It’s time to throw it way back to an era where K-dramas weren’t quite as mainstream as they are now and streaming them online took literally forever
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21 Mar 2017 - 11:09 AM  UPDATED 23 Aug 2018 - 11:43 AM

So, you’ve watched a recent super popular K-drama (our money is on Goblin) and you're now understandably impressed, and a little addicted (or you have no idea what I'm talking about but want to join the bandwagon).

If you're the former then your heart is probs still aching after being stolen by Gong Yoo/Lee Dong Wook/Song Joong Ki/Park Seo Joon/Park Hyung Sik/basically-any-male-lead-from-a-K-drama, and you’re thinking, what do I do with my life!? 

Firstly, welcome to the club. Secondly, you’re not alone. Would we really be K-drama fans if the end of each series didn’t leave us crippled with utter despair and emptiness? Worry not, my young and fresh fellow K-drama addict. I’ve got just the thing you need.

Here’s 6 K-dramas every newbie needs to experience.

1. Boys Over Flowers

This drama launched Lee Min Ho’s popularity. It’s an absolute classic that has been parodied by plenty of idol groups (like BIGBANG) and is the one drama everyone knows about.

The show follows the life of a poor scholarship student, Geum Jan Di as she enters an elite school for the super rich. She catches the attention of F4; the most popular and rich boys in the whole school. Filled with bullying and a touch of family tensions to spice things up, Boys Over Flowers is the original rich-guy-falls-in-love-with-poor-girl K-drama that woo-ed us all. It’s on Netflix right now, so it’s way easier to watch than it was back in 2009. Plus there's a C-drama version airing right now, Meteor Garden 2018!

2. Secret Garden

Secret Garden is the drama that made the body-swapping trope popular. Centred on the issues that arise when a high-end department store CEO, Kim Joo Won, and a tough-as-nails female stunt actress, Gil Ra Im, somehow end up swapping bodies, this drama is sure to bring plenty of laughs and aww-inducing moments as the protagonist's relationship develops. Featuring a love square with Joo Won’s cousin and his cousin’s first love, and the whole body-swapping thing added into the mix, this drama is anything but boring. 

3. Full House

Back in 2004 when watching dramas online was an extremely difficult task, Full House set the tone for K-drama rom-coms and contributed to the spread of the ‘Hallyu Wave.’ Starring Song Hye Gyo (the main lead from Descendants of the Sun) and Rain, this drama follows a series of highly unrealistic events instigated by the protagonist, Han Ji Eun, being tricked into going on an overseas trip so her friends can sell her house to support their unborn child. The storyline involves a maid becoming a superstar actor, which later transforms into a marriage contract, and two interrelated love triangles. Full House is something that you just have to try. 

4. Coffee Prince

Still not over your Goblin feels? If you're pining then watch Coffee Prince  and bask in the brilliance of Gong Yoo in his late 20s, playing the heir of a big family coffee business tasked with running a cafe. The protagonist, tomboy Go Eun Chan, ends up working at the cafe that Gong Yoo’s character, Choi Han Gyul, owns and manages. Han Gyul pretends to be gay to get his grandmother off his back about marriage and enlists Eun Chan to help him, but the two fall in love and Han Gyul, who doesn’t yet know that Eun Chan is a girl, subsequently experiences much inner conflict. If you’re not yet convinced, take note that the first episode features Gong Yoo walking around with nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. Just saying.

5. My Princess

Everyone’s probably dreamt of being a princess at least once, right? In this drama, we can (vicariously) experience the fulfillment of this dream through main character Lee Seol, a relatively average college student who discovers she's the great-granddaughter of the last Joseon Dynasty Emperor. Starring one of the most beautiful women in Korea, Kim Tae Hee is the perfect overnight princess and makes the world of royalty and luxury all the more enjoyable. 

6. Goong (Princess Hours)

Keeping with the princess theme, Goong is a drama from 2006 that depicted a world where South Korea was a constitutional monarchy. The main character, Chae-Gyeong, ends up betrothed to the Crown Prince due to some agreement between the previous Emperor and Chae-Gyeong’s grandfather. Despite some conflict, like the Crown Prince wanting to marry some other woman and another prince vying for Chae-Gyeong’s attention, the royal couple end up together and in love (as is expected). Also - fun fact - Song Ji Hyo is in this drama. Yup, the Song Ji Hyo from Running Man

Honourable Mentions

You’re Beautiful

A girl whose main dream is to be a nun ends up pretending to be her twin brother and joins a male idol group. Because, why not?

Dream High

A performing arts school where everyone wants to be an idol/some-other-form-of-celebrity starring heaps of famous IRL idols like IU, Suzy from MissA and two members from 2PM? Hells-to-the-yeah! 

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