The Different Genres in Korean Dramas
By Chi-Chi Ezekwenna
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve heard a lot about Korean dramas and want to start watching, but don't know where or how to begin. There’s so many genres and options and choices. Which ones are the best? Where should I start? Luckily for you, this blog will take you through a bunch different genres of dramas, along with recommendations.
There are multiple different types of genres which include, but are not limited to: romance, sageuks, legal, melodrama, school based, sci-fi, medical, psychological, suspense/mystery, and comedy.
In this blog, we will dive into the first three genres: romance, sageuks and legal.
Romance korean dramas are unlike any other. Filled with love triangles, second leads and a whole lot of drama, these dramas will have you arguing with your friend over who is the superior ship. Here are a few good romances to check out:
What's Wrong With Secretary Kim
Featuring Park Seo-Joon and Park Min-Young, this show is about a budding romance that arises between a narcissistic executive and his secretary that tries to quit after years of working together. Filled with love and laughter, this drama is bound to be one that will stick with you.
My ID Is Gangnam Beauty
Featuring ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo and Im Soo-Hyang, this drama is about Kang Mi-Rae, a young woman who decides to get plastic surgery after years of being bullied because of her appearance. In college, despite being considered beautiful, Kang Mi-Rae faces backlash and struggles with bullies, but a new friend comes along and helps her gain confidence. Not only does this drama have a beautiful and heartwarming romance, but it also talks about the reality of plastic surgery and beauty standards in Korea.
Sageuk are historical dramas. Often placed during the Joseon Era (July 1392 to October 1897), sageuk dramas are filled with beautiful traditional hanboks (traditional Korean clothes) and conspiracy in the monarchy. Being a history nerd, sageuks are my favorite genres because not only are the stories interesting (and sometimes even based on true stories and events), they give you a detailed take on Korean culture and what Korea was like back in the day. Check out these sageuk dramas:
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Starring Lee Joon-Gi, soloist IU and EXO’s Baekhyun, this drama is about a 21st century woman, Go Ha-Jin who travels back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty during a total eclipse. Trapped in the body of a girl whose cousin is married to the 8th prince of the time, she befriends the princes and finds herself stuck in a battle for the throne and for her love.
Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth
Starring Park Seo-Joon, Park Hyung-Sik, Go Ara and featuring SHINee’s Minho and BTS’ V, this show is a story about Hwarang, also known as Flowering Knights, an elite warrior group of male youth in the Kingdom of Silla. Yes, Hwarang did actually exist back then during ancient Korea. On top of the real addition of a Korean group, Hwarang also has the puppet King trope, people pretending to be family to avoid execution, and of course, love triangles.
Legal dramas have all the romance and all the drama, but in addition to the witty lawyers and bringing justice to those who deserve it - all while doing it in classy business attire. These dramas will have you unlocking your inner detective and pursue your unknown dream of being the best lawyer there has been. Some good legal shows are:
While You Were Sleeping
Starring Lee Jong-Suk and soloist Suzy, this drama tells a story about Jung Jae-Chan, a prosecutor teaming up with Nam Hong-Joo, a young woman who has visions of disasters that will happen in the future and work together to prevent those from happening in real life. There’s crime, murder, law and of course love all packed into this one drama.
Starring Ji Chang-Wook and Nam Ji-Hyun, this story is about a prosecutor whose life gets turned upside down after meeting his new intern who becomes a prime murder suspect soon after joining his office. Not only is this drama a comedy, it has crime and secrets that could destroy relationships.
With these 6 recommendations, I hope some of them appealed to you or you even found some that suit your taste. Come back later for a part 2, where we will discuss melodrama, school based and sci-fi dramas.
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