Here are the very best Korean dramas to watch right now
If you’ve watched 2019’s Best Picture Oscar-winner Parasite, your eyes have now been opened to the wonderful world of Korean cinema. If you haven’t watched it yet, what are you waiting for? Parasite’s brilliance cannot be understated – its mixture of thrill and humor is unmatched.
But don’t stop there. If you look beyond Parasite, there’s a great expanse of Korean dramas that you have to watch. Whether it be classic movies like Parasite, or some of Netflix’s new major Korean hits, you’re bound to fall in love with K-dramas.
The sixteen-piece mystery drama series Vagabond just recently made its way to Netflix and it’s definitely one to add to your watchlist. The story follows stuntman Cha Dal-gun, who seeks to find the truth behind the mysterious B357 plane crash. Tragically losing his nephew in the disaster, Cha Dal will stop at nothing to solve its mystery.
Cha Dal’s investigation pulls him through a mess of corruption involving a secret ring of terrorists and governmental coverups. Luckily, Cha Dal doesn’t have to go through it alone – he finds covert operative Hae-ri, and together they dig up the plane’s buried secrets.
Not only does Vagabond possess excellent pacing, the characters are also multidimensional & entertaining. Throw in a spark of budding romance between Cha Dal & Hae-ri, and you’ve found yourself a winner.
Memories of Murder
Bong Joon-ho, the genius behind Parasite, has a history of marvelous films; his 2003 flick Memories of Murder is one of the best. This South Korean crime drama is inspired by the true story of Korea’s first serial murders.
Set in a small town in the 1980s, Memories of Murder follows two contrary detectives who struggle to solve the mystery. Local detective Park Doo-man is inexperienced & overwhelmed by the unexpected horrors; his questionable investigative methods are challenged by Seo Tae-yoon, an experienced detective brought on to help.
Memories of Murder will draw you in with its mastery of conveying dread and heartfelt conflict. It’s dark, passionate, and honest. You’ll be left with some grand truths about detective work and the terrors of uncertainty.
Crash Landing on You
Looking for something other than crime? Crash Landing on You (also translated as Love’s Emergency Landing) is an adorable drama about a South Korean woman who accidentally crashlands in North Korea.
When South Korean Chaebol heiress Yoon Se-ri sets off on a recreational paragliding ride, she gets knocked off course by a sudden tornado – sending her falling into the arms of Ri Jeong-hyeok, North Korean Special Police Force captain. Even though she lands in a forbidden area for South Koreans, Ri Jeong-hyeok helps Yoon Se-ri hide and eventually return.
You called it: they fall in love despite the bitter divide between their countries. This Romeo & Juliet tale is surprisingly touching, especially in a time of such political strife. With a cheeky sense of humor and an emotional, slowburn style, Crash Landing on You will make you smile.
Missing Grey’s Anatomy? Give Golden Time, a South Korean, medical drama a go. Golden Time focuses on Lee Min-woo as he joins a team of doctors & surgeons working in the ER. The title refers to the “golden hour”, the window of time that determines the life of death of a patient after a traumatic injury.
Lee Min-woo has to overcome his uncertainties about becoming a doctor so he can act fast and save lives during this “golden time.” Despite being a bit lackadaisical & goofy, Lee Min-woo is forced to take his job seriously when he experiences the grave traumas in the ER.
Lee Min-woo is paired with the beautiful Kang Jae-in, a rich girl striving to support herself and help others. Throw in a selfless, workaholic surgeon who guides the young doctors in their medical pursuits, and you’ve struck gold. The romance & drama that ensues is irresistable.
For romantics, history buffs, and melodrama lovers, the series Mr. Sunshine is a wonderful choice. Mr. Sunshine takes place in Korea’s Joseon Dynasty era and follows the story of Lee Byung-hun, an escaped slave who became a United States Marine Corps officer. Upon his return to Korea, he falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter and hears of a plot to colonize Korea.
To avoid spoilers, let’s just say from there the plot thickens. Mr. Sunshine is filled with suspense, activism, and passion – much more weighty than the melodrama Downton Abbey.
Mr. Sunshine is known for stunning female leads, dazzling cinematography, and deep storytelling. The fight for Joseon sovereignty is endlessly compelling and addictive. Mr. Sunshine is also an entertaining way to get your daily dose of history.