Fantasy, Romance, And The Afterlife: Filling The Void After “Doom At Your Service”

Missing your weekly dose of Myeol Mang (Seo In Guk) and Dong Kyung (Park Bo Young)? Do you find yourself rewatching the behind-the-scenes videos over and over to sigh at that chemistry? We have some suggestions for your next drama binge-watch! There’s no show that blends grief, death, romance, and fantasy the way “Doom At Your Service” does. Yet, here are some amazing dramas with the same elements albeit in different quantities!

“Tale of Arang”

Gods, ghosts, and vanished mothers collide in this spooky tale of love, loss, and murder. Arang (Shin Min Ah) is an amnesiac ghost who spends her days hiding from Moo Young, the Grim Reaper (Han Jung Soo), and stealing food from memorials to survive. This changes when she runs into Eun Oh (Lee Joon Gi), the hotheaded illegitimate child of a noble who’s hunting for his missing mother. Eun Oh forges an unlikely alliance with Arang after discovering that her binyeo (hairpin) is the same one he gave to his mother. Realizing that the truth of Arang’s death is tied to his mother’s disappearance, the two hunt down her killer in a sleepy town where girls vanish every month.

Why you’ll love it:

Arang is no shrinking violet. This girl is feisty, opinionated, and has a sharp tongue to boot. It’s equal parts hilarious and heartwarming to watch these two bicker their way into romance. Shin Min Ah’s performance really shines here, and Lee Joon Gi plays the straight man to her wild, spunky ghost.

But there’s more – Yoo Seung Ho shines as the sunny, foppish Jade Emperor, with Park Joon Gyu playing the eternally irritated King Yeomna. Their banter influences everything in the drama’s universe. They crack deals over the main characters’ fates, while perhaps betting a little more than they should.

This show touches on similar themes of death, love, loss, and how to deal with the fact that the person you love is dying (or dead in this case). This may be an older show, but it definitely still resonates!

Check out the drama below!

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“49 Days”

If you enjoyed Myeol Mang and Dong Kyung’s ill-fated contract, “49 Days” is the show for you! Ji Hyun (Nam Gyu Ri) seems to have it all, a fiancé who adores her, a loving family, friends, wealth, and really just everything. Meanwhile, Yi Kyung (Lee Yo Won) lives a miserable existence and constantly considers ending her life. Their fates change when Yi Kyung walks into traffic. Instead of getting hit, she’s pulled back by a mysterious person. Ji Hyun also gets into an accident and wakes to see herself being taken to a hospital in a coma. No one appears to see her. The only person who can is a man named the Scheduler (Jung Il Woo), who is in essence a Grim Reaper. The Scheduler tells Ji Hyun that she’ll be in a coma for 49 days. However, if three people genuinely shed tears for her, then she’ll live again.

Ji Hyun is given the power to take over Yi Kyung’s body in her quest to find three people who’ll weep for her (a set-up similar to the one in “Oh My Ghostess“). But as Ji Hyun starts to discover, her life might not have been so perfect after all.

Why you’ll love it:

The show is a beautiful examination of grief, who we leave behind, and what we’re running toward. Its poignancy resonates long after the ending, similar to the dreamy quality that permeated “Doom At Your Service.” The acting and writing are top-notch, and the supporting leads are familiar faces, such as Seo Ji Hye! Best of all is the sisterhood between the two women at the heart of this show: Yi Kyung and Ji Hyun. Both women learn to rely on and support each other, which is always so great to see.

But the last and perhaps most relevant reason for those of us who swooned day and night over Myeol Mang is Jung Il Woo as the Scheduler.

It’s hard not to love the Scheduler, and Jung Il Woo’s performance adds a much needed lightness to the show. He nails this role with an irreverent wit and dry humor that is reminiscent of Myeol Mang, albeit a little less gloom and doom and a little more quirky Grim Reaper guardian. With a great plot, great visuals, and amazing acting, this drama’s a must-watch. Plus look at the Scheduler’s smile! There’s no saying no to that!

Hotel Del Luna

Starring IU, Yeo Jin GooLee Do Hyun, and more, “Hotel Del Luna” was the summer drama of 2019. The titular hotel serves as a rest-stop for the dead before they make their way to the afterlife. Its irascible proprietress, Jang Man Wol (IU) has been forced by the goddesses, Mago (Seo Yi Sook), to run it because of a grave sin she committed centuries ago. She wearies of her endless existence but luxuriates in what it affords her: high-end clothes, diamonds, caviar, and of course, champagne. Enter Goo Chan Sung (Yeo Jin Goo) whose father made the mistake of stealing flowers from the magical tree at the center of Man Wol’s garden. In a gender-reversed adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, Man Wol claims Chan Sung as punishment. She’ll wait 20 years, but then, Chan Sung has to work for her. His father unwittingly agrees and thus begins Man Wol and Chan Sung’s story.

Why you’ll love it:

IU nails Man Wol so well it’s hard to think anyone but her could have pulled it off. Alternating from prickly, vain, childish, to deeply-wounded, Man Wol is well realized in her hands. As the layers peel back from Man Wol’s past, it’s hard not to feel for her. She’s easy to dislike at times, but she just as easily wins your affection back. It’s no wonder Goo Chan Sung quickly finds himself in over his head.

Yeo Jin Goo plays the bewildered average human (okay, Harvard-educated human) who is pulled into a supernatural world that he’s ill-prepared for. Ghosts terrify him and it takes a while to acclimate himself to the strangeness of his occupation as a hotelier for the dead. Yet, this is as much a story of his growth as it is of Man Wol. Together, the two encourage each other to become the best versions of themselves as Mago watches and waits, because there is more to Man Wol’s punishment than she understands.

Inscrutable deities, weary immortals, and the humans they love, this show has it all!

Check out the drama below!

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“Black”

Speaking of weary immortals, we’ve another Grim Reaper as hero in “Black.” Grim Reaper 444 (Kim Tae Woo) (literally an unlucky number that alludes to death in Korean culture) is the most hardened reaper there is. He has no use for the softer emotions, especially love. However, chance has him taking over the dead body of Detective Han Moo Gang (Song Seung Heon) while on the hunt for a runaway grim reaper. This is where he crosses paths with Kang Ha Ram (Go Ara), who has the power to see when someone’s death is near as well as how they’re going to die. It’s a power that made her unpopular as a child, and she’s grown into a woman fearful of others and of her power, wearing sunglasses every day. However, this power makes her useful to 444 because he can’t detect a fellow reaper when they’re possessing a human, but she can.

But danger awaits when 444 starts to fall for his human partner. Because love is forbidden to reapers, and this love is especially forbidden to him.

Why you’ll love it:

Song Seung Heon excels in these stoic roles and does a fantastic job as Black. One second, he’s scoffing at the mere idea of love, and the next second, he’s researching how to kiss. What a guy.

Go Ara equally holds her own as the woman who’s seen too much and yet hasn’t seen enough of the brighter side of the world, but it’s the titular Black who really brings this show to life. It’s a must-watch for Myeol Mang fans!

Chicago Typewriter

From the writer that brought us “Kill Me Heal Me,” “Chicago Typewriter” is an ode to bravery, tragedy, and to death never being the end.

What if your ghost writer is actually a ghost? Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) is a bestselling author suffering from writer’s block who lives all alone in a big mansion with no use for people (sound familiar?). His arrogance turns former superfan Jeon Seol (Im Soo Jung) into an anti-fan in less than a day. But Se Joo’s life is irrevocably altered when he purchases a typewriter possessed by Yoo Jin Oh (Go Kyung Pyo) who agrees to become Se Joo’s literal ghostwriter. Jin Oh is more than he appears, and he’s here for a reason. The trio have a history stretching back to 1930s Japanese-occupied Korea, and the past isn’t done with them just yet.

Why you’ll love it:

There are so many reasons! There’s bromance, romance, and the most amazing ride-or-die friendship to ever grace the screen. All three actors shine in their dual roles: modern day and as resistance fighters of the 1930s. The show has the same luminous effervescence that permeates “Doom At Your Service” – a gentle sadness mixed with yearning and hope. There’s a grace and pride to the story that’ll resonate long after the show has ended. This is a show you’ll never forget!

Check out the drama below!

Watch Now

Hey, Soompiers! Which of these shows interest you the most? Which ones have you already seen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Shalini_A is a long time Asian-drama addict. When not watching dramas, she works as a lawyer, fangirls over Ji Sung, and attempts to write the greatest fantasy romance of all time. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and feel free to ask her anything!

Currently Watching: The Devil Judge,” “Monthly Magazine Home,” “Undercover,” “You are My Spring”
Looking Forward to: “The Veil”

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