Most Kdramas that one comes across seems to have a similar concept. A damsel in distress falls in love with a knight in shining armor and craziness ensues. We can list dozens of Korean series with the poor girl-rich boy trope that never seems to go out of trend. And in most of these dramas, you will find an arrogant male lead, a shy and polite female lead, a strict set of parents, and a charming second lead or rival that will make your heart flutter more than the main lead. Then there are Korean series that have elements that make no sense but are popular tropes, nevertheless. We agree some of the Kdramas do justice to these tropes and bring out the best stories ever. Some of these are The Heirs, Boys Before Flowers, and many others.
But can we also want something different in our beloved Korean series? Something that shocks us with its originality, something that is relatable yet dreamy. We at TRB keep an eye out for such gems in the Hallyu industry and have brought you a list of the best Korean dramas that break the trope.
When the Camellia Blooms
This Korean series, when released on Netflix, it took a long time to etch a mark in the fans’ hearts. Why? Because these kinds of storylines are hard to find in the Korean drama industry. The story follows an orphan single mother, Dongbaek, who moves to a small town with her baby. She sets up a restaurant to earn her living and we watch her trying to make the ends meet. Dongbaek, at first glance, will look like your usual shy, quiet girl in need of a savior. But as the story progresses, you will realize just how powerful and firm she can be when it comes to things that matter to her. With a great ensemble of cast, the show will make you invested in each character’s story.
Romance is the Bonus Book
Yes, the female lead is financially weak and the trope of living together in a house is present but this Korean series offers you a simplistic look at life. There are no negative characters, the guy is not trying to save the girl, and there are no out of the blue, harsh twists that will blast your minds. If it were not for the ridiculously beautiful cast, you will find Romance is the Bonus Book like a real story.
My ID is Gangnam Beauty
Kang Mi Rae (Im Soo Hyang) undergoes plastic surgery to change her appearance and start the college life on a new note in this Korean series. My ID is Gangnam Beauty raises a lot of questions about beauty standards that tie us down and make us question why we are even doing so much just so people will like us. Not many Kdramas out there will raise issues like disastrous beauty standards, body-shaming, weight, bulimia, and even plastic surgery. And that is what makes this Soo Hyang and Cha Eun Woo starrer one of the best Korean dramas to binge.
This Park Seo Joon Korean series defied the usual tropes that are followed by most of the dramas. The plot deals with racial discrimination that goes unnoticed in society, along with how having a shady past presumably dooms you for life. The show also does its best to bring out the second leads and shine their character growth as well.
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
Do Bong Soon, a petite girl has a secret. She possesses superhuman strength that is passed from one generation to another in her family. This Korean series takes a dive into the patriarchal mindset of the society. The prejudice that only men can be strong and women are supposed to be well-behaved and in need of protection is displayed in the character of Bong Soon. With on-point comedy, swoon-worthy romance, and addressing societal issues with humor, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon is simply one of the best Korean dramas to binge.
With the globalization of Korean culture and Kdramas, the creators now realize that to stay in the market, they will have to think out of the box and jump out of the well of sappy romance stories. The viewers want more from this diverse industry and the recent shows are providing just that.
Check out other quality Korean series recommended by the TRB team. Which Kdrama trope do you hate the most? Let us know in the comments below.