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10 Korean Dramas For Beginners

Updated on May 21, 2019
Mare-sensei profile image

Mare is a certified K-drama and K-pop enthusiast. She always likes to discover new things about the wide world of Korean entertainment.

New to K-Drama? Here's a list for you.

If you're just getting started to Korean dramas, or you've just finished your first series, you must check this list to see what's next to watch. These highly-recommended dramas are also known as the "legendary" ones, and the all-time favorite of every K-drama experts. Complete watching these 10 famous K-dramas and be a certified drama enthusiast forever.

1. Boys Over Flowers (2009)

Hearing the opening song is enough to bring back the good old days of watching this popular drama. It's really an "almost paradise" for this romantic comedy series as it revolves around the life of a poor girl, Jan-di and the four rich and handsome boys around her, known as the "F4". This 2009 drama was a Korean adaptation of the Japanese manga, Hana Yori Dango, and became a huge success, along with its Chinese adaptation, Meteor Garden. The F4 sensation became a phenomenal hit, especially in Asia. It aired for 25 episodes on KBS2 from January 5 to March 31, 2009 and achieved a 35.7% rating on its 18th episode.

Episodes: 25


  • Ku Hye-sun as Geum Jan-di
  • Lee Min-ho as Go Joon-pyo
  • Kim Hyun-joong as Yoon Ji-hoo
  • Kim Bum as So Yi-jung
  • Kim Joon as Song Woo-bin

2. You're Beautiful (2009)

The A.N.Jell fever was one of the most 'hard to forget' syndrome in the history of K-drama. It was an amazing journey with the four members of the boy band because one of them has an extremely confidential secret to keep. The fourth member, Go Mi-nam, is a girl pretending to be a man! Every episode gets more and more interesting as the three boys have taken a liking to Mi-nam. The idea of gender-bending and cross-dressing following the romantic love story between the characters is totally fun to watch. It's a wonderful K-drama that we can't really get tired watching over and over again. It aired on SBS from October 7 to November 26, 2009 for 16 episodes, with a 12.2% rating for its final episode.

Episodes: 16


  • Park Shin-hye as Go Mi-nam
  • Jang Keun-suk as Hwang Tae-kyung
  • Jung Yong-hwa as Kang Shin-woo
  • Lee Hong-ki as Jeremy

3. Playful Kiss (2010)

You'll definitely agree that a good K-drama will make you cringe sometimes, but this one will make you cringe the most! As the title says, this is a 'playful' story of a foolish girl, Oh Ha-ni and her one-sided love to a perfectionist guy, Baek Seung-jo. Her determination is a proof that even a rejected love can find a successful way to open the heart. Ha-ni will teach you some strong stalking skills on how to win your crush. Plus, learn some clumsy actions that will make him think you're so cute to protect. This drama is based on the Japanese manga, "Itazura Na Kiss" and it aired on MBC from September 1 to October 21, 2010. It wasn't a high-rated drama, reaching only 8.8% on its 10th episode, but it became popular internationally.

Episodes: 16


  • Jung So-min as Oh Ha-ni
  • Kim Hyun-joong as Baek Seung-jo

4. Secret Garden (2010)

Secret Garden is a modern Cinderella-like story with a gentle spice of comedy that flutters the hearts of classical drama viewers, and as a beginner, you are not allowed to skip this in the list! It aired on SBS from November 13, 2010 to January 16, 2011 for 20 episodes, with a viewer peak of 38.6%, which means it was a huge ratings success. It is also a multi-award winning drama, with an estimation of more than 20 billion won worth of economic effect, after it had been purchased by a number of countries across Asia and the Americas for international broadcast. See for yourself as to how and why the world fell in love with this amazing drama.

Episodes: 20


  • Ha Ji-won as Gil Ra-im
  • Hyun Bin as Kim Joo-won
  • Yoon Sang-hyun as Choi Woo-young
  • Kim Sa-rang as Yoon Seul

5. Dream High (2011)

This list will not be completed without an "old but gold" teenage high school drama, and "Dream High" is not something that you should miss out. Get ready to see some young faces from popular stars as they happily play the role of six students who are dreaming of becoming K-pop idols. They learned how to dance, sing, and perform together, aiming to achieve their ultimate dream. But these kids doesn't only develop their talents. Love started to bloom among them as they develop feelings for one another. It's a nice and refreshing youth drama with cheesy and cute story. And if 16 episodes aren't enough, there's also a season 2, but with entirely different cast.

Episodes: 16


  • Bae Suzy as Go Hye-mi
  • Kim Soo-hyun as Song Sam-dong
  • Ok Taec-yeon as Jin-guk/Hyun Shi-hyuk
  • Ham Eun-jung as Yoon Baek-hee
  • Jang Woo-young as Jason
  • IU as Kim Pil-sook

6. To The Beautiful You (2012)

Never ever skip this one. The 2012 famous SBS gender-bend series, "To The Beautiful You" is the link between K-drama and K-pop world. This is the show that will open the door for you to discover some K-pop idols turned actors. Based on the Japanese manga series, " Hanazakari no Kimitachi e", f(x) member Sulli played the role of a girl being bullied for her looks. She is attracted to a young athlete named Tae-joon (played by Shinee's Min-ho). She wishes to go to the same school as him, but he is attending an all-boys school. To follow the desire of her heart, she disguises herself as a male transfer student to enter the school.

Episodes: 16


  • Sulli as Goo Jae-hee/Jay Dawson
  • Choi Min-ho as Kang Tae-joon
  • Lee Hyun-woo as Cha Eun-gyeol

7. The Heirs (2013)

The concept is quite cliche - rich guy meets ordinary girl, and they have to face some sort of social status issues, family problems, and school trials. But the sweet romance between the rich guy and the poor girl is too attractive to ignore. As the two lovers tried to overcome the struggles along their way, we are also learning valuable lessons about life, love, and dreams. The series was a major hit in South Korea and received immense popularity across Asia, with a recorded viewer percentage of 28.6. After all, we always end up loving fairy tales, right? It was Korea's most popular drama of 2013, and one of the hottest love team too, thanks to Park Shin-hye and Lee Min-ho's superb chemistry.

Episodes: 20


  • Lee Min-ho as Kim Tan
  • Park Shin-hye as Cha Eun-sang
  • Kim Woo-bin as Choi Young-do

8. My Love From The Star (2014)

This 2014 hit series became an award-winning fictional drama and Korea's most favorite program of the year. Bringing the concept of a time-travelling alien who landed on Earth from Joseon dynasty, the viewers fell in love with the character of the cold but nice alien, Do Min-joon. No other actor could perfectly play Min-joon's role as Kim Soo-hyun did. And of course, there's the top actress Cheon Song-yi whom Min-joon loves in the modern era. Song-yi's character became an international icon thanks to Jun Ji-hyun's brilliant portrayal. This drama is indeed one of the best ever, not just because it bagged numerous awards, but because it won the hearts of many viewers in the world.

Episodes: 21


  • Jun Ji-hyun as Cheon Song-yi
  • Kim Soo-hyun as Do Min-joon
  • Park Hae-jin as Lee Hee-kyung
  • Yoo In-na as Yoo Se-mi

9. Descendants of the Sun (2016)

Unlike the usual romantic comedy, this is more on the romantic-action side. As a beginner, you need to know why even after a couple of years have passed, the hype for this drama still goes on. It was a major hit with 38.8% viewer rating. But to sum it up, "Descendants" is about a soldier and a doctor who fell in love with each other. If you can't get enough of the romance between the two main leads, worry not. Captain Yoo Shi-jin and Doctor Kang Mo-yeon may have proven that love in times of war is definitely strong, but our Song-Song couple's love is stronger! After the production, they dated each other and got married in 2017.

Episodes: 16


  • Song Joong-ki as Captain Yoo Shi-jin
  • Song Hye-kyo as Doctor Kang Mo-yeon
  • Jin Goo as Master Sergeant Seo Dae-young
  • Kim Ji-won as First Lieutenant Yoon Myung-ju

10. Goblin (2017)

Following the success of DOTS, here comes another big hit drama, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. No wonder about that, because this series was written by Kim Eun-sook, who is also the writer of Secret Garden, The Heirs, and DOTS. Also known as "Goblin", it is one of the highest-rated drama in Korean cable TV, with immense popularity in many countries as well. It is a fantasy-themed story about a goblin searching for his bride who can remove the pierced sword in his chest. One day, a young high school student summoned him and fell in love with him, and she is no ordinary girl because it turns out, the young lady is the goblin's bride.

Episodes: 16


  • Gong Yoo as Kim Shin
  • Kim Go-eun as Ji Eun-tak
  • Lee Dong-wook as Wang Yeo
  • Yoo In-na as Sunny
  • Yook Sung-jae as Yoo Deok-hwa

That's All!

Have you perfectly completed the checklist? Share what you think about these amazing K-dramas by leaving a comment below. We'd also love to know what other dramas are recommended for our new friends out there!

Among these 10 dramas, which one is your favorite?

See results

© 2019 Mare-sensei


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