Saturday, October 24, 2015

KDramas: Where Should You Start?

I get a lot of requests from people asking for KDrama recommendations. The question, "Which KDrama should I start with?" is always a difficult one to answer, particularly if I don’t know the person very well. Not all KDramas are equal, after all, and tastes will vary. I've had friends begin a KDrama and tell me with shock, "I thought this would be like a cheesy soap opera, but it's so beautiful!" (Inevitably, they say this right before they become KDrama addicts. I know from experience.)

I've talked a lot about KDramas before, but this time I'm going to give you recommendations based on the kinds of things you usually enjoy watching.

If you like action and intrigue…

You should try IRIS, IRIS 2, and City Hunter. They aren't perfect, but IRIS is the KDrama that started it all for me. Secret intelligence agencies, spies, guns, martial arts, chase scenes, assassins, politics, and Lee Byung-Hun before he came to Hollywood.

If you like romantic comedies…

You should try The Flower Boy Next Door, Heartstrings, Boys Over Flowers, Full House Take 2, or Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. Cute, quirky, dramatic, and with love triangles to spare!

If you like history…

You should try Empress Ki, Warrior Baek Dong Soo, Scholar Who Walks the Night, Faith, or Gu Family Book. The last three feature fantasy as well as history, and all are rife with action sequences, romance, and politics.

If you like doctor shows…

You should try Good Doctor or Yong-Pal. Both star Joo Won in very different situations, but both are awesome.

If you like procedurals and mysteries…

You should try Vampire Prosecutor. Even if you don't like vampires, this still might be the one for you - the main character is a vampire, but vampirism actually takes a back seat to solving the mysteries and crimes that crop up. Think of it more like CSI or Criminal Minds.

If you like extreme mix-ups, body-swaps, or genderbending…

You should try Coffee Prince, You're Beautiful, or Secret Garden. In Coffee Prince and You're Beautiful, the main character is a girl pretending to be a boy. In Secret Garden, mysterious magic forces the main characters to randomly swap bodies, and it's brilliant.

However, if you want to know my very favorite dramas…

Healer. I adore this drama. It combines everything I love - adorable/angsty romance, disguises, hidden identities, action, humor, heartbreaking sadness, and a happy ending. I've seen it twice, and it's still a complete favorite.

Faith. This is my favorite fantasy-slash-historical drama, and it has some flaws - the music tends to end abruptly, and Eun Soo's character can be very aggravating. However, it still remains in one of my top favorite, and I recommend it to everyone.

Kill Me, Heal Me. I only started this particular drama today, but something magical happened: I reached episode two, and there was still nothing I would change about it. This never happens. Usually I have an entire list of things I would change, but not here. The acting is flawless, it deals with multiple personalities, it's hilarious and heartbreaking and beautiful and is, in my professional KDrama-addict opinion, flawless so far.

Full House Take 2. This drama is utterly ridiculous but in all the best and most hilarious ways - and it manages to give you characters who, despite their idiocy, have amazing amounts of character development and growth. It's like watching a live-action anime, and is one of my all-time favorites.

So there we have it! I hope this list was helpful for you, and if you start one (or want more recommendations) leave me a comment!


  1. Where do you find KDramas at? I'd love to try them. :)

    1. You can find them various places -, Hulu, Dramafever, gooddrama, dramaload - sometimes even Youtube has them!