Korean Drama That You Must Watch


Korean Drama That You Must Watch

The beauty of watching movies and shows is to help us to relax and take a break from reality for an hour or two. For those who are hopeless romantics, Korean romantic comedies and melodramas melts hearts, provokes emotions and often incites cheering for the underdog. Romantic comedies typically feature an unlikely romance that beats all odds and usually concludes with a happy ending that feeds our hopeful souls. We also enjoy watching K dramas to pick up fashion and beauty trends.  The demand for Korean skincare and other cosmetic products are partly a result of the booming Korean entertainment industry.  More women and men are practicing healthier morning and nightly skincare regimes, motivated by Korean celebrities to achieve a healthy and bright skin complexion.

Here are popular Korean terms often heard in romantic comedies and melodramas 

Destiny = 운명 (Pronounced: unmyeong)

Love you =당신을 사랑합니다 (Pronounced: dangsin-eul salanghabnida)

I miss you =보고싶다 (Pronounced: bogoshipda)

Like =좋아해 (Pronounced: joh-ahae)

Kiss =뽀뽀 (Pronounced: boe boe) informal way of saying kiss

Among 22 women we surveyed in different age groups in Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, here are their top K dramas. From the oldest to most recent

Boys Over Flowers, 2009

Korean Drama: Boys Over Flowers

For many, this cute romantic K drama was one of the first shows that got you hooked.  

Lead actress: Ku Hye-sun

Lead actors: Lee Min-ho, Kim Bum, Kim Joon and Kim Hyun-joong  

Synopsis: Geum Jan-Di (Ku Hye-sun) is a fearless and optimistic teenage girl from a loving working class family.  She ends up attending a famous private school for the super-wealthy elite social class and must learn to navigate to find a place to fit in.  She ends up befriending a group of guys called F4 and it is there she falls in love for the first time.

Lie to Me, 2011

Korean Drama: Lie To Me

Lead actress: Yoon Eun-hye

Lead actor Kang Ji-hwan

Synopsis: A playful romantic comedy based on a little lie that changes the lives of an unlikely couple.  Kong Ah-Jung (Yoon Eun-Hye) is pretty, smart, but naive with a sweet personality and has a tendency to act on impulses.  She excelled in school and passed tough exams to land a civil service career. Kong Ah-Jung lives with her widow father who is a well-respected law professor and lives with high ethics and integrity.  

Hyun Ki-Joon (Kang Ji-Hwan) is the president of the “World Group” Conglomerate. He is handsome, smart but hot-tempered with a type A personality.  He comes from a wealthy family but tragic events during his childhood explains his guarded personality.

The Heirs, 2013

Korean Drama: The Heirs

Written by the well respected and popular Korean writer Kim Eun Sook who also wrote Goblin and Descendants of the Sun, two other popular romantic dramas on our list.

Actress: Park Shin-hye,

Actors: Lee Min-ho and Kim Woo-bin

Synopsis:This romantic drama follows a group of over-privileged teenagers destined to take over their family dynasties.  Lee Min-ho’s wealthy teenage character falls in love with the pretty and strong minded Park Shin-hye’s character.  She plays the daughter to a deaf housekeeper, working for Lee Min-ho’s character’s family’s main home in Korea. They first cross paths in Los Angles, California before meeting again in Seoul.  Lee Min-ho and the viewers find her irresistible and loveable for her grit, confidence and pride. 


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My Love from the Star, 2013-2014

Korean Top Picks by Soul Story: My Love From Another Star

One of the most popular 2013 K dramas throughout Asia.

Lead actress: Jun Ji-hyun

Lead actor: Kim Soo-hyun

Popular Song: Destiny 

Synopsis: This romantic fantasy drama is based on a love story between a handsome alien and a beautiful, famous woman in Seoul who meet again after meeting for the first time 400 years earlier during the Joseon Dynasty.  They fall deeply in love but must find a way to stay together.

Fated to Love You, 2014

Korean Top Picks by Soul Story: Fated To Love You

This romantic comedy will make you laugh, cry and feel hopeful.

Lead actress: Jang Na-ra

Lead actor Jang Hyuk

Synopsis: An innocent mistake that happens one night in Macau forces two people to make it work for the sake of an unexpected surprise.  

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Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, 2016

Guardian: The Lonely and Great God

Lead actresses: Kim Go-eun and Yoo In-na

Lead actors: Gong Yoo and Lee Dong-Wook

Synopsis: This romantic fantasy drama begins during the Goryeo era, based around a loyal General and his beautiful older sister, who becomes the queen to a weak and corrupt king.  The events during the Goreyo era set up a love story 900 years later in Seoul, South Korea and Quebec City, Canada.

Gong Yoo plays the immortal Goblin (former General) and protector of human souls who finally meets his human bride.  Kim Go-Eun plays the young human Goblin bride who is smart and optimistic, with a playful personality. Together, their friendship grows into a romantic and intense love story.

Descendants of the Sun, 2016

Korean Drama: Descendants of the Sun

The hottest 2016 romantic & action drama in Asia.

Lead actress: Song Hye-kyo

Lead actor: Song Joong-ki

Synopsis: Based in Uruk and Seoul, the story tells the romance between a captain of the South Korean Special Forces and a doctor at a Seoul based hospital.

What made this drama special afterwards is the off-screen romance between lead actress Song Hye-kyo who is 5 years older than the lead actor Song Joon-ki They were married in 2017.

Top Two 2018 Romantic K dramas

Something In the Rain, 2018

Soul Story’s Top Romantic K Drama: Something In the Rain

Came up as the most watched and favored in our survey group.  The K drama is also available on Netflix. What made this series extra delightful is that it addresses two social-cultural issues:

  1. #Metoo: Addressing a great need for gender equality and respect and safety for women in their work environment.
  2. Ageism: Reminding humanity that love can happen between two people no matter what the age difference.  

Lead actress: Son Ye-jin

Lead actor: Jung Hae-in

Synopsis:  Son Ye-jin’s character is a pretty woman in her 30s, living a quiet and depressing life. She falls in love with her best friend’s younger brother in his 20s.  It is actor Jung Hae-in who portrays a playful, loveable and protective young man who wins over Son Ye-jin’s character’s heart.  A beautiful love story of a friendship that transitions into a loving and passionate relationship.

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What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim

Korean Drama: What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim

Actress: Park Min-young

Actor: Park Seo-joon

Synopsis: A pretty, energetic and extremely organized Assistant works with a successful Vice Chairman at his family conglomerate, Yoomyung Group.  Park Seo-joon’s character comes across as inflexible and distant, with low emotional intelligence. After working together for nine years, his assistant decides to resign and the story unfolds as they realize they are in love.  It is up to the Vice Chairman to find a way to win over Secretary Kim.

What is your favorite K drama? And what was your first K drama?     


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