Korean Dramas: A Guide For Beginners

K-dramas with romance and horror are the best ways to binge-watch shows now.

Korean Dramas: A Guide For Beginners (Park Sung-Hoon, Im Ji-Yeon, Lee Do-Hyun, Song Hye-Kyo, Yeom Hye-Ran and Chung Sung-Il aka Jung Sung-Il of "The Glory". | Han Myung-Gu/WireImage via Getty Images)

K-dramas have become more popular over the years. There are so many films to choose from, that one could become overwhelmed. If you’re looking for teen angst, zombies or romance, look no further. 

Here’s a list for beginners who plan to watch, but need to know where to begin. 

“Business Proposal”

“Business Proposal” is the first show I recommend to my friends when they want to begin watching romantic Korean dramas. Released in 2022, the South Korean-based drama is still one of the most popular shows on Netflix. The show follows the trope with the supposed  “poor” girl (she owns a Samsung) meeting a rich guy who is also her CEO (wild). What makes people like this show so much are the female characters — with different personalities and extremely likable. This 12-episode show is blended into perfection and is ideal for a binge. 

“All Of Us Are Dead”

Think about all the zombie movies and shows in America. Now think about how horrendous it must be, like 10 times worse, in school during a zombie apocalypse. Well, that happened to the students of Hysoan High School because a student decided to bite the school nurse’s finger. This show deserves the praise. This show does the zombie genre with excellence and probably better than most media creating stories about the undead. Netflix outdid themselves with this one and all of it covered within a 12-episode series. Also, what I liked about this show is how realistic it is regarding what actual high school students would do if a zombie apocalypse were to happen.

“Ready, Set, Love” 

This show is the “Hunger Games” but without the killings of innocent people. The show is a dystopian romance set in a world where 99% of births are women. Hence, the government gathers men “for their protection” and raises them on a “farm,” which is depicted as a place of luxury, not an actual farm, but yet again they are raised to be cattle and reproduce. Here’s the kicker though, the government has a reality TV show set up to decide who marries these men and have a competition for the women-dominated world. They are set to compete for the attention and love of these men. This six-episode series gives off more of a campy vibe with a side of a thoughtfully described dystopia world. 

“My Demon”

Whenever I hear someone talking about this show my ears automatically turn up because this show is one of the best. Just like “Business Proposal”, this show had me screaming at my pillow and twirling my hair for mostly the entire time. The limited series is about a contract marriage between a 200-year-old (the age gap) demon who develops an unexpected love for a human. What makes this show different from the romantic plots is the writing. Honestly, the screenwriters went beyond what this show was made to be. An interesting storyline is when demon Gu-won (spoiler alert) loses his powers and becomes a somewhat normal man. It’s one of the best romantic K-dramas I’ve ever watched and that’s coming out to someone who gets bored easily with the storyline but this was beyond my expectations and I will be binge-watching it again soon.

“The Glory”

Many may have probably heard about the bullying that happens in South Korea and how some kids take their own lives. “The Glory” sheds light on how horrible the problem with bullying is in South Korea. In this 16-episode thriller, the protagonist Dong-eun plots each of her bully’s downfall. Dong-eun was abused in high school. This show takes a revengeful gaze and I found it satisfying to watch those who did something so bad suffer.

Ana G. Valdes, (she/her) is an Oakland-based journalist who covers culture and entertainment, films and TV shows.

Edited by Nykeya Woods

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