The lockdown is getting to us, and we are somehow, inexplicably, unable to find a Hollywood show or movie to watch online. Why not switch languages? Korean films and shows have been extremely popular in India for the last few years and the explosion of streaming platforms has now made access easier, with Netflix boasting of an impressive array of titles.
From feel-good romances and political thrillers to upscale high-school dramas (Gossip Girl who?) and unconventional sci-fi tales, there’s something for everyone to discover — and fall for — with most of these shows having episodes that are a little over an hour long, and a single season only with either 16 or 20 episodes each. Add a bunch of good-looking leads and gripping narratives, and it’s easy to get obsessed.. like the rest of the world is slowly discovering.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the several binge-worthy Korean shows out there, but here’s a selection of entertaining mini-series and shows across genres, if you’re looking to delve into something to get over your Parasite fix.
This engaging 2014 Korean series follows a night courier who goes by the name ‘Healer(Ji Chang-Wook), a tabloid news reporter (Park Min-Young), a star reporter(Yoo Ji-Tae) and the events that bring them together.The show makes for an entertaining watch thanks to its solid backstory about a group of five friends who used to run a secret pro-democracy radio broadcast and and the warm relationship between the leads.
Strong Girl Bong- Soon
Park Bo-Young stars in this 2017 TV series as Do-Bong Soon, a young woman born with superhuman strength who becomes the bodyguard of a rich heir Ahn Min-Hyuk (played by Park Hyung-Sik). He’s the CEO of a gaming company and she wants to create a video game which will star her as the main character. The series was a massive hit when it released and still remains a favourite for its strong, female lead.
A former mercenary soldier(Ji Chang-Wook) is hired to work as a bodyguard with the family of a presidential candidate. He has an agenda and the family has its own share of secrets. If you’re looking for a show with slickly shot action sequences and some daredevil stunts, this action-political thriller which also has an underlying revenge saga is the perfect watch.
A well written and researched medical drama, this 20 episode series which released in 2016 is a must-watch for the strong performances of its leads. While the story starts off with how Kim Rae-Won as a teacher inspires and transforms a rebellious Park Shin-Hye, they then meet 13 years later as neurosurgeons in the same hospital. The doctors and their colleagues now have to navigate their way through complex medical emergencies and relationships.
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim
If fuzzy, feel-good romance and comedy is what you’re looking for, this series has lots of it. This 2018 series revolves around a narcissistic vice-chairman(Played by Park Seo-Joon) who falls for his smart secretary (Park Min-Young). The parallel storylines follow the lives of their oddball colleagues and their relationships.
Ranked among the top ten highest rated shows in Korean Drama history, this new series chronicles the trials of an ex-convict (Park Seo-Joon) who opens a bar in Itaewon with one goal on his mind- to succeed. The show has come in for praise for its unconventional storyline, handling of themes and strong performances of its actors.
Crash Landing on You
A show that took audiences across Asia by storm, CLOY has Hyun Bin playing a North Korean Soldier and Son Ye-Jin, a rich entrepreneur from Seoul who fall in love after she crash lands in North Korea following a paragliding accident. Apart from the chemistry between the leads (which earned them the moniker ‘RiRi couple’ based on their character names), the show has an array of funny and warm characters Son Ye-Jin encounters when she’s stuck in North Korea.
Inheritors (The Heirs)
As the title goes, the show revolves around a group of rich high school kids who are all set to become heirs. If you’re looking for a show with a lot of high school drama coupled with romance and angst thrown in for good measure, this one fits the bill. Ji Chang Wook plays a wealthy heir( different from his bratty rich kid act in Boys Over Flowers though) who falls for Park Shin Hye, a poor student who gets an opportunity to attend the very exclusive Jeguk High School.
Other popular picks: Something in the Rain, Boys over Flowers, Romance is a Bonus Book, Oh my Ghost, That Winter, Hotel Del Luna, Memories of the Alhambra.