Heartbreaking romance, thrilling plots and supernatural stories – what more could you ask for?
Already exhausted our binge-watch list? Well, let us introduce you to the world of K-dramas. In the wise words of Korean director of ‘Parasite’ fame, Bong Joon-ho, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
It’s no secret that we’re swept away by the Hallyu wave, from obsessing over K-beauty skincare brands to getting our meaty fix at K-BBQ joints. Now, it’s about time we give in to Korean dramas (if you haven’t yet!). Trust us when we say they do heart-wrenching romance in the most beautiful way that you too would want to experience it. By the time you work your way through this list, the never-ending circuit breaker measures will be a lot more bearable.
Everyone loves a good comeback story, right? Veering away from the traditional romantic trope, this K-drama offers valuable life lessons through the story of Park Saeroyi, a student who is wrongly convicted. After serving his time in prison, Saeroyi opens a small bar in Seoul’s coolest district, Itaewon. Along the way, he meets people from all walks of life who help him take down a powerful F&B company that was responsible for his jail sentence and the death of his father.
Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (aka Goblin)
Meet Kim Shin – he is cursed to be an immortal goblin for his horrendous killings when he was a military general in the Goryeo Dynasty. Fast forward to present day: He has been helping people from all walks of life with his special powers but also desperately desires to lift the curse as he has witnessed too much grief in his lifetime. The only route to mortality lies within a girl he loves, and he eventually has to choose between life and death. Leave it to the Koreans to come up with such dramatic dilemmas.
Let’s Eat 1 & 2
Your favourite establishment might be closed for dining in but you can relive the experience through this K-drama. While the central plot is nothing to scream about, viewers stay for the mouth-watering scenes of the characters devouring not only Korean food but other cuisines such as Indian and Western. We’re talking about close-up shots, ASMR-like sounds of chewing and slurping, and an introduction to the delicious-looking dishes. Gastronomic voyeurism at its peak!
When the Weather is Fine
Nothing like childhood friends falling in love to give us the warm fuzzies. Set in Bookhyun Village, this story revolves around the jaded Mok Hae-won, who returns from Seoul to live with her aunt and reconnects with her former classmate Im Eun-seob, now the owner of a bookstore. The simplicity of the locale and the relatable characters make this show a comforting watch – something we all need during this time.
Who says K-dramas can only do romance? Vagabond is filled with plot twists that you won’t even see from a mile away. The plot follows Cha Dal-gun to Morocco to seek the truth of a mysterious plane crash that took his nephew’s life. Joining forces with a National Intelligence Service agent, Go Hae-ri, they uncover a world of corporate espionage and corruption.
A Korean Odyssey
Taking inspiration from the Chinese folklore tale Journey to the West, this series combines romance and fantasy. It features the super charming Lee Seung-gi as Son Oh-gong, aka the Monkey King, who is exiled to the human world and comes across a woman with supernatural powers. What happens? Well, it’s a K-drama after all, so expect nothing short of a heady romance. Oh, and it sounds strange but we’re pretty sure you’ll fall in love with other characters such as the pig demon and a beautiful zombie.
Crash Landing on You
If there’s one K-drama you should see, it’s this. With near-perfect TV ratings, the 16-episode series tells the story of a South Korean heiress who experiences a freak paragliding accident and somehow ends up across the demilitarised zone, in the arms of a dashing North Korean military officer. How romantic, right? Well, not really. In the vein of Romeo and Juliet, watch how the star-crossed lovers navigate through their differences, escape from near-death experiences, and find joy in the unlikeliest of situations. Plus, each episode is around 90 minutes – almost a mini-movie!
Hotel del Luna
Ever heard of a hotel that houses spirits? Enter Hotel del Luna, which is helmed by Jang Man-wol, the CEO who just happens to be trapped in his building. Located in the chic Seoul district of Myeong-dong, the series invites viewers on a supernatural journey where the hotel manager, Gu Chan-sung, attends to the dead before they are reincarnated and unearths ghastly secrets of the place.
Descendants of the Sun
Before there was Crash Landing on You (CLOY), there was Descendants of the Sun. The tale that took the K-drama world by storm in 2016 centres on two people, a military officer and a trauma surgeon, with contrasting views on life. While the former believes he will do anything to protect the country, the latter is a pacifist at heart. Without giving too much away, this is a must-watch for any CLOY fans.
Hyde, Jekyll, Me
Smitten by Hyun Bin’s performance in CLOY? Let him shred your heart to pieces with his portrayal of Gu Seo-Jin, the director of a theme park who happens to have two polarising personalities. One is dark and brooding, while the other is sweet and loving, but both are equally attractive, if you ask us. Watch the Jekyll and Hyde story unfold as heroine Jang Ha-Na comes to understand his psyche and falls in love with him in the process.