South Korean Dramas – My top 5 picks

Hallyu literally means Korean wave – A Korean pop culture phenomenon of music, tv shows, comics, cuisine etc. South Korean dramas are popular worldwide and you even have a local tv channel broadcasting dubbed k-dramas. I was attacked by this Korean wave during my college days. My friends and I used to binge watch these Korean dramas and talk about nothing other than this during breaks.

South Korean Dramas has all these elements – funny, exotic, romance, plot twists and a lot of peeps into a different but a very beautiful culture. They fall under the dramedy category and have 17 to 25 episodes and with some historical drams going on till 35.

My top 5 picks of South Korean Dramas

 1. Coffee Prince
A tomboyish girl dresses up as a girl to get work at a coffee shop run by the heir of a food chain conglomerate. This d
rama is about friendship, first love, an unlikely romance, coming to terms with family and deciding to pursue your dreams at any cost.South Korean dramas
2. You’re beautiful

An inside look at a fictional popular music band in Korea.The lives of the four boys are thrown in a hiatus when a new guy joins the group. She is actually a nun, a fact that no one knows. She takes place secretly temporarily for her singer brother who’s is sick. A hilarious and beautiful insight into Korean pop culture. They have original soundtracks which are great.

3. Secret Garden
Confusions and chaos that ensues after the leads are magically switched bodies.
4. Rooftop Prince
Joseon era Crown prince is magically time transported to the modern era after his wife is dies in mysterious circumstances. He meets people of his era here and believes that solving his wife’s death will transport him back in time.
 Sungkyukwan Scandal
5. Sungkyunkwan Scandal
A historical drama of the patriarchal society in Joseon dynasty where women were not allowed education and employment. A girl disguises herself as a man and enters Sungkyunkwan (Royal education institute). This drama shows not only the woes of women in that era but also the caste divisiveness of the olden Korean kingdom. Worth a watch if you would like to know about the older Korea.
Others worth mentioning – Heartstrings, Gentleman’s Dignity, Boys over Flowers, Playful Kiss, Lie To Me, Goong, City Hunter, My Girl.

My observation

  1. Highly male dominated – The male lead is usually talented,rich,a CEO, prince or the Prime Minister. No matter how talented the girl is she is poor, struggling to make ends meet or is simply arrogant.
  2. The lives revolve around family. Multi generation family is quite common.
  3. They leave slippers outside. Bunny flip flops is for home. In India its not that different, but its different from what I’ve seen in the english TV shows.
  4. When they cry, they cry their hearts out no matter what the place is. Be it a bus, airport, classroom it’s wailing and nose dripping all the way. It’s no different for a guy. First time I saw a male lead cry like that I thought it was a funny scene though a more heart wrenching scene was panning out in the drama.South Korean Drama Emottion
  5. The food – It’s an exotic fest here. Be it the soju, ramen, kimchi, kongbap or the noodles it’s exotic and lip smacking. Plates are rare and the table is filled with small white bowls with soups, stews and rice.
  6. High respect for age even if an year older. Be prepared for talks are filled with sunbaes, ahjusshi, oppa, hyung, noona and plenty more.
  7. The public saunas unheard of here.
South Korean dramas are a portal to a Disneyland filled with perfect looking people in bustling cities, high end offices and so much more relatable than the western tv shows. The dressing has a complete western influence but their culture is the pulsing vein. If these dramas reflect their society as a large we can see that they are preserving their culture in how they make the place and interact with the world.

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