11 K-Dramas That Are Total Hidden Gems
Every so often you watch a K-drama that you haven’t really heard that much about or maybe at all. You start watching and then you wonder why more people weren’t talking about it and why it’s taken this long for you to watch such a masterpiece. There are a lot of K-dramas out there that often fall under the radar and this list is to bring some light onto some of those awesome K-dramas. Here’s a look at just 11 of the many.
List is in no particular order.
1. “Come and Hug Me”
Chae Do Jin (Jang Ki Yong) and Han Jae Yi (Jin Ki Joo) both fall in love with each other in high school. They are each other’s first loves and there is nothing in the world that Do Jin wouldn’t do for Jae Yi. Unfortunately, Do Jin’s father is crazy and ends up killing Jae Yi’s entire family. He isn’t able to kill Jae Yi, but this tears Do Jin and Jae Yi apart. When the two grow up, they find a way into each other’s lives again, but Do Jin’s murderous father is getting out of jail and he wants to finish the job he started by killing Jae Yi.
“Come and Hug Me” is one of those K-dramas that looks like it would be pretty cliche and predictable, but it is far from it. I really didn’t expect Do Jin’s father to be a serial killer and to go through with killing Jae Yi’s entire family. It’s pretty dark and it had my heart dropping at certain points because of the anticipation. Because the issues that are dealt with in this series are so strong, it’s really a K-drama that you get invested in.
Watch “Come and Hug Me”:
2. “Go Back Couple”
“Go Back Couple” is about a couple named Ma Jin Joo (Jang Na Ra) and Choi Ban Do (Son Ho Jun) who have outgrown their love for each other. They have two young children but are often found fighting about everything and resenting each other. At the moment when they are both feeling heartbroken and hopeless, the two wake up and find that they have traveled back in time to when they were college students. They discover that they are able to re-do their pasts and vow to avoid each other at all costs this time around. But somehow fate seems to bring them together.
This drama will have you laughing, crying, laughing some more, and crying some more. The marriage and relationship between Ma Jin Joo and Choi Ban Do is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Seeing their love break apart only to fall back in love is the romance that you didn’t know you wanted to see. It’s about friendship, love, and family, which is something everyone can relate to and find themselves getting a bit emotional about. The only bad thing about the series is that it is only 12 episodes!
Start watching “Go Back Couple”:
3. “Welcome to Waikiki”
Dong Goo (Kim Jung Hyun), Joon Gi (Lee Yi Kyung), and Doo Sik (Son Seung Won) are three friends who are just trying to achieve their dreams. The three of them also run a hostel to make money, but are finding it difficult to make ends meet. When they are about to give up on their hostel, they find a baby in one of the rooms seemingly without its mother. The three men form an unlikely bond with the baby and once the mother comes back, they realize they should help the mother and her baby.
If you need a good laugh or are just out of K-dramas to watch, “Welcome to Waikiki” is a sure bet. It’s got all elements of romance, humor, bromance, and even an adorable little baby. Seeing the characters strive to achieve their dreams while mixing in a bit of humor is encouraging to watch. Although the humor might not be for everyone, there’s something in the series that everyone can relate to and it’s just a feel-good drama to watch.
Catch the first episode of “Welcome to Waikiki”:
4. “Melo is My Nature”
Im Jin Joo (Chun Woo Hee), Lee Eun Jung (Jeon Yeo Bin), and Hwang Jan Joo (Han Ji Eun) are three women who are over 30, just trying to get through life. They are best friends who lean on each other for help and support. They all have hopes of achieving their dreams and finding love in the process, but things do not seem to always go their way.
This drama will make anyone want to strive to be better and to achieve their dreams a little bit harder. The women all face hardships and obstacles in their lives, and they not only get through it but they also lean on each other for help. It’s so encouraging and uplifting to see these friends be so loyal to each other and not be afraid to stick up for each other when life gets tough. Total friendship goals!
Start watching “Melo Is My Nature”:
5. “1% of Something”
Lee Jae In (Ha Seok Jin) is forced to be in a relationship with Kim Da Hyun (Jun So Min) in hopes of attaining his grandfather’s inheritance. The two are total opposites in character, but they decide to go through with a six month contract relationship with some added requests. They bicker, fight, and can’t see eye to eye on most things but they somehow manage to find a way into each other’s hearts.
Ha Seok Jin and Jun So Min need to reunite and be in another drama together because their chemistry was sizzling. The story is pretty predictable, but the connection between the two actors is what really made it so good. When their contract relationship eventually comes to an end, the pain and heartbreak that the characters feel really resonates on screen. They really make you believe in their love story, which makes it so enjoyable to watch!
Start watching the first episode of “1% Of Something”:
6. “Discovery of Love”
Han Yeo Reum (Jung Yu Mi) falls in love at first sight with Kang Tae Ha (Eric Mun) when she first meets him on a train. Tae Ha can’t help but be charmed by Yeo Reum’s cute and bright personality, so he naturally decides to date her. Five years into their relationship, with Tae Ha having to work hard to achieve his dream and Yeo Reum dealing with the death of her father, their relationship falls apart. Several years later, the two fatefully meet again, but this time Yeo Reum is in a relationship with another man and Tae Ha is realizing that his feelings for Yeo Reum never really went away.
This drama was not that popular at the time that it aired, but it did garner a lot of popularity throughout the years. The best part is not only the chemistry Jung Yu Mi has with Eric, but it’s also the love triangle. This is one of those dramas that made it SO hard to choose between the first love, Tae Ha, and Yeo Reum’s current love, Nam Ha Jin (Sung Joon).
Catch the first episode of “Discovery of Love”:
7. “Search: WWW”
Bae Ta Mi (Im Soo Jung) is a successful career woman who works at a web portal company. She is known all around the city and there’s no stopping her success. But then she meets Park Mo Gun (Jang Ki Yong) and he falls completely in love with her. He’s willing to call her out when she’s being guarded and he challenges her to give love chance. Mo Gun is exactly what Ta Mi needs and she fights hard to not give in.
It takes the first episode or two to get into the drama, which is probably why it didn’t garner too much publicity, but “Search: WWW” has a love story that is worth watching. Seeing Park Mo Gun’s persistence and desire to want to be with Ta Mi will give you all of the butterflies and make even the hardest of hearts believe in love again.
Start watching “Search: WWW”:
8. “The Guardian”
Jang Do Han (Kim Young Kwang) is a prosecutor whose every intention of his success is only to bring down the man who ruined his father’s life. He meets Jo Soo Ji (Lee Si Young) who also has the very goal of bringing down the same man. The two unite in a vigilante mission alongside several others to bring justice for those who were wronged.
“The Guardian” is unique in that it doesn’t involve a love story. Despite this, this action-packed drama is exciting to watch. It surprisingly keeps you on the edge of your seat and you are bound to want to binge-watch it in one sitting just to see what happens. These types of K-dramas are sometimes the most thrilling to watch! Kim Young Kwang is also quite the underrated actor, but he definitely delivers in this series.
Catch the first episode of “The Guardian”:
Ahn Dan Tae (Namgoong Min) is a quirky lawyer who spends most of his days eating junk food and living in track suits. He moves into the apartment owned by Kong Shim (Minah) and her family. The two start off having a rocky relationship without any regards to even being friends. However, they realize that they have more in common than they thought and that is when they start to develop feelings for each other.
“Dear Fair Lady Kong Shim” seems like a drama that doesn’t have much of a storyline, but from the first episode, you get sucked into the life of Kong Shim. She’s a girl who is a bit of a downer because of all the hardships she’s going through. She just can’t seem to catch a break. But it’s because of this that she’s such a relatable character. It’s endearing to see her overcome these hardships, and she’s a female lead that we can sincerely root for!
Start watching “Dear Fair Lady Kong Shim”:
10. “Age of Youth”
Yoon Jin Myung (Han Ye Ri), Jung Ye Eun (Han Seung Yeon), Song Ji Won (Park Eun Bin), Yoo Eun Jae (Park Hye Soo), and Kang Yi Na (Ryu Hwayoung) are five roommates who are all very different but all have dreams that they want to achieve. Each girl deals with her own issues, and somehow, the five of them find a way to help each other when one of them is struggling. They develop a strong and beautiful bond even though they have no common ground.
Every youth struggles to find their identity and pursue their dreams. It’s not always an easy path in life, which is what this series really focuses on. Jin Myung, Ye Eun, Ji Won, Eun Jae, and Yi Na all have such different dreams. They try to achieve them while figuring out this thing called life, and it’s so realistic. They all experience problems with their family, work, relationships, school, and baggage from the past, which are all issues that people deal with regularly. Seeing these girls overcome these obstacles is what gives hope and makes this drama worth the watch!
Catch the first episode of “Age Of Youth”:
11. “Just Between Lovers”
Lee Gang Doo (Junho) has been through a lot in his life. He had aspired to become a soccer player, but because of an accident, his dreams were crushed. As an adult, he’s taken on odd jobs and just barely gets by in life. Ha Moon Soo (Won Jin Ah) has also been through some traumatic events in her life, but she has suppressed her memories of them. She focuses all her attention on aspiring to become a successful architect. The two seem like they are completely different, but they form a strange connection. They discover that their past trauma is connected and their relationship is far more fateful than they could have ever imagined.
The trailer for “Just Between Lovers” didn’t reveal much about the story, which is probably why it fell a bit under the radar when it was airing. The story between Gang Doo and Moon Soo is complex but so sweet. Through tragedy and pain, the two find solace in each other and you’ll find yourself getting sucked into the romance between them. It’s such a sweet story about two people who find their way back on track in life with the help of each other. You’ll find some healing while watching the drama.
Start watching the first episode of “Just Between Lovers”:
Hey Soompiers, which of these K-dramas is your favorite hidden gem? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “The King: Eternal Monarch” and “Heart Signal 3”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen