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The Different Genres in Korean Dramas

By Chi-Chi Ezekwenna

KDA Internship


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 Dramas

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 Dramas

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

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.


Suspicious Partner

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.

Sources:


Admin, T. A. (2019, December 10). 8 Types Of Korean Drama. KDrama Gear. https://kdramagear.com/blogs/news/8-types-of-korean-drama


AsianWiki. (n.d.-a). Hwarang - AsianWiki. Asianwiki.Com. https://asianwiki.com/Hwarang


AsianWiki. (n.d.-b). Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo - AsianWiki. Asianwiki.Com. https://asianwiki.com/Moon_Lovers:_Scarlet_Heart_Ryeo


D. (2020, September 18). 14 Popular Romantic K-Dramas You Must Watch. ReelRundown - Entertainment. https://reelrundown.com/tv/popular-romantic-korean-dramas-you-must-watch


SBS PopAsia HQ. (2018, May 2). 7 must-watch legal K-dramas. SBS PopAsia. https://www.sbs.com.au/popasia/blog/2018/05/02/7-must-watch-legal-k-dramas


Wikipedia contributors. (2020a, February 19). Korean melodrama. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_melodrama


Wikipedia contributors. (2020b, December 29). Hwarang. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hwarang


Кιωι♡, Α. (2016, September 17). 🔸Guide to Kdrama Genres🔸. K-Drama | Aminoapps.Com. https://aminoapps.com/c/k-drama/page/blog/guide-to-kdrama-genres/wKzs_ouJ5r8nMJ4nbpRMgxGBo1Ymppr

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