The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, so many people around the world are still encouraged to stay at home to help curb the spread of the virus. Many of us have been putting up with this pandemic-induced isolation, unable to do so many of the things that compose a normal life.
But let’s face it—there’s nothing we can do to stop this crisis all at once. That’s why we need to adapt and find ways to kill our quarantine boredom. And one way, obviously, is to indulge ourselves in Korean dramas! Do yourself a favor and consider watching (for FREE on Viu) at least one of the highly recommended shows listed below.
Luna: Goblin‘s (2016-2017) story is engrossing, but the star-studded cast ensemble is also something to look forward to. Penned by the award-winning screenwriter Kim Eun-sook, it stars Gong Yoo, Kim Go-eun (The King: Eternal Monarch), Lee Dong-wook (Tale of the Nine Tailed), Yoo In-na (The Spies Who Loved Me), and BTOB’s Yook Sung-jae (Mystic Pop-up Bar). The fantasy romance series follows a goblin searching for his bride to help him pass on to the Afterlife, only to fall for her. I initially watched it because of its intriguing synopsis, but the constant laughter and the characters’ special relationships made me stay until the end. The series was a global hit and is currently the third highest-rated K-drama on cable TV in terms of average ratings.
My Love From The Star
AuroraBae: Not gonna deny, I decided to watch My Love From the Star (2013-2014) because I have been idolizing Jun Ji-hyun (Ashin of the North) since My Sassy Girl, and I loved Kim Soo-hyun (It’s Okay to Not Be Okay) in Moon Embracing the Sun. In this series, Kim transforms into a physically unaging alien who has grown cynical about humankind’s true nature, while Jun portrays a popular actress whose career goes downhill due to a controversy. Imagine what happens when a carefree woman with a blabbermouth becomes the neighbor of a skeptical alien whose enhanced hearing allows him to know her thoughts. Jun and Kim bagged the coveted Daesang at the 50th Baeksang Arts Awards and 7th Korea Drama Awards, respectively, for performances deemed out of this world─yup, pun 100% intended.
InternJang: If you’re looking for a heartwarming family drama with comedy and romance, picking Hyeri (Miss Lee) and Park Bo-gum (Record of Youth) starrer Reply 1988 (2015-2016) should be a no-brainer. It’s an award-winning show and one of the all-time highest-rated Korean dramas on cable television. It earned lots of love from viewers for its extraordinary direction and writing that turn ordinary acts of love into moving drama. I admire this series to pieces because it’s a story of everyday people facing realistic concerns, told in a way that moves your soul at one point and makes you burst out laughing at another. It highlights the importance of friendship and family, giving its viewers moral lessons and stellar entertainment at the same time.
Hot Stove League
KangCenter-nim: Initially, I jumped on the Hot Stove League (2019-2020) bandwagon for two things: one, I love inspirational sports-themed projects (read: Rocky and Coach Carter), and two, I was extremely curious about the SBS series that won Best Drama at the 56th Baeksang Arts Awards. Before you know it, I was completely into the drama, screaming with Dreams’ operations manager (Do You Like Brahms?’s Park Eun-bin). Stove League revolves around Dreams, a professional baseball team that has been on a dwindling path for the past seasons. The team gets a better chance of improving its standing next season after hiring an odd yet exceedingly skilled general manager (Namgoong Min, Doctor Prisoner) who boasts a golden resume but has zero experience in playing baseball.
The Master’s Sun
KangCenter-nim: If you’re into a good rom-com with a dash of horror and fantasy (emphasis on the horror for the first episodes), I implore you to put The Master’s Sun (2013) on your to-watch list. Penned by the Hong sisters, who also brought us Hotel del Luna, The Master’s Sun tells the story of Tae Gong-shil (Gong Hyo-jin, When the Camellia Blooms), a woman who develops the ability to see ghosts after an accident. However, one day, her solitary, sleepless, and stressful spirit-disturbed nights have seemingly found their end as she meets Joo Joong-won (So Ji-sub, My Secret, Terrius), a good-looking yet haughty company president who can banish the ghosts who follow her around with just one touch.
The World of the Married
AuroraBae: If more mature dramas are your cup of tea, then you definitely would not want to miss The World of the Married (2020). It centers on a family medical doctor who has all of the things most women could only dream of having─successful career, a loving husband, and genuine friends. However, she soon finds out about an act of betrayal that destroys her life. Now, you could be thinking that this is just another one of those common infidelity dramas out there. But think again, considering these trivia: lead actress Kim Hee-Ae won Best Actress while Director Mo Wan-il topped all others at the 56th Baeksang Arts Awards, and the series is currently the highest-rated cable K-drama of all time.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo
Luna: If you want a fun, light, romantic vibe throughout the drama, I highly recommend Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo (2016-2017). Starring Lee Sung-kyung (Dr. Romantic 2) and Nam Joo-hyuk (Start-Up), the coming of age series defies the stereotypical depiction of female protagonists. Its central character is a female weightlifting athlete who is everything but girly. Eventually, she tries to change who she is after falling for someone, but Nam’s character comes along to make her realize she doesn’t need to be someone else to be loved back. The heartwarming story makes the viewers realize that Kim Bok-joo can be herself because of the love and support from her family, friends, and peers.