Top 3 K-Dramas to Watch as an SF/F Writer

Today I’ve got a video for you!

Just for fun, I’ve made my case for my 3 top Korean dramas that I think are most interesting to speculative fiction writers (sci-fi/fantasy). Not only can I unreservedly recommend them to anyone, each has a specific nerd appeal. 😉

Bonus Blog Content! Unlocked:

Queen In-Hyun’s Man

Note the Joseon hat he's carrying over his pack. This is a detail that made me go watch the show.
Note the Joseon hat he’s carrying over his pack. This is a detail that made me go watch the show.

Recap: Well-thought out time-travel rom com.

As I mention in the video, this show lets it’s scholarly hero BE smart in practice. He uses deductive reasoning and picks up quickly on things.

I didn’t have time to mention the leading lady, so I’ll do that here: she’s great. She’s a B-rate actress finally landing a big role. She’s not booksmart, and the show lets her be that way without taking away her deserving love, or having agency. She’s a really unusual heroine in a world populated by super-achievers. Also, they are super-cute together.

Arang and the Magistrate

This poster pretty much encapsulates everyone's personalities perfectly.
This poster pretty much encapsulates everyone’s personalities perfectly.

Recap: Ghost-girl seeks her murderer, with the reluctant help of the new Magistrate in town, and a hapless shaman.

One of the facets of this show I didn’t get to really go into on video was that it has an EXCELLENT baddie. It would be spoiler-ish to say too much, but it involves a creepy magic that is so organic with the meeting of the world of the dead and the world of the Heavenly Court we see that I just was in awe, as a fantasy writer.

While some of the tone is often hijinks-y and cute, it also goes to darker places emotionally–after all, confronting that you are dead and that someone did that to you is pretty intense.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal

You eventually get used to the hats. They even become adorable plotpoints!

Recap: Scholars preparing to become government officials get hot under the collar about human rights.

One of the biggest charms of this show was its friendships. Before any romantic tension comes into the equation, the debate between scholars, some of whom have a ground-level perspective on the injustices of the class system, is just so fun.

The fact that it happens all in the context of Confucian teachings made the time period really come alive to me in a unique way, too. I love that it’s a school drama set centuries in the past. Also, the gorgeous sets are just incredible.

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