12 Great Gateway K-Dramas To Introduce To Your Friends
Trying to get that friend into the wonderful world of K-dramas? There are a lot out there, and one is bound to suck your friends in. All it really takes is one good drama! We’d visited this topic before about K-dramas to introduce to your friends, and although it is a solid list, here are 12 more to add.
1. “Flower of Evil”
Lee Joon Gi stars alongside Moon Chae Won in the mystery thriller “Flower of Evil.” His character Baek Hee Sung is a perfect husband and doting father to a little girl. To the visible eye, he is perfect, but there’s another life he leads – one filled with murder, deceit, and lies. His wife Cha Ji Won (Moon Chae Won) is a detective and is in the midst of a cat-and-mouse hunt that will lead her to her husband as the prime suspect.
This one is basically fail-proof. People do not really know what to expect in the first few episodes of this series, but as soon as you’re invested, you won’t regret it. Your friends will enjoy the mystery thriller aspect of the storyline but will also appreciate the incredible acting by the main leads. The story has many layers, so many aspects of it will stick with you even after it’s done. It’s guaranteed to leave an impression on anyone and will undoubtedly kickstart a K-drama obsession!
Watch the first episode:
2. “Squid Game”
The series that took the world by storm, “Squid Game” is a story about 456 participants who engage in a series of children’s games in hopes of winning 45.6 billion won (approximately $40 million). Lee Jung Jae, Park Hae Soo, Jung Ho Yeon, and Wi Ha Joon star in this drama about players who fight to the death in order to win the prize money.
Let’s be honest, who hasn’t watched “Squid Game”? The series has even brought the cast to international fame. With its unique and bone-chilling plot line, it is guaranteed to intrigue even the most frequent of series watchers. There is nothing out there that’s quite like it, and once you start, it’s almost impossible to not watch until the end. The cliffhangers will keep you on edge!
3. “Crash Landing on You”
Hyun Bin stars as the North Korean soldier Ri Jung Hyuk, while Son Ye Jin plays the beautiful and charismatic Yoon Se Ri. In a freak accident while paragliding, Yoon Se Ri stumbles into North Korean territory where she meets Ri Jung Hyuk. He takes it upon himself to watch over her while he figures out a way to get her back to South Korea.
If “Crash Landing on You” can’t get someone hooked into the wonderful world of K-dramas, it’s almost a lost cause. What’s not to adore about Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin being smitten with each other on the small screen right before our eyes? Although the storyline is a bit outrageous, it’s got all the charming tropes of a K-drama that will make people fall in love. Not to mention, the hilarious North Korean squad will provide much-appreciated comic relief.
“Kingdom” is the hit series starring Joo Ji Hoon as Lee Chang and Bae Doona as Seo Bi. It’s a zombie drama that is set in the Joseon period, which sounds pretty awesome. Joo Ji Hoon is crown prince Lee Chang who is trying to find out why he is not allowed to visit his father. In order to find out, he goes out to look for the doctor who is treating his father. It’s on this journey where he encounters Seo Bi and the storm of zombies that are slowly taking over the country.
“Kingdom” did a great job of being entertaining to those who do not even like the zombie or horror genre. Set in the backdrop of a historical setting, it is thoroughly entertaining to see how the characters make do against the zombies without having any heavy artillery. It’s a script that hasn’t been done before and one that people will appreciate. You also have the added pleasure of being on the edge of your seat throughout most of the series, wondering how everything will turn out. It’s undoubtedly a good watch for any of your friends who will give it a shot!
5. “Master’s Sun”
Gong Hyo Jin plays Tae Gong Sil, a girl who barely gets enough sleep at night because she’s constantly being pestered by dead people wanting her to do things for them. But when she meets Joo Joong Won (So Ji Sub), she finds out that she doesn’t see dead people when she touches him. The two start off despising each other, but because Gong Sil is able to find peace when she’s around Joong Won, she acts pretty clingy. The two embark on a weird relationship and somehow end up falling in love with each other.
“Master’s Sun” is not your average romantic comedy as it involves some horror that will keep viewers on their toes. It’s got the cheesy factor, but the ghosts and ghouls do a great job of balancing it out. The chemistry between So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin is also hard to overlook, and people will appreciate their blossoming love story. It’s a K-drama that many will find hard to not finish and will surely suck them into starting a streak of watching other K-dramas.
Start watching “Master’s Sun”:
6. “The Red Sleeve”
Based on a novel, “The Red Sleeve” is a historical K-drama that tells the story of an emperor named Yi San (Lee Junho) who falls in love with a court lady named Seong Deok Im (Lee Se Young). Despite their differences in class and status, the two engage in a deep romance while trying to fight for their nation.
“The Red Sleeve” is a newer series but one that everyone should watch and will love. People will appreciate the fact that this one is based on true events that happened in the 18th century. The storyline will intrigue any age group as it has almost every genre packed into one series. The emotions that it evokes will make anyone curious about the world of K-dramas. It’s the perfect gateway series and is guaranteed to not be the last series anyone watches.
Check out the first episode:
7. “A Business Proposal”
Ahn Hyo Seop plays chaebol Kang Tae Moo who falls in love with Shin Ha Ri (Kim Sejeong), a woman he meets on a blind date. What he doesn’t know about Ha Ri is that she is stepping in for her best friend who doesn’t want to go on the blind date in the first place. After discovering that he was tricked, he offers Ha Ri an opportunity to be his fake girlfriend for the time being.
Based on the hit webtoon, “A Business Proposal” has taken the K-drama world by storm. Unexpectedly possessing the hearts of many, Kim Sejeong, Ahn Hyo Seop, Kim Min Kyu, and Seol In Ah have made their mark in people’s hearts. This trope-filled romantic comedy is anything but ordinary. It’s got enough charm to make anyone fall in love with K-dramas. Their hearts will never be the same!
“Happiness” stars Park Hyung Sik as Jung Yi Hyun, a detective, and Han Hyo Joo as Yoon Sae Bom, a tactical agent of the Gyeonggi Police Station. The two were classmates in high school and end up in an apocalyptic situation where people are getting infected by a virus that turns them into zombie-like creatures. The two are fighting for their lives and for others.
“Happiness” has got the perfect balance of horror and romance. With the series being only 12 episodes long, it’s also not a huge commitment. It’s an easy watch with lots of action as well as romance to suit anyone’s tastes. There is also the added bonus of seeing two very charming and captivating actors do their thing while fighting for their lives.
Start watching “Happiness”:
“Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” stars Park Bo Young as an aspiring game maker who was born with super strength. She meets Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Sik), the CEO of a game company who happens to be in need of a bodyguard. He ends up hiring Do Bong Soon with the added bonus of letting her develop a game while she works for him.
Almost everyone enjoyed “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” when they first watched it. It’s probably because the heroine is one that many can relate to in the sense where viewers are taken on a journey of her being lost and confused to being confident and fulfilling her dreams. This series is a guaranteed satisfying binge watch, and viewers will also love the action and romance elements that K-dramas do so well.
Watch the first episode:
10. “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”
Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) works as a caregiver in a psychiatric hospital. He meets a woman named Go Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji) who writes dark children’s books, and she takes a strong liking to him. She is determined to win Kang Tae’s heart, but Kang Tae can’t be bothered with romance and relationships because he is devoted to taking care of his older brother Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se) who is autistic.
The charm of a group of misfits who are all dealing with their own life issues is so appealing and will draw anyone in. With the dark vibes of the OST in the background, this series is unique and more than enough to keep people intrigued. Your friends will be entranced with the charms of Seo Ye Ji and Kim Soo Hyun but will also be impressed with the acting chops of Oh Jung Se. It will surely win the hearts of even the toughest of critics!
11. “My Name”
Yoo Ji Woo (Han So Hee) has grown up with a mobster as a father. When he gets brutally murdered, she becomes a police officer in order to figure out who in the police department is responsible for her father’s death.
“My Name” is an unconventional K-drama that many will find very cool and so badass. The series involves a female lead who is hoping to avenge the death of her father and is willing to kick some serious butt in order for it to happen. She is independent and brave, and the fighting scenes are so action-packed that you’ll be holding your breath for most of the series. It’s a fast-paced story that leaves no room for boredom – the perfect series to binge and get people into K-dramas!
12. “My Mister”
Starring IU as Lee Ji An, “My Mister” is a heartbreaking story about a girl who is just trying to get by. She was dealt an unfortunate hand in life and has rarely had anything good happen to her. She takes care of her frail grandmother by taking on a bunch of part-time jobs and lives in a serious pit of constant depression. But this starts to change when she meets Park Dong Hoon (Lee Sun Gyun), an optimistic and compassionate office worker. He sees Ji An struggling and tries to help her whenever he can.
“My Mister” is not your standard K-drama filled with all the tropes, but it will definitely leave a lasting impression. There is sympathy for the main lead as she struggles to keep several jobs in hopes of supporting herself and her deaf grandmother. You can really see the hopelessness in her eyes, but one of the shining parts of this series is how Ji An rises above it all after hitting rock bottom. She is able to find light from a very unconventional source and finds the courage to dream again. It’s a theme that anyone would relate to and gain inspiration from!
Start watching “My Mister”:
Hey Soompiers, which of these gateway K-dramas is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
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!
Currently watching: “A Business Proposal,” “Forecasting Love and Weather,” “Soundtrack #1,” and “Twenty Five, Twenty One”
All-time favorite drama: “Secret Garden” and “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen