New to the wonderful world of K-drama? Here are some of the best Korean dramas of all time to get you started.
Now that Halloween and all the dressing up is out of the way, we think it’s fair to say that Squid Games is… kind of past its prime. But, it’s never too late to hop on the K-drama bandwagon! If you’re looking for something to binge watch – from historical dramas to mysteries and rom-coms – you’re in the right place. Here are our picks for the best Korean dramas to watch after Squid Game. (Don’t worry, this list is spoiler-free!)
Welcome to the wonderful world of Korean dramas!
1. My Name (2021)
Released only two weeks ago (on 15 October 2021), My Name has already captured the hearts of many around the world, nabbing the top rankings on Netflix. This series revolves around a woman’s journey to avenge her father, who was murdered by a mysterious killer. Han So-hee, the famous South Korean actress who plays the role of the protagonist (called Yoon Ji-woo), has received high praise for her exceptional performance in My Name, as she was able to demonstrate a huge contrast from her previous role in the popular drama The World of the Married (2020). Say bye-bye to the evil, spoiled mistress – you’ll be sure to fall for Han’s bad-ass, heroic charms in My Name.
Watch My Name on Netflix.
2. Signal (2016)
Signal is one of our favourite procedural TV series of all time. Heart-wrenching may it be – since it’s inspired by various true crime cases in South Korea – this drama has strong elements of suspense, criminal psychology, and touching moments… Even fantasy, too, as the plot is based on two policemen being able to communicate with each other via a walkie-talkie, despite them being 25 years apart in time. Join this duo and another detective as they investigate terrifying crimes, including the notorious real-life cases of Hwaseong Serial Murder and Miryang Gang Rape.
Watch Signal on Netflix.
3. Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016-2017)
Do you recognise Gong Yoo – you know, the fella from the ‘slapping game’ at the train station in Squid Game? Here he is, starring as the protagonist in Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. While Gong’s character in Guardian, Kim Shin, is a less sinister character compared to his role in the Squid Game, Kim is an immortal ‘goblin’ with a grievous past. As he seeks his Bride, who holds the key to end his eternal suffering, he has to witness his loved ones die as he lives on. With elements of fantasy, rom-com, deeper themes about life and death, and an amazing soundtrack, Guardian is certainly one of the best Korean dramas of all time.
Watch Guardian: The Lonely and Great God on Netflix.
4. My Love from the Star (2013-2014)
More fantastical plots incoming! This time, it’s not about time travel, but about extra-terrestrials. Yep, the handsome Kim Soo-hyun from It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020) plays an alien here. In addition to his dashing appearance are some extraordinary powers – think superhuman strength, teleportation… Oh, and did we mention his out-of-this-world good looks? Acting as his counterpart is Jun Ji-hyun, who rose to fame with her role in My Sassy Girl (2001), one of the highest grossing Korean comedies. Jun’s character in My Love from the Star is also sassy, but she now exudes a more mature and elegant sort of charisma. And of course, her acting skills are matchless as always.
Watch My Love from the Star on Netflix.
5. Dae Jang Geum (2003)
If you grew up in Hong Kong, chances are you’d recall Dae Jang Geum, one of the pioneering Korean dramas in the Hallyu wave. Also known as Jewel in the Palace or The Great Jang Geum, this period drama was released back in 2003 and has over 50 episodes. That being said, this long series is well worth watching for its plot twists, cultural and historical references, as well as the immaculate acting from Lee Young-ae, Ji Jin-hee, and the supporting cast. Moreover, Dae Jang Geum is an inspiring drama as we see Jang Geum braving the odds to gain a position in power. Her personality and resilience will leave an impression on you.
Watch Dae Jang Geum on myTV Super (Chinese subtitles only).