10 Underrated K-Dramas That Deserve More Recognition
These underrated gems might not have garnered headlines, but they've certainly captured hearts.
1. "Chicago Typewriter"
Remember the 1930s? Neither do I, but Se-Joo, a bestselling author, feels an eerie connection to that era. He struggles with writer's block until he acquires an antique typewriter. The device seems to have a life of its own and soon he's writing a story eerily similar to the life of a 1930s independence fighter. Then there's also Jeon-Seol, a die-hard fan who ends up as his anti-fan due to a misunderstanding. Together, they try to figure out the mystery of their past lives and find some answers.
Office life can be dull, but not for Jang Geu-rae. Armed with only a high school diploma and a killer instinct for the board game Baduk (Go), he lands an internship at a trading company. Though utterly unqualified, he starts at the bottom, like the time he spends an entire day just trying to figure out how the photocopier works. He juggles company politics, foreign business deals, and even an unexpected friendship with his seemingly cold manager.
3. "Queen In-Hyun's Man"
Kim Bung-do, a Joseon-era scholar, discovers a talisman that can teleport him 300 years into the future – straight into the life of Choi Hee-jin, an actress playing Queen In-Hyun in a TV drama. Bung-do uses his time-jumping to escape life-threatening situations in his time, but in the process, starts falling for Hee-jin. Imagine the drama when he switches centuries to escape a sword fight just to land in the middle of Hee-jin's modern-day romantic issues.
4. "Save Me"
When Sang-mi and her family move to a small town, they're easy prey for a religious cult. At first, they're wooed by the charismatic leader and his promise of a "New Heaven's Gate." It's not long before they're in too deep. Sang-mi's high school classmates, led by the rebellious Sang-hwan, notice something's off. Cue the dangerous mission to expose the cult and save Sang-mi before she becomes the next spiritual bride.
In 2000, detective Lee Jae-han finds a walkie-talkie that allows him to communicate with detective Park Hae-young in 2015. Mind-blowing, right? They collaborate across time to solve cold cases, but every action has a reaction. When they solve one case, another pops up in its place, sometimes with even worse consequences. For example, saving a kidnapped child in the past leads to a new string of murders in the future.
6. "The Master's Sun"
Tae Gong-sil has a problem: she can see ghosts. No, really, she can't get rid of them, and they're cramping her style. Enter Joo Joong-won, a CEO who's only in love with money. But get this: whenever Gong-sil touches him, the ghosts disappear. Now, we've got a tag-team of her doing favors for ghosts in exchange for information he can use for business. It's like Casper meets Wall Street.
7. "Kill Me, Heal Me"
Meet Cha Do-hyun, a businessman with dissociative identity disorder. His life is a literal full house with seven personalities, including a teenage girl and a macho man. Each personality is a reaction to the trauma he's experienced, and each comes with its own set of troubles. Enter Oh Ri-jin, a psychiatrist determined to help him. She realizes the personalities are clues to a dark family secret and starts digging, not realizing she's becoming part of the story.
Seo Jung-hoo is a "night courier," a Robin Hood-like figure who takes on any job as long as it doesn't involve murder. Under the alias "Healer," he crosses paths with Chae Young-shin, a tabloid news reporter, and Kim Moon-ho, a famous journalist. They all become embroiled in a conspiracy that dates back to their parents' generation. While Jung-hoo dons disguises and hacks into systems, Young-shin uncovers social injustices, each without knowing the other's secret identity.
9. "Reply 1988"
Transport yourself to a simpler time – 1988, to be precise – on a tiny, humble street in Seoul where everyone knows everyone. Centered around five friends and their families, it's less about drama and more about the essence of daily life. There's Deok-sun, who navigates the rocky terrain of first love and academic pressures, and her friends, who each face their own issues, whether it's the family struggling financially or the prodigy who realizes he might not want what everyone else wants for him.
10. "You're Beautiful"
Go Mi-nyeo has a twin brother who's about to join the popular boy band A.N.Jell. But when he needs to get eye surgery, guess who steps in? Mi-nyeo disguises herself as a man and takes his place. While trying to keep her identity a secret, she starts falling for the band's moody leader, Tae-kyung, who's also getting confusingly attached to her, or rather, "him." You can already see where this is going, right? Wig snafus and gender-bender comedy galore.