4 Sageuks With Romance And A Dash Of Danger Like “The Forbidden Marriage”
It’s hard to believe that “The Forbidden Marriage” has come to an end! The show was a splash of sunshine during these winter weekends, and the main trio’s chemistry was on point throughout. But fear not, here is a roundup of the best youth sageuks, past and present, that are chemistry-laden, relatively angst-free, and guaranteed to leave you smiling. Check them out below!
“The Tale of Nokdu” is beloved by sageuk fans for the amazing romance between Jeon Nok Du (Jang Dong Yoon) and Dong Dong Ju (Kim So Hyun). Nok Du lives a peaceful life on an island with his father and brother when they’re attacked by female assassins. Determined to find out who’s targeting his family, Nok Du follows one of the assassins to Joseon’s capital where he bumps into Dong Ju, who is dressed like a man to avoid attention. They hate each other on sight. However, Nok Du discovers that the assassins’ trail leads to an all-female village of widows. Only women can enter because the village is strictly guarded by a trio of no-nonsense women. So Nok Du dresses as a woman and through a twist of fate somehow becomes Dong Ju’s adoptive mother!
Why you’ll love this: It’s the crack drama fans dream of! There are crossdressing hijinks, assassins, and political intrigue. Dong Ju is a skilled bowyer, and there’s someone she plans on killing, so the show isn’t afraid to venture into darker territory. But what keeps it grounded are the amazing female friendships, and the sweet romance between prickly Dong Ju and Nok Du (who’s a very sweet guy) is one to watch! He’s blown away by her from the start, and she is very unimpressed, which always makes for great fun.
Plus, there’s this legendary moment:
And too many cute moments to count! It’s definitely a must-watch.
Check out the drama below!
Here’s another romance involving a girl in disguise who’s a little too close to the king. In “Love in the Moonlight,” Hong Ra On (Kim Yoo Jung) dresses as a man and earns a living by providing dating advice and writing love letters for men to get the women of their dreams. The story begins when a client asks her to meet the woman he loves in person and impress her. Ra On’s low on money and high in debt, so she agrees, but the woman turns out to be a man! Crown Prince Hyomyeong (Park Bo Gum) is wary of the person who has been professing love to his sister, so he comes to the meeting instead of her and is very unimpressed by Ra On, whom he thinks is a fraud. Ra On has no idea and tries to bluff her way out, but they immediately get on each other’s bad side. Ra On even leaves him in a pit! One thing leads to another, and Ra On is roped into becoming a palace eunuch, but she later finds out that the Prince she’s serving is the same guy she left in a pit!
Why you’ll love it: Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung both have magnetic presences onscreen, and this drama is no different. There are plenty of sweet moments, and the palace intrigue is less heavy, making this a breezy, satisfying watch.
In addition to all this eye candy, there’s the magnificent beauty that is Kwak Dong Yeon in Joseon garb. The bodyguard role remains the best in sageuks. Here’s hoping for a drama where the bodyguard gets the girl and the king just watches them affectionately.
Check out the drama below!
Come for the pretty men, and stay for their amazing chemistry! Romance takes a backseat in this story that features some amazing bromances. With a crazy handsome cast—Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, BTS’s V, SHINee’s Minho, and Do Ji Han to name a few—the drama follows the lives of the titular Hwarang, a group of noblemen who train as warrior-scholars. All of them come with preexisting prejudices and secrets galore, especially Sam Maek Jong (Park Hyung Sik), who is secretly the heir to the throne, and Kim Sun Woo (Park Seo Joon), a commoner who isn’t aware of just who he really is. Political manipulation, dance battles, and love lines cross as the members of Hwarang adjust to life around each other. And the latter is the best part because these guys are hilarious.
Why you’ll love it: This group of knuckleheads is honestly insane. They bicker with each other while reluctantly growing increasingly fond of each other. And they accuse each other of this and that political move while trashing bars and beating up bad guys together.
Okay, but how stunning are they?
Check out the drama below!
For a drama featuring some of the most overused K-drama tropes in existence, “100 Days My Prince” shouldn’t work, but it really does!
Crown Prince Lee Yul (EXO’s D.O) hates his father, hates being Crown Prince, hates his loveless marriage with Kim So Hye (the beautiful Han So Hee), and spends his time trying to find ways to avoid consummating his marriage. The reason? It’s because of the girl he fell in love with when he was young, Yi Seo (Nam Ji Hyun), is the same girl whose family his father killed in order to take the throne. Lee Yul believes that Yi Seo is dead, unaware that she managed to flee that night and lives as a peasant girl now under the name Yeon Hong Shim.
When an assassination plot goes awry, Yul is knocked unconscious and awakens to no memory of who he is. He’s nursed back to health by none other than Hong Shim and her father, and in a strange twist of fate, he ends up marrying Hong Shim to avoid her being sold off to a lecherous nobleman with ugly intentions. Hong Shim remembers her past and what Yul’s family did but has no idea that he’s the odd (and utterly useless) man she has married. And Yul has no memory of anything, save an odd interest in Hong Shim. As the kingdom searches for its prince and political plots galore weave into Hong Shim and Yul’s married life and budding romance, can these two survive long enough for a happy ending where they both recognize and remember each other?
Why you’ll love it: Having been waited on hand and foot his entire life, Yul has no idea how to perform the most basic of chores, resulting in hilarious moments before and during his marriage to Hong Shim. The rest of the village is convinced that he’s a useless husband but are reluctantly impressed by his talent at reading, writing, and swordplay. For her part, Hong Shim is resourceful, intelligent, and takes no nonsense, making them quite the pair!
Haha, she has no time for him
Check out the drama below!
Bonus: “Our Blooming Youth”
This show has yet to air but boasts all the hallmarks of an excellent sageuk. The cast includes Park Hyung Sik, returning to sageuks after “Hwarang,” and the lovely Jeon So Nee as Min Jae Yi, a woman who prepares to be married off as was typical during the Joseon era. Only, her dreary duty-filled future is replaced by a more horrifying one when her family is murdered only four days before her wedding. Framed as the killer, Jae Yi is left without hope or recourse when the enigmatic Crown Prince Lee Hwan (Park Hyung Sik) steps in to rescue her at a cost.
The Crown Prince has a secret: he’s afflicted by a mysterious curse and needs Jae Yi’s help to break it. In return, he’ll hide her in the palace as a eunuch and aid her in finding her family’s murderer. Thus begins a strange predicament that has the Crown Prince and Jae Yi by each other’s side daily on a collision course towards a deeper relationship. But is it one that can last?
With mystery, murder, crossdressing, and likely a hefty dose of politcking, “Our Blooming Youth” promises as incredibly a ride as “The Forbidden Marriage.” So make sure to tune in when the first episode drops on Feburary 6th!
Check out a teaser below:
And don’t forget to binge-watch “The Forbidden Marriage” on Viki:
Hey, Soompiers! Which of these shows interest you the most? And which ones have you already seen? Let us know in the comments!
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: “Island,” “The Interest of Love,” “Agency,” and “Payback.”
Looking Forward to: “The Heavenly Idol,” “Gyeongseong Creature,” “Ask The Stars,” “The Girl Downstairs,” “The Worst Evil,” “Black Knight,” “Queen of Tears,” “Vigilante,” “Demon,” “Dr. Romantic 3,” “Daily Dose of Sunshine,” and Ji Sung’s next drama.