The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To K-Dramas

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To K-Dramas

With their distinctive blend of drama, romance, comedy and suspense, these series offer a window into Korean culture

Manasi Y MastakarUpdated: Thursday, April 25, 2024, 03:38 PM IST
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Korean dramas, or K-dramas as they are popularly called, are not just a form of entertainment; they're a cultural phenomenon that has sparked a global craze. With their distinctive blend of drama, romance, comedy, and suspense, these series offer a window into Korean culture, showcasing everything from traditional values to modern trends.

But what truly sets K-dramas apart is their ability to resonate with audiences on a deeply personal level, touching hearts and leaving a lasting impression long after the final credits roll. Whether you're a newcomer curious to explore this captivating medium or a seasoned enthusiast seeking new recommendations, this beginner's guide will take you on a magical journey.

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim

The K-drama follows Lee Young-joon, a narcissistic vice president of a large corporation, and his highly capable secretary, Kim Mi-so. When Mi-so decides to resign after working for Young-joon for nine years, he is shocked. To stop her from resigning, he proposes marriage. When Mi-so declines, Young-joon tries to win her over. The plot focuses on the newfound love with past secrets that bring them closer.

Where to watch: Netflix

Crash Landing on You

Yoon Se-ri is a wealthy South Korean heiress who accidentally paraglides into North Korean territory and crash-lands in the demilitarised zone. There, she meets Ri Jeong-hyeok, an elite North Korean army officer, who offers he refuge till they find a way to send her back without. Despite their starkly different backgrounds and the political tensions between their countries, Se-ri and Jeong-hyeok develop fall in love. The series follows their unconventional love story as they navigate the challenges of their forbidden romance.

Where to watch: Netflix

Descendants of the Sun

This K-drama revolves around the romance between Captain Yoo Si-jin, a special forced officer, and Dr. Kang Mo-yeon, a surgeon, amidst the backdrop of military missions and humanitarian work. However, their different professions and the demands of their respective duties create obstacles in their relationship.

Where to watch: Netflix, Jio Cinema

Guardian: The Lonely and Great God

Also called Goblin in certain countries, this critically-acclaimed K-drama blends fantasy, romance, and drama to create a captivating narrative that has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide.

The series follows Kim Shin, a centuries-old goblin cursed with immortality and tasked with protecting souls as a penance for his past sins. He longs to put an end to his mortality and the only one to set him free is goblin’s bride. He then meets Ji Eun-tak, a high school student with the ability to see ghosts, and the goblin's bride. As Kim Shin and Eun-tak's fates become intertwined, they navigate the complexities of love, destiny, and the supernatural.

Where to watch: Viki Rakuten, Netflix

Tale of the Nine Tailed

The series follows Lee Yeon, a centuries-old gumiho (nine tailed fox) and former Mountain God, who possesses extraordinary powers and has lived in the human world for hundreds of years. Along with fulfilling his duty, Yeon hopes to meet his first love. Nam Ji-ah is a fearless television producer working on a show that features mystical beings and is also determined to uncover the truth behind her parents' mysterious disappearance. Ji-ah’s life changes when she meets Yeon and learns of her past life – she is the reincarnation of Yeon’s first love. Their paths intertwine as they embark on a journey to confront powerful nemesis, including Yeon's estranged half-brother, Lee Rang, who harbors resentment towards him.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

My Love from the Star

The series follows the extraordinary romance between Do Min-joon, an alien who has been living on Earth for over 400 years, and Cheon Song-yi, a top Hallyu star known for her beauty and charisma. As their relationship blossoms, they face various obstacles, including those who seek to expose Do Min-joon's true identity.

Where to watch: Viki Rakuten, Netflix

Vincenzo

The series follows Vincenzo, a former consigliere of the Italian mafia who returns to South Korea and gets tangled in the complex web of corruption. Vincenzo is in Korea to find the hidden gold stashed in by the mafia family he worked for. However, his life takes a dramatic when he meets sharp-witted lawyer Hong Cha-young and the residents of Geumga Plaza, the place where the gold is stored.

Where to watch: Netflix

Flower Of Evil

Baek Hee-sung is a perfect husband and father who hides a dark secret from his past. His wife, Cha Ji-won, is a detective investigating a series of mysterious murders. Their happy world is upended when Hee-sung emerges as a suspect in a murder case. As Cha Ji-won delves deeper into her husband's past, she learns discovers shocking truths of his deception.

Where to watch: Viki Rakuten, Netflix

Rakuten Watcher

The series follows the lives of three individuals who become entangled in a complex web of corruption, betrayal, and secrets – Do Chi-kwang, a seasoned detective, Kim Yeong-goon, a police officer, and Han Tae-joo, a prosecutor. As the three protagonists investigate a series of high-profile cases, they uncover conspiracies and encounter powerful individuals who will stop at nothing to protect their interests. Along the way, they must navigate the blurred lines between right and wrong, confronting their own past traumas.

Hotel del Luna is a mysterious hotel that serves as a temporary residence for wandering spirits who are unable to move on to the afterlife. The hotel is run by Jang Man-wol, a beautiful woman cursed with immortality due to her past sins. She is accompanied by Koo Chan-sung, her human hotel manager who gets tangled in the world of the supernatural after crossing paths with Jang Man-wol.

Bring It On, Ghost

The series follows the adventures of Park Bong-pal, a young exorcist who possesses the ability to see ghosts. His life takes an unexpected turn when he encounters Kim Hyun-ji, a feisty ghost who has lost her memories and seeks his help to solve the mystery of her death. The two teams up to uncover the truth behind her untimely demise and develop a deep bond. Along the way, they encounter various supernatural phenomena, confront malevolent spirits, and navigate the complexities of the afterlife.

Where to watch: MX Player

The Uncanny Counter

The series centres around a group of individuals called Counters, who possess supernatural abilities and work as demon hunters. They use a noodle shop as a front for their operations while protecting the human world from evil spirits. The story follows the lives of the four main Counters: So Mun, a high school student; Ga Mo-tak, a former police officer; Do Ha-na, a brilliant and empathetic young woman; and Chu Mae-ok, the leader of the group.

Where to watch: Netflix

Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth

It is a historical drama set in the ancient kingdom of Silla during the 6th century, revolving around the legendary Hwarang warriors who were known for their courage, loyalty, and martial prowess. The series follows the journey of these young warriors as they form deep friendships while training together. It explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and self-discovery, as the characters strive to find their place in the world and uphold their ideals in the face of adversity.

Where to watch: Viki Rakuten, Netflix

Empress Ki

It is based on the life of Empress Ki, a real historical figure who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most influential women in Korean history. It offers viewers a captivating blend of historical drama, romance, and political intrigue, while also shedding light on the remarkable life of Empress Ki and her enduring legacy.

Where to watch: Netflix

Mr Queen

The series follows the story of Jang Bong-hwan, a chef who works at the Blue House (the South Korean presidential residence). During a near-death experience, Bong-hwan is transported to the Joseon Dynasty and finds his soul trapped in the body of Kim So-yong, the Queen Cheorin who is married to King Cheoljong. As Bong-hwan navigates the unfamiliar world of the Joseon court, he gets drawn in power struggles and helps King Cheoljong protect his throne.

Where to watch: Viki Rakuten, Netflix

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