As the ongoing pandemic became a chance to be up-to-date with different series, here’s five Korean dramas that have romance and something more.
The genre linked to these is romantic fantasy, a subgenre of fantasy fiction.
Just as the definition says, the characters may start as solitary wanderers but they won’t remain like that for long. A good characteristic is that the series tend to focus on their fantastic elements rather than their relationships, making it easy to immerse yourself in the whirlwind of emotions.
This list, going from the oldest to the newest, is perfect to dive into the fantasy romance world.
5. Secret Garden
Starring: Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won
Year of release: 2010
The drama tells the story of Kim Joo Won and Gil Ra Im. He is an arrogant, almost perfect CEO and she’s a poor sunt woman whose beauty is the object of envy among actresses.
They meet on a set when Joo Won mistakes Ra Im for another actress. From there they begin a tense, weird relationship. To make things more complicated, they swap bodies after a strange sequence of events.
This is like the “Freaky Friday” of South Korea where they got to learn to understand each other’s feelings in order to swap back. Their chaotic relationship ends up in the most intriguing way making the drama an easy ten out of ten.
Also, Secret Garden gives us a couple of the most iconic scenes in the South Korean television industry.
4. My Love from the Star
Starring: Kim Soo Hyun and Jun Ji Hyun
Year of release: 2013
Do Min Joon is an alien that landed on Earth in the year 1609 who works as a college professor in the present. During the Joseon Dynasty, he misses his trip back to his planet being stranded for the next four centuries.
He possesses enhanced physical abilities involving his vision, hearing and speed, and a cynical view regarding human beings.
Three months before finally going back to his planet he meets Cheon Song Yi, a famous actress. He gets tangled in a complicated relationship with her, making his decision of going back a very hard one.
My Love from the Star is one of my personal favorites. Besides the romantic story, there is the loneliness he feels through the years as he has to change identities every decade because he doesn’t age.
This drama has it all: great cast, good script, romance, comedy, tragedy and an amazing soundtrack.
Starring: Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo
Year of release: 2016
The drama centers around “W”, a fictional webtoon which becomes a bestseller in South Korea. This webtoon creates a living universe between the real world and the W world which was written by Oh Seong Moo. The gap of the “two worlds” collide as Oh Yeon Joo, daughter of the author and resident cardiothoracic surgeon, gets dragged into the W world.
This world is a “replica” of the real South Korea and the entry can be through the author’s magical tablet. In this world lives Kang Chul, a distinguished athlete that later discovers and affirms the truth of his world and identity as the main character. Once the story of W ends, the webtoon continues to exist but the “characters” will lose their titles and may live their own lives.
This is a story that will keep you on your feet. Is a fresh concept that shows how love can surpass everything. I can assure you’ll never be bored while watching this drama. It has a great cast and production.
Starring: Gong Yoo and Kim Go Eun
Year of release: 2016
Kim Shin is a goblin who was once an unbeatable General in ancient times. He dies tragically, obtaining an immortal life as a curse. He lives hoping to end this torture by finding a human bride who can pull out the hidden sword in front of his chest.
After searching the bride for 900 years, he meets Ji Eun Tak, a high school student who can summon him and claims that she is his bride. She can see ghosts and is being chased by a Grim Reaper.
This drama is another personal favorite as it is more than the typical love story. It talks about family bonds both good and toxic, brotherhood, growing up as an orphan, etc.
The soundtrack is a masterpiece, it complements the drama perfectly. You will surely fall in love with the cast, especially the relationship between the Goblin and the Grim Reaper.
1. Memories of the Alhambra
Starring: Hyun Bin and Park Shin Hye
Year of release: 2018
This drama tells the unique and suspenseful love story between Yoo Jin Woo and Jung Hee Joo. Hyun Bin plays once again the CEO, this time of an investment company and has a knack for developing video games.
After a mysterious call, he takes a business trip to Granada, Spain in search of the inventor of an innovative AR video game. He ends up in a hostel that Jung Hee Joo owns. She is a former classical guitarist who came to Spain to further her studies, supporting his family with the incomes of the hostel. The both get drawn into a series of unexpected events.
The concept of this drama is totally new! They have a couple of elements that are part of the “classic K-Drama” but that’s it. The AR is a fundamental piece for this masterpiece. I have to give a warning, you will not understand fully what’s going on until around the six-eight episode since everything happens so fast. But don’t worry, the storyline is worth that confusion because it leads up to understanding everything at the end.
Now you are ready to have fun while swooning for your favorite couples!