Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated Cho EK
A Korean drama usually consists of 16 episodes. However, as the media environment has changed over the years, the practice of making 16-part dramas has changed. As a result, franchise dramas and mini dramas with less than 16 episodes are becoming popular these days. Mini dramas with experimental content like tvN’s Drama Stage and MBC’s SF8 and Love Scene Number are continuously coming out. In general, mini dramas are thought to be more focused on conveying the writer’s tastes rather than appealing to popularity, but that’s not always the case. Check out these fun and exciting three or four-part dramas with novel ideas.
The Hymn of Death (2018)
This is a trilogy drama about the tragic love between Joseon’s first soprano Yun Shim Deok and her lover and genius playwright, Kim Woo Jin. Shin Hye Sun took on the role of Yoon, a woman who didn’t have the freedom to love her one and only. Lee Jong Seok played Kim Woo Jin, a playwright who doesn’t give in to his tragic fate to win her. Lee voluntarily joined the drama without getting paid out of love for a mini-drama. The Hymn of Death was well-received for capturing the love between the two artists with beautiful cinematography that takes place under brutal Japanese rule. In addition, the drama received attention by re-illuminating Kim Woo Jin’s works, unlike other existing works that are based only on the love story of the two.
You Drive Me Crazy (2018)
While Kim Seon Ho received much attention for his acting in Startup, a two-part romantic comedy You Drive Me Crazy, which he co-starred with Lee Yoo Young, also grabbed attention. In the drama, two best friends of 8 years spend an unexpected night together. Soon, they get confused between love and friendship. Lee Yoo Young plays Han Eun Seong, a vibrant interpreter. And Kim Seon Ho took the role of Kim Rae Wan, a good-looking playboy and painter. The refreshing cinematography and heart fluttering story are the drama’s two outstanding charms. In particular, the kissing scene between the two became a topic of discussion, exceeding 10 million views on YouTube.
Becky’s Back (2016)
It is a 4-part drama written by Lim Sang Chun, who previously wrote Fight for My Way and When the Camellia Blooms. This drama tells the story of Yang Baek Hee, who ruled Seomwol-do in the past, returning to the town 18 years later with a false name Yang So Hee. Comedy, mystery, and romance are well-balanced, and despite being a short work, it recorded viewership ratings of over 10% and gained immense popularity. It delightfully portrays the mystery of Baek Hee’s past and her romance. And it follows Yang’s daughter Ok Hee’s search for a father at a fast pace. It is also fun to watch the actors that play strong personalities. It is referred to as the predecessor of When the Camellia Blooms.
Page Turner (2016)
It is a trilogy drama about the growth of young people in the field of music. Kim So Hyun plays the sensitive piano genius Yun Yu Seul, Ji Soo plays the optimistic high jumper Jeong Cha Sik, and Shin Jae Ha plays Yu Seul’s rival, Seo Jin Mok, who always ends up in the second place. The title ‘Page-turner’ refers to a person who turns the pages of sheet music on behalf of the performer. In the same vein, the drama depicts the three characters becoming each other’s page-turners. This drama resonates with the viewers by exploring one’s passion and interactions with others. Plus, the lively classical music and the emotional piano that pops out of the scene add to the drama’s fun.
Naked Fireman (2017)
It is a four-part drama that combines romance and thriller. The story takes place when a passionate firefighter has identified as the culprit of an arson murder case 10 years ago. Lee Jun Hyuk takes on the role of Kang Cheol Soo. He applies for a high-paying nude model job to cover his colleague’s medical bill, concealing his profession as a firefighter. And Jeong In Sun takes on the role of Han Jin Ah, an unfortunate heiress who tries to find the culprit in the arson case that took the life of her parents. The romance between the two, who have no idea of each other’s background, and the mystery over the arson case that traps Kang provide much entertainment.
Here’s My Plan (2021)
This four-part series dramatized the work that won the Excellence Award in the MBC Drama Script Contest. So Hyeon, a 19-year-old girl, is raised under her alcoholic mother. She learns that one day her father, whom she thought was dead, is alive. Kim Hwan Hee showed off polished acting skills as So Hyeon, who deliberately approaches to avenge her father, who made her life unhappy. She appeared as a child actress in the movie The Wailing, and she came of age this year. This drama was praised as a masterpiece in unraveling the story of getting revenge on one’s own father from a teenager’s point of view.
How to Buy a Friend (2020)
It is a four-part noir drama based on the popular webtoon of the same name. It is a story about the mystery surrounding the death of a girl who committed suicide at school a year ago because of a poem written by a student. Including Lee Shin Young, who played a North Korean soldier in Crash Landing on You, Kim So Hye from I.O.I, and Shin Seung Ho from the movie Double Patty play the three crucial roles which lead to the secret behind the dead student. In this drama, a verse in the poem, “Wet sand remembers footprints,” adds mystery to the unpredictable story and builds that tension until the end of the drama.
Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.