1. Hospital Playlist
This one quickly became one of the top ten highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history. Hospital Playlist is a slice-of-life drama about the lives of five friends who have been together since medical school, and are now working in the same hospital. After a long day of working with patients and their families, they get together to unwind by playing their favourite songs as a band.
2. Boys Over Flowers
Boys Over Flowers as one of the best Korean dramas of all time, this one is based on a Japanese manga series of the same name. Geum Jan-di belongs to a poor family but gets a chance to attend an elite, private high school. There she crosses paths with a group of four rich and good-looking boys who are the most popular kids in school. After an initial clash, the five of them become close friends, with occasional bumps along the way.
3. Fight for My Way
Four friends tackle each day as it comes, and work towards their different goals despite being told that they don’t have what it takes. Ko Dong-man is a former taekwondo player but, because of certain circumstances, has become a contract MMA fighter. Choi Ae-ra works at a departmental store’s information desk but dreams of becoming a television anchor. Then there are Kim Hoo-man and Baek Seol-hee who have been in a relationship with each other for the past six years but now face unforeseen obstacles.
4. Reply 1988
Reply is the widely loved anthology series. The show revolves around a group of friends and chronicles their life and friendship. Each instalment covers a different era, like Reply 1997 covers the life of people in, well, 1997. Reply 1988 follows the lives of five friends and their families who live in the same neighbourhood in Northern Seoul in the year 1988. They’ve been friends since childhood and help each other out through thick and thin. This is one of those series that you can rewatch multiple times to feel the same amount of catharsis.
5. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo is one of the popular show who gained popularity amongst a younger audience that resonated with its themes of friendship, love and coming of age. Naturally gifted weightlifter Kim Bok-joo wants to pursue her dreams of weightlifting in college. Her childhood best friend Jung Joon hyung is a talented swimmer who is dealing with demons of his own. The story follows their lives as they chase their ambitions.
6. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
This Show has occupied the top trending position on Netflix ever since it premiered in July this year. The show has been lauded for subverting the representation of mental health and psychiatric health facilities in popular culture. Moon Gang-tae is a caregiver who moves from town to town with his autistic elder brother and works at the local psychiatric facility to help his brother and other patients. The psychiatric ward that he works at is sunny, bright, and filled with practitioners who care about the patients. Then there is Ko Moon-young, a popular children’s book author who is afflicted with an antisocial personality disorder. when the two meet, they realise that they can help each other heal, and discover that they have a connection with each other because of their intertwined pasts.
7. Live Up to Your Name
If you love medical dramas and stories of time travel, then this is definitely your cup of tea. Heo Im is a doctor in the Joseon era and specialises in traditional Korean medicine. His expertise with acupuncture gains him notoriety, even grabbing the eye of the king who wants treatment for his migraines.
A misunderstanding lands Heo Im in trouble and, due to some inexplicable reason, he finds himself transported to modern-day Korea while running away from the king’s soldiers. Here, he runs into Choi Yeon-kyung, a cardiothoracic surgeon who is extremely practical and only believes in modern science. The two doctors from different eras begin working together and discover that there’s a lot that they can learn from each other.
8. It’s Okay, That’s Love
It’s Okay, That’s Love is a Bestselling author and radio DJ Jang Jae-yeol suffers from OCD, owing to unresolved childhood trauma. He meets Ji Hae-soo, a psychiatrist who is in her first year of fellowship. Their strong personalities initially clash with each other until they slowly start developing a relationship. But soon, they discover that Jang Jae-yeol’s mental health is in an even worse condition than they believed. The show deals with mental health very sensitively and shows the relationship between the two leads in a heartwarmingly real way.
9. Mystic Pop Up Bar
Mystic Pop Up Bar based on a popular webtoon, this one revolves around the titular mysterious pop-up bar that is run by three people with superhuman abilities. There’s Weol-ju, an ill-tempered ghost who was condemned to cure 100,000 souls to atone for her sins, Hang Kang-bae, a human who has the ability to make people reveal their secrets just by touching them, and Chief Gwi, a former afterlife detective with a secret of his own. The pop-up bar is a space where people, both dead and alive, can come to get their conflicts sorted through their dreams. A warm and funny show, this is perfect for watching when you’re feeling down.
10. Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung
Set in the early 19th century, the story revolves around the titular rookie historian. She is an unmarried 26-year-old who gets a job as an intern to become the palace historian. Her marital status and career ambitions are both unusual for the time and therefore create quite a stir in the society. But she has no time for gender stereotypes and restrictions based on social class. She meets Yi Rim (Cha Eun-woo), a hopeless romantic and a secret romance novelist, and after getting off on the wrong foot, the two start becoming friends. But Yi Rim is actually hiding his identity and is really the crown prince in disguise.