To All The K-Dramas I've Watched This Quarantine (Part 1)

Okay! So this one's been sitting on my drafts for a while now, and I figured it's about time I publish it. So much has happened for the last month that I haven't had the time to write some stuff here. I'll reserve that on another blog post, but for now, let's talk about:

Korean dramas have undeniably become one of my guilty pleasures during this quarantine season, and I thought, "eh, why not talk about them!?" It feels refreshing, and it’s like a homecoming since I haven’t watched any for quite a long time.  I think the last was 2018? 

Over the course of 6 months, Netflix and KissAsian have been my go-to places to satisfy my K-drama cravings; and as of this writing, I’ve finished a total of 10 series!

10 freaking series! That’s already a lot for me considering that I usually have a hard time keeping up with K-dramas (or actually, any TV series for that matter) back in pre-COVID days. 

So, anyway here's a rundown of what I've been holed up in for the past 6 months or so. 


Year of Release: 2019

Main Cast
  • Son Ye Jin as Yoon Se Ri
  • Hyun Bin as Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok
  • Seo Ji Hye as Seo Dan
  • Kim Jung Hyun as Gu Seung Joon

Synopsis: A South Korean heiress (portrayed by Son Ye Jin) gets involved in a paragliding accident and crash-lands at a North Korean territory. With her life put in danger, a North Korean soldier (portrayed by Hyun Bin) on-duty at the time of her accident decided to hide and protect her until they can find the safest way possible to get her back home.

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Heavy Drama, Action

Trigger Warning(s): Mention of suicide, death of a loved one, violence

What to expect: 
  • Star-crossed lovers’ trope
  • Lots of heart-fluttering moments, laughter
  • And tears… many tears!
  • It’s an E M O T I O N A L  R O L L E R C O A S T E R. 
  • Oh! And there’s a fine view of a picturesque Switzerland too in some parts of the drama.
  • Scented candles
  • Dimpled smile courtesy of Hyun Bin

What can I say about it: Love knows no distance and boundaries. I’m left hanging with some questions, but it’s pretty much a well-knitted story! It’s one of those K-dramas that got me so attached to the characters. The 2nd leads (portrayed by Seo Ji Hye and Kim Jung Hyun) are very lovable too as well as Captain Ri’s Company 5!

Favorite OST: 
  • Here I Am by Baek Ye Rin
  • Flower by Yoon Mi Rae
  • Sigriswil by Kim Kyoung Hee
  • Let Us Go by Crush

Alternative Title: My Name Is Kim Sam Soon

Year of Release: 2005 (really old, I KNOW! HAHA! I may have found the inspiration to finish this right after I watched CLOY)

Main Cast:
  • Kim Sun Ah as Kim Sam Soon
  • Hyun Bin as Jin Hun 
  • Jung Ryeo Won as Yoo Hee Jin
  • Daniel Henney as Dr. Henry Kim

Synopsis: Dubbed as the Korean version of Bridget Jones’ Diary, the drama revolves around the lives of a single 30-year old pastry chef (portrayed by Kim Sun Ah) and a 27-year old rich, handsome yet arrogant restaurant owner (portrayed by Hyun Bin) who get themselves into a contract dating relationship.

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Trigger Warning(s): None

What to expect:
  • Mouthwatering cakes and pastries
  • Love-hate relationship trope
  • Contract dating
  • Laughter, and lots and lots of bickering between Kim Sam Soon and Jin Hun
  • A couple of tear-jerker moments and angst
  • A very sassy female lead
  • Daniel Henney as the lovestruck Dr. Henry Kim stealing hearts through his sweet charming, innocent demeanor. He’s in love with the girl named Hee Jin (portrayed by Jung Ryeo Won), but she doesn’t love him the way he does cos she’s still hung up on Jin Hun who’s already “dating” Sam Soon; yet Henry chooses to stay by Hee Jin’s side despite knowing that it’s unrequited love.  Ouch! Complicated, right!?
What can I say about it: The cat and mouse fight between the two lead characters can get quite…irritating, ridiculous, and frustrating at some point (it just means very effective acting for the actors though; I love them!) The first few episodes are dragging, but it eventually gets better still with some frustrations along the way as it carries on. It’s a love-hate relationship trope so I guess that’s why. Their relationship will take a while to unfold without all the bullshitting each other. 

Overall, I like the realistic ending.

Year of Release: 2006

Main Cast
  • Seo Do Young as Lee Su Ho/Yoon Jae Ha
  • Han Hyo Joo as Seo Eun Young/Park Eun Young
  • Daniel Henney as Phillip Rosenthal
  • Lee So Yeon as Lee Yi Na

Synopsis: Two childhood friends (portrayed by Seo Do Young and Han Hyo Joo) are separated due to an unfortunate series of events. Several years later, already in their 20s, they unknowingly cross paths in Austria under the guise of their new identities, and since then, their bitter past has been slowly catching up to them.

Genre: Romance, Drama

Trigger Warning(s): Traumatic childhood memories, alcohol abuse

What to expect
  • Second male lead syndrome (cos Daniel Henney as Phillip Rosenthal is just freakin’ adorable and lovable despite his playboy tendencies. AGAIN, he’s my favorite part of this drama!)
  • Picturesque Austria
  • Childhood sweethearts reuniting (but first, drama!)
  • Heart-fluttering moments
  • Nostalgia (there’s a really young Choi Si Won too!)
  • Evil Asian mom act
  • Betrayal of friendship and trust
What can I say about it: While my main reason for watching was because of Daniel Henney (I know I’m more than a decade late, but it’s never too late to crush on him, HAHA), I surprisingly loved this drama! The first episode is very engaging; it’s very refreshing. It was instantly set in Austria where all 4 main characters cross paths. 

There’s also good character development for all but Phillip’s and Lee Yi Na’s (portrayed by Lee So Yeon) changes stood out for me the best. There are some obvious, predictable bits; but the plot is good overall.

Favorite OST:
  • One Love by Loveholic 
  • Cannonball by Damien Rice

Year of Release: 2015

Main Cast:
  • Hwang Jung Eum as Kim Hye Jin
  • Park Seo Joon as Ji Sung Joon
  • Choi Si Won as Kim Shin Hyuk
  • Go Joon Hee as Min Ha Ri

Synopsis: Two childhood friends (portrayed by Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joon) agree to reunite when they become adults, but when that day comes, one of them fails to recognize the other. After the many years that passed, both their appearances have drastically changed: she has turned into an ugly duckling with low self-esteem who’s trying to make ends meet, while he has become a handsome and successful career man in the world of editorial publication.

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Trigger Warning(s): None

What to expect:
  • Childhood sweetheart trope
  • Second male lead syndrome (Choi Si Won as Kim Shin Hyuk has set the bar too high!! I still love Park Seo Joon, but him as Ji Sung Joon – not as much as Kim Shin Hyuk!)
  • The Devil Wears Prada vibe - the drama revolves around the world of fashion editorial. FUN!
  • Ugly Duckling Transformation
  • Lots of laughter (e.g. Ji Sung Joon and Kim Shin Hyuk’s budding “bromance” 😂 + SHI-ABS!!)
  • A couple of tear-jerker moments
  • Some inspiring bits on pursuing your passion
  • Some lessons on self-worth, self-love, and what being beautiful really means (sounds cliché, but they serve as really good reminders)

What can I say about it: It is a light-hearted story packed with meaningful lessons about life, love (both self & romantic), the real definition of beauty, friendship, and chasing dreams. 

Favorite OST:
  • Only You by Choi Si Won
  • Thumping by Vincent Blue

Year of Release: 2020

Main Cast:
  • Kim Tae Hee as Cha Yu Ri
  • Lee Kyu Hyung as Cho Gang Hwa
  • Go Bo Gyeol as Oh Min Jeong

Synopsis: Five years since dying from a tragic accident, Cha Yu Ri (portrayed by Kim Tae Hee) has been a ghost wandering on earth to watch over the daughter she left behind. By some twist of fate (a.k.a reincarnation), she is temporarily brought back to life. She is, however, given a chance to become human again for good if she reclaims her rightful place on earth prior to her death within 49 days, which is by her family’s side. But then…her husband (portrayed by Lee Kyu Hyung) has already remarried.

Genre: Heavy Family Drama, Comedy

Trigger Warning(s): Major character death, an allusion to a suicide attempt, depression, trauma

What to expect:
  • TEARS. Lots of it.
  • In between the ugly-crying, there are still fun moments, so you can expect some comedic bits once in a while.
  • A headstrong, but extremely nice stepmother (portrayed by Go Bo Gyeol)
  • Loveable group of friends!
  • CUTE KIDS! Seo Woo (the daughter) is freakin’ adorable! (Fun fact: the child actor is actually a boy!)
  • Feeling envious of Kim Tae Hee’s timeless beauty (this pretty unnie has aged gracefully); also, this is a very great drama comeback for her!
  • Being reminded of living life to the fullest without regrets
What can I say about it: This drama broke my heart to pieces…in a beautiful way. I admit I ugly-cried at almost every episode. Yes, I’m a highly emotional person so I’m very prone to tearjerker stuff. I like how it’s not a romantic love-centered drama, which has been a very typical K-drama theme. It gears more on the family & friendship kind of love, and I think that’s what makes this stand out from the rest; I like it! 

Favorite OST:
  • Hopefully Sky by Sohyang
  • Into The Night by Parc Jae Jung

Year of Release: 2019

Main Cast:

Yoo In Na as Oh Yoon Seo
Lee Dong Wook as Atty. Kwon Jung Rok

Synopsis: After getting caught up in a scandal, a disgraced actress (portrayed by Yoo In Na) is left jobless for 2 years. A major opportunity for an acting comeback arises, and one of the conditions is she needs to gain experience by working at a law firm. She gladly takes it and works closely as an assistant to a workaholic, cold-hearted lawyer (portrayed by Lee Dong Wook). Initially starting off on a rocky path, soon, they get to know a little bit more of each other and eventually fall in love. 

Trigger Warning(s): Mention of drugs/substance abuse, sensitive court crime cases

What to expect
  • Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na are just too freakin' adorable together!!
  • Office romance
  • Adorkable heartwarming moments
  • Dazzling outfits courtesy of Oh Yoon Seo
  • Lots of laughter
  • Some tearjerker moments
  • Eep! Creepy stalker!
  • Great working culture at a law firm: cool boss, funny colleagues
  • Hot, angry lawyer defending the love of his life with all his might
What can I say about it: It’s a drama that perfectly lives up to its title as it certainly touched my heart! It’s very light-hearted and fun; their humor is very infectious. The storyline may be simple, and while it’s comedic for the most part, there are those moments that will just tug at your heartstrings. I’ve been rooting for Yoo In Na and Lee Dong Wook’s pairing since Goblin: The Lonely Guardian days, and I’m just so glad they did this drama together. Their chemistry is very natural!

Favorite OST:
  • What If Love by Wendy
  • Good Night by Jeong Se Woon
  • Photograph by 1415

Year of Release: 2019

Main Cast:
  • Lee Ji Eun (IU) as Jang Man Wol
  • Yeo Jin Goo as Goo Chan Sung

Synopsis: To atone for the grave sins she had committed in the past 1300 years, Jang Man Wol (portrayed by Lee Ji Eun/IU) has become the owner of the mysterious Hotel Del Luna – formerly known as the Guest House of The Moon – where the souls of the dead come by to rest before leaving for the after-life. 

To be freed from being the hotel’s owner and to cross the after-life herself, Man Wol needs to let go of the past grudges she’s been nursing for over a thousand years. With the deity’s intervention, she crosses paths with Goo Chan Sung (portrayed by Yeo Jin Goo), a Harvard MBA graduate working as a hotelier, who eventually becomes the manager of Hotel Del Luna. The hotel and its owner gradually experience significant changes the moment he takes on the role.

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Romance, Comedy, Drama

Trigger Warning(s): Violence, the topic of death and loss

What to expect:
  • Ghosts! Depending on your tolerance of horror, some appear to be effectively scary, but they’re funny for the most part.
  • Humorous sass from the female lead (I loved IU’s portrayal of Man Wol!)
  • A slow-burn romance that’s worth the while
  • Jang Man Wol’s superb OOTDs 
  • A N G S T (cos Man Wol's been holding a grudge for a thousand years after all)
  • Heartwarming moments
  • Heart-wrenching, tear-jerker moments

What can I say about it: I love the whole hotel for the dead concept. It is a very creative and meaningful approach to capture the themes on regrets, holding grudges and forgiveness. The lead actors had powerful slow-burn chemistry, which I find myself to be highly fond of. To be honest, I didn’t find the male lead very attractive at first, but as the story progressed, I found myself falling for him more too!

Favorite OST:
  • Another Day by Monday Kiz and Punch
  • All About You by Taeyeon
  • Can You See My Heart by HEIZE
  • Done For Me by Punch

Year of Release: 2017

Main Cast
  • Park Seo Joon as Go Dong Man
  • Kim Ji Won as Choi Ae Ra
  • Ahn Jae Hong as Kim Joo Man
  • Song Ha Yoon as Baek Sul Hee

Synopsis: A group of four misfits in their late 20s find themselves at a major career crossroad where they yearn for something more. In the midst of pursuing their passions and striving for success, their determination and relationships are put to test. Romance starts to bloom between two long-time immature friends (portrayed by Park Seo Joon and Kim Ji Won); while two long-time lovers (portrayed by Ahn Jae Hong and Song Ha Yoon) encounter a hurdle in their six-year relationship.

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Trigger Warning(s): None

What to expect:
  • Park Seo Joon going topless and showing off his lean body with six-pack ABS while doing MMA *wipes drool*
  • Guy-girl best friend relationship goals
  • Childhood friends turning to lovers trope
  • Another slow burn that’s worth the while!
  • Tons of inspirational nuggets for the tired soul
  • Lots of comedy antiques
  • Some heartfelt, tear-jerker moments

What can I say about it: Being a confused twenty-year-old-something myself, I find this drama to be very close to my heart. It has a lot of positive reviews saying how realistic the story is and having watched it myself, I definitely agree! The frustration, perseverance, and motivation of the characters can be strongly felt (which has been the case for me). It’s light-hearted and inspiring, and I think it’s a must-watch to anyone of who’s been feeling uninspired, regardless of what age they’re in. 

Favorite OST
  • Ambiguous by BTOB

Year of Release: 2016

Main Cast
  • Lee Ji Eun (IU) as Go Ha Jin/Hae Soo
  • Lee Joon Gi as Prince Wang So
  • Kang Ha Neul as Prince Wang Wook

Synopsis: A young woman from the 21st century (portrayed by Lee Ji Eun/IU) is transported back to the year 941 of the Goryeo Dynasty during a total solar eclipse. There, she finds herself entangled in the lives of the Wang Princes, then eventually, the dark secrets revolving around the royal court. As she navigates her newfound life, she gets romantically-involved to the kind, warm-hearted 8th prince (portrayed by Kang Ha Neul) and the distant, cold-hearted 4th prince (portrayed by Lee Joon Gi).

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Heavy Drama, Historical

Trigger Warning(s): Violence, character deaths

What to expect:
  • Handsome, swoon-worthy princes (Though this is pretty subjective, I guess.)
  • Second lead male syndrome (I...actually started to fall for Kang Ha Neul here. 🥴Kthanksbye.)
  • Envying IU’s character for having at least 4 princes to be head-over-heels for her!
  • A glimpse of Korea’s very rich historical background and culture (though the setting in this drama is just loosely based on history)
  • Heartwarming moments, especially the glimpses of the Wang princes bonding and showing some brotherly love
  • Lots of funny banter, especially that there’s a huge generation gap going on among the characters.
  • TEARS. MANY, MANY TEARS. (Honestly, it was a cry-me-a-river level for me.)

What can I say about it: Ahh, where do I even start? HAHA. It’s been 4 years since this drama aired, and lots of K-drama lovers are saying how most of them are still not over it. I only watched it this 2020, and boy do I understand now why! What I love about this drama is how poignant the time travel element is. As a viewer, it made me feel like I was really in Goryeo, which has gotten me so attached. Likewise, the great character development of each is superb, especially when each of the princes started expressing their desire to take over the throne.

Favorite OST: ALL ARE REALLY GREAT TRACKS but those that continuously give me the major feels are: 
  • For You by EXO – CBX
  • A Lot Like Love by Baek A Yeon
  • Forgetting You by Davichi
  • My Love by Lee Hi 

Alternative Title: Psycho But It’s Okay

Year of Release: 2020

Main Cast
  • Seo Ye Ji as Go Moon Young
  • Kim Soo Hyun as Moon Gang Tae
  • Oh Jung Se as Moon Sang Tae
  • Park Kyu Young as Nam Ju Ri

Synopsis: The story premise revolves around a popular children’s book writer diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder (portrayed by Seo Ye Ji) and a selfless psychiatric caregiver (portrayed by Kim Soo Hyun) who both find themselves in an unusual path to emotional and psychological healing from their traumatic past experiences.

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama

Trigger Warning(s): Topics on childhood trauma, depression, and other psychological disorders

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama

Trigger Warning(s): Topics on childhood trauma, depression, and other psychological disorders

What to expect:

  • Stunning outfit choices of Go Moon Young in every episode (I swear I want to have them all in my closet!!)
  • Grotesque and dark fairy tale books with valuable life lessons
  • Lots of quotable quotes – from the deep ones up to the thirstiest ones…which leads me to my next point…
  • A shamelessly, thirsty (and sassy) yet loveable female lead
  • Intense gazes
  • Slow burn with that undeniable S E X U A L  T E N S I O N
  • Heart-stopping kissing scenes
  • A good semblance of romance and some heartfelt platonic bond 

What can I say about it: On top of the two leads’ undeniable chemistry (which was definitely off the charts!) and Oh JungSe’s exemplary portrayal of a character with autism, I found it to be highly admirable that this drama shed some light on mental health awareness. It serves as a good reminder about how it’s okay to not feel our best at all times, and how we don’t have to go through it alone. 

Everyone has been raving about this since it came out, but I didn’t watch until the series was tagged as completed around two weeks ago. True enough, I’d say it’s one of the best K-drama masterpieces as of this date. I’ve never encountered anything like it! From the storyline, the great character growth and development of each, and even the soundtrack – everything is god-tier! There was some minimal stuff that was left unanswered, but I was overall satisfied with how it concluded.

Favorite OST: I actually recommend the whole soundtrack but my top faves are:

  • Lighting Up Your World by Janet Suhh
  • I’m Your Psycho by Janet Suhh
  • In Silence by Janet Suhh
  • You’re Cold by HEIZE
  • Hallelujah by Kim Feel
So that's it for part 1! Part 2 will be coming up sometime in the future. I'm thinking if I should also include the ones I've watched from the years before. 🤔  Looks like it'll be a never-ending list! 😂  Don't touch me I'm Koryan, LOLJK.


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