Hey drama fans, you’re sad and I get it. It’s 2019 and you still haven’t managed to convince your best friends to start watching Korean dramas. You were sure that they’d fall for the military romance of Descendants of the Sun, and there’s no way that they couldn’t be charmed by IU’s stone cold heart in The Producers. Unfortunately, your mates have yet to catch the K-drama bug.
Over the years I’ve watched my fair share of Korean dramas and gotten some ideas of what might appeal to audiences who’ve grown up on Western programs their entire lives. It may not be that your friends don’t like K-dramas, but that some recommendations are a bit out there or intimidating for their first time.
On that note, here are five fantastic K-dramas that are likely to rope in your Western drama-loving friends.
1. Tomorrow With You
Equal parts romance and science-fiction, Tomorrow With You follows Yoo So-Joon, a man with the ability to time travel via the subway. Unlike most Korean dramas, which can appear slow-paced due to an average episode runtime of one hour as opposed to 20 or 40-minute American programs, Tomorrow With You is incredibly well-paced with constant story progression and twists that make you think about the consequences of time travel in an entirely new light.
We’ve all seen Back to the Future and Avengers: Endgame, but they don’t hold a candle to the well-constructed narrative of Tomorrow With You.
Who this drama is for: Your most K-drama resistant, stubborn friend
You’ll like this if you liked: Awake
Genre: Romance, science-fiction, time-travel
2. Hello, My Twenties!
Among this list, Hello, My Twenties! is the one I’ve come back to and watched over and over again. The premise is simple: five 20-somethings living together under one roof with wildly different personalities, including the workaholic, the pretty babied one, the promiscuous one, and the unique one. When the super shy Song Ji-Won moves into the household, the five girls have a new challenge to overcome beyond college life, including a ‘ghost’ that may be living in their shoe drawer.
This is one of the most realistic portrayals of young adult life that I’ve ever seen, and though it does have its out of this world moments, it’s truly a must watch drama.
Who this drama is for: Every human alive, but really anyone who’s experienced high school or university
You’ll like this if you liked: Friends, Skins
Genre: Comedy, friendship, drama, supernatural
3. Welcome to Waikiki
Welcome to Waikiki is very, very stupid. But in the same way that a loved one’s clumsiness or tendency to become hangry (hungry + angry) is incredibly endearing, so too is the cast of this K-drama. In this hilarious cross-between Friends and The Three Stooges, three best friends run a failing guesthouse with the ultimate dream of making movies together. However, their lives flip upside down when they wake up one morning to find a baby in one of their guest rooms.
Filled with non-stop laughs and enough childish poop jokes to make your stomach explode, Welcome to Waikiki is a unique comedy that doesn’t have a Western equivalent. Best of all, if you happen to love it, there’s a second season. I’m still battling over which one was better!
Who this drama is for: Your immature friend that likes to smile and laugh 24/7
You’ll like this if you liked: Friends, How I Met Your Mother
Genre: Comedy, friendship
4. Let’s Fight, Ghost!
Destiny and coincidence can play a big role in Korean drama land and those tropes are alive and well in Let’s Fight, Ghost! Second generation idol Taecyeon of 2PM and actress Kim So-Hyun play the roles of ghost hunter and ghost respectively in this delightful horror-comedy.
When the two find themselves running into each other at every turn, they decide to move in together to find out what connects them. Let’s Fight, Ghost! has far better action and a few more scares than you might expect, so be warned.
Who this drama is for: Someone who likes it when horror and romance are combined
You’ll like this if you liked: Being Human
Genre: Comedy, romance, supernatural
Not going to lie, Argon is a pretty serious drama tackling serious material. Argon follows an investigative news team that doesn’t care for false reporting and quick, convenient news. Unfortunately, they are at odds with the network and their sister news program due to their clashing values. It’s exactly like Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom, but with a tighter focus on the overall message of journalistic integrity rather than getting lost in the politics of it all.
Who this drama is for: The friend that cares about news ethics
You’ll like this if you liked: Newsroom
Genre: Drama, journalism
Have you seen all of these dramas? Any surprises in our list? Don’t forget to comment with what you recommend to your friends and let us know what they think!
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