5 Binge-worthy K-dramas on Netflix Recommended by a Korean (feat. Useful Korean Expressions)

Bored at home?

Looking for some new k-dramas to watch?

Check out these binge-worthy dramas on Netflix approved by a Korean!



1. HOSPITAL PLAYLIST (슬기로운 의사생활) + PRISON PLAYBOOK (슬기로운 감빵생활)

A TV series about 5 friends and how their lives intertwine since undergraduate medical school.

For the first time in 20 years, these 5 doctors work together, and restarted a band to relieve stress and have fun during their crazy busy schedule.

It also shows different stories of patients who spend ordinary, yet special moments in a hospital, which is a miniature version of life from cradle to grave.

I love this TV series because it’s all about empathy and good characters.

Unlike most Korean TV shows, it’s pretty calm and puts a smile on my face.

No, they don’t slap each other with Kimchi. (Although, there’s a little naughtiness involving filthy water and a rag thrown at someone’s face.)

It’s the second show in the “Wise Life (슬기로운 생활)” series, following Prison Playbook (슬기로운 감빵생활). (FYI, 슬기로운 생활 has been a textbook since the 80s.)

If you watch them both, you’ll find a lot of the same actors.



최선을 다하겠습니다. (choi-seon-eul da-ha-get-seub-ni-da) = I will do my best.

정신 차려 (jeong-sin cha-ryeo) = Wake up, Pull yourself together or Get ahold of yourself

실세 (sil-se) = Influential person or big shot



A romantic TV show that depicts the top-secret love story of a Jaebeol heiress.

She accidentally lands in North Korea after a paragliding mishap and meets a hot army officer.

Just like the quote, “sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right destination”.

As a Korean, I’ve never really cared too much about North Korea.

But it shows the life of North Koreans (I doubt that it’s realistic, but it was still interesting to watch.)

Another fun part was North Korean language and their slang.

After watching, I realized once again that Hyun Bin is so handsome and Son Ye-jin is so beautiful.



후라이까지 말라우 (hu-ra-i-kka-ji mal-la-u) = Don’t lie in North Korean slang. It’s 뻥치지마 (bbeong-chi-ji-ma) in South Korea.

에미나이 (eminai) = North Korean way to call a “girl or woman”.


3. SKY CASTLE (스카이캐슬)

Want to take a peek at how competitive and fierce student life is in Korea?

This show perfectly captures how passionate Korean parents are when it comes to their children’s education and success.

The story seems a bit exaggerated, but felt very realistic.

It made me glad I was born in the countryside.

It’s a lot more intense than the previous shows, so it’s a good idea to be in the right frame of mind.



저를 전적으로 믿으셔야 합니다. (jeo-reul jeon-jeok-eu-ro mid-eu-sheo-ya hab-ni-da) = You have to trust me completely.


4. KINGDOM (킹덤)

A historical Korean zombie show that features awesome hats.

It’s perfect viewing given the global situation.

I haven’t gotten into it much, because it’s a little too scary.

But people keep asking me what “bakkatyangban” means.



바깥양반 (bakkatyangban) = Husband

This word is derived from the traditional Korean house (Hanok).

It also refers to a traditional lifestyle where the wife was responsible for housework whereas the husband was responsible for outside work.

These terms aren’t relevant anymore, but you’re still judged in Korea by your job title.


5. REPLY series (응답하라 시리즈)

Reply 1997, 1994 and 1988

Looking for some sweet sweet nostalgia?

If you’re curious about Korean life in the 80s and 90s, this might be the perfect TV series for you.

While airing, Korean viewers were so focused on finding out who the main female character marries.

They even created a competition between “어남류 VS. 어남택 (eo-nam-ryu VS. eo-nam-taek)”.

They’re abbreviations for 어차피 남편은 류준열 (eo-cha-pi nam-pyeon-eun Ryu Jun-yeol, meaning “in any case, husband is Ryu Jun-yeol”), and 어쩌면 남편은 택이 (eo-jjeo-myeon nam-pyeon-eun Taek-ee, meaning “perhaps, her husband is Taek”).

And yes, we love abbreviations.

Even the show titles were abbreviated from 응답하라 1997, 응답하라 1994 and 응답하라 1988 to 응칠(R7), 응사(R4), 응팔(R8).



추억 여행 (chu-eok yeo-haeng) = A trip down memory lane, literally a memory trip

쓰레기 (sseuregi) = Trash or jerk



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This post first appeared on https://linguasia.com.



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