Five K-Dramas Everyone Should Watch


K-dramas refers to Korean dramas that originate from South Korea but have subtitles in a variety of languages so that they are able to be streamed around the world for everyone to enjoy. Some characteristics that viewers should know before starting any K-drama are that the series usually only run for one season, episodes range anywhere between 12 and 20 per season, and the episodes are meant to be watched in pairs because they air back to back days when released in South Korea so the storylines are always connected like mini movies.

I started my foray into K-dramas during the Coronavirus Pandemic, and and quickly fell in love with many of the dramas. Below are some recommendations of some of the series I love that you can watch that will introduce you into the creative, unique world of K-dramas.


Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation

Pasta follows Chef Choi Hyun-wook, played by Lee Sun-kyun, as he takes over as head chef at the Italian restaurant, La Sfera. On his first day Choi fires all the female chefs because he believes its impossible for men and women to work together in a kitchen in harmony. The only female chef that remains is Seo Yoo-kyung, played by Gong Hyo-jin, who refuses to be fired because she has worked for years as a kitchen assistant and refuses to give up on her dream of being a chef. Seo continues showing up everyday and comes up with creative ways to force Choi to rehire her. As the show progresses Choi begins to recognize Seo’s passion for food and cooking is similar to his own and begins to see that maybe his ideas about female chefs are wrong. His respect for her soon turns to love, which brings a myriad of complications of its own.

The acting in Pasta is phenomenal, especially with the portrayal of head chef Choi. At first, viewers will assume that they are supposed to despise Choi, but the series quickly reveals the viewer is supposed to sympathize with him. The series has a few storylines that could be considered soapy, but the acting and the writing turns these aspects around and viewers will find themselves binging the series to find out the fates of all the characters who work at La Sfera.

Available to Stream On: Kocowa+

Extraordinary Attorney Woo

AStory / Netflix

Viewers who love law dramas combined with the whimsical will enjoy watching Extraordinary Attorney Woo. The series follows autistic attorney Woo-Young woo, played by Park Eun-bin, who is a probationary attorney at a large law firm run by a friend of her fathers. Because she is autistic her coworkers do not take her seriously and disregard a lot of her ideas about how to win cases at first. However, as the series progresses her coworkers begin to recognize Woo has a brilliant legal mind and because of her disability she sees the world differently which makes her a better lawyer. A theme that runs throughout the series is Woo’s love and obsession with whales and other marine animals, and the way the series demonstrates her passion for these animals in conjunction with her love of the law is one aspect of the show that will have viewers falling in love with it.

This series has lots of great twists and turns that many viewers may see coming, but they still further the plot in interesting ways. All the characters are fleshed out and are given moments to really shine which helps the audience become more invested in the show. This series provides a great introduction to the Korean justice system, and for viewers who watch American law dramas they will find themselves comparing and contrasting the different systems of law.

Available to Stream On: Netflix

Coffee Prince

Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation

A classic K-Drama from 2007, this series follows Choi Han-gyeol, played by Gong Yoo, who is forced to take over a coffee shop by his grandmother to show that he can run a business responsibly, at the same time she has been pressuring Gong to settle down and arranging dates for him to go on. To get out of these dates Choi decides to hire a man to pretend to be his gay lover. Enter Go Eun-chan, played by Yoon Eun-hye. Go is a tom boy who is always mistaken for a man, which she uses to her advantage to support her family financially since her father passed away. Slowly, Choi and Go begin to fall in love, but because of this lie between them misunderstandings continually force them to bury their feelings. Eventually, all the other male baristas find out about Go’s secret which adds to the drama as the supporting characters wrestle whether to tell their boss about Go or keep Go’s secret.

A girl pretending to be a boy is a common trope in K-Dramas and this series has one has one of best interpretations, as this iteration doesn’t devolve into too much angst. The various sub-plots that also appear in this series don’t distract from the main plot but actually add layers to the central theme that love and sacrifice can come in many forms.

Available to Stream On: Kocowa+

One Dollar Lawyer

Studio S / SBS TV

One Dollar Lawyer depicts the antics of former prosecutor Chun Ji-hoon, portrayed by Namkoong Min, as he takes on cases that no one else will while investigating corruption within the Korean government. Chun is aided in his quest by his two coworkers Baek Ma-ri and Sa Mu Jang, played respectively by Kim Ji-eun and Park Jin-woo. The opening title sequence gives the audience a glimpse into the craziness that is in store for them if they watch this series. The music included throughout the series adds to the whimsical atmosphere without taking away from the action and the story that is unfolding. One Dollar Lawyer also includes subtle hints and nods to a variety of genres, pushing viewers to rewind and rewatch scenes to fully appreciate what’s onscreen. Namkoong is phenomenal at portraying both sides of his eccentric and sober character that the viewers will almost forget its the same actor.

The series thrives at being only 12 episodes, making it feel like just enough but also not enough at the same time. The final two episodes have one of the best cat and mouse sequences that I have ever seen and definitely requires a rewatch to see how everything comes together at the end. Another excellent aspect of the series is how the supporting characters show their support for both Chun and each other not by grandiose actions but small moments that have huge consequences.

Available to Stream On: Hulu

Taxi Driver 1 and 2

Studio S / SBS TV

This action packed series will have viewers on the edge of their seats as they watch the Rainbow Taxi Company, a revenge-call service, takes on assignments. The members of this group have all experienced unimageable tragedy and because they can’t get justice for their own families, this group works together to get justice for others who the system has left behind. The leader of this group is Kim Do-gi, played by Lee-Je hoon, who was trained by the Korean military and uses the skills he developed to support Rainbow Taxi in their missions. Other characters include Jang Sung-chul, founder of Rainbow Taxi who uses his wealth and knowledge of criminal behavior to one up their targets, Ahn Go-eun, a skilled hacker, and finally Choi Kyung-goo and Park Jin-eon both mechanical geniuses who make sure the rainbow taxi keeps running.

The various schemes the team employs to take down their targets, who show zero remorse, are absolutely brilliant with many twists and turns viewers won’t see coming. All the actors in the series have remarkable acting ability because they play multiple characters throughout the season, but besides the acting, the action sequences, choreography, and stunts are breathtaking. Fans will find themselves laughing one moment, crying then next, then cheering.

Not many Korean series go beyond one season, so Taxi Driver getting a second season demonstrates how excellent and well loved this series is.

Available to Stream On: Kocowa+

Leave a Reply


Related articles