Gone are the days where Korean dramas meant cookie-cutter, sappy love stories. There’s so much more variety and depth in Korean dramas of recent years, giving long-time and new fans alike so much more to love!
The trend of the past few years are dramas that are based on webtoons. This way, scriptwriters have a ready pool of fresh story concepts with existing fanbases as well. Most times, these webtoons have intriguing storylines that are far from your typical poor-girl-meets-rich-guy story. Some even throw in fantastical elements, which makes it even more exciting to watch!
If you’re looking for something new to shake up your drama must-watch list, here are some all-time favourite Korean dramas based on webtoons that you have to watch!
1. Love Alarm
What would you do if you had an app that could let you know if someone had feelings for you within a certain radius?
Such is the premise of the 2019 Netflix Original series, Love Alarm.
The series features an app that, once downloaded, cannot be switched on or off. Instead, it will constantly let users know if someone within a certain radius has feelings for them. However, things become interesting when the female lead is given the capability to turn the alarm off and on at her own leisure. Of course, the leads then find themselves tangled in a love triangle.
This webtoon drama weaves elements of futuristic fantasy into a very relatable plot, making for a gripping genre-crossing youth fantasy rom-com. If you’ve watched this drama and can’t wait for more, there’s good news – it has been renewed for a second season!
2. What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim
First published as a novel before being adapted into a webtoon and finally turned into a Korean drama, 2018 drama What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim has captured the hearts of many, both young and old alike.
The story follows the life of the vice-president of a big company and his secretary of 9 years. Having grown accustomed to life with his secretary, the young and handsome bachelor decides to pull out all of the stops to make her stay when his secretary decides to resign out of nowhere. Combining heart-throb Park Seo-Joon’s portrayal of the narcissistic man with Park Min-Young’s unorthodox capable woman character, the drama treats viewers to plenty of whacky dynamics and romantic chemistry.
The series has been praised for its faithful adaption to the webtoon material, even following details down to the character’s clothing choices. Its immense popularity has shot the rom-com into one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in the history of cable television.
3. W: Two Worlds
Talk about meta! W: Two Worlds is a webtoon drama that revolves around a webtoon, a webtoon writer, his daughter, and the lead character of the webtoon, Kang Chul. In the story, the webtoon takes on a life on its own, forming an alternate dimension that characters in the ‘real world’ can enter and exit.
Kang Chul suffers a troubled past, having been accused of being the murderer of his own family. Thus, he has dedicated his life to seeking vengeance on the true murderer, helped by the webtoon writer’s daughter, Oh Yeon-Joo, a resident cardiothoracic surgeon. Throughout the story, twists and turns abound, where reality and ‘fiction’ intertwine.
With its unique premise and amazing leads helmed by Lee Jong-Suk and Han Hyo-Joo, there’s little not to love about this drama!
4. Cheese in the Trap
Cheese in the Trap narrates a whirlwind of events surrounding the life and relationship of a group of university students. Yoo Jung, the main lead, is the rich and popular chaebol that made life difficult for diligent and honest Hong Seol, the female lead.
However, after taking a year off from school, Hong Seol finds that Yoo Jung has changed his attitude towards her, being suspiciously nice instead. What follows is an awkward relationship between the leads, further complicated by the appearance of Yoo Jung’s childhood friends – one of whom harbours bitter feelings towards Yoo Jung.
As the drama was filmed before the webtoon was completed, it features an original ending. Starring Kim Go-Eun and Park Hae-Jin as the leads, the drama is also known to be the breakout show for actors like Lee Sung-Kyung and Seo Kang-Joon.
Now that you know what to binge on your screens this weekend, don’t forget that watching Korean dramas – or reading webtoons – can be a great way to brush up on your Korean language skills! If you’re currently learning Korean, you could try to read or watch these in their original language to practice your reading and listening skills. If you haven’t already signed up for some Korean language courses, you can also do so with us at Sejong Korean Language School.