It’s easy to generalize South Korean dramas as heart-fluttering shows with dreamy heroes and gorgeous female leads. After all, most hit K-Dramas that make waves internationally are romantic comedies or full-blown romance tear-jerkers. However, if you’re not into romance but still want to find out why K-Dramas are all the rage these days, you can check out non-romantic series. And, yes, there are a lot of them. Here are 10 of our favorites:
A young profiler (Lee Je-hoon) in the present time finds a walkie-talkie that has the ability to connect him with a detective from the past (Cho Jin-woong). Together, they try to solve cold cases in the hopes of changing the future. Inspired by true events, Signal is a thrilling crime mystery series with just the right amount of fantasy to set it apart from most shows in the same genre.
A level-headed, cold, and lonely prosecutor (Cho Seung-woo) has managed to avoid getting involved in corruption. Things take an interesting turn for him when a dead body is thrown in front of him, with Police Lieutenant Han Yeo Jin (Bae Doona), they join forces to eradicate corruption at the prosecutor’s office all the while solving a serial murder case.
Sky Castle (2018-2019)
A drama that gripped South Korea with its stories of intrigue, Sky Castle is not your ordinary family K-Drama. It follows the story of four women (Yum Jung-ah, Lee Tae-ran, Yoon Se-ah, Oh Na-ra) from the country’s 1% living in a luxurious neighborhood called SKY Castle and how their children struggle to meet the expectations of society as they try to crack into top Korean universities. Scandalous and intense, it will make you stick around for all the piping hot tea.
Want a cool vigilante drama to binge-watch? Lookout might just be it for you. A group of people (Lee Is-young, Kim Young-kwang, Kim Tae-hoon, Kim Seul-gi, KEY) who’ve lost their loved ones in crimes come together to take justice into their own hands. The vigilante team is made up of a detective, two prosecutors, a genius hacker, and an insomniac.
Save Me (2017)
A family in search of a fresh start moves to a remote town and eventually finds themselves joining a cult helmed by a charismatic leader (Jo Sung-ha). Opening her eyes to the horrors of the faux religious group, the family’s eldest daughter (Seo Ye-ji) makes her move to save the people she loves most. Spine-tingling and utterly disturbing, Save Me is one heck of a roller coaster ride of thrills and chills.
White Christmas (2011)
Don’t be fooled by its title. There’s nothing merry about White Christmas at all. It tells the story of students in a prestigious high school that accepts only the top 0.1% of its student applicants. One winter break, a mystery unfolds when seven students receive anonymous letters. Because of a blizzard, the students get trapped in the school and a series of terrifying incidents take place.
Two brothers, a missing father, and an alien. Sounds bizarre? It is. But do give it a chance, especially if you’re into sci-fi. This K-Drama about parallel worlds is a tale of two brothers who transcend time and plausibility to complete their personal missions.
Liar Game (2014)
Based on a Japanese drama of the same title, Liar Game delivers riveting suspense that will play tricks on you, mislead you, and toy with your emotions until the very end. If you really have an aversion to romance, you can rest assured that this show’s characters maintain a platonic relationship all throughout.
Prison Playbook (2017-2018)
From the director of the largely successful Reply series comes a heart-rendering look into the lives of prisoners and prison staff. Prison Playbook mainly revolves around the story of Je-hyeok (Park Hae-soo), a baseball pitcher who was a few days short to signing with a major league in the U.S. when he gets sent behind bars for a crime.
It’s a race against time for one of South Korea’s top actresses (Kim Ah-joong), whose son has been kidnapped. For her to get her precious child back, she has to host a live reality show and carry out orders sent by the kidnappers in every episode. Wanted poses a question of morality, as viewers find entertainment in a life-threatening situation.
What are your favorite non-romantic K-Dramas? Share them with us!
*Featured image via tvN