LJ Milan loves Korean dramas since 2009, and he is not ashamed to recommend it to anyone who will listen.
Korean dramas are all the rage right now. There are millions of people, all over the world, who enjoy watching them. You can find discussions on them everywhere. That wasn't the case when I started watching them, back in 2009. I had to find dramas on my own. Which meant hours and hours spent browsing for the perfect drama for me.
The thing about K dramas is that it takes only one 16 or 24 episode drama to get you hooked for life. And you will never be the same after that. They are awesomely addicting that way.
I compiled this list to make it easier for everyone who wants to join the Hallyu Wave. (Korean Wave, it's the term used by Koreans for ever growing global popularity of their culture). Of course, I think everyone should ride this wave, but that's just my personal opinion.
On this list you will find dramas of all genres, from rom-coms and action to historical ( or as the Koreans call it Saeguk) dramas. Chose the one you think it's perfect for you.
1. The Fiery Priest (2019)
This drama is about easily aggravated priest Kim Hae-il. Who seeks justice for his murdered mentor.
You should be warned, in the begging of this drama there is no good guys. They are all, if not evil, then at least morally corrupted. Except, of course, a nun and two priests.
I loved this drama so much I watched it twice already. For a satire it's deliciously dark and twisty. It's a social commentary on morally corrupted society we live in. This drama wil have you laughing so hard you will have problem breathing. But, it will also make you question the world we live in.
2. The Accidental Couple (2009)
This is a story about a mailman Go Dong-baek and Korean Top actress Han Ji-soo. He helps her cover up an illicit affair, but things get complicated and they are forced into a fake marriage.
This romantic comedy will brighten these days. It's a feel good story at its best. This drama was the first one I ever watched. It's still one of my favorite to this day. And I don't see that changing anytime soon.
If you like romantic comedies, or if you liked Nothing Hill, this drama is perfect for you.
3. The Greatest Love (2011)
This is a story of Gu Ae-jung, once she was a popular idol. One of the national treasures, but things changed. And know she is just surviving in that cruel business. She is the mos hated celebrity in Korea. But her life changes when Dokko Jin enters in her life.
I love this drama, because it doesn't take itself too seriously. On surface this drama is romantic comedy, but it's actually much ore then that. And it poses some big questions, like how far will we take this obsession with celebrities.
But, it also shows us how easily you can ruin the reputation of a celebrity. And how far we take our possessiveness. This drama also shows how love changes people. It's a must watch. This drama has a fantastic OST, Two of my favorite songs are from this drama.
4. You're Beautiful (2009)
This drama is about a girl who just wants to be a nun. Her name is Go Mi-nyeo. But as luck would have it, she has to pose as her twin brother in Asia's biggest boy bend, so he doesn't miss his big brake.
This light hearted drama depicts trials and tribulations of a boy band. It's a worm story about love, friendship and happiness in face of a brutal world. This drama is chock filled with k pop stars. Park Shin-hye is just fantastic in this drama.
5. Tunnel (2017)
This drama is about detective Park Gwang-ho who is searching for a serial killer in 1986. During a chase he is transported to 2016. Where the murders start again. Searching for the killer, he looks for his wife and daughter.
This sci-fi mystery drama is one thrill ride after another. It's a beautifully written and even better acted. It's a police procedural at its best. Choi Jin-hyuk is just fantastic in main role.
6. Live (2018)
This drama brings us the unedited story about police officers from bottom feeders all the way to the top. It's a story of day to day life of officers. One officer is on the fast track, the other is always butting heads with his superiors.
I started watching this drama just because it stars Lee Kwang-soo. I loved him since watching Running Man. But this show just blew me away. With honest and raw depiction of police work.
This drama doesn't sugar coat anything. It's a on point from the beginning to the end. It's one of the best police procedural I watched. And that is saying something.
7. My Beautiful Bride ( 2015)
This drama follows an ordinary banker named Kim Do-Hyunh, who's bride goes missing. Then we meet the real him. He will move heaven and earth just to find her.
This show is a fantastic action drama. A thrill ride full of plot twist and turns. It will have your adrenaline pumping from the beginning to the end. It will make your head spin.
It's dark show, that depicts the dark underbelly of our society. It also must be said that fight scenes are freakin' amazing.
8. Moon Embracing The Sun (2012)
This historical drama brings us the story of a king trying to unravel conspiracies around him and find his first love.
This drama is the perfect example how you should make a historical TV show. It's a beautifully written drama that really brings that period of Korean history to life. It brings all the plots and schemes that goes on in the palace to the fore front. If you ever thought being a king is easy, this show will change your mind. It's a must watch for history buffs.
9. The Return of Iljime (2009)
This drama is about a boy born out of ministers wedlock. Who is discarded as trash, but grows up to be a hero of the people.It is based on the comic book, which was based on Chinese folklore. Well, that was a mouthful.
This drama is, you guessed it, about a Robin Hood type of hero. It's funny, sad and on the moments tragic story. It's a beautiful drama that brings the hardships of Korean people in specific time in their history. Just before and during Qing's invasion of Korea.
The tragic part of this story is just how far will people go for money. What are they willing to sell. It's a story about a struggle for better tomorrow.
10. Haechi (2019)
This drama follows four people from all sides of society who join forces to help Princ Yeoning claim the throne. So he can reform the corrupt system.
You might think this is one is just another general historical TV show. Which really is not. This is the only drama that, I found, that depicts the early life of King Yeongjo. Sure, he was in his youth a great king, but he is remembered to this day as a king who murdered his son, Crown Prince Sado. And he's always depicted in connection with that incident.
This drama is set way before that, and it's a look at what was he like before all that. It's a beautifully written story of a tragic king.
And so, finally we've came to the end of my list. I hope you will find something that will be of interest to you. I hope one of those will guide you in a fantastic world of Korean dramas.
© 2020 LJ Milan