My Addiction to Korean Drama

I confess I’ve developed an addiction to Korean Drama. For a long time I have enjoyed movies produced or set in foreign countries.  I suppose it gives me a bit of a travel fix while I’m at home.  So when my daughter moved to Seoul, she suggested I watch a Korean drama to see a bit of what her new city was like. I started watching “The Coffee Prince,” and soon I was hooked.

The Korean Wave (also known as Hallyu) refers to the massive popularity of South Korean dramas (and Korean pop music/K-pop) since about 2000. This global wave has spread across Asia, into Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and to at least a couple of baby boomers I know in the Western world.

Korean TV dramas are usually around 20 episodes, which allows time to develop the story and characters, but there is a conclusion in sight, unlike most North American TV dramas. There are a variety of genres, but the ones I’ve watched are romantic comedies. They reflect everyday Korean life in the same way Hollywood movies reflect life in the west, but still, for an outsider they do provide a glimpse into Korean society.

I watch dramas on DramaFever.com, but there are other online options as well, and some are showing now on Netflix. The drama images below link to the official sites, but if you want to watch with English subtitles you will need to watch on a secondary site such as DramaFever.

If you enjoy romantic comedy and are looking for a fun escape with a touch of foreign culture, here are a few of my recommendations.

Coffee Prince

17 episodes | MBC | 2007
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring: Yoon Eun-hye and Gong Yoo

Coffeeprince

Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun-hye) is a young woman supporting her mother and sister. With her short, no nonsense hair, clothes and manner, she is often mistaken for a boy. Wealthy Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo) hires her to pretend to be his “gay lover,” to scare away the blind dates set up by his grandmother. When Han Kyul is ordered by his grandmother to manage a coffee shop, Eun Chan maintains her false male identity to become a “Coffee Prince” employee. Eventually she falls in love with her boss, who is confused by his romantic feelings towards this “young man.”

Secret Garden

20 episodes | SBS | 2010
Genre: Romance, comedy, fantasy, melodrama, action
Starring: Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won

Secret_Garden_(SBS-2010-Korean_Drama)-p3

Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin), the handsome but arrogant CEO of a luxury department store doesn’t care about romance; he’s looking for a marriage that will increase his power and connections. Gil Ra-im (Ha Ji Won) is not a beautiful heiress, but a stuntwoman dedicated to her craft. She’s not impressed by Kim Joo Won’s money or position, and thinks he’s a pest. After a strange sequence of events, they find they have switched bodies leading to a complicated relationship.

Part of this drama takes place on Jeju Island, which we visited when we were in Korea, so it was fun to see those places in the drama.

My Love from Another Star

21 episodes | SBS | 2013
Genre: Romance, comedy, fantasy
Starring: Kim Soo Hyun and Gianna Jun

My_LoveFrom_AnotherStar

“My Love from Another Star” is a fantasy romance about an alien, Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun) who landed on Earth in the Joseon Dynasty. His superpowers and 400 years of earthly experience lead him to feel superior over humans, until he falls in love with a top actress in the modern era, Cheon Song Yi (Gianna Jun).

As a recent example of cultural impact, when Cheon Song Yi ordered chicken and beer on an episode of “My Love From Another Star,” Korean beer exports rose by over 200 percent.

If you’re looking for something fun and foreign to watch, I recommend giving one of these dramas a try.

Warning: They are addictive!

Have you watched any Korean dramas?

 

27 replies
      • Tara
        Tara says:

        If you like Secret Garden, you’ll love Bromance – a new Taiwanese drama. It is a delightful combination of the plots from Secret Garden, To the Beautiful You and Coffee Prince, with just a hint of a mob influence. Just 13 episodes in, it is quickly becoming my favorite drama (I’ve already rewatched several episodes), which is surprising to me because I have usually found K-dramas to be far superior. I hope you like it

        Reply
  1. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Yes, these drama shows are usually very entertaining. We usually get them with subtitles. In the Philippines where my wife and I live, a Filipino TV channel has also one, but the shows are dubbed in Tagalog, the Filipino language. (Korean big screen movies are also very original in its own way apart from the Chinese and the Japanese movies).

    Reply
    • Shelley
      Shelley says:

      I’m not surprised you see them in the Philippines too, Ralph. Each Asian country has their own dramas, movies and music, but the Korean ones sure are popular across the region, and even in the west.

      Reply
  2. Shelley
    Shelley says:

    They can be quite melodramatic, so I think the story would come through pretty well even without words. This could be a good way of learning a new language, eh?

    Reply
  3. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer says:

    Oh my gosh YES! I love K-Dramas too; I would list all of the ones I love, but I want to leave space on this page for other commenters haha. I use the app Viki to watch them; for $3.99/month unlimited with no ads = amazing. Recently I started watching Japanese dramas too, but overall I think Korean ones are my favorite. It is interesting though that I did not really get into them until after I moved away from Korea three years ago!
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer recently posted…Sushi for Beginners: A Cultural Experience in TokyoMy Profile

    Reply
    • Shelley
      Shelley says:

      It’s true, a lot of people only associate South Korea as being next to North Korea. For me, these light hearted dramas are a welcome change from Breaking Bad, or The Walking Dead.

      Reply
  4. Denis Gagnon
    Denis Gagnon says:

    I was not familiar with Korean dramas, but, having watched many Chinese drama series in China over the years, I can well understand how interesting and captivating they can be. Thanks for sharing where these programs can be watched; that is very helpful.

    Reply
    • Shelley
      Shelley says:

      Lol, those ajummas are scary! Most of the dramas I’ve watched revolve around young people, but the young man’s mother especially is typically pretty fierce! You would know better than me if the stereotype is true. I noticed a lot of them walking in groups to keep fit.

      Reply
    • Shelley
      Shelley says:

      I haven’t seen any Indian soaps, but have watched a few Bollywood movies. Like you say, so bad they’re great, and always breaking out into dance.

      Reply

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