Get ready for some hardcore binge sessions.

By Hana Hong
Updated February 24, 2020
Advertisement

Films like Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy and, most recently, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite have propelled the world of South Korean cinema to the world stage. If the ocean-sized category has piqued your curiosity, Korean dramas are a prime place to dip your toe. However, with the massive influx of dramas available on Netflix, it can be hard to find one that cuts through the noise. Whether you’re new to Korean dramas and don’t know where to start, or you’re a fellow connoisseur looking for your next K-drama binge, we recommend the picks below. Fair warning—once you start, you’ll find it almost impossible to stop.

1
Memories of Alhambra

This Korean drama about an advanced AR game incorporates elements from just about every genre you can think of: sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, and romance. Forget the augmented reality that you think you know; this new and intricate version allows you to see through a contact lens so you can’t differentiate between game and real life. But when a system glitch causes users to feel pain and die from their wounds, CEO Yoo Jin‑woo needs to track down the missing game coder to find out why it’s happening—and what they can do to stop it.

2
Crash Landing On You

When a South Korean heiress of a conglomerate is forced to land in North Korea from a paragliding incident, she meets a high-ranking North Korean officer named Jung-hyuk. But instead of killing her or holding her for ransom, he decides to protect and hide her from danger. And since there’s nothing like a forbidden romance to get the sexual tension going, naturally they fall in love. It’s a true Romeo and Juliet story (you know, without all the suicide).

3
Save Me

Looking for a refreshing change of pace? Save Me takes a sharp turn from the typical K-drama plot line. The story involves a girl who gets trapped in a cult disguised as a Christian church. While in their clutches, she runs into four high school friends on the road where she desperately mouths the words “save me.” We don’t want to give too much away, but what follows is a battle between a charismatic cult leader with freakishly white-blonde hair and four young boys who are willing to go to extreme lengths to save their friend.

4
Romance Is a Bonus Book

The plot of this drama is captivating one—an unemployed/divorced mother (Dan-Yi) trying to get back into the publishing/marketing industry gets a low-paying job at the bottom of the totem pole at the biggest publishing company in Korea (whose CEO happens to be her childhood best friend and potential love interest). But what will really keep you hooked is Dan-Yi’s warm and lovable personality. Throughout all the career and romance curveballs thrown at her, her stubborn perseverance and kindhearted attitude shines through (and leaves the viewer rooting for her success every step of the way).

RELATED: 16 Feel-Good Romantic Movies to Watch on Netflix Right Now

5
Oh My Ghost

This comedy-drama can best be described as Freaky Friday 2.0. The main character, Bong-Sun, has an extremely shy and submissive personality, which causes her to get trampled on at her job as an assistant chef. Oh, and she’s also able to see ghosts. She ends up getting possessed by a ghost named Soon-ae, who just so happens to have the polar opposite personality—she’s outgoing, social, and sharp. She’s also a virgin who believes that her ghostly existence in the world is because of her lacking love life, so her goal is to seduce as many men as possible through other women’s bodies in order to move on to the afterlife. Turns out that her grudge is something else entirely, and Soon-ae’s death wasn’t a natural one. The dynamic duo decide to join forces and help each other out in a mutually beneficial—albeit possessive—friendship.

6
12 Years Promise

It’s every teenage couple’s worst nightmare—pregnancy. When a whirlwind romance leaves a teenage girl (Jang Guk) pregnant, she’s forced by her family to leave her boyfriend and assume a new identity in America. Twelve years (and a couple plastic surgeries) later, she returns to Korea with a new name, where she reunites with her former high school lover. The catch? He doesn’t recognize her. As Jang Guk desperately tries to hide her secret, it becomes clear the identity reveal is not a matter of if, but when.

7
Abyss

Ah, who doesn’t love a good murdery mystery? The Abyss is a mysterious bead that revives dead people with a different appearance that reflects that person’s soul. When two friends, Se-yeon, a beautiful prosecution lawyer, and Cha Min, an unattractive but kindhearted heir to a cosmetics empire, die in separate incidents and get revived into different bodies, they start working together to find out the reason for their revival and who caused Se-yeon's death.

8
Solomon’s Perjury

If there was a superlative for most committed student council, this team would win hands down. This isn’t your typical fluffy high school romance story; when a classmate suddenly dies over the Christmas holidays, a group of students who are fed up with the school administration’s inadequacy holds a trial to determine who the murderer may be. What follows is a twisted rabbit hole involving ugly secrets from both students and adults alike.

9
Boys Over Flowers

The créme de la créme, consider this show the Mean Girls of Korean dramas...but with reversed gender roles. The mean boys of Shinhwa High School call themselves F4 (yes, like the keyboard function), and are able to rule over the students with their smashing good looks and parents' impressive bank accounts. However, when scholarship student Geum Jan-di, an ordinary, humble girl from a poor family, takes a stand against F4's leader, Gu Jun-pyo, he slowly but surely ends up falling for her. Their relationship that follows is a bumpy one as they have to survive an unapproving mom, class discrepancies, a love triangle, and even a car crash—all the elements for a super dramatic Korean drama.

RELATED: The New Netflix Originals You Really Don’t Want to Miss