09/23/2015 UPDATE: I never expected this Korean Drama post to be this popular! But for some reason it is. I’ve been getting emails with people asking me about other shows they could look into, sooo… What I’ll do is this – I’m going to re-order the list (at the bottom of the post) to reverse-chronological order, so that the latest shows I’ve watched are at the top. And then I will continue to update this blog post after each time I watch a Korean show.
I have a fair bit of knowledge of Chinese language and culture, having studied it since childhood and teaching Kung Fu since adulthood.
But I probably have a bit more understanding of Singaporean culture, since I lived and worked there for over five years.
But Korean? Korean drama!?!
Well, I did date a few Korean girls – one for close to ten years… And I took a couple of quarters of Korean language in college. But you can imagine how well that stuck. And my ex’s, well, they didn’t really expose me to too much of the culture – aside from the food – which I never fell out of love with. 🙂
Stumbling into Korean Drama
I had seen a snippet here and there of various Korean dramas, but to be honest, they just didn’t look enjoyable at all to me. I watch a good amount of foreign entertainment, mainly Chinese but also others as well. I’ve seen several different Korean movies, which I really enjoyed, but again, the Korean drama TV show thing just didn’t attract me in the least.
And then thanks to a case of what-I-guess-you’d-call mistaken identity, here I am today on the second episode of my fifth series of Korean Drama TV. Just how did that happen?
One weekend my wife and daughter were out of town, visiting her Laotian side of the family (aside from loving the food, knowing a couple of phrases and going to the temple (Wat Lao Buddha Khanti) once a year for the New Year festival, I know little of that culture either).
I was stuck at home alone on a rainy Saturday night. So I popped open a beer and cruised around on Netflix.
As I was browsing the various titles, something REALLY caught my eye.
A Korean Drama Kung Fu Connection
To put this in to perspective, I will have to explain just a short bit about the style of martial arts I teach. Strange, I know.
I practice and teach a style of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts (TCMA), AKA Kung Fu, called Northern Shaolin. It’s not the stuff you think of at the Shaolin Temple, but rather a particular Northern style that has been through Shaolin.
Anyway, the important take-away here is that in our style, the most well-known dude in history is named Gu Ruzhang.
And although you can find Kung Fu movies galore that showcase different historical figures, styles, events, etc., none of them feature our (Northern Shaolin) people, style, events, etc., and this rather sucks.
Anyway, to bring it full circle, there I was on the couch…
And I came across a Netflix Korean Drama title called Gu Family Book! The box-art was extremely Asian and looked like a Kung Fu flick. And then the master I mentioned earlier is named Gu… So do you think I clicked that thing or what? Hell yes, I did.
And soon realized it had nothing whatsoever to do with what I thought / hoped it did…
But I kept on watching. It was just one of those weekend nights, ya know.
I soon found myself hooked. By the time the girls got home, I only had one or two episodes left to watch. So I watched me some Korean Drama. 🙂
The following night it was my turn to select the show we would watch, so I picked out another Korean drama and asked if she minded giving it a try. She was up for it.
Til now, we’re still watching Korean dramas (interspersed with other shows, however).
Korean Dramas I've Seen
Without further ado, here’s the Korean Dramas I have seen up til now, in reverse chronological order.