Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas that would make my day better?

Make! My! Day! ❀️

Confession: this Dear kfangurl post wasn’t actually triggered by a Dear kfangurl question. It just made sense to group it with the other Dear kfangurl posts, coz that’s where the other lists on the blog live, heh.

BUT! This post was triggered by a conversation with my friend Jan on Twitter.

Basically, yesterday, Jan had remarked that she was looking for a Kim Ji Suk fix, and I’d suggested 20th Century Boy and Girl, in which he is the sweet, perfect boyfriend. Less than 24 hours later, Jan’s super happy with the drama suggestion, and her tweets are filled with happy spazz, and she’s also said that this was the rom-com she’d been looking for.

..Which got me thinking. With all the darker &/or heavier shows that Dramaland’s been serving up of late (like World of the Married, Graceful Friends, Flower of Evil and It’s Okay To Not Be Okay), as solid as these shows are, maybe someΒ  – or many? – of you guys might be looking for something lighter to make these dark pandemic days a little brighter.

That’s why I’m here to help. πŸ˜€

I’ve got your back, bud. ❀️

WHAT KINDS OF SHOWS MAKE IT INTO THIS LIST?

I thought about what kind of dramas would typically help us feel better when we’re feeling down, discouraged, or just kinda blah in general, and I came up with a few categories.

Here they are:

1. Warm, feel-good dramas that are just cozy and comforting,

2. Uplifting dramas that feature underdogs striving against the odds to make good,

3. Light, easy-breezy dramas that are easy to slurp up,

4. Fun, silly dramas that make us laugh when we don’t take them too seriously, and

5. Dramatic, fun makjang that’s ridiculous, but also ridiculously addictive.

With these 5 categories in mind, I’ve come up with a list of – count ’em! – 36 dramas (now 39, with add-ons!) , and I hope you’ll find something in this list, to make your day a little better. <3

WARM, FEEL-GOOD DRAMAS

Hospital Playlist

Warm, relatable and aspirational, Hospital Playlist defies what most of us think a hospital drama ought to be like. There’re no hospital politics here; just sincere, earnest, often goofy humans, trying to make the world a better place, one patient at a time. The friendship among our key characters runs long and deep, and I luff them, so much.

Review is here.

Prison Playbook

Homey, hopeful and warm, despite its prison setting, this show shines in its exploration of individual backstories, as well as its establishment of found families. Friendship, comradeship, loyalty, and second chances are the themes of the day, and I especially loved the bromance between Park Hae Soo and Jung Kyung Ho.

Review is here.

Answer Me 1988

Even though there’s a love triangle in the center of this story, it’s the deep sense of love and community amongst the various families in this neighborhood, that really steals the show. This is like the idea of found families, amplified, as our entire neighborhood comes together like they’re one big extended family. There’s so much love that’s shared among them, in the big and small things, that they made me smile and tear up on a regular basis.

Review is here.

Life Is Beautiful

This is my favorite family drama of all time. Set on Jeju Island, Show is super pretty to look at, and this large family is tender and loving in all the right ways. Every family member has a personal arc, so there’s bound to be someone you can relate to, and everything is bathed in such warm and cozy vibes, that I was very wistful to reach the end.

Review is here.

Father is Strange

Warm and cozy, and also, fun to watch, at the same time. Mom and Dad are loving and kind, eldest daughter Lee Yoo Ri is all kinds of feisty and awesome, and younger sister Jung So Min has a super cute budding loveline with the proud and prickly actor Lee Joon. Show brings the feels, with a hefty serving of heart and emotional resonance, and I lapped it all up with relish.

Flash Review is here.

Thirty But Seventeen

Cute and likable, yet heartfelt and meaningful at the same time, Thirty But Seventeen is an earnest, comforting, feel-good little package, despite key characters having to work through various effects of personal trauma. Show possesses very strong found-family feels, and our secondary characters turn out to be just as endearing and lovable as our main couple, and I could not get enough of this.

Review is here.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

A campus romance that’s also about the search for identity, coming-of-age, friendship, and loyalty. The poignant moments feel raw and true, while the relationship feels made me positively giddy with squee. Sensitive yet funny, the OTP relationship is teased out in a way that feels organic and believable. And Nam Joo Hyuk and Lee Sung Kyung share chemistry that basically leaps off the screen and knocks you over. So good.

Review is here.

Coffee Prince

A drama world that feels lived-in and real, characters who are (mostly) lovable and endearing, and an OTP that shares a chemistry that feels deep and true, Coffee Prince is like the gift that doesn’t stop giving. Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye make me feel like I’m a voyeur peeping at real-life lovers, and our gang of coffee princes are delightfully winsome in their quirky ways. Extra brownie points to Show, for featuring recent hot favorite Kim Jae Wook (Ryan Gold from Her Private Life) with a cool, edgy man-bun.

Review is here.

In Time With You [Taiwan]

If you like Coffee Prince, you’d probably like this one too. In Time With You also features a warm drama world that feels real and lived-in, and an OTP that feels ultra believable and relatable. Chen Bolin brings the squishy feels as sweet, melt-your-heart male lead Li Da Ren, who is the ultimate precious cinnamon role, while Ariel Lin is the feisty but vulnerable female lead that Da Ren secretly pines over. Their connection feels strong and believable, and their friends-to-lovers story explores both the anxieties and the highs of their shifting relationship with dexterity, while serving up all of the feels.

Flash Review is here.

Ojakgyo Brothers

This is my second-favorite family drama of all time. Show is warm, cozy and heartwarming as it brings out the family feels, but it’s also got quite a strong romantic bent, as each of the 4 Ojakgyo brothers gets his own loveline. My favorite of the lovelines, is of clueless-but-goodhearted rich girl UEE breaking down the walls of Joo Won’s pensive, reserved cop. Their chemistry is sweet and sparky most of the time, except when it’s electric and breathtaking – which it sometimes is. Overall, fantastic comfort food, despite some flaws.

Review is here.

UPLIFTING DRAMAS

Romance is a Bonus Book

Lee Na Young is our resident underdog, a divorcee trying to re-enter the workforce and reclaim her mojo. Show manages to make it all very earnest and heartfelt, while also infusing everything with charm and a touch of whimsy. The noona romance is melty and swoony, but it’s really our female lead’s journey that takes centerstage. Wholesome, thoughtful and sweet.

Review is here.

She Was Pretty

Dressed to look like just about every other rom-com coming out of Dramaland, She Was Pretty might appear run-of-the-mill at first, but given a chance, it proves itself to be heartwarming and uplifting, with a special emphasis on self-worth and self-love. Show has some OTT tendencies that I needed some time to get used to, but my heart felt so warmed and lifted by the end, that the initial patience was more than worthwhile.

Review is here.

Twenty Again

Choi Ji Woo is wonderful and awesome as our female lead, who’s returning to school at the grand “old” age of 38, on a journey to reclaim her identity, self-worth and mojo, which she gave up in favor of early motherhood. Now separated from her husband, our female lead embarks on a journey and discovers that she’s absolutely not over the hill, and still very much worthy of life, adventure and love. Sensitively written, and excellently acted. Cute and inspiring, at the same time.

Review is here.

The First Half Of My Life [China]

Meaty, mature and thoughtful, Show is that rare combination of real and relatable, while being elegant and sophisticated, at the same time. Ma Yi Li is our female lead, suddenly thrust into a whirlwind of having to start her life over, with a child in tow, and practically no work experience to speak of. Her determination and earnestness is inspirational, and her friendship with bestie Yuan Quan is aspirational and moving. There is some romance in this, but it’s never Show’s main point. This show took China by storm when it aired, and with good reason. Highly recommend.

Flash Review is here.

Fight My Way

Warm and easy to love, our ragtag characters are all underdogs in their own way, each striving to make it in a career where they feel inexperienced and under-qualified. At the same time, Park Seo Joon as a dim-but-goodhearted MMA fighter wannabe, and Kim Ji Won as an aspiring newscaster who’s as blunt as she is loyal, make up our friends-to-lovers OTP, who are very cute and very endearing together. So honest, real and raw, that I even forgive Show’s overly neat ending.

Review is here.

Miss Korea

Underrated and heartwarming, Miss Korea is more about ordinary people than it is about beauty pageants, so don’t let Show’s title fool you. Endearing and charming, Show walks us through our resident underdogs’ journeys, as they work to do battle against bigger, richer, better-positioned competition, in their respective fields. Lee Yeon Hee and Lee Sun Gyun are great in this, and their romance is well-handled and feels nicely organic.

Review is here.

Stove League

Nam Goong Min really shines in this story, as the newly-appointed GM of the Dreams, the underdogs of the underdogs in the baseball league. There’s no romance in this; instead, team dynamics and personal growth take centerstage, as Nam Goong Min’s GM gathers his team to work against obstacle after obstacle, to help propel the Dreams towards, well, their dreams. Solid, heartfelt and worthwhile.

Flash Review is here.

LIGHT, EASY-BREEZY DRAMAS

20th Century Boy and Girl

Angst-lite and warm, Show is feel-good, easy on the brain, and also easy to slurp up. The group of friends is very endearing, and Kim Ji Suk turns out to be a strong contender for World’s Sweetest Boyfriend. Engaging, gentle and charming.

Flash Review is here.

Find Yourself [China]

Breezy, light and often rather silly, Show manages to also be surprisingly thoughtful and reflective at the same time, serving up pockets of insightful voiceovers, amid the frothy goings-on. Victoria Song is relatable and approachable as our female lead who’s pure-hearted and open to love, even as societal pressure bears down on her to get married already, as a mature 30-year-old. Song Wei Long is her young, earnest suitor, and Show does a great job showing us how the sparks fly, between these two. Lots of fun when taken lightly, yet meaty as well, if analyzed. Excellent drama comfort food.

Review is here.

Something About 1%

A fun rom-com, minus all the potential filler. This 2016 remake is shorter and more streamlined than the original, and basically capitalizes on the excellent chemistry between leads Ha Suk Jin and Jun So Min, to serve up crackling hyper-proximity and giddy kisses, while keeping everything angst-lite. Simple and sweet.

Flash Review is here.

We Married as a Job [Japan]

Quirky and cute, this is my favorite Japanese rom-com so far. The plot moves along briskly, while serving up some interesting surprises, and our OTP is awkward, dorky and very endearing in their honest efforts to get to know each other, within the context of their contract marriage. A little OTT wacky in spots, but that’s easily managed with a bit of a manga lens.

Flash Review is here.

Touch Your Heart

Cute, light and quite breezy, Touch Your Heart is basically a Yoo In Na vehicle that showcases her personal charm to great effect. It’s also a great reunion platform for Yoo In Na and Lee Dong Wook, to reprise their OTP chemistry from Goblin. Basically, Yoo In Na is delightful as a failing actress trying to make good, and Lee Dong Wook’s straitlaced lawyer is an excellent foil to her earnest bubbly nature. Heartfelt and sweet.

Review is here.

A Love So Beautiful [China]

Show’s premise is simple and has been done many times before, with a warm girl crushing on a genius aloof boy, but somehow this story lands with charm and a distinct crack factor. Warm, easy-breezy and likable, I quickly grew a huge soft spot for this drama world and its characters. It totally helps that our warm girl is feisty and won’t allow genius aloof boy to bully her, and it also helps that genius aloof boy isn’t really very mean, and actually has understandable reasons for being emotionally distant. I loved this a lot.

Flash Review is here.

Put Your Head On My Shoulder

Angst-lite and cheerful, this show is a little meandering, but still high on the easy-to-slurp-up scale. In a twist from the more common warm-girl-crushes-on-aloof-genius-boy set-up, our feisty warm girl couldn’t care less about our handsome genius, and it’s our handsome genius who falls for her, and hard. Hee! I found it fun and amusing to see our handsome genius flailing about, trying to use his science brain to figure out new and interesting things like girls, feelings and romance. Easy and sweet, despite some annoying secondary characters.

Review is here.

Her Private Life

Show is basically a fairly vanilla kdrama rom-com template, but dressed up with bells and whistles that have strong appeal: Kim Jae Wook as Ryan Gold, the swoony perfect boyfriend (melt), Park Min Young as a charming career woman by day, and kpop super fangirl by night, and their wonderfully sparky chemistry whenever they share the screen. Add on actual healthy relationship dynamics, and a keen, knowing spotlight on the fangirl experience, and Show is basically catnip for drama fans – whether you’re a kpop fan or not.

Review is here.

I’m Not A Robot

Chae Soo Bin and Yoo Seung Ho make an adorable pair in this not-quite-a-robot rom-com, and the whole journey of Yoo Seung Ho’s chaebol overcoming his human allergy to love the very human robot living in his house, is by turn silly-fantastical, and heartfelt-poignant. This show made me laugh (sometimes – I wasn’t always tuned into Show’s sense of humor, though you might be), and it made me cry (also sometimes). But I enjoyed this OTP, pretty much all of the time. A very worthwhile ride.

Flash Review is here.

My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Slurpable and cracky for much of its run, this show does the cold male lead thing right. Bonus point for taking the campus romance to college instead of high school, as most kdramas tend to do. Cha Eun Woo is our cold male lead, who isn’t mean; he’s just reticent. And Im Soo Hyang is our ungainly, insecure, earnest female lead, whom he regularly swoops in to rescue from bullies. It sounds clichΓ©d, but it works, despite the acting of both leads leaning rather green. Charming and heartfelt, while managing to shine a light spotlight on meaningful issues like the general treatment of women and the psychological effect of plastic surgery.

Flash Review is here.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho

Shin Min Ah is incandescent as our resident gumiho (mythical nine-tailed fox) who deeply desires to become human, and Lee Seung Gi is dorky and endearing as the hapless human who tries to help her achieve her goal. Lots of frothy fun, and yet, Show knows how to punch you in the gut with poignance and feels, when the occasion calls for it. An oldie but a goodie.

ADD-ON!

Splash Splash Love

Delightful, fun and adorable, Splash Splash Love is super easy to love. Doo Joon is oh-so-handsome and swoony as our king, and Kim Seul Gi is precocious and winsome as the modern girl who time travels right into the middle of his world. Their chemistry is sparky-tending-electric, and I could. not. get. enough. I was gutted that this was only 2 episodes.

Thanks to MC, for reminding me that I’d missed this one!

Flash Review is here.

Goong (Princess Hours)

My gateway drama! How did I forget about this one? πŸ˜› Goong is very fresh and fun, in its imagined take on a modern monarchy in South Korea, with Yoon Eun Hye as an ordinary girl getting mixed up in a contract marriage with the country’s crown prince, Joo Ji Hoon. The burgeoning feelings are teased out in a slow-burn, believable manner, amid the nonsensical cute of having a crown prince attend high school among his fangirls. The music is fantastically applied, and brings the world to popping life. Show suffers from drag in its later episodes brought on by an extension (high ratings can be so bad for story!), but is, overall, still a fun, worthwhile watch.

Thanks to Laurie Adgirl, for reminding me of this one, on Facebook!

Review is here.

FUN, SILLY DRAMAS

Terius Behind Me

There’s no edgy spy stuff here, but Show is silly, absurd, and all kinds of heartwarming, which more than makes up for the lack of edgy spy stuff. So Ji Sub is perfect as the reticent spy next door who ends up babysitting the neighbor’s twins in order to investigate a case. Cue cuteness, bonding and adorableness. I also enjoyed how the neighborhood ahjumma network often did a better job of the spying, than the actual real spies, heh.

Flash Review is here.

Bride of the Century

Illogical and tropey to an extreme, Show manages to be quite cracky for most of its run, with a pair of leads who are as cute as a pair of puppies. Not a lot makes sense, and it’s rather charming that Show takes itself so seriously, nonetheless. Overall, silly, ridiculous, and somehow, highly enjoyable.

Review is here.

You’re Beautiful

Frothy and unabashedly illogical, Park Shin Hye is a novice nun who goes undercover as a boy to take her twin brother’s place in the rock band he’s supposed to join. Cue crossdressing and close proximity hijinks, as she tries to blend into the boyband life with her new bandmates. Super fun, with the right lens.

Noble, My Love

Light, easy, and with bite-sized episodes to boot, Show is a great drama snack, for when you can’t commit to a full drama, but still want to indulge in some tropey romantic feels. The story’s predictable, but our leads share strong chemistry – and our male lead Sung Hoon delivers the broody gaze well. Nothing very remarkable, but fluffy and entertaining, nonetheless.

Flash Review is here.

Bromance [Taiwan]

The writing’s not great and logic takes a beating, but Show is angst-lite, and our lead characters are likable and share excellent chemistry that literally leaps off the screen. And Show is not afraid of capitalizing on the chemistry, serving up lots of sizzle at every opportunity. To top it all off, Baron Chen’s intent smolder is of the molten variety that made me go weak in the knees. Cheesy, but delicious all the same.

Flash Review is here.

Just You [Taiwan]

The writing is far from elegant, and stuff tends to be exaggerated, but Aaron Yan is very handsome to look at, Puff Guo’s character grows on you nicely after a few episodes, and Aaron and Puff make a very cute couple. Their chemistry is sparky and believable, and Show takes care to tease out the development of the OTP relationship to make it feel believable, even in an unbelievable world. Illogical yet heartfelt, I found this pretty cracky, given the right lens.

Flash Review is here.

Welcome to Waikiki

I haven’t seen this one myself, but I’m told by multiple people, that this one is a fun watch that is as silly and ridiculous, as it is heartfelt and heartwarming. If you can jive with the broad k-humor, this could be a lot of fun for you.

ADD-ON!

Hana Kimi (2007) [Japan]

This is the very first nonsensical show that I loved, and it’s fantastic. Everything is random and ridiculous, but somehow, so slurpable and cracky. Horikita Maki is very cute as the ardent fangirl who crossdresses in order to enter an all-boys school (where admissions are based on looks, not grades, ha), in order to be near her high jump idol Oguri Shun. I laughed out loud multiple times, each time that IΒ  watched this (I’ve watched this several different times), and I have to admit that Oguri Shun is appealingly smoldery in this. A nonsensical manga lens is not just a must; with this show, it’s your best friend. Absolutely worth tracking down.

Thanks to Laurie Adgirl, for reminding me of this one, on Facebook!

DRAMATIC, FUN MAKJANG

The Last Empress

Blithely, unabashedly, insistently makjang, The Last Empress is a rollercoaster that is as ridiculous as it is addictive. Logic doesn’t apply, but who cares when the makjang is this entertaining and delicious? Show got extended and ended up spinning its wheels for a bit in the last stretch, but managed a fairly graceful, not-too-wobbly landing, by the closing credits. Still fun, for the most part.

Flash Review is here.

Graceful Family

Full disclosure: I dropped this one because it wasn’t makjang or hammy enough for my taste, but lots of folks enjoyed this one for the moderate levels of makjang that Show serves up. The plot points do lean ludicrous and I loved the concepts of some of it, so if this one works for you, it could work for you quite nicely.

Dropped post is here.

Are You Human Too?

Omigosh, so out there, and so much fun, given the right lens, y’all. Genius Mom has her son taken from her, and so she designs a robot that looks just like him, to deal with her loss. Cue drama, confusion and hijinks, when her real son – now an angry, dysfunctional almost-terrorist – goes into a coma and our sweet, amiable robot is summoned to enable a cover-up. I love this show. And I love Seo Kang Joon as both human and robot – though I’ll admit I had way more love for the robot than the human, heh.

Review is here.

IN CLOSING

I hope you guys will find something enjoyable and suitably distracting to watch, from this list! Some of these shows are a little older, but sometimes, when the new shows aren’t hitting the kind of emotional strings that we need, older dramas can be a treasure trove to mine.

As always, if you guys have other shows to recommend or insights to share, please tell us about it in the comments – coz sharing is caring.Β πŸ˜‰

I hope this helps! Take care, and stay safe, everyone.

Love! ❀

~kfangurl

Let the fun times roll! πŸ˜„

POST-SCRIPT:

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 theΒ Dear kfangurlΒ page, or send me an email!

153 thoughts on “Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas that would make my day better?

  1. Geo

    Hi KFG: I thought I’d start a new comment on shows recommended to me in other posts since that would seem to fit best here in discussing various shows.

    @Beez: I watched Becky’s Back, managed to fit it in with the basketball playoffs, and it worked well. The show is light and quite different from the normal urban based shows but I enjoyed it, especially as it was only 4 episodes. I liked the FL, not so sure about the 3 MLs, one better than the others but the daughter character was good and the social interaction in small town SK was interesting.

    The playoffs are now in their final stages so more time for Kdramas and I’ve started to watch Oh My Venus and Melting Me, Softly. The latter was recommended in another post, my apologies I don’t remember by whom, (maybe Beez) and I was really taken with the first episode, it was a great introduction, well paced and set up the whole show well, I think (only on episode 3 now). JCW is very good in it and I also like the FL. I think this was recommended as a sci-fi show with a “defective” female lead.

    I started Oh my Venus on a friend’s referral to Shin Min-a and she is everything he said. The show seems a little cliche but it’s going well. good chemistry between the leads and it’s light so suitable to watch simultaneously with the basketball playoffs. Maybe a potential post here, “shows to watch while you are focused on other major interests”

    Reply
    1. beez

      @Geo – I was so upset at the thought that you thought I had recommended that Melting mess, I forgot to comment on Becky’s Back. I’m glad you found time to watch. I’ll sorry you didn’t like it more.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        @Beez: Lol at your horror at being thought to have recommended Melting Me Softly. It’s funny but I expected a more serious show because I remember it being recommended as a sci-fi show. It really isn’t, the sci-fi part just seems designed to set up the fantasy world of a couple of modern day “Rip Van Winkles”. I must have been in the right mood because the mix of broad comedy and serious drama lands definitely on the light side. Anyway, I’ve just finished episode 3 so we’ll see how it goes.

        I liked Becky’s Back well enough, maybe not as much as you but it was okay

        Reply
        1. beez

          @Geo – I’m easily entertained and can watch JCW in anything (which is why I finished this) BUT Melting Me Softly just had ZERO logic and I’m not even talking about the science fiction part. Just the everyday stuff was so stoooooopid, I just can’t…

          If it couldn’t please me when I’m just happy to look at him doing nothing, then it’s pretty bad.

          Reply
  2. merij1

    Beez, I’d argue that there’s a huge difference between an ending that’s not as satisfyingly awesome as the show itself . . . and one that’s so horribly lazy and weak that it risks killing the goodwill you felt for the show and thus contaminating how how you remember it.

    With final episodes like the one I described above, it’s as if the writers had already moved on to their next project and were just calling it in to get their final paycheck.

    Whereas I’m fine with either a merely OK ending or an overreach where they aim for the bleachers and miss. In the former case, they did no harm and in the latter, at least they were swinging!

    Reply
  3. Maria

    Hello. Wow, thanks for the list. Bookmarked this page. ☺️ The classic, good old Kim Sam Soon is probably my best bet for warm and feel good drama. β™₯️

    Reply
  4. Vi

    I couldn’t find any kdrama to my liking after IOTNBO. I probably already watched about half of the drama from this list. I tried Terrius a few days ago and I am enjoying it. Thanks.

    Reply
  5. Alaskan

    Thank you for recommending “The First Half of My Life.” I loved it. The two female leads may be my favorite female characters of all time and I found more heartbreak in the change to their intense friendship than I did in the romance. I thought that the male lead was flawed but also truly admirable and I could see why women fell for him. I was surprised by how much my originally-low opinion of the second male lead (the ex-husband) grew over time, so much so that I could not fully condemn his actions near the end but understood them to arise from an acute struggle between protecting his wife and hurting an innocent person. In fact, one of my favorite things about the drama was the way it humanized everybody, even the “bad” people; I had the feeling that every character, no matter how brief his or her appearance, had a complex back story. The acting was stellar, particularly the three leads, Ma Yili, Yuan Quan, and Jin Dong, but also the child who played Ping’er.

    There were parts that I liked less, such as the somewhat tedious scenes between the sister and her husband. My guess is that the drama was trying to show how a couple in a toxic marriage can still love each other but, if so, I don’t think that the writing or the acting pulled that off. All in all, however, this was a lovely, intelligent drama. Thank you again for your recommendation!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Oh, I’m SO glad you enjoyed this one, Alaska!! πŸ˜€ YES, the friendship between our female leads was so great, and I was very moved by it. The change to their intense friendship was heartbreaking indeed, and that’s the reconciliation that I find myself yearning for, more than the romantic reconciliation. SO well done, and SO well acted as well. I understand what you mean about the arc around the sister and her husband.. that was a lot less interesting to me as well. But the main story packed such a punch that I barely minded! So pleased that you ended up enjoying this one; I feel that this drama deserves more love! <3

      Reply
    1. phl1rxd

      Hi EjV – Into the Ring is looking to be my top drama of 2020. The writing is so good and the OTP are perfection together. It just keeps getting better…and funnier and even funnier.

      Reply
  6. ceridwensilverhart

    You’ve got some fun ones on this list! Where would you place something like Mystic Pop-Up Bar? I really enjoyed that one, and overall it was light and sweet. However, there were also some pretty dark and tragic elements as well.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      That’s a good question! Hm.. It doesn’t fit comfortably into any of the categories that I created for this post. If I had to pick one of the 5, maybe it could be called an unlikely underdog story? But perhaps it would make more sense if there was another category for “fantasy” – since fantasy stories do allow us to escape to a different world.. πŸ€”πŸ˜…

      Reply
  7. seankfletcher

    Reblogged this on strategic teams and commented:
    For those who don’t know, I watch Kdramas ( and Cdramas, Jdramas, Tdramas, HKdramas and Thai dramas. I still watch a load of other stuff too, but I have soft spot for these amazing shows.

    I have been follower of the Kfangurl The Verdict now for a number of years. Kfangurl herself is an Uber blogger and awesome reviewer of dramas. Her posts offer detailed insights regarding Kdramas (and some other types from time to time) that others often do not. You can make a constructive comment and have an awesome debate with kfangurl and many other followers without someone giving you a hard time. Sometimes, the ladies get a bit carried away with their swoon πŸ˜‚, but that’s okay!

    In this post kfangurl says ” With all the darker &/or heavier shows that Dramaland’s been serving up of late (like World of the Married, Graceful Friends, Flower of Evil and It’s Okay To Not Be Okay), as solid as these shows are, maybe some – or many? – of you guys might be looking for something lighter to make these dark pandemic days a little brighter.

    That’s why I’m here to help. πŸ˜€”

    I hope you enjoy this post, and if you haven’t explored Kdramas yet, have a read through the shows she has listed here. You just might find a show that is magical, thoughtful and inspirational…

    Reply
        1. beez

          Thanks, phl1rxd. I’m actually known around some parts as Ramona the Pest (although Facebook decided to force me to get rid of that moniker and use my real name although I’ve never even been in an argument with anyone on Facebook and I certainly never posted any porn).πŸ˜† I can only guess that someone who is mad that FB made them use their real name, reported me because misery loves company. *shrug* I don’t use FB much anyway.

          (Ramona The Pest is the name of the image of the little girl. She’s Beezus’ little sister in the children’s book series Henry Huggins.)

          Reply
          1. phl1rxd

            It is very fresh and funky and I like it a lot.

            Beezus and Ramona Quimby! I remember these books and I believe I bought Beezus and Ramona for my daughter when she was little.

            I barely go on FB either except to get sports info I need to work. Even then, I can get it faster in Twitter.

            Reply
            1. beez

              In the ’90’s I couldn’t get my son to like to read. He was pretty rough & tumble so I bought him books like “Eyeballs For Breakfast” and that Eerie Worms series (I’m sure I got that name wrong) that was so popular. Nothing interested him enough to finish reading a book. Until I came across Henry & Ribsy (Henry Huggins and his dog). Beezus & Ramona were HH’s neighborhood friends.) I remembered how much I loved the author Beverly Cleary’s books back when I was a kid and sure enough (!) He loved it! And he read the series with no prompting and wheedling on my part. Guess what? I found out that it doesn’t matter how creative or strict you are which brought success with everything else – you cannot force a kid to read. Thank God for Henry Huggins!

              Reply
              1. kfangurl

                I LOVED reading Beverly Cleary! And Beezus and Ramona were favorites of mine. I still remember her doll was named Chevrolet after a car! πŸ˜‚πŸ€© The memoriesss πŸ₯°

                Reply
                1. beez

                  HAhahaha! I didn’t remember that detail! I just have a fondness leftover in my memory for the characters. And I was truly my Noona’s pesky pest. πŸ˜†

                  Reply
                    1. beez

                      Oh, and I forgot to say – You know that little burp where I was known as Beezrtp – the rtp was something Google added to my Google profile somewhere along the line because of my RamonaThePest moniker I use on several sites. When WordPress through me for a loop to require me open an account (after years of using it) and then wanted a longer name, since Google has been adding it wherever I go that’s the first thing I thought of. So why here recently WP let me go back to just plain beez \_(ツ)_/

                    2. kfangurl

                      OHH! rtp was Ramona The Pest! HOW CUTE! 🀩 Thanks for sharing that tidbit, I think it’s adorable that your online identity is so wrapped up in that lovely little series! <3

  8. Snow Flower

    If anyone is looking for an uplifting story, I highly recommend the movie Castaway on the Moon. It is very unusual and quirky, but also sweet. Trust me, eating black bean noodles will never be the same!

    Reply
  9. Mae

    I just finished My Holo Love on Netflix and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! I’ve watched other robot-related dramas in the past, but this one resonated with me more on an emotional level. It was well-written, had good pacing (only 12 episodes) and the use of techology was very Black Mirror esque at times.

    I’ve always trusted in your reviews because the dramas you love I end up loving too (ahem, Healer)!! I hope you get the chance to check this one out if you haven’t already πŸ™‚ Cheers!

    Reply
  10. merij1

    We’re ten episodes into the romance drama “Was It Love?” on Netflix. It’s still airing in Korea, but will finish up two weeks from tomorrow. This is not an example of KFG’s post, btw, but I’m not sure where else to mention it.

    The FL (played by Ji-Hyo Song) is a 37-year old single mom trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a film producer. She’s been working low-paid jobs since dropping out of film & drama school 14 years ago to raise her daughter.

    What’s different about the romance is that she has not one, not two, but FOUR suitors competing for her affection, three of whom were in love with her 14 years old ago when she got pregnant and suddenly fell off the map. There’s a best-selling writer, a famous good-guy drama star, a kind gym teacher at her daughter’s school, and the newest recruit, a former gang member (Min-Joon Kim) who’s been trying to go legit and is her film’s financial backer.

    The former gangster’s son is also her daughter’s best friend. One of the funnier scenes is watching that quiet tough guy’s reaction when the moms at school vote him to be PTA president.

    Yet despite all these guys fighting for her love, the FL insists she has no interest in any of them. This is her career moment, so she’s got other fish to fry.

    As you would guess with that many potential OTPs, it gets a little complex, but we’re loving it. We’re ten episodes in and I still have no clue who will end up being “the one.” The first episode had a frustrating moment for me (what I call the “Don’t Share Information!” trope) but since then it’s been refreshingly different.

    Our favorite scenes are when 3-4 of the guys are forced to be together, which happens a lot, especially since three of them work together with her on the film.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ooh, thanks for sharing your first impressions on “Was It Love?”! I’d heard some positive buzz about it, but it has since petered out, and I was wondering how this one was going. Sounds like you’re enjoying it quite well, so I’m curious to hear how this one goes for you! πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. merij1

        Quite the blitzkrieg of replies plus a whole new post from you today. It’s nice to hear your voice again.

        I’ll come back to this thread in two weeks to share our thoughts on Was It Love? after Ep. 16 has aired. If there’s one thing Something in the Rain taught me, it’s that it’s never too late to mess up a good show!

        I’m still watching Into The Ring, btw, but on my own now. Now THAT is a show unlike any other I’ve seen.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Ahaha! I looked up “blitzkrieg” and laughed out loud at the definition I got: an intense military campaign intended to bring about a swift victory. πŸ˜† I love it! Thanks for teaching me something new today, MeriJ! πŸ˜€ Yes, I have been knee-deep in comments today, as well as busy getting the new post out.. I’m still not typing as fast as I was previously able to, but it’s much better this week compared to last week, so YAY! πŸ˜„πŸŽ‰

          I had to giggle at your rueful mention of Something in the Rain.. it’s so true, unfortunately – some shows are fantastic, until the last couple of episodes. So, it’s wise of you to withhold judgment until you get to the finish line! πŸ˜‰

          I’ve taken a peek at Into The Ring, and it seems very promising! πŸ˜€

          Reply
    2. merij1

      “Was It Love?” finished its run this evening. It’s too soon for me to give it a grade, but we definitely enjoyed it. The only downside is that it features generous portions of two of the K-drama writing quirks that annoy me the most: Noble Idiocy and what I call the “DON’T SHARE INFORMATION!” trope. Both those frustrate me to no end. Seriously, wtf. (lol)

      But aside from that weakness, which is common to so many of these shows, it was pretty darn good. The complexity of having 4 MLs was interesting — especially since they also have complex relationships with one another — plus a fair amount of time devoted to two non-sibling 14 year-olds, two mothers, two other women who threaten to become secondary romantic leads and one of those “powerful female agents who overly controls her male star.”

      I always hold my breath until I see how a show sticks the landing. (Ugh. First time I’ve used that precious ballet metaphor. Almost certainly the last also. I blame it on the mescal.) As we all know, even the best shows sometimes end lamely. The anticipation for this one was extended by typhoon Bavi, which was hitting SK — Jeju Island in particular — the Wednesday night episode 15 it was supposed to air. The TV station chose to cover the typhoon, so they aired Ep 15 on Thursday instead and we all had to wait a full week for the finale.

      Btw, KFG, I forgot to mention that one of the FL’s four suitors — arguably the most important one — is played by Son Ho-joon, the younger brother from Dazzling/Light In Your Eyes/Radiant. I don’t quite buy him as a ML, but it was still nice to see him again.

      Reply
      1. kfangurl

        Hey MeriJ! It’s good to see ya! πŸ™‚ Good to hear that Was It Love worked out quite nicely for you.. I’ve heard very mixed reactions to it, with most viewers finding the writing quite messy. πŸ˜› But, as long as you enjoyed it, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks! πŸ˜€

        I do enjoy Son Ho Joon.. he was also lead in Go Back Couple, and I enjoyed him very much in that (once we got past the juvenile animosity in the early stretch). If you haven’t checked it out yet, I do recommend it. It’s very heartfelt and hopeful, with a fair amount of funny-silly on the side. πŸ™‚

        Reply
        1. merij1

          The final episode was awful, I’m afraid. I was being charitable when I wrote that comment. They took the Noble Idiocy trope to a ridiculous extreme that made no sense whatsoever.

          It’s really odd that the writers of these shows don’t understand how lame this type of contrived last-minute drama is and how it changes everything you felt about a show you’ve already invested 15 hours in. This was another one of those where most of what mattered had already been resolved by the penultimate episode, so then they felt some bizarre urge to complexify the OTP in the finale, abruptly resolving it — with no actual resolution — minutes before the clock ran out. A complete absurd new wrinkle that relied on everyone being stupid and self-sacrificing for two years, until suddenly it all works out.

          Since writing that, btw, I read your recent fave supporting actors post and saw Son Ho Joon’s name there!

          Reply
          1. merij1

            KFG: how about a post on “tropes or lazy writing maneuvers still in need of a name?”

            As you point out in your post on “Why do I still fall for drama tropes?” the ones we love ARE a big part of why we watch these shows, even when we recognize them as such. But, omg, the ones I hate truly diminish my enjoyment, to the point that I periodically ask why I bother watching K-drama at all.

            Besides the DON’T SHARE INFORMATION!! trope, there’s this tendency for lazy writing:

            > one of those shows where most of what matters has already been resolved prior to the finale, so the writers introduce new annoyingly absurd obstacles to the OTP that they therefore lack the time to resolve satisfyingly. Instead, to close out the last 10-15 minutes of a 16-hour show, they just skip ahead two years and wave a magic wand to demonstrate that true love conquers all. Blah blah blah. (Or as Koreans like to say: “things like that.”)

            It’s not always the finale where this happens, but it happens a lot, ruining really good shows. Something In The Rain and Chocolate are two others that come to mind. Chocolate wasn’t ruined, actually, but it made the finale no fun at all, which was a big let-down after a penultimate episode that ended with the most moving romantic epiphany my wife and I have ever seen. (That’s the show I’m always recommending with Secret Garden’s Ha Ji-Won as the FL.)

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              Ahaha! I can feel your frustration, MeriJ! πŸ˜› Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll add it to the list of Dear kfangurl questions. It sounds like a good topic to explore! πŸ™‚

              Reply
          2. kfangurl

            Hahaha! I guess you’re feeling a little less charitable now, MeriJ, with the truth spilling out! πŸ˜†πŸ˜† Seriously though, that sounds like a really frustrating turn of events, especially so late in the game! I’m amazed you were able to say kind words about it the first time around! πŸ˜‰ I will carefully step away from the thought of checking out Was It Love, despite my affection for Son Ho Joon. Thanks for taking one for the team, MeriJ! πŸ˜‰

            Reply
            1. merij1

              I’d still give it a B+, over all. But I’d advise people skip most of the last episode. It’s so weird how causally these writers will implode their own creations at the very end.

              I guess enough other K-dramas have already taken these lazy paths that it no longer seems as glaringly bad to them as it does to those who outside the industry. Cheap melo tacked on at the end of a decent offering. What they don’t seem to get is that first impressions and final impressions are crucial to our experience.

              Reply
              1. beez

                @merij1 – I used to feel exactly the same way! Especially when what should be the ending seems obvious. But I started thinking about American tv shows and couldn’t think of one – not one – that ended satisfactorily. So now I just enjoy the journey and know they’re going to mess up the ending. And when they don’t – gravy! (or icing – depending on how deep or light show was).

                Reply
              2. kfangurl

                Well, a B+ sounds very generous, given what you’ve described! 😜 Also, I do try to cut the writers some slack because they are juggling a lot of pressure from audience opinion, ratings, the need to include PPL, and also, opinions of the higher-ups. Combine that with the need to write on the fly while the show is airing, and I can imagine an exhausted writer throwing in the towel and just doing a “whatever” with the ending, because of the various sources of stress colliding, with no room for negotiation. (It’s ugly but unfortunately true that creative integrity is not the most important factor affecting the writing of our dramas.😝)

                Reply
                1. merij1

                  I’m curious about your comment that these shows are written as they air. Someone else also said that and so I assumed it was true. And I once read that a secondary lead was promoted to ML based on fan response. Here in the US, shows are definitely filmed on the go, but it’s so different since they go on for years and years, if successful.

                  But lately someone else told me K-drama is actually filmed as long as a year prior to airing. The topic came up because I was wondering how all this new content was filmed during the coronavirus pandemic.

                  Do we know for sure?

                  Reply
                    1. beez

                      Yup. I was the one who commented before (maybe others did too). But speaking of the few preproduced dramas listed in that article you linked – since it was preproduced, I can’t understand why they don’t add all of the episodes back in to Herstory: Saimdang. It was horrible but I’m curious if those cut episodes might have turned things around. Or at least helped it make a modicum of sense.

                  1. merij1

                    I found my answer here. Yes, they are shot as they air:

                    https://koreancultureblog.com/2016/10/03/k-drama-series-live-shoot-system/

                    As for my B+ grade for “Was It Love?” . . . it was only the final episode that was to0 extreme on the Noble Idiocy to be enjoyable, much less believable. It’s one of those shows where the supporting actors are given extensive time, good material and the actors were chosen wisely. So lots to savor, beyond what eventually resolves to be the OTP.

                    Reply
                    1. merij1

                      However there is a new trend to finish all production in advance (text below copied & pasted from that link):

                      Recently, there is an increasing trend for pre-produced K-dramas, e.g, β€œDescendants of the Sun,” β€œUncontrollably Fond,” β€œMoon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo,” β€œSaimdang: Light’s Diary,” which are completed before the premiere.

                      A key reason for this trend is to suit the requirements of the Chinese market, which has recently become one of the key markets for K-dramas. All K-dramas are required to pass the censorship by the Chinese government before they are being aired in China, and this may take two to three months. Therefore, the dramas need to be pre-produced to allow simultaneous airing in China and South Korea.

                    2. kfangurl Post author

                      Thanks for sharing your research, MeriJ! πŸ™‚ Yes, you are right on both counts. Korea has traditionally used the live-shoot system, which requires writers to write while the show airs. On the other hand, as things continue to evolve, a section of dramas has been pre-produced, to align with Chinese guidelines.

                      However, to answer your earlier question, most of the kdramas are still on the live-shoot system, with the proportion of pre-produced dramas still in the minority. That’s why a majority of dramas were recently affected by the rising Covid numbers in Korea, resulting in quite a few dramas being unable to air their episodes as scheduled. I hope that helps to clarify! πŸ™‚

  11. Yoona

    Great list! We all need a light happy watch every now and than, now more than ever. Here’s some additional suggestions…

    Marriage Not Dating – one of my fave romcom drama to date.

    The Boy Next Door – short funny webdrama of reluctant bromance, feat Jang Ki-Yong n Choi Woo-Sik.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ooh, yes, Marriage Not Dating was a fun one, thanks for giving it a shout-out! πŸ™‚ I haven’t seen The Boy Next Door, but have heard some positive things. And, a little webdrama is just the format for challenging times.

      Reply
  12. OldListener

    I’d add Love o2o (TV show) to the list. OTP are nice people, smart and capable. The lead actors look great. Missing the nasty elements of so many Asian dramas: mean jerk male lead, noble idiocy, various tropes.

    I’d also add The beauty Inside (TV show) to the list. Great OTP relationship, She is grace under pressure, living with her affliction and he’s just discovering his way to enduring his affliction with kindness toward others. Comedy elements are very well done.

    A couple of substitutions: What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim is well written and well acted. Park Min Young is sooo good in this role. I liked this show far more than Her Private Life.

    I liked Five Enough more than Father is Strange. The OTP in Five Enough are nice, smart people with patience and endurance. The dark secret looming over the story in father is Strange reduced my appreciation for this show.

    Some of the shows on your list are on mine too: I rewatch Bromance, My ID is Gangnam Beauty and Something about 1% at intervals and enjoy them every time. I like Touch My Heart too but really dislike the noble idiocy trope.

    Keep up the good work, fangirl. Your reviews have been a great guide for me. I do have to adjust for my preferences: you rate my favorites as Bs and I don’t like your A rated shows as well.

    Reply
      1. carulhein

        I did like five enough, but Father is Strange is still one of my absolute favourites. I could also add Shy boss. The first few episodes are slow, but as someone who suffered with social anxieties I could really feel what the male lead was going through. The story just got better and better and event though it was far from perfect and probably not exactly true to life, it left me with a huge smile on my face. So much so that I jumped onto Google and Internet stalked Yeon Woo Jin for a bit 😁. He was just so adorable and sexy mixed up in one.

        Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Thanks for the additions to the list! πŸ™‚ I did enjoy the shows you listed, though probably a little less than you did. That’s so interesting, that our A- and B-rated shows are flipped! But at least we seem to largely enjoy the same shows! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for enjoying the reviews, OL! <3

      Reply
      1. carulhein

        Hi Kfangurl, I just finished watching Le coup de foudre and really really really liked it. Such a delightful love story. Not without its faults, but I’d recommend anyone to check it out.

        Reply
  13. Kay

    A great list of feel good dramas for sure! I’ve been sprinkling in more of these types of shows these days for obvious reasons. My biggest challenge with light and fluffy stuff is still wanting a really solid plot to carry me through the drama. It’s hard to strike that perfect balance of compelling plot and fun (unless we’re going straight comedy like Waikiki of course). Many of the dramas you listed achieve that though. It’s always nice to find dramas like that πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      That’s so true, Kay! πŸ˜€ I feel the same way; even with light and fluffy stuff, I still hope for a solid narrative that makes sense and brings the feels. So few manage to do both – but it’s so precious when it happens! <3

      Reply
  14. Susan

    There are many oldie Japanese TV shows that fit the bill. Here are a few that I can remember off the top of my head:

    Nodame Cantabile (2006)
    Love Shuffle (2009)
    Boku to Star no 99 Nichi (2011)
    Miss Pilot (2013)

    As for Japanese movies:

    Kimi ni Todoke (2010)
    Paradise Kiss (2011)
    The Liar and His Lover (2013)

    And yes, I also enjoyed Hana Kimi. Oguri Shun, Ikuta Toma, and Horikita Maki were very lovable in it. 😍

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ooh, thanks for adding more J-dramas to the list, Susan! πŸ˜€ I haven’t seen enough J-dramas to recommend many, so this is very helpful! And, YESS, Hana Kimi is so fantastic! 🀩🀩 So glad you loved it too! <3

      Reply
  15. simplyusi

    I seem to be your LIGHT, EASY-BREEZY, SILLY and FUN Drama Lover :). Warm and uplifting doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea XD even though I enyoed a few of them but not that much that I would watch it a second time. I miss Healer a bit but it probably won’t fit since even though it has hillarious and warm moments it is more serious even than Are You Human too who I really love despite the obvious plotholes.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, at least some of the shows on the list work for you, Usi! πŸ˜€ And it’s a plus, to know your drama tastes well, so you know how to filter the suggestions that people offer you. πŸ˜‰ And YES, Are You Human Too is very special – it’s so fantastical and cracky, when viewed with an absurdist sort of lens! 🀩

      Reply
  16. carulhein

    H Kfangurl, thank you for all your recommendations. There a quite a few on your list that I’ve watched and enjoyed. I could add a few that I found heartwarming and easy to watch which are readily available on Netflix.

    The greatest love – still one of my all time favourites.
    Oh my ghost
    My love from a star
    The secret life of my secretary
    Master’s sun (once you adjust your lense a little for So Ji Sub’s hairstyle, you’re good to go 😁)
    Secret Romance

    Enjoyed all of these thoroughly.

    Reply
      1. kfangurl

        Thanks for adding to the list, carulhein! πŸ˜€ I did love Pasta a great deal, back when it aired.. I’m just not sure how I’d respond to a shouty Chef now, so I opted not to add it to the list. That said, I loved it so much back in the day, that I think I’ve seen it maybe 3 times! πŸ˜‰

        Reply
  17. Timescout

    Looks like I’ve seen about half on that list and have mostly fond memories of each. πŸ™‚ Most of the dramas I have in mind are probably too old and hard to find but here’s couple of suggestions:

    Avenger’s Social Club
    No romance but lots of heart with three ‘ahjummas’ and one lovely lad combining their ‘forces’ to get back at couple of cheating/sketchy husbands and their equally sketchy pals. Laugh out loud funny in places. This gave me plenty of warm fuzzies. The cast it great.

    Bad Family
    A bit different ‘made family’. Hilarious shenanigans with a mystery to solve and couple of cute romances thrown in for good measure. Kim Myung Min is great as the ex gangster and driving force behind the whole shebang.

    Juhan Shuttai! (Japan)
    A lovely little feelgood drama about a noobie editor in a weekly comic magazine. Kokoro is such a ray of sunshine and I just loved her! Plenty of quirky characters both in the magazine and with the mangakas. Drama does have it’s heavier, more emotinal moments too. It’s also pretty slice-of-life. A little tribute video I come across @ YT.

    Reply
      1. j3ffc

        Been watching “House on Wheels” while on the exercise bike (so doesn’t count into my allowed dramatize) and Ra Mi Ran was on the first couple of shows w/ Hyeri. Although absolutely nothing ever happens in this show, it was fun seeing everybody in their more or less real lives.

        Reply
        1. j3ffc

          * drama time

          1. Forgot to mention that HOW is cohosted by Sung Dong-
          Il, who calls Hyeri β€œmy daughter”. Very sweet.

          2. Just started β€œThirty but Seventeen” along the exact lines of this article.

          Reply
      2. Timescout

        Ra Mi Ran was great in this. Though I really liked the other two ladies (and the lovely lad) too, I consider Mi Ran’s character the warm ‘heart’ of the little group.

        Reply
      1. Timescout

        Have fun with Avenger’s Social Club! (or Buam Dong Revenge Social Club, as it’s also called) πŸ™‚ It ended up being one of my all time fave kdramas. I just read what I wrote about it back in the day and it made me want to rewatch the whole thing, ha. I may end up doing just that even though there are about gzillion dramas on The List that I haven’t yet touched. But I may need a counterpoint to FoS2/Stranger2 come next week and ASC kinda fits the bill perfectly.

        Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Thanks for adding to the list, Timescout!! πŸ˜€ I’ve got Avenger’s Social Club on my list because of your effusive love for it! πŸ˜‰ I did watch Bad Family, but my memory’s hazy now. I did remember finding it quite amusing though. And lovely little feel-good drama sounds lovely! I did put Juhan Shuttai on my list back when you first mentioned it to me, but haven’t gotten around to hunting it down just yet. I’ll bump it up the list! πŸ˜€

      Reply
  18. Vero

    I love both Reply 1988 (Reply 1997 is good too but more focused on the youngsters) and Coffee Prince 😍😍😍😍.
    For all Gong Yoo lovers, I fully recommend the movie Finding Mr Destiny. I watch it every time I want to laugh and smile.
    Kim Ji Suk is a hidden gem. He was so good on 20th Century boy and girl. I watched Top Star U-back which does not always make sense but he is very funny in it and the small island people are so nice.
    Romance is a Bonus Book is so good too.
    I am avoiding watching anything too dramatic (we have Covid for that). I was not too sure about Lee Jong Suk as I thought he looked too young (I was wrongly biased), he was great in it.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Kim Ji Suk is a hidden gem indeed! I didn’t watch Top Star U-Baek, but I am currently watching My Unfamiliar Family, and he’s lovely as the good friend & maybe-love interest of one of the girls. You might want to consider checking it out, since you like Kim Ji Suk. πŸ˜€

      Reply
  19. beez

    @Phlrxd – That’s amazing that your son has overcome and thrived!

    I didn’t watch Time but I had heard that the reason Kim Jung Hyun left the show before it’s conclusion is that he was ill in real life. I don’t know the specifics of his illness but I was glad to see him return in CLOY.

    Reply
  20. Girija

    The ongoing family drama, is quite interesting. Heart warming with loveable characters. It is the highest rated one currently. It is a fun watch. My first long drama, but I am enjoying the ride.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi Girija, would that be Once Again? I’ve heard some good things about it, and it’s great to know you’re enjoying your first family drama! πŸ˜€

      Reply
  21. Snow Flower

    Another drama I discovered recently: Bing Goo (Ice Mound and Frozen Love are alternative titles). It is short (2 episodes) and full of vintage charm. Plus, Kim Jung Hyun is so cute in it!

    Reply
    1. phl1rxd

      Hi Snow Flower – I started watching Bing Goo as soon as I read this and I am already done. What a lovely little show! Thanks for the recommendation.

      Reply
      1. Snow Flower

        It is, isn’t it? I found another mini drama with Kim Jung Hyun and watched it today. It was called Love of a Buzzcut and it is about 1 hour long. Not even a mini drama, more like micro drama! I liked it a lot too. It is KBS Drama Special from 2017 and is available on youtube.

        Reply
        1. phl1rxd

          Hi Snow Flower – this one was a little tough for me as my son had cancer and was on chemo for 3.5 years. We were lucky – he miraculously survived and is now a CrossFit athlete with his own gym. Trust me when I say that KDrama got me through those tough times.

          Great acting in both! Lee Jung Eun was so darn good as her Mom. I felt that my son had somehow taken my bad karma so her feeling that she gave her daughter cancer hit home. She is such a phenomenal actress and I got to see her in both of these dramas today which was very, very cool.

          As for Kim Jung Hyun – I loved him in Time even with all its flaws, the way his character was written and the production issues. I really took that drama to heart as well. I enjoyed his performance in CLOY. I must say that watching him in these two mini/micro dramas today was really nice as I was able to see him in 2 totally different roles. To be honest I did not recognize him in Bing Goo and was pleasantly surprised when I dug into the casting. I hope to see more of him in the future.

          Thanks again Snow Flower. A solid investment of my KDrama time!

          Reply
          1. Snow Flower

            @phl, I am happy that your son is doing well. I agree that there are certain stories that are tough to watch. For me, watching anything related to infertility is tough. But I am also grateful that KDramas are there to get us through some difficult times.
            As for KJH – there is some mischievous charm about him that makes him very watchable. Maybe it is the imperfect smile, who knows? He also has a great speaking and singing voice. He had a memorable supporting role in Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People that showed that he could be brooding and intense as well.

            Reply
    2. Jcarr0728

      I would have to recommend Shopaholic Louie as a sweet and funny show. The main characters are just so sweet and the supporting cast is charming and funny. It’s a great show to watch now when everything on the news is so depressing.

      Reply
      1. Kay

        I second Shopaholic Louie (or Shopping King Louie)! It’s the definition of a feel good drama and is really a fun treat to watch πŸ™‚

        Reply
  22. Snow Flower

    KFG,

    You have done it again! We all need feel-good drama every once in a while, so your list is the perfect reference. I have seen many of the dramas listed, and I agree with your classification. I want to add Tamra the Island to the Warm and feel-good category. It is a historical drama set mostly on Jeju island. I liked the relationship between the main heroine and her mother. I also liked the growth of the main female character who realizes that there is no place like home and learns to distinguish between a puppy love (crush) and real love.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi Snow Flower! <3 Yay that you love this list – and hopefully, since you agree with the listing of the shows you've seen, hopefully you'll enjoy the ones listed that you haven't yet seen! πŸ˜€ Also, thanks for suggesting Tamra! I've had that on my list for ages, but haven't yet gotten to it. It's great to know that it's a warm and feel-good sort of story. πŸ™‚

      Reply
    2. beez

      @Snow Flower – I keep starting Tamra over each time I get stuck at the same scene and sit it aside for years! Because I wait so long to watch again, I have to start over to remember what happened. So this year, I do remember because I’ve watched enough times now but I’m stuck again at the scene where the Japanese crewmate has come back to the village and the Diver Girl is leaving with him. I think Daniel has been captured at this point. It just seems to lose my interest as they are about to leave the village. Any advice that it will get better? Because I’m just bored at this point in the story.

      Reply
      1. Snow Flower

        Beez,
        Diver Girl goes to Seoul. She has some hilarious scenes with Park Kyu’s mother. I love the interaction between Diver Girl and her mother, and also between Diver Girl and Park Kyu.
        The whole show had a slightly silly vibe to it, but there was also surprising sweetness and gentleness in it which I liked and which was unusual for a historical drama.
        Park Kyu is one of my favorite kdrama characters, and so is Diver Girl’s mom.

        Reply
        1. beez

          Thanks, Snow Flower. I just don’t feel motivated for it. And when we get those Kdrama lulls where there’s nothing good out, I keep forgetting to go back to Tamra. Right now, it seems we’ll be getting an influx of a lot of good shows so I’ll have to try to remember Tamra during the next lull.

          Reply
  23. phl1rxd

    This post is really timely. The quarantine really started to get to me about 3 weeks ago and I switched all my drama watching habits. I have all the heavies queued up (East of Eden, 6FD, TwDR, etc.) to watch post CV era and I am focusing on only the happy, sweet and funny feelz dramas.

    To this superb list I want to add a real sleeper – Pegasus Market. It is only for those who love over-the-top kooky and crazy and the ending is superb. Featuring Jung Hye Sung (I just smile looking at her face). She is a gifted comedic actress who needs more roles. Please writer-nim, any of you, please give this young lady a chance to shine.

    Also – Into the Ring has proven to stand heads and tails over any other drama out there right now. It is refreshing to say the least. If unsure whether to invest time into this drama you can jump on Koc_wa and watch teasers 1-7.

    I have been on the fence with Father is Strange and Life Is Beautiful but it looks like it is time to jump down and watch these. I have seen almost everything else.

    This is a great list. Thanks Fangurl!

    Reply
    1. Snow Flower

      phl, Pegasus market was fun! I laughed so hard when the customer complaint worker made his first appearance in his new “uniform” !

      Reply
      1. phl1rxd

        Yes that scene was hilarious. Also, I think that Kim Byung Chul must have had a blast filming this. LOL! The dance scenes were epic.

        Reply
    2. beez

      You mentioned Jung Hye Sung. I had to look her up but once I saw her face, her supporting roles in dramas that I really liked that belong on this list because they’re lighthearted and fun are:
      Moonlight Drawn In Clouds (Park Bo gum (walking sunshine) and the beautiful Kim You-Jung)
      and
      Oh My Venus (veteran but still young actors So Ji sub and Shin Min ah) She’s a successful attorney who has lost her looks (she wears a fat suit) and he is a famous personal trainer.

      Reply
      1. oldlistener

        I’m glad that you mentioned Oh My Venus. I’ve watched that show several times and I’ll watch it again. The three men supporting Kang Joo-eun are so warm and positive. I expect to come back to that show again in the future.

        Sung Hoon’s character is very appealing in this show. In other shows I’ve watched, he portrays cold, unpleasant rich guys.

        Moonlight Drawn In Clouds is on my list to watch. I usually avoid dramas in historical settings but the beautiful Kim You-Jung is a reason for me to watch this show. (I’m male.) Beyond the beauty that seems different from the usual Korean types, she brings such personality to her roles.

        Thanks again for your comment.

        Reply
        1. beez

          @oldlistener – Five Children aka Five Enough -I can’t say enough. I mention it now because you say Sung hoon has been stiff but I say this roles were all the same character that required stiff. I’m not saying he’s a great actor but he’s anything but stiff in Five Children. It’s an ensemble cast of all ages but the main OTP are age 40-45. You should check it out.

          Reply
          1. Geo

            Hi beez: I’ve had a difficult time fitting in Kdrama watching now that some sports have re-started but I felt obligated to respond to your comment on Sung Hoon. I ran into him on My Secret Romance (i can’t say I finished this show) and found him so wooden it was almost funny. However, I get why the ladies would appreciate him, sure his looks not influencing your opinions, lol? Just kidding. I may check out Five Children on your recommendation to see a different Sung Hoon.

            Reply
      1. phl1rxd

        Beez- I had a heck of a time looking for this and the only place I could get it was on O_D_K (trying to not type it out) and I actually got it to stream on my TV on their beta app using Roku which was difficult (their app is not user friendly). It is really nutty with quite an ending and the employees stick together through all the madness. It may or may not be your kind of funny Beez. They did a small spinoff but without Jung Hye Sung in it I will pass. I have seen her in so many dramas and I always remember her even when I do not remember the rest of the drama. Yes, she was the overweight princess in MDiC and I loved her in that role.

        Reply
        1. Geo

          Hi Phl: Try D**** C***, I haven’t checked for the show you’re looking for but I find they carry pretty much any show I can’t find elsewhere.

          Reply
    3. phl1rxd

      OMO – I forgot the movie Runaway Cop. Still my favorite KMovie and I find it ridiculously funny if you are needing a laugh. Now onto Father is Strange and Life is Beautiful…

      Reply
      1. beez

        @phl1rxd – I watched it but can’t remember anything about it other than that it was funny. I see it titled Runaway Cop but also Runway Cop. (It did have something to do with him being grubby but going undercover as a Runway model, right?)

        Reply
    4. vhargan

      Pegasus Market is hands down the funniest drama I’ve watched. I’m surprised it’s not more popular. I laughed, I cried, I laughed until I cried. Such a gem!

      I was on the fence with Father is Strange too. Weekend dramas aren’t my thing, but I heard so many positive reviews about it that I decided to try it out and loved it. I think I’ve watched it twice now.

      Reply
    5. kfangurl

      Hi phl!! <3 Yes, the quarantine can sure get to you, and I completely understand why you'd put the heavier dramas on hold for now.

      Thanks for adding Pegasus Market to the list – I haven't seen many OTT kooky shows, so this is a great addition to the funny/silly category! πŸ˜€ Also, thanks for the recommendation on Into the Ring; I've taken a peek, and it does seem very promising! πŸ˜€

      Oh, I do think you'd enjoy both Father is Strange and Life is Beautiful. My vote is stronger for Life is Beautiful, because it's so strongly warm, cozy and feel-good. I do think this might help to bring some warmth and light to your quarantine mood, my dear! <3

      Reply
      1. lenski

        these past months, i haven’t watched any kdrama and switched to cdrama since i wanted to watch only light, fun and feel good dramas. i highly recommend:
        99 points girlfriend
        romance of tiger and rose
        wait, my youth
        skate into love
        the love equations
        just an encore
        intense love

        Reply
  24. beez

    Based on this list, I’m finally going to do it: A Beautiful Life, Married As a Job, and O[howuspellit] Brothers.

    But my own personal feel-good drama that nobody else seems to think much of is The Girl Who Sees Smells. I wonder if that’s because it features a serial killer? Oh well. It’s super cutesy to me. *shrug*

    Reply
    1. MC

      Oh yay that you’re going to try We Married As A Job! It’s one of my favourite dramas of all time, really cheered me up when I was going through a hard time. It’s a bit silly in style at times but actually is thoughtfully written. Hope you enjoy it!!

      Reply
      1. beez

        @MC and everybody else that recommended We Married as a Job. Thanks. I watched episode 1 while I rode the dreaded treadmill today. Eleven episodes so I should be done in about 2-1/2 weeks, accounting for days I go to PT so I won’t ride the treadmill on those days.
        It hasn’t really grabbed me yet but it seems like it’ll be cute.

        Reply
        1. MC

          Oh hooray!! It gets better, the first ep just sets things up. I hope you are able to watch the Koi dance at the end of every episode – it’s very cute! If you can’t find it, KFG has put up a video of it at the end of her review πŸ™‚

          Reply
          1. beez

            @MC – Haha! I did watch the dance at the end and thought 2 things – first, it seemed the male lead was singing the song and I wondered if he’s a Jpop idol? Second, I had just watched a video of Wendy and Seulgi of Red Velvet (not a Kpop fan but it came up in my feed because I do like a couple of their songs) and they were doing a similar dance and everybody was saying how amazing the arm choreography is and how difficult it is to learn, yada yada, the creativity, ad nauseum. So then to see it in an older drama, it just tickled me. Nothing’s new under the sun. πŸ˜†

            Reply
            1. MC

              hahah! that is so funny! if i’m not wrong, Gen Hoshino started as a singer and musician not an actor so yes it is him singing!! And wow, indeed, nothing is new under the sun! Enjoy the show!

              Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Yay that you’re going to try out Life is Beautiful, We Married as a Job, and Ojakgyo Brothers, Beez!! πŸ˜€ I loved all 3 of those, and I hope you will, too!

      I did enjoy The Girl Who Sees Smells quite well, but when I was making this list, I decided to exclude shows with scandal-scarred actors. I love Sungkyunkwan Scandal and would classify it as a light, breezy watch, but I also figured most drama fans wouldn’t be in the mind-space to watch Yoochun, after all that’s gone down. πŸ˜¬πŸ˜…

      Reply
      1. beez

        Scandals don’t bother me too much because as an American I’m calloused (and unsurprised) as to what celebrities do. Also these are just people and everyday people make these same mistakes but nobody cares. As long as they didn’t murder someone or swindle people out of their money, I don’t care. Getting girls pregnant – human problem. Fighting with their spouses or boyfriends/girlfriends – again, human (even if it gets physical. I don’t approve but they’re human). I do get a little bothered by spouse cheating but I remind myself it’s really not my business. Drugs – I hope they’ll recover and be okay. Now! Entertain Me! lol

        I started We Married As a Job. It’s cute but not really grabbing me (I finished Episode 7, or maybe it’s 8). I think the problem is, with those glasses, the hubby makes me feel like I’m watching a cuter Yoo Jae suk deal with a relationship. There’s no heat-tension-chemistry. I feel like the FL truly is in this because of her circumstances and doesn’t really like him even though she’s open to a relationship with him. It’s like she thinks “Well, I should have a boyfriend and he’s here and that’ll work out great since we’re already married.” I’m leery to say that because I know this show is beloved by so many people but it’s just not snagging me or even tempting me to watch the next episode. I can easily wait until the next treadmill day.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Aw, I’m sorry We Married as a Job isn’t grabbing you so much. I guess there’s never a sure thing, when we give drama recommendations, given that all of us are unique! It does sound like a good show for keeping you company on the treadmill though! πŸ˜‰

          Reply
  25. Geo

    @KFG: A welcome post, I think this is a good place to discuss many of the other dramas that don’t seem to have an obvious home. Beez, Sean, Merij and Phl (apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone else) have been carrying on a lively discussion on a wide range of shows under the CLOY post, sheepishly I have to admit I stated the hijacking of the CLOY thread.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Geo! πŸ˜€ Also, no worries about hijacking of threads. I have no problems with conversations evolving on the blog, as long as you guys are enjoying yourselves, and know where to find one another! <3

      Reply
  26. MC

    Oh what a lovely topic! I don’t think I can cope with a World of the Married at this point in time (though I heard it’s very good) so your post will work for people like me πŸ™‚ I love your recommendations (probably watched half ? close to half? of these shows) and would only want to add Splash Splash Love cos it’s ADORABLE. And I can understand why you didn’t put in Misaeng cos parts of it is difficult to watch but it’s truly an underdog story! Other than these 2 shows I love the rest of your recommendations!

    Also I saw your other note. Please take care and don’t worry about replying or typing!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ahh! I can’t believe I forgot Splash Splash Love! Thanks for the reminder, MC! I’ve updated the post to include it – together with Japan’s Hana Kimi, in the silly, fun section, and Goong. πŸ˜€ And yes, you’re right: Misaeng didn’t make it coz it’s quite difficult to watch at times. πŸ˜…

      Thanks for your concern and consideration, my dear. <3 I'm typing slower for sure, so everything is going to be taking me longer than usual. Thanks so much for your patience! <3

      Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Ah, I had a freak mishap with a broken glass a week ago, and needed 4 stitches to my right wrist. I have some temporary nerve damage so am having numbness in part of my hand, but the doc says it’s temporary and the nerve will grow back given time. Stitches will be out in a couple of days, but full recovery of the wound will take a while more. I should also recover full touch sensation in a few weeks, if it’s quick, or a few months, if it’s not so quick. I’m doing ok, but am a lot slower than usual in pretty much everything. πŸ˜›πŸ˜ But, I’m grateful that the damage isn’t permanent, and I just need to be patient. Thanks for your care and concern Beez! πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

          Reply
          1. beez

            Wow! Please take it easy Kfangurl. As you see, we’re able to keep the conversation going as we wait for your posts. Please take your time recovering. And if you absolutely feel the need to post, consider using the microphone built into your Google keyboard (I just discovered that I have it ☺) or look for dictation apps for your desktop. But please give your hand time to rest and recover. πŸ™

            Reply
            1. merij1

              Dragon Naturally Speaking is very good commercial software for this. As you correct its mistakes, it learns the nuances of your voice and becomes much more accurate. Whereas Siri, for example, does not.

              It saved my cousin’s career as a newspaper reporter when he became totally disabled with chronic tendentious in his wrists.

              Reply
          2. Geo

            Hi KFG: sorry to hear about your mishap, certainly sounds like it wasn’t a trivial or superficial matter. As Beez says, take it easy and make sure you recover fully before exerting yourself too much.

            Reply
          3. AzureN

            Sorry to hear, KFG! Take care of yourself- four stitches and nerve damage doesn’t sound trivial. I think loads of shows with no agenda except enjoying yourself is what the doctor would recommend πŸ™‚ Some of these in the list should hit the spot!

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              Aw, thank you AzureN!! Yes, a rewatch of an old favorite on this list does sound very appealing indeed! πŸ˜€ I’m making progress with my recovery (yay), so while I’ve still got some months to go before the nerve damage heals, I’m more able to keep up with blog stuff now. Which is why I’m diving back into comments now. Thanks for your care and your love! <3

              Reply
            1. kfangurl

              Aw, thanks Soumya!! Yes, it was quite scary, but I’m making progress with the healing. πŸ™‚ The stitches are now out, and the wound should be fully closed in a few more days. The nerve damage will take some months, but I’m improving, one day at a time! πŸ™‚

              Reply
  27. merij1

    I would add A Thousand Goodnights, a Taiwanese show that streams on Netflix.

    This is an exceedingly wholesome story, the one my in-laws referred to as their ‘nightly injection of goodness” when they were watching it.

    It features primary and secondary romance threads that progress slowly throughout the 20 episodes, but they are sufficiently low key — not the swoony type you’d expect in K-drama — that I wouldn’t describe this as a romance show, per se. Nor is it a comedy.

    It’s just truly decent people unraveling a family mystery while exploring the natural beauty of Taiwan. The show was dedicated to an aerial photographer who used his career to fight to preserve its rural environmental until his death in a helicopter crash. (I think that’s right, and he might even have died during the filming of the show.) So it’s sort of an advertisement for Taiwan, but not in a commercial sense at all.

    Slower pace than most K-drama, but my wife and I highly recommend it. You don’t even meet the lead character — other than seeing her in a flashback as a little girl — until the ML encounters her in the last seconds of the first episode! But you do meet her father, who is one of the most admirable guys you’ve ever seen in any show. It’s his goodness that permeates everything that follows.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Oh yes, I remember you spoke highly of A Thousand Goodnights, MeriJ! Thanks for adding it to the list! πŸ™‚ I haven’t yet checked it out, but based on your very positive endorsement of it, I’ve added it to my list! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  28. larius247

    I watched about 50% of the dramas on that list and I can vouch for each one πŸ™‚

    I got sick and tired of Kdramas so this is my last comment for a while. Maybe I will never come back to Kdramas cause this time I am super fed up with them. And sadly the new stuff is not watchable.

    See ya around Kfangurl ^^

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I hope a break from dramas will refresh your appetite for them, Larius!! I feel like there’s always a gem or two that pulls me back in, whenever I feel like I might have fallen out of love with dramas. Also, sometimes, what I need is a rewatch of an old fave, to get me out of my drama funk. I hope you manage to shake off your drama funk and come back to us, Larius! In the meantime, do take care! <3

      Reply

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