K-Dramas to watch before the year ends

NEW DELHI | Updated: 16 December, 2023 12:37 pm IST

NEW DELHI: If you haven’t delved into the world of Korean dramas or K-dramas, you’re missing out on a global cultural phenomenon. K-dramas and K-movies have become popular, making them essential for any pop culture enthusiast. The cultural impact of these dramas is significant, reflecting the global appeal of Korean entertainment. However, beyond the broader influence, the main reason to indulge in K-dramas is their addictive and exceptional storytelling. These dramas offer a unique blend of captivating narratives, compelling characters, and emotional depth, making them a must-watch and a valuable addition to your pop culture repertoire.

1. Doom at Your Service (2021):

Tak Dong-kyung, an ordinary web novel editor, has her life turned upside down in a single day when she discovers she has only three months to live due to glioblastoma, learns her boyfriend is married and expecting a child, faces work troubles, and encounters a pervert who falls into a sinkhole. Desperate, she drunkenly wishes for the world to be doomed upon seeing a shooting star. Her wish is heard by Myul Mang, a messenger between gods and humans, born with the power to cause destruction unintentionally. On his birthday, he decides to fulfil Dong-kyung’s wish to end the world. They enter a hundred-day contract, and Dong-kyung risks everything she knows in this intriguing and fateful arrangement.

Streaming on Netflix

2. Hotel Del Luna (2019)

“Hotel del Luna” is a supernatural hotel that is invisible during the day and caters to ghosts with unresolved issues before they move on to the afterlife. The hotel’s staff, who are also spirits, have lingering grudges from their past lives. However, the hotel’s general manager must be a living human to interact with the real world.

Jang Man-wol, the owner of the hotel, is bound to it due to a grave sin committed over a millennium ago. Through manipulation by the deity Mago, she makes a deal with Gu Chan-sung’s father to spare his life in exchange for his son working for her 20 years later. Gu Chan-sung grows up abroad, becomes a sincere and compassionate man, and returns to South Korea after his father’s death.

Gu Chan-sung becomes an assistant manager at a multinational hotel corporation but fulfils the agreement with Jang Man-wol, becoming the manager of Hotel del Luna. Through his character, the mysteries and secrets surrounding the hotel and its owner are gradually revealed.

Streaming on Netflix

3. Twenty-Five, Twenty-One (2022)

In 1998, Na Hee-do was a member of the school fencing team at Seonjung Girls’ High School, which disbanded due to the IMF crisis. To pursue her passion, she transfers to Taeyang High School and eventually joins the National Fencing Team. Baek Yi-jin’s family faces financial hardship, and he takes on various part-time jobs before becoming a sports reporter.

In the present day, Kim Min-chae, Hee-do’s daughter, leaves ballet and goes to her grandma’s house. There, she discovers her mother’s diary, which becomes the medium for telling the story of Hee-do’s past, her fencing journey, and the challenges faced by Yi-jin during the financial crisis.

Streaming on Netflix

4. Business Proposal (2022)

Shin Ha-ri reluctantly goes on a blind date, intending to be rejected, but her plan takes an unexpected turn when her date turns out to be Kang Tae-moo, CEO of Go Food, where she works. Tae-moo, pressured by his grandfather to marry, decides to marry Ha-ri, unaware of her fake identity or her role in his company. When her true identity is exposed, Tae-moo coerces Ha-ri into pretending to be his fiancée for financial gain. As they fake date, Ha-ri uses a false identity to impress Tae-moo’s grandfather. Despite the initial deception, Tae-moo discovers Ha-ri’s true identity but still falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Ha-ri’s friend, Jin Young-seo, becomes neighbours with Tae-moo’s secretary, Cha Sung-hoon. Despite initial tensions, Sung-hoon and Young-seo eventually admit their feelings for each other and become a couple.

Streaming on Netflix

5. Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)

Extraordinary Attorney Woo follows the story of Woo Young-woo, an autistic lawyer raised by her single father. Despite excelling at law school and possessing a photographic memory, she faces discrimination from law firms due to her autism. Securing a position at Hanbada through her father’s connection, Attorney Woo faces challenges in communication and prejudice from colleagues like Kwon Min-woo.

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As the series progresses, Young-woo’s unique approach to legal cases and her relationships with colleagues, including supervising lawyer Jung Myung-seok and peer Choi Su-yeon, evolve. The show explores finely balanced legal issues and ethical questions, with Attorney Woo’s distinctive methods often leading to unexpected case resolutions.

Streaming on Netflix

6. The Glory (2022)

Dong-eun endures severe bullying by a group of classmates who subject her to horrifying acts, including searing her skin with a hair-curling iron, scratching her with pins, and physical assaults. These disturbing details draw inspiration from a real-life incident that unfolded in 2006 at a girls’ school in Cheongju, Korea. In the actual case, three ninth-grade girls bullied their classmate over 20 days, involving the burning of her skin with a curling wand. The victim suffered extensive injuries, leading to a six-week hospitalisation, including a protruded tailbone.”

Streaming on Netflix

7. The Penthouse: War in Life (2020-21)

Penthouse” revolves around the lives of wealthy families residing in Hera Palace and their children attending Cheong-ah Arts School. Shim Su-ryeon, an elegant and wealthy woman, discovers her husband Joo Dan-tae’s hidden secret, setting off a series of dramatic events. Oh Yoon-hee, with a humble background, harbours animosity towards Cheon Seo-jin, a famous soprano, leading to a love triangle. The storey takes a dark turn when a mysterious girl named Min Seol-ah dies at Hera Palace, triggering a web of deceit and suspicion among the residents.

As secrets unravel, Cheon Seo-jin frames Oh Yoon-hee for murder, leading to unexpected consequences. The narrative explores revenge, downfall, and the ambitions of the Hera Palace residents and their children. The aftermath of Min Seol-ah’s death, Shim Su-ryeon’s secrets, and the complex relationships among the characters add layers to the gripping storyline.

In the subsequent season, after faking her death, Shim Su-Ryeon faces new challenges when Logan Lee dies unexpectedly. The Hera Palace residents, now released from prison, strive to rebuild their lives. The final chapter delves into themes of greed, corruption, justice, and redemption, as the characters navigate the consequences of their actions in pursuit of happiness.

Streaming on Netflix

8. It’s Okay not to be Okay (2020)

Moon Gang-tae and his autistic older brother Moon Sang-tae have led a nomadic life since witnessing their mother’s murder. Gang-tae works as a caregiver in psychiatric wards wherever they settle. While at a hospital, he encounters Ko Moon-young, a renowned children’s book writer rumoured to have an antisocial personality disorder.

Gang-tae eventually lands a job at the OK Psychiatric Hospital in Seongjin City, their childhood home. After discovering their shared past, moon-young becomes romantically obsessed with Gang-tae and follows him to Seongjin. As the trio, including Sang-tae, reunites, they embark on a journey of healing, unravelling secrets, finding solace in each other, and moving forward.

Streaming on Netflix

9. Our Beloved Summer (2021)

In this coming-of-age romantic comedy, Choi Ung and Kook Yeon-soo, former lovers who made a pact to never meet again, find themselves brought together a decade later. Their high school documentary, filmed years ago, unexpectedly goes viral, compelling them to face the cameras once more at the behest of their producer friend. The series delves into the complexities of their emotions and personal growth.

Focusing on the essence of love, the drama transcends practical concerns like family conflicts. Instead, it weaves a tale of emotions, memories, and dreams, capturing romance through subtle and overlooked gestures. The narrative unfolds through the lens of throb, creating a portrayal of love that resonates in the often unnoticed acts of everyday life

Streaming on Netflix

10. Alchemy of Souls (2022)

Set in the fictional country of Daeho, the series explores the theme of love and growth among young mages who must confront their destinies altered by the forbidden magic spell, the “alchemy of souls,” allowing souls to switch bodies. The narrative follows an elite warrior named Nak-su, whose soul accidentally becomes trapped in the frail body of Mu-deok. Entangled with Jang Uk from a noble family, Nak-su becomes his servant, teaching him her skills as they develop a romantic connection.

Three years after a tragic event engineered by Jin Mu, causing Mu-deok to run wild and commit atrocities, Jang Uk returns from the dead, fuelled by the powerful Ice Stone within him. He transforms into a ruthless hunter of soul shifters, haunted by heartbreak over Mu-deok’s death. The plot takes a twist when he encounters Jin Bu-yeon, the mysterious heiress of Jinyowon, who bears a striking resemblance to Nak-su.

Streaming on Netflix

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