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  • New To K-Dramas? Pinay Mom Lists 9 Must-Watch, Underrated Shows From Every Genre

    From the lenses of a Filipina 'ahjumma.'
    by Jeanette Un .
  • I was first introduced to the world of K-dramas in the early 2000s, back when I was working as an engineer for an IC manufacturing company. I fell in love with romantic comedies as they were light, fun and a great way to relieve work stress.

    I stopped watching until the quarantine revived the fangirl in me. My gateway back into the K-drama world was Crash Landing On You and I haven’t left since.

    Best K-dramas to watch according to genre

    I’ve watched quite a number of dramas, thanks to fellow fangirls (and probably fanboys) who post reviews online and help me discover titles that are underrated gems. So, I thought I’d pay it forward by curating my own list of K-dramas for those who are looking for what drama to watch next — personal recommendations from the lenses of a Filipina ahjumma (older married woman). 

    Here are nine dramas from different genres that are all a good watch. Some of them are not available on Netflix, so I’ve included where to watch them. They are dramas from the last two decades to date.

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    Keep in mind: They may not be as popular as the likes of Crash Landing On You, Descendants of The Sun, It’s Okay to Not be Okay, or W: Two Worlds, but if you’re looking for a series worth watching, these will all be worth your while. 

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    1. Classic K-drama: Full House

    It's a fun and light romance about an aspiring writer, Han Ji-eun (Song Hye Kyo) who was forced into a contract marriage with actor, Lee Young Jae (Rain), so she can continue to live in her parents' house. This drama is not only a classic, it is also one of the best takes on the contract marriage trope.

    2. Romantic comedy: She Was Pretty

    This is a relatable workplace drama with one of, if not, the best second lead ever in Choi Si Won's character, Shin Hyuk. You'll laugh (and cry) at Jackson and Shin Hyuk's friendship, and at the same time root for Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon) and Hye Jin (Hwang Jung Eum) as she realizes that she was, and still is, pretty. You won't mind watching it again and again!

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    3. Romance: Go Back Couple

    Once in a while, a little drama comes along that wears its heart on its sleeve and sticks with you even after the last episode is done. This series is one of them.

    Go Back Couple is about a husband and wife who are given the chance to go back to their younger selves with the option to change their previous choices should they want to. It’s a roller coaster journey of love, friendship, and family that will tug at your heartstrings and yet leave you feeling warm all over. (Also, Son Ho-jun and Jang Na-ra were made for their roles!)

    4. Medical drama: Hospital Playlist

    This series is a heartwarming medical drama you didn't know you'll come to love. Its slice-of-life approach take you on a memorable joyride through the lives of the Yulje Medical Center hospital staff, picking up friendship, love, work ethics, and life lessons along the way. And as the five main characters (who are also the best of friends) love music, you'll actually get to see them play in a band!

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    5. Fantasy: My Love From the Star

    This romantic fantasy series is gripping with a mix of romance, comedy (thanks to Song Yi's ridiculous antics), action (alien super powers), and drama. Aside from the interesting plot, this drama showcases excellent acting from actor Kim Soo Hyun (would you believe he was just 25 here?!?) and Jun Ji Hyun (no one does sassy like her!) Their characters, Do Min Joon and Cheon Song Yi, will always hold a special place in my "Korean" heart.

    6. Action: Healer

    This action thriller and romance drama series is seasoned with just the right amount of comedy (especially by one of Healer's undercover characters) to keep you anticipating the next episode.With a gripping plot that ties up nicely in the end, a spunky female lead, and Ji Chang Wook jumping from building to building, this is bound to be a good watch!

    7. Historical: Hwarang

    I don't dig sageuks or historical dramas so much because I prefer a light watch. But I was surprised how I really liked this one! It had just the right blend of political turmoil, action, romance, and brotherhood dressed in wonderful Korean garbs.

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    8. Coming of age: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

    It's a romantic comedy featuring the lives of college athletes pursuing their dreams and figuring out life and love in the process. A love story plus friendship (there's a squad of girls with lots of swag!) and family (who's got your back no matter what) makes for a worthwhile watch.

    9. Slice of life: Because This Is My First Life

    Although marketed as a rom-com, this series has a more slice-of-life approach about different points of view on careers, relationships, and marriage. It revolves not only around the main leads, but also the stories of the secondary characters.

    It starts as a fake marriage, but then the realities of in-laws and growing true feelings come in. An underrated good watch that moms will also be able to relate to!

    This piece was submitted by SmartParenting.com.ph reader Jeanette Un and originally published in her Facebook page, Pinay Ahjumma (www.facebook.com/pinay.ahjumma). 

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    Edits have been made by Smart Parenting editors.

    Looking for more K-dramas to watch? Click here for a list of over 140 titles!

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