Some of the best romantic K-dramas for a perfect binge-watching session

Watching a light-hearted romantic series with friends or a partner is always fun and comforting. Witnessing something so pure and relatable unfold on screen not only touches your heart but also elevates your mood. And with the Hallyu wave taking over the world by storm, romantic K-dramas are what you need for your soul.

The perfect blend of a strong storyline, crackling chemistry between the lead pair, comic timing and a stellar cast keeps one hooked. While movies and series from genres, including historical, horror, thriller, fantasy and comedy, are equally loved by K-drama lovers, romance is everyone’s all-time favourite. And when creators work hard enough to deliver masterpieces that are a perfect amalgamation of romance, thrill, fantasy, action and comedy like Queen Of Tears (2024), it enhances the overall experience of watching a series.

Talking about romantic K-dramas, it is hard to miss the fact that the Korean entertainment industry has given us multiple other splendid titles like Doctor Slump (2024), Welcome To Samdal-ri (2023), Business Proposal (2022) and Crash Landing on You (2019).

Additionally, the Oh Hyun-jong directorial Doctor Slump was seen keeping up with the appeal of romantic medical Korean dramas. Starring Park Shin-hye, who returned to the screen after a three-year-long hiatus, the 2024 show debuted at #1 on Netflix’s weekly chart for non-English TV series. It also recorded over 2.9 million views and 10.2 million viewing hours between 29 January 2024 to 4 February 2024, according to the OTT platform.

Meanwhile, one of the highest-rated K-dramas of all time, Queen Of Tears garnered a solid 24.850 per cent average finale viewership rating, according to Nielsen Korea. Furthermore, Netflix reported that the show was featured in its Top 10 lists in 40+ countries on 10 March 2024.

Here are some of the best romantic K-dramas for you to binge-watch

Directed by: Lee Eung-bok

Cast: Gong Yoo, Kim Go-eun, Yoo In-na, Lee Dong-wook 

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 10 min.

Synopsis: When the mighty Joseon Dynasty warrior Kim Shin (Gong) is betrayed and brutally murdered, the gods turn into an immortal goblin. Decades later, Shin, fed up with his immortality curse, decides to visit the modern world in search of the Goblin’s bride (Kim), the only person who can give him his freedom.

About the show: One of the best Gong Yoo TV shows to watch, Goblin is also best known as Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.

Directed by: Lee Eung-bok

Cast: Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 20 min.

Synopsis: This beautiful love story is about injured soldier Yoo Si-jin (Joong-ki) who meets surgeon Kang Mo-yeon (Hye-kyo) and falls for her. What separates them is their polar opposite ideologies. Will they be able to unite despite their differences?

Directed by: Ji Yeong-choi and Joon Hwa-park

Cast: Park Min-young, Park Seo-joon

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 10 min.

Synopsis: The romantic K-drama is about how a self-centred business heir, Lee Young-joon’s (Seo-joon) life goes for a toss when his capable personal assistant Kim Mi-so (Min-young) decides to quit.

Directed by: Lee Jeong-hyo

Cast: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Seo Ji-hye

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 15 min.

Synopsis: It revolves around a South Korean heiress Yoon Se-ri (Son), who accidentally lands in North Korea. But fate has other plans, as charming army officer Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun) decides to help her.

About the show: The romantic comedy series is written by Park Ji-eun.

Directed by: Park Shin-woo

Cast: Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Ye-ji, Oh Jeong-se, Jang Young-nam

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 20 min.

Synopsis: Psych ward caretaker Moon Kang-tae (Kim) meets antisocial writer Ko Moon-young (Son) when the former’s brother goes to attend one of Moon-young’s book reading sessions. Soon, the trio grow fond of each other and begin a journey of self-discovery. However, when Moon-young and Sang-tae realise that they share a tragic past together, their bond is put to the test. 

About the show: Written by Jo Yong, this romance drama earned eight nominations at South Korea’s 57th Baeksang Arts Awards. The show also received a nomination at the 49th International Emmy Awards in the Best TV Movie or Miniseries category.

Directed by: Je Won-yu

Cast: Shin Min-a, Kim Seon-ho, Gina Su

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 10 min.

Synopsis: The romantic series narrates the story of dentist Yoon Hye-jin (Shin) who decides to set up her practice in a seaside village. Her path crosses with a jack-of-all-trades man Hong Du-sik (Kim) who lives in the village. Soon, romance ensues.

Directed by: Park Seon-ho

Cast: Ahn Hyo-seop, Kim Se-Jeong, Kim Min-Kyu

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 10 min.

Synopsis: Ha-ri’s (Kim) friend sends her to meet a prospective groom (Ahn) in her place to disrupt marriage plans. However, things turn topsy-turvy when Ha-ri finds that he is actually Kang Tae-mu, the CEO of the company she works for.

About the series: Also known as The Office Blind Date, the series Business Proposal is considered one of the best Korean office romance shows of all time.

Directed by: Cha Young-hoon

Cast: Ji Chang-wook, Shin Hye-sun, Shin Dong-mi

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 15 min.

Synopsis: A scandal forces top Korean photographer Jo Sam-dal (Shin) to leave Seoul. Seeking a change in environment, Sam-dal returns to her hometown, Samdalri, and meets her childhood friend Jo Yong-pil (Ji), now a weather forecaster working for a group of haenyeo (female divers). Sam-dal starts accompanying Yong-pil to work and soon realises that it’s Yong-pil who can heal her scars.

Directed by: Oh Hyun-jong

Cast: Park Hyung-sik, Park Shin-hye

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 5 min.

Synopsis: Yeo Jeong-woo (Hyung-sik) and Nam Ha-neul (Shin-hye) grew apart in their teenage years. The exes cross paths once again, now as Doctors. Will their hidden feelings resurface and will romance rekindle?

Directed by: Kim Hee-won and Jang Young-woo

Cast: Kim Soo-hyun, Kim Ji-won, Park Sung-hoon, Kwak Dong-yeon

Episodes: 16

Approx. duration per episode: 1 hr. 16 min.

Synopsis: Hong Hae-in (Ji-won), the heiress of Queen’s Group, and Baek Hyun-woo (Soo-hyun), the Legal Director of the group, are a happy married couple for the world. However, they can’t stand each other behind closed doors. Soon, a crisis arises and the duo is forced to tackle the situation together. Will this bring Hyun-woo and Hae-in closer?

(Hero and featured image: Courtesy Netflix)

 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What are the most romantic K-dramas released in the past five years?

Answer: ‘Crash Landing On You’ (2019–2020) became one of the most highly rated K-dramas of recent times, gaining worldwide recognition. Some other popular and well-received romantic K-dramas in the past five years include ‘Something in the Rain’ (2018), ‘My ID is Gangnam Beauty’ (2018), ‘Goblin’ (2016-2017) and ‘Go Back Couple’ (2017).

Question: What are the best Korean romantic drama series?

Answer: Other than the above-mentioned names, here are some more romantic K-dramas for you to check out, which include ‘Love Alarm’ (2019-2022), ‘Memories of the Alhambra’ (2018), ‘Snowdrop’ (2021) and ‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’ (2022).

Question: What are the best romantic comedy K-dramas to watch?

Answer: ‘Doom At Your Service’ (2021), ‘I Am Not A Robot’ (2017) and ‘The Legend Of The Blue Sea’ (2016) are some of the best-rated rom-com K-dramas you should add to your watch list.