Dear kfangurl: What are some good starter dramas to introduce to my friends?

T writes:

I have a number of friends I want to introduce the joy of kdramas to.

Recommendations are always tricky, so I’m looking for shows that would be easy for them to get into and ‘catch the vision’.

What are some kdramas that are easy for anyone to enjoy?

Let’s.. think about this, shall we..? 👀

Dear T,

Thanks for your question!

I love the idea of introducing the joy of kdramas to your friends!

That said, it is admittedly a little tricky, because there’s no one-size-fits-all in just about anything, including dramas. What works for one person, might not work for another.

It really comes down to that person’s individual tastes, moods and preferences, as well as their personal background and lens.

What I’ve attempted to do, is create a list of dramas that are (mostly) easy to digest, and which showcase the things that kdramas tend to do very well.

I’ve tried to include more recent titles, as well as a few slightly older titles, so that we get a good range to choose from.

As always, everyone, feel free to pitch in with your own ideas and suggestions, to flesh out what I’ve got, in this post.

POTENTIAL STARTER KDRAMAS – A LIST

18 Again

Newbie appeal:

The body swap and the do-over story are both pretty classic in kdramas, and Show does a great job of meshing it together, in our ahjusshi-in-his-teenaged body set-up.

The emotions are relatable and universal, and Lee Do Hyun does a marvelous job of making it all pop – while melting our hearts in the process. ❤️

The fact that this is based on 2009 US film “17 Again” might also make this feel more accessible to newbies.

Review is here.

A Business Proposal

Newbie appeal:

I liked this show much more in its initial episodes than in its final ones, but I do think that a newbie’s lens tends to be much more forgiving, which is why I think this one would work, as a starter drama.

When Show is at its best, it plays with all the classic kdrama rom-com tropes, and does a great job of serving up something that feels fresh, fun and slurpable.

Which, really, are all the qualities that you might want, in a starter drama. 😉

Review is here.

Coffee Prince

Newbie appeal:

This one’s slightly older, but it’s such a classic, that I felt I had to include it in the list.

Despite its age, Coffee Prince doesn’t feel very retro, except for the hair, fashion and makeup – and the mobile phones.

Show does a great job of playing with the crossdressing set-up, which is also a classic trope in Dramaland.

Importantly, the emotions feel universal and relatable, and it all pops so well, thanks to our fantastic cast. Also, the OTP chemistry – as well as the chemistry among the cast in general – is one of the best I’ve seen.

Review is here.

Crash Landing On You

Newbie appeal:

If I had to pick only one newish drama that encapsulates the best of what makes kdrama special, Crash Landing On You would be it.

All the tropes that we know and love, are used to good effect in this show, and the central love story is emotional, and high stakes, and yet still fun and frothy, which gives a really nice balance.

Add on the fact that the OTP shares sparks and chemistry that’s cracky (and real!) and you’ve got a winner.

Plus, the peek into what life is like for the common folk in North Korea, makes for a great novelty bonus.

Review is here.

Goong

Newbie appeal:

Even though this is an older show, I just had to include it, because this was my personal gateway drama, back in 2007. I mean, if it pulled me in this much, such that I’m still watching and writing about dramas in 2022, I think it deserves a shout-out, yes?

Show is not perfect, and it slumps in the last stretch from an extension it could’ve done without, but I do think that viewed through a drama newbie’s typically more forgiving eyes, this shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle.

Importantly, Show does a great job of creating its drama world, and the fantastic OST, used to excellent effect, just makes everything pop in a way that feels immersive.

I personally felt like the music helped to suck me in to this magical alterna-reality, where Korea has a modern monarchy, and its ice Crown Prince goes to high school and meets his match in our earthy warm commoner girl. 😁

Review is here.

Happiness

Newbie appeal:

I included this in the list, because if your newbie friend has a taste for zombies, this might be an easy step, to get them interested in kdramas.

Because, not only do we get zombies, we get a treatment of the zombies and the characters, which vibe very much kdrama, rather than the typical flesh-eating horror that might come to mind, when you think of a zombie show.

Plus, we get a fantastic contract marriage in this, which is a classic drama trope that I, as a drama fan, happen to love. And, our central couple is badass AND loving, at the same time.

It’s the best of both worlds, really. 😉

Review is here.

Healer

Newbie appeal:

This is one of my all-time favorite kdramas, and I’ve got it on this list, because it’s got a little bit of everything in it, which means there’s something for everyone, in this drama world.

We’ve got a superhero-esque male lead, who is so cool as he casually leaps off buildings; we’ve got a darling female lead who’s cute, and strong, and brave, and passionate, all at the same time.

We’ve got a good cast of secondary characters who each have their own charm (Ahjummaa~! 🤩); we’ve got a bit of a mystery that requires putting together; we’ve got a melodramatic backstory to give everything the context that it needs.

AND, we’ve got a great OST to score it all. What more could one ask for, yes?

The only problem is, if your newbie friend starts here, it might be a hard act to follow.. 😅

Review is here. Open Threads are listed here.

Her Private Life

Newbie appeal:

Fluffy, heart-wobbly romance is the hallmark of kdramas as a general rule, and Her Private Life serves up exactly that.

Our OTP shares crackly chemistry, and pretty healthy relationship dynamics, once you get past the initial bickery-suspicious stage. Plus, Ryan Gold is basically the perfect boyfriend, which adds to the squee.

As a bonus, Show is an interesting peek into kpop fan culture.

Review is here.

Hometown Cha Cha Cha

Newbie appeal:

This was a fun, breezy watch that felt like a seaside vacation, with a cute and heartfelt romance as a bonus.

It might take a while to understand where our main characters are coming from, and why they behave the way they do, but their behavior made sense to me, and I found them relatable and understandable.

Importantly, when the romance gets going, it’s sweet and endearing.

As a bonus, we also get a good dose of community feels, in the form of the small town relationships, which is another hallmark of kdramas.

Review is here.

I’m Not A Robot

Newbie appeal:

The premise is kinda ridiculous, yes, but it’s fairly unsurprising, as far as kdrama premises go.

Once you get past the logic stretches required in the set-up, there’s so much cuteness to enjoy. Yoo Seung Ho and Chae Soo Bin are just so darn cute together, and best of all, Show remembers to pack an emotional punch, amid the cute.

Flash Review is here.

My Mister

Newbie appeal:

This is not among the easy-to-digest titles in this list.

I’ve got this one on the list because it’s a masterpiece, and is so good that it ought to appeal even to non-kdrama fans.

Show might look dreary and dull on the surface, but at its heart, it’s so haunting, poignant and beautiful, all at the same time. Show does a fantastic job teasing out what it means to be human, and how human connections can save us, even when we think we are beyond saving.

Our cast is fantastic all-around, and all put in performances that feel restrained, nuanced and believable. As a plus, the OST is haunting and oh-so-immersive and effective.

Very, very worthwhile.

Review is here. Open Threads are listed here.

My Roommate is a Gumiho

Newbie appeal:

I consider this a fun drama that I think would work nicely, for kdrama newbies.

Show serves up quite a few classic tropes, but gives them a fresh spin, which often results in spots of funny. I personally found the humor to be funny and accessible, for the most part, and I often don’t jive with k-humor, so there’s that.

Our OTP is cute and well-matched, and I thought they did a very solid job, of bringing the cute and the sweet, as needed.

As a bonus, you get an introduction to gumiho mythology, which does pop up from time to time, in Dramaland, and which ought to be quite novel, for the drama newbie.

Review is here.

Queen In-hyun’s Man

Newbie appeal:

We’re doing a group watch of this right now, and I am so taken by how light and fluffy and fun this one can be.

There are some sageuk parts, which might be a bit intimidating for newbies, but importantly, appreciation of the saguek bits is not that critical, in order to enjoy this show.

Basically, the OTP is cuteness and rainbows when they are together in the modern 2012 timeline, and that’s really all that matters. Our male lead Ji Hyun Woo has excellent affectionate gazes, and Yoo In Na is cute as a button in this.

Also, the 45-minute episodes are nice and short, making this show slightly more accessible to folks who aren’t too used to sitting down and reading subtitles for stretches of time.

Review is here. Open Threads are listed here.

Romance is a Bonus Book

Newbie appeal:

I feel like this could be a pretty great starter kdrama for newbies who’ve got a few life miles under their belt, because I feel like they might be better able to relate to our female lead’s predicament, of being a single mother trying to get back into the workforce.

The first 2 episodes lay on the struggles rather thick, but subsequently, the story leans uplifting and heartfelt, with a sweet friends-to-lovers noona romance as a bonus.

Show is ultimately feel-good, which is why I think it would appeal to a drama newbie.

Review is here.

Secret Love Affair

Newbie appeal:

This is more in the vein of my recommendation of My Mister, in that Secret Love Affair is something of a masterpiece, and would have appeal even for folks who aren’t kdrama fans.

It’s a story of love, and passion, and finding oneself, set in a fascinating world of the ultra rich and influential, with lots of beautiful, absorbing classical music to score it all.

Our cast is excellent, and our leads Kim Hee Ae and Yoo Ah In put in consistently breathtaking performances.

Fascinating and vicariously liberating.

Review is here. Open Threads are listed here.

Soundtrack #1

Newbie appeal:

This one’s only 4 short episodes, so the low commitment of that, might be appealing to a drama newbie who’s not sure whether to get their drama toes wet.

Show is light yet heartfelt, with a friends-to-lovers story at its center that’s easy-breezy and solidly enjoyable. Park Hyung Sik’s smitten gazes are of the knee-melting variety, and Han So Hee is beautiful yet relatable.

An easy low-commitment watch that promises high returns on investment. 😁

Review is here.

Squid Game

Newbie appeal:

My recommendation of this, is in the vein of Happiness, above.

This is not a typical kdrama, but at its heart, it is very Korean indeed. Therefore, I think that if your newbie friend has some interest in the death game genre, this might be an easy-sneaky way to introduce them to the kdrama sensibility, without requiring them to watch a “normal” kdrama, just yet. 😉

I thought Show was very well done, and I don’t even have a taste for death game stories, in general.

Review is here.

The King: Eternal Monarch

Newbie appeal:

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’d probably know that I wasn’t terribly blown away by this show.

HOWEVER. I do think that there’s a solid amount of appeal here, for kdrama newbies.

Namely, I think that the magic of parallel worlds could be an interesting hook, as well as Lee Min Ho’s outing as the nice, charming King of Corea, Lee Gon.

The central romance didn’t grab me, and felt flimsy to my eyes, but that might not be an issue for newbie drama eyes?

Review is here.

Touch Your Heart

Newbie appeal:

This one’s light and easy and sweet, which is what many of us look for, in a kdrama.

It’s technically a workplace romance, with Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na getting off on the wrong foot, but eventually finding their way to romance. Honestly, though, Yoo In Na steals the show with her personal charm, so much so that I’d count her as THE highlight of my watch.

Not super memorable by any means, but easy to digest and easy to slurp up – which might get your newbie friend into a good momentum for more? 😉

Review is here.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Newbie appeal:

This one’s so cute and relatable, that I think it ought to be a reasonably easy sell, even to drama newbies.

Yes, some suspension of disbelief is required, especially around Lee Sung Kyung being a bulky, hulking weightlifter (ha, so not!), and around the coaches’ questionable training techniques.

HOWEVER. The OTP chemistry is so crackly, and our female lead’s bunch of friends are so endearing, that it makes it more than worthwhile.

Slurpy and satisfying.

Review is here.

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?

Newbie appeal:

This one is mostly low-angst, choosing to focus the majority of its screen time on the cute hijinks of our full-of-himself male lead falling for his secretary, who wants nothing more than to quit her job and find herself.

Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young share very solid chemistry, which helps to keep things going, even when (a) there’s not a lot else going on, or (b) when the story dips into unnecessary childhood angst.

Again, this one’s not suuuper memorable in my books, but it’s mostly fun and slurpy, and should do nicely, to whet a drama newbie’s appetite for more?

Flash Review is here.

You From Another Star

Newbie appeal:

Even though this show is now almost 10 years old (eep! Where has the time gone?!?), I still think this would make for a fun, entertaining and absorbing watch.

It’s a bizarre premise (which is kinda par for the course, with kdramas), and our leads work together, so well, to bring that bizarre premise to life.

Jun Ji Hyun is iconic as Cheon Song Yi, the top star who falls for the handsome alien professor, who’s basically stoic on the outside, but a marshmallow on the inside.

Show packs a surprising emotional punch, despite its nonsensical fluffy moments, and should work out to be a fun first foray into kdramas.

PS: Make sure to tell your friend that there are epilogues after every episode. Those are great and not to be missed. A friend of mine managed to watch the entire show without knowing there were epilogues, and he only found out about them, when he read my review..! Don’t do that. 😁

Review is here.

IN CLOSING

I hope you find this post useful, and that it helps you with some ideas on which dramas to suggest to your drama newbie friends.

You might also find this Dear kfangurl post, on why we like kdramas, tangentially useful &/or interesting, in your mission to share the drama love.

Like I mentioned earlier, everyone, please feel free to add your own thoughts, insights and experiences in the comments below. As they say, sharing is caring. 🥰

I hope this post helps!

Smooches.

~ KFG ❤️

Now let’s all watch some dramaaa~ ❤️

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 the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!

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eda harris
eda harris
2 days ago

i just finished hymn of life, it’s a short drama, only 3 episodes, but so worth while and i believe could be interesting to a lot of people that are not familiar with korean history, culture and nowadays korean dramas. i also think that it can be a good introduction for new drama “addicts”. if anybody wants to know more about my take on this drama, i just posted a comment on this blog on KFG’s review of this drama.

Gloglo
Gloglo
3 days ago

I just notice I haven’t seen a few of this! I must add them to my list.

My changes to this list would be:
Secret Garden instead of Goong
Goblin instead of the King Eternal Monarch
Itaewon Class or Another Miss Oh instead of Secret Love Affair
Start Up instead of You From Another Star
Run On instead of Romance is a Bonus Book
True Beauty or My ID is Gangnam Beauty instead of Her Private Life

jaco_4950
jaco_4950
9 days ago

I love this list. It is going to be so helpful for many people. I have watched nearly every one of these and concur. There are only 2 I haven’t so will get to them soon. I am also (personally) thrilled you have not included Goblin!

Ele Nash
9 days ago

Ah, kfangurl, just reading this list made me happy 😊 So many sparklingly good dramas to surely entice any newbie and keep them! I usually recommend Crash Landing on You as I think it does cover a good number of bases. My gateway was Mr Sunshine and although I was clueless about where Joseon was (🙄) and found the lingering cinematography at times unintentionally amusing, I did love it and it did draw me right into kdramaland to blissfully never find my way out again…

JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

@Ele – I have been to afraid to get swept up in Mr. Sunshine….should I??? Is it worth it?!! I mean I can always watch TKEM again 🙂

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  JJ

My 2cents – Mr. Sunshine is slow. Not boring slow, but slow in that way something that you eat purely for the pleasure of relishing the flavor is consumed slowly. The only difference is when you get to the end of Mr. Sunshine, you realize it was epic. You probably never need to watch the whole thing again, maybe just key scenes. But you sit back and think of it sometimes, unable to fully let it go. Not in the same way that you crave more of a favorite food or more Healer (that’s an unfulfilled ravenous crave), but in the way that you feel satisfied with it and sometimes fondly reminisce good times as well as difficult times that you’re over now so there no sting or pain in remembering – just a fondness for that long ago part of your past.

(Or maybe only us older people can see things this way.)

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@Beez – A wonderful description of Mr Sunshine, Beez.

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

@seank – Thanks, Sean. And although there are no abs on display for me to really way poetic, there’s Yoo Yeon-Seok doing his crazy-sexy, tortured, pitiful, bad-boy Marlon Brando-esque “Streetcar” schtick, except nobody wants him😪 except the rest of the dysfunctionals, like me, in the viewing audience. 😄

kate
kate
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

and me lol

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  kate

@Kate – Another Go Dong mae fan?! Yay! I’m so excited because most people that I meet are Eugene fans. (Not that I’m anti-Eugene. He’s just the “safe” (sane) choice. Can’t get into any trouble with that choice. I always pick the boy guaranteed to give dads an apolectic fit! 😁

kate
kate
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@beez are you kidding me, I was a puddle of goo for the broody, swoonworthy samurai (nothing against Eugene but meh in comparison lol)

I cried so many ugly tears in this one and I was so swept away by him.

I even watched Dr. Romantic just to see Yoo Yeon-Seok in another role haha 😀

(off topic but I enjoyed the season 2 romance in Dr. Romantic more, because I love Ahn Hyo Seop and Lee Song-Kyoung together)

Last edited 9 days ago by kate
Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 days ago
Reply to  Beez

How can anyone be a Eugene fan when there is Gu Dong Mae? I have nothing against poor Eugene, but come on!

MC
MC
7 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@Beez you’re not alone. There are many Gu Dong Mae fans out there, myself included. Some of his interactions with Ae Shin

Mr Sunshine spoilers
such as when he touched the hem of her skirt in the shop or how he didn’t want to and yet wanted to see her at the train station or in general how he just stares at her
took my breath away literally, like I couldn’t breathe just watching the charged atmosphere between the two. The layers and intensity of feelings he has for her. Just, wow. I love Chilbongie and his other characters but GDM might be his most iconic role.

kate
kate
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@beez absolutely 100% agree with this description of Mr. Sunshine.

It was epic and beautiful and heart breaking and I will not watch it again but I oftent think of individual scenes that stayed with me <3

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  kate

@Kate ~ have you checked out some of the fan-made YouTube videos? When I need a dose of my Go Dong mae fix, I turn to those.

kate
kate
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@ beez don’t lead me down the path to the dark side that is fan videos. I tumbled down that rabbit hole once or twice and it’s full blown madness of the best kind lmao

JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  kate

@Kate – when I am ready for epic, beautiful and heartbreaking, Ill let you know 🙂

kate
kate
8 days ago
Reply to  JJ

bring tissues for this one @Jen lol

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  kate

so, since we are into mr.sunshine now, here is my take on it. although i really like what beez wrote about it, my perception is slightly (or not so slightly) different.
this was written by me quite a while ago.

in reality, i hate to rain on somebody’s parade, and since a lot of people truly love this drama, i apologize, but what must be said must be said.
i can not relate to this drama but from a truly split personality perspective, since it has the “good, the bad, the ugly” and more. all that the other viewers write about it is mostly true – mind-bogglingly beautiful scenery (the scene where ae-shin is walking with eugine on the icy lake takes your breath away and will stay with you forever etched in your visual and emotional library, whether it’s in your brain or in your heart, and the entire story is kind of symbolic of walking on thin ice at all times), in general the choice of sites in the drama can be used for tourism in korea – guaranteed to work even today, the cinematography is up there with the most outstanding dramas and/or movies from all times, the characters especially the main 3 males and the female hotel owner hina are extremely multidimensional, like it is in real life and their continuous development is very satisfying, the acting of all actors is as good as it gets, especially lee byung-hun as eugene choi (i first saw this actor in “all in” while i was chasing after ji sung, and discovered lee byung-hun, and the rest was history… his charisma, his manly charm, his superb acting, his ability to go from extreme toughness to extreme softness – he was raised to my top best korean actors from that moment on) and he does not disappoint in “mr. sunshine”, he stays true to himself as an artist, as always gives it his all, and shines with unmistakable inner beauty. one more thing that i noticed, when he gazes at ae-shin or even other people, he slowly blinks just one time, and the blink is like a cat that blinks to his/hers owner expressing love, it’s really special, if you know cats. the other actress that i enjoyed very much is of course the adorable, mysterious, badass kim min-jung as kudo hina, she truly kept me on my toes, with her non-ending french designers dresses, hats, jewelry, her quirky intelligence and female intuition, her courage, her undeniable charm. these two characters or i should say actors kept me wanting to see more and more of them, even when i wanted to just leave this show many times throughout, the slow paste of it drove me crazy, the lengthy looking in each others eyes for minutes at a time without any movement or action – i wanted to scream enough already, we get the idea, we are not dumb… the heart breaking good byes between ae-shin and eugen, too many, not justified and always coming back together just to say good bye again – really? some other things that annoyed me to no end i will mention later here… the other two characters that is worth mentioning is yoo yeon-seok as goo dong-mae, perfectly cast in this role, so strong, gorgeous looking, evil, always with endless pain bubbling to the surface, always staying a step ahead of death, and byun yo-han as kim hee- sung, the tipical spoiled rich brat, always gambling, loosing and drinking on the account of others. both of these characters, one was born in the lowest class of that society, the other was a son of the richest aristocrats in this area. dong-mae like a ticking bomb always on the verge of exploding and taking down all around him no matter how, who or what. kim hee-sung, the aristocrat, who loves all things beautiful, easy going, trying to charm everybody no matter who, making a joke out of any situation. frankly, i did not like these two all the way till the last third of the drama, and then they kind of woke up, tapped into their own morals, grew on me and developed into characters that slowly charmed my heart and i got deeply invested in them all, only to be devastated at the brutal end. the question for me, was it worth spending so many annoying hours of this drama, to finally get to the last third part and especially the last 5 episodes, to finally get so emotionally attached to this characters only to be completely heart broken at the end? i truly did not answer that question yet. and now the most baffling part of this drama – the main female character, ae-shin. i think her character was completely screwed up by the writers, she was the only one one-dimensional as it can be. yes, they wanted to show her burning patriotism for her country and cause, but they deprived her of humanity. wasn’t she a physical body like all of us, in flesh and blood and all? didn’t she have emotions that a woman would express through some kind of affection to the love or her life?

Spoiler: Mr Sunshine
the one who gave up ALL that he had in this world for her, his adopted country that he was so proud of, his military career that he loved, his best friend, and finally his own life in exchange for hers.

(by the way, eugene choi succeeded somehow to express his love without touching her ever, but it felt like he was stopped by her inner desire to avoid any physicalness) and at all times, there was not a single hug, kiss or any other form of expressing love. how on earth can that be? even when they got married, no hug, no kiss – nothing. and i understand the writers or directors idea of showing extreme patriotism above all, but show at least something… something that would move us and make us believe that she really loves. i did not expect them to passionately make love in the apothecary or in the field, i understand the korean sensitivities in this regard, their extra conservative attitude especially at that time, but at least some kind of physical interaction i would like to see. that was my greatest disappointment and the biggest flaw of this drama. and last but not least i wanted to mention the politics in this drama, although very interesting, educational, thought provoking, but it was supposed to be kind of the background to the love story and anything else, but took over and became the major part of it. although i appreciated the lessons about korea in general in that period (and it made me truly hate the japanese cruelty), it was too much of it and became simply boring many times. now that you know “the good, the bad and the ugly” you decide if this drama is for you.

Last edited 8 days ago by kfangurl
Beez
Beez
8 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – I was reading what you wrote and enjoying the generalized character expositions but DANG IT, EDA! You’ve got to learn when to use spoiler tags!

And by the way, did you know that there is a follow up series to All In that focuses only on Ji Sung as the main character?

eda harris
eda harris
8 days ago
Reply to  Beez

no, i did not know about a follow up to all in. is it out? tell me more!
i swear, i did not seem to recognize spoilers in this, how are character expositions spoilers?

eda harris
eda harris
8 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

also, this is an old comment of mine, it already was on this blog, also long ago, but i would think that if KFG would have thought that it was spoilery, she would have corrected it then.
i did not really read it now, i just copied it. i more or less remembered my feelings about it and my notes.

Beez
Beez
8 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

KFG can’t read everything (and you know she’s censured you before about this exact same thing. I remember you saying that you weren’t sure about when to use the spoiler tags. (When in doubt, tag it.) (You know, she’s gotten me before too. But that’s usually when I’ve thought I was writing in a thread made just for spoilers.) And you and I had a discussion about

spoiler
spoilers and this exact same type of ending before
too.

For instance, the reason that I put that last sentence in spoilers is because even if you don’t say something explicitly, people can tell from what is inferred.

Beez
Beez
8 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

The character expositions were great! But we’ve talked about this before, many people don’t want to know that everything

spoiler
ends in “broken hearteness in the end”. A person can feel okay about it if, after watching it they feel it fit the story; but it can make them not want to watch at all knowing that going in, without the journey that builds up to it
.

Here’s the sequel to All In. https://asianwiki.com/Swallow_the_Sun
I’ve been wanting to watch both dramas for a while.

Beez
Beez
8 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@eda – just so you know, this would also be a major spoiler

spoiler
“…the one who gave up ALL that he had in this world for her, his adopted country that he was so proud of, his military career that he loved, his best friend, and finally his own life in exchange for hers.”

eda harris
eda harris
8 days ago
Reply to  Beez

swallow the sun is on my list for the longest time, just not on top.
although it has one of the directors for all in (there were 2) and the same screenwriter, there it begins and there it ends. of course, there is ji sung, who’s my favorite, but other than he, there is not a single actor or actress from all in (well, i think one support character), these actors were my main interest and the characters they created. i like when a director has a team that he is mostly using for many of his projects and has a close working relationship with, a deep understanding, and a lot of directors do just that. but here i am missing that aspect. also, the story, although might be kind of along the same line as all in, but it’s a totally different story, so for me it is not related to all in. i almost got exited when you mentioned a follow up series. but it isn’t that for me. i am almost afraid to go to it, as i know i’ll be comparing and missing lee byung hun – he’s young and o so attractive in all in and a true magnet drawing you in from the screen.

Beez
Beez
8 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – the only way that I even knew Swallow the Sun existed is that AsianWiki listed it on the All In page as the sequel but they must’ve realized exactly what you’re saying because I looked just now and they’ve removed the language and anything referencing Swallow the Sun now.

JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@Beez – ohhhhhh thats so beautiful what you had to say thank you 🙂 Just beautiful
“in the way that you feel satisfied with it and sometimes fondly reminisce good times as well as difficult times that you’re over now so there no sting or pain in remembering – just a fondness for that long ago part of your past”

Perfect description about Healer – “an unfulfilled ravenous crave” . LOVE IT!

Beez
Beez
8 days ago
Reply to  JJ

@JJ – Now if we can just get Kfangirl on board to make it one of her editor picks for a group watch… 😉 (She’s never seen it)

JJ
JJ
5 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@Beez – KFG has never seen Mr. Sunshine??? Wow….

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

beez, beautifully described. and what you said about healer – it’s sure a “ravenous crave” for many of us. the problem it creates though, as we want more of the same caliber and it’s not easy to come by.

MC
MC
10 days ago

KFG, this is a fantastic list and I support those that I’ve seen on this list (plus now I have other recommendations to put on my list!

Plus this list gets extra love from me since you put Im Not A Robot, a show that I love so much.

The only other things I’d say are:

  • Hometown Cha Cha Cha, Itaewon Class and Vincenzo had a lot of love amongst my non typical kdrama watching friends
  • Taxi Driver managed to hook many guys I know, including two radio deejays! Even the husband watched and liked it (sadly that was the start and end of his drama watching life but hope always springs eternal)
  • Descendants of the Sun also hooked many people including me!! Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.
Last edited 10 days ago by MC
Elaine
Elaine
10 days ago

Great list kfangirl! I’m chuffed to see Business Proposal on your list. I really liked it and with a ‘manhwa’ lens on it is really a fun ride. (Some people found ML’s styling and depiction very similar to Park Seo Joon in What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim though, at least for the first couple of episodes, so these two shows might be an “either-or” pick!)

After I read this list I did think of It’s Okay to Not be Okay for people who might want something with a bit of dark, gothic flavour. There is a homage to Tim Burton and I liked the storytelling device of the dark fairytales every few episodes. Also good for people who don’t like gender stereotypes or “neuro-normative”, as it features gender role reversal – successful female lead with a personality disorder who acts like a domineering a-hole vs a male lead who is a nurturing and self-sacrificial nurse. Also an amazing performance by Oh Jung Se as ML’s autistic older brother who experiences a lot of character growth towards independence.

Unfortunately I didn’t quite like aspects of how the ending of the two shows above were handled. But doesn’t detract so much from the overall experience, such that I would still recommend them.

I really liked Hometown Cha Cha Cha too. Anecdotally it is a very accessible drama that some of my non-K drama fans did check out and enjoy. I later did see polarising opinions online about how the ML is too preachy and judgmental but I guess it’s your mileage may vary? Perhaps me and my friends also nag others in their best interests? Haha.

Elaine
Elaine
10 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

Just to add on that Crash Landing on You was my gateway drama, and also a show that many of my friends who don’t follow K dramas have also watched and enjoyed. It really has a lot going for it and is such a classic, chaste romance that feels earned and super swoony. Watching it was such a different feeling from the run of the mill Hollywood romances. CLOY also has one of the best supporting ensembles – so hilarious and well-drawn, both the aunty-ahjumma brigade as well as the North Korea soldier boys who each have their own quirks. I would just add that the North Korea scenes were a real treat too, especially when I found out that the show hired on consultants who had defected from North Korea, to provide those everyday details to the characters’ way of life. Fascinating! You can see CLOY had a high budget with their locales and action scenes, to me set a high bar for other K dramas too!

Trent
10 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

I would second It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, particularly if someone tends to incline toward enjoying the elements that you highlight. I loved the FL’s character, abrasive outer layer and all, and I loved the interjection of dark fairytales (complete with animation!) and the dark gothic mansion vibe. And I liked the central romance a lot, too. This one is high on my list of faves.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 days ago

I would add 30 but 17 to the list. Nothing like a healing romance to get the newbie hooked!

Trent
10 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Yes! I think 30 but 17 is a good suggestion…it’s a very gentle, heart-warming sort of show, a lot of good feels; some angst (but not too much), humorous, nice little romance.

Ufan
Ufan
10 days ago

I would like suggestions for Kdramas, Jdramas, Cdramas…basically good Asian dramas. I tend not like period dramas from any country (I see you downton abbey.)

Here are some of my favourite Kdramas.
-Mother, It’s Okay that’s love, Something in the rain, Move to heaven, Vincenzzo, My mister, Secret love affair, Coffee Prince, Would you like a cup of coffee, One spring night, Dear my friends, Lets eat 2, DP, Because this is my first life, Racket boys, It’s ok not to be okay and Familiar wife.

I sold my family on kdramas with Mother…we consider mother the best drama in the world and the ultimate love story.

Last edited 10 days ago by Ufan
Natalia
Natalia
10 days ago

T, if your friends like horror, you can’t go wrong with Kingdom!

Kingdom1.jpg
Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Yes! Or if they are into political thrillers.

Trent
10 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Kingdom, and if they like straight up tense action zombie thrillers with a very nice leavening of angsty emotion, check out All of Us are Dead (which I will continue to recommend to anyone who doesn’t mind zombies… I’ve had a couple of friends who are not really kdrama watchers enjoy this one).

Archie A.
11 days ago

Hello! first time commenting here after stalking and loving your blog for a long time. You are amazing and your hardwork and creativity truly shines through and inspires me to do better in my own work.

On the topic; I’m not very qualified to recommend as I only started watching last year and haven’t seen or truly enjoyed alot and I don’t really know alot of the titles listed because I don’t really enjoy watching romance ‘anything’, but I decided to give my two cents here for those who may not be inclined towards romance dramas.
Signal is a great crime drama to start with. (For years I’d seen my sisters watch kdrama after kdrama and I wasn’t even curious enough to glance at it but then my elder sister asks me to record “a sci-fi drama akin to an American movie with a cellphone”🙄 and while I’m recording ep 3 and working, I become intrigued and start paying attention and then I ask to see the first two and the rest as they say is history). Why I recommend this show is because it was new, refreshing, well-acted and so entertaining to me esp as a lover of crime dramas and I think it was an amazing introduction to kdrama especially cos I haven’t really loved any other in this genre (Memorist, Tunnel, Watcher, Confessions,Flower of evil and so on😬).
Secret forest is the only other I have truly enjoyed in the crime genre.
Funfact: my mum who is even worse than me in all this and thinks “all kdramas and anything Korean lead to loving bts or something” was actually laughing out loud to Mr.Queen and would actually ask when they were watching the next. So maybe the hilarious nature of it is the perfect intro people need tho it’s a romance
Navillera is a gem and I thank God that I started watching Kdramas if only so I could see something so beautiful. I think people who love found family tropes and “old people done so right” would absolutely love this. Your review on it was so beautiful and so in line with how I felt that I still go back to read it sometimes esp after browsing through the show for the millionth time. *Tender, warm and I knew I was safe in show’s hands.*
I’m hoping to watch My Mister as per your recommendation and I’m really looking forward to it.
Ok, that’s it. This turned into a thesis.
Bye, take care and God bless you.

Last edited 11 days ago by Archie A.
Elaine
Elaine
10 days ago
Reply to  Archie A.

Ooh yes Navillera was written and directed so beautifully, I couldn’t find any flaws whatsoever! Enjoyed it very much. Do watch My Mister too, and follow along with the “Group Watch” episode notes from around December last year if I’m not wrong. The promos for My Mister seem dull and dreary but the show actually has a lot of intriguing plot and moves along while not neglecting the inner life growth of the characters. It’s funny too in some parts!

Archie A.
8 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

Thanks Elaine, will do.The trailer really does seem dull but the rave reviews from here have me convinced its worth a try.
And completely with you on Navillera, twas a joy. I fell in love with Deok Chul and Hae nam. Wanted to sit and talk with them and learn from and hug and adopt them… Ugh! Don’t get me started.

Last edited 8 days ago by Archie A.
ngobee
ngobee
11 days ago

1% of Something would make my list, too. Funny, sexy, slightly crazy. Fiery Priest and Live Up To Your Name.

reaper
reaper
11 days ago

Nice list KFG,
Just three things…
1.I would take Squid Game of the list because it barely has anything to do with k-drama. It is basically a american show with korean actors. Would give wrong expectations for other k-dramas.
2.For the Zombie Genre I would switch out Happiness for Zombie Detective. Way more fun and better written.
3.Also TKEM has a super confusing beginning. That might throw of newbies.

JJ
JJ
10 days ago
Reply to  reaper

@reaper – What other ones would you add for newbies?? Oh you were so nice to TKEM thank you 🥰

I keep eyeing Zombie Detective….

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago
Reply to  JJ

JJ – Zombie Detective is the bomb! I loved it!

JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– Awesome! Ill have to dive in at some point 🙂

Elaine
Elaine
8 days ago
Reply to  JJ

I really enjoyed Zombie Detective too! It has a wonderfully droll sense of humour.

reaper
reaper
9 days ago
Reply to  JJ

@JJ – I wouldn’t actually recommend anything. The chances of newbies not liking my favs is too high.

You should definitley check out Zombie Detective.

Beez
Beez
11 days ago

All the ones KFG listed, of course, plus shows that I think are easily relatable or easily enjoyable:

Fight My Way – young people finding their way in the world
https://asianwiki.com/Fight_for_My_Way

King 2 Hearts – heartfelt
https://asianwiki.com/The_King_2hearts

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho – fun
https://asianwiki.com/My_Girlfriend_is_Gumiho

Girl Who Sees Smells – really fun
https://asianwiki.com/A_Girl_Who_Sees_Smells

Rooftop Prince – more fun
https://asianwiki.com/Rooftop_Prince

Flower of Evil – serious, never a dull moment
https://asianwiki.com/Flower_of_Evil

Oh My Venus – I probably just like So Ji sub
https://asianwiki.com/Oh_My_Venus

Master’s Sun – see above (plus it’s done so well)
https://asianwiki.com/The_Master%27s_Sun

Moonlight Drawn by Clouds – cute saeguk
https://asianwiki.com/Love_in_the_Moonlight

Sungkyunkwan Scandal – see above
https://asianwiki.com/Sungkyunkwan_Scandal

My Beautiful Bride – 10 stars!
Don’t read the synopsis (because Show is indescribable the same way no synopsis can make you know what Healer is about). Don’t let anyone tell you anything about it. It’s mind blowingly good.

Kate
Kate
11 days ago
Reply to  Beez

☝️yes yes yes to all these recs 😍

also how have I never heard of „My Beautiful Bride“? 😳

Beez
Beez
10 days ago
Reply to  Kate

@Kate – I had never heard of it either but the girls at PotUppers had posted a gif of male lead that appealed to my *cough* more shallow side…

Of course I shurched it. Let me see if I can attach it here. Darn it! I thought I had saved it to my personal cloud *ahem* for posterity. But it doesn’t matter because it didn’t prepare me for what I was in for.

Now for anybody that’s reading this, just as I had been pleading with everyone to watch I Heard It Through the Grapevine for years, this show is another unique and completely wild ride that I recommend here periodically.

I think the fact that the actors are not big stars may have had something to do with it not receiving much promotional push. Or if it did, no one paid any attention to it. At least I didn’t.

warnings: 1) it is not a rom com; and 2) is not for the feint-hearted.

kate
kate
10 days ago
Reply to  Beez

whaaaat, you gave it 10/10?? Ok, this just move up on my watchlist lol
Thanks!! <3

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  kate

@Kate – you won’t be sorry. *where’s my smug face emoji?*😌

kate
kate
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

haha I am so excited for this now *where is my jumping up and down emoji

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  kate

@kate, You’ve got to let me know your reactions as you go along. (I’m making myself want to do rewatch so I’ll be able to remember specific scenes as you guys start talking about it.)

kate
kate
8 days ago
Reply to  Beez

I found it on YT with English subs in one big playlist :O

Beez
Beez
8 days ago
Reply to  kate

Awesome. If it’s the same one that I found on YouTube, each episode is broken up into 2 parts?
I’ll stick with The Dark Side

eda harris
eda harris
10 days ago
Reply to  Beez

beez,
the director of my beautiful bride is the director of one of your favorites chicago typewriter, so that’s promising. there are a few actors that i appreciate, like park hae joon (the monk from MM) -i wouldn’t mind seeing him in a main role here, jo han chul -the cyber detective from healer, another one i am curious, lee moo saeng – the dentist/nasty husband of the older sister from one spring night, and i even found one from my favorite s.scandal, joo ah sung, whom i liked in this drama quite a lot, but he’s not too much on the screen on other projects (i wonder why) – well, i’ll stop here, although there are a few more. these were enough to pick my interest, and the fact that you put it next to another of my favorites the “grapevine” that we are watching now, that means it goes to the top of my list.
btw, who’s the actor who sneaked into the secret world of your fantasies”? (who dares to compete with jang hyuk?)

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Park Hae joon was the monk in MM?! He looked so much younger with that really close haircut. Don’t remember Joo Ah sung, although his face is familiar.

You misunderstand. Jang Hyuk doesn’t occupy his spot on my bias list in the same way the others on my list do. He and Yoo Ah in are a whole ‘nother thang. (Although Jang Hyuk’s manliness, intensity, passion, and swagger will always keep him at the top.)

The ML in My Beautiful Bride isn’t even on my list at all. It’s more of what he was doing in that gif was very impressive… Now I’ve got to find it.

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

I found it! Although, I’ve since seen others doing this, but at the time…

It won’t let me attach it, but here’s a link to it. It’s safe to click – https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvE2-hpAQD16g84wGF3QK_87Cl6o-w
– it’s to my personal cloud

Link didn’t work. Try again
https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvE2-hpAQD16g84wGF3QK_87Cl6o-w

One more time, now this one should work although, it’s not from my personal cloud. This is taken from the original blog where I shurched it from but it should be moving this time.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-F5FsIk9_NGs/VccAwJrPgpI/AAAAAAAAz0w/PJUo-tOpdxo/s1600/2015-08-09%2B09_25_33.gif

Last edited 9 days ago by Beez
JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@Beez – OMO! Who is THAT? And ohh WOW! More please 😉

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  JJ

@JJ – he’s the ML in My Beautiful Bride. I hope you watch it but, JJ, sadly, no unicorns or rainbows in sight.

JJ
JJ
5 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@Beez – Ill put it on my list and let you know if I make it through 🙂 Thanks for the heads up about no unicorns and no rainbows. I guess sometimes they need a day off 😉

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

beez, that’s quite a body!!! now i know where your head is (he he)

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – y’all always know where my head is at. It takes an exceptional drama or exceptional actor to have me interested in anything else! 😁

Btw, he’s a very good actor.

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

you’ll have to update your list of your biases, because i remember you mentioned that jang hyuk was one of them. that was a while back and i doubt i can find that email. but anyway, so who are they?

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@my girl eda – You misunderstood me. JangHyuk is definitely one of my biases, but not for the same shallow reasons that many of my other biases are on the list. I thought, because of our joint fascination with YAI, and my including Hyuky with him, that you’d understand.

Song Seung heon – forever #1
Rain
Joo Jin mo (the younger actor. There’s an elder with the same name)
So Ji sub
Gong Yoo
Ji Chang wook
Sung hoon
Ma Dong suk
Jo Jung-Seok
Lee MIn ki (sometimes)
Lee Joon ki (sometimes)
Hyun bin (sometimes)
Yeo Jin Goo (baby bias)

Biases for more than just their incredible looks (airtight, their looks are incredible)
Kim Sung oh
Jang Hyuk
Yoo Ah in
Kang Ha neul

I’m as fickle about some of then as I am shallow. But forever loyalty to Oppa Song Seung heon! (And yes, I know it’s highly inappropriate for me to call him “oppa” because I’m much older than him (oh. And also since I don’t, ya know, actually know him) but I just can’t help it!

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

wow, you have a lot of space in your heart!!!
so the first batch is mainly for the looks? so JCW is just a pretty boy?

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

JCW is not “just a pretty boy”. None of them are (except maybe Sung hoon, but I have hopes for him 🤞. *”pause-to-smile break” while thinking of him* Well, maybe Song Seung heon Oppa, as well. *longer “smile-drool 🤤 break”*

It’s hard to label SSH as “just a pretty boy” as he’s had a phenomenal career, despite his poor reputation as a thespian🙂. His entire career is how I trace my Kdrama journey. Just by watching ALL of his projects when I first entered Kdramaland, I was brought up to speed on so many classics and learned the lingo of the Kfandom.

Wellll, So Ji sub, also isn’t known for any great theatrical emoting, but he does so much with so Iittle!

Aww, shucks @eda, it all boils down to – I can’t explain it!

If you consider the first half of my list as “just pretty boys” you’re lumping some very good actors into that category.

The first half of the list are actors that just “ping” for me. The second half ping but also take acting to another level. You can put them in any production and even if the script sucks, I can just sit and watch what they’re doing with their character. How does it feel believable, whatever you’re doing?

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – Thanks for the info. You always do your research.👍 Whereas, I’m a fly by the seat of my bias type of girl. (For you – that’s my play on the words “fly by the seat of my pants”.) Which for me means:

See cute guy. Watch drama.

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

beez,
See cute guy.

i am with you on that, (cute), but let’s add “brains” to it, “emotional iq” and talent . is it too much to ask?

Beez
Beez
8 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda- yep. It is too much to ask because I can’t see brains, emotional iq or talent just from looking at a promotional poster or trailer. 😁😅😂🤣

eda harris
eda harris
8 days ago
Reply to  Beez

that is why i NEVER look at promotional posters or trailers. they can be soooooo misleading, like any other advertising that you see on the screen or posters.

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
11 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@Beez, yes I gave My Beautiful Bride 10 stars too!

Beez
Beez
10 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

@Sean – I went in blind and that’s the best I think. Besides, I don’t think it’s possible to explain. I think Beautiful Bride might be my only 10 star ranking ever.

That doesn’t topple Healer or Chuno from sharing my #1 fav spot, however.

How did you find across it, Sean? Never mind. Dumb question to Sean who watches everything!

kate
kate
10 days ago
Reply to  Beez

I cannot find Beautiful Bride on netflix or viki 🙁
Where did you guys watch it? Or does it have a different name as well maybe?

PS: Beez, I am not above picking a drama for shallow reasons myself lmao

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  kate

kate, i just found it on youtube. (when in doubt check youtube – you’ll find a lot of things there that are not on viki, or netflix or others).

Kate
Kate
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Oh thank so much, will keep that in mind! 🙏

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  kate

A girl after my own heart!
I’m sorry if you can’t find it. I watched it on Viki back in the day.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean – diving into it today!

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 days ago
Reply to  Beez

No Chuno for the newbies?

Beez
Beez
10 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

From the way KFangirl described what these newbies might can handle, I figured they’re not ready for Chuno! I’m not sure they can handle it yet. 🤣🤣🤣

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 days ago
Reply to  Beez

I am trying to convince my husband to watch it.

Trent
10 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Yeah, I think I’m with beez on this one; not to ever discount the epic awesomeness of Chuno, but… it’s kind of a lot to expect a newbie to handle, maybe?

eda harris
eda harris
10 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

i think newbies are somehow underestimated – they can be from different ideologies, tastes, etc. one needs to know what are the preferences of the person they are recommending a korean drama to.

i would definitely recommend chuno to some. slavery is a universal topic in many countries for many people from different angles, action (especially on the level that it is in chuno) is appealing to many people, great acting is the GREATEST ATTRACTION (dae gil is unbeatable there, compared by hollywood and others) and can engage a lot of people, add to this a great production, beautiful cinematography (the scene of dae gil’s fight with tae ha is a masterpiece by itself, why wouldn’t somebody be touched by it? in addition, if it’s a person that likes leaning new things and likes history, that can also be suitable for such a person.
i think, go for it, snow flower, and let us know the result.

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Trent @eda – y’all took me literally again. 😆

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

what do you mean? please explain? do you think chuno is good for newbies or not?

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – I think Chuno! is good for what ails ya! 😆 In other words, since I forgot to add it to the list and since y’all know I obsess over Chuno!, then I had to be joking about because the actors are hawt, etc. 😉

Last edited 9 days ago by Beez
Trent
10 days ago
Reply to  Beez

Wow, beez, so much praise for My Beautiful Bride, and I’ve never heard of it! (I have seen the ML recently in a couple productions, and he’s a good actor (in Eungyo and then in Juvenile Justice)).

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – I didn’t realize that was him in Eungyo until I liked ip what Eungyo was. 😆 I watched that movie so long ago that he wasn’t familiar to me back then. But I really enjoyed him in Forgotten (Netflix). Of course, I watched it for my bias, Kang Ha neul, but was pleasantly surprised that it was very good.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@Beez – Ok, Both you and Sean have recommended My Beautiful Bride which I have never heard of or seen. I am diving in today!

Also – really good recommendations and so glad to see Rooftop Prince as it a re-watch drama for me.

Beez
Beez
9 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I can’t wait to hear your reaction after a few episodes!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
11 days ago

Fangurl – these are great recommendations and a good cross section of different types of dramas. Some of these I have watched a few times. Classics, for sure.

j3ffc
j3ffc
11 days ago

Oh, this is so hard. I’ve found that when I try to get someone to check out a show, I get eye rolls and have my taste and sanity questioned (which, to be fair, happens all of the time anyway). I had one successful case, where a friend watched an entire show I suggested. It was “Mystic Pop Up Bar” which, besides being good, fun, and accessible, was also only 12 eps.

Interestingly, I suggested a bunch of shows to another friend, who actually watched a whole ep of “Reply 1988” on her own anyway. I thought that was a bit heavy for a newcomer, but apparently the whole family liked it. Of course, a lot of non K-drama fans checked out “Squid Game” (including LeBron James!), but I wonder if any went onto a second show from there.

I was once in a hair salon and every customer it there other than me was discussing CLOY. So, on that basis alone, I’d have to agree that that that’s the top newbie show right now.

JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– I LOVED like love love Mystic Pop Up Bar 🙂

eda harris
eda harris
11 days ago

wonderful list, but i am trying to think what would be easy to digest, and at the same time be engaging and inviting to step into this world of asian dramas that can become so addictive.
so for me, a must: sungkyunkwan scandal, although the name itself can break someone’s teeth and scare a person, i think it’s one of the most enchanting dramas, yet a great introduction into korean world of dramas.
another drama that comes to mind, for somebody that likes action, and it will remind them of western productions yet it is very korean, and the mail lead is lee byung hun, a familiar face to many, is the drama all in.
and i noticed chuno is not on the list, i think it can be entertaining, engaging, beautiful and great acting that is always appreciated by many.
i do not know if we are limited to korean only, but i would think that the chinese drama reset is well worth mentioning here, it’s a gift to all who like to engage the mind.

eda harris
eda harris
11 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

sorry, it’s not “mail lead” it’s “male lead”.

Beez
Beez
11 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

😉 😆
At this point, I didn’t even notice. I’ve come to accept “mail” lead = “male” lead. 😁

Last edited 11 days ago by Beez
eda harris
eda harris
11 days ago
Reply to  Beez

beez, that means i trained you well. thanks!

Beez
Beez
10 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

yup!

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

SSK Scandal is a great introduction to Kdramas in general and sageuks in particular. It is also a Second Lead Syndrome classic!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
11 days ago

This is such a good cross section of kdramas for newbies to start with, kfangurl 😊 The challenge then is what to watch next!!!

JJ
JJ
11 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

– Speaking of which! What are you watching next????

Im totally hooked by Sword and Brocade and Who Rules the World, right now.

You???

p.s. did you see TKEM made KFG’s List?!! YAY!!!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
11 days ago
Reply to  JJ

@Jennifer – I was tempted to say something about TKEM 😆

I watched Sword and Brocade when it aired. It was a thumbs up from me. As for Who Rules the World, I am still enjoying this very much. Rosy, is acting way beyond her years 😊

Well, I stumbled across a Thai drama late yesterday: My Lovely Bodyguard (10 x 40 min eps). So, I had to start it, and it is very good. I am looking at Lady at Law and Destined to Meet You (10 min eps). The one I’m waiting on is Dream House.

eda harris
eda harris
11 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

sean, i stumbled over my lovely bodyguard and started watching it, but then moved on. so, do you suggest it is worth going back to it? i only saw one or two episodes, i don’t even remember.

JJ
JJ
10 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

– Awww, you should have Sean 🙂 Always love more positive comments about TKEM 🙂

Oh thanks for the update on “What Sean is Watching Now” List. Havent heard of any of them. I will have to peek at all of them 🙂 Thank you!

YAY! I am having so much fun with Sword and Brocade for some odd reason as I usually do not like this type of Show

Sword & Brocade – Spoiler Alert
Spoiler – All the backstabbing and females being pitted against one another and all the jealousies. Ugh. No fun to watch, but this cast has been so delicious in their deliveries Im loving it even though I want to yell at the screen constantly 😇

Whole Rules The World Spoilers
Whole Rules the World – Spoilers – So I am loving this one too and all the palace plotting, etc and AGAIN this is not my thing. Maybe because it doesnt involve a Left State Councilor and the women are all standing up versus in KDrama’s in the palace the women are always sitting on the floor behind those tables? I really have no idea because I cannot stand watching the behind the scenes machinations and everyone plotting against each other. Maybe once again this one is so well acted and an interesting script I am totally drawn in? Or maybe as Kate puts it because we know the good guys will win in this one. Unless of course everyone dies at the end 🙁

eda harris
eda harris
10 days ago
Reply to  JJ

Spoiler
jj, if All the backstabbing and females being pitted against one another and all the jealousies. 
seems difficult to watch, try ruyi’s royal love. although you’ll find this women’s issue explored to the very bitter end, it is also the most beautiful production, the most creative hair styles, the most stunning costumes and jewelry, the most gorgeous interior designs and architecture of the palaces and of course great acting. this drama can be placed into the metropolitan museum. you might like it, if you haven’t seen it.
spoiler

JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – Ohhhhhhhh ! Thank you for the suggestion as I will definitely check this one out and let you know if it works for me 🙂

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  JJ

jj, be prepared with patience, it is 87 episodes, but zhuo xun is spectacular in the role of ulanara ruyi. there is no other actress who you can even imagine in this role. and of course, wallace huo. these are the main, the rest of the case is pretty spectacular too.
in order to overcome the burden of 87, i watched other dramas in between, parallel to this one. i finished it to the very end.
it is also one of the closest to history and most accurate historically, so that’s interesting.

JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – Sword and Brocade is 45 episodes and I am almost finished so this will be perfect to slip into next 🙂 Great suggestion about having other dramas inbetween, thank you 🙂

So this one says its a Rom Com? Is that right? Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace is a romantic comedy and historically pretty accurate?

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  JJ

jj, there is a mistake somewhere describing ruyi’s royal love as a comedy – as it is not even close.
it’s one of the most historically accurate dramas in general, some describe it as THE most accurate.

there is no other drama that can surpass this one in it’s glorious beauty – splendid interior decorations of the palaces, architecture of the palaces, costumes (even the embroidery is so rich and exquisite, blinding the eyes, really), hairstyles to dye for, dazzling authentic ancient jewelry )it’s worth watching it just for that!

but… it is far from a “nice” watch – it’s emotional surgery without anesthesia – the harem and all that was going on there in detail and without mercy. i hope i am not throwing you off.

the acting is totally worth watching, no doubt, but be prepared, it is not easy.

i see you like chinese historical dramas, so do i, they are my first love. so i do not know whether you’d like it or not.

eda harris
eda harris
9 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

one more thing, it is actually the true story of the love between the emperor and his childhood sweetheart ulinara ruyi, then his concubine, then his empress. all the rest swirls around them in the most vicious whirlpool of constantly opposing currents, sucking them in and out with deadly force.

JJ
JJ
8 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@Eda – Ohhh thanks for this tidbit 🙂

JJ
JJ
8 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – Thank you for the more detailed explanation about this Show. Oh this sounds brutal and I dont know if I am up for “it’s emotional surgery without anesthesia” right now! EEK!

You are right, I love Chinese’s dramas/shows very much, but I just cannot handle when everyone dies at the end! So tragic.

I appreciate all the heads up as I will still give it a try, but cant promise when! Ill tell you though when I do 🙂

eda harris
eda harris
7 days ago
Reply to  JJ

o jj, then it’s your bad luck – as most asian dramas end in death, or killing most characters… it kills me every time, and i think why can’t they learn to be a little gentler on our souls.

those ancient times were truly brutal in reality, i am not sure to what extent.

but i still love everything else about those historical chinese dramas, it’s like a bad addiction.

JJ
JJ
5 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – Ah well if I know going in how a Show ends I do much better making it to the end 🙂

With your beautiful description of the Show, I am definitely going to take a peek and Ill let you know if I am able to hang in there.

I love what you said and agree – “Why cant they be gentler on our souls” ❤️

I think the brutality in ancient times is even more intense than we can imagine. And Shows just barely scratch the surface sadly and luckily. Just horrific what people had to live through back then, I think.

I think its beautiful how much you love historical Chinese Addictions 🙂

Kate
Kate
9 days ago
Reply to  JJ

@Jen 🥰

not spoilery
it helps me enjoy when I know the baddies won’t win 😂

JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  Kate

@Kate – Totally agree 🙂

Beez
Beez
11 days ago
Reply to  JJ

@jj – ummmm, Wallace Chung. For those with a mature palate. *chef’s kiss*

Kate
Kate
11 days ago
Reply to  Beez

beez, „mature palate“ made me 🤣😂🤣

Oh Sean, you loved it as well! I am praising it a lot these days, really glad I stumbled across this and finished it to the end!

Last edited 11 days ago by Kate
JJ
JJ
10 days ago
Reply to  Beez

@Beez – Total *chef’s kiss*. Total 🙂

Kate
Kate
11 days ago
Reply to  JJ

Jen where are you at in Sword and Brocade? Don’t you love the ML‘s „I‘m the best husband ever“ routine? Totally melted my heart ❤️

JJ
JJ
10 days ago
Reply to  Kate

@Kate- I left you a message on the Drama Exchange over on Patreon with an update the other day 🙂 I pushed myself to exhaustion and made it to Episode 30! Taking a break for now 🙂

OMO! Yes, Love his hubby routine 🙂

Kate
Kate
9 days ago
Reply to  JJ

oh I will look for your post! I must have missed it 😱😔 Sorry!
Only 15 episodes to go then 😂💪

JJ
JJ
9 days ago
Reply to  Kate

@Kate – Its ok 🙂 Things move so fast on the Drama Exchange it totally happens 🙂 YES! Home stretch 😂😂😂

JJ
JJ
11 days ago

@KFG – OMO! OMO! OMO! OMO! OMO! WOW! TKEM made the list….I am sooooo excited. YAY!

Love your starter list and I think I have seen almost all off them except Touch Your Heart, Soundtrack #1, Queen In Hyun’s Man, and Goong as I have been saving that to watch at the right time!!!

Some of my favorites are on this list!!! TKEM, Romance is a Bonus Book, Crash Landing, I Am Not a Robot, Healer, WWWSK, My Roommate is a Gumiho, Secret Love Affair, My Mister, WOW! So many 🙂

MC
MC
10 days ago
Reply to  JJ

hahaha I saw TKEM and immediately thought of you, JJ!

JJ
JJ
10 days ago
Reply to  MC

@MC – 🥰