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Last year was a full year for Korean Television. All broadcasting channels from KBS to SBS and MBC have had a lot to offer from historical dramas to melodramatic ones; all in all, Korean dramas with their captivating story-lines have exposed the world to what it is like to experience “all things Korean” in style, culture, history, and food. Below are the top 5 Korean dramas that have mesmerized audiences from all corners of the world in 2013.
1. Kings Daughter Soo Baek Hyang (MBC)
A story about the different types of love that any individual can experience and how that love can be the main motivation behind his/her actions. “Kings Daughter Soo Baek Hyang” tells us the journey of a soon-to-be 21 year-old princess (Solan), who loses everything that is common to her in a tragic misunderstanding that results in the slaughter of an entire village, killing her mother and gravely injuring her dad. Luckily, her younger sister Sohli survives the attack.
Unknown to Solan, her mother shared critical information with Sohli regarding Baekje’s King Muryeong, her biological father. Sohli angered by the truth, refuses to accept that her sister was of royal blood, while she was merely the daughter of a mute slave. Taking her mother’s hairpin, she presented herself to the King as his daughter Soo Baek Hyang, while Solan, the real Soo Baek Hyang worked as a slave in her father’s palace. Eventually, Solan learns the truth and confronts her sister, saying “Are your dreams worth dirtying our mother’s name, betraying our father, and lying to me?” Sohli, then answers “Yes, I am not like you, a saint, I am not satisfied by simple goods, I have dreams and I will do anything to achieve them.” Solan later agrees to hide her true identity because of her love for the King and crown prince, and then, goes on a venture to help her country. Released, sometime in October, the drama is still ongoing with many twists and love relationships. The beautiful story-line shows us how greed can consume a person and the power of love, whether it is for one’s country, family, or self.
2. Master’s Sun (SBS)
Released August 7, the horror-romantic comedy was centered on two characters: Joo Joong-won (So Ji-sub) and Tae Gong-shil (Gong Hyo-jin). So Ji-sub plays the greedy and stingy CEO of Kingdom, a luxurious mall and hotel, who only invests in things and people that he believes to be of use to him.
The self centered CEO doesn’t believe in spirits or ghosts but his life turns upside down after he encounters a paranoid ghost whisperer, who can only seek refuge in his company. Their unique bond turns what was once a business transaction into a love affair. As the story evolves the arrogant CEO matures into a caring individual that takes an active role in helping Tae Gong-shil, aid those who have passed on fulfill their unfinished business. A story about sacrifice, letting go, and love, “Master’s Sun” has proven to be one of the best dramas written by the Hong Sisters.
3. Marry Him If You Dare (KBS2)
Set in the world of television broadcasting, “Marry Him If You Dare” tells the story of Na Mi-rae, who travels back in time to prevent her 32-year-old self from marrying the love of her life, news anchor Kim Shin. To alter the past, Na Mi-rae leads her present self on a different route in order to pursue the things she really wanted in life. Later, Na Mi-rae, the 32-year-old doesn’t listen to Na Mi-rae senior, and still falls in love with Kim Shin and develops a strong affection towards Park Se-joo, the heir to the television broadcasting network. Both men, deeply fall for the 32-year-old, leaving her confused with her heart torn between two choices: continue loving Kim Shin and risk the past repeating itself or love Park Se-joo and live a luxurious life. The star-studded series consisted of 16 episodes with several original sound tracks such as “It’s You” by Park Hyo-shin, “Only Me” by Melody Day, and “My Lady” by Kim Tae-woo.
4. The Gu Family Book (MBC)
“The Gu Family Book” depicts the journey of a half man-half monster Choi Kang Chi, who is searching for a centuries-old book that contains the secret to becoming human. Choi Kang Chi is the son of Gu Wol Ryung, the guardian spirit of Jiri Mountain, and Yoon Seo Hwa his human mother. His journey leads him to Yeo-wool, who is fated to die if she falls in love with the guy she meets near the peach blossom tree under a crescent moon, which is none other than Kang Chi himself. As the story unfolds a powerful connection between Yeo-wool and Kang Chi develops, enabling the two to defeat the main villain, Jo Gwan-woong, a corrupt nobleman who seeks happiness in ruining businesses and sleeping with women of noble birth. A drama known for its excellent cinematography and sound tracks, “The Gu Family Book” is rumored to have a sequel with MBC yet to confirm this.
5. The Heirs (SBS)
“The Heirs” is centered on the friendships, rivalries, and love lives of the young and rich teens. Similar to Gossip Girl, the drama is about a group of elite high school students who are being groomed to handle their families’ businesses with the main characters being Lee Min Ho as Kim Tan, Park Shin Hye as Cha Eun Sang, and Kim Woo Bin as Choi Young Do.
Other dramas worth watching include: “The Good Doctor,” “That Winter the Wind Blows,” “Answer Me 1994,” and “Bel Ami.”
Image credit: The Master’s Sun via Facebook