Many memorable K-dramas such as SKY Castle and World Of The Married have made history for setting new viewership rating records. If you miss these addictive, riveting and conversation-starting dramas, don’t worry, the broadcasters seem equally keen to rehash their winning formulas. 

We’ve picked five recently-released dramas that share similar genres and themes as five hit dramas from the last few years. Check them out!

For fans of A-teen, check out Live On

a-teen k-drama poster
A-teen is a web drama released on Jul 1 2018, produced by Korean digital studio Playlist
Photo credit: Playlist 

A-teen depicts the struggles of teenagers from academic worries to their friendships and love lives. The series was a hit, accumulating six million views within a little over a month of its premiere. The sequel, A-teen 2, was released in 2019 after the overwhelming popularity of the first series.

live on k-drama poster
Live On was released on Nov 17 2020 by broadcast company JTBC, which has created many other popular K-drama serials such as Private Lives
Photo credit: JTBC

Live On follows the story of high school students and their troubles, such as female protagonist Baek Ho-rang’s past as a victim of bullying and male protagonist Go Eun-taek’s strained relationship with his parents. The cast consists of idols including Minhyun from boy band NU’EST.

Why you’ll like Live On

Similar to the concept that earned A-teen its popularity, Live On shows the relatable struggles of high school students trying to navigate the difficulties in their lives. While A-teen places a larger focus on friendship problems, Live On has a stronger emphasis on their relationship struggles.

Baek Ho-rang, the female protagonist, has made an enemy of her best friend, Ji So-hyun, due to a misunderstanding that convinces the latter that the former is hiding something – leading them to cut off ties. When someone submits an anonymous letter to the school’s broadcasting club that threatens to reveal Ho-rang’s past, she joins the club to track down the sender. In the process, she falls in love with the president of the club, Go Eun-taek. Live On is perfect for fans of coming-of-age dramas. 

For fans of The World Of The Married, check out Cheat On Me If You Can

The World Of The Married has taken the K-drama world by storm with its thrilling plot and characters since its release on Mar 27 2020.
Photo credit: JTBC

The World Of The Married is based on a BBC series, Doctor Foster. It achieved a record-breaking 28.4 per cent in viewership ratings, surpassing SKY Castle’s record of 23.8 per cent. The drama centres on Ji Sun-woo and her seemingly perfect family until everything falls apart when her husband’s affair is exposed.

Cheat On Me If You Can is a drama broadcast on Dec 2 2020 on KBS.
Photo credit: KBS

The story centres on Kang Yeo-ju, an eccentric crime writer and her husband, who’s an aspiring politician. They have one issue: he likes cheating. Cheat On Me if You Can is a mystery thriller that keeps its audience on the edge of their seats with every moment that Yeo-ju gets closer to discovering his affairs.

Why you’ll like Cheat On Me If You Can

The show has a clever way of making the female protagonist Kang Yeo-ju seem almost psychopathic. She “jokes” about killing her husband if he cheats. She counts every strand of hair in her husband’s car. Yeo-ju seems dangerous and capable of murder since she’s so good in writing crime stories. Both The World Of The Married and Cheat On Me If You Can focus on women who deal with their husbands’ affairs in their own calculated ways. If you enjoy The World Of The Married, you’ll likely love the battle of wits between Kang Yeo-ju and her husband in Cheat On Me If You Can.

For fans of SKY Castle, check out Penthouse

SKY Castle aired on Nov 23 2018 and cemented its position as a legendary K-drama after it broke viewership records
Photo credit: JTBC

SKY Castle has piqued the interest of many drama fans with its vivid portrayal of the rich’s obsession with good grades, top schools and high social status. The drama revolves around a few upper-class families who live in an upscale residential area named SKY Castle. These families are sent into a frenzy when a girl from a supposedly poor background, Kim Hye-na, wrecks havoc in their lives.

Penthouse was released on Oct 26 2020 and gained fame for its intense storyline.
Photo credit: SBS

This drama depicts the lives of rich families living in Hera Palace, a luxurious high-rise apartment building. There’s a hierarchy within the building – the higher their apartment is, the more wealthy and powerful they are. Their lives take a turn for the worse when a lower-class outsider girl Min Seol-A is found dead in Hera Palace.  

Why you’ll like Penthouse

Penthouse and SKY Castle share similarities as they’re both about wealthy families and the turmoils they face. In both dramas, we see a girl from a lower class entering their circle and triggering chaos subsequently. If you’re looking for a gripping storyline, Penthouse is one you should surely check out. You may also want to join fellow Penthouse fans who have been discussing the characters enthusiastically in this forum

For fans of My ID Is Gangnam Beauty, check out True Beauty

My ID Is Gangnam Beauty is a JTBC drama that premiered on Jul 27 2018. 
Photo credit: JTBC

This romance comedy drama is based on the webtoon of the same name. It garnered attention with its use of the “makeover” trope, but with a twist. This time, even after plastic surgery, the female protagonist Kang Mi-rae  finds that she is still being scorned by the people around her because she isn’t a natural beauty. The drama also sparked discussions on South Korea’s superficial beauty standards.  

True Beauty was released on Dec 9 2020 and was anticipated by many fans of the webtoon it was based on.
Photo credit: tvN

True Beauty shows the struggle of Lim Ju-kyung, who was bullied in the past for being unattractive. When she transfers to another school because of her family’s financial situation, she takes this opportunity to start a new life as a pretty girl by dolling up.  Ju-kyung goes to great lengths to avoid showing anyone her bare face as she doesn’t want to be bullied for her appearance again. 

Why you’ll like True Beauty

Besides a similar storyline, My ID Is Gangnam Beauty and True Beauty also share the same male lead: idol-actor Cha Eun-woo. If you love him in the former drama, you’ll feel the same for his character in the latter since they have the same cold and aloof personality. Additionally, Lim Ju-kyung’s love life in True Beauty is far from boring, with bad boy Han Seo-jun and straight-A student Lee Su-ho pining for her. This drama’s comedic scenes will make you burst out laughing. Its emotional scenes may also bring you to tears.

For fans of Goblin, check out Tale Of The Nine-Tailed

The fantasy-romance drama Goblin started airing on Dec 2 2016. 
Photo credit: tvN

Goblin was a huge hit all over the world and it was named “Most Influential Show” of 2017 by Nielsen Korea. The drama centres on Kim Shin, who is an immortal supernatural called Goblin. Shin is looking for a bride who will end his immortal life, whom he finds in the form of high school student Ji Eun-tak. Shin realises that Eun-tak is the girl he saved, along with her mother. Subsequently, their lives entangle with the Grim Reaper, who fell in love with Goblin’s sister in his past life. 

tale of the nine-tailed poster
Tale Of The Nine-Tailed premiered on Oct 7 2020 with actor Lee Dongwook playing the main protagonist.
Photo credit: tvN

Tale Of The Nine-Tailed tells the story of a mythical nine-tailed fox, Lee Yeon, who is waiting for the reincarnation of his first love, a human girl named Ah-eum. Lee Yeon has many enemies who are out to harm him, including his half-brother Lee Rang. Ultimately, he has to make sacrifices to protect his love and make amends with Lee Rang. 

Why you’ll like Tale Of The Nine-Tailed

Lee Dong-wook, who played the Grim Reaper in Goblin, takes on another fantasy drama as the nine-tailed fox in Tale Of The Nine-Tailed. He does a fantastic job at expressing the struggles Lee Yeon faces as a misunderstood brother and a mountain spirit whose powers are sought after. This drama is intense because of the fight scenes between Lee Yeon and his enemies and the romance between him and the reincarnation of Ah-eum. If fantasy dramas are your thing, be sure to check out this drama.

Have fun binge-watching these five K-dramas while waiting for the new releases that 2021 will bring!

Edited by: Rachel Sin Ka Lam
Proofread by: Quek Si Min