Episode 30 – Beginner’s Guide to K-drama

By Sunday, May 22, 2016 4 0

beginner's guide to k-drama

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elcome to this special “Beginner’s Guide to K-drama” podcast!

This episode is dedicated to helping both new and old fans of K-drama.
People who are so new to it that they need advice on where to start or how to find the next drama to watch… AND the seasoned K-drama addicts who want their friends to become hooked, and who want tips on how to introduce someone else to K-drama.

This blogpost lists all the dramas we mention in the podcast. We have also packed this article full of useful links to resources that we mention, and much more. Hold onto your hats people. Here we go!

K-drama podcast:

In this episode…

We start by talking a little bit about what to expect.
Then go into good dramas to start with, divided into genres.
Lastly we finish by giving you tons of useful information about how and where you can find the dramas you want to watch.

These are the dramas that we chose to talk about in this episode:
(Please note that a lot of dramas have more than one English title. We include the most common ones below so that you’ll have an easier time finding them.)

K-DRAMA EVERYONE HAS SEEN (starts 15:18 in)

We also mention:

FANTASY, SUPERNATURAL, TIME-TRAVEL/FUSION
(starts 26:13 in)

We also mention:

Links to more top rated dramas like these:

ACTION, CRIME, REVENGE , THRILLER, PSYCHOLOGICAL
(starts 36:21 in)

We also mention:

Links to more top rated dramas like these:

HISTORICAL (starts 46:38)

We also mention:

Links to more top rated dramas like these:

ROMCOM (starts 57:00)

We also mention:

Links to more top rated dramas like these:

SMART / SERIOUS / REALISTIC DRAMA (starts 1:09:38 in)

We also mention:

How to find your next “drama fix”

If you want even more tips on how to find dramas that might tickle your fancy…

First; check out the powerful search/filter function by category over at MyDramaList. You can create your own search by sorting on “top rated”, “most popular”, country, genre, year etc. So you will be able to find many many more genres there than what we’ve mentioned above.

For example: Adventure, Business, Crime, Detective, Family, Food, Friendship, Horror, Law, Life, Martial Arts, Medical, Melodrama, Military, Music, Mystery, School, Sitcom, Sports, Tragedy, Vampire and much more.

Second; if you have already seen a drama that you like and you want to find something else that is similar… Try looking the drama up at MyDramaList. On the page for the drama, if you scroll down past the cast and synopsis you will find a “Recommendations” section. There, other members at MDL are giving you tips, like “if you like this aspect of this drama… you should also watch this drama”. Very helpful!

Third; Lastly there are also forums where you can ask for recommendations. MyDramaList Forum and Soompi Forum, for example.

Remember to include examples that you’ve liked in the past as well as the reason why you like them. The more detail you can give people – the better the odds that they’ll be able to help you find something you like.

How to watch – Legal sources

Northern America:
If you live in Northern America, you are spoiled for choice these days when it comes to K-drama availability. You can watch uninterrupted and full HD episodes via:

  • Dramafever (Biggest library of Asian drama anywhere)
  • Viki (Strong contender which also has a big library and exclusive titles)
  • Netflix (Their selection varies but they usually have a number of popular titles in their library)
  • Hulu (Same thing as Netflix. They source their titles via Dramafever or Viki)

These sites also have apps for your phone. Some are also available through SmartTV-functionality, via Chromecast, Apple TV and as apps for Xbox and Playstation.

It’s convenient, safe, the quality is great and you encourage artists you like with your membership fee.

Get Viki for free, even outside of Northern America
It’s worth noting that Viki also offers free premium membership if you become a qualified contributor. As a contributor you create subtitles or help out in some other way. You get access to their full library of dramas, even if they are not available to your region. It’s worth checking out if you have time to spare.

Outside of Northern America:
If you live anywhere else in the world… Sadly your legal options are severely limited.

In some regions (like for example Europe) you can use:

  • Viki (Library is smaller than in Northern America but covers most new and popular dramas)
  • Netflix (Very limited selection)

Buying DVDs

You can also go old school and buy DVDs, of course. From, for example, YesAsia or Amazon.
However, it’s expensive. In more ways than one. Even if you manage to find someone who ships to your country –  you may get a nasty surprise when you get your package. Be aware that you may have to pay extra import tax.
Not to mention that you buy something you haven’t seen yet. So I’m sure you agree that this is not ideal. And only for those with money to spare.

How to watch – Illegal sources

As Europeans, we here at K-drama Addiction Therapy are all too familiar with this message:

dramafever-unavailable

We know. And we feel your pain.

Some people can’t buy membership to the big streaming sites, even if they wanted to. The reason is that the sites have not purchased licenses (the rights) to stream in our region.

We feel that this licensing system is one of the main reasons behind stunting the growth K-drama’s popularity around the world. As we speak, there are millions of K-drama fans around the world who have no legal way to watch K-drama. They are forced to turn to illegal sources that are unsafe and unethical. The artists behind the dramas don’t get compensated in any way.

Never the less, until the day when K-drama fans everywhere in the world have a legal option available to them; we feel that it’s more important for people to be able to watch somewhere… anywhere… rather than not at all. Eventually K-drama may become popular enough in a region for the legal sites to wake up and smell the kimchi.

Protect yourself!
If you decide to go the illegal route… Be smart and protect yourself. Install an “ad blocker” as a plugin to your browser. It will protect you from harmful code that might hide in banners and pop-ups at the illegal sites.

Illegal sites tend to come and go, as they occasionally run into legal trouble. We are posting some links to sites that have been around for a while. Be aware however that these links may become outdated in a month… or tomorrow.
Sites tend to keep their name if they don’t get chased off the internet all together. So google for it, in case the links don’t work.

HD quality

  • Dramacool (Search for them on Facebook if the link doesn’t work. They have been known to change address several times.)
  • KissAsian
  • Sensen

Lesser quality

  • GoodDrama (Poor quality video, divided into 4 or more parts. But if you’re looking for something rare and nobody else has the drama you’re looking for; this site might.)
  • Drama.net
  • DramaFire
  • MyAsianTV

Google is your friend

There are many many more sites out there, of course. Lots of content is also available through YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion. Please note that the videos on these sites are also illegal, unless you watch via an official drama network channel. (Such as Drama SBS, MBC Drama, KBS Drama etc)

If you google; you can often find small drama-enthusiast blogs that subtitle dramas that the big sites don’t bother with. Search for the title of the drama and “engsub”, “English subs”, “English subtitles” etc and you might find what you’re looking for. Don’t forget to try the alternative titles, as a lot of dramas have a second or even third alternative English title. Look up the names of the drama via MDL or AsianWiki.

PS. If you look up a drama at MDL or AsianViki you can sometimes find links, in the comments, to sources where you can watch that drama.

Torrent/Download

If your internet is too slow for streaming; downloading episodes to your computer is the way to go.

  • Avistaz (Torrent member site; you have to register to gain access)
  • Dramacool (As well as streaming – you can also download at this site)
  • KissAsian (Also streaming and download)
  • MyAsianTV (And here)

A final word on illegal sources

For us, it feels like when your One True Pairing doesn’t ship – when we to have to link to illegal sources. We want the people who work on our beloved dramas to get their fair share. We don’t want to spread links to sites that carry content they have not paid for.

That being said; we like the idea of people who are interested in watching K-drama not being allowed to do so even less. Without piracy and illegal options, we ourselves would not be here today, spreading the K-drama gospel.

Sites like Viki are doing great work with letting people write in and tell them they are interested in watching. (This makes so much sense to us. Viki buys licenses for shows where enough people have told them they are interested. The strategy is as simple as it is brilliant. Why are not other sites doing the same thing?)

If you live in a country where Viki is not yet available… let them know! Make your voice heard and tell them what drama you want to watch via their Title Request form. They have been known to listen.

A taste of kdramapod on Instagram

That’s it for this episode. We hope you found it helpful.
To tide you over until the next episode comes out… follow us on Instagram!

Fighting!

4 Comments
  • Katie K
    May 31, 2016

    Awesome list. I am trying to convert my sister, who I caught watching a Chinese Drama on Netflix during a recent family visit. So…I said, “Well, Have I got a rabbit hole for you!” This list helps A LOT. On another note, Another Oh Hae Young is ON FIRE! I hope that you guys watch and review it.

    • Sofia
      June 4, 2016

      Haha! Rabbit hole is right. Hope you’re successful in converting her.
      We are watching Another Oh Hae Young (we’ll watch pretty much anything tvN and/or Eric), of course. Since we are watching together we’re a bit behind though. But we like what we see so far. Can’t wait to catch up on it and see what everyone is squee:ing about. 😉

      • Katie K
        June 4, 2016

        Eps 9 and 10 do not disappoint. I also love Seo Hyun Jin’s portrayal. She is a heroin to go down in history.

      • Andrea
        November 19, 2016

        I love K-drama. My first K drama was boys over flowers and since then I can’t even count how many I’ve watched so far. I just finished Monster and The K2.
        I agree on what you said about the misconceptions of K-drama. Most people think it’s all about romance. I’ve been trying to get my boyfriend to watch one, but he’s not even giving in haha. For those that like action, I recommend, The K2, Goodbye Mr Black, Descendants of the Sun, Healer..there are tons of them I can’t even remember.

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