Slice Of Life K-Dramas That Will Change Your Life
The “slice of life” genre is often known for its ability to tell a character’s story and everyday life in a very natural narrative. It does not necessarily need the over-exciting climax or series of events to keep viewers engaged, but instead, viewers are drawn into the characters because they are relatable and have depth. There are many slice of life K-dramas, but here are the ones that might just change your life. If you haven’t watched all of these, make sure you do! You’ll be in for an introspective ride!
Disclaimer: List is in no particular order.
1. “Reply” series
All of the “Reply” series is a game-changer when it comes to K-dramas and being close to real life experiences. If anything, it is the original slice of life series that has paved the way for many others. Each of them touch your heart in different ways, emphasizing the importance of family, friendship, love, and dreams. It is one of the most relatable series in K-dramaland.
When you are talking about slice of life K-dramas, the “Reply” series cannot be overlooked. Writer Lee Woo Jung is able to beautifully depict the everyday lives of groups of friends with retro backdrops. Although the relationships and conflicts shown in their lives are mostly ordinary, viewers are able to get drawn into every individual character and their development as the series progresses. It also obviously helps that director Shin Won Ho is a mastermind when it comes to emphasizing the smallest of details, making them seem so important. Lee Woo Jung and Shin Won Ho are a match made in K-drama production heaven.
Watch the latest of the series, “Reply 1988” here:
2. “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.
“Melo Is My Nature” is an unpredictable series in that it does not follow your conventional K-drama norms. You have three strong female voices as the main leads, all of who are doing whatever they can to achieve their dreams while also finding love in the process. They support each other and help one another through whatever dilemma they may be going through. This type of emotional support that is shown in the series is what many viewers find solace and hope in. The characters deal with such lifelike and relevant problems that it makes it so easy for viewers to fall in love with the series!
Start watching “Melo Is My Nature”:
3. “Prison Playbook”
“Prison Playbook” stars Park Hae Soo as Kim Je Hyuk, Jung Kyung Ho as Lee Joon Ho, and Krystal as Kim Ji Ho. Je Hyuk is a famous baseball player who beats up a man who was abusing his little sister. He gets sentenced to prison despite what the other man did, and the series delves into his prison life and the people he meets. Jung Kyung Ho’s character comes into play as he is a friend of Je Hyuk and also happens to work at the same prison that Je Hyuk is locked up in.
“Prison Playbook” is another gem of a slice-of-life series that was directed by the great Shin Won Ho. With the setting being in the confines of a correction facility, it seems far from being your typical K-drama. Despite what people may have thought might be a dark series, “Prison Playbook” managed to tug at the heartstrings, making viewers sympathize with the prisoners and their individual stories. The drama manages to make the inmates personable, focusing on their personal stories, which in turn, makes viewers relate to and have compassion for them. It is a unique series and an unforgettable one.
In “Because This Is My First Life,” Lee Min Ki stars as Nam Sae Hee, an awkward computer designer who is house poor, while Jung So Min stars as Yoon Ji Ho, an aspiring drama writer who is on the brink of giving up on her dreams because she can’t afford to live in the city. The two meet and decide to have a contract marriage so that Sae Hee’s parents will stop setting him up on blind dates and so that Ji Ho can look for a job.
Yoon Ji Ho is a character that many viewers found that they could connect with. She is a realistic embodiment of the struggle many people go through in trying to achieve their dreams. Despite having gone to a prestigious university, she still struggles to make ends meet, making her feel like a failure. This very ordinary depiction of Ji Ho’s story and her overcoming her obstacles is inadvertently therapeutic and calming, making the series very successful and meaningful.
Start watching “Because This Is My First Life”:
5. “My Mister”
“My Mister” stars Lee Sun Gyun as Park Dong Hoon and IU as Lee Ji An. Dong Hoon is a married man in his 40s who goes through a lot of stress as a result of work and family. Ji An is a young woman who has had to go through a lot of traumatic experiences, and as a result, has lost a lot of hope in life. The two meet in the workplace and form a very unusual bond where they seem to understand each other.
“My Mister” is a series that many avid K-drama watchers have watched and loved. The heartbreaking story of Lee Ji An and the hardships that she endures as a young woman are dark and sometimes even morbid. Despite this, as the series progresses, we see her find resolution, growth, and develop a relationship with people who support her, which ultimately makes it a beautiful slice of life drama. It emphasizes the beauty in building tight-knit relationships that can help you get out of difficult situations. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, but one worth going on.
6. “Itaewon Class”
Park Sae Roy (Park Seo Joon) has been through a lot in his young life. His father was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident, he was expelled from school, and he was sentenced to jail for three years. All this tragedy happened as a result of one family that owns the biggest restaurant chain in Korea. After getting out of jail, Sae Roy swears that he will get revenge and decides to open up his own restaurant called Dan Bam.
The personal connection that you feel when watching “Itaewon Class” is emotional and uplifting at the same time. Seeing Park Sae Roy go through the trials of death, mourning, loss, and betrayal are all too painful. But when he is able to work his way out of these problems and triumph over them, it gives viewers the same hope and longing in their own lives. Although there is a romance aspect to the series, the storyline of Sae Roy overcoming so much to become successful is an underdog story that many can root for.
7. “Incomplete Life”
Im Si Wan plays Jang Geu Rae, a Go board game player who fails to become a professional, and as a result, has to find a job. Geu Rae has no experience in any sort of workplace as he has spent most of his time and life playing Go. Through connections and sheer luck, he is able to work for a trading company as an intern but learns that he has to make some major adjustments to fit in.
“Incomplete Life” was a huge success in Korea as a result of its real-life depiction of everyday office workers. Koreans praised the series for its accuracy and dark humor in portraying the various types of workers that exist in an office and the sometimes awkward but demanding atmosphere that can come from it. It was able to bring a bit of strength and hope to those who lack the motivation to go to work every day.
Watch “Incomplete Life” now:
8. “Hospital Playlist” series
Jo Jung Suk, Yoo Yeon Seok, Jung Kyung Ho, Kim Dae Myung, and Jeon Mi Do star in “Hospital Playlist” as a group of five doctors who have been friends since medical school. The five of them all work at the same hospital, Yulje Medical Center. The story follows their friendship as well as the romance and patients that they deal with day to day. They also happen to form a band together.
From the same dream team that brought us the “Reply” series, “Hospital Playlist” is a slice of life series that explores the lives of five best friends. Although it is mostly set in Yulje Medial Center, the series does a great job of diving deep into the personal lives of the five main characters including the situations with their families and love lives. The series manages to show a very natural and realistic representation of what they go through, which has won the hearts of many viewers around the world.
9. “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.
“Go Back Couple” is a series about family, first loves, and regret. Seeing Jin Joo go through the hardships of being a mother and working on her marriage with her husband is all too realistic. It provides good insight into the hard work that mothers have to do especially in Korea while the husbands are working around the clock. Jin Joo is a relatable mother, daughter, wife, and friend, and a character whoh goes through a lot of difficulties that people experience every day which makes her one that many can sympathize for.
Start watching “Go Back Couple”:
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 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.
If there is any college K-drama out there that takes a slice out of life, it’s “Age Of Youth.” Seeing all five students going through their individual struggles while maintaining good grades so that they can get a decent job after graduating is something many can sympathize with. They are five students who are just trying to get by in life with what they have; it’s inspiring and motivating for anyone who has been in their shoes.
Hey Soompiers, are there any other slice-of-life K-dramas that have changed your life? Let me know in the comments!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG but has lately been seen obsessing over Hwang In Yeop. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!