#FiftyShadesDarker may offer the erotic love story between #ChristianGrey and #AnastasiaSteele, but #Korean #dramas offer something E.L. James's franchise will never have — decent dialogue without cringe-worthy lines like, "I don't make love. I fuck — hard."
If you're like me, you'll avoid the theaters and the crowds this Valentine's Day. With that being said, let me introduce five Korean dramas that will make your heart soar, your heart ache, and/or your eyes red from crying.
1. 'You're Beautiful' (2009)
Park Shin-hye stars in this drama as Go Mi-nam, a young woman set to become a nun who's suddenly thrown into the K-pop world to save her twin brother's spot in the popular K-pop group A.N.Jell. With ridiculous situations, this gender-bender offers lighthearted fair as Go Mi-nam falls in love with the leader of the group who's dead set on getting her kicked out of the group. This drama is as fantastical as #HarryPotter is magical. Watch with caution. This drama packs a lot of cheese, but is well worth it in the end.
2. 'The 1st Shop Of Coffee Prince' (2007)
The most talked about Korean drama of 2007, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, commonly known as #CoffeePrince, is another gender-bender featuring a talented cast including South Korea's biggest star this year #GongYoo. The drama tells the story of a young woman named Go Eun-chan, played by Yoon Eun-hye, who is mistaken for a man by Gong Yoo's Choi Han-kyul. They strike up a friendship that slowly becomes something more, leading Choi Han-kyul to think he might be gay. This drama offers a wonderful love story and an amazing soundtrack that is sure to linger with you well after you're done watching it.
3. 'My Name Is Kim Sam-Soon' (2005)
Kim Sun-a shines in this Korean drama as Kim Sam-soon, a woman whose lover cheats on her on Christmas Eve and proceeds to dump her on that same evening in the presence of Hyun Bin's Hyun Jin-heon. Kim Sun-a gained 15 pounds for the role of a baker who's trying to get her life back together, while at the same time falling for a younger man scarred by a tragic past and a failed relationship. The drama may be a little dated, but the story of a spinster never gets old. Watch this drama for Kim Sun-a's authentic and down-to-earth nature in a world where spinsters aren't supposed to get a happy ending.
4. 'Scent Of A Woman' (2011)
Get your tissue box ready cause this one's a doozy. Kim Sun-a will take you on a journey of pain and suffering as Lee Yeon-jae. Recently diagnosed with cancer, Lee Yeon-jae quits her job and decides to enjoy the last months of her life by completing a bucket list that includes falling in love and taking tango lessons. She meets Kang Ji-wook, played by Lee Dong-wook, and tries to keep him at bay since she's going to die soon. Each episode will make you cry at least once, so press play at your own risk.
5. 'Secret' (2013)
If Scent of a Woman made you cry, then Secret will tear your heart out, put it back in, then repeat the process until you wonder how you're still alive. Hwang Jung-eum delivers an award-winning performance as Kang Yoo-jeong, a woman who takes the blame for a hit-and-run accident where Jo Min-hyuk's lover is killed. Played by the chameleon-like Ji Sung, Jo Min-hyuk sets out to destroy Kang Yoo-jeong's life. When he discovers the awful truth behind the hit-and-run accident, his hatred morphs into something a little closer to love. Working as a reverse Wuthering Heights, this drama shows what happens when love starts from revenge.
If You're Still Debating
Stream all of these dramas on Dramafever, Viki, or Netflix.
What plans will you go with this Valentine's Day? Long lines or a long marathon of dramas? Let me know in the comments below.