With Valentine’s Day upon us, you may feel the urge to watch a light-hearted romantic show or movie. Instead of turning to Hallmark classics or another Netflix teen rom-com, I have a fun suggestion for you. Try branching out and watching a K-Drama! With the perfect blend of a captivating storyline, comical side characters, and alluring chemistry, K-Dramas will have you hooked. The world of K-Dramas is surprisingly obsessive; once you find a good film, another one will catch your attention.
For those unfamiliar with the term, K-Dramas are TV shows from South Korea. Each episode is typically an hour long, and each series varies in season length. While South Korean culture has been popular with a niche community, it became much more mainstream after “Squid Games,” the first non-English TV series to win multiple awards, was released in 2021. Since then, these Korean shows have taken the world by storm; no matter what genre you prefer, there is a K-Drama for you. Although K-dramas have the premise of your everyday life shows, they always infuse extra flair that makes each show different. As someone who loves to watch them, I have selected my top two series to watch this Valentine’s Day!
My first choice is Crash Landing on You, which is available to watch on Netflix. This series tackles the theme of forbidden love and the desperate measure we go to for the people we love. It follows the lives of a South Korean billionaire/CEO Yoon Se-ri and North Korean Special Forces Unit Captain Ri Jeong-Hyeo who meet after a paragliding accident lands Se-ri in North Korea and in the hands of Jeong-Hyeo. Se-ri learns firsthand the difficulties of life in North Korea while slowly falling in love with Captain Ri during her unfortunate stay. Despite the unfavorable circumstances, it is up to her North Korean friends to guide her home while simultaneously concealing their illicit relationship from the government. Not only did this drama have me hanging off the edge of my seat every episode, but it is also based on a true story. This series also won the 2020 Baeksang Arts Award for Best TV Drama, making it a great introductory series to K-Dramas.
My other recommendation is Hometown Cha Cha Cha, also available on Netflix. In a love story set in the seaside village of Gongjin, Yoon Hye Jin, a big-city dentist who supposedly has a perfect life, finds herself consumed by the life of Hong Doo Shik, a jack of all trades. Hometown Cha Cha Cha is a light and breezy sip of lemonade on a hot day. This drama is filled with romance, comedy, and even suspense, and it is a must-watch for those seeking something different from their typical TV romance!
Korean dramas continue to seek out innovative new stories that capture the audience, despite the language barrier. Viewers can connect with the characters and explore important cultural and societal issues, making these shows relatable, even if you are not Korean. A famous South Korean filmmaker, Bong Joon- Ho, said it best: “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Although there are many things you can watch to celebrate Valentine’s Day, if you are feeling adventurous, make sure to check out a K-Drama romance series and enjoy an exploration into a new culture.