5 Classic OG BLs To Watch In Celebration Of Pride Month

Happy Pride Month, Soompiers! There’s so much to love about new-generation BLs from diverse storylines to being more self-aware of the genre and the community, but in celebration of Pride, this list is all about the OGs of the BL world before the big boom in boys love from 2020 and beyond.

You could certainly argue that today’s BLs are better in quality and quantity compared to the old stuff, but nostalgia for the classic (and sometimes flawed!) BLs of yesteryear is still strong, especially for longtime watchers.

If you haven’t already seen these five OG BLs, there’s no better time than Pride Month to watch a few of the classics that started it all!

Addicted

“Addicted” follows the complicated enemies-to-lovers relationship between Bai Luo Yin (Timmy Xu) and Gu Hai (Johnny Huang). Gu Hai transfers schools in spite of his controlling father, and he immediately butts heads with his new classmate, the quiet and hardworking Luo Yin. They start out annoying each other at every chance they get, but their relationship changes when Gu Hai stands up for Luo Yin.

Unbeknownst to them, their connection started before they became classmates. Gu Hai’s father has remarried, and he wants Gu Hai to become close with his new stepmother and stepbrother, but Gu Hai doesn’t want anything to do with them. What he doesn’t know is that his new stepmother happens to be Luo Yin’s estranged mother. Gu Hai becomes increasingly close to Luo Yin, eventually even living with him, unaware he is actually sleeping next to the new stepbrother he is trying to avoid.

If you’ve already seen the more recent drama “Stay With Me,” it’s actually based on the same storyline as its older sibling, “Addicted.” For many BL fans, “Addicted” is literally the show that started their BL addiction, so it’s very fitting to start with this beloved series.

Start watching “Addicted” now:

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Also watch “Stay With Me” below:

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“Together with Me”

Speaking of OGs in the BL world, “Together with Me” is the first series that Max Nattapool and Tul Pakorn worked together on. Max and Tul are one of the original Thai drama OTPs (one true pairing), and Thai series really love their OTPs.

In “Together with Me,” Korn (Max) and Knock (Tul) are university friends who have a passionate one-night stand. While the one-night stand feels like a drunken mistake to Knock, Korn actually has feelings for Knock. Being in a relationship like this with his friend is uncharted territory for Knock, let alone the fact he already has a serious relationship with his girlfriend.

Beyond Korn and Knock’s rocky path to love, the series also shows the relationships of some of their friends as they try to navigate the difficulties of young love and university life.

Korn’s supportive and no-nonsense close friend Yiwha (Maengmum Tanshi Bumrungkit) makes the show all the more fun to watch. She plays a big role in helping Korn and Knock sort out their feelings for each other. “Together with Me: The Next Chapter” is also the sequel to “Together with Me,” while “Bad Romance” focuses more on Yiwha’s love life.

HIStory 1

“HIStory” is a growing collection of Taiwanese BL dramas. You might have seen popular installments like “HIStory 3: Trapped” and “HIStory 3: Make Our Days Count,” but the original series “HIStory 1” goes way back to 2017. The first installment of “HIStory” follows three different couples with stand-alone stories. Sometimes, you’ll find the series broken up into three longer episodes, one per couple, while other times, each couple’s storyline is broken up into multiple episodes.

However you watch it, this is a classic when it comes to Taiwanese BLs, and it’s a great place to dive into the “HIStory” collection. In “HIStory 1,” the three stories are “HIStory: My Hero,” “HIStory: Stay Away From Me,” and “HIStory: Obsessed.”

“My Hero” is about a girl who dies and wakes up in the body of a boy and must make her living boyfriend fall in love with her again. “Stay Away From Me” is about new step-brothers moving in together and a meddling BL-loving friend who takes it as an opportunity to pair the two together. Lastly, in “Obsessed,” a man passes away in an accident after being betrayed by his boyfriend. When he reincarnates to the time before they got together, he’s determined not to fall in love with him again.

You’ll definitely be able to tell that the stories of “HIStory 1” are first-generation BLs. They have lots of stereotypical tropes as well as some scenes that would be considered problematic today, but it all goes to show just how far BLs and the “HIStory” franchise have grown since then.

Start watching “HIStory 1” now:

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“SOTUS: The Series”

If seeing a gear or pink milk makes you super nostalgic, then you’ve probably seen the iconic Thai BL, circa 2016, “SOTUS: The Series.” If you don’t get this niche reference, I won’t spoil it for you. “SOTUS” is another enemies-to-lovers storyline from the early days of Thai BL.

Like many Thai BLs of this era, “SOTUS” is set in college, focused on the engineering field. It tells the story of third-year college student Arthit (Krist Perawat Sangpotirat), who is head of the university’s hazing group. Arthit is in charge of overseeing the new freshmen class, which, lucky for him, includes the outspoken Kongpob (Singto Prachaya Ruangroj).

The show portrays an exaggerated hazing system, where the freshman must complete grueling tasks and team-building activities to be recognized as students of their department by the upperclassmen. During the hazing program, Kongpob is the one student who always stands up against the seniors and protects his friends, which makes him the target of Arthit’s hazing.

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No matter how many times Arthit puts Kongpob in his place, Kongpob doesn’t give up. He continues to provoke Arthit, which eventually turns into flirting. Kongpob’s strong spirit and honest personality start to break down Arthit’s stern persona as lead hazer, but the school and hazing system have rigid views on hierarchy, so it isn’t easy for Kongpob to get close to Arthit. While Arthit tries to maintain his position as Kongpob’s senior, Kongpob begins to have an effect on him.

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“SOTUS: The Series” is followed by a second season, “SOTUS S,” and a special episode. The main couple is also featured in the Thai BL anthology “Our Skky.”

Start watching “Our Skky” now:

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Advance Bravely

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“Advance Bravely” dives into the intriguing world of professional bodyguards. When the wealthy and carefree Xia Yao (Gong Jun) catches the eye of a glamorous and equally wealthy girl named Yuan Ru (Li Qiao Dan), Yuan Ru is certain that they are the perfect match. However, Xia Yao ignores her advances, so she asks her older brother Yuan Zong (Jason Xu) to help.

Yuan Zong is a former special forces soldier who now runs a bodyguard training company. While he’s an expert in self-defense, he isn’t exactly an expert when it comes to romance or subtlety. Thus begins an unpredictable game of cat and mouse between Yuan Zong and Xia Yao. Yuan Zong starts following Xia Yao around while Xia Yao is at a loss for what Yuan Zong wants from him. As the two spend more time together, Xia Yao starts developing feelings for the wrong sibling.

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The plot of this one certainly takes eccentric turns and has some wild scenarios, but the chemistry and crazy unspoken tension between the leads make it really worth the watch.

Start watching “Advance Bravely” now:

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This list of OG BLs is not comprehensive! Honorary mentions go to dramas like “2Moons: The Series,” “Love Sick: The Series,” “Diary of Tootsies,” “Red Balloon,” and Japan’s two-part series, “Seven Days.”

What were some of the first BLs that you watched? Let us know in the comments below!

Asya’s a BL-biased Soompi writer with a love of K-pop and all types of Asian dramas. Some of her favorite shows are “Psychopath Diary,” “Mr. Unlucky Has No Choice but to Kiss!,” “Light On Me,” “The Untamed,” “Go Go Squid!,” and “Cherry Magic!”

Currently watching: My Sweet Mobster” and “Jazz for Two”
Looking forward to: “Let Free the Curse of Taekwondo” and “The Rebound”

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