Top 5 Korean dramas that live rent free in the mind

Korean dramas have made their notable place in the world of entertainment. Some people get pulled into watching Korean dramas because of the aesthetics and dressing of the characters. Some love the unique storyline which transforms them to a world they do not know about. Some follow dramas of favorite actors or actresses.

People, like myself, have found some impactful Korean dramas that made a mark due to their unique take on social issues or even stories of coming of age. The storyline and characters are so powerful in these dramas that a viewer might feel a change in their perception of the world. The character development can be seen and accepted by the viewer as is it mindfully constructed through the drama.

I have listed 5 timeless Korean dramas which live rent free in my mind. All five of them belong to different genre but each has left a forgetful impact on many Korean drama watchers.

1. My Mister

Park Dong-Hun, the male protagonist, is a field engineer and manager working for a CEO who was his junior in college.  He takes care of his aged mother and 2 unemployed brothers. He also looks after his house chores so that his wife would be burdened less. Despite having family around him, he feels depressed and lonely. He is entangled in his work drama, gets advised to leave his job and gets targeted by his Boss who is determined to frame him in a scandal with a co-worker but Dong-Hun never gives in and remains honest.

Lee Ji-Eun works in the same company as Park Dong-Hun and does odd jobs. She is hired by Dong-Hun’s boss in order to find frame Dong-Hun. Lee Ji-Eun is a girl who meets misfortunes and is responsible for clearing the debt of her late mother. She struggles financially and is swamp with frustration and loneliness just like Park Dong-Hun.

Both these characters cross paths and they start to heal each other. Park Dong-Hun makes Lee Ji-Eun believe that people can be trusted and it is okay to be helped when you are struggling. Where as Lee Ji-Eun makes Park Dong-Hun realize that he can do much better than working under an insecure boss.

They both lessen each others loneliness with time which makes the viewer believe that opening up to a friend is much better than bottling up frustration. This drama truly moved me when the main character, Park Don-Hun, says the following to Lee Ji-Eun :

“If you take it lightly, others will take it lightly too. If you take it serious, others will too. You come first”.

My mister episode 10

Aired on TvN

Peaking from the elevator in My Mister Korean dramas.
Park Dong-Hun left, Lee Ji-Eun right

2. Itaewon Class

Itaewon class is a tale of revenge, not through violence, but through reaching the heights of success.

Park Sae-Ro-Yi is an upright man who gets expelled from high school due to his righteous beliefs. He opens a pub to beat the villain of the story to prove that humbleness always prevails.

Jo Yi-Seo, the female protagonist, is intelligent but has a careless attitude. When it is time for her to select a college, she chooses to help Sae-Ro-Yi manage the struggling pub.

Jo Yi-Seo’s character development over the years is the most effective part portrayed in the story showing how the most insensitive or craziest of people can learn to love and care. It shows a turnaround of ‘what was’ does not defines a person’s ‘what can be’.

Aired on JTBC.

All main characters in Itaewon Class Korean dramas.
Itaewon Class poster

3. Strangers From Hell

“My mister” shows us that we can put our trust in people but “Strangers From Hell” contradicts this philosophy. Yoon Jong-Woo is a young man arriving to the city to join his work in his college senior’s company. He moves into a cheap residence for only men and lives in a small room.  His landlady and neighbors show odd behavior  and have a bizarre way of communicating with each other. Luckily, Yoon Jong-Woo keeps himself at a distance from these people but slowly he would get sucked into the unusual mindset of these people.

Seo Moon-Jo, another male residence, is a dentist. Yoon Jong-Woo finds him as “normal” among his strange neighbors and become acquaintances. Seo Moon-Jo’s actual intentions get revealed later in the series which leave Yoon Jong-Woo stunned.

What stucked with me about this show is the eerie vibe which keeps increasing as the story moves forward. Then in the last episode the surreal conversation between the two main characters, Yoon Jong-Woo and Seo Moon-Jo, and the  bizarre events that happen after this left me dumbfounded.

Aired on OCN.   

Yoon Jong-Woo in the last episode of Stranger From Hell Korean dramas.
Yoon Jong-Woo in Strangers From Hell

4. Voice (2017)

Kang Kwon-Joo, the female protagonist, is blessed with an ability which allows her to hear low frequency voices. She works at the emergency call center and one call changes her life traumatically. She proposed the implementation of a concept called the “Golden Time” in the emergency call center which would save victims of horrible incidents before things get out of hands.

The main part of the story is how with the help of detective Moo Jin-Hyuk and her hearing abilities, Kan Kwon-Joo saves lives and solves the crime which has been haunting her and Moo Jin-Hyuk.
The main villain of the story, Moo Tae-Goo, is one spine-chilling man who kept me glued to the screen. Even though he is absent from screen through half of the series, since the main characters keep looking for him make the viewer feel that they know him all too well when he finally makes his appearance. The mystery of this man is the focal point in this series.

Aired on OCN.  

A behind the scene photo from the cast of Voice Korean dramas.
Moon Tae-Goo, Moon Jin-Hyuk and Kang Kwon-Joo

5. Full House (2004)

A light Rom-Com concludes this list. The lady of the series, Han Ji-Eun, is in her early twenties and struggling writer. She trusts her friends who pushed her to go on a vacation where she meets Lee Young-Jae. Lee Young-Jae is a movie star and the man who argues with Han Ji-Eun the most. Due to compromising circumstances the two of them get married but maintain a hidden contract between themselves. The comedic duo find their way as each other’s safe space. They become essential to each other’s comfort zone so much so that they begin to feel incomplete without the other.

Aired on KBS

Han Ji Eun and Lee Young Jae playing couple for an interview in Full House Korean dramas.
Han Ji-Eun Left, Lee Young-Jae right


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