11 Timeless K-Dramas That You Can Never Get Tired Of
The K-drama world is truly one of a kind. It distinguishes itself by many elements that make up the whole watching experience. The jaw-dropping cast, fascinating storylines, and endless plot twists: Watching K-dramas is a synonym of embarking on a journey full of emotions, leaving room for your imagination to freely wander in each episode.
The beauty of K-dramas is that one cannot simply single out only one genre. You’ll find yourself crying while watching a comedy and laughing while viewing a melodrama. Thrillers are not the only category that keep you on your toes, and you’d find a whole musical running in the background: that’s right, I’m talking about OSTs.
This being said, here is a non-exhaustive selection of some of the best K-dramas to date. Happy viewing!
Warning: minor spoilers ahead!
1. “Boys Over Flowers”
“Boys Over Flowers” is where Hallyu fever began for many fans, and you simply cannot call yourself a K-drama enthusiast if you can’t at least identify the main cast. Starring Lee Min Ho as Gu Joon Pyo, a chaebol who initially bullies Geum Jan Di (Ku Hye Sun), who stands up to him and catches his attention in the process, and later his heart.
But the story doesn’t end here, as many events would interfere in the relationship development between the main characters. This classic rich boy/poor girl narrative takes us into an intense journey of denial, acceptance, heartbreak, and reconciliation; all of which guarantees a rollercoaster of emotions as you progress through the episodes.
Watch the first episode of “Boys Over Flowers”:
2. “Secret Garden”
Another oldie but goldie is this fantasy-comedy gem, starring Hyun Bin as a wealthy CEO named Kim Joo Won and Ha Ji Won as a struggling stunt woman named Gil Ra Im. With the rich/poor trope being popular back then, one can only enjoy the outcome, especially when these two cross paths and end up swapping bodies in the most unconventional way, entertaining viewers as the story steadily unfolds in a sweet and romantic manner. “Secret Garden” birthed a fair share of hilarious parodies, some of which people still vividly remember to this day!
Catch the first episode of “Secret Garden”:
When action and romance meet, Ji Chang Wook is usually in the mix. He stars in the drama as Seo Jung Hoo, aka an illegal night courier that goes by the name Healer, and is joined by co-stars Park Min Young as Chae Young Shin, a tabloid reporter, and Yoo Ji Tae as Kim Mun Ho, a famous journalist.
The three characters find themselves unexpectedly teaming up as they seek the truth behind an incident that took place back in 1992. Thriller and mystery make up the biggest part of this K-drama, and you’re guaranteed to be kept at the edge of your seat!
Catch the first episode of “Healer”:
4. “Kill Me Heal Me”
Ji Sung and Hwang Jung Eum reunite for the second time as leads in perhaps one of the most memorable K-dramas of all time. The two veteran actors star respectively as Cha Do Hyun, a rich businessman suffering from dissociative identity disorder, and Oh Ri Jin, a psychiatry resident who is determined to help Cha Do Hyun cope with his overwhelming identities. Anything else said at this point might just spoil the scenario for you, so make sure to watch closely, because you’re in for a ride. Peace!
Catch the first episode of “Kill Me Heal Me”:
5. “She Was Pretty”
Yes, Hwang Jung Eum is featured for a second time, and her role in “She Was Pretty” as Kim Hye Jin is definitely worth the hype. Kim Hye Jin’s childhood friend Ji Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon), comes back to Korea to confess his feelings for her. However, Hye Jin is no longer the girl he used to know, and she pulls a stunt that might just cost her dearly. She ends up working for Sung Joon at his magazine publishing company and meets Kim Shin Hyuk (Choi Siwon), who sees and accepts her for who she is. This epic love triangle has got to be one of the most remarkable details of this drama, and perhaps the one time where all viewers would rather have the second lead get the girl!
Catch the first episode of “She Was Pretty”:
DOTS fans, anyone? This one needs no introduction because it has simply swept the K-drama world off its feet. It follows the chronicles of two people whose life missions are opposite, with Song Joong Ki playing a soldier named Yoo Shi Jin and Song Hye Kyo playing a doctor named Kang Mo Yeon. Fate brings them together and they later take it into their own hands to keep finding one another.
This drama is full of fluff, suspense, and hurt. Basically, you get a taste of every emotion as you follow this couple who has sustained the test of time (and space).
Catch the first episode of “Descendants Of The Sun”:
Im Soo Hyang plays the role of Kang Mi Rae, a girl who has been insecure about her looks as a teen, so she decides to get plastic surgery prior to enrolling in university. There, she meets her childhood classmate Do Kyung Suk (Cha Eun Woo), who notices that she’s changed on the outside but still remembers and appreciates her warm personality. This one definitely hints at both self-acceptance and kindness as recurrent major themes.
Catch the first episode of “My ID Is Gangnam Beauty”:
Blow your candles, for this is how you summon the goblin. Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) is an immortal goblin who needs to find his bride in order to break his curse of immortality. Once he is summoned by and gets to know Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun), he realizes that his plan to cross over might have to wait a bit longer. The drama addresses the topic of death from an elaborate perspective that is portrayed with finesse by Lee Dong Wook in his role as the Grim Reaper. Furthermore, the bromance between the two male leads is just golden and alleviates the heavy tone of the main storyline.
Catch the first episode of “Goblin”:
The expression “strong independent woman” has a whole new meaning in this K-drama! Park Bo Young stars as Do Bong Soon, a woman with hereditary super strength that lands her a job as a bodyguard for Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Sik), a gaming company CEO. Due to the nature of her job, Bong Soon spends a lot of time with her boss, which consequently affects their professional relationship. Laughter and tears equally find their way in this bubbly tale that introduces a fresh and inviting concept on our screens.
Catch the first episode of “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”:
10. “While You Were Sleeping”
Legal and fantasy genres rarely meet, but when they do, we’re left with a masterpiece that is “While You Were Sleeping.” This mind-boggling drama stars Suzy, Lee Jong Suk, and Jung Hae In as Nam Hong Joo, Jung Jae Chan, and Han Woo Tak, respectively. The three leads have something in common: they can all see the future in their dreams. Given the nature of their jobs — a reporter, a prosecutor, and a police officer — the trio joins forces to keep these troublesome dreams from finding their way into reality. The intensity of the plot makes this a must-see K-drama, and perhaps rewatching it might unveil some details that have been missed during the first watch.
Catch the first episode of “While You Were Sleeping”:
11. “Hotel Del Luna”
Just when you think that fantasy tales have been overdone, a fresh one pops out of the K-drama oven! Jang Man Wol (IU) is a hotel owner whose clients are ghosts. While she’s stuck in her current position as punishment for a sin she committed ages ago, she strikes a deal to have Goo Chan Sung (Yeo Jin Goo) become the manager of the hotel, and they both share the responsibility of guiding ghosts to the afterlife. While their interpersonal relationship is rocky at first, these two progressively find a way to get along and eventually make amends. The idea alone behind this script is intriguing to say the least, and the occurrences that take place within the walls of this “ghostel” makes you wonder about the feasibility of it all.
Catch the first episode of “Hotel Del Luna”:
Which one of these popular dramas is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Esmee L. is a Moroccan lively dreamer, writer, and Hallyu enthusiast.