As a genre, Korean School Dramas churns out a lot of good stories that give rise to memorable and well-loved characters. For some, these stories make them feel nostalgic, but more than that, they also touch on universal issues that will always be relatable to every audience.
However, in the world of K-dramas, not everything is as simple as ABCs. Here, you get schooled on different types of stories, lessons, and shocking twists! It gives enough entertainment that there’s no chance to doze off! Here are 10 series that will give you an entertaining peek into the realm of high school dramas.
Despite being a youth-oriented drama, Dream High has a pretty universal appeal. It puts emphasis on friendship, loyalty and pursuing your dreams. It was one of the first successful dramas that showcased the lives of high school students and it comes with an idol-heavy cast. This is a good throwback drama to watch with all its twists and turns written in believable ways as it moves the characters along on their journey of growing up.
The series is fun to watch, especially for K-pop fans. The music is great and it works into the plot perfectly. It’s a school drama but it’s so much more too. Written with so much humor, one would find that no one is a cookie cutter K-drama character.
My ID is Gangnam Beauty
This is a story about a student who wanted to transform her life through plastic surgery. She decided to go under the knife after getting bullied because of her looks. When she returned to her university with her new look as a beautiful girl, she had some heads turning.
Soon enough, all the attention she has been getting starts to go to her head. When other students learned about her surgical transformation, they teased her about it, harping on the fact that her beauty wasn’t real. Thankfully she meets a former schoolmate in middle school who helped her recover her self-esteem and understand what true beauty really is.
Love Alarm made headlines for being the first Korean series that was picked up by Netflix. The story revolves around the type of technology that enables users to discover love through an application that notifies whether someone within a 10-meter radius has romantic feelings for them.
While this cutting-edge technology sounds exciting, heartbreaks are bound to arise as feelings start to get exposed. When a group of teenagers got carried away with the app, it didn’t take long for tensions to arise. This is exactly what happened between Jo-jo, Sun-oh, and Hye-yeong—three teenagers entangled in a love triangle.
Sassy Go Go
Kang Yeon-doo (Jung Eun-ji ) leads a street dance club named “Real King”. The group is composed of students who come together due to their poor academic performance. Yeon-doo himself is among those who have very poor grades. Their club came head to head with another dance group named Baek Ho. It’s an elite club that is made up of students from the top fifth percentile in school which is headed by Kim Yeol (Lee Won-keun), the highest-ranking student in school. Both groups were forced to create a cheerleading squad, but can they set aside their differences to work together?
True Beauty is a rom-com about a high school girl named Lim Ju-kyung (Moon Ga Young) who goes to great lengths to never be caught without makeup. She is this way because she is bullied because of the way she looks. She mastered the art of make-up to hide the way she actually looked. With the help of make-up and a complete transformation at the tip of her brush, her new classmates see her as a goddess.
The drama is populated with a plethora of quirky characters that definitely keep things interesting. It’s a big selling point when the supporting characters and their stories are also enjoyable to watch. It even made a lot of buzz as it gave rise to the ‘Second Lead Phenomenon’. It’s when the second male lead came out to be more suitable with the female lead as the story progressed.
Cheese in the Trap
Another Korean webtoon turned Korean Drama that brings the magic of two university students going from enemies to lovers. Cheese in the Trap is an adorable rom-com that anyone who loves K-dramas should watch.
It tells the story of a female college student who is the only one who saw the real true self of her sunbae. This seemingly perfect guy is actually concealing a dangerous nature which he is able to hide behind his sweet smile. It gives us a fascinating look at the typical Korean college male student. This series is not just some dumb high school drama. There’s a lot going on to keep you entertained from episode to episode.
This story is set in a high school where students are classified by their sense of fashion and popularity.
Baek Ho-rang (Jung Da-bin), is a popular high school student who stands at the peak of the social pyramid, but she has a cold and condescending personality.
One day she was secretly threatened by someone who wants to reveal a secret about her past. Driven to pin down the person behind it, she joins the school’s broadcasting club. It was here that she met the perfectionist and stubborn Go Eun-taek (Hwang Min-hyun). With opposing personalities, this puts Ho-rang at odds with Eun-taek.
This is a pretty straightforward drama sprinkled with a hint of mystery and romance. It also explores other relationships involving romance between other students, friends that turned into enemies, and some family issues.
Reply 1988 is the third installment of tvN’s Reply series which also happens to be critically acclaimed. It revolved around the lives of five childhood friends who lived in the Ssangmundong neighborhood of Seoul. The series mainly covers the latter part of their teenage years from 1988 to 1989, with snippets from 1994-1995 and 2016.
Reply 1988 gives you an overview of how life was back then, and what it was like to be a student at that time. Besides a well-written story that tackled universal themes of family, friendships, and first love, the overall aesthetics also caught everyone’s attention. Arcades, cassette tape players, and Betamax were the source of entertainment back then. Running on a simple storyline this drama still emerged as an easy classic that every K-drama fan should watch.
How to Buy a Friend
How to Buy a Friend is a school drama that is made up of 4 episodes. It is an adaptation of a webtoon of the same title.
The story follows two students who decide to help each other out in order to get something in exchange. An ordinary high school student befriends the school fighter after he saves him from a bully. As the two try to get to the bottom of a school suicide, they uncover surprising criminal activity that is going on in campus.
This drama offers an interesting mix of darkness with light moments, and not a moment is wasted as the young protagonists unravel mysteries and form some unlikely friendships along the way.
Class of Lies
This school drama comes with a heavy dose of mystery, murder, and thrill. It follows the story of Gi Moo-hyeok (Yoon Kyun-sang) who goes undercover as a substitute teacher named Gi Kang-jae after his lawyer’s license is suspended.
To regain his license, he must solve the murder case of a female student which is the reason why he lost his license in the first place. As Moo-hyeok dives deeper into the case, he uncovers a secret society called the Veritas Club which is a group of privileged students who control the students and even the teachers. They aim to falsify awards and student records so that the members can enter prestigious universities.
Despite the crazy plot twists, it cannot be denied that Class of Lies still appealed realistic to the audience. If you like solving puzzles, digging into cases, using your critical thinking and analysis, it’s a great piece for those who fancy the intrigue.