Anny spends most of her time on Netflix unearthing an unhealthy number of Kdramas to watch during her free time.
In 2019-2020, Korean culture and K-pop have experienced a tremendous increase in their fanbase from all parts of the world. Its variety of genres and themes have seized the attention of people who had once given up on television shows. The Korean drama trend has once again been reinvigorated, but for some, it has always been there. With Netflix showcasing many top-notch productions with stellar casting, here are the best five.
5. Chicago Typewriter
This series is a hauntingly beautiful tale of fragments of love and friendship finally piecing together. This hidden gem is well crafted with an outstanding cast that manages to perfectly execute unique concepts.
The drama takes place in two periods: the present day and the historical period of the 1930s when Korea was occupied by the Japanese forces. The story begins with Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In), a renowned novelist who is experiencing a serious case of a writer’s block, coming across a mysterious typewriter that he immediately connects to. This antique eventually allows him to meet his life-long fan, Jeon Seol (Im Soo Jung), and the integral ghostwriter Yoo Jin Oh (Go Kyung Pyo). Together, the slow-burn drama seamlessly weaves the various snippets of their past lives and present day events together in a masterful way that tugs our heartstrings.
4. Itaewon Class
Adapted from the webtoon under the same name, this earnest underdog revenge series has captured hearts of many. The story starts when a high school student who leads an uneventful life, Park Sae-royi (Park Seo-joon), stands up to the typical class bully who turns out to be an heir to the giant corporation Jangga Group, standing at the apex of food industry in South Korea. The CEO of the Jangga Group Jang Dae-hee (Yoo Jae-myung) is relentlessly obsessed with wanting Park Sae-royi to submit and kneel to him. When Park Sae-royi refuses to do so, he serves a three-year prison sentence.
The plot follows Park Sae-royi’s struggles as an underdog with a criminal record to open his own restaurant bar in Itaewon, a district bursting with colors and ravishing cuisines, to surpass the all-time success of the Jangga Group.
This story ventures into the themes of diversity, racial discrimination, and sexism in Korea. The series effectively provides a realistic but heartwarming perspective.
3. Strangers From Hell
The psychological series explores various ideas and concepts, including mental health in Korea, nature vs nurture, good vs evil, psychopaths and sociopaths, and all the grey area in between. The most interesting part of this series is Yoon Jong-woo's (Im Siwan), the main character, development. A seemingly normal guy who moves to Seoul to work, he winds up in the creepy apartment. We watch as he goes through psychological tension, ranging from social stress to inner turmoil, as people around him further taints the blank canvas.
The creepy charm that the actor Lee Dongwook has managed to work up as the evil mastermind dentist (Seo Moon-joo) fits the series very well. Although I have to say, the stellar performance is ultimately Im Siwan, our main character. His performance showcases his ability to convey a myriad of emotions, from the subtle cues to the huge but realistic facial expressions that successfully put the audience in his shoes.
This gut wrenching series is able to put the audience on the edge of their seats, and the cinematography and directing are well done.
Is this series worth watching? A hundred times yes.
Vagabond is an action-packed drama with unthinkable plot twists and a wonderful cast that is able to pull off great stunt sequences. This story is recommended for an audience who loves the thrill of spy movies and the exhilaration of a story delving into the politics of the corrupted corporate world and revealing its intricacies.
The drama follows Cha Dal-geon (Lee Seung-gi), a financially struggling stuntman who has his heart in the right place, on a quest to solve the mystery involving his beloved nephew’s plane crash. With the help of an NIS agent Go Hae-ri (Bae Suzy), the both of them join forces to gather evidence and expose the corruption, but things don’t always go as planned.
This drama is interesting and has the audience shaking with nervousness and curiosity since episode one. In other series, corporate politics and corruption might be a tedious theme, but this series proves that it can bring an overused trope and add their own flavors and underlying twists to make a well executed plot.
1. Hotel Del Luna
This feel-good luxurious drama is a poignant fantasy about a five-star hotel that caters to dead people and their peculiar needs, run by Jang Man-wol (IU). Its outstanding plot and stunning cinematography won the hearts of many, from both Koreans and international audiences alike.
Man-wol is cursed to run this place for eternity after an unfortunate encounter with a deity. The story takes an interesting turn when Goo Chan-sung (Yeo Jin-goo) is forced to work at the hotel because of an agreement his father had made with Man-wol decades earlier.
The story is luxurious, from its costumes of utmost sophistication and the top-notch animation that seamlessly integrates into the modern-day world, to the elegant blend of past lives and the everlasting and haunting concept of fate.
© 2020 Anny Taylor
Anny Taylor (author) on September 17, 2020:
I completely agree!
BT on September 10, 2020:
Hotel Del Luna is the best movie to watch with ghosts in it.
JL on July 27, 2020:
Strangers from Hell is legit. Gave me nightmares for a week!
Anny Taylor (author) on June 16, 2020:
To Eva Gonzales,
A must watch series! Glad you think the same.
Eva Gonzales from Philippines on June 16, 2020:
Chicago typewritter!!! Such a hidden gem! Glad to see it on the list
Anny Taylor (author) on June 15, 2020:
I completely agree! It deserves more recognition.
Bryan111 on June 15, 2020:
So glad you put Chicago Typewriter on the list. That series is so underrated!