At this point in college, I have spent a majority of my breaks binge-watching the Korean dramas available on Netflix. I even got my mom hooked. Now she watches them with me. Yes, it is a very cute bonding activity.
The hardest part of watching K-dramas on Netflix (or Hulu if I’m desperate — no tea, no shade) is trying to find the ones that are good! Like any other type of show, there are some K-dramas that are too boring, too long or just plain annoying.
Now that the semester is starting, you might want some new TV shows to binge, but not get too out of control because of ~education~. K-dramas are the perfect new shows to watch since they typically last only one season, averaging 16 episodes. There are a variety of genres within the K-drama umbrella, so there’s bound to be something for everyone. Here I’ll share with you my top 3 available on Netflix.
Hello, My Twenties
This is one of my favorite TV shows ever. This K-drama follows the trials and tribulations of five college students who live in a share-house together in Seoul.
The format reminds me of the British TV show, Skins, in that the viewer gets to see everything that’s happening in each girl’s personal life, and can see how that affects the choices they make with each other — including the lies they tell. Each girl has a secret looming over them that slowly unravels at the end of each season — which there are two of so far.
This is a K-drama that I like to use to introduce people to the genre. The character development is stellar and by the end of it all, you feel like you know the girls well and will probably miss them — I know I do. It’s cute and fun with a sprinkle of romance and just enough mystery and real-life spooky stuff to keep you coming back for more.
[Read more: K-pop BANGERS to listen to on your way to class]
A Korean Odyssey
If you like fantasy, this show is for you. Since Jin Seon-mi was a child, she could see ghosts and spirits. This isolated her from everyone in her town because they thought she was haunted.
One day, Seon-mi meets Woo Ma-Wang, the Devil King, who asked her to retrieve a fan from a magical palace. In doing so, Seon-mi accidentally releases Son Oh-Gong, the Monkey King, from confinement and their fates become forever entwined. Thus, starts Seon-mi’s journey to rid the world of evil with her first-ever friends — the monsters Oh-Gong, Ma-Wang and others.
This show is the perfect balance of silliness, horror and romance, so I highly recommend watching it if you want something dreamy and fantastical.
This was one of those gems I stumbled upon by accident but once I started watching, I couldn’t stop. Live shows the struggles that young people in South Korea are facing when trying to find employment in a highly competitive job market.
The show starts off with the stories of two young people who have nothing to lose: Yeom Sang-su, who unknowingly worked for a pyramid scheme and lost all his money, and Han Jung-oh, who is desperately trying to find a job that pays more than minimum wage despite having a college degree.
Both see a sign on the subway for an application to become a police officer — no experience or education necessary. They study hard for the exam and go through basic training, finally getting to work in the lowest position out in the field. Most of the show revolves around the various officers they work with and what goes on in and outside of the police station.
I would describe this show as emotionally moving. The character development and the acting are incredible; you feel for the characters as they find themselves in some sticky situations that pretty much anyone could be familiar with: Corruption in the workplace, balancing home and work life and finding time for love and friendship. Love and loss are the name of the game with this one, so if you’re looking for something dramatic to get you in your feels, I say go with Live.
So, there you have it — a list of some of my all-time favorite K-dramas that I hope you can add to your watch-lists and chip away at them for the rest of the semester — or binge-watch them all in one weekend, go off I say!
I’ll make sure to have some more recommendations lined up either way since we all KNOW I’ll still be on the hunt for the newest and best K-dramas that American streaming websites can provide! Until then, annyeong!