Are you new to the world of Korean drama? Already hooked and looking for new ones to watch? Then these are the series you should definitely watch, and if you’ve seen them already, you should definitely watch them again!
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, but these ones are a must-see!
Pinocchio centres around the story of a man who hides a special talent living under a fake name and a woman who cannot lie due to ‘Pinocchio Syndrome’.
25. Marriage Not Dating
A romantic comedy about a man who doesn’t want to get married and a woman who really wants to get married.
24. Rooftop Prince
A prince from the Joseon* era travels to present-day Seoul with a special team he put together, in order to solve the mysterious death of the woman he loved. To his surprise, when he arrives, he meets a woman that looks exactly like her. However, it’s not only the princess who has a modern-day doppelganger.
23. The Producers
If you want to know what goes on behind the scene in Korean dramas with added romance along the way, then you should definitely watch this drama.
22. Lie To Me
A mid-level government employee in the Ministry of Culture, has been single ever since her friend stole her first love in college. When her friend, now married, re-enters her life and triumphs over her, Ah Jung impulsively lies that she is also married. A snowball of minor misunderstandings later, the rumor has spread to everyone that the president of a hotel chain and one of Korea‘s wealthiest, most eligible bachelors and the main character are married.
21. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
It’s otherwise known as “My Girlfriend is a Nine-tailed Fox”. Cha Dae Woong is a spoiled brat with plans to become a successful action star. One day, on the run from his rich grandfather’s latest fit of rage towards him, he accidentally frees a nine-tailed fox, Gu Mi Ho, who has been imprisoned in a painting for 500 years.
20. City Hunter
A revenge drama done right. In 1983, 21 South Korean military operatives are sent into North Korea on a secret mission. After completing their mission, they are executed by their own side in a government cover-up. The sole survivor, Lee Jin Pyo, watches as his closest friend dies beside him. Taking his friend’s son under his wing, Jin Pyo raises him as his own and trains him with one goal: to take revenge on the men responsible for this massacre.
19. Oh My Venus
Starring So Ji Sub as Kim Young Ho and Shin Min Ah as Kang Joo Eun. Joo Eun was the IT girl in her high school days, who had the looks, is now an overweight spinster. What’s more is her old classmate turned rival has gone from being an outcast to a beautiful accomplished lawyer hell bent on making Joo Eun miserable. But Joo Eun works to return to her old self, with the help of the hot chaebol* and exercise coach, Young Ho.
18. Kill Me, Heal Me
Kill Me Heal Me is about a man who suffered immense trauma and has psychologically developed 7 different identities and his psychiatrist who is dedicated to helping him.
17. Arang and the Magistrate
Arang is a ghost who must uncover the mystery of her death. She meets Kim Eun Oh, a man who can see ghosts and they end up falling for each other.
16. Queen In-hyung’s Man
Kim Boong Do, a noble scholar, unexpectedly travels into the future and meets Choi Hee Jin, an aspiring actress who secured the role of Queen In Hyun.
15. First Shop of the Coffee Prince
This romantic comedy tells the story of Han Kyul, the handsome son of a wealthy hotelier family who is set in his bachelor ways and constantly deflects his family’s attempts to make him commit. He hires a goofy young delivery boy Eun Chan to pretend to be his gay lover to scare away his family’s set-ups. Trouble starts when Han Kyul begins to get to know the hardworking and lovable Eun Chan, and begins to develop real feelings for him, only to discover that “he” is actually a girl disguised as a boy.
Heirs follows a group of privileged, elite high school students as they are groomed to take over their families’ business empires. They seem to have everything under control – except their love lives.
13. It’s Okay, It’s Love
A drama about, Jang Jae Yul, a mystery writer and radio DJ suffering from a obsession and Ji Hae Soo who’s in a fellowship program to be a psychiatrist because she doesn’t want to perform surgeries. After she meets Jang Jae-Yeol, her life goes through big changes.
12. Fated To Love You
Fated to Love You is a 20 episode 2014 Korean drama about a shy girl and dynamic man whose initial encounter results in pregnancy and a subsequent marriage. Their road to love is not straightforward or easy.
11. Gu Family Book
Choi Kang Chi is half gumiho and half human. Not fully belonging to either world, Kang Chi has to find his place and he meets Dam Yeo Wool, a skilled archer who accepts him for who he is.
10. The Greatest Love
Goo Ae Jung is a former girl group member whose popularity has waned despite her sweet personality. Dokko Jin is the top action star in Korea who privately has an arrogant side. When Goo Ae Jung enters a variety show that fakes marriages between celebrities and “normal people,” she gets entangled in a love square with her ex-bandmate, Dokko Jin, and adorable Eastern medicine doctor.
9. Master’s Sun
After she begins seeing ghosts, Tae Gong Shil’s promising future self-destructs. She can’t hold down a job, have regular friendships, or even get a good night’s sleep, because the ghosts find her wherever she goes. But then she meets Joo Joong Won, who can make her spectral companions disappear with a single touch. She starts to feel in control of her life for the first time since her inexplicable powers appeared. In return for staying by his side, she helps Joong Won solve a mystery that has haunted him for more than a decade.
A mysterious messenger, an online newspaper reporter who only concerns her own interests and a popular reporter who agonizes over the truth and reality. When these three people meet the truths from the past and present reveal themselves to the world.
7. Moon Embraces The Sun
Heo Yeon Woo was intended to be the King’s wife but due to palace conspiracies, she almost loses her life. After many years, she comes back as a shaman Wol without her memories and she meets the King once again.
6. Oh My Ghostess
What do you get when a ghost inhabits the body of a female lead with inferiority complex? The makings of a really good drama! And that’s what you’ll get.
5. Answer Me Series
It’s otherwise known as the “Reply Me” series. The Answer Me franchise has built its identity around feel-good nostalgia for simpler times, first loves, and friends that become family.
It’s hard to make prequels or sequels that are as good as the initial movie or series. But this drama has managed to do just that plus more.
First was Answer Me 1997…
Then Answer Me 1994…
Then Answer Me 1988.
Each one is better than the last one. How awesome is that?
4. Secret Garden
This drama is totally hilarious with the jinxes that come with a body swap occurrence. This quirky, high concept drama follows a neurotic businessman and a passionate stunt woman who are thrown together when, due to a magical accident, they end up switching bodies. Starring Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won.
3. Dream High
This musical show follows six students at Kirin Art High School as they try to achieve their dreams of stardom. They compete against each other and sing their hearts out. Only one will succeed to become the world’s superstar pop idol “K”.
2. Boys Over Flower
All Korean drama lovers will agree that Boys Over Flower is the gateway to the Korean Drama Land. You could watch it just for the good-looking guys alone ?.
But seriously, this was the drama that introduced us to Lee Min Ho and made him a Hallyu* star.
1. My Love From Another Star
The fantasy rom-com stars Kim Soo-hyun (The Moon That Embraces the Sun) as an alien who’s lived on Earth for over four centuries, and Jeon Ji-hyun as a diva actress and the first woman to complicate his life in all that time.
What other drama series do you recommend?
Hallyu = Korean cultural wave
Chaebol = a South Korean form of business conglomerate
Joseon = a Korean kingdom founded that lasted for approximately five centuries, from July 1392 to October 1897