April 23, 2024

The Korean dramas in this review will make you fall deeply and irrevocably in love, so beware. The world appears to be riding the Korean wave, or Hallyu, thanks to the rise of K-pop, K-drama, K-beauty, and K-food. This year, a lot of Korean dramas have overdone it with a ton of highly engaging and entertaining romance stories. Sixty of the more than one hundred shows that have been released in 2023 are binge-watched every day worldwide. Shows that make hearts melt with heartwarming plots and chemistry between characters that make dedicated K-drama fans smile. The top five romantic Korean dramas available on Netflix and other streaming services in 2023 are listed below.

Now let us explore the best-loved K-dramas of the year featuring gorgeous female leads and attractive Korean actors.

See You in My 19th Life

One of the best romantic K-drama series

Given that it so richly deserves to be the most-watched and best Korean drama on Netflix, we are not surprised. Written by Choi Young-lim, See You in My 19th Life k-drama series is based on the supernaturally themed webtoon of the same name.

See You in My 19th Life K-Drama Summary

Meet Ban Ji-eum, portrayed by Shin Hye-sun. At the age of nine, a wave of memories from her previous lives overtook her, and she soon realized she was on her nineteenth memory in life. One specific memory is of her 18th life as Yoon Ju-won, played by Kim Si-a, in which she vowed to stay with Mun Seo-ha (Jung Hyeon-jun) forever. She is now committed to learning whether he is still alive.

But Ji-eum’s present circumstances are by no means perfect. Her father is an abusive gambler who has kept her in a life of poverty. She participates in TV talent shows, sharing her extensive knowledge of Japanese history and flamenco dancing, in an effort to make ends meet. Even though she receives appearance fees, her father consistently pocketed the cash.

Ji-eum meets restaurant owner Kim Ae-kyung (Cha Chung-hwa) while making a desperate getaway. She seduces Ae-kyung into believing she is her long-lost Uncle Kim Jung-ho (Lee Jae-kyoon), and that she is able to recall her past lives with vivid clarity. Ji-eum then starts to tell her remarkable story. 

Her encounter with Seo-ha in 1997, when she was a 12-year-old Ju-won, was a turning point. He was the most captivating person she’d met in a century. Ju-won had recalled memories from her previous 17 lives and no longer acted like a child. Her mother even told Seo-ha’s mother, Lee Sang-a (Lee Bo-young), that the other kids at school treated Ju-won like a teacher.

Their bond deepened, and Ju-won’s affection for Seo-ha grew. Unfortunately, Sang-a’s health began to deteriorate. At the mansion’s pool, where Seo-ha resided (his mother being the CEO of a hotel chain), he shared a whimsical belief – he claimed to have been a turtle in a past life, inspired by the ones he observed in a hotel fish tank. Ju-won assured him she’d always be by his side.

Tragically, their story took a grim turn. A violent car accident claimed Sang-a’s life and left Seo-ha with damaged hearing, while Ju-won succumbed to her injuries. In her final moments, she silently prayed for a 19th life, determined to reunite with Seo-ha. Previously, she’d always prayed for an end to her cycle of reincarnation.

Now reborn as Ji-eum, she’s resolute in her quest to find Seo-ha. In 2007, she locates him on his way to high school and continues to shadow him, only to discover he’s left the country. Over the years, Ju-won excels academically and strategically joins the company owned by Seo-ha’s family, working in its automotive division. She learns that Seo-ha, now in his 30s, is stationed in Germany, prompting her to seek a transfer.

Before she can make it happen, Seo-ha returns to Korea, determined to restore the hotel his mother once managed to its former glory. Naturally, Ji-eum applies for a transfer to work at the hotel.

King The Land

King The Land, One of the best romantic K-drama series.

One of the best romantic K-drama series that features the pleasant Cheon Sa-Rang (Lim Yoon-a), a typical girl whose dream as a child was to work in a hotel, meets the wealthy heir Gu Won (Lee Jun-ho), who avoids social situations and smiling faces. Gu Won may only have a single close friend who genuinely gets him, given that he is frequently characterized as bold. Gu Won, on the other hand, is not who he appears to be. He has his wounds.

King the Land Season 1 Review

In 2015, a highly competitive one-month internship at the hotel was extended to a chosen group of young individuals who demonstrated motivation. The position requires a four-year college degree, and it is highly sought after. Nevertheless, Sa-rang, one of the applicants, sent in her application. Inquiring on behalf of her father, King Group chairman Gu Il-hoon (Son Byong-ho), Sa-rang (Kim Seon-young) answers questions in a sane and astute manner.

Next, we witness a perfectly attired individual leap from an aircraft and gently land on the rooftop of a neighboring structure. We later learned that he was planning to land at the nearby King Hotel. Under the guise of being the chairman’s son, Gu Won (Lee Jun-ho) is commencing his own internship in the hotel’s offices. He steps in to save another intern, Noh Sang-sik (Ahn Se-ha), from their boss’s rebuke regarding a malfunctioning printing cartridge. His criticism of the company and his boss during this process leads to his immediate termination. Until his true identity is discovered.

So naturally, Won’s father, Il-hoon, is not pleased. He had envisioned a time when he and Hwa-ran would vie for his position as leader, and he had thought that Won would become a huge success for the business. In private, Hwa-ran would much rather have her brother return to his former home in the UK and provide opportunities for her.

The story alternates between a past and present timeline, exploring the ways in which Sa-rang’s close-knit friends and roommates—who also work at King Group—manage their lives and relationships. The three people are Oh Pyung-hwa (Go Won-hee), a flight attendant; Gang Da-eul (Kim Ga-Eun), a duty-free shop clerk; and Sa-rang, a hotel employee.

Motivated by her passion, she begins an internship at the King Hotel and, seven years later, becomes the most outstanding employee there. She is so committed to her work that, even in the face of adversity, smiling comes easily to her. Sa-rang has been trained to wear a 100-watt smile at all times. Sa-rang smiles despite her strict managers’ disapproval of the gesture. When she unintentionally runs into Won, she knows him from the email she received with the room key and a proposal. She also meets with Hwa-ran, who offers her a contract for a year and moves her up to the lobby.

Won goes back to London with Sang-sik, who is now his assistant. After eight years, Sa-rang works as a concierge, mentors brand-new employees, gets promoted, and eventually gets hired on for a salary. Returning to Korea with the intention of stopping his sister from taking over the business, he finds a package containing the resume of Han Mi-so (Nam Gi-ae), whom we take to be his mother. They have to rewrite the story of the love affair that drove Gu Won’s mother away in the first place after his father named him general manager of the hotel. He keeps running into Sa-rang in the most unlikely of places. Written by Choi Rom and directed by Cheon Sung-il, this romantic Korean drama on Netflix is unquestionably one of the best.

Love to Hate You

One of the best romantic K-drama series.

We think that Netflix’s most recent K-drama is one of the most captivating shows of 2023. The K-drama story revolves around actor Nam Kang-ho, who has a deep dislike for women. It is obvious that he is uncomfortable with them.

Presenting Lee Mi-ran, the eccentric lawyer who despises men just as much. When romantic comedy actor Kang-ho needs to train as a street fighter for a movie he is in, Mi-ran’s extraordinary fighting abilities come in handy.

Love to Hate You’ Season One Review

When the two complete opposites meet, chaos results. Mi-ran quickly learns that Kang-ho is not the evil she first thought him to be, and Kang-ho learns that Mi-ran is more than just a skilled fighter. The show immediately immerses viewers in the chaos and makes them fall in love with the characters.

Even though Kang-ho is a charming man, Mi-ran’s unwavering power and her unrepentant attitude surpass him. The storyline of “Love to Hate You” may be reminiscent of previous K-dramas, but Kang-ho’s dislike of women gives the film a distinctive and entertaining twist.

The way the main characters grow as they deal with their reservations about the other sex is masterfully done. Supporting roles like that of Na-eun, who is troubled by her romantic decisions, and Soo-jin, an actress navigating the turmoil following a divorce, add complexity to the story. Won-jun, the CEO of an entertainment company, rounds out the group. He steers clear of relationships because he believes he is not good enough at his job.

It becomes evident why Mi-ran tends to overthink things and why Kang-ho has such strong feelings against the other sex when one digs a little deeper into their emotional scars. Kang-ho’s negative impression of all women stems from his heartbreak at the hands of a materialistic woman. Kang-ho struggles to control his feelings when he meets Mi-ran, a woman who defies convention and rejects the idea of being a soft girl.

However, Mi-ran’s past experiences with men have been filled with disappointment, which has made her value her personal fulfillment and financial independence above all else. Anyone who gets in her way quickly discovers how important it is to stay out of her way.

The show was incredibly charming from beginning to end and satisfied all of our needs. Even though the events that led to Kang-ho and Mi-ran’s relationship in “Love to Hate You” may seem a little strange, Kim Ok-vin’s captivating performance as Mi-ran completely transforms the story and makes it even cuter.

Crash Course In Romance

One of the best romantic K-drama series

One of the best K-drama series, Crash Course in Romance is an incredible show. A timeless story of rivals turning into lovers, in which the main couple’s inevitable union is certain to happen. In this charming, whimsical comedy, famous math tutor Choi Chi-Yeol (Jung Kyung-Ho) develops feelings for a single mother named Nam Haeng-Seon (Jeon Do-Yeon). A small disruption to the tranquility is caused by the tale of a haunted man pursuing nervous students.

Crash Course in Romance Summary

The protagonist of our story, Haeng-seon, used to be a national athlete and now runs her own side dish shop. She goes above and beyond for her niece Hae-e, treating her like her own daughter. While attempting to get Hae-e accepted into a prestigious academy, Haeng-seon eventually meets the endearing and in-demand math tutor Choi Chi-yeol.

There are subtle hints of romance as their friendship grows. However, a number of things conspire to weaken them, including the school’s controlling mothers, social norms in the teaching profession, and the mysterious metal ball killer.

The couple’s early exchanges, jokes, and misunderstandings go quite well because they are both charming characters in their early forties. Thanks to Do-Yeon and Kyung-Ho’s amazing performances, there is never a dull moment—in fact, it almost seems like the actors are friendly rivals. When they compliment each other’s strengths during dramatic moments, their chemistry is clear and entertaining.

However, as was already mentioned, their romance is not the primary focus of the K-drama. Attention-grabbing elements include controlling moms, the pressure of high school coursework, envious peers, parental trauma, crafty rivals in the workplace, a flurry of scandals, and a dangerous psychopath on the loose. Not every single one of these parts goes together flawlessly. Situated in the heart of an academic district, Haeng-seon’s shop is flanked by tutoring academies that are frequented by a significant number of parents and high school students.

Here, moms form a line outside The Pride Academy to sign up their kids for math classes with Chi-Yeol and ensure their spot at the front of the class. Writer Yang Hee-Seung expertly draws the reader into this world, poignantly capturing the intensity of academic pressure and the system that parents and students must navigate as they teeter on the edge of admission to college.

Particularly the mothers have risen to the occasion, frequently using their most heinous strategies in this ruthless competition for college entrance exams. Workaholic attorney Jang Seo-Jin (Jang Young-Nam), who drove her first son into a breakdown due to pressure from school, is now entirely focused on ensuring that her second son, Lee Sun-Jae (Lee Chae-Min), does not falter. Su-Hee, also known as Kim Sun-Young, is a social media influencer in the high school academic community. She appears oblivious to her daughter’s mental health problems and her husband’s infidelity, instead focusing solely on her daughter’s academic achievements.

After realizing quickly that she must step up for her niece Nam He-Yi (Roh Yoon-Seo), Haeng-Seon struggles to fit into this competitive and intriguing world.

Doona!

This program is the most recent Doona adaptation for Studio Dragon and Netflix Korea, with inspiration from Min Song-Ah’s webtoon. Under the direction of Lee Jung-hyo, the nine-episode series delves into a moving coming-of-age tale involving Lee Doo-na (Bae Suzy) and Lee Won-joon (Yang Se-Jong).

What is the Plot of Doona!?

The narrative centers on the glamorous former celebrity Doona, who was formerly a member of Dream Sweet until a stage accident caused relationships to break down. Doona battles depression brought on by performance-related stress, her controlling mother, and an unrequited crush that her manager tricked her into. She is reduced to being the mysterious girl downstairs and languishes in grief, her pain kept hidden and unnoticed. She lives with her partner for convenience, but despite this, her home turns into a pit of self-loathing rather than a haven.

Before moving to Seoul for college, Won-joon lived in a rural sharehouse with a motley crew. This experience made him reevaluate his beliefs about life. He lives in a room in a large, colorful family, with Lee Doona at the center. She pushes him over his comfort zone, keeps him from falling back on an old crush, and sends them both on a life-changing adventure.

Even though there are dramatic moments, the story is not directed by them. Instead, the complex, nuanced pasts and futures of every character add nuance to the series’ romantic narrative. With her self-esteem at an all-time low and the wounds of her idol days still visible, Lee Doona craves attention but does not know why.

Because of her compulsive chain smoking and disregard for her needs, viewers may wonder if she is accepted her inevitable decline. Conversely, Won-joon struggles with innocence and naivety, which impairs his ability to understand morality and respond to situations in a nuanced way. His reserved demeanor contrasts with Doona’s image. Won-joon grows as a person after letting go of his childhood crush, but Lee Doona’s identity is still tied to her former manager, which leads to forced interventions that do not always work.

How to Watch and Download Doona K-drama For Free

You can watch Doona on Netflix and you can also find out how to pay for your Netflix subscription here.

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