Korean web dramas

If you’re a K-drama enthusiast but lack the time to sit down and watch an entire series, then Korean web dramas are the perfect solution for you. Think of a web series as a compact version of dramas – while their episodes are relatively short, ranging from 5 to 30 minutes, they pack just enough action to keep you hooked. 

In recent years, the quality of Korean web dramas has improved immensely and their popularity has grown enough to rival that of network TV dramas. As such, we have compiled a list below of popular Korean web dramas that will keep you entertained. 

1. Love Playlist 연애 플레이스트

Korean Web Dramas - Love Playlist
Image adapted from: @playlist_studio 

Main Cast: 

  • Kim Hyung-suk as Lee Hyun-seung 
  • Choi Hee-seung as Kim Min-woo 
  • Im Hwi-jin as Kwak Jun-mo
  • Lee Yoo-jin as Han Jae-in

Genre: Romance, School, Slice of Life 

No list would be complete without LOVE PLAYLIST. Produced by PLAYLIST Studio, it is one of the most successful web dramas in Korea. In fact, the series marked a turning point for such shows, with the total number of views over 4 seasons exceeding 350 million. 

The plot revolves around a group of university friends and school, romances, and friendship. 

While the show may have started off with rookie actors and actresses, many of them have gained popularity through its success and received larger offers afterwards. For instance, Park Jung-woo – who plays Kang Yoon from Seasons 2 to 4 – received an offer to sign with BH Entertainment, which is home to names such as Lee Byung-hun and Kim Go-eun. 

Larger names have started participating in the series as well. Popular actress Kim Sae-ron – from The Man From Nowhere and Hi! School Love On – played a huge role in Season 4, while NCT’s Jaehyun will be joining Season 5

To cater to their growing fanbase, the studio has started selling merchandise such as water bottles, notebooks, phone cases, and phone straps.

Korean Web Dramas - Love Playlist merch
A Love Playlist-themed water bottle and phone strap
Images adapted from: @playlist_goods and @playlist_goods

Watch all subbed episodes for Season 1, 2, 3 and 4 on their YouTube channel.

2. A-TEEN 에이틴

Korean Web Dramas - A-TEEN Season 1 & 2
Images adapted from: @playlist_studio and @playlist_studio

Main Cast: 

  • Shin Ye-eun as Do Ha-na 
  • Lee Na-eun as Kim Ha-na 
  • Shin Seung-ho as Nam Shi-woo
  • Kim Dong-hee as Ha Min
  • Kim Su-hyun as Yeo Bo-ram
  • Ryu Ui-hyun as Cha Gi-hyun
  • Choi Bo-min as Ryu Joo-ha (Season 2)
  • Kang Min-ah as Cha Ah-hyun (Season 2) 

Genre: Coming of Age, High School, Romance

A-TEEN is another web drama produced by PLAYLIST Studio. It made waves on the Internet in 2018 thanks to its relatable and fresh storyline centred on teenagers in their 2nd and 3rd years of high school

Despite each episode only being 6 to 10 minutes, the drama manages to explore individual challenges faced by the characters. Some themes include the outgoing overachiever versus the quiet average student, as well as sibling dynamics. 

In fact, A-TEEN’s widespread success helped propel some of these notable actors and actresses to fame – Kim Dong Hee went on to star in SKY Castle, Itaewon Class and Extracurricular, Shin Ye-eun in He Is Psychometric and Welcome, as well as APRIL’s Na-eun in Extraordinary You

The series has its fair share of star-studded cameos that include NCT’s Jaemin and Jeno, as well as Seventeen’s Joshua.

Korean Web Dramas - Seventeen's Joshua in A-TEEN
Joshua’s cameo in A-TEEN 2
Image adapted from: PLAYLIST Global

Watch all subbed episodes for Season 1 and 2 on their YouTube channel.

3. Sweet Revenge 복수노트

Korean Web Dramas - Sweet Revenge Seasons 1 & 2
Images adapted from: Namu Wiki and Namu Wiki 

Main Cast: 

  • Kim Hyang-gi as Ho Go-hee (Season 1) 
  • Park Solomon as Shin Ji-hoon (Season 1) 
  • Kim Hwan-hee as Jung Deok-hee (Season 1) 
  • Cha Eun-woo as himself (Season 1) 
  • Ahn Seo-hyun as Oh Ji-na (Season 2) 
  • Kim Samuel as Seo Robin (Season 2) 
  • Ji Min-hyuk as Seo Jae-yi (Season 2) 

Genre: Coming of Age, High School, Romance, Fantasy

Sweet Revenge is a web drama that was produced by Hidden Sequence, the same studio behind Love Alarm

The story is reminiscent of Death Note – the main protagonist downloads a mysterious app after being continuously bullied and uses it to exact “revenge”, but things start to unravel. While seasons 1 and 2 are completely unrelated, they roughly follow the same storyline. 

The cast for Season 1 included actress Kim Hyang-gi from Along With the Gods and Innocent Witness fame, as well as Park Solomon and ASTRO’s Cha Eun-woo. Season 2 saw Ahn Seo-hyun from The Housemaid and Okja, Produce 101’s Kim Samuel, and Tempted’s Ji Min-hyuk

Watch subbed episodes from the show on streaming sites such as Asian Crush and Viki. You can also use a VPN to access region-locked content. 

4. IN SEOUL 인서울

Korean Web Dramas - In-Seoul
Images adapted from: @playlist_studio and @playlist_studio 

Main Cast:

  • Min Do-hee as Kang Da-mi 
  • Jang Young-nam as Song Young-ju 
  • Ryeo-un as Yang Sung-hyun 
  • Jin Ye-ju as Lee Ha-rim

Genre: High School, Family, Coming of Age 

You might recognise the lead characters in IN SEOUL Min Do-hee from Reply 1994 and My ID is Gangnam Beauty plays Kang Da-mi, whereas veteran actress Jang Young-nam from Find Me in Your Memory and It’s Okay Not to Be Okay plays her mum. 

This web drama has received largely positive reviews due to the strong on-screen chemistry between mother and daughter. 

Season 1 sees Da-mi as a high school student and avid fan of idols and celebrities. Her mum thinks that it’s a complete waste of time, resulting in several huge face-offs. Da-mi then resolves to apply to “In Seoul” – a Konglish term that refers to good universities in Seoul –   in order to move out of her home and achieve independence. 

A somewhat more youthful take on Park Min-young’s Her Private Life, the drama explores Gen Z fangirling and how a generation gap affects mother-daughter relationships. It also introduces the concept of “In-Seoul” universities and the struggles high school students face, especially if they’re from outside the capital. 

Season 2 recently aired and it explores college life, living with roommates, and being in a large city. 

Watch subbed episodes of season 1 and 2 on their YouTube channel. 

5. Pop Out Boy 만찜남녀

Korean Web Dramas - Pop-out Boy
Image credit: @playlist_studio

Main Cast:

  • Kim Min-kyu as Chun Nam-wook
  • Kim Do-yeon as Han Sun-nyeo

Genre: Fantasy, High School, Romance 

Pop Out Boy received a lot of attention – its main cast consists of Kim Min-kyu and Weki Meki’s Kim Do-yeon, who both participated in Produce 101

Based on a webtoon called Comic Book Boy Girl, it sees Nam-wook as a manhwa (comic book) character who suddenly finds himself in the real world. There, he meets Sun-nyeo, who looks exactly like the female protagonist in his manhwa universe. 

Like W and Extraordinary You, the show deals with the breaking of the fourth wall in their universe. That said, it is way less intense and focuses on Min-kyu’s character awkwardly trying to adapt to his new environment. 

The title track – Hello Stranger! – is sung by Stray Kids. Each episode is about 15 minutes each. Watch subbed episodes here

6. The World of My 17 소녀의 세계

Korean Web Dramas - My World of 17
Image Credit: Namu Wiki 

Main Cast:

  • Arin as Oh Na-ri 
  • Hwang Bo-reum-byeol as Im Yu-na
  • Kim Do-ah as Lim Seon-ji
  • Chae Hae-kyung as Seo Mi-rae
  • Ryeo-un as Yoo Jin-hyuk 
  • Kwon Hyun-bin as Jung Woo-kyung

Genre: Comedy, Friendship, High School

Na-ri is looking forward to a fresh start after getting teased and compared to the school’s goddess and her supposed close friend, Im Yu-na, all through elementary and middle school. However, they end up meeting again as schoolmates. The story follows them and two other girls with whom they navigate the high school social jungle. 

This show was highly anticipated due to the casting of Arin from OH MY GIRL, Do-ah from FANATIC, and rapper VIINI, in addition to rising actors like Extraordinary You’s Han Chae-kyung and Doctor Prisoner’s Ryeo-un. 

Watched all subbed episodes here

7. Top Management 탑 매니지먼트

Korean Web Dramas - Top Management, the web drama & webtoon
Image credit: Namu Wiki and Namu Wiki 

Main Cast: 

  • Seo Eun-soo as Yoo Eun-sung
  • Ahn Hyo-seop as Hyun Soo-yong 
  • Cha Eun-woo as Woo Yeon-woo
  • Jung Yoo-ahn as Kim Tae-oh
  • Bang Jae-min as Jang I-rip

Genre: Drama, Romance, Fantasy

Based on an original novel of the same name, Top Management premiered on YouTube Premium with a total of 16 episodes. 

ASTRO’s Cha Eun-woo is joined by rising stars Ahn Hyo-seop from Dr Romantic 2, and Seo Eun-soo from Dr Romantic.

The plot follows a former girl group idol trainee who becomes the manager for a struggling idol boy band. The newly minted manager has visions of the future, although they aren’t set in stone.

The drama shows viewers how an idol group comes into being and how the final products in the industry make the cut. Each episode is also named after a well-known K-pop song, such as SNSD’s Into the New World, BTS’s Blood, Sweat and Tears, and BLACKPINK’s As If It’s Your Last

Catch all subbed episodes here

8. XX 엑스엑스

Korean Web Dramas - XX
Image adapted from: @playlist_studio

Main Cast: 

  • Ahn Hee-yeon (Hani) as Yoon Na-na 
  • Hwang Seung-eon as Lee Roo-mi
  • Bae In-hyuk as Park Dan-hee
  • Lee Jong-won as Wang Jeong-deun 

Genre: Friendship, Romance, Melodrama 

XX is a driven, intense web drama with beautiful cinematography, powerful music, and a stellar cast to boot. 

The show sees EXID’s Hani in her official acting debut, starring opposite actress Hwang Seung-on from When I Was Most Beautiful. They are joined by rising star Bae In-hyuk, who is a younger doppelganger of HIGHLIGHT’s Yoon Do-joon. 

The series follows Yoon Na-na, the head bartender at the ultra-famous but ultra-exclusive speakeasy, XX, and what happens when her former best friend comes back into her life as the new owner of the bar. 

Romance takes a backseat in this web drama – it instead works to unpack friendships between women and the impact romantic relationships have on them. 

Watch all subbed episodes here

9. The Boy Next Door 썸남

Korean Web Dramas - Boy Next Door
Image credit: IMDb 

Main Cast:

  • Choi Woo-shik as Park Kyung-tae 
  • Jang Ki-yong as Sung Ji-jae 
  • Jang Hee-ryung as Kim Min-ah 

Genre: Comedy, Friendship, Slice of Life, Youth

With each episode only taking 5 to 10 minutes, The Boy Next Door is probably the easiest on the list to binge-watch. 

The drama is an adaptation of a webtoon about two university students who are initially neighbours, but end up living together due to unexpected circumstances. Somehow, they often land themselves in misleading situations that cause people around them to think that they’re in a relationship. 

While the drama is lighthearted and comedic, it does touch upon sensitive issues that LGBTQ youth may experience and the misperceptions others might have of them. 

Aside from that, the chemistry between the two male leads is great and their awkward interactions adds to the show’s humour. Both actors have come a long way since this series – Choi Woo Shik went on to star in shows like Fight for My Way, Train to Busan, and Parasite, whereas Jang Ki Yong has acted in Come and Hug Me and Search: WWW.

Catch all subbed episodes here

10. Gaduri Restaurant 가두리횟집

Image credit: Namu Wiki 

Main Cast: 

  • Lee Joo-bin as Ga Doo-ri 
  • Hyuk as Cha Woo-bin 

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Gaduri Restaurant revolves around a young, beautiful, and charismatic owner of a huijib (Korean sliced raw fish restaurant). She’s known for giving relationship advice through tarot card readings. She clashes head-on with her new, mysterious neighbour, who does what he wants without caring what others think of him. 

Watch all subbed episodes here

11. Falling For Challenge 도전에 반하다

Korean Web Dramas - Falling For Challenge
Image adapted from: Naver TV 

Main Cast: 

  • Xiu Min as Na Do-jeon
  • Kim So-eun as Ban Ha-na

Genre: School, Romance, Youth

Falling For Challenge is an older web series that stars EXO’s Xiu Min and actress Kim So Eun – the same one from Boys Over Flowers and The Scholar Who Walks the Night – for a short but sweet romantic comedy.

Xiu Min’s character, Do-jeon, works part-time as a clown while trying to become a comedian, while Kim So Eun’s Ha-na is saving up in order to achieve her lifelong goal of owning a food truck. The two characters grow closer together as they work together to prevent the closure of the “One More” club in their university. 

Watch all subbed episodes here

12. Be Positive 긍정이 체질

Korean Web Dramas - Be Positive
Image adapted from: The Qoo 

Main Cast: 

  • D.O. as Kim Hwan-dong 
  • Chae Seo-jin as Bang Hye-jung 
  • Lee David as Hwang In-guk 

Genre: Comedy, Romance, School 

Be Positive follows Hwan-dong, who is preparing for his graduation project as a film major and aspiring director. However, he faces difficulties so he ends up asking his ex-girlfriend to play the lead in his project. 

EXO’s D.O. continues to deliver in this drama after a solid performance in It’s Okay, That’s Love. The show contributed to the popularity of other cast members – Chae Seo-jin went on to star in Girls’ Generation 1979, while Lee David landed roles in Cheese in the Trap, Hotel Del Luna, and Itaewon Class

Korean Web Dramas - D.O. & Lee David in Be Positive
Image adapted from: Naver TV 

Be Positive’s aim was to send a message of support to the younger generation through an accessible platform.

Catch all subbed episodes of the series here

Web dramas that are short and sweet

Web dramas have grown in popularity over the years, carving out a niche of their own. Despite being short in length, these shows deliver, be it in terms of plot, cast, music, or production. Next time you need something quick to watch, web dramas are the way to go. 

Read more about Korean culture here: 

Cover image adapted from: @playlist_studio, Playlist Studio and Namu Wiki

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