Joynews Poll of Over 200 K-ent Insiders Selects Hospital Playlist 2 as Best Drama of 2021 Followed by Hometown Cha Cha Cha and then Vincenzo

Korean newspaper Joynews is celebrating its 17th anniversary this year and during the week of October 12th-19th it commissioned a poll of over 200 Korean industry insiders to vote for what drama they think was the best in 2021. The voters consisted of production honchos, producers, PDs, screenwriters, agency management heads, and entertainment news reporters. Hospital Playlist 2 received the most nods with 35 votes, followed in second place by Hometown Cha Cha Cha with 27 votes, then Vincenzo with 22, Beyond Evil with 21, and founding out the top five is Racket Boys with 20 votes. After that a handful of votes went to other dramas including Youth of May and Marriage Lyrics and Divorce Music each got 7 votes, Mine got 6 votes, then 3 votes went to a three way tie each of Bossam: Steal the Fate, The Veil, and One: The Woman. And the remaining dramas were The Uncanny Counter, Lost, Taxi Driver, and Mouse which got 2 votes apiece. This is a great list for those who may wonder what other good dramas aired in 2021 and you may have missed. For me it’s totally Racket Boys, that happened during the summer and I got busy and forgot to check it out, and I also want to finish Taxi Driver.


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Joynews Poll of Over 200 K-ent Insiders Selects Hospital Playlist 2 as Best Drama of 2021 Followed by Hometown Cha Cha Cha and then Vincenzo — 62 Comments

  1. Welp. So much for all the people yelling in the other post about how JBTC dramas are far superior in quality to other networks’ dramas and kdrama viewers don’t know better and can’t appreciate quality.

    I’ll put more weight on industry feedback.

    • it’s a well known popularity and buzz doesn’t always mean quality. It’s just means it’s entertaining for the mass and be talked alot… majority of drama watchers are not a drama critics.

      • Oh I agree that popularity and ratings doesn’t equal quality. JBTC dramas are more experimental and indie, which aren’t for the mainstream.

        But people were yelling in the other post about how JBTC >>> other networks and TVN sucks and hasn’t produced any good dramas. Well evidence to the contrary here.

  2. I’ve found the annual Joynews list to be pretty accurate. Used the 2020, 2019, and 2018 ones to catch up on gems I would’ve otherwise missed.

      • Worst and best have overlapping dramas this year. Joseon Exorcist and Penthouse topped the worst drama list followed by Marriage, Lyrics and Divorce Music. Hospital Playlist 2 and Lost are also on the worst drama list.

      • Joynews did release list for worst kdramas.

        In descending order: Joseon Exorcist; Penthouse 3; Lost; Love, Marriage, Divorce; Young Lady and Gentleman; Sisyphus; Hometown (not CCC); Hospital Playlist 2; Dark Hole; LUCA; Nevertheless; Imitation; Hush; Undercover; You Are My Spring; Kingdom: Ashin; Devil Judge; Yumi’s Cells; Doom At Your Service; Yumi’s Cells; She Would Never Know; Roommate Is A Gumiho

        Link here: https://www.joynews24.com/view/1416256

      • I only watched 2 out of the worst list. Quite handy to know other drama to avoid but to each his/her own. Peace.

  3. I’ll agree with Hospital Playlist coz acting wise, all actors played their parts to the tee. Hometown Chacha, a big no. They butchered the story at some point along with Shin Min Ah’s clothes/fashion (horrible). Vicenzo I have no comment. I didn’t watch it. Youth of May was most awesome, tbh.

    • Yup. HP2 wasn’t as superior as HP1. HC3 was mediocre (yet it ranked higher than Beyond Evil & Racket Boys?) Vincenzo wasn’t that great. MLDM… seriously? Mine??? I understood why NGM had to bulk up for The Veil because he carried that basic af drama on his broad shoulders. I’ll check out One The Woman and Lost.

      For the worst list, I’m guessing Oh My Ladylord, Sisyphus, DAYS, Jirisan (?), Nevertheless, LOTRS, River, Devil Judge…etc. Of course the number of votes would determine just how terrible they thought those dramas were.

      • I elect to add Penthouse 3, MLDM 2, Luca, The Road: Tragedy of One, Dalli, She Would Never Know to the shit list.

        Looks like Law School, SYHH and Yumi’s Cells didn’t make it to the best list. Didn’t watch but I thought they got good reviews? Ratings might really play a factor after all.

      • Nevertheless!?!? Seriously??? that drama might not be the mainstream taste, nevertheless i found it had the most realistic plot among kdramas for years. Agree that the second half might drive u to madness but overall i enjoy it thoroughly

      • I don’t think River will be listed as one of the worst considering it got 2 Baeksang nominations. Further, it will be submitted for International Emmy Nominations.

  4. I enjoy hometown cha cha cha first half, the circumstance of the female lead is flawed but relatable. but not so much in the second half, and turn into too preachy for my taste and plot development lack punch. for example Dushik conflict is really not that necesary after all. movie is more realistic handling the conflict.

    Vincenzo, hmmmm I enjoy first 3 episode, but after that this drama turn into a parody rather than actual drama.

    U haven’t watched hospital playlist, so I can’t comment.

  5. 1.Glad to here thst it is given by industry experts, instead of critics without knowledge
    2.Good to hear that two over-rated saeguks, Rivers of the Red Sky and River where the Moon Rises did’t make the top 16 list.The main cast and writing are horrible.

    • I question their credibility when they voted vincenzo above beyond evil…. I think majority of voters is insider for entertainment industry.

      Vincenzo is no where near definition a good drama.

      • Well they know what ticks or not in a drama that are not to our likings and they watch heaps of dramas, sometimes more than us

      • Just because you disagree with the list doesn’t mean these insiders are not credible so stop throwing a fit. Joynews lists over the years are well respected. At least these voters have relevant qualifications and they’re the ones calling the shots.

      • Why is it always you throwing your opinions as facts and crying everywhere when your opinions are not accepted. Vincenzo is a well received and well made drama. It’s a Black Comedy and lived up to it’s name. And the list is rated by some of the experts in korean entertainment I’m sure you cannot rob them of their credibility. Just say your opinion and go

      • @Pops, right? Hospital Playlist, Hometown CCC, and Vincenzo all were well made and well received. I trust Joynews lists because I discovered Be Melo from them and that drama had super low ratings at the time but was a gem.

        Forget celebrities, people here have a parasocial relationship with dramas. If their fave drama isn’t doing well, then comes the slew of rants: ratings don’t matter, knetz are dumb cows, industry experts don’t know anything. Fake news! My opinion > everyone else’s!

      • @yzma their lists have always been a mix of underrated gems widely accepted and really good popular ones which rightfully deserve the popularity. Be Melo is loved by knetz. It’s always the i-fans crying and questioning the ratings. And if something gets higher ratings and is popular suddenly the list is only about popularity. Gosh ppl need to pick a side and stick to it.

      • Also just for lols wasn’t it missjb crying in the other post on blue dragon nominations on how we shouldn’t question the credibility of the judging panel because her fav deserves the nomination.

      • A good drama is not about taste… you can admit it’s bad and still loving the show. or else ‘”You’re beautiful” will be a quality show because I Love it. They don’t pretend to make it good show but more into parody and entertainment purpose. You are not supposed to look deeper when watch the show because the show don’t ask us to do so…

        how it can make a good show when there is so many tonal shift and hardly understand with logical reason our male lead motivation?
        they want to show us her dark aand good side but it’s just fail because the show doesn’t want to look deeper into our male lead instead make him like a model cf. he is always win no matter how ridiculous and contrived it look because you don’t have to think the reason why.

        a good show at least has abit realism in it, make your lead character motivational at least make sense and touch at least abit realism. when create a conflict, not solve it with a a cheap trick.

      • Because it does not fit her criteria. Realism is not what somethg we look forward to in a drama as for tonsl change, it is not the only drama that blends different genres into one drMa. Just let her be.

      • @pops I went to check and omg you’re right. And her fave is SJK too! And here she is crapping all over his drama. Hahahahaha. Omg, I cannot with her.

        On your point about picking a side, yeah the mental gymnastics Im seeing would medal at the Olympics. People complaining that this list is fake news bc it’s just high ratings dramas, but there are low ratings ones on it as well? Look, if their fave drama made the cut this list would suddenly be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

      • The fact that @missjb keeps calling Vincenzo “parody” and “not an actual drama” speaks volumes. I don’t think she understands the concept of black comedy. Park Jaebum’s writing and humor straight up sailed over her head.

      • @peanut gallery I thought vincenzo didn’t even attempt at being realistic because indirectly it was a satire on how we can’t do anything about the corruption unless we become devil but then one can’t be that in real life. He depicted this through Hong Yu Chan and Hong cha young character and the cathartic relief is Vincenzo’s character himself. The writer clearly knew what he was doing and it is a social satire and black comedy for a reason. Nevertheless I’m glad it got recognised and the writer received a presidential award too 😀

      • @pops – Agree. I’ve seen Park Jaebum’s other dramas and his style is to use humor and satire to channel social criticism. He went alll the way in Vincenzo though. There was a rage and darkness that wasn’t there in his previous works, and he said the tonal shifts were needed because people wouldn’t be able to handle all that darkness in one dose.

        Overall, I thought the writing was clever and many scenes had me in stitches.

      • @peanut – I think so too, there was too much rage in his writing in this drama and the final justice to the 2 main villains was very dark. I think he said in an interview how he saw himself as hong yu chan and his daughter is Hong Cha young, who doesn’t employ the moral values in delivering justice. Hence he made hong cha young partnering with Vincenzo the devil for the rampage. I think what makes vincenzo special is that the director also being 100% in sync with the writer. Overall a beautiful combination of teamwork.
        Lol don’t mind me, just a fan of the writer and the show.

    • @Lai would’ve let her be if she just said she doesn’t like vincenzo and left just like other commenters here. And she doesn’t have to give the 100 reasons why she didn’t like. Her tastes her choice, but what irked me was the discounting of the credibility of the panel. Just say your opinion and go, no need to question the credibility

      • She is always like that, trying to be edgy and superior among others when trying to critique a drama. She makes it feel that her views/opinion is only valid and others are wrong when she can’t even articulate herself well.

  6. Really enjoyed HCCC for the first half then I ffwd to the last episode. I stayed for grandma Gamri. Cried buckets when she died. Cop-dental assistant couple, cute kiddoes & the hedgehog. For Vincenzo I lasted 3 episodes. At first I was drawn to the action & mystery, then the tone & plot were too all over the place for me. Some parts reminded me of Stephen Chow’s Kungfu Hustle. I gave up after that. HP2, I lasted 20 minutes. Am glad that they work for other people. They just don’t work for me and I hope it’s all right for me to say that here yah. Please don’t shoot me. Lol. Looking forward to Racket Boys, Beyond Evil, Taxi Driver and YOM. Honestly don’t care which network they belong as long as they entertain me, the pacing suits me and they keep me interested.

    • @old timer – Hometown CCC was alright until episode…11? 12? I couldn’t get past the FL’s tween-in-love antics so dropped it. The show is not my cup of tea but I understand why many people like it. It is healing.

      Vincenzo was indeed partially inspired by Kungfu Hustle! I found it bonkers fun and the cinematography was film-quality level. Its absurd humor reminded me of Quentin Tarantino films and was the best genre-blending I’ve ever seen done. I do get why some people may not vibe with it. Tarantino’s stuff is also polarizing.

      I literally fell asleep watching HP1 so didn’t attempt HP2.

      • @Ophelia, really? Oh wow. Thanks for the nugget of info. I was very impressed with the Italy CGI. I may just try it again one day. Same here, never watched HP1 no matter the acclaim/hype. Thanks for not jumping on me coz the hate is just nuts lately in the comment section. I love Quentin Tarantino films especially Kill Bill. Darryl Hannah playing against type is the best. Others that I like are The Dead Don’t Die, Fargo season 1 & 2 & My Name. I switch from bloody to healing dramas to balance my weird taste. Lol.

      • @old timer – No worries, just seek out the sensible commentators. Vincenzo’s Italy CGI was so good I had no idea it was CGI until they said it was. Its humor was more in line with Inglorious Bastards and Hateful Eight than Kill Bill. Kill Bill didn’t lean into the absurdism as much.

        I liked My Name alot. Haven’t seen the others on your list

      • Anyone who say HP is boring/not good, I protect them with my life from crazies. I agree, the drama is too overhyped and i just feel ppl connected to it so much because last year pandemic period was horrible and they needed some goody goody drama to feel good

      • Thanks @Pipa, @Ophelia & @stranger for your point of views. I was very nervous to comment at first. Thanks for not judging me when I share mine. I have to start off on Vincenzo again and later Hateful Eight. The reason I like My Name is because HSH is playing against type just like Adam Driver in TDDD. His oddball character even made fun of Star Wars. Fargo is a bit slow at first but once the action starts, the black comedy from Billy Bob Thornton & Martin Freeman is sublime. I also dig Coen brothers and Three Billboards type of dark humour laced with bloody action. Kind of wish more K-dramas lean towards that genre.

    • The story in Vincenzo only starts from ep4 so I suggest you give it another try. Just don’t take the plot too seriously because the drama doesn’t take itself seriously either and you may find it enjoyable.

      I didn’t expect anything from it and watched it mainly to look at SJK at first but by ep 8-9 or so, I suddenly realized how much fun I had watching it. All in all, it’s not flawless but it’s one of the most fun & entertaining experience watching a drama ever.

  7. Some parts of hometown chachacha resonated with me. The family relationships, close-knit community spirit and stunning scenery. It has been a tiring 18 months of restrictions I suppose viewers watched it to have a break. Something light & easy. Could be part of the reason industry experts voted it for no 2.

    • They have come up with a different list for OTT shows. Squid Game or DP would be near the top of the list had it been on the same list as network dramas. Lee Jung Jae topped the actor list and Koo Kyo Hwan was on the third position of the list. LJJ and Jung Hoyeon even made the powerstar list. Network dramas are lucky that OTT has its own category now.

  8. Yeah so mostly the high-rated dramas I get it. It’s funny though that even TVN non-weekend dramas have been straight flopping. They mostly have hits in the weekend slot these days.

  9. So the high-rated dramas minus a couple exceptions like Beyond Evil, Racket Boys, YOM and Lost, which are clearly the highlight on the list. Proving yet again why ratings mean nothing.

    • Still they are better than these dramas are carried by actors and actresses that are not overhyped (lower ratings) although they happened to be on an unfortunate timeslot.

  10. List checks out. Hospital Playlist and Hometown were warm cups of tea to relax with. Vincenzo was so batsh1t awesome. Beyond Evil was a dope thriller. The only ones that make me go huh ? are Veil, Marriage Lyrics, and Mouse. Veil had such weak writing…

  11. I was disapointed by HP2 honestly. The characters didn’t show any growth in 2 seasons. But the music was great.

    I loved Hometown Cha Cha Cha, it was a nice rom-com with a healing part that was rushed at the end. I really liked the communuty part of Gongjin with people who help wach other. Shin Mina and KSH were great in their role.

    Vincenzo was so unique! I think I didn’t understand all the private jokes but the writter was really funny.

    I loved Racket Boys too! These kids were so cute!

    I didn’t understand the succes of Beyond Evil. I liked the actors, they were great and their interactions were interesting. But the writting of the investigation was really bad, I couldn’t take them seriously.

    The Veil was disapointing. I was kinda sad for NGM.

    • The hype for beyond evil is something even i will not understand. It is easily most overrated drama out there considering how the writitng was. They wanna rate everything shin ha kyun acts as good i guess

  12. Huh? I agree with some of those but then there is a whole lot of WTF. Do they not consider Netflix dramas because I think Move to Heaven and DP were the best of the year.

  13. Thrilled to see the very under-rated Youth of May and Racket Boys on the list 🙂 Vincenzo was my drama of the year! Beyond Evil was excellent too.

    I still need to watch Taxi Driver. I found something about Hometown Cha Cha very annoying and not “healing” at all so I quit on episode 5 or 6.

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