More K-Dramas To Watch for 2024

Wondering what to watch this year? Maybe try these 12 top K-drama recommendations for 2024. This year we created a watch list of Korea’s top K-dramas. The list may help you learn more about Korean culture, social asperations, and life.

Watching K-dramas to Help with Cultural Integration

Settling into a new cultural becomes easier with shared cultural knowledge. Since Korean pop-culture exists separately than other countries, you have to catch up. Catching up on local pop-culture means committing to the research. One of the easiest ways to do this includes binge watching Korean dramas.

Pop-culture provides an easy way to start a fun conversation and build relationships. As someone who moved to the Lower 48 without watching US TV or listing to US popular music, trust me that you need to do this. Fitting into society was painfully difficult to build friendships until I caught up on pop-culture. It turns out that many casual relationships begin with a shared understanding of current culture. When I moved to South Korea I did not make the same mistake. I paid close attention to pop culture related to my age group and it help my transition a lot.

In 2023, Lanae Rivers-Woods thought it would be fun to create a pop-culture starter guide that the South of Seoul community can follow along with over the year. Some people might start this journey once they arrive in South Korea, while others might choose to begin this journey in the months before their relocation.

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South of Seoul K-Drama Recommendations

In response to this goal, in 2023 we lead an Arts & Entertainment Initiative including K-drama recommendations for those just getting into the genre. The recommendations in this post include the top dramas in recent years. Consider them a K-drama primer that will quickly take you down the rabbit hole. Once you complete this list, we encourage you to dig deeper into the K-drama history and find more dramas to watch from the past as well as current dramas.

Watching K-Dramas with English Subs

Interestingly, since you may need English subtitles for your K-dramas you may run into streaming issues in South Korea. A variety of websites popular with K-drama fans can’t actually stream in South Korea without the help of a VPN.

While living in Korea, we recommend the following online sites for K-Dramas while living in South Korea:

  • Netflix
  • Watcha (Not all series have English subs)
  • Amazon Prime Video (not everything is available)

With some creativity like a great VPN, you may find other options for watching K-dramas with English subs on free sites. Keep in mind, not all VPNs work and sometimes they quit working for a while when sites find new ways to detect them. Since many of the options may not be entirely legal, we will leave these alternative choices up to you.

Although we figure most folks know what K-dramas are these days, not everyone does. Some people may not so let’s dig deeper into the K-drama genre as we start your recommendations.

Looking for more detail on K-dramas, check out our blog here:

Foundational Korean Dramas for 2024

Feel free to mix and match the order of these dramas to fit your taste. We create the list based on months to create a framework to build pop-cultural knowledge over time.

January: “Strong Girl Bong-Soon”

The endearing romantic comedy “Strong Girl Bong Soon” follows Do Bong Soon’s life. Despite being born with superhuman strength, she navigates love, life, and the difficulties of being a modern-day heroine.

February: “Alchemy of Souls”

The fantasy drama “Alchemy of Souls” delves into the ethereal journey of young mages who are forced to confront their darker destiny as a result of a forbidden spell known as “alchemy of souls,” which permits souls to change bodies.

March: Mr. Queen

Modern day head chef, Jang Bong-hwan, wakes up in the body of So-yong, Queen Cheorin in the Joseon period after a near-death experience. He cooks for Queen Sunwon to win her favor, trying to get back to his body in modern-day Korea. However, he quickly learns that So-yong is hiding something and that the King is not what he seems to be with a dark and suspicious side.

April: Twenty Five Twenty One

In present day, Kim Min-chae (daughter of Na Hee-do) runs away to her grandmother’s house and discovers her mother’s diary. In 1998, Na Hee-do, a member of Seonjung Girls’ High School’s fencing team, is disbanded due to the IMF crisis. She moves to Taeyang High School and joins the National Fencing Team. Baek Yi-jin’s family struggles, leading him to become a sports reporter.

May: My Demon

The show is about a devilish heiress to a company, Do Do-hee and a demon named Jeong Gu-won who loses his powers for a while. They agree to get married and find happiness during this short-term loss of his powers.

June: Black Knight

In this story, a good man agrees to go on a dangerous journey with the woman he loves. The love story goes back more than 200 years. When it comes to his love, Moon Soo-ho is willing to risk everything for it. Jung Hae-ra, who works as a ticket agent but has never been outside of Korea.

July: Strong Girl Nam-Soon

Born in Mongolia, Gang Nam-soon went missing when she was a child. As an adult, she goes to South Korea to find her parents. In the Gangnam area, she finds her mother, Hwang Geum-joo, a billionaire businesswoman, and her grandmother, Gil Joong-gan. The women become involved in a drug case investigated by Detective Gang Hee-sik about a company called Doogo, which is run by Ryu Shi-oh.

August: Song of the Bandits

The story takes place in the 1920s, during the rough time of Japanese occupation. After the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905, the Korean military and police were disbanded, and other harsh measures were put in place. As a result, many people from Joseon crossed the Tumen River to Gando, which was then part of China (Qing), to find work or to fight for Korea’s independence. This story is about people who go to Gando, a place where there are no rules, and they work together to protect the Korean country. The story builds up to the Gando attack.

September: Cafe Minamdang

The show follows a former police officer who became a shaman and his coworkers as they deal with strange events. It also tells the story of the people who go to a sketchy café called Minamdang.

October: Hellbound

Hellbound is a supernatural series set in South Korea during 2022-27. An angel delivers prophecies condemning individuals to Hell, followed by supernatural monsters causing destruction. The series follows two organizations, the New Truth Society and the Arrowhead group, who gain power through fear.

November: The Good Detective

In Incheon, South Korea, the story revolves around detectives who hide and uncover truths. Kang Do-chang, a 18-year-old detective, uses personal connections and knowledge to investigate cases. Oh Ji-hyuk, a 9-year-old detective, uses proof and criminal thinking. Despite his wealth and past experiences, he remains silent about his feelings. Jin Seo-kyung, a five-year-old reporter, enjoys her job at a newspaper. The story highlights the challenges faced by detectives in uncovering truths.

December: The Glory

Moon Dong-eun, who used to be bullied, plans to get back at her bullies after getting a job as a homeroom teacher at the elementary school where the bully leader’s child goes to school. Some scenes are based on an event that occurred in Cheongju, where a group of middle schoolers forced a friend to pay money for about a month by beating and burning her with objects over and over again.

If you find yourself falling in love with dramas like so many before you, you may also enjoy these other South of Seoul Blogs: