The term “Hallyu” or the “Korean Wave” refers to the global popularity of South Korean culture, including Korean dramas. The 2000s marked a turning point in the growth of Hallyu, as Korean dramas began to gain popularity overseas, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. Diverse and sophisticated storylines were produced, and it began a new wave of fame for K-dramas. Here are a few iconic K-dramas from the 2000s that are worth watching:
Winter Sonata (2002)
A touching romance story about two childhood friends who reunite as adults, this drama is considered one of the most popular and successful Korean dramas of all time. It is widely regarded as one of the most popular and influential Korean dramas. It is credited with starting the Korean Wave (also known as Hallyu).
The drama follows the love story of a high school student, Jung Yu-jin, and a teacher, Lee Min-hyeok, and explores love, loss, and memory themes. To this day, Winter Sonata remains an iconic example of the Korean drama genre and continues to be a fan favourite.
Jewel in the Palace (2003)
Jewel in the Palace is set in the Joseon Dynasty and follows the life of Jang-geum, a young woman who rises from being a lowly kitchen servant to becoming a royal physician. The drama is based on the true story of Jang-geum, the first female royal physician in Korean history, and highlights the challenges she faced as a woman in a male-dominated society.
Stairway to Heaven (2003)
This heart-wrenching melodrama series is about Han Jung-suh and Cha Song-joo, childhood friends who are separated but reunited years later as adults. The two fall in love, but a series of events, including the involvement of another woman and a tragic accident, complicates their relationship.
Full House (2004)
This lighthearted romantic comedy is a must-watch for fans of the genre. It follows the story of a talented young writer named Han Ji-eun who is swindled out of her family home by her close friend. Desperate to regain control of her life, she strikes a deal with a famous actor named Lee Young-jae to live together in the house until she can repurchase it.
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My Name is Kim Sam-soon (2005)
A romantic comedy that broke the mould of traditional Korean dramas, this show follows the love life of a pastry chef who is anything but conventional. Kim Sam-soon, a talented pastry chef struggles with personal and professional setbacks. The drama explores love, relationships, and self-discovery themes and is widely regarded as one of the most popular and successful Korean dramas.
A romantic historical drama about a modern-day prince who falls in love with a commoner, “Goong” is a timeless tale of love and royal intrigue. It is a romantic comedy-drama set in a fictional monarchy and follows the story of Crown Prince Lee Shin and his arranged marriage to a commoner named Chae-gyeong.
The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince (2007)
A gender-bending romantic comedy about a young man who poses as a woman to work in a coffee shop, this drama explores themes of identity and love. Go Eun-chan, a tomboyish young woman, is mistaken for a man by Choi Han-kyul, the heir to a food and beverage conglomerate. Han-kyul hires Eun-chan to pose as his gay lover to avoid an arranged marriage, but as they spend more time together, their relationship evolves into something more.
It is a historical epic that tells the story of Jumong, the founder of the kingdom of Goguryeo in ancient Korea. The drama follows Jumong’s rise from a prince in exile to a mighty king and his relationships with the people around him, including his family, friends, and enemies. This show is a testament to the power of determination and leadership.
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The Legend (2007)
The Legend is a South Korean television drama series is a historical drama that tells the story of King Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of ancient Korea. The drama explores King Gwanggaeto’s life and reign, including his military conquests, relationships with the people around him, and efforts to unify the Three Kingdoms and establish the Goguryeo kingdom as a dominant power.
Boys Over Flowers (2009)
Based on the Japanese manga series “Hana Yori Dango”, the drama follows the story of a poor but spunky high school girl named Jan Di who is admitted to an exclusive high school for the wealthy and finds herself embroiled in a love triangle with the school’s most popular and arrogant students, the F4.
My Love from the Star (2013)
This science fiction romance drama follows the story of an alien named Do Min Joon, who has been living on Earth for 400 years, and who falls in love with a famous actress named Chun Song Yi. Despite their challenges, including their age difference and Song Yi’s fame, the two find themselves drawn to each other and must navigate their feelings in a world where Min Joon’s alien identity is kept secret. The series explores themes of love, fate, and the impact of the past on the present.
These K-dramas are a great way to experience the evolution of the Korean drama industry and are sure to leave you with a memorable viewing experience. They showcase the variety and creativity of Korean dramas in the 2000s and are sure to provide an enjoyable and unique viewing experience.
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