10 High School K-Dramas To Watch At The Start Of A New School Year

It’s back to school season again! A new semester, new experiences, and one step closer to your dreams. There is always a trepidation of excitement, as well as apprehension when the new school term begins. So, as a warm-up and to set the mood for school, check out these 10 K-dramas to start the new school year with.

Playful Kiss

High school crushes, the first brush of love, and heart-fluttering kisses – these are some precious memories of those teenage years. “Playful Kiss,” a Korean remake of the Taiwanese mega-hit drama “It Started With A Kiss,” is a quirky and fun rom-com. The stoic yet somewhat arrogant Baek Seung Jo (Kim Hyun Joong) is Oh Ha Ni’s (Jung So Min) object of affection. She is massively infatuated, and he could not be bothered – after all, he is the school’s most sought-after boy. But things take a quirky turn when her family suddenly moves in with his. Will Ha Ni succeed in conquering the cold Seung Jo’s heart?

“Playful Kiss” is a candy fluff romance, and the drama comes with several heart-fluttering yet angsty moments. It is a laidback and no fuss watch, which is just the best way to wind down after school.

Start watching “Playful Kiss”:

Watch Now

Reply 1997

A blast from the past, in the ’90s, as the world awaited a new millennium, time stands still for Sung Shi Won (Jung Eun Ji), a devoted fan girl. Hopelessly devoted to H.O.T and Tony Ahn, her world revolves around the band, and everything else pales into insignificance. It’s to the point where Yoon Yoon Jae (Seo In Guk), her best friend, devotedly adores her but she remains oblivious towards his feelings. Complications arise when Yoon Jae’s older brother takes a liking to Shi Won, and she accepts him instead. And given their distinct personalities, Shi Won and Yoon Jae share a volatile relationship, and there are constant fireworks when the two are around.

A coming-of-age drama, “Reply 1997” has a timeless appeal, as it draws one into its narrative of those wonder years. Shi Won as the loyal fangirl, who goes to extreme lengths to support her idols, is very relatable, and what makes this show interesting is how the story unfolds through the lens of its female lead. With growing pains and heartbreak, if you want to watch a drama that feels like a comforter for those good old days, “Reply 1997” is the one for you.

Start watching “Reply 1997”:

Watch Now

True Beauty

Lim Ju Gyeong (Moon Ga Young) has been relentlessly bullied and mocked for her looks. However, when her family relocates to a new neighborhood, Ju Gyeong gets the perfect opportunity to transform herself from geeky to gorgeous, thanks to the makeup tutorials she has been diligently following. She is titled a “goddess” of sorts in her new school, and her accentuated features and looks rate her high on the popularity charts. Being the school’s most sought-after girl, she also finds herself in the middle of a heart-wrenching love triangle between the aloof Lee Su Ho (Cha Eun Woo) and the so-called bad boy, Han Seo Jun (Hwang In Yeop), who were one time friends with each other but are now sworn enemies.

A light-hearted fare, “True Beauty” drives home the point of being comfortable with who you are, something a lot of teens grapple with. The three actors are totally in sync with each other, and the classic second lead syndrome is bound to tug at your heart.

Start watching “True Beauty”:

Watch Now

Dream High

What does it take to be a K-pop idol? The stakes are high and the competition tougher as six students arrive at The Kirin Arts Academy to get a foothold in the music industry. There’s the feisty Go Hye Mi (Suzy), who wrangles her way into the school despite losing the audition and has found herself an enemy in her best friend Baek Hee (Eun Jung). The village boy, Song Sam Dong (Kim Soo Hyun), is a music prodigy, but suffers from a rare malady. Then there is Jin Guk (Taecyeon), the talented and rebellious teen with serious daddy issues. You also have Kim Pil Suk (IU), the girl with perfect pitch but so self conscious about her appearance, and Jason (Wooyoung), a Korean American awaiting his big debut.

A breezy high school musical, “Dream High” charts the journey of the sextet, as they tide through the grind of auditions, grueling practice, and learn life lessons on the way. As Kim Soo Hyun’s Song Sam Dong is showcased as the first Korean singer taking home the Grammy, it was a prophecy of sorts, with K-pop taking the world by storm.

Start watching “Dream High”:

Watch Now

Extraordinary You

Imagine finding out you are a mere character in a comic book and that your destiny is in the hands of the writer. Eun Dan Oh (Kim Hye Yoon) is a normal high school girl with a large group of friends, but she realizes that she’s actually living in a comic book and is nothing but a minor character. What makes matters worse, she falls for Ha Roo (Rowoon), but she realizes that he is an extra in the comic book and barely features in it. With the odds being against them, can the two ever be together?

“Extraordinary You” is creative, quirky, and with a unique twist on the typical high school romance genre. As it raises questions of choices and free will, the cute chemistry between the lead characters is very endearing. And with the blend of fantasy and reality, it scores on its powerful storytelling.

Start watching “Extraordinary You”:

Watch Now

Moments of 18

Growing pains are for real, and the teen years come with several challenges and complexities. After getting kicked out of his old school, Choi Joon Woo (Ong Seong Wu) is transferred to a new school and meets Yoo Soo Bin (Kim Hyang Gi). Soo Bin is intrigued by Joon Woo and despite her instincts finds ways to spend with him. There is more to Joon Woo than meets the eye. He comes with baggage and a mysterious past. As they tide through their own struggles, the two develop strong feelings for each other.

“Moments of 18” brings with it a whiff of nostalgia and sweetness. As teen years can be a lonely time, the drama delves into how that one friend or having a support system can help in braving the challenges which seem insurmountable. Plus, Ong Seong Wu excels in his character portrayal of the vulnerable and sensitive Joon Woo.

Start watching “Moments of 18”:

Watch Now

School 2013

Grades, crushes, and teen angst – school life comes with its own share of struggles. Go Nam Soon (Lee Jong Suk) has had it tough and is constantly bullied by a classmate. The new transfer student  Park Heung Soo (Kim Woo Bin) has a shared history with Nam Soon and tilts the power balance in school. As these two face the wrath of school bullies, they also have to deal with their issues and complexities. And Jung In Jae (Jang Nara) and Kang Se Chan (Choi Daniel) are the homeroom teachers, trying to steer their young charges on the right path.

Lee Jong Suk and Kim Woo Bin’s bromance was a huge draw, and they were relatable as they brought out the angst of adolescence. The drama was a commentary on Korea’s competitive education system, the bullying and stress students go through, and how the time spent in school can turn into dreadful memories for the future.

Start watching “School 2013”:

Watch Now

Who Are You: School 2015

Lee Eun Bi and Lee Eun Byul, played by Kim So Hyun, are twins who were separated at a young age. When Eun Byul disappears mysteriously, Eun Bi takes her place. Han Yi Ahn (Nam Joo Hyuk), the school’s star swimmer, likes Eun Byul and mistakes Eun Bi for her twin. There is also the charming Gong Tae Kwang (Yook Sungjae), who likes Eun Bi, leading to an achingly sweet love triangle.

“Who Are You: School 2015” brings out the reality of school life and relatable student issues. Kim So Hyun excels in her double role, and between Nam Joo Hyuk and Yook Sungjae, viewers were left in a dilemma to pick their favorite male lead.

Start watching “Who Are You: School 2015”:

Watch Now

School 2017

Does your future depend on your ranking in school? And does a bad grade or rank translate as giving up on your dreams? Ra Eun Ho (Kim Sejeong) is an aspiring webtoon artist who hopes to get into an arts university despite her poor grades. There is also Dae Hwi (Jang Dong Yoon), the model student, who ranks first and is the favorite of all the teachers, with a bright future ahead. There’s also Tae Woon (Kim Jung Hyun), whose grades are irrelevant in his case, since his father is one of the investors in the school.

Although “School 2017” focuses more on high school students navigating a competitive academic environment, it also puts the focus on students whose talents lie outside of the academic sphere to show that it’s okay to have dreams and aspirations which may not be in the realm of a secure job. But it’s not just all work, there is also some fun play in “School 2017,” with the comical banter between the students, mysterious happenings in school, and a cute love story between Tae Woon and Eun Ho.

Start watching “School 2017”:

Watch Now

Cheer Up

Yeon Doo (Jung Eun Ji) is the head of the street dance club at her school, but when her club merges with that of the school’s elite club, there are some serious clashes in store. Kim Yeol (Lee Won Guen) is the president of the other club, and he is none too happy about the merger. As the members come together as part of the new cheerleading squad, there is anything but cheer between them. They clash, bicker, but eventually form a bond which brings them all close. And the romance which blossoms between Yeon Doo and Kim Yeol is cute, until a third wheel comes between them.

“Cheer Up,” as the title suggests, is a cheerful and comforting watch. It’s a spirited story about never giving up against the odds and is backed by endearing performances by all the actors.

Start watching “Cheer Up”:

Watch Now

Hey Soompiers, which one of these dramas are you going to watch in the new school year? Let us know in the comments below!

Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yoo Tae Oh and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min HoGong YooCha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram

How does this article make you feel?


Please login to Soompi to join the conversation!

Similar Articles