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Top 5 must-watch K-dramas for beginners

Popular and Exciting Korean Dramas (Image via Oprah Daily)
Popular and Exciting Korean Dramas (Image via Oprah Daily)
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Nikhita Unnikrishnan Menon

With the Hallyu Wave making its way globally, the South Korean entertainment industry has begun receiving much limelight, especially K-drama. Creating worldwide phenomenons like Train to Busan, Parasite and Squid Games, shows what the South Korean entertainment industry can produce.

With new dramas coming out often, it's easy for one to get flustered as to where to begin. This article will dive into a list of titles readers must explore while on a K-drama binge.


These K-dramas are ideal for kicking off the journey

K-dramas have various sub-genres for any enthusiast to explore: historical, romance, supernatural, and thriller. The following list has a selection of different genres.

5) Boys Over Flowers

@kdrama_menfess First Kdrama: Boys Over Flowers (BBF kalo di sini mah ya)Ini satu sekolah aing.. ciwi2nya lgsg berburu tabloid gaul buat dapetin poster mereka 😅First Kmovie: A Werewolf Boy (yg main SJK)Current kdrama: Vincenzo (ahahha telat akutuh)All time fav kdrama: gatau bnyak https://t.co/Mz5vkHAcxr

Based on popular Japanese manga and anime Hana Yori Dango, Boys Over Flowers is a great way to start any K-drama journey. With a hint of class difference, school drama and innocent romance. Boys Over Flowers is a light must-watch for anyone trying out K-dramas for the first time.

Synopsis: The story revolves around a poor schoolgirl, Geum Jan-di, who, with a stroke of luck, manages to land herself in the most expensive private school in South Korea. Her life gets entangled with the notorious F4 group and Koo Jun-Pyo's leader.

Release: January 5, 2009 - March 31, 2009

Cast: Hye-seon Ku (Geum Jan-Di), Min-ho Lee (Koo Jun-Pyo), Hyeon-jung Kim (Yun Ji-Hu), Kim Beom (So Lee-Jeong), and Kim Jun (Song Woo-Bin)

Where to watch: Netflix


4) Memories of the Alhambra

Title : Memories of The AlhambraGenre : Romance - Science Fantasy🙋🏻‍♀️⭐ : 3/5 https://t.co/8pAwm1iXAQ

For a hint of fantasy, a dash of reality, and some swoon-worthy romance, Memories of the Alhambra is a total must-watch K-drama. Featuring popular actors from the South Korean entertainment industry, this K-drama is a roller-coaster of emotions that'll keep anyone gripping to the edge of their seats.

Synopsis: The story revolves around the CEO of an investment company, Yoo Jin-Woo, on a business trip in Spain. Once in Spain, he ends up staying in a quaint hostel run by Jung Hee-Joo. The two slowly get involved in strange affairs surrounding a video game.

Release: December 1, 2018 - January 20, 2019

Cast: Hyun-Bin (Yoo Jin-Woo) and Park Shin-Hye (Jung Hee-Joo)

Where to watch: Netflix


3) It's Okay to Not Be Okay

i asked my cards and they said this show gives very much pisces energy -- it's okay to not be okay kdrama https://t.co/MsYX8Nizr8

Putting the 'D' in K-drama, It's Okay to Not Be Okay is a K-drama for the soul. Touching on heavy topics like mental health, healing and trauma, this K-drama is ideal for anyone who wants to get in touch with their emotions. This drama is perfect to start with as it has notable talent accompanied by a heartwarming narrative

Synopsis: The story revolves around three characters; Moon Kang-Tae, a man who works at a psychiatric ward, his autistic brother, Moon Sang-Tae, and a child novelist, Ko Moon-Young, diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder.

Release: June 20, 2020 - August 9, 2020

Cast: Kim Soo-Hyun (Moon Kang-Tae), Seo Yea-Ji (Ko Moon-Young) and Oh Jung-Se (Moon Sang-Tae)

Where to watch: Netflix


2) Hometown Cha Cha Cha

@NetflixIndia Hometown cha cha cha undoubtedly! https://t.co/JhtiArDIVq

For something light and quintessential with tons of scenic views, Hometown Cha Cha Cha is a sweet drama to watch. Not only does the K-drama manage to capture nuanced emotions, but it features a sneak-peak of small-town life in South Korea and a great view of the sea and sun.

Synopsis: This drama tells the story of dentist Yoon Hye-Jin, who loses her job due to her sense of justice. She travels to the small village of Gongjin, where she encounters the charismatic and enigmatic part-timer, Hong Du-Sik, affectionately known as Chief Hong.

Upon seeing an opportunity, she decides to give up her oh-so-fancy city life and set up her dental clinic in the small village, entangling her life with Hong Du-Sik and other quirky residents.

Release: August 28, 2021 - October 17, 2021

Cast: Shin Min-A (Yoon Hye-Jin) and Kim Sun-Ho (Hong Du-Sik)

Where to watch: Netflix


1) Descendants of the Sun

I've just watched episode S01 | E10 of Descendants of the Sun! #descendantsofthesun tvtime.com/r/245mV #tvtime https://t.co/PIbfvS3VPw

Sweeping the entire nation with their whirlwind romance on and off screens, Descendants of the Sun has now become a classic must-watch. Apart from swoon-worthy romance and picturesque landscapes, this K-drama explores the complicated lives of different individuals.

Synopsis: This drama explores the love story between Shi-Jin, the Special Forces' captain and Mo-Yeon, a well-reputed doctor in South Korea. Despite being interested in one another, things don't work out between the two. They part ways until their fateful encounter once again in the far-off land of Uruk.

Meanwhile, the narrative also follows the love story of Sergeant Major Dae-Young, Captain Shi-Jin's right-hand man and Yoon Myeong-Joo, his superior's daughter. Alongside such a fated tale are the rest of the special forces and medical team.

Release: February 24, 2016 - April 14, 2016

Cast: Song Joong-Ki (Yoo Shi-Jin), Song Hye-Kyo (Kang Mo-Yeon), Jin Goo (Seo Dae-Young) and Kim Ji-Won (Yoon Myeong-Joo).

Where to watch: Netflix


Note: The list is subjective and reflects the views of the writer.


Edited by Srijan Sen
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