Issue 1 of Most Magazine Korea is a go! *clap clap clap*
I thought seeing as this is the first issue, we might as well start at the very beginning with K-Dramas.
Introducing… The classics issue! Now we’ll ask ourselves, what’s the most famous K-Drama of all time, and subsequent popular releases?
Well, that’s easy. Let’s start from 5 until we reach the undisputed most popular all time classic K-Drama!
This is an immensely popular K-Drama from 2011 starring Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin – both now huge names in Korea, partly thanks to the legacy of this drama. It’s a romance-comedy-fantasy-melodrama with all the great classic K-Drama moments including the infamous piggy back (there’s a theme running with these classic dramas). It aired for 20 episodes.
The drama begins with a chance meeting between the characters Joo Won – an arrogant CEO – and Gil Ra Im – a stuntwoman. Joo Won mistaken her for someone else and a lot of things follow on from there which leads to them being together on a trip together, meeting what can only be described as a witch, and suddenly switching bodies! What’s more, is that it’s the rain triggering the random body swapping.
Comedy is interwound nicely in this drama and a really good reason why this drama has stuck around in the top for so long is the chemistry between the two leads – they’re just so perfect on screen. The drama has led to a lot of iconic scenes that are parodied in recent dramas just for the fun of it – and everyone knows what they’re referring to. *cough* sit-up scene.
You’re beautiful stars the gorgeous young stars Park Shin Hye and Jang Geum Suk – and like the latter drama, launched these underrated stars of the time into massive fame! It aired in 2009 for 16 episodes. It’s a classic gender-bender which at the time were really popular. I guess they still are today.
The drama begins with Go Mi Nam who currently lives as a nun in the church run orphanage she was raised, being contacted by her brother who’s in America trying to make it as an artist. She hears the news that he’s won a place with an entertainment agency, but then he makes the absurd request that she goes in his place when he reveals he can’t make it due to a botched plastic surgery he had. Mi Nam has to transform herself into a confident guy and live in a dorm with three mega-stars, part of the fictional group A.N.JELL – the group her brother is supposed to be joining. The members of the group – Jeremy, Tae-Kwang, and Shin Woo are wary of her upon arrival.
Soon the plot picks up and through a lot of laugh out loud moments we see a softer side to Tae Kwang – a stand-off-ish character who initially doesn’t like Mi Nam. A love-trainge (and sometimes square) develops between namely Tae-Kwang, Shin Woo, and Go Mi Nam. Quickly, they both discover she’s a girl. This drama won numerous awards and is known for having a great soundtrack!
Another Gender Bender from 2007 starring Yoon Eun-Hye and Gong Yoo as the main lead. You can tell by the dramas so far, that gender bender is by far the most popular k-drama genre and is hard to beat. This drama aired for 17 episodes and remains the most iconic and earlier Korean Gender Bender – despite certain prejudices in Korea about the topic of homosexuality (which admittedly has lightened since then).
The character Go Eun-Chan is a tomboy, working several jobs to care for her family. After a chance meeting with Choi Han-Kyul, he decided to hire her (thinking she was a he) to be his gay lover and get his grandma off his back with marriage meetings. Receiving punishment from his Grandma, he’s told to back off from their multi-million chaebol company and set up his own – in the form of an old rundown coffee shop on a backstreet of seoul. Choi Han-Kyul hires Go Eun-Chan as a barista boy in the store, named Coffee Prince as a means to attract female customers. Soon Choi Han-Kyul begins to fall for Eun-Chan, making him question is sexuality, tackling a huge issue at the time in Korea. Soon the secret is revealed, hurting them both but the relationship recovers and as always we finish with a nice final happily ever after.
This drama won multiple awards and made the starring actors and actresses household names, and faces people would recognise. If there’s any drama you’re going to check out on this list, this is it.
Starring Kim Tae-Hee and Song Seung-Heon (huge names in drama), this aired for 16 episodes in 2011. It’s a romance and comedy, and is probably the sane drama on this list – certainly the most believable. It had a simplistic plot and trend-setting romance.
Lee Seol finds out she’s a princess when the Korean government decides to reinstate the monarchy. She was whisked from regular day-to-day life as a college student to full-time princess. The grandson of a chaebol, Park Hae-Young, is put in charge of teaching her etiquette. Naturally, things don’t go to plan and a lot of things go awry – throwing in a lot of random laugh out loud moments while showing us some serious emotional and relatable issues in the mix making this a balanced drama that all ages seemed to enjoy (while others on this list seemed more teenager-oriented).
This drama was nominated for nine awards and was consistently the most popular drama on it’s airing across the board. Kim Tae Hee was launched into huge success making her face an icon across Asia and is generally considered the most beautiful face in entertainment.
Boys Over Flowers
By far the most iconic drama. If you ask any random K-Drama fan, their first Drama ever, most of the time they’ll name Boys Over Flowers. This drama stars the most popular K-Drama actor EVER – Lee Min Ho – a household name who now endorses many household brands and stars in even now the most popular dramas of 2015. This drama aired for 25 episodes in 2009 – a huge year for K-Drama. Alongside him, the drama starred Gu Hye Sun, Kim Hyun Joong (of the boy-group SS501), Kim Bum, and Kim Joon (of T-Max). It was based on a Japanese Manga and was technically a Korean remake of an already aired Japanese Drama based on the same Manga – Hana Yori Dango – an iconic manga in itself.
Geum Jan-Di is a hardworking girl from a working class family who own a laundrette. After delivering clothing to the prestigious and elite Shinhwa High School, she rescues a pupil from suicide and overnight becomes a media sensation. The school has no choice but to grant her a swimming scholarship, but it isn’t all it appears to be. The school is owned by a massive chaebol family Shinhwa Group.
The school is run by an elite group of students called the F4 – led by the son and heir of Shinhwa Group, Gu Jun Pyo – an entitled brat with no normal socialisation skills, constantly having lived with things given to him on a platter. The character of Jan-Di is a breath of fresh air for the character of Jun-Pyo, who initially is incredibly annoyed by her. Jan-Di herself is suffering a lot not only under the F4 who bully and terrorize the entire school, but also because her classmates target her after she was given a red card signalling that she is now the main target of the F4. Ji Hoo, a considerably calmer and sane member of the F4, appears to be the only person in the school to give her the time of day.
Ji Hoo and Gu Jun Pyo enter into love triangle with Jan-Di, leading to the most classic K-Drama scenes of all time, as well as some over exaggerated, cringe, but loveable engagements between them all. Who does she end up with? You’ll have to watch.
The drama is a complex one with multiple sub-plots, sub-romances, triangles, square, frustrating characters you just want to strangle, and the classic K-Drama comedy that brings you back every time. This sound like the drama for you? Go watch!
Watch all of these on VIKI or DramaFever – but be aware that some of these might not be licensed for your region, and in that case, try Drama.net or Gooddrama.com.
SUPPLEMENT OUT ON 4/11/15 - DETAILS OF THE MOST POPULAR CURRENT AIRING DRAMA AND ITS STARS!