The year is quickly drawing to a close, but not without addictive K-Dramas that kept us glued to our screens for hours and hours almost everyday!
Of course, you’ve heard about 2017’s biggest hits like the cinematographically stunning Goblin (okay, it premiered in 2016, but it emerged as one of this year’s most popular dramas), the cute Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo that got us asking “Do you like Messi?”, and the super kilig Fight for My Way. In fact, you’ve probably watched those shows and still can’t get over them to this very day. Don’t worry, a lot of fans can relate!
But let me break to you now that this post is not about this year’s most talked-about Korean dramas. Here, I am rounding up seven underappreciated yet seriously good series from 2017 that you most definitely have to check out before we ring in another year of crack K-Dramas:
Circle: Two Worlds Connected
Okay, so what we have here are two brothers (Yoo Jin Goo and Ahn Woo Yeon) in search of their missing father and a beautiful alien named “Byul” (Gong Seung Yeon), who they believe carries the answers they have long been looking for. The second half of each episode features a ~perfect~ world some time in the future, where citizens’ memories have been erased and emotions are controlled through cutting-edge technology under a new centralized government headed by a secretive official, who has a shared past with the brothers. Intensely suspenseful with edge-of-your-seat twists and thrills, this dystopian sci-fi drama is unforgiving. While watching, put your theories on hold. Or better yet, just dismiss them all. They’re most likely wrong anyway.
The life of Sang Mi (Seo Ye Ji) has never been easy, but things have yet to become difficult for her. When her family is invited to join a cult by a charismatic leader who goes by the title “Spiritual Father,” her gullible father – who was recently scammed by a colleague – didn’t even take a second to hesitate and said yes. Living in the company of brainwashed followers (including her parents) who think she is the answer to their salvation, Sang Mi is determined to escape, leading her to seek the help of guilt-stricken Sang Hwan (2PM’s Taecyeon) and wrongfully-accused Dong Chul (Woo Do Hwan) to save her.
“Save Me” won’t leave you be. It is terrifying as it is disturbing – but in a good way. It bravely tackles an unconventional subject and jabs audiences with bits and pieces of hidden realities that are both eye-opening and thought-provoking.
Star of the Universe
The first part (and the best) of MBC’s “Three Colors of Fantasy” trilogy, “Star of the Universe” follows young grim reaper Kim Ha Na (Ji Woo), who is a huge fan of struggling has-been soloist Woo Joo (EXO’s Suho). When she finds out that her favorite singer will soon “go up,” Ha Na is faced with a dilemma: Should she fulfill her duty and collect Woo Joo’s soul or defy the rules and save the only man she loves? A story about music, second chances, and first love, “Star of the Universe” packs all the feels in just three episodes, leaving you in fits of laughter one moment and in tears the next. Here’s a tip: Grab a box of tissues before binge-watching. Trust me, you’ll need it.
Yoo Ah In, Im Soo Jung, and Go Kyung Pyo take on double roles for “Chicago Typewriter” as witers in Japanese colonial era Korea in the 1930s and as a best-selling writer plagued by depression, a literary fanatic, and a genius jazz-loving writer in the present.
This intellectually crafted story about literatis in the past whose reincarnated lives cross paths again in the present is unlike any other K-Drama you’ve seen before, and its historical roots make it all the more interesting. Prepare your heart, because this love story that transcends the test of time will leave it shattered into pieces.
Age of Youth 2
The girls of the Bell Epoque boarding house (Han Ye Ri, KARA’s Han Seung Yeon, Park Eun Bin, Ji Woo) have returned, with more drama, shenanigans, and hilarity in tow! Picking up three months then a year after audiences first met the girls, “Age of Youth 2” continues to connect the characters through events that will challenge their strength in dealing with growing pains. And, oh, a new and lovable addition to the house (Choi Ah Ra) brings her own brand of quirkiness to the group. You might want to check out the first season of “Age of Youth” (if you haven’t yet) before hopping on to this one. Don’t worry, though, it wouldn’t be a waste of your time, since the show, as a whole, is a refreshing take on the chick drama category. It’s fun, insightful, and the best part: It reminds you that you’re not alone in facing your daily struggles in love and life.
Girls’ Generation 1979
Think “The Wonder Years,” but set in Daegu, Korea in the late ’70s. That’s pretty much a way to describe “Girls’ Generation 1979” – a coming-of-age dramedy that gives us a peek into the life of Jung Hee (WJSN’s Bona), who experiences the sweetness and pain of love and heartbreak for the first time. Joining her is a colorful set of characters, including the Seoulite Hye-Joo (Chae Soo Jin), a beauty-and-brains kind of girl who has just moved in to the city with her father; Dong Moon (Seo Young Joo), a charming nerd who has fallen for Jung Hee; Son Jin (Yeo Hoi Hyeon), who’s the epitome of Mr. Perfect to Jung Hee; and Young Choon (CNBLUE’s Lee Jonghyun), a hard-working young man who takes odd jobs to support himself and his little sister.
Light-hearted and endearing, “Girls’ Generation 1979” treats audiences to a delightful blast from the past, complete with nostalgic costumes, backdrops, references, and background music (The Carpenters, anyone?) that scream ’70s.
Because This Is My First Life
What happens when two oddballs decide living together as a fake married couple? Laughter and angst ensue, apparently. Stoic mobile app designer Se Hee (Lee Min Ki) and homeless scriptwriter Ji Ho (Jung So Min) thought marrying each other would be the answer to their personal crises. One has an exorbitant house loan to pay, while the other is finding an ideal place to stay. Living together under a tenancy contract should be easy, they reckon, after all, they’re not in love with each other – or are they?
Joined by an equally colorful set of characters like the smart and sassy Sooji (Esom), romantic CEO Sang Goo (Park Byung Eun), manipulative girlfriend Ho Rang (Kim Ga Eun), and aspiring businessman Won Seok (Kim Min Seok), Se Hee and Ji Ho start to realize that they are finally entering a chapter in their 30s with more than what they bargained for.
It’s not everyday you come across a K-Drama that’s so beautifully written, it would be impossible for you to drop it. That’s “Because This Is My First Life.” Replete with quotes to live by, moments that strike a chord, and fearless takes on various aspects of life, it carefully weaves the contrasting personalities of realistic characters with realistic issues, bringing forth the ultimate slice-of-life story that’s not only for those struggling in their 30s, but for anybody who watches it. Really, do yourself a favor and check out this show. You can thank me later.
Written by Krew member Andy Flores