Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Eungee Joh
Ji Chang Wook and Shin Hye Sun’s now airing TV series Welcome to Samdalri has everyone hooked with its relatable characters, a heartwarming story and the peaceful beauty of Jeju Island. The cast’s fantastic performances add extra flavor to the series. Now, check out these five dramas that, just like Welcome to Samdalri, offer a chill escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Summer Strike (2022)
Based on the webtoon of the same name, Summer Strike tells the story of Yeo Reum (played by Seolhyun), a woman who leaves the city for a seaside village to take some time for herself. Fed up with unfair treatment at work, Yeo Reum calls it quits after her mom’s passing, deciding to connect with her inner self and find some peace of mind. Upon arriving in the village of Angok, she finds a place to stay and starts a stress-free lifestyle—a dream many have had. There, she meets Dae Beom (Yim Si Wan), the local librarian, who is also dealing with hidden emotional scars. Their story brings a sense of satisfaction to viewers tired of their busy everyday lives.
One Day Off (2023)
One Day Off is an omnibus drama that follows a high school teacher on a one-day weekend trip. The sight of Park Ha Kyung (Lee Na Young) walking, eating, and idly enjoying her Saturday getaway offers a glimpse into the universal desire to ‘just escape’ from hectic daily life. The beautiful landscapes encountered on the journey also captivate our hearts. The drama begins with an episode featuring a monk performing a ritual in a quiet temple in Haenam County and concludes with a journey to Gyeongju, the typical destination of a high school field trip, as the main character looks back on her past journeys. While each trip does not feature grand realizations or dramatic events, the travelogue, filled with trivial incidents, provides a comforting experience for viewers. Cameos from actors like Sunwoo Junga, Koo Kyu Hwan, and Han Ye Ri add to the delight.
Top Star U-back (2019)
Top Star U-back tells the story of Yoo Baek (Kim Ji Seok), a sharp-tongued actor forced to flee to a far-off island after causing a major scandal. The island, Yeozuk, has zero internet, making it a strange and frustrating place for our star who gets dead set on making a getaway. In this slow-paced life without digital civilization, he bumps into Oh Kang Soon (Jeon So Min), an island girl living with her grandmother. Yoo Baek, full of himself, clashes with the spirited Kang Soon, and gradually, they find themselves falling for each other. The show not only serves up a charming romance but also features warm island people and scenic views. Moreover, the drama throws in some well-known old hits, adding an extra dose of entertainment to the story.
Welcome to Waikiki (2018-2019)
Welcome to Waikiki follows three guys running a struggling guesthouse named Waikiki. Dong Gu (Kim Jung Hyun), Joon Ki (Lee Yi Kyung), and Doo Sik (Son Seung Won), a freelance director, a supporting actor, and a freelance writer, battle the tough reality to save their place. The show joyfully captures the youths facing the challenges of tomorrow despite the hurdles. With a small but loyal fanbase, it even got a second season. Season 2 kept the vibe alive with Lee Yi Kyung reprising his role, joined by new cast members Kim Seon Ho, Shin Hyun Soo, Moon Ga Young, Sohee, and Kim Ye Won.
Once Upon a Small Town (2022)
Once Upon a Small Town is a drama about young men and women caught in a love triangle in the peaceful village of Heedong. Joy plays Ahn Ja Young, a local not too interested in romance, caught between Choo Young Woo‘s city doctor character, Ji Yul, and Baek Sung Chul‘s country farmer character, Sang Hyun—Ja Young’s longtime friend who is secretly in love with her. The show brings a heart-fluttering vibe against the backdrop of the green countryside scenery. The drama offers a sense of refreshment through a sweet romance blended with peaceful stories of human connections, free from crazy dramas, unnecessary villains, or forced developments.
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.