As a new drama watcher, I often heard the term “hallyu wave” and wondered what in the world it meant. I found out that it’s the concerted effort by entertainment businesses in Korea to get their content to the world, and it’s WORKING. I mean, just check out all your drama-watching options from the list below!
So many of us are kdrama fans because of Netflix’s efforts! They carry a lot of the big-budget dramas, like Kingdom and Mr. Sunshine, as well as favorites like Crash Landing on You. The biggest issue I have with Netflix is that they localize their subtitles — they make the dialogue sound like they think it would in America. Personally, I don’t think some of the choices they make ring true to the characters and how they’re actually speaking. Overall, however, I’m grateful for Netflix and for the chance Kdramas have to reach the rest of the world so easily.
Viki is one of the most prominent Kdrama and Cdrama providers. You can find almost anything here, but sometimes you might have to be patient. Everyone involved in subbing the dramas is a volunteer, so subs depend on their schedules. Can I just mention that we are SO GRATEFUL for their work?
Kocowa was born through a joint venture with Korea’s big three broadcasting stations. They often have the most recent top-rated dramas, all the reality programming you would need, and subtitles that are closer to Korean rather than being localized (which is totally my preference — your mileage may vary). They have also partnered with Viki on some of the airing dramas, and have a strong backlist of previous dramas that gets updated frequently.
Once a place where dedicated Chinese drama fans went to get their fix, iQIYI has been branching out lately, picking up popular kdramas like Dinner Mate, The Spies Who Loved Me, Backstreet Rookie, and She Would Never Know. The dramas are high quality and the subbing is top-notch. The release system is a little confusing — if you have a free account, you sometimes have to wait up to a week to watch the newest episodes. With a paid VIP plan, though, episodes are available same day.
OnDemand Korea targets the older Korean immigrant population, focusing mostly on news and documentaries. However, they do carry the occasional drama that has been subbed into English, including Kim Seon Ho’s Catch the Ghost.
Rumor has it that Kang Daniel just signed on to star in Our Police Class on Disney Plus, the first Korean series for Disney Plus.
You can find Korean and Chinese content on all of the following: WeTV, TenCent, YouTube, Amazon Prime and Hulu. It may take a little digging, or watching a few ads, but there are dramas on there that are worth it!
You have a LOT of streaming options, drama fans. It’s hard to know what to keep and what to drop! We recommend MyDramaList.com to know where you can find the dramas you’ve been hearing all about. And keep an eye on our monthly Upcoming Dramas posts — we’ll do our best to let you know where you can find new dramas to love.
Sticking with you as we push play on that next episode —
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi