K-Dramas and Korean TV Shows that Jeonga Would Recommend

It’s true that the matriach of The Apology, Jeonga, is a big fan of books and Chohui would be telling her which book to read next. For an English-speaking audience, I thought I’d share TV shows that Jeonga might find herself watching despite herself—and have an opinion about—for their fascinating storylines, charming characters, and subjects that interest her: social taboos and daring, also people who navigate love, life, and death. They all have outspoken women characters who persevere and value relationships with friends and family above all else.

Here is a list of ten tv shows (in no particular order) that I hope you’ll enjoy!

Crash Landing on You

A career-obsessed heiress in South Korea finds herself accidentally in North Korea and has to find her way back home with the help of an officer in the North Korean army. The villagers pitch in to assist her which adds to the highs and lows of this romantic comedy with politics mixed in. A lot of pride and prejudice run through this series. (Stream on Netflix)

Extraordinary Attorney Woo

The first job that this talented attorney with a photographic memory acquires is at a prestigious law firm where prominent social issues are prosecuted and defended in the South Korean legal system. The editors of the show bring us into Attorney Woo’s inner world in creative ways that reminded me of how awkward social situations can be. (Stream on Netflix)

Our Blues

This large cast of residents of beautiful remote Jeju Island off the coast of South Korea have known each other all their lives and have to hash out misunderstandings and complex networks of relationships. Many apologies are given and accepted in this intergenerational series. (Stream on Netflix)

Hi Bye, Mama!

How can a story about a woman who dies in a car accident while her infant survives be uplifting in any way? This show pulls it off. The woman returns as a ghost in this comedy about a second chance at life that only lasts forty-nine days. We cry and laugh with her as she learns about herself, the husband she left behind and the future of her child. (Stream on Netflix)


I was skeptical about this one. But the extraordinary friendship among these three thirty-nine-year-old Korean women convinced me to keep watching and after it was over I kept thinking about how much of life’s ups and downs this show covered in deep ways. It also had me thinking about what’s expected of women in South Korea and here in the United States. (Stream on Netflix)

One Spring Night

This show made me think South Korean culture was far more conservative than I realized. Why would a divorced man with a child be considered an unsuitable candidate for marriage? The hurdle has to do with how responsible these two main characters are. This series is an Intriguing exploration of contemporary South Korea that opened my eyes to social rules that do ring true in all cultures to a degree. (Stream on Netflix)

Little Women

As a fan of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women, of course I was going to watch this Korean version. Also because of the relationship among the sisters. In this case, three sisters are left to fend for themselves as young women when their parents abandon them. Two are old enough to have careers but the third is still in high school. The sisters’ relationships remains central even as murder and intrigue drive the plot forward. (Stream on Netflix)

SKY Castle

My cousin told me to watch this show to understand the intense pressure on teenagers in South Korea to get into competitive colleges. Again, I’m recommending it because of the way the women, the mothers in this case, band together to save their children. Class and privilege, the inequities in Korean society are thrown in harsh relief but I thought how interesting too that shows like this can help people have conversations about their values and the institutions they support. (Stream on Netflix)


Korean Succession? Yes but with women in key roles! The film critic and Chicago Tribune columnist Jae-Ha Kim told me this one was worth watching for the women who stand out in this dramatic series. Also she told me to look out for the way former foes team up, finding surprising common ground. She was right. Rarely do we see women take center stage as they do in this show. (Stream on Netflix)

See You in My 19th Life

All photo credit: Netflix

This is new so I have to admit, I’m adding this with the caveat that I haven’t finished watching it yet. But the first two episodes have caught my attention. Like The Apology, the story is pushed to the extreme. The woman at the center of this story has been reincarnated eighteen times previously. And she remembers each life. But this 19th life is different because she fell in love in her 18th life and returns with a mission to meet her loved one again. Let’s see what happens! (Stream on Netflix)