My Top 10 Recommended K-Dramas for First-Timers

Monday, December 27, 2021

What to Watch as a First-Time K-Drama Watcher

Screenshot from Viki

So, you want to get into K-drama but you don't know where to start? You're in luck cause I am sharing my top 10 recommended K-dramas for first-time watchers. I'd like to first warn you though, once you start watching K-drama, you may not be able to return to your normal TV shows. There are many times where I couldn't go to sleep and would binge an entire K-drama from beginning to end. Did I look like death in the morning? I sure did! Did I regret those times? Maybe because of sleep deprivation but mostly no. How do you go to sleep when these K-drama writers know how to keep you stringing along?

The list that I have I put together are all K-dramas that I would classify as 'easy to watch'.  

The Countdown

Image resource from Asian Wiki

10. Yumi's Cells (2021)

Yumi's Cells is a webtoon-turned K-drama. This K-drama stars Goblin's Kim Go-Eun as Yumi and Itaewon Class's Ahn Bo-Hyun as Goo Woong. Yumi's Cells is a 14 episode K-drama which is a shorter series than the typical 16 episodes. The story is about an ordinary woman, Yumi, in her 30s trying to figure out her love and work life. The story features Yumi's cells, all of which are represented by different emotions, that help her navigate through her emotions and direct her actions through different life occurrences. Yumi's Cells is a cute and light Kdrama to watch.

Image resource from Asian Wiki

9. Dream High (2011)

If you ever watched High School Musical that starred Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, then you'll enjoy this 16 episode K-drama that involves a lot of singing and dancing. Dream High stars a lot of K-pop singers in their cast, including Suzy of disbanded girl group Miss A, Ok Taecyeon and Jang Woo-Young of 2PM, Hahm Eun-Jung of T-ara, and IU. Kim Soo-Hyun also stars in Dream High but has never debuted as a singer. This K-drama is a story of 6 high schoolers chasing their dreams of being singers. It was particularly popular to younger viewers and the cast ended up performing a Dream High Special Concert which was separate from the K-drama.

Image resource from Asian Wiki

8. Full House (2004)

I'm taking you wayyy back! If you are wondering if I watched this almost 2 decades ago K-drama when it aired, the answer is yes and it really was such a GREAT drama! It's a bit old so the quality of the video may not be great but the storyline is super cute. It stars Song Hye-Kyo as Han Ji-Eun, an ordinary woman, and Rain as Lee Young-Jae, a famous actor. Due to some mix-up, the two end up signing a contract agreeing to a fake marriage. Full House is a 16 episode K-drama that is cute and comical. 

Image resource from Asian Wiki

7. Oh My Ghost (2015)

Oh My Ghost is a 16 episode K-drama that is absolutely comical. I actually avoided this K-drama because of its title! I don't do well with horror or even the slightest bit of scary (though I have been getting better at watching them lately). This K-drama stars the talented Park Bo-Young of Doom at Your Service and Jo Jeong-Suk of Hospital Playlist. Park Bo-Young plays the character Na Bong-Sun who is a timid young lady who has the ability to see ghosts due to her grandmother being a shaman. She is one day possessed by a virgin ghost, Shin Soon-Ae who tries to seduce Bong-Sun's boss, Kang Sun-Woo (Jo Jeong-Suk's character) so that she can finally complete her unfinished business and finally leave to her final resting place. However, Soon-Ae finds out that being a virgin was not her unfinished business and has to play detective to find out the reason for her death. 

Image resource from Asian Wiki

6. My Girlfriend is Gumiho (2010)

My Girlfriend is Gumiho is an older 16 episode K-drama and stars Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha's Shin Min-Ah as Gumiho and The Korean Odyssey's Lee Seung-Ki as Cha Tae-Woong. This K-drama is a great series that includes a Korean mythical creature called a gumiho which is a nine-tailed fox that eats the heart or liver of the one she seduces. In this K-drama, Tae-Woong releases this mythical creature that was trapped in a painting at a Buddhist temple for thousands of years. Find out to see how this story evolves and ends. I have this particular K-drama in comic book and reading book formats. It's a K-drama that I like to come back to and watch when I need a break. 

Image resource from Asian Wiki

5. Coffee Prince (2007)

I think that most of those who have been watching K-drama for many years (even before the K-drama craze) can attest that Coffee Prince is a classic K-drama. This 17 episode is based on a novel with the same title and stars Yoon Eun-Hye as Ko Eun-Chan and Goblin's Gong Yoo as Han-Gyeol. Ko Eun-Chan is a cheerful tomboyish girl who meets a selfish grandson of a rich family, Han-Gyeol. Han-Gyeol is forced to work and revive a run-down coffee house. With Han-Gyeol believing that Eun-Chan is a young boy, she is able to work at this coffee shop where being male was mandatory. Watch to see how Eun-Chan pulls off being a boy!

Image resource from Asian Wiki

4. What's Wrong With Secretary Kim (2018)

What's Wrong With Secretary Kim has to be one of my favorite K-dramas to watch over and over. Park Min-Young happens to be one of my favorite actresses and tends to mostly pick up K-drama that falls under the genre of romantic comedy, which is what this K-drama falls under. What's Wrong With Secretary Kim is a 16 episode show that stars Park Min-Young as Kim Min-So and Park Seo-Joon as Lee Young-Joon. Kim Mi-So is a secretary to a narcissistic vice president of a major corporation for 9 years. She is a hardworking individual that started working at a young age to help pay for her 2 older sisters to get through medical school. With both sisters done with school, Mi-so decides that she would like to live her life now and so she announces her resignation. Lee Seo-Joon shocked by this news and wanting her to stay by his side does everything he can to have to stay. Meanwhile, the two develop feelings for each other. What's Wrong With Secretary Kim is a fun and hilarious K-drama that is a must-watch!

Image resource from Asian Wiki

3. Her Private Life (2019)

Her Private Life is a 16 episode romantic comedy based off of a novel called Noona Fan Dot Com written by Kim Seong-Yun. The K-drama stars Park Min-Young as Sung Deok-Mi, an art curator, and Kim Jae-Wook of Coffee Prince (ppsssttt... he's the waffle guy) as Ryan Gold, an artist. Deok-Mi is not only a talented curator but also a secret fangirl of Cha Si-Ahn, a Kpop singer of a boy band. As it is imperative to keep her fangirl life a secret in order to keep her job, she goes through a lot to hide her enthusiasm as well as her identity out in public. But when her work and her fangirl life clash, unpleasant situations occur, somehow leading to a romantic relationship with a stiff Ryan Gold.

Image resource from MBC official site for Not a Robot

2. I Am Not a Robot (2017)

I Am Not a Robot, or I'm Not a Robot, is a 16 episode romantic comedy starring Yoo Seung-Ho as Kim Min-Gyu and Chae Soo-Bin as Jo Ji-Ah. Kim Min-Gyu is the chairman and largest shareholder of a financial corporation which was passed down to him due to the death of his parents when he was a young boy. He developed an allergic reaction to human touch at a young age and had to live in isolation until he meets a robot named Aji3 that resembles a real human. The developers of Aji3 look to Min-Gyu as a potential investor and need to impress him. However, the day before Aji3 needs to be dropped off at Min-Gyu's house, something happens to the robot and the head developer has no choice but to find his ex-girlfriend who the robot was modeled after, Jo Ji-Ah. Jo Ji-Ah is an aspiring inventor who takes side jobs to help pay for her dreams. Desperate to earn money, she takes the offer to play Aji3 for a couple of hours where Min-Gyu would test the robot. Ji-Ah is forced to play Aji3 longer than anticipated and grows a romantic relationship with Min-Gyu. A must-watch for everyone!

Image resource from Asian Wiki

1. Because This is My First Life (2017)

Because This is My First Life is the number one drama that I recommend to new K-drama watchers. This one is without a doubt mentioned whenever I am asked for recommendations. It is a 16 episode series and stars Lee Min-ki as Nam Se-hee and Jung So-Min as Joon Ji-Ho. This K-drama has a unique storyline that was comical and fun. The two enter into a contract marriage that both parties agreed to for personal gains. But what happens when feelings start to get involved? Watch this K-drama to find out!

Are you ready to dive into the world of K-drama? Which one will you begin with?



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