Joynews Poll of Industry Insiders Selects Arthdal Chronicle as Worst Drama of 2019 and Sky Castle as Best Drama

This is a little early for year end lists but like Christmas creep everything happens earlier and earlier. Joynews in South Korea conducted a poll of 200 K-ent industry insiders from producers, directors, screenwriters, and drama crew members to ask their opinion on the best and worst lists of 2019 dramas. I’ll start with the Worst K-drama of 2019 since rubbernecking failure is still like watching a trainwreck – coming in first is massive flop (cost to ratings ratio) fantasy sageuk Arthdal Chronicles, followed by Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul Ho 2, Joseon Survival Tale, and Item.

On the flip side, the Best Drama list has Sky Castle sweeping the competition but it’s sorta not fair because it also made Best lists in 2018 since it premiered November 1, 2018 and ended its run February 1, 2019. Oh well, more power to SK. Coming in second on the best list is my personal best pick The Light in Your Eyes (Dazzling) followed by Melo is My Nature. And not to be left out, Kim Hye Ja won for Best Drama Actor of 2019 while the Kang Ha Neul and Gong Hyo Jin‘s pairing on When the Camellia Blooms got the most votes for Best Drama CP of 2019.

Worst drama of 2019:

  1. Arthdal Chronicles – 36 votes
  2. Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul Ho 2 – 25 votes
  3. Joseon Survival Tale and Item – each 14 votes
  4. Vagabond – 10 votes
  5. Absolute Boyfriend and Just One Love – each 9 votes
  6. The Great Show and Issue – each 8 votes
  7. Abyss, Other People’s Hell, and Melt Me Softly – each 7 votes

Best drama of 2019:

  1. Sky Castle – 63 votes
  2. The Light in Your Eyes – 38 votes
  3. Melo is My Nature – 26 votes
  4. When the Camellia Blooms – 19 votes
  5. Search WWW – 16 votes
  6. Fiery Priest – 14 votes
  7. Hotel Del Luna 11 votes

Best Couple of 2019:

  1. Kang Ha Neul and Gong Hyo Jin – When the Camellia Blooms
  2. Yeo Jin Goo and IU – Hotel Del Luna
  3. Ahn Jae Hong and Chun Woo Hee – Melo is My Nature

Best Drama Actor of 2019:

  1. Kim Hye Ja – The Light in Your Eyes – 41 votes
  2. Um Jung Ah – Sky Castle – 34 votes
  3. Kim Seo Hyung – Sky Castle 0 21 votes
  4. Kim Nam Gil – Fiery Priest, Kang Ha Neul – When the Camellia Blooms – 16 votes
  5. IU – Hotel Del Luna – 12 votes
  6. Gong Hyo Jin – When the Camellia Blooms – 8 votes
  7. Han Ji Min – The Light in Your Eyes, Kim Hye Yoon – Sky Castle – 7 votes


Joynews Poll of Industry Insiders Selects Arthdal Chronicle as Worst Drama of 2019 and Sky Castle as Best Drama — 119 Comments

  1. IU is doing great amongst all the veterans. KHY is the youngest on the list with same number of votes as HJM, very impressive. Second place of best couple is YJG & IU, excellent. No surprise that AC is the worst drama, lots of hype with nothing delivered.

    • Honestly I think the incomplete story of AC pissed off a lot of people. There are worse dramas this year (Melt Me Softly is so bad, I cringe through almost every scene) but AC problem is Netflix shooting itself in the foot by pretending this one “season” was a complete story like most kdramas.

      The actors, concept, even the story itself was interesting but it had the same pacing problems as Moon Lovers three years ago, only worse because at least ML finished its story.

      • I think who write this article must be crazy or who vote for it are out of their mind how could they say arthdal chronicles is the worst for me it’s the best of 2019 no it’s the best korean drama I ever seen I was watching korean drama for 10 years and I know what the best and worse of KD and where’re the masterpiece dramas doctor john and vagabond both of those drama are the best so far of 2019. This avaluation was wronged and underrated.

  2. I don’t know when this poll was done but I would also add JDY-KSH for best couple of 2019. JTBC is the new drama kingdom based on the top 3 dramas. Awesome.

    • Except for When Camellia Blooms, I agree with all on the list. Camellia is not watchable, cringe worthy even whenever the leads show up, esp Gong Hyo Jin. I think she needs to stop acting when she’s acting. It is so obvious.

    • Same! Nokdu couple are amazing, it’s the first time in a long while I’ve seen that kind of chemistry between leads. Jang Dong Yoon and Kim So Hyun deserve the love they’re getting, and I hope casting directors take notice.

      • They should have been on the list! They’re my OTP of 2019 and one of the best OTP I’ve ever seen!

      • If they don’t end up winning best couple at awards ceremonies you can be sure those are rigged. This list should have had their names.

    • What’s wrong with the directing of Arthdal? U might critics the plot, but not the acting and directing. Kim Won Seok did good.

      • The directing is among the worst I’ve ever seen. Awful pacing, bad lighting, too much time spent on unnecessary scenes. KWS obviously does not suit the genre. He’s better at smaller scale stories.

  3. ^.^,❤️ That IU and KHY on the list among veteran actresses/ actor. Keep going girls!
    And yes, Sky castle deserve its number 1 rating.

  4. Whatever.. Personally I enjoyed Arthdal Chronicles. Something different from usual romance cliche kdramas.. And Vagabond too is a fun watch

    • YJG-IU is second place Best Couple. IU cannot hard carry HDL without YJG. The coupling storyline works. Reality is, HDL is not a female centric story, her character is always linked with men in the past and at present. IU on her own cannot carry any storylines. I know you just want to bash here. This is toooo obvious. LOL.

      • Yes @candycane glad you raised this. Sick to death of the adage IU hard carried HDL. Gosh she contributed for sure along with everyone else.

      • i agree that everyone contributed and it’s wrong to say she hard-carried, but hdl is still considered female-centric since the story revolves around a female. iu even shows up on many of the surveys including this one for best actors/actresses, so she indeed had the most impact. idk why people want to downgrade that when most of the time, actors are the ones who are most talked about.

      • @Lizz Me and candycane have and will always defend YJG participation and role in HDL because he too was central to the story and we’re not denigrating IU we were just merely stating the obvious oh and not to mention the Hong sisters too because without them there would be no story. So yes IU should be celebrated but not to the detriment of others.

      • HDL is not female centric. In fact, HDL is made up of many many stories of different people who have passed on but their souls still reside in the hotel. The drama revolves around the Hotel (not around a female) and the female lead just happens to be in charge. The drama is named after a hotel for a very good reason. Her story is only a part of the drama but not all. Her story is just one of the many many stories and not the entire drama. All side characters have their unique stories with well written closures. BTW @Lizz – have you ever watched the drama at all to the point of understanding it? IU may have the most impact bcoz of her beautiful costumes but without the male lead and her past lovers her story is nothing!

  5. I don’t like the idea to put no-ended drama in the list. I’m disapointed to not see The Crowned Clown and Yeo Jin Goo, because this drama was great.

    I don’t think Search:www was so great. I really like the work part but the love story was pretty meh and mostly the way it was filmed was so weird, the angle, the lights, the blurry, etc.

    Children of Nobody or Watchers were pretty great, but it looks like it’s the style of drama to be recognized.

    I’m happy to see Kim Hye Yoon in the best actors! She deserved it 😀

    • Agree. CC should have been on the list. In fact, sagueks do not have a good representation in this poll while I thought the Koreans love sagueks… Tale of Nokdu is soooo good but it is still airing. Rookie Historian is not bad either. Just saying…

  6. I agree with KHN and GHJ but it’s odd that KSH and JDY didn’t make it in the top three best couple. I thought IU had more chemistry with the second lead Lee Do Hyun.

    It’s awful to be listed as worst drama of the year when it averaged 6-8%. For cable it’s already not a flop but I guess they’ve taken into consideration the huge budget, the mega hype and the A list cast. Even Vagabond made it into the list despite averaging 10%.

    For me the worst drama should have been MMS. The ratings are now less than 2%. It just might overtake ManHole as the lowest rated drama.

  7. My comment just disappeared and had to re-post again. If this becomes double post please just delete this Ms. KOALA.

    I love KHN and GHJ pairing because of Camellia. But I find it odd that KDH and JDY didn’t make it to the top three best couple. I thought IU had more chemistry with the second lead Lee Do Hyun. Oh well.

    Regarding the worst drama I thought the top contender for the title is MMS which is now down to just less than 2%. There seems to be no interest whatsoever in this drama and any comments are mostly negative about the overacting. MMS might just overtake Manhole for the lowest rated drama of the year.

    Arthadal which averaged 6-8% and Vagabond with 10% made it to the list no thanks to the huge budget, mega hype and A list cast. But to give AC the worst title seems a bit too much. Since both shows were also available in Netflix I feel that a lot of viewers chose to watch it there. That factor alone is enough to influence the tv and cable ratings.

    • Who is KDH and JDY? MMS might be even worse than Manhole not just in ratings but writing, acting etc. VB is a lot better than AC but both lacked plot. It made me realize Suzy and KJW are at the same level when it comes to acting. Both are below average at least Suzy is pretty and good at action scenes.

      • I think @M means Kim So Hyun (KSH) and Jang Dong Yoon of The Tale of Nokdu. I agree, they have great chemistry.

        And I wish fans of shitty idol-actors would stop dragging actors with actual talent. Kim Ji Won, on the same level as Suzy when it comes to acting? ???? As if! AC problem was never the actors anyway, it was the bad pacing and incomplete story.

      • Suzy has 10% of KJW’s talent (and even that’s stretching it). And in no world is she pretty while KJW isn’t.

    • But the poll has nothing to do with ratings, so it doesn’t matter if it’s on Netflix or not. Most of you say ratings don’t matter anyways (unless your faves are in it) because the rest of world loves it :p

  8. YJG has one drama in best and one in worst. Proves how inconsistent he is. He had no chemistry with IU in HDL all the chemistry she had was with LDH.

      • And did you guys watch the last ep of Vagabond? I was in awe with how absolutely ridiculous it was. It was like the writer and director fell asleep and a cat took over.

    • It shows he is inconsistent in choosing script, not acting…He was still good in all three shows he did this year…2 out of three projects he did this year were succcessful rating wise and he got great reviews for one(Crowned Clown) and loved by masses and critics for the other (HDL)..that is a good indication of him doing things right.

    • @roa – you are just here to bash YJG, aren’t you? AB plot is poorly written to the point of totally ridiculous, so different from the J-version. AC is the worst drama, so are you saying SJK, KJW, JDG all have poor actings and no chemistry? It is not just the acting, it is also the plot which dictates what deems a drama to be bad. If YJG has no chemistry IU, they will not be in second place of Best Couple. Your bashing is toooo obvious. LOL.

  9. I honestly like Arthdal chronicles and trying hard to understand why it is among the worst drama, they actually give us something different and yet entertaining.. I really look forward to the completion of that great movie.

  10. there’s no “Tale of Nokdu”?! It has everything…lovey-dovey mc and fmc, gender bender, good ost, power puff girls and aeng-du..I hope they will receive more love on next episodes..It should be on the list T.T

  11. I don’t get the hate for AC either. I really enjoyed it and am hoping for a next season. The other K drama that I loved this year was Hotel del Luna (IU and YJG were amazing) and Tale of Nokdu is also very good.

  12. Nah, people who say Arthdal is bad or even worst are only havent preapared for a new genre of kdrama. I know its still lacking in some points and seems got a lot of influences from GOT, but as someone who enjoy GOT and any other political, historical, fantasy series, I could say this drama didn’t bad at all. You can still understand the plot, enjoy the conflict, and curious about the continuation of the story. I’m waiting for season 2 though

    • I am much expecting the end of that movie, I hope they will have fund to continue with all this hate..

      I believe angels last mission is ought to be the worst drama but it’s not on the list.(my opinion )

  13. I believe for the worst drama – the so called judges didn’t watch all the dramas of 2019 to determine the worst…but watched the high budget ones and conveniently called it the worst. Who think these 200 people really watched ALL the dramas of 2019 to determine the worst list? Abyss and MMS is no way better than AC and vagabond. AC and vagabond are pretty decent not taking into account the budget.

  14. Arthdal and Vagabond. There goes two of the A-list writing teams of the past 10 years. Amazing. All I need now is for Park Kyung-soo (Empire of Gold, Punch, Whisper) to write a big, expensive flop drama.

  15. Angles Last Mission was the worst. How is it not on the list. Vagabond is a lot better than Abyss. It’s not great but it’s not bad enough to be on this list. There should be a list for most boring drama because Encounter would win that.

    • How can you be so sure that Encounter would be the Most Boring Drama? The one you considered as the worst isn’t even on the list. Lol

      • Maybe it’s boring for him because it isn’t his cup of tea. Viewers have to be emotionally mature to enjoy Encounter.I really love that drama and haven’t moved on from it .

      • You are sooooo RUDE! Turn your words to yourself, you deserve all the curses. You wicked heart!! You are the most hated one here.

  16. Arthdal Chronicles was not as bad as people are claiming….the problem was the pacing….the world building for example was detailed and well thought out…first season was too fast in the first few episodes to wrap up background, introduce key players and move the story back to Arthdal….in doing so viewers did not get a chance to learn to care for characters…then pace became slow and then when it finally picked pace…season ended….second season fared way, way better…acting was not the issue, directing no but script, editing, pace killed its momentum…it was still moderately successful. I would put Meltimg Me to be Worst drama of the year so far….its just bad, bland and bad.

    • I think who write this article must be crazy or who vote for it are out of their mind how could they say arthdal chronicles is the worst for me it’s the best of 2019 no it’s the best korean drama I ever seen I was watching korean drama for 10 years and I know what the best and worse of KD and where’re the masterpiece dramas doctor john and vagabond both of those drama are the best so far of 2019. This avaluation was wronged and underrated.

  17. For me the worst is
    1. MMS, every parts of that drama is bad. Plot, directing, acting. JCW is so bad, idol actor can act better than him.
    2. arthdal the PD don’t have experience in this genre, how could they using narator to explain the story. And that rapper-actor totally give the drama bad impression with his awkward acting.
    3. Vagabond, the acting of the leads are bad, too much plot hole.

    Honorable mentioned as worst drama: encounter because the writer is too lazy. Suprised Its not in the list. But I think Knetz remember it as a beautiful drama, thanks to both actors.

  18. If there was a worst couples list I’d add PSH and HB to it. Why is MoA not in the worst dramas list? The writing was all over the place and don’t even get me started on the ending.

    • hahaha… a Worst Couple list will be fun. MOA plot is not bad, if they take out the female lead storyline and just put lots of bromance, along with a spunky sister for some lighter moments, the story will be better. MOA does not need a romance line in my opinion. The gaming storyline is new and I enjoy it very much. The all over writing is in the romance part, it is so cringy and unnecessary.

    • At least MOA is not on the list of worst dramas. Phew! Even though all the characters were written as 2-D. It was just about the lead male levelling up the wonderful game he was playing and in the end he loved it so much he got stuck in it!!! If those dramas were voted worst, I really don’t want to think how bad they must be!

    • AC had the time and the money to make something big and good. And they completely failed like Vagabond. They chose to bet about filming locations and CGI instead of writing and pacing…

      • Arthdal chronicles and vagabond are the best korean drama of 2019 and ever but u judge it wrongly . Have u watch those amazing dramas? to say this but if u do watch it and still think it’s the worse u must be out of UR mind and sorry for that.

      • Shaima> Yes, I watched it. The scenario of Vagabond is so stupid. They started well with the 2 first episodes. But after? The couple has no chemistry, the female lead was completely useless for the half of the drama, etc.

        For AC, t hey started wrong by not saying it was the first season. The Kdrama have one season for the majority. IN this case, they already cut the first one in 3 parts, without telling people, there will be other seasons. It changed the way people watched the show. They put useless elements like the big wall just for the show. They couldn’t have the story of all the characters in the same time : Saya wasn’t there in the part 1, he was interesting in part 2 and became uninteresting in part 3. His brother was interesting in part 1, disapeared in part 2 and was kidnapped by everybody possible in part 3… It was badly written. As person who loves fantasy and reads a lot of books, fantasy is not a simple genre to do. But they had time and money.

      • @shaima> Yes, I did for AC and half of Vagabond. And they were bad! For AC, they started wrong with their communication. People would have watched differently this drama, if they knew from the start there will be several seasons. Then, the intro episodes were chaotics, we couldn’t see anything and the story was pretty unclear. They couldn’t handle all their characters and they were badly written. They added useless elements like the big wall. They had good ideas but the result was poor.

  19. There were some gems though this year thoroughly enjoyable worth a mention but the 200+ K industry respondents most likely looked at AC and VB and had the daggers out for the expensive as budget, massive media play, stellar cast and yeah lacklustre ratings and decided to name them as worst in solidarity to get their own back. Not realising they are both doing well internationally.

    • Very well said. Unless there are straight criteria for a grading system, choosing best or worst is only an opinion, like all the awards which will happen in year end. I don’t understand why people here are arguing over subjective opinions. We can agree to disagree. One person even tells others to die, isn’t this cyber bullying? So stupid. Also I can tell some people are making multiple comments under different usernames, sounds like a whole fan group is bombarding here with similar comments from a particular country again. SMH.

  20. @Alice let’s just agree to disagree. I don’t consider plot pacing as merely director problem? That’s come down to writing. We just agree to disagree. For me Why Kim Won Seok handling the cast, the atmosphere, and acting on fire among the cast of what makes me think he is doing a good job. The world building is detail.

  21. The only reason AC is voted the worst drama was because of the Song-Song Couple Breaking up. I bet if they were still together today, AC would make the Top 5! Not fair to the OTHER fine actors/actresses who performances were outstanding.

    • Do you think all those 200 K-ent industry insiders cared about SSC’s divorce? You do realise that AC was already criticized prior to the announcement? ??‍♀️

    • This is by far the lamest excuse to put blame on innocent celebrities while the plot and execution of AC should be the main reason for its sad fate. lol.

  22. Arthdal Chronicles isn’t the best drama but not the worst either. I really hope they announced season 2 soon. Because the Part 3 made me really excited about the preview we saw through animated version. I guess the higher budget and complex plot didn’t do great with korean viewers and when the show started getting positive comment, by then part 3 was over.

  23. Whatever it is Ac is one of the best Korean drama I’ve ever watched different from every dramas,love to watch the upcoming season.

  24. Arthdal chronicles and vagabond are the best korean drama of 2019 and ever but u judge it wrongly . Have u watch those amazing dramas? to say this but if u do watch it and still think it’s the worse u must be out of UR mind and sorry for that.

    • You don’t need to repeat soooooo many times. You must be out of your mind too. There is no judge here. This is a poll. Why don’t you participate in that poll too? Not being invited coz you are not important? Lol. You can disagree but calling people crazy is a bit too extreme here. I have watched those dramas and they are bad to me so I dropped them quickly, this is my opinion. Your sorry is well taken but please stop repeating now.

  25. My favorite Drama “Her Private Life” made it to no list. Probably the voters liked serious Drama more. All Dramas on the TOP list may be good but they left me feeling detached or bored. WWW had the potential to reach my heart but it never did.

  26. If first impressions help determine success, the AC posters looked like a joke, like a low budget kids’ school play, what was the point of spending all that money, big name actors were a waste too.

    • @M Yes 200 Industry K respondents like scriptwriters, producers, directors voting amongst themselves so it’s based on their preference. And I would take their selection with a grain of salt and not be bothered if your favourite dramas ended up in the worst category like half of mine did.

  27. AC is bad.
    Funny how people say that it’s good but the pacing is bad.
    Pacing is exactly how drama revealed their enjoyment.
    Acting? It was okay-ish. Story? Dozen of Cdrama and old Saeguk does it better.
    AC is just a disappointment.

  28. Uuummm who where the judges!!???
    Arthdal Chronicles was truly one of the best Kdrama of the year , the whole story and acting , screenplay ,scenery … were really great although it’s a new genre in korean dramas but still I believe it was one of the best kdrama I’ve ever seen and I’m really excited to see the next season . Also Vagabond was really a good one in 2019 .

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