17 K-Dramas To Convert Non-Interested Friends
One of the most frustrating things in the world is when you watch an amazing K-drama and want to talk about it to all of your friends, but you aren’t able to. A lot of us have been there. It’s tough. But then there’s that amazing moment where some of your friends will watch a specific K-drama that you recommended that will send them on a downward spiral into the world of K-dramas. It’s a glorious moment because we know they’ll be hooked and can share in our K-drama obsession together. For those of you who are trying to get your friends into this wonderful world of K-dramas, here are 17 shows that you can introduce to your friends. There’s obviously a lot of K-dramas out there, so it took a lot of hard thinking to narrow the list down, but here it goes!
For the friend who loves romantic comedies
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
“Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo” is about exactly what the title says it is. It’s about a weightlifting female lead named Kim Bok Joo, played by the lovely Lee Sung Kyung. She ends up falling in love with a swimmer named Jung Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk). The two become a campus couple and end up going through a lot of obstacles and stresses that college/university students go through.
This drama is seriously cute. If your friend is looking for a good laugh with the butterflies, this series is perfect! It’s a simple and predictable story, but the characters are what really make the series so lovable. It’ll be hard to not get sucked into the K-drama world after watching this one!
Start watching “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”:
“Coffee Prince” is about a tomboy named Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) who gets a part-time job at a coffee shop owned by Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo). The two leads end up in a complicated relationship where Han Kyul falls in love with Eun Chan while thinking she’s a boy, and Eun Chan doesn’t want to reveal her real gender to Han Kyul. It’s a whirlwind of a romance.
Although the premise sounds a bit odd, the series is quite charming. It is often the first K-drama that many people watched that brought them into the K-drama world. A lot of the reason is because of the chemistry between the two leads and their unique love story!
Start watching “Coffee Prince”:
This classic series stars Hyun Bin as Kim Ju Won and Ha Ji Won as Gil Ra Im. Gil Ra Im is a stuntwoman who accidentally meets the CEO of a department store, Kim Ju Won. Although the two are repulsed by each other at first, they slowly start to fall in love with each other. The two find it difficult to be with each other because of their respective backgrounds, but they still fight to be with each other.
This series is good to introduce to your friends because it’s got so many different elements in it. It’s not only got the romantic comedy factor, but it’s also got a science fiction-y element of the two characters somehow switching bodies. Your friend is also bound to appreciate the corny but adorable scenes where Ju Won is trying to swoop Ra Im off her feet.
Start watching “Secret Garden”:
She Was Pretty
Starring Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joon, “She Was Pretty” tells the adorable tale of a man named Ji Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon) who is searching for his first love, Kim Hye Jin (Hwang Jung Eum). What he doesn’t know is that she’s right under her nose but doesn’t look quite the same as she did when they were younger due to a series of some unfortunate life circumstances.
This series is a feel-good drama that anyone would enjoy. It’s not only got two beautiful main leads, but it’s also got the cutie Choi Siwon as the second-lead. There’s really not a moment to be bored as all the characters are super endearing and will make you laugh.
Start watching “She Was Pretty”:
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim
Another K-drama starring Park Seo Joon, “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim” stars the actor as the arrogant and selfish CEO Lee Young Joon, who can’t be apart from his secretary, Kim Mi So (Park Min Young). So when she decides to quit all of a sudden, it catches him off guard, forcing him to realize his feelings for her.
Besides the fact that you get to see Park Seo Joon for 16 episodes, this series has got the makings to make anyone get sucked into the K-drama world. The two leads are such veterans with so much charisma that they carry the series until the very last episode. You won’t even have a moment to be bored!
Start watching “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim”:
For the friend who appreciates historical backdrops
The Moon Embracing the Sun
This classic sageuk stars Kim Soo Hyun as Lee Hwon and Han Ga In as Wol. Wol is from a noble family, but after a tragic event, she is led into the life of a shaman, not knowing her real identity. Lee Hwon ends up meeting her and is reminded of the girl he loved when he was younger. He gets to know Wol and the two end up falling in love with each other despite their different statuses.
This series was loved by many when it was aired. The story and relationship between the two leads is so heartbreakingly romantic that it’s hard not to get sucked into it. This series is great for being those who love a romantic historical story and will most likely send your friend on a spiral into other sageuk dramas!
Start watching “The Moon Embracing the Sun”:
Scarlet Heart: Goryeo
This international hit series starred IU as Hae Soo and Lee Joon Gi as Wang So. “Scarlet Heart: Goryeo” is a bit of a unique sageuk as it involves a girl traveling back in time. She stumbles into a family of princes, several of whom end up falling in love with her, but she ends up entangled in a love triangle with two of them.
This series wasn’t that popular in South Korea, but it made the list because it was so popular internationally. People just couldn’t get enough of the heartbreaking love story of Wang So and his Hae Soo. If your friend is into “Game of Thrones,” then this series might be a good one to recommend. It’s by no means the same, but it does involve a bunch of characters fighting to become King.
“Chicago Typewriter” is about a writer named Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) who forms a connection with a veterinarian named Jeon Seol (Im Soo Jung) and a ghostwriter named Yoo Jin Oh (Go Kyung Pyo). The three discover that they have a very special bond with each other that spans back into the ’30s. As they slowly discover how they used to know each other, they also become entangled in a serious love triangle.
This isn’t your traditional sageuk series that involves kings and queens, but it still is a historical K-drama. The series stars three powerhouse actors: Yoo Ah In, Go Kyung Pyo, and Im Soo Jung. So in terms of acting capability, you really can’t go wrong in this series. It’s also got the modern day aspect which is good for your friends who like historical genres but couldn’t really care for the traditional sageuks.
Start watching “Chicago Typewriter”:
For the friend you want to introduce hyped up K-dramas to
My Love From the Star
If you tell your friend that this drama is about an alien who comes to earth and falls in love with a famous actress, your friend will probably think it’s weird. What you should tell them is that this series was an international success and became one of the most popular K-series of all time. When the alien is played by Kim Soo Hyun and the actress is played by Jun Ji Hyun, you could mention how pretty they both are and how it wouldn’t be so bad watching them on the small screen for 16 episodes.
Start watching “My Love from the Star”:
Descendants of the Sun
In “Descendants of the Sun,” Song Joong Ki stars as Yoo Shi Jin alongside Song Hye Kyo as Kang Mo Yeon. Yoo Shi Jin is the army Captain who falls head over heels for Dr. Kang. They both embark on a whirlwind of a romance despite their different backgrounds. Although they want to be with each other, Yoo Shi Jin’s job consistently puts his life at risk, which is difficult for Mo Yeon to handle.
This series was another international hit that was loved by many. People couldn’t get over the romantic love story between the captain and the doctor. The story has various elements of drama, action, and comedy, so it’s got a bit of everything for every one. It’s an addictive series that most people will get sucked into!
Start watching “Descendants of the Sun”:
Boys Over Flowers
Anyone who is well into the K-drama world knows the title “Boys Over Flowers.” It’s the F4, the handsome schoolboys who are rich and ready to fall in love. Gu Jun Pyo (Lee Min Ho) falls in love with the poor girl in school named Geum Jan Di (Ku Hye Sun). They start out in a love-hate relationship, but then it ends up blossoming into a full out romance.
A lot of people who were previously not into K-dramas may have gotten sucked in because of this drama. Although it’s old, it’s proven to stand the test of time as it continues to be a fan favorite K-drama. Maybe it’s the light-hearted rom-com storyline or the fact that there’s a lot of eye-candy in the cast. Whatever the reason, it’s bound to bring your friends into the K-drama world!
Start watching “Boys Over Flowers”:
For the friend who loves action
“Healer” stars heartthrob Ji Chang Wook as Seo Jung Hoo and the beautiful Park Min Young as Chae Young Shin. Young Shin is a reporter who ends up falling in love with a mysterious man who runs various errands for unknown people. Jung Hoo ends up going undercover at the same company as Young Shin and he ends up falling in love with her.
This series has got a lot of action, which is perfect for your friend who appreciates the genre. But it’s not just an action series. It’s so much more. Not only will the storyline have your friend totally immersed, but the romantic part of the storyline will give them all kinds of feels. The chemistry between the two main leads is just that intense!
Start watching “Healer”:
When Ma Dong Seok is featured as one of the main leads, you know you’re bound to get a perfect action K-drama. Also starring Kim Sang Joong, Park Hae Jin, Jo Dong Hyuk, and Kang Ye Won, the storyline involves a detective who uses criminals in prison to try and fight off the rising number of crimes that are occurring.
The joining of such crazy characters really makes it impossible for this drama to be boring. Although the main cast are technically “bad guys,” you want them to succeed, and their background stories really make you cheer for them. There’s a lot of action in this series, which your friend would obviously appreciate, but it’s also got a lot of heart. The friendship and loyalty that is formed between the criminals despite their craziness is a joy to watch and also exciting.
Start watching “Bad Guys”:
By now, “City Hunter” could be considered a classic in terms of action K-dramas. It stars Lee Min Ho as Lee Yoon Sung and Park Min Young as Kim Na Na. Yoon Sung gets hired to work at the Blue House as a tech guy, but he possesses a lot of other really cool skills like fighting. He falls in love with Na Na, who also works at the Blue House as a bodyguard. Yoon Sung gets entangled in a revenge plot and there’s a whole lotta action involved throughout the series with him fighting bad guys.
“City Hunter” was considered a big international success when it aired, and it still continues to be one of the first dramas that people watch that get them sucked into the world of K-dramas. The action juxtaposed with the steamy romance serves as the perfect introduction. It’s hard to stop watching this series once you’ve started, which is why it’s pretty good to introduce to a friend!
A really cool action shot from the series:
Start watching “City Hunter”:
For the friend who likes a little drama
“Winter Sonata” is part of the “Endless Love” series, which includes a K-drama dedicated to each season. Although they are all pretty good, this particular one took the international world by storm. In fact, various filming sites are still huge tourist attractions. It stars Bae Young Joon and Choi Ji Woo in a story about first loves and a popular K-drama trope, amnesia. There’s also some intense love triangles, which makes for a pretty dramatic plot. Anyone who appreciates some intensity in their lives will enjoy watching this one.
Go Back Couple
“Go Back Couple” is a more recent series that aired in 2017. Starring Son Ho Jun and Jang Nara, the drama tells the story of a married couple with children who get to a point where they’re really unhappy in their marriage. Queue the time traveling K-drama trope. Both characters are given a chance to go back in time and take a different path than the one that leads to each other.
I don’t know what it was about this drama, but it totally tugged at the heartstrings. It’ll take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, which is perfect for those who enjoy getting the feels. Jang Nara does such an amazing job playing her character that you get invested in her life even though it’s fictional. Prepare the tissues!
Start watching “Go Back Couple”:
This one is tricky because it could’ve fallen in any one of these categories. I decided to put it under the “drama” category mainly because it is pretty dramatic. I mean, it involves a goblin (Gong Yoo), his orphan bride (Kim Go Eun), and a depressed grim reaper (Lee Dong Wook).
The fact that this drama was written by the great Kim Eun Sook is enough to introduce to your friends. It might even compel them to ride the Kim Eun Sook train and watch all of her hit K-dramas. Your friend is bound to get the complete package with this particular drama; its got the comedic aspect, the unrequited love, the bromance, and the intense drama.
Start watching “Goblin”:
Happy K-drama watching to you and your friends!
Hey Soompiers, which drama got you into the K-drama world? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She can often be seen singing her heart out at karaoke, walking her dog, or indulging in desserts. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “Clean With Passion For Now,” “Memories of the Alhambra,” and “Encounter”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen and Song Joong Ki‘s next drama