When the series finale of the South Korean TV show Crash Landing on You hit the small screen on February 16, the Internet went loony. On that day, tvN, the po channel on which the series was aired, recorded their highest viewership ratings in the history of their existence—surpassing another K-drama hit, Goblin (2016-2017).
Crash Landing on You, or CLOY to the citizens of K-drama world, is about a South Korean heiress named Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin), who crash-lands in North Korea while paragliding. There she meets a North Korean army officer named Ri Jeong-hyuk (Hyun Bin), who helps her return to her hometown. Their fates change as they fall in love.
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Now that the 16-episode love story has come to an end, the fans have been looking for catharsis, a way to rid their hearts of the Hyun Bin-Son Ye-jin chemistry. We’re here to help—sort of—by giving you a list of K-dramas that you could include in your must-watch list, if you haven’t yet.
I am not a Robot (2017-2018)
A heartwarming romantic comedy. Swings a little to the chick-flicky side but it has a formidable script and guys might see themselves in the male lead, a successful man’s man.
Kim Min Kyu (Yoo Seung Ho) is a rich, intelligent guy, who is literally allergic to human contact.
Ji A (Chae Soo Bin) barely makes money by selling toys and other collectors’ items.
Ji A’s ex-boyfriend, Professor Hong Baek Gyun (Uhm Ki Joon), works under one of the departments under Kim Min Kyu’s company. When the department is about to be sold off, the professor decides to present his boss with one last product: Aji 3, a robot that uses artificial intelligence, who also happens to look like Ji A.
Just as the professor’s team is about to present Aji 3, the robot malfunctions. The professor is left with no choice but to ask his ex-girlfriend to pretend to be Aji 3.
Soon, Kim Min Kyu, finds himself falling for his robot companion.
Strong Girl Bong-soon (2017)
It’s hilarious, with a really charming heroine that’s not your usual female stereotype. Even you will fall for her, just like every other guy in this series.
Bong-soon (Park Bo-young) was born with superhuman strength, a genetic trait she got from her mother. She has been in love with her childhood friend, Detective Gook-doo (Ji Soo) who, unfortunately, is in love with another girl.
One day, as Bong-soon is saving a bus driver from thugs, her powers are discovered by Ahn Min-hyuk (Park Hyung-Sik), the CEO of a video gaming company. Min-hyuk, who recently has been receiving death threats, decides to hire Bong-soon as his bodyguard. The superwoman accepts the offer.
As Bong-soon and Min-hyuk develop feelings for each other, the hero finds herself torn between her boss and her childhood friend, who is beginning to fall for her, too.
Oh My Ghost (2015)
Another great story of an unassuming girl attracting the attention of very handsome men.
Na Bong-sun (Park Bo-young) is an assistant chef at the Sun Restaurant. She has had a longtime crush on her boss, an arrogant chef named Kang Sun-woo (Cho Jung-seok). But the extremely timid and shy girl has never made a move on him—until she gets possessed by the ghost of Shin Soon-ae (Kim Seul-gi).
Shin is passionate and salacious, but she died a virgin. She believes that the only way for her to live a peaceful afterlife is to lose her virginity by possessing other women’s bodies. As Na Bong-sun’s personality suddenly changes, she gets the attention of the head chef.
In the meantime, Na Bong-sun begins to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of the ghost, who is taking control of her body.
Birdie Buddy (2011)
The attraction to this series will probably start with the sport of golf and the rivalry between Korean golfing athletes but in the end it’s really the love story that will have you coming back episode after episode.
John Lee (Lee Yong-woo) was the best golfer in South Korea, until he quit to become a golf course tester. His current job leads him to another role, that of a mentor to future top athletes in women’s golf: Sung Mi-woo (Uee) and Min Hae-ryung (Lee Da-Hee).
Mi-Soo, a bright, optimistic woman, comes from a poor family. Her father had to leave the family to make ends meet. She learned how to play golf by taking lessons from her mother, who works as a caddie. She is determined to be the best golfer in the world.
Min Hae-Ryung was raised by a rich family, and was trained by the best golf coaches in the country. On the golf course, she always seems to be in control of herself. But behind the talent, the teenager is deeply troubled and miserable, and is always fighting with her controlling mother. She also hopes to find her father one day.
The characters are marred by an unintended love triangle, recurring family woes, and the pressures that come with rubbing elbows with the elite.
She was Pretty (2015)
Kim Hye-jin (Hwang Jeong-eum) and Ji Sung-joon (Park Seo-joon) were each other’s childhood crushes, but their fates drove them apart.
Hye-jin was once a wealthy and stylish heiress to a publishing company, until the company filed for bankruptcy. Sung-joon was a shy boy, who lacked self-confidence because he thought of himself as unattractive.
Years later, Sung-joon, now a successful, handsome editor, finds himself back home. He immediately calls his childhood friend, Hye-jin, so they could meet and catch up. Embarrassed by how her life turned out and how she looks, the latter asks her best friend Min Ha-ri (Ko Jun-hee) to pretend to be her.
In a cruel twist of fate, Hye-jin was assigned to work under the leadership of Sung-joon, who doesn’t recognize his childhood friend, at all. In fact, he keeps scolding her for her mishaps.
Ha-ri then begins to fall for Sung-joon. On the other hand, Hye-jin’s senior features editor, Choi Si-won (Kim Shin-hyuk), falls for the clumsy new girl.
Jang Geu-rae (Im Si-wan) has lived his whole life dreaming of becoming a professional baduk board game player. When his dream doesn’t pan out, he is forced to work at a large international trading company—thanks to the recommendation from an acquaintance. With no college degree, no work experience, and no social skills, Geu-rae is guided by his skills in playing baduk as he navigates through the corporate world. He gets help from his colleagues whose personalities represent the real-life struggles of the working class. The series became a cultural phenomenon in South Korea.
Memories of Alhambra (2018-2019)
Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun Bin), the CEO of an investment company receives a frantic phone call from a man named Jung Se-ju (Park Chan-yeol). The programmer is offering to sell him an augmented reality (AR) game, which he could only acquire in Alhambra, Spain. Before Jin Woo can say anything, Se-ju hangs up the phone.
While the deal is suspicious, Jin Woo goes for it, driven by his desire to throw off his rival—and the current lover of his ex-wife.
When he arrives in Alhambra, Se-ju is nowhere to be found. Instead, Se-ju’s sister, Jung Hee-ju (Park Shin-hye)—a classical guitarist, who is barely making ends meet—greets him at the hostel lobby.
Soon, Jin-woo finds a way to test the AR game, and is impressed by what he sees. However, as he continues to play the game, and yes, as he falls in love with the receptionist, he discovers a glitch in the system which puts him in real-life danger.
Now, he must find the Se-ju to help him fix his life in the real world.
Designated Survivor: 60 Days (2019)
Park Mu Jin (Ji Jin Hee) is the Minister of the Environment for the government of South Korea. He is happy with his job, and has no ambition to take a higher position. One day, the National Assembly building explodes, killing many of the country’s high-ranking officials, including the South Korean President. Now, Park Mu Jin must sit as the acting President of South Korea for 60 days, while chasing the perpetrators behind the attack.
Photographs from IMDb