Korean dramas are one of my favorite things to watch in my spare time. They are filled with lessons and moments that are delivered through varying levels of versatility by actors and actresses. Many internationally acclaimed Korean dramas include Crash Landing On You, The Guardian: The Lonely And Great God (aka Goblin), True Beauty, Hospital Playlist, Vagabond, Start-up, Flower of Evil, Hotel Del Luna, Sweet Home, etc. . .
However, I believe there are many underrated Korean dramas that are as exciting, entertaining, and enjoyable as the popular ones listed above. So today I am going to list 5 underrated Korean dramas that will definitely blow your mind and keep you hooked throughout! So keep an open mind and enjoy yourself 😀
1. WELCOME TO WAIKIKI
Kang Dong-gu (played by Kim Jung-Hyun) aims to become a director but ends up preoccupied with other things preventing him from achieving his goal. Lee Jun-ki (played by Lee Yi-Kyung) dreams of being a big-name actor but always ends up with small, insignificant roles that get him nowhere. And finally, Bong Du-shik (played by Son Seung-won), who wants to be a screenwriter, but ends up becoming a freelance writer and part-timer with little interest.
The three young men try to run a guest house, eager to earn money and support the production of their next film. However, not knowing how to run the guesthouse, they are joined by Kang Seo-jin (Dong-gu’s sister who helps run the guesthouse), Min Soo-ah (Dong-gu’s ex gu who was scammed and remains penniless) and Han Yoon. -ah (A single mother who has nowhere to go with her baby girl, Sol).
As viewer and audience, we meet a unique group of people who end up connecting with each other and learning life lessons along the way. It’s an underrated, yet incredibly hilarious drama. Trust me, you won’t be able to stop laughing to catch your breath. I recommend this drama to those who need a bit of comedy and silliness to brighten up their life in these times.
This drama is available to watch on Dramacool (free with English subtitles) and Rakuten Viki.
2. CATCH THE GHOST
Catch The Ghost is an UNDERRATED crime/thriller drama with a fairly detailed plot and storyline. It revolves around Yoo Ryung (played by Moon Geun-Young), a righteous and persistent young woman, who joins the subway police to investigate the case of her missing twin sister’s death. The case was previously overlooked by Ha Ma-ri (played by Jung Yoo-jin), the police chief of the Metro Crime Division. Ryung thinks his sister was the victim of the serial murders carried out by the mysterious “Subway Ghost”, which the police have yet to catch.
After joining the subway police, she finds herself partnering with the boss, Ko Ji-Seok (played by Kim Seon-ho). However, during the nights of her shifts, she sneaks through the subway tunnels to hopefully “find” her sister alive and unharmed. Ji-Seok, unaware of his secret journeys through the tunnels, chooses to always play by the rules and struggles to keep Ryung out of trouble. As they grow closer, they eventually team up to catch the Subway Ghost and find themselves falling in love with each other.
There’s A LOT more to the plot, but you can find out for yourself once you’ve watched the drama 😀
Finally, as someone who has never been a fan of crime/thriller movies, I enjoyed this drama beyond entertainment. Not only did it progress at such an interesting pace, but the plot twists and puzzle moments will keep you on the edge of your seat. It also has memorable and humorous moments among the main protagonists that will sometimes give a chuckle.
PS: The drama is available for free in Dramacool (with English subtitles). And around the middle of the drama, I found myself watching Ji-Seok x Ryung’s FMVs. So believe me, you’ll be hard on the lead couple of your choice.
3. ANTHEM OF DEATH
The Hymn of Death is a historical and tragic melodrama based on real events. It tells the story of Kim U-jin (played by Lee Jong-suk), a playwright who lives during the Japanese colonial period in Korea. Although he is married and settled, he eventually falls in love with Yun Shim-deok (played by Shin Hye-sun). Yun Shim Deok is said to be the first Korean soprano to record the song “Praise Of Death” in 1926.
The trials and wounds these characters go through are truly beautiful to watch as a viewer. I wholeheartedly supported them, and I think you will too, even if you’re not an avid watcher of Korean dramas. Lee Jong-suk and Shin Hye-sun’s acting is quite impressive and really brings out the emotional power of this drama.
The drama is only 3 episodes long (each episode is just over an hour long) and is available to watch on Netflix & Dramacool. This drama would be recommended for those who would like to cry a bit or enjoy some good acting (either works the same 😉 It’s a wonderful drama and I enjoyed every bit of it .
4. THE MERMAID PRINCE
Shin Hye-Ri (played by Jung Shin-hye) visits a coastal area in Gangwon Province on a graduation trip with her two best friends. While drunk, she has an accidental encounter with the mysterious and delicate Choi Woo-hyuk (played by Moon Bin). Coincidentally, Woo-hyuk also owns the guest house where Hye-ri and her friends are staying during their stay. During her journey, she finds herself falling in love with him and secretly names him “The Mermaid Prince”.
The drama has a very beautiful and alluring aesthetic. It gives off a nice and cheerful vibe when you look at it and it’s quite an experience. The only problem this drama faced was the criticism of how it didn’t use the plot idea to its full value. Unfortunately, this is due to the budget and the duration of the drama. This is a 6 episode series (15 minutes per episode) on YouTube (with English subtitles) with around 6-7 main cast. Anyway, I thought it contained a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing story with a rather abrupt ending.
I truly believe that YOU, as a viewer, would enjoy the overall aesthetic of the drama and storyline as well. The ambience is quite attractive and soothing. And just so you know, the drama also has a prequel series called The Mermaid Prince: The Beginning. It was released at the end of 2020 on YouTube.
5. LOVE YOURSELF BRAHMS
If you are an avid k-drama watcher, you might have seen dramas in all kinds of genres. But have you ever seen a Korean musical drama before?
Do You Like Brahms is about Chae Song Ah (played by Park Eun Bin) who gets accepted into a music school to study the violin. Although she has already graduated and is 7 years older than her classmates, she struggles to cope and reach the same level as them. Along the way, she meets Park Joon Young (played by Kim Min Jae) who is a talented pianist in Korea. As the two main leads go through their musical journeys of learning, love, and failure, they find their own comfort and happiness.
This k-drama felt very underrated to me as it was advertised a lot but never talked about. I thought it provided a bunch of learning lessons about life, relationships, perseverance and so much more. There are so many hidden precious moments and I absolutely loved it! It can be boring at times, but the story is very intriguing and heartwarming. I think it’s definitely something we can see in real life and even understand in a way (for all viewers). If you want something fresh, satisfying, and reliable to watch, this drama is for you (also, if you like classical music, this is for you).
In conclusion, article and maybe try watching some dramas listed above. I guarantee there will be someone of these dramas that you will end up falling in love with, so give it a try!