Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Yu Jin Kim
Teens in dramas often harbor hidden secrets and struggles, despite their bright and cheerful exteriors. In True Beauty, Ju Kyung (played by Moon Ga Young) is insecure about her appearance and doesn’t want to show her bare face to anyone. After being bullied because of her looks, Ju Kyung hones her makeup skills to boost her confidence. As she does, two guys enter her life – Su Ho (Cha Eun Woo), who is sweet and level-headed, and Seo Jun (Hwang In Yeop), who has a perfect physique – and they open up a new world for her. In this article, we have compiled a list of the five best teen dramas about teenagers who overcome their weaknesses and find new paths in life.
Seasons of Blossom (2022)
Seasons of Blossom is a TV series based on a webtoon that portrays the growth of teenagers by interweaving past events from 6 years earlier with the present. The series depicts Ha Min (Seo Ji Hoon), who is known in his school as the top student but conceals immense inner wounds and sadness. After he meets So Mang (So Ju Yeon), a candid and free-spirited girl, he takes a new direction in his life. However, the drama foreshadows Ha Min’s tragic fate from the very start. In the present time, Bo Mi (Kang Hye Won), the most popular girl in school, initiates a contractual dating relationship with a boy to evade her growing feelings for Jae Min (Kim Min Kyu). As the truth about Ha Min’s death is uncovered, it adds a layer of suspense to the show, while Bomi’s sweet but complicated relationship brings delight to the viewers. The story of these teenage protagonists, who unintentionally cause pain to each other, will pull at your heartstrings until the very end.
LIVE ON (2020)
LIVE ON is a teen drama set in a school broadcasting club and is also Hwang Min Hyun’s first lead role. Baek Ho Rang (Jung Da Bin), a popular girl in Seoyeon High School, joins the broadcasting club to uncover the identity of an anonymous attacker trying to expose her past. There, she constantly clashes with the perfectionist head of the club, Ko Eun Taek (Hwang Min Hyun). As they spend more time together, they gradually open up to each other, but the anonymous informant takes bold action to pressure Ho Rang. The drama realistically portrays the current generation of students who are comfortable with smartphones and are easily influenced by social media while also capturing the emotions of that time, evoking memories of school days.
Extraordinary You (2019)
Extraordinary You tells the story of Dan Oh (Kim Hye Yoon), who thought she was an ordinary student but discovers she is actually just an extra character in a comic book. She starts to change the story in order to break free from the fate assigned by the writer, which includes being engaged to someone (Lee Jae Wook) who doesn’t love her and being born with a congenital disease. During this process, she grows closer to another mysterious extra character named Ha Ru (Rowoon). The lively story of characters who break free from their pre-determined fate and the sweet romance of the teens made the drama popular. It also received praise for establishing the world of romantic comics well. Kim Hye Yoon, Rowoon, and Lee Jae Wook became closer through this drama and later made headlines by appearing together on House on Wheels Season 4.
At Eighteen (2019)
At Eighteen is a high school series that depicts the precarious and immature world of teenagers. Joon Woo (Ong Seong Woo) is a character who grew up with a loving mother and became accustomed to loneliness as a result of being the only child. He is forced to transfer to a new school where he is haunted by strange rumors, but he pays little attention to them. Su Bin (Kim Hyang Gi), a top student exhausted from her mother’s obsession with her grades, becomes curious about Joon Woo, who seems to live in the background and doesn’t stand out. Will the two individuals, who have completely different worries and thoughts, be able to navigate their 18-year-old lives smoothly? Viewers who have experienced the confusion of their teenage years will be captivated by their stories.
Who Are You: School 2015 (2015)
Who Are You: School 2015 is the sixth installment of the beloved School series. Unlike the previous seasons, which focused on the friendship and conflicts of male students, the sixth season centers on female students and realistically portrays the problems they face both in and out of school. At the heart of the drama are the fate-switched twin sisters, Eun Byul and Eun Bi, and it delves deeply into the issues surrounding victims, perpetrators, and bystanders of school violence. Kim So Hyun did a fantastic job in her dual role, which added depth and immersion to the story. Despite the serious theme of school violence, the drama also highlights the sweet romance between the teenage characters played by Kim So Hyun, Nam Joo Hyuk and Yook Sung Jae.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.