Heard about K-pop? Well, there's something more to South Korea's lively entertainment industry than just music. Welcome to the universe of K-drama.

By Aarushi Kakwani




Call them Korean dramas, or K-dramas, they are immensely popular worldwide, partially due to the spread of Korean culture, besides their easy availability through streaming services that offer multiple language subtitles.

Let’s take a look at some of the must-watch K-dramas: 

Comedy:

Welcome To Waikiki Season 1 

One of the funniest shows I have come across. Three young men join forces in a guesthouse called Waikiki venture with one dream in mind, to finance their own film project. 
However, the venture is anything but profitable. Complications spark when their guesthouse is visited by a single mother and her baby. 
(Available on Netflix & Viki Rakuten)

Welcome To Waikiki Season 2 - Its a story of friendships, love, and dreams of Lee Joon Ki, an unpopular actor, and the friends at his "Waikiki" guesthouse. Season two is different than the first season and the character of Joon Ki is the only constant one in both the seasons. I actually teared up a little when the show ended. 
(Available on Viki Rakuten)

I Picked Up A Celebrity On The Street 
A very unique storyline with lots of laughter and also a little bit of mystery. This is a story of a contract worker Lee Yeon Seo who daydreams about teaching her manager a lesson, but accidentally act out her fantasy on none other than on a famous Korean tv star Kang Joon Hyuk. 
Thinking she killed him but afraid to be labelled a murderer, she takes him home and prepares to get rid of the body. But Joon Hyuk wakes up and seeing her preparations thinks he has been kidnapped by a murderous psychopath. Seeing no other option, she keeps him hostage so he doesn't turn her into the police. (Available on Viki Rakuten.)

Thriller:

Beautiful Gong Shim - This absolute watch is more than just a thriller! It’s also romantic and funny. Gong Shim was born as a second daughter to a family that always prioritizes their first daughter Gong Mi, due to her being a successful and beautiful lawyer. As a result, Gong Shim grows into a prickly and sceptical woman with an inferiority complex. One day she meets Dan Tae, a quirky public defender with a mysterious past. Dan Tae rents a rooftop apartment which formerly belonged to Gong Shim. (Available on Netflix and on Viki Rakuten as "Dear Fair Lady Kong Shim")

He Is Psychometric -  A romantic thriller with a touch of sci-fi and crime mystery is about how two teenagers love, heal and support each other through big and small events. Lee Ahn is a boy with incredible power to sense other people's secrets just by a simple touch. Yoon Jae In is a girl who'll stop at nothing to hide a traumatic secret. Together with his foster guardian, prosecutor Kang Sung-mo, and the latter's colleague, investigator Eun Ji-soo, they team up to solve an elusive case that has been haunting the lives of Ahn, Sung-mo, and Jae-in. (Available on Viki Rakuten)

Strong Girl Bong-Soon 

Finally a feminist drama with lots of comedy, romance and sci-fi! Do Bong Soon comes from a long line of women possessing Herculean strength.  
She is hired by the CEO of a gaming company, to be his bodyguard. Meanwhile, crimes against women take place in the neighbourhood where Bong-Soon lives. Detective Kook-Doo also lives in the same neighbourhood. They have been friends since they were kids. Kook-Doo tries to solve the case and Bong-Soon and Min-Hyuk are pulled in. 
(Available on Netflix)

Romance:

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo - One of my all-time favourites. This tearjerker left me in tears, quite literally, during its last episode. In Korea, the term 'fairy' is often used for beautiful, feminine women. So it's kind of contradictory having a weightlifting fairy. But essentially it's this love story between two childhood friends. One is a swimmer and the other is the weightlifting fairy, the girl, Kim Bok-Joo. And it's fun because it's actually loosely based off a true story. Bok Joo is a weightlifter who is pursuing her dream of winning the gold medal but she then finds romance for the first time in her life. To focus solely on weightlifting would jeopardize her relationship but leaving her weightlifting career for love would keep her from attaining her dreams. (Available on Netflix & Viki Rakuten) 

She Was Pretty - This is certainly not a typical Cinderella story, where a girl gets a makeover and suddenly the man she likes, swoons over her. It's a realistic and believable portrayal of a person whose struggles make her beautiful. After a complete reversal of fortune and looks, childhood sweethearts reunite for the first time in 15 years as employees at a fashion magazine. (Available on Netflix & Viki Rakuten)

Fiction:
The Legend Of The Blue Sea 

 It’s a comedy mixed with romance and a bit of history to a modern era drama. A must watch, I say! The story is about Shim Chung who is a mermaid and she finds herself transplanted to modern times. 
She is caught by Heo Joon Jae, a charming but cold con artist who is the doppelgänger for Kim Moon, the son of a nobleman from the Joseon Dynasty. 
But in the present time, Joon Jae works with Jo Nam Doo, a skilled conman who guides Joon Jae to become a genius scammer. 
But Joon Jae’s friend, Cha Shi Ah, who works as a researcher at KAIST, may be Chung’s only hope for surviving in her strange new world. (Available on Viki Rakuten)

Goblin/Guardian: The Lonely And Great God - The story is so gripping and refreshing. Kim Shin was once an unbeatable general in Goryeo's military who died a tragic death. He now possesses immortality but is tired of living whilst everyone else around him dies. For 900 years, Kim Shin has searched for his bride, a mortal who can pull out the sword and end his life. One day, he encounters Ji Eun Tak, a positive, upbeat high school student who can see the dead and has gone through tragic things, yet still stays strong. She claims to be the Goblin's bride who can end his immortal life, but what appears to be an easy task only gets complicated as the two falls in love. (Available on Viki Rakuten)

Hotel Del Luna - This is a 2019 mystery, romance, fantasy drama. I'm currently obsessed with this show. The fantasy-filled story draws you right in and you can't get out because of that and the main cast of characters -- they are so good in their roles. Jang Man Wol is the CEO of Hotel del Luna. The hotel is situated in downtown in Seoul and has a very old appearance. She made a grave mistake many years ago and, because of this, she has been stuck at Hotel del Luna. She is beautiful, but she is fickle, suspicious and greedy. Goo Chan Sung worked as the youngest assistant manager ever at a multinational hotel corporation. He is a sincere perfectionist. He looks level-headed, but he actually has a soft disposition. Due to an unexpected case, he begins to work as a manager at Hotel del Luna. The hotel's clientele consists of ghosts. (Available on Viki Rakuten)

Historic:

Hwarang/Hwarang 

Thought-provoking, emotional, addictive with a star cast that will blow your mind and lots of bromances! It revolves around an elite group of young men called Hwarang who discover their passions, love and friendship in the turmoil of the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. - A.D. 935). 
As this new elite of male youths bond and grow they are unaware that within their number is their future king, Sammaekjong, and Kim Sun-woo, a commoner with a secret even he is not aware of. (Available on Netflix)

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung -  This is a historical, comedy, feminist and romantic drama. The story takes place at the beginning of the 19th century. Free spirit Goo Hae-Ryung embarks on a new life as a scholar in the Joseon royal court after hearing about a government post for women historians. However, it was not acceptable for women to write historical records at that time. She takes one step at a time to create her own destiny in Joseon, where the Confucius ideas are deeply rooted. She wants to fulfil her duties as a historian and prove to the world that everyone is equal. Along with the fight of the female palace historians, the drama will tell her romance with Prince Lee Rim who has a secret of his own. (Available on Netflix)

Classic:

Full House - My first K-drama and the all-time favourites. This is the show I always come back to. Han Ji Eun, an aspiring scriptwriter, lives in a house called "Full House" built by her late father. One day, her two best friends trick her into believing she has won a free vacation. While she is away, they sell her house. On the plane, she meets a famous actor named Lee Young Jae. Through comedic events, they get acquainted during her vacation and when she returns, she discovers her house has been sold to him. Though they don't get along with each other, as she is messy and he has a bad temper and likes cleanliness, they agreed to live with each other. At first, Ji Eun works as his maid in order to buy her house back, but because of Young Jae's wish to make the love of his life, Kang Hye Won jealous, they get married. They set up a contract for the marriage to last six months. During that time, complications arise and Ji Eun and Young Jae become attracted to each other.  (Available on Netflix)

School 2013 - A coming of age drama. Amazing cast with a very realistic storyline. School equals unhappiness. The students have long been the icons of loneliness, suicide, and bullying. The teachers are incompetent employees who go to school to give detention. The parents are dictators who will do anything for their child to advance in society. Seungri High School ranks as one of the worst of the 178 high schools in Seoul based on academic scores. Kang Se Chan is the top Korean language teacher who owns a famous teaching institute in Gangnam. Meanwhile, Jung In Jae is a short-term Korean language teacher at Seungri High who gets appointed as the homeroom teacher of class 2, the bottom of grade 2. When Se Chan transfers to Seungri High to teach the Korean language, he becomes the co-homeroom teacher of class 2-2. Both teachers run into many difficulties due to their different teaching methods. However, they need to put their differences aside in order to help their class successfully advance to their senior year. (Available on Viki Rakuten)

Boys Over Flowers  

This is by far one of the biggest Korean drama hits. Set at a famous high school for the super-wealthy, this is a puppy love story centred on a poor girl and the F4 gang of rich kids headed by the rough and fearless Jun-Pyo Koo. 
Jan Di, the Heroine, is the poor but bright girl who has a strong sense of justice and full of vitality. She transfers to an exclusive high school where only the rich go. In there, she encounters the four rich and quirky boys and experiences love and friendship. 
Their love story moves from Seoul to New Caledonia to Macau. 
(Available on Netflix)





It's always interesting to explore the other side of the world - be it their culture, movies or music. Do tell us which is your favourite K-Drama in the comments section below.