KBS Drama When the Camellia Blooms Hits 16.9% Ratings, New High for Prime Time Dramas in 2019

My feelings about KBS Wed-Thurs drama When the Camellia Blooms is ambivalent hence the lack of posts on it. K-viewers are really enjoying it outright and ratings have gone one way up since it premiered with the most recent episode reaching 16.9%, the first for a prime time drama this year. I think the drama is very well written, with interesting three-dimensional characters and a great neighborhood and smaller town dynamic that hews closer to weekend drama territory. The leads are very well cast, especially Kang Ha Neul who is killing it as the earnest hot-blooded cop with his heart on his sleeve and Kim Ji Suk being both a champion baseball player and a loser in his romantic goals. The reason I’m not fully captivated is on Gong Hyo Jin, both her performance as Dong Baek which feels like a retread and moreso the character itself. I just don’t really connect in any way with Dong Baek and that’s creating a lack of caring about the story because I don’t care about her, but I do love her son and the people around her. The serial killer aspect is also jarring and I really wish it didn’t have to be in this drama at all. But overall I watch every week and find it interesting enough to keep going.


KBS Drama When the Camellia Blooms Hits 16.9% Ratings, New High for Prime Time Dramas in 2019 — 38 Comments

  1. Wednesday-Thursday are strong in dramas. My favourite is Extra-Ordinary You! But Secret Boutique is good too, I love the casting. I really like Kang Ha Neul in When the Camelia Blooms but I’m not so interested in the story…

    • I like secret boutique but Im going to put my watching of the show on hold and wait to see what happens on the next few episodes after last week episode. Jenny never seems to have a break and I’m one of the few who ship Jenny with Sunwoo. I feel too sorry for Jenny to see her alone.

    • Same here , Extar-ordinary you is a good surprise, i like Secret boutique . But for the 1st time i don’t click with a Gong Hyo Jin’s character, Kang ha Neul is good but i dropped the drama . Until now i’ve watch and liked all GHJ’ drama .

  2. Me too! I can’t get into this because I earnestly don’t emotionally care about the female lead and I don’t see vivid chemistry between the leads.

  3. Personally, I cannot watch any of Gong Hyo Jin’s drama. She know how to act, and that’s not the problem. It’s that
    When I watch her, I am very conscious that she’s acting. For me, she’s not watchable. My opinion only.

    • That’s the same with me. The only drama I’ve enjoyed from her is It’s Okay, It’s Love. But even then, I was only watching for Jo In Sung.
      I can’t watch any of her dramas because I always feel like I can see that she’s acting.

      • Dont agree..I prefer to watch a drama with good acting…bad acting dramas are unwatachable to me. Thw concesus ratings i think show that this is a highly produced quality drama.

  4. I like aspects of the drama, but do not think it is all that special. It seems to be resonating in korea and it is nice to see some double digit ratings.

  5. Camellia is NOT the first primetime drama of 2019 to reach 16.9%. Liver or Die which aired in the same timeslot in March 2019 got 22.8% ratings (nationwide).

  6. Thanks Ms. ? for posting about Camellia. The drama is really well written. I’m planning on checking out the writer’s other works because of this drama.

    • Do watch Fight for My Way, if you have not, also by the writer who’s really good at depicting underdogs / ordinary folks’ realistic life struggles – A refreshing change from chaebols’ business / wealth battles.

  7. I wanted to watch Camellia for Son Dam Bi but with Pegasus Market, Vagabond on the go and I’m going to start Tales of Nokdu and VIP with Jang Nara oh and to Catch a Ghost for Jung Eugene I’m pretty much full up. Plus I like GHJ in serious thriller type roles like Door knock. I’m sorry and I know I’m gonna get slammed for this but for Rom coms I can’t watch her because her face reminds me of a turtle.

      • @M Definitely my go to for a weekly laugh. The revolving door where you have to push for entry is a hoot. I gotta do catch up on a few episodes because one episode a week is really unfair. I wanna binge watch a couple in one go. I love the entire cast and storyline too. That tribe with their unicorn on their head is symbolic of something else was hilarious in the reveal.

  8. Believe the formula for the drama success is the combination of good script, unique directing and polished acting by GHJ & KHN. I was initially skeptical over the noona pairing again but KHN really nailed the dorky role well and GHJ, despite playing socially outcast underdog roles in Master’s Sun, Jealousy Incarnate and Camellia, often endears viewers with her fine acting skills and pleasant visuals, though she’s hardly a beauty. She’s a true romcom Queen!

    • I totally agree, this is the only drama I’m watching week after week. It’s so refreshing that the male lead is not a genius type of character nor a mega rich chaebol. No super hearing, no super strength or whatsoever.

    • Gong Hyo Jin has a very natural acting style, I like that about her.

      She also has a really good eye for scripts, if you look at her dramas over the last ten or fifteen years, every single one has been a hit, even when she tried a new format (Producer). There’s no other actress who can boast that track record with so many dramas.

  9. Many millions of veiewers watching on free to air with those numbers where cable is generally in the tens of thousands with 3 to 4 % averages …Pretty good ratngs and good for careers all round for those involved in this fine production.

  10. I’ve given it a try until ep4 and i’ve given up. GHJ needs something new in dramaland. Her character in drama is always and almost the same except for its ok thats love and producer. Just too bored seeing her in the same role over and over again.

    Kang haneul is really daebak. Totally different from his other drama characters.

    I prefer to watch something light like extraordinary you and nokdu. Honestly, im super addicted to it. The acting of the younger actors is really good. Better than some seniors in the current airing dramas. My country is also good but too heavy, well im still watching it. Nothing special with flower crew excepet3for kim minjae.

  11. Drama is super boring. I hate the plot just like Super Woman Do Bong Soon. Dongbaek is boring character, Kim Ha Neul looks so old. He even looks older than Kim Ji Suk in my eyes. Their romance lacks and no chemistry there. I like the boy. As a actor he has such a bright future ahead of him i think. At least i care for the son and Kim Ji Suk as father who are trying to be dad to the boy. I am watching it becoz it is on netflix. i would have tried to watch it if it takes any kind of effort than netflix.

  12. fell asleep on ep 2… Koreans love Family dramas and this rating shows. To me, this is super duper boring. Dropped a long time ago… I like SWDBS however because of the cute leads. I am not a fan of these older folks, just my opinion. My watch now is Nokdu and EY. Yes to @Yui, younger actors are definitely more refreshing to watch than the “senior” GHJ whose acting is really smelling stale now…

  13. A family drama without the makjang craziness and even better no truck of doom in sight. There’s also no alien, mermaid, or even a goblin-reaper bromance and yet it’s ratings just keep increasing per each episode. Other dramas couldn’t even reach double digits nowadays.

    • The writer does well at that kind of story, Fight My Way also had leads who were average people with no makjang or truck of doom. Just a nice story about normal young people, but with a great cast who could actually act.

      I’m not surprised Camellia is doing well but didn’t expect it to do THIS well, considering there are other more hyped dramas airing. it’s nice to see a drama with little hype just sideswipe the ratings and buzz like that!

  14. I tried watching it but couldnt get through it at all. Its not bad or anything but just sorta meh. I guess its just not my cup of tea. Funny enough, its the same feeling i have with Fight for my way. An unpopular opinion maybe but i thought that drama was just so-so tbh.

    • I agree with you. FFMY is just so-so. I still watched til the end…. just won’t rewatch for sure. But I dropped this drama after 1.5 episodes, very boring… I prefer some makjang craziness like Graceful Family, haha ? ?

    • MMS is sooooo bad… overacting galore of all cast… Stupid plot. I cannot get through 4 episodes… JCW picks a very disappointing comeback. SMH.

      • It’s terrible, the leads are overacting and, worst of all, have no chemistry. That’s the nail in the coffin for a romcom.

        I thought Won Jin Ah was good in Just Between Lovers but both she and Ji Chang Wook are bad at comedy.

  15. Luckily I didn’t convinced by the negatives comments here , just watch it yesterday and it’s awesome !! Especially the actress potraying a single mother striving in unwelcomed neighbourhood, the chemistry between actors beyond perfect and not like others fairy tales love story that I’ve watched. No wonder the rating are so high.

    • Same here! Was initially not gonna watch this drama (When Camelia Blooms) cuz of the negative feedback here. Then had nothing else to watch and started this 2 days ago – love it so much! Wonderful characters, from leads to supporting, great acting by all, and a heart-tugging storyline of underdogs. I love Fight For My Way too by the same writer (just found out about this), so that may be why. A shout out to Kang Ha Neul – his acting is really amazing here! So natural, real and heartfelt. First saw him in Misaeng and was impressed with him there too.

      Tried Tale of Nokdu and it’s very pretty, and the male lead did amazing. But the storyline is kinda stale (another palace intrigue) – probably I’ve watched too many palace dramas…

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