Soompi & Viki Staff Talk: What Is Your Favorite Historical K-Drama?

Sageuk, a term used to describe Korean historical dramas, is a very steady genre in the K-drama industry that always receives love from avid fans. However, it can also be a difficult genre to get into for international fans or those not as familiar with Korean history and culture. For anyone who is willing to give the genre a try, here are favorites chosen by some of our staff for this edition of Soompi & Viki Staff Talk that may serve as good recommendations!

Sala: “The Tale of Nokdu

Although I haven’t watched too many historical K-dramas, one of my favorite sageuk dramas would have to be “The Tale of Nokdu.” A rom-com set in the Joseon era, “The Tale of Nokdu” follows the story of Jeon Nok Du (Jang Dong Yoon), who disguises himself as a woman to enter a mysterious all-female community, and Dong Dong Joo (Kim So Hyun), a gisaeng-in-training who wants to be anything but a gisaeng (female courtesan). The phenomenal acting and emotional performances of Jang Dong Yoon and Kim So Hyun made their characters’ relationship feel fresh and that much more believable and romantic. The dynamic of this duo definitely impressed me and left a lasting impression.

Watch “The Tale of Nokdu”:

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Ginny: “The Matchmakers

I started watching “The Matchmakers” without expecting much, but once I started the series, I completely fell in love. It’s a story of widower Shim Jung Woo (Rowoon) and widow Jung Soon Deok (Cho Yi Hyun) who unite to arrange marriages for three young maidens, symbolizing the essence of the Joseon era. As they engage in matchmaking for the maidens, they seem to grow an emotional connection and gradually develop feelings for each other. Although it may seem like a typical romance, their situation is more complex due to the fact that Soon Deok has concealed her true social status. Each episode has a thrilling plot twist, and the series only continues to get more interesting!

Watch “The Matchmakers”:

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Somni: “The Red Sleeve

“The Red Sleeve” opened up a new world to me as I tend to prefer modern day dramas over historical dramas. I usually thought that it is hard to relate to characters from history, but the mature love story between Crown Prince Yi San (Lee Junho) and Sung Deok Im (Lee Se Young) really got me hooked for the first time in a while. Needless to say, the cast members showcased perfect acting skills, and the narrative of Sung Deok Im really tugged at my heartstrings. Watching her mature and get mentally stronger as she overcomes adversities while standing by Yi San’s side taught me some important life lessons that can be applied to various situations. I definitely recommend “The Red Sleeve” to those who are still unfamiliar with historical K-dramas. This might change your perspective like it did for me!

Watch “The Red Sleeve”:

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Winnie: “Poong, the Joseon Psychiatrist

I enjoyed a great journey watching “Poong, the Joseon Psychiatrist,” a historical K-drama that seamlessly blends mystery and romance. “Poong, the Joseon Psychiatrist” is about Yoo Se Poong (Kim Min Jae), a well-known internal medicine doctor who gets expelled from the royal court, who meets Seo Eun Woo (Kim Hyang Gi) in the strange village of Gyesu. The paths of Yoo Se Poong and Seo Eun Woo intertwine, and they delve into solving mysteries, leading to a blossoming connection. It offers a delightful combination of a bright storyline and perfect elements of mystery, making it super easy to watch and enjoy!

Watch “Poong, the Joseon Psychiatrist”:

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And “Poong, the Joseon Psychiatrist 2”:

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Yeon: “100 Days My Prince

I’m usually not a big fan of historical dramas as I find them quite difficult to understand and much less relatable. However, all the hype around “100 Days My Prince” a few years ago convinced me to give it a try, and I found myself hooked pretty quickly. “100 Days My Prince” is about crown prince Lee Yul (D.O.) who suffers from amnesia and wanders the countryside, where he ends up meeting Hong Shim (Nam Ji Hyun), the oldest unmarried woman in Joseon. Although it is a historical drama with the inevitable bloody action scenes, the main characters are absolutely adorable, and the romance is just as charming as modern-day rom-coms to make it a breezy watch for any K-drama fan.

Watch “100 Days My Prince”:

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Do you have a favorite historical drama? Let us know in the comments below! 

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