10 K-Dramas To Cozy Up With During Autumn
There’s a slight crispness in the air, and as the leaves wear a tinge of vibrant hues, autumn makes its presence felt in many ways. Often called the second spring, it is a time for endings and new beginnings. The scenic autumn foliage, the bald cypress trees, soft sweaters, spiced beverages, and roasted sweet potatoes aside, there are many K-dramas that feel like autumn in their bittersweet, coming-of-age and slice-of-life narratives. To enjoy the season, here is a list of 10 K-dramas to cozy up with this autumn.
The title of this drama encapsulates what this show is about: the story of love, yearning, crumbling dreams, and grudges. Two baby girls are swapped at birth, and their destinies change in that split second. They later discover their identities as teenagers, but is it too late?
Yoon Eun Suh (Song Hye Kyo) and Yoon Joon Suh (Song Seung Heon) grew up together until the time they were teenagers. Eun Suh discovers that she is not the biological daughter of the Yoon family but that Shin Ae (Han Chae Young) is. The girls return to their original homes, not realizing that fate has other things in store for them. Years later when Joon Suh, now a successful artist, returns home to Korea from the United States, he meets Eun Suh again through his friend Tae Seok (Won Bin), who is in love with Eun Suh. Joon Suh and Eun Suh are drawn toward each other and fall hopelessly in love. But as the many threads of their past and present start to unravel, with a jealous Shin Ae being the culprit, life throws another curveball toward the star-crossed lovers.
“Autumn in My Heart” is a classic and is brought to life by Song Hye Kyo and Song Seung Heon’s stirring performances as they bring forth sadness, melancholy, and the pain of their characters to the fore. Song Hye Kyo is stunning as Eun Suh, and those long skirts and cowl neck sweaters did make a fashion statement as fans emulated her style from the drama. Keep a box of tissues handy since you won’t be able to control the tears that are bound to flow.
Start watching “Autumn in My Heart”:
“Guardian: The Lonely and Great God”
Kim Shin aka the Goblin (Gong Yoo) is a general that has been cursed with immortality, and the only way he can get deliverance from his fate is through the one woman who is destined to be his bride. The handsome and suave goblin, who is 900 years old but has been blessed with eternal youth, is yet to find his bride. Soon he meets the orphaned Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun), who not only has the knack to see ghosts but can call upon the goblin as well. But Eun Tak has a twisted fate. She has the Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook) closely watching her, since she has twisted the balance of fates, and he needs to set it right. Kim Shin finds himself drawn toward this reticent teen, whom he takes on a magical journey, opening up a whole new world for her. Though aware that Eun Tak is his bride, why is he so hesitant to have the sword withdrawn from his chest?
“Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” gives out autumn vibes, whether it’s its poignant narrative or the moody landscape. Kim Shin and Eun Tak take walks down Quebec’s reddish yellow dappled scenery and share a moment on Jumunjin Beach, and with Gong Yoo sporting long stylish trench coats and Kim Go Eun wearing a thick red scarf, the show cocoons you in a warm embrace with both its fashion and scenery. And beyond Gong Yoo’s chemistry with Kim Go Eun, there’s also his bromance with Lee Dong Wook which has been immortalized as one of the best onscreen pairings of all time.
Start watching “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God”:
“My Liberation Notes”
The Yeon Siblings (Lee El, Lee Min Ki, and Kim Ji Won) are caught in the monotony of life. While one is desperate to fall in love, hoping to find the right one, the middle one is aimless with no goal in mind, and the youngest wants out from the mundanity of her everyday life. The three are just existing from day to day with no joy whatsoever in their daily routine. Then there’s the arrival of a mysterious stranger, Mr. Gu (Son Suk Ku), who has been hired by their father to help save their failing business. Mr. Gu is an alcoholic and does not talk much, but his presence does jolt the siblings out of their inertia.
“My Liberation Notes” hits home in many aspects. It is raw and relatable in showing life the way we know it. It is unfiltered in its narrative, and the performances by the actors makes it a wholesome watch.
Crown Prince Yi San (Lee Junho) is hopelessly in love with a young and self-reliant court maid named Deok Im (Lee Se Young), but she constantly avoids his advances as she has no intentions of being one of his many concubines. But what Yi San feels for Deok Im is something way more intense and pure than he has felt for anyone else. But even though circumstances and situations lead to the inevitable, fate deals its cards regarding their destinies.
Lee Junho is pitch-perfect in his performance as Crown Prince Yi San and later the emperor. The actor portrays the anguish and yearning of a man in love and also a prospective leader focused on leading his people. And the chemistry between the leads has an innocence as well as a fiery intensity. Inspired by documents and eulogies written by King Jeongjo for his favorite concubine, the Royal Noble Consort Seong Ui Bin, “The Red Sleeve” is a beautiful drama which tugs your heart with the love story of a bygone time.
Start watching “The Red Sleeve”:
Hotshot divorce attorney Ha Ra (Kang Sora) can be intimidating in court but has a high success rate to show for her brilliance as a lawyer. A divorcee herself, she is still hurting over her breakup with her ex-husband Eun Beom (Jang Seung Jo), who is also a lawyer. When Eun Beom lands up at the same law firm as Ha Ra, all hell breaks loose. Eun Beom reiterates he has moved on, even going to the extent of setting up his ex-wife with his friend. But Ha Ra’s feelings run deep for her ex, even though she tries her best to show her nonchalance toward him. Can these two decide to put their differences aside and give each other a second chance?
“Strangers Again” is a light watch, and both characters make you root for them. Though they sometimes get exasperating as they try to extinguish the flames between them, they make it hard to choose sides on who is right or wrong. And Jang Seung Jo, who won hearts as the husband in “Encounter,” will charm you all over again in this show.
Start watching “Strangers Again”:
Kim Moo Young (Seo In Guk) is a mysterious sort—he comes across as intimidating but is a man who carries a lot of baggage. When he meets Yoo Jin Kang (Jung So Min), she tells him she cannot stand the sight of him, but the man sweeps her with his charm, and the two fall in love. But here comes the twist: Jin Kang’s older brother and detective (Park Sung Woong) is investigating a murder and is suspicious of Moo Young, the man his sister is madly in love with.
“The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” has a lot going on with its intensely gripping storyline which is high on its emotional quotient. It is a thriller that keeps you invested until the last frame. Seo In Guk draws you in with such finesse with his stark and raw performance that you cannot help but binge this one.
Start watching “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”:
A drama that sears through your heart with characters that leave a lasting impression, “Mr. Sunshine” is an epic masterpiece. Set in the early 19th century, it stars Lee Byung Hun as Eugene Choi and Kim Tae Ri as Go Ae Shin. Eugene Choi was born a slave and runs to the United States but later returns to his home country as a Captain of the Marine Corps. He has conflicted feelings for the country, which he feels abandoned him, but is also intensely driven to protect it. Ae Shin is a Joseon noblewoman, who is also a rebel against the authorities. The two fall in love despite their starkly different backgrounds and ideologies. The third angle in the story is the samurai Gu Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok).
Kim Tae Ri’s Ae Shin is one of the strongest female characters in dramaland, and she is unforgettable in her portrayal. The passionate love story between Ae Shin and Eugene Choi is intensely beautiful and heartbreaking as well, and Yoo Yeon Seok’s samurai also makes you root for him.
“Romance Is a Bonus Book”
Cha Eun Ho (Lee Jong Suk) is a successful author, literature professor, and the youngest editor-in-chief at his publishing company. Kang Dan Yi (Lee Na Young) is married, divorced, and a single parent living a hand-to-mouth existence. Dan Yi has been out of the job market for so long that her one-time credentials are irrelevant in the current scenario. Dan Yi was Eun Ho’s minder when he was a young boy, but unbeknownst to her, her young charge was infatuated by her and still carries a torch for his noona. They meet after several years, but she keeps her situation hidden from Eun Ho. Dan Yi finds herself a job at Eun Ho’s company as an intern. She hustles her way through, refusing to take Eun Ho’s help in her pursuit to reinvent herself.
“Romance Is a Bonus Book” is a thoughtfully written drama. The characters are well-etched, and it showcases a woman’s quest to empower herself. The supportive male lead gets full marks, and Lee Na Young and Lee Jong Suk have awesome chemistry, while Wi Ha Jun in his supporting role is a scene stealer.
Lee Ji An (IU) is a debt-ridden and woebegone young woman who is just about trying to stay afloat in life. Overwhelmed and depressed, she is engulfed by a constant wave of sadness. She meets Park Dong Hoon (Lee Sun Gyun), an empathetic office worker, who is her polar opposite, always seeing the bright side of things. The two strike a friendship as he becomes her confidante and counselor, and the two derive comfort from each other.
“My Mister” is a stunning and heartbreaking show at the same time. It is intense and powerful, and the unrestrained performances by IU and Lee Sun Gyun leave an indelible mark.
Start watching “My Mister”:
News anchor Lee Jung Hoon (Kim Dong Wook) has hyperthymesia, which allows him to remember every memory in detail. He meets rising star Yeo Ha Jin (Moon Ga Young), who has forgotten some of her most important memories as a psychological defense mechanism. The two meet and fall in love, and they help heal each other’s deep emotional wounds, navigating the traumas of their past.
What’s endearing about this show is the sweet yet restrained chemistry between the lead actors. The show feels real, and the characters are relatable. As the plot comes with a few twists, it is interesting to see the back stories of the characters which are seamlessly woven in. Kim Dong Wook and Moon Ga Young serve a slowburn romance that is charming.
Start watching “Find Me in Your Memory”:
Hey Soompiers, which one of these dramas is your favorite show to watch during the fall? Let us know in the comments below!
Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yang Yang and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min Ho, Gong Yoo, Cha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram.
Currently watching: “The Matchmakers“