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If you know me, you know I love spending my free time in my living room watching Netflix with my friends and family. I spent a majority of my summer watching various shows and you already know I spent some time watching Jane the Virgin! (I haven’t finished it so no spoliers please!) Some of my favorite shows on Netflix are Criminal Minds (hands down), Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Friends (which sadly isn’t on Netflix anymore).

Although I have those favorite American shows, I also have some favorite Korean Dramas (also called K-Dramas) that I love watching too. I believe watching Korean shows have allowed me to bond more with my family and sometimes I believe K-Dramas have a different vibe than American shows. I don’t know how to describe it but I always get hooked onto these cute, interesting, unique plots and fall in love with various characters. Sometimes I get more hooked on K-Dramas than I do with American shows just because of the plot twists and loveable characters. 

I believe I started watching K-Dramas when I was in middle school. My mom would play random dramas all the time when I was younger but I never understood the “hype” of them. Back then, I would have rather watched The Suite Life of Zach and Cody or Pretty Little Liars, but growing up, I’ve realized that K-Dramas are just as good. 

Since middle school, I’ve watched over 30 K-Dramas. New shows are constantly being made and I have so many recommendations for people who are interested in watching them.

I got one of my best friends, Mira, to start K-Dramas last year and she LOVES them! I always give her recommendations whenever she finishes a show and I even gave her a whole list of shows to watch whenever she wanted something new. She’s been checking shows off her list and enjoy all the descriptions I provided her. She always enjoyed my recommendations and I thought I could share them with others too! 

So, if you are reading this and is interested in trying K-Dramas out, you’re at the right spot. There are a variety of K-Dramas out there and there are a ton of great shows on Netflix! The shows I recommend below are some of my top favorites and I believe you should give them a try because they’re all so different and unique in their own way! 

 

  1. Reply 1988: This show is honestly my favorite K-Drama of all time. This show is part of a series (Reply 1988, Reply 1994, and Reply 1997) and although I love all of them, this one has to be the best. The show is about five best friends who have all lived on the same street since they were kids. They all have a different family backgrounds and have their own stories while going through high school and experiencing romance. Each character has their unique personality, different friendship dynamic, and funny sides of them. The various relationships among the friends and their families throughout the show make it ten times better and there is a lot of humor in each episode. There are very relatable scenes and situations, cute and funny scenes, and loving and adorable interactions among everyone. There is a different plot for each episode and I believe having a different story or situation for every character made the show so interesting and fun to watch. This is one of my family's favorites!! 

  2. Heirs: This show is a classic. I believe a lot of people started watching Heirs before watching other K-Dramas. I recommended this show to Mira and she absolutely loved it. It's about two main characters with different social backgrounds accidentally running into each other in the United States and later meeting again at one of the most elite high schools in Korea. We get to see their different backgrounds and how their relationship develops throughout the show. Coming from different social classes was something that was important throughout the show among the characters and being able to see how they both handled their differences and classes in every episodes created great dynamics and drama.  [bf_image id="q6bbjd-alqtig-je7dw"]

  3. Boys Over Flower: This is another classic! If you enjoyed Heirs, you would also enjoy this show! The show is about one girl going to an elite school after saving a student’s life on the roof. She runs into the four popular, rich boys (also known as F4) who “run” the school on the first day of class and create so much drama after sticking up for herself. The main character, Geum Jan-di, is a strong teenage girl who sticks up for herself and develops relationships with F4. She gets to experience what they get to do in their day-to-day life and goes through the experience of falling in love and building more relationships. She goes through her own struggles but gets to grow throughout the show after gaining different experiences she would have never thought she’d go through. 

  4. Hospital Playlist: If you are a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, this show is definitely one you should try! You know the squad from the beginning seasons of the show? Meredith, Christina, Alex, Izzy, and George? This show has a similar vibe. The five main characters have all been best friends since they entered medical school and are all different doctors at the same hospital. Throughout the show, we can see how they each interact with their patients but also see their friendships grow with one another. Not only are they doctors and best friends, they’re also in a band together! After their shifts, they all join together and play cover songs and it’s so fun to watch and listen too them play. The songs are amazing and I listen to them on repeat (LOL, I wish I was kidding). There is humor within each episode and a lot of the characters are super funny in their own way. Each character goes through their own hardships and many characters are building relationships with one another. I’m not going to spoil anything but let me tell you, I can’t wait to watch season 2 to see how everything plays out!!  [bf_image id="q595h8-f87zdc-1092q3"]

  5. Crash Landing on You: This drama is so good and has such a different vibe because it combines both Korean cultures from North and South Korea. I know that sounds very weird but very interesting and let me tell you, it is!! I believe through this show, I was able to learn more about how life would ideally be like if I lived in North Korea. How did I learn more about that? Well, let me explain. The main character, Yoon Se-ri, is an heiress who landed in North Korea after getting into a paragliding incident. She met an army officer, Ri Jung Hyuk, and instead of turning her in, he helps her hide in North Korea (shocking!). He and his comrades help her hide and while hiding, she gets to see the differences between both sides of Korea and learns to adapt in their culture. We get to see her develop relationships with people from North Korea and watch her fall in love but there’s an issue, she has to get back to South Korea before she’s caught! Does she go back? I’m not going to spoil anything so you better watch and see how it goes! 

  6. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Okay, this drama just came out this past summer and it's definitely on my favorite K-Drama list. The show is about a children’s book author and a caregiver from a psychiatric hospital crossing paths several times before building a relationship with each other. The main characters both struggle with their own hardships from their past and we’re able to see them grow and fight through them. Each character is going through something emotionally and through the show, we get to see each character grow, learn, and love more about themselves. There are also children stories woven within each episode and seeing how the narration ties with the plot is so interesting and cool to see as well. I haven’t seen a drama like this one and believe people should watch it because it has an interesting concept that hasn’t been done before. 

  7. Vagabond: Wow. So much happens in this drama. There is a lot of action, questions, emotions, and plot twists within this show. It all begins when a stuntman named Cha Dal-geon discovers that his nephew and 211 other passengers died in a plane crash that was planned by terrorists. It turns out that the plane crash was a national corruption scandal and throughout the show, we see him getting justice for the truth to come out to the public. Every episode goes by so quickly and this show is totally binge-worthy. I was glued to this show because I loved all the drama and action. The stuntman crosses path and receives help from a woman, Go Hae-ri, who worked with the N.I.S. and together, they try to get to the bottom of the truth.  [bf_image id="q73phl-7pw9js-avgpaj"]

  8. My First, First Love: This is such a cute and reliable drama for college students developing friendships and experiencing romance for the first time. The show begins with the main character, Yun Tae-o, allowing his three friends to stay with him in his house. One of his friends is his girl best friend, Han Song-yi, who moves in after her house was sold to another family. All the friends get to experience love and build relationships and everything in between. 

  9. Tunnel: If you’re a fan of crime and mysteries, this show is for you! This drama is about a detective who goes 30 years into the future while trying to solve a murder case. The main character, Park Gwang-ho, tries to solve the case with some new partners and begins puzzling the pieces all together while finding a way to travel back to the past. Is he able to solve the mystery and go back to the present? You should definitely watch the show and find out what happens! 

 

Those are some of my favorite K-Dramas on Netflix and there a ton more people can watch through different websites including Viki. Viki is similar to Netflix and they have more of a variety of Asian shows. It is free to use but there will be ads unless you pay for a subscription. 

I don’t have a subscription and don’t mind the ads as much. I enjoy using this website because all my other favorite dramas are on this website too. Sadly, Netflix doesn’t have every drama so if you are looking for more shows to watch, definitely browse through Viki! (Sometimes you may have to have subscription to watch certain shows so I’d watch out for that too.) 

I have some other great recommendations so if you want to hear more, I’m more than happy to talk to you about other great shows! There are a variety of shows with several different plots and concepts and those are just some of the best dramas I’ve seen within the past few years! 

 

If you like using Viki more than Netflix, here are some of my favorite shows on Viki that aren’t available on Netflix. 

-Descendants of the Sun

-Goblin

- Sky Castle

-Flower Crew: Joeson Marraige Agency

-W

-Thirty but Seventeen

-My ID is Gangnam Beauty

- Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Hi, I'm Wonbin Park. I'm currently a senior studying Journalism and Photography major at the University of Kansas. I have a passion for photography and writing and hope to become a photojournalist in the future! My hobbies include photography, drinking coffee, watching K-Dramas with my friends and family!
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