We have summed up 3 of our favourite and best Korean TV dramas that we think you will love and must watch right now
Korean TV dramas have seen a rapid rise in popularity in South Africa and across the world over the past few years. This has seen streaming websites jump to buy licensing rights and commission new content from South Korea, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that streaming giant Netflix committed to investing $500 million in South Korean films and TV series this year.
There are several reasons why K-Dramas are so popular, the main ones obviously being the beautiful sets and the gorgeous designer outfits worn by the series stars. Another one is the how well written they are, there’s never a shortage of drama, action, romance, and intrigue. Although many people have already hopped on the K-Drama train, we’ve compiled a list of 3 of some of the best shows to watch if you’re a newcomer to the genre.
The Last Empress
This 2018 romantic comedy-drama is set in an alternate reality where South Korea is still an empire and is ruled by a constitutional monarch. The show’s main character Oh Sunny – played by actress Jang Na-ra – is a working-class musical actress who thinks she’s won the lottery when the Emperor Lee Hyeok (Shin Sung-rok) asks her to marry him.
Unfortunately for her, the emperor did not marry her for any of the right reasons and the rest of the show deals with her trying to expose the royal family’s nefarious secrets while avoiding several assassination attempts, including one orchestrated by her husband. Oh Sunny also navigates a tricky love triangle with her bodyguard and the emperor. The series is a rollercoaster of emotions and is filled with multiple plot twists and turns and of course spectacular costumes and sets. The series won multiple awards in South Korea after it aired and is a must watch for any beginner trying to get into K-Dramas.
This 2016 drama is the perfect mix of romance and compelling storytelling. The series starts off with struggling single mother Kang Hye-soo (played by Uee) agreeing to enter a fake contract marriage with rich conglomerate CEO Han Ji-hoon (Lee Seo-jin).
On the surface it seems like a typical “opposite sides of the track” love story, where a rich man going through an existential crisis falls in love with a woman with a lower social standing after she helps him come to several epiphanies about his shallow life. However, the show is filled with many tender and heartfelt moments that make both Hye-soo and Ji-hoon endearing and frustrating at different points of the storyline. Even though the plot deals with several heavy topics, including caring for a partner with a terminal illness, there are enough light and heartfelt moments to make this drama a well round story that is the perfect weekend TV binge content.
This action-packed 2021 series was one of the most popular K-Drama releases this year, with it reportedly becoming one of the most watched dramas in South Korean history, pulling in over 3.8 million viewers for its final episode. The show revolves around the title character Vincenzo Cassano’s – a Korean-Italian mafia lawyer played by Song Joong-ki – attempts to safely retrieve a secret 1.5 tonne stash of gold hidden in the basement of an old building complex in a part of Seoul that’s under redevelopment.
Filled with plenty of entertaining fight scenes where the main character defeats his foes without breaking a sweat (or ruining his tailored Italian suits). The storyline deftly weaves the audience through how Vincenzo came to be the almost mythical anti-hero he’s known as, and his epic battle with the series’ main villains – who are of course a major corporation involved in several illegal dealings. Like most K-Dramas, the plot also involves a sweet love story between Vincenzo and the secondary protagonist Hong Cha-young (Jeon Yeo-been). With the just the right-mix of action, intrigue and “David vs Goliath” triumphs the show is a great addition to the ever-growing roster of K-Drama’s available for streaming.
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