An Introduction: to K-Dramas! *gasp*
K-Dramas (Korean), C-Dramas (Chinese), Thai Dramas, & more. OH MY! My newest and most favorite addiction of which I am a HUUUUUGE fan. How big of a fan, do you ask??? Well, I fell down the Korean & Chinese Drama hole back in late 2018 and since then I have watched over 550 asian dramas & movies.... some of them multiple times. *GASP* I know. I'm not sure if I'm proud of this fact or ashamed. I think I'll go with PROUD because it kind of helped me out of some of the darkest days in my life when speaking about the unspeakable issues of severe anxiety and depression.
Now that you've heard one of my deepest, darkest secrets, let me introduce you to a few dramas that you may just enjoy, thus finding a brand new addiction to join me in.
If you'd like to, you can follow me on My Drama List HERE, where you'll find my complete lists of favorite dramas, recommendations, and all around Asian Drama shenanigans! ●‿●
If you are a complete Asian Drama NEWBIE... here are my recommendations on where you can start.
Please NOTE: Asian drama are amazing, but don't go in expecting the "norm" for romance, etc. One of the amazing and wonderful things about watching dramas from other countries (for me at least) has been learning a ton about different cultures, languages, mindsets, and more. And one thing I have learned the hard way is that Asian dramas looooove their tragedies. That's now a BIG issue for me if the drama is well done, but I can see how a lot of us might hate watching 40-80 episodes only to have one or both of the leads die in the end. Keeping that in mind, I'm going to mark the tragedies below as a #tragedy to warn you guys.
Mr. Sunshine (Netflix) This is a K-Drama and a historical. It is also not for the faint of heart nor for those of you who MUST have a HEA (Happily Ever After) at the end of your dramas/books. However, being the FIRST Asian drama I ever watched & being such a BEAUTIFULLY depicted drama, it deserves a place in my recommendations. I cried a LOT watching this one. #tragedy #kdrama
The Rise of the Phoenixes (Netflix) This one is one of my favorite of all time dramas. It is also a #tragedy but soooo beautifully done. This drama single-handedly launched my absolute LOVE of historical C-Dramas. (Chinese) It was also one of the first ones to rip my heart out. #tragedy #political #emperors
W: Two Worlds This is probably one of the most unique K-Dramas I have ever watched to this day. It has some fantasy vibes to it and it is SO well done. I rarely watch "modern" dramas, but when I do, I'm glad to come across this epicness!
The Story of Ming Lan (Viki) SOOOO... this one is my most favorite drama of all time. It's historical & much more of a "slice of life" drama, meaning it literally shows every day stuff that most people would find "boring" or say that it makes the drama go "too slow", however, this slice of life drama depicts what women in china in this era lived daily and what they had to do and endure to become stronger and etch out a place for themselves in their world. It is BEAUTIFULLY done. I laughed, cried, and cheered for our heroine's journey. Every single actor/actress on here KILLED their role and this drama made my girl crush on actress Zhao Li Ying (aka Zanilia Zhao) 100% complete. Several of her dramas are in my top 20 favorites, including Rookie Agent Rogue mentioned below.
Strong Woman Dong Bong Soon (Viki) If you need light-hearted, funny, romantic, well-acted, and just all around FUN... this drama is for you. I literally cried I laughed so hard at this drama. And that's saying something since I shy away from most American "comedy" and tend to enjoy tragedies or serious romances much more.
Cinderella & the Four Knights (Netflix) A romance, not too heavy, but a fun romp with great actresses/actors. Don't let the horrendous occasional side character throw you off, they are a normal part of Asian dramas!
The Princess WeiYoung (Netflix) I really loved this drama. Lots of actions, a super strong female lead, and a "bad guy" I couldn't really hate and kind of secretly rooted for a bit. (what can I say? I'm a sucker for the dark antihero type!)
Rookie Agent Rogue (YouTube) THIS ONE. Not my normal cup of tea with the era, war, secret agents, etc., but I looooooved this one so much that I have watched it several times. YES, some of the bad guys are way over the top and whatever, but, I adored this drama and find it so underrated! Give it a go.
You're My Destiny SO. This is a THAI drama and so I don't trigger anyone, this will be the first Thai drama I'll recommend. Thai dramas are NOT everyone's cup of tea... they are different even from other Asian inspired dramas with major tropes, super outrageous cookie cutter characters, and some stuff that is hard for us who are not Thai to understand/digest. ALL that being said, Thai dramas are a guilty pleasure of mine & I've seen over 100. GASP. I know. I know. THIS Thai drama is not near what the others are and I think you'll end up enjoying it. Also, interesting to note: This drama is 1 of about 5? different Asian versions. (You're My Destiny, You Are My Destiny, & Fated to Love You) I have seen the Thai version, Korean version, Chinese version, Taiwanese version, & Japanese. Now... don't look at me like that. I'd already previously established that I am aware of my problem. Sheesh. ANYWHO. This version is probably my favorite. Maybe one day I'll do a comparison post of all the versions.
ANYWAY... Do you watch Asian Dramas? Have any favs? Plan to give one of the above a try? Let me know in the comments! Also... have I have shared my love of TURKISH DRAMAS with you??? ;-)
- Peggy Martinez