7 Must-Watch Dramas That Were Written By The Hong Sisters
If you’ve been around in K-dramaland, even if you’re just a newcomer, chances are you’ve watched a few dramas written by the famous Hong Sisters. The Hong Sisters are… sisters, consisting of Hong Jung Eun and Hong Mi Ran, who gained attention after penning the hit drama, “Delightful Girl, Chun Hyang.” After continuous success with “My Girl,” the Hong Sisters quickly became known for their brand of quirky and buzzy writing style, infusing the average rom-com clichés with wit and pun-filled dialogue.
Their dramas have also helped boost the recognition of many of the leading actors, propelling them into household-name statuses. In some cases, like Han Chae Young and Cha Seung Won, their starring roles allowed them to try out characters different from their usual choices, and showed the public a different side of them as well as their versatility.
While not all of their dramas are huge successes, the success rate is still notably high, considering their multitude of works spanning over a decade. So here’s a look at some of their more memorable works!
1. Delightful Girl, Chun Hyang (2005)
“Delightful Girl, Chun Hyang” is a loose interpretation of a famous Korean folktale that focuses on the burgeoning relationship between two schoolmates named Chun Hyang (Han Chae Young) and Mong Ryong (Jae Hee). When the two of them accidentally (and innocently) fall asleep in the same room, their parents have them marry each other in an effort to curb the malicious rumors and ensuing fallout.
Not only is this drama one of the first few to employ the reluctant cohabitation/contract marriage trope, but it is also the first-ever drama the Hong Sisters wrote and remains their most highly-rated drama. For a drama that aired in 2005, it is fresh, buzzy, and fun. Even now, it still guarantees an enjoyable watch.
2. My Girl (2005-6)
When Seol Gong Chan’s (Lee Dong Wook) ailing grandfather has a dying wish to meet his long-lost granddaughter, Gong Chan recruits an expert scammer named Joo Yoo Rin (Lee Da Hae) to act the part. But after meeting Yoo Rin, the grandfather miraculously recovers and insists she moves in with them.
“My Girl” starts out with the Hong Sisters’ signature light-heartedness and quirky fun, but it swerves to more melodrama territory in the latter half, with a lot of pining from the second male lead, Seo Jung Woo (Lee Joon Gi). And it’s because of this blend of laughter and angst, coupled with the absolutely charismatic leads, that it has captured the hearts of viewers then and has us rewatching it again and again even now.
3. You’re Beautiful (2009)
When Mi Nam successfully auditions to join the band A.N.Jell but suddenly has to leave the country, the manager asks his twin sister, Mi Nyeo (Park Shin Hye), to pose as Mi Nam until he returns. Thinking the success of the band will help them find their missing mother, Mi Nyeo reluctantly agrees. Moving into the band’s dorm, she meets the other members of the band: prickly Hwang Tae Kyung (Jang Keun Suk), kind-hearted Kang Shin Woo (Jung Yong Hwa), and bubbly Jeremy (Lee Hong Ki).
For those who enjoy dramas with love triangles, be prepared: “You’re Beautiful” has the ability to give people some intense SLS. You might end up bawling over Kang Shin Woo (Jung Yong Hwa) and then going onto forums to commiserate with everyone else who’s seen the drama (That’s what I did). The Hong Sisters always have a knack for writing such well-rounded and root-able second leads that watching them make our hearts break alongside theirs. It’s painful and tragic, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Start watching “You’re Beautiful”:
4. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010)
Cha Dae Woong (Lee Seung Gi) is an aspiring action star who one day accidentally releases a nine-tailed fox. Scared witless, he gets into an accident while running away, only to be saved by the fox in human form. As he learns of the mythology surrounding the nine-tailed fox, he names the girl Mi Ho (Shin Min Ah) and promises that he’ll help her become human permanently – if she lends him her mystical fox bead. Unfortunately, the two fall for each other without realizing that the process of becoming human is a catch-22, and in the end, only one of them will be able to survive.
Despite being a fantasy and supernatural drama, the human aspects of love and sacrifice remain front and center, thus making this drama very relatable. This has to be credited to the Hong Sisters’ writing, since they use the mystical lore as only a device to drive the story while grounding it with very real human emotions. That, and the super adorable pairing of Lee Seung Gi and Shin Min Ah are reasons enough that make this a must-watch drama!
Start watching “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho”:
5. The Greatest Love (2011)
Gu Ae Jung (Gong Hyo Jin) is a former 1st generation girl group idol (think S.E.S. or Fin.K.L) who is struggling from a bad but misunderstood reputation. She becomes entangled with top star Dokko Jin (Cha Seung Won), who is pompous and self-involved yet is able to hide it well enough to be widely loved by the public. Their alleged relationship leads to something real and gives them something more than the entertainment industry could ever offer.
“The Greatest Love” is brilliant on so many levels. Not only does it have a stellar cast, but the writing itself is so tongue-in-cheek and so meta (Jung Jun Ha eating jjajjangmyun on a roller coaster; the couple watching “Poongsan,” starring real-life Yoon Kye Sang), that repeat viewings will only uncover more easter eggs and digs at the entertainment industry. The dialogue is sharp and clever, and it’s arguably one of the most well-rounded dramas by the Hong Sisters in terms of character development and ending. It even earned them a Writer of the Year award at the 2011 MBC Drama Awards.
Start watching “The Greatest Love”:
6. Master’s Sun (2013)
In “Master’s Sun,” Tae Gong Shil (Gong Hyo Jin) gains the terrifying ability to see ghosts after an accident, and is so troubled by them that it affects her outlook on life. One day, she meets the cold and aloof CEO Joo Joong Won (So Ji Sub) and realizes he “mutes” this ability when she touches him. Gong Shil pleads to stay by his side so she can finally regain some normalcy in her life, but in return, he asks that she helps him recover a lost fortune.
Ask anyone for their favorite horror/rom-com drama (yes, it’s a thing!) and you’ll probably hear a lot of people suggesting “Master’s Sun.” The Hong Sisters undoubtedly hit gold with this one and restored viewers’ faith after the misstep that was “Big.” All the different genres blend seamlessly together through the brilliant writing, which is made even more perfect by the super charming and chemistry-filled leads.
Start watching “Master’s Sun”:
7. Hwayugi (2017-8)
In order to prevent Sam Jang (Oh Yeon So) from being devoured, Son Oh Gong (Lee Seung Gi) is forced into wearing a Geum Gang Go, which is a bangle that physically hurts him whenever Sam Jang is in pain. While the two are only using each other at first, they slowly develop feelings for each other. Unfortunately, the supernatural world is against them, and thus, with the help of Woo Ma Wang (Cha Seung Won), Jeo Pal Kye (Lee Hong Ki), and Sa Oh Jeong (Jang Gwang), they bravely forge ahead with their relationship while also battling greater evils.
The Hong Sisters have delivered some of their best work through drawing their inspiration from established lore, and the Chinese classic “Journey to the West” is as rich and colorful as they come. “Hwayugi” is loosely based on this classic, modernized and given the snappy Hong Sister treatment we’ve come to expect. They also have a habit of reuniting with actors they’ve worked with in the past, which we see even more of in this drama. The combination of all these great elements are undoubtedly reasons behind this runaway hit!
Start watching “Hwayugi”:
How many dramas from this list have you watched? And which is your all-time favorite from the Hong Sisters? Share your answers with us in the comment section below!
When Belinda_C first got into K-dramas, she binged the first three entries on this list. It wasn’t until years later that she realized they were all from the same writers! Apparently she’s got a type, LOL! Share your love for dramas and Shinhwa/SEVENTEEN with her on Twitter!