Well, it’s officially been a little over two weeks since the UK went into Lockdown, although I had been in isolation days before that already. Back then, I released a post where I discussed my unsteady state of mind at that point and how I was coping/not coping with the new reality, but things are a little different now. Days are starting to merge into one another, and I sure am stopping to stare a lot more than I normally would.
During this ordeal the one thing I struggled with and still find difficult is finding a balance; a balance between facing reality and guarding my mental health, a balance between work and play. I am planning on writing occasional diary-style posts to go into this a bit further, so I won’t bore you too much with more details.
Now, on to the reason why you probably clicked on this post. I’ve mentioned before that I absolutely love Korean dramas and have been watching them for years now. From the usual rom-coms to the dark revenge focused thrillers, I watched thousands of hours by now and have become a pro at reading subtitles (sometimes I don’t need them at all!). I fell in love with the culture, language and food and I’m certainly happy to see the rise of Korean entertainment globally because it’s just that good!
I’m sure most of us are binging shows and movies more than ever before so I decided to compile this list of some of my favourite series I think you should watch if you haven’t already. Who knows? You might get sucked in or you might find some you’ve never seen before.
There are so many things I could say about this show, but I’ll try to keep it short. Healer was the first Korean tv show I ever watched and it’s no surprise it’s the one that got me hooked. It’s intricate, dramatic and if you know anything about me, you’d know I can’t resist anything that has fight sequences, high kicks and crazy stunts. If you’re looking to start, this would be a perfect one to watch right now.
The series follows a man by the code name ‘Healer’, a famous reporter and a gutsy second-rate journalist who are entangled all in a twisted fate.
Genre: Action – Thriller – Romance
INHERITORS. – also known as Heirs (Netflix)
They are not your average high schoolers; in fact, this show revolves around the life of children of the very 1% who are being groomed to take over large companies. The story unfolds when an outcast joins the school and the status quo changes.
Genre: Romantic Comedy – Drama
FIGHT FOR MY WAY. (Netflix)
If you are a young adult trying to find your place in the world, then this series is for you. We all know adulting is hard and it feels like a constant race to find the right way to our dreams, but the four protagonists in this drama are living through just that when the story picks up. Dreams versus reality, relationship struggles, the mundane of life; this show definitely has one of the most realistic and down to earth plotlines.
Genre: Workplace – Romance – Friendship
A manager of a luxury hotel and a sheltered heiress get entangled and have to work together to protect her father’s legacy. It’s a bit on the longer side compared to a lot of the dramas on this list, but I assure you it’s completely worth it. The plot to this drama I just gave, I promise you, is very surface level because the whole thing gets dark real quick and maybe a lot of things are not as they seem…
Genre: Melodrama – Revenge
KILL ME, HEAL ME. (Netflix)
Kill Me, Heal Me is definitely a fan favourite amongst k-drama watchers. It’s a psychological drama about a son of a wealthy family dealing with multiple personality disorder and a first-year resident who becomes his secret doctor. The main lead actor is one of my favourite Korean actors as he portrays every emotion perfectly and that can be seen especially here where he plays 7 different roles in one.
Genre: Medical Drama – Suspense – Romantic Comedy
UNCONTROLLABLY FOND. (Netflix)
Beware, this one might just wreck you! The story follows a top celebrity and documentary producer who were once inseparable after they reunite years later to discover they are now very different people. Now with an illness to fight through, will they be able to recover the bond they once had?
Genre: Melodrama – Romance
SAVE ME. (Netflix)
If you think all Korean series are fluffy rom-coms with cheesy one-liners, well, this show will prove you wrong. I started watching it without knowing what I was getting into and it’s safe to say I was in for a heck of a surprise.
Genre: Thriller – Mystery – Suspense
SUSPICIOUS PARTNER. (Netflix)
Suspicious Partner is an absolutely brilliant show and there’s nothing I could say that would accurately reflect how much I loved this show. It was one of those I hoped would never end and when it did, it left me with a void for weeks after. There’s a serial killer involved, someone gets framed for murder, legal procedures and unsolved mystery, and yet, it’s filled with clever banter and funny scenes that will stick with you. Plus, the unexpected plot twists – brilliant!
Genre: Legal – Crime – Mystery – Romance
DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN. (Netflix)
I feel like this show is best watched with little to no detail. It is one of the most iconic Korean dramas and I bet most fans and critics would agree with that statement. This show will have you laughing out loud, ugly crying, and the back and forth between the characters seem so effortless and natural.
It was one of those that had it all together: great writing, great acting, great production.
Genre: Action – Melodrama – Romantic Comedy
CRASH LANDING ON YOU. (Netflix)
In the first edition of my media monthly rundown, Rachy’s Radar, I mentioned Crash Landing On You as a must-watch. After a South Korean heiress finds herself in North Korea following an unprecedented accident, a soldier is forced (compelled? threatened?) to give her shelter until she can plan an escape. It’s complicated, political and I’m still sad it’s over.
Genre: Romantic Comedy – Politics
SHE WAS PRETTY. (Netflix)
He was the stereotypical portrayal of a chubby ‘uncool’ kid in school. She was the super pretty girl who seemed to always be walking on a runway and catching every boy’s eye. Now, 15 years have passed and neither of them are the way they used to be.
This show is one that will make you laugh a little too much and it’s a perfect distraction from everything that’s been going on lately.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
ANOTHER MISS OH. (Netflix)
A case of mistaken identity gets the ball rolling in this drama and the execution couldn’t be more perfect. Another Miss Oh has a different feel than a lot of k-dramas I’ve seen as it’s moody in every way and both production and direction seem (to me at least) to be intentionally peculiar. It’s still one of my favourites till this day and if you watch it, you’ll find out why.
Genre: Fantasy – Romance – Comedy
ITAEWON CLASS. (Netflix)
I finished this one only a week ago and damn, I have to say Itaewon Class is certainly relevant right now. The show is a smash hit at the moment and I genuinely think it’s because it pushed a lot of boundaries and the storyline did not shy away from confrontation and the uncomfortable realities in society. It unveiled the mask on important issues such as corruption, racism, ageism and much more. What I loved the most about it was that although some scenes made me want to punch the screen, the writer created a set of characters you sometimes loved, but at times couldn’t stand. Not everything was black and white, not everyone thought the same way. I just felt it was a real representation of reality.
Genre: Revenge – Friendship
SECRET GARDEN. (Netflix)
This show is one of the classics that I am sure if you have watched Korean dramas for a long time, there’s a 99% chance that you’ve seen it already – perhaps more than once like I have.
The first time I saw it, I have to admit, it took me a few episodes to get into it, but a few episodes in and I felt like I somehow knew all the characters by heart. I won’t give too much of the plot away because I went into it cold and I feel like that was the right choice for this one.
W – TWO WORLD APART. (Netflix)
I often wonder what the process of script writing looks like, especially when an idea is so out of the box like with this show. I remember watching in absolute awe trying to keep up as every episode pushed the boundaries a little further each scene. This one is especially for those who love fantasy, alternate dimensions and trying to play catch up with a crafty writer.
Genre: Fantasy – Thriller & Suspense – Romance
STRONG WOMAN DO BONG SOON. (Netflix)
Intentionally framed as just another rom-com, this show presents the story of a young woman with super strength who is trying to find her way in the world. The exaggerated quirky approach to comedy in this show, however, may be designed to put you at ease unprepared for what’s to come.
I feel like the one thing this show did perfectly well was it placed many different genres in one show without making a hot mess of a story. There’s never a dull moment in all 16 episodes and maybe that’s the sign of a great drama.
Genre: Fantasy – Thriller – Action – Romantic Comedy
THE K2. (Netflix)
THAT WINTER, THE WIND BLOWS. (Netflix)
RADIO ROMANCE. (Netflix)
MEMORIES OF ALHAMBRA. (Netflix)
OH MY VENUS. (Netflix)
MONEY FLOWER. (Netflix)
THE LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA.
HAPPY ONCE AGAIN. (Netflix)
ANGEL’S LAST MISSION: LOVE
GOBLIN (a.k.a Guardian: The Lonely and Great God)
MY LOVE FROM THE STAR. (Netflix)
Your restless romantic roamer