It’s already halfway through 2019 and what a year it’s been in K-drama land! In the world of K-dramas, when the story is good, it’s easy to get lost in the lives of the characters. And with the long list of K-dramas that have already aired this year, there’s a handful that is definitely worth watching. Especially with summer vacation coming up, all these K-dramas are pretty fail-proof, so you don’t have to worry about watching something boring. Here’s a look at eight K-dramas of 2019 that you shouldn’t miss!
Warning: minor spoilers for the dramas below.
“Her Private Life” is the recent hit K-drama rom-com starring Park Min Young and Kim Jae Wook. The series involves an artist by the name of Ryan Gold who falls in love with an art curator by the name of Sung Duk Mi (Park Min Young). What else can we say about this series except that it’s a healing K-drama that hits all the right notes?
Ryan Gold has also been dubbed as the ideal perfect boyfriend and it seems as though this may be Kim Jae Wook’s year. His portrayal of Ryan Gold and the true love that he is able to show Duk Mi is a standard to live up to. It’s also rare that you get a glimpse at an authentically healthy relationship in the K-drama world, but these two are able to do it.
Start watching “Her Private Life”:
“SKY Castle” is a K-drama that takes place in a neighborhood called SKY Castle, where there are four families who are willing to do anything at any cost to make sure that their children go to a top university. The cast includes Yum Jung Ah, Lee Tae Ran, Yoon Se Ah, Oh Na Ra, as well as some new faces whose popularity has skyrocketed as a result of the success of this series.
It’s a simple story, but one that is rather frustrating. Seeing the parents and how much they’re willing to make sure their children succeed, even at the cost of others, is pretty heart-wrenching. While dramatic, this story perhaps is more realistic in terms of how stressful the family and academic situations are like in South Korea. It draws on the competitive nature of parents and their desire to make sure that their children go to the best school so that they can feel proud and brag to other families.
Start watching “SKY Castle”:
If you’re into makjang K-dramas that are really super dramatic, then “The Last Empress” has got enough loops and twists to keep you watching for the whole 52 episodes. Yes, the series is long, but it’s worthwhile and will definitely keep you on your toes.
There are attempted murders, actual murders, betrayals, complete facial makeovers, and love triangles – all the ingredients needed for a wonderful K-drama. With Jang Nara, Shin Sung Rok, and Choi Jin Hyuk as the main cast members alone, it’s worth the watch!
Start watching “The Last Empress”:
Jinyoung stars as Lee Ahn, a man with the special gift of being able to see a person’s memory whenever he touches them. He uses his powers for good and decides to take out all the evil people he comes across. Eventually, he meets Yoon Jae In, played by Shin Ye Eun, who has some baggage that Jae In does not see. They come together to solve a case that the two are connected to.
From the beginning of this series, there’s enough in the story to have you coming back for more. It’s also Jinyoung’s first time starring in a lead role in a K-drama and if you haven’t seen him in his other roles, let me tell you, he’s got some serious skills. And in this series, he really delivers.
Start watching “He Is Psychometric”:
It’s rarer these days to come across a K-drama where it’s literally impossible to choose between the male lead and the second male lead. But this is most definitely the case with “Absolute Boyfriend.”
In “Absolute Boyfriend,” Minah plays Da Da, a special effects makeup artist who has been dating the movie star, Ma Wang Joon (Hong Hong Hyun) for seven years. The two have a lot of history together as Da Da was with Wang Joon well before he became popular as an actor. Low and behold, the two end up breaking up and that’s when Young Goo (Yeo Jin Goo), a high-tech robot stumbles across Da Da’s front door.
This series is surprisingly full of lovable characters. The two main males are obviously enough to swoon over and there is so much romance as well as so much love that it will be thoroughly entertaining. It’s a feel-good K-drama to watch when you’re feeling bored!
Start watching “Absolute Boyfriend”:
“Beautiful World” tells the story of a happily married couple, Park Moo Jin (Park Hee Soon) and Kang In Ha (Chu Ja Hyun). They are parents to a special boy by the name of Park Sun Ho (Nam Da Reum). When they get a bone-chilling phone call with word that Sun Ho is being sent to the hospital, they find out that the accident happened as a result of school violence, which leads to the parents trying their best to bring justice.
From the very first moments of this series, it’s pretty disturbing and sad. As the series progresses, it really touches on the reality of violence in the school and the tragedy that commences when the truth about the incident is not revealed. The hopelessness and disparity of the situation, when no one is willing to tell the truth, are depicted so well throughout this drama.
Nam Da Reum as Sun Ho is literally perfection. The story is heartbreaking and deals with very heavy issues, but they are issues that are real and important. The series is a must-watch for anyone who wants to or needs to understand the effects of school violence and the repercussions it sadly has on the family of the victim.
Start watching “Beautiful World”:
My First, First Love
In terms of the coming-of-age theme, “My First, First Love” is one of the best from this year thus far. It’s got the perfect cast and the perfect simple script. The leads, Ji Soo and Jung Chae Yeon, have the chemistry to give you butterflies and our beautiful second lead, Jinyoung, has got the charm to induce some serious second-lead syndrome.
And although the series doesn’t have any elements that are unique, it still somehow manages to tug at your heartstrings. The bromances, friendships, and first love tales of all the characters are so heartwarmingly relatable and just straight up entertaining. It’s definitely a must-watch!
Probably one of the most highly anticipated K-dramas of 2019 was “Arthdal Chronicles.” The main reason for its buzz was its Hallyu-packed cast which includes the likes of Song Joong Ki, Jang Dong Gun, Kim Ok Bin, and Kim Ji Won.
The story involves various tribes trying to conquer the land. There is one tribe, in particular, that is led by Tagon played by Jang Dong Gun. He’s evil and has it in his best efforts to make sure he’s the ruler of all tribes.
This series is worthwhile to watch not only because of the amazing cast but also because of the cinematography and the writers – Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yun wrote the epic sageuk “Six Flying Dragons.” The story can be a bit hard to follow along with at the beginning, but once you figure out the characters, you’ll be totally sucked into this beautiful fictitious world!
Happy K-drama watching!
Hey Soompiers, which of these K-dramas are you going to watch next? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “Absolute Boyfriend,” “One Spring Night,” “Arthdal Chronicles,” and “Produce X 101”
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