I feel blessed to have at least 3 friends now who also watch Korean dramas and yes, I met them all while traveling in Korea last year. I tried getting my local friends into Kdramas but they simply won’t even bother with them. I’ve recommended many dramas to them too and even told them they could now easily watch them on Netflix but nope, they simply don’t have interest in them!
Now my 3 friends who do watch dramas, they are all very different, and with differences in personality come differences in the types of dramas we like to watch! Nothing is funnier and sadder than asking a friend if they have seen a particular drama that YOU LOVED, just to find out they never watched it and don’t plan on!
Some of my friends really like those funny light hearted dramas, and don’t get me wrong I enjoy those too, but I also want my dramas to make me emotional, to have a deeper meaning, and for the characters to be a little more complex. Light hearted romance and comedy is fun but I need scenes like these too:
Dramas like: Strong Girl Bong-soon, Coffee Prince, and Love in The Moonlight, I’ve never bothered watching, just not my style, but I have friends who loved these dramas.
Dramas I’ve loved like: Doctor John, Pinocchio, Faith, Thirty but Seventeen, Rooftop Prince and About Time, haven’t even been watched by many of my friends! It really is just a matter of each individual’s taste, but I think you can all agree with me that when you fall in love with a drama, you wish everyone else loved it as much as you do.
I started this blog to be able to express my love for dramas out-loud. To be able to get more people to love something I love very much. I know that even if my friends did not like the dramas I watched, there has to be at least one person on the internet that did enjoy them as much as I did!
What dramas do you personally love that you feel didn’t get as much hype as they deserved? Do you have any hidden gems? What’s your favorite Kdrama genre? I’d love to know what all of you Kdrama lovers like to watch!
Hopeless romantics, I feel you, there’s nothing worse than trying to find a good movie or show to watch and being left with the same old classics to simply rewatch. It seems like lately, at least in Hollywood, no one is making movies for the hopeless romantics anymore and the ones they attempt to write, just don’t have that spark that older classics like 13 going on 30 did! Well, that’s exactly why I love Korean dramas, they are some of the few shows out there that can still make anyone swoon and sigh and feel like there might still be hope to have that dream like love story!
Here is my personal list of the Top 10 Best Dramas for the hopeless romantic souls!
Extraordinary You is a new one, this one came out in 2019. At first sight, this drama may look like it’s only for a very young audience. The characters are high school students, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been out of high school for longer than you want to admit. However, this drama beautifully depicts that 첫사랑 or “first love” notion in a very untraditional way. The characters in this drama aren’t simple high schoolers, they are characters living in The World Of Comics! Yes, the lead character Eun Dan Oh realizes she not only isn’t the lead character of her life, but of the comic she’s living in, she’s just a mere extra! (I can relate). Everyone has a character “set up” in the comic, and they are basically bound to it. Even when the characters become self aware, and they start wanting to change their own storyline, their set up holds them back from making any progress! Imagine being a character in a comic, who is simply there to support the leads, whose set up is to die from a weak heart, and never truly receive the love they deserve? Everything is hopeless until the mysterious no named boy shows up, giving our homegirl Dan Oh a reason to keep trying to change her characters fate.
This one is an oldie but a goodie. Like real good. So good, I’ve watched it like 4 times, and that’s a lot for me who can’t typically rewatch dramas I’ve already seen. This drama came out in 2012, but they have yet to write another one like this one. The story is about a young man named Kang Ma Roo, he’s a medical student and he has a younger sister who is sick that he must take care of. He is also very much extremely infatuated with his childhood friend Jae Hee, he would do anything for her, and he does, this innocent man, decides to take the blame for a crime Jae Hee commits. He spends time in prison while the woman he loves and took blame for, becomes the wife to a rich old man!
Trying to cope with the betrayal, he makes some questionable choices in his life, however, Kang Ma Roo’s life eventually intertwines with Jae Hee’s again when he ends up saving her step daughter, chaebol heiress Eun Gi on a plane. He seeks revenge, so he plots to seduce Jae Hee’s step daughter, and bring Jae Hee down. However, he ends up realizing that what he felt for Jae Hee wasn’t true love, or love at all. Eun Gi begins to fall in love with him and deeply, and by the time Ma Roo realizes he sincerely loves her too, he is already too deep in his lies and knows the truth would only hurt Eun Gi. This drama has it all, love, revenge, thrill, comedy, action, and sweet moments. You will be glued to the screen, and still think about this drama for years to come. I mean, it’s been 8 years for me and it still tops my list of favorite Kdramas of ALL TIME.
My goodness, I don’t even know where to begin with this one. THIS drama will live on as one of the best Korean dramas in history. There’s a reason why there’s still so much hype for it. The writer and director of this drama really outdid themselves. I think something else that makes this drama so perfect has a lot to do with the cast, and the perfect chemistry between the two leads.
This is the story of a woman named Seri, who although she is an heiress there is much more to her than meets the eye. She had a rough childhood and she has practically no ally or friend in her life. People are just around her because they are her subordinates and she’s the one that gives them a paycheck, but still, she is at least very successful at running her company, Seri’s Choice. Through a crazy accident, she finds herself lost in a forest, thinking she is still somewhere in South Korea, but to her surprise, she finds out she is actually in communist North Korea! She encounters a soldier who discovers she has trespassed into North Korea. Together they plan how to get her back to South Korea, but little do they know how difficult that parting will ultimately be. This drama is everything. ALL the characters were so wonderfully written and casted, you will fall in love with all the secondary characters in this drama but without them outshining the leads and their beautiful timeless story. This drama is long distance relationship taken to a whole new level, a love separated by borders that absolutely can’t be crossed.
This drama came out in 2018 and it was one of the highest rated Kdramas that year. It’s super fun, if you’re a fan of romantic comedies, this will be a perfect match for you. If this is your first historically based drama, you will be very intrigued by the interesting customs, culture and clothes from Joseon era!
It’s a bit hard for me to explain the plot of this drama without giving too much away. The drama is about a crowned prince of the Joseon Dynasty, his father overthrew the last king and caused a lot of pain to a lot of people. He has despised his position as crowned prince since, and refuses to consummate his marriage with the Vice Premier’s daughter. Joseon is undergoing a terrible drought and they blame it all on the crown prince for not consummating his marriage, so they pressure him even more. The Crowned Prince becomes angry that they are only blaming him and only pressuring him so he decides to make a decree that every single person in Joseon must marry by a deadline. Every single person. (I would cry). A woman named Hong Shim finds herself shocked by this absurd decree, she is the oldest unmarried woman in her village and the men left to choose from in the village are not exactly the ideal man for her or for anyone. She refuses to marry and they sentence her to 100 floggings. The crowned prince is then found by Hong Shim’s father, injured and suffering from amnesia after being ambushed by assassins. Hong Shim’s father not knowing who this man is, but taking advantage of his amnesia, says he is Hong Shim’s fiancé and that they will marry, all to avoid his daughter getting painfully flogged. This is how Hong Shim, and ordinary girl, finds herself in a marriage with the crowned prince of Joseon! Trust me, it seems complicated but it’s really not, it’s a really nice drama, with laughter and romance. Who doesn’t want a prince, at least for 100 days?
I love this drama so, so much and you will too. This drama just recently won Best Screenplay and The Grand Prize at the 56th Baeksang Art Awards. Not to mention cutie Kang Ha Neul’s award for Best Actor. This drama is absolutely gorgeously written. I’m not too big of a fan of mystery thrillers, but this one managed to combine mystery and romantic comedy perfectly. Which means this drama will keep you on the edge of your seat, but also give you enough romance that leaves you wanting to find a true love like this one.
Story takes place in a town called Ongsan. A single mom named Dong Baek moves to the town to start a new life, people judge her for nearly anything, but she becomes the center of attention when she decides to open up a bar named Camellia, time goes by and her business continues to grow and she remains in Ongsan with her son Pil Gu. Meanwhile Yong Sik, an Ongsan native, is transferred from his police position in Seoul back to Ongsan, and he happens to encounter Dong Baek and falls in love at first sight knowing very little about her, especially the fact that she is a single mom.
However even after he finds out, he has fallen for her so much that he isn’t willing to give her up for that kind of reason. He pursues her so honestly and sincerely its comical. Dong Baek is so taken aback by it at first, haven’t ever been the one to be pursued in her whole life. In the meantime, there is a serial killer in Ongsan called The Joker, who they haven’t been able to find since he committed several homicides. Dong Baek is then caught up in the whole mess since she was the only witness of one of the several murder crimes. It’s up to Yong Sik and his crew to figure out who the killer is before the killer sets his eyes on Dong Baek once more.
I’m telling you, you won’t regret watching this drama, it’s one for the books.
This one is quite similar to When The Camellia Blooms because it’s also good at mixing up good romance, comedy and some thrill! It’s a total swoon worthy drama, I mean Lee Jong Suk (WE MISS YOU) he’s a total hottie and well known actor in Kdrama world, he’s known for his amazing chemistry with the leading actresses he has worked with, this one is no exception!
This is the story of a woman named Nam Hong Joo who at first appears to be a nobody who just lazes around but is actually a well known reporter on leave from work. She has the ability to dream about future events, she’s tormented by these dreams since not all of them are good and there is nothing she can do to stop them from coming true. That is until she meets the literal man of her dreams, a man she dreamt about and he changes the outcome of a dream she had already believe to be set in stone. It turns out he too has these types of dreams. They team up to ultimately understand why these dreams are happening and why he has the ability to change them.
There’s also a second lead, super cute guy, but just watch it for yourself, you may develop second lead syndrome!
This drama is also an older one, it came out in 2013, but it truly does qualify as a classic. The popularity of this drama was immense during its prime time. Jun Ji Hyun is easily one of the best actresses in Korea, so this drama was guaranteed to do well but it did more than well because of the likability and quality acting from all the supporting actors/actresses too.
This drama is about an alien named Do Min Joon, ( I know, he doesn’t look anything like your typical depiction of aliens in America) who arrives on earth during the Joseon Dynasty and fails to return back home. He remains stuck on Earth for 400 years, having to switch identities often since he ages differently than humans. He ends up meeting a famous actress named Cheon Song Yi, who reminds him of someone he had met 400 years back. He saves her once, and then again, and then he can’t help but get himself involved in her life even though he promised himself to not get close to anyone since he would have to leave Earth shortly. Cheon Song Yi is quite the handful too, she gets herself in a lot of trouble but deep down isn’t the stuck up top actress she wants everyone to believe her to be, she is a caring person, sure a bit of an airhead, but she ultimately has a big heart that doesn’t just crave fame but rather seeks friendship and warmth.
You’ll love it, I promise, even if he is from another star.
This drama is every fangirls dream, I suppose it was written as an ode to the fangirl. This drama is sweet, romantic, and the chemistry between the leads is fantastic, and it has a good message in the end.
This drama is about a grown woman who at first sight appears as nothing other than a super professional, art curator. It looks like she has her life completely together, her style is on point, she’s got a career and everything. However, she has a secret life, one so secret and private that no one must know about, she’s a fangirl! I’m not talking about the casual fan either. I’m talking about the kind that runs a fan club, who follows her bias to get good photos of him, and has a house full of posters, art, merch of her favorite Kpop idol. Everything is going well and according to her plans, until she meets Ryan Gold, who becomes the director at the gallery she works in. They go through a couple misunderstandings and eventually Ryan learns her secret, but she remains unaware. Ryan begins to take interest in her and her little side hobby of fangirling.
This drama is beautiful because it doesn’t shame the fangirls, rather it encourages us to find someone who supports us and loves us for who we are, even if we have silly hobbies. It also gives us hope of one day finding true love, and fangirling over the man who wins our hearts instead of simply being a fangirl for someone we don’t know. There is hope for us, we can find our Ryan Gold.
This drama made me cry several times. It’s funny, it’s heart warming, and it makes you really think about life.
This is the story of a girl named Woo Seo Ri who was 17, she was in school, she was happy, she had a best friend and they would wonder about what their lives would be like when they turned 30 years old. Woo Seo Ri was a violin prodigy and her future looked bright, that is until she got into a big accident and ended up in a coma for 13 years. Gong Woo Jin had a secret crush on Woo Seo Ri when they were both 17, but he became a very aloof person after he believes he was to blame for the accident that happened 13 years back. They end up meeting again after she wakes up from a coma, but both without knowing each others identities and the past they both shared. This drama is about friendship and healing, and falling in love with the very person who helps you heal and grow.
We are finally at the end of our list. Doctor John is a drama that changed my outlook on life. It wasn’t afraid to talk about controversial topics, but allowing you to see the different sides of the spectrum. I personally am a big fan of medical dramas and shows, this one focuses on anesthesiologists. I’m used to seeing dramas about cardiologist or neurosurgeons, but never about those who specialize in pain. The cases are unique and new to viewers. However this drama isn’t just about medical cases, it’s about allowing yourself to be loved, cared for, and cherished even if you think you aren’t deserving of it or that your situation, or health may be a burden to others. It’s also about terminal illnesses and how to cope with the pains of life, both physical and mental.
This drama is focused on a doctor named Cha Yo Han, who is really good at his job, but ends up in prison for making a questionable choice with a patient’s life. The drama also revolves around Kang Shi Young, a very warm doctor who also made a choice in her past with a patient’s life that still haunts her. The two doctors end up having to work together in the same department.
This is one quality drama I highly recommend.
Where You Can Watch It: Viki
Well there you have it, so many swoon worthy dramas to choose from! I feel confident that at least one drama on this list will become a new favorite for you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!