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4 K-Dramas You Need to Watch This Winter Break!

K-Dramas have taken media and culture by storm in recent years, and it’s easy to understand why people are increasingly delving into the world of Korean entertainment. As a Korean-American, I was exposed to these shows from a young age, starting with my first ever K-Drama at the age of eight. I’m a seasoned K-Drama addict, so here are some of my favorite series I’ve watched throughout the years: 

Boys Over Flowers

If you’ve watched some K-Drama, there’s absolutely no way you haven’t heard of Boys Over Flowers, which was the first K-Drama that I ever watched. It’s been so long since I first watched it, and the fact that this drama is still always on my mind shows its significance in the genre.

To preface, the drama tells the story of Geum Jan-Di, a young teenager from a rather impoverished background, who enters the world of chaebols, the rich and wealthy families of South Korea. The drama follows her as she adapts to and learns more about this secretive and high-standard society, all the while falling in love with the son of one of the wealthiest, most notorious families.

The soundtrack, casting, and storyline all come together to make this one of the best K-Dramas I've ever watched, and it's time for you to binge it this winter break!

Dream High

Dream High is also high on my ranking of favorite K-Dramas. Starring Bae Suzy from the girl group Miss-A and Ok Taecyeon from the boy band 2PM, this drama is filled with K-pop stars and K-music. The casting in this drama was a cultural reset when it first came out, as most of the cast members were members of real K-pop groups.

The series tells the story of a young teenage girl (by now, you can probably see a familiar pattern!) who enrolls in a music/arts high school in order to pay off her father’s debt. While attending her new high school, she finds love, lifelong friends, new passions, and more. 

Personally, this is one of my favorite dramas because of the main character’s fantastic story arc and development as she navigates her way through high school. The songs from this drama are also extremely catchy and will get you humming after just the first episode! 

Hospital Playlist

Hospital Playlist is a pretty recent K-Drama from May 2020. If you’ve been keeping up with K-Drama news, you’ll know that the casting for this series was insane, inspiring a lot of excitement –it brought together some of the most renowned actors in the industry for a fun and playful production.

Hospital Playlist almost feels like Grey's Anatomy. The five main characters are doctors working together in one hospital who’ve been friends since medical school; the series showcases the strong bonds the characters share as well as the gravity of their friendships. 

As of right now, only the first season has been released; however, it seems like season two has been confirmed

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

I had high expectations for this K-Drama before it even came out because it starred one of my favorite actors, Kim Soo Hyun, but wow! I can say the series not only met my expectations, but exceeded them beyond comprehension.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay tells the story of a man employed at a psychiatric ward, where he encounters the author of a popular children’s book series; she has a severe antisocial personality disorder, and the two clash right away; although she takes a liking to him almost immediately, he tries to stay away from her arrogant, mean, and abusive personality. However, over time they learn more about each other and their common pasts. 

Everything in this drama felt like art to me. Its incorporation of meaningful messages and children’s stories made it all the more impactful. It also sheds light on the everyday lives of mental health caregivers, people who are often overlooked by the public because of the lack of prestige in their jobs.

Overall, this drama shows the progressive, forward-moving nature of the K-Drama industry, and I loved every second of it!

Izi Lee

U Penn '24

Izi is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania! Izi is hoping to major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, maybe even minoring in Nutrition! She loves to bake, cook, eat, and sleep. She is from Seoul, South Korea and SF Bay Area.
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