10 Best Older Kdrama Recommendations from a Korean
Even if you consider yourself as a Kdrama expert, there are still some really cool and old gems you haven't watched yet. Find out what you have missed and put them into your Kdrama playlist. They're all worth re-watching over and over again! (If you already watched them, let's talk about them in comments!)
1. 파리의 연인 Lovers in Paris (2004)
This drama is considered one of the best romance Kdramas between Koreans. It's a very cliche romance story between a rich guy and a poor girl, and the acting of two main casts is really good. I personally think that this drama is the closest Kdrama version of 'Pride and Prejudice.' The male main character is very similar with Mark Darcy.
2. 풀하우스 Full House (2004)
It's another romance drama but bubbly and comical one. It's a love story of a girl who lost her parents and a superstar who happened to buy her dead parent's house. Main cast actress and actor are still very popular in Korea, they're Song Hye Gyo and Rain. If you're a fan of one of them, this is a must-watch. Song is really cute and lovely here. Watch the short version of EP1 (no sub)
3. 하얀거탑 Behind the White Tower (2007)
This is one of rare old Kdramas that are not about romance. It's about an ambitious and young doctor who tries to survive dirty politics of a big hospital. All cast members showed extraordinary acting (I've never seen anything like this! The best!) and the plot twists in each episode will always exceed your expectations. I would say this drama is like the opposite of 'Grey's Anatomy.'
4. 발리에서 생긴 일 Something Happened in Bali (2004)
Star-studded series with the most shocking ending ever in Kdrama history. It's about complicated romance between four people who first met in Bali. You'll finally understand why the title is 'Something happened in Bali' only when you watch the series till the very end. Ha Jiwon, the long-time Kdrama diva, is a main cast actress. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a gloomy love story.
5. 커피프린스 1호점 Coffee Prince (2007)
Many Koreans still recall this series when summer comes. It's a very cute romance story of a woman who dresses like a man in order to work at a male-only servers coffee shop and a man who falls in love with her without knowing she's a woman. (So it's not about coffee at all) You can get a glimpse of how hard it is to be a gay in Korea watching him getting confused about his sexual orientation. Highly recommended if you want to see a cute couple.
6. 내 이름은 김삼순 My Lovely Sam Soon (2005)
This is a typical Korean Cinderella story of a 30-year-old woman, Sam Soon, meeting and falling in love with a rich & handsome man. Though the series is full of Korean romantic drama cliches, it's worth watching because of great music, acting, and very funny scenes. I bet you'll LOL at least one time per each episode. Hyun Bin who had starred as a rich & handsome man here recently played a North Korean soldier in Love Crash Landing On You, a recent hit Korean drama. Highly recommended if you're a woman and over 28.
7. 궁 Princess Hours (2006)
The series is based on an alternate Korea which has retained its monarchy and imperial family. An ordinary high school girl gets forced to marry the Prince of Korea and becomes an imperial family. Actor Ju Jihoon had played the Prince of Korea here and he also played Lee Chang, the Prince of Joseon in a recent-hit Netflix Original series Kingdom. You can see a young Song Jihyo, the world-hit Korean variety show Running Man star, in the series. It's one of the most beautiful shows in Kdrama history. Beautiful scenes and music will not disappoint you.
8. 태왕사신기 The Legend (2007)
One of the very rare historical fantasy & blockbuster Kdramas. The series sets in an ancient Korea (around 2300 BC and 400). The story could be very complicated but, to put it simply, it's about a good human Korean King trying to save the country from the mess the God created. Because it's a fantasy drama, it took whopping 3 years and 55 billion KRW ($46 million) to make the series. It's a lot of money because it takes around $4.6 million to make an ordinary series. Highly recommended if you want to see the different side of Kdrama. Watch the first episode. (eng sub)
9. 구미호 여우누이뎐 Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho (2010)
Did you know that there used to be a lot of horror Kdramas in the past? Even though it's very hard to find one now, there was a really good historical horror series ten years ago. Grudge is based on an old Korean horror story of Gumiho, the legendary monster-fox which has nine tails and eats men's liver to be reborn as a human. The series is about a mother Gumiho and a daughter who is half Gumiho and half human. You can see the young Kim Yujeong, now-grown-up Kdrama star in the series. Highly recommended if you want to be scared and sad at the same time.
10. 다모 Damo (2003)
So I saved the best (and the oldest) for the last. The series is considered as the first Kdrama which created a passionate fandom. In other words, if you watch this, you can't help but being a fan of the show. It's a very sad historical love triangle story of three people who have secrets. It could be difficult for you to watch because it's too old now, but you can try with this summarized version of the series (no sub). Highly recommended if you want to cry like a river at the end.
If there's any other old Kdrama you think that should be on the list, let me know in comments! 안녕🖐