This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

10 Must-Watch K-Dramas

10 Must-Watch K-Dramas

Over the pandemic, I felt like I watched all the shows available on all the streaming networks and in a moment of curiosity stumbled upon Korean dramas — or K-dramas — and I haven’t looked back since. I was honestly late to the game, but these days, they’re practically the only thing I watch and really, the right word is DEVOUR. Most of them have 16 to 20 episodes, are wildly addictive, and tout a brilliant mix of romance, humor and something else (be it suspense, fantasy, etc). They tend to move quickly, have beautiful cinematography, incredible fashion, and amazing supporting casts.  I have an ongoing list of faves on my phone, and a good friend that feeds my addiction, but as I share more about my deep love for all things Korean on social channels, I’m getting a lot of requests for recommendations… so here’s my top ten list of must-watch dramas (knowing I have so many I still need to watch).

Comment on this post if you have other faves to share too!

  • Guardian: The Lonely & Great God (Goblin)

    Starring: Gong Yoo, Kim Go-eun, Lee Dong-wook, Yoo In-na
    Where to watch: Viki // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 16
    Type: Fantasy Romance

    About: Kim Shin, an immortal goblin, goes to find a human bride to remove an invisible sword from his chest and end his life. One day, school student Ji Eun-Tak confesses to him that she is the chosen one.

    Why I loved it: This is my #1 fave. I loved it so much! Love that it feels like a saga with the story unfolding over the span of years, love both Gong Yoo and Kim Go-eun so so much as well as Lee Dong-wook & Yoo In-na (secondary couple). Brimming with romance, comedy, action, plus mythological and historical elements, it feels like it has something for everyone.  I honestly still can’t get over it and feel like I’m chasing this drama with every new one I devour. Arguably the perfect place to start your own love affair with K-dramas.

  • King: Eternal Monarch

    Starring: Lee Min-ho, Kim Go-eun
    Where to watch: Netflix // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 16
    Type: Fantasy Romance, Suspense

    About: Korean emperor Lee Gon tries to close the doors to a parallel world which was opened by demons while a detective tries to protect the people and the one she loves.

    Why I loved it: After watching Goblin, Kim Go-eun really became one of my favorite female protagonists and you can’t beat Lee Min-ho either, one of my favorite male actors too. I loved that this was suspenseful and while also oozing with romance. It had an amazing support cast and loved the element of the parallel worlds. It was so good. I could watch these two actors in any drama, any time, forevermore.

  • It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

    Starring: Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Yea-ji
    Where to watch: Netflix // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 16
    Type: Romance, Murder Mystery

    About: A road to emotional healing opens up for an antisocial children’s book author and an employee in a psychiatric hospital.

    Why I loved it: This was my first real foray into dramas, and I loved every bit of it. The fashion, the goth vibes, the story, the actors (although Seo Yea-ji is apparently not the nicest and quite problematic IRL)—I was hooked and it sent me spiraling. The story is an emotional one with a foundational anchor in mental health. Seo Yea-ji is an author with anti-social behavior, and Kim Soo-hyun cares for his autistic brother (played by Oh Jung-se, who is phenomenal).  If you don’t want to subscribe to Viki just yet, this one or my next pick (Crash Landing) is a good place to start as they’re both available on Netflix. Also, have tissues on hand.

  • Crash Landing On You

    Starring: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin
    Where to watch: Netflix // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 16
    Type: Contemporary Romance

    About: A paragliding mishap drops a South Korean heiress in North Korea — and into the life of an army officer, who decides he will help her hide.

    Why I loved it: Romance lovers will be obsessed. I was obsessed. Real-life couple Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin are amazing in this (which is why the show was a massive hit), and I felt super invested emotionally in their story. The support cast is also unbelievable and I never wanted it to end. There are some moments which will seriously make you cry too.

  • Itaewon Class

    Starring: Park Seo-joon, Kim Da-mi
    Where to watch: Netflix // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 16
    Type: Contemporary Romance

    About: In a colorful Seoul neighborhood, an ex-con and his friends fight a mighty foe to make their ambitious dreams for their street bar a reality.

    Why I loved it: First of all, it stars Park Seo-joon who is probably my favorite Korean actor (he is rumored to be starring in the upcoming The Marvels!). It’s a little less romance and more of a group drama bristling with tension, about the life and ambitions of the character played by Park Seo-joon, who works to take down the man/family who killed his father. Bonus for BTS fans, Kim Taehyung wrote a song for this drama (Park Seo-joon and him are close friends since they both starred in Hwarang together)!

  • The Heirs (The Inheritors)

    Starring: Lee Min-ho, Park Shin-hye
    Where to watch: Netflix // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 20
    Type: Romance / Coming of age

    About: After a chance encounter in LA, two teens from different social backgrounds reunite at an exclusive high school attended by South Korea’s uber rich.

    Why I loved it: Once again we have Lee Min-ho (he is seriously awesome) and one of my favorite female actresses, Park Shin-hye (Memories of the Alhambra). This is an older one from 2013, but it’s so amazing. Think Gossip Girl with lots of tension, drama, betrayal, and of course, romance. I was super addicted to this one and binged it way too fast. There are rumors of a Season 2, and I’m dying just thinking about it.

  • True Beauty

    Starring: Cha Eun-woo, Moon Ga-young, Hwang In-youp
    Where to watch: Viki // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 16
    Type: Romance / Coming of age

    About: A female student’s life changes as she learns make-up techniques. Jugyeong lives hidden behind the make-up from her hurtful past, and Suho also loses joy from his hurtful past. The two rely on each other, sharing their secrets.

    Why I loved it: First off, Cha Eun-woo—LOVE HIM. This one is a moving coming-of-age story (based on a hugely popular webtoon) that is full of charm, emotion and romance. It’s about the journey to accepting who you are,  especially given the all-too-relatable struggles in high school. It’s a wonderful escape, and features one of the best, most lovable second leads.

  • What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim

    Starring: Park Seo-joon, Park Min-young
    Where to watch: Viki // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 16
    Type: Contemporary Romance

    About: Lee Young-Joon’s family runs a large company and he works as the vice-president of the company. He’s smart, rich and handsome, but he is arrogant. His secretary is Kim Mi-So and she’s worked for him for years. But when she suddenly decides to quit, his life is turned upside down and he decides to win her over romantically, no matter the cost.

    Why I loved it: This was such a fun, lighthearted romance—and of course it stars my fave, Park Seo-joon (Itaewon Class, Fight For My Way) and Park Min-young, who quickly became another favorite in the K-drama repertoire. It’s your classic office romance, and it’s full of humor, charm and angst.

  • Healer

    Starring: Chi Jang-wook, Park Min-young
    Where to watch: Viki // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 20
    Type: Romantic Suspense

    About: A fighter posing as a night courier agrees to protect a tabloid journalist whose investigation into a long-buried tragedy makes her a target for assassination.

    Why I loved it: Speaking of Park Min-young, she’s back in a very different style in this romantic suspense drama alongside Chi Jang-wook (love him too)! I loved that it had a different feel to the other dramas I had watched. It masterfully combines action, romance and humor with an enigmatic-but-flawed hero and a spirited, strong heroine.

  • Tale of The Nine-Tailed

    Starring: Lee Dong-wook, Jo Bo-ah
    Where to watch: Viki // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 16
    Type: Fantasy Romance

    About: A nine-tailed fox abdicates his position as the guardian mountain spirit of Baekdudaegan to search for the reincarnation of his one true love.

    Why I loved it: Lee Dong-wook from my ultimate fave, Goblin, is back as the gumiho…  the mythical Nine-Tailed Fox. This drama also has suspense and mystery and was totally addictive. I couldn’t love Lee Dong-wook more, and loved the both strong and vulnerable heroine played by Jo Bo-ah.

    By the way, I really struggled with picking my tenth drama. I couldn’t decide between this one, Fight For My Way (Viki) and Lovestruck in the City (Netflix)—so you should check those out too!

  • Watching Now: Nevertheless

    Starring: Song Kang, Han So-hee
    Where to watch: Netflix // See the trailer
    # Episodes: 10
    Type: Contemporary Romance

    About: The story of a romance between a man who is annoyed with relationships but likes to flirt and a woman who wants to date but does not believe in love.

    Why I loved it: Bonus recommendation! I am watching this one now and super loving it. It has a whole different vibe in my opinion, and a little bit of a love triangle. But don’t let that deter you, it’s a must watch! The hardest part is waiting for the next episode to drop (every Saturday). Six available episodes now on Netflix… watch along with me and let me know what you think!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

Subscribe for Updates:

Share This Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

On Instagram

SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG