more satisfying conclusions often expected in K-dramas. 

The unexpected choice made by the male lead, Won Jun, further gained the disappointment of fans who had envisioned a different outcome for the two lovebirds. It is undeniable that Doona faced its fair share of criticism and disappointed expectations. 

However, the drama managed to attain a certain level of success thanks to the power of BAE Suzy. Her magnetic presence on screen, along with the widespread popularity of the viral flirting smile, played a pivotal role in the viewer's interest and ensured an audience for the series. 

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7. Oh! Youngsimi

A drama's success holds its ability to engage viewers from beginning to end. Oh! Youngsimi failed to do so, experiencing a sharp decline in viewership throughout its run. 

The show's debut episode peaked at a 0.647% viewership rating, securing 39th place in Nielsen Korea's South Korean viewership rankings. However, this promising start quickly faced a heavy decline, stopping at 0.173% with its final episode landing it in 270th place in June. 

The show's downfall can be attributed to several factors, most notably the audience's unfavorable reaction to the storyline. Many viewers found the plot to be bland and uninteresting, lacking in depth and engaging plot points. 

More complaints came from the acting performances, particularly that of the male lead played by Lee Dongghae, known most popularly through the K-pop group Super Junior. His extended absence from the acting scene since 2010 led some to doubt and question his acting abilities. 

Ultimately, Oh Youngsims failure to maintain viewer interest resulted in a significant drop in ratings. The show's lack of engaging storytelling and underwhelming acting performances left audiences disappointed and ultimately turned away from the series. 

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8. Daily Dose Of Sunshine

Tackling sensitive subjects can be a hard task to pull off. While Daily Dose of Sunshine successfully navigated, the complexities of mental health for some, other viewers found the show's portrayal triggering and emotionally draining to watch due to its relatability and not convincing performances. 

The show's intensity influenced some viewers to pause the drama and prioritize their own well-being. Others expressed their own thoughts about the show, diagnosing each cast member with a mental health condition. 

They argued that this approach lacked realism and undermined the show's authenticity. Overall, daily dose of Sunshine's dive into mental health sparked mixed reactions. 

While some viewers appreciated its raw honesty and relatability, others found its intensity unsettling and overly focused on diagnosis. 

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Also Read:

Top 11 Highly Anticipate Korean Dramas To Watch in January 2024

Top 18 Most Anticipated Korean Dramas of the First Quarter Of 2024

14 'Rich Guy, Poor Girl' Best Korean Dramas Ever Made

12 BEST Korean RomCom Movies That Will Remove Your Loneliness

Wrapping Up

The year 2023 saw its own highs and lows of highly anticipated K-dramas that promised to captivate storylines and star-studded casts. However, despite their promising beginnings, some of these shows failed to live up to expectations and sparked heated conversations among viewers. 

In the previous part of this article, we delved into several dramas that fell short of their potential, including Mask Girl, celebrity, Pandora, Beneath the Paradise, and The Heavenly Idol. We want to know what other dramas you expected to be hits but ended up being a letdown. Let us know in the comments.


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