2018 is a good year for K-drama fans with all the robust storylines from different genres. If you want to do a throwback for all the good stuff that year which are now available on Netflix, here are 14 stories you can choose from!
1. My ID is Gangnam Beauty
‘My ID is Gangnam Beauty’ was originally a webtoon novel about Kang Mi Rae (Im Soo Hyang) an awkward teenager who doesn’t fit society’s beauty standards. She’s considered ‘ugly’ and was bullied by her peers in school. This pressure made her decide to undergo multiple cosmetic procedures before entering university.
After a successful plastic surgery, her good looks was a sure head-turner. But, there’s a catch—people can easily tell she had work done on her face. She then crosses paths with a former classmate from high school, Do Kyungseok (Cha Eunwoo), an extremely handsome guy with a cold personality due to his broken family background.
Coincidentally, they attend the same university and Kyungseok is the only person who knows how Mirae looked prior to her surgery. He also witnessed Mi Rae’s recovering self-esteem. It teaches us that while plastic surgery is okay, it is never a quick fix to everything.
2. I’m Not A Robot
In this sci-fi romance, Jo Ji Ah (Chae Soo Bin) had to stand in for a robot to temporarily take the place of professor’s Hong Baek Gyun’s (Um Ki Joon) invention that is designed after her. This all started when Baek Gyun found out that the foreign investors interested in his robot wanted to use it as a weapon. So, he decided to show it to Ki Min Kyu (Yoo Seung Ho), who was the largest shareholder of the company handling the deal.
However, things went awry when the robot’s body got accidentally damaged. With a lot on the line, Baek Gyun devised a plan to send Ji Ah to Min Kyu’s house to impersonate the robot, to buy them some time to fix it.
Interesting enough, Min Kyu, who was allergic to human contact, found a real companion in Ji Ah, whom he always thought was a very intuitive robot. He’s now desperate to have her around as he struggles with his feelings towards her having spent a long time on his own.
But, what happens when he finds out the truth? Will he still feel the same way? Or will the sting of deception outweigh the good news that the “robot” he’s actually falling for is a real person?
3. Mr Sunshine
This tells the story of Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun), who was born into slavery in Joseon but escaped to the United States after the 1871 Shinmiyangyo, or the US expedition to Korea. He then becomes an officer in the United States Marine Corps and returns to Joseon after he took part in the Spanish-American War.
In his return, he meets and falls in love with an aristocrat’s granddaughter, Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri). However, coming from different social classes made a clear challenge to their relationship.
Adding to the complication, Ae Shin was arranged to be married to another guy, Kim Hee Sung (Byun Yo Han), a more agreeable candidate by society’s standards. Furthermore, Eugene discovers a plot by the Japanese Empire to colonize Korea and finds himself embroiled in the fight for Joseon’s sovereignty.
4. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim
Lee Young Joon (Park Seo Joon) is a smart, ambitious, and arrogant vice-chairman of a major corporation. He has everything going for him, but when his highly capable secretary, Kim Mi So (Park Min Young), suddenly announces that she’ll be resigning from her position after nine years, he was taken for a spin.
He promises to do whatever it takes to make sure that she stays by his side. With this resolve, he makes bold, romantic gestures which led to hilarious mishaps. Young Joon later realized that there was something more to her than just being his secretary, making him grow a newfound appreciation for her.
His efforts may have weirded out Mi So at first, but his persistence inadvertently won her over. Will he succeed in letting her stay by his side – forever?
5. Are You Human?
When Nam Shin (Seo Kang Joon) slips into a coma after a botched attempt on his life, his mother (Kim Sung Ryung), who is a renowned scientist, sends her AI robot (Nam Shin III) to take his place. This invention will help fulfil his duties, and ultimately protect his place as an heir to a big company.
Kang So Bong (Gong Seung Yeon) was a member of Nam Shin’s security detail until she was dismissed. Later on, she lands a job as Nam Shin III’s bodyguard, without really knowing she’s guarding a robot this time around.
However, certain inconsistencies in behaviours which she thinks is out of character for Nam Shin sparked her curiosity. Determined to get to the bottom of it, the truth she uncovered, gave her more than what she bargained for when she started to fall for him.
Although So Bong initially took on this bodyguard stint for selfish motives, she later developed genuine concern for him. Now, she finds herself in a race to keep Nam Shin safe from the people who tried to murder him.
6. Something in the Rain
Jin Ah (Son Ye Jin) is a single 30-something who works as a district supervisor at a coffeehouse franchise. Joon Hee (Jung Hae In) is a video game developer in his 20s who returned to Korea after working abroad. The two have been close acquaintances since Jin Ah is the best friend of Joon Hee’s older sister. They reconnected since their offices are in the same building.
Over time, the two fell in love but they had to keep their feelings on the down-low because their May-December relationship is a taboo in some circles, especially since it involved a much older woman. The two also had to find the courage to go public with their relationship with everyone around them, but things don’t go so smoothly.
7. Welcome to Waikiki
Dong Gu (Kim Jung Hyun) dreamt of becoming a film director, while Joon Ki (Lee Yi Kyung) is an eccentric actor who performs to make a living. Doo Sik (Son Seung Won) on the other hand is a freelance writer who does nothing most of the time. Eager to finance their pet project, the three friends put up Waikiki, a guesthouse in Itaewon which was intended to cater to foreign guests.
However, things get complicated when a single mother (Han Yoon Ah) and her baby find their way to their establishment having nowhere else to go. Despite the fact that the guesthouse was on the brink of bankruptcy the friends decided to take them in, and together they give slice-of-life moments that offer fun and valuable lessons in love, friendship, and hard work.
8. SKY Castle
This story follows the cutthroat competition of four upper-class parents in an exclusive village in Korea, named SKY Castle. They are willing to do anything in their power to get their children into any of the prestigious schools in the country. It particularly focuses on the matriarchs of each family, Hang Seo Jin (Yum Jung Ah), Lee Soo Im (Lee Tae Ran), No Seung Hye (Yoon Se Ah), and Jin Jin Hee (Oh Na Ra).
They each have their places in the social totem, which also came with their own struggle and insecurities. More than just a ruthless pursuit for their child’s academic entrance, they are pretty much in a constant competition to keep up with appearances. They learned later on that all this fuss would cost them more than they expected.
9. My Mister
Park Dong Hoon (Lee Sun Kyun) is married to Yoon Hee (Lee Ji Ah), who has long been wanting to divorce him since she is secretly carrying on an affair with Dong Hoon’s boss, Joon Young (Kim Young Min). Adding to his misfortunes, Dong Hoon had to carry the weight of having two unemployed brothers.
Then there is Ji An (Lee Ji Eun), a temp at his office who is also down on her luck and struggling financially. Having learned of the affair, Ji An goes to Joon Young and offers to make Dong Hoon leave the company if he pays her. Little did she know that she’ll come to grow close to the meek and kind-hearted Dong Hoon.
10. Radio Romance
It has always been Song Geu Rim’s (Kim So Hyun) dream to become a radio writer. But, without the writing skills to match her ambition, she was always forced to take the backseat as the assistant writer. When her show was on the verge of cancellation, she struck an agreement that if she is able to cast Ji Soo Ho (Yoon Doo Joon), a top star actor, she will land the job as the main writer.
Her tenacity and drive helped her to convince him to sign on. However, things didn’t turn out as planned because Soo Ho fell short of their expectations. But, she also didn’t see it coming that she’d fall for him.
11. My Secret Terrius
Go Ae Rin (Jung In Sun) is a single mother who lost her husband and finds herself embroiled in a mystery. Meanwhile, her next-door-neighbor Kim Bon (So Ji Sub), whose code name is Terrius, is a legendary black ops agent for the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
He went into hiding after a failed undercover operation three years back. It was also then where he lost the woman he loved, and since then, he isolated himself in his apartment still trying to make sense of what happened.
After becoming acquaintances, Ae Rin and Kim Bon came together to uncover a huge conspiracy which her husband was involved in. Joining them is Jin Young Tae (Son Ho Jun), a former con man who holds the key to what Ae Rin and Kim Bon have long been searching for.
12. Come and Hug Me
Yoon Na Moo (Jang Ki Yong) and Gil Nak Won (Jin Ki Joo) were each other’s first love during childhood. But tragedy tore their apart when Na Moo’s father murdered Nak Won’s parents.
Years later, Nak Won is now Han Jae Yi and she followed her mom’s footsteps as an aspiring actress. While she generally has a good disposition in life, she also struggled with panic disorder due to her traumatic past.
Na Moo, on the other hand, is now Chae Do Jin, a rookie detective who wanted to atone for his father’s sins. While the two held on to memories of the time they were together, it’s uncertain if this is enough to overcome the harmful memory that ran between them and start again where they left off.
Yoo Jin Woo (Hyun Bin) is the CEO of an investment company who received a frantic phone call from a man named Se Joo (Park Chan Yeol) who wants to sell him a gaming program he created. He proposes to meet up with him at a hotel in Spain, but before Jin Woo could ask any questions, the call is cut off.
Initially uninterested by the offer, Jin Woo competitive streak jumped in when he learned that his former best friend, who is now his rival, also wanted it. He travelled to Spain and checked into the hostel run by Jung Hee Joo (Park Shin Hye), Se Joo’s sister.
Meanwhile, Se Joo seemed to have vanished without a trace. Jin Woo tried the AR (augmented reality) game and was very much impressed by its seamless integration with the real world. But with Se Joo as a no show, Jin Woo can’t buy the rights to the program.
A glitch in the system led to the death of his former friend but it also left him as a prime suspect. He has to find Se Joo to fix the bug and clear his name which led him to embark on a virtual quest that’s fraught with real danger.
14. Miss Hammurabi
This is a courtroom drama based on the perspective of three judges. Park Cha Oh Reun (Go Ah Ra) is a rookie judge who is passionate about her job and is firm on her beliefs on fair justice, especially for the powerless.
She reunites with Lim Ba Reun (Kim Myung Soo), a person from her past who is also a young judge himself. He holds strict principles and doesn’t pander to anyone, thus he comes off rather arrogant. The two of them will work hand in hand with Presiding Judge Han Se Sang (Sung Dong Il) to solve the civil cases their department is facing while battling their own personal struggles as a professional and as individuals.
Have you made your choice already? Time to get cozy for some good Netflix-and-chill!
If you like this list, don’t forget to check out our all time favourites for the best korean dramas on Netflix.