Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Cho EK
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, which ended on October 17th, received a lot of love as one of the best healing romance series. In the story of dentist Yoon Hye Jin starting a new life in Gongjin, there is a heart-pounding romance with Mr. Hong and a peaceful everyday life story in the seaside town. Gongjin’s open sea makes us feel relaxed with its beautiful landscape without a single high-rise building. The people there are in harmony, although there may be minor conflicts from time to time. Perhaps the town’s warm atmosphere made Hye Jin open up her heart and Mr. Hong overcome his painful past.
If Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha still lingers in your mind, here are five of the similar romance dramas that take place out of the urban city.
Top Star U-back (2018)
Top Star U-back depicts a romance between a man and a woman with opposite personalities who eventually get closer to each other in a small island town where time seems to standstill. Kim Ji Seok plays a top actor named Yoo Baek, who is arrogant and full of pride. Jeon So Min takes on the role of Oh Gang Soon, a simple island girl with a thick accent. The drama tells a story of a celebrity going to a secluded island for an unwanted time out and falling in love with a woman he meets there. Though the story is full of clichés, the passionate performances of the actors who animate the characters make us get immersed in the story. In particular, it is impressive to see Jeon So Min in her character, Oh Gang Soon, with her unrefined looks. In addition to the pleasant romance of the two, the beautiful scenery of the island village and the kind-hearted people there fills the play more abundantly.
Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol (2020)
Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol depicts the story of a girl who has lived an easy life settling in the small city called Eunpo after her father’s sudden death. Go Ara took on the role of Goo Ra Ra, an optimistic girl who always sees life from a positive perspective. Rising star Lee Jae Wook joined the actress in the series as a mysterious young man named Seonwoo Jun, who winds up with her in a creditor and debtor relationship. The drama centers around the romance between Ra Ra and Jun and shows people passing through difficult times finding joy in the strange yet peaceful village. The playful directing lightened up the mood in the play, and Go Ara showed off her lovely presence in her first rom-com series. However, the show went a bit slow and dragged the second half of its plot.
When the Weather Is Fine (2020)
It is a romance drama based on the novel written by Lee Do Woo. The drama follows a woman who moves to the rural village where she spent her school days after getting tired of living in the city of Seoul. Park Min Young played the cello instructor named Mok Hae Won, a woman who never opens up her heart to anyone due to her complicated family situation. Unlike her previous roles in Her Private Life (2019), What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim (2018), she played a cold and dark character in this drama series. Seo Kang Joon took on the role of Im Eun Seop, a local bookstore owner with a warm and kind heart who went to the same high school as Mok Hae Won. Just as the icicles melt as winter turns to spring, the drama shows a slow yet heartwarming transformation that Hye Won goes through by meeting Eun Seop and interacting with other people. The change she goes through suggests a heartfelt consolidation to many of us living in this tough world. Although the show flows calmly without any dramatic events, it has a warm sensibility that is rare to find in dramas these days.
When the Camellia Blooms (2019)
Set in the coastal city of Ongsan, When the Camellia Blooms is a romantic drama that revolves around a woman who is trapped in prejudice toward herself and a man who loves her for who she is. Gong Hyo Jin draws the viewers strongly to this miraculous story by getting across her emotions through her single mother character, who owns a bar in the town and thus gets mean stares from the townspeople. Kang Ha Neul, who played Hwang Yong Sik, the man who gives unconditional love toward Dong Baek, made use of his well-known refined personality and vividly animated his pure-hearted character in the series. The drama’s unique appeal is that the main story, which often makes our eyes teary, intersects with the mysterious incidents surrounding the serial killer Kabuli. Overall, the drama has great performances, script, and directing.
Crash Landing on You (2019)
This romance drama is set in a special yet wonderous location: North Korea. Crash Landing on You has a somewhat nonsensical setting of a South Korean woman crash landing on North Korea while paragliding in bad weather. However, the drama starred Hyun Bin as a North Korean soldier and Son Ye Jin as the heiress of a chaebol and managed to attract viewers to this drama with an unrealistic story. The hilarious friendship between Yoon Se Ri and the North Korean people added more fun to the romance between the two main leads. Plus, unlike other previous works, the drama received excellent reviews for depicting North Korea without all the negative aspects we all know of now. Recently, it was reported that Netflix is working on a remake of Crash Landing on You.
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.