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What Are K-Dramas and Why Are They Really Popular to Watch?


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One of the most recent romance k-dramas I’ve seen is Business Proposal. Credit to Telegraph India

Whenever browsing popular streaming services like Netflix, you may come across shows that are in Korean. You may also notice that they are dramas, specifically k-dramas. If you have ever heard the term k-drama come up in conversation, you may already know that they’re dramas from South Korea. I wasn’t a huge fan of k-dramas until I started watching them this summer, because Netflix has a wide range of different ones to choose from. Of course, I have heard of a really popular one on Netflix titled Squid Game, but I wasn’t interested in watching that one because I had a basic idea of what it’s about.

The genre that I chose to focus on was romance because it’s the same genre of anime that I love watching. The very first k-drama that I watched is titled “Cinderella and Four Knights” and it was really amazing in the romance department! In this blog post, I will dive deeper into what they are exactly, as well as explain why they’re really popular to watch in many countries, like America.

What Are K-Dramas?

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In my post, I will explain more about what k-dramas are, as well as my recommendations. Credit to 90 Day Korean

K-Drama stands for “Korean drama” and refers to television series produced in South Korea. These series have become popular not only in South Korea, but around the world, making them more accessible to K-drama fans through streaming websites such as Netflix. Along with other Korean entertainment such as K-pop and Korean movies, K-dramas have ignited an ever-growing Korean trend around the world.

History of Korean Dramas

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Many k-dramas used to be about historical times and people. Credit to DramaPanda

The origin of television in Korea dates back to the mid-1950s, with the broadcast of the first Korean drama series in 1962. It aired on KBS, the Korean Broadcasting System, which continued to exist as Korea’s national channel. However, it was not until the 1970s that Korean households really started buying televisions.

Most Korean dramas depict historical eras and historical figures only reached a small audience. After the rise of Korean family dramas, more diverse Korean dramas began to be made, from national heroes like King Sejong, to stories about ordinary people today, especially their struggles and painful experiences.

When color televisions appeared in the 1980s, the Korean television scene changed, with modern dramas becoming more prominent. And in the 1990s, it became more common to format k-dramas into one season of about 12-24 episodes. Nowadays, web drama production is also becoming more popular.

Filming Process

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This image shows what it’s like to film a k-drama in South Korea. Credit to 90 Day Korean

Only the first four episodes of the k-drama will be filmed before the broadcast begins. Otherwise, each episode is shot as close to the release date as possible to save on production costs. Scripts are not fully finalized and their modifications may be based on viewer feedback on a k-drama.

These changes can happen just a few hours before shooting. There have even been cases where scenes from the episode were filmed while being broadcast on television. Filming a drama in Korea is definitely a stressful process. However, thanks to the growing popularity of dramas worldwide, producers have pre-sold the rights to air or release the dramas before anything was shot. This allows them to film for more time and before the broadcast compared to the “live shooting” method.

Korea’s biggest broadcasting companies also have their own historical drama filming locations, with detailed scenes that are easy to build. And what’s interesting is that, compared to many other countries, the writers of k-drama dramas are almost as famous as the stars and directors of the films. There is usually one writer or a small group of writers writing each k-drama.

Music in K-Dramas

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This is what Korean singer Baek Ji Young looks like and she is well known in Korea for having her music in k-dramas. Credit to Koreaboo

Music is an important part of most Korean dramas. The entire soundtrack is made for each of them. Most of these songs are performed by famous k-pop singers. Popular Korean songs used as part of a soundtrack can also increase the popularity of a Korean drama.

The popularity of a drama can also make an OST song a huge hit. Each song must represent the structure and mood of the drama, and a detailed process is followed to select the right songs. It is also common to use the same artist for many different dramas due to their past successes. A notable example of such an artist is Baek Ji Young. She has recorded OST songs for about 20 different dramas.

Are South Korean Dramas Shown in North Korea?

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Because of powerful government control, citizens in North Korea are forbidden to watch k-dramas from South Korea. Credit to 90 Day Korean

North Korea has minimal media access compared to South Korea. This is mainly due to government control in pretty much every part of North Korea, including its media. This means that Korean dramas are not shown in the North. People don’t have access to it because everything broadcast on North Korean television or by a media company has been filtered and controlled by their government.

In addition, an anti-reactionary law was imposed by the North Korean government late last year. With this law, anyone who uses, stores, or distributes foreign cultural content from South Korea and other countries, can be subject to fines, imprisonment, or the death penalty as the maximum penalty.

Why Are K-Dramas Popular?

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There are many reasons for the growing popularity of k-dramas in the past year. Credit to Marie Claire

Korean dramas are undeniably very popular these days. However, this was not the case a few years ago. Thanks to the growth of Korean popular culture around the world, people outside of Asia have also become interested in K-dramas and Korean movies. K-dramas easily became popular once viewers knew them for a number of reasons.

The Korean Drama Storyline

K-dramas are known for having great storylines with scenes that leave you restless, wanting to know what will happen next. This is why k-dramas are perfect for binge-watching. They avoid predictable storylines and constantly deliver plot twists that make viewers drop their jaws. If someone goes all out, they can finish the whole season in just a few days!


The OST or soundtrack of a Korean drama goes hand in hand with the real drama. People recognize a song and associate it with the drama they heard it from and vice versa. These soundtracks change from scene to scene, matching the emotions the characters convey. Some k-pop stars have also acted in K-dramas while singing the original soundtrack.

The Korean Culture

K-dramas give its audience a glimpse of what it’s like living in Korea. There are plenty of amazing things about Korea besides k-pop, such as Korean food, culture, fashion, and all the different places that you can visit. All these places can be within reach through the k-dramas and Korean movies we can view online. Some dramas such as Crash Landing on You even show life in North Korea through their storyline.

K-Dramas Are Relatable

Korean dramas give you the usual emotional or action kind of scenes, but they also bring up issues in Korean and global society that affect many people. These include topics of mental health, suicide, bullying, gender inequality, corruption, and racism. Genres about family and history are also often found in K-dramas.

K-Dramas Could Help You Learn Korean

People can be introduced to pop culture in Korea for various reasons, but in the end, they always want to learn Korean. Watching Korean dramas can help you practice and learn Korean vocabulary and conversation.

People Talk about It on Social Media

With the good quality stories that k-dramas have, it’s normal for people to talk about them. This is made especially easy via social media. You can see good recommendations for dramas from viewers and some even provide their reviews, which has made others want to start watching them. For example, one of the main reasons why I started watching Extraordinary Attorney Woo was because I kept seeing videos of scenes from it on TikTok.

K-Dramas Are Easy to Find

It’s not difficult to start watching k-dramas as they are available to stream on different sites around the world. Besides Netflix, Hulu has a good variety of k-dramas, as well as Viki.

Genres of K-Dramas

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There are many different k-dramas available to stream, no matter where you are. Credit to KpopPost

There’s a wide variety of Korean dramas that you can start watching. From action to romance, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here is a list of all the genres that many people enjoy watching.


The action genre brings the most suspense and thrill to dramas in Korea. This genre is often associated with the crime genre and keeps viewers hooked during intense fight scenes. The main characters of this genre often face villains stronger than them. Thus, making their victories even more satisfying.


We especially think about love and happy endings when it comes to the romance genre. Korean dramas often combine other genres such as comedy, melodrama, fantasy, or even action into a romantic series. It gives a break to the romance and adds depth to the story.


This category refers to historical films and series. Historical dramas are special because they show viewers a lot about Korean culture and history. Over time, historical genres evolved and incorporated modern dramatic styles, making them more appealing to younger audiences.


Dramas with supernatural and fantasy elements keep the audience on the edge of their seats because anything is possible in a fantasy world. Scenes that don’t happen in real life become a reality for the characters. Some popular Korean fantasy dramas feature supernatural beings such as ghosts, goblins, mermaids, and aliens, as well as people with supernatural abilities.


Korean medical dramas are both entertaining and highly educational. As medical terms are often referred to, definitions are also included to help the public better understand the concept. Some scenes make viewers breathe a sigh of relief when the patient’s heart begins to beat again in the operating room. Whether you’re in the medical field or not, this genre might be interesting enough for you to check out.


Dramas of the family genre never fail to make their audience at least shed tears from all kinds of emotions. After all, the concept of family is very relatable to a lot of people. These dramas tend to be light-hearted and fun, but the sad scenes can easily bring tears to your eyes. Watching a K-series like this, you will have different feelings.

These TV series typically consist of 50 to 55 episodes, with each episode lasting about an hour. Dramas of this genre usually air on weekends. They are usually about two families whose destiny is to stick together by solving common family problems.


Similar to medical dramas, legal dramas are also educational but have to do with the legal field. The characters portrayed in the main roles are usually lawyers or prosecutors trying to seek justice in the context of a Korean society plagued with corruption and unfair treatment. The only legal k-drama I have seen that I highly recommend people should watch is titled Extraordinary Attorney Woo, which is a fairly recent one on Netflix. In this post, I will talk more in detail about why I enjoyed this one a lot.


Coming-of-age is a genre that focuses on the main character’s growth from childhood to adulthood. This highlights the emotions the character feels throughout the journey of adulthood from certain experiences such as first love, heartbreak, maturity, and a new sense of responsibility.


If you like an intense level of drama, Korean melodramas won’t disappoint. This genre is characterized by high emotional levels and many heartbreaking scenes. A great example of a Korean melodrama is the Endless Love series that features four different dramas titled Autumn in my Heart, Winter Sonata, Summer Scent, and Spring Waltz, named after the four seasons in Korea.


As the name suggests, thriller dramas bring a lot of excitement to their audience. It’s the kind of drama where every second counts and your eyes have to be glued to the screen. Thriller dramas often go hand-in-hand with horror or action genres, where a lot of things are going on. There will be a constant feeling of suspense and anticipation as the scenes lead to the climax.

Where to Watch K-Dramas

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Because of modern technology, there are many different places you can stream k-dramas on, which makes it easily accessible to everyone. Credit to Drama Milk

Now that you know more about k-dramas, the question on your mind must be, “where can I watch these k-dramas?” Well, don’t worry because I’ll tell you where these shows are available to watch. Thanks to modern technology and the increase in popularity, k-dramas have been really easy to access, no matter where you are in the world.


These days, watching Korean dramas can be done from the comfort of your home through Netflix! You can stream a Korean series or a movie through their website or app, or you can also download the video for offline binge-watching. Some k-dramas are also listed as Netflix original series.

As Korean dramas increase in popularity and demand, this app is investing more in Korean series and movies this year. If you are a subscriber, you’ll definitely have a long list of series and movies on your account.


Viki is a streaming site that has often been considered the very best to get your k-drama fix. There are many different series and movies that are available to stream on this site.


There’s a wide variety of movies and series that you could watch, including some popular K-dramas, by searching for them on Hulu.


Viu is one of the leading streaming sites when it comes to Korean dramas and movies. However, it’s still only available in parts of Asia, the Middle East, and South Africa.

My K-Drama Recommendations

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I have seen many rom-com k-dramas, but Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is one of my top favorites. Credit to Forbes

Now that I have talked extensively about k-dramas, I will give my recommendations for the k-dramas that I highly recommend watching, whether you’re new to the wonderful world of k-dramas or not. Since the main genre I enjoy watching is romance, I will be focusing on recommending shows from this genre, but also from other genres as well. Down below, I will list my top 5 k-drama series, since I have seen more than 10 (so far) this year.

1. Cinderella and Four Knights

This rom-com k-drama is in my number one spot because it was the very first k-drama that I watched, especially during the time this summer that I was sick with COVID. Binge-watching all 16 episodes on Netflix made me feel happy for the main characters whenever something good happened to them, and it was also a good way to pass the time being stuck in my room.

Plot Sypnosis: Eun Haw-won (Park So-dam) is a brilliant high school student with dreams of becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, she lost her mother in a catastrophic fire-related accident. When her father remarries, her cruel stepmother and step-sister move in and steal Ha-won’s college tuition money.

She is forced to take on part-time jobs to make payments for her mother’s memorial and her college tuition. She meets an older man, who is the chairman of a large corporation, and convinces her to move into his mansion with his three grandsons, who are heirs to his family fortune.

Even though she goes through a lot, she stays strong and never gives up, which I really admire about the character that Korean actress Park So-dam plays in this series. I love how the storyline builds and keeps the audience interested enough to keep watching every episode.

2. Extraordinary Attorney Woo

This legal drama is in my number two spot because I found it to be a basic but inspiring portrayal of a disability, specifically autism spectrum disorder. In each episode, I did notice the way she behaves around people like someone with autism, whether it be waiting a few seconds to enter a room or not being able to look at people directly in the eyes.

Even though it was mainly about a smart autistic lawyer and each episode was about a legal case, there was also a little romantic thing going on with Attorney Young-woo and one of her coworkers named Lee Jun-ho, which was really great to see, as a fan of romance.

Plot Sypnosis: Woo Young-woo (Park Eun-Bin) is extremely intelligent and has an autism spectrum disorder. She never forgets what she sees, but she lacks social skills and empathy. Woo Young-woo starts working as a trainee lawyer at a large law firm called Hanbada. While working there, she faces prejudice and irrationality against her, but she solves cases with her own unique perspective and grows into a fine lawyer.

3. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha

This rom-com k-drama is in my number three spot because even though it does take a while for the leading lady and leading man to actually get together, I still enjoyed the storyline of this one very much. Since this is one of the k-dramas that my friend Marielle recommended to me, I made sure to include it on this list because I really liked the storyline and character development of it.

Plus, I was also able to binge-watch this k-drama while being sick with COVID this summer. I remember this one having a happy ending where the leading lady and leading man get married, so watching every single episode made my time worth it.

Plot Sypnosis: Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-a), a smart, beautiful dentist living in a big city, loses her job after she accuses the clinic’s head doctor of excessive treatment for profit. She embarks on a journey to the idyllic seaside village of Gongjin, where she meets jack-of-all-trades Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho).

Du-sik is held in high esteem in the village because he takes care of the elders and doesn’t shy away from any odd jobs. By chance, the paths of the two people cross several times and they take a liking to each other, while Du-sik constantly helps Hye-jin out of trouble.

4. Her Private Life

This rom-com k-drama takes the number four spot on my list because it has to do with the leading lady being a huge k-pop fan at night, while also being an art curator during her day job. Being a big k-pop fan also makes it hard for her to meet someone as a potential partner. That is until she meets the new art director of the museum she works at. As they get to know each other better throughout the series, they fall in love with each other.

Plot Sypnosis: Sung Deok-Mi (Park Min-Young) works as a curator at an art gallery. She is a huge fan of idol group member Shi-An and secretly runs a fan website about him. Because of her affection for Shi-An, she has experienced several personal break-ups. Sung Deok-Mi now focuses only on her job and doing activities as Shi-An’s fan in her private life.

One day, Ryan Gold (Kim Jae-Wook) begins working as the new director of the art gallery where she works. He was once a famous painter, but he doesn’t paint anymore. Ryan doesn’t have much interest in other people, but he happens to learn that Sung Deok-Mi is a fan of Shi-An and runs his fan website. This makes Ryan take an interest in her.

5. The Sound of Magic

This k-drama actually falls under multiple categories, such as music, psychological, drama, and fantasy. This one goes last on my list because even though it only has six episodes, I found the storyline to be a bit boring and static. I did enjoy binge-watching it because each episode was filled with musical numbers, as well as a good amount of dialogue.

Honestly, the thing that really made me keep watching it was the actor who plays the magician because he’s really really good-looking. Throughout the series, I thought that all of the magic tricks he performed were pretty impressive. If I had to choose one genre it falls under, it would have to be coming-of-age because it’s about a girl struggling with life, that meets a mysterious magician at an abandoned amusement park.

Plot Sypnosis: Yoon A-Yi (Choi Sung-Eun) is a high school student, but she supports herself and her younger sister by working part-time jobs. She doesn’t know where her parents are. Her father was driven away from home because of debt collectors and her mother then left home. Even with her poor financial situation, she is able to rank near the top at her school academically. She also has a pretty appearance. Yoon A-Yi wants to become an adult as soon as possible to have a stable job.

Meanwhile, her classmate Na Il-Deung (Hwang In-Yeop) regularly competes with Yoon A-Yi to receive the top grade, but they begin to have feelings for each other. One day, Yoon A-Yi meets Magician Ri-Eul (Ji Chang-Wook) at an abandoned amusement park. He puts on magic shows for people who tell him they believe in magic. He is a mysterious person, but he comforts Yoon A-Yi, who tells him that she believes in magic.


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Even though I don’t usually watch legal dramas, I really enjoyed watching Extraordinary Attorney Woo. Credit to What’s on Netflix

When me, my brother, and sister recently visited my cousins Mariel, Maui, and Michelle in California this month, one night I found out that they do enjoy watching Extraordinary Attorney Woo, which was also an ongoing k-drama that I happened to be watching too, so that was an unexpected but great thing to learn about them! In the near future, I hope to be able to watch more k-dramas and meet other people who enjoy watching them too. Now that you know more about k-dramas, I wish you all the best luck in choosing which ones to watch, whether you’re a fan or just someone starting out in the wonderful world of k-dramas!

3 thoughts on “What Are K-Dramas and Why Are They Really Popular to Watch?

    1. “Absolutely! Everyone’s got their own taste in TV shows and movies. While K-dramas are quite popular, there’s a world of English content on Netflix waiting to be explored. It’s cool that you’ve ventured into K-dramas with ‘Squid Game’, it really has been a game changer. And as for what’s coming up on Netflix in 2023, I’m sure it’s going to be exciting. By the way, for more recommendations and updates on upcoming shows, you can always check out my Enjoy your viewing!”

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