There are several kinds of K-drama followers. But to give you an idea, they generally fall into two types —the bingers and the campers.
Bingers like to watch a particular K-drama series that has finished production. They can watch nonstop a typical series that has 16 episodes.
Campers, meanwhile, choose to watch an ongoing series. They stay up late for each new episode to be uploaded online.
For both audiences, we’ve shortlisted the most interesting K-dramas, from the most recent to the coming ones.
“Hotel del Luna”
Stars: Lee Ji-eun/IU (Jang Man-wol) and Yeo Jin-goo (Gu Chan-seong)
Director: Oh Choong-hwan
Writers: Hong Jung-eun, Hong Mi-ran (collectively known as the Hong sisters)
Genre: Dark fantasy, romantic comedy
Plot: Jang Man-wol is the owner of Hotel del Luna. The hotel caters to the dead to help them cross over. The general manager is the only living person who is part of the staff.
Why we love it: “Hotel del Luna” is a visual feast. It’s hard to take your eyes off the screen—whether being drawn to Ji-eun’s standout costumes or nervously anticipating the scary ghosts. Its soundtrack is melancholic but strangely hopeful, too. Solid storytelling from start to finish. If you can watch only one drama this year, this is it.
“Arthdal Chronicles” (season 1)
Stars: Song Joong-ki, Kim Ji-won, Jang Dong-gun, Kim Ok-vin
Director: Kim won-suk (“Signal”)
Writers: Kim Young-hyun, Park Sang-yeon
Genre: Fantasy drama
Plot: It is the Bronze Age in the fantasy world of Arthdal, the beginning of everything. The fates of Eunseom (Joong-ki), Tagon (Dong-gun), Tanya (Ji-woon) and Taealha (Ok-vin) are tied together in their quest to gain power.
Why we love it: To be clear, this is not Korea’s answer to “Game of Thrones.” While the introduction may be reminiscent of HBO’s opening sequence, it is much more than that. Getting past the first two episodes can be a struggle, but it becomes exciting as it progresses. The sheer number of tribes and characters can be hard to keep up with, but this only makes the important ones stand out. The story branches out into several subplots, but always finds its way back to the main plot. The complexity of its storyline keeps viewers hooked and looking forward to the next episode and season.
“Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung”
Star: Shin Se-kyoung, Cha Eun-woo
Director: Kang Il-soo, Han Hyun-hee
Writer: Kim Ho-soo
Genre: Sageuk (historical), romantic comedy
Plot: Goo Hae-ryung wants a career and not marriage. She applies as a historian and ends up being assigned to the Joseon prince.
Why we love it: First, Cha Eun-woo. Second, Cha Eun-woo. Third, Cha yes-we’re-watching-this-for-him Eun-woo.
Stars: Lee Seung-gi, Suzy Bae, Shin Sung-rok
Director: Yoo In-sik
Writers: Jang Young-chul, Jung Kyung-soon
Genre: Action, romance, drama
Plot: Dal-geon’s (Seung-gi) nephew dies in a plane crash. He heads to Morocco to look for answers and meets undercover agent Go Hae-ri.
First impression: This highly anticipated drama premiered at No. 1 on its timeslot. There are glaring errors in the continuity of some scenes. This is bound to happen because it took 11 months to shoot. However, it’s fun to watch Seung-gi hang from moving cars, jump from buildings and chase bad guys. The fourth episode alone does great service for Seung-gi’s fans. In the land of rom-coms, an action drama can be refreshing.
“Melting Me Softly”
Stars: Ji Chang-wook, Won Jin-ah
Director: Shin Woo-cheol
Writer: Baek Mi-kyung
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Plot: Award-winning variety show director and participant get frozen for 20 years in an experiment gone wrong.
First impression: The pilot episode is dedicated to establishing the characters and the lives they led before they get frozen. It’s expected to pick up in the following episodes and the premise remains interesting.
Stars: Jang Na-ra, Lee Sang-yoon
Director: Lee Jung-rim
Writer: Cha Hye-won
Genre: Mystery, drama
Premiere: Oct. 7
Plot: It follows the lives of a team that serves the VIPs of
the department store they work in.
Why we look forward to it: In Jang Na-ra we trust. She has proven time and again that she chooses dramas with good and interesting stories for the audience. It would be interesting to watch her interaction with Lee Sang-yoon.