BY Katie Vicary

Now that we’re all stuck at home, probably binge watching anything and everything we can find, it’s getting hard to find something good. 

As such, I’ve put together this list of K-Dramas (Korean dramas) for the uninitiated, as well as an honourable mentions list for those who need even more content. I have tried to create a mix of genres, so this does not reflect my personal top 5 but is more of a starting point.

W: Two Worlds (2016)

This was the first K-Drama I really got into and it had me absolutely hooked. W: Two Worlds or W, centres around the connection between two worlds: the real world and the world of a popular webtoon. This drama is a mix of everything, it has murder, mystery, love, loss and a complicated back and forth between two worlds. You will never be bored as the plot is insane, and this is one of the main reasons this drama has stuck with me. I might be biased because this was my first Korean drama, but I’ve never found a show quite like W.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo (2016)

This show is one of many, many Korean dramas which centre around high school and university life. Usually showcasing a bright, rose-tinted glasses view of the education system which makes you envious that you’ll never experience it. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo centres around Kim Bok-Joo, a weightlifter in an athletics university, a backdrop which separates itself from the average university drama. It’s a coming of age story that goes through her experiences of following one’s dreams, struggles, friendships and love. A heart-warming show which will make you wish you were a part of it.

Itaewon Class (2020)

Now this is a very recent drama and one I’m sure you’ve heard of by now. The story centres around Park Saeroyi, an ex-con and underdog who is trying to realise his dreams. Itaewon Class is a beautiful mix of friendship, mystery, revenge and non-typical love. One of the main things I loved was the way characters were written. No matter if they are main or side, each character is fully fleshed out and engaging. The plot will keep you on your toes and make you want more. A definite must if you haven’t seen many Korean dramas.

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart (2016)

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart follows Go Ha-Jin, born in the 21st century and who is suddenly transported back around 1 000 years to the Goryeo Dynasty. She is thrown into life during this period: the culture, traditions, beauty, people and a life with many princes at your door. This is one of many dramas set in Korea’s past, using beautiful historical sets, costumes and set pieces to throw you into a different era. A great show to escape modern life and fantasise about living a fairy tale.

Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016)

Guardian: The Lonely and Great God or Goblin is one of the most recognisable dramas within South Korea. Based on Korean folk law about dokkaebi, a higher spirit known as a goblin. In Goblin, our main character Kim Shin was a warrior and cursed by his transformation into one of these higher spirits, an immortal being. This show has so many iconic characters and relationships that you’ll no doubt be drawn in and become invested in Goblin like many others.

Honourable Mentions

Some other Korean dramas which deserve your attention include: Hotel Del Luna (2019), Crash Landing on You (2019), Strong Girl Bong-Soon (2017), Extraordinary You (2019), Hello, My Twenties (2016), mainly season 1, While You Were Sleeping (2017) and Cheese in the Trap (2016). Just to name a few.

All these dramas you will either be able to find on Netflix, or websites built for Korean dramas such as Viki, a quick google search and you’ll find a free site to binge away on.

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