If you’re looking for something a little chiller after the horrors of Squid Game, try Hometown Cha Cha Cha, which is basically a Hallmark Christmas movie in series form (which is to say a cozy romance). The series, which is currently “airing” weekly on Netflix, sees a big city dentist named Hye-jin decide to open an office in the small seaside town of Gongjin, where she once visited with her family as a child. It all happens on a bit of a whim, with Hye-jin not fully prepared for the transition to rural life in a town where everyone knows everyone’s business. Enter Du-sik, the town’s darling jack-of-all-trades, who helps the townspeople by doing any and every job they might need. The two couldn’t be more different, but fate seems to have brought them together. You probably have an idea of what happens next…
When the Camellia Blooms (2019)
Dong-baek (Kong Hyo-jin) is the owner of a small-town bar called Camellia. Her ordinary life turns topsy-turvy when three men enter her life — a good guy, a bad guy, and a miserly guy. What kind of stories will unfold in this sleepy town full of colorful characters?
If you’re looking for another K-drama set outside of Seoul, When the Camellia Blooms is the story of a single mom Dong-baek, who moves to the fictional town of Ongsan where she opens a bar called Camellia. When local police officer Yong-sik declares his love for Dong-baek, she is initially not interested, but the two become closer the more time they spend together. Thrown in a solid supporting cast and a serial killer subplot and you’ve got yourself one of the most popular K-dramas in recent years.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020)
Desperate to escape from his emotional baggage and the heavy responsibility he’s had all his life, a psychiatric ward worker begins to heal with help from the unexpected—a woman who writes fairy tales but doesn’t believe in them.
There’s still a taboo around addressing mental illness in Korea, which is one of the many reasons why this 2020 drama about Gang-tae, a young man who is a caregiver at a psychiatric hospital, and Moon-young, a children’s author living with antisocial personality disorder, made such a splash. While the romance at its center is great, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay really shines in its exploration of Gang-tae’s relationship with his brother, Sang-tae, who is on the autism spectrum. In a press conference promoting the show (via Metro Style), Sang-tae actor Oh Jung-se said of the character: “If you meet someone like Sang-tae, who is on the autism spectrum, on the street, I think it would be nice if people could think ‘I would like to be with that person’ instead of ‘I would like to help that person.’”
Boys Over Flowers (2009)
Unassuming high school girl Jan-di stands up to — and eventually falls for — a spoiled rich kid who belongs to the school’s most powerful clique.
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