When it comes to visual entertainment, we all know that K-dramas are the best — and who would dare to disagree on that? Beautiful romances, adorable heart-pounding moments, laugh-out-loud comedy, and an industry full of amazingly talented actors…add in the supernatural element, and you have a K-drama worth selling your soul for. Fans of the paranormal, superhuman, and magical, here are the dramas you should be watching!
The obvious pick is Goblin. Its a new show that recently finished airing, and it received top ratings and applause from many viewers. If you like a beautifully poetic story and amazing visual effects, this K-drama is for you. It also features a goblin, a grim reaper, a chaebol, a girl who sees ghosts, a reincarnated queen, and two gods, so if you decide to watch it, youll be in for a fantastical show that will make you fall hard for the characters and cry-laugh at the many feel-good moments. The bromance alone makes the show a 10 out of 10. Bonus: It stars the handsome Gong Yoo, who just recently scored another big hit in the amazing zombie thriller Train to Busan.
The Legend of the Blue Sea
For all you mermaid lovers: we finally have a K-drama for that! The Legend of the Blue Sea is another K-drama high up on the chart, with a tone slightly similar to Goblin in its fairytale elements, except this show focuses mainly on a love that endures throughout multiple timelines and even between land and sea. If youre a sucker for romance, then this drama is for you, as there are many adorable moments between the two main characters, played by Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji Hyun. For fans of comedy, the first few episodes also have a lot of slapstick humor, though it tones down to focus on the plot later.
Watch The Legend of the Blue Sea:
In W, a handsome and intelligent webtoon character falls in love with the writers daughter. Hijinks ensue as the couple tries to outrun a webtoon villain who exists to destroy our hero and bridge the gap between both worlds. Warning: there are some sad and/or stressful moments.
Horror rom-com is a unique type of genre that, unfortunately, has not shown up in too many dramas yet. However, I recommend trying it out, as these shows mix fright with laughter in a way thats fun and perfect for a Halloween night, a cool summer thriller…or any night of the year, really. As a scaredy-cat myself, the elements of horror arent so strong that you wont be able to sleep at night — just grab a friend before you watch.
The top drama in this category is Masters Sun, by the Hong Sisters. The slapstick humor is strong in this one, but its a hilarious show about a girl driven crazy by her fears of the ghosts she sees and the heartwarming chaebol who slowly evolves into someone worthy of protecting her. Throughout the show, the characters come together to help the ghosts that appear to them with paranormal cases, all the while attempting to unravel a very strange mystery.
Bring It On, Ghost is kind of a teenage version of Masters Sun: it has a sweet summer romance played out by Kim So Hyun and Taecyeon (Hint: Listen to My Heartbeat) and a ghost crime-fighting unit thats often better at comedy. However, the show carries itself strong up until the last episode, which leaves viewers with a slightly unsatisfying and weak ending.
Oh My Ghostess bears slight similarities to the above K-dramas; its more centered around one ghost — specifically, a very handsy ghost (Kim Seul Gi) that feels slighted over the fact shes a virgin ghost. Add in a shy girl (Park Bo Young) who hopes for the attention of a handsome chef (Jo Jung Suk) and body possession, and you end up with a zany supernatural drama that finds its niche in slightly adult humor and a few well-meaning lessons of life. As usual, this rom-com also has an element of mystery to it.
Arang and the Magistrate
Arang and the Magistrate is an older K-drama that also centers around a ghost…in the Joseon era. Arang (Shin Min Ah), our main character, is a sweet, tough spirit who manages to run into our hero, a handsome magistrate (Lee Joon Gi) who can see the dead. Throughout the show, our magistrate must use his detective skills to defeat some seriously creepy, supernatural killers. Arang and the Magistrate also opens an interesting window into classic Korean ghost beliefs, with the addition of an amusing portrayal of the gods of heaven and hell.
Watch Arang and the Magistrate:
If you run out of dramas to watch, a wonderful horror rom-com movie is Spellbound, in which a woman haunted by a ghost meets a cowardly magician willing to endure his fear of the supernatural in order to protect her.
Gu Family Book is an older drama starring a half-human, half-gumiho (a Korean creature of folklore) born out of about two entire episodes of tragedy, so if you have difficulty handling rough scenes, Id advise against this show. However, theres something so good about the main character, played by Lee Seung Gi, that makes you fall in love with him immediately. Its the fantasy elements of this show that make it so interesting (plus the romance). However, the storyline does waver in places and the ending is semi-sad, so if youre prone to weeping, you might want to try one of the other K-dramas on this list.
My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho
My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho is a slapstick comedy rom-com that deals with similar elements of Korean lore, also starring Lee Seung Gi, so if you appreciate the Hong Sisters humor, then K-drama fans may find this a fun watch.
My Love From the Star is another older, but top-ratings drama starring photogenic actors Kim Soo Hyun and Jun Ji Hyun. If you can imagine the American Superman as a handsome Korean drama man, then you understand why My Love From the Star is a must-watch. Its a sweet, romantic show about a hallyu star that falls in love with an alien. It involves cool superpowers, many funny moments, and a psychopathic murderer worthy of going up against our beloved alien.
If vampires are your thing, then never fear; the K-drama world has produced a number of shows to satisfy your tastes:
Blood is an interesting vampire show; however, fans found themselves unsatisfied with the openly ended and depressing finale. Reasons to watch: its a fusion of a vampire show and a medical drama, and main actors Ahn Jae Hyun and Ku Hye Sun married in real life last May!
Orange Marmalade is a cute, high school romance adapted from a webtoon.
Watch Orange Marmalade:
Scholar Who Walks the Night
Scholar Who Walks the Night takes vampires back to the Joseon era, complete with a cross-dressing girl who attempts to hide herself in the world of male scholars.
Watch Scholar Who Walks the Night:
Vampire Prosecutor: For those who like less romance and more crime-fighting every once in a while, this show is a compelling and hugely popular drama centered around a vampire himself. There are two seasons, plus a short spinoff show.
Watch Vampire Prosecutor 2:
Other supernatural shows to watch are:
I Hear Your Voice: Following a noona romance between a lawyer and a boy who can read her mind, This drama is a must-watch if youre a fan of Lee Jong Suk, who carries the show with his adorable cuteness.
Queen In Hyuns Man: A sweet romance involving time travel.
Touching You: A short drama made up of web-isodes, Touching You is an interesting show to watch if you dont have a lot of time. It stars Taecyeon, whose character can see peoples fates when he touches them. My only complaint is the female lead, who seems a bit weak and flat, but for about 15 minutes per episode, its worth a watch.
Ariana K. Welsh is a college student who spends most of her time obsessing over K-dramas with her sister, dancing to loud music, and writing into the wee hours of the night. Her current fave things in life are: snow, Waldeinsamkeit by R.W. Emerson, and Butterbeer.