“Descendants of the Sun” (태양의 후예)

Production on “Descendants of the Sun” began just three months after Song Joong-Ki finished his mandatory two-year military duty in Korea. He displays an easygoing flair in the role of the charismatic leader of the Alpha Team. Even bulked up (for him), Song is slight of build and baby faced. At times, I wondered whether someone like So Ji-Sub would’ve been better cast in the role. But, what he lacks in brawn, Song makes up with magnetism. He has one of those faces that the camera loves.

“She was Pretty” (그녀는 예뻤다)

If you were given the opportunity to be reunited with your childhood love, would you do it? Hye-Jin jumps at the chance, because she has nothing but good memories of Sung-Joon.

“Cheese in the Trap” (치즈 인 더 트랩)

There’s a word in Korean called jung/정 that’s difficult to verbalize. It encapsulates a feeling of love and loyalty that people have for one another. They will do things out of the kindness of their hearts, rather than as quid pro quo. I sometimes long for having more 정 with the people I know, but I also know that some are incapable of it. Jung is also the name of the male protagonist in this series, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the writers gave him that name.

“Moon that Embraces the Sun” (해를 품은 달)

A sweeping dramatic series set in Korea’s Joseon era, the “Moon That Embraces the Sun” is a love story that at times is painfully heartbreaking. But, it’s also filled with hope and humor. That combination makes for an addictive series that will leave viewers hungering for more.

“Producer” (프로듀사)

“Producer” is Kim Soo Hyun’s followup to the phenomenally popular series, “My Love From Another Star.” A light, romantic comedy, this K-Drama series touches on how ruthless Korea’s netizens can be over what they perceive to be an unforgivable lie.

“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.

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