In high school, there was one summer during which I was addicted to Korean dramas. It was at summer science camp, and my roommates and I would pile around a computer to watch these sordid tales between our more nerdy pursuits. It wasn’t as easy to stream shows back then, and once I left camp (and therefore, the precious DVDs supplied by my roommate), I found myself bereft of Korean dramas. Fast forward to now: Some of the best Korean dramas are available on Netflix, and I am reeling.
I dearly wish I could remember the names of the dramas we watched. One about an art student whose work was stolen by her teacher, another about twins separated by death, the living twin haunted by his brother’s passing. I hadn’t been much of a fan of drama beforehand, but these shows were like white-water-rafting on the rapids of emotions. Even to this day I wonder how they ended; sadly, I’m afraid I may forever be scrabbling on the sheer face of a cliffhanger. In the meantime, I’m going to check out some of the K-dramas available to stream, to hopefully fill that hole in my heart. Who knows, maybe I’ll be reunited with my long lost dramas of a summer long ago… or is that something that only happens in fiction?
1. Stranger (2017)
In this crime drama, a stony-faced prosecutor and a driven, compassionate detective must join forces to discover the real truth behind an insidious murder. Will she be able to crack through his icy exterior? Or will she become hardened by their corrupt world?
2. Memories of the Alhambra (2018)
In this magical realism sci-fi drama, the worlds of a fantasy Augmented Reality game and, well, real reality collide. It's one of the highest rated Korean dramas of all time. But what else can be expected of this mixture of fantasy, science fiction, and emotional drama? It's like Black Mirror on steroids.
3. Something in the Rain (Pretty Sister Who Buys Me Food) (2018)
What happens when your childhood friend returns, older, wiser, and handsomer? That question is explored in Something in The Rain, aka, Pretty Sister Who Buys Me Food. And if that's not enough to suck you in, perhaps the incredible fashion of the two leads will.
4. A Korean Odyssey (2017)
Ghosts? Check. Evil spirits? Check. A modern-day plot based on the incredible classic novel Journey to the West? This drama combines ghost stories, fantasy, comedy, horror, romance, and magical ghost-thwarting umbrellas.
5. Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (2019)
This historical 19th century drama follows a young noble lady who tries to break down the gender barrier to becoming a historian. The inspiring plot is underscored by beautiful set design, costumes, and and actors who breathe life into this series.
6. My First First Love (2019)
Have you ever had your friends who, for various reasons, move unexpectedly into your house? And then adorable shenanigans ensue? No? Well, experience the magic of unexpected roommates with My First First Love.
7. Hello, My Twenties! (Age of Youth) (2016)
I love shows that explore friendships amongst women. Especially at that awkward time as you enter your 20's and start to figure out who you will be as an adult. Hello, My Twenties! (Age of Youth) is an endearing slice-of-life series.
8. Kingdom (2018)
Oh heck yeah, a series about medieval zombies? A mysterious plague that brings the dead back to life threatens Joseon period Korea. The Crown Prince must discover why zombies are threatening his country, and what's behind his father's death.
9. Black (2017)
Warning: the trailer is a little bloody! As it the rest of this highly-rated K-drama. It tells the story of a young woman who can see ghosts, a detective (who can't), and the human embodiment of death (who makes the ghosts). Part ghost-story, part crime drama, 100 percent sign me up.
10. Romance is a Bonus Book (2019)
This drama is (as hinted in the title) an epic romance. It's set in the hectic world of book publishing. The two protagonists must navigate their complex career world and personal lives, with a shared past and near-fatal car accident connecting the two. Will they fall in love? They gosh darned better.