My name is Odessa and I’m a K-Drama addict. There, I’ve said it and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m hooked on Hallyu.
Hallyu or the Korean Wave is Korea’s greatest import. Korean dramas and Korean pop (K-pop) gained popularity in the 90’s and has spread not only in Asia but in Latin America and United States as well.
In the Philippines, “Koreanovela” was first broadcast in 2003. Local networks have been constantly airing them ever since. According to Wikipedia, the first Koreanovela aired here was “Bright Girl.” And I remember I used to watched it then. But my fascination with K-Drama didn’t start there. It actually began when I read an article at refinery29.com more a year ago about “Coffee Prince.” Since then, I have been addicted.
One of the many reasons why I liked K-dramas is because of its format. They have a pre-determined number of episodes, usually 16. A couple of episodes are added depending on the show’s popularity. Meaning, the storyline has a definite end and it doesn’t drag on forever. It’s just like watching a really long movie.
Korean dramas are also diverse. They deal with a lot of topics. There are historical dramas, medical dramas, crime, television production, cooking, horror, comedy, and of course, romance. I noticed that they are well-researched, especially the medical and historical, ones. Plot and story lines are generally very complex, not usually straight forward. Some dramas feature a lot of prologues and epilogues to explain these storylines. Admittedly, many plots involves a chaebol (rich heir) falling for a poor girl. Sometimes, it’s just cringingly cheesy, but often times it’s much more than it seems, and the poor girl can kick some serious behind. And I really like dramas with a strong female character who doesn’t need a leading man.
That is not to say there aren’t bad dramas. Believe me, there are. There are shows that I’ve thought were a complete waste of my time. I wondered why I bothered watching past episode 4.
Here are a few of my favourite K-Dramas. Almost all of them are light, comedic-dramas and romance. I prefer not getting depressed over tragic endings. I’d take getting giddy and happy every time. I’m shallow like that.
*Descriptions taken from Dramago website.
Sikeurit Gadeun, 시크릿 가든
The drama tells the story of Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin), an arrogant and eccentric CEO who maintains the image of seeming perfection, and Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won), a poor and humble stuntwoman whose beauty and body are the object of envy amongst top actresses. Their accidental meeting, when Joo Won mistakes Ra Im for actress Park Chae Rin, marks the beginning of a tense, bickering relationship, through which Joo Won tries to hide a growing attraction to Ra Im that both confuses and disturbs him. To complicate matters further, a strange sequence of events results in them swapping bodies.
I have to say that this one os my favourite. Primarily because the female lead character is one tough chick. Damsel in distress, she is not. There is a fantastical twist, but if you can get over that, this one’s really good, worth watching over again.
A mysterious messenger of the 22nd century, an online newspaper reporter who only concerns her own interests, a popular reporter who agonizes over the truth and reality. When these three people meet, a passionate romance starts and the truths from the past and present reveal themselves to the world. This drama features young people and how they grow into real reporters.
It’s about an annoyingly persistent female reporter who like to get her way, and a shady guy who falls in love with her.
My Love From Another Star
My Love From the Star, My Lover From The Stars, You Came From the Stars, 별에서 온 그대/Byeoleseo On Geudae
Do Min Joon is an alien who lands in the Joseon era, and then lives through the next four hundred years to the present day where he works as university professor and falls in love with a haughty top actress, Chun Song Yi.
The breakout drama of 2014. It would not be fair if I leave this one out.
Fated to Love You (Korean)
Woonmyungcheoreom Neol Saranghae
An ordinary woman happens to spend one night with the successor of a large company. She finds herself being pregnant…..
This one is just so damn cute. And I like the part where the “ordinary woman” makes something of herself.
The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince
The life of Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) is not easy; she works many jobs to pay off debts and even gave up her feminine image. Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo) is the heir of a big food company, but his grandmother wants him to settle down, so she arranged many dates for him. After Eun Chan bumped into Han Kyul and was mistaken for a boy, Han Kyul decided to hire Eun Chan to be his gay lover in order to avoid the arranged dates. Desperately in need of money, Eun Chan had no choice but to accept. Han Kyul’s grandmother also made Han Kyul in charge of a filthy coffee shop in danger of being bankrupt. Eun Chan begged to work at the coffee shop, and not long after, feelings start to spark, except, how would Han Kyul accept his “homosexuality”?
The drama that started it all for me. Great acting by the female lead, and a very handsome male actor.
Oh My Venus
O Mai Bineoseu, Oh My Venus 2015, 오 마이 비너스
Kim Young-Ho (So Ji-Sub) is a personal trainer for Hollywood stars. Even though he comes from a wealthy family background, he suffered a devastating injury during his childhood days. Now, he overcomes his problems with patience and stubbornness. Kang Joo-Eun (Shin Min-A) is 33-years-old lawyer. She has struggled to support her family. Now, Kang Joo-Eun is overweight and not so attractive.
Another Cinderella story, I know. But again, don’t judge the book just yet. The female lead is great, and whatever she puts her mind to it, she can do it, just as she always says. So Ji-sub, the male lead is hot. Like sizzling.
My Love, Eun Dong
Beloved Eun Dong
A top star’s love for one woman spanning over 20 years.
Speak of enduring love. This is the kind of love every woman dreams of. That is it.
A Gentleman’s Dignity
A drama about the careers and love lives of urban professionals. It will tell the story of four men in their forties as they go through love, breakup, success and failure. Kim Do Jin, an architect with a scathing tongue have romantic relationship with strict high school teacher Seo Yi Soo, who moonlights as an umpire at amateur baseball games. Im Tae San is dating a cold-hearted woman but wonders if there is someone else out there for him. Choi Yoon tries to heal his heart after losing his wife seven years ago. Lee Jung Rok marries an older woman for money but may lose his comfortable lifestyle in a divorce.
So funny, this one. Each episode has a prologue and an epilogue. The four main actors chemistry is undeniable. It has a lot of LOL scenes, always a good way to pass time.
Cheese in the Trap
Chijeu In Deo Teuraep, 치즈 인 더 트랩
Hong Seol and Yoo Jung attend the same college, but they couldn’t be more different. Hong Seol is a poor, unpopular student with no money, while Yoo Jung is rich, well-liked, extremely smart, and popular. Hong Seol just wants to get through her college career quietly, but finds herself getting caught up in whatever Yoo Jung drags her into. Can Hong Seol break away, or will she continue to be the only person who sees Yoo Jung’s true self?
I’m just on the 3rd episode on this one, but I’m really liking it a lot. Complicated characters, especially the male lead. We’ll see how it goes.
Running Man (Korean: 런닝맨) is a South Korean variety show; a part of SBS’s Good Sunday lineup, along with K-pop Star (K팝 스타). It was first aired on July 11, 2010. This show is classified as an “urban action variety”; a never-before-seen new genre of variety shows. The MCs and guests complete missions in a landmark to win the race. It has garnered attention as being the come-back program for Yu Jae-suk, the main MC of the program, after leaving Good Sunday’s Family Outing in February 2010.
This one is a variety show. As time went on, I got to know Korean stars and they appear on this show. I really find this one funny, really laugh-out-loud funny, like people-looking-at-me-LOL funny. I am amazed by the lengths the production people go through with different challenges/missions at every episode.
So there. I hope you would enjoy watching Korean Dramas as much as I do!