If you have read the first post ‘How It All Began’ in the series- My Love for K-Dramas, then I don’t need to reiterate my love for Korean drama. We both love slice of life, romantic, humorous and positive TV series because we believe that life needs no addition of austerity, pessimism and least of all OTT drama. So it was no surprise that we both naturally gravitated towards K dramas which are as positive, buoyant and invigorating as a drama series can get sometimes with a generous dose of fantasy, a genre that we both really enjoy.
Kinjal and I are like giddy girls in a candy shop, chomping and devouring every next K-Drama series like it’s the sweetest candy we have tasted. No one candy (K-drama series) is akin to the other. They vary in taste, texture and colour but nonetheless guarantee to leave you with a similar high that a sugar rush gives you! Every candy is worth gobbling but we can’t risk you’ll having a belly ache on account of gorging on too much candy so the kktwins have come up with a list of top 10 candies aka K-drama recommendations that is sure to leave you with your tongue lolling out for more !
1. Boys over flowers
This was the first Korean drama I saw and boy was I swept off my feet! Boys Over Flowers is a story about a drycleaner’s daughter gaining a chance prestigious scholarship to the elite Shin Hwa High School. There she meets the F4 boys, a clique of arrogant, bully, badass boys. She wants nothing to do with them but circumstances make her cross paths with them. To find out what happens when she meets the infamous F4 boys, you have to watch BOF. Trust me what ensues is the most exciting and tumultuous of events!
One of the most compelling reasons for watching this K-drama is the flower boys who are nicknamed F4. The F4 boys are unbelievably good looking and are serious eye-candy! They are Chaebol heirs (in South Korea it means heirs of wealthy family-owned business conglomerates) and the friendship that they share coupled with the obvious allure due to their charming looks and cocky attitude is enough to get you hooked. The romance between the main leads is a pleasant mix of comic adventures, sweet young love and true passion. What’s more, there is a rich arrogant guy and sassy but poor girl trope and also a love triangle and two romance stories to spice it up. The second lead is so lovely and dreamy that by the end you’ll be torn about whom to root for.
The OSTs are fresh ad evergreen (My absolute favourite is – ‘Stand By Me’) and the actors do a fabulous job! Every character is memorable and by the end of this series, we were already hoping for a sequel to BOF where the other flower boys in the F4 group will have their own romance! Sigh… we can only wait and hope that the sequel is made. The popularity of this series has prompted a Chinese remake of Boys Over Flowers titled Meteor Garden. So if you want more of BOF you know where you can find it!
Watch snippets of Boys Over flowers (OST- Stand By Me) (YouTube)
2. Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Now this is an epic K-Drama that is simply fantabulous not just in terms of its gripping storyline and stellar star cast but also because it will leave you gasping and begging for a sequel! Scarlet Heart Ryeo is a Saguek drama which in Korean means historical period drama.
The series follows the life of the royal Wang family of the Goryeo dynasty. During a solar eclipse, a 25-year-old 21st-century woman, Go Ha-jin goes back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty and wakes up in the year 941 as Hae Soo. There she meets the 7 princes of the Wang royal family and gets entwined in the dark and dangerous politics of the court and fight for the throne.
This drama series has amazing fight sequences, a love pentagon, (yes four of the 7 princes are in love with Hae Soo!) passion-filled romantic scenes, bloody politics for the throne and an ending that will haunt you forever! Actor Lee Joon Gi is my favourite Korean actor and his portrayal of the hot headed and intimidating 4th Prince Wang So is exemplary.
All the 7 princes are extremely charismatic and handsome and the sets replete with beatific palaces, cherry blossoms and lakes with cross-over bridges will really transport you back in time. The Hanbok (traditional Korean attire) and the quirky hairdos of the princes make for an interesting visual and the urgency and rising tension in the plot will keep you engaged till the very end. Every OST in this series is absolutely beautiful and a few of my favourites are – For you, Say Yes and Forgetting You.
Watch glimpses of Scarlet Heart Ryeo (OST- Say Yes) (YouTube)
3. Coffee Prince
I have always been fascinated with dramas and literary works which are based on the trope of cross-dressing (a woman disguised as a man) and the romantic complications that ensue. It is precisely for this reason that Shakespeare’s comedy plays like As you like it and Twelfth Night are my favourite plays and Coffee Prince too uses this trope.
Coffee Prince is a story about a tomboyish woman who dresses like a man. As the main bread-earner of her family she feels compelled to cross-dress so that she gets easily employed. An immature rich heir to an empire hires her as his gay lover to fend off unwanted matrimonial proposals orchestrated by his grandmother and then employs her as a waiter for his new coffee shop- Coffee Prince. They develop a friendship that soon blossoms into a romantic attraction. It explores homoerotic love as the hero is initially unaware of the heroine’s true identity and he begins to question his sexuality.
The bromance , the romance and the friendship between the fellow waiters working at the Coffee Prince cafe and the endearing character of even the supporting star cast definitely makes this a must watch. Plus it also has my favourite trope of rich- guy- poor- girl as well as two love triangles! (Trust me the unique romantic geometry in K-Dramas never disappoints!)
Watch a few snatches of Coffee Prince (OST- Lalala It’s love) (YouTube)
4. Secret Garden
This is another interesting drama with a dash of fantasy. The two main leads belong to very different worlds (again rich Chaebol heir who heads a chain of successful departmental stores in Korea) and a stunt-woman living in a poor locality of South Korea. It uses another of my favourite romance trope of hate turning to love! The heroine is definitely not into the hero and is in fact an ardent fan of his cousin’s love songs who is a very famous Hallyu star (which means global popularity of South Korea’s cultural economy in terms of pop culture, entertainment, music, TV dramas and movies).
What makes the protagonists understand each other and fall in love is a mystical potion availed from a rustic eating joint in the midst of a forest called the Secret Garden which causes the main leads to magically swap bodies! What follows is a riot of unmitigated comedy, drama, hilarity, complications and misadventures leading up to heart stirring and riveting romance. This K-drama has many super cute moments and one of them is when the main lead is doing Ab-crunches with the aid of the heroine. (Now I just can’t look at crunches the same way!) This drama also won a lot of awards and enjoyed very high ratings, making it a hugely successful drama series.
Watch a few scenes from Secret Garden (OST- That Woman) (YouTube)
5. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
Before I begin I must say that this series was a commercial hit and was one of the highest rated Korean dramas in cable television history! This series is about a woman named Do Bong Soon who is born with superhuman strength. Apparently strength is hereditary and is passed only to the women in the family. She can bash up goons and kick then like she’s flicking a card pyramid and she can break bones like she’s snapping a biscuit into two halves. But our super strong heroine goes weak in the knees whenever she meets her childhood friend and crush who is an inspector and tries hard to appear like a frail and delicate flower, the type of girl she believes her childhood crush is fond of but our strong-woman can only pretend to be waif-like and dainty.
Her superhuman strength lands her a job as a bodyguard to a CEO of a gaming software company where she dreams of coding and developing her own game (yes, she is a game developer). What makes this an intriguing watch is the chilling thriller mystery of a psychopathic women abductor and abuser that is woven deftly into the plot. Do Bong soon is unwittingly embroiled in the kidnappings when her closest friend also becomes a target and is abducted.
The alternating romantic moments and comical misadventures (Do Bong Soon mistakenly believes her boss is gay and romantically interested in her childhood crush!) interwoven with the dangerous kidnapping case makes this a fascinating drama series. Things take an interesting turn when the CEO starts falling for his super macho bodyguard. Who does our strong woman Do Bong Soon fall for is a question that can only be answered if you watch this show.
Take a peek at Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (OST- Heartbeat) (YouTube)
Watching K-drama is the kktwins’ escape from the mundane into the magic and fantastic. When I watch K-drama, I can completely unwind and relax which refreshes and recharges me enough to take on the tasks of the day with enthusiasm, albeit with a sweet ache of anticipation to watch the next episode! It becomes increasingly difficult to control the urge to binge watch the series. (:p)
Coming up next week are the balance K-drama recommendations from the Kktwins which are as dazzling and riveting as today’s recommendations. Here’s hoping that this blog post and the next one will turn you into a K-drama Lover as well!