***This review is NOT sponsored. We watched these K-Dramas out of our own freewill and these are our own opinions. Remember that when watching K-Dramas YMMV!
For this week’s review, we decided that instead of reviewing a beauty product, we would review our favorite K-dramas! K-dramas are actually what started all of this, they were our inspiration for trying Asian beauty products in the first place. We’ve been watching K-dramas for a few years now, and we used to sit there and wonder how all the actors and actresses had such nice skin. Of course makeup was involved, but as we all know good skin is the key to any good makeup look. So, we thought we would share our top 5 favorite K-dramas with all of you! The ones that we think are truly magical. We had a hard time narrowing it down, but here they are.
**You’ll notice they all fall into the Romantic-Comedy genre, because we are suckers for a good love story. We would say we;re sorry, but let’s face it, we’re really not.
5) Coffee Prince (2007)
Coffee prince centers around a girl named Ko Eun-Chan, who is often mistaken for a boy because of her boyishly, handsome appearance and masculine manners. She is continuously doing odd jobs in order to support her mother and younger sister. During one of her part-time jobs, Eun-Chan accidentally becomes involved with a good-looking, rich young man who mistakes her for a boy. Their fate becomes entangled and they end up working at a coffee shop together, where there feelings for each other begin to develop into something more than friendship. Coffee Prince is a heartwarming and comedic love story, that teaches people that love goes beyond just physical appearances and gender.
This drama will always hold a special place in my heart as it is one of the very first K-dramas I ever watched. Actually, I believe it was the second K-drama I watched, because Lie to Me was the first and I ended up finding this one because the lead actress is the same in both. Anyway, I was immediately hooked on this drama once I found out it was gender-bender, because gender-bender love stories are my favorite. To me there is nothing better than a love story in which two people fall for each other, solely based off what’s inside. My only complaint about this drama is that when the main guy Han-Gyul thinks he might be gay, the writers make being gay out to be a bad thing (which we all know it absolutely is not) and that to me is irritating because of my own personal views.
Coffee Prince was my first K-drama. I remember coming over one day, and Sara raving about some show where a girl was pretending to be a boy and her and the boss fall in love. I was hesitant until I finally let her show me the first episode and it’s been a down hill spiral into k-drama ever since. Like Sara, this drama has a special place in my heart, and I find myself constantly recommending it to first time watchers.
For more information on Coffee Prince, click here.
4) Oh My Venus (2015)
So Ji-Sub stars as a personal trainer, Kim Young-Ho, that slinks back to Korea after getting caught up in a Hollywood scandal. On his flight back, he meets Kang Joo-Eun (played by Shin Min Ah) a lawyer who was once considered the goddess, Venus, at her high school. Now 33 and overweight, Kang Joo-Eun is determined to lose the weight, hoping to throw her Venus body in the face of her newly “exed” boyfriend. Together, Kang Joo-Eun and Kim Young-Ho fight against the baggage that has been holding them back from living a happy and healthy life.
There’s a lot of good to say about Oh My Venus. The plot focuses on serious issues such as obesity, anorexia, and other physical issues while somehow staying light-hearted and fluffy. The plot dipped low and stayed serious when it was appropriate but otherwise had a light and romcom feeling that left me giddy and full of butterflies long after I watched the last episode. If you get sick of the melodramas, this show is a great break from all the serious and sad that can come with watching K-dramas.
This drama is the absolute cutest. But seriously, the cutest. First off, Shin Min Ah and So Ji-Sub as the lead actors? Could not have asked for better! These two had amazing chemistry on screen and their whole romance was just so feel good (you know, except for the whole heart-wrenching sad part that had to happen or it wouldn’t be a K-drama). Their whole relationship was just adorable. Also, not to mention the beautiful bromance between the three male leads. I honestly cannot come up with a single negative thing to say about this drama. This drama is a breath of fresh air in a sea of overly depressing romance dramas. Pure cuteness.
For more information on Oh My Venus, click here.
3) Reply 1997 & 1994 (2012 & 2013)
The reply series, written by Lee Woo-Jjung, usually centers around six friends, and a non-linear plot line shifting between present and future, making viewers guess the husband of the female protagonist. The best part of the Reply series are their nostalgic emergence into pop culture and historical events that were occurring in early and mid 90’s. The characters are individual in quirky ways, while the slice of life plot makes you laugh, cry, and have an odd desire to buy a new tamagotchi off of Ebay for old time’s sake.
I can’t decide which Reply series was my favorite. There is something so special about Reply 1997, the first in the series. The characters are all so lovable and unique, and in the 21 episodes you share with them, you grow as if you were part of their pack of misfits. 1994 follows the same pattern of lovable characters mixed with retro humor, and also holds my favorite character, Trash-oppa! 1997 feels like the group of friends you knew in High School, the ones you grew up with, the fights you had, the flirtation, and the bond that forms over years and years of loyalty. 1994 perfectly captures that feeling of going away, coming to a new home and a new school as you start the very foreign adventure into adulthood. Even now I can’t pick, I could just ramble on forever about how genius the Reply series are.
There is just something so special about the Reply series. I’ve watched all three seasons, and 1997 and 1994 just shine. Reply 1988 I like for the nostalgic and family aspects it conveys, but the lead love story destroyed my heart and I’m still salty about it. However, 1997 and 1994 are just the perfect balance of friend/family drama and romance. These series is just so heartwarming and touching, that you cannot help but relate to it and feel for the characters. Even though the episodes can sometimes be really long (up to 2 hours), I never got bored. This series is truly an emotional roller-coaster (I would be laughing one second and crying the next), but the heartache is definitely worth it.
For more information on Reply 1997, click here.
For more information on Reply 1994, click here.
2) Pasta (2010)
Pasta is a love story that is cooked up in the kitchen. Seo Yoo-Kyung is a kitchen’s assistant who has been trying to work her way up to a chef position in La Sfera, an Italian restaurant known for its delicious pasta dishes and foie gras. One day the head chef is fired, and Choi Hyun-Wook, a chef trained in Italy, comes to replace him. Along with his refined cooking skills, he brings his own entourage of chefs and biased against women, into the kitchen with him. Due to a failed past love, Hyun-Wook believes women do not belong in the kitchen and fires all the female chefs, including Yoo-Kyung. However, Yoo-Kyung isn’t going to let that stand in her way of becoming a chef at La Sfera, and works her way back into the kitchen and into Hyun-Wook’s heart.
Pasta was another one of my first dramas. After watching Lee Sun-Kyun’s character as the second lead in Coffee Prince I was more than happy to see him as the main squeeze (and a totally delicious chef). The romance might be a little harsh at times but the tough love attitude didn’t stop me from falling for Choi Hyun-Wook’s character. If I can’t figure out what I want to watch, I’ll often rewatch episodes from Pasta. I love romantic comedies, and I love watching people make food so this drama was always an easy favorite, and I haven’t been able to find one quite like it since.
Oh, Pasta. This is the one drama that I will always watch over and over again. I seriously never get tired of it. Every time I go to watch it, I find it even more enjoyable. Some people complain about it because Chef (Hyun-Wook) can be a real dick sometimes, but for some reason I’ll never hate him. I have a tendency to love the leads that are the meanest, and not mean in an evil way (even though I sometimes enjoy that too) but mean in a way where you know they are actually nice on the inside, and just don’t show it. Even though with Chef, I think he kind of enjoys being mean. But I kind of like that too. What does that say about me!!??? Anyway, watch this drama for the delicious food and romance!
For more information on Pasta, click here.
1) Fated to Love You (2014)
Kim Mi Young (Jang Na-Ra), a girl deemed as disposable as a “Post-it,” feels cherished for one day after a one night stand with Lee Gun(Jang Hyuk), a chaebol heir. That one night, however, comes back to haunt them with Kim Mi Young discovers she’s pregnant. Not one to shy away from responsibility, Lee Gun marries his baby mama. Though they did things out of order, the couple soon finds happiness out of their quirky situations, but not without a few bumps (and secondary love interests) thrown their way.
The plot has been done before; a man and woman taking their relationship from baby, to marriage, and then love, but never as great as this. Jang Hyuk makes Lee Gun a forgettable and eccentric character that makes you laugh, cry, and laugh some more. Theromance between the two characters may be a bit rocky at times but the quirky and cartoonish style with which the whole drama is portrayed makes you fall in love. Aside from Coffee Prince, this is the other show I tend to recommend for first time watchers. Though the story is strange, and the characters even stranger, I think it’s done in a style that could entertain literally anyone.
When I first found out about this drama I was super excited to watch it because the lead actor, Jang Hyuk, has been one of my favorite actors since I watched his movies Windstruck and Please Teach Me English (other cute rom-coms you should watch, even though Windstruck will make you ugly cry). However, I felt a bit iffy about the plot at first because of the way the one night stand happened, but the lead actors did a fantastic job bringing this drama to life. Jang Hyuk blew me away with his amazing portrayal of his role as Lee Gun, as did Jang Na-Ra in role as Kim Mi-Young. Seriously, what great actors. Their on screen chemistry really brought this drama to life and made it an experience I’ll never forget (especially because this show helped me to recover from a crazy finals week, good times).
For more information on Fated to Love You, click here.
Korean dramas, unlike American dramas, have a great tendency to bring humor and relatability to even the most ridiculous plot lines. New dramas are coming out all the time, and they seem to be getting better and better as time goes on. Picking just five dramas was a really hard task, our list being usually about 15 dramas long. While the list is ever changing, I think we both agree that these top 5 dramas will always take the cake in our hearts.
Websites where you can watch K-Dramas:
Viki starting at $4.99 a month
- Can watch for free but with ads and limited content
- 2 different payment options (by month or discounted all at one price)
- Click here for more information
Dramafever starting at $0.99 a month (with limited ads, but access to all content)
- Can watch for free but with ads and limited content
- There are 3 different premium subscription levels
- Click here for more information
**Netflix also has a few K-Dramas available, but the selection is quite limited.