One of my biggest problems when it comes to finding something on TV is finding something that is different. I feel like here in America things either go really gritty or straight to a sitcom. While I can enjoy both of these genres from time to time, there is definitely a lack of good romance-based TV shows. If you can find one, it’s usually pretty much running on the same formula with not that many interesting variations. While this rule is broken from time to time, in the US we still have a heavy emphasis on the more action and comedy-driven genres. So, where do we go for romantic storylines? There is always the well known Shoujo part of anime and manga, but what if you can’t get into the cartoony aspect of the art? Well, there is a little-known genre called K-drama out there that comes from South Korea. Let’s explore it!
Basics of Drama
K-dramas are often based on a popular manga from Japan or Korean storylines and brought to life by talented actors. The stories find themselves a lot in the romance category and tend to have every story arc imaginable. You can have princes, CEOs, best friends, classmates, and even vets popping up to find love in the world. The best part is, while the stories do get a little dramatic at times, the romance itself always has a realistic feel to it.
There are a few things to note (and hopefully trust me on) before going out and hitting play on a random show, though. One of the big things is that these will not be spoken in English or have dubbed versions. There are several services that these can be watched through legally and with an English subtitle at the bottom: these include Crunchyroll, Dramafever, Hulu, and Netflix. Also, you will notice a lot of manga-esque add-ins like blushing cheeks or word bubbles that may seem quite quirky at times. This may be off-putting at first, especially since it looks strange even to most anime enthusiasts, but it happens sparsely and is easy to get used to after the initial shock of silliness it will bring on.
Boys Over Flowers
One of the most notable and well-loved series throughout the K-drama world is called “Boys Over Flowers.” This drama is a little on the long side, and has all the classic twists and turns you could expect from a drama, but the characters and the relationships between them are incredible. The story takes place when a rich kid is saved by an average girl and she is given access to an elite school as her reward. The school has classes up through college and she meets her love interest who are part of the elite “F-5” group, and thus a rivalry between the girl and boys ensues. The story tackles a lot of issues like dysfunctional families, class privilege, and love vs. comfort.
Another great thing to mention about K-dramas like the “Boys Over Flowers” is that all age ranges have a place. You don’t just see the high school prom romance like you find in the manga and shoujo categories. You also have less of the sad single woman that you see in a lot of the movies in America. The female protagonists, as well as the males, have a great disposition about them. They are all relatable characters who do more than fall into a weak character category. The men also are shown to have a realistic personality, and often get emotional or have more feminine reactions than in Western shows.
Great, the shows are very easy to find and DramaFever can be streamed for free with ads from a few different devices. So how do you choose where to start? Be sure to think about a love story you want to see, like a what if scenario. Find a K-drama that has that in it and be sure to check ratings. I have found that most of the time the K-drama fans have a pretty good judgment of what to watch and the rating for the dramas are accurate.