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There are many beloved Korean dramas. It is difficult to select which ones are the best because nationalities and tastes of viewers are different. The ones that hit in Korea don’t always hit in other countries. In here I would like to select the most beloved Korean dramas overseas to show the tastes of international viewers.
1. The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince
Other names to be called: Coffee Prince
Chief Producer: Lee Yoon-Jung
Writer: Lee Jung-a, Jang Hyun-ju
Premere in Korea: July 2nd 2007
The end of in the air: Aug. 28th 2007
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Cast: Yoon Eun Hye as Go Eun Chan
Gong Yoo as Choi Han Kyul
Lee Sun Gyun as Choi Han Sung
Chae Jung Ahn as Han Yoo Joo
Number of Episodes: 17 + 1 Special Episode
Aired in: MBC
Original Source: Coffee Prince, Novel, written by Lee Sun-mi, 2006
Ko Eun-chan (Yoon Eun-hye) is a young girl who has to take care of her family after her father’s death. She actually does everything to feed her family and finally finds a nice job in Coffee Prince. The only problem is only males can work there for name’s sake. Because of that, she has to lie and pretend like a male.
Fortunately she looks like a good looking male anyway and doesn’t bother her at all until she falls in love with Choi Han-gyul who owns the shop.
Without knowing her real gender he uses her to get rid of women who were introduced by his grandma, pretending like he and she are a gay couple. She gets close to him and he also has a feeling for her. That worries him very much that he thinks he becomes gay and even goes to see a doctor for that matter.
In the meantime other colleagues in Coffee Prince find out Eun-chan is a girl and want them to get together but she does not allow them to talk to him. Eventually Han-gyul chooses her regardless of her gender and wants to be with her that he thinks she is he. He finds out the truth about her and feels glad that he doesn’t have to be homosexual.
2. Goong (aired in 2006)
Other names to be called: Palace (lit. translation) / Princess Hours (MBC Global Media) / Imperial Household
Director: Hwang In Roe
Writer: In Eun Ah
Premere in Korea: Jan. 11th 2006
The end of in the air: Mar. 30th 2006
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Fantasy
Cast: Yoon Eun Hye as Shin Chae-kyung
Joo Ji Hoon as Lee Shin
Kim Jeong Hoon as Lee Yul
Sung Ji Hyo as Min Hyo-rin
Ost: Perhaps love by How I&J (Cute and sunny lyric and neat melody appeals a lot)
You are fool by Stay (Soft melody and voice might make you feel calm)
Miracle by Howl
Number of Episodes: 24
Company: Eight Peaks
Aired in: MBC
It is an imaginary story about if Korea was not under Japanese colonization and still keeps its kingdom intact. Then, we must have royal family members and they must live in many different old palaces throughout Korea.
The King of Korea is sick and wants to have his prince, Shin, to get married before he dies. The prince wants to get married to his secret girl, Min Hyo Rin, but she didn’t want it. There is a betrothed girl, Chae Kyung, who is notified that she should marry the prince. She is in her high school and does not want to get married but she does after finding out her family’s financial difficulty.
She has to learn so many new rules in palace.
Moreover, the prince is so cold to her……. an unknown heir is found and there is a plot going on for the throne.. while the prince’s secret girlfriend, Min Hyo-rin, changes her mind to bring back her love from Chae-kyung with getting some help from Yul’s mother.
Many thought that unexpected and loveless marriage between the two total strangers might lead their lives into a misery along with many other negative facts and efforts.
However the story gets brighter as it heads toward the end. No one thought that Shin would be changed from an uncontrollable defiant to a prestigious noble man but he did it with his wife. They eventually make the reform and revolution of the palace that no other royal family members ever thought it would be possible.
3. My Name is Kim Sam-Soon (aired in 2005)
Other names to be called: My Lovely Sam Soon
Producer: Kim Yoon Chul
Writer: Kim Do Woo
Premere in Korea: June 1st 2005
The end of in the air: July 21st 2005
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Cast: Kim Sun Ah as Kim Sam-soon
Hyun Bin as Hyun Jin-heon
Jung Ryu Won as Yoo Hee-jin
Daniel Henney as Dr. Henry Kim
Ost: My Lovely Sam-Soon OST
Number of Episodes: 16
Aired in: MBC
It is a romantic comedy of a 29 year-old chubby and not charming looking woman, Kim Sam-soon. She is dumped by her boy friend on the Christmas day and goes to restroom for crying out loud. Unfortunately she is in men’s room and happens to meet Jin-heon in her miserable state.
Later she meets him again but it is not a pretty one either. Her hair is stuck his button and he cuts it. She gets really angry and throws a cake she baked herself on his face. Surely he gets very upset but realizes the cake has a great taste. Soon she is hired by him in his restaurant as a patisseur.
One day she is having a blind date and is ruined by him. She feels bad because she really wants to have a man even through a blind date. Jin-heon realizes his bad behavior and tries to make it up for her. They ends up drinking together until she got so drunk. He can’t let her leave her drunk like that and has to bring her to his place.The next day his mother stops by his place and finds out her being in his place. He has to tell his mom that she is his girlfriend and makes contract with her to be his girlfriend to make his mom happy. Among their relationship, Jin-heon’s ex-girlfriend, Hee-jin who still loves him and Henry who loves Hee-jin appears and makes this story interesting.
4. Full House (aired in 2004)
Director: Pyo Min Su
Writer: Min Hyo-jung
Premere in Korea: July 14th 2004
The end of in the air: Sept. 2nd 2004
Cast: Rain(Lee Young Jae), Song Hye-gyo(Han Ji Eun), Yu Min Hyuk(Kim Sung Su), Kang Hye Won(Han Eun Jung)
Ost: I think I by Byul (the lyric is about premature love)
Choum Gu Jarie by Lee Boram (The singer’s great singing technique and husky voice appeals much)
Number of Episodes: 16
Runtime: 70 min.
Filming Locations: Shi Island, Incheon
Aired in: KBS TV
Original Source: Comic book, Full House, written and illustrated by Won Su-yon in 1993
Han Ji Eun (Song Hye-gyo)’s father was an architect. He died after completing the Full House. Han Ji Eun was an internet novelist. All she had were two best friends(a man and a woman) and the Full House. Yet, the best friends had a baby but didn’t have money to raise it. They sent Han Ji Eun to China for a bogus award trip and sold her house and ran away. What best friends they are!!
She happened to know the Asian top star, Lee Young Jae (Rain), and got his help to come back to Korea. When she came back to Korea, she found out the house was sold to Lee Young Jae. Han Ji Eun decided to live in the house as a housekeeper in order to make money and buy back the house. Lee Young Jae found out what had happened to her house and took pity on her.He announced that he would marry her. She didn’t want to marry him but she did it because the reward was her house back if she signed the marriage contract. Their arguments were everyday routine but they truly fell in love with each other.
5. Stairs to Heaven (Aired in 2003)
Director: Lee Jang Soo
Writer: Park He-kyung
Premere in Korea: Dec. 3rd 2003
The end of in the air: Feb. 5th 2004
Cast: Kwon Sang Woo as Cha Song-ju
Choi Ji Woo as Han Jung-suh
Kim Tae Hee as Han Yu-ri
Shin Hyun Joon as Han Tae-hwa
Ost: Ave Maria, Bogo shipda (I want to see you)
Number of Episodes: 20
Aired in: SBS
When after Cha Song Ju went to study overseas and came back, Jung-suh was hit by Yu-ri’s car and lost her memory. Yu-ri hid Jung-suh with her biological father and let others think she got killed. Tae-wha knew what his sister did but didn’t reveal the truth and stayed with her.Jung-suh worked at Song-ju’s company without knowing and got close together once again. She got her memory back and the story looked like heading toward an almost typical happy ending but she got an eye cancer just like her deceased mother. Tae-wha intentionally made an accident and gave his eyes to her but she eventually died.
6. Daejanggeum (aired in 2002)
Other names to be called: Jewel in the Palace / Great Jang Geum
Director: Lee Byung Hoon
Writer: Kim Young Hyun
Premere in Korea: Sept. 15th 2003
The end of in the air: Mar. 23rd 2004
Genre: Drama, History
Cast: Lee Young Ae as Suh Jang-geum
Ji Jin Hee as Min Jung-ho
Ost: Onara by Kim Ji Hyun
Number of Episodes: 54
Aired in: MBC
Original Source: Daejanggeum, Novel, written by Yu Min Ju
It is based on a true story of a magnificent woman who achieves her goal with all sorts of difficulties and impossibilities around 500 years ago in Chosun era when Confucianism rules the time. There was impossible for women and low class citizens may enter into male jobs and higher class society.
The slave class Suh Jang-geum (Lee Young Ae) is the only one who eventually becomes physician in charge for the king Joong-jong defeating all the competitive male doctors. She also is very talented to cook helpful meals for her patients’ symptoms. She does not stop there. She receives the most honorable position for doctors in the era and the King even names her Daejanggeum meaning the great woman.
It is not much meaning for women in most countries in the world these days but she must be way better than any other copetitors at that time to stand out like that and must be a very loveable and decent person to get King’s heart. Throughout the story, you will see how much difficulty she has to face to become the best and you will admire a person can survive from all those bad influences and malicious plots around her.
7. Winter Sonata (aired in 2002)
Director: Yun Seok Ho, Lee Hyung Min
Writer: Kim Eun Hee, Yoon Eun Kyung, Oh Soo Yun
Premere in Korea: Jan. 14th 2002
The end of in the air: Mar. 19th 2002
Genre: Drama, Romance
Cast: Bae Yong Jun as Kang Joon-sang/Lee Min-hyung
Choi Ji Woo as Jung Yu-jin
Park Yong Ha as Kim Sang-hyuk
Park Sol Mi as Oh Che-lin
Number of Episodes: 20
Aired in: KBS2
Jun Sang (Bae Yong Jun) and Yu Jin (Choi Ji Woo) loved each other in high school. Jun Sang got a car accident and lost his memory. Jun Sang became an architect and met a designer, Yu Jin, a few years later. He didn’t know why but he felt that his heart got close to Yu Jin although he had a girlfriend. Kim Sang Hyuk (Park Yong Ha) also loved Yu Jin and Jun Sang’s girlfriend was a friend of Yu Jin. All these four people were interfered by one another when they wanted to claim their loved ones. Eventually Jun Sang’s memory came back and found his true love.