The 18 Best Korean High School Dramas
The Best Korean Teenage Dramas
A K-drama doesn't always focus on melodrama, romance, history, comedy, or action. Many television series and movies that depict friendship, teenagers and high school life also become the starting point of K-drama addiction.
In this article, I will be presenting to you the 18 best Korean high school dramas that will surely appeal to your taste. While watching these shows, you will undoubtedly recall your teenage years and your experiences as a high school student, with plenty of angst and drama thrown in!
I will be talking about some overlooked series that are worth checking out. These series spanned the course of the past ten years when audiences outside of Korea began to get into watching these types of shows.
18. Heartstrings (2011)
This is a 2011 Korean musical drama that stars Park Shin Hye and Jung Yong Hwa in the lead role that is set in a performing arts university. It is a story about friendship and love that involves students from the western music department and the traditional Korean music department.
Yong-hwa is the vocalist and guitarist of the famous band Stupid who’s in love with a professor in their school. He meets Shin Hye who is from the traditional Korean music department who plays gayageum. In a world where two people have different views on life, will love find a way to bring them together?
17. The Heirs (2013)
The Heirs is a 2013 drama starring Lee Min Ho, Park Shin Hye and Kim Wo Bin in the lead role. The story depicts the lives of elite students who have struggles in their teenage life such as falling in love, school problems, family related-problems, and being trained to be the inheritors of their families’ business. It is set in a school with characters that have different personalities. Unlike other school-related dramas that focus on bullying, this drama tackles not just their lives inside the school but also teen romance. Both Lee and Kim played rich students and former friends. On the other hand, Park plays the love interest of the two actors.
16. Sassy, Go Go (2015)
Sassy, Go Go is a 12-episode K-drama broadcasted by KBS2 in 2015. This stars Jung Eun-ji, Lee Won-keun, Cha Hak-yeon, Ji-soo and Chae Soo-bin.
Sassy, Go Go depicts the lives of students who experience the harsh environment in school. Just like other school dramas, it also deals with the real experiences that each student has gone through while in school. Also, it also shows the importance of friendship and the love of teens.
15. After School, Lucky or Not (2013)
This is one of shortest K-dramas, and it is fun to watch with 12 episodes. It stars Kim So Eun, Seo Kang Joon, Kang Tae Oh, Hong Myung, Yoo Il and Lee Tae Hwan.
The story is about a student name Kim So Eun who is known for having a timid personality and unadventurous girl. One day, she receives a note from unknown person inviting her to the after school “Lucky or Not Club.” In the club, she meets five flower boys that choose her to be their leader. Every day, they draw a random slip of paper that contains a fantastical and extraordinary mission that the group must complete. This activity draws out Kim So Eun’s adventurous and bold side.
14. Secret Campus (2006)
If you are searching for Lee Min Ho’s drama before he came to stardom, then I recommend you to watch Secret Campus. It was released in 2006 and was broadcast on EBS. Honestly, I only know Lee and Park Bo Young in this drama.
Secret Campus is about modern students who experience different problems and stress in school. It tells the story of the lives and the relationship of six students who have different dreams in life. This drama mainly focuses on the lives of teenagers who struggle to achieve their goals despite trials and tribulations.
13. Seonam Girls High School Detectives (2014)
This drama is not a typical high school or teenage dramas that we have seen on television as the production team makes it different from others. It still involves students and issues that they’ve faced on both home and at school. The plot is cliché but will surely attract viewers who love crime dramas. Also, the problems that are tackled in it are not just about bullying. It has different issues which other people might consider as very sensitive but happen in real life.
The story of this drama revolves around five girls who are known as private high school detectives. They also faced problems such as school bullying, but together they help solve these problems one by one. I would highly recommend this drama not just to teenagers/students but also to parents and teachers so that they will understand the issues concerning teens.
12. Orange Marmalade (2015)
Unlike other teen/high school dramas that much known for projecting issues that were faced by students (such as bullying), Orange Marmalade surrounds the life of a student who is a vampire. So this is another vampire drama, but it mostly targets teen audiences.
In a world where humans and vampires co-exist, although they have already evolved and no longer rely on human blood, humans are still afraid of them, and sometimes they feel discriminated by society. Baek Ma-ri transferred to another school while students don’t have the idea that she is a vampire. But everything has changed when accidentally bites the neck of a popular boy in their school Jung Jae-min. What do you think happened to Jae-min? Did he also become a vampire?
Well, as the story goes on. Baek Ma-ri was caught in a love triangle between a vampire student and Jae-min. Who will Ma-ri choose at the end? Human or vampire?
11. Who Are You School 2015 (2015)
Who Are You School 2015 might sound’s familiar to you if you had watched its previous series. It is the sixth installment of KBS “School” series which started to air from 1999 to 2002, then in 2013. Basically, it is another similar plot and characters, but it still depicts the life of every student in Korea. It might be cliché to some of you but for those who want to understand more about the life face by teenagers, this you must watch it.
The story revolves around the life of two identical twins Go Eun-Byul and Lee Eun-Bi (both played by actress Kim So Hyun) that are separated after one of them was adopted. Eun-bi lives at an orphanage yet she still managed to focus on her studies. However, she was bullied in school. On the other hand, Eun-byul is the opposite. She is studying in a prestigious school in South Korea and is known for her mean personality.
A tragedy will change their lives. Lee Eun-Bi will end up pretending to be her sister. But what happens to Go Eun-Byul? How will Eun-Bi manage the fame of her sister? What if Eun-Bi meets the girl who bullied her back then? Will she act as Lee Eun-Bi or the mean Go Eun-Byul?
10. Mackerel Run (2007)
In 10th place, we have Mackerel Run starring Lee Min-Ho and Moon Chae-won. It was a year ago when I started to watched Lee Min-ho's dramas, and one of these dramas was MR. Though he is known for Boys Over Flowers but I still highly recommend this teen drama to his fans.
Mackerel Run is a fun-filled, high school series packed with irritating instructors, sappy affection stories, sports rivalries, passionate dismissals, schoolyard tormenting and a great deal more. It was really a disgrace that the show finished so early and unexpectedly as the ending appeared to be fairly heedlessly put together.
9. Adolescence Medley (2013)
In 9th place is the teen drama Adolescence Medley. This drama will bring back some of your high school memories. It is a very short drama with just four episodes yet so touching. I miss my high school life after watching this drama. Indeed, high school life is the most enjoyable and unforgettable stage in a person's life.
A teenager television show about students at a village high school, it was adapted from the webtoon of the same title composed by Kwak In-geun, which was distributed on Daum WebToon from November 9, 2011, to February 29, 2012.
8. To the Beautiful You (2012)
Here we go; in 8th place is the teen drama To the Beautiful You. It is a Korean version of the Taiwanese drama Hana Kimi. I know you are familiar with the casts especially Sulli and Choi Min Ho but let me tell you this, Sulli is very handsome in this drama. I am a super fan of the Taiwanese version which is why I watched this drama. No doubt Sulli can act well in different roles especially on acting like a boy, dressing like a boy, etc.
I completed watching this series a year ago and have been watching K-dramas for some time now, and I need to say that this is one of the best ones I've seen. It's silly, decently scripted, and coordinated with awesome acting from its casts.
7. Jungle Fish 2 (2010)
In 7th place is the teen drama Jungle Fish 2.
Jungle fish 2 is one drama I cherished watching. The series calls attention to everything that happens in secondary school. It mirrors the society that we have now. I love the nerve-wracking parts, especially when they are solving mysteries!
6. Ma Boy (2012)
Here we go, in 6th place is the teen drama Ma Boy. I personally included this drama on my list because it has something that teens want. I mean the "kilig" sweet factor of teens which will help us recall our high school life. But what makes it different is that a boy who is pretending to be a girl. And honestly, the leads are very beautiful. Yes, Kim So-hyun and Sun Woong are beautiful. Aside from my idol GD who can act like a girl and looks like a girl, Sun Woong has this ability too.
One of the shortest teen dramas but also one of the sweetest love stories. I highly recommend this to anyone into K-drama. It is so beautiful. Jang Geu Rim and Hyunwoo make a great couple.
5. Hi! School: Love On (2014)
In 5th place is the teen drama High! School-Love On. I just finished watching this drama last night, and I was amazed at the actors in this drama. It's not just about teens but an angel who falls in love with a human. And because of this drama, I am now a big fan of Kim Sae-ron and Nam Woohyun. If you consider yourself a K-drama fan, then you should watch this drama.
Seriously, the early scenes are so charming! Although it’s true that it’s a bit unequal between light-hearted comedy and making serious show issues toward the end of the series, still, I think the sweet scenes at the front compensates for it! I am now falling in love with Nam Woohyun.
4. White Christmas (2011)
One of the best dramas which I have watched. Although there were times when it was excessively farfetched (on the off chance that we mull over what the mass can do against one individual, however, in any case, it truly engages feelings and effects your reasoning) and a few occasions could be dull yet, in general, it was loaded with suspense and I truly needed to comprehend what will happen next.
At a few minutes, I sensed that it was truly terrifying and unpleasant because it truly begins to trouble you and you are thinking: "what I would do in this circumstance?" Do I have a beast inside me? All things considered, I believe that each one of us has our own particular villain and this show demonstrates it consistently. The music just expanded this feeling.
Each character was portrayed in a wonderful way however my most loved one is Kang Mireu. I truly appreciate watching Kim Woo Bin in diverse parts and knowing his abilities.
3. Master of Study (2010)
You will surely learn many lessons in this drama (friendship, students, to teachers and esp family). You don't have to be brainy or dumb as long as you are willing to learn, study harder, and has the strong will to survive the hardships you will achieve what you want. Maturity and setting goals in life help a lot. In reality, we learn lessons from our teachers and goes the same as well to them.
Pulip is so charming. Also, she is a pleasant young lady, and she has incredible chemistry with Baek Hyun and Chan Doo; she makes an adorable couple with two of them. Likewise, her acting is great, even Korean people cherish her. I can now understand why both gentlemen cherish her.
2. Reply 1997 (2012)
This is one of the best Korean teen dramas that I will never forget. The drama deals with romantic love but also the love for family, friendship, brotherhood and relationship of a couple. The acting is really great. Every scene touched my heart. Reply 1997 is so funny, it's witty, creative, and has so many sweet and cute moments, along with many many hilarious moments.
First love is reckless. Without calculating, it throws everything in with pure passion, and inevitably fails. But that’s why it’s dramatic — the reckless tales wrapped up in experiences or feelings that you can never have again.
— Yoon Jae / Reply 1997
1. School 2013 (2012)
And in 1st place is the teen drama School 2013. If you haven't watched this drama, then you should now.
The cast, plot, amusing and touching moments made this drama very popular. The relationships displayed in the show truly made it worth watching. Not just the pleasant and fantastic Nam Soo but also the rest of the cast, the plot, and plenty of amusing and touching minutes made this show.
There are two things that touch my heart since I watch this drama; to start with, it realistically portrays the relationship between educator and student. Indeed it is truly difficult to work with gangster students, yet Jung never surrenders to her students. She generally gives great advising to her students who fall into bad situations. The second one that touches my heart so much is the relationship between Park Heung Soo and Go Nam Soon. The relationship between these two fellows is truly more profound than siblings.
Regardless of how well you study, if you don't know what you do wrong or how to apologize, that is also no use.
— Teacher Jung
It's Poll Time!
What do you think is the best teenage/ high school Korean drama?
More Korean High School Dramas
• Moorim School: This is a school drama set in a mysterious institute wherein the teachers teach about virtues such as honesty, faith, sacrifice, and communication. It is a drama wherein the characters have a different personality and own story.
• High School King of Savvy: This drama tells the story of a high school student who impersonates his brother in his new job. With this, the lead character is set to study while being a high-ranking executive at the same time. What makes this drama worth to watch is that it teaches the viewers on how to balance school, career and love life.
• Boys Over Flowers: This is the Korean adaptation of Meteor Garden and Hana Yori Dango. It tells about the story of four boys and one girl who will change their lives. This drama also has a love triangle between the lead characters just like what you’ve seen from the Taiwanese and Japanese version.
• Playful Kiss: This drama tells the story of a girl who has a crush on a famous, intelligent, handsome guy in the school who happens to be the son of her father’s best friend.
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