[K-Drama Korner]: K-Dramas for Beginners

I won’t claim to be a drama expert, because I’m not. Just like any other drama-addict, I started with one drama. We were compatible, and after I re-watched it 3 consecutive times , I picked up a new drama, then another, and another.

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There are thousands of K-dramas to choose from(along with other series from different Asian countries). By releasing new drama seasonally, the Asian entertainment industry is keeping the viewers enchanted as they go from one drama to the next.

Yes, yes. I think you’ve already figured out that dramas are drugs, but just like drugs, they’re not for everyone and each individual has their own preferences as to the substances they rather indulge in (totally speaking as a third-party observer, the strongest thing I’ve ever taken is NyQuil for colds).

Divided into a few categories, I will give my opinion as to the best starter dramas that I believe have a good chance of not only entertaining the viewer, but to pull them into its little world. These dramas are both my opinions and observations from my own experiences.

I’ve also provided links to the shows. If you didn’t know this already, they’re actually quite accessible online.

♥Romantic Comedies ♥

Boys Over Flowers

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Plot: Jan Di is rewarded a scholarship to the most luxurious school in South Korea, where she meets the F4, a group of friends made up of the four richest and handsomest boys in the institution. Admired by the rest of the student body, but infamous for their tyrannical conduct, the F4’s arrogant lifestyle is challenged by  Jan Di’s assertive personality. 

Why You Should Watch This: Cinderella story plot that women are suckers for [CHECK]; Loveable characters [CHECK]; Comedy and drama [CHECK]; Drop-dead gorgeous men [Check X4]

It’s hard to describe it in words. BOF might seem like an average sappy story, but the drama is sprinkled with sugar and magic! It can be enjoyed by everyone in your family.

Coffee Prince

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Plot: After mistaking Go Eun Chan for a male, Choi Han Gyul hires her to pretend to be his gay partner and employs her as the pretty-boy face of his Coffee Prince shop. Things begin to get complicated when Han Gyul starts developing feelings for her, causing him confusion and motive to question his sexuality.

Why You Should Watch This: As you can probably already tell, this drama is HILARIOUS; it’s fun to watch Han Gyul‘s sanity deteriorate! Yoon Eun Hye is one of my favorite Korean actress (girl crush) and her role as the hard-working Go Eun Chan is nothing less than brilliant.

I’ve actually watched this drama with a guy (he’s not into K-dramas, AT ALL), and he enjoyed this series very much, so if you want something sweet to watch with a lover (brother/father/grandpa/some random stranger in your local Coffee Bean), you might want to give this a try.

The Greatest Love

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Plot: After being blamed for the disbandment of the girl group Treasure Girls, Gu Ae Jung has been scraping off any airtime she can find. Her luck completely changes when she meets famous actor and label mate Dokko Jin, whose personality is nothing like his charming on-air conduct. Regaining recognition, Gu Ae Jung joins a matchmaker variety show, to Dokko Jin‘s dismay, as he and the handsome contestant begin to fall in love with her.

Why You Should Watch This:  CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE! Start to finish, there’s never a dull moment. Cha Seung Won nailed it! The character of Dokko Jin is so lovable and well portrayed that in my heart I am truly convinced that somewhere in the world this arrogant, idiotic jerk exists.

I love Cha Sung Won even more for taking on a role like this, he’s actually a top star in Korea that specializes in action movies, so this role is almost completely different than what he’s used to.

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Melodramas (The Tearjerkers)

Innocent Man

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Plot: Kang Maru, a studious medical student in his third year, voluntarily takes the blame for a murder that the love of his life, Han Jae Hee, committed. Seven years later, he is released from prison to find out that she is already married to a powerful business owner of a large corporation. Feeling wronged and still holding on to lingering feelings for her, Maru seeks revenge by deceiving Seo Eun Gi, Jae Hee‘s new step-daughter, in order to torment and bring Jae Hee down from her ‘thrown’.

Why You Should Watch This: Look at that face! The guy is almost 27 years old and he still looks like a that!

But no, the reason you should watch Innocent Man (AKA Nice Guy), is not for a baby-faced lead. The ‘revenge’ plot may be cliche, and the events may not be something totally original, but the portrayal of the story makes it so hard to put this drama down. It takes you into the head of a ‘nice guy’ turned villain, two strong women fighting for the same things, the people around them that influence and support them no matter what they become, and the man that pushed them too far.

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All the characters are flawed, and that’s why it’s so real. The acting is superb, even you yourself will feel their pain – not to mention that Song Joong Ki is a beast when it comes to kissing.

Along with those things mentioned above, I want to mention that Innocent Man’s OST(soundtrack) is my personal favorite, and can still make me tear up, despite having listened to it 1222530546550654068769 times.

That Winter the Wind Blows

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Plot: Oh Soo is a con artist that convinces a wealthy blind woman, Oh Young, that he is her long lost brother, but begins to fall in love with her, despite her bitter personality.

Why You Should Watch This: Unlike Innocent Man, this melodrama is a little slow at times. That may sound like a turn off, but it’s actually not a bad thing. The quality of the film is so lovely and soft that it fits the mood perfectly. This isn’t your typical rich guy falls in love with your average woman. NOPE, this guy has no redeeming qualities, he’s a thug after a disabled girl’s money, whose life is put in jeopardy the more he finds out about her.

Song Hye Kyo is also amazing in this drama, if I didn’t know any better, I’d be very much fooled into believing she’s actually blind in real life.

I Miss You

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Plot: Son of a wealthy man, Han Jun Woo first meets Lee Seo Yoon when they are 15 year old children. Taken for a ransom, Jun Woo is kidnapped, along with Seo Yoon and are separated. Years later, believed to be dead, Seo Yoon’s case has been closed, but Han Jun Woo who is now a detective is still looking for his first love.

Why You Should Watch This: Oh boy, just thinking about this one is making my eyes watery. It has a lot of plot twists and issues that are hard to swallow, such as rape and abuse. On a brighter note, the drama’s got a GREAT cast, Yoon Eun Hye, Yoochun, my lovely Yoo Seung Ho♥, to name a few.

Plus, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but kid counter-parts in K-dramas are ALWAYS amazing. Sometimes even my favoirte part! This one is NO exception. You think I’d get impatient waiting for Yoochun and Seung Ho to make their appearance, but not at all! I was very engrossed with everything that was going on that it was practically effortless to endure.

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Historical

*Note: ‘Historical’ doesn’t always mean they’re dripping in politics

Rooftop Prince

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Joseon Power Rangers hehe

Plot: A Joseon king hires three peasant men to find out who killed his queen, but are transported to Park Ha’s rooftop in modern day South Korea. Suspecting that their answer to the murder is here in this time era, they run across many familiar faces and awkward situations.

Why You Should Watch This: This one is a lot of fun, especially watching how clueless and in awe the four Joseon guys are on arriving in this time era. Watch it for the good laughs, the ‘historical’ part isn’t very emphasized, but for someone new to K-dramas (or just historical dramas), that’s not such a big deal, anyway 😉

Queen In Hyun’s Man

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Plot: Kim Boong Do is a scholar who had supported the reinstatement of Queen In Hyun when Jang Hee Bin‘s schemes resulted in her being deposed and replaced as King Sukjong‘s queen consort. He travels 300 years into the future of modern Seoul and meets Choi Hee Jin, a no-name actress who is expecting a career renaissance through her role as Queen In Hyun in a TV drama.

Why You Should Watch This: You’ll learn a lot more about Korean history watching this drama than the one previously mentioned. Queen In Hyun is a very well-known figure, and there’s a lot of dramas that depict her life. This one focuses a lot less on the history part of the story than other In Hyun dramas, but it’s another time-travel story, so it’s totally acceptable (for me).

This drama is sweet and adorable, and the fact that the OTP(one true paring) is also a couple in real life makes it that much more satisfying to watch.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal

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Plot: An intelligent young woman takes up the identity of her sickly older brother and enters the prestigious school of Sungkyunkwan.

Why You Should Watch This: Yoochun, Song Joong Ki AND Yoo Ah In all in the same place! What the heck are they trying to do to us? You don’t learn much about history in this drama, either, but at least it takes place in the era it’s supposed to be in 🙂 …….watch this for the bromance and the awkward situations. 

Sources: Hulu, Dramafever, Viki, MDL

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