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Korean culture is growing globally. For example, the boy band BTS continues to smash records and gain global popularity. Perhaps you have developed an interest in Korean cuisine by grabbing a bite from Sura Eats, located in Parlor KC. Or maybe you have purchased hundreds of Korean skincare products. Another aspect of Korean culture that continues to grow in popularity includes Korean Television Dramas (K-Dramas). K-Dramas usually consist of 16 episode seasons and each episode is about one hour long.  Many of the best ones are Netflix originals. If you are new to K-Dramas, here are some suggestions to start off with! 

“Crash Landing on You” 

Yoon Se-ri (played by Son Ye-Yejin) is a South Korean heiress who, due to a paragliding mishap, ends up in North Korea. In North Korea, Yoon Se-ri falls into the life of an army officer, Ri Jeong-Hyeok (played by Hyun Bin) who decides to hide her from the rest of the army and help her get back to South Korea. The Korean Drama tells the story of Yoon Seri returning to South Korea, as well as a romance for the first and second leads. “Crash Landing on You” is one season long with 16 episodes. 

Before “Hometown Cha Cha Cha” started airing this year, “Crash Landing on You” was my number one recommendation for those who wanted to start watching K-Dramas. I believe “Crash Landing on You” has the perfect balance of sappy romance and plot, which makes the show binge-able. The K-Drama effortlessly weaves its way in and out of different moods as the show begins as a secretive spy thriller and ends as a light-hearted romantic comedy. The writers did a good job at utilizing contrast to get a developed story about two different people from two very different worlds. In the end, it is their differences that brings them together. 

“Hometown Cha Cha Cha” “(HometownCha)” 

Netflix recently finished airing all of the episodes of “Hometown Cha Cha Cha.” This show follows the story of a dentist from Seoul, Yoon Hye-jin (played by Shin Min-A). Her life changes overnight and she decides to open a dental clinic in the small seaside village of Gongjin. In Gongjin, she meets Hong Dusik (played by Kim Seon-Ho), who is deemed as Chief Hong by the residents of the seaside village. The dentist takes interest in Chief Hong because, officially, he is unemployed, but he always seems to be busy. Additionally, if someone needs help, Chief Hong is the first one to show up. 

“Hometown Cha Cha Cha” is one of the K-Dramas that has received attention from an international fanbase. The series is based on an old movie called “Mr. Hong,” which featured the late Kim Joo Hyuk and Uhm Jung Hwa. Out of the three K-Dramas mentioned in this article, “HometownCha” has my favorite soundtrack to listen to. Chief Hong is a very likeable, lovely and mysterious character. He has his own values and enjoys living a simple, minimalistic life. However, he has an unspeakable past. The drama reveals how he ended up back in Gongjin and why he is living the way he is now. 

“Hospital Playlist”

Fans of “Grey’s Anatomy” will enjoy this one! This Korean Drama follows the lives of five doctors that have been best friends since medical school. The five friends include Lee Ik-Jun (played by Jo Jung-suk), who is a general surgeon who specializes in liver transplants, Ahn Jeong-won (played by Yoo Yeon-seok), who is a pediatric surgeon, Kim Jun-wan (played by Jung Kyung-ho), who is a cardiothoracic surgeon, Yang Seok-hyeong (played by Kim Dae-myung), who is a OB/GYN and finally, Chae Song-hwa (played by Jeon Mi-do), who is a neurosurgeon and the only female in the group. This show revolves around the group of friends as they embark on their journey as a band and hospital adventures that include both medicine and relationships. 

The K-Drama showcases the different aspects of Korean culture when it comes to medicine, as well as family. All the main characters are in their 40s, which means they have different perspectives and meanings to what life is and how to enjoy it after studying for so long. The dynamic between the five of them is something that I enjoy as well. For example, Lee Ik-Jun, who is a transplant surgeon, also takes care of his son after being divorced by his uncommitted wife. However, it is his cheerful charisma that allows him to connect with his patients as well as the hospital staff. Meanwhile, the pediatric surgeon, Ah Jeong-won, is secretly applying to become a priest because he cannot take the hurt he feels when he sees his patients suffer. 

There is no way that this list is comprehensive! Netflix continues to film and add Korean Drama Originals year-round! If you can get over reading the subtitles on the screen, these shows are all amazing and binge-worthy.

Ria Dave

UMKC '26

Hi! I am Ria! I am a year 2 in the 6 year B.A/M.D program here at UMKC! I enjoy exploring different coffee shops in KC and watching k-dramas! My hobbies include collecting vinyls and online window shopping!
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