This post is thanks to MeriJ, who suggested the topic “K-Roms Your BF/Husband Might Be Willing To Watch With You.”
I’ve also come across many drama fans who do sincerely wish that their significant others would share in their passion and watch dramas with them.
And since many of us are spending a lot more time at home these days because of the pandemic, and also because we recently had a great time helping Amethystwaves shortlist dramas to watch with her mom, I thought it’d be a good time to attempt to answer the question:
What are some dramas that the man in my life might be willing to watch with me?
Dear everyone who has a man in your life whom you’d like to get on the drama train,
I can’t guarantee that the dramas I talk about today will definitely appeal to the man in your life, because, as I’ve come to learn, all men are different, heh. But, I do hope that this post will at least give you some ideas.
Note: I’m writing this under the assumption that the man in your life is not yet as enlightened as the men in our drama community, who, as far as I can tell, are as adventurous in their drama picks as the next fangirl, and are game to try just about any genre.
If this enlightened male drama fan is you, YAY you, and please stick around and give us your input to everyone else who might have a boyfriend, husband, dad, brother, son or son-in-law that they’d like to get on the drama train.
A couple of guidelines that might help
I’m guessing that if the man in your life isn’t super open to dramas, that they probably have the idea that dramas are mostly romance chick-flick soap opera type things.
When I first got to know one of my good male friends and we got to talking about dramas, he was shocked to hear that there are kdramas about vampires (more on that later), and that not everything is a soap opera.
In that moment, he seemed a lot more interested in dramas than before, so I’m guessing that helping the man in your life see that there’s a lot more to enjoy in dramas than “chick-flick” “soap opera” type things, will help.
Here are some broad categories that I think the average non-drama initiated man might find interesting.
Action: Lots of men find shows with an action bent fun to watch, so picking a drama with some thrills and spills might be a good way to go.
Comedy: Drama comedy tends to be of the pretty broad variety, so if that matches with your man’s sense of humor, picking a comedy for his first drama might work.
Sports: If your man is into sports, or likes watching sports, then a drama that’s in a sports setting might be a great way to get him interested in watching dramas.
Underdog: Rooting for the underdog is a pretty universal theme; it’s easy to cheer for the good guy to triumph against the bad guys, and can make for pretty immersive drama watching.
Sageuks or period shows: I feel like sageuks or period shows present such a different world than the world that we live in, that it could give a newbie lots of interesting tidbits to explore.
Fantasy: In a similar vein to sageuks or period shows, a good fantasy drama would also likely have lots of interesting elements to keep your man interested.
40 SHOW SUGGESTIONS
Wow! I had no idea I would come up with 40 shows, when I started on this post. That’s.. a lot. So I’ve listed the shows in alphabetical order, to make it easier for you to find the show on this list again, if you need to.
Arang and the Magistrate
Arang’s got a great fantasy world, so I think that would make the watch feel more interesting for your man.
Additionally, it’s quite funny in its set-up, coz Arang is a ghost, and our male lead is a magistrate who absolutely hates that he can see ghosts. I was very tickled at all the bits where he’s trying to pretend that he can’t see her.
All of these elements make the show feel like much more than just the central romance.
Also, it’s about Arang’s search for identity, so there’s that, too.
Review is here.
Are You Human Too?
Robots! Secrets! Drama! A wonderfully hilarious journey, with the right ironic lens.
Flash Review is here.
Gritty action, reluctant teamwork, gruff brotherhood. It’s just the stuff to appeal to a male viewer, I would think. 🙂 Note: there’s no romance in this one.
Review is here.
Admittedly, it’s been years since I saw this, but when I watched it, I loved it. A stirring tale of a villain-turned-vigilante-hero and his journey of redemption.
Show includes a strong star-crossed bromance. And you can pretty much ignore the token romance.
Review is here.
A completely different world, of slaves and their masters, and the slave hunters hired to capture runaway slaves.
Epic and stirring, with lots of fighting and brotherhood along the way. Not a romance, though the story contains a romance, if that makes sense.
Jang Hyuk is magnificent and magnetic in this, and his fight skillz are glorious to behold.
Review is here. Open Threads are listed here.
Again, it’s been years since I saw this, but I liked it when I watched it. Intrigue, birth secrets, revenge plots, vigilante (anti?)hero and action to go with.
This all ought to add up to make the romance go down better.
Crash Landing On You
Nothing like global hype to pique your man’s interest? This show made Netflix’s top ten shows streamed during lockdown.
A peek into mysterious North Korea, handled with some comedy, action and drama on the side, on top of the usual South Korean setting. The central romance is amped up and cheesy, but lands so well, while reveling in its own tropes.
There’s a reason so many non-drama fans have gotten sucked into this show.
Review is here.
Designated Survivor: 60 Days
Less of a political story, and more of an underdog story in a political setting.
It’s so gratifying to see Ji Jin Hee’s timid Environment Minister step into his unexpected presidential shoes, and learn to grow into those shoes with integrity and courage, despite the odds stacked against him.
There are little hints of romance in this, but the main story does not contain a romance.
Flash Review is here.
Fight My Way
Does your man enjoy MMA? Coz our male lead is a failed taekwondo athlete working to make good in the field of MMA, and that might be enough to get his attention.
The romance is also handled very organically in this, and isn’t cheesy to watch, which helps.
Review is here.
Eeee!!! There honestly can’t be anyone who sees a character nonchalantly parkour off buildings on a regular basis, and not find it badass and cool. Healer is just so cool, that I think he’d appeal to your man and to you too. 😉
Show’s well-written, the backstory is cohesive, though a little ambiguous to start with, and the romance is very nicely handled. Plus, Park Min Young is as appealing as she is cute in this, so I don’t think your man could object.
Review is here. Open Threads are listed here.
Dark gangster noir, with badass lethal fight moves delivered with consistent laidback cool. Show is twisty and can feel hard to watch, but it sure is different. If your man prefers dark material, this could be your ticket.
Plus, Jung Kyung Ho is iconic and amazing in this.
Flash Review is here.
I’m Not A Robot
More robots! This time, a cute fake robot, along with a real one, and the comedy that ensues from one pretending to be the other.
You get a cute love story too, but the robot funnies should help to keep things entertaining, if your man isn’t immediately drawn to romance.
Flash Review is here.
A solid underdog story with a likable protagonist who feels easy to root for, and who feels aspirational too, at the same time, because of how loyal and pure-hearted he is.
Warm found-family feels to be had, and a nice amount of diversity in the cast.
Review is here.
I admit I haven’t seen this. But I thought I should include this, because one of my male friends who famously doesn’t watch any kind of dramas (in any language) because he always has other things to do, actually came up to me and asked, “Have you seen Kingdom?!?” Turns out he’d watched it and liked it!
So yeah. Scary zombies and a sageuk world just might pique your man’s interest.
Laughter in Waikiki
Again, not one that I’ve seen, but lots of folks found this hilarious and heartwarming, and it’s got found-family themes too. Might be a contender, if your man enjoys comedies.
If your man is a foodie, then this might be a good pick. The food p0rn is great, and Doo Joon does a great job waxing lyrical about every dish.
There’s also a theme of community, with singles within an apartment building coming together for food, but finding friendship as well. A little unevenly written, but heartwarming all the same.
Review is here.
Life On Mars
A fantasy sort of construct, great acting, found family, reluctant brotherhood, and an on-going mystery of exactly what is going on with our protagonist.
Really nicely done, and you and your man ought to have a fun time comparing notes on what you think is really going on.
Jung Kyung Ho and Park Sung Woong are so good in this. <3
Flash Review is here.
Memories of the Alhambra
Is your man into gaming? Coz if he is, this might be a good pick. The concept of playing your game in a real-life setting is quite intriguing, and the visual effects are pretty excellent.
Think of it as an adventure quest and ignore the so-called romance Show tries to serve up.
Flash Review is here.
A magnificent revenge drama that’s satisfying all the way to the end. Jang Hyuk‘s male lead is masterful at moving the pieces around on his chess board, and it’s a thrill to watch him play his revenge game with a languid, masterful control.
Show contains some lashings of romance, but is, at its heart, a revenge story.
Review is here. Open Threads are listed here.
I admit I haven’t finished this one, but it’s much loved, and highly praised.
Set in a very different time and world than we’re used to, with a range of characters who are tragically interesting, I’m thinking your man might find this worth watching.
My Beautiful Bride
A show that’s heavy on the action, and also, heavy on the idea of enduring, unconditional true love, this might be a win for both you and your man.
Kim Moo Yul is so very fantastic in this. So great at the action, and also, so great at showcasing his character’s emotions.
Flash Review is here.
My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
Fun fantasy hijinks! Shin Min Ah is a nine-tailed fox who clings to a hapless Lee Seung Gi and continually insists that he buy her meat, if he doesn’t want her to eat him instead. Ha.
Cute, fun and funny, and also, unexpectedly heart-grabby by the end.
Might be a good (and sneaky) way to initiate your man to the appeal of k-romance. 😉
Shout-out to Kay for reminding me about this show, in one of my recent posts!
Open Threads are listed here.
Star-crossed brotherhood, and the search for belonging, for meaning, and self, make up the backbone of this show. There’s a love triangle, but it mostly serves to amp up the angst in the star-crossed bromance.
Beautifully shot and very pretty to look at, Show is a stirring, emotional ride, if you’re not too fussed about suspension of disbelief. Jang Hyuk is can’t-look-away compelling in this, as supporting character Lee Bang Won, and steals just about every scene he’s in.
Review is here.
Such a dark yet beautiful story of humanity and kinship. This is a masterpiece, and should appeal to even a non-drama fan.
It’s arguable whether there is romance in this; I feel it was positioned as a platonic soulmate sort of thing, but others feel differently. Regardless, it’s viscerally moving.
Review is here. Open Threads are listed here.
Nirvana in Fire (China)
A magnificent drama on every level. Superbly written, acted and directed, this one ruined me for other dramas, for a long time. It’s kinda like Money Flower (though this one came first), just amped up in scale, scope and depth many times over.
You do have to be prepared to pay attention to conversations, because a lot of tussling happens in the dialogue. But there’s actual fights, wars and bloodshed too, as you go along. It’s sweeping, epic, and cracky, with the excitement and thrills amped up over several stages in the story.
My dad is so absolutely not a drama watcher, but once my mom talked him into giving this a try, he soon got into it (it takes about 4 eps to get your bearings), and then he was watching multiple episodes back to back, every day. And he loved it.
Flash Review is here. Open Threads are listed here.
Nothing like a grim prison setting to pique your man’s curiosity?
Prison Playbook is all about found family, community and bromance, and Show brings the feels, just as well as it brings the corny humor. Some romance is served up on the side, and doesn’t overpower the narrative.
The characters all have a time to shine, and I feel like a non-drama fan shouldn’t have much trouble taking to this one.
Review is here.
I have to admit, I haven’t seen this one yet, but it’s highly praised and very well regarded in the drama community, as a gripping, compelling tale.
Serial murder, corruption, and the unexpected partners who team up to solve it all. Won the 2018 Daesang (Grand Prize) at the Baeksang Arts Awards.
Update: Open Threads listed here.
I.. haven’t finished this one either. It’s not an easy watch, but if your man is ok with serial murders, this might be a good pick.
This show is also highly praised and well regarded. A walkie-talkie crosses timelines and allows officers in the present to communicate with the past, enabling them to solve cold cases. Won Best Drama at the 2016 Baeksang Arts Awards.
Open Threads are listed here.
Six Flying Dragons
Ahaha. Another show I didn’t finish. But, many drama fans love it and recommend it.
A fictional, stylized take on the founding of the Joseon Dynasty, with political intrigue and action. Yoo Ah In is reportedly excellent in this.
Does your man like baseball? Coz this story is pretty much all centered around baseball. You don’t have to love baseball to like this one, though.
It’s a very solid little underdog story, of how the team that always ranks last in the league works to turn in things around, when a new General Manager comes on board. Note: there is no romance in this one.
Review is here.
Terius Behind Me
A fun and funny show, with spy and neighborhood ahjumma hijinks in equal measure.
So Ji Sub is the loner undercover spy who ends up babysitting his neighbor’s young twins in an effort to investigate a case, and it’s cuteness overload, even while Show continues to move the spy story forward. Should be fun for both you and your man.
Flash Review is here.
The King’s Avatar (China)
I haven’t seen this one, but it’s on my list. If your man is into gaming, this might be a good pick.
There’s reportedly no romance in this, but the gaming team dynamics is supposed to be very good stuff.
The Longest Day in Chang’an (China)
Beautifully shot, this show feels and looks more like a movie than a drama. This might make it more accessible to your non-drama initiated man.
Plus, our protagonist is given an almost impossible task: to save the city of Chang’an from terrorist acts, before the day ends. There are lashings of romance in this one, but it’s not a major arc.
Flash Review is here.
The Three Musketeers
A fun and breezy fusion sageuk take on the age old tale of The Three Musketeers.
Suspension of disbelief is required in varying amounts, but Show is a fun, rollicking ride that I think your man would enjoy.
Review is here.
Tree With Deep Roots
A stylized, fictional take on how King Sejong created hangul, and the obstacles he had to overcome, in order to achieve his dream of making literacy accessible to his people.
An excellent show, with excellent performances by Han Suk Kyu and Jang Hyuk.
A action-packed story with a boatload of heart, Lee Jun Ki‘s fugitive daddy on the run while trying to save his sick daughter, is just impossible not to root for.
Quite excellent, on multiple fronts.
Review is here.
Vampires! And so stylishly done too! Show is engaging, witty and well-written, and everything is served up in a slick, polished, elegant package.
I don’t tend to love vampires or crime procedurals, but I really really liked this.
Review is here.
When The Camellia Blooms
There’s a serial murder in this, to keep things from being purely about relationships, so in this case, it might be a plus, for your man?
The community feels are pretty great, and the OTP relationship has a dorky, quirky bent, which makes it feel refreshing and different. Bonus points for healthy relationship dynamics in this OTP.
Flash Review is here.
When The Devil Calls Your Name
A fantasy tale of a man who sells his soul to the devil for career success, and lives to regret it. Suspension of disbelief is required, but Show boasts some excellent performances by Jung Kyung Ho and Park Sung Woong.
A little uneven at times, but if your man enjoys poignance, comedy and soul-searching, this might be your ticket.
Flash Review is here.
You From Another Star
From the same writer who gave us Crash Landing On You, this show does a lot of the same things right.
Cheesy romance that actually works, in the midst of fun and funny hijinks, this time, with an alien falling in love with a top actress. Show brings the funny as deftly as it brings the feels, and should be fun for both of you.
Review is here.
I sure hope this list gives you guys some ideas in terms of dramas to pitch to the men in your lives. Remember, drama love is also like romantic love: it’s all about timing. So pick your time wisely, when pitching dramas to your man.
As always, if you guys have ideas, suggestions or other shows to recommend, please share them in the comments – coz sharing is caring. 😉
I hope this helps. Have fun!
1. If you feel that I missed anything, or if you have your own insights that you’d like to share with the rest of us, do tell us about it in the comments!
2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!
Reply 1988!! That must be included in the list. me and my husband watched one episode each day after coming from office. Its a slice of life show about friendship, family and love and my husband loved it! After that we watched Crash Landing On you, he liked that on too, but a little less than Reply 1988. The OST for Reply 1988 is his phone ringtone now, he enjoyed it that much!!
Now I am trying to convince him to watch Healer with me and I think he will like that too….
I miss on this list: The fiery priest. While watching it, my hubby kept on peeking on the Laptop and he ended up watching with me. There is no romance in this Drama, but lots of fun and heart and action too. It was really hilarious. We both were excited to read “We will be back” at the end of the series and we both hope for season 2.
Oh and not a Drama, but as a movie i can also recommend “Along with the Gods”. Both Part 1 and 2. Fantasy world with action and heart.
Hi Nessa – the Fiery Priest was a big hit with me and the 10 and 12 year old in my house. They loved the bank vault scene and its toilet humor and laughed uproariously. I can see this being appealing to guys. I especially enjoyed Sister Kim In-Kyung. There were gangsters and lots of skilled fighting scenes. It was crazy fun.
I also spent money to view both Along with the Gods and I enjoyed both very much.
Yes the sister was also one of my favorites. i liked that no character was wasted in this drama and each and everyone got their turn to shine.
And another K-Drama to watch with boyfriend/hubby: Memorist
For me it was actually a bit too thrilling and dark. Its about a serial killer and a police officer, who can read peoples memories by touching them. Some of the murders freaked me out, specially one of the first ones. But if your partner is into crime series, this might be one for him.
My husband watched and enjoyed Kingdom on his own (& unbeknownst to me until he was almost done) and Arthdal Chronicles with me (thought parts were too slow and fast forwarded some, but overall enjoyed.) There is absolutely no way he would have watched many of the items in your list (When the Camellia Blooms, Crash Landing, My Love from the Star,…) that are primarily romance. I tried with My Mister and Itaewon Class as well, but unless there is a significant action and fantasy element with assurances of little to no romace, he is out.
I’d bet he’d like Iris seasons 1 and 2 and Chuno. The first couple of episodes of Iris deals with the lead character’s relationship, not romance (and that’s not the entirety of the two episodes which actually deal more with military and learning to be a special ops agent. It’s all action from then forward. Chuno has romance but only in the epic sense in that love (or is it revenge?) drives the main character but the couple have very little interaction because it’s not about the relationship nor romance.
as a dude who occasionally binge watch Kdramas… I wanted to recommend 2 of my all time, all dude, favs… ALL IN and IRIS… definitely oldies but goodies for guys
I’ve been trying to tell everyone about Iris (but DON’T watch the movie version. It cut too many scenes to fit into movie size which rendered it nonsensical).
We watched Kingdom, When the Camellia Blooms and Reply 1988 with my husband. He really liked them. He had watched Forest of Secrets on his own as it came up in a list of top shows to watch. As the actress is the same as Kingdom we watched that one together, i enjoyed it a lot but not a romcom.
Reply 1988 is a romcom with great family stories and we marathoned through it (it was my 3rd time watching it) during the Christmas break a few years back. He loved it, ptobably as we both were teens in the late 80s/early 90s. Trying to get him to watch Reply 1997.
It was his idea to watch When the Camellia Blooms as he liked Kang Ha Neul from a travel show we watched (Traveler 2) and wanted to see his acting. I am not a big fan of Gong Hyo-jin (sorry, I know not a popular opinion!) but we really liked it.
I think is trying to find something you will both enjoy.
That’s how we ended up watching When Camillia Blooms as well. We watched the travel show with with Kang ha Neul in it and he wanted to watch him in the drama. He really enjoyed it! Then we watched the season 1 of the same travel show and I got him to watch The Signal which he absolutely loved it. I am yet to convince him to watch Reply 1988 with me. If it does, it will be my third time.
This list is pretty good, these are the shows we have watched together so far:
When camillia blooms
We watched Signal too after watching Traveler in Cuba 🤣🤣🤣
I just received a notice that Iris is back on Netflix!
A fabulous list kfangurl and of course some of my all time favourites are on there. A great range of responses too 😂 All I can really add is that the viewing habits of men are evolving. So, the opportunity is there. Initially, it’s a matter of finding out how to engage based on knowing what a man enjoyed doing, or was exposed to, in a positive way, as a boy. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it 😜
It’s nice that you honor us male drama fans as “enlightened”. My wife and I are both k-drama fans, but we have different tastes. We often watch separately, enjoying our own picks. When we find a drama that moves or affects us deeply, we share it with the other and watch it together. That’s how she got me to watch Answer Me, 1988, and how I got her to watch Misaeng and even 81-episode Jumong. I think Kfans can just invite their SOs to watch those shows that they really love.
There are also some petty ways you can get your SO to watch a drama. You can appeal to his ego (“I like this rom-com because the guy is just like you”) or try to lure him in with jealousy (“I wish you were more like this character”). I have this friend…
One good selling point is the fact that kdramas are usually just 16-18 episodes. Even Gaksital’s 28 episodes is relatively short – it’s still not 6 seasons each with 24 unconnected episodes. Uninitiated men might be more willing to at least try it out. It’s also an assurance that the ending is already planned out, not a story that’s going to be dragged on indefinitely until it gets cancelled.
From the guidelines you listed, I thought Queen In-Hyun’s Man was going to make the list. Did you think QIHM would be too much romance? You did include other rom-coms in the list, and It’s an excellently produced and well-written fantasy fusion-sageuk with elegant action scenes. I think QIHM showcases well that special kdrama flavor, which is why it’s one of my default recommendations to my not-yet-enlightend male (and female) friends. And since we’re listing dramas to watch together with SO’s, epic romances shouldn’t necessarily be avoided. Also it’s just really good.
Fantasy dramas like Arang might be too strange to uninitiated men. A flower boy jade emperor with a pet goat and hitting on heaven-fairies is marvelously silly to us kfans, but that wispy look around heaven might be too jarring to someone new to kdramas. The effects can also be off-putting.
Many k-dramas have this powerful male-audience-drawing ingredient that you surprisingly didn’t highlight – a captivatingly beautiful lead actress. You can simply show a guy that still of Shin Min-a you got here for Gumiho, and he’d watch it for more of that smile. He’d then also watch Arang despite the aforementioned off-putting effects and goat-tending flower boy jade emperor. The very first kdrama I watched was a local dubbed version of Love Story in Harvard. Not at all a very good one, but my brother and even my dad followed the weekly airing. I know a few other guy friends in college who did the same. We all readily admit it’s just because Kim Tae-Hee.
Hi there Eyre! 😀 Welcome to the blog! 🙂 And yes indeed, I do think of male drama fans as enlightened. 😉 I would love more of the men around me to watch dramas, all the better to have conversations and discussions around! 😀 I think it’s really cool, that you and your wife share an interest in dramas, even though you don’t usually watch the shows together. It still makes for great conversation, I think. 🙂
Ah, I forgot about Queen In Hyun’s Man, actually! I loved that drama so much, when it aired. I should’ve added it to the list! Thanks for mentioning it here, at least Show gets the shout-out it deserves. And OMIGOSH, I literally did not think of your point, that male viewers would be drawn in by a beautiful lead actress! 😆 I can’t believe I didn’t think of that! 😀 Thanks for letting us in on this powerful secret weapon. See, this is why we need enlightened male viewers in our midst! 😉
Haha I thought you just didn’t want to paint men as simple-minded or something. But then again, you openly admit in your posts that you do the same for actors you find gorgeous. 😛
I’m aware of your love for QIHM. Your review was what I used to entice my wife to watch it with me. I remember it’s one of the few shows which earned an A+ from you. My taste might be peculiar for a man (I actively seek out tragic romances) but I believe QIHM will be well-received all kinds of viewers, and is definitely a good watch for couples.
My wife and I are both introspective contemplative types, and we do indeed have lots of discussions and deep life reflections inspired by the dramas we watch. Sometimes we seek out and watch dramas precisely to have such reflections and discussions. It’s amazing how k-dramas can have that effect.
p.s. I have actually been lurking around your blog for years. I commented only one other time some years ago (Healer review) and you already kinda “welcomed” me then. 🙂 This topic just got me to de-lurk again. 😀
My husband is trying to make me watch Misaeng. Should I give it a try?
He would not watch anything with Gong Yoo as he cant cope with the hearts in my eyes 🤣
I personally like it, but it’s not the type of drama that appeals to everyone. Check out kfangurl’s review of it to see if it’s something you might enjoy, too. 🙂
@Eyre, I missed your comment at first and only noticed it now because KFG referred to it in her latest post about why we love K-Dramas. It’s true — I’ve fallen in love with several of these actresses while watching with my wife. Some because they are so achingly beautiful on the outside and some because they are so endearingly beautiful on the inside.
As to a couple watching separately and then finding commonality, I just watched The K2 on my own — first show we didn’t watch together — but then cued up a number of long scenes for her to savor. She liked that. It’s still not a show she’d be willing to invest in, but the acting in those scenes was as good as anything I’ve seen anywhere. So I DJ’d her a best-of playlist. Kind of like the music mix-tapes we’d give our sweethearts in the old days.
Many of the shows on your list we’ve picked because of your recommendations. Thanks so much for all you do!
Ah! That’s great to hear, Sam! 😀 So pleased that you’ve found the reviews & recommendations helpful! <3
And one more thought. We started watching My Fellow Citizens last night. Two hours in, my wife and I think this is another great show for guys.
Oh, that’s great that you’re enjoying your new watch! 🙂 I haven’t seen My Fellow Citizens myself yet, but I’ve heard good things. Thanks for adding to the list, Sam! And I hope you and your wife enjoy it all the way to the end! <3
Have to take back our recommendation for My Fellow Citizens. Another case of Alhambra Syndrome. A very strong female lead was basically written out of the second half of the show.
I found out I’m almost partly a man because I really like dramas that deal with the topics you listed. 😅
Many of the kdrama you mentioned I saw them, but then I discovered “life on mars” that I started seeing yesterday and it’s so funny and well played that I thank you for mentioning it.
Also, I discovered actor Jung Kyung Ho, so tiny and awesome and amazing and intense. ❤❤❤ I’m going to start a marathon to see what he shot!!!
HAHAHA!!! 🤣🤣🤣 You’re so funny, deliaerre!! My friend DramaFan popped by this post, and then tweeted me that she now feels she has a man’s taste in dramas, coz she liked all the shows on the list. 😆 You’re not alone, and seriously, ladies can like these shows too!! 😀 (After all, I watched most of these too?)
YAY that you’re enjoying Life On Mars!! 😀 It’s such a different, interesting show, I feel. And Jung Kyung Ho IS awesome! He plays opposite Park Sung Woong again in When The Devil Calls Your Name, so I really enjoyed seeing their reunion in that one. AND, he sings and plays the guitar in Devil too! SO TALENTED. 🤩🤩
oh! i’m going to see “when the devil calls your name” after “life on mars” ❤❤❤
Hi kfangurl, hope you’re doing well! I finally found some free time and read all your update posts; sending lots of love and disabled adblockers your way <3
This post made me think back to what really got me into kdramas. Sure, BOF was my first one, but I didn't really get into dramas until more recently, maybe four years ago? It all started on DramaFever haha! One of the first dramas I remember watching was Cinderella and Four Knights (gee, I seem to have started out with a certain TYPE of drama), and I tend to look at other works of the actors. However, I can see now that I wouldn't recommend these dramas to my guy friends at all! One close guy friend really liked Doctor Stranger, and although I love Lee Jong Suk, Park Hae Jin, and Kang So Ra, it was an okay drama imo. The premise was pretty cool, and I think I enjoyed it when watching (do you ever enjoy a drama a lot while watching but look back later and question why you were so enamored? Maybe that's the newbie thing – I was definitely less critical of dramas when I first started and gobbled up every cliche possible.)
I've watched a decent amount of the dramas you listed (yay for Signal and Stranger; they're in my faves list!!! I love thriller/crime/political dramas; I grew up watching these kinds of shows with my dad, so I'm not as squeamish when seeing blood and gore LOL). Your list has a good mix of all the different genres, but sometimes it's so unexpected what they would/wouldn't like! Another guy friend only watched kdramas with his housemate on Netflix because why not, and he started with Love Alarm and liked it, which I would've never expected from such a serious guy like him. Starting out with lighter dramas (maybe more comedic ones?) is probably a tactic I would use to draw any friend in, because I think we can always use a bit of lightheartedness.
Here's some kdramas on my all-time faves list (denoted with *), and some I think would be fun to introduce to reluctant friends (took out some you've mentioned already)! At least, I remember enjoying them 😅 The genres are all over the place, but I think a lot of the ones I listed are more on the serious side. (oof, after typing everything out, this is quite a hefty list)
38 Task Force
Cunning Single Lady (very heartful despite the erm, antagonists, but hey, you can rant with friends too)
Goblin (sometimes it's good to introduce pure pretty and hijinks; second lead couple <3)
Gu Family Book
Hospital Playlist (since Prison Playbook is on here 😉)
Kill Me, Heal Me
*King 2 Hearts
Love in the Moonlight
*Misty (I didn't have the ending spoiled for me and really enjoyed it until the end, so I still put it on my list haha)
My Fellow Citizens
*On the Way to the Airport (I don't think this is a popular opinion, but for some reason I really think this drama dealt with a serious subject matter pretty well, and I really liked it)
Psychopath Diary (I was okay towards the second half, but my friends enjoyed it, and it was pretty silly at times despite sounding like it's a completely dark premise)
*Remember: War of the Son
*Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim
*Stranger [forest of secrets]
The Beauty Inside (lighthearted and fun to share with any friend)
The Boy Next Door (15 ep miniseries, easily watchable in one night, about the length a movie, and I laugh-cried so many times my abs hurt. The two MLs are absolutely hilarious to watch)
The Fiery Priest (same screenwriter as Chief Kim, no surprise I enjoyed this one too!)
The Guardians [Lookout]
What's Up (I think this is Dream High's underrated cousin that's better)
XX (very short miniseries, but it was definitely intriguing!)
I noticed you're also watching Hyena and I'll Go to You When the Weather is Fine! I liked Hyena a lot, so much so that I want to check out Kingdom even more now for Ju Ji-Hoon (was already intrigued because of Bae Doona, but seeing it on this list makes me more interested). I actually dropped WtWIF at the end of ep 14. I don't know if something was just with me at the time, but I lost interest. I really did like the beginning and the backstories and building up, but somehow I just couldn't find myself able to click next despite being so close to the end! So off I went.
I haven't had much time for watching lately; I'm about five eps away from finishing Winter Begonia, and I'm slightly over halfway through Are You Human, Too, and Seo Kang Joon's acting is pretty good in this! Hopefully will find time to start World of the Married and well, work through the rest of my list! Stay safe <3
Hi rainmakermelody!! Thanks for all the love (& the disabled adblockers! 😅), I appreciate you catching up on the updates! <3 Sending you love backk! <3
I think you're right about the newbie thing. I think we tend to be a lot more forgiving of drama flaws when we're just getting into dramas, because everything's new and shiny, and the novelty is all kinds of fun and distracting, that we don't even notice or mind, if the show in question isn't very good in some ways. I mean, otherwise how could BOF have turned out to be so many drama fans' gateway drama? 😀
That's so funny, that your serious guy friend started out with Love Alarm! That's unexpected indeed! 😆 You're right; you never can tell what will bite. I guess letting them browse a list like this one, and letting them choose, might be the better way to go. 😅 Thanks for sharing your list! And I agree, What's Up is underrated. I'm thinking that going back now, I might even find myself preferring What's Up to Dream High, perhaps. 😄
I'm enjoying Hyena quite well, and YES, Joo Ji Hoon is great! He's grown SO much as an actor since I first set eyes on him in Goong! 😀 I've heard that not everyone's happy with how Weather ended, so I'm curious to see how I feel, when I get there! Ah, are you still loving Winter Begonia? It's on my list! And YAY that you're watching Are You Human Too, that's SO much fun! I shared this in my review too, but this thread on Twitter is GOLD, if you’re watching Are You Human Too! 😀
I think it’s also the timing when dramas come out, like what’s popular and trendy at the moment? What’s different enough to stand out? Cute guys in school uniforms with a plain Jane? Younger me watched for the guys I thought were dreamy at the time (oh boy, the hairstyles though, those perms were a style choice). I’m also not sure what else was airing during that time, but I probably was not looking to watch historical dramas at my ripe age of absolute child 😂
My S.O. is a very analytical guy, and we’ve compared the types of YouTube channels we watch, and they’re so vastly different. I’ve no idea what to watch with him, but after seeing some dramas he dipped his toe into on Netflix, I might just drag him along for any show that’s more action-packed or rom-com (which, judging by my list and yours, I basically have guy tastes HAHA).
I think I’ll have to revisit Goong; it’s been so long and I cannot remember if it was Goong or Goong S that I dropped! Also I just finished Winter Begonia, and I didn’t think I would enjoy it so much for it being a historical drama centered around Peking opera. I actually had moments where I laughed out loud! Not just the air coming out of my nose harder nor a mere snort, but an actual laugh! That rarely happens! The actors bring the characters to life (especially Andrew Yin, oh my goodness the range). The show had a balance of lighthearted moments with serious ones, and I thought pacing was good. I think some storylines were a bit oddly placed and wrapped up messily, but it’s not so bad that it detracted from how I felt about the drama. It’s so hard to put into words why I liked it, but I think I’ll draw it up to the character bonds, especially the friendship between the two leads. Sometimes characters can feel over the top, but they’re opera performers, and I loved the group for the most part. It can get heavy and political, considering the timeframe it’s based in, but it’s really not until the last 25% or so where I felt it really hit. Overall, I think it’s a pretty easy-ish watch; I didn’t feel like I had to binge it, but I didn’t drag myself through it either. I could comfortably watch 1-3 episodes at night before bed.
Oh gosh, that Twitter thread is hilarious! They sound like things I would live-tweet if I were watching. I am so on board with handsome secretary; ever since I saw Lee Joon Hyuk in Stranger, Designated Survivor, and now Are You Human Too, I’m just appreciating him a lot more! I’m excited to see him in 365: Repeat the Year.
Tee hee! I’m glad you enjoyed the Twitter thread! It’s SO GOOD, especially when you’re either in the midst of watching the show, or are just fresh from watching; I laughed so hard at some of the entries! 😂😂😂
Also, you don’t necessarily have guy tastes! So far, 2 other ladies besides you have remarked the same thing, from looking through this list. You’re not alone! 😅 And, these are just very general, broad strokes that I’m painting, in the hopes that it would be a varied enough bag, to hopefully catch the interest of someone’s man. 😄
Ooh, I love what you have to say about Winter Begonia! 😀 It sounds very solid indeed, and I’m curious to check it out for myself – once I actually have more room on my currently overflowing drama plate! 😝😅 As for Goong, I MUCH preferred Goong to Goong S. I thought Goong S was the cheap, wannabe knock-off distant cousin of Goong. 😆 I will always have a soft spot for Goong, since it was my gateway drama, even though it does get draggy in the late eps. I realize, from Hyena, that Joo Ji Hoon has beefed up significantly since his Goong days. 😁🤭
Two and a half years ago my wife and I stumbled onto Strong Woman Bong Soon and have been completely obsessed ever since. 60+ shows later, in no particular order, these are my favorites.
Sadly I have not been able to persuade a single male friend to join my wife and me in our obsession.
Oh My Ghost
I Am Not a Robot
The Master’s Sun
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim
The Greatest Love
Romance Is a Bonus Book
Her Private Life
Oh Hae-Young Again
When the Camellia Blooms
Melo is My Nature
Strong Woman Bong Soon
Hi Sam! 😀 That’s great, that you and your wife watch dramas together! 😀 For many drama fans, that’s the dream, honestly 😉 Thanks for sharing your list! I enjoyed lots of shows on your list as well! 😀
Many of the shows on your list we’ve picked because of your recommendations. Thanks so much for all you do!
Definitely a great list with a variety of genres that might appeal to guys. I’m lucky that my husband is very open and enjoys all of the genres of kdramas from fluffy romances to OCN style crime thrillers.
I was thrilled to see My Girlfriend is a Gumiho on the list as that really is a great rom-com that I think would appeal to many (also really appreciate the shout out! 🙂 ) So many other great dramas on the list. Bridal Mask is a classic favorite of mine, so happy to see that one find a spot on the list. I think it and Healer would be great choices for guys new to kdramas. There really is something for everyone if they just look though 🙂
Wow! Your husband not only watches dramas with you, but is open to all kinds of genres?? 😀 That’s so cool, seriously. 😀 And yes, after you reminded me of My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, I felt like it’d be a good add to the list coz it’s quite funny, especially in the beginning. Plus, Shin Min Ah is ethereal and lovely, even as she demands her meat. I couldn’t help but love her. 😍
Oh yes, Shin Min Ah is perfection in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. An amazing combination of beauty and adorableness. Of course, there are many other wonderful actresses with similar qualities that I love, but this really is one of those roles where I feel the absolute right person got it and just really couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it so perfectly 🙂 Which also paired perfectly with Lee Seung Gi’s boyish charm that makes him likable even when he doesn’t have the best intentions in the beginning, hehe. This couple ruined me as no one comes close to living up to them for me 😍
That’s true! I absolutely cannot imagine anyone else in the role, except Shin Min Ah! 😀 I think My Girlfriend is a Gumiho is THE show where I developed a girl crush on her. 😍😍😍
Hi KFG: Perhaps I can share my experience as a guy who never thought he would look at Kdramas. A friend of mine watches them with his wife and has suggested in the past I look at them, knowing that I appreciate well made movies/shows of all genres except horror. With the lockdown, he suggested I start with Mr Sunshine and Crash Landing (CLOY) in that order, also knowing that I’m a history buff (hobby, not occupation).
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Mr. Sunshine:
1. Professional production, not the cheesy, amateurish Asian shows of my youth
2. Engaging storyline and characters
3. Enough action to make it interesting with the romantic element not dominating
4. Excellent acting overall
5. Insight into a turbulent period in Korean history
6. Superb cinematography
CLOY was similar though skewed towards the romantic element but I enjoyed it. It had sufficient dramatic sequences with some action and well done comedic elements (I love comedy). Plus the leads were so good, in my opinion better than in Mr Sunshine though I would rate the latter show higher overall. The ability to fast forward through slow moving moments that dragged was a big plus as well.
After these two shows, I’m receptive to Kdramas and ventured into purely romantic dramas, Something In The Night (SITR), and I did enjoy parts of it. I’ve looked at parts of The K2 (good action but weak overall), Hyena (still on going but on pause) and I’m following One Spring Night (going well).
I found this blog after SITR 2nd half was so disappointing that I couldn’t believe the high ratings reported on Wikipedia and Netflix so I started looking for anyone with an alternative take and so I found KFG. I prefer reading the full review after seeing the show, (I do look at KFG’s letter rating to narrow choices) to see what your take is on the show as I respect your insight and deep analysis and while I may not agree 100%, I’m in general agreement with your take but I appreciate the examples you draw upon to support your analysis. Reading someone else’s take on a show is as much part of the experience for me, now, as watching the show.
I really appreciate this topic as it has given me so many recommendations, now to check Netflix Canada to see if they’re available.
So in summary, start with Mr Sunshine and CLOY in that order.
Not sure I fit exactly any other reluctant guy’s profile but I was born and raised in the west (not an engineer or tech guy) with Chinese parents so I do understand some of the family and social pressures depicted in these shows. I have very diverse tastes, from thrillers like James Bond/Jason Bourne movies to political dramas like Borgen, action movies like IP man, comedies like Seinfeld, Woody Allen movies and rom-coms like Love Actually.
A final side note: my wife doesn’t watch Kdramas though she has a close Korean friend.
Hi Geo, thanks for sharing how you got into kdramas, and your initial dramas! 😀 That’s really cool, that you got into kdramas purely for the reason of appreciating a well-made show! The fact that you liked what you saw, and stayed around for more, says a lot about the high standards that at least some of our kdramas have reached. That’s worth celebrating, I feel like, coz for a long time, kdramas were viewed mostly as fluffy soap operas that mostly only housewives would like. 😉
I’m glad this list looks interesting to you, and I hope you’ll manage to find some good watches from it!! 😀
There was no more reply button on your last comment :DD Too many comments – didn’t know there was a limit
Yes WTWIF’s ending definitely can cause mixed reaction…
Well I always watch some short youtube videos of each drama (they are like little 2-4 min pieces of the drama) before I watch them. I did the same with Find me in your memory. And I have to say I didn’t like it very much.
Ah.. sorry about that. Yes, there’s a 15-reply limit on this blog layout. I set it to the maximum allowed, and I can’t change the maximum either. When that happens, just start a new comment, and we get another 15 layers of replies to work with! 😀
That’s a useful process! If the snippets didn’t work for you, then no reason to watch the drama in its entirety – unless you somehow change your mind later. 🙂 I’ll still give Find Me in Your Memory a try, since I heard so many good things. If I hate it, I’ll can always drop it! 😉
Ah okay good to know 🙂
Yes I saved a lot of time with that method.
What I think is I already don’t like it very much so it will be even harder for the drama to change my mind. So I will probably waste time by giving it a try. But if you think about it there aren’t too many good dramas out there these days. I always feel like the best drama were shot between 2014 and 2019…
Now that you mention it, 2019 did give us many excellent dramas! This year has been less stellar for me so far, , drama-wise, but there’s still more than half the year to go, so.. there’s still hope yet? 😀
I am also hoping for the second half of 2020 to get better. 🙂
Btw can’t even watch Find Me in Your Memory Europe doesn’t have access to it… Yay Europe :DD
Well. I guess it’s just as well that you’re not planning to watch it! 😝 That worked out well? 😅
Must be a sign from the kdrama gods :DDDD
Have you watched Memorist or Born Again yet? I am still debating if those are worth the watch
Hey Larius, no, I haven’t checked out Memorist or Born Again. I’ve heard better things about Memorist though! I’ve heard mostly underwhelmed comments about Born Again, unfortunately. 😛
Ah okay thank you for the info. You are always the best information source 🙂
I try! 😀
FYI…I love “You’re All Surrounded”..would this be a good male partner choice?
That probably is, thanks for suggesting it, maj! 😀 I haven’t seen that one yet myself, but I’ve heard pretty good comments about it, and given the genre, I do think it would appeal to guys, if they’re into police type shows. 🙂
Re your blog Ms Fangirl…I have been so impressed by your growing sensetivity to “woman’s issues..woman’s role in this new world”, as I have read many of your reviews.
You are able to reflect our times, yet maintain your own sensibility, balancing what a drama might have been trying to show..with your own reactions. It’s hard to discuss all of these issues and still maintain a calm voice..looking for the good things when possible..
Aw, thank you maj, that’s very kind of you to say! 🙂 I’m learning and growing along the way as well. I admit that when I first started watching dramas, these issues weren’t top of my mind at all. But lately, as I’ve become more aware, it’s naturally affected the way I perceive and receive my dramas as well. I’m glad that you find that aspect welcome, in the reviews! <3
Just gonna slip it in here that my Dad watched A Love So Beautiful and loved it 😆😆😆 but it probs isn’t what most guys would gravitate to at first glance. I’ve just finished Hyena on Netflix, which stars Joo Ji Hoon and Kim Hye Soo which I think would be a pretty great show for anyone who’s into Suits (has a similar vibe). Kingdom is the perfect starter for guys into kdramas I feel, especially those who are into the zombie subgenre. We’re now eagerly waiting for season 3. 😁😁
Also, Save Me (Rescue Me) is so good and so underrated but definitely worth a watch.
OMG! Your dad loved ALSB?!?? THAT IS SO CUTE!!! 😆😆😆 I am suddenly feeling a lot of affection for your dad, he must be really cute at heart, to enjoy ALSB! 😍😍
I’m watching Hyena at the moment, and I think you’re right; it could be a good pick for a guy, if he kinda likes legal tussles and one-upmanship. 😀 Oh yes, Save Me should be good, for guys who like dark and chilling.. (I didn’t realize you were into these dark, chilling shows! 😃)
HAHAH who knows I’m still trying to figure him out. I tried recommending him NIF but he wasn’t interested 😒🙄
And Hyena has a great dose of romance (for me anyway) plus the leads are both amazing actors!! I hope you’ll like it as much as I do but also would love to know your thoughts even if you end up not liking it. 😆 Yes! I love gritty, dark, shows that looks as if someone forgot to turn on the light HAHA😄😄 but Save Me really scared me because of its strong focus on cults. The writing is top-notch though!
Well, if it helps, my dad was flatly uninterested in NIF at first. It was my mom who succeeded in changing his mind, over several successive conversations of prying open his closed mind! Maybe your dad might change his mind yet? 😅
It took me a while to get into Hyena, but right now, I’m enjoying it quite well. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it all the way to the end! 😀 And if you, who love dark shows, were creeped out by Save Me, I think I ought to stay far away from it! 😂
HAHA I kind of gave up. It’s his loss 😝
I actually loved the first half slightly more than the second. Mostly because of Kim Hye Soo’s character and how unique she was in Kdrama land 😆 But still liked the show overall and so happy that Kim Hye Soo was nominated for Best Actress.
You might want to give the first episode a try? It’s great cause’ the show doesn’t waste any time and instead goes right in from the start. I promise it’s nothing too explicitly disturbing!
Hey you! You just mentioned that Save Me really scared you, and now you’re saying, just try it, it’s not too explicitly disturbing? 😂😂😂 You crack me up, Simeon! I’m gonna have to think about this one! 😉
I’m not yet halfway with Hyena, so maybe I’ll see what you mean, in a couple of eps! 😅
While the visuals are not explicit or anything…it’s more the characters themselves that gave me the creeps 🤣🤣🤣 that said I’m planning on watching Strangers From Hell since it’s out on Netflix HAHAH
Haha! Ok, your appetite for creepy is MUCH greater than mine, Simeon! This just proves it! 🤣🤣
@kfangurl – Save Me is disturbing on so many levels. Even the OST, which is fitting. Here’s a music video with still images. I don’t think it’s spoilery, but if you think still images from throughout the show would be spoilery, then only listen to the song: https://youtu.be/qyGldWmCGYc
This song haves me the heebie-jeebies!
What I found so disturbing about the show is that if you’re a Christian, show treads so close to how many churches really are but (hopefully, not how most of our churches are). Disclaimer: Christian churches worship the same God but with vastly different ways of worship as there are denominations and personalities of the worshippers.
CREDIT: kjtamusings who compiled the images in the video.
SLIGHTLY SPOILERY but no details:
Show let’s us see the evil underbelly of some churches (cults that you wouldn’t think of as cults, looking from the outside). And the worshiping of the leader as opposed to God and the abuse of the people who are brainwashed and hypnotized until they even think it’s okay – scratch that – think it’s an honor to give their children in marriage to the leader. At least they weren’t really young teens or pre-teens.
Anyway, hearing that music in the clip will tell you everything you need to know abut the series. The young actors were good.
Dang. That’s a hard song to listen to! The beginning is extra disturbing, with all the mutter-whisperings, as if the sounds are coming from scuttling demons on your walls. 😬 I doubt I could sit through a whole show like that, to be honest! 😝 But it’s very fitting for the show, from what you’ve described, so kudos to the music PD..? 😅I think I’m going to keep a healthy distance from this show, at least for now! Thanks Beez!
As a thriller guy, agree that Signal and Secret Forest are 1A and 1B in this genre. 😊
Other well-regarded recommendations —
1. Live – slice of life gem with “Life on Mars” community vibes
2. Children of Nobody – superb exegesis on vigilante killers targeting child abusers. 2019 Baeksang Best Drama finalist
3. Rescue Me
Ooh, thanks for the recommendations, Storyteller! 😀 I have to admit, I’m not a thriller kinda gal, so I haven’t seen a single one of the dramas in your comment, eek! 😝 But, I do know they all come highly recommended, so I really should finish at least Signal and Secret Forest! 😅
PS: I know Live isn’t a thriller, but I was quite thrown by how bloody it all got, in the early ep (E3 I think) when the lady got her tongue cut off. I was too spooked to continue, even though I hear the show is excellent. 😝
@kfangurl Children of Nobody was good. But verrry dark in every way. Kim Sun ah gave a good performance but I’m starting to wish she’d return to something lighter. She’s so depressed in Children of Nobody and I’d just watched her be depressed in Shall We Kiss (which I can’t believe I dropped when it was almost over). I guess I keep hoping to relive Kim Samsoon through her.
Here’s a list for your Dear Fangurl list: List of actors and actresses that peak in a rule so good that they’re penalized because we’re waiting on something that re-lives, recreates, or tops their iconic role.
Is there somewhere specific on the blog where we should post the “Dear Fangurl” stuff?
Nam Gyu-ri gave a solid, nuanced portrayal of detective Soo-young — a stark departure from her aegyo ghost role in 49 Days.
Kim Sun-a looking sharp so far as the conniving Park Bokja in social satire Lady in Dignity (2017 Baeksang Best Screenplay finalist).
Gosh, I’ve been hearing that Children of Nobody is very dark! I’m thinking it’s quite possibly not for me, after all. 😅 Maybe I’ll just keep it vaguely on my list, on the off-chance that I feel up to checking it out, sometime. 😉
Thanks for your question for Dear kfangurl, I’ve taken note of it! 🙂 Also, for the questions themselves, posting them in response to a Dear kfangurl post is just fine, but if you like, you can also post it on the Dear kfangurl page here. I’m not fussed either way, I promise! 🙂
Save me and Children of Nobody (Red Moon Blue Sun) are both very good. One needs to be in a certain mood to watch them though, but the experience is disturbing yet rewarding.
Agree with you, Snow Flower. I’m all for thought-provoking, tightly paced thrillers, but Children of Nobody was especially disturbing — despite minimal (if any) abuse scenes. Red Cry also made a superb anti-hero.
Voice was quite dark too — the killer was larger-than-life menacing and rather sadistic.
Have you seen Tell Me What You Saw and Nobody Knows?
Check out Healer. I’m a guy and I liked both those shows, but I think Healer is even better because it adds a rom-com element that makes the show even more K-drama-ey.
Thanks Sam — Healer’s at the back burner. Right now my watchlist mood is straight satire / thriller:
– Lady in Dignity
– Money Flower
I second the vote for Healer. Both my wife and I loved that one.
I have to say it really depends on the dude. I am more a comedy/ light action/ romance/ historical kind of guy. Not a big fan of the serious and crazy fight scenes kind of stuff.
The wife/girlfriend should know best what he likes and doesn’t like.
But the girls should definitely ease their boys into it. I would recommend Healer as the starter 🙂 It has a little bit of everything.
Some of the shows you mentioned might be a little much as the starter :DDDD
That’s a good point; Healer is a great start! 😀 And yes, it’s true some of these might be too much as a starter drama, but, today Webby told me on Twitter that the only drama her husband has watched with her is Six Flying Dragons, which I would consider one of the heavier, non-starter dramas, so.. I guess it might still work for some..? 😆🤷🏻♀️
Out of curiosity: what was your first drama, Larius? How did you get into dramas? 😀
Yes that might be true but it seems like he is an action fan 😀
It started of with kpop in 2016. Then my interest in Korea grew in general. Then I came across an actress named Chae Soo Bin which I immediately fell in love with. And thats when I started to research a little bit about Kdramas. I started with “I am not a robot” in 2018 I think. I like Kdramas because a lot of them are so different from american stuff. Especially in the romance and comedy department. It was very refreshing.
If I want to watch action or serious stuff I still prefer american shows.
I am still hiding my love for Kpop and Kdramas in public. Unless I am in my car then the volume goes up :DD
Wow, so Chae Soo Bin got you into kdramas! 😀 How interesting!! She is very sweet and charming, I do enjoy her very well! Even when she started out playing the bully type in Sassy Go Go, I thought she was quite interesting. 🙂 So pleased she’s now headlining her own dramas! In that case, did you watch her latest drama A Piece of Your Mind? 🙂
I get what you mean about preferring to keep your k-love personal.. It took me a long time to be able to casually mention to people that I run a drama blog. Before, I was too self-conscious about it! 😅
Yes she is great 🙂 I didn’t watch Sassy Go Go because I didn’t want to ruin the picture of her I have made up for myself (Like ideal type and stuff) :DDD
Yes I watched A piece of your mind and it was Awesome 🙂
Yeah I don’t know where you live but here in Germany it is pretty hard to talk about stuff out of the norm….
Great to hear you loved A Piece of Your Mind! I haven’t tried it, but plan to give it a try later on, after I’ve finished some of the other “healing” dramas. 🙂
Ah, great to know you’re from Germany, Larius! 😀 I’m in Singapore! We’re far from being neighbors, but how cool, that even so, thanks to the wonders of the internet, we’re hanging out and chatting about dramas! 😀
Love the “healing” dramas they are so pure and relaxing 🙂
Singapore thats awesome 🙂 Would like to go there someday. And that also explains the timestamps on the comments ^^
Yes the internet has its good sides 😀
Oh! Does that mean you’ve also watched When the Weather is Fine, and Find Me in Your Memory? 😀 I’m currently watching Weather, and I’m keen to check out Find Me in Your Memory as well. 🙂
YES, the internet does have its good sides! 😀 How would I have a friend in Germany otherwise? 😀
Yes I watched When when the weather is fine (I was just not satisfied with the ending) and I really liked 🙂
I decided not to watch Find me in your memory because I saw a few clips and there was so much b*tchy attitude that I felt like it won’t be my style.
Yes that is true 😀
Oh, that’s great that you liked Weather, despite the ending.. I haven’t gotten to the end, but I did hear mixed reactions to the ending. I’ll have to watch it myself, to see where I fall! 😀 Also, I’m surprised to hear that there’s b*tchy attitude in Find Me in Your Memory! I haven’t started on it (saving it for after Weather), but I heard only good things. Looks like I should, uh, adjust my expectations a little bit! 😅
Have you seen Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People? It fits your preferences perfectly; historical with some comic and action elements, lots of heart, and Chae Soo Bin! I think it is a great drama for a couple to watch.
Thx for the recommendation. I watched some pieces on youtube and you are right I might like this one. Sadly I don’t have access to it where I live…
“A great drama for a couple to watch…” – thank you for reminding me that I am still a single dude :DDDD
Rebel is a great watch for anyone. I hope it becomes available in your area.
Even though my hubby is the romantic one in our marriage (I’m a total toad :P) he doesn’t like watching romantic movies. The only Drama from the list I could recommend to him are the Nirvana in Fire who is a masterpiece (even though it doesn’t touch my heart) and all the K-Drama stuff that is much like the Western series (he asked about Signal recently). But since I don’t like them we surely won’t find some Drama we can watch together. We meet when it comes to action flics and animated movies.
Ahaha! I laughed at your description of yourself as a toad, Usi! 🤣🤣🤣 If your hubs enjoys action, maybe something like Bad Guys would work? I personally liked that one a lot, it had heart, and the action didn’t feel boastful or try-hard, even though it was cool to watch. 🙂
Sorry, but as much I love fluff on my screen I’m a total no-nonsense person in RL. He had to ask for 10+ years until I married him XD. And I tend to forget anniversaries, so mobile phones are an asset for me. I often joke that our roles are reversed.
Well, Bad Boys could be a good idea. It was something I also would watch bc of the eyecandy. Is that on Viki or Netflix?
Ahaha! You’re the tsundere between the two of you! I love it! 😂😂 And honestly, how endearing, that he loyally didn’t give up for 10 whole years, until you married him. 😱😍 Sounds like the stuff of dramas!!
Bad Guys should be available on both Netflix and Viki, unless geo-restrictions make it unavailable in your area. I hope it does the trick and becomes the first kdrama you and your hubs can watch together! 😀
Watch out Usi – there’s a few shows called Bad Boys and Bad Guys. Kfangurl is referring to the one starring Ma Dong Seok and Jo Dong hyuk and Park Hae jin. Here http://asianwiki.com/Bad_Guys_(Korean_Drama)
This question is so so universal for most of the women/girls out there. Moreover, I was taken aback when on Quora i came across a question that was ” I am a guy and I like watching K-dramas is there something wrong with me”??? I mean there is this prevalent mindset that women and not men can enjoy k-dramas. American/English dramas are a better cup of tea for males all around the world and I still wonder why!
My man is not into K-dramas at all and no matter how good the drama is he will just not watch it. I think the reason is that when you start watching a show in a different language, it takes time to get used to hearing a different kind of audio. Also, not everybody is fond of reading subtitles and simultaneously following the show.
Although my husband watched two Korean shows that he enjoyed was Misaeng and Romance is a bonus book, and I don’t know how come he watched it or what piqued his interest. After that, I tried to make him watch prison playbook, strangers, but he didn’t co-operate. :P.
Recently, because of all the buzz around the movie Parasite and its grand sweep at the Oscars, he did watch it.
My suggestions would be Misaeng, Forest of secrets, Prison Playbook, Itaewon class might interest the guys. 😀
Aw, that’s so sad, that a guy wrote in to ask if there was something wrong with him for liking kdramas! 😩 He should come hang out here; we’ve got lots of male drama fans here, and there’s nothing wrong with them! 😀 But yes, I get what you mean, there’s still some stigma around liking kdramas – it’s why I studiously kept this blog separate from my work life for so long – but I do think that’s slowly changing, with CLOY landing on Netflix’s Top Ten list! 🙂
That’s true, that unfamiliar audio can be quite jarring at first. When I first started watching kdramas, they were dubbed into Mandarin, and I was used to that. When I first switched to watching in Korean, it was very jarring indeed, and it took me a while to get used to it. Hm.. I wonder if it would be worth getting a kdrama dubbed in your local language, just to get your hubs into the story itself? Just a thought! 🙂
Thanks for your drama suggestions; I second all of them! 🙂
Kdrama is a strange and different world altogether, even from Kmovies. Take a look at how men are depicted in Kdramas vs Kmovies. As a woman, when it comes to Kdramas, it took me quite a while to recognize the masculinity of most of the male leads because 1) the make up; (got no problem at all now, y’all 😉) and 2) they’re uber (by American standards) affectionate with each other.
Take a look at Ji Sung in something like The Entertainer or Heal Me Kill Me and look at how he looks in Defendant, which is a more realistic show.
I don’t know which is closer to how Korean men actually behave in real life. I know a few Korean-Americans but they’re Americans so… And I would never pose such a rude question unless I got to know them much better on a personal level. (I suspect Defendant is probably closer to the truth based on when I see YouTube videos of Korean guys interviewed on the street)
I’m sorry, I meant to say that the perception of men that I just described in my previous comment could be the deterrent for guys watching Kdramas. I’ve even seen man-on-the street interviews in South Korea where the Korean guys interviewed say, for the most part, they don’t watch Kdramas either.
BTW, I have proof Korean dramas are mostly written by women for women. Click here: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AvE2-hpAQD16ljTfAiXdDICtyZHn
Great list! I keep trying to convince my husband to try some kdramas. He is very supportive of my interest in dramas, but he won’t watch them himself. All of the dramas on the list have universal appeal, so I am thinking about adding some of them to my watch list. I am already watching When the Devil Calls Your Name. (It looks like Jang Hyuk and Jung Kyung Ho have the most dramas on the list!)
Other dramas that I would add to the list are some classic sageuks like Jumong and Queen Seondeok, and contemporary dramas like Time Between Dog and Wolf and Mad Dog. Nokdu Flower is a very realistic and well researched historical drama, perfect for history buffs and anyone looking for good storytelling and memorable characters.
Oh yes I too noticed that there is so much love for Jang Hyuk and Jung Kyung Ho! I need to watch me some Jang Hyuk – can’t believe I’ve never watched any of his shows!
Chuno: Watch. Weep. Repeat.
Ohhh, perhaps it’s time to fix that indeed. I agree with Snow Flower. Chuno’s a great way to get initiated into the Jang Hyuk awesome. I simply could not look away! 🤩🤩🤩
@MC WHAT???!!! My surprise is due to how lonnnng his career has been and how many projects (dramas and movies) he’s been in. But believe me, if you’re a fan of people who bring something different to every performance – you never feel he’s playing himself – he and Yoo Ah in will take your breath away. Myself and many others have talked about how we will rewind a Jang Hyuk scene just to analyze “Look what he decided to do there”. Whether he’s adding intensity and burning up the screen or being so subtle that you’re watching his eyes and face muscles. And I am by no means a person who had wanted to act nor do I have a background in theatre or anything like that. Robert Duvall and Laurence Olivier are the only other two actors that I’ve felt this way about their performances.
wow wow i’m convinced!! i shall start me some Jang Hyuk asap! (and Yoo Ah In – secret love affair is on my list!)
Only two Jang Huk projects I’d STRONGLY recommend avoiding. The Great Merchant – the writing will let you down, as it certainly did Jang hyuk. And Wok of Love aka Greasy Melo. Once you’ve seen him in some of his stellar roles, then you might want to peek at Wok of Love. He’s not the main character in Wok of Love but more like comic relief in a show that’s unworthy of him.
I suggest starting with his iconic role in Chuno first. Then Tree with Deep Roots. If you’re not a saeguk fan, still start with Chuno. lol. If that doesn’t turn you into a saeguk fan, make Money Flower your second Jang Hyuk watch.
Tee hee! That’s true! Jang Hyuk and Jung Kyung Ho feature quite heavily on my list – I didn’t do that on purpose, I promise! 😆 Maybe it’s because I love their work so much, that I’m more open to checking out an unusual genre if they’re in it – and that’s how I know of these shows? 😅 How are you liking When The Devil Calls Your Name, so far? Also, I hope your hubs will give a drama a try sometime.. if my dad, who started out with a flat NO THANK YOU, when I first asked him, ended up loving NIF, there’s hope for anyone? 😅
I haven’t seen your other suggestions, but I agree Time Between Dog and Wolf is a good pick! Lots of action, and lot of heart too. 🙂
I forgot Faith, The Great Doctor – fantasy saeguk
Ooh, I didn’t see this one either. I’ve seen lots of positive comments on it, though! Thanks for suggesting it! 🙂
I made my list and then deleted everything off of it if Kfangurl mentioned it already. I did leave the ones that she says she hasn’t watched:
Iris – testosterone on steroids (starring Lee Byung hun whom you may recognize from American Films – her was in G.I. Joe as Storm Shadow; Red with Bruce Willis; Is the Terminator in one of those flicks; and in the remake of The Magnificent Seven with Denzel Washington.)
Iris 2 – testosterone on steroids 2 – Jang Hyuk
Yacha – rated almost X – Korean gladiators! The story is lacking but maybe that’s because it’s only 12 episodes
Six Flying Dragons – Yoo Ah-in – Simply amazing masterpiece with great sword fights
The Voice – the stuff of nightmares with lots of Jang Hyuk’s fighting skills on display (he’s a martial artist in real life)
Waikiki is like Animal House complete with bodily function humor which I hate but the stuff around it was hilarious!
Signal – very tight story especially considering the sci-fi aspect
Chicago Typewriter – Yoo Ah-in – combines rom-com with serious backflashes to freedom fighting during the Japanese occupation
Beautiful Mind – Jang Hyuk – is he a sociopath or isn’t he?
Shine or go Crazy – Jang Hyuk – fun saeguk
Jealousy Incarnate – rom-com but a little different. Girl can’t decide between 2 guys so she lives with them both until she can decide
Look out – serious cop show which lead cop is a woman
Thanks for sharing your list, Beez! 😀 And thanks for commenting on the shows that you’ve seen, but I haven’t – that’s super thoughtful of you! <3 I've got Beautiful Mind on my list for Jang Hyuk, so it's good to see it on your list! 🙂
@kfangurl – just keep on mind that Beautiful Mind was cut by (2, I think; might’ve been 4) episodes. Not cut for poor ratings. They were waiting on the FL to finish a drama she was in so they started late. They threw in Becky’s Back (4 episodes) in the interim (it’s now one of my favs). Considering that Beautiful Mind had to cut short it’s run to make room for the next scheduled show, it’s pretty amazing. I probably would have classified it as perfection if it weren’t cut short which created a change of tone. Show became more comedic in its last few episodes. But I didn’t feel unsatisfied at the end which is saying a lot.
Thanks beez, I forgot that Beautiful Mind was cut. That’s good information; Show deserves some consideration of its context! 😉
Oh yes! Signal and Chicago typewriter are also some great options that males can enjoy. I think majority of men do not want to watch the sweet and gooey rom-coms rather they want to indulge in action, thriller and suspense.
Wow! Nobody thinks guys would tune in for Iris?
I think Iris is a great guy drama!
And Tunnel!! Another Serial K. drama, but also has action and Time travel! Fantastic.
Oh, I didn’t see that one! Thanks for suggesting it! 🙂
Hmm, what about if they are in the Corporate world? Everyone loved Misaeng, I haven’t seen it, but I’m sure it was good, I loved the hysterical Queen of the Office and the very dramatic, Hotel King. You can’t forget ‘W’ if they’re into anime and comic books.
Thanks for adding to the list, Lady G! 😀 I wasn’t sure whether to add Misaeng, since I wondered whether people actually wanted to feel like they were spending more hours at the office, but you’re right; it just might be the solidarity folks are looking for. 🙂 I didn’t see Queen of the Office but if it’s funny, it might be a contender! 🙂 Yes to W for comic book fans!
Yes exactly! Misaeng is a great drama to which many can relate.
My recommendation for trying to introduce a reluctant person to k-dramas would be to let them start small with a movie or mini/webseries. It’s a lot easier get them to commit to an afternoon of watching, rather than a 16-20 episode show.
There are some great Korean movies like Train to Busan, Parasite, or Memories of the Sword. These aren’t dramas, but they can help transition the reluctant viewer into watching Korean content.
For short series, I highly recommend Dramaworld, which is on Netflix. Splash, Splash Love and Queen of the Ring are also really good.
For full length dramas, I would recommend W: Two Worlds, Kingdom, Goblin, and Liar Game.
That’s a great point, shamecow! I hadn’t thought of that; it’s true that a k-movie would be a much smaller commitment, as would mini series of just a few episodes long. Thanks for reminding us of that! 😀 Other movies I’d add to your suggestions would be A Brilliant Life, Keys to the Heart, and Miss Granny. 🙂
These are some absolutely superb recommendations!! I just might have to convince my very grumpy, sort-of-k-drama-hating twin brother and 5 years older brother to watch some of these with me, and maybe my dad as well!! I think they’d find one they like, and now that my mom is starting to watch with me, I’m kind of itching to get my whole family into them, lol. Plus, I was absolutely tickled at you using the Romance Is A Bonus Book screenies, because 1. AHHHH JEEZ LEE JONG-SUK I LOVE YOU and 2. RIABB is my favorite drama ever, and coincidentally my favorite otp. (I think I’m a bit biased though, because it was the first drama I ever watched, lol😉)
Well, you go, girl! 😀 Now you’re not only getting Mom on board, you’re working on the whole family too! I LOVE IT. 😀 I’d love to know how that goes! Also, have you and Mom started on Healer yet? 😀
Aw, YAY that you’re loving the RIABB screenshots!! I thought they were quite perfect too, even if I do say so myself! 😆 And, wow, you picked a lovely one as your gateway drama! <3 If you love Lee Jong Suk, have you seen I Hear Your Voice?? I loved that one. Might be a good one to watch with Mom too 😉
We have started on Healer!!! She seems to be liking it so far, albeit being a little confused. I think it’s just because we’re on the first episode, and I think it’ll get easier as we keep going. (It starts out a bit cheesier than I remember though, lol) Also, I have seen I Hear Your Voice, which I checked out mostly just because of my undying love for Lee Jong Suk, but I actually ended up loving!! I’m currently on a rewatch of it right now, actually!
YAY that you’ve started on Healer!!! 😀 Yes, the beginning is quite confusing, coz they keep flashing back to the parents and you have no idea why or who these people are, so I understand Mom’s confusion. At least she has you to explain things to her! 😀 Does Healer start cheesy? I don’t remember! I just remember Healer being super cool, casually leaping off buildings. 😍😍😆
Have you seen all of Lee Jong Suk’s shows then? My other favorites are Pinocchio and School 2013. His bromance with Kim Woo Bin in S2013 is the stuff of legends!! ❤️❤️❤️
It is very cool, but it’s just very “early 2010’s over-the-top action” lol. I also had to do some deep breathing in the first few minutes to control my squealing at Ji Chang Wook shirtless, although my mom didn’t seem as taken with him (she said he looked scrawny when he was chilling out of his healer outfit, lol.) We’re planning on watching the next episode tomorrow or Friday 😀.
I have seen everything he’s in except for School 2013, regretfully. I don’t know why, I just never remember to watch it, lol. I’ll get around to it one of these days, if not for LJS himself, but for the bromance!!! I can’t deny myself a good bromance😆
Ooh, I’m sure Healer will grow on Mom as you guys progress deeper into the show. I mean, he’s so cool, how could he not? 😍🤩 And do, do make time for S2013! LJS and Woob are SO GOOD together, I watched it twice and my heart did somersaults both times. Those 2 are soulmates, I say! <3
Asking the guys I have in my life who occasionally watch kdramas, W was one that came up pretty frequently. While you were sleeping was also one that peaked the interest of my father.
Oh, that’s really interesting, that so many of them mentioned W! I thought W was brilliant in the beginning, but lost its grip in the second half, and therefore I was hesitant to recommend it. But.. maybe I should also keep in mind that a drama newbie is generally a lot more forgiving, because everything’s so novel. I mean, BOF was SUCH a huge gateway drama for so many, despite being so very flawed! 😅
But BOF had a happy ending and I don’t recall any story threads left hanging. (Of course, just because I don’t remember something…)
But BOF had something else. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was Lee Min ho’s curls. I remember thinking “this is nonsense” as I reached for the remote to start another episode 😆. But newbies today aren’t being hypnotized by that BOF’s hoodoo so the theory of newbies not minding could boomerang. Newbies aren’t used to the “What? That’s It???” endings. Yeah, lots of American tv shows have bad endings (Sopranos, Lost, Battlestar Gallactica, etc.) but by the time the dud ending cones about, usually the show has been on 5+ seasons and already become lackluster as stars contacted run out and the main characters have already fled a sinking ship (That 70’s Show, Stargate SG-1, Happy Days, etc.)
From what I recall of my indoctrination into Kdramas, I always -always – always wanted a Season 2 (and now I scream in horror at the thought of a second season mucking up a show I liked). And I hated how short the series were. I still resent the started-but-left-hanging side stories (SPOILER? Daniel never found his sister in FTLY but we know he did but Show decided there was no time to show or even tell us.) So I’ve learned to appreciate the journey up until the last 2 episodes BUT I had a reason not to give up (flat on my back at the time and nothing else on tv). Of course it’s completely won me over and 97% of my tv watching is Kdramas. I’ll be curious to see how many people will make Kdramas their choice once the world goes back to normal. I do believe they’re addictive but now there’s people from all walks of life, plus Netlix added in the mix.
I must be the only person who likes the ending of Lost. I rewatch Lost often, and every time the ending makes perfect sense to me.
I must admit, I didn’t watch Lost other than an episode here or there. But I couldn’t escape everyone talking about it wherever I went! lol I included it based on my co-workers and families disappointment in the ending. I did watch all of the other shows (although not every episode of Sopranos) and most of those shows were my favs at one point so I didn’t mean to cast shade on a fav of yours. Just giving examples so everyone will get where I’m coming from about most shows losing their luster after many seasons.
I did not think that you were casting a shadow on one of my favorite shows. Most American shows are very episodic, so it is perfectly OK to skip an episode or two. Lost, however, is very much like a kdrama. All episodes must be watched in order for the big picture to become clear. At the time, many viewers were not accustomed to that type of show, so they expected all the mysteries to be revealed in the series finale. So when that did not happen, they were understandably disappointed. I have watched Lost multiple times, and it holds up very well. With 120 episodes however, it requires a big investment of time and attention. I find Korean dramas much more manageable, because they have fewer episodes. Since all the writing is done by the same writer, inconsistencies are less likely to occur.
I am very concerned about Korean dramas adopting the multiple season format. I guess Netflix is pushing for it, because they think that people want to watch episodic shows. I hope that multiple season format does not become the norm for kdramas. You are right: after multiple seasons, even the best written shows lose their luster, and I will be very sad to see that happen to my beloved kdramas…
That’s true, that quite a few kdramas don’t do so well with their endings. That’s why I always appreciate it extra, when a show manages to serve up a satisfying ending! 😀 And yes, I hate it when they let significant events happen offscreen, to save time. 😫
For the shows I’m thinking of, I’d PREFER if they did have things happen off screen. At least there’d be some resolution. And even if not “resolved”, tell me something about where you’re leaving that couple or that situation. Don’t just never show or even mention it again. I’m talking about when a storyline just is completely left. Left! Dropped. As if it was never a running theme throughout the show right alongside the OTP’s storyline. And then oftentimes they show an entire episode of filler where they could’ve dealt with the hanging threads. Sorry but it brings out the grumpy!
Ok, that’s true too!! If they can’t have the significants events happen onscreen, off-screen is still WAY better than completely dropped! 😛
You are on fire, gurl! Posts coming from left and right. 😀 I’m envious, as I can’t seem to manage even one. Sigh. Ayhoo, there are several dramas on that list that I’d suggest too (and some I probably wouldn’t, ha).
Here’s couple of more possibilites, though you mileage may vary:
Assembly (if one is into political stuff, gets a bit ‘shouty’ at times though)
Children of Nobody
Fight (a short oldie)
Heard It Through the Grapevine
Missing Noir M
Slingshot / A Man’s Story
Hi Timescout! 😀 Yes, I don’t even know how I’m blogging so much, lately! 😆 The Dear kfangurl questions are at an all-time high, and I guess I’m just trying to make some progress in answering them! 😅
Thanks for adding to the list! I haven’t seen quite a few of your suggestions, so thanks for making sure these shows don’t get missed out! I’ve heard Children of Nobody is really really good – though not an easy watch. I’ve cautiously put it on my list.. not sure if I can handle the subject matter. 😝😅
There are older dramas that are still worth watching imho, if you can find them. Children of Nobody is very good but yeah, not an easy watch by any means.
Now that you say that, I recall JB & GB talking about Sandglass, and how all the boys got it as some kind of assignment and weren’t happy about it, until they started watching it, and were all like, WE got the cool show, dudes! 😆 So I guess Sandglass might be a good one, if you can get it! 🙂
Ah, I forgot Sandglass! Yes, it should be on the list too. Availability may be an issue though, as with many older dramas. Some can be found on the broadcasting companies YT channels but those are usually without subs.