Korean dramas, K-Pop, K-food and K-fashion; the Hallyu Wave or the Korean Wave has been spreading across the world over the last decade, perhaps more. South Korea started to gain more exposure after the rise of BTS. People are now not only taking an interest in the country’s food and entertainment culture but also have started to learn the language.
The first K-drama I watched in 2018 was ‘Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo’. I started watching it because initially, I thought it to be Japanese drama – and then realized that the language sounded completely different! But that one K-drama got me hooked. I have now watched 56 K-dramas and am still counting. Thanks to these, I can speak a few sentences in Korean.
In this article, I’d like to present to you three of my favorite K-dramas and two that were trending in the year 2020.
Cast: Various actors such as Park Bo Gum in Reply 1988, Yoo Yeon Seok in Reply 1994
Genre: Comedy, Slice of life, Romance
Plot: Set in the backdrop of South Korea’s Olympic games, economic/political events, and the rise and fall of the most popular K-Pop groups at the time, the Reply series trio is about a few families and their very mundane day-to-day lives.
These dramas are light-hearted and the plot is very mundane, making it actually simpler to watch as a K-drama beginner. The Original Sound Tracks (OSTs), especially from Reply 1994 are amazing. This set of dramas is also very interesting and more importantly, hilarious. The goat bleating sound effect gets me every single time.
Memories of the Alhambra
Cast: Park Shin Hye, Hyun Bin
Genre: Sci-fi (Augmented Reality), Romance
Plot: In Granada, Spain, a teenage boy who has created an augmented reality game finds himself being chased by something. He calls the CEO of an investment company named Yoon Ji Woo (Hyun Bin). Before the CEO is able to comprehend the situation, the young boy suddenly disappears. Determined to find the missing game developer, Yoon Ji Woo buys the game rights from the developer’s sister Jung Hee Joo (Park Shin Hye) and starts to play the game. But things go wrong when NPCs (Non-Player Characters) start to pop up in the real world and people who are killed in the game also die in real life. Whether Yoon Ji Woo is able to find the AR game’s creator is for you to find out.
Cast: Nam Joo Hyuk, Kim Seon Ho, Bae Suzy
Genre: Slice of life, Business
Plot: Just as the title says, this drama is about three IT geniuses (Nam Joo Hyuk) and a contract worker Seo Dal Mi (Bae Suzy) who recently quit her job to start a new business. They go into South Korea’s fictional silicon valley, which is a building called ‘Sand Box’, where they are mentored by various successful CEOs and investors. Han Ji Pyung (Kim Seon Ho) is also an investor and mentors the newbie IT trio and Seo Dal Mi. This drama is a light-hearted one that includes some subtly embedded life lessons.
Record of Youth
Cast: Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, Byeon Woo Seok
Genre: Friendship, Romance
Plot: Sa Hye Joon (Park Bo Gum) is an unsuccessful model trying to become an actor. Won Hye Yo (Byeon Woo Seok) is already a successful actor. Things however change when Sa Hye Joon slowly and steadily climbs the success ladder and becomes more popular than Won Hye Yo, which makes him jealous. Adding to his jealousy, the now rather unpopular actor’s overbearing helicopter mother puts Won Hye Yo under pressure constantly. An Jeong Ah (Park So Dam) is a rather lonely make-up artist and has been Sa Hye Joon’s fan since his modelling days. She once gets the opportunity to do his make-up during a fashion show. The make-up artist becomes friends with the two actors. Just as the title says, they make lots of memories together and record their youth.
This is just a very short list of all the K-dramas I have watched. As a huge K-drama fan who has watched 56 Korean dramas, it was very hard for me to choose just four because the variety is almost endless. I hope that you will watch and enjoy these dramas as much as I did. By the way, all of the K-dramas I listed are available on Netflix. In a future article, I will be writing about the most iconic K-dramas of all time.
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