“Dream High” (드림하이)

“Dream High” is one of those series that starts off with a ridiculous premise. But, if you stick with it, you’ll be amused, angered and (at times) deeply touched. Yes, this is a glossy high school musical with a love triangle. But it also deals with child abandonment, sexual assault and the abuse of children by the system set in place to manufacture “idols.” This isn’t just a Korea thing. Think about all the American boy band members who have revealed how they were abused by their predatory management.

“My Love From Another Star” (별에서 온 그대)

Sold as a romantic comedy, “My Love From Another Star” definitely delivers on that front. But it’s also a wonderful story about true love, alienation and sacrifice.

“Coffee Prince” (커피프린스)

On the surface, “Coffee Prince” is your standard boy-meets-girl romantic comedy with a few roadblocks thrown in for good measure. Thanks to the chemistry shared by the attractive leads (Gong Yoo and Yoo Eun Hye), the series is highly watchable and I understand why so many fans are repeat viewers. But beneath the cute exterior, the series deals with issues such as sexual confusion, gender roles and poverty.

“Answer Me 1988” (응답하라 1988)

One of the things that I really enjoy about the “Answer Me” trilogy is the lifelong friendships that that characters share. Whereas the first two series focused primarily on the teenagers, “Answer Me 1988” delves into the backstories of their parents as well. And that, to me, made this chapter a standout. The parents’ storylines were as interesting–if not more–than the who-will-she-marry premise that is predominant in each of the “Answer Me” installments.

“Answer Me 1994” (응답하라 1994)

“Answer Me 1994” aims to leave viewers guessing as to which man Na Jung will marry. But more interesting is the lifelong friendship that these seven college roommates share.

“Answer Me 1997” (응답하라 1997)

Everything that “How I Met Your Mother” did wrong (including its series finale), “Answer Me 1997” does right. Funny and poignant with superb acting by the entire cast, the series tells the story of 6 childhood friends whose lives are intertwined through adulthood. Kudos to K-pop Hoya (of the group Infinite) for his thoughtful (and unstereotypical) portrayal of a gay teenager who is in love with his best friend; and to the writers for not portraying it as “weird.”

Noble, My Love (고결한 그대)

This 2015 Korean rom com is very pleasant on the eyes. The leads — Bang Sung Hoon (“Oh My Venus”) and Kim Jae Kyung — both have model good looks and share some really fun scenes. Though you know going in that the poor-nice-girl-meets-rich-cold-boy storyline will end with a wedding, I was happy to be on board. But, the main problem I had with this short series was the insufferable control issues that were played off as cute, rather than creepy.

“Ghost” (aka “Phantom”) (유령)

“My motto is, ‘Don’t believe anything with a mouth.'” That’s sound advice, coming from Kwon Hyuk Joo (aka Crazy Cow), the head of the cyber unit. And that’s also good advice when trying to figure out who’s telling the truth in this 2012 police procedural.

“The Master’s Sun” (주군의 태양)

As with many series, “The Master’s Sun” would’ve benefited from some judicious editing. Too much time is spent on whether or not this couple will get together. We all know they will end up together. That’s a given. The real meat of the storyline is Gong-Sil’s ability to put restless souls at ease. When she goes all Nancy Drew and he revs up his inner Remington Steele, they are perfection.

“Oh My Venus” (오 마이 비너스)

An easy to watch romantic comedy, “Oh My Venus” has its flaws (the fat shaming could’ve been toned down). But, overall, it’s a fun, addictive series that lives up to the hype. So Ji Sub and Shin Mina are the cutest couple ever and I seriously ship them. The chemistry these two share is strong!

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