We're not exactly sure why, but Korean dramas have that certain magic sauce that give us a whole new level of kilig that we don't really find in any other Western or Asian series. Perhaps, it's how heartfelt and seemingly innocent the romantic scenes are or maybe it's just how irresistibly kyeopta these Korean stars are!
No matter what your reasons are for watching K-dramas, we're pretty sure that there's more than one show that got you hooked this year. And to pay homage to the dramas that are responsible for our irrepressible squealing (and sometimes uncontrollable tears,) here's a round-up of our favorite Korean dramas of 2017!
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
Cast: Park Bo Young, Park Hyung Sik, Ji Soo
Airing Dates: February 24-April 15
Quick Recap: Do Bong Soon is gifted with super strength which she uses for the good in her own simple and subtle ways, until Ahn Min Hyuk, a young CEO of a gaming company, hires her to be his bodyguard. The rom-com unfolds with Bong Soon using her powers not only to protect Min Hyuk but also to solve a crime in her neighborhood with the help of her high school crush and police officer In Gook Du.
Why We Love It: From Bong Soon's cutesy and endearing persona to the two male leads' individual charms, it's impossible not to feel attached with the characters of this rom-com! Strong Woman is definitely super-charged with kilig scenes especially whenever the two guys would fight over who should protect Bong Soon! We all know that our home girl can do all the protecting here, but Min Hyuk and Gook Du's heroic personalities are just to die for!
Ruler: Master of the Mask
Cast: Yoo Seung Ho, Kim So Hyun, Kim Myung Soo, Yoon So Hee, Heo Joon Ho, Park Chul Min
Airing Dates: May 10-July 13
Quick Recap: Set in the Jeoson Era, this drama is about Crown Prince Lee Sun who hides behind a mask and fights the powerful organization Pyunsoo-hwe which controls the country by monopolizing the water supply. Lee Sun emerges to be a the ruler that their nation needs, of course, with his beloved Han Ga-eun at his side.
Why We Love It: If you're a fan of sageuk or Korean period dramas, then this one is perfect for you! From its gripping storyline to its impressive cast of young actors, this drama certainly kept us at the edge of our seats! We just can't help but fall in love with Lee Sun, who transitions from an adorable prince to a dashing and worthy leader!
Fight for My Way
Cast: Park Seo Joon, Choi Ji Won, Song Ha Yoon, Ahn Jae Hong
Airing Dates: May 22-July 11
Quick Recap: The story revolves around four childhood friends who are facing the reality of being adults, each with different struggles involving their relationships and career paths. The best part of this rom-com is when the friendship between the happy-go-lucky Ko Dong Man and the opinionated Choi Ae Ra blossoms into romance!
Why We Love It: From the characters' relatable struggles with ~adulting~ to the best-friends-turned-lovers peg of Dong Man and Ae Ra, this series is simply a must-watch for us millennials. The goofy and kilig scenes make for the best happy pill at the end of a long day. But the message of pursuing our dreams no matter how adult life could get us down is the best takeaway we got from this drama!
Cast: Kim Se Jeong, Kim Jung Hyun, Jang Dong Yoon, Han Sun Hwa, Han Joo Wan
Airing Dates: July 17-September 5
Quick Recap: The seventh installment in the School series, School 2017 starts off with the artistic Ra Eun Ho being victimized by pranks coming from an unknown delinquent dubbed as X who silently saves the students from the principal's evil plans. This thriller tackles corrupt school systems, the struggles of students with keeping up with academic pressure, as well as friendship and pursuing dreams against any odds.
Why We Love It: At first, School 2017 may seem like just another teeny-bopper project, but this one is filled with angst yet has captivated us with its soft heart. From the mystery that weaves through the plot to the charismatic cast of young stars, this drama is highly recommended!
Because This is My First Life
Cast: Lee Min Ki, Jung So Min
Airing Dates: October 9-November 28
Quick Recap: Both in their thirties, homeless and recently resigned writer Yoon Ji Ho meets software designer Nam Se Hee who is looking for someone to rent the spare room in his apartment to enable him to pay off his bank loans. The two become housemates-slash-fake-married-couple and soon grow irresistible feelings for one another!
Why We Love It: The plot of their love story may seem too simple, but wait until you get to know the characters! Se Hee's practical, robot-like personality and incapacity to show any sort of human feeling actually make for an unexpected comedic factor! Ji Ho, on the other hand, is kind, responsible, hardworking, and talented—traits that would soon make Se Hee fall slowly in love with her. The relatable issues of their friends are also interesting to follow, whether it's dealing with a misogynistic workplace or going through the dilemmas that come with a long-term relationship. We couldn't tell you how many people we've urged to give this rom-com a try!
Cast: Kai, Baek Chul Min, Lee Ye Hyun, Kim Jin Kyung
Airing Dates: September 24, 2017-January 7, 2018
Quick Recap: When Shi Kyung and his family's city life is abruptly cut by a huge wave of unfortunate events, they eventually move to a rural neighborhood to start anew. A gaming addict, Shi Kyung's new countryside environment and mysterious school teaches him awakening lessons about life and love.
Why We Love It: The show is currently ongoing with two more episodes remaining, but we're 100% sure that this is a coming-of-age drama like no other! And though we pressed play on the first episode because EXO's Kai plays the lead, we stayed for the next episode for everything that came with the series. Andante starts off dark (even borderline depressing) with the concept of death constantly looming in the first few episodes and later becoming a recurring theme. However, the show effectively uses the idea of death as a way of putting things into perspective. This surely knocked some sense into us while making us ship Shi Kyung and Kim Bom hard!
While You Were Sleeping
Cast: Lee Jong Suk, Bae Suzy
Airing Dates: September 27-November 16
Quick Recap: Hong Joo, a former journalist, has the ability to see approaching events in her dreams. What’s sad is most of it are deaths, which she tried to stop most of the time, but failed to do so because no one would believe her. She then met Jae Chan, a rookie prosecutor, who saved her from her own supposed death. Jae Chan explained that he saw Hong Joo being framed and killing herself in his dream, so he took extreme action to stop it. Realizing that they both have the same ability, the two worked together to stop and solve other fatal incidents.
Why We Love It: Out of all the K-dramas we watched, we haven’t ecountered such thrilling plot like this! It’s a mixture of mystery and romance, which is a perfect combo for an absolute intriguing story. While it revolves around the our heroes Hong Joo, Jae Chan, and Woo Tak A.K.A. the “Three Flying Dragons," the drama has its way of showing not just the victim's side, but also the criminal's—to exhibit that everyone has both good and bad sides in them. We highly recommend this drama because every episode has an unexpected twist that will make you ache for more!
Which of these dramas have you watched and obssessed with this year? Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
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Banner Photography from JTBC