The Red Sleeve Cuff and Two Other 2021 K-dramas Selected for Best TV Drama Nomination at the 34th Annual Korean PD Awards

I mention The Red Sleeve Cuff specifically because I think it’s a shoo-in to win but seeing what industry insiders pick as the best K-dramas of 2021 definitely validates the critical acclaim these three dramas received during their runs. In addition to Red Sleeve, Taxi Drive (Deluxe Taxi) and Youth of May round out the three dramas nominated for Best TV Drama Award at the upcoming 34th Annual Korean PD Awards. It’s selected and voted by the PDs in the industry and more of the awards are in other television program categories like news, variety, music, documentary etc. It’s hard for me to look back at 2021 and find another drama better written than The Red Sleeve Cuff and combined to stellar acting and solid directing it’s definitely cohesively one of the best dramas of the year.


The Red Sleeve Cuff and Two Other 2021 K-dramas Selected for Best TV Drama Nomination at the 34th Annual Korean PD Awards — 28 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Red Sleeve Cuff and Two Other 2021 K-dramas Selected for Best TV Drama Nomination at the 34th Annual Korean PD Awards - SanIsidro

  2. I think it’s no brainer The Red Sleeve is the best drama of 2021. Considering it’s a Saguek drama which is more difficult to shoot and takes longer.

  3. I love TRS mostly for introducing me to the excellence that is Junho. Rooting for them to win. But this reminded me that I gotta check out the other two dramas as well. They have gotten a lot of praise too.

  4. Better written, it’s not so difficult… The Red Sleeve wasn’t so great. It’s kinda frustrating me that the writer always got praise for her writting when she’s not a good writer. The actors and the PD saved the drama.

    Taxi Driver was interesting by questionning how punish the murderers.

    Youth of May shouldn’t have begun the story by the present with one of them dead. And I know the area was tragic but the death was ridiculous.

    • I am not sure if it’s well written or not but it was well-executed drama overall.

      What stand out on The Red Sleeve;
      -PDs works
      a.the over-all direction, Jung Jiin did a fantastic job in this drama
      b. cinematography
      c. stunts direction – The tiger hunting & the assassination scenes were amazing, brilliant direction and execution of the cast

      -Lee Junho performance (deep character interpretation & delivery.He must have studied the character well.)

      -Synergy of all cast
      a. Thought interactions of the main leads in two scenes were abit awkward; the pond scene & the one scene in the library.
      b. Best acting duo were the Crown Prince & King Yeongjo. There were a delight to watch. I find Lee Deokwha monotonous esp in Hotel King & Hit The Top but he’s on the roll in TRS.

      • The crown prince and his grandfather’s relationship was heart-rending but so brilliantly acted. They truly were the best part of the drama.

    • @Sayaris

      I 1000% agree with your sentiments on TRS. Director Ji-In and the cast saved the drama. That awful writer should thank them and the author of the novel for letting her piggyback on their talent.

      • The worst thing was the story was based on a famous novel and she added stupid plots like the secret conspiracy by the maids…

      • It was regretful that The Red Sleeve was only 17 episodes. It should have been 20 episodes. Despite that it’s still the best drama. I am impressed Jung Jiin work on episode17. It was beautifully done.

  5. Hmmm, I’m going to have to disagree with the PD’s here. There were much better 2021 dramas than those three. The Red Sleeve’s acting and directing was stellar but the writing had problems. I didn’t like Taxi Driver at all or the message it sent and the second half was messy. I think the writer left or something? I liked Youth of May the best of the three but the writer wrote the most ridiculous death scene.

    • Best Drama is mainly about PDs work. It’s a bonus that TRS has stellar acting that covered the flaws of the writing. So I won’t vote TRS for Best Screenplay or Best Writer category.

      • Having said that. TRS is the Best Drama of 2021. Overall, the drama is great and no brainer the best of 2021. It has the best musical direction too both OST and especially musical score.

        Among MBC dramas in 2021, in fairness, I think the writer still deserved she received last year.

      • If it’s the best to you, it doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone else. You already posted at the top. No one came under your comment to argue with your views. So why have you come down again to shove your clouded, misty-eyed as usual opinion down OP’s throat? Is it by force?

    • Thank you. You need to be agreement. I was trying to point out it’s about Best Drama not Best Screenplay. Which means it’s more focused on execution.

      And you don’t need to be passive aggressive to raise your point.

      • Please delete the sentence ‘You need to be agreement’. The autocorrect got me there.. and I don’t know why the word agreement was inserted.

  6. In not exaggerating when I say that The Red Sleeve and the main actors deserve Golden Globes nominations if it had been produced by Netflix. It is a masterpiece.

  7. The direction is one of the best thing about RSC.
    The scenes are not overexplained with long dialogues , presented with much symbolism and poigance.
    The colors are beautiful to look at and give dreamy atmosphere.

    Director Jung Ji in’s name is the name of Korean director along with Director Bong Jung Ho , whose name will be saved in my memory.

    Even the award worthy performance from JunHo and all the stellar casts come in second to me.

    • Script ,not the best one but still the better one among many of 2021.

      I actually appreciate the scriptwriter more after reading the novel.

      All the changes make Yi San into a better character.( not the arrogant one in the novel )

      With the changes and immersed acting from Junho , San becomes a fully explored character ,interesting to follow along his journey.

      I still think both of the main leads are equally stellar.
      So if someone says one is better than the other, I am irritated.

      Lee Seyoung is the one who gets the short stick.
      In the novel, Deok Im is the one who is the most expressive.
      In the drama, she doesn’t much to do apart from saving her prince charming repeatedly . ( Amused that rather than prince saving the girl, the girl needs to save him for how many times .)

      She really showed her acting skill in later parts of the drama though.

      But , overall I am still angry at screenwriter for unnecessarily prolonging Gwanghang Palace arc and we are robbed of San & DI ‘s happy marriage life in the novel.

  8. I watched the drama for Lee Se Young but Loved the drama for Lee Jun Ho. Her acting was great but Lee San’s characterization was better and Lee Jun Ho’s interpretation was stellar, that’s why his performance stood out. Both are great actors and I’m waiting for that role where Lee Se Young will blow everyone’s mind because she will.

    • On a professional note, I think both are them are recognized by Korean audience as well as some international drama fans , by not only their fine acting skill but also their good character.

      But I understand Junho’s is more popular between these two because he had double boost last year .
      ( His career as an idol through ‘My House ‘ and ‘Make It ‘ fancam.
      His career as an actor through RSC.)
      Man had his lucky stars aligned in 2021.
      But his popularity is well deserved and over dued.

      Like you said, I hope Seyoung will have a drama that can show her fine acting skill. ( Like Honey Lee in ‘On the Woman’ )

  9. I agree. I love Lee Seyoung since Hit The Top. I know she’s a good actress but she still lack depth. Actor’s brilliant interpretation of their characters make them different from the rest. I think what’s lacking in Lee Seyoung performance. That’s why her performance was not consistent.

    Unlike Lee Junho, his performance showed that he knows exactly how to present the character, thus the consistency. No wonder Koreans were raving for his performance and considering how sensitive they are when it comes to their public figure.

    • I agree with the character interpretation. But rather than the actress fault, I think it’s more on script .

      In the novel, DI is the main character of the story.
      We are told everything through the DI’s lens.
      Everything about the palace , about the inner court , the King etc.

      The novel San is the one we see through her lens.

      We can see DI’s feelings like the clear sky from Day 1.

      Yeah, casting a mega hit star ( Junho was trended as ‘My House Junho’before the drama ) and giving him nothing to do, is not wise .
      So her changes are the good ones in this scene.

      For the drama, sigh !
      I have love & hate relationship with this scriptwriter.

      She made subtle changes to San’s character . San is on his own ,not the one we see through DI’s.

      In early parts of the drama, we see DI’s inner feelings through her dialogues and the ones in stone skipping scenes.
      But starting from episode 7 and 8, all her monologues are not included anymore.

      Or worse, esp after San becomes the King, we see DI through San’s lens ( Like how much he is frustrated with her rejections ).
      Like San can’t understand and accept her reasons , the audience feel like that too because what is presented , is his view.

      Before reading the novel, I even thought the first rejection ( aka tangerine scene ) had to do with DI’s decision not to distract him before becoming a king.

      Only during the last two episodes, the audience can see her real reasons behind the persistent rejections and understand her character.

      Also it doesn’t help DI is the character of a court maid that can’t speak out loud and do anything as she wants ,even in the novel.

      So I think Lee Seyoung was doing her best as she could,with such given scenes.

      • I became Seyoung’s fan through her Buja character in ‘KO (2017)’.

        ( I am smitten with the fact both of our leads got recognized and became main leads after 2017 projects.
        Junho,through the ‘Chief Kim (2017)’.
        They are meant to be together in RSC after all).

        But I couldn’t start ‘The Crowned Clown ‘ no matter what because it’s boring.

        After RSC, I tried TCC cause I wanna see her acting.

        Hell , it is so different.

        Though both characters are the court women in Joseon, Su Won in TCC and DI in RSC are completely different .

        So I think as it is difficult to imagine another actor in San’s role , it is the same for DI’s too.

    • Novel is the Novel. We should really not entangled those two works together. Though the novel is the inspiration but the writer has the artistic freedom and not to just merely copy and paste someone’s work. The same with actors. They have their own artistic freedom to interpret their characters in the best way they can.

      I found the portrayal of Yisan/King Jeongjo to be well thought. It was interpreted who Yisan is as a character. While I found Deok-Im was interpreted script by script.

      Overall, I like Lee Seyoung performance and her chemisty with Junho is one of the best. I only wish she had the same depth of characterization like how Lee Junho did on Yisan.

      • Yeah It’s just my view.
        Everyone will be entitled to their own opinions.
        Drama viewing is fun because of discussions.

        Most drama viewers will feel like you too, because it’s the best if the drama version is perfect because we are just here to watch the drama by the way.

        It’s just me who invested in this star crossed couple so much , so I searched and read a lot about them.
        ( I love this couple since YiSan (2007) ).

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