In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are under lockdown and self-isolating at home. As much as we wish this period felt like vacationing, it is becoming increasingly stressful. There is the anxiety of working from home, rationing supplies, worrying about jobs and health, caring for our loved ones—the list goes on and on. We seriously need to escape reality for a while. And what better way to do it than by binging on Korean dramas available on Netflix?
Below is a list of Korean dramas on Netflix that have been carefully chosen for their light-hearted content. With real-life suddenly turning into a mystery thriller, we guessed our readers might enjoy a selection of romances, comedies, fusion sageuks, and slice-of-life shows that are high on fun and low on stress. Have fun watching these shows!
1. My First First Love (2019)
College romance fans, this one is for you. My First First Love – seasons 1 & 2 – is an adorable slice-of-life show about a group of five friends from different financial backgrounds who end up living together. It stars Ji Soo (Strong Woman Do Bong-soon), Jung Chae-yeon (Drinking Solo) and B1A4’s Jung Jin-young (Love In The Moonlight) in lead roles. Imagine exciting road trips, adorable friendships, hilarious situations, and friends-to-lovers trope. The love triangle is so well done—on one hand, you have supportive childhood BFFs realizing their feelings for each other, and on the other, a couple from similar financial backgrounds who understand each other’s daily struggles. This show is the perfect distraction from reality!
2. Romance Is A Bonus Book (2019)
The ultimate feel-good noona romance! Set in the book publishing industry (hello, bookworms!), Romance Is A Bonus Book stars Lee Jong-suk (While You Were Sleeping) as an author and book editor and Lee Na-young (The Fugitive: Plan B) as a single mother struggling to find a job after a career break. Despite a significant age gap, the two share a close bond since childhood. This show features some delicious one-sided pining, an adorable and healthy friendship turned to romance, and interesting side characters. It also highlights the difficulties women face upon returning to work after a career break and makes you root for Lee Na-young’s character.
3. Cinderella And The Four Knights (2016)
This was Park So-dam‘s last drama before she starred in the Oscar-winning movie Parasite and became known as the ‘Jessica Jingle’ girl. In Cinderella and the Four Knights, she plays a high school senior who works part-time to support herself. She agrees to be a wealthy heir’s fake date but gets roped into his family drama. The four Knights in this show are played by Jung Il-woo (Haechi), Ahn Jae-hyun (Love With Flaws), Lee Jung-shin (Voice 2), and Choi Min (Yong-pal). Park So-dam wins hearts with her portrayal of a sassy and motivated young girl with a no-nonsense personality who is still very likable. While not all male leads steal the show, there are moments of good chemistry and a believable romance. Watch this show for Park So-dam and light-hearted comedic moments.
4. Let’s Eat (2013)
First of all, this is a food drama, so make sure you have something to munch on when watching it because it WILL make you hungry. Let’s Eat follows Yoon Doo-joon (Radio Romance), a gourmet chef, and Lee Soo-kyung (Left-handed Wife), a divorcee. This show explores the reality of living alone, which is something all of us currently isolated in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak will relate to. Besides the refreshing romance, comedy, and food porn, Let’s Eat also features a satisfying murder mystery to spice things up. You are likely to be inspired to cook new dishes after watching this show! If you end up liking it, you can move on to sequels Let’s Eat 2 and Let’s Eat 3, both of which explore similar themes and are equally as good.
5. Live Up To Your Name (2017)
One of the best examples of a fusion drama, Live Up To Your Name mashes together the genres of medical drama, sageuks, and time travel. Kim Nam-gil (The Fiery Priest) stars as a talented doctor living in the Joseon era, who is treated poorly because of his low birth. He time travels to modern-day Korea and meets Kim Ah-joong (Wanted), a surgeon. The two travel back and forth between the past and the present, learning about each other’s ways of practicing medicine. This show features a character-driven storyline about personal growth, while also giving us an amazing romance bursting with chemistry. It’s the most unique Korean drama ever!
6. My Sassy Girl (2017)
Another fusion sageuk in our list is My Sassy Girl, based on Cha Taehyun and Jun Ji-hyun’s iconic 2001 romantic comedy movie of the same name. Except, this story takes place in Joseon and stars Joo Won (Yong-pal) and Oh Yeon-seo (Love With Flaws) as a cold-hearted scholar and a troublemaker princess respectively. The series mostly maintains a light and comic tone, which is different from the usual sageuks that are all about politics and drama. Here, you will find light-hearted romance, hilarious moments, and some political power games to make it interesting. Also, the cinematography is stunning and makes the show a must-watch.
7. The Heirs (2013)
If you are into Korean dramas, then The Heirs is the drama that either got you here or the one you ended up watching anyway because it’s so popular. This is one of those iconic shows that every fan knows. It stars Lee Min-ho (The King: Eternal Monarch), Park Shin-hye (Memories of the Alhambra), and Kim Woo-bin (Uncontrollably Fond) as high schoolers caught in a love triangle and launched the trio to international fame. This show is basically the Korean equivalent of American series Gossip Girl—featuring wealthy heirs and petty family politics, the rich guy-poor girl trope, and an intense rivalry between the two male leads. Even if you have already watched it, a rewatch for the sake of nostalgia will be just as fun.
ONGOING KOREAN DRAMAS: Born Again | Good Casting | Dinner Mate (NEW) | King Maker: The Change of Destiny | Kkondae Intern | Mystic Pop-up Bar | Oh My Baby | Once Again | Somehow Family | Soul Mechanic | Sweet Munchies (NEW) | Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation (NEW) | The King: Eternal Monarch (POPULAR) | When My Love Blooms
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