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8 K-Dramas To Watch If You Want To Know The World Of K-Pop Idols

It’s all about the music and the drama!
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) So I Married an Anti-Fan/GODIN MEDIA, DREAM HIGH/KBS2
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We love to see the Korean music industry represented in K-dramas—especially when they’re all about the K-pop idol life! These dramas range from realistic to funny to heartwarming when it comes to their portrayal of the highs and lows of being a K-pop idol. A lot of them feature actual idols and some catchy music, too.

Here are eight K-dramas on Netflix, Viu, and iQIYI if you want to know the world of K-pop idols:

1. So I Married The Anti-Fan (2021)

Who’s in it: Choi Tae Joon, Choi Sooyoung (SNSD), Hwang Chan Sung (2PM), Han Ji An, Kim Min Kyu

Where to watch it: iQiyi

In this lighthearted romance, Hoo Joon (Tae Joon) is a top pop idol and worldwide star. He is cold and cruel, thanks to a past experience in love, but he is secretly a softie. Geun Young (Soo Young) is a plucky and dedicated magazine journalist. When she loses her job because of a mishap with Hoo Joon, she decides to become his biggest anti-fan. The two end up starring in a reality show where they have to live together in the same house, and things start changing between them as they get to know each other.

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2. Imitation (2021)

Who’s in it: Jung Ji So, Lee Jun Young (formerly of U-KISS and UNB), Park Ji Yeon (formerly of T-ARA) Jeong Yun Ho (Ateez)

Where to watch it: iQiyi

This drama’s star-studded cast is filled with idols, while lead girl Jung Ji So is part of the award-winning ensemble cast of the Korean movie Parasite (you might also recognize her from Doom At Your Service). Ma Ha (Ji So) is a former trainee earning money with her imitations of popular singer La Ri Ma (Ji Yeon). When she gets another chance at debuting with the girl group Tea Party, she goes all out. Meanwhile, Kwon Ryok (Jun Young) is the most popular member of the superstar boy group, Shax. The two stars put their careers on the line when they fall in love and start secretly dating.

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3. Hit the Top (2017)

Who’s in it: Yoon Shi Yoon, Lee Se Young, Kim Min Jae, Cha Tae Hyun

Where to watch it: Netflix

Yoo Hyun Jae (Shi Yoon) is one-half of the popular duo J2 in 1993. When he somehow time-travels to 2017, he finds out that he disappeared in 1994 and tries to uncover the mystery behind it. In the meantime, Lee Gwang Jae (Tae Hyun), his manager back in the 90s, helps Hyun Jae adjust to modern times. Hyun Jae also meets Gwang Jae’s foster son, Ji Hoon (Min Jae), a student preparing for the civil service exam while secretly struggling as an idol trainee. Things get complicated when they both crush on Woo Seung (Se Young), Ji Hoon’s fellow student.

 

4. The Liar and His Lover (2017)

Who’s in it: Lee Hyun Woo, Park Soo Young (Joy of Red Velvet), Lee Jung Jin, Lee Seo Won, Hong Seo Young

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Where to watch it: Netflix

Kang Han Gyul (Hyun Woo) was once the bass player for the band Crude Play, but he quit before their debut and became their composer and producer from the shadows, K. Yoon So Rim (Joy) is a cheerful aspiring musician with a golden voice. She immediately falls for Han Gyul when they first meet, and he tentatively gets to know her without exposing his identity. Their love story gets complicated when So Rim gets scouted by Han Gyul’s company to debut with her band, Mush & Co.

5. Part-time Idol (2017)

Who’s in it: Kim Min Kyo, Hwang Seung Eon, Kim Hee Jung, Kwon Hyun Bin (formerly of JBJ), Lee Soo Hyun (AKMU), Kwon Young Deuk

Where to watch it: Netflix

This short but sweet web drama follows the story of producer Jung Tae Kyung (Min Kyo), an industry legend responsible for some of the biggest careers in K-pop, who suddenly retires and disappears. Eight years later, he’s back and he wants to make a co-ed group. He’s faced with a set of problem trainees no one else wants to take on, but with his abilities, he helps the members overcome their hang-ups and become the stars he wants them to be.

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6. Entertainer (2016)

Who’s in it: Ji Sung, Hyeri (Girl’s Day), Kang Min Hyuk (CNBLUE), Chae Jung An

Where to watch it: Viu

Former manager Suk Ho opens his own entertainment company, Mango Entertainment, but fails and through some twists of fate, lands in prison for his transgressions. After his release, he decides to turn over a new leaf and make Ha Neul (Min Hyuk), a high school student with promising talent, become famous, along with the rest of the members of the Entertainer band. Helping them along the way are Geu Rin (Hye Ri), Ha Neul’s adoptive sister, and Min Joo (Jung An), Suk Ho’s long-time friend and director at Mango Entertainment.

7. Dream High (2011)

Who’s in it: Bae Suzy (formerly of Miss A), Ok Taecyeon (2PM), Kim Soo Hyun, Ham Eun Jung (formerly of T-ARA), Jang Woo Young (2PM), IU

Where to watch it: Netflix

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We can’t talk about idol dramas without this one. Dream High follows the lives of the students of Kirin High School, among them those who want to be idols. Leading the pack is prickly Hye Mi (Suzy), who has to leave her opera singing dreams behind to earn money as a pop star. It’s a window into their strengths and insecurities as well as their blooming romances. Plus point: You get to see young Kim Soo Hyun with fluffy hair. The show was so popular there was a sequel with a new cast in 2012.

8. You’re Beautiful (2009)

Who’s in it: Jang Geun Suk, Park Shin Hye, Jung Yong Hwa (CNBLUE), Lee Hong Ki (FTISLAND), Uee (formerly of After School)

Where to watch it: Netflix

This one’s the classic that started it all! Mi Nyeo (Shin Hye) wants to be a nun, while her twin, Mi Nam, is an idol who just got accepted into the band A.N.Jell. When Mi Nam needs to go abroad to get surgery, Mi Nyeo pretends to be him and joins the band. As Mi Nyeo’s ruse continues, she must gain the trust of everyone in the band. While grumpy Tae Kyung (Geun Suk) doesn’t like “him” at first, they soon become close.

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