Korean dramas cover a wide variety of genres, but some of the most famous and iconic series from the peninsula country typically fall under the romance department. The rise of the Korean drama in the global mainstream consciousness can be charted across several years, and while some, like Squid Game, have managed to overcome the barrier of genre, many of the most popular shows are romantic with a dash of comedy or fantasy to supplement the material. In 2022, Business Proposal aired domestically in Korea, and became one of the most popular dramas of the year when it reached international audience despite its short length.
Starring the Korean pop idol Kim Se-jeong, she portrays Shin Ha-ri, a worker at a major Korean food company that also exports its goods around the world. When she agrees to go on a blind date for her wealthier friend, she accidentally ends up sitting in front of the CEO of her company (portrayed by Ahn Hyo-seop). Now forced to hide her face whenever she’s at work, it’s going to cause major problems when he realizes who she really is. But because this is a Korean drama, sparks are going to fly between them in the process, creating a pretty memorable show for audiences. Here are 10 other Korean dramas like Business Proposal to watch next.
10 Romance is a Bonus Book
Lee Jong-suk and Lee Na-young star in 2019’s Romance is a Bonus Book, which takes place inside a South Korean publishing house. Lee Na-young is Kang Dan-i, a former copywriting advertiser who’s down on her luck as of late. A divorcee taking care of a small child, she looks for work and takes a job as a housekeeper.
Unknowingly, she becomes the housekeeper for a childhood friend of hers, Eun-ho (Lee), and when he realizes what has happened, he tries to help and support her as much as he can. But when she applies for a job at his publishing company, he realizes she has an incredible talent that could be pretty useful for the company going forward. Then there’s the fact that a romance is brewing between these two throughout the series.
9 Where Stars Land
Where Stars Land takes place in the bustling Incheon Airport and focuses on the employees working to make the magic of the airport happen. Lee Je-hoon portrays Lee Soo-yeon, a member of the passenger services team who crosses paths with the new recruit for the team: Han Yeo-reum (Chae Soo-bin). At first, Soo-yeon infuriates Yeo-reum with his attitude, although she also continuously manages to mess up her job despite trying her best.
While her good friend working there, Eun-sub (Rowoon), harbors a one-sided crush, she finds herself descending into a crush on Soo-yeon, but then she discovers a major secret he’s been hiding all this time. Where Stars Land may be anticlimactic at times, but it definitely ruminates on similar themes as Business Proposal, especially when it comes to workplace relationships.
8 Doom at Your Service
In Doom at Your Service, which stars Park Bo-young and Seo In-guk, a fantasy slant adds a unique twist to this romantic Korean drama. Tak Dong-kyung (Park) works as a web novel editor when she receives terrible news one day. After a medical appointment, she learns that she is dying and only has three months to live. To add to all the terrible news, her boyfriend is revealed to have a pregnant wife, and a series of unfortunate events happens when she’s on her way home.
That night, she decides to drink her problems away, she wishes that the entire world will become doomed. That leads a divine messenger, Myul Mang (Seo In-guk), to be sent her away — he has the ability to make a human’s wish come true, and he has decided to make Dong-kyung’s happen.
7 Memories of the Alhambra
Hyun Bin stars in Memories of the Alhambra with Park Shin-hye, and his character, Yoo Jin-woo, gets a strange email one day. He’s the CEO of a major investment company in South Korea, and when the email tells him there’s an AR game in the universe with groundbreaking capabilities, he packs up his bags and heads to Spain in search of the person who created this.
When he arrives, he discovers the game’s creator has actually gone missing, and his older sister (Park Shin-hye), the owner of a local hostel in Grenada, has no idea where he has gone off to now. When Jin-woo starts experiencing really strange events, such as the world of the game increasingly becoming reality around him, it’s up to him and the hostel owner to figure out the truth behind her little brother’s disappearance.
6 Touch Your Heart
Fans were delighted when Yoo In-na and Lee Dong-wook reunited for the Korean drama Touch Your Heart, as they were fan favorites when they portrayed a very different couple in the smash hit Goblin. In this series, Yoo is Oh Jin-shim, a top actress in South Korea with a messy series of scandals. But this time, a major one is threatening her career for good, and she has to take two years off in order to get the role she wants. She decides that there’s only one way to truly clear her name: working for a top lawyer (Lee) as a secretary. And, to be frank, he would rather have anyone else but her working in his office. But over the course of the series, the two are going to grow very close.
Pinocchio aired from 2014 to 2015, starring Park Shin-hye and Lee Jong-suk in the lead roles. When a young man’s life is torn apart by tragedy when he’s a young boy, he assumes a new identity when he’s found by an older man floating in the ocean. A young girl, Choi In-ha, learns about his existence, they clash, especially when it comes to their shared past.
However, there’s a caveat to all of this: Choi suffers from Pinocchio syndrome, which means she hiccups whenever she tells a lie. Years later, she tries to overcome certain aspects of her condition to become a journalist, but this puts her directly in the path of the same boy she thought she left behind in high school: Dal-po.
4 Suspicious Partner
What do you do when the same person you’re assigned to work with may also be the perpetrator of a crime? Suspicious Partner asks this question when Eun Bong-hee (Nam Ji-hyun) is put under the watch of prosecutor Noh Ji-wook (Ji Chang-wook). He suspects her when a murder happens, but lives with his suspicions in order to get their work done. While the two are struggling with this, bigger details cast even more light under the fact they might have a shared past, and the details involving it may not be good, putting even more tension on their already-fragile work relationship. Suspicious Partner wasn’t a massive hit when it first aired on South Korean television, but found new life and success when it was released on streaming platforms.
3 What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim
One of the more iconic Korean dramas to come out in recent years, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is a popular choice to introduce people to Korean dramas. The 2018 series stars Park Min-young and Park Seo-joon. A vice chairman of a big South Korean corporation (Park Seo-joon) is about to find his world crumbling when his beloved secretary Mi-so (Park Min-young) resigns from her position after almost a decade together.
Unable to confront the fact she wants to move on with her life, he decides he needs to devise a plan to keep her with him. Somehow, throughout all of this chaos, she falls in love with him during the process, putting a new twist on their work relationship.
2 The Doctors
Yoo Hye-jung (Park Shin-hye) wasn’t seen as a go-getter in high school, and although she tended to keep to her self emotionally, she had a mentor who was willing to help her change her life. This is the premise of The Doctors; because she had that mentorship, she completely changed the trajectory of her life was able to become a doctor.
However, there’s a specific nuance to their relationship: it had the potential to become more, despite their age gap. They part ways after this is reported by another student, but years later, when she officially becomes a doctor, they meet again. This time, things are going to end much differently than when they were younger.
1 King the Land
King the Land has been one of the bigger dramas of 2023 so far, and it premiered on Netflix. Featuring two Korean pop idols as its stars, 2PM’s Lee Jun-ho and SNSD’s Im Yoon-ah, the story behind this show is one we’ve seen before in dramas, but with its own spin. Im portrays Cheon Sa-rang, an orphan who dreams of rising through the ranks in the hotel world.
When she finally does so, she crosses paths with the chaebol son of the hotel she works at: Goo Won. Although they argue and clash ideologically at the beginning of the series, they’re going to fall in love quite quickly.