K-dramas on Netflix are aplenty now with the streaming giant focusing on getting media from South Korea on its platform for the past few years. With so many Korean dramas on Netflix, you might be confused with all the choices. There are a plethora of dramas that have dived deep into different genres and styles. So it can be quite confusing to figure out where to start. For this very reason, we have made this list that consists of great K-dramas available on Netflix that are good for beginners as well as experienced fans.
Mr. Sunshine (2018)
Episode runtime: 70 minutes
Becoming the fourth highest-rated Korean drama in cable television history, Mr. Sunshine tells the story of Korea’s activists fighting for the country’s independence in the early 1900s. In particular, it focuses on the life of a young boy who escaped Joseon (modern-day Korea) on an American military ship during its expedition to the region in 1871 (also known as 1871 Shinmiyangyo), returning years later to his homeland as an American Marine Corps officer stationed in the country. There, he falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter and discovers a plot by foreign forces to colonize Korea.
Mr. Sunshine’s staff is packed with talent as the K-drama is written by acclaimed writer Kim Eun-Sook, who has worked on hits such as Goblin, Descendants of the Sun, and Heirs. The PD for the show has also worked on Goblin and Descendants of the Sun.
While the topics handled by the historical drama are serious, it doesn’t shy away from making the viewer laugh by using some light comedy. The chemistry between the male cast is seen through the bromance between them, a fresh change from characters in love triangles fighting over their love interest.
Also, the show has a high-budget production of ₩40 billion (that’s around $33 million) – so you can expect to see some breathtaking cinematography and visuals, as well as some amazing soundtrack.
Boys Over Flowers (2009)
Episode runtime: 65 minutes
“Flower boy” (kkotminam 꽃미남) is a character archetype seen in Korean entertainment which is best described as a cute, feminine-like boy who is generous, kind, and caring towards the female lead. Boys Over Flowers is *the* K-drama when it comes to the flower boy concept. Regarded as a classic, this 2009 drama is based on a Japanese shoujo (term for female demographic) manga called Hana Yori Dango – which gained popularity in South Korea.
The plot of the drama is about a poor girl who gets into a prestigious high school attended by children of the elite by saving a boy’s life from suicide. The boy wanted to end his life because he was at the receiving end of incessant bullying and the latest target of the F4 – an infamous group of four very beautiful but arrogant rich boys. That is until our female lead stops the boy from committing suicide, which makes headlines – and she receives a scholarship from the school. At this new school, she finds herself getting bullied by the F4 but eventually earns their respect and later, their love.
Boys Over Flowers was a craze when it first aired and is considered a must-watch for anyone who wants to get into K-drama. The show’s flower boy concept was so influential that it made South Korean men focus on their looks and fashion. The increased recent trend of men using cosmetics, taking care of their skin, and so on, can be attributed to this very drama.
My ID is Gangnam Beauty (2018)
Episode runtime: 60 minutes
Based on the 2016 webtoon of the same name, My ID is Gangnam Beauty focuses on the life of a self-conscious college student who goes through cosmetic surgery to avoid ridicule from bullies, only for it to backfire on her. Her bullies further deride her for getting the surgery and everyone else she knows criticizes her “artificial” look.
The coming of age rom-com became one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history. It was highly praised for its portrayal of current issues in South Korea regarding superficial beauty standards and the rampant lookism that is prevalent in the country.
The K-drama also shows the main character trying to regain her self-esteem as she gets closer to a fellow classmate who eventually becomes her love interest later on. You will like this drama if you like shows that incorporate social commentary in them.
Episode runtime: 70 minutes
W is a drama that incorporates the following themes and genres: fantasy, romance, suspense, thriller, supernatural gothic. The premise is really interesting as the drama takes place in both the real world and inside a webcomic.
The drama tells its story from the real world, as well as inside the world of “W” – that’s the name of the fictional webtoon featured in this show. The main character of the drama is the daughter of W’s author. The premise of the show is about the author trying to kill off Kang Chul, the main character of his webtoon. Chul instead pulls his daughter Yeon Joon into the webcomic world and she ends up saving his life. This sets off a chain reaction, as the webtoon begins to write its own story and the plot continues without the help of the author.
The concept of having the drama take place between two worlds is already the best part of W – it is something very unique and original. The performances by the cast, the intriguing story, and the romance between the leads will also keep you glued to the screen throughout your viewing.
Something in the Rain (2018)
Episode runtime: 80 minutes
Something in the Rain is a very complex and slow-budding romantic drama that is known for its realistic portrayal of two people falling in love. The drama is worth watching for the chemistry between the two main characters alone.
The story is about a single woman in her 30s who has been dumped by men in her previous relationships. The reasons cited often are that she is clumsy, reckless, or that she is a bit absent-minded. Yoon Jin Ah just wishes to fall in love with a man who will truly love her back. Enter Joon Hee, her childhood friend’s younger brother. She always thought of him as a little kid, but he comes into her life again as a man. Feelings begin to develop between the two as this drama takes us on a journey of what two people falling in love really experience.
The romance is unconventional for a K-drama in that the female lead is in her 30s whereas the male lead is in his 20s. The show explores every facet of a romantic couple, from flirting stage to dating, and more. If you like dramas that go deep in the chemistry between people in a relationship, Something in the Rain is for you.