New to K-Drama? Must-See Dramas to get You Started

안녕 친구!

There will always be that one thing, be it a song, a movie, or a drama, that will get you hooked to something you'll be enjoying for a long time. For K-Drama fans, the drama or movie that introduced them to their favorite actors and actresses will always be memorable.

I've been a fan of anything Korean for more than a decade now, and yet the memories of that first time I saw Gong Yoo is still fresh in my memory.

I mean, who wouldn't fall for this face?


Here are five Korean dramas that every newbie should see.

Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy (also known as Hello My Teacher), 2005


Before he became popular (again) on Goblin, Gong Yoo first made waves with his character on The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince (with Yoon Eun-hye), but if you want to go farther back in his filmography, then you should watch him on Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy.

In this series, Gong Yoo played the role of Park Tae-in, a high school student (which he pulled off very well, despite being 26 years old at that time) who keeps on getting his teacher, Na Bo-Ri (played by Gong Hyo-jin), into trouble.

Seeing Gong Yoo play a character other than a boss or an adult is refreshing, and his chemistry with Gong Hyo-jin is amazing. (They are really good friends in real life, and are sometimes dubbed siblings because of their same family names.)

Rating: I'll give this series 4.5 finger hearts. (I could have given it 5 finger hearts, but stories about teacher-student relationships, no matter how cute, make me cringe — I'm also a teacher so I know.)

Sungkyungkwan Scandal, 2010

Before his popularity shot up because of his character as Captain Yoo on Descendants of the Sun, Song Joong-ki was part of the 2010 series Sungkyungkwan Scandal.

The story revolves around the lives of four students — Kim Yoon-shik (Park Min-young), Lee Sun-joon (Park Yoo-chun), Moon Jae-shin (Yoo Ah-in) and Gu Yong-ha (Song Joong-ki) — as they face the challenges inside the prestigious Sungkyungkwan, an all-male educational institution set in the Joseon Dynasty.

In the series, Song Joong-ki played the role of Gu Yong-ha, the resident pretty boy of Sungkyungkwan's "Jalgeum Quartet."

Rating: For me, this series deserves 5 finger hearts. I don't usually watch period dramas (sageuk), but this series made me appreciate hanbok-wearing characters. The casting is perfect, and the interaction between the male characters (one of the Jalgeum Quartet is female) is hilarious and cute at the same time.

It's Okay, That's Love, 2014


Jo In-sung is one of my favourite Korean actors, and this series is among his first few projects after he was discharged from military service (his first one being That Winter, the Wind Blows with no other than Song Hye Kyo).

In this series, Jo In Sung plays the role of Jang Jae-yeol, a novelist and radio DJ who has an obsessive-compulsive disorder and sleeps only in his bathtub. His psychiatrist, Ji Hae Soo (played by Gong Hyo-jin), happens to live in a building he owns, and he temporarily moves in with her.

Those who are not familiar with Jo In-sung (or Gong Hyo-jin) would be glad to know that Do Kyung-soo (or EXO's D.O) played a big role in the series.

Rating: I'll give this series 5 finger hearts because of its unique story. Although it is basically a romantic comedy, the series also focused on different mental health issues, with most of the characters helping each other overcome their insecurities and other issues.

Pinocchio, 2014


In this series, Park Shin-hye plays the role of Choi In-ha, a journalist who has a "Pinocchio syndrome," which causes her to hiccup whenever she tells a lie. Lee Jong-suk plays the role of his "uncle" Choi Dal-po, a boy who was rescued and adopted by In-ha's grandfather.

In-ha and Dal-po grew up together, and although Dal-po pretended to be dumb, he is actually a genius, and eventually got a job as a journalist to look for the reporter who maligned his father in the past.

Rating: I give this 5 finger hearts. I originally watched this drama because of Park Shin-hye, but it was the story that hooked me in. This series made me realize the power of mass media, and how it can make or break a person. (Plus, who can say no to Lee Jong-suk?)

Man to Man, 2017


I first saw Park Hae-jin in Cheese in the Trap but it is in this series that I started to like him. Park Hae-jin plays the role of Kim Seol-woo, an elite agent that was assigned as the bodyguard of Hallyu star Yeo Woon-gwang (played by Park Sung-woong) as part of his mission.

Rating: This gets 5 finger hearts. What I liked about this series is that it is light and funny, yet action-packed at the same time. It is also packed with cute exchanges between "Kim Guard" and Woon-gwang, and the development of their relationship is something that is not forced.

Honorable Mentions:

Entourage, 2016


Just like Park Hae-jin, Seo Kang-joon also starred in Cheese in the Trap as the second lead actor. However, I first saw him in Entourage, where he plays the character of Cha Young-bin, an up and coming actor known mostly for his good looks.

Rating: 4 finger hearts

Prison Playbook, 2017

from @holyhaein on Instagram
I never expected that I'll love this drama, considering I only watched it because it is on Netflix and because of Jung Hae-in, who also starred in "While You Were Sleeping" with Lee Jong-suk and Suzy.

Rating: 4 finger hearts (only because I found this drama a bit boring at times but it is a good one nonetheless.)

(This article was originally published on Clozette.)


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