Meet Your Next Big Obsession: Korean Dramas

Ten Asia / Contributor
Back in the pre-Golden Era of Television, people used to sit in front of the TV and flip channels for hours, dissatisfied with the offerings of infomercials and TLC reality shows. Now, most of us suffer from the opposite problem. There’s far more good TV than even the most devoted consumer could watch in a lifetime.
Brace yourselves, because your TV-watching life is about to get even more saturated with goodness. Enter the Korean TV show — or, as devotees call them, K-dramas. Once you start watching these Korean shows on Netflix, you’ll find it hard to stop.
Whether you’re watching a period piece or a romantic drama, you’ll find similar elements across the K-drama board. The shows are known for their action-packed narratives, gripping story arcs, pulpy relationships, and, of course, terrifically good-looking lead actors. Plus, unlike American TV shows, you don’t have to fear when, and if, the show will jump the shark. K-dramas are almost all one season, divided up into a manageable number of episodes.
Dive into the world of these addictive mini-series without pressure of committing to a second season. Here are the best places to start.
Read These Stories Next:
1 of 8
If you're a devotee of Olivia Pope from Scandal, watch

White Nights (2016)

As the characters in White Nights know all too well, it's a ruthless road to the top. The three main characters of White Nights — an heiress, her former lover, and her new hire — might have different backgrounds, but they share the same aspirations toward success.
2 of 8
If you're still missing Gossip Girl, watch

Boys Over Flowers (2014)

Typically, being the new girl at a high school doesn't result in four of your class's hottest boys chasing after you. But in this K-drama about a working-class girl who wins a scholarship to an elite boarding school, it does. In addition to navigating the unique pressures of South Korea's upper echelon, Geum Jan Di (Ku Hye-sun) has to deal with the F4 clique's advances.
3 of 8
If you love a good wartime romance, watch

Descendants of the Sun (2016)

Amid the chaos of the fictional war zone of Urk, a surgeon (Kang Mo-yeon) and a special forces officer (Yoo Shi-jin) fall in love. Fun fact: The show's stars are engaged in real life.
4 of 8
If you're struggling with the whole "adulting" thing, watch

Hello, My Twenties (2016)

What happens when five young women with five radically different personalities move into a house together? A hilarious, heartwarming, and relatable show. Hello, My Twenties intersperses emotional plot lines and intense character struggles with humor straight out of Crazy Ex Girlfriend. It's impossible not to like.
5 of 8
If you love That '70s Show, watch

Reply 1994 (2013)

The year is 1994, and six students have just moved into a boarding house run by a couple and their daughter, Sung Na-jung (Go Ara). The show flips back and forth between 1994 and 2013, so viewers can guess which of the roommates Sung Na-jung ends up with.
6 of 8
If you've run out of American crime dramas, watch

Bad Guys (2014)

In a move straight out of Catch Me If You Can, a detective hired to eradicate crime enlists help from three of the most notorious criminals in the prison system. In exchange for working for the police, three convicts are freed from jail: A psychopathic serial killer with two PhDs, a man who became a mob boss in 25 days, and a hit man who mysteriously turned himself.
7 of 8
If you like Mozart in the Jungle, watch

Tomorrow's Cantabile (2014)

In the competitive environment of South Korea's most prestigious music academy, two young prodigies use music as the foundation for a romantic relationship.
8 of 8
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!