When the air starts getting cooler and the world slows down, my mood shifts. And since, like all good kdrama fans, I let my mood dictate the dramas I watch, my craving for urban fantasy dramas gets stronger. Come see the nine urban fantasy dramas I recommend for fall, and the one urban fantasy drama that gets a hard no from me no matter what.
Just a quick note so we’re all on the same page: urban fantasy is a modern fantasy tale set in the city, often dealing with problems that come with living in the city as well. Harry Potter doesn’t quite fit, since Hogwarts is off in the countryside, but American Gods does. In my own opinion, if the drama is primarily about ghosts or parallel universes, that’s not fantasy, but horror or science fiction. In order to be a fantasy, there MUST be supernatural powers involved! You can see for yourself if the dramas I selected below fit the bill.
The immortal tale of a cursed centuries-old warrior and the girl destined to save him has a sweeping arc of a timeline, unforgettable characters (Reaper! Sunny! Secretary!), bromance galore, and some scenes that are actually set in the fall and make me feel all warm and cozy. Ignore the fact that it was my gateway drama and I plug it all the time. 😀
Tale of the Nine Tailed
Two gumiho brothers wrestle with an investigative reporter, the gods of the underworld, destiny, and their own hearts as they seek to take down an ultimate evil. Lee Dong Wook’s fox hair is the PERFECT fall shade, and this drama took my breath away — sometimes because of the cinematography, sometimes because I was laughing so hard. Kim Bum, on the other hand, stole my heart.
A Korean Odyssey/Hwayugi
What happens when a bull god and a monkey god become housemates? ABSOLUTE CHAOS, especially if the bull god is the moustache-twirling Cha Seung Won and the monkey god is the irascible Lee Seung Gi. Throw in a real estate broker who’s been cursed to see ghosts since childhood, a delightful zombie, and a pig god, and you have the making of a memorable drama.
Along with the Gods (movie)
This one flirts with the urban fantasy line, but it’s too good not to include. Besides, reapers are a theme with me, and they continue in Along with the Gods. A trio of reapers escort a heroic fireman through the underworld, helping him pass the trials necessary to elevate him to his next life. Richly imagined sets, compelling performances, and an incredibly detailed dip into mythology make this movie a must watch.
This little web drama was a bite-sized delight, especially because Bae In Hyuk is a very, very good on-screen kisser with a perfectly stoic face. He’s a delight as a goblin chasing the chance to be human, but it was the frustrated reaper chasing after our kiss goblin who stole the show for me.
My Roommate is a Gumiho
Jang Ki Yong as a soulful, long-lived fox who is trying to achieve humanity elevated this drama from so-so to excellent. Hyeri is a good foil to his seriousness with her playful nature, and the chemistry between the two is well worth watching.
He is Psychometric
There’s nothing quite like combining an urban fantasy with a good murder mystery for the ultimate fall drama. Park Jin Young’s portrayal of the playful Lee Ahn, who can see memories in objects and people living and dead and sneaks into morgues for fun to practice his skills, turned what could have been a heavily philosophical drama into a philosophical but CHARMING drama.
Hotel del Luna
Another one that flirts with the line between horror and urban fantasy, but is WELL worth the watch. (The presence of Ma Go Shin lands it in urban fantasy for me. ANYWAY.) One of my favorite characters in Hotel del Luna is IU’s wardrobe. No, seriously! She has an incredible outfit for every situation, and often a car to match, which is hilarious. She’s an old soul, trapped into taking care of a hotel for the dearly departed, who can’t move on until she finds peace. (By the way, don’t go into this one for the romance. Watch it as a healing drama with a dash of romance on the side.)
While You Were Sleeping
Lee Jong Suk, Bae Suzy, and Jung Hae In are a fab trio who can sometimes see the future in their dreams, doing their best to work together to prevent the tragedies that often befall the people around them. But it’s not all seriousness and chases and heart-pounding moments — the banter between Lee Jong Suk and his brother, or Bae Suzy and her mother, keeps the drama light-hearted without turning ridiculous.
Meow the Cat Boy
NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, WATCH THIS DRAMA. The ending is not satisfying, and the magic system doesn’t have any rules set up, which robs the drama of any impact it *might* have had. Don’t get me wrong — Kim Myung Soo (L from Infinite) is adorable as a cat. He totally saves what he can of the drama with his sleepy blinks and his fuzzy sweaters. But the story itself falls apart too soon, making it completely unwatchable.
What about you, drama fans? What are your favorite urban fantasy dramas? I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding Rainless Love in a Godless Land to the list soon!
Until the next supernatural identity is revealed, I remain —
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi