10 Saddest Korean Dramas You Can Watch For A Good Cry
It’s been a difficult week, you’re unsure about your future, and all you want to do is watch a sad program and cry for people who don’t exist. No one is passing judgment; we’ve all been there. Some folks simply need to cry.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of Korean dramas to select from, many of which are widely accessible online in ways that they were not even 10 years ago. South Korea has become known for its action and horror thrillers in recent years, thanks to the success of the Oscar-winning Parasite, but dramas have been popular for much longer. Some are melodramas that are completely ridiculous, others are heartbreaking studies of human connection, while still others are just entertaining romps with a few tragic parts tossed in for good measure. With the saddest Korean dramas, sit back and let the tears flow.
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Goblin was formerly one of South Korea’s most popular dramas, and it became a cultural phenomenon, garnering numerous honors. Viki is where foreign fans can watch it. This supernatural thriller, starring Gong Yoo, one of South Korea’s best actors, depicts a relationship between a Joseon Dynasty-era military officer and a modern-day young woman (as seen in many K-dramas).
Like My Love From Another Star, the most of the angst in this program stems from Kim Shin’s immortality and love for a mortal girl, as well as his desire to eventually overcome the curse of immortality.
Good Doctor (2013)
When an autistic man with savant syndrome works as a pediatric surgeon in a hospital, he faces immediate criticism. He must prove to his coworkers, as well as his clients’ parents and families, that he can work effectively with youngsters despite the challenges he faces. Good Doctor has a successful American remake as well–this one, though, can be viewed with a Viki subscription.
While not the darkest show, with many touching and encouraging scenes, there are also situations that show how harsh the world can be for those who don’t adhere to what others consider normal.
Just Between Lovers (2017)
Just Between Lovers is a sorrowful story about two people who gradually become closer after realizing that they each experienced the same tragedy as children. It has one of actress Won Jin-greatest A’s performances as Ha Moon-soo, an architect determined to averting another catastrophe like the one she experienced. She suppresses her memories until she and Lee Gang-doo (Lee Jun-ho) form a slowly-developing friendship that helps them to cope with the trauma that still haunts them.
This is an excellent, melancholic pick with a cathartic and uplifting conclusion–exactly what you need after 16 episodes of highs and lows. The show offers a genuine portrayal of two people who are likeable and understandable personalities. When you have a chance, watch it on Netflix, along with all the other fantastic Korean dramas.
Kill Me, Heal Me (2015)
Kill Me, Heal Me delves into the depths of Cha Do-(Ji hyun’s Sung) history and his subsequent Dissociative Identity Disorder, which is an uncommon K-drama idea. The narrative of Kill Me, Heal Me earned multiple accolades. The subject matter is sensitive and timely, and the main character’s several personalities are well-portrayed and become into actual characters in their own right.
The show is a mystery, humor, and romance all in one, and it doesn’t shy away from the sadder times that arise–and it can be thoroughly experienced with a Viki or Amazon Prime subscription.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)
Korean dramas abound with historical period works, but not many of them have as many tragic moments as Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. A modern-day woman is transported to Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty, where she must navigate the intricate political problems that arise when she becomes entangled in a love triangle with two princes vying for the throne.
The writers succeed in getting to the heart of the drama, truly examining the feelings that such a tight scenario might elicit in a woman accustomed to modern conveniences. While getting acquainted to the large cast of characters may take a few episodes, the tale is well worth the wait. Visit Viki to see it!
My Love From Another Star (2013)
When Do Min-joon (Kim Soo-hyun) falls in love with actress and star Cheon Song-yi, he finds himself in a star-crossed relationship (Jun Ji-hyun). There’s only one issue. Min-joon is an alien stranded on Earth, although a gorgeous and intellectual alien who works as a professor.
In one of the most popular Korean dramas, My Love From Another Star, opposites attract. The show’s charm is already evident thanks to Jun Ji-great hyun’s comedic timing and surprisingly emotional moments, and a sorrowful finale only adds to that. The drama catapulted Kim Soo-hyun, the male main actor, to new heights in his acting career, and it became a cultural sensation. Viki, a streaming service, now has it available for free.
The Hymn of Death (2018)
Korea was colonized by Japan in the 1920s, and freedom groups were growing. The show, which is currently available on Netflix, is based on Korea’s first soprano singer, Yun Sim-deok (Shin Hae-sun), and follows her relationship with writer Kim Woo-jin (Lee Jong-suk), as well as their terrible conclusion.
The show is short (just three episodes) and predictable if viewers are familiar with the history involved. Despite being one of the most interesting and terrible moments in world history, it’s a wonderful look into a time in Korea that is rarely seen.
The Snow Queen (2006)
The Snow Queen is an emotional roller coaster that generally goes down throughout the majority of the play, from the moving soundtrack to Korean actor Hyun Bin’s acting. After his best friend’s suicide, Han Tae-woon has put up his genius-level mathematical skills in favor of boxing, until he meets and falls in love with a woman he met as a youngster, only to realize that she was his best friend’s younger sister. They support one other as they go through their pain.
It’s not an easy program to track down, but it’s well worth the effort. Even as they struggle with the difficult things life throws at them, the characters shine in this very slice-of-life novel. They are well-rounded, likable, and heartwarming.
Winter Sonata (2002)
Winter Sonata was one of the first Korean dramas to gain international acclaim, and it contributed to bring the current wave of Korean entertainment media into the West, so it’s no surprise that it became the model for most succeeding dramas’ success. Winter Sonata was released in 2002 and has since become the basis for most K-dramas, making it seem cliched and predictable in retrospect.
That doesn’t negate the fact that it’s still melodramatic fun. There are enough of scenes here to make aficionados of traditional K-drama romance cry. On Amazon Prime, you may buy or rent it.
Youth of May (2021)
55 For this option, go to Viki or Amazon Prime Premium. The film Youth of May is set during the Gwangju Uprising of May 1980, one of the most significant episodes in modern South Korean history with far-reaching consequences. A democratic student movement in Gwangju against the existing authoritarian administration resulted in the death of 170 individuals, however the number is disputed.
The film Youth of May, which depicts a relationship between a nurse and a medical student in Gwangju, achieves its purpose of raising awareness about how the revolt disturbed normal life that year, as well as the sadness it caused among innocent people.