It’s probably because of the name of the genre, right? I mean, what kind of man would watch anything with the word DRAMA? But, spoiler alert, these K-Dramas are actually just Korean TV shows. The same way Ang Probinsyano is a TV show and Suits is a TV show. Both very manly.
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And, while, yes, you will most likely cry at some point, stripped of its label, there are some really good K-Dramas out there. They’re also relatively short (most of them just last 16 episodes) so they’re perfect for binge watching over a weekend or two.
So, to kick off your new addiction (because you will get hooked), here are 6 Korean series that manly men like you will definitely enjoy.
Cha Dal-Geon (Lee Seung-Gi) is a martial artist and struggling stuntman who puts his dreams of becoming a famous movie star on hold when his orphaned nephew, Hoon, arrives at his doorstep. But when Hoon’s flight to Morocco mysteriously crashes, Dal-Geon, with the help of NIS agent Go Hae-Ri (Bae Suzy), goes on a quest to uncover the truth and punish everyone responsible.
If you like action, Vagabond is the perfect K-Drama for you. As Cha Dal-Geon and Go Hae-Ri go back and forth from Morocco to Korea, mysterious forces throw everything at them to make sure they don’t find the answers they’re looking for. But what the bad guys don’t know is that Dal-Geon is more resilient than Jackie Chan.
THE VIRUS (2013)
A mysterious infection suddenly appears in Korea and it’s up to Chief Detective Lee Myung-Hyun (Uhm Ki-Joon) to investigate the source of this virus that kills people in 3 days and has a 100% fatality rate. Together with his special infectious disease crisis response team, he will learn that finding the source and cure for the virus is only half the battle.
If today’s local news isn’t scary enough for you, The Virus will definitely make you extra paranoid when you step out of your home. You’ll probably put two face masks on just in case. But when the real baddie finally reveals itself halfway through the show, you’ll most likely think that this is what’s happening now in the Philippines.
THE FIERY PRIEST (2019)
Kim Hae-Il (Kim Nam-Gil) is not your typical Catholic priest. He has a bit of a temper and he regularly kicks bad guy butt. Because of this, he gets into trouble and he is sent away to a different parish to avoid jail time. But when an elderly priest, Kim Hae-Il’s mentor, dies under mysterious circumstances, Kim Hae-Il reluctantly joins forces with Park Kyung-Sun (Lee Ha-Nee), a beautiful prosecutor and Koo Dae-Young (Kim Sung-Kyun), a past-his-prime detective to seek justice. And kick more bad guy butt.
Granted, the plot is not realistic but this K-Drama will leave you in stitches. The mystery surrounding the apparent suicide of the priest will intrigue you and the action scenes are not half bad. If all Catholic priests were like this, I’d probably go to church more.
Korea is in turmoil as the king is seen collapsing in public because of a mysterious illness. As rumors start to spread of his demise, the crown prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-Hoon) is soon swept up in political conspiracies, accusing him of wanting the throne for himself. Queen Jo (Kim Hye-Jun) and her father Chief State Councilor Jo Hak-Joo (Ryoo Seung-Ryong) deny the crown prince the right to see his father. But, one night, when he sneaks into the palace to visit the king, Lee Chang encounters a foul smelling beast and he immediately knows something sinister is happening.
More than just a zombie series, Kingdom’s plot is packed with so many twists that you’ll probably finish the 6 episodes in one sitting. Zombieheads will also have their fill of gore, as the show has buckets of blood aplenty. Season 2 is also coming up so this is a good K-Drama to watch now.
GOOD MANAGER (2017)
Kim Sung-Ryong (Namgung Min) is a math genius and he uses all his skills to be the best at skimming money. His goal? Steal enough money to migrate to Denmark, the least corrupt country in the world. But just as he’s caught by his company for trying to blackmail them, he gets offered a job at TQ, one of the biggest companies in Seoul. Kim Sung-Ryong must use all his unique skills to get the most out of this opportunity given to him, either to steal or be a good man.
An interesting show about an accountant. Who would’ve thought that was possible? But that’s Korean creativity for you. Good Manager is a silly show packed with lots of jokes. But viewer beware, there are scenes which will make you cry!
FIGHT FOR MY WAY (2017)
Ko Dong-man (Park Seo-joon) and Choi Ae-ra (Kim Ji-won) are two childhood friends who are trying to make a living in Busan but their careers can’t seem to take off because they don’t have enough money and connections to go up the corporate ladder. Through grit and street smarts, Dong-man will do his best to reach his dreams of becoming an MMA champion while Ae-ra’s humble dreams of becoming a “mall announcer” will make her rethink her path.
Out of all the series in this list, Fight For My Way is the one closest to being a rom-com, so this is a show that you can watch with your significant other. But make no mistake, this is not a cheesefest. Fight For My Way is a good underdog story that will ease you into the more romantic side of Korean Dramas.
Photographs from IMDb and official Facebook page