I’m going to try something almost impossible. This is my all-time top 5 Korean Dramas that I’ve watched in no particular order. I’ve watched 50+ Korean dramas ranging from slapstick silly funny to dramatically devastatingly sorrowful and everything in between. But this list happens to only include all epic binge-worthy dramas. Call me basic, obvious, mainstream, or a newb, but these ones are the ones I loved enough to watch more than once or too much to watch more than once.
SPOILER WARNING! …..maybe. I want to be vague but I might give away the endings.
This was my first epic drama. I think this was one of the first full I-am-unable-to-function-until-I-finish-this-show shows. I spent an entire weekend watching it and then the day after I finished it, I started it over to watch with my mum. Besides the actors being gorgeous and all the shirtless-ness, the balance of romance and action and comedy and tense drama was perfect! I would be swooning when he saves her, their off screen chemistry made all the comedic banter very believable, the filming of the action scenes was very well executed, and I love a happy ending. This will always have a place in my heart.
This drama is very high up in my top 5. I loved this historical drama romance with a few hints of comedy so much! I watched this with my mum too. The actors and the production was top class! I was so impressed! I felt like I learned so much about the culture and history of Korea, even if the drama was not historically accurate, I was compelled to read about the events this story was based on and I was doubly impressed with the story and the people from the story. No happy ending here really for the relationship but for the greater good that was bigger than the our couple’s love, the tragic sacrifice was worth it.
This drama broke my heart in pieces! Sobbing. Cruel! It was so light at first, and fun. It got us very connected to the couple’s developing relationship, and so happy when they finally got together. Only to snatch it away from us at the end! Yes, they found each other again after but I honestly thought they could have gone with a sad ending like Mr Sunshine did and I would have still loved it.
This is the most recent epic drama I watched. I love the varied story lines that they come up with! Who knew we could be so curious to have the perspective of life across the border in NK and imagine what it would be like to have star crossed lovers navigate finding happiness when entire countries are so opposing. Another good mix of comedy, action, and romance with a very neat and tidy happy ending. This one had to have a happy ending because of all the drama and trauma the couple faced to just be happy.
This drama was just that. 100% drama. No balance with comedy or action. I watched this with my mum and that made it even more emotionally charged for me. The relationship between mothers at different stages of motherhood and the various paths they took to as mothers to provide the best possible life and opportunities for their children as they could at the time was incredible to see. I only watched this once but it was so deep and heart wrenching that I really could not bring myself to go through that emotional ride all over again just now.
Honourable Mentions: Chief of Staff, Designated Survivor: 60 Days, Familiar Wife, Hwarang, Jugglers, Live, My Secret, Terrius, One Spring Night, Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, Something in the Rain, The Last Empress, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, Touch Your Heart, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, When the Camellia Blooms, Wok of Love
Next up would be Itaewon Class or The King: Eternal Monarch.