Korean Dramas: how I learned to love melodrama


#1

I love some Korean Dramas (romantic comedies).
I’m looking for recommendations.

My favorites are:
-Master’s Sun
-Playful Kiss
-My Lovely Sam Soon
-You’re Beautiful
-Coffee Prince

I also liked Dream High a lot, but i don’t consider it a romance.

I’m going to list some that I didn’t enjoy in hopes to increase the accuracy of recommendations for me personally. I didn’t make it all the way through these because I didn’t like them so maybe it gets good later, but…I didn’t like:
-Secret Garden
-Boys Over Flowers
-Heartstrings
-Heirs
-Weightlifting Fairy Kim Book Joo
-Oh My Ghost
-Pasta
-The Greatest Love
-It’s OK That’s Love

Here is a list of dramas that I made it all the way through (or to the second to last episode), but felt somewhat disappointed by. Obviously I feel that they have a lot to offer, but their pacing is broken or they have problems that make them ultimately not my thing (though episode 10 of Spy Myung Wol has one of my favorite scenes ever in the context of the previous 9 episodes).
-Spy Myung Wol
-Goblin: The Lonely Great God
-Flower Boy Next Door
-Scarlet Heart Ryeo
-Shopping King Louis
-…and the one with Officer Cha in it. I LOVED Officer Cha. Me Too Flower

There are others, I’ll edit the post as I remember them.

Anyone have recs or want to post their own lists so we might cross-reference similar tastes or something? The next one I plan to try out is Healer.


#2

Age of Youth (aka Hello, My Twenties!) is the only k-drama I’ve seen so far and I really enjoyed it, especially because it focuses on the relationships between five women who share a house together. It’s funny, there’s a lot of melodrama and some romance, but it gets real heavy later in the season so heads up (cw includes depictions of abusive relationships and sexual harrassment). The focus is not really on the romance though so it might not be what you’re looking for.

I’m interested in watching some more dramas, so I’ll definitely look into any recs in this thread too.


#3

On the other hand that suddenly raised my level of interest in it (I’ve been scrolling-past it), so appreciation to both of you :slight_smile:


#4

Pretty much every drama I listed deserves content warnings. Maybe the is a resource online that lists them?
If not, I can write warnings for each by memory.
The one that sticks out to me is that the male-lead in Playful Kiss who also stars in Boys Over Flowers and has a cameo in Dream High is accused of beating up his pregnant girlfriend.
You can check the “Legal Issues” section of his wikipedia page for details:

But more mildly, K-drama rom coms pretty much always have abusive men that the female lead is responsible for changing by getting thrown around and walked all over.


#5

Having been introduced to the world of Korean dramas by my SO, I was blown away by how much this is true. It’s not even some sort of layered, beyond the surface thing; everything is right there for the viewer to see in the text. Not to say that they aren’t enjoyable, or that there aren’t similar problems in Western TV, but yes people should be aware of this going in.

In most dramas I’ve seen there are some intense class issues present as well. Both these are reflections of what South Korea is now. If you can look past all this, there’s some real fun to be had.


#6

For those of you who are interested but concerned about specific triggers, my best guess of how to warn yourself would be to read the recaps on DramaBeans. They tend to be pretty thorough.
http://www.dramabeans.com/2013/08/masters-sun-episode-1/


#7

Yuuup. I come from a Japanese family and this holds true for a lot of japanese entertainment in general as well. I honestly think this trope showed up in some form in every manga I read when I was growing up.

Age of Youth was originally recommended to me because it tried to tackle some forms of abuse (not only in romantic relationships but also at the workplace and by parents/family, iirc). It’s not 100% on point and it gets really heavy-handed about it, but I think it does a decent job, especially for a drama that’s also trying to be fun and playful.


#8

The only thing I know about K-Dramas is that they invented the greatest slap of all time:


#9

Just finished the second episode of Healer. I like it so far, it is intriguing and fun.
I think instead of depending on recs, I can just watch everything Kim Mi-Kyung has been in.


#10

We just watched episode 5 of Healer. This show is paying off. Just taking a five-minute break til episode 6.
The show is like a crush-situation with a Clark Kent.


#11

We watched episode 7 and 8 of Healer last night. At this point, the show could totally fall off a cliff and I would feel like what I’ve seen so far was still worthwhile.

I think I can provide content warnings up through episode 8:
Suicide, homicide, Forced prostitution, implied rape, beating women up, gas-lighting, handsy supervisors, implied child-abuse, abandonment, loss of parents, loss of child, panic attacks

This post probably has spoilers.
So the show is basically a parkour Clark Kent situation where he is hired to keep an eye on the woman-lead and he falls for her even though she was just supposed to be a job. There’s about three levels of interweaving intrigue that are used for character motivation to jump between. I have a hard tome figuring out who is supposed to be who’s child and stuff, but I figure it out eventually and it’s fine. I do like the general sense that all these secrets are involved with each other.
I don’t blame the Clark Kent character for falling for Chae Young-shin because she is cute af and I’m falling for her too! Besides just being cute and open to emotions, what I really like about this character is that it is expressed very clearly that she is afraid and distrustful of people by nature, but she confronts that over and over again. She doesn’t have unrealistic expectations of her own safety and risk of being betrayed (in fact she is veey skeptical of it) but she still pushes herself to trust and risk things to the point that she will hit her own limits. And I find her motivations to do so to be well expressed. So it makes sense to me that she crushes on some masked superhero who she needs to treat as a protection-circle that can allow her to fulfill ethical obligationsas she sees them.
I love it. Me and my wife were screaming at the end of episode 7.


#12

For the record: We finished Healer and it was a joy. It’s totally part of my favorites of all time list now. I loved that couple and the resolution of the mystery and the conflict satisfied me.

So Healer is a hard act to follow. I tried the first episodes of a few shows that were difficult to get through. Everyone is always recommending My Love from Another Star though. I had tried to watch it three times before and just ended up watching an unenjoyable first episode three times over the course of a few years. I just decided to start watching the second episode this time.
I don’t think it is very good, but there are some things I like about it. The performances by most of the supporting-cast is interesting to me. Additionally, I like how the main woman character is a spoiled brat; usually the main woman character is a hard-working girl whose parents died in a car-crash and she’s just trying to make ends meet to take care of her younger sibling. Or she’ll be a professional with no time for love. So the rich spoiled-brat is kinda fun to watch as he does things for her despite her unlikable behaviors and expectations.
But I’m 13 episodes in and the show isn’t great. It is clear that they didn’t pace out the romance well; there is a lot of watered-down back-and-forth where he is trying to push her away to protect her (which mostly makes sense), but it’s always quickly resolved without mention and it repeats way too much. The result is this general feeling of disinterested romantic attraction that I’m not really enjoying.

I’ll try to provide a content warning for My Love from Another Star since it is recent in my memory:
Suicide
Gas-lighting
Murder
Loss of pregnancy


#13

i love korean dramas.Especially Boys over flowers.It was the first drama i saw.i really miss seeing it again.