7 K-dramas to watch if you enjoyed Queen of Tears

Romantic comedy Queen of Tears (2024) is the latest South Korean television (TV) series to have taken the country (and Asia) by storm. Its dynamic storyline and acting chops of its star-studded cast have won positive reviews from critics and viewers alike.

k-drama to watch - queen of tears
Credit – Netflix

The series illustrates the calamity and reigniting of romance between couple Hong Hae-in (Kim Ji-Won), a third-generation chaebol (a rich business family) descendant of Queens Group, and Baek Hyun-woo (played by Kim Soo Hyun), the son of two farmers.

Queen of Tears enjoyed a nationwide rating of 24.85% for its last episode and became the highest-rated tvN series. It surpassed the channel’s other hit series. These include Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016) and Crash Landing on You (2019 – 2020).

The drama also became the third highest-rated TV series in Korean cable TV history by viewership ratings. Queen of Tears was came in as the second highest by viewer numbers.

Here are 7 K-dramas to watch if you enjoyed Queen of Tears:

1. My Love from the Star (2013)

My Love from the Star (2013) is a fantasy romantic comedy that tells the story of an extraterrestrial alien who landed on Earth in 1609 during the Joseon Dynasty. Four centuries later, he falls in love with a top actress who is a suspect in a murder case.

k-drama to watch - my love from the star
Credit – Cosmopolitan

The lead actors are Kim Soo Hyun (the male protagonist in Queen of Tears), as dashing college professor Do Min-Joon and Jun Ji Hyun, as arrogant Hallyu actress Cheon Song-yi.

The series recorded an average nationwide television viewership rating of 24%. It  sparked trends in fashion, make-up and restaurants, and helped spread the Korean wave.

2. Strong Girl Bong-soon (2017)

Another k-drama to watch if you are a fan of the fantasy romantic comedy genre is Strong Girl Bong-Soon (2017). But unlike My Love from the Star, the female protagonist, Do Bong-soon (Park Bo-young), is the one with superpowers (i.e. superhuman strength).

k-drama to watch - strong girl bong-soon
Credit – JTBC

The titular Bong-soon works as a bodyguard to chaebol heir Ahn Min-hyuk (played by Park Hyung-sik), the Chief Executive Officer of a gaming company, Ainsoft. A string of kidnapping cases occur in Dobong-dong, the district Bong-soon resides in. She works with Ahn to track the culprit down. But after several mishaps, love blossoms between the two.

The series received widespread acclaim, with its last episode hitting 8.96% in nationwide ratings. It landed the highest viewership rating among JTBC TV dramas at that time.

3. The Heirs (2013)

If you are obsessed with chaebol love series, there’s no better k-drama to watch than The Heirs (2013). The South Korean TV drama, set against the backdrop of a high school attended by wealthy and privileged students, also stars Kim Ji-Won as a haughty heiress.

k-drama to watch - the heirs
Credit – Viki

But unlike Queen of Tears, the male protagonist Kim Tan, played by heartthrob Lee Min-Ho, is the wealthy heir. He develops a liking for the down-to-earth female protagonist Park Shin Hye (Cha Eun-sang), who is from a humble background and does odd jobs to get by.

The series was well-received internationally. As of 26 January, 2014, the series has garnered more than one billion views on Youku, China’s largest video streaming platform.

4. Descendants of the Sun (2016)

This is another classic K-drama that requires no explanation as to why it’s a must-watch. Descendants of the Sun (2016) stars Song Joong-Ki as Yoo Si-jin, a soldier from the South Korean Special Forces, romantically attracted to surgeon Seo Dae-young (Jin Goo).

k-drama to watch - descendants of the sun
Credit – Korean Broadcasting System

But due to the differences between the two professions, the couple went their own ways. As a soldier, Si-jin kills to protect lives, whereas Dae-young, as a doctor bound by the Hippocratic Oath, saves lives. Through a peacekeeping mission in the fictional war-torn country of Uruk eight months after their split, their love for each other grows stronger.

Descendants of the Sun (2016) was well-received by Chinese viewers on online streaming platform iQiYi. Vietnam and the Philippines also aired local adaptations. The show, which has been credited with a surge in tourism, propelled the two main characters to fame.

5. Crash Landing on You (2019-2020)

A fan of both the military genre and chaebol dramas? Check out Crash Landing on You (2019-2020). The romantic comedy tells the story of a South Korean chaebol heiress Yoon Se-ri (played by Son Ye-jin) who is swept off-course by a tornado while paragliding in Seoul and crash-lands in the North section of the Korean Dimiliarised Zone.

k-drama to watch - crash landing on you
Credit – Netflix

Se-ri is rescued by a member of the North Korean elite-cum-captain in the Korean People’s Army, Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin) who helps her return to South Korea. Over time, they become smitten with each other, despite their different backgrounds and countries.

At the time of airing, the soap opera was the most watched tvN series (with a 21.7% viewership rating). It dethroned the 2016 series “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God”.

6. Hometown Cha Cha (2021)

Looking for a romantic comedy but prefer a more down-to-earth narrative over the fantasy genre? Watch Hometown Cha Cha (2021). The slice-of-life drama tells the story of a  dentist, Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-a) who moves to a seaside village. Hye-jin becomes enamoured with handyman Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho) who likes helping other people.

k-drama to watch - hometown cha cha
Credit – tvN

Hometown Cha Cha became a sleeper hit. It was one of the highest-rated series in Korean cable television history. The series also came in first during its run for eight weeks. Its final episode recorded a solid 12.67% countrywide rating (with more than 3.2 million views).

7. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020)

Like HomeTown Cha Cha, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay tells the story of Ko Moon-young (Seo Yea-Ji), an antisocial children’s book writer who goes back to her hometown.

k-drama to watch - it's okay to not be okay
Credit: tvN

She takes a fancy to Moon Gang-tae (played by none other than Kim Soo Hyun). He is a psychiatric ward caretaker, who has devoted his entire life to taking care of his autistic older brother Moon Sang-tae. But you have been warned: unlike HomeTown Cha Cha, this romantic comedy is on the heavier side, navigating themes such as mental health issues.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay was the most talked about drama online in South Korea for eight consecutive weeks. It also received positive reviews from critics for its visual storytelling.

Forbes describes the hit TV series as “the most visually appealing drama of 2020. Not only are the actors beautiful, but [so are the] drama’s graphics, cinematography and costumes”.

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