My Top 25 Korean Drama List
Here it is. Links to follow since dramawiki is being mean.
1. King Baker Kim Tak Gu
I really loved this drama. It makes my number one slot because I was pulled along by the story without that dragging sensation when drama’s start to feel like they’re being drawn out. Every episode was significant, the actors/actresses were amazing, and I’ve never really cared for bread, but this show made it seem magical, poetic, and tragic all in one.
2. City Hunter
When I recommend Korean Drama to my friends, I always tell them to start with City Hunter. The first episode is awesome. Action, drama, tragedy, and comedy made that first episode a drama all on its own. That said, the remaining episodes are not nearly as crazy as the first, but it does grow the characters and the plot with some great payoffs toward the end. It makes my number 2 slot because there are moments when I felt like they were dragging it out, and I was not blown away by the ending.
3. My Lovely Sam Soon
Ever been that person in the corner watching everyone else fall in love while you get dumped, remain single, and just get older wishing your love would arrive. Take a strong, lovable personality, throw in a dash of drama with a little comedic slapstick, and you have this great drama. I loved Sam Soon and I wanted her to win because of who she was, rather than the superficial stereotypes we normally attach to beauty. It’s one of those dramas that makes you feel good and more confident in those little quirks that make you unique.
4. Bad Boy/Bad Guy
I’m still reeling from the affects this one did on my psyche. I’d put it number one, but with all of the crazy tragic drama that came out of this, I felt they didn’t complete the story fully. I understand that there were circumstances that required them to end this drama early, so no one is entirely at fault, but it was so good that it had the potential to be far more than what it ending up being. Don’t get me wrong, it was great, but like I said, I’m still trying to get over what it did to me.
5. Smile, Dong Hae
I have never in my life been taken over so many cliffs. This is one of those dramas that you spend all day sitting on the couch because you have to see what happens next. There were also moments when I thought it starting to get predictable and then bam! The plot just thickened. Why put it so low on the list? There were periods when I knew they were drawing things out for affect, and there are many episodes in this one. There are also repeats of certain plot devices and tactics that were used to keep the story going. At certain points I shook my head in disappointment. The growth of the characters was slow, and the payoff isn’t gradual, it’s all at once, which made for some disappointment on my part.
6. Winter Sonata
I have to admit to watching the anime that this was later adapted to after watching the drama itself. I liked the drama better. It was a slow, gradual, rise to a crescendo of awesome. Forbidden love made forbidden by tragic happenstance and past promises become a web worth untangling. My only problem was that I wanted her to speak up more, rather than being dragged everywhere and staring silently when she was questioned about her true feelings. I know the point was for the audience to feel everything with her without her sharing, so I forgive the process, but it did get frustrating at times.
If you’ve ever watched the British comedy Chef! I am certain that you will love Pasta. An arrogant head chef ( what other type is there ) and an underdog that wishes she could become a chef battling their way through a forbidden romance and a professional career. It was funny and heartwarming without being too predictable.
8. Summer Scent
Everything fit. You know when you watch a show or movie and the title doesn’t suit it. This isn’t one of those. I felt the same way about Winter Sonata. Here, there is new, vibrant, life at the sacrifice of another life with a mixture of confusion, love, death, and finally rebirth. When we get a hint of the scent that summer has, you can get all that in one breath. This one kept going without too much disappointment, but the plot devices of always just missing one another at crucial moments bothered me after a bit. The ending was perfect, however, and made it well-worth the journey.
9. Personal Preference
Getting to know the main character and all of her quirks was the excitement of this drama. Understanding the history and the tragedy buried beneath those quirks also made this drama. It was funny, sad, and satisfying to watch. I was also excited to see Lee Min Ho again in a new role. I was expecting to see the same range I saw in Boys Over Flowers, but was impressed instead. I was even more impressed when I followed this up with City Hunter and saw that he had even more talent to show.
10. Princess Prosecutor
When I saw the title I immediately thought of Legally Blond, then I watched it and realized it was fairly similar, although with a Korean twist and a little more character development. This was more comedy than drama with little surprises along the way that made it worth watching.
11. Pure 19
This was my second drama after Secret Garden. It was a long one. I felt like there were certain points where they could have ended this and I would have felt just as satisfied, but I have to admit that I was disappointed when the ride was over. It was a good one and I always feel a burst of nostalgia when I see one of these actors/actresses in any later dramas, especially Koo Hye Sun.
12. Full House
The childish play between the two was hilarious, and it did get annoying at some point, but then it came right back around to hilarious. It had a satisfying ending as well, so I have to say it kept me entertained and I forgave the annoyance by the end.
13. Boys Over Flowers
My favorite scene is when Koo Hye Sun sings. I think that moment in the drama kind of sums up the whole drama. If you felt it, you know. It amazes me when I hear about all the things she is involved in from being a best-selling author, a singer, a director, and an artist. I can’t wait to watch Peach Tree and I’m really fascinated by the plot that she wrote and directed herself. She plays these very cute characters, but she has a really complex character of her own. I can’t wait to see more from her.
14. Secret Garden
This was my first Kdrama. I recall being surprised by the amount of plot twists that were thrown at the audience. Just when I thought it was going in one direction, they turned a new corner, and then another, and finally I just held on and waited for it to be over. I even jumped up and down when Sector 7 came to Netflix…I just wish Sector 7 had lived up to the hype.
15. Coffee House
Park Si Yeon speaks the best English of all of the dramas I’ve heard to date. Glad I got that out of the way. The antics that they put these characters through are hilarious, but what got me the most was Ham Eun Jung. I hope this doesn’t spoil the show for anyone, but I was the most moved when she cried toward the end. It was done so well, fit the story so perfectly, and it seemed really genuine.
16. What Planet Are You From?/What Star Are You From?
I found myself very confused at the start of this drama. I felt like I was coming in at the middle of the drama instead of at the beginning. I stuck with it anyway and I was rewarded with Jung Ryu Won’s dual performance as two sisters separated at birth. The story kind of lost its momentum, but I was drawn in by Jung Ryu Won to the end.
17. History of A Salaryman
I didn’t read the description before I started watching this. I actually thought it was supposed to be a serious drama. I was actually searching for Giant, which I heard was a great drama. The beginning scene did nothing to deter me from this assumption, then it got really silly, and then serious, and then really silly again. And then I recognized Jung Ryu Won and soon she became my favorite actress and this show became hilarious. It has some rough areas, and I think it’s because it gets a little too silly, but once you relax and just accept the fact that the actors/actresses are just having fun at your expense, you’ll love it. By the way, if Jung Ryu Won is reading this… “I love you.”
18. Coffee Prince
When I started Coffee Prince, I was a little disappointed. I thought it might be similar to Coffee House in some way. I guess because of the name. Not to mention, I’m not a big fan of girls passing as guys or vice-versa and constantly being worried about someone catching on to their deception. It’s nothing against cross-dressers or anything. I just am not entertained by that type of plotline. Coffee Prince was good, however, and the situations that the two are put in were funny enough to keep me watching it all the way through. In fact, by the end, I was looking up all the dramas I could find that included Yoon Eun Hye. This, of course, led me to check out her brief career as a kpop star in the group Baby Vox….I’m glad she went to drama, although I am wondering if she will ever show off her singing talents in future.
Still on my Yoon Eun Hye high, I went to Goong. I was not aware of the Manga at the time, and so was a little confused, at first, by what I was seeing. Eventually, I had to change my mind-set a little and eventually I got into the story. I have to say that Yoon Eun Hye is great in it. I enjoyed the story immensely and all the things they did with the teddy bears was very impressive, but towards the end I was just waiting for it to be over. It became very predictable and without any huge surprises. Was I watching too much Yoon Eun Hye?
20. Birdie Buddy
I have to say that I am a big fan of the kpop group Afterschool and when I heard that Uee was in a drama, I checked day and night until I saw that it was available. My expectations were low after years of pop stars letting me down in the 80’s ( i.e. Kid ‘n Play, Prince, Madonna, Spice Girls (I know, technically the 90’s, but still the same feeling)). I was surprised by how good she was in it, and the story was actually very entertaining. I wasn’t moved to the extreme and I didn’t jump out of my seat, but I wasn’t disappointed.
21. Shining Inheritance
I didn’t really like the first episode and came back to it later and enjoyed it mostly. It took a few episodes to get going, but it eventually did and I was glad for it. It was good, but not great.
22. Can't Lose
I was happy to see Choi Ji Woo (Winter Sonata) and Yoon Sang Hyun (Secret Garden) again. It was like a reunion of two people I loved from different places. It was a fun romp of a married couple, married maybe a little too fast, reinventing their relationship and learning to be better by helping others through their difficulties. It was funny and heart-warming.
23. Playful Kiss
Another show based on a Manga. I was prepared this time, and I was not too disappointed. I think I might just be too old to care about high school and being a teenager in high school. There were parts that were hilarious, especially when she gets chased by the flasher, but otherwise it was okay.
24. Lie To Me
I actually didn’t know that Yoon Eyn Hye was in this one until I started it. I was surprised and elated. The first episode is well-worth the watch, but it does get predictable towards the middle. I was not disappointed by the ending, but I wasn’t surprised either.
25. You're Beautiful
Not a big fan of girl dresses like guy, fools everyone and is afraid of anyone finding out her secret, but this show had Uee and I have to say that I enjoyed the comical misinterpretations.