Whenever we head off into the unknown to explore something new we have to start out with a destination. A point of origin if you will that you look back on and say that’s where my passion overcame me. With k-dramas it’s no different. Let’s head on in and find the perfect show to pop your cherry…
I’ve exposed my rabid fan-dom of the Hallyu wave to criticism here where I explain all the reasons you should give the television addiction a fighting! chance. As with other television shows there are many different genres and I’ve broken them down into handy groups for your perusing pleasure here.
When you start out watching Korean Dramas it’s best to start with a trendy k-drama (explanation in this post) and one of which was a resounding success in the international community of Hallyu fangirls. Yes, there are giants among the many choices to be found in k-drama-land and these are the ones you want to choose from.
Coffee Prince is a 2007 romantic comedy that epitomizes what everyone wants from a romantic comedy. It’s funny but real. Heartfelt while making fun of itself. At the same time exploring the idea of love and what it means for the individual. A wild gender bender classic that inspires in you a desire to find your own lover to sacrifice for.
Secret Garden is a 2010 melodrama that takes makjang to a new level of incredible. It’s why the extreme plot twists that are makjang still exist; it’s that good. The writers ground the story in the very real, very hard world of two extremely different people. From there the sky’s the limit, such reality allowing the writers the freedom of wild flights of fancy. It’s this contrast that make this show so successful.
Sungkyunkwan Scandal is a 2010 historical fusion. A poster child for explaining why historical fusion is so very popular. Based upon the real Sungkyunkwan, the Joseon Dynasty’s highest educational institute we get to explore a bit of Korean history while meeting up with a pretty boy foursome. (Yup, one of those is really a girl…can you guess which one?)
Procedurals/Medical or Crime
City Hunter is a 2011 action revenge story with a twist of love. While not strictly a procedural it has a crime format to it that mimics the genre in a compelling way. If you are skeptical about k-dramas as a whole then this is the drama to start with – it will ruin other television for you with its powerful father-son relationship as well as his makjang feats of spydom.
An open mind is, of course, welcome when trying anything new. It’ll make the shows more enjoyable as well as exposes you to the wonderful delights of k-drama-land. Remember, unless you’re Korean, these are all classified as Foreign (subtitles apply). A plus is, when questioned, you can simply reply I’m expanding my cultural horizons by watching a Foreign mini-series. Makes you sound so smart doesn’t it? (Yes, the capital F is necessary to punctuate the benefits of such exposure to disbelieving friends and family.) Now go out and pop that k-drama cherry.
Have you watched a k-drama before? Are you open to streaming television? Is the fact you can watch the entire series at once appealing? Which genre example makes you excited to read subtitles?