Are you wondering what all this “Kdrama” talk is about? Well, you’ve come to the right tour guide! Korean Drama Land is a busy, confusing place, with hundreds of thousands of shows to choose from. Once you realize how many there are, you are left to wonder: Where do I start?
That’s where I come in! I might not be Barbie, but I make a pretty great Kdrama Tour Guide for your Kdrama Beginner’s Tour, or KBT. Here on your KBT, I will lead you from beginner’s dramas, and onto all the different kinds of Korean Dramas that will inevitably get you hooked on some of the best love stories of all time. If you follow this map of posts, I will show you the best path to becoming a Kdrama fangirl:
The first stop on our KBT is what I like to call, your “gateway drama.” This is the drama that opens the gilded doors to the Drama Land beyond. This should be a drama that is somewhat familiar to the Western shows you already enjoy, but delightfully unique enough to suck you into the fandom you will never escape.
This addicting, Sci-Fi Romance has enchanted viewers from all over the world. From its steamy but stoic male lead who happens to come from another planet, and it’s quirky but confident female love interest, this show has it all: Passion, action, gripping story, laugh out loud comedy, heart-rending sorrow, and a happily-ever-after to tie it all together. (Just make sure you watch the “extra” episode to get that happy ending you’re looking for!)
I insist you watch this drama. Now.
Healer is an Action Romance about an “errand boy” who does the shady dirty work rich people need done, and he’s really good at it. But when an innocent girl gets caught up in a dangerous plot, he has to both protect her, and clear his own name. Think Jason Bourne with smexy romance. I wish I could dedicate the rest of this entire post to just pictures of Healer in all his hot spy outfits.
Okay, maybe just one.
This is probably my number one favorite couple of all time–Kdrama or not. They have chemistry for DAYYYSSS. This Paranormal Romance features a man from the Joseon era, which is Korea’s historical period from 14th century to 19th century. He mysteriously finds his way to our modern day, and falls in love with darling actress Choi Hee Jin. Not only does this drama dip your toes into the Joseon era (which can take some getting used to), but the pure, delicious romance between these two characters is something you cannot miss! Also of note is the fact that most Kdramas don’t show a lot of sexual chemistry. They are very sparing about showing us kisses, and definitely keep “skinship” (which is physical chemistry) fairly PG. Queen In-Hyun’s man pushes that boundary just a bit. Which is refreshing for us Americans!
Speaking of Americans…
This right here is a grown up, sexy as heck, super interesting drama. It’s a bit of a risk to call it a gateway drama, because in many ways, Descendants of the Sun broke the Kdrama mold a little bit. It’s shot in a fictional, foreign country, which is not the Kdrama norm. But it allowed them to add all kinds of scrumptious elements like danger, American bad guys (totally not a normal thing you find in Kdramas! I was happily surprised), and super sexy military uniforms.
Okay, so that last one might have been more about the lack of uniform. But still, you get my point. It’s a great drama to ease into Korean culture, because they are dealing with a whole lot of other cultures anyway. The gist of the show is that a very driven female doctor is sent to a war-torn country to give relief aid, and be stationed at a military base. While there, she meets a very fine soldier who finds her absolutely irresistible.
I hope you enjoyed your first stop on our Kdrama Beginners Tour! As you can see from the map, there will be several more stops forthcoming. But for now, I suggest you sit back and enjoy the ride with one of these fantastic gateway dramas.
**Where to find Kdramas**
I felt it was important to add this, especially if you are new to watching them. There are two main websites that feature Kdramas: Viki and Dramafever. Both can be viewed from your computer, or from an app on your phone, tablet, or streaming device. All you have to do is download the apps, and you’ve got access to pretty much every Kdrama ever made!
You can also find some of them on Netflix and Hulu. My good friend over at I Know my Writes has recently made a post with some of the best dramas found on those two apps you might already have. Check it out here: