Ever since the lockdown, I had stopped watching TV shows because I was too tired to invest in the same formulaic series. In late July, my office colleague recommended me to watch a Korean Drama TV series on Netflix - Crash Landing On You. And that's how it all began. I managed to finish the series in 5 days with an average of 3 episodes per day. A single episode runs for over an hour, and I didn't realise that I could watch a drama for such a long time. It is a fun series. After that, I started exploring a bunch of shows and decided to compile a list of ones I enjoyed.
If I had to express Korean Dramas in few words: Respect. Manners. Love. Gratitude. Friendship. Family. Food. Ramyeon. Kimchi. Soju. Tteokbokki. Jjajangmeyon. Fun. Bottled Emotions.
Of course, I would mostly get excited about food and hence the lead image.
- Crash Landing On You: Interesting take on N. Korea and S. Korea cultural, political, and military divide in a RomCom.
- Itaewon Class: Drama about revenge in a true sense about a simple, strong-minded guy and a food mogul.
- Descendants of the Sun: RomCom about soldiers and doctors.
- One Spring Night: A proper melodrama RomCom about unconventional love.
- Something in the Rain: Another melodrama RomCom about unconventional love.
- Hospital Playlist: Modern take on friendship of doctors. Really engaging drama, unlike the highly fictional 'Anatomical' take. Also, it's a fun surprise to have actual songs performed in episodes.
- Stranger (on-going): Slow-burn crime-legal procedure drama about crime and the turf war between the Police and the Prosecution.
- Signal: A Sci-fi-like crime-drama where a detective of the present communicates with a detective from the past. An interesting take on the real-world serial crime cases including the Gyeonggi-do murders (Memories of Murder) and other cases.
- Reply 1988: Superb, strong story-driven nostalgic drama about 5 neighbouring families.
- Welcome to Waikiki: FRIENDS-like ensemble of characters when one of them is a total goofball and the series is full of comic and anecdote events.
You Can Watch (Light shows) When Bored:
- Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Goblin): Fantasy story about the Goblin, the god of death, and the quest for salvation and love.
- Romance is a Bonus Book: A RomCom around book-makers who love books.
- Personal Taste: Low-budget visually, but fun drama if you can tolerate some nuisance and non-sensical things. You can watch it on Viki.com.
- Fight for My Way: Funny, Wacky, and bit of action-filled drama.
- Strong Girl Bong-soon: A lineage of women with superhuman strength and the drama around it involving a gaming company CEO who's also an heir.
- My Shy Boss: A logic-defying RomCom about revenge and behavioural change. In short, time pass.
- Hello! My Twenties on Netflix: Story about 5 female flatmates who live in Belle Epoque.
- The King: Eternal Monarch: Another RomCom about two parallel words of the pompous royalty of time loop and love for a girl from the other world.
- My Love from the Star: When an alien accidentally lands on earth and lives for over 400 years without grabbing attention, and falls for a celeb. Typical RomCom.
- Record of Youth: A RomTrag (Romantic Tragedy) close to real life about struggles, dreams and family values. From rags to riches, the power of diligence, hard work, sticking to values, and the realistic view of relationships.
You'll find most of these series on Netflix. One of the highly-rated series The World of the Married, based on BBC's Doctor Foster, is also available on Netflix.
In all fairness, I watched the Age of Youth to take a break from all those mentally grueling drama, crime, and comedies with a laugh track. And it did help. Most of the Korean shows on this list carry IMDb links since Netflix assigns different IDs to content in other regions. So you'll have to search for them in your Netflix region.