Useful stuff

When I first fell in love with K-dramas, I was excited but felt lost in the world that was entirely new, exotic and intimidating to navigate. These links and websites really helped me find my footing, so I hope it will come in handy for others. It’s not meant to be comprehensive or exhaustive, but these are sites that work(ed) for me, so they may do the same for you too. Since I’m still learning something new everyday, I’ll keep updating these resources as and when.

What is Korean Drama? 

In the beginning…there was an introduction to Korean drama. 

K-Drama Streaming sites

There are of course, more out there, but these are the ones that I use because its accessible in my part of the world, they’re fast and they work. Let’s have that debate about legalities another day, and it goes without saying, caveat emptor etc:

1. KShowNow: English-subbed variety faves like Running ManWe Got Married and Appa Odiga.

2. Dramafire: K-, T-, and J-dramas optimised for viewing on mobile devices. Can be slow to load.

3. Dramanet: J-, K-, T-, HK- and C-dramas.

Korean language

These are essential reading for any non-Korean speaking K-drama newbie on the fascinating use of language:

1. On honorifics : Electric Ground’s excellent run-down on the levels of honorifics in Korean 

2. Dramabeans’ breezy run-down on Banmal and Jondaemal 

3. On Family terms

Drama blog directories

1. Outside Seoul’s Kdrama Linkapalooza: the most complete list of every English-language site related to K-dramas. Come to think of it, why are you even still here? Just head there! 

2. Asian Drama Blogs

K-drama Glossaries

Very useful lists of frequently used terms you will encounter in dramaland

1. Dramabeans 

2. The Fangirl Verdict

3. koreaBang: A glossary for korean netizen speak and cuss words

Drama Re-caps 

Essential for non-Korean speakers if you don’t want to miss out on any nuances. Plus, sometimes reading the re-caps (and the comments) and be as fun as, or even more fun than, watching the shows themselves.

1. Dramabeans: the ultimate site for awesome re-caps and zippy commentary. Actually, it’s the centre of the drama universe, the capital city of dramaland, the… well, you get the picture. 

2. Cadence: The fastest re-capper on the block.

3. Scattered Jooni: Ditto.

Torrents 

1. D-Addicts : The torrent section was closed in 2015 but the forum section’s still active. 

2. Asiatorrents  AviztaZ  : it’s membership only but they open up membership periodically so check back frequently.

3. Nyaa.se: Heavy on the anime and J-dramas.

Subtitles 

1. Malay subtitles: Malay K-dramas subtitles

2. Fan subs: WithS2, Darksmurfsubs

K-drama Forums

1. Soompi: the forum for English speakers around the world to collectively fangirl/boy over their latest obsessions. Don’t be shy, just get an ID, and you’re off to the races. 

2. Dramabeans Open Threads: every Friday, DB readers check-in to talk dramas and more.  

Reads on all things K-dramas 

These are reads I find useful, illuminating and/or downright funny about this mad k-drama compulsion:

1. To marathon or to live-watch, that is the question 

2. Interested in Korean culture and history? Visit The Talking Cupboard’s dedicated page  on everything from Hanboks to the rulers of the Joseon dynasty

3. Wanna blog about dramas? Read this first. I should’ve!

4. Do you remember your first K-drama love?

5. A compilation of posts on the internet that critique K-dramas from a feminist perspective. Useful if you’ve ever been bothered by the sexist bull you sometimes see in K-dramas and want to commiserate ;p

6. On the pains of doing re-caps. Nice to read, not so nice to write…

7. Candy who, you ask? Read this to know more about the legendary manga character and why she’s the queen of K-drama heroines.

8.  Why on earth would a feminist love K-dramas? Here’s a few reasons.

9. Need the Cliff Notes version of Joseon history as told through sageuk? Look no further than this wonderful post. It’s even got charts and everything!

Drama Meta 

1. Flower Boy Next Door: Living Spaces in FBND

2. What’s in a rom-com? Exploring the familiar structure of a romantic comedy through two Flower Boy dramas: Rom-coms and Flower Boys.

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16 thoughts on “Useful stuff

  1. When I first started watching kdramas, I used to watch it raw. I didn’t know Korean but I watched it anyway. Crazy I know. But nowadays, there’s eng subs and tons of resources. I started up again just this past April so it’s like a whole new world! Lots to catch up on!

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    • WOW! No subs??! That’s impressive, and that takes dedication. How long ago did you start watching dramas? I started in earnest in April too when I went a little (okay, ALOT) mad and marathoned anything and everything I could get my hands on. That happened after I watched Coffee Prince, although it wasn’t my first drama, it was the one I went mad for. Yes, it is a whole new world!

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  2. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. My first drama was called Tomato starring Kim Hee Sun. This was back in 1999 when my siblings and I were really into kpop (H.O.T). I rented all 16 eps from the local Korean video store in San Diego. To this day, I don’t really know the full story except that the main character was a shoe designer and I think she saved someone in a car accident. I should look to see if it’s available somewhere. Hee hee. So, I’ve been watching kdramas off and on for over ten years but only recently have had the chance to watch a whole bunch. I think Winter Sonata really pulled me in but after watching Autumn Love Story and Summer Scent I got tired of the melodrama and didn’t pick up kdrama again until full house and goong then took a break again. Eeks! Sorry for the long reply!

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    • No apologies needed! I love reading drama origin
      stories, and you have such a great one. That’s hysterical, and I imagine you and your siblings (if they were involved in your drama watching) filling in the blanks to Tomato in creative ways, coz that’s the only way I think I’d be able to cope without subs!

      You have a long history with dramas and you’ve seen alot of the classics! Right now, I wanna watch all the older stuff to see how well they hold up, and WS is on my list, although I’m bracing myself for the makjang. I recently saw MiSa (thanks to a Master’s Sun induced So Ji Sub craze) which has made me determined to get through all the old melos, and I do love a good melodrama.

      But I am watching a rom-com from 1994 now and it totally rocks but I’m sure you wanna catch up on more recent stuff, no?

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      • thank you! lol yeah, if you could have only seen me sitting in front of the tv wondering….lol tomato was the only drama i did that for but my sister and i sat through il mare and ditto together watching it at least three times over each wondering what was going on. …sigh…our parents couldn’t understand us. we used to get into soo many arguments! they would say “you don’t even understand what they are saying! stop watching that!” lol

        funny thing is…just a few years later, my parents fell under the spell of the Winter Sonata craze (around 2006 in the states) and we started making fun of them because soon they were marathoning ever kdrama they could get their hands on. Winter Sonata is definitely worth the watch. The cinematography alone makes it worth it!

        sigh…i am also suffering from a master’s sun induced craze but it’s pretty equally divided between gong hyo jin and so ji sub. i started watching the greatest love and pasta as well as ghost. i’m glad that viki made ghost available here in Finland but i had to find the GHJ dramas elsewhere tho.

        so, which rom-com are you watching? have you seen any korean movies?

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      • Wow, you come from a family of K-drama enthusiasts? How awesome. My family think I’m nuts and that this is an exotic hobby. How little do they know how much time I devote to watching dramas.

        The oldie rom-com is Feelings with a very young Lee Jung Jae & Kim Ming Jung, who hasn’t aged a day! It totally holds up but I’m only 3 eps in so it could go downhill, but so far I’m enjoying it. Plus, there’s the nostalgia factor of hearing 90s pop hits like Ace of Base. HAHA.

        Yes, I’ve seen a few K-films although I’m not a connoisseur. I have a soft spot for the Korean revenge/action/serial killer flicks which I find myself totally enthralled by and at the same time, grossed out. Then I take a break from violent movies for a while to ween myself off. Then I jump back in again and the cycle repeats. You?

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  3. Yeah, kdramacraziness runs in the family and the extended family as well. K-drama is really popular in the Philippines which is how my parents got into it since their friends told them about it and so on and so forth. When I started watching again, I would ask my mom what to watch ^_^ I went home for a month this summer and we watched Rooftop Prince and Secret Garden together. My cousin and god daughter told me to watch City Hunter next. I’m looking forward to it since the director is the same one that directed TMS and the actor who played Secretary Kim is in it!

    I’d like to watch Feelings. I read good things about it and it has Lee Jung Jae in it. I loved Il Mare and Over the Rainbow (two of his earlier movies) I have yet to watch one of his dramas tho. I would recommend those two movies to you as well as My Sassy Girl (classic), JSA (i learned alot about the tension between NK and SK from this movie), Memories of a Murder (this movie haunts me to this day! i used to be soo scared walking by rice paddies when I lived in Japan!) and Volcano High (for GHJ but also for the wackiness! MTV released this movie dubbed by famous rappers in the States). This is a mix bag but I haven’t seen anything recent as you can tell so if you have any recent movies to recommend, I’ll welcome it.

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    • Wow, sounds like you’ve lived all over the globe! Very cool. Japan & the Philippines, two of my fave countries to visit. The Pinoys are a lovely, warm people and appreciate a good roast pig which I thoroughly support. The Japanese love their food too, and I love anybody that loves food!

      City Hunter, I dropped after a two episodes, mainly because it wasn’t my cup of tea at the time. Maybe you’ll have better luck?

      Ditto Memories of Murder! That last scene still gives me chills! The paddy fields, I know… :/ Sassy Girl and JSA, I’ve seen. Volcano High, I so want to watch, just to catch a blondie Jang Hyuk!

      As for more recent ones, I haven’t seen too many lately, and told you my taste veers bloody so… The Chaser (with Ha Jung Woo) I thought was a really good thriller. Confession of a Murder is a more OTT, action-packed version, but still good. Oh here’s a less bloody film I liked, a buddy spy film, Secret Reunion with Kang Dong Won. Really good too. Oh and if you’re still on a So Ji Sub trip, his last action flick A Company Man, isn’t bad. He looks great in it! I wish the TMS stylist gave him this haircut instead of the mop top he has in the drama. But it is bloody!

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  4. I’m a military brat so due to my father’s job, we moved around a lot when I was a kid. After university, I moved to Japan, traveled and now I’m here in Finland. 😄
    Yes, we Filipinos love lechon (roasted pork) and well meat in general. Funny thing though…I married a vegetarian. Lol

    I like action movies that have explosions, fight scenes and I don’t mind the blood and gore. I just try to shy away from psychological thrillers like those along the lines of Memories of a Murder even though they are good movies. They just tend to really haunt me so I watch them sparingly. (Have you seen the Brazilian movie called El Secretos de Sus Ojos?)

    Sigh, So Ji Sub…I heard his name being thrown about for years and I even remember when he was sent off to the army but I just didn’t know who he was. I’m glad I got to see him in Master’s Sun though. Despite the stylists fashion choices, his charisma still showed. Ditto for Gong Hyo Jin. I liked the fact they kept her in simple clothes, kept her amount of bags in check, and shoes, too. It would always bother me when a poor female character had too many brand name goods.

    Anyhow, I’ll definitely check out The Chaser and The Company Man. ^_^v

    Like

    • Yes, I noticed that about the meat. Everywhere I turn, it’s baboi! Oh boy do I love lechon! And kare-kare! And sinigang! And bulalo, which I had somewhere on tagaytay. I’m an aspiring vegetarian by the way, but my fondness for pork is my main weakness.

      No I haven’t seen that Brazilian movie. But if it’s a good thriller, I’ll be interested, definitely.

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