Are you familiar with K-dramas (Korean dramas), J-dramas (Japanese dramas) or C-Dramas (Chinese dramas)? Asian dramas, specifically K-dramas and C-Dramas are the reason why I’m severely sleep-deprived lately. I’ll start off intending to watch just one episode. The next thing I know, I’m engrossed in the show and it’s 4 am! I tell my daughters to go to sleep, but there I am, huddled on the couch balancing my laptop on all parts of my body, mesmerized. I have to sneak into the bedroom because I’m embarrassed to admit to my husband that I’ve been binge-watching Asian dramas again.
Difference Between Asian and American Dramas
I love Asian dramas because they usually have a specific number of episodes planned. Unlike the traditional American shows where their formula is to drag the story on forever, trying to milk the show’s ratings for advertising dollars. The shows get prolonged, the stories turn stale and has to be canceled eventually. I’m always left feeling dissatisfied because the series feels incomplete or has a haphazard ending. Remember the series Lost? That was such a disappointment! It seems like the writers just came up with an ending at the last moment. Because there is a set number of episodes with Asian dramas, there is more of a beginning, middle, and end. The writers have a sense of when the show should be wrapped up (although not always).
Asian Dramas are usually set in either modern times or period costumed dramas. If you are unfamiliar with Asian dramas, then you should start off with ones set in modern times.
Where to Find Them
You can find Asian dramas English subtitled and available on Viki, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube. I always watch the subtitled ones instead of the dubbed versions. The dubbed versions bring back bad memories of awful late night 80’s Chinese kung fu movies that haunt most Asian-American kids to this day. It’s like they purposely picked a harpy with the most shrilling voice to dub the female characters and select men who could do a faux accent to give it that “authenticity” .
If you’re looking for some Asian dramas to binge-watch, I’ve listed some of my recommendations. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s highly addictive.
1.All is Well – This series really got my blood boiling. All the men in the family were useless! I just want to throttle the dad, punch the second brother and slap the eldest brother senseless. I don’t understand how the women can put up with these worthless men! It’s about a girl that grows up in a household where her two brothers were overtly favored, while she was mistreated. She eventually cuts off ties with her family but when her mom passes away, she’s gets entangled in her family’s dramas. Although she is very successful in her career now and seems very cold and uncaring, she’s anything but. She still longs for acceptance and feels a sense of obligation to her family. I enjoyed it because it gave great insight into the daily life of people in modern-day China. I watched this on YouTube.
2. Love Me If You Dare – This one is a psychological thriller and the two leads have great chemistry. The male lead is a brilliant profiler. He is socially awkward, but endearing at the same time. The female lead is hired to be his assistant and aids him to track down serial killers. I watched this on Viki.
3. Ten Miles of Peach Blossom (aka Eternal Love) – If you love watching shows about enduring love. This one is it! This one is centered around the crown prince of the Heavenly Realm. He is engaged to a goddess that he’s never met. They fall in love with each other without knowing each other’s true identity. Their love is tested repeatedly, but their love endures and spans three lifetimes! This was so popular that they made a movie version, Once Upon a Time. The drama series is a lot better than the movie. There is just too much detail and character development to be squeezed into a 2-hour movie. The series can be found on Netflix, Viki, and YouTube.
4. Ashes of Love– This one is one of my favorite costumed drama as well. Jin Mi was given the unfeeling pill during her birth because her mother did not ever want her to suffer the pain of heartache as she had. Xu Feng, the Heavenly Emperor’s second son is saved by Jin Mi. Xu Feng starts to fall in love with her, but Jin Mi’s love is suppressed by that darn pill. Run Yu, the Heavenly Emperor’s second son also develops feeling for Jin Mi and this love triangle begins to tear the two brother’s relationship apart. I watched this on Viki, but it is also on Netflix.
5. Pretty Noona That Buys Me Food (aka Something in the Rain) – This is such a cute movie but with some gut-wrenching scenes. It’s about a woman that falls in love with her best friend’s younger brother after he returns to Korea. She starts to see him in a new light. He’s always had a crush on her. They start up a relationship but decide to keep their relationship a secret, afraid of what others will think. Once their relationship is revealed, their love is continuously tested. They face disapproval from her family and his sister. There is a scene involving her mom and the male lead that just makes me gasp each time I watch it. This series also has a very nice soundtrack. It may seem a bit random but the title song is Tammy Wynette’s Stand by Your Man along with Save the Last Dance For Me (sung by Bruce Willis). They play it so often, it gets ingrained into your head. This show is a Netflix exclusive.
6. Descendants of the Sun – I love this one and am pretty sure you will too. It’s a light-hearted romance between a surgeon and an elite military officer. They try dating, but soon realize a relationship is impossible between them. He unexpectedly gets called off to missions at a moment’s notice. She doesn’t know how she fits into his life since he keeps his feelings to himself and shares nothing about this side of his life. They break up but are reunited when she volunteers on a medical mission in a foreign country, where he happens to be stationed to protect the medical team. I watched this on Viki.
7. My Love From the Star – Another one that I think you will enjoy. An alien with powers landed on Earth 400 years ago. He’s somehow bonded to a young girl from the Joseon Dynasty period. A popular spoiled actress resembles the young girl that he knew from his past. He finds himself gradually falling for her, despite all the trouble she brings him. This one is super cute! I watched this on Viki.
8. Boys Over Flowers – This one is a classic! It’s based on a Japanese manga. Jan-Di transfers to a rich private school run by a group of 4 rich elitist boys, the F4. She becomes a target of the F4’s bullying, but Jan-Di proves she is not a pushover when she fights back against the F4. The leader of the F4 starts falling for her, but she develops feelings for Ji-Hoo, another member that’s always looking out for her in the background and coming to her aid. She is confused between her feelings for the two. Don’t let their bad perms deter you. I watched this on Viki.
Are you into Asian dramas? What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments.