Everyone love lists right? Here, I offer my personal list of the gems in k-dramaland. Most of the supposedly “famous” or “classic” dramas are not on my list, so you are likely to discover something new ^^ The dramas are ranked for the sake of creating a list, but I think they are all equally good or have their own charms!
#10 Can we get married? 우리가 결혼할 수 있을까
This is number 10 only because I’m watching it at the moment but it’s likely to make it to the TOP 5 list. A JTBC drama aired in 2012, it passed under the radar for most people, me included. I bet you haven’t heard of it right? I started watching it only because it’s a JTBC drama (funny how one drama can make me like the station in general) and it’s Sung Joon (who plays the charismatic lead in Shut Up).
The drama centrals around the theme of relationships and marriages in Korea and I love how the drama is essentially a 101 lesson of Korean society and culture (the relationship part). Unlike other dramas, the main couple here is in love and already in talks of marriage in ep 1. But they start to realize that marriage is not something simple and at every step closer to marriage, the dangers of breaking up also increases. A lot of themes and issues are touched upon in this drama, including the social stigma of being a single mum, the division in social standing in relationships, the different views towards marriage and of course the issue of adultery and divorce.
I remembered this scene when our male lead takes issue with the female lead addressing him a very casual way (calling him “얘”) in front of her mum (his future mother in law), saying that it makes him looks bad. The Korean system of addressee terms is really interesting and complicated. There are different terms to refer to the SAME person and this changes according to who you are talking to and also the changing status of the person. For example you can probably refer to your boyfriend as “우리 자기” to your close friends but not to your colleagues or boss, and you probably have a different term to talk about him to your parents. When the same person becomes your husband, it’s another set of terms.
It’s these little scenes and the attention paid to small details that make this drama shine. Things like meet-the-parent session, and the 상견례 (official meeting between the two families to discuss marriage) are portrayed in detail, instead of being a passing scene in most other dramas.
my shallow self: omggg sung joon’s voice ❤
Definitely worth watching!
#9 Protect the Boss 보스를 지켜라
A Korean rom com with two female and two male leads. I don’t know you, but it sure conjures the image of that typical setup with the 2nd female lead being a manipulative bitch, the 2nd male lead either being that all-too-perfect guy who gets heartbroken or turns manipulative too. We have all been conditioned -.- Add chaebol into the equation and you will expect a lot of makjang.
However, Protects the Boss manages to break that mold and what ends up is a refreshingly cute and sweet drama has that addictive quality. To be honest, there isn’t any x-factor or something special to draw me in, but somehow manages to be memorable and it creeps into your heart. Oh right, it features my all time favorite drama chaebol boss! Ep 1 can be slow though, you just need to sit through it!
#8 Listen to my Heart 내 마음이 들리니
I’m usually not a fan of weekend dramas and anything beyond 20 episodes is a nono but I sat through all 30 episodes. Granted, you can get too far away from makjang elements in weekend dramas and this drama takes place in the typically small world of kdramas where everyone seems to be connected in some way or another. BUT. There is so much heart to the story it makes all that makjang bearable.
This show also features one of my all time favorite bromances
If you like raw, gritty crime dramas which actually features short, well-written cases set in the midst of a bigger mystery, this is your show. I remember being damnnn addicted. Sadly, season 2 seems to be opt for that noir, philosophical feel and I no longer feel that suspense. But whatever my thoughts on season 2, season 1 is a must-watch.
#6 Shut Up Flower Boy Band 닥치고 꽃미남밴드
If you are like me and scoff at its title, assuming that it’s some lame pretty boy high school drama, you are going to end up eating your words. Well, it’s technically a high school drama and you do have some very very pretty boys, but instead of fluff, you get a lot of raw emotions and a gripping story on what it means to be young, full of dreams and yet lost in that big world out there. I think it’s something that we can all relate to and it does make me rethink what I really want to achieve in this journey to adulthood and what does it mean to be a true friend.
One of my favorite drama OSTs!
#5 SIGN 싸인
There simply needs to be more of such dramas. Forensic science crime dramas that does not simply act as a backdrop and convenience setup to a love story. I’m convinced that most kdramas are simply love dramas taking places in various setups or contexts (fashion, restaurants, hospitals, schools) and it’s great that you actually get a drama that focuses on something else. Like TEN, it follows a similar format of having small cases every episode with a bigger case at the central of its story. I love each and every story but I have to admit that sometimes that they are so gripping that I’m actually creeped out. Well, that just shows fantastic writing and acting.
hehe can you guess which dramas are going to make it to my TOP 5 list? ^^
[UPDATE] The TOP 5 List is now out. Click HERE