Best Korean Dramas of 2019

April 07, 2020

Korean dramas, also known as K-dramas, are no doubt some of the best in the world. If you haven’t been watching them, you must be missing out in many ways. For starters, K-dramas are culturally rich, making them a global phenomenon. The best Korean dramas 2019 not only have exciting storylines, but they are intense. They can take you from supper sappy to a heartbreaking point. Now that many were released in 2019, you might be wondering which ones you should prioritize watching since you have limited time. That is why we have crafted this fantastic list of the best kdramas 2019.

1. Vagabond

‘Vagabond’ narrates the story of a stunt man that is caught up amid political intrigue as he is investigating a plane crash. The drama shows how he attempts to expose national corruption.

Plot roundup

Cha Dal Gun, the stunt character, is devastated after losing his nephew in a plane crash. Determined to know who was responsible, he sets out to undertake a thorough investigation. Unfortunately, he is in a hurry to expose what has been happening and ends up stirring things up. Will he manage to prove the crime?

Things I liked

There were lots of hype surrounding ‘Vagabond,’ and here’s why. The drama is touching on corruption, even up to the government level. Expect to see gun selling and lobbyists. You will be hooked with unbelievable twists and turns from the beginning to the end. Also, the action scenes are of high quality. The production budget was at the top end, which explains the incredible cinematography work.

Things I didn’t like

Before watching this Kdrama 2019, prepare to see some suspension of disbelief. Some unrealistic stuff will happen, which will leave you wondering what the producer was thinking. However, you need to accept it and enjoy the flow.

2. Extraordinary You

It is a fantasy romantic comedy involving high school students, who discover that they are personalities in a comic story and try to change their fates by going against the account.

Plot roundup

Eun Dan Oh is born into a wealthy family, goes to an elite school, and is set to marry Baek Kyung. Since she has had heart disease from a tender age, her family has been pampering her. Things take a sour turn when Dan Oh realizes some strange things happening to her. Besides seeing visions of her future, she notices some missing memories. That is when it occurs to her that she is a character in a comic book. Later she sees an “extra” role in the story, and they get closer over time. Together, they decide to challenge the story’s plot.

What I liked

‘Extraordinary you’ is easy to watch as it is filled with plenty of humor. The comic world is portrayed as a stereotypical romantic comedy. Therefore, you can prepare for all sorts of jokes. Also, all the love stories had a lasting impression, one that speaks into how love is willing to give anything.

What I didn’t like

The plot is crazily woven, and it might take a while to warm up to the story. ‘Extraordinary you’ is not for the impatient viewers. Another drawback was that both love triangles seemed entirely predictable. Despite the few inconsistencies, the film had sufficient happy times to get it to through the sad drama moments.

3. Hotel Del Luna

A top young hotelier gets to manage Hotel Del Luna under an ill-tempered boss. While the hotel looks great, it turns out that it is filled with shady ghosts that roam by night.

Plot roundup

Located in the middle of Jung-gu, Hotel Del Luna is a mystical hotel that harbors spirits and prepares them for their afterlife journey. Everything is flowing well until the owner decides to hire Goo Chan Sung, an elite hotelier, to be the general manager. When he unlocks her power to see ghosts, he doesn’t like the new role. Will Chan Sung keep the position, or will he leave?

What I liked

The 16-episode Kdrama might take you a while to understand the characters. However, once you do, they will feel like family and will have you glued to the screen. It’s great to see that every episode has a mini-storyline that joins with the rest to create a fantastic flow. I loved how the film revolved around the idea of a hotel that hosts the dead and makes a positive spin on it by seeing how ghosts check-in and resolve their issues as they prepare for the next phase. There is no better way to teach forgiveness, justice, and the peace that comes with embracing the unknown.

What I didn’t like

The fact that characters take a while to find their place might lose some viewers very early in the storyline.

4. Rookie Historian Goo HaeRyung

The storyline is set in the 19th century, where women and men weren’t regarded as equals. A woman tries to become a historian in a bid to change the society. We get to see the romance between her and the prince.

Plot roundup

The show is packaged with bright and sunny color pallets, light, and fantastic music. Although there is some romance, it doesn’t take center stage. ‘Rookie Historian Goo HaeRyung’ focuses on independence, truth, and purpose. The show isn’t light all through, because, in the end, they insert moments of levity. For a story highlighting women fighting for their rightful place in society, I think that the producers did a great job.

What I liked

I enjoyed the concept more than its execution. I could relate to many of the ideas that the show presented. The characters fitted perfectly in their roles and didn’t disappoint. The main character, Hae Ryung, is fearless from the onset and isn’t afraid to stand up for her beliefs. Her way of expressing opinions is sharp and direct. Considering the Kdrama’s theme, she executed her role perfectly.

What I didn’t like

The show’s ending is pretty abrupt, which isn’t something I love. It sorts of sweeps away all the great lessons that the plot highlights.

5. At Eighteen

The story highlights an 18-year old Choi Jun Woo and his struggles as he joins a new school. While there, he meets Yoo Soo Bin, and we see him experiencing different emotions as he tries to fit in.

Plot roundup

Han Kyeol is a fantastic teacher that is willing to support all his students irrespective of the situation. While he may sound like the typical Kdrama teacher, Han is different in that he is also going through personal struggles that he hides from the students. Being a substitute teacher is already challenging enough for him, but he dares to refuse bribe money. His character highlights the need for teachers to support students by all means.

What I liked

If you are a fun of high school love like me, you will enjoy watching ‘At Eighteen.’ The main couple cares for each other deeply. I couldn’t help but blush at how they held hands during their first dates. We see the stand for each other through thick and thin. Besides the love part, it’s fantastic to see how the teacher plays an essential role in helping his students. There is no doubt that viewers can pick several every-day lessons from the film.

What I didn’t like

While the film is well-acted, it’s unfortunate that the plot was slow.

6. Love Alarm

‘Love Alarm’ could easily pass as the best Kdrama 2019 because it speaks into our modern society. It highlights people that seek to understand their true hear amidst a culture that is using applications to know who likes them.

Plot roundup

Between climbing the social ladder, self-awareness, and getting over their first loves, high school learners have a lot to handle. With the increased use of social media, their lives have only become more complicated. ‘Love Alarm’ highlights the story of a high school setting where popular kids have a high status in school. They are likely to get more likes on their social media posts. However, what happens in real life? Also, is there someone bold enough to put an end to the online madness?

What I liked

While it starts as a regular high school drama, later into the film, we get to see a movement that is determined to make the learning environment friendlier. Also, it is a true illumination of the effects of online applications and how they rule social interactions. I enjoyed the unveiling of the app’s mysterious developer.

What I didn’t like

The drama has an open ending, which left me guessing about the main romantic choices that the character will make. It was terrible, and it got me wondering why many Kdramas 2019 have an opening end. Probably it’s time the producers consider a better strategy.

7. Search: WWW

The story is about women that are working undercover for web portal companies and the men who drive them crazy. It speaks of real romance.

Plot roundup

Bae Ta Mi is a director at a leading internet portal company, where she is fired for sticking to her principles. Later, Bae joins a competitor enterprise and is determined to bring down her former employer. In the process, she meets Cha Hyeon, who is a creative member of the team she is leading. We get to see how the two build a connection. To defeat her former company, she has to rekindle her lost friendship with Song Ga Kyung. As the women battle out and climb the career ladder, they realize that life should be less about love and more about fulfillment.

What I liked

In a love where everything revolves around love, it’s good to see a Kdrama that highlights the importance of happiness over getting married. The women are in their 30s and are working on staying ahead in life. I loved how the show is stirred by women, something we don’t see a lot in the world of drama films. I also related to the idea of web searches and web portals alongside the ethics surrounding it.

What I didn’t like

I loved most of the film, but I imagine that it wouldn’t be very appealing to a younger audience. They might not agree with some of the decisions that the lead actresses make, and at some point, they might stop watching. The targeted audience seems to have been 23 to 50.

8. When the Camellia Blooms

The Kdrama 2019 can be summarized as, “When you fall in love, everything is possible.” It narrates the story of young love between Hwang YongSik and Dong Baek. Viewers that seek a mature and great emotional love story will enjoy watching ‘When the Camellia Blooms.’

Plot roundup

The simple plot follows the misfortune of a single mother who decides to start life on her own in a tiny town. She has moved to a plot that doesn’t have several bends. While there, Orphan Dong Baek opens a bar. As expected, men go there to drink, which makes her the target of envy from the town’s wives. Because of Dong’s beauty, she is a target of jealousy and condescending attitude. The tide changes when she finds a suitable suitor that helps her to become a better version of herself by supporting her. Unfortunately, Dong’s past rises to haunt her. Will she emerge a winner?

What I liked

From the romance point of view, I was amazed by how two ordinary individuals were willing to support each other through all times. Most films depict one person being of a higher social status, which is ordinarily not the case. Therefore, this could easily be the best Kdrama 2019. I also enjoyed watching it because there weren’t unnecessary love triangles and antagonists, which made the film refreshing. It’s not easy to find a lover, and they love you back. So, seeing this in a film was heartwarming.

What I didn’t like

My major complaint is that when Dong opens her heart to Young-Sik, and they start dating, their dynamics remain the same. I wish they would show the messy side of romance because it exists. That would have made it more natural.

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