We enjoy cozying up to a good K-drama, sometimes a little too much that we spend days and nights binging 60-minute episodes. But when you don’t have enough time to kill, there are some shows that don’t require that level of commitment. Here are 12 K-dramas that are short and sweet; you can even enjoy an entire story as a means to de-stress after work!
1. Be Positive (2016)
This series was produced by Samsung, and it’s a brief six-episode web drama that follows the story of Kim Hwan Dong EXO’s Do Kyung Soo. He plays a college student who majors in film and whose script was awarded a prize. However, he continues to struggle with getting the funds and other means to turn that script into an actual film. Things eventually become more chaotic when he brings in his ex-girlfriend Hye Jung (Chae Seo Jin) to play the lead character.
2. Page Turner (2016)
This is a three-episode KBS drama special that revolves around Yoon Yoo Seul (Kim So Hyun). She is a piano prodigy who has won various contests, but her life was driven by her mother. One day, she got into an accident which caused her to go blind. But she never let this get her down as she hoisted herself to get back on track with the help of her classmates and even her school rival whom she has been competing with for the longest time. Albeit a short and sweet drama, it turned out to be a hit in South Korea. Aside from giving you an interesting look into the world of music, it also gives a heartwarming love triangle you can immerse in.
3. Sweet Revenge (2017)
Sweet Revenge is like a modernized Death Note, only it’s made to be more PG-friendly. It’s about a young student who stumbles upon an app on her phone which allows her to enact revenge on anyone she chooses just by simply writing their name on it. This sparked chaos when she started to go after the bullies in her high school. This could also mean that her days as a pushover may finally come to an end. She also got into more trouble when she found herself in a love triangle with the new brothers who moved into town. This series was well-received even with just a 15-minute runtime per episode, and it went on to have a second season! This drama stars Kim Hyang Gi and Park Solomon, but fans would also be delighted to see Cha Eun Woo playing himself.
4. Queen of the Ring (2017)
This 6-part fantasy series is about a girl who finds a magical ring which is also a family heirloom. Turns out that this ring can transform her into a beautiful and datable young lady. It did not take long for the handsome, popular guy in school to take notice. But while she loves the attention she’s getting from him, she then starts to question if he is actually interested in the real her, or the illusion that the magic ring provides. Even though it’s a short drama, the story and characters were well-written and the arc was more satisfying than other series at regular length.
5. 7 First Kisses (2016)
Even though this drama looks more like one huge ad for Lotte Duty Free shops, it’s hard to skip it simply for the star power involved! The story revolves around a Duty Free employee who chanced upon a goddess who gave her the chance to choose one guy among seven stunning men as her first kiss. Her amazing options include Lee Jong Suk, Ji Chang Wook, Lee Min Ho, Lee Joon Gi, Park Hae Jin, Ok Taec Yeon, and Kim Jong in (Kai). With cheesy K-drama tropes, the fanservice this drama provides is just way over the top. So, if you want to live vicariously through this lucky lady, then this drama should be worth enjoying.
6. The Boy Next Door (2017)
This 15-episode web drama tells the story of two neighbors with slightly humorous, unintentional, and even romantic tension. Due to certain circumstances, these boys ended up living together, which only resulted in more hilarious situations that are out of their control. Most of the content in this drama comes across as a “BL” or “Boy’s Love” story. Some viewers may be curious to see how a Korean drama really explores the dirty fantasy between boys that most are all too ashamed to speak out loud. It stars Parasite’s Choi Woo Sik, who actually did this role justice alongside fellow actor, Jang Ki Yong. It’s a slice-of-life drama that is riddled with good comedic banter.
7. XX (2020)
Yoon Na Na is the head bartender of a speakeasy bar named “XX.” She takes pride in her work and she’s also gained popularity because of her chic looks and confidence that never crosses lines. She runs everything in the bar such as selecting the interior, planning the menu and developing the signature cocktails. She has always been invested in her work because she dreamed of taking over the bar and was saving money to do so. However, the owner suddenly sells the bar, and the new owner comes in to shake things up. The new owner is Lee Roo Mi, who used to be Na Na’s best friend who betrayed her. From there, their ill-fated relationship begins.
8. Splash Splash LOVE (2015)
This is dubbed to be one of the best time travel dramas that involved the Joseon era. It revolves around a high school senior named Jang Dan Bi (Kim Seul Gi) who has given up on math. On the day that she was about to take the KSAT for college, she finds herself transported back in time during a freak rain shower. She wakes up centuries into the past in the middle of the Joseon era, which was struggling from severe drought. Disguised as a eunuch, she meets King Leedo and ends up teaching him math and science. As the two come to know each other on a deeper level, they develop a romance that transcends time and space. This drama is hilarious and heart-warming as the main characters show great chemistry and performance leaving you wishing that it had more than just two episodes!
9. Wednesday 3:30 PM (2017)
Seon Eun Woo (Jin Ki Joo) was dumped by her boyfriend, Baek Seung Gyu (Ahn Bo Hyun). Unfortunately, she can’t seem to get over him and he wants to win him back. She then thought of a plan and asked her longtime childhood friend, Yoon Jae Won (Hong Bin), to make it happen. They faked a romantic relationship with the goal of making Seung Gyu jealous. They went so far as having Jae Won move in with Eun Woo to play out her elaborate scheme. They show off their love all over her social media which she updates every 3:30 PM, hence the title. But can things get complicated when Eun Woo and Jae Won’s pretend feelings start to turn real?
10. The Witch’s Diner (2021)
This drama follows a mysterious restaurant that is frequented by people who are in desperate need of help that only magic can solve. By eating a unique dish served specifically for them, their wishes can get granted. But that will come at a price of course. Beyond wishes granted, the story also gives us a peek into the strange employees that run the establishment. It’s an interesting series for those who are into dark fantasy, and it’s something you can finish over the weekend.
11. Frozen Love (2017)
Go Man Soo (Kim Jung Hyun) has been frozen for more than three decades. His body was preserved in a mound of ice exactly as he was in 1979. Those were simpler times before the 1988 Olympics brought in widespread modernization to a significant part of the country. So when Man Soo came out of his frozen state in 2016, he discovered that the world around him had changed dramatically. When he meets Jang Ha Da (Han Sun Hwa), a bank teller, he is taken back by how much she resembles the woman he fell in love with way back in 1979. But how can Man Soo handle modern times and modern dating? This drama weaves a beautiful story of romance that also offers an uplifting lesson.
12. Hymn of Death
If anything, you can finish this drama in an evening, but just be sure that you prepare a box of tissues. The story occurred during the Japanese colonial period of Korea. Yun Sim-Deok (Shin Hye Sun) is a soprano singer who meets and falls in love with playwright Kim Woo-Jin (Lee Jong Suk) while at university. Things complicate when Sim-Deok discovers that Woo-Jin is tied up to family commitments and responsibilities that prevent them from being together. Fed up with their obligations, the two tragically decide to end their lives.