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Korean Dramas April 19, 2016

Posted by General Zod in KDrama, Television.
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Not many people actually know this about me, but… I’ve been addicted to Korean Dramas since 2011.  You see, … many years ago, I realized that I was becoming increasingly bored with American television.  Every show seemed to be either a teen drama which depicted the title characters acting inappropriately for their age or yet another uninteresting reality show wherein the participants were constantly bad-mouthing and backstabbing one another.  I yearned for something different…

With the exception of the news and a beloved cooking show,  I was struggling to find anything that would hold my interest and keep me entertained during the downtime.

At first, I retreated into the past.  I spent more than 6 months taking solace in watching wonderful older TV shows from the 1950s – 1980s off of channels that provided nostalgia programming, such as MeTV.  (Old westerns, like Bonanza and The Rifleman, were always a favorite!)

Eventually, I started wanting to find something “new” again, so I started looking around.  I spent the next few months experimenting with various online streaming services.  Then, sometime in 2011, I happened upon a TV show called…

PastaPasta  파스타
2010, 20 episodes

This series is about a young woman who is struggling to become an Italian cuisine chef.  (I didn’t realize it then, but this was to be my first exposure to Gong Hyo Jin, an incredibly talented actress.)  See Yoo Kyung has been working as the kitchen’s assistant for 3 years, and is about to be promoted to junior Pasta Chef, when a new Head Chef, Choi Hyun Wook, is hired.  Hyun Wook is determined to fire all of the female kitchen staff as he refuses to work directly with women due to his own personal baggage.  Yoo Kyung has to dig in her heels and find a way to hang onto her job in order to fulfill her dreams.

As strange as it sounds, watching this program felt like I was breaking the surface from the sea of entertainment monotony, and was finally gasping in desperately needed oxygen.  It started me upon a path which has given me a new appreciation for foreign television and film.  Over the next few years, I’ve experimented with various programs from several eastern countries, including Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, etc… but I keep coming back to the dramas of South Korea.

Now, I do consider myself fortunate to have started with “Pasta”, because not all Korean Dramas (or KD’s, as I refer to them) are good.  Had I began with a bad series, I may have never gone back for a second look.  There are definitely some real stinkers out there, but there are also some real gems that shouldn’t be missed.  Whenever I discuss them with a newcomer, I always make suggestions to good shows that I consider to be worth the effort… because I wouldn’t want to waste anyone’s time.

Anyway, very recently, a work colleague found interest in watching KDs and asked that I make her a list of programs which would be worth her time.  I took this very seriously, and did so.  Mind you, I’ve only seen so many, so there are probably several favorites out there that I still haven’t seen… so I could only assemble such a list from my personal experience and opinions.  There’s no countdown here.  The following list of the Korean Dramas (which are in no particular order) are simply some of those that I’ve enjoyed the most over the past few years… with the exception of “Pasta”, as I’ve already mentioned it as my first.