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So You Want to Start Watching K-Dramas? Here Are My Top 4 Picks To Start Your Journey

Listen, I’m a simple girl. if I hear you talk about K-Dramas, your best bet is that I will start an hour-long conversation about my must-watch list. It is such a delight when I hear someone interested in starting their K-Drama watching journey; my shell of shyness breaks away and I become such a blabber-mouth. I call it a “journey” because once you watch one episode, you really can’t go back. As an avid K-Drama watcher since 2012, I have compiled different categories with my personal favorites for anyone who wants to look for a binge-worthy series. As much as it hurts to just pick a few dramas as recommendations, I’ll list the dramas that I hold really close to my heart and am positive you will enjoy. The genres will range from slice-of-life to romance to melodrama.   

"To The Beautiful You"

This drama holds a special place in my heart because it was the first drama I ever watched. The leads in this drama are Sulli (may she rest in peace) from f(x) and Choi Minho (my first love) from Shinee. Both groups were popping back in the late 2000s. I’m sure you’d know that second-generation K-Pop was the golden era if you are a long-time fan! 

The story is about a young girl who takes on the identity of a young man at an all boy’s school to encourage and help her favorite athlete do their best at the World Junior Sports Competition. It is full of laughs, romance and yes, drama. The pressure is on, surrounded by all these young men, will her identity be brought to light? I could not find a shorter trailer; I recommend watching a little bit to not spoil much of the plot.

"Secret Garden"

This drama is a classic, a cult favorite and a must-watch. It centers around an arrogant wealthy young man falling head over heels for a humble and hardworking stunt woman. Their lives are changed when they switch bodies and have to find a way to go back to normal, learning about each other’s lives in the process. 

Did I mention that the beloved HyunBin is in this drama? He was recently in Crash Landing On You from Netflix, but here, here is where my love for him started. Also, the beautiful Ha Jiwon is also spectacular and one of the most cherished actresses in the industry. If you are a hopeless romantic and love a sweet and gripping storyline that brings you to the brink of tears, this drama is for you!

"My Mister"

My Mister is one of those dramas that you can only really watch once. Following the lives of three brothers and a young girl who each have broken lives, they help each other find healing and the light at the end of the tunnel. It is a very intense drama that deals with very mature themes; however, do not let that stop you from watching because the story is one-of-a-kind. The soundtrack is a rollercoaster of emotions, and every episode has your heart pounding for what might happen next. You can’t leave this one out. 

"Hello My Twenties!"

I was recommended this drama by my sweet language exchange friend; it has literally changed my life. It focuses on five housemates in college on their journey to adulthood. It has heartwarming themes like first love and friendships, but also hardships and trauma that the girls bond over and connect with. With only 16 episodes, I soon considered them my closest friends. They may be fictional, but each one has taught me a valuable lesson. From the power of forgiveness to self-worth, I ended the first episode crying my eyes out from the happiness and sadness of it ending. This drama has two seasons, but I don’t count the second (you’ll later learn why). There are tears, laughs and endless smiles throughout every episode. It is perfect to watch with your own girlfriends and housemates for a great bonding activity.

I am so excited for you to begin your journey into the K-Drama world. The best tip I can give you is to not watch during midterm or finals week because you will get hooked on it. Also, have some tissues handy because even if it looks like a super happy drama from the outside, you'll be surprised once you hit the first ten minutes (and I am not being sarcastic). The beauty of K-Dramas is the wide variety of genres and storylines available to enjoy. The funny thing is, even the ones that do not seem like your cup of tea at first become your most treasured ones. 

Marvin is a Junior majoring in Korean and (hopefully) minoring in Comparative Literature. Her dream of living in LA has become a reality, even if she lives the UCLA experience through Zoom.
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