Thanks to the 2018 Winter Olympics held in PyeongChang, South Korean culture has been put in the spotlight. K-dramas, or Korean television shows, have been internationally popularized for their accessibility and unique aesthetic not commonly found in Western television. Many great shows have come out since the beginning of this year. Here are the best few so far:
Radio Romance captures the stereotypical essence of Korean dramas: colorful, comedic, yet riddled with deeper discussions about the challenges of life and love. The story revolves around Song Geu-Rim (played by actress Kim So-Hyun), an assistant program writer for a live radio show, and Ji Soo-Ho (Yoon Doo-Joon), a DJ and a famous actor with a seemingly perfect family. For people just getting into the Korean drama world, Radio Romance is a great start: it gives the audience a taste of the generic ideals of South Korean television while also maintaining a deeper tone, especially when the audience learns more about Ji Soo-Ho and his family. Radio Romance airs on KBS2 every Monday and Tuesday.
Unlike the usual dose of humor and quirkiness seen in Korean shows, Mother is the exact opposite. A remake of the 2010 Japanese show of the same name, Mother is a drama/thriller that asks viewers how far would you go to protect a child. The show focuses on a young girl named Hye Na (Heo Yool) and a temporary elementary teacher Soo Jin (Lee Bo-Young). Hye Na is a victim of child abuse, and the show follows Soo Jin in her attempt to help save Hye Na from her home situation. The show airs on tvN every Wednesday and Thursday.
I am Not A Robot!
This quirky Korean romance is perfect for spring. The protagonist, Kim Min-Kyu (Yoo Seung-Ho), is a smart and wealthy business owner who has never had a girlfriend because he is “allergic” to people. His life gets entwined with Jo Ji-Ah (Chae Soo-Bin), an aspiring entrepreneur whose ex-boyfriend had created an artificially intelligent robot that looks exactly like her. Jo Ji-Ah ends up pretending to be the robot, which is how she and Kim Min-Kyu end up meeting each other. The show finished airing on MBC in 2017, with a total of 32 episodes.
Longing Heart was one of the longest awaited releases in 2018 from the broadcaster OCN. The show was based on a Korean webcomic, “Aeganjang,” written by Kim Hee-Ran and Kim Byung-Gwan. It revolves around the main character, Kang Shin-Woo (Lee Jung-Shin), a math teacher with unrequited feelings for his first love, who ends up traveling back in time to meet his younger self. The show displays his struggle in trying to help his younger self get the girl of his dreams. The show finished airing in February, with a total of only 10 episodes.