Saranghae to Saranghae: Romantic K-Dramas For Everyone - Lifestyle Asia

Spending your night cuddling with your partner? Here are some K-Dramas for any mood.

READ ALSO: K-Love: Six Famous Korean Couples

A Healing Drama: Hospital Playlist

Hospital Playlist follows five doctor friends. Lee Ik-jun (Jo Jung-suk) is a single father, Ahn Jeong-won (Yoo Yeon-seok) is a little repressed and always stressed (his family owns the hospital), Kim Jun-wan (Jung Kyung-ho) is nursing a crush on someone he shouldn’t, Yang Seok-hyeong (Kim Dae-myung) is trying to move on from his broken marriage and Jeon Mi-do (Chae Song-hwa), the only girl in the group, needs to make decisions regarding her heart.

The group has been together since the 90s, and the present-day finds them all working in the same hospital, healing their patients and helping train the junior doctors.

Every week, the doctors meet up to release their tension and play music. In real life, Chae is a respected musical theater actor but in Hospital Playlist, her first small-screen break, her character Mi-do is tone-deaf. Nothing is funnier than watching her warble-off tune to Korean classics.

The show is remarkable because it lacks the usual histrionics of a K-drama: if you want makjang-style acting, you’re in for a lot of disappointment because no one is cheating on their husbands, murdering their rivals, and swallowing sim-cards here (unless you’re a patient). Made by the capable hands behind the Reply series, sometimes there are cameos: Sung Dong-il as Ahn’s priestly brother, and Go Ara as Ik-jun’s ex-girlfriend.

Season 1 and Season 2 of Hospital Playlist is available on Netflix

Something Scary (so your boyfriend hugs you): All of Us Are Dead.  

Coming-of-age high school shows are a staple in K-drama land. What do you get when you combine that and the other great love of Korean entertainment media, the zombie? All of Us Are Dead.  

In All of Us Are Dead (available on Netflix), the students at Class 2-5 at Hyosan High School are just average kids, dealing with studies, hormones, and all the drama that comes with school. And then a zombie breakout infects the school. All thoughts of homework and exams fly out the window and the story becomes one of survival.

All of Us Are Dead is available on Netflix

Something Sexy (so you can do more than hugging): Love and Leashes

A BDSM-themed movie by a South Korean cast (including a very famous singer-actress) on Netflix? It’s real: Love and Leashes, starring SNSD’s Seohyun and Lee Jun-young, is about a Dominant-Submissive relationship framed through the lenses of a romantic comedy.

The story starts with a mix-up: Jung Ji-woo (Seohyun) receives a package at the office. Inside it is a dog leash. Her co-worker, Jung Ji-hoo (Lee) runs to her in a panic because the package was meant for him. Due to their similar-sounding names, she became the recipient.

Ji-hoo tells her of his sadomasochistic tendencies and interests in playing the submissive role in relationships, and Ji-woo, having feelings for him anyway, does judge him. They then enter into a domme-sub relationship for three months to see if they can both handle it.

The story is both sweet and sexy, and the emphasis on a respectful, consensual relationship is very much a highlight. The dynamic between the actors in real life also mirrors some of the movies: Seohyun, as a member of South Korea’s most famous girl group, plays the master to Lee’s submissive. Lee was a member of a not-so-famous group and on the first shooting day, he says he could barely look at her in the eyes. In a way, it’s like life imitating art.

Love and Leashes is available on Netflix

Something Truly Sweet: Something in the Rain

Something in the Rain is a sweet, slice-of-life drama about two people who go from acquaintances to a couple in love with each other. Yoon Jin-ah (Son Ye-jin) is 35, and a district supervisor at Coffee Bay. Seo Joon-hee (Jung Hae-in) is 31 and works as a video game developer at Smilegate Entertainment. Returning from a stint abroad, he reconnects with Jin-ah, who is the best friend of his sister. They fall in love.

The episodes delve into cultural taboos when it comes to South Korea’s views on relationships, the biggest one being the age difference: Jin-ah is four years older, and while the age gap is small, it is still enough to make people talk. There are questions about their wealth discrepancy: both Jin-ah and Joon-hee have different educational backgrounds, job levels, and class statuses.

The topic of institutionalized, unspoken mistreatment of women in the workplace is also a secondary storyline in the drama. Jin-ah and her fellow female employees on the corporate ladder face difficulties like harassment, discrimination, and sabotage from their male bosses.

Something in the Rain was Son Ye-jin’s first drama in five years, just before her life-changing (in many ways) leading role in Crash Landing on You. As always, Jung Hae-in is charming to watch and completely believable as a man in love with the pretty noona who buys him food.

Something in the Rain is available on Netflix

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