There is a beautiful line separating quality content from sub-par works. Drama often reflects the creative minds and mentality of its Directors. Their tendency to manipulate an actor’s emotions, keeping them in line with the storyline, is somewhat impressive.
One of the most essential parts of a play being presented is the act; you have nothing to watch without a cast. And yet a good drama cannot be done without flawless direction either – so it’s just as important to keep tabs on your director as it is to make sure that your actors are giving in their absolute best performance.
Today we will be presenting the top 10 Asian BL Dramas of 2021. So without further ado, let us begin!
1. Bad Buddy The Series
“Bad Buddy” is the number one drama in its noteworthy storytelling and formidable casting. Ohm Pawat and Nanon Korapat’s unique portrayal of Pat & Pran has raised awareness about issues at the forefront of the LGBTQ community.
Ohm, The Great and his sidekick Nanon are the perfect protagonist duo, with a solid moral compass on one end and snarky results of puns that lead to good deeds on the other. However, do not let the colourful characters distract you from learning life lessons throughout this adventure. And as if all that were not enough, there are more than just Ohms and Nanons as each supporting cast member is a treasure trove of delight.
2. A Tale of Thousand Stars
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by GMMTV’s new romance, A Tale of Thousand Stars. Usually, when I see something GMM-related, I’m not expecting anything too creative or riveting. Still, Backaof Noppharnach did a marvellous job with this tale, and it was fun watching all the characters unfurl throughout the story.
It bears a resemblance to old fairytales that remind you of folklore magic. The village setting was resplendent with the charm of those ancient fables and Earth-Pirapat, and Mix’s Sahaphap’s pairing was refreshing, and their characterization a bit daringly honest. Tian’s journey of self-reflection and acceptance was soul-wrenching, as was his subtle romance with the grumpy Park Ranger, Phupha. Truly a love story written in the stars!
3. Word of Honor
A BL that was true to its original intent, Word of Honor is admirable because of its revolutionary script and daring casting. Zhou Zi Shu (Zhang Zhe Han) and Wen Ke Xing (Simon Gong) were dubbed “Soulmates”. An observation that bears no arguments, as the show has the capability of demolishing the Chinese censorship rules. Zhang Zhe Han and Simon Gong make excellent duo, and their exceptional performances are unparalleled.
The brilliance in this adaptation comes in the liberties afforded to the author. The author was faithful to the original novel while weaving a delectable romance that was heartbreaking and enviable. Whatever the future gets to supply as far as adaptations go, we should be thankful for what we’re getting here because this adaptation is the end of a foregone era. It may or may not come back again.
4. To My Star
Another popular drama trope within the drama fandom gained popularity because of its poignant portrayal of the boundless love between leads, Son Woo Hyun and Kim Kang Min. Initially slow-paced, To My Star banked on the unhinged romance between two leads who’re as different as possible. However, the raw emotions and personality clashes were intriguing and bred excitement.
The first season of this show focused on the complicated romance between the main characters Kang-soo Joon (Seo Kang Joon) and Chef Han Ji-woo (Ji Woo). Son Woo Hyun and Kim Kang Min may best be described as the explosive duo who broke apart numerous barriers in the conservative Korean industry. As such, we are totally looking forward to the premiere of Season Two in 2022. So let’s wait for them to set some screens on fire!
5. Kieta Hatsukoi
Kieta Hatsukoi is one of those few BL romances that leads the narrative with its compelling storytelling rather than relying on overly lewd sexual content. Kieta Hatsukoi managed to break from the mould with appropriately cinematic dialogue in the vein of classic romance dramas.
The true strength of natural storytelling lies in the script. This adaptation tops the chart, and there is no doubt about it. Michieda and Meguro make a handsome pair whose natural chemistry shines through as they relate. Kusunoki Keiichiro’s Kieta Hatsu Koi is a breath-taking love story!
6. Light on Me
This phenomenal Korean drama, which achieved acclaim among Asian fans and was even nominated for “Best Drama” at the 18th annual Seoul International Drama Awards, focused on the blossoming love triangle between emotionally compromised main leads, Woo Tae Kyung (Lee Sae On), Noh Shin Woo (Kang Yoo Seok) and Shin Da On (Choe Chan Yi) while highlighting age-old adages that affect the LGBTQ community.
Light On Me is an Asian drama series that revolves around characters whose stories comprise personal interests and individual goals. A drama with numerous plots and intriguing twists that have to do with character studies. The end result is known as romance through it all, each individual leading their own lives while confronting the problems they face every day.
7. We Best Love: No. 1 For You
This is an excellent example of how acting can have a massive impact on an actor’s popularity and catapult their star to new heights. It made these two brilliant actors into icons everyone around the world looks up to for the authenticity and insight they brought to the characters in this production and their future performances.
Focusing on the “Enemies to Lovers” trope became famous because of the believable chemistry between the main actors and the relatable storyline. The angsty romance evoked worldwide attention and established a base as one of the most well-known BL couples in the Taiwanese industry. The style of filmmaking is unfailingly different and astounding. A worthwhile experience, indeed!
8. We Best Love: Fighting Mr. 2nd
The popular franchise’s sequel proved resplendent in Taiwanese BL dramas, with a storyline revolving around the tumultuous reconciliation of main leads Gao Shi De and Zhou Shu Yi. The franchise concerned is mainly well-known for its Sam Lin and Yu inclusion. They played the two main leads and contributed to the drama’s success because their sizzling chemistry was noticed again.
The drama also won many accolades for portraying the supporting couple. Despite the reasonably frequent incidence of sexual assault in general and between couples, Shi De and Shouyi’s tragic attack might have been too much to bear. However, we can not deny that both the actors deserved praise for their performance, acting out the turmoil of their characters with all the passion they could muster. It was heart-wrenching and rather terrible, but we have to admit that it was an integral part of De’s recovery process and his development, having endured so much conflict along a rather dark path. The second season ended on a happy note, and people eagerly anticipate what will happen during season 3!
9. Lovely Writer The Series
The drama Lovely Writer, starring Kao Noppakao and newbie actor Up Poompat, was a resounding success. It dealt a heavy blow to the issues plaguing the BL industry with an excellent cast’s strong script full of twists and turns and fantastic acting. The first half of the series centred on the projection of a viable stereotype in the entertainment industry, whereas later episodes overemphasized a romantic relationship between our invariable couple.
The script was tremendous! The writer brought up many important topics that the LGBTQ community must face. It was both horrifying and inspiring. But, of course, the true strength of a blockbuster script is its flawless execution. In retrospect, Lovely Writer honestly had all the makings for a great drama!
10. HIStory4: Close to You
The fourth instalment of the popular HIStory franchise was met with controversy and mixed reactions. While it started somewhat slow, many fans were divided into two fractions because of the “Stepbrother and Non-Consensual sex” plot twist.
The undeniable chemistry between the cast’s leads (Xiao Li Cheng, played by Charles Tu and Teng Mu Ren, played by Anson Chen) was tangible for audiences to appreciate; it was the saving grace, considering how this show could have sunk. Though “Healthy Relationships” were portrayed in a more comedic than logical way, and some characters’ attitudes were frustrating, even the fans could laugh at the absurdity of it all. However, the major drawback was the complexities the second lead couple faced, Ye Xing Si (An Jun Peng) and Fu Yongjie (Lin Chia Wei), in their budding romance. Nevertheless, if you can overlook the various roadblocks hammering the progress in the storytelling, then this show is definitely a worthwhile watch.