My name is Jackie and I am a TV whore. I watch so much television (and not even very good television). At the same time, I’m not willing to pay for Netflix because I’m afraid it would take my TV addiction to the next level. I tend to exhaust all my free shows on Hulu like it’s my job. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve now developed the really bad habit of watching things on my laptop before sleeping. So when it’s the mid-season TV break, I’m basically screwed.
Last year, I was going through that mid-season lull when my friend Taya suggested Korean dramas aka K-dramas. Keep in mind that I already had friends that were semi-obsessed with K-dramas and I always made fun of them. I didn’t really get what was the appeal. Taya suggested that I first watch one of her favorite shows, Coffee Prince. A few episodes in, I was hooked. The story was compelling and the actors were great. After I finished the 17 episodes, I needed more. Taya suggested more dramas like Pasta, My Lovely Sam-Soon and Gourmet.
My addiction got worse. While watching My Lovely Sam-Soon, I watched 10 episodes in a row (1 episode is slightly longer than an hour) and only left my bed to eat, hydrate and take bathroom breaks. The only reason why I stopped watching that day was because I made plans with friends. I secretly cursed them under my breath while I changed out of my sweatpants.
You think that’s bad? These K-dramas were so intense that I would text my roommate when any major event happened in the story. Keep in my mind that my roommate was not even into these shows but humored me. I’ve even picked up key Korean phrases: 1) Saranghae (I love you), 2) Gomawo (thank you) and 3) Hajima! (Stop, don’t go!)
What do I like about K-dramas? First of all, I appreciate the fact that a typical K-drama is around 16 to 24 episodes. The story finishes after a season. I’m sure we can all attest to how the first season of “fill-in-the-blank” TV show was really great and how it went downhill after, yet we still continue to watch it (*cough Grey’s Anatomy cough*). BUT, it’s a double-edged sword. While I appreciate the story coming full circle, I always feel a sense of loss and sadness whenever I finish a really good K-drama. I get way too invested in these characters. It’s like I lost a best friend.
While the stories are somewhat formulaic (girl likes boy who is not interested, girl is charming and amazing, boy starts to fall in love with girl, conflict or misunderstanding get in their way, boy and girl end up together), these K-dramas still find a way to have enough plot twists to keep me interested. I should probably mention that there are different varieties like historical dramas as well as action dramas, but I just stick to the romantic comedies.
Another reason to love K-dramas is that full seasons are available to stream on sites, such as DramaFever.com and CrunchyRoll.com. Hulu has some deal where they stream certain shows from DramaFever and the captions are much better (see people, I’m doing your homework for you).
My K-drama addiction was so bad last year that I had to quit cold turkey. But a year later, I have a little more free time on my hands and I’ve picked it back up. One of the curses is that I apparently watched two of the best K-dramas out there (Coffee Prince and My Lovely Sam-Soon) that I’ve set the bar too high and others are sucking in comparison. So I’m just going to list out the ones I’ve watched with quick reviews.
My K-drama List
- Coffee Prince- Freaking amazing plot and the start of the addiction
- Pasta- The story wasn’t that great and I was disappointed in the lackluster ending
- Gourmet- This season was LONG and I only got through about half of it before stopping
- My Lovely Sam-Soon- SO good and so many unexpected plot twists (i.e., cancer girl)
- 9 End 2 Outs- This was so boring and moved at a snail’s pace; I couldn’t even finish it
- City Hall- Decent because the same actress as My Lovely Sam-Soon, but plot wasn’t nearly as good
- Goong/Princess Hours- Definitely, one of the better shows but I enjoyed the first half more than the second
- Soulmate- I watched 3 episodes and got bored of all the adultery
- You’re Beautiful- Super unrealistic, but it was cute and actually one of the better ones
- The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry- Latest K-drama that I just finished and it’s probably the best one I’ve seen since My Lovely Sam-Soon
Man, this list seems long when I actually type it all out. You know it’s bad when you start recognizing minor characters from K-dramas in different series. Feel free to suggest your favorites. Or, maybe don’t encourage my bad habits.