Best K-dramas to binge

As avid K-drama watchers, we wanted to share some of the top shows we have watched. Many of these shows have received worldwide attention, so we decided to see if they were worth the hype. While we have a shared love of K-dramas, our opinions differ. We shared two opinions on great binge-worthy K-dramas for anyone looking for a new show to start.


 1. “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”

Photo via JTBC

Summary: Do Bong-Soon (Park Bo-young) is born with superhuman strength that runs in her family. Ahn Min-Hyuk (Park Hyung-Sik), the CEO of a popular gaming company, encounters Bong-soon and after he sees her strength, he hires her to be a bodyguard.

Arisha (rating: 9/10): This 16-episode show has the perfect balance of romance, mystery, thriller and comedy. The chemistry between Min-Hyuk and Bong-Soon was so sweet. Min-Hyuk adores Bong-Soon and helps her embrace her power and become confident in herself, while Bong-Soon helps Min-Hyuk face his traumatic past. Bong-soon used her powers to help people and was never afraid to take on a challenge. I didn’t expect the plot to have psychopaths, thugs and kidnappings, but they added a great thriller feeling to the storyline. I highly recommend this drama to anyone looking for a binge-worthy series.

Yunseo (rating: 9/10): This show was able to evoke every emotion possible, and I was constantly entertained. The two main characters both have uniquely dynamic personalities that work well with each other; I loved seeing their relationship progress throughout each episode. Despite this show being released in 2017, it is a classic K-drama that is worth watching every second of. I would strongly suggest this show to anyone who’s wanting to be introduced to the world of K-dramas and Korean culture.


2. “Vincenzo”

Photo via Netflix

Summary: Italian mafia consigliere Vincenzo Cassano (Song Joong-Ki) goes to Korea to retrieve gold from Geumga plaza, but his plan takes a turn when he is faced with the conflicting tenants of the plaza and a malicious pharmaceutical company. 

Arisha (9/10): The plot was well-written and there were never any dull moments. It was revealed that the pharmaceutical company, Babel Group, is killing their test subjects, so Vincenzo and a strong-willed lawyer, Hong Cha-Young (Jeon Yeo-Been), take on exposing the company. Seeing Vincenzo and Cha-Young’s plan come together was exciting. The characters were quick-witted and entertaining since each of them had their own uniqueness, bringing variety to the plot. The twists in the storyline were unexpected and I found myself continuously being surprised. With the addition of a slow-burn romance between the two leads, the show has a perfect balance that exceeds its hype.

Yunseo (10/10): The main characters Vincenzo and Hong Cha-Young share an interesting chemistry that kept me engaged throughout all 20 episodes of this show. The plot is creative, as there are many engaging subplots that are interwoven throughout the season. I found myself falling in love with the uniqueness that every character contributed to the story; watching each tenant of Geumga plaza develop a familial bond with Vincenzo and Hong Cha-Young kept me crying and laughing throughout the show. The show is well worth the hype it received. It is engaging for all audiences, as there is a little bit of thriller, romance, action and comedy. 


3. “Nevertheless”

Photo via Netflix

Summary: Fresh from a breakup, Yu Na-Bi (Han So-Hee), a student at Hongseo University, encounters another student Park Jae-On (Song Kang)  one night at a bar. The two develop an attraction for each other, and while Na-Bi wants a steady relationship, Jae-On is a complete flirt who doesn’t date. 

Arisha (5/10): Throughout the show, Na-Bi blatantly ignores the red flags that Jae-On displays of being a player. It was tiring to see her pine after a guy who never truly showed interest in her. The only part of the show I liked was the LGBT couple, but sadly, they weren’t the main leads. The supporting characters brought more depth to the storyline. Although the main characters did not meet my expectations, the show explored relatable feelings about facing heartbreak and letting one’s desire take control. The emotions throughout the show were real and raw, and the show was great in depicting ‘coming of age’ feelings.

Yunseo (7/10): This show is a classic “good girl falls for bad boy” type of K-drama, and I found the story to be fairly predictable. While watching this show, I was constantly frustrated over the decisions that Na-Bi was making in her love life. Even though I found the relationship between the two main characters to be underwhelming, there were many scenes involving the supporting characters that made this show worth watching till the end. Overall, I would be lying if I said this show was boring. Although it didn’t meet my initial expectations, I enjoyed watching this show and would recommend this 10-episode show to anyone wanting to binge-watch a shorter series.


4. “Squid Game”

Photo via Netflix

Summary: The 9-episode season follows Seong Gi-Hun (Lee Jung-Jae) and 455 other people in financial debt who are given the opportunity to participate in a competition to win $35 million. The participants compete in a deadly tournament consisting of six traditional South Korean games.

Arisha (9/10): Although I am not a huge fan of violent shows, “Squid Game” was an exception. The show kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and the fact the games are meant to be played by kids made the storyline extremely twisted. The plot reveals the reality that people do desperate things when in desperate situations. It was scary to see the creators prey on the vulnerability of the contestants in disgusting demonstrations of power. The entire show was dark and twisted, but the plot kept me hooked.

Yunseo (8/10): Growing up Korean-American, I once played many of the games featured in “Squid Game” with my friends and family. Although I loved the memories that this show brought back for me, seeing these nostalgic childhood games be played to the death was quite disturbing. This show made me actively think about how desperation and greed can disrupt humanitarian peace, a recurring theme that’s modeled by capitalist societies today. Each episode kept me on edge and there was truly never a dull moment. Despite its overwhelming popularity, I give it a lower rating due to my personal distaste for violence and gore.


In celebration of K-dramas, we talked to a few students about their thoughts on Squid Games: