We can officially say it, 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. Yes, the entire world is perhaps putting too much pressure on 2021, but anything’s better, right? Regardless of how the year went, or how the new year will be, we could all use a pick-me-up to keep us in high spirits. Here are 15 K-Dramas that will put you back in a happy mood and start your year off right!
1. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
Inspired by real-life South Korean Olympic weightlifter gold-medalist Jang Mi Ran, Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) is a weightlifter pursuing her dream of winning a gold medal but is interrupted by romance for the first time in her life. Focusing solely on weightlifting would jeopardize her relationship but leaving her weightlifting career for love would keep her from her dreams.
This drama brightened everyone’s summer when it finally premiered. With hilarity and the real struggle of college, this show is sure to make you smile.
2. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?
Lee Young Joon (Park Seo Joon), is the self-absorbed vice president of a company run by his family. His patient secretary Kim Mi So (Park Min Young) has remained by his side for 9 years without any romance. Mi So now wants to focus on herself and decides to quit her job, causing hilarious misunderstandings.
Park Seo Joon is the king of cheering people up and this drama is no exception.
3. Shopping King Louis
Shopaholic Louis (Seo In Guk) is the successor of a wealthy business empire but suddenly becomes homeless after suffering from amnesia from an injury. Go Bok Shil (Nam Ji Hyun) is a country girl who often forages in the woods and takes care of her grandmother. She encounters Louis, who doesn’t know who he is, in Seoul and romance ensues.
Back when the amnesia trope was still alive and well, Seo In Guk gave us a hilarious and eccentric performance of a man who loses everything but learns to love the little things.
4. Fight For My Way
Go Dong Man (Park Seo Joon) has always dreamed of becoming a famous taekwondo athlete but works as an employee in a mundane job. His longtime friend, Choi Ae Ra (Kim Ji Won), aspires to be a television anchor but works at a department store. Can they achieve their dreams despite having “inferior” qualifications?
We all have certainly struggled this year, and this drama pushes us to keep going.
5. Coffee Prince
Choi Han Gyul (Gong Yoo) is the grandson of a company that has a thriving coffee business. He is hung up on his first love, Han Yoo Joo, who only sees him as a friend. Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) is a 24-year-old tomboy who is often mistaken for a guy. Her father died when she was 16 years old and has since become the breadwinner of her family. Han Gyul decides to hire her (who he thinks is a boy) to pretend to be his gay lover so that he can escape the blind dates arranged by his grandmother. Han Gyul takes over a rundown old coffee shop and hires Eun Chan as a part of his handsome employee agenda.
It’s a K-Drama staple for a reason, it’s so warm and cozy!
6. Laughter in Waikiki (Welcome to Waikiki)
Dong Goo (Kim Jung Hyun) is bad luck incarnate who dreams of becoming a film director. Joon Ki (Lee Yi Kyung) is an eccentric actor. Doo Shik (Son Seung Won) is a freelance writer who does nothing most of the time. The three open a guest house named “Waikiki” in Itaewon where many foreigners come to stay. Although they have no clue how to run it, they’re eager to earn money to pay for the production of their upcoming film.
This drama exploded when it came out as it was a new and unique comedy idea. And it still is!
7. Flower Boy Next Door
Go Dok Mi (Park Shin Hye) is a shut-in who spends her days spying on the man living in the building across from her. She is eventually caught by him. Enrique Geum (Yoon Shi Yoon), her neighbor, is a genius creative director, who is good-looking, stylish, and loves soccer. He attempts to bring Dok Mi out of her shell.
We’ve all been like Dok Mi this year, shut-ins forced to stay inside. It’s time to come out!
Lee Shin (Jung Yong Hwa) is a university student and the vocalist and guitarist of a band named “The Stupid”. He is a cold person who is uninterested in non-music related things and has no dreams nor plans for the future. Lee Kyu Won (Park Shin Hye) is a bright and outgoing student who was born into a prestigious family and is majoring in traditional Korean instruments. Kyu Won immerses herself in training and becomes one who knows nothing except traditional music. As Kyu Won’s friends are fans of “The Stupid”, she was forced to go to the band’s concert with them. There she saw Lee Shin performing live, and is immediately captivated by him.
Not many musical K-Dramas are being made these days, but this one employs the talents of the wonderfully talented Yonghwa from CNBLUE.
9. She Was Pretty
Kim Hye Jin (Hwang Jung Eum) was an incredibly cute child whose looks and fortunes have drastically changed since entering her teens. Ji Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon), her handsome childhood friend, contacts her and suggests they meet. Not wanting to disappoint him, she insists her pretty best friend meets him in her place. Later, after landing a full-time job, Hye Jin is surprised to find out that Sung Joon is her boss and is treating her with nothing but disdain and contempt.
We admit it, Choi Shi Won carried this drama’s silliness, and we need it!
10. Sassy Go Go
Set at an elite high school, the drama follows the lives of five students as they attempt to survive the horrors of school. Kang Yeon Doo (Jung Eun Ji) is the leader of street dance club: “Real King”, a group of students who band together because of their poor academic performance. Kim Yeol (Lee Won Keun) is the President of “Baek Ho”, an elite club composed of students from the top 5 percent. When the two clubs are forcibly merged to create a cheerleading squad, the two put their differences aside for the benefit of their clubs.
We could all use a little cheerleading to cheer us on into the new year!
11. Run On
Ki Sun Gyeom (Im Shi Won) is a sports agent who was once a popular sprinter on the national team but was forced to quit due to legal issues. Oh Mi Joo (Shin Se Kyung) writes translated subtitles for movies. Sun Gyeom had just quit sprinting when he encountered Mi Joo, who felt that destiny brought them together.
Although this drama is only just getting started, it has truly shown an adorable coupling that will make you squeal with joy.
12. The Sound of Your Heart
Based on a popular webtoon, this story comically follows Jo Suk (Lee Kwang Soo)’s ridiculous adventures with his wife Ae Bong (Jung So Min), their dogs, his older brother Jo Joon (Kim Dae Myung), and their parents.
This drama is so hectic and hilarious that it is sure to bring you the escape from reality you need.
13. Lucky Romance
Shim Bo Nee (Hwang Jung Eum), who believes in superstitions, meets a man who only believes in science and mathematics. According to her fortuneteller, she has to find a man born in the Year of the Tiger. This love story follows an improbable couple that tries to reconcile their differing outlooks on life.
With perhaps one of the cutest couples in K-Drama history, Lucky Romance brings us that warm and fuzzy feeling we’re craving.
14. Warm and Cozy
A man and a woman hit by setbacks in both employment and relationships meet one another on Jeju Island. When together, they become themselves again, warm and friendly. The story is about two people recovering from their life troubles to bring warmth back into their lives.
Just as the title suggests, this show makes us feel all warm inside!
15. The Last Empress
In an alternate universe, in which Korea is a modern constitutional monarchy, Oh Sunny (Jang Na Ra) is an energetic musical actress who marries the emperor. She becomes involved in the palace power struggle and a mysterious murder that threatens the monarchy. She teams up with Na Wang Shik (Choi Jin Hyuk) who works as a bodyguard for the imperial family to uncover the truth.
If you needed to scratch that historical itch without too much trauma, this is the drama for you!
What dramas are your go-to feel-good shows?