Stepping foot into the last week of 2021 seems unreal. It has been a magnanimous year in terms of popular BL productions.
As such, choosing the “Best BL Couple- 2021” wasn’t an easy task. But our sleuths worked overtime and we are here with the results for this poll. The popular vote was selected solely based on the audience’s discretion. The voters must be applauded for their intelligent choices. The responses reflect the fandom’s tendency to forego sub quality content. The voter’s response was unprecedented and we are equally pleased to share the results. Without further ado, let’s lift the curtain over the “Grand Reveal”!
10) Teh & OhAew, I Promised You The Moon
I’m actually surprised that this pairing fell down from the ranks, because “I Promised You The Moon” can certainly be dubbed as a classic. While the prequel “I Told The Sunset About You” focused on the main lead’s journey to self-discovery and acceptance, I Promised You The Moon span the narrative to their “Growing Up” phase. Being in a new relationship itself is a taunting task, so Teh and OhAew had a difficult time finding their equal footing. The scriptwriter’s uncanny portrayal of tropes like “Cheating, Distrust, Remorse and “Reconciliation” might have failed to strike a chord with the audiences. What I loved about this show was the intriguing dynamics between main leads Billkin Putthipong and PP Krit. It was unrealistic and yet honest. Their chemistry is reckoning, persistent and heartbreaking. I wouldn’t say that this pairing was a failure, because that would be like opening a whole can of worms. Obviously, ardent fans would love to disagree and we understand their sentiments. Teh & OhAew may have slipped from the grades, but they are definitely incomparable!
9) Leo & Fiat, Don’t Say No The Series
Another pairing that left me surprised (because I can’t fathom how they garnered more votes than the above pairing). Most Mame adaptations would leave you frustrated, so Don’t Say No The Series was definitely a pleasant surprise. The level of toxicity was decidedly lower and this couple actually communicated. That rarely happens in shows scripted by Mame. I won’t say that Leo and Fiat have the healthiest relationship in the “Tharntype” universe. But on the positive side, they are much better than most couples there. They did have tonnes of issues plaguing their fragile relationship; but I enjoyed watching them resolve their problems through tactile communication. The pairing managed to garner plus points, mostly based on their mutual understanding and trust. Ja Phachara and First Chalongrat have a believable chemistry, which comes off as natural and doesn’t seem forced. This could be attributed to their offscreen camaraderie as well. We totally understand the charm!
8) Pi and Mork, Fish Upon the Sky
Another surprise entrant on the gradient scale; this couple’s popularity can be associated with their offscreen interactions; which unfortunately the show failed to bank on. With a lackluster storyline, Fish Upon The Sky wasn’t exactly phenomenal like most GMMTV adaptations. What kept the audiences hooked? The subtle yet barely existent chemistry between main leads, Phuwin Tangsakyuen and Pond Naravit. These two have an effervescent chemistry, which shines through whenever they are together onscreen. Regrettably, GMMTV wasted ten valuable episodes focusing on their arguments instead of fledgling out the romance. This pairing had so much potential, which was inevitably left unexplored. If you are an ardent fan of this couple and love watching their daily social media interactions, you will definitely understand the allure!
7) Aoki & Ida, Kieta Hatsukoi
Undoubtedly, my favorite BL couple of 2021 (so, I have no idea why they are low in the ranks). Aoki & Ida redefined teenage romances in a realistic yet adorable manner. Michieda Shunsuke and Meguro Ren didn’t need sensual scenes to prove their chemistry. They portrayed their character’s vulnerability as well as attraction in a relatively new light. While Aoki’s panic stuck expressions were endearing, Ida’s pursuit of understanding his own feelings was understandable. Most teenagers experience confusion and fear when they step foot into a new relationship; the insecurities are more rampant if you are in a “same-sex” relationship. Aoki and Ida’s romance was well scripted and acted in a way that made it relatable. Definitely a beautiful romance with sweetness overload!
6) Gene & Nubsib, Lovely Writer The Series
One of the best scripted romances in 2021, Gene and Nubsib’s love story was unique and intricately spun. I had my own reservations when this show premiered to high expectations. But Up Poompat and Kao Noppakao managed to allay those fears with their consistent acting skills and comfortable rapport. Though the pairing was new, Kao and Up certainly had an interesting dynamic. Their offscreen interactions are as enchanting as their onscreen persona. I was awestruck by their unrepentant attitude; Kao and Up have a sensual chemistry and they have no qualms setting the screen on fire. They are very few pairings which exhibit this kind of genuinity. Gene and Nubsib’s love story was fraught with childhood memories, heartbreak, remorse and finally heartwarming reconciliation. Truly inspiring!
5) Phupha and Tian, A Tale of Thousand Stars
One of the most anticipated BL dramas of 2021, Earth Pirapat and Mix Sahaphap stole the limelight with their distinctive portrayal of main leads, Phupha and Tian. This show was a dream project that had been in the pipeline for quite sometime, so the excitement was tenfold. What set this show apart from most GMMTV adaptations? Director Backaof Noppharnach’s realistic depiction and his astounding ability to drive the narrative without overtly sensual scenes. While both Phupha and Tian have their individual strengths, their romance was fraught with deception and lies. Yet you can’t help falling in with this beautiful love story. Slow burn romances are my favorites and this show was no exception. There was something soothing about watching these two bicker endlessly as they inevitably became a part of each other’s lives. Earth and Mix’s close friendship is truly a blessing as it translates to a riveting chemistry on-screen. I’m really looking forward to their next ventures in 2022. Fingers crossed!
4) Kang Seo Joon & Han Ji Woo (To My Star)
Decidedly one of the most popular Korean BL pairings ever, this couple rewrote history with their enviable chemistry and the upcoming sequel is a testament of their popularity. Kang Seo Joon and Chef Han Ji Woo are totally opposite profiles and as such, their attraction is understandable. What made this coupling different from most Korean BL romances? Firstly, the effortless camaraderie between the lead actors Son Woo Hyun and Kim Kang Min. I still remember watching the show’s BTS videos, where Kang Min boasts that their pairing would be one of the best same-sex romances. Undoubtedly, he was right; Seo Joon and Ji Woo’s love story is resplendent of oddity, revelation and personal pursuits. Secondly, the humane portrayal of a healthy relationship. Both Woo Hyun and Ji Woo have their own flaws and the scriptwriters projected their most mundane interactions favorably. The sequel is currently under production and I’m totally looking forward to its premiere in 2022!
3) Gao Shi De & Zhou Shu Yi (We Best Love)
Fierce and unapologetic- these are the two words that come to my mind whenever we talk about this couple. Currently, one of the most popular onscreen couple in the Taiwanese BL industry, Gao Shi De & Zhou Shu Yi’s journey from teenage romance to angsty reconciliation will be a memorable experience forever. The show’s popularity can assign to the sensational chemistry between main leads Sam Lin and Yu. Their onscreen and offscreen interactions are trailblazers, which has cemented this couple’s reputation as a successful brand. With two successful shows under their belt, the kind of camaraderie that SamYu display is unheard of. They are singularly the only couple in the Taiwanese BL industry with back-to-back hits. Both Sam and Yu are phenomenal actors and as such, they truly embody Gao Shi De & Zhou Shu Yi’s countenances as well as vulnerabilities. They aren’t perfect, but that makes this relationship worthwhile and exceptional.
2) Zhou Zi Shu & Wen Ke Xing (Word of Honor)
I’m totally biased, so bear with me as I experience this exuberance. Two lead actors with abundant camaraderie and undeniable chemistry- Zhang Zhe Han and Simon Gong’s Word of Honor was a dream come true for ardent Chinese BL fans. While we are talking about the genre, let’s be clear about one thing. Priest’s novels are mostly devoid of explicit sexual scenes, so this adaptation was true to its original form. What made this interpretation better, as compared to others? While most Chinese actors shy away from depicting their roles altruistically, Zhang Zhehan and Simon Gong stuck gold with their honest depiction of Zhou Zi Shu and Wen Ke Xing. The script remained true to the novel and the actors portrayed their characters with utter conviction. ZZH and Simon Gong have a comfortable friendship offscreen, which is apparent from the BTS videos and their recent theme concert. While Simon Gong isn’t new to BL adaptations, it was surprising to watch ZZH match his steps effortlessly. This pairing definitely needs to be recreated in another setting or a different variable universe!
1) Pat & Pran, Bad Buddy The Series
The most sensational couple of the century, Pat and Pran have single-handedly spearheaded the success story of the flagrant Boys’ Love industry. Under Backaof Noppharnach’s expert direction, Ohm Pawat and Nanon Korapat’s Pat & Pran are redefining the boundaries of “Healthy Relationships” while tutoring the common masses about the basics. While most GMMTV adaptations are lackluster, the oddity lies in the directive and the actor’s execution of their characters. Both Backaof and OhmNanon must be applauded for their honest depiction of the storyline. The storytelling could have been a mediocre juxtapose of “Romeo- Juliet” romance, but they have elevated the experience to a whole new level. Ohm and Nanon’s interpretation of their respective characters is phenomenal, enthralling and captivating. Their romance is enviable and leaves you spellbound. Ohm and Nanon’s offscreen interactions are equally absorbing and without contest, they are definitely the “Kings of Romance”. If you haven’t experienced this love story and lived to tell the tale, then what are you doing with your life?
We will back with the results of the survey for the “Best BL Dramas”, so keep watching this space for future updates!