Secret Forest

5 amazing korean soaps on netflix to keep you warm this winter

When the temperature drops, your blankets, political corruption scandals and supernatural romances are your best friends.

by Cheryl Santos
|
Nov 29 2018, 5:17pm

Secret Forest

This article originally appeared on i-D ES

Korean dramas or K-dramas have been playing in a league of their own ever since they first appeared on TV in the 1960s. I've been trying to familiarise myself with the genre for a while now and I am still struggling to find anything resembling rhythm, plot and character development in any of the shows I've watched. Which I guess is the reason why I've gotten so hooked on South Korean soaps.

Most shows consist of about 16 to 25 episodes, rarely go on to a second series and tend to reflect on the problems and aspirations of modern Korean society through the most unrealistic storylines and larger-than-life characters. Which is to say: Enjoy the 5 dramas below, but don't go as far as to think this is what life in South Korea is actually like.

1. Something in the Rain

Throughout its 16 episodes, this show reflects on what happens when an ultra-conservative society and family meddle in the romantic relationship between two adults. She's 35, and he's her best friend’s younger brother.

Something in the Rain will seriously frustrate you at times, but it will also move you to the nth degree. The main female character is played by veteran actress Son Ye-Jin and the male lead is Korean heartthrob Jung Hae-In.

2. Strong Woman Do Bong-soon

This is one of my favourites because it effectively mixes comedy, fantasy, and (to a lesser extent) feminism.

Do Bong-Soon is the protagonist who possesses a supernatural strength, which she uses to defend the weak as well as her gender. Meanwhile, the CEO of a video game company and his policeman best friend both fall in love with her. Hilarity ensues.

3. Secret Forest

Having been released in 2017, Secret Forest is a series that needs your full attention because in 16 episodes a network of corruption, murders and betrayals unravels within the South Korean government. At the centre of it all are an emotionally stunted prosecutor and a very sensitive detective. I promise it will keep you on your sofa until you know who did what, why and how.

4. Prison Playbook

A famous baseball player is jailed for defending his sister from an attempted rape, days before making his Major League debut. What follows is a picture of his life under prison rules, with characters that are as exaggerated as they are endearing.

Just like Orange is The New Black, Prison Playbook uses flashbacks to recount the past of the prison inmates and officers who surround the baseball player. And of course everyone's personal drama is so engaging that you'll find yourself praying that they never get released from prison.

5. Mr. Sunshine

One of the series that Netflix bet big on this year, Mr. Sunshine made it's international debut on the platform at a whopping cost of 27.8 million. The most expensive Korean drama in history is centred on a group of activists fighting for Korean independence in the 1900s. Come for the impressive sets and stay for the idealistic characters.