My Top 10 Most Anticipated 2022 B.L. Dramas:
So 2022 has been a great year for BLs so far and there are so many more to come, so these are the ones I’m most excited for!
10. Check Out (thai)
Airs: 11th June
Two boys troubled by love meet whilst travelling and start to fall for each other. I’ve been a big fan of Best since LBC and his real life friendship with Chahub translates to incredible onscreen chemistry. A special episode has already been released and it wasn’t incredible, but their chemistry and the poster they recently posted are so beautiful, that Check Out had to be on this list. (12 episodes)
9. Ocean Like Me (korea)
A man dreams of opening a restaurant on the beach, whilst trying to achieve his dream he meets a failed musician. After 2 years Han Gi Chan is going to be in another B.L. (WYEL is still one of my favourites) - and he’s starring alongside Holland (the 1st openly gay idol) - so I’m very excited! Not much else is known, but it’s coming and the location looks gorgeous!
8. Middleman’s Love/Bed Friend (thai)
Yes…this is 2 series, but they feature the same characters. Middleman’s Love: an average looking man (Jade) catches the eye of a handsome new intern. Bed Friend: Jades 2 best friends, don’t like each other but have a connection. Mii2 have a new drama! I love them, but the enemies to lovers story of Bed Friend is the one I’m most excited for. These are also from the same production company as Cutie Pie which I’m really liking.
7. Summerdaze The Series (singapore)
A star actor gets in trouble for making a homophobic comment, to repair his image his management cast him in a B.L, his costar is an aspiring actor and the 2 fall in love during shooting. This plot sounds like my thing AND this is Singapores first ever B.L! There’s a stunning short film and trailer made for this project, they didn’t meet their crowdfunding goal, but they’re filming anyway - it’s hard to find updates, but this is a big deal!
6. Never Let Me Go (thai)
A boys mafia boss father is m*rdered and a boy his age is brought in to protect him. Bodyguard B.Ls are the trend atm and I couldn’t be happier. This looks so dark and gritty, but also so beautiful. The director has revealed this is based on 90s thai melodrama lakorns and in those series the leads tend to die, which is why I can’t put this further up my list!
5. Blueming (korea)
Airs: 31st March
Siwon worked so hard most of his life to be perfect and handsome, in college he meets someone who naturally seems perfect. This is by my queen, the director of To My Star and WYEL! I love the plot and the trailers are unbelievably adorable, it looks like it carries a lovely message and it’s by my fave KBL director…I just wish it was going to be longer! (11 episodes)
4. Love In Spring (korea)
A struggling nobleman saves a woman one day, but things are not as they seem when the woman he saved is revealed to be a man. I’ve been wanting a really good historical B.L. for a while now and I’m hoping this is it! I’m also a big fan of gender-bend dramas and it stars a big time idol who I’ve seen in a couple dramas and he’s always one of the highlights! Also the gender-bend is so convincing, look at him! (16 episodes)
3. About Youth (taiwan)
Two very different boys are competing to become student president, but whilst competing it seems there may be more attraction than animosity. This is from the director of all my favourite HiStory series. It’s also the first time that a Taiwanese B.L. novel will be adapted into a series! I’m so excited for this, it’s hard to find any updates online but it’s been shot!
2. I Feel You Linger In The Air (thai)
An architect is heartbroken when his boyfriend reveals he has a fiancée, he gets into an accident and is transported back in time to the 1930s. I’m really looking forward to this. It’s starring Non who’s been my thai drama crush for years and this is his first B.L! I also love a time travelling plot. It’s from the director of TharnType and Lovely Writer, his last project wasn’t as well received but I hope this’ll be a return to form!
1. KinnPorsche (thai)
Airs: 2nd April
This is what inspired me to make this list! We all know what it’s about, but incase you don’t, this is the story of a bartender who becomes a bodyguard for a mafia family. I couldn’t be more excited, the trailer, the music, the cast - it all looks incredible! The struggle it’s been to watch this series get made, but now it’s 10 days away and those 10 days feel way too long! (14 episodes)
There are so many other series I’m excited for. I only wanted to include one gmmtv series, so there was more of a variety, but coming this year Vice Versa, Eclipse and Moonlight Chicken all look amazing from them! There’s also so many KBLs being announced, but not much is known about them. And I’m so excited for To My Star 2, but I didn’t put that on here because it’s a season 2. And there’s the full series version of Love Mechanics too! What is everyone else excited for?
10 BLs to Watch if You Loved KinnPorsche
It’s really hard for me to understand exactly why you liked a thing, anything, let alone a phenomena of pop culture. Also there is nothing exactly like KP. With those two codicils in mind, I will do my very best.
So here are 10 things I’m going to assume you are looking for.
higher heat levels - things get steamy
lower angst levels - external conflict (rather then internal agony and navel gazing)
good chemistry (not the same thing as heat) - this means the actors are good at portraying physical, mental, and emotional attraction to each other
longer length treatment
a happy ending
I do hope I’ve gotten it right. This BL list will be rated on a scale of #/10 KP rating system - one point for each of the above, half points allowed. (Which is NOT my normal BL rating system.)
Some things that I can’t really help you with:
Explicitly kinky characters. There is very little of this in light BL (stories with happy endings) and what there is I’ve a listed here.
Mafia or yakuza set dramas are more common in dark BL. There are a few exceptions, but none of them have the bodyguard trope of KP.
Trigger warnings: assume if it happened in KP it may happen in these. including the stuff people argued over and disliked. Also dubcon and few others nasties. (Why so much dubcon in BL?)
Narrative structure. As you probably noticed in KP, strong story structure is not a hallmark of BL, but rather the exception. So far there have been only a few great strongly written high concept and killer narrative BLs.
Let’s start, shall we?
Loved KinnPorsche? Try These BLs Next
1. Manner of Death
(Thailand 2021) WeTV
This is a gay romantic suspense featuring a doctor and a mafia character. It’s more a murder mystery investigation with multiple plot twists than a mafia romance, but it is tons of fun. It’s stars the Original Kings of BL IRL ships: MaxTul. Also two of the hottest bodies in BL.
KP rating 9.5/10
It has higher heat levels, low angst (there is no angst at all, really, these boys got other things to do), great chemistry, action, grey morality, multiple couples (kinda - this is where it flails at bit so I dinged it 1/2 a point), mature characters, a country + medical setting, longer length treatment AND a happy ending.
What to watch next if this was your favorite off this list? Triage or Dear Doctor, I’m Coming for your Soul.
AKA HIStory 3: Trapped
(Taiwan 2019) Viki
Basically the definition of enemies to lovers. Is about a cop investigating a cold case where a mafia boss is the only witness, so he starts chasing him. Along the way to solving it, they fall in love. Side characters = mercenary hitman meets nerdy cop of his dreams, cooks for him. All the leads are stellar. It’s high heat, fun action, and a bit of a mystery drama but is pretty about all of it. My only warning is that the main couple doesn’t entirely end up together, it’s implied, but... amorphous ending. The sides end happily tho.
KP rating 9.5/10
Contains mature characters, non-school setting, higher heat, lower angst, great chemistry, action (some of it the SAME action, these two run through the woods hand-cuffed together for days too), grey morality, multiple couples, and a longer length - only the ending falters.
You want HIStory 3: Trapped NOT the other HIStory 3!
If you’ve been frustrated by the heat levels and setting of Thai BLs since KP, then that’s because you need to turn your attention to Taiwan instead. Taiwan specializes in high heat levels and non-school settings. (They have some, but it’s not their focus.)
What to watch next if this was your favorite on this list: HIStory 2: Crossing the Line, DNA Says Love You, and you can explore the top 10 I talk about in my Taiwan’s history with the genre post. A warning, do not take Trapped as a typical example of HIStory franchise, it’s all over the place.
3. Long Time No See
(Korea 2017) GaGa
Long Time No See is about two assassins who fall in love via online gay fanfic without knowing they are hitmen on opposite sides of a turf war. Or do they? It’s absolutely great and very under appreciated. One of Strongberry’s few longer pieces (but still short by Thai BL standards) with good fight sequences and very suspenseful.
KP rating 8/10
Contains all KP elements except multiple couples and a longer length: mature characters, non-school setting, high heat, low angst, good chemistry, action, grey morality, and a happy ending.
What to watch next if this was your favorite on this list: Actually you might try some of Japan’s darker stuff, I’m thinking Double Mints, for example.
4. Not Me
(Thailand 2022) YouTube
This is crime thriller BL-lite about a group of motorcycling malcontents bent on bring down a corrupt system. Overtly queer, the romantic threads are not entirely the narrative drivers and it’s very slender on tropes, making this one, like MoD more gay romantic suspense than BL. But if gritty tension is what you’re after, this one has that in spades.
KP rating 7/10
It’s pretty low heat, this is OffGun+GMMTV and heat is not what they do. It has some angst because of the twin thing and the political thing (but not as much as I expected). The characters are not mature by my personal standards, they do act with the idealism of youth and they are in university some of the time. Otherwise ticks all the boxes: good chemistry, action, grey morality, multiple couples, longer length treatment, and a happy ending.
What to watch next if this was your favorite on this list: you can try OffGun’s back catalogue but it’s probably not what you’re looking for, try Bad Buddy instead and consider my favorite Thai BL, Until We Meet Again.
5. 3 Will Be Free
(Thailand 2019) YouTube
Is about a mafia kid, a stripper, and a grifter who accidentally kill a hitman and then have to go on the run with two assassins chasing them. Along the way the three of them basically fall in love with each other. You also get the mafia hitmen perspective. It’s GREAT and very queer.
KP rating 6/10
Low heat levels for this one because it’s from GMMTV. However it is also low angst (there consistent outside stressors and this plot moves FAST), good chemistry, lots of action, very grey morality, multiple couples (but with each other, this is a poly romance), is not set at school, and has a longer length treatment. However, the characters aren’t entirely mature and it has a slightly ambiguous ending - they survive and are kind-of together but also stuff has happened. I dinged it an extra point because technically this is a queer romance and not, actually, a BL at all. Still it’s a very under-appreciated gem of a show, and I highly recommend it.
What to watch next if this was your favorite on this list: there’s nothing else out there like this show, sorry, it’s unique. However if you like Tay (Shin) you should watch his BL series the Kiss series and Dark Blue Kiss (watching guide here) where he plays a completely different personality.
6. Irresistible Love
AKA Irresistible Love: Secret of the Valet (YouTube) + Irresistible Love 2 AKA Uncontrolled Love (YouTube)
(China 2016) grey
This two movie series is mafia esk but it’s very rough and lacks narrative cohesion. Rich kid (maybe mafia) boss has obsession with his family’s butler in a classic execution of the whipping boy trope. It’s in two parts and the second part has two endings, you want the one that ends not entirely unhappily. I not-so-secretly love this BL: obsession, mutilation, very hard fought and absolutely classic Chinese BL pre-censorship. It's a wild melodramatic ride.
KP rating 6/10
This has higher heat levels (all are dub con), good chemistry, very grey morality, mature characters, non-school setting and a medium length treatment. It also has some serious angst because of the unequal power dynamic and the seme’s bisexuality, there’s little action, only one couple, and the ending is all over the place, happyish if you can find the right one. (As of typing this post: the YouTube links should still work, but this is a grey show it has no official distribution.)
What to watch next if this was your favorite on this list: really? This one was your favorite? Okay then, how about trying My Beautiful Man AKA Utsukushii Kare? Or go for Addicted, if you want the best that China can do.
7. Golden Blood
(Thailand 2021) YouTube
A Thai BL pulp with the whipping boy trope (attack dog variant) about a boy who is pulled off the streets because he has the correct blood type and trained to be the servant/caretaker/bodyguard of a rich mafia kid. They fall in love.
KP rating 5/10
This one has higher heat levels, multiple couples, a longer length treatment and a happy ending. But it is a Thai pulp so the production values are poor. There is some unnecessary angst as the characters are not mature and it is partly set in university, the chemistry is uneven (great with the sides but not the mains), there is action but it’s not very good, and grey morality (sort of). All in all, a mixed bag.
If you liked this best you have some pretty relaxed standards. why not lean in and try some MAME stuff like TharnType, Don’t Say No, or Love in the Air. Consider yourself warned.
8. Unforgotten Night
(Thailand 2022) iQIYI
Ostensibly a kinky story of a mafia Dom who after a one night stand gets obsessed with a simple office worker and kidnaps him into his dark crime riddled world. But that made it sound appealing. It’s terrible.
KP rating 5/10
It does have higher heat levels but they aren’t actually, ya know, good because the chemistry is poor, there’s a lot of unnecessary angst, there’s some action, grey morality, multiple couples, longer length treatment, and a happy ending but ho boy. It’s not a wild ride, it’s a confused and quite dull one. Also you will spend a lot of time worrying about plumbing, and not in a euphemistic way.
If you liked this best, you're confused. You need to learn what good chemistry looks like, watch Zee’s catalogue - Why R U? and Cutie Pie.
9. Where Your Eyes Linger
(Korea 2020) Viki
Ostensibly high school set about a poor kid whose been raised in a mafia kid’s family specifically to protect him (whipping boy trope, attack dog variant). Themes of codependency and survival with pretty classic Korean style romance ending.
KP rating 4.5/10
Excepting Strongberry, Korean stuff is rarely high heat, this one gives you a kiss at the end but that’s it. Decent chemistry, only a little action, only one couple (also a hallmark of KBL), and short treatment. It does have grey morality and a happy ending (at the very last minute). The characters are not mature and it is set in high school.
What to watch next if this was you favorite: you might try Hwang Da Seul’s other BLs To My Star or Blueming. I like the both a whole lot.
10. Word of Honor
(China 2021) Viki also Youku’s YouTube
Yes a censored Chinese bromance actually made one of my lists. But remember I’m rating this by KP standards, not my own. Normally I leave the censored stuff off my lists because I believe in censoring the censors. However, if anything gets on, it’s usually this one.
This show is my favorite of the post 2016 bromance wave. It’s two murder-gay assassins (pining sunshine/tsundere), and they are so insanely gay for two boys who are never allowed to kiss. Tropes include: wuxia, soulmates, paranormal, historical, and fantasy elements.
KP rating 4/10
No heat, this is Chinese BL post censorship, some angst (China likes angst) but in this case it’s warranted, good chemistry, fantastic action, beautifully grey morals, there are other couples but only het and they die, a VERY long treatment, and an ambiguous ending.
If this was your favorite go ahead and watch Untamed (knowing they don’t end up together) or even The Guardian. You might also try Advance Bravely if only to see our boy Jun swap seme for uke.
And that’s it, those are my recs. Feel free to leave your own recs (and reasons) in the comments.
This post is dated Sept 2022, not responsible for other BLs that come along after that date and fit the KP model better.
i basically just stole this ask from @gunsatthaphan, partially because i’ve been wanting to make a post about it and after almost 3 years watching bls, i might as well. right? right. anyways.
Compilation of Bad Kisses in BLs (Part 1)
mind you, this is only for the ones i’ve seen. if i put every single bad kiss out there, this post would go on forever.
i strongly believe a kiss, whether is good or bad, can make or break a show and in my personal opinion, a lot of them fell off simply because of the fishy kisses. they are truly hard to watch, so much so that you have to look away because they are ugly and this is something we CAN and SHOULD blame both the actors and the company. sometimes, workshops are not enough.
i also believe that these actors shouldn’t play dumb. like, they HAVE to know there’s gonna be a kiss at some point. put in the work, pls.
LET’S GET IT
1. My Engineer (MekBoss)
at the time, i didn’t think it was that bad. i just thought they needed some work, a little bit of help because clearly it wasn’t that good either. now, i just see two walls kissing and we might not see these walls kissing ever again.
2. YYY (NottPun)
imagine watching this mess of a show, they promise you a kiss, and once you’re sure you’re gonna get it, they literally bring the sun out, block the view and that’s how the season ends. but honestly? the little i can see it’s still awful.
3. YYY 2 (NottPun)
well... there it is. no words.
4. 2gether (SarawaTine)
maturing is accepting the fact that 2gether had two straight bros playing these characters and that’s how they kissed and then the high five. it was a bad kiss, bestie. we were all just blinded by the pandemic and though this was high cinema.
5. SOTUS (ArthitKongpop)
i’m not afraid of the girlies still caught up on this show. this was a bad first kiss and i’m ready to die on this hill. granted, this was 2016, the actors were still iffy on playing queer characters, they were calling each other wife and the obsession with pink milk was at its peak. gmmtv had $5 and a dream and you could tell.
6. ‘Cause you are my boy/My Tee (TeeMork)
this was frankdrake’s first roles and you could tell. you could also tell that they were in the trenches because everything was bad with this show and i truly think it was a cry for help. they did the best they could with what they had but there was no way in hell they could save this show and honestly, i’m not surprised that their first kiss was like this. it goes well with the quality of the show.
7. Love By Chance (TinCan)
and it doesn’t get better after this. i’m gonna be the devil’s advocate, mean actually tried to make these kisses better but there was no helping with this couple. a mess.
8. Oxygen (SoloGui)
as far as first kisses go... yeah. granted, oxygen wasn’t really that good either but they could have salvage this show with a decent kiss. nothing. nada. it was a let down.
9. Make it right (FuseTee)
make it right paved the way for angle kisses.
now listen, i’m pretty sure boom and peak were 17 or something when they filmed this and back in the day, this was already too much. like, cheewin was pushing it by directing this show. still, it has to be on this list (it’s not like it hasn’t changed anyways. boom and peak would never EVER kiss. this was the closest we could get).
10. Where your eyes linger
i mean, come on. COME ON. i know this was like the first kbl and you know, they paved the way. give credit where credit is due and all that but LOOK. it’s bad. it was a good show, for the plot that it had and the limited time, it was good. BUT THE KISS WAS... it was a letdown.
11. Gen Y (MarkKit)
how are you gonna be a senior in the industry and still kiss like this? kimcop are one of those settled ships that are hard to break and to ship with someone else. with that in mind, you would think they would do wonders. gen y was a dumpster fire and so were the kisses.
12. WISH YOU: Your melody in my heart
this is where you start to understand that it’s not about the production or how short kbls are and that’s why the kisses are so bad. no, it’s because workshops apparently don’t exist in korea and they put these men to kiss without practicing first. this is the product. this is what you get.
13. Color Rush
i know some of you call it the best kbl out there because the plot was different, which is true, but like... their lips are not even touching... so yeah. next.
14. Nobleman Ryu’s wedding
i’m pretty sure this was supposed to be an angle kiss and they changed their mind at the last minute and we got... this. i mean, compared to others in this list is not that bad but is it good? far from it. this was also the first period kbl we got and it was kind of forgettable too. it was very low budget and you could see it with the kiss
15. What Zabb Man
BOTH COUPLES because both of them were such a let down. i was here mainly because of the toxics from gen y and with the crazy tension they had going on, i thought they would go off. not even that. don’t even get me started on the main couple. the manipulation that went down between them UGH but i can’t even get a good kiss out of this mess anyways.